The weak idols compared to the heavenly bodies (Bar 6:66-6:67)

“These weak idols

Can neither curse

Nor bless kings.

They cannot show signs

In the heavens

For the nations.

They cannot shine

Like the sun.

They cannot give light

Like the moon.”

Once again, this shows the weakness of these false idols, since they can neither curse nor bless kings. They cannot show signs in the heavens for the various nations. They cannot shine like the sun. They cannot give light like the moon. Instead of berating the nature gods of the sun or the moon, this author praises them. His emphasis was on those weak wooden man made false idols. Notice that this author believes that the moon gives light. In fact, we often still speak of moonlight. When in fact, the light from the moon is really a reflection of the sun.

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Hymn to Yahweh (Jer 20:12-20:13)

“O Yahweh of hosts!

You test the righteous!

You see the heart!

You see the mind!

Let me see your retribution

Upon them!

I have committed my cause

To you!

Sing to Yahweh!

Praise Yahweh!

He has delivered

The lives of the needy

From the hands of evildoers.”

Jeremiah praises Yahweh. He knows that God tests the righteous ones because he sees their hearts and minds. Jeremiah wanted retribution to come upon those who had opposed him. However, he has committed his cause to Yahweh. They were to sing and praise Yahweh, because he has delivered the lives of the needy from the evildoers.

Thanksgiving praise (Isa 12:4-12:6)

“You will say on that day.

‘Give thanks to Yahweh!

Call on his name!

Make known his deeds

Among the nations!

Proclaim that his name is exalted!

Sing praises to Yahweh!

Because he has done gloriously!

Let this be known

In all the earth!

Shout aloud!

Sing for joy!

O royal Zion!

Great in your midst is

The Holy One of Israel.’”

You should proclaim a thanksgiving hymn of praise on that day of reunion. Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on his name! Make his deeds known among the nations! Proclaim his name! Sing praises to Yahweh because he is glorious! Let the whole world know! Shout it out! Sing for joy! Isaiah maintains that the holy one of Israel would be among them at Mount Zion.

The glory of King David (Sir 47:6-47:11)

“They glorified him

For the tens of thousands that he conquered.

They praised him

For the blessings bestowed

By the Lord.

The glorious diadem was given to him.

He wiped out his enemies on every side.

He annihilated his adversaries,

The Philistines.

He crushed their power even to our own day.

In all that he did

He gave thanks to the Holy One,

The Most High,

Proclaiming his glory.

He sang praise

With all his heart.

He loved his Maker.

He placed singers before the altar.

They made sweet melody with their voices.

Daily they sing his praises.

He gave beauty to the festivals.

He arranged their times

Throughout the year.

They praised God’s holy name.

The sanctuary resounded from early morning.

The Lord took away his sins.

He exalted his power forever.

He gave him a covenant of kingship.

He gave him a glorious throne in Israel.”

Sirach told of the glory of King David who had killed thousands of his enemies. He was praised for the Lord’s blessings that he had received. He was given a glorious diadem crown to wear, after an unmentioned dispute with King Saul. David wiped out his enemies, especially the Philistines, but they kept coming back for more. However, David gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High God. He loved his creator. He sang praises to him. He had singers at the altar as well as set up wonderful festivals throughout the year. Although there is mention of a sanctuary, the Temple was not built until his son King Solomon built it. The Lord took away the sins of David and established a covenant of kingship with him on the throne in Israel. In light of what was to come, there was no eternal covenant of kingship.

Noah (Sir 44:17-44:18)

“Noah was found perfect.

Noah was righteous.

In the time of wrath,

He kept the human race alive.

Therefore a remnant

Was left on the earth

When the flood came.

Everlasting covenants

Were made with him.

Thus all flesh should never again

Be blotted out by a flood.”

Now Sirach praises Noah, a more popular hero today, with his famous ark as in Genesis, chapters 6-10. In fact, there was a feature movie called Noah released in 2014. Noah was found to be perfect as a righteous man. Obviously then he was considered an ideal famous holy man. He kept humans going with the second creation after the flood. Here there is a mention of a remnant, those few who were loyal to God. Noah formed a series of covenants with God that there would never be another flood to blot out humankind. As part of these rainbow agreements, humans would not eat meat with the blood in it. They also should not kill each other. Humans, as the image of God, would then dominate the earth with all its creatures.

The conclusion of the hymn (Sir 39:32-39:35)

“So from the beginning,

I have been convinced

Of all this.

I have thought this out.

I have left it in writing.

All the works of the Lord

Are good.

He will supply every need

In its time.

No one can say.

‘This is not as good as that.’

Everything proves good

In its appointed time.

So now,

Sing praise with all your heart!

Sing praise with your voice!

Bless the name of the Lord!”

Sirach concludes his hymn. He has been convinced of the power of the Lord all the time. He has thought about it. Now he has written it down here in this work. All the works of the Lord are good. Everything will be provided in its proper time. You cannot say that one thing is not as good as another, because everything is good in its appointed time. Therefore you should sing praises to the Lord with your voice. The name of the Lord is to be blessed.

The foolish ones (Sir 21:14-21:17)

“The mind of a fool is

Like a broken jar.

It can hold no knowledge.

When an intelligent person

Hears a wise saying,

He praises it.

He adds to it.

When a fool hears it,

He laughs at it.

He throws it behind his back.

A fool’s chatter is

Like a burden on a journey.

But delight is found

In the speech of the intelligent.

The utterance of a sensible person

Is sought in the assembly.

They ponder his words in their minds.”

Sirach says that the mind of a fool is like a broken jar that cannot hold any knowledge in it. This was the common idea of the mind as an empty jar that knowledge fills up. When an intelligent person hears a wise saying, he or she praises it and adds to it. On the contrary, when the fool hears the same thing, he laughs at it, throwing it behind his back. The fool’s chatter on a long journey is burdensome, but the speech of an intelligent person is delightful. Thus in an assembly, the presentations of a sensible person is often sought after, so that others might ponder his words.