Joy (Sir 30:21-30:25)

“Do not give yourself over

To sorrow!

Do not distress yourself deliberately!

A joyful heart is life itself.

Rejoicing lengthens

One’s life span.

Indulger yourself!

Take comfort!

Remove sorrow far from you!

Sorrow has destroyed many.

No advantage ever comes from it.

Jealousy shortens life.

Anger shortens life.

Anxiety brings on premature old age.

Whoever is cheerful at table,

Whoever is merry at table,

Will benefit from their food.”

Sirach reminds us not to give into sorrow. Do not deliberately distress yourself. If you are happy, you will lengthen your lifespan. Indulge yourself and take comfort in what you do. Stay away from sorrow, because it has destroyed many people, since there is no advantage to being sorrowful. Jealousy and anger will shorten your life. Anxiety brings on old age prematurely. Look at all the happy old people. If you are cheerful and merry when you eat, the food will seem that much better.

The false worship of the dead (Wis 14:15-14:16)

“A father,

Consumed with grief

At an untimely bereavement,

Made an image of his child,

Who had been suddenly taken from him.

Now he honored him as a god,

What was once a dead human being.

He handed on to his dependents

Secret rites

With initiations.

Then the ungodly custom,

Grown strong with time,

Was kept as a law.

At the command of monarchs

Carved images were worshiped.”

This is an attempt to show how the development of the worship of dead came about. It seems like it all started out when a father (πατήρ) lost his son prematurely. He made an image of his dead child, but then he honored him as god (ὡς Θεὸν). He then handed down to his dependents mysterious secret rituals with various initiation sacrificial ceremonies (μυστήρια καὶ τελετά). This ungodly custom later became a law (ὡς νόμος), so that even monarchs wanted carved images worshipped.