Lies (Sir 7:11-7:14)

“Do not ridicule a person

Who is embittered in spirit.

There is One who abases.

There is One who exalts.

Do not devise a lie against your brother.

Do not do the same to a friend.

Refuse to utter any lie.

It is a habit that results in no good.

Do not babble in the assembly of the elders.

Do not repeat yourself

When you pray.”

Here are more prescriptions of Sirach. You should be trustworthy. You should not ridicule people who are having a hard time. Leave it up to God, the Holy One, to abase or exalt. Do not make up lies against your brother or your friends. Do not become a habitual liar because that is not good. Do not babble among the assembly of the elders. When you pray, do not repeat yourself.

Achior says that God is on the Israelite side (Jdt 5:17-5:21)

“As long as they did not sin against their God they prospered.

The God who hates iniquity is with them.

But when they departed from the way

That he had prescribed for them,

They were utterly defeated in many battles.

They were led away captive to a foreign country.

The temple of their God was razed to the ground.

Their towns were captured by their enemies.

But now they have returned to their God.

They have come back from the places where they were scattered.

They have occupied Jerusalem, where their sanctuary is.

They have settled in the hill country, because it was uninhabited.

So now, my master and lord,

If there is any oversight in this people and they sin against their God, And we find out their offense,

Then we will go up and defeat them.

But if they are not a guilty nation,

Then let my lord pass them by.

Their Lord and God will defend them.

We shall then become the laughing stock of the whole world.”

The most controversial part of the story of the Achior story is that God is on the Israelite side. When they followed God, they were protected. When they failed to follow his prescriptions, they were defeated. They were sent away to captivity. Here is where we have a problem. Holofernes is supposedly the general of King Nebuchadnezzar who will bring them into captivity. He is the one who destroyed the Temple. The setting is clearly post-exilic as these are good Israelites who returned and built the temple in Jerusalem. Achior then posses the problem, if these people have sinned, then they should be easy to defeat. However, if they have not sinned, their God will protect them. Then it is best to leave them alone. If we lose, we will be the laughing stock of the whole world, obviously the Mideast world of that time.

The problem of pride, idleness, injustice, and drunkenness (Tob 4:13-4:15)

“For in pride there is ruin and great confusion.

In idleness there is loss and dire poverty

Because idleness is the mother of famine.

Do not hold over until the next day

The wages of those who work for you.

Pay him at once.

If you serve God,

You will receive payment.

Watch yourself, my son,

In everything you do.

Discipline yourself in all your conduct.

What you hate,

Do not do to anyone.

Do not drink wine to excess.

Do not let drunkenness go with you on your way.”

Pride can lead to confusion. Idleness will lead to poverty and famine. It is interesting to note that idleness is the mother of famines, that somehow humans are responsible for famines, rather than weather. Tobit wanted his son to pay the worker’s wages immediately, not even wait until the next day. When his son served God, he would receive his payment. He had to be disciplined in his conduct. He was not to do to others things that he himself hated. This is the kind of ‘do not do unto others what you yourself hate done to you.’ He was not to drink wine in excess. Drunkenness should not become part of his lifestyle. Clearly these are all the prescriptions of the Jewish post-exilic life style.