Praise for wisdom (Sir 24:1-24:2)

“Wisdom will praise herself.

She tells of her glory

In the midst of her people.

In the assembly of the Most High

She opens her mouth.

In the presence of the hosts

She tells of her glory.”

Sirach tells of the praise for wisdom. This is a female personification of wisdom. She will praise herself. She will tell of her glory among her own people at the assembly of the Most High God. She will open her mouth in the presence of all God’s legions. She will tell us all about her glory.

The annoying righteous one (Wis 2:12-2:16)

“‘Let us lie in wait

For the righteous man.

Because he is inconvenient to us.

He opposes our actions.

He reproaches us

For sins against the law.

He accuses us of sins

Against our training.

He professes to have knowledge of God.

He calls himself a child of the Lord.

He became to us a reproof of our thoughts.

The very sight of him is a burden to us.

Because his manner of life is

Unlike that of others.

His ways are strange.

We are considered by him

As something base.

He avoids our ways as unclean.

He calls the last end of the righteous happy.

He boasts that God is his father.’”

They are going to attack the righteous one (δίκαιον), because he opposes their actions. He has been reproaching them for their sins against the law (ἁμαρτήματα νόμου) and their training (παιδείας). He claims to have knowledge about God (γνῶσιν ἔχειν Θεοῦ). He says that he is a child of the Lord (παῖδα Κυρίου). He has rebuked their thoughts. His very presence is a burden to them. He is not like the others since his ways are strange. He thinks that they are base and unclean. He claims that God is his father (πατέρα Θεόν).

The righteous will win (Ps 140:12-140:13)

“I know that Yahweh maintains the cause of the needy.

He executes justice for the poor.

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name.

The upright shall live in your presence.”

This psalm ends on a happy note. Yahweh will give victory to the righteous. David knows that Yahweh helps the needy and brings justice to the poor. The righteous ones will give thanks to his name, while the upright shall live in the presence of Yahweh. Thus we have a happy ending.

Yahweh is present everywhere (Ps 139:7-139:12)

“Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven,

You are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol,

You are there!

If I take the wings of the morning,

If I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

Even there your hand shall lead me.

Your right hand shall hold me fast.

If I say.

‘Surely the darkness shall cover me.

The light around becomes night.’

Even the darkness is not dark to you.

The night is as bright as the day.

The darkness is as light to you.”

David wanted to know where he could go to avoid the presence of Yahweh. He wanted to know where he could go without Yahweh’s spirit not being there. If he went to heaven, obviously Yahweh would be there. However, he also said that if he went down to Sheol, the underworld of eternal darkness, Yahweh would be there also. If he flew to the farthest place in the sky or the sea, Yahweh would still be there. His hand held him tightly. Even in darkness he could not escape. For Yahweh, there was no difference between day and night, he had infra-red vision to see him whether it was dark or not. Thus the presence of Yahweh was everywhere. He was omnipresent.

Remembering David and Yahweh (Ps 132:1-132:5)

A song of ascents

“Yahweh!

Remember in David’s favor.

Remember all the hardships he endured.

Remember how he swore to Yahweh.

Remember how he vowed to the mighty one of Jacob.

‘I will not enter my house.

I will not get into my bed.

I will not give sleep to my eyes.

I will not give slumber to my eyelids.

I will not do these things

Until I find a place for Yahweh,

A dwelling place for the mighty one of Jacob.’”

Psalm 132 is another in this series of pilgrimage songs or psalms on the ascent to Jerusalem. However, this longer psalm celebrates the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem at the time of David, based on 2 Samuel, chapter 7. This psalmist asks Yahweh to remember that he had favored David in all his hardships. He wanted Yahweh to remember that David had vowed to the mighty one of Jacob. David said that he would not enter his house, go to bed, and let his eyes sleep, or let his eyelids slumber until he had found a dwelling place for Yahweh, the mighty one of Jacob. Yahweh was called the mighty one of Jacob. Obviously this is an exaggeration that David would not sleep until he built a place for the Ark of the Covenant, considered to be the presence of Yahweh.

Servant of Yahweh (Ps 116:16-116:19)

“Yahweh!

I am your servant.

I am your servant.

I am the child of your servant girl.

You have loosed my bonds.

I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice.

I will call on the name of Yahweh.

I will pay my vows to Yahweh

In the presence of all his people,

In the courts of the house of Yahweh,

In your midst,

O Jerusalem!

Praise Yahweh!”

The psalmist is a servant for Yahweh. He was the child of a servant. However, Yahweh set him free. Therefore he was going to offer a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of Yahweh. He, like he said earlier, was going to pay his vows to Yahweh in the presence of all the people, in the courts of the house of Yahweh. He would be there in the midst of Jerusalem. He ended this psalm with the rousing, “Praise Yahweh” or the alleluia refrain, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.”

Thanksgiving to Yahweh (Ps 116:12-116:15)

“What shall I return to Yahweh

For all his bounty to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation.

I will call on the name of Yahweh.

I will pay my vows to Yahweh

In the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of Yahweh

Is the death of his faithful ones.”

The psalmist wants to know what he can offer to Yahweh for all the goodness that he has shown him. He was going to lift up the cup of salvation and call on his name. This was picked up later by the Christians who emphasized this cup of salvation. He was going to pay his vows to Yahweh in the presence of all the people. He realizes that the faithful ones were precious in the sight of Yahweh.

Why did nature fear Yahweh? (Ps 114:5-114:8)

“Why is it?

O sea!

Why do you flee?

O Jordan!

Why do you turn back?

O mountains!

Why do you skip like rams?

O hills!

Why do skip like lambs?

O earth!

Tremble at the presence of Yahweh!

Tremble at the presence of the God of Jacob!

He turns the rock into a pool of water.

He turns the flint into a spring of water.”

This short psalm concludes with wondering why nature was so submissive to Yahweh. Why did the Red Sea flee and spread apart? Why did the Jordan River turn back? Why were the mountains and hills skipping like rams and lambs? The answer was, of course, they trembled at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Jacob. Yahweh was able to turn rock and flint into water.

Introductory hymn to Yahweh (Ps 105:1-105:5)

“O give thanks to Yahweh!

Call on his name!

Make known his deeds among the peoples!

Sing to him!

Sing praises to him!

Tell of all his wonderful works!

Glory in his holy name!

Let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice!

Seek Yahweh!

Seek his strength!

Seek his presence continually!

Remember the wonderful works he has done!

Remember his miracles!

Remember the judgments he has uttered!”

Psalm 105 is usually combined with Psalm 106 to be recited at some major feast, since it recalls all the great events in the life of the Israelites. However this long psalm has no introductory title. The first section is a hymn to Yahweh. Some of the texts have an Alleluia to start this hymn. We give thanks to Yahweh. We call on his name. We tell everybody about him. We sing praises to him. We glory in his holy name. Those who seek Yahweh can rejoice. We seek his strength and his presence continually. We remember his wonderful works, his miracles, and his judgments.

Yahweh will come to judge the earth (Ps 98:7-98:9)

“Let the sea roar!

Let all that fills it roar!

Let the world roar!

Let all those who dwell in it roar!

Let the floods clap their hands

At the presence of Yahweh!

Let the hills sing together for joy

At the presence of Yahweh!

He is coming

To judge the earth.

He will judge the world

With righteousness.

He will judge the people with equity.”

This psalm concludes with the judgment of Yahweh. The sea and everything in it, as well as the earth with everything in it would together roar about Yahweh. The floods and the mountains sing with joy at the presence of Yahweh, since he was coming to judge the world with righteousness and equity.