The parable about the places of honor (Lk 14:8-14:8)

“When you are invited

By someone

To a wedding banquet,

Do not sit down

At the place of honor!

Otherwise,

Someone more distinguished

Than you may

Had been invited

By your host.”

 

Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους, μὴ κατακλιθῇς εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν, μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this parable about being invited by someone to a wedding banquet (Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους).  He told them not to sit down or recline (μὴ κατακλιθῇς) in the place of honor (εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν).  Luke was the only gospel writer who used this word κατακλιθῇς, that means to recline a table.  He used it more than 5 times.  Otherwise, someone more distinguished than them (μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου) may have been invited by their host (ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This is similar or based on Proverbs 6:7, where they were told not to put themselves forward in a great place before the king.  It was much better to be told to come up than to be put lower in the presence of a noble person.  In other words, let the host realize and show that you are important, rather than pretend that you are more important than you are.  Have you ever sat at the wrong place at some banquet?

The failure of the future false prophets (Zech 13:3-13:6)

“If any prophets appear again,

Their fathers,

With their mothers who bore them,

Will say to them.

‘You shall not live.

You speak lies

In the name of Yahweh!’

Their fathers,

With their mothers who bore them,

Shall pierce them through

When they prophesy.

On that day,

The prophets,

Every one of them,

Will be ashamed

Of their visions

When they prophesy.

They will not put on

A hairy mantle

In order to deceive.

But each of them will say.

‘I am no prophet.

I am a tiller of the soil.

The land has been my possession

Since my youth.’

If anyone asks them.

‘What are these wounds

On your chest?’

The answer will be.

‘I received

These wounds

In the house of my friends.’”

Yahweh warned, via Zechariah, that future prophets would not fare well.  Fathers and mothers who had children who wanted to become prophets were told to tell them that they are lying in the name of Yahweh.  In fact, these young men were not to live, since their parents would kill them with a sword.  All the prophets would be ashamed.  They would not wear their normal prophetic hairy coats.  Instead, they would pretend to be farmers.  If anyone wanted to know why they had cuts on their chests like prophets, they would say that their friends had done it.  Clearly, this was the end of institutional prophecy.  The very few remaining prophets would be afraid to be pointed out, since they might be put to death.

Against the false prophets (Jer 23:30-23:32)

“‘See!

Therefore,

I am against the prophets.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They steal my words

From one another.

See!

I am against the prophets.’

Says Yahweh.

They use their own tongues

To say.

‘Says Yahweh!’

See!

I am against those who prophesy

Lying dreams.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They tell them.

They lead my people astray

By their lies,

By their recklessness.

I did not send them.

I did not appoint them.

They do not profit

This people at all.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has 3 more oracles of Yahweh against the false prophets. They have been stealing Yahweh’s words from one another. They use their tongues to pretend that their words are from Yahweh. They prophesize lying dreams. They have led his people astray with their lies and their recklessness. Yahweh never sent them or appointed them as prophets. They have not helped the people at all. Instead, they have been a detriment to the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

A reproach against heavy drinking (Isa 5:22-5:22)

“Woe to you

Who are heroes

At drinking wine!

Woe to you

Who are valiant

At mixing strong drink!”

Isaiah was against those who pretend to be drinking heroes. They seem to be like those who say that they can drink everyone under the table. Some are very good with mixed drinks, like a bartender.

A reproach against mocking God (Isa 5:18-5:19)

“Woe to you

Who drag iniquity along

With cords of falsehood.

Woe to you

Who draw sin along

With cart ropes.

Woe to you

Who say.

‘Let him make haste.

Let him speed his work.

Thus we may see it.

Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel

Hasten to fulfillment.

Thus we may know it!’”

Isaiah then takes on those who mock God with false allegations. They operate with cords of falsehood and sins like cart ropes. They pretend to want to see the work of Yahweh, the Most High God of Israel as soon as possible. They claim they want to know and see it soon. In fact, all they want to do is to continue in their sinful ways.

Silence (Sir 20:1-20:8)

“There is a rebuke

That is untimely.

There is also the person

Who is wise enough to keep silent.

How much better it is to rebuke

Than to fume.

Whoever admits his fault

Will be kept from failure.

Like a eunuch’s lusting

To violate a girl,

Is the person who does right

Under compulsion.

Some people keep silent.

They are thought to be wise.

Others are detested

For being too talkative.

Some people keep silent

Because they have nothing to say.

Others keep silent

Because they know

When to speak.

The wise remain silent

Until the right moment.

But boasting fools

Miss the right moment.

Whoever talks too much

Is detested.

Whoever pretends to authority

Is hated.”

Although some criticisms are at the wrong time, there are people wise enough to keep silent. However, it is much better to criticize than to stay fuming about something. If you admit your faults, you will be kept from future failure. Anyone who is forced to do the right thing is like a castrated male eunuch lusting to violate a young girl. There is no reward for this action. Some people who keep silent are considered wise, while others are detested for talking too much. Some people keep silent because they have nothing to say, while the wise ones are just waiting for the right moment to speak. The boasting fools miss the right moment. Some people do not like those who talk too much, while others hate those who pretend to have authority.

The clever ones (Sir 19:23-19:30)

“There is cleverness

That is detestable.

There is a fool

Who merely lacks wisdom.

Better are the God-fearing

Who lacks understanding

Than the highly intelligent

Who transgresses the law.

There is cleverness

That is exact

But unjust.

There are people

Who abuse favors

To gain a verdict.

There is a villain

Bowed down in mourning.

But inwardly

He is full of deceit.

He hides his face.

He pretends not to hear.

But when no one notices,

He will take advantage of you.

Even if he lacks strength

It does not keep him from sinning.

He will nevertheless do evil

When he finds the opportunity.

A person is known

By his appearance.

A sensible person is known

When first met,

Face to face.

A person’s attire shows what he is.

His hearty laughter shows what he is.

The way he walks shows what he is.”

Sirach then attacks the clever ones with their cleverness, who are really detestable fools who lack wisdom. It is better to be a God fearing person without intelligence than an intelligent transgressor of the law. There are exacting clever people who are unjust. These clever people use the legal system to avoid a bad verdict. They pretend to bow down before you, but there is only deceit in their hearts. They pretend not to hear and not to care, until the right time comes along. Then they take advantage of you. Even if these clever fools are not strong, they will try to do as much evil as they can. They will find any opportunity to be wicked. Look at the appearances of people. See what clothes they are wearing. See how they laugh and walk. Thus you can spot these clever wicked fools.