Reckless drunkards (Sir 19:1-19:3)

“A worker who is a drunkard

Will not become rich.

One who despises small things

Will fail little by little.

Wine leads intelligent men astray.

Women lead intelligent men astray.

The man who consorts

With prostitutes is reckless.

Decay will take possession of him

Worms will inherit him.

The reckless person

Will be snatched away.”

Sirach warns us that a drunkard will not become rich. If you despise small things, you will fail little by little. Both wine and women have led intelligent men astray. You are reckless, if you hang around with prostitutes. Always blame your downfall on someone or something other than yourself. Your body will decay and worms will take over. The reckless person will have his life snatched away.

Instructions for men concerning women (Sir 9:1-9:9)

“Do not be jealous of the wife of your bosom!

You will teach her an evil lesson

To your own hurt.

Do not give yourself to a woman!

Do not let her trample down your strength!

Do not go near a loose woman!

You will fall into her snares.

Do not associate with a singing girl!

You will be caught by her tricks.

Do not look intently at a virgin!

You may stumble.

You may incur penalties for her.

Do not give yourself to prostitutes!

You may lose your inheritance.

Do not look around in the streets of a city!

Do not wander about in its deserted sections!

Turn away your eyes from a shapely woman!

Do not gaze at beauty belonging to another!

Many have been seduced by a woman’s beauty.

By beauty

Passion is kindled

Like a fire.

Never dine with another man’s wife!

Never revel with her at wine!

Your heart may turn aside to her.

In blood,

You may be plunged into destruction.”

In a series of reprimands for men concerning women, Sirach says that men should not be jealous of their wife. Your jealousy might teach her an evil lesson that you might regret since she might be jealous of you. Do not let women take away your strength. Stay away from loose women and singing women because they might trick you. Don’t stare at virgins. Obviously, don’t go to prostitutes because you could lose all your money. Do not go wandering around deserted parts of the city. Don’t let your eyes be caught looking at a beautiful shapely women. Beauty quickly seduces into passion. Don’t eat or drink with another man’s wife. Your heart could turn towards her. You might be plunged into destruction. Thus we see the proper and improper conduct of men towards women in the 2nd century BCE.

The righteous in charge (Prov 29:1-29:4)

“One who is often reproved,

Yet remains stubborn,

Will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

When the righteous are in authority,

The people rejoice.

But when the wicked rule,

The people groan.

A child who loves wisdom

Makes a parent glad.

But to keep company with prostitutes

Is to squander one’s substance.

By justice,

A king gives stability to the land.

But one who makes heavy exactions

Ruins the land.”

If someone corrects you and you remain stubborn, you will be broken beyond repair. When the righteous are in control, the people are happy. When the wicked are in charge, the people groan. If a child loves wisdom, their parents are happy. If you keep company with prostitutes, you are squandering your life substances. When a king rules with justice, the land is stable. However, if a king tries to exact too much from the people, the land will be ruined.

 

The idol worship in Canaan (Ps 106:34-106:39)

“The Israelites did not destroy the peoples,

As Yahweh commanded them.

But they mingled with the nations.

They learned to do as they did.

They served their idols.

This became a snare to them.

They sacrificed their sons to the demons.

They sacrificed their daughters to the demons.

They poured out innocent blood,

The blood of their sons and daughters.

They sacrificed them to the idols of Canaan.

The land was polluted with blood.

Thus they became unclean by their acts.

They prostituted themselves in their doings.”

This section of this psalm is based on the description in Judges, chapter 2, when the Israelites worshipped Baal in their new home. Instead of destroying the people of Canaan as Yahweh had instructed, they mingled and intermarried with the local inhabitants. With that, they did what the locals were doing, worshiping the local gods of Baal as they served these local idol gods. Part of their rituals was the sacrificial offering up of sons and daughters. They sacrificed their children to the demons. In thus killing their own children the blood of the young children polluted the land. The psalmist here calls them prostitutes who became unclean by their own acts.

The gentiles take over the Temple (2 Macc 6:3-6:6)

“Harsh and utterly grievous was the onslaught of evil. The temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the gentiles. They dallied with prostitutes. They had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts. Besides they brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit. The altar was covered with abominable offerings which were forbidden by the laws. People could neither keep the Sabbath, nor observe the festivals of their ancestors, nor so much as confess themselves to be Jews.”

The gentiles took over the Temple. This was mentioned in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, but here it is more specific, especially about prostitutes as part of a fertility cult. They would have intercourse in the sacred places to help have children. They also offered unfit sacrifices. The altars were full of all kinds of Jewish forbidden abominable offerings. The Israelites could not keep the Sabbath, nor observe their festival days. In fact, they could not even confess that they were Jews.