“Light is sweet.
It is pleasant for the eyes
To see the sun.
Even those who live many years,
Should rejoice in them all.
Yet let them remember
That the days of darkness
Will be many.
All that comes is vanity.”
Light is sweet as it provides your eyes with the pleasant sight of the sun. Even those who get to live a happy long life should remember that there will be plenty of long dark days to come. Your long light filled life is mere vanity or useless, because it will come to an end.
“She seeks wool.
She seeks flax.
She works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant.
She brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is still night.
She provides food for her household.
She gives tasks to her servant girls.”
The good wife seeks wool and flax to work with her willing hands. She provides and gets food for the household like a ship at sea. She gets up early in the morning so that she can provide food for her household. She prepares tasks for her female servants. Obviously, this good wife is a well to do female with her servants.
“Go to the ant!
Consider its ways!
It prepares its food in summer.
It gathers its sustenance in harvest.
How long will you be there?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep,
A little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,
Poverty will come upon you
Like a robber.
Want will come upon you
Like an armed warrior.”
This admonition is very clear. Do not be lazy, a lazybones person. He took the example of an ant. It has no chiefs, officers, or rulers, yet it provides for itself. The ants prepared the food in summer and gathered in the fall. So then he turned to the lazy one. He asked how long he was going to be resting. He either was sleeping, dosing, or folding his hands resting. If he did not get a move on, he would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon him like a robber or armed warrior. This is an idea that will be repeated.
“Yahweh is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him.
He is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works.
He gave them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are truth and justice.
All his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever.
They are to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people.
He has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.
All those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!”
This short psalm ends by telling Yahweh that he is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him. He is ever mindful of his covenant with Israel. He has shown them the power of his works as they are his heritage. His works are true and just. All his precepts are trustworthy as they last forever. They are to be followed with faithfulness and uprightness. He has saved or rescued his people. He has commanded them to follow his covenant forever because he is holy and awesome. This fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, which is a key element of wisdom literature. Those who follow him will understand this. His praise will last forever.