Reversal of fortune (Isa 35:5-35:7)

“Then the eyes of the blind

Shall be opened.

The ears of the deaf

Shall be unstopped.

Then the lame

Shall leap like a deer.

The tongue of the speechless

Shall sing for joy.

Waters

Shall break forth in the wilderness.

The streams

Shall be in the desert.

The burning sand

Shall become a pool.

The thirsty ground

Shall become springs of water.

The haunt of jackals

Shall become a swamp.

The grass

Shall become reeds or rushes.”

Isaiah seems to indicate that there will be a reversal of fortune, a change in the ways that things happen. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The lame will run. The dumb will speak. Waters and streams will be in the wilderness desert, as the burning sand will turn into a pool of water. The jackals will be in a swamp. The grass will become reeds or rushes along the streams. Everything will be reversed or different.

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Some proverbs (Sir 40:12-40:17)

“All bribery

Will be blotted out.

All injustice

Will be blotted out.

But good faith

Will last forever.

The wealth of the unjust

Will dry up like a river.

The wealth of the unjust

Will crash like a loud clap

Of thunder in a storm.

A generous person

Has cause to rejoice.

Lawbreakers

Will utterly fail.

The children of the ungodly

Put out few branches.

They are unhealthy roots

On sheer rock.

The reeds by any water

Or river bank

Are plucked up

Before any grass.

Kindness is

Like a garden of blessings.

Almsgiving endures forever.”

Sirach utters some proverbs or sayings about injustice and life. Bribery and injustice will be blotted out, but good faith will last forever. The wealth of the unjust will disappear like a dried up river or thunder in a storm, here today, but gone tomorrow. Generous people should rejoice, while the lawbreakers will fail. The children of the ungodly will have few branches because their unhealthy roots are on solid rocks so they will have no yield. They are like reeds near water that is plucked before the grass. Kindness, on the other hand, grows into a garden of blessings. Then too almsgiving endures forever.

The life of the Behemoth (Job 40:19-40:24)

“It is the first of the great acts of God.

Only its Maker can approach it with the sword.

The mountains yield food for it.

It is there where all the wild beasts play.

Under the lotus plants it lies.

It lies in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh.

The lotus trees cover it for shade.

The willows of the brook surround it.

Even if the river is turbulent

It is not frightened.

It is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth.

Can one take it with hooks?

Can one pierce its nose with a snare?”

Clearly this monster has limits since it was the work of God. Only God the maker can kill it. It lives in the mountains where all the wild beasts play. It lies under a lotus tree for shade in the reeds, willows, and marshes. Even when the Jordan River is turbulent, it is not worried. No one can catch it with hooks or snares. This sure sounds like a large hippo! It is not clear if there is more than one of these large beasts.