Eat, drink, and be merry (Lk 12:19-12:19)

“I will say

To my soul!

‘Soul!

You have ample goods

Laid up for many years.

Relax!

Eat!

Drink!

Be merry!’”

 

καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου Ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά· ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.

 

Luke uniquely continued with this story as Jesus indicated that this rich fool said to his soul (καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου).  He spoke to his soul (Ψυχή) to say that he had ample goods laid up for many years (ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά).  Therefore, he would relax (ἀναπαύου), eat (φάγε), drink (πίε), and be merry (εὐφραίνου), the classical saying for indulging yourself with the pleasures of this world.  Thus, this foolish greedy man thought that his abundant resources meant that he no longer had to work hard.  Now he could enjoy an easygoing permissive lifestyle.  He could retire in luxury.  Do you have enough resources to retire to the good life?

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The queen was concerned (Dan 5:10-5:10)

“When the queen heard

The discussion

Of the king

With his lords,

She came into

The banquet hall.

The queen said.

‘O king!

Live forever!

Do not let your thoughts

Terrify you!

Do not let your face

Grow pale!’”

The queen or the queen mother heard the things and the discussions happening in the banquet hall. Thus, she came in and gave the usual greeting to the king. She told him not to be terrified or pale. Just take it easy and relax! If she was the queen, she would have been at this party, but she might have been the mother of Belshazzar or the queen mother.

Do not fear the king of Babylon (Jer 42:11-42:12)

“‘Do not be afraid

Of the king of Babylon,

As you have been.

Do not be afraid of him!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I am with you!

I will save you!

I will rescue you

From his hand.

I will grant you mercy.

He will have mercy on you.

He will restore you

To your native soil.’”

Jeremiah tells the people not to be afraid of the king of Babylon, as they had been. Yahweh was going to be with them. He was going to save and rescue them from his hand. Yahweh was going to grant them mercy. He was going to restore them to their native soil. The worst was over. Stay here! Just relax!

The stars (Sir 43:9-43:10)

“The glory

Of the stars

Is the beauty

Of heaven.

There are

A gleaming array,

In the heights

Of the Lord.

On the orders

Of the Holy One,

They stand

As ordered.

They never relax

In their watches.”

Sirach indicates that the stars show the glory of the heavens. They glow in the heights as ordered by the Lord. They stand there fixed by the Holy One as they never relax. Once again, we see a static view of the universe with everything in their fixed place according to God.

Relax (Sir 11:10-11:11)

“My child!

Do not busy yourself

With many matters!

If you multiply activities,

You will not be held blameless.

If you pursue,

You will not overtake.

By fleeing,

You will not escape.

There are those

Who work,

Who struggle,

Who hurry,

But they are

So much the more in want.”

Sirach has some advice for those who are busy, relax! Do not be busy with lots of things. If you try to overtake someone, you probably will not. If you try to escape, you probably will not. Just look at those who are working so hard. They are struggling. They are in a hurry. However, if you look at them, they are still needy. Much hard work does not guarantee success.

Enjoy yourself (Eccl 8:15-8:15)

“So I commend enjoyment.

There is nothing better for people

Under the sun

Than to eat and drink.

Let them enjoy themselves.

This will go with them

In their toil

Through the days of life

That God gives him

Under the sun.”

Qoheleth has a response to all this ambiguity that was also found with Job. His recommendation is that they should enjoy yourselves. There is nothing better under the sun than to eat and drink. Enjoy your labor under the sun during all the days of your life that God has given you. Just relax and enjoy life.