Judgment (Isa 59:18-59:20)

“According to their deeds,

So will he repay.

Wrath will come to his adversaries.

Requital will come to his enemies.

To the coastlands,

He will render requital.

Thus those in the west

Shall fear the name of Yahweh.

Those in the east,

His glory will come.

He will come

Like a rushing pent up stream.

The wind of Yahweh will drive it.

He will come to Zion as a Redeemer

To those in Jacob,

Who turn from transgression.

Says Yahweh.”

The judgment of Yahweh is coming. Yahweh will repay people according to their deeds. He will bring wrath to his enemies and adversaries, particularly the coastlands of the Mediterranean area. The people in the west will fear the Lord. Those in the east will see his glory. Yahweh will come like a windy pent up storm. Yahweh will come to Mount Zion as the redeemer for those Israelites who turn away from their transgressions.

The repayment of the Lord (Sir 35:22-35:26)

“The Lord will not delay.

Like a warrior,

He will not be patient.

He will crush

The loins of the unmerciful.

He repays vengeance

On the nations.

He will destroy

The multitude of the insolent.

He breaks

The scepters of the unrighteous.

He will repay mortals

According to their deeds.

He will repay the works of all

According to their thoughts.

He will judge

The case of his people.

He will make them rejoice

In his mercy.

His mercy is as welcome

In time of distress,

As clouds of rain

In time of drought.”

According to Sirach, the Lord will not delay in bringing about justice. He will be like a warrior without patience. He will crush the backs of the unmerciful ones. He will take vengeance on the various countries. He will destroy the multitude of insolent people as he will break the scepters of the unrighteous. He will repay mortals according to their deeds and thoughts. He will judge his people so that they will rejoice in his mercy that is like a cloud of rain during a drought. The vengeance of God will come upon the earth.

The problems in lending money (Sir 29:4-29:7)

“Many persons regard a loan

As a windfall.

This causes trouble

To those who help them.

One kisses another’s hands

Until he gets a loan.

He is very deferential

In speaking of his neighbor’s money.

But at the time

For repayment,

He delays.

He pays back

With empty promises.

He finds fault with the time.

If he can pay,

His creditor

Will hardly get back half.

The borrower will regard

That as a windfall.

If he cannot pay,

The borrower has robbed

The other of his money.

He has needlessly

Made him an enemy.

He will repay him

With curses.

He will repay him

With reproaches.

Instead of glory,

He will repay him

With dishonor.

Many refuse to lend,

Not because of meanness,

But from fear of being defrauded needlessly.”

Sirach says that this ideal of lending money to your neighbor as giving a helping hand has a few hiccups. Some people think that the loan is a gift, so that they never pay it back. They go around being very deferential to the people with money, kissing their hands. However, when it comes time to repay the loan all they give back are empty promises. They say that they need more time. Sometimes they only pay half of it back, since they think the rest of it was a gift to them. If they do not pay it back, they have robbed their neighbor. They have needlessly made him an enemy. Curses and reproaches will follow with dishonor and anger on all sides. This had led many people to refuse to lend money because they are afraid of being defrauded. Thus there are less and less no interest loans happening.

Lending (Sir 29:1-29:3)

“The merciful lend

To their neighbors.

By holding out

A helping hand,

They keep the commandments.

Lend to your neighbor

In his time of need.

Repay your neighbor

When a loan falls due.

Keep your promise.

Be honest with him.

On every occasion

You will find

What you need.”

Sirach says that lending to your neighbors is nothing more than giving them a helping hand. When you lend to others you are following the commandments. You lend to your neighbor with no interest in his time of need. However, if you borrowed the money, you should repay the loan when it is due. You should keep your promise and be honest. Thus on every occasion helping each other will work out.

The divine judge (Sir 17:15-17:24)

“Their ways are always known to him.

They will not be hid from his eyes.

Their ways from youth tend towards evil.

They are unable

To make for themselves hearts of flesh

In place of their stony hearts.

In the division of nations of the whole earth

He appointed a ruler for every nation.

But Israel is the Lord’s own portion.

Being his firstborn,

He brings them up with discipline.

He allots to them

The light of his love.

He does not neglect them.

All their works are as clear

As the sun before him.

His eyes are continually upon their ways.

Their iniquities are not hidden from him.

All their sins are before the Lord.

The Lord is gracious.

He knows how they were formed.

He has not left them.

He has not abandoned them.

But he has spared them.

One’s almsgiving is

Like a signet ring with the Lord.

He will keep a person’s kindness

Like the apple of his eye.

Afterward he will rise up.

He will repay them.

He will bring their recompense on their heads.

Yet to those who repent,

He grants a return.

He encourages those who are losing hope.”

The Lord is a diving judge. He knows human ways. You cannot hide from him. He appointed rulers for the various countries, but he is the ruler of Israel. Since the time of the Exile in the 6th century BCE, there was no king of Israel. As Israel is the first born, the Lord has disciplined and loved Israel. He would not neglect them as he watches them continually. Their works are as clear as the sun. They cannot hide their sins, but he has not abandoned them. Almsgiving is like the Lord’s ring. Kindness is the apple of his eye. However, he will repay them for their sins. Nevertheless, those who repent can return. In fact, he tries to encourage those who are losing hope.

Help good people (Sir 12:1-12:7)

“If you do good,

Know to whom you do it.

You will be thanked

For your good deeds.

Do good to the devout.

You will be repaid.

If not by them,

Certainly by the Most High.

No good comes to the one

Who persists in evil.

No good comes to the one

Who does not give alms.

Give to the devout.

But do not help the sinner.

Do good to the humble.

But do not give to the ungodly.

Hold back their bread.

Do not give it to them.

By means of it,

They might subdue you.

Then you will receive

Twice as much evil

For all the good

You have done to them.

The Most High also hates sinners.

He will inflict punishment

On the ungodly.

Give to the one who is good.

But do not help the sinner.”

Sirach warns that you should help the good people, but not the ungodly or the sinners. You should know who you are helping. They will thank you for what you are doing. If you help the devout, they will repay you. Even if they don’t, the Most High God will repay you. The persistent evil doers are compared to those who do not give alms. You should help the devout, but not the sinners. Help the humble, but not the ungodly. Don’t give bread to the sinners and the ungodly, because they might subdue you. You might end up with twice as much evil for all the good that you did. The Most High God does not like sinners so he will punish them. Simply put, give to the good people and not the sinners.

Family life (Sir 7:26-7:28)

“If you have a wife

Who pleases you,

Do not divorce her.

But do not trust yourself to one

Whom you detest.

With all your heart

Honor your father.

Do not forget

The birth pangs of your mother.

Remember that it was of your parents

You were born.

How can you repay

What they have given you?”

Sirach has some recommendations about family life. You should not divorce a pleasing wife, which makes sense. However, the same is not true about anyone whom you do not trust or whom you detest. This seems to indicate that a man could divorce a woman if he did not like her. On the other hand, you should honor your father, but not forget about your mother’s labor pains at your birth. Stating the obvious, you were born to your parents. He asked the question about what you owe to your parents. In a more absolute statement, he said that you can never repay them for all that they have done for you.

Almsgiving (Sir 3:29-3:31)

“The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs.

An attentive ear is the desire of the wise.

Just as water extinguishes a blazing fire,

So almsgiving atones for sins.

Whoever repays favors

Gives thought to the future.

When they fall,

They will find support.”

Intelligent people appreciate proverbs. You should be wise. You should pay attention with your ears. Like water on a fire, almsgiving, can atone for sins. If you repay people for favors, your reward will go into the future. If anything happens to you, you will find support.

The consequences of non-action (Prov 24:11-24:12)

“If you hold back from rescuing

Those taken away to death,

Those who go staggering to the slaughter,

What are the consequences?

If you say.

‘Look!

We did not know this.’

Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?

Will he not repay all according to their deeds?”

If you do not try to rescue someone from death, what are the consequences? They were staggering to their slaughter, what were you to do? Can you say that I did not know what was going on? This was the case at the time of the holocaust roundup. The excuse for non-action was I didn’t know. However, it is important to note that God, who weighs the heart, perceives this. He watches over your soul and knows it. He will repay you according to your deeds.

Estates (Prov 20:21-20:24)

“An estate quickly acquired in the beginning

Will not be blessed in the end.

Do not say.

‘I will repay evil.’

Wait for Yahweh.

He will help you.

Diverse weights are an abomination to Yahweh.

False scales are not good.

All our steps are ordered by Yahweh.

How then can we understand our own ways?”

If you get money too quickly, it will not be blessed in the end. Do not try to repay evil. Wait for Yahweh to help you. Once again, there is an admonition about diverse weights and false scales. This must have been quite a problem because it keeps coming up. Our steps are determined by Yahweh so that we cannot understand our own ways.