“Who has believed
What we have heard?
To whom has the arm of Yahweh
He grew up
Like a young plant,
Like a root out of dry ground.
He had no form.
He had no majesty
That we should look at him.
There was nothing in his appearance
That we should desire him.
He was despised.
He was rejected by others.
He was a man of suffering.
He was acquainted with infirmity.
He was as one
From whom others hide their faces.
He was despised.
We held him of no account.”
Second Isaiah asks who believed us. Has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? This suffering servant grew up like a plant or a root from dry earth, not moist soil. This servant was not particularly good looking, not really desirable, and not majestic. In fact, he was despised and rejected by others. He seems to be suffering from some sickness or infirmity. People hid their faces from him as if he was a leper. Most people did not think much of him. Who then is this suffering servant? Is it Israel, Isaiah, or as some Christians project it to Jesus Christ?
“In days to come,
Jacob shall take root.
Israel shall blossom.
Israel shall put forth shoots.
They will fill the whole world
Has he struck them down
As he struck those
Who struck them?
Or have they been killed
As their killers
You struggled against them.
He removed them
With his fierce blast
In the day of the east wind.
Therefore by this
The guilt of Jacob will be expiated.
This will be the full fruit
Of the removal of his sin.
When he makes all the stones of the altars
Crushed to pieces.
No sacred poles will remain standing.
No incense altars will remain standing.”
In some future date, not specified, Jacob or Israel will take root and blossom with many sprouts so that its fruits will be all over the world. Yahweh has struck down and killed those who had struck and killed the Israelites. Thus this appears to be a post-exilic comment. However, the punishment for Israel had been merely banishment or exile via the powerful wind of the Near Eastern powers. That punishment was enough for them to remove the guilt of their sins. Now, however, he was going to remove all those sacred poles and stone altars of incense to the false idol gods. These worship places were to be crushed to pieces like stones or chalk.
“To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
She is created with the faithful in the womb.
She made an eternal foundation among human beings.
Among their descendants
She will abide faithfully.
To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom.
She inebriates mortals with her fruits.
She fills their whole house with desirable goods.
She fills their storehouses with her produce.
The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom.
She makes peace.
She makes perfect health to flourish.
She rained down knowledge.
She rained down discerning comprehension.
She heightened the glory of those who held her fast.
To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom.
Her branches are a long life.”
After explaining the importance of the fear of the Lord, now Sirach makes a clear connection with wisdom. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The faithful have wisdom from their time in the womb. Wisdom is an eternal foundation that abides faithfully. If you fear God, you are full of wisdom since she inebriates mortals with her fruits. The wise will have desirable goods and produce. The fear of God is the crown of wisdom. She makes peace and brings perfect health. Wisdom brings knowledge and comprehension. Glory will come to those who hold fast to wisdom because their fear of God is the root of wisdom with its branches a long life.
“The good person obtains favor from Yahweh.
But those who devise evil,
No one finds security by wickedness.
But the root of the righteous
Will never be moved.”
Good people find favor with Yahweh. On the other hand, Yahweh condemns those who devise evil ways. You cannot find security in wickedness. The root of the good or righteous person cannot be moved. They are as steady as a rock. The root is what keeps trees and humans straight.
“Whoever loves discipline
But those who hate to be rebuked
Discipline is at the root of knowledge. If you love knowledge you realize that it can only be obtained with self discipline. However, if you hate to be criticized that you are just plain stupid. So now you have a definition of stupidity as not accepting criticism.