Against his marriage bed,
Says to himself.
‘Who can see me?
Darkness surrounds me.
The walls hide me.
No one sees me.
Why should I worry?
The Most High
Will not remember my sins.’
His fear is confined
To human eyes.
He does not realize
That the eyes of the Lord
Are ten thousand times
Brighter than the sun.
They look upon
Every aspect of human behavior.
They see into hidden corners.
Before the universe was created,
it was known to him.
So it is since its completion.
This man will be punished
In the streets of the city.
Where he least suspects it,
He will be seized.”
Sirach shows that the male adulterer thinks that no one sees him since it is dark and the walls protect him. Why should he worry? The Most High God will not remember his sins. He is only worried about human eyes catching him. However, he should realize that the eyes of the Lord are 10,000 times brighter than the sun. They see every aspect of human behavior, even the hidden corners. Before the universe was created, God had pre-knowledge of everything. Thus God knows everything. This man will be punished in the city streets at a time when he least suspects it.
“Do not say.
‘I am hidden from the Lord.
Who from on high
Has me in mind?
Among so many people,
I am unknown.
What am I
In a boundless creation?
At his visitation,
The highest heaven trembles.
The abyss trembles.
The earth trembles.
The very mountains quiver.
The foundations of the earth shake,
When he looks upon them.
No human mind can grasp this.
Who can comprehend his ways?
Like a tempest
That no one can see,
So most of his works are concealed.
Who will announce
His acts of justice?
Who will await them?
His decree is far off.’
Such are the thoughts
Of one devoid of understanding.
A senseless person
A misguided person
Sirach warns those who say that God is too busy to worry about them. They think that that they can hide from the Lord because there are so many people in this great boundless created world. After all the heavens, the seas, and the earth tremble and quake when the Lord comes. The mountains and the foundations of the earth shake when he sees them. No human mind can comprehend the ways of the Lord because most of his works are concealed to us. The Lord is like a storm that we never see coming. Who is going to announce his judgments because his decrees seem so far away? These are the thoughts of the foolish misguided people who think that God does not care about them.
“Great is the wisdom of the Lord.
He is mighty in power.
He sees everything.
His eyes are on those who fear him.
He knows every human action.
He has not commanded any one to be wicked.
He has not given anyone permission to sin.”
The Lord God has great wisdom and mighty power. He sees everything as he watches over those who fear him. He knows their every action. He definitely has not commanded us to be wicked. He has never given anyone permission to sin.
“There are others
Who are slow.
They need help.
They lack strength.
They abound in poverty.
The eyes of the Lord
Look kindly upon them.
He lifts them out of
Their lowly condition.
He raises up their heads.
Thus many are amazed.”
On the other hand, there are those who are weak and slow. They need help since they lack strength and live in poverty. The Lord sees this so he looks kindly on them. He lifts them up out of their lowly conditions. He makes them raise their heads, so that many people are amazed.
“Do not lie in wait,
Like an outlaw,
Against the home of the righteous.
Do no violence to the place
Where the righteous live!
Although the righteous fall seven times,
They will rise again.
But the wicked are overthrown by calamity.
Do not rejoice when your enemies fall!
Do not let your heart be glad when they stumble!
Yahweh will see it.
He will be displeased.
He will turn away his anger from them.
Do not fret because of evildoers!
Do not envy the wicked!
The evil have no future.
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.”
Do not attack the righteous like an outlaw. Do not wait for them or do any violence to them where they live. The righteous will fall 7 times, but they will still get up. However, the wicked are easily overthrown by calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemies fall. Don’t be happy when they stumble. Yahweh sees all this. He will be displeased. He will probably turn his anger away from them. Don’t worry about evildoers or envy the wicked ones. Just remember that they have no future. Their lamp will go out never to burn again.
“A soft answer turns away wrath.
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge.
But the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of Yahweh are in every place.
They keep watch on the evil.
They keep watch on the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life.
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
A gentile tongue or being soft spoken is the tree of life. A soft spoken person can often turn away an angry person. On the other hand, a harsh bellicose person actually stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise with his words dispenses knowledge to all. However, the mouth of a fool pours out folly and foolishness. We have to remember that Yahweh sees everything with his eyes. He keeps watch over all the good and the bad evil also. Perverse behavior breaks the spirit, while the gentile words are the source of life.
“Rejoice in the wife of your youth!
She is a lovely deer.
She is a graceful doe.
May her breasts satisfy you at all times!
May you be intoxicated always by her love!
Why should you be intoxicated with another woman?
Why do you embrace the bosom of an adulterous woman?
Human ways are under the eyes of Yahweh.
He examines all their paths.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare them.
They are caught in the toils of their sin.
They die for lack of discipline.
Because of their great folly they are lost.”
Now this chapter ends with what you should be doing. You should rejoice with the wife of your youth, as there may have been other wives. However, the ideal is the young wife for life. There is a description of her. She is like a lovely deer or a graceful doe. Her breasts satisfy her husband at all times. Her love is intoxicating. So then he asks why you would seek another intoxicating woman if you have one at home. Then the reprimands come. He reminds his sons that God sees everything. He examines all paths. The wicked usually ensnare themselves as they are caught in the toils of sin. They die because of a lack of discipline. There folly leads to a great loss.
“Yahweh is king!
Let the earth rejoice!
Let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him.
Fire consumes his adversaries on every side.
His lightning lights the world.
The earth sees it.
The earth trembles.
The mountains melt like wax
Before the Lord of all the earth.”
Psalm 97 is another untitled psalm about the kingship of Yahweh. Yahweh is the king who rules the earth. The earth and the coastlands rejoice and are glad. Clouds and darkness are all around Yahweh. Righteousness and justice are the foundations of this throne. Fire consumes all his adversaries. His lightning strikes the world. The earth sees it and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before Yahweh, the Lord of all the earth.
“Yahweh is in his holy temple.
Yahweh’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold.
His gaze examines humankind.
Yahweh tests the righteous and the wicked.
His soul hates the lover of violence.
On the wicked
He will rain coals of fire and sulfur.
Scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
Yahweh is righteous.
Yahweh loves righteous deeds.
The upright shall behold his face.”
Yahweh is in his holy temple on his heavenly throne. He sees and gazes on the whole world. He tests both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. Thus he sends coals of fire and sulfur on these wicked ones. He sends scorching winds on the evil ones. Yahweh is righteous and loves righteous deed. Thus the reward of the just is that they shall see his face.
“God understands the way to it.
He knows its place.
He looks to the ends of the earth.
He sees everything under the heavens.
He gave to the wind its weight.
He meted out the waters by measure.
He made a decree for the rain.
He made a way for the thunderbolt.
Then he saw it.
He declared it.
He established it.
He searched it out.
He said to humankind.
The fear of Yahweh,
That is wisdom.
To depart from evil is understanding.’”
Now we have the answer to this puzzle about wisdom. God is the answer. Fear of Yahweh is true wisdom, an Israelite description of God. Separating from evil is true wisdom. God understands where wisdom is and how to find it. He goes to the ends of the flat earth. He sees everything under the heavens. He knows all things. He knows the weight of the wind and the measure of water. He is in charge of the rain and the thunderbolts. Finally, he reveals it to all human mortals. Fear of the Lord Yahweh is true wisdom so that you depart from evil.