Sleeping beauty (Song 5:2-5:5)

Female lover

“I slept.

But my heart was awake.

Listen!

My beloved is knocking.

‘Open to me!

My sister!

My love!

My dove!

My perfect one!

My head is wet

With dew.

My locks are wet

With the drops of the night.’

‘I had put off my garment.

How could I put it on again?

I had bathed my feet.

How could I soil them?’

My beloved thrust his hand

Into the opening.

My innermost being

Yearned for him.

I arose

To open to my beloved.

My hands dripped

With myrrh.

My fingers dripped

With liquid myrrh,

Upon the handles of the bolt.”

The female lover was sleeping, but her heart was awake. Then she heard her lover knocking at the door. He wanted her to open the door. He called her sister, lover, dove, and the perfect one. His head was wet with dew. His hair was wet with night rain drops. She had taken off her garments. Was she naked? She had washed her feet. He then put his hand into the opening. Meanwhile the female lover yearned for him. She got up to open the door to her beloved. Her hands and fingers were dripping with liquid myrrh as she reached the bolt on the door. She was anticipating a rendezvous with her lover.

The vanity of hard work (Eccl 2:18-2:23)

“I hated all my toil

In which I had toiled under the sun.

I must leave it to

Those who will come after me.

Who knows

Whether they will be a wise or foolish?

Yet they will be

Master of all for which I toiled.

I used my wisdom under the sun.

This also is vanity.

So I turned about.

I gave my heart up to despair

Concerning all the toil of

My labors under the sun.

Sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom,

Toiled with knowledge,

Toiled with skill,

Must leave all to be enjoyed by another

Who did not toil for it.

This also is vanity.

This is a great evil.

What do mortals get from all the toil?

What do mortals gat from the strain

With which they toil under the sun?

All their days are full of pain.

Their work is a vexation.

Even at night

Their minds do not rest.

This also is vanity.”

Now Qoheleth addressed the problem of hard work. What is its value? He had been a hard working wise man, but he would have to leave all his work to those who would come after him. There was no telling if they would be wise or foolish, but still they would be in charge of all his things. He then realized that with all his wisdom under the sun, everything that he had accomplished was in vain. He then fell into despair, much like Job. He would not enjoy the fruit of his hard work. He had worked with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but he had to leave the results of his work to be enjoyed by those who would not work hard. This is the problem with parents who work hard to see their children succeed, only to have them dissipate their life away. This painful useless work is a great evil. He wanted to know if there was a reward for this hard work. This work was nothing but a painful troubling vexation that kept him from sleeping at night. Hard work was useless, in vain, vanity itself. This is a very strong indictment against hard work.

Sleep (Prov 24:33-24:34)

“A little sleep,

A little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to rest,

Poverty will come upon you

Like a robber.

Want will come upon you

Like an armed warrior.”

This is a repetition of what was said in chapter 6 about the lazy sleeper, word for word. This admonition is very clear. You either were sleeping, dosing, or folding your hands while resting. If you did not get a move on, you would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon you like a robber or an armed warrior.

Laziness (Prov 6:6-6:11)

“Go to the ant!

You lazybones!

Consider its ways!

Be wise!

Without having

Any chief,

Any officer,

Any ruler,

It prepares its food in summer.

It gathers its sustenance in harvest.

How long will you be there?

O lazybones!

When will you rise from your sleep?

A little sleep,

A little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to rest,

Poverty will come upon you

Like a robber.

Want will come upon you

Like an armed warrior.”

This admonition is very clear. Do not be lazy, a lazybones person. He took the example of an ant. It has no chiefs, officers, or rulers, yet it provides for itself. The ants prepared the food in summer and gathered in the fall. So then he turned to the lazy one. He asked how long he was going to be resting. He either was sleeping, dosing, or folding his hands resting. If he did not get a move on, he would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon him like a robber or armed warrior. This is an idea that will be repeated.

Yahweh hears my lament (Ps 9:19-9:20)

“Rise up!

Yahweh!

Do not let mortals prevail!

Let the nations be judged before you!

Put them in fear!

Yahweh!

Let the nations know that they are only human!

Selah”

Once again, David wanted Yahweh to get up, rise up, as if Yahweh was somehow sleeping on the job. He did not want the evil mortals to prevail. He wanted them to be judged before Yahweh. He wanted them to fear Yahweh. They should know that they are only human and not divine. At the end of this psalm we have another Selah, or musical interlude pause.

The Assyrians discover the death of General Holofernes (Jdt 14:14-14:19)

“Bagoas went in as he knocked at the entry of the tent. He assumed that General Holofernes was sleeping with Judith. But when no one answered, he opened it. Then he went into the bedchamber. There he found General Holofernes sprawled on the floor dead, with his head missing. He cried out with a loud voice. He wept, groaned and shouted. He tore his clothes. Then he went to the tent where Judith had stayed. When he did not find her, he rushed out to the people and shouted.

‘The slaves have tricked us!

One Hebrew woman has brought disgrace

On the house of King Nebuchadnezzar!

Look!

General Holofernes is lying on the ground!

His head is missing!’

When the leaders of the Assyrian army heard this, they tore their tunics. They were greatly dismayed. Their loud cries and shouts rose up throughout the camp.”

Bagoas was the chief personal steward of General Holofernes. He politely knocked at the entry way to the general’s tent. He thought that the general was sleeping with Judith and did not want to disturb him. However, when no one answered, he entered the bedchamber.   There he found the general sprawled out on the floor beheaded. He was really upset. He wept, groaned, and shouted as he tore his clothes. When people were upset they would tear their clothes. Then he went to the tent of Judith to see how she was. However, she was gone. Then he realized what had happened. He ran out of the tent shouting that they had been tricked by the slaves. This Hebrew woman had brought disgrace to the house of King Nebuchadnezzar. The general was dead with his head missing. When the Assyrian army leaders heard this, they tore their clothes as they too were dismayed. Thus there were loud shouts throughout the camp. Strangely enough, there was no second in command to take over things.

Digging the grave for Tobias (Tob 8:9-8:14)

“However, Raguel arose. He called his servants to him. They went and dug a grave. He said.

‘It is possible that he will die.

We will become an object of ridicule and derision.’

When they had finished digging the grave, Raguel went into his house. He called his wife Edna.

‘Send one of the maids to have her go in to see if he is alive.

But if he is dead,

Let us bury him without anyone knowing about it.’

So they sent the maid, lit a lamp, and opened the door. She went in, and found them sound asleep together. Then the maid came out. She informed them that he was alive and that nothing was wrong.”

Raguel decided that he was going to dig a grave that night. He got some of his servants and they dug the grave. He was going to the hide the body so that no one would know that Tobias had died. He did not want to be ridiculed. When the grave was done, he went into see his wife. He wanted her to get a maid to look and see if Tobias had died like the other 7 husbands. If he had died, they were going to bury him immediately. The maid went into the bedroom and found them both alive, but sleeping. She then informed Raguel and his wife that there was nothing wrong. This was a busy night for everyone.