The prayer of the high priest Simon (Sir 50:22-50:24)

“Now bless

The God of all!

He works everywhere!

What great wonders!

He fosters our growth

From birth!

He deals with us

According to his mercy!

May he give us

Gladness of heart!

May there be peace

In our days in Israel!

As in the days of old!

May he entrust to us

His mercy!

May he deliver us

In our days!”

Sirach then inserts the prayer of Simon, the high priest. Simon prays that the God of all will bless the Israelites. God works great wonders. This merciful God fosters our growth from birth. He gladdens our heart. May he bring peace to Israel today and deliver Israel from its enemies, as in the old days. Thus it is a simple straightforward prayer for mercy today.

The little foxes (Song 2:15-2:15)

Female lover

“Catch us!

The foxes.

We are the little foxes

That ruin the vineyards.

Our vineyards are in blossom.”

Her response is enigmatic, not straightforward. She reminded him about the little foxes that spoil the vineyards in bloom. Her own vineyards were also in bloom. She seems to add a word of caution, yet excitement. Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) wrote a play and movie about the nasty Little Foxes in 1939 and 1942, based on this little biblical passage.

Haman at the banquet of Queen Esther (Esth 7:1-7:6)

“So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther.

‘What is your petition, Queen Esther?

It shall be granted you.

What is your request?

Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.’

Then Queen Esther answered.

‘If I have won your favor, O king,

If it pleases the king,

Let my life be given me.

That is my petition,

The lives of my people

That is my request.

We have been sold,

I and my people,

To be destroyed,

To be killed,

To be annihilated.

If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women,

I would have held my peace.

But no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.’

Then King Artaxerxes said to Queen Esther.

‘Who is he?

Where is he?

Who has presumed to do this?’

Queen Esther said.

‘He is a foe and enemy!

He is the wicked Haman!’

Then Haman was in terror before the king and the queen.”

This dinner seemed to be going well as they were drinking wine. The king then asked the queen what her request was just as he had done on the previous night. This time, Queen Esther was more straightforward. She wanted to save her life and the life of her people because they were going to be killed and annihilated. Then the king wanted to know who was trying to kill her and her people. Then she responded that it was the foe and enemy, the wicked Haman. This really scared Haman. He might have said to the king that the king had approved this action, but he did not.