The response of Jesus (Mt 4: 7-4:7)

“Jesus said

To the devil.

‘Again,

It is written.

You shall not tempt

The Lord

Your God.’”

 

ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Πάλιν γέγραπται Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο

 

Once again, this is like Luke, chapter 4:12, but was the 3rd third rather than the 2nd temptation as here. The wording is the same, indicating a common source, perhaps Q. Jesus’s response was short and sweet (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He told the devil that he should not tempt the Lord his God (Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο), as if the devil accepted God. This quotation (Πάλιν γέγραπται) was once again taken from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:16, where Yahweh was calling for no more rebellions like that at Massah, when they complained about the lack of water. They were not to test Yahweh anymore

The unjust ones (Am 5:7-5:7)

“O!

You turn justice

To wormwood!

You bring righteousness

To the ground!”

Amos said that justice was sweet, not like the bitterness of wormwood, a prominent tree in Israel. The wicked ones wanted to bring the righteous ones down to the ground. They wanted the bitterness of injustice rather than justice.

A reproach against immorality (Isa 5:20-5:20)

“Woe to you

Who call evil good!

Woe to you

Who call good evil!

Woe to you

Who put darkness for light!

Woe to you

Who put light for darkness!

Woe to you

Who put bitter for sweet!

Woe to you

Who put sweet for bitter!”

Now Isaiah takes on the immoral people who call evil good and the reverse, good evil. They put darkness on light and light on darkness. They say something is bitter when it is sweet, and vice versa. They live in an immoral upside down world.

Begging (Sir 40:28-40:30)

“My child!

Do not lead

The life of a beggar!

It is better to die

Than to beg.

When one looks

To the table of another,

One’s way of life

Cannot be considered a life.

One loses self-respect

With another person’s food.

One who is intelligent,

One who is well instructed

Guards against that.

In the mouth of the shameless

Begging is sweet.

But it kindles

a fire inside him.”

Sirach has a very strong condemnation of begging. He clearly says with very strong words that it is better to die than to beg. He did not want anyone to take up the life of a beggar. Yet he was very strong on almsgiving. If you have to continually eat at someone’s table, he does not consider that to be a worthwhile existence. You lose your self-respect, if you have to eat another person’s food. The intelligent and instructed ones guard against begging. Only the shameless think that begging is a sweet thing to do. However, their begging will lead to a kindling fire in their stomachs. Stay away from beggars. Usually the biblical writers talk about compassion for those in need, but not here.

Wisdom is the best (Sir 40:18-40:21)

“Wealth makes life sweet.

Wages makes life sweet.

But better than either is

The one who finds wisdom.

Children establish one’s name.

Building a city establishes one’s name.

Better than either is

The one who finds wisdom.

Cattle make one prosperous.

Orchards make one prosperous.

But a blameless wife is

Accounted better than either.

Wine gladdens the heart.

Music gladdens the heart.

But the love of wisdom is

Better than either.”

Sirach makes a lot of comparisons in these proverbs. No matter what, wisdom is always better than anything else. It is the best. Certainly having wealth and wages make life sweet. However, finding wisdom is sweeter than both of them. Having children and building a city will establish your name, but the one who finds wisdom is better established. Having cattle and orchards can make you prosperous, but a blameless wife is better than either of them. She is like wisdom. Finally, wine and music gladden the heart, but the love of wisdom is a better heart warmer than either wine or music.

Sinners until death (Sir 23:16-23:17)

“Two kinds of individuals

Multiply sins.

A third incurs wrath.

Hot passion blazes

Like a burning fire.

Hot passion

Will not be quenched

Until it burns itself out.

Whoever commits fornication

With his near of kin

Will never cease

Until the fire burns him up.

To a fornicator,

All bread is sweet.

He will never cease

Until he dies.”

Here Sirach is like Proverbs with a numerical proverb that is a little unclear. Some sinners multiply their sins, basically those with sins of passion. However, another kind of sinner incurs the wrath of God. Obviously, fornication is wrong. Hot passion blazes like a burning fire until it is quenched and burns itself out. The big sin is sexual fornication with a relative. Sirach believes that this fornicator will not cease until fire burns him up. Each fornicator believes that all bread is sweet, since they make no distinction on who they get involved with. They will only cease their bad habits at death. This is a strong condemnation of the indiscriminate sexual offender, especially those who get sexually involved with their own family members.

Description of the male lover (Song 5:10-5:16)

Female lover

“My beloved is all radiant.

He is ruddy.

He is distinguished among ten thousand.

His head is the finest gold.

His locks are wavy.

His locks are black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves,

Beside springs of water,

Bathed in milk,

Fitly set.

His cheeks are like beds of spices,

Yielding fragrance.

His lips are lilies,

Distilling liquid myrrh.

His arms are rounded gold,

Set with jewels.

His body is an ivory work,

Encrusted with sapphires.

His legs are alabaster columns,

Set upon bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

Choice as the cedars.

His speech is most sweet.

He is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved.

This is my friend.

O daughters of Jerusalem!”

This female lover responded to the daughters of Jerusalem. She explains why her male lover is so special with a long description of him. First of all, he is radiant and ruddy. What does that mean? He is a glowing happy guy with a healthy reddish complexion. He is one in 10,000. He has a golden head with black wavy hair. His eyes are like clean white doves perfectly set in his head. His cheeks are like fragrant spices. His lips are like lilies spreading liquid myrrh. His arms are like rounded gold with jewels set in them. His body is like ivory with sapphires. His legs are like alabaster columns with golden bases as feet. He appears to be like a Lebanon cedar tree. His speech is sweet. He is quite a guy, altogether desirable. He is her beloved and her friend. That is some great description of the perfect man.