Susanna is brought forward (Dan 13:30-13:33)

“So,

They sent for her.

She came

With her parents,

With her children,

With all her relatives.

Now Susanna was

A woman

Of great refinement.

She was beautiful

In appearance.

As she was veiled,

The scoundrels ordered her

To be unveiled.

Thus,

They might feast

Their eyes

On her beauty.

Those who were with her,

All who saw her,

Were weeping.”

Thus, these old judges sent for Susanna to come to the assembly. She came with her parents, her children, and her relatives. There was no mention of her husband. Thus, she was more than a newlywed, since she had children. She was a woman of great refinement and beauty. These scoundrel judges ordered that she be unveiled, so that they could feast on her beauty. However, those who were with her began to weep and cry.

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The example of the prophet Micah (Jer 26:17-26:19)

“Some of the elders

Of the land

Arose.

They said

To all the assembled people.

‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied

During the days of King Hezekiah

Of Judah.

He said to all the people

Of Judah.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

Zion shall be plowed

As a field. Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Will be a wooded height.’

Did King Hezekiah

Of Judah,

With all Judah,

Put him to death?

Did he not fear Yahweh?

Did he not entreat

The favor of Yahweh?

Did not Yahweh change

His mind

About the disaster

That he had pronounced

Against them?

But we are about

To bring great disaster

On ourselves.’”

Some of the elders reminded the assembly that at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE), about a hundred years previously, that the prophet Micah (737-696 BCE) from Moresheth, in southwestern Judah, had made some disturbing prophecies. Micah was considered one of the Minor Prophets with his own biblical book. During his day, he told King Hezekiah that Judah would be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a ruined heap, as found in chapter 3 of Micah. King Hezekiah did not put him to death. Just the opposite, the king feared Yahweh and asked Yahweh for favors. Thus Yahweh changed his mind at that time, since he did not send a disaster to them. This was right after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 714 BCE. If they kill Jeremiah, they might bring a great disaster on themselves. Thus a little history lesson helps Jeremiah.

The reaction of the people to the actions of Simon (Sir 50:16-50:19)

“Then the sons of Aaron shouted.

They blew their trumpets

Of hammered metal.

They sounded a mighty fanfare,

As a reminder before

The Most High.

Then all the people together

Quickly fell to the ground

On their faces.

They worshiped their Lord,

The Almighty,

The God Most High.

Then the singers praised him

With their voices

In sweet full-toned melody.

The people

Of the Lord Most High

offered their prayers

Before the merciful one,

Until the order of worship of the Lord

Was ended.

Thus they completed Simon’s ritual.”

Next the sons of Aaron shouted. Then they blew their hammered metal trumpets with a great fanfare before the Most High God. The people in the assembly then quickly fell with their faces down to the ground, as they worshipped the Lord Almighty, the Most High God. The singers chimed in with their sweet melodic voices, as the people offered their prayers to the Most High merciful God, until this worship service to the Lord was ended.

Daughters and married women (Sir 42:11-42:14)

“Keep strict watch

Over a headstrong daughter.

She may make you a laughingstock to your enemies.

She may make you a byword in the city.

She may make you a byword in the assembly of the people.

She may put you to shame in public gatherings.

See that there is no lattice in her room.

See that there is no spot

That overlooks the approaches to the house.

Do not let her parade her beauty before any man.

Do not let her spend her time among married women.

From garments comes the moth.

From a woman comes woman’s wickedness.

Better is the wickedness of a man

Than a woman who does good.

It is a woman

Who brings shame,

Who brings disgrace.”

Here Sirach warns against headstrong daughters. They will make their fathers a laughing stock in the city, in the assembly, and in any gathering. Do not let her have any patterns in her room windows that overlook the entrance to the house. Don’t let anyone see her beauty or how good she looks. However, the biggest warning is against her sitting around with married women. They will put ideas into her headstrong mind. Then Sirach lashes out at these married women, and maybe all women. He rails against female wickedness. Just as moths can be found in garments, so too wickedness can be found in women. He even stupidly proclaims that a man’s wickedness is better than a woman’s good deeds. How is that for anti-feminism? He adds on by saying that it is women who bring shame and disgrace, as if to say that men are never at fault.

Praise for wisdom (Sir 24:1-24:2)

“Wisdom will praise herself.

She tells of her glory

In the midst of her people.

In the assembly of the Most High

She opens her mouth.

In the presence of the hosts

She tells of her glory.”

Sirach tells of the praise for wisdom. This is a female personification of wisdom. She will praise herself. She will tell of her glory among her own people at the assembly of the Most High God. She will open her mouth in the presence of all God’s legions. She will tell us all about her glory.

The female adulterer (Sir 23:22-23:27)

“So it is with a woman

Who leaves her husband.

She presents him

With an heir

By another man.

First of all,

She has disobeyed

The law of the Most High.

Second,

She has committed an offense

Against her husband.

Third,

Through her fornication

She has committed adultery.

She has brought forth children

By another man.

She herself will be brought

Before the assembly.

Her punishment will extent

To her children.

Her children will not take root.

Her branches will not bear fruit.

She will leave behind

An accursed memory.

Her disgrace will never

Be blotted out.

Those who survive her

Will recognize

That nothing is better

Than the fear of the Lord.

Nothing is sweeter

Than to heed

The commandments of the Lord.”

There seems to be a worse punishment for the female adulterer. She has left her husband and had a child with another man. It is not clear that if she did not have a child, whether she would be punished. She has done 3 things wrong. She disobeyed the law of the Most High God. She has offended her husband. She has committed adultery. Instead of seizing her in the streets, like the male adulterer, she is brought before the assembly for a humiliating action of some sort. Her children will be punished. They apparently will not have heirs. She will leave behind a cursed memory that will never be blotted out. Everyone should recognize that there is nothing better than the fear of the Lord. There is nothing sweeter than to follow the commandments of the Lord.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 89:5-89:7)

“Let the heavens praise your wonders!

Yahweh!

Your faithfulness is in the assembly of the holy ones.

Who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh?

Who among the heavenly beings is like Yahweh?

Yahweh is a God feared in the council of the holy ones.

Yahweh is great and terrible.

He is above all that is around him.”

The heavens should praise the wonders of Yahweh. His faithfulness can be seen in the assembly of the holy ones. There seems to be some kind of divine heavenly council of the holy ones. Perhaps this is a projection of the assembly of the Temple councils of holy men here on earth. Obviously, no one could compare with Yahweh. He was feared by all. He was great and terrible at the same time above all that surrounded him.