Moses (Sir 45:1-45:5)

“From Jacob’s descendants,

The Lord brought forth a godly man.

He found favor in the sight of all.

He was beloved by God.

He was beloved by the people.

Moses’ memory is blessed.

The Lord made him equal in glory

To the holy ones.

The Lord made him great.

Mosses brought terror to his enemies

By his words.

He performed swift miracles.

The Lord glorified him

In the presence of kings.

The Lord gave him commandments

For his people.

The Lord revealed to him his glory.

The Lord consecrated him for his faithfulness.

He sanctified him for his meekness.

He chose him out of all humans.

He allowed him to hear his voice.

He led him into the dark cloud.

He gave him the commandments

Face to face.

He gave him the law of life.

He gave him knowledge.

Thus Moses

Might teach Jacob the covenant.

He might teach Israel his decrees.”

Obviously, Sirach has Moses as one of these blessed famous godly men, who found favor in the sight of all people. He surely was a holy one as described in practically all the first part of Exodus, chapters 2-24. Moses was a later descendant of Jacob who was loved both by God and the people. However, Moses was a terror to his enemies, yet glorified in the presence of kings. He performed great miracles. The Lord gave him commandments face to face, as he was chosen and consecrated from all the people, because he was faithful and meek. He heard the voice of God in the dark cloud. He received the law of life and knowledge from God. Thus he was able to teach the covenant and the decrees to Jacob and Israel.

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Yahweh is righteous (Ps 119:137-119:144)

Cade

“You are righteous!

Yahweh!

Your judgments are right.

You have appointed your decrees in righteousness.

You have appointed your decrees in all faithfulness.

My zeal consumes me.

Because my foes forget your words.

Your promise is well tried.

Your servant loves it.

I am small.

I am despised.

Yet I do not forget your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.

Your law is the truth.

Trouble has come upon me.

Anguish has come upon me,

However your commandments are my delight.

Your decrees are righteous forever.

Give me understanding!

Thus I may live.”

The psalmist declared that Yahweh was righteous. His judgments and decrees were righteous and faithful. The zeal of the psalmist consumed him when he found out that his foes had forgotten the words of Yahweh. He, the servant of Yahweh, loved the decrees. Although he was small and despised, he never forgot the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s righteousness was everlasting because his law was the truth. Even though he was in trouble and anguish, the psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s commandments. All he asked for was understanding, so that he might live. So ends this section on the eighteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Cade.

Your servant (Ps 119:121-119:128)

Ain

“I have done what is just.

I have done what is right.

Do not leave me to my oppressors.

Guarantee your servant’s well being.

Do not let the godless oppress me.

My eyes fail from watching

For your salvation.

My eyes fail from watching

For the fulfillment of your righteous promise.

Deal with your servant

According to your steadfast love.

Teach me your statutes.

I am your servant.

Give me understanding.

Thus I may know your decrees.

It is time for Yahweh to act.

Your law has been broken.

Truly I love your commandments

More than gold,

More than fine gold.

Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts.

I hate every false way.”

The psalmist believes that he is the servant of God. He has always done what is just and right. As usual, he did not want to be left to his oppressors. He wanted to be protected against the godless men. His eyes were beginning to fail because he has been waiting for salvation and righteous promises. Of course, he wanted to feel the steadfast love of Yahweh. He wanted to learn and understand about the decrees of Yahweh. He wanted Yahweh to act now because his laws were broken. The psalmist loved the commandments of Yahweh more than even fine gold. He wanted all his steps to follow the precepts of Yahweh. He hated false ways. So ends this section on the sixteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Ain.

The law is my delight (Ps 119:89-119:96)

Lamed

“Yahweh exists forever!

Your word is firmly fixed in heaven.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations.

You have established the earth.

It stands fast.

By your appointment

They stand today.

All things are your servants.

If your law had not been my delight,

I should have perished in my misery.

I will never forget your precepts.

By them,

You have given me life.

I am yours!

Save me!

I have sought your precepts.

The wicked lie in wait

To destroy me.

But I consider your decrees.

I have seen a limit to all perfection.

But your commandment is exceedingly broad.”

Yahweh is eternal in heaven. His faithfulness endures forever. He has established the earth and keeps it going. All things are his servants. This psalmist admits that if he did not have this delightful law, he might have perished in his misery. He would never forget the precepts of Yahweh since they gave him life. He gave himself fully to Yahweh. He relied on Yahweh to save him since he always sought his precepts. However, the wicked lay in wait for him in order to destroy him. The psalmist would consider the decrees of Yahweh and seek perfection because of the broad commandments. So ends this section on the twelfth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Lamed.

My troubles (Ps 119:81-119:88)

Kaph

“My soul languishes for your salvation.

I hope in your word.

My eyes fail with watching for your promise.

I ask.

‘When will you comfort me?’

I have become like a wineskin in the smoke.

Yet I have not forgotten your statutes.

How long must your servant endure?

When will you judge those who persecute me?

Arrogant men have dug pitfalls for me.

They flout your law.

All your commandments are enduring.

I am persecuted without cause.

Help me!

They have almost made an end of me on earth.

But I have not forsaken your precepts.

In your steadfast love,

Spare my life!

Thus I may keep the decrees of your mouth.”

This psalmist was in a bad situation. He longed for salvation because he hoped in the word of God. His eyes were failing. He wanted to know when Yahweh would comfort him. Even though he was like a smoking wineskin, he still had not forgotten the statutes of Yahweh. He wanted to know how long he had to wait before God would judge and persecute the arrogant men who were setting pitfalls for him. They were flouting the law so that he was persecuted without any real reason. He cried to God for help. They had almost killed him. Despite all this, the psalmist still had not forsaken the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s steadfast love had spared his life. He had the decrees of Yahweh in his mouth. So ends this section on the eleventh consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Kaph.

Teach me (Ps 119:33-119:40)

He

“Yahweh!

Teach me the way of your statutes!

I will observe it to the end.

Give me understanding!

Thus I may keep your law.

I will observe it with my whole heart.

Lead me in the path of your commandments.

I delight in it.

Turn my heart to your decrees.

Turn my heart not to gain.

Turn my eyes from looking at vanities.

Give me life in your ways.

Confirm to your servant your promise.

That is for those who fear you.

Turn away the disgrace that I dread.

Your ordinances are good.

See!

I have longed for your precepts!

In your righteousness give me life!”

This psalmist wanted to be taught by Yahweh. He wanted to learn all about his precepts and statutes. He wanted to observe them to the end of his life. He wanted understanding so that he could observe all his commandments with his whole heart. He wanted to delight in the decrees of Yahweh. He wanted his heart to turn away from self gains or vanities. He wanted to live in the life of Yahweh by following his ways. He wanted God’s promise to be confirmed in him. He wanted to avoid disgrace because he feared God. Yahweh’s ordinances were good so that he longed to follow his precepts in order to live a good life. This section of the fifth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, He, ended here.

Yahweh and the just law (Ps 19:7-19:10)

“The law of Yahweh is perfect.

It revives the soul.

The decrees of Yahweh are sure.

They make wise the simple.

The precepts of Yahweh are right.

They rejoice the heart.

The commandment of Yahweh is clear.

It enlightens the eyes.

The fear of Yahweh is pure.

It endures forever.

The ordinances of Yahweh are true.

They are righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold.

They are even much finer than gold.

They are sweeter also than honey.

They are sweeter than the drippings of the honeycomb.”

In order to counteract the preceding almost pagan eulogy to the sun, the Mosaic law of Yahweh gets special mention. It is the law of Yahweh, the decrees of Yahweh, the precepts of Yahweh, the commandments of Yahweh, the ordinances of Yahweh. There can be no mistake. This is the law of Yahweh that begins with the fear of Yahweh. They revive the soul. They make the simple wise. They rejoice the heart. They enlighten the eyes. They set righteous and endure forever. They are finer than gold and sweeter than honey. Clearly the law of Yahweh is central, not the sun.