“Stretch out your hand to the poor.
Thus your blessing may be complete.
Give graciously to all the living.
Do not withhold kindness
Even from the dead.
Do not avoid
Those who weep.
But mourn with those who mourn.
Do not hesitate to visit the sick.
Because for such deeds
You will be loved.
In all you do,
Remember the end of your life.
Then you will never sin.”
Sirach has some recommendations for how to deal with the downtrodden and what the consequences are. First, stretch out your hand to the poor and your blessings will be complete. Be kind and gracious to all the living as well. Secondly, you should be kind to the dead, but it is not clear what is meant here. Thirdly, you should comfort and mourn with those who are weeping and mourning. Fourthly, you should visit the sick because you will be loved for that. Finally, you should remember the end of your life to help you avoid sin. Once again, this is not a clear indication of an afterlife, but a hint at it.
How good it is to sing praises to our God!
He is gracious!
A song of praise is fitting.
Yahweh builds up Jerusalem.
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the broken hearted.
He binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars.
He gives to all of them their names.
Great is Yahweh!
He is abundant in power.
His understanding is beyond measure.
Yahweh lifts up the downtrodden.
He casts the wicked to the ground.”
Psalm 147 is the second alleluia psalm as praise for Yahweh dominates. Once again there is no beginning title. It almost seems like a continuation of the preceding psalm. They were to all sing praises to Yahweh, another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah,” because he is gracious. It is fitting to sing to Yahweh because he built up Jerusalem. He gathered the outcasts. He healed the broken hearted by binding up their wounds. He determined the number and named all the stars. Yahweh is great with abundant power. No one could measure his understanding. He lifted up the downtrodden, but he cast out all those wicked ones to the ground.