Restoration of Zion (Isa 33:3-33:6)

“At the sound of tumult,

People flee.

Before your majesty,

Nations scattered.

Spoil was gathered

As the caterpillar gathers.

As locusts leap,

They leaped upon it.

Yahweh is exalted.

He dwells on high.

He will fill Zion with justice.

He will fill Zion with righteousness.

He will be

The stability of your times,

The abundance of salvation,

The wisdom,

The knowledge.

The fear of Yahweh

Is Zion’s treasure.”

Clearly Yahweh was in charge. People and nations were fleeing before his majesty and the sound of tumult. They were gathering the spoils of the fleeing people like caterpillars, slow but sure. They were like locusts over everything. Yahweh was exalted on Mount Zion because of justice and righteousness. Yahweh brought stability to Mount Zion. There was an abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. There was a final emphasis on the fear of the Lord as the great treasure at Mount Zion.

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.

The fear of the Lord (Sir 1:11-1:13)

“The fear of the Lord is glory.

The fear of the Lord is exultation.

The fear of the Lord is gladness.

The fear of the Lord is a crown of rejoicing.

The fear of the Lord delights the heart.

The fear of the Lord gives gladness.

The fear of the Lord gives joy.

The fear of the Lord gives long life.

Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end.

On the day of their death

They will be blessed.”

The beginning of wisdom is fear of God. Just like in all the other wisdom literature, everything starts with the fear of the Lord. This fear or reverential respect for God brings glory, exultation, and gladness. There will be a crown of rejoicing that delights the heart. They would experience gladness, joy, a long life, and a happy end to life. Those who fear God will be blessed on their death. Clearly there is a hint of an afterlife.