The prayer for deliverance from foreign countries (Sir 36:1-36:12)

“Have mercy upon us!

O Lord!

God of all!

Put all the nations

In fear of you!

Lift up your hand

Against foreign nations!

Let them see your might!

As you have used us

To show your holiness to them,

So use them

To show your glory to us.

Then they will know,

As we have known,

That there is no God but you.

O Lord!

Give new signs!

Work other wonders!

Make your hand glorious!

Make your right arm glorious!

Rouse your anger!

Pour out your wrath!

Destroy the adversary!

Wipe out the enemy!

Hasten the day!

Remember the appointed time!

Let people recount

Your mighty deeds!

Let survivors be consumed

In the fiery wrath!

May those who harm your people

Meet destruction!

Crush the heads of hostile rulers

Who say.

‘There is no one but ourselves.’”

Sirach directs his prayer for deliverance directly to God, the Lord of all. He wanted God to put his fear into all the nations of the world, but especially those foreign nations. Thus they might understand the might, the holiness, and the glory of the Lord, just as they had known the Lord. He wanted new signs and wonders so that others could see the glorious arm and hand of the Lord. He wanted the Lord to get angry and show his wrath against his enemies. They should be wiped out and destroyed. He wanted this to happen soon. He wanted his enemies crushed, especially those proud rulers who thought that they could exist by themselves without God.

The responsibility of humans (Sir 17:8-17:14)

“The Lord put the fear of him

Into human hearts.

He showed them

The majesty of his works.

They will praise

His holy name.

They will proclaim

The grandeur of his works.

He bestowed knowledge

Upon them.

He allotted to them

The law of life.

He established with them

An eternal covenant.

He revealed to them

His decrees.

Their eyes saw

His glorious majesty.

Their ears heard

The glory of his voice.

He said to them.

‘Beware of all evil.’

He gave commandments

To each of them

Concerning their neighbor.”

Sirach believed that the Lord put the fear of hin into human hearts. He showed humans the majesty of his works. However, they had to praise his holy name and proclaim the grandeur of his works because they had knowledge about it. The Lord gave these humans the law of life by an eternal covenant with them. He revealed his decrees to them. Their human eyes saw his glorious majesty. Their ears heard the glory of his voice. They were able to see and hear God. He told them to watch out for evil. He gave them commandments on how they were to treat their neighbors.

The happy wise person (Sir 14:20-14:27)

“Happy is the person

Who meditates on wisdom,

Who reasons intelligently,

Who reflects in his heart on her ways,

Who ponders her secrets,

Who pursues wisdom like a hunter,

Who lies in wait on her paths,

Who peers through her windows,

Who listens at her doors,

Who encamps near her house,

Who fastens his tent peg to her walls,

Who pitches his tent near her,

Who so occupies an excellent lodging place,

Who places his children under her shelter,

Who lodges under her boughs,

Who is sheltered by her from the heat,

Who dwells in the midst of her glory.”

Sirach describes the happy person who has a relationship to wisdom. These happy people will meditate on wisdom. They will reason intelligently. They will reflect on wisdom. They will ponder the secrets of wisdom. They will pursue wisdom like a hunter who lies in wait for wisdom. They will look through the windows and listen at the doors of wisdom. They will camp near the house of wisdom. They will have tent pegs on the walls of the house of wisdom. They will have pitched a tent next to the house of wisdom, which is an excellent lodging place. They will place their children under the shelter of wisdom. They will live under the branches of wisdom, so that they will be sheltered by wisdom from the midday sun. They will live in the glory of wisdom. These happy people will really like wisdom.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 69:30-69:33)

“I will praise the name of God with a song!

I will magnify him with thanksgiving!

This will please Yahweh

More than an ox.

This will please Yahweh

More than a bull with horns and hoofs.

Let the oppressed see it!

Let them be glad!

You who seek God,

Let your hearts revive!

Yahweh hears the needy.

Yahweh does not despise his own that are in bonds.”

David was going to praise the name of God with a song. He felt that his song would magnify this thanksgiving praise. This will please Yahweh more than the sacrifices of oxen and bulls. This might be a post-exilic composition. Those who were oppressed should see the glory of God. They should be happy so that their hearts would be revived. Yahweh hears the cries of the needy and does not despise them.

Worship Yahweh (Ps 29:1-29:2)

A Psalm of David

Ascribe to Yahweh!

O heavenly beings!

Ascribe to Yahweh!

Glory and strength!

Ascribe to Yahweh!

The glory of his name!

Worship Yahweh in holy splendor.”

Once again, Psalm 29 is merely a psalm of David without any other indications. It accents Yahweh’s power in a storm. However, these beginning verses are like a call to worship. They had to ascribe to Yahweh in a repeated refrain. This was the call to those both in heaven and on earth to recognize the glory and strength of the name of Yahweh. This Yahweh worship should be in holy splendor.

Yahweh creator (Ps 19:1-19:4)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David.

The heavens are telling the glory of God.

The firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours forth speech.

Night to night declares knowledge.

There is no speech.

There are no words.

Their voice is not heard.

Yet their voice goes out through all the earth.

Their words go to the end of the world.”

Once again, Psalm 19 is a simple choral psalm of David, without any explicit setting. The Assyrians and Babylonians were interested in the heavenly bodies and often considered some of them gods. There was a natural preoccupation with the heavens and creation. The heavens proclaim the glory and handiwork of God. Day talks to day and night talks to night, but no words are exchanged. You never hear a voice or a sound. However, the voice and words of day and night go throughout the world to the ends of the earth. The heavens and the sky speak to us even if they do not have a voice or words.