Day and night bless God (Dan 3:47-3:48)

“Bless the Lord!

Nights!

Days!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

Light!

Darkness!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

Both the night and the day, the light and darkness blessed the Lord. They sang praises to him and exalted him forever. God controlled the day of light and the night of darkness.

The beautiful prayer of Daniel (Dan 2:20-2:23)

“Daniel said.

‘Blessed be the name

Of God

From age to age!

Wisdom

With power

Is his.

He changes times.

He changes seasons.

He deposes kings.

He sets up kings.

He gives wisdom

To the wise.

He gives knowledge

To those who have understanding.

He reveals deep things.

He reveals hidden things.

He knows

What is in the darkness.

The light dwells

With him.

To you!

O God of my ancestors!

I give thanks!

I give praise!

You have given me

Wisdom.

You have given me

Power.

You have revealed

To me

What we asked of you.

You have revealed

To us

What the king ordered.’”

Daniel has this beautiful prayer to the name of the eternal God, who has wisdom and power. God changes times and seasons. He sets up and deposes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise. He gives knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and hidden things. He is the light in the darkness. Daniel then gave thanks and praise to the God of his ancestors, who has given him wisdom and power, when he revealed what the king had asked for.

The return of the exiles (Bar 5:5-5:9)

“Arise!

O Jerusalem!

Stand upon the height!

Look toward the east! See your children

Gathered from the west,

Gathered from the east, At the word

Of the Holy One! They are rejoicing

That God has remembered them. They went out from you

On foot.

They were led away

By their enemies.

But God will bring them

Back to you.

They will be carried in glory

As on a royal throne.

God has ordered

That every high mountain

With the everlasting hills

Will be made low.

The valleys will be filled up

To make level ground.

Thus Israel may walk safely

In the glory of God.

The woods

With every fragrant tree

Have shaded Israel

At God’s command.

God will lead Israel with joy,

In the light of his glory,

With the mercy,

With the righteousness

That comes from him.”

This author concludes this book of Baruch with a call to Jerusalem to arise and stand tall. They were to look to the east to see their children, both from the east and west, returning and rejoicing because God had remembered them. They went out on foot, led away by their captive enemies. However, they would return as if carried in glory on a throne. Every high mountain and hill would be leveled, while the valleys would fill up, to make a level ground so that they could walk safely in the glory of God. The fragrant trees of the woods would shade them. God would lead them with the joy and the light of his glory that comes from his mercy and righteousness.

Wisdom and creation (Bar 3:32-3:34)

But the one who knows

All things

Knows her.

He found her

By his understanding.

The one who prepared

The earth

For all time

Filled it

With four-footed creatures.

The one who sends forth

The light,

Then it goes.

He called it.

It obeyed him

Trembling.

The stars shone

In their watches.

They were glad.

He called them.

They said.

‘Here we are!’

They shone

With gladness

For him

Who made them.”

Baruch connected wisdom with creation, a great theme of late wisdom literature. Once again, this puts into doubt the Baruch authorship. God, who knows everything, knew about wisdom. Somehow wisdom was separate from God. God was able to find this wisdom, because of his understanding. God prepared the earth for all time in this static view of the earth. He filled it with four-footed creatures, while other creatures were not mentioned. God sent the light and it happened. He merely had to call it, and it happened. This is much like the first creation story in Genesis, chapter 1. The stars in the sky gladly followed his commands. They were like the prophets with this personification of stars saying that they were ready to shine with gladness in obedience to the creative God who made them.

Yahweh is in charge (Isa 42:6-42:9)

“‘I am Yahweh!

I have called you in righteousness!

I have taken you by the hand!

I have kept you!

I have designed you

As a covenant to the people.

I have designed you

As a light to the nations.

You are to open the eyes

That are blind.

You are to bring out the prisoners

From the dungeons.

You are to bring out from the prisons

Those who sit in darkness.

I am Yahweh!

That is my name!

My glory!

I give to no other!

I do not give my praise to idols!

See!

The former things have come to pass.

I now declare the new things.

Before they spring forth

I will tell you of them.’”

In this section of Second Isaiah, Yahweh apparently speaks directly to the people of Israel, rather than to an individual person. He is Yahweh. He has called his people in righteousness. He took them into his hand. He kept them with a covenant. They were to be the light to the nations in order to give sight to the blind as well as bring out prisoners from dungeons and dark prisons. He is Yahweh. That is his name and his glory. He has no other names, nor does he praise any other idols. He has told you about the past, but he will tell you about things to come before they happen.

Mourning for the foolish (Sir 22:11-22:12)

“Weep for the dead!

They have left the light behind.

Weep for the foolish!

They have left intelligence behind.

Weep less bitterly for the dead!

They are at rest.

The life of the fool is

Worse than death.

Mourning for the dead

Lasts seven days.

But for the foolish ungodly,

It lasts all their lives.”

Sirach makes an interesting comparison between the foolish living persons and the dead people. You should weep for the dead because they no longer see the light of day. However, you should also weep for the foolish ones because they have left intelligence behind. At least the dead have rest, but the fools live a life worse than death. Mourning for the dead should last 7 days, but you should mourn a lifetime for the foolish and ungodly people because they have no intelligence.

The importance of wisdom (Eccl 2:12-2:14)

“So I turned to consider wisdom.

I considered madness.

I considered folly.

What can one do

Who comes after the king?

Only what has already been done.

Then I saw that wisdom excels folly

As light excels darkness.

‘The wise have eyes in their head.

But fools walk in darkness.’”

Now Qoheleth considered, wisdom, madness, and folly again. What happens when a king dies? The next king will pretty much do what the preceding king had done. Finally, he saw the light. He realized that wisdom exceeds folly just like light exceeds darkness. Wisdom is light while folly is darkness. This picks up the main theme of Proverbs again. The wise have eyes in their head, but the fools are blind, walking in darkness.