“When the oppressor is no more,
When the destruction has ceased,
When marauders have vanished
From the land,
Then a throne will be established
In steadfast love,
In the tent of David.
Shall sit in faithfulness
A ruler who seeks justice.
He will be swift
To do what is right.”
At one time the Moabites had paid tribute to Judah, so that this did not seem out of place to have the same set up again. When all this destruction and oppression of the marauders had passed, the Moabites should pay tribute to the tent of David, or the king of Judah. There they would receive steadfast love and faithful justice. They will do what is right.
“Keep strict watch
Over a headstrong daughter.
Otherwise when she finds liberty,
She will make use of it.
Be on guard
Against her impudent eye.
Do not be surprised
If she sins against you.
As a thirsty traveler
Opens his mouth to drink
From any water near him,
So she will sit
In front of every tent peg.
She will open her quiver
To the arrow.”
Sirach has some advice on how to handle a headstrong daughter. Notice that there is no mention of a headstrong son. This daughter will try to exercise her freedom. However, the father is warned against this, because she may have an impudent eye. In fact, she may sin not against God, but this father, as if he were God. She is like a thirsty traveler who opens his mouth to drink any kind of water. She will sit in front of the tent by the pegs that hold it down. There she will open her archery quiver so that others may put their arrows into it. This sounds like a sexual allusion. Thus there is a need to keep an eye on all young daughters, so that they do not stray from their father’s wishes.
“Fools mock at the guilt offering.
But the upright enjoy God’s favor.
The heart knows its own bitterness.
No stranger shares its joy.
The house of the wicked will be destroyed.
But the tent of the upright will flourish.
There is a way that seems right to a person.
But its end is the way to death.
Even in laughter
The heart is sad.
The end of joy is grief.”
Although the Hebrew text is difficult, it appears that fools do not see any value in the guilt offering. God scorns the wicked people, but he enjoys the upright ones. The heart knows the bitterness that no stranger can share in. The house of the wicked person will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will be fine. Sometimes we think that we are on the right path but it may actually lead to death. Even when some people laugh, their heart is sad, since the end of their joy leads to grief.
“When evening came, General Holofernes’ slaves quickly withdrew. Bagoas closed the tent from outside. He shut out the attendants from his master’s presence. They went to bed. They all were weary because the banquet had lasted so long. Judith was left alone in the tent. General Holofernes was stretched out on his bed. He was dead drunk. Now Judith had told her maid to stand outside the bedchamber. She was to wait for her to come out, as she did on the other days. She said that she would be going out for her prayers. She said the same thing to Bagoas. So everyone went out. No one, either small or great, was left in the bedchamber.”
As the evening wore on, everyone was tired. They all began to leave. Bagoas closed the tent from the outside so that no one would disturb Judith and the general who were left alone. The problem was that the good general had over indulged and simply fell asleep on his bed because he was drunk. Judith told her maid to wait outside like she had done every other night. They would be going to say prayers. She told Bagoas the same thing. Everyone was gone. There was no one left there in the bedchamber except for Judith, who was then left alone with him. The plot thickens.