Human conduct (Sir 4:20-4:28)

“Watch for the opportune time!

Beware of evil! 

Do not be ashamed to be yourself!

There is a shame that leads to sin.

There is also a shame that is glory

There is a shame that is favor.

Do not show partiality to your own harm!

Do not show deference to your downfall!

Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment!

Do not hide your wisdom!

Wisdom becomes known through speech.

Education becomes known

Through the words of the tongue.

Never speak against the truth.

But be ashamed of your ignorance.

Do not be ashamed to confess your sins!

Do not try to stop the current of a river!

Do not subject yourself to a fool!

Do not show partiality to a ruler!

Fight to the death for truth!

The Lord God will fight for you.”

Here we have a series of reprimands about human conduct. You should be aware of evil. You should not be ashamed of yourself. There is a shame that leads to sin, but also a shame that leads to glory and favors. Watch out for your own harm and downfall. Speak out at the proper moment. You should not hide your wisdom. People know you are wise and educated by your speech and the words of your tongue. Never go against the truth. You should be ashamed of your ignorance, but not be ashamed to confess your sins. Do not go against the river current or subject yourself to a fool. Do not show partiality to a ruler, but fight to the death for truth. God will then fight for you.

The response of the unjust (Wis 5:3-5:8)

“They will say.

‘These are persons

Whom we once held in derision.

We made them a byword of reproach.

We were fools!

We thought that their lives were madness.

Their end was without honor.

Why have they been numbered

Among the children of God?

Why is their lot among the saints?

So it was we

Who strayed from the way of truth.

The light of righteousness did not shine on us.

The sun did not rise upon us.

We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness.

We took our fill of the paths of destruction.

We journeyed through trackless deserts.

But the way of the Lord

We have not known.

What has our arrogance profited us?

What good has our boasted wealth brought us?’”

The unjust laid out their complaint. They said that they derided and reproached these people. They thought that their lives were madness and without honor. It turns out that they are the fools, because the righteous are numbered among the sons or children of God (υἱοῖς Θεοῦ), the holy ones (ἁγίοις), not them. The unjust suddenly realized that they had strayed from the truth (ἀληθείας). The light of righteousness and the sun were not going to shine on them. They had followed the path of lawlessness and destruction through trackless deserts. They did not know the way of the Lord (ὁδὸν Κυρίου). Their arrogance and wealth became useless.

Yahweh is righteous (Ps 119:137-119:144)

Cade

“You are righteous!

Yahweh!

Your judgments are right.

You have appointed your decrees in righteousness.

You have appointed your decrees in all faithfulness.

My zeal consumes me.

Because my foes forget your words.

Your promise is well tried.

Your servant loves it.

I am small.

I am despised.

Yet I do not forget your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.

Your law is the truth.

Trouble has come upon me.

Anguish has come upon me,

However your commandments are my delight.

Your decrees are righteous forever.

Give me understanding!

Thus I may live.”

The psalmist declared that Yahweh was righteous. His judgments and decrees were righteous and faithful. The zeal of the psalmist consumed him when he found out that his foes had forgotten the words of Yahweh. He, the servant of Yahweh, loved the decrees. Although he was small and despised, he never forgot the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s righteousness was everlasting because his law was the truth. Even though he was in trouble and anguish, the psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s commandments. All he asked for was understanding, so that he might live. So ends this section on the eighteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Cade.