Isaiah and vain worship (Mt 15:8-15:9)

“This people honors me

With their lips.

But their hearts

Are far from me.

In vain,

Do they worship me,

They teach human precepts

As doctrines.”

 

Ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ·

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων.

 

This Greek quotation from Isaiah, chapter 29:13 is from the Septuagint, almost the same as in Mark, chapter 7:6-7.  This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centers on insincere worship.  These Israelites adored Yahweh with their mouths and lips, but their hearts were far away.  They only praised the Lord because of human demands, as they recited rote prayers.  Jesus repeated the verses of Isaiah, via Matthew.  These people honored him with their lips or mouth (Ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ).  However, their hearts were far away from him (ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  In a vain or useless way, they adored, worshiped, or reverenced him (μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με).  They are teaching doctrines (διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας) that were human precepts or ordinances (ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων).  Thus Jesus, via Matthew and Isaiah, was wailing against false worship and human precepts as divine worship and teachings.

Restoration of Israel (Sir 36:13-36:22)

“Gather all the tribes of Jacob!

Give them their inheritance!

As at the beginning,

Have mercy!

O Lord!

On the people called by your name!

Have mercy on Israel!

You have likened them

To your first-born son.

Have pity on the city of your sanctuary!

Have pity on Jerusalem!

The place of your restful dwelling,

Fill Zion with your majesty!

Fill your temple with your glory!

Bear witness

To those whom you created

In the beginning!

Fulfill the prophecies

Spoken in your name!

Reward those who wait for you!

Let your prophets

Be found trustworthy!

Hear!

O Lord!

The prayer of your servants,

According to your good will

Toward your people!

All who are on the earth

Will know

That you are the Lord,

The God of the ages.”

The goal of Sirach and many Israelites was the restoration of Israel, the unification of the tribes of Jacob. They were to get their original inheritance since the Lord had called them as his firstborn son. Jerusalem on Mount Zion was the chosen city for the sanctuary and the temple dwelling of the Lord. Sirach wanted all the trustworthy prophecies fulfilled. The Lord should listen to the prayers of his servants here on earth. They have recognized that the Lord is the God for all ages, but now they want everyone to know this. In this chapter, there is a discrepancy with the numbering of the verses.