The plot against Jeremiah (Jer 18:18-18:18)

“Then they said.

‘Come!

Let us make plots against Jeremiah!

Instruction shall not perish

From the priest.

Counsel shall not perish

From the wise.

The word shall not perish

From the prophet.

Come!

Let us bring charges against him!

Let us not heed any of his words!’”

This unidentified they, maybe the people of Anathoth mentioned in chapter 11, are making a plot against Jeremiah. This is Jeremiah reporting about a plot against himself. These people said, that if they got rid of Jeremiah, the priests would still instruct, the wise would still counsel people, and the prophets would still prophesize. Thus they decided to bring charges against him. They were not going to listen to his words anymore.

Advertisements

The true boasting in glory (Jer 9:23-9:24)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Do not let the wise

Boast in their wisdom!

Do not let the mighty

Boast in their might!

Do not let not the wealthy

Boast in their wealth!

But let those who boast,

Boast in this!

They understand me.

They know me.

I am Yahweh.

I act with steadfast love.

I act with justice.

I act with righteousness in the earth.

In these things,

I delight.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh warns, via Jeremiah, that the wise should not boast in their wisdom. The mighty should not boast in their might. The wealthy should not boast in their wealth. If they want to boast it should be in understanding and knowing Yahweh. He should be their boast, because he acts with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness. Yahweh delights in those things.

Firmness (Sir 22:16-22:18)

“A wooden beam

Firmly bonded into a building

Is not loosened by an earthquake.

Thus the mind firmly resolved

After due reflection

Will not be afraid in a crisis.

A mind settled

On an intelligent thought is

Like the stucco decoration

That makes a wall smooth.

Fences set on high places

Will not stand firm

Against the wind.

Thus a timid mind,

With a fool’s resolve,

Will not stand firm

Against any fear.”

If you put a wooden beam firmly into a building, it will withstand an earthquake. So too, a firmly resolved reflective mind will not be afraid in a crisis. A strong intelligent mind is like a stucco decoration on a smooth wall. On the other hand, high fences will not stand against a strong wind. So too, the fool’s timid mind will not stand firm against fear. Thus once again, we have a comparison between the strong mind of the wise and the timid mind of the foolish.

Lack of education (Sir 21:18-21:21)

“Like a house in ruins

Is wisdom to a fool.

To the ignorant,

Knowledge is talk

That has no meaning.

To a senseless man,

Education is

Fetters on his feet.

Education is

Like manacles on his right hand.

A fool raises his voice

When he laughs.

But the wise

Smile quietly.

To the sensible person,

Education is

Like a golden ornament.

Education is

Like a bracelet on the right arm.”

The foolish people do not understand or appreciate education. The ignorant foolish people think that wisdom is a ruined house, since smart talk is meaningless. The ignorant ones think that education is nothing but chains on their feet and handcuffs on their hands. It holds them back from physical activity. The foolish laugh loudly, but the wise smile quietly. For the sensible person, education is a golden ornament or a bracelet on their arms. The fools are happy with their lack of education because they are ignorant.

The great gift of God (Wis 7:15-7:16)

“May God grant me

To speak with judgment!

May I have thoughts worthy

Of what I have received.

He is the guide

Even of wisdom.

He is the corrector of the wise.

We are in his hands.

Our words are in his hands.

All our understanding is in his hands.

All our skill in crafts is in his hands.”

This author speaks about wisdom as a gift from God (δὲ δῴη ὁ Θεὸς) given to him, King Solomon, based on 1 Kings, chapter 5. God would grant him the gift to speak with judgment. He wanted to be worthy of this received gift of wisdom (σοφίας). God is the corrector of the wise. We and our words (οἱ λόγοι) are in his hands. All our understanding and skill are in his hands.

We do not know love (Eccl 9:1-9:1)

“All this I laid to heart,

Examining it all.

The righteous are in the hand of God.

The wise are in the hand of God.

Their deeds are in the hand of God.

Whether it is love or hate,

One does not know.

Everything that confronts them is vanity.”

Once again, we have the reflective Qoheleth examining his heart. Life and all the deeds of the righteous and the wise are in the hand of God. No one really knows love or hate, since everything they confront is useless or vanity.

The hidden work of God (Eccl 8:16-8:17)

“I applied my mind to know wisdom.

When I wanted to see the business

That is done on earth,

How one’s eyes see sleep

Neither day nor night.

Then I saw all the work of God.

No one can find out

What is happening

Under the sun.

However much they may toil in seeking,

They will not find it out.

Even though those who are wise

Claim to know,

They cannot find it out.”

Qoheleth wanted to know about wisdom so he applied his mind. He wanted to see everything that was done on earth. However, no one could tell him what was happening here on earth, under the sun. Even the wise ones could not find out, despite their labors. These wise humans were not able to discern the wisdom of the work of God.