Useless silver and gold (Ezek 7:19-7:19)

“They shall fling

Their silver

Into the streets.

Their gold

Shall be treated

As unclean.

Their silver

With their gold

Cannot save them

On the day

Of the wrath

Of Yahweh.

They shall not satisfy

Their hunger.

They shall not

Fill their stomachs

With it.

It was the stumbling block

Of their iniquity.”

Anyone left standing in Israel would fling their silver into the streets. Their gold would be treated as if it were unclean, not to be touched. Their silver and gold could not save them on the day of the wrath of Yahweh. This gold and silver would not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs. In fact, their gold and silver would be a stumbling block that indicated their iniquity.

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Begging (Sir 40:28-40:30)

“My child!

Do not lead

The life of a beggar!

It is better to die

Than to beg.

When one looks

To the table of another,

One’s way of life

Cannot be considered a life.

One loses self-respect

With another person’s food.

One who is intelligent,

One who is well instructed

Guards against that.

In the mouth of the shameless

Begging is sweet.

But it kindles

a fire inside him.”

Sirach has a very strong condemnation of begging. He clearly says with very strong words that it is better to die than to beg. He did not want anyone to take up the life of a beggar. Yet he was very strong on almsgiving. If you have to continually eat at someone’s table, he does not consider that to be a worthwhile existence. You lose your self-respect, if you have to eat another person’s food. The intelligent and instructed ones guard against begging. Only the shameless think that begging is a sweet thing to do. However, their begging will lead to a kindling fire in their stomachs. Stay away from beggars. Usually the biblical writers talk about compassion for those in need, but not here.