The lack of knowledge (Bar 3:20-3:23)

“Later generations

Have seen

The light of day.

They have lived

Upon this earth.

But they have

Not learned

The way to knowledge.

They have not

Understood her paths.

They have not

Laid hold of her.

Their descendants

Have strayed far

From her way.

She has not been heard of

In Canaan.

She has not been seen

In Teman.

The descendants of Hagar

Seek for understanding

On the earth.

The merchants of Merran,

With the merchants of Teman

Have not learned

The way to wisdom.

The story-tellers,

The seekers for understanding

Have not given thought

To her paths.”

The people living today on this earth have not learned the way to knowledge. They have not understood the various paths to get there. They are unable to grab knowledge. Their descendants have wandered far off the beaten path towards knowledge. Thus they cannot hear or see of knowledge in Canaan or Teman. Canaan was the old name for the land of Israel, while Teman was a city in Edom, south of Israel that was well known for its wisdom. The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, or the Ishmaelites, were also seeking understanding. However, the merchants of Midian or Merran with the merchants of Teman in Edom have not learned the various paths to wisdom. The story-tellers and even those seeking understanding have not learned the way or path to wisdom. In fact, they have given little thought to this question.

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Stay inside your house (Isa 26:20-26:21)

“Come!

My people!

Enter your chambers!

Shut your doors

Behind you!

Hide yourselves

For a little while

Until the wrath is past!

Yahweh comes

From his place

To punish the inhabitants

Of the earth

For their iniquity.

The earth will disclose

The bloodshed on it.

The earth

Will no longer

Cover its slain.”

This section indicates that Isaiah wants everybody to stay inside their houses with their doors closed. They were to hide until the anger of the Lord had passed, much like the prototype Passover. Yahweh was going to come out of his place to punish the iniquitous inhabitants of this earth. There would be bloodshed everywhere. Dead people would lie all over the place uncovered. This would be a gruesome scene.

The Lord’s actions against pride (Sir 10:13-10:18)

“Therefore the Lord brings upon them

Unheard of calamities.

He destroys them completely.

The Lord overthrows

The thrones of rulers.

He enthrones

The lowly in their place.

The Lord plucks up

The roots of the nations.

He plants the humble

In their place.

The Lord lays waste

The lands of the nations.

He destroys them

To the foundations of the earth.

He removes some of them.

He destroys them.

He erases the memory of them

From the earth.

Pride was not created

For human beings.

Violent anger was not

For those born of women.”

There will be consequences for pride because the Lord will act. The prideful ones will have many afflictions and unheard of calamities. The Lord will destroy them completely. He will overthrow the proud rulers and put humble ones in their place. He will root out nations and have humble ones replace them. He will lay waste to the lands of the proud, destroying them to their foundations. He will remove some and destroy others. Their memory will be erased from this earth. Humans were not created for pride or violent anger.

The false worship of natural forces (Wis 13:1-13:2)

“All people who were ignorant of God

Were foolish by nature.

They were unable

From the good things that are seen

To know the one who exists.

They did not recognize the artisan

While paying heed to his works.

They supposed that either

Fire,

Or wind,

Or swift air,

Or the circle of the stars,

Or turbulent water,

Or the luminaries of heaven

Were the gods that rule the world.”

All these vain foolish men (πάντες ἄνθρωποι) are ignorant of God (Θεοῦ ἀγνωσία). They see the good things of this earth, but they do not recognize the creative artisan who made them. Instead they worship the very works that he has made such as fire, wind, air, stars, water, or other heavenly bodies. They claim that these are the gods that rule the world (κόσμου θεοὺς ἐνόμισαν).

I was stupid (Ps 73:21-73:26)

“When my soul was embittered,

When I was pricked in heart,

I was stupid.

I was ignorant.

I was like a brute beast toward you.

Nevertheless I am continually with you.

You hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel.

Afterward you will receive me with honor.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

There is nothing on earth

That I desire other than you.

My flesh may fail.

My heart may fail.

But God is the strength of my heart.

God is my portion forever.”

This psalmist Asaph says that he was stupid and ignorant when he had these strange thoughts about the prosperous wicked people. He was acting like a brutal beast toward God. However, God led him by the hand and gave him counsel. God then honored him. There was no one else in heaven besides God who could help him. There was nothing on this earth that he desired. His heart and his flesh might fail, but God remained his strength and portion forever.