Idol food offerings (Sir 30:18-30:20)

“Good things poured out

Upon a mouth that is closed

Are like offerings of food

Placed upon a grave.

Of what use to an idol

Is a sacrifice?

The idol can neither eat

Nor smell.

Thus this one

Is punished

By the Lord.

He sees

With his eyes.

He groans.

As a eunuch groans

When embracing a girl.

So is the person

Who does right

Under compulsion.”

Why would you bring food offerings to the idols? This would be like giving food to someone who does not open their mouth. This would be like bringing food to a grave site. What is the use of this sacrifice? However, the various biblical books often talked about food offerings for Yahweh at the Temple in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, these idols cannot eat or smell. Thus the Lord will punish those who worship at these idols. He sees with his eyes. He groans like a eunuch when he embraces a young woman. Eunuchs were men whose testicles were removed or not working. They were impotent so that they would not be excited about embracing a girl. Sirach has a condemnation of someone who does the right thing because he is forced to do so.

Temple offerings (Ps 66:13-66:15)

“I will come into your house

With burnt offerings.

I will pay you my vows

That my lips uttered.

My mouth promised

When I was in trouble.

I will offer to you

Burnt offerings of fatlings,

With the smoke of the sacrifice of rams.

I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”

Selah

Now this psalm turns personal as the psalmist tells what he was going to do. He was going to make Temple offerings at the house of God. He was going to make burnt offerings, which was common in the Middle East, but became more important with the altar just outside the Temple. It is mentioned in Genesis, chapters 8 and 22, (well before the Temple) Exodus, chapter 29, Leviticus, chapters 1, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, Numbers, chapters 6, 8, 15, and 28, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 2. The psalmist has made a vow to offer this sacrifice. His lips and mouth had uttered this vow when he was in trouble. Now he was able to offer the burnt offering of rams, bulls, and goats. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.