Eat, drink, and be merry (Lk 12:19-12:19)

“I will say

To my soul!

‘Soul!

You have ample goods

Laid up for many years.

Relax!

Eat!

Drink!

Be merry!’”

 

καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου Ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά· ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.

 

Luke uniquely continued with this story as Jesus indicated that this rich fool said to his soul (καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου).  He spoke to his soul (Ψυχή) to say that he had ample goods laid up for many years (ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά).  Therefore, he would relax (ἀναπαύου), eat (φάγε), drink (πίε), and be merry (εὐφραίνου), the classical saying for indulging yourself with the pleasures of this world.  Thus, this foolish greedy man thought that his abundant resources meant that he no longer had to work hard.  Now he could enjoy an easygoing permissive lifestyle.  He could retire in luxury.  Do you have enough resources to retire to the good life?

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The Creator (Isa 40:21-40:24)

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you

From the beginning?

Have you not understood

From the foundations of the earth?

It is he

Who sits above the circle of the earth.

Its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.

He stretches out the heavens

Like a curtain.

He spreads them

Like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught.

He makes the rulers of the earth

As nothing.

Scarcely are they planted,

Scarcely sown,

Scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

When he blows upon them,

They wither.

The tempest carries them off

Like stubble.”

Second Isaiah continues to use the questioning style to make his point. He seems to call attention to the ignorance of the people. Do they not understand that God created them? God sits on top of the dome over the earth in the heavens, As Second Isaiah was expressing the cosmology of his day. God has stretched out the heavens like a curtain or a tent. All humans are like grasshoppers since he has such a lofty view. He controls the earthly princes and rulers. As soon as someone plants something and it begins to take roots, he blows on it and it withers. Then he sends a tempest storm to carry it off as stubble. Clearly God is in control as the creator of this world and the things in it.

Sin and death come from a woman (Sir 25:24-25:24)

“From a woman

Sin had its beginning.

Because of her,

We all die.”

Sirach emphasizes the idea of the woman committing the first sin. In the original Genesis story in chapter 3, the man and woman ate together, although the serpent spoke to the woman, Eve. Women thus get blamed not only for the entrance of sin into this world, but also for the concept of death. Humans would have been immortal had there not been this female disobedience. Cleary Sirach’s anti-feminism runs rampant in this section.

Lost wealth (Eccl 5:13-5:17)

“There is a grievous evil ill

That I have seen under the sun.

Riches were kept

By their owners

To their hurt.

Those riches were lost

In a bad venture.

Even though they were parents of children,

They have nothing

In their hands.

As they came

From their mother’s womb,

They shall go again.

They are naked

As they came.

They shall take nothing

For their toil

That they may carry away

With their hands.

This also is a grievous ill.

Just as they came,

So shall they go!

What gain do they have

From toiling for the wind?

Besides,

All their days

They eat in darkness,

In much vexation,

In much sickness,

In much resentment?”

Now Qoheleth tells the story of evil and illness here on earth. Some rich owners got together in a bad venture. The result was that they had nothing left for their children. Thus, they would be, as they left their mother’s womb, naked. They had nothing that they could carry away for all their labor. In other words, just as they came into this world with nothing, they were going to leave it the same way, with nothing. What did they gain from all their hard work? They were chasing the wind to no avail. Thus all their days, they would eat in darkness, be troubled, sick, and resentful.

Oppression (Eccl 4:1-4:3)

“Again I saw all the oppression

That is practiced under the sun.

‘Look!

The tears of the oppressed!

They have no one to comfort them!

On the side of their oppressors

There was power.

There was no one to comfort them.’

I thought that the dead,

Who are already dead,

Are more fortunate

Than the living,

That are still alive.

But better than both

Is the one

Who has not yet been born.

They have not seen

The evil deeds

That are done

Under the sun.”

Qoheleth complained about all the oppression that takes place here on earth under the sun. The oppressed have no one to comfort them. The oppressors have all the power. The dead are more fortunate than those living today. However, even more fortunate are the people not yet born, because they will have a brighter future. The unborn have not seen all the evil that is here under the sun in this world.