“The Lord has set in order
The splendors of his wisdom.
From all eternity,
One and the same.
Nothing can be added.
Nothing can be taken away.
He needs no one
To be his counselor.
How desirable are all his works!
How sparkling they are to see!
All these things live!
They remain forever!
Each creature is preserved
To meet a particular need.
All are obedient.
All things come in pairs,
One opposite the other.
He has made nothing incomplete.
Each one supplements
The virtues of the other.
Who could ever tire
Of seeing his glory?”
Sirach points out that the Lord has set everything in its splendid place so that all things might show his wisdom and glorify him. God is from eternity, one and the same, unchanging. Nothing can be added or taken away from him so that he does not need a counselor to tell him what to do. All his works are splendid and desirable. Each created thing serves a particular need since they all obey him. Everything comes in pairs as opposites, much like in the Noah’s ark story in Genesis. Nothing is incomplete. There is nothing out of place in this well ordered universe. Each one supplements the virtues of the other. Who would ever get tired seeing this eternal glory of the Lord?
“Words spoken by the wise
Bring them favor.
But the lips of fools
The words of their mouth
Begin in foolishness.
Ends in wicked madness.
Yet fools talk on and on.
No one knows what is to happen.
Who can tell anyone what the future holds?
The toil of fools wears them out.
They do not even know the way to town.”
Qoheleth warns us about fools. The wise know how to speak, so that they gain favors. However, the lips of the fools only consume them. Their words begin in foolishness and end in wicked madness. Fools talk on and on with many words. No one knows what is going to happen in the future. The work of fools wears them out. They are so tired and confused that they do not even know how to get to town.
“The lazy person says.
‘There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!’
As a door turns on its hinges,
So does a lazy person in bed.
The lazy person buries a hand in the dish.
He is too tired to bring it back to the mouth.
The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem
Than seven who can answer discreetly.”
In this short section about the lazy people, there is almost a direct repeat of what appeared in chapters 19 and 22 about the lazy man with the lion in the street and the lazy man with his hand in the dish. Both are striking examples of laziness. Afraid to go outside because of some supposed lion and being too tired to put his hand to his mouth to feed himself. This lazy person is only able to turn like hinge on a door, as he turns in his bed. Finally the lazy person is full of self esteem because he thinks that he is better than 7 other discreet people.
“When Apollonius heard of Joppa, he mustered three thousand cavalry and a large army. He went to Azotus as though he were going farther. At the same time he advanced into the plain. He had a large troop of cavalry and put confidence in it. Jonathan pursued him to Azotus. There the armies engaged in battle. Now Apollonius had secretly left a thousand cavalry behind them. Jonathan learned that there was an ambush behind him. They surrounded his army. They shot arrows at his men from early morning until late afternoon. His men stood fast, as Jonathan had commanded, but the enemy’s horses grew tired.”
Apollonius heard about what was going on at Joppa. He took his 3,000 cavalry and his large army to Azotus, which apparently is the old Philistine city of Ashdod between Gaza and Joppa. However, when Jonathan followed Apollonius, Apollonius had 1,000 cavalry behind him that put Jonathan into an ambush. However, Jonathan and his group fought all day as the horses got tired.
“At that same time, with hands outstretched toward the window, she prayed and said.
‘Blessed are you,
Blessed is your name forever!
Let all your works praise you forever!
I turn my face to you.
Command that I be released from the earth
And not listen to such reproaches any more.
You know, O Lord,
That I am innocent of any defilement with a man.
I have not disgraced my name
Or the name of my father in the land of my exile.
I am my father’s only child.
He has no other child to be his heir.
He has no close relative or other kindred,
For whom I should keep myself as wife.
Already seven husbands of mine have died.
Why should I live?
But if it is not pleasing to you,
O Lord, to take my life,
Hear me in my disgrace.’”
This is s classical Jewish prayer. The merciful God is asked to intercede in a difficult situation. God is blessed and his name shall last forever. Sarah wants to be released from this earth. She is tired of listening to reproaches. She has not defiled herself. She has not disgraced herself or her father. She is an only child and there will be no heir. There is no kinsman to marry since 7 have died in trying to marry her. Why should she live? She wanted God to take her life because she was in disgrace.