The law (Sir 33:1-33:3)

“No evil will befall

The person

Who fears the Lord.

But in trials,

They will be rescued

Again and again.

The wise

Will not hate the law.

But the hypocritical one

Is like a boat in a storm.

The sensible person

Will trust in the law.

For such a one

The law is as dependable

As a divine oracle.”

Sirach notes that if you fear the Lord, no evil will happen to you. If there are trials, you will be rescued any number of times. The wise people do not hate the law. However, the hypocritical ones are like a boat in a storm. You cannot tell what will happen. The sensible person trusts in the law because it is dependable like a divine oracle.

The test (Wis 11:9-11:14)

“When they were tried,

Even though they were being disciplined in mercy,

They learned how the ungodly were tormented

When judged in wrath.

You tested them

As a parent does

In warning.

But you examined the ungodly

As a stern king does

In condemnation.

Whether absent or present,

They were equally distressed.

A twofold grief possessed them.

There was a groaning

At the memory of what had occurred.

They heard

That through their own punishments,

The righteous had received benefit.

They perceived

It was the Lord’s doing.

Even though they had mockingly rejected him,

Who long before had been cast out and exposed,

At the end of the events

They marveled at him.

They felt thirst in a different way

From the righteous.”

The righteous began to understand that their trials and thirst for water in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, were nothing in comparison to the punishment that the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς) had received. They were disciplined in mercy, while the ungodly were angrily tormented and judged. They were treated like children getting a paternal (ὡς πατὴρ) warning, while the ungodly were given a royal (βασιλεὺς) condemnation. The Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) gave benefits to the Israelites because the Egyptians had mocked and rejected him. The thirst that the two of them had was completely different between the righteous (δικαίοις) and the ungodly. Finally, the ungodly marveled at the Lord.

Robbing the poor (Prov 22:22-22:23)

“Do not rob the poor!

Because they are poor.

Do not crush the afflicted

At the gate.

Yahweh pleads their cause.

He despoils of life

Those who despoil them.”

Simply put, do not rob poor people because they are poor. The point is that poor people have little chance to resist a robber. You were not to crush people at the gate because that is where the accusations and trials took place. Yahweh will plead the case of the poor. If you plunder or take advantage of the poor, Yahweh will take advantage of you.