The impenetrable Yahweh (Lam 3:43-3:45)

Samek

“You have wrapped yourself

With anger.

You have pursued us.

You have killed us

Without pity.

You have wrapped yourself

With a cloud.

Thus no prayer

Can pass through.

You have made us filth.

You have made us rubbish.

Among the people.”

This author turns in an unanswered prayer towards Yahweh, addressing him in the second person singular. Yahweh had wrapped himself in anger and a cloud. He had pursued this author and his friends, killing them without pity. Their prayers to Yahweh could not penetrate through the clouds. They had become filth and rubbish among all people as they were forsaken and downtrodden. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

Advertisements

A personal lamentation (Lam 2:11-2:11)

Kaph

“My eyes are spent

With weeping.

My stomach churns.

My bile is poured out

On the ground.

Because of the destruction

Of my people.

Because infants

Faint.

Babies faint

In the streets

Of the city.”

Now this poem turns to the author of this work as he was personally weeping. His stomach was churning, so that he was throwing up. He was upset because of the destruction of his people. Infants and babies were fainting in the streets of this desolate city. Once again, we have a personal bleak picture of the wasted city of Jerusalem describing the remaining helpless young people. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Kaph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

False friends (Sir 37:1-37:6)

“Every friend says.

‘I too am a friend.’

But some friends

Are friends only in name.

Is it not a sorrow

Like death itself?

A dear friend

Turns into an enmity.

O inclination to evil!

Why were you formed?

Why do you cover the land

With deceit?

Some companions rejoice

In the happiness of a friend.

But in times of trouble,

They are against him.

Some companions help a friend

For their stomach’s sake.

Yet in battle

They will carry his shield.

Do not forget a friend

In your heart

During the battle.

Do not be unmindful of him

When you distribute your spoils.”

Sirach reminds us about false friends. Some friends are such in name only. Sometimes a friend turns into an enemy. Sirach wondered why there was this inclination to evil. Why was the land covered with deceit? Some companions are happy when you are happy. However, in troubled times, they may be against you. Some people help for the sake of a good meal, while others will go to battle with you. You should not forget the friends who went out to battle with you, especially when you distribute the rewards or spoils of victory.

The fate of the wicked (Job 20:12-20:19)

“Though wickedness is sweet in their mouth,

Though they hide it under their tongues,

Though they are loath to let it go,

Though they hold it in their mouth,

Yet their food is turned in their stomachs.

It is the venom of asps within them.

They swallow down riches.

They vomit them up again.

God casts them out of their bellies.

They will suck the poison of asps.

The tongue of a viper will kill them.

They will not look on the rivers,

The streams flowing with honey and curds.

They will give back the fruit of their toil.

They will not swallow it down.

From the profit of their trading

They will get no enjoyment.

They have crushed and abandoned the poor.

They have seized a house

That they did not build.”

There is a further explanation of the wicked ones. They try to hide their wickedness. However it turns in their stomachs. Poisonous snakes or asps are within them. They swallow wealth and then vomit it out. What a metaphor! They will die from the poison of the snakes that they suck on. They will not see the rivers with honey and curds. They will give back the fruit of the land and not eat it. They will not enjoy their trading profits. They have crushed the poor and seized houses that they did not build. This is a vivid description of greedy people who do not care about others, the wicked ones.