The restless sleep (Sir 40:5-40:7)

“When one rests

Upon his bed,

His sleep at night

Confuses his mind.

He gets little or no rest.

He struggles in his sleep,

As he did by day.

He is troubled

By the visions of his mind.

He is like one

Who has escaped

From the battlefield.

At the moment

He reaches safety,

He wakes up.

He is astonished

That his fears

Were groundless.”

Sirach points to the restless sleep that people have because their minds are confused. They actually get very little rest, since they are as if they were awake during the day. They struggle with troubled dreams or visions, while they try to get some restful sleep. They are like shell-shocked. They think that they are on a battlefield that they cannot escape. Yet they wake up astonished that they are safe. We might call these bad dreams or nightmares, where people are always trying to get away from someone or something.

Careful with your secrets (Sir 13:12-13:14)

“Cruel are those

Who do not keep your secrets.

They will not spare you harm.

They will not spare you imprisonment.

Be on your guard!

Be very careful!

You are walking about

With your own downfall.

When you hear these things

In your sleep,

Wake up!

During all your life.

Love the Lord.

Call on him for your salvation. ”

Sirach warns that the cruelest people are the ones who do not keep your secrets. In fact, they are out to harm you and put you in prison. Be on your guard and careful when you are walking around. Your downfall can come at any time.  When you hear these things when you are asleep, wake up. You should love the Lord your whole life for he will bring salvation to you.

The wine drinker (Prov 23:29-23:35)

“Who has woe?

Who has sorrow?

Who has strife?

Who has complaining?

Who has wounds without cause?

Who has redness of eyes?

The answer is

Those who linger late over wine,

Those who keep trying mixed wine.

Do not look at wine when it is red.

Do not look at it when it sparkles in the cup.

Do not look at it when it goes down smoothly.

At the last it bites like a serpent.

It stings like an adder.

Your eyes will see strange things.

Your mind will utter perverse things.

You will be like

One who lies down in the midst of the sea.

You will be like

One who lies on the top of a mast.

You will say.

‘They struck me.

But I was not hurt.

They beat me.

But I did not feel it.

When shall I awake?

I will seek another drink.’”

This is a stinging rebuke against drunkenness. What are some of the characteristics of a drunkard or an alcoholic? They are full of woe and sorrow. They are always in arguments complaining. They have wounds on their body that they do not know where they came from. Of course, they have redness in their eyes. There is a lure to excessive wine drinking. They stay up late drinking and talking. This red wine sparkles in the cup and goes down so smoothly. However, this wine has a bite like a snake or viper adder. That is when you hallucinate. You see strange things and image even stranger things. You think that you are in the middle of the sea or at the top of a ship’s mast. You complain that you got hit, but it didn’t hurt.   People beat you, but you do not feel it. All you think about when you wake up is when I will get my next drink. These are the true symptoms of an alcoholic. You need to get help.

Thanksgiving for God’s steadfast love (Ps 108:1-108:4)

A song, a psalm of David

“My heart is steadfast!

O God!

My heart is steadfast!

I will sing!

I will make melody!

Awake!

My soul!

Awake!

O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you

Among the peoples!

Yahweh!

I will sing praises to you among the nations.

Your steadfast love is higher than the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

Psalm 108 seems to be compilation of 2 other psalms, Psalm 57 and Psalm 60. The title is simply a song or psalm of David. This first section is almost word for word from Psalm 57. David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.

Request for Yahweh to punish (Ps 59:4-59:5)

“Rouse yourself!

Come to my help!

See!

You!

Yahweh!

God of hosts!

God of Israel!

Awake!

Punish all the nations!

Spare none of those

Who treacherously plot evil!”

Selah

David wanted to wake up Yahweh. This is a direct appeal for help. He wanted the God of hosts, the God of Israel, to see and punish all the other nations. None were to be spared. Anyone who was treacherously plotting evil should be punished without exception. This section ends with a melodic musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

David’s steadfast love of Yahweh (Ps 57:7-57:10)

“My heart is steadfast!

O God!

My heart is steadfast!

I will sing!

I will make melody!

Awake!

My soul!

Awake!

O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you

Among the peoples.

Yahweh!

I will sing praises to you

Among the nations.

Your steadfast love is

As high as the heavens.

Your faithfulness

Extends to the clouds.”

David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.

Wake up Yahweh (Ps 44:23-44:26)

“Rouse yourself!

Why do you sleep?

Yahweh!

Awake!

Do not cast us off forever!

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

We sink down to the dust.

Our bodies cling to the ground.

Rise up!

Come to our help!

Redeem us!

For the sake of your steadfast love!’

Instead of an ending praise, this is like a command to God to help them. This psalmist wanted God to wake up from his sleep. They did not want to be cast off forever. Why was God hiding his face? Had he forgotten about their afflictions and oppressions? They were sinking like dust on the ground. He wanted God to rise up and help him. He wanted God to show his steadfast love by saving them.

A cry to Yahweh (Ps 35:22-35:24)

“You have seen!

Yahweh!

Do not be silent!

Yahweh!

Do not be far from me!

Wake up!

Bestir yourself for my defense!

For my cause,

My God!

My Lord!

Vindicate me!

Yahweh!

My God!

According to your righteousness,

Do not let them rejoice over me!”

David’s cry to Yahweh wants Yahweh to wake up and see what is going on. Yahweh had seen what was happening to David, and yet he was silent. David wanted Yahweh close to him as his defense. He wanted his righteousness to be vindicated. He did not want others to rejoice over his misfortunes.

The righteous will survive (Ps 17:15-17:15)

“As for me,

I shall behold your face in righteousness.

When I awake,

I shall be satisfied.

I will behold your likeness.”

This psalm ends with the happy thought that the righteous will survive. I will survive. The morning waking is a great divine moment. The night belonged to the evil doers. The morning was the time of God, of Yahweh. In the morning the righteous ones would wake up because they could behold the likeness of Yahweh.

Yahweh is the judge (Ps 7:6-7:8)

“Rise up!

Yahweh!

In your anger.

Lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies.

Awake!

O my God!

You have appointed a judgment.

Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you.

Take your seat on high over it!

Yahweh judges the peoples!

Judge me!

Yahweh!

Judge me according to my righteousness.

Judge me according to the integrity that is in me.”

David wanted Yahweh, the judge to judge him. Of course, he wanted Yahweh to judge against his enemies. He wanted Yahweh to wake up and take his seat as the judge of all the people. Then everyone could see that David was innocent and righteous, as well as living with integrity if the judgment came from above, from Yahweh. This was David’s cry of self righteousness to be proclaimed by Yahweh.