Evil desires (Sir 23:4-23:6)

“O Lord!

Father!

God of my life!

Do not give me

Haughty eyes!

Remove from me

Evil desire.

Let not gluttony

Overcome me!

Let not lust

Overcome me!

Do not surrender me

To a shameless soul!”

Sirach prayed to the Lord, the Father, and God of his life once again. He did not want proud eyes. He did not want evil desires. He did not want to have gluttony or lust. He did not want to live with a shameless soul.

Stay away from stupid people (Sir 22:13-22:15)

“Do not talk much

With a senseless person!

Without sense,

He will despise

Everything about you.

Do not visit

An unintelligent person!

Stay clear of him!

You may have trouble.

You may be spattered

When he shakes himself off.

Avoid him!

Then you will find rest.

You will never be wearied

By his lack of sense.

What is heavier than lead?

What is its name

Except ‘Fool’?

Sand is easier to bear

Than a stupid person.

Salt is easier to bear

Than a stupid person.

A piece of iron is easier to bear

Than a stupid person.”

Sirach warns us to stay away from stupid people. Do not talk to these senseless people. They will despise you for your intelligence. There is a kind of elitism here. He did not want you to visit with unintelligent people. Stay away from them when they shake themselves like animals, because some of their filth might spatter on you. If you stay away from them, you will not be weary of their senseless talk. A fool is heavier to bear than lead. Practically everything is easier to live with than a stupid person. Thus sand, salt, and iron is better than these stupid senseless fools.

Human freedom (Sir 15:14-15:17)

“The Lord created humankind

In the beginning.

He left them

With the power

Of their own free choice.

If you chose,

You can keep the commandments.

To act faithfully

Is a matter of your own choice.

He has placed before you fire.

He had placed before you water.

Stretch out your hand

For whichever you wish.

Before each person

Is life and death.

Whichever one chooses

Will be given.”

God created us humans. He left us with a free choice. We can choose to follow the commandments faithfully or not. It is our choice, like fire and water. Which do we want? We have the choice of life or death. Whichever we choose, we will receive. The choice is ours.

The lazy ones (Prov 13:1-13:4)

“The wise child loves discipline.

But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

From the fruit of their words,

Good persons eat good things.

But the desire of the treacherous is for violence.

Whoever guards their mouths preserves their lives.

Whoever opens wide their lips comes to ruin.

The appetite of the lazy craves,

But gets nothing.

The appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.”

The wise child loves discipline because it leads to knowledge. However, the lazy mocking scoffer does not listen to criticism. Good people eat good things because of the good fruit of their words. The treacherous only want violence. If you guard your mouth, you will preserve your life. However, if you open your mouth wide, it will only bring you ruin. The lazy people crave for food but they get nothing, while the appetite of the diligent gets richly supplied and satisfied.

Yahweh is good (Ps 34:7-34:10)

Het     

“The angel of Yahweh encamps

Around those who fear him.

He delivers them.

Tet      

O taste and see!

Yahweh is good!

Happy are those

Who take refuge in him!

Yod     

O fear Yahweh!

You his holy ones!

Those who fear him have no want!

Koph              

The young lions suffer want.

The young lions suffer hunger.

But those who seek Yahweh

Lack no good thing.”

If it is not Yahweh, it is his angel who surrounded David. To those who feared Yahweh, he delivered him. David then asked us to taste and see how Yahweh was good, which has become the title of a popular hymn. Those who took their refuge in Yahweh were to be happy and holy. They would no longer fear like young lions that worried about want and hunger. Those who sought Yahweh would not lack for anything. They were the truly blessed and happy ones.