Conclusion (Sir 50:27-50:29)

“I have written

In this book about

Instruction in understanding.

I have written about knowledge.

I am

Jesus son of Eleazar,

Son of Sirach,

Of Jerusalem.

My mind poured forth wisdom.

Happy are those

Who concerns themselves

With these things.

Those who lay them to heart

Will become wise.

If they put them into practice,

They will be equal to anything.

The fear of the Lord is their path.”

This appears to be the original ending of this book as Jesus son of Eleazar, son of Sirach, explains who he is and why he wrote this book. He wrote this work to instruct people in understanding. He wanted to give them more knowledge. He has poured out his wisdom. Now he would be happy if anyone concerned themselves about these things. Let them take these things to heart and become wise also. So much the better, if they put these things into practice. If they do, the fear of the Lord will be their path.

Why him? (Song 5:9-5:9)

Chorus

“What is your beloved

More than another beloved?

O fairest among women!

What is your beloved

More than another beloved?

That you thus adjure us?”

The chorus asks this female lover why she is looking for his particular male lover. What makes him so special? What makes him better than any other men? Why was she appealing to them?

Springtime (Song 2:10-2:14)

Male lover

“My beloved speaks.

He says to me.

‘Arise!

My love!

My fair one!

Come away!

Now the winter is past.

The rain is over.

The rain is gone.

The flowers appear on the earth.

The time of singing has come.

The voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs.

The vines are in blossom.

They give forth fragrance.

Arise!

My love!

My fair one!

Come away!

O my dove!

In the clefts of the rock,

In the covert of the cliff,

Let me see your face.

Let me hear your voice.

Your voice is sweet.

Your face is lovely.’”

This female lover recounts the words of her male lover. In a phrase that is repeated twice within a couple of verses, we have that wonderful love request.   Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away with me! Will she go? Was this request enough to make her leave her home? He tells her why she should do this now. It is springtime. The winter has gone. The rains are gone. The flowers are appearing. The turtledove birds are singing. The fig trees have figs. The vines are blossoming with a sweet smell. It was time to go with him as he repeated the phrases from above. This turtledove lives in the rocks and the cliffs. He wanted to see her lovely face and to hear her sweet voice, a clear presentation of springtime romantic love.

The seduction of the prostitute (Prov 7:10-7:20)

“Then a woman comes toward him.

She is decked out like a prostitute.

She has a wily heart.

She is loud.

She is wayward.

Her feet do not stay at home.

She is now in the street.

She is now in the market squares.

At every corner she lies in wait.

She seizes him.

She kisses him.

With an impudent face

She says to him.

‘I had to offer sacrifices.

Today I have paid my vows.

So now I have come out to meet you.

I seek you eagerly.

I have found you.

I have decked my couch with coverings.

I have colored spreads of Egyptian linen.

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh.

I have perfumed my bed with aloes.

I have perfumed my bed with cinnamon.

Come!

Let us take our fill of love until morning!

Let us delight ourselves with love!

My husband is not at home.

He has gone on a long journey.

He took a bag of money with him.

He will not come home until full moon.”

This is a story of seduction. The young woman was dressed like a prostitute, whatever that means. She was loud and rarely at home, since she was out in the town square as well as in the market places. She then seized this simpleton and started to kiss him. No soft sell here. She said that she had spent her money at the Temple and was looking for him. They may in fact have been friends. Then she explained why he should come with her. She had a decked out couch and a bed with Egyptian linens full of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon, so that it smelt nice. She wanted to spend the whole night with him in love making until the morning. She explained that her husband was on a long business trip. He would be gone for a while until the end of the month or the full moon. The woman adulteress was the clear initiator, while the male was a young simpleton.

Wisdom cries out in public (Prov 1:20-1:23)

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street.

In the squares,

She raises her voice.

At the busiest corner,

She cries out.

At the entrance of the city gates

She speaks.

‘O simple ones!

How long

Will you love being simple?

How long

Will scoffers delight in their scoffing?

How long

Will fools hate knowledge?

Give heed to my reproof!

I will pour out my thoughts to you.

I will make my words known to you.’”

Wisdom is personified as a female here. She cries out in the streets and raises her voice in the city squares like a prophetess. She cries out and speaks at the busy corners and at the gate to the entrance to a city or town. She calls out people for being simple. She wanted to know why they were deriding her. How long would these fools hate knowledge? There is a lot of mention of scoffers in these proverbs. A scoffer is someone who mocks others, a kind of a cynic. Why would they not accept a criticism? Nevertheless wisdom was going to pour out her thoughts and make her words known to them.

Fragility of man (Ps 144:3-144:4)

“Yahweh!  

What are human beings?

Why do you regard them?

Why do you think of mortals?

They are like a breath.

Their days are like a passing shadow.”

David wanted to know why Yahweh cared about humans or even thought about them. Humans are like a breath. They are like passing shadows, of little consequence.

Why are we in shame? (Ps 44:17-44:19)

“All this has come upon us.

Yet we have not forgotten you.

We have not been false to your covenant.

Our heart has not turned back.

Our steps have not departed from your way.

Yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals.

You have covered us with deep darkness.”

The psalmist complained about what has happened to them. They did not forget God. They remembered his covenant. Their hearts and their steps are still turned to God since they have not departed from his ways. Yet they are broken down. They have been covered with a deep darkness. They want to know why. What did they do wrong?