Vows and the Lord (Sir 18:22-18:26)

“Let nothing hinder you

From paying a vow promptly.

Do not wait until death

To be released from it.

Before making a vow,

Prepare yourself.

Do not be like one

Who puts the Lord

To the test.

Think of his wrath

On the day of death.

Think of his wrath

In the moment of vengeance,

When he turns away his face.

In the time of plenty,

Think of the time of hunger.

In the days of wealth

Think of poverty,

Think of need.

From morning to evening

Conditions change.

All things move swiftly

Before the Lord.”

Sirach reminds us about the problems of making vows. You should prepare yourself before you make a vow to give an offering or payment. Then you should pay your vows promptly. Don’t wait until your death, so that it will be forgotten. Don’t test the Lord. Think of his wrath on the day of your death, if you have not fulfilled your vows. He will turn his face away from you. So also remember when you have plenty to eat, about the times when you were hungry. In the days of your wealth, remember the days of your needy poverty. Remember that things change quickly before the Lord, sometimes as quickly as from morning to evening of the same day.

Inheritance (Prov 28:8-28:10)

“Whoever augments his wealth by exorbitant interest

Gathers it for another who is kind to the poor.

When one will not listen to the law

Even one’s prayers are an abomination.

Those who mislead the upright into evil ways

Will fall into the pits of their own making.

But the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.”

If you augment your wealth with high interest rates, the law of retribution will get you, so that someone else will end up with your money. They will give it to the poor people so that your profit will be in vain. When you do not listen to the law, your very prayer will be an abomination. If you mislead the upright into evil ways, you will fall into the pits that you made for others. However, the blameless will have a good inheritance for their family.

Generosity (Prov 11:24-11:28)

“Some give freely.

Yet they grow all the richer.

Others withhold what is due.

But they only suffer want.

A generous person will be enriched.

One who gives water will get water.

The people curse those who hold back grain.

But a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

Whoever diligently seeks good things seeks favor.

But evil comes to the one who searches for it.

Those who trust in their riches will wither.

But the righteous will flourish like green leaves.”

There is a need for generosity. Those people who give freely usually grow richer. Those who withhold what is due only suffer more wanting of things. A generous person will be enriched. If you give water, you will get water. If you hold back your grain, hoping for a higher price, you will be cursed. However, you will be blessed if you sell it to others in the normal course of the harvest. If you are seeking good things, you will be favored. If you are looking for evil, you will find it. If you trust in your wealth, it will wither away on you. However, if you are righteous, you will flourish like green leaves on a tree.

Beware of female strangers (Prov 5:7-5:14)

“Now my child!

Listen to me!

Do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Keep your way far from her!

Do not go near the door of her house!

Do not let your honor go to others!

Do not let your years go to the merciless!

The strangers will take their fill of your wealth.

Your labors will go to the house of an alien.

At the end of your life

You will groan.

When your flesh and body are consumed,

You will say.

‘How I hated discipline!

My heart despised reproof!

I did not listen to the voice of my teachers.

I did not incline my ear to my instructors.

Now I am at the point of utter ruin

In the public assembly.’”

The parental admonitions continue. Once again he wants the children to listen to him and his words. He wanted them to avoid the house of strange women. This seems to be a follow up to the loose women already mentioned. If you went to them, you would lose your honor, your wealth, and maybe even your life. In fact, all your labor will go to a foreigner. At the end of your life you will not be happy because your life has been consumed. Your death bed pronouncement will be how you hated discipline and correction. You never listened to your teachers and instructors. Thus you ended up in utter ruin in the middle of your local assembly. Thus this is more about what happens to you if you follow the strange women.