Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Sirach 46 – Celebrating Joshua, Moses’ successor and one “mighty in war” (46:1). “He himself waged the wars of the Lord” (46:3). This is not translated as “holy war” and the note to this line says the words really say that the Lord handed enemies over to him [Joshua]. Joshua’s name means Yahweh saves and the Greek for the name is Jesus. Interesting! The text says he “deserved his name” because he “was a great savior of the Chosen People (46:2). He was said to have stopped the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 13, 2012 at 7:31am — No Comments
Sirach 45 – Moses is celebrated in this chapter. God “gave him commandments for his people and showed him something of his glory” (45:3). God chose him “alone out of all mankind; he allowed him to hear his voice and led him into the darkness; he gave him the commandments face to face, the law of life and knowledge” (45:5-6).
God also made a covenant with Aaron: “He clothed him in glorious perfection and invested him with emblems of authority” (45:8). He gave him…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 11, 2012 at 6:20am — No Comments
Sirach 44 – He turns to the praise of famous men: James Agee got the title of his 1941 book about sharecroppers in the South from this part of Sirach – Now Let Us Praise Famous Men. There have been men of authority, intelligent advisers and prophets, musicians and poets. “Some of them left a name behind them, . . .while others have left no memory, and disappeared as though they had not existed, it is now as though they had never been, and so too, their children after them”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 10, 2012 at 7:14am — No Comments
Sirach 42 (Continued) – God’s Glory: “He has imposed an order on the magnificent works of his wisdom, he is from everlasting to everlasting, nothing can be added to him, nothing taken away” (42:21-22). It is the nature of all things from God that they “go in pairs, by opposites” (42:24).
Sirach 43 – On God’s Glory: “The sun, as he emerges, proclaims at his rising, ‘A thing of wonder is the work of the Most High!’ . . .Great is the Lord who made him, and whose…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 9, 2012 at 6:29am — No Comments
Sirach 41 – On Thoughts of Death: “O death, your sentence is welcome to a man in want, whose strength is failing, to a man worn out with age, worried about everything, disaffected and beyond endurance” (40:3-4).
But we should not fear death in any case. It is “the sentence passed on all living creatures by the Lord” (40:4).
Reputation: “Be careful of your reputation, for it will last you longer than a thousand great hoards of god. A good life…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 8, 2012 at 5:07am — No Comments
Sirach 37 – On False Friendships: “[S]ome friends are only friends in name. Is it not a deadly sorrow, when a comrade or a friend turns enemy?” (37:2)
On Advisers: “Any adviser will offer advice, but some are governed by self-interest” (37:7). You should always know what the interests of your advisers are, so you can properly judge their advice.
“Do not consult a woman about her rival, or a coward about war, a merchant about prices, or a buyer…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 4, 2012 at 6:41am — No Comments
Sirach 34 – On Dreams: “As well clutch at shadows and chase the wind as put any faith in dreams. Mirror and dream are similar things: confronting a face, the reflection of that face” (34:2-3).
“[D]reams have led many astray, and those building their hopes on them have been disappointed” (34:7).
On the Happiness of Those Who Fear the Lord: “Happy the soul of the man who fears the Lord. On whom does he rely? Who supports him? The eyes of the Lord…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 2, 2012 at 7:06am — No Comments
Sirach 33 – On God’s Creative Will: “Like clay in the hands of the potter to mould as it pleases him, so are men in the hands of their Maker to reward as he judges right. Opposite evil stands good, opposite death, life; so too, opposite the devout man stands the sinner” (33:13-14).
On Avoiding Dependency: “Neither to son nor wife, brother nor friend, give power over yourself during your own lifetime. . . . As long as you live and there is breath in your body, do…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 1, 2012 at 8:05am — No Comments
Sirach 31 – On riches: “The sleeplessness brought by wealth makes a man lose weight, the worry it causes drives away sleep” (31:1).
“Remember how bad it is to have a greedy eye; is anything in creation greedier than the eye? That is why it waters on every occasion” (31:13).
On wine: “Wine is life for man if drunk in moderation. What is life worth without wine? It was created to make men happy. Drunk at the right time and in the right amount, wine…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 31, 2012 at 7:40am — No Comments
Sirach 30 – On raising children: While the spirit of wanting one’s children to grow up well and not be spoiled or self-centered is here, the advice runs so against the modern sense of what is wise it is remarkable. So while usually I include quotes here that I like, her I am including them just to show how utterly alien they seem.
“A man who loves his son will beat him frequently so that in after years the son may be his comfort”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 30, 2012 at 8:09am — No Comments
Sirach 27 – The dangers of being in business or commerce: “It is difficult for a merchant to avoid doing wrong and for a salesman not to incur sin. Many have sinned for the sake of profit, he who hopes to be rich much be ruthless” (27:1).
“The kiln tests the work of the potter, the test of a man is in his conversation” (27:4).
Do not betray the confidence of friends. You will lose them, “[f]or a wound can be bandaged and abuse forgiven, but for the man…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 28, 2012 at 9:56am — No Comments
Sirach 25 – “There are three things my soul delights in, and which are delightful to God and to men: concord between brothers, friendship between neighbors, and a wife and husband who live happily together” (25:1-2).
The three things his “soul hates” are a “poor man swollen with pride, a rich man who is a liar and an adulterous old man who has no sense” (25:3-4).
The old should rejoice in their experience and wisdom.
And then come…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 27, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Sirach 24 – “Wisdom. . . glories in herself in the presence of the Mighty One” (24:1-2). ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and I covered the earth like mist. . .Over the waves of the sea and over the whole earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I searched for rest, and looked to see in whose territory I might pitch camp. Then the creator of all things instructed me, and he who created me fixed a place for my tent.
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 26, 2012 at 9:55am — No Comments
Sirach 21 – “Flee from sin as from a snake, if you approach it, it will bit you; its teeth are lion’s teeth, they deprive men of their lives. All law-breaking is like a two-edged sword, the wounds it inflicts are beyond cure” (21:1-3).
“To build your house on other people’s money is like collecting stones for your own tomb” (21:8).
“To the senseless fellow instruction is like fetters on his feet, like manacles on his right hand. . . . The foot of a fool…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 24, 2012 at 9:48am — No Comments
Sirach 19 – The writer deals with the very serious issue of rumor mongering: “Never repeat what you are told and you will come to no harm; whether to friend or foe, do not talk about it, uness it would be sinful not to talk about it, unless it would be sinful not to, do not reveal it; you would be heard out, then mistrusted, and in due course you would be hated” (19:7-9).
“Have you heard something? Let it die with you. . [if you find offense in what you’ve heard]…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 20, 2012 at 7:08am — No Comments
Sirach 17 – “The Lord fashioned man from the earth, to consign him back to it. He gave them so many days’ determined time; he gave them authority over everything on earth. He clothed them with strength like his own, and made them in his own image” (17:1-3).
“He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and revealed to them good and evil. He put his own light in their hearts to show them the magnificence of his works” (17:7-8).
“Their eyes saw his…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 19, 2012 at 6:30am — No Comments
Sirach 15 – “[W]hoever grasps the Law will obtain wisdom. She will come to meet him like a mother, and receive him like a virgin bride. She will give him the bread of understanding to eat, and the water of wisdom to drink. He will lean on her and will not fall, he will rely on her and not be put to shame” (15:2-4).
“Do not say, ‘The Lord was responsible for my sinning’, for he is never the cause of what he hates . . .He himself made man in the beginning, and then left…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 18, 2012 at 1:42pm — No Comments
Sirach 14 – “Happy the man whose own soul does not accuse him, and who has never given up hope” (14:2).
I can relate to this one very deeply. I have not always been a “believer.” Or, it’s more complicated than that – I have not always felt comfortable with the very deep sense I always seemed to have that there was/is a God. I’ve always had a deep intuition that there must be, but my “reason” has not always been comfortable with that intuition. For some years I just…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 17, 2012 at 7:55am — No Comments
Sirach 12 – Bad advice here, at least from a Christian perspective: “The Most High himself detests sinners, and will repay the wicked with a vengeance. Give to the good man, and do not go to the help of a sinner” (12:6-7). Jesus broke this “wisdom” rule a time or two. But this, after all, is human wisdom. If you lend aid to someone who is bad, you are making him stronger in his wickedness.
Sirach 13 – Beware of rich and influential men. They will take…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 16, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments
Sirach 11 – “Do not praise a man for his good looks, nor dislike anybody for his appearance” (11:2)
“. . .the Lord’s deeds are marvelous, though hidden from mankind” [11: 4 note translates: “unseen and unforeseeable. One turn of the wheel and all conditions are reversed”]. The lives of the very important and the lives of the lowly are all impossible to predict, but the writer encourages us to believe that all things flow from the hand of…Continue