Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Sirach 51 – A beautiful psalm of thankfulness and praise – thankfulness for God’s (Wisdom’s) interventions in the writer’s life, praise for all the good that flows from “her.”
“I am determined to put her [God’s wisdom] into practice, I have earnestly pursued what is good, I will not be put to shame. My soul has fought to possess her, I have been scrupulous in keeping the Law; I have stretched out my hands to heaven and bewailed my ignorance of her; I have directed my…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 16, 2012 at 6:43am — No Comments
Sirach 50 – High Priest Simon II, son of Onias III (220-195 BC) is celebrated. He repaired the Temple. His portrayal of this High Priest seems filled with sensual images that indicate he has actually seen him emerge from the Sanctuary. So perhaps we could put the writer in this 3rd-2nd century period. He is a “youthful cedar of Lebanon” (50:12). He is not a famous historical figure, so he must just be a man respected by the author in his time.
“And now bless…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 15, 2012 at 6:54am — No Comments
Sirach 48 – Elija – A prophet who “arose like a fire” brought famine on the land for the sins committed. He was “taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses” (48:8-9). And there is an allusion to immortality for those who fall asleep “in love” [of God]. They “too will have life” (48:11).
Then Elisha – He was filled with Elijah’s spirit. “No task was too hard for him, and even in death his body prophesied” (48:13) for that the dead were…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 14, 2012 at 6:45am — No Comments
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 40 – On Fear of Death: A “heavy yoke lies on the sons of Adam from the day they come out of their mother’s womb, till the day they return to the mother of them all. What fills them with brooding and their hearts with fear is dread of the day of death” (40:1-2).
Life is all “fury and jealousy, turmoil and unrest, fear of death, rivalry [and] strife” (40:4). Despite this pessimism, the writer believes in the end “all bribery and injustice will be blotted out”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 7, 2012 at 6:24am — 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 23 – God is addressed as “Lord, father and master of my life. . .” (23:1). I love it.
“Do not habituate your mouth to coarseness and foul language, for this means sinful talk. Remember your father and mother when you are sitting among princes, in case you forget yourself in their presence, and behave like a fool, and then wish you had not been born, and curse the day of your birth” (23:13-14).
“The man who sins against his own marriage…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 25, 2012 at 9:08am — 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