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Wisdom

Wisdom

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Published by cpmacau
Christian Community Bible (OT) - 48th Ed (2009)
Christian Community Bible (OT) - 48th Ed (2009)

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Published by: cpmacau on Nov 27, 2009
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02/26/2014

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In the last centuries before Christ, Greek culture, spread by Alexander, penetrated intothe countries of the Middle East (see introduction to Maccabees). The Greeks had a new wayof viewing the freedom of the individual and nobility of spirit. They promoted scientific re-search and esteemed highly physical beauty, etc.The Jews had to be open to this new way of thinking: when a people encloses itself inits national culture, without looking beyond it, it ends up being asphyxiated. Their culture wasintimately linked to the words of God they had received for centuries, but the revelation of God was not finished and could no longer enclose itself within the molds of Hebraic culture.The Book of Wisdom is the first important effort to express the faith and wisdom of Is-rael, not only in Greek, but also in a form adapted to Greek culture.It gives an answer to the crucial questions of evil, pain and death; it sketches a proof of the existence of God that will inspire Paul and shows that God’s mercy extends to all beingswithout exception.Note especially the magnificent chapters 3–5 concerning the death of the just and hopein eternal life and also the hymn to wisdom in chapter 7.The Book of Wisdom was written in Egypt between 80 and 50 before Christ by one of the many Jews who were living in the Greek world. It is one of the
deuterocanonical
books:see page 1089.
Mt 6:33Is 55:6;65:1;Jer29:13;Pro 8:17Rom7:24;8:2
Seek life; know God
1
Love justice, you who ruleover the world. Think rightly of God, seek him with simplicity of heart,
2
for he reveals himself tothose who do not challenge him andis found by those who do not distrusthim.
3
Crooked thinking distances you
1
from God, and his Omnipotence,put to the test, confounds the fool-ish.
4
Wisdom does not enter the wick-ed nor remain in a body that is en-slaved to sin.
5
The Holy Spirit whoinstructs us shuns deceit; it keepsaloof from foolishness and is ill atease when injustice is done.
1.
1 God is more present to us than weare to ourselves. We need not look very far forauthentic wisdom: it appears as spirit comingfrom God that becomes present to us interiorlybut is only revealed to the just.How can we express the nearness of the in-accessible and holy God? Here the authorspeaks of Providence, Wisdom, Justice, theSpirit of God. He speaks of them as if theywere persons sent by God to look after us. In
 
6
Wisdom is a spirit, a friend toman, and will not leave the blasphe-mous unpunished, because Godknows his innermost feelings, trulysees his thoughts and hears what hesays.
7
For God’s spirit has filled thewhole world and he who holds to-gether all things, knows each wordthat is spoken.
8
So whoever speaksunjustly will not escape; the irreu- table sentence will reach him.
9
Theintentions of the unholy will be ex-amined; what he has said will reachthe Lord and his wickedness will beconfounded.
10
Remember that a jealous earhears everything; even whispers arerecorded.
11
Beware then, of empty com-plaints and keep your tongue fromfaultfinding, since your most secretword will have consequences; a lyingtongue brings death to the soul.
12
Donot bring about your own death byyour wrong way of living. And do notlet the work of your hands destroyyou.
13
God did not make death, nordoes he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
14
Since he has createdeverything, all creatures of the uni-verse are for our good; there is nodeadly poison in them and thenetherworld has no dominion overthe earth,
15
because justice is im-mortal.
The godless say there is no other life
16
It is the godless that considerdeath a friend and call for it in everyway. They have made a pact with itand they shall justly belong to it.
1
Led by mistaken reasons theythink, “Life is short and sad and
2
fact, it is a way of presenting God himself who,though he preserves his mystery, is close topeople and to events.
God did not make death nor does he re- joice in the destruction of the living
. His cre-ation is good and at the service of humankind.Death does not come from God as is explainedin 2:23, but rather from
the envy of the devil
.So, we are asked to look confidently to theLord: to think well of him is to deny all thesefalse questions: Why does God allow evil,death, earthquakes and tragedies? God wantsonly life.• 16.
By chance we were born
. The “im-pious,” meaning those who have freed them-selves from the law of God and their con-science, are friends of death since they do notknow true life. For them wisdom consists inprofiting from life:
let us enjoy the goodthings now
.
Let us see the truth of what he says
. Be-cause the godless are the friends of death, theynecessarily come to persecute and even kill thegood. For them it is like a game to prove towhat extent the righteous can remain firm,since they themselves believe in nothing. Theyneed to destroy others to convince themselvesthat they alone benefit from life.
If the righteous is a son of God, God willdefend him
. The words in verses 16-20 revealthe situation of Jesus on the cross. Matthew, inparticular, will recall them in 27:43.This is also verified in the lives of real be-lievers, a scandal to a materialist who enjoysinflicting suffering on those who make sacri-fices for others. We have seen comfortable“Christians” rejoicing over the death of thosewho speak of justice and who, by their involve-ment, disturb the conscience of the satisfied.The mentality of the godless who do not be-lieve in the hereafter is, in some way, verymuch like that of the society in which we live.
Let us set a trap for the righteous for he op- poses our way of life
. Secretly we all admirean upright person, but in any institution, herpresence disturbs us—in the unions just as inthe factories—because we cannot buy her con-science.
He does not live like others and behavesstrangely
. When this was written the Jewswere not well-thought-of by pagans because ofall the things in their lives that were differentfrom the pagan customs. The same is truenow, as well; even though believers try not tobe distinct, their integrity and enthusiasm makethem “strange.”
Those who take his side shall experiencedeath
. Those who do evil begin to experiencedeath. There is a physical wearing down caused
Pro 8:31;Tit 3:4Jer 23:24;Ps 139:7-12;Acts 2:415:24;Ps 78:19Ezk18:23;18:32Pro 8:36;Is 28:15;Pro 8:36Job 14:1-2;Ps 39:5-7;
WISDOM 11128
 
there is no cure for death. It wasnever heard that anyone came backfrom the netherworld.
2
By chance we were born; whenlife is over, it will be as if we never ex-isted. The breath in our nostrils is likea puff of smoke, and thought is nomore than a spark resulting from themovement of the heart.
3
Put this outand the body turns to ashes, thespirit melts away like idle air.
4
In time our name will be forgot-ten, no one will remember what wedid.
5
Life passes like the shadow of a cloud, disappears like mist chasedby the sun and overpowered by itsheat. Our days are like the passingof a shadow; from death there is noturning back, the seal is set: no onereturns.
6
Come then and enjoy all thegood things; let us use creation withthe zest of youth,
7
making the mostof choicest wines and perfumes andnot passing by any flower of spring.
8
Let us crown ourselves with rose-buds before they fade.
9
Let everyone take part in ourorgy; let us post everywhere thesigns of our joy, for that is our due,the lot assigned to us.
10
Let us oppress the upright manwho is poor, and have no thought forthe widow, or respect for the whitehair of old age.
11
Let our strength be our right,since it is proved that weakness isuseless.
12
Let us set a trap for therighteous, for he annoys us and op-poses our way of life; he reproachesus for our breaches of the Law andaccuses us of being false to our up-bringing.
13
He claims knowledge of Godand calls himself son of the Lord.
14
He has become a reproach to ourway of thinking; even to meet him isburdensome to us.
15
He does not livelike others and behaves strangely.
16
According to him we have lowstandards, so he keeps aloof fromus as if we were unclean. He empha-sizes the happy end of the righteousand boasts of having God as father.
17
Let us see the truth of what hesays and find out what his end willbe.
18
If the righteous is a son of God,God will defend him and deliver himfrom his adversaries.
19
Let us humble and torture himto prove his self-control and test hispatience.
20
When we have con-demned him to a shameful death, wemay test his words.”
21
This is the way they reason, butthey are mistaken, blinded by theirmalice.
22
They do not know the mys-teries of God nor do they hope for thereward of a holy life; they do not be-lieve that the blameless will be rec-ompensed.
23
Indeed God created man to beimmortal in the likeness of his ownnature,
24
but the envy of the devilbrought death to the world, andthose who take his side shall experi-ence death.
The just will live with God
1
The souls of the just are in thehands of God and no tormentshall touch them.
3
by vice (alcoholism, licentiousness), but thereis an even greater deterioration of enthusiasm,generosity and trust. “The person who sowsfor the benefit of his own flesh shall reap cor-ruption and death from the flesh” (Gal 6:8).See also Romans 6:21.The text considers what Jesus will do; thatbehind a mass of evils that tear humanity, andbehind our disbelief there is a presence of “theEnemy” (see Mt 13:39; Heb 2:14-15).
3.
1
The souls of the just are in thehands of God
. This is the great revelation inthis book. In the previous books of the Bible,the soul only means the breath of a person,that is to say, the life in him which disappears
Ecl 8:8;Job 7:9Ps 102:4Ecl 1:11;2:16;9:5;Job 18:17-19Ps 39:7;144:4;Job 8:9;14:2;Ecl 6:12;8:13;29:15Is 22:13;1Cor15:32Lev 25:35-37;22:21;Lev19:32Jer 11:19;20:10;Jn 5:16, 18;Mt 26:4Mt 11:27;Wis 5:5;Lk 22:70Est 3:8;13:4-5Mt 5:11;Jn 5:18Ps 22:9;Mt 27:43Is 53:7;Mt 26:67-68;27:12…Gen 1:26;2P 1:4Gen 3;Rom5:12;Jn 8:44Dt 33:3;Is 51:16;Ps 89:22;Jn 10:28
1129WISDOM 3

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