Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ecclesiasticus, Chapters 40-42: Elbows out of the meat!

Chapter 40

Here's a cheery thought: your whole life will be filled with sorry and work. Any time you don't spend doing that will be spent imagining and fearing death, being angry or fighting. Everyone, from king to pauper, lives like this. But it's seven times worse for sinners, because they have to deal with death, and bloodshed, strife, and sword, calamities, famine, tribulation, and the scourge; (v. 9) That those things happen to everyone is just a sign of how loose the definition is of 'sinner.'

Anyway, eventually everything dies except good deeds. Also, ungodly people won't have grandchildren and they'll be the first to die. Learning to love your work, and by this I'm pretty sure they mean labour, not graphic design, and to be content with what you have is sweet, but striking it rich is even better. Having kids is also great, but having a virtuous wife is the bestest. Wine and music may be great, but wisdom is even better. Too bad there's so little of it in this book. Pleasant conversation beats them all. Who else thinks the writer never gets drunk and shoots the breeze with his friends?

Wives are better than friends, alms are better than brothers, good advice is better than gold. And of course, love of god is the very greatest. Oh, and death is better than begging.

Chapter 41

Rich people fear death the most because it means losing their stuff. It's fine for the poor or sick or old or depressed. But nobody should fear death unless their parents were sinners, because that's the end of the road for them. What makes one not a sinner? A good name.

Don't hide your wisdom or your treasure. But don't be a whore, and don't lie to the king and for goodness' sake, don't put your elbow in the meat. Also, don't look at harlots or other men's wives or slave girls. And don't tell secrets.

Chapter 42

Don't accept other people's sins. Be fair to travelers and business partners and use correct weights and measures. Tolerate poor customer service, child abuse, and people who hit their slaves so hard they bleed. Keep your wife in check if she's evil. Get contracts in writing. If people are being dumb, call them on it, and everyone will respect you for it.

Fathers care for their daughters, especially their virginity, because without that, everyone will hate them. They can't stop when their daughters get married though, they have to remain vigilant lest they cheat on their husbands and become barren. If your daughter has slut-like tendencies, keep her in or people will laugh at you. Never sit amongst women because they're wicked. It's better to be a churlish man than a courteous woman.

Some things god has given us: the sun, the past, the future, and the steps needed to make discoveries. Also god is perfect and doesn't need advice. We can't see how perfect, because we don't understand. Problem of evil right there, folks.

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