Psalm 119:167

Hebrew Bible

165 Those who love your law are completely secure; nothing causes them to stumble. 166 I hope for your deliverance, O Lord, and I obey your commands. 167 I keep your rules; I love them greatly. 168 I keep your precepts and rules, for you are aware of everything I do. 169 ת (Tav) Listen to my cry for help, O Lord. Give me insight by your word.

Sirach 15:13

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

11 Do not say, "It was the Lord's doing that I fell away"; for he does not do what he hates. 12 Do not say, "It was he who led me astray"; for he has no need of the sinful. 13 The Lord hates all abominations; such things are not loved by those who fear him. 14 It was he who created humankind in the beginning, and he left them in the power of their own free choice. 15 If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.

 Notes and References

"... Newsom considers how the Hodayot uses the same moral language as the dominant Second Temple discourse but gives it a new meaning within the context of a “predestined drama.” This arises from the “perfecting” of the idea of divine sovereignty. In particular, she considers that, because the righteousness of the individual is dependent upon the graciousness of God rather than upon his own autonomous moral agency, the term righteousness has been “re-accented” with the non-traditional meaning of “acts of grace.” Newsom argues that this distinctive use of language is a powerful polemical tool for shaping an identity which is estranged from the dominant discourse. She illustrates this re-accentuation of traditional language by comparison with Psalm 119 and Sirach 15:11–16. She notes that Psalm 119 speaks of being humbled, but that the speaker assumes that he has the power within himself to perform moral acts, rather than attributing these to God. She states that Sirach 15:11–16 appears to go even further in explicitly making a case for humankind’s free moral choice. She argues that the sectarian use of language, which attributes righteousness and choice to God alone, “stakes out the moral high ground of humility” making other discourses seem seriously wanting to the sectarian mind ..."

Hughes, Julie A. Scriptural Allusions and Exegesis in the Hodayot (pp. 29-30) Brill, 2006

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.