Sirach 33:13Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus
8 By the Lord's wisdom they were distinguished, and he appointed the different seasons and festivals. 9 Some days he exalted and hallowed, and some he made ordinary days. 10 All human beings come from the ground, and humankind was created out of the dust. 11 In the fullness of his knowledge the Lord distinguished them and appointed their different ways. 12 Some he blessed and exalted, and some he made holy and brought near to himself; but some he cursed and brought low, and turned them out of their place. 13 Like clay in the hand of the potter, to be molded as he pleases, so all are in the hand of their Maker, to be given whatever he decides. 14 Good is the opposite of evil, and life the opposite of death; so the sinner is the opposite of the godly.
17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?” 20 But who indeed are you—a mere human being—to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?
Notes and References
"... Verses 20b-21 underscore the statement with a double illustration. This must not be allegorized. It comes from a broad OT tradition (cf. Isa 29:16; 45:9; 64:7; Jer 18:3-6; Job 10:9; 33:6 and the ensuing Jewish texts) (Luz, Geschichtsverstiindnis, 238; Maier, Mensch, 98ff., 376 on Sirach 33:7-15). Paul develops the tradition in his own way but seems to borrow from Isaiah 29: 16 in V. 20b and comes very close to Wisdom of Solomon 15:7 in v. 21b. The question in V. 20b reminds us of Isa 45:9 but is hardly borrowed from there. The OT texts do not have the focus ... which points not to the manner (Zahn) but the result (Kuhl) ..."
Käsemann, Ernst Commentary on Romans (p. 269) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980
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