Sirach chapter 26

The author shares his own vision of the idealized woman. He is very harsh against women but not against men. He is probably a misogynist.

 


 

The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches

 


 

AN IDEALIZED WOMAN ACCORDING TO THE AUTHOR

 

VERSE 1. Happy is the husband of a good wife; And the number of his days will be doubled.

a good wife. A husband is happy to be married to a good wife. And the reverse is true. A wife is happy to be married to a good husband. However, the author does not mention this.

In this chapter, the author frequently says women exhibit unwanted behavior. But he says no such thing about men. Here are a dozen instances we noticed:

VERSE WOMEN MEN
Verse 1 “a good wife” Not required to be good husband
Verse 2 “brave woman” Not required to be brave
Verse 3 morally “good” Not required to be morally good
Verse 6 “jealous of another” Not singled out for jealousy
Verse 6 a gossip Not prohibited from gossip
Verse 7 “wicked” Not singled out for wickedness
Verse 8 “drunken” Not singled out for drunkenness
Verse 9 sexual infidelities Not singled out for sexual infidelities
Verse 10 “headstrong” Not described as headstrong
Verse 14 “silent” Not required to be silent
Verse 16 traditional feminine beauty Not required to be traditionally handsome
Verse 16 part of a man’s household Not subjugated to another

To be harsh against women but not against men is to be misogynistic. There are many famous misogynists. We pictured Benito Mussolini at the top of this page. He exalted the inferiority of females in relation to men.

 

VERSE 2. A brave woman rejoices her husband; And he will fulfill his years in peace.

A brave woman. In the author’s worldview, a wife must be brave.

 

VERSE 3. A good wife is a good portion: She will be given in the portion of such as fear the Lord.

A good wife. In the author’s worldview, a wife must be morally good.

 

VERSE 4. Whether a man be rich or poor, A good heart makes at all times a cheerful countenance.

 

VERSE 5. Of three things my heart was afraid; And concerning the fourth kind I made supplication: The slander of a city, and the assembly of a multitude, and a false accusation: All these are more grievous than death.

 

VERSE 6. A grief of heart and sorrow is a woman that is jealous of another woman, And the scourge of a tongue communicating to all.

a woman that is jealous of another. To have a jealous spouse is a real heartache.

a tongue communicating to all. A gossiping spouse is a scourge upon your life.

 

VERSE 7. A wicked woman is as a yoke of oxen shaken to and fro: He that takes hold of her is as one that grasps a scorpion.

A wicked woman. The author singles out women for wickedness.

 

VERSE 8. A drunken woman causes great wrath; And she will not cover her own shame.

A drunken woman. A drunken person can cause arguments and fights.

 

VERSE 9. The whoredom of a woman is in the lifting up of her eyes; And it will be known by her eyelids.

The whoredom of a woman. The author vilifies women for their sexual infidelities. However, he ignores the sexual infidelities of men.

 

VERSE 10. Keep strict watch on a headstrong daughter, Lest she find liberty for herself, and use it.

a headstrong daughter. The author singles out a headstrong daughter. But he ignores a headstrong son.

 

VERSE 11. Look well after an impudent eye; And marvel not if it trespass against you.

 

VERSE 12. She will open her mouth, as a thirsty traveller, And drink of every water that is near: She will sit down at every post, And open her quiver against any arrow.

 

VERSE 13. The grace of a wife will delight her husband; And her knowledge will fatten his bones.

 

VERSE 14. A silent woman is a gift of the Lord; And there is nothing so much worth as a well-instructed soul.

A silent woman is a gift. In the author’s worldview, the ideal woman does not talk.

 

VERSE 15. A shamefast woman is grace upon grace; And there is no price worthy of a continent soul.

 

VERSE 16. As the sun when it arises in the highest places of the Lord, So is the beauty of a good wife in the ordering of a man’s house.

the beauty of a good wife. In the author’s worldview, a woman must possess traditional feminine beauty.

in the ordering of a man’s house. In the author’s worldview, a woman’s purpose is to be a part of a man’s household.

 

VERSE 17. As the lamp that shines upon the holy candlestick, So is the beauty of the face in ripe age.

 

VERSE 18. As the golden pillars are upon a base of silver, So are beautiful feet with the breasts of one that is stedfast.

 

THE DANGER OF MERCHANTS

 

VERSES 19-27.

These verses are omitted in the best manuscripts.

 

VERSE 28. For two things my heart is grieved; And for the third anger comes upon me: A man of war that suffers for poverty; And men of understanding that are counted as refuse: One that turns back from righteousness to sin; The Lord will prepare him for the sword.

 

VERSE 29. A merchant shall hardly keep himself from wrong doing; And a huckster will not be acquitted of sin.

A merchant … wrong doing. In the ancient world, merchants were not trustworthy. They were widely viewed as predatory.

Our modern society has rejected that biblical view. Instead, we prize free-market capitalism and honor those executives who become the richest.

 


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