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
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 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.
A brave woman. In the author’s worldview, a wife must be brave.
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.
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.
A wicked woman. The author singles out women for wickedness.
A drunken woman. A drunken person can cause arguments and fights.
The whoredom of a woman. The author vilifies women for their sexual infidelities. However, he ignores the sexual infidelities of men.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.