Family life (Sir 7:26-7:28)

“If you have a wife

Who pleases you,

Do not divorce her.

But do not trust yourself to one

Whom you detest.

With all your heart

Honor your father.

Do not forget

The birth pangs of your mother.

Remember that it was of your parents

You were born.

How can you repay

What they have given you?”

Sirach has some recommendations about family life. You should not divorce a pleasing wife, which makes sense. However, the same is not true about anyone whom you do not trust or whom you detest. This seems to indicate that a man could divorce a woman if he did not like her. On the other hand, you should honor your father, but not forget about your mother’s labor pains at your birth. Stating the obvious, you were born to your parents. He asked the question about what you owe to your parents. In a more absolute statement, he said that you can never repay them for all that they have done for you.

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