The headstrong daughter (Sir 26:10-26:12)

“Keep strict watch

Over a headstrong daughter.

Otherwise when she finds liberty,

She will make use of it.

Be on guard

Against her impudent eye.

Do not be surprised

If she sins against you.

As a thirsty traveler

Opens his mouth to drink

From any water near him,

So she will sit

In front of every tent peg.

She will open her quiver

To the arrow.”

Sirach has some advice on how to handle a headstrong daughter. Notice that there is no mention of a headstrong son. This daughter will try to exercise her freedom. However, the father is warned against this, because she may have an impudent eye. In fact, she may sin not against God, but this father, as if he were God. She is like a thirsty traveler who opens his mouth to drink any kind of water. She will sit in front of the tent by the pegs that hold it down. There she will open her archery quiver so that others may put their arrows into it. This sounds like a sexual allusion. Thus there is a need to keep an eye on all young daughters, so that they do not stray from their father’s wishes.

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