Daughters and married women (Sir 42:11-42:14)

“Keep strict watch

Over a headstrong daughter.

She may make you a laughingstock to your enemies.

She may make you a byword in the city.

She may make you a byword in the assembly of the people.

She may put you to shame in public gatherings.

See that there is no lattice in her room.

See that there is no spot

That overlooks the approaches to the house.

Do not let her parade her beauty before any man.

Do not let her spend her time among married women.

From garments comes the moth.

From a woman comes woman’s wickedness.

Better is the wickedness of a man

Than a woman who does good.

It is a woman

Who brings shame,

Who brings disgrace.”

Here Sirach warns against headstrong daughters. They will make their fathers a laughing stock in the city, in the assembly, and in any gathering. Do not let her have any patterns in her room windows that overlook the entrance to the house. Don’t let anyone see her beauty or how good she looks. However, the biggest warning is against her sitting around with married women. They will put ideas into her headstrong mind. Then Sirach lashes out at these married women, and maybe all women. He rails against female wickedness. Just as moths can be found in garments, so too wickedness can be found in women. He even stupidly proclaims that a man’s wickedness is better than a woman’s good deeds. How is that for anti-feminism? He adds on by saying that it is women who bring shame and disgrace, as if to say that men are never at fault.

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