The good wife (Sir 26:1-26:4)

“Happy is the husband

Of a good wife.

The number of his days

Will be doubled.

A loyal wife brings joy

To her husband.

He will complete

His years in peace.

A good wife is

A great blessing.

She will be granted

Among the blessings

Of the man who fears the Lord.

Whether rich or poor,

His heart is content.

At all times,

His face is cheerful.”

Now we see the opposite, the good wife.   Sirach says that a husband will be happy if he has a good loyal wife. She will bring joy to her husband. He will live twice as long, and complete his years in peace. This good wife is a great blessing, especially for those who fear the Lord. Whether rich or poor, he will be content at all times with the cheerful face of his good wife. It seems that the burden of any marriage falls on the wife rather than the husband.

Slaves, fools, and unloved wives (Prov 30:21-30:23)

“Under three things the earth trembles.

Under four it cannot bear up.

They are

When a slave becomes king,

When a fool is glutted with food,

When an unloved woman gets a husband,

When a maid succeeds her mistress.”

Once again we are back at the numerical proverb of 3 and 4. The earth trembles. There are 4 things that this author cannot bear: 1) a slave who becomes a king, 2) a fool filled with food, 3) an unloved woman with a husband, and 4) a maid that succeeds her mistress. These seem like annoying circumstances for an elite person who does not like people moving out of their social class status. However, there is a sensibility to the unloved wife and the scorned mistress.