Against the seacoast people (Zeph 2:5-2:7)

“Woe to you!

Inhabitants of the seacoast!

You nation of the Cherethites!

The word of Yahweh

Is against you!

O Canaan!

Land of the Philistines!

I will destroy you

Until no inhabitant is left.

You,

O seacoast,

Shall be pastures,

Shall be meadows for shepherds,

Shall be folds for flocks.

The seacoast

Shall become the possession

Of the remnant

Of the house of Judah.

They shall pasture

In the houses of Ashkelon.

They shall lie down at evening.

Yahweh,

Their God,

Will be mindful of them.

He will restore

Their fortunes.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, rebuked the whole seacoast area of the Philistines, about 32 miles along the Mediterranean coast line and about 10-16 miles wide inland in southwestern Canaan.  They were called Cherethites, since they may have had some connection to the island of Crete.  Yahweh was against them, so that he was going to destroy them until there was nothing left of them.  They would become a possession of the remnants of Judah.  Their land would become like meadows for sheep.  Their houses in Ashkelon would become pastures.  Yahweh was going to restore the fortunes of the Israelites.

The choice of a wife (Sir 36:26-36:31)

“A woman

Will accept any man

As a husband.

But one girl

Is preferable to another.

A woman’s beauty

Lights up a man’s face.

There is nothing

He desires more.

If kindness marks her speech,

If humility marks her speech,

Her husband is more fortunate

Than other men.

He who acquires a wife

Gets his best possession.

She is a helper

Fit for him.

She is a pillar of support.

Where there is no fence,

The property will be plundered.

Where there is no wife,

A man will become a fugitive.

He will be a wanderer.

Who will trust a nimble robber?

He skips from city to city.

Who will trust a man

That has no nest?

He lodges

Wherever night overtakes him.”

Sirach seems to think that women do not care who they marry. However, a man should marry a beautiful woman, because it will light up his face. Then he will not desire anything more. If she is kind and humble in her speech, he will be more fortunate than many other men. She will help him and be a support to him. There is no doubt that a man’s best possession is his wife. Clearly, she is a step above a slave as a possession. It is also a good idea for a man to have a wife because she can act like a fence around him. If he is not married, he will wander around from city to city, like a fugitive. People will think that he is a robber, since he has no home. He will not be trusted because he stays wherever he is when night time comes. Marriage added stability to a community.