Hosea buys a prostitute (Hos 3:2-3: 3)

“So,

I bought her

For fifteen shekels

Of silver,

As well as a homer

Of barley,

With a measure

Of wine.

I said to her.

‘You must dwell

As mine

For many days.

You shall not play

The prostitute.

You shall not have

Intercourse

With a man.

Nor will I have

Intercourse with you.’”

Is Hosea buying back Gomer or another woman? The assumption is that this is Gomer, the original prostitute. He purchased her like a slave. It is not clear who he bought her from. Nevertheless, he paid 15 silver shekels, approximately a little over $3,000.00 for her, as well as some barley and wine. Hosea laid down some conditions for his newly purchased sex slave. She could not be a prostitute. She would not have intercourse with any man, not even himself. This would seem to indicate that women needed to control their sexual urges more than men, which seems unrealistic.

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The freeing of the Hebrew Judean slaves (Jer 34:9-34:10)

“All should set free

Their Hebrew slaves,

Both male and female.

Thus no one should hold

Another Judean

In slavery.

All the officials,

With all the people

Obeyed this.

They had entered

Into the covenant

That all would

Set their slaves free,

Both male and female.

Thus they would not be

Enslaved again.

They obeyed.

They set them free.”

The proclamation of liberty said that everyone should set free both their male and female Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem. Thus there should not be any Judeans who were in slavery. All the officials and the people agreed to this and obeyed it. Thus all the Hebrew or Judean slaves were set free. This was probably done to help with the defense efforts of the city against the Babylonians. Why would you fight against invaders if you were already a slave?

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.

True and false wisdom (Sir 19:20-19:22)

“The whole of wisdom

Is fear of the Lord.

In all wisdom,

There is the fulfillment

Of the law.

There is knowledge

Of his omnipresence.

When a slave cries

To his master.

‘I will not act

As you wish’

Even if later he does it,

He angers the one

Who supports him.

The knowledge of wickedness

Is not wisdom.

There is not prudence

In the counsel of sinners.”

Sirach reminds us of the difference between true and false wisdom. True and all wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. True wisdom follows the law, knowing that God is everywhere. Sirach uses a comparison between a slave and us. We should never say to the Lord that we are not going to do something, even if we do it later. We will anger God, the one who supports us. On the other hand, the knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom. There is no prudence among the counsel of sinners.

Difficult people (Prov 29:21-29:24)

“A slave pampered from childhood,

Will come to a bad end.

One given to anger

Stirs up strife.

The hot head

Causes much transgression.

A person’s pride will bring humiliation.

Whoever is lowly in spirit

Will obtain honor.

To be a partner of a thief

Is to hate one’s own life.

One hears the victim’s curse,

But discloses nothing.”

Do not pamper a slave or servant from childhood, because there will not be a good ending. The angry hot head stirs up strife and causes a lot of transgressions. Pride will bring humiliation, while the humble will be honored. If you are involved with a thief, you must hate your own life. If you hear a victim cry and do nothing, you are as bad as the thief.