The value of the vineyard (Isa 5:3-5:4)

“Now!

Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

People of Judah!

Judge between me

And my vineyard!

What more was there

To do for my vineyard,

That I have not done in it?

When I expected it

To yield grapes,

Why did it yield wild grapes?”

This song is clearly directed at the people of Jerusalem and Judah, not the northern tribes of Israel with its capital in Samaria. The vineyard is no longer that of a beloved friend. It is now the vineyard of Isaiah himself, who wanted them to judge between him and his vineyard. Who was at fault? Was it him the gardener or the vines themselves? Could he have done more? While he expected good grapes, he only got wild grapes. Why did this happen?

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.