The young widows at Jerusalem (Isa 4:1-4:1)

“Seven women

Shall take hold of one man

In that day.

Saying.

‘We will eat our own bread.

We will wear our own clothes.

Just let us be called by your name.

Take away our disgrace.’”

In order to avoid dishonor and disgrace, seven young widows would join a harem so that they can have something to eat and clothes to wear. They will even take the name of their new protector or husband. They do not want to be reproached for being celibate or sterile, since the single woman was considered outside the pale of society.

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.

Liars (Sir 20:24-20:26)

“A lie is an ugly blot

On a person.

It is continually

On the lips of the ignorant.

A thief is preferable

To a habitual liar.

But the lot of both

Is ruin.

A liar’s way

Leads to disgrace,

His shame is

Ever with him.”

A lie is like an ugly blot on a person. Ignorant people continually lie. A thief is better than a habitual liar, although both are headed to ruin. The way of a liar will lead to disgrace, because his shame is always with him.

Public conduct (Sir 7:4-7:7)

“Do not seek from the Lord a high office!

Do not seek the seat of honor from the king!

Do not assert your righteousness before the Lord!

Do not display your wisdom before the king!

Do not seek to become a judge!

You may be unable to root out injustice.

You may be partial to the powerful.

You may mar your integrity.

Commit no offense against the public!

Do not disgrace yourself among the people!”

Sirach then gave some instructions on how to conduct yourself in public places. First, you should not seek a high office or a seat of honor from the king. Second, do not claim to be righteous before the Lord. Third, do not display your wisdom before the king. Fourth, you should not seek to become a judge because you may not be able to get rid of evil injustice. You might be partial to the powerful people and mar your own integrity. Finally, do not commit any offense against the people so that you do not end up in disgrace.

Take care of your father (Sir 3:10-3:16)

“Do not glorify yourself

By dishonoring your father.

Your father’s dishonor

Is no glory to you.

The glory of one’ father

Is one’s own glory.

It is a disgrace for children

Not to respect their mother.

My child!

Help your father in his old age!

Do not grieve him

As long as he lives.

Even if his mind fails,

Be patient with him!

Because you have all your faculties

Do not despise him!

Kindness to a father

Will not be forgotten.

Kindness to a father

Will be credited to you against yours sins.

In the day of your distress

It will be remembered in your favor.

Like frost in fair weather,

Your sins will melt away.

Whoever forsakes his father

Is like a blasphemer.

Whoever angers his mother

Is cursed by the Lord.”

Continuing the theme of taking care of parents, you should not consider dishonoring your father as a glory to you. It is a disgrace not to honor your mother also. You should help your father in his old age. You should not bother him. Be patient with him, even if his mind fails and you have all your faculties. The kindness to a father will be credited against your sins. When you are in trouble, it will be remembered in your favor. Like frost melting in sunny weather, your sins will melt away. However, if you forsake your father, that is like a blasphemy. If you anger your mother, you will be cursed by God.

Discipline children (Prov 29:15-29:17)

“The rod and reproof give wisdom.

But a mother is disgraced by a neglected child.

When the wicked are in authority,

Transgressions increase.

But the righteous will look upon their downfall.

Discipline your children.

They will give you rest.

They will give delight to your heart.”

The children who get beat with the rod and rebuked will get wisdom. A mother will be in disgrace because of a neglected child. When the wicked are in charge, transgressions increase. However, the righteous wait for their downfall. If you discipline your children, they will give rest and delight to your heart. Discipline those kids!

The fool (Prov 18:1-18:3)

“Whoever lives alone is self-indulgent.

He shows contempt for all who have sound judgment.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding.

He only wants to express his own personal opinion.

When wickedness comes,

Contempt comes also.

With dishonor comes disgrace.”

The fool does not take any pleasure in understanding. He only wants to hear his own personal opinion expressed to others. If you live alone, you are self-indulgent since you show contempt for any other person with a sound judgment other than your own. When wickedness comes, contempt comes with it. With dishonor comes disgrace. The fool seems to be a loner who is worried about his own opinions.

Hope and knowledge (Prov 13:12-13:19)

“Hope deferred

Makes the heart sick.

But a desire fulfilled

Is a tree of life.

Whoever despises the word

Brings destruction on themselves.

But whoever respects the commandment

Will be rewarded.

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life.

Thus one may avoid the snares of death.

Good sense wins favor.

But the way of the faithless is their ruin.

The clever do all things intelligently.

But the fool displays folly.

A bad messenger brings trouble.

But a faithful envoy brings healing.

Poverty and disgrace come to

Whoever ignores instruction.

But whoever heeds reproof is honored.

A desire realized

Is sweet to the soul.

But to turn away from evil

Is an abomination to fools.”

When hope is deferred, it brings on sickness. However, when a desire is fulfilled, the tree of life grows more. If you despise the word or commandment of God, you will bring on your own destruction. If you respect the commandments, then you will be rewarded. Listen to the teachings of the wise ones because they are fountain of life to help you avoid the snares of death. Good sense will win you favors, while the faithless way leads to ruin. The clever smart ones do everything intelligently, while the fools tend to be foolish. It is better to be a good messenger than a bad messenger because that will bring healing to people. If you ignore instruction, you will end up poor and in disgrace. If you follow instructions, you will be honored. Realizing your dreams and hopes is sweet. The problem is that the evil ones have a hard time turning away from evil since they are so attracted to it.

Integrity (Prov 11:1-11:4)

“A false balance is an abomination to Yahweh.

But an accurate weight is his delight.

When pride comes,

Then disgrace comes.

But wisdom is with the humble.

The integrity of the upright guides them.

But the crookedness of the treacherous

Destroys them.

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath.

But righteousness delivers from death.”

Yahweh wants integrity in humans. They should not use a false scale, but have accurate weights in their business dealings. Pride brings disgrace while humility is wise. Integrity should be your guide, as it is for the upright, because the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. On the day of wrath, riches will not be worth much, but righteousness will deliver you from death.

Treat other people well (Prov 3:27-3:35)

“Do not withhold goods

From those to whom it is due,

When it is in your power to do it.

Do not say to your neighbor.

‘Go!

Come again!

Tomorrow I will give it.’

If you have it with you.

Do not plan harm against your neighbor.

He lives trustingly beside you.

Do not quarrel with anyone without cause,

When no harm has been done to you.

Do not envy the violent!

Do not choose any of their ways!

The perverse are an abomination to Yahweh.

But the upright are in his confidence.

Yahweh’s curse is on the house of the wicked.

But he blesses the abode of the righteous.

Toward the scorners

He is scornful.

But to the humble

He shows favor.

The wise will inherit honor.

But stubborn fools will inherit disgrace.”

When you owe someone something, you should repay it if you are able. Do not tell your neighbor to come back tomorrow, if you already have it. Do not plan any harm against your trusting neighbor. Do not quarrel with anyone without cause if they have not done anything to you. Do not envy the violent or follow any of their ways. While the perverse are an abomination to Yahweh, the upright are in the confidence of God. Yahweh curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. To scorners, he is scornful. However, to the humble, he shows his favor. The wise will inherit honor but the stubborn fools will only find disgrace.