God’s creative uniqueness (Sir 33:7-33:13)

“Why is one day

More important than another?

All the daylight in the year

Is from the sun.

By the Lord’s wisdom

They were distinguished.

He appointed

The different seasons.

He appointed

The different festivals.

He exalted some days

He hallowed some days.

He made some days ordinary.

All human beings come

From the ground.

Humankind was created

Out of the dust.

In the fullness of his knowledge

The Lord distinguished them.

He appointed their different ways.

He blessed some.

He exalted some.

He made some holy.

He brought them

Near to himself.

He cursed some.

He brought some low.

He turned them out of their place.

Like clay

In the hand of the potter,

To be molded as he pleases,

We are all in the hands

Of our maker

To be given

Whatever he decides.”

Sirach asks the question why some days are more important than others. After all, the sun shines every day, so what is the difference? Sirach’s response is that the Lord’s wisdom distinguishes between ordinary days and the different seasons. The Lord, not humans, have made holy days and festival days. Using the chapter one story of Genesis, chapter 1, he mentions that all humans come from dust, yet some are better than others. Some were blessed and lifted up. Some were holy and close to God. On the other hand, some were cursed. They are all like clay in the great potter’s hands. He molds them however he pleases and whatever way he decides. This is a very deterministic view of humans since everything is controlled by God.

The good and bad wife (Sir 26:22-26:27)

“A prostitute is regarded as spittle.

A married woman

Is a tower of death to her lovers.

A godless wife is given as a portion

To a lawless man.

But a pious wife is given

To a man who fears the Lord.

A shameless woman constantly

Acts disgracefully.

A modest daughter will even

Be embarrassed before her husband.

A headstrong wife is regarded as a dog.

But one who has a sense of shame

Will fear the Lord.

A wife honoring her husband

Will seem wise to all.

But if she dishonors him

In her pride,

She will be known to all

As ungodly.

Happy is the husband

Of a good wife.

The number of his years

Will be doubled.

A loud voiced wife is

Like a trumpet sound.

A garrulous wife is

Like a trumpet sounding the charge.

Every person like this,

Lives in the anarchy of war.”

This section, like the preceding, does not appear in some editions. Sirach once again distinguishes between the good and the bad wife. Of course, prostitutes are like spit. A married wife who has lovers is like the tower of death to them. These godless wives belong with lawless husbands. On the other hand, a pious wife is a gift to a husband who fears the Lord. The shameless wife consistently acts disgraceful, so that even her daughter is embarrassed when her husband is around. A headstrong wife is a like a dog. She needs to be brought under control. The wife who has a sense of shame fears the Lord. Wives who honor their husbands are seen as wise. However, the ungodly wives dishonor their husbands. If a man has a good wife, as above, his life span will be doubled. A loud and talky wife is like a trumpet sound in battle. They deserve to live in a war of anarchy. Thus the humble wife is the ideal.