Modern Bibles

In the past century a number of scholarly editions of the Bible have appeared, such as the American Standard Version (1901), the Revised Standard Version (1952), the Jerusalem Bible (1966), the New American Bible (1970) and many more editions, including revisions of the King James Bible and on-line Internet Bibles, with many commentaries that can be found at the web site Bible Hub.  All agreed on the New Testament.  The question of which books belong to the Old Testament has been a sticking point.  Most Protestant Bibles contain the thirty-nine books of the Hebrew canon, while Catholics use the Jewish Greek Septuagint that has seven other books that were also in the Latin Vulgate.

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The deuterocanonical Septuagint additions

The Roman Catholic Bible editions usually include seven other books that are from the Septuagint, but not in the Hebrew Bible.  On the other hand, many of the English Protestant Bibles, particularly the King James Bible used only the Hebrew texts.  These later Greek works became known as deuterocanonical or apocryphal works of the Bible.  These post-exilic books tell the stories of various Israelite figures.  These seven extra books have the story of Tobit, the story of Judith, as well as the stories of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees.  However, they also include writings the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or Sirach, and Baruch.

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.

Children (Sir 26:19-26:21)

My child!

Keep sound

The bloom of your youth!

Do not give your strength

To strangers.

Seek a fertile field

Within the whole plain.

Sow it

With your own seed.

Trust in your fine stock.

Your offspring will prosper.

Have confidence

In their good descent.

They will grow great.”

This section does not appear in some editions. Sirach wants you to remember your great youth. Do not give your strength to strangers. When you sow, you should use your own seed on a fertile plain. Apparently he is talking about producing children with sexual interactions. He then implies that you should trust your fine stock. You should have confidence that your offspring will prosper because they come from good descendants so that they will become great.