Evil wives (Sir 25:16-25:20)

“I would rather live with a lion.

I would rather live with a dragon

Than live with an evil wife.

A wife’s wickedness

Changes her appearance.

Her wickedness darkens her face

Like that of a bear.

Her husband sits

Among the neighbors.

He cannot help sighing bitterly.

Any iniquity is small

Compared to a wife’s iniquity.

May a sinner’s lot befall her!

A sandy ascent

For the feet of the aged,

Such is a garrulous wife

To a quiet husband.”

Sirach continues his diatribe against women, particularly evil wives. He would rather live with a lion or a dragon, rather than an evil wife. In fact, he insists that her appearance changes because of her wickedness since her face will become dark like that of a bear. That would be some sight. Her poor husband will have to sit and eat with his neighbors and sigh bitterly. The worse kind of iniquity or evil is that committed by your wife. She should be reckoned as a sinner. This evil wife talks too much for her quiet husband. Thus he is like an old man trying to climb up a sandy dune. Sirach wants you to have pity for this poor husband with the evil wife, as if it never happened the other way around. Or perhaps he had some personal experience that colored his attitude.

Words of fools and the wise (Sir 21:25-21:28)

“The lips of the babblers

Speak of what is not their concern.

But the words of the prudent

Are weighed in the balance.

The mind of fools

Is in their mouth.

But the mouth of the wise

Is in their mind.

When an ungodly man

Curses his adversary,

He curses himself.

A whisperer degrades himself.

He is hated in his neighborhood.”

Sirach indicates that foolish babblers talk about things that do not concern them. However, the words of the prudent wise ones are heavily weighted in the balance. The minds of the fools are in their mouths, but the reverse is true for the wise. In other words, the foolish speak without thinking, while the wise think before they speak. When an ungodly fool curses his enemy, he is actually cursing himself. The foolish whisperer is degrading himself, because his neighbors hate his whispering gossip.