Money and wives (Sir 7:18-7:19)

“Do not exchange a friend for money.

Do not exchange a real brother for the gold of Ophir.

Do not dismiss a wise wife.

Do not dismiss a good wife.

Her charm is worth more than gold.”

Continuing with these sayings of Sirach, you should not exchange a friend for money. Neither should you get rid of your brother for the special gold from Ophir, the great gold mining place. You should not dismiss a wise, good, or charming wife because she is worth more than gold. This seems to indicate it might be all right to get rid of an unwise or bad wife.

An ode to miners (Job 28:1-28:12)

“Surely there is a mine for silver.

There is a place for gold to be refined.

Iron is taken out of the earth.

Copper is smelted from ore.

Miners put an end to darkness.

They search out to the farthest bound.

They search for the ore in gloom and deep darkness.

They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation.

They are forgotten by travelers.

They sway suspended.

They are remote from people.

As for the earth,

Out of it comes bread.

But underneath it is turned up as by fire.

Its stones are the place of sapphires.

Its dust contains gold.”

Here is a hymn to wisdom. There is no indication of any kind of dialogue or assignment to any person. This is then an insertion of the biblical author or the thought of Job as interpreted by the biblical author. You can explain away many things by showing where they come from. This is like a miner’s prayer. The author points out that you can mine for gold and silver. You can take the iron and copper ore and smelt it. These miners open up shafts in the valley. They dig holes where humans do not live. They are forgotten by travelers, as they go beneath the earth to find sapphires and gold dust. It really is an ode to miners and the work they do. Obviously mining was important over 2500 years ago, although we have sometimes forgotten that.