“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.
“A sensible person
Will not overlook
A thoughtful suggestion.
An insolent proud person
Will not be deterred
But when you have acted,
Do not regret it!
Do not go on a path
Full of hazards!
Do not stumble
On stony ground!
Do not stumble
At an obstacle twice!
Do not be overconfident
On an unexplored smooth way!
Give good heed
To your paths!
In every act!
This is the keeping of the commandments.”
Sirach says that a sensible person will not overlook thoughtful suggestions. At the same time, the insolent and proud person is not deterred by fear, so that they do not fear the Lord. You should deliberate before you act. After your action, you should not regret it. Stay away from hazardous paths. Be careful on stony ground. Don’t stumble on the same obstacle twice. Don’t be overconfident on unexplored smooth paths. Be careful in all that you do. Then you will be keeping the commandments of the Lord.
“Remember the end of your life!
Set enmity aside!
Be true to the commandments!
Remember the commandments!
Do not be angry with your neighbor!
Remember the covenant of the Most High!
Sirach then reminds us of things to do with a series of divine commands. You have to remember a lot of things, especially the end of your lives with death. You ought to remember that there is corruption in this life. You should not have any hostility or antagonism towards others. You have to remember and be true to the commandments of the Lord. You should not be angry with your neighbor. Instead overlook their faults. You should remember the covenant with the Most High God.