Sinners until death (Sir 23:16-23:17)

“Two kinds of individuals

Multiply sins.

A third incurs wrath.

Hot passion blazes

Like a burning fire.

Hot passion

Will not be quenched

Until it burns itself out.

Whoever commits fornication

With his near of kin

Will never cease

Until the fire burns him up.

To a fornicator,

All bread is sweet.

He will never cease

Until he dies.”

Here Sirach is like Proverbs with a numerical proverb that is a little unclear. Some sinners multiply their sins, basically those with sins of passion. However, another kind of sinner incurs the wrath of God. Obviously, fornication is wrong. Hot passion blazes like a burning fire until it is quenched and burns itself out. The big sin is sexual fornication with a relative. Sirach believes that this fornicator will not cease until fire burns him up. Each fornicator believes that all bread is sweet, since they make no distinction on who they get involved with. They will only cease their bad habits at death. This is a strong condemnation of the indiscriminate sexual offender, especially those who get sexually involved with their own family members.

Advertisements

Instructions for men concerning women (Sir 9:1-9:9)

“Do not be jealous of the wife of your bosom!

You will teach her an evil lesson

To your own hurt.

Do not give yourself to a woman!

Do not let her trample down your strength!

Do not go near a loose woman!

You will fall into her snares.

Do not associate with a singing girl!

You will be caught by her tricks.

Do not look intently at a virgin!

You may stumble.

You may incur penalties for her.

Do not give yourself to prostitutes!

You may lose your inheritance.

Do not look around in the streets of a city!

Do not wander about in its deserted sections!

Turn away your eyes from a shapely woman!

Do not gaze at beauty belonging to another!

Many have been seduced by a woman’s beauty.

By beauty

Passion is kindled

Like a fire.

Never dine with another man’s wife!

Never revel with her at wine!

Your heart may turn aside to her.

In blood,

You may be plunged into destruction.”

In a series of reprimands for men concerning women, Sirach says that men should not be jealous of their wife. Your jealousy might teach her an evil lesson that you might regret since she might be jealous of you. Do not let women take away your strength. Stay away from loose women and singing women because they might trick you. Don’t stare at virgins. Obviously, don’t go to prostitutes because you could lose all your money. Do not go wandering around deserted parts of the city. Don’t let your eyes be caught looking at a beautiful shapely women. Beauty quickly seduces into passion. Don’t eat or drink with another man’s wife. Your heart could turn towards her. You might be plunged into destruction. Thus we see the proper and improper conduct of men towards women in the 2nd century BCE.

The power of love (Song 8:5-8:7)

Male lover

“Under the apple tree I awakened you.

There your mother was in labor with you.

There she who bore you was in labor.

Set me as a seal upon your heart.

Set me as a seal upon your arm.

Love is as strong as death.

Passion is as fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire.

It is a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love.

Neither can floods drown it.

If one offered for love

All the wealth of one’s house,

It would be utterly scorned.”

The male lover woke his lover up under the apple tree. He maintains that it was there that she was born from the labor of her mother. Now he wants his lover to bear his seal on her heart and on her arm. The seal was a sense of ownership. Then he went on to talk about the power of love. Love is just as strong as death. Passion is just as fierce as the grave. The love flashes of fire become a raging flame that no water can quench. Not even a flood can drown out love. If someone offers all the wealth they had, the lover would scorn it for his true love.

The ruler king (Prov 14:28-14:35)

“The glory of a king

Is a multitude of people.

Without people

A prince is ruined.

Whoever is slow to anger

Has great understanding.

But one who has a hasty temper

Exalts folly.

A tranquil mind

Gives life to the flesh.

But passion

Makes the bones rot.

Those who oppresses the poor

Insult their maker.

But those who are kind to the needy

Honor him.

The wicked are overthrown

By their evildoing.

But the righteous find

A refuge in their integrity.

Wisdom is at home

In the mind of one who has understanding.

But it is not known

In the heart of fools.

Righteousness exalts a nation.

But sin is a reproach to any people.

A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor.

But his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.”

The great kings rule over a large amount of people. Without people, there cannot be any ruling princes. Those who are slow to anger have great understanding. Those with a hasty temper are foolish. Tranquility gives life to your body, while passion rots your bones. If you oppress the poor, you insult the creator. If you are kind to the needy, then you honor your creator. The wicked will be overthrown by their own evildoing. The righteous will always have integrity. Wisdom belongs to those who have understanding. There is no wisdom in the heart of fools. Righteousness will exalt a nation, but sin can be a reproach to a whole group of people. A wise servant gains the king’s favor, while wrath falls on those servants who act shamefully.