“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.
“They will come with dread
When their sins are reckoned up.
Their lawless deeds
Will convict them to their face.”
The unjust impious ones will come with dread to the judgment of God. Their sins will be reckoned against them. Their lawless deeds will convict them right to their face. This is pretty simple. The unjust lose.
“A man named Simon, of the tribe of Benjamin, who had been made captain of the temple, had a disagreement with the high priest about the administration of the city market. When he could not prevail over the high priest Onias, he went to Apollonius of Tarsus. He at that time was the governor of Coele-syria and Phoenicia. He reported to him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of untold sums of money. The amount of the funds could not be reckoned. They did not belong to the account of the sacrifices. It was possible for them to fall under the control of the king. When Apollonius met the king, he told him of the money about which he had been informed. The king chose Heliodorus, who was in charge of his affairs. He sent him with commands to effect the removal of the reported wealth. Heliodorus at once set out on his journey, ostensibly to make a tour and inspection of the cities of Coele-syria and Phoenicia, but in fact to carry out the king’s purpose.”
Simon, a Benjaminite and not a Levite, was a grandson of Tobias, who married a sister of the high priest Onias II. Thus this captain of the Temple position was somehow hereditary. He had a disagreement with the high priest Onias III about how the city market was run. He did not prevail. Instead, he went to the governor of that area of Coele-syria and Phoenicia. The capital of this area was in Tarsus with Apollonius as the governor. Apollonius was the governor of Samaria in 1 Maccabees, chapter 10, when he had a dispute with Jonathan, the brother of Judas Maccabeus. Simon told Apollonius that there were large sums of money unaccounted for in Jerusalem that did not belong to the sacrifices but should have gone to the king. Apollonius then told King Seleucus IV who then sent his man in charge of these affairs, Heliodorus, to look into these charges.