“If you lend
To those from whom
What credit is that
Lend to sinners,
As much again.”
καὶ ἐὰν δανίσητε παρ’ ὧν ἐλπίζετε λαβεῖν, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς δανίζουσιν ἵνα ἀπολάβωσιν τὰ ἴσα.
Luke indicated that Jesus continued that if they lent money (καὶ ἐὰν δανίσητε παρ’) to those from whom they hoped to receive it back (παρ’ ὧν ἐλπίζετε λαβεῖν), what credit or gift was that to them (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν). Even sinners lend to sinners (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς δανίζουσιν), to receive as much back again (ἵνα ἀπολάβωσιν τὰ ἴσα). Matthew, chapter 5:42, had something similar about lending money. If someone wished to borrow money from them, they should not refuse them or turn them away. These were tough difficult recommendations, but actually based on the Torah. People were expected to give charity and at the same time offer interest free loans. How generous are you with your money?
Do not ask
For them again.”
καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντος τὰ σὰ μὴ ἀπαίτει.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that if anyone was taking away their goods (καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντος τὰ σὰ), they were not to ask for them back again (μὴ ἀπαίτει). Matthew, chapter 5:42, was somewhat similar when he indicated that Jesus said that if someone wished to borrow money from you, you should not refuse them or turn them away (καὶ τὸν θέλοντα ἀπὸ σοῦ δανίσασθαι μὴ ἀποστραφῇς). These were tough difficult recommendations, but actually based on the Torah. Would you be so tolerant?
“Do not consult with fools!
They cannot keep a secret.
In the presence of strangers,
Do nothing that is to be kept secret!
You do not know
What they will divulge.
Do not reveal your thoughts to anyone!
You may drive away your happiness.”
Sirach’s recommendations continue with some words about secrets. Do not consult with fools, which is obvious. They cannot keep a secret. Do not let strangers know what you are doing. You have no idea who or what they will tell about your actions. Do not let anyone know your thoughts because that could lead to your unhappiness.
“Stretch out your hand to the poor.
Thus your blessing may be complete.
Give graciously to all the living.
Do not withhold kindness
Even from the dead.
Do not avoid
Those who weep.
But mourn with those who mourn.
Do not hesitate to visit the sick.
Because for such deeds
You will be loved.
In all you do,
Remember the end of your life.
Then you will never sin.”
Sirach has some recommendations for how to deal with the downtrodden and what the consequences are. First, stretch out your hand to the poor and your blessings will be complete. Be kind and gracious to all the living as well. Secondly, you should be kind to the dead, but it is not clear what is meant here. Thirdly, you should comfort and mourn with those who are weeping and mourning. Fourthly, you should visit the sick because you will be loved for that. Finally, you should remember the end of your life to help you avoid sin. Once again, this is not a clear indication of an afterlife, but a hint at it.
“If you have a wife
Who pleases you,
Do not divorce her.
But do not trust yourself to one
Whom you detest.
With all your heart
Honor your father.
Do not forget
The birth pangs of your mother.
Remember that it was of your parents
You were born.
How can you repay
What they have given you?”
Sirach has some recommendations about family life. You should not divorce a pleasing wife, which makes sense. However, the same is not true about anyone whom you do not trust or whom you detest. This seems to indicate that a man could divorce a woman if he did not like her. On the other hand, you should honor your father, but not forget about your mother’s labor pains at your birth. Stating the obvious, you were born to your parents. He asked the question about what you owe to your parents. In a more absolute statement, he said that you can never repay them for all that they have done for you.
“Do you have cattle?
Look after them.
If they are profitable to you,
Do you have children?
Make them obedient from their youth.
Do you have daughters?
Be concerned for their chastity.
Do not show yourself too indulgent with them.
Give a daughter in marriage.
You will have completed a great task.
But give her to a sensible man.”
Sirach continued with his recommendations on how to handle children. However, he also mentioned cattle. If you had cattle take care of them if they profitable. If not, get rid of them. If you have children, there is a clear directive, discipline them. There is no alternative. They have to be obedient from their youth. If you have daughters, you have to protect their chastity. There is no such recommendation for the sons. You should not indulge your daughters. Your task, as a father, was to get your daughter married to a sensible man. If you did that you had accomplished a great task. However, there is no demand on you to have your son have a good marriage.
“Do not hate hard labor.
Do not hate farm work.
These were created by the Most High.
Do not enroll in the ranks of sinners.
Remember that retribution does not delay.
Humble yourself to the utmost.
The punishment of the ungodly is fire and worms.”
These Sirach recommendations continue. You should not dislike hard labor or farm work since they were created by the Most High God. Do not hang out with sinners because retribution will not be delayed. Humble yourself. The punishment for the ungodly is both fire and worms.