The Sirach on women

As a Christian who has read some of the apocrypha and also some of the books that were struck from the “Protestant Bible,” I am honestly confused why some of these books were removed.  I’ve speculated before that Protestant is probably the ‘less mature’ faith in that it has fewer real Christians than Catholic and Orthodox. That can be read about in Nothing new under the sun Christian denominations.

Anyway, that’s neither here or there. The purpose of the post is the Sirach on women.

Sirach 9:1 Don’t be jealous of the wife you love. You will only be teaching her how to do you harm. 2 Do not surrender your dignity to any woman. 3 Keep away from other men’s wives[a] or they will trap you. 4 Don’t keep company with female musicians; they will trick you. 5 Don’t look too intently at a virgin, or you may find yourself forced to pay a bride price. 6 Don’t give yourself to prostitutes, or you may lose everything you own. 7 So don’t go looking about in the streets or wandering around in the run-down parts of town. 8 When you see a good-looking woman, look the other way; don’t let your mind dwell on the beauty of any woman who is not your wife. Many men have been led astray by a woman’s beauty. It kindles passion as if it were fire. 9 Don’t sit down to eat with another man’s wife or join her for a drink. You may give in to the temptation of her charms and be destroyed by your passion.

Lots of good stuff here for both single and married men on temptations to avoid.

Sirach 23:16 There are any number of ways to sin and bring down the Lord’s anger, but sexual passion is a hot, blazing fire that cannot be put out at will; it can only burn itself out. A man who lives for nothing but sexual enjoyment will keep on until that fire destroys him. 17 To such a man all women are desirable, and he can never get enough as long as he lives.

18 The man who is unfaithful to his wife thinks to himself, No one will ever know. It’s dark in here, and no one sees me. I have nothing to worry about. As for the Most High, he won’t even notice. 19 This man is only afraid of other people. He doesn’t realize that the eyes of the Lord are 10,000 times brighter than the sun, that he sees everything we do, even when we try to hide it. 20 He knew everything before he created the world, as well as after. 21 That sinful man will be caught when he least expects it, and punished publicly.

22 The same is true of a woman who is unfaithful to her husband and presents him with a child by another man. 23 In the first place, she has broken the Law of the Most High. In the second place, she has wronged her husband. And in the third place, she has made a whore of herself by committing adultery and bearing the child of a man not her husband. 24-25 The children will suffer for her sin. They will not be able to find a place in society or establish families. She herself will be brought before the assembly 26 and permanently disgraced. There will be a curse on her memory. After she is gone, 27 everyone will realize that nothing is better than fearing the Lord, nothing is sweeter than keeping his commands.

The first part goes well with 1 Corinthians 7.

Also, don’t be unfaithful and be wary of unfaithful women with the capacity to cuck you.

Sirach 25:13 No wound is as serious as wounded love. No troubles are as serious as the troubles that women cause. 14 No sufferings are worse than the sufferings caused by people who hate you. No revenge is worse than revenge taken by an enemy. 15 No poison is deadlier than the poison of a snake, and no anger is deadlier than the anger of a woman.[e]

16 I would rather live in the same house with a lion or a dragon than with a bad wife. 17 When a wife is in a bad mood, her expression changes until she looks like an angry bear. 18 Her husband has to go and eat with the neighbors, where he can’t hold back his bitter sighs.

19 Compared with the troubles caused by a woman, any other trouble looks small. May such women suffer the fate of sinners!

20 A quiet man living with a nagging wife is like an old man climbing up a sandy hill.

21 Never lose your head over a woman’s beauty, and don’t try to win a woman because she is wealthy.[f] 22 When a man is supported by his wife, there is sure to be anger, arrogance, and humiliation. 23 A bad wife will make her husband gloomy and depressed, and break his heart. Show me a timid man who can never make up his mind, and I will show you a wife who doesn’t make her husband happy. 24 Sin began with a woman, and we must all die because of her. 25 Don’t let a bad wife have her way, any more than you would allow water to leak from your cistern. 26 If she won’t do as you tell her, divorce her.

Sounds a lot like Proverbs in this section, except more direct advice.

Sirach 36: 21 A woman has to take any man as a husband, but a man must choose his wife carefully. 22 A woman’s beauty makes a man happy; there is no fairer sight for the human eye to see. 23 If the woman is kind and gentle in her speech, her husband is the most fortunate of men. 24 When a man marries, he gets the finest thing he will ever have—a wife to help and encourage him.

25 If property is not fenced in, thieves will wander in and help themselves. And if a man has no wife, he is a sighing wanderer; 26 people have no more trust in a homeless person who sleeps in a different place every night than they have in a wandering thief who goes from town to town.

Advice on choosing a wife. Surprise: beauty is included.

Sirach 42:9 Although he will not let his daughter know it, a father will lie awake at night worrying about her. If she is young, he worries that she might not get married. If she is already married, he worries about her happiness. 10 If she is a virgin, he worries that she might be seduced and become pregnant while living in his house. If she is married, he worries that she might be unfaithful, or that she might not be able to have children.

11 Keep a close watch over your daughter if she is determined to have her own way. If you don’t, she may make a fool of you in front of your enemies. You will be a constant joke to everyone in town, a public disgrace. Make sure that her room has no windows or any place where she can look out to the entrance of the house.[a] 12 Don’t let her show off her beauty in front of men, or spend her time talking with the women.[b] 13 Women hurt other women just as moths damage clothing.

14 A man’s wickedness is better than a woman’s goodness; women bring shame and disgrace.

The worries of a father. Verse 14 is harsh harsh though.

Anyway, there’s wisdom like this and other topics in the whole book.

Protestants should take heed even though it’s not in the Bible, and Catholic and Orthodox should pay close attention too.

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29 Responses to The Sirach on women

  1. earl says:

    ‘Don’t sit down to eat with another man’s wife or join her for a drink. You may give in to the temptation of her charms and be destroyed by your passion.’

    Kind of the Pence rule there.

  2. Pilgrim of the East says:

    [quote I am honestly confused why some of these books were removed. I’ve speculated before that Protestant is probably the ‘less mature’ faith in that it has fewer real Christians than Catholic and Orthodox.[/quote]
    Reason why they were removed is simple – they are not part of traditional Jewish Tanakh and as such they were suspicious. Evidence whether canon of Tanakh was already fixed before Jesus’ time is inconclusive.

    Regarding maturity in faith and real Christians, I think that your view is skewed by being American (where majority is Protestant and minority Catholic). Here in the Czech republic opposite seems true – and my explanation is that more devotion is needed to endure being part of the minority creed.

  3. Dismal farmer says:

    That book was definitively in the Greek version of scripture that all Jews in the Holy Land (including Christ) used at the time. However it was not on the Hebrew scriptures in use by German Jewish rabbis when the sadly mentally ill Martin Luther came out of a period of depression into his manic phase and decided that the Holy Spirit had given him personal authority to revise the Bible.
    (Stating the truth, that Martin Luther was certifiably mentally ill, by no means refutes the obvious historical fact that the Catholic Church at that time was plagued by a number of very serious internal problems.)

  4. Wayne says:

    I have read several apocryphal books, and I agree. There are a lot of insightful perspectives and useful teachings there. I believe the reason they were omitted from the canon is for any of the following reasons.
    1. The concepts stand at variance with more accepted teachings, and the reasons are too difficult to understand and explain.
    2. The concepts have the potential to be disruptive to the organized church management, or to societal order.
    3. The concepts uncover a truth about human nature that is too ugly or controversial to be presented for an open discussion. (Like the manosphere does for hypergamy.)
    4. The need for conciseness and clarity. As an illustration, If current scholars wanted to create a new canon that would be even more clear and concise, they could trim off everything in the Bible except the pentateuch, the gospels, and the epistles. Doing so doesn’t make the excluded books useless or inaccurate.

  5. Sean Alam says:

    Hello,

    After reading the above I can only go further in the direction that I truly do not believe that a “ Christian wife” alone will allow for a fulfilling marriage anymore than a non believing spouse. A person who appreciates love and values commitment is enough. I posted once before on a similar topic. As a believer myself, although a constant work in progress I feel that I’ve experienced more disrespect, & manipulative behavior from Christians. In the south where I live there are many that will speak to the will of God however adultery, lying, and broken marriages is becoming more of an alarming trend in the church. My personal opinion is that many Christian men are simply weak. They are only sorry once exposed. No self respect, and more importantly no will power. Women that I’ve encountered particularly my ex wife was the worst example of a Godly wife and overall self proclaimed woman of character. You have sound individuals who practice Christianity and very deceiving ones as well. I was my ex wife’s 3rd husband. She is a single mother, had family living with her, and many dark secrets. She has a very masculine presence and does not understand sexual polarity. She was my first and only wife. I have no children and a working professional like herself. I immediately divorced her due to her communicating with men behind my back. These men where either ex-flings or married church goers. I do not wish any negative on her as I feel that she will continue to get exposed with each lie which is going to be tough enough for her. Her lack of effective dialogue and inability to work through issues is alarming. The blatant disregard and sabatoging behavior was something that I never experienced before. She then proceeded to stonewall me and refused reconciliation. Then once I filed for divorced we spoke only once in which she created a massive seen in public. I never looked back at this point. She had the audacity to make false accusations against me, and stated we could only be together once her old pastor approved. This was of course before I filed for divorce. I never even met the man. She wouldn’t even spend the night at my place except on weekends. She refused to move, go to church with me, etc. Two of her three husbands are non white, however she continued to make racist remarks. She is only half white herself. I too am one of the non-white ex-husbands. She is a medical professional with low emotional intelligence. She pressed for the wedding, bought and paid for everything ( rings ) and I did not need her to as I’m blessed financially and offered to provide this for her. Not deminishing her financial capabilities but mine was and still is greater. She said God wanted her to marry me then God wanted her to leave. She had elders at her old church tell her to leave me and she should be alone. However, these are all married couples. Bizarre. Yes, I prayed and sought out Christian counsel. God apparently didn’t want this to improve. I gave it time but I’m no ones fool nor will I tolerate the indecency of any woman. Her past is checkered most of which is public record and she’s well aware of this. And I mean checkered. I divorced her yes, but I was deceived by a woman that can literally quote scripture. She continues to prey on weak minded significantly older men. Yes, spiritualy it took me about a year to come to terms with the fact that God can forgive me for divorcing her. That was the hardest to deal with. I will never marry again. I do not believe in multiple wives nor do I have the willingness to take in another mans child as my own. Christianity wasn’t our issue free will was. I’m warning you DO NOT MARRY A DIVORCED WOMAN ESPECIALLY A SINGLE MOM. And NEVER allow church, other Christians to intervene in your marriage. You are not married to church nor are you to abide by the rule of others. Only God’s will should guide your decision making on matters of marriage. Scripture creates beauty in the image of what we hope to secure in a partner. However, the convenant has now simply become a contract culture….

  6. theasdgamer says:

    I was commenting to my Protestant wife that there’s wisdom outside the Bible…even in Buddhism and Taoism. And in the disputed Catholic books, which you ably demonstrated. Jerome didn’t think that the disputed books should be included, and he was probably the greatest translator and Biblical scholar produced by Catholicism. Nevertheless, there is wisdom in some of the disputed books. You’ll probably find these referenced less in the Early Church Fathers than the undisputed books, which speaks strongly as regards which books we should consider more important for the faith. For learning Red Pill truths, the passages you quoted seem helpful.

    I’m curious…is there a Catholic counterpart to Billy Graham?

  7. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    DS,

    Regarding verse 14, I have always maintained this.

    Default female nature = corrupt male nature.

    And I wasn’t even aware that verse existed. I gleaned that just from my reading of Scripture (Proverbs and the Prophets) as well as some of the classic Greek literature and ECF writings.

  8. Pingback: Man as the Middle Manager | Σ Frame

  9. Novaseeker says:

    The Orthodox Church uses the LXX for the Old Testament — contra Jerome’s new Latin translation, which was based on post-70 rabbinical Judaism’s Hebrew Tanakh rather than the LXX, which is actually the OT that is quoted in the NT texts — so it includes not just the ones in the Catholic version of the bible but a few other things like the prayer of manasseh.

    is there a Catholic counterpart to Billy Graham?

    Closest in the modern age would be John Paul II before the Parkinson’s really began to kick in. He was a global rock star from 1978 until at least the mid-90s. Much shorter time frame than Graham, of course, but Pope’s are normally already old(ish) when elected — he was actually youngish at his election (58).

  10. earl says:

    Default female nature = corrupt male nature.

    Makes sense…which is why a husband shouldn’t be led by his wife lest this situation becomes a reality.

  11. earl says:

    Sirach (or Ben Sira) 7:23-25 as far as fatherly advice.

    ‘Do you have sons? Correct them
    and cure their stubbornness in their early youth.
    Do you have daughters? Keep them chaste,
    and do not be indulgent to them.
    Give your daughter in marriage, and a worry comes to an end;
    but give her to a sensible man.’

    I’d suggest looking up the word ‘indulgent’…you’ll come to find keeping your daughter chaste and not being indulgent to them is probably the best parental advice you can get for a father.

  12. Oscar says:

    If you have to tell fathers “don’t be indulgent to [your daughters]”, then it’s probably because you know fathers are inclined to indulge their daughters. And, guess what? It’s true. And I say that as a father of five daughters and four sons.

  13. earl says:

    @Oscar…

    I’m not a parent so I’ve learned whatever advice I give means nothing.

    However Scriptural advice is a different story. This whole princess phenomenon parents do with their daughters is sickening to me.

  14. Oscar says:

    Earl,

    What surprises me is that fathers’ inclination towards indulging their daughters is ancient, and not culturally dependent, which means it must be inherent to fathers with daughters. Otherwise, why would Sirach feel the need to give fathers that advice 3,000 years ago, in a culture alien to our own?

    If you listen to feminists, fathers right there considered their daughters as little more than cattle to be sold to the highest bidder. And, you know what? To some extent, I believed them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been surprised at Sirach’s advice.

    I may be a fish who knows he’s wet, but every once in a while, I still need to be reminded that I’ve been swimming in feminism my whole life.

  15. earl says:

    If you listen to feminists, fathers right there considered their daughters as little more than cattle to be sold to the highest bidder.

    I never listen to what feminists think when it comes to anything about being a man. They are clueless at best and haters at worst.

  16. Oscar says:

    Earl,

    None of us do, consciously. But, because our culture is saturated with feminism, we all start out looking at things through a lens warped by feminism. Those of us who frequent these blogs are in the process of divesting ourselves of feminist assumptions we’ve absorbed from the culture, but it’s a process. It doesn’t happen instantaneously.

  17. Swanny River says:

    What do you think 9:1 means. My wife gets heavy kudos from others for her PhD and her current writing of a book (about how women need to unite to throw off patriarchy). I get very angry because these kudos are coming from Christians. Some may call my response jealousy.

  18. Oscar says:

    @ SR

    “My wife gets heavy kudos from others for her PhD and her current writing of a book (about how women need to unite to throw off patriarchy).”

    Dude, that’s rough.

  19. earl says:

    ‘Some may call my response jealousy.’

    Are you jealous of the kudos for the sheepskin and the book…or mad at what the PhD and the book is about.

    Throw off patriarchy??? Is her PhD in gender studies?

  20. Lexet Blog says:

    Books left out are those not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Sirach is earthly wisdom, not inspired, and I’m not sure it’s wholly accepted in Judaism.

  21. The Apocrypha are in both the King James Bible and the Geneva Bible.

  22. Swanny River says:

    Earl,
    I’m a mixed bag of emotions, so jealousy for being more successful than me is a part of it, but it feels like a minor part. I don’t like that the conservative church enables her so heartily, and the culture at large. As if we have a surplus of happy homes and a few more career women won’t hurt.

    It’s for a publisher who reached out to her, so it may end up in gender classes, but it is a philosophy book.
    The reason I don’t like Sirach is because it mentions the daughter being a shame, but shame has changed. Fathers are ashamed of vulnerable, kind helpmeet daughters.

  23. Novaseeker says:

    I’m not sure it’s wholly accepted in Judaism.

    Rabbinical Judaism, as in post-Christ Judaism? No. But the OT that was quoted in the NT wasn’t a product of rabbinical Judaism, it was the LXX, which was the Greek language OT that was in circulation among educated Jews in the eastern med at the time, who knew how to read and speak Greek, which is why it ended up being quoted in the NT. The prioritization of what post-AD 70, post-Christian Judaism had to say about the canonicity of scriptures by some Protestant Christians is really beyond puzzling, given the textual sources used in the NT itself.

  24. earl says:

    Books left out are those not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Sirach is earthly wisdom, not inspired, and I’m not sure it’s wholly accepted in Judaism.

    The Catholic church says it’s inspired

    ‘Though not included in the Jewish Bible after the first century A.D., nor, therefore, accepted by Protestants, the Wisdom of Ben Sira has been recognized by the Catholic Church as inspired and canonical. ‘

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/intro/?search=Ben+Sira&version=NABRE

  25. Paul says:

    About the Apocryphals or Deutero-Canonicals:
    as with many writings, much can be learned. The discussion in the Church has been around the issue if these are to be seen as inspired Scripture. Arguments on the Canon include reference to use of “the LXX” (there is no such thing), the Dead-Sea scrolls, the Rabinical testimony, the testimony of the early Church, and textual criticism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint

    There’s an interesting testimony of Justin Martyr which describes the altering of the OT text by Rabbinic Judaism as a response to Christian preaching (commonly using a presumed LXX text) in his Dialogue with Trypho (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html). Of course Justin Martyr might not have had all the information available that we do, so we need to carefully handle his comments.

  26. Ilo Stabet says:

    You forgot these great lines, from Chapter 26, that contain the concept of the ‘thousand cock stare’ as well as ‘hypergamy’:


    A wife’s harlotry shows in her lustful eyes,
        and she is known by her eyelids.
    10 
    Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter,
        lest, when she finds liberty, she use it to her hurt.
    11 
    Be on guard against her impudent eye,
        and do not wonder if she sins against you.
    12 
    As a thirsty wayfarer opens his mouth
        and drinks from any water near him,
    so will she sit in front of every post
        and open her quiver to the arrow.

  27. earl says:

    Who knew wimminz thirst was also real?

  28. bdash 77 says:

    most Christian women want to have alone one on one meetings with married men.

    Jen Wilkin who aspires for more female leaders regularly has one on one meetings with Pastors…

    modern Christian women have no respect for their wife

  29. Jeff Strand says:

    No surprise to me that post-Christian Jews removed these “apocryphal” books from their Scriptures. Some of what is in them is very embarrassing for them, as they clearly contain prophecies of Christ.

    For example, read Wisdom, chapter 2. The first time I read that, my jaw hit the floor. It is right up there with Isaiah, chapter 53 in it’s uncanny accuracy in describing the Passion of Our Lord.

    No doubt, if Isaiah wasn’t such a major prophet, the post-Christian rabbis would have thrown that book (or at least chapter 53) on the ash heap as well. Sad to think that Martin Luther would then have done likewise.

    And btw, to the person who said it is no insult, but merely a matter of fact, to state that Martin Luther was quite obviously severely mentally ill. Thank you for that. I have often thought the same.

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