Wisdom of Ben Sira 26

Chapter 26

1 Blessed is the husband of a good wife;
because of her his life span will be doubled.
2 A loyal wife brings joy to her husband;
he will live out his years in peace.
3 A good wife is an incalculable blessing,
and she is bestowed on the man who fears the Lord.
4 Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
and his face is always wreathed in smiles.
5 There are three things that cause my heart to quake,
and a fourth that terrifies me:
slanderous charges in the city, the gathering of a mob,
and false accusations—all these are worse than death.
6 But when a wife is jealous of a rival, it causes heartache and sorrow,
and everyone suffers the scourge inflicted by her tongue.
7 A bad wife is like a yoke that does not fit;[a]
trying to control her is more difficult than handling a scorpion.
8 A drunken wife arouses great anger,
for she is unable to conceal her shame.
9 An unchaste wife can be discerned by her haughty stare;
her sidelong glances reveal the truth.
10 Keep a strict watch over a headstrong wife,[b]
or else, when she senses an opportunity, she will seize her chance.
11 Be on the lookout for her imprudent glance,
and do not be surprised if she disgraces you.
12 As a thirsty traveler will open his mouth
and drink from any water source that he comes across,
so she will settle down in front of every tent-peg
and open her quiver to any arrow.
13 A gracious wife delights her husband,
and her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones.
14 A silent wife is a gift from the Lord;
her disciplined virtue is of surpassing value.
15 A modest wife is the choicest of blessings;
no scales can weigh the worth of her chastity.
16 Like the sun rising in the heavens of the Lord
is the beauty of a virtuous wife in a well-managed home.
17 Like the light shining on the sacred lampstand
is a beautiful face on a stately figure.
18 Like golden pillars on silver bases
are shapely legs and steadfast feet.[c]
[19 [d]My child, take care of your health in the bloom of your youth,
and do not waste your strength on strangers.
20 Search out the entire plain for a fertile field,
and there sow your own seed, trusting in your fine stock.
21 In this way, your children will prosper around you,
growing up confident in their breeding.
22 A prostitute is looked upon as no better than spittle,
but a married woman is a deadly snare for those who embrace her.
23 A godless woman is a suitable partner for a lawless husband,
but a pious woman is granted to the man who fears the Lord.
24 A brazen woman constantly acts in a disgraceful manner,
but a virtuous daughter is modest even in the presence of her husband.
25 A headstrong woman is looked upon as no better than a dog,
but one who is modest fears the Lord.
26 A woman who honors her husband is thought of as wise by all,
but if she dishonors him, others will regard her as proud and ungodly.
Blessed is the husband of a good wife,
for she doubles the length of his life.
27 A loud-mouthed, garrulous wife can be regarded
as a battle trumpet sounding the charge.
Any husband who responds to that summons
will live a life marked by the turbulence of war.]

Things That Cause Grief[e]

28 Two things cause grief to my heart,
and a third arouses my anger:
a warrior suffering distress because of poverty,
wise individuals treated with contempt,
and a man who turns from justice to sin,
for whom the Lord will get ready the sword.

Moral Dangers in the Business World[f]

29 It is a rare occurrence when a merchant avoids wrongdoing
or when a shopkeeper is innocent of dishonest practice.

Footnotes

  1. Wisdom of Ben Sira 26:7 A yoke that does not fit: it hurts the animal that bears it.
  2. Wisdom of Ben Sira 26:10 Wife: literally, “daughter.”
  3. Wisdom of Ben Sira 26:18 Once the imagination takes over, the theme is inexhaustible.
  4. Wisdom of Ben Sira 26:19 Added by some early MSS.
  5. Wisdom of Ben Sira 26:28 It is doubtless the mediocrity of his contemporaries that the sage deplores.
  6. Wisdom of Ben Sira 26:29 The world of business often resembles a robbers’ fair, and particular interests take precedence over just weights and the sense of the common good.

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