The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 25:13–26:17


13  How great is he who finds wisdom and knowledge! But there is no one above him who fears the Lord.

Sir25:10  O how great is he that findeth wisdom! yet is there none above him that feareth the Lord.

14  The fear of God has set itself above all things.

Sir25:11  But the love of the Lord passeth all things for illumination: he that holdeth it, whereto shall he be likened?


15  Blessed is the man to whom it has been given to have the fear of God. He who holds to it, to whom can he be compared?


16  The fear of God is the beginning of his love; and the beginning of faith has been joined closely to the same.

Sir25:12  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of his love: and faith is the beginning of cleaving unto him.


17  The sadness of the heart is every wound. And the wickedness of a wife is every malice.

18  And a man will choose any wound, but the wound of the heart,


19  and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a wife,

Sir25:13  Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman


20  and any obstacle, but the obstacle of those who hate him,


21  and any vindication, but the vindication of his enemies.

Sir25:14  And any affliction, but the affliction from them that hate me: and any revenge, but the revenge of enemies.

22  There is no head worse than the head of a serpent,

Sir25:15  There is no head above the head of a serpent; and there is no wrath above the wrath of an enemy.

23  and there is no anger above the anger of a wife. It would be more agreeable to abide with a lion or a dragon, than to live with a wicked wife.

Sir25:16  I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon, than to keep house with a wicked woman.

24  A wicked wife changes her face. And she darkens her countenance like a bear. And she displays it like sackcloth. In the midst of her neighbors,

Sir25:17  The wickedness of a woman changeth her face, and darkeneth her countenance like sackcloth.

25  her husband groans, and hearing of this, he sighs a little.

Sir25:18  Her husband shall sit among his neighbours; and when he heareth it shall sigh bitterly.

26  All malice is brief compared to the malice of a wife. Let the fate of sinners fall upon her!

Sir25:19  All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman: let the portion of a sinner fall upon her.

27  As climbing over sand is to the feet of the aged, so is a talkative wife to a quiet man.

Sir25:20  As the climbing up a sandy way is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of words to a quiet man.

28  You should not favor a woman’s beauty, and you should not desire a wife for her beauty.

Sir25:21  Stumble not at the beauty of a woman, and desire her not for pleasure.


29  The anger and disrespect and shame from a wife can be great.


30  The wife, if she has primacy, is set against her husband.

Sir25:22  A woman, if she maintain her husband, is full of anger, impudence, and much reproach.

31  A wicked wife debases the heart, and saddens the face, and wounds the heart.

Sir25:23  A wicked woman abateth the courage, maketh an heavy countenance and a wounded heart: a woman that will not comfort her husband in distress maketh weak hands and feeble knees.


32  A wife who does not make her husband happy enfeebles the hands and weakens the knees.


33  The beginning of sin came from a woman; and through her, we all die.

Sir25:24  Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.

34  You should not provide an exit to your water, not even a little; nor should you give permission for a wicked wife to exceed the limit.

Sir25:25  Give the water no passage; neither a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad.

35  If she will not walk at your hand, she will confound you in the sight of your enemies.

Sir25:26  If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go.


36  Tear her away from your body, lest she abuse you continually.


26:1  Blessed is the husband of a good wife. For the number of his years is doubled.


26:2  A good wife delights her husband, and she will fill up the years of his life with peace.

A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and he shall fulfil the years of his life in peace.


26:3  A good wife is a good portion. She will be given the portion of those who fear God, like a man who has done good deeds.


26:4  But, rich or poor, with a good heart, his countenance will be cheerful at all times.

Whether a man be rich or poor, if he have a good heart toward the Lord, he shall at all times rejoice with a cheerful countenance.

26:5  Of three things, my heart has been afraid, and at a fourth, my face has shown dread

There be three things that mine heart feareth; and for the fourth I was sore afraid: the slander of a city, the gathering together of an unruly multitude, and a false accusation: all these are worse than death.

26:6  an accusation made by a city, and the gathering of a mob,

But a grief of heart and sorrow is a woman that is jealous over another woman, and a scourge of the tongue which communicateth with all.

26:7  and a deceitful false accusation. All these are more grievous than death.

An evil wife is a yoke shaken to and fro: he that hath hold of her is as though he held a scorpion.

26:8  A jealous wife is a grief and a mourning to the heart.

A drunken woman and a gadder abroad causeth great anger, and she will not cover her own shame.

26:9  In a jealous wife, there is a scourge of the tongue, which communicates with everyone.

The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids.

26:10  Like a yoke of oxen being provoked, so also is a wicked wife. He who has hold of her is like one who has taken hold of a scorpion.

10  If thy daughter be shameless, keep her in straitly, lest she abuse herself through overmuch liberty.

26:11  An inebriated wife is a great wrath. And her disgrace and indecency will not be covered.

11  Watch over an impudent eye: and marvel not if she trespass against thee.

26:12  The fornication of a wife will become known by the haughtiness of her eyes and by her eyelids.

12  She will open her mouth, as a thirsty traveller when he hath found a fountain, and drink of every water near her: by every hedge will she sit down, and open her quiver against every arrow.

26:13  So that her daughter will not also turn away, keep a strict watch; otherwise, having found an opportunity, she may enjoy herself.

13  The grace of a wife delighteth her husband, and her discretion will fatten his bones.

26:14  Be wary of the irreverence of her eyes, and you should not wonder if she might disregard you.

14  A silent and loving woman is a gift of the Lord; and there is nothing so much worth as a mind well instructed.

26:15  Like a thirsty traveler, she will open her mouth to the fountain, and she will drink from every water nearby, and she will sit down beside every fencepost, and she will open her quiver to every arrow, until she becomes weary.

15  A shamefaced and faithful woman is a double grace, and her continent mind cannot be valued.

26:16  The grace of an attentive wife will delight her husband, and will fatten his bones.

16  As the sun when it ariseth in the high heaven; so is the beauty of a good wife in the ordering of her house.

26:17  Her discipline is a gift from God.

17  As the clear light is upon the holy candlestick; so is the beauty of the face in ripe age.