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Sirach 26Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The Joy of a Good Wife

26 Happy is the husband of a good wife;
    the number of his days will be doubled.
A loyal wife rejoices her husband,
    and he will complete his years in peace.
A good wife is a great blessing;
    she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.
Whether rich or poor, his heart is glad,
    and at all times his face is cheerful.

The Worst of Evils: A Wicked Wife

Of three things my heart is afraid,
    and of a fourth I am frightened:[a]
The slander of a city, the gathering of a mob,
    and false accusation—all these are worse than death.
There is grief of heart and sorrow when a wife is envious of a rival,
    and a tongue-lashing makes it known to all.
An evil wife is an ox yoke which chafes;
    taking hold of her is like grasping a scorpion.
There is great anger when a wife is drunken;
    she will not hide her shame.
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.

The Blessing of a Good Wife

13 A wife’s charm delights her husband,
    and her skill puts fat on his bones.
14 A silent wife is a gift of the Lord,
    and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul.
15 A modest wife adds charm to charm,
    and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul.
16 Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
    so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.
17 Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand,
    so is a beautiful face on a stately figure.
18 Like pillars of gold on a base of silver,
    so are beautiful feet with a steadfast heart.[b]

Three Depressing Things

28 At two things my heart is grieved,
    and because of a third anger comes over me:
a warrior in want through poverty,
    and intelligent men who are treated contemptuously;
a man who turns back from righteousness to sin—
    the Lord will prepare him for the sword!

The Temptations of Commerce

29 A merchant can hardly keep from wrongdoing,
    and a tradesman will not be declared innocent of sin.


  1. Sirach 26:5 The Greek of this line is uncertain
  2. Sirach 26:18 Other authorities add verses 19–27: 19 My son, keep sound the bloom of your youth, and do not give your strength to strangers. 20 Seek a fertile field within the whole plain, and sow it with your own seed, trusting in your fine stock. 21 So your offspring will survive and, having confidence in their good descent, will grow great. 22 A harlot is regarded as spittle, and a married woman as a tower of death to her lovers. 23 A godless wife is given as a portion to a lawless man, but a pious wife is given to the man who fears the Lord. 24 A shameless woman constantly acts disgracefully, but a modest daughter will even be embarrassed before her husband. 25 A headstrong wife is regarded as a dog, but one who has a sense of shame will fear the Lord. 26 A wife honoring her husband will seem wise to all, but if she dishonors him in her pride she will be known to all as ungodly. Happy is the husband of a good wife; for the number of his years will be doubled. 27 A loud-voiced and garrulous wife is regarded as a war trumpet for putting the enemy to flight, and every person like this lives in the anarchy of war.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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