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Ecclesiasticus / Sirach - Chapter 25

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1 There are three things my soul delights in, and which are delightful to God and to all people: concord between brothers, friendship between neighbours, and a wife and husband who live happily together.

2 There are three sorts of people my soul hates, and whose existence I consider an outrage: the poor swollen with pride, the rich who is a liar and an adulterous old man who has no sense.

3 If you have gathered nothing in your youth, how can you discover anything in your old age?

4 How fine a thing: sound judgement with grey hairs, and for greybeards to know how to advise!

5 How fine a thing: wisdom in the aged, and considered advice coming from people of distinction!

6 The crown of the aged is ripe experience, their glory, the fear of the Lord.

7 There are nine things I can think of which strike me as happy, and a tenth which is now on my tongue: the man who can be proud of his children, he who lives to see the downfall of his enemies;

8 happy is he who keeps house with a sensible wife; he who does not toil with ox and donkey; he who has never sinned with his tongue; he who does not serve a man less worthy than himself;

9 happy is he who has acquired good sense and can find attentive ears for what he has to say;

10 how great is he who has acquired wisdom; but unsurpassed is one who fears the Lord.

11 The fear of the Lord surpasses everything; what can compare with someone who has mastered that?


13 Any wound rather than a wound of the heart! Any spite rather than the spite of woman!

14 Any evil rather than an evil caused by an enemy! Any vengeance rather than the vengeance of a foe!

15 There is no poison worse than the poison of a snake, there is no fury worse than the fury of an enemy.

16 I would sooner keep house with a lion or a dragon than keep house with a spiteful wife.

17 A woman's spite changes her appearance and makes her face as grim as a bear's.

18 When her husband goes out to dinner with his neighbours, he cannot help heaving bitter sighs.

19 No spite can approach the spite of a woman, may a sinner's lot be hers!

20 Like the climbing of a sandhill for elderly feet, such is a garrulous wife for a quiet husband.

21 Do not be taken in by a woman's beauty, never lose your head over a woman.

22 Bad temper, insolence and shame hold sway where the wife supports the husband.

23 Low spirits, gloomy face, stricken heart: such is a spiteful wife. Slack hands and sagging knees: such is the wife who does not make her husband happy.

24 Sin began with a woman, and thanks to her we must all die.

25 Do not let water find a leak, nor a spiteful woman give free rein to her tongue.

26 If she will not do as you tell her, get rid of her.

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