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(dolioj) and "proud" (uperhfanoj) are like spies or decoys

in a cage. They are not trustworthy. Such a "scoundrel" (kakourgoj) is always devising harm.215 Unfortunately,

neither can one simply get up and leave an "insolent fellow" (ubristhj) "lest he lie in ambush against your words"

(8:11). It is the task of the wise never to fall in with such characters in the first place.

The wicked and the family. Friends and neighbors certainly present dangerous incarnations of the wicked, but more dangerous still are those encountered in one's own household. Apart from the wickedness within a person's own self,216 the greatest vulnerability is known at home. The "household slave" (oikethj) may be a scoundrel, but there

is always recourse to the "racks and tortures" to deal with that contingency (30:35[33:27]). The closer relationships, however, are more troublesome. Childlessness is preferred to ungodly children; a tribe of lawless men could devastate an entire city (16:1-5). Forsaking and angering one's parents make one equivalent to a "blasphemer" (blafhmoj)

and cursed by the Lord (3:16). Sirach reserves special ire for the "impudent daughter" (qraseia) who disgraces her father and husband (22:5).

215

11:29-34.

216

See the lament in 22:27-23:6 and the discussion

above.

96

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