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Indeed, special instruction is given to

Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter, lest, when she finds liberty, she use it to her hurt; Be on guard against her shameless eye, and do not wonder if she sins against you. As a thirsty wayfarer opens his mouth and drinks from any water near him, so she will sit in front of every post and open her quiver to the arrow. Sirach 26:10-12

The danger does not always arise from the children for offspring are also vulnerable to their parents. The chil- dren of sinners start life with at least two strikes against them. They grow up around the haunts of the ungodly, and their inheritance is already doomed. Hence, they blame an ungodly father since they suffer reproach because of him (41:5-7).217

A man's most intimate relationship, marriage, occasions both his highest blessing and security (26:1-4)218 and his most devastating enemy.

Any wound, but not a wound of the heart! Any wickedness, but not the wickedness of a wife! Any attack, but not an attack from those who hate!

217 41:5-13 deals with the legacy of the good and the ungodly. Part of the ungodly's legacy is the destruction of their offspring as indicated above. There is nothing explicitly advised for the children who might wish to mitigate such an inherited vulnerability, but it is best to assume that Sirach would have included such unfortunate youth in his invitation to instruction (51:23-30).

218 Cf. 26:13-18.


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