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Any vengeance, but not the vengeance of


219 219 worse than a snake's There is no venom venom and no wrath worse than an enemy's wrath. Sirach 25:13-15

Such is the introduction to Sirach's discourse on the evil wife (25:16-26). The discourse itself is rather longer than material found in Proverbs, but in the main it is not appreciably different.220 Only verse 24 sounds a new note: woman is responsible for sin, "and because of her we all die." The introduction, however, associates the evil wife with "those who hate" (misountwn) and the "enemies"

(exqrwn221). Such a close relationship of enemy vocabu- lary from the byvx-group and the friends and kinfolk

group is a new development in the wisdom tradition.

219 The Greek text reads kefalh(n); the Hebrew texts (Israel Levi, The Hebrew Text of the Book of Ecclesiasticus [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1904]; Yigael Yadin, The Ben Sira Scroll from Masada with Introduction Emendations and Commentary [Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and the Shrine of the Book, 1965].) have lacunae at this point.

The translator probably confused the common wxr I ("head") with the rare wxr II ("poison"). Cf. Peters,

pp. 213f.

220 221 The same may be said for 26:5-9 or 23:22-27. Peters, p. 214, takes exqrou of v. 15b to be a "Vertikale Dittographie!" from v. 14; hence, he translates "und kein Zorn ist schlimmer, als Weibeszorn" (qumon gunaikoj). His reading creates a nice inclusio for the 'introduction, but it would also be an even clearer example of "Vertikale Dittographie" than what he is correcting since gunaikoj is the final word in v. 13.


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