become enemies in times of adversity.244 The friendship might also turn to enmity because some third party in the social equation is guilty of slander (19:13-15). In that case the turn of affairs, which might have been avoided, is tragic indeed.
Enemies within the family have already been encountered
among the folk belonging to the fwr-group. They are
ungodly sons (16:1-5), the ungodly father who brings re- proach upon his children (41:7) and the evil wife (25:13-26). Of these three it is the evil wife who exercises Sirach the most.
Unfortunately, Sirach does not provide much information which would clarify what constitutes an evil wife. Most often he simply mentions her or warns against her.245 Occasionally, however, glimpses of one who is a "chatterbox" (glwsswdhj) may be seen. She may be beautiful and wealthy
and support her husband, or she may not please him or follow his direction. Other possible characteristics of the evil wife include envy of a rival, drunkenness or harlotry.246
The evil wife receives so much opprobrium for Sirach because of his misogynistic bias. Woman is the origin, or
244 245 6:7, 9-12; 12:8-9; 37:4-5. 24:13, 16, 23, 25; 42:6; cf. 7:26; 9:1; 25:17, 19; 42:12-14; 47:19. 25:20-22, 23, 26; 26:6, 8, 9; cf. 23:22ff.; 9:9. 246