then his house (oikoj, business, trading house?) would
Another set of derivative figures which belong to the economic sphere are the lenders and borrowers. This financial relationship is fraught with hazards. Sirach counts lending as "showing mercy to a neighbor" (29:1). Yet, occasions arise when the borrower defaults. In that case the possibility of needless enmity arises.
If he [the lender] exerts pressure, he will hardly get back half, and will regard that as a windfall. If he does not, he [the borrower] has robbed him of his money, and he [the lender] has needlessly made him [the borrower] his enemy; he [the borrower] will repay him with curses and reproaches, and instead of honor will repay him with dishonor. Sirach 29:6
This enmity arising out of lending and borrowing is tragic because it all starts out as an exercise in doing mercy to a neighbor. Its end, however, is that many refuse to lend (29:7), to do mercy to the neighbor.77
Historical Characters as Enemies Gentile foes of Israel such as Sennacherib, the Philistines and Canaanites as well as Israelites who opposed
77 The older mashal tradition of Proverbs, of course, had nothing good to say about lending and borrowing; cf. Prov. 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16=27:13; 22:7, 26.