He showed no pity for a nation devoted to destruction, for those destroyed in their sins;101 nor for the six hundred thousand men on foot, who rebelliously assembled in their stubbornness. Sirach 16:6-10103 102
Although Sirach offers no new formulations of God's enemy behavior, but rather only a new factor in perceiving it, he does articulate a new perception of Wisdom's poten- tial hostility. Whereas in Proverbs Wisdom threatened to assume the stance of an enemy in order to persuade the fools and scoffers,104 in Sirach she even assumes an enemy stance toward her (novice) devotees.
At first she will walk with him on tortuous paths, she will bring fear and cowardice upon him, and will torment him by her discipline until she trusts him, and she will test him with her ordinances. Then she will come straight back to him and gladden him, and will reveal her secrets to him. If he goes astray she will forsake him, and hand him over to his ruin. Sirach 4:17-19
101 102 103 Probably Canaan; cf. Gn. 15:16; Ex. 23:23-33. Cf. Num. 11:21. Note also Sir. 46:6-7 and 48:21 where the historical narratives of Joshua's conquests and the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib are the occasions for the recog- nition of God's enemy behavior. Cf. Prov. 1:26-27. 104