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encountered in the prophetic literature,135 but are absent from wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible.134 It has been argued that this form developed from the curse.135 Another

source which has been proposed for the woe-saying is wisdom circles where it would have been a counterpart to the

“happy” (yrwx) sayings.136 Whatever the original setting

for the form, Sirach uses it to pronounce disaster upon the sinner.

The woes pronounced in Sirach 2:12-14 may not express hostility; it may rather be an emphatic way of clarifying the self-destructive nature of an enemy. With other passages, however, it is clear that Sirach does harbor hostility toward enemy figures. Twice he admits to “hating” (misew) people. He hates the one who "winks his eye"

(27:22) while planning evil (27:24). Sirach 25:2b lists

133 See Am. 5:18-20; 6:1-7; Isa. 5:8-10, 11-14, 18-19, 20, 21, 22-24; 10:1-3; 28:1-4; 29:1-4, 15; 30:1-3; 31:1-4; Mic. 2:1-4.

134 yvx in Prov. 23:29 does not introduce a "woe- saying."

135 C. Westermann, Basic Forms of Prophetic Speech, trans. by H. White (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967), pp. 192-198.

136 E. Gerstenberger, "The Woe-Oracles of the Prophets," JBL 81 (1962), 249-263; yrwx-sayings occur in the wisdom

literature at Job 5:17; Prov. 3:13; 8:32, 34; 20:7; 28:14 (cf. 14:21; 16:20; 29:18); Qoh. 10:17, Cf. W. March, "Prophecy," in Old Testament Form Criticism, ed. by J. Hayes (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1574), pp. 164-165.

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