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Reconciliation

Although Sirach sometimes evidences hostility toward enemy figures, he is still able to counsel responses aimed at reconciliation. Regarding a household slave (oikethj) he naturally advises a prudent policy of bread and disci- pline (paideian) and work" (30:33 [33:24]), for "idleness teaches much evil" (30:29 [33:28]). Of course, "for a wicked servant (oiket^ kakourg&) there are racks and tortures " (30:35 [33:27]), but Sirach's basic perspective is revealed when he says,

If you have a servant, let him be as

yourself,151 because you have bought him with blood. If you have a servant, treat him as a brother, for as your own soul you will need him. If you ill-treat him, and he leaves and runs away, which way will you go to seek him? Sirach 30:39-40(33:31-33)

With friends and neighbors Sirach is just as cautious about breaking the relationship as he is in establishing it. Four times he says to “question” (elegcon) a friend or neighbor (19:13-17). He may have done or said nothing at all, but even if he had committed the offense, examination

151 "As yourself" (wj sou) may recall Lev. 19:18, although the LXX read wj seauton in Leviticus. Unfortu- nately, this passage is not preserved in Hebrew, but it must have read jvmk). At any rate, the instruction is moti-

vated differently than Lev. 19:18 with its hvhy ynx.

Here the motivations are entirely mundane: slaves are expensive, they are necessary, and runaways cannot be found.

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