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indicates such an identification by construing "friends" as the subjects of verbs which characterize enemy behavior. Sirach identifies "friend" with "enemy."

One final note on the identity of the enemies of the

byvx-group is sounded in regard to loans, surety and

alms.187 Cases of credit extended often lead to credit abused which, in turn, makes an enemy. Sirach advises entering such arrangements with the utmost caution because of their great risk; indeed, interpersonal risk appears to be more threatening to Sirach than financial risk. On the other hand, almsgiving is a life-securing action; it could act as one's champion with the enemy.

Store up almsgiving in your treasury, and it will rescue you from all affliction; more than a mighty shield and more than a heavy spear, it will fight on your behalf against your enemy. Sirach 29:12-13

Thus, the economic arena provides the possibility of gratuitous enmity and security.

Sirach 20:15 is also set in the economic sphere when it speaks of one who "lends today and asks it back tomorrow; such a one is a hateful man." In itself this presents nothing new or unusual, but the identity of the one who so behaves is important. He is a hateful man, but he is also

187

29:6, 13.

86

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