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"transgressors" (parabainontej). Specifically these are

people who transgress the law or the commandments.204 Once a specific commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Ex. 20:14), is in view. There is mention of a man who "transgresses from his bed" (Sir. 23:18). That adultery should be singled out is not at all surprising for this had long been a concern of the sages.

The wicked and the economy. Another sphere of life which is fertile ground for the growth of these enemies from

the fwr-group is that of the community's economy. Sirach advises discretion in the matter of almsgiving.

If you do a kindness, know to whom you do it, and you will be thanked for your good deeds. Sirach 12:1

The point in such discretion is that one might give alms to the good but not help the sinner. Helping sinners is bor- rowing trouble for one's return. is double in evil for all the good.205 A similar discretion is advised in cases of surety. One should help a neighbor, but the watchword is, "Beware!" Caution must be practiced since a "sinner will overthrow the prosperity of his surety."206 From the side

204

10:19; 19:24.

205

12:1-7.

206 29:14-20; in Proverbs, of course, all surety was to be avoided like the plague; cf. Prov, 6:1-5; 17:18.

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