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Written by Men for Men!

As a celibate I am struck by this morning's (feast of St. Monica) reading from Sirach (26: 1-4, 16-21) :

Happy the husband of a really good wife;
the number of his days will be doubled.

A perfect wife is the joy of the husband,
he will live out the years of his life in peace.rings

A good wife is the best of portions,
reserved for those who fear the Lord;
rich or poor, they will be glad of heart,
cheerful of face, whatever the season.

The grace of a wife will charm her husband,
her accomplishments will make him stronger.
A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,
no price can be put on a well-trained character.

A modest wife is a boon twice over,
a chaste character cannot be weighted on scales.

Like the sun rising over the mountains of the Lord
is the beauty of a good wife in a well-kept house.

[Obviously the text has been edited for a wedding service!  
It presents the positives from a long reflection (Sir 25:12- 26:18)
devoted to the contrast between good and evil women].


I'm anything but celibate I'll admit (although within a respectable marriage :o) and I have to say that I find this an incredibly sexist reading of how relationships work.
Yes, isn't it.
'Way back in the mists of antiquity of the Judaic tradition, it was recognized that men tend not to recognize either female authority ("God" was originally spoken of as "She," until the religious "Fathers" realized that despite God's commandments weren't being obeyed as they might if the decrees were being handed down from a male God and that it was men who were responsible for waging wars and causing other troubles---so they changed the pronoun) and also tend not to value women as they ought.
There might also be the fact that under Hebraic law at the time (I don't know about today), a woman had NO legal standing except through some man: she was her father's daughter, her husband's wife, her brother's sister, her son's mother affecting the writer's perception. (No, I'm not saying it's not sexist. It's the product of the culture of the time.)
At any rate, this might have been intended more as a reminder to the husband than an outline of duties for the wife.

Edited at 2012-08-27 16:01 (UTC)