Sirach 26 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
The Joy of a Good Wife
26 Happy is the husband of a good wife;
the number of his days will be doubled.
2 A loyal wife brings joy to her husband,
and he will complete his years in peace.
3 A good wife is a great blessing;
she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.
4 Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
and at all times his face is cheerful.
The Worst of Evils: A Wicked Wife
5 Of three things my heart is frightened,
and of a fourth I am in great fear:
Slander in the city, the gathering of a mob,
and false accusation—all these are worse than death.
6 But it is heartache and sorrow when a wife is jealous of a rival,
and a tongue-lashing makes it known to all.
7 A bad wife is a chafing yoke;
taking hold of her is like grasping a scorpion.
8 A drunken wife arouses great anger;
she cannot hide her shame.
9 The haughty stare betrays an unchaste wife;
her eyelids give her away.
10 Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter,
or else, when she finds liberty, she will make use of it.
11 Be on guard against her impudent eye,
and do not be surprised if she sins against you.
12 As a thirsty traveller opens his mouth
and drinks from any water near him,
so she will sit in front of every tent-peg
and open her quiver to the arrow.
The Blessing of a Good Wife
13 A wife’s charm delights her husband,
and her skill puts flesh on his bones.
14 A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,
and nothing is so precious as her self-discipline.
15 A modest wife adds charm to charm,
and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity.
16 Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.
17 Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand,
so is a beautiful face on a stately figure.
18 Like golden pillars on silver bases,
so are shapely legs and steadfast feet.
Other ancient authorities add verses 19–27:
19 My child, keep sound the bloom of your youth,
and do not give your strength to strangers.
20 Seek a fertile field within the whole plain,
and sow it with your own seed, trusting in your fine stock.
21 So your offspring will prosper,
and, having confidence in their good descent, will grow great.
22 A prostitute is regarded as spittle,
and a married woman as a tower of death to her lovers.
23 A godless wife is given as a portion to a lawless man,
but a pious wife is given to the man who fears the Lord.
24 A shameless woman constantly acts disgracefully,
but a modest daughter will even be embarrassed before her husband.
25 A headstrong wife is regarded as a dog,
but one who has a sense of shame will fear the Lord.
26 A wife honouring her husband will seem wise to all,
but if she dishonours him in her pride she will be known to all as ungodly.
Happy is the husband of a good wife,
for the number of his years will be doubled.
27 A loud-voiced and garrulous wife is like a trumpet sounding the charge,
and every person like this lives in the anarchy of war.
Three Depressing Things
28 At two things my heart is grieved,
and because of a third anger comes over me:
a warrior in want through poverty,
intelligent men who are treated contemptuously,
and a man who turns back from righteousness to sin—
the Lord will prepare him for the sword!
The Temptations of Commerce
29 A merchant can hardly keep from wrongdoing,
nor is a tradesman innocent of sin.