Sirach 42:9

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

9 A daughter is a secret anxiety to her father, and worry over her robs him of sleep; when she is young, for fear she may not marry, or if married, for fear she may be disliked; 10 while a virgin, for fear she may be seduced and become pregnant in her father's house; or having a husband, for fear she may go astray, or, though married, for fear she may be barren. 11 Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter, or she may make you a laughingstock to your enemies, a byword in the city and the assembly of the people, and put you to shame in public gatherings. See that there is no lattice in her room, no spot that overlooks the approaches to the house. 12 Do not let her parade her beauty before any man, or spend her time among married women; 13 for from garments comes the moth, and from a woman comes woman's wickedness. 14 Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good; it is woman who brings shame and disgrace.

Sanhedrin 100b

Babylonian Talmud

If your difficulty is from its literal meaning, that does not pose a difficulty, as in the Torah, God also wrote: “You shall not destroy its trees” (Deuteronomy 20:19). It is prohibited to destroy both trees and fish skin arbitrarily. If your difficulty is from its homiletic interpretation as a euphemism, ben Sira is teaching us proper conduct: A man should not engage in sexual intercourse in an atypical manner, i.e., anal intercourse, with his wife, as it causes her discomfort. Rather, perhaps the book poses a difficulty because it is written there: A daughter is for her father false treasure; due to fear for her he will not sleep at night: During her minority, lest she be seduced; during her young womanhood lest she engage in licentiousness; once she has reached her majority, lest she not marry; once she marries, lest she have no children; once she grows old, lest she engage in witchcraft (Ben Sira 42:11–14). Perhaps you believe that one should not say this to the father of daughters. Didn’t the Sages also say it with regard to women? They said: It is impossible for the world to exist without males and without females; nevertheless, happy is one whose children are males and woe unto him whose children are females.

 Notes and References

"... The second of Abaye’s examples comes originally from Sirach 42:9–10, a passage about daughters. In both the Masada scroll and Ms B from the Cairo genizah, this passage contains eight cola. The rabbinic quotation, given in Hebrew, contains seven, only six of which parallel the Ben Sira manuscripts. The one colon not found in the manuscripts concerns keeping one’s daughter from witchcraft in her old age. In general the outlines of the thought are the same, but the wording and order of the lines differ widely between the rabbinic citation and the manuscripts ... “Do not let anxiety enter your heart, for it has slain many a person.” This third of Abaye’s examples is an admonition in Aramaic that has no direct parallel in Ben Sira, although Segal argues that it “is a combination of several lines in our book.” Indeed some of the material from this quotation does occur in somewhat similar contexts in Ben Sira ..."

Wright, Benjamin G. Praise Israel for Wisdom and Instruction: Essays on Ben Sira and Wisdom, the Letter of Aristeas and the Septuagint (p. 184) Brill, 2008

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