Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ecclesiasticus, Chapters 7-9: Avoid the psychopaths and hot chicks

Chapter 7

This chapter starts Do no evil, so shall no harm come unto thee (v. 1) which is great if it's life advice, but victim-blaming if it's a promise from god, who has done or allowed plenty of terrible things to happen to good people. Then it tells us to stay away from unjust people or to seek glory from god or the king, and not to boast or offer sacrifices that are clearly better than others'. Furthermore, don't offend all the people in a city, lest you end up like poor Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath. Don't offer to be a judge, be brave when you pray, and remember to donate to charity. Don't be bitter or tell lies about your brother or friend. In fact, not lying is the best practice. Listen to your elders and don't babble when you pray. Enjoy manual labour and don't betray your friends for gold. If you find a wise and good woman, keep her. The definition of wise and good apparently doesn't encompass witty. Also tell your slaves and tradesmen about how awesome good is. If your slave is a good one, feel free to let him go. The criteria for what makes a slave worth of liberation are not enumerated. If you have cows, don't sell them unless it's for a profit. If you have kids, bow donw their neck from their youth (v. 23), not sure if that means you should beat them or encourage them to study. Marrying your daughter off is one of your most important tasks, but try to make a good match. Be nice to your parents, since they brought you into this world. Also be nice to priests, namely by giving them meat that you've barbecued. Poor people, too, and people who are sad or mourning or sick. Finish what you start.

Chapter 8

 Only pick fights with weaker men, whether that's in brute strength, wealth, temper, rudeness, or willingness to commit sins. Also, don't lend those people money, because you'll never see it again, or act as their guarantor, because you'll end up paying. Be nice to old people. Don't enjoy schadenfreude. Don't yawn with smart people are talking, rather, try to learn from them. Don't encourage sin. Don't argue the law with judges. Don't travel with brave people, that's a good way to get killed. Also, don't fight with angry people or go into solitary places with them as that's a good way to make sure you never come back. Don't take advice from fools. Don't tell your secrets to strangers.

Chapter 9

Advice about women: don't be jealous of your wife, don't visit prostitutes as they'll take all your money and don't spend much time in the company of singers. Avoid virgins. When in the city, don't make eye contact and don't go into solitary places. I was seriously sitting on a train going to Toronto, one of the safest places in North America, and a woman was talking about how she was taking these exact precautions on her shopping trip that day. Anyway, don't stare at beautiful women, not because it's rude, but because hot chicks are devious. Never ever sit with another man's wife, especially not with her in your lap or in a bar. Old friends are better than new ones. Don't be envious of others' ill-gotten gains. Keep away from men who have killed before, and if you do have to interact with them, be on your best behaviour. Only talk fancy, but socialise.

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