Holy Bible - WEB Translation - The Wisdom of Solomon Christianity. Orthodoxy. Catholicism. Sense of life. The Wisdom of Solomon
And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire.                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.                And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.                And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out: it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell;                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.               
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The Wisdom of Solomon

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Chapter 1

1 Love righteousness, all you who are judges of the earth.
Think of the Lord * with a good mind.
Seek him in singleness of heart,
2 because he is found by those who don’t tempt him,
and is manifested to those who trust him.
3 For crooked thoughts separate from God.
His Power convicts when it is tested,
and exposes the foolish.
4 Because wisdom will not enter into a soul that devises evil,
nor dwell in a body that is enslaved by sin.
5 For a holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit,
and will depart from thoughts that are without understanding,
and will be ashamed when unrighteousness has come in.
6 For † wisdom is a spirit who loves man,
and she will not hold a ‡ blasphemer guiltless for his lips;
because God bears witness of his reins,
and is a true overseer of his heart,
and a hearer of his tongue:
7 Because the spirit of the Lord has filled § the world,
and that which holds all things together knows what is said.
8 Therefore no one who utters unrighteous things will be unseen;
** neither will Justice, when it convicts, pass him by.
9 For in his counsels the ungodly will be searched out,
and the sound of his words will come to the Lord to bring his lawless deeds to conviction;
10 because a jealous ear listens to all things,
and the noise of murmurings is not hidden.
11 Beware then of unprofitable murmuring,
and keep your tongue from slander;
because no secret utterance will go on its way void,
and a lying mouth destroys a soul.
12 Don’t court not death in the error of your life;
neither draw destruction upon yourselves by the works of your hands,
13 because God didn’t make death;
neither does he delight when the living perish.
14 For he created all things that they might have being.
††The generative powers of the world are wholesome,
and there is no poison of destruction in them,
nor has Hades ‡‡ royal dominion upon earth;
15 For righteousness is immortal,
16 but ungodly men by their hands and their words summon §§death;
deeming him a friend they *** pined away.
They made a covenant with him,
because they are worthy to belong with him.

* 1:1 Gr. in goodness.

† 1:6 Some authorities read the spirit of wisdom is loving to man.

‡ 1:6 Or, reviler

§ 1:7 Gr. the inhabited earth.

** 1:8 Some authorities read nor indeed.

†† 1:14 Or, all the races of creatures in the world

‡‡ 1:14 Or, a royal house

§§ 1:16 Or, Hades Gr. him.

*** 1:16 Or, were consumed with love of him

Chapter 2

1 For they said * within themselves, with unsound reasoning,
“Our life is short and sorrowful.
There is no healing when a man comes to his end,
and no one was ever known that † was released from Hades.
2 Because we were born by mere chance,
and hereafter we will be as though we had never been;
because the breath in our nostrils is smoke,
and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our heart;
3 which being extinguished, the body will be turned into ashes,
and the spirit will be dispersed as thin air.
4 Our name will be forgotten in time.
No one will remember our works.
Our life will pass away as the traces of a cloud,
and will be scattered as is a mist,
when it is chased by the rays of the sun,
and ‡ overcome by its heat.
5 For our alloted time is the passing of a shadow,
and § our end doesn’t retreat;
because it is securely sealed, and no one ** turns it back.
6 “Come therefore and let’s enjoy the good things †† that now exist.
Let’s use the creation earnestly as in our youth.
7 Let’s fill ourselves with costly wine and perfumes,
and let no Spring flower pass us by.
8 Let’s crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.
9 Let none of us go without his share in our proud revelry.
Let’s leave tokens of mirth everywhere,
because this is our portion, and this is our lot.
10 Let’s oppress the righteous poor.
Let’s not spare the widow,
nor reverence the gray hair of the old man.
11 But let our strength be a law of righteousness;
for that which is weak is proven useless.
12 But let’s lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he annoys us,
is contrary to our works,
reproaches us with sins against the law,
and charges us with sins against our training.
13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts.
15 He is grievous to us even to look at,
because his life is unlike other men’s,
and his paths are strange.
16 We were regarded by him as worthless metal,
and he abstains from our ways as from uncleanness.
He calls the latter end of the righteous happy.
He boasts that God is his father.
17 Let’s see if his words are true.
Let’s test what will happen at the end of his life.
18 For if the righteous man is God’s son, he will uphold him,
and he will deliver him out of the hand of his adversaries.
19 Let’s test him with outrage and torture,
that we may find out how gentle he is,
and test his patience.
20 Let’s condemn him to a shameful death,
for he will be overseen according to his words.”
21 Thus they reasoned, and they were led astray;
for their wickedness blinded them,
22 and they didn’t know the mysteries of God,
neither did they hope for wages of holiness,
nor did they discern that there is a prize for blameless souls.
23 Because God created man for incorruption,
and made him an image of his own everlastingness;
24 but death entered into the world by the envy of the devil,
and those who belong to him experience it.

* 2:1 Or, among

† 2:1 Or, returned out of Hades

‡ 2:4 Gr. weighed down.

§ 2:5 Or, there is no putting back of our end

** 2:5 Or, comes again

†† 2:6 Or, that are

Chapter 3

1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will touch them.
2 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died.
Their departure was considered affliction,
3 and their travel away from us ruin;
But they are in peace.
4 For even if in the sight of men they are punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
5 Having borne a little chastening, they will receive great good;
because God tested them, and found them worthy of himself.
6 He tested them like gold in the furnace,
and he accepted them as a whole burnt offering.
7 In the time of their visitation they will shine.
They will run back and forth like sparks among stubble.
8 They will judge nations and have dominion over peoples.
The Lord will reign over them forever.
9 Those whe trust him will understand truth.
* The faithful will live with him in love,
because grace and mercy are with his chosen ones.
10 But the ungodly will be punished even as they reasoned,
those who neglected righteousness and revolted from the Lord;
11 for he who despises wisdom and discipline is miserable.
Their hope is void and their toils unprofitable.
Their works are useless.
12 Their wives are foolish and their children are wicked.
13 Their descendants are cursed,
because the barren woman who is undefiled is happy,
she who has not conceived in transgression.
She will have fruit in the visitation of souls.
14 So is the eunuch which has done no lawless deed with his hands,
nor imagined wicked things against the Lord;
for a precious gift will be given to him for his faithfulness, a special favor,
and a delightful inheritance in the Lord’s sanctuary.
15 For good labors have fruit of great renown.
The root of understanding can’t fail.
16 But children of adulterers will not come to maturity.
The seed of an unlawful bed will vanish away.
17 For if they live long, they will not be esteemed,
and in the end, their old age will be without honor.
18 If they die quickly, they will have no hope,
nor consolation in the day of decision.
19 For the end of an unrighteous generation is always grievous.

* 3:9 Or, Those who are faithful through love will live with him

Chapter 4

1 It is better to be childless with virtue,
for immortality is in the memory of virtue,
because it is recognized both before God and before men.
2 When it is present, people imitate it.
They long after it when it has departed.
*Throughout all time it marches crowned in triumph,
victorious in the competition for the prizes that are undefiled.
3 But the multiplying brood of the ungodly will be of no profit,
and their illegitimate offshoots won’t take deep root,
nor will they establish a sure hold.
4 For even if they grow branches and flourish for a season,
standing unsure, they will be shaken by the wind.
They will be uprooted by the violence of winds.
5 Their branches will be broken off before they come to maturity.
Their fruit will be useless,
never ripe to eat, and fit for nothing.
6 For unlawfully conceived children are witnesses of wickedness
against parents when they are investigated.
7 But a righteous man, even if he dies before his time, will be at rest.
8 For honorable old age is not that which stands in length of time,
nor is its measure given by number of years:
9 But understanding is gray hair to men,
and an unspotted life is ripe old age.
10 Being found well-pleasing to God, he was loved.
While living among sinners he was transported.
11 He was caught away, lest evil should change his understanding,
or guile deceive his soul.
12 For the witchcraft of worthlessness obscures the things which are good,
and the whirl of desire perverts an innocent mind.
13 Being made perfect quickly,
he filled a long time;
14 for his soul was pleasing to the Lord.
Therefore he hurried out of the midst of wickedness.
15 But as for the peoples seeing and not understanding,
not considering this, that grace and mercy are with his chosen,
and that he visits his holy ones—
16 but a righteous man who is dead will condemn the ungodly who are living,
and youth that is quickly perfected will condemn the many years of an unrighteous man’s old age.
17 For the ungodly will see a wise man’s end,
and won’t understand what the Lord planned for him,
and why he safely kept him.
18 They will see, and they will despise;
but the Lord will laugh them to scorn.
After this, they will become a dishonored carcass
and a reproach among the dead forever;
19 because he will dash them speechless to the ground,
and will shake them from the foundations.
They will lie utterly waste.
They will be in anguish
and their memory will perish.
20 They will come with coward fear when their sins are counted.
Their lawless deeds will convict them to their face.

* 4:2 Gr. in the age.

Chapter 5

1 Then the righteous man will stand in great boldness
before the face of those who afflicted him,
and those who make his labors of no account.
2 When they see him, they will be troubled with terrible fear,
and will be amazed at the marvel of salvation.
3 They will speak among themselves repenting,
and for distress of spirit they will groan,
“This was he whom we used to hold in derision,
as a parable of reproach.
4 We fools considered his life madness,
and his end without honor.
5 How was he counted among sons of God?
How is his lot among saints?
6 Truly we went astray from the way of truth.
The light of righteousness didn’t shine for us.
The sun didn’t rise for us.
7 We * took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction.
We traveled through trackless deserts,
but we didn’t know the Lord’s way.
8 What did our arrogance profit us?
What good have riches and boasting brought us?
9 Those things all passed away as a shadow,
like a message that runs by,
10 like a ship passing through the billowy water,
which, when it has gone by, there is no trace to be found,
no pathway of its keel in the billows.
11 Or it is like when a bird flies through the air,
no evidence of its passage is found,
but the light wind, lashed with the stroke of its pinions,
and torn apart with the violent rush of the moving wings, is passed through.
Afterwards no sign of its coming remains.
12 Or it is like when an arrow is shot at a mark,
the air disparted closes up again immediately,
so that men don’t know where it passed through.
13 So we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to be;
and we had no sign of virtue to show,
but we were utterly consumed in our wickedness.”
14 Because the hope of the ungodly man is like chaff carried by the wind,
and † as ‡ foam vanishing before a tempest;
and is scattered like smoke by the wind,
and passes by as the remembrance of a guest that waits but a day.
15 But the righteous live forever.
Their reward is in the Lord,
and the care for them with the Most High.
16 Therefore they will receive the crown of royal dignity
and the diadem of beauty from the Lord’s hand;
because he will cover them with his right hand,
and he will shield them with his arm.
17 He will take his jealousy as complete armor,
and will make the whole creation his weapons to punish his enemies:
18 He will put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and will wear impartial judgement as a helmet.
19 He will take holiness as an invincible shield.
20 He will sharpen stern wrath for a sword.
The world will go with him to fight against his frenzied foes.
21 Shafts of lightning will fly with true aim.
They will leap to the mark from the clouds, as from a well-drawn bow.
22 Hailstones full of wrath will be hurled from an engine of war.
The water of the sea will be angered against them.
Rivers will sternly overwhelm them.
23 A mighty blast will encounter them.
It will winnow them away like a tempest.
So lawlessness will make all the land desolate.
Their evil-doing will overturn the thrones of princes.

* 5:7 See Proverbs 14:14.

† 5:14 Gr. like foam chased to thinness: or, as thin foam chased.

‡ 5:14 Most Greek authorities read hoar frost: some authorities, perhaps rightly, a spider’s web.

Chapter 6

1 Hear therefore, you kings, and understand.
Learn, you judges of the ends of the earth.
2 Give ear, you rulers who have dominion over many people,
and make your boast * in multitudes of nations,
3 because your dominion was given to you from the Lord,
and your sovereignty from the Most High;
Who will search out your works,
And will make inquisition of your counsels:
4 Because being officers of his kingdom you⌃ did not judge aright,
Neither kept you⌃ † law, nor walked after the counsel of God.
5 He will come upon you awfully and swiftly;
Because a stern judgement comes on those who are in high place:
6 For the man of low estate may be pardoned in mercy,
But mighty men will be ‡ searched out mightily.
7 For the Sovereign Lord of all will not refrain himself for any man’s person,
Neither will he reverence greatness;
Because it is he that made both small and great,
And alike he takes thought for all;
8 But § strict is the scrutiny that comes upon the powerful.
9 To you therefore, O princes, are my words,
That you⌃ may learn wisdom and ** fall not from the right way.
10 For those who have kept holily the things that are holy will themselves be †† hallowed;
And those who have been taught them will find what to answer;
11 Set your desire therefore on my words;
Long for them, and you⌃ will be ‡‡ trained by their discipline.
12 Wisdom is radiant and fades not away;
And easily is she saw those who love her,
And found of those who seek her.
13 She forestalls those who desire to know her, making herself first known. 14 He that rises up early to seek her will have no toil,
For he will find her sitting at his gates.
15 For to think upon her is perfectness of understanding,
And he that watches for her sake will quickly be free from care.
16 Because she goes about, herself seeking those who are worthy of her,
And in their paths she appears to them graciously,
And in every purpose she meets them.
17 For §§ her *** true beginning is desire of discipline;
And the care for discipline is love of her;
18 And love of her is observance of her laws;
And to give heed to her laws confirms incorruption;
19 And incorruption ††† brings near to God;
20 So then desire of wisdom promotes to a kingdom.
21 If therefore you⌃ delight in thrones and sceptres, you⌃ princes of peoples,
Honor wisdom, that you⌃ may reign forever.
22 But what wisdom is, and how she came into being, I will declare,
And I will not hide mysteries from you;
But I will trace her out ‡‡‡ from the beginning of creation,
And bring the knowledge of her into clear light,
And I will not pass by the truth;
23 Neither indeed will I take §§§ pining envy for my companion in the way,
Because * envy will have no fellowship with wisdom.
24 But a multitude of wise men is salvation to the world,
And an understanding king is tranquillity to his people.
25 Wherefore be disciplined by my words, and thereby will you⌃ profit.

* 6:2 Or, in the multitudes of your nations

† 6:4 Or, the law

‡ 6:6 Gr. put to the test.

§ 6:8 Gr. strong.

** 6:9 Gr. fall not aside.

†† 6:10 Or, accounted holy

‡‡ 6:11 Gr. disciplined.

§§ 6:17 Or, her beginning is the true desire

*** 6:17 Gr. truest.

††† 6:19 Gr. makes to be near.

‡‡‡ 6:22 Or, from her first beginning

§§§ 6:23 Gr. wasted.

* 6:23 Gr. this

Chapter 7

1 I myself also am * mortal, like to all,
And am sprung from one born of the earth, the man first formed,
2 And in the womb of a mother was I moulded into flesh in the time of ten months,
Being compacted in blood of the seed of man and pleasure that came with sleep.
3 And I also, when I was born, drew in the common air,
And fell upon the † kindred earth,
Uttering, like all, for my first voice, the selfsame wail:
4 In swaddling clothes was I nursed, and ‡ with watchful cares.
5 For no king had any other first beginning;
6 But all men have one entrance into life, and a like departure.
7 For this cause I prayed, and understanding was given me:
I called upon God, and there came to me a spirit of wisdom.
8 I preferred her before sceptres and thrones,
And riches I esteemed nothing in comparison of her.
9 Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
Because all the gold of the earth in her presence is a little sand,
And silver will be accounted as clay before her.
10 Above health and beauty I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than light,
Because her bright shining is never laid to sleep.
11 But with her there came to me all good things together,
And in her hands innumerable riches:
12 And I rejoiced over them all because wisdom leads them;
Though I knew not that she was the § mother of them.
13 As I learned without guile, I impart without grudging;
I do not hide her riches.
14 For she is to men a treasure that fails not,
And those who use it ** obtain friendship with God,
Commended to him †† by the gifts which they through discipline present to him.
15 But to me may God give to speak ‡‡ with judgement,
And to conceive thoughts worthy of what §§ has been given me;
Because he is one who guides even wisdom and that corrects the wise.
16 For in his hand are both we and our words;
All understanding, and all acquaintance with various crafts.
17 For himself gave me an unerring knowledge of the things that are,
To know the constitution of the world, and the operation of the elements;
18 The beginning and end and middle of times,
The alternations of the solstices and the changes of seasons,
19 The circuits of years and the *** positions of stars;
20 The natures of living creatures and the ragings of wild beasts,
The violences of ††† winds and the thoughts of men,
The diversities of plants and the virtues of roots:
21 All things that are either secret or manifest I learned,
22 For she that is the architect of all things taught me, even wisdom.
For there is in her a spirit quick of understanding, holy,
‡‡‡ Alone in kind, manifold,
Subtil, freely moving,
Clear in utterance, unpolluted,
Distinct, unharmed,
Loving what is good, keen, unhindered,
23 Beneficent, loving toward man,
Stedfast, sure, free from care,
All-powerful, all-surveying,
And penetrating through all spirits
That are quick of understanding, pure, most subtle:
24 For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
Yes, she pervades and penetrates all things by reason of her pureness.
25 For she is a §§§ breath of the power of God,
And a clear effluence of the glory of the Almighty;
Therefore can nothing defiled find entrance into her.
26 For she is an effulgence from everlasting light,
And an unspotted mirror of the working of God,
And an image of his goodness.
27 And she, being one, has power to do all things;
And remaining in herself, renews all things:
And from generation to generation passing into holy souls
She makes men friends of God and prophets.
28 For nothing does God love save him that dwells with wisdom.
29 For she is fairer than the sun,
And above * all the constellations of the stars:
Being compared with light, she is found to be before it;
30 For † to the light of day succeeds night,
But against wisdom evil does not prevail;

* 7:1 Many authorities read a mortal man.

† 7:3 Gr. of like qualities.

‡ 7:4 Gr. in.

§ 7:12 Some authorities read first origin.

** 7:14 Gr. prepare for themselves.

†† 7:14 Gr. for the sake of the presents that come of discipline.

‡‡ 7:15 Or, according to his mind Or, according to my mind

§§ 7:15 Some authorities read is said.

*** 7:19 Or, constellations

††† 7:20 Or, spirits

‡‡‡ 7:22 Gr. Sole-born.

§§§ 7:25 Gr. vapor.

* 7:29 Gr. every arrangement of stars.

† 7:30 Gr. to this.

Chapter 8

1 But she * reaches from one end of the world to the other with full strength,
And orders all things † graciously.
2 Her I loved and sought out from my youth,
And I sought to take her for my bride,
And I became enamoured of her beauty.
3 She glorifies her noble birth in that it is given her to live with God,
And the Sovereign Lord of all loved her.
4 For she is initiated into the knowledge of God,
And she ‡ chooses out for him his works.
5 But if riches are a desired possession in life,
What is richer than wisdom, which works all things?
6 § And if understanding works,
Who more than ** wisdom is an architect of the things that are?
7 And if a man loves righteousness,
†† The fruits of wisdom’s labor are virtues,
For she teaches soberness and understanding, righteousness and courage;
And there is nothing in life for men more profitable than these.
8 And if a man longes even for much experience,
She knows ‡‡ the things of old, and §§ divines the things to come:
She understands subtleties of speeches and interpretations of dark sayings:
She foresees signs and wonders, and the issues of seasons and times.
9 I determined therefore to take her to me to live with me,
Knowing that she is one who would *** give me good thoughts for counsel,
And ††† encourage me in cares and grief.
10 Because of her I will have glory among multitudes,
And honor in the sight of elders, though I be young.
11 I will be found of a quick conceit when I give judgement,
And in the presence of ‡‡‡ princes I will be admired.
12 When I am silent, they will wait for me;
And when I open my lips, they will give heed to me;
And if I continue speaking, they will lay their hand upon their mouth.
13 Because of her I will have immortality,
And leave behind an eternal memory to those who come after me.
14 I will govern peoples,
And nations will be subjected to me.
15 Dread princes will fear me when they hear of me:
Among my §§§ people I will show myself a good ruler, and in war courageous.
16 When I am come into my house, I will find rest with her;
For converse with her has no bitterness,
And to live with her has no pain, but gladness and joy.
17 When I considered these things in myself,
And took thought in my heart how that in kinship to wisdom is immortality,
18 And in her friendship is good delight,
And in the labors of her hands is wealth that fails not,
And in * assiduous communing with her is understanding,
And great renown in having fellowship with her words,
I went about seeking how to take her to myself.
19 Now I was † a child of parts, and a good soul fell to my lot;
20 Nay rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled.
21 But perceiving that I could not otherwise ‡ possess wisdom except God gave her me
(Yes and to know § by whom the grace is given, this too came of understanding),
I pleaded with the Lord and implored him, and with my whole heart I said,

* 8:1 Or, reaches from end onward to end mightily

† 8:1 Or, to good use

‡ 8:4 Some authorities read devises for him.

§ 8:6 The Greek text of this clause is perhaps corrupt.

** 8:6 Gr. she.

†† 8:7 Gr. Her labors are.

‡‡ 8:8 Some authorities read how to divine the things of old and the things to come.

§§ 8:8 Gr. conjectures.

*** 8:9 Or, hold counsel with me for good things, and…against cares and grief

††† 8:9 Or, exhort Or, advise

‡‡‡ 8:11 Or, mighty men

§§§ 8:15 Gr. multitude.

* 8:18 Gr. practice of communion.

† 8:19 Or, a goodly child

‡ 8:21 This is the probable sense: the Greek text is perhaps defective.

§ 8:21 Gr. of whom is the grace.

Chapter 9

1 O God of the fathers, and * Lord who keep your mercy,
Who made all things † by your word;
2 And by your wisdom you formedst man,
That he should have dominion over the creatures that were made by you,
3 And rule the world in holiness and righteousness,
And execute judgement in uprightness of soul;
4 Give me wisdom, her that sits by you on your ‡ throne;
And reject me not from among your § servants:
5 Because I am your bondman and the son of your handmaid,
A man weak and short-lived,
And of small power to understand judgement and laws.
6 For even if a man be perfect among the sons of men,
Yet if the wisdom that comes from you be not with him, he will be held in no account.
7 You did choose me before my kindred to be king of your people,
And to do judgement for your sons and daughters.
8 You gave command to build a sanctuary in your holy mountain,
And ** an altar in the city of your †† habitation,
A copy of the holy tabernacle which you prepared beforehand from the beginning.
9 And with you is wisdom, which knows your works,
And was present when you were making the world,
And which understands what is pleasing in your eyes,
And what is right ‡‡ according to your commandments.
10 Send her forth out of the holy heavens,
And from the throne of your glory bid her come,
That being present with me she may toil with me,
And that I may learn what is well-pleasing before you.
11 For she knows all things and has understanding thereof,
And in my doings she will guide me in ways of soberness,
And she will guard me in her glory.
12 And so will my works be acceptible,
And I will judge your people righteously,
And I will be worthy of my father’s §§ throne.
13 For what man will know the counsel of God?
Or who will conceive what the Lord wills?
14 For the thoughts of mortals are *** timorous,
And our plans are prone to fail.
15 For a corruptible body weighs down the soul,
And the earthy frame lies heavy on a mind that ††† is full of cares.
16 And hardly do we ‡‡‡ divine the things that are on earth,
And the things that are close at hand we find with labor;
But the things that are in the heavens who ever yet traced out?
17 And who ever gained knowledge of your counsel, except you §§§ gave wisdom,
And sent your holy spirit * from on high?
18 And it was thus that the ways of them which are on earth were corrected,
And men were taught the things that are pleasing to you;
And through wisdom were they saved.

* 9:1 Gr. Lord of your mercy. Compare 2 Samuel 7:15; Psalm 89:49.

† 9:1 Gr. in.

‡ 9:4 Gr. thrones.

§ 9:4 Or, children

** 9:8 Or, a place of sacrifice

†† 9:8 Gr. tabernacling.

‡‡ 9:9 Gr. in.

§§ 9:12 Gr. thrones.

*** 9:14 The Greek text here is perhaps corrupt.

††† 9:15 Or, muses upon many things

‡‡‡ 9:16 Gr. conjecture.

§§§ 9:17 Or, had given…and sent

* 9:17 Gr. from the highest.

Chapter 10

1 * Wisdom guarded to the end the first formed father of the world, that was created alone,
And delivered him out of his own transgression,
2 And gave him strength to get dominion over all things.
3 But when an unrighteous man fell away from her in his anger,
He perished himself in the rage wherewith he killed his brother.
4 And when for his cause the earth was drowning with a flood,
Wisdom again saved it,
Guiding the righteous man’s course by a poor piece of wood.
5 Moreover, when nations consenting together in wickedness had been confounded,
† Wisdom knew the righteous man, and preserved him blameless to God,
And kept him strong when his heart yearned toward his child.
6 While the ungodly were perishing, ‡ wisdom delivered a righteous man,
When he fled from the fire that descended out of heaven on § Pentapolis.
7 To whose wickedness a smoking waste still witnesses,
And plants bearing fair fruit that comes not to ripeness;
Yes and a ** disbelieving soul has a memorial there, a pillar of salt still standing.
8 For having passed wisdom by,
Not only were they disabled from recognising the things which are good,
But they also left behind them †† for human life a monument of their folly;
To the end that ‡‡ where they §§ went astray they might fail even to be unseen:
9 But wisdom delivered out of troubles those that waited on her.
10 When a righteous man was a fugitive from a brother’s wrath, *** wisdom guided him in straight paths;
She showed him God’s kingdom, and gave him knowledge of holy things;
She prospered him in his toils, and multiplied the fruits of his labor;
11 When in their covetousness men dealt hardly with him,
She stood by him and made him rich;
12 She guarded him from enemies,
And from those that lay in wait she kept him safe,
And over his sore conflict she watched as judge,
That he might know that godliness is more powerful than ††† all.
13 When a righteous man was sold, ‡‡‡ wisdom forsook him not,
But §§§ from sin she delivered him;
She went down with him into a dungeon,
14 And in bonds she left him not,
Till she brought him the sceptre of a kingdom,
And authority over those that dealt tyrannously with him;
She showed them also to be false that had mockingly accused him,
And gave him eternal glory.
15 * Wisdom delivered a holy people and a blameless seed from a nation of oppressors.
16 She entered into the soul of a servant of the Lord,
And withstood terrible kings in wonders and signs.
17 She rendered to holy men a reward of their toils;
She guided them along a marvelous way,
And became to them a covering in the day-time,
And a flame of stars through the night.
18 She brought them over the Red sea,
And led them through much water;
19 But their enemies she drowned,
And out of the bottom of the deep she cast them up.
20 Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly;
And they sang praise to your holy name, O Lord,
And extolled with one accord your hand that fought for them:
21 Because wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb,
And made the tongues of babes to speak clearly.

* 10:1 Gr. She.

† 10:5 Gr. She

‡ 10:6 Gr. she

§ 10:6 That is, the region of the five cities.

** 10:7 Or, distrustful

†† 10:8 Or, by their life

‡‡ 10:8 Gr. wherein.

§§ 10:8 Gr. stumbled.

*** 10:10 Gr. she.

††† 10:12 Gr. every one.

‡‡‡ 10:13 Gr. she.

§§§ 10:13 Or, from the sin of his kindred…into a pit

* 10:15 Gr. she.

Chapter 11

1 She prospered their works in the hand of a holy prophet.
2 They traveled through a desert without inhabitant,
And in trackless regions they pitched their tents.
3 They withstood enemies, and * repelled foes.
4 They thirsted, and they called upon you,
And there was given them water out of † the ‡ flinty rock,
And healing of their thirst out of the hard stone.
5 For by what things their foes were punished,
By these they in their need were benefited.
6 § When the enemy were troubled with clotted blood instead of a river’s ever-flowing fountain,
7 To rebuke the decree for the slaying of babes,
You gave them abundant water beyond all hope,
8 Having shewn them by ** the thirst which they had suffered how you did punish the adversaries.
9 For when they were tried, albeit but in mercy chastened,
They learned how the ungodly were tormented, being judged with wrath:
10 For these, as a father, admonishing them, you did prove;
But those, as a stern king, condemning them, you did search out.
11 Yes and whether they were far off from the righteous or near them, they were alike distressed;
12 For a double grief took hold on them,
And a groaning at the remembrance of things past.
13 For when they heard that through their own punishments the others †† had been benefited,
They felt the presence of the Lord;
14 For him who long before was ‡‡ cast forth and exposed they left off mocking:
In the last issue of what came to pass §§ they marveled,
Having thirsted in another manner than the righteous.
15 But in requital of the senseless imaginings of their unrighteousness,
Wherein they were led astray to worship irrational reptiles and wretched vermin,
You did send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures for vengeance;
16 That they might learn, that by what things a man sins, by these he is punished.
17 For your all-powerful hand,
That created the world out of formless matter,
Lacked not means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or fierce lions,
18 Or *** new-created wild beasts, full of rage, of unknown kind,
Either breathing out a blast of fiery breath,
Or blowing forth from their nostrils noisome smoke,
Or flashing dreadful sparkles from their eyes;
19 Which had power not only to consume them by their ††† violence,
But to destroy them even by the terror of their sight.
20 Yes and without these might they have fallen by a single breath,
Being pursued by Justice, and scattered abroad by the breath of your power.
But by measure and number and weight you did order all things.
21 For to be greatly strong is your at all times;
And the might of your arm who shall withstand?
22 Because the whole world before you is as ‡‡‡ a grain §§§ in a balance,
And as a drop of dew that at morning comes down upon the earth.
23 But you have mercy on all men, because you have power to do all things,
And you overlookest the sins of men to the end they may repent.
24 For you love all things that are,
And abhor none of the things which you did make;
For never would you have formed anything if you did hate it.
25 And how would anything have endured, except you had willed it?
Or that which was not called by you, how would it have been preserved?
26 But you spare all things, because they are your,
O Soverign Lord, you lover of men’s * lives;

* 11:3 Or, took vengeance on foes

† 11:4 Or, the steep rock

‡ 11:4 See Deuteronomy 8:15; Psalm 114:8.

§ 11:6 The text of this verse is perhaps corrupt.

** 11:8 Gr. the then thirst.

†† 11:13 Some authorities read were being.

‡‡ 11:14 Some authorities read cast forth in hatred they.

§§ 11:14 Or, they marveled at him

*** 11:18 Some authorities read unknown wild beasts, full of new-created rage.

††† 11:19 Gr. harmfulness.

‡‡‡ 11:22 Gr. that which just turns.

§§§ 11:22 Gr. from.

* 11:26 Or, souls

Chapter 12

1 For your incorruptible spirit is in all things.
2 Wherefore you convictest by little and little those who * fall from the right way,
And, putting them in remembrance by the very things wherein they sin, do you admonish them,
That escaping from their wickedness they may believe on you, O Lord.
3 For truly the old inhabitants of your holy land,
4 Hating them because they practised detestable works of enchantments and unholy rites
5 †(Merciless slaughters of children,
And sacrificial banquets of men’s flesh and of blood),
6 Confederates in an impious fellowship,
And murderers of their own helpless babes,
It was your counsel to destroy by the hands of our fathers;
7 That the land which in your sight is most precious of all lands
Might receive a worthy colony of God’s ‡ servants.
8 Nevertheless even these you did spare as being men,
And you sent § hornets as forerunners of your army,
To cause them to perish by little and little;
9 Not that you were unable to subdue the ungodly under the hand of the righteous in battle,
Or by terrible beasts or by one stern word to make away with them at once;
10 But judging them by little and little you gave them a place of repentance,
Not being ignorant that their nature by birth was evil, and their wickedness inborn,
And that their manner of thought would in no wise ever be changed,
11 For they were a seed accursed from the beginning:
Neither was it through fear of any that you did leave them then unpunished for their sins.
12 For who will say, What have you done?
Or who will withstand your judgement?
And who will accuse you for the perishing of nations which you did make?
Or who will come and stand before you as an avenger for unrighteous men?
13 For neither is there any God beside you that cares for all,
That you might show to him that you did not judge unrighteously:
14 Neither will king or prince be able to look you in the face to plead for those whom you have punished.
15 But being righteous you rule all things righteously,
Deeming it a thing alien from your power
To condemn one that does not himself deserve to be punished.
16 For your strength is the beginning of righteousness,
And your sovereignty over all makes you to forbear all.
17 For when men believe not that you are perfect in power, you show your strength,
** And †† in dealing with those who know it you put their boldness to confusion.
18 But you, being sovereign over your strength, judge in gentleness,
And with great forbearance do you govern us;
For the power is your whenever you have the will.
19 But you did teach your people by such works as these,
How that the righteous must be a lover of men;
And you did make your sons to be of good hope,
Because you give repentance when men have sinned.
20 For if on those who were enemies of your ‡‡ servants and due to death
You did take vengeance with so great heedfulness and indulgence,
Giving them times and place whereby they might escape from their wickedness;
21 With how great carefulness did you judge your sons,
To whose fathers you gave oaths and covenants of good promises!
22 While therefore you do chasten us, you scourge our enemies ten thousand times more,
To the intent that we may ponder your goodness when we judge,
And when we are judged may look for mercy.
23 Wherefore also the unrighteous that lived in folly of life
You did torment through their own abominations.
24 For truly they went astray very far §§ in the ways of error,
Taking as gods those *** animals which even among their enemies were held in dishonor,
Deceived like foolish babes.
25 Therefore, as to unreasoning children, you did send your judgement to mock them.
26 But those who would not be admonished ††† by a mocking correction as of children
Shall have experience of a judgement worthy of God.
27 For through the sufferings whereat they were indignant,
Being punished in these creatures which they supposed to be gods,
They saw, and recognized as the true God him whom before they ‡‡‡ refused to know:
Wherefore also the last end of condemnation came upon them.

* 12:2 Gr. fall aside.

† 12:5 The words rendered slaughters and impious in verses 5 and 6 differ but slightly from the readings of the Greek text, which here yield no sense.

‡ 12:7 Or, children

§ 12:8 Or, wasps

** 12:17 The Greek text here is perhaps corrupt.

†† 12:17 Or, in them

‡‡ 12:20 Or, children

§§ 12:24 Or, even beyond

*** 12:24 Gr. living creatures: and so elsewhere in this book.

††† 12:26 Or, by a correction, which was as children’s play Gr. by child-play of correction.

‡‡‡ 12:27 Or, denied that they knew

Chapter 13

1 For truly all men by nature * were but vain who had no perception of God,
And from the good things that are seen they gained not power to know him that is,
Neither by giving heed to the works did they recognize the architect;
2 But either fire, or wind, or swift air,
Or † circling stars, or raging water, or ‡ luminaries of heaven,
They thought to be gods that rule the world.
3 And if it was through delight in their beauty that they took them to be gods,
Let them know how much better than these is their Sovereign Lord;
For the first author of beauty created them:
4 But if it was through astonishment at their power and § influence,
Let them understand from them how much more powerful is he that formed them;
5 For from the ** greatness of the beauty †† even of created things
‡‡ In like proportion §§ does man form the image of their first maker.
6 But yet for these *** men there is but small blame,
For they too perhaps do but go astray
While they are seeking God and desiring to find him.
7 For ††† living among his works they make diligent search,
And they ‡‡‡ yield themselves up to sight, because the things that they look upon are beautiful.
8 But again even they are not to be excused.
9 For if they had power to know so much,
That they should be able to explore §§§ the course of things,
How is it that they did not sooner find the Sovereign Lord of these his works?
10 But miserable * were they, and † in dead things ‡ were their hopes,
Who called them gods which are works of men’s hands,
Gold and silver, wrought with careful are, and likenesses of animals,
Or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.
11 Yes and if some § woodcutter, having sawn down a ** tree that is easily moved,
Skilfully strips away all its bark,
And fashioning it in comely form makes a vessel useful for the service of life;
12 And burning the refuse of his handywork to dress his food, eats his fill;
13 And taking the very refuse thereof which served to no use,
A crooked piece of wood and full of knots,
Carves it with the diligence of his idleness,
And shapes it by the skill of his †† indolence;
‡‡ Then he gives it the semblance of the image of a man,
14 Or makes it like some paltry animal,
Smearing it with red, and with §§ paint colouring it red,
And smearing over every stain that is therein;
15 And having made for it a chamber worthy of it,
He sets it in a wall, making it fast with iron.
16 While then he takes thought for it that it may not fall down,
Knowing that it is unable to help itself;
(For truly it is an image, and has need of help;)
17 When he makes his prayer concerning goods and his marriage and children,
He is not ashamed to speak to that which has no life;
18 Yes for health he calls upon that which is weak,
And for life he implores that which is dead,
And for aid he supplicates that which has least experience.
And for a good journey that which can’t so much as move a step,
19 And for gaining and *** getting and good success of his hands
He asks ability of that which with its hands is most unable.

* 13:1 Or, are

† 13:2 Gr. circle of stars.

‡ 13:2 Or, luminaries of heaven, rulers of the world, they thought to be gods

§ 13:4 Gr. efficacy.

** 13:5 Some authorities read greatness and beauty of.

†† 13:5 Some authorities omit even.

‡‡ 13:5 Or, Correspondently

§§ 13:5 Gr. is the first maker of them seen.

*** 13:6 Or, things

††† 13:7 Or, being occupied with

‡‡‡ 13:7 Or, trust their sight that the things

§§§ 13:9 Or, life Or, the world Gr. the age.

* 13:10 Or, are

† 13:10 Or, among

‡ 13:10 Or, are

§ 13:11 Gr. carpenter who is a woodcutter.

** 13:11 Gr. plant. The Greek word, slightly changed, would mean trunk

†† 13:13 Or, leisure

‡‡ 13:13 Or, And

§§ 13:14 Gr. rouge.

*** 13:19 Or, handywork

Chapter 14

1 Again, one preparing to sail, and about to journey over raging waves,
Calls upon a piece of wood more rotten than the vessel that carries him;
2 For that vessel the hunger for gains devised,
And a craftsman, even wisdom, built it;
3 And your providence, O Father, guides it along,
Because even in the sea you gave a way,
And in the waves a sure path,
4 Shewing that you can save out of every danger,
That so even without are a man may put to sea;
5 And it is your will that the works of your wisdom should be not idle;
Therefore also do men intrust their lives to a little piece of wood,,
And passing through the surge * on a raft are brought safe to land.
6 For † in the old time also, when proud giants were perishing,
The hope of the world, taking refuge on a raft,
Left to ‡ the race of men a seed of generations to come,
Your hand guiding the helm.
7 For blessed § has been wood through which comes righteousness:
8 But the idol made with hands is accursed, itself and he that made it;
Because his was the working, and the corruptible thing was named a god:
9 For both the ungodly doer and his ungodliness are alike hateful to God;
10 For truly the deed will be punished together with him that committed it.
11 Therefore also ** among the idols of the nations will there be a visitation,
Because, though formed of things which God created, they were made an abomination,
And stumbling blocks to the souls of men,
And a snare to the feet of the foolish.
12 For the devising of idols was the beginning of fornication,
And the invention of them the corruption of life:
13 For neither were they from the beginning, neither will they be forever;
14 For by the vaingloriousness of men they entered into the world,
And therefore was a speedy end devised for them.
15 For a father worn with untimely grief,
Making an image of the child quickly taken away,
Now honored him as a god which was then a dead man,
And delivered to those that were under him mysteries and solemn rites.
16 Afterward the ungodly custom, in process of time grown strong, was kept as a law,
And by the commandments of princes the graven images received worship.
17 And when men could not honor them in presence because they lived far off,
Imagining the likeness from afar,
They made a visible image of the king whom they honored,
That by their zeal they might flatter the absent as if present.
18 But to a yet higher pitch was worship raised even by those who knew him not,
Urged forward by the ambition of the architect:
19 For he, wishing perhaps to please one in authority,
Used his are to force the likeness toward a greater beauty;
20 And the multitude, allured by reason of the grace of his handywork,
Now accounted as an object of devotion him that a little before was honored as a man.
21 And this became †† a hidden danger to life,
Because men, in bondage either to calamity or to tyranny,
Invested stones and stocks with the incommunicable Name.
22 Afterward it was not enough for them to go astray as touching the knowledge of God;
But also, while they live ‡‡ in §§ sore conflict through ignorance of him.
That multitude of evils they call peace.
23 For either slaughtering children in solemn rites, or celebrating secret mysteries,
Or holding frantic revels of strange ordinances,
24 No longer do they *** guard either life or purity of marriage,
But one brings upon another either death by treachery, or anguish by adulterate offspring.
25 And all things confusedly are filled with blood and murder, theft and deceit,
Corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,
26 ††† turmoil,
Ingratitude for benefits received,
Defiling of souls, confusion of ‡‡‡ sex,
Disorder in marriage, adultery and wantonness.
27 For the worship of §§§ those * nameless idols
Is a beginning and cause and end of every evil.
28 For their worshippers either make merry to madness, or prophesy lies,
Or live unrighteously, or lightly forswear themselves.
29 For putting their trust in lifeless idols,
When they have sworn a wicked oath, they expect not to suffer harm.
30 But for both sins will the just doom pursue them,
Because they had evil thoughts of God by giving heed to idols,
And swore unrighteously in deceit through contempt for holiness.
31 For it is not the power of them by whom men swear,
But it is † that Justice which has regard to those who sin,
That visits always the transgression of the unrighteous.

* 14:5 Gr. by.

† 14:6 The Greek text here is perhaps corrupt.

‡ 14:6 Or, future time Gr. age.

§ 14:7 Or, is

** 14:11 Or, upon Gr. in.

†† 14:21 Gr. an ambush.

‡‡ 14:22 Or, for

§§ 14:22 Gr. a great war of ignorance.

*** 14:24 Or, keep unstained either life or marriage

††† 14:26 Or, troubling of the good, forgetfulness of favours

‡‡‡ 14:26 Or, kind

§§§ 14:27 Or, idols that may not be named See Exodus 23:13; Psalm 16:4; Hosea 2:17.

* 14:27 See Wisdom of Solomon 14:21

† 14:31 Gr. the Justice of those who sin.

Chapter 15

1 But you, our God, are gracious and true,
Longsuffering, and in mercy ordering all things.
2 For even if we sin, we are your, knowing your dominion;
But we will not sin, knowing that we have been accounted your:
3 For to be acquainted with you is * perfect righteousness,
And to know your dominion is the root of immortality.
4 For we weren’t led astray by any evil plan of men’s,
Nor yet by painters’ fruitless labor,
A form stained with varied colors;
5 The sight whereof leads fools into † lust:
Their desire is for the breathless form of a dead image.
6 Lovers of evil things, and worthy of such hopes as these,
Are both those who do, and those who desire, and those who worship.
7 For a potter, kneading soft earth,
Laboriously molds each several vessel for our service:
Nay, out of the same clay does he fashion
Both the vessels that minister to clean uses, and those of a contrary sort,
All in like manner;
But what shall be the use of each vessel of either sort,
The ‡ craftsman himself is the judge.
8 And also, laboring to an evil end, he molds a vain god out of the same clay,
He who, having but a little before been made of earth,
After a short space goes his way to the earth out of which he was taken,
When he is required to render back the § soul which was lent him.
9 Howbeit he has anxious care,
Not because his powers must fail,
Nor because his span of life is short;
But he matches himself against goldsmiths and ** silversmiths,
And he imitates molders in †† brass,
And esteems it glory that he molds counterfeits.
10 His heart is ashes,
And his hope of less value than earth,
And his life of less honor than clay:
11 Because he was ignorant of him that moulded him,
And of him that inspired into him ‡‡ an active §§ soul,
And breathed into him a vital spirit.
12 But *** he accounted our very life to be a ††† plaything,
And our ‡‡‡ lifetime a gainful §§§ fair;
For, says he, one must get gain whence one can, though it be by evil.
13 For this man beyond all others knows that he sins,
Out of earthy matter making brittle vessels and graven images.
14 But most foolish * were they all, and † of feebler soul than a babe,
The enemies of your people, who oppressed them;
15 Because they even accounted all the idols of the nations to be gods;
Which have neither the use of eyes for seeing,
Nor nostrils for drawing breath,
Nor ears to hear,
Nor fingers for handling,
And their feet are helpless for walking.
16 For a man made them,
And one whose own spirit is borrowed moulded them;
For no one has power, being a man, to mould a god like to himself,
17 But, being mortal, he makes a dead thing by the work of lawless hands;
For he is better than the objects of his worship,
‡ Forasmuch as he indeed had life, but they never.
18 Yes, and the creatures that are most hateful do they worship,
§ For, being compared as to lack of sense, these are worse than all others;
19 Neither, as seen beside other creatures, are they beautiful, so that one should desire them,
But they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing.

* 15:3 Gr. entire.

† 15:5 Some authorities read reproach.

‡ 15:7 Gr. worker in clay.

§ 15:8 Or, life

** 15:9 Gr. silver-founders.

†† 15:9 Or, copper

‡‡ 15:11 Gr. a soul that moves to activity.

§§ 15:11 Or, life

*** 15:12 Some authorities read they accounted.

††† 15:12 Or, sport

‡‡‡ 15:12 Or, way of life

§§§ 15:12 Or, keeping of festival

* 15:14 Or, are

† 15:14 Gr. more wretched than the soul of a babe.

‡ 15:17 Most authorities read Of which, he indeed.

§ 15:18 The Greek text here is perhaps corrupt.

Chapter 16

1 For this cause were these men worthily punished through creatures like those which they worship,
And tormented through a multitude of vermin.
2 Instead of which punishment, you, bestowing benefits on your people,
Preparedst quails for food,
Food of * rare taste, to satisfy the desire of their appetite;
3 To the end that † your enemies, desiring food,
Might for the hideousness of the creatures sent among them
Loathe even the necessary appetite;
But these, your people, having for a short space suffered lack,
Might even partake of food of ‡ rare taste.
4 For it was needful that upon those should come inexorable lack in their tyrannous dealing,
But that to these it should only be showed how their enemies were tormented.
5 For even when terrible raging of wild beasts came upon § your people,
And they were perishing by the bites of crooked serpents,
Your wrath continued not to the uttermost;
6 But for admonition were they troubled for a short space,
Having a token of salvation,
To put them in remembrance of the commandment of your law:
7 For he that turned toward it was not saved because of that which was seen,
But because of you, the Saviour of all.
8 Yes, and in this did you persuade our enemies,
That you are he that delivers out of every evil.
9 For them truly the bites of locusts and flies did kill,
And there was not found a healing for their life,
Because they were worthy to be punished by such as these;
10 But your sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame,
For your mercy passed by where they were, and healed them.
11 For they were ** bitten, to put them in remembrance of your oracles;
And were quickly saved, lest, falling into deep forgetfulness,
They should become †† unable to be ‡‡ roused by your beneficence:
12 For of a truth it was neither herb nor mollifying plaister that cured them,
But your word, O Lord, which heals all things;
13 For you have authority over life and death,
And you lead down to the gates of Hades, and lead up again.
14 But though a man may kill by his §§ wickedness,
Yet the spirit that is gone forth he turns not again,
Neither gives release to the soul that Hades has received.
15 But your hand it is not possible to escape;
16 For ungodly men, *** refusing to know you, were scourged in the strength of your arm,
Pursued with strange rains and hails and showers inexorable,
And utterly consumed with fire;
17 For, what was most marvelous of all,
In the water which quenches all things the fire wrought yet more mightily;
For the world fights for the righteous.
18 For at one time the flame lost its fierceness,
That it might not burn up the creatures sent against the ungodly,
But that these themselves as they looked might ††† see that they were chased through the judgement of God:
19 And at another time even in the midst of water it burns above the power of fire,
That it may destroy the ‡‡‡ fruits of an unrighteous land.
20 Instead whereof you gave your people angels’ food to eat,
And bread ready for their use did you provide for them from heaven without their toil,
Bread having the virtue of every pleasant savor,
And agreeing to every taste;
21 For §§§ your * nature manifested your sweetness toward your children;
While that bread, ministering to the desire of the eater,
Tempered itself according to every man’s choice.
22 But snow and ice endured fire, and melted not,
That men might know that fire was destroying the fruits of the enemies,
Burning in the hail and flashing in the rains;
23 And † that this element again, in order that righteous men may be nourished,
Hath even forgotten its own power.
24 For the creation, ministering to you its maker,
Strains its force against the unrighteous, for punishment,
And slackens it in behalf of those who trust in you, for beneficence.
25 Therefore at that time also, converting itself into all forms,
It ministered to your all-nourishing bounty,
According to the desire of those who ‡ made supplication;
26 That your sons, whom you loved, O Lord, might learn
That it is not the § growth of the earth’s fruits that nourishes a man,
But that your word preserves those who trust you.
27 For that which was not marred by fire,
When it was simply warmed by a faint sunbeam melted away;
28 That it might be known that we must rise before the sun to give you thanks,
And must plead with you at the dawning of the light:
29 For the hope of the unthankful will melt as the winter’s hoar frost,
And will flow away as water that has no use.

* 16:2 Gr. strange.

† 16:3 Gr. those.

‡ 16:3 Gr. strange.

§ 16:5 Gr. them.

** 16:11 Gr. pricked

†† 16:11 Some authorities read bereft of help from your beneficence.

‡‡ 16:11 Gr. distracted, or, drawn away. The meaning is somewhat obscure.

§§ 16:14 Or, malice

*** 16:16 Or, denying that they knew you

††† 16:18 Some authorities read know.

‡‡‡ 16:19 Gr. products

§§§ 16:21 Some authorities read the substance thereof.

* 16:21 Or, creation Gr. substance.

† 16:23 Some authorities omit that.

‡ 16:25 Or, had need

§ 16:26 Gr. generations.

Chapter 17

1 For great are your judgements, and hard to * interpret;
Therefore souls undisciplined went astray.
2 For when lawless men had supposed that they held a holy nation in their power,
They, themselves, prisoners of darkness, and bound in the fetters of a long night,
Close kept beneath their roofs,
Lay exiled from the eternal providence.
3 For while they thought that they were unseen in their secret sins,
They were † sundered one from another by a dark curtain of forgetfulness,
Stricken with terrible awe, and sore troubled by spectral forms.
4 For neither did ‡ the dark recesses that held them guard them from fears,
But sounds § rushing down rang around them,
And phantoms appeared, cheerless with unsmiling faces.
5 And no force of fire prevailed to give them light,
Neither were the brightest flames of the stars strong enough to illumine that gloomy night:
6 But only there appeared to them the glimmering of a fire self-kindled, full of fear;
And in terror they deemed the things which they saw
To be worse than that sight, on which they could not gaze.
7 ** And they lay helpless, made the sport of magic are,
And a shameful rebuke of their vaunts of understanding:
8 For those who promised to drive away terrors and troublings from a sick soul,
These were themselves sick with a ludicrous fearfulness:
9 For even if no troublous thing affrighted them,
Yet, scared with the creepings of vermin and hissings of serpents,
10 they perished †† for very trembling,
Refusing even to look on the air, which could on no side be escaped.
11 ‡‡ For wickedness, condemned by a witness within, is a coward thing,
And, being pressed hard by conscience, always §§ forecasts the worst lot:
12 For fear is nothing else but a surrender of the help which reason offers;
13 And from within the heart the expectation of them being less
Makes of greater account the ignorance of the cause that brings the torment.
14 But they, all through the night which was powerless indeed,
And which came upon them out of the recesses of powerless Hades,
All sleeping the same sleep,
15 Now were haunted by monstrous apparitions,
And now were paralysed by their soul’s surrendering;
For fear sudden and unlooked for *** came upon them.
16 So then every man, whoever it might be, sinking down ††† in his place,
Was kept in ward shut up in that prison which was barred not with iron:
17 For whether he were a husbandman, or a shepherd,
Or a labourer whose toils were in the wilderness,
He was overtaken, and endured that inevitable necessity,
For with one chain of darkness were they all bound.
18 Whether there were a whistling wind,
Or a melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches,
Or a measured fall of water running violently,
19 Or a harsh crashing of rocks hurled down,
Or the swift course of animals bounding along unseen,
Or the voice of wild beasts harshly roaring,
Or an echo rebounding from ‡‡‡ the hollows of the mountains,
All these things paralysed them with terror.
20 For the whole world beside was enlightened with clear light,
And was occupied with unhindered works;
21 While over them alone was spread a heavy night,
An image of the darkness that should afterward receive them;
But yet heavier than darkness were they to themselves.

* 17:1 Or, set forth

† 17:3 Gr. scattered by.

‡ 17:4 Gr. the recess.

§ 17:4 Some authorities read troubling them sore.

** 17:7 Some authorities read And the mockeries of magic are lay low, and shameful was the rebuke etc.

†† 17:10 Or, trembling, and refusing to

‡‡ 17:11 This is the probable sense: the Greek text is perhaps slightly corrupt.

§§ 17:11 Most authorities read has added.

*** 17:15 Some authorities read was poured upon them.

††† 17:16 Gr. there.

‡‡‡ 17:19 Or, a hollow

Chapter 18

1 But for your holy ones there was great light;
And the Egyptians, hearing their voice but seeing not their form,
Counted it a happy thing that they too had suffered,
2 Yet for that they do not hurt them now, though wronged by them before, they are thankful;
And because they had been at variance with them, they made supplication to them.
3 Whereas you did provide for your people a burning pillar of fire,
To be a guide for their unknown journey,
And withal a * kindly sun for their † proud exile.
4 For well did ‡ the Egyptians deserve to be deprived of light and imprisoned by darkness,
They who had kept in close ward your sons,
Through whom the incorruptible light of the law was to be given to § the race of men.
5 After they had taken counsel to kill the babes of the holy ones,
And when a single child had been cast forth and saved ** to convict them of their sin,
You took away from them their multitude of children,
And destroyed all their army together in a mighty flood.
6 Of that night were our fathers made aware beforehand,
That, having sure knowledge, they might be cheered by the oaths which they had trusted:
7 So by your people was expected salvation of the righteous and destruction of the enemies;
8 For as you did take vengeance on the adversaries,
†† By the same means, calling us to yourself, you did glorify us.
9 For holy children ‡‡ of good men offered sacrifice in secret,
And with one consent they took upon themselves the covenant of the §§ divine law,
That *** they would partake alike in the same good things and the same perils;
The fathers already leading the sacred songs of praise.
10 But there sounded back in discord the cry of the enemies,
††† And a piteous voice of lamentation for children was borne abroad.
11 And servant along with master punished with a like just doom,
And commoner suffering the same as king,
12 Yes, all the people together, under one form of death,
Had with them corpses without number;
For the living were not sufficient even to bury them,
Since at a single ‡‡‡ stroke their §§§ nobler offspring was consumed.
13 For while they were disbelieving all things by reason of the enchantments,
Upon the destruction of the firstborn they confessed the people to be God’s son.
14 For while peaceful silence enwrapped all things,
And night in her own swiftness was in mid course,
15 Your all-powerful word leaped from heaven out of * the royal † throne,
A stern warrior, into the midst of the ‡ doomed land,
16 Bearing as a sharp sword your unfeigned commandment;
And standing it filled all things with death;
And while it touched the heaven it trode upon the earth.
17 Then forthwith apparitions in dreams terribly troubled them,
And fears came upon them unlooked for.
18 And each, one thrown here half dead, another there,
Made manifest wherefore he was dying:
19 For the dreams, perturbing them, did foreshew this,
That they might not perish without knowing why they were afflicted.
20 But it § befell the righteous also to make trial of death,
And a multitude were stricken in the wilderness:
Howbeit the wrath endured not for long.
21 For a blameless man hurried to be their champion:
Bringing the weapon of his own ministry,
Even prayer and the propitiation of incense,
He withstood the indignation, and set an end to the calamity,
Shewing that he was your servant.
22 And he overcame the ** anger,
Not by strength of body, not by efficacy of weapons;
But †† by word did he subdue ‡‡ the minister of punishment,
By bringing to remembrance oaths and covenants made with the fathers.
23 For when the dead were already fallen in heaps one upon another,
Standing between he stopped the advancing wrath,
And §§ cut off the way to the living.
24 For upon his long high-priestly robe was the whole world,
And the glories of the fathers were upon the graving of the four rows of *** precious stones,
And your majesty was upon the diadem of his head.
25 To these the destroyer gave place, and these ††† the people feared;
For it was enough only to make trial of the wrath.

* 18:3 Gr. unharmful.

† 18:3 Or, aspiring

‡ 18:4 Gr. they.

§ 18:4 Or, future time Gr. the age.

** 18:5 Or, to be to them a rebuke

†† 18:8 Gr. By this.

‡‡ 18:9 Or, of blessing Gr. of good men, or, of good things.

§§ 18:9 Gr. law of divineness.

*** 18:9 Some authorities read the saints would partake…perils; already leading the fathers’ songs of praise.

††† 18:10 Some authorities read And was piteously borne abroad in lamentation for children.

‡‡‡ 18:12 Gr. turn of the scale.

§§§ 18:12 Or, more cherished

* 18:15 Or, your

† 18:15 Gr. thrones.

‡ 18:15 Or, destroying

§ 18:20 Gr. touched.

** 18:22 The word rendered anger differs only by the transposition of two letters from the reading of the Greek text, which here yields no sense.

†† 18:22 Or, to a word did he subject

‡‡ 18:22 Gr. him who was punishing.

§§ 18:23 Gr. cleft apart.

*** 18:24 Gr. stone.

††† 18:25 Some authorities read he feared.

Chapter 19

1 But upon the ungodly there came to the end indignation without mercy;
For their future also God foreknew,
2 How that, having changed their minds to let your people go,
And having speeded them eagerly on their way,
They would repent themselves and pursue them.
3 For while they were yet in the midst of their mourning,
And making lamentation at the graves of the dead,
They drew upon themselves another counsel of folly,
And pursued as fugitives those whom with intreaties they had cast out.
4 For * the doom which they deserved was drawing them † to this end,
And it made them forget the things that had befallen them,
That they might fill up the punishment which was yet lacking to their torments,
5 And that your people might ‡ journey on by a marvelous road,
But they themselves might find a strange death.
6 For the whole creation, each part in its several kind, was fashioned again anew,
Ministering to your several commandments,
That your § servants might be guarded free from hurt.
7 Then the cloud that shadowed the camp was seen,
And dry land rising up out of what before was water,
Out of the Red sea an unhindered highway,
And a grassy plain out of the violent surge;
8 ** By which they passed over with all their army,
These that were covered with your hand,
Having seen strange marvels.
9 For like horses they roamed at large,
And they skipped about like lambs,
Praising you, O Lord, who was their deliverer.
10 For they still remembered the things that came to pass in the time of their sojourning,
How that instead of †† bearing ‡‡ cattle the land brought forth §§ lice,
And instead of *** fish the river cast up a multitude of frogs.
11 But afterwards they saw also a new ††† race of birds,
When, led on by desire, they asked for luxurious dainties;
12 For, to solace them, there came up for them quails from the sea.
13 And upon the sinners came the punishments
Not without the tokens that were given ‡‡‡ beforehand by the force of the thunders;
For justly did they suffer through their own wickednesses,
For §§§ grievous indeed was the hatred which they practised toward guests.
14 * For whereas the men of Sodom received not † the strangers when they came among them;
‡ The Egyptians made slaves of guests who were their benefactors.
15 And not only so, but God will § visit ** the men of Sodom after another sort,
Since they received as enemies those who were aliens;
16 Whereas these first welcomed with feastings,
And then afflicted with dreadful toils,
Them that had already shared with them in the same rights.
17 And moreover they were stricken with loss of sight
(Even as were those others at the righteous man’s doors),
When, being compassed about with yawning darkness,
They sought every one the passage through his own door.
18 For as the notes of a lute vary the character of the rhythm,
Even so did the elements, changing their order one with another,
Continuing always the same, each in its several sound;
As may clearly be †† divined from the sight of the things that are come to pass.
19 For creatures of the dry land were turned into creatures of the waters,
And creatures that swim trode now upon the earth:
20 Fire kept the mastery of its own power in the midst of water,
And water forgat its quenching nature:
21 Contrariwise, flames wasted not the flesh of perishable creatures that walked among them;
Neither ‡‡ melted they the §§ ice-like grains of ambrosial food, that were of nature apt to melt.
22 For in all things, O Lord, you did magnify your people,
And you did glorify them and not lightly regard them;
Standing by their side in every time and place.

* 19:4 Or, their desert by necessity was

† 19:4 Some authorities read to this at last.

‡ 19:5 Some authorities read make trial of.

§ 19:6 Or, children

** 19:8 Or, Through

†† 19:10 Or, birth of cattle

‡‡ 19:10 Gr. living creatures.

§§ 19:10 Or, sandflies

*** 19:10 Gr. creatures of the waters.

††† 19:11 Or, production Gr. generation.

‡‡‡ 19:13 Some authorities omit beforehand.

§§§ 19:13 Or, yet more grievous was

* 19:14 The Greek text of this and the following verse is perhaps corrupt.

† 19:14 Gr. them who knew them not.

‡ 19:14 Gr. These.

§ 19:15 Or, visit them…sort: since the men of Sodom received…aliens

** 19:15 Gr. them.

†† 19:18 Gr. conjectured.

‡‡ 19:21 The Greek authorities read could be melted. The Latin seems to have preserved the original Greek text.

§§ 19:21 Gr. ice-like kind.

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Source: The World English Bible

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