Wisdom (aka Wisdom of Solomon)

Revised Standard Version


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Chapters
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Rulers Called to Righteousness

1 Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth,
think of the Lord with uprightness,
and seek him with sincerity of heart;
2because he is found by those who do not put him to the test,
and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.
3For perverse thoughts separate men from God,
and when his power is tested, it convicts the foolish;
4because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul,
nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin.
5For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit,
and will rise and depart from foolish thoughts,
and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness.
6For wisdom is a kindly spirit
and will not free a blasphemer from the guilt of his words;
because God is witness of his inmost feelings,
and a true observer of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue.
7Because the Spirit of the Lord has filled the world,
and that which holds all things together knows what is said;
8therefore no one who utters unrighteous things will escape notice,
and justice, when it punishes, will not pass him by.
9For inquiry will be made into the counsels of an ungodly man,
and a report of his words will come to the Lord,
to convict him of his lawless deeds;
10because a jealous ear hears all things,
and the sound of murmurings does not go unheard.
11Beware then of useless murmuring,
and keep your tongue from slander;
because no secret word is without result,
and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

Death is not God's Will

12Do not invite death by the error of your life,
nor bring on destruction by the works of your hands;
13because God did not make death,
and he does not delight in the death of the living.
14For he created all things that they might exist,
and the generative forces of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them;
and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.
15For righteousness is immortal.

Life as the Ungodly See it

16But ungodly men by their words and deeds summoned death;
considering him a friend, they pined away,
and they made a covenant with him,
because they are fit to belong to his party.      {Top}

 

2 For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,

"Short and sorrowful is our life,
and there is no remedy when a man comes to his end,
and no one has been known to return from Hades.
2Because we were born by mere chance,
and hereafter we shall 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 hearts.
3When it is extinguished, the body will turn to ashes,
and the spirit will dissolve like empty air.
4Our name will be forgotten in time
and no one will remember our works;
our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud,
and be scattered like mist
that is chased by the rays of the sun
and overcome by its heat.
5For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow,
and there is no return from our death,
because it is sealed up and no one turns back.
6Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist,
and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.
7Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes,
and let no flower of spring pass by us.
8Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.
9Let none of us fail to share in our revelry,
everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment,
because this is our portion, and this our lot.
10Let us oppress the righteous poor man;
let us not spare the widow
nor regard the gray hairs of the aged.
11But let our might be our law of right,
for what is weak proves itself to be useless.

Diatribe Against God's Son

12"Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, (Matthew 12:14)
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; (Matthew 23:25)
he reproaches us for sins against the law, (Matthew 23:23)
and accuses us of sins against our training. (Matthew 23:16)
13He professes to have knowledge of God, (Matthew 11:27)
and calls himself a child of the Lord. (John 8:42)
14He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; (Matthew 9:4)
15the very sight of him is a burden to us, (John 11:47-48)
because his manner of life is unlike that of others, (Matthew 9:11)
and his ways are strange.
16We are considered by him as something base,
and he avoids our ways as unclean;
he calls the last end of the righteous happy, (Matthew 5:10)
and boasts that God is his father. (John 8:19)
17Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
18for if the righteous man is God's son,(Luke 22:70) he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. (Matthew 27:40)
19Let us test him (Matthew 22:15) with insult and torture,
that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
20Let us condemn him to a shameful death, (Matthew 12:14)
for, according to what he says, he will be protected." (Matthew 27:41-43)

21Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,
for their wickedness blinded them, (Matthew 23:16)
22and they did not know the secret purposes of God,(1 Corinthians 2:8)
nor hope for the wages of holiness,
nor discern the prize for blameless souls;

The Devil Envious of Man

23for God created man for incorruption,
and made him in the image of his own eternity,
24but through the devil's envy death entered the world,
and those who belong to his party experience it.      {Top}

The Righteous are in the Hand of God...

3 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.

...but the Foolish Don't Think so

2In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
and their departure was thought to be an affliction,
3and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
4For though in the sight of men they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
5Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
6like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
7In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
8They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them for ever.
9Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his elect,
and he watches over his holy ones.

Destiny of the Ungodly

10But the ungodly will be punished as their reasoning deserves,
who disregarded the righteous man and rebelled against the Lord;
11for whoever despises wisdom and instruction is miserable.
Their hope is vain, their labors are unprofitable,
and their works are useless.
12Their wives are foolish, and their children evil;
13their offspring are accursed.

Blessings to the Childless but Godly

For blessed is the barren woman who is undefiled,
who has not entered into a sinful union;
she will have fruit when God examines souls.
14Blessed also is the eunuch whose hands have done no lawless deed,
and who has not devised wicked things against the Lord;
for special favor will be shown him for his faithfulness,
and a place of great delight in the temple of the Lord.
15For the fruit of good labors is renowned,
and the root of understanding does not fail.
16But children of adulterers will not come to maturity,
and the offspring of an unlawful union will perish.
17Even if they live long they will be held of no account,
and finally their old age will be without honor.
18If they die young, they will have no hope
and no consolation in the day of decision.
19For the end of an unrighteous generation is grievous.      {Top}

 

4 Better than this is childlessness with virtue,
for in the memory of virtue is immortality,
because it is known both by God and by men.
2When it is present, men imitate it,
and they long for it when it has gone;
and throughout all time it marches crowned in triumph,
victor in the contest for prizes that are undefiled.
3But the prolific brood of the ungodly will be of no use,
and none of their illegitimate seedlings will strike a deep root or take a firm hold.
4For even if they put forth boughs for a while,
standing insecurely they will be shaken by the wind,
and by the violence of the winds they will be uprooted.
5The branches will be broken off before they come to maturity,
and their fruit will be useless,
not ripe enough to eat, and good for nothing.
6For children born of unlawful unions are witnesses of evil
against their parents when God examines them.
7But the righteous man,
though he die early,
will be at rest.
8For old age is not honored for length of time,
nor measured by number of years;
9but understanding is gray hair for men,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.

In Praise of Enoch

10There was one who pleased God and was loved by him,
and while living among sinners he was taken up.(Heb 11:5)
11He was caught up lest evil change his understanding
or guile deceive his soul.
12For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
13Being perfected in a short time,
he fulfilled long years;
14for his soul was pleasing to the Lord,(Heb 11:5)
therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness.
15Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
nor take such a thing to heart,
that God's grace and mercy are with his elect,
and he watches over his holy ones. (Enoch 5:6)

The Righteous Victorious

16The righteous man who had died
will condemn the ungodly who are living,
and youth that is quickly perfected will condemn
the prolonged old age of the unrighteous man.
17For they will see the end of the wise man,
and will not understand what the Lord purposed for him,
and for what he kept him safe.
18They will see, and will have contempt for him,
but the Lord will laugh them to scorn.
After this they will become dishonored corpses,
and an outrage among the dead for ever;
19because he will dash them speechless to the ground,
and shake them from the foundations;
they will be left utterly dry and barren,
and they will suffer anguish,
and the memory of them will perish.

The Final Judgment

20They will come with dread when their sins are reckoned up,
and their lawless deeds will convict them to their face.      {Top}

 

5 Then the righteous man will stand with great confidence
in the presence of those who have afflicted him,
and those who make light of his labors.
2When they see him, they will be shaken with dreadful fear,
and they will be amazed at his unexpected salvation.
3They will speak to one another in repentance,
and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say,

4"This is the man whom we once held in derision
and made a byword of reproach-- we fools!
We thought that his life was madness
and that his end was without honor.
5Why has he been numbered among the sons of God?
And why is his lot among the saints?
6So it was we who strayed from the way of truth,
and the light of righteousness did not shine on us,
and the sun did not rise upon us.
7We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction,
and we journeyed through trackless deserts,
but the way of the Lord we have not known.
8What has our arrogance profited us?
And what good has our boasted wealth brought us?
9"All those things have vanished like a shadow,
and like a rumor that passes by;
10like a ship that sails through the billowy water,
and when it has passed no trace can be found,
nor track of its keel in the waves;
11or as, when a bird flies through the air,
no evidence of its passage is found;
the light air,
lashed by the beat of its pinions
and pierced by the force of its rushing flight,
is traversed by the movement of its wings,
and afterward no sign of its coming is found there;
12or as, when an arrow is shot at a target,
the air, thus divided, comes together at once,
so that no one knows its pathway.
13So we also, as soon as we were born,
ceased to be, and we had no sign of virtue to show,
but were consumed in our wickedness."

14Because the hope of the ungodly man
is like chaff carried by the wind,
and like a light hoarfrost driven away by a storm;
it is dispersed like smoke before the wind,
and it passes like the remembrance
of a guest who stays but a day.

The Righteous Live Forever

15But the righteous live for ever,
and their reward is with the Lord;
the Most High takes care of them.
16Therefore they will receive a glorious crown
and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord,
because with his right hand he will cover them,
and with his arm he will shield them.
17The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armor,
and will arm all creation to repel his enemies;
18he will put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and wear impartial justice as a helmet;
19he will take holiness as an invincible shield,
20and sharpen stern wrath for a sword,
and creation will join with him to fight against the madmen.
21Shafts of lightning will fly with true aim,
and will leap to the target as from a well-drawn bow of clouds,
22and hailstones full of wrath
will be hurled as from a catapult;
the water of the sea will rage against them,
and rivers will relentlessly overwhelm them;
23a mighty wind will rise against them,
and like a tempest it will winnow them away.
Lawlessness will lay waste the whole earth,
and evil-doing will overturn the thrones of rulers.      {Top}

Rulers Should Seek Wisdom

6 Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;
learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
2Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,
and boast of many nations.
3For your dominion was given you from the Lord,
and your sovereignty from the Most High,
who will search out your works and inquire into your plans.
4Because as servants of his kingdom
you did not rule rightly,
nor keep the law,
nor walk according to the purpose of God,
5he will come upon you terribly and swiftly,
because severe judgment falls on those in high places.
6For the lowliest man may be pardoned in mercy,
but mighty men will be mightily tested.
7For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of any one,
nor show deference to greatness;
because he himself made both small and great,
and he takes thought for all alike.
8But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.
9To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed,
that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.
10For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness,
and those who have been taught them will find a defense.
11Therefore set your desire on my words;
long for them, and you will be instructed.

The Personification of Wisdom

12Wisdom is radiant and unfading,
and she is easily discerned by those who love her,
and is found by those who seek her.
13She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
14He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty,
for he will find her sitting at his gates.
15To fix one's thought on her is perfect understanding,
and he who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,
16because she goes about seeking those worthy of her,
and she graciously appears to them in their paths,
and meets them in every thought.
17The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction,
and concern for instruction is love of her,
18and love of her is the keeping of her laws,
and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,
19and immortality brings one near to God;
20so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.
21Therefore if you delight in thrones and scepters,
O monarchs over the peoples,
honor wisdom, that you may reign for ever.
22I will tell you what wisdom is and how she came to be,
and I will hide no secrets from you,
but I will trace her course from the beginning of creation,
and make knowledge of her clear,
and I will not pass by the truth;
23neither will I travel in the company of sickly envy,
for envy does not associate with wisdom.
24A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world,
and a sensible king is the stability of his people.      {Top}

The Author Born Mortal Like Everyone

7 I also am mortal, like all men,
a descendant of the first-formed child of earth;
and in the womb of a mother I was molded into flesh,
2within the period of ten months,
compacted with blood,
from the seed of a man and the pleasure of marriage.
3And when I was born, I began to breathe the common air,
and fell upon the kindred earth,
and my first sound was a cry, like that of all.
4I was nursed with care in swaddling cloths.
5For no king has had a different beginning of existence;
6there is for all mankind one entrance into life,
and a common departure.

Respect for Wisdom

7Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
8I preferred her to scepters and thrones,
and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
9Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
10I loved her more than health and beauty,
and I chose to have her rather than light,
because her radiance never ceases.
11All good things came to me along with her,
and in her hands uncounted wealth.
12I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them;
but I did not know that she was their mother.
13I learned without guile
and I impart without grudging;
I do not hide her wealth,
14for it is an unfailing treasure for men;
those who get it obtain friendship with God,
commended for the gifts that come from instruction.

Praying for Wisdom

15May God grant that I speak with judgment
and have thought worthy of what I have received,
for he is the guide even of wisdom
and the corrector of the wise.
16For both we and our words are in his hand,
as are all understanding and skill in crafts.
17For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists,
to know the structure of the world
and the activity of the elements;
18the beginning and end and middle of times,
the alternations of the solstices
and the changes of the seasons,
19the cycles of the year
and the constellations of the stars,
20the natures of animals
and the tempers of wild beasts,
the powers of spirits
and the reasonings of men,
the varieties of plants
and the virtues of roots;
21I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,
22for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.

Twenty-One Attributes of Wisdom

For in her there is a spirit that is:

intelligent, holy, unique,
manifold, subtle, mobile,
clear, unpolluted, distinct,
invulnerable, loving the good, keen,
irresistible, 23beneficent, humane,
steadfast, sure, free from anxiety,
all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits
that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.

24For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.
25For she is a breath of the power of God,
and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.
26For she is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.
27Though she is but one, she can do all things,
and while remaining in herself, she renews all things.

Wisdom Makes Men Friends of God and Prophets

In every generation she passes into holy souls
and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
28for God loves nothing so much as the man who lives with wisdom.
29For she is more beautiful than the sun,
and excels every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
30for it is succeeded by the night,
but against wisdom evil does not prevail.      {Top}

 

8 She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,
and she orders all things well.

2I loved her and sought her from my youth,
and I desired to take her for my bride,
and I became enamored of her beauty.
3She glorifies her noble birth by living with God,
and the Lord of all loves her.
4For she is an initiate in the knowledge of God,
and an associate in his works.
5If riches are a desirable possession in life,
what is richer than wisdom who effects all things?
6And if understanding is effective,
who more than she is fashioner of what exists?
7And if any one loves righteousness, her labors are virtues;
for she teaches self-control and prudence,
justice and courage;
nothing in life is more profitable for men than these.

8And if any one longs for wide experience,
she knows the things of old,
and infers the things to come;
she understands turns of speech and the solutions of riddles;
she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders
and of the outcome of seasons and times.
9Therefore I determined to take her to live with me,
knowing that she would give me good counsel and encouragement in cares and grief.
10Because of her I shall have glory among the multitudes
and honor in the presence of the elders, though I am young.
11I shall be found keen in judgment,
and in the sight of rulers I shall be admired.
12When I am silent they will wait for me,
and when I speak they will give heed;
and when I speak at greater length they will put their hands on their mouths.
13Because of her I shall have immortality,
and leave an everlasting remembrance to those who come after me.
14I shall govern peoples,
and nations will be subject to me;
15dread monarchs will be afraid of me when they hear of me;
among the people I shall show myself capable, and courageous in war.
16When I enter my house, I shall find rest with her,
for companionship with her has no bitterness,
and life with her has no pain,
but gladness and joy.

17When I considered these things inwardly,
and thought upon them in my mind,
that in kinship with wisdom there is immortality,
18and in friendship with her, pure delight,
and in the labors of her hands, unfailing wealth,
and in the experience of her company, understanding,
and renown in sharing her words,
I went about seeking how to get her for myself.
19As a child I was by nature well endowed,
and a good soul fell to my lot;
20or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body.
21But I perceived that I would not possess wisdom unless God gave her to me--
and it was a mark of insight to know whose gift she was--
so I appealed to the Lord and besought him,
and with my whole heart I said:      {Top}

Prayer for Wisdom

9 "O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy,
who hast made all things by thy word,
2and by thy wisdom hast formed man,
to have dominion over the creatures thou hast made,
3and rule the world in holiness and righteousness,
and pronounce judgment in uprightness of soul,
4give me the wisdom that sits by thy throne,
and do not reject me from among thy servants.

5For I am thy slave and the son of thy maidservant,
a man who is weak and short-lived,
with little understanding of judgment and laws;
6for even if one is perfect among the sons of men,
yet without the wisdom that comes from thee he will be regarded as nothing.

7Thou hast chosen me to be king of thy people
and to be judge over thy sons and daughters.
8Thou hast given command to build a temple on thy holy mountain,
and an altar in the city of thy habitation,
a copy of the holy tent which thou didst prepare from the beginning.  (Hebrews 8:5)

9With thee is wisdom,
who knows thy works and was present when thou didst make the world,
and who understands what is pleasing in thy sight
and what is right according to thy commandments.

10Send her forth from the holy heavens,
and from the throne of thy glory send her,
that she may be with me and toil,
and that I may learn what is pleasing to thee.
11For she knows and understands all things,
and she will guide me wisely in my actions
and guard me with her glory.
12Then my works will be acceptable,
and I shall judge thy people justly,
and shall be worthy of the throne of my father.

13For what man can learn the counsel of God?
Or who can discern what the Lord wills?  (1 Corinthians 2:16)
14For the reasoning of mortals is worthless,
and our designs are likely to fail,
15for a perishable body weighs down the soul,
and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.  (2 Corinthians 5:1)

16We can hardly guess at what is on earth,
and what is at hand we find with labor;
but who has traced out what is in the heavens?

17Who has learned thy counsel,
unless thou hast given wisdom
and sent thy Holy Spirit from on high?
18And thus the paths of those on earth were set right,
and men were taught what pleases thee,
and were saved by wisdom."      {Top}

 

10 Wisdom protected the first-formed father of the world,
when he alone had been created;
she delivered him from his transgression,
2and gave him strength to rule all things.
3But when an unrighteous man departed from her in his anger,
he perished because in rage he slew his brother.
4When the earth was flooded because of him,
wisdom again saved it,
steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood.

5Wisdom also, when the nations in wicked agreement had been confounded,
recognized the righteous man and preserved him blameless before God,
and kept him strong in the face of his compassion for his child.

6Wisdom rescued a righteous man when the ungodly were perishing;
he escaped the fire that descended on the Five Cities.
7Evidence of their wickedness still remains:
a continually smoking wasteland,
plants bearing fruit that does not ripen,
and a pillar of salt standing as a monument to an unbelieving soul.
8For because they passed wisdom by,
they not only were hindered from recognizing the good,
but also left for mankind a reminder of their folly,
so that their failures could never go unnoticed.

9Wisdom rescued from troubles those who served her.
10When a righteous man fled from his brother's wrath,
she guided him on straight paths;
she showed him the kingdom of God,
and gave him knowledge of angels;
she prospered him in his labors,
and increased the fruit of his toil.
11When his oppressors were covetous,
she stood by him and made him rich.
12She protected him from his enemies,
and kept him safe from those who lay in wait for him;
in his arduous contest she gave him the victory,
so that he might learn that godliness is more powerful than anything.

13When a righteous man was sold,
wisdom did not desert him,
but delivered him from sin.
She descended with him into the dungeon,
14and when he was in prison she did not leave him,
until she brought him the scepter of a kingdom
and authority over his masters.
Those who accused him she showed to be false,
and she gave him everlasting honor.

15A holy people and blameless race wisdom delivered from a nation of oppressors.
16She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord,
and withstood dread kings with wonders and signs.
17She gave holy men the reward of their labors;
she guided them along a marvelous way,
and became a shelter to them by day,
and a starry flame through the night.
18She brought them over the Red Sea,
and led them through deep waters;
19but she drowned their enemies,
and cast them up from the depth of the sea.
20Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly;
they sang hymns, O Lord, to thy holy name,
and praised with one accord thy defending hand,
21because wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb,
and made the tongues of babes speak clearly.      {Top}

 

11 Wisdom prospered their works by the hand of a holy prophet.
2They journeyed through an uninhabited wilderness,
and pitched their tents in untrodden places.
3They withstood their enemies and fought off their foes.

4When they thirsted they called upon thee,
and water was given them out of flinty rock,
and slaking of thirst from hard stone.
5For through the very things by which their enemies were punished,
they themselves received benefit in their need.
6Instead of the fountain of an ever-flowing river,
stirred up and defiled with blood
7in rebuke for the decree to slay the infants,
thou gavest them abundant water unexpectedly,
8showing by their thirst at that time
how thou didst punish their enemies.
9For when they were tried,
though they were being disciplined in mercy,
they learned how the ungodly were tormented when judged in wrath.
10For thou didst test them as a father does in warning,
but thou didst examine the ungodly as a stern king does in condemnation.
11Whether absent or present,
they were equally distressed,
12for a twofold grief possessed them,
and a groaning at the memory of what had occurred.
13For when they heard that through their own punishments
the righteous had received benefit,
they perceived it was the Lord's doing.
14For though they had mockingly rejected him
who long before had been cast out and exposed,
at the end of the events they marveled at him,
for their thirst was not like that of the righteous.

15In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts,
which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals,
thou didst send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them,
16that they might learn that one is punished by the very things by which he sins.
17For thy all-powerful hand,
which created the world out of formless matter,
did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions,
18or newly created unknown beasts full of rage,
or such as breathe out fiery breath,
or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,
or flash terrible sparks from their eyes;
19not only could their damage exterminate men,
but the mere sight of them could kill by fright.
20Even apart from these,
men could fall at a single breath when pursued by justice and scattered by the breath of thy power.
But thou hast arranged all things by measure and number and weight.

21For it is always in thy power to show great strength,
and who can withstand the might of thy arm?
22Because the whole world before thee is like a speck that tips the scales,
and like a drop of morning dew that falls upon the ground.
23But thou art merciful to all,
for thou canst do all things,
and thou dost overlook men's sins,
that they may repent.
24For thou lovest all things that exist,
and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made,
for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it.
25How would anything have endured if thou hadst not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by thee have been preserved?
26Thou sparest all things,
for they are thine,
O Lord who lovest the living.      {Top}

 

12 For thy immortal spirit is in all things.
2Therefore thou dost correct little by little those who trespass,
and dost remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin,
that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in thee, O Lord.
3Those who dwelt of old in thy holy land
4thou didst hate for their detestable practices,
their works of sorcery and unholy rites,
5their merciless slaughter of children,
and their sacrificial feasting on human flesh and blood.
These initiates from the midst of a heathen cult,
6these parents who murder helpless lives,
thou didst will to destroy by the hands of our fathers,
7that the land most precious of all to thee
might receive a worthy colony of the servants of God.
8But even these thou didst spare,
since they were but men,
and didst send wasps as forerunners of thy army,
to destroy them little by little,
9though thou wast not unable to give the ungodly into the hands of the righteous in battle,
or to destroy them at one blow by dread wild beasts or thy stern word.
10But judging them little by little thou gavest them a chance to repent,
though thou wast not unaware that their origin was evil and their wickedness inborn,
and that their way of thinking would never change.
11For they were an accursed race from the beginning,
and it was not through fear of any one that thou didst leave them unpunished for their sins.

12For who will say, "What hast thou done?" Or will resist thy judgment?
Who will accuse thee for the destruction of nations which thou didst make?
Or who will come before thee to plead as an advocate for unrighteous men?
13For neither is there any god besides thee,
whose care is for all men,
to whom thou shouldst prove that thou hast not judged unjustly;
14nor can any king or monarch confront thee
about those whom thou hast punished.
15Thou art righteous and rulest all things righteously,
deeming it alien to thy power to condemn him who does not deserve to be punished.
16For thy strength is the source of righteousness,
and thy sovereignty over all causes thee to spare all.
17For thou dost show thy strength
when men doubt the completeness of thy power,
and dost rebuke any insolence among those who know it.
18Thou who art sovereign in strength
dost judge with mildness,
and with great forbearance thou dost govern us;
for thou hast power to act whenever thou dost choose.
19Through such works thou has taught thy people
that the righteous man must be kind,
and thou hast filled thy sons with good hope,
because thou givest repentance for sins.
20For if thou didst punish with such great care
and indulgence the enemies of thy servants
and those deserving of death,
granting them time and opportunity to give up their wickedness,
21with what strictness thou hast judged thy sons,
to whose fathers thou gavest oaths and covenants full of good promises!

22So while chastening us
thou scourgest our enemies ten thousand times more,
so that we may meditate upon thy goodness when we judge,
and when we are judged we may expect mercy.
23Therefore those who in folly of life lived unrighteously
thou didst torment through their own abominations.
24For they went far astray on the paths of error,
accepting as gods those animals which even their enemies despised;
they were deceived like foolish babes. (Romans 1:21)
25Therefore, as to thoughtless children,
thou didst send thy judgment to mock them.
26But those who have not heeded the warning of light rebukes
will experience the deserved judgment of God.
27For when in their suffering
they became incensed
at those creatures which they had thought to be gods, (Romans 1:23)
being punished by means of them,
they saw and recognized as the true God
him whom they had before refused to know. (Romans 1:25)
Therefore the utmost condemnation came upon them.      {Top}

 

13 For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature;
and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, (Romans 1:20)
nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works; (Romans 1:21)
2but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air,
or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water,
or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. (Romans 1:22-23)
3If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods,
let them know how much better than these is their Lord,
for the author of beauty created them.
4And if men were amazed at their power and working,
let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them.
5For from the greatness and beauty of created things
comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. (Romans 1:19-20)
6Yet these men are little to be blamed,
for perhaps they go astray while seeking God
and desiring to find him.
7For as they live among his works they keep searching,
and they trust in what they see,
because the things that are seen are beautiful.
8Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
9for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world,
how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?

10But miserable, with their hopes set on dead things,
are the men who give the name "gods" to the works of men's hands,
gold and silver fashioned with skill,
and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone,
the work of an ancient hand.
11A skilled woodcutter may saw down a tree
easy to handle and skilfully strip off all its bark,
and then with pleasing workmanship make a useful vessel that serves life's needs,
12and burn the castoff pieces of his work
to prepare his food, and eat his fill.
13But a castoff piece from among them,
useful for nothing,
a stick crooked and full of knots,
he takes and carves with care in his leisure,
and shapes it with skill gained in idleness;
he forms it like the image of a man, (Isaiah 44:15)
14or makes it like some worthless animal,
giving it a coat of red paint
and coloring its surface red and covering every blemish in it with paint;
15then he makes for it a niche that befits it,
and sets it in the wall,
and fastens it there with iron.
16So he takes thought for it, that it may not fall,
because he knows that it cannot help itself,
for it is only an image and has need of help.
17When he prays about possessions and his marriage and children,
he is not ashamed to address a lifeless thing.
18For health he appeals to a thing that is weak;
for life he prays to a thing that is dead;
for aid he entreats a thing that is utterly inexperienced;
for a prosperous journey, a thing that cannot take a step;
19for money-making and work and success with his hands
he asks strength of a thing whose hands have no strength.      {Top}

 

14 Again, one preparing to sail
and about to voyage over raging waves
calls upon a piece of wood
more fragile than the ship which carries him.
2For it was desire for gain that planned that vessel,
and wisdom was the craftsman who built it;
3but it is thy providence, O Father, that steers its course,
because thou hast given it a path in the sea,
and a safe way through the waves,
4showing that thou canst save from every danger,
so that even if a man lacks skill, he may put to sea.
5It is thy will that works of thy wisdom should not be without effect;
therefore men trust their lives even to the smallest piece of wood,
and passing through the billows on a raft they come safely to land.
6For even in the beginning,
when arrogant giants were perishing,
the hope of the world took refuge on a raft,
and guided by thy hand left to the world the seed of a new generation.

7For blessed is the wood by which righteousness comes. (Ephesians 2:16)

8But the idol made with hands is accursed,
and so is he who made it; (Psalm 135:18)
because he did the work,
and the perishable thing was named a god.
9For equally hateful to God are the ungodly man and his ungodliness,
10for what was done will be punished together with him who did it.
11Therefore there will be a visitation also upon the heathen idols,
because, though part of what God created, they became an abomination,
and became traps for the souls of men
and a snare to the feet of the foolish.
12For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication,
and the invention of them was the corruption of life,
13for neither have they existed from the beginning
nor will they exist for ever.
14For through the vanity of men they entered the world,
and therefore their speedy end has been planned.
15For a father, consumed with grief at an untimely bereavement,
made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him;
and he now honored as a god what was once a dead human being,
and handed on to his dependents secret rites and initiations.
16Then the ungodly custom,
grown strong with time,
was kept as a law,
and at the command of monarchs graven images were worshiped.
17When men could not honor monarchs in their presence,
since they lived at a distance,
they imagined their appearance far away,
and made a visible image of the king whom they honored,
so that by their zeal they might flatter the absent one
as though present.
18Then the ambition of the craftsman impelled even those who did not know the king to intensify their worship.
19For he, perhaps wishing to please his ruler,
skilfully forced the likeness to take more beautiful form,
20and the multitude, attracted by the charm of his work,
now regarded as an object of worship the one whom shortly before
they had honored as a man.
21And this became a hidden trap for mankind,
because men, in bondage to misfortune or to royal authority,
bestowed on objects of stone or wood the name that ought not to be shared.
22Afterward it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God,
but they live in great strife due to ignorance,
and they call such great evils peace.
23For whether they kill children in their initiations,
or celebrate secret mysteries,
or hold frenzied revels with strange customs,
24they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure,
but they either treacherously kill one another,
or grieve one another by adultery, (Romans 1:24)
25and all is a raging riot of blood and murder,
theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,
26confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors,
pollution of souls, sex perversion,
disorder in marriage, adultery, and debauchery. (Romans 1:29-31)
27For the worship of idols not to be named
is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.
28For their worshipers either rave in exultation,
or prophesy lies,
or live unrighteously,
or readily commit perjury;
29for because they trust in lifeless idols
they swear wicked oaths and expect to suffer no harm.
30But just penalties will overtake them on two counts: (Romans 1:32)
because they thought wickedly of God in devoting themselves to idols,
and because in deceit
they swore unrighteously through contempt for holiness.
31For it is not the power of the things by which men swear,
but the just penalty for those who sin,
that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.      {Top}

 

15 But thou, our God, art kind and true, patient,
and ruling all things in mercy.
2For even if we sin we are thine, knowing thy power;
but we will not sin, because we know that we are accounted thine.
3For to know thee is complete righteousness,
and to know thy power is the root of immortality.
4For neither has the evil intent of human art misled us,
nor the fruitless toil of painters,
a figure stained with varied colors,
5whose appearance arouses yearning in fools,
so that they desire the lifeless form of a dead image.
6Lovers of evil things
and fit for such objects of hope
are those who either make or desire or worship them.
7For when a potter kneads the soft earth
and laboriously molds each vessel for our service,
he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses
and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner; (Romans 9:21)
but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides.
8With misspent toil, he forms a futile god from the same clay--
this man who was made of earth a short time before
and after a little while goes to the earth from which he was taken,
when he is required to return the soul that was lent him.
9But he is not concerned that he is destined to die
or that his life is brief,
but he competes with workers in gold and silver,
and imitates workers in copper;
and he counts it his glory that he molds counterfeit gods.
10His heart is ashes,
his hope is cheaper than dirt,
and his life is of less worth than clay,
11because he failed to know the one who formed him
and inspired him with an active soul
and breathed into him a living spirit.
12But he considered our existence an idle game,
and life a festival held for profit,
for he says one must get money however one can, even by base means.
13For this man, more than all others,
knows that he sins when he makes from earthy matter
fragile vessels and graven images.
14But most foolish, and more miserable than an infant,
are all the enemies who oppressed thy people.
15For they thought that all their heathen idols were gods,
though these have neither the use of their eyes to see with,
nor nostrils with which to draw breath,
nor ears with which to hear,
nor fingers to feel with,
and their feet are of no use for walking.
16For a man made them, and one whose spirit is borrowed formed them;
for no man can form a god which is like himself.
17He is mortal, and what he makes with lawless hands is dead,
for he is better than the objects he worships,
since he has life, but they never have.
18The enemies of thy people worship even the most hateful animals,
which are worse than all others,
when judged by their lack of intelligence;
19and even as animals they are not so beautiful in appearance
that one would desire them,
but they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing.      {Top}

 

16 Therefore those men were deservedly punished through such creatures,
and were tormented by a multitude of animals.
2Instead of this punishment thou didst show kindness to thy people,
and thou didst prepare quails to eat,
a delicacy to satisfy the desire of appetite;
3in order that those men,
when they desired food,
might lose the least remnant of appetite because of the odious creatures sent to them,
while thy people, after suffering want a short time,
might partake of delicacies.
4For it was necessary that upon those oppressors
inexorable want should come,
while to these it was merely shown how their enemies were being tormented.
5For when the terrible rage of wild beasts came upon thy people
and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents,
thy wrath did not continue to the end;
6they were troubled for a little while as a warning,
and received a token of deliverance to remind them of thy law's command.
7For he who turned toward it was saved,
not by what he saw,
but by thee, the Savior of all.
8And by this also thou didst convince our enemies
that it is thou who deliverest from every evil.
9For they were killed by the bites of locusts and flies,
and no healing was found for them,
because they deserved to be punished by such things;
10but thy sons were not conquered even by the teeth of venomous serpents,
for thy mercy came to their help and healed them.
11To remind them of thy oracles they were bitten,
and then were quickly delivered,
lest they should fall into deep forgetfulness
and become unresponsive to thy kindness.
12For neither herb nor poultice cured them,
but it was thy word, O Lord, which heals all men.
13For thou hast power over life and death;
thou dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again.
14A man in his wickedness kills another,
but he cannot bring back the departed spirit,
nor set free the imprisoned soul.
15To escape from thy hand is impossible;
16for the ungodly, refusing to know thee,
were scourged by the strength of thy arm,
pursued by unusual rains and hail and relentless storms,
and utterly consumed by fire.
17For-- most incredible of all-- in the water,
which quenches all things,
the fire had still greater effect,
for the universe defends the righteous.
18At one time the flame was restrained,
so that it might not consume the creatures sent against the ungodly,
but that seeing this they might know
that they were being pursued by the judgment of God;
19and at another time even in the midst of water
it burned more intensely than fire,
to destroy the crops of the unrighteous land.
20Instead of these things thou didst give thy people food of angels,
and without their toil thou didst supply them from heaven with bread ready to eat,
providing every pleasure and suited to every taste.
21For thy sustenance manifested thy sweetness toward thy children;
and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it,
was changed to suit every one's liking.
22Snow and ice withstood fire without melting,
so that they might know that the crops of their enemies
were being destroyed by the fire
that blazed in the hail and flashed in the showers of rain;
23whereas the fire, in order that the righteous might be fed,
even forgot its native power.
24For creation, serving thee who hast made it,
exerts itself to punish the unrighteous,
and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who trust in thee.
25Therefore at that time also,
changed into all forms,
it served thy all-nourishing bounty,
according to the desire of those who had need,
26so that thy sons,
whom thou didst love, O Lord,
might learn that it is not the production of crops that feeds man,
but that thy word preserves those who trust in thee.
27For what was not destroyed by fire
was melted when simply warmed by a fleeting ray of the sun,
28to make it known that one must rise before the sun
to give thee thanks,
and must pray to thee at the dawning of the light;
29for the hope of an ungrateful man (Romans 1:21)
will melt like wintry frost,
and flow away like waste water.      {Top}

 

17 Great are thy judgments and hard to describe;
therefore unintructed souls have gone astray.
2For when lawless men supposed that they held the holy nation in their power,
they themselves lay as captives of darkness and prisoners of long night,
shut in under their roofs,
exiles from eternal providence.
3For thinking that in their secret sins
they were unobserved behind a dark curtain of forgetfulness,
they were scattered,
terribly alarmed,
and appalled by specters.
4For not even the inner chamber that held them
protected them from fear,
but terrifying sounds rang out around them,
and dismal phantoms with gloomy faces appeared.
5And no power of fire was able to give light,
nor did the brilliant flames of the stars avail
to illumine that hateful night.
6Nothing was shining through to them except a dreadful,
self-kindled fire,
and in terror they deemed the things which they saw
to be worse than that unseen appearance.
7The delusions of their magic art lay humbled,
and their boasted wisdom was scornfully rebuked.
8For those who promised to drive off the fears and disorders of a sick soul
were sick themselves with ridiculous fear.
9For even if nothing disturbing frightened them,
yet, scared by the passing of beasts and the hissing of serpents,
10they perished in trembling fear,
refusing to look even at the air,
though it nowhere could be avoided.
11For wickedness is a cowardly thing,
condemned by its own testimony;
distressed by conscience,
it has always exaggerated the difficulties.
12For fear is nothing but surrender of the helps that come from reason;
13and the inner expectation of help, being weak,
prefers ignorance of what causes the torment.
14But throughout the night,
which was really powerless,
and which beset them from the recesses of powerless Hades,
they all slept the same sleep,
15and now were driven by monstrous specters,
and now were paralyzed by their souls' surrender,
for sudden and unexpected fear overwhelmed them.
16And whoever was there fell down,
and thus was kept shut up in a prison not made of iron;
17for whether he was a farmer or a shepherd
or a workman who toiled in the wilderness,
he was seized, and endured the inescapable fate;
for with one chain of darkness they all were bound.
18Whether there came a whistling wind,
or a melodious sound of birds in wide-spreading branches,
or the rhythm of violently rushing water,
19or the harsh crash of rocks hurled down,
or the unseen running of leaping animals,
or the sound of the most savage roaring beasts,
or an echo thrown back from a hollow of the mountains,
it paralyzed them with terror.
20For the whole world was illumined with brilliant light,
and was engaged in unhindered work,
21while over those men alone heavy night was spread,
an image of the darkness that was destined to receive them;
but still heavier than darkness were they to themselves.      {Top}

 

18 But for thy holy ones there was very great light. Their enemies heard their voices but did not see their forms, and counted them happy for not having suffered,
2and were thankful that thy holy ones, though previously wronged, were doing them no injury; and they begged their pardon for having been at variance with them.
3Therefore thou didst provide a flaming pillar of fire as a guide for thy people's unknown journey, and a harmless sun for their glorious wandering.
4For their enemies deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness, those who had kept thy sons imprisoned, through whom the imperishable light of the law was to be given to the world.
5When they had resolved to kill the babes of thy holy ones, and one child had been exposed and rescued, thou didst in punishment take away a multitude of their children; and thou didst destroy them all together by a mighty flood.
6That night was made known beforehand to our fathers, so that they might rejoice in sure knowledge of the oaths in which they trusted.
7The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies were expected by thy people.
8For by the same means by which thou didst punish our enemies thou didst call us to thyself and glorify us.
9For in secret the holy children of good men offered sacrifices, and with one accord agreed to the divine law, that the saints would share alike the same things, both blessings and dangers; and already they were singing the praises of the fathers.
10But the discordant cry of their enemies echoed back, and their piteous lament for their children was spread abroad.
11The slave was punished with the same penalty as the master, and the common man suffered the same loss as the king;
12and they all together, by the one form of death, had corpses too many to count. For the living were not sufficient even to bury them, since in one instant their most valued children had been destroyed.
13For though they had disbelieved everything because of their magic arts, yet, when their first-born were destroyed, they acknowledged thy people to be God's son.
14For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone,
15thy all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior
16carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.
17Then at once apparitions in dreadful dreams greatly troubled them, and unexpected fears assailed them;
18and one here and another there, hurled down half dead, made known why they were dying;
19for the dreams which disturbed them forewarned them of this, so that they might not perish without knowing why they suffered.
20The experience of death touched also the righteous, and a plague came upon the multitude in the desert, but the wrath did not long continue.
21For a blameless man was quick to act as their champion; he brought forward the shield of his ministry, prayer and propitiation by incense; he withstood the anger and put an end to the disaster, showing that he was thy servant.
22He conquered the wrath not by strength of body, and not by force of arms, but by his word he subdued the punisher, appealing to the oaths and covenants given to our fathers.
23For when the dead had already fallen on one another in heaps, he intervened and held back the wrath, and cut off its way to the living.
24For upon his long robe the whole world was depicted, and the glories of the fathers were engraved on the four rows of stones, and thy majesty on the diadem upon his head.
25To these the destroyer yielded, these he feared; for merely to test the wrath was enough.      {Top}

 

19 But the ungodly were assailed to the end by pitiless anger, for God knew in advance even their future actions,
2that, though they themselves had permitted thy people to depart and hastily sent them forth, they would change their minds and pursue them.
3For while they were still busy at mourning, and were lamenting at the graves of their dead, they reached another foolish decision, and pursued as fugitives those whom they had begged and compelled to depart.
4For the fate they deserved drew them on to this end, and made them forget what had happened, in order that they might fill up the punishment which their torments still lacked,
5and that thy people might experience an incredible journey, but they themselves might meet a strange death.
6For the whole creation in its nature was fashioned anew, complying with thy commands, that thy children might be kept unharmed.
7The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp, and dry land emerging where water had stood before, an unhindered way out of the Red Sea, and a grassy plain out of the raging waves,
8where those protected by thy hand passed through as one nation, after gazing on marvelous wonders.
9For they ranged like horses, and leaped like lambs, praising thee, O Lord, who didst deliver them.
10For they still recalled the events of their sojourn, how instead of producing animals the earth brought forth gnats, and instead of fish the river spewed out vast numbers of frogs.
11Afterward they saw also a new kind of birds, when desire led them to ask for luxurious food;
12for, to give them relief, quails came up from the sea.
13The punishments did not come upon the sinners without prior signs in the violence of thunder, for they justly suffered because of their wicked acts; for they practiced a more bitter hatred of strangers.
14Others had refused to receive strangers when they came to them, but these made slaves of guests who were their benefactors.
15And not only so, but punishment of some sort will come upon the former for their hostile reception of the aliens;
16but the latter, after receiving them with festal celebrations, afflicted with terrible sufferings those who had already shared the same rights.
17They were stricken also with loss of sight -- just as were those at the door of the righteous man -- when, surrounded by yawning darkness, each tried to find the way through his own door.
18For the elements changed places with one another, as on a harp the notes vary the nature of the rhythm, while each note remains the same. This may be clearly inferred from the sight of what took place.
19For land animals were transformed into water creatures, and creatures that swim moved over to the land.
20Fire even in water retained its normal power, and water forgot its fire-quenching nature.
21Flames, on the contrary, failed to consume the flesh of perishable creatures that walked among them, nor did they melt the crystalline, easily melted kind of heavenly food.
22For in everything, O Lord, thou hast exalted and glorified thy people; and thou hast not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.      {Top}


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