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Wisdom - Chapter 19

Wisdom Chapters

1 But the godless were assailed by merciless anger to the very end, for he knew beforehand what they would do,

2 how, after letting his people leave and hastening their departure, they would change their minds and give chase.

3 They were actually still conducting their mourning rites and lamenting at the tombs of their dead, when another mad scheme came into their heads and they set out to pursue, as though runaways, the people whom they had expelled and begged to go.

4 A well-deserved fate urged them to this extreme and made them forget what had already happened, so that they would add to their torments the one punishment outstanding

5 and, while your people were experiencing a journey contrary to all expectations, would themselves meet an extraordinary death.

6 For the whole creation, submissive to your commands, had its very nature re-created, so that your children should be preserved from harm.

7 Overshadowing the camp there was the cloud; where there had been water, dry land was seen to rise; the Red Sea became an unimpeded way, the tempestuous waves, a green plain;

8 sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across, gazing at these amazing prodigies.

9 They were like horses at pasture, they skipped like lambs, singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer.

10 For they still remembered the events of their exile, how the land had bred mosquitoes instead of animals and the River had disgorged millions of frogs instead of fish.

11 Later they were to see a new way for birds to come into being, when, goaded by greed, they demanded something tasty,

12 and quails came up out of the sea to satisfy them.

13 On the sinners, however, punishments rained down not without violent thunder as early warning; and they suffered what their own crimes had justly deserved since they had shown such bitter hatred to foreigners.

14 Others, indeed, had failed to welcome strangers who came to them, but the Egyptians had enslaved their own guests and benefactors.

15 The sinners, moreover, will certainly be punished for it, since they gave the foreigners a hostile welcome;

16 but the latter, having given a festive reception to people who already shared the same rights as themselves, later overwhelmed them with terrible labours.

17 Hence they were struck with blindness, like the sinners at the gate of the upright, when, yawning darkness all around them, each had to grope his way through his own door.

18 A new attuning of the elements occurred, as on a harp the notes may change their rhythm, though all the while preserving the same tone; and this is just what happened:

19 land animals became aquatic, swimming ones took to the land,

20 fire reinforced its strength in water, and water forgot the power of extinguishing it;

21 flames, on the other hand, did not char the flesh of delicate animals that ventured into them; nor did they melt the heavenly food resembling ice and as easily melted.

22 Yes, Lord, in every way you have made your people great and glorious; you have never failed to help them at any time or place.


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