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Wisdom - Chapter 12

1 For your imperishable spirit is in everything!

2 And thus, gradually, you correct those who offend; you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.

3 The ancient inhabitants of your holy land

4 you hated for their loathsome practices, their acts of sorcery, and unholy rites.

5 Those ruthless murderers of children, those eaters of entrails at feasts of human flesh and of blood, those initiates of secret brotherhoods,

6 those murderous parents of defenceless beings, you determined to destroy at our ancestors' hands,

7 so that this land, dearer to you than any other, might receive a worthy colony of God's children.

8 Even so, since these were human, you treated them leniently, sending hornets as forerunners of your army, to exterminate them little by little.

9 Not that you were unable to hand the godless over to the upright in pitched battle or destroy them at once by savage beasts or one harsh word;

10 but, by carrying out your sentences gradually, you gave them a chance to repent, although you knew that they were inherently evil, innately wicked,

11 and fixed in their cast of mind; for they were a race accursed from the beginning. Nor was it from awe of anyone that you let their sins go unpunished.

12 For who is there to ask, 'What have you done?' Or who is there to disagree with your sentence? Who to arraign you for destroying nations which you have created? Who to confront you by championing the wicked?

13 For there is no god, other than you, who cares for every one, to whom you have to prove that your sentences have been just.

14 No more could any king or despot challenge you over those whom you have punished.

15 For, being upright yourself, you rule the universe uprightly, and hold it as incompatible with your power to condemn anyone who has not deserved to be punished.

16 For your strength is the basis of your saving justice, and your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.

17 You show your strength when people will not believe in your absolute power, and you confound any insolence in those who do know it.

18 But you, controlling your strength, are mild in judgement, and govern us with great lenience, for you have only to will, and your power is there.

19 By acting thus, you have taught your people that the upright must be kindly to his fellows, and you have given your children the good hope that after sins you will grant repentance.

20 For, if with such care and indulgence you have punished your children's enemies, though doomed to death, and have given them time and place to be rid of their wickedness,

21 with what exact attention have you not judged your children, to whose ancestors, by oaths and covenants, you made such generous promises?

22 Thus, you instruct us, when you punish our enemies in moderation, that we should reflect on your kindness when we judge, and, when we are judged, we should look for mercy.

23 And this is why people leading foolish and wicked lives were tortured by you with their own abominations;

24 for they had strayed too far on the paths of error by taking the vilest and most despicable of animals for gods, being deluded like silly little children.

25 So, as to children with no sense, you gave them a sentence making fools of them.

26 Those, however, who would not take warning from a mocking reproof were soon to endure a sentence worthy of God.

27 The creatures that made them suffer and against which they protested, those very creatures that they had taken for gods and by which they were punished they saw in their true light; and he whom hitherto they had refused to know, they realised was true God. And this is why the final condemnation fell on them.

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