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Wisdom - Chapter 5

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1 Then the upright will stand up boldly to face those who had oppressed him and had thought so little of his sufferings.

2 And, seeing him, they will be seized with terrible fear, amazed that he should have been so unexpectedly saved.

3 Stricken with remorse, they will say to one another with groans and labouring breath,

4 'This is the one whom we used to mock, making him the butt of our insults, fools that we were! His life we regarded as madness, his ending as without honour.

5 How has he come to be counted as one of the children of God and to have his lot among the holy ones?

6 Clearly we have strayed from the way of truth; the light of justice has not shone for us, the sun has not risen for us.

7 We have left no path of lawlessness or ruin unexplored, we have crossed deserts where there was no track, but the way of the Lord is one we have never known.

8 What good has arrogance been to us? What has been the purpose of our riches and boastfulness?

9 All those things have passed like a shadow, passed like a fleeting rumour.

10 Like a ship that cuts through heaving waves -- leaving no trace to show where it has passed, no wake from its keel in the waves.

11 Or like a bird flying through the air -- leaving no proof of its passing; it whips the light air with the stroke of its pinions, tears it apart in its whirring rush, drives its way onward with sweeping wing, and afterwards no sign is seen of its passage.


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12 Or like an arrow shot at a mark, the pierced air closing so quickly on itself, there is no knowing which way the arrow has passed.

13 So with us: scarcely born, we disappear; of virtue not a trace have we to show, we have spent ourselves in our own wickedness!'

14 For the hope of the godless is like chaff carried on the wind, like fine spray driven by the storm; it disperses like smoke before the wind, goes away like the memory of a one-day guest.

15 But the upright live for ever, their recompense is with the Lord, and the Most High takes care of them.

16 So they will receive the glorious crown and the diadem of beauty from the Lord's hand; for he will shelter them with his right hand and with his arm he will shield them.

17 For armour he will take his jealous love, he will arm creation to punish his enemies;

18 he will put on justice as a breastplate, and for helmet wear his forthright judgement;

19 he will take up invincible holiness for shield,

20 of his pitiless wrath he will forge a sword, and the universe will march with him to fight the reckless.

21 Bolts truly aimed, the shafts of lightning will leap, and from the clouds, as from a full-drawn bow, fly to their mark;

22 and the catapult will hurl hailstones charged with fury. The waters of the sea will rage against them, the rivers engulf them without pity,

23 a mighty gale will rise against them and winnow them like a hurricane. Thus wickedness will lay the whole earth waste and evil-doing bring down the thrones of the mighty.

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