The Book of Wisdom – Chapter 19

The Bible – Old Testament

The Book of Wisdom

The Book of Wisdom

Chapter 19


1 But the wicked, merciless wrath assailed until the end. For he knew beforehand what they were yet to do:


2 That though they themselves had agreed to the departure and had anxiously sent them on their way, they would regret it and pursue them.


3 For while they were still engaged in funeral rites and were mourning at the burials of the dead, They adopted another senseless plan; and those whom they had sent away with entreaty, they pursued as fugitives.


For a compulsion suited to this ending drew them on, and made them forgetful of what had befallen them, That they might fill out the torments of their punishment,


4 and your people might experience a glorious journey while those others met an extraordinary death.


For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew, serving its natural laws, that your children might be preserved unharmed.


The cloud overshadowed their camp; and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging: Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road, and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.


Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand, after they beheld stupendous wonders.


For they ranged about like horses, and bounded about like lambs, praising you, O LORD! their deliverer.


For they were still mindful of what had happened in their sojourn: how instead of the young of animals the land brought forth gnats, and instead of fishes the river swarmed with countless frogs.


And later they saw also a new kind of bird when, prompted by desire, they asked for pleasant foods;


For to appease them quail came to them from the sea.


5 And the punishments came upon the sinners only after forewarnings from the violence of the thunderbolts. For they justly suffered for their own misdeeds, since indeed they treated their guests with the more grievous hatred.


For those others did not receive unfamiliar visitors, but these were enslaving beneficent guests.


6 And not that only; but what punishment was to be theirs since they received strangers unwillingly!


Yet these, after welcoming them with festivities, oppressed with awful toils those who now shared with them the same rights.


And they were struck with blindness, as those others had been at the portals of the just – When, surrounded by yawning darkness, each sought the entrance of his own gate.


For the elements, in variable harmony among themselves, like strings of the harp, produce new melody, while the flow of music steadily persists. And this can be perceived exactly from a review of what took place.


For land creatures were changed into water creatures, and those that swam went over on to the land.


Fire in water maintained its own strength, and water forgot its quenching nature;


Flames, by contrast, neither consumed the flesh of the perishable animals that went about in them, nor melted the icelike, quick-melting kind of ambrosial food.


For every way, O LORD! you magnified and glorified your people; unfailing, you stood by them in every time and circumstance.


1 [1] He: i.e., God.
2 [2] Them: the Hebrews.
3 [3] They: the Egyptians.
4 [5] Glorious: more precisely, «wondrous,» but the word reflects glorified in ⇒ 18:8; ⇒ 19:22.
5 [13] More grievous: than that of the people of Sodom; cf Genesis 19.
6 [15] Theirs: the people of Sodom.