Wisdom of Solomon


The Wisdom of Solomon is found in the Septuagint [LXX] (a Greek translation) of the Bible and from there it appears in the Latin (or, Vulgate) Bible, in which it is simply called “Wisdom.” Portions of the book are declared to have been written by Solomon: 7:1 – 14; 8:17 – 9:18. The addition to the title “of Solomon” finds additional support in I Kings 3:6 – 9 and II Chronicles 1:8 – 10. The examination of the book seems to give the thought that it was written in Greek by an unknown Hellenistic Jew, perhaps in Alexandria, Egypt, which is the source of the Septuagint Translation [LXX]. Based on internal evidence, language and vocabulary, it is felt that it was written in several recensions, about one century before the Common Era.

While the book is virtually all poetry the quality of the poetry ranges from outstanding poetic literature to rather dull prose. It makes the claim, (cf. The reference in the previous paragraph) that it was written by King Solomon. The writer who is impersonating King Solomon makes promises of earthly rewards and immortality, warns against judgment and also describes nature. He speaks of wisdom as having its source from the guidance of God, as well as explaining, to his satisfaction, the origin and folly of idolatry, and contrasts the plagues God used against the Egyptians and his kindness to the people of Israel.

Some of the major themes of the book are as follows:

1. In this life the ungodly Jews enjoy worldly pleasures and persecute the Jews who are pious and needy. After death the ungodly will vainly repent, while the righteous will enjoy bliss ”In the hand of God” forever.

2. The nature and the wisdom Solomon is obtained from God. Wisdom is personified as a woman, an emanation of God’s glory and praises wisdom for her gifts.

3. The heroes of wisdom from Adam to Moses are contrasted

4. Paganism is foolish.

5. The Israelites and the Egyptians are contrasted and conclusions are presented by the writer.

Wisdom of Solomon


The Search for Justice

1 Love righteousness, and you will become the rulers of the earth,

think of the Lord with uprightness,

(or, direct your mind toward the Lord in right ways.)

Seek the Lord with sincerity [1] of heart,

2 because he is found by those who do not put question him/

He will manifest himself to those who never doubt him.

3 For disobedient thoughts separate people from God,

and when his power is tested, it convicts the foolish;

4 because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul,

nor will she dwell in a body enslaved to sin.

5 A holy and disciplined spirit will shun deceit,

and she will rise and depart from foolish thoughts,

and will be ashamed at the approach of injustice


God Is Aware of What We Say

6 Wisdom is a kindly spirit but she [2] will not consider a blasphemer

to be free of the gilt of his words;

because God is aware of his feelings,

and a true observer of his heat, and of his tongue.

7 Because the Spirit of the Lord has filled the entire world,

and that which holds all things together,

for God knows what is said.

8 Therefore no one who speaks of unrighteous things will escape notice,

and justice, when it punishes, will not pass him by.

9 For iniquity will be made in the counsels of an ungodly person,

and a report of his words will come to the Lord,

and will convict him of his lawless deeds,

10 because a jealous ear hears all things,

and the sound of murmurings does not go unheard.

11 Beware then of useless murmuring,

and keep our tongue from slander;

because no secret word is without result, (or, will not unpunished),

and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

God Did Not Create Death

12 Do not invite death by the error of your life,

nor bring on destruction by theworks of your hands;

13 because God did not make death

and he does not delight in the death of the living.

14 For God created all things that they might exist,

and the generative forces [3] of the world are wholesome,

and there is no deadly poison in them;

and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.

15 For righteousness is immortal

16 But ungodly people, by their words and deeds,

summoned death, (or, the creatures), [4]

considering him a friend, they pined away,

bringing [5] death upon themselves,

and they made a covenant with him,

because the are fit to belong to his party.


Wicked Thinking

1 Wicked people have unsound reasoning, saying to themselves,

“Short and sorrowful is our life,

and there is no remedy when a person comes to his end,

and no one has been known to return from the grave.

2 Because we were simply born by chance,

and hereafter we will be as though we have never been;

because the breath of our nostrils is like smoke,

and reason is a spark is ignited by the beating of our hearts. [6] 3 When that is extinguished, our body will turn to ashes,

and the spirit will be dispersed like empty air.

4 One name will not be forgotten in time,

and no one will remember our deeds,

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 [7] by its heat.

5 For our allotted time [8] is the fleeting of a shadow,

and there is no postponement of our death

because its time (or, our fate) is sealed, and no one returns..

6 The wicked say, “Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist,

and make use of the creation to the full as when we were youths.

7 Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes,

and let no flower of spring pass by us.

8 Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither, [9]

9 Let none of us fail to share in our good times,

therefore let us leave signs of enjoyment everywhere,

because this is our portion , and this is our lot.

10 Let us oppress the poor but righteous man;

let us not show mercy toward the widow,

nor respect the gray hairs of the aged.

11 But let our might be our law of right,

for what is weak proves itself to be useless.

12 “Let us set a trap for the righteous man,

because he is a nuisance to us and opposes our actions;

for he scolds us for sins against the law,

and accuses us for not being obedient to our training. [10]

13 He professes to have knowledge of God,

and calls himself a child (or, servant) of the Lord.

14 He became an affliction to us,

because his life was not like ours.

15 The very sight of him is a burden for us,

because his manner of life is unlike that of others,

and his ways are strange. [11]

16 We are considered by him as something base,

for he avoids our ways as unclean;

and he calls the last end of the righteous happy,

by boasting that God is his father.

17 Let us examine his words to learn if they are true,

and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;

18 for if the righteous (or, just) man is God’s son, he will help him,

and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.

19 Let us test him with insult and torture,

that we may find out now gentle he really is,

and make test him to determine his patience.

20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,

for based on what he says, he will be protected.” [12]

21 It was in this manner that they argued (or, thought),

but they were led astray, for they were blinded by their wickedness;

22 and they did not know the secret purposes of God,

nor having any expectation for the wages of holiness,

nor discerning the prize for blameless souls;

23 for God created man incorruptible,

and made him in the image of its own eternity, [13]

24 but it was through the devil’s spite that death entered the world,

and those who accept his views experience it. [14]


The Destiny of the Righteous

1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God,

and no torment will ever touch them.

2 In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died,

and their departure was thought to be a defeat,

3 and their going from us to be their disaster,

but they are at peace,

4 for though in the sight of others they suffered punishment,

their hope is full of immortality.

5 Having been disciplined a little they will receive great blessings,

because God tested them and found them worthy to be his:

6 like gold in the furnace, he tried them,

and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.

7 In the time of their judgment they will shine forth,

and will run like sparks through the dry stubble.

8 They will govern nations and rule over people,

and the Lord will rule over them forever.

9 Those who trust in him will understand truth (or, that he is the truth),

and the faithful will abide with him in love,

because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones,

and he watches over his elect (or, his chosen ones).. [15]

The Destiny of the Wicked

10 But the ungodly will be punished as their thoughts deserve,

those who disregarded the righteous (or, what is right).

and rebelled against the Lord,

11 for those who despise wisdom and instruction are wretched.

Their hope is vain, their labors are unprofitable,

and their works are useless.

12 Their wives are foolish, and their children depraved.’

13 their offspring are accursed.

The Importance of Virtue

Happy is the woman who is childless,

who has not entered into a sinful union,

for she will have fruit when God examines souls [16].

14 Happy 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. [17]

15 The fruit of good works is renowned,

and the root of understanding does not fail. [18]

16 Children of adulterers are like fruit that does not ripen,

and the offspring of an unlawful union will perish.

17 Even if they live long they will be as nothing,

and finally their old age will be without honor.

19 For the end of an unrighteous generation is grievous

(or, will suffer a grievous fall).


1 Better than this is childlessness with virtue

for in the memory of virtue [19] is immortality,

because it is recognized both by God and by mortals.

2 When it is present, people imitate [20] it,

and they long for it when it has gone,

through out all time it marches, crowned in triumph,

as victors in the contest for prizes that are undefiled.

3 But 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.

4 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.

5 The 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.

6 Children born of unlawful unions

lie as they present evidence against their parents

when “God examines them. [21]

7 The righteous however though they die early, will be at rest.

8 Old age is not honored for length of time,

or measured by the number of years,

9 but understanding is gray hair for anyone,

and a blameless life is ripe old age.

The Example of Enoch

10 There were some who pleased God and were loved by him,

and while living among sinners were taken up.

11 They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding

or guile deceive their souls.

12 The fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, [22]

and roving desire [23] perverts the innocent mind.

13 Being perfected in a short time, they fulfilled long years,

14 for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,

therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness.

15 Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,

or take such a thing to heart,

that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,

and that he watches over his holy ones. [24]

The Fate of the Wicked

16 The righteous who have died will condemn the ungodly who are living,

and youth that is quickly perfected will condemn

the prolonged old age of the unrighteous.

17 They will see the end of the wise,

and will not understand what the Lord purposed for them,

and for what he kept them safe.

18 The unrighteous [25] will see, and will have contempt for them,

but the Lord will laugh them to scorn.

After this they will become dishonored corpses,

and an outrage among the dead forever,

19 because he will dash them to the ground, rendering them speechless,

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.

20 They will come with dread when their sins are all presented,

at the time of judgment,

and their lawless deeds will convict them to their face.


The Regrets of the Wicked

1 Then the righteous will stand with great confidence

in the immediate presence of those who have oppressed them

and those who make light of their labors.

2 When the unrighteous [26] see them they will be shaken with dreadful fear,

and they will be amazed at the unexpected salvation of the righteous.

3 They will speak to one another in repentance,

and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say,

4 “These are persons we once considered to be fools,

and made a byword of reproach – fools that we were!

We thought that their lives were madness

and that their end was without honor.

5 How did they get to be numbered among the children of God?

Why is their lot among the saints?

6 So we must have been the ones 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.

7 We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction,

and we traveled through trackless deserts,

but we did not recognize the way of the Lord.

8 What has our arrogance profited us,

and what benefit has come to us through our boasting?

9 “All those things have disappeared like a shadow,

and like a messenger who gallops by,

10 like a ship that sails through the billowy water,

and when it has passed no trace can be found,

no track of its keel in the waves,

11 or, as, when a bird flies through the air,

no evidence of its passage is found,

the light air, lashed by the beat of its wings

and pierced by the force of its speeding flight,

is traversed by the movement of its wings,

and afterward no sign of its coming is found there,

12 or as, when an arrow is shot at a target,

the air, thus divided, comes together immediately,

so that no one knows its pathway.

13 So 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.”

14 Because the hope of the ungodly is like thistledown [27]carried by the wind,

and like light frost [28] driven away by a storm,

it is dissipated like smoke before the wind,

and its memory flees like the memory of a guest who stays one day.

15 But the righteous live forever,

and their reward is with the Lord,

the Most High takes care of them.

16 Therefore they will receive a glorious crown (or, kingdom),

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.

17 The Lord [29] will take his zeal as his whole armor,

and will arm all creation to repel his enemies,

18 he will put on righteousness as a breastplate

and wear impartial justice [30] as a helmet,

19 he will take holiness as an invincible shield,

20 and sharpen his stern wrath as one would sharpen a sword,

and creation will join with him in flight against his frenzied foes.

21 Shafts of lightning will fly with true aim,

and will leap from the clouds to the target, as from a well-drawn bow,

22 and 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,

23 a mighty wind will rise against them,

and like a tempest it will winnow them away.

Lawlessness will lay waste the whole earth.

Wrongdoing will overturn the thrones of rulers.


The Responsibility of Rulers

1 Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;

learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.

2 Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,

and boast of many nations.

3 for your dominion was given you from the Lord,

and your sovereignty from the Most High,

he will examine what you have done and what you plan to do

4 Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly,

or keep the law,

or walk according to the purpose of God,

5 he will come upon you terribly and swiftly,

because severe judgment falls on those who are in high places.

6 For the most humble person can be pardoned [31] in mercy,

but the mighty will be mightily tested.

7 For the Lord of all will not show partiality toward anyone, [32]

or show respect of greatness,

because he himself made both small and great,

and all who are under his care are equal.

8 But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.

9 To you then, O rulers, my words are directed,

so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.

10 For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness,

and those who have been taught them will find a defense.

11 Therefore set your desire to follow [33] words,

long for them, and you will be instructed.

The Value of Wisdom

12 Wisdom is radiant and never fades.

and she is easily discerned by those who love her,

and is found by those who seek her. [34]

13 She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.

14 One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty,

for she will be found sitting at the gate.

15 To fix your attention on her is perfect understanding,

and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,

16 because she goes about seeking those worthy of her,

and she graciously appears to them in their paths,

and meets them in every thought. [35]

17 The beginning of wisdom [36] begins

when you have a sincere desire for instruction,

and concern for instruction is love of her,

18 and love of her is the keeping of her laws,

and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,

19 and immortality brings one near to God,

20 so the desire for wisdom prepares you to rule over a kingdom.

21 Therefore if you delight in thrones and scepters, O rulers over nations,

honor wisdom, so that you may reign forever.

Solomon Wishes to Share His Wisdom

22 I will tell you what wisdom is and how she came to be,

and I will hide no mysteries from you, [37]

but I will trace her history from the beginning of creation,

and make knowledge clearly available to all,

and I will not pass by the truth;

23 nor will I travel in the company of sickly envy,

for envy [38] does not associate with wisdom.

24 The multitude of the wise is the salvation of the world,

and a sensible king is the stability of any nation.

25 Therefore be instructed by my words, and you will profit.


A King is Like Everyone Else

1 I also am mortal, like everyone else,

a descendant of the first-formed [39] child of the earth,

and in the womb of a mother I was molded into flesh,

2 within the period of nine [40] months, compacted with blood,

from the sperm of a man and the pleasure of marriage,

3 When I was born, I began to breathe air like everyone else, [41]

and was laid down on the common earth,

and my first sound was a cry, as is true of all.

4 I was nursed with care, lying in wrapped cloths,

5 for no king began his life in a different way,

6 for this was the way I was to enter life, and there is one way out.

Solomon Declares His Love for Wisdom

7 Since I realized that that I was only a man,

I called on God and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

8 I valued her more than scepters and thrones,

and I that wealth was nothing in comparison with wisdom.

9 I did not consider wisdom to be equal to any priceless gem,

because all gold is equivalent to a little sand in her sight,

and silver will be accounted as clay before her.

10 I loved her more than health and beauty,

and I preferred to have her rather than the light of day,

because her radiance never ceases.

11 All good things came to me along with her,

and in her hands is wealth beyond measure.

12 I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them,

but I did not know [42] that she was their mother.

13 What I intentionally learned I share freely,

I do not hide her wealth.,

14 for it is an inexhaustable treasure for all people;

those who get it obtain friendship with God,

commended [to God] for the gifts that come from instruction.

15 May God grant me to speak according to God’s will,

and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received;

for he is the guide even of wisdom..

and the corrector of the wise. [43]

16 For both we and our words are in his hand,

as are all understanding and skill in crafts.

17 For it is he who gave me true knowledge of what exists,

to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements;

18 the beginning and end and middle of epochs,

the alterations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons,

19 the cycles of the year and he constellations of the stars,

20 the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals,

the powers of spirits (or, the wind) and the thoughts of human beings,

the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots.

21 I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,

22 for I have learned that wisdom is the one who fashions all things..

The Nature of Wisdom

In wisdom there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy,

unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted,

distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen,

irresistible, 23 beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure,

free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all,

and penetrating through all spirits that are

intelligent, pre and altogether subtle. [44]

24 For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;

because through her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.

25 She is like a breath of the power of God,

and as a pure emanation of the glory of he Almighty,

therefore nothing defiled gains entrance to her.

26 For she is a reflection of eternal light,

a flawless mirror of the working of God,

and an image of his goodness.

27 Although she is one, she can do all things,

and while remaining in herself, she renews all things,

in every generation she passes into holy souls,

and makes them friends of God, and prophets,

28 for God loves nothing more than the person who seeks wisdom.

29 She is more beautiful than the sun,

and excels every constellation of the stars.

Compared with the light she is found to be superior,

30 just as day is succeeded by the night,

but against wisdom, evil can not succeed.


1 She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,

and she gently orders all things well.

Solomon’s Love for Wisdom

2 I loved wisdom and sought her from my youth,

I longed to have her as my bride,

and became enamored of her beauty.

3 She glorifies her noble birth by living with God,

and the Lord of all loves her.

4 For she is an initiate in the knowledge of God,

and an associate in his works.

5 If riches are a desirable possession in life,

what is richer than wisdom, for it is the active cause of all things?

6 And if understanding is effective,

who, more than she, is fashioner of what exists? [45]

7 And if anyone loves righteousness her labors are virtues,

for she teaches self-contorll and prudence,

justice and courage,

nothing in life is more profitable for mortals than these.

8 And if anyone longs for wide experience,

she knows the things to come,

she understands the subtleties of speech

and the solutions to difficult problems;

she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders

and what the outcome of seasons and times will bring.

9 Therefore I determined to take her to live with me,

knowing that she would give me good counsel

and encouragement in cares and grief;

10 Because of her I will have glory in the eyes of the multitudes

and honor in the presence of the elders, though I am young.

11 I will be found keen in judgment,

and in the sight of rulers I will be admired.

12 When I am silent they will wait for me,

and when I speak at greater length,

they will remain silent [46].

13 Because of her I will have immortality,

and leave and everlasting remembrance to those who come after me.

14 I will govern nations,

and kingdoms will be subject to me,

15 Dreaded rulers will look upon me with fear when they hear me,

among the people I will show myself capable as a good ruler,

and courageous in war.

16 When I enter my house, I will find rest with her;

for companionship with her has no bitterness,

and life with her has no pain, but gladness and joy.

17 When I considered these things in my mind,

and pondered in my heart

that in kinship with wisdom there is immortality,

18 and in friendship with her, pure delight,

and in the labors of her hands, unfailing wealth,

and in her experience of her company, understanding,

and renown in sharing her words,

I went about seeking how to get her for myself.

19 As a child I was naturally gifted, [47]

and a good soul fell to my lot,

20 or rather, being good (or, noble), I entered an undefiled body.

21 But 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 implored him,

and with my whole heart I prayed:


Solomon Prays for Wisdom

1 “O God of my ancestors and Lord of mercy,

who has made all things by your word, [48]

2 and by your wisdom you have formed humankind

to have dominion over the creatures you have made,

3 and rule the world in holiness and righteousness,

and pronounce judgment in uprightness of soul,

4 give me your wisdom as I am seated on the throne,

and do not reject me from among your servants.

5 For I am your servant [49] the son of your serving girl,

a man who is weak and short-lived,

with feeble understanding of judgment and laws;

6 for even one who is perfect among human beings

will be regarded as nothing without the wisdom that comes from you.

7 You have chosen me to be the king of your people

and to be judge over your sons and daughters.

8 You have given command to build a temple on your holy mountain,

and an altar in the city of your habitation,

a copy of the tabernacle that you prepared from the beginning.

9 With you is wisdom, she who knows your works

and was present when you created the world,

she understands what is pleasing in your sight

and what is right according to your commandments.

10 Send her forth from the holy heavens,

and from the throne of your glory send her,

that she may labor at my side,

and that I may learn what is pleasing to you.

11 For she knows and understands all things,

and she will guide me wisely in my actions

and guard me with her glory.

12 Then my works will be acceptable,

and I will judge your people justly,

and will be worthy of my father’s the throne, [50]

13 For what person can learn the counsel of God?

Or who can understand the Lord’s will?

14 For the reasoning of mortals is worthless,

and our plans are likely to fail,

15 for a perishable body weighs down the soul,

and this earthly tent burdens the thoughtful (or, anxious) mind.

16 We can hardly guess at what is on the earth,

and we labor to discover what is at hand,

but who has traced out what is in the heavens?

17 Who has learned your intention,

unless you have given wisdom

and sent your holy spirit from on high?

18 And thus the paths of those on earth were set right,

and people were taught what pleases you,

and were saved by wisdom.” [51]


Wisdom Protected Adam

1 Wisdom [52] protected the first-formed father of the human race,

when he alone had been created,

she delivered him from his transgression,

2 and gave him strength to rule all things.

Cain Abandoned Wisdom

3 But when an unrighteous man departed from her in his anger,

he perished because in rage he killed his brother.

Wisdom Protected Noah

4 When he earth was flooded because of him, wisdom again saved it,

steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood.

Wisdom Helped Abraham

5 Wisdom [53] also, when the nations in wicked agreement

had been put to confusion,

the righteous man was recognized [54]

and he was preserved for he was blameless before God,

and was kept strong in the face of his compassion for his child.

Wisdom Rescues Lot

6 Wisdom rescued a righteous man when the ungodly were being destroyed.

He escaped the fire that descended on the Five Cities, [55]

7 Evidence of their wickedness still remains,

a continually smoking wasteland,

plants bearing fruit that does not ripen,

and a pillar of salt as a monument to an unbelieving soul.

8 For because they ignored wisdom,

and thereby theynot only were hindered from recognizing the good,

but also left for humankind a reminder of their folly,

so that their failures could never go unnoticed.

Wisdom Protects Jacob

9 Wisdom rescued from troubles those who served her.

10 When a righteous man fled from his brother’s wrath,

wisdom guided him on straight paths,

and showed him the kingdom of God,

and gave hm knowledge of holy things,

she prospered the fruit of his toil.

11 When his oppressors were covetous,

wisdom stood by him and made him rich.

12 She protected him from his enemies,

and kept him safe from those who lay in wait for him;

in his arduous contest she gave him [56] the victory,

so that he might learn that godliness is more powerful than anything else.

Wisdom Rescues Joseph

13 When a righteous man was sold, wisdom did not desert him,

but delivered him from sin.

She descended with him into the dungeon,

14 and 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 scorned him she showed to be false,

And she gave him everlasting honor.

Wisdom Led the Israelites Out of Egypt

15 A holy people and blameless race,

wisdom delivered from a nation of oppressors.

16 She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord,

and withstood dread kings with wonders and signs.

17 She gave to holy people 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

18 She brought them over the Red Sea,

and led them through the deep waters,

19 but she drowned their enemies,

and cast them up from the depths of the sea.

20 Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly,

they sang hymns, O Lord, to your holy name,

and praised with one accord your defending hand

21 for wisdom opened the mouths of them that were mute,

and made the tongues of infants speak eloquently.

<CHPTER 11> [57]

Wisdom Led the Israelites Through the Desert

1 Wisdom worked through the hand of a holy prophet and prospered.

2 They journeyed through an uninhabitable wilderness,

and pitched their tents in the waste land.

3 They withstood their enemies and fought off their foes.

4 When they were thirsty they called to you,

and water was given them out of flinty rock,

and from hard stone a remedy for their thirst.

5 They thought the very things by which their opponents were punished,

were received by them as a benefit in their need.

The Punishment of the Egyptians

6 Instead of the fountain of an ever-flowing river,

was putrid and defiled with blood [58]

7 as a punishment for the decree to kill the infants,

you gave them abundant water unexpectedly,

8 showing by their thirst at that time

how you punished their enemies.

9 For when they were tried (or, put to the test),

though they were being disciplined in mercy,

they learned how the ungodly were tormented when judged in wrath.

10 For you tested them as a parent [59] does in warning,

but you examined the ungodly [60] as a stern king does in condemnation.

11 Whether absent or present, they were equally distressed,

12 for a twofold grief possessed them,

and a groaning at the memory of what had occurred.

13 For when they heard that through their own punishments

for the righteous [61] had received benefits,

they perceived it was the Lord’s doing.

14 For 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,

when they felt thirst in a different way from the righteous.

15 In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts,

which led them astray to worship

irrational serpents and worthless animals,

you sent a swarm of irrational creatures upon them, to punish them,

16 so that they might learn that one is punished

by the very things by which one sins.

17 For your 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,

18 or newly-created unknown beasts full of rage,

or such as breathe out fiery breath, [62]

or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,

or flash terrible sparks from their eyes,

19 not only could the harm they did exterminate people, [63]

but the mere sight of them could kill by fright,

20 Even without these, people could fall at a single breath

when pursued by justice

and scattered by the breath of your power.

But you have arranged all things by measure and number and weight.

God is Powerful and Merciful

21 It is always in your power to show great strength,

and who can withstand (or, resist) the might of your arm?

22 Because the entire world before you is like a speck that tips the scales,

and like a drop of morning dew that falls on the ground at dawn,

23 But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things,

and you overlook people’s sins, so that they may repent.

24 For you love all things that exist,

and detest none of the things that you have made,

for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.

25 How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?

Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved?

26 You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living. [64]


1 For your immortal spirit is in all things.

2 Therefore you correct little by little those who trespass,

and you remind and warn them of the things through which they sin,

so that they may be freed from wickedness

and put their trust in you, O Lord.

The Sins of the Canaanites

3 Those who lived long ago in our holy land

4 you hated for their detestable practices,

their works of sorcery and unholy rites,

5 their merciless slaughter [65] of children by their parents,

and their sacrificial feasting on human flesh and blood.

These initiates from the midst of a heathen cult, [66]

6 these parents who murder helpless lives,

you willed to destroy by the hands of our ancestors, [67]

7 so that the land most precious of all to you

might receive a worthy colony of the servants (or, children) of God.

8 But even those you spared, since they were but mortals,

and sent wasps (or, hornets) as forerunners of your army

to destroy them little by little (or, in stages),

9 though you were ot unable to give the ungodly

into the hands of the righteous in battle,

or to destroy them at one blow by dread wild animals or your stern word,

10 But judging them little by little you gave them an opportunity to repent,

though you were not unaware that their origin (or, nature) was evil

and their wickedness inborn,

and that their way of thinking would never change.

11 For they were an accursed race from the beginning,

and it was not through fear or anyone that you left them

unpunished for their sins.

God Is Sovereign

12 For who will say, ‘What have you done?’

or will resist your judgment (or, declared your verdict)?

Who will accuse you for the destruction of nations that you made?

Or who will come before you to plea as an advocate for the unrighteous.

13 For neither is there any god beside you, whose care is for all people,

to whom you should prove that you have nit judged unjustly;

14 nor can any king or monarch confront you

about those whom you have punished.

15 You are righteous and you rule all things righteously,

deeming it alien to your power

to condemn anyone who does not deserve to be punished.

16 For your strength is the source of righteousness,

and your sovereignty over all causes you to spare all.

17 For you show your strength when people doubt [68]

the completeness of your power,

and you rebuke any insolence among those who know it. [69]

18 Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness,

and with great forbearance you govern us,

for you have power to act whenever you choose.

19 Through such works you have taught your people

that the righteous must be kind,

and you have filled your children with hope,

because you give repentance for sins

20 For if you punished with such great care and indulgence [70]

the enemies of your servants (or, children) and those deserving of death,

granting them time and opportunity to give up their wickedness,

21 with what strictness you have judged your children,

to whose ancestors you gave oaths,

and covenants full of good promises!

22 So while chastening us you scourge our enemies ten thousand times more,

so that when we judge, we may meditate upon your goodness,

and when we are judged, we may expect mercy.

The Punishment of the Egyptians

23 Therefore those who lived unrighteously, in a life of folly,

you tormented through their own abominations.

24 For they went far astray on the paths of error,

accepting as gods those animals that even their enemies despised;

and they were deceived like foolish infants.

25 Therefore, as though to children who cannot reason,

you sent your judgment to mock them.

26 But those who have not heeded the warning of mild rebukes

will experience the deserved judgment of God.

27 When in their suffering they become incensed

at those creatures that they had thought to be gods,

being punished by means of them,

they saw and recognized as the true God

the one whom they had before refused to know.

Therefore the utmost condemnation came upon them. [71]


The Foolishness of Nature Worship

1 For all people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature,

and they were unable from the good things that were seen

to know the one who exists,

and they fail to recognize the artisan while observing his works,

2 but they supposed that either fire or wind, swift air,

the circle of the stars, turbulent water,

or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. [72]

3 If through delight in the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods,

they should know how much better the Lord is than these,

for the author of beauty created them.

4 And if the people [73] were astounded at their power and influence,

they should have known

how much more powerful the one is who made (or, formed) them.

5 For the greatness and beauty of created things

gives us the corresponding perception of their Creator.

6 Yet these people are not to be blamed,

for even they go astray

while seeking God and really wanting to find him.

7 For while they live among his works, the keep searching,

and they trust in what they see,

because the things that are seen are really beautiful.

8 Yet again, not even they are to be excused,

9 for if they had the power to know so much

that they cold investigate the world,

how did they fail to find the Lord of these things sooner.

The Foolishness of Idolatry

10 But the most miserable of all have their hopes set on dead things,

who give the name “gods” to the works of human hands,

gold and silver fashioned with skill

and as the likenesses of animals

or a useless stone that was carved by an ancient hand.

11 Suppose that a skilled woodcutter may saw down a tree easy to handle,

and deftly strip off all its bark

and then with pleasing workmanship,

make a useful vessel that serves daily use..

12 Suppose that left over pieces from his work are then burned

to cook his food, and eat his fill.

13 But a scrap piece is left over, being useful for nothing,

a stick crooked and full of knots,

but he takes it and shapes carefully in his leisure,

and fashions it with skill gained in idleness; [74]

and he forms a likeness of a human being,

14 or makes it like some worthless animal,

giving it a coat of vermillion paint and daubing it red,

and covering every flaw with paint;

15 then he makes a suitable niche (or, shrine) for it,

and sets it in the wall, and fastens it there with nails.

16 He takes precaution, so that it may not fall,

because he knows that it cannot help itself,

for it is only an image and has need of help.

17 Yet he prays to it about his possessions, his marriage and children,

for he is not ashamed to an inanimate object.

18 For health he appeals to something that is weak,

for life he prays to thing that is dead,

for aid he entreats a thing that is utterly incapable,

requesting a prosperous journey,

from thing that cannot take a single step,

19 asking for money-making, work and success with his hands

and asks strength from a thing whose hands have no strength.


Wooden Idols Compared with Noah’s Wooden Boat

1 Again, one who is about to go on a voyage over raging [75] waves

calls on a piece of wood that is more rotten than the ship that carries him.

2 For it was desire for gain brought about the building of that vessel,

and wisdom [76] was the artisan who built it,

3 but it is your providence, O Father, that steers the course,

because you have given it a course in the sea,

providing a safe way through the waves,

4 showing that you can save from every danger,

so that every one even those who lack skill my put to sea.

5 It is your will that the work of your wisdom should no be useful.

Therefore people entrust their lives even to the smallest plank,

and passing through the billows on a raft they come safely to land.

6 For even in the beginning, when arrogant giants were perishing,

the hope of the world obtained refuge on a raft,

and under the guidance of your hand

they bequeathed to the world the seed of a new generation.

7 For blessed is the word [77] by which righteousness prevailed.

8 But the wooden idol made with human hands is accursed,

as is the one who made it,

for him for having made that perishable thing,

because it was called a god.

9 For equally hateful to God are the ungodly and their ungodliness,

10 for what has been done will be punished, together with the one who did it.

11 Therefore there will be retribution also upon the heathen idols,

because, though part of what God created, they became an abomination,

snares for human souls, and a trap for the feet of the foolish.

The Origin of Idolatry

12 For the idea of making idols was the beginning of immorality,

and the invention of them was the corruption of life,

13 for they did not exist from the beginning

nor will they last forever.

14 For through human vanity that they entered the world,

and therefore their speedy end has been planned.

15 For a father, consumed with grief at the death of his child,

made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him,

he then honored as a god what was once a dead human being,

and handed on to his dependents secret rites and ceremonies

16 Then the ungodly custom, grown strong with time, was kept as a law,

and at the command of royalty, carved images were worshiped.

17 When people could not honor rulers [78] in their presence,

since they lived at a distance,

they imagined their appearance far away,

and made a visible likeness of the king whom they honored,

so that by their zeal they might flatter the absent one as though present.

18 Then the ambition of the artisan grew

so that even those who did not know the king

who stirred on the ambitious craftsman to bring about their worship.

19 He perhaps, wished to please his ruler,

and skillfully distorted the likeness to take more beautiful form,

20 and the multitude, attracted by the charm of his work,

now regarded the idol as an object of worship of the one

who shortly before they had honored as a human being.

21 This became a hidden snare for humanity,

because people, enslaved by misfortune or by royal authority,

bestowed on objects of stone or wood the name

that ought not to be shared.

The Results of Idolatry

22 Then it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God,

but through living in great strife due to ignorance,

23 whether they perform religious rites causing the death of their children,

in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries,

or hold frenzied orgies with strange customs,

24 they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure,

but they either treacherously kill one another,

or corrupt one another by adultery,

25 and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit,

corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,

26 confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors,

defiling of souls, sexual perversion,

disorder in marriages, adultery, and debauchery.

27 The worship of idols whose name even was wrong to mention,

is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.

28 Their worshipers [79] indulge themselves to the point of nakedness

or prophesy lies, or live unrigheously, or readily commit perjury;

29 for because they trust in lifeless idols,

they swear falsely and expect to suffer no harm,

because they trust the they, themselves, are faultless.

30 But just penalties will overtake them on two counts;

because they thought wrongly about God in devoting themselves to idols,

and because in deceit they swore unrighteously

through contempt of holiness.

31 It is not by the power of the things by which people swear

(or by the oaths people swear),

but the just penalty for those who sin,

that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.


The True God Gives Immortality

1 You, our God, are kind and true,

patient and a merciful ruler in all things (or, ruling the universe)

2 Even when we sin, we are yours, for we continually know your power, but we will not sin, because we know that you

acknowledge us as yours.

3 To know you is complete righteousness,

and to acknowledge your power is the root of immortality.

4 The evil intent of human art has not misled us,

nor the fruitless work of painters,

by a figure stained with varied colors,

5 whose appearance arouses yearning in fools,

so that they desire [80] the lifeless form of a dead image.

6 Lovers of evil things and are desirous for such objects of hope [81]

are those who either make or desire or worship such evil things.

The Foolishness of Worshiping Clay Idols

7 A potter kneads the soft clay,

and laboriously molds each vessel for our use,

fashioning out of the same clay

both the pots that serve clean uses

and those for opposite uses,

making all alike,

but which shall be the use of each of them

is decided by the worker.

8 With ill directed toil, these workers form a false god from the same clay

these people who were made of earth a short time before

and after a little time go to the earth from which all mortals are taken, when the time comes to return the soils that were borrowed.

9 But the workers are not concerned that people are destined to die

or that their life is brief,

but they want to compete with workers in gold and silver, [82]

and imitate workers in copper,

and the consider it as a credit to their ability to mold counterfeit gods.

10 Their heart is ashes, their hope is cheaper than dirt,

and their lives are of less worth than clay,

11 because they failed to know the one who formed them

and inspired them with active souls

and breathed the breath of life into them.

12 Bu they considered our existence as an idle game, and life a festival held for profit

for they say one must get money however one can, even by base means. 13 These persons, more than all others, know that they sin

when they make fragile vessels and carved images from earthy matter.

The Punishment of the Egyptians

14 But most foolish and more miserable than an infant,

are all the enemies and oppressors of your people,

15 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 useless for walking.

16 For a human being made them,

and he whose spirit is borrowed formed them,

but none can form gods that are like themselves.

17 For people are mortal, and what they make with lawless hands is dead;

for they are better than the objects they worship,

since [83] they have life, but the idols [84] never did or could.

18 Moreover, they worship even the most revolting animals,

which are worse than all others when judged by their lack of intelligence;

19 and even as animals they are not so beautiful in appearance

that would make them desirable,

but they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing.


1 Therefore those people were deservedly punished

through such creatures,

and were tormented by a multitude of animals

(or, swarms of vermin)..

2 Instead of the punishment you showed kindness to your people;

and you prepared quails for your people,

a delicacy to satisfy the desire of appetite,

3 in order that those people, when they desired food,

might lose the least remnant of appetite [85]

because of the hideous creatures sent to them, [86]

while your people, [87] after suffering want briefly,

might partake of delicacies.

4 For it was necessary that upon those oppressors

inescapable want should come,

while to the others it was merely shown

how their enemies were being tormented.

5 When the terrible rage of wild animals came upon your people [88]

and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents,

your wrath did not continue to the end,

6 they were troubled for a little while as a warning (or, a lesson),

and received a symbol of deliverance (or, salvation),

to remind them of your law’s command.

7 Anyone who turned toward it was saved, not by the thing that was beheld, but by you the Savior of all

8 By this you also convinced your enemies

that it is you who deliver from every evil.

9 They were killed by the bite of locusts and flies,

and no healing was found for them,

because they deserved to be punished by such things.

10 But your children were not conquered even by the fangs of venomous serpents for your mercy came to their help and healed them.

11 It was to remind them of your oracles that they were bitten,

and they were quickly healed,

so that they would not fall into deep forgetfulness

and become unresponsive [89] to your kindness.

12 Neither herb nor poultice cured them,

but it was your word, O Lord, that healed all people,

13 You have power over life and death,

you lead mortals down to the gates of Hades and back again,

14 A person in wickedness kills another,

but cannot bring back the departed spirit,

or set free the imprisoned soul.

Disastrous Storms in Egypt

15 To escape from your hand is impossible,

16 for the ungodly, refusing to know you,

were flogged by the strength of your arm,

pursued by unusual rains and hail and relentless storms,

and utterly consumed by fire,

17 For –- most incredible of all -- in water, which quenches all things, the fire had still greater effect,

for the universe defends the righteous.

18 At one time the flame was moderated,

so that it might not consume the creatures sent against the ungodly,

but upon seeing this, they might know

that they were being pursued by the judgment of God,

19 and at another time, even in the midst of water it burned

more intensely than fire to destroy the crops of the sinful land.

The Israelites Get Manna to Eat

30 Instead of these things you gave your people the food of angels,

and without their toil you supplied them from heaven

with bread ready to eat,

providing every pleasure and suited to every taste.

21 For your sustenance manifested your sweetness toward your children,

and the bread, ministering [90]to the desire of the one who took it,

was changed to suit everyone’s liking.

22 Though snow 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,

23 whereas the fire, [91] in order that the righteous might be fed,

even forgot its native power.

24 For creation, serving you who made it,

strains itself to punish the unrighteous,

and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who trust in you.

25 Therefore as that time also, changed into all forms,

it served your all-nourishing bounty,

according to the desire of those who had need

(or, who made supplication),

26 so that your children, whom you loved, O Lord, might learn,

that it is not the production of crops that feeds humanity,

but that your word sustains those who trust in you.

27 For what was not destroyed by fire

was melted, when simply warmed by a fleeting ray of the sun,

28 to teach us that one must rise before the sun to give you thanks,

and must pray to you at the morning dawn,

29 for the hope of an ungrateful person will melt like wintry frost,

and flow away like waste water.


Terror Strikes the Egyptians at Night

1 Your judgments are great, and hard to expound,

therefore uninstructed souls have gone astray.

2 When lawless people supposed that they could lord it over the holy nation,

they themselves lay as prisoners of dark long nights,

each shut in under their roofs, exiles from eternal care.

3 Thinking that their secret sins would escape being detected,

hidden behind a dark curtain of forgiveness,

they were scattered and terrified,

being thoroughly frightened by specters.

4 for not even the inner chamber kept them protected from fear,

but terrifying sounds rang out around them,

and dismal phantoms and ghostly apparitions appeared.

5 No matter how intense the fire was it was unable to give light,

nor did the brilliant flames of the stars

do anything to illumine that hateful night.

6 Nothing was shining through to them

except a dreadful, self-kindled fire,

and in terror many seemed to be lost for the things they saw

appeared to be worse in appearance than what was not seen.

7 The delusions [92] of their magic art had failed,

and their boasted wisdom was scornfully rebuked.

8 Those who claimed the ability to drive off the fears

and disorders of a sick soul

were sick themselves with ridiculous fear,

9 for even if there was nothing that was disturbing to frighten them, yet, the presence of wild animals and the hissing of snakes

10 caused them to collapse in trembling fear,

refusing to look even at the air,

though it nowhere could be avoided.

11 Wickedness in itself is a cowardly thing, [93]

condemned by its own testimony, [94]

distressed by a guilty conscience, [95]

it has always exaggerated [96]the difficulties.

12 Fear is the abandonment of the helps that come from reason,

13 and hope, defeated by this inward weakness,

prefers ignorance of what causes the torment.

14 But throughout the night, which was really powerless

and which came upon them from the recesses of powerless Hades,

they all slept the same sleep,

15 and now were driven by monstrous specters,

and now were paralyzed by their souls’ surrender,

sudden and unexpected, while fear overwhelmed them.

16 Whoever was there fell down,

and thus was kept locked up in a prison not made of iron,.

17 for whether they were farmers or shepherds,

or laborers who toiled in the wilderness. They were seized, and endured the inescapable fate,

for they were all bound with one chain of darkness.

18 Whether a whistling wind came,

or a melodious sound of birds in wide-spreading branches,

or the rhythm of violently rushing water,

19 or 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.

20 The rest of entire world was bathed in brilliant light,

and went about its work unhindered,

21 while those people alone were covered with a heavy night that was spread,

as an image of the darkness that was destined to receive them,

but even heavier was the burden that each one carried as an individual.


<CHAPTER 18> Light Shines on the Israelites 1 But for your holy ones there was very great light,

Their enemies [97] heard their voices, but did not see their forms, [98]

and counted them happy for not having suffered,

2 and were thankful that your holy ones [99] though previously

wronged were doing them no injury,

and they begged their pardon for having been at variance with them. [100]

3 Therefore you provided a flaming pillar of fire

as a guide for your people’s [101] unknown journey,

and a harmless sun for their uncharted wandering.

4 For their enemies [102] deserved to be deprived of light,

and imprisoned in darkness,

those who had kept your children imprisoned,

through whom the imperishable light of the law

was to be given to the world.

The Death of the Egyptian First-born

5 When they had resolved to kill the new born infants of your holy ones, and one child had been abandoned and rescued,

you in punishment took away a multitude of their children

and you destroyed them all together by a rising flood.

6 That night a prior warning was given to our ancestors,

so that they might rejoice in sure knowledge

of the oaths at which they trusted.

7 The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies

were anticipated by your people,

8 for by the same means by which you punished our enemies

you called us to yourself and glorified us.

9 In secret the devout children of the good people offered sacrifices

and with one accord agreed to the divine law,

so that the saints would share the same things,

both blessings and dangers,

and already they were singing the praises of the ancestors. [103]

10 But the discordant contrasting cry of their enemies echoed back,

and their piteous lament for their children was spread abroad.

11 The slave was punished with the same punishment as the master,

and the commoner suffered the same loss as the king,

12 and they all together, by a single form [104] 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.

13 For though they had disbelieved everything because of their magic arts,

yet, when their firstborn were destroyed

they acknowledged your people to be God’s children,

14 for while peaceful silence enveloped all things,

and might in its swift course was now half gone,

15 your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne,

into the midst of the doomed land, a stern warrior

16 carrying the sharp sword of your inflexible command,

and stood and filled all things with death,

and touched heaven while standing on the earth.

17 Then at once nightmares in dreadful dreams greatly troubled them,

and unexpected fears seized them,

18 throwing them here and there, hurling them down half dead,

making it clear why they were dying,

19 for the dreams that disturbed them forewarned them of this,

so that they might not perish without knowing why they suffered.

Aaron’s Prayer Saves the Israelites from Death

20 The experience of death also touched the righteous,

and a plague came upon the multitude in the desert,

but the wrath did not long continue,

21 for 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 your servant.

22 He overcame [105] the wrath [106] not by strength of body,

nor by military force,

but by his word he subdued the avenger,

appealing to the oaths and covenants given to our ancestors.

23 For when the dead had already fallen in heaps on one another,

he intervened and held back the wrath,

and halted its line of attack on those who were faithful,

24 For on his long robe the whole world was represented,

and the glories of the ancestors were engraved

on the four rows of stones,.

and your majesty was on the diadem upon his head.

25 To these the destroyer yielded, they made him afraid,

for merely to test the wrath was enough.


The Suicidal Stupidity of the Egyptians

1 But the ungodly were assailed by pitiless anger to their very end,

for God [107] knew in advance even their future actions,

2 how, though they themselves had permitted [108] your people to depart

and hastily sent them out,

they would change their minds, and pursue them.

3 While [the Egyptians] were still engaged in 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 leave.

4 The fate they deserved drew them on to this end,

and made them forget what had happened,

so that they might fill up the punishment

that their torments still lacked,

5 and that your people might experience [109] an incredible journey,

but they themselves might meet a strange death.

God Guides and Protects His People

6 The whole creation in its nature was fashioned anew,

complying with our commands,

so that your children (or, servants) might be kept unharmed.

7 The 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,

8 where those protected by your hand passed through as on nation,

after gazing on marvelous wonders.

9 for they ranged like horses, and leaped like lambs,

praising you, O Lord, who delivered them.

10 For 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.

11 Afterward they saw also a new kind (or, production) of birds,

when desire led them to ask for luxurious food,

12 for, to give them relief, quails came up from the sea. [110]

The Punishment of the Egyptians

13 The punishment did not come upon the sinners

without prior signs of violent thunder,

for they justly suffered because of their wicked acts,

for they practiced a more bitter hatred of strangers.

14 Others had refused to receive strangers when they came to them,

but these made slaves of guests who were their benefactors.

15 And not only so – but what punishment of some sort will come upon the former,

for having received strangers with hostility,

16 the latter, having first received them with festal celebrations,

afterward afflicted them with terrible sufferings,

those who had already shared the same rights.

17 They were stricken also with loss of sight –

just as were those at the door of the righteous man –

when surrounded by yawning darkness,

all of them tried to find the way through their own doors [in Sodom].

God’s Miraculous Power

18 For the elements changed [111] places with one another,

as on a harp the notes that vary the nature of the rhythm,

while each note remains the same. [112]

This may be clearly inferred from the sight of what took place.

19 Land animals were transformed into water creatures,

and creatures that swarm moved over the land.

20 Fire even in water retained its normal power,

and water forgot its fire-quenching properties.

21 Flames, on the contrary, failed to consume

the flesh of perishable creatures that walked among them,

nor did they melt [113] the crystalline, quick-melting kind of heavenly food.

22 For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people,

and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.

[1] Literally: “singleness.”

[2] In much of Wisdom of Solomon wisdom is personified as a woman.

[3] Or: “the creatures.”

[4] Literally: “him.”

[5] Or, “palace.”

[6] The concept of this phrase is based upon the view of Heraclitus and the stoics.

[7] Literally: “weighed down.”

[8] Codex Aleph has kairoV Codex B has bioV.

[9] The LXX has differences in verses 8 & 9 which are not deemed to be important.

[10] This line is awkward in Greek and is assumed by scholars to be a later addition.

[11] The wicked are contradiction the entire way of life and thought of the righteous.

[12] The Greek word translated as “protected” is only used here and is not used in classical or secular Greek.

[13] Some manuscripts read: “nature.”

[14] Some scholars feel this is a reference to Cain. Others feel the reference is to Eve.

[15] The text of this line is uncertain and is omitted by some scholars. Cf. 4:15.

[16] This is possibly a vague expression of praise.

[17] The Greek does not present a clear meaning in this phrase concerning the location of the temple.

[18] An alternate translation might be: “the root of understanding sends out new servants.”

[19] LXX literally: “it.”

[20] Some ancient manuscripts have: “honor.”

[21] Literally: “at their examination.”

[22] i.e. moral and spiritual.

[23] Literally: “to mime.”

[24] Verses 14 – 16 seem to be confused and translation requires a bit of rearranging.

[25] LXX: literally: “they.”

[26] Literally: “they.”

[27] Some manuscripts have: “dust.” “chaff” would be an appropriate translation.

[28] “Hoar frost” is found in Aleph, A & B. “Spider’s webs.” is found in minuscules 23 & 106.

[29] Literally: “he.”

[30] Literally: “without respect of persons.”

[31] Literally; “searched out.” The word can also mean “torture.” “Tormented” might be a suitable translation here.

[32] Cf.: Deuteronomy 1:17.

[33] Literally: “on my.”

[34] So: Aleph, B in the first corrective hand, & A.

[35] Note the step by step instruction in verses 16 – 24.

[36] LXX literally: “Her beginning.”

[37] At this time the Alexandrian Jews seem also to have accepted something of the Greek religions, thinking them to be mysterious messages.

[38] Literally: “this.”

[39] Scholars feel this, in Greek, is a “first formed word,” i.e. a word that was first used here.

[40] Literally: “ten.”

[41] Literally: “breathe the common air.”

[42] A hapax legomenon. Manuscripts Aleph and B use a different word for “know” Other manuscripts use the usual Greek word.

[43] The Greek grammar is such that it conveys the thought of continuousness. Literally: “what has been given.”

[44] The Greek Text lists 21 qualities of wisdom.

[45] The Greek words give the thought of working in a continuing fashion with success.

[46] Literally: “put their hands on their mouths.”

[47] Some scholars feel that verse 19 is a correction of verse 18.

[48] Here the word translated as “word” appears to be identical with the word “wisdom.”

[49] Literally: “slave.”

[50] The word is plural in the LXX.

[51] Some scholars feel that this was originally the end of the book and chapters 10 – 19 were a later addition.

[52] Literally: “She.”

[53] Literally: “she” here and in verses 6 & 13

[54] Manuscripts differ in the Greek word that was used

[55] An alternate translation would be: “on Pentapolis.”

[56] Literally: “guided him.”

[57] At this point the second part of the writings of The Wisdom of Solomon begins.

[58] The text of verse 6 is thought by scholars to be corrupt.

[59] Literally: “father.”

[60] Literally: “those.”

[61] Literally: “they.”

[62] Literally; “noisy smoke.” This possibly sought to describe a raging fire.

[63] Literally: “them.”

[64] Literally; “lover of souls.” In Classical Greek the word meant “cowardly.”

[65] Literally: “slaughterers”

[66] The meaning in Greek is uncertain.

[67] The text definitely appears to be flawed. Attempts have be made over the centuries to understand it or to provide a suitable emendation.

[68] The text of this verse appears to be corrupt.

[69] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[70] Some manuscripts have “an entreaty.” Others omit “and indulgence.”

[71] Scholars feel this verse has additional information which was inserted later for clarification.

[72] These were all common objects that were accepted as objects of pagan worship.

[73] Literally: “they.”

[74] Some manuscripts insert: “with intelligent skill.”

[75] This Greek word is used only twice in the Bible

[76] The Vulgate and Syriac have: “by his wisdom.”

[77] i.e. The righteous purpose of God.

[78] Literally: “them.”

[79] Literally: “they.”

[80] Literally: “and he desires.” Manuscripts vary with words that range from desire to lust. Some scholars feel this is a reference to the king of Cyprus, Pygmalion, who fell in love with a statue of Venus.

[81] Literally: “such hope.”

[82] The reference possibly implies that those who work in clay also paint and glaze their idols while those who work in gold and silver do not adorn their idols.

[83] Some manuscripts have: “of which.”

[84] Literally: “but they.”

[85] Literally: “loathed the necessary appetite.”

[86] Some scholars feel this is a reference to frogs that were in the ovens and kneading bowls.. Cf. Exodus 8:3

[87] Literally: “they.”

[88] Literally: “them.”

[89] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[90] Literally: “and it, ministering.”

[91] Literally: “this.”

[92] In some manuscripts the word is singular.

[93] This phrase is found in Aleph, A and B. It is removed in Aleph in the first corrective hand.

[94] The meaning of the Greek text is uncertain.

[95] This is the first reference to conscience in Scripture.

[96] Some manuscripts read: “anticipated.”

[97] Literally: “they.”

[98] The words “but did not see their form” are not found in the Aleph or B manuscripts.

[99] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[100] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[101] Literally: “their.”

[102] Literally: “those persons.”

[103] Some manuscripts read: “dangers, the ancestors already leading them in songs of praise.”

[104] Literally: “name.”

[105] A slight emendation solves the apparent error in the manuscripts. The order of two letters is exchanged.

[106] Literally: “multitude.”

[107] Literally: “he.”

[108] Some manuscripts read: “had changed their mind, to permit.”

[109] Some manuscripts read: “accomplish.”

[110] Scholars feel the quails were migrating, flying over the Mediterranean and they were so weary that in their exhausted state they could be caught.

[111] Literally: “changing.”

[112] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[113] Literally: “nor could be melted.”