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Wisdom of Solomon 12:1–27

For thine incorruptible spirit is in all things.

Wherefore thou dost chastise by little and little them that fall from the right way,

And, putting them in remembrance by the very things wherein they sin, dost thou admonish them,

That escaping from their wickedness they may believe on thee, O Lord.

As shown by his patience with the Canaanites.

For verily the old inhabitants of thy holy land,

Whom thou didst hate because they practised detestable works of enchantments and unholy rites,

Merciless slaughterers of children,

And sacrificial banqueters on men’s flesh and blood,

Confederates in an impious fellowship

And murderers of their own helpless babes,

It was thy counsel to destroy by the hands of our fathers;

That the land which in thy sight is most precious of all lands

Might receive a worthy colony of God’s servants.

Nevertheless even these thou didst spare as being men,

And thou sentest hornets as forerunners of thy host,

To cause them to perish by little and little;

Not that thou wast unable to subdue the ungodly under the hand of the righteous in battle,

Or by terrible beasts or by one stern word to destroy them at once;

10 But judging them by little and little thou gavest them a place of repentance,

Though thou knewest their nature was evil, and their wickedness inborn,

And that their manner of thought would in no wise ever be changed,

11 For they were a seed accursed from the beginning:

Neither was it through fear of any that thou didst pass over their sins.

God’s possession of almighty power shows that his leniency is due to his mercy.

12 For who shall say, What hast thou done?

Or who shall withstand thy judgement?

And who shall accuse thee for the destruction of nations which thou didst make?

Or who shall come and stand before thee as an avenger for the unrighteous?

13 For neither is there any God beside thee that careth for all,

That thou mightst show unto him that thou didst not judge unrighteously:

14 Neither shall king or prince meet thee to plead for those whom thou hast punished.

15 But being righteous thou rulest all things righteously,

Deeming it alien from thy power

To condemn him that doth not deserve to be punished.

16 For thy strength is the beginning of righteousness,

And thy sovereignty over all maketh thee to spare all.

17 For when men believe not that thou art perfect in power, thou showest thy strength,

And in dealing with them that know it thou puttest their boldness to confusion.

18 But thou, being sovereign over thy strength, judgest in gentleness, And with great forbearance dost thou govern us;

For the power is thine whensoever thou willest.

His mercy an example to men.

19 But thou didst teach thy people by such works as these,

That the righteous must be a lover of men;

And thou didst make thy sons to be of good hope,

Because thou givest repentance when men have sinned.

20 For if the enemies of thy servants, even them that were due to death,

Thou didst punish with so great heedfulness and indulgence,

Giving them times and place to escape from their wickedness;

21 With how great carefulness didst thou judge thy sons,

To whose fathers thou gavest oaths and covenants of good promises!

22 While therefore thou dost chasten us, thou scourgest our enemies ten thousand times more,

To the intent that we may ponder thy goodness when we judge,

And when we are judged may look for mercy.

Those who did not respond to lenient treatment received a heavier punishment.

23 Wherefore also the unrighteous that lived in folly of life

Thou didst torment through their own abominations.

24 For verily they went astray very far in the ways of error,

Taking as gods those animals which even among their enemies were held in dishonour,

Deceived like foolish babes.

25 Therefore, as unto unreasoning children, thou didst send thy judgement to mock them.

26 But they that would not be admonished by a correction which was but as child’s play

Shall experience a judgement worthy of God.

27 For because through their own sufferings they were moved to indignation

Against those creatures which they thought to be gods,

Being punished by their means,

They saw, and recognized the true God whom before they refused to know;

Wherefore also the uttermost penalty came upon them.

Men being foolish by nature cannot know the true God, but worship, perhaps excusably, the works he has made.

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