Wisdom of Solomon 15

15But thou, our God, art gracious and true,

Longsuffering, and in mercy ordering all things.

For even if we sin, we are thine, knowing thy dominion;

But we shall not sin, knowing that we are accounted thine:

For to know thee is perfect righteousness,

Yea, to know thy dominion is the root of immortality.

For neither did any evil device of man lead us astray,

Nor yet the painters’ fruitless labour,

A form stained with varied colours;

The sight whereof leadeth fools into lust:

Who desire the form of a dead image that hath no breath;

Lovers of evil things, and worthy to have such things to hope in,

Are both they that make them, and they that desire, and they that worship them.

Another example of the manufacture of idols.

For a potter, kneading soft earth,

Laboriously mouldeth each vessel for our service:

Nay, out of the same clay doth he fashion

Both the vessels that minister to clean uses, and those of a contrary sort,

All in like manner;

But what shall be the use of either sort,

The craftsman himself is the judge.

And also, with evil labour, he mouldeth a vain god from the same clay,

He Who, but a little before was made of the earth,

And will soon go his way to the earth out of which he was taken,

When the soul which was lent him shall again be demanded.

Howbeit his care is,

Not that his powers must fail,

Nor that his span of life is short;

But he rivals the workers in silver and gold,

And copieth moulders in brass,

And esteemeth it glory that he mouldeth counterfeit things.

10 His heart is ashes,

And his hope of less value than earth,

And his life of less honour than clay:

11 Because he was ignorant of him that moulded him,

And of him that inspired into him an active soul,

And breathed into him a vital spirit.

12 But he accounted our life to be but a game,

And our way of life a gainful fair;

For one must, saith he, get gain whence one can, though it be by evil means.

13 For this man beyond all others knoweth that he sinneth,

When out of the same earthy matter he maketh both brittle vessels and graven images.

14 But most foolish were they all, and of feebler soul than a babe,

The foes of thy people, who crushed them;

15 Because all the idols of the nations they reckoned as gods;

Which have neither the use of eyes for seeing,

Nor nostrils for drawing breath,

Nor ears to hear,

Nor fingers for handling,

And their feet are helpless for walking.

16 For a man it was that made them,

And one whose own spirit is borrowed moulded them;

For no one hath power, being a man, to mould a god like unto himself,

17 But, being mortal, he maketh a dead thing with lawless hands;

For he is better than the things he worshippeth;

Of the two, he indeed had life, but they never.

The Egyptians worshipped irrational and unclean animals and were therefore punished by means of them. Small animals, viz. quails, benefited the Israelites.

18 Yea, and the creatures that are most hateful do they worship,

For, being compared as to want of sense, these are worse than all others;

19 Neither, as seen beside other creatures, are they beautiful, so that one should desire them,

But are outcasts from the praise of God and his blessing.

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