Wisdom of Solomon 16

16For this cause were these men worthily punished through creatures like those which they worship,

And tormented through a multitude of vermin.

Instead of which punishment, thou, bestowing benefits on thy people,

Preparedst quails for food,

Food of rare taste, for the desire of their appetite;

In order that thine enemies, when they desired to eat,

Might for the hideousness of the creatures sent among them

Loathe even the necessary food;

But these thy people, having for a short space suffered want,

Might even partake of food of rare taste.

For it was needful that upon those tyrants inexorable want should come,

But that to these it should only be showed how their enemies were tormented.

It is true the Israelites had serpents sent against them, but that was for admonition.

For even when terrible raging of wild beasts came upon thy people,

And they were perishing by the bites of crooked serpents,

Thy wrath continued not to the uttermost;

But for admonition were they troubled for a short space,

Having a token of salvation,

To put them in remembrance of the commandment of thy law:

For he that turned toward it was not saved by that which he saw,

But by thee, the Saviour of all.

Yea, and in this didst thou convince our enemies,

That thou art he that delivereth out of every evil.

For them verily the bites of locusts and flies did slay,

And there was not found a healing for their life,

Because they were worthy to be punished by such as these;

10 But thy sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame,

For thy mercy came to their help, and healed them.

11 For they were bitten, that they should remember thine oracles;

And were quickly saved, lest, falling into deep forgetfulness,

They should be irresponsive to thy beneficence:

12 For of a truth neither herb nor mollifying plaister restored them to health,

But thy word, O Lord, which healeth all things;

13 For thou hast power over life and death,

And thou leadest down to the gates of Hades, and leadest up again.

14 But though a man can slay by his wickedness,

Yet the spirit that is gone forth he bringeth not back,

Neither giveth release to the soul that Hades hath received.

How the Egyptians were punished by fire and the Israelites benefited.

15 But thy hand it is not possible to escape;

16 For the ungodly, refusing to know thee, were scourged by the strength of thine arm,

Pursued with strange rains and hails and showers inexorable,

And utterly consumed with fire;

17 For, what was most marvellous of all,

In the water which quencheth all things the fire wrought yet more mightily;

For the world fighteth for the righteous.

18 For at one time the flame lost its fierceness,

That it might not burn up the creatures sent against the ungodly,

But that these might see and perceive that they were pursued by the judgement of God:

19 And at another time even in the midst of water it burns beyond the power of fire,

That it may destroy the fruits of an unrighteous land.

20 Instead whereof thou gavest thy people angels’ food to eat,

And bread ready for use didst thou provide from heaven without their toil,

Bread having the virtue of every pleasant savour,

And agreeing to every taste;

21 For thy substance manifested thy sweetness toward thy children,

Ministering to the desire of the eater,

And transforming itself according to every man’s choice.

22 But snow and ice endured fire, and melted not,

That men might know that fire was destroying the fruits of the enemies,

Burning in the hail and flashing in the rains;

23 And that this element again, in order that righteous men might be nourished,

Had even forgotten its power.

24 For the creation, ministering to thee its maker,

Straineth its force against the unrighteous, for punishment,

And slackeneth it in behalf of them that trust in thee, for beneficence.

25 Therefore at that time also, converting itself into all forms,

It ministered to thine all-nourishing bounty,

According to the desire of them that made supplication;

26 That thy sons, whom thou lovedst, O Lord, might learn

That not the growth of earth’s fruits do nourish a man,

But thy word which preserveth them that trust thee.

27 For that which could not be injured by fire,

Simply warmed by a faint sunbeam melted away;

28 To make known that we must rise before the sun to give thee thanks,

And must plead with thee at the dawning of the light:

29 For the hope of the unthankful shall melt as the winter’s hoar-frost,

And shall flow away as water that hath no use.

The plague of darkness.

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