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Wisdom of Solomon 18

18But for thy holy ones there was great light;

And the Egyptians, hearing their voice but seeing not their form,

Envied them because they had not suffered,

And because they do not harm them now, though wronged by them before, are thankful;

And for their former hostility besought their pardon.

Whereas thou didst provide for thy people a burning pillar of fire,

To be a guide for their unknown journey,

And withal a kindly sun for their proud exile.

For well did the Egyptians deserve the loss of light and imprisonment in darkness,

They who had kept in close ward thy sons,

Through whom the incorruptible light of the law was to be given to the race of men.

The Egyptians counsel death against the Israelites, but are slain themselves.

After they had taken counsel to slay the babes of the holy ones,

And when a single child had been cast forth and saved,

To punish them thou didst take away a multitude of their children,

And destroyedst all their host together in a mighty flood.

Of that night were our fathers made aware beforehand,

That, having sure knowledge, they might be cheered by the oaths which they had trusted:

So by thy people was expected the salvation of the righteous and destruction of the enemies;

For as thou didst take vengeance on the adversaries,

By the same act thou didst glorify us, and call us unto thyself.

For holy children of good men offered sacrifice in secret,

And with one consent took upon themselves the covenant of the divine law—

That the saints would partake alike in the same blessings and perils—

Singing the while the fathers’ songs of praise.

10 But there sounded back in discord the cry of the enemies,

And a piteous voice of lamentation for children was borne abroad.

11 And servant along with master punished with a like just doom,

And commoner suffering the same as king,

12 Yea, all the people together, under one form of death,

Had with them corpses without number;

For the living were not sufficient even to bury them,

Since at a single stroke their noblest offspring was destroyed.

13 For though they had disbelieved all things by reason of their enchantments,

Upon the destruction of the firstborn they confessed the people to be God’s son.

14 For while peaceful silence enwrapped all things,

And night in her swiftness was in mid course,

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

A stern warrior, into the midst of the doomed land,

16 Bearing as a sharp sword thine unfeigned commandment,

And standing filled all things with death;

And while it touched the heaven it trode upon the earth.

17 Then forthwith apparitions in terrible dreams troubled them,

And fears came upon them unlooked for:

18 And one thrown here half dead, another there,

Declared the cause of his death:

19 For the dreams, perturbing them, did foreshow this,

That they might not perish without knowing why they were afflicted.

The Israelites also experienced the punishment of death, but the plague was stayed by the intercession of Aaron.

20 But it befell the righteous also to experience death,

And a multitude were stricken in the wilderness:

Howbeit the wrath endured not for long.

21 For a blameless man hasted to be their champion:

Bringing the weapon of his ministry,

Even prayer and the propitiation of incense,

He withstood the indignation, and put an end to the calamity,

Showing that he was thy servant.

22 And he overcame the anger,

Not by strength of body, not by power of weapons;

But by word did he subdue the minister of punishment,

By bringing to remembrance oaths and covenants made with the fathers.

23 For when the dead were already fallen in heaps one upon another,

Standing between he stopped the advancing wrath,

And cut off its access to the living.

24 For upon his long high-priestly robe was the whole world pictured,

And the glories of the fathers were upon the graying of the four rows of precious stones,

And thy majesty was upon the diadem of his head.

25 To these the destroyer gave way, and these he feared;

For the mere proof of the wrath was enough.

But there was nothing to stay death in the case of the Egyptians.

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