And the Egyptians, hearing their voice but seeing not their form,
Envied them because they had not suffered,
And for their former hostility besought their pardon.
To be a guide for their unknown journey,
And withal a kindly sun for their proud exile.
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.
†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.
That, having sure knowledge, they might be cheered by the oaths which they had trusted:
By the same act thou didst glorify us, and call us unto thyself.
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.
And a piteous voice of lamentation for children was borne abroad.
And commoner suffering the same as king,
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.
Upon the destruction of the firstborn they confessed the people to be God’s son.
And night in her swiftness was in mid course,
A stern warrior, into the midst of the doomed land,
And standing filled all things with death;
And while it touched the heaven it trode upon the earth.
And fears came upon them unlooked for:
Declared the cause of his death:
That they might not perish without knowing why they were afflicted.
And a multitude were stricken in the wilderness:
Howbeit the wrath endured not for long.
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.
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.
Standing between he stopped the advancing wrath,
And cut off its access to the living.
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.
For the mere proof of the wrath was enough.
But there was nothing to stay death in the case of the Egyptians.
indicate that the word or passage so enclosed is corrupt.