Wisdom chapter 16

Solomon recounts how God liberated his people from their slavery to the Egyptians.

 


 

The Book of Wisdom is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches

 


 

GOD LIBERATED HIS PEOPLE FROM SLAVERY TO THE EGYPTIANS

 

VERSE 1. For this cause were these men worthily punished through creatures like those which they worship, And tormented through a multitude of vermin.

these men. That is, the Egyptians.

a multitude of vermin. That is, a plague of locusts.

 

VERSE 2. Instead of which punishment, you, bestowing benefits on your people, Preparedst quails for food, Food of rare taste, to satisfy the desire of their appetite;

bestowing benefits on your people. God is always looking to benefit his people.

 

VERSE 3. To the end that your enemies, desiring food, Might for the hideousness of the creatures sent among them Loathe even the necessary appetite; But these, your people, having for a short space suffered lack, Might even partake of food of rare taste.

 

VERSE 4. For it was needful that upon those should come inexorable lack in their tyrannous dealing, But that to these it should only be showed how their enemies were tormented.

 

VERSE 5. For even when terrible raging of wild beasts came upon your people, And they were perishing by the bites of crooked serpents, Your wrath continued not to the uttermost;

 

VERSE 6. But for admonition were they troubled for a short space, Having a token of salvation, To put them in remembrance of the commandment of your law:

a token of salvation. That is, the carving of a snake.

 

VERSE 7. For he that turned toward it was not saved because of that which was seen, But because of you, the Savior of all.

NAB translation. He who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the Savior of all.

He who turned toward it was saved. To be saved from their snakebites, the Israelites had to look at a carving of a snake held high on a pole.

not by what he saw. The carving didn’t save them. God did. God is described here as a “Savior,” in fact as the savior of “all.”

the Savior of all. This epic Old Testament event foreshadows Christ being held high on the cross, for all people everywhere to look to, to be saved.

 

VERSE 8. Yes, and in this did you persuade our enemies, That you are he that delivers out of every evil.

 

VERSE 9. For them truly the bites of locusts and flies did kill, And there was not found a healing for their life, Because they were worthy to be punished by such as these;

 

VERSE 10. But your sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame, For your mercy passed by where they were, and healed them.

 

VERSE 11. For they were bitten, to put them in remembrance of your oracles; And were quickly saved, lest, falling into deep forgetfulness, They should become unable to be roused by your beneficence:

your beneficence. That is, God’s acts of mercy and kindness and charity toward us.

 

VERSE 12. For of a truth it was neither herb nor mollifying plaster that cured them, But your word, O Lord, which heals all things;

 

VERSE 13. For you have authority over life and death, And you lead down to the gates of Hades, and lead up again.

 

VERSE 14. But though a man may kill by his wickedness, Yet the spirit that is gone forth he turns not again, Neither gives release to the soul that Hades has received.

the soul that Hades has received. Hades is a Greek word. It means that which is out of sight, the state or place of the dead. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word sheol.

 

VERSE 15. But your hand it is not possible to escape;

 

VERSE 16. For ungodly men, refusing to know you, were scourged in the strength of your arm, Pursued with strange rains and hails and showers inexorable, And utterly consumed with fire;

 

VERSE 17. For, what was most marvelous of all, In the water which quenches all things the fire made yet more mightily; For the world fights for the righteous.

 

VERSE 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 themselves as they looked might see that they were chased through the judgement of God:

 

VERSE 19. And at another time even in the midst of water it burns above the power of fire, That it may destroy the fruits of an unrighteous land.

 

VERSE 20. Instead whereof you gave your people angels’ food to eat, And bread ready for their use did you provide for them from heaven without their toil, Bread having the virtue of every pleasant savor, And agreeing to every taste;

 

VERSE 21. For your nature manifested your sweetness toward your children; While that bread, ministering to the desire of the eater, Tempered itself according to every man’s choice.

 

VERSE 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;

snow and ice. This is unexpected, considering the climate of the Holy Land. It might be an allusion to manna.

 

VERSE 23. And that this element again, in order that righteous men may be nourished, Hath even forgotten its own power.

 

VERSE 24. For the creation, ministering to you its maker, Strains its force against the unrighteous, for punishment, And slackens it in behalf of those who trust in you, for beneficence.

 

VERSE 25. Therefore at that time also, converting itself into all forms, It ministered to your all-nourishing bounty, According to the desire of those who made supplication;

 

VERSE 26. That your sons, whom you loved, O Lord, might learn That it is not the growth of the earth’s fruits that nourishes a man, But that your word preserves those who trust you.

 

VERSE 27. For that which was not marred by fire, When it was simply warmed by a faint sunbeam melted away;

 

VERSE 28. That it might be known that we must rise before the sun to give you thanks, And must plead with you at the dawning of the light:

 

VERSE 29. For the hope of the unthankful will melt as the winter’s hoar frost, And will flow away as water that has no use.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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