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Wisdom 12

 
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1 τὸ γὰρ ἄφθαρτόν σου πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἐν πᾶσιν 2 διὸ τοὺς παραπίπτοντας κα{T'} ὀλίγον ἐλέγχεις καὶ ἐν οἷς ἁμαρτάνουσιν ὑπομιμνῄσκων νουθετεῖς ἵνα ἀπαλλαγέντες τῆς κακίας πιστεύσωσιν ἐπὶ σέ κύριε 3 καὶ γὰρ τοὺς πάλαι οἰκήτορας τῆς ἁγίας σου γῆς 4 μισήσας ἐπὶ τῷ ἔχθιστα πράσσειν ἔργα φαρμακειῶν καὶ τελετὰς ἀνοσίους 5 τέκνων τε φονὰς ἀνελεήμονας καὶ σπλαγχνοφάγον ἀνθρωπίνων σαρκῶν θοῖναν καὶ αἵματος ἐκ μέσου μύστας θιάσου 6 καὶ αὐθέντας γονεῖς ψυχῶν ἀβοηθήτων ἐβουλήθης ἀπολέσαι διὰ χειρῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν 7 ἵνα ἀξίαν ἀποικίαν δέξηται θεοῦ παίδων ἡ παρὰ σοὶ πασῶν τιμιωτάτη γῆ 8 ἀλλὰ καὶ τούτων ὡς ἀνθρώπων ἐφείσω ἀπέστειλάς τε προδρόμους τοῦ στρατοπέδου σου σφῆκας ἵνα αὐτοὺς κατὰ βραχὺ ἐξολεθρεύσωσιν 9 οὐκ ἀδυνατῶν ἐν παρατάξει ἀσεβεῖς δικαίοις ὑποχειρίους δοῦναι ἢ θηρίοις δεινοῖς ἢ λόγῳ ἀποτόμῳ ὑ{F'} ἓν ἐκτρῖψαι 10 κρίνων δὲ κατὰ βραχὺ ἐδίδους τόπον μετανοίας οὐκ ἀγνοῶν ὅτι πονηρὰ ἡ γένεσις αὐτῶν καὶ ἔμφυτος ἡ κακία αὐτῶν καὶ ὅτι οὐ μὴ ἀλλαγῇ ὁ λογισμὸς αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα 11 σπέρμα γὰρ ἦν κατηραμένον ἀ{P'} ἀρχῆς οὐδὲ εὐλαβούμενός τινα ἐ{F'} οἷς ἡμάρτανον ἄδειαν ἐδίδους 12 τίς γὰρ ἐρεῖ τί ἐποίησας ἢ τίς ἀντιστήσεται τῷ κρίματί σου τίς δὲ ἐγκαλέσει σοι κατὰ ἐθνῶν ἀπολωλότων ἃ σὺ ἐποίησας ἢ τίς εἰς κατάστασίν σοι ἐλεύσεται ἔκδικος κατὰ ἀδίκων ἀνθρώπων 13 οὔτε γὰρ θεός ἐστιν πλὴν σοῦ ᾧ μέλει περὶ πάντων ἵνα δείξῃς ὅτι οὐκ ἀδίκως ἔκρινας 14 οὔτε βασιλεὺς ἢ τύραννος ἀντοφθαλμῆσαι δυνήσεταί σοι περὶ ὧν ἐκόλασας 15 δίκαιος δὲ ὢν δικαίως τὰ πάντα διέπεις αὐτὸν τὸν μὴ ὀφείλοντα κολασθῆναι καταδικάσαι ἀλλότριον ἡγούμενος τῆς σῆς δυνάμεως 16 ἡ γὰρ ἰσχύς σου δικαιοσύνης ἀρχή καὶ τὸ πάντων σε δεσπόζειν πάντων φείδεσθαί σε ποιεῖ 17 ἰσχὺν γὰρ ἐνδείκνυσαι ἀπιστούμενος ἐπὶ δυνάμεως τελειότητι καὶ ἐν τοῖς εἰδόσι τὸ θράσος ἐξελέγχεις 18 σὺ δὲ δεσπόζων ἰσχύος ἐν ἐπιεικείᾳ κρίνεις καὶ μετὰ πολλῆς φειδοῦς διοικεῖς ἡμᾶς πάρεστιν γάρ σοι ὅταν θέλῃς τὸ δύνασθαι 1 Thy kindly influence, Lord, thy gracious influence is all about us. 2 Tender, at the first false step, is thy rebuke; thou dost remind and warn us that we have gone astray, to make us leave our sinning and have faith in thee. 3 So it was with the former inhabitants of this thy holy land. Good reason thou hadst to be their enemy; 4 of what detestable practices were they not guilty, with those sorceries and unhallowed rites of theirs! 5 Murderers that would not spare their own children, that feasted on human flesh, human entrails and blood, they must have no share in thy covenant. 6 Thy will was that our fathers should root them out, these unnatural murderers of their own defenceless children;[1] 7 and this land, dear to thee as no other, should be more worthily peopled by the sons of God. 8 Yet they, too, were men, and thou wouldst deal gently with them; thou wouldst send hornets as the vanguard of thy invading host, to wear them down gradually.[2] 9 Not that it was beyond thy power to give piety the mastery over godlessness by victory in battle, by some plague of ravening monsters, or by one word of doom. 10 But no, their sentence should be executed by degrees, giving them opportunity to repent; though indeed thou knewest well that theirs was a worthless breed, of a malice so ingrained, that they would turn aside from their ill devices never; 11 from its beginnings, an accursed race.

Nor, if thou wast patient with the sinner, was it human respect that persuaded thee to it. 12 Thy acts who shall question, thy doom who shall gainsay? Will some champion arise to challenge thee on behalf of these rebels, tax thee with unmaking the peoples thou hast made? 13 God there is none save thou, that hast a whole world for thy province; and shall thy justice abide our question? 14 Punish thou mayst as punish thou wilt; king nor emperor can be bold to outface thee. 15 So high beyond our censure, and therewithal so just in thy dealings! To condemn the innocent were unworthy of such majesty as thine; 16 of all justice, thy power is the true source, universal lordship the ground of universal love! 17 Only when thy omnipotence is doubted wilt thou assert thy mastery, their rashness making manifest, who will not acknowledge thee;[3] 18 elsewhere, with such power at thy disposal, a lenient judge thou provest thyself, riding us with a light rein, and keeping thy terrors in reserve.
1

O quam bonus et suavis est, Domine, spiritus tuus in omnibus!
2
Ideoque eos qui exerrant partibus corripis,
et de quibus peccant admones et alloqueris,
ut relicta malitia credant in te, Domine.
3

Illos enim antiquos inhabitatores terræ sanctæ tuæ,
quos exhorruisti,
4
quoniam odibilia opera tibi faciebant
per medicamina et sacrificia injusta,
5
et filiorum suorum necatores sine misericordia,
et comestores viscerum hominum,
et devoratores sanguinis a medio sacramento tuo,
6
et auctores parentes animarum inauxiliatarum,
perdere voluisti per manus parentum nostrorum:
7
ut dignam perciperent peregrinationem puerorum Dei,
quæ tibi omnium carior est terra.
8
Sed et his tamquam hominibus pepercisti,
et misisti antecessores exercitus tui vespas,
ut illos paulatim exterminarent.
9
Non quia impotens eras in bello subjicere impios justis,
aut bestiis sævis, aut verbo duro simul exterminare:
10
sed partibus judicans,
dabas locum pœnitentiæ,
non ignorans quoniam nequam est natio eorum,
et naturalis malitia ipsorum,
et quoniam non poterat mutari cogitatio illorum in perpetuum.
11
Semen enim erat maledictum ab initio;
nec timens aliquem, veniam dabas peccatis illorum.
12
Quis enim dicet tibi: Quid fecisti?
aut quis stabit contra judicium tuum?
aut quis in conspectu tuo veniet vindex iniquorum hominum?
aut quis tibi imputabit, si perierint nationes quas tu fecisti?
13
Non enim est alius deus quam tu,
cui cura est de omnibus,
ut ostendas quoniam non injuste judicas judicium.
14
Neque rex, neque tyrannus in conspectu tuo inquirent
de his quos perdidisti.
15
Cum ergo sis justus, juste omnia disponis;
ipsum quoque qui non debet puniri, condemnare,
exterum æstimas a tua virtute.
16
Virtus enim tua justitiæ initium est,
et ob hoc quod Dominus es,
omnibus te parcere facis.
17
Virtutem enim ostendis tu,
qui non crederis esse in virtute consummatus,
et horum qui te nesciunt audaciam traducis.
18
Tu autem dominator virtutis, cum tranquillitate judicas,
et cum magna reverentia disponis nos:
subest enim tibi, cum volueris posse.
19 ἐδίδαξας δέ σου τὸν λαὸν διὰ τῶν τοιούτων ἔργων ὅτι δεῖ τὸν δίκαιον εἶναι φιλάνθρωπον καὶ εὐέλπιδας ἐποίησας τοὺς υἱούς σου ὅτι διδοῖς ἐπὶ ἁμαρτήμασιν μετάνοιαν 20 εἰ γὰρ ἐχθροὺς παίδων σου καὶ ὀφειλομένους θανάτῳ μετὰ τοσαύτης ἐτιμωρήσω προσοχῆς καὶ διέσεως δοὺς χρόνους καὶ τόπον δ{I'} ὧν ἀπαλλαγῶσι τῆς κακίας 21 μετὰ πόσης ἀκριβείας ἔκρινας τοὺς υἱούς σου ὧν τοῖς πατράσιν ὅρκους καὶ συνθήκας ἔδωκας ἀγαθῶν ὑποσχέσεων 22 ἡμᾶς οὖν παιδεύων τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ἡμῶν ἐν μυριότητι μαστιγοῖς ἵνα σου τὴν ἀγαθότητα μεριμνῶμεν κρίνοντες κρινόμενοι δὲ προσδοκῶμεν ἔλεος 19 Two lessons thy people were to learn from these dealings of thine; ever should justice and mercy go hand in hand, never should thy own children despair of forestalling thy justice by repentance. 20 What, so patient, so unhurrying, in thy vengeance on the doomed enemies of thy chosen race; always delay, always the opportunity given them to repent of their misdeeds; 21 and wouldst thou shew less anxious care in trying the cause of thy own children, bound to thee from of old by a sworn covenant so rich in mercies? 22 It is for our instruction, then, that thou usest such exquisite care in the punishing of our enemies;[4] judge we, let us imitate thy clemency, abide we judgement, let us ever hope for pardon. 19

Docuisti autem populum tuum per talia opera,
quoniam oportet justum esse et humanum;
et bonæ spei fecisti filios tuos,
quoniam judicans das locum in peccatis pœnitentiæ.
20
Si enim inimicos servorum tuorum, et debitos morti,
cum tanta cruciasti attentione,
dans tempus et locum per quæ possent mutari a malitia:
21
cum quanta diligentia judicasti filios tuos,
quorum parentibus juramenta et conventiones dedisti bonarum promissionum!
22
Cum ergo das nobis disciplinam,
inimicos nostros multipliciter flagellas,
ut bonitatem tuam cogitemus judicantes,
et cum de nobis judicatur, speremus misericordiam tuam.
23 ὅθεν καὶ τοὺς ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ ζωῆς βιώσαντας ἀδίκως διὰ τῶν ἰδίων ἐβασάνισας βδελυγμάτων 24 καὶ γὰρ τῶν πλάνης ὁδῶν μακρότερον ἐπλανήθησαν θεοὺς ὑπολαμβάνοντες τὰ καὶ ἐν ζῴοις τῶν αἰσχρῶν ἄτιμα νηπίων δίκην ἀφρόνων ψευσθέντες 25 διὰ τοῦτο ὡς παισὶν ἀλογίστοις τὴν κρίσιν εἰς ἐμπαιγμὸν ἔπεμψας 26 οἱ δὲ παιγνίοις ἐπιτιμήσεως μὴ νουθετηθέντες ἀξίαν θεοῦ κρίσιν πειράσουσιν 27 ἐ{F'} οἷς γὰρ αὐτοὶ πάσχοντες ἠγανάκτουν ἐπὶ τούτοις οὓς ἐδόκουν θεούς ἐν αὐτοῖς κολαζόμενοι ἰδόντες ὃν πάλαι ἠρνοῦντο εἰδέναι θεὸν ἐπέγνωσαν ἀληθῆ διὸ καὶ τὸ τέρμα τῆς καταδίκης ἐ{P'} αὐτοὺς ἐπῆλθεν 23 And so it was that thou didst plague the Egyptians,[5] that were knaves and fools both; their own false gods should be the undoing of them. 24 This was the worst error of all their erring, that they worshipped the meanest of beasts as gods; silly children had been no more credulous. 25 Why then, these silly children should have play-time penalties first; 26 of those play-time penalties if they took no heed, then at last they should feel how a God can punish. 27 Humiliated they well might be at those sufferings of theirs, the very gods they worshipped the instruments of their distress; a sight enough to convince them that he was the true God, whom all this while they had rejected! But no, they must needs bring upon themselves the full rigours of justice. 23
Unde et illis qui in vita sua insensate et injuste vixerunt,
per hæc quæ coluerunt dedisti summa tormenta.
24
Etenim in erroris via diutius erraverunt,
deos æstimantes hæc quæ in animalibus sunt supervacua,
infantium insensatorum more viventes.
25
Propter hoc tamquam pueris insensatis judicium in derisum dedisti.
26
Qui autem ludibriis et increpationibus non sunt correcti,
dignum Dei judicium experti sunt.
27
In quibus enim patientes indignabantur
per hæc quos putabant deos,
in ipsis cum exterminarentur videntes,
illum quem olim negabant se nosse, verum Deum agnoverunt;
propter quod et finis condemnationis eorum venit super illos.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.