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Wisdom 18

 
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1 τοῖς δὲ ὁσίοις σου μέγιστον ἦν φῶς ὧν φωνὴν μὲν ἀκούοντες μορφὴν δὲ οὐχ ὁρῶντες ὅτι μὲν οὐ κἀκεῖνοι ἐπεπόνθεισαν ἐμακάριζον 2 ὅτι {D'} οὐ βλάπτουσιν προηδικημένοι ηὐχαρίστουν καὶ τοῦ διενεχθῆναι χάριν ἐδέοντο 3 ἀν{Q'} ὧν πυριφλεγῆ στῦλον ὁδηγὸν μὲν ἀγνώστου ὁδοιπορίας ἥλιον δὲ ἀβλαβῆ φιλοτίμου ξενιτείας παρέσχες 1 Brightest of all, that light shone on thy chosen people. These neighbours of theirs, heard but not seen, the Egyptians must congratulate on their escape from the common doom, 2 thank them for letting vengeance be, and ask forgiveness for past ill-will.[1] 3 To these thou gavest, not darkness, but a pillar of burning fire, to be the guide of their unfamiliar journey, a sun, all gracious welcome, that brought no harm.[2] 1

Sanctis autem tuis maxima erat lux,
et horum quidem vocem audiebant, sed figuram non videbant.
Et quia non et ipsi eadem passi erant, magnificabant te;
2
et qui ante læsi erant, quia non lædebantur, gratias agebant,
et ut esset differentia, donum petebant.
3
Propter quod ignis ardentem columnam
ducem habuerunt ignotæ viæ,
et solem sine læsura boni hospitii præstitisti.
4 ἄξιοι μὲν γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι στερηθῆναι φωτὸς καὶ φυλακισθῆναι σκότει οἱ κατακλείστους φυλάξαντες τοὺς υἱούς σου δ{I'} ὧν ἤμελλεν τὸ ἄφθαρτον νόμου φῶς τῷ αἰῶνι δίδοσθαι 5 βουλευσαμένους {D'} αὐτοὺς τὰ τῶν ὁσίων ἀποκτεῖναι νήπια καὶ ἑνὸς ἐκτεθέντος τέκνου καὶ σωθέντος εἰς ἔλεγχον τὸ αὐτῶν ἀφείλω πλῆθος τέκνων καὶ ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἀπώλεσας ἐν ὕδατι σφοδρῷ 6 ἐκείνη ἡ νὺξ προεγνώσθη πατράσιν ἡμῶν ἵνα ἀσφαλῶς εἰδότες οἷς ἐπίστευσαν ὅρκοις ἐπευθυμήσωσιν 7 προσεδέχθη ὑπὸ λαοῦ σου σωτηρία μὲν δικαίων ἐχθρῶν δὲ ἀπώλεια 8 ᾧ γὰρ ἐτιμωρήσω τοὺς ὑπεναντίους τούτῳ ἡμᾶς προσκαλεσάμενος ἐδόξασας 4 A fitting punishment it was for the Egyptians, this loss of light; fitting that they should be imprisoned in darkness, who had kept thy own sons in prison; thy own sons, through whom that law, which is light unfailing, was to be given to the world. 5 It was their purpose, besides, to slay all the children born of that holy stock; but one child survived exposure and lived to rebuke them; through him thou didst destroy Egypt’s own children in their thousands, and drown its assembled host in the rushing waves. 6 Of what should befall that night, our fathers had good warning; confidence in thy sworn protection should keep them unafraid. 7 A welcome gift it was to thy people, rescue for the just, and doom for their persecutors; 8 at one stroke thou didst punish our enemies, and make us proud men by singling us out for thyself. 4
Digni quidem illi carere luce,
et pati carcerem tenebrarum,
qui inclusos custodiebant filios tuos,
per quos incipiebat incorruptum legis lumen sæculo dari.
5

Cum cogitarent justorum occidere infantes,
et uno exposito filio et liberato,
in traductionem illorum, multitudinem filiorum abstulisti,
et pariter illos perdidisti in aqua valida.
6
Illa enim nox ante cognita est a patribus nostris,
ut vere scientes quibus juramentis crediderunt,
animæquiores essent.
7
Suscepta est autem a populo tuo sanitas quidem justorum,
injustorum autem exterminatio.
8
Sicut enim læsisti adversarios,
sic et nos provocans magnificasti.
9 κρυφῇ γὰρ ἐθυσίαζον ὅσιοι παῖδες ἀγαθῶν καὶ τὸν τῆς θειότητος νόμον ἐν ὁμονοίᾳ διέθεντο τῶν αὐτῶν ὁμοίως καὶ ἀγαθῶν καὶ κινδύνων μεταλήμψεσθαι τοὺς ἁγίους πατέρων ἤδη προαναμέλποντες αἴνους 10 ἀντήχει {D'} ἀσύμφωνος ἐχθρῶν ἡ βοή καὶ οἰκτρὰ διεφέρετο φωνὴ θρηνουμένων παίδων 11 ὁμοίᾳ δὲ δίκῃ δοῦλος ἅμα δεσπότῃ κολασθεὶς καὶ δημότης βασιλεῖ τὰ αὐτὰ πάσχων 12 ὁμοθυμαδὸν δὲ πάντες ἐν ἑνὶ ὀνόματι θανάτου νεκροὺς εἶχον ἀναριθμήτους οὐδὲ γὰρ πρὸς τὸ θάψαι οἱ ζῶντες ἦσαν ἱκανοί ἐπεὶ πρὸς μίαν ῥοπὴν ἡ ἐντιμοτέρα γένεσις αὐτῶν διέφθαρτο 13 πάντα γὰρ ἀπιστοῦντες διὰ τὰς φαρμακείας ἐπὶ τῷ τῶν πρωτοτόκων ὀλέθρῳ ὡμολόγησαν θεοῦ υἱὸν λαὸν εἶναι 9 In secret they offered their sacrifice, children of a nobler race, all set apart; with one accord they ratified the divine covenant, which bound them to share the same blessings and the same perils; singing for prelude their ancestral hymns of praise. 10 But music was none in the enemy’s cry that answered them; here all was dirge for children untimely mourned. 11 Slave and master, prince and peasant, a common doom met them, and a common loss; death levelled all under one title; 12 unnumbered everywhere the slain, nor might the living suffice to bury them; all in one moment, the flower of their race had perished. 13 Against those earlier plagues, sorcery had hardened their hearts; Israel they recognized for God’s children only when the first-born died. 9
Absconse enim sacrificabant justi pueri bonorum,
et justitiæ legem in concordia disposuerunt;
similiter et bona et mala recepturos justos,
patrum jam decantantes laudes.
10
Resonabat autem inconveniens inimicorum vox,
et flebilis audiebatur planctus ploratorum infantium.
11
Simili autem pœna servus cum domino afflictus est,
et popularis homo regi similia passus.
12
Similiter ergo omnes, uno nomine mortis,
mortuos habebant innumerabiles:
nec enim ad sepeliendum vivi sufficiebant,
quoniam uno momento quæ erat præclarior
natio illorum exterminata est.
13
De omnibus enim non credentes, propter veneficia;
tunc vero primum cum fuit exterminium primogenitorum,
spoponderunt populum Dei esse.
14 ἡσύχου γὰρ σιγῆς περιεχούσης τὰ πάντα καὶ νυκτὸς ἐν ἰδίῳ τάχει μεσαζούσης 15 ὁ παντοδύναμός σου λόγος ἀ{P'} οὐρανῶν ἐκ θρόνων βασιλείων ἀπότομος πολεμιστὴς εἰς μέσον τῆς ὀλεθρίας ἥλατο γῆς ξίφος ὀξὺ τὴν ἀνυπόκριτον ἐπιταγήν σου φέρων 16 καὶ στὰς ἐπλήρωσεν τὰ πάντα θανάτου καὶ οὐρανοῦ μὲν ἥπτετο βεβήκει {D'} ἐπὶ γῆς 17 τότε παραχρῆμα φαντασίαι μὲν ὀνείρων δεινῶν ἐξετάραξαν αὐτούς φόβοι δὲ ἐπέστησαν ἀδόκητοι 18 καὶ ἄλλος ἀλλαχῇ ῥιφεὶς ἡμίθνητος δ{I'} ἣν ἔθνῃσκον αἰτίαν ἐνεφάνιζεν 19 οἱ γὰρ ὄνειροι θορυβήσαντες αὐτοὺς τοῦτο προεμήνυσαν ἵνα μὴ ἀγνοοῦντες δ{I'} ὃ κακῶς πάσχουσιν ἀπόλωνται 14 There was a hush of silence all around, and night had but finished half her swift journey, 15 when from thy heavenly throne, Lord, down leaped thy word omnipotent. Never lighted sterner warrior on a doomed land; 16 never was sword so sharp, errand so unmistakable; thy word that could spread death everywhere, that trod earth, yet reached up to heaven. 17 All at once came terror in their dreams; phantoms dismayed, and sudden alarms overtook them; 18 and when they lay a-dying, each fallen where fall he must, they confessed what fault it was they expiated; 19 all was foretold by the dreams that so disquieted them; they were not suffered to perish ignorant of their offence. 14
Cum enim quietum silentium contineret omnia,
et nox in suo cursu medium iter haberet,
15
omnipotens sermo tuus de cælo, a regalibus sedibus,
durus debellator in mediam exterminii terram prosilivit,
16
gladius acutus insimulatum imperium tuum portans:
et stans, replevit omnia morte,
et usque ad cælum attingebat stans in terra.
17
Tunc continuo visus somniorum malorum turbaverunt illos,
et timores supervenerunt insperati.
18
Et alius alibi projectus semivivus,
propter quam moriebatur causam demonstrabat mortis.
19
Visiones enim quæ illos turbaverunt hæc præmonebant,
ne inscii quare mala patiebantur perirent.
20 ἥψατο δὲ καὶ δικαίων πεῖρα θανάτου καὶ θραῦσις ἐν ἐρήμῳ ἐγένετο πλήθους ἀλ{L'} οὐκ ἐπὶ πολὺ ἔμεινεν ἡ ὀργή 21 σπεύσας γὰρ ἀνὴρ ἄμεμπτος προεμάχησεν τὸ τῆς ἰδίας λειτουργίας ὅπλον προσευχὴν καὶ θυμιάματος ἐξιλασμὸν κομίσας ἀντέστη τῷ θυμῷ καὶ πέρας ἐπέθηκε τῇ συμφορᾷ δεικνὺς ὅτι σός ἐστιν θεράπων 22 ἐνίκησεν δὲ τὸν χόλον οὐκ ἰσχύι τοῦ σώματος οὐχ ὅπλων ἐνεργείᾳ ἀλλὰ λόγῳ τὸν κολάζοντα ὑπέταξεν ὅρκους πατέρων καὶ διαθήκας ὑπομνήσας 23 σωρηδὸν γὰρ ἤδη πεπτωκότων ἐ{P'} ἀλλήλων νεκρῶν μεταξὺ στὰς ἀνέκοψε τὴν ὀργὴν καὶ διέσχισεν τὴν πρὸς τοὺς ζῶντας ὁδόν 24 ἐπὶ γὰρ ποδήρους ἐνδύματος ἦν ὅλος ὁ κόσμος καὶ πατέρων δόξαι ἐπὶ τετραστίχου λίθων γλυφῆς καὶ μεγαλωσύνη σου ἐπὶ διαδήματος κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ 25 τούτοις εἶξεν ὁ ὀλεθρεύων ταῦτα δὲ ἐφοβήθη ἦν γὰρ μόνη ἡ πεῖρα τῆς ὀργῆς ἱκανή 20 There was a time, too, when God’s own people tasted the bitterness of death; out there in the desert a plague fell upon the common folk; but not for long this vengeance lasted. 21 A peerless champion they found, in Aaron, that quickly took up the shield of his appointed ministry; the power of intercession that was his, and the atoning incense, held thy wrath in check, and brought the calamity to an end; none could doubt now he was the man of thy choice! 22 Not by strength of body, not by prowess in arms, he won the victory;[3] by persuasion he disarmed resistance, calling to mind the sworn covenant of our race. 23 Already the corpses were piled thick one on another; but he kept vengeance at bay, standing in between to breach the path between dead and living. 24 Such blazonings he bore; what meant that long robe of his but the whole world’s orbit, the four rows of gems but the great deeds of our first fathers, the mitre on his head but thy own greatness? 25 In awe of these shrank the destroying angel away; for thy own people, some taste of thy vengeance should be enough. 20
Tetigit autem tunc et justos tentatio mortis,
et commotio in eremo facta est multitudinis:
sed non diu permansit ira tua.
21
Prosperans enim homo sine querela deprecari pro populis,
proferens servitutis suæ scutum,
orationem et per incensum deprecationem allegans,
restitit iræ, et finem imposuit necessitati,
ostendens quoniam tuus est famulus.
22
Vicit autem turbas non in virtute corporis,
nec armaturæ potentia:
sed verbo illum qui se vexabat subjecit,
juramenta parentum et testamentum commemorans.
23
Cum enim jam acervatim cecidissent super alterutrum mortui,
interstitit, et amputavit impetum,
et divisit illam quæ ad vivos ducebat viam.
24
In veste enim poderis quam habebat, totus erat orbis terrarum;
et parentum magnalia in quatuor ordinibus lapidum erant sculpta,
et magnificentia tua in diademate capitis illius sculpta erat.
25
His autem cessit qui exterminabat, et hæc extimuit:
erat enim sola tentatio iræ sufficiens.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.