Wisdom 16 (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)

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1 Therefore those men were deservedly punished through such creatures, and were tormented by a multitude of animals. 2 Instead of this punishment thou didst show kindness to thy people, and thou didst prepare quails to eat, a delicacy to satisfy the desire of appetite; 3 in order that those men, when they desired food, might lose the least remnant of appetite because of the odious creatures sent to them, while thy people, after suffering want a short time, might partake of delicacies. 4 For it was necessary that upon those oppressors inexorable want should come, while to these it was merely shown how their enemies were being tormented. 5 For when the terrible rage of wild beasts came upon thy people and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents, thy wrath did not continue to the end; 6 they were troubled for a little while as a warning, and received a token of deliverance to remind them of thy law's command. 7 For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by thee, the Savior of all. 8 And by this also thou didst convince our enemies that it is thou who deliverest from every evil. 9 For they were killed by the bites of locusts and flies, and no healing was found for them, because they deserved to be punished by such things; 10 but thy sons were not conquered even by the teeth of venomous serpents, for thy mercy came to their help and healed them. 11 To remind them of thy oracles they were bitten, and then were quickly delivered, lest they should fall into deep forgetfulness and become unresponsive to thy kindness. 12 For neither herb nor poultice cured them, but it was thy word, O Lord, which heals all men. 13 For thou hast power over life and death; thou dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again. 14 A man in his wickedness kills another, but he cannot bring back the departed spirit, nor set free the imprisoned soul. 15 To escape from thy hand is impossible; 16 for the ungodly, refusing to know thee, were scourged by the strength of thy arm, pursued by unusual rains and hail and relentless storms, and utterly consumed by fire. 17 For -- most incredible of all -- in the water, which quenches all things, the fire had still greater effect, for the universe defends the righteous. 18 At one time the flame was restrained, so that it might not consume the creatures sent against the ungodly, but that seeing this they might know that they were being pursued by the judgment of God; 19 and at another time even in the midst of water it burned more intensely than fire, to destroy the crops of the unrighteous land. 20 Instead of these things thou didst give thy people food of angels, and without their toil thou didst supply them from heaven with bread ready to eat, providing every pleasure and suited to every taste. 21 For thy sustenance manifested thy sweetness toward thy children; and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it, was changed to suit every one's liking. 22 Snow and ice withstood fire without melting, so that they might know that the crops of their enemies were being destroyed by the fire that blazed in the hail and flashed in the showers of rain; 23 whereas the fire, in order that the righteous might be fed, even forgot its native power. 24 For creation, serving thee who hast made it, exerts itself to punish the unrighteous, and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who trust in thee. 25 Therefore at that time also, changed into all forms, it served thy all-nourishing bounty, according to the desire of those who had need, 26 so that thy sons, whom thou didst love, O Lord, might learn that it is not the production of crops that feeds man, but that thy word preserves those who trust in thee. 27 For what was not destroyed by fire was melted when simply warmed by a fleeting ray of the sun, 28 to make it known that one must rise before the sun to give thee thanks, and must pray to thee at the dawning of the light; 29 for the hope of an ungrateful man will melt like wintry frost, and flow away like waste water.
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