1 So let us now give praise to godly men, our ancestors of generations past,
2 those whom the Lord honored with great glory, in whom his greatness has been seen from the beginning of time.
3 There were some who ruled kingdoms, and some who were known for their strength. Some were wise advisers, and some spoke prophecies.
4 There were statesmen whose policies governed the people, rulers who issued decrees, scholars who spoke wise words, and those who used pointed proverbs,
5 poets, and composers of music,
6 rich and powerful men living peacefully at home.
7 All of these were famous in their own times, honored by the people of their day.
8 Some of them left a reputation, and people still praise them today.
9 There are others who are not remembered, as if they had never lived, who died and were forgotten, they, and their children after them.
10 But we will praise these godly men, whose righteous deeds have never been forgotten.
11 Their reputations will be passed on to their descendants, and this will be their inheritance.
12 Their descendants continue to keep the covenant and always will, because of what their ancestors did.
13 Their family line will go on forever, and their fame will never fade.
14 Their bodies were laid to rest, but their reputations will live forever.
15 Nations will tell about their wisdom, and God's people will praise them.
16 Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up into heaven. He became an inspiration for repentance for all time to come. 1
17 Noah was a perfectly righteous man. After destruction came, he gave the human race a new start. Because of him there were people left on earth when the flood was over. 2
18 The Lord made an eternal covenant with him, promising that life would never again be destroyed by a flood.
19 Abraham was the great ancestor of many nations; his reputation was faultless. 3
20 He kept the Law of the Most High and made a covenant with him, a covenant marked on his body. When he was put to the test, he was found faithful.
21 And so the Lord made him a solemn promise that his descendants would be a blessing to the world; that their number would be countless, like the dust of the earth; that they would be honored more than any other people on earth; and that their land would extend from sea to sea, from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.
22 The Lord renewed that covenant with Isaac, and then again with Jacob, repeating the promise that Abraham's descendants would be a blessing to the whole human race. The Lord assured Jacob that he would bless him; he gave him the land that would be his, dividing it into twelve parts, one for each of the tribes. 4