But righteous people are protected by God and will never suffer torment.
It is a foolish mistake to think that righteous people die and that their death is a terrible evil. 1
They leave us, but it is not a disaster. In fact, the righteous are at peace.
It might appear that they have suffered punishment, but they have the confident hope of immortality.
Their sufferings were minor compared with the blessings they will receive. God has tested them, like gold in a furnace, and found them worthy to be with him. He has accepted them, just as he accepts the sacrifices which his worshipers burn on the altar. 2
When God comes to reward the righteous, they will blaze out against the wicked like fire in dry straw.
They will rule over nations and peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever.
Those who have put their trust in God will come to understand the truth of his ways. Those who have been faithful will live with him in his love, for he is kind and merciful to the ones whom he has chosen.
The ungodly, however, will get the punishment their wicked thoughts deserve, because they rebelled against the Lord and ignored what was right.
A man who has no use for wisdom or education has a miserable life in store for him. He has nothing to hope for. His labors are useless, and he will never accomplish anything worthwhile.
The woman he marries will turn out to be irresponsible, and his children will go wrong.
All his descendants will be under a curse. On Judgment Day God will reward the woman who has never been able to have a child, provided she has not been guilty of adultery. Then she will be happy.
On that day, even the man who has been castrated will be rewarded with happiness, if he has kept the Law and has not stored up resentment against the Lord. Because he has been faithful, he will receive a special reward more precious than having children: a place in the Lord's heavenly Temple.
Honest deeds are like a tree that bears marvelous fruit. Wisdom is like a root that is alive and can always send up new shoots.
But children born of adultery or of a forbidden union will die an early death.
Yet even if they do live a long time, they will never amount to anything. They will not be respected in their old age,
and if they die young, they will have no hope or comfort on Judgment Day.
Children born of a forbidden union suffer a miserable fate.