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Wisdom 12

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 1 For your incorruptible spirit is in all things!

 2 And therefore you chastise those who err, by little and little, and admonish them, and speak to them, concerning the things in which they offend, so that leaving their wickedness, they may believe in you [as evidenced by repentant obedience], O Lord.

 3 For those ancient inhabitants [Amorites and Canaanites] of your holy land, whom you abhorred,

 4 because they did works hateful to you by their sorceries, and wicked sacrifices,

 5 and those merciless murderers [by sacrifice to fire] of their own children, and eaters of people’s bowels, and devourers of blood from the midst of your consecration,

 6 and those parents sacrificing with their own hands helpless souls [their children], it was your will to destroy by the hands of our parents,

 7 that the land which of all is most dear to you might receive a worthy colony of the children of God.

 8 Yet even those you spared as human beings, and sent hornets, forerunners of your host, to destroy them by little and little.

 9 Not that you were unable to bring the wicked under the just by war, or by cruel beasts, or with one rough word to destroy them at once,

 10 but executing your judgments by degrees you gave them place of repentance,1 [them] not being ignorant that they were a wicked generation, and their malice natural, and that their way of thinking could never be changed.

 11 For it was a cursed seed from the beginning, neither did you for fear of anyone give pardon to their sins.

 12 For who shall say to you: "What have you done, or who shall withstand your judgment, or who shall come before you to be a revenger of the wicked, or who shall accuse you, if the nations perish, which you have made?"

 13 For there is no other God but you, who has care of all, that you should show that you do not give judgment unjustly.

 14 Neither shall king, nor tyrant in your sight inquire about them whom you have destroyed.

 15 For so much then as you are just, you order all things justly, thinking it not agreeable to your power, to condemn him who deserves not to be punished.

 16 For your power is the beginning of righteousness, and because you are Lord of all, you make yourself gracious to all.

 17 For you show your power, when people will not believe you to be absolute in power, and you convince the boldness of those who know you not.

 18 But you being master of power, judge with equity; and with great favor order us, for your power is at hand when you will.

 19 But you have taught your people by such works, that the just man must love mercy, and have made your children to be of a good hope that you provide for repentance for sins.

 20 For if you did punish the enemies of your servants who deserved to die, with so great deliberation, giving them time and place whereby they might be changed from their wickedness,

 21 with what circumspection have you judged your own children, to whose parents you have sworn and made covenants of good promises?

 22 Therefore whereas you chastise us, you scourge our enemies very many ways, to the end that when we judge, we should think on your goodness; and when we are judged, we may hope for your mercy.

 23 Therefore you have also greatly tormented them who in their life have lived foolishly and unjustly, by the same things which they worshipped.

 24 For they went astray for a long time in the ways of error, holding those things for gods which are the most worthless among beasts, living after the manner of children without understanding.

 25 Therefore, you have sent a judgment upon them as senseless children to mock them.

 26 But those who would not be reformed by that correction, in which he delayed, experienced the worthy judgment of God.

 27 For seeing with indignation that they suffered by those very things which they took for gods, when they were destroyed by the same, they acknowledged him the true God, whom in time past they denied that they knew; for which cause the end also of their condemnation came upon them.


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1 you gave them place of repentance. The author tries to lessen the fearful destruction of the peoples of Canaan by suggesting that God provided them an avenue of repentance. This is in conflict with the three references in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua, which state that God sent the hornets to destroy the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites; no repentance is mentioned. Hundreds of years before the Children of Israel and God, fighting with them, destroyed the people of Canaan, God promised Abraham that his descendants would take over those lands. God had purposed their destruction long before he sent the hornets among them.

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