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Wisdom 17

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 1 The sad thing about this continued berating of the Egyptians in this narrative is that the Jewish audience is never warned about fearing the judgments of God being applied to their own sins and their own wrongdoings. I can hear the echo of the Jews arrogantly ridiculing Christ: “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say that we will be made free’?” ; and "We know that God spoke to Moses; but as for this fellow, we do not know where he has come from." The attitude that "we are the chosen people" is deadly, then and now. Contrast that prideful arrogance with the humility of the Apostle Paul: But I keep my body under control, and bring it into subjection; for fear that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor 9:27.

 1 For your judgments, O Lord, are great, and your judgments cannot be expressed; therefore unnurtured souls have erred.

 2 For while the wicked thought to be able to have dominion over the holy nation, themselves being fettered with the bonds of darkness and a long night, they were shut up in their houses, lay there exiled from the eternal providence.

 3 And while they thought to lie hidden in their obscure sins, they were scattered under a dark veil of forgetfulness, being horribly afraid and troubled with exceeding great astonishment.

 4 For neither did the house that held them, keep them from fear, for noises coming down troubled them, and sad visions appearing to them, affrighted them.

 5 And no power of fire could give them light, neither could the bright flames of the stars enlighten that horrible night.

 6 But there appeared to them a sudden fire, very dreadful, and being struck with the fear of that face, which was not seen, they thought the things which they saw to be worse.

 7 And the delusions of their magic art were put down, and their boasting of wisdom was reproachfully rebuked.

 8 For those who promised to drive away fears and troubles from a sick soul, were sick themselves of fear, worthy to be laughed at.

 9 For though no terrible thing disturbed them, yet being scared with the passing by of beasts, and hissing of serpents, they died for fear; and denying that, they saw the air, which could by no means be avoided.

 10 For whereas wickedness is fearful, it bears witness of its condemnation, for a troubled conscience always forecasts grievous things.

 11 For fear is nothing else but a yielding up of the assistance available from reason.

 12 And while there is less expectation from within, the greater does it count the ignorance of that cause which brings the torment.

 13 But those who during that night, in which nothing could be done, and which came upon them from the lowest and deepest hell, slept the same sleep,

 14 were sometimes molested with the fear of monsters, sometimes fainted away, their soul failing them; for a sudden and unlooked for fear was come upon them.

 15 Moreover if any of them had fallen down, he was kept shut up in prison without irons.

 16 For if anyone was a husbandman, or a shepherd, or a laborer in the field, and was suddenly overtaken, he endured a necessity from which he could not flee,

 17 for they were all bound together with one chain of darkness. Whether it were a whistling wind, or the melodious voice of birds, among the spreading branches of trees, or a fall of water running down with violence,

 18 or the mighty noise of stones tumbling down, or the running that could not be seen of beasts playing together, or the roaring voice of wild beasts, or a rebounding echo from the highest mountains, these things made them to swoon for fear.

 19 For the whole world was enlightened with a clear light, and none were hindered in their labors.

 20 But over them only was spread a heavy night, an image of that darkness which was to come upon them. But they were to themselves more grievous than the darkness.


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