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Wisdom 18

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 1 But your saints had a very great light, and they heard their voice indeed, but did not see their shape. And because they also did not suffer the same things, they glorified you.

 2 And those who before had been wronged, gave thanks, because they were not hurt now, and asked this gift, that there might be a difference.

 3 Therefore they received a burning pillar of fire for a guide of the way which they knew not, and you gave them a harmless sun of a good entertainment.

 4 The others indeed were worthy to be deprived of light, and imprisoned in darkness, who kept your children shut up, by whom the pure light of the law was to be given to the world.1

 5 And whereas they thought to kill the babes of the just, one child being cast forth, and saved, to reprove them, you took away a multitude of their children, and destroyed them all together in a mighty water.

 6 For that night was known before by our fathers, that assuredly knowing what oaths they had trusted to, they might be of better courage.

 7 So your people received the salvation of the just, and destruction of the unjust.

 8 For as you punished the adversaries, so you also encouraged and glorified us.

 9 For the just children of good people were offering sacrifice secretly, and they unanimously ordered a law of justice, that the just should receive both good and evil alike, singing now the praises of the fathers.

 10 But on the other side there sounded an ill according cry of the enemies, and a lamentable mourning was heard for the children that were bewailed.

 11 And the servant suffered the same punishment as the master, and a common person suffered in like manner as the king.

 12 So all alike had innumerable dead, with one kind of death. Neither were the living sufficient to bury them; for in one moment the noblest offspring of them was destroyed.

 13 For whereas they would not believe anything before by reason of the enchantments, then first upon the destruction of the firstborn, they acknowledged the people to be of God.

 14 For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course,

 15 your almighty word leapt down from heaven from your royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction.

 16 With a sharp sword carrying your unfeigned commandment, and he stood and filled all things with death, and standing on the earth reached even to heaven.

 17 Then suddenly visions of evil dreams troubled them, and fears unlooked for came upon them.

 18 And one thrown here, another there, half dead, showed the cause of his death.

 19 For the visions that troubled them fore showed these things, lest they should perish and not know why they suffered these evils.

 20 But the righteous also were afterwards touched by an assault of death,2 and there was a disturbance of the multitude in the wilderness, but your wrath did not long continue.

 21 For a blameless man made haste to pray for the people, bringing forth the shield of his ministry, prayer, and by incense making supplication, withstood the wrath, and put an end to the calamity, showing that he was your servant.

 22 And he overcame the disturbance, not by strength of body nor with force of arms, but with a word he subdued him that punished them, alleging the oaths and covenant made with the fathers.

 23 For when they were now fallen down dead by heaps one upon another, he stood between and stayed the assault, and cut off the way to the living.

 24 For in the priestly robe which he wore, was the whole world: and in the four rows of the stones the glory of the fathers was graven, and your majesty was written upon the diadem of his head.

 25 And to these the destroyer gave place, and was afraid of them, for the proof only of wrath was enough.


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1 your children.., by whom the pure light of the law was to be given to the world. The Jewish author speaks of the light of the law being given to the world through the Jews, but he has no idea what the light was, nor did he have any idea how the light of the law would be given to the world. Isaiah prophesied of the light being given to all the world.

Literally interpreting Proverbs 6:23, the Jews assumed the law itself was light, and that if you understood the law, you had the light.

To the contrary: God is light, 1 John 1:5. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:4. [Him is Jesus, the life and the light of men].
The light shines in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Light.]
This man came as a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him [the Light] might believe.
He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of the Light. [John the Baptist was the witness of the Light, Jesus.]
Which was the true Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world. John 1:1-9.


Jesus is the Light. Jesus is the word of God. The light was given to all men in the world, and by listening to, and obeying, the light of the word within a man's heart, he could receive the ministering of the Spirit of God to attain salvation — to be delivered from all sins.

With few exceptions, the Jewish nation rejected Christ as the Messiah, resulting in the destruction of Israel. Thus the Jewish people lost their favorite status with God. Now all the peoples of the world are called, and those given great hunger by God are the chosen people.

2 the righteous also were afterwards touched by an assault of death. This sentence says that God caused the death of the righteous. The author assumes that all the Jews in the exodus from Egypt were righteous, but obviously that is not true. Those Jews slain in the desert by God, who rebelled against Moses, who showed a lack of trust for God, were slain by God because they were unrighteous.

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