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Wisdom 15

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 1 But you, our God, are gracious and true, patient, and ordering all things in mercy.

 2 For if we sin, we are yours, knowing your greatness; and if we sin not, we know that we are counted with you.

 3 For to know you is perfect righteousness, and to know your power is the root of immortality.

 4 For the invention of mischievous people has not deceived us, nor the shadow of a picture, a fruitless labor, a graven figure with many colors,

 5 the sight of which entices the fool to lust after it, and he loves the lifeless figure of a dead image.

 6 The lovers of evil things deserve to have no better things to trust in, both those who make them, and those who love them, and those who worship them.

 7 The potter also tempering soft earth, with labor fashions every vessel for our service, and of the same clay he makes both vessels that are for clean uses, and likewise such as serve to the contrary; but what is the use of these vessels, the potter is the judge.

 8 And of the same clay by a vain labor he makes a god; he who a little before was made of earth himself, and a little after returns to the same out of which he was taken, when his life that was lent him shall be called for again.

 9 But his care is, not that he shall labor, nor that his life is short, but he strives with the goldsmiths and silversmiths; and he endeavours to do like the workers in brass, and counts it a glory to make vain things.

 10 For his heart is ashes, and his hope vain earth, and his life more base than clay:

 11 Forasmuch as he knew not his maker and him that inspired into him the soul that works, and that breathed into him a living spirit.

 12 Yes and they have counted our life a pastime, and the business of life to be gain [money], and that we must be getting in every way, even by evil means.

 13 For every man knows that he offends above all others, who of earthly matter makes brittle vessels and graven gods.

 14 But all the enemies of your people that hold them in subjection, are foolish, and unhappy, and proud beyond measure.

 15 For they have esteemed all the idols of the heathens for gods, which neither have the use of eyes to see, nor noses to draw breath, nor ears to hear, nor fingers of hands to handle, and as for their feet, they are slow to walk.

 16 For humans made them; and he or she that borrows his or her own breath, fashioned them. For no one can make a god like to oneself.

 17 For being mortal, he or she forms a dead thing with wicked hands. For mortals are better than what they worship, because they indeed have lived, though they were mortal, but they [the idols] never.

 18 In addition they also worship the most violent beasts, but things without sense compared to these [beasts], are worse than they [the beasts].1

 19 Neither are they [idols of stone and wood] beautiful, so much as to be desired in comparison to beasts [the animals]; but they went without the praise of God and his blessing.

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1 things without sense compared to these, are worse than they. The narrator speaks of how stupid and vile it is to worship objects or stone or wood that man has made with his own hands. But in Jeremiah:16:11-12, the Jews are told that for a man to walk after the imagination of his own heart and mind is worse than worshipping stone or wooden idols:

11 Then you shall say to them, 'Because your fathers have forsaken me, says the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;

 12 And you have done worse than your fathers; for behold, every one of you walks after the imagination of his evil heart and mind, and therefore you do not listen to and obey me.


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