12:3. For those ancient inhabitants of thy holy land, whom thou didst abhor,
12:4. Because they did works hateful to thee by their sorceries, and wicked sacrifices,
12:5. And those merciless murderers of their own children, and eaters of men's bowels, and devourers of blood from the midst of thy consecration,
From the midst of thy consecration... Literally, sacrament. That is, the land sacred to thee, in which thy temple was to be established, and man's redemption to be wrought.
12:6. And those parents sacrificing with their own hands helpless souls, it was thy will to destroy by the hands of our parents,
12:7. That the land which of all is most dear to thee, might receive a worthy colony of the children of God.
12:8. Yet even those thou sparedst as men, and didst send wasps forerunners of thy host, to destroy them by little and little.
12:9. Not that thou wast unable to bring the wicked under the just by war, or by cruel beasts, or with one rough word to destroy them at once:
12:10. But executing thy judgments by degrees, thou gavest them place of repentance, not being ignorant that they were a wicked generation, and their malice natural, and that their thought could never be changed.
12:11. For it was a cursed seed from the beginning: neither didst thou for fear of any one give pardon to their sins.
12:12. For who shall say to thee: What hast thou done? or who shall withstand thy judgment? or who shall come before thee to be a revenger of wicked men? or who shall accuse thee, if the nations perish, which thou hast made?
12:13. For there is no other God but thou, who hast care of all, that thou shouldst shew that thou dost not give judgment unjustly.
12:14. Neither shall king, nor tyrant, in thy sight inquire about them whom thou hast destroyed.
12:15. For so much then, as thou art just, thou orderest all things justly: thinking it not agreeable to the power, to condemn him who deserveth not to be punished.
12:16. For thy power is the beginning of justice: and because thou art Lord of all, thou makest thyself gracious to all.
12:17. For thou shewest thy power, when men will not believe thee to be absolute in power, and thou convincest the boldness of them that know thee not.
12:18. But thou being master of power, judgest with tranquillity, and with great favour disposest of us: for thy power is at hand when thou wilt.
12:19. But thou hast taught thy people by such works, that they must be just and humane, and hast made thy children to be of a good hope: because in judging, thou givest place for repentance for sins.
12:20. For if thou didst punish the enemies of thy servants, and that deserved to die, with so great deliberation, giving them time and place whereby they might be changed from their wickedness:
12:21. With what circumspection hast thou judged thy own children, to whose parents thou hast sworn, and made covenants of good promises?
12:22. Therefore whereas thou chastisest us, thou scourgest our enemies very many ways, to the end that when we judge we may think on thy goodness: and when we are judged, we may hope for thy mercy.
12:23. Wherefore thou hast also greatly tormented them, who, in their life, have lived foolishly and unjustly, by the same things which they worshipped.
12:24. 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.
12:25. Therefore thou hast sent a judgment upon them, as senseless children, to mock them.
12:26. But they that were not amended by mockeries and reprehensions, experienced the worthy judgment of God.
12:27. 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.
Wisdom Chapter 13
Idolaters are inexcusable: and those most of all that worship for gods the works of the hands of men.
13:1. But all men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman:
13:2. But have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world.
13:3. With whose beauty, if they, being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they: for the first author of beauty made all those things.
13:4. Or if they admired their power, and their effects, let them understand by them, that he that made them, is mightier than they:
13:5. For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby.
13:6. But yet as to these they are less to be blamed. For they perhaps err, seeking God, and desirous to find him.
13:7. For being conversant among his works, they search: and they are persuaded that the things are good which are seen.
13:8. But then again they are not to be pardoned.
13:9. For if they were able to know so much as to make a judgment of the world: how did they not more easily find out the Lord thereof?
13:10. But unhappy are they, and their hope is among the dead, who have called gods the works of the hand of men, gold and silver, the inventions of art, and the resemblances of beasts, or an unprofitable stone the work of an ancient hand.
13:11. Or if an artist, a carpenter, hath cut down a tree proper for his use in the wood, and skilfully taken off all the bark thereof, and with his art, diligently formeth a vessel profitable for the common uses of life,
13:12. And useth the chips of his work to dress his meat:
13:13. And taking what was left thereof, which is good for nothing, being a crooked piece of wood, and full of knots, carveth it diligently when he hath nothing else to do, and by the skill of his art fashioneth it, and maketh it like the image of a man:
13:14. Or the resemblance of some beast, laying it over with vermilion, and painting it red, and covering every spot that is in it:
13:15. And maketh a convenient dwelling place for it, and setting it in a wall, and fastening it with iron,
13:16. Providing for it, lest it should fall, knowing that it is unable to help itself: for it is an image, and hath need of help.
13:17. And then maketh prayer to it, enquiring concerning his substance, and his children, or his marriage. And he is not ashamed to speak to that which hath no life:
13:18. And for health he maketh supplication to the weak, and for life prayeth to that which is dead, and for help calleth upon that which is unprofitable:
13:19. And for a good journey he petitioneth him that cannot walk: and for getting, and for working, and for the event of all things he asketh him that is unable to do any thing.
Wisdom Chapter 14
The beginning of worshipping idols: and the effects thereof.
14:1. Again, another designing to sail, and beginning to make his voyage through the raging waves, calleth upon a piece of wood more frail than the wood that carrieth him.