17:13. But they that during that night, in which nothing could be done, and which came upon them from the lowest and deepest hell, slept the same sleep,
17:14. 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.
17:15. Moreover, if any of them had fallen down, he was kept shut up in prison without irons.
17:16. For if any one were a husbandman, or a shepherd, or a labourer in the field, and was suddenly overtaken, he endured a necessity from which he could not fly.
17:17. 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,
17:18. 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.
17:19. For the whole world was enlightened, with a clear light, and none were hindered in their labours.
17:20. 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.
Wisdom Chapter 18
The slaughter of the firstborn in Egypt: the efficacy of Aaron's intercession, in the sedition on occasion of Core.
18:1. But thy 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 thee:
18:2. And they that before had been wronged, gave thanks, because they were not hurt now: and asked this gift, that there might be a difference.
18:3. Therefore they received a burning pillar of fire for a guide of the way which they knew not, and thou gavest them a harmless sun of a good entertainment.
A harmless sun... A light that should not hurt or molest them; but that should be an agreeable guest to them.
18:4. The others indeed were worthy to be deprived of light, and imprisoned in darkness, who kept thy children shut up, by whom the pure light of the law was to be given to the world.
18:5. And whereas they thought to kill the babes of the just: one child being cast forth, and saved to reprove them, thou tookest away a multitude of their children, and destroyedst them altogether in a mighty water.
One child... Viz., Moses.
18:6. For that night was known before by our fathers, that assuredly knowing what oaths they had trusted to, they might be of better courage.
18:7. So thy people received the salvation of the just, and destruction of the unjust.
18:8. For as thou didst punish the adversaries so thou didst also encourage and glorify us.
18:9. For the just children of good men 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.
Of good men... Viz., of the patriarchs. Their children, the Israelites, offered in private the sacrifice of the paschal lamb; and were regulating what they were to do in their journey, when that last and most dreadful plague was coming upon their enemies.
18:10. 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.
18:11. And the servant suffered the same punishment as the master, and a common man suffered in like manner as the king.
18:12. 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.
The noblest offspring... That is, the firstborn.
18:13. For whereas they would not believe any thing before by reason of the enchantments, then first upon the destruction of the firstborn, they acknowledged the people to be of God.
18:14. For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course,
18:15. Thy Almighty word leaped down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction,
18:16. With a sharp sword carrying thy unfeigned commandment, and he stood and filled all things with death, and standing on the earth, reached even to heaven.
18:17. Then suddenly visions of evil dreams troubled them, and fears unlooked for came upon them.
18:18. And one thrown here, another there, half dead, shewed the cause of his death.
18:19. For the visions that troubled them foreshewed these things, lest they should perish, and not know why they suffered these evils.
18:20. But the just also were afterwards touched by an assault of death, and there was a disturbance of the multitude in the wilderness: but thy wrath did not long continue;
18:21. For a blameless man made haste to pry 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, shewing that he was thy servant.
18:22. 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 oath and covenant made with the fathers.
18:23. 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.
18:24. 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 thy majesty was written upon the diadem of his head.
18:26. And to these the destroyer gave place, and was afraid of them: for the proof only of wrath was enough.
Wisdom Chapter 19
Why God shewed no mercy to the Egyptians. His favour to the Israelites.
All creatures obey God's orders for the service of the good, and the punishment of the wicked.
19:1. But as to the wicked, even to the end there came upon them wrath without mercy. For he knew before also what they would do:
19:2. For when they had given them leave to depart and had sent them away with great care, they repented and pursued after them.
19:3. For whilst they were yet mourning, and lamenting at the graves of the dead, they took up another foolish device: and pursued them as fugitives whom they had pressed to be gone:
19:4. For a necessity, of which they were worthy, brought them to this end: and they lost the remembrance of those things which had happened, that their punishment might fill up what was wanting to their torments:
19:5. And that thy people might wonderfully pass through, but they might find a new death.
19:6. For every creature, according to its kind was fashioned again as from the beginning, obeying thy commandments, that thy children might be kept without hurt.
19:7. For a cloud overshadowed their camps and where water was before, dry land appeared, and in the Red Sea a way without hindrance, and out of the great deep a springing field: