1Better than this is childlessness with virtue,
for in the memory of virtuea is immortality,
because it is known both by God and by men.
2When it is present, men imitateb it,
and they long for it when it has gone;
and throughout all time it marches crowned in triumph,
victor in the contest for prizes that are undefiled.
3But the prolific brood of the ungodly will be of no use,
and none of their illegitimate seedlings will strike a deep root
or take a firm hold.
4For even if they put forth boughs for a while,
standing insecurely they will be shaken by the wind,
and by the violence of the winds they will be uprooted.
5The branches will be broken off before they come to maturity,
and their fruit will be useless,
not ripe enough to eat, and good for nothing.
6For children born of unlawful unions
are witnesses of evil against their parents when God examines them.c
7But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest.
8For old age is not honored for length of time,
nor measured by number of years;
9but understanding is gray hair for men,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.
10There was one who pleased God and was loved by him,
and while living among sinners he was taken up.
11He was caught up lest evil change his understanding
or guile deceive his soul.
12For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
13Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years;
14for his soul was pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness.
15Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
nor take such a thing to heart,
that God's grace and mercy are with his elect,
and he watches over his holy ones.
The Triumph of the Righteous
16The righteous man who has died will condemn the ungodly who are living,
and youth that is quickly perfectedd will condemn the prolonged old age of the unrighteous man.
17For they will see the end of the wise man,
and will not understand what the Lord purposed for him,
and for what he kept him safe.
18They will see, and will have contempt for him,
but the Lord will laugh them to scorn.
After this they will become dishonored corpses,
and an outrage among the dead for ever;
19because he will dash them speechless to the ground,
and shake them from the foundations;
they will be left utterly dry and barren,
and they will suffer anguish,
and the memory of them will perish.
The Final Judgment
20They will come with dread when their sins are reckoned up,
and their lawless deeds will convict them to their face.