1Then the righteous man will stand with great confidence
in the presence of those who have afflicted him,
and those who make light of his labors.
2When they see him, they will be shaken with dreadful fear,
and they will be amazed at his unexpected salvation.
3They will speak to one another in repentance,
and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say,
4"This is the man whom we once held in derision
and made a byword of reproach-we fools!
We thought that his life was madness
and that his end was without honor.
5Why has he been numbered among the sons of God?
And why is his lot among the saints?
6So it was we who strayed from the way of truth,
and the light of righteousness did not shine on us,
and the sun did not rise upon us.
7We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction,
and we journeyed through trackless deserts,
but the way of the Lord we have not known.
8What has our arrogance profited us?
And what good has our boasted wealth brought us?
9"All those things have vanished like a shadow,
and like a rumor that passes by;
10like a ship that sails through the billowy water,
and when it has passed no trace can be found,
nor track of its keel in the waves;
11or as, when a bird flies through the air,
no evidence of its passage is found;
the light air, lashed by the beat of its pinions
and pierced by the force of its rushing flight,
is traversed by the movement of its wings,
and afterward no sign of its coming is found there;
12or as, when an arrow is shot at a target,
the air, thus divided, comes together at once,
so that no one knows its pathway.
13So we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to be,
and we had no sign of virtue to show,
but were consumed in our wickedness."
14Because the hope of the ungodly man is like chaffa carried by the wind,
and like a light hoarfrostb driven away by a storm;
it is dispersed like smoke before the wind,
and it passes like the remembrance of a guest who stays but a day.
The Reward of the Righteous
15But the righteous live for ever,
and their reward is with the Lord;
the Most High takes care of them.
16Therefore they will receive a glorious crown
and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord,
because with his right hand he will cover them,
and with his arm he will shield them.
17The Lordc will take his zeal as his whole armor,
and will arm all creation to repeld his enemies;
18he will put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and wear impartial justice as a helmet;
19he will take holiness as an invincible shield,
20and sharpen stern wrath for a sword,
and creation will join with him to fight against the madmen.
21Shafts of lightning will fly with true aim,
and will leap to the target as from a well-drawn bow of clouds,
22and hailstones full of wrath will be hurled as from a catapult;
the water of the sea will rage against them,
and rivers will relentlessly overwhelm them;
23a mighty wind will rise against them,
and like a tempest it will winnow them away.
Lawlessness will lay waste the whole earth,
and evil-doing will overturn the thrones of rulers.