Wisdom Led the Israelites through the Desert
1Wisdoma prospered their works by the hand of a holy prophet.
2They journeyed through an uninhabited wilderness,
and pitched their tents in untrodden places.
3They withstood their enemies and fought off their foes.
4When they thirsted they called upon thee,
and water was given them out of flinty rock,
and slaking of thirst from hard stone.
5For through the very things by which their enemies were punished,
they themselves received benefit in their need.
6Instead of the fountain of an ever-flowing river,
stirred up and defiled with blood
7in rebuke for the decree to slay the infants,
thou gavest them abundant water unexpectedly,
8showing by their thirst at that time
how thou didst punish their enemies.
9For when they were tried, though they were being disciplined in mercy,
they learned how the ungodly were tormented when judged in wrath.
10For thou didst test them as a father does in warning,
but thou didst examine the ungodlyb as a stern king does in condemnation.
11Whether absent or present, they were equally distressed,
12for a twofold grief possessed them,
and a groaning at the memory of what had occurred.
13For when they heard that through their own punishments
the righteousc had received benefit, they perceived it was the Lord's doing.
14For though they had mockingly rejected him who long before had been cast out and exposed,
at the end of the events they marveled at him,
for their thirst was not like that of the righteous.
Punishment of the Wicked
15In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts,
which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals,
thou didst send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them,
16that they might learn that one is punished by the very things by which he sins.
17For thy all-powerful hand,
which created the world out of formless matter,
did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions,
18or newly created unknown beasts full of rage,
or such as breathe out fiery breath,
or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,
or flash terrible sparks from their eyes;
19not only could their damage exterminate men,d
but the mere sight of them could kill by fright.
20Even apart from these, mene could fall at a single breath
when pursued by justice
and scattered by the breath of thy power.
But thou hast arranged all things by measure and number and weight.
God Is Powerful and Merciful
21For it is always in thy power to show great strength,
and who can withstand the might of thy arm?
22Because the whole world before thee is like a speck that tips the scales,
and like a drop of morning dew that falls upon the ground.
23But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things,
and thou dost overlook men's sins, that they may repent.
24For thou lovest all things that exist,
and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made,
for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it.
25How would anything have endured if thou hadst not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by thee have been preserved?
26Thou sparest all things, for they are thine, O Lord who lovest the living.