1For thy immortal spirit is in all things.
2Therefore thou dost correct little by little those who trespass,
and dost remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin,
that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in thee, O Lord.
The Sins of the Canaanites
3Those who dwelt of old in thy holy land
4thou didst hate for their detestable practices,
their works of sorcery and unholy rites,
5their merciless slaughtera of children,
and their sacrificial feasting on human flesh and blood.
These initiates from the midst of a heathen cult,b
6these parents who murder helpless lives,
thou didst will to destroy by the hands of our fathers,
7that the land most precious of all to thee
might receive a worthy colony of the servantsc of God.
8But even these thou didst spare, since they were but men,
and didst send waspsd as forerunners of thy army,
to destroy them little by little,
9though thou wast not unable to give the ungodly into the hands of the righteous in battle,
or to destroy them at one blow by dread wild beasts or thy stern word.
10But judging them little by little thou gavest them a chance to repent,
though thou wast not unaware that their origine was evil
and their wickedness inborn,
and that their way of thinking would never change.
11For they were an accursed race from the beginning,
and it was not through fear of any one that thou didst leave them unpunished for their sins.
God Is Sovereign
12For who will say, "What hast thou done?"
Or will resist thy judgment?
Who will accuse thee for the destruction of nations which thou didst make?
Or who will come before thee to plead as an advocate for unrighteous men?
13For neither is there any god besides thee, whose care is for all men,f
to whom thou shouldst prove that thou hast not judged unjustly;
14nor can any king or monarch confront thee about those whom thou hast punished.
15Thou art righteous and rulest all things righteously,
deeming it alien to thy power
to condemn him who does not deserve to be punished.
16For thy strength is the source of righteousness,
and thy sovereignty over all causes thee to spare all.
17For thou dost show thy strength when men doubt the completeness of thy power,
and dost rebuke any insolence among those who know it.g
18Thou who art sovereign in strength dost judge with mildness,
and with great forbearance thou dost govern us;
for thou hast power to act whenever thou dost choose.
God's Lessons for Israel
19Through such works thou has taught thy people
that the righteous man must be kind,
and thou hast filled thy sons with good hope,
because thou givest repentance for sins.
20For if thou didst punish with such great care and indulgenceh
the enemies of thy servantsi and those deserving of death,
granting them time and opportunity to give up their wickedness,
21with what strictness thou hast judged thy sons,
to whose fathers thou gavest oaths and covenants full of good promises!
22So while chastening us thou scourgest our enemies ten thousand times more,
so that we may meditate upon thy goodness when we judge,
and when we are judged we may expect mercy.
The Punishment of the Egyptians
23Therefore those who in folly of life lived unrighteously
thou didst torment through their own abominations.
24For they went far astray on the paths of error,
accepting as gods those animals which even their enemiesj despised;
they were deceived like foolish babes.
25Therefore, as to thoughtless children,
thou didst send thy judgment to mock them.
26But those who have not heeded the warning of light rebukes
will experience the deserved judgment of God.
27For when in their suffering they became incensed
at those creatures which they had thought to be gods, being punished by means of them,
they saw and recognized as the true God him whom they had before refused to know.
Therefore the utmost condemnation came upon them.