Light Shines on the Israelites
1But for thy holy ones there was very great light.
Their enemiesa heard their voices but did not see their forms,
and counted them happy for not having suffered,
2and were thankful that thy holy ones,b though previously wronged, were doing them no injury;
and they begged their pardon for having been at variance with them.c
3Therefore thou didst provide a flaming pillar of fire
as a guide for thy people'sd unknown journey,
and a harmless sun for their glorious wandering.
4For their enemiese deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness,
those who had kept thy sons imprisoned,
through whom the imperishable light of the law was to be given to the world.
The Death of the Egyptian Firstborn
5When they had resolved to kill the babes of thy holy ones,
and one child had been exposed and rescued,
thou didst in punishment take away a multitude of their children;
and thou didst destroy them all together by a mighty flood.
6That night was made known beforehand to our fathers,
so that they might rejoice in sure knowledge of the oaths in which they trusted.
7The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies
were expected by thy people.
8For by the same means by which thou didst punish our enemies
thou didst call us to thyself and glorify us.
9For in secret the holy children of good men offered sacrifices,
and with one accord agreed to the divine law,
that the saints would share alike the same things,
both blessings and dangers;
and already they were singing the praises of the fathers.f
10But the discordant cry of their enemies echoed back,
and their piteous lament for their children was spread abroad.
11The slave was punished with the same penalty as the master,
and the common man suffered the same loss as the king;
12and they all together, by the one form of death,
had corpses too many to count.
For the living were not sufficient even to bury them,
since in one instant their most valued children had been destroyed.
13For though they had disbelieved everything because of their magic arts,
yet, when their first-born were destroyed, they acknowledged thy people to be God's son.
14For while gentle silence enveloped all things,
and night in its swift course was now half gone,
15thy all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne,
into the midst of the land that was doomed,
a stern warrior 16carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command,
and stood and filled all things with death,
and touched heaven while standing on the earth.
17Then at once apparitions in dreadful dreams greatly troubled them,
and unexpected fears assailed them;
18and one here and another there, hurled down half dead,
made known why they were dying;
19for the dreams which disturbed them forewarned them of this,
so that they might not perish without knowing why they suffered.
Threat of Annihilation in the Desert
20The experience of death touched also the righteous,
and a plague came upon the multitude in the desert,
but the wrath did not long continue.
21For a blameless man was quick to act as their champion;
he brought forward the shield of his ministry,
prayer and propitiation by incense;
he withstood the anger and put an end to the disaster,
showing that he was thy servant.
22He conquered the wrathg not by strength of body,
and not by force of arms,
but by his word he subdued the punisher,
appealing to the oaths and covenants given to our fathers.
23For when the dead had already fallen on one another in heaps,
he intervened and held back the wrath,
and cut off its way to the living.
24For upon his long robe the whole world was depicted,
and the glories of the fathers were engraved on the four rows of stones,
and thy majesty on the diadem upon his head.
25To these the destroyer yielded, these heh feared;
for merely to test the wrath was enough.