Wisdom chapter 18

Solomon recounts the plague of darkness and the plague of the firstborn sons. He alludes to Jesus Christ. He describes the ministry of Aaron.



The Book of Wisdom is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches





VERSE 1. But for your holy ones there was great light; And the Egyptians, hearing their voice but seeing not their form, Counted it a happy thing that they too had suffered,


VERSE 2. Yet for that they do not hurt them now, though wronged by them before, they are thankful; And because they had been at variance with them, they made supplication to them.


VERSE 3. Whereas you did provide for your people a burning pillar of fire, To be a guide for their unknown journey, And withal a kindly sun for their proud exile.

a burning pillar of fire. That is, the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud.

a kindly sun. That is, “unharmful.”


VERSE 4. For well did the Egyptians deserve to be deprived of light and imprisoned by darkness, They who had kept in close ward your sons, Through whom the incorruptible light of the law was to be given to the race of men.




VERSE 5. After they had taken counsel to kill the babes of the holy ones, And when a single child had been cast forth and saved to convict them of their sin, You took away from them their multitude of children, And destroyed all their army together in a mighty flood.

a single child. That is, Moses.


VERSE 6. Of that night were our fathers made aware beforehand, That, having sure knowledge, they might be cheered by the oaths which they had trusted:


VERSE 7. So by your people was expected salvation of the righteous and destruction of the enemies;


VERSE 8. For as you did take vengeance on the adversaries, By the same means, calling us to yourself, you did glorify us.


VERSE 9. For holy children of good men offered sacrifice in secret, And with one consent they took upon themselves the covenant of the divine law, That they would partake alike in the same good things and the same perils; The fathers already leading the sacred songs of praise.

the sacred songs of praise. Do you sing songs of praise?


VERSE 10. But there sounded back in discord the cry of the enemies, And a piteous voice of lamentation for children was borne abroad.


VERSE 11. And servant along with master punished with a like just doom, And commoner suffering the same as king,


VERSE 12. Yes, all the people together, under one form of death, Had with them corpses without number; For the living were not sufficient even to bury them, Since at a single stroke their nobler offspring was consumed.


VERSE 13. For while they were disbelieving all things by reason of the enchantments, Upon the destruction of the firstborn they confessed the people to be God’s son.

the enchantments. That is, the sorceries.




VERSE 14. For while peaceful silence wrapped all things, And night in her own swiftness was in mid course,

peaceful silence. During contemplative prayer, some people are brought to a mystical state of peaceful stillness.

night … was in mid course. In 1578 or 1579, John of the Cross wrote “The Dark Night”  as a guide for spiritual development and mystical prayer.


VERSE 15. Your all-powerful word leaped from heaven out of the royal throne, A stern warrior, into the midst of the doomed land,

Your all-powerful word. That is, Jesus Christ:

Wisdom 18:15. Your all-powerful word leaped from heaven out of the royal throne, A stern warrior, into the midst of the doomed land,

John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 20:28. Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Titus 2:13. looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 1:8. But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom.”

Revelation 19:13. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called “The Word of God.”

leaped from heaven. Jesus Christ became flesh and dwelt among us:

John 1:14. The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.


VERSE 16. Bearing as a sharp sword your unfeigned commandment; And standing it filled all things with death; And while it touched the heaven it trode upon the earth.

a sharp sword. The word of God is like a sharp sword:

Wisdom 18:16. Bearing as a sharp sword your unfeigned commandment; And standing it filled all things with death; And while it touched the heaven it trode upon the earth.

Isaiah 34:5. For my sword has drunk its fill in the sky. Behold, it will come down on Edom, and on the people of my curse, for judgment.

Hosea 6:5. Therefore I have cut them to pieces with the prophets; I killed them with the words of my mouth. Your judgments are like a flash of lightning.

1 Thessalonians 2:13. For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe.

Hebrews 4:12. For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Revelation 1:16. He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.

Revelation 2:12. To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: “He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things:

Revelation 19:15. Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He treads the wine press of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.




VERSE 17. Then forthwith apparitions in dreams terribly troubled them, And fears came upon them unlooked for.


VERSE 18. And each, one thrown here half dead, another there, Made manifest wherefore he was dying:


VERSE 19. For the dreams, perturbing them, did foreshew this, That they might not perish without knowing why they were afflicted.


VERSE 20. But it befell the righteous also to make trial of death, And a multitude were stricken in the wilderness: However the wrath endured not for long.


VERSE 21. For a blameless man hurried to be their champion: Bringing the weapon of his own ministry, Even prayer and the propitiation of incense, He withstood the indignation, and set an end to the calamity, Showing that he was your servant.

a blameless man. That is, Aaron. However, he was hardly blameless. He made the Golden Calf, for example.

the weapon of his own ministry. Aaron was a “Prayer Warrior.” He ministers to other people by fasting and praying.


VERSE 22. And he overcame the anger, Not by strength of body, not by efficacy of weapons; But by word did he subdue the minister of punishment, By bringing to remembrance oaths and covenants made with the fathers.

the minister of punishment. That is, the angel sent to carry out the plague.


VERSE 23. For when the dead were already fallen in heaps one upon another, Standing between he stopped the advancing wrath, And cut off the way to the living.


VERSE 24. For upon his long high-priestly robe was the whole world, And the glories of the fathers were upon the engraving of the four rows of precious stones, And your majesty was upon the diadem of his head.

glories of the fathers. The names of the tribes were engraved on the precious stones worn by the priest.

majesty. The name of God Almighty was engraved on the diadem worn by the priest.


VERSE 25. To these the destroyer gave place, and these the people feared; For it was enough only to make trial of the wrath.


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