Wisdom chapter 19

The Egyptians hated foreigners. The whole creation serves the Lord. Egypt was punished. God dwells with his people.

 


 

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

 


 

THE EGYPTIANS HATED FOREIGNERS

 

VERSE 1. But upon the ungodly there came to the end indignation without mercy; For their future also God foreknew,

 

VERSE 2. How that, having changed their minds to let your people go, And having speeded them eagerly on their way, They would repent themselves and pursue them.

their minds. The mind of the Egyptians.

your people. The Hebrew people.

 

VERSE 3. For while they were yet in the midst of their mourning, And making lamentation at the graves of the dead, They drew upon themselves another counsel of folly, And pursued as fugitives those whom with intreaties they had cast out.

they. The Egyptians.

 

VERSE 4. For the doom which they deserved was drawing them to this end, And it made them forget the things that had befallen them, That they might fill up the punishment which was yet lacking to their torments,

 

VERSE 5. And that your people might journey on by a marvelous road, But they themselves might find a strange death.

 

THE WHOLE CREATION SERVES THE LORD

 

VERSE 6. For the whole creation, each part in its several kind, was fashioned again anew, Ministering to your several commandments, That your servants might be guarded free from hurt.

 

VERSE 7. Then the cloud that shadowed the camp was seen, And dry land rising up out of what before was water, Out of the Red sea an unhindered highway, And a grassy plain out of the violent surge;

the cloud that shadowed the camp. During contemplative prayer, some people have the experience that the familiar landmarks of their spiritual life are clouded over.

This is a great gift of God. The individual is being weaned of their immature perceptions of the spiritual life. They are being readied for far greater things to come.

 

VERSE 8. By which they passed over with all their army, These that were covered with your hand, Having seen strange marvels.

 

VERSE 9. For like horses they roamed at large, And they skipped about like lambs, Praising you, O Lord, who was their deliverer.

 

VERSE 10. For they still remembered the things that came to pass in the time of their sojourning, How that instead of † bearing ‡ cattle the land brought forth lice, And instead of fish the river cast up a multitude of frogs.

 

VERSE 11. But afterwards they saw also a new race of birds, When, led on by desire, they asked for luxurious dainties;

 

VERSE 12. For, to solace them, there came up for them quails from the sea.

to solace them. That is, to appease them. They were complaining, and God had to do something to quiet them down.

 

EGYPT WAS PUNISHED

 

VERSE 13. And upon the sinners came the punishments Not without the tokens that were given beforehand by the force of the thunders; For justly did they suffer through their own wickednesses, For grievous indeed was the hatred which they practiced toward guests.

the hatred which they practiced. The Egyptians hated the aliens living among them. They were like the many U.S. citizens who hate the modern-day aliens of Mexicans.

 

VERSE 14. For whereas the men of Sodom received not † the strangers when they came among them; The Egyptians made slaves of guests who were their benefactors.

 

VERSE 15. And not only so, but God will visit the men of Sodom after another sort, Since they received as enemies those who were aliens;

the men of Sodom. Why was the ancient city of Sodom destroyed? Many people think they know the answer. But they are wrong. The prophet Ezekiel tells us:

Ezekiel 16:49. Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters. She also didn’t strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

In other words, the sin of Sodom was that they had plenty and yet gave no help to the poor and needy. In the world of the Bible, that is an abominable crime.

Wisdom 19:15. And not only so, but God will visit the men of Sodom after another sort, Since they received as enemies those who were aliens;

Sirach 16:8. He spared not those with whom Lot sojourned, Whom he abhorred for their pride.

Lamentations 4:6. For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown as in a moment. No hands were laid on her.

 

VERSE 16. Whereas these first welcomed with feastings, And then afflicted with dreadful toils, Them that had already shared with them in the same rights.

 

VERSE 17. And moreover they were stricken with loss of sight (Even as were those others at the righteous man’s doors), When, being compassed about with yawning darkness, They sought every one the passage through his own door.

compassed about with yawning darkness. In 1578 or 1579, John of the Cross wrote “The Dark Night”  as a guide for spiritual development and mystical prayer.

 

GOD DWELLS WITH HIS PEOPLE

 

VERSE 18. For as the notes of a lute vary the character of the rhythm, Even so did the elements, changing their order one with another, Continuing always the same, each in its several sound; As may clearly be divined from the sight of the things that are come to pass.

Continuing always the same, each in its several sound. That is, “the flow of music steadily persists” (NAB translation).

 

VERSE 19. For creatures of the dry land were turned into creatures of the waters, And creatures that swim trode now upon the earth:

 

VERSE 20. Fire kept the mastery of its own power in the midst of water, And water forgot its quenching nature:

 

VERSE 21. Contrariwise, flames wasted not the flesh of perishable creatures that walked among them; Neither melted they the ice-like grains of ambrosial food, that were of nature apt to melt.

 

VERSE 22. For in all things, O Lord, you did magnify your people, And you did glorify them and not lightly regard them; Standing by their side in every time and place.

NAB translation. For every way, O LORD! You magnified and glorified your people; unfailing, you stood by them in every time and circumstance.

stood by them in every time and circumstance. This magnificent verse is a great key for understanding the whole Bible.

God’s love and mercy and dedication shine in every circumstance.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.