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Chapter 5

Call now! Will anyone respond to you?
    To which of the holy ones[a] will you turn?
Surely impatience kills the fool
    and indignation slays the simpleton.
I have seen a fool spreading his roots,(A)
    but I cursed his household suddenly:
May his children be far from safety;
    may they be crushed at the gate[b] without a rescuer.
What they have reaped may the hungry eat up,
    or God take away by blight,
    or the thirsty swallow their substance.
For not from dust does mischief come,
    nor from the soil does trouble sprout.
Human beings beget mischief
    as sparks[c] fly upward.
In your place, I would appeal to God,
    and to God I would state my plea.
[d]He does things great and unsearchable,
    things marvelous and innumerable.
10 He gives rain upon the earth
    and sends water upon the fields;
11 (B)He sets up the lowly on high,
    and those who mourn are raised to safety.
12 He frustrates the plans of the cunning,
    so that their hands achieve no success;
13 He catches the wise in their own ruses,(C)
    and the designs of the crafty are routed.
14 They meet with darkness in the daytime,
    at noonday they grope as though it were night.
15 But he saves the poor from the sword of their mouth,[e]
    from the hand of the mighty.
16 Thus the needy have hope,
    and iniquity closes its mouth.
17 Happy the one whom God reproves!
    The Almighty’s[f] discipline do not reject.
18 For he wounds, but he binds up;(D)
    he strikes, but his hands give healing.
19 Out of six troubles he will deliver you,
    and at the seventh[g] no evil shall touch you.
20 In famine he will deliver you from death,
    and in war from the power of the sword;
21 From the scourge of the tongue you shall be hidden,
    and you shall not fear approaching ruin.
22 At ruin and want you shall laugh;
    the beasts of the earth, do not fear.
23 With the stones of the field shall your covenant be,
    and the wild beasts shall be at peace with you.
24 And you shall know that your tent is secure;
    taking stock of your household, you shall miss nothing.
25 You shall know that your descendants are many,
    and your offspring like the grass of the earth.
26 You shall approach the grave in full vigor,
    as a shock of grain comes in at its season.
27 See, this we have searched out; so it is!
    This we have heard, and you should know.


  1. 5:1 Holy ones: members of the heavenly court; cf. 1:6 and note. They were viewed as heavenly intercessors.
  2. 5:4 At the gate: of the city, where justice was administered.
  3. 5:7 Sparks: in Hebrew, “sons of resheph,” which the ancient versions took as the name of a bird. Resheph was an underworld deity of plague, but the word also means “flames” in Sg 8:6.
  4. 5:9 Perhaps to be omitted here; it is a duplicate of 9:10.
  5. 5:15 From the sword of their mouth: the Hebrew is obscure.
  6. 5:17 Almighty: standard translation of Heb. Shaddai.
  7. 5:19 Six…the seventh: proverbial expression for any large number; cf. Prv 24:16; Lk 17:4.