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12 For thy immortal spirit is in all things.
Therefore 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

Those who dwelt of old in thy holy land
thou didst hate for their detestable practices,
their works of sorcery and unholy rites,
their merciless slaughter[a] of children,
and their sacrificial feasting on human flesh and blood.
These initiates from the midst of a heathen cult,[b]
these parents who murder helpless lives,
thou didst will to destroy by the hands of our fathers,
that the land most precious of all to thee
might receive a worthy colony of the servants[c] of God.
But even these thou didst spare, since they were but men,
and didst send wasps[d] as forerunners of thy army,
to destroy them little by little,
though 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.
10 But judging them little by little thou gavest them a chance to repent,
though thou wast not unaware that their origin[e] was evil
and their wickedness inborn,
and that their way of thinking would never change.
11 For 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

12 For 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?
13 For 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;
14 nor can any king or monarch confront thee about those whom thou hast punished.
15 Thou art righteous and rulest all things righteously,
deeming it alien to thy power
to condemn him who does not deserve to be punished.
16 For thy strength is the source of righteousness,
and thy sovereignty over all causes thee to spare all.
17 For thou dost show thy strength when men doubt the completeness of thy power,
and dost rebuke any insolence among those who know it.[g]
18 Thou 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

19 Through 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.
20 For if thou didst punish with such great care and indulgence[h]
the enemies of thy servants[i] and those deserving of death,
granting them time and opportunity to give up their wickedness,
21 with what strictness thou hast judged thy sons,
to whose fathers thou gavest oaths and covenants full of good promises!
22 So 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

23 Therefore those who in folly of life lived unrighteously
thou didst torment through their own abominations.
24 For they went far astray on the paths of error,
accepting as gods those animals which even their enemies[j] despised;
they were deceived like foolish babes.
25 Therefore, as to thoughtless children,
thou didst send thy judgment to mock them.
26 But those who have not heeded the warning of light rebukes
will experience the deserved judgment of God.
27 For 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.


  1. Wisdom 12:5 Cn: Gk slaughterers
  2. Wisdom 12:5 The Greek text of this line is uncertain
  3. Wisdom 12:7 Or children
  4. Wisdom 12:8 Or hornets
  5. Wisdom 12:10 Or nature
  6. Wisdom 12:13 Or all things
  7. Wisdom 12:17 The Greek text of this line is uncertain
  8. Wisdom 12:20 Some ancient authorities omit and indulgence; others read and entreaty
  9. Wisdom 12:20 Or children
  10. Wisdom 12:24 Gk they

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