Wisdom 12Common English Bible (CEB)
12 Your imperishable spirit is present in all things. 2 Therefore, Lord, little by little you correct those who have gone astray. You warn them by reminding them of how they have sinned, so that they can be set free from their wickedness and believe in you. 3 You hated the people who once lived in your holy land because of the evil deeds they were doing. 4 They were casting spells and using drugs, and performed unholy rites. 5 They murdered their own children without pity! Those who were initiated into their secret rituals feasted on human flesh and blood. 6 You were determined to use our ancestors to destroy parents who kill helpless beings. 7 You did this so that the land you honored above all others might be settled in a way that God’s children deserved.
8 But you spared even these men and women when you sent wasps at the head of your army to destroy your enemies little by little. 9 It’s not that you weren’t able to hand the ungodly over to the righteous or because you weren’t able to wipe out the ungodly from the face of the earth all at once by fierce beasts or with a powerful word. 10 You were judging them little by little to give them an opportunity to change their hearts and minds. You did so even though you knew full well that they were wicked from their birth, that their natural inclination was to evil, and that they would never change their minds. 11 Their genetic character[a] was cursed from the start. You didn’t grant them immunity for their sins out of concern for anyone’s opinion.
12 After all, who will question what you have done? Who will oppose your decision? Who will accuse you of destroying peoples that you yourself created? Who will come and stand before you as the champion of those who have done wrong? 13 There’s no god, other than you, caring for everyone. There’s no one to whom you must prove that your judgments are right. 14 There’s no king or ruler who’s able to challenge you concerning those whom you punished. 15 You always do what’s right. You’ve always governed all things correctly. You’d consider it a crime against yourself to destroy someone who didn’t deserve to be cut down. 16 Your strength is the very origin of doing the right thing. Because you rule over all, you spare all. 17 You show your strength to those who doubt how powerful you really are. You condemn the pride of those who should know better than to doubt you.
18 Still, though you rule absolutely, you exercise careful judgment. You govern us with amazing restraint. If you wanted to, you could do anything you wished. 19 By your actions, you taught your people that those who do what is right must always want what is best for others. Your sons and daughters saw that you give to those who have sinned a chance to change their hearts and minds. In this way you encouraged them. 20 They knew if you gave their enemies the opportunity to free themselves from evil, punishing them with such care, and even letting them go free when they clearly deserved death, 21 how much more care would you exercise in judging your children, to whose fathers you had given such rich promises by means of solemn pledges and covenants? 22 While you are disciplining us, you scourge our enemies ten thousand times as much, in order that we may keep your goodness in mind when we ourselves are passing judgment. And you teach us that when we ourselves are judged, we should expect your mercy.
23 It was for this reason that you tortured those who lived foolish and unjust lives through their own disgusting offenses. 24 They wandered far even from the normal ways in which people err! They took horrible things to be gods, the worst forms of animal life. They were deceived like foolish children. 25 So you sent your judgment upon them to mock them, treating them as if they were in fact mindless children. 26 The ones who weren’t brought back to their senses by this mocking judgment would experience the just judgment of God. 27 They were plagued by the very things they once took to be gods, and came to hate them.
In the end, they recognized that you, whom they had so long denied to be God, were in fact God. It was then that the full weight of judgment fell upon them.