Wisdom 16 Common English Bible (CEB)
Small animals and quail resumed
16 Therefore, the enemies of your people deserved to be punished and tormented by swarms of the very same monsters. 2 In contrast to their punishment, you blessed your people when they were famished. You prepared for them a tasty delicacy—a feast of quail! 3 You did so in order that the enemies of your people, who were also hungry, wouldn’t be able to stomach food because of the ugliness of those creatures that you had sent against them. You also did so in order that your people, who were in need only for a little while, might share in a novel meal. 4 The enemies of your people, who oppressed them like tyrants, were fated to experience a famine that never seemed to end. But all that was necessary for your people was to show them how their enemies were to be tortured.
Insects and the bronze serpent
5 Even when the terrible fury of beasts overwhelmed your people and they were perishing from the stings of coiled serpents, your anger didn’t last long. 6 They were terrified only for a little while as a warning, since they had the sign of their salvation as a reminder of the command of your Law. 7 Those who turned to that sign were saved not by what they saw but by you, the savior of all. 8 In this way, you persuaded our enemies that you are the only one who rescues people from every evil. 9 Our enemies died when they were bitten by locusts and flies. There was no healing that was able to keep them alive. They deserved to be punished by those insects. 10 Yet not even the fangs of poisonous snakes were able to overcome your children, because your mercy traveled along with them and healed them. 11 You did sting them in order to remind them of the things that you had told them. But you came to their rescue quickly so that they might not fall into a deep forgetfulness of your goodwill toward them. 12 It wasn’t any herb or ointment that healed them but your word alone, Lord, which heals everything. 13 You have power over life and death. You lead people down to the gates of hell, and you bring them back up again. 14 Humans can indeed kill by their evil, but they can’t bring back the life that has expired or restore the spirit that has been taken away.
Storms and bread
15 It is impossible to escape from your hand. 16 Even though the ungodly denied any knowledge of you, it was your strong arm that afflicted them. They were pursued by strange rainfalls that never stopped, and by hailstorms and downpours. They were pursued by a fire that consumed everything. 17 The most unusual thing about this fire was that it showed that it was stronger than water, which normally quenches any fire. Yet the universe itself comes to the defense of those who do what is right. 18 At one point the flame did die down, so that it might not destroy the creatures that had been sent but only punish them. The ungodly noticed and realized it was God’s judgment that was hunting them down. 19 Then suddenly the fire flared up again, right in the midst of water, with an even greater intensity than normal fire. It destroyed the crops in a land dominated by wrongdoing.
20 In contrast, you fed your people with the food from angels. Again and again, you provided your people with a bread that had been prepared in heaven. It was a bread that was able to satisfy anyone’s longing and please anyone’s taste. 21 You even showed your children your sweet side: when they ate, the bread was changed into whatever they wanted it to become! 22 And though it was like snow and snowflakes, it endured the fire, which didn’t melt it. In this way, they knew that their enemies’ crops had been destroyed by an unusual fire, one that blazed even in the midst of the hail and let off sparks even in the midst of the rain. 23 But in order that those who do the right thing might be fed, fire itself forgot how powerful it was. 24 Creation, which serves you, the one who made it, tenses itself in preparation for the judgment of those who have done wrong and then relaxes itself again in order to benefit those who have put their trust in you.
25 And so it was that what was created was changed. It became a minister of your gift, completely nourishing and fulfilling the desire of those in need. 26 In this way your children, whom you love, Lord, would learn that it isn’t the various kinds of crops that sustain humans, but it is your word that preserves those who trust in you. 27 As proof, what wasn’t destroyed by the fire simply melted away when it was warmed by a gentle sunbeam. 28 In this way we learn that we too must arise before the sun to thank you and pray to you with the dawn of light. 29 The hope of those who don’t thank God, however, will melt away like winter frost and drain away like wastewater.