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Wisdom 19New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Red Sea

19 But the ungodly were assailed to the end by pitiless anger,
for God[a] knew in advance even their future actions:
how, though they themselves had permitted[b] your people to depart
and hastily sent them out,
they would change their minds and pursue them.
For while they were still engaged in mourning,
and were lamenting at the graves of their dead,
they reached another foolish decision,
and pursued as fugitives those whom they had begged and compelled to leave.
For the fate they deserved drew them on to this end,
and made them forget what had happened,
in order that they might fill up the punishment that their torments still lacked,
and that your people might experience[c] an incredible journey,
but they themselves might meet a strange death.

God Guides and Protects His People

For the whole creation in its nature was fashioned anew,
complying with your commands,
so that your children[d] might be kept unharmed.
The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp,
and dry land emerging where water had stood before,
an unhindered way out of the Red Sea,
and a grassy plain out of the raging waves,
where those protected by your hand passed through as one nation,
after gazing on marvelous wonders.
For they ranged like horses,
and leaped like lambs,
praising you, O Lord, who delivered them.
10 For they still recalled the events of their sojourn,
how instead of producing animals the earth brought forth gnats,
and instead of fish the river spewed out vast numbers of frogs.
11 Afterward they saw also a new kind[e] of birds,
when desire led them to ask for luxurious food;
12 for, to give them relief, quails came up from the sea.

The Punishment of the Egyptians

13 The punishments did not come upon the sinners
without prior signs in the violence of thunder,
for they justly suffered because of their wicked acts;
for they practiced a more bitter hatred of strangers.
14 Others had refused to receive strangers when they came to them,
but these made slaves of guests who were their benefactors.
15 And not only so—but, while punishment of some sort will come upon the former
for having received strangers with hostility,
16 the latter, having first received them with festal celebrations,
afterward afflicted with terrible sufferings
those who had already shared the same rights.
17 They were stricken also with loss of sight—
just as were those at the door of the righteous man—
when, surrounded by yawning darkness,
all of them tried to find the way through their own doors.

A New Harmony in Nature

18 For the elements changed[f] places with one another,
as on a harp the notes vary the nature of the rhythm,
while each note remains the same.[g]
This may be clearly inferred from the sight of what took place.
19 For land animals were transformed into water creatures,
and creatures that swim moved over to the land.
20 Fire even in water retained its normal power,
and water forgot its fire-quenching nature.
21 Flames, on the contrary, failed to consume
the flesh of perishable creatures that walked among them,
nor did they melt[h] the crystalline, quick-melting kind of heavenly food.


22 For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people,
and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.


  1. Wisdom 19:1 Gk he
  2. Wisdom 19:2 Other ancient authorities read had changed their minds to permit
  3. Wisdom 19:5 Other ancient authorities read accomplish
  4. Wisdom 19:6 Or servants
  5. Wisdom 19:11 Or production
  6. Wisdom 19:18 Gk changing
  7. Wisdom 19:18 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  8. Wisdom 19:21 Cn: Gk nor could be melted
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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