Wisdom 2 Common English Bible (CEB)
2 By reasoning in their twisted way, the ungodly said: Our lives are short and painful. There is no antidote for death; no one has come back from the grave. 2 All of us came into being by chance. When our lives are over, it will be just as if we had never been. The breath in our nostrils is mere smoke. Reason is just a spark in the beating of our hearts. 3 When that spark is extinguished, the body will be turned into ashes. The spirit will evaporate into thin air. 4 Over time, our names will be forgotten. No one will remember our deeds. Our lives will pass away like the last wisps of a cloud. Our lives will be dispersed like a morning mist chased away by the sun and weighed down by the day’s heat. 5 Our time here is like a shadow passing by. There’s no turning back from death. It has been sealed, and no one will alter it.
6 Come then! Let’s enjoy all the good things of life now. Let’s enjoy creation to the fullest as we did in our youth. 7 Let’s drink our fill of expensive wines and enjoy fine perfumes. Let’s pluck every fresh blossom of spring as we pass by. 8 Let’s crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither. 9 Let’s make sure that no meadow is left untouched by our high-spirited fun. Let’s leave evidence everywhere that we made the most of this life, because this life is all we have.
10 Let’s take advantage of the day laborer who does what’s right. Let’s not be afraid to abuse the widow. Let’s show that we couldn’t care less for the gray hair of our elders. 11 May strength be our only law and determine what’s right, for it’s clear to us that what is weak is worthless.
12 Let’s lie in ambush for the one who does what is right. He’s a nuisance to us. He always opposes our actions. He blames us because we have failed to keep the Law. He condemns us for turning our backs on our upbringing. 13 He boasts of his knowledge of God. He even calls himself the Lord’s servant.[a] 14 He exposes our secret plans. Just to look at him makes us sick. 15 His life isn’t like the lives of others. His ways are completely different. 16 He thinks we’re frauds. He avoids us and our actions as though we’re unclean. Instead, he blesses the final days of those who do what’s right. He even boasts that God is his Father.
17 Let’s see if his words are true. Let’s put him to the extreme test and see what happens. 18 If this man who does the right thing is indeed God’s son, then God will assist him. God will rescue him from the hand of those who oppress him. 19 Let’s test him by assaulting and torturing him. Then we will know just how good he really is. Let’s test his ability to endure pain. 20 Let’s condemn him to a disgraceful death: according to him, God should show up to protect him.
21 This was how the ungodly reasoned, but they were mistaken. Their malice completely blinded them. 22 They didn’t know of God’s secret plan. They didn’t hope for the reward that holiness brings. They didn’t consider the prize they would win if they kept their whole beings free from stain. 23 God created humans to live forever. He made them as a perfect representation of his own unique identity. 24 Death entered the universe only through the devil’s envy. Those who belong to the devil’s party experience death.[b]