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The Search for Justice

(A)Love justice, you rulers of the world. Set your minds sincerely on the Lord, and look for him with all honesty. Those who do not try to test him will find him; he will show himself to those who trust him. Dishonest thoughts separate people from God, and if we are foolish enough to test him, his power will put us to shame. Wisdom will never be at home with anyone who is deceitful or a slave of sin. Everyone who is holy has learned to stay away from deceitful people. He will not stay around when foolish thoughts are being expressed; he will not feel comfortable when injustice is done.

God Is Aware of What We Say

Wisdom is a spirit that is friendly to people, but she will not forgive anyone who speaks against God, for God knows our feelings and thoughts, and hears our every word. Since the Lord's spirit fills the entire world, and holds everything in it together, she knows every word that people say.

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Exhortation to Uprightness

Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth,
think of the Lord in goodness
and seek him with sincerity of heart;
because he is found by those who do not put him to the test,
and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.
For perverse thoughts separate people from God,
and when his power is tested, it exposes the foolish;
because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul,
or dwell in a body enslaved to sin.
For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit,
and will leave foolish thoughts behind,
and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness.

For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
but will not free blasphemers from the guilt of their words;
because God is witness of their inmost feelings,
and a true observer of their hearts, and a hearer of their tongues.
Because the spirit of the Lord has filled the world,
and that which holds all things together knows what is said,

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I. The Reward of Righteousness[a]

Chapter 1

Exhortation to Righteousness, the Key to Life

Love righteousness,[b] you who judge the earth;(A)
    think of the Lord in goodness,
    and seek him in integrity of heart;(B)
Because he is found by those who do not test him,
    and manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.(C)
For perverse counsels separate people from God,
    and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy;(D)
[c]Because into a soul that plots evil wisdom does not enter,
    nor does she dwell in a body under debt of sin.(E)
For the holy spirit of discipline[d] flees deceit
    and withdraws from senseless counsels
    and is rebuked when unrighteousness occurs.(F)

For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
    yet she does not acquit blasphemous lips;
Because God is the witness of the inmost self(G)
    and the sure observer of the heart
    and the listener to the tongue.(H)
For the spirit of the Lord fills the world,(I)
    is all-embracing, and knows whatever is said.

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Footnotes

  1. 1:1–6:21 The reward is the gift of immortality, to the righteous (1:15; 3:1–3), but not to the wicked (5:1–13). Contrasts between these two groups dominate chaps. 1–5. The philosophy of the wicked and their persecution of the righteous are dramatically presented in 1:16–2:24. New light is shed on the suffering of the righteous (3:1–9), childlessness (3:13–15), and premature death (4:7–16)—in contrast to the fate of the wicked (3:10–12, 16–19; 4:3–6, 17–20).
  2. 1:1 Righteousness: not merely the cardinal virtue of justice (cf. 8:7), but the universal moral quality which is the application of wisdom to moral conduct. You who judge: “judges” and “kings” (cf. 6:1) are addressed in accordance with the literary customs of the times and with the putative Solomonic authorship, but the real audience is the Jewish community.
  3. 1:4 In these verses personified Wisdom is identified with the spirit of the Lord; so also in 9:17.
  4. 1:5 Discipline: here and elsewhere, another name for Wisdom.

Exhortation to Uprightness

Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth,
think of the Lord in goodness
and seek him with sincerity of heart;
because he is found by those who do not put him to the test,
and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.
For perverse thoughts separate people from God,
and when his power is tested, it exposes the foolish;
because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul,
or dwell in a body enslaved to sin.
For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit,
and will leave foolish thoughts behind,
and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness.

For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
but will not free blasphemers from the guilt of their words;
because God is witness of their inmost feelings,
and a true observer of their hearts, and a hearer of their tongues.
Because the spirit of the Lord has filled the world,
and that which holds all things together knows what is said,

Read full chapter