Wis 2:1-3:9

1For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, “Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end, and no one has been known to return from Hades.2For we were born by mere chance, and hereafter we shall be as though we had never been, for the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our hearts;3when it is extinguished, the body will turn to ashes, and the spirit will dissolve like empty air.4Our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will remember our works; our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and be scattered like mist that is chased by the rays of the sun and overcome by its heat.5For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and there is no return from our death, because it is sealed up and no one turns back. 6“Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.7Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass us by.8Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.9Let none of us fail to share in our revelry; everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment, because this is our portion, and this our lot.10Let us oppress the righteous poor man; let us not spare the widow or regard the gray hairs of the aged.11But let our might be our law of right, for what is weak proves itself to be useless. 12“Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.13He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord.14He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;15the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.16We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.17Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;18for if the righteous man is God's child, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.19Let us test him with insult and torture, so that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance.20Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected.” Error of the Wicked 21Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them,22and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls;23for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity,24but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it. Chapter 3The Destiny of the Righteous 1But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.2In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster,3and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.4For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality.5Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;6like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.7In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.8They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever.9Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones, and he watches over his elect.