Sagesse (NAB) 13
13 1 For all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
2 But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
3 Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
4 Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
5 For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen.
6 But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him.
7 For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
8 But again, not even these are pardonable.
9 For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its LORD?
10 But doomed are they, and in dead things are their hopes, who termed gods things made by human hands: Gold and silver, the product of art, and likenesses of beasts, or useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.
11 A carpenter may saw out a suitable tree and skillfully scrape off all its bark, And deftly plying his art, produce something fit for daily use,
12 and use up the refuse from his handiwork in preparing his food, and have his fill;
13 Then the good-for-nothing refuse from these remnants, crooked wood grown full of knots, he takes and carves to occupy his spare time. This wood he models with listless skill, and patterns it on the image of a man
14 or makes it resemble some worthless beast. When he has daubed it with red and crimsoned its surface with red stain, and daubed over every blemish in it,
15 He makes a fitting shrine for it and puts it on the wall, fastening it with a nail.
16 Thus lest it fall down he provides for it, knowing that it cannot help itself; for, truly, it is an image and needs help.
17 But when he prays about his goods or marriage or children, he is not ashamed to address the thing without a soul. And for vigor he invokes the powerless;
18 and for life he entreats the dead; And for aid he beseeches the wholly incompetent, and about travel, something that cannot even walk.
19 And for profit in business and success with his hands he asks facility of a thing with hands completely inert.
14 1 Again, one preparing for a voyage and about to traverse the wild waves cries out to wood more unsound than the boat that bears him.
2 For the urge for profits devised this latter, and Wisdom the artificer produced it.
3 But your providence, O Father! guides it, for you have furnished even in the sea a road, and through the waves a steady path,
4 Showing that you can save from any danger, so that even one without skill may embark.
5 But you will that the products of your Wisdom be not idle; therefore men trust their lives even to frailest wood, and have been safe crossing the surge on a raft.
6 For of old, when the proud giants were being destroyed, the hope of the universe, who took refuge on a raft, left to the world a future for his race, under the guidance of your hand.
7 For blest is the wood through which justice comes about;
8 but the handmade idol is accursed, and its maker as well: he for having produced it, and it, because though corruptible, it was termed a god.
9 Equally odious to God are the evildoer and his evil deed;
10 and the thing made shall be punished with its contriver.
11 Therefore upon even the idols of the nations shall a visitation come, since they have become abominable amid God's works, Snares for the souls of men and a trap for the feet of the senseless.
12 For the source of wantoness is the devising of idols; and their invention was a corruption of life.
13 For in the beginning they were not, nor shall they continue forever;
14 for by the vanity of men they came into the world, and therefore a sudden end is devised for them.
15 For a father, afflicted with untimely mourning, made an image of the child so quickly taken from him, And now honored as a god what was formerly a dead man and handed down to his subjects mysteries and sacrifices.
16 Then, in time, the impious practice gained strength and was observed as law, and graven things were worshiped by princely decrees.
17 Men who lived so far away that they could not honor him in his presence copied the appearance of the distant king And made a public image of him they wished to honor, out of zeal to flatter him when absent, as though present.
18 And to promote this observance among those to whom it was strange, the artisan's ambition provided a stimulus.
19 For he, mayhap in his determination to please the ruler, labored over the likeness to the best of his skill;
20 And the masses, drawn by the charm of the workmanship, soon thought he should be worshiped who shortly before was honored as a man.
21 And this became a snare for mankind, that men enslaved to either grief or tyranny conferred the incommunicable Name on stocks and stones.
22 Then it was not enough for them to err in their knowledge of God; but even though they live in a great war of ignorance, they call such evils peace.
23 For while they celebrate either child-slaying sacrifices or clandestine mysteries, or frenzied carousals in unheard-of rites,
24 They no longer safeguard either lives or pure wedlock; but each either waylays and kills his neighbor, or aggrieves him by adultery.
25 And all is confusion-blood and murder, theft and guile, corruption, faithlessness, turmoil, perjury,
26 Disturbance of good men, neglect of gratitude, besmirching of souls, unnatural lust, disorder in marriage, adultery and shamelessness.
27 For the worship of infamous idols is the reason and source and extremity of all evil.
28 For they either go mad with enjoyment, or prophesy lies, or live lawlessly or lightly forswear themselves.
29 For as their trust is in soulless idols, they expect no harm when they have sworn falsely.
30 But on both counts shall justice overtake them: because they thought ill of God and devoted themselves to idols, and because they deliberately swore false oaths, despising piety.
31 For not the might of those that are sworn by but the retribution of sinners ever follows upon the transgression of the wicked.
15 1 But you, our God, are good and true, slow to anger, and governing all with mercy.
2 For even if we sin, we are yours, and know your might; but we will not sin, knowing that we belong to you.
3 For to know you well is complete justice, and to know your might is the root of immortality.
4 For neither did the evil creation of men's fancy deceive us, nor the fruitless labor of painters, A form smeared with varied colors,
5 the sight of which arouses yearning in the senseless man, till he longs for the inanimate form of a dead image.
6 Lovers of evil things, and worthy of such hopes are they who make them and long for them and worship them.
7 For truly the potter, laboriously working the soft earth, molds for our service each several article: Both the vessels that serve for clean purposes and their opposites, all alike; As to what shall be the use of each vessel of either class the worker in clay is the judge.
8 And with misspent toil he molds a meaningless god from the selfsame clay; though he himself shortly before was made from the earth And after a little, is to go whence he was taken, when the life that was lent him is demanded back.
9 But his concern is not that he is to die nor that his span of life is brief; Rather, he vies with goldsmiths and silversmiths and emulates molders of bronze, and takes pride in modeling counterfeits.
10 Ashes his heart is! more worthless than earth is his hope, and more ignoble than clay his life;
11 Because he knew not the one who fashioned him, and breathed into him a quickening soul, and infused a vital spirit.
12 Instead, he esteemed our life a plaything, and our span of life a holiday for gain; "For one must," says he, "make profit every way, be it even out of evil."
13 For this man more than any knows that he is sinning, when out of earthen stuff he creates fragile vessels and idols alike.
14 But all quite senseless, and worse than childish in mind, are the enemies of your people who enslaved them.
15 For they esteemed all the idols of the nations gods, which have no use of the eyes for vision, nor nostrils to snuff the air, Nor ears to hear, nor fingers on their hands for feeling; even their feet are useless to walk with.
16 For a man made them; one whose spirit has been lent him fashioned them. For no man succeeds in fashioning a god like himself;
17 being mortal, he makes a dead thing with his lawless hands. For he is better than the things he worships; he at least lives, but never they.
18 And besides, they worship the most loathsome beasts-- for compared as to folly, these are worse than the rest,
19 Nor for their looks are they good or desirable beasts, but they have escaped both the approval of God and his blessing.
16 1 Therefore they were fittingly punished by similar creatures, and were tormented by a swarm of insects.
2 Instead of this punishment, you benefited your people with a novel dish, the delight they craved, by providing quail for their food;
3 That those others, when they desired food, since the creatures sent to plague them were so loathsome, should be turned from even the craving of necessities, While these, after a brief period of privation, partook of a novel dish.
4 For upon those oppressors, inexorable want had to come; but these needed only be shown how their enemies were being tormented.
5 For when the dire venom of beasts came upon them and they were dying from the bite of crooked serpents, your anger endured not to the end.
6 But as a warning, for a short time they were terrorized, though they had a sign of salvation, to remind them of the precept of your law.
7 For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the savior of all.
8 And by this also you convinced our foes that you are he who delivers from all evil.
9 For the bites of locusts and of flies slew them, and no remedy was found to save their lives because they deserved to be punished by such means;
10 But not even the fangs of poisonous reptiles overcame your sons, for your mercy brought the antidote to heal them.
11 For as a reminder of your injunctions, they were stung, and swiftly they were saved, Lest they should fall into deep forgetfulness and become unresponsive to your beneficence.
12 For indeed, neither herb nor application cured them, but your all-healing word, O LORD!
13 For you have dominion over life and death; you lead down to the gates of the nether world, and lead back.
14 Man, however, slays in his malice, but when the spirit has come away, it does not return, nor can he bring back the soul once it is confined.
15 But your hand none can escape.
16 For the wicked who refused to know you were punished by the might of your arm, Pursued by unwonted rains and hailstorms and unremitting downpours, and consumed by fire.
17 For against all expectation, in water which quenches anything, the fire grew more active; For the universe fights on behalf of the just.
18 For now the flame was tempered so that the beasts might not be burnt up that were sent upon the wicked, but that these might see and know they were struck by the judgment of God;
19 And again, even in the water, fire blazed beyond its strength so as to consume the produce of the wicked land.
20 Instead of this, you nourished your people with food of angels and furnished them bread from heaven, ready to hand, untoiled-for, endowed with all delights and conforming to every taste.
21 For this substance of yours revealed your sweetness toward your children, and serving the desire of him who received it, was blended to whatever flavor each one wished.
22 Yet snow and ice withstood fire and were not melted, that they might know that their enemies' fruits Were consumed by a fire that blazed in the hail and flashed lightning in the rain.
23 But this fire, again, that the just might be nourished, forgot even its proper strength;
24 For your creation, serving you, its maker, grows tense for punishment against the wicked, but is relaxed in benefit for those who trust in you.
25 Therefore at that very time, transformed in all sorts of ways, it was serving your all-nourishing bounty according to what they needed and desired;
26 That your sons whom you loved might learn, O LORD, that it is not the various kinds of fruits that nourish man, but it is your word that preserves those who believe you!
27 For what was not destroyed by fire, when merely warmed by a momentary sunbeam, melted;
28 So that men might know that one must give you thanks before the sunrise, and turn to you at daybreak.
29 For the hope of the ingrate melts like a wintry frost and runs off like useless water.
17 1 For great are your judgments, and hardly to be described; therefore the unruly souls were wrong.
2 For when the lawless thought to enslave the holy nation, shackled with darkness, fettered by the long night, they lay confined beneath their own roofs as exiles from the eternal providence.
3 For they who supposed their secret sins were hid under the dark veil of oblivion Were scattered in fearful trembling, terrified by apparitions.
4 For not even their inner chambers kept them fearless, for crashing sounds on all sides terrified them, and mute phantoms with somber looks appeared.
5 No force, even of fire, was able to give light, nor did the flaming brilliance of the stars succeed in lighting up that gloomy night.
6 But only intermittent, fearful fires flashed through upon them; And in their terror they thought beholding these was worse than the times when that sight was no longer to be seen.
7 And mockeries of the magic art were in readiness, and a jeering reproof of their vaunted shrewdness.
8 For they who undertook to banish fears and terrors from the sick soul themselves sickened with a ridiculous fear.
9 For even though no monstrous thing frightened them, they shook at the passing of insects and the hissing of reptiles,
10 And perished trembling, reluctant to face even the air that they could nowhere escape.
11 For wickedness, of its nature cowardly, testifies in its own condemnation, and because of a distressed conscience, always magnifies misfortunes.
12 For fear is nought but the surrender of the helps that come from reason;
13 and the more one's expectation is of itself uncertain, the more one makes of not knowing the cause that brings on torment.
14 So they, during that night, powerless though it was, that had come upon them from the recesses of a powerless nether world, while all sleeping the same sleep,
15 Were partly smitten by fearsome apparitions and partly stricken by their souls' surrender; for fear came upon them, sudden and unexpected.
16 Thus, then, whoever was there fell into that unbarred prison and was kept confined.
17 For whether one was a farmer, or a shepherd, or a worker at tasks in the wasteland, Taken unawares, he served out the inescapable sentence;
18 for all were bound by the one bond of darkness. And were it only the whistling wind, or the melodious song of birds in the spreading branches, Or the steady sound of rushing water,
19 or the rude crash of overthrown rocks, Or the unseen gallop of bounding animals, or the roaring cry of the fiercest beasts, Or an echo resounding from the hollow of the hills, these sounds, inspiring terror, paralyzed them.
20 For the whole world shone with brilliant light and continued its works without interruption;
21 Over them alone was spread oppressive night, an image of the darkness that next should come upon them; yet they were to themselves more burdensome than the darkness.
18 1 But your holy ones had very great light; And those others, who heard their voices but did not see their forms, since now they themselves had suffered, called them blest;
2 And because they who formerly had been wronged did not harm them, they thanked them, and pleaded with them, for the sake of the difference between them.
3 Instead of this, you furnished the flaming pillar which was a guide on the unknown way, and the mild sun for an honorable migration.
4 For those deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned by darkness, who had kept your sons confined through whom the imperishable light of the law was to be given to the world.
5 When they determined to put to death the infants of the holy ones, and when a single boy had been cast forth but saved, As a reproof you carried off their multitude of sons and made them perish all at once in the mighty water.
6 That night was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage.
7 Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes.
8 For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
9 For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution, That your holy ones should share alike the same good things and dangers, having previously sung the praises of the fathers.
10 But the discordant cry of their enemies responded, and the piteous wail of mourning for children was borne to them.
11 And the slave was smitten with the same retribution as his master; even the plebeian suffered the same as the king.
12 And all alike by a single death had countless dead; For the living were not even sufficient for the burial, since at a single instant their nobler offspring were destroyed.
13 For though they disbelieved at every turn on account of sorceries, at the destruction of the first-born they acknowledged that the people was God's son.
14 For when peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent,
15 Your all-powerful word from heaven's royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land,
16 bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree. And as he alighted, he filled every place with death; he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.
17 Then, forthwith, visions in horrible dreams perturbed them and unexpected fears assailed them;
18 And cast half-dead, one here, another there, each was revealing the reason for his dying.
19 For the dreams that disturbed them had proclaimed this beforehand, lest they perish unaware of why they suffered ill.
20 But the trial of death touched at one time even the just, and in the desert a plague struck the multitude; Yet not for long did the anger last.
21 For the blameless man hastened to be their champion, bearing the weapon of his special office, prayer and the propitiation of incense; He withstood the wrath and put a stop to the calamity, showing that he was your servant.
22 And he overcame the bitterness not by bodily strength, not by force of arms; But by word he overcame the smiter, recalling the sworn covenants with their fathers.
23 For when corpses had already fallen one on another in heaps, he stood in the midst and checked the anger, and cut off the way to the living.
24 For on his full-length robe was the whole world, and the glories of the fathers were carved in four rows upon the stones, and your grandeur was on the crown upon his head.
25 To these names the destroyer yielded, and these he feared; for the mere trial of anger was enough.
19 1 But the wicked, merciless wrath assailed until the end. For he knew beforehand what they were yet to do:
2 That though they themselves had agreed to the departure and had anxiously sent them on their way, they would regret it and pursue them.
3 For while they were still engaged in funeral rites and were mourning at the burials of the dead, They adopted another senseless plan; and those whom they had sent away with entreaty, they pursued as fugitives.
4 For a compulsion suited to this ending drew them on, and made them forgetful of what had befallen them, That they might fill out the torments of their punishment,
5 and your people might experience a glorious journey while those others met an extraordinary death.
6 For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew, serving its natural laws, that your children might be preserved unharmed.
7 The cloud overshadowed their camp; and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging: Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road, and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.
8 Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand, after they beheld stupendous wonders.
9 For they ranged about like horses, and bounded about like lambs, praising you, O LORD! their deliverer.
10 For they were still mindful of what had happened in their sojourn: how instead of the young of animals the land brought forth gnats, and instead of fishes the river swarmed with countless frogs.
11 And later they saw also a new kind of bird when, prompted by desire, they asked for pleasant foods;
12 For to appease them quail came to them from the sea.
13 And the punishments came upon the sinners only after forewarnings from the violence of the thunderbolts. For they justly suffered for their own misdeeds, since indeed they treated their guests with the more grievous hatred.
14 For those others did not receive unfamiliar visitors, but these were enslaving beneficent guests.
15 And not that only; but what punishment was to be theirs since they received strangers unwillingly!
16 Yet these, after welcoming them with festivities, oppressed with awful toils those who now shared with them the same rights.
17 And they were struck with blindness, as those others had been at the portals of the just- When, surrounded by yawning darkness, each sought the entrance of his own gate.
18 For the elements, in variable harmony among themselves, like strings of the harp, produce new melody, while the flow of music steadily persists. And this can be perceived exactly from a review of what took place.
19 For land creatures were changed into water creatures, and those that swam went over on to the land.
20 Fire in water maintained its own strength, and water forgot its quenching nature;
21 Flames, by contrast, neither consumed the flesh of the perishable animals that went about in them, nor melted the icelike, quick-melting kind of ambrosial food.
22 For every way, O LORD! you magnified and glorified your people; unfailing, you stood by them in every time and circumstance.
Sagesse (NAB) 13