December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Book of Wisdom
- 1 But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.
- They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction
- and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.
- For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality;
- Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.
- 2 As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
- 3 In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
- They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever.
- Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.
- 4 But the wicked shall receive a punishment to match their thoughts, since they neglected justice and forsook the LORD.
- For he who despises wisdom and instruction is doomed. Vain is their hope, fruitless are their labors, and worthless are their works.
- Their wives are foolish and their children wicked; accursed is their brood.
- 5 Yes, blessed is she who, childless and undefiled, knew not transgression of the marriage bed; she shall bear fruit at the visitation of souls.
- 6 So also the eunuch whose hand wrought no misdeed, who held no wicked thoughts against the LORD- For he shall be given fidelity's choice reward and a more gratifying heritage in the LORD'S temple.
- For the fruit of noble struggles is a glorious one; and unfailing is the root of understanding.
- But the children of adulterers will remain without issue, and the progeny of an unlawful bed will disappear.
- For should they attain long life, they will be held in no esteem, and dishonored will their old age be at last;
- While should they die abruptly, they have no hope nor comfort in the day of scrutiny;
- for dire is the end of the wicked generation.
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1 [1-8] Verses frequently applied to the martyrs.
2  Offerings: the image is that of the holocaust, in which the victim is completely consumed by fire.
3  Visitation: God's loving judgment of those who have been faithful to him; the same word is used in Wisdom 14:11 for the punishment of the wicked at God's final judgment. Cf also Wisdom 3:13.
4  To match their thoughts: a fate as empty as that which they describe; cf Wisdom 2:1-5.
5  Visitation of souls: that is, the last judgment. Cf Wisdom 3:7-9.
6  Fidelity's choice reward: cf Isaiah 56:1-8. More gratifying: better than sons and daughters; cf Isaiah 56:5.
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