God's Punishment of Sinners
1Do not desire a multitude of useless children,
nor rejoice in ungodly sons.
2If they multiply, do not rejoice in them,
unless the fear of the Lord is in them.
3Do not trust in their survival,
and do not rely on their multitude;
for one is better than a thousand,a
and to die childless is better than to have ungodly children.
4For through one man of understanding a city will be filled with people,
but through a tribe of lawless men it will be made desolate.
5Many such things my eye has seen,
and my ear has heard things more striking than these.
6In an assembly of sinners a fire will be kindled,
and in a disobedient nation wrath was kindled.
7He was not propitiated for the ancient giants
who revolted in their might.
8He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,
whom he loathed on account of their insolence.
9He showed no pity for a nation devoted to destruction,
for those destroyed in their sins;
10nor for the six hundred thousand men on foot,
who rebelliously assembled in their stubbornness.
11Even if there is only one stiff-necked person,
it will be a wonder if he remains unpunished.
For mercy and wrath are with the Lord;b
he is mighty to forgive, and he pours out wrath.
12As great as his mercy, so great is also his reproof;
he judges a man according to his deeds.
13The sinner will not escape with his plunder,
and the patience of the godly will not be frustrated.
14He will make room for every act of mercy;
every one will receive in accordance with his deeds.c
17Do not say, "I shall be hidden from the Lord,
and who from on high will remember me?
Among so many people I shall not be known,
for what is my soul in the boundless creation?
18Behold, heaven and the highest heaven,
the abyss and the earth, will tremble at his visitation.
19The mountains also and the foundations of the earth
shake with trembling when he looks upon them.
20And no mind will reflect on this.
Who will ponder his ways?
21Like a tempest which no man can see,
so most of his works are concealed.
22Who will announce his acts of justice?
Or who will await them? For the covenant is far off."
23This is what one devoid of understanding thinks;
a senseless and misguided man thinks foolishly.
God's Wisdom Seen in Creation
24Listen to me, my son, and acquire knowledge,
and pay close attention to my words.
25I will impart instruction by weight,
and declare knowledge accurately.
26The works of the Lord have existed from the beginning by his creation,d
and when he made them, he determined their divisions.
27He arranged his works in an eternal order,
they neither hunger nor grow weary,
and they do not cease from their labors.
28They do not crowd one another aside,
and they will never disobey his word.
29After this the Lord looked upon the earth,
and filled it with his good things;
30with all kinds of living beings he covered its surface,
and to it they return.