ḤAḴMAH 14 (Wisdom 14)

1 Again, one preparing himself to sail,
And about to pass through the raging waves,
Calls upon a piece of wood more rotten than the vessel that carries him.

2 For truly this was planned by desire for gain,
And the workman built it by his skill.

3 But Your providence, O Father, guides it;
For You have made a path in the sea, and a safe way in the waves;

4 Showing that You save from every danger:
Even though a man went to sea without regard.

5 Nevertheless You do not want that the works of Your wisdom should be idle,
And therefore men committing their lives to a small piece of wood,
And passing the rough sea in a weak vessel are saved.

6 For also in ages past, when the proud giants perished,
The expectancy of the world governed by Your hand escaped in a weak vessel,
And left a seed of generation to all ages.

7 For baruḵ is the wood by which righteousness comes.

8 But an idol made with hands is cursed, as well as he who made it;
He, because he made it;
And it, because, being corruptible, it was called a mighty one.

9 For the wicked and his wickedness alike are both hateful to Elohim.

10 For that which is made shall be punished together with he who made it.

11 Therefore there shall even be a reckoning upon the idols of the gentiles:
For in the creation of Elohim they have become an abomination,
And stumbling-blocks to the beings of men,
And a snare to the feet of the unwise.

12 For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual whoring,
And the creation of them the corruption of life.

13 For neither were they from the beginning,
Nor shall they be forever.

14 For by the conceit of men they entered into the world,
And therefore shall they come quickly to an end.

15 For a father afflicted with untimely mourning,
When he has made an image of his child soon taken away,
Now esteemed him as a mighty one, which was then a dead one,
And delivered to those beneath him ceremonies and offerings.

16 Thus over time an evil custom grew strong being kept as a law,
And graven images were worshipped by the commands of sovereigns.

17 When men could not esteem in presence, because they dwelt far away,
They took the likeness of his image from afar,
And made an exact likeness of a sovereign whom they esteemed,
So that through their ardour they might flatter he who was absent, as if he were present.

18 The skill of the craftsman also helped to impel the ignorant to increased worship.

19 For he, perhaps willing to please one in authority,
Forced all his skill to make the likeness in the best fashion.

20 And so the multitude, attracted by the appeal of the work,
Accepted him now as a mighty one,
Who a little before was only esteemed.

21 And this was an occasion to deceive the world:
For men, serving either calamity or authority,
Ascribed unto stones and stocks the Name not to be shared.

22 And this was not enough for them, that they strayed in the knowledge of Elohim;
But while they lived in the great struggle of ignorance,
Those great calamities they called peace.

23 For while they slew their children in offerings,
Or performed secret ceremonies, or held wild festivals of strange rituals;

24 No longer did they keep lives nor marriages undefiled;
But each one slew another in betrayal, or grieved him through adultery.

25 So that there ruled in all men without exception:
Blood, murder, theft, and hypocrisy,
Corruption, unbelief, confusion, falsehood,

26 Distress of good men, forgetfulness of good, defilement of beings,
Changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness.

27 For the worshipping of idols not to be named
Is the beginning, the cause, and the end of all evil.

28 For either they rave when they exult, or prophesy lies,
Or live unrighteously,
Or else readily contradict themselves.

29 For because their trust is in idols, which have no life;
Though they swear falsely, yet they expect no harm.

30 However for both causes they shall be rightly punished:
Both because they did not think well of Elohim,
Giving heed to idols, and also unrighteously swore in deceit, Despising qodeshah.

31 For it is not the power of them by whom they swear:
But it is the righteous vengeance of sinners,
That always punishes the offense of the wicked.