ḤAḴMAH 18 (Wisdom 18)

1 Nevertheless, your qodeshim had a very great light,
Whose voice they heard, but did not see their shape,
They also counted them baruḵ, for they had not likewise suffered.

2 And because of this, they did not harm those by whom they had been wronged before, they thanked them,
And pleaded for their forgiveness that they had been enemies.

3 Instead of this You gave them a burning pillar of fire,
Both to be a guide for the unknown journey,
And a harmless sun to comfort them in esteem.

4 For they deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness,
Who had kept Your sons imprisoned,
By whom the incorruptible light of the Law was to be given unto the world.

5 And when they had determined to slay the infants of the qodeshim,
One child being thrown forth, but saved,
To reprove them, You took away the multitude of their children,
And destroyed them altogether in a mighty flood.

6 Of that night our fathers were informed before,
That knowing with certainty unto what promises they had trusted,
They might afterwards be of good courage.

7 So both the salvation of the righteous,
And destruction of their enemies was accepted by Your people.

8 For by which You punished our adversaries,
By the same You esteemed us, whom You had called.

9 For the righteous children of good men made offerings secretly,
And with one accord made a qodesh law,
That the qodeshim should likewise be partakers of the same good and evil,
The fathers now singing out the songs of praise.

10 But on the other side was the sound of a despairing cry of the enemies,
And a grievous noise was spread abroad for children that were bewailed.

11 The master and the servant were punished after one manner;
And the sovereign suffered the same as the common person.

12 So altogether they had innumerable dead with one kind of death;
Nor were the living sufficient to bury them;
For in one moment the most noble of their offspring was destroyed.

13 For although they would not believe by reason of their magic;
Upon the destruction of the firstborn, they acknowledged these people to be the sons of Elohim.

14 For while all was in quiet silence,
And that night was in the midst of its swift course,

15 Your mighty Word leaped out of the shamayim from Your royal throne,
As a fierce man of battle into the midst of a land of destruction,

16 And brought Your sincere Command as a sharp sword,
And stood filling all with death;
And it touched the shamayim, but stood upon the earth.

17 Then suddenly visions of horrible dreams troubled them greatly.
And fears not sought for came upon them.

18 And one thrown here, and another there half dead,
Revealed the cause of his death.

19 For the dreams that troubled them forewarned this,
Lest they should perish, and not know why they were afflicted.

20 Indeed, the taste of death touched the righteous also,
And there was a destruction of the multitude in the wilderness;
But the wrath did not endure long.

21 For then a blameless man hurried,
And stood forth to defend them;
And bringing the shield of his own service,
Even prayer, and the atonement of incense,
Opposed the wrath, and brought the calamity to an end,
Declaring that he was Your servant.

22 So he overcame the destroyer, not with strength of body,
Nor with force of arms,
But with a word subdued He who punished,
Declaring the oaths and Covenants made with the fathers.

23 For when the dead had fallen down in heaps one upon another,
Standing between, he held back the wrath,
And parted the way to the living.

24 For in the long garment was the whole world,
And in the four rows of the stones was engraved the esteem of the fathers,
And Your excellence upon the turban of his head.

25 To these the destroyer yielded, and feared;
For it was enough that they only tasted the wrath.