Here we continue the book of Wisdom, picking up where Chapter 10 left off, discussing the departure of Israel from Egypt.
Wisdom prospered their works by the hand of a holy prophet. They journeyed through an uninhabited wilderness, and pitched their tents in untrodden places. They withstood their enemies and fought off their foes. When they thirsted they called upon thee, and water was given them out of flinty rock, and slaking of thirst from hard stone.
For through the very things by which their enemies were punished, they themselves received benefit in their need. Instead of the fountain of an ever-flowing river, stirred up and defiled with blood in rebuke for the decree to slay the infants, thou gavest them abundant water unexpectedly, showing by their thirst at that time how thou didst punish their enemies. For when they were tried, though they were being disciplined in mercy, they learned how the ungodly were tormented when judged in wrath.
I love this part and the next. By the things the Egyptians were punished, Israel gained rewards. The sins of Egypt dictated their punishments.
For thou didst test them as a father does in warning, but thou didst examine the ungodly as a stern king does in condemnation. Whether absent or present, they were equally distressed, for a twofold grief possessed them, and a groaning at the memory of what had occurred. For when they heard that through their own punishments the righteous had received benefit, they perceived it was the Lord's doing. For though they had mockingly rejected him who long before had been cast out and exposed, at the end of the events they marveled at him, for their thirst was not like that of the righteous.
In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts, which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals, thou didst send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them, that they might learn that one is punished by the very things by which he sins. For thy all-powerful hand, which created the world out of formless matter, did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions, or newly created unknown beasts full of rage, or such as breathe out fiery breath, or belch forth a thick pall of smoke, or flash terrible sparks from their eyes; not only could their damage exterminate men, but the mere sight of them could kill by fright.
Even apart from these, men could fall at a single breath when pursued by justice and scattered by the breath of thy power. But thou hast arranged all things by measure and number and weight. For it is always in thy power to show great strength, and who can withstand the might of thy arm?
Because the whole world before thee is like a speck that tips the scales, and like a drop of morning dew that falls upon the ground. But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things, and thou dost overlook men's sins, that they may repent. For thou lovest all things that exist, and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made, for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it.
How would anything have endured if thou hadst not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by thee have been preserved? Thou sparest all things, for they are thine, O Lord who lovest the living.