The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 2


they who said among themselves, thinking not aright: "Brief and troublous is our lifetime; neither is there any remedy for man's dying, nor is anyone known to have come back from the nether world.


For haphazard were we born, and hereafter we shall be as though we had not been; Because the breath in our nostrils is a smoke and reason is a spark at the beating of our hearts,


And when this is quenched, our body will be ashes and our spirit will be poured abroad like unresisting air.


Even our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will recall our deeds. So our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and will be dispersed like a mist pursued by the sun's rays and overpowered by its heat.


For our lifetime is the passing of a shadow; and our dying cannot be deferred because it is fixed with a seal; and no one returns.


Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are real, and use the freshness of creation avidly.


Let us have our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no springtime blossom pass us by;


let us crown ourselves with rosebuds ere they wither.


1 Let no meadow be free from our wantonness; everywhere let us leave tokens of our rejoicing, for this our portion is, and this our lot.


Let us oppress the needy just man; let us neither spare the widow nor revere the old man for his hair grown white with time.


But let our strength be our norm of justice; for weakness proves itself useless.


2 3 Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, Reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.


He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD.


To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us,


Because his life is not like other men's, and different are his ways.


He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father.


Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him.


For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.


With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.


Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him."


These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them,


And they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls' reward.


For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.


But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it.



1 [9] Let no meadow . . . wantonness: the extant Greek Mss have "Let none of us be without part in our wanton doings." Most Latin Mss have both forms of this line.

2 [12-20] Often applied to the Passion of our Lord; many have understood these verses as a direct prophecy. Cf Matthew 27:41-44

3 [12] Law: the law of Moses; training has the same meaning.

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