The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 3


1 But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.


They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction


and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.


For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality;


Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.


2 As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.


3 In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;


They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever.


Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.


4 But the wicked shall receive a punishment to match their thoughts, since they neglected justice and forsook the LORD.


For he who despises wisdom and instruction is doomed. Vain is their hope, fruitless are their labors, and worthless are their works.


Their wives are foolish and their children wicked; accursed is their brood.


5 Yes, blessed is she who, childless and undefiled, knew not transgression of the marriage bed; she shall bear fruit at the visitation of souls.


6 So also the eunuch whose hand wrought no misdeed, who held no wicked thoughts against the LORD - For he shall be given fidelity's choice reward and a more gratifying heritage in the LORD'S temple.


For the fruit of noble struggles is a glorious one; and unfailing is the root of understanding.


But the children of adulterers will remain without issue, and the progeny of an unlawful bed will disappear.


For should they attain long life, they will be held in no esteem, and dishonored will their old age be at last;


While should they die abruptly, they have no hope nor comfort in the day of scrutiny;


for dire is the end of the wicked generation.



1 [1-8] Verses frequently applied to the martyrs.

2 [6] Offerings: the image is that of the holocaust, in which the victim is completely consumed by fire.

3 [7] Visitation: God's loving judgment of those who have been faithful to him; the same word is used in Wisdom 14:11 for the punishment of the wicked at God's final judgment. Cf also Wisdom 3:13.

4 [10] To match their thoughts: a fate as empty as that which they describe; cf Wisdom 2:1-5.

5 [13] Visitation of souls: that is, the last judgment. Cf Wisdom 3:7-9.

6 [14] Fidelity's choice reward: cf Isaiah 56:1-8. More gratifying: better than sons and daughters; cf Isaiah 56:5.

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