1 For your incorruptible spirit is in all things.
2 Therefore you convict little by little those who fall from the right way,
and, putting them in remembrance by the things wherein they sin, you admonish them,
that escaping from their wickedness they may believe in you, O Lord.
3 For truly the old inhabitants of your holy land,
4 hating them because they practiced detestable works of enchantments and unholy rites—
5 merciless slaughters of children
and sacrificial banquets of men’s flesh and of blood—
6 allies in an impious fellowship,
and murderers of their own helpless babes,
it was your counsel to destroy by the hands of our fathers;
7 that the land which in your sight is most precious of all
might receive a worthy colony of God’s servants.* Or, children
8 Nevertheless you even spared these as men,
and you sent hornets† Or, wasps as forerunners of your army,
to cause them to perish little by little.
9 Not that you were unable to subdue the ungodly under the hand of the righteous in battle,
or by terrible beasts or by a stern word to make away with them at once,
10 but judging them little by little you gave them a chance to repent,
not being ignorant that their nature by birth was evil,
their wickedness inborn,
and that their manner of thought would never be changed.
11 For they were a cursed seed from the beginning.
It wasn’t through fear of any that you left them unpunished for their sins.
12 For who will say, “What have you done?”
Or “Who will withstand your judgment?”
Who will accuse you for the perishing of nations which you caused?
Or who will come and stand before you as an avenger for unrighteous men?
13 For there isn’t any God beside you that cares for all,
that you might show that you didn’t judge unrighteously.
14 No king or prince will be able to confront you
about those whom you have punished.
15 But being righteous, you rule all things righteously,
deeming it a thing alien from your power
to condemn one who doesn’t deserve to be punished.
16 For your strength is the source of righteousness,
and your sovereignty over all makes you to forbear all.
17 For when men don’t believe that you are perfect in power, you show your strength,
and in dealing with those who think this, you confuse their boldness.
18 But you, being sovereign in strength, judge in gentleness,
and with great forbearance you govern us;
for the power is yours whenever you desire it.
19 But you taught your people by such works as these,
how the righteous must be kind.
You made your sons to have good hope,
because you give repentance when men have sinned.
20 For if on those who were enemies of your servants‡ Or, children and deserving of death,
you took vengeance with so great deliberation and indulgence,
giving them times and opportunities when they might escape from their wickedness,
21 with how great care you judged your sons,
to whose fathers you gave oaths and covenants of good promises!
22 Therefore while you chasten us, you scourge our enemies ten thousand times more,
to the intent that we may ponder your goodness when we judge,
and when we are judged may look for mercy.
23 Therefore also the unrighteous that lived in a life of folly,
you tormented through their own abominations.
24 For truly they went astray very far in the ways of error,
Taking as gods those animals§ Gr. living creatures: and so elsewhere in this book. which even among their enemies were held in dishonor,
deceived like foolish babes.
25 Therefore, as to unreasoning children, you sent your judgment to mock them.
26 But those who would not be admonished by mild correction
will experience the deserved judgment of God.
27 For through the sufferings they were indignant of,
being punished in these creatures which they supposed to be gods,
they saw and recognized as the true God him whom they previously refused to know.
Therefore also the result of extreme condemnation came upon them.
*12:7 Or, children
†12:8 Or, wasps
‡12:20 Or, children
§12:24 Gr. living creatures: and so elsewhere in this book.