Difference between Egypt and Israel (Wis 16:1-16:4)

“Therefore those people were deservedly punished

Through such creatures.

They were tormented by a multitude of animals.

Instead of this punishment,

You allowed kindness to your people.

You prepared quails to eat.

This was a delicacy to satisfy

The desire of their appetite.

Thus those people,

When they desired food,

Might lose the least remnant of their appetite.

Thus the odious creatures were sent to them.

Meanwhile your people,

After suffering want a short time,

Might partake of delicacies.

It was necessary

That upon those oppressors

Inescapable want should come.

At the same time

To these others,

It was merely shown

How their enemies were being tormented.”

These last few chapters will continue the parallels between Egypt and Israel, without explicitly mentioning them by name. The Egyptians are referred to as “those people or oppressors (οἱ ἐχθροὶ),” while the Israelites are called “your people (τὸν λαόν σου).” Those people were punished (ἐβασανίζοντο) with a multitude of animals. Odious creatures were sent to them. On the other hand, God showed kindness to his people. He sent quails for them to eat as in Numbers, chapter 11. Thus the Israelites had delicacies, while the Egyptians lost their appetite in their torments.

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