The serpents (Wis 16:10-16:12)

“But your children were not conquered

Even by the fangs of venomous serpents.

Your mercy came to their help.

You healed them.

To remind them of your oracles

They were bitten.

But then they were quickly delivered.

Thus they would not fall into deep forgetfulness.

They would not become unresponsive to your kindness.

Herbs did not cure them.

Poultice did not cure them.

But it was your word,

O Lord!

That heals all people.”

This author continued with the comparison of the Israelites in the wilderness with the deadly serpents the Egyptians endured. In a simplification of the story in Numbers, chapter 21, the children or sons of God (δὲ υἱούς σου) were not conquered by the serpents. God’s mercy came to help them. He healed them. He reminded them of his oracles and words (λογίων σου). Although bitten, they were healed so that they would not fall into a deep forgetfulness. It was not herbs or suave lotions applied to the bite that cured them. It was only the word of the Lord (ὁ σός, Κύριε, λόγος) that healed them.

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