“In return for their foolish thoughts,
In return for their wicked thoughts,
Which led them astray
To worship irrational serpents,
To worship worthless animals,
You sent upon them
A multitude of irrational creatures
To punish them.
Thus they might learn
That one is punished
By the very things
By which one sins.
Your all-powerful hand,
Which created the world out of formless matter,
Did not lack the means to send upon them
A multitude of bears,
Or bold lions,
Or newly created unknown beasts full of rage,
Or such as breathe out fiery breath,
Or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,
Or flash terrible sparks from their eyes.
Not only could the harm they did destroy people,
But the mere sight of them could kill by fright.
Even apart from these,
People could fall at a single breath
When pursued by justice.
They could be scattered by the breath of your power.
But you have arranged all things by measure.
You have arranged all things by number.
You have arranged all things by weight.”
The divine plague punishments could have been much worse for the Egyptians in Exodus, chapters 9-11. In fact, this author implies that God was mild with his punishments because the Egyptians had foolish and wicked thoughts that led them to worship serpents and animals. God very kindly sent them only irrational creatures like frogs, mosquitoes, flies, and gnats to punish them. He could have sent them a multitude of bears or bold lions. He might have sent them unknown beasts full of rage that would breathe out fire and belch out smoke, with flashing terrible sparks in their eyes that could have killed them with fright. God could have made them fall with a single breath or scattered them through the world, but he carefully arranged all this according to his measure, number, and weight.