The reasoning of the impious (Wis 2:1-2:5)

“The ungodly reasoned unsoundly.

They say to themselves.

‘Our life is short.

Our life is sorrowful.

There is no remedy

When a life comes to an end.

No one has been known

To return from Hades.

We were born by mere chance.

Hereafter we shall be

As though we had never been.

The breath in our nostrils is smoke.

Reason is a spark kindled

By the beating of our hearts.

When it is extinguished,

The body will turn to ashes.

The spirit will dissolve

Like empty air.

Our name will be forgotten in time.

No one will remember our works.

Our life will pass away.

Like the traces of a cloud,

Our life will be scattered like mist

That is chased by the rays of the sun.

Our life will be overcome by its heat.

Our allotted time is

The passing of a shadow.

There is no return from our death.

Because it is sealed up.

No one turns back.’”

The ungodly or the impious sound a little like Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes with this emphasis on the vanity of life. This author calls their thinking unsound. We lead a short and sorrowful life (ὁ βίος ἡμῶν). There is no remedy when death comes. No one has ever returned from the grave. We were born by chance. When we are gone, it will be as if we never existed. Our breath is like smoke. Our reasoning stops when our heart stops, as our body (τὸ σῶμα) returns to ashes. Our spirit (τὸ πνεῦμα) also dissolves like empty air. Our names (τὸ ὄνομα ἡμῶν) will be forgotten as no one will remember our works (ἔργων ἡμῶν). We will pass away like a cloud or scattered mist that evaporates with heat. Our time on earth is like a passing shadow since there is no return from death. We are sealed up with death since no one returns.

David was in bad shape (Ps 31:9-31:10)

“Be gracious to me!

Yahweh!

I am in distress!

My eye wastes away from grief!

My soul wastes away from grief!

My body also wastes away from grief!

My life is spent with sorrow!

My years pass with sighing!

My strength fails.

Because of my misery,

My bones waste away.”

David wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him because he was in great distress. His eyes, soul, and body were wasting away in grief. He was living a sorrowful life as each year passed with sightings all the time. His strength was failing him because of his misery. His bones were wasting away. He was a “woe is me” kind of guy. He sounded a lot like Job.