The traceless end of the unjust (Wis 5:9-5:13)

“All those things have vanished

Like a shadow.

They have vanished

Like a rumor that passes by.

They are

Like a ship that sails through the billowy water.

When it has passed

No trace can be found.

There is no track of its keel in the waves.

When a bird flies through the air,

No evidence of its passage is found.

The light air,

Lashed by the beat of its pinions,

Pierced by the force of its rushing flight,

Is traversed

By the movement of its wings.

Afterward no sign of its coming is found there.

When an arrow is shot at a target,

The air,

Thus divided,

Comes together at once.

Thus no one knows its pathway.

So we also,

As soon as we were born,

Ceased to be.

We had no sign of virtue to show.

But we were consumed in our wickedness.”

The ungodly and unjust have disappeared like a shadow. Here now, but gone when the sun stops shining. They are like a rumor that vanishes almost instantaneously. They are like a ship going in the sea. Once it is gone, there is no way to trace its path. The same is true on the bird in the air. Once gone, you are never sure of its precise path. The same goes for an arrow shot in the air. No one can tell its path. However, today we do have technology that can trace ships, birds, and arrows. So what? These unjust ones declared that they ceased to exist the day they were born, because they had no virtue. Thus they were consumed with wickedness.

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Virtue (Wis 4:1-4:2)

“Childlessness is better

With virtue.

In the memory of virtue

Is immortality.

Because it is known

By God.

It is known

By mortals.

When it is present,

People imitate it.

They long for it

When it has gone.

Throughout all time

It marches

Crowned in triumph.

It is the victor in the contest for prizes

That are undefiled.”

Once again, we return to the concept of childless people who are virtuous. The memory of their virtues (ἀρετῆς) will live on in immortality (ἀθανασία) before God (παρὰ Θεῷ) and among humans (παρὰ ἀνθρώποις). People will imitate virtue because they long for it. In fact, when it is gone, it still marches with a crown, just like in the Greek Olympic Games. They would wear this crown of virtue, since they were undefiled.

Money (Prov 11:15-11:19)

“To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble.

But there is safety in refusing to loan money.

A gracious woman gets honor.

But she who hates virtue is covered with shame.

The timid become destitute.

But the aggressive gain riches.

Those who are kind

Reward themselves.

But the cruel do themselves harm.

The wicked earn no real gain.

But those who sow righteousness

Get a true reward.

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live.

But whoever pursues evil will die.”

There was no safely in guaranteeing loans for strangers. A gracious woman has great honor, while those without virtue are covered in shame. The timid will become destitute, while the aggressive will get rich. The kind people take care of themselves, while the cruel people harm themselves. The wicked never earn any real gain in life. However, those who sow in righteousness will get a true reward. Those who are steadfast in righteousness will live, while the pursuers of evil will die. Money has to be used correctly.