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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 16

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God’s Punishment of Sinners*

1Desire not a brood of worthless children, nor rejoice in wicked offspring. 2Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the LORD. 3Count not on their length of life, g 3f: Wis 4, 1f . have no hope in their future. For one can be better than a thousand; rather die childless than have godless children! 4Through one wise man can a city be peopled; through a clan of rebels it becomes desolate. 5Many such things has my eye seen, even more than these has my ear heard. 6Against a sinful band fire is enkindled, h Sir 21, 9 . upon a godless people wrath flames out.* 7He forgave not the leaders of old* who rebelled long ago in their might; i Gn 6, 4; Wis 14, 6; Bar 3, 26ff . 8He spared not the neighbors of Lot j Gn 19, 24ff . whom he detested for their pride;* 9Nor did he spare the doomed people* who were uprooted because of their sin; 10Nor the six hundred thousand foot soldiers k Nm 14, 29 . who perished for the impiety of their hearts.* 11And had there been but one stiffnecked man, it were a wonder had he gone unpunished. For mercy and anger alike are with him who remits and forgives, though on the wicked alights his wrath. 12Great as his mercy is his punishment; he judges men, each according to his deeds. 13A criminal does not escape with his plunder; a just man’s hope God does not leave unfulfilled. 14Whoever does good has his reward, which each receives according to his deeds. 15Say not: “I am hidden from God; in heaven who remembers me? Among so many people I cannot be known; what am I in the world of spirits? 16Behold, the heavens, the heaven of heavens, the earth and the abyss tremble at his visitation; 17The roots of the mountains, the earth’s foundations, at his mere glance, quiver and quake. 18Of me, therefore, he will take no thought; with my ways who will concern himself? 19If I sin, no eye will see me; if all in secret I am disloyal, who is to know? l Sir 23, 18 . 20Who tells him of just deeds and what could I expect for doing my duty?” 21Such are the thoughts of senseless men, which only the foolish knave will think.

Divine Wisdom Seen in Creation*

22Hearken to me, my son, take my advice, apply your mind to my words, 23While I propose measured wisdom, and impart accurate knowledge. 24When at the first God created his works and, as he made them, assigned their tasks, m Gn 1, 4ff . 25He ordered for all time what they were to do and their domains from generation to generation. They were not to hunger, nor grow weary, nor ever cease from their tasks. 26Not one should ever crowd its neighbor, nor should they ever disobey his word. 27Then the LORD looked upon the earth, and filled it with his blessings. n Gn 1, 20ff . 28Its surface he covered with all manner of life which must return into it again.

Notes:

g: 3f: Wis 4, 1f .

h: Sir 21, 9 .

i: Gn 6, 4; Wis 14, 6; Bar 3, 26ff .

j: Gn 19, 24ff .

k: Nm 14, 29 .

l: Sir 23, 18 .

m: Gn 1, 4ff .

n: Gn 1, 20ff .

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