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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 2

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1They said to themselves in their deluded way: ‘Our life is short and full of trouble, and when a person comes to the end there is no remedy; no one has been known to return from the grave. 2By mere chance were we born, and afterwards we shall be as though we had never existed, for the breath in our nostrils is but a wisp of smoke; our reason is a mere spark kept alive by the beating of our hearts, 3and when that goes out, our body will turn to ashes and the breath of our life disperse like empty air. 4With the passing of time our names will be forgotten, and no one will remember anything we did. Our life will vanish like the last vestige of a cloud; and as a mist is chased away by the sun's rays and overborne by its heat, so too will life be dispersed. 5A fleeting shadow — such is our life, and there is no postponement of our end. Man's fate is sealed: no one returns.

6‘Come then, let us enjoy the good things while we can and, with all the eagerness of youth, make full use of the creation. 7Let us have costly wines and perfumes to our heart's content, and let no flower of spring escape us. 8Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither. 9Let none of us fail to share in the good things that are ours; let us leave behind on every side traces of our revelry. This is the life for us, this our birthright.

10‘Down with the poor and honest man! Let us show no mercy to the widow, no reverence to the grey hairs of old age. 11For us let might be right! Weakness is proved to be good for nothing. 12Let us set a trap for the just man; he stands in our way, a check to us at every turn; he girds at us as breakers of the law, and calls us traitors to our upbringing. 13He knows God, so he says; he styles himself “child a 2:13 child: or servant. of the Lord”. 14He is a living condemnation of all our way of thinking. 15The very sight of him is an affliction to us, because his life is not like other people's, and the paths he follows are quite different. 16He rejects us like base coin, and avoids us and our ways as if we were filth; he says that the just die happy, and boasts that God is his father. 17Let us test the truth of his claim, let us see what will happen to him in the end; 18for if the just man is God's son, God will stretch out a hand to him and save him from the clutches of his enemies. 19Insult and torture are the means to put him to the test, to measure his forbearance and learn how long his patience lasts. 20Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, if what he says is true, he will have a protector.’

21So they argued, and how wrong they were! Blinded by their own malevolence, 22they failed to understand God's hidden plan; they never expected that holiness of life would have its recompense, never thought that innocence would have its reward. 23But God created man imperishable, and made him the image of his own eternal self; 24it was the devil's spite that brought death into the world, and the experience of it is reserved for those who take his side.

Notes:

a 2:13 child: or servant.

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