their ways, their reasoning about life, and their destinies. Elements of the section are familiar from popular stories about
the persecution and vindication of a just Israelite living in a foreign land (such as Gen 37–50; Esth 1–8; Dan 1–6
Wisdom and righteousness lead to immortality.
The address to Gentile rulers is part of the book's literary fiction (cf. 6.1
); the intended readers are Jews governed by such rulers. With sincerity of heart,
see 6.17; 1 Chr 29.17; Tob 14.7–9
A kindly spirit, literally“a philanthropic spirit,” i.e., loving humankind (cf. 7.22–23; 12.19; 15.1
Grumbling, referring especially to Israel's faithless complaints against God in Ex 15–17; Num 11; 14; 16; 20–21
Tongue, counsel on the vices of human speech is ubiquitous in wisdom literature (see Prov 2.12; 4.24; 6.12; 10.11,18–19,31–32; 12.6; 26.28; Sir 9.18; 19.15–16; 20.24–26; 26.5–6; 28.12–26; Jas 3.1–12
Hades, the abode of the dead in Greek tradition; comparable to Hebrew“Sheol.”
Immortality is not an innate condition of the soul but God's gift to the righteous (see Philo, On the Confusion of Tongues 149).
The passage's style resembles that of the Greco‐Roman diatribe, which often included argumentative exchanges with a fictional
adversary. Here the ungodly are made to explain their actions and motives to themselves (
For the covenant with death,
cf. Isa 28.15
This view of death is reflected also in Job 7.9–10; 14.1–2; Eccl 2.14,16,24; 3.12,19; 6.12; 9.2,7–9
In the reasoning of the ungodly, the threat of death warrants sensuality (see Isa 22.13
). In Eccl 9.7
enjoyment of pleasure is recommended as a proper response to life under the shadow of death.
The wicked are misled by an irrational antipathy for the righteous and the weak, persecuting those who call God their father.
Knowledge of God, a gift of wisdom illuminating the path to immortality (
6.22; 7.12,17; 8.4,9; 10.10; 15.2–3; 18.6
). Conversely, the wicked refuse to know God (
2.22; 12.27; 13.1,9; 14.22; 15.11; 16.16
Cf. Gen 37.20
The ungodly show themselves to be ignorant of God's secret purposes (
Incorruption, i.e., immortality, explaining the ultimate purpose of human existence (see 3.4n.; 1 Cor 15.42–54; 1 Pet 1.4,23
; Philo, Questions on Genesis
Devil's envy, referring to the temptation story of Gen 3.1–24
; 2 Enoch
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