16Do not desire a multitude of worthless* children,
and do not rejoice in ungodly offspring.
2 If they multiply, do not rejoice in them,
unless the fear of the Lord is in them.
3 Do not trust in their survival,
or rely on their numbers;*
for one can be better than a thousand,
and to die childless is better than to have ungodly children.
4 For through one intelligent person a city can be filled with people,
but through a clan of outlaws it becomes desolate.
5 Many such things my eye has seen,
and my ear has heard things more striking than these.
6 In an assembly of sinners a fire is kindled,
and in a disobedient nation wrath blazes up.
7 He did not forgive the ancient giants
who revolted in their might.
8 He did not spare the neighbours of Lot,
whom he loathed on account of their arrogance.
9 He showed no pity on the doomed nation,
on those dispossessed because of their sins;*
10 or on the six hundred thousand foot-soldiers
who assembled in their stubbornness.*
11 Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,
it would be a wonder if he remained unpunished.
For mercy and wrath are with the Lord;*
he is mighty to forgivebut he also pours out wrath.
12 Great as is his mercy, so also is his chastisement;
he judges a person according to his or her deeds.
13 The sinner will not escape with plunder,
and the patience of the godly will not be frustrated.
14 He makes room for every act of mercy;
everyone receives in accordance with his or her deeds.*
17 Do not say, I am hidden from the Lord,
and who from on high has me in mind?
Among so many people I am unknown,
for what am I in a boundless creation?
18 Lo, heaven and the highest heaven,
the abyss and the earth, tremble at his visitation!*
19 The very mountains and the foundations of the earth
quiver and quake when he looks upon them.
20 But no human mind can grasp this,
and who can comprehend his ways?
21 Like a tempest that no one can see,
so most of his works are concealed.*
22 Who is to announce his acts of justice?
Or who can await them? For his decree* is far off.*
23 Such are the thoughts of one devoid of understanding;
a senseless and misguided person thinks foolishly.
24 Listen to me, my child, and acquire knowledge,
and pay close attention to my words.
25 I will impart discipline precisely*
and declare knowledge accurately.
26 When the Lord created* his works from the beginning,
and, in making them, determined their boundaries,
27 he arranged his works in an eternal order,
and their dominion* for all generations.
They neither hunger nor grow weary,
and they do not abandon their tasks.
28 They do not crowd one another,
and they never disobey his word.
29 Then the Lord looked upon the earth,
and filled it with his good things.
30 With all kinds of living beings he covered its surface,
and into it they must return.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011