December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Book of Wisdom
- Hear, therefore, kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth's expanse!
- Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude and lord it over throngs of peoples!
- Because authority was given you by the LORD and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels!
- 1 Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God,
- Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted-
- For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
- For the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike;
- but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
- To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.
- 2 For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy, and those learned in them will have ready a response.
- Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed.
- Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.
- She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men's desire;
- he who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate.
- For taking thought of her is the perfection of prudence, and he who for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care;
- Because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.
- For the first step toward discipline is a very earnest desire for her; then, care for discipline is love of her;
- love means the keeping of her laws; To observe her laws is the basis for incorruptibility;
- and incorruptibility makes one close to God;
- thus the desire for Wisdom leads up to a kingdom.
- If, then, you find pleasure in throne and scepter, you princes of the peoples, honor Wisdom, that you may reign as kings forever.
- Now what wisdom is, and how she came to be I shall relate; and I shall hide no secrets from you, But from the very beginning I shall search out and bring to light knowledge of her, nor shall I diverge from the truth.
- Neither shall I admit consuming jealousy to my company, because that can have no fellowship with Wisdom.
- A great number of wise men is the safety of the world, and a prudent king, the stability of his people;
- so take instruction from my words, to your profit.
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1  Law: that of Moses; cf Wisdom 6:10; 2:12.
2  Response: a suitable plea before the great Judge. Cf Proverb 22:21; Job 31:14; Hebrews 2:1; Sirach 8:9.
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