CHAPTER 4 4 1Better is childlessness with virtue; for immortal is the memory of virtue, acknowledged both by God and human beings. 2When it is present people imitate it, and they long for it when it is gone; Forever it marches crowned in triumph, victorious in unsullied deeds of valor. 3But the numerous progeny of the wicked shall be of no avail; their spurious offshoots shall not strike deep root nor take firm hold. 4For even though their branches flourish for a time, they are unsteady and shall be rocked by the wind and, by the violence of the winds, uprooted; 5Their twigs shall be broken off untimely, their fruit useless, unripe for eating, fit for nothing. 6For children born of lawless unions give evidence of the wickedness of their parents, when they are examined. C. ON EARLY DEATH[X] 7But the righteous one, though he die early, shall be at rest. 8For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time, nor can it be measured in terms of years. 9Rather, understanding passes for gray hair, and an unsullied life is the attainment of old age. 10[Y] The one who pleased God was loved, living among sinners, was transported— 11Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind or deceit beguile his soul; 12For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind. 13Having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; 14for his soul was pleasing to the LORD, therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness. But the people saw and did not understand, nor did they take that consideration into account.[Z] 16Yes, the righteous one who has died will condemn the sinful who live; And youth, swiftly completed, will condemn the many years of the unrighteous who have grown old. 17For they will see the death of the wise one and will not understand what the LORD intended, or why he kept him safe. 18They will see, and hold him in contempt; but the LORD will laugh them to scorn. 19And they shall afterward become dishonored corpses and an unceasing mockery among the dead. For he shall strike them down speechless and prostrate and rock them to their foundations; They shall be utterly laid waste and shall be in grief and their memory shall perish. The Judgment of the Wicked 20Fearful shall they come, at the counting up of their sins, and their lawless deeds shall convict them to their face.
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