1 For they have said, reasoning with themselves incorrectly: “Our lifetime is brief and tedious, and there is no relief within the limits of man, and no one is acknowledged to have returned from the dead.
2 For we are born from nothing, and after this we will be as if we had not been, because the breath in our nostrils is like smoke, and conversation sends out sparks from the stirring of our heart;
3 therefore, when it is extinguished, our body will be ashes, and our spirit will be diffused like a soft breeze, and our life will pass away like the wisp of a cloud, just as a mist is dissolved when it is driven away by the rays of the sun and overpowered by its heat.
4 And in time our name will surrender to oblivion, and no one will have remembrance of our works.
5 For our time is like the passing of a shadow, and nothing can reverse our end, for it is signed and sealed, and cannot be returned.
6 Therefore, hurry, let us enjoy the good things of the present time, and let us quickly use up passing things, just as in youth.
7 Let us indulge ourselves with costly wine and ointments, and let no flower of youth pass us by.
8 Let us surround ourselves with rosebuds before they wither; let no meadow be left untouched by our indulgence.
9 Let no one among us be exempt from our indulgence. Let us leave behind tokens of enjoyment everywhere, for this is our portion, and this is fate.
10 Let us oppress the poor just man, and not spare the widow, nor respect the aged grey hairs of elders.
11 But let our strength be the law of justice, for what is weak is found to be useless.
12 Therefore, let us encircle the just, because he is useless to us, and he is against our works, and he reproaches us with our legal offenses, and makes known to us the sins of our way of life.
13 He promises that he has the knowledge of God and he calls himself the son of God.
14 He was made among us to expose our very thoughts.
15 He is grievous for us even to behold, for his life is unlike other men’s lives, and immutable are his ways.
16 It is as if we are considered by him to be insignificant, and he abstains from our ways as from filth; he prefers the newly justified, and he glories that he has God for his father.
17 Let us see, then, if his words are true, and let us test what will happen to him, and then we will know what his end will be.
18 For if he is the true son of God, he will receive him and deliver him from the hands of his adversaries.
19 Let us examine him with insult and torture, that we may know his reverence and try his patience.
20 Let us condemn him to a most shameful death, for, according to his own words, God will care for him.”
21 These things they thought, and they were mistaken, for their own malice blinded them.
22 And they were ignorant of the mysteries of God; they neither hoped for the reward of justice, nor judged the value of holy souls.
23 For God created man to be immortal, and he made him in the image of his own likeness.
24 But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
25 yet they imitate him, who are from his side.