1 But for your holy ones there was great light. Their enemies, hearing their voice but seeing not their form, counted it a happy thing that they too had suffered,
2 fet for that they do not hurt them, though wronged by them before, they are thankful; and because they had been at variance with them, they begged for pardon.
3 Whereas you provided a burning pillar of fire, to be a guide for your people’s unknown journey, and a harmless sun for their glorious exile.
4 For the Egyptians well deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned by darkness, they who had imprisoned your children, through whom the incorruptible light of the law was to be given to the race of men.
5 After they had taken counsel to kill the babes of the holy ones, and when a single child had been abandoned and saved to convict them of their sin, you took away from them their multitude of children, and destroyed all their army together in a mighty flood.
6 Our fathers were made aware of that night beforehand, that, having sure knowledge, they might be cheered by the oaths which they had trusted.
7 Salvation of the righteous and destruction of the enemies was expected by your people.
8 For as you took vengeance on the adversaries, by the same means, calling us to yourself, you glorified us.
9 For holy children of good men offered sacrifice in secret, and with one consent they took upon themselves the covenant of the divine law, that they would partake alike in the same good things and the same perils, the fathers already leading the sacred songs of praise.
10 But the discordant cry of the enemies echoed back, and a pitiful voice of lamentation for children was spread abroad.
11 Both servant and master were punished with the same just doom, and the commoner suffering the same as king;
12 Yes, they all together, under one form of death, had corpses without number. For the living were not sufficient even to bury them, Since at a single stroke, their most cherished offspring was consumed.
13 For while they were disbelieving all things by reason of the enchantments, upon the destruction of the firstborn they confessed the people to be God’s son.
14 For while peaceful silence wrapped all things, and night in her own swiftness was in mid course,
15 your all-powerful word leaped from heaven out of the royal thrones, a stern warrior, into the midst of the doomed land,
16 bearing as a sharp sword your authentic commandment, and standing, it filled all things with death, and while it touched the heaven it stood upon the earth.
17 Then immediately apparitions in dreams terribly troubled them, and unexpected fears came upon them.
18 And each, one thrown here half dead, another there, made known why he was dying;
19 for the dreams, disturbing them, did forewarned them of this, that they might not perish without knowing why they were afflicted.
20 But experience of death also touched the righteous, and a multitude were destroyed in the wilderness, however the wrath didn’t last long.
21 For a blameless man hurried to be their champion, bringing the weapon of his own ministry, prayer and the atoning sacrifice of incense, he withstood the indignation, and set an end to the calamity, showing that he was your servant.
22 And he overcame the anger, not by strength of body, not by force of weapons, but he subdued him who was punishing by word, by bringing to remembrance oaths and covenants made with the fathers.
23 For when the dead had already fallen in heaps one upon another, standing between he stopped the wrath, and cut off the way to the living.
24 For the whole world was upon his long robe, and the glories of the fathers were upon the engraving of the four rows of precious stones, and your majesty was upon the diadem of his head.
25 The destroyer yielded to these, and they feared; for it was enough only to test the wrath.
Esther Greek Sirach Baruch
Visit Catholic Gallery Main Site