1 For this cause were these men worthily punished through creatures like those which they worship,
And tormented through a multitude of vermin.
2 Instead of which punishment, you, bestowing benefits on your people,
Preparedst quails for food,
Food of rare taste, to satisfy the desire of their appetite;
3 To the end that your enemies, desiring food,
Might for the hideousness of the creatures sent among them
Loathe even the necessary appetite;
But these, your people, having for a short space suffered lack,
Might even partake of food of rare taste.
4 For it was needful that upon those should come inexorable lack in their tyrannous dealing,
But that to these it should only be showed how their enemies were tormented.
5 For even when terrible raging of wild beasts came upon your people,
And they were perishing by the bites of crooked serpents,
Your wrath continued not to the uttermost;
6 But for admonition were they troubled for a short space,
Having a token of salvation,
To put them in remembrance of the commandment of your law:
7 For he that turned toward it was not saved because of that which was seen,
But because of you, the Saviour of all.
8 Yes, and in this did you persuade our enemies,
That you are he that delivers out of every evil.
9 For them verily the bites of locusts and flies did kill,
And there was not found a healing for their life,
Because they were worthy to be punished by such as these;
10 But your sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame,
For your mercy passed by where they were, and healed them.
11 For they were bitten, to put them in remembrance of your oracles;
And were quickly saved, lest, falling into deep forgetfulness,
12 For of a truth it was neither herb nor mollifying plaister that cured them,
But your word, O Lord, which heals all things;
13 For you have authority over life and death,
And you lead down to the gates of Hades, and lead up again.
14 But though a man may kill by his wickedness,
Yet the spirit that is gone forth he turns not again,
Neither gives release to the soul that Hades has received.
15 But your hand it is not possible to escape;
16 For ungodly men, denying refusing to know you, were scourged in the strength of your arm,
Pursued with strange rains and hails and showers inexorable,
And utterly consumed with fire;
17 For, what was most marvelous of all,
In the water which quenches all things the fire wrought yet more mightily;
For the world fights for the righteous.
18 For at one time the flame lost its fierceness,
That it might not burn up the creatures sent against the ungodly,
But that these themselves as they looked might Some see that they were chased through the judgement of God:
19 And at another time even in the midst of water it burns above the power of fire,
That it may destroy the fruits of an unrighteous land.
20 Instead whereof you gave your people angels’ food to eat,
And bread ready for their use did you provide for them from heaven without their toil,
Bread having the virtue of every pleasant savor,
And agreeing to every taste;
21 For Somethe your nature manifested your sweetness toward your children;
While that bread, ministering to the desire of the eater,
Tempered itself according to every man’s choice.
22 But snow and ice endured fire, and melted not,
That men might know that fire was destroying the fruits of the enemies,
Burning in the hail and flashing in the rains;
23 And Some that this element again, in order that righteous men may be nourished,
Hath even forgotten its own power.
24 For the creation, ministering to you its maker,
Straineth its force against the unrighteous, for punishment,
And slackeneth it in behalf of them that trust in you, for beneficence.
25 Therefore at that time also, converting itself into all forms,
It ministered to your all-nourishing bounty,
According to the desire of them that had made supplication;
26 That your sons, whom you loved, O Lord, might learn
That it is not the growth of the earth’s fruits that nourishes a man,
But that your word preserves them that trust you.
27 For that which was not marred by fire,
When it was simply warmed by a faint sunbeam melted away;
28 That it might be known that we must rise before the sun to give you thanks,
And must plead with you at the dawning of the light:
29 For the hope of the unthankful shall melt as the winter’s hoar frost,
And shall flow away as water that has no use.