1 But the souls of the upright are in the hands of God, and no torment can touch them.
2 To the unenlightened, they appeared to die, their departure was regarded as disaster,
3 their leaving us like annihilation; but they are at peace.
4 If, as it seemed to us, they suffered punishment, their hope was rich with immortality;
5 slight was their correction, great will their blessings be. God was putting them to the test and has proved them worthy to be with him;
6 he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a perfect burnt offering.
7 At their time of visitation, they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.
8 They will judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king for ever.
9 Those who trust in him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await his holy ones, and he intervenes on behalf of his chosen.
10 But the godless will be duly punished for their reasoning, for having neglected the upright and deserted the Lord.
11 Yes, wretched are they who scorn wisdom and discipline: their hope is void, their toil unavailing, their achievements unprofitable;
12 their wives are reckless, their children depraved, their descendants accursed.
13 Blessed the sterile woman if she be blameless, and has not known an unlawful bed, for she will have fruit at the visitation of souls.
14 Blessed, too, the eunuch whose hand commits no crime, and who harbours no resentment against the Lord: a special favour will be granted to him for his loyalty, a most desirable portion in the temple of the Lord.
15 For the fruit of honest labours is glorious, and the root of understanding does not decay.
16 But the children of adulterers will not reach maturity, the offspring of an unlawful bed will disappear.
17 Even if they live long, they will count for nothing, their old age will go unhonoured at the last;
18 while if they die early, they have neither hope nor comfort on the day of judgement,
19 for the end of a race of evil-doers is harsh.