Wisdom xix.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Knew. God foresaw the malice of the Egyptians against his people, but as not the author of it. (Worthington)

Ver. 2. Care. Literally, “solicitude,” (Haydock) so that they would not allow them time to prepare victuals.

Ver. 4. Necessity. God permitted them to be blinded by their own obstinacy. (Calmet) — They rushed headlong into the channel of the Red Sea. (Haydock)

Ver. 6. Beginning. It seemed susceptible of any form; and the elements appeared to be of another nature. The fire burnt in water, the sea retired, &c., chap. v. 21., and xvi. 24.

Ver. 7. Field. Like a meadow, (Calmet) germinans, “growing grass.” (Septuagint) (Haydock) — Pliny ([Natural History?] xiii. 25.) attests, that “the Red Sea, and all the eastern ocean, are full of wood.” The Hebrews passed with as much ease as in a desert, (Psalm cv. 9., and Isaias lxiii. 13.) or place of pasture, while the sea seemed to be in quest of other channels. (Calmet) (Genesis i. 9.) (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Thunders. Which took place at the destruction of Sodom, for their warning. (Calmet)

Ver. 14. In another. Literally, “but there was another respect (or punishment) of them, because unwillingly they received strangers,” Genesis xix. 1. (Haydock) — The Amorrhites would not admit the Israelites, Numbers xxi. 21. (Worthington)

Ver. 15. Laws. Or “rights,” justitiis. The Hebrews acknowledged the civil authority (Menochius) of Pharao, though they adopted not his religion, chap. xviii. 4. (Haydock)

Ver. 17. Changed. The meaning is, that whatever changes God wrought in the elements by miracles in favour of his people, they still kept their harmony by obeying his will. (Challoner) — He answers the objection of philosophers, who argued against the possibility of miracles, as being against the established laws of nature. But they induce no more confusion than the various strings of a harp, when they are touched with skill, though they have each their respective name and sound. The ancients frequently compared the harmony of the universe to a musical instrument. See plut.[Plutarch?] Macrobius, som. ii. — Sight. Septuagint add, “of what happened” (Haydock) in those miraculous changes.

Ver. 18. Water. Men, &c., passed through the Red Sea, while frogs got into houses.

Ver. 20. Therein. For the punishment of the Egyptians, chap. xvi. 18. (Calmet) — Food. Manna. (Challoner) — Septuagint, “immortal food,” ambrosia. (Haydock) — Place. This conclusion agrees very well with the preceding observations. But it seems some thing should be said respecting the original petition for wisdom; whence we conclude, with Grotius, that the work is imperfect: (Calmet) though this is by no means clear, as the prayer is sufficiently expressed in the nine first chapters, if not in the whole book, and God answers it, 3 Kings ix. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Why God shewed no mercy to the Egyptians. His favour to the Israelites. All creatures obey God’s orders for the service of the good, and the punishment of the wicked.

1 But as to the wicked, even to the end there came upon them wrath without mercy. For he knew before also what they would do:

2 For when they had given them leave to depart, and had sent them away with great care, they repented, and pursued after them.

3 *For whilst they were yet mourning, and lamenting at the graves of the dead, they took up another foolish device: and pursued them as fugitives whom they had pressed to be gone:

4 For a necessity, of which they were worthy, brought them to this end: and they lost the remembrance of those things which had happened, that their punishment might fill up what was wanting to their torments:

5 And that thy people might wonderfully pass through, but they might find a new death.

6 For every creature, according to its kind, was fashioned again as from the beginning, obeying thy commandments, that thy children might be kept without hurt.

7 For a cloud overshadowed their camp, and where water was before, dry land appeared, and in the Red Sea a way without hinderance, and out of the great deep a springing field:

8 Through which all the nation passed which was protected with thy hand, seeing thy miracles and wonders.

9 For they fed on their food like horses, and they skipped like lambs, praising thee, O Lord, who hadst delivered them.

10 For they were yet mindful of those things which had been done in the time of their sojourning, how the ground brought forth flies instead of cattle, and how the river cast up a multitude of frogs instead of fishes.

11 *And at length they saw a new generation of birds, when being led by their appetite, they asked for delicate meats.

12 For to satisfy their desire, the quail came up to them from the sea: and punishments came upon the sinners, not without foregoing signs by the force of thunders: for they suffered justly according to their own wickedness.

13 For they exercised a more detestable inhospitality than any: others indeed received not strangers unknown to them, but these brought their guests into bondage that had deserved well of them.

14 And not only so, but in another respect also they were worse: for the others, against their will, received the strangers.

15 But these grievously afflicted them whom they had received with joy, and who lived under the same laws.

16 But they were struck with blindness: *as those others were at the doors of the just man, when they were covered with sudden darkness, and every one sought the passage of his own door.

17 For while the elements are changed in themselves, as in an instrument the sound of the quality is changed, yet all keep their sound: which may clearly be perceived by the very sight.

18 For the things of the land were turned into things of the water: and the things that before swam in the water passed upon the land.

19 The fire had power in water above its own virtue, and the water forgot its quenching nature.

20 On the other side, the flames wasted not the flesh of corruptible animals walking therein, neither did they melt that good food, which was apt to melt as ice. For in all things thou didst magnify thy people, O Lord, and didst honour them, and didst not despise them, but didst assist them at all times, and in every place.



3: Exodus xiv. 5.

11: Exodus xvi. 13.; Numbers xi. 31.; Wisdom xvi. 2.

16: Genesis xix. 11.