Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Glory. The offspring of the chaste is happy, (Calmet) and honourable: (Haydock) very different from that of adulterers. (Calmet) — Bodily chastity is a great virtue; but purity of faith is more requisite to please God, being the foundation of all virtues. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Itself. Virtue extorts the esteem even of worldlings. Antiochus wept for Onias, 2 Machabees iv. 37. (Calmet) — Sublatum ex oculis quærimus invidi. (Horace, iii. od. 24.) — Conflicts. In the cause of continence. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Slips. Vitulamina, a word, to which the people were so habituated, that it could not be altered. (St. Augustine, de Doct. xii.) — Yet some read better (Calmet) plantationes. (St. Bonaventure) (Lyranus) — The offspring of the unchaste will not prosper, chap. iii. 16.
Ver. 6. Beds. Literally, “sleep,” somnis, upnon, chap. vii. 2. (Haydock) — Whether the children live or die, they are a reproach to their parents, as those who see them enquire about their birth.
Ver. 7. Death. He is always ready; but dies in his youth. (Calmet) — Whenever death comes, it is for his advantage, and if he depart in his youth, his immaculate life is to be preferred before the old age of the wicked, ver. 16. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Away. Like Henoch, Genesis v. 24., and Hebrews xi. 5. (Calmet) — “Bad conversations corrupt the best manners,” 1 Corinthians xv. 33., and Isaias lvii. 1. But could not God have supported the just under temptation? Undoubtedly. His judgments are unsearchable. (St. Augustine, de Præd. xiv.) (Calmet) — The holy doctor thence proves, that those who die in a just state, might have forfeited it, if they had lived longer. God knew this possibility, and that it would not take place, and his foreknowledge agrees with man’s free-will, which some, inclining to Pelagianism, would controvert. They objected to this authority: and he was therefore obliged to prove that the book of Wisdom is canonical. (Ibid.[St. Augustine, de Præd. xiv.?]) (Worthington)
Ver. 12. Bewitching. Thus the pleasures and goods of the world are well described. For as fascination consists in a delusion of the people, who suppose that their senses are deceived by vain appearances; so it is the mistake of worldlings to believe that the objects of their desires are real goods, and contain no danger.
Ver. 19. Speechless. The damned shall have no excuse, being condemned by their own conscience, (Worthington) which shall be instead of a thousand witnesses. (Menochius) — In three words, three different punishments are specified.
Ver. 20. Against. Conscience will condemn or acquit those who have no other law, Romans ii. 15. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The difference between the chaste and the adulterous generations: and between the death of the just, and the wicked.
1 O how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory: for the memory thereof is immortal: because it is known both with God and with men.
2 When it is present, they imitate it: and they desire it, when it hath withdrawn itself, and it triumpheth crowned for ever, winning the reward of undefiled conflicts.
3 But the multiplied brood of the wicked shall not thrive, and bastard slips shall not take deep root, nor any fast foundation.
4 *And if they flourish in branches for a time, yet standing not fast, they shall be shaken with the wind, and through the force of winds they shall be rooted out.
5 For the branches not being perfect, shall be broken, and their fruits shall be unprofitable, and sour to eat, and fit for nothing.
6 For the children that are born of unlawful beds, are witnesses of wickedness against their parents in their trial.
7 But the just man, if he be prevented with death, shall be in rest.
8 For venerable old age is not that of long time, nor counted by the number of years: but the understanding of a man is grey hairs.
9 And a spotless life is old age.
10 *He pleased God, and was beloved, and living among sinners, he was translated.
11 He was taken away lest wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul.
12 For the bewitching of vanity obscureth good things, and the wandering of concupiscence overturneth the innocent mind.
13 Being made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time.
14 For his soul pleased God: therefore he hastened to bring him out of the midst of iniquities: but the people see this, and understand not, nor lay up such things in their hearts:
15 That the grace of God, and his mercy is with his saints, and that he hath respect to his chosen.
16 But the just that is dead, condemneth the wicked that are living, and youth soon ended, the long life of the unjust.
17 For they shall see the end of the wise man, and shall not understand what God hath designed for him, and why the Lord hath set him in safety.
18 They shall see him, and shall despise him: but the Lord shall laugh them to scorn.
19 And they shall fall after this without honour, and be a reproach among the dead for ever: for he shall burst them puffed up and speechless, and shall shake them from the foundations, and they shall be utterly laid waste: they shall be in sorrow, and their memory shall perish.
20 They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them.
4: Jeremias xvii. 6.; Matthew vii. 27.
10: Hebrews xi. 5.