1 She prospered their works in the hand of a holy prophet.
2 They traveled through a desert without inhabitant,
and they pitched their tents in trackless regions.
3 They withstood enemies and repelled foes.
4 They thirsted, and they called upon you,
and water was given to them out of the* flinty rock,
and healing of their thirst out of the hard stone.
5 For by what things their foes were punished,
by these they in their need were benefited.
6 When enemies were troubled with clotted blood
instead of a river’s ever-flowing fountain,
7 to rebuke the decree for the slaying of babies,
you gave them abundant water beyond all hope,
8 having shown by the thirst which they had suffered
how you punished the adversaries.
9 For when they were tried, although chastened in mercy,
they learned how the ungodly were tormented, being judged with wrath.
10 For you tested these as a father admonishing them;
but you searched out those as a stern king condemning them.
11 Yes and whether they were far off or near,
they were equally distressed;
12 for a double grief seized them,
and a groaning at the memory of things past.
13 For when they heard that through their own punishments the others benefited,
they recognized the Lord.
14 For him who long before was thrown out and exposed they stopped mocking.
In the end of what happened, they marveled,
having thirsted in another manner than the righteous.
15 But in return for the senseless imaginings of their unrighteousness,
wherein they were led astray to worship irrational reptiles and wretched vermin,
you sent upon them a multitude of irrational creatures for vengeance;
16 that they might learn that by what things a man sins, by these he is punished.
17 For your all-powerful hand
that created the world out of formless matter
didn’t lack means to send upon them a multitude of bears, fierce lions,
18 or newly-created and unknown wild beasts, full of rage,
either breathing out a blast of fiery breath,
or belching out smoke,
or flashing dreadful sparks from their eyes;
19 which had power not only to consume them by their violence,
but to destroy them even by the terror of their sight.
20 Yes and without these they might have fallen by a single breath,
being pursued by Justice, and scattered abroad by the breath of your power;
but you arranged all things by measure, number, and weight.
21 For to be greatly strong is yours at all times.
Who could withstand the might of your arm?
22 Because the whole world before you is as a grain in a balance,
and as a drop of dew that comes down upon the earth in the morning.
23 But you have mercy on all men, because you have power to do all things,
and you overlook the sins of men to the end that they may repent.
24 For you love all things that are,
and abhor none of the things which you made;
For you never would have formed anything if you hated it.
25 How would anything have endured unless you had willed it?
Or that which was not called by you, how would it have been preserved?
26 But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O Sovereign Lord, you lover of lives.
*11:4 See Deuteronomy 8:15; Psalm 114:8.