1 Then the righteous man will stand in great boldness
before the face of those who afflicted him,
and those who make his labors of no account.
2 When they see him, they will be troubled with terrible fear,
and will be amazed at the marvel of salvation.
3 They will speak among themselves repenting,
and for distress of spirit they will groan,
“This was he whom we used to hold in derision,
as a parable of reproach.
4 We fools considered his life madness,
and his end without honor.
5 How was he counted among sons of God?
How is his lot among saints?
6 Truly we went astray from the way of truth.
The light of righteousness didn’t shine for us.
The sun didn’t rise for us.
7 We* took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction.
We traveled through trackless deserts,
but we didn’t know the Lord’s way.
8 What did our arrogance profit us?
What good have riches and boasting brought us?
9 Those things all passed away as a shadow,
like a message that runs by,
10 like a ship passing through the billowy water,
which, when it has gone by, there is no trace to be found,
no pathway of its keel in the billows.
11 Or it is like when a bird flies through the air,
no evidence of its passage is found,
but the light wind, lashed with the stroke of its pinions,
and torn apart with the violent rush of the moving wings, is passed through.
Afterwards no sign of its coming remains.
12 Or it is like when an arrow is shot at a mark,
the air divided by it closes up again immediately,
so that men don’t know where it passed through.
13 So we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to be;
and we had no sign of virtue to show,
but we were utterly consumed in our wickedness.”
14 Because the hope of the ungodly man is like chaff carried by the wind,
and† as‡ foam vanishing before a tempest;
and is scattered like smoke by the wind,
and passes by as the remembrance of a guest that waits but a day.
15 But the righteous live forever.
Their reward is in the Lord,
and the care for them with the Most High.
16 Therefore they will receive the crown of royal dignity
and the diadem of beauty from the Lord’s hand,
because he will cover them with his right hand,
and he will shield them with his arm.
17 He will take his jealousy as complete armor,
and will make the whole creation his weapons to punish his enemies:
18 He will put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and will wear impartial judgment as a helmet.
19 He will take holiness as an invincible shield.
20 He will sharpen stern wrath for a sword.
The world will go with him to fight against his frenzied foes.
21 Shafts of lightning will fly with true aim.
They will leap to the mark from the clouds, as from a well-drawn bow.
22 Hailstones full of wrath will be hurled from an engine of war.
The water of the sea will be angered against them.
Rivers will sternly overwhelm them.
23 A mighty blast will encounter them.
It will winnow them away like a tempest.
So lawlessness will make all the land desolate.
Their evil-doing will overturn the thrones of princes.
*5:7 See Proverbs 14:14.
†5:14 Gr. like foam chased to thinness: or, as thin foam chased.
‡5:14 Most Greek authorities read hoar frost: some authorities, perhaps rightly, a spider’s web.