1 “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, from the depth of our troubled, weary souls we cry out to you. 2 Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy on us, because we have sinned against you. 3 You reign as king forever, but we die and are gone forever. 4 O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear our prayer. We are no better off than the dead. Our ancestors sinned against you, the Lord their God. They refused to obey you, and we are suffering the consequences of their sin. 5 Forget the sinful things that our ancestors did in the past; at a time like this, think only of your power and reputation, 6 for you are the Lord our God, and we will praise you. 7 You have made us fear you, so that we might pray to you. Here in exile we will praise you because we have turned away from the sins of our ancestors. 8 You have scattered us among the nations, and you have made them despise and curse us. You are punishing us for the sins of our ancestors when they rebelled against you, the Lord our God.”
In Praise of Wisdom
9 Listen, Israel, to the commands that promise life; pay attention, and you will become wise. 10 Why is it, Israel, that you find yourself in an enemy land? Why have you grown old in a foreign country? You are ritually unclean, like the dead; 11 you are already counted among the dead. But why? 12 It is because you have left the source of Wisdom! 13 If you had walked in God's ways, you would have lived in peace forever. 14 Learn where understanding, strength, and insight are to be found. Then you will know where to find a long and full life, light to guide you, and peace.
15 No one has ever found where Wisdom lives or has entered her treasure house, 16-17 and those who have tried have vanished: the rulers of the nations, those who hunted wild animals and birds for sport, those who accumulated vast fortunes of silver and gold, which everyone trusts and will do anything to get, 18 and those who worried and schemed to make money, but who left no trace of their work behind. 19 They have all disappeared and gone down to the world of the dead. Others have come along to take their place. 20 A later generation was born and lived in the land, but they too did not discover the way to knowledge. They did not find the path to Wisdom or ever reach her. 21 Their children also failed. 22 Wisdom was not found by the Canaanites. It has not been discovered by the Edomites 23 although they search after knowledge. The way to Wisdom has not been found by the merchants of Merran and Tema or by those who relate fables or by any others who seek understanding.
24 O Israel, how great is the universe in which God dwells! How vast is all that he possesses! 25 There is no end to it; there is no way to measure how wide or how high it is. 26 Here in early times the famous giants were born, a mighty race skilled in war. 27 But God did not choose them to be his people or show them the way of knowledge. 28 They died out because they had neither understanding nor insight.
29 No one has ever gone up into heaven to get Wisdom and bring her down out of the clouds. 30 No one has sailed across the seas to find Wisdom or bought her with precious gold. 31 No one knows how to get to her or how to discover the path that leads to her.
32 The only one who knows Wisdom is God, and he knows all things. With his understanding he found her. He established the earth for all time and filled it with all kinds of animals. 33 The light trembled and obeyed when he called. He sent it forth, and it appeared. 34 He called the stars, and they promptly answered; they took their places and gladly shone to please the one who made them. 35 He is our God, and there is none like him. 36 He discovered the entire path leading to understanding and gave Wisdom to his servant Israel, whom he loved. 37 From that time on, Wisdom appeared on earth and lived among us.