1 Wisdom gave success to their actions through a holy prophet; 2 they crossed an uninhabited wilderness and pitched camp in inaccessible places.
3 They stood up to their enemies and fought off the hostile. 4 When they were thirsty they called on you and you gave them water from hard flint, from a rocky cliff, a welcome relief for the parched.
5 The same creatures you used to punish their enemies were of benefit to them in their trouble.
6 For their enemies an ever-flowing source of river water was polluted with blood – 7 a stern response to the decree ordering the slaughter of infants. But, against all hope, you gave your people water in abundance, 8 showing them by the thirst they suffered, how you had punished their enemies. 9 Their trials were no more than merciful reproofs. Through them, your people learned how severely the wicked were judged and punished.
10 You tested them as does a father, while you examined their enemies like a stern king.
11 Their enemies suffered at the time and also later. 12 When they remembered the past, theirs was a double grief and groa n ing. 13 They came to see that it was the work of the Lord when they realized that their punishment had benefited the others.
14 Long before, they had exposed Moses; they had rejected him in derision; but now they admired him because of what had happened, and after they had suffered a thirst far different from that of the righteous.
15 Their wickedness and foolish ideas led them astray, even to worshiping snakes and other repugnant animals; this is why you sent them hordes of similar creatures, 16 teaching them that punishment takes the same form as the sin.
17 In fact, your almighty power that created the world from formless matter did not lack means to unleash upon them bears and savage lions, 18 or monsters freshly created, unknown and full of fury, breathing fire or noisily spitting smoke or flashing fearful sparks from their eyes, 19 creatures not only capable of destroying them at a single blow but whose mere appearance could make them die of fright.
How God corrects his children
20 Even without this, they could have dropped dead at a single breath if pursued by your justice, or dispersed by the breath of your might; but you ordered all with measure, number and weight.
21 You are able to show your power at any moment and who can resist the strength of your arm? 22 For the entire world lies before you, just enough to tip the scales, a drop of morning dew falling on the ground.
23 But because you are almighty, you are merciful to all; you overlook sins and give your children time to repent. 24 You love everything that exists and hate nothing that you have made; had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.
25 How could anything endure if you did not will it? And how could anything last that you had not willed? 26 You have compassion on all because all is yours, O Lord, lover of life.