1 Led by mistaken reasons they think, “Life is short and sad and there is no cure for death. It was never heard that anyone came back from the netherworld.
2 By chance we were born; when life is over, it will be as if we never existed. The breath in our nostrils is like a puff of smoke, and thought is no more than a spark resulting from the movement of the heart. 3 Put this out and the body turns to ashes, the spirit melts away like idle air.
4 In time our name will be forgotten, no one will remember what we did. 5 Life passes like the shadow of a cloud, disappears like mist chased by the sun and overpowered by its heat. Our days are like the pas sing of a shad ow; from death there is no turning back, the seal is set: no one returns.
6 Come then and enjoy all the good things; let us use creation with the zest of youth, 7 making the most of choicest wines and perfumes and not passing by any flower of spring. 8 Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they fade.
9 Let everyone take part in our orgy; let us post everywhere the signs of our joy, for that is our due, the lot assigned to us.
10 Let us oppress the upright man who is poor, and have no thought for the widow, or respect for the white hair of old age.
11 Let our strength be our right, since it is proved that weakness is useless. 12 Let us set a trap for the righteous, for he annoys us and op poses our way of life; he reproaches us for our breaches of the Law and accuses us of being false to our upbringing.
13 He claims knowledge of God and calls himself son of the Lord. 14 He has become a reproach to our way of thinking; even to meet him is burdensome to us. 15 He does not live like others and behaves strange ly.
16 According to him we have low standards, so he keeps aloof from us as if we were unclean. He emphasizes the happy end of the righteous and boasts of having God as father.
17 Let us see the truth of what he says and find out what his end will be. 18 If the righteous is a son of God, God will de fend him and deliver him from his adversaries.
19 Let us humble and torture him to prove his self-control and test his pa tience. 20 When we have condemned him to a shameful death, we may test his words.”
21 This is the way they reason, but they are mistaken, blinded by their malice. 22 They do not know the mysteries of God nor do they hope for the reward of a holy life; they do not believe that the blameless will be recompensed.
23 Indeed God created man to be im mortal in the likeness of his own nature, 24 but the envy of the devil brought death to the world, and those who take his side shall experience death.