1 Better to have no children and to be virtuous. People like this are highly considered by God and by mortals. The memory of their life will never end.
2 When virtue is present we imitate it; when it is absent we long for it; it is crown ed in eternity for having triumphed in the blameless struggle.
3 The numerous progeny of the wicked will be of no use. Offspring of doubtful plants, they will not have deep roots or lay solid foundations. 4 For a time they may produce, but their weak branches shaken by the wind will be uprooted by the storm. 5 Their twigs will be broken off before grown, their fruit useless, unripe for eating and good for nothing. 6 Child ren born of un lawful intercourse witness, when God examines them, to the wrongdoing of their parents.
7 The upright, even if he dies before his time, will be at rest. 8 Honorable age does not depend on length of days, nor is the number of years a true measure of life.
9 A manís gray hair is under stand ing, and a spotless life is ripe old age.
10 The upright was pleasing to God, who loved him, and since he was living among sinners, he was taken up. 11 God removed him lest evil impair his understanding and treachery seduce his soul. 12 For the fascination of evil obscures true values and restless desire undermines a sim ple heart.
13 Though his life soon ended, he traveled far. 14 Because his soul was precious to the Lord, he was quickly re moved from the wickedness around him.
15 People saw but did not understand, and it did not occur to them that Godís grace and mercy are with his chosen ones, his protection is for the holy.
16 The righteous who dies will condemn the ungodly who survives. A life fulfilled early in youth condemns the endless days of the wicked.
17 They may see the death of the wise, but they will not understand Godís design for him and why he has taken him to safety. 18 They may see and sneer at him, but the Lord will also laugh at them 19 when they have become a useless corpse, a loathsome and dead thing forever.
19 The Lord will dash them to the ground, voiceless, shaking them from their foundations; they will wither and suffer anguish; even their memory will fade.
20 They will come trembling for the reckoning of their sins and they will be confounded when confronted with their wickedness.