Bar 31 “ ‘And now, O Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, the soul in anguish and the troubled spirit cry out to you. 2 Listen, O Lord, and be merciful, for you are a merciful God, and so be merciful to us, for we have sinned before you. 3 For you are enthroned in eternity, but we will pass away in time. 4 O Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, listen now to the prayer of the dead of Israel and of their sons, who have sinned before you and have not listened to the voice of the Lord their God, and have joined themselves to evil. 5 Remember not the iniquities of our fathers, but remember your hand and your name at this time. 6 For you are the Lord our God, and we will praise you, O Lord. 7 And for this reason, you have imparted your fear into our hearts, and also, so that we may call upon your name and may praise you in our captivity, for we are converted from the iniquity of our fathers, who sinned before you. 8 And, behold, we are still in our captivity on this day, where you have scattered us into disgrace, and into slander, and into sin, according to all the iniquities of our fathers, who withdrew from you, O Lord our God. 9 Listen, O Israel, to the commandments of life! Pay attention, so that you may learn prudence! 10 How is it, O Israel, that you are in the land of your enemies, 11 that you have grown old in a foreign land, that you are defiled with the dead, that you are regarded as among those who are descending into hell? 12 You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. 13 For if you had walked in the way of God, you would certainly have lived in everlasting peace. 14 Learn where prudence is, where virtue is, where understanding is, so that you may know at the same time where long life and prosperity are, where the light of the eyes and peace are. 15 Who has discovered its place? And who has entered its treasure chamber? 16 Where are the leaders of the peoples, and those who rule over the beasts that are upon the earth, 17 who play among the birds of the air, 18 who store up treasures of silver and gold, in which men trust, and with whom there is no end to their acquiring, who work with silver and are anxious about it, and whose works are inexplicable? 19 They have been banished and have descended to hell, and others are risen up in their place. 20 The youth have seen the light and have dwelt upon the earth, yet they are ignorant of the way of instruction. 21 They have neither understood the paths of it, nor have their sons accepted it. It is far from their face. 22 It has not been heard of in the land of Canaan, nor has it been seen in Teman. 23 It is likewise with the sons of Hagar, who search for the practicality that is of the earth, the negotiators of Merran and Teman, and the storytellers, and the searchers of discretion and intelligence. Yet the way of wisdom they have not known, nor have they called to mind its paths. 24 O Israel, how great is the house of God, and how vast is the place of his possession! 25 It is great and has no end! It is exalted and immense! 26 There were those who were called giants, who existed from the beginning, of great stature, expert in war. 27 The Lord did not choose them, nor did they discover the way of instruction; for this reason they perished, 28 and, because they did not have wisdom, they passed away as a result of their foolishness. 29 Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? 30 Who has crossed the sea, and found her, and brought her, chosen instead of gold? 31 There is no one who is able to know her ways, nor any who can search out her paths. 32 Yet he who knows the universe is familiar with her, and in his foresight he invented her, he who prepared the earth for time without end, and filled it with cattle and four-footed beasts, 33 who sends out the light, and it goes, and who summoned it, and it obeyed him in fear. 34 Yet the stars have given light from their posts, and they rejoiced. 35 They were called, and so they said, “Here we are,” and they shined with cheerfulness to him who made them. 36 This is our God, and no other can compare to him. 37 He invented the way of all instruction, and delivered it to Jacob his child, and to Israel his beloved. 38 After this, he was seen on earth, and he conversed with men.
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