On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 19: Patterns of Idolatry

Christogenea is reader supported. If you find value in our work, please help to keep it going! See our Contact Page for more information or DONATE HERE!

  • Christogenea Internet Radio
CHR20210101_Wisdom19.mp3 — Downloaded 2165 times


On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 19: Patterns of Idolatry

When I began to write this commentary, I honestly thought that I would finish with Wisdom chapter 13 this evening. But in fact, we will not even begin chapter 13. I had so much to write about concerning these last 4 verses of chapter 12, that we will only finish that chapter.

In our last presentation in this commentary of the Wisdom of Solomon, Lessons from History, we noted how Solomon had used the circumstances relating to the Canaanites in ancient Israel in order to show that wicked races cannot ever conform themselves to the righteousness of God for reason that they are bastards, and because they are corrupt from the beginning, from their very genesis or origin. So for that reason he attested that they will never be able to amend themselves. Then we illustrated how this same lesson is taught throughout Scripture, from the dialogue between Yahweh and Cain and Cain’s immediate actions thereafter, to the dialogues between John the Baptist and Yahshua Christ with the descendants of Cain, in the persons of the Edomite Canaanites of their own time. So in that regard, we should also consider what things befell both John and Christ as a result of those dialogues. Making that illustration, we also noted how Wisdom helps us to understand and explain this phenomenon, as it certainly is a lesson which we must derive from history. That is because, contrary to the insistences of the world, bastards will never please God, and neither will we ourselves please Him so long as we continue to produce or to countenance bastards.

The bastard races of Solomon’s time were engaging in fornication, adultery and Sodomy, among other crimes. But here in Wisdom, Solomon had specifically used infanticide, their sacrificing of their own children to pagan idols, as the foremost example of their wickedness. Many critics of Christianity wrongly accuse the God of the Old Testament of advocating such a thing, because of the demand that Isaac be sacrificed. However infanticide is clearly denounced throughout the Bible, and the trial of Abraham was for a greater purpose as well as an illustration, because Isaac’s life was not taken, while at the same time the practice was common among Abraham’s Canaanite neighbors. But no matter how revolting the act is in the minds of Christians today, child sacrifice was a reality of life in the ancient pagan world, and it was not limited to the land of Canaan.

In the Homeric literature of the Greeks, Agamemnon, the king of the Danaans, had sacrificed his own daughter Iphigeneia to the goddess Artemis in the hope that his fleet would have smooth sailing across the Aegean Sea so that they could make war with the Trojans. At the end of the Trojan War, it was told that Agamemnon was killed by his wife and her lover once he finally returned home, as she despised him for sacrificing their daughter. Later, in the writings of the Tragic Poets, it was claimed that at the last minute a hind was substituted in her place and she was saved, a twist which must have been copied from the Genesis account which predates those Tragic Poets by a thousand years. Furthermore, throughout ancient Greek literature, it is described that families often set their newborn infants out for exposure, especially if those infants were girls and the families were poor, because girls were a greater financial burden. Setting an infant out for exposure, the infant is surely fated to die, but the guilt was assuaged by the belief that the fate of the infant was placed into the hands of the pagan gods. So this was still a form of child sacrifice, even if the parents used their gods as an excuse to pretend innocence. In the Eddas, the Germanic pagan literature, the Heimskringla describes the Swedish King Aun as having sacrificed nine of his own sons so that he himself may live and rule longer. With these examples, it is evident that child sacrifice was practiced throughout the ancient pagan world. Today, in the so-called “post-Christian” world, it has become popular once again but now it is called abortion, however it is still the same act.

So, where we had left off in Wisdom chapter 12, after discussing how Yahweh punishes the children of Israel for their correction, but the enemies of Israel for their destruction, addressing Yahweh God Himself in his prayer Solomon stated that “22 Therefore, whereas thou dost chasten us, thou scourgest our enemies a thousand times more, to the intent that, when we judge, we should carefully think of thy goodness, and when we ourselves are judged, we should look for mercy.” Now, still speaking of those same ancient Israelites, Solomon turns his attention to their idolatry and its causes. But first he illustrates an aspect of their punishment for idolatry, where he wrote “23 Wherefore, whereas men have lived dissolutely and unrighteously, thou hast tormented them with their own abominations.”

As we had commented discussing that verse at the end of our last presentation, Paul of Tarsus taught this same thing in Romans chapter 1. There Paul had explained how the Romans had abandoned God and began to worship elements of the creation rather than the Creator, so for that reason Yahweh gave them up to vile affections, such as Sodomy, and here Solomon has alluded to that same thing. Here we must also note, that it is not a coincidence that the number of openly avowed Sodomites has ballooned throughout Western Christian society, so soon after abortion became an acceptable practice in those formerly Christian nations.

Now as we proceed with the Wisdom of Solomon we shall see that it continues in agreement with the teachings of Paul in that same chapter of Romans.

Wisdom 12:24 For they went astray very far in the ways of error, and held them for gods, which even among the beasts of their enemies were despised, being deceived, as children of no understanding.

In the first clause of verse 24 the Greek terms translated as “went astray” and “error” are forms of the the verb πλανάω and the corresponding noun πλάνης, which are in turn forms of the same root word and literally mean to wander and a wandering. Furthermore, while the text is obscure in some ways, there is no word for enemy in the manuscripts. So, along with some words which were left untranslated and other differences with the King James Version, we would translate the verse to read:

24 For they also had wandered far in the ways of their wandering [καὶ γὰρ τῶν πλάνης ὁδῶν μακρότερον ἐπλανήθησαν] receiving as gods [θεοὺς ὑπολαμβάνοντες] those without honor, even the disgraceful things among living creatures [τὰ καὶ ἐν ζῴοις τῶν αἰσχρῶν ἄτιμα], having been deceived by the penalty of speechless vanities [νηπίων δίκην ἀφρόνων ψευσθέντες].

The Greek of this verse, and especially of the final clause, is difficult to render in as few English words, and it is probably not perfect here. There are several bracketing phrases in this verse, the significance of which is followed in our translation, but which I will not explain here. The King James Version and the New English Translation of the Septuagint both ignore the presence of the noun δίκη, which is a custom or usage, but also a penalty or punishment, among other things. Here it is in the accusative case, so it must be the object of the verb. Then there are two words which are primarily adjectives, ἄφρων and νήπιος. Since both are in the same genitive case and number they would naturally both modify a noun of the same case and number, but the only such noun present is in the Substantive phrase τῶν αἰσχρῶν, which is “disgraceful things” here. Therefore we would read ἄφρων and νήπιος as adjectives describing those disgraceful things, but choose to read one of them as a Substantive, a noun, referring to those same things.

While the adjective νήπιος often refers to infants, and is often used as a Substantive to describe an infant, it literally means “not yet speaking”, as Liddell & Scott define it. The King James Version, the New English Translation of the Septuagint and even the Latin Vulgate all read the word here as infants, or children. We would contest that, as the word refers to the disgraceful things themselves and not to those who received them as gods. The adjective ἄφρων is literally without sense, and was even used of statues, as Liddell & Scott have also noted, and it was also used in the sense of being silly or foolish, among other things. So here we have translated these words, which refer to the “disgraceful things”, as “speechless vanities”, but may have written “speechless follies”, preferring to read ἄφρων as a Substantive.

The concept of wandering is used as a metaphor for sin in Scripture, which is wholly apparent here just as Cain, after he had killed Abel, was sent out to the land of Nod, a Hebrew term which also means wandering. We read in Genesis 4: “16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” So the land outside of and especially to the east of the garden was therefore considered a land of sin, long before any descendant of Adam had ever trodden upon it.

Solomon continues to describe the reason for the idolatry of the ancient Israelties:

25 Therefore unto them, as to children without the use of reason, thou didst send a judgment to mock them.

The word children, literally boys, does belong here in this verse. The phrase may have been better rendered “as to unreasonable children”.

Now here it must be admitted that, at least on the surface, it seems that Solomon and Paul had slightly different interpretations of the patterns of idolatry. But looking deeper into the matter, it is apparent that they really did not differ at all. However first we shall read from Romans chapter 1, from the King James Version: “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” So we see that like the ancient Israelites, the Romans originally had the truth of God, and how they had it is only understood once it is learned that the ancestors of the Romans were indeed ancient Israelites, but at least most of them did not come with Moses through Palestine. Therefore Paul continues: “19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Later, we shall see Solomon make some similar professions in chapter 13 of Wisdom.

So, continuing further with Paul, he attests once again that the Romans had originally had the truth of God: “21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” These are the “disgraceful things among living creatures” that Solomon had mentioned here in Wisdom. The Romans, like the ancient Israelites in Palestine, had the truth of God, should have known God through that truth, and instead turned their backs to instead worship elements of the creation. Note that Paul had also used much of the same language which we see here in Wisdom, to describe the same patterns of idolatry.

Now Solomon only takes the analogy this far, explaining that the idolatry of the Israelites was itself punishment for their having abandoned God, and that they would be disgraced by that idolatry as their penalty. However Paul takes it one step further, as he says in the very next verses of Romans chapter 1: “24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

So Paul advanced his explanation of the patterns of idolatry to include the descent of man into sexual license and depravity, where Solomon has, at least up to this point, stopped short of that. However once one understands what practices had been compelled by the idolatrous pagan religions of the ancient world, it should become apparent that perhaps Solomon simply avoided lurid descriptions which he may have even felt were superfluous or unnecessary to repeat, where Paul did not avoid such descriptions. Solomon did, however, say in chapter 14 that “the invention of idols is the beginning of fornication”, and further on in the chapter, where he spoke of the sins which the children of Israel who had turned to paganism had committed against God, he said “23 For whilst they slew their children in sacrifices, or used secret ceremonies, or made revellings of strange rites; 24 They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traitorously, or grieved him by adultery.”

As a digression, the King James Version read the portion of Wisdom 14:12 which I have just cited as “the devising of idols is the beginning of spiritual fornication”, and added the word spiritual, which of course is not found in the Greek text. To its credit, the New English Translation of the Septuagint did not add that word, but read the phrase just as I have here. At the end of that same verse we have a parallelism: “… and the invention of them the corruption of life.” It is not spiritual fornication, if there could even be such a thing, which corrupts life, but physical fornication, which the apostle Jude defined as the pursuit of different flesh. Adam’s wife was flesh of his flesh, which is a proper Biblical marriage, and anything else only produces bastards.

Not all of the ancient Greeks relished pagan decadence, and there were some who even despised it. For example, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus was actually offering a commentary on the conditions within his own Roman society where he wrote in his Germania, 19 that: “No one in Germany finds vice amusing, or calls it ‘up-to-date’ to seduce and be seduced.... Good morality in Germany is more effective than good laws are elsewhere.” The Romans had laws against adultery, but evidently they were being neglected in the first century, as both Paul of Tarsus and Tacitus were writing.

However Tacitus was an exception, and quite often the attitudes of ancient writers reflected the modern libertarian values which have now also become prevalent in our own society today, whereby such behavior is meekly tolerated. So while many ancient historians alluded to these things which are also described in Scripture, they did not elaborate in their explanations of them, probably out of their own innate sense of morality. For example, Diodorus Siculus wrote in Book 1 of his Library of History concerning the ancient Greek festivals of Dionysus, also called Bacchic festivals, that “Consequently the Greeks too, inasmuch as they received from Egypt the celebrations of the orgies and the festivals connected with Dionysus, honour this member [the penis] in both the mysteries and the initiatory rites and sacrifices of this god, giving it the name ‘phallus’” (1.22.6-7). Then later in that same book he wrote “4 Orpheus, for instance, brought from Egypt most of his mystic ceremonies, the orgiastic rites that accompanied his wanderings, and his fabulous account of his experiences in Hades. 5 For the rite of Osiris is the same as that of Dionysus and that of Isis very similar to that of Demeter, the names alone having been interchanged…” (1.96.4-5).

The continued debauchery of pagans even down into the time of the late Roman empire is witnessed in Octavius, a work written around 200 AD by the 3rd century Christian apologist, Minucius Felix. In that work he answered charges of indecency made by pagans against Christians, and wrote: “The man who fakes up stories of our adoring the privates of a priest is only trying to foist his own abominations upon us [referring to Christians]. Indecencies of that kind may be countenanced, where modesty in any kind of sexual relation or exposure is unknown [referring to pagans].… their obscenities are more revolting than modern refinement can stomach, or servitude endure.” While Minucius Felix was 250 years after Diodorus Siculus, the two writers nevertheless corroborate one another.

We cannot understand what the Bible is addressing, and what exactly the God of the Bible opposes, unless we understand the world of the Bible. So as we continue to discuss this same phenomenon, the following six paragraphs are adapted from an essay which I had written in 2004, which was titled Broken Cisterns, Part 1:

Four Hundred years before Diodorus there was Herodotus, and in his Histories he had written of Baal, whom he called Bel, and the sacred precinct of Baal in Babylon, and he said: “On the topmost tower there is a spacious temple, and inside the temple stands a couch of unusual size, richly adorned, with a golden table by its side. There is no statue of any kind set up in the place, nor is the chamber occupied of nights by any one but a single native woman, who, as the Chaldaeans, the priests of this god, affirm, is chosen for himself by the deity out of all the women of the land” (1:181, G. Rawlinson’s translation). The historian having equated Baal with the Greek idol Zeus, he went on to relate an identical practice in Thebes in Egypt in the temple of “Theban Zeus”, who was also known to the Egyptians as Ammon (1:182). As Diodorus Siculus said, all of these idols are the same, only the names were interchanged.

Now Christians should readily perceive that it was certainly not Bel (Baal) himself who had intercourse each night with some woman in this temple. Even Herodotus had said “… but I for my part do not credit it – that the god comes down in person…” (1:182). But evidently some man must have entered into this chamber and gratified himself in these women. And, quite plausibly, the man was someone purposely pretending to be Baal so that he could deceive the women into sexual intercourse [i.e. Genesis chapter 3, and perhaps Genesis chapter 6 on a larger scale]. Tertullian, the 2nd century defender of the Christian faith, wrote: “Then if I add – and the conscience of every man of you will recognize it as readily – if I add that in the temples adulteries are arranged, that between the altars the pander’s trade is plied, that, quite commonly, in the very vestries of temple-keeper and priest, under those same holy fillets, crowns and purple garments, while the incense burns, lust is gratified….” (Apology 15:7, Loeb Classical Library edition).

Baal is mentioned several times in the books of Judges and Samuel in company with another pagan idol, the goddess Ashtaroth (see Judges 2:13; 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:3, 4; 12:10 and also 1 Kings 11:5, 33 and 2 Kings 23:13). Ashtaroth was often called Astartê in secular literature, for which we may compare 1 Samuel 31:10 with Josephus’ Antiquities, 6:14:8 [6:374]. The Hebrew word ‘asherah, Strong’s # 842, was often translated as grove in the King James Version but was actually a phallic symbol made from wood. During the reforms of Josiah in the mid-7th century BC, as they are recorded in 2 Kings chapter 23, one of these ‘asherah was even removed from the temple in Jerusalem. As goes the idol, so follow the practices associated with the idol. But even the Wisdom of Solomon did not imagine that the idolatry in Israel would permeate the temple itself. Later, Herodotus called the temple of Ashtaroth in Ashkelon the temple of “celestial Aphroditê”, as Astartê was called Aphroditê by the Greeks, and Ishtar by the Babylonians, although Herodotus used an Assyrian name discussing the idol where he wrote:

“The Babylonians have one most shameful custom. Every woman born in the country must once in her life go and sit down in the precinct of Aphroditê, and there consort with a stranger. Many of the wealthier sort, who are too proud to mix with the others, drive in covered carriages to the precinct, followed by a goodly train of attendants, and there take their station. But the larger number seat themselves within the holy enclosure with wreaths of string about their heads, – and here there is always a great crowd, some coming and others going; lines of cord mark out paths in all directions among the women, and the strangers pass along them to make their choice. A woman who has once taken her seat is not allowed to return home till one of the strangers throws a silver coin into her lap, and takes her with him beyond the holy ground. When he throws the coin he says these words – ‘The goddess Mylitta prosper thee.’ (Aphroditê is called Mylitta by the Assyrians.) The silver coin may be of any size; it cannot be refused, for that is forbidden by the law, since once thrown it is sacred. The woman goes with the first man who throws her money, and rejects no one. When she has gone with him, and so satisfied the goddess, she returns home, and from that time forth no gift however great will prevail with her. Such of the women as are tall and beautiful are soon released, but others who are ugly have to stay a long time before they can fulfill the law. Some have waited three or four years in the precinct. A custom very much like this is found also in certain parts of the island Cyprus.” (1:199).

The 1st century geographer Strabo of Cappadocia corroborated Herodotus’ account where he wrote in Book 16 of his Geography: “And in accordance with a certain oracle all the Babylonian women have a custom of having intercourse with a foreigner, the woman going to a temple of Aphroditê with a great retinue and crowd; and each woman is wreathed with a cord round her head. The man who approaches a woman takes her far away from the sacred precinct, places a fair amount of money upon her lap, and then has intercourse with her; and the money is considered sacred to Aphroditê.” (16.1.20, Loeb Library edition). While Strabo was explicit, Herodotus was much more reserved and used euphemisms to describe what Strabo stated rather explicitly. So if those Baal worshipping Babylonians who also worshipped Ashtaroth had done these things, and if the Israelites were also worshipping Baal and Ashtaroth as we read throughout Scripture, and since they were not far from the Babylonians themselves, then we can safely infer that they were also doing these same things, as they were a typical aspect of the pagan rites of Ashtaroth. That is why we read in Hosea chapter 5, where it speaks of those Israelites in whom was “the spirit of fornication”, that “7… they have forsaken the Lord; for strange children have been born to them: now shall the cankerworm devour them and their heritages.”

The account of Herodotus is even more fully corroborated in an Apocryphal source in Scripture, which is verse 43 of the Epistle of Jeremiah, which is published as chapter 6 of the Book of Baruch in some editions of the Apocrypha. Here, so that the context is clear, we shall read verses 39 through 44, from Brenton’s Septuagint: “39 Their gods of wood, and which are overlaid with gold and silver, are like the stones that be hewn out of the mountain: they that worship them shall be confounded. 40 How should a man then think and say that they are gods, when even the Chaldeans themselves dishonour them? 41 Who if they shall see one dumb that cannot speak, they bring him, and intreat Bel that he may speak, as though he were able to understand. 42 Yet they cannot understand this themselves, and leave them: for they have no knowledge. 43 The women also with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow [referring to the other women sitting nearby for the same purpose], that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken. 44 Whatsoever is done among them is false: how may it then be thought or said that they are gods?” The breaking of the cord symbolized the tossing of the coin and the release of the woman to have intercourse with the donor, so that she could return home, as Herodotus had described.

Yet in addition to all of these things, cult prostitution was common in all of the pagan temples of the Greeks, where boys as well as women were in plentiful abundance for hire. They usually became prostitutes upon being sold into slavery and purchased by the priests of the temple to be used for that purpose. Greek and Roman art proudly displayed the orgies and other sexual indecencies which were common at the feasts in the temples, and in that artwork acts of Sodomy are depicted as often as other indecencies. Phallic worship was also an element in the rites of Pan and the Satyrs as well as in those of Dionysus (Diodorus Siculus 1.88.3). When the ancient Israelites forsook Yahweh their God and began worshipping Baal and the other pagan gods of Canaan, with all certainty that would have led them to practice all of the indecent acts which are described by these Greek historians, in Baruch, in the writings of the early Christian apologists, and in Paul’s epistle to the Romans. This is also the true reason why the prophets of Yahweh in the Bible referred to such idolatry as whoredom, because it literally was whoredom, and included acts of Sodomy, adultery and fornication. While Paul described these things quite explicitly, perhaps Solomon did not have to describe them at all, because the abominations associated with paganism were common knowledge at the time, although the pagans themselves would find them abominable.

So Solomon, himself not going into the details of ancient pagan rites, nevertheless described them as having engaged in shameful and foolish behavior by which Yahweh God had intended to mock them. While we may not understand how that may lead to correction, if a man does not realize the vanity of such things for himself, now he nevertheless suggests that he should:

26 But they that would not be reformed by that correction, wherein he dallied with them, shall feel a judgment worthy of God.

More literally we would translate this verse to read:

26 But not being admonished by those dalliances [οἱ δὲ παιγνίοις ἐπιτιμήσεως μὴ νουθετηθέντες] they tempt the worthy judgment of God [ἀξίαν θεοῦ κρίσιν πειράσουσιν].

While the children of Israel had many times been punished for their sins, and temporarily repented, from the time of Solomon it took over 400 years for Jerusalem to fall and for Israel and Judah to be taken once again into captivity, finally having received that worthy judgment of which he had warned. From the time of Paul of Tarsus and Cornelius Tacitus, it took 400 years of decadence for Rome to fall whereafter the Germanic tribes had come to dominate Europe. Now, in the modern world, the nations formerly known as Christendom have once again followed these same patterns of idolatry, and when shall we ever learn from the lesson of history?

We, as a society, began by abandoning God, as the ancients had done, and with that we began to worship elements of the creation rather than worshipping the Creator. The ancients often abandoned God for sorcery, as we have abandoned God in the name of “science”, which is actually the same sorcery, perpetrated by the very same Canaanite sorcerers who produced the Kabbalah which in turn had led to alchemy and modern so-called science! The belief in evolution, and that our ancestors are monkeys, then led to our worshipping those same monkeys in professional sports and entertainment, and also to the worship of women as objects of desire, and these are only subtle manifestations of that same phenomenon of worshipping disgraceful beasts and elements of the creation which Solomon has described here. Soon after abandoning God and accepting evolution as a “science”, we turned our monetary system over to professional usurers. Then after a couple of decades, we changed our Christian marriage laws into so-called “no-fault” divorce laws in order to facilitate adultery, and we also did away with laws against race-mixing in order to facilitate fornication. Then, almost immediately thereafter, we began killing our children in abortion clinics, and making adultery even easier and more popular by promoting sorcery as birth-control. Finally, as we further slide into decadence, Sodomy and Lesbianism are prevalent everywhere, and those who choose such perversions as a “lifestyle” are even being reverenced and rewarded by the general society, as if Sodomites should be Saints.

In turn, the acceptance of pedophilia is on our doorstep, and that practice was also prevalent among the ancient pagans, in Greece especially, where it was generally acceptable for grown men to be diddling with young boys. In the Homeric literature, the passion which Zeus had for the young Ganymede, a Trojan boy, was often celebrated. If your god approves of or partakes in something, how could you possibly think evil of it? Then, while we have already accepted as marriage the perversion of beastiality with two-legged beasts, it is apparent that the privilege shall also be extended to the four-legged ones. For that reason Yahweh often commanded the Israelites to destroy even the four-legged beasts of the cities of Canaan.

As it was in the ancient world, so it is today, that the patterns of idolatry and its consequences have not changed. How do we not merit a judgment even greater than that which the Romans had suffered? But the aliens which are presently overrunning all of Christendom, and the elevated status which they are being extended in nations which were formerly our own, that is our judgment, and most of us are completely blind to it as it happens. So just like the ancient Israelites, our sons and daughters are giving birth to strange children. Once again, as Hosea also wrote, Ephraim is a cake not turned. That is a cake which being cooked in a pan is still white on one side, but black on the other.

We will continue noting this pattern of idolatry as Solomon himself continues to describe it in the chapters to come. For now, he writes in the final verse of this chapter:

27 For, look, for what things they grudged, when they were punished, that is, for them whom they thought to be gods; [now] being punished in them, when they saw it, they acknowledged him to be the true God, whom before they denied to know: and therefore came extreme damnation upon them.

In our opinion, contrary to the translations of this verse in the King James Version and elsewhere (such as NETS), the Greek text shows that Solomon is speaking of the end of judgment, not of the end of the people in judgment, as he is relating how the children of Israel repented and turned to God every time that they were oppressed as a result of their sins. Therefore we would translate verse 27 to read:

While they having suffered became indignant [ἐφ᾽ οἷς γὰρ αὐτοὶ πάσχοντες ἠγανάκτουν], for those who had esteemed them to be gods [ἐπὶ τούτοις οὓς ἐδόκουν θεούς], seeing themselves being punished [ἐν αὐτοῖς κολαζόμενοι ἰδόντες], they who long ago refused to know God [ὃν πάλαι ἠρνοῦντο εἰδέναι θεὸν] had recognized truth [ἐπέγνωσαν ἀληθῆ] on which account also came the end of the judgment upon them [διὸ καὶ τὸ τέρμα τῆς καταδίκης ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ἐπῆλθεν].

The experience of Solomon’s life and the chronicles of Israel up to his own time bring us through the periods of the Exodus and the Judges, and the lives of the first kings of Israel, Saul and David. Now as Solomon himself becomes king, he is praying to Yahweh for Wisdom, that he might rule the people justly, as we saw at the very end of Wisdom chapter 8 where he introduced this prayer.

So we may realize that the patterns which Solomon describes here, of sin, judgment and liberation from judgment, is evident throughout the Book of Judges, that as Israel sinned, the Israelites became subject to the Moabites or to the Philistines or others of their enemies, and under the yoke of the aliens they were greatly oppressed. Once they realized their great oppression and turned to Yahweh their God, a deliverer was raised up who freed the people from their oppressors, until they sinned again.

In this manner we read in Judges chapter 10: “9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed. 10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. 11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. [So the Israelites did this same thing over and over again.] 13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. 15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. 16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. 17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh. 18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

Then in the very next verse, which begins chapter 11 of Judges, Jephthah is introduced, whom Yahweh had raised up to deliver the children of Israel. It is striking, and not a coincidence, that Jephthah was the son of a harlot, as the children of Israel were themselves harlots in their idolatry. Today the children of Israel are harlots once again, and they are now oppressed, but they do not even recognize their oppression. The pattern of idolatry reveals that they must recognize their sins and repent before Yahweh delivers them from their oppression, as Solomon described in this last verse here in Wisdom chapter 12.

This we must learn from the words of both Solomon and Paul, as well as from the ancient histories and from observations of the world around us today: It is inevitable, that abandoning God leads to idolatry, and idolatry leads to every sexual perversion, and it ultimately leads to fornication and the destruction of the race under the oppression of its enemies. The transformation of the nations of Christendom into a so-called post-Christian world, which is the term favored by the Jews, has precipitated the abortion industry, the high divorce rates, the recent proliferation of Sodomites and fat, pink-haired feminist lesbians, and the fornicating race-mixers which we see all around us today. The inevitable day of judgment awaits them all and we should long to see that day.

Just as Solomon continues to reveal lessons from history, he shall also continue to discuss these patterns of idolatry throughout the chapters of Wisdom to come. As we progress, we will also become enticed to believe that the Wisdom of Solomon was indeed a source of inspiration for the writings of Paul of Tarsus.

CHR20210101_Wisdom19.odt — Downloaded 235 times