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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 3

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1But the souls of the just are in God's hand; no torment will touch them. 2In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to be dead; their departure was reckoned as defeat, 3and their going from us as disaster. But they are at peace, 4for though in the sight of men they may suffer punishment, they have a sure hope of immortality; 5and after a little chastisement they will receive great blessings, because God has tested them and found them worthy to be his. 6He put them to the proof like gold in a crucible, and found them acceptable like an offering burnt whole on the altar. 7In the hour of their judgement they will shine in glory, and will sweep over the world like sparks through stubble. 8They will be judges and rulers over nations and peoples, and the Lord will be their King for ever. 9Those who have put their trust in him will understand that he is true, and the faithful will attend upon him in love; they are his chosen, and grace and mercy will be theirs.

10But the godless will meet with the punishment their evil thoughts deserve, because they took no heed of justice and rebelled against the Lord. 11Wretched indeed is he who thinks nothing of wisdom and discipline; the hopes of such people are void, their labours unprofitable, their actions futile; 12their wives are wanton, their children depraved, 13their parenthood is under a curse. But blessed is the childless woman if she is innocent, if she has never slept with a man in sin; at the great assize of souls she will find a fruitfulness of her own. 14Blessed also is the eunuch, if he has never done anything against the law and never harboured a wicked thought against the Lord; in return for his faith he will receive special favour, and a place in the Lord's temple to delight his heart the more. 15Honest work bears glorious fruit, and wisdom grows from roots that are imperishable. 16But the children of adultery are like fruit that never ripens; they have sprung from a union forbidden by the law and will come to nothing. 17Even if they attain length of life, they will be held of no account, and at the end their old age will be without honour. 18If they die young, they will have no hope, no consolation in the day of judgement; 19the unjust generation has a harsh fate in store.

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