Wisdom is the book of God's commandments, the Law that will last for ever. All who hold on to her will live, but those who abandon her will die. 2Turn to Wisdom, people of Israel, and take hold of her. Make your way towards the splendour of her light. 3Do not surrender our glorious privileges to any other people. 4How happy we are, people of Israel; we have the advantage of knowing what is pleasing to God!
5Take courage, my people, you are the ones who keep Israel's name alive. 6You were sold to Gentile nations, but not to be destroyed. Because you made God angry, he handed you over to your enemies. 7When you offered sacrifices to demons instead of to God, you angered the one who made you. 8You forgot the Eternal God, who had nourished you as a child, and so you brought grief to Jerusalem, who had been like a mother to you. 9Jerusalem saw that God was punishing you because he was angry, and she said to all the neighbouring cities, “Look at the great misery that God has brought on me. 10I saw my sons and daughters taken into captivity, a captivity brought on them by the Eternal God. 11I brought up my children with great delight, but I cried and mourned when they were taken from me. 12Let no one take pleasure in my suffering now that I am a widow and so many of my children have been taken from me. They turned away from God's Law, and their sins have made me a deserted city. 13They had no respect for his commandments and would not live by them; they refused to let him guide them in the way of righteousness.
14“All you neighbouring cities, come and consider how the Eternal God has sent my children into exile. 15He brought against them a nation from far away, a shameless nation that speaks a foreign language and has no respect for the elderly and no pity for children. 16These people carried off my beloved sons and took away my daughters, and I was left a widow, completely alone.
17“My children in exile, I can do nothing to help you. 18Only the one who brought this punishment upon you can rescue you from your enemies. 19
Go your own way, my children; live your own life! I am all alone. 20I have taken off the robes I wore during days of peace, and I have dressed myself like a person in mourning. I will cry out to the Eternal God for help as long as I live.
21“Take courage, my children, and cry out to God for help. He will rescue you from oppression, from the power of your enemies. 22I am confident that the Eternal God will soon set you free. The Holy One, your eternal saviour, will make me happy when he shows you mercy. 23I cried and wailed when you were taken away, but God will bring you back and will make me happy for ever. 24Just as the neighbouring cities watched as you were taken captive, so they will soon see the Eternal God coming in glorious splendour to rescue you. 25My children, endure God's punishment with patience. Your enemies have persecuted you, but you will soon see them destroyed and at your mercy. 26My children, I spoiled you with love, but you have had to follow rugged paths; you were carried off like sheep caught in an enemy raid.
27“Take courage, my children, and cry out to God for help. He punished you, but he will not forget you. 28Just as you were once determined to turn away from God, now turn back and serve him with ten times more determination. 29The one who brought these calamities upon you will rescue you and bring you everlasting joy.”
30Take courage, Jerusalem. God, who gave you your name, will now bring comfort to you. 31Misery will come to those who ill-treated you and then rejoiced when you fell. 32Misery will come to those cities that made your children slaves. Misery will be the fate of Babylon, that city which swallowed up your children. 33Just as that city rejoiced when you fell and took delight in your ruin, so now she will mourn when she herself is deserted. 34I will turn her proud boastings into mourning and take away her large population in which she took pride. 35I, the Eternal God, will send down fire on her, and it will burn for many days. Her ruins will be haunted by demons for a long time to come.
36Look to the east, Jerusalem, and see the joy that God is bringing to you. 37Look, your children are coming home, the children that were taken from you. They have been gathered together from the east and from the west by the command of God, the Holy One. And now they are coming home, rejoicing in the glory of God.