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moved to terror (5:2). In "repentance" (metanoountej, 5:3) they confess:

This is the man whom we once held in derision and made a byword of reproach--we fools! We thought that his life was madness and that his end was without honor. Why has he been numbered among the sons

of God? And why is his lot among the saints? So it was we who strayed from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not shine

upon us, and the sun did not rise upon us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness

and destruction, and we journeyed through trackless deserts, but the way of the Lord we have not known. What has our arrogance profited us? And what good has our boasted wealth

brought us? Wisdom of Solomon 5:4-8

Thus, the gentle, patient and silent response of the righteous man to his enemies, together with the vindication of God, brings about the repentance and confession of the persecutors. Nothing is explicitly said about whether this change of heart by the ungodly effects anything toward their redemption. In view of their final confession that the "hope of the ungodly" is futile, "like smoke before the wind" (5:14c), however, the likelihood is that they simply cease to be. This is precisely what they had said would be their fate before they decided to lead a life of sensual gratification (2:1-5). The irony is exquisite, for the reasoning which led to their final demise turns out to be


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