It’s better to be virtuous but childless. Virtue is what will be remembered, and this means immortality. Virtue is recognized by both God and humans. When humans find virtue in their midst, they imitate it. When virtue is gone, they long for its return. In every age, virtue wins the contest in which the prizes are unstained. It wears the victory crown, riding in triumph in the victory parade.

Even though the ungodly have many children, none of them will amount to anything. Those bastard saplings will never put their roots down deep or be firmly established. They may shoot up for a time like trees with lots of new branches, but the wind will shake them with ease, and the wind’s force will uproot the whole tree. Even before the twigs have had a chance to bud, they will be broken off. Their fruit will be useless. It will never ripen and be fit to eat. It’ll be good for absolutely nothing. Children born of sex outside the bounds of the Law will be called as witnesses against their parents’ illicit sex when the time for judgment comes.

In contrast, those who have done what is right will be at rest, even if they die an early death. Those who are old aren’t honorable simply because time has passed. Old age isn’t measured by counting up a person’s years. Wisdom and a spotless life are the marks of honorable maturity. 10 There was a man who pleased God, was loved by God, and was taken away from living in the midst of sinners. 11 He was snatched away so that evil didn’t pervert his understanding and so that deception didn’t corrupt his soul. 12 Envying what is worthless blinds people to what is good, and the whirlwind of desire undermines an innocent mind.

13 Those who do what’s right are quickly perfected and live a long life in a short span of time. 14 They are whisked away from the wickedness that surrounds them because their whole beings are pleasing to the Lord. People around them see this, but they don’t understand. It doesn’t sink in 15 that favor and mercy rest upon God’s chosen ones, and that God watches over his holy ones.

16 So the dead who did what’s right will condemn the ungodly who are still alive, and someone who dies young will condemn the old person who has lived many years but hasn’t done what is right. 17 People will see the death of the wise, but they won’t understand the Lord’s purposes for them, nor to what end the Lord kept them safe. 18 Instead, they will laugh at what they see. In the end, however, the Lord will have the last laugh on them. 19 Then they will be no better than mutilated corpses, a scandal to the rest of the dead forever. The Lord will crush them and leave them lying there speechless. He will shake them from their very foundations. They will waste away in agony. Their memory will be wiped out. 20 They will cower when their sins are counted up. Their lawless deeds will witness against them and convict them.