It does not need to, since context forms the parameters of meaning. Similarly, to “mean much”, Article I, Section II, paragraph 3 of your constitution requires the context of the whole of that constitution and the legal framework within which it exists. If you want to take verses out of context, you can make a text appear to say all manner of things, but the text is not the one saying them.
those hateful words
That is what we call polemic, and it is never a good sign for the interpretation of a text.
Look at those verses in Wisom 3 and how they are structured.
As previously mentioned, this involves abstracting them from their context, doing which will “obscure what they say to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say”. As unwise as decontextualisation is for textual analysis, the tactic is far from unusual in polemics.
The primary context of the last four verses of Wisdom 3 is not only that chapter, but that book, not least because the chapter and verse designations did not exist when the text was written, nor for at least twelve centuries thereafter. For the moment, we may leave aside the wider contexts of Wisdom Literature, the Bible, Hebrew Religious Literature, and Religious literature generally.
What is shall? It is a modal verb.
Is shall used to signify possibility or probability like some other modal verbs may, might, or could? No. It signifies a definite future state.
Actually, no, it does not: modal verbs are so called because they express the “Mode of Possibility”, not certainty. English uses modal verbs to express the future because it is generally not definite (as well as the periphrastic progressive when it is the expected result of the present, and the present simple when it is a scheduled event). While “shall” is stronger than “will”, it is weaker than “is”.
Now we’re getting some weasel words. They “need not be” wicked.
At this point, the polemic has moved to misrepresentation. That statement is clear, direct, and means precisely what it says: the text does not assert that it is necessary for the children of adulterers to remain part of the “unjust generation” and to suffer the fate of that latter group, the group upon whom most of the first half of the text focuses. They need not be wicked; they have a choice.
The verse indicates that such offspring are wicked, as it is passed down to them from the adulterous act.
Actually, no, they do not. The only reference to wickedness there is in v.19, which refers to the “unjust generation”. The text asserts nothing about this wickedness being transferred or inherited. At this point, the misrepresentation has progressed to inserting ideas not present in the material, “to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say”.
So by saying that the virtuous who were once wicked have hope are you admitting that offspring of adulterous relationships are wicked?
No. The text describes an “unjust generation”, and it describes their fate, but then it also describes an alternative fate for those who choose another way of life.
Just by the nature of their conception they are wicked?
The text does not say that.
I am surprised that you are finding it so difficult to read, but I will simplify it for you:
- ‘If the bad people have kids in The Wrong Way™, the kids will not benefit the bad people.’
- ‘The bad people will end badly.’
- ‘The bad people can choose to be good.’
- ‘If they choose to be good, they will not be bad people.’
Naturally, if the condition of #4 is met, then they will not meet the criteria for #2.
In the plain and simple sense of the expressions used, 12:10, 12:20, 6:6, and 6:10 state that the horrible end is not the necessary fate of the children of adulterers.
As for why they need to be good, that is a duty which Wisdom, like the rest of the Bible, imposes upon everyone.
Does the Bible ever mean what it says?
What a text means is a question of more complexity than we have room to discuss, as demonstrated by the fact that people have been debating precisely that question about the Iliad for at least 2300 years.
What the Bible says, on the other hand, is what it says, but only when the whole message is read, and not when one abstracts verses from their context “to stretch and mould them, to obscure what they say to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say”.
You’re the one doing the Apologists’ Dance.
And now the polemic has devolved into a personal attack! I wish that I could say that that was surprising, but it was not.
Discuss the topic in a polite manner, or discuss it with someone else.