2 Esdras 10

1 And it so came to pass, that when my son was entered into his wedding chamber, he fell down, and died.

2 Then we all overthrew the lights, and all myneighbors rose up to comfort me: and I remained quiet to the second day at night.

3 And it came to pass, when they had all left off to comfort me, to the end I might be quiet, then rose I up by night, and fled, and came hither into this field, as you see.

4 And I do now purpose not to return into the city, but here to stay, and neither to eat nor drink, but continually to mourn and to fast until I die.

5 Then left I the meditations wherein I was, and answered her in anger, and said,

6 You foolish woman above all other, see you not our mourning, and what has happened to us?

7 how that Sion the mother of us all is full of sorrow, and much humbled.

8 It is right now to mourn very sore, seeing we all mourn, and to be sorrowful, seeing we are all in sorrow, but you sorrowest for one son.

9 For ask the earth, and she shall tell you, that it is she which ought to mourn for so many that grow upon her.

10 For out of her all had their beginnings, and others shall come; and, behold, they walk almost all into destruction, and the multitude of them is utterly rooted out.

11 Who then should make more mourning,she, that has lost so great a multitude, or you, which are grieved but for one?

12 but if you say to me, My lamentation is not like the earth’s, for I have lost the fruit of my womb, which I brought forth with pains, and bare with sorrows:

13 butit is withthe earth after the manner of the earth; the multitude present in it is gone, as it came:

14 then say I to you, Like as you have brought forth with sorrow; even so the earth also has given her fruit, namely, man, ever since the beginning to him that made her.

15 Now therefore keep your sorrow to yourself, and bear with a good courage the adversities which have befallen you.

16 For if you shall acknowledge the decree of God to be just, you shall both receive your son in time, and shall be praised among women.

17 Go your way then into the city to your husband.

18 And she said to me, That will I not do: I will not go into the city, but here will I die.

19 So I proceeded to speak further to her, and said,

20 Do not so, but suffer yourself to be prevailed on by reason of the adversities of Sion; and be comforted by reason of the sorrow of Jerusalem.

21 For you see that our sanctuary is laid waste, our altar broken down, our temple destroyed;

22 our lute is brought low, our song is put to silence, our rejoicing is at an end; the light of our candlestick is put out, the ark of our covenant is spoiled, our holy things are defiled, and the name that is called upon us is profaned; our freemen are despitefully treated, our priests are burned, our Levites are gone into captivity, our virgins are defiled, and our wives ravished; our righteous men carried away, our little ones betrayed, our young men are brought into bondage, and our strong men are become weak;

23 and, what is more than all, the seal of Sion—for she has now lost the seal of her honor, and is delivered into the hands of them that hate us.

24 You therefore shake off your great heaviness, and put away from you the multitude of sorrows, that the Mighty may be merciful to you again, and the Most High may give you rest, even ease from your travails.

25 And it came to pass, while I was talking with her, behold, her face upon a sudden shined exceedingly, and her countenance glistered like lightning, so that I was sore afraidof her, and mused what this might be;

26 and, behold, suddenly she made a great cry very fearful; so that the earth shook at the noise.

27 And I looked, and, behold, the woman appeared to me no more, but there was a city builded, and a place showed itself from large foundations: then was I afraid, and cried with a loud voice, and said,

28 Where is Uriel the angel, who came to me at the first? for he has caused me to fall into this great trance, and mine end is turned into corruption, and my prayer to rebuke.

29 And as I was speaking these words, behold, the angel who had come to me at the first came to me, and he looked upon me:

30 and, behold, I lay as one that had been dead, and mine understanding was taken from me; and he took me by the right hand, and comforted me, and set me upon my feet, and said to me,

31 What aileth you? and why are you so disquieted? and why is your understanding troubled, and the thoughts of your heart?

32 And I said, Because you have forsaken me: yet I did according to your words, and went into the field, and, behold, I have seen, and yet see, that which I am not able to express.

33 And he said to me, Stand up like a man, and I will advise you.

34 Then said I, Speak on, my Lord; only forsake me not, lest I die frustrate of my hope.

35 For I have seen that I knew not, and hear that I do not know.

36 Or is my sense deceived, or my soul in a dream?

37 Now therefore I beseech you to show your servant concerning this trance.

38 And he answered me, and said, Hear me, and I shall inform you, and tell you concerning the things whereof you are afraid: For the Most High has revealed many secret things to you.

39 He has seen that your way is right: for that you sorrowest continually for your people, and make great lamentation for Sion.

40 This therefore is the meaning of the vision.

41 The woman which appeared to you a little while ago, whom you saw mourning, and began to comfort her:

42 but now see you the likeness of the woman no more, but there appeared to you a city in building:

43 and whereas she told you of the death of her son, this is the solution:

44 This woman, whom you saw, isSion,whom you now see as a city builded;

45 and whereas she said to you, that she has been thirty years barren,it is,because there were threethousand years in the world wherein there was no offering as yet offered in her.

46 And it came to pass after threethousand years that Solomon builded the city, and offered offerings: then it was that the barren bare a son.

47 And whereas she told you that she nourished him with travail: that was the dwelling in Jerusalem.

48 And whereas she said to you, My son coming into his marriage chamber died, and that misfortune befell her: this was the destruction that came to Jerusalem.

49 And, behold, you saw her likeness, how she mourned for her son, and you began to comfort her for what has befallen her;these were the things to be opened to you.

50 For now the Most High, seeing that you are grieved unfeignedly, and suffer from your whole heart for her, has showed you the brightness of her glory, and the comeliness of her beauty:

51 and therefore I bade you remain in the field where no house was builded:

52 for I knew that the Most High would show this to you.

53 Therefore I commanded you to come into the field, where no foundation of any building was.

54 For in the place wherein the city of the Most High was to be showed, the work of no man’s building could stand.

55 Therefore fear you not, nor let your heart be affrighted, but go your way in, and see the beauty and greatness of the building, as much as your eyes be able to see:

56 and then shall you hear as much as your ears may comprehend.

57 For you are blessed above many, and with the Most High are called by name, like as but few.

58 But to-morrow at night you shall remain here;

59 and so shall the Most High show you those visions in dreams, of what the Most High will do to them that dwell upon earth in the last days. So I slept that night and another, like as he commanded me.

2 Esdras 11

1 And it came to pass the second night that I saw a dream, and, behold, there came up from the sea an eagle, which had twelve feathered wings, and three heads.

2 And I saw, and, behold, she spread her wings over all the earth, and all the winds of heaven blew on her,and the clouds were gathered together against her.

3 And I saw, and out of her wings there grewotherwings over against them; and they became little wings and small.

4 But her heads were at rest: the head in the midst was greater than the other heads, yet rested it with them.

5 Moreover I saw, and, behold, the eagle flew with her wings, to reign over the earth, and over them that dwell therein.

6 And I saw how all things under heaven were subject to her, and no man spoke against her, no, not one creature upon earth.

7 And I saw, and, behold, the eagle rose upon her talons, and uttered her voice to her wings, saying,

8 Watch not all at once: sleep every one in his own place, and watch by course:

9 but let the heads be preserved for the last.

10 And I saw, and, behold, the voice went not out of her heads, but from the midst of her body.

11 And I countedher wings that were over against the other, and, behold, there were eight of them.

12 And I saw, and, behold, on the right side there arose one wing, and reigned over all the earth;

13 and so it was, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and it appeared not, so that the place thereof appeared no more: and the next following rose up, and reigned, and it bare rule a great time;

14 and it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, so that it appeared no more, like as the first.

15 And, behold, there came a voice to it, and said,

16 Hear you that have borne rule over the earth all this time: this I proclaim to you, before you shall appear no more,

17 There shall none after you attain to your time, neither to the half thereof.

18 Then arose the third, and had the rule as the others before, and it also appeared no more.

19 So went it with all the wings one after another, as that every one bare rule, and then appeared no more.

20 And I saw, and, behold, in process of time thewings that followed were set up upon theright side, that they might rule also; and some of them ruled, but within a while they appeared no more:

21 some also of them were set up, but ruled not.

22 After this I saw, and, behold, the twelve wings appeared no more, nor two of the little wings:

23 and there was no more left upon the eagle’s body, but the three heads that rested, and six little wings.

24 And I saw, and, behold, two little wings divided themselves from the six, and remained under the head that was upon the right side: but four remained in their place.

25 And I saw, and, behold, theseunder wings thought to set up themselves, and to have the rule.

26 And I saw, and, behold, there was one set up, but within a while it appeared no more.

27 A second also, and it was sooner away than the first.

28 And I saw, and, behold, the two that remained thought also in themselves to reign:

29 and while they so thought, behold, there awaked one of the heads that were at rest,namely, itthat was in the midst; for that was greater than the twootherheads.

30 And I saw how it joined the twootherheads with it.

31 And, behold, the head was turned with them that were with it, and did eat up the twounder wings that thought to have reigned.

32 But this head held the whole earth in possession, and bare rule over those that dwell therein with much oppression; and it had the governance of the world more than all the wings that had been.

33 And after this I saw, and, behold, the head also that was in the midst suddenly appeared no more, like as the wings.

34 But there remained the two heads, which also in like sort reigned over the earth, and over those that dwell therein.

35 And I saw, and, behold, the head upon the right side devoured it that was upon the left side.

36 Then I heard a voice, which said to me, Look before you, and consider the thing that you see.

37 And I saw, and, behold, as it were a lion roused out of the wood roaring: and I heard how that he sent out a man’s voice to the eagle, and spoke, saying,

38 Hear you, I will talk with you, and the Most High shall say to you,

39 Are not you it that remain of the four beasts, whom I made to reign in my world, that the end of my times might come through them?

40 And the fourth came, and overcame all the beasts that were past, and held the world in governance with great trembling, and the whole compass of the earth with grievous oppression; and so long time lived he upon the earth with deceit.

41 And you have judged the earth, but not with truth.

42 For you have afflicted the meek, you have hurt the peaceful, you have hated them that speak truth, you have loved liars, and destroyed the dwellings of them that brought forth fruit, and cast down the walls of such as did you no harm.

43 Therefore is your insolent dealing come up to the Most High, and your pride to the Mighty.

44 The Most High also has looked upon his times, and, behold, they are ended, and his ages are fulfilled.

45 And therefore appear no more, you eagle, nor your horrible wings, nor your evil little wings, nor your cruel heads, nor your hurtful talons, nor all your vain body:

46 that all the earth may be refreshed, and be eased, being delivered from your violence, and that she may hope for the judgement and mercy of him that made her.

2 Esdras 12

1 And it came to pass, whiles the lion spoke these words to the eagle, I saw,

2 and, behold, the head that remained appeared no more, andthe two wings which went over to it arose and set themselves up to reign, and their kingdom was small, and full of uproar.

3 And I saw, and, behold, they appeared no more, and the whole body of the eagle was burned, so that the earth was in great fear: then awaked I by reason of great ecstasy of mind, and from great fear, and said to my spirit,

4 Behold, this have you done to me, in that you search out the ways of the Most High.

5 Behold, I am yet weary in my mind, and very weak in my spirit; nor is there the least strength in me, for the great fear wherewith I was affrighted this night.

6 Therefore will I now beseech the Most High, that he will strengthen me to the end.

7 And I said, O Lord that bear rule, if I have found favor in your sight, and if I am justified with you above many others, and if my prayer indeed be come up before your face;

8 strengthen me then, and show me your servant the interpretation and plain meaning of this fearful vision, that you may perfectly comfort my soul.

9 For you have judged me worthy to show me the end of time and the last times.

10 And he said to me, This is the interpretation of this vision which you saw:

11 The eagle, whom you saw come up from the sea, is the fourth kingdom which appeared in vision to your brother Daniel.

12 But it was not expounded to him, as I now expound it to you or have expounded it.

13 Behold, the days come, that there shall rise up a kingdom upon earth, and it shall be feared above all the kingdoms that were before it.

14 In the same shall twelve kings reign, one after another:

15 whereof the second shall begin to reign, and shall have a longer time thanany ofthe twelve.

16 This is the interpretation of the twelve wings, which you saw.

17 And whereas you heard a voice which spoke, not going out from the heads, but from the midst of the body thereof, this is the interpretation:

18 Thatafter the time of that kingdom there shall arise no small contentions, and it shall stand in peril of falling: nevertheless it shall not then fall, but shall be restored again to its first estate.

19 And whereas you saw the eight under wings sticking to her wings, this is the interpretation:

20 That in it there shall arise eight kings, whose times shall be but small, and their years swift.

21 And two of them shall perish, when the middle time approacheth: four shall be kept for a while until the time of the ending thereof shall approach: but two shall be kept to the end.

22 And whereas you saw three heads resting, this is the interpretation:

23 In the last days thereof shall the Most High raise up threekingdoms, and renew many things therein, and they shall bear rule over the earth,

24 and over those that dwell therein, with much oppression, above all those that were before them: therefore are they called the heads of the eagle.

25 For these are they that shall accomplish her wickedness, and that shall finish her last end.

26 And whereas you saw that the great head appeared no more,it signifieththat one of them shall die upon his bed, and yet with pain.

27 But for the two that remained, the sword shall devour them.

28 For the sword of the one shall devour him that was with him: but he also shall fall by the sword in the last days.

29 And whereas you saw two under wings passingover to the head that is on the right side,

30 this is the interpretation: These are they, whom the Most High has kept to his end: this is the small kingdom and full of trouble, as you saw.

31 And the lion, whom you saw rising up out of the wood, and roaring, and speaking to the eagle, and rebuking her for her unrighteousness, and all her words which you have heard;

32 this is the anointed one, whom the Most High has kept to the end[of days, who shall spring up out of the seed of David, and he shall come and speak] to them and reprove them for their wickedness and unrighteousness, and shallheap up before them their contemptuous dealings.

33 For at the first he shall set them alive in his judgement, and when he has reproved them, he shall destroy them.

34 For the rest of my people shall he deliver with mercy, those that have been preserved throughout my borders, and he shall make them joyful until the coming of the end, even the day of judgment, whereof I have spoken to you from the beginning.

35 This is the dream that you saw, and this is the interpretation thereof:

36 and you only have been meet to know the secret of the Most High.

37 Therefore write all these things that you have seen in a book, and put them in a secret place:

38 and you shall teach them to the wise of your people, whose hearts you know are able to comprehend and keep these secrets.

39 But wait you here yourself yet seven days more, that there may be showed to you whatever it pleases the Most High to show you. And he departed from me.

40 And it came to pass, when all the peoplesaw that the seven days were past, and I had not come again into the city, they gathered them all together, from the least to the greatest, and came to me, and spoke to me, saying,

41 What have we offended you? and what evil have we done against you, that you have utterly forsaken us, and sit in this place?

42 For of all the prophets you only are left us, as a cluster of the vintage, and as a lamp in a dark place, and as a haven for a ship saved from the tempest.

43 Are not the evils which are come to us sufficient?

44 If you shall forsake us, how much better had it been for us, if we also had been consumed in the burning of Sion!

45 For we are not better than they that died there. And they wept with a loud voice. And I answered them, and said,

46 Be of good comfort, O Israel; and be not sorrowful, you house of Jacob:

47 for the Most High has you in remembrance, and the Mighty has not forgotten youfor ever.

48 As for me, I have not forsaken you, neither am I departed from you: but am come into this place, to pray for the desolation of Sion, and that I might seek mercy for the low estate of your sanctuary.

49 And now go your way every man to his own house, and after these days will I come to you.

50 So the people went their way into the city, like as I said to them:

51 but I sat in the field seven days, asthe angelcommanded me; and in those days I did eat only of the flowers of the field, and had my meat of the herbs.

2 Esdras 13

1 And it came to pass after seven days, I dreamed a dream by night:

2 and, behold, there arose a wind from the sea, that it moved all the waves thereof.

3 And I saw, and, behold,[this wind caused to come up from the midst of the sea as it were the likeness of a man, and I saw, and, behold,] that manflew with the clouds of heaven: and when he turned his countenance to look, all things trembled that were seen under him.

4 And whenever the voice went out of his mouth, all they burned that heard his voice, like as thewax melteth when it feeleth the fire.

5 And after this I saw, and, behold, there was gathered together a multitude of men, out of number, from the four winds of heaven, to make war against the man that came out of the sea.

6 And I saw, and, behold, he carved himself a great mountain, and flew upon it.

7 But I sought to see the region or place whereout the mountain was graven, and I could not.

8 And after this I saw, and, behold, all they which were gathered together to fight against him were sore afraid, and yet dared fight.

9 And, behold, as he saw the assualt of the multitude that came, he neither lifted up his hand, nor held spear, nor any instrument of war:

10 but only I saw how that he sent out of his mouth as it had been a flood of fire, and out of his lips a flaming breath, and out of his tongue he cast forth sparksof the storm.

11 And these were all mingled together; the flood of fire, the flaming breath, and the great storm; and fell upon the assault of the multitude which was prepared to fight, and burned them up every one, so that upon a sudden of an innumerable multitude nothing was to be perceived, but only dust of ashes and smell of smoke: when I saw this I was amazed.

12 Afterward I saw the same man come down from the mountain, and call to him another multitude which was peaceful.

13 And there camemuch people to him, whereof some were glad, some were sorry, some of them were bound, and other some brought of them that were offered: then through great fear I awaked, and prayed to the Most High, and said,

14 You have showed your servant these wonders from the beginning, and have counted me worthy that you should receive my prayer:

15 and now show me moreover the interpretation of this dream.

16 For as I conceive in mine understanding, woe to them that shall be left in those days! and much more woe to them that are not left!

17 for they that were not left shall be in heaviness,

18 understanding the things that are laid up in the latter days, but not attaining to them.

19 But woe to them also that are left, for this cause; for they shall see great perils and many necessities, like as these dreams declare.

20 Yet is itbetter for one to be in peril and to come intothese things, than to pass away as a cloud out of the world, and not to see the things thatshall happen in the last days.

And he answered to me, and said,

21 The interpretation of the vision shall I tell you, and I will also open to you the things whereof you have made mention.

22 Whereas you have spoken of them that are left behind, this is the interpretation:

23 He that shallendure the peril in that time shall keep them that be fallen into danger, even such as have works, and faith toward the Almighty.

24 Know therefore, that they which be left behind are more blessed than they that be dead.

25 These are the interpretations of the vision: Whereas you saw a man coming up from the midst of the sea,

26 the same is he whom the Most High has kept a great season, which by his own self shall deliver his creature: and he shall order them that are left behind.

27 And whereas you saw, that out of his mouth there came wind, and fire, and storm;

28 and whereas he held neither spear, nor any instrument of war, but destroyed the assault of that multitude which came to fight against him; this is the interpretation:

29 Behold, the days come, when the Most High will begin to deliver them that are upon the earth.

30 And there shall come astonishment of mind upon them that dwell on the earth.

31 And one shall think to war against another, city against city, place against place, people against people, and kingdom against kingdom.

32 And it shall be, when these things shall come to pass, and the signs shall happen which I showed you before, then shall my Son be revealed, whom you sawasa man ascending.

33 And it shall be, when all the nations hear his voice, every man shall leave his own land and the battle they have one against another.

34 And an innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, as you saw, desiring to come, and to fight against him.

35 But he shall stand upon the top of the mount Sion.

36 And Sion shall come, and shall be showed to all men, being prepared and builded, like as you saw the mountain graven without hands.

37 And this my Son shall rebuke the nations which are come for their wickedness,with plaguesthat are like to a tempest;

38 and shall taunt them to their face with their evil thoughts, and the torments wherewith they shall be tormented, which are likened to a flame: and he shall destroy them without labor by the law, which is likened to fire.

39 And whereas you saw that he gathered to him another multitude that was peaceful;

40 these are the ten tribes, which were led away out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmananser the king of the Assyrians led away captive, and he carried them beyond the River, and they were carried into another land.

41 But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind lived,

42 that they might there keep their statutes, which they had not kept in their own land.

43 And they entered by the narrow passages of the river Euphrates.

44 For the Most High then wrought signs for them, and stayed the springs of the River, till they were passed over.

45 For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is calledArzareth.

46 Then lived they there until the latter time; and now when they begin to come again,

47 the Most High stays the springs of the River again, that they may go through: therefore saw you the multitude gathered together with peace.

48 But those that be left behind of your people are they that are found within my holy border.

49 It shall be therefore when he shall destroy the multitude of the nations that are gathered together, he shall defend the people that remain.

50 And then shall he show them very many wonders.

51 Then said I, O Lord that bear rule, show me this: wherefore I have seen the man coming up from the midst of the sea.

52 And he said to me, like as one can neither seek out nor know what is in the deep of the sea, even so can no man upon earth see my Son, or those that be with him, but in the time ofhis day.

53 This is the interpretation of the dream which you saw, and for this you only are enlightened herein.

54 For you have forsaken your ownways,and applied your diligence to mine, and have sought out my law.

55 Your life have you ordered in wisdom, and have called understanding your mother.

56 And therefore have I showed you this; for there is a reward laid up with the Most High: and it shall be, after other three days I will speak other things to you, and declare to you mighty and wondrous things.

57 Then went I forth and passed into the field, giving praise and thanks greatly to the Most High because of his wonders, which he did from time to time;

58 and because he governs the time, and such things as fall in their seasons. And there I sat three days.

2 Esdras 14

1 And it came to pass upon the third day, I sat under an oak, and, behold, there came a voice out of a bush over against me, and said, Esdras, Esdras.

2 And I said, Here am I, Lord. And I stood up upon my feet.

3 Then said he to me, In the bush I did manifestly reveal myself, and talked with Moses, when my people were in bondage in Egypt:

4 and I sent him, andhe led my people out of Egypt; and I brought him up to the mount of Sinai, where I held him by me for many days;

5 and told him many wondrous things, and showed him the secrets of the times, and the end of the seasons; and commanded him, saying,

6 These words shall you publish openly, and these shall you hide.

7 And now I say to you,

8 Lay up in your heart the signs that I have showed, and the dreams that you have seen, and the interpretations which you have heard:

9 for you shall be taken away from men, and from henceforth you shall remain with my Son, and with such as be like you, until the times be ended.

10 For the world has lost its youth, and the times begin to wax old.

11 For the world is divided into twelve parts, and ten parts of it are gone already,even the half of the tenth part:

12 and there remain of it two parts after the middle of the tenth part.

13 Now therefore set your house in order, and reprove your people, comfort the lowly among them,and instruct such of them as be wise, and now renounce the life that is corruptible,

14 and let go from the mortal thoughts, cast away from you the burdens of man, put off now your weak nature,

15 and lay aside the thoughts that are most grievous to you, and haste you to remove from these times.

16 For yet worse evils than those which you have seen happen shall be done hereafter.

17 For look, how much the world shall be weaker through age, so much the more shall evils increase upon them that dwell therein.

18 For the truth shall withdraw itself further off, and leasing be hard at hand: for now hastensthe eagle to come, which you saw in vision.

19 Then answered I and said,I will speak before you, O Lord.

20 Behold, I will go, as you have commanded me, and reprove the people that now be: but they that shall be born afterward, who shall admonish them? for the world is set in darkness, and they that dwell therein are without light.

21 For your law is burned, therefore no man knows the things that are done of you, or the works that shall be done.

22 But if I have found favor before you, send the Holy Spirit to me, and I shall write all that has been done in the world since the beginning, even the things that were written in your law, that men may be able to find the path, and that they which would live in the latter days may live.

23 And he answered me and said, Go your way, gather the people together, and say to them, that they seek you not for forty days.

24 But look you prepare you many tablets, and take with you Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Ethanus, and Asiel, these five, which are ready to write swiftly;

25 and come here, and I shall light a lamp of understanding in your heart, which shall not be put out, till the things be ended which you shall write.

26 And when you have done, some things shall you publish openly, and some things shall you deliver in secret to the wise: tomorrow this hour shall you begin to write.

27 Then went I forth, as he commanded me, and gathered all the people together, and said,

28 Hear these words, O Israel.

29 Our fathers at the beginning were strangers in Egypt, and they were delivered from thence,

30 and received the law of life, which they kept not, which you⌃ also have transgressed after them.

31 Then wasthe land, even the land of Sion, given you for a possession: but you⌃ yourselves, and your fathers, have done unrighteousness, and have not kept the ways which the Most High commanded you.

32 And forasmuch as he is a righteous judge, he took from you for a while the thing that he had given you.

33 And now you⌃ are here, and your brethren are among you.

34 Therefore if so be that you⌃ will rule over your own understanding, and instruct your hearts, you⌃ shall be kept alive, and after death you⌃ shall obtain mercy.

35 For after death shall the judgement come, when we shall live again: and then shall the names of the righteous be manifest, and the works of the ungodly shall be declared.

36 Let no man therefore come to me now, nor seek after me these forty days.

37 So I took the five men, as he commanded me, and we went forth into the field, and remained there.

38 And it came to pass on the morrow that, behold, a voice called me, saying, Esdras, open your mouth, and drink that I give you to drink.

39 Then opened I my mouth, and, behold, there was reached to me a full cup, which was full as it were with water, but the color of it was like fire.

40 And I took it, and drank: and when I had drunk of it, my heart uttered understanding, and wisdom grew in my breast, for my spirit retained its memory:

41 and my mouth was opened, and shut no more.

42 The Most High gave understanding to the five men, and they wrote by course the things that were told them, incharacters which they knew not, and they sat forty days: now they wrote in the day-time, and at night they ate bread.

43 As for me, I spoke in the day, and by night I held not my tongue.

44 So in forty days were writtenfourscore and fourteen books.

45 And it came to pass, when the forty days were fulfilled, that the Most High spoke to me, saying, The first that you have written publish openly, and let the worthy and unworthy read it:

46 but keep the seventy last, that you may deliver them to such as be wise among your people:

47 for in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge.

48 And I did so.

2 Esdras 15

1 Behold, speak you in the ears of my people the words of prophecy, which I will put in your mouth, says the Lord:

2 and cause you them to be written in paper: for they are faithful and true.

3 Fear not their imaginations against you, let not the unbelief of them that speak against you trouble you.

4 For all the unbelievers shall die in their unbelief.

5 Behold, says the Lord, I bring evils upon the whole earth; sword and famine, and death and destruction.

6 For wickedness has prevailed over every land, and their hurtful works are come to the full.

7 Therefore says the Lord,

8 I will hold my peace no more as touching their wickedness, which they profanely commit, neither will I suffer them in these things, which they wickedly practise: behold, the innocent and righteous blood cries to me, and the souls of the righteous cry out continually.

9 I will surely avenge them, says the Lord, and will receive to me all the innocent blood from among them.

10 Behold, my people is led as a flock to the slaughter: I will not suffer them now to dwell in the land of Egypt:

11 but I will bring them out with a mighty hand and with a high arm, and will strike Egypt with plagues, as aforetime, and will destroy all the land thereof.

12 Let Egypt mourn, and the foundations thereof, for the plague of the chastisement and the punishment that God shall bring upon it.

13 Let the husbandmen that till the ground mourn: for their seeds shall fail and their trees shall be laid waste through the blasting and hail, and a terrible star.

14 Woe to the world and them that dwell therein!

15 for the sword and their destruction draweth near, and nation shall rise up against nation to battle with weapons in their hands.

16 For there shall be sedition among men; and waxing strong one against another, they shall not regard their king nor the chief of their great ones, in their might.

17 For a man shall desire to go into a city, and shall not be able.

18 For because of their pride the cities shall be troubled, the houses shall be destroyed,andmen shall be afraid.

19 A man shall have no pity upon his neighbor, but shall make an assault on their houses with the sword, and spoil their goods, because of the lack of bread, and for great tribulation.

20 Behold, says God, I call together all the kings of the earth, to stir up them that are from the rising of the sun, from the south, from the east, and Libanus; to turn themselves one against another, and repay the things that they have done to them.

21 Like as they do yet this day to my chosen, so will I do also, and recompense in their bosom. Thus says the Lord God:

22 My right hand shall not spare the sinners, and my sword shall not cease over them that shed innocent blood upon the earth.

23 And a fire is gone forth from his wrath, and has consumed the foundations of the earth, and the sinners, like the straw that is kindled.

24 Woe to them that sin, and keep not my commandments! says the Lord.

25 I will not spare them: go your way, you⌃ rebellious children, defile not my sanctuary.

26 For the Lord knows all them that trespass against him, therefore has he delivered them to death and destruction.

27 For now are the evils come upon the whole earth, and you⌃ shall remain in them: for God shall not deliver you, because you⌃ have sinned against him.

28 Behold, a vision horrible, and the appearance thereof from the east!

29 And the nations of the dragons of Arabia shall come out with many chariots, and from the day that they set forth the hissing of them is carried over the earth, so that all they which shall hear them may fear also and tremble.

30 Also the Carmonians raging in wrath shall go forth as the wild boars of the wood, and with great power shall they come, and join battle with them, and shall waste a portion of the land of the Assyrians with their teeth.

31 And then shall the dragons have the upper hand, remembering theirnature; and if they shall turn themselves, conspiring together in great power to persecute them,

32 then these shall be troubled, and keep silence through their power, and shall turn and flee.

33 And from the land of the Assyrians shall the lier in wait besiege them, and consume one of them, and upon their host shall be fear and trembling, and sedition against their kings.

34 Behold, clouds from the east and from the north to the south, and they are very horrible to look upon, full of wrath and storm.

35 They shall dash one against another, and they shall pour out a plentifulstorm upon the earth, even their own star; and there shall be blood from the sword to the horse’s belly,

36 and to the thigh of man, and to the camel’s hough.

37 And there shall be fearfulness and great trembling upon earth: and they that see that wrath shall be afraid, and trembling shall take hold upon them.

38 And after this shall there be stirred up great storms from the south, and from the north, and another part from the west.

39 And strong winds shall arise from the east, and shall shut it up, even the cloud which he raised up in wrath; and the star that was to cause destruction by the east wind shall be violently driven toward the south and west.

40 And great clouds and mighty and full of wrath shall be lifted up, and the star, that they may destroy all the earth, and them that dwell therein; and they shall pour out over every high and eminent one a terrible star,

41 fire, and hail, and flying swords, and many waters, that all plains may be full, and all rivers, with the abundance of those waters.

42 And they shall break down the cities and walls, mountains and hills, trees of the wood, and grass of the meadows, and their corn.

43 And they shall go on stedfastly to Babylon, and destroy her.

44 They shall come to her, and compass her about; the star and all wrath shall they pour out upon her: then shall the dust and smoke go up to the heaven, and all they that be about her shall bewail her.

45 And they that remain shall do service to them that have put her in fear.

46 And you, Asia, that are partaker in the beauty of Babylon, and in the glory of her person:

47 woe to you, you wretch, because you have made yourself like to her; you have decked your daughters in whoredom, that they might please and glory in your lovers, which have always desired you to commit whoredom withal!

48 You have followed her that is hateful in all her works and inventions: therefore says God,

49 I will send evils upon you; widowhood, poverty, famine, sword, and pestilence, to waste your houses to destruction and death.

50 And the glory of your power shall be dried up as a flower, when the heat shall arise that is sent over you.

51 You shall be weakened as a poor woman with stripes, and as one chastened with wounds, so that your mighty ones andyourlovers you shall not be able to receive.

52 Would I with jealousy have so proceeded against you, says the Lord,

53 if you had not always slain my chosen, exalting the stroke of your hands, and saying over theirdead, when you were drunken,

54 Set forth the beauty of your countenance?

55 The reward of a harlot shall be in your bosom, therefore shall you receive recompense.

56 Like as you shall do to my chosen, says the Lord, even so shall God do to you, and shall deliver you into mischief.

57 And your children shall die of hunger, and you shall fall by the sword: and your cities shall be broken down, and all your shall perish by the sword in the field.

58 And they that be in the mountains shall die of hunger, and eat their own flesh, and drinktheir ownblood, for very hunger of bread, and thirst of water.

59 You unhappy above all shall come and shall again receive evils.

60 And in the passage they shall rush on theidle city, and shall destroy some portion of your land, and mar part of your glory, and shall return again to Babylon that was destroyed.

61 And you shall be cast down by them as stubble, and they shall be to you as fire;

62 and shall devour you, and your cities, your land, and your mountains; all your woods and your fruitful trees shall they burn up with fire.

63 They shall carry your children away captive, and shall spoil your wealth, and mar the glory of your face.

2 Esdras 16

1 Woe to you, Babylon, and Asia! woe to you, Egypt, and Syria!

2 Gird up yourselves with sackcloth and garments of hair, and bewail your children, and lament; for your destruction is at hand.

3 A sword is sent upon you, and who is he that may turn it back?

4 A fire is sent upon you, and who is he that may quench it?

5 Evils are sent upon you, and who is he that may drive them away?

6 May one drive away a hungry lion in the wood? or may one quench the fire in stubble, when it has once begun to burn?

7 May one turn again the arrow that is shot of a strong archer?

8 The Lord God sends the evils, and who shall drive them away?

9 A fire shall go forth from his wrath, and who is he that may quench it?

10 He shall cast lightning, and who shall not fear? he shall thunder, and who shall not tremble?

11 The Lord shall threaten, and who shall not be utterly broken in pieces at his presence?

12 The earth quaketh, and the foundations thereof; the sea arises up with waves from the deep, and the waves of it shall be troubled, and the fishes thereof also, at the presence of the Lord, and before the glory of his power:

13 for strong is his right hand that bendeth the bow, his arrows that he shooteth are sharp, and shall not miss, when they begin to be shot into the ends of the world.

14 Behold, the evils are sent forth, and shall not return again, until they come upon the earth.

15 The fire is kindled, and shall not be put out, till it consume the foundations of the earth.

16 Like as an arrow which is shot of a mighty archer returns not backward, even so the evils that are sent forth upon earth shall not return again.

17 Woe is me! woe is me! who will deliver me in those days?

18 The beginning of sorrows, andthere shall begreat mournings; the beginning of famine, and many shall perish; the beginning of wars, and the powers shall stand in fear; the beginning of evils, and all shall tremble! what shall they do inallthis when the evils shall come?

19 Behold, famine and plague, tribulation and anguish! they are sent as scourges for amendment.

20 But for all these things they shall not turn them from their wickedness, nor be always mindful of the scourges.

21 Behold, food shall be so good cheap upon earth, that they shall think themselves to be in good case, and even then shall evils grow upon earth, sword, famine, and great confusion.

22 For many of them that dwell upon earth shall perish of famine; and the other, that escape the famine, shall the sword destroy.

23 And the dead shall be cast out as dung, and there shall be no man to comfort them: for the earth shall be left desolate, and the cities thereof shall be cast down.

24 There shall be no husbandman left to till the earth, and to sow it.

25 The trees shall give fruit, and who shall gather them?

26 The grapes shall ripen, and who shall tread them? for inallplaces there shall be a great forsaking:

27 for one man shall desire to see another, or to hear his voice.

28 For of a city there shall be ten left, and two of the field, which have hidden themselves in the thick groves, and in the clefts of the rocks.

29 As in an orchard of olives upon every tree there be left three or four olives,

30 or as when a vineyard is gathered there be some clusters left by them that diligently seek through the vineyard;

31 even so in those days there shall be three or four left by them that search their houses with the sword.

32 And the earth shall be left desolate, and the fields thereof shall be for briers, and her ways and all her paths shall bring forth thorns, because no sheep shall pass therethrough.

33 The virgins shall mourn, having no bridegrooms; the women shall mourn, having no husbands; their daughters shall mourn, having no helpers.

34 In the wars shall their bridegrooms be destroyed, and their husbands shall perish of famine.

35 Hear now these things, and understand them, you⌃ servants of the Lord.

36 Behold, the word of the Lord, receive it: disbelieve not the things whereof the Lord speaks.

37 Behold, the evils draw near, and are not slack.

38 Like as a woman with child in the ninth month, when the hour of her delivery draweth near, within two or three hours doleful pains compass her womb, and when the child comes forth from the womb, there shall be no tarrying for a moment:

39 even so shall not the evils be slack to come upon the earth, and the world shall groan, and sorrows shall take hold of it on every side.

40 O my people, hear my word: make you ready to the battle, and in those evils be even as pilgrims upon the earth.

41 He that selleth, let him be as he that fleeth away: and he that buys, as one that will lose:

42 he that occupieth merchandise, as he that has no profit by it: and he that builds, as he that shall not dwell therein:

43 he that sows, as if he should not reap: so also he that pruneththe vines,as he that shall not gather the grapes:

44 they that marry, as they that shall get no children; and they that marry not, as the widowed.

45 Inasmuch as they that labor labor in vain;

46 for strangers shall reap their fruits, and spoil their goods, overthrow their houses, and take their children captive, for in captivity and famine shall they beget their children:

47 and they that traffick traffick to become a spoil: the more they deck their cities, their houses, their possessions, and their own persons,

48 the more will I hate them for their sins, says the Lord.

49 Like as a right honest and virtuous woman hates a harlot,

50 so shall righteousness hate iniquity, when she decketh herself, and shall accuse her to her face, when he comes that shall defend him that diligently searcheth out every sin upon earth.

51 Therefore be you⌃ not like thereto, nor to the works thereof.

52 For yet a little while, and iniquity shall be taken away out of the earth, and righteousness shall reign over us.

53 Let not the sinner say that he has not sinned: for he shall burn coals of fire upon his head, which says, I have not sinned before God and his glory.

54 Behold, the Lord knows all the works of men, their imaginations, their thoughts, and their hearts.

55 Who said, Let the earth be made; and it was made: Let the heaven be made; and it was made.

56 And at his word were the stars established, and he knows the number of the stars.

57 Who searcheth the deep, and the treasures thereof; he has measured the sea, and what it contains.

58 Who has shut the sea in the midst of the waters, and with his word has he hanged the earth upon the waters.

59 Who spreadeth out the heaven like a vault; upon the waters has he founded it.

60 Who has made in the desert springs of water, and pools upon the tops of the mountains, to send forth rivers from the height to water the earth.

61 Who framed man, and put a heart in the midst of the body, and gave him breath, life, and understanding,

62 yes, the spirit of God Almighty. He who made all things, and searcheth out hidden things in hidden places,

63 surely he knows your imagination, and what you⌃ think in your hearts. Woe to them that sin, and would fain hide their sin!

64 Forasmuch as the Lord will exactly search out all your works, and he will put you all to shame.

65 And when your sins are brought forth before men, you⌃ shall be ashamed, and your own iniquities shall stand as your accusers in that day.

66 What will you⌃ do? or how will you⌃ hide your sins before God and his angels?

67 Behold, God is the judge, fear him: leave off from your sins, and forget your iniquities, to meddle no more with them for ever: so shall God lead you forth, and deliver you from all tribulation.

68 For, behold, the burning wrath of a great multitude is kindled over you, and they shall take away certain of you, and feed you with that which is slain to idols.

69 And they that consent to them shall be had in derision and in reproach, and be trodden under foot of them.

70 For there shall bein various places, and in the next cities, a great insurrection upon those that fear the Lord.

71 They shall be like mad men, sparing none, but spoiling and destroying them that still fear the Lord.

72 For they shall waste and take away their goods, and cast them out of their houses.

73 Then shall be manifest the trial of mine elect; even as the gold that is tried in the fire.

74 Hear, O you⌃ mine elect, says the Lord: behold, the days of tribulation are at hand, and I will deliver you from them.

75 Be you⌃ not afraid, neither doubt; for God is your guide:

76 and you⌃ who keep my commandments and precepts, says the Lord God, let not your sins weigh you down, and let not your iniquities lift up themselves.

77 Woe to them that are fast bound with their sins, and covered with their iniquities, like as a field is fast bound with bushes, and the path thereof covered with thorns, that no man may travel through!

78 It is even shut off, and given up to be consumed of fire.

1 Esdras 1

1 ANDJosias held the passover in Jerusalem to his Lord, and offered the passover the fourteenth day of the first month;

2 having set the priests according to their daily courses, being arrayed in their vestments, in the temple of the Lord.

3 And he spoke to the Levites,the temple-servants of Israel, that they should hallow themselves to the Lord, to set the holy ark of the Lord in the house that King Solomon the son of David had built:

4 and said,You⌃ shall no more have need to bear it upon your shoulders: now therefore serve the Lord your God, and minister to his people Israel, and prepare you after your fathers’ houses and kindred,

5 according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the magnificence of Solomon his son: and standing in the holy place according to the several divisions of the families of you the Levites, whoministerin the presence of your brethren the children of Israel,

6 offer the passover in order, and make ready the sacrifices for your brethren, and keep the passover according to the commandment of the Lord, which was given to Moses.

7 And to the people which were present Josias gave thirty thousand lambs and kids,andthree thousand calves: these things were given of the king’s substance, according as he promised, to the people, and to the priests and Levites.

8 And Helkias, and Zacharias, andEsyelus, the rulers of the temple, gave to the priests for the passover two thousandandsix hundred sheep,andthree hundred calves.

9 And Jeconias, and Samaias and Nathanael his brother, and Sabias, and Ochielus, and Joram, captains over thousands, gave to the Levites for the passover five thousand sheep,andseven hundred calves.

10 And when these things were done, the priests and Levites, having the unleavened bread, stood in comely order according to the kindred,

11 and according to the several divisions by fathers’ houses, before the people, to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses: and thusdid theyin the morning.

12 And they roasted the passover with fire, as appertains: and the sacrifices they sod in the brazen vessels and caldrons with a good savor,

13 and set them before all the people: and afterward they prepared for themselves, and for the priests their brethren, the sons of Aaron.

14 For the priests offered the fat until night: and the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests their brethren, the sons of Aaron.

15 The holy singers also, the sons of Asaph, were in their order, according to the appointment of David,to wit,Asaph, Zacharias, and Eddinus, whowas of the king’s retinue.

16 Moreover the porters were at every gate; none had need to depart from his daily course: for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.

17 Thus were the things that belonged to the sacrifices of the Lord accomplished in that day, in holding the passover,

18 and offering sacrifices upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of King Josias.

19 So the children of Israel which were present at that time held the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.

20 And such a passover was not held in Israel since the time of the prophet Samuel.

21 Yes, all the kings of Israel held not such a passover as Josias, and the priests, and the Levites, and the Jews, held with all Israel that were present in their dwelling place at Jerusalem.

22 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josias was this passover held.

23 And the works of Josias were upright before his Lord with a heart full of godliness.

24 Moreover the things that came to pass in his days have been written in times past, concerning those that sinned, and did wickedly against the Lord above every people and kingdom, and how they grieved himexceedingly, so that the words of the Lord were confirmed against Israel.

25 Now after all these acts of Josias it came to pass, that Pharaoh the king of Egypt came to raise war at Carchemish upon Euphrates: and Josias went out against him.

26 But the king of Egypt sent to him, saying, What have I to do with you, O king of Judaea?

27 I am not sent out from the Lord God against you; for my war is upon Euphrates: and now the Lord is with me, yes, the Lord is with me hasting me forward: depart from me, and be not against the Lord.

28 Howbeit Josias did not turn backto his chariot, but undertook to fight with him, not regarding the words of the prophet Jeremyspokenby the mouth of the Lord:

29 but joined battle with him in the plain of Megiddo, and the princes came down against King Josias.

30 Then said the king to his servants, Carry me away out of the battle; for I am very weak. And immediately his servants carried him away out of the host.

31 Then got he up upon his second chariot; and being brought back to Jerusalem he died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his fathers.

32 And in all Jewry they mourned for Josias; and Jeremy the prophet lamented for Josias, and the chief men with the women made lamentation for him, to this day: and this was given out for an ordinance to be done continually in all the nation of Israel.

33 These things are written in the book of the histories of the kings of Judea, and every one of the acts that Josias did, and his glory, and his understanding in the law of the Lord, and the things that he had done before, and the things nowrecited, are reported in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

34 And the people tookJoachaz the son of Josias, and made him king instead of Josias his father, when he was twenty and three years old.

35 And he reigned inJudah and in Jerusalem three months: and then the king of Egypt deposed him from reigning in Jerusalem.

36 And he set a tax upon the people of a hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold.

37 The king of Egypt also made King Joakim his brother king of Judaea and Jerusalem.

38 And Joakim bound the nobles: but Zarakes his brother he apprehended, and brought him up out of Egypt.

39 Five and twenty years old wasJoakim when he began to reign in Judaea and Jerusalem; and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

40 And against him Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon came up, and bound him with a chain of brass, and carried him to Babylon.

41 Nabuchodonosor also took of the holy vessels of the Lord, and carried them away, and set them up in his own temple at Babylon.

42 But those things that are reported of him, and of his uncleanness and impiety, are written in the chronicles of the kings.

43 And Joakim his son reigned in his stead: for when he was made king he waseighteen years old;

44 and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem; and did that which was evil before the Lord.

45 So after a year Nabuchodonosor sent and caused him to be brought to Babylon with the holy vessels of the Lord;

46 and made Sedekias king of Judaea and Jerusalem, when he was one and twenty years old; and he reigned eleven years:

47 and he also did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and cared not for the words that were spoken by Jeremy the prophet from the mouth of the Lord.

48 And after that king Nabuchodonosor had made him to swear by the name of the Lord, he forswore himself, and rebelled; and hardening his neck, and his heart, he transgressed the laws of the Lord, the God of Israel.

49 Moreover the governors of the people and of the priests did many things wickedly,and passed all the pollutions of all nations, and defiled the temple of the Lord, which was sanctified in Jerusalem.

50 And the God of their fathers sent by his messenger to call them back, because he had compassion on them and on his dwelling place.

51 But they mocked his messengers; and in the day when the Lord spoketo them,they scoffed at his prophets:

52 so far forth, that he, being angry with his people for their great ungodliness, commanded to bring up the kings of the Chaldeans against them;

53 who killed their young men with the sword, round about their holy temple, and spared neither young man nor maid, old man nor child; but he delivered all into their hands.

54 And they took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, withthe vessels of the ark of the Lord, and the king’s treasures, and carried them away to Babylon.

55 And they burned the house of the Lord, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem, and burned the towers thereof with fire:

56 and as for her glorious things, they never ceased till they had brought them all to nothing: and the people that were not slain with the sword he carried to Babylon:

57 and they were servants to him and to his children, till the Persians reigned, to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremy:

58 Until the land has enjoyed her Sabbaths, the whole time of her desolation shall she keep Sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

1 Esdras 2

1 In thefirst year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremy might be accomplished,

2 the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians, and he made proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing,

3 saying, Thus says Cyrus king of the Persians; The Lord of Israel, the Most High Lord, has made me king of the whole world,

4 and commanded me to build him a house at Jerusalem that is in Judaea.

5 If therefore there be any of you that are of his people,let the Lord, even his Lord, be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem that is in Judaea, and build the house of the Lord of Israel: he is the Lord that dwells in Jerusalem.

6 Of such therefore as dwell in various places, let them that are in his own place help each one with gold, and with silver,

7 with gifts, with horses also and cattle, beside the other things which have been added by vow for the temple of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

8 Then the chief of the families of Judah and of the tribe of Benjamin stood up; the priests also, and the Levites, and all they whose spirit the Lord had stirred to go up, to build the house for the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

9 And they that lived round about them helped them in all things with silver and gold, with horses and cattle, and with very many gifts that were vowed of a great number whose minds were stirred upthereto.

10 King Cyrus also brought forth the holy vessels of the Lord, which Nabuchodonosor had carried away from Jerusalem, and had set up in his temple of idols.

11 Now when Cyrus king of the Persians had brought them forth, he delivered them to Mithradates his treasurer,

12 and by him they were delivered toSanabassar the governor of Judaea.

13 And this was the number of them: A thousand golden cups, a thousand cups of silver, censers of silver twenty nine, vials of gold thirty, and of silver two thousand four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.

14 So all the vessels of gold and of silver were brought up, even five thousand four hundred threescore and nine,

15 and were carried back by Sanabassar, together with them of the captivity, from Babylon to Jerusalem.

16 But in the time of Artaxerxes king of the Persians Belemus, and Mithradates, and Tabellius, andRathumus, and Beeltethmus, andSamellius the scribe, with the others that were in commission with them, dwelling in Samaria and other places, wrote to him against them that lived in Judaea and Jerusalem the letter following:

17 To king Artaxerxes our Lord, Your servants, Rathumus thestorywriter, and Samellius the scribe, and the rest of their council, and the judges that are in Coelesyria and Phoenicia.

18 Be it now known to our lord the king, that the Jews that are come up from you to us, being come to Jerusalem, do build that rebellious and wicked city, and do repair the marketplaces and the walls of it, and do lay the foundation of a temple.

19 Now if this city be builded and the wallsthereofbe finished, they will not only refuse to give tribute, but will even stand up against kings.

20 And forasmuch as the things pertaining to the temple are now in hand, we think it meet not to neglect such a matter,

21 but to speak to our lord the king, to the intent that, if it be your pleasure, search may be made in the books of your fathers:

22 and you shall find in the chronicles what is written concerning these things, and shall understand that that city was rebellious, troubling both kings and cities:

23 and that the Jews were rebellious, and raised always wars therein of old time; for the which cause even this city was laid waste.

24 Wherefore now we do declare to you, O lord the king, that if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up anew, you shall from henceforth have no passage into Coelesyria and Phoenicia.

25 Then the king wrote back again to Rathumus the storywriter, and Beeltethmus, and Samellius the scribe, and to the rest that were in commission, and lived in Samaria and Syria and Phoenicia, after this manner:

26 I have read the epistle which you⌃ have sent to me: therefore I commanded to make search, and it has been found that that city of old time has made insurrection against kings;

27 and the men were given to rebellion and war therein: and that mighty kings and fierce were in Jerusalem, who reigned and exacted tribute in Coelesyria and Phoenicia.

28 Now therefore I have commanded to hinder those men from building the city, and heed to be taken that there be nothing done contrary to thisorder;

29 and that those wicked doings proceed no further to the annoyance of kings.

30 Then king Artaxerxes his letters being read, Rathumus, and Samellius the scribe, and the rest that were in commission with them, removing in haste to Jerusalem with horsemen and a multitude of people in battle array, began to hinder the builders; and the building of the temple in Jerusalem ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of the Persians.

1 Esdras 3

1 Now king Darius made a great feast to all his subjects, and to all that were born in his house, and to all the princes of Media and of Persia,

2 and to all the satraps and captains and governors that were under him, from India to Ethiopia, in the hundred twenty and seven provinces.

3 And when they had eaten and drunken, and being satisfied were gone home, then Darius the king went into his bedchamber, and slept, and awaked out of his sleep.

4 Then the three young men of the body-guard, that kept the king’s person, spoke one to another:

5 Let every one of us say one thing which shall be strongest: and he whose sentence shall seem wiser than the others, to him shall Darius the king give great gifts, and great honors in token of victory:

6 as, to be clothed in purple, to drink in gold, and to sleep upon gold, and a chariot with bridles of gold, and a headtire of fine linen, and a chain about his neck:

7 and he shall sit next to Darius because of his wisdom, and shall be called Darius his cousin.

8 And then they wrote every one his sentence, and set to their seals, and laidthe writingunder king Darius his pillow,

9 and said, When the king is risen, some shall give him the writing; and of whose side the king and the three princes of Persia shall judge that his sentence is the wisest, to him shall the victory be given, as it is written.

10 The first wrote, Wine is the strongest.

11 The second wrote, The king is strongest.

12 The third wrote, Women are strongest: but above all things Truth bears away the victory.

13 Now when the king was risen up, they took the writing, and gave it to him, and so he read it:

14 and sending forth he called all the princes of Persia and of Media, and the satraps, and the captains, and the governors, and the chief officers;

15 and sat him down in the royal seat of judgment; and the writing was read before them.

16 And he said, Call the young men, and they shall explain their own sentences. So they were called, and came in.

17 And they said to them, Declare to us your mind concerning the things you⌃ have written.

Then began the first, who had spoken of the strength of wine,

18 and said thus, O sirs, how exceeding strong is wine! it causes all men to err that drink it:

19 it makes the mind of the king and of the fatherless child to be all one; of the bondman and of the freeman, of the poor man and of the rich:

20 it turns also every thought into jollity and mirth, so that a man remembers neither sorrow nor debt:

21 and it makes every heart rich, so that a man remembers neither king nor satrap; and it makes to speak all things by talents:

22 and when they are in their cups, they forget their love both to friends and brethren, and a little after draw their swords:

23 but when they awake from their wine, they remember not what they have done.

24 O sirs, is not wine the strongest, seeing that it enforces to do thus? And when he had so spoken, he held his peace.