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The Second Book of Esdras

Chapter 10

10:1 “And it came about that when my son entered his wedding chamber, he fell down and died.”
10:2 “And we all overturned the lights, and all my neighbors rose up to comfort me, and I was quiet until evening the second day.”
10:3 “And it came about, when they had all stopped comforting me, to quiet me, that I got up in the night, and fled, and came to this field, as you see.”
10:4 “And now I plan not to return to the city, but to stay here, and I will not eat or drink, but mourn and fast continually until I die.”
10:5 “Then I broke off the reflections with which I was still occupied, and answered her in anger and said,”
10:6 “You most foolish of all women, can you not see our sorrow, and what has happened to us?”
10:7 “For Zion, the mother of us all, is afflicted with grief and in deep humiliation.”
10:8 “Now lament bitterly, for we are all lamenting, and be sad, for we are all sad, but you sorrow for just one son.”
10:9 “For ask the earth, and she will tell you that it is she who ought to mourn over so many who have come into being upon her.”
10:10 “And from the beginning all have been born of her and others will come, and, behold, almost all of them go to perdition, and the most of them are destined to destruction.”
10:11 “Who therefore ought to mourn more, if not she, who has lost such a multitude, rather than you, who sorrow for only one?”
10:12 “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 bore with pain and brought forth with sorrow;”
10:13 “But it is with the earth after the manner of the earth; the multitude that is now in it goes as it came’;”
10:14 “Then I say to you, ‘As you brought forth with pain, so the earth also has from the beginning given her fruit, man, to him who made her.’“
10:15 “So keep your sorrow to yourself, and bear bravely the misfortunes that have overtaken you.”
10:16 “For if you accept the judgment of God, you will receive your son back in due time, and be praised among women.”
10:17 “So go into the city to your husband.”
10:18 “And she said to me, “I will not do it, or enter the city, but I will die here.”
10:19 “Then I proceeded to speak to her further, and said,”
10:20 “Do not do that, but let yourself be persuaded because of the misfortunes of Zion, and be comforted because of the sorrow of Jerusalem.”
10:21 “For you see that our sanctuary has been laid waste, and our altar torn town, and our temple destroyed,”
10:22 “And our harp is brought low, and our song is silenced, and our rejoicing has ceased, and the light of our lamp is put out, and the chest of our agreement is plundered, and our sacred things are polluted, and the name by which we have been called is profaned, our children are abused, and our priests are burned, and our Levites have gone into captivity, and our girls are defiled, and our wives are ravished, and our upright men are carried off, and our little ones are exposed, and our young men are enslaved, and our strong men are made weak.”
10:23 “And worst of all is the seal of Zion, for she is now sealed up from her glory, and delivered into the hands of those who hate us.”
10:24 “So shake off your great sadness and lay aside your many sorrows, so that the Mighty One may become gracious to you, and the Most High may give you rest, and relief from your troubles.”
10:25 “And it came to pass, as I spoke to her, that her face suddenly shone exceedingly and the look of her countenance flashed like lightning, so that I was too greatly frightened to go near her, and wondered what it could mean.”
10:26 “And behold, she suddenly gave a loud and fearful cry, so that the earth shook at the sound.”
10:27 “And I looked, and behold the woman no longer appeared to me, but a city was being built and a place of huge foundations showed itself; and I was afraid, and cried aloud and said,”
10:28 “Where is the angel Uriel, who came to me at first? For it was he who brought me into this great bewilderment; my end has become corruption, and my prayer a reproach!”
10:29 “And as I said this, behold, the angel who had come to me at first, came to me, and saw me;”
10:30 “And, behold, I lay there like a corpse, and I had lost my reason, and he took my right hand, and steadied me, and helped me to my feet, and said to me,”
10:31 “What is the matter with you, and why are you troubled, and why are your understanding and the thinking of your mind confused?”
10:32 “And I said, “Because you utterly abandoned me. I did as you told me, and went out into the field, and behold, I looked, and I saw what I cannot describe.”
10:33 “And he said to me, “Stand up like a man, and I will instruct you.”
10:34 “And I said, “Speak, my lord, only do not abandon me, so that I may not die in vain.”
10:35 “For I have seen what I did not know, and I heard what I do not understand.”
10:36 “Is my mind deceived, or my soul dreaming?”
10:37 “Now therefore I beseech you to explain to your slave about this confusion.”
10:38 “And he answered me and said, “Listen to me, and I will teach you, and tell you about the things of which you are afraid, for the Most High has revealed many secrets to you.”
10:39 “For he has seen your rectitude, and that you have sorrowed continually for your people and lamented bitterly over Zion.”
10:40 “This then is the meaning of the vision:”
10:41 “The woman who appeared to you a little while ago, whom you saw mourning and began to comfort,”
10:42 “But whom you then saw not in the form of a woman, but she appeared to you as a city that was being built,”
10:43 “And as to what she told you about the misfortune of her son, this is the explanation:”
10:44 “The woman that you saw, whom you now see as a city that is built, is Zion!”
10:45 “And as for her telling you that she was barren for thirty years, that was because there were three thousand years when no offering was yet offered in her;”
10:46 “and it came to pass that after three thousand years Solomon built the city and offered sacrifices; it was then that the barren woman bore a son.”
10:47 “And as for her telling you that she brought him up with care that was the period of residence in Jerusalem.”
10:48 “And as for her saying to you, ‘As my son was going into the marriage chamber, he died,’ and that misfortune had overtaken her, that was the fall of Jerusalem that has taken place.”
10:49 “And, behold, you saw her face and how she mourned for her son, and you began to comfort her for what has happened.”
10:50 “And now the Most High seeing that you are deeply grieved, and are wholeheartedly distressed for her, has shown you the splendor of her glory and the charm of her beauty.”
10:51 “It was on this account that I told you to stay in the field where no house was built,”
10:52 “For I knew that the Most High was going to reveal these things to you.”
10:53 “That was why I told you to go into the field, where there was no foundation of a building,”
10:54 “For no work built by man could stand in the place where the city of the Most High was to be revealed.”
10:55 “So do not be afraid, or terrified at heart, but go in, and see the splendor and greatness of the building, as far as the sight of your eyes can see.”
10:56 “And afterward you will hear as much as the hearing of your ears can hear.”
10:57 “For you are more blessed than many, and you have been called by the Most High as few have been.”
10:58 “But tomorrow night you must stay here,”
10:59 “And the Most High will show you in dreams those visions of what the Most High is going to do in the last days to those who live on the earth.” So I slept that night and the following one, as he had commanded me.”

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