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The Second Book of Esdras

Chapter 12

12:1 “And it came to pass, while the lion was saying these words to the eagle, that I looked,”
12:2 “And behold, the head that had been left disappeared, and the two wings which had gone over to it lifted themselves up to reign, and their reign was 3 short and full of uproar.”
12:3 “And I looked, and behold, they also disappeared, and the whole body of the eagle was burned, and the earth was panic stricken. Then, because of great disturbance of mind and great fear, I awoke, and I said to my spirit,”
12:4 “Behold, you have brought this upon me, because you, try to search out the ways of the Most High!”
12:5 “Behold, I am still weary in mind and very weak in my spirit, and there is not the least strength left in me, because of the great fear which I felt this night.”
12:6 “So now I will entreat the Most High to strengthen me to the end.”
12:7 “And I said, “Sovereign Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, and if I am counted upright by you beyond many, and if my prayer has indeed come up before your face,”
12:8 “Strengthen me, and show your slave the meaning and explanation of this dreadful vision, so as to comfort my soul fully.”
12:9 “For you have thought me worthy to be shown the end of the times and the last of them.”
12:10 “And he said to me, “This is the meaning of this vision that you have seen:”
12:11 “As for the eagle that you saw rising from the sea, it is the fourth kingdom that appeared in a vision to your brother Daniel.”
12:12 But it was not explained to him as I now explain it to you or have explained it.”
12:13 “Behold, the days are coming when a kingdom will rise on the earth, and it will be more terrible than all the kingdoms that were before it.”
12:14 “Moreover, twelve kings will reign over it, one after another.”
12:15 “But the second who is to reign will rule longer than the twelve.”
12:16 “This is the meaning of the twelve wings that you saw.”
12:17 “And as for your hearing a voice that spoke, that came not from his heads but from the middle of his body, this is the meaning:”
12:18 “In the midst of the time of the kingdom no small struggles will arise, and it will be in danger of falling, but it will not fall then, but will regain its former power.”
12:19 “And as for your seeing eight additional wings springing from his wings, this is the meaning:”
12:20 “For eight kings will rise in it, whose times will be short and whose years will be fleeting,”
12:21 “and two of them will fall when the middle of its time draws near; but four will be preserved for the time when the time of its end begins to approach; two will be kept until the end.”
12:22 “And as for your seeing the three heads resting, this is the meaning:”
12:23 “In its last days the Most High will raise up three kings, and they will renew many things in it, and will distress the earth.”
12:24 “And those who live in it, with greater oppression than all who were before them. That is why they are called the heads.”
12:25 “For it is they that will bring his wickedness to a head and will bring him to his end.”
12:26 “And as for your seeing the greater head disappear: one of them will die in his bed, but in torment.”
12:27 “But as for the two who were left, the sword will devour them.”
12:28 “For the sword of one of them will devour the one who was with him, but he too will fall by the sword in the last days.”
12:29 “And as for your seeing two additional wings crossing over to the head on the right side,”
12:30 “This is the meaning: It is these that the Most High has kept for the eagle’s end, for their reign was short and full of disturbance, as you saw.”
12:31 “And as for the lion that you saw roused roaring out of the forest, and speaking to the eagle and rebuking him for his wickedness and all his words that you have heard,”
12:32 “He is the Anointed One whom the Most High has kept until the end of the days who will spring from the posterity of David and come and talk with them. He will charge them with their ungodliness and rebuke them for their wickedness, and reproach them to their faces with their transgressions.”
12:33 “For first he will set them alive before his judgment seat, and when he has rebuked them, he will destroy them.”
12:34 “But my people who remain he will mercifully set free who remain in my borders and he will make them glad until the end comes, the Day of Judgment, of which I told you at the beginning.”
12:35 “This is the dream that you had, and this is its meaning.”
12:36 “But you alone were worthy to know the secret of the Most High.”
12:37 “So write all that you have seen in a book, and put it in a secret place,”
12:38 “And teach them to the wise among your people whose hearts you know can receive and keep these secrets.”
12:39 “But you must stay here seven days more, so that you may be shown whatever it pleases the Most High to show you. Then he departed from me.”
12:40 “And it came about that when all the people had heard that the seven days had passed and I had not returned to the city, they all gathered together, from the least to the greatest, and came to me and spoke to me saying,”
12:41 “How have we sinned against you, and what harm have we done you, that you have entirely abandoned us, and stay in this place?”
12:42 “For of all the prophets, you alone are left to us, like a grape cluster out of the vintage, and like a lamp in a dark place, and like a safe harbor for a ship in a storm.”
12:43 “Are not the evils that have befallen us enough?”
12:44 “So if you abandon us, how much better it would have been for us if we too had been burned in the burning of Zion!”
12:45 “For we are no better than those who died there.” And they wept aloud. And I answered them and said,”
12:46 “Have courage, Israel, and do not be sorrowful, you house of Jacob.”
12:47 “For you are remembered before the Most High, and the Mighty One will never forget you.”
12:48 “For I have not abandoned you or withdrawn from you, but I came to this place to pray over the desolation of Zion, and to ask for mercy in view of the degradation of our sanctuary.”
12:49 “And now go home, every one of you, and when these days are over, I will come to you.”
12:50 “And the people went back to the city, as I told them to so do.”
12:51 “But I stayed in the field for seven days, as he had commanded me, and I ate only of the flowers of the field; my food was vegetables in those days.”

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