The Second Book of Esdras

Chapter 16

16:1 “Alas for you, Babylon and Asia! Alas for you, Egypt and Syria!”
16:2 “Put on sackcloth and haircloth, and bewail your sons and lament them, for your destruction is at hand.”
16:3 “The sword has been sent upon you, and who is there to turn it aside?”
16:4 “A fire has been sent upon you, and who is there to put it out?”
16:5 “Misfortunes have been sent upon you, and who is there to drive them away?”
16:6 “Can one drive off a hungry lion in a forest, or put out a fire in the stubble, when it has once begun to burn?”
16:7 “Can one turn back an arrow shot by a strong archer?”
16:8 “If the Lord God sends misfortunes, who can turn them back?”
16:9 “When fire goes out from his wrath, who is there to put it out?”
16:10 “When he lightens, who will not fear? When he thunders, who will not shudder?”
16:11 “When the Lord threatens, who will not be utterly destroyed at his presence?”
16:12 “The earth trembles to its foundations, the sea is stirred to its depths, and its waves are thrown into confusion, and its fish also, at the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his might.”
16:13 “For his right arm that bends the bow is strong, his arrows that he shoots are sharp; they will not miss when they begin to be shot to the ends of the earth.”
16:14 “Behold, disasters are shot forth, and they will not return until they come upon the earth.”
16:15 “A fire is lighted, and will not be put out, until it consumes the foundations of the earth.”
16:16 “Just as an arrow shot by a strong archer does not come back, so the disasters which shall be shot at the earth will not turn back.”
16:17 “Alas for me! Who will deliver me in those days?”
16:18 “It is the beginning of sorrows, when there will be great mourning; the beginning of famine, when many will perish; the beginning of wars, when powers will fear; the beginning of disasters, when all will tremble. What will they do in these circumstances, when disasters come?”
16:19 “Behold, famine and pestilence and distress and anguish are sent as scourges to correct men.”
16:20 “But in spite of all these things they will not turn from their wickedness, or ever remember the scourges.”
16:21 “Behold, grain will be so cheap on the earth that they will think they are sure of peace, and then disasters will spring up on the earth – the sword, famine, and great disorder.”
16:22 “For many who live on the earth will die of hunger, and the rest who survive the famine the sword will destroy.”
16:23 “And the dead will be thrown out like dung, and there will be no one to comfort them; for the earth will be left desolate, and its cities will be torn down.”
16:24 “There will be nobody left to cultivate the ground and sow it.”
16:25 “The trees will bear fruit, but who will gather it?”
16:26 “The grapes will ripen, but who will tread them? For there will be a great deserting of the land here and there.”
16:27 “For one man will long to see another, or to hear his voice.”
16:28 “For ten will be left, out of a city, and two, out of a field, who have hidden in the thick woods and the clefts of the rocks.”
16:29 “Just as in an olive orchard, three or four olives may be left on each tree,”
16:30 “Or when the grapes are gathered in a vineyard, some clusters are left by those who search the vineyard carefully,”
16:31 “So in those days three or four will be left by those who search their houses with the sword.”
16:32 “And the earth will be left desolate, and its fields will be given up to briars, and all its roads and paths will grow thorns, because no sheep will go along them.”
16:33 “Girls will grieve, because they have no bridegrooms, women will grieve because they have no husbands, their daughters will grieve because they have no help.”
16:34 “Their bridegrooms will be destroyed in war, and their husbands will die of hunger.”
16:35 “But listen to these things, and understand them, you slaves of the Lord!”
16:36 “Behold, it is the word of the Lord; receive it, do not disbelieve the things of which the Lord says,”
16:37 “Behold, disasters are approaching and they are not delayed.”
16:38 “Just as a woman with child, in the ninth month, when the hour of her delivery draws near, two or three hours before it, is seized with agonizing pains about her womb, and when the child comes forth from the womb it will not delay for a moment,”
16:39 “So these disasters will not delay in coming upon the earth, and the world will groan and pains will envelop it.”
16:40 “Hear my word, my people, prepare for battle, and in the midst of these disasters be like strangers in the earth;”
16:41 “Let him who sells do it as though he would have to flee; and let him who buys do it as though he would lose it;”
16:42 “Let him who trades do it as though he would get no profit; and let him who builds build as though he were not going to live in what he builds;”
16:43 “Let him who sows do it as though he were not to reap, and let him who prunes do it as though he were not to gather the grapes;”
16:44 “Let those who marry do it as though they were not to have sons, and those who do not marry as though they were widowed.”
16:45 “Because those who toil, toil in vain,”
16:46 “For strangers will gather their fruits, and plunder their property, and overthrow their houses and take their sons captive, for they produce their children for captivity and famine.”
16:47 “And those who do business do it to be plundered; the more they adorn their cities and their houses and their possessions and their persons, the angrier I will be with them for their sins,”
16:48 “The angrier I will be with them for their sins,” says the Lord.”
16:49 “Just as a respectable and virtuous woman abhors a prostitute,”
16:50 “So uprightness will abhor wickedness when she adorns herself, and will accuse her to her face, when he comes who is to defend him who seeks out every sin on earth.”
16:51 “Therefore, do not be like her or her works.”
16:52 “For behold, in a little while, wickedness will be removed from the earth, and uprightness will reign over us.”
16:53 “Let no sinner say he has not sinned, for he will burn fiery coals upon the head of him who says, “I have not sinned before God and his glory.”
16:54 “Behold, the Lord knows all the doings of men, and their devices, and their thoughts and their hearts.”
16:55 “When he said, “Let the earth be made,” it was made. And “Let the heaven be made,” it was made.”
16:56 “At his command the stars were established, and he knows the number of the stars.”
16:57 “He searches the deep and its treasuries; he has measured the sea and what it holds.”
16:58 “He has shut up the sea in the midst of the waters, and by his command he has hung the earth upon the water.”
16:59 “He has stretched the heaven like an arch and based it upon the waters.”
16:60 “He has put springs of water in the desert, and lakes upon the tops of the mountains, so as to send rivers from the heights so that the earth might drink.”
16:61 “He formed man, and put a heart in the midst of his body, and imparted to him breath and life and understanding,”
16:62 “And the breath of the Almighty God, who created all things and searches out things hidden in secret places.”
16:63 “He certainly knows your devices, and what you think in your hearts. Alas for sinners and those who want to hide their sins!”
16:64 “Because the Lord will closely examine all their doings, and prove them all guilty.”
16:65 “And you will be put to shame when your sins are brought out into the sight of men, and your iniquities rise up to accuse you on that day.”
16:66 “What will you do? Or how will you hide your sins in the presence of God and his angels?”
16:67 “Behold, God is the judge; fear him. Give up your sins, and forget your iniquities, and never practice them again; then God will lead you forth and deliver you from all distress.”
16:68 “For behold, the hot anger of the great multitude is kindled over you, and some of you they will carry off and make you eat what is sacrificed to idols.”
16:69 “And those who give them their consent they will hold in derision and contempt and trample on them.”
16:70 “For there will be disturbances here and there, and in near-by cities a great uprising against those who fear the Lord.”
16:71 “They will be like madmen, sparing no one, in plundering and pillaging those who still fear the Lord.”
16:72 “For they will pillage and plunder their property, and drive them out of their houses.”
16:73 “Then will appear the testing of my chosen, like gold which is tested by fire.”
16:74 “Listen, my chosen,” says the Lord. “Behold, the days of persecution are here, and I will deliver you from them.”
16:75 “Do not fear or doubt, for God is your guide.”
16:76 “And you who keep my commandments and precepts,” says the Lord God, “let not your sins drag you down, or your wickedness prevail over you.”
16:77 “Alas for those who are bound by their sins and covered with their wickedness, as a field is overgrown with woods, and its grain so covered with thorns that no one can get through.”
16:78 “It is shut out, and left to be consumed by fire.”

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