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The Second Book of Esdras

Chapter 3

3:1 “In the thirtieth year after the destruction of the city, I, Salathiel, who am Ezra, was in Babylon, and I was troubled as I lay on my bed, and my thoughts filled my mind,”
3:2 “Because I saw the desolation of Zion, and the wealth of those who lived in Babylon.”
3:3 “And my spirit was agitated, and I began to utter devout words to the Most High, and I said,”
3:4 “O Sovereign Lord, was it not you who in the beginning when you formed the earth, and all alone too, spoke and commanded the dust,”
3:5 “And it gave you Adam, a dead body? But he was both himself a formation of your hands, and you breathed into him the breath of life, and he was made alive before you.”
3:6 “And you led him into Paradise which your right hand planted before the earth appeared;”
3:7 “And you enjoined upon him your one concern, and he transgressed it, and you immediately ordained death for him and his peoples; and there sprang from him nations and tribes, peoples and clans without number.”
3:8 “And every nation followed its own will and behaved wickedly in your sight, and you did not hinder them.”
3:9 “But again, in time, you brought the flood upon the inhabitants of the world, and destroyed them.”
3:10 “And the same fate befell them; as Adam experienced death, they experienced the flood.”
3:11 “But you left one of them, Noah, with his household, all the upright people that were descended from him.”
3:12 “And it came to pass that when the inhabitants of the earth began to multiply, and sons and peoples and nations grew very numerous, that they began again to be more ungodly than their predecessors.”
3:13 “And it came to pass that when they did what was wrong in your sight, you chose for yourself one of them, whose name was Abraham,”
3:14 “And you loved him, and to him alone you revealed the end of the times, secretly at night.”
3:15 “And you made an everlasting, agreement with him, and told him that you would never forsake his descendants;”
3:16 “And you gave him Isaac, and to Isaac you gave Jacob and Esau. And you set Jacob apart for yourself, but you cut off Esau, and Jacob became a great multitude.”
3:17 “And it came to pass, when you led his, descendants out of Egypt, that you brought them to Mount Sinai.”
3:18 “And you bent the heavens, and shook the earth, and moved the universe, and made the deeps tremble, and disturbed the world.”
3:19 “And your glory passed through the four, gates of fire and earthquake and wind and cold, so that you might give the Law to Jacob’s descendants, and your command to the posterity of Israel.”
3:20 “Yet you did not take from them their wicked heart, so that your Law might bear fruit among them.”
3:21 “For the first Adam, burdened with a wicked heart, transgressed and was overcome, as were also all who were descended from him.”
3:22 “So weakness became permanent, and the Law was in the heart of the people with the evil root; and what was good departed, and what was evil remained.”
3:23 “So the times passed and the years came to an end, and you raised up for yourself a slave named David.”
3:24 “And you told him to build a city to bear your name, and to offer to you offerings of your own in it.”
3:25 “This was done for many years; then those who lived in the city sinned,”
3:26 “Acting in all respects just as Adam and his posterity had done, for they too had the wicked heart.”
3:27 “And you delivered your city into the hands of your enemies.”
3:28 “Then I said to myself, ‘Do those who live in Babylon do any better? and is it on this account that she has conquered Zion?’“
3:29 “For it came to pass, when I had come here, that I saw acts of ungodliness without number, and in this thirtieth year my soul saw many sinning, and my heart sank,”
3:30 “For I have seen spared those who act wickedly, and have destroyed your people, and preserved your enemies, and you have not shown anyone at all how this way should be given up.”
3:31 “Does Babylon do better deeds than Zion?”
3:32 “Or has any other nation known you except Israel? Or what tribes have believed your agreements like that of Jacob? “
3:33 “Yet their reward has not appeared, and their labor has not borne fruit. For I have gone all about the nations, and I have seen them abounding in wealth, yet unmindful of your commandments.”
3:34 “Now therefore weigh our iniquities and those of the inhabitants of the world on the scales; and which way the movement of the pointer turns will be found out.”
3:35 “Or when did the inhabitants of the earth not sin in your sight? Or what nation has kept your commandments so well?”
3:36 “You will find names of men who have kept your commandments, but you will not find nations.”

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