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The Fourth Book of Esdras

“help” from the Hebrew

 

Chapters 1-8 | 9-end | Next Book


 

Chapter 9

      He answered me then and said: Measure thou the time diligently in it self, when thou seest that one part of the tokens come to pass, which I have told thee before: so shalt thou understand, that it is the very same time, wherein the Highest will begin to visit the world, which he made. And when there shall be seen earthquake and uproar of the people in the world, then shalt thou well understand, that the most Highest spoke of these things, from the days that were before thee, even from the beginning.
      For like as all that is made in the world, hath a beginning and end, and the end is manifest: Even so the times also of the Highest have plain beginnings in wonders and signs, and the end in working and in tokens. And every one that shall be saved, and shall be able to escape by his works and by faith, wherein ye have believed, shall be preserved from the said perils, and shall see my favor in my land and within my borders, for I have hallowed me from the world. Then shall they be in carefulness, which now have abused my ways: and they that have cast them out despitefully, shall dwell in pains.
      For such as in their life have received benefits and have not known me, and they that have abhorred my law, while they had yet freedom, and when they had yet open room of amendment and consideration, and understood not, but despised it: that same must know it after death is pain. And therefore be thou no more careful, how the ungodly shall be punished, and how the righteous shall be saved, and whose the world is, and for whom the world, and when it is. Then answered I and said: I have talked before and now I speak, and will speak also here after, that there be many more of them which perish, then shall be saved, like as the flood is greater then the drops.
      And he answered me, saying: as the field is, so is also the seed: as the flowers be, so are the colors also: such as the workman is, such is also the work: and as the husband man is himself, so is his husbandry also, for it was the time of the world. And when I prepared for them that are now, or ever the world was made, wherein they should dwell, then was there no man that withstood me. Now when every one was , and the maker also in the world which is now prepared, and the month that ceased not, and the law which is unsearchable, their manners were corrupt. So I considered the world, and behold there was peril, because of the thoughts that were come into it. And I saw, and spared them greatly, and have kept me a wineberry of the grapes, and a plant from among many generations. Let the multitude perish then, which are grown up in vain, and let my grape and wineberry be kept: even my plant: for with great labor I have made it up.
      Nevertheless if thou wilt take upon thee yet seven days more ( but thou shall not fast in them ) go thy way then into the field of flowers, where no house is builded, and eat only of the flowers of the field, taste not flesh, drink no wine, but eat flowers only. Pray unto the Highest continually, so will I come, and talk with thee.
      So I went my way and came in to the field which is called *Ardath ( like as he commanded me ) and there I sat among the flowers, and ate of the herbs of the field, and the meat of the same satisfied me. After seven days I sat upon the grass, and my heart was vexed within me like afore: and I opened my mouth, and began to talk before the Highest, and said: O' Lord, thou that showest thy self to us, thou hast declared and opened thy self unto our fathers in the wilderness, in a place where no man dwelleth, in a barren place, when they came out of Egypt, and thou speakest saying: Hear me O Israel, and mark my words thou seed of Jacob. Behold, I saw my law in you, and it shall bring fruit in you, and yee shall be honored in it forever. For our fathers which received the law, kept it not, and observed not thy ordinances and statutes, and the fruit of thy law was not declared: for it might not, for why? it was thine. For they that received it, perished, because they kept not the thing that was sown in them.
      It is a custom when the ground receiveth seed, or the sea a ship, or a vessel meat and drink, that when it perisheth or is broken wherein a thing is sown, or where any thing is put: the things also perish and are broken, which are sown or put therein. But unto us it hath not happened so: for we that have received the law, perish in sin, and sure heart which also received the law: not withstanding the law perisheth not, but remaineth in his labor.
      And when I considered these things in my heart after this manner, I looked about me with mine eyes, and upon the right side I saw a woman, which mourned sore, made great lamentation, and wept with loud voice: her clothes were rent in pieces, and she had ashes on her head.
      Then let I my thoughts go, that I was in, and turned me unto her, and said: wherefore weepiest thou? why art thou so sorry and discomforted? And she said unto me: Sir, let me bewail myself and take yet more sorrow: for I am sore vexed in my mind, and brought very low. And I said unto her: what aileth thee? Or who hath done anything to thee? tell me. She said: I have been unfruitful and barren, and have had a husband thirty years. And these thirty years I do nothing else day and night and all hours, but make my prayer to the Highest. After thirty years God heard me thy handmaiden, looked upon my misery, considered my trouble, and gave me a son, and I was glad of him, so was my husband also and all my neighbors, and we gave great honor unto the Mighty. And I nourished him with great travail. So when he grew up, and came to the time, that he should have a wife, I made a feast.

 

* Ard = "I shall subdue" & ah= ah!, alas!,

 

 

 

Chapter 10

      And it happened that when my son went to his chamber, he fell down, and died: then over through we all the lights, and all my neighbors rose up to comfort me. Then took I my rest unto the second day at night: and when they had all rested, that they might comfort me, I rested also, and rose up by night and fled, and am come hither in to this field, as thou seest: and am proposed not to come in the city, but to remain here, and neither to eat nor drink, but to continually mourn and fast, until I die.
      Then let I my meditations and thoughts fall, that I was in, and spake unto her in displeasure: Thou foolish woman, seest thou not our heaviness and mourning, and what happeneth unto us? how Sion our mother is all woeful and sorry, and how she is clean brought down and in misery? seeing we be all now in heaviness, and make our moan ( for we be all sorrowful ). As for the heaviness that thou takest, it is for but one son. Demand the earth, and she shall tell thee, that it is she which ought ( by reason ) to mourn, for the fall of so many that grow upon her. For from the beginning all men are born of her, and other shall come: and behold, they walk almost all into destruction, and many shall be rooted out.
      Who should then ( by reason ) make more mourning, then she, that hath lost so great a multitude? and not thou, which are sorry but for one. But if thou would sayest unto me: My mourning is not like the mourning of the earth, for I have lost the fruit of my body, which I bear with heaviness: but the earth is according to the manner of the earth, and the present multitude goeth again into her, as it is come to pass: Then say I unto thee: like as thou hast born with travail and sorrow, even so also the earth from the beginning giveth her fruit unto man, for him that made her. And therefore withhold thy sorrow and heaviness by thy self, and look what happened unto thee, bear it strongly. For if thou judgest the mark and end of God to be righteous and good, and receive his counsel in time, thou shalt be commended therein. Go thy way then in to the city to thy husband.
      And she said unto me: that will I not do, I will not go into the city, but here will I die. So I communed more with her, and said: Do not so, but be counseled, and follow me: for how many falls hath Sion? Be of good comfort because of the sorrow of Jerusalem. For thou seest that our Sanctuary is laid waste, our altar broken, our temple destroyed, our playing of instruments and singing laid down, the thanksgiving put to silence, our mirth is vanished away, the light of our candlestick is quenched, the ark of the covenant is taken from us, all our holy things are defiled, and the name that is called upon over us, is dishonored: our children are put to shame, our priests are burnt, our Levites are carried away into captivity, our virgins are defiled, our wives are ravished, our righteous men spoiled, and our children destroyed, our young men are brought in bondage, and our strong worthies are become weak: and Sion ( which seal is greatest of all ) is loosed up from her worship: for she is delivered into the hands of them that hate us.
      And therefore shake off thy great heaviness, and put away the multitude of sorrows: that the Mighty may be merciful unto thee, and that the Highest may give thee rest from thy labor and travail. And it happened, that when I was talking with her, her face did shine and glister, so that I was afraid of her, and mused what it might be. And immediately she cast out a great voice, very fearful, so that the earth shook at the noise of the woman: and I looked, and behold, the woman appeared unto me no more: but their was a city builded, and a place was shown from the ground and foundation.
      Then was I afraid, and crieth with loud voice, and said: where is Uriel the angel, which came to me at the first? For he hath caused me to come in many considerations and high thoughts, and mine end is turned to corruption, and my prayer to rebuke. And as I was speaking these words, he came unto me, and looked upon me, and I lay as one that had been dead, and mine understanding was altered, and he took me up by the right hand, and comforted me, and set me up upon my feet, and said unto me: what aileth thee? and why is thy understanding vexed? and the understanding of thy heart, and wherefore art thou sorry? And I said: Because thou hast forsaken me: and I have not done according to thy words, I went in to the field, and there have I seen things, that I am not able to express. He said unto me: Stand up and be manly, and I shall give thee exhortation.
      Then said I: Speak on to me my Lord, forsake me not, least I die in vain: for I have seen that I knew not, and heard that I do not know. Or shall my understanding be deceived, and my mind? But now I beseech thee, that thou will show thy servant of this wonder. He answered me then and said: hear me, and I shall inform thee, and tell thee wherefore thou art afraid, for the Highest hath opened many secret things unto thee.
      He hath seen that thy way is right, and that thou takest sorrow continually for thy people, and maketh great lamentation for Sion: and therefore understand the vision which thou sawest a little while ago after this manner: Thou sawest a woman mourning, and thou hast comforted her: Nevertheless seest now the likeness of the woman no more, but thou thoughtest there was a city builded: and like as she told you of the fall of her son, so is this the answer,: The woman whom thou sawest, is Sion: and where as she told thee, that she hath been thirty years unfruitful and barren, those are the thirty years, wherein no offering was made in her.
      But after thirty years Solomon builded her, and offered, and then bare the barren a son. And where as she told thee, that she nourish him with labor, that was the dwelling of Jerusalem. But where as the son died in her chamber, that is the fall of Jerusalem. And thou sawest her likeness, how she mourned for her son: and what else happened unto her, I have showed thee. And now God seeth, that thou art sorry in mind, and sufferest from thy heart for her, and so hath he showed thee her clearness, and the fairness of her beauty.
      And therefore I had thee remain in the field, where no house is builded. For I knew that the Highest would show this unto thee, therefore I commanded thee to go into the field, where no foundation or building is. For the place where the Highest will show his city, there shall be no mans building, And there for fear not, and let not thine heart be afraid, but go thy way in, and see the glorious and fair building, and how great it is, and how great thou thinkest it after the measure of thine eyes, and then thou shall hear as much as thine ears may comprehend. For thou art blessed above many other, and art called with the Highest, as the few. But tomorrow at night thou shalt remain here, and so shall the Highest show thee visions of high things, which he will do unto them, that dwell upon earth in the last days. So I slept that same night like as he commanded me.

 

 

 

Chapter 11

      Then saw I a dream: and behold, there came up from the sea an Eagle, which had twelve wings and three heads: And I saw, and behold, *he spread his wings over all the earth, and all the winds of the air blew in them, and so they were put together again. And I beheld, and out of his feathers there grew other little contrary feathers: the heads rested, the head in the midst was greater that the others, yet rested it with the residue.
      Moreover I saw, that the eagle flew with his wings, and reigned upon the earth, and over all them that dwell upon the earth: and I saw that all things under heaven were subject unto him, and no man spoke against him, no not one creature upon the earth. I saw also that the Eagle stood up on his claws, and give a sound with his feathers, and a voice saying things after this manner: watch not all together, sleep every man in his own place, and watch for a time, but let the heads be preserved at the last. Nevertheless I saw, that the voice went not out of his heads, but from the midst of his body. And I numbered his contrary feathers, and behold there were eight of them. And I looked, and behold upon the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth. And it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more. So the next following stood up, and reigned, and had a great time: and it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, like as the first, so that it appeared no more.
      Then came there a voice unto it, and said: Hear thou that hast kept in the earth so long, this I say unto thee, before thou beginest to appear no more: There shall none after thee attain unto thy time. Then arose the third, and reigned as the other afore, and appeared no more also. So went it with all the residue one after the other, so that every one reigned, and then appeared no more. Then I looked, and behold, in the process of time that the feathers that followed were set up upon the right side, that they might rule also: and some of them ruled, but within a while they appeared no more: for some of them were set up, but ruled not. After this I looked, and behold the twelve feathers appeared no more, and that two wings: and there were no more upon the Eagles body, but the two heads that rested, and six feathers. Then saw I also, that the six feathers were parted in two, and remained under the head, that was upon the right side, for the four continued in their place. So I looked, and behold, they that were under the wings, thought to set up themselves, and to have the rule. Then was there one set up, but shortly it appeared no more, and the second was sooner away than the first. And I beheld, and lo, the two thought also by themselves to reign: and when they so thought, behold there awaked one of the heads that were at rest, namely, it that was in the midst, for that was the greater of the two heads. And then I saw, that the two heads were filled with him and the head was turned with them that were by him, and eat up the two under wings , that would have reigned.
      But this head put the whole earth in fear, and bare rule in it, over all those that dwelt upon the earth with much labor, and he had the governance of the world, over all the fowls that have been. After this I looked , and behold, the head that was in the midst, suddenly appeared no more, like as the wings: then came the two heads, which ruled upon the earth, and over those that dwelt therein. And I beheld, and lo the head upon the right side, devoured it that was upon the left side. And I heard a voice, which said unto me: look before thee, and consider the thing that thou seest. Then I saw, and behold, as it were a lion that roareth, running hastily out of the wood, and he sent out a mans voice unto the Eagle, and said: Hear thou, I will talk with thee, and the Highest shall say unto thee: Is it not thou that hast the victory of the four beasts, whom I made to reign upon the earth and in my world, and that the end of their times might come through them?
      And the fourth came, and *overwane, subdue all the beasts that were past, and had power over the world with great fearfulness, and over the whole compass of the earth with the most wicked labor, and so long time dwelt he upon the earth with deceit, and the earth thou hast not judged the truth. For thou hast troubled the meek, thou hast hurt the peaceable and quiet, thou hast loved lies, and destroyed the dwellings of them that brought forth fruit, and hast cast down the walls of such as did thee no harm. Therefore is thy wrongeous dealing and blasphemy come up unto the Highest, and thy pride unto the Mighty. The Highest also hath looked upon the proud times, and behold, they are ended, and their abominations are fulfilled. And therefore appear no more thou Eagle, and thy horrible wings, and thy wicked feathers, and thy ungracious heads, and thy sinful claws, and all thy vain body: that the earth may be refreshed, and come again to herself, when she is delivered from thy violence, and that she may hope for the judgement and mercy of him that made her.

 

Note Eagle *he spread his wings "over all the earth". *overwane= lord over (sml l ) over / diminish, weaken.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 12

      And it happened when the Lion spake, these words unto the Eagle, I saw, and behold, the head that afore had the upper hand, appeared no more: neither did the four wings appear any more, that came to him, and were set up to reign: and their kingdom was small and full of uproar. And I saw, and behold, they appeared no more, and the whole body of the Eagle was burnt, and the earth was in great fear. Then awakened I out of the trance of my mind, and from great fear, and said unto my spirit: Lo, this hast thou given me, in that thou searchest out the ways of the Highest: lo, yet I am weary in my mind, and very weak in my spirit, and little strength is there in me, for the great fear that I received this night. Therefore will I now beseech the Highest, that he will comfort me unto the end: And I said, Lord, Lord, if I have before thy sight, and if I am justified with thee before many other, and if my prayer be come up before thy face, comfort me then, and show me thy servant the interpretation and plain difference of this horrible sight, that thou mayest perfectly comfort my soul: for thou hast judged me worthy, to show me the last of times.
      And he said unto me: this is the interpretation of this sight. The Eagle whom thou saw sawest come up from the sea, is the kingdom which was seen in the vision of thy brother Daniel, but it was not expounded unto him, for now I declare it unto thee. Behold, the days come, that there shall rise up a kingdom upon the earth, and it shall be feared above all the kingdoms that were before it. In the same kingdom shall twelve kings reign, one after the other. For the second shall begin to reign, and shall have more time than the other, and this do the twelve wings signify, which thou sawest. As for the voice that spake, and that thou sawest go out from the heads but not from the body, it be tokeneth, that after the time of that kingdom there shall arise great strivings, and it shall stand in peril of falling: nevertheless it shall not yet fall, but shall be set in to his beginning. And the eight under wings which thou sawest hang unto the wings of him, betoken, that in him there shall arise eight kings, whose time shall be small, and their years swift, and two of them shall bear. But when the midst time cometh, there shall be four kept in that time, when his time begineth to come that it may be ended, but two shall be kept unto the end.
      And where as thou sawest three heads resting, this is the interpretation: In his last shall the Highest raise up three kingdoms, and call many again into them, and they shall have the dominion of the earth, and of those that dwell therein, with much labor above all those that were before them. Therefore are they called the heads of the Eagle: for it is they that shall bring forth his wickedness again, and that shall perform and finish his last. And where as thou sawest, that the great head appeared no more, it signifieth, that one of them shall die upon his bed, and yet with pain, for the two that remain, shall be slain with the sword. For the sword of the one shall devour the other, but at the last shall he fall through the sword himself.
      And where as thou sawest two underwings upon the head that is on the right side, it signifieth that it is they, whom the Highest hath kept unto their end: this is a small kingdom, full of trouble. The Lion whom thou sawest rising up out of the wood, and roaring, and speaking unto the Eagle, and rebuking him for his unrighteousness, is the wind, which the Highest hath kept for them and for their wickedness unto the end: he shall reprove them, and rent them asunder before them. For he shall set them living before the judgement, and shall rebuke them: for the residue of my people shall he deliver with trouble, those that be preserved over mine ends: and he shall make them joyful until the coming day of Judgement, where of I have spoken unto thee from the beginning. This is the dream that thou sawest, and this is the interpretation. Thou only hast been meat to know the secret of the Highest.
      Therefore write all these things that thou hast seen in a book, and hide them, and teach them the wise in the people, whos hearts thou knowest may comprehend and keep these secrets. But wait thou here thyself yet seven days more, that it may be showed the , whatsoever pleaseth the Highest to declare unto thee, and with that he went his way.
      And when all the people perceived, that the seven days were past, And I come again into the city, they gathered them all together from the least to the most, and came unto me, and said: what have we offended thee? and what evil have we done against thee, that thou forsake us, and sitteth here in this place? For of all the people thou only are left us, as a grape of the vine, and as a candle in a dark place, and as a haven a ship preserved from the tempest. Have we not adversity enough, but thou must forsake us? Were it not better for us, that we had been burnt with Sion? For we are no better, then they that died there: and they wept with loud voice. Then answered I them and said: Be of good comfort O' Israel, be not heavy thou house of Jacob: for the Highest hath you in remembrance, and the Mighty hath not forgotten you in temptation. As for me, I have not forsaken you, neither am I departed from you: but am come into this place to pray, because of the misery of Israel, that I might seek mercy for the low estate of your Sanctuary. And now go your way home every man, and after these days will I come unto you. So the people went their way into the city, like as I commanded them: but I remained in the field seven days, as the Angel bade me: and I ate only of the flowers of the field, and had my meat of the herbs in those days.

 

 

 

Chapter 13

      And it happened after the seven days, that I dreamed a dream by night. And behold, there arose a wind from the sea, that it moved all the floods thereof. And I looked, and behold, the man was strong and increased with the clouds of heaven: And when he turned his countenance to consider, all the things trembled that were seen under him: and when the voice went out of his mouth, all they burnt that heard him, like as the earth when it feeleth the fire.
      After these I saw, and behold there was gathered together a multitude of men out of number from the four winds of the heaven, to fight against the man, that came out from the sea. And I looked, and behold, he graved himself a great mountain, and flew up upon it. But I would have seen the border or place, where out the hill was graven, and I could not.
      I saw after these, that all they which came to fight against him, were sore afraid, and yet *durst they fight. Nevertheless when he saw the fierceness and violence of the people, he neither lift up his hand nor held sword, nor any weapon: but only (as I saw ) he sent out of his mouth as it had been a blast of fire, and out of his lips the wind of flame: and out of his tongue he cast sparks and storms, and they were all mixed together : the blast of fire, the wind of the flames, and the great storm, and fell with a rush upon the people, which was prepared to fight and brunt them up everyone: so that of the innumerable multitude there was nothing seen, but only dust and smoke. When I saw this I was afraid.      
      Afterward saw I the same man come down from the mountain, and calling unto him another peaceable people: and there came much people unto him: some were glad some were sorry, some of them were bound, so that they were carried and brought forth.
      Then was I sick through great fear, and I awaked, and said: thou hast shown thy servant all thy wonders from the beginning, and hast counted me worthy, that thou mightest receive my prayer: show me now yet this interpretation of this dream. For thus I consider in my understanding: Woe unto them that shall be left in those days: and much more woe unto them that are not left behind: for they that were not left, were in heaviness.
      Now understand I the things that are laid up in the latter days which shall happen unto them, and to those that are not left behind. Therefore they are come into great perils, and many necessities, like as these dreams declare. Yet is it easier, that he which suffereth hurt come in these, then to pass away as a cloud out of the world, and now to see the things that shall happen in the last.
      Then answered he me, and said: The interpretation of the sight shall I show thee, and I will open unto thee, the things that thou hast required. For thou hast spoken of them that are left behind, and this is the interpretation. He that taketh away the peril in that time, hath kept himself. They that be fallen into harm, are such as have works and faith unto the Most mighty. Know this therefore, that they which be left behind, are more blessed, then they that be dead. This is the meaning of the vision. Where as thou sawest a man coming up from the deep of the sea, the same is he that God the Highest hath kept a great season, which by his own self will deliver his creature, and he shall order them that are left behind. And where as thou sawest, that out of his mouth there came a blast of wind, fire and storm, and how that he lift up neither sword nor weapon, but that the rushing in of him destroyed the whole multitude, that came to fight against him: it signifieth, that the days come, when God will deliver them that are upon the earth, and in a trance of mind shall he come upon them, that dwell in the earth. And one shall undertake to fight against another, one city against another, one place against another, one people against another, one realm against another. When this cometh to pass, then shall the tokens come, that I showed thee before: and then shall my son be declared, whom thou sawest climb up as a man. And when all the people hear his voice every man shall in their own land leave the battle that they have one against another, an innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, as they that be willing to come and to overcome him by fighting. But he shall stand upon the top of mount Sion. Nevertheless Sion shall come, and shall be showed, being prepared and builded for all men, like as thou sawest the hill graven forth without any hands. But my son shall rebuke the people that are come for their wickedness, with the tempest, and for their evil imaginations: and their pains wherewith they shall be punished, are likened unto the flame: and with out any labor, shall he destroy them, even by the law, which is compared to the fire.
      And whereas thou sawest, that he gathered another peaceable people unto him: those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land, in the time of *Oseas the King, whom *Salmanasar the King of Assiria took prisoner, and carried them over the water, and so they came into another land.
      But they gave them this counsel, that they should leave the multitude of the Heathen, and go forth into a farther country, where never mankind dwelt: that they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And so they entered in at the narrow passages of water of the Euphrates, and God showed tokens for them, and held still the flood till they were passed over: for through that country there was a great way, namely of a year and a half journey, for that same region is called Asareth. Then dwelt they there unto the latter time: and when they come forth again, the Highest shall hold still the springs of the stream again, that they may go through, therefore thou sawest the multitude with peace. And they that be left behind of thy people, are those that be found within my border. Now when he destroyeth the multitude that is gathered together, he shall defend his people that remain, and then shall he show them great wonders.
      Then said I: O' Lord, Lord, show me this: wherefore have I seen the man coming up from the deep of the sea? And he said unto me: Like as thou canst neither seek out nor know these things that are in the deep of the sea, even so mayest thou not see my son, or those that be with him, but in the time of the day. This is the interpretation of the dream which thou sawest, therefore thou only art here lightened: for thou hast forsaken thine own law, and applied thy diligence unto mine, and sought it. Thy life thou hast ordered in wisdom, and hast called understanding your mother, and therefore have I showed thee the treasure of the Highest. After three days I will show thee more, and talk with thee at more large, yee heavy and wondrous things will I declare unto thee.
      Then went I forth into the field, giving praise and thanks greatly unto God, because of his wonders which he did in time, and because he governeth the same, and such as is in time, and there I sat three days.

 

*durst= dare *Oseas = Hosea, *Salmanasar = Shalmaneser

 

 

 

Chapter 14

      Upon the third day I sat under an oak tree, then came there a voice unto me out of the bush, and said: Esdras, Esdras? And I said: here am I Lord, and stood up on my feet. Then spake he unto me: In the bush did I appear unto Moses, and talked with him, when my people served in Egypt, and I sent him, and led my people out of Egypt, and brought him upon mount Sion, where I held him by me a long season, and told him my wondrous works, and showed him the secrets of the times and the end, and commanded him, saying: These words shalt thou declare, and not hide them. And now I say unto thee, that thou lay up in thy heart the dreams that thou hast seen, and the interpretations which I have showed thee: for thou shalt be received of all, thou shalt be turned and remain in my counsel, and with such as be like thee, until the times be ended. For the world hath lost his youth, and the time is divided into twelve parts, and ten parts of it are gone already, and half of the tenth part: yet remaineth there that, which is after the half of the tenth part.
      Therefore prepare and order thy house, and reform thy people: comfort such of them as be in trouble: and tell now of the destruction: let go from thee all mortal thoughts: cast away the berthens of man: put off the weak nature: lay up in some places the thoughts that are most heavy unto thee, and hast thee to flight from these times: for such evil and wickedness as thou hast now seen happen, shall they do yet much worse. For the weaker that the world and the times is, the more shall sin and wickedness increase, in them that dwell upon the earth: For the truth is fled far away, and the leasing is hard at hand. For now hasteth the vision to come, that thou hast seen.
      Then answered I and said: Behold Lord, I will go as thou hast commanded me, and reform the people which are present. But they that shall be born afterward, who will exhort or rebuke them? Thus the world is set in darkness, and they that dwell therein, are without light: for thy law is kindled, because no man knoweth the things that are done of thee, or that shall be done. If I have found grace before thee, send the holy ghost into me, and I shall write all that hath been done in the world since the beginning, which was written in thy law, that men may find the path, and that they which will live in the latter days, may live.
      And he answered me, saying: Go thy way, gather thy people together, and say unto them, that they seek thee not for forty days, but look thou gather the many box trees, and take with thee Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Echanus and Asiall, these five, which are ready to write swiftly, and come hither, and I shall light a candle of understanding in thine heart which shall not be put out, till the things be performed which thou shalt begin to write. Then shalt thou declare some things openly unto the perfect, and some things thou shalt show secretly to the wise. Tomorrow this hour thou shalt begin to write.
      Then went I forth (as he commanded me) and gathered all the people together, and said: Hear these words O' Israel: Our fathers from the beginning were strangers in Egypt, from whence they were delivered, and received the law of life, which they kept not, which thee have also transgressed after them. Then was this land and the land of Sion parted among you by lot to possess. But your fathers and yee yourselves also have done unrighteousness, and have not kept the ways which the Highest commanded you. And for so much as he is a righteous judge, he took from you in time the thing that he had given you. And now are yee here and your brethren among you. Therefore if so be that yee will subdue your own understanding, and reform your heart, ye shall be kept alive, and after death ye shall obtain mercy. For after death shall the judgement come, when we shall live again: and then shall the names of the righteous be manifest, and the names of the ungodly with their works shall be declared. Let no man therefore come now unto me, nor ask any question at me these forty days.
      So I took the five men (as he commanded me) and we went into the field, and remained there. The next days a voice called me saying: Esdras, open thy mouth, and behold, he reached me a full cup, which was full a water, but the color of it was like fire. And I took it and drank. And when I had drunk it , my heart had understanding, and wisdom grew in my breast: for my spirit was kept in remembrance, and my mouth was opened and shut no more. The Highest gave understanding to the five men, that they wrote the high things of the night, which they understood not. But in the night they ate bread: as for me, I spake in the day, and held not my tongue by night. In forty days, they wrote two hundred and four books.
      And it happened when the forty days were fulfilled, that the Highest spake, saying: The first that thou hast written, speak openly, that the worthy and the unworthy may read it. But keep the seventy last that thou mayest show it only to such as be wise among thy people. For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge. And I did so.

 

 

 

Chapter 15

      Behold speak thou in the ears of my people the words of the prophecy, which I will put in thy mouth, sayeth the Lord: and cause this to be written in a letter, for it is the truth. Fear not the imaginations against thee, let not the unfaithfulness of them trouble thee, that speak against thee. For all the unfaithful shall die in their unfaithfulness. Behold sayeth the Lord, I will bring plagues upon the world, the sword hunger, death and destruction: for wickedness hath the upper hand in all the earth, and their shameful works are fulfilled.
      Therefore sayeth the Lord: I will hold my tongue no more unto their wickedness, which they do so ungodly: neither will I suffer them in the things, that they deal with all so wickedly. Behold the innocent blood of the troubled crieth unto me, and the souls of the righteous complain continually: And therefore (sayeth the Lord) I will surely avenge and recause unto me all the innocent blood from among them.
      Behold, my people, is led as a flock of sheep to be slain, I will not suffer them now to dwell in Egypt, but will bring them out with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, and smite it with plagues as before, and will destroy all the land of it. Egypt will mourn, and the foundations of it shall be smitten with the plague and punishment, that God shall bring upon it.
      They that till the ground, shall mourn: for their feeds shall be destroyed through the blasting and hail, and an horrible star Do warneth the world and them that dwell therin, for the sword and their destruction draweth nigh, and one people shall stand up to fight against another, and swords in their hands. For men shall be unsteadfast, and some shall do violence unto the other: they shall not regard their king and princes, the ways of their doings and the handlings in their power. A man shall desire to go into the city, and shall not be able. For because of their pride the cities shall be brought in fear, the houses shall shake, and men shall be afraid. A man shall have no pity upon his neighbor, but one shall provoke another unto battle to spoil their goods because of the hunger of bread, and because of the great trouble.
      Behold, I gather together and call together all the kings of the earth which are from the uprising, from the South, from the East and Libanus to turn unto them, and restore the things they have given them. Like as they do yet this day unto my chosen, so will I do also, and recompense them in their bosom. Thus sayeth the Lord God: My right hand shall not spare the sinners, and my sword shall not cease over them, that shed the innocent blood upon the earth. The fear has gone out from his wrath, and the sinners like the straw that is kindled. Do warneth them that sin, and keep not my commandments, sayeth the Lord. I will not spare them. Go your way ye children from violence, defile not my sanctuary: for the Lord knoweth all them that sin against him, and therefore delivereth he them unto death and destruction: for now are the plagues come upon the world, and ye shall remain in them. For God shall not deliver you, because you have sinned against him.
      Behold, an horrible vision cometh from the East, where generations of Dragons shall come out, and the people of the Arabes with many chariots, and the multitude of them shall be as the wind upon the earth, that all that hear them raging in their wrath, may fear and be afraid: and as the wild boars out of the wood, so shall they go out, and with great power shall they come, and stand fighting with them, and shall waste the portion of the land of the Assirians.
      And then shall the Dragons have the upper hand, not remembering their birth, and shall turn about swearing together in great power, to persecute them. But these shall be afraid, and keep silence at their power, and shall flee: and one out of the land of the Assirians shall besiege them, and consume one of them, and in their host shall be fear and dread, and strife among their kings.
      Behold clouds from the East, and from the North unto the South, and they are very horrible to look upon, full of wrath and storm. They shall smite one upon another, and they shall smite at the great star upon earth and their star, and the blood shall be from the sword unto the belly, and the smoke of man unto the camels litter: And there shall be great fearfulness and trembling upon the earth, and they that see wrath shall be afraid, and a trembling shall come upon them.
      And then shall there come great rains from the South and from the North, and part from the West, and from the stormy wind from the East, and shall shut them up again, and the cloud which he raised up in wrath, and the star to cause fear toward the East and West wind, shall be destroyed: and the great clouds shall be lift up, and the mighty clouds full of wrath, and the star, that they may make all the earth afraid and them that dwell therin, and that they may pour out over all places an horrible star, fire and hail and flying swords, and many waters: that all fields may be full, and all rivers, and they shall break down the cities and walls, mountains and hills, all trees, wood, and the grass of the meadows, and all their fruit. And they shall go steadfast into Babylon, and make her afraid, they shall come to her and besiege her: the star and all wrath shall they pour out upon her.
      Then shall the dust and smoke go up unto heaven, and all they that be about her, shall bewail her: and they that remain under her, shall do service unto them that have put her in fear: And thou Asia that comfort thyself also upon the hope of Babylon, and art a worshipper of her person: Woe be unto thee thou wretch, because thou hast made thyself like unto her, and hast decked thy daughters in whoredom, that they might triumph and please thy lovers, which have always desired to commit whoredom with thee: thou hast followed the abominable city in all her works and inventions.
      Therefore sayeth God: I will send plagues upon thee, widowhood, poverty, hunger, wars, and pestilence, to waste thy houses with destruction and death, and the glory of thy power shall be dried up as a flower, when the heat ariseth that is sent over thee. Thou shalt *bespeck as a poor wife that is plagued and beaten of women: so that the mighty and lover shall not be able to receive thee. Would I so hate thee sayeth the Lord? If thou haddest not always slain my chosen, exalting the stoke of thy hands, and said over their death, when thou wast drunken: set forth the beauty of thy countenance.
      The reward of thy whoredom shall be recompensed thee in thy bosom, therefore shalt thou receive reward.
      Like as thou hast done unto my chosen ( sayeth the Lord ) even so shall God do unto thee, and shall deliver thee into the plague. Thy children shall die of hunger, and thou shall fall through the sword. Thy cities shall be broken down, and all thine shall perish with the sword in the field. They that be in the mountains shall die of hunger, and eat their own flesh, and drink their own blood for very hunger of bread and thirst of water. Thou unhappy shalt come through the sea, and receive plagues again.
      In the passage they shall cast down the slain city, and shall root out one part of thy land, and consume the portion of thy glory. They shall tread the down like stubble, and they shall be thy fire and shall consume thee: thy cities and thy land, thy wood and thy fruitful trees shall they burn up with the fire. Thy children shall they carry away captive, and look what thou hast, they shall spoil it, and mar the beauty of thy face.

 

*bespeck= speaking; to give grounds for believing

 

 

 

Chapter 16

     Woe be unto thee Babylon and Asia, woe be unto thee Egypt and Syria: gird yourselves with clothes of sack and hear, and mourn for your childern, be sorry, for your destruction is at hand. A sword is sent upon you, and who will turn it back? A fire is kindled among you, and who will quench it: Plagues are sent unto you, and what is he that will drive them away? May any man drive away an hungry lion in the woods? Or may any man quench the fire in the stubble, when it hath gone to burn? May one turn again the arrow, that is shot of a strong archer? The mighty Lord sendeth the plagues, and what is he that will drive them away? The fire is kindled and gone forth in his wrath, and what is he that will quench it? He shall cast lightings, and who shall no fear? He shall thunder, and who shall not be afraid: The Lord shall threaten and who shall not utterly be beaten to powder at his presence? The earth quaketh, and the foundations thereof: the sea ariseth up with waves from the deep, and the floods of it are unquiet and the fishes thereof also before the Lord, and before the glory of his power. For strong is his right hand that holdeth the bow, his arrows that he shooteth, are sharp, and shall not miss, when they begin to be shot to the ends of the world.
      Behold, the plagues are sent, and shall not turn again, till they come upon the earth. The fire is kindled, and shall not be put out, till it consume the foundations of the earth. Like as an arrow shot of a mighty archer, returneth not backward: even so the plagues that shall be sent upon the earth, shall not turn again. Woe is me, woe is me, who will deliver me in those days? The beginning of sorrows and great mourning: the beginning of *darth and great death: the beginning of wars, and the powers shall stand in fear: the beginning of evils, and they shall tremble everyone. What shall I do in these things, when the plagues come? Behold, hunger, and plague, trouble and anguish are sent, as scourging for amendment. But for all these things they shall not turn from their wickedness, nor be always mindful of the scourging.
      Behold, vitals shall be so good cheap upon the earth, that they shall think them selves to be in good case? And even then shall mischief grow up upon the earth, wars, darth and great disquietness. For many of them that dwell upon the earth shall perish of hunger, and the other that escape the hunger, shall the sword destroy: And the dead shall be cast out as dung, and there should be no man to comfort them. For the earth shall be wasted, and the cities shall be cast down: there shall be no man left to till the earth and to sew it. The trees shall give fruit, and who shall pluck them of and gather them? The grapes shall be ripe, and who shall tread them: for all the places shall be desolate of men, so that one man shall desire to see another, or to hear his voice. For of one whole city there shall be ten left, and two in the field, which shall hide themselves in the thick bushes, and in the cliffs of stones: like as when there remain three or four olives upon the tree, or as when a vineyard is gathered there are left some grapes, of them that diligently sought through the vineyard.
      Even so, in those days there shall be three or four left, for them that search their houses with the sword. And the earth shall be left waste, and the fields thereof shall wear old: and her ways and her paths shall grow full of thorns, because no man shall travel there through. The daughters shall mourn, having no bridegrooms: the women shall make lamentation, having no husbands, their daughters shall mourn, having no help of their bride groom. In the wars shall they be destroyed, and their husbands shall perish of hunger. O' ye servants of the Lord, hear these things, and mark them. Behold, the word of the Lord, O' receive it: behold the plagues draw near, and are not slack in tarrying. Like as a travailing woman, which after nine months bringeth forth a son, when the hour of the birth is come, an hour two or three afore that the pains come upon her body, and when the child cometh to the birth, they tarry not the twinkling of an lie: Even so shall not the plagues be slack to come upon the earth, and the world shall mourn, and sorrows shall come upon it on every side.
      O' my people, hear my word, make you ready to the battle: and in all evil be as pilgrims upon the earth He that selleth, let him be as he that flyeth his way: and he that buyeth, as one that will lease. Who so occupieth merchandise, as he that winneth not: and he that buildeth, as he that shall not dwell therin: he that soweth, as one that shall not reap: he that twisteth the vineyard, as he that shall not gather the grapes: they that marry, as they that shall get no children: and they that marry not, as the widows: and therefore they that labor, labor in vain. For strangers shall reap their fruits, and spoil their goods, overthrow their houses, and take their children captive, for in captivity and hunger shall they get children. And they that occupy their merchandise with robbery, how long deck they their cities, their houses, their possessions, their persons? the more will I punish them for their sins, sayeth the Lord. Like as an whore envieth an honest woman, so shall righteousness hate iniquity, when she decketh herself, and shall accuse her to her face, when he cometh that defendeth, which shall make inquisition for all sin upon the earth. And therefore be not ye like thereunto, near to the works thereof: for or ever it be long, iniquity shall be taken away out of the earth, and righteousness shall reign among you.
      Let not the sinner say, that he hath not sinned: for coals of fire shall burn upon his head, which sayeth before the Lord God and his glory: I have not sinned. Behold, the Lord knoweth all the works of men, their imaginations, their thoughts and their hearts. For he spoke but the word: let the earth be made, and it was made: let the heaven be made, and it was made. In his word were the stars made, and he knoweth the number of them. He searcheth the ground of the deep, and the treasures thereof: he hath measured the sea, and what it containeth. He hath shut the sea in the midst of the waters, and with his word hath he hanged the earth upon the waters. He spreadeth out the heaven like a *vawte, upon the waters hath he founded it. In the desert a dry wilderness hath he made springs of water, and poles upon the tops of mountains, that the floods might pour down from the stony rocks to water the earth. He made man, and put his heart in the midst of the body, and gave him birth, life and understanding, yee and the spirit of the Almighty God, which made all things, and hath searched the ground of all the secrets of the earth.
      He knoweth your imaginations and inventions, and what ye think when ye sin, and would hide your sins. Therefore hath the Lord searched and sought out all your works, and he shall *bewray you all. And when your sins are brought forth, ye shall be ashamed before men, and your own sins shall be your accusers in that day. What will ye do? Or how will ye hide your sins before God and his Angels? Behold, God himself is the judge, fear him, leave off from your sins, and forget your unrighteousness, and meddle no more with them: so shall God lead you forth, and deliver you from all trouble. For behold, the heat of the great multitude is kindled over you, and they shall take away certain of you, and feed the idle with Idols: and they that consent unto them, shall be had in *derision.
      For unto the places there shall be a place, and in the next cities a great insurrection upon those that fear the Lord. They shall be like madmen, they shall spare no man: they shall spoil and waste such as fear the Lord, their goods shall they take from them, and shut them out of their houses. Then shalt it be known who are my chosen, and they shall be tried as the gold in the fire. Hear O' ye my beloved, sayeth the Lord: behold, the days of trouble are at hand, but I will deliver you from the same. Be not afraid, despair not, for God is your captain.
      Who so keepeth my commandments and precepts ( sayeth the Lord God ) let not your sins weigh you down, and let not your unrighteousness be lift up. Woe be unto to those that are subdued unto their own sins, and tangled in their wickednesses: like as a field is hedged in with bushes, and the path thereof covered with thorns, that no man may travel through: and so is he taken, and cast in the fire, and burnt.

 

*darth=famine, lack. *vawte, ( vault ; from Mid Eng vaute: meaning an arched overhead covering). *bewray (disclose, reveal, uncover). *derision; laughed to scorn, and trod under foot contempt.

 

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