Second Esdras Chapters (English Bible : World English Bible – British Edition – WEBBE)
1 Nevertheless as concerning the tokens, behold, the days shall come, that they which dwell upon earth shall be taken with great amazement, and the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith.
2 But iniquity shall be increased above that which now you see, or that you have heard long ago.
3 And the land, that you see now to have rule, shall be waste and untrodden, and men shall see it desolate.
4 But if the Most High grant you to live, you shall see that which is after the third kingdom to be troubled; and the sun shall suddenly shine forth in the night, and the moon in the day:
5 and blood shall drop out of wood, and the stone shall give his voice, and the peoples shall be troubled; and their goings shall be changed:
6 and he shall rule, whom those who dwell upon the earth look not for, and the fowls shall take their flight away together:
7 and the Sodomite sea shall cast out fish, and make a noise in the night, which many have not known: but all shall hear the voice thereof.
8 There shall be chaos also in many places, and the fire shall be often sent out, and the wild beasts shall change their places, and women shall bring forth monsters:
9 and salt waters shall be found in the sweet, and all friends shall destroy one another; then shall wit hide itself, and understanding withdraw itself into its chamber;
10 and it shall be sought of many, and shall not be found: and unrighteousness and incontinency shall be multiplied upon earth.
11 One land also shall ask another, and say, Is righteousness, is a man that does righteousness, gone through you? And it shall say, No.
12 And it shall come to pass at that time that men shall hope, but shall not obtain: they shall labour, but their ways shall not prosper.
13 To show you such tokens I have leave; and if you will pray again, and weep as now, and fast seven days, you shall hear yet greater things than these.
14 Then I awaked, and an extreme trembling went through my body, and my mind was troubled, so that it fainted.
15 So the angel that was come to talk with me held me, comforted me, and set me up upon my feet.
16 And in the second night it came to pass, that Phaltiel the captain of the people came to me, saying, Where have you been? and why is your countenance sad?
17 or know you not that Israel is committed to you in the land of their captivity?
18 Up then, and eat some bread, and forsake us not, as the shepherd that leaves in the hands of cruel wolves.
19 Then said I to him, Go your ways from me, and come not near me for seven days, and then shall you come to me. And he heard what I said, and went from me.
20 And so I fasted seven days, mourning and weeping, like as Uriel the angel commanded me.
21 And after seven days, so it was, that the thoughts of my heart were very grievous to me again,
22 and my soul recovered the spirit of understanding, and I began to speak words before the Most High again,
23 and said, O Lord that bear rule, of all the woods of the earth, and of all the trees thereof, you have chosen you one vine:
24 and of all the lands of the world you have chosen you one country: and of all the flowers of the world you have chosen you one lily:
25 and of all the depths of the sea you have filled you one river: and of all built cities you have hallowed Sion to yourself:
26 and of all the fowls that are created you have named you one dove: and of all the cattle that are made you have provided you one sheep:
27 and amongst all the multitudes of peoples you have gotten you one people: and to this people, whom you loved, you gave a law that is approved of all.
28 And now, O Lord, why have you given this one people over to many, and have dishonoured the one root above others, and have scattered your only one amongst many?
29 And they which did gainsay your promises have trodden them down that believed your covenants.
30 If you do so much hate your people, they should be punished with your own hands.
31 Now when I had spoken these words, the angel that came to me the night before was sent to me,
32 and said to me, Hear me, and I will instruct you; listen to me, and I shall tell you more.
33 And I said, Speak on, my Lord. Then said he to me, You are sore troubled in mind for Israel’s sake: love you that people better than he that made them?
34 And I said, No, Lord: but of very grief have I spoken: for my reins torment me every hour, while I labour to comprehend the way of the Most High, and to seek out part of his judgement.
35 And he said to me, You can not. And I said, Wherefore, Lord, or whereunto was I born? or why was not my mother’s womb then my grave, that I might not have seen the travail of Jacob, and the wearisome toil of the stock of Israel?
36 And he said to me, Number me those who are not yet come, gather me together the drops that are scattered abroad, make me the flowers green again that are withered,
37 open me the chambers that are closed, and bring me forth the winds that in them are shut up, or show me the image of a voice: and then I will declare to you the travail that you asked to see.
38 And I said, O Lord that bear rule, who may know these things, but he that has not his dwelling with men?
39 As for me, I am unwise: how may I then speak of these things whereof you asked me?
40 Then said he to me, Just as you can do none of these things that I have spoken of, even so can you not find out my judgement, or the end of the love that I have promised to my people.
41 And I said, But, behold, O Lord, you have made the promise to those who be in the end: and what shall they do that have been before us, or we that be now, or those who shall come after us?
42 And he said to me, I will liken my judgement to a ring: like as there is no slackness of those who are last, even so there is no swiftness of those who be first.
43 So I answered and said, Couldest you not make them to be at once that have been made, and that be now, and that are for to come; that you might show your judgement the sooner?
44 Then answered he me, and said, The creature may not haste above the creator; neither may the world hold them at once that shall be created therein.
45 And I said, How have you said to your servant, that you will surely make alive at once the creature that you have created? If therefore they shall be alive at once, and the creature shall sustain them: even so it might now also support them to be present at once.
46 And he said to me, Ask the womb of a woman, and say to her, If you bring forth ten children, why do you it at several times? pray her therefore to bring forth ten children at once.
47 And I said, she can’t: but must do it by distance of time.
48 Then said he to me, Even so have I given the womb of the earth to those that be sown therein in their several times.
49 For like as a young child may not bring forth, neither she that is grown old bring forth any more, even so have I disposed the world which I created.
50 And I asked, and said, Seeing you have now showed me the way, I will speak before you: Is our mother, of whom you have told me, still young? or does she now draw near to age?
51 He answered me, and said, Ask a woman that bears children, and she shall tell you.
52 Say to her, wherefore are not they whom you have now brought forth like those that were before, but less of stature?
53 And she also shall answer you, They that be born in the strength of youth are of one fashion, and those who are born in the time of age, when the womb fails, are otherwise.
54 Consider therefore you also, how that you° are less of stature than those that were before you.
55 And so are those who come after you less than you°, as born of the creature which now begins to be old, and is past the strength of youth.
56 Then said I, Lord, I beseech you, if I have found favour in your sight, show your servant by whom you visit your creature.