2 Esdras Chapter 9
1 He answered me then, and said, Measure thou the time diligently in itself: and when thou seest part of the signs past, which I have told thee before,
2 Then shalt thou understand, that it is the very same time, wherein the Highest will begin to visit the world which he made.
3 Therefore when there shall be seen earthquakes and uproars of the people in the world:
4 Then shalt thou well understand, that the most High spake of those things from the days that were before thee, even from the beginning.
5 For like as all that is made in the world hath a beginning and an end, and the end is manifest:
6 Even so the times also of the Highest have plain beginnings in wonder and powerful works, and endings in effects and signs.
7 And every one that shall be saved, and shall be able to escape by his works, and by faith, whereby ye have believed,
8 Shall be preserved from the said perils, and shall see my salvation in my land, and within my borders: for I have sanctified them for me from the beginning.
9 Then shall they be in pitiful case, which now have abused my ways: and they that have cast them away despitefully shall dwell in torments.
10 For such as in their life have received benefits, and have not known me;
11 And they that have loathed my law, while they had yet liberty, and, when as yet place of repentance was open unto them, understood not, but despised it;
12 The same must know it after death by pain.
13 And therefore be thou not curious how the ungodly shall be punished, and when: but enquire how the righteous shall be saved, whose the world is, and for whom the world is created.
14 Then answered I and said,
15 I have said before, and now do speak, and will speak it also hereafter, that there be many more of them which perish, than of them which shall be saved:
16 Like as a wave is greater than a drop.
17 And he answered me, saying, Like as the field is, so is also the seed; as the flowers be, such are the colours also; such as the workman is, such also is the work; and as the husbandman is himself, so is his husbandry also: for it was the time of the world.
18 And now when I prepared the world, which was not yet made, even for them to dwell in that now live, no man spake against me.
19 For then every one obeyed: but now the manners of them which are created in this world that is made are corrupted by a perpetual seed, and by a law which is unsearchable rid themselves.
20 So I considered the world, and, behold, there was peril because of the devices that were come into it.
21 And I saw, and spared it greatly, and have kept me a grape of the cluster, and a plant of a great people.
22 Let the multitude perish then, which was born in vain; and let my grape be kept, and my plant; for with great labour have I made it perfect.
23 Nevertheless, if thou wilt cease yet seven days more, (but thou shalt not fast in them,
24 But go into a field of flowers, where no house is builded, and eat only the flowers of the field; taste no flesh, drink no wine, but eat flowers only;)
25 And pray unto the Highest continually, then will I come and talk with thee.
26 So I went my way into the field which is called Ardath, like as he commanded me; and there I sat among the flowers, and did eat of the herbs of the field, and the meat of the same satisfied me.
27 After seven days I sat upon the grass, and my heart was vexed within me, like as before:
28 And I opened my mouth, and began to talk before the most High, and said,
29 O Lord, thou that shewest thyself unto us, thou wast shewed unto our fathers in the wilderness, in a place where no man treadeth, in a barren place, when they came out of Egypt.
30 And thou spakest saying, Hear me, O Israel; and mark my words, thou seed of Jacob.
31 For, behold, I sow my law in you, and it shall bring fruit in you, and ye shall be honoured in it for ever.
32 But our fathers, which received the law, kept it not, and observed not thy ordinances: and though the fruit of thy law did not perish, neither could it, for it was thine;
33 Yet they that received it perished, because they kept not the thing that was sown in them.
34 And, lo, it is a custom, when the ground hath received seed, or the sea a ship, or any vessel meat or drink, that, that being perished wherein it was sown or cast into,
35 That thing also which was sown, or cast therein, or received, doth perish, and remaineth not with us: but with us it hath not happened so.
36 For we that have received the law perish by sin, and our heart also which received it
37 Notwithstanding the law perisheth not, but remaineth in his force.
38 And when I spake these things in my heart, I looked back with mine eyes, and upon the right side I saw a woman, and, behold, she mourned and wept with a loud voice, and was much grieved in heart, and her clothes were rent, and she had ashes upon her head.
39 Then let I my thoughts go that I was in, and turned me unto her,
40 And said unto her, Wherefore weepest thou? why art thou so grieved in thy mind?
41 And she said unto me, Sir, let me alone, that I may bewail myself, and add unto my sorrow, for I am sore vexed in my mind, and brought very low.
42 And I said unto her, What aileth thee? tell me.
43 She said unto me, I thy servant have been barren, and had no child, though I had an husband thirty years,
44 And those thirty years I did nothing else day and night, and every hour, but make my, prayer to the Highest.
45 After thirty years God heard me thine handmaid, looked upon my misery, considered my trouble, and gave me a son: and I was very glad of him, so was my husband also, and all my neighbours: and we gave great honour unto the Almighty.
46 And I nourished him with great travail.
47 So when he grew up, and came to the time that he should have a wife, I made a feast.