|4 Esdras 3 |
1 In the thirtieth year after the ruin of the city I was in Babylon, and lay troubled upon my bed, and my thoughts came up over my heart: [The destruction of the temple and wall of Jerusalem took place in 587 BC; so this speaks to 30 years after, 557 BC.]
2 For I saw the desolation of Zion, and the wealth of them who dwelled at Babylon.
3 And my spirit was sorely moved, so that I began to speak words full of fear to the most High, and said,
4 "O Lord, who bears rule, you spoke at the beginning, when you planted the earth, by yourself alone, and commanded the people [to come forth from the dust],
5 And gave a body unto Adam without soul, which was the workmanship of your hands, and breathed into him the breath of life, and he was made a living [soul] before you.
6 And you led him into paradise, which your right hand had planted, before ever the earth came forward.
7 And unto him you gave commandment to love your way: which he transgressed, and immediately you appointed death in him and in his generations, of whom came nations, tribes, people, and kindreds, beyond number.
8 And every people walked after their own will, and did terrible things before you, and despised your commandments.
9 And again in process of time you brought the flood upon those that dwelled in the world, and destroyed them.
10 And it came to pass in every one of them, that as death was to Adam, so was the flood to these.
11 Nevertheless one of them you left, namely, Noah with his household, of whom came all righteous men.
12 And it happened, that when those who dwelled upon the earth began to multiply, and had gotten them many children, and were a great people, they began again to be more ungodly than the first.
13 Now when they lived so wickedly before you, you chose you a man from among them, whose name was Abraham.
14 Him you loved, and unto him only you showed your will;
15 And made an everlasting covenant with him, promising him that you would never forsake his seed.
16 And unto him you gave Isaac, and unto Isaac also you gave Jacob and Esau. As for Jacob, you choose him to you, and bypassed Esau; and so Jacob became a great multitude.
17 And it came to pass, that when you led his seed out of Egypt, you brought them up to the Mount Sinai.
18 And bowing the heavens, you set fast the earth, moved the whole world, and made the depths to tremble, and troubled the men of that age.
19 And your glory went through four gates: of fire, and of earthquake, and of wind, and of cold; that you might give the law unto the seed of Jacob, and diligence unto the generation of Israel.
20 And yet took you not away from them a wicked heart, that your law might bring forth fruit in them.
21 For the first Adam, bearing a wicked heart, transgressed and was overcome; and so are all those who are born of him.
22 Thus infirmity was made permanent; and the law (also) in the heart of the people with the malignity of the root; so that the good departed away, and the evil abode still.
23 So the times passed away, and the years were brought to an end; then did you raise you up a servant, called David.
24 Whom you commanded to build a city unto your name, and to offer incense and oblations unto you therein.
25 When this was done many years, then those who inhabited the city forsook you,
26 And in all things did even as Adam and all his generations had done for they also had a wicked heart:
27 And so you gave your city over into the hands of your enemies.
28 Are their deeds then any better who inhabit Babylon, that they should therefore have the dominion over Zion?
29 For when I came there, and had seen impieties without number, then my soul saw many evildoers in this thirtieth year, so that my heart failed me.
30 For I have seen how you afflicted those who were sinning, and have spared wicked doers; and have destroyed your people, and have preserved yours enemies, and have not signified it.
31 I do not remember how this way may be left. Are they then of Babylon better than they of Zion?1
32 Or is there any other people that know you beside Israel? Or what generation has so believed your covenants as Jacob?
33 And yet their reward appears not, and their labor has no fruit. For I have gone here and there through the heathen, and I see that they flow in wealth and do not think upon your commandments.
34 Weigh you therefore our wickedness now in the balance, and their's also who dwell the world; and so shall your name no where be found but in Israel.
35 Or when was it that they who dwell upon the earth have not sinned in your sight? Or what people have so kept your commandments?
36 You shall find that Israel by name has kept your precepts, but not the heathen [Gentile nations]."
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1 Are they then of Babylon better than they of Zion? It is pretty obvious that the writer is lamenting and questioning the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, which occurred 600 years before Christ. Yet, the scholars pretend that the writer laments the destruction of Jerusalem in 71AD by Titus; thus the scholars try to assign the writer to be a post-Christ Christian Jew.
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