I am Ezra the prophet, the son of Seraiah and the grandson of Azariah. I belong to the Levi tribe, because my ancestors go all the way back to Aaron and include Hilkiah, Shallum, Zadok, Ahitub, Ahijah, Phinehas, Eli, Amariah, Azariah, Meraimoth, Arna, Uzzi, Borith, Abishua, Phinehas, and Eleazar son of Aaron.
I wrote this second book
a 1.1-3 this second book: Most Latin manuscripts; other Latin manuscripts “this book.”
during the rule of King Artaxerxes of Persia,
b 1.1-3 King Artaxerxes of Persia: Either Artaxerxes I (465-425 B.C.) or Artaxerxes II (405-358 B.C.).
while I was a prisoner in Media Province.
c 1.1-3 Media Province: Part of the Persian Empire.
The Lord Complains to Ezra
4 One day, the Lord said to me:
Ezra, go and remind the people of Israel of the wicked things they have done, and tell them to warn their children and grandchildren how my own people have sinned against me.
In fact, they have become more sinful than their ancestors, because they have stopped worshiping me and started offering sacrifices to foreign gods!
I rescued the Israelites from Egypt where they were slaves, and now they have made me angry by refusing to listen to my advice.
Pull out your hair to show your sorrow, then shout the terrible things that will happen to the Israelites. They deserve to be punished, because they have rebelled against me and refuse to obey my Law.
I can't put up with these people any longer—I've done enough for them.
I defeated king after king, and I completely destroyed the king of Egypt and his entire army.
I conquered every nation that attacked Israel, and even scattered the people of the cities of Tyre and Sidon through the east.
d 1.11 I conquered every nation ... east: Most Latin manuscripts; one Latin manuscript “I helped you conquer the town of Bethsaida and even burned down Tyre and Sidon, two cities in the south.”
I have killed all of Israel's enemies.
The Lord Will Abandon Israel
The Lord said:
12 Ezra, tell these people that I, the Lord, am saying:
I am the one who brought you through the Red Sea
e 1.13 the Red Sea: Latin “the sea.”
and who made safe roads where there were no roads at all. I appointed Moses as your leader and Aaron as your priest.
I gave you a flaming fire to light your way, and you watched as I did great things for you. But you have still forgotten me. I, the Lord, have spoken.
I, the Lord All-Powerful, also sent quails to show that I would take care of you. I provided you with camps where you could be safe, but all you did was complain.
I destroyed your enemies, and you refused to celebrate and honor me. All you've ever done is grumble!
Have you forgotten how many times I blessed you with good things? And when you were hungry and thirsty in the desert, do you remember that you said to me,
“Did you bring us out into the desert to kill us? We would rather have stayed on as slaves in Egypt than to die out here!”
I felt sorry for you when I heard your moaning. So I gave you manna, the bread of angels, and you ate it.
f 1.19 manna ... bread ... you ate it: Manna was something like a thin wafer (see Exodus 16.1-36).
When you were thirsty, I split open a rock, and all the water you needed flowed out. And I gave you shade trees to protect you from the heat.
I divided rich farmland among you, and forced out the Canaanites, the Perizzites, and the Philistines. What else could I have done for you? I, the Lord, have spoken.
When you were in the desert at the stream of bitter water, you were thirsty and insulted me.
But instead of punishing you with fire for what you said, I threw a piece of wood into the water and made it fit to drink.
24 What should I do with you, people of Israel and Judah? You refused to obey me, and so I will turn to other nations and make them my people. And they will obey my laws.
25 You have abandoned me; now I will abandon you. I won't have pity on you, not even when you beg for it.
26 I will no longer listen to your prayers. Your hands are stained with blood, because you are always eager to murder someone.
27 You haven't just turned against me—you've turned against yourselves! I, the Lord, have spoken.
Israel Will No Longer Be the Lord's People
The Lord said:
People of Israel, I, the Lord All-Powerful, have begged you as a parent begs a son or daughter, or as a nursemaid begs a small child.
I asked you to be my people, so that I would be your God, and I asked you to be my children, so that I would be your father.
I gathered you together just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But what should I do with you now? I won't let you be my people any longer.
Even when you offer me sacrifices, I will turn away. I have rejected all your religious celebrations, including your New Moon Festivals and the ceremonies where you circumcise men and boys.
I sent my servants the prophets to you, but you killed them and cut up their dead bodies. I will make you pay for those murders! I, the Lord, have spoken.
33 Your temple is deserted. Now I, the Lord All-Powerful, will force you out of the land, just as wind blows away straw.
34 Your children will not have children, because like you, they ignored my laws and have done what I hate.
A new nation is coming, and I will give your homes to its people. They have not yet heard about me, but they will trust me and obey my laws, even though I have never done great things for them.
They have not seen the prophets, yet they follow their teachings that you heard long ago.
They will be thankful for what I do, and their children will shout for joy. These people have never seen me, but they will know in their hearts that what I say is true.
As for you, Father
g 1.38 Father: Latin; one ancient translation “Brother.”
h 1.38; 2.5 Father Ezra: The Lord is probably using this title to show that Ezra was considered the father of the nation.
be proud when you see these people coming from the east.
I will give them the following leaders: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, and Jonah;
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and my messenger Malachi.