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2 Esdras 16

2 Esdras :Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

The Enemies of Israel Are Doomed
Ezra said:
1 Babylonia, Asia, Egypt, and Syria, all of you are doomed!
1 Woe be unto thee, Babylon, and Asia! woe be unto thee, Egypt and Syria!
2 Put on sackcloth and cloth made of goat's hair to show your sorrow. Cry and mourn for your children, because the time of your destruction is already here. 2 Gird up yourselves with cloths of sack and hair, bewail your children, and be sorry; for your destruction is at hand.
3 The Lord is sending war on your nations, and no one can stop it. 3 A sword is sent upon you, and who may turn it back?
4 He will set you on fire, and no one can put it out. 4 A fire is sent among you, and who may quench it?
5 Disasters will come to you, and no one can save you. 5 Plagues are sent unto you, and what is he that may drive them away?
6 Can anyone stop the attack of a hungry lion or put out a grass fire 6 May any man drive away an hungry lion in the wood? or may any one quench the fire in stubble, when it hath begun to burn?
7 or turn back an arrow shot by a strong archer? 7 May one turn again the arrow that is shot of a strong archer?
8 When the Lord punishes with disasters, no one can stop them. 8 The mighty Lord sendeth the plagues and who is he that can drive them away?
9 His anger is like a fire that no one can put out, 9 A fire shall go forth from his wrath, and who is he that may quench it?
10 and when he sends thunder and lightning, people are terrified. 10 He shall cast lightnings, and who shall not fear? he shall thunder, and who shall not be afraid?
11 They drop to their knees in horror when he threatens destruction. 11 The Lord shall threaten, and who shall not be utterly beaten to powder at his presence?
12 The deepest parts of the earth and the sea, together with the waves and fish, tremble at the sight of God's bright glory. 12 The earth quaketh, and the foundations thereof; the sea ariseth up with waves from the deep, and the waves of it are troubled, and the fishes thereof also, before the Lord, and before the glory of his power:
13 His powerful right arm pulls back the bow, and his sharp arrows fly across the earth without missing their target. 13 For strong is his right hand that bendeth the bow, his arrows that he shooteth are sharp, and shall not miss, when they begin to be shot into the ends of the world.
14 The troubles he has sent are like those arrows—they won't stop until they reach their targets. 14 Behold, the plagues are sent, and shall not return again, until they come upon the earth.
15 He has started a fire, and it will burn until the earth is destroyed. 15 The fire is kindled, and shall not be put out, till it consume the foundation of the earth.
16 The disasters are coming and cannot be turned back, just as the arrows cannot be stopped. 16 Like as an arrow which is shot of a mighty archer returneth not backward: even so the plagues that shall be sent upon earth shall not return again.
17 Even I am doomed! Who will rescue me in those terrible days?
Sinners Will Never Change Their Ways
Ezra said:
17 Woe is me! woe is me! who will deliver me in those days?
18 Sorrows will begin, and there will be much crying. Famine will strike, and many people will die. Wars will break out, and powerful armies will be terrified. Disasters will come, and everyone will tremble with fear. What will people do when these things happen?
18 The beginning of sorrows and great mournings; the beginning of famine and great death; the beginning of wars, and the powers shall stand in fear; the beginning of evils! what shall I do when these evils shall come?
19 The Lord must send starvation and disease, pain and disaster to punish sinners. 19 Behold, famine and plague, tribulation and anguish, are sent as scourges for amendment.
20 But they will never change their ways, and they will forget about their punishment. 20 But for all these things they shall not turn from their wickedness, nor be always mindful of the scourges.
21 The time is coming when food and supplies will be so cheap that people will think peace is coming. Then suddenly disasters will strike—war and starvation and constant confusion.
21 Behold, victuals shall be so good cheap upon earth, that they shall think themselves to be in good case, and even then shall evils grow upon earth, sword, famine, and great confusion.
22 People on earth will starve, and those who survive will be killed in war. 22 For many of them that dwell upon earth shall perish of famine; and the other, that escape the hunger, shall the sword destroy.
23 The dead bodies will be thrown out like garbage, and no one will be left to comfort those who mourn. The earth will be an empty wasteland, with all its cities lying in ruins. 23 And the dead shall be cast out as dung, and there shall be no man to comfort them: for the earth shall be wasted, and the cities shall be cast down.
24 No one will be alive to work the land and plant seeds. 24 There shall be no man left to till the earth, and to sow it
25 Trees will produce fruit, but no one will gather it. 25 The trees shall give fruit, and who shall gather them?
26 Grape vines will have grapes, but no one will make wine. The earth will be as lonely as a desert. 26 The grapes shall ripen, and who shall tread them? for all places shall be desolate of men:
27 A person will wish to see another human or just to hear someone's voice. 27 So that one man shall desire to see another, and to hear his voice.
28 Only ten people will survive in a city, and only two will be left in the countryside, hidden in a forest or a cave. 28 For of a city there shall be ten left, and two of the field, which shall hide themselves in the thick groves, and in the clefts of the rocks.
29 When olives are picked from their trees, three or four are left behind.
29 As in an orchard of Olives upon every tree there are left three or four olives;
30 And when grapes are gathered in a vineyard, a few bunches are overlooked by even the most careful pickers. 30 Or as when a vineyard is gathered, there are left some clusters of them that diligently seek through the vineyard:
31 That's how it will be when these disasters begin. Soldiers with swords will search each home, ready to kill any survivors, and only three or four won't be found. 31 Even so in those days there shall be three or four left by them that search their houses with the sword.
32 The land will be empty; its fields will be covered with thorns;
d 16.32 covered with thorns: Some ancient translations; Latin “plowed up.”
its roads and paths will be overgrown with weeds, because no sheep will graze there.
32 And the earth shall be laid waste, and the fields thereof shall wax old, and her ways and all her paths shall grow full of thorns, because no man shall travel therethrough.
33 Young women will be sad because no one will be left to marry them, and wives will mourn because their husbands will be dead, and daughters will groan in sorrow because there will be no one to help them. 33 The virgins shall mourn, having no bridegrooms; the women shall mourn, having no husbands; their daughters shall mourn, having no helpers.
34 Every young man will die in battle, and every husband will die of starvation.
The Lord's People Must Be Ready for the Coming Disasters
Ezra said:
34 In the wars shall their bridegrooms be destroyed, and their husbands shall perish of famine.
35 Listen to me, you people who faithfully worship the Lord.
35 Hear now these things and understand them, ye servants of the Lord.
36 I have a message from him, so pay attention and believe it. 36 Behold, the word of the Lord, receive it: believe not the gods of whom the Lord spake.
37 The disasters will begin very soon, and nothing can stop them. 37 Behold, the plagues draw nigh, and are not slack.
38 A woman about to give birth suffers pain for two or three hours before her baby is born, but when the right time comes, she cannot stop it. 38 As when a woman with child in the ninth month bringeth forth her son, with two or three hours of her birth great pains compass her womb, which pains, when the child cometh forth, they slack not a moment:
39 The same is true for the world when these disasters strike. It will groan in pain and will not be able to stop the troubles. 39 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.
40 My people, listen to what I am saying. Prepare for the battles, and act as if you don't live on this earth.
40 O my people, hear my word: make you ready to thy battle, and in those evils be even as pilgrims upon the earth.
41 Sellers must run from a sale, and buyers must expect to be cheated. 41 He that selleth, let him be as he that fleeth away: and he that buyeth, as one that will lose:
42 Merchants must not expect a profit, and builders must not expect to live in a house they've built. 42 He that occupieth merchandise, as he that hath no profit by it: and he that buildeth, as he that shall not dwell therein:
43 Farmers must not expect to gather their crops or pick their grapes. 43 He that soweth, as if he should not reap: so also he that planteth the vineyard, as he that shall not gather the grapes:
44 You married couples must not expect to have children, and you unmarried people will live as if you were widows. 44 They that marry, as they that shall get no children; and they that marry not, as the widowers.
45 All your work will have been for nothing, 45 And therefore they that labour labour in vain:
46 because foreigners will harvest your crops and steal your possessions. These foreigners will rob your homes and make your children their slaves. Children will either become slaves or else starve to death, 46 For strangers shall reap their fruits, and spoil their goods, overthrow their houses, and take their children captives, for in captivity and famine shall they get children.
47 and whatever money you earn will be stolen. The more you spend to decorate your cities and your homes and to make yourselves attractive, 47 And they that occupy their merchandise with robbery, the more they deck their cities, their houses, their possessions, and their own persons:
48 the angrier I, the Lord, will become with you, because of your sins. 48 The more will I be angry with them for their sin, saith the Lord.
49 Just as a good woman hates prostitutes, 49 Like as a whore envieth a right honest and virtuous woman:
50 so right living hates the attraction of wickedness. Right living will show how useless evil is when God comes to judge this sinful world. 50 So shall righteousness hate iniquity, when she decketh herself, and shall accuse her to her face, when he cometh that shall defend him that diligently searcheth out every sin upon earth.
51 So don't follow the ways of sinners, 51 And therefore be ye not like thereunto, nor to the works thereof.
52 because very soon all wickedness will be wiped off the earth, and goodness will rule us all. 52 For yet a little, and iniquity shall be taken away out of the earth, and righteousness shall reign among you.
Sins Cannot Be Hidden from God
53 Sinners won't be able to deny their evil ways. In fact, God will torture them with burning coals if they say they have not sinned against him and his glory.
53 Let not the sinner say that he hath not sinned: for God shall burn coals of fire upon his head, which saith before the Lord God and his glory, I have not sinned.
54 The Lord God knows everything we do and plan and feel. 54 Behold, the Lord knoweth all the works of men, their imaginations, their thoughts, and their hearts:
55 He created the earth and the heavens with just a command. 55 Which spake but the word, Let the earth be made; and it was made: Let the heaven be made; and it was created.
56 With one word he put the stars in place, and he knows exactly how many there are. 56 In his word were the stars made, and he knoweth the number of them.
57 He knows what treasures lie in the deepest parts of the sea, and he has carefully measured it and everything there. 57 He searcheth the deep, and the treasures thereof; he hath measured the sea, and what it containeth.
58 He commanded the sea to stay in its place and the land to stay above the water. 58 He hath shut the sea in the midst of the waters, and with his word hath he hanged the earth upon the waters.
59 He stretched out the sky like a dome and made sure it stays above the ocean. 59 He spreadeth out the heavens like a vault; upon the waters hath he founded it.
60 He made springs of water in the dry desert and lakes at the tops of mountains, so they could run down to form rivers and to water the ground. 60 In the desert hath he made springs of water, and pools upon the tops of the mountains, that the floods might pour down from the high rocks to water the earth.
61 He made human beings and gave each of them a heart. He gave them the breath of life and clear understanding, 61 He made man, and put his heart in the midst of the body, and gave him breath, life, and understanding.
62 and he put in them his own powerful Spirit. God All-Powerful, who created all things and knows every secret, did these things! 62 Yea and the Spirit of Almighty God, which made all things, and searcheth out all hidden things in the secrets of the earth,
63 The Lord himself knows what you plan and what you think. Don't be foolish enough to imagine that you can hide your sins from him.
63 Surely he knoweth your inventions, and what ye think in your hearts, even them that sin, and would hide their sin.
64 He will carefully look at everything you've done and judge you in front of everyone. 64 Therefore hath the Lord exactly searched out all your works, and he will put you all to shame.
65 On that day, you will be ashamed of your evil ways, and they will prove you guilty. 65 And when your sins are brought forth, ye shall be ashamed before men, and your own sins shall be your accusers in that day.
66 What will you do then? Will you still try to hide your sins from God? 66 What will ye do? or how will ye hide your sins before God and his angels?
67 He is your final judge, so fear him! Stop sinning once and for all and turn from your wickedness! Maybe God will rescue you from the coming disasters. 67 Behold, God himself is the judge, fear him: leave off from your sins, and forget your iniquities, to meddle no more with them for ever: so shall God lead you forth, and deliver you from all trouble.
The Lord Promises To Rescue His People
68 A powerful, angry mob of people is ready to drag many of you away and force you to eat food that has been sacrificed to idols.
68 For, behold, the burning wrath of a great multitude is kindled over you, and they shall take away certain of you, and feed you, being idle, with things offered unto idols.
69 Anyone who eats this food will be mocked and insulted and abused. 69 And they that consent unto them shall be had in derision and in reproach, and trodden under foot.
70 In city after city, my faithful people will be beaten and tortured. 70 For there shall be in every place, and in the next cities, a great insurrection upon those that fear the Lord.
71 The attackers will be wild and will show no mercy to anyone. They will beat and kill everyone who worships me. 71 They shall be like mad men, sparing none, but still spoiling and destroying those that fear the Lord.
72 They will steal their possessions and burn down their homes, leaving my people with no places to live. 72 For they shall waste and take away their goods, and cast them out of their houses.
73 But my followers will prove their faithfulness by surviving these tortures, just as gold is purified with fire.
16.73 Zec 13.9; 1P 1.7
73 Then shall they be known, who are my chosen; and they shall be tried as the gold in the fire.
74 So listen to me, my chosen people. The days of misery will soon be here, but I will rescue you.
74 Hear, O ye my beloved, saith the Lord: behold, the days of trouble are at hand, but I will deliver you from the same.
75 Don't be afraid and don't give up—I am your God, and I will protect you. 75 Be ye not afraid neither doubt; for God is your guide,
76 You have always obeyed my laws and commands, so don't let your sins take over and control you. 76 And the guide of them who keep my commandments and precepts, saith the Lord God: let not your sins weigh you down, and let not your iniquities lift up themselves.
77 You're in for trouble if you let your sins trap you or take over your thinking. You will be nothing but a field of weeds, with its paths so covered with thorns that no one can walk through it. 77 Woe be unto them that are bound with their sins, and covered with their iniquities like as a field is covered over with bushes, and the path thereof covered with thorns, that no man may travel through!
78 You will be ignored and left to be completely wiped out by fire. 78 It is left undressed, and is cast into the fire to be consumed therewith.

© 1999 American Bible Society

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Last update of the program: 1-11-2019