Table of Contents
The Fourth Book of Esdrashelp from the Hebrew
The 10th Chapter
And it happened that when my son went to his chamber, he fell down, and died: then over through we all the lights, and all my neighbors rose up to comfort me. Then took I my rest unto the second day at night: and when they had all rested, that they might comfort me, I rested also, and rose up by night and fled, and am come hither in to this field, as you see: and am proposed not to come in the city, but to remain here, and neither to eat nor drink, but to continually mourn and fast, until I die.
Then let I my meditations and thoughts fall, that I was in, and spoke unto her in displeasure: You foolish woman, see you not our heaviness and mourning, and what happens unto us? how Sion our mother is all woeful and sorry, and how she is clean brought down and in misery? seeing we be all now in heaviness, and make our moan (for we be all sorrowful). As for the heaviness that you take, it is for but one son. Demand the earth, and she shall tell you, that it is she which ought (by reason) to mourn, for the fall of so many that grow upon her. For from the beginning all men are born of her, and other shall come: and behold, they walk almost all into destruction, and many shall be rooted out.
Who should then (by reason) make more mourning, then she, that has lost so great a multitude? and not you, which are sorry but for one. But if you would say unto me: My mourning is not like the mourning of the earth, for I have lost the fruit of my body, which I bear with heaviness: but the earth is according to the manner of the earth, and the present multitude goes again into her, as it is come to pass: Then say I unto you: like as you have born with travail and sorrow, even so also the earth from the beginning gives her fruit unto man, for him that made her. And therefore withhold your sorrow and heaviness by your self, and look what happened unto you, bear it strongly. For if you judge the mark and end of God to be righteous and good, and receive his counsel in time, you shall be commended therein. Go your way then in to the city to your husband.
And she said unto me: that will I not do, I will not go into the city, but here will I die. So I communed more with her, and said: Do not so, but be counseled, and follow me: for how many falls has Sion? Be of good comfort because of the sorrow of Jerusalem. For you see that our Sanctuary is laid waste, our altar broken, our temple destroyed, our playing of instruments and singing laid down, the thanksgiving put to silence, our mirth is vanished away, the light of our candlestick is quenched, the ark of the covenant is taken from us, all our holy things are defiled, and the name that is called upon over us, is dishonored: our children are put to shame, our priests are burnt, our Levites are carried away into captivity, our virgins are defiled, our wives are ravished, our righteous men spoiled, and our children destroyed, our young men are brought in bondage, and our strong worthies are become weak: and Sion (which seal is greatest of all) is loosed up from her worship: for she is delivered into the hands of them that hate us.
And therefore shake off your great heaviness, and put away the multitude of sorrows: that the Mighty may be merciful unto you, and that the Highest may give you rest from your labor and travail. And it happened, that when I was talking with her, her face did shine and glister, so that I was afraid of her, and mused what it might be. And immediately she cast out a great voice, very fearful, so that the earth shook at the noise of the woman: and I looked, and behold, the woman appeared unto me no more: but their was a city builded, and a place was shown from the ground and foundation.
Then was I afraid, and crys with loud voice, and said: where is Uriel the angel, which came to me at the first? For he has caused me to come in many considerations and high thoughts, and mine end is turned to corruption, and my prayer to rebuke. And as I was speaking these words, he came unto me, and looked upon me, and I lay as one that had been dead, and mine understanding was altered, and he took me up by the right hand, and comforted me, and set me up upon my feet, and said unto me: what ails you? and why is your understanding vexed? and the understanding of your heart, and wherefore are you sorry? And I said: Because you have forsaken me: and I have not done according to your words, I went in to the field, and there have I seen things, that I am not able to express. He said unto me: Stand up and be manly, and I shall give you exhortation.
Then said I: Speak on to me my Lord, forsake me not, least I die in vain: for I have seen that I knew not, and heard that I do not know. Or shall my understanding be deceived, and my mind? But now I beseech you, that you will show your servant of this wonder. He answered me then and said: hear me, and I shall inform you, and tell you wherefore you are afraid, for the Highest has opened many secret things unto you.
He has seen that your way is right, and that you take sorrow continually for your people, and makes great lamentation for Sion: and therefore understand the vision which you saw a little while ago after this manner: You saw a woman mourning, and you have comforted her: Nevertheless see now the likeness of the woman no more, but you thought there was a city builded: and like as she told you of the fall of her son, so is this the answer,: The woman whom you sawest, is Sion: and where as she told you, that she has been thirty years unfruitful and barren, those are the thirty years, wherein no offering was made in her.
But after thirty years Solomon builded her, and offered, and then bare the barren a son. And where as she told you, that she nourish him with labor, that was the dwelling of Jerusalem. But where as the son died in her chamber, that is the fall of Jerusalem. And you saw her likeness, how she mourned for her son: and what else happened unto her, I have showed you. And now God sees, that you are sorry in mind, and suffer from your heart for her, and so has he showed you her clearness, and the fairness of her beauty.
And therefore I had you remain in the field, where no house is builded. For I knew that the Highest would show this unto you, therefore I commanded you to go into the field, where no foundation or building is. For the place where the Highest will show his city, there shall be no mans building, And there for fear not, and let not your heart be afraid, but go your way in, and see the glorious and fair building, and how great it is, and how great you think it after the measure of your eyes, and then you shall hear as much as your ears may comprehend. For you are blessed above many other, and are called with the Highest, as the few. But tomorrow at night you shall remain here, and so shall the Highest show you visions of high things, which he will do unto them, that dwell upon earth in the last days. So I slept that same night like as he commanded me.
The 11th Chapter
Then saw I a dream: and behold, there came up from the sea an Eagle, which had twelve wings and three heads: And I saw, and behold, *he spread his wings over all the earth, and all the winds of the air blew in them, and so they were put together again. And I beheld, and out of his feathers there grew other little contrary feathers: the heads rested, the head in the midst was greater that the others, yet rested it with the residue.
Moreover I saw, that the eagle flew with his wings, and reigned upon the earth, and over all them that dwell upon the earth: and I saw that all things under heaven were subject unto him, and no man spoke against him, no not one creature upon the earth. I saw also that the Eagle stood up on his claws, and give a sound with his feathers, and a voice saying things after this manner: watch not all together, sleep every man in his own place, and watch for a time, but let the heads be preserved at the last. Nevertheless I saw, that the voice went not out of his heads, but from the midst of his body. And I numbered his contrary feathers, and behold there were eight of them. And I looked, and behold upon the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth. And it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more. So the next following stood up, and reigned, and had a great time: and it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, like as the first, so that it appeared no more. *Note this eagle spread his wings "over all the earth" not just Europe and the Mediterraneans as the Romans did..or any other nation for that matter. RN
Then came there a voice unto it, and said: Hear you that have kept in the earth so long, this I say unto you, before you begin to appear no more: There shall none after you attain unto your time. Then arose the third, and reigned as the other before, and appeared no more also. So went it with all the residue one after the other, so that every one reigned, and then appeared no more. Then I looked, and behold, in the process of time that the feathers that followed were set up upon the right side, that they might rule also: and some of them ruled, but within a while they appeared no more: for some of them were set up, but ruled not. After this I looked, and behold the twelve feathers appeared no more, and that two wings: and there were no more upon the Eagles body, but the two heads that rested, and six feathers. Then saw I also, that the six feathers were parted in two, and remained under the head, that was upon the right side, for the four continued in their place. So I looked, and behold, they that were under the wings, thought to set up themselves, and to have the rule. Then was there one set up, but shortly it appeared no more, and the second was sooner away than the first. And I beheld, and lo, the two thought also by themselves to reign: and when they so thought, behold there awakened one of the heads that were at rest, namely, it that was in the midst, for that was the greater of the two heads. And then I saw, that the two heads were filled with him and the head was turned with them that were by him, and eat up the two under wings , that would have reigned.
But this head put the whole earth in fear, and bare rule in it, over all those that dwelt upon the earth with much labor, and he had the governance of the world, over all the fowls that have been. After this I looked , and behold, the head that was in the midst, suddenly appeared no more, like as the wings: then came the two heads, which ruled upon the earth, and over those that dwelt therein. And I beheld, and lo the head upon the right side, devoured it that was upon the left side. And I heard a voice, which said unto me: look before you, and consider the thing that you see. Then I saw, and behold, as it were a lion that roars, running hastily out of the wood, and he sent out a mans voice unto the Eagle, and said: Hear you, I will talk with you, and the Highest shall say unto you: Is it not you that have the victory of the four beasts, whom I made to reign upon the earth and in my world, and that the end of their times might come through them?
And the fourth came, and *overwane *overwane= over / diminish, weaken, subdue all the beasts that were past, and had power over the world with great fearfulness, and over the whole compass of the earth with the most wicked labor, and so long time dwelt he upon the earth with deceit, and the earth you have not judged the truth. For you have troubled the meek, you have hurt the peaceable and quiet, you have loved lies, and destroyed the dwellings of them that brought forth fruit, and have cast down the walls of such as did you no harm. Therefore is your wrongeous dealing and blasphemy come up unto the Highest, and your pride unto the Mighty. The Highest also has looked upon the proud times, and behold, they are ended, and their abominations are fulfilled. And therefore appear no more you Eagle, and your horrible wings, and your wicked feathers, and your ungracious heads, and your sinful claws, and all your vain body: that the earth may be refreshed, and come again to herself, when she is delivered from your violence, and that she may hope for the judgement and mercy of him that made her.
The 12th Chapter
And it happened when the Lion spoke, these words unto the Eagle, I saw, and behold, the head that before had the upper hand, appeared no more: neither did the four wings appear any more, that came to him, and were set up to reign: and their kingdom was small and full of uproar. And I saw, and behold, they appeared no more, and the whole body of the Eagle was burnt, and the earth was in great fear. Then awakened I out of the trance of my mind, and from great fear, and said unto my spirit: Lo, this have you given me, in that you search out the ways of the Highest: lo, yet I am weary in my mind, and very weak in my spirit, and little strength is there in me, for the great fear that I received this night. Therefore will I now beseech the Highest, that he will comfort me unto the end: A I said, Lord, Lord, if I have before your sight, and if I am justified with you before many other, and if my prayer be come up before your face, comfort me then, and show me your servant the interpretation and plain difference of this horrible sight, that you may perfectly comfort my soul: for you have judged me worthy, to show me the last of times.
And he said unto me: this is the interpretation of this sight. The Eagle whom you saw saw come up from the sea, is the kingdom which was seen in the vision of your brother Daniel, but it was not expounded unto him, for now I declare it unto you. Behold, the days come, that there shall rise up a kingdom upon the earth, and it shall be feared above all the kingdoms that were before it. In the same kingdom shall twelve kings reign, one after the other. For the second shall begin to reign, and shall have more time than the other, and this do the twelve wings signify, which you sawest. As for the voice that spoke, and that you saw go out from the heads but not from the body, it be tokens, that after the time of that kingdom there shall arise great strivings, and it shall stand in peril of falling: nevertheless it shall not yet fall, but shall be set in to his beginning. And the eight under wings which you saw hang unto the wings of him, betoken, that in him there shall arise eight kings, whose time shall be small, and their years swift, and two of them shall bear. But when the midst time comes, there shall be four kept in that time, when his time begins to come that it may be ended, but two shall be kept unto the end.
And where as you saw tree heads resting, this is the interpretation: In his last shall the Highest raise up three kingdoms, and call many again into them, and they shall have the dominion of the earth, and of those that dwell therein, with much labor above all those that were before them. Therefore are they called the heads of the Eagle: for it is they that shall bring forth his wickedness again, and that shall perform and finish his last. And where as you sawest, that the great head appeared no more, it signifies, that one of them shall die upon his bed, and yet with pain, for the two that remain, shall be slain with the sword. For the sword of the one shall devour the other, but at the last shall he fall through the sword himself.
And where as you saw two underwings upon the head that is on the right side, it signifies that it is they, whom the Highest has kept unto their end: this is a small kingdom, full of trouble. The Lion whom you saw rising up out of the wood, and roaring, and speaking unto the Eagle, and rebuking him for his unrighteousness, is the wind, which the Highest has kept for them and for their wickedness unto the end: he shall reprove them, and rent them asunder before them. For he shall set them living before the judgement, and shall rebuke them: for the residue of my people shall he deliver with trouble, those that be preserved over mine ends: and he shall make them joyful until the coming day of Judgement, where of I have spoken unto you from the beginning. This is the dream that you sawest, and this is the interpretation. You only have been meat to know the secret of the Highest.
Therefore write all these things that you have seen in a book, and hide them, and teach them the wise in the people, whos hearts you know may comprehend and keep these secrets. But wait you here yourself yet seven days more, that it may be showed the , whatsoever pleases the Highest to declare unto you, and with that he went his way.
And when all the people perceived, that the seven days were past, And I come again into the city, they gathered them all together from the least to the most, and came unto me, and said: what have we offended you? and what evil have we done against you, that you forsake us, and sits here in this place? For of all the people you only are left us, as a grape of the vine, and as a candle in a dark place, and as a haven a ship preserved from the tempest. Have we not adversity enough, but you must forsake us? Were it not better for us, that we had been burnt with Sion? For we are no better, then they that died there: and they wept with loud voice. Then answered I them and said: Be of good comfort O' Israel, be not heavy you house of Jacob: for the Highest has you in remembrance, and the Mighty has not forgotten you in temptation. As for me, I have not forsaken you, neither am I departed from you: but am come into this place to pray, because of the misery of Israel, that I might seek mercy for the low estate of your Sanctuary. And now go your way home every man, and after these days will I come unto you. So the people went their way into the city, like as I commanded them: but I remained in the field seven days, as the Angle bade me: and I ate only of the flowers of the field, and had my meat of the herbs in those days.
The 13th Chapter
And it happened after the seven days, that I dreamed a dream by night. And behold, there arose a wind from the sea, that it moved all the floods thereof. And I looked, and behold, the man was strong and increased with the clouds of heaven: And when he turned his countenance to consider, all the things trembled that were seen under him: and when the voice went out of his mouth, all they burnt that heard him, like as the earth when it feels the fire.
After these I saw, and behold there was gathered together a multitude of men out of number from the four winds of the heaven, to fight against the man, that came out from the sea. And I looked, and behold, he graved himself a great mountain, and flew up upon it. But I would have seen the border or place, where out the hill was graven, and I could not.
I saw after these, that all they which came to fight against him, were sore afraid, and yet *durst they fight. Nevertheless when he saw the fierceness and violence of the people, he neither lift up his hand nor held sword, nor any weapon: but only (as I saw) he sent out of his mouth as it had been a blast of fire, and out of his lips the wind of flame: and out of his tongue he cast sparks and storms, and they were all mixed together : the blast of fire, the wind of the flames, and the great storm, and fell with a rush upon the people, which was prepared to fight and brunt them up everyone: so that of the innumerable multitude there was nothing seen, but only dust and smoke. When I saw this I was afraid. *durst= dare
Afterward saw I the same man come down from the mountain, and calling unto him another peaceable people: and there came much people unto him: some were glad some were sorry, some of them were bound, so that they were carried and brought forth.
Then was I sick through great fear, and I awakened, and said: you have shown your servant all your wonders from the beginning, and have counted me worthy, that you might receive my prayer: show me now yet this interpretation of this dream. For thus I consider in my understanding: Woe unto them that shall be left in those days: and much more woe unto them that are not left behind: for they that were not left, were in heaviness.
Now understand I the things that are laid up in the latter days which shall happen unto them, and to those that are not left behind. Therefore they are come into great perils, and many necessities, like as these dreams declare. Yet is it easier, that he which suffers hurt come in these, then to pass away as a cloud out of the world, and now to see the things that shall happen in the last.
Then answered he me, and said: The interpretation of the sight shall I show you, and I will open unto you, the things that you have required. For you have spoken of them that are left behind, and this is the interpretation. He that takes away the peril in that time, has kept himself. They that be fallen into harm, are such as have works and faith unto the Most mighty. Know this therefore, that they which be left behind, are more blessed, then they that be dead. This is the meaning of the vision. Where as you saw a man coming up from the deep of the sea, the same is he that God the Highest has kept a great season, which by his own self will deliver his creature, and he shall order them that are left behind. And where as you sawest, that out of his mouth there came a blast of wind, fire and storm, and how that he lift up neither sword nor weapon, but that the rushing in of him destroyed the whole multitude, that came to fight against him: it signifies, that the days come, when God will deliver them that are upon the earth, and in a trance of mind shall he come upon them, that dwell in the earth. And one shall undertake to fight against another, one city against another, one place against another, one people against another, one realm against another. When this comes to pass, then shall the tokens come, that I showed you before: and then shall my son be declared, whom you saw climb up as a man. And when all the people hear his voice every man shall in their own land leave the battle that they have one against another, an innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, as they that be willing to come and to overcome him by fighting. But he shall stand upon the top of mount Sion. Nevertheless Sion shall come, and shall be showed, being prepared and builded for all men, like as you saw the hill graven forth without any hands. But my son shall rebuke the people that are come for their wickedness, with the tempest, and for their evil imaginations: and their pains wherewith they shall be punished, are likened unto the flame: and with out any labor, shall he destroy them, even by the law, which is compared to the fire.
And whereas you sawest, that he gathered another peaceable people unto him: those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land, in the time of *Oseas the King, whom *Salmanasar the King of Assiria took prisoner, and carried them over the water, and so they came into another land. *Oseas = Hosea, *Salmanasar = Shalmaneser
But they gave them this counsel, that they should leave the multitude of the Heathen, and go forth into a farther country, where never mankind dwelt: that they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And so they entered in at the narrow passages of water of the Euphrates, and God showed tokens for them, and held still the flood till they were passed over: for through that country there was a great way, namely of a year and a half journey, for that same region is called Asareth. Then dwelt they there unto the latter time: and when they come forth again, the Highest shall hold still the springs of the stream again, that they may go through, therefore you saw the multitude with peace. And they that be left behind of your people, are those that be found within my border. Now when he destroys the multitude that is gathered together, he shall defend his people that remain, and then shall he show them great wonders.
Then said I: O' Lord, Lord, show me this: wherefore have I seen the man coming up from the deep of the sea? And he said unto me: Like as you can neither seek out nor know these things that are in the deep of the sea, even so may you not see my son, or those that be with him, but in the time of the day. This is the interpretation of the dream which you sawest, therefore you only are here lightened: for you have forsaken your own law, and applied your diligence unto mine, and sought it. your life you have ordered in wisdom, and have called understanding your mother, and therefore have I showed you the treasure of the Highest. After three days I will show you more, and talk with you at more large, yes heavy and wondrous things will I declare unto you.
Then went I forth into the field, giving praise and thanks greatly unto God, because of his wonders which he did in time, and because he governs the same, and such as is in time, and there I sat three days.
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