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The Fourth Book of Esdras

“help” from the Hebrew (excluded from most "bibles of men")

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Chapter 10

Yes Word (Tyndale-Modern English)


      And it happened that when my son went to his chamber, he fell down, and died: then overthrew 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 thou seest: 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 spake unto her in displeasure: Thou foolish woman, seest thou not our heaviness and mourning, and what happeneth 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 thou takest, it is for but one son. Demand the earth, and she shall tell thee, 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 hath lost so great a multitude? and not thou, which are sorry but for one. But if thou would sayest 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 goeth again into her, as it is come to pass: Then say I unto thee: like as thou hast born with travail and sorrow, even so also the earth from the beginning giveth her fruit unto man, for him that made her. And therefore withhold thy sorrow and heaviness by thy self, and look what happened unto thee, bear it strongly. For if thou judgest the mark and end of God to be righteous and good, and receive his counsel in time, thou shalt be commended therein. Go thy way then in to the city to thy 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 hath Sion? Be of good comfort because of the sorrow of Jerusalem. For thou seest 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 thy great heaviness, and put away the multitude of sorrows: that the Mighty may be merciful unto thee, and that the Highest may give thee rest from thy 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 there was a city builded, and a place was shown from the ground and foundation.
      Then was I afraid, and crieth with loud voice, and said: where is Uriel the angel, which came to me at the first? For he hath 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 aileth thee? and why is thy understanding vexed? and the understanding of thy heart, and wherefore art thou sorry? And I said: Because thou hast forsaken me: and I have not done according to thy 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 thee 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 thee, that thou will show thy servant of this wonder. He answered me then and said: hear me, and I shall inform thee, and tell thee wherefore thou art afraid, for the Highest hath opened many secret things unto thee.
      He hath seen that thy way is right, and that thou takest sorrow continually for thy people, and maketh great lamentation for Sion: and therefore understand the vision which thou sawest a little while ago after this manner: Thou sawest a woman mourning, and thou hast comforted her: Nevertheless seest now the likeness of the woman no more, but thou thoughtest 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 thou sawest, is Sion: and where as she told thee, that she hath 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 thee, 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 thou sawest her likeness, how she mourned for her son: and what else happened unto her, I have showed thee. And now God seeth, that thou art sorry in mind, and sufferest from thy heart for her, and so hath he showed thee her clearness, and the fairness of her beauty.
      And therefore I had thee remain in the field, where no house is builded. For I knew that the Highest would show this unto thee, therefore I commanded thee 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 thine heart be afraid, but go thy way in, and see the glorious and fair building, and how great it is, and how great thou thinkest it after the measure of thine eyes, and then thou shall hear as much as thine ears may comprehend. For thou art blessed above many other, and art called with the Highest, as the few. But tomorrow at night thou shalt remain here, and so shall the Highest show thee 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.

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