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The Fourth Book of Esdras

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

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Chapter 3

Yes Word (Tyndale-Modern English)


      In the third year of the fall of the city, I was at Babylon, and lay troubled upon my bed, and my thoughts came up over my heart: for I saw the desolation of Sion, and the plenteous wealth of them that dwelt at Babylon: and my spirit was sore moved, so that I began to speak fearful words to the most highest, and said: O' Lord, Lord, thou spakest at the beginning, when thou planted the earth ( and that thyself alone) and gavest commandment unto the people, and a body unto Adam, which was a creature of thy hands, and hast breathed in him the breath of life: and so he lived before thee, and thou leadest him into paradise, which garden of pleasure thy right hand had planted, or ever the earth was made. And unto him thou gavest the commandment to love thy ways, which he transgressed, and immediately thou appointedest death in him, and in his generations. Of him came nations, tribes, people and kindreds out of number. And every people walked after their own will, and did nice things before thee: and as for thy commandments, they despised them.
      But in process of time thou broughtest the water flood, upon those that dwelt in the world, and destroyed them. And like as the death was in Adam, so was the water flood also in these. Nevertheless one of them thou leftest: namely Noe with his household, of whom came all righteous men. And it happened that when they that dwell upon the earth, began to multiply, and had gotten many children, and were a great people, they began to be more ungodly than the first.
      Now when they all lived so wickedly before thee, thou chose thee a man from among them, whose name was Abraham. Him thou lovest, and unto him only thou showest thy will, and made an everlasting covenant with him, promising him, that thou wouldest never forsake his seed. And unto him thou gavest Isaac, unto Isaac also thou gavest Jacob and Esau. As for Jacob thou didest choose him, and put back Esau. And so Jacob became a great multitude.
      And it happened that when thou leadest his feet out of Egypt, thou broughtest them up to the mount Sion, bowing down the heavens, setting fast the earth, moving the ground, making the depths to shake, and troubling the world: And thy glory went through four ports of fire, and earthquakes, and winds, and cold: that thou mayest give the law unto the seed of Jacob, and diligence unto the generation of Israel.
      And yet tookest thou not away from them that wicked heart, that thy law might bring forth fruit in them. For the first Adam bear a wicked heart, transgressed, and was overcome, and so be all that were born of him. Thus remained weakness with the law in the heart of the people, with the wickedness of the root: so that the good departed away, and the evil abode still. So the times past and fled away, and the years were brought to an end. Then didest thou raise up a servant called David, whom thou commandest to build a city unto thy name, and to offer up incense and sacrifice unto thee therein. This was done now many years. Then the inhabitors of the city forsook thee, and in all things did even as Adam and all his generations had done: for they also had a wicked heart.
      And so thou gavest the city over into the hands of thine enemies. Are they of Babylon then better and more righteous then thy people, that they shall therefore have the dominion of Sion: For when I came there, and saw their ungodliness, and so great wickedness, that it could not be numbered: yee when my soul saw so many evil doers ( in the thirty year) my heart failed me, for I saw, how thou sufferest them in such ungodliness, and spareth the wicked doers: but thy own people thou hast routed out, and preserved thine enemies, and this thou hast not showed me.
      I cannot perceive how this happeneth. Do they of Babylon then better, then they of Sion: Or is there any other people, that knoweth thee, saving the people of Israel? Or what generation hath so believed thy covenants, as Jacob? And yet their reward appeareth not, and their labor hath no fruit. For I have gone here and there through the Heathen, and I see that they be rich and wealthy, and think not upon thy commandments. Weigh thou therefore our wickedness in the balance, and theirs also that dwell in the world, and so shall your name be no where found but in Israel. Or where is there a people upon earth, that has not sinned before thee? Or what people hath so kept thy commandments? Thou shalt find, that Israel by name hath kept thy precepts, but not the other people and the Heathen.

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