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2 Esdras 10

1 "And it so came to pass, when my son had entered into his wedding chamber, that he fell down and died.
2 Then we all overthrew the lights, and all my neighbors rose up to comfort me; so I took my rest until the second day at night.
3 And it came to pass, when they had all left off comforting me to the end I might be quiet, then I rose up by night and fled, and came hither into this field, as thou seest.
4 And I do now purpose not to return into the city, but here to stay, and neither to eat nor drink, but continually to mourn and to fast until I die."
5 Then left I the meditations wherein I was, and spoke to her in anger, saying,
6 "Thou foolish woman above all others, seest thou not our mourning, and what happeneth unto us?
7 How that Zion our mother is full of all heaviness, and much humbled, mourning very sorely?
8 And now, seeing we all mourn and are sad, for we are all in heaviness, art thou grieved for one son?
9 For ask the earth, and she shall tell thee that it is she which ought to mourn for the fall of so many that grow upon her.
10 For out of her came all at the first, and out of her shall all others come; and behold, they walk almost all into destruction, and a multitude of them is utterly rooted out.
11 Who then should make more mourning, if not she who hath lost so great a multitude, and not thou who art sorry but for one?
12 But if thou sayest unto me, `My lamentation is not like the earth's, because I have lost the fruit of my womb, which I brought forth with pains and bore with sorrows,
13 but the earth not so; for the multitude present in it, according to the course of the earth, is gone as it came'--
14 then say I unto thee, `As thou hast brought forth with labor, even so the earth also hath given her fruit, namely man, ever since the beginning, unto Him that made her.'
15 Now therefore keep thy sorrow to thyself, and bear with good courage that which hath befallen thee.
16 For if thou shalt acknowledge the determination of God to be just, thou shalt both receive thy son in time, and shalt be commended among women.Œ
17 Go thy way then into the city to thine husband."
18 And she said unto me, "That will I not do; I will not go into the city, but here will I die."
19 So I proceeded to speak further unto her and said,
20 "Do not so, but be counseled by me; for how many are the adversities of Zion? Be comforted because of the sorrow of Jerusalem.
21 For thou seest that our sanctuary is laid waste, our altar broken down, our temple destroyed;
22 our psaltery is laid on the ground, our song is put to silence, our rejoicing is at an end, the light of our candlestick is put out, the ark of our covenant is despoiled, our holy things are defiled, and the name by which we are called is almost profaned; our children are put to shame, our priests are burned, our Levites have gone into captivity, our virgins are defiled, and our wives ravished; our righteous men carried away, our little ones destroyed, our young men are brought in bondage, and our strong men have become weak;
23 and this is the greatest of all: the seal of Zion hath now lost her honor, for she is delivered into the hands of those who hate us.
24 And therefore shake off thy great heaviness, and put away the multitude of sorrows, that the Mighty may be merciful unto thee again, and the Highest shall give thee rest and ease from thy labor."
25 And it came to pass while I was talking with her, behold, her face upon a sudden shone exceedingly, and her countenance glistened so that I was afraid of her and mused what it might be.
26 And behold, suddenly she made a great and very fearful cry, so that the earth shook at the noise of the woman.
27 And I looked, and behold, the woman appeared unto me no more, but there was a city built, and a large place showed itself from the foundations. Then was I afraid, and cried with a loud voice and said,
28 "Where is Uriel the angel, who came unto me at the first? For he hath caused me to fall into many trances, and mine end is turned into corruption and my prayer to rebuke."
29 And as I was speaking these words, behold, he came unto me and looked upon me.
30 And lo, I lay as one who had been dead, and mine understanding was taken from me. And he took me by the right hand and comforted me, and set me upon my feet, and said unto me,
31 What aileth thee? And why art thou so disquieted? And why is thine understanding troubled, and the thoughts of thine heart?"
32 And I said, "Because thou hast forsaken me; and yet I did according to thy words, and I went into the field, and lo, I have seen and yet see what I am not able to express."
33 And he said unto me, "Stand up manfully, and I will advise thee.'"
34 Then said I, "Speak on, my lord, to me; only forsake me not, lest I die frustrated in my hope.
35 For I have seen what I knew not, and hear what I do not know.
36 Or is my sense deceived, or my soul in a dream?
37 Now therefore I beseech thee that thou wilt show thy servant about this vision."
38 He answered me then and said, "Hear me, and I shall inform thee and tell thee wherefore thou art afraid; for the Highest will reveal many secret things unto thee.
39 He hath seen that thy way is right, for thou sorrowest continually for thy people and makest great lamentation for Zion.
40 "This therefore is the meaning of the vision which thou lately sawest:
41 Thou sawest a woman mourning, and thou began to comfort her;
42 but now seest thou the likeness of the woman no more, but there appeared unto thee a city built.
43 And whereas she told thee of the death of her son, this is the interpretation:
44 This woman whom thou sawest is Zion. And whereas she said unto thee (even she whom thou seest as a city built)--
45 whereas, I say, she said unto thee that she hath been thirty years barren, those are the thirty years wherein there was no offering made in her.
46 But after thirty years Solomon built the city and offered offerings; and then bore the barren a son.
47 And whereas she told thee that she nourished him with labor, that was the dwelling in Jerusalem.
48 But whereas she said unto thee, `My son, coming into his marriage chamber, happened to have a fall and died,' this was the destruction that came to Jerusalem.
49 And behold, thou sawest her likeness; and because she mourned for her son, thou began to comfort her; and of these things which have chanced, these are to be opened unto thee.
50 For now the Most High seeth that thou art grieved unfeignedly, and sufferest from thy whole heart for her; so hath He shown thee the brightness of her glory and the comeliness of her beauty.
51 And therefore I bade thee remain in the field where no house was built,
52 for I knew that the Highest would show this unto thee.
53 Therefore I commanded thee to go into the field, where no foundation of any building was.
54 For in the place wherein the Highest beginneth to show His city, there can no man's building be able to stand.
55 "And therefore fear not, let not thine heart be frightened; but go thy way in and see the beauty and greatness of the building, as much as thine eyes be able to see.
56 And then shalt thou hear as much as thine ears may comprehend.
57 For thou art blessed above many others, and art called to be with the Highest, and so are but few.
58 But tomorrow at night thou shalt remain here;
59 and so shall the Highest show thee visions of the high things, which the Most High will do unto them that dwell upon the earth in the last days." So I slept that night and another, as he commanded me.
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