2 Esdras 12Common English Bible (CEB)
12 While the lion was saying these words to the eagle, I looked 2 and saw that the head that had prevailed disappeared, and the two wings that had gone over to it rose up so that they might rule, but their rule was weak and chaotic. 3 I watched as they disappeared, and the whole body of the eagle was burned; the earth was filled with fear.
I woke up because my mind was racing and full of fear. I said to myself, 4 Look, you’ve brought all this on yourself with your probing into the ways of the Most High. 5 Look here! I’m emotionally exhausted and barely alive. I don’t have even a little strength left in me because of the great fear that has shaken me this night. 6 Now, therefore, I will pray to the Most High that he may strengthen me to the end. 7 I said, “Supreme Lord, if you do look upon me favorably, if you consider me to be among the more righteous, and if my prayer has indeed risen into your presence, 8 strengthen me, and show me, your servant, the interpretation and meaning of this terrible vision. Console my soul, 9 since you have thought me worthy to be shown the end of times and the last events of the times.”
10 He said to me, “This is the interpretation of the vision that you saw. 11 The eagle you saw rising from the sea is the fourth kingdom. It appeared in a vision to your brother Daniel, 12 but it wasn’t interpreted for him as I now interpret it for you or have shown it to you. 13 Look, the days are coming when a kingdom will rise on earth that will be more terrifying than all the kingdoms that came before it. 14 Twelve kings will rule in it, one after the other. 15 The second one to rule will have a longer time than the rest of the twelve. 16 This then is the interpretation of the twelve wings that you saw. 17 As for the fact that you heard a voice that spoke, coming not from its heads but from the middle of its body, 18 this is the interpretation: In the midst of this kingdom’s time, great conflicts will arise. It will be in danger of falling; it won’t fall then but will be restored again to its beginning.
19 “As for the fact that you saw eight little wings clinging to its wings, 20 this is the interpretation: Eight kings will arise in it. Their rules will amount to nothing, and their years will be swift. Two of them will perish 21 when the middle of the time draws near, but four will be reserved until the time approaches for its end. Two will be preserved until the very end.
22 “As for the fact that you saw three heads at rest, 23 this is the interpretation: In the last period the Most High will raise up three kings,[a] and he will renew many things in it, and they will rule the earth 24 and greatly oppress those who dwell on it, more than all the rest who were before them. Therefore, they are called the heads of the eagle, 25 because they will sum up its acts of impiety and complete its last deeds.
26 “As for your seeing the biggest head disappear, one of the kings will die on his bed, though in agonies. 27 As to the two who are left, the sword will destroy them. 28 The sword of one of them will destroy the one who is with him, but he too will fall by the sword in the last days.
29 “As for your seeing the two small wings passing over to the head on the right, this is the interpretation: 30 The Most High is keeping these for the eagle’s end. This rule will be weak and full of upheaval, 31 as you saw. The lion whom you saw rousing itself from the forest and roaring and speaking to the eagle and rebuking it for its deeds of injustice, as for all the words that you heard him speaking, 32 this is the anointed one. The Most High has kept him for the end of days. He will arise from the line of David, and he will come and speak[b] to them. He will denounce their wicked acts and indict them for their injustice. He will set before them their despicable deeds. 33 He will put them on trial while they are still alive, and after he has convicted them, he will destroy them. 34 Yet he will mercifully liberate the remaining few from my people who are saved throughout my territory. He will make them joyful until the end comes—the Judgment Day, of which I have spoken to you from the beginning.
35 “This is the dream that you saw, and this is its interpretation. 36 You alone were counted worthy to know this secret of the Most High. 37 Therefore, write all these things that you saw in a scroll and hide it away. 38 Teach these matters to the wise among your people, whose minds you know can grasp and keep these secrets. 39 But wait here yet another seven days so that you may be shown whatever it pleases the Most High to show you.” 40 Then he left me.
When the whole people heard that seven days had passed and I hadn’t returned to the city, they all gathered, from the smallest to the biggest. They came and said to me, 41 “How have we sinned against you? What wrong did we do to you that you abandon us and sit in this place? 42 You are the only one of all the prophets left to us, like a cluster of grapes from the vineyard, and like a lamp in a dark place, and like a harbor for a ship saved from a storm. 43 Or are the disasters that have befallen us not enough for us? 44 If you abandon us now, it would have been better for us to have been burned up along with Zion! 45 We are no better than those who died there.” They wept with a loud voice.
46 I answered them: “Have confidence, Israel! Don’t be sad, house of Jacob. 47 The Most High keeps you in memory. The mighty one hasn’t forgotten you in your struggle. 48 I haven’t abandoned you, nor have I gone away from you. I came to this place to pray because of Zion’s desolation, in order to seek mercy for the humiliation of your sanctuary. 49 Now go home, each of you, and I will come to you in a few days.” 50 So the people went into the city as I told them, 51 but I sat in the field for seven days as he had commanded me,[c] and I ate only the flowers that grew in the field, and plants were my food in those days.