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2 Esdras 14Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The Lord Commissions Ezra

14 On the third day, while I was sitting under an oak, behold, a voice came out of a bush opposite me and said, “Ezra, Ezra.” And I said, “Here I am, Lord,” and I rose to my feet. Then he said to me, “I revealed myself in a bush and spoke to Moses, when my people were in bondage in Egypt; and I sent him and led[a] my people out of Egypt; and I led him up on Mount Sinai, where I kept him with me many days; and I told him many wondrous things, and showed him the secrets of the times and declared to him[b] the end of the times. Then I commanded him, saying, ‘These words you shall publish openly, and these you shall keep secret.’ And now I say to you: Lay up in your heart the signs that I have shown you, the dreams that you have seen, and the interpretations that you have heard; for you shall be taken up from among men, and henceforth you shall live with my Son and with those who are like you, until the times are ended. 10 For the age has lost its youth, and the times begin to grow old. 11 For the age is divided into twelve parts, and nine[c] of its parts have already passed, 12 as well as half of the tenth part; so two of its parts remain, besides half of the tenth part.[d] 13 Now therefore, set your house in order, and reprove your people; comfort the lowly among them, and instruct those that are wise.[e] And now renounce the life that is corruptible, 14 and put away from you mortal thoughts; cast away from you the burdens of man, and divest yourself now of your weak nature, 15 and lay to one side the thoughts that are most grievous to you, and hasten to escape from these times. 16 For evils worse than those which you have now seen happen shall be done hereafter. 17 For the weaker the world becomes through old age, the more shall evils be multiplied among[f] its inhabitants. 18 For truth shall go farther away, and falsehood shall come near. For the eagle[g] which you saw in the vision is already hastening to come.”

Ezra’s Concern to Restore the Scriptures

19 Then I answered and said, “Let me speak in thy presence, Lord.[h] 20 For behold, I will go, as thou hast commanded me, and I will reprove the people who are now living; but who will warn those who will be born hereafter? For the world lies in darkness, and its inhabitants are without light. 21 For thy law has been burned, and so no one knows the things which have been done or will be done by thee. 22 If then I have found favor before thee, send the Holy Spirit into me, and I will write everything that has happened in the world from the beginning, the things which were written in thy law, that men may be able to find the path, and that those who wish to live in the last days may live.”

23 He answered me and said, “Go and gather the people, and tell them not to seek you for forty days. 24 But prepare for yourself many writing tablets, and take with you Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Ethanus, and As′iel—these five, because they are trained to write rapidly; 25 and you shall come here, and I will light in your heart the lamp of understanding, which shall not be put out until what you are about to write is finished. 26 And when you have finished, some things you shall make public, and some you shall deliver in secret to the wise; tomorrow at this hour you shall begin to write.”

Ezra’s Last Words to the People

27 Then I went as he commanded me, and I gathered all the people together, and said, 28 “Hear these words, O Israel. 29 At first our fathers dwelt as aliens in Egypt, and they were delivered from there, 30 and received the law of life, which they did not keep, which you also have transgressed after them. 31 Then land was given to you for a possession in the land of Zion; but you and your fathers committed iniquity and did not keep the ways which the Most High commanded you. 32 And because he is a righteous judge, in due time he took from you what he had given. 33 And now you are here, and your brethren are farther in the interior.[i] 34 If you, then, will rule over your minds and discipline your hearts, you shall be kept alive, and after death you shall obtain mercy. 35 For after death the judgment will come, when we shall live again; and then the names of the righteous will become manifest, and the deeds of the ungodly will be disclosed. 36 But let no one come to me now, and let no one seek me for forty days.”

The Restoration of the Scriptures

37 So I took the five men, as he commanded me, and we proceeded to the field, and remained there. 38 And on the next day, behold, a voice called me, saying, “Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink.” 39 Then I opened my mouth, and behold, a full cup was offered to me; it was full of something like water, but its color was like fire. 40 And I took it and drank; and when I had drunk it, my heart poured forth understanding, and wisdom increased in my breast, for my spirit retained its memory; 41 and my mouth was opened, and was no longer closed. 42 And the Most High gave understanding to the five men, and by turns they wrote what was dictated, in characters which they did not know.[j] They sat forty days, and wrote during the daytime, and ate their bread at night. 43 As for me, I spoke in the daytime and was not silent at night. 44 So during the forty days ninety-four[k] books were written. 45 And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, “Make public the twenty-four[l] books that you wrote first and let the worthy and the unworthy read them; 46 but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people. 47 For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge.” 48 And I did so.[m]


  1. 2 Esdras 14:4 Other authorities read he led
  2. 2 Esdras 14:5 Syr Ethiop Arab Arm: Latin omits declared to him
  3. 2 Esdras 14:11 Cn: Lat Ethiop ten
  4. 2 Esdras 14:12 Syr omits verses 11, 12: Ethiop For the world is divided into ten parts, and has come to the tenth, and half of the tenth remains. Now . . .
  5. 2 Esdras 14:13 Latin omits and . . . wise
  6. 2 Esdras 14:17 Literally upon
  7. 2 Esdras 14:18 Syr Ethiop Arab Arm: Latin is corrupt
  8. 2 Esdras 14:19 Most Latin manuscripts omit Let me speak
  9. 2 Esdras 14:33 Syr Ethiop Arm: Lat are among you
  10. 2 Esdras 14:42 Syr Compare Ethiop Arab 2 Arm: Latin is corrupt
  11. 2 Esdras 14:44 Syr Ethiop Arab 1 Arm: Latin is corrupt
  12. 2 Esdras 14:45 Syr Arab 1: Latin omits twenty-four
  13. 2 Esdras 14:48 Syr adds in the seventh year of the sixth week, five thousand years and three months and twelve days after creation. At that time Ezra was caught up, and taken to the place of those who are like him, after he had written all these things. And he was called the Scribe of the knowledge of the Most High for ever and ever. Ethiop Arab 1 Arm have a similar ending
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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