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2 Esdras 15Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Vengeance on the Wicked

15 [a] The Lord says, “Behold, speak in the ears of my people the words of the prophecy which I will put in your mouth, and cause them to be written on paper; for they are trustworthy and true. Do not fear the plots against you, and do not be troubled by the unbelief of those who oppose you. For every unbeliever shall die in his unbelief.”

“Behold,” says the Lord, “I bring evils upon the world, the sword and famine and death and destruction. For iniquity has spread throughout every land, and their harmful deeds have reached their limit. Therefore,” says the Lord, “I will be silent no longer concerning their ungodly deeds which they impiously commit, neither will I tolerate their wicked practices. Behold, innocent and righteous blood cries out to me, and the souls of the righteous cry out continually. I will surely avenge them,” says the Lord, “and will receive to myself all the innocent blood from among them. 10 Behold, my people is led like a flock to the slaughter; I will not allow them to live any longer in the land of Egypt, 11 but I will bring them out with a mighty hand and with an uplifted arm, and will smite Egypt with plagues, as before, and will destroy all its land.”

12 Let Egypt mourn, and its foundations, for the plague of chastisement and punishment that the Lord will bring upon it. 13 Let the farmers that till the ground mourn, because their seed shall fail and their trees shall be ruined by blight and hail and by a terrible tempest. 14 Alas for the world and for those who live in it! 15 For the sword and misery draw near them, and nation shall rise up to fight against nation, with swords in their hands. 16 For there shall be unrest among men; growing strong against one another, they shall in their might have no respect for their king or the chief of their leaders. 17 For a man will desire to go into a city, and shall not be able. 18 For because of their pride the cities shall be in confusion, the houses shall be destroyed, and people shall be afraid. 19 A man shall have no pity upon his neighbors, but shall make an assault upon their houses with the sword, and plunder their goods, because of hunger for bread and because of great tribulation.

20 “Behold,” says God, “I call together all the kings of the earth to fear me, from the rising sun and from the south, from the east and from Leb′anon; to turn and repay what they have given them. 21 Just as they have done to my elect until this day, so I will do, and will repay into their bosom.” Thus says the Lord God: 22 “My right hand will not spare the sinners, and my sword will not cease from those who shed innocent blood on earth.” 23 And a fire will go forth from his wrath, and will consume the foundations of the earth, and the sinners, like straw that is kindled. 24 “Woe to those who sin and do not observe my commandments,” says the Lord; 25 “I will not spare them. Depart, you faithless children! Do not pollute my sanctuary.” 26 For the Lord knows all who transgress against him; therefore he will hand them over to death and slaughter. 27 For now calamities have come upon the whole earth, and you shall remain in them; for God will not deliver you, because you have sinned against him.

A Terrifying Vision of Warfare

28 Behold, a terrifying sight, appearing from the east! 29 The nations of the dragons of Arabia shall come out with many chariots, and from the day that they set out, their hissing shall spread over the earth, so that all who hear them fear and tremble. 30 Also the Carmonians, raging in wrath, shall go forth like wild boars of the forest, and with great power they shall come, and engage them in battle, and shall devastate a portion of the land of the Assyrians with their teeth. 31 And then the dragons, remembering their origin, shall become still stronger; and if they combine in great power and turn to pursue them, 32 then these shall be disorganized and silenced by their power, and shall turn and flee. 33 And from the land of the Assyrians an enemy in ambush shall beset them and destroy one of them, and fear and trembling shall come upon their army, and indecision upon their kings.

Judgment on Babylon

34 Behold, clouds from the east, and from the north to the south; and their appearance is very threatening, full of wrath and storm. 35 They shall dash against one another and shall pour out a heavy tempest upon the earth, and their own tempest; and there shall be blood from the sword as high as a horse’s belly 36 and a man’s thigh and a camel’s hock. 37 And there shall be fear and great trembling upon the earth; and those who see that wrath shall be horror-stricken, and they shall be seized with trembling. 38 And, after that, heavy storm clouds shall be stirred up from the south, and from the north, and another part from the west. 39 And the winds from the east shall prevail over the cloud that was[b] raised in wrath, and shall dispel it; and the tempest that was to cause destruction by the east wind shall be driven violently toward the south and west. 40 And great and mighty clouds, full of wrath and tempest, shall rise, to destroy all the earth and its inhabitants, and shall pour out upon every high and lofty place[c] a terrible tempest, 41 fire and hail and flying swords and floods of water, that all the fields and all the streams may be filled with the abundance of those waters. 42 And they shall destroy cities and walls, mountains and hills, trees of the forests, and grass of the meadows, and their grain. 43 And they shall go on steadily to Babylon, and shall destroy her. 44 They shall come to her and surround her; they shall pour out the tempest and all its wrath upon her; then the dust and smoke shall go up to heaven, and all who are about her shall wail over her. 45 And those who survive shall serve those who have destroyed her.

Judgment on Asia

46 And you, Asia, who share in the glamour of Babylon and the glory of her person— 47 woe to you, miserable wretch! For you have made yourself like her; you have decked out your daughters in harlotry to please and glory in your lovers, who have always lusted after you. 48 You have imitated that hateful harlot in all her deeds and devices; therefore God says, 49 “I will send evils upon you, widowhood, poverty, famine, sword, and pestilence, to lay waste your houses and bring you to destruction and death. 50 And the glory of your power shall wither like a flower, when the heat rises that is sent upon you. 51 You shall be weakened like a wretched woman who is beaten and wounded, so that you cannot receive your mighty lovers. 52 Would I have dealt with you so violently,” says the Lord, 53 “If you had not always killed my chosen people, exulting and clapping your hands and talking about their death when you were drunk? 54 Trick out the beauty of your face! 55 The reward of a harlot is in your bosom, therefore you shall receive your recompense. 56 As you will do to my chosen people,” says the Lord, “so God will do to you, and will hand you over to adversities. 57 Your children shall die of hunger, and you shall fall by the sword, and your cities shall be wiped out, and all your people who are in the open country shall fall by the sword. 58 And those who are in the mountains and highlands[d] shall perish of hunger, and they shall eat their own flesh in hunger for bread and drink their own blood in thirst for water. 59 Unhappy above all others, you shall come and suffer fresh afflictions. 60 And as they pass they shall wreck the hateful[e] city, and shall destroy a part of your land and abolish a portion of your glory, as they return from devastated Babylon. 61 And you shall be broken down by them like stubble, and they shall be like fire to you. 62 And they shall devour you and your cities, your land and your mountains; they shall burn with fire all your forests and your fruitful trees. 63 They shall carry your children away captive, and shall plunder your wealth, and abolish the glory of your countenance.”


  1. 2 Esdras 15:1 Chapters 15 and 16 (except 15:57–59 which has been found in Greek) are extant only in Latin
  2. 2 Esdras 15:39 Literally that he
  3. 2 Esdras 15:40 Or eminent person
  4. 2 Esdras 15:58 Gk: Latin omits and highlands
  5. 2 Esdras 15:60 Another reading is idle or unprofitable
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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