2 Esdras 2Common English Bible (CEB)
2 The Lord says this: I led forth a people to whom I gave commandments. But they were unwilling to listen, and they ignored my advice 2 The mother who bore them says to them: “Go, children, because I am widowed and abandoned. 3 I brought you up with joy, but I will send you away with mourning and sadness, because you have sinned in the presence of the Lord God and have done bad things in his sight. 4 But now what will I do for you? I am a widow and abandoned by my children. Go, children, and seek mercy from the Lord, 5 for I am left all alone.”
I call upon you, Father, concerning the mother of those who were unwilling to keep your covenant: 6 Throw them into confusion and their mother into ruin. May they leave no descendants, 7 but be scattered among the nations! May their names be wiped out from the earth because they despised my covenant!
8 How terrible it will be for you, Assyria—you who are hiding the wicked in your midst! Evil city, remember what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah, 9 whose land was dragged down all the way to hell. I will do the same to those who haven’t obeyed me, says the almighty Lord.
The church as God’s people
10 The Lord said this to Ezra: Announce to my people that I have prepared a feast for them, and I will give them the kingdom of Jerusalem, which I was about to give to Israel. 11 I will take Israel’s glory for them and give to them the eternal dwelling places I had prepared for Israel. 12 The tree of life will provide them with fragrant ointment, and they won’t labor or grow tired.
13 Ask and you will receive; ask for yourselves just a few days so that your days may be shortened. Already my kingdom is prepared to come, so be watchful in spirit. 14 I call heaven and earth as witnesses: I have dismissed evil and created good, because I live, says the Lord.
15 Good mother, embrace your children. Give them joy, like a dove that brings up its children. Make their feet steady, for I have chosen you, says the Lord. 16 I will raise the dead from their places and from their tombs, for I have recognized that my name is in them.
17 Don’t fear, mother of the children: I have chosen you, says the Lord. 18 I will send my servants Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Daniel to help you. It was on their advice that I have made you holy. I will prepare twelve trees with various kinds of fruit for you, 19 and seven springs full of milk and honey, and huge mountains bearing roses and lilies, which I have prepared for you and your children. I will fill your children with joy.
20 Defend the widow’s rights. Judge in favor of the fatherless. Provide for those who are in need. Protect the orphan. Clothe the naked. 21 Care for the broken and the weak. Don’t mock the lame, but protect them instead. Help the blind to see a vision of my glory. 22 Gather the old and the young within your walls. Watch over your infants. Let your servants and employees rejoice, and your whole community will have good morale.
23 When I find your dead, I will raise them. I will watch for signs, and I will give them the front seat at the resurrection I will bring about.[a] 24 Wait a little; your rest will come.
25 Good nurse, nourish your children. Strengthen those whom you bore and make their feet steady, 26 because none of those whom I have given you will perish. I will require them from your number. 27 Give it your all![b] Strengthen them! Days of pressure and anguish will come; others will weep and be sad, but you will be happy and have plenty. 28 All the nations will be jealous of you, but they won’t be able to do anything against you, says the Lord. 29 All things tremble before me; my eyes see the pit of hell.[c]
30 Rejoice, mother, with your children, and I will rescue you, says the Lord. 31 I will remember your children who sleep, because I will seek them out from the breadth of the earth. Strengthen them in the abundance of your glory and show mercy, because I am merciful, says the Lord. 32 Embrace those born from you until I come, and show mercy to the others, because my springs will overflow and my favor won’t fail.
33 I, Ezra, received a command from the Lord on Mount Horeb for Israel, but they rejected this commandment. 34 I say to you who hear and understand: Wait for your shepherd. I will give you your eternal rest, because the end of the age and the decline of humankind are near. 35 Be prepared for the kingdom’s rewards, for everlasting light will shine on you, and eternity is prepared for you. 36 Run away from this world’s shadow that holds your glory captive. I testify that my savior has been commissioned by the Lord.
37 Receive the joy that comes from your glory, all of you, giving thanks to him who has called you to heavenly kingdoms. 38 Rise, stand, and see the number of those sealed at the feast, 39 those who have transferred themselves from the shadow of this world and received bright garments from the Lord.
40 Welcome your full number, Mount Zion. Receive the full tally of your white-robed people who serve you in obedience, because they have fulfilled the Lord’s Law. 41 Since you have long wished for your children to come, fill up their number. Ask the Lord’s sovereign power that your people may be honored as holy, since they were called from the beginning.
42 I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great crowd, which I couldn’t number. They were all praising the Lord together with songs. 43 In their midst was a tall young man, standing above all the rest. He placed crowns on each of their heads, and they were further honored.
I began to wonder, 44 and I asked an angel, “Who are these people?”
45 The angel answered me, “These are the ones who took off the mortal garment and put on the immortal and confessed the name of God. Now they are being crowned, and they are receiving palms.”
46 I said to the angel, “Who is that young man who gives them crowns and palms?”
47 The angel answered, “That is God’s Son, whom they confessed in the mortal world.”
I began to praise and celebrate the Lord. 48 The angel said to me, “Go announce to his people how many wonders the Lord God has shown you.”