2 Esdras 3-10 Common English Bible (CEB)
3 [a] In the thirtieth year after our city was destroyed, I, Salathiel, who am also Ezra, was in Babylon. I was disturbed as I lay on my bed, and my thoughts kept welling up inside me, 2 because I saw how Zion lay in ruins and how those who lived in Babylon enjoyed abundance. 3 I was deeply disturbed, and I began to speak reverently to the Most High: 4 “Supreme Lord, didn’t you speak in the beginning, when you fashioned the earth, and did this alone? Didn’t you command the earth,[b] 5 and it gave you[c] Adam, a lifeless body? But it was the work of your hands, and so you breathed into him the breath of life, and he came to life in your presence. 6 You led him into paradise, which your strong hand had planted before earth came to be. 7 You gave him one command, and he disobeyed it, and so you immediately appointed death for him and for his descendants. Nations, tribes, peoples, and families without number were born from him. 8 Each nation lived by its own will, and people acted without giving you a thought. They acted with scorn, and you didn’t prevent them. 9 But again, in time you brought the flood over the world and upon those who live in it[d] and destroyed them. 10 Their fate was all the same: as death came upon Adam so the flood came upon them. 11 But you left one of them, Noah, with his household, and all the righteous descended from him.
12 “When those who lived on earth began to multiply (and multiply they did—children, peoples, and many nations), they began again to act wickedly, even more so than the previous ones. 13 When they committed iniquity before you, you chose one from among them whose name was Abraham. 14 You loved him and showed him alone the end of times, secretly by night. 15 You made an eternal covenant with him, and you told him that you would never abandon his family line. You gave him Isaac, and you gave Jacob and Esau to Isaac. 16 You set Jacob apart for yourself, but you set Esau aside, and Jacob became a great multitude. 17 When you brought his descendants out of Egypt, you led them to Mount Sinai. 18 You bent down the heavens; you shook[e] the earth; you moved the world; you made the abyss tremble; you made the whole cosmos shudder. 19 Your glory passed through the four gates of fire, earthquake, wind, and ice so that you would give the Law to Jacob’s descendants, the rules to be observed to Israel’s offspring.
20 “But you didn’t take away from them the inclination to do evil[f] so that your Law might bear fruit in them. 21 The first Adam, burdened with this inclination, disobeyed you and was overcome, but so were all those descended from him. 22 The disease became permanent; the Law was in the people’s heart along with the wicked root, and that which was good departed and the wickedness remained. 23 Times passed and years were completed, and you raised up for yourself a servant named David. 24 You told him to build a city to your name and to bring you offerings in it from what is yours. 25 This was done for many years. But those who inhabited the city sinned, 26 doing in every matter just as Adam and all his descendants had done, for they too exercised their inclination to do evil. 27 So you handed your city over to your enemies.
28 “I said then in my heart, Are the lives of Babylon’s inhabitants any better? Is that why Babylon has gained dominion[g] over Zion? 29 But when I came here, I saw their countless godless acts. I have seen many sinners during these thirty years.[h] Then my heart failed, 30 because I saw how you sustain these sinners and have spared those who act without giving you a thought. I saw how you destroyed your people and preserved your enemies, 31 and haven’t given anyone any clue as to how to make sense of these ways.[i] Does Babylon do better than Zion? 32 Has any other nation known you besides Israel? What tribes have believed your covenants as have these tribes of Jacob, 33 whose reward hasn’t appeared and whose labor hasn’t borne fruit? I have traveled widely among the nations and seen them enjoying abundance while not giving your commandments a thought. 34 Now then put our sins on one side of a pair of scales, and put the sins of those who live in the world on the other side. Let’s see then which way the scales tip. 35 When have those who live on earth not sinned in your sight, or what other nation has observed your commandments as has ours? 36 You will find individuals who have kept your laws, but nations you will not find.”
4 Then the angel who had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel, replied: 2 “Your mind[j] has utterly failed with regard to this world, and do you think you can understand the way of the Most High?”
3 I said, “Yes, my Lord.”
He answered: “I am sent to show you three ways and to set three problems before you. 4 If you can say anything to me about one of these, I will show you the way you want to see, and I will teach you why the heart leans toward evil.”
5 I said, “Speak, my Lord.”
He said to me, “Go, weigh for me the weight of fire, or measure for me a blast of wind, or call back for me the day that is past.”
6 I answered, “Who alive can do this? How can you ask me these things?”
7 Uriel said to me: “If I had asked you, ‘How many dwellings are in the depths of the sea, or how many springs are in the source of the abyss, or how many paths are there above the dome, or which are the exits of paradise,’[k] 8 you would perhaps have said to me: ‘I haven’t descended into the abyss nor as yet into hell, nor have I ever ascended to heaven.’ 9 But I’ve only asked you here about fire and wind and the day you have passed through, things you can’t exist without, and you haven’t answered me about them.”
10 He said to me: “You can’t even understand the things that are yours, which you have grown up with. 11 How then can your mind[l] contain the way of the Most High? How can a person who is already corrupted by the corrupt world understand the realm beyond corruption?”
I fell on my face 12 and said to him, “It would have been better not to have come into being than to come here, live in the middle of wickedness, suffer, and not understand why.”
13 He answered me: “I went forth to a forest of trees on the plain,[m] and they devised a plan 14 and said: ‘Come, let’s go and make war on the sea so that it may recede before us, and let’s make for ourselves more forests.’ 15 And likewise, the waves of the sea also formed a plan and said, ‘Come, let’s go up and subdue the forest on the plain so that there too we may complete another region for ourselves.’ 16 But the plan of the forest came to naught, for fire came and consumed it. 17 Likewise also the plan of the waves of the sea, for the sand stood firm and prevented it. 18 If then you were judge of these, which would you begin to justify and which to condemn?”
19 I answered, “Each made a stupid plan, for land is given to the forest, and the sea is the appointed place for its waves.”
20 Uriel answered me: “You have judged well. So why haven’t you judged well in your own case? 21 As the land is given to the forest and the sea to the waves, so also only those who live on earth can understand the things that are on earth, and only those who live above the heavens can understand the things that are above the height of the heavens.”
22 I answered, “I beg you, Lord, why has the sense of understanding been given to me? 23 It wasn’t my purpose to ask about the ways above but about the things that we see every day. Why has Israel been handed over to the Gentiles to our shame? Why has the people you loved been given over to godless tribes? Why has the Law of our ancestors been invalidated and the written ordinances come to nothing? 24 Why do we pass from the world like locusts and our life like a mist? Why aren’t we worthy to obtain mercy? 25 What will God do for the sake of his name, which is bestowed on us? About these things I have asked.”
26 He answered me: “If you remain alive, you’ll see. If you live, you will often be amazed, because the world is indeed rushing to its end. 27 Indeed, it can’t bring the things that are promised to the just during this age, because this world is full of sadness and sickliness. 28 The evil about which you asked me has been sown, and its full harvest hasn’t yet come. 29 If that which was sown isn’t reaped, and the place where evil has been sown hasn’t departed, the field where good is sown won’t come. 30 A grain of evil seed was sown in the heart of Adam from the beginning, and how much godlessness it has produced until now and will produce until the time for threshing comes! 31 Calculate for yourself how much godless fruit the grain of evil seed will have produced! 32 When the innumerable ears of grain are sown, how great a threshing floor will they begin to make!”
33 I answered: “Where and when will these things be? Why are our years few and evil?”
34 He answered: “Don’t be in a greater hurry than the Most High. You hurry only for yourself, but the Most High on behalf of many. 35 Didn’t the souls of the just in their resting places ask about these things, saying, ‘How long are we to remain here,[n] and when will the harvest of our reward come?’ 36 Then Jeremiel the angel answered them, ‘When the number of those like you[o] is complete, for God has weighed the world in a balance 37 and measured the times by measure and numbered the times by number, and he won’t move or arouse himself until the prescribed measure is fulfilled.’”
38 I answered: “Supreme Lord, we all are also full of impiety. 39 Is it perhaps because of us, and because of the sins of those who live on earth, that the harvest of the just is delayed?”
40 He answered me, “Go ask a pregnant woman whether her womb can keep the baby inside her when she has completed her nine months.”
41 I said, “It can’t, Lord.”
He said to me: “The underworld[p] and the resting places of the souls are like the womb. 42 As the one who gives birth hastens to escape the distress of giving birth, so these also hasten to give back those things that were entrusted to them from the beginning. 43 Then you will be shown the things you want to see.”
44 I answered, “If I have found favor with you, if it is possible, if I am worthy, 45 show me this also, whether there is more time yet to come than has past or whether the greater times have passed over us, 46 for I know what has passed, but I don’t know what is to come.”
47 He answered me: “Stand off to the right, and I will show you the interpretation of a parable.”
48 I stood aside and looked, and right there a burning furnace passed before me, and when the flame had passed, I looked and the smoke remained. 49 And after this a cloud full of water passed before me, and it poured down much rain with force, and when the rainstorm had passed there remained drops in the cloud.[q]
50 He said to me, “Consider for yourself: as the rain is greater than the drops and the fire is greater than the smoke, so the measure that has passed is greater, but drops and smoke remain.”
51 I prayed and said, “Do you think I will live until those days? Who will be alive in those days?”
52 He answered me: “I can tell you in part concerning the signs you ask about, but about your own life I’m not sent to tell you. I don’t know.
5 “But about the signs: Look, the days will come when those who live on earth will be seized with great terror.[r] The way of truth will be hidden, and the land will be barren and devoid of faith. 2 Injustice will be multiplied beyond what you yourself see and beyond what you have heard of formerly. 3 The land that you now see holding sway will have no one left to walk upon it, and people[s] will see it desolate. 4 But if the Most High grants that you live, you will see it thrown into confusion after the third period of time.[t] The sun will suddenly start shining by night and the moon by day. 5 Blood will drip from wood, and stones will speak out. Peoples will be troubled, and natural courses will be changed. 6 A person no one on earth expected will come to power, and birds will migrate together. 7 The sea of Sodom will cast up fish; it will utter sounds in a voice that many don’t know, but all will hear its voice. 8 Chasms will open up in many places, and fire will be shot forth frequently. Wild beasts will roam beyond their territory, and women will give birth to monsters. 9 Salt waters will be found in sources of freshwater. Friends everywhere will begin to fight each other. Reason will be hidden, and intelligence will go into hiding. 10 Many will look for it, but they won’t find it, and injustice and lust will be multiplied on earth. 11 One country will ask its neighbor, ‘Has justice passed through you, doing what is right?’ and the answer will be no. 12 At that time people will hope but not get what they hoped for; they will labor, but they will make no progress. 13 I am permitted to tell you these signs, and if you pray again and continue to weep as you are now doing and fast for seven days, you will again hear greater things than these.”
14 I awoke, my body shuddered greatly, and my spirit labored so that it fainted. 15 The angel who came and talked to me held me, comforted me, and set me on my feet.
16 On the second night, Phaltiel a leader of the people came to me and said, “Where were you, and why is your face sad? 17 Don’t you realize that Israel has been entrusted to you while it is in exile in this land? 18 Arise then, and take some food so that you may not abandon us like a shepherd who leaves his flock in the power of cruel wolves.”
19 I said to him, “Leave me and don’t come near me again for seven days. After that, you will come to me.” He heard how I spoke and withdrew from me.
20 I didn’t eat food for seven days, wailing and weeping, as the angel Uriel had commanded me. 21 After seven days, my deepest thoughts were again very troubling to me. 22 Then I recovered my wits and I began again to speak words before the Most High:
23 Supreme Lord, you chose one vine from every forest on earth and from all its trees, 24 and from all this world’s lands you chose for yourself one region,[u] and from all the world’s flowers you chose for yourself one lily, 25 and from all the ocean’s depths you filled for yourself one river, and from all cities that have been built you dedicated for yourself Zion, 26 and from all the created birds you named for yourself one dove, and from all the flocks that have been made you provided for yourself one sheep, 27 from all the peoples that have multiplied you acquired for yourself one people, and to this people that you desired you gave the Law celebrated by all. 28 Now, Lord, why did you give the one to the many? Why dishonor[v] the one root above all the rest, and scatter your only one among the many? 29 Those who have denied your promises have trampled those who believed in your covenants! 30 If you really hate your people, they should be punished with your own hands.
31 When I had said these words, the angel who had come to me on the previous night was sent to me. 32 He said to me: “Listen to me, and I will instruct you; pay attention to me, and I will tell you more.”
33 I said, “Speak, my Lord.”
He said to me, “Are you really more deeply disturbed over Israel, or do you love him more than the one who made him does?”
34 I said: “No, Lord, but I spoke in grief. My heart torments me every hour while I try to make sense of the Most High’s ways and investigate his decisions.”
35 He said to me, “You can’t.”
And I said: “Why, Lord? Or else why was I born, and why did my mother’s womb not become my tomb so that I might not see the toil of Jacob and the exhaustion of the line of Israel?”
36 He said to me: “Count for me those who haven’t yet been born, gather for me the scattered raindrops, make the withered flowers bloom again for me, 37 open for me the closed warehouses and bring forth for me the winds shut up in them, or show me what a voice looks like. Then I will show you what you ask to see.”
38 I said: “Supreme Lord, who can know these things except one who doesn’t live among human beings? 39 But I’m ignorant. How can I speak of these things that you asked me about?”
40 He said to me: “As you can’t do one of these things that were mentioned, so you can’t comprehend my judgment or the goal[w] of the love I have promised to my people.”
41 I said: “Look, Lord, you’ve made promises concerning these who are alive at the end, but what will those who are before us do, or we, or those who come after us?”
42 He said to me, “I will compare my judgment to a crown.[x] Just as there is no delay for those who come last, so there is no rushing for those who come before.”
43 I replied, “Couldn’t you have created all at once those who have been and those who are and those who will be so that you might show your judgment more quickly?”
44 He replied to me, “The creation can’t run ahead of its creator, nor can the world sustain all at one time those who are created in it.”
45 I said: “How then could you say to your servant that you will certainly give life to the creation created by you at one time? If, therefore, they will live at one time[y] and the creation will sustain them then, couldn’t it sustain them at one time now?”
46 He said to me: “Ask a woman’s womb: If you bear ten children,[z] why do you only do it over time? Ask it then to produce ten at once.”
47 I said, “Surely it can’t, but only over time.”
48 He said to me: “I also have given the earth’s womb for those who have been sown on it over time. 49 As an infant doesn’t give birth and a woman who has become old doesn’t give birth any longer, so I have set in order the world I created.”
50 I asked: “Since you have given me opportunity, let me speak before you. Is our mother, of whom you spoke to me, still young? Or is she already approaching old age?”
51 He responded to me: “Ask one who gives birth, and she will tell you. Say to her, 52 ‘Why are those you have borne now not like those whom you bore before, but are smaller in stature?’ 53 She herself will tell you, ‘Those who are born in youth’s vigor are different from those who are born in the time of old age, when the womb is failing.’ 54 Therefore, consider that you yourself are smaller in stature than those who were before you, 55 and those who come after you will be even smaller than you, as born of a creation that is already aging and past the strength of youth.”
56 I said: “I ask, Lord, if you look favorably on me, show your servant through whom you will visit your creation.”
6 He said to me: “In the beginning of the earthly world—[aa]
before the world’s exits were made,
6 then I planned these things. As they were done by me and not by another, so also the end will come by me and not through another.”
7 I answered, “What separates the times? When is the end of the first and the beginning of that which follows?”
8 He said to me: “From Abraham to Abraham, because Jacob and Esau were born from him, but Jacob’s hand held Esau’s heel from the outset. 9 Esau represents the end of this age, and Jacob represents the beginning of the following. 10 The beginning of the one man is his hand, and the end of the other man is his heel.[ab] Don’t look for anything else between heel and hand, Ezra.”
11 I answered: “Supreme Lord, if only you looked so favorably upon me 12 that you would show your servant your final signs,[ac] which you showed me in part on a previous night.”
13 He answered: “Get up on your feet. You’ll hear a loud, echoing voice. 14 Don’t be afraid if the place on which you stand is greatly moved 15 while the voice is speaking. Since the word concerns the end, and since the foundations of the earth will understand 16 that the speech is about them, the place will tremble and shake, because it knows that it is destined to be transformed.”
17 When I heard, I rose on my feet and listened. There was a voice speaking, and its sound was like the sound of deep waters. 18 It said: “Look! The days are coming when I will begin to come near to visit those who live on earth, 19 when I will begin to examine those who unjustly inflicted harm in their cruelty. When the humiliation of Zion is complete, 20 when the seal is placed on the age that begins to pass away, I will perform these signs: Scrolls will be opened in view of the firmament, and all will see together. 21 Infants a year old will speak with their voices, and pregnant women will give birth to premature babies of three and four months, but they will live and dance. 22 Fields that were not sown will suddenly appear sown,[ad] and full warehouses will suddenly be found empty. 23 A trumpet will sound with a blast; when all hear it they will suddenly be terrified. 24 In that time friends will make war on friends like enemies, the earth along with those who live on it will be terrified, and the sources of rivers will stand still so that they don’t run for three hours. 25 Then everyone who is left after all these things that I have foretold to you will be saved. These will see my deliverance and the end of my age. 26 They will see[ae] the people who have been taken up and who haven’t tasted death from their birth. The hearts of those who live on earth[af] will be changed and converted to a different spirit, 27 for evil will be erased and grief extinguished. 28 Faith will flourish, and corruption will be overcome. Truth that was without fruit for so long will be displayed.”
29 While he was still speaking with me, the place on which I stood was shaken,[ag] little by little. 30 He said to me: “I came to show you these things this night.[ah] 31 If you ask further and fast again for seven days, I will again declare daily[ai] to you greater things than these, 32 because the Most High has listened to your voice. The mighty one has seen your virtue and perceived the humility you have had from your youth. 33 Because of this he sent me to show you all these things and to say to you: Trust confidently, and don’t be afraid. 34 Don’t be hasty to think empty thoughts about the former times, lest you be hasty about the last times.”
35 After all this I wept again and abstained from food for another seven days, to complete the three weeks that had been prescribed for me. 36 Then on the eighth night my heart was disturbed within me again, and I began to speak before the Most High. 37 My spirit was greatly agitated, and my soul was troubled.
38 Then I said: “Lord, you spoke from the beginning of creation on the first day, ‘Let heaven and earth be made,’ and your word accomplished the deed. 39 Then the spirit was hovering, darkness was spread around, and there was silence. There was as yet no sound of a human voice.[aj] 40 Then you commanded that a ray of light be brought forth from your treasuries so that your works might be seen.
41 “Then on the second day you created the spirit of the firmament and commanded that it divide and make a division between the waters so that a certain part might recede upward and another part remain below.
42 “On the third day you commanded the waters to be gathered together in a seventh part of the earth, but you made six parts dry and preserved them so that some of these might be sown and cultivated, to be of service before you. 43 Your word went forth, and the work was immediately accomplished. 44 Suddenly, fruit blossomed in great abundance in an infinite variety of flavors, and flowers with matchless color and scents of unspeakable fragrance. These things were done on the third day.
45 “On the fourth day you commanded the sun’s splendor to be made, the moon’s light, and the arrangement of the stars. 46 You commanded them to serve the human being who was about to be formed.
47 “On the fifth day you commanded the seventh part where the water was gathered to produce animals, birds, and fish. 48 The silent and lifeless water, as it was commanded, brought forth animals so that peoples might recount your wonders. 49 You kept two living creatures[ak] in reserve; one you named Behemoth, and the second you named Leviathan. 50 You separated them from each other, for the seventh part where the water was gathered couldn’t contain them. 51 You gave Behemoth one part of the land that had been dried on the third day, where there are a thousand mountains so that he might live there. 52 To Leviathan, however, you gave the watery seventh part. You kept them to be eaten by whomever you wish, and whenever you wish.
53 “On the sixth day you commanded the earth that it create before you cattle, beasts, and reptiles, 54 and over these you set Adam, the leader over all the things you had made. From him we all, the people you have chosen, have been brought forth.
55 “I have said all these things before you, Lord, because you have said that you created the oldest age[al] for our sake. 56 You have said that the other nations born of Adam are nothing, that they are like spit, and you have compared their abundance to a drop from a pitcher. 57 But look now, Lord! These nations that are valued as nothing rule over us and devour us, 58 while we, your people, whom you have called your oldest offspring, your one and only child, those who are zealous for you, your dearest ones, are handed over to them. 59 If the world was created for our sake, why don’t we possess our world as an inheritance? How long will this situation last?”
7 When I finished speaking these words, the angel who had been sent to me on the previous nights was sent to me again. 2 He said to me, “Rise, Ezra, and hear the words I have come to speak to you.”
3 I said, “Speak, my Lord.”
He said to me: “A certain sea is set in a spacious place so that it can be deep and vast, 4 but its entrance is set in a narrow place, like a river. 5 If anyone wants to go to the sea to see it or to rule over it, how can he come into the broad place unless he passes through the narrow? 6 Another instance: A city is built and positioned on a broad plain, full of all good things. 7 Its entrance, however, is narrow and located on a precipice so that there is fire on the right and deep water on the left. 8 There is a single path located between them, between the fire and the water, and the path has only room for human footprints. 9 If that city is given to someone as an inheritance, if the heir doesn’t pass through the danger, how will the heir receive the inheritance?”
10 I said, “Indeed, Lord.”
He said to me: “So also is Israel’s portion. I indeed made the world on account of them. 11 When Adam transgressed my ordinances, what had been made was judged, 12 and the entrances of this world were made narrow, sorrowful, and troublesome. They are few and bad, full of dangers and involving people in great hardships. 13 The entrances of the greater world, however, are spacious and secure, and they generate the fruit of immortality. 14 If those who live don’t enter these narrow and empty places, they can’t receive the things that are in store. 15 Therefore, why are you disturbed, being corruptible, and why are you upset, being mortal? 16 Why haven’t you focused your mind on what is still to come, rather than on what is present?”
17 I answered: “Supreme Lord, you ordained in your Law that the just will inherit these things, but the impious will perish. 18 The just then can tolerate the narrow, hoping for the spacious, but those who have acted impiously endure the narrow and won’t see the spacious.”
19 He said to me: “You aren’t a higher judge than God, nor more intelligent than the Most High. 20 Better that many of those now alive should perish than that the Law of God, which is laid out before them, be disregarded. 21 God commanded those who come into the world, after they came, what they needed to do to live, and what laws they should observe to avoid punishment. 22 But they weren’t persuaded and opposed him. They filled their heads with worthless thoughts, 23 and they invented excuses for their sins. They emphatically denied that the Most High exists, and they didn’t learn his ways. 24 They despised his Law and rejected his covenants. They weren’t faithful to his statutes, and didn’t perform the works he prescribed. 25 Therefore, Ezra, empty things are for the empty and full things for the full.
26 “Look! The time is coming when the signs appear that I told you about in advance, and the city will appear, appearing as a bride, and the land that is now hidden will be openly displayed. 27 Everyone who is rescued from the evils foretold will see my wonders. 28 My Son the anointed one[am] will be revealed along with those who are with him, and those who remain will rejoice for four hundred years.
29 “After these years, my Son the anointed one and all who have human breath will die. 30 The world will be turned back to primeval silence for seven days, as in the earliest beginnings so that no one is left alive. 31 After seven days, the world that isn’t yet awake will be roused, and the corrupt world will die. 32 The earth will give back those who sleep, and the dust will give back in silence those who dwell in it, and the resting places will give back the souls that have been entrusted to them. 33 The Most High will be revealed on the throne of judgment, and mercy will pass away. Patience will be withdrawn, 34 and only judgment will remain. Truth will arise, faith will recover strength, 35 and works will have their consequences. Reward will come about, righteous deeds will awake, and unrighteous deeds won’t sleep.
36 “The lake[an] of torment will appear, and across from it will be the place of rest. Hell’s[ao] furnace will be displayed and across from it the delightful paradise. 37 Then the Most High will speak to the nations that have been raised: ‘Look and understand whom it is you have denied, whom you haven’t served, and whose ordinances you have despised. 38 Look to one side and the other: Here is delight and rest, and over there are fire and torments.’ He will say these things to them on the Judgment Day, 39 a day that has no sun or moon or stars, 40 no cloud or thunder or lightning, no wind or water or air, no darkness or evening or morning, 41 no summer or spring or heat, no winter or frost or cold, no hail or rain or dew, 42 no noon or night or early dawn, no shining or brightness or light, but only the splendor of the light of the Most High. All will then begin to see what things are in store for them. 43 It will take a period of about a week of years. 44 This is my judgment and the arrangements made for it. I have shown this to you alone.”
45 I replied: “I said before, Lord, and I say now: Privileged are those now living who observe what you have commanded. 46 But what of those who were the subject of my prayer? Who is there of all the living who hasn’t sinned, or who among those who have been born hasn’t transgressed your covenant? 47 Now I see that the world to come will bring delight to few but torment to many. 48 The inclination to do evil[ap] grew in us. It alienated us and led us into corruption and the paths that lead to death. It showed us the way to damnation and removed us far from life—and this happened not to a few people but to nearly all who were created.”
49 He replied to me: “Listen to me, and I will instruct you and will advise you yet again. 50 Because of this the Most High made not one world but two. 51 Regarding what you said about the just being not many but few and the wicked being numerous, think about this: 52 If you have very few choice stones, will you add lead and clay to their number?”[aq]
53 I said, “Lord, who would do such a thing?”
54 He said to me, “Not only this, but ask the earth and it will inform you; flatter it and it will tell you. 55 Say to it: You create gold, silver, bronze, iron, and also lead and clay. 56 But silver is more numerous than gold, and bronze than silver, and iron than bronze, lead than iron, and clay than lead. 57 Decide yourself then which things are precious and desirable, what is abundant or what is rare.”
58 I said, “Supreme Lord, that which is abundant is cheaper, because what is more rare is valuable.”
59 He replied to me: “Reflect on what you have thought. One who has what is scarce rejoices more than one who has what is abundant. 60 So also will be the judgment[ar] I have promised. I will rejoice over the few who will be saved, because they are the ones who made my honor to prevail now and through whom my reputation is celebrated. 61 I will have no regrets over the multitude who perish, for they are even now like vapor, the equivalent of flame or smoke; they burn and flare up and are quenched.”
62 I replied: “Earth, what have you brought to birth? If consciousness is made of dust like other creatures, 63 it would have been better that the dust itself had never been born, so that consciousness shouldn’t be made from it. 64 But now consciousness grows with us, and due to this we are tortured, because we perish and are aware of the fact. 65 Let the human race lament and let the wild beasts rejoice. Let all people who are born lament, but let four-footed animals and flocks be happy! 66 It is much better for them than for us. They don’t expect judgment. They don’t know about either the torments or the deliverance that you promise after death. 67 But what does it profit us that we will be preserved, only to be tortured with torments? 68 All who are born are mixed up with violations, full of sins, and weighed down with crimes. 69 If we were not to come into judgment after death, it would perhaps have been better for us.”
70 He replied to me: “When the Most High made the world and Adam and all who are descended from him, he first prepared the judgment and the things that pertain to the judgment. 71 Now understand on the basis of your own words—because you said, ‘Consciousness grows with us.’ 72 Those who sojourn on earth will be tormented precisely because, although they were aware, they committed violations. Although they received the commandments, they didn’t keep them. When they did follow the Law, they falsified its contents. 73 What will they have to say in the judgment? How will they respond in the last times? 74 How long a time the Most High has put up with those who inhabit the world! But this wasn’t for their sakes; rather for the sake of the schedule that he has established for the unfolding of the times.”
75 I replied: “If I have found favor with you, Lord, show this also to your servant: After death, as soon as each person gives up his or her soul, will we be kept asleep until the time comes for you to begin to renew creation, or will we be tormented right away?”
76 He replied to me: “I will show you this too. But don’t associate yourself with those who have shown contempt, and don’t count yourself among those who are tormented. 77 You have a treasure of works stored up with the Most High, but it won’t be shown to you until the last times.
78 “Now a word about death: When the final sentence goes forth from the Most High that a person should die, when the spirit recedes from the body so that it may be sent again to him who gave it, the first thing is to stand in awe before the glory of the Most High. 79 If the spirit belonged to one of those who showed contempt and didn’t keep the Most High’s way, if it was one of those who despised his Law and who hates those who fear God, 80 these spirits don’t go into their dwellings but will immediately wander about in torments. They will constantly grieve and be sorrowful for seven reasons:[as]
81 The first reason—because they despised the Law of the Most High.
82 The second reason—because they can’t now effectively change their hearts and lives so that they might live.
83 The third reason—because they will see the reward laid up for those who have believed the Most High’s testimonies.
84 The fourth reason—because they will consider the torment laid up for themselves in the last days.
85 The fifth reason—because they will see the dwelling places of others, guarded by angels in great silence.
86 The sixth reason—because they see the torment coming upon them from now on.[at]
87 The seventh reason, which is greater than all the previously mentioned reasons—because they will melt away in confusion and be consumed in disgrace.[au]
“They will wither in fear when they see the glory of the Most High, before whom they sinned when they were alive and before whom they are to be judged in the last times.
88 “The arrangement for those who kept God’s ways is this when they begin to be separated from the corruptible body.[av] 89 In the time of their exile here they labored hard to serve the Most High. Every hour they endured danger so that they might keep the Law of the lawgiver perfectly. 90 Therefore, this is the word about them: 91 First, they will see with great joy the glory of him who receives them. They will have rest on account of seven orders:
92 The first order—because they have struggled hard to overcome the evil thought fashioned within them so that it wouldn’t lead them astray from life to death.
93 The second order—because they see the panic in which the souls of the wicked wander and the punishment that awaits them.
94 The third order—seeing the testimony that their maker has testified on their behalf, because when they were alive, they kept the Law that was given through faith.
95 The fourth order—understanding the peaceful rest that they now enjoy, gathered in their resting chambers, guarded by angels in deep silence, and understanding the glory that awaits them in their last days.
96 The fifth order—rejoicing at how they have now escaped the corruptible and how they will have a future inheritance; moreover, seeing the narrow space, full of labor, from which they have been freed, and the spacious place they are about to receive and enjoy, now that they are immortal.
97 The sixth order—when they are shown how their face begins to shine like the sun and how they begin to be like the stars, as beings of incorruptible light.
98 The seventh order, which is greater than all those mentioned—because they will rejoice with confidence and will trust without being disappointed and will rejoice without fear; for they hasten to see the face of him whom they served when they were alive and from whom they are about to receive a reward now that they are glorified.
99 “This is the order of the souls of the just, as is announced immediately, and those previously mentioned are the ways of torment that those who paid no heed will suffer.”
100 I answered: “Will time, therefore, be given to souls after they are separated from the bodies to see what you told me?”
101 He said to me: “They will be free for seven days so that they may see in those seven days the things[aw] that have been foretold. After this, they will be gathered in their dwelling places.”
102 I answered: “If you look on me with favor, show your servant further whether on the Judgment Day the just will be able to seek mercy for the wicked or intercede for them with the Most High. 103 Will parents be allowed to intercede[ax] for children, children for parents, siblings for each other, relatives for those close to them, faithful ones for those most dear to them?”
104 He replied to me: “Because I do indeed favor you, I will also show you this. The Judgment Day is decisive.[ay] It reveals the seal of truth to all. Even in the here and now a parent doesn’t send a child, or a child the parent, or a master his servant, or a faithful friend a dear confidant, so that the one should understand or sleep or eat or be taken care of in the other person’s place. 105 Just so, no one will ever intercede for another; everyone will then bear his or her own deeds of justice or injustice.”
106 I answered: “How then do we find that Abraham first interceded for the people of Sodom; and Moses for our ancestors who sinned in the desert; 107 and Joshua, who came after him, for Israel, in the days of Achan; 108 and Samuel in the days of Saul;[az] and David for the plague;[ba] and Solomon for those in the sanctuary; 109 and Elijah for those who received the rain, and for a dead person that he might live; 110 and Hezekiah for the people in the days of Sennacherib, and many for many people? 111 If, therefore, the just prayed for the wicked when corruption had increased and injustice had multiplied, why won’t it be the same then?”
112 He answered me: “The present world isn’t the end. Glory does not[bb] continuously remain in it, and so those who were able prayed for the weak. 113 But the Judgment Day will be the end of this time and the beginning of the future, endless time in which decay is no more, 114 indulgence is undone, unbelief is cut off, but justice is fully grown, and truth arisen. 115 Therefore, no one will then be able to have mercy on someone who has been condemned in the judgment, nor to overwhelm one who has conquered.”
116 I answered: “This is my first and last word: It would have been better if the earth hadn’t brought forth Adam, or when it had brought him forth, that it had forced him not to sin. 117 What does it benefit everyone to live in sadness during the present time, and when dead to expect punishment? 118 Adam, what have you done?! If you sinned, the downfall wasn’t yours alone but also ours who are descended from you. 119 What benefit is it to us that we are promised an immortal time, but we have done works that bring death? 120 What good is it to us that everlasting hope has been predicted for us, but we have utterly failed? 121 What good is it that safe and healthy dwelling places are reserved, but we have behaved badly? 122 What good is it that the glory of the Most High will protect those who have conducted themselves decently, but we have conducted ourselves indecently? 123 What good is it that paradise will be revealed, whose fruit remains uncorrupted, in which there is plenty and healing, 124 but we won’t enter it, for we have visited unseemly places? 125 What good is it that the faces of those who practiced abstinence will shine brighter than stars when our faces are blacker than darkness? 126 While we were alive and doing evil, we didn’t think about what we would suffer after death.”
127 He answered: “These are the rules for the contest in which everyone born on earth takes part: 128 Those who are defeated will suffer what you said, but those who conquer will receive what I say. 129 This is the path that Moses declared when he was alive, speaking to the people, Choose life for yourself… so that you may live.[bc] 130 But they didn’t believe him or the prophets who came after him. They didn’t even believe me when I spoke to them. 131 There won’t be sadness over their destruction, as there will be joy over those for whom salvation is sure.”
132 I answered: “I know, Lord, that the Most High is now called merciful, since he has mercy on those who haven’t yet come into the world. He is called 133 gracious, since he has mercy on those who convert to his Law, 134 and patient, because he shows patience to those who have sinned, since they are his own creation. 135 I know that he is called generous, because he wants to give gifts rather than demand them, 136 and very merciful, because he multiplies mercies more and more to those now alive and those who went before and those who are to come in the future. 137 If, indeed, he hadn’t multiplied them, the world with those who live in it would not now exist. 138 He is called[bd] giver, because if he didn’t give out of his own goodness some relief from their sins to people who committed sins, not one ten-thousandth part of humanity could live. 139 He is called judge, because unless he forgave those created by his word and wiped out the multitude of their offenses, 140 perhaps only a very few would be left from the innumerable multitude.”
8 He answered me: “The Most High made this world for the sake of many but the future world for the sake of few. 2 But I will tell you a parable, Ezra. Just as when you ask the earth and it tells you that it provides much clay to make earthenware, but little dust from which gold comes to be, so the present world also works. 3 Many indeed are created, but few will be saved.”
4 I replied: “Therefore, take delight[be] in understanding, my soul, and drink your fill of knowledge.[bf] 5 You came into the world[bg] unwillingly,[bh] and against your will you depart, and you are given but a little while to live. 6 Lord above us—if you will permit your servants to pray before you—give us seed for the heart and cultivation for the understanding that there may be fruit from which every mortal who bears the form of a human being may live. 7 You alone exist, and we are your handiwork, as you have said. 8 Because you give life to the body that is now fashioned in the womb and give it members, your creation is preserved in fire and water. For nine months the womb you have fashioned endures what is created in it. 9 But both the container and its contents will be conserved by your care. And when the womb at last gives forth what is created in it, 10 you have commanded that from the members themselves; that is, from the breasts, milk (the fruit of the breasts) should be provided. 11 By this means, that which is fashioned may be nourished for a time, and afterward you will dispose of this person in your mercy. 12 You nourished him with your justice, tutored him in your Law, and reproved him in your wisdom.[bi] 13 You will cause him to die as your creation and give him life as your work.
14 If, therefore, you will destroy with a simple command one who was fashioned at your command with so much labor, why was he made? 15 Now I will surely speak: You know best about the sum total of humanity, but what about your people who grieve me, 16 and about your inheritance because of which I lament, and about Israel, on whose account I am sad, and about the seed of Jacob because of which I am disturbed? 17 Therefore, I will pray before you for myself and for them, because I see the defects of we who live on earth, 18 but I have heard of the swiftness of the judgment that is to come. 19 Therefore, hear my voice and consider my words, and I will speak before you.”
20 The beginning of the words of Ezra’s prayer before he was taken up.[bj] He said:
Lord, you live in eternity.[bk] The highest heavens are yours, and your upper chambers are in the air. 21 Your authority[bl] is beyond estimation, and your glory is beyond our power to comprehend. The armies of angels wait on in fear, 22 and at your command they are changed into wind and fire. Your word is true, and what you say lasts forever. 23 Your command is powerful, and your precept is fearsome. Your gaze dries up the deeps, and your threat makes mountains melt. Your truth is acknowledged. 24 Hear your servant’s voice and listen to my request, the request of one whom you formed, and listen to my words. 25 But me! I will speak as long as I live, and while I still have understanding, I will respond.
26 Don’t pay attention to your people’s sins but to those who have served you in truth. 27 Don’t consider those who do evil by sinning but those who have kept your covenants in the midst of torments. 28 Don’t think about those who have conducted themselves wickedly in your presence but of those who have made it their purpose to know what it means to revere you. 29 Don’t set your mind to destroy those who have lived as mindlessly as cows,[bm] but look on those who showed forth your glorious Law. 30 Don’t be angry at those who are esteemed lower than animals, but love those who have constantly hoped to honor you.
31 We and those before us have followed ways that lead to death, but it’s on account of us sinners that you are said to be merciful. 32 If you desire to have pity on us who have no good deeds to our credit, then you will be called compassionate. 33 The righteous who have many works laid up with you will receive a reward for their own works. 34 What are human beings that you should be angry with them, or a corrupt race that you should be irate with them? 35 In truth, no one born has not violated your commands, and no one who grew up has not sinned. 36 But this shows your goodness, Lord, when you have pity on those who have no stockpile of good works.
37 He answered me: “You have said some things correctly, and according to your words it will be done. 38 Indeed, I won’t think about the formation of sinners or their death or judgment or damnation, 39 but I will rejoice over the creation of the righteous, their journey also, and their deliverance and receipt of a reward. 40 As I’ve said, then so it is. 41 Just as a farmer sows many seeds on the land, but in time not all seeds that are sown will be saved nor will all the planted things take root, so also not all of those who are sown in the world will be saved.”
42 I answered: “If I have found favor with you, let me speak, 43 because the farmer’s seed doesn’t grow up, perhaps because it didn’t receive your rain in season; or if it was spoiled by abundance of rain, it perishes. 44 But human beings, who are shaped by your hands and named in your image, because they are made in your likeness, for whom you created all things—have you compared them to a farmer’s seeds? 45 No, Lord above us, but spare your people and have mercy on your inheritance, for you have mercy on your own creation.”
46 He answered me: “The present things are for those who now are, and the future things for the future. 47 You are a long way from loving my creation more than I do. But you have often associated yourself with the wicked. Never do so! 48 But even in this respect the Most High will admire you, 49 because you have humbled yourself, as befits you, and didn’t count yourself among the righteous so that you may be glorified the more. 50 Many miseries will afflict those who inhabit the world in the last times because they will walk in great pride. 51 But think of yourself and ask about the glory of those like you. 52 For you, paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the future time is prepared, abundance is made ready, the city is built, rest is appointed, goodness is perfected, and wisdom is perfected in advance. 53 The root of evil[bn] is sealed off from you, weakness is abolished from you, and death is hidden; the netherworld[bo] and decay have fled into oblivion. 54 Sorrows have passed, and the treasure of immortality is displayed to the end. 55 Therefore, don’t continue to ask about the great many who perish. 56 They also received freedom, but they despised the Most High, spoke ill of his Law, and abandoned his ways. 57 Moreover, they also trampled his righteous ones. 58 They said in their heart that there is no God, even though they knew that they would have to die. 59 Just as the things that are predicted will receive you, so also the thirst and torment that are prepared will receive them. The Most High didn’t intend for human beings to be destroyed, 60 but those who were themselves created defiled the name of their creator and were ungrateful to him who prepared life for them. 61 Therefore, my judgment draws close, 62 which I haven’t disclosed to all, except to you and to a few like you.”
63 I answered, “Look now, Lord, you have shown me a multitude of signs that you are about to perform in the last times, but you haven’t shown me when they will take place.”
9 He answered me: “Measure carefully within yourself, and when you see that a certain part of the signs that were predicted have passed, 2 then you will understand that the time has come in which the Most High will begin to visit the world that he made. 3 When the movement of places, tumult of peoples, plotting of nations, inconstancy of leaders, and confusion of princes appear in the world, 4 then you will understand that it was about these things that the Most High spoke from former days, from the beginning. 5 Just as with everything that has happened in the world, the beginning is known from the end,[bp] and the end comes to be seen, 6 so also are the times of the Most High. The beginnings are manifest in prodigies and mighty works, and the end is evident in deeds and in signs. 7 All this—who will be saved, who will be able to escape through their works or through the faith with which they believe— 8 will survive the predicted dangers and will see my salvation in my land and within my borders, which I have made holy for myself for a long time. 9 Then whoever has now abused my ways will be astonished, and whoever rejected them in contempt will linger in agony. 10 Those who didn’t acknowledge me when they were alive, even though they received benefits; 11 those who despised my Law while they were enjoying freedom 12 and didn’t come to their senses but continued to scoff while the opportunity for a changed life was still open to them—these people must acknowledge me in torment after death. 13 But don’t be curious any longer about how the wicked will be tortured. Instead, inquire how and when the righteous, to whom the world belongs and because of whom the world exists, will be saved.”
14 I answered, 15 “I said before and now will say again that those who perish are more numerous than those who are saved, 16 just as a wave is greater than a drop.”
17 He answered me: “As the field is, so is the seed; and as the flowers, so also the colors; as the labor, so also the product;[bq] and as the farmer, so the threshing floor. 18 There was a time in this world—when I was preparing for those who now are, before the world in which they would dwell was made for them—no one opposed me, because no one existed yet. 19 Now, however, those who have been created in this world—a world furnished with both an inexhaustible table and an endless pasture[br]—have become corrupt in their habits. 20 I considered the earth—and, observe, it was ruined. I considered my world, and, observe, it was in danger because of the intrigues of those who had come into it. 21 I saw and spared them with great difficulty; I saved for myself one grape out of a cluster and one plant out of a great forest.[bs] 22 Therefore, let the multitude that was born without purpose perish, and let my grape and my plant be preserved, because I perfected these with much effort. 23 But let seven more days pass. Don’t fast during this time, 24 but go into a field of flowers, where no house is built, and eat only of the flowers of the field. Don’t taste meat, and don’t drink wine, but eat only flowers. 25 Pray to the Most High without pause, and I will come and talk to you.”
Vision of the woman in mourning
26 I went out as he told me into the field that is called Ardat. I sat there among the flowers, I ate of the plants of the field, and their food satisfied me. 27 After seven days I was lying on the grass, and my heart was disturbed again as before. 28 My mouth was opened and I began to say before the Most High: 29 “Lord, you revealed yourself to us, to our ancestors in the wilderness, when they were going out from Egypt and when they were coming into the desert that no one crossed and that bore no fruit. You said: 30 Listen to me, Israel! Offspring of Jacob, pay attention to what I say! 31 Look, I am sowing my Law in you, and it will bear fruit in you, and you will be glorified in it forever. 32 Though our parents received the Law, they didn’t keep it and didn’t observe what was lawful. The fruit of the Law didn’t perish, nor could it, since it was yours. 33 Yet those who received it perished, not keeping what was sown in them. 34 Normally, when the ground receives seed or the sea a ship or some other container food or drink, and when it happens that what was sown or what was sent or what was received is destroyed, 35 those things themselves are destroyed, but the containers remain. But this hasn’t been so in our case. 36 We who received the Law sinned and will perish, along with our hearts that received it; 37 yet the Law doesn’t perish but remains in its glory.”
38 While I was saying these things in my heart, I looked with my eyes and saw a woman to my right. She was lamenting and crying with a loud voice, and she was experiencing deep grief. Her clothes were torn, and there were ashes on her head. 39 I dismissed my own thoughts, turned to her, and said, 40 “Why are you weeping, and why do you grieve so deeply?”
41 She said to me, “Leave me alone, sir, so that I may weep for myself and continue in my grief, because I am very bitter inside, and I am depressed.”
42 I said to her, “What have you suffered? Tell me!”
43 She said to me: “I, your servant, was infertile, and I hadn’t given birth, although I had a husband for thirty years. 44 Hour after hour and day after day during these thirty years I pleaded with the Most High by night and day. 45 After thirty years God heard your servant and saw how dejected I was. He attended to my distress and gave me a son. I rejoiced greatly over him, as did my husband and all my fellow citizens, and we greatly honored the mighty one. 46 I nourished my son with much labor, 47 and when he grew up, I came to take a wife for him and set the day of the marriage feast.
10 “But it happened that when my son went into his wedding chamber, he fell down and died. 2 We extinguished all our lamps, and all my fellow citizens rose to console me. I was quiet until the next day, until nightfall. 3 But when all ceased consoling me so that I would be quiet, I got up at night and fled, and I came into this field, as you see. 4 Now I plan not to return to the city but to stay here, and I will neither eat nor drink but lament and fast without ceasing, until I die.”
5 I abandoned the thoughts that had preoccupied me and responded to her in anger: 6 “Most foolish of all women, don’t you see our grief and what has befallen us? 7 Zion the mother of us all is afflicted in sadness and utterly dejected. Grieve mightily 8 now because we all grieve, and be sorrowful because we are all sorrowful. But you are mourning only for one son![bt] 9 Ask the earth, and she will tell you that she is the one who should mourn, since so many have sprouted upon her. 10 From her, from the beginning, all have been born and others will come. Look, nearly all go to ruin, and their multitude is doomed to destruction. 11 Who then ought to mourn the more? Shouldn’t she who has lost such a great multitude rather than you, who grieve for one? 12 Perhaps you say to me, ‘My lamentation isn’t like that of the earth, because I lost the fruit of my womb, which I bore with pains and brought forth with sorrows. 13 The earth, however, is just following the way of the earth; the multitude that is present on it goes as it came.’ 14 I would then say to you, ‘As you gave birth with grief, so also from the beginning the earth yielded its fruit, humanity, to him who made it.’ 15 Therefore, keep your grief to yourself, and bear valiantly whatever misfortunes befall you. 16 If you declare the decree of God to be just, you will receive your son back in due time and also be praised among women. 17 Therefore, go into the city to your husband.”
She said to me, 18 “I will not, and I will not go into the city, but I will die here.”
19 I spoke again to her: 20 “Don’t say this, but let yourself be persuaded because of Zion’s fate and be consoled because of Jerusalem’s grief. 21 You see that our sanctuary is laid waste, our altar is demolished, our temple is destroyed, 22 our harp is brought low, our hymnody has been silenced, our joy is undone, the light of our lampstand is extinguished, the chest containing our covenant has been taken as plunder, our holy things have been defiled, and the name that is invoked over us has been dishonored. Our free citizens[bu] have suffered abuse, our priests have been burned to death, our Levites have gone into captivity, our virgins have been defiled, our wives have been raped, our righteous men have been snatched away, our little ones have been given over, our youths have been enslaved, and our strong men have been deprived of strength. 23 Even more than all this, the seal of Zion (for she has now loosed the seal of her glory) is handed over to those who hate us. 24 Shake off your great sadness then, and put away the multitude of your sorrows so that the mighty one may show you favor and the Most High may give you peace and rest from your labors.”
25 While I was speaking to her, look! Suddenly her face shone brightly and her countenance became a flashing splendor. I became afraid of her, and I wondered what was happening. 26 Without warning she let out a noise, a great voice full of fear, so that the earth itself shook with the sound. 27 I watched, and she no longer appeared to me as a woman, but there was a city built, and a place with great foundations appeared. I was afraid, and I shouted with a great voice, 28 “Where’s the angel Uriel, who came to me from the beginning? He’s the one who’s brought me to the end of my wits! My end has turned into decay and my prayer into a reproach.”
29 While I was saying these things, the angel who had come to me in the beginning came to me again and looked at me. 30 I was laid out like a dead man, and I had lost my mind. He held my strong hand, comforted me, set me on my feet, and said to me, 31 “What has happened to you? Why are you agitated? Why are your mind, your intellect, and your understanding all in turmoil?”
I said, 32 “Because you abandoned me. I followed your instructions, and I went out into the field, and look here, I saw and see what I can’t describe.”
He said to me, 33 “Stand up like a man, and I’ll remind you.”
I said, 34 “Speak, my Lord, only don’t abandon me so that I may not die for nothing. 35 I can’t make sense out of what I saw, and I don’t understand what I’ve heard. 36 Or is my mind deceived and my soul dreaming? 37 Now then I beg you to explain this bewildering sight to your servant.”
38 He answered me: “Listen to me. Let me teach you, and I will speak to you about what you fear, for the Most High has revealed many mysteries to you. 39 He saw that you walk the straight way, because you grieve for your people without ceasing and you mourn greatly over Zion.
40 “Here then is the meaning of the vision. This is the explanation of the woman who appeared to you a little while ago, 41 whom you saw mourning and whom you began to console 42 (though now you don’t see a woman, but a fully constructed city has appeared to you), 43 and who told you about the fate of her son. 44 This woman whom you saw is Zion, whom you now see built as a city. 45 As for what she said to you, that she was infertile for thirty years, it is because there were three thousand[bv] years in the world when offerings weren’t yet made in her. 46 After three thousand[bw] years, Solomon built the city and made offerings. That is when the infertile woman bore a son. 47 As for what she said to you, that she nourished him with labor, this was the time that Jerusalem was inhabited.