14On the third day, while I was sitting under an oak, suddenly a voice came out of a bush opposite me and said, Ezra, Ezra! 2And I answered, Here I am, Lord, and I rose to my feet. 3Then he said to me, I revealed myself in a bush and spoke to Moses when my people were in bondage in Egypt; 4and I sent him and led* my people out of Egypt; and I led him up on Mount Sinai, where I kept him with me for many days. 5I told him many wondrous things, and showed him the secrets of the times and declared to him* the end of the times. Then I commanded him, saying, 6These words you shall publish openly, and these you shall keep secret. 7And now I say to you: 8Lay up in your heart the signs that I have shown you, the dreams that you have seen, and the interpretations that you have heard; 9for you shall be taken up from among humankind, and henceforth you shall live with my Son and with those who are like you, until the times are ended. 10The age has lost its youth, and the times begin to grow old. 11For the age is divided into twelve parts, and nine* of its parts have already passed, 12as well as half of the tenth part; so two of its parts remain, besides half of the tenth part.* 13Now therefore, set your house in order, and reprove your people; comfort the lowly among them, and instruct those that are wise.* And now renounce the life that is corruptible, 14and put away from you mortal thoughts; cast away from you the burdens of humankind, and divest yourself now of your weak nature; 15lay to one side the thoughts that are most grievous to you, and hurry to escape from these times. 16For evils worse than those that you have now seen happen shall take place hereafter. 17For the weaker the world becomes through old age, the more shall evils be increased upon its inhabitants. 18Truth shall go farther away, and falsehood shall come near. For the eagle* that you saw in the vision is already hurrying to come.
19 Then I answered and said, Let me speak* in your presence, Lord. 20For I will go, as you have 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. 21For your law has been burned, and so no one knows the things which have been done or will be done by you. 22If then I have found favour with you, send the holy spirit into me, and I will write everything that has happened in the world from the beginning, the things that were written in your law, so that people may be able to find the path, and that those who want to live in the last days may do so.
23 He answered me and said, Go and gather the people, and tell them not to seek you for forty days. 24But prepare for yourself many writing-tablets, and take with you Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Ethanus, and Asielthese five, who are trained to write rapidly; 25and 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. 26And 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.
27 Then I went as he commanded me, and I gathered all the people together, and said, 28Hear these words, O Israel. 29At first our ancestors lived as aliens in Egypt, and they were liberated from there 30and received the law of life, which they did not keep, which you also have transgressed after them. 31Then land was given to you for a possession in the land of Zion; but you and your ancestors committed iniquity and did not keep the ways that the Most High commanded you. 32And since he is a righteous judge, in due time he took from you what he had given. 33And now you are here, and your people* are farther in the interior.* 34If you, then, will rule over your minds and discipline your hearts, you shall be kept alive, and after death you shall obtain mercy. 35For after death the judgement will come, when we shall live again; and then the names of the righteous shall become manifest, and the deeds of the ungodly shall be disclosed. 36But let no one come to me now, and let no one seek me for forty days.
37 So I took the five men, as he commanded me, and we proceeded to the field, and remained there. 38And on the next day a voice called me, saying, Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink. 39So I opened my mouth, and a full cup was offered to me; it was full of something like water, but its colour was like fire. 40I 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, 41and my mouth was opened and was no longer closed. 42Moreover, the Most High gave understanding to the five men, and by turns they wrote what was dictated, using characters that they did not know.* They sat for forty days; they wrote during the daytime, and ate their bread at night. 43But as for me, I spoke in the daytime and was not silent at night. 44So during the forty days, ninety-four* books were written. 45And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, Make public the twenty-four* books that you wrote first, and let the worthy and the unworthy read them; 46but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people. 47For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge. 48And I did so.*
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by 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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10 February 2011