2Thus says the Lord: I brought this people out of bondage, and I gave them commandments through my servants the prophets; but they would not listen to them, and made my counsels void. 2The mother who bore them* says to them, Go, my children, because I am a widow and forsaken. 3I brought you up with gladness; but with mourning and sorrow I have lost you, because you have sinned before the Lord God and have done what is evil in my sight.* 4But now what can I do for you? For I am a widow and forsaken. Go, my children, and ask for mercy from the Lord. 5Now I call upon you, father, as a witness in addition to the mother of the children, because they would not keep my covenant, 6so that you may bring confusion on them and bring their mother to ruin, so that they may have no offspring. 7Let them be scattered among the nations; let their names be blotted out from the earth, because they have despised my covenant.
8 Woe to you, Assyria, who conceal the unrighteous within you! O wicked nation, remember what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah, 9whose land lies in lumps of pitch and heaps of ashes.* That is what I will do to those who have not listened to me, says the Lord Almighty.
10 Thus says the Lord to Ezra: Tell my people that I will give them the kingdom of Jerusalem, which I was going to give to Israel. 11Moreover, I will take back to myself their glory, and will give to these others the everlasting habitations, which I had prepared for Israel.* 12The tree of life shall give them fragrant perfume, and they shall neither toil nor become weary. 13Go,* and you will receive; pray that your days may be few, that they may be shortened. The kingdom is already prepared for you; be on the watch! 14Call, O call heaven and earth to witness: I set aside evil and created good; for I am the Living One, says the Lord.
15 Mother, embrace your children; bring them up with gladness, as does a dove; strengthen their feet, because I have chosen you, says the Lord. 16And I will raise up the dead from their places, and bring them out from their tombs, because I recognize my name in them. 17Do not fear, mother of children, for I have chosen you, says the Lord. 18I will send you help, my servants Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to their counsel I have consecrated and prepared for you twelve trees loaded with various fruits, 19and the same number of springs flowing with milk and honey, and seven mighty mountains on which roses and lilies grow; by these I will fill your children with joy.
20 Guard the rights of the widow, secure justice for the ward, give to the needy, defend the orphan, clothe the naked, 21care for the injured and the weak, do not ridicule the lame, protect the maimed, and let the blind have a vision of my splendour. 22Protect the old and the young within your walls. 23When you find any who are dead, commit them to the grave and mark it,* and I will give you the first place in my resurrection. 24Pause and be quiet, my people, because your rest will come.
25 Good nurse, nourish your children; strengthen their feet. 26Not one of the servants* whom I have given you will perish, for I will require them from among your number. 27Do not be anxious, for when the day of tribulation and anguish comes, others shall weep and be sorrowful, but you shall rejoice and have abundance. 28The nations shall envy you, but they shall not be able to do anything against you, says the Lord. 29My power will protect* you, so that your children may not see hell.*
30 Rejoice, O mother, with your children, because I will deliver you, says the Lord.
31Remember your children that sleep, because I will bring them out of the hiding-places of the earth, and will show mercy to them; for I am merciful, says the Lord Almighty.
32Embrace your children until I come, and proclaim mercy to them; because my springs run over, and my grace will not fail.
33 I, Ezra, received a command from the Lord on Mount Horeb to go to Israel. When I came to them they rejected me and refused the Lords commandment. 34Therefore I say to you, O nations that hear and understand, Wait for your shepherd; he will give you everlasting rest, because he who will come at the end of the age is close at hand. 35Be ready for the rewards of the kingdom, because perpetual light will shine on you for evermore. 36Flee from the shadow of this age, receive the joy of your glory; I publicly call on my saviour to witness.* 37Receive what the Lord has entrusted to you and be joyful, giving thanks to him who has called you to the celestial kingdoms. 38Rise, stand erect, and see the number of those who have been sealed at the feast of the Lord. 39Those who have departed from the shadow of this age have received glorious garments from the Lord. 40Take again your full number, O Zion, and close the list of your people who are clothed in white, who have fulfilled the law of the Lord. 41The number of your children, whom you desired, is now complete; implore the Lords authority that your people, who have been called from the beginning, may be made holy.
42 I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude that I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs. 43In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound. 44Then I asked an angel, Who are these, my lord? 45He answered and said to me, These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God. Now they are being crowned, and receive palms. 46Then I said to the angel, Who is that young man who is placing crowns on them and putting palms in their hands? 47He answered and said to me, He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world. So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord.* 48Then the angel said to me, Go, tell my people how great and how many are the wonders of the Lord God that you have seen.
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