Ezra renews the scriptures

On the third day I was sitting under an oak tree when a voice came out of a bush opposite me and said, “Ezra, Ezra!”

I said: “I’m here, Lord!” and I got up on my feet.

He said to me: “I revealed myself in a bush and spoke to Moses when my people were enslaved in Egypt. I sent him and brought my people out of Egypt, and I led him to Mount Sinai, and I kept him with me for many days. I told him many wondrous things and showed him the secrets of the times and the end of the times. I commanded him, saying, ‘You will make these words public, but you will keep these other words secret.’ Now I say to you, the signs that I showed you, the dreams that you saw, and the interpretations you heard—place them in your heart! You will be taken from among human beings, and you will associate from now on with my Son and with those who are like you until the times are finished. 10 The age[a] is no longer young, and the times are beginning to grow old. 11 The age is divided into twelve parts. Nine[b] parts and half of the tenth part have already passed. 12 Two parts in addition to half of the tenth part remain. 13 Now then put your house in order; give solemn instruction to your people. Console the humble among them, and instruct those who are wise.[c] Renounce now this corruptible life, 14 put away short-lived thoughts, cast off from yourself human burdens, strip off your weak nature, push aside the thoughts that most trouble you, and hasten to depart from these times. 15 As for the evils that you have now seen happen, people will yet do worse than these. 16 The weaker the world[d] becomes because of old age, the more will evils multiply upon those who dwell in it. 17 Truth will depart and falsehood will come near. Even now the eagle, which you saw in your vision, hastens to come.”

18 I answered: “I will speak in your presence, Lord! 19 Look, I will go as you commanded me and warn the people who are now living. But who will warn those who will be born in the future? 20 The world is in darkness. Those who live in it have no light, 21 because your Law has been burned, and so no one knows what things you have done or what works are about to come to pass. 22 If then I have found favor before you, send a 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 human beings can find the path, and those who want to live in the last days may live.”

23 He replied to me: “Go, gather the people and say to them that they shouldn’t seek you for forty days. 24 Gather up many writing tablets, and take with you Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Ethanus, and Asiel, these five, who are trained to write fast. 25 Come here, and I will light in your heart the lamp of understanding. It won’t be extinguished until you have written everything down. 26 When you are finished, you will make some things public, others you will transmit secretly to the wise. You will begin to write tomorrow at this time.”

27 I did as he commanded me. I gathered all the people and said, 28 “Hear these words, Israel. 29 At first our fathers lived as strangers in Egypt, and they were liberated from there. 30 They received the Law of life, but they didn’t keep it, and you also transgressed after them. 31 You were given land by allotment in the region of Zion. You and your fathers did evil and didn’t keep the ways that the Most High had commanded you. 32 Since he is a just judge, in time he took away from you what he granted. 33 Now you are here, and your relatives live even farther away.[e] 34 If then you will rule your mind and instruct your heart, you will be kept alive, and after death you will attain mercy. 35 Judgment comes after death, when we are restored to life, and then the names of the just will appear and the deeds of the wicked will be exposed. 36 But let no one approach me now or come looking for me for forty days.”

37 I took the five men, as he had commanded me, and we went out into the field and remained there. 38 So it happened to me on the next day that a voice called me: “Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink.” 39 So I opened my mouth, and a full cup was set before me. It was full of something like water, but its color was like fire. 40 I took it and drank, and when I had drunk it my heart poured forth understanding, and wisdom increased in my heart, for my spirit retained memory. 41 My mouth was opened and wasn’t shut anymore. 42 The Most High, moreover, gave understanding to the five men, and they wrote in turns what was dictated, in characters that they didn’t know, and they sat for forty days. They wrote by day, 43 but by night they ate bread; however, I spoke by day and wasn’t silent by night. 44 Ninety-four scrolls were written in the forty days. 45 Then when the forty days were completed, the Most High said to me, “Make public the ones you wrote first so that the worthy and unworthy may read them. 46 But keep the last seventy so that you may transmit them to the wise among your people. 47 In these are the fountains of understanding, the source of wisdom, and the river of knowledge.” 48 And so I did.


  1. 2 Esdras 14:10 Lat world
  2. 2 Esdras 14:11 Correction; Lat and other versions read ten.
  3. 2 Esdras 14:13 Syr, Eth; Lat lacks instruct those who are wise.
  4. 2 Esdras 14:16 Lat the age
  5. 2 Esdras 14:33 Latin uncertain; Syr are farther in than you in the last land