He answered me: “Measure carefully within yourself, and when you see that a certain part of the signs that were predicted have passed, then you will understand that the time has come in which the Most High will begin to visit the world that he made. When the movement of places, tumult of peoples, plotting of nations, inconstancy of leaders, and confusion of princes appear in the world, then you will understand that it was about these things that the Most High spoke from former days, from the beginning. Just as with everything that has happened in the world, the beginning is known from the end,[a] and the end comes to be seen, 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. All this—who will be saved, who will be able to escape through their works or through the faith with which they believe— 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. 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;[b] 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[c]—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.[d] 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.


  1. 2 Esdras 9:5 Syr its beginning is known
  2. 2 Esdras 9:17 Other versions judgment
  3. 2 Esdras 9:19 Lat law, misreading Gk
  4. 2 Esdras 9:21 Syr, Eth; Lat tribe