5 Ezra: Eclectic Translation of the Latin Based on the Spanish Recension
The following is transcribed from Theodore A. Bergren, Fifth Ezra: The Text, Origin and Early History (SBLSCS 25; Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1990), Appendix 3, pp. 401-405. I am grateful for the kind permission of Professor Bergren and the Society of Biblical Literature to reproduce it here. This recension may be compared to the French recension of the work, which is the basis for the other English translations such as that of the RSV. I have underscored some passages below which are of special interest for comparison. For a discussion of 5 Ezra and the relationship between the two recensions, see my online lecture on 5 Ezra for my St. Andrews Old Testament Pseudepigrapha course.
1:4 The word of the Lord that came to Ezra, the son of Chusi, in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar saying, 5 “Go, announce to my people their sins, and to their children the iniquities that they have committed against me. And let their children announce to their children’s children 6 that their fathers’ sins have increased in the children, because they have forgotten me and sacrificed to foreign gods. 7 Didn’t I lead them out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of slavery? Why have they provoked me and rejected my counsels?
8 “Thus says the Lord: Shake the hair of your head and shake out all these evils upon them, because they have not obeyed my law. Insolent people! 9 How long shall I, who conferred such benefits on them, endure them? (or: How long shall I endure them, on whom I conferred such benefits?) 10 I overthrew many kings because of them. I sank Pharaoh, with his servants, and his entire army in the sea!
11 “Didn’t I destroy the town of Bethsaida because of you, and to the south burn two cities, Tyre and Sidon, with fire, and kill those who hated you? 13 Didn’t I lead you across the sea, and make walls on the right and the left? I gave you Moses and Aaron as leaders. 14 I gave you light in a pillar of fire. These are my great wonders that I have done for you, but you have forgotten me, says the Lord.
15 “Thus says the Lord: The quails were a sign for you. I gave you a camp for your protection, and there you complained. 16 I sank your pursuer with his army in the sea, but still the people themselves complain about their own destruction! 17 Where are my benefits that I gave you?
“Also, in the desert, when you were hungry and thirsty, you cried out to me 18 and said: ‘Why have you led us into this desert for us to die? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this wilderness!’ 19 Because of this, I felt sorry at your groaning and gave you manna to eat, and you ate. 20 When you were thirsty, I split the rock, and water flowed abundantly. And because of the heat, I made trees covered with leaves for you.
21 “I gave you fertile lands. I drove out the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perezites, and their children from your presence. What more will I do for you? 22 Thus says the Lord: When you were in the desert at the bitter stream, thirsty and cursing my name, 23 I did not become angry, but I cast a tree into the water and made the stream sweet for you.
24 “What will I do for you, Jacob? You were (Sp.: He was) unwilling to obey me, Judah! I will go over to another nation and will give it my name, and they will certainly keep my statutes. 25 When those who have abandoned me seek mercy, I will not pity them. 26 When they call on me, I will not listen to them, for they have stained their souls, and they have hands that are stained with blood.
“Your feet are not slow to commit murder (Sp.: to shed blood). 27 It is not because you have forsaken me, says the Lord, but yourselves!
28 “Thus says the Lord: Didn’t I ask you, as a father his son, and as a mother her daughter, and as a nurse who loves her child, 29 that you be my people and I your God, that you be my children and I your father? 30 I gathered you as a hen gathers (Lat. lacks ‘gathers’) her chicks under her wings. But now, what will I do to you?
“I will cast you forth from my presence! (Sp: I will say, I will cast you forth . . . ) 31 When you offer sacrifices to me, I will turn my eyes from you, for I did not command you to observe (Lat. lacks ‘to observe’) feast days, new moons, sabbaths and circumcisions. 32 I sent my servants the prophets to you, but you took them and killed them, and tore to pieces the bodies of the apostles (or: emissaries). I will require their souls and blood, says the Lord.
33 “Thus says the Lord Almighty: Your house is desolate! I will drive you out as the wind drives straw. 34 And your children will not have offspring, because they have neglected my commandment and have done evil in my presence.
35 “I will hand over your houses to a people coming from far away, and those who have not known me (Sp.: you) will believe me (Sp.: you), and those to whom I have not shown signs will do what I have said. 36 They have not seen prophets, but are mindful of the antiquity of the prophets (Lat.: of them). 37 The apostles (or: emissaries) bear witness to the coming people with joy. Although they do not see me with bodily eyes, they believe with the spirit, and they have heard the things that I have said, and believe me.
38 “Now, father, look with glory and see the people coming from the east. 39 I will lead them, (I) together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Elijah and Enoch, Zachariah and Hosea, Amos, Joel, Micah, Obadiah, Zephaniah, 40 Nahum, Jonah, Malachi (Sp.: Mattathias), Habakkuk, and twelve angels with flowers.
2:1 “Thus says the Lord: I led out a people to whom I gave commandments, which they were not willing to obey, but they made my counsels vain. 2 The mother who bore them says (Sp.: They begot for themselves a mother who says) to them: ‘Go, children, because I am a widow and forsaken. 3 I brought you up with gladness, I will send you away with mourning (Sp.: weeping) and sadness (Sp.: mourning), because you sinned before the Lord God and did iniquity in his presence. 4 But now, what will I do for you?; for I am a widow and forsaken by my children. Go, children, seek mercy from the Lord, 5 for I am desolate.'”
“I invoke you, father, over the mother of those who were unwilling to keep your covenant, 6 that you might give confusion to them and bring (Lat. lacks ‘bring’) their mother to destruction.”
“Let them never have offspring, 7 let them be scattered among the nations, and let their name be blotted out from the earth, because they have spurned my covenant.
8 “Woe to you, Assyria, who hide sinners in your midst. Evil city! Remember what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah, 9 whose land sinks hell. I will do the same to those who have not obeyed me!”
10 Thus says the Lord to Ezra: “Tell my people that I have prepared for them to eat, and I will give them the kingdom of Jerusalem, which I was going to give to Israel. 11 And I will take for them the glory of Israel (Lat.: them), and I will give to them the eternal dwelling places that I had prepared for Israel (Lat.: them). 12 The tree of life will be an aroma of ointment for them, and they will neither labor nor become tired (Sp.: . . . that I had prepared for Israel in an aroma of ointment. They will neither labor. . . ).
13 “Seek and you will receive. Ask for yourselves few days, so that your days may be lessened; for already my kingdom is ready to come. Be watchful in spirit! 14 I call to witness heaven and earth: I have set aside evil and created good, because I live, says the Lord.
15 “Good mother, embrace your children. Give them happiness like the dove that rears her children, and strengthen their feet, because I have chosen you, says the Lord. 16 And I will raise the dead from their places and from their graves, because I have recognized my name in them.
17 “Do not be afraid, mother of the children; I have chosen you, says the Lord. 18 I am sending to you for assistance my servants Jeremiah, Isaiah and Daniel, according to whose counsel I sanctified you. And I will prepare for you twelve trees with various kinds of fruits, 19 and seven fountains flowing milk and honey, and immense mountains that have roses and lilies, which I have prepared for you and your children. I have filled your children with joy!
20 “Treat the widow rightly; secure justice for the orphan; give to the needy; protect the fatherless; clothe the naked; 21 care for the injured and weak. Do not ridicule the lame person, but protect him (Lat. lacks ‘him’). Admit the blind to the vision of my splendor. 22 Gather the old and young within your walls. Watch over your infants. Let your servants and free men be joyful, and your whole company will be happy.
23 “When I find your dead, I will raise them; I will watch for signs, and I will give your dead (Lat.: them) the place of honor in my resurrection. 24 Wait a little; your rest will come.
25 “Good nurse, nourish your children. strengthen those whom you bore and strengthen their feet, 26 because none of those whom I gave you will die. I will require them from your number. 27 Do not worry; strengthen them. Days of tribulation and distress will come. others will lament and be sad, but you will be happy and have abundance. 28 All the nations will envy you, but they will not be able to do anything against you, says the Lord. 29 All things tremble at me; my eyes see Gehenna.
30 “‘Rejoice, mother, with your children, and I will save you, says the Lord. 31 I will remember your children who sleep, because I will seek them out from the breadth of the earth. And be strengthened in the greatness of your glory, and perform mercy, because I am merciful, says the Lord. 32 Embrace your children until I come, and to the others, show mercy, because my fountains will overflow and my grace will not fail.”
33 I, Ezra, received an injunction from the on Mount Horeb (Sp.: Chobar) for Israel, but spurned this commandment. 34 I say to you who and understand: “Await your shepherd. I will give you the restfulness of your eternity, because the end of the age and the diminution of mankind are near. 35 Be prepared for the rewards of the kingdom. Perpetual light will shine upon you, and eternity of times has been prepared for you. 36 Flee from the shadow of this age, the captivity of your glory. I testify that my savior has been commanded by the Lord.
37 “As for you, receive the joy of your glory, giving thanks to the one who called you to heavenly kingdoms. 38 Rise, and stand, and see in the banquet the number of the sealed, 39 who have borne themselves from the shadow of the world and have received splendid garments from the Lord.
40 “Mount Zion, receive your number. Bring to completion your people clothed in white, who serve you with obedience, because they have fulfilled the law of the Lord. 41 Since formerly you wished your children to come, complete their number. Ask the authority of the Lord that the people may be sanctified, because they were called from the beginning.”
42 I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great crowd that I could not count (Sp.: that no one could count); all of them were praising the Lord with songs. 43 And in the middle of them was a tall young man who stood out above all of them. And he was placing crowns on the heads of each of them, and they were becoming taller.
I began to look with amazement. 44 And I asked an angel and said, “Who are these people?” 45 And he responded and said to me, “They are those who have laid aside the mortal clothing and donned the immortal, and confessed the name of God. Now they are being crowned and receive palms.”
46 And I said to the angel, “Who is that young man who gives them crowns and palms?” 47 And he answered me and said, “He is the son of God, whom they confessed in the mortal world.”
Then I began to praise and glorify the Lord. 48 And the angel said to me, “Go, and tell his people how many wonders you have seen from the Lord God!”