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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter V

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Text Commentary

1And the prophet said, Have mercy, Lord, on the race of Christians. 2And I saw a woman hanging, and four wild beasts were sucking her breasts. 3And the angels said to me, This woman not only begrudged to give her milk, but she also threw her infants into the rivers. 4And I saw grim darkness and night without stars or moon. 5And there is there neither young nor old, nor brother with brother, nor mother with child, nor wife with husband. 6And I wept and said, Sovereign Lord, have mercy on the sinners. 7And while I was saying this a cloud came and took hold of me and carried me away again to heaven. 8,9And I saw there many judgements. And I wept bitterly and said, Better were it for a man not to have come out of his mother's womb. 10And those who were undergoing punishment cried out saying, Since you came here, you holy man of God, we have found little respite. 11And the prophet said, Blessed are they that weep for their sins. 12And God said, Listen my beloved Esdras, Just as a farmer sows wheat seed in the earth, so also a man sows his seed in the field of a woman. 13 During the first month it remains as it was, 1 Lit. ‘it is all together’. in the second it increases in size, 2 Reading ὀγκου̂ται for οἰχου̂τε. in the third it grows hair, in the fourth it grows nails, in the fifth it takes milk for food, 3 Lit. ‘it becomes milky’. in the sixth it becomes ready 4 Reading ἕτοιμον for αἴτιμον. and receives its soul, in the seventh it prepares itself, 5 Here the eighth stage is omitted. and in the ninth the doors of the woman's womb 6 Lit. ‘gate-house’. are opened and it is born safe and sound upon the earth. 14And the prophet said, Lord, better were it for the man not to have been born. 15Woe to the human 〈race〉 then, when thou comest 7 So MS (ἔλθῃς). Perhaps we should read ‘it comes’ (ἔλθῃ). to judgement. 16And I said to the Lord, Lord, why didst thou fashion man and deliver him to judgement? 17And God said with some vehemence, 8 Lit. ‘with a lofty proclamation’. I will not have mercy on those who disregard my covenant. 18And the prophet said, Lord, where is thy goodness? 19And God said, I created all things for man's sake, and man does not keep my commandments. 20And the prophet said, Lord, show me the judgements and Paradise. 21And the angels led me away towards the east, and I saw the tree of life. 22And I saw there Enoch and Elijah and Moses and Peter and Paul and Luke and Matthew 9 Reading Ματθαι̂ον for Ματθείαν (Matthias). and all the righteous and the patriarchs. 23And I saw there the †punishment† 10 Gk. κόλασιν. of the air and the blowing of the winds and the stores of crystals and the everlasting judgements. 24,25And I saw there a man hanging by his head. And they said to me, This man moved boundary-stones. 26And I saw there some cruel judgements. 11 Lit. ‘And I saw there great judgements’. And I said to the Lord, Sovereign Lord, what man is there who has ever been born and has not sinned? 27And they led me down lower in Tartarus, and I saw the sinners all mourning and weeping, and 〈lamenting〉 their evil lot. 12 So A: B om ‘and 〈lamenting〉 their evil lot’. 28And I wept also when I saw the human race being punished so.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘it is all together’.

2 Reading ὀγκου̂ται for οἰχου̂τε.

3 Lit. ‘it becomes milky’.

4 Reading ἕτοιμον for αἴτιμον.

5 Here the eighth stage is omitted.

6 Lit. ‘gate-house’.

7 So MS (ἔλθῃς). Perhaps we should read ‘it comes’ (ἔλθῃ).

8 Lit. ‘with a lofty proclamation’.

9 Reading Ματθαι̂ον for Ματθείαν (Matthias).

10 Gk. κόλασιν.

11 Lit. ‘And I saw there great judgements’.

12 So A: B om ‘and 〈lamenting〉 their evil lot’.

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