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1 Esdras 4

1Then the second, that had spoken of the strength of the king, began to say,
2O you men, do not men excel in strength that bear rule over sea and land and all things in them?
3But yet the king is more mighty: for he is lord of all these things, and has dominion over them; and whatever he commands them they do.
4If he bid them make war the one against the other, they do it: if he send them out against the enemies, they go, and break down mountains walls and towers.
5They kill and are slain, and transgress not the king's commandment: if they get the victory, they bring all to the king, as well the spoil, as all things else.
6Likewise for those that are no soldiers, and have not to do with wars, but use husbandry, when they have reaped again that which they had sown, they bring it to the king, and compel one another to pay tribute to the king.
7And yet he is but one man: if he command to kill, they kill; if he command to spare, they spare;
8If he command to strike, they strike; if he command to make desolate, they make desolate; if he command to build, they build;
9If he command to cut down, they cut down; if he command to plant, they plant.
10So all his people and his armies obey him: furthermore he lies down, he eats and drinks, and takes his rest:
11And these keep watch round about him, neither may any one depart, and do his own business, neither disobey they him in any thing.
12O you men, how should not the king be mightiest, when in such sort he is obeyed? And he held his tongue.
13Then the third, who had spoken of women, and of the truth, (this was Zorobabel) began to speak.
14O you men, it is not the great king, nor the multitude of men, neither is it wine, that excels; who is it then that rules them, or has the lordship over them? are they not women?
15Women have borne the king and all the people that bear rule by sea and land.
16Even of them came they: and they nourished them up that planted the vineyards, from whence the wine comes.
17These also make garments for men; these bring glory to men; and without women can't men be.
18Yes, and if men have gathered together gold and silver, or any other goodly thing, do they not love a woman which is comely in favor and beauty?
19And letting all those things go, do they not gape, and even with open mouth fix their eyes fast on her; and have not all men more desire to her than to silver or gold, or any goodly thing whatever?
20A man leaves his own father that brought him up, and his own country, and cleaves to his wife.
21He sticks not to spend his life with his wife. and remembers neither father, nor mother, nor country.
22By this also you must know that women have dominion over you: do you not labor and toil, and give and bring all to the woman?
23Yes, a man takes his sword, and goes his way to rob and to steal, to sail upon the sea and upon rivers;
24And looks upon a lion, and goes in the darkness; and when he has stolen, spoiled, and robbed, he brings it to his love.
25Therefore a man loves his wife better than father or mother.
26Yes, many there be that have run out of their wits for women, and become servants for their sakes.
27Many also have perished, have erred, and sinned, for women.
28And now do you not believe me? is not the king great in his power? do not all regions fear to touch him?
29Yet did I see him and Apame the king's concubine, the daughter of the admirable Bartacus, sitting at the right hand of the king,
30And taking the crown from the king's head, and setting it upon her own head; she also struck the king with her left hand.
31And yet for all this the king gaped and gazed upon her with open mouth: if she laughed upon him, he laughed also: but if she took any displeasure at him, the king was fain to flatter, that she might be reconciled to him again.
32O you men, how can it be but women should be strong, seeing they do thus?
33Then the king and the princes looked one upon another: so he began to speak of the truth.
34O you men, are not women strong? great is the earth, high is the heaven, swift is the sun in his course, for he encircles the heavens round about, and fetches his course again to his own place in one day.
35Is he not great that makes these things? therefore great is the truth, and stronger than all things.
36All the earth cries upon the truth, and the heaven blesses it: all works shake and tremble at it, and with it is no unrighteous thing.
37Wine is wicked, the king is wicked, women are wicked, all the children of men are wicked, and such are all their wicked works; and there is no truth in them; in their unrighteousness also they shall perish.
38As for the truth, it endures, and is Always strong; it lives and conquers for evermore.
39With her there is no accepting of persons or rewards; but she does the things that are just, and refrains from all unjust and wicked things; and all men do well like of her works.
40Neither in her judgment is any unrighteousness; and she is the strength, kingdom, power, and majesty, of all ages. Blessed be the God of truth.
41And with that he held his peace. And all the people then shouted, and said, Great is Truth, and mighty above all things.
42Then said the king to him, Ask what you will more than is appointed in the writing, and we will give it you, because you are found wisest; and you shall sit next me, and shall be called my cousin.
43Then said he to the king, Remember your vow, which you have vowed to build Jerusalem, in the day when you came to your kingdom,
44And to send away all the vessels that were taken away out of Jerusalem, which Cyrus set apart, when he vowed to destroy Babylon, and to send them again there.
45You also have vowed to build up the temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was made desolate by the Chaldees.
46And now, O lord the king, this is that which I require, and which I desire of you, and this is the princely liberality proceeding from yourself: I desire therefore that you make good the vow, the performance whereof with your own mouth you have vowed to the King of heaven.
47Then Darius the king stood up, and kissed him, and wrote letters for him to all the treasurers and lieutenants and captains and governors, that they should safely convey on their way both him, and all those that go up with him to build Jerusalem.
48He wrote letters also to the lieutenants that were in Celosyria and Phenice, and to them in Libanus, that they should bring cedar wood from Libanus to Jerusalem, and that they should build the city with him.
49Moreover he wrote for all the Jews that went out of his realm up into Jewry, concerning their freedom, that no officer, no ruler, no lieutenant, nor treasurer, should forcibly enter into their doors;
50And that all the country which they hold should be free without tribute; and that the Edomites should give over the villages of the Jews which then they held:
51Yes, that there should be yearly given twenty talents to the building of the temple, until the time that it were built;
52And other ten talents yearly, to maintain the burnt offerings upon the altar every day, as they had a commandment to offer seventeen:
53And that all they that went from Babylon to build the city should have free liberty, as well they as their posterity, and all the priests that went away.
54He wrote also concerning. the charges, and the priests' vestments wherein they minister;
55And likewise for the charges of the Levites, to be given them until the day that the house were finished, and Jerusalem builded up.
56And he commanded to give to all that kept the city pensions and wages.
57He sent away also all the vessels from Babylon, that Cyrus had set apart; and all that Cyrus had given in commandment, the same charged he also to be done, and sent to Jerusalem.
58Now when this young man was gone forth, he lifted up his face to heaven toward Jerusalem, and praised the King of heaven,
59And said, From you comes victory, from you comes wisdom, and your is the glory, and I am your servant.
60Blessed are you, who have given me wisdom: for to you I give thanks, O Lord of our fathers.
61And so he took the letters, and went out, and came to Babylon, and told it all his brethren.
62And they praised the God of their fathers, because he had given them freedom and liberty
63To go up, and to build Jerusalem, and the temple which is called by his name: and they feasted with instruments of musick and gladness seven days.

Commentaries for 1 Esdras 4:0

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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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