므나세의기도(Prayer of Manasseh)
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 The second book of the prophet Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,
 son of Ahijah, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Arna, son of Uzzi, son of Borith, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar,
 son of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi, who was a captive in the country of the Medes in the reign of Artaxerxes, king of the Persians.
 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
 "Go and declare to my people their evil deeds, and to their children the iniquities which they have committed against me, so that they may tell their children's children
 that the sins of their parents have increased in them, for they have forgotten me and have offered sacrifices to strange gods.
 Was it not I who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage? But they have angered me and despised my counsels.
 Pull out the hair of your head and hurl all evils upon them, for they have not obeyed my law -- they are a rebellious people.
 How long shall I endure them, on whom I have bestowed such great benefits?
 For their sake I have overthrown many kings: I struck down Pharaoh with his servants, and all his army.
 I have destroyed all nations before them, and scattered in the east the people of two provinces, Tyre and Sidon; I have slain all their enemies.
 "But speak to them and say, Thus says the Lord:
 Surely it was I who brought you through the sea, and made safe highways for you where there was no road; I gave you Moses as leader and Aaron as priest;
 I provided light for you from a pillar of fire, and did great wonders among you. Yet you have forgotten me, says the Lord.
 "Thus says the Lord Almighty: The quails were a sign to you; I gave you camps for your protection, and in them you complained.
 You have not exulted in my name at the destruction of your enemies, but to this day you still complain.
 Where are the benefits which I bestowed on you? When you were hungry and thirsty in the wilderness, did you not cry out to me,
 saying, `Why hast thou led us into this wilderness to kill us? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this wilderness.'
 I pitied your groanings and gave you manna for food; you ate the bread of angels.
 When you were thirsty, did I not cleave the rock so that waters flowed in abundance? Because of the heat I covered you with the leaves of trees.
 I divided fertile lands among you; I drove out the Canaanites, the Perizzites, and the Philistines before you. What more can I do for you? says the Lord.
 Thus says the Lord Almighty: When you were in the wilderness, at the bitter stream, thirsty and blaspheming my name,
 I did not send fire upon you for your blasphemies, but threw a tree into the water and made the stream sweet.
 "What shall I do to you, O Jacob? You would not obey me, O Judah. I will turn to other nations and will give them my name, that they may keep my statutes.
 Because you have forsaken me, I also will forsake you. When you beg mercy of me, I will show you no mercy.
 When you call upon me, I will not listen to you; for you have defiled your hands with blood, and your feet are swift to commit murder.
 It is not as though you had forsaken me; you have forsaken yourselves, says the Lord.
 "Thus says the Lord Almighty: Have I not entreated you as a father entreats his sons or a mother her daughters or a nurse her children,
 that you should be my people and I should be your God, and that you should be my sons and I should be your father?
 I gathered you as a hen gathers her brood under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you? I will cast you out from my presence.
 When you offer oblations to me, I will turn my face from you; for I have rejected your feast days, and new moons, and circumcisions of the flesh.
 I sent to you my servants the prophets, but you have taken and slain them and torn their bodies in pieces; their blood I will require of you, says the Lord.
 "Thus says the Lord Almighty: Your house is desolate; I will drive you out as the wind drives straw;
 and your sons will have no children, because with you they have neglected my commandment and have done what is evil in my sight.
 I will give your houses to a people that will come, who without having heard me will believe. Those to whom I have shown no signs will do what I have commanded.
 They have seen no prophets, yet will recall their former state.
 I call to witness the gratitude of the people that is to come, whose children rejoice with gladness; though they do not see me with bodily eyes, yet with the spirit they will believe the things I have said.
 "And now, father, look with pride and see the people coming from the east;
 to them I will give as leaders Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Hosea and Amos and Micah and Joel and Obadiah and Jonah
 and Nahum and Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, who is also called the messenger of the Lord.
 "Thus says the Lord: I brought this people out of bondage, and I gave them commandments through my servants the prophets; but they would not listen to them, and made my counsels void.
 The mother who bore them says to them, `Go, my children, because I am a widow and forsaken.
 I brought you up with gladness; but with mourning and sorrow I have lost you, because you have sinned before the Lord God and have done what is evil in my sight.
 But now what can I do for you? For I am a widow and forsaken. Go, my children, and ask for mercy from the Lord.'
 I call upon you, father, as a witness in addition to the mother of the children, because they would not keep my covenant,
 that you may bring confusion upon them and bring their mother to ruin, so that they may have no offspring.
 Let them be scattered among the nations, let their names be blotted out from the earth, because they have despised my covenant.
 "Woe to you, Assyria, who conceal the unrighteous in your midst! O wicked nation, remember what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah,
 whose land lies in lumps of pitch and heaps of ashes. So will I do to those who have not listened to me, says the Lord Almighty."
 Thus says the Lord to Ezra: "Tell my people that I will give them the kingdom of Jerusalem, which I was going to give to Israel.
 Moreover, I will take back to myself their glory, and will give to these others the everlasting habitations, which I had prepared for Israel.
 The tree of life shall give them fragrant perfume, and they shall neither toil nor become weary.
 Ask and you will receive; pray that your days may be few, that they may be shortened. The kingdom is already prepared for you; watch!
 Call, O call heaven and earth to witness, for I left out evil and created good, because I live, says the Lord.
 "Mother, embrace your sons; bring them up with gladness, as does the dove; establish their feet, because I have chosen you, says the Lord.
 And I will raise up the dead from their places, and will bring them out from their tombs, because I recognize my name in them.
 Do not fear, mother of sons, for I have chosen you, says the Lord.
 I will send you help, my servants Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to their counsel I have consecrated and prepared for you twelve trees loaded with various fruits,
 and the same number of springs flowing with milk and honey, and seven mighty mountains on which roses and lilies grow; by these I will fill your children with joy.
 Guard the rights of the widow, secure justice for the fatherless, give to the needy, defend the orphan, clothe the naked,
 care for the injured and the weak, do not ridicule a lame man, protect the maimed, and let the blind man have a vision of my splendor.
 Protect the old and the young within your walls;
 When you find any who are dead, commit them to the grave and mark it, and I will give you the first place in my resurrection.
 Pause and be quiet, my people, because your rest will come.
 Good nurse, nourish your sons, and strengthen their feet.
 Not one of the servants whom I have given you will perish, for I will require them from among your number.
 Do not be anxious, for when the day of tribulation and anguish comes, others shall weep and be sorrowful, but you shall rejoice and have abundance.
 The nations shall envy you but they shall not be able to do anything against you, says the Lord.
 My hands will cover you, that your sons may not see Gehenna.
 Rejoice, O mother, with your sons, because I will deliver you, says the Lord.
 Remember your sons that sleep, because I will bring them out of the hiding places of the earth, and will show mercy to them; for I am merciful, says the Lord Almighty.
 Embrace your children until I come, and proclaim mercy to them; because my springs run over, and my grace will not fail."
 I, Ezra, received a command from the Lord on Mount Horeb to go to Israel. When I came to them they rejected me and refused the Lord's commandment.
 Therefore I say to you, O nations that hear and understand, "Await your shepherd; he will give you everlasting rest, because he who will come at the end of the age is close at hand.
 Be ready for the rewards of the kingdom, because the eternal light will shine upon you for evermore.
 Flee from the shadow of this age, receive the joy of your glory; I publicly call on my Savior to witness.
 Receive what the Lord has entrusted to you and be joyful, giving thanks to him who has called you to heavenly kingdoms.
 Rise and stand, and see at the feast of the Lord the number of those who have been sealed.
 Those who have departed from the shadow of this age have received glorious garments from the Lord.
 Take again your full number, O Zion, and conclude the list of your people who are clothed in white, who have fulfilled the law of the Lord.
 The number of your children, whom you desired, is full; beseech the Lord's power that your people, who have been called from the beginning, may be made holy."
 I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude, which I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs.
 In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound.
 Then I asked an angel, "Who are these, my lord?"
 He answered and said to me, "These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and they have confessed the name of God; now they are being crowned, and receive palms."
 Then I said to the angel, "Who is that young man who places crowns on them and puts palms in their hands?"
 He answered and said to me, "He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world." So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord.
 Then the angel said to me, "Go, tell my people how great and many are the wonders of the Lord God which you have seen."
 In the thirtieth year after the destruction of our city, I Salathiel, who am also called Ezra, was in Babylon. I was troubled as I lay on my bed, and my thoughts welled up in my heart,
 because I saw the desolation of Zion and the wealth of those who lived in Babylon.
 My spirit was greatly agitated, and I began to speak anxious words to the Most High, and said,
 "O sovereign Lord, didst thou not speak at the beginning when thou didst form the earth -- and that without help -- and didst command the dust
 and it gave thee Adam, a lifeless body? Yet he was the workmanship of thy hands, and thou didst breathe into him the breath of life, and he was made alive in thy presence.
 And thou didst lead him into the garden which thy right hand had planted before the earth appeared.
 And thou didst lay upon him one commandment of thine; but he transgressed it, and immediately thou didst appoint death for him and for his descendants. From him there sprang nations and tribes, peoples and clans without number.
 And every nation walked after its own will and did ungodly things before thee and scorned thee, and thou didst not hinder them.
 But again, in its time thou didst bring the flood upon the inhabitants of the world and destroy them.
 And the same fate befell them: as death came upon Adam, so the flood upon them.
 But thou didst leave one of them, Noah with his household, and all the righteous who have descended from him.
 "When those who dwelt on earth began to multiply, they produced children and peoples and many nations, and again they began to be more ungodly than were their ancestors.
 And when they were committing iniquity before thee, thou didst choose for thyself one of them, whose name was Abraham;
 and thou didst love him, and to him only didst thou reveal the end of the times, secretly by night.
 Thou didst make with him an everlasting covenant, and promise him that thou wouldst never forsake his descendants; and thou gavest to him Isaac, and to Isaac thou gavest Jacob and Esau.
 And thou didst set apart Jacob for thyself, but Esau thou didst reject; and Jacob became a great multitude.
 And when thou didst lead his descendants out of Egypt, thou didst bring them to Mount Sinai.
 Thou didst bend down the heavens and shake the earth, and move the world, and make the depths to tremble, and trouble the times.
 And thy glory passed through the four gates of fire and earthquake and wind and ice, to give the law to the descendants of Jacob, and thy commandment to the posterity of Israel.
 "Yet thou didst not take away from them their evil heart, so that thy law might bring forth fruit in them.
 For the first Adam, burdened with an evil heart, transgressed and was overcome, as were also all who were descended from him.
 Thus the disease became permanent; the law was in the people's heart along with the evil root, but what was good departed, and the evil remained.
 So the times passed and the years were completed, and thou didst raise up for thyself a servant, named David.
 And thou didst command him to build a city for thy name, and in it to offer thee oblations from what is thine.
 This was done for many years; but the inhabitants of the city transgressed,
 in everything doing as Adam and all his descendants had done, for they also had the evil heart.
 So thou didst deliver the city into the hands of thy enemies.
 "Then I said in my heart, Are the deeds of those who inhabit Babylon any better? Is that why she has gained dominion over Zion?
 For when I came here I saw ungodly deeds without number, and my soul has seen many sinners during these thirty years. And my heart failed me,
 for I have seen how thou dost endure those who sin, and hast spared those who act wickedly, and hast destroyed thy people, and hast preserved thy enemies,
 and hast not shown to any one how thy way may be comprehended. Are the deeds of Babylon better than those of Zion?
 Or has another nation known thee besides Israel? Or what tribes have so believed thy covenants as these tribes of Jacob?
 Yet their reward has not appeared and their labor has borne no fruit. For I have traveled widely among the nations and have seen that they abound in wealth, though they are unmindful of thy commandments.
 Now therefore weigh in a balance our iniquities and those of the inhabitants of the world; and so it will be found which way the turn of the scale will incline.
 When have the inhabitants of the earth not sinned in thy sight? Or what nation has kept thy commandments so well?
 Thou mayest indeed find individual men who have kept thy commandments, but nations thou wilt not find."
 Then the angel that had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel, answered
 and said to me, "Your understanding has utterly failed regarding this world, and do you think you can comprehend the way of the Most High?"
 Then I said, "Yes, my lord." And he replied to me, "I have been sent to show you three ways, and to put before you three problems.
 If you can solve one of them for me, I also will show you the way you desire to see, and will teach you why the heart is evil."
 I said, "Speak on, my lord." And he said to me, "Go, weigh for me the weight of fire, or measure for me a measure of wind, or call back for me the day that is past."
 I answered and said, "Who of those that have been born can do this, that you ask me concerning these things?"
 And he said to me, "If I had asked you, `How many dwellings are in the heart of the sea, or how many streams are at the source of the deep, or how many streams are above the firmament, or which are the exits of hell, or which are the entrances of paradise?'
 Perhaps you would have said to me, `I never went down into the deep, nor as yet into hell, neither did I ever ascend into heaven.'
 But now I have asked you only about fire and wind and the day, things through which you have passed and without which you cannot exist, and you have given me no answer about them!"
 And he said to me, "You cannot understand the things with which you have grown up;
 how then can your mind comprehend the way of the Most High? And how can one who is already worn out by the corrupt world understand incorruption?" When I heard this, I fell on my face
 and said to him, "It would be better for us not to be here than to come here and live in ungodliness, and to suffer and not understand why."
 He answered me and said, "I went into a forest of trees of the plain, and they made a plan
 and said, `Come, let us go and make war against the sea, that it may recede before us, and that we may make for ourselves more forests.'
 And in like manner the waves of the sea also made a plan and said, `Come, let us go up and subdue the forest of the plain so that there also we may gain more territory for ourselves.'
 But the plan of the forest was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it;
 likewise also the plan of the waves of the sea, for the sand stood firm and stopped them.
 If now you were a judge between them, which would you undertake to justify, and which to condemn?"
 I answered and said, "Each has made a foolish plan, for the land is assigned to the forest, and to the sea is assigned a place to carry its waves."
 He answered me and said, "You have judged rightly, but why have you not judged so in your own case?
 For as the land is assigned to the forest and the sea to its waves, so also those who dwell upon earth can understand only what is on the earth, and he who is above the heavens can understand what is above the height of the heavens."
 Then I answered and said, "I beseech you, my lord, why have I been endowed with the power of understanding?
 For I did not wish to inquire about the ways above, but about those things which we daily experience: why Israel has been given over to the Gentiles as a reproach; why the people whom you loved has been given over to godless tribes, and the law of our fathers has been made of no effect and the written covenants no longer exist;
 and why we pass from the world like locusts, and our life is like a mist, and we are not worthy to obtain mercy.
 But what will he do for his name, by which we are called? It is about these things that I have asked."
 He answered me and said, "If you are alive, you will see, and if you live long, you will often marvel, because the age is hastening swiftly to its end.
 For it will not be able to bring the things that have been promised to the righteous in their appointed times, because this age is full of sadness and infirmities.
 For the evil about which you ask me has been sown, but the harvest of it has not yet come.
 If therefore that which has been sown is not reaped, and if the place where the evil has been sown does not pass away, the field where the good has been sown will not come.
 For a grain of evil seed was sown in Adam's heart from the beginning, and how much ungodliness it has produced until now, and will produce until the time of threshing comes!
 Consider now for yourself how much fruit of ungodliness a grain of evil seed has produced.
 When heads of grain without number are sown, how great a threshing floor they will fill!"
 Then I answered and said, "How long and when will these things be? Why are our years few and evil?"
 He answered me and said, "You do not hasten faster than the Most High, for your haste is for yourself, but the Highest hastens on behalf of many.
 Did not the souls of the righteous in their chambers ask about these matters, saying, `How long are we to remain here? And when will come the harvest of our reward?
 And Jeremiel the archangel answered them and said, `When the number of those like yourselves is completed; for he has weighed the age in the balance,
 and measured the times by measure, and numbered the times by number; and he will not move or arouse them until that measure is fulfilled.'"
 Then I answered and said, "O sovereign Lord, but all of us also are full of ungodliness.
 And it is perhaps on account of us that the time of threshing is delayed for the righteous -- on account of the sins of those who dwell on earth."
 He answered me and said, "Go and ask a woman who is with child if, when her nine months have been completed, her womb can keep the child within her any longer."
 And I said, "No, lord, it cannot." And he said to me, "In Hades the chambers of the souls are like the womb.
 For just as a woman who is in travail makes haste to escape the pangs of birth, so also do these places hasten to give back those things that were committed to them from the beginning.
 Then the things that you desire to see will be disclosed to you."
 I answered and said, "If I have found favor in your sight, and if it is possible, and if I am worthy,
 show me this also: whether more time is to come than has passed, or whether for us the greater part has gone by.
 For I know what has gone by, but I do not know what is to come."
 And he said to me, "Stand at my right side, and I will show you the interpretation of a parable."
 So I stood and looked, and behold, a flaming furnace passed by before me, and when the flame had gone by I looked, and behold, the smoke remained.
 And after this a cloud full of water passed before me and poured down a heavy and violent rain, and when the rainstorm had passed, drops remained in the cloud.
 And he said to me, "Consider it for yourself; for as the rain is more than the drops, and the fire is greater than the smoke, so the quantity that passed was far greater; but drops and smoke remained."
 Then I prayed and said, "Do you think that I shall live until those days? Or who will be alive in those days?"
 He answered me and said, "Concerning the signs about which you ask me, I can tell you in part; but I was not sent to tell you concerning your life, for I do not know.
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므나세의기도(Prayer of Manasseh)