Mother (2 Esdras)

From Monarchists.Wiki

In the apocryphal (in the view of Protestants, the Catholic and most Eastern Orthodox churches) or deuterocanonical (in the view of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church) text 2 Esdras (4 Ezra), God, via His angel Uriel, commanded the priest and scribe Ezra (Esdras) to go to a field of flowers where humans had not yet built dwelling and to stay, pray, and eat only flowers there for seven days.

Ezra follows God's commands, and after praying and eating flowers in the field of Ardat for seven days, a grieving mother appeared. She told Ezra that she did not conceive children for thirty years. For thirty years, she prayed to God for children, and after thirty years of praying, God finally answered her prayers and she conceived a child. She praised God for allowing her to finally conceive a child. She raised the child with care.

Your servant was barren and had no child, though I lived with my husband for thirty years. Every hour and every day during those thirty years I prayed to the Most High, night and day. And after thirty years God heard your servant, and looked upon my low estate, and considered my distress, and gave me a son. I rejoiced greatly over him, I and my husband and all my neighbors; and we gave great glory to the Mighty One. And I brought him up with much care.

— 2 Esdras 9:43–9:47 (NRSV)

When the son grew up, the mother selected a wife for him. However, her son died. Her neighbors tried to console her, but she fled to the field and resolved to mourn and fast until she dies.

So when he grew up and I came to take a wife for him, I set a day for the marriage feast.

But it happened that when my son entered his wedding chamber, he fell down and died. So all of us put out our lamps, and all my neighbors attempted to console me; I remained quiet until the evening of the second day. But when all of them had stopped consoling me, encouraging me to be quiet, I got up in the night and fled, and I came to this field, as you see. And now I intend not to return to the town, but to stay here; I will neither eat nor drink, but will mourn and fast continually until I die.

— 2 Esdras 9:47–10:4 (NRSV)

Ezra told the woman that she should not grieve for one person when so many others perished. He consoled her, telling her that if she acknowledges the God's law to be just, she would rejoin her son after death. Ezra told her of the recent destruction of Jerusalem and told that God would be merciful and give her a break from her troubles if she casts aside her sadness.

After consoling her, the mother's face began to radiate and shine, becoming lightning-like. Ezra was frighten. Then the mother let out an Earth-shaking cry. The mother disappears, and a city appeared.

Interpretation[edit]

The terrified Ezra called for Uriel. Uriel appeared, and Erza asked for an explanation for what he saw. Uriel explained that Ezra was shown the vision due to Ezra's righteousness and Ezra's sorrow over the destruction of Jerusalem. The angel explained that the mother represented Zion, that the thirty years of not conceiving children represented three thousand years without offerings being offered to God, and that the son's death represented the destruction of Jerusalem.

The woman who appeared to you a little while ago, whom you saw mourning and whom you began to console (you do not now see the form of a woman, but there appeared to you a city being built) and who told you about the misfortune of her son—this is the interpretation: The woman whom you saw is Zion, which you now behold as a city being built. And as for her telling you that she was barren for thirty years, the reason is that there were three thousand years in the world before any offering was offered in it. And after three thousand years Solomon built the city, and offered offerings; then it was that the barren woman bore a son. And as for her telling you that she brought him up with much care, that was the period of residence in Jerusalem. And as for her saying to you, My son died as he entered his wedding chamber, and that misfortune had overtaken her, this was the destruction that befell Jerusalem.

— 2 Esdras 10:41&ndas;10:48 (NRSV)

Uriel then explained that God allowed Ezra to witness the mother's (Zion's) radiance due to the sincere grief and compassion Ezra felt towards her, and Uriel explained that Ezra was commanded to come to a field untouched by human dwellings since only an inhabited area would not had withstood the appearance of the city of God.

So you saw her likeness, how she mourned for her son, and you began to console her for what had happened. For now the Most High, seeing that you are sincerely grieved and profoundly distressed for her, has shown you the brilliance of her glory, and the loveliness of her beauty. Therefore I told you to remain in the field where no house had been built, for I knew that the Most High would reveal these things to you. Therefore I told you to go into the field where there was no foundation of any building, because no work of human construction could endure in a place where the city of the Most High was to be revealed.

— 2 Esdras 10:49–10:54 (NRSV)

Uriel then told Ezra to not be afraid and told him to examine the city.