Monday, February 10, 2014

2 Esdras, Chapter 5: Limited womb space

The apocalypse is coming! There are a lot of signs to look for, so I'm just going to list the highlights: a trumpet will sound 3 times, then the sun will appear at night, a stone will talk, the delightfully named Sodomitish sea will throw its fish out of its water, menstruating women will give birth to monsters, then shall wit hide itself and understanding withdraw itself into his secret chamber (v.9). God stops then and tells Esdras there's more, but he'll have to fast and pray for a week to find out what it is.

Then Esdras wakes up shaking in the middle of the night. The angel hugs him and picks him up. The next night, Salathiel, who is some kind of mayor or something, comes and asks Esdras where he's been and why he looks so sad. He encourages Esdras to eat, but Esdras is too busy being a drama queen. He tells Salathiel to leave, so he can fast and mourn and pray for a new list of salacious things that will happen to the hell-bound.

He whines to god about how his people have been faithful and love the law, but now god has enslaved and scattered them. He asks why god didn't punish them himself, but got the Babylonians to do it. The angel appears and asks if Esdras loves the Israelites more than god. Esdras does not, but his kidneys hurt from trying to understand god's thinking. The angel explains that it's impossible, and Esdras wonders why god didn't abort him from his mother's womb then. The angel gives him another list of impossible tasks like show me the image of a voice (v. 37) and agrees to explain whatever he wants to know. Esdras points out the impossibility of the tasks and the angel explains he can never understand god, especially his love for his people.

Esdras asks what will happen to people who came before and after him, and god says his judgement is an infinity symbol. Esdras asks him to speed up the process, but god tells him not to get ahead of himself, and besides, the earth is too small to hold everyone, and likens the planet to a woman, who cannot have all her babies at once due to limited space. God says earth is the same. Next god tells him to ask a woman why people are shorter now than in the past. Ooh! Ooh! I know this one! Agriculture!

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