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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on 2 Esdras

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15.1–4 :

Command to prophesy. Sixth Ezra begins abruptly, as if it were simply a continuation of God's instructions to Ezra in 14.45–48 . Since it was probably composed independently of 4 Ezra, its own introduction may have been removed to make for a smoother transition.

15.5–27 :

Impending doom for sinners. The prophecies of 6 Ezra are motivated by the belief that the end of the world is at hand; many of the calamities predicted in 15.5–16.34 recall the “signs” of the end in 4 Ezra 5.1–13 and 6.17–24 .

10 :

My people: It is generally assumed that the author and his audience, who were evidently suffering persecution, were Christians, but it is possible that 6 Ezra, like 4 Ezra, was a Jewish composition. Egypt is probably just a symbol for oppressive rulers, but it may have been the actual location of the author's community.

20–22 :

The kings of the earth are the primary target of God's vengeance, because they have caused innocent blood to be shed.

24–27 :

No one who has broken the commandments will go unpunished, however.

15.28–45 :

Visions of terror from the east.

28–33 :

The first of the two visions is believed to be a symbolic description of a battle between the forces of Odenathus of Palmyra (the dragons of Arabia) and Shapur I of Persia (the Carmonians) which took place in the Roman province of Syria (Assyria) in 260–261 CE. If this interpretation * is correct, the author of 6 Ezra must have written sometime after that date. For the style, compare Dan 8 and 11 .

34–45 :

The symbolic language of the second vision is much less specific, suggesting that the events it predicts had not yet taken place when it was written.

43 :

Babylon is almost certainly a code name for Rome (compare 3.28–36 and Rev 18 ). Evidently, the author anticipated the destruction of Rome by an army from the east.

15.46–63 :

Woe to Asia. Asia probably refers to the Roman province of Asia Minor (modern Turkey); it is condemned for adopting many of the customs of its conqueror.

47–48 :

The cities (daughters) of Asia Minor were adorned with many temples to the Roman gods. Prostitution is a common metaphor * for the worship of foreign gods in the Hebrew Bible; compare also Rev 17.4–6 .

52–59 :

Some scholars locate the author's persecuted community in Asia Minor because of the bitterness of these verses.

60 :

The nation that destroys Rome will also wipe out Asia on its way back to the east.

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