Good News Translation (GNB)
2

21“So the Lord carried out the threat he had made against us and against our judges, our kings, our rulers, and the people of Israel and Judah. 2Nowhere else on earth have such things happened as happened in Jerusalem when the Lord carried out the threats written in the Law of Moses. 3Things were so bad that we even ate the flesh of our own sons and daughters. 4The Lord scattered our people, handing us over to the control of all the nations around us, and they looked on us with reproach and horror. 5We sinned against the Lord our God and refused to obey him. Therefore our nation was conquered, instead of being victorious.

6“The Lord our God is always righteous, but we and our ancestors are still burdened with our guilt. 7Even though the Lord punished us as he had threatened, 8we still did not turn to him and pray that we might abandon our evil thoughts. 9-10We did not obey him or live by his just commands, so the Lord brought on us all the punishments he had kept ready for us.

The Prayer for Deliverance

11“You, O Lord, are the God of Israel who brought your people out of Egypt with great power and with signs, miracles, and wonders. You showed your mighty strength and gained a glorious reputation, which is still recognized today. 12O Lord our God, we have sinned; we have been unfaithful; we have disobeyed all your commands. 13But do not be angry with us any longer. Here among the nations where you have scattered us, only a few of us are left. 14Listen to our prayer of petition, Lord, and rescue us for the sake of your own honour. Let those who have taken us into exile be pleased with us. 15Then the whole world will know that you are the Lord our God and that you have chosen the nation of Israel to be your own people.

16“O Lord, look down from heaven and see our misery. Listen to our prayer. 17Open your eyes and look upon us. Those in the world of the dead with no breath left in their bodies cannot offer praises to you or proclaim how just you are. 18Only the living, O Lord, can offer you praise and acknowledge your justice, even though they may be suffering greatly, bent and weak, hungry and with failing eyesight.

19“O Lord our God, we pray to you for mercy, but not because of any good things done by our ancestors and our kings. 20You turned your anger and wrath against us, just as you had threatened to do when your servants the prophets spoke your word to us and said, 21

2.21–23:
Jer 7.34
27.10–12
‘Bend your backs and serve the king of Babylonia, and you can remain in the land that I gave to your ancestors. 22But if you refuse to obey my command to serve him, 23I will bring to an end every sound of joy and celebration in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem. Even the happy sounds of wedding feasts will no longer be heard. The whole land will be desolate and uninhabited.’

24

2.24:
Jer 8.1–2
“But we did not obey your command to serve the king of Babylonia, so you carried out the threat that you had made when you spoke through your servants the prophets, when you said that the bones of our kings and of our ancestors would be taken from their tombs and scattered. 25And now here they lie exposed to the heat of the day and to the frost of the night. They died in torment from famine, war, and disease. 26And because of the sin of the people of Israel and Judah, you have reduced your own Temple to ruins, even as it is today.

27“But, Lord, you have been patient with us and have shown us great mercy, 28

2.28–29:
Deut 28.58–62
as you promised through your servant Moses on the day you commanded him to write your Law in the presence of the Israelites. 29‘If you do not obey me,’ you said, ‘you will be reduced to a handful among the nations where I will scatter you. 30I know that you will not obey me, because you are a stubborn people. But when you are taken into exile in another land, you will come to your senses. 31Then you will realize that I am the Lord your God, and I will give you a desire to know and a mind with which to understand. 32There in the land of your exile you will praise me and remember me. 33You will stop being so stubborn and wicked, for you will remember what happened to your ancestors when they sinned against the Lord. 34Then I will bring you back to the land that I solemnly promised to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it will be yours again. I will increase your population, and you will never again be reduced to a small number. 35
2.35:
Jer 32.38–40
I will make an everlasting covenant with you; I will be your God and you will be my people. I will never again remove you, the people of Israel, from the land that I gave you.’

3

31“O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, from the depth of our troubled, weary souls we cry out to you. 2Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy on us, because we have sinned against you. 3You reign as king for ever, but we die and are gone for ever. 4O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear our prayer. We are no better than the dead. Our ancestors sinned against you, the Lord their God. They refused to obey you, and we are suffering the consequences of their sin. 5Forget the sinful things that our ancestors did in the past; at a time like this, think only of your power and reputation, 6for you are the Lord our God, and we will praise you. 7You have made us fear you, so that we might pray to you. Here in exile we will praise you because we have turned away from the sins of our ancestors. 8You have scattered us among the nations, and you have made them despise and curse us. You are punishing us for the sins of our ancestors when they rebelled against you, the Lord our God.”

In Praise of Wisdom

9

3.9:
Prov 4.20–22
Listen, Israel, to the commands that promise life; pay attention, and you will become wise. 10Why is it, Israel, that you find yourself in an enemy land? Why have you grown old in a foreign country? You are ritually unclean, like the dead; 11you are already counted among the dead. But why? 12It is because you have left the source of Wisdom! 13If you had walked in God's ways, you would have lived in peace for ever. 14Learn where understanding, strength, and insight are to be found. Then you will know where to find a long and full life, light to guide you, and peace.

15

3.15:
Job 28.12,20
No one has ever found where Wisdom lives or has entered her treasure house, 16-17and those who have tried have vanished: the rulers of the nations, those who hunted wild animals and birds for sport, those who accumulated vast fortunes of silver and gold, which everyone trusts and will do anything to get, 18and those who worried and schemed to make money, but who left no trace of their work behind. 19They have all disappeared and gone down to the world of the dead. Others have come along to take their place. 20A later generation was born and lived in the land, but they too did not discover the way to knowledge. They did not find the path to Wisdom or ever reach her. 21Their children also failed. 22Wisdom was not found by the Canaanites. It has not been discovered by the Edomites 23although they search after knowledge. The way to Wisdom has not been found by the merchants of Merran and Tema or by those who relate fables or by any others who seek understanding.

24O Israel, how great is the universe in which God dwells! How vast is all that he possesses! 25There is no end to it; there is no way to measure how wide or how high it is. 26

3.26:
Gen 6.4
Wis 14.6
Here in early times the famous giants were born, a mighty race skilled in war. 27But God did not choose them to be his people or show them the way of knowledge. 28They died out because they had neither understanding nor insight.

29No one has ever gone up into heaven to get Wisdom and bring her down out of the clouds. 30No one has sailed across the seas to find Wisdom, or bought her with precious gold. 31No one knows how to get to her or how to discover the path that leads to her.

32The only one who knows Wisdom is God, and he knows all things. With his understanding he found her. He established the earth for all time and filled it with all kinds of animals. 33The light trembled and obeyed when he called. He sent it out, and it appeared. 34He called the stars, and they promptly answered; they took their places and gladly shone to please the one who made them. 35He is our God, and there is none like him. 36He discovered the entire path leading to understanding and gave Wisdom to his servant Israel, whom he loved. 37From that time on, Wisdom appeared on earth and lived among us.

4

41

4.1:
Sir 24.23
Wisdom is the book of God's commandments, the Law that will last for ever. All who hold on to her will live, but those who abandon her will die. 2Turn to Wisdom, people of Israel, and take hold of her. Make your way towards the splendour of her light. 3Do not surrender our glorious privileges to any other people. 4How happy we are, people of Israel; we have the advantage of knowing what is pleasing to God!

Comfort for Jerusalem

5Take courage, my people, you are the ones who keep Israel's name alive. 6You were sold to Gentile nations, but not to be destroyed. Because you made God angry, he handed you over to your enemies. 7When you offered sacrifices to demons instead of to God, you angered the one who made you. 8You forgot the Eternal God, who had nourished you as a child, and so you brought grief to Jerusalem, who had been like a mother to you. 9Jerusalem saw that God was punishing you because he was angry, and she said to all the neighbouring cities, “Look at the great misery that God has brought on me. 10I saw my sons and daughters taken into captivity, a captivity brought on them by the Eternal God. 11I brought up my children with great delight, but I cried and mourned when they were taken from me. 12Let no one take pleasure in my suffering now that I am a widow and so many of my children have been taken from me. They turned away from God's Law, and their sins have made me a deserted city. 13They had no respect for his commandments and would not live by them; they refused to let him guide them in the way of righteousness.

14“All you neighbouring cities, come and consider how the Eternal God has sent my children into exile. 15He brought against them a nation from far away, a shameless nation that speaks a foreign language and has no respect for the elderly and no pity for children. 16These people carried off my beloved sons and took away my daughters, and I was left a widow, completely alone.

17“My children in exile, I can do nothing to help you. 18Only the one who brought this punishment upon you can rescue you from your enemies. 19

4.19:
2 Esd 2.2
Go your own way, my children; live your own life! I am all alone. 20I have taken off the robes I wore during days of peace, and I have dressed myself like a person in mourning. I will cry out to the Eternal God for help as long as I live.

21“Take courage, my children, and cry out to God for help. He will rescue you from oppression, from the power of your enemies. 22I am confident that the Eternal God will soon set you free. The Holy One, your eternal saviour, will make me happy when he shows you mercy. 23I cried and wailed when you were taken away, but God will bring you back and will make me happy for ever. 24Just as the neighbouring cities watched as you were taken captive, so they will soon see the Eternal God coming in glorious splendour to rescue you. 25My children, endure God's punishment with patience. Your enemies have persecuted you, but you will soon see them destroyed and at your mercy. 26My children, I spoiled you with love, but you have had to follow rugged paths; you were carried off like sheep caught in an enemy raid.

27“Take courage, my children, and cry out to God for help. He punished you, but he will not forget you. 28Just as you were once determined to turn away from God, now turn back and serve him with ten times more determination. 29The one who brought these calamities upon you will rescue you and bring you everlasting joy.”

Jerusalem Is Assured of Help

30Take courage, Jerusalem. God, who gave you your name, will now bring comfort to you. 31Misery will come to those who ill-treated you and then rejoiced when you fell. 32Misery will come to those cities that made your children slaves. Misery will be the fate of Babylon, that city which swallowed up your children. 33Just as that city rejoiced when you fell and took delight in your ruin, so now she will mourn when she herself is deserted. 34I will turn her proud boastings into mourning and take away her large population in which she took pride. 35I, the Eternal God, will send down fire on her, and it will burn for many days. Her ruins will be haunted by demons for a long time to come.

36Look to the east, Jerusalem, and see the joy that God is bringing to you. 37Look, your children are coming home, the children that were taken from you. They have been gathered together from the east and from the west by the command of God, the Holy One. And now they are coming home, rejoicing in the glory of God.