chapter  7
21 Pages

The social function of 4 Ezra

The Jewish apocalypse entitled 4 Ezra presents itself as a work composed by a Jewish exile in Babylon some thirty years after the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. The actual apocalypse (leaving aside an introduction added later) begins like this:

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.