4 Ezra 3:14

2 Esdras

12 ‘The population of the earth increased; families and peoples multiplied, nation upon nation. But then once again they began to sin, more wickedly than those' before them. 13 When they sinned, you chose for yourself one of them, whose name was Abraham; 14 him you loved, and to him alone, secretly, at dead of night, you showed how the world would end. 15 You made an everlasting covenant with him and promised never to abandon his descendants. 16 You gave him Isaac, and to Isaac you gave Jacob and Esau; of these you chose Jacob for yourself and rejected Esau; and Jacob grew to be a great nation.

Genesis Rabbah 44:21


AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT, WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN, AND THERE WAS THICK DARKNESS (xv, 17): there was intense darkness.” BEHOLD A SMOKING FURNACE AND A FLAMING TORCH. Simeon b. Abba said in R. Johanan’s name: He [God] showed him four things, viz. Gehenna, the [foreign] kingdoms,’ Revelation, and the Temple, with the promise: As long as thy children occupy themselves with the latter two, they will be saved from the former two; if they neglect the latter two they will be punished by the former two. Wouldst thou rather that thy children descend into Gehenna or into the power of the [foreign] kingdoms? He asked him. R. Hinena b. Papa said: Abraham himself chose [subjection to foreign] powers.

 Notes and References

"... interpreters came to a further conclusion: what was particularly trying about this incident was the fact that God had actually shown Abraham far more than the period of slavery in Egypt to be endured by his descendants. To begin with, if God had shown Abraham four hundred years of future history, it seemed logical to interpreters that He would have shown him the rest as well, including the punishment to be meted out to the later "nation[s] which they serve." Such a notion could only be supported by the text's mention of the "dread and great darkness falling" on Abraham (Genesis 15:12)—for certainly such dread ought not to have been caused merely by the sight of his descendants' sojourn in, and exodus from, Egypt. Interpreters therefore came to view this incident as a fully prophetic apocalypse in which Abraham was afforded a view of all of human history, of heaven and hell, and other things normally hidden from the sight of mere mortals ..."

Kugel, James L. The Bible as it Was (p. 169) Harvard University Press, 1998

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