Bible books
not included in the Catholic canon

This page:
The Prayer of Manasseh
Apocalyptic Esdras
4 Maccabees


the Bible

index pages:

The Prayer of Manasseh

Deuterocanonical Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox scripture
Possibly late second century BCE

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

NRSV 12-15

I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,

and I acknowledge my transgressions.

I earnestly implore you,

forgive me, O Lord, forgive me!

Do not destroy me with my transgressions!

Do not be angry with me forever or store up evil for me;

do not condemn me to the depths of the earth.

For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,

and in me you will manifest your goodness;

for, unworthy as I am, you will save me according to your great mercy,

and I will praise you continually all the days of my life.

For all the host of heaven sings your praise,

and yours is the glory forever. Amen.



text checked (see note) Sep 2009

top of page
Apocalyptic Esdras

Notes on authors, dates, and content are below.
For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

Additional category: Apocalyptic writings

NRSV 4:4-12

“If you can solve one of them for me, then I will show you the way you desire to see, and will teach you why the heart is evil.”

I said, “Speak, my lord.”

And he said to me, “Go, weigh for me the weight of fire, or measure for me a blast of wind, or call back for me the day that is past.”

I answered and said, “Who of those that have been born can do that, that you should ask me about such things?”

And he said to me, “If I had asked you, ‘How many dwellings are in the heart of the sea, or how many streams are at the source of the deep, or how many streams are above the firmament, or which are the exits of Hades, or which are the entrances of paradise?’ perhaps you would have said to me, ‘I never went down in to the deep, nor as yet into Hades, neither did I ever ascend into heaven.’ But now I have asked you only about fire and wind and the day — things that you have experienced and from which you cannot be separated, and you have given me no answer about them.” He said to me, “You cannot understand the things with which you have grown up; how then can your mind comprehend the way of the Most High? And how can one who is already worn out by the corrupt world understand incorruption?” When I heard this, I fell on my face and said to him, “It would have been better for us not to be here than to come here and live in ungodliness, and to suffer and not understand why.”



7:3b-5 And he said to me, “There is a sea set in a wide expanse so that it is deep and vast, but it has an entrance set in a narrow place, so that it is like a river. If there are those who wish to reach the sea, to look at it or to navigate it, how can they come to the broad part unless they pass through the narrow part?”

text checked (see note) Oct 2009

Note (Hal’s):
Esdras [Ezra] is not the author but rather the narrating character of this book, which is not in the Greek Bible, is included in the Slavonic Bible as 3 Esdras, and is an Appendix to the Vulgate as 4 Esdras. Illogically, Protestant Apocrypha compilations label it 2 Esdras. Three portions have separate origins:

Chapters 3-14 were written in Hebrew at the end of the first century CE, probably by a Jew. Some translations show deliberate Christian changes.

Chapters 1-2, sometimes called 5 Esdras, were added in Greek. If a date early in the second century CE is accepted, these are very early evidence of anti-Jewish notions among some Christians.

Chapter 14-15, sometimes called 6 Esdras, were perhaps added in the early third century CE. This section’s content is explicitly Christian, and except for one three-verse fragment, it survives in Latin but not Greek.

— end note

top of page
4 Maccabees

An appendix to the Greek Bible
Date: first century BCE or first century CE

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

NRSV 5:19-24 “Therefore do not suppose that it would be a petty sin if we were to eat defiling food; to transgress the law in matters either small or great is of equal seriousness, for in either case the law is equally despised. You scoff at our philosophy as though living by it were irrational, but it teaches us self-control, so that we master all pleasures and desires, and it also trains us in courage, so that we endure any suffering willingly; it instructs us in justice, so that in all our dealings we act impartially, and it teaches us piety, so that with proper reverence we worship the only living God.”




text checked (see note) Oct 2009

Note (Hal’s):
Another re-interpretation; in this version, the endurance of the torture victims described in 2 Maccabees is treated as evidence of the ability of reason to master emotions and desires.

— end note

top of page