The Book of Gleanings
The Book of the Bee
TRUSTING in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we begin to write this book of gleanings called 'The Bee,' which was composed by the saint of God, Mâr Solomon, metropolitan of Perath-Maishân, that is Bassorah (al-Basrah), one of His companions. O Lord, in Thy mercy help me. Amen.
Chapter 1 - Of God's Eternal Intention in Respect of the Creation of the Universe
IT is well for us to take the materials for our discourse from the divine Scriptures, that we may not stray from the straight paths of the way of truth.
The blessed David saith: Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations, before the mountains were conceived.
David, the harpist of the Spirit, makes known thereby, that although there was a beginning of the framing of Adam and the other creatures when they were made, yet in the mind of God it had no beginning; that it might not be thought that God has a new thought in respect of anything that is renewed day by day, or that the construction of Creation was newly planned in the mind of God: but everything that He has created and is about to create, even the marvellous construction of the world to come, has been planned from everlasting in the immutable mind of God.
As the natural child in the womb of his mother knows not her who bears him, nor is conscious of his father, who, after God, is the cause of his formation; so also Adam, being in the mind of the Creator, knew Him not. And when he was created, and recognised himself as being created, he remained with this knowledge six hours only, and there came over him a change, from knowledge to ignorance and from good to evil. Hence, when Divine Providence wished to create the world, the framing of Adam was first designed and conceived in the mind of God, and then that of the (other) creatures; as David saith, 'Before the mountains were conceived.'
Consequently, Adam is older than the (other) creatures in respect of his conception, and the (other) creatures are older than Adam in respect of their birth and their being made. And whereas God created all creatures in silence and by a word, He brought forth Adam out of His thoughts, and formed him with His holy hands, and breathed the breath of life into him from His Spirit, and Adam became a living soul, and God gave him the knowledge of the difference between good and evil.
When he perceived his Creator, then was God formed and conceived within the mind of man; and man became a temple to God his maker, as it is written: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? And again: I will dwell in them, and walk in them.
Chapter 2 - Of the Creation of the Seven Natures (Substances) in Silence
WHEN God in His mercy wished to make known all His power and His wisdom, in the beginning, on the evening of the first day, which is Sunday, He created seven natures (substances) in silence, without voice. And because there was as yet none to hear a sound, He did well to create them in silence, that He might not make anything uselessly; but He willed, and heaven, earth, water, air, fire, and the angels and darkness, came into being from nothing.
Chapter 3 - Of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire
THE earth was tôhu we-bôhu, that is to say, it was unarranged and unadorned, but plunged in the midst of the waters. The waters were above it, and above the waters was air, and above the air was fire.
The earth is by nature cold and dry. Dry land appeared on the third day, when the trees and plants were created; and the waters were separated therefrom on the second day, when the firmament was made from them. Water is by nature cold and moist.
As touching the Spirit which was brooding upon the face of the waters, some men have ignorantly imagined it to have been the Holy Spirit, while others have more correctly thought it to have been this air (of ours). Air is by nature hot and moist.
Fire was operating in the upper ether, above the atmosphere; it possessed heat only, and was without luminosity until the fourth day, when the luminaries were created: we shall mention it in the chapter on the luminaries (chap. x). Fire is by nature hot and dry.
Chapter 4 - Of Heaven
HEAVEN is like a roof to the material world, and will serve as the floor of the new world. It is by nature shining and glorious, and is the dwelling-place of the invisible hosts. When God spread out this firmament, He brought up above it a third part of the waters, and above these is the heaven of light and of the luminaries.
Hence people say 'the heaven, and the heaven of heavens;’ for we call both the firmament and the waters which are above it 'heaven.'
Some consider that the verse 'Let the waters which are above the heavens praise the name of the Lord' refers to the holy angels and to our Lord's humanity; but neither the Church nor the orthodox teachers accept this.
Chapter 5 - Of the Angels
THE Angels consist of nine classes and three orders, upper, middle and lower.
The upper order is composed of Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones: these are called 'priests' (kumrê), and 'chief priests,' and 'bearers of God's throne.'
The middle order is composed of Lords, Powers and Rulers: these are called 'priests' (kâhnê), because they receive revelations from those above them.
The lower order consists of Principalities, Archangels and Angels: and these are the ministers who wait upon created things.
The Cherubim are an intellectual motion which bears the throne of the holy Trinity, and is the chief of all motions; they are ever watchful of the classes of themselves and those beneath them. As concerning the epithet 'full of eyes,' which is applied to them, the eyes indicate the mystery of the revelations of the Trinity. Their head, and the foremost and highest among them, is Gabriel, who is the mediator between God and His creation.
The Seraphim are a fiery motion, which warms those below it with the fire of the divine love. The six wings which each of them is said to possess indicate the revelations which they receive from the Creator and transmit to mankind.
The Thrones are a fixed motion, which is not shaken by the trials which come upon it. The Lords are a motion which is entrusted with the government of the motions beneath it; and it is that which prevents the demons from injuring created things.
The Powers are a mighty motion, the minister of the will of the Lord; and it is that which gives victory to some rulers in battle and defeat to others.
The Rulers are a motion which has power over the spiritual treasures, to distribute them to its companions according to the will of the Creator. This class of angels governs the luminaries, the sun, moon, and stars.
The Principalities are a defined motion which possesses the direction of the upper ether, of rain, clouds, lightning, thunder, whirlwinds, tempests, winds, and other ethereal disturbances.
The Archangels are a swift operative motion, into whose hands is entrusted the government of the wild beasts, cattle, winged fowl, reptiles, and everything that hath life, from the gnat to the elephant, except man.
The Angels are a motion which has spiritual knowledge of everything that is on earth and in heaven. With each and every one of us is an angel of this group--called the guardian angel--who directs man from his conception until the general resurrection. The number of each one of these classes of angels is equal to the number of all mankind from Adam to the resurrection. Hence it is handed down that the number of people who are going to enter the world is equal to the number of all the heavenly hosts.
But some say that the number is equal to that of one of the classes only, that they may fill the place of those of them who have fallen through transgressing the law; because the demons fell from three classes (of angels), from each class a third part. If then it is an acknowledged fact that there are three orders of angels, and in each order there are three classes, and in every class a number equivalent to that of all mankind, what is the total number of the angels?
Some say that when the angels were created, and were arranged in six divisions--Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels--the three lower divisions reflected (saying), 'What is the reason that these are set above, and we below? for they have not previously done anything more than we, neither do we fall short of them.' On account of this reflection as a cause, according to the custom of the (divine) government, Justice took from both sides, and established three other middle classes of angels--Lords, Powers, and Rulers--that the upper might not be (unduly) exalted, nor the lower think themselves wronged.
As for the dwelling-place of the angels, some say that above the firmament there are waters, and above them another heaven in the form of infinite light, and that this is the home of the angels. Here too is God without limit, and the angels, invisible to bodily eyes, surround the throne of His majesty, where they minister to 'the tabernacle not made with hands.'
Others say that, from the beginning, when God created the angels, until the second day, in which the firmament was made, all the classes of angels dwelt in the upper heavens; but when the firmament was made, they all came down below it, with the exception of three classes--the Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones--who remained above it. These surrounded and supported the Shechinah of God from the beginning of the world until our Lord ascended unto heaven; and after the Ascension, behold, they surround and support the throne of the Christ God, who is over all, until the end of the world.
The Expositor and his companions say: 'The tabernacle which Moses made is a type of the whole world.' The outer tabernacle is the likeness of this world, but the inner tabernacle is the similitude of the place that is above the firmament. And as the priests ministered in the outer tabernacle daily, while the high priest alone entered into the inner tabernacle once a year; so of all rational beings, angels and men, no one has entered (the place) above the firmament, save the High Priest of our confession, Jesus Christ.
The fathers, when they have been deemed worthy at any time to see our Lord in a revelation, have seen Him in heaven, surrounded by the Cherubim and Seraphim. Hence some say that there are angels above the heavens. All these celestial hosts have revelations both of sight and of hearing; but the Cherubim have revelations by sight only, because there is no mediator between them and God.
The angels have an intellect superior to that of the rest of rational beings; man has stronger desire, and the demons a greater degree of anger.
Chapter 6 - Of Darkness
DARKNESS is a self-existent nature; and if it had not had a nature, it would not have been reckoned among the seven natures which were created in the beginning in silence. Others say that darkness is not a self-existent nature, but that it is the shadow of bodies.
Chapter 7 - Of Effused (Circumambient) Light
WHEN the holy angels were created on the evening of the first day, without voice, they understood not their creation, but thought within themselves that they were selfexistent beings and not made. On the morning of the first day God said in an audible and commanding voice, 'Let there be light,' and immediately the effused light was created. When the angels saw the creation of light, they knew of a certainty that He who had made light had created them. And they shouted with a loud voice, and praised Him, and marvelled at His creation of light, as the blessed teacher saith, 'When the Creator made that light, the angels marvelled thereat,' etc.; and as it is said in Job, 'When I created the morning star, all my angels praised me.' Now by nature light has no warmth.
Chapter 8 - Of the Firmament
ON the evening of the second day of the week, God willed to divide the heavens from the earth, that there might be luminaries and stars beneath the heavens to give light to this world, and that the heavens might be a dwelling-place for the righteous and the angels after the resurrection. God said, 'Let there be a firmament which shall divide the waters from the waters'; and straightway the waters were divided into three parts. One part remained upon the earth for the use of men, cattle, winged fowl--the rivers and the seas; of another part God made the firmament; and the third part He took up above the firmament. But on the day of resurrection the waters will return to their former nature.
Chapter 9 - Of the Creation of Trees and Plants, and the Making of Seas and Rivers
ON the third day God commanded that the waters should be gathered together into the pits and depths of the earth, and that the dry land should appear. When the waters were gathered together into the depths of the earth, and the mountains and hills had appeared, God placed the sand as a limit for the waters of the seas, that they might not pass over and cover the earth.
And God commanded the earth to put forth herbage and grass and every green thing; and the earth brought forth trees and herbs and plants of all kinds, complete and perfect in respect of flowers and fruit and seed, each according to its kind.
Some say that before the transgression of the command, the earth brought forth neither thorns nor briars, and that even the rose had no thorns as it has now; but that after the transgression of the command, the earth put forth thorns and briars by reason of the curse which it had received.
The reason why God created the trees and plants before the creation of the luminaries was that the philosophers, who discourse on natural phenomena, might not imagine that the earth brought forth herbs and trees through the power of the heat of the sun.
Concerning the making of Paradise, it is not mentioned in the Pentateuch on what day it was created; but according to the opinion of those who may be relied upon, it was made on the same day in which the trees were made: and if the Lord will, we will speak about it in its proper place.
Chapter 10 - Of the Making of the Luminaries
ON the fourth day God made the luminaries--sun, moon, and stars--of three substances, air, light, and fire. He took aerial material and prepared vessels like lamps, and mixed fire with light, and filled them. And because in the nature of fire there was no light, nor heat in that of light, the fire imparted heat to the light, and the light gave luminosity to the fire; and from these two were the luminaries--sun, moon, and stars--fabricated.
Some say that the luminaries were made in the morning, that the sun was placed in the east, and the moon in the west; while others say that they were made in the evening, and that the sun was placed in the west, and the moon in the east; and therefore the Jews celebrate the fourteenth in the evening.
Others say that all the luminaries when they were created were placed in the east; the sun completed his course by day, while the moon waited until eventide, and then began her course. The path of the luminaries is beneath the firmament, and they are not fixed as men have foolishly stated, but the angels guide them.
Mâr Isaac says, 'The sun performs his course from the east to the west, and goes behind the lofty northern mountains the whole night until he rises in the east.'
And the philosophers say that during the night the luminaries perform their course under the earth.
Chapter 11 - Of the Creation of Sea-Monsters, Fish, Winged Fowl, and the Reptiles That Are In the Seas
ON the fifth day of the week God made from the waters mighty sea-monsters, fish, winged fowl, swimming beasts, and the reptiles that are in the seas. He created the winged fowl that are in the waters from the waters; for, like fish, they lay eggs and swim. Now, fish swim in the waters, and winged fowl in the air; but some of the latter in the waters also.
Although they say that swimming creatures were made from the waters, or that the other wild beasts and cattle were made from the earth; still they consist of parts of all the other elements. Those, however, that are of the waters, have the greater part of their composition made of water; while the greater part of those whose origin is earth, consists of earth: but none of them lack the four elements.
Chapter 12 - Of the Creation of Beasts and Animals
ON Friday eve God created them, and therefore animals can see at night as well as in the day time.
Others say that they were all created in the morning, and that God created Adam after them on the sixth day, which is Friday.
Chapter 13 - Of the Formation of Adam
ON the Friday, after the making of all created things, God said, 'Come, let us make man in our image and in our likeness.'
The Jews have interpreted the expression 'Come, let us make,' as referring to the angels; though God (adored be His glory!) needs not help from His creatures: but the expositors of the Church indicate the Persons of the adorable Trinity.
Some say that when God said 'Come, let us make man in our image and in our likeness,' the angels by the eye of the Spirit saw the right hand (of God) spread out over the whole world, and there were in it parts of all the creatures both spiritual and corporeal. And God took from these parts, and fashioned Adam with His holy hands, and breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
Others say that God took earth from the four quarters of the world, and formed Adam outside paradise; while others say that God fashioned him in the middle of the earth, on the spot where our Lord was crucified, and that there also was Adam's skull laid.
After God had formed Adam outside Paradise, He brought him in as a king, and made him king over all the creatures, and commanded him to give a name to each of them. God did not gather together unto Adam all cattle, nor (all) that swim in the sea, nor (all) the birds of the air, that he might give them names; but he received dominion and power over them to make use of them as he pleased, and to give them names, as a master to his slaves.
And when God had brought him into Paradise, He commanded him to till it and to guard it. Why did God say 'to till it and to guard it'?--for Paradise needed no guarding, and was adorned with fruit of all kinds, and there was none to injure it--unless it were to exhort him to keep His commandments, and to till it that he might not become a lover of idleness.
Because Adam had not seen his own formation, and was not acquainted with the power of his Maker, it was necessary that, when Eve was taken from him in his own likeness, he should perceive his Maker, and should acknowledge that He who made Eve also made him, and that they two were bound to be obedient to Him.
Chapter 14 - Of the Making of Eve
GOD said, 'Let us make a helper for Adam.'
And He threw upon Adam a sleep and stupor, and took one of his ribs from his left side, and put flesh in its place, and of it He formed Eve. He did not make her of earth, that she might not be considered something alien to him in nature; and He did not take her from Adam's fore-parts, that she might not uplift herself against him; nor from his hind-parts, that she might not be accounted despicable; nor from his right side, that she might not have pre-eminence over him; nor from his head, that she might not seek authority over him; nor from his feet, that she might not be trodden down and scorned in the eyes of her husband: but (He took her) from his left side, for the side is the place which unites and joins both front and back.
Concerning the sleep which God cast upon Adam, He made him to be half asleep and half awake, that he might not feel pain when the rib was taken from him, and look upon the woman as a hateful thing; and yet not without pain, that he might not think that she was not meet for him in matters of nature. When Adam came to himself, he prophesied and said, 'This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; this shall be called woman': and they were both clothed in light, and saw not each other's nakedness.
Chapter 15 - Of The Garden
IN the eastern part of the earth, on the mountain of Eden, beyond the ocean, God planted The Garden, and adorned it with fruit-bearing trees of all kinds, that it might be a dwelling-place for Adam and his progeny, if they should keep His commandments.
He made to spring forth from it a great river, which was parted into four heads, to water The Garden and the whole earth.
The first river is Pîshôn, which compasseth the land of Havîlâ, where there is gold and beryls and fair and precious stones.
The second river is Gihôn, that is, the Nile of Egypt.
The third river is Deklath (the Tigris), which travels through the land of Assyria and Bêth-Zabdai.
The fourth river is Perath (the Euphrates), which flows through the middle of the earth.
Some teachers say that The Garden surrounds the whole earth like a wall and a hedge beyond the ocean. Others say that it was placed upon the mount of Eden, higher than every other mountain in the world by fifteen cubits.
Others say that it was placed between heaven and earth, below the firmament and above this earth, and that God placed it there as a boundary for Adam between heaven and earth, so that, if he kept His commands, He might lift him up to heaven, but if he transgressed them, He might cast him down to this earth.
And as the land of heaven is better and more excellent than the land of The Garden, so was the land of The Garden better and more glorious and more excellent (than our earth); its trees were more beautiful, its flowers more odoriferous, and its atmosphere more pure than ours, through superiority of species and not by nature.
God made The Garden large enough to be the dwelling-place of Adam and of his posterity, provided that they kept the divine commandments. Now it is the dwelling-place of the souls of the righteous, and its keepers are Enoch and Elijah; Elijah the unwedded, and Enoch the married man: that the unwedded may not exalt themselves above the married, as if, forsooth, The Garden were suitable for the unwedded only.
The souls of sinners are without The Garden, in a deep place called Eden. After the resurrection, the souls of the righteous and the sinners will put on their bodies. The righteous will enter into heaven, which will become the land of the righteous; while the sinners will remain upon earth.
The tree of good and evil that was in The Garden did not by nature possess these properties of good and evil like rational beings, but only through the deed which was wrought by its means; like the 'well of contention,' and the 'heap of witness,' which did not possess these properties naturally, but only through the deeds which were wrought by their means.
Adam and Eve were not stripped of the glory with which they were clothed, nor did they die the death of sin, because they desired and ate of the fruit of the fig-tree--for the fruit of the fig-tree was not better than the fruit of any other tree--but because of the transgression of the law, in that they were presumptuous and wished to become gods. On account of this foolish and wicked and blasphemous intention, chastisement and penalty overtook them.--
Concerning the tree of life which was planted in the middle of The Garden, some have said that The Garden is the mind, that the tree of good and evil is the knowledge of material things, and that the tree of life is the knowledge of divine things, which were not profitable to the simple understanding of Adam.
Others have said that the tree of life is the kingdom of heaven and the joy of the world to come; and others that the tree of life was a tree in very truth, which was set in the middle of The Garden, but no man has ever found out what its fruit or its flowers or its nature was like.
Chapter 16 - Of the Sin of Adam
WHEN God in His goodness had made Adam, He laid down a law for him, and commanded him not to eat of the tree of good and evil, which is the fig-tree. After Eve was created, Adam told her the story of the tree; and Satan heard it, and by his envy it became the occasion and cause of their being made to sin, and being expelled from The Garden, for it was by reason of him that Adam fell from the height of his glory.
Some say that Satan heard when God commanded Adam not to eat of that tree. Others say that God commanded Adam in his mind, mentally (and not by sense); others again say, by sense and openly.
And Satan saw that the serpent was more subtle than all four-footed beasts; and he played in him, as it were with pipes, in the hearing of Eve, like an instrument, and said to her, 'Ye shall not die, as God hath said to you, but ye shall be gods like God, knowers of good and evil.'
Then Eve saw that the appearance of the figtree was beautiful, and that its smell was delightful; and she desired to eat of it and to become a goddess. So she stretched out her hand, and plucked, and ate, and gave also to her husband, and he likewise did eat. And they were stripped of the fair glory and glorious light of purity wherewith they were clothed, when they saw not each other's nakedness. And their eyes were opened, and they saw their nakedness; and they took leaves of the fig-tree, and covered their nakedness for shame, and hid themselves beneath thick trees.
Then God called Adam and said to him, 'Where art thou, Adam?'-- not that He did not know where he was, but in a chiding manner--
and Adam said, 'Lord, I heard Thy voice, and I hid myself because I am naked.'
God said, 'Whence knowest thou that thou art naked? peradventure hast thou transgressed the law and command which I laid down for thee, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee not to eat?'
Adam said, 'The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave to me, and I did eat.'
And God questioned Eve in like manner; and Eve said, 'The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'
And God cursed the serpent, saying, 'Cursed art thou above all beasts upon the earth.'
With the cursing of the serpent, who was the tool of Satan, Satan, who had instigated the serpent, was himself cursed; and immediately his legs were destroyed, and he crawled upon his belly, and instead of being an animal became a hissing reptile.
And God set enmity between the serpent and man, saying, 'He shall smite the heel of man, but man shall crush his head, and the food of the serpent shall be dust.'
God said to Eve, 'In pain shalt thou bring forth children;'
and to Adam He said, 'Cursed is the ground for thy sake, and in toil and the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'
And the earth, by reason of the curse which it had received, straightway brought forth thorns and thistles. And God drove them out from The Garden at the ninth hour of the same day in which they were created.
Chapter 17 - Of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from The Garden
AFTER God had expelled them from The Garden, like wicked servants driven forth from the inheritance of their master, and had cast them into exile, over the gate at the eastern side of The Garden He set a cherub with a sword and spear to frighten Adam from approaching The Garden.
Some say that the cherub was one of the heavenly hosts, of the class of the Cherubim; and others say that he did not belong to the spiritual powers, but was a terrible form endowed with a body. So also the spear point and the sword were made of fire extended like a sharp sword, which went and came round about The Garden to terrify Adam and his wife. And God made for them garments of skin to cover their shame.
Some say that they clothed themselves with the skins of animals, which they stripped off; but this is not credible, for all the beasts were created in couples, and Adam and Eve had as yet no knives to kill and flay them; hence it is clear that he means the bark of trees. Only the blessed Moses called the bark of trees 'skins,' because it fills the place of skins to trees. In the land of India there are trees whose bark is used for the clothing of kings and nobles and the wealthy, on account of its beauty.
After God had expelled Adam and his wife from The Garden, He withheld from them the fruits of trees, and the use of bread and flesh and wine, and the anointing with oil; but they cooked grain and vegetables and the herbs of the earth, and did eat sparingly. Moreover, the four-footed beasts and fowl and reptiles rebelled against them, and some of them became enemies and adversaries unto them. They remained thus until Noah went forth from the ark, and then God allowed them to eat bread and to drink wine and to eat flesh, after they had slain the animal and poured out its blood.
They say that when Adam and Eve were driven out of The Garden, Adam cut off a branch for a staff from the tree of good and evil; and it remained with him, and was handed down from generation to generation unto Moses and even to the Crucifixion of our Lord; and if the Lord will, we will relate its history in its proper place.
Chapter 18 - Of Adam's Knowing Eve
WHEN Adam and Eve went forth from Paradise, they were both virgins.
After thirty years Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and brought forth Cain together with his sister Kelêmath at one birth. And after thirty years Eve conceived and brought forth Abel and Lebôdâ his sister at one birth.
And when they arrived at the age for marriage, Adam wished and intended to give Abel's sister to Cain and Cain’s sister to Abel; but Cain desired his own sister more than Abel's. Both (i.e. Kelêmath and Lebôdâ) were his sisters, but because of their birth at one time I have called them thus. Now Cain's sister was exceedingly beautiful.
The two brothers made an offering to God because of this matter. Abel, because he was a shepherd, offered up of the fat firstlings of his flock in great love, with a pure heart and a sincere mind. Cain, because he was a husbandman, made an offering of some of the refuse of the fruits of his husbandry with reluctance. He made an offering of ears of wheat that were smitten by blight; but some say of straw only. And the divine fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering of Abel, and it was accepted; while the offering of Cain was rejected.
And Cain was angry with God, and envied his brother; and he persuaded his brother to come out into the plain, and slew him. Some say that he smashed his head with stones, and killed him; and others say that Satan appeared to him in the form of wild beasts that fight with one another and slay each other. At any rate, he killed him, whether this way or that way.
Then God said to Cain, 'Where is Abel thy brother?'
Cain said, 'Am I forsooth my brother's keeper?'
God said, 'Behold, the sound of the cry of thy brother Abel's blood has come unto me;' and God cursed Cain, and made him a wanderer and a fugitive all the days of his life.
From the day in which the blood of Abel was shed upon the ground, it did not again receive the blood of any animal until Noah came forth from the ark.
Adam and Eve mourned for Abel one hundred years. In the two hundred and thirtieth year, Seth, the beautiful, was born in the likeness of Adam; and Adam and Eve were consoled by him, Cain and his descendants went down and dwelt in the plain, while Adam and his children, that is the sons of Seth, dwelt upon the top of the Mount of Eden, And the sons of Seth went down and saw the beauty of the daughters of Cain, and lay with them; and the earth was corrupted and polluted with lasciviousness; and Adam and Eve heard of it and mourned.
Now Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years. Some say that in the days of Seth the knowledge of books went forth in the earth; but the Church does not accept this.
When Seth was 250 years old, he begat Enos; and Seth lived 913 years, and he died.
Enos was 290 years old when he begat Cainan; and Enos first called upon the name of the Lord. Some say that he first composed books upon the course of the stars and the signs of the Zodiac. Enos lived 905 years.
Cainan was a 140 years old when he begat Mahalaleel; and he lived 910.
Mahalaleel was 165 years old when he begat Jared; and he lived 895 years.
Jared was one 162 years old when he begat Enoch; and he lived 962 years.
Enoch was 165 years old when he begat Methuselah; and when he was 365 years old, God removed him to the generation of life, that is to Paradise.
Methuselah was 187 years old when he begat Lamech; and he lived 969 years.
Lamech was a 182 years old when he begat Noah; and he lived 777 years.
Chapter 19 - Of the Invention of the Instruments for Working in Iron
SOME say that Cainan and Tubal-Cain, who were of the family of Cain, were the first who invented the three tools of the art of working in iron, the anvil, hammer and tongs.
The art of working in iron is the mother and begetter of all arts; as the head is to the body, so is it to all other crafts. And as all the limbs of the body cease to perform their functions if the head is taken away from it, so also all other arts would cease if the art of working in iron were to come to an end.
In the days of Tubal and Tubal-Cain, the sons of Lamech the blind, Satan entered and dwelt in them, and they constructed all kinds of musical instruments, harps and pipes.
Some say that spirits used to go into the reeds and disturb them, and that the sound from them was like the sound of singing and pipes; and men constructed all kinds of musical instruments.
Now this blind Lamech was a hunter, and could shoot straight with a bow; his son used to take him by the hand, and guide him to places where there was game, and when he heard the movement of an animal, he shot an arrow at it, and brought it down. One day, when shooting an arrow at an animal, he smote Cain the murderer, the son of Adam, and slew him.
Chapter 20 - Of Noah and the Flood
WHEN Noah was five hundred years old, he took a wife from the daughters of Seth; and there were born to him three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet.
And God saw Noah's uprightness and integrity, while all men were corrupted and polluted by lasciviousness; and He determined to remove the human race from this broad earth, and made this known to the blessed Noah, and commanded him to make an ark for the saving of himself, his sons, and the rest of the animals.
Noah constructed this ark during the space of one hundred years, and he made it in three stories, all with boards and projecting ledges. Each board was a cubit long and a span broad. The length of the ark was three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Noah made it of box wood, though some say of teak wood; and he pitched it within and without.
At the end of the six hundredth year, God commanded Noah, with his wife, his sons and his daughters-in-law--eight souls--to go into the ark, and to take in with him seven couples of every clean animal and fowl, and one couple of every unclean animal, a male and a female. And he took bread and water in with him according to his need: not an abundant supply, lest they might be annoyed by the smell of the faeces, but they got food just sufficient to preserve their lives.
God forewarned the blessed Noah of what he was about to do seven days beforehand, in case the people might remember their sins and offer the sacrifice of repentance. But those rebels mocked at him scoffingly, and thrust out their unclean lips at the sound of the saw and the adze. After seven days God commanded Noah to shut the door of the ark, and to plaster it over with bitumen.
And the fountains of the deeps were broken up from beneath, and a torrent of rain (fell) from above, for forty days and forty nights, without cessation, until the waters rose fifteen cubits above the highest mountains in the world. And the waters bore up the ark, which travelled over them from east to west and from north to south, and so inscribed the figure of the cross upon the world; and it passed over the ocean, and came to this broad earth.
So the rain was stayed, and the winds blew, and the waters remained upon the earth without diminishing one hundred and fifty days, besides those forty days; which, from the time that Noah entered the ark and the flood began until the waters began to diminish, make in all one hundred and ninety days, which are six months and ten days--even until the twentieth day of the latter Teshrî. The waters began to diminish from the latter Teshrî to the tenth month, on the first day of which the tops of the mountains appeared, but until the time when the earth was dry, and the dove found rest for the sole of her foot, was one hundred days.
The ark rested upon the top of mount Kardô. In the tenth month, which is Shebât, Noah opened the door of the ark, and sent a raven to bring him news of the earth. And it went and found dead bodies, and it alighted upon them and returned not. For this reason people have made a proverb about Noah's raven. Again he sent forth a dove, but it found not a place whereon to alight, and returned to the ark. After seven days he sent forth another dove, and it returned to him in the evening carrying an olive leaf in its bill; and Noah knew that the waters had subsided.
Noah remained in the ark a full year, and he came forth from it and offered up an offering of clean animals; and God accepted his offering and promised him that He would never again bring a flood upon the face of the earth, nor again destroy beasts and men by a flood; and He gave him (as) a token the bow in the clouds, and from that day the bow has appeared in the clouds; and He commanded him to slay and eat the flesh of beasts and birds after he had poured out their blood. The number of people who came forth from the ark was eight souls, and they built the town of Themânôn after the name of the eight souls, and it is to-day the seat of a bishopric in the province of Sûbâ.
Noah planted a vineyard, and drank of its wine; and one day when he slumbered, and was sunk in the deep sleep of drunkenness, his nakedness was uncovered within his tent. When Ham his son saw him, he laughed at him and despised him, and told his brethren Shem and Japhet. But Shem and Japhet took a cloak upon their shoulders, and walked backwards with their faces turned away, and threw the cloak over their father and covered him, and then they looked upon him. When Noah awoke and knew what had been done to him by the two sets of his sons, he cursed Canaan the son of Ham and said, 'Thou shalt be a servant to thy brethren;' but he blessed Shem and Japhet.
The reason why he cursed Canaan, who was not as yet born nor had sinned, was because Ham had been saved with him in the ark from the waters of the flood, and had with his father received the divine blessing; and also because the arts of sin--I mean music and dancing and all other hateful things--were about to be revived by his posterity, for the art of music proceeded from the seed of Canaan.
After the flood a son was born to Noah, and he called his name Jônatôn; and he provided him with gifts and sent him to the fire of the sun, to the east.
Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years; the sum of his years was nine hundred and fifty years; and he saw eighteen generations and families before and after it. He died on the fourth day of the week, on the second of Nîsân, at the second hour of the day; his son Shem embalmed him, and his sons buried him, and mourned over him forty days.
Chapter 21 - Of Melchizedek
NEITHER the father nor mother of this Melchizedek were written down in the genealogies; not that he had no natural parents, but that they were not written down.
The greater number of the doctors say that he was of the seed of Canaan, whom Noah cursed.
In the book of Chronography, however, (the author) affirms and says that he was of the seed of Shem the son of Noah.
Shem begat Arphaxar, Arphaxar begat Cainan, and Cainan begat Shâlâh and Mâlâh, Shâlâh was written down in the genealogies; but Mâlâh was not, because his affairs were not sufficiently important to be written down in the genealogies.
When Noah died, he commanded Shem concerning the bones of Adam, for they were with them in the ark, and were removed from the land of Eden to this earth.
Then Shem entered the ark, and sealed it with his father's seal, and said to his brethren, 'My father commanded me to go and see the sources of the rivers and the seas and the structure of the earth, and to return.'
And he said to Mâlâh the father of Melchizedek, and to Yôzâdâk his mother, 'Give me your son that he may be with me, and behold, my wife and my children are with you.'
Melchizedek's parents said to him, 'My lord, take thy servant; and may the angel of peace be with thee, and protect thee from wild beasts and desolation of the earth.'
Shem went by night into the ark, and took Adam's coffin; and he sealed up the ark, saying to his brethren, 'My father commanded me that no one should go into it.'
And he journeyed by night with the angel before him, and Melchizedek with him, until they came and stood upon the spot where our Lord was crucified. When they had laid the coffin down there, the earth was rent in the form of a cross, and swallowed up the coffin, and was again sealed up and returned to its former condition.
Shem laid his hand upon Melchizedek's head, and blessed him, and delivered to him the priesthood, and commanded him to dwell there until the end of his life.
And he said to him, 'Thou shalt not drink wine nor any intoxicating liquor, neither shall a razor pass over thy head; thou shalt not offer up to God an offering of beasts, but only fine flour and olive oil and wine; thou shalt not build a house for thyself; and may the God of thy fathers be with thee.'
And Shem returned to his brethren, and Melchizedek's parents said to him, 'Where is our son?'
Shem said, 'He died while he was with me on the way, and I buried him;' and they mourned for him a month of days; but Melchizedek dwelt in that place until he died. When he was old, the kings of the earth heard his fame, and eleven of them gathered together and came to see him; and they entreated him to go with them, but he would not be persuaded. And when he did not conform to their wishes, they built a city for him there, and he called it Jerusalem; and the kings said to one another, 'This is the king of all the earth, and the father of nations.'
When Abraham came back from the battle of the kings and the nations, he passed by the mount of Jerusalem; and Melchizedek came forth to meet him, and Abraham made obeisance to Melchizedek, and gave him tithes of all that he had with him. And Melchizedek embraced him and blessed him, and gave him bread and wine from that which he was wont to offer up as an offering.
Chapter 22 - Of the Generations of Noah The children of Shem
The people of Shem are twenty and seven families.
Elam, from whom sprang the Elamites;
Asshur, from whom sprang the Assyrians (Âthôrâyê);
Arphaxar, from whom sprang the Persians;
and Lud (Lôd)
and Aram, from whom sprang the Arameans, the Damascenes, and the Harranites.
Now the father of all the children of Eber was Arphaxar.
Shâlâh begat Eber (Abâr), and to Eber were born two sons; the name of the one of whom was Peleg (Pâlâg), because in his days the earth was divided. From this it is known that the Syriac language remained with Eber, because, when the languages were confounded and the earth was divided, he was born, and was called Peleg by the Syriac word which existed in his time.
After Peleg, Joktân (Yaktân) was born, from whom sprang the thirteen nations who dwelt beside one another and kept the Syriac language. And their dwelling was from Menashshê (or Manshâ) of mount Sepharvaïm, by the side of the land of Canaan, and towards the east, beginning at Aram and Damascus, and coming to Baishân [Maishân ?] and Elam, and their border (was) Assyria, and the east, and Persia to the south, and the Great Sea.
Now the Hebrew has Maishân instead of Menashshê (or Manshâ), in the verse, 'The children of Joktân dwelt from Maishân to Sepharvaïm.'
The children of Ham The people of Ham are thirty and six families, besides the Philistines and Cappadocians.
Cush, from whom sprang the Cushites;
Misraim, from whom sprang the Misrâyê (or Egyptians);
Phut (or Pôt), from whom sprang the Pôtâyê;
Canaan, from whom sprang the Canaanites; the seven kings whom Joshua the son of Nun destroyed; the children of `Ôbâr, Shebâ and Havîlâ, from whom sprang the Indians, the Amorites, the Samrâyê, the Metrâyê, and all the dwellers of the south.
And of Cush was born Nimrod, who was the first king after the flood. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel (Babylon), which he built, and in which he reigned; and then, after the division of tongues, he built the following cities: Ârâch (Erech), which is Orhâi (Edessa), Âchâr (Accad), which is Nisîbis, and Calyâ (Calneh), which is Ctesiphon. The land of Babel he called the land of Shinar. because in it were the languages confounded, for 'Shinar' in the Hebrew language is interpreted 'division.'
From that land the Assyrian went forth and built Nineveh and the town of Rehôbôth, which is the town of Arbêl (Irbil). It is said that Belus, the son of Nimrod, was the first to depart from Babel and to come to Assyria; and after Belus, his son Ninus built Nineveh, and called it after his name, and Arbêl and Câlâh, which is Hetrê (Hatrâ), and Resen, which is Rêsh-`ainâ (Râs`ain).
Misraim begat Ludim, from whom sprang the Lôdâyê; La`bîm, from whom sprang the Lûbâyê; Lahbîm, from whom sprang the Tebtâyê; Yaphtuhîm, Pathrusîm, and Casluhîm, from whom went forth the Philistines, the Gedrâyê (Gadarenes), and the people of Sodom.
Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, from whom sprang the Sôrâyê (Tyrians) and Sidonians, ten nations who dwelt by the side of Israel, from the sea (i.e. the Mediterranean) to the Euphrates; the Kîshâyê, the Kenrâyê (or Kîrâyê), and the Akdemônâyê (or Kadmônâyê), who were between the children of Esau and Amnâ of Ireth.
The children of Lot are children of Ham.
The children of Japhet The people of Japhet are fifteen families.
Gomer, from whom sprang the Gêôthâyê (Gôthâyê, Goths?);
Magog, from whom sprang the Galatians;
Mâdâi, from whom sprang the Medes;
Javan, from whom sprang the Yaunâyê (Greeks);
Tûbîl (Tubal), from whom sprang the Baithônâyê (Bithynians);
Meshech, from whom sprang the Mûsâyê (Mysians);
Tîras, from whom sprang the Tharnekâyê (or Thrêkâyê, Thracians), the Anshklâyê (or Asklâyê), and the Achshklâyê.
The children of Gomer: Ashkenaz, from whom sprang the Armenians; Danphar, from whom sprang the Cappadocians; Togarmah, from whom sprang the Asâyê (Asians) and the Îsaurâyê (Isaurians).
The sons of Javan: Elisha, that is Halles (Hellas); Tarshîsh, Cilicia, Cyprus, Kâthîm (Kittîm), Doranim, and the Macedonians; and from these they were divided among the islands of the nations.
These are the families of the children of Noah, and from them were the nations divided on the earth after the flood; they are seventy and two families, and according to the families, so are the languages.
Chapter 23 - Of the Succession of Generations from the Flood Until Now
SHEM was a hundred years old, and begat Arphaxar two years after the flood; the sum of his years was six hundred.
Arphaxar was a 135 years old, and begat Kainan.
Kainan was a 139 years old, and begat Shâlâh: the sum of his years was 438,
Shâlâh was a 130 old, and begat Eber; the sum of his years was 433.
Eber was a 134 years old, and begat Peleg; the sum of his years was 464.
Peleg was a 130 old, and begat Reu; the sum of his years was a 139. In the days of Reu the languages were divided into 72; up to this time there was only one language, which was the parent of them all, namely, Aramean, that is Syriac.
Reu was a 132 years old, and begat Serug; the sum of his years was a 339.
Serug was a 130 old, and begat Nahor; the sum of his years was a 330. In the days of Serug men worshipped idols and graven images.
Nahor was 79 old, and begat Terah; the sum of his years was one 148. In the days of Nahor magic began in the world. And God opened the storehouse of the winds and whirlwinds, and they uprooted the idols and graven images, and they collected them together and buried them under the earth, and they reared over them these mounds that are in the world. This was called 'the Wind Flood.'
Terah was 70 years old, and begat Abraham; the sum of his years was one 105 years.
So it is 2242 years from Adam to the flood; and 1081 years from the flood to the birth of Abraham; and from Adam to Abraham it is 3313.
And know, my brother readers, that there is a great difference between the computation of Ptolemy and that of the Hebrews and the Samaritans; for the Jews take away one hundred years from the beginning of the years of each (patriarch), and they add them to the end of the years of each of them, that they may disturb the reckoning and lead men astray and falsify the coming of Christ, and may say, 'The Messiah is to come at the end of the world, and in the last times;' and behold, according to their account, He came in the fourth millennium, for so it comes out by their reckoning.
Chapter 24 - Of the Building of the Tower and the Division of Tongues
WHEN Reu was born in the days of Peleg, the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, together with Arphaxar and their children, were gathered together in Shinar. And they took counsel together, saying, 'Come, let us build for ourselves a high tower, the top of which shall be in the heavens, lest a flood come again upon us, and destroy us from off the face of the earth.'
And they began to make bricks and to build, until (the tower) was reared a great height from the ground. Then they determined to build seventy-two other towers around it, and to set up a chief over each tower to govern those who were under his authority.
God saw the weariness of their oppression and the hardness of their toil, and in His mercy had compassion upon them; for the higher they went, the more severe became their labour, and their pain went on increasing, by reason of the violence of the winds and storms and the heat of the luminaries and the necessity of carrying up everything they needed.
And God said, 'Come, let us go down and divide the tongues there.' The expression 'Come, let us,' resembles 'Come, let us make man in our image and in our likeness,' and refers to the persons of the adorable Trinity.
While they were tormenting themselves with that vain labour, their language was suddenly confounded so as to become seventy-two languages, and they understood not each other's speech, and were scattered throughout the whole world, and built cities, every man with his fellow who spoke the same language. From Adam to the building of the tower, there was only one language, and that was Syriac.
Some have said that it was Hebrew; but the Hebrews were not called by this name until after Abraham had crossed the river Euphrates and dwelt in Harrân; and from his crossing they were called Hebrews.
It was grievous to Peleg that the tongues were confounded (or, that God had confounded the tongues of mankind) in his days, and he died; and his sons Serug and Nahor buried him in the town of Pâlgîn, which he built after his name.
Chapter 25 - Of Abraham
TERAH the father of Abraham took two wives; the one called Yônâ, by whom he begat Abraham; the other called Shelmath, by whom he begat Sarah.
Mâr Theodore says that Sarah was the daughter of Abraham's uncle, and puts the uncle in the place of the father.
When Abraham was 75 years old, God commanded him to cross the river Euphrates and to dwell in Harrân. And he took Sarah his wife and Lot his nephew, and crossed the river Euphrates and dwelt in Harrân.
In his 86 year his son Ishmael was born to him of Hagar the Egyptian woman, the handmaid of Sarah, whom Pharaoh the king gave to her when he restored her to Abraham; and God was revealed to him under the oak of Mamre.
Abraham was a 100 old when Isaac, the son of promise, was born to him; and on the eighth day he circumcised himself, his son, and every one born in his house. When God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac upon the altar, He sent him for sacrifice to the special place where, according to the tradition of those worthy of belief, our Lord was crucified.
After the death of Sarah, Abraham took to wife Kentôrah (Keturah), the daughter of Yaktân, the king of the Turks. When Isaac was forty years old, Eliezer the Damascene, the servant of Abraham, went down to the town of Arâch (Erech), and betrothed Raphkâ (Rebecca), the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean, to Isaac his lord's son.
And Abraham died at the age of one hundred and seventy-five years, and was laid by the side of Sarah his wife in the 'double cave,' which he bought from Ephron the Hittite.
When Isaac was sixty years old, there were born unto him twin sons, Jacob and Esau: At that time Arbêl was built; some say that the king who built it was called Arbôl. In Isaac's sixty-sixth year Jericho was built.
Esau begat Reuel;
Reuel begat Zerah;
Zerah begat Jobab, that is Job.
Chapter 26 - Of the Temptation of Job
THERE was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. And he was a perfect, righteous and God-fearing man; and there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. The number of his possessions was seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she-asses, and a very large train of servants.
This man was the greatest of all the children of the east. His children used to go and make a feast; and the day came that his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking in the house of their eldest brother. There came a messenger to Job and said to him: The oxen were drawing the ploughs, and the she-asses were feeding by their side, when robbers fell upon them and carried them off, and the young men were slain by the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came another and said to him: The fire of God fell from heaven and consumed the sheep and the shepherds, and burnt them up; and I alone have escaped to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came another and said to him: The Chaldeans divided themselves into three bands and fell upon the camels and carried them off, and slew the young men; and I alone have escaped to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came another and said to him: Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking in the house of their eldest brother, when there came a mighty wind and beat upon the corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell thee.
Then Job stood up and rent his garment, and shaved his head; and he fell upon the ground and prostrated himself, saying: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this did Job sin not, neither did he blaspheme God.
And Satan smote Job with a grievous sore from the sole of his foot to his head (lit. brain); and Job took a potsherd to scrape himself with, and sat upon ashes.
His wife says to him, 'Dost thou still hold fast by thy integrity? curse God and die.'
Job says to her, 'Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh: we have received the good things of God; shall we not receive His evil things?'
In all this did Job sin not, neither did he blaspheme God with his lips.
Job's three friends heard of this evil which had come upon him, and they came to him, every man from his own land, to comfort him; and their names were these: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they were come, they lifted up their eyes from afar off, and they did not know him. And they lifted up their voice and wept, and each man rent his garment, and they strewed dust upon their heads towards heaven; and they sat with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word, for they saw that his blow was very sore.
And when he held fast by his God, He blessed him, and gave him seven sons and three daughters; and there were not found in the whole land women more beautiful than Job's daughters, and their names were Jemima, Keren-happuch, and Kezia. And God gave him fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels and a thousand yoke of oxen; and Job lived one 140 years after his temptation, and died in peace.
Chapter 27 - Of the Blessings of Isaac
JACOB was seventy-seven years old when his father Isaac blessed him; and he stole the blessings and birthright from his brother Esau, and fled from before his brother to Harrân.
On the first night Jacob saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending, and the Power of God upon the top thereof. And he woke and said, 'This is the house of the Lord.' He took the stone that was under his head, and set it up for an altar; and he vowed a vow to God.
Now the ladder was a type of Christ's crucifixion; the angels that were ascending and descending were a type of the angels who announced the glad tidings to the shepherds on the day of our Saviour's birth. The Power of God which was upon the top of the ladder was (a type of) the manifestation of God the Word in pure flesh of the formation of Adam. The place in which the vision appeared was a type of the church; the stone under his head, which he set up for an altar, was a type of the altar; and the oil which he poured out upon it was like the holy oil wherewith they anoint the altar.
And Jacob went to Laban the Aramean, his mother's brother, and served before him as a shepherd for fourteen years. And he took his two daughters to wife; Leah with her handmaid Zilpah, and Rachel with her handmaid Bilhah. Now he loved Rachel more than Leah, because she was the younger and was fair in aspect, while Leah had watery eyes.
There were born to Jacob by Leah six sons:
Rûbîl (Reuben), which is interpreted 'Great is God' (now Jacob was eighty-four years old at that time);
Simeon, which is interpreted 'the Obedient;'
Levi, that is 'the Perfect;' Judah, that is 'Praise;'
Issachar, that is 'Hope is near;'
and Zebulun, that is 'Gift' or 'Dwelling-place.'
Two sons were born to him by Rachel:
Joseph, that is 'Addition;'
and Benjamin, that is 'Consolation.'
By Zilpah two sons were born to him:
Gad, that is 'Luck;'
and Asher, that is 'Praise.'
By Bilhah two sons were born to him:
Dan, that is 'Judgment;'
and Naphtali, that is 'Heartener;'
and one daughter, whose name was Dina.
After twenty years Jacob returned to Isaac; and Isaac lived one hundred and eighty years. Twenty-three years after Jacob went up to his father, Joseph was sold by his brethren to the Midianites for twenty dînârs. When Isaac died, Jacob was one hundred and twenty years old.
Chapter 28 - Of Joseph
AFTER Jacob's sons had been born to him by Leah, then Joseph and Benjamin were born to him (by Rachel); and he loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the child of (his) old age, and because of his beauty and purity, and his being left motherless. He made him a garment with long sleeves, and his brethren envied him. And he dreamed dreams twice, and their hatred increased, and they kept anger in their hearts against him.
They sold him to the Midianites, who carried him to Egypt, and sold him to Potiphar, the chief of the guards; and Potiphar delivered his house and servants into his hands; but because of the wantonness of Potiphar's wife, he was bound and kept in prison for two years. When the chief cup-bearer and the chief baker dreamed dreams in one night, and Joseph interpreted them, his words actually came to pass.
After Joseph had remained in bondage two years, Pharaoh the king of Egypt saw two dreams in one night; and he was troubled and disturbed, and the sorcerers and enchanters and wise men were unable to interpret his dreams. Then one of those who had been imprisoned with Joseph remembered (him), and they told Pharaoh; and Joseph interpreted his dreams, and Pharaoh made him king over Egypt. And Joseph gathered together and collected the corn of the seven prosperous years, and saved it for the seven years of famine. When the household of Jacob lacked bread, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy corn, and they met Joseph, and he recognised them, but they did not know him. After he had tortured them twice by his harsh words, he at last revealed himself to them, and shewed himself to his brethren. And he sent and brought his father Jacob and all his family--seventy-five souls in number, and they came down and dwelt in the land of Egypt two hundred and thirty years.
Concerning that which God spake to Abraham, 'Thy seed shall be a sojourner in a strange land four hundred and thirty years;' they were under subjection in their thoughts from the time that God spake to Abraham until they went forth from Egypt. Jacob died in Egypt, and he commanded that he should be buried with his fathers; and they carried him and buried him by the side of his fathers in the land of Palestine.
After Joseph died, another king arose, who knew not Joseph, and he oppressed the children of Israel with heavy labour in clay; at that time Moses was born in Egypt.
Since many have written the history of the blessed Joseph at great length, and the blessed Mâr Ephraim has written his history in twelve discourses, concerning everything which happened to him from his childhood to his death, as well as another discourse upon the carrying up of his bones (to Palestine), we refrain from writing a long account of him, that we may not depart from the plan which we laid down in making this collection.
Chapter 29 - Of Moses and the Children of Israel
AFTER Joseph was dead, and another king had arisen who knew not the Israelitish people, the people increased and became strong in Egypt. And Pharaoh was afraid of them, and laid a burden upon them, and oppressed them with hard work in clay, and demanded a tale of bricks from them without giving them straw.
At that time Moses the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, was born.
Levi was 46 years old when he begat Kohath;
Kohath was 63 years old when he begat Amram;
and Amram was 70 old when he begat Moses.
When Moses was born, Pharaoh the king commanded to throw the new-born children of the Israelites into the river. Moses was beautiful in appearance, and he was called Pantîl and Amlâkyâ; and the Egyptians used to call him the Shakwîthâ of the daughter of Pharaoh. The name of Moses' mother was Yokâbâr (Jochebed).
When the command of the king went forth for the drowning of the infants, she made a little ark covered with pitch, and laid the child in it; and she carried it and placed it in a shallow part of the waters of the river Nile (that is Gîhôn); and she sat down opposite (that is, at a distance), to see what would be the end of the child. And Shîpôr, the daughter of Pharaoh, came to bathe in the river--some say that she was called Tharmesîs--and she saw the ark and commanded it to be fetched. When she opened it, and saw that the appearance of the child was beautiful and his complexion comely, she said, 'Verily this child is one of the Hebrews' children;' and she took him, and reared him up as her son. She sought a Hebrew nurse, and the mother of the child Moses came, and became a nurse to him; and he was reared in the house of Pharaoh until he was forty years old.
One day he saw Pethkôm the Egyptian, one of the servants of Pharaoh, quarrelling with an Israelite and reviling him. Moses looked this way and that way, and saw no man; and zeal entered into him, and he slew the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Two days after, he saw two Hebrews quarrelling with one another. And he said to them, 'Ye are brethren; why quarrel ye with one another?' And one of them thrust him away from him, saying, 'Dost thou peradventure seek to kill me as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday?'
Then Moses feared lest Pharaoh should perceive (this) and slay him; and he fled to Midian, and sat by the well there. Now Reuel the Midianite had seven daughters, who used to come to that well and water their father's flocks; and the shepherds came and drove them away; and Moses arose and delivered them, and watered their flocks. When they went to their father, he said to them, 'Ye have come quickly to-day.' They said to him, 'An Egyptian rescued us from the hands of the shepherds, and watered the flocks also.' He said to them, 'Why did ye not bring him? Go quickly and call him hither to eat bread with us.' When Moses came to the house of Reuel and dwelt with him, Reuel loved him and gave him his daughter Zipporah the Cushite to wife. And he said to him, 'Go into the house, and take a shepherd's crook, and go feed thy flocks.' When Moses went into the house to take the rod, it drew near to him by divine agency; and he took it and went forth to feed his father-in-law's flocks.
Chapter 30 - The History of Moses
Rod WHEN Adam and Eve went forth from Paradise, Adam, as if knowing that he was never to return to his place, cut off a branch from the tree of good and evil--which is the figtree--and took it with him and went forth; and it served him as a staff all the days of his life. After the death of Adam, his son Seth took it, for there were no weapons as yet at that time.
This rod was passed on from hand to hand unto Noah, and from Noah to Shem; and it was handed down from Shem to Abraham as a blessed thing from the Paradise of God. With this rod Abraham broke the images and graven idols which his father made, and therefore God said to him, 'Get thee out of thy father's house,' etc. It was in his hand in every country as far as Egypt, and from Egypt to Palestine. Afterwards Isaac took it, and (it was handed down) from Isaac to Jacob; with it he fed the flocks of Laban the Aramean in Paddan Aram. After Jacob Judah his fourth son took it; and this is the rod which Judah gave to Tamar his daughter-in-law, with his signet ring and his napkin, as the hire for what he had done. From him (it came) to Pharez. At that time there were wars everywhere, and an angel took the rod, and laid it in the Cave of Treasures in the mount of Moab, until Midian was built. There was in Midian a man, upright and righteous before God, whose name was Yathrô (Jethro). When he was feeding his flock on the mountain, he found the cave and took the rod by divine agency; and with it he fed his sheep until his old age. When he gave his daughter to Moses, he said to him, 'Go in, my son, take the rod, and go forth to thy flock.' When Moses had set his foot upon the threshold of the door, an angel moved the rod, and it came out of its own free will towards Moses.
And Moses took the rod, and it was with him until God spake with him on Mount Sinai. When God said to him, 'Cast the rod upon the ground,' he did so, and it became a great serpent; and the Lord said, 'Take it,' and he did so, and it became a rod as at first. This is the rod which God gave him for a help and a deliverance; that it might be a wonder, and that with it he might deliver Israel from the oppression of the Egyptians. By the will of the living God this rod became a serpent in Egypt. By it God spake to Moses; and it swallowed up the rod of Pôsdî the sorceress of the Egyptians. With it Moses smote the sea of Sôph in its length and breadth, and the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. It was in Moses' hands in the wilderness of Ashîmôn, and with it he smote the stony rock, and the waters flowed forth.
Then God gave serpents power over the children of Israel to destroy them, because they had angered Him at the waters of strife. And Moses prayed before the Lord, and God said to him, 'Make thee a brazen serpent, and lift it up with the rod, and let the children of Israel look upon it and be healed.' Moses did as the Lord had commanded him, and he placed the brazen serpent in the sight of all the children of Israel in the wilderness; and they looked upon it and were healed.
After all the children of Israel were dead, save Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Yôphannâ (Jephunneh), they went into the promised land, and took the rod with them, on account of the wars with the Philistines and Amalekites. And Phineas hid the rod in the desert, in the dust at the gate of Jerusalem, where it remained until our Lord Christ was born. And He, by the will of His divinity, shewed the rod to Joseph the husband of Mary, and it was in his hand when he fled to Egypt with our Lord and Mary, until he returned to Nazareth. From Joseph his son Jacob, who was surnamed the brother of our Lord, took it; and from Jacob Judas Iscariot, who was a thief, stole it. When the Jews crucified our Lord, they lacked wood for the arms of our Lord; and Judas in his wickedness gave them the rod, which became a judgment and a fall unto them, but an uprising unto many.
There were born to Moses two sons; the one called Gershom, which is interpreted 'sojourner;' and the other Eliezer, which is interpreted 'God hath helped me.' Fifty-two years after the birth of Moses, Joshua the son of Nun was born in Egypt. When Moses was eighty years old, God spake with him upon Mount Sinai. And the cry of the children of Israel went up to God by reason of the severity of the oppression of the Egyptians; and God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenants with the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom He promised that in their seed should all nations be blessed.
One day when Moses was feeding the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, he and the sheep went from the wilderness to mount Horeb, the mount of God; and the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, but the bush was not burnt. Moses said, 'I will turn aside and see this wonderful thing, how it is that the fire blazes in the bush, but the bush is not burnt.' God saw that he turned aside to look, and He called to him from within the bush, and said, 'Moses, Moses.' Moses said, 'Here am I, Lord.' God said to him, 'Approach not hither, for the place upon which thou standest is holy.' And God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob;' and Moses covered his face, for he was afraid to look at Him. Some say that when God spake with Moses, Moses stammered through fear.
And the Lord said to him: I have seen the oppression of My people in Egypt, and have heard the voice of their cry, and I am come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to carry them up from that land to the land flowing with milk and honey; come, I will send thee to Egypt. Moses said, 'Who am I, Lord, that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring out those of the house of Israel from Egypt?' God said to him, 'I will be with thee.' Moses said to the Lord, 'If they shall say unto me, What is the Lord's name? what shall I say unto them?' God said: 'הֶהי ְא ֶשׁר ֶא ֲהֶהי ְא} , ֶHebrew: Aehøyeh Aasher Aehøyeh} that is, the Being who is the God of your fathers hath sent me to you. This is My name for ever, and this is My memorial to all generations.
God said to Moses, 'Go, tell Pharaoh everything I say to thee.' Moses said to the Lord, 'My tongue is heavy and stammers; how will Pharaoh accept my word?' God said to Moses: Behold, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh, and thy brother Aaron a prophet before thee; speak thou with Aaron, and Aaron shall speak with Pharaoh, and he shall send away the children of Israel that they may serve Me. And I will harden the heart of Pharaoh, and I will work My wonders in the land of Egypt, and will bring up My people the children of Israel from thence, and the Egyptians shall know that I am God. And Moses and Aaron did everything that God had commanded them. Moses was eightythree years old when God sent him to Egypt.
And God said to him, 'If Pharaoh shall seek a sign from thee, cast thy rod upon the ground, and it shall become a serpent.' Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and threw down Moses' rod, and it became a serpent. The sorcerers of Egypt did the same, but Moses' rod swallowed up those of the sorcerers; and the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not send away the people.
And God wrought ten signs by the hands of Moses:
first, turning the waters into blood;
second, bringing up frogs upon them;
third, domination of the gnats;
fourth, noisome creatures of all kinds;
fifth, the pestilence among the cattle;
sixth, the plague of boils;
seventh, the coming of hail-stones;
eighth, the creation of locusts;
ninth, the descent of darkness;
tenth, the death of the firstborn.
When God wished to slay the first-born of Egypt, He said to Moses: This day shall be to you the first of months, that is to say, Nisan and the new year. On the tenth of this month, let every man take a lamb for his house, and a lamb for the house of his father; and if they be too few in number (for a whole lamb), let him and his neighbour who is near him share it. Let the lamb be kept until the fourteenth day of this month, and let all the children of Israel slay it at sunset, and let them sprinkle its blood upon the thresholds of their houses with the sign of the cross. This blood shall be to you a sign of deliverance, and I will see (it) and rejoice in you, and Death the destroyer shall no more have dominion over you. And Moses and Aaron told the children of Israel all these things.
And the Lord commanded them not to go out from their houses until morning; 'for the Lord will pass over the Egyptians to smite their firstborn, and will see the blood upon the thresholds, and will not allow the destroyer to enter their houses.' When it was midnight, the Lord slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting upon his throne down to the last. And Pharaoh sent to Moses and Aaron, saying, 'Depart from among my people, and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said; and take your goods and chattels with you.' The Egyptians also urged the children of Israel to go forth from among them, through fear of death; and the children of Israel asked chains of gold and silver and costly clothing of the Egyptians, and spoiled them; and the Lord gave them favour in the sight of the Egyptians.
The children of Israel set out from Raamses to Succoth, six hundred thousand men; and when they entered Egypt in the days of Joseph, they were seventy-five souls in number. They remained in bodily and spiritual subjection four hundred and thirty years; from the day that God said to Abraham, 'Thy seed shall be a sojourner in the land of Egypt,' from that hour they were oppressed in their minds.
When the people had gone out of Egypt on the condition that they should return, and did not return, Pharaoh pursued after them to bring them back to his slavery. And they said to Moses, 'Why hast thou brought us out from Egypt? It was better for us to serve the Egyptians as slaves, and not to die here.' Moses said, 'Fear not, but see the deliverance which God will work for you to-day.' And the Lord said to Moses, 'Lift up thy rod and smite the sea, that the children of Israel may pass over as upon dry land.' And Moses smote the sea, and it was divided on this side and on that; and the children of Israel passed through the depth of the sea as upon dry land. When Pharaoh and his hosts came in after them, Moses brought his rod back over the sea, and the waters returned to their place; and all the Egyptians were drowned. And Moses bade the children of Israel to sing praises with the song 'Then sang Moses and the children of Israel' (Exod. xv. 1).
The children of Israel marched through the wilderness three days, and came to the place called Murrath (Marah) from the bitterness of its waters; and the people were unable to drink that water. And they lifted up their voice and murmured against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?' Moses prayed before God, and took absinth-wood, which is bitter in its nature, and threw it into the water, and it was made sweet. There did the Lord teach them laws and judgments. And they set out from thence, and on the fifteenth of the second month, which is Îyâr, came to a place in which there were twelve wells and seventy palm-trees.
Dâd-Îshô says in his exposition of Paradise that the sorcerers Jannes and Jambres, who once opposed Moses, lived there. There was a well in that place, and over it was a bucket and brass chain; and devils dwelt there, because that place resembled Paradise.
The blessed Mâkârîs (Macarius) visited that spot, but was unable to live there because of the wickedness of those demons; but that they might not boast over the human race, as if forsooth no one was able to live there, God commanded two anchorites, whose names no man knoweth, and they dwelt there until they died.
When the children of Israel saw that wilderness, they murmured against Moses, saying, 'It were better for us to have died in Egypt, being satisfied with bread, than to come forth into this arid desert for this people to perish by hunger.' And God said to Moses, 'Behold, I will bring manna down from heaven for you; a cloud shall shade you by day from the heat of the sun, and a pillar of fire shall give light before you by night.'
God said to Moses, 'Go up into this mountain, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and Nadab, and seventy chosen elders of the children of Israel, and let them worship from afar; and let Moses come near to Me by himself.' And they did as the Lord commanded them, and Moses drew near by himself, and the rest of the elders remained below at the foot of the mountain; and God gave him commandments. And Moses made known to the people the words of the Lord; and all the people answered with one voice and said, 'Everything that the Lord commands us we will do.' Moses took blood with a hyssop, and sprinkled it upon the people, saying to them, 'This is the blood of the covenant,' and so forth.
And God said to Moses, 'Say unto the children of Israel that they set apart for Me gold and silver and brass and purple,' and the rest of the things which are mentioned in the Tôrâh, 'and let them make a tabernacle for Me.' God also shewed the construction thereof to Moses, saying, 'Let Aaron and his sons be priests to Me, and let them serve My altar and sanctuary.'
God wrote Ten Commandments on two tables of stone, and these are they.
Thou shalt not make to thyself an image or a likeness;
thou shalt not falsify thy oaths; keep the day of the Sabbath;
honour thy father and thy mother;
thou shalt not do murder;
thou shalt not commit adultery;
thou shalt not steal;
thou shalt not bear false witness;
thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's or brother's house;
thou shalt not covet the wife of thy kinsman or neighbour, nor his servants, nor his handmaidens.
When the children of Israel saw that Moses tarried on the mountain, they gathered together to Aaron and said to him, 'Arise, make us a god to go before us, for we know not what has become of thy brother Moses.'
Aaron said to them, 'Bring me the earrings that are in the ears of your wives and children.' When they had brought them to him, he cast a calf from them, and said to the people, 'This is thy god, O Israel, who brought thee out of Egypt;' and they built an altar, and the children of Israel offered up sacrifice upon it.
God said to Moses, 'Get thee down to the people, for they have become corrupt.' And Moses returned to the people, and in his hands were the two tablets of stone, upon which the Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God. When Moses saw that the people had erred, he was angry and smote the tablets upon the side of the mountain and brake them. And Moses brought the calf, and filed it with a file, and threw it into the fire, and cast its ashes into water; and he commanded the children of Israel to drink of that water. And Moses reproached Aaron for his deeds, but Aaron said, 'Thou knowest that the people is stiffnecked.' Then Moses said to the children of Levi, 'The Lord commands you that each man should slay his brother and his neighbour of those who have wrought iniquity;' and there were slain on that day three thousand men.
And Moses went up to the mountain a second time, and there were with him two tables of stone instead of those which he brake. He remained on the mountain and fasted another forty days, praying and supplicating God to pardon the iniquity of the people. When he came down from the mountain with the other two tablets upon which the commandments were written, the skin of his face shone, and the children of Israel were unable to look upon his countenance by reason of the radiance and light with which it was suffused; and they were afraid of him. When he came to the people, he covered his face with a napkin; and when he spake with God, he uncovered his face.
And Moses said to Hur, the son of his father-in-law Reuel the Midianite, 'We will go to the land which God promised to give us; come with us, and we will do thee good;' but he would not, and returned to Midian. So the children of Israel went along the road to prepare a dwelling-place for themselves; and they lifted up their voice with a cry; and God heard and was angry, and fire went round about them and burnt up the parts round about their camps.
They said to Moses, 'Our soul languishes in this wilderness, and we remember the meats of Egypt; the fishes and the cucumbers and the melons and the onions and the leeks and the garlic; and now we have nought save this manna which is before us.' Now the appearance of manna was like that of coriander seed, and they ground it, and made flat cakes of it; and its taste was like bread with oil in it.
And the Lord heard the voice of the people weeping each one at the door of his tent, and it was grievous to Him. Moses prayed before the Lord and said, 'Why have I not found favour before Thee? and why hast Thou cast the weight of this people upon me? Did I beget them? Either slay me or let me find favour in Thy sight.' God said to Moses, 'Choose from the elders of the children of Israel seventy men, and gather them together to the tabernacle, and I will come down and speak with thee. And I will take of the spirit and power which is with thee and will lay it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, and thou shalt not bear it by thyself alone;' and Moses told them.
Moses gathered together seventy elders from the children of Israel, and the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake with them; and he took of the spirit and power which was with Moses and laid it upon them, and they prophesied. But two elders of the seventy whose names were written down remained in the camp and did not come; the name of the one was Eldad, and that of the other Medad; and they also prophesied in the tabernacle. A young man came and told Moses, and Joshua the son of Nun, the disciple of Moses, said to him, 'My lord, restrain them.' Moses said, 'Be not jealous; would that all the children of Israel were prophets; for the Spirit of God hath come upon them.'
And Moses said to the children of Israel, 'Because ye have wept and have asked for flesh, behold the Lord will give you flesh to eat; not one day, nor two, nor five, nor ten, but a month of days shall ye eat, until it goeth out of your nostrils, and becometh nauseous to you.' Moses said (to the Lord), 'This people among whom I am is six hundred thousand men, and hast Thou promised to feed them with flesh for a month of days? If we slay sheep and oxen, it would not suffice for them; and if we collect for them (all) the fish that are in the sea, they would not satisfy them.' And the Lord said to Moses, 'The hand of the Lord shall bring (this) to pass, and behold, thou shalt see whether this happens or not.'
By the command of God a wind blew and brought out quails from the sea, and they were gathered around the camp of the children of Israel about a day's journey on all sides; and they were piled upon one another to the depth of two cubits. Each of the children of Israel gathered about ten cors; and they spread them out before the doors of their tents. And the Lord was angry with them, and smote them with death, and many died; and that place was called 'the graves of lust.'
They departed from thence to the place called Haserôth.
And Aaron and Miriam lifted up themselves against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, and they said, 'Has God spoken with Moses only? Behold, He hath spoken with us also.' Now Moses was meeker than all men.
And God heard the words of Miriam and Aaron, and came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and called them, and they came forth to Him. The Lord said to them, 'Hear what I will say to you. I have revealed Myself to you in secret, and ye have prophesied in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses, who is trusted in everything, for with him I speak mouth to mouth.' And the Lord was angry with them, and the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle; and Miriam was a leper, and was white as snow.
Aaron saw that she was a leper, and said to Moses, 'I entreat thee not to look upon our sins which we have sinned against thee.'
Moses made supplication before God, saying, 'Heal her, O Lord, I entreat Thee.'
God said to Moses, 'If her father had spat in her face, it would have been right for her to pass the night alone outside the camp for seven days, and then to come in.'
So Miriam stayed outside the camp for seven days, and then she was purified.
And God said to Moses, 'Send forth spies, from every tribe a man, and let them go and search out the land of promise.' Moses chose twelve men, among whom were Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh; and they went and searched out the land. And they returned, carrying with them of the fruit of the land grapes and figs and pomegranates. The spies came and said, 'We have not strength to stand against them, for they are mighty men, while we are like miserable locusts in their sight.'
And the children of Israel were gathered together to Moses and Aaron, and they lifted up their voice and wept with a great weeping, saying, 'Why did we not die under the hand of the Lord in the wilderness and in Egypt, and not come to this land to die with our wives and children, and to become a laughing-stock and a scorn to the nations?'
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh said to them, 'Fear not; we will go up against them, and the Lord will deliver them into our hands, and we shall inherit the land, as the Lord said to us.'
The children of Israel said to one another, 'Come, let us make us a chief and return to Egypt;' and Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces before the people.
And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh rent their clothes and said to the children of Israel, 'The land which we have searched out is a thriving one, flowing with milk and honey, and it is in the power of God to give it to us; do not provoke God.' And the children of Israel gathered together to stone them with stones.
And God was revealed in a cloud over the tabernacle openly in the sight of the children of Israel; and He said to Moses, 'How long will these (people) provoke Me? And how long will they not believe in Me for all the wonders which I have wrought among them? Let Me smite them, and I will make thee the chief of a people stronger than they.'
Moses said to the Lord, 'O Lord God Almighty, the Egyptians will hear and will say that Thou hast brought out Thy people from among them by Thy power: but when Thou smitest them, they will say, "He slew them in the desert, because He was unable to make them inherit the land which He promised them." And Thou, O Lord, who hast dwelt among this people, and they have seen Thee eye to eye, and Thy light is ever abiding with them, and Thou goest (before them) by night in a pillar of light, and dost shade them with a cloud by day, pardon now in Thy mercy the sins of Thy people, as Thou hast pardoned their sins from Egypt unto here.'
God said to Moses, 'Say unto the children of Israel, O wicked nation, I have heard all the words which ye have spoken, and I will do unto you even as ye wish for yourselves. In this desert shall your dead bodies fall, and your families and your children, every one that knows good from evil, from twenty years old and downwards. Their children shall enter the land of promise; but ye shall not enter it, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. Your children shall remain in this wilderness forty years, until your dead bodies decay, according to the number of the days in which ye searched out the land; for each day ye shall be requited with a year because of your sins.'
And the spies who had spied out the land with Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh died at once, save Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
This was very grievous to the people, and the children of Israel said to Moses, 'Behold, we are going up to the land which God promised us.'
He said to them, 'God hath turned His face from you; go ye not away from your place.'
And they hearkened not to Moses, but went up to the top of the mountain without Moses and the tabernacle; and the Amalekites and Canaanites who dwelt there came out against them and put them to flight.
God said to Moses, 'When the children of Israel enter the land of promise, let them offer as offerings fine flour and oil and wine.'
Then Korah the son of Zahar (Izhar), and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, together with their families, and two hundred and fifty men, separated from the children of Israel; and they came to Moses, and made him hear them, and troubled him.
And Moses fell upon his face before the Lord and said, 'To-morrow shall everyone know whom God chooses. Is that which I have done for you not sufficient for you, that ye serve before the Lord, but ye must seek the priesthood also?'
And Moses said unto God, 'O God, receive not their offerings.'
And Moses said to them, 'Let every one of you take his censer in his hand, and place fire and incense therein;' and there stood before the Lord on that day two hundred and fifty men holding their censers.
The Lord said to Moses, 'Stand aloof from the people, and I will destroy them in a moment.'
And Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces, and said to the Lord, 'Wilt Thou destroy all these for the sake of one man who hath sinned?'
God said to Moses, 'Tell the children of Israel to go away from around the tents of Korah and his fellows;' and Moses said to the people everything that God had said to him; and the people kept away from the tent of Korah.
Then Korah and his family with their wives and children came forth and stood at the doors of their tents.
And Moses said to them, 'If God hath sent me, let the earth open her mouth and swallow them up; but if I am come of my own desire, let them die a natural death like every man.'
While the word was yet in his mouth, the earth opened, and swallowed them up, and the people that were with them, from man even unto beast; and fear fell upon their companions. The fire went forth from their censers, and burnt up the two hundred and fifty men.
Moses said to Eleazar, 'Take their censers and make a casting of them, that they may be a memorial-- for they have been sanctified by the fire which fell into them--that no man who is not of the family of Aaron should dare to take a censer in his hand.'
The children of Israel gathered together unto Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'Ye have destroyed the people of the Lord.'
And God said to Moses and Aaron in the tabernacle, 'Stand aloof from them, and I will destroy them in a moment.'
Moses said to Aaron, 'Take a censer and put fire and incense therein, and go to the people, that God may forgive their sins, for anger has gone forth against them from before the Lord.'
And Aaron put incense in a censer, and went to the people in haste, and he saw death destroying the people unsparingly; but with his censer he separated the living from the dead, and the plague was stayed from them. The number of men whom the plague destroyed at that time of the children of Israel was fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides those who died with the children of Korah; and Aaron returned to Moses.
And God said to Moses, 'Let the children of Israel collect from every tribe a rod, and let them write the name of the tribe upon its rod, and the name of Aaron upon (that of) the tribe of Levi, and the rod of the man whom the Lord chooseth shall blossom.'
And they did as God had commanded them, and took the rods and placed them in the tabernacle that day. On the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle, and saw the rod of the house of Levi budding and bearing almonds.
And Moses brought out all the rods to the children of Israel, and the sons of Levi were set apart for the service of the priesthood before the Lord. When the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sîn, Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron died, and they buried her.
And there was no water for them to drink; and the children of Israel murmured against Moses and said, 'Would that we had all died with those who are dead already, and that we had not come hither to die with our beasts and our possessions! Why did the Lord bring us out from Egypt to this desert land, in which there are neither pomegranates nor grapes?'
Moses and Aaron went to the tabernacle, and fell upon their faces before the Lord, and the Lord said to them, 'Gather together the children of Israel, and let Moses smite the rock with the rod, and water shall come forth and all the people shall drink;' and Moses called that water 'the water of strife.'
The children of Israel gathered themselves together unto Moses and Aaron, and they murmured against them saying, 'Why have ye brought us out to this desert to die of thirst and hunger?'
And the Lord was angry with them, and sent serpents upon them, and many of the people died by reason of the serpents.
And they gathered themselves together unto Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'We have sinned before God and before you.'
God said to Moses, 'Make a serpent of brass, and hang it upon the top of thy rod, and set it up among the people; and let everyone whom a serpent shall bite look upon the brazen serpent, and he shall live and not die.'
This serpent which Moses set up is a type of the crucifixion of our Lord, as the doctor saith, 'Like the serpent which Moses set up, He set Him up also, that He might heal men of the bites of cruel demons.'
And the children of Israel came to mount Hôr, and Aaron died there; and they wept for him a month of days; and Moses put his garments upon Eleazar his son. The children of Israel began to commit fornication with the daughters of Moab, and to bow down to their idols, and to eat of their sacrifices.
The Lord was angry with them, and He commanded Moses to gather together the children of Israel, and to order every man to slay his fellow, and everyone who should bow down to Baal Peôr, the idol of the Moabites. When they were all assembled at the door of the tabernacle, Zimri the son of Salô came and took Cosbî the daughter of Zûr, and committed fornication with her in the sight of Moses and all the people; and God smote the people with a pestilence. Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, the son of Aaron, arose, and thrust them through with a spear, and lifted them up upon the top of it; and the plague was stayed from that hour. This zeal was accounted unto Phinehas as a prayer; as the blessed David says, 'Phinehas arose and prayed, and the pestilence was stayed; and it was accounted unto him for merit from generation unto generation, even forever.' The number of those who died at that time was twenty-four thousand men. God commanded Moses to number the people, and their number amounted to six hundred and one thousand seven hundred and eighty souls.
And God commanded Moses to bless Joshua the son of Nun, and to lay his hand upon him, and to set him up before Eleazar the priest and before all the children of Israel; and God gave him wisdom and knowledge and prophecy and courage, and made him ruler of the children of Israel.
God commanded the children of Israel to destroy the Midianites. And (Moses) chose from each tribe a thousand men, and they went up against the Midianites and took them captive and spoiled them. And Moses told them to slay every man who had committed fornication with a Midianitish woman, and every Midianitish woman who had committed fornication with a son of Israel, except the virgins whom man had not known.
God commanded Moses to set apart one-fiftieth part of the spoil for the sons of Levi, the ministers of the altar and the house of the Lord. The number of the flocks that were gathered together with the children of Israel was six hundred and seventy thousand, and seventy-two thousand oxen, and thirty-two thousand virgins. And the Lord commanded them that when they should pass over the Jordan and come to the land of promise, they should set apart three villages for a place of flight and refuge, that whosoever committed a murder involuntarily might flee thither and dwell in them until the high priest of that time died, when he might return to his family and the house of his fathers.
God laid down for them laws and commandments, and these are they.
A man shall not clothe himself in a woman's garments; neither shall a woman clothe herself in those of a man.
If one sees a bird's nest, he shall drive away the mother, and then take the young ones.
A man shall make a fence and an enclosure to his roof, lest anyone fall therefrom, and his blood be required of him.
Let him that hath a rebellious son, bring him out before the elders, and let them reprimand him; if he turn from his (evil) habit, (goad and well); but if not, let him be stoned.
One that is crucified shall not pass the night upon his cross.
He that blasphemes God shall be slain.
The man that lies with a betrothed woman shall be slain. If she is notbetrothed, he shall give her father five hundred dinârs, and take her to wife; and the other commandments.
And Moses gathered together the children of Israel and said to them, 'Behold, I am a hundred and twenty years old, no more strength abideth in me; and God hath said to me, Thou shalt not pass over this river Jordan.' And he called Joshua the son of Nun and said to him in the sight of all the people: Be strong and of good courage, for thou shalt bring this people into the land of promise. Fear not the nations that are in it, for God will deliver them into thy hands, and thou shalt inherit their cities and villages, and shalt destroy them.
And Moses wrote down laws and judgments and orders, and gave them into the hands of the priests, the children of Levi. He commanded them that, when they crossed over to the land of promise, they should make a feast of tabernacles and should read aloud these commandments before all the people, men and women; that they might hear and fear the Lord their God.
And God said to Moses, 'Behold thou art going the way of thy fathers; call Joshua the son of Nun, thy disciple, and make him stand in the tabernacle, and command him to be diligent for the government of this people; for I know that after thy death they will turn aside from the way of truth, and will worship idols, and I will turn away My face from them.' And God said to Moses, 'Get thee up into this mountain of the Amorites which is called Nebo, and see the land of Canaan, and be gathered to thy fathers, even as Aaron thy brother died on mount Hôr.' So Moses died there and was buried, and no man knoweth his grave; for God hid him, that the children of Israel might not go astray and worship him as God. He died at the age of 120 years; his sight had not diminished, neither was the complexion of his face changed. And the children of Israel wept for him a month of days in Arbôth Moab.
From Adam then until the death of Moses was three thousand eight hundred and sixtyeight years. When the number of the children of Israel was reckoned up, it amounted to eight hundred thousand, and that of the house of Judah to five hundred thousand.
In the Book of Chronicles it is written, 'The children of Israel were a thousand thousand, one hundred thousand and one hundred men; and the house of Judah was four hundred thousand and seven hundred men that drew sword.' Now when they came out of Egypt, they were six hundred thousand; and when they entered Egypt, they were seventy and five souls.
Chapter 31 - Of Joshua The Son Of Nun, And Brief Notices Of The Years Of The Judges And The Kings Of The Children Of Israel
AFTER Moses was dead, God said to Joshua the son of Nun, 'Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I have sworn to their fathers to give them, Every place upon which ye tread shall be yours.' So Joshua the son of Nun gathered the people together, and passed over Jordan. Jordan was divided on this side and on that, and the children of Israel passed over as upon dry ground, even as their fathers passed through the sea of Sôph, when they went forth from Egypt. And they took twelve stones from the midst of Jordan, as a memorial for those after them. And they took Jericho, and destroyed it; and Joshua the son of Nun slew thirty-one kings of the foreign nations, and divided the land among them, and he brake their idols and images.
These are the names of the kings whom Joshua the son of Nun destroyed.
The king of Jericho,
the king of Ai,
the king of Jerusalem,
the king of Hebron,
the king of Jarmuth,
the king of Lachish,
the king of Eglon,
the king of Gezer,
the king of Debir,
the king of Hormah,
the king of Geder,
the king of Arad,
the king of Libnah,
the king of Adullam,
the king of Makkedah,
the king of Bethel,
the king of Tappuah,
the king of Hepher,
the king of Aphek,
the king of Lashsharon;
the king of Madon,
the king of Hazor,
the king of Shimron-meron,
the king of Achshaph,
the king of Taanach,
the king of Megiddo,
the king of Rekam (Kadesh),
the king of Jokneam,
the king of Dor and Naphath-Dor,
the king of Goiim,
the king of Tirzah
And as we do not intend to write a complete history of the kings and judges, but only to collect a few matters which may serve for the consolation of the feeble in a time of despondency, behold we pass over them with brief notices. If however any one seeks to know these (things), let him read in the Tôrah and in the Bêth-Mautebhê, whence he will understand clearly.
Moses ruled the people in the desert forty years.
Joshua ruled the people twenty-five years.
Judah was ruler of the people forty-eight years.
Eglon king of Moab oppressed the people eighteen years.
Ahôr (Ehûd) was ruler of the people eighty years.
Nâbîn (Jabin) oppressed Israel twenty years.
Deborah and Barak were rulers of the people forty years.
The Midianites oppressed Israel seven years. Gideon was ruler of the people forty years. He had seventy sons, who rode with him upon seventy ass colts.
Abimelech the son of Gideon was ruler of the people sixty years.
Tola the son of Puah was ruler of the people twenty-three years.
Jair was ruler of the people twenty-two years.
The Philistines and Ammonites oppressed the people eighteen years.
Naphthah (Jephthah) was ruler of the people six years. He vowed a vow to the Lord and said, 'Whatsoever cometh forth to meet me from my house, I will offer up as an offering to the Lord.' And his only daughter came forth, and he offered her up as an offering to the Lord.
Abîzan (Ibzan) was ruler of the people seven years. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters; he sent out the thirty daughters and brought in thirty daughters-inlaw.
Elon was a ruler of the people ten years. Acrôn (Abdon) was ruler of the people eight years.
The Philistines oppressed Israel forty years.
Samson was ruler of the people twenty years. He slew a thousand men with the jawbone of a dead ass.
Eli was ruler of the people forty years. From Eli, the ark was in the house of Abinadab twenty years.
Samuel was ruler of the people thirty years.
Saul was ruler of the people forty years.
These years of the Judges (lit. rulers) amount to six hundred and fifty-five.
King David reigned forty years.
Solomon reigned forty years.
Rehoboam reigned seventeen years.
Abijah reigned three years.
Asa reigned forty-one years.
Jehoshaphat reigned twentyfive years.
Joram reigned eight years.
Ahaziah reigned one year.
Athaliah reigned six years.
Joash reigned forty years.
Amaziah reigned twenty-three years.
Uzziah reigned fifty-two years.
Jotham reigned sixteen years.
Hezekiah reigned twenty-nine years. He prayed before God, and fifteen years were added to his life; and he held back the sun and the moon in their course.
Manasseh reigned fifty-five years. He sawed Isaiah with a wooden saw and killed him.
Amon reigned two years.
Josiah reigned thirty-one years.
Jehoahaz reigned three months.
Jehoiakim reigned eleven years. Jehoiachin reigned one hundred days.
Zedekiah reigned seven years.
These years of the kings amount to four hundred and fifty-five years, six months, and ten days.
Chapter 32 - Of The Death Of The Prophets; How They Died, And (Where) Each One Of Them Was Buried
MANASSEH the son of Hezekiah slew Isaiah with a wooden saw; he was buried before the outfall of the waters which Hezekiah concealed by the side of Siloah.
Hosea the son of Beeri, of the tribe of Issachar, (was) from the town of Be`elmâth. He prophesied mystically about our Lord Jesus Christ who was to come; saying that when He should be born, the oak in Shiloh should be divided into twelve parts; and that He should take twelve disciples of Israel. He died in peace, and was buried in his own land.
Joel the son of Bethuel (Pethuel), of the tribe of Reuben, died in peace in his own land. Others say that Ahaziah the son of Amaziah smote him with a staff upon his head; and while his life was yet in him, they brought him to his own land, and after two days he died. Amos (was) from the land of Tekoa. The priest of Bethel tortured him and afterwards slew him. Others say that it was he whom Ahaziah the son of Amaziah killed with a staff, and he died.
Obadiah from the country of Shechem was the captain of fifty of Ahab's soldiers. He became a disciple of Elijah, and endured many evil things from Ahab, because he forsook him and went after Elijah. However he died in peace. After he followed Elijah, he was deemed worthy of prophecy.
Elijah the fiery, of the family of Aaron, (was) from Tashbî, a town of the Levites. When this (prophet) was born, his father saw in a dream that one was born, and that they wrapped him in fire instead of swaddling bands, and gave him some of that fire to eat. He came to Jerusalem, and told the priests the vision that he had seen. The learned among the people said to him, 'Fear not, thy son is about to be a fire, and his word shall be like fire, and shall not fall to the ground; he will burn like fire with jealousy of sinners, and his zeal will be accepted before God.' He was taken up in a chariot towards heaven. Some say that his father was called Shôbâkh. Elisha his pupil, from Abêl-Mehôlâh, (was) of the tribe of Reuben. On the day of his birth a great wonder took place in Israel; for the bull which they worshipped in Gilgal lowed, and his voice was heard in Jerusalem. The chief priests in Jerusalem said, 'A mighty prophet is born to-day in Israel at this time, and he will break the images and idols to pieces.' He died in peace, and was buried in Samaria.
Jonah the son of Amitta (was) from Gath-hepher, from Kûryath-Âdâmôs, which is near to Ascalon and Gaza and the sea coast. After this (prophet) had prophesied to the Ninevites in the time of Sardânâ the king, he did not remain in his own land because the Jews were jealous of him; but he took his mother, and went and dwelt in Assyria. He feared the reproach of the Jews, because he had prophesied, and his prophecy did not come to pass. He also rebuked Ahab the king, and called a famine upon the land and the people. He came to the widow of Elijah, and blessed her, because she received him, and he returned to Judaea. His mother died on the way, and he buried her by the side of Deborah's grave. He lived in the land of Serîdâ, and died two years after the people had returned from Babylon, and was buried in the cave of Kainân. This (prophet) prophesied that when the Messiah should come, the cities of the Jews would be overturned.
Micah the Morashthite (was) of the tribe of Ephraim, and was slain by Joram the son of Ahab. This (prophet) prophesied concerning the destruction of the temple of the Jews, and the abrogation of the Passover on the death of the Messiah. He died in peace, and was buried in Anikâm.
Nahum, from the city of Elkôsh, (was) of the tribe of Simeon. After the death of Jonah this (prophet) prophesied concerning the Ninevites, saying, 'Nineveh shall perish by perpetually advancing waters, and ascending fire;' and this actually took place. He prophesied also concerning the Babylonians, that they would come against the Israelitish people; and therefore they sought to kill him. He prophesied that when the Messiah should be slain, the vail of the temple should be rent in twain, and that the Holy Spirit should depart from it. He died in peace, and was buried in his own country.
Habakkuk (was) of the tribe of Simeon, and from the land of Sûâr (Zoar). This (prophet) prophesied concerning the Messiah, that He should come, and abrogate the laws of the Jews. He brought food to Daniel at Babylon by the divine (or, angelic) agency. The Jews stoned him in Jerusalem.
Zephaniah (was) of the tribe of Simeon. He prophesied concerning the Messiah, that He should suffer, and that the sun should become dark, and the moon be hidden. He died in peace in his own land.
Haggai returned from Babylon to Jerusalem when he was young. He prophesied that the people would return, and concerning the Messiah, that He would abrogate the sacrifices of the Jews. He died in peace.
Zechariah the son of Jehoiada returned from Babylon in his old age, and wrought wonders among the people. He died at a great age, and was buried by the side of the grave of Haggai.
Malachi was born after the return of the people, and because of his beauty he was surnamed 'Angel.' He died in peace in his own land.
The Jews stoned Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah in Egypt, because he rebuked them for worshipping idols; and the Egyptians buried him by the side of Pharaoh's palace. The Egyptians loved him much, because he prayed and the beasts died which used to come up from the river Nile and devour men. These beasts were called 'crocodiles.' When Alexander the son of Philip, the Macedonian, came (to Egypt), he made enquiries about his grave, and took and brought him to Alexandria. This (prophet) during his life said to the Egyptians, 'a child shall be born--that is the Messiah--of a virgin, and He shall be laid in a crib, and He will shake and cast down the idols.' From that time, and until Christ was born, the Egyptians used to set a virgin and a baby in a crib, and to worship him, because of what Jeremiah said to them, that He should be born in a crib.
Ezekiel the son of Buzi was of the priestly tribe, and from the land of Serîdâ. The chief of the Jews who was in the land of the Chaldeans slew him, because he rebuked him for worshipping idols. He was buried in the grave of Arphaxar, the son of Shem, the son of Noah.
Daniel (was) of the tribe of Judah, and was born in Upper Beth-Horon. He was a man who kept himself from women, and hence the Jews thought that he was an eunuch, for his face was different (from that of other men), and he had no children. He prayed for the Babylonians, and died in Elam, in the city of the Hôzâyê, and was buried in Shôshan the fortress. He prophesied concerning the return of the people.