1. WHEN Lot the younger escaped out of Sodom, he halted in a small city called Ben-ah, and tarried there whilst Sodom and Gomorrah were being consumed with fire; and because he was saved, he called the place Zoar, because he was a worshipper of the doctrines of Zarathustra, who was called in the Fonecean language Zoa-raastra. And the place was called Zoar for more than a thousand years.
2. When Lot departed out of Zoar, there went with him two tribes, and there were born of the house of Lot, offspring to the two tribes who accompanied him, and these became the nations in after years known as Moabites and Ammonites, who were of the Foneceans, as their names show, and they followed the doctrines of Zarathustra.
3. In former years God appeared to Abraham in a dream, and said unto Abraham: Thou shalt be a father to many peoples.
4. When Abraham awoke he told Sarai, his wife, and she was troubled, being barren, and she prayed God for Abraham's sake.
5. Now it came to pass that Hagar, Sarai's maid, had a son, and called his name Ishmael; and Sarai was jealous of Hagar, and abused her during pregnancy. And the Lord spake to Abraham, saying: Because of the hatred betwixt thy women, Hagar's son will be as a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man shall be against him.
6. Abraham said: How, O God? And God said: I told thee thou shouldst be a father of many peoples, and thou toldst Sarai, thy wife. Now Sarai became vain in her desires for offspring, and, in her eagerness, she opened the door of thy house to satan, and hence this matter is upon thee.
7. Go, therefore, my son, and reconcile thy women. And Abraham told Sarai what God had said. And Sarai inquired of Abraham, saying: Before God, tell me, is Ishmael thy son? And God shall judge betwixt us. Abraham said:
8. Teach me, O God, to answer Sarai, that I may reconcile them. And God said: Behold, thy Creator is the Father of all the living.
9. And when Abraham told Sarai God's words, she cried in sorrow and repentence, saying: Thou art wise, O God! For what matter is it to me, since I know that Ishmael is thy son, and Hagar is thy daughter?
10. And Sarai went to Hagar and said: O my sister, I have sinned before the Lord, my God. I saw thy son, and knew God gave him, but I turned against mine own soul, and loved not thy treasure.
11. Hagar said: Saidst thy God that Abraham was father to my child? And Sarai said: Nay, O Hagar. Hagar said: Neither said I thy husband was Ishmael's father.
12. So they were reconciled, and by right of the beginning of Abraham's nations, Ishmael was Abraham's son before God, but not in the flesh.
13. Sarai had a son, and he was called Isaac, because he was born of Sarai after she had passed the time of child-bearing.
14. And when Hagar beheld that Sarai bore a son, Hagar became jealous for Ishmael's sake, and she wept before Abraham. Hagar said:
15. I am an Egyptian woman, and I left my people for thee. Behold, I am not favored of thy God. Abraham said: Have I not been as a father to thee and thy son? Yea, when all people reviled thee because thou hadst a child in maidenhood, laying it on me, I denied thee not nor justified myself before the king's people, suffering these things for God's sake, and thine, and thy child's.
16. Complain not, then, against my house, nor my wife, nor my son, Isaac; all things are of the Creator. And Hagar was pacified for a season, but afterward returned to grief and jealousy, and finally resolved to depart away from Abraham's house.
17. Then said Abraham to Hagar: The matter lieth with thee. And I give thee, according to the custom of the Egyptians, a jug with water, and bread and blankets.
18. So Hagar persisted, and Abraham provided her, and she departed, taking Ishmael with her, and she went into Par-an and dwelt there.
19. In those days Arabin'ya was divided into many kingdoms, some having one city and some two, and some as many as six cities. And they were constantly at war one with another, and the victors always changed the names of the kingdoms. The largest and most powerful always called itself the Sun Kingdom, after the manner of the Par'si'e'ans (Persians).
20. In the Sun Kingdom dwelt men and women of learning, and they had tablets and books and maps relating to heaven and earth, which books, maps, and tablets were kept in a library, the summit of which building was used as an oracle for consulting with the spirits, called Lords of heaven.
21. For which purpose, a man or woman, whose head had been flattened in infancy, sat by a table covered with sand, whereon the spirits wrote with the finger. And the person so communing p. 332b with the spirits was called Æ'jin in the Egyptian language, and was in rank next to the Sun King. Now, no matter what wars took place, the library, the temple of the oracle and the Æ'jin were sacred, and never suffered harm even betwixt enemies.
22. The kings kept scribes whose business was to write and to translate, and to keep the records of the kingdom. Besides these, there were gatherers of news, who held the second rank of scribes.
23. Now when Abraham and his people came into Arabin'ya, especially into Egupt, the matter was entered in the records of the different kingdoms, with especial reference to Abraham's professing to hear the voice of God, for he had not a flat head, and moreover, had good judgement of his own, quite unlike the AEjins in the temples.
24. But because Abraham gave no counsel as to war or to earthly gain, he was not favored by any of the kings, and was suffered to go his way unmolested.
25. When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, the kings' people heaped the blame of it on Abraham's head, and there rose up enemies against Abraham in those regions.
26. And they also accused him of attempting to burn his son Isaac as a sacrifice to his God, after the manner of the heathen of old.
27. And they accused Abraham of being the father of Ishmael, by his servant-maid, and of driving Hagar and Ishmael away to Par-an after he tired of her.
28. And these accusations, and many more of like wickedness, were heard of by the news gatherers, the scribes, and they wrote them down, not knowing of a truth what they were doing before God; and so, their records were entered into the libraries of the kings of Arabin'ya, especially of Egupt.
29. Abraham perceived these matters, and he wept before God, saying: Alas, O God, would that I had great learning and could write my record truthfully before men! God answered him, saying:
30. Thy faith being in Jehovih, it is well with thee. In thousands of years, one Ezra shall send his scribes into these countries to gather news, even as do the kings of this day. And his scribes shall translate from these records, p. 333b with all their errors and falsehoods, and Ezra shall publish the matter as the history of THE DELIVERANCE.
31. Abraham hearing this of God, bowed down his head and wept, saying: Thy will be done! And God comforted him, saying: I am the Light and the Life!
32. The God of heaven and earth will come afterward and render the records of thy life, which are not dead, but of life everlasting. Since, then, thy people shall be honored by even that which shall come from their enemies, how much greater will be their glory when God of heaven speaketh for thee and them!
Next: God's First Book: Chapter XII