TRANSLATIONS OF EARLY DOCUMENTS
P A L E S T I N I A N J E W I S H T E X T S
THE APOCALYPSE OF
EDITED, WITH A TRANSLATION FROM THE SLAVONIC
TEXT AND NOTES
G. H. BOX, M.A.
LECTURER IN RABBINIC HEBREW, KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON;
H O N . C A N ON O F ST . A L B A N S
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
J. I. LANDSMAN
S O C I E T Y F O R P R O M O T I N G
C H R I S T I A N K N O W L E D G E
L O N D O N : 68, H A Y M A R K E T, S.W.
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
First Edition 1918.
Second Impression 1919.
object of this series of translations is primarily to furnish students with short, cheap,
and handy text-books, which, it is hoped, will facilitate the study of the particular texts in class
under competent teachers. But it is also hoped that the volumes will be acceptable to the
general reader who may be interested in the subjects with which they deal. It has been thought
advisable, as a general rule, to restrict the notes and comments to a small compass; more
especially as, in most cases, excellent works of a more elaborate character are available.
Indeed, it is much to be desired that these translations may have the effect of inducing
readers to study the larger works.
Our principal aim, in a word, is to make some difficult texts, important for the study of
Christian origins, more generally accessible in faithful and scholarly translations.
In most cases these texts are not available in a cheap and handy form. In one or two cases
texts have been included of books which are available in the official Apocrypha; but in every
such case reasons exist for putting forth these texts in a new translation, with an Introduction,
in this series.
An edition of The Apocalypse of Abraham is included in the present volume. The
explanatory notes, in this case, given in the commentary on the text, are rather longer and
fuller than usual. This was rendered necessary by the fact that the Book is made accessible
here to English readers for the first time; and the difficulties and obscurities in the text are
W. O. E. O
G. H. B
The Apocalypse of Abraham, which has been preserved in old Slavonic literature, falls into
two distinct parts (cf. the somewhat similar case of The Ascension of Isaiah). The first part,
contained in chaps. i.-viii., consists of a Midrashic narrative based upon the legend of
Abraham's conversion from idolatry, which has several peculiar features.
The second part
(chaps. ix.-xxxii.) is purely apocalyptic in character, and contains a revelation made to
Abraham about the future of his race, after his (temporary) ascent into the heavenly regions,
under the guidance of the archangel Jaoel, who here seems to play the part of Metatron-
Michael. It is based upon the account of Abraham's trance-vision described in Genesis xv.--a
favourite theme for apocalyptic speculation. In the Book, as it lies before us, the two parts are
organically connected. Thus in chap. x. the archangel says: I am the one who was commissioned
to set on fire thy father's house together with him, because he displayed reverence for dead (idols)--an
allusion to the narrative of chap. viii.; and the general plan of the whole work seems to be
based upon the idea that Abraham's dissatisfaction with the idol-worship by which he was
surrounded, which found vent in his strong protest to his father Terah (chaps. i.-viii.),
appealed so much to the divine favour, that the archangel Jaoel was specially sent by God to
instruct him and initiate him into the knowledge of heavenly mysteries. Whether the
apocalyptic portion ever existed in a shorter and independent form will be discussed below.
The Book opens with a description of Abraham's activities as a maker and seller of idols,
his father Terah being a manufacturer of idols. His doubts as to the justifiable character of the
idol-worship are roused especially by an accident that befell the stone image called Merumath,
and by a similar accident that happened to "five other gods," by which they were broken in
pieces (chaps. i.-ii.). Reflecting on this, he is led to protest to his father against the unreality
of asking a blessing from such helpless images, thereby rousing Terah's anger (chaps. iii.-iv.).
He is led to test further the powers of the idols by placing a wooden god Barisat before the fire,
and telling the idol to see that the fire must not be allowed to die down during his absence. On
returning he finds Barisat fallen backwards and "horribly burnt" (chap. v.). He again protests
to his father against the futility of such worship, sarcastically contrasting the relative merits
of gold, silver and wooden idols (chap. vi.). He then proceeds to show that the elements of fire,
water, earth, and the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars) are more worthy of honour than
the idols, and yet, as each is subjected to some superior force, they can none of them claim to
be God (chap. vii.). While he was yet speaking to his father a voice came from heaven bidding
him leave his father's house. He had scarcely left the house when fire descended and
consumed all within it.
The apocalyptic part opens with a divine command to Abraham to prepare a sacrifice with
a view to receiving a divine revelation concerning the future (chap. ix.). Abraham,
See Appendix I, esp. p. 60.
terrified at the experience, is confronted by the angel Jaoel, who encourages him, and explains
his commission to be with Abraham, and act as his celestial guide. Under the direction of the
angel he proceeds to Horeb, the Mount of God, a journey of forty days (chaps. x.-xii.), and
there, with the help of Jaoel, accomplishes the sacrifice. At this point Azazel, the fallen
archangel and seducer of mankind, intervenes and attempts to dissuade Abraham from his
purpose. In the form of an unclean bird he flies down "upon the carcasses" (cf. Gen. xv. II),
and tries to induce Abraham to leave the holy place, but in v ain. Jaoel denounces the evil
spirit, bidding him depart, and telling him that the heavenly garment which was formerly his
has been set aside for Abraham (chaps. xiii.-xiv.).
After this Abraham and the angel ascend on the wings of the unslaughtered birds (of the
sacrifice) to heaven, which is described at length. It is filled with "a strong light" of power
inexpressible, and there they see the angels who are born and disappear daily, after singing
their hymn of praise (chaps. xv.-xvi.). At this point Abraham, hearing the divin e voice, falls
prostrate, and, taught by the angel, utters the celestial song of praise, and prays for enlighten-
ment (chap. xvii.). He sees the divine throne with the Cherubim and the holy Creatures
(hayyoth), of whom a description is given, and particularly of their rivalry which is mitigated by
the activity of Jaoel (chap. xviii.). God now speaks and discloses to Abraham the powers of
heaven in the various firmaments below (chap. xix.). God promises him a seed numerous as
the stars (chap. xx.). In answer to a question by Abraham about Azazel, God shows him a
vision of the world, its fruits and creatures, the sea and its monsters (including Leviathan), the
Garden of Eden, its fruits, streams, and blessedn ess. He sees also a multitude of human beings
"half of them on the right side of the picture, and half of them on the left" (chap. xxi.). The
fall of man is explained to him, being traced to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden, a
vision of which appears in the picture and also of its results upon the destinies of mankind, who
are divided into the people on the right side of the picture, representing the Jewish world, and
the people on the left representing the heathen world. In particular the sin of idolatry resulting
in impurity and murder is sketched and made manifest (chaps. xxii.-xxv.). The question, why
sin is permitted, is answered by God (chap. xxvi.), and this is followed by a vision of judgement
in which the destruction of the Temple is pourtrayed. In answer to Abraham's anguished
question it is explained to him that this is due to the sin of idolatry on the part of his seed. At
the same time a hint is given him of coming salvation (chap. xxvii.). In answer to the question,
how long shall the judgement last? a description is given of the troubles preceding the
Messianic Age, and the dawn of the latter (chaps. xxviii.-xxix.; the latter chapter contains a
long Christian interpolation). At this point Abraham finds himself "upon the earth," but
receives a further disclosure regarding the punishment of the heathen and the ingathering of
Israel (chaps. xxx.-xxxi.). A short paragraph repeating the promise of the chosen people's
deliverance from oppression closes the Book (chap. xxxii.).
The ch aracter of the Book, as a whole, is thoroughly Jewish. Its original language was
probably Hebrew or Aramaic, from which a Greek version (underlying the Slavonic) was made;
and the date of the original composition may be placed at the end of the first or the beginning
of the second century A.D.
The Slavonic version, or rather translation, of The Apocalypse of Abraham (Ap. Abr.) has
been preserved in a number of MSS. The oldest and most valuable of these is the famous
which now belongs to the Library of the Printing-department of the Holy
Synod in Moscow. The MS., which dates from the first half of the fourteenth century, is
written on parchment, with two columns on each page, and contains 216 leaves in all, our
Apocalypse occupying leaves 164-182.
It contains a collection of lives of different saints, and
The Apocalypse of Abraham stands in it as a work complete in itself, without any connexion
with the works which precede and follow it.
The text of our Apocalypse according to Codex Sylvester (cited as S) has been edited by
Professor N. Tikhonravov in his Memorials of Russian Apocryphal Literature (Pamyatniki
otrechennoi russkoi literatury), Moscow, 1863, Vol. I. pp. 32-53; and also Professor J. Sreznevsky
in his Ancient Monuments of Russian Writing and Language (Drevnie Pam'yatniki russkovo pis'ma
i yazyka), Petrograd, 1863, I. pp. 247
, with readings from the Uvaroff MS., which
apparently is a mere copy of S. Tikhonravov has supp lied h is edition with corrections of the
numerous clerical mistakes which abound in S, thereby earning the gratitude of students,
while Sreznevsky has satisfied himself with producing a mere copy of the text, with all its
mistakes. Apart from these editions there has also been published by the Imperial Society of
Bibliophiles a facsimile edition of the text of our Apocalypse, according to S (Petrograd, 1890),
thus affording students the means of consulting the MS. itself. Apart from S the text of Ap.
Abr. is also contained in man y P alæas.
The Palæa, as its name indicates (º
*4"2Z60), deals with the Old Testament, especially with the historical part of it, beginning
with creation and ending with David or Solomon, the biblical narratives being enlarged and
embellished with apocryphal and pseudepigraphical matter. The origin of the Slavonic Palæa
must be sought in some Greek prototype,
which by way of Bulgaria and Serbia had, at an early
date, found an entrance into Russia, where for centuries it enjoyed great popularity--at least
so long as a translation of the whole Bible had not been made accessible to both clergy and
people, that is up till the sixteenth century.
The substance of th is section of the Introduction has been contributed by Mr. J. I. Landsman.
Sylvester, after wh om the MS. is n am ed, was a prominent priest in the early years of the reign of
Ivan the Terrible, upon whom he for some years exerci sed a s alutary influence. He was an author and
lover of books, and the Codex was one of a collection of MSS. which rem ain ed after his death in the
Kirillo monastery, wh ither he was banished: see Sreznevsky, Narr ativ es about the Saints Boris and G leb
(Skazan ia o sv'yatykh Borisë i Gl
), Petrograd, 1 860, Pt. I., and The Orthodox Encyclopædia
(Pravoslavnaya Bogoslovshaya E.) iv. 1195 (s.v. Domostroi).
A full description of S is given by Sreznevsky, op. cit., pp. i-viii.
On the subject of the Palæa see the works of N. S. Tikhonravov (Sochinenia), M o s c o w , 1 8 9 8 , Vol.
I. pp. 156-170, an d t h e valuable notes at the end of th e volume; cf. also the article Palæa in th e Russian
Encyclopædia published by Brockhaus--Efron.
A MS. of a Greek Palæa is known to exist in the Vienna Library, and has been edited by A. V.
Vasil'eff in Anecdota græco-byzantina, I. pp. 188-192 (Moscow, 1892).
There are two kinds of Palæas, the historical and the expository, the former being also
known as the "eyes" of the Palæa, because it contains the text upon which the expository
Palæa comments. The expositions are of a polemical character, the polemic being invariably
directed against the Jews (Zhidovin), to whom it is demonstrated that all the prophecies and
the manifold types had found their true fulfilment in Christ. The Palæa draws richly upon the
Jewish Midrashic Literature, and then uses the material as an argument against the Jews from
whom it was borrowed.
Originally our Apocalypse had no place in the Palæa, as may be seen from the oldest Palæa
MS., which dates from the fourteenth century, and is preserved in the Alexander-Nevsky
Monastery (Petrograd). Later, it was inserted, but still retained its original character of an
independent work (as is the case in the Uvaroff Palæ); but later still (from the sixteenth
century and onwards) the text of Ap. Abr. loses its original character of an independent work,
the material being worked into the life of Abraham. The title of the Book is dropped, and the
first person in which Abraham speaks in S is altered into the third, that is, it is changed into
a narrative about Abraham, though the scribe often forgets himself and retains the first person
of the original.
The apocryphal and pseudepigraphical writings must have been introduced into Russia at
a very early date. Large parties of devout Russians, conducted by some learned monk, made
frequent pilgrimages to Constantinople and the Holy Land. It was on such pilgrimages that the
people were, for the first time, made acquainted with th ese writings, and the learned monk
wo uld, on the spot, translate the book, which had enriched his knowledge concerning the
Patriarchs or the Apostles, into Slavonic, and then bring it back, as a most precious treasure
to his own country, to the great delight of his fellow-monks in the monastery. It may, therefore,
be taken for granted that the Greek original of our Apocalypse had never been brought to
Russia, and that there never existed more than one translation of it into Slavonic, for S and
the Palæa do not represent different translations, but only different types or recensions of one
and the same version. The differences between the Palæa and S are very slight, the former
only modernising here and there the style and the orthography. The Palæa is, therefore, of
great value for the reconstruction of the original text, especially as it has preserved, in many
cases, a more correct copy than is the case with S. The Palæa version is, however, disfigured
by the many interpolations made by subsequent scribes which are all absent from S, and which
are easily discernible as being interpolations.
The Palæa version of our Apocalypse has been edited by Tikhonravov
from a MS. which
once belonged to the Joseph-Monastery in Volokolamsk, whence it has been transferred to the
Library of the Moscow Academy of Divinity,
the MS. dating from the fifteenth century. Then
I. Porfir'ev edited it in his Apocryphal Narratives about Old Testament Persons and Events
(Apokrificheskia skazania o vetkhozavetnykh litsakh i sobytiakh), Petrograd, 1877,
Matter wh ich is not found in S is, i n t h e t r an s l ation prin ted below, enclosed in square brackets, and
printed in smaller type.
Op. Cit., pp. 54-77.
Cited below as A.
from a MS. dating from the seventeenth century, originally the property of the
Library of the Solovetzk-Monastery, whence it was transferred to the Library of the Kasan
Academy of Divinity.
A and K are closely related to each other, and represent a type of text
common to them both. Thus the same mistakes are found in both, and also the same
additional matter, not extant in S.
Another Palæa-text, containing part of the text of our Apocalypse, viz. the legendary
narrative in chaps. i.-viii. only, has been edited by A. Pypin in Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha of
Russian Antiquity (Loznyja i otrechennyja knigi russkoi stariny) in the third volume of
Kuselev-Bezborodko, Memorial s of Old Russian Literature (Pam'yatniki starinnoj russkoi
literatury), Petrograd, 1882, pp. 24-26. This is from the Palæa of the Rumjancov Museum,
dating from the year 1494.
In S the end of the Book is missing, but is, fortunately, extant both in A and K. K also has
at the end a short paragraph not found in A, which forms an appropriate conclusion to the
whole Book. The reader will find it given in the notes on the concluding passage. See further
Appendixes II. and III.
The Slavonic text, it is obvious, was made from a Greek version which, no doubt, was
current in Constantinople. It is probable, however, that the Greek text underlying the Slavonic
was itself a translation of a Semitic original. A number of indications suggest this. The simple
co-ordination of the sentences, the naïve repetitions, and the frequency of the phrase "Here
am I" (= Hebrew hinnënî), which characterise all parts of the Book, point in this direction.
Then, too, the sarcastic names given to the idols in the first part (chaps. i.-viii.)--the stone
idol Merumath (= 'eben Mrãm~, "stone of deceit"), the wooden idol Barisat (= bar 'isht~ "son
of the fire," Aramaic)--presuppose a knowledge of Hebrew or Aramaic, or both, on the part
of the original readers which would hardly be likely in a purely Greek composition. The fact,
too, that Abraham is supposed to be the speaker through out may lend some weight to the
argument for a Hebrew original. The cumulative effect of these considerations taken in
conjunction with the intensely Jewish character of the Book as a whole makes a Semitic
original highly probable. Perhaps the Book was composed in Hebrew, with a slight admixture
of Aramaic, such as occurs in the early Palestinian Midrashim.
The date of the composition of the Book can be determined, within narrow limits, with
some probability. Clearly the terminus a quo is the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in
70 A.D. which is bewailed by Abraham in the apocalyptic part of the Book. The fact, too, that
it forms the central point of the picture, that the revelation leads up to it as a sort
Form in g part of Vol. XVII, published by th e Department of the Russian L an guage and Literature
of the Imperial Academy of Sciences.
Cited below as K.
F o r some examples of identical errors in the text which appear in both A and K see Bonwetsch, p.
Cited as R below.
See further, Bonwetsch, pp. I-II.
of climax, and that the apocalyptist is so deeply moved at the disclosure, suggests that the
event is fairly recent. Ginzberg (J.E., i. 92) thinks "the last decades of the first century" are
probably the period to which the composition of the Book should be assigned, at any rate in its
earliest form. In any case the terminus ad quem can hardly be later than the first decades of the
second century. The fact that the Book won acceptance in Christian circles, and was adapted
by slight interpolation to Christian purposes--though its intensely Jewish character is manifest
on every page--strongly supports the early date. Such a Book would have appealed to Jewish-
Christians in Palestine, when Jewish-Christianity was still in close touch with a non-Christian
Jewish community in the Holy Land--and it may be assumed, in view of the Semitic character
of its original language, that the Book was of Palestinian origin. It must, therefore, have been
produced at a time when early apocalyptic literature was still being written in Hebrew or
Aramaic, i. e. not later than the early decades of the second century.
The questio n as to the existence of the Book at first in a shorter and much simpler form
is discussed below.
That the Book must have enjoyed some considerable vogue and popularity in certain
Christian circles is proved by its survival, in more than one form, in old Slavonic literature.
And this must be equally true of the Greek form of the Book from which the Slavonic was
derived. There is, as we should expect, some early evidence of the Book's existence, though
some of it is vague and uncertain. What seems to be the clearest and most explicit piece of
evidence of this kind is found in the Clementine Recognitions, I. 32, which carries us back to
at least the early part of the fourth century, and which, not improbably, through the sources
of the Clementine Literature, may go back to an earlier period, still, perhaps another century.
The section in the Recognitions deals with Abraham, and the part which specially concerns us
runs as follows:
From the first this same man [Abraham], being an astrologer, was able, from the account and
order of the stars, to recognise the Creator, while all others were in error, and understood that all
things are regulated by His providence. Whence also an angel, standing by him in a vision, instructed
him more fully concerni ng those things which he was beginning to perceive. He shewed him also what
belonged to his race and posterity, and promised them that those districts should be restored rather
than given to them.
Here the first sentence clearly refers to some form of the legend of Abraham's conversion
from idolatry; but it agrees rather w ith Philo's account in de Abrahamo, § 15 (see Appendix I.)
than with that embodied in the first part of our Book, wh ich depicts Abraham in his early days
as a maker and seller of idols rather than as an astrologer. But the second sentence forms a
good description of the second or apocalyptic part of our Book, and may be taken as a
reference to it. That in fact a book known as "the Apocalypse of Abraham" existed in his time
is explicitly stated by Epiphan ius (Hær. xxxix. 5) where, in speaking of the Gnostic sect called
See E.A., p. lviii ff.
Cf. Hort, Clementine Recognitions, pp. 80 ff.
"the Sethians," he says they possessed a number of books "written in the name of great men,"
seven in the name of Seth, and among others one "in the name of Abraham which they also
declare to be an apocalypse," and which is "full of all wickedness" (BVF0H
Schürer thinks that this heretical book cannot be identified with our Apocalypse. Dr. M. R.
is inclined to believe "that Epiphanius on his authority is here going too far,
and is fathering on the Sethians a book, which they may well have used, but which they did
not manufacture." It is quite possible, and not improbable that this Gnostic sect made use of
our Book in an interpolated form. As we shall see, there are Gnostic features in it in the form
in wh ich it has reached us, and Ginzberg is inclined to regard these as interpolations from a
Gnostic book bearing the same name. A heretical Book (or Apocalypse) of Abraham may also
possibly be referred to in a passage in the Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 16 (compiled in its present
form probably in the second half of the fourth century), which runs as follows:
And among the Ancients also some have written apocryphal books of Moses, and Enoch,
and Adam, and Isaiah, and David, and Elijah, and of the three patriarchs, pernicious and
repugnant to the truth (N2@D@B@4
It will be noticed that this is a list of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, most of the items of
which are easily recognisable. By "the three patriarchs" can only be meant Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob. Thus the passage attests the existence, at the time when the compiler wrote, of an
apocryphal Book of Abraham, which may well be identical with our Apocalypse.
is the evidence of the lists of books (containing the bare names) included in the Synopsis of
Pseudo-Athanasius) compiled probably about 500 A.D.) and the Stichometry of Nicephorus
(drawn up in Jerusalem perhaps about 850 A.D.). The latter is identical with the former,
except that it attaches to the name of each book the number of stichoi or lines contained in
it. The first six names on these lists are as follow s: (1) Enoch; (2) Patriarchs; (3) Prayer of Joseph;
(4) Testament of Moses; (5) Assumption of Moses; (6) Abraham. The second list adds to the sixth
name "stichometry 300," thus giving us "a book [of Abraham] rather shorter than the Greek
Esther, which has 350 FJ\P@4." Dr. M. R. James
is of opinion that the word B@6V8LR4H is to
be supplied before U$D"V: here, and this view we may safely accept. We have thus another
piece of evidence of the existence of a Book called "the Apocalypse of Abraham," which was
of sufficient importance to be included in a list of books of Old Testament apocrypha
containing such well-known names as the Book of Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve
Patriarchs, and the Assumption of Moses.
From a survey of this evidence it may be concluded that an apocryphal book (or books)
under the name of Abraham was current in the early Christian centuries: and that our
Apocalypse is one product or form of this literature. The so-called Testament of Abraham is,
no doubt, another. The possibility remains to be considered that our Apocalypse may have
assumed different forms (by enlargement or curtailment) and have been adapted at different
times for different purposes.
The Testament of Abraham (Cambridge "Texts and Studies"), p. 14.
It might, of course, refer to som e o t h e r ap o c r yphal Book of Abraham; Dr. M. R. James thinks the
reference may be to The Testament of Abraham.
Op. cit., p. 9. The synopsis embraces eleven items.
Among the Gnostic features in the text of our Book may be reckoned the significant
emphasis laid upon "right" and "left" in the apocalyptic representation (cf. xxii. (end), xxiii.),
the "right" side being the source of purity and light, the "left" that of impurity and darkness.
This idea is ancient,
depending upon the dualism which insists upon the category of light and
darkness, and can be traced back to ancient Zoroastrianism. But it was developed in the early
Gnostic systems (see Irenæus, adv. Hær. I., xi. 2: II. xxiv. 6), and in the Jewish Kabbalah, where
"right side" and "left side" (sitr~ yêmîn~ w-sitr~ 'ah~r~) become technical terms. In the
Emanistic system of the Zohar, the whole world is divided between "right" and "left," where
pure and impure powers respectively operate--on the right side the Holy One and His powers,
on the left the serpent Sammael and his powers (cf. Zohar, Bereshith, 47b, 53f, 169b and
following, 174b). When, therefore, we find our Book dividing mankind into tw o h osts, one on
the right side (= the Jews) and one on the left (= the heathen), the presence of Gnostic
influence seems clear. At the same time, it may well be an original feature of the Book, as the
idea had already been assimilated by the an cient Jewish mystical tradition (Kabbalah), and if
our Apocalypse was of Essene origin there would be nothing surprising in the presence of such
The opposition between light and darkness seems also to be present in an obscure passage
in chap. xiv., which is absent from S. It runs as follows (Azazel is being addressed):
For thy heritage is (to be) over those existing with thee being born with the stars and clouds, with
the men whose portion thou art, and (who) through thy being exist; and thine enmity is justification.
Perhaps by those "being born with the stars and clouds" is meant those who by birth and
creation belong to the sphere of night and darkness, as opposed to the righteous who belong
to the sphere of light. This again accords wi th the ancient dualistic conception referred to
above, and may very well be an original feature. The absence of the clause from S may be due
to excision. It can hardly be an interpolation from Slavonic sources.
On the other hand, there are two passages where the original text may have been
modified under Christian Gnostic influence (apart from the obvious interpolation indicated
by italic type in chap. xxix.). In chap. xx. God, addressing Abraham, says: "As the number of
the stars and their power, (so will) I make thy seed a nation, and a people set apart for me in
my heritage with Azazel." And again in chap. xxii.: "But those which are on the right side of
the picture--they are the people set apart for me of the peoples with Azazel." Here God is
represented as sharin g His heritage (= the Jewish people) with the evil spirit Azazel. "This,"
says Ginzberg (J.E., i. 92), "is no doubt the Gnostic doctrine of the God of the Jews as
kakodaimon," i. e. that the God of the Old Testament is an inferior deity, whose work was
fused with evil elements. Still, these Gnostic elements in our Book are not very pronounced;
there are no clear and explicit allusions to any of the full-blown doctrines of the Ophites or
kindred Gnostic sects. The phenomena suggest that the Book is an essentially Jewish one,
which may have been used and read by Gnostic Christians, and adapted by slight revision to
make it acceptable to such readers.
Cf. Matt. xxv.
The Book is essentially Jewish, and there are features in it wh ich suggest Essene origin;
such are its strong predestinarian doctrine, its dualistic conceptions, and its ascetic
tendencies. It may well have passed from Essene to Ebionite circles--the interpolation in chap .
xxix. certainly looks like the work of a Jewish-Christian--and thence, in some form, have
found its way into Gnostic circles.
Is the Book as it lies before us--apart from the interpolation in chap. xxix.--substantially
in its original shape? To this question an affirmative answer may, with some probability, be
given. Ginzberg, it is true, suggests a different view. He says (J.E., i. 92):
It is quite probable that certain parts of th e heretical Apocalypse of Abraham, which was in
circulation among the Gno s t i cs (Epiphanius, xxxix. 5), were incorporated in the present text [of our
Apocalypse]. Sub t ract i n g, then, the first part [i. e. chaps. i.-viii., containing the "Legend" ], which does
not belong to the Apocalypse, and the Gnostic and Christian i n t erpolations, only about three hundred
lines rem ai n , and this number would exactly correspond with the number which, according to the
stichom etry of Nicephorus, the Apocalypse of Abraham contain ed.
There are considerable difficulties attaching to this theory. It is difficult to suppose that
the Book in its original form was without the opening chapters (i.-viii.) narrating Abrah am's
conversion from idolatry. T here are several allusions in the later chapters to this opening
narrative, which come in quite naturally. The chapters form a good introduction to what
follows, and, as such, were probably put into their present shape by the original author of the
Book. The material of the legend was, of course, much older; but it is to be noticed that our
author has handled this material in a very free way, and this fact also suggests that these
chapters were no mere addition to the Book, borrow ed from one of the current forms of the
legend. It seems more probable that the shorter "Apocalypse of Abraham" implied by the
Stichometry of Nicephorus was a shortened recension of the original book, probably adapted
for orthodox Christian purposes. It is by no means impossible that a shorter recension may have
existed side by side with the fuller original form at a later date. The latter may have survived
and have been read in certain circles by preference, and thence have passed over into the old
Slavonic Church literature. Whether the heretical "Apocalypse of Abraham" referred to by
Epiphanius which, according to him was "full of all wickedness" was another and independent
recension, it is impossible to say. On the whole it seems more likely that the older form of the
Book--especially if it had grown up in Ebionite (Jewish-Christian) circles--was the form in
which it was read by the Sethian Gnostics. The mere fact that it was read in such circles
would make it suspicious in the eyes of a later orthodoxy, which may have endeavoured to
suppress it by issuing a shorter recension of the text. But the older form was too popular to be
eliminated in this w ay entirely--though it has almost disappeared from Christian literature,
and in its Greek and Semitic forms has, in fact, disappeared, only surviving in its old Slavonic
That such a Jewish-Christian Book would have been acceptable to Sethian Gnostic
readers is not surprising. This Gnostic sect held the doctrine that the Sophia "found means to
preserve through every age, in the midst of the Demiurge's world, a race bearing within them
the spiritual seed which was related to her own nature" . . . they "regarded Cain as a
representative of the Hylic; Abel, of the Psychical; and Seth, who was finally to reappear in
the person of the Messiah, of the Pneumatic principle."
The emphasis laid in our Book (chap. xxiv.) upon the lawlessness of Cain, "who acted
lawlessly through the Adversary," and its evil consequence in the slaughter of Abel would
appeal to such Gnostic readers no less than the division of mankind into "right" and "left," and
the assignment of the latter to the dominion of the "lawless Adversary" Azazel. Abraham, too,
the hero of the Book, was in the line of Seth, and it is from him that the Messiah springs (chap.
xxix.). All this would be read by such Gnostic readers in the light of their own presuppositions.
We conclude, then, that the Book, substantially as it lies before us, is a Jewish and Essene
production, like the related Testament of Abraham. It depicts the initiation of Abraham into
the heavenly mysteries associated with the Divine "Chariot" (cf. Ezek. i.). Its angelology is in
line with Essene speculation, and in chap. xvii. Abraham is taught by the archangel, in the
form of the celestial hymn, the mystery of the Divine Name. We have reached the stage when
Enoch has fallen into the background, and Abraham, like Moses, has become the centre of
mystic lore, that is "when the seal of circumcision had become the pledge of life."
noteworthy that the Kabbalistic book Sefer Yesîr~ (? second century A.D.) was attributed to
It may occur to some readers as an objection to this view that the prominence assigned
to Abraham's sacrifice in the Book, and to the destruction of the Temple, regarded as the
supreme calamity, is inconsistent with Essene authorship, since the Essenes rejected animal
sacrifices. But, as Kohler has shewn,
the Essenes, who accepted the Mosaic Law, were not
opposed to such sacrifices on principle. What they opposed was the priesthood in the Temple
"out of mistrust as to their state of holiness and purity, rather than out of aversion to
sacrifice." To Abraham, the Essene saint, acting under direct divine command, n o such
objection would apply.
It should be added th at the Sla v o n i c M S S . y i eld a text which is markedly shorter than the texts of
the Palæan MSS. Some of the omitted p as s ag es are perhaps cases of deliberate excision, and others of
accidental omission. But there r em ain a substantial number where the shorter text is probably original,
and the presence of glosses o r later amplifications is to be suspected. All such passages are indicated in
the text of the translation given below.
The apocalyptic part of the Book is based upon the story of Abraham's sacrifice and
trance, as described in Gen. xv. This experience is interpreted to mean that Abraham
received a divine disclo sure as to the destinies of his descendants, which is also the view of the
Rabbinical Midrash (cf. Bereshith rabba, xliv. 15 f.). This scheme provides the framework in
which our apocalypse is set. Abrah am, after completing the prescribed sacrifice, ascends to
heaven, under the guidance of the angel, and from thence sees below him the drama of the
world's future, and also the various pow ers and forces that operate in the celestial sphere. In
Neander, Church History, ii. 154.
Cf. Kohler in J.Q.R., vii. 594 (July 1895),
In J.E., v. 230 (s.v. Essenes).
exactly the same way the Midrash (Bereshith rabba, xliv. 14) interprets Abraham's experience
as an ascension. According to a saying of R. Jehuda, citing the authority of R. Johanan, God
caused him [Abraham] to ascend above the vault of the firmament, and said to him: "Look now
toward heaven": "looking" [here] means nought else but from [the height] above to [what is] below.
This is a continuation of a comment on the sentence: And He brought him forth outside (Gen.
xv. 5) interpreted to mean: "And He (God) brought him (Abraham) forth outside the world."
The angel who conducts Abraham on his celestial journey is the archangel Jaoel, who plays
an all-important rôle. As is pointed out in the notes, he fulfils the functions elsewhere assigned
to Michael and Metatron. Just as Metatron bears the tetragrammaton (cf. Ex. xxiii. 21, "My
Name is in h im)," so Jaoel here (chap. x.) is possessed of the power of the Ineffable Name. The
name Jaoel itself is evidently a substitute for the tetragrammaton, which was too sacred to be
written out in full. This angelic being is thus God's vicegerent, second only to God Himself. Yet
he may not be worshipped, but rather himself sets Abraham the example of worshipping God.
He is thus the supreme figure in Jewish angelology. Like Enoch, who was also transformed into
Metatron, Jaoel acts as celestial guide. Jaoel is also the heavenly choir-master (chap. xii.
"Singer of the Eternal"; cf. also chap. xv ii.), a function assigned elsewhere to Michael; like
Michael he is the guardian of the chosen race (chap. x., end), and is potent to subdue "the
attack and menace of every single reptile" (ibid.).
It is this supreme angelic being who in one line of apocalyptic tradition becomes the
heavenly Son of Man--a conception that exercised an important influence on Christological
Over against Jaoel stands Azazel, who here appears as the arch-fiend,
and as active upon
the earth (chap. xiii.), though his real domain is in Hades, where he reigns as lord (chap. xxxi.).
In fact, according to the peculiar representation of our Apocalypse, Azazel is himself the fire
of Hell (cf. chap. xiv. "Be thou the burning coal of the furnace of the earth," and xxxi., "burnt
with the fire of Azazel's tongue"). He is the source of all wickedness and uncleanness (chap.
xiii.), and the godless are his heritage (ibid.). He is denounced as the slanderer of truth and
the seducer of mankind, having "scattered over the earth the secrets of heaven, " and
"rebelled against the Mighty One" (chap. xiv.). The radical dualism of the Book comes out not
only in the sharp division of mankind into two hosts, which stand for Jewry and heathendom
respectively, but also in the clearly defined contradistinction of two ages, the present Age of
ungodliness and the future Age of righteousness (cf. chap. xxix. and ix.). The present
Age--called "this æon" (chap. xxxi)--is "corruptible" (chap. xvii.), "the Age of ungodliness"
(chap. xxix., xxxii.), during which the heathen have the dominion over the Jews (chap. xxxi.);
it is to last "twelve" years or "hours" (chap. xxix.). Over against it stands "the coming Age"
(chap. xxxi.), or "Age of the righteous" (chap. xvii., xxix.). The origin of sin is traced to the
Fall, which is described in chap. xxiii. The agent is, of course, the serpent, who is merely the
instrument of Azazel. Indeed, the twelve wings of the latter are given in the
Cf. E.A., p. 284. The name Jaoel (Yahoel) occurs as the name of a p r i ncipal angel (over fire) in the
Kabbalistic Book Berith Men uha 5 7 a, and below him are seven others, including Gabriel: see Lucken,
Michael, p. 54.
So in one form of the tradition in 1 Enoch, Azazel stands at the head of the fallen angels.
description to the serpent. The evil spirit, who is described as being "between" the human pair
in the Garden, "representeth ungodliness, their beginning (on the way) to perdition, even
Azaz el," and the seer proceeds to ask why God has given "power to such to destroy th e
generation of men in their works upon the earth." In some sense, then, according to the
representation of our Apocalypse, the sin of Adam affects the destinies of all his descendants.
The moral poison of sensuality (Heb. zôh|m~) with w hich the serpent infected Eve (T. B.,
Yb~môth, 103 b) passed on to all generations (cf. Wisdom ii. 24, 4 Ezra. iii. 21).
This has an
important bearing on the Pauline doctrine of original sin. At the same time, our Apocalypse,
in spite of its strong expression of predestinarian views elsewhere, insists with marked emphasis
upon the freedom of man's will (cf. chap. xxvi.).
The Book apparently knows nothing of a resurrection. The righteo us dead, it would seem,
proceed straight to the heavenly Paradise ("the Garden of Eden"), where they enjoy heavenly
"fruits and blessedness" (chap. xxi.), while the wicked dead go immediately to the underworld
and Azazel. Nothing is said of an intermediate state. The more usual view is that the heavenly
Paradise is reserved for the righteous dead, who will enter it after the final judgement (except
for a few privileged saints like Enoch, who are allowed to enter it beforehand). The nearest
parallel to the idea of our Book, seems to occur in 1 Enoch lx. 8, 23, lxi. 12, lxx. 4, where the
elect righteous already dwell in the garden of life.
"A judgement" is spoken of "at the end of the world," but it is a judgment upon the
heathen nations effected by Israel at the end of the present age of ungodliness
(cf. chap. xxii.,
A detailed eschatological description of the end of the present age of ungodliness and the
coming in of the age of righteousness is given in chap. xxix.-xxxi. In chap. xxix. it is stated that
before the beginning of the new Age God's judgement will be effected on the ruthless heathen
nations by God's people
; ten plagues come upon all creatures of the earth on account of sin;
those who are of Abrah am's seed survive according to a pre-determined number, hasten to
Jerusalem, wreak vengeance on their foes, and rejoice before God, to whom they return (chap.
xxix.). In the following chapter (xxx.) a detailed description is given of the ten plagues which
visit the heathen "at the twelfth hour of the present Age." Chap. xxxi. describes the trumpet-
blast which announces the mission of God's Elect One (the Messiah), who gathers together
the dispersed of Israel, and the annihilation and horrible doom of the godless foes of Israel and
of God's enemies both within and without Israel (the former renegade Jews), and the joy which
the downfall of these wicked people and the signal manifestation of God's righteousness cause.
As has been poin ted out above, our Apocalypse, like the companion one of The Ascension
of Isaiah, and other examples in the apocalyptic literature, expresses the mystical tradition and
experience associated with the mysteries of the Divine Chariot or Throne. The speculation
which gave rise to this tradition starts from Ez ekiel' s Chariot-Vision (Ezek. i.), and is embodied
in a fairly extensive literature especially in i. and ii. Enoch in the
In T.B . A boda zara 22b R. Johanan refers to this as follows: At the moment when the serpent came
upon Eve he infected her with sensu a li t y (zôh
). Was th is also the case with Israel (generally)? When the
Israelites stood upon Mount Sinai their infection (impulse to sensuality, zôh
n) ceased; the aliens (h eathen)
who did n ot stand upon Mount Sinai--their infection (of sensuality) did not cease. The Covenant on Mount
Sinai annulled the effects of the Fall.
earlier Apocalyptic, and in the n eo-Hebraic "Hekalot" literature (eighth to tenth centuries
A.D.). The material of which it is composed, and which is co nstantly re-shaped, consists
mainly of descriptions of the seven heavens "with their hosts of angels, and the various store-
houses of the world, and of the divine throne above the highest heaven."
Heaven is pictured
as filled with light of inexpressible brilliance, and the Divine Chariot is surrounded by fiery
angels of warlike aspect. The mystic who is allowed to enter the celestial sphere usually
receives divine disclosures about the future or the spiritual world.
In order to enjoy this experience the mystic has to prepare himself to enter the ecstatic
state which is brought about especially by ablutions and fasting, but also sometimes by fervent
invocations and by other means. He is rewarded by "the vision of the Merkabah" or "Divine
Chariot" (sfiyyath hamerk~b~). Those who thus imagined themselves entering the Heavenly
Chariot and floating through the air were called Yôrdê Merk~b~, i. e. "those who go down
(embark) into the ship-like chariot" (Jellinek). "In this chariot they are supposed to ascend to
the heaven s, where in the dazzling light surrounding them they behold the inner-most secrets
of all persons and things otherwise impenetrable and invisible."
The heavenly charioteer is
Metatron (according to Kohler suggested by Mithra), the angel next the Throne, whose name
is like God's, and who possesses all knowledge, and imparts it to man. Metatro n, as we have
seen, is Enoch transformed. In our Boo k he seems to appear under the name Jaoel. It is
interesting to note that according to the late Jewish "Hekalot" the initiated one who is
admitted to the heavenly regions, in order to be allowed to step before the Divine Throne
must recite certain prayers until God Himself addresses him, if he be worthy; cf. with this the
Hymn-Prayer which Abraham is taught to recite in chap. xvii. of our Book. According to
the Merkabah mysteries "remained the exclusive property of the initiated ones, the
Senû'îm or Hashsh~'îm," whom he identifies with the Essenes.
[The emphasis that is laid throughout all parts of the Book upon the sin of idolatry is
noteworthy, and especially that the Temple-sacrifices had been polluted by idolatrous rites (cf.
chap. xxiv.). Perhaps this is intended to suggest a reason why the sanctuary was destroyed.]
The "judgemen t of th e Great Assize" m entioned in ch ap. xxiv. occurs in a clause wh i c h i s ab s ent
from S, and may be an interpolation.
It will be no ti ced that chaps. xxx. and xxxi. duplicate to some extent th e contents of chap. xxix.
They r ead like an appendix. Moreover, the figure of the Messiah first emerges here, and his rôle is a
som ewhat limited one. The last w o r d s o f ch a p . x x i x. ("And lo! I am with you for ever") may well have
formed the conclusion of the Apocalypse.
It should be noted also that in the Christian a dd i t i on in chap. xxix. no emphasis is laid upon Christ's
divinity. The description reads like an Ebionitic one.
In this connexion it may be noted that the identification of the fruit of the forbidden tree in ch ap .
xxii i . w it h th e grape may reflect th e ascetic tendency, which grew up in Jewish (and Jewish-C hristian )
circles after th e destruction of Jerusalem, to abstain from wine as a mark of mournin g. This feelin g may
have stimulated the view that wine was the source o f w o e to mankind (see note on passage). Apparently
the Essenes regarded Jonadab, the founder of the sect of "water-drinkers" (Rechabites), as a prototype
of the Essene order (see J.E., v. 230b).
According to chapter xxii. these peoples are desti n e d " s o m e f o r judgement and restoration, and
others for vengeance and destruction at the end of the world."
Cf. J.E., viii. 499b.
Our Apocalypse has affinities, as has already been pointed out, with such books as The
Ascension of Isaiah, which like it deals with the mysteries of the heavens
and is set in a similar
mystical framework. But th e latter work has a pronouncedly Christian element, and is a
production of Jewish-Christian origin in its present form, whereas in our Book the Christian
element is confined to a short interpolated passage in chap. xxix.
With the Testament of Abraham, there is a certain affinity, and this work, like our
Apocalypse, may be of Essene origin. But the two books are quite distinct, and their historical
setting is different. The Testament, though it contains an apocalyptic element in the parts
which describe Abraham's "ride" through the heavenly regions when he sees the fate of
departed souls, is based upon the idea of Abraham' s death; moreover, the chief angelic figure
in the Testament is Michael, and the eschatology is different. Possibly the eschatology of the
two Books may be regarded as complementary, the Apocalypse giving the national, and the
Testament the individual aspects of it from the Essene standpoint.
There is, too, a certain affinity with the Clementine literature (Homilies and Recognitions),
which is highly important for the history of Gnostic Judæo-Christianity. Thus in the
Clementine Homilies the doctrine of contrasts is much elaborated. The ruler of this world is
Satan, the ruler of the future world is the Messiah. The divinity of Christ is not recognised, no
stress is laid upon the doctrine of the atonement, and strict asceticism is enjoined.
Our Book is important as illustrating the Jewish ideas that lie behind the doctrine of
original sin in connexion with the story of the Fall, and in its angelology and demonology. In the
angelic figure of Jaoel (= Michael = Metatron), God's vicegerent and the imparter of divine
revelation to man (in the person of Abraham) we have one more illustration of the range of
conceptions on the Jewish side wh ich influenced the Logos-idea and Christological
development. The pessimistic estimate of the world as it is--"the æon of ungodliness--which
to a large extent is under the dominion of Azazel, illustrates such phrases as "the god of this
world" (2 Cor. iv. 4), "the ruler of this world" (John xii. 31) which are applied to Satan. These
probably reflect popular Jewish feeling. The earth is the Lord's, as St. Paul himself in sists (1
Cor. x. 26), but has fallen under the dominion of the evil one, and can only be redeemed
therefrom by God's Messiah.
Our Book is specially importan t as one more interesting example of the apocalyptic ideas
of late Judaism, and, more particularly, as throwing a welcome light on the ideas specially
congenial to early Jewish-Christianity when it h ad already become, to some extent, detached
from the common stream of Church life.
The seven heavens are referred to, and par t l y described in our A pocalypse in chap. xix. Another
p oi n t of contact is the reference to the "heavenly garment" in chap. xiii., end. For a discussion of th e
th eological affinities of t h e se ideas with the New Testament writin gs cf. Introduction to The Ascension
of Isaiah, pp. xxi-xxiv.
See furth er
section of the
For the editions of the Slavonic text see the second section of this Introduction.
A valuable German translation of th e Slavon ic text, with critical notes and Introduction, has been
published in th e series Studien zur Geschichte der Theologie und Kirche: it is edited by P r o f. G. Nathanael
Bonwetsch (Leipzig, 1897).
Articles by Ginzberg in J.E., i . 91f.; Lagrange in Revue Biblique, 1905, pp. 511-514; see also Schürer,
Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes, iii. pp. 336-338.
SHORT TITLES, ABBREVIATIONS, AND BRACKETS
USED IN THIS EDITION
1 Enoch = The Ethiopic Book of Enoch.
2 Enoch = The Slavonic Book of Enoch.
Ap. Bar. = The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch.
The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch = The Apocalypse edited under this title (and based upon a Greek
and also a Slavonic text) by Dr. H. Maldwyn Hughes in the Oxford Corpus of The Apocrypha and
Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, ii. pp. 527-541.
Asc. Is. = The Ascension of Isaiah.
Pirke de R. Eliezer is cited according to the edition (English translation and notes) of G . Fried lander
Beer = Leben Abraham's nach Aufjassung der jüdischen Sage, von Dr. B. Beer (Leipzig, 1859).
Bonwetsch = Die Apocalypse Abrahams . . . herausgegeben von G. Nathanael Bonwetsch (Leipzig,
1897, in th e series Studien zur Geschichte der Theologie und der Kirche).
V o l z = Jüdische Eschatologie von Daniel bis Akiba, dangesvellt von Paul Volz (Tübingen und Leipzi g,
Weber = Jüdische Theologie auf Grund des Talmud un d ver wan dter Schriften: von Dr. Ferdinand W eber
S = Codex Sylvester (first half of fourtee n t h c en t u r y): Facsimile Edition, Petrograd, 1890 (edited also
P = Palæa (Old Testament narratives and
expositions in Slavonic).
A = a Palæa-text of Ap. Abr, edited by
Tikhonravov from a MS. of the fifteenth
K = a Palæa-text of Ap. Abr., edited by
I. Porfir'ev from a MS. of the seventeenth
R = a Palæa-text of Ap. Abr., i.-viii., edited
by A. Pypin from a MS. dated 1494.
Lueken = Michael: eine Darstellung und Vergleichung der jüdis chen und der morgenl
Tradition vom Erzengel Michael: von Wilhelm Luecken (Göttingen, 1898).
E.A. = The Ezra-Apocalypse, edited by G. H. Box (1912).
J.Q.R. = Jewish Quarterly Review.
D.B. = Dictionary of the Bible.
J.E. = Jewish Encyclopædia.
M.T. = Masoretic Text.
] Square brackets enclosing words in smaller type indicate additional, and in most cases
presum ably interpolated, matter, which is absent from S.
) Round brackets enclosing words in italic type indicate glosses or editorial additions.
) Round brackets enclosing words in ordinary type indicate additions to the text of the
translation made for the sake of clearness.
For the works cited under the following names--
Tikhonravov, see pp. xi, xiv.
Srcznevsky, sec p. xi.
Pypin, see p. xiv.
Porfir'ev, see p. xiv.
[The translation that follows has been prepared with the assistance of Mr. J. I. Landsman, who
has consulted for this purpose the Facsimile Edition of Codex S, and the various printed editions
referred to above. For the form of the translation here given Mr. Landsman takes full responsibility.
No previous translation or edition of the Book has been published in English so far as the Editor i s
THE APOCALYPSE OF
The Book of the Revelation of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of
Serug, the son of Roog (Reu
), the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son
of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared (Arad).
Abraham's Conversion from Idolatry
I. On the day when I planed the gods of my father
Terah and the gods of Nahor his
when I was searching as to who the Mighty God in truth is--I, Abraham, at the time
when it fell to my lot, when I fulfilled the services (the sacrifices
) of my father Terah to his gods
of wood and stone, gold and silver, brass and iron;
having entered into their temple for
service, I found the god whose name was Merumath
(which was) hewn out of stone, fallen
forward at the feet of the iron god Nahon.
And it came to pass, when I saw it, my heart was
I considered in my mind that I should not be able to bring him back to his
place, I, Abraham, alone,
because he was heavy, being of a large stone,
and I went forth and
made it known to my father. And he entered with me, and when both of us moved him (the
god) forward, so that we might bring him back
to his place, his head fell from
The whole of th e title occurs only in S.
Some links in th e genealogical ch ain are om itted: Reu son of P eleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah , son
of Arphaxad (Gen. xi. 10-16); Abraham was thus "the tenth from Noah" (Josephus, Ant., i. 6, 5).
Abraham is represented as having followed t h e o ccupation of his father, that of an idol-maker; cf.
Bereshith rabba on Gen. xi. 28 (see Appendix, p. 58).
his (i. e. Abraham's) brother; prob abl y a g loss (the structure of the narrative demands "my"); A omits.
Probably a gloss (so Tikh onravov); or read of the altar for sacrifices (Bonwetsch).
Cf. Dan. v. 4.
The stone idol Merumath (= H eb . 'eben m
, "stone of deceit") was the chief object of
Abraham's worship at this period.
So A; S has Naritson; K, by name Nahin.
and omitted by S.
I Abraham alone: K omits; S. + and lo!
being of a large stone: R omits.
so that we might bring him back: R omits.
while I was still holding him by the head. And it came to pass,
when my father saw that
the head of Merumath
had fallen from him, he said to me: "Abraham!" And I said: "Here am
I." And he said to me: "Bring me an axe, of the small ones,
from the house." And I brought
it to h im.
And he hewed aright another Merumath out of another stone, without head, and
the head which had been thrown down from Merumath he placed upon it, and the rest of
Merumath he shattered.
II. And he made five other gods, and gave them to me [and]
commanded me to sell them
outside in the street of the town. And I saddled my father's
ass, and placed them upon it, and
went towards the inn to sell them. And lo! merchants from Fandana
in Syria were travelling
with camels going to Egypt,
And I spoke with them. And one of their camels
uttered a groan, and the ass took fright and sprang away and upset the gods; and three of
them were smashed, and two were preserved. And it came to pass, when the Syrians saw that
I had gods, they said to me: "Why didst thou not tell us [
that thou hadst gods? Th en we wo ul d
have bough t them
before the ass heard the sound of the camel, and they would not have been
lost. Give us, at any rate, the gods that remain, and we will give thee the proper price
broken gods, also for the gods that have been preserved."
For I was concerned in my heart
as to how I could bring to my father the purchase-price;
and the three broken ones I cast into
the water of the river Gur, which was at that place, and they sank into the depth s,
was nothing more of them.
III. When I was still going on the way, my heart was perplexed within me, and my mind was
distracted. And I said in my heart: ["
What evil deed is this that my father is doing? Is no t h e, rath er ,
the god o f h i s go ds , s in ce th ey come in to existence th rough his chisels and lathes, and his wisdom, and
is it not rather fitting that they should worship my father, since they are his work? What is this delusion
of my father i n h i s w o r k s ?
Behold, Merumath fell and could not rise in his own temple, nor
could I, by myself, move him until my father came, and the two of us moved him; and as we
were thus too weak, his head fell from him, and he (i.e. my father) set it upon another stone
+ his god, K.
of the small ones: K omits.
K reads: And he cut off the head of another god of stone and fastened it upon the god Merumath which
fell before, and the head which fell down from him and the rest of the other god he shattered.
and: S K omit.
father's: A omits.
Fandana probably = Paddan-A ram (Gen. xxv. 20).
Cf. Gen. xxxvii. 25.
K r eads: in order to buy from thence papyrus from the Nile. And I questioned them, and they inform ed
A K omit; they read instead: And I deliberated in my heart, and they gave me the value.
K reads: and he took the pieces of the broken gods and cas t t he m in the Dead Sea, from which it could
A K, + of the river Gur.
This passage is given by A K, but is absent from S; apparently it is a later interpolation.
which he had made without head. And the other five gods were broken in pieces
down from the ass, which were able-neither to help themselves,
nor to hurt the ass, because
it had broken them to pieces; nor did their broken fragments come up out of the river."
I said in my heart: "If this be so, how can Merumath, my father's god, having the head of
and himself being made of another stone,
rescue a man, or hear a man's
prayer and reward him?"
IV. And while I cogitated thus, I reached my father's house; and having watered the ass,
and set out hay for it, I brought the silver and gave it into the han d of my father Terah. When
he saw it he was glad, [and]
he said: "Blessed art thou, Abraham, of my gods,
hast brought the price of the gods, so that my work was not in vain." And I answered and said
to him: "Hear, O my father, Terah! Blessed are the gods
of thee, for thou art their god, since
thou hast made them; for their blessing is ruination, and their power
they who did
not help themselves,
how shall they, then, help thee or bless me
? I have been kind to thee
in this affair,
because by (using) my intelligence, I have brought thee the money for the
broken gods." And when he heard my
word, he became furiously angry with me, because I
had spoken hard words against his gods.
V. I, however, having thought over my father's anger, went out; [
and after I had gone out
cried, saying: "Abraham!" An d I said: "Here am I." And he said: "Take and
collect the splinters of the wood out of which I made gods of pine-wood before thou camest;
and make ready for me the food of the mid-day meal."
And it came to pass, when I collected
the splinters of wood, I found under them a little god which had been lying among the
brush-wood on my left, and on his forehead was written: G
I did not
Cf. Wisdom xiii. 10 ("a useless stone, the work o f an an ci en t hand"); K reads: and set upon him the
stone head of another god.
Cf. Wisdom xiii. 16 ("knowing th at it is unable to help itself").
=? although (Heb. 'aph kî; Rabbinic 'aph `al pi).
According to the Mish n a `Abôd
iii. 3 it was the duty of Jews to destroy an idol by sinking it
in the waters of the Dead Sea, from which it could n ever emerge.
Omitted by K.
Cf. Wisdom xiii. 17 f. (th e whole chapter should be compared in th is context).
Lit. to my gods: read? of (by) my god (Bonwetsch).
Text of S here corrupt.
in previous chapter.
For the thought cf. Heb. vii. 7.
Cf. Is. xliv. 15, Wisdom xiii. 12 f.
Barisat = probably bar 'isht
, "son of the fire."
A K, + it came to pass, when I found him, I kept him and.
inform my father that I had found the wooden god Barisat under the chips. And it came to
pass, when I had laid the splinters in the fire, in order that I might make ready food for my
father--on going out to ask a question regarding the food, I placed Barisat before the kindled
saying threateningly to him: "Pay careful attention, Barisat, [that]
the fire do not die
down until I come; if, however, it dieth down, blow on it that it may burn up again." And I
went out and accomplished my purpose.
And on returning I found Barisat fallen backwards,
his feet surrounded by fire and horribly burnt.
I burst into a fit of laughter, and I said to
myself: "Truly, O Barisat, thou canst kindle the fire and cook food!" And it came to p ass,
while I spake (thus) in my laughter
he (i.e. Barisat) was gradually burnt up by the fire and
to ashes. And I brought the food to my father, and he did eat. And I gave him wine
and he was gladdened and blessed his god Merumath. And I said to him: "O father
Terah, bless not thy god Merumath, and praise him not, but rather praise thy god Barisat
because, loving thee more, he hath cast himself into the fire to cook thy food!" An d he said
to me: "And where is he now?" [
And I said:
"He is burnt to ashes in the violence of the fire
and is reduced to dust." And he said: "Great is the power of Barisat! I (will) make another
to-day, and to-morrow he will prepare
VI. When I, Abraham, however, heard such words from my father, I laughed in my mind
and sighed in the grief and in the anger of my soul, and said:
"How then can that which is
made by him--manufactured statues--be a helper of my father? Or shall the body then be
subject to its soul, and the soul to the spirit, and the spirit to folly and ignorance!"
"It is fitting once to endure evil. So I will direct my mind to what is pure and lay my
thoughts open before him." [And]
I answered and said: "O father Terah, whichever of these
thou praisest as a god, thou art foolish in thy mind. Behold the gods of thy brother Ora,
stand in the holy temple, are more worthy of honour than [these of]
thine. For behold
Zucheus, the god of thy brother Oron,
is more worthy of honour than thy god
Lit. kindling of the fire.
Lit. did my counsel: a Hebrew phrase, `
, "execute a plan" (Is. xxx. 1).
S, + before.
A; + And it came to pass when I saw it.
A, mind; K, in my mind and laughed.
Wine was sometimes mixed not only with water , b ut with milk, in Palestine; cf. Cant. V. 1 (I have
drunk my wine with my milk): cf. also Is. lv. 1.
S A omit.
i.e. thought ("said in my heart"). The sentence that follows ("It is fitting once to endure evil")
means: "It is well to suffer in this way for a good cause."
In th is sentence the text o f S i s n ot in order, and has been corrected by Tikhonravov in accordance
with A and K.
Omitted by S.
i.e. Haran (so S); A has thy father Nahor, K my brother Nahor.
Omitted by S.
Another form of Haran (so S); A and K read as indicated in the previous note.
Merumath, because he is made of gold which is highly valued by people, and when he groweth
old in years he will be re-modelled; but if your god Merumath is changed or broken, he will not
be renewed, because he is a stone; the which is also the case with the god Joavon
standeth with Zucheus over the other gods--how
much more worthy of honour is he than t he god
Barisat, who is made of wood, while he is forged of silver! How
is he made, by adaptatio n o f man,
v a lu ab l e t o o utward appearance! But thy god Barisat, while he was sti ll, before h e had been prepared,
rooted up (?)
upon the earth and was great and wonderful with the glory of branches and blossom,
didst hew out with the axe, and by m ean s of th y art he hath been made into a god. And lo! his fatness
is already withered and perished, he is fallen from th e h ei ght to the ground, he hath come from great
estate to littleness, and the appearance of his countenance hath vanished, and h e
] Barisat himself is
burnt up by fire and reduced to ashes and is n o more; and thou sayest: "To-day I will make
to-morrow shall make ready my food!"
"He hath perished to utter
"Behold, the fire is more worthy of honour than
all things formed because even that
which is not subjected is subjected unto it, and things easily perishable are mocked by its
But even more worthy of hon our is the water,
because it conquereth the fire and
satisfieth the earth.
But even it I do not call God, because
it is subjected to the earth
under which the water inclineth.
But I call the earth much more worthy of honour, because
it overpowereth the nature (and the fulness)
of the water. Even it (viz. the earth), how ever,
I do not call god, [because]
it, too, is dried up by the sun, [and]
is apportioned to man to be
I call the sun more worthy of honour than the earth,
because it with its rays illumineth
the whole world
and the different atmospheres.
even it I do not call god, because
and by clouds its course is obscured.
Nor, again, do I call the moon or the stars
So S; A, Joauv; K, Joav; R, Jav.
The lon g passage in bracke t s w h i c h h e r e f o llows is extant in A and K, but is wanting in S. It
consists of a long comparison between the gods Joauv (Joavon) and Barisat, and is very obscure. It is
probably a later interpolation.
? read rooted.
i.e. while it was growing as a tree.
Lit. and he.
Hath he not abandoned this (once for all) by perishing to utter destruction? A (K).
A K i n sert at the beginning of this chapter: Having thought thus, Abraham came to his father, sa yi n g:
"Father Terah," forgetting that A braham was already speaking to him. The sen tence is wan ting in S.
So S; for this A K have thy honoured gods of gold, silver, stone, and wood, because it bur n eth up thy gods;
yea, thy gods are burnt up in subjection to the fire, while the fire mocked them, devouring thy gods.
A K r e a d : B u t that (viz. the fire) I do not call god, because it hath been subjected to the water, while the
water is more worthy of honour than it (i. e. the fire).
A K, maketh the fruits of the earth sweet.
A K, the water inclineth under the earth.
So S; but A K omit--it is probably a gloss.
Lit. for work (= Heb. la`
Omitted by S; but it must have belonged to the original text. It is attested by A K.
So S; A K omit: atmospheres (? lower and upper) = '
; cf. 4 Ezra vi. 4, altitudines aerum.
A K, it is obscured by the darkness.
god, because they also in their season obscure [their]
light at night.
my father; for
I will make known to thee
the God who hath made everything, not these we
consider as gods. Who then is He? or what is He?
Who hath crimsoned the heavens, and made the
And the moon lustrous, and with it the stars;
And hath made the earth dry in the midst of many
And set thee in
. . . .
and tested me in the
confusion of my thoughts
"Yet may God reveal Himself to us through Himself!"
VIII. And it came to pass while I spake
thus to my father Terah in the court of my
there cometh down
the voice of a Mighty One
from heaven in a fiery cloud-burst,
and crying: "Abraham, Abraham!" And I said: "Here am I." And He said:
"Thou art seeking
in the understanding of thine heart the G od o f Gods and the Creator;
I am He:
from thy father Terah, and get thee out from the
house, that thou also be not slain in the sins
of thy father's house." And I went out. And it came to pass when I went out, that before I
succeeded in getting out in front of the door of the court, there came a sound of a [great]
hi m and
and everything whatsoever in his house, down to
the ground, forty cubits.
Or by (through) night.
Lit. I will investiga t e ( o r examine) before thee concerning. Th e question that follows, Who then is He?
etc., gives the subject of the investigation.
Something has to be supplied h ere.
So A K; S omits.
S K, reflected.
A K, his (i. e. Terah's), rightly. At this point th ere follows in A K (R) an insertion which contains,
among other thin gs, a version of the well-known legen d about A braham's burnin g of th e idol-temple, and
with it his brother Haran; cf. A ppendix I.
Lit. falleth (S); K, fell (A omits).
(frequent as a rendering of Heb. h
l, "God"); cf. 4 Ezra ix. 45, etc.
The text of S is n ot i n or der; Sreznevsky reads: Cogu Coisya, God thou dost fear, and the Creator thou
K, + and there fell fire from heaven.
A (K R) omit.
K, + and the dwellers therein, both men and beasts.
Here R ends. The Midrashic story about the burning of Te r ah ' s h o u s e i s really based upon an
interpretation of the Biblical "Ur of the Chaldees" (Gen. xi. 31, xv. 7). Here "Ur" is inter pr et ed as =
"fire"; Abraham was brought out of "Ur" ("fire") by the Lord.
Abraham receives a Divine Command to offer Sacrifice after Forty Days as a
Preparation for a Divine Revelation (Chapter IX.; cf. Gen. xv.).
IX. Then a voice came to me speaking twice: "Abraham, Abraham!" And I said: "Here
am I!" And He said: "Behold,
it is I
; fear not,
for I am before the worlds,
and a mighty God
who hath created
the light of the world.
I am a shield over thee,
and I am thy helper. Go, take
me a young heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old,
and a turtledove and a pigeon,
and bring me a pure sacrifice. And in this sacrifice I will lay before
thee the ages (to come), and make known to thee what is reserved, and thou shalt see great
things which thou hast not seen (hitherto);
because thou hast loved to search me out, and
I have named thee my Friend.
from every form of food that proceedeth out of
the fire, and from the drinking of wine, and from anointing (thyself) with oil, forty days,"
then set forth for me the sacrifice which I have commanded thee, in the place which I will shew
thee, on a high mountain,
and there I will shew thee the ages which have been created and
made and renewed,
by my Word,
I will make known to thee what
K, I am with thee.
Cf. Gen. xv. 1.
Or ages ("æons").
A, the first light: K, in the beginning heaven and earth and the n t he f ir s t l uminary of light and of the world
(cf. Gen. i. 1 f.). The reference is apparently to the created (not the uncreated) light. For the latter cf.
note on chap. xvii.
Cf. Gen. xv. 9.
The r ev el at i on m ade to Abraham which is described in Gen. xv. 9 f. early became a favourite theme
for apocalyptic speculation, and an intimation was discovered in the p as s age of Israel's later captivity and
subjection to the four oppressive w o rld-powers of the Book of Daniel (see the Targums ad loc.). This
apocalypti c e x p e r i e n c e o f Abraham is referred to in 4 Ezra iii. 14 (and unto him [Abraham] only didst thou
reveal the end of the times s e cr et ly b y n ight). Accordin g to the Ap. Bar. iv. 4 the heavenly Jerusalem was
shown to Abraham "by nigh t among the portions of the victims."
O r " lo v er ." Abraham, as God's chosen friend (or "lover of God," cf. 2 Chron. xx. 7, Is. xli. 8, E p .
James ii. 23) can receive special revelation; for the juxtaposition of the two ideas cf. 4 Ezra iii. 14.
Or refrain thyself. By every form of food that proceedeth out of the fire, flesh-meat is no doubt m eant.
Fasting as a preparat i on for the reception of a divine revelation was much practised by the
apocalyptists. In 4 Ez r a f o u r f as t s o f seven days followed in each case by a divine revelation are referred
to. Here, it is to be noted, the period is one of forty days. For th e ter m s h er e used cf. 4 Ezra ix. 24.
Anointing the body (especially the face) with oil was a mark of joy used in connexi on wit h feasting (cf.
Eccles. ix. 8, Ps. xxiii. 5, Amos vi. 6), and omitted in mourn in g as a sign of grief (cf. 2 Sam. xiv. 2, Dan.
Cf. Gen. xxii. 2.
The "Word" of God here has a quasi-person a l significance; cf. 4 Ezra vi. 38 ("and thy Word, O
Lord, perfected the work"), 43, etc.
and omitted by A.
shall come to pass in them on those who have done evil and (practised) righteousness in the
generation of men.
Abraham, under the Direction of the Angel Jaoel, proceeds to Mount
Horeb, a Journey of Forty Days, to offer the Sacrifice (Chapters X.-XII.).
X. And it came to pass, when I heard the voice of Him who spake such words to me,
I looked hither and thither and lo! there was no breath of a man,
and my spirit was
affrighted, and my soul fled from me, and I became like a stone, and fell down upon the earth,
I had no more strength to stand on the earth.
And while I was still lying with my face
upon the earth,
I heard the voice o f the Holy One speaking: "Go, Jaoel,
and by means of my
ineffable Name raise me yonder man, and strengthen him (so that he recover) from his
trembling." And the angel came, whom He had sent to me, in the likeness of a man, and
grasped me by my right hand, and set me up upon my feet, and said to me:
Friend of God who loveth thee; let not
the trembling of man seize thee! For,
lo! I have been sent to thee to strengthen thee and bless thee in the name of God--who loveth
thee--the Creator of the celestial and terrestrial. Be fearless and hasten to Him. I am called
by Him who moveth that which existeth with me on the seventh
a power in virtue of the ineffable Name that is dwelling in me.
Omit (a Hebraism? marks apodosis).
Cf. 4 Ezra vii. 29 ("omnes qui spiramentum habent h omin is").
K reads: and he was affrighted in his spirit, and his soul perished in him, and he became like a dead man,
and fell down like a stone upon the earth, and.
Cf. Ezek. i. 28; Dan. viii. 17, x. 8 f.; 1 Enoch xiv. 14, 24; 4 Ezra x. 29 f.
Th e n ame of th e archangel Joel (Jaoel) is differently spelt in th e various texts (cf. the Slav on i c
version of The Book of Adam, ed. by Jagi
, in Denkschriften des Kaiserlichen Akademie der W i s s e n schaften
in Wien, philol.-histor. Classe, Vol. XLII.): S, Naoil, Ilo il ; A , Aol, K, Jaol, Book of Adam, Joil = Joel. Jaoel
(= Heb. Yahoel) is represented in our Apocalypse as a being possessed of th e power of the ineffable name,
a function assigned in the Rabbi n i c al writings to Metatron, "whose name is like unto that of God Himself"
(T.B. Sanh. 38b). The name Yahoel (Jaoel) is evidently a substitute for the ineffable name Yahweh, the
writing out of wh ich in full was forbidden. In chap. x v i i . b elow God Himself is addresseas Jaoel. For Jaoel
as the heavenly choirmaster cf. note on chap. xvii.
Cf. 4 Ezra x. 30.
A K, if.
S, Eloel; A, Aol; K, Ioal.
The angel sent to Isaiah to conduct him through the various "heavens" had " come from the
seventh [i. e. the high est] heaven"; cf. Asc. Is. vi. 13, vii. 27.
Cf. Ex. xxiii. 21 ("my name is in him," i. e. the angel of Jahveh); here Jaoel s ee m s t o play th e rôle
of Mich ael (see Introduction, p. xxv).
the one who hath been given to restrain, according to His commandment, the threatening
attack of the living creatures of the Cherubim against one another,
and teach those who
the song of the seventh hour of the night of man.
I am ordained to restrain the
Leviathan, for unto me are subject the attack and menace of every single reptile.
I am h e who
h a t h been co mmissioned to loosen Hades, to destroy him who stareth at the dead
I am the one who
was commissioned to set on fire thy father's house together with him, because he displayed
By "the living creatures of the Cherubi m " a re m ean t t he "h oly hayyoth" of Ezek. i. who are expressly
identified with the [heavenly] Cherubim in Ezek. x. 20. T h e y a r e f our in number (each with four faces),
and are the bearers of the divine thron e (see next note). Apparently they are here represented as of
t h reatening aspect and in danger of menacing attack upon one another, so that a restraining influen ce
was nec e s s ar y . According to the Midrash (Exodus rabba v.) envy and mistrust are absent from the angelic
world, though the angels envied Israel the possession of the Law; but cf. Asc. Is. 9.
i.e. "th e holy hayyoth [`living creatures'] who carry the throne of glory" (Sifra on Lev. i. 1).
According to T.B. Abôd
3b, "God sits [at night] and l i stens to the song of the living creatures
[hayyoth], as it is said (Ps. xlii. 8): By day the Lord commandeth His loving-kindness [i. e. judges and sustains
the world, and occupies Himself in the study of the Law], and in the night H is s on g is wit h m e." In T.B. Hag.
12b it is said that the companies of ministering angels in th e fifth heaven "utter His song i n the night, and
are silent in the day for the sake of the glory of Israel." In Pirke de R. Eliezer iv. Michael is r e p r esented as
the head of the first of four bands of mini stering angels who utter praise before the Holy One; cf. also
Mekilta to Ex. xv. 1; and in th e New Testament Luke ii. 13 (the angelic song at n ight).
M i chael is represented in Kabbali stic literature as the angel-prince who is set over the ele m en t o f
water (cf. Lueken, Michael, p. 54); this conception is probably old, for on it rest s t h e haggadic story that
when Solomon married Ph araoh 's daug h t er , M i chael drove into the bed of the sea a stick, around which
slime gathered, and on which Rome was ulti mat ely b ui lt (Midrash rabba on C ant. i. 6, in the name of R.
Levi, end of third century A.D.). Michael is also the prince of sno w, which belongs to the element of
water (Deut. rabba v. 12). Leviathan as the sea-monster par excellen ce wo uld be subject to him, with all
reptiles, though the task of slaying the monster is assigned, by Jewish legend, to Gabriel; but Michael and
Gabriel are often confused in th ese connexions. [For the "spirit of the sea" that restrai n s i t c f . 1 Enoch
lx. 16.] The re pr es en t ation here is parallel in a sense with that which depicts Michael as the enemy and
c o n q ue r o r of Satan (cf. Rev. xii. 7 ff.) and in later Christian tradition as the vanquisher of the dragon (cf.
Lucken, op. cit., pp. 1 06 ff.). It should be noted that according to the Kabbalistic book Raziel fol. 4a the
name of Mich ael is a powerful ch arm again st th e reptiles (cf. Lueken, p. 28).
The bracketed clause is omitted by S. One of M i c h ae l 's functions (with Gabriel) is to open the
gates of Hell and release the sin ners therein; see Y alqut Shim. on Is. xxvi. 2, and cf. Lueken, op. cit., p. 52.
What is mean t b y " des t ro yi n g" him who stareth at the dead is not clear. It might conceivably refer to the
duty of b ur ying th e dead. To allow a corpse--even an enemy's--to remain unburied was considered an
impiety (cf. Ps. lxxix. 2 f.; Tobit i. 17, ii. 7; Josephus, Apion, ii. 29), a n d i t i s n o t able that, according to The
Life of Adam and Eve, xlviii. 4 f.; (cf. C h arles, Corpus ii. 151), Michael and Uriel bury the bodies of Adam
and Abel in Paradise. But the language of the phrase here hardly suits this. In view of the next clause,
where "dead" = dead idols, the reference may perhaps be to idol-worship. In a Byzantine text the story
of Michael's c on t e st w i t h the devil about the body of Moses is given a somewhat similar motive. The devil
is represented as seeking to bri n g down Moses' dead body to the Israelites in order that they may worship
it--and this m ay depend originally upon a Jewish source whic h i n t h i s way protested against th e Christian
worship of saints and relics (cf. Lueken, op. cit., p. 121 f.). But perhaps stareth at should be altered to
terrifieth, and the reference is to Death personified; cf. Add. Note, p. 55 f.
reverence for dead (idols).
I have been sent to bless thee now, and the land
Eternal One, whom thou hast invoked, hath prepared for thee, and for thy sake have I wended
my way upon the earth.
Stand up, Abraham! Go without fear; be right glad and rejoice; and
I am with thee! For eternal honour hath been prepared for thee by the Eternal One. Go, fulfil
the sacrifices commanded. For lo! I hav e been appointed to be with thee and with the
generation prepared (to spring) from thee; and with me Michael
blesseth thee for ever. Be of
good cheer, go!"
XI. And I rose up and saw him who had grasped me by my right hand and set me up upon
my feet: and the appearance of his body
was like sapphire, and the look of his countenance
like chrysolite, and the hair of his head like snow, and the turban upon his head
appearance of the rainbow, and the clothing of his garments like purple; and a golden sceptre
was in his right hand.
And he said to me: "Abraham!" And I said: "Here am I, thy servant."
And he said: "Let not my look affright thee, nor my speech, that thy soul be not perturbed).
Come with me and I will go with thee, until the sacrifice, visible, but after the sacrifice,
invisible for ever. Be of good cheer, and come!"
XII. And we went, the two of us together, forty days and nights,
and I ate no bread, and
drank no water, because my food
was to see the angel who was with me, and his
In the Rabbinical form of th e legend (see Appendix) A braham is rescued fro m th e fiery oven into
which he had been cast by Nimrod by Michael, according to the opinion of Eliezer b. Jacob (Genesis rabba
xliv. 16). Michael, according to the Rabbis, was the defender o f t h e P atriarchs. Strictly it is Gabriel who
is the prince of fire.
i.e. the land of Palestine. In Mohammedan tradition Mich ael is the good angel who brings peace
It was Michael who, according to Rabbinic tradition, at various times appeared t o Abraham, e. g.
h e to ld A br ah am that Lot had escaped, protected Sarah from being defiled by Abimelech (Pirke de R.
Eliezer xxvi.), announced to Sarah that she should have a son (Gen. xviii. 10), rescued Lot from Sodom
(T.B. Baba mesia, 86b), and prevented Isaac from being sacrificed by substituting a ram. In The Tes t. o f
Abraham (i.) it is Michael who comes down and visits Abraham in order to take his soul.
Here Michael is associated with the speaker, the archangel Jaoel. This rather s uggests that the
latter is really fulfilling the rôl e of Met atron (Michael and Metatron are companions, Zohar i. 149b). But
Jaoel really combines the functions of both. The writer wishes to make it clear that Ja o el i s closely
associated with Michael.
K, + his feet (a gloss? suggested by Rev. i. 15).
Cf. Rev. xix. 12 ("upon his head many diadems").
Cf. Rev. i. 16 ("and he had in his right hand seven star s " ). T here is a general resemblance here to
the description of the exalt ed C h rist in Rev. i. 14-16, but the details are different except that both have
the characteristic descriptive phrase, derived from Dan. vii. 9 ("the hair of his head like pure wool," here
"like snow," cf. Rev. i. 14); cf. also 2 Enoch i. 5 (the description of th e two angels who visit Enoch). The
figure desc r i b ed i s r egal (notice the purple garments and the sceptre), and is invested with the divine
glory; cf. Ezek. 26 f.
Or "troubled"; cf. 2 Enoch i. 8, and often in apocalyptic writings.
K, + I will be. The angel appears in visible form for the time being. So Michael ap pear s t o A br ah am
"like a very comely warrior" (Test. Abrah. i.).
Cf. 1 Kings xix. 8.
S, + and my drink.
speech--that was my drink.
And we came to the Mount of God, the glorious Horeb. And I
said to the angel: "Singer of the Eternal O ne! Lo! I have no sacrifice with me,
nor am I aware
of a place of an altar on the mountain: how can I bring a sacrifice?" And he said to me: "Look
And I looked round,
and lo! there were following us all the prescribed sacrificial
(animals)--the young heifer, and the she-goat, and the ram, and the turtle-dove, and the
And the angel said to me: "Abraham!" I said: "Here am I." And he said to me: "All
these slaughter, and divide the animals into halves, one against the other, but the birds do not
and ("but") give to the men, whom I will shew thee, standing by thee, for these are the
upon the Mountain, to offer a sacrifice to the Eternal; but the turtledove and the pigeon
give to me, for I will ascend upon the wings of the bird,
in order to shew thee in heaven, and
on the earth, and in the sea, and in the abyss, and in the under-world, and in the Garden of
Eden, and in its rivers and in the fulness of the who le w orld and its circle--thou shalt gaze in
Abraham accomplishes the Sacrifice, under the Guidance of the Angel,
and refuses to be diverted from his Purpose by Azazel
XIII. And I did everything according to the commandment of the angel, and gave the
angels, who had come to us, the divided animals, but the angel
took the birds. And I waited
for the evening sacrifice. And there flew an unclean bird down upon the carcasses,
and I drove
it away. And the unclean bird spake to me, and said: "What doest thou, Abraham, upon the
holy Heights, where no man eateth or drinketh,
neither is there upon them (any) food of
Cf. John iv. 31-34. Elijah ate and drank before starting on h is journey t o H o r eb , and "went in the
strength of that meat f o r t y d a y s and forty nigh ts" (1 Kings xix. 8): cf. Ex. xxiv. 18. There is a close parallel
to our text in Philo, Life of Moses, Bk. III. 1, where it is said of Moses in the Mount: "he neglected all
meat and d r i n k f o r forty days together, evidently because he had more excellent food than that in those
contemplations with wh ich he was inspired from above from heaven."
Cf. Gen. xxii. 7.
A K omit.
Cf. Gen. xv. 9.
Cf. Gen. xv. 10.
Living m en (or rather angels) take the place of the material altar; cf. th e m e t aphorical use of
"t emp le" as applied to the body (cf. John ii. 21; 1 Cor. iii. 16, vi. 19). But such a use of the term "altar"
does not appear to have becom e current in Jewish literature.
The ascent to heaven is accomplished on the wings of a dove. Th e dov e is ap propriate in this
connexion because of its swiftness (cf. Ps. lv. (6) 7, "Oh that I had wings like a dove," etc.; cf. also Virgil,
Æn. vi. 190 ff.), and its purity. For the symbolism of th e dove app li ed t o Isr ael, and also to the Holy Spirit
(Matt. iii. 16), cf. I. Abrahams, Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels, pp. 47 ff.
The revelations here promised to Abraham correspon d to th e earlier models given in 1 and 2 E n och.
K, + Jaoel.
Cf. Gen. xv. 11.
i. e. they are in th e domain of the spiritual sphere, where there is no eating and drin k in g; cf. Test.
Abrah. (A) iv., "all the heavenly spirits are incorporeal, and n either eat nor drink."
man, but these
consume everything with fire, and (will) burn thee up.
Forsake the man, who
is with thee, and flee; for if thou ascendest to the Heights they will make an end of thee.
it came to pass, when I saw the bird speak, I said to the angel: "What is this, my lord?" And
he said: "This is ungodliness,
this is Azazel."
And he said to it: "Disgrace upon thee, Azazel!
For Abraham's lot is in heaven, but thine upon the earth. Because thou hast chosen and loved
this for the dwelling-(place) of thine uncleanness, therefore the eternal mighty Lord made
thee a dweller upon the earth
and through thee every evil spirit of lies,
and through thee
wrath and trials for the generations of ungodly men;
for God, the Eternal, Mighty One, hath
not permitted that the bodies of the righteous should be in thy hand,
in order that thereby
the life of the righteous and the destruction of the unclean may be assured.
begone with shame from me. For it hath not been given to thee to play the tempter in regard
to all the righteous. Depart from this man! Thou canst not lead him astray, because he is an
enemy to thee, and of those who follow thee and love what thou willest. For, behold, the
vesture which in heaven was formerly thine hath been set aside for him,
and the mortality
i. e. the heavenly beings.
Omitted by A K.
Cf. Zech. v. 8.
Azazel is the fallen ar ch angel, the seducer of mankind, who here, as in the Book of Enoch, fills the
rôle of Satan o r Sammael. He is essen tially th e spirit of uncleanness, and, in this character, is depicted
in our text as descending in th e form of an unclean bird. It is interestin g to note th at the Palestin ian
Targum on Gen. xv. 11 interprets the unclean birds figuratively of id o l at r o u s p eo p les ("And there came
down idolatrous peoples which are like to unclean birds, to steal away the sa c r i f i c e s o f Israel; but the
righteousness of A bram was a sh ield over them").
A zazel, wh o is here clearly a fallen archangel like the later Satan (cf. Bousset, Relig. d. Judentums
386), has been expelled from heaven by God. According to 2 Enoc h x x i x . 5 Satan's domain, after his
expulsion, was t h e ai r (cf . E ph . ii. 2), but here Azazel is a "dweller upon the earth," where he controls the
evil powers (cf. John xii. 31, "prince of this world," Matt. iv. 8 f.). In The Tes taments of the Twelve
Patriarchs (cf. also Asc. Is .) Beliar is the arch-fiend, the head of the evil spirits, and the source of impurity
and lying. But Azazel, like all celestial beings, can fly through the air (Gen. rabba x i x.) and assume any
form, such as that of a bird (T. B. Sanh., 107a).
Azazel's expulsion carried with it t h at of his hosts, of which he was the leader. [Note that in chap.
xxxi. of our Book A zazel is depicted as the lord of hell.]
For the sin and misery brought upon the earth by the fallen angel s cf. 1 Enoch viii. 2, ix. 6, 8, x. 7
According to T.B. Baba bathra, 17a the "evil i m p u l se" (yeser h
-ra`) had no power over the three
righteous men, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In The Test. Abrah. Abraham is represented as sinless.
Notice the strong dualism. The activity o f t h e ev i l p o wers makes perdition certain for their victims,
wh il e, on the oth er hand, by its very failure in the case of the righteous it makes their felicity more certai n
in the end.
[Lit. "counsellor," an idiomatic expression still found in Russian dialects (cf. Dalj' s Dictionary of
the Russian Language, s.v. sovetnik) meaning "friend," used in a good-humoured way.--J. I. L.]
The " heavenly garments" are here referred to "which are now stored up on high in the seventh
heav en " according to Asc. Is. iv. 16. The idea, originally a realistic one, was gradually spiritualised, and
came to mean the spiritual bodies in which the righteous wil l b e clothed in heaven; cf. 1 Enoch lxii. 15
f. ("garments of glory," "garments of l i fe" ); cf. also 2 Enoch xxii. 8 f., where Michael is bidden by God to
"take from Enoch his earthly robe . . . and clothe him with the garment of my glory." In The Ascension of
Isaiah the seer is unable to ascend t o t he highest heaven until his "garment" has been brought to him
(A s c. Is. ix. 1-2). There he sees the crowns and garments which are reserved for the righteous (ibid. i x .
13 ff.); cf. also Asc. Is. viii. 14; Rev. iii. 4, 5, 18, vi. 11, vii. 9; 2 Cor. v. 3 ff.
which was his hath been transferred to thee."
XIV. The angel said to me:
"A braham!" A nd I said: "Here am I, thy servant." And h e said:
"Know from henceforth that the Eternal One hath chosen thee, (He) whom thou lovest; be of good
courage and use this authority, so far as I bid thee, against him who slandereth truth;
should I not b e ab l e
to put him to shame who hath s cat t ered over the earth the secrets of heaven
and h ath rebelled
t h e M i g h t y One?
Say to him: `Be thou the burning coal of the Furnace of the earth;
Azazel, into the inaccessible parts of the earth;
for thy heritage is ( t o be) over those existing with
t hee being born with th e stars and clouds,
with the men whose portion thou art, and (w h o ) t h r o ug h t hy
b ei n g exist;
and thine enmity is justification. On this account by thy perdition disappear from m e." A n d
Azazel has thus lost his "garment of life," o r robe of immortality, and become mortal, while A braham
Cf. John viii. 44 ("h e [th e Dev il] is a liar and the father thereof"). Satan--here Azazel--is par
excellence "the slanderer" (
), "he who slandereth truth."
The fallen ang el s ( 1 E noch vii., lxix. 6 ff.), and especially Azazel (1 Enoch viii. 1), are represented
as having brought moral ruin upon the earth by teaching men t h e use of m agic, astrology, and science
(including the use of warlike weapons). A close parallel to ou r t ext exists in 1 Enoch ix. 6: "See what
Azazel hath done, how h e hath taught all unrigh teousness on earth and revealed th e s ecret things of the
world which were wrought in the heavens."
So Samm ael, "th e great prin ce in heaven," is reproach e d b y the Torah for rebellion against God
(Pirke de R. Eliezer xiii.: "Th e T or ah b egan to cry aloud saying: Why, O Sammael! now that the world is
created, is it the time to rebel against the Omnipresent? Is it like a time when thou shouldest lift up thyself on high
(Job xxxix. 18)?"). Thus the two chief sins of Azazel consist in "scattering the secrets of heaven upon the
earth," and in devising rebellion against the Most High.
= probably LXX.
l); see chap. viii. note
. Kohler suggests Heb. 'abâr, "Mighty
One" (of Jacob), Gen. xlix. 24 (LXX,
), Is. xlix. 26 (LXX,
Bracketed clause attested by A K, omitted by S.
Azazel is condemned to be in h imself the fire of Hell; cf. xxxi. ("burnt w i t h th e fire of Azazel's
tongue"). Thus wherever he goes he, as it were, carries Hell with him--a conception tha t ap p e ar s t o b e
peculiar to our Apocalypse in early apocalyptic literature (cf. Volz, p. 291).
i. e. i n t o t hose parts of the earth reserved for him till the fin al judgement. In 1 Enoch x. 4 Azazel
is condemned to be bound and placed in Dudâêl, i n t h e d es er t , and there to be imprisoned in darkness
till the final judgement.
This expression is obscure. It apparently refers to the m e n w h o b el o ng (? by birth) to Azazel, whose
lot h as been pre-determin ed (see next note).
The wicked are Azazel's "portion," i.e. they h av e been assigned to him from the beginning. The
idea seems to be predestinarian; cf. Wisdom ii. 24 ("by the envy of the devil death entered into th e world,
an d they that are his portion make trial thereof"), Ap. Bar. xlii. 7 ("for corruption will take th ose th at
belong to it, and l i f e t h o s e t h a t b elon g to it"); 1 En och xli. 8. [Does the phrase in the previous clause,
"being born with the stars and clouds," mean those who by birth and creation belong to the s phere of
night and darkness, as opposed to the righteous, who belong to t h e re al m o f l ig h t ? See 1 Enoch xli. 8 and
I uttered the words which the an gel had taught me. And he said: "Abraham!" And I said: "Here am I,
And the angel said to me: "Answer him not; for God hath given him power (lit. will) over
those who do answer him."
[And the angel spake to me a second time and said:
"Now rath er,
however much he speak to thee, answer him not, that his will may have no free cours e i n t h ee , because
the Eternal and Mighty One h at h given him
weight and will;
answer h im not." I did what was
commanded me by the angel;]
and however much he spake to me, I answered him
Abraham and the Angel ascend on the Wings of the Birds to Heaven
XV. And it came to pass when the sun went down, and lo! a smoke as of a furnace.
angels who had the portions of the sacrifice
ascended from the top of the smoking furnace.
And the Angel took me with the
right hand and set me on the right wing of the pigeon, and
set himself on th e left
wing of the turtle dove, which (birds) had neither been slaughtered nor
divided. And he bore me to the borders of the flaming fire [
and we ascended as with m any winds
to the heaven wh ich was fixed upon th e surf ace.
And I saw on the air
on the height, to which we
ascended a strong light, which it was impossible to describe,
and lo! in this light a fiercely
burning fire for people, many people of male appearance,
all (constantly) changing in aspect
and form, running and being transformed, and worshipping and cry ing with a sound of words
which I knew not.
Th e bracketed clause is attested by A K, but i s abs en t from S. It may be a later interpolation (but
A fine psychological touch.
The text may be corrupt. It might mean an over-powering will.
The bracketed clause is attested by A K, but is absent f r o m S . It i s obviously a parallel and
alternative text to the preceding clause.
Accordin g to Sreznevsky's reading (no se ni ti, lit. "not th is nor th at").
Cf. Gen. xv. 17 (also xv. 12).
Cf. chap. xii. above.
i. e.? the heaven above the firmament.
Omitted accidentally in S by h omoiotelen ton ("ascended . . . ascended").
i. e. the uncr eated light, which origin ally illumin ated the earth, but was with drawn when Adam
sin ned. See furth er notes on xvii. below.
Th e description refers to the host of angels who are born daily, sing their song of praise befor e G od,
and then disappear; cf. Genesis rabba lxxviii. 1: Rabbi Helbo in the name of R. Samuel bar Nahman said:
"One angel-host never r ep eat s the song of praise, but every morning God creates a new angel-host and these
cantillate a new song before H im an d then disappear." They are created daily out of the stream of fire th at
proceeds from th e holy hayyoth (ibid.); cf. Ps. c i v . 4 . C f . also 2 Enoch xxix. 3: "And from the fire I made
the ranks of the spiritual hosts, ten thousand angels, and their weapons ar e f i er y, a nd their garment is a
burnin g flame"; see further Weber, p. 166 f.
XVI. And I said to the Angel: "Why
hast thou brought me up here now, because I
cannot now see, for I am already grown weak, and my spirit departeth from me?"
And he said
to me: "Remain by me; fear not! And He whom thou seest come straight tow ards us with great
voice of holiness
--that is the Eternal One who Loveth thee; but Himself thou canst not see).
But let not thy spirit grow faint [
on account of the loud crying
for I am with thee, strengthening
Abraham, taught by the Angel, utters the Celestial Song and prays for
Enlightenment (Chapter XVII.).
XVII. And while he yet spake (and) lo! fire
came again st us
and a voice
was in the fire like a voice of many waters,
like the sound of the sea in its uproar.
angel bent his head with me and worshipped.
And I desired to fall down upon the earth, and
the high place, on which w e stood, [at one moment rose upright,]
but at another rolled
And he said: "O nly worship, Abraham, and utter the song which I have taught thee;"
because there was no
earth to fall upon. And I worshipped only , and uttered the song which
K, mine eyes.
The mortal m an, con sci ous of his weakness, is blinded by th e heavenly light. On the other hand,
Adam, before he fell, was able to see by its aid "from one end of the world to th e o ther" (T.B. Hag. 12a).
i. e. proclaiming His holiness, so A ; in S th e wor d is co rrupt. K (which may preserve the right
reading here) has: "[wi t h a g r ea t v o ice] saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." In 1 Enoch xxxix. 12 the
trisagion (Is. vi. 5) is the song of the angelic watchers.
God is Himself invisible.
Omitted by S.
The Divine Presence is revealed by fire (Ex. iii. 2, Deut. iv. 36, Ps. lxxviii. 14), and God Himself
i s s p oken of as "a consuming fire" (Deut. iv. 24, ix. 3). But here th e fiery chariot which bore the D i vi n e
Presence is probably thought of; cf. Ezek. i. 4 ("a great cloud with a fire infolding itself").
Cf. Rev. i. 15 (Dan. x. 6). This feature is part of the supernatural colouring so c h ar ac t er i stic of
Apocalyptic--the heavenly ligh t is of dazzling brilliance, the divine voice is like thunde r (c f. 2 En och
xxxix. 7: "like great thunder with continual agitation of the clouds"); see Volz, Der G eis t G ott es , p. 120
Cf. Is. xvii. 12.
A strongly Jewish touch--divine h o n o u r m ay b e paid to God alone, and to none other, even the
most exalted of heavenly beings; cf. Rev. xxii. 9.
This description is in terestin g. The seer has ascen ded "as with many wi n ds " to h eaven, and is
standing "on the height" (chap. xv.). He exp e r i en c e s a s trong feeling of desire to fall down upon the
earth, because the high place on wh ich he is standing with the angel, at o ne moment rose upright, at
another plunged downward (cf. 4 Ezra vi . 2 9 and 13-16). The commotion is produced by the Divine
Voice. In chap. xxx. the seer finds himself suddenly (while God is speaking) again upon the earth.
A omits no.
he had taught me.
And he said: "Recite without ceasing." And I recited, and he
recited the song:
Eternal, mighty, Holy, El,
Thou who art self-originated,
Uncreate, immaculate, immortal,
Without father, without mother, unbegotten,
Exalted, fiery One!
Lover of men,
jealous over me and very compassionate;
Only the angels understand h ow to utter the divine song of praise, though t he blessed among
mortals may (as here) be taught to si n g thus in a state of ecstasy. Each of the angelic spheres has its own
"Voice" (cf. 1 Enoch xl. 3 ff.), and the angelic language is incomprehe n s i b l e t o m o r t als (cf. chap. xv.
abov e, en d), though the illuminated and in spired seer may be taught both to understand and utter such
"words" (as here; cf.
¦< (8fF F"4H 8"8,Ã<
in N.T.). The exalted En och in heaven underwent a sim ilar
experience (cf. 1 E n o ch l x xi. 11 f.: "I fell on my face and my whole body melted away, but my spirit was
tr ansf igu red, and I cried with a loud voice," etc.), as also did Isaiah (Asc. Is. viii. 17). According to Philo
no beings can adequately express th e pr ais e due t o God (Life of Moses, ii. xxxi. [§ 239]), contrast Ecclus.
xxxix. 6. See further Volz, op. cit., p. 137.
S omits. In Asc. Is. viii. 17 the inspired seer joins with the angel in the celestial song of praise.
K, + the firs t s on g of Abraham which I, the holy angel Jaoel, taught him (while) moving with him in the
A K omit El.
Cf. the opening lines of the Jewish med iæ v al h ym n , 'Adon 'ôl
m "Lord of th e world He reigned
alon e, while yet creation was unformed," and for "self-originat ed " the phrase "beginningless" (b
applied to God in the same context. The divine n ame Shaddai was traditionally explained as = "the
lô). This idea may underlie the text here.
C f . Heb. vii. 3,
BVJTD :ZJTD (g<g"8`(0J@H
, of Melchizedek (= Heb. b
yahas). As Westcott rem arks (ad loc.), "The words (
) were used con stantly in Greek
mythology (e.g. of Athene and Hephæstus); and so passed into the loftier concep t io n s of the Deity, as in
th at of Trismegistus quoted by Lactantius (iv. 13): ipse enim pater Deus et origo et principium rerum quoniam
Trismegisto verissime nominatur, quod ex nullo sit procreatus."
N4 8V <2D TB@<
: cf . Wisdom i. 6 ("For Wisdom is a spirit that loveth men" [
Cf. Deut. v. 9 f. The whole clause (from "lover of men" to "compassionate") contains a short
s um m ary of the divine attributes based upon Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7, a passage much used in later liter atur e (cf.
e. g. Wisdom xv. 1), and especially in th e Liturgy; cf. 4 Ezra v i i . 132-viii. 3 and the writer's notes thereon.
These attributes are predicab l e es p ecially of the Tetragrammaton (Jahveh), which connotes more
particularly the elements of mercy and compassion, while 'El
hâm denotes multiplied power (the
Almighty), and is associated with the idea of justice and fixed law; 'El is pa r t o f 'El
hâm and den otes
Eli, that is, My God--
Eternal, mighty holy Sabaoth,
very glorious El, El, El, El, Jaoel!
Thou art He whom my soul hath loved!
Eternal Protector, shining like fire,
Whose voice is like the thunder,
Whose look is like the lightning, all-seeing,
Who receiveth the prayers of such as honour Thee!
[And turneth away from the requests of such as embarrass with the embarrassment of their
Who dissolveth the confusion s of th e world
which arise from the ungodly and righ teous
renewing the age of the righteous!
Thou, O Light, shinest
before the light of the
morning upon Thy creatures,
Th e use of Sabaoth alone as a designation of God is unusual, but not unexampled; cf. Ex. rabba i i i .
6 [in answer to Moses' question, What is His name? Ex. iii. 13]: "Th e Holy One, blessed be He, sai d: Dost
thou seek to know my n am e? I am cal led accordin g to my deeds. I am called at various times by the names
'El Shaddai, Sabaoth, Elohim, Jahveh. When I judge the cre at u r es I am named Elohim, and wh en I wage
war against the wicked I am called Sabaoth, and wh en I suspen d (th e punishment) o f m a n 's s i n s I am
called 'El Shaddai, and wh en I compassionate my world I am called Jahveh, because Jahveh m eans nought
else but the attribute of compassion, as it is said (E x . x x x i v . 6 f.) Jahveh, Jahveh a God full of compassion,"
The fourfold El (attested only by S) look s like a substitution for the Tetragrammaton; Jaoel (here
applied to God) is undoubtedly so. Elsewhere in this book it is the designation of the archangel.
at beginning of this chapter.
Cf. Dan. x. 6 ("and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his ey e s a s l am p s o f f i r e") and Ezek.
i. 13, 14.
Lit. "the all" (Heb. ha-k
l); the expression is som etimes so used in the later Hebrew Liturgy.
The mixture of good and evil, or rather of the righteous and ungodly, in this wo rl d, m akes the
present æon "corruptible" (cf. 4 Ezra iv. 2 6 - 3 0) ; e v en the righteous themselves suffer from contact with
the godless--their h oliness is dimm ed.
i. e. the present corruptible age ( o r " æ o n " ) ; cf. 4 Ezra vii. 112, xiv. 13 (" th e life that is corruptible").
The confusions of th e present world w i l l b e o v ercome by the elimination of the godless; then the
renovated world (i. e. the present world purified) will become the fit habitati on of t h e righteous. This view
harmonises with the Rabbinical, whi ch contemplated a renovation of the present world; see further Volz,
Eschatologie, p. 297, and cf. Jubilees, passim.
The bracketed clause i s at t e s ted by A K, but om itted by S; it is probably an interpolation. The
rhythm is much improved by its omission.
Or "Thou shinest as Light"; the original Semitic text should pro b a b l y b e rendered "Thou didst
shine." Light is th e most striking feature in the highest h eaven (cf. 2 E n o c h x x. i, "I saw there a very great
light," and xxxi. 2); God is Light (cf. 1 John i. 5 ). H i s majesty is surrounded with light to make Him
invisible to all beings (T. B. Megilla, 19b). It is this heavenly light which is referred to here (cf. also
Wisdom vii. 26 f., where Wisdom is represented as t h e r ad ian ce of the everlasting light). The first act of
creation was when God "robed Himself with light as with a garment" (Ps. civ. 2), while the "radian ce o f
His glory" (Heb. ziv h
) illumined the earth from one end to th e ot h er (c f. Gen. rabba iii., Pirke de R.
Eliezer iii.). This h eavenly light was afterwards withdrawn; the lumin aries receive their light fro m a s p ark
o f i t . Fo r ligh t as a symbol of blessedness cf. Volz, Eschatologie, p. 328. Ps. xix. contrasts natural (created)
and spiritual light.
Perhaps, as Ginzberg suggests, "before the morning l i g h t " i s a mistranslation of the Semitic origin al
"before the primæval morning" ('ôr r
shôn or n
). The meani ng o f t h e original line would
be that God at first illumined the earth with the heavenly radiance.
[so that it becometh
day upon the earth,]
And in Thy
heavenly dwelling places there is no
need of any other light
than (that) of the unspeakable splendour from the
lights of Thy countenance.
Accept my prayer
[and be well-pleased with it]
likewise also the sacrifice which Thou hast prepared
Thee through me who sought Thee!
Accept me favourably, and shew me, and teach me,
And make known to Thy servant as thou hast
Abraham's Vision of the Divine Throne
while I still recited the song, the mouth of the fire which was on the surface
rose up on high. And I heard a voice like the roaring of the sea; nor did it cease on account
the rich abundance
of the fire.
And as the fire raised itself up, ascending into the height,
I saw under the fire a throne of fire,
and, round about it
Cf. Rev. xxii. 5, xxi. 23, Is. lx. 19 f . [ Th e t h e m e i s expanded in the Synagogue Liturgy in connexion
with the Benediction over light which precedes the recitation of th e Shem a: " Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
who formest light an d c r ea t es t darkn ess. . . . Yea, eternal ligh t (Heb. 'ôr 'ôl
m) in the treasury of life; for
He spake, and out of darkness there was light."]
The bracketed clause is attested by A K; S omits.
Abraham prays th at the sacrifice m ay be accepted, and as a r esult of this that the secrets of the
future may be disclosed by revelation. The prayer seems to be a personal addition to the song of praise on
the part of A brah am. The structu r e of the whole with its opening invocation, made up of clauses
describing the divine attributes and transcendence, and f o l l o w e d b y a prayer, is similar to that of 4 Ezra
viii. 20 ff. (cf. especially verses 20-27), which is also poetical in form. Here it is to be noticed that the
"song" proper appears to be a mi d r ashic developmen t of th e divine attributes and character as deduced
from the various names of God (El Shaddai, Elohim, Jahveh, Sabaoth).
So A K; S is corrupt here.
i.e. ? the voice was still audible even through the crackling of th e fire.
Cf. 2 En och xx. 3. The vision of God's th rone of glory was the central p o i nt of the mystical
reciting the song, and under the throne four fiery living creatures singing, and
their appearance was one, each one of them with four faces.
such was the appearance of
their countenances, of a lion, of a man, of an o x, of an eagle:
[were upon their bodies]
[so that the four creatures had sixteen faces]
and each had six wings;
from their shoulders, [and
and their loins. And with the (two) wings from their shoulders they covered their
faces, and with the (two) wings which (sprang) from their loins they covered their feet, while
the (two) middle wings they spread out for flying straightforward.
And when they had ended
the singing, they looked at one another and threatened one another.
And it came to pass
when the angel who w as with me saw that they were threatening each other, he left me and
went running to them and turned the countenance of each living creature from the
countenance immediately confronting him, in order that they might not see their
countenances threatening each other.
And he taught them the song of peace which
its origin [in the Eternal One].
And as I stood alone and looked, I saw behind the living creatures a chariot with fiery
wheels, each wheel full of eyes round about;
and over the wheels was a throne;
which I saw,
and this was covered w ith fire, and fire encircled it round about,
and lo! an indescribable fire
environed a fiery host. And I heard its holy voice like the voice of a man.
"The watchfulness of many eyes" (2 Enoch xx. 1), cf. Ezek. i. 18, x. 12: t h e "Ophannim" ("Wheels")
are so described, and are regarded as an order of heavenly beings (like th e Cherubim). But h e r e the
Cherubim are probably meant.
Cf. Ezek. i. 5, 6.
S K omit.
Cf. Ezek. i. 10 (Rev. iv. 7).
The bracketed clause is attested by A K; S omits. It looks like a scribal gloss.
So Rev. iv. 8 (based on Is. vi. 2); in Ezek . i. 6 th e four "living creatures" have each four wings. Here
S reads three (i. e. ? three pairs of wings).
Cf. Is. vi. 2, Ezek. i. 11, 12.
The underlying idea of this stran ge representation seems to be that of emulation and rivalry (in
service). This may be illus t rat ed fr om t h e Midrash Tauhuma on Gen. ii. 4 (ed. Buber, p. 10), where in a
comment on the verse Domin ion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places (Job xxv. 2) it is
said: " Dom inion, i. e. Michael, and fear, i. e. Gabriel; who maketh peace in his high places, even the celes ti al s
-`elyônîm) need peace. The constellations rise: Taurus says, "I am first, and I see what is before him";
the Gemini say, "I am first, and I see what is before him"; and so every single one says, "I am first"
(corrected text). It is to be noted that in the mystical Hebrew literature concerned with the theme of the
Divine Chariot and Th ron e (Merkaba) the angels who guard the Chariot are r epr esen ted as fierce and
warlike in aspect--flames dart for t h fr om t h eir eyes, and th ey are armed with fiery weapons (cf. Jellinek,
Beth ha-Midrash iii. 94 f.). See furth er A dditional N ote II (p. 87).
The relative position of th e celestial beings about the div in e throne is th us described in th e Liturgy:
"The hayyoth [`livin g creatures'] sing: the Ch erubim glorify: the Serap h i m ex ul t , and the Arelim bless. The
face of every hayy a, Ophan, and Ch erub is set toward the Seraphim, and thus confronting each the other,
they utter praise and say, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place" (S er vice of the Synagogue, Festival
Prayers (New Year), p. 87 (ed. Davis)).
Lit. which is in itself [of the Eternal One]: S omits th e bracketed words.
Cf. Ezek. i. 15, 18, x. 9, 12.
Cf. Ezek. i. 26.
Cf. Ezek. i. 27.
Cf. Ezek. i. 28 (end) combined with i. 26.
God discloses to Abraham the Powers of Heaven
XIX. And a voice came to me out of the midst of the fire, saying: "Abraham, Abraham!"
I said: "Here am I!"
And He said: "Consider the expanses which are under the firmament
on which thou art (now) placed,
and see how on no single expanse is there any other but He
whom thou hast sought, or who hath loved thee."
And w hile He
was yet speaking (and) lo!
the expanses opened, and beneath me
the heavens. And I saw upon the seventh firmament
upon which I stood a fire widely extended, and light, and dew, and a multitude of angels, and
a power of invisible glory over the living creatures which I saw; but no other being did I see
And I looked from the mountain
in which I stood
to the sixth firmament,
and saw there a multitude of angels, of (pure) spirit, without bodies, who carried out the
commands of the fiery angels who were upon the ei ghth
firmament, as I was standing
suspended over them. And behold, upon this firmament
there were no other powers
(any) other form, but only angels of (pure) spirit, like the power which I saw on the seventh
And He commanded
that the sixth firmament
should be taken away.
I saw there, on the fifth firmament,
the powers of the stars which carry out the commands
laid upon them, and the elements of the earth obeyed them.
Cf. Ex. iii. 4, 4 Ezra xiv. 1 (K, + Lord).
Abraham is now presumably "placed" in the seventh heaven, and surveys from abov e what is
discl osed t o him as existin g in th e various firmaments below him , and in th e earth (the angels, celestial
bodies, and everythin g th at is movin g on th e earth).
? God is the sole controller of all these, and in this sense is the only reality.
A K this (voice).
In Asc. Is. vii. 7 f. it is said that Isaiah saw in the seventh heaven "a wonderful light and angels
innumerable," an d " al l the righteous from the time of Adam" (including Abel and Enoch); in T. B. Hag.
12b th e seventh heaven (`Araboth) c on t a in s judgement and righteousness, the treasures of life, peace,
and blessing, the souls of the departed righ teous, the spirits and souls yet unborn, th e dew with which
God will awake the dead, t he Seraphim, Ophannim, Hayyoth, and other angels of service, and God
Himself sitting on the Throne of Glory. No doubt the "dew" in our passage is th e r esurrection-dew. Fire
and light are much dwelt upon in this connexion. Possibly this mystical literature was in flue nced by the
cult of Mithra, who was especially the God of Light.
Lit. of my standing.
eighth can hardly be righ t: read ? seventh.
So A; S, their powers were not.
In 2 Enoch xix. the seer describes what he saw in th e s ixth h eaven: legions of angels more
resplendent than the sun, the archangels set over the sun, star s , s e as o n s , rivers, vegetation, the living
things and the souls of men, w i t h s i x p h oe n i x e s, seven cherubim, and seven hayyoth in the midst, all
singing with a voice indescribably beautiful; cf. also Asc. Is. viii. 1 ff, 6 ff., where the sixth heaven is
described as full of hosts of angels utterin g pr ai s e. In our passage apparently th e angels of service
(ministering angels) are located in this heaven.
A K, the sixth firmament and it went away: S reads third for sixth.
In T. B. Hag. 12b th e sun, moon, and stars are l ocat ed in t h e second heaven; in 2 Enoch xi. 1-5
"the course of the sun" and the angels "which wait upon the sun" are located in the fourth heaven.
The Promise of a Seed (Chapter XX.).
XX. And the Eternal Mighty One said to me: "Abraham, Abraham!" And I said: "Here
am I." [And He said:]
"Consider from above the stars which are beneath thee, and number,
them [for me],
and make known [to me]
their number." And I said: "When can I? For I am
but a man [of dust and ashes].
And h e said to me: "As the number of the stars and their
power, (so will) I make thy seed a nation
and a people, set apart for me in my heritage with
And I said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! Let thy servant speak before Thee, and let not Thine
anger kindle against Thy chosen one!
Lo, before Thou leddest me up Azazel inveighed against
me. How, then, while he is not now before Thee, hast Thou constituted Thyself with him?"
A Vision of Sin and Paradise: the Mirror of the World (Chapter XXI.).
XXI. And He said to me: "Look, now, beneath thy feet at the firmaments
in this expanse, the creatures existing on it, and
prepared according to it." And I saw beneath
[the surfaces of the
feet, and I saw
the sixth heaven
and what was therein,
and then the earth and its fruits, and
what moved upon it and its animate beings;
and the power of its men, and the ungodliness
of their souls, and their righteous deeds
[and the beginnin gs of their works]
and the lower
and the perdition therein, the Abyss
and its torments. I saw there the sea and its
S omits; K, + to me.
Cf. Gen. xv. 5.
Cf. Gen . xviii. 27, 4 Ezra iv. 5, 6. The bracketed clause is attested by A K, but omitted by S.
Cf. Gen. xv. 5 (the MSS. read for thy seed instead of thy seed). S adds ( af t e r nation ) of people
The underlyin g i dea seems to be that God's heritage, the created world, is, under the conditions
of sin, "shared" with Azazel (see further Introduction, p. xxxii), i. e. it is largely under the dominion of
evil powers. This is one of t h e f undamental conceptions of Apocalyptic. On the oth er hand, th e Chosen
People--who are ideally identified with the righteous--redeem the world, and in the m s el v es make it
once again fit to be God's heritage. From another point of view the same quest i o n is discussed in 4
Ezra--the problem , why, if the world was cr eated for Israel, is Israel disinherited? (cf. 4 Ezra vi. 38-59).
Cf. Gen. xviii. 32.
Slavonic text, creature.
So S; A K, ages ("won," "æons").
A K, the likeness of heaven (or for the sixth heaven render the six heavens).
A, what was with it.
= ? "its spirits" (Bonwetsch).
The bracketed clause is attested by A K; S omits.
Cf. Ephesians iv. 9 ("the lower parts of th e earth").
i. e. Tartarus; cf. 2 Enoch xxviii. 3, xxix. 5. The "Abyss" is described in 1 E n och xviii. 11-16 (xxi.
1-6, xc. 25, 26), where it is th e abode of the impure angels; cf. Luke viii. 31; Rev. ix. 1, xi. 7.
islands, and its monsters and its fishes, and Lev iathan and his dominion,
camping-ground, and his caves, and the world which lay upon him,
and his movements, and
the destructions of the world on his account.
I saw there streams and the rising of their
waters, and their windings. And I saw there the Garden of Eden and its fruits, the source
the stream issuing from it, and its trees and their bloom, and those who behaved righteously.
And I saw therein their foods and blessedness.
And I saw there a great multitude--men and
women and children [half of them on the right side of the picture]
and half of them on the
left side of the picture.
The Fall of Man and its Sequel (Chapters XXIL-XXV.).
XXII. And I said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! What is this picture of the creatures?" And
He said to me: "This is my will with regard to those who exist in the (divine) world-counsel,
and it seemed well-pleasing before my sight, and then afterwards I gave commandment to
them through my Word.
And it came to pass whatever I had determined to be, was already
planned beforehand in this (picture), and it stood before me ere it was created, as thou hast
Or possession . Leviathan's dwelling is "in the lowest waters" (Pirke de R. Eliezer ix.). All th e great
sea-mon sters in the sea are Leviathan's food, one being devoured every day (ibid.).
"and between its [Leviathan's] fins rests the middle bar of the earth" (op. cit., ibid.).
When Leviathan is hungry, one haggadic saying runs, "it sends forth from its mouth a heat so gr eat
as to make all the waters of the deep boil." [The two great monsters in the original form of t h e legen d
were Behemoth (the male) and Leviathan (the female): cf. Job xl.-xli.; 1 Enoch lx. 7 f.; Ap. Bar. x x i x . 4.
In th e Rabbinical form of the Haggada (cf . T. B. Baba bathra 74b) each mon ster was multiplied into a
pair, male and female; but they were ren d e r ed i n c ap able of producing an y progeny, lest by so doing they
should "destroy the world." The female leviathan was kille d a n d r e se r v ed for the righteous in the world
to come; the male leviathan will not be slain till th e last ; see fur th er 4 Ezra vi. 49-52, and th e writer's
discussion in E.A., pp. 90 ff., with references.
The heavenly Paradise is ref er r ed to wh i ch i s to be the abode of the righteous ("those wh o beh aved
righteously"), whose fruits are "incorruptible" (4 Ezra vii. 123), wherein is "the tree of life" (Rev. ii. 7)
whose "leaves are f or the healing of the nations" (Rev. xxii. 2). In 2 Enoch viii. 2 the seer describes how
he saw in Paradise "all the trees o f beautiful colours and their fruits ripe and fragrant, and all kinds of
food which they produced, springi ng up with delightful fragrance." N ote that P aradise is here located on
the earth, though the transcenden tal Paradise is meant: see E.A., p. 196.
The bracketed clause is omitted (accidentally) in S.
The whole world is divided into two parts; the people of Go d on th e righ t half, and the nations on
th e left. The latter (= th e heathen) arc Azazel's portion (cf. chap. xxxi.).
Emended text (Bonwetsch); MSS. read in the light.
N o t e t h i s h ypostasising use of Word developed from such passages as Ps. xxxii. 6; cf. Heb. xi. 3, 2
Pet. iii. 5, 4 Ezra vi. 38.
The whole conception is s t r o n g l y p redestinarian; the whole course of creation--the rise of evil, and
the coming of the r i gh t e ou s-- i s predetermined; cf. 1 Enoch xciii., cvi. 19, cvii. 1, and Charles's note on
1 Enoch xlvii. 3. A strong expression of this idea occurs in 4 Ezra iv. 36, 37. For the "picture" of our
passage we may perhaps compare the "pattern" (
) of Heb. viii. 5 (Ex. xxv. 40, xxvi. 30, Acts vii.
44). In th e Rabbinical literature Israel's election is spoken of as p red estined before the creation of the
worl d, and th is idea is applied to certain other thin gs, such as the name of the Messiah , the Torah, an d
repentance. In such connexions they often employ the figure of an architect and plans. One passage (Gen.
rabba i .) runs: When a man erects a building, at the time when the building is erected he enlarges it as it is
erected, or other w is e he en larges it below, and contracts it above: but the Holy One . . . does not act thus, but
"the heavens" (which He created) were the heavens which had as cended in (His) thought, and "the earth"
(which He created) was the earth which had ascended in His thought. It was, however , the Essenes who
insisted on an absolute predestination. The Rabbis, while allowing for a certain amoun t of predestination,
emph asised man's moral freedom: "Everything is foreseen, but free will is given," as Aki ba said.
And I said: "O Lord, mighty and eternal! Who are the people in this picture on this side
and on that?" And He said to me: "These which are on the left side are the multitude of the
peoples which have formerly been in existence and which are after thee destined,
judgement and restoration, and others for vengeance and destruction at the end of the world.
But these which are on the right side of the picture--they are the people set apart for me of
the peoples with Azazel.
These are they whom I have ordained to be born of thee and to be
called My People.
XXIII. "Now look again in the picture, who it is wh o seduced Eve and what is the fruit of
the tree, [and]
thou wilt know what there shall be, and h ow it shall be to thy seed
the people at the end of the days of the age,
and so far as thou canst not understand I will
make known to thee, for thou art well-pleasing in my sight, and I will tell thee wh at is kept in
And I looked into the picture, and mine eyes ran to the side of the Garden of Eden. And
I saw there a man very great in height and fearful in breadth, incomparable in aspect,
embracing a woman, who likewise approximated to the aspect and shape of the man. And they
standing under a tree of (the Garden of) Eden, and the fruit of this tree
was like the
appearance of a bunch of grapes of the vine,
and behind the tree was standing as it were a
Of the peoples on the left side, wh o r ep resent th e heathen world as opposed to the Jews, some are
to be spared at the final judgement, while the rest will be annih ilated; cf. Ap . Bar. l x x i i , 2, where it is said
of the Me ss i ah t h a t he will summon all the nations, and some of them He will spare, and some of them He will
slay. Sometimes (as in 4 Ezr a x i i i . 37 ff.) the wh ole heathen world is doom ed to annih ilation, and this view
i s v e r y pr ominent in later Judaism. The idea of our text accords with the older view based upon such
passages as Ps. lxxii . 1 1 , 1 7 ; Is . lxvi. 12, 19-21 (cf. Psalms of Solomon, xvii. 34). Notice that our passage says
nothing about the Messiah in this connexion.
Cf. chap. xx. note
So A K, reading s
meni; S has to thy name (reading imeni).
So S; but A K omit.
Adam's great stature is often referred to in Rabbinical literature: "it reached" (when he was first
created) "from one en d o f the world to th e other," but when he sinned it was diminished (T. B. Hag.
12a); his manly beauty is also referred to T. B. Baba mesia 84a).
K, + both.
Cf. Gen. iii. 6.
Cf. T. B. Berakoth 40a, where it is recorded that R. Meir declared th at the tree of which A dam
ate was a vine, because the one thing that brings woe upon mankind is wine; cf. Gen. ix. 21 ("A nd h e
drank of the wine and was drunken"). S o al s o the Greek, Ap. Bar. iv. 8 (cf. Sanh. 70a, Bereshith rabba xix.
8). The usual opinion was that the tree was a fig-tree; according to another view (G en. rabba x i . 8) the
fruit was b arl ey; an other (Samuel ben Isaac) a date. With this last agrees the varia lectio of A K here
serpent in form, having hands and feet like a man's,
and wings on its shoulders, six
right side and six
on the left,
and they were holding the grapes of the tree
in their hands,
and both were eating it whom I had seen embracing.
And I said: "Who are these mutually embracing, or who is this who is between them, or
what is the fruit which they are eating, O Mighty Eternal One?"
And He said: "This is
the human world,
this is Adam, and this is their desire upon the
earth, this is Eve; but he who is between them representeth ungodliness, their beginning (on
the way) to perdition, even Azazel."
And I said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! Why hast Thou given to such power to destroy the
generation of men in their works upon the earth?"
And He said to me: "They who will (to do) evil--and how much I hated (it) in those who
do it!--over them I gave him power, and to be beloved of them."
And I answered and said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! Wherefore hast Thou willed to effect
that evil should be desired in the hearts of men, since Thou indeed art angered over that
which was willed by Thee, at him who is doing what is unprofitable in thy counsel
XXIV. And He said to me: "Being angered at the nations
on thy account, and on account
of the people of thy family who are (to be) separated after thee, as thou seest in the picture
the burden (of destiny) that (is laid) upon them
--and I will tell thee what shall be, and how
much shall be, in the last days. Look now at everything in the picture."
And I looked and saw there what was before me in creation; I saw Adam, and Eve existing
with him, and with them the cunning Adversary,
and Cain who acted lawlessly through
Cf. Gen. rabba xx. 8: "Upon thy bel ly s h a lt thou go: At the moment when the Holy One . . . said to
t h e s erpent upon thy belly shalt thou go the ministering angels descended and cut off its hands and its feet,
an d its cry went from one end of the world to th e other." This legend was well kn own i n an t i q ui t y.
According to Syncellus (i. 14) the serpent h a d o r i gi n a l ly four feet; cf. also Josephus i. 1, 4, who declares
t h at the serpent was deprived of both language and feet. For the punishmen t of th e serpent see P irk e de
R. Eliezer xiv. (ed. Friedlander, p. 99 an d notes).
This description really applies to Sammael (or Azazel), who had twelv e win gs (Pirke de R. Eliezer
xiii.), and who descended and, finding the serpent skilful t o do evil, mounted and rode upon it. Before
its punishmen t by God the serpent had the appearance of a camel, according to the same authority (ibid.).
A K omit.
Lit. "council of th e world," so K; A S, "light of the worl d." A dam (whose body is compounded of
the four primal elements) is the microcosm.
Azazel plays the part elsewhere assigned to Samm ael; h e uses the serpent as his instrument (cf. Pirke
de R. Eliezer xiii.).
In chap. xiii. (end) th e wick ed (as distinguished from the righteous) are spoken of as those who
"follow" Azazel, and "love" what he wills. They are Azazel's "portion ." A striking fe at u r e o f o ur book is
the way in which th e souls and bodies of men are represented as possessed by either good or evil powers.
A K, world (which may be right). The word in S rendered coun sel is an un us ual one in this m eanin g.
This apparently is the answer to th e question given at the end of the previous chapter. God allows
men to desire evil (with i t s inevitable punishment later) because of the treatment meted out by the
nations to the chosen seed (A braham an d his descen dants).
Cf. 2 Cor. xi. 3 ("th e serpent beguiled Eve in his craftin es").
and the slaughtered Abel, (and) the destruction brought and caused upon
him through the lawless one.
I saw there also Impurity,
and those who lust after it, and its
pollution, and their jealousy, and the fire of their corruption in the lowest parts of the earth.
I saw there Theft, and those who hasten after it, and the arrangement
[of their ret ribution, the
judgemen t o f t h e G r eat Assize]
I saw there
naked men, the foreheads against each other, and
their disgrace, and their passion which (they had) against each other, and their retribution.
I saw there Desire, and in her hand the head o f every kind of lawlessness
[and her scorn and h er
waste assigned to perdition]
XXV. I saw there the likeness of the idol of jealousy,
having the likeness of woodwork
such as my father was wont to make, and its statue
was of glittering bronze; and before it a
man, and he worshipped it; and in front of him an altar, and upon it a boy slain in the presence
of the idol.
But I said to Him: "What is this idol, or what is the altar, or
who are they that are
or who is the sacrificer? Or what is the Temple which I see that is beautiful in art,
and its beauty (being like) the glory that lieth beneath Thy
And He said: "Hear, Abraham. This which thou seest, the Temple and altar and beauty,
is my idea of the priesthood of my glorious Name, in which dwelleth every single prayer of man,
and the rise of kings and prophets, and whatever sacrifice I ordain to be offered to me among
my people who are to come out of thy generation.
But the statue which thou sawest is mine
wherewith the people
anger me who are to proceed for me from thee. But the man
According to Pirke de R. Eliezer xxi. Cain was the offspring of Eve and Sammael.
In Ep. Barnabas xv. 5 the Devil is called "the Lawless O n e" (
): when His Son shall come,
and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One (cf. also 2 Thess. ii. 8).
N ot ice that here and below certain evil tendencies are personified (Impurity, Theft, Desire ; t h e
catalogue seems to have been i nf luen ced by the Decalogue, Comm andm ents vii., viii., x.) In later
Kabbalisti c b o o ks such tendencies are personified as demons; cf. e. g. The Testament of Solomon, § 34
(J.Q.R., xi. 24; 1899), where seven female demons appear before Solomon bearing such n am es as
"Deception," "Strife," "Jealousy," "Power."
The bracketed clause is missing in S.
A, also (instead of there).
Omitted by S. Perhaps the clause is an interpolation; in any case the text appears t o b e co r r upt. The
word here rendered scorn (moltshanie, lit. "silen c e" ) i s sometimes used in this sense, expressing
"contempt," "scorn"; see D'yachenko's Church Slavonic Dictionary, s.v.
Cf. Ezek. viii. 3, 5.
K, who is the sacrificed one.
S, my (a scri bal mistake?).
The whole sacrificial system an d t h e L ev i t i cal cultus are of divine origin, and embody the divine
i deal. The "rise of kings and prophets" is apparently in volved in it as a subordinate development from i t .
The tone of the pas sag e is reminiscent rather of Jubilees. In apocalyptic literature such allusions to the
cultus are rare.
"The image of jealousy" is correctly explained here as meanin g th e im age which provokes God's
jealousy or anger. Idolatrous practices in Israel are referred to.
K omits the people.
whom thou sawest slaughtering--that is he who inciteth murderous sacrifices,
of (sic) which
are a witness
to me of the final judgement, even at the beginning of creation."
Why Sin is permitted (Chapter XXVI.).
XXVI. And I said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! Wherefore hast Thou established
should be so, and then proclaim the knowledge thereof?"
And He said to me: "Hear, Abraham; understand what I say to thee, and answer me as
I question thee. Why did thy father Terah not listen to thy voice, and (why) did he not cease
from the devilish idolatry until he perished [and]
his whole household with him?"
And I said: "O Eternal, [Mighty One]!
(It was) entirely because he did not choose to
listen to me; but I, too, did not follow his works."
And He said [to me]:
"Hear, Abraham. As the counsel
of thy father is in him, and as thy
counsel is in thee, so also is the counsel of my will in me ready for the coming days, before thou
hast knowledge of these,
or (canst) see with thine eyes what is future in them. How those of
thy seed will be, look in the picture."
A Vision of Judgement and Salvation (Chapter XXVII.).
XXVII. And I looked and saw: lo! the picture sway ed and [from it]
emerged, on its left
a heathen people, and they pillaged those who were on the right side, men and women
and children: [some they slaughtered,]
others they retained with themselves.
Lo! I saw them
run towards them through four entrances,
and they burnt the Temple with
i. e. sacrifices involving the slaughter of human beings, such as the offerin g (t h r ough fire) of
children to Moloch.
i. e. "will."
God's will is free, but so also is man's. The argument is in teresting. From the fact, prov ed by th e two
contrary instances of Te rah and Abraham, that man's will is free, the writer justifies God's freedom to
p er m i t s i n, hin ting, however, that the future will still further justify the divine counsel. The vision th at
follows (chap. xxvii.) serves to illustrate this.
Omitted by S.
The use of "right" and "left" th roughout these chapters is notable. The conception of t h e ri g h t side
being the source of light and purity, while the left is th e source of dar k n ess and im purity, is Gnostic, and
passed from th e Gnostics in to the Kabbalah; see further Introduction p. xix. f.
Sc. in slavery.
So A K; S (schody), descents (= ? "generations"). The four "entrances" or "desce n t s " b y which the
heathen make inroads upon the chosen people apparently correspond to the four hundred years of slavery
for Israel predicted by God to Abraham in the vision of Gen. xv. (cf. v s . 13). This was interpreted by our
apocalyptist, in accordance with current tradition, to refer to Is r a el ' s captivity and subjection by the four
oppressive world-powers of the Book of Daniel, underst ood to be Babylon, Media, Greece, and Rome (cf.
chap. ix. above, note
): thus the Palestinian Targum to Gen. xv . 1 3 r u n s : And behold, Abram saw four
kingdoms which should arise to bring his sons into subjection. It is important to remember that the fourth
"en trance" here corresponds to the Roman Empire [cf. al s o P irk e de R. Eliezer xxviii.]. Possibly "descent"
(S) is the right reading here, and means "gen eration," a generation being roughly reckoned as eq ui v alent
to a hundred years: Heb.?
fire, and the holy things that were therein they plundered.
And I said: "O Eternal One! Lo! the people (that spring) from me, whom Thou hast
accepted, the hordes of the heathen do plunder, and some they kill, while others they hold fast
and the Temple they have burnt with fire, and the beautiful things therein they do
rob [and destroy].
O Eternal, Mighty One! If this be so, wherefore hast Thou now
my heart, and why should this be so?"
And He said to me: "Hear, Abraham. What
thou hast seen
shall happen on account
of thy seed who anger me by reason of the statue which thou sawest, and on account of the
human slaughter in the picture, through zeal in the Temple;
and as thou sawest
so shall it
And I said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! May the works of evil (wrought) in ungodliness now
pass by, but
rather those who fulfilled the commandments, even the works of
righteousness. For thou canst do this."
And He said to me: "The time of the righteous meeteth [them]
holiness (flowing) from kings
and righteous-dealing rulers whom I at first created in order
from such to rule among them.
But from these issue men who care for their interests,
have made known to thee and thou hast seen."
How long? (Chapters XXVIII.-XXIX.).
XXVIII. And I answered and said: "O Mighty, [Eternal One],
hallowed by Thy power!
Be favourable to my petition,
[for for this h ast Th ou b rough t me up here--and shew me]
hast brought me up to Thy height, so make [this]
known to me, Thy beloved one, as much
as I ask--whether what I saw shall happen to them for long?"
The writer obviously has in min d t h e op erat ions of the Romans under Titus, which ended in the
d es t r u ct i o n of the Temple by fire in A.D. 70. For the burning an d pillaging of the Temple cf. Joseph us ,
War, vi. 4, 5 f.; cf. also 4 Ezra x. 21 f.
Of those wh o were not killed in the Roman war, some were reserv ed for the victor's triumph, some
for the arena, an d the rest were sold as slaves; cf. Josephus, War, vi. 9, 2 f.
Omitted by S.
A, from now onward.
Lit. so much.
Israel's captivity and sufferings are due to lapse into idolatry.
So A K; but S omits.
A omits but.
Something has fallen out of the text here.
So A K; S, this. [The sent ence O E t ernal Mighty One . . . his (?) righteousness is rendered according
to the text of A K; the text of S here is not in order.]
So K; A, him; S omits.
So S; A K, the type (set) by.
The "kings" and "righ teous -dealin g rulers" referred to are, presumably, such as David, Hezekiah,
and Jo si ah , un der whose rule the claims of righteousness were recognised and the sovereignty of God, to
some extent, realised.
Lit. "for them" (= ? " for themselves")--from the righteous rulers s pr i n g sons who are faithless to
their heritage (such as Manasseh). The sentence is obscure, and the meaning uncertain.
Omitted accidentally in S (by homoioteleuton, "brought up . . . brought up").
Cf. 4 Ezra iv. 33 ff.
And He showed me a multitude of His people, an d said to me: "On their account through
as thou sawest, I shall be provoked by them, and in these
my retribution for their
deeds shall be (accomplished). But in the fourth outgoing
of a hundred years
and one hour
of the age--the same is a hundred years
--it shall be in misfortune among the heathen
one hour in mercy and contumely, as among the heathen]
XXIX. And I said: "O Eternal [Mighty One]!
And how long a time is an hour of the
And He said: "Twelv e years
have I ordained of this ungodly Age
to rule among the
heathen and in thy seed; and until the end of the times it shall be as thou sawest.
And do thou
reckon and understand and look into the picture."
S K (schody) = des cen t s (c f. c hap. xxvii. note
above); cf. Gen. xv. 13-16: "four descents" = "four
Sc. four generations.
S, descent (as above).
i. e. in th e fourth generation (cf. Gen. xv. 16).
In chap. xxx. th e coming of the ten plagues on the heathen world is placed "at the passing over of
the twelfth hour"; then follows (ch ap . x x x i .) the Messianic salvation. Apparently the present age is
reckon ed as enduring for twelve hours (each hour = 100 years), i. e. on e day (cf. John xi. 9). The
apocalyptic writer may possibly reckon th is day as b egi n n i n g w it h the founding of the Holy City by David
(cf. 4 Ezra x. 46) and culminatin g in the destruction of th e last Tem p l e b y Ti t us, which calamity was to
b e f o l lowed by the period of woes described in ch ap. xxx., these bringi ng the present age (o r æ o n ) t o a
close. Now according to Josephus (War, vi. 10) th e p er i od from David's reign in Jerusalem to the
destruction of the Temple by Ti t u s am o u n t ed t o 1179 years. If we suppose the seer to be writing at the
close of the first or in th e early years of the second century A.D. the period would include about 1200
years. Like all the apocalyptists he obviously supposes himself to be standing on the brink of the new age.
Perhaps in the text above "and one hour of the Age" is intended to s y n chronise with the "fourth out-going
of a hundred years." [In Pirke de R. Eliezer xxviii. a dictum ascribed to R . E l az ar b en Azariah runs: (from
G en . xv.) thou mayest learn that the rule of these four kingdoms will only last one day, according to t h e
Day of the Lord (= l000 years).]
The bracketed clause is attested by A K, but not by S. It may be an addition to the text. Contumely
can hardly be right. Perhaps there was an error in the Greek text from which the Slavo ni c Ver sion was
; read, then, "in mercy and h onour."
This question has already been answered at t h e en d of the previous chapter (one hour = 100 years);
moreover, the reply th at follows h ere does n o t really answer the question. There is probably something
wrong in the text; "hours" and "years" seem t o b e co n f u s ed. Perhaps the question origin ally ran som ewhat
as follows: How much time is there (in) the hours of the age?
? Read hours for years. We ma y co m p a r e 4 E z r a xiv. 11 ("For the world-age is divided into twelve
parts"), and the cloud and water vision in Ap. Bar. liii. f ., w h er e a s i m ilar division appears. If "years" be
kept, each year will probably stand for a generation (reckoned at 100 years?); cf. 4 Ezra x. 4 5 ( 3 0 00 years
= 30 generations).
The present age is the age of ungodliness, where the organised forces of evil are dominant; cf. 1
Enoch xlviii. 7 ("th e world of unrighteousness"), 4 Ezra iv. 29 f.
The passage printed in italic type that follows can only be regarded as a Christian interpolation
(probably a Jewish-C hristian one).
And I [looked and]
saw a man going out from the left side of the heathen;
and there went out
men and women and children, from the side of the heathen, many hosts, and worshipped him.
while I still looked there came out from the ri ght side
(many), and some insulted that man, while some
; others, however, worshipped him. [And]
I saw how these worshipped him, an d Azazel
ran and worshipped him, and having kissed his face he turned and stood behind him.
And I said: "O Eternal, Mighty One! Who is the man insulted and beaten, who is worshipped by
the heathen with Azazel?"
And He answered and said: "Hear, Abraham! The man whom thou sawest insulted and beaten
and again worshipped--that is the relief
(granted) by the heathen to the people who proceed from thee,
in the last days,
in this twelfth hour
of the Age of ungodliness. But in the twelfth year
of my final
I will set up this man from thy generation, whom thou sawest (issue)from my people; this one all
and such as are called by me
(will) join, (even)
The man is clearly intended to be Jesus. His emerging "from the left sid e of th e h eat hen" is curious.
If the text is in order it must apparently refer to the emergence into prominence of th e E ar l y C h r i stian
C h urch in th e Gentile world. It clearly cannot refer to racial origin, for it is stated further on in t h e
chapter that "the man" s pr an g f ro m A braham's "generation" and God's people. But in view of the definite
statement below-- this man from thy generation whom thou saw es t (issue) from my people--it is better to
suppose that the text here is o u t o f or der: read? from the right side and omit of the heathen as an incorrect
i. e. His followers are to include large numbers from the Gentile world.
i. e. from the Jewish world.
Cf. Is. liii. 3.
The worship of Christ b y t h e De v il (Azazel) is a striking feature in this representation. It is difficult
to determine its exact significance h er e. D oes it reflect the Jewish-Christian feeling that the access of so
large a part of the heathen world to Christianity endangered the purity of the new faith b y i n evitably
bringing in its train a lar ge admixture of heathenism? It can hardly mean that Azazel had been truly
converted. Indeed, his homage is significantly depicted as l i p-homage ("kissed his face"; cf. the
treacherous kiss of Jud as ). Perhaps the real meanin g is that the kingdom of evil, and the Satanic powers,
have been van quished by Christ (cf. Luke x. 18, Phil. ii. 9, 10, Col. ii. 15, Ephes. i. 21 f.). The homage of
Azazel--the head of the unredeemed heathen world--marked the triumph of Christ.
(= Heb. m
What is meant by the relief (granted) by the heathen to the people who proceed from thee, in the last days?
T h e expression is difficult and obscure. Perhaps the "relief" spoken of means the mitigation of th e pro ces s
of "hardening" that has taken p l ac e i n Israel (by its rejection of Jesus), which is brought about by the
adhesion of some (a remnant) in Israel to the new faith, in conjun ct i on with th e great numbers who are
streaming in from the Gentile world; cf. Rom. xi., especially xi. 25 (" a hardening in part h ath befallen
Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in and all Israel s h all be saved," and vss. 29-30: "For as
ye in time past w er e d i so b ed i en t . . . but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience, even so have
th ese also n ow been disobedient that by the mercy shewn to you they also m ay obtain mercy").
Omitted by A (homoioteleuton). For the confusion of "hour" and "year" see note
at the beginning
of this chapter.
Lit. of the Age of mine end.
Or "imitate," "become like."
Cf. 2 Tim. i. 9 ("God who hath called us with a holy calling" ), Ephes. iv. 1, 4, and often.
those who change in their counsels.
And those whom thou sawest emerge from the left side of the
picture--the meaning is:
There shall be many from the heathen who set their hopes upon him;
as for those whom thou sawest from thy seed on the right side, some insulting and striking, others
worshipping him--many of them shall be offended at him.
He, however, is testing
those who have
worshipped him of thy seed, in that twelfth hour of the End,
with a view to shortening the Age of
"Before the Age of the righteous beginneth to grow,
my judgement shall come upon the
lawless heathen through the people of thy seed
who have been separated for me. In those days
I will bring upon all creatures of the earth ten plagues,
through misfortune and disease and
sighing of the grief of their soul. Thus much will I bring upon the generations of men that be
upon it on account of the provocation and the corruption of its creatures,
provoke me. And then shall righteous men of thy seed be left
in the number which is kept
those who change in their counsels, i. e. repent (
= "change one's min d or will").
Lit. "that (is)."
Cf. Is. xi. 10 ("unto him shall the nations seek"), Matt. xii. 21, Rom. xv. 12.
Cf. Matt. xi. 6, John vi. 66, Rom. xi. 8, etc.
Cf. Rev. iii. 10 ("the season of t r i al t h at is coming upon the whole habitable earth"). The time of
"trial" or "testing" referred to i s , n o d o ubt, the period of the Messianic woes which precedes the advent
of the new age.
i. e. the time immediately preceding the End of the present Age.
Cf. Matt. xxiv. 22, Ep. B arnabas iv. 3, Ap. Bar. xx. 2 ("Therefore have I now taken away Sion in
order that I may the more speedily visit the world in its season"). In the lat ter pas sage the fall of Jerusalem
is regarded as hastening the End. Impatient longi ng for the End is characteristic of th e Apocalyptists; see
e. g. 4 Ezra iv. 33 ff.
The coming Age is the "Age of the righteous" (for the expression cf. also c h ap . xvii. of our Book);
it has been "prepared" for th em (4 Ezra vi ii . 52), an d they will inherit it (4 Ezra vii. 17). For the metaphor
of growth in th is connexion cf. 4 Ezra iv. 29, 35; the community of th e righteous has alr e ad y b ee n " s o wn"
(1 Enoch lxii. 8; cf. also 1 Enoch x. 16, "the plant of righteousness will appear") , b ut i ts full growth will
only become visible after the judgement.
Judgement on the heathen will be executed by the agency o f Israel itself; cf. 1 Enoch xc. 19. In the
Midrash rabba on Ruth ii. 19 a saying ascribed to R. Eliezer b. Ja co b r uns: "Vengeance on the nations of
the world is in the hands of the Israelites (Ezek. xxv. 14)."
A saying h anded down in th e name of R. Eleazar b. Pedath runs: "Just as the Holy One . . . brought
(plagues) upon Egypt He will bring (plagues) upon this (wicked) nation [i. e. Rome], as it is said [Is. xxiii.
5]: `A s at th e r eport from Egypt so sh all they be pained at the report of Sov'" (read S
r "adversary," which
is to be understood as meaning "Rome"): see Midrash Tanhuma, ed. Buber, ii. 30; B ac h e r , Pal. Amov
ii. 87. For a description of the plagues see the next chapter.
O n acco un t of the sins of men God's anger must be visited upon the earth in judgement; cf. Jubilees
xxiii. 22, etc. The idea that a time of great calamity an d suffering would immediately precede the
M es s ianic Age is a standing feature in Apocalyptic; cf. e. g. Matt. xxiv. 8, Mark xiii. 8 ("th e b i rt h - pan gs
of the Messiah ").
i. e. shall survive the Messianic "woes." The term " s ur v i ve," " b e left" (
, Vulg. qui
residui sumus, 1 Th ess. iv. 15), became a technical one in Apocalyptic in th is connexion; cf. 4 Ezra vi. 25,
ix. 7, xiii. 16-24, 26, 48.
secret by me,
the glory of My Name to the place prepared beforehand for them,
which thou sawest devastated in the picture;
and th ey shall live and be established through
sacrifices and gifts of righteousness and truth
in the Age of the righteous, and shall rejoice
in Me continually;
and they shall destroy those who have destroyed them, And shall insult
those who have insulted them,
"And of those who defamed them they shall spit in the face, scorned by Me, while they
(the righteous) shall behold Me full of joy, rejoicing with My people, and receiving those who
return to Me
See, Abraham, what thou hast seen,
what thou hast heard,
And [take full knowledge of]
what thou hast come to know.
Go to thy heritage,
And lo! I am with you for ever."
The Punishment of the Heathen and the Ingathering of Israel
XXX. But while He was still speaking, I found myself upon the earth. And I said: "O
Eternal, [Mighty One],
I am no longer in the glory in which I was (while) on high, and what
my soul longed to understand in mine heart I do not understand."
The number of the elect righteous is pre- determined. This idea recurs in more than one form in
Apocalyptic. Here appare n t ly wh a t is meant is that the number of elect righteous who shall survive the
Messianic woes h as been f i x e d b e f or ehand, and is a secret known only to God. These living righteous shall
enjoy th e blessedness of the new Age upon th e renovated earth (in Jerusalem). Nothing is said about the
resurrection of th e r i g h t e o us dead to share in this felicity. In ch ap. xxi. th e latter enjoy a blessed existence
in the heavenly Paradise. Our Book apparently knows nothing of a resurrection. On the other hand, in
Rev. vi. 11 it is the number of the righteous dead (the martyrs) that is predetermin ed . A n o t h er application
of the same idea is to the whol e number of mankind who are to be born, wh ich is predetermined; cf. Ap.
Bar. xxiii. 4. For those who survive the period of calamity, and share in the bliss of the new Age, se e 4 E z ra
vi. 25, vii. 27, ix. 7 f., Ap . Bar. x x i x . 2 ; but in none of these passages is their number said to have been
Cf. 4 Ezra vii. 98.
A K, to.
By the place prepared beforehand (cf. Rev. xii. 6) is here meant Jerusal em (which thou sawest
devastated in the picture), presumably the renovated ci t y o n a renovated earth. The expression place
prepared beforehand certainly suggests t h e heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Ap. Bar. iv. 2-6), which according to
Rev. xxi. 2, 9 f. is to descend from h eaven upon the renovated e ar t h . Bu t t h i s is not certain. Our Book
may contemplate nothing more th an the earthly Jerusalem transformed and glorified.
The s ac ri f i ci al cultus in a purified form will be revived in the new Jerusalem; cf. ? 1 Enoch xxv. 6
("the fragrance thereof" = ? o f t h e incense). Prayer for the restoration of the Temple and cultus is a
central feature in th e Jewish Liturgy.
With t h e r estoration of the cultus the righteous will enjoy the privilege of seeing God's glory
Cf. Jubilees xxiii. 30 and see note
? Heathen who are converted.
Cf. Gen. xv. 15 (Thou shalt go to thy father in peace); A K, my.
And He said to me: "What is desired in thine
heart I will tell thee, because thou hast
sought to see the ten plagues which I have prepared for the heathen, and have prepared
at the passing over of the twelfth hour
of the earth. Hear what I divulge to thee,
so shall it come to pass:
(is) pain of great distress;
the second, conflagration of many
the third, destruction and pestilence of animals
; the fourth, hunger of the whole world
and of its people
; the fifth by destruction among its rulers,
destruction by earthquake
the sword; the sixth, multiplication of hail and snow;
the seventh, the wild beasts will be their
grave; the eighth, hunger and pestilence will alternate with their destruction; the ninth,
punishment by the sword and flight
in distress; the tenth,
thunder and voices
A K, mine.
These also have been pre-determined.
i.e. the last h our of th e present Age.
It is God's property to ann ounce beforehand what is to occur and th e n t o b r i n g i t t o pass; cf. Justin
Martyr, Apology i. 14 (end): For this . . . is the work of God to declare a thing shall come to be long before it
is in being, and then to bring about that thing to pass according to the s ame declaration. Cf. also 4 Ezra ix. 6
(Gun kel's r endering of the "times of the Most High" ): their beginning is in word (i. e. the prophetic word)
and portents, but their end in deeds and marvels.
The ten "plagues" here enumerated mark the distressful period which precedes the advent o f the
new Age; they correspond to th e "signs" which are a com mon feature in th e tradi t i on al es ch atology; cf.
4 Ezra iv. 52-v. 13, vi. 13-28, ix. 1 - 6 , x i i i . 16 ff., Ap. Bar. xxv.-xxvii., xlviii. 30-38, lxx., 1 Enoch xcix. 4
f., 7-10, c. 1-6 (Dan. xii.). The first of the Ezra passages just cited aff o r d s a good example of the contents
of these descriptions. It dep icts a time of commotions, and the general break-up of moral and religious
forces; the heathen world-power (i. e. Rome) will be destroyed; there will be porten ts in nature, general
chaos in society; monstrous and untimely birth s, t h e f ailure of the means of subsistence, and internecine
strife; and wisdom and understanding will have perished from th e earth. With our passage depi ct ing ten
plagues may be compared T.B. Sanh. 97a, which divides the period into seven yea r s ; in the first there will
be rain on one city and no rain on another (cf. Amos iv. 7); in the second arrows of famine; in the third
a great famine in which m en , wo m en , and children and pious will perish, and the Torah will be forgotten;
in the fourth abundance and dearth; in th e f i f t h great abundance, the people will eat and drink, and the
Torah will return; in th e sixth voices announcing the coming of th e Messiah ; in th e seventh war, and at
its end Messi ah b en David will come. In the New Testament, besides the Apocalyptic passage in Matt.
xxiv. 8-31 and parallels, there is a marked parallelism with the Apocalypse of the seven trumpets (Rev .
viii. 6-ix. 21, x. 7, xi. 14-19), six of which mark partial judgements, while th e s eventh ushers in th e final
judgement. Several of the "trumpets" announce judgements like the Egyptian plagues.
i. e. distressful pain, sickness.
The fall of fire is o n e o f the portents of the End in Ap. Bar. xxvii. 10; cf. the fiery hail of the seventh
Egyptian plague (Ex. ix. 23 f.) an d the "first trumpet" (Rev. viii. 6-7); cf. also Rev. xi. 19b ("great hail").
Cf. the fifth Egyptian plague (murrain among th e cattle, Ex. ix. 1 ff.).
Cf. 4 Ezra vi. 22, Ap. Bar. xxvii. 5-6, Matt. xxiv. 7.
Cf. Ap. Bar. xxvii. 3, 4 Ezra ix. 3.
Cf. Ap. Bar. xxvii. 7.
Cf. Ex. ix. 23 f.
Cf. Matt. xxiv. 16.
K, "voices of thunder."
Cf. Rev. xi. 19b. [Perhaps the passage most closely parallel with our text is Ap. Bar. xxvii. 1-13.]
XXXI. "And then I will sound the trumpet
out of the air, and will send mine Elect One,
having in him all my power, one measure
; and this one shall summon
my despised people from
and I will burn with fire
who have insulted them and who have ruled
them in (this) Age.
"And I will give those who have covered me with mockery to the scorn of the coming
and I have prepared them to be food
for the fire of Hades and for ceaseless flight to
and fro through the air in the underworld beneath the earth
[the body filled with worms.
on them shall th ey see the righteousness of th e Creator--those, namely, who have chosen to do my will,
and those who have openly kept my
(and) they shall rejoice with joy over the
The t r um p et is blown to announce the Divine intervention and the coming of salvation; it is n ot
a direct summons to the exiles to return (cf. Volz, p. 310); cf. Benediction X in the Sh
` Es r
P r ayer
(Singer, p. 48): Sound the great horn for our freedom; lift up the ensign to gather our ex iles , and gat her us from
the four corners of the earth.
This title of the Messiah is a favourite on e in th e " Si militudes" of 1 Enoch; cf. 1 Enoch xlviii. 9, lv.
4, etc. It recurs as a Messianic title in Luke ix. 35, xxiii. 35, and goes back to Is. xlii. 1.
i.e. a measure of all th e divine attributes--he reflects in little the totality of t h e div in e character.
This is an exalted conception, but does no t s eem to imply more than that the Messiah is a divinely
end owed m a n , f ul l o f the power of the Holy Spirit (Is. xi. 1), which makes him free from sin (Ps. Sol. xvii .
36 f.). He is not depicted as a supernatural angelic being like Met a t r o n . H e i s sent by God at the
appointed time; cf. Ps. Sol. xvii. 23, Gal. iv. 4, John xvii. 3.
N ot e t hat it is th e Messiah here who summons the outcast Israelites from the nations (so also Ps .
Sol. xvii. 28, Matt. xxiv. 31, 4 Ezra xiii. 39). More usually th is is perform ed by God Himself (cf. the prayer
cited in note
Cf. Is. lx. 4.
Punishment of the godless by fire at God's hands is a common featur e in the eschatology. It is the
fire of the divin e an ger t h at i s t h ought of, and is based upon Mal. iv. 1 (iii. 19); cf. the "fiery stream" and
"flaming breath" which t h e Messiah emits from his mouth to destroy his enemies in 4 Ezra xiii. 10
(interpreted figuratively in verses 36 f.). A adds through him (after I will), i. e. th rough th e Messiah; K,
i. e. the heathen nations.
i. e. "over." Cf. Ap. Bar. lxxii. 6 ( " Bu t al l t hose who have ruled over you . . . shall be given to the
Those who have s co r n e d s h a l l be scorned; cf. Wisdom iv. 18, Dan. xii. 2, Ps. Sol. ii. 32 f. ("the
coming Age" is the Age of the righteous). Possibly renegade Jews are referred to, and are the subject of
the remaining part of this chapter.
Cf. Mal. iv. I (iii. 19).
Here t wo co n ceptions seem to be mixed; there is (1) the idea of "th e fire of Hades" (or Hell),
which is located beneath the earth (for "Hades" = Hell in this sense: cf. Ps. Sol. xv. 11); t h i s f i re
consumes their bodies; (2) combined with this is the idea of wanderin g (f l ying) restlessly about (properly
in the air or outer darkn ess); cf. 4 Ezra vii. 80. In T. B. Shabb. 152b the souls of the wicked are said to be
given no p l ac e o f re st t ill the judgement. Here (at the word earth) S ends. The rest of the text (printed
in small type) is found both in A and K.
In Judith xvi. 17 "fire and worms" await the heathen enemie s of Israel; cf. Ecclus. vii. 17, 1 En och
x l v i . 6 ("darkness will be their dwelling and worm s th eir bed"), Is. lxvi. 24. Here renegade Jews ar e
Cf. Is. lxvi. 24, 4 Ezra vii. 93.
downfal l of t h e m en who still remain, who have followed the idols and their murders.
For they shall
putrefy in the b o dy o f t h e evil worm Azazel,
and be burn t with the fire of A zazel's tongue;
for I hoped
th at they would come to m e,
and n ot have l o v ed an d p rai s ed th e strange (god),
and n ot have adhered
to h im for wh om they were not allotted,
but (instead) they have forsaken the migh ty Lord."
Conclusion (Chapter XXXII.)
"Th erefore hear, O Abraham, an d s ee ; l o ! t h y seventh generation
(shall) go with thee, and
they shall go o u t i n t o a strange land, and they shall enslave them, and evil-entreat them
as it were an hour of
the Age of ungodliness
but the nation whom they shall serve I will judge."]
I am he who hath been commanded to loosen H ades
to destroy him who stareth at the dead.
This obscure c l au s e, w h i c h o ccurs in Jaoel's speech in chap. x., is absent from S. The Slavonic text
runs as follows--
Az esm` povel
vy razreshiti ada,
Dr. St. Clair Tisdall suggests the followin g rendering--
I am commanded to loosen Hades,
to turn to corruption (by) gazing at the dead.
The renegade Jews here referred to are de s cr i b e d as i d o laters (cf. Ezek. xx. 16, Jer. vii. 9); and the
righteous rejoice over their "downfall"; cf . 1 E noch lvi. 8 ("Sheol will devour the sinn ers in the presence
of the elect"), xciv. 10 ("Your creat o r will rejoice at your destruction"), xcvii. 2 ("the angels rejoice" over
it), Is. lxvi. 24. Notice that idolatry and murder are here conjoin e d ; cf . A c t s x v . 29 (according to one view
of the text).
Cf. t h e G r eek Apocalypse of Baruch iv. (the dragon of Hades, which devours the bodies of the
ungodly). In 2 Enoch xlii. 1 the guardians of the gates of Hell are said to be "like great serpents."
Here the Evil Spirit is identified with Hell; his tongue devours the ungodly; and he himself is "the
burning coal of the furnace of the earth" (c h ap . x iv.). Hell (Gehenna) is essentially a place of fire; cf. Is.
xxx. 33 and Mekilta to Ex. xiv. 21.
? in repentance.
i. e. probably Azazel.
This clearly in dicates th at renegade Jews are referred to. For a similar r eference cf. 4 Ezra viii.
25-31. It would appear that lar ge numbers of Jews had lapsed, after the fall of Jerusalem, in to indifference,
or even open apostasy; cf. the Rabbinical references to "the people of the land" (`am h
Includi ng A b raham, the seven generations may be reckoned thus: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Levi,
Kohath, Amram, Moses.
Cf. Gen. xv. 13.
i. e. ? 100 years; cf. chap. xxviii, end.
Cf. Gen. xv. 14. K concludes with th e following words: And this, too, s a i d t he Lord: H ast thou heard,
Abraham, what I have announced to thee, what shall befall thy people in the latter days? And Abraham heard
the words of the Lord, and received them into his heart.
Dr. Tisdall explain s the meaning thus: "The speaker has power given to him to `deliver over to
corruption' the bodies of th e dead by gazing at them. The verb [rendered `gazin g'] strictly denotes
Mr. Landsman writes as follows: "The verb diviyati is used i n Slav onic, meaning `to be ferocious,' `to
as means thus `to stare at' somebody in such a w ay t h a t h e i s frightened by the ferocity of the
look. It can be translated as Dr. Tisdall translates it, but does this renderin g an d i n t e r p r etation harmonise
wit h th e context?" Mr. Landsman goes on to suggest that the second line refers to Death personified; cf.
Ps. xlix. 14 ("Death shall be th ei r shepherd") and Rev. xx. 13, 14, where "Death and Hades" are "cast
into th e lake of fire." Then render--
I am he who hath been commanded to loosen Hades,
to destroy him [i.e. Death] who terrifieth the dead.
This yields an a d m i r ab l e s ense, and is probably right. Jaoel thus claims to be commissioned to abolish
the terrors of Hades and Death.
And when they [the Cherubim ] had ended the singing, they looked at one another and threatened one
another. And it cane to pass when the angel who was with me saw that they were threat ening each other, he left
me and went running to them, and turned the countenance of each living creature from the countenance
immediately confronting him in order that they might not see their countenances threatening each other. And he
taught them the song of peace which hath its origin in the Eternal One (chap. xviii.).
In addition to the illustration given in note
(p. 40) on this passage, the f o l l owing extract from The
Revelation of Moses (Gedulath Moshe), translated by Dr. Garter in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
for July 1893, p. 576 ("Hebrew Vision s of Hell and Paradise") may be quoted--
Moses went to the fifth heaven, and he saw there troops of angels, half of fire and half of snow; an d the snow
is above the fire without extinguishing it, for G od maketh peace between them [as it is said: "He maketh peace
in his high places," Jo b x x v . 2 ], an d all praise the Almighty. Cf also the Midrash Debarim rabba (to Deut. xx.
10), where with reference to the same passage of Job (xxv. 2) it is said: Michael [who presides over the
water] is altogether snow, Gabriel is altogether fire, and they s t a n d n ex t each other without being harmed on
either side (so also Midrash rabba to Cant. iii. 11); cf. also 2 Enoch xxix. 2.
(Cf. Chapters I.-VIII. of our Book.)
emergence from the prevalent idolatry early became the theme of legend, which
has assumed various forms and was widespread. These are collected, with full references, in
Beer's Leben Abrahams (Leipzig, 1859), Chaps. I. and II., and are well summarised in J.E. I.
84-87 ("Abraham in apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature").
The earliest literary evidence appears to be some extracts from Jewish Alexandrine works
cited by Josephus under the names of Hecataeus and Berosus, of the third and second
centuries B.C., and summarised by him (Ant. I. 1, 7): [Abraham] was a person of great sagacity
both for understanding all things and persuading his hearers, and not mistaken in his opinions; for
which reason he began to have higher notions of virtue than others had, and he determined to renew
and to change the opinion all men happened then to have concerning God; for he was the first that
ventured to publish this notion, that there was but one God, the Creator of the Universe; and that as
to other [gods] if they contributed anything to the happiness of men, that each of them afforded it only
according to his appointment, and not by their own power. This his opinion was derived from the
irregular phenomena that were visible both on land and sea, as well as those that happen to the sun,
and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, thus: "If [said he] these bodies had power of their ow n, they
would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity,
they make it plain, that so far as they co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abil iti es,
but as they are subservient to him that commands them, to whom alone we ought justly to offer our
honour and thanksgiving." For which doctrines, when the Chaldæans and other peoples of
Mesopotamia raised a tumult against him, he thought fit to leave that country; and at the command,
and by the assistance of God, he came and lived in the land of Canaan.
Another early attestation of the legend occurs in The Book of Jubilees, probably dating from
the close of the second century B. C. Here it is related (chap. xi. 16-xii) that Abraham as a
child "began to understand the errors of the earth," and at the age of fourteen, in order not
to be entangled in the idolatry, practised in connexion with astrology by the whole house of
Nahor, separated from his father and family, and prayed to God to save him "from the errors
of the children of men." He became an inventor of an improved method of sowing seed, by
which it was preserved against the depredations of the ravens. He then made efforts to wean
his father from idolatry, but Terah, though acknowledging that his son was right, was afraid
to make a public renunciation, and told Abraham to keep silent. Being no more successful
with his brothers, Abraham rose by night and set fire to the house of idols. His brother Haran
in an attempt to save them perished in the fire, and was buried in Ur of the Chaldees.
Here we meet with a feature which provided a motif for various forms of the legend--viz.
the fire which burnt the idols and their house. This is really derived from the etymological
meaning of Ur = "fire;" thus "Ur of the Chaldees" is taken to mean "fire of the Chaldees."
In our Book the fire descends from heaven and burns the house and all in it (including Terah),
Abrah am alone escaping. In other forms of the legend Abraham is cast into the fire (by
Nimrod), and is miraculously preserved. Philo's account of Abraham's conversion (de
Abrahamo, § 15) is as follows:
The Chaldæans were, above all nations, addicted to the study of astronomy, and attributed all
events to the motions of the stars by whi ch they fancied that all the things in the world were regulated,
and accordingly they magnified the visible essence by the powers which numbers and the analogies of
numbers contain, taking no account of the invisible essence appreciable only by the intellect. But while
they were busied in investigating the arrangement existing in them with reference to the periodical
revolutions of the sun and moon and the other planets and fixed-stars, and the changes of the seasons
of the year, and the sympathy of the heavenl y bodies w ith the things of earth, they were led to imagine
that the world itself was God, in their impious philosophy comparing the creature to the Creator.
The man [Abraham] who had been bred up in this doctrine, and who for a long time had studied
the philosophy of the Chaldæans, as if suddenly awaking from a deep slumber and opening the eye of
the soul, and beginning to perceive a pure ray of light instead of profound darkness, followed the light,
and saw what he had never seen before, a certain governor and director of the world standing above
. . . J@á
¦NgFJäJ"), and guiding his own
work in a salutary manner, and exerting his care and power in behalf of those parts of it which are
worthy of divine superintendence.
The legend is cited or referred to in many places in the Rabbinical Literature. The
following extract from Bereshith rabba xxxviii. 19 (on Gen. xi. 28) is a good example:
And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah. R. Hiyya bar R. Idi of Jo pp a s ai d: " Ter ah was a
maker and s el ler of idols. On one occasion he went out somewhere, (and) set Abraham to sell in his
place. A man came (an d) wished to buy (an idol), and he (Abraham) said to him: `How old art thou?'
And he said: `Fifty or sixty years.' [Abraham] said to him: `Woe to the man who is six t y y ea r s old, and will
worship (an im age) a day old!' An d (the buyer) was sh am ed and went his way. Another time there came
a woman, carrying in her hand a d is h of fine flour. `Here thou art,' said she. `Offer it (as an oblation)
before them (i. e. before the gods).' [Abrah am arose, took a club in his hand, and smashed all the images,
and placed the club in the hand of the largest of them. When his father came back , h e s ai d t o h im: `Who
has done this to t h em? ' He [ Abraham] said to him : `Why sh ould I hide (th e matter) from th ee? A woman
came carrying a dish of fine flour. And she said to me: "Here thou art: offer it (as an oblation) before
them." I offered (it) before th em. Then one said: "I will eat first," and anoth er said: "I will eat first." The
one who was greatest among them rose up, took a club, and smashed them.' And [Terah] said t o h im:
`W h y wi lt thou fool me? How should they understand (anything)?' [Abraham] said to him: `Let not t h y
e ar s h ear what thy mouth says!' [Terah] took him and delivered him to Nimrod. The latter said to hi m :
`W e w i l l worsh ip the fire.' Abraham said to him: `But we should (rather) worship water.' Nimrod said to
hi m : ` W e wi l l w o r ship th e water.' [Abraham] said to him: `If so, we ought to worship the cloud that bears
the water.' Nimrod said to him : [`We will worship] th e clo ud.' He replied to him: `If so, we ought to
wo rship the wind: it scatters the cloud.' [Nimrod] said to him: [`We should worship] the wind.' He
replied: `We should worship man, who endures, (defies) the wind.' He replied: `You are b an dyin g words
with me: I worship the fire only, (and) lo, I will cast thee into the mids t of it ; t h en, let the God whom
thou worshippest come and delive r t h e e f r om it.' Haran was standing there in doubt. He said: `At all
events if A braham is victorious I will say I am of Abraham's opinion; but if Nimrod is v i c t o r i o us I will say
I am of Nimrod's opinion.' When Abraham descended into the f i e r y furnace and was delivered, they said
to him: `On wh ose side art th ou?' He said to th em: `A braham's.' They seized hi m an d t hrew him into the
fire. And h is bowels were scorched, and i t f el l out that he died in the presence of his father. That is the
meaning of the verse, and H aran died in the presence of Terah his father."
Yonge's translation , vol. ii. p. 417.
Another version of the same legend (cf. Tanna debe Eliyaha ii. 25, and see J.E. i. 86) runs
Terah was a manufacturer of idols and had th em for sale. One day wh en A braham was left in charge
of the shop, an old man came to buy an idol. Abraham handed him one on th e t o p , a n d h e p aid the price
asked. "How old art thou?" Abraham asked. "Seventy years," he replied. "Thou fool," said Abraham; "how
ca n s t th ou ador e a god so much youn ger than th yself? Thou wert born seventy years ago, and th is god was
made yesterday." The buyer threw away th e idol and received h is money back. The other sons of Terah
complained to th eir father that A braham did not know how to sell the idols, and it was arranged that he
should act as priest to th e latter. One day a woman brough t a m eal-offering for the idols, and as th ey
would not eat he exclaimed: A mouth have they but speak not, e y es have they but see not, ears but hear not,
hands but handle not. May their makers be like them, and all who trust in them (Ps . cxv. 5-8); and he broke
them in pieces, and burned them. Ab raham was thereupon brought before Nim rod, who said: "Knowest
thou not that I am god, and ruler of t h e w o rld? Why hast thou destroyed my images?" Abraham replied:
"If thou art god and ruler o f t h e w o r l d , w h y dost thou not cause the sun to rise in the west and set in the
east? If thou art god and ruler of the world, tell m e all th at I have now at heart, and what I shall do in
the future?" Nimr od was dumbfounded, and Abraham continued: "Thou art the son of C ush, a mortal
man. Th ou couldst not save thy father from death, nor wilt thou thyself escape it."
Another form of the legend, after narrating the wonderful nature of Abraham's birth,
Nimrod's alarm at the report of the astrologers and magicians in connexion therewith, and his
attempt to bribe Terah to give up th e child, who, under the charge of a nurse, was hidden by
his father in a cave, where he remained for some years, proceeds (cf. Mi drash hagadol on
Genesis. ed. Schechter p. 189 f.):
When Abraham came forth from the cave, his mind was inquiring int o t h e c r eation of the world, and
he was intent upon all the luminaries of the world, to bow d o w n t o them and serve them, in order that
he m i ght kn ow which of them was God. He saw the moon, whose light sh one in the night from one end
of the world to the oth er, and whose retinue [of shining stars] was so numero us . Said he: "This is God!"
(and) h e wo r s h i pped her all the night. But when at day-break he saw the sun-rise, and at its rising t h e
moon become dark and her strength wane, h e said: "The light of the moon only proceeds from the light
of the s un , an d t h e w o r ld is only sustained by the light of the sun," and so he worshipped the sun all day.
At evenin g the sun set, and its power waned, and the moon and the stars and the constellations emerged
(once more). Said [Abraham]: "Verily there is a Lord and a God over these."
A peculiar form of the legend occurs in the Biblical Antiquities of Pseudo-Philo vi. 5-18.
According to this Midrashic account, Abram with eleven other men wh ose names are given, r e f us ed
to bake bricks for the building of t h e T o we r o f Babel. In consequence, they were seized by the people of
the land, and brought before the prin ces , an d on their persistent refusal to take any part in the building
of the Tower, were condemned to be burnt. A respite of seven days is given them at the i n t e rc es s i on of
Jectan, "the first prince of th e captains," but at the end of th is time, if they h ave not already changed
their mind, they are to be handed over for execution. Jectan, a secret frien d, contrives their escape to the
mountains, and eleven of the men do escape, but A b r am refuses to flee, and remains behind. At the end
of the seven days, the "people of the land" demand that the imprisoned men s h all be produced. Jectan
explains that eleven of them "have broken prison and fled b y night," but Abram is produced, is cast into
Edited for the first time in English by Dr. M. R. James, and published in th is Series.
the fir e, but is m iraculously delivered by God,
who causes an earth quake which breaks up th e furnace
and scatters the fir e, whi ch "consumed all them that stood round about in the sight of the furnace; and
all they that were burned in that day wer e 8 3 ,5 0 0 . But upon Abram was there not any the least hurt by
the burning of the fire."
It is obvious from what has been adduced that the legend assumed different forms. The
narrative just cited is quite independent of th e rest, except for the episode of the fiery
furnace. The form also given in our Book is largely independent. Nowhere else do we meet
with the details about the idol-gods Merumath and Barisat. The fiery furnace also is absent,
and the burning of the idols is effected by fire from heaven. At the same time in chap. vii. of
our Book in the speech of Abraham to Terah about the claims to divinity of fire, water, earth,
sun, moon, and stars, there is a marked parallelism with the Rabbinical accounts. It is clear
that the form of the legend in our Book is due to an independent and free handling of the
legendary material, many new features having been introduced in the process.
The legend also occurs in various forms in th e Patristic and Mohammedan literature. For t h e former
cf. Clem. Recognitions, i. 32 f., Augustine, De C ivit ate xvi. 15; and for the latter cf. J.E., i. 87 f. ("A braham
in Mohammedan Legend"). See further Fabricius, Codex pseudepigraphus Vet. Test. (2nd ed., Hamburg,
1722, pp. 335-428), Bonwetsch, pp . 4 1-55. The later Jewish forms of the legend (as preserved in late
Midrashim) have been collected and translated into G er m an by Wünsche, Aus Israels Lehrhallen (1907),
i. pp. 14-48 (the original Hebrew texts are printed mainly in Jelli nek 's Beth ha-Midrash); cf. also G.
Friedlander, Rabbinic Philosophy and Ethics (1912), pp. 47 ff.
All the Palæas begin the story of Abraham as follows:
"But Terah begat Abraham:" and Terah began to do the same work which he saw (being done)
in the case of his father Nahor, and worshipped the gods, and offered sacrifices before them, calves,
and heifers, and performed everything well -pleasing to the Devil. When Abraham, however, had seen
this, and on account of it fell into much reflexion, he said within himself: "These gods are wood,
through which my father Terah is deceived, and these gods have no soul in themselves; and possessing
eyes they see not, and having ears they hear not, and possessing hands they handle not, and having feet
they go not, and possessing noses they smell not, and there is no voice in their mouth. Therefore I am
of opinion that in truth my father Terah is deceived. But Abraham having thought thus. . . .
Then some of the MSS. proceed:
Abraham (or I.), however, one day planed the gods, etc. (as in chap. i.); but the rest continue
with chap. vii.: [Having thought thus, Abraham] came to his father, etc.
A portion of our Apocalypse is contained in an abbreviated form in the Kukulevic MS.
which is described by V. Jagic in his Contributions to the History of the Literature of the Croat and
Serbian People (Prilozi k historji knjizevnosti naroda hrvatskoga i srbskoga), Agram 1868.
According to R. Eliezer b. Jacob it was Michael wh o delivered A braha m f r o m t h e f i r e; but the
prevailing view was that it was God Himself; cf. Bereshith rabba xliv. 16.
See Bonwetsch, p. 9.
See Bonwetsch, pp. 9-11.
The MS. dates from the year 1520, and includes on pp. 37
foll. parts of The Apocalypse of
Abraham, in a much abbreviated, dislocated and altered form as compared with the tradition
represented by the Russian MSS. This apparently represents an independent South Slavonic
Recension of our Book. It runs as follows:
A word of righteous Abraham, as God loved Abraham. He was born; in sixty years [i. e. at the
age of 60] He [God] had given hi m (Terah) a son, (even to Terah) who believed in the idols, and
manufactured idols, and gave them names. Abraham went and sold the idols. When on a certain day
Abraham had lain down in the field, and saw the stars of heaven and everything (made) by God, he
surveyed it all in his heart, and said: "O great marvel! These idols have not made it: heaven and earth
and everything hath God made, we, however, are senseless men not believing in the Creator of heaven
and earth, but we believe in stones and wood, and in vain things, but I see and understand that God
is great, who hath created heaven and earth and the whole world."
On a certain day his father carved idols, and told Abraham to prepare (their) food. And
Abraham took a god and stood him at the fire behind the pot, and said to him: If thou art a god, pay
heed to the pot and to thyself. And then the pot boiled over, and burnt the god's head. And Abraham
approached, and saw it, and laughed about it much, and said to his father: "Father, these idols are no
good, they cannot protect themselves, how should they protect us?" And his father was angry, and said:
"Ills have befallen us, my son, I am not offended." And then Abraham arose and took the idols, and
loaded them on an ass, and brought them into the street to sell. And he saw a great marsh, and said
to the idols: "If you are gods, take heed to the ass that it do not drown you." And the ass went into the
marsh and sank in the mire. And Abraham said to them: "If you were good gods, (then) you would
protect . . . and also protect yourselves; but since you are evil gods, you must suffer evil." And he took
them and shattered them.
And he returned to his father, and said: "Father, I tell thee the truth; these gods are no good, and
you are wrong to believe in them." Thereupon his father flung a knife against him, and Abraham stood
aside, and was perplexed in his mind. And he went into the land of Mesopotamia Chaldaea and did
not know the way by which to go. Then the angel Uriel came to him, having made himself (in
appearance) like a traveller. And Abraham said to the an gel : "Tell me, Brother, whence art thou, and
whi ther goest thou?" The angel said to him: "I go to the land of Chaldaea." And Abraham said: "I
also go with thee." And the angel said to him: "Come, Brother!" And Abraham saw a large (and) very
black eagle sitting and nodding its head at Abraham; and Abraham passing by it was seized with
great fear, and said nothing.
And the angel said to him: "Talk, Brother, of nothing but God." And the angel taught him all the
time to talk of nothing but godly things. And the angel said to him: "Yonder eagle was indeed the Devil
himself, and desired to make thee turn back."
And in that land Abraham abode fifteen years; there he dwelt, (and) thither his father came to
him, and his brother Lot, and there Abraham took his wife Sarah.
And the angel came to Abraham, and told him to depart from this land, and to go into the land
of Chaldaea (sic), "for there the Lord hath commanded thee to live." Abraham did accordingly. The
narrative then proceeds on the basis of the account given in Gen. xx.
It is obvious that this is largely an independent reshaping of the old material. But it
contains clear reminiscences both of the legendary and apocalyptic parts of our Book.
As given in a Germ an translation by Dr. L. Masin g of Dorpat (in Bonwetsch, pp. 10 f.).