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BEIN G ST O R I ES O U T O F S O M E O F TH E

LESS KN O W N AP O CRYPHAL B O OKS


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O F TH E O LD T E STA ME N T


PRO! O ST O ! K H O S COLLE GE , CA H B B I D O I

W I TB T E N I LLU ST RA T I O N S B !

H . J . ! O RD

3 9 PA T E R N O S T E R RO W , LO N D O N
N EW ! O R K, B O MB A !
'
, AND GALGU IT A

1 9 13

All rig ht . r ese rv ed


BE IN G STORI ES O U T O F S O M E O F TH E
LE SS KN OW N AP O CRYPHAL B O OKS
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O F TH E O LD T E STA ME N T

CA MB RI D GE

PR O! O ST O ! K I N G S CO LLEGE ,

W I TH T E N I LLU STR A T I O N S B !

H . J . ! O RD

3 9 PA T E R N O S TE R RO W , LO N D ON
N EW ! O RK, B O MB A ! ,
AN D GA LGU I T A

1 913

All r i g h ts 1 esex ve d
PRE ! A C E


I ! you read the title p a g e of t h i s book a thing
n
-

w h i c h y o u g persons very seldom do you will s e e



that it ( the book ) co n tains stories taken out of
some of the less known apocryphal books of the Old
-

Testame n t. You will very possibly n o t u n der


stand what that means ; but if you will read this

preface another thing which young persons do
even seldomer than they read a title page you -
will nd the best explanatio n that I can give .

I have to begin by talking about the word


apocryph a l The newspapers are fond of saying
.

that a statement made by the Prime Minister ( or


the leader of the Opposition according to which side
,

in politics the newspaper takes) is apocryphal B y .

this the new s paper means to say that the st a t e ment


,

was untrue Or you will read that someone o h


n
.
,

t a i e d money or goods by saying that he possessed

large estates abroad ; and that the estates turned


out to be apocryphal By this is meant that they
.

did not exist But when you read of a b o o k being


.
O L D TESTA M E NT LEGEN DS
apocryphal so m ething rather di ff erent is m e a nt
,


either that it is spurious zl e that it pret e nds to .
,

be written by someone who did n ot write it ; or


that what is in it is fabulous and untrue like the ,

stories of King Arthur ; or both .

Now this word apocryphal is sp e ci a lly used ,

and perhaps most often used in co n nection with the


,

Bible Prob a bly you h a ve at least heard of som e


.


thing called the Apocrypha ev en if y o u have,

not read it and even if you h a ve m i x e d i t up in


,
'

your mind with another word Apocalyps e which , ,

has nothing wh a tever to do with i t Well what .


,


is the Apocryph a ! It is to be fou n d in m a ny
Bibles bound up b e twe e n the Old a nd the New
,

Testame n ts It is a set of books l o oking j ust like


.
,

the other books o f the Bible with ch a pt e rs and


,

verses Some o f it is read in church as w e ekday


.

n
lessons in the m onths of October a n d November ,

as you m ay see by looking at the Table of Le sso s


in any Prayer Book Now a re a ll these books
.
,


of the Apocrypha fabulous or spurious ! No
n
.

Som e of them are T he Sec o d B o o k of E sdm s


.

( th a t is Ezra ) w a s not writt e n by Ezr a ; T he B o o k


,

o
f B a ru ch
( th e c om pa nio n of the prophet Jer e miah)
w as n o t writte n by B a ruch ; T he I s do m of So lo mo
/ n
w as n ot writt e n b y Solo mo n Th e se an d some
.
P R E FAC E ix
'
others are sp uri o us Also the books of T o b z t and
.
,

of J udi th are f a b u lo us stories O n the other hand .


,
' '
the book E cclesz a s tz cus was really written by Sirach
( who is mentioned i n the Preface ) and T he ! i rs t ,

B o o k of Ma cc a b ees is a true a nd valuable history .

Then why if apocryphal means fabulous or


,

spurious or both are these books some of which


, , ,

are true and genuine lumped all together an d called


,

Apocryp ha ! I a m sorry to disappoint you but ,

I cannot go through the whole history It is long


n
.
,

it is di f cult a n d though it interests me I am i


n
, ,

c li e d to think it would n ot interest you unless I

spread it over a great many pages a nd lled it out ,

with s tories ; and for this I have no time Let me .

tell you what strikes me as being the important


thing to bear i n mind Ne a rly all of these books
.

h a ve bee n at som e time or a n other re a d in church


and tre a ted a s Sc r ipture N early a ll of them are
.

now treated as Scripture by the Rom a n Church ,

but not by most of t h e P r otesta n t or R eformed , ,

Church e s . They are on the borderland of the


Bible . Fr o m having been s o long kept tog e ther
in a group by themselves they h a v e com e to be ,

thought of as bei n g all of o ne uniform kind B ut .

they a re not so ; th e y are o f v e ry di ff e r e nt s o rts


a n d m e rits .
x O L D TESTA M ENT L EGEN DS
L et us keep the old name for them a n d call
them the Apocrypha I t will be co n v e nient to
.

do s o because I have now to speak of other


,

apocryphal books which have never bee n bound


,

up in o ur Bibles but in older times before Bibles


, ,

were p rinted were ( some of them at least ) read


,

in churches and thought to be sacred books There .

are a great ma n y of these ! perhaps if they were ,

all put together they would make up a volume


,

as large as the Old Testament itself ; but at present


there is no book in which they are all printed to
gether Some are stories others are visions like
.
,

those in the R evelation of St John others are


.
,

ps alms a nd prophecies But all of them I think


.
, ,

may fairly be called eit h er fabulous or spurious ,

o r both .

I can give you an example from the Bi b le itself


to show that there were such books as long ago
as the times o f the Apostles and th at they were
,

read a n d valued In the 9 th verse of the Epistle


.

of Jude you read something very curious a bout


,

Satan contending with M ichael about the body of


Moses Ancient writers whom we may trust tell
.

us that this is taken from a book called The A ssump


ti on of Mo ses ( that is th e story of Moses being
,

taken up out of this world at the end of his life ) .


PRE FACE xi
We h a v e pieces of this book still but we have ,

not g o t th e whole story of the dispute between


Sat a n a nd Michael How e ve r we k n ow th a t it was
.
,

r e pr e se n t e d as having take n pl a ce when Michael


and the other angels w e re burying the body of
Mos e s a m o n g t he mountains i n a pl a ce which was
kept secret from all m en an d th a t Satan s a id th a t
,

though th e soul of Mos e s might belo n g to God ,

the b o dy b e lo n g e d to him ; an d moreover that , ,

Mos e s w as a m u rder e r be ca use long before he


, , ,

h a d killed an Egyptian ( a s we re a d in Exodus ii .

whereupo n Michael a n s wered Sata n i n the


words
The Lord rebuke thee and S a t a n ed
, , .

That is o n e e x ampl e Anoth e r is i n the 1 4 th verse


.

of the s am e Epistl e where it is s a id th a t Enoch


, ,

the s e venth from Ad a m prophesied of the coming


,

of the L ord to j udge sinners This verse is taken


.

out of a lo n g book of pr o phecies and visions call e d


n
T he B o o k of E o ch which still exists a n d we may
, ,

read the very words i n it .

I n this present book I am only concerned


,

with the apocryphal s to r i es ; with the prophecies


and visions and psalms I have nothing to do .

N ow how and why did the stori e s come to b e


,

written !
I t is likely enough th a t a fter reading som e
OLD TE STAME NT LEGE N DS
history in th e Bibl e you may h a ve wo n dered
whether th e re was anything more to be know n
about the peopl e of whom it told you You would .

h a ve liked to nd out what happ e ned to Adam or ,

Joseph or David besides the thi n gs which are


, ,

writte n in the Bible It was just s o in ancient times


.

-
the times wh e n our L ord w a s on earth a nd even ,

long before that The Jews naturally thought a gre a t


.

deal about the people who are mentioned in the Old


Testament ; and j ust as there are a great many

stories about the heroes of English history such as

that of King Alfred a nd the c a kes which we are ,

told now are not true so stories grew up about the


, ,

great men of the Bible Perhaps they were invented .


,

some of them in a n swer to questions which had


,

been asked So m e of them w e re cert a inly made


.

up in order to explai n parts of the Bible which wer e


di f cul t to understand I will give an e x ample of
n
.

this I the Book of Genesis ( iv 23 2 4) you are


. .
,

told how the patri a rch L am e ch spoke to h i s wives


and said I have slain a man to my wounding and
, ,

a young man to my hurt Nothing is said i n ex


planation of this ; we are not told whom L amech

had killed So a story was mad e up no one knows

.

when which gives this expl a n a tion ! L am e ch was


blind and he used to a muse himself by shooting
,
P R E FAC E xiii
birds and b eas ts with bow a nd arrow When h e went .

out sho o ting he used to take with him his y o ung


,

nephew Tubal ; and Tubal used to s p y the game


for him and guide his hands th a t he might aim his
arrow right O ne day whe n they were out together
.
, ,

Tubal sa w as h e thought a b ea st moving in the


, ,

thicket ; a nd he told L a mech and m a de him aim at ,


it and L am e ch s arrow smote th e beast a n d killed it
, .

B ut when Tub a l ran to see what kind of beast it was ,

he found that it w a s not a wild beast a t all I t was .

his an cestor Cain For after Cain had killed Abel


.
,

and God had pronounced a curse upon him he ,

wandered about the e a rth never able to remain in ,

one place ; a n d a great horn gr e w out of his head ,

and his body was covered with h a ir ; so that Tubal ,

seeing him in the distance among the trunks of the


trees and the brushwood wa s deceived and mistook
, ,

him for a beast of ch a se B ut when Tubal saw .

what had happ e n e d he was terried and ran back


, ,

to L amech crying out Y o u have slain our fore


, ,


father Cain ! And Lamech also was struck with
horror and raised his hands and smote them together
,

with a mighty blow And in so doing he struck the


.

head of Tubal with his full strength and Tubal fell ,

down de a d Then Lamech retur n ed to his house


.
,

a n d spoke to his wives th e words th a t are written


x iv OLD TE STAMENT LEGEN DS
i n th e Book o f Ge n esis This story a very a ncie n t
.
,

on e a s I s a id was i n vent e d by the Jews to explai n


, ,

the di f cult passage in Genesis ; a nd the early


Christi an writers learnt it from the Jews and it ,

passed into many comme n taries which were writte n


i n l a ter times ; so that y o u may still se e re p re se n
n
t at i o s of it carved in stone in churches both in

n
,

Engla n d and elsewher e I England it may be seen


.

on the in s ide of th e stone roof of Norwich Cathedral ,

and o n the west front of Wells Cathedral ; but you


h a ve to lo o k car e fully before you can nd it .

There a re other stories which pretend to explain


texts th a t do not seem so di fcult For inst a nce in
.
,

the 1 8th Psalm there is a verse Thou hast m a de


,


room enough under me for to go And about .

this th e re is a long tale of how King D a vid


-
n
we n t to ght the giant I shb i b e o b a n d was ne arly
,

kill e d by him ; for the gi a nt took David and


c a st him to the ground and put a he a vy wine press
,
-

upon him which would have crushed him but th a t


, ,

the earth b en e a th him suddenly bec a me soft and


yield e d room for his body a n d thus room was made
,

under him .

Then a gain th e re are others which ar e like


,

par a bles .

At this point I will put in two short stories of


x vi O LD TESTAME NT LE GE N DS
ar e false A n d he set forth A n d o n his w a y
. .
,

not far fr om Jerus a l e m he saw tw o m e n g h t


,

ing an d said to them Brethr en wh a t is your


, , ,

qu arrel !
A n d one said We were j ourneying ,

together a nd I saw a shining ston e lying in the


,

r o ad and pointed it out to this man ; and because


,

he was swifter on his feet tha n I h e got to it


!

rst A n d n ow he says he will keep it for him


.


self but I say it b e longs to me for I s aw it rst
, , .

Then said the traveller What is the value of


,

the sto n e !
They said We do not know
.
,

And he said Will you take these two pieces


,


of money for it and let me have it ! And to
this they co n sented So when the m a n got to
.

J e rusalem he took the stone to a j eweller and


,

showed it to him ; and no soon e r had the j eweller


seen it th a n he fell on his face and gave thanks to
G o d And then he said to the man
. Where did ,

you nd this For three whole years all Jerusalem


h a s b e en ransacked for this stone Go quickly to .

the High Priest and give it to him and see what ,


h e will give you ! At the same hour there came
n
an a g e l to the High Priest and said to him
Within a few m ome n ts there will come to you
, ,

a m a n bri n gi n g the gem which thre e ye a rs ago


was lost out of th e br e astplate of Aaron the
PRE FAC E x vii

p r i e st R e c e iv e it a t his h a nds a nd giv e him for


.
,

it a great sum of gold ; an d whe n you have given


it smite hi m lightly upon the che e k and s a y B e
, ,

not distrustful in thy heart and slow to believe


,

the word which says He th a t h a th pity upon the


,


po o r le n deth unto the Lord
, . Fo r thus s a ith the
Lord Have I not now in this pres en t world re
,

paid thee m a ny times ov e r that w h ich thou didst


lend to Me ! And if thou h a v e fa ith thou shalt
, ,

in the world to come receive a recomp e nse yet


many ti m e s gr ea ter tha n And when the
man ca m e the High Priest did and said as he
,


had be e n comm an ded ; and the ma n s heart was
m oved a n d he left in the t e mpl e all th a t gr e at
,

sum which had b e e n give n him a nd for the rest ,

of his life put his whole trust in the promises of


God .

Th e other short st o ry is tak en o ut of a n ap o c ry


phal book under th e n a m e of the prophet Ezekiel ,

and is a parable of the soul and the body of ma n at


the day of j udgm e nt .

There was a c er tain king it says who made a


, ,

marriage fe ast for h i s eldest son and invited all his


,

soldiers to his pal a ce to sh a re it N ow every one of


.

his subj ects was a soldier and served in his army ,

except only two o n e of whom was blind and the


,
x viii OLD TE STAM E NT LE GE N DS
o th e r l ame ; a nd these two w ere n ot i n vit e d to

the fe as t but remai n ed i n th e ir huts which we r e

,

n ear to o n e anoth e r very angry a nd disappoi n t e d .

Aft e r a while th e bli n d man called to the l a me m a n ,

It is a shame that we are n ot sitting down to the


feast along with the rest ! I should like to tre a t the

king as ill a s he has treat e d us . H o w can we

said the lame man You know his garden s a id
.
,

the other let us go a nd spoil it All very well ,

said the lame m a n but how are we to get th e re !


,

I c an not w a lk Neither ca n I s e e ; but we will


co n trive a way So they devised a plan The lame
. .

m a n plucked th e gr a ss th a t he could reach a n d ,

pl a ited it i n to a string and thr e w one end to the


,

blind man who guided himself by it to th e l am e


,

ma n Then he took the l a me m a n o n his back an d


.
,


c a rri e d him to the ki n g s ga r d e n an d there they did
,

all the mischief they could tr a mpling dow n a n d


,

te a ri n g up plants a nd owers ; and they w e nt b a ck


to their houses an d r e mained there When the r e st
.

of the peopl e ca m e out from the b a nquet into the


g a rden they were appalled at the sight of the
,

d ama ge an d were much p e rpl e xed s aying Were


, , ,

not a ll th e soldi e r s of the king bidde n t o the feast !


a nd is not every m a n in the kingdom a soldier !
Whence th en are th e s e tr a ck s i n th e g a rd en an d ,
PREFAC E

who has wrought this mischief ! After a while
the ki n g b e tho u g h t him of the bli n d an d the l a m e
m a n ; th e y w e r e brought before him an d he s a id to
,

t he bli n d m an H a ve you b e en i n to my g a rd en
,

H e a n swered Alas si r e ! you se e my i n rmity


, , ,

a n d that I hav e n o e y e s wherewith t o n d my w a y !


Then s aid the ki n g to the l a me man And you
, ,

h a ve you b ee n i n t o my g a rd e n A n d he an sw e r e d ,

Su r ely my l o rd h a s forgott e n my i n rmity ; it


c ann ot be that he desires to hurt my feeli n g s b y

n
mocki n g m e ! S o th e king w as p e rplex e d a nd ,

went a p a rt to c o s ider h o w the two could h a v e



c o ntriv e d th e busi nes s for h e w as s ur e th a t th e y
wer e guilty At l as t a t h oug h t c a m e to him a n d he
.
,


se t the l a m e man o n th e bli n d m a n s should e rs an d ,

scourged t h em b oth t o g e th e r Th e n i n d ee d did they


.

cry o ut an d th e l ame said to th e blind Did you


, ,


n ot le n d m e y o u r fe e t to t a ke m e to the ki n g s
g a rd e n !
A n d t he blind to the l a me Did you
,


n ot l e nd me your e y e s to show me the w a y !
And in like m a n n er at th e j udgm en t th e soul
will s ay to the body I c o uld n ot have sinned
,

if yo u had n ot give n me the limb s wit h which


I did e vil .

And the b o dy to the soul But ,

it was you who t h ought o f th e evil w h ich I


c ar ri e d ou t .Thus o n e will try to th ro w t he
xx O L D TESTAME NT LEGEN DS
blame on the other ; but is either of them free
from guilt !
Ot hers of these a p o cryph a l books a re desig n ed
to show how important some special virtue or how ,

dangerous some particular sin may be Thus there


n
, .
,

is a book called T he Tes ta me ts ( o r L a s t Wo r ds) ( f


the Tw elve Pa tri a r chs in which each of th e tw e lve
,

sons of Jacob when he com e s to die c a lls his


, ,

children to him an d tells them about his own life


n
,

and w a rns them against his own besetting s i or ,

shows how he has been h e lped by pr a ctising s ome


good habit ! Simeon speaks about envy Is sa ch a r ,

about simplicity Zebulun about kindne s s a n d so


, ,

on And many others there are which are merely


.
,

one would s ay mea n t to tell us more about the


,

lives and de a ths of the great men of the old tim e s


than we can learn from the Bible .

Perh a p s I have n ow said enough to show of


what s o rt the tales are that are told in this book
some of the m told for the rst time in English .

They are not true but they are very old ; some of
,

them I think are beautiful a nd a ll of th e m s e em


, , ,

to me i n t e resting .

I n
c a se anyo ne should wish to know more about
them I will put dow n here the n ames of the books
,

from which I h a ve t a k e n th e m .
P R E FAC E xxi
Th e rst p a rt o f the story of Adam is shortened
fr o m M r S C Malan s translation of T he B o ok of

n n
n
. . .

A da m a d E v e and from D i llm a s Ger m an trans



,

lation of the same ( D as chri s tli che A da mb uch ( k s


nn
Bl a i g e la des) The second part is from the Greek
n
.

al
R ev ela ti o of s ( in Tischendorf s
i l f os e Ap o c yp s es

A p ocryp ha e) and fro m the L a tin L if e of A da m edited


, ,

by W M eyer
. .

The rst pa r t of th e story of Abr a ham is from


T he Ap o c a lyp se of A b r a ha m translated from Slavonic
n
,

by Professor N B o w e t sc h ; the s e cond part is


n
.

from T he Testa me t of A b ra ha m edited by m e in


n
,

Tex ts d S di
a tu es .

The story of Aseneth is from the Greek H i y s to r

j
o A
'
n / edited by
et z , B i ff l in S d i P i i at tu a a tr s t c a

m n
se o .

The story of Job is taken from T h f e Tes ta e t o

J b in my
o
p yp h n
A d
o cr a. A ec o ta

That of Solomon is from T h m nf S 1 Tes ta t 0 0

m n
e e o

oas pri n t e d by Migne at the end of the works


of M ichael Pse llus .

'
That of Baruch from T he R es t of the Wo ra s of

B a r uch edited by D r J R endel Harris


, . . .

That of A h i k ar principally from the French


edition by the Abb e F N a u with some few touches .
,

borrowed from that by Dr J R endel Harris . . .

O ne last word . Not a ll of the stories in this


xxii OLD TE ST A M ENT L EGEN DS
book a re equally old The oldest is most likely
.

that of A hi k ar L at e ly some pi e c e s of it have


.

bee n discovered in Egypt in a very ancient copy .

Next probably comes the second part of the


n
, ,

story of Adam I each of th e others ther e are


.

some parts which are derived from early Jewish


tale s but the books in which we hav e them now
,

were put i n t o their pr e s en t sh a p e by Christians


.

Still th e re is not one th a t i s l e ss th an fteen


,

hundred years old .


I LLU ST R A T I O N S

H o w S ATAN D ECEI ! E D E! E I N TH E R I ! ER ( see p 1 0) . ! np


ro ti s i ec e

T HEN C A ME O N E O ! THE S ERA PHI M A N D BARE


TH E S O U L O ! A D A M To THE LA K E O ! PU RE
WATER I N THE G AR D E N

A BRAHA M AND THE BR O K EN ID O LS

A SENETH D O I N G H O MA G E To HE R G ODS

A SENETH RI SE , UP

A SENETH ! LI ES IN HER CHARI O T ! ROM TH E ME N


I N A MB U SH B! TH E R I ! ER

S ATAN D E PARTS ,
! A N! UI SHE D B! J OB AT L AST

JOB S HA PP! EATH



D

E PH I PPA S AND THE D E MO N o r THE R E D


BRIN G THE G REAT PI LLAR T O S O LO MO N .

H o w A H I KA R O UT WI T I E D

TH E KING O! E G ! PT
ADAM
O LD T E ST A ME N T LE G E N D S

ADAM
W H E N Adam a nd Eve were driven out of the
Garde n of Eden they were as helpless as little
,

c hildren
. They knew n othing of day or night ,

heat or cold ; they could not kindle a re to warm


themselves nor till the ground to grow food They
, .

had as yet no clothes to wear and no shelter against


r a in or sun A s long as they were in the garde n
.
,

it was always light and warm and their bodies,

were so fashioned that they had no need of food


or sleep or of protecti o n against the burning of
n
the s u ; but since they had eaten of the Tre e of
Knowledge they had become like us M oreover
, .
,

all the beasts and birds were friendly with them ;


but now they knew that it was not so and that ,

they had no defence if any erce animal chose to


attack them ; and more than all they knew that
, ,

they had a cruel enemy lying in wait for them out


side the garden even Satan who had hated them
, ,

from the rst and had brought about their fall by


,

means of the serpent And s o it w as that when


.
4 O L D TESTAME NT L EG EN DS
they came out of the gate of the garden and saw
t h e earth stretched out before them covered with
,

r ocks and sand and found themselves in a str a nge


,

land where there was no one to guide them they ,

f ell down o n their faces and became as de a d because


, ,

of the misery and sorrow which they felt But .

God looke d upon them and sent His Word to raise


t hem up and comfort them ; and showed them a

place not very far from the garden where there


was a cave ; and told them that they were to live
there Now this was the cave which was after
.

wards called the Cave of Treasures .

When rst they entered into the cave they did


,

nothing but weep and lament ! not only because


they had lost the garden but also because for the
,

rst time the sky was hidden from them by the


roof of the cave ; for as yet they had never been
i n any place where they could not see it But .

when the sun set and there was darkness outside


the cave as well as inside they were frightened
,

beyond m easure ; for they said It is because of


,

what we have done ! the light is gone out of the


heavens and will come back no more
, Then the
Word of God spake to them and said Be com
,

forted ; it i s only s o for a few hours and the light


,

will return to you . And they remained praying
and weeping in the cave until the darkness bega n
6 O LD TESTAM E NT LEG E N DS
a nger Then Adam who had nothing in his h a nd
.
,

wherewith to defend Ev e ran and caught it by the


,

tail but it turned upon him and coiled about him and
,

Eve with its body and began to crush them ; and it


said It is because of you that I am compelled to
,


trail in the dust and have lost my beauty And .

they cried out for fear But God se n t an angel


.

who caught hold of the serpent and loosed them ,

and smote the serpent with dumbness s o that there ,

after i t could only hiss And a great wind came


.

and took it up and cast it away upon the seashore


,

of India .

And when Adam and Eve had a little recovered


themselves from their fear they went on towards ,

the garden ; but at the gate of it there stood a great


cherub holding a sword of re ; and when they
were able to look upon his face they saw that he ,

was angry and that he frowned upon them and ,

raised his sword as if he would smite them with it


but he said nothing So they were in great fear
.
,

and turned from him and went back in great sorrow


of heart wandering they knew not whither until
, ,

they found themselves standing on the top of a


rock and before their feet was a precipice And
, .

Adam was s o miserable that he desired to live no


lo n ger ; and he cast himself down from the top
of the rock and l a y o n the grou n d below without
,
ADAM 7

moving ; an d Eve thought that he w a s dead an d ,

said I will not live after him ; it is through my


,


fault that all these evils have com e upon him . And
she also threw herself down from the top of the
rock ; but though b o th of them were torn a n d
bruised they were n ot wounded to death A n d
, .

after a long time they c a me to themselves .

Then they b ethought them that they had do n e


wrong in trying to put a n end to their own lives
before it pleased God to set them free from this
world . Therefore Adam took stones and piled
them up in the shape of an altar and then they
,

gathered leaves from the trees and wiped o ff the


blood that had been spilt upon the face of the r o ck ,

and gathered up the dust that was mingled with


their blood and laid it upon the altar and prayed
,

to God to forgive their trespass And this was the


n
.

rst o e ri g that they made to God And God .

looked upon them with pity and forgave them a n d ,

said As you have shed your blood s o after ve


, ,

thous a nd and ve hundred years have passed will


I take your esh upon M e and shed My blood for
you and for your children ; and it shall have power
to quench the ame of the sword which is in the
hand of the a ngel and you shall enter again into
,

the garden and dwell there u n til the time wh en I


,


shall make a ne w heave n a n d a n ew eart h .
8 OLD TESTAM E NT L EGE N DS
B ut when Sata n s a w that God had pity upo n
Ada m and Eve and accepted their humble o ff ering

for he was a ll this time keeping watch to see

what would b e c o me of th e m h e was lled with di s
may an d h a t e an d bega n to co n trive mean s by which
,

he might le a d the m a stray and put a n e n d to them


fo r he th o ught If these cre a tures wer e d es troyed
, ,

th e e ar th would r emai n t o me an d to m y hosts a n d ,



I s h o uld reign over it a lone He called therefore
.

for some of his host a n d made them appear lik e


,

angels of light And when they were all disguised


.

i n this fashion they rose into the air and ew to


,

wards the cave from which Adam and Eve were


,

j ust coming out m eaning to go once again towards


,

the garden When they caught sight of these bright


.

o n es in the a ir they stopped and raised their h a nds


,

towards them thi n king that they were angels


,

coming to them with a message Satan called to .

Adam , Ad a m we are angels come from God He


,

ha s se n t us to bring you to the lake of pure water


that is on the north side of Eden that you may ,

wash yourselves in it and be cleansed from your


sin and return onc e more to the garden Come
,
.


therefore and follow us A n d they turned and
.

beg an yi n g t o wards the north ; but Adam a n d


Ev e were glad beyond me a s u r e an d followed the
,

troop of a ngel s as quickly as they could till they ,


ADA M 9

came to the m o unt a in on the north side of Ede n


which overhung th e lake Then Satan lighted on
.

the ground and guided them to the top of the


,

mountain which was v e ry steep And when they


, .

were a t the summit they stood for a while a n d


,

looked down upo n the w a ters of the lake ; and


while they were doing so Satan vanished away ,

sile n tly and all his host with him ; s o that whe n
,

Adam a n d Eve looked r o und they fou n d them ,

selves left alone a n d in gre a t peril And they saw .

that they had bee n brought into this da n ger by


Satan and that he had deceived them once agai n
, .

And they cried aloud for help .

Then God had pity on them and com manded ,

the angels Sari e l and Salathiel to bear them i n


their arms and c a rry them back to their cave .

And when they were com e there Ad a m prayed to ,

God that if they might n ot b e permitted to go into


,

the garden any m o re H e would at least give them


,

something for a remembrance of it t o comfort them .

So God commanded the archangel M ichael to go


as far as the Sea of India and fetch thence some
,

gold and dip it in the w a ter that ows from under


,

the Tree of Life and give it to Adam Likewise


, .

He commanded Gabriel to sp ea k to the cherub


that kept the gate of the garden and go i n and ,

fetch some frankince n se ; and R aphael to bring


10 O L D TESTAM ENT LE GEN DS
myrrh also from the garden And they did so And
. .

Michael brought seventy rods of gold a n d Gabriel ,

twelve pounds weight of frankincense and R aphael ,

three pounds of myrrh ; and these were all laid up


i n the cave where Adam and Eve lived ! wherefore
it was called the Cave of Treasures And whe n .

the appointed time was fullled and the Word took


,

upon Him the esh of the sons of Adam three ,

kings came from the East to do Him honour a n d ,

o ff ered to Him that same gold and frankincense and


myrrh which had come down to them through
,

many generations .

After some days Adam and Eve made a vow


,

that they would go one of them to the river Tigris


,

and the other to the river Euphrates and would ,

wade into the water up to the neck and stand ,

there for forty whole days and nights praying ,

earnestly that they might be forgiven ; for even


yet they went on hoping that if they accomplished
,

some great act of repentance they might be per


,

m i tt e d to return into Eden .They separated there ,

fore and stood in the water of the river fasting


, ,

and praying . B ut Satan suspected that they had


made such a vow and it frightened him for he
, ,

did not feel sure that God would not change His
purpose and forgive them ; and he said to himse lf ,

I will take care that they shall n ot keep their


ADAM 11

vow . Accordingly on the thirty f t h day as Eve


,
-
,

stood praying in the water s h e heard a voice as of,

an angel praising God and s h e looked and saw one


,

in b r ight raiment coming to her and he called to her ,

a n d said God has forgiven Adam ! All is well


, .

I have j ust now brought the good tidings to Adam ,

and he bade m e come and tell you ; and lest you


should doubt of the truth he said R emind her , ,

of the sign which was given to us in the cave ! how


the angels brought the gold and laid it on the south
side and the incense on the east and the myrrh on
, ,

the west Then Eve was sure that the messenger


.

spoke true and s h e rejoiced greatly and cam e as


, , ,

well as s h e could out of the water and followed


, ,

him But when they cam e in sight of the river


n
.

Euphrates S he saw Adam still standi g in the


,

water praying and s h e knew that s h e had been


,

deceived and at that moment Satan vanished away ,

and Eve fell upon the ground for she was sti ff with ,

the cold and weak with fasting As for Adam


, .
,

when he saw her he cried out and smote upon his


,

breast and sank down into the water and would


, ,

have p erished but that God sent His angel and


drew him up out of the water And he showed .

Adam that he could not by these means gain admit


ta n ce to the garden before th e time appoi n ted was
fullled .
12 OLD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
After thes e thing s G o d sh o w e d Adam and Ev e
the things th a t wer e n ec ess ary for their life For .

as yet they h a d eaten nothing si n ce they came out


of th e garden ; because the food which they had
whe n they were ther e was heav e nly food a n d it sus
n
,

t a i e d them through all these ma n y days N e ither .

had they any clothe s Therefore God told them to


.

go to the sea s hore a n d th e re they s hould nd the


,

skins of some sheep whose e sh had bee n devoured


n
by lions and these ski s they sh o uld take and make
,

them into raiment B ut Satan heard the words of


.

God and immediately went to the place where the


,

skins were with intent to throw them into the se a


, ,

or burn them with re ; only j ust as he was about


,

to seize them God spak e a word and Satan was


, ,

bound there immovable in his own hideous form


, .

And when Ad a m and Eve c a me to the place they ,

saw him crouching beside the skins ; and they were


afraid at the horrible look of him Then the Word .

came to them saying , This is he who promised to


,

make you as gods Wh a t have you gained think


.
,

you by hearkening to his words


, And Satan was
cowed and ed away in shame
, .

Adam a nd Eve therefore took the sheep skins -


,

a n d there came an angel who showed them how to


se w them tog e th e r with palm thor n s an d si n ews
-
,

a n d they mad e the m into raim e nt .


14 OLD TESTAM ENT L EGE ND S
It is only part of the story ; I have left out a
gre a t d ea l The second part of the story is taken
n
.

from a Greek book called The R ev ela ti o of Moses


n
,

and a L atin one called T he a d E ve .

It tells how Adam died and was buried .


TH E D EATH O F A DAM AN D EVE
TH E D EATH O F ADAM AN D EVE

A D A M lived for 930years ; and there w e re bor n to


hi m thirty sons and thirty daughters And when .

he was 930 years old he fell sick and sent for all ,

his children and for their childre n also saying


, , ,

Come and let m e s e e yo u before I die They .

all gathered together therefore at the door of his


dwelling saving Cain who was a wanderer upon
, ,

the face of the earth ; but Seth was the eldest of


those that came and he was the mo s t b e loved so n
,

of Adam and Eve .

And Seth said to his father Father what is the


, ,

matter with you ! And Adam answered Great ,


pain and sickness is upon me And his children
.

said, What mean you by pain and sickness For


as yet no one had died upon the earth except Abel ,

whom Cain slew Then said Seth Fathe r i s it


.
, ,

b e c a us e y o u lo n g a fter the garde n and desi r e the


fruit of it ! If it b e so comma n d me a n d I will
, ,

go to the gate a n d cast dust upon my head and


, ,

weep and pray ; and God will send His angel and ,

it may be H e will s ue r m e to bring you some of


the fruit o f the garde n and y o u shall e a t it a nd
,
I 7 B
18 OLD TESTAME NT LEGEN DS
recover Eve also wept a n d s a id
. My lord Ad a m , ,

give me the half of your disease an d let m e be a r ,

it for y o u ; becaus e it is thro u gh my fa ult th a t this


evil h as c o me upon yo u
The n sa id Adam I
.
,

will tell you wh a t you sh a ll do e ven y o u a nd my


,

so n Seth ! you shall go to the garden and pr a y


there as you h a ve said a nd ask the angel to give
,

me some of the oil of mercy that ows from the


Tree of Life and bring it to me that I may anoint
,


my body with it and be eased from my pain
, .

So Eve and S e th departed and went towards


the garden ; and as they were going through the
woods a wild beast leaped out and attacked Seth
, .

And Eve was terried a n d cried out Alas ! alas ! ,

what will become of me at the last day ! Surely


all that have done evil will curse me saying Woe , ,

unto Eve because sh e kept not the commandment


,

of God !
And she cried out upon the wild beast ,

How wast thou not afraid to ght against the


image of God ! How is thy mouth opened against
Him Dost thou not remember that God put thee

in subjectio n to us ! And the be a st spake with a

ma n s voice a n d said What have we to do with
,

thy w e eping a nd complaints How w a s it that thy


mouth was O pened to eat of th e fruit ! Accus e m e

n ot lest I begin to accus e thee
, Then said Seth.

to th e b ea st Shut thy mouth ! be sil en t ! d a r e


,
TH E D EATH O F ADAM AN D EVE 19

not to touch the image of God And the beast .


answered , Thee will I obey O Seth And it ed , .

and left him wounded and went back to its den


,
.

So Eve a nd Seth went on to the garden and wept


before the gate beseeching God to send them the
,

oil of mercy for Adam And God sent M ichael .

the archangel to them who said Seth thou man


, , ,

of God weary not thyself with making supplica


,

tion for the oil of mercy for it cannot be given ,

to thee n ow B ut when the times are fullled


.
,

then shall come One who shall anoint thy father


with that oil and he shall rise up and return to
,

the garden he and all his seed ; and the evil heart
,

shall b e taken from them and a new heart shall ,

b e give n them to understand that which is good ,

and God shall dwell in the midst of them and they ,

shall be His people B ut now go back to thy father


.
,

for his end is near even within three days and


, ,

tell him these words ; and watch what shall come



to pass when he is taken from thee They re .

turned therefore to Adam and told him ; and he ,

groaned and said Alas ! O Eve what is this that


, ,

thou hast done to bring upon us the dominion of


,

death ! N ow therefore call together our children



and our children s children and tell them concerning
n
,


our s i from rst to last
, So when they were .
,

a ssembled Eve spoke t o them a nd told them the


, ,
20 O LD TESTAME NT LEGEN DS
whole story of how Satan came to the serpent and
taunted it for p a ying homage to Adam and Ev e ,

forasmuch as they were neither so beautiful nor


so wise a s itself ; and he persuaded the serpe n t to
let him speak through its mouth ; and a t the hour
when the a ngels go up to the heavens to worship
God th e serpent slipped over the wall a nd found
,

Eve by the Tree of Knowledge ; and of what


happened after that until the tim e when they were
,

cast out of the garden And whe n she ceased


.

speaking her children departed


, .

Then she went in to Adam a n d said to him


, ,

How can I live when you are dead ! and how



long will it be before I also die Tell me Adam
.

answered ,Trouble not yourself ; for y o u will not


tarry long after me and I believe that the same
,

grave will hold both of us But now when I die


.
, ,

leave me alone and let no one touch me until the


,

will of God is made known concerning me For .

I am sure that God will not forget me but will ,

visit the creature which His hands have made .

Now therefore go a n d pray to Him until I giv e


up my spirit to Him that g a ve it ; for we know
not how we shall meet Him whether He will y e t
,

be wroth with us or whether He will turn and


,


have mercy upon us She went out therefore a n d
.

fell upon the gro un d an d pr a yed a lo n g ti me .


22 O LD TESTAM ENT L E GEN DS
then is their light and why is their aspect black !
,

And he said They cannot shine in the presence


,

of the Light of all things ! th e refore is their light


departed from them .

Now as Seth was speaking to his mother behold


n
, ,

the angels blew with the trumpets and fell O their ,

faces and cried with a loud voice Blessed be


, ,

the glory of the L ord over all His works ; for He


hath had compassion upon Adam the work of His ,

hands . Then came one of the Seraphim having ,

si x wings and caught up the soul of Adam and


,

bare it to the lake of pure water which is on the


north side of Eden a nd washed it before the face
,

of God And the M ost High commanded him to


.

deliver it unto Michael the archangel that he should ,

bear it into P a radise until the day of the visitation


of all things
After that the holy archangel entreat e d the
Most High concerning the body of Adam And .

God commanded all the angels to come before


Him every one in his order ; and they gathered
,

themselves together bearing censers and trumpets


,

and vials full of odours And the Lord of Hosts


.

went up and the great winds before Him and the


, ,

Cherubim ying upon the winds and the angels of ,

heaven round about Him And they bore up the .

body of Adam and carried it into the garden And .

all the trees of the garden bowed and swayed an d


TH E D EATH O F ADAM AN D EVE 23

gave forth their odours And becaus e of the great .

ness of that sight and of the sweetness of the


,

odours of Paradise all the so n s of Adam and all


, ,

th a t were o n th e earth wer e cast i n to a deep ,

sleep saving Seth o n ly


, .

N ow as the body of Ad a m l a y i n Pa r adise God ,

s a id 0 Adam why didst thou tra n sgress My com


, ,

ma n dment ! Fo r if thou hadst kept it they that ,

persecute thee would n ot have rejoiced against thee .

N evertheless I say unto thee that hereafter I will ,

turn their j oy into sorrow a nd thy sorrow int o ,



!oy o

Th e n the an gels br o ught shrouds of silk an d


ne line n an d God commanded Michael Gabriel
, , ,

U riel a n d Raph ae l a nd they wrapped up the body


, ,

of Adam therein a n d anoint e d it with sweet


,

o dours And the Lord said Bring hither also


.
,

the body of Abel For since the day whe n Cai n


.

slew him the body of Abel had not been buried


,

because Cai n often sought to hide it but the earth ,

would not receive it until the dust that was rst ,

taken out of her and made into a body that is , ,

the body of Adam should be restored to her , .

So the body of Abel was brought a nd wrapped


i n grave clothes like that of Adam ; and they were
-

both of them buried i n the plac e from which God


t oo k the dust whe n H e formed Ad a m at the rs t ,

a n d the a n gel s dug t h e grave and c over e d it in .


24 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
And when this was done God call e d to th e body
, ,

s a ying Adam Ad a m
, And the body a nswered
, ,

Her e am I L ord And th e L ord s a id I said


.
, ,

unto thee Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou
,

re tur n Behold now I promise thee that in the



.

l a st d a ys I will raise thee up yet again out of the


dust e ven the e and all thy seed with thee
, And .

God sealed the tomb that no man should touch it


until six day s w e re fullled and the rib which w a s
,

take n out of Adam should be given back to him .

A fter these things Eve awoke out of her sleep ,

and was troubled because sh e knew not what had b e


come of the body of Adam and sh e prayed saying , ,

L ord as Thou didst make m e out of the esh of


,

Adam and as I was with him i n the garden and


, ,

after we were cast out I was never parted from


'
him s o n ow I beseech thee s uer m e to be buried
, , ,


with him and let no man part us asunder
, And .

on the seventh day after the death of Adam Eve ,

was thus praying ; and when she had ended her


prayer she looked up into heaven and smote her
,

breast and s a id L ord God of all things receive


, ,

my spirit A n d so she gave up her soul to God


. .

And immediately the angels came and took her


body a n d buried it i n the place where the bodi e s of
,

Ad am a n d Abel were laid .


AB R AHAM
28 O L D TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
bring me th e chisels out of the hous e And when .

I had done s o he fashioned another Marum at h out


,

of stone without a head and xed the he a d that


, ,

had come o ff th e rst Marum at h upon it ; and the


rest of the old Marum at h h e br o ke in pieces .

After that he made ve m ore gods a n d b a de me ,

take them and sell them i n the streets of the city ;


and I saddled the as s and put them upo n it a n d
, ,

went to the river to sell them ; and there I found


merchants coming from Fand a na in Syria with
camels on their way to Egypt to bring papyru s
,

from the Nile And as I was talking with them


.

one of their camels belch e d a nd the donkey took ,

fright a nd r a n o a nd th e gods fell o ff its back


, ,

and three of them were broken and only two ,

remained wh o le But when the Syrians saw what


.

had happened they said


, Why did you not tell us
,

that you had gods to sell ! We might have bought


them before the donkey took fright and they would ,

not have been destroyed ; at least we will take the


gods that remain and pay y o u the price of them
,


all . And they did so ; a n d the broken gods I
cast into the river Gur and they sank and were ,

seen no more .

B ut as I r etur n ed hom e I was bewildered and ,

divided in my m ind I s a id t o my s elf.


What an ,

evil trade is this that my father practi s es ! Is n ot


AB RAHAM 29

he in truth the god of his own gods which he makes


with his chisels and lath e s and his skill Ought they
not rathe r to worship him than he them Surely it
it i s all d e ceit Look at Marum at h who fell a n d
.
,

c o uld not get up ag a in an d these ve other gods


,

which could not pu n ish the donkey for running


away with them n or keep themselv e s from being
,


broken a n d thrown into the river .

And as I was thinking of all these things I ,


arrived at my father s house The n I gave the .

ass his hay and water a nd w e nt in and gave the


,

price of the gods to my father Terah and he was ,

pleased and said Blessed be thou of my gods


,


my labour has not been in vain But I said .
,

It is rath e r thou father that givest blessing to the


, ,

gods for thou art their god ; their own blessing


,

is vain and their h e lp is naught ! if they cannot


help themselve s h o w should they help thee or
,


bless m e ! B ut he was very angry with m e for
speaking lightly of his gods .

Then I went out of th e hou se and after a while ,

my father called me a nd said Gather up the ,

chips of the g wood wherewith I was making


-

gods before you came in and s e e a bout preparing


,


dinner .

And as I was doing so I found a little god ,

lyi n g a m ong the str a w an d t h e rubbish and on ,


30 O L D TESTA M ENT L EGEN DS
his forehead was written ! The god Barisat
So .

I kept him and did not tell my father ; and whe n


,

I had kindled the re to cook the dinn e r and was ,

going out to fet c h the food I set Barisat d o w n i n


,

front of the re and said to him Baris a t t a ke , ,

care that the re does n ot go out before I come



back ; a n d if it does blow upon it and revive it
,
.

Then I went out and did my errand and when ,

I returned I found Barisat fallen over backwards ,

and his feet were in the re and were badly burnt ;


and I laughed to myself and said You are i n ,

truth a good reman and cook Barisat Just the n , .

the re caught upon his body and burnt him all up .

When the time w as come I brought food to my ,

father and he ate and I gave him wine and milk


,

and he drank and rej oiced and praised his god


,

Marum at h ; and I said Father you should not


, ,

praise Marum at h but rather Barisat for he has done


, ,

more for you ! he has thrown himself into the re


to cook your dinner And where is he n ow !
.

said my father He has been burnt to ashes


.
,

I said in the heat of the re a n d nothing but


, ,

dust is left of him


And my father said
.
Great ,

is the strength of Barisat ! I will make a nother


one to day and he shall prepare my food for me
-
,

to m orrow
-
.

Now wh en I heard my father s a y th e se words ,


AB RAHA M 31

I laughed in myself and yet I was troubled and ,

angry in my soul And at last I answered and .

s a id Whichever of these thi n gs you honour as


,

a g o d it is folly The god Z uc h e us who is the


,
. ,

god of my brother Nahor is more honourable than ,

your god Maru m a t h for he is adorned with gold ,

nely wrought and when he is old he will b e


,

fashioned over again ; b ut if Ma rum a t h is broken


or inj ured he will not be renewed for he is only ,

of stone And again the god J o a uv who stands


.
,

next to Z uc h e us is more honourable than Barisat


, ,

for he is covered with silver ; but as for Barisat ,

you made him yourself with your axe and look , , ,

he is fallen upon the earth and the fashion of his ,

likeness is destroyed and he is burnt to ashes and , ,

you sa y To day I will make another a nd he shall


,
-
,

prepare my food to morrow -


.

B ut I say to you my father the re is mightier , ,

than all your gods of gold and silver and stone and
wood for it can devour them all Yet I call not
, .

the re god for it is weaker than the water which


,

c an subdue it Yet again I call not the water god


.
,

for the earth swallows it up N either call I the .

e a rth god for it is subj ect to men that till it and to


n
, ,

the s u that gives light to it N either call I the sun .

god for it is overcom e by the darkness of night


, .

B ut I say that there is one true God who hath


32 OLD TESTAM ENT L EGEN DS
m a de a ll these things ; who hath made the heavens
blue and the sun golden and the moon a n d stars
, ,

white and shi n ing and hath raised up the earth


,

from a mong th e w a ters a n d breathed into thee


,

the breath of life a nd b at h sought me out in the


,

trouble of my soul ; and would that He might reveal



Himself unto us !
And as I was speaking these words to my father
i n the court of his house there came from heaven,

the voice of a Mighty One speaking out of a cloud


of re and said Abraham Abraham !
And I
, , ,

s aid B ehold here am I !


And He said In
, , ,

the thought of thy heart thou seekest after the God


of Gods a n d the Mak e r of all things ! I am He .

Depart from thy father Terah and go out of his



house lest thou be consumed in his wickedness
,
.

And I went out ; and it came to pass as I came to ,

the door of the house that there fell a noise of a


,

great thundering and the re fell and burnt up my


,

fa ther Terah and his house and all that was therein .

This is the story of th e begi nn ing of the life of


Abr a ham ; and that which is told about the en d of
his life is a s follows
Abraham had lived out the measure of his days .

He was now a hundred a n d seventy v e years old -


,

a n d all the days of his l i fe he had lived in ki n d n ess


34 OLD TESTAMENT LEGE N DS
from the Great City and my errand is to fetch a ,

certain friend of the Great King whom H e is ,


i n viting to come to Him Then said Abraham .
,

My lord c o me with me to my house And


, .

when M ichael consented Abraham called one of ,

his men and bade him fetch two quiet horses that he
and the stranger might ride home o n them B ut .

Michael refused for he knew that no earthly hors e


,

could bear him so he said Nay but rather let us , ,


g o o n foot to your house .

And as they went up from the elds they came ,

to a cypress tree growing by the wayside ; a n d as


-

they passed by it there came from it a human voice ,

which said Holy is the L ord who calleth to


,

Himself them that love Him Now this happe n ed .

by the c o mmandment of God to be a S ign to ,

Abraham and he marvelled ; but when he looked


,

a t his companion and saw that he seemed to take


n o n otice of it he said nothing thinking that only
, ,

he had heard th e voice Soon after they came .

t o the house a n d Isaac and Sarah came to greet


,

t hem and they sat down i n the courtyard of the


,

h o use . B ut Isaac said to hi s mother Sarah ,

Mother I am sure that the man who is sitting


,

with my father is n ot of the r a ce of men that live



on th e earth Just then Abraham called to Isaac
.
,

Is aa c my s on draw water from the well a n d


, , ,
AB RAHAM 35

bring it to me in a basin that we may wash the ,



stranger s feet for he has come a long journey
, .

S o Isaac ran and fetched the water to his father ;


and Abraham said to him secretly My child some , ,

thing says to me that this will be the last time that I


shall wash the feet of a n y stranger coming to this
house And Isaac was greatly distressed and said ,

What mean you father by these words


, , Abra
ham said nothing but st oo ped down and began to
,

wash the feet of Michael ; and Isaac wept Abra .

ham too shed tears and Michael seeing it was moved


, ,

with pity and wept also ; and his tears fell into the
,

basi n of water and becam e precious pe a rls Whe n .

Abraham saw that h e m a rvell e d ; but he gathered


,

up the pearls secretly a nd said nothi n g .

Af ter that he told I saac to go a n d prepare the


banqueting room s pread two couches light the
-
, ,

lamps burn sweet odours and fetch fragrant herbs


, ,

and owers from the garden


For said he this
.
, ,

man who is come to us is worthy of all the honour



we can do him So Isaac went to m ake ready the
.

room and Sarah also s e t about preparing a feast


, .

Then while they were all busying themselves with


,

preparation t h e sun began to s e t and the hour


, ,

came at which all the angels appear before God


and worship Him ; and Michael also ew up i n to
the he a ve n s i n the twi n kling of a n e ye a n d st oo d ,
36 O LD TESTAME NT LEGE N DS
before the Lord A n d when all the angels had
.

done their worship and gone forth again Michael ,

remained and said to the L o rd L ord I cannot , ,

speak to Abraham about his death ; for I have


never seen his like upon the e a rth kind courte , ,

ous hospitable fearing God and keeping himself


, , ,

pure from all evil I ca n not grieve his heart by


.


telli n g him that he is to die And the Lord said
.
,

Go dow n again to my frie n d Abraham a n d what ,

soever he would have thee do do it ; a nd I will ,

put the thought o f his de a th into the mi n d of hi s


son Isaac in a dream The n Isaac shall tell th e
.

dream a n d thou shalt interpret it a nd so Abrah a m


, ,

shall be certied of his de a th .


So Michael retur ne d to Abr a ham s h o use and ,

sat at meat with him a n d Isaac waited on them ;


,

a n d after supp e r Abraha m o ff e red up praye r as he


,

was wo n t a n d the archangel prayed with him and


, ,

they went to their beds Isaac also asked his father


.

if he might sleep with them for he desired exceed


n
,

i gly to be near the wo n derful stranger a n d t o he a r


his words ; but Abraham said Nay my s o n lest, , ,

we be burde n some to the str a nger Therefor e .


Isaac bowed dow n a n d receiv e d h i s father s blessi n g ,

an d went to his o w n ch amber .

And a b o ut the third hour of th e n ight Is aa c


, n
dr eame d a d ream a d it fr ig h t ene d h i m so t ha t ,
AB RAHAM 37

he leapt o ut of bed a nd r a n hastily t o the r oom


wher e Abraham and Michael were sleeping a nd ,

beat upo n the do o r a n d said Father ope n to m e , ,

quickly ! let me kis s you o nce a gain before they



take you a w a y fr om m e Then Abraham O pe n ed
.

the door and Is aa c ra n in a n d hu n g upo n his n eck


, ,

weeping loudly And S a r ah was a wake n ed by the


.

no ise of the weeping a n d ca m e quickly to them ;


,

and s h e also wept and said What is the matter !


,

Has our brother who is c o m e to us brought you evil



tidings of Lot your nephew !
, B ut Michael s a id ,

N o lady it is n ot so but as I thi n k your so n


, , ; , ,

Isaac has dre a med a dre a m which h as troubled him ,

s o he came t o us w e eping an d we were moved at,


the sight of his tears a n d wept wit h him
, .

Now Sarah w h e n s he heard the sound of the


,

voice of Michael b e came sure i n h er ow n mi n d


,

that it was an angel o f God wh o was speaki ng .

She becko n ed therefore to Abraham to come to her


at the door of the house and t o ok h im aside a n d
,

said to him D o you know wh o this ma n is


, a nd
he said No .

D o you rem emb er said s h e
, , ,

the three m en wh o cam e to us o nce at the oak of


Mamre ; a n d how you killed a ca lf and prepared a
feast for them ; and how when the calf was eaten ,

i t sudde n ly became whol e ag a i n a nd sprang up and


r an a n d suckled its mother ! I am sure that this
38 O LD TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
is one of those three me n Abraham an swered .
,

Sarah you have hit the truth praised be God


, ;
for His wonders Now I tell you tha t last night
.

w he n I was washing the feet of this man I said t o ,

my s elf Surely these are the feet th a t I washed long


,

ago unde r the oak tree ! And furthermore b e


-

,

shed tears and they fell into the water and became
,

these pearls And he drew the pearls out of his
.

bosom and showed them t o her and she bowed her ,

head and praised God and said B e sure Abraham , , ,

that he is come to reve a l some matter to us whether ,


for evil o r for good .

Then Abraham left Sarah and we n t i n a n d s aid


to Isaac Come here my child and tell me what
, , ,

you s aw and what caused you to come to us in


,

such haste And Isaac said It was this father , , .

I s aw in a dream this n ight the su n and the moo n


upon my head and the rays of the sun were all
,

about me a n d enlightened me a n d I rejoiced in ,

them ; then I saw the heavens opening and a shin ,

ing man brighter than seven suns came dow n and


n
, ,

he approached me and took the s u from o ff my


head a n d carried it up into heaven and again after
a little while as I w a s sorr o wing over it he came
, ,

and took the moon from me The n I was greatly .

distressed a n d I besought him saying Nay my


, , ,

,

lord do n ot take all my glory from me ; have pity


,
ABRAHAM 39

upon m e ; if thou must n eeds take the s u yet


'
n ,

Sue r them

leave me the moon B ut he said
.
,

to be take n up to the King above for H e desire s ,


them to b e with Him So he took them away .
,

saying , They are r e moved fr o m toil unto rest



,

and from dark n ess unto light B ut their glory he .


left upon m e The n I awoke


. And Is a ac ce as ed .

speaking .

Then Michael said He a r m e r ighteous Abr a


, ,

ham The sun which Isaac saw is you his father ;


.
,

the moon likewise is Sarah his mother ; and the ,

shining one who came down out of heaven and took


them away is myse lf And now be it known to you
.

that the time is com e for you to leave this earthly


life and go to God
But Abraham said Why
.
, ,

here is a marvel indeed ! And are you the one a p


pointed to take my soul from m e H e answered ,

I am Michael the captai n of the host of God and


, ,

I am sent to speak to you concerning your death .

The n said Abraham I know that you a re a n


,

angel of God and that you are sent to take a way


,


my soul B ut I shall not follow you !
.

When Michael heard that word he va n i s hed


away from them and went up to the heavens and
stood before th e Lord and told Him what Abraham
,

had said and the Lord answered Retur n to Abra ,

ham My friend and speak yet again to him Thus ,


40 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS

sa ith the Lord ! I br o ught th ee o ut of thy fa th e r s
house into the la n d of promise ! I hav e blessed the e
an d i n creased thee more than the sands of the sea
shore and more than the stars of he a v e n Why dost .

thou r e sist My decree ! Knowest thou no t t ha t


Adam and Ev e died a nd all their o ff spring ; n o n e
,

o f the forefathers esc a ped death ; they a r e a ll o f


them gone unto th e place o f spirits all o f them ,

have been gathered by the sickle of de a th And I .

h a ve n ot su ff ered the a ngel of death t o approac h


thee ! I have n ot permitted a n y evil di s e a se to c ome
upon thee but in s tead I have s ent mi ne o wn pri nce
,

Michael to speak pea c eably unt o th e e th a t th o u ,

mayest s e t thine hous e i n or de r a nd b less thy s o n


Isaac and depart in pe a ce ; and no w th o u say e st ,

I will i n n owise follow him K no w e st thou


.

n ot that if I se n d Death unto thee thou must n eeds


,

come whether thou wilt o r So Mich ae l re


turned to Abraham a nd found hi m w e eping a n d
, ,

told him all these words ; and Abraham besought


him saying Speak yet once again to my L o rd
, ,

and say to Him Thus saith Abrah a m Thy servant


,

L ord Thou hast bee n gr a cious to me all my l i fe


,

long and now behold I do n ot resist Thy word fo r


, , , ,

I know that I am a mortal man but this o ne thing


I ask of Thee that while I am yet in my body Thou
,

wouldst su ff er me to see Thy world a n d a ll the


42 O LD TESTAMENT L EGE N DS
breaking through the wall o f a house to enter it
an d ro b it ; and he prayed again and re fell from ,

heave n a nd burnt them up The n there came a


.

voice which said Michael prince of My host


, , ,

tur n the chariot a n d bri n g Abraham back lest if , ,

he sees any more of the sinners upon e arth h e ,

d e stroy the whole race of men For he is a ri g h t e


.

ous man and has no compassion upo n sinner s


, .

But I creat e d the world and I would not have


,

any perish Bring Abraham therefore to the enter


.

i n g in of the gate of heaven that he may see the


,

j udgment and the recompensing of men and may ,

have pity upo n the souls whom he has blott e d


99
out .

Michael therefore turned the chariot and brought


Abraham across the great river of Ocean to the e u
tering in of the gate of heaven and showed him the ,

j udgments And Abraham saw the narrow gate of


.

life and the broad gate of destruction and betwee n ,

the gates he saw our father Adam sitting upon a


throne and clad in a glorious robe of many colours
,

and he s aw how Adam lamented when the souls went


in through the broad gate and how he rej oiced when
,

they attained to the n arrow gate a n d how his ,

weeping exceeded his rejoicing Moreover Michael .


,

showed him how the souls of men are examined


concerning their works and how their acts are re
AB RAHAM 43

corded and weighed B ut when he sa w how hard


.

it is to enter in at the strait gate it repented him ,

that he had prayed for the p unishme n t of the


sinners and he said to Michael O prince of
, ,

the host let us entreat the L ord th a t He would


,

have mercy upo n the souls of the men whom I


cu rsed in my anger ; for now I know that I sin n ed
before God when I prayed against them Then .

they both prayed earnestly to God ; and after a


long time there came a voice saying Abraham I , ,

have heard thy prayer and I have given b a ck life ,


to the men whom thou didst destroy .

Moreover the voice bade M ichael take Abraham


,

back to his house And when he was com e thith e r


.
,

he went up to the great chamber and s at upon the ,

couch ; and Sar a h and Isaac came and fell on his


neck and all his servants gathered about him re
n
, ,

jo i c i g at his return And Michael


. said Hearken , ,

Abraham ! here is Sarah your wife and Isaac your


son and here are all your manservants and maid
,

servants about you Now therefore se t in order your


.

house and bless them and make ready to depart with


,


me for your hour is come
,
Abraham answered .
,

Did the Lord command you to s a this or


y ,

do you say it of yourself !


Michael said The ,

Lord commanded me and I give the message to ,

you . Yet for all that Abraham answered I will ,


44 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGEN DS
n ot follo w you So Michael we n t forth and stood
.

before the Most High again and told him the words
of Abraham ; a n d he said besides I c a n n ot lay ,

ha n ds upon him for there is not hi s like upo n the


,

earth no n ot even the righteous Job Tell m e


, , .


therefore Lord what I must do
, , .

And God said Call D e ath a n d bid hi m co me


, ,

hither .Michael went and found Death and s aid ,

to him Come for the Lord of all things th e


, , ,

I mmortal King calleth for the e ,And De a th


trembled and feared exceedingly when he heard
that ; but he foll o wed Michael and came and stood
before the Lord quivering and shaking with fear, ,

awaiting th e commands of his M a ste r A n d God .

said to him Hide thy h ideous appe a r an ce cover


, ,

up thy corruption put away from thee all thy ,

terror and put on a glorious a nd beautiful aspect


, ,

and go down to Abraham My friend and take hi m


and bring him to Me only see that thou make him
not afraid but bring him peaceably for he is My
, ,

friend .So De a th went forth from th e presence
of God and made himself like an angel of light
, ,

beautiful to look upo n a nd dep a rted to seek ,

Abraham Now Abraha m had come down from


.

his chamber and was sitting under the trees of


Mamre leani n g his head upon hi s h an d e x pecting
, ,

th e retur n of Michael the archa n gel And suddenly .


AB RAHAM 45

he was aware of a sweet perfume and of a light ,

s hining n ear him ; and he turned round and saw


Death coming towards him i n a form of great glory
and beauty a n d rose to meet him supposing him
, ,

to be a n angel of G o d And they greeted one


.

another a nd Ab raha m said Whence c o m e yo u


, ,

to m e and who a re you !
, Death answered ,

Abraham I tell y o u the truth ! I a m the bitter


,

cup of death Abr a ha m said Rather you are


.
,

the beauty o f th e world ; a faire r t h a n you I have


n ever see n a n d how say y o u
, I am the bitter cup,

of H e an s wered I hav e told you the


,

truth ; the n ame by which God na med m e is that


which I h a ve s pok e n
A b r a ham said
.
And why ,


have you come to t h i s plac e ! Death an s wered ,

I am co m e t o tak e yo u r soul 0 righteous one , .

Abraham said I he a r what you say but I shall


, ,


not come with y o u B ut D e ath was sile n t a nd
.

answered him n ot a wo r d .

Then Abrah am rose up a n d w e n t t o wards his


house ! and Death followed him And he w en t up .

i n to his chamber ! an d Death went with him ;


a nd he laid himself o n his bed ! and De a th came
a n d sa t by his fe e t And Abraham said
.
Go , ,


d e part from me ! I wis h to r est here on my couch .

Death answe r ed I shall not depart till I have


,

tak e n thy so ul from t h y bo dy A br ah am said .


,
46 OLD TESTAM E NT LEGEN DS
I adj ure thee by the living God ! art thou in
very truth Death ! He said I am Then , .

said Abraham Comest thou to all men in such a


,

beautiful shape as this He said Nay my lord , ,

Abraham ; it is thy righteousness and thy good


deeds which make as it were a crown of glory upon
my head ; it is only to such as thou art that I come
thus peaceably but to sinners I show myself much
,

otherwise
. Show me then said Abraham in , ,

what form thou comest to them ! let me s e e all thy


n
e rc e e ss and bitterness

N 0 said Death for

.
, ,

thou couldst not bear to look upon it Verily I .


,


am able t o bear it he said for th e strength of the
, ,

God of heaven is with me .

Then Death let fall from him all his beauty ,

a n d Abraham s aw him a s he was And where .

there had been a shining angel he saw a cloud of ,

darkness and in it the shapes of horrible wild beasts


,

a n d all unclean creatures ; and he saw the heads


of ery dragons and ames of consuming re dart
,

ing out ; and he seemed to see a dreadful precipice


before him and then a rushing river and ashes
, ,

o f lightning and crackli n g of thunder and there


, ,

aft e r a tempestuous raging sea ; and again weapo ns


brandished a n d ve n omous basilisks and serpe n ts
, ,

a nd bowls of poison ; a nd there came a horrible


o dou r so that all the serva n ts of A bra ha m th a t
,
ABRAHAM 47

were in the cham b er fainted and died and Abraham ,

himself swooned and his senses left him .

When he came to himself D eath had hidden ,

his terrible aspect and put on his beautiful form


again And Abraham saw his servants lying dead
.
,

and said to Death How is it that thou hast slain


,


these ! And Death said They died at the sight
,

of my countenance and in truth it is a marvel that


,

thou also didst not die with them


Yea said .
,

Abraham now I know how it was that I came


,

by this faintness of spirit that is upo n me ; but


I pray thee D eath inasmuch as these have been
, ,

cut o ff before their time let us entreat God that


,

he would raise them up again So Abraham and .

Death prayed together ; and the spirit of life re


turned into the servant s that had bee n killed and ,

they rose up again Aft e r th a t Abr a ham conver s ed


.

with Death .

Then Sarah and Isaac came in a nd talked


with Abraham as he lay on his bed And .

Abraham said to Death I beseech thee depart


, ,

from m e for a little for since I looked upon


,

thee weakness is come upon me and my breath ,


labours and my heart is troubled Then said .

Death Kiss my right hand and thy strength will


,

return to thee and thou wilt b e lled with j oy


, .

So Abraham kissed the hand of Death a n d the ,


48 O LD TESTAM E NT L EGE N DS
soul of Abraham clave to the hand of Death and
left his body ; and straightway Michael was there
a nd a multitude of angels with him and they ac c o m
n
,

p a i e d the holy soul of Abraham and brought it


into the heavens into the presence of the Mo s t
High there to abide everlastingly in gl a dness and
,

brightness in the place fr o m which a ll sorrow and


sighi n g are ed a way.
TH E ST O RY O F AS E N ETH ,


J OS EPH S WI F E

I
T H E RE w as o n ce a gre a t m a n named Potipherah ,

who was high priest of th e city of On i n Egypt


and he and his wife had no children One day .

'
he went into the temple to o e r sacrice as was ,

his custom He went alone and when he entered


.
,

the great courtyard of the temple in the middle ,

of which stood the altar he was astonished to see


,

a little child lying upon the altar Without waiting


.

to o e r his sacrice he hurried back t o his wife


,
.

Wh a t is the matter s aid s h e that you come


, ,

back s o hastily ! I have seen a wonderful



thing he said ; th e gods have given us a child .
,

The gates of the temple were locked s o t h at no ,

one could get into the court ; yet there is a child



there lying on the altar !
, What s ay you !

said his wife ; what can be the meaning of it !
So they both hastened t o the temple a n d when ,

Potipherah opened the door of the courtyard they ,

s aw, partly at least how the wonder had happe n ed ;


,

for now there was an e a gle perched upon the alta r


with its wi n g s s pread out o v e r t h e child i t wa s a
51
52 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGEN DS
little girl quit e newly bor n t o protect it Th e y
,
.

guessed that it was the e a gl e that had brought the


child but of cour s e they co uld no t tell who se
, , ,

it was It was wrapped i n sw a ddling clothes a n d


.
-
,

thes e Po t i p h e ra h s wife kept car efully by her ; for


she thought the time might come wh e n they might


be rec o gnised by the par en ts of the littl e child
a n d i n de e d y ear s aft e rw ar d s thi s pr o v e d t o b e
, ,

the case .

I n the me an time P o tipher a h and his wife kept


the child a n d br o ught her up a nd tre a ted h er as ,

their daughter ; and th e y call e d he r Aseneth .

She gr e w up to be very beautiful ; she w a s


quite unlike an Egyptia n girl an d might h a ve been ,

taken for a Hebrew maiden ! tall as S a rah and


lovely as Rebek a h or Rach e l ; so beautiful in ,

fact that all th e son s of the prince s and nobles


,

of Egypt w e r e i n love with her and even the ,

son of King Pharaoh himself said to his fath e r ,

Give m e Aseneth th e daughter of Potiph e rah


n
, ,

to wife
B ut Phar a oh s a id Nay my s o she
.
, , ,

is not of your rank ; you m ust marry a quee n ;


r em e mb e r the d au ght er o f th e Ki n g of Mo ab i s
n
,

ai a c e d to y o u .

But besides b e i n g v e ry be au tiful A sene th w as ,

e x c e edi n gly proud Ther e w as n ot a man o f all


n
.

th e y oun g ob l e s w hom she w ou ld h ear o f much ,


TH E ST O RY O F AS E N ETH 53

less look at Indeed ha r dly a n y man i n Egypt


.
,

except her own father had ever see n her face ;


for s h e lived apart with the maidens who waited
on her in a lofty tower which her father had built
,

specially for her It w a s really a noble palace with


.
,

t e n gre a t rooms one o ver the other The rst room


, .

was paved with porphyry and li n ed with slabs of


colour e d marbles a nd the roof w a s of gold ! and
,

it was a kind of chapel fo r Aseneth It had golde n .

and silver images of all th e g o ds o f Egypt and ,

Aseneth worshipped them and burnt incense to them


every day The seco n d chamber was Aseneth s
.

own I n it were a ll her j ewels and rich robes and


.

ne li ne n In the third were stored the provisions


.

of the house a nd e v e ry delicious fruit or sweetmeat


that could b e got from a n y part of th e world The .

other seve n chambers belonged to the s e ven maide n s


who lived with Aseneth and tended her They .

were all of one age and a s fair as the stars of


,

heaven and Aseneth loved th e m dearly


, .


B ut to come back to Aseneth s own chamb e r ,

which was the most sple n did of all It had three .

windows one looking out up on the garden of the


,

tower towards the east and a n other tow a rds the ,

south and th e third towards the high r o ad Oppo


,
-
.

site the easter n wi n dow stood a golden bed with ,

a coverlet wove n of gold a n d pu r ple and ne li n e n .


54 OLD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
And n o o n e but Ase n eth h e rself had ever eve n sat
upon that bed so magnicent and so sacred was it
, .

Besides all this the tower had all around it a


,

garden with a high wall of squared blocks of stone .

The gates ( there were four of them ) were of iron ,

and each was guarded by eighteen stalwart men


i n armour The garden itself was full of shady
.

trees bearing splendid fruit ; and there was a


,

springing fountain at one side of it whose water ,

ran rst into a marble trough and then out of ,

that into a stream which water e d all the garden


and kept it fresh a nd gree n .

Here Aseneth lived until s h e was eighteen


years old beautiful and proud a nd caring for no
,

one except her father a n d mother and her seven


maidens Now th e year in which she became
.

eighteen w a s th e rst of the seven years of


plenty of which King Pharaoh had dreamt in
,

the dream of the seven cows and the seven ears


of corn which is written in the Bible And Joseph
,
.

was now travelling over all the land of Egypt to


gather together corn to store up against the seven
years of famine which were to follow the seven
of plenty And upon a certain day in harvest time
.
-
,

Potipherah and his wife who had been away at


,

a n estate which they possessed in the country ,

returned to the city of O n ; a n d n o sooner had


56 O LD TESTAM ENT LE GEN DS
the m an whom Pharaoh trusts a nd honours a b o ve
a ll others is coming to this house to day !
, What -

'
would you say if I were to o e r to give y o u in
m arriage to him to live happily with him for the
,

r est of your life !
Then Ase n eth was v er y an gry ; s h e blushed a s
r ed as r e a n d darted a n ugly gla n ce at h er father
,

s ideways and said How can you talk to me so


, , ,

fa ther Would you give me to a creature like th a t


n
,

the s o of a Canaanitish labourer who has bee n i n



,


prison yes and sold as a slave a nd o n ly got o ut
,

of prison because he contrived to explai n a dream



of Pharaoh s for all the world like the old wome n
nn
,

C e rt ai ly o t ! If I marry any one it will be Pharaoh s


n
eldest s o
.So Potipherah disappointed a s he was
, ,

said no more and Aseneth hurried away to he r own


chamb er B ut she looked out of the window
. .

As sh e went out there ran in a young m an one


, ,

of Po t i ph e rah s servants a n d said My lord Jo se ph



, , ,

is j u s t stopping before our gates So Potipher a h .

and his wife and all their reti n ue rose and went
fo rth to meet Joseph ; a nd the gat e s of the court
towards the east were thrown open a n d the ch a riot ,

drove in draw n by four milk white hor s es with


,
-

har ne ss of gold and i n the chariot stood Jos e ph clad ,

i n a tu n ic of white li n en and a blood red ma n tl e shot -

with gold O n his head was a crown with tw e lv e


.
TH E STORY O F AS E N ETH 57

great gems and above each gem w as a ray of gold


,

i n his h a nd was an olive branch with leaves and


fruit B ut fairer than all his equipment was his
.

face for he was more beautiful than any of the sons


,

of men And j ust as all the young nobles of Egypt


.

were mad about Aseneth so all the ladies of


,

Egypt were i n love with Joseph ; but he had n ot


a word to s a y to any of them for they were all,

worshippers of idols and Joseph worshipped the


,


true God the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob , , .

So the chariot entered the courtyard of Poti


p h e

ra h s palace and,the gates were shut Now .

Aseneth stood at her window and when s h e saw


,

Joseph and the beauty of his countenanc e she was ,

smitten to the he a rt her knees trembled and she


, ,

almost swoon e d A great fear came upon her and


.
,

s h e heaved a deep sigh and said


Alas alas what , , ,

have I said ! what have I done ! Pity me O God ,

of Joseph for it was in ignorance that I spoke


,

against him Did I not call him a Canaanitish


n
.

labourer s s o ! and lo now he has come into our


n
,

house like the s u out of heaven Fool that I was .

to rail against him as I did ! If only my father


would give me to him as his slave and drudge I ,

would serve him till I dropped dead at his feet .

Meanwhile Joseph who had caught sight of


,

Aseneth standing at her window had come into ,


58 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
the house and they had w a shed his feet and set a
,

table for him by himself ( for Joseph would n ot eat


with the Egyptians) And he said to Potipherah
.
,

Who was the woman whom I s aw looking out


of the window when I came in ! Some stranger !

If s o s h e must leave this house
, Nay my lord .
, ,

said Potipherah she is our daughter


And he
, .

went on to tell how Aseneth disliked the company


of men and indeed had hardly seen a strange man
,

before that day ; and Joseph was glad to hear that


she hated strange men and said If she be your , ,

daughter I will love her from this day forth as a


,

sister .


Accordingly Aseneth s mother went and fetched
,

Aseneth and s h e greeted Joseph and he her


, , .

Then said Potipherah Come n ear my child and


, , ,

kiss your brother B ut when she drew near
.
,

Joseph put out his hand and thrust her away and ,

spoke thus ! I t is not right for one who worships


the living God and eats the bread of life and drinks
,

the cup of immortality to kiss one that praises with ,

her lips dead idols and eats the bread of death


,

from their tables and drinks the cup of deceit .

At these harsh words Aseneth w as bitterly grieved


she shrank back and looked piteously at Joseph ,

a n d her eyes lled with tears ; and when he saw


how hurt she wa s Joseph who was full of ki n dness
, , ,
TH E ST O RY O F AS E N ETH 59

raised his hand over her head and blessed her ,

praying that God who gives life to all and brings


,

us out of darkness into light might give life and ,

light to her soul and number her among His chose n


,

people and bring her into the everlasting rest which


,

He has promised to them So Aseneth went back .

t o her chamber full of mingled j oy and sorrow ;


,

and s h e cast herself down on her bed and wept .

And that same evening Joseph left th e house of


Potipherah and set forth on his j ourney again .


B ut said he
, I will come back to you in eight
,

days time Potipherah also and his wife and their
.

servants went back to their country house ; and


Aseneth and her seven maidens were left alone
n
.

And the s u went dow n and all was quiet .

II
Whe n everyo ne else in the tower w a s asleep ,

Aseneth who had remained weepi n g on her bed


, ,

rose up stealthily and crept downstairs to the gate


of the tower where the woman who kept the door
,

was asleep with her children ; and as quietly as s h e


could she unhooked the heavy leather curtain that
hung in the doorway and spreading it out on the ,

oor heaped up upon it all the cinders and ashes


,

out of the hearth folded the corners together, ,


60 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
dr a gged it upstairs and thr e w it dow n on the oor .

Then she barred the door o f her room securely and ,

burst into bitter weeping It so happened that the


.

maiden whom As e neth loved the best of all her


s e ven companions was awake a n d heard the sounds ,

of cryi n g She was alarmed a n d ew to wake


.
,

up the other atte n dants and all of them came to the


,

door of Aseneth s chamber which was locked and
,

barred They called to her


. What is the matter
, ,

dear mistress ! Open to us and let us come in and



comfort you But Asen e th answered from within
.
,

It is nothing but a violent headach e I am in bed .


,

and too tired and ill to g e t up and open the door .

Go back all of you to your beds I shall be well .

to morrow
-
.S o they dispe r sed to their rooms .

And when they were safely go n e Aseneth got up ,

a n d opened the door of the room in which s h e kept


her dresses and j ewels taking care to make no noise ;
,

and from among all h e r robes s h e chose out a black


o n e which she had wor n years befor e when the only
, ,

son of Potipherah had died And sh e cast o ff her


.

royal robe a n d her diadem and veil and girdle and ,

put on the black robe and girded it with a rope .

Next sh e went to the shri ne wher e i n stood all the


golden and silver images of her gods and took ,

them a n d threw them out of the window for the


wayfarers to pick up ; a n d s h e took th e supper
TH E ST O RY O F AS E N ETH 61

that h a d bee n laid out fo r he r of all mann e r of


delicate meats and threw that into the highway
,

for the dogs to eat And sh e e mptied the ashes


.

out of the leather curtai n upon the oor ; s h e let


down her hair a n d cast so m e of the ashes upo n
her h e ad ; s h e sm o te her breast and wept ; a nd
thus s he sat in sile n ce and mis e ry till sev e n days
and nights w e re a ccomplished .

A n d on the morni n g of t he e ight h day wh e n it ,

was j ust d a w n i n g a n d th e bi r ds had b egun to twitte r


,

i n the trees of the garde n and the dogs to bark at,

the passers b y Ase ne th raised herself a little fro m


-
,

her crouching postu r e am o ng the ashes and turned


h e rself to the window that l oo ked tow a rds the east .

She was faint a n d ill a nd w e ary fro m her long


fasti n g and watching ; her t o ngue was dry as horn ,

her eyes were glazed and her fair face was haggar d
, .

She be n t her head dow n a nd clasped her hand s


together and crouched down agai n among the ashes
, ,

and said to herself It is all over I have n o one


, .

to turn to n o w My father and mother will cast


.

'
me o for I hav e dishono u red their gods ; th e y will
,

s a y Ase n eth is no daughter of our s
,

My kindr e d .

will hate me a n d a ll the youths whom I hav e


,

despised and rejected will rejoice at my humiliation


an d Joseph will ha v e nothing to sa y to me becaus e

I am a fo ul w orsh ipp er of id o l s Y e t s h e w en t .
,
62 OLD TESTAM E NT L E GE N DS
on to s ay I have heard that the God of the
n
,
'
Hebrews is a merciful God long su e ri g and com ,
-

passionate not hard upon those that have sinned


,

ignorantly if they are sorry for what they have


,

done Why should I not turn to Him ! Who


.

k n ows if He will not have pity upon my loneliness


and protect m e ! For they s ay He is the Father
of the fatherless and cares for those who are in
,


trouble .So she rose and knelt upon her knees ,

with her face turned towards the east and looked ,

up into heaven and prayed


Save me s h e said.
, ,

from those who are pursuing me before I am


,

caught by them as a little child when it is frightened


runs to its father and the father stretches out his
,

arms and catches it to his breast s o I ee to Thee , .

I know that Satan the Old Lion is hunting me ; for


, ,

he is the father of the gods of Egypt and I have ,

I nsulted them and destroyed their images I have .

no hope but in Thee See I have cast o ff all my


.
,

beautiful robes and ornaments ; I sit here in sack


cloth and ashes I have fasted and wept these seven
days because I know that I have done wrong in
,

worshipping dumb idols and in speaking scor n fully


,

agai n st Joseph But L ord I did it in ignorance ;


.
, ,

s ave me and above all watch over Joseph whom I


, ,

love more than my own life Keep him Lord i n .


, ,

s afe ty a n d let m e be his h an dm a id an d h is s l a ve


, ,
TH E STO RY O F AS E N ETH 63

if Thou wilt so that I may minister to him all the


,

days I have to live .

Much more did Aseneth say in her prayer but ,

it is n ot written down here When she had ended .


,

the morning star was j ust coming up in the east ,

a n d Aseneth rej oiced when she saw it and said ,

Ca n it be that God has heard my prayer and


,

that this star is the herald of the light of the great


day ! Then i n that part of the s k y where the
,

star was shining there opened a little cleft in the


,

heavens and a bright light shone out of it ! s o


,

dazzling that s h e fell on her face upon the ashes .

And in the next instant there stood over her a


man who was all ashing with light ; and he called

to her , Aseneth rise up , Who ca n this be who .

calls me !
S he said ; my door is barred and the
tower is high N o one c a n have come into my
.

chamber So she did not look up ; but the man


.

called to her again Aseneth Aseneth And at


, ,

last s h e answered H ere am I lord ! tell me who


, , ,

art thou ! He answered I am the Prince of all ,

the army of heave n ; rise up and stand on your



feet and hear my words
, Then for the rst tim e
.

sh e looked at him and saw that he was in all


,

things like Joseph with royal robe and crown and


, ,

sceptre ; but his face and hair and hands and feet
n
, ,

were bright like the s u a n d his eyes pi e rc e d like


,
64 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
lightning ; and again she was afraid and fell on h er ,

fac e But he said


. Do n ot be afraid ; hear what
,


I am come to say to you Thereupo n she ros e .

a n d stood up weak as she was ; and he bade h e r


,

g o i n to her in n er chamber and put o ff her b lack


robe and the sackcloth and ashes a nd bath e he r
n
, ,

self i cle a r water and array herself i n the nobl e st


,

of her robes and come back to him


, .

Now whe n this was done and s h e had return e d ,

to him fresh and beautiful a s formerly he spok e


, ,

ki n dly to her and blessed her and said God


, ,

has heard your prayer ! He has looked upon your


sorrow and tears and has forgiven your sin Be
,
.

of good cheer for you r n ame is writt e n i n th e


,

Book of Life and shall n o more be blotted out


,
.

From this day forth you shall eat the bread of life
and drink the cup of immortality and be anointed ,

with the oil of j oy And a n ew name shall be .

given you ev e n the name of the City o f Refuge ;


,

for a s you hav e com e to God for refuge many ,

shall in like manner com e to Him through you r


e xa mple by rep e ntance And now behold this day .
, ,

I shall g o to Joseph and tell him that which ha s


,

b e fallen you and he shall come to you this very


,

day a nd mak e you his bride Make ready there .

fore and a rray yourself in the bridal robe that i s


l a id up i n y o u r ch a m ber an d put up on yo u all
,
66 O L D TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
was as the breath o f life She wondered greatly

.
,

but she would not delay and she brought it out ,

and put it on the table before the angel Then .

he called her to him and as she moved towards,

him b e stretched out his right hand over her


head and again she was afraid for sh e s aw sparks
, ,

and ashes of re coming from it as if it were of ,

heated iron ; so that s h e gazed upon him earnestly


in asto n ishment B ut he smiled and said
.
You ,

are blessed Aseneth for you have seen some of


, ,

the secret things of God ; it is of this honeycomb


that the angels eat in Paradise and the bees of ,

Paradise have made it of the dew of the roses of


life in the garden of God ; and whosoever tastes

it shall not die for ever Then he put forth his.

right hand and took a piece of the honeycomb ,

and tasted it and gave a portion to Aseneth and


, ,

she ate it ; and he said Now you have received


,

the food of life and your youth shall know no


,

old age and your beauty shall never fade
, And .

again he stretched forth his right hand and drew


his n ger across the honeycomb from the east side
of it to the west and from the north side to the
,

south and where his nger touched it there was


,

left a track of the colour of blood And imme .

d i at e ly there came out of the honeycomb a multi


tude of bees They were white like snow and
.
,
TH E STORY O F AS E N ETH 67

their wings were purple and scarlet and they ,

swarmed about Aseneth and made honey upon


her lips Among them there were some that made
.

as though they would have stung her but these the ,

angel rebuked and they fell to the ground dead


,
.

B ut after a while the angel said to the bees Go to ,


your place and at that they rose up in a swarm
,

and ew out of the window and up into the sky .

Then he touched with his rod the dead bees upon


the oor and said to them Go ye also to
, ,


your place and they came to life and ew out
,

of the window and settled upon the tr e es in the


,

garden of Aseneth And for the third time he


.

stretched out his hand and touch e d the honeycomb


upon the table and straightway there burst forth
,

a ame and consumed the honeycomb but upon


,


the table it left no mark a n d the sweet smell of
the burni n g lled all the chamber .

Then said Aseneth Sir I have seven com


, ,

panions maidens who have been brought up with


,

me and I love them as sisters ! may I not call


,

them and you shall bless them as you have blessed


,


me ! So she called them in and made them ,

stand before the angel and he blessed them ; and


,

thereafter he said to Aseneth Take away the


,


table . A n d as s h e turned aside to l i ft it he was ,

gone But through the wi n dow she saw i n the S ky


.
68 O LD TESTAME NT LEGEN DS
a ch a riot and four horses shining like re going into ,

the heavens towards the east and the angel stand


,

ing in the chariot Then she said


.
Ah foolish , ,

that I am ! I knew not that it was an angel out of


heaven that came into my chamber and now b e , ,

hold he is going back into heaven to his own place


, .

Pardon me my lord a nd spare thy handmaid


, , ,

for it was in ignora n ce that I spoke so boldly



before thee !
While she was still wondering there came in ,

a messenger and said Joseph the mighty one


, ,

of God is on his way hither


, And immediately
.

Aseneth sent for the steward of the palace and


bade him prepare a great ba n quet and make all ,

things ready ; but s h e herself remembering the ,

words of the angel went into her inner chamber


,

and adorned herself as a bride in shining robes , ,

and upon her head sh e put a crown of gold which


had in the midst over her forehead a great jacinth
, ,

stone and s i x other precious stones round it ; and


s h e covered her head with a veil of wonderful

beauty The n she called to one of her maidens who


.
,

brought her a basin of pure water and when she ,

s a w the reection of her face in the water s h e was


astonished at the beauty and fresh n ess and bright
ness of it Just the n the st e ward of the palace
.

came i n to s ay th a t all was ready an d he too was ,


70 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
having returned from the country ; and they were
amazed and rej oiced at the sight of Joseph and
,

Aseneth And when they lear n t all that had hap


.

pe n ed they rejoiced yet more and Potiphe r ah said


, ,

To morrow I will call together all my kinsfolk


-


and prepare your marriage feast But Joseph said .
,

Nay but I will rst go to Pharaoh and speak to


,

him concerning Aseneth that I may take her to


,


wife ; for he is to me as a father .

So on the next day Joseph departed to see


Pharaoh and forthwith Pharaoh sent for Poti
,

p h e rah a n d his wife and Aseneth ; and in their


presence he blessed Aseneth and joined her hand ,

with the hand of Joseph a n d crowned them with


,

golden crowns and made a great feast for them


,

lasting seven days ; and all the land of Egypt re


jo i c e d
. So Joseph and Aseneth were married and
after that two sons were born to them even ,

Ephraim a nd Manass e h in the house of Joseph


, .

I II
Now wh e n the seven years of plenty were over ,

the years of famine began and Jacob and his sons


,

came to dwell in Egypt in the land of Goshen as ,

it is told in the Bible Then Aseneth said to Joseph


.
,

L et me go and se e your fath e r and greet him .


TH E STORY O F AS E N ETH 71

So Joseph brought her to Jacob and his brethren ,

met him and did him obeisance at the door of the


house and they entered in And when they sa w
, .

Jacob who was sitting upon his bed Aseneth was


, ,

struck with amazement at the sight of him for he was ,

noble to look upon H is head was white as snow


.
,

his beard was long owing over his bosom his eyes
, ,

were bright and ashing and his muscles and limbs


,

were those of a giant And Aseneth fell on her


.

face before him ; and Israel said Is this thy wife


n
, ,

my s o Joseph ! Blessed shall sh e be of the Most



High God . Then he called her to him and s h e ,

fell on his breast and he kissed her a n d they re ,

j o i c e d together After
. that he inquired of her con
cerning her parents ; and Aseneth told him how an
eagle had brought her and laid her upon the altar
of the temple of On ; and s h e showed him the
swaddling clothes in which s h e had been wrapped
-
.

And Jacob knew that they belonged to his own


daughter Dinah ; a nd thus it was made known to
him that Aseneth was of his own race and he was ,

the more glad .

And when they departed from him Simeon and ,

L evi accompanied them with the other sons of Leah


and R achel ; but the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah
would not go with them for they hated Joseph
, .


And of all Joseph s brethren Aseneth loved Levi ,
72 O L D TESTAM ENT LE G E N DS
the most for he was a prophet and a seer a nd
, ,

could read the signs of the stars of heaven .

Now it happened that as they were on their way


to visit Jacob the eldest son of Pharaoh was on the
,

city wall and he s aw Aseneth and loved her imme


,

d i at e ly and could think of nothing but how he


,

might make away with Joseph and take Aseneth


for his own wife And after a few days he sent .

secretly to Simeon and L evi and said to them I , ,

know that you are mighty men and that with your ,

two swords alone you defeated the men of Shechem


and overthrew their city I have sent for you .

because I wish to make you my friends and if you , ,

will do what I ask you I will give you riches


n
,


and lands and houses i a word all that you can ,

desire Now what I would have you do is this


. .

You must know that I have been bitterly wronged


by your brother Joseph ! he has married Aseneth ,

who was betrothed to me long ago Join with me .

therefore and help me to kill him and I will take ,

Aseneth to wife and you shall be my brothers If


, .

you refuse I will slay you, And with these .

words he drew his sword and ourished it at them .

At this Simeon who was a man of hot temper was


, ,

enraged and would have drawn his ow n sword


,

and cut down the prince ; but L evi who could read ,

his thoughts trod upon his foot and made signs to


,
74 OLD TESTAME NT L EGE N DS
which you will have ! will you die like women or
ght like men ! I overheard your brother Joseph
saying to my father Pharaoh Dan and Gad a n d ,

Naphtali and Asher are no brethren of mine ; they



are the sons of my father s handmaids and I am only ,

waiting till my father dies to make an end of them


and their families It was they who sold m e to the
.

Ishmaelites and I am going to repay it into their


,


bosom . And my father said It is well spoken ,

you have leave to take any of my bodyguard and


deal with them as you will Then Dan a n d Gad .

and their brothers were sorely troubled and they ,

said , O s i r help us and we will be your servants


, ,

for ever And he said
. I will Hear me now , .


this night I will kill my father Pharaoh for he is

the helper of Joseph and do you for your part
slay Joseph Then I will take Aseneth to wife
.
,

and you shall be my brethren and j oint heirs


with me in the kingdom
So they said We .
,

will do so and thus it shall be ! we heard Joseph


,

say to Aseneth that s h e should go to morrow into -

the vineyard for it is the time of vintage We


,
.

therefore will go this night into the bed of the


river and hide among the reeds ; and do you take
with you fty archers upon horses and go on before , .

Then will Aseneth come and fall into our ambush ,

and we will kill the men that are with her and she ,
TH E STO R Y O F AS E N ETH 75

will ee in her chariot and fall into your hands and ,

you shall do to her as seems good to you A s for .

Joseph while he is mourning for Aseneth we will


,

kill him ; but rst we will slay his children before



his face . And Pharaoh s son rejoiced greatly and ,

sent them forth with a great body of mighty men ,

and they went and hid themselves in four companies


among the reeds of the river on either side of the
road.

Yet Naphtali and Asher m urmured against their


elder brothers Dan and Gad saying To what
, ,

purpose are you conspiring again Did you not sell


Joseph for a slave before and lo he is become lord
, ,

over all Egypt N ow therefore if you imagine evil


,

against him he will call upon God and re will


, ,

come down out of heaven and devour you and the ,

angels of God will ght against you B ut their .

elder brothers were angry and said What then ,

would you have Are we to die like women Not



so ! And the counsel of N aphtali and Asher did
not prevail with them .

In the same night the son of Pharaoh rose up


and went to his father s chamber with intent to slay

him as he had promised ; but when he came to the


,

door the guards stopped him and said What is my ,

lord s will !

He said I desire to see my father
, ,

for I am going away to morrow to visit my vine


-
76 OLD TESTAM E NT LE GEN DS
yard which I have newly planted And they .

said Your father is ill and has not slept until now
, ,

and he gave us command m ent that no man should


come into his chamber no not if it were his rstborn
, ,


son . So he went away in a rage and took fty ,

archers with him on horses and went on before as ,

Dan and Gad had said .

Aseneth also arose early in the morning and said


to Joseph L o I go to the vineyard as you ap
, ,

pointed ; but my soul is troubled greatly at being


parted from you B ut Joseph said
. Be of good ,

cheer ; the Lord is with you and will keep you as


the apple of an eye As for me I go to distribute
.
,

corn to the people of the land that no man in ,


Egypt may perish of hunger So Aseneth went .

her way ; and as s h e came to the place of the


ambush by the river the men that were in hiding
,

rushed out upon her and slew all the guard that
,

were with her even s i x hundred soldiers and fty


,

runners and Aseneth ed away upon her chariot .

N ow L evi though he was afar o ff s aw in the


, ,


spirit what was being done for he was a seer and
told h i s brethren of the peril of Aseneth ; and they
girded every man his sword upon his thigh and ,

took up their shields and their spears and ran


swiftly after Aseneth .

And as s h e ed o n before suddenly s h e s aw the


,
TH E STO RY O F AS E N ETH 77

so nof Pharaoh in the way and the horsemen that ,

were with him Then was Aseneth in great fear


.
,

and s h e called upon the name of her God .

But B enjamin was in the chariot with her N ow .

he was a lad of nineteen years beautiful exceedingly , ,

and strong as a lion s whelp And when he saw


.

the men he leapt down from the chariot and caught


,

up a round stone out of the brook and threw it at


the son of Pharaoh and smote him on the left ,

temple s o that he fell from his horse half dead


,
-
.

Then B enjamin leapt up upon a rock by the way


side and called to the driver of the chariot
, Give ,


me stones out of the river bed And he gave them .

and with fty stones B enj amin slew the fty archers

that were with Pharaoh s son ; every stone smote
a man on the temples .

M oreover the sons of L eah R euben and Simeon


, , ,

L evi and Judah Issachar and Zebulun pursued


, ,

after the men that had laid wait for Aseneth and ,

fell upon them suddenly and cut them to pieces


but the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah ed before them ,

saying , We are undone and now behold the son , ,

of Pharaoh is dead and all they that were with him


, .

L et us at least slay Aseneth and Benjamin and ee ,


into the woods So they pursued after Aseneth and
.
,

came upon her with their swords drawn and dripping


with blood And s h e was gre a tly afraid and said
.
, ,
78 O L D TESTA M E NT L E GE N DS
L ord God who didst save me from false gods and
,

from the corruption of death and didst s ay Thy , ,


soul shall live for ever save me now from the ,



hands of these wicked men ! And God heard her
prayer and straightway the swords of the me n fell
,

out of their hands and crumbled into dust .

Then they were very sore afraid saying The , ,


L ord g h t e t h against us And they fell down on
.

their faces and besought Aseneth saying We have , ,

imagined evil against you and the L ord hath ,

brought it back upon us B ut now have pity upon .


us and save us from the wrath of our brethren
, .

And s h e said Go then and hide yourselves in the


,

reeds u n til I appease them and turn away their


anger Only the Lord be j udge betwixt me and
.

39
you . Then they ran and hid among the reeds ;
and their brethren the sons of L eah came running
like harts to overtake them And Aseneth lighted .

down from her chariot and fell on their necks


weeping and rej oicing ; and they said Where are ,


our brothers the sons of the handmaids ! that
they might kill them But Aseneth said I beseech
.
,

you spare them for the L ord saved me out of their


, ,

hands and broke their swords and behold there , , ,

they lie like wax melted before the re Let it


, .

s ui c e you that the Lord hath fought against them


on our behalf and spare them for they are your
, ,
80 OLD TESTAM E NT L EGE N DS
be our friend .Then L evi helped up the son of
Pharaoh from the ground and washed the blood
,

from his face and bound up his wound with a


bandage and put him upon his horse and took him
,

to Pharaoh his father and told him all that had


,

happened And Pharaoh rose up from his throne


.

and blessed L evi B ut on the third day after the


.
,

son of Pharaoh died of his wound .

And Pharaoh mourned sore for his rstborn


son insomuch that he fell sick and died being a
, ,

hundred and nine years old and left his crown to


,

Joseph ; and Joseph reigned alone in Egypt forty


and eight years and thereafter gave the kingdom
,

to the younger son of Pharaoh who was a sucking ,

child when his father died And thenceforth Joseph


.

was called the father of the king throughout all the


la n d of Egypt .
JOB
84 O LD TESTAM ENT LE GE N DS

chamb e r and I heard a voice calling me , Jobab
, ,

Jobab ( and I answered Here am I And the ,

voice said R ise up and I will tell thee that which


, ,

I have to say Verily this idol to whom o ff eri n gs


.
,

are brought a n d wine poured out in libations is n ot


, ,

a god but is a work o f the evil power whereby he


,

deceives the sons of men Then I b o wed myself .

down and said Lord who hast come to enlighten


, ,

my soul I beseech thee give me leave to go and


, ,

cleanse this place that is polluted by the enemy s o


n
,

that o e ri g s shall no more be made to him ; but ,

indeed who is there that can withstand me seeing


, ,

that I am ruler over this country


The voice answered m e out of the light Thou ,

canst indeed destroy that place but I must forewarn


thee of that which will ensue according as I have ,


in hand to tell thee from the L ord And I .

answered All that H e commandeth thy servant


,

will I hear and do


And the voic e said again
.
If ,

thou takest upon thee to destroy this abode of


Satan s he will rise up a n d ght against thee ; he

,

will bring upon thee many plagues ; he will take


away all thy gods ; he will slay thy children Only .

he will not be able to take thy life And if thou


n
.
,

e d ur e st to the end thy name shall become famous


,

among all generatio n s for ever ; a n d I will re


store thee to thy former estate an d reco m pe n se ,
J OB 85

thee double and thou shalt rise up again in the


,

resurrection of the j ust B e thou therefore like


.

a ghter who giveth blows and endureth them ,

looking to win the crown of victory ; and then


shalt thou k n ow that the L ord is righteous and ,


true and mighty giving strength to His chosen
, , .

And I my children answered him I will


, , ,

verily endure even unto death and will not draw ,

back . Then the angel se t a mark upon my


forehead and departed from m e ; and in the sam e
,

night I arose and gathered to m e fty of my


servants and went and destroyed the temple of
,

the idol laying it eve n with the ground Then I


, .

returned to my house and commanded that the ,

doors should be made fast .

Hearken now my children and wo n der ; for


, ,

as soon as I had come into my house and had com


n
,

m a d e d the doors to be shut and had told the ,

keepers of the doors to s ay to any that came that


I was not at leisure to s e e them Satan came having , ,

put on the appearance of a beggar and said to ,

the maid that kept the door Tell Job that I ,

desire to speak with him She came to me there


.
,

fore and I told her again Tell him that I have


, ,

no leisure to s e e him .

So Satan departed a n d took on him a n other


,

form an d put a wallet on his sh o ulder and retur n ed


, ,
86 O LD TESTAM ENT LE GEN DS
an d said to the maid Say to Job Give me bread
, ,

from thine own hand that I may Then I


,

took a loaf that was burnt black and gave it to the


maid to give to him saying L ook to eat no more
, ,


of my bread for I am bec o me a stranger to you
, .

But the maid was ashamed to give him the burnt


bread for sh e knew not who he was ; sh e took
, ,

therefore a good loaf of her own and gave it to him


, .

But he was aware of what had happened and said ,

to her Go back unfaithful servant and fetch


, , ,


me the bread that was given to you to give to me !
And s h e wept and said You s ay well that I am an ,

unfaithful servant for I have not done that which


,


I was commanded Then s h e brought him the
.

burnt bread saying Thus says my master You


, , ,

shall eat no more of my bread for I am estranged ,

from you This I give you only that you may not
.

have it to s ay that I refused to give aught to my


enemy when he asked of Satan took the
bread and sent back the maid with this message
, ,

As this bread is burnt and blackened so will I


,

make thy body in one hour I will lay thee and thy

house desolate And I answered him
. That thou ,

doest do quickly ; for I am ready to bear what


,

soever thou canst bring upon me .

Then Satan went up straightway under the rm a


ment of the he a ve n a nd a sked of the L ord a uthority
,
88 O LD TESTAM ENT LEGEN D S
house and some of them desired to follow my way
,

of life a n d minister to the poor but they were in


,

n eed of money to furnish them therefor And to .

such men I freely lent the money taking no security


,

of them but only a written acknowledgment And


, .

sometimes they prospered in their merchandise a nd


g a i n ed money to give to the poor ; but sometimes
they failed and came back to me saying Have
, ,

patience with us And thereupon I would destroy
.

the bill of their debt before them and forgive them,

that which they owed m e .

Sometimes also there would come to m e a man


of a kindly heart who would sa y I have not ,

wherewith to help the poor but let me wait upon


,


them to day at your table
-
And at evening when
.
,

he was departing I used to sa y to him I know that


, ,

you are a labouring man and look to your wages
, .

A n d so I paid him wages for the day and let


him go .

I had also psalteries a n d a ten stringed lute and


-
,

every day when the widows and the poor had dined
I would play to them and put them in mind of God ,

that they should praise Him And if ever my hand


.

maidens murmured at the work they had to do I ,

took a psaltery and sang to them of the recompense


of the reward And they were comforted and
.
,

ceased from their murmuring .


JOB 89

As for my children they took part every day in


,

the ministry and after that they gathered together


,

in the house of their eldest brother and feasted ,

there B ut every morning I o ff ered up sacrices for


.

them even thirty doves fty kids of the goats and


, , ,

twelve sheep and a choice b ullock All of these


, .
,

after I had o ff ered up prayer I caused to b e pre ,

pared for the poor and gave to them saying


, Take , ,

these over and above that which you have had and ,

pray for my children lest they perchance have said


,

in their hearts We are the children of a wealthy


,

father and these goods are ours Wherefore should


,
.

we wait upon the poor and waste our substance in


this m anner For indeed pride is an abomination
unto the L ord .

N ow this was my manner of life for seven years


after that the angel had come to m e B ut when .

Satan had obtained from the L ord power against m e ,

he came down in great wrath and rst he burnt up


the 7 000 sheep and 3000 camels and 5 00asses and
, , ,

5 00yoke of oxen ; and the rest were carried away


by the men of the country to whom I had showed
kindness but now they turn e d against m e and
,

spoiled my goods Then one cam e and told m e


.
,

and I gave glory to God and said not a word ,

of complaint .

Satan therefore when he saw how I took the


,
90 OLD TESTAM E NT LE GE N DS
matter devised yet more against me and took on
, ,

him the likeness of the King of Persia and came and ,

spake to all the worthless men of the country saying , ,

This man Jobab who hath consumed all the good


,

of the land and left nothing giving it away to the


, ,

halt and maimed and blind is the same that


, , ,

destroyed the temple of the great god and laid


waste the place of o ff erings It is time that he .

should receive the reward of his deeds Come fall .


,

upon him and spoil his house But they said He .


,

hath seven sons and three daughters ; what if they


escape into other lands and accuse us of violence ,


and return and slay us ! Satan answered ,

Trouble not yourselves for that See I have .


,

consumed part of his goods with re ; other part


have I carried O H I will take in hand his
.


children .

And he departed and cast down the h ouse upon


,

my sons and daughters and slew them all And , .

when the men saw that he had spoken truth they ,

came and plundered all that was in my house .

Mine eyes s a w worthless and dishonourable men


on my couches and at my tables and I could not ,

utter a word for I was stricken weak as a sick


, ,

woman N evertheless I remembered the re c o m


.
,

pense of the reward ; and I accounted the loss of


92 O LD TE STAM E NT LEGEN DS
so that my wife was compelled to labour as a
ha n dm a id in the house of a rich man and carry ,

water ; and for that they gave her bre a d and she ,

brought it to me Then was I cut to the heart


.
,

and said Alas for the pride of the men of this


,

place ! How can they endure to treat my wife



as a sl a ve ! Yet after that ag a i n I strengthened
my soul and was patient .

After some time they refused to give my wife


food enough for her and myself but allowed her ,

only half of what they had given her before ! yet


this sh e shared with me Yea s h e w as not
.
,

ashamed to go and beg of the bakers in the


market place that she might have wherewith to
-
,

feed me .

When Satan saw her do s o he took upon him ,

the likeness of a seller of bread And my wife .

came and begged of him supposing him to be a ,

man ; and Satan said Pay the price and take


, ,


what you will .But she answered Whence ,

should I have money ! Have you not heard of


all that has befallen us ! If you will show mercy ,


show mercy ; and if not it is your own concern
, .

H e said If you had not deserved misfortune I


, ,

suppose it would not have com e upon you but now ,

if you have no money give me the hair of your


,

head and take three loaves in exch a nge ! it may


,
JOB 93

be that you can live on them for three days And .

she thought within herself What is the hair of,

my head to m e in comparison with the hunger of


my husband !
And s h e said t o Satan Come , ,


take it And he took a pair of shears and cut o ff
.

her hair and then gave her three loaves in the


, ,

sight of all who were in the market place She -


.

took the bre a d and cam e to bring it to m e and ,

Sata n followed after her invisibly and made her ,

soul heavy within h e r So as she drew near to .


,

me s h e lifted up her voice and cried aloud Job , ,

Job how long wilt thou s i t upon the dunghill


,

waiting and expecting thy deliverance while I ,

wander about from house to house and labour as


a slave ! B ehold my sons and my daughters whom
, ,

I brought up with labour and pain are perished ,

and gone and thou sittest under the O pen heaven


,

lled with corruption and I have to work day and


,

night to get bread to keep thy soul in thy body .

L o now have I sold the hair of my head for


,

bread Who would believe that I am Si t i s the


.
,

wife of Job who was clothed in ne linen woven


,

with gold that washed her feet in basins of silver


,

and gold that lay softly and was nurtured in plenty


,

but now I go barefoot i n rags and sell my hair for


, ,

bread One thing only remains for my bo n es are


.
,

broken with very weari n ess of spirit Arise and .


94 O LD TESTAME NT LE GEN DS
eat this bread and satisfy thy hunger a n d the n
, ,

speak a word agai n st the L ord and die ; and I ,

shall be freed from my misery and l a bour and ,



h a ve rest .

B ut I answered her L o now these many


, ,

years have I b een s e t in the plague enduring sick ,

ness of body and grief of heart but my soul h a s ,

never been so heavy in me as when I he a rd thee



say , Speak a word against the L ord and die

, .

Shall we have borne the loss of our possessions ,

and the death of our children and at the end ,

lose the true riches ! R emember all the good


things which we enj oyed aforetime Shall we .

receive those a t the hands of the L ord and not ,

bear to receive hard things likewise ! But I per


c eiv e now why thou s o speakest Come forth . ,

thou that standest behind her to pervert her heart


and make her speak as one of the foolish women .

Hide thyself no longer ; come forth and withstand


me to the face Then Satan came forth from
.

behind my wife and stood before me ashamed


, ,

and even weeping in the bitterness of his heart ;


and he said Job thou hast prevailed ! thou art
, ,

e s h and I a m a spirit but I can do no more


,

against thee And he departed from m e in co n
.

fusion And I my children thought of ghters


.
, ,

whom I had seen ! on e had throw n the other on


JOB 95

the ground and lled his mouth with sa n d and ,

bruised every limb of his body yet still he kept


,

his hold ; and of a sudden the one that was upper


most could e n dure the grip no longer and gave ,

in so that the underm ost won the crown Thus


, .

was it with m e and Satan ; and my children I


n
, ,
'
cou n sel you to b e long s ue ri g in all that may
-

come upo n you for th e re is nothing th a t is strong e r


than patie n ce .

N ow it was not until many years had passed


n
that the tidings of my a l i c ti o cam e to the ears
of the kings who were of old time my friends
for Satan caused the matter to be kept from them .

B ut when they heard they set forth from their


,

countries and cam e to visit m e even Eliphaz of


,

Teman and Bildad and Zophar and Elihu ; all of


, , ,

them with great trains of followers When they .

were come into my land they inquired Where ,

is Jobah the ruler of U z


, And it was told them ,

He sitteth upon a dunghill without the city


A n d they asked what was become of my wealth
for I was aforetim e rich e r than all the princes of

the East and they were informed of all that had
befallen m e S o they came where I was and some
.
,

of the men of the city with them who showed m e,

to them B ut they said


.
This is not J o b a b
Yet
, .

the men of the place a i rm e d that it was s o ; and


96 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N D S
after they had disputed for some time Eliphaz ,

called to m e Art thou Jobab our fellow king ! -


, ,

And I weeping and casting dust upon my head


, ,

bowed myself in token that it was I .

Then were they stricken with great astonishment


and terror and fell to the ground as it were dead ;
,

and they rent their clothes and cast o ff their armour ,

and sat down upon the ground And Elihu lifted .

up his voice and took up a lamentation over me ,


'

calling to mind all the glory o f my former state ,

my sheep and oxen camels and asses my golden


, ,

beds and my j ewelled throne the lamps and per ,

fumes o f my palace and the beauty of my chil ,

dren and saying Where is now the glory of


, ,


thy kingdom ! And when he had ended his
lamentation I said Hold your peace and I will
,


tell you .

M y throne is in the region beyond the world ,

and the glory and beauty of it is at the right hand


of the Father .

This world shall pass away and the glory of it


shall perish and they that pay heed thereto shall
,

b e overwhelmed in the overthrow of it ; but my


throne is in the land of the holy and the glory ,

of it in the age that hath no change .

The rivers shall be dried up and the abundance ,

of their strea m s o w e t h down into the depths of the


98 O L D TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
my wife Si t i s clothed in rags and she had escaped
, ,

by stealth out of the house of her master ; for he


would have kept her within fearing that the kings ,

would call him to account for his ill usage of us -


.

So when s h e came to us sh e threw herself dow n


,

before Eliphaz and said Rememberest thou


, ,

Eliphaz and thy fellows how I looked and how


,

I was attired in the former days ! L ook now and



s e e in what guise I go about And they were .

cut to the heart and wept but knew not what to ,

say ; only Eliphaz took o ff h i s purple rob e and


put it about her shoulders And she besought .

them saying I pray you command your servants


, , ,

to dig among the ruins of the house that fell upon


our children and seek out their bones that they
,

may be buried and a memorial s e t up ; for till


this day we have never been able to do s o because
'
of the cost Consider I beseech you what I s u e r
.
, ,

that have lost ten children and not one of them ,


is given to burial So they prepared to dig ; but
.

I preve n ted them and said Labour not in vain ;


, ,

ye will not nd my children for they have been ,

taken u p into the heavens by the King that created


them
Again they said Who would not say
. ,

that thou art mad ! Thy children are taken up


into heaven sayest thou
, Show us n ow what t h ou

mea n est.
JOB 99

I said therefore
, Raise m e up that I may stand
,


on my feet And they took each an arm and
.

raised m e and I stood up and made supplication


,

to the Father a n d then said t o them L ift up


, ,


your ey e s and look towards the east And they .

looked and beheld my children crowned with glory


,

in the heavens and above them the glory of the


,

Most High Which when Si t i s my wife s a w she


.
,

fell upon her face and worshipped and said Now , ,

know I that th e re is remembrance of me with


God I will go now into the city and rest a little
.
,


and refresh myself for my labours of the morrow .

So she went into the city and entered into the ,

stable of the kine that had been hers and had been ,

taken from her by those that employed her ; and


s h e lay down by o ne of the mangers and slept having ,

her mind at rest and so died A n d on the morrow, .

her master sought her a n d did not nd her ; and ,

at last e n tering i n to the stable he saw her lying ,

dead there and ra n out and summoned men to


,

him ; and all the city came and saw her lying i n
the stable a n d the beasts standing about her lowing
, ,

and making lamentation over her The n they .

carried her forth and buried her beside the place


of the house that had fallen upon her children .

Now a s for all the words which Eliphaz a n d ,

Bild a d a n d Z o ph ar a n d Elihu S pake with me


, , ,
1 00 O LD TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
and those wherewith I answered them are they ,

not written in the book for your remembra n ce !


Also ye know how that at the last the L ord came
and a nswered me out of the whirlwi n d a n d re ,

b uk e d us And we made atonement for that which


.

we had said amiss ! all but Elihu for into him ,

Sata n h a d entered and he had spoken evil words


,

against me ; wherefore he dep a rted an d mad e n o ,

ato n eme n t for his sin .

Also ye know how the Lord re s tored to me my


former state a nd gave me the double of all that I
,

had possessed befo re ; a n d how I married your


mother and sh e bare me you ! seven sons and thr ee
,

daughters as it is this day


, .

And now behold my sons I die ; and as for , ,

you forget not ye the Lord do good to the poor


, , ,

p a ss n ot by the helpless take n ot to yourselves ,

wives fr o m among th e he a then .

Moreover J o b s a id I will divide my subst an ce


, ,

amo n g you and ea ch of y ou s h a ll pos se ss his porti o n


,


i n peace .

Then Job divided his sub s ta n ce a mo n g his seve n


sons but to his daughters he gave n o n e of it ; a nd
,

they were grieved a n d said Father are we n ot


, , ,

also thy children !


And h e an sw e red Tr o uble ,

n ot yourselves fo r I have p re p a r e d fo r you a n


,
1 02 O L D TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
and sor ro w of heart N ow therefore my childr en
.
, ,

s o long as ye have th e s e a b o ut y o u the enemy can ,

do nothing against you ; no n ot eve n to put i n to


,

your minds evil thought s Aris e the n an d gird


.
, ,

yourselves with them before I die .

The n they did so a n d th e ir hearts we r e ch an g e d


,

an d re n ewed within them so th a t they forgot th e


,

thi n gs of this world and began t o speak in the la n


,

guage of the angels singing praises to th e Lord of the


,

heavens and telling of the glory of that place a n d


,

of the mighty works of the Father And I Nahor .


, ,

the brothe r o f Job who wrote this testament sat by


, ,

and heard them ; a n d th a t which I c o uld I wrot e


dow n in a book to be for them that com e after
, ,

that they might k n ow somewhat of the wonders of


the L ord .

Now after three days wherein Job kept his bed


yet without pain or sickness for n o disease had ,

power over him since the day when h e put on that



heavenly girdle after three days I say h e was , ,

aware of thos e that w e r e coming to bear a way his


soul And he aros e a nd g a ve to his eldest daughter
.
,

a harp and t o the second a censer and to the third


, ,

an instrument o f music that they might welcome


,

those that were o n their way And eve n as they .

took them into their hands th e y s a w the ch a riot s o f


light approaching and they uttered hym n s of praise
S O LO M O N AN D TH E D E M O N S
1 08 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGEN DS
stre n gth a n d I believe that it is an evil spirit
, .

Whe n I heard that I went b a ck to my palace and


, ,

thought ear n estly a n d consulted the writi n gs of


,

the ancie n ts ; and I prayed that a way might be


shown to me how I could s e t the lad free from
the power of the demo n And after some days .

there came to me an angel and brought me a ring ,

with a stone in it o n which was cut the gure


,

g

that is called the Pentalpha and within it the
Name that may not be spoken ; and he told me
what I must do with it On the morrow there .
,

fore I sent for the lad and gave him the ring
, ,

saying Take this and to night when the creature


, ,
-
,

comes you must cast the ring into its bosom and
, ,

s ay
, In the strength of the Name King Solomon

,

calleth thee Then rise up and come running to


.

me and be not afraid for whatever the demon may


,

say to you .

So that night at the accustomed hour the wicked


n
demon O r i as came to the lad s chamber with i
, n
tent to suck his blood and take away his food But .

the l a d remembered my words a n d cast the ri n g ,

upo n t h e demo n sayi n g Come for Solomon


, , ,


call e th thee and set o ff a t o n ce t o my palace
, .

But th e demon shrieked out after him Boy what , ,

h as t thou do n e Take the ri n g from m e and I will ,


S OLO M O N AN D TH E D EM O N S 1 09
'
give thee the hidden gold of the earth ; take it o ,


a nd bring m e not before Solomo n ! B ut the lad
took no heed and running into the palace he called ,

to m e ,0 king I have brought the spirit as you


, ,

told m e ; he is there before the door screaming and ,

entreating m e and promising me the hidde n treasures



of the earth if I will not force him to come to you .

Then I rose up from my throne and went out into


the court of the palace a n d sa w the creature in the
, ,

form of a ame of re quivering and shrinking and


,

I stood over it and said What is thy n am e !


n n
, ,

And it answered O r i as And I bade O r i as


, .

reveal to m e in the strength of the ring how I


, ,

should make him subj ect to m e ; and he told me


where his abode w as and how he a l i c t e d men
, ,

a n d all that I a sk e d him Then I sealed him with .

the seal of the ring and appointed him to hew


,

stones for the building of the temple .

Thereafter when I had considered what I should


n
,

do I called for O r i as a n d delivered the ring to


, ,

him and bade him bring before m e B eelzebul the


n
, ,

prince of all the demons So O r i a s went to Beel .

zebul and found him sitting upon his throne and


, ,

said Solomon calleth for thee


And B eelzeb ul .
,

said scornfully Who is this Solomon of whom


n
,


thou speakest ! And O r i a s cast the ring into
the bo s o m of B e e lzebul a n d said again S o lomon
, ,
1 10 O LD TE STAM ENT LEGE N DS
calleth for thee A n d at th a t B eelzebul uttered
.

a mighty roar a nd cast forth from his mouth a


,

g r eat ame of re ; but he must needs ris e up


from his throne and follow O r i as and stand n ,

befor e me And when I s aw him I gave thanks


.
,

to the Most High who had given me power over


,

th e demons And I spoke roughly to him ; a n d he


.

promised to bring before m e all the demons and ,

th a t they should be subj ect to me and do all th a t


,

I comma n ded them A n d I appointed him to s aw


.

blocks of marble i n pieces for the work of the


temple ; but when the other demons s aw their
lord and master labouring like a slave they ,

shrieked aloud and were sorely dismayed .

After that I sent for many of the chief of the


demons one by one and questio ne d them concern
, ,

ing their deeds what diseases they se n t upon men


, ,

and what secret things they knew and how they ,

were to be subdued ; and whe n they had told me ,

I bou n d them and set them to work upo n the


,

building of the temple .

Now the shapes i n which th e y app ea r e d befor e


m e were manifold ! one w as like a beautiful

wom an but she had one foot like a n ass s hoof ;
,

a n d a nother like a ma n without a head and a ,

a me of re coming out of his neck ; another


like a g r eat dog These two I bou n d togeth e r
.
,
1 12 OLD TE STAM E NT LEGE N DS
a n d plucked o ut hi s hair When I heard that I .
,

had pity on him for he was a n old man a nd we a k


, ,

an d I sent for his son and asked him why he dealt


,

so with his father B ut the son denied it sayi n g


.
, ,

I am n o t so given ov e r to wickedness that I


should strike my father Be it far from me O ki n g .
,

I have done no such evil I sent him away there .


,

fore and called his father again and bade him be


n
, ,

reconciled with his s o ; but he said Nay but let , ,



him die the death Wherefore I was perplexed
n
.
,

and it w a s i my mind to give sentence against the


young ma n but it happened th a t I looked at O r i as n
the demon and I saw that he was laughi n g So I
n
.
,

sent the people away and said to O r i a s Accursed


, ,


one why dost thou laugh at me !
, He answered ,

Forgive me O king it was not at th e e that I


; ,

laughed but at this wretched old man ! because he


,

is contriving an evil death for his son and 10 ! in , ,

three d a ys his son will fall sick and die Then .

said I Is this the truth !


And he said It is
.
, ,

Then I sent for the old m a n and his son and said ,

to them Strive to make agreement between y o ur


,

selves and after three days come again to me ; and


,

in the me a ntime I will send you your food from



my table And they did obeisance and departed
. .

And when the three days were past I saw the old ,

ma n c ome i n to the j udg m e n t h a ll ; an d h e was -


SO LO MO N AN D TH E D E M O N S 113

dres s ed in garments of mourning and his face was


n
,

s a d I said therefore t o him


.
Where is thy s o ,

A n d he answered I have no son ! this day h a ve


,


I c a rried him to his burial
n
.

So when he was departed I said to O r i as , ,


H ow was it that th o u knewest these things !
A n d he a n swe r ed It is thus O king We who
, , .

are spirits can y up into the a ir under the


n
rm a m e t and w e hover about among the stars
,

and overhear the decrees that go forth from the


heavens against the children of men when they are
appointed to die B ut we cannot a bide there for
.

l o ng and so we b e come weak and fall like the


, ,

leaves from the trees ; and when men see us they



say, Look there is a falling star

, B ut they are .

n ot in truth stars that fall since the st a rs h a ve ,

thei r appointed place in the heaven s like the su n ,

and the moo n ; but it is we the spirits of the air , ,


who are in appearance like stars A n d I sent
n
.

O r i as away and marvelled greatly


, .

Again in those days there came to me a letter


,

from A d are s the king of the Ar a bi a ns saying To , ,

King Solomon greeting ! We have heard of the


,

wisdom that has been given to thee a nd that thou ,

art a compassionat e man and that thou hast power ,

o v e r all S pirits that are in the air or on the earth , ,

o r u n d er t h e e ar th Now b e it k n ow n to th ee th a t
.

H
1 14 OLD TESTA M E NT LE GE N DS
there i s a destroying spirit in this land ; for every
day at dawn there arises a wind which blows for
three hours and it is so venomous that every one
,

on whom it blows dies and it kills the cattle also


, .

Now therefore we entreat thee in thy wisdom to


devise some means and if it may be send us a man
, ,

who can capture the spirit and if thou canst do s o ,

then I and my people will b e tributary unto thee ,

and Arabia shall keep peace with thee And we .


,

beseech thee make not light of our petitio n for we


, ,


are in a great strait And so farewell
. .

When I had read this letter I folded it up again


,

and gave it to my chief counsellor saying Bring , ,

it again to my remembrance after seven days .

Then I thought upon the matter ; and after the


seven days I called one of my servants and said to
him , M ake ready a camel and get an empty wine
,

skin . And he did s o Now the wine skin was made


.
-

of a whole hide of a beast so that it had the upper


,

parts of the four legs remaining upon it the legs ,

being sewn up and the neck ope n I said to him


, .

further ,Take this ring and go into Arabia to the ,

place where the venomous wind blows and take the ,

skin and hold the ring in front of the mouth of the


ski n towards the wind s o that the wind shall blow
,

through the ring ; and when the skin is blow n up ,

you will k n ow that the demo n is in s ide it The n .


1 16 OLD TESTAM E NT LE GE N DS
troubl e d because I had a gre a t sto n e made r e a dy
,

to b e pl a ced upon the corner of the temple a n d ,

n one of my workme n and no n e of the dem on s


were able to lift it a n d set it in its a ppoi n ted place ;
but I was exceedingly desir o us to put it there b e ,

cause i t was of such beauty and excellence And .

on the morning after my servant was come back out


of Arabia I w en t down to the temple thinking by
, ,

what means I could lift the stone And as I entered .

the temple I saw the skin ; and it rose up and


h O pp e d seven paces and fell o n its face and did
,

obeisa n ce t o me ; and I m a rvelled and bade it stand ,

up ; and it stood on its feet pu ff ed up with wind , .

Then I asked Who are you !


And a voice
,

answered me from within the skin I am E p h i p p as ,

who dwell in Arabia


And I s a id What can
.
,

you do .

And it answered I can overturn kings
,

palaces and wither the green trees of the wood


, ,


and I can move mountains Then I said Are you
.
,

able to move this stone and lift it up and s e t it upon


,

the corner of the temple And it said Not only ,

c an I do so 0 king but if I have the demon that


, ,

is i n the Red Sea to help me I can bring up the ,

great Pillar that is there and set it in wh a tever


,

place you comma n d So I said Lift up the


.
,


cor ne r sto n e
- A n d the ski n rst of a ll bec a me
.

a tt ene d as if t he wi n d w a s g one ou t of it an d
, ,
E PH I PPA S K T H E DEM O N O! T HE I
R E D S EA B R N G
T H E G R E AT I
P LLA R T O S O L O MO N
1 18 O LD TE STAM E NT LE GE N DS
in Egypt a n d helped Jan n e s an d Jambres the tw o
, ,

wizards who fought against Moses ; and how wh e n


Pharaoh followed after the childr e n of Israel he
went with him ; a n d when the se a retur n ed back
and drowned the Egyptians he was overtake n by ,

it a nd shut up i n the depths an d he remained th er e ,

u n til E p h i pp as c a me and brought him to me .

Thus 1 Solomon had power over the spirit s


, ,

of the earth and of the air a n d of the water and


, , ,

made them serve me and my kingdom was exalted ,

and there was peace in my days But when I .

bec a m e mighty my heart was lifted up and I com ,

m i t t e d foolishness ; for I saw the daughter of a


cert a in Jeb usite a nd lov e d her exceedingly and
, ,

asked for her in m a rriage B ut her kinsfolk said .


,

You shall not take her to b e your wife except you


worship our gods even the great gods Remphan
,

and Moloch Then I said


.
I cannot worship ,

strange gods ; why w o uld you that I should do


this !
They said B ec a use they are the g ods of
,

our fathers And I refused Then I went to the
. .

maiden and e n treated her ; a n d sh e also said I ,

will not hearken t o you except you worship my ,



gods . So I departed from her B ut after a little .
,

she sent m e ve locu sts by t h e ha n d of a messe n ger ,

s a yi n g
Take these ve locusts an d crush th em
,

i n t h e n a me of the god M o l oc h an d I will b e y o ur ,


S O LO M O N AN D TH E D E M O N S 1 19

wife. And I did s o And forthwith my glory


.

departed from me a n d I forgot my wisdom and


, ,

b ecame w e ak and foolish i n my mind ; and the


heathen woman c o mpelled m e t o build temples to
the false gods to B a al and Rempha n and Moloch ;
, , ,

and my spirit was darke n ed within m e a n d I b e


,

cam e a byword amo n g men and demo ns .

Therefore have I written this testament that ,

men might remember m e and think of their latter


,

end as well as of their beginning .


TH E STORY O F E B E D M E LECH TH E
ETH I O PIAN , AN D O F TH E D EATH
O F JER E M IAH

W H E N the ti me was come whe n it was ordained


that Jerusalem should be laid waste by the king
of the Chaldeans God spake to Jeremiah the
,

prophet s a ying D ep a rt out of this city for I


, , ,

am about to destroy it for the wickedness of



them that dwell th e r e in B ut Jeremiah answered
.
,

Su ff er m e I b eseech thee Lord to speak a


, , ,

word .

A n d He said Say on
And Jeremiah said .
, ,

Wilt Thou indeed deliver Thy chose n city into


the hand of the Chaldeans that thei r ki n g may ,

boast himself against it and s ay I have prevailed ,

agai n st the Holy City of God ! Not so L ord ;


,

but if it b e Thy will to destroy it overthrow it rather ,

with Thine own hand


And He said
.
N either ,

the king nor his power shall prevail to destroy


it u n less I r s t open the gates thereof to him
, .

Come therefore at the sixth hour of the night


to the city wall thou a n d B a ruch the scri b e a n d
, ,


I will Show you what I will do .

12 3
1 24 O LD TESTAM E NT LEGE N DS
Jeremi a h therefore rent his clothes and put
ashes upon his head and we n t and found Baruch
,

in the temple ; and when Baruch saw him he was



dismayed and cried out
, What is the matter !
,

And whe n Jeremiah had told him that which was


proposed concerning the city he also re n t his ,

cloth e s ; and they remained both of them in the


holy place all that day weeping .

B ut at the sixth hour of the night they went


out and walked upon the city wall And suddenly .

they heard the sound of a trumpet in heaven and ,

there came down angels bearing torches of re


in their hands a nd alighted upo n the four corners
,

of the wall of the city Then Jeremiah and .

Baruch perceived that the desolatio n of Jerusalem


was indeed at hand ; and Jeremiah cried out to
the angels I beseech you destroy not the city
, ,

until I have spoken a word to the M ost High .

So the angels stayed their hand ; and Jeremiah


said ,
L ord now we know of a truth that the city
,

will b e delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans ;


tell us therefore wh a t wilt Thou that we shall
, ,


do with the holy vessels of the temple ! And
he an swered Commit them to the e arth and say
, ,

unto it Hear O earth the voice of Him that


,

, ,

sepa r ated thee from a mo n g the waters a n d sealed ,

thee with seven seals unto seven ages even u n til the ,
1 26 O LD TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
and swallowed them up And for the rest of th a t
.

n ight they wept and lamented ; and in the morning


J e remiah called for Ebedmelech and said to him ,

Take a basket and go to the vineyard of Agrippa ,

and fetch me some gs that I m a y give them to


,

the sick and needy a mong th e people ; and the


blessing of G o d go with thee A n d Eb e dmelech
.

se t forth .

On that sa m e mor n ing the h os t of the Chaldeans


surrounded the city and a tru m pet sou n ded i n
,

heave n and they came against the city ; a n d the


,

g a tes gave way before them and the wall fell , ,

and they entered the city and laid it desolate and ,

took the people captive But Jer e miah took the.

keys of the temple a n d went outside the city and


n
,

threw them up t o wards the su saying 0 sun , , ,

I say unto thee tak e these keys an d keep them


,

until God shall requir e them of thee ; for we are



not found worthy to keep them any longer And .

they vanished out of his sight Then he returned .


,

and the Chaldeans took him prisoner and carried


him away to Babylon B ut Baruch ed and took
.
,

refuge i n a tomb and th e re he remai n ed in great


,

sorrow of heart .

Now Ebedmelech had gathered the g s and ,

lled his basket ; and by the tim e he had nished ,

the day h a d beco m e bur n i n g hot So he sa t hi m .


TH E ST O RY O F EB E D M E LE CH 1 27

down under a tree to rest a little and then laid his


,

head on the basket of gs and fell into a slumber .

And he slept for sixty s i x years without waking


-
.

And when the sixty six years were over and


-
,

the time of deliverance of the children of Israel was


near Ebedmelech woke up and said to himself
, , I ,

should have been glad to sl e ep a little longer for my ,

head is still heavy ; I h a ve not slept my sleep out .

And he uncovered his basket and looked a t the g s ,

and s aw that they were oozi n g with j uice and said


again Well I should like to sleep yet a little but
, , ,

I am afraid I may oversleep myself ; and if I do ,

father Jeremiah will be disappointed ; for if he had


not been i n haste for the gs he would not have
,

sent me out s o early . So he rose and picked up
his basket of gs a n d put it on his sh o ulder and went ,

back to Jerusalem When he c a me near the city


.

he could not recognise it and when he h a d entered


,

the gate he could n ot either nd his own house or


see any of his acquainta n ce H e said therefore
.

within himself Som e strange delusion has com e


,

upon m e I have missed my way in coming over the


hills ! it must b e that I was n ot fully awake This .

will be a wonderful thing to tell Jeremiah when I



m eet with him . And he went out of the city B ut .

whe n he looked back upon it he could s e e that it


,

was indeed Jerus a lem an d he sa id It is surely the


,
1 28 OLD TE STAM E NT LEGE NDS
city yet there is somethi n g wr o ng
, He we n t into .

th e city the seco n d time but he could nd none that


,

kn e w him A n d he s a id
. God preserve m e !
,

Verily a delusion has fallen upon me and we n t ,

outside the city a nd sat dow n with the basket of gs ,

saying , Here will I sit until my eyes are opened ,


and I can discer n the truth After some time he
.

sa w an old man coming from the elds and said to ,

him , Old man what is this city I pray you


, The ,

old man said It is Jerusalem


Ebedmelech said
, .
,

Where are Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch


the scribe !
The old man answered You are ,

certainly not of this city that you inquire concern


,

ing these men Jer e miah is in Babylon with the


.

people that w e re carried a w a y captive by Nebu


n
c h a d e z z a r the king

Then Ebedmelech marvelled
.

a nd said , If you were not an aged m a n whom it is ,

n ot lawful to mock I should have said you were


,

mad . How many hours is it think you since , ,

Jeremiah sent me to the garde n of Agrippa for


some gs for the sick people and I went and ,

gathered them and slumbered for a little und e r a


tree and have j ust now brought them back ; a nd
,

here they are with the j uice oozing from them j ust ,

as when I picked them a n d you say the people a nd


J er emi a h are go n e to Babyl on And he ope n ed the
b a sket an d s howed th e gs A n d wh en the old m an
.
1 30 O L D TESTAM E NT LE GE N DS
to bear a messag e for thee B a ruch s a id C a nst
.
,

thou c a rry a letter to B a bylon to Jeremiah the ,

prophet !
And the eagle said To that end am ,


I sent .So they wrote a letter a n d took fteen of ,

the gs from the basket and hung them on the



eagle s neck ; and Baruch blessed it saying I say , ,

unto thee O king of the birds go i n peace and bring


, , ,

back an answer to me B e not like the raven .


,

which Noah sent out and it r e turned no more to


,

the ark ; but be like the dove which returned the ,

third day with an answer of peace And if the .

birds of the air come against thee ght with them , ,

and the power of God be with thee Turn neither .

to the right hand nor to the left but go straight as ,


an arrow in the strength of the Most High .

Then the eagle ew and rested not till it came


to Babylo n ; and there it perched upon a tree in
a desert place outside the city and waited until ,

Jeremiah and some of the people passed by carrying ,

a dead m an to burial And it rose up and lighted


.

upon the bier of the dead m a n and he revived , .

And the eagle said to Jeremiah Gather the people ,

together and take the letter which is upon my neck


, ,

and read it in their ears And he did s o ; and the


.

people rej oiced because the time of their deliverance


,

was at h a nd Then Jeremiah wrote a letter to


.


B a ruch a n d put it upon the eagle s neck And h e
, .
TH E STORY O F EB E D M E L E C H 1 31

blessed the ea gle and sent it away ; but the gs he


,

gave to the sick among the people And the eagle .

returned to Jerusalem and gave the letter to


,

Baruch ; and when he read it he wept because ,

Jeremiah had written in it all the a f ictions which


the people su ff ered at the hands of the Chaldeans .

N ow when the tim e was fullled the people ,

were s e t free from Babylon and returned to Jeru


,

salem And when they came back they rejoiced


.
,

and gave thanks for their deliverance for nine days .

And on the tenth day Jeremiah stood up before all


of them a nd sang a hymn of pr a ise ; and when he
had ended it he fell on the ground and becam e as
,

one dead When they s aw that B a ruch and Ebed


.
,

m e lech lifted up their voices and wept saying , ,

Our father Jeremiah the priest of God is


, ,


departed from us ! And all the people ran to
gether and s aw Jeremiah lying as dead ; and they
rent their clothes and bewailed him and then made ,

ready to bury him . B ut there came a voice ,

saying B ury not the living


And at that they
, .

left o ff preparing a sepulchre for him a nd waited , ,

keeping watch about his body till he should ,

revive again .

And after three days the S pirit of Jeremiah


returned to him again and he rose up and pro
,

p h e s i e d ; and in his prophecy he said There shall ,


1 32 O L D TESTAM ENT LEGE N DS
be a Tr e e se t up which shall m a ke the b a rre n
,

trees fruitful and the proud and fruitful trees


,

b a rren ; a nd the snow shall be turned to black


ness and the sw e et waters become bitter and the
, ,

scarlet shall be white as wool Moreover He .


,

shall bless the isles that they shall bear fruit by


the word of His mouth ; and He shall satisfy
the hungry souls And thereafter he began to
.

speak to th e m of the coming of the Beloved into


the world .

Now when the people heard it they were very


angry and said H e blasphemeth These are the
, .

words that Isaiah spake and they sawed him ,

asunder with a s aw of wood L et us slay Jeremiah .


also but him we will stone with stones
, And .

Baruch and Ebedmelech cried out against them ,


Do not this gr e at wickedness ! But Jeremiah
said Be silent for they shall not kill me before
, ,

I have delivered to you all that I have seen and


heard Fetch me a great stone
. And when .

it was brought Jeremi a h prayed and said 0


, ,

L ight of the Ages cause this stone to appear in


,

my likeness And immediately the stone took


.

upon it the likeness of Jeremiah and the p e ople ,

began to stone it believing that it was Jeremiah


, .

And in the meantime he went on speaking to


Baruch a n d Ebedmelech until he had committed
1 38 O LD TESTAM E NT L EGE NDS
Aman we shall h a ve to re a d Nada n a nd inste a d ,

of Man a sses A c h i ac h arus


, .

This is th e story of A b ikar He is made to tell .

it himself and he says


,

Whe n I was a young ma n I w a s st e w a rd to


the great ki n g Esarhaddon the king of Ni n eveh , .

I was rich and had great estates a nd beautiful


,

palaces ; I had everything that my heart desired


n
,

except one thing ! and th a t was a s o I had no , .

child to comfort m e and to i n herit my great pos


sessions after me .

Many times did I go to the temples of the


gods of Nineveh and o ff er them sacrices a n d gifts
and burn incense before them ; and I said O
n
,

gods give me a s o that I may enj oy his company


, ,

while I live and when I die he may close my


,

eyes and bury me And verily I am so rich that


.

if every day from the day of my death until he


died he were to take a bushel of my money and
cast it away he would not come to the e n d of it
,

before his death B ut the gods of Nineveh made
.

me no answer .

Then I bethought me of the God of Isra e l of ,

whom I had learned when I was a child ( for I


came out of the land of the Hebrews) and I ,

turned to Him a n d besought Him in like manner


that He w o uld gra n t me a so A n d a voice camen
.
A H I KA R 1 39

to me saying Forasm uch as thou hast put thy


,

trust in false gods a nd sacriced to them thou


n
,


shalt have no s o Yet this do ! take thy sister s
.

son Nada n who is a young child and bring him


, ,


up as thine ow n s o n .

S o I took Nad a n a nd gave him to eight nurses


to bring him up H e was fed on all manner of .

dainties he was clothed in purple and sc a rlet and


, ,

slept on the soft e st b eds He grew up like a fair .

you n g cedar tre e ; an d I i n structed him in all my


-

wisdom u n til I w a s sixty years old


, .

O n e d a y the ki n g Esarhaddon returned from


j our n eying through his kingdom and sent for me ,

and said A b ikar my friend my faithful a nd


, , ,

wise counsellor you are b ecoming an old man


, .

If you die who shall succeed you and serve m e


,

in your place !
I answered 0 king live , ,

for ev e r There is wit h m e the son of my sister


.
,

whom I h a ve br o ught up as my ow n so n and have ,


instructed him in all the w a ys of wisdom The .

king said G o bring him before me a n d if I


, , ,

take pleasure in him he shall serve m e in your ,

stead and you can have rest from your l a bours


, ,

and j oy and honour in your old age So I .

brought Nadan to the king ; and when the king


s aw him he delighted in him and said The
, ,


gods preserve you my son ! And to me he said
, ,
1 40 OLD TESTAME NT L EG EN DS
As you h a ve served me and my father
Senn a cherib so shall this youth s e rve me and I
, ,

will honou r him and promote him fo r your sake .

And I gav e th a nks to the ki n g a n d we we n t out


, ,

I and N a dan fr o m his presence And I took


, .

N ad an home a n d spoke to him in private telling ,

him how he sh o uld co n duct himself and of what ,

men he ought to bewa re an d whom he should


,

trust . All these precepts are written in the


book of A b ik a r but they are n ot put down
,

here .

Now I hop e d that Nad an would pay heed to


my words of instructio n ; but when the king had
exalted him and take n hi m to liv e at the palace
,

with him I was grieved to see that Nadan began


,

to become wasteful and unruly a n d that if I


, ,

h a d su ff er e d him he would h a ve squandered my


,

mo n ey a n d ill treated my servants I a dmonished


-
.

him therefo re but it was in v a in He said


, , . My ,

uncle Ab ikar is getti n g old a n d timorous ! his


wisdom is failing him ! one n eed not pay much
heed to what he says . And by degre e s I saw
that the ki n g bega n t o believ e N a dan a nd that ,

he no lo n ger re c eived m e with such ho n our a s


in th e old days ! and this w a s a grief to me .

Now as I no long e r had Nad a n to live with me ,

I conside r ed a n d took his y o u n ger brother N a bu


,
1 42 OLD TESTAM E NT L EGE N DS
me ! for I have th e a mbassadors of the king of
Egypt with me and I desire that they should
,

see the might of my army This letter Nadan .

sent to me and I began to make preparations as


,

it commanded me Thereafter Nadan took the


.

rst letter feigning to have found it in my


,

chamber and brought it to king Esarhaddon


, .

And when the king had read it he was v e ry ,

angry and said O ye gods ! what have I done


,

to A h i k ar that he should seek to betray me


thus !
Nadan said Perhaps my lord it is a
, , ,

forgery ; be not too soon disturbed ; let us wait


till the day appointed and then go to the plain of
,

the south ; if A h i k ar is not there we shall know ,

that the letter is not his ; but if he is there and ,

armed men with him I fear that he must indeed ,


b e conspiring ag a inst thee And th e king con .

sented .

On the twenty f t h day of the mo n th th e refore


-
, ,

the king and Nadan se t forth and rode out to the


plain of the south And I as I had been com
n
.
,

m a d e d was there wi th the great army which I


,

had gathered ; and so soon as I saw the king and


his train approaching I drew up the soldiers in,

battle array and marched quickly towards him and ,

the soldiers waved their weapons and shouted and ,

ther e was a great n oise The n th e king was very .


A H I KA R 14 3

sorely troubled for he w a s sure that I had rebelled


,

against him B ut Nadan said


. Go back my lord , ,

king to the palace I will capture th a t evil old ma n


,


and bring him before you A n d the king departed
.

with his serva n ts .

But N a dan rode up to m e and said All that ,

you have done is right and well performed ; the


,

king is greatly pleased with you and desires that ,

you will send away the soldiers to their homes and


come before him alone to receive your reward .

So we rode into the city a nd he brought me into


,

the palace where the king was seated on his throne


, ,

and all his servants a bout him and I perceived that


the king was in displeasure but I knew not why , .

Then he put into my hand the letter which was


written i n my n a me to the king of Persia and said , ,


R e a d that letter And when I h a d read it my
.
,

knees knocked ag a inst each other and I was speech ,

less ; I soug h t for a word of wisdom but I found ,

none Nadan cried aloud O wicked and foolish


.
,

old m a n come forth from the presence of the king ;


,

stretch out thy ha n ds for the cords and thy feet for
the fetters ! And they bound me .

Then the king Esarhaddon turned away his face


from me and spoke to N a b us h e m ak the chief of the ,

executioners who had been my friend and said


, , ,

Take Abikar smite o ff his head and remove it a


, ,
144 O L D TESTA M E NT LEGE N DS
hundr e d ells from his body And I fe ll o n my .

face a n d said 0 ki n g live for ever ! It is thy


, ,

will to slay me yet I know that I have not si n ned


,

against thee Now my lord I beseech thee com


.
, , ,

mand that I may be slain before the door of my own


house and that my body may be given to my wife
,

to be buried And the king g a ve commandment
.

accordingly .

Now as they were taking me to my house I s ent


n
,

a messenger before me to my wife A sh f a g i who ,

was a very wise woman And she when sh e heard .


,

what had happened did not waste time in m a king,

lamentation but haste n ed and prepared refreshment


,

for N ab ush e m ak and for the slaves that were his


helpers She came forth to meet them and a c c o m
n
.
,

p a i e d them into the house and s e t food and wine ,

before them ; and the slaves drank of the wine till


they were drunken and fell into a de e p sl ee p every ,

one in his place .

Then I said to N ab ush e m ak Do you remember ,

how when the father of the king delivered you to


,

m e to be put to death I spared you because I knew ,

that you had not done that for which you were
condemned ; and how when the king learned that ,

you were guiltless he took you into favour again


, ,

and rewarded me ! Now I swear to you that I


likewise h a ve not conspired against king Esarhaddon ,
146 OLD TESTAM ENT L EGEN DS
and was drunken He mocked at my wife A shf ag i
. n ,

and as for my servants who loved me and had be e n


,

long in my house he stripped them and beat them


,

and ill treated them until I heard the voice of their


-

weeping and crying in my hiding place and I prayed -


,

the Most High to deliver us and to reward Nadan


according to his works .

II
Now when Pharaoh king of Egypt heard that ,

I A h i k ar was dead he was very glad ; for he had


, , ,

always stood in awe of my wisdom And he wrote .

a letter to Esarhaddon in these words ! Pharaoh ,

king of Egypt to Esarhaddon king of Assyria


, , ,

greeting ! I desire to build a castle between heaven


and earth Send me therefore a wise man to whom
.

I may commit the business If he accomplishes all .

that I require and answers all my questions I will ,

send you by his hands the whole revenue of Egypt


for three years But if you cannot send m e such a
.

man then you must send to m e by my mess enger


, , ,

the whole revenue of Assyria for three years And .

if not I shall come against you and lay your land


,

desolate And so farewell


. .

When the letter was read before Esarhaddon he ,

called together his princes and counsellors and wise


A H I KA R 1 47

me n a n d said to them Which of you will go to


, ,


Egypt and answer the questions of Pharaoh !

They said Lord and king in the time of your


, ,

father it was A h i k ar the scribe who answered all


hard questions and solved all di ffi culties ; and b e

hold now you have with you his sister s son N adan
, ,

who has been instructed in his wisdom and can do



all that you require So the king turned to Nadan
.

and said Will you go to Egypt and answer


,

Pharaoh ! But Nadan s a id It is folly ! The gods


,

themselves could not build a castle between heaven


and earth ; how then should the children of men

accomplish such a thing ! When the king heard
that he arose and cam e dow n from his throne and
, ,

threw himself on the ground l a menting and saying ,

Alas alas I am undone I have slain my .


, ,

servant A b ikar at the word of a foolish boy and ,

there is none like him left ! Who can give him



back to me !
Then N a b us h e m ak spoke and said 0 king , ,

live for ever He that disobeys the commandments


.

of his master is worthy of death Say therefore .

the word and let them hang m e on a tree ; for


,

A h i k a r whom you bade m e slay is not dead but


, , ,


l iving ! The king said O N a b us h e m a k if it be
, ,

as you say and if you can show me A h i k a r alive


, ,

I will give you ten thousand tal e nts of gold and


1 48 OLD TESTAM E NT L E GEN DS
a hundred robes of purple Say on ther e for e
.
, .

N a b ush e m a k said One thing I ask of my lord


,

that he will not keep this my trespass in mind nor ,



store up wrath against me And the king sw a re
.

to him .

N a b us h e m ak went forth immedi a t e ly and


mounted his chariot and drove swiftly to my
,

house He uncovered the hiding place and brought


.
-

me forth and took me up into his chariot and led


,

me into the presence of the king And when the .

king s aw me he wept ; for I was in evil plight


, .

M y hair was grown over my shoulders and my ,

beard reached down to my girdle ; my body was



foul with dirt and my nails were as long as eagles
,

claws ; my eyes were dim from the darkn e ss and ,

my limbs were sti ff so that I could scarcely walk .

And the king said , O A b ikar it is not I that have


,

brought this misery upon you but h e whom you ,

have brought up as your own son I answered .


,

0 king since mine eyes have looked upon you I


,


have no more sorrow or pain The king said .
,

Go to your house bathe your body and cut your


, ,

hair ; refresh yourself and t a ke your rest for forty



days ; then come back to me And I did so But
. .

after twenty days I had recovered my strength and ,

I went back to the king Then he showed me the


.

letter of the king of Egypt saying Behold


, , ,
1 50 OLD TESTAM E NT L EGE N DS
sends me the least of his servants ! I said My ,

lord Esarhaddon is s o far exalted above his servants


that in his sight the great and the small are all
alike
He said
.
Depart from my presence and
, ,


to morrow come again to me
-
.

Then Pharaoh who desired foolishly to make


,

himself appear great in our eyes arrayed himself ,

in purple and made his nobles put on scarlet and


,

stand about him and when I came into his presence


he asked me to what I compared him I said .
,

M y lord you are like the god Bel and your


, ,

nobles are like his priests And in like manner .

on the following days he dressed himself in various


colours and each day asked me what I should
,

liken him to And I said To the sun on one


.
,


day and To the moon on the next and on the
, ,

third day To the spring and the owers of it


, .

And he was greatly pleased and said A b ik am , , ,

you have compared me to the god Bel and to the


n
,

su and the moon and the spring ; now tell me to ,


what do you liken your master Esarhaddon ! I
said I cannot tell you 0 king until you have
, , ,


risen from your throne So Pharaoh stood up
.
,

and I said M y lord Esarhaddon is like the great


,

God of Heaven in respect of you ! H e has


dominion over t h e god Bel H e can forbid the ,

sun to shine and the moon to rise and He can ,


A H I KA R 151

lay waste the spring and all the owers thereof .

Then Pharaoh was displeased and said I adj ure ,

you by the life of your lord Esarhaddon tell me , ,


what is your name in very deed ! , I answered ,

I am A h i k a r the scribe and the seal of Esarhaddon


,


is in my keeping .

Pharaoh was troubled when he learned that I


was yet alive and he sent me away saying To
, , ,

morrow come to me and tell me a thing which


neither I nor my nobles have ever heard So I .

took thought and wrote in the name of Pharaoh a


,

bond in which it w a s said that he owed to my lord


Esarhaddon nine hundred talents of gold And .

next day I brought it before Pharaoh ; but before


I had opened it the nobles cried out saying We , ,


know it of old we know it well !
, Then said I ,


I thank yo u for acknowledging the debt And I .

gave the paper to the king and he looked on it and,

said to them , What ! D o you acknowledge that I


owe nine hundred talents of gold to Esarhaddon !
And they were confounded and cried out again , ,

No ! no ! we have never heard of any such


thing. So I said If it be so I have done what
, ,


you required .

But Pharaoh said It is enough ! I have sent


,

for you to build me a castle between the earth and


the heavens ; even a thousand cubits above the
1 52 O L D TE STA M ENT L E GE N DS
earth Come forth into the plain to morrow and
.
-


accomplish this And I said .Well 0 king ; and , ,

do you for your part bring masons and that which


is necessary for building So on the morrow a.

great multitude assembled to s e e how the matter


would go But I had my eagles and my boys in
.

readiness ; and when Pharaoh gave the word I sent ,

them up the boys riding on the eagles ; and when


,

they were high up in the air the boys called out , ,

as I had taught them Bring us mortar lime and


, , ,

stones ! we are ready to begin the building And


the masons and all the people were amazed gaping ,

at the boys And I fell upon the masons and beat


.

them saying, Why delay you , M ake haste give ,


them what they ask for and such like words till,
-
,

they ed before m e And I said to Pharaoh If


.
,

your people refuse to do their part how can I do ,


mine ! And Pharaoh and his nobles murmured ,

but they could not think of any a nswer So Pharaoh .

said It is enough ; leave the matter of the castle ;


,

I have other questions to a sk you .

On the morrow he called for me and said I , ,

saw a great pillar built of 876 3 bricks and about ,

it are planted twelve cedars and each has thirty ,

branches and on each branch are a black and a white


,

mouse which gnaw it I laughed and made answer


. ,

O king ther e is not a child in the la n d of Assyria


,
A H I KA R 1 53

who could not interpret this riddle The pillar is .

the year the bricks are the hours the cedars the
, ,

months their branches the days and the black and


, ,

white mice are the night and the day .

Pharaoh s face fell and he said


Well B ut
, , .

now I command you to plait m e a rope out of the


sand . I answered L et them bring me a pattern
,

out of your store house 0 king that I may have i t


-
, ,

to copy
. H e said You trie with m e ; and
,

unless you plait m e such a rope I will not pay you



the revenues of Egypt I went aside therefore .

and considered ; and knowing that the Egyptians


were foolish I thought upon a plan I got a mass
, .

of sand and put it in a chest and made it run out ,

through two pipes s o that when the sun shone upon


it it appeared like the strands of a rope ; and I
,

called to the king L et you r servants plait together


,

the two strands of the rope which I have made and ,

when they have done s o I will make more And


again they were dismayed and could say nothing , .

L astly Pharaoh showed m e a millstone which


,

was broken in two pieces and said Come A h i k a r , , , ,


sew this together for me B ut I took a small .

piece of a lik e stone and said 0 king I have not


, , ,

my tools with m e ; but command your shoemaker


to cut me a thread out of this piece of stone and ,

I will s e w the millstone together forthwith .
1 54 O L D TESTA M ENT LEGE NDS
The n Pharaoh laughed and said Well A hi k ar , , , ,

it was on a good day for your lord that you were


born Come I will make you a feast and after
.
, ,


that you shall return to your own land .

So after certain days I departed taking with ,

me the revenues of Egypt for three years and also ,

the nine hundred talents which I had made Pharaoh


acknowledge that he owed to my lord And Esar .

haddon came forth to meet me and when he heard


what I had done he made me sit down on his right
,

hand and said A h i k a r ask what thou wilt and


, , ,

I will give it thee Then I said 0 king live for


.
, ,

ever ! Two things only will I require of thee ! one ,

that thou wouldst do good unto N a b u sh e m ak for it ,

is by his means that I was saved alive ; and the


other that thou wouldst give me power over my
,

sister s son Nadan and not require his life at



,


my hand And the king granted my request
.
,

and exalted N a b us h e m ak to the rst rank in his


kingdom but Nadan he delivered into my hand .

I took Nadan to the hall of my house a n d se t ,

him with his feet in the stocks a n d a collar of ,

iron about his neck and iron bands upon his hands
,

I fed him with bread and water and chastised him ,

with rods And when I came in or out of my


.

house I stood and reproached him speaking in ,

parables and prov e rbs .


1 56 O L D TE STAM ENT L EGE N DS
along with the nobles ; and when it had bathed
and come forth it saw a pool of mud and went , ,

and rolled therein .

Hearken ! a serpent was sleeping on a thorn


bush and a ood came and swept them both away
, .

And a wolf saw them oating on the water and ,

said There goes one evil upon another evil and


,

,

a third evil carrying them The serpent said ,

And dost thou bring back the kids and lambs


to their mothers ! Nay said the wolf The
,

.

serpent said I know not whether there is much


,

to choose betwixt
Thou art like the mole that came up out of

the ground to curse God because H e had o t given n


to it sharpness of sight ; and the eagle s aw it and ,


carried it o ff .

When men say to the wolf Get away from


,

the ock he saith Nay but the dust thereof is


,

,

,


healing to mine eyes When they took him to the .


school the teacher said Say A
, The wolf said ,

.
,

L amb

Say B . He answered Kid Surely he

.
,

.

spake of that which was in his thoughts .

At last after many days Nadan besought me


, , ,

saying Have mercy on me spare my life and


, , ,

I will feed thy swine and keep thine asses and ,


b e thy slave for ever .

And I said Thou art like the p alm tree which


,
-
A H I KA R 1 57

b ar e n o d a t e s a nd the ow n er c a me to cut it dow n ;


,

and it said ,Leave me this on e year and next



,

year I will bear melons B ut he said Thou that .
,

hast not borne thine own fruit h o w wilt t hou h e ar ,

one that is not thine ! N ow behold I will sa y


, ,

no more to the e O N adan ; but let God who


, ,

preserved me alive j udge b e tween thee a nd m e
,
.

And forthwith j udgment went forth against


Nadan and his b ody swelled up and burst a n d
, ,

he died For it is written


.
H e that diggeth a ,

pit for a nother shall fall into the midst of it


himself .

TH E EN D

Pr i nd b
te y B A LLA N T ! N E H A N SO N G
r Co

nr
,

Pa ul Wo rk
'
at s ,
E di bu g h