The Exaltation of Melchizedek
Originally II Enoch 69-73
1 On the third day, in the time of the evening, the elders of the people spoke to Methuselah, saying, "Stand in front of the Face of The Lord, in front the face of all the people, and in front of the face of the altar of The Lord; and you will be glorified in your people."
2 Methuselah answered his people: "Wait, O men, until The Lord, The God of my father Enoch, shall Himself raise up for Himself a priest over His Own People." The people waited until that night in vain at the place Akhuzan. Methuselah remained near the altar and prayed to The Lord and said, "O Lord, the only One of the whole world, Who has taken away my father Enoch. You raise up a priest for your people, give their heart understanding to fear Your Glory and to perform everything in accordance to Your Will."
3 Methuselah fell asleep, and The Lord appeared to him in a night vision and said to him, "Listen, Methuselah! I am The Lord, The God of your father Enoch. Give heed to the voice of these people and stand in front of My Altar, and I shall glorify you in front of the face of all the people, and you will be glorified all the days of your life, and I shall bless you." Methuselah got up from his sleep and blessed The Lord, Who has appeared to him.
4 The elders of the people hurried to Methuselah and The Lord directed Methuselah's heart to give heed to the voice of the people. And he said to them, "The Lord God is The One who have given Grace to these people in front of my eyes today." And Sarkhasan, Kharmis, and Zaras, the elders of the people, hurried and attired Methuselah in the designated garments and placed a blazing crown on his head.
5 The people hurried and they brought sheep, oxen and some birds, all of them having passed inspection, for Methuselah to sacrifice in The Name of The Lord and in the name of the people. Methuselah came up to The Lord's Altar, and his face was radiant like the sun at midday, with all the people in procession behind him. Methuselah stood in front of the altar of The Lord, with all the people standing around the place of sacrifice. And when the elders of the people had taken sheep and oxen, they tied their four legs together, and placed them at the head of the altar.
6 They said to Methuselah, "Pick up the knife! Slaughter them in the required manner in The Face of The Lord." Methuselah stretched out his hands to heaven and he called out to The Lord thus, saying, "Accept me, O Lord! Who am I, to stand at the head of Your Place of Sacrifice and over the head of these people? And now, Lord, look upon Your servant and upon these people. Give A Blessing to Your servant in front of the face of these people, so that they may realize that You are The One Who has appointed me to be priest over your people."
7 It happened, while Methuselah was praying, that the altar was shaken, the knife rose up from the altar and leaped into Methuselah's hand in front of the face of all the people. The people trembled and glorified God. Methuselah was honored in front of the face of The Lord and in front of the face of all the people from that day.
8 Methuselah took the knife and slaughtered all that had been brought by the people. The people rejoiced greatly, they made merry in front of The Face of The Lord, and in front of the face of Methuselah on that day. Then the people went off to their own houses.
1 Methuselah began to stand at the altar in front of The Face of The Lord and all the people from that day for 10 years, hoping in an eternal inheritance, and having thoroughly taught all the earth and all the people.
2 There was not found one single person turning himself away in vanity from The Lord during all the days that Methuselah lived. The Lord Blessed Methuselah and was gratified by his sacrifices and by his gifts and by every kind of service which he performed in front of The Face of The Lord.
3 When the time of the departure days of Methuselah arrived, The Lord appeared to him in a night vision and said to him, "Listen, Methuselah! I am The Lord, The God of your father Enoch. I want you to know that the days of your life have come to an end, and the day of your rest has come close. Call Nir, second son of Lamech, and invest him in the garments of your consecration. Make him stand at My Altar and tell him everything that will happen in his days, for the time of the destruction of all the earth, and of every human being and of every thing that lives on the earth, is drawing near.
4 For in his days, there will be a great confusion on the earth, for each one has begun to envy his neighbor, and people will sin against people. Nation will wage war against nation. All the earth will be filled with blood and with very evil confusion. Even more than that, they have abandoned their Creator and they will do obeisance to that which is fixed in the sky, to what moves on the earth, and the waves of the sea. And the adversary will make himself great and will be delighted in their deeds to My provocation.
5 All the earth will change its order, every fruit and every herb will change their seeds, for they will anticipate the time of destruction. All the nations will change on the earth by My conflagration.
6 Then I shall give the command. The bottomless will be poured out over the earth and the great storages of the waters of heaven will come down on the earth in a great substance, in accordance with the first substance.
7 The whole constitution of the earth will perish, all the earth will quake, and it will be deprived of its strength from that day. Then I will preserve the son of your son Lamech, his first son, Noah. From his seed, I will raise up another world, and his seed will exist forever, until the second destruction, when once again, mankind will have committed sin in front of My Face."
8 Methuselah, leaped up from his sleep, his dream was very disturbing. He summoned all the elders of the people, and recounted to them all that The Lord had said to him; all the vision that had been revealed to him by The Lord. All the people were disturbed by his vision. They answered him, "The Lord is Lord, He will Act in accordance with His Own Will. Now, Methuselah, you do everything just as The Lord has told you."
9 Methuselah summoned Nir, the son of Lamech, Noah's younger brother, and he invested him with the vestments of priesthood in front of the face of all the people, and made him stand at the head of the altar of The Lord. And he taught him everything that he would have to do among the people.
10 Methuselah spoke to the people: "Here is Nir. He will be in front of your face from the present day as a prince and a leader." The people said to Methuselah, "Let it be so for us in accordance with your word. You will be The Voice of The Lord, just as He said to you." When Methuselah had spoke to the people in front of the altar, his spirit was convulsed, and, having knelt on his knees, he stretched out his hands to heaven, and prayed to The Lord. As he was praying to Him, his spirit went out in accordance with The Will of The Lord.
11 Nir and all the people hurried and constructed a grave which they made for Methuselah in the place of Akhuzan, very thoughtfully adorned, with reeds and many holy things. Nir came with many praises, and the people lifted up Methuselah's body, glorifying God; they performed the service for him at the grave which they had made for him and they covered him over.
12 They said, "How blessed was Methuselah in front of The Face of The Lord and in front of the face of all the people!" When they wanted to go away to their own places, Nir said to the people, "Hurry up today and bring sheep, bulls, turtle doves, and pigeons, so that you may make a sacrifice in front of The Face of The Lord today. Then go away to your houses."
13 The people gave heed to Nir, the priest, they hurried and brought them, tied them up at the head of the altar. Nir took the knife of sacrifice and slaughtered all that had been brought to be sacrificed in front of The Face of The Lord. All the people made merry in front of The Face of The Lord, and on that day, they glorified The Lord, The God of Heaven and Earth, The God of Nir. From that day, there was peace and order over all the earth in the days of Nir - 202 years.
14 After that, the people changed and turned away from The Lord. They began to envy one another, people went to war against people, race rose up against race, struggled and insulted one another.Even if the lip were the same, nevertheless, the heart chose different things. For the devil became ruler for the third time. The first was before paradise; the second time was in paradise; the third time was after paradise, and continuing right up to The Flood.
15 There arose great strife and great turbulence. Nir the priest heard and was greatly aggrieved. He said in his heart, "In truth, I have come to understand how the time has arrived and the sayings which The Lord said to Methuselah, the father of my father Lamech."
1 Behold, the wife of Nir, whose name was Sopanim, being sterile and never having at any time given birth to a child by Nir.
2 Sopanim was in the time of her old age and in the day of her death. She conceived in her womb, but Nir the priest had not slept with her. From the day that that The Lord had appointed him to conduct the liturgy in front of the face of the people.
3 When Sopanim saw her pregnancy, she was ashamed and embarrassed, and she hid herself during all the days until she gave birth. Not one of the people knew about it. When 282 days had been completed, and the day of birth had begun to approach, Nir remembered his wife, he called her to himself in his house, so that he might converse with her.
4 Sopanim came to Nir, her husband; and, behold, she was pregnant, and the day appointed for giving birth was drawing near. Nir saw her and became very ashamed. He said to her, "What is this that you have done, O wife? Why have you disgraced me in front of the face of these people? Now, depart from me and go where you began the disgrace of your womb, so that I might not defile my hand on account of you, and sin in front of The Face of The Lord."
5 Sopanim spoke to her husband, Nir, saying, "O my lord! Behold, it is the time of my old age, the day of my death has arrived. I do not understand how my menopause and the barrenness of my womb have been reversed." . Nir did not believe his wife, and for the second time he said to her, "Depart from me, or else I might assault you, and commit a sin in front of the face of The Lord."
6 And it came to pass, when Nir had spoken to his wife, Sopanim, that Sopanim fell down at Nir's feet and died. Nir was extremely distressed and said in his heart, "Could this have happened because of my word? And now, merciful is The Eternal Lord, because my hand was not upon her."
7 The archangel Gabriel appeared to Nir, and said to him, "Do not think that your wife Sopanim has died because of your error, but this child, which is to be born of her is a righteous fruit, and one whom I shall receive into paradise, so that you will not be the father of a gift of God."
8 Nir hurried and shut the door of his house. He went to Noah, his brother, and he reported to him everything that had happened in connection with his wife. Noah hurried to the room of his brother. The appearance of his brother's wife was in death and her womb was at the time of giving birth.
9 Noah said to Nir, "Don't let yourself be sorrowful, Nir, my brother! For The Lord today has covered up our scandal, in that nobody from the people knows this. Now let us go quickly and bury her, and The Lord will cover up the scandal of our shame." They placed Sopanim on the bed, wrapped her around with black garments, and shut the door. They dug a grave in secret.
10 When they had gone out toward the grave, a child came out from the dead Sopanim and sat on the bed at her side. Noah and Nir came in to bury Sopanim and they saw the child sitting beside the dead Sopanim, wiping his clothing. Noah and Nir were very terrified with a great fear, because the child was fully developed physically, he spoke with his lips and blessed The Lord.
11 Noah and Nir looked at him closely, saying, "This is from The Lord, my brother." And behold the badge of priesthood was on his chest, and it was glorious in appearance. Noah said to Nir, "Behold, God is renewing the priesthood from blood related to us, just as He pleases.."
12 Noah and Nir hurried and washed the child, they dressed him in the garments of the priesthood, and they gave him bread to eat and he ate it. And they called him Melchizedek .
13 Noah and Nir lifted up the body of Sopanim, divested her of the black garments, and washed her. They clothed her in exceptionally bright garments and built a grave for her. Noah, Nir, and Melchizedek came and they buried her publicly. Noah said to his brother Nir, "Look after this child in secret until the time, because people will become treacherous in all the earth, they will begin to turn away from God, and having become totally ignorant, and in some way when they see him, they will put him to death."
14 Then Noah went away to his own place, and behold, great lawlessness began to become abundant over all the earth in the days of Nir. And Nir began to worry excessively about the child saying, "What will I do with him?" And stretching out his hands toward heaven, Nir called out to The Lord, saying, "How miserable it is for me, Eternal Lord, that all lawlessness has begun to become abundant over all the earth in my days! And I realize how much nearer our end is, on account of the lawlessness of the people. And now, Lord, what is the vision about this child, and what is his destiny, or what will I do for him, so that he too will not be joined with us in this destruction?"
15 The Lord heeded Nir and appeared to him in a night vision. And He said to him, "Behold already, Nir, the great lawlessness which has come about on the earth, which I shall not tolerate anymore. Behold, I plan not to send down a great destruction onto the earth. But, concerning the child, do not worry, Nir; because I, in a short while, will send My archangel Gabriel. And he will take the child and put him in the paradise of Eden.
16 He will not perish along with those who must perish. As I have revealed it, Melchizedek will be My priest to all holy priests, I will sanctify him and I will establish him so that he will be the head of the priests of the future."
17 Nir arose from his sleep and blessed The Lord, Who had appeared to him saying: Blessed be The Lord, The God of my fathers who has not condemned my priesthood and the priesthood of my fathers because by His Word, He has created a great priest in the womb of Sopanim, my wife. For I have no descendants. So let this child take the place of my descendants and become as my own son, and You will count him in the number of your servants."
18 "Therefore honor him together with your servants and great priests and me your servant, Nir. And behold, Melchizedek will be the head of priests in another generation. I know that great confusion has come and in confusion this generation will come to an end, and everyone will perish, except that Noah, my brother, will be preserved for procreation. From his tribe, there will arise numerous people, and Melchizedek will become the head of priests reigning over a royal people who serve You, O Lord."
1 It happened when the child had completed 40 days in Nir's tent, The Lord said to the archangel Gabriel, "Go down onto the earth to Nir the priest, and take the child Melchizedek, who is with him. Place him in the paradise of Eden for preservation. For the time is already approaching, and I will pour out all the water onto the earth, and everything that is on the earth will perish. And I will raise it up again, and Melchizedek will be the head of the priests in that generation." And Gabriel hurried, and came flying down when it was night, and Nir was sleeping on his bed that night. Gabriel appeared to him and said to him, "Thus says The Lord: 'Nir! Restore the child to me whom I entrusted to you.' "
2 Nir did not realize who was speaking to him and his heart was confused. And he said, "When the people find out about the child, then they will seize him and kill him, because the heart of these people are deceitful in front of The Face of The Lord." And he answered Gabriel and said, "The child is not with me, and I don't know who is speaking to me."
3 Gabriel answered him, "Do not be frightened, Nir! I am the archangel Gabriel. The Lord sent me and behold, I shall take your child today. I will go with him and I will place him in the paradise of Eden."
4 Nir remembered the first dream and believed it. He answered Gabriel, "Blessed be The Lord, who has sent you to me today! Now bless your servant Nir! Take the child and do to him all that has been said to you." And Gabriel took the child, Melchizedek on the same night on his wings, and he placed him in the paradise of Eden. Nir got up in the morning, and he went into his tent and did not find the child. There was great joy and grief for Nir because had the child in place of a son.
1 The Lord said to Noah, "Make an ark with 300 cubits in length, in width 50 cubits and in height 30 cubits. Put the entrance to the ark in its side; and make it with two stories in the middle" The Lord God opened the doors of heaven. Rain came onto the earth and all flesh died.
2 Noah fathered 3 sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. He went into the ark in his six hundredth year. After the flood, he lived 350 years. He lived in all 950 years, according to The Lord our God.
3 To our God be Glory always, now and in the ages of the ages. AMEN.
SEPHER YETZIRAH, OR THE BOOK OF CREATION
Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Sēpher Yəṣîrâh "Book of Formation," or "Book of Creation," ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest extant book on Jewish esotericism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed to Kabbalah. "Yetzirah" is more literally translated as "Formation"; the word "Briah" is used for "Creation". The Sefer Yetzirah is devoted to speculations concerning God's creation of the world. The ascription of its authorship to the biblical patriarch Abraham shows the high esteem which it enjoyed for centuries. It may even be said that this work had a greater influence on the development of the Jewish mind than almost any other book after the completion of the Talmud. The Sefer Yetzirah is exceedingly difficult to understand on account of its obscure style. The difficulty is rendered still greater by the lack of a critical edition, the present text being much interpolated and altered. Hence there is a wide divergence of opinion regarding the age, origin, contents, and value of the book, since it is variously regarded as the Temple era.
1. In two and thirty most hidden and wonderful paths of wisdom did JAH the Lord of Hosts engrave his name: God of the armies of Israel, ever-living God, merciful and gracious, sublime, dwelling on high, who inhabiteth eternity. He created this universe by the three Sepharim, Number, Writing, and Speech.
2. Ten are the numbers, as are the Sephiroth, and twenty-two the letters, these are the Foundation of all things. Of these letters, three are mothers, seven are double, and twelve are simple.
3. The ten numbers formed from nothing are the Decad: these are seen in the fingers of the hands, five on one, five on the other, and over them is the Covenant by voice spiritual, and the rite of Circumcision, corporeal (as of Abraham).
4. Ten are the numbers of the ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Learn this wisdom, and be wise in the understanding of it, investigate these numbers, and draw knowledge from them, fix the design in its purity, and pass from it to its Creator seated on his throne.
5. These Ten Numbers, beyond the Infinite one, have the boundless realms, boundless origin and end, an abyss of good and one of evil, boundless height and depth, East and West, North and South, and the one only God and king, faithful forever seated on his throne, shall rule over all, forever and ever.
6. These ten Sephiroth which are ineffable, whose appearance is like scintillating flames, have no end but are infinite. The word of God is in them as they burst forth, and as they return; they obey the divine command, rushing along as a whirlwind, returning to prostrate themselves at his throne.
7. These ten Sephiroth which are, moreover, ineffable, have their end even as their beginning, conjoined, even as is a flame to a burning coal: for our God is superlative in his unity, and does not permit any second one. And who canst thou place before the only one?
8. And as to this Decad of the Sephiroth, restrain thy lips from comment, and thy mind from thought of them, and if thy heart fail thee return to thy place; therefore is it written, "The living creatures ran and returned," and on this wise was the covenant made with us.
9. These are the ten emanations of number. One is the Spirit of the Living God, blessed and more than blessed be the name of the Living God of Ages. The Holy Spirit is his Voice, his Spirit, and his Word.
10. Second, from the Spirit he made Air and formed for speech twenty-two letters, three of which are mothers, A, M, SH, seven are double, B, G, D, K, P, R, T, and twelve are single, E, V, Z, CH, H, I, L, N, S, O, Tz, Q, but the spirit is first among these. Third, Primitive Water. He also formed and designed from his Spirit, and from the void and formless made earth, even as a rampart, or standing wall, and varied its surface even as the crossing of beams. Fourth, from the Water, He designed Fire, and from it formed for himself a throne of honor, with Auphanim, Seraphim, Holy Animals, and ministering Angels, and with these he formed his dwelling, as is written in the text "Who maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flaming fire." (Psalm civ. 4.)
11. He selected three letters from the simple ones, and sealed them as forming his great Name, I H V and he sealed the universe in six directions. Five.- He looked above, and sealed the height, with I H V. Six.- He looked below, and sealed the deep, with I V H. Seven.- He looked forward, and sealed the East, with H I V. Eight.-He looked backward, and sealed the West, with V H I. Nine.- He looked to the right, and sealed the South, with V I H. Ten.-He looked to the left, and sealed the North, with H V 1.
12. These are the ten ineffable existences, the spirit of the living God, Air, Water, Fire, Height and Depth, East and West, North and South.
1. The foundations are the twenty-two letters, three mothers, seven double, and twelve single letters. Three mothers, namely A, M, SH, these are Air, Water, and Fire: Mute as Water, Hissing as Fire, and Air of a spiritual type, is as the tongue of a balance standing erect between them pointing out the equilibrium which exists.
2. He hath formed, weighed, transmuted, composed, and created with these twenty-two letters every living being, and every soul yet uncreated.
3. Twenty-two letters are formed by the voice, impressed on the air, and audibly uttered in five situations, in the throat, guttural sounds; in the palate, palatals; by the tongue, linguals; through the teeth, dentals; and by the lips, labial sounds.
4. These twenty-two letters, the foundations, He arranged as on a sphere, with two hundred and thirty-one modes of entrance. If the sphere be rotated forward, good is implied, if in a retrograde manner evil is intended.
5. For He indeed showed the mode of combination of the letters, each with each, Aleph with all, and all with Aleph. Thus in combining all together in pairs are produced these two hundred and thirty-one gates of knowledge. And from Nothingness did He make something, and all forms of speech and every created thing, and from the empty void He made the solid earth, and from the non-existent He brought forth Life. He hewed, as it were, immense column or colossal pillars, out of the intangible air, and from the empty space. And this is the impress of the whole, twenty-one letters, all from one the Aleph.
1. The three mother letters A, M, SH are the foundations of the whole; and resemble a Balance, the good in one scale, the evil in the other, and the oscillating tongue of the Balance between them.
2. These three mothers enclose a mighty mystery, most hidden and most marvelous, sealed as with six rings, and from them proceed primeval Fire, Water, and Air; these are subsequently differentiated into male and female. At first existed these three mothers, and there arose three masculine powers, and hence all things have originated.
3. The three mothers are A, M, SH; and in the beginning as to the Macrocosm the Heavens were created from Fire; and the Earth from primeval Water; and the Air was formed from the Spirit, which stands alone in the midst, and is the Mediator between them.
4. In the Year or as regards Time, these three mothers represent Heat, Cold, and a Temperate climate, the heat from the fire, the cold from the water, and the temperate state from the spiritual air which again is an equalizer between them. These three mothers again represent in the Microcosm or Human form, male and female; the Head, the Belly, and the Chest; the bead from the fire, the belly from water, and the chest from the air lieth between them.
5. These three mothers did he create, form, and design, and combine with the three mothers in the world, and in the year, and in Man, both male and female. He caused Aleph to reign in the air, and crown it, and combined one with the other, and with these he sealed the Air in the world, the temperate climate of the year, and the chest (the lungs for breathing air) in man; the male with A, M, SH, the female with SH, M, A. He caused Mem to predominate in Water, and crowned it, and combined it with others, and formed Earth on the world, cold in the year, and the fruit of the womb in mankind, being carried in the belly. He caused Shin to reign in Fire and crowned it, and he combined one with the other, and sealed them, as heaven in the universe, as heat in the year, and as the head of Man and Woman.
1. There were formed seven double letters, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, Tau, each has two voices, either aspirated or softened. These are the foundations of Life, Peace, Riches, Beauty or Reputation, Wisdom, Fruitfulness, and Power. These are double, because their opposites take part in life, opposed to Life is Death; to Peace, War; to Riches, Poverty; to Beauty or Reputation, Deformity or Disrepute; to Wisdom, Ignorance; to Fruitfulness, Sterility; to Power, Slavery.
2. These seven double letters point out the dimensions, East, West, height, depth, North, South, with the holy temple in the middle, sustaining all things.
3. These seven double letters He formed, designed, created, and combined into the Stars of the Universe, the days of the week, the orifices of perception in man; and from them he made seven heavens, and seven planets, all from nothingness, and, moreover, he has preferred and blessed the sacred Heptad.
4. From two letters, or forms He composed two dwellings; from three, six; from four, twenty-four; from five, one hundred and twenty; from six, seven hundred and twenty; from seven, five thousand and forty; and from thence their numbers increase in a manner beyond counting; and are incomprehensible. These seven are Planets of the Universe, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; the seven days are the days of creation; and these an the seven gateways of a man, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth, through which he perceives by his senses.
SUPPLEMENT TO CHAPTER IV
(Found in some editions)
1. He caused and produced Beth, predominant in wisdom, crowned, combined, and formed the Moon in the Universe, the first day of the week, and the right eye, of man.
2. Gimel, predominant in health, crowned, . combined and formed Mars in the Universe, the second day of the week, and the right ear in man.
3. Daleth, predominant in fertility, crowned, combined, and formed the Sun in the Universe, the third day of the week, and the right nostril in man.
4. Kaph, predominant in life, crowned, combined, and formed Venus in the Universe, the fourth day of the week, and the left eye of man.
5. Pe, predominant in power, crowned, combined, and formed Mercury in the Universe, the fifth day of the week, and the left ear in man.
6. Resh, predominant in peace, crowned, combined, and formed Saturn in the Universe, the sixth day of the week, and the left nostril in man.
7. Tau, predominant in beauty, crowned, combined and formed Jupiter in the Universe, the seventh day in the week, and the mouth of man.
8. By these seven letters were also made seven worlds, seven heavens, seven lands, seven seas, seven rivers, seven deserts, seven days (as before), seven weeks from Passover to Pentecost, and every seventh year a jubilee.
1. The simple letters are twelve, namely: He, Vau, Zain, Heth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Nun, Samech, Oin, Tzaddi, and Quoph; they represent the fundamental properties, eight, hearing, smell, speech, desire for food, the sexual appetite, movement, anger, mirth, thought, sleep, and work. These symbolize also twelve directions in space: northeast, southeast, the east above, the east below, the northwest, southwest, the west above, the west below, the upper south, the lower south, the upper north, the lower north. These diverge to all eternity, and an as the arms of the universe.
2. These twelve letters, he designed, formed, combined, weighed, and changed, and created with them the twelve divisions of the heavens (namely, the zodiacal constellations), the twelve months of the year, and the twelve important organs of the frame of man, namely the right and left hands, the right and left feet, two kidneys, the liver, the gall, the spleen, the intestines, the gullet, and the stomach.
3. Three mothers, seven double and twelve simple, these are the twenty-two letters with which I H V H Tetragrammaton, that is our Lord of Hosts, exalted, and existed in the ages, whose name is Holy, created three fathers, fire and spirit and water, progressing beyond them, seven heavens with their armies of angels; and twelve limits of the universe.
SUPPLEMENT TO CHAPTER V
(Found in some Versions)
1. God produced He, predominant in Speech, crowned, combined, and formed Aries in the world, Nisan in the year, and the right foot of man.
2. God produced Vau, predominant in Mind, crowned, combined, and formed Taurus in the world, Yiar in the year, and the right kidney of man.
3. God produced Zain, predominant in movement, crowned, combined, and formed Gemini in the world, Sivan in the year, and the left foot of man.
4. He produced Heth, predominant in Sight, crowned, combined, and formed Cancer in the world, Tammuz in the year, and the right hand of man.
5. He produced Teth, predominant in Hearing, crowned, combined, and formed Leo in the world, Ab in the year, and the left kidney in man.
6. He produced Yod, predominant in Labor, crowned, combined, and formed Virgo in the world, Elul in the year, and the left hand of man.
7. He produced Lamed, predominant in sexual desire, crowned, combined, and formed Libra in the world, Tisri in the year, and the gall in man.
8. He produced Nun, predominant in smell, crowned, combined, and formed Scorpio in the world, Marchesvan in the year, and the intestines in man.
9. He produced Samech, predominant in sleep, crowned, combined, and formed Sagittarius in the world, Kislev in the year, and the stomach of man.
10. He produced Oin, predominant in Anger, crowned, combined, and formed Capricornus in the world, Tebet in the year, and the liver in man.
11. He produced Tzaddi, predominant in Taste, crowned, combined, and formed Aquarius in the world, Sebat in the year, and the gullet in man.
12. He produced Quoph, predominant in Mirth, crowned, combined, and formed Pisces in the world, Adar in the year, and the spleen in man.
1. In proof of these things, and witnessing faithfully are the Universe, the Year of time, and Man himself, the Microcosm. He fixed these as testimonies of the Triad, the Heptad, and the Dodecad; the twelve constellations rulers of the world, the Dragon (THELE) Tali which environs the universe, and the microcosm, man. The triad, fire, water, and air; the fire above, the water below, and the air in the midst. The proof of which is that air is a participator with both.
2. Tali, the Dragon, is above the Universe, as a king on his throne; the sphere in the year as a king in his State, the Heart of man as a king in warfare. And our God made the states of opposition, good and evil, good from the good, and evil from the evil. Happiness is reserved for the just, and misery for the wicked ones.
3. And out of the triad one stands apart; and in the heptad there are two triads, and one standing apart. The dodecad symbolizes war, the triad of amity, the triad of enmity, three which are life-giving, three which are death-dealing, and God, the faithful king, rules over all from the throne of his sanctity. One above three, three above seven, and seven above twelve, and all are linked together, and one with another.
4. After that our father Abraham had seen, and pondered over, investigated, and understood these things, he designed, engraved, and composed them, and received them into his power (hands). Then the Lord of all appeared unto him, made a covenant with him, and kissed his head, and naming him after his own name, called him his friend; and as it is written, completed a covenant with him and with his seed forever, who then believed on God, the Tetragrammaton, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. God ordained a covenant between the toes of his feet, that of circumcision; and a covenant between the fingers of his hands, that of the Tongue. He bound the essences of the twenty-two letters on his tongue, and God disclosed to him the secrets of them. God has carried these through waters, He has borne them aloft through fire, and He has stamped them in the storms of the air; He has distributed them among the seven stars, and has assigned them to twelve celestial constellations. Amen.
THE THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM APPENDIX TO THE SEPHER YETZIRAH
The First Path is called the Admirable or the Concealed Intelligence (The Highest Crown) - for it is the Light giving the power of comprehension of that First Principle which has no beginning, and it is the Primal Glory, for no created being can attain to its essence.
The Second Path is that of the Illuminating Intelligence it is the Crown of Creation, the Splendor of the Unity, equaling it, and it is exalted above every bead, and named by the Kabbalists the Second Glory.
The Third Path is the Sanctifying Intelligence, and is the basis of foundation of Primordial Wisdom, which is called the Former of faith, and its roots, Amen; and it is the parent of Faith, from which virtues doth Faith emanate.
The Fourth Path is named Measuring, Cohesive, or Receptacular; and is so called because it contains all the holy powers, and from it emanate all the spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences: they emanate one from the other by the power of the primordial emanation (The Highest Crown), blessed be it.
The Fifth Path is called the Radical Intelligence, because it is itself the essence equal to the Unity, uniting itself to the BINAH or Intelligence which emanates from the primordial depths of Wisdom or CHOCHMAH.
The Sixth Path is called the Intelligence of the Mediating Influence, because in it are multiplied the influxes of the emanations; for it causes that affluence to flow into all the reservoirs of the Blessings, with which these themselves are united.
The Seventh Path is the Hidden Intelligence, because it is the Refulgent Splendor of all the Intellectual virtues which are perceived by the eyes of intellect, and by the contemplation of faith.
The Eighth Path is called Absolute or Perfect, because it is the means of the primordial, which has no root by which it can cleave, nor rest, except in the hidden places Of GEDULAH. Magnificence, which emanate from its own proper essence.
The Ninth Path is the Pure intelligence so called because it purifies the Numerations, it proves and corrects the designing of their representation, and disposes their unity with which they are combined without diminution or division.
The Tenth Path is the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above every bead, and sits on the throne of BINAH (the Intelligence spoken of in the Third Path). It illuminates the splendor of all lights, and causes a supply of influence to emanate from the Prince of countenances.
The Eleventh Path is the Scintillating Intelligence because it is the essence of that curtain which is placed close to the order of the disposition, and this is a special dignity given to it that it may be able to stand before the Face of the Cause of Causes.
The Twelfth Path is the Intelligence of Transparency, because it is that species of Magnificence., called CHAZCHAZIT, which is named the place whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions. (That is, the prophecies by seers in a vision.)
The Thirteenth Path is named the Uniting Intelligence and is so called because it is itself the essence of Glory. It is the Consummation of the Truth of individual spiritual things.
The Fourteenth Path is the Illuminating Intelligence, and is so called because it is itself that CHASHMAL which is the founder of the concealed and fundamental ideas of holiness and of their stages of preparation.
The Fifteenth Path is the Constituting Intelligence, so called because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in scripture, Job xxxviii. 9, "and thick darkness a swaddling band for it."
The Sixteenth Path is the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence, so called because it is the pleasure of the Glory, beyond which is no other Glory like to it, and it is called also the Paradise prepared for the Righteous.
The Seventeenth Path is the Disposing Intelligence, which provides Faith to the Righteous, and they are clothed with the Holy Spirit by it, and it is called the Foundation of Excellence in the state of higher thing.
The Eighteenth Path is called the House of Influence (by the greatness of whose abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is increased) and from the midst of the investigation the arcana and hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and which cling to it, from the cause of all causes.
The Nineteenth Path is the Intelligence of all the activities of the spiritual beings, and is so called because of the affluence diffused by it from the most high blessing and most exalted sublime glory.
The Twentieth Path is the Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known.
The Twenty-first Path is the Intelligence of Conciliation, and is so called because it receives the divine influence which flows into it from its benediction upon all and each existence.
The Twenty-second Path is the Faithful Intelligence, and is so called because by it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow.
The Twenty-third Path is the Stable Intelligence, and it is so called because it has the virtue of consistency among all numerations.
The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes, which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.
The Twenty-fifth Path is the Intelligence of Probation, or is Tentative, and is so called because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator (blessed be He) trieth all righteous persons.
The Twenty-sixth Path is called the Renovating Intelligence, because the Holy God (blessed be He) renews by it, all the changing things which are renewed by the creation of the world.
The Twenty-seventh Path is the Exciting Intelligence, and it is so called bemuse by it is created the Intellect of all created beings under the highest heaven, and the excitement or motion of them.
The Twenty-eighth Path is the Natural Intelligence, and is so called because through it is consummated and perfected the nature of every existent being under the orb of the Sun, in perfection.
The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so called because it forms every body which is, formed beneath the whole set of worlds and the increment of them.
The Thirtieth Path is the Collecting Intelligence, and is so called because Astrologers deduce from it the judgment of the Stars, and of the celestial signs, and the perfections of their science, according to the rules of their revolutions.
The Thirty-first Path is the Perpetual Intelligence; and why is it so called? Because it regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their proper order, each in an orbit convenient for it.
The Thirty-second Path is the Administrative Intelligence, and it is so called because it directs and associates, in all their operations, the seven planets, even all of them in their own due courses.
END OF THE SEPHER YETZIRAH
THE BOOK OF RAZIEL is a collection of mystical, cosmological, and magical Hebrew works and portions of works. First printed in Amsterdam in 1701, it was reprinted many times, because of the popular belief that the book protected its owner's home from fire and other dangers. There are some manuscripts of, at least, parts of this work which date back to the 16th century. However, in its printed form, it was not compiled much earlier than the 17th century. Many manuscript collections of material of the same sort are extant, and Raziel is not unique among them in any way. Presented here, is Part One of the text.
THIS IS THE BOOK OF THE GREAT RAZIEL
The Angel Raziel delivered this book to Adam after 130 years of his Repentance, which book contains Cabbala, by which they can cause Angels, according to his month and his day, to perform miracles, and cast out the evil spirits which occasionally enter in men, and it also contains the knowledge of conversing concerning the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, and to cause to be sick and heal again, and it speaks of many other powers of the vegetable world, precious stones, fishes, fowls, wild beasts, also to be enabled to foretell by the means of the stars and to explain the rod of Moses, wherewith he performed wonders.
Blessed are the wise by the mysteries coming from the wisdom. Of reverence, the Torah is given to teach the truth to human beings. Of the strength and glory, honor the Skekinethov. The power of the highest and lowest works is the foundation of the glory of Elohim. The secret word is as milk and honey upon the tongue. Let it be to you alone. The teachings are not foreign to you. This book proclaims the secret of Raziel, but only to the humble. Stand in the middle of the day, without provocation and without reward. Learn the tributes of the reverence of Elohim.
Turn away from evil and journey on the path to pursue righteousness. The secret is reverence of the Lord. The worthy go directly to the secret. It is written, only reveal the secret of El to serve the prophets.
There are three secrets corresponding to the Torah of the prophets. All secrets correspond to these three. The first commandment is the first wisdom, reverence of the Lord. It is written, reverence of the Lord is the first knowledge. The beginning wisdom is reverence of the Lord, corresponding to three wisdoms. It is written, of the outer wisdom, rejoice and build the house of wisdom with the secret of the foundation. Be wise by opening the heart to the secret. There are three kinds of secrets. The secret of the chariot, the secret of Genesis, and the secret of the the laws of God. These are made clear by the help of Shaddai. There are three kinds of reverence of heaven. They are reverence of the Lord, reverence of Shaddai, and reverence of Elohim.
It is made clear that reverence of the Lord is to love the name of God and serve in love. It is written, man is happy to revere the Lord. It is not written here of reverence of Elohim, but only of reverence of the Lord. It is written in the commandments to serve in love. Desire to regard in the heart and keep the commandments. In the commandments, it is said of the reverence of Elohim, revere Elohim, lest you come into the hands of temptation. Man is not to serve in temptation, of reverence before the king, not rising up by the name. It is decreed, as it is written, Abraham was beloved. God spoke to him to lead his son. It is written, you know to revere Elohim. You know of love. Know it is decreed, man is happy not to journey by counsel of wickedness. It is written herein, man is happy to revere the Lord. Show reverence to the heavens all the day.
Regard love in the heart. The reverence of the heavens is in the heart at all times, reverence of the purity of the Lord. Those giving reverence are loved by the Lord. There is much value in living in purity. Bathe in the glory of the light of Elohim. Go from darkness into light, divided from those led astray. As the light shines down upon the sea, that is the reverence of Elohim who spoke to Abraham. From love, understanding was created by the love and reverence. A thousand generations come after from the love.
It is written in the Midrash of three kinds of offerings. They are the burnt offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. There are three classes of righteousness. They are love, petition, and reverence. The burnt offering corresponds to love. The peace offering corresponds to petition. The sin offering corresponds to reverence. The burnt offering is a sacrifice to the glory of God alone. The peace offering and sin offering are for the sake of the living body. Proclaim love from the petition and petition from the reverence. From love, you serve God in righteousness. Give glory and honor to the kingdoms alone before all things. In goodness, the Lord created the universe by the word, not by labor. The God and father and king is strong and wise, good and compassionate. You tolerate all things, filling all the highest and lowest, sustaining in the high places and bringing forth all creatures. You reveal the mysteries of the universe, the knowledge of good and evil. You tolerate wickedness for the sake of the restoration.
Behold, all goodness to the righteous who love God. Give praise and laud over the greatest works. The burnt offering is sacrifice. By petition, serve in the holy place, blessed is it. Fall in supplication and petition. Petition for every measure of goodness for the sake of the benefit of the body. This is the foundation of wisdom, understanding of knowledge. From this, bring light in the days. Heal the woman unable to conceive and make sons upright in the heart. You succeed in works of wealth and glory and treasures, all to the good. Petition the Lord above, thus sacrifice the peace offering.
Give reverence and serve God in great fear. Be delivered from curses written in the Torah. The punishment comes forth from the holy place, blessed is it. Its measure is longer than the Earth and wider than the sea. Receive salvation from affliction, injury, and suffering. Do not writhe in pain. Do not be ruled over by foreign lands. Do not bring death or speak evil. Fill the days in goodness and blessings in the world. Deliver from misfortune and affliction and destruction from the walls of fire in Gihenam. The wicked prepare to burn in flames on the day of the great judgment. By reverence of the Lord, rise up by sacrifice of the sin offering. Make three sacrifices: the burnt offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. Of sacrifices in the first house through the first priest in the name of the one God, three limes in righteousness: by love, by petition, and by reverence. Complete them and be protected by God, protecting and loving you from petition and reverence. The beginning wisdom is reverence of the Lord and love of heaven. The heart of the righteous burns as flames of fire. Keep the commandments in reverence of the Lord. This the Lord requires, not making reward for reverence and love. It is written of reverence and love, the explicit Name was created from love. Of the written word, this is the reverence of Shaddai. Revere God by keeping every commandment. Fall down in supplication and cry out to El. Establish the heart and grant the petition at once. Reject wickedness and condemn the wicked. Forsake reverence of Shaddai. Know to withhold mercy for sins. Forsake the petition, not revering the name of Shaddai, and not making desire or evil grow in the heart. In the middle of the house, the humble show reverence and gather in the house. It is written in the Midrash, withhold the mercy from those forsaking reverence of Shaddai. Stand and serve before God. Show reverence in prayer and receive tranquility therein. Deliver from all evil. Dwell in the secret place of the most high, hidden in the darkness of the shadow of Shaddai. Deliver from the mouth of the trap. Petition in prayer. Speak, protect from traps. In every petition to Shaddai, be blessed by God the father. By support of El Shaddai, be fruitful and multiply. El Shaddai sees and turns away. Behold, be fruitful and multiply. Wherefore be silent, and bring forth from the secret place that the father reveals to you. Establish Shaddai, of sixty, four hundred, thirty and the above is five hundred.
The man Job begets sons and daughters. There are five hundred of them. Five hundred strong ones, 248 sons and 252 daughters. There are four more daughters than sons. Thus be fruitful and multiply. By Gematria, the letters Tau Qoph are the name over be fruitful and multiply. Therefore, establish to petition the name. Thus, the course of the universe is five hundred years. It is treasured by Shaddai as the measure of heaven. Speak of heaven. According to Shaddai, there is not enough to serve.
Remember Shaddai by the prophet of the nations seeing Shaddai. Behold the reverence of Shaddai. Be aided by the name Shaddai, protected from the evil spirits. By protection of Shaddai, lodge and speak prayers of supplication. Therefore the name is written upon the Mezuzah. Penetrate the iron over the Mezuzah. Proclaim and remember the name Shaddai to protect from the evil spirits, that is IHOH BATh BSh MTz'FTz Sh'. Of the letter Shin of Shaddai, Shin is above in the name of IHOH. Of Shin above, BATh BSh ShM HQDSh GDI corresponds to ID KOZO BMOK"SZ KOZO written in the Mezuzah.
Reveal the secret of the fourteen signs of the holy name. KOZO HOIH in reverse Aleph Beth. Thus Yod upholds Kaph, Koph upholds Vau, Vau upholds Zayin, and Heh upholds Vau. Thus, KOZO. BMOK"SZ ALHINO. Beth upholds Aleph, Mem upholds Lamed, Vau upholds Heh, Koph upholds Yod, Teth upholds Nun, Zayin upholds Vau. Here are fourteen signs corresponding to the three names H' ALHINO. Therefore, write fourteen letters for the sake of the two corresponding to H' AL-HINO. Write Shaddai with Shin Daleth Yod. The first Daleth corresponds to the back. The Yod of Shaddai corresponds to the fathers, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. The final written words are BATh BSh ShDI. Beth, Shin, Qoph, Daleth, Mem, and Yod. The beginning Yod Yod Aleph is the number of AHIH. When adding the numbers Resh, Tau, Vao, Samekh, Tau, Israel proclaims Jacob to be Resh, Yod, Vau in number. That is to say, take Resh, Tau, Vau, Samekh, Tau, from the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, here is 203.
Combine thirteen letters from the three names of the fathers, and here is 210. Thus the signs of the fathers correspond to thirteen tributes. There are three praises. Of the Aleph before the name are 63 aspects. Therefore, see the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, by El Shaddai. Also the secret of Shaddai is revealed by calculating Tau Qoph. The life of the fathers is 502 years. Abraham lived 175 years. Isaac lived 180 years. Jacob lived 147 years. Together, the years total 502. Beth with a value of 2 corresponds to heaven and Earth. In the course of 505 years, the fathers gather to them as the days of the heavens above the Earth. Make clear as the days of the heavens above the Earth. The course is 500 years as the lives of the fathers. The letter Shin is in the house of prayer. First consider the correspondence to Jacob, that is written Israel.
Thus, praise in prayer. Proclaim the praise, speaking: Praised is the ruler above, and the chosen cast down to Earth. It is written, be cast out from heaven to Earth, the beauty of Israel. Prayers proclaim the glory. By prayer with the letters of glory, stay upon the path of the Lord. Therefore, by the nine fathers, give the crown in the place of prayer. Of the days of the Messiah, give praise below the crown.
It is written in the Book of Formation, the letter Shin reigns. Bind to the crown and bind therein the heavens. Therefore, fire resembles Jacob in heaven. By the letter Shin, create fire, and see fire therein. Thus, in the house of Jacob is fire corresponding to the letter Shin, as Jacob wrestled the angel of fire. Also, the letter Shin has three branches, corresponding to the three names of Jacob, Israel, and Jeschuron. The letter Shin is over the noble houses.
It is written, the image engraved in the throne of glory resembles the image of a flying cherub. Come forth to Egypt. It is written, fly over as the cherub takes flight. Revere Israel by the hand of the strength. It is written to revere Israel, by the hand of the great grandfather. Israel resembles Jacob over the sea. Sing the hymn unto Israel. The Lord reigns forever and ever. Therefore, resemble Jacob, according to the written truth. Give the truth to Jacob. According to this, do not go forth unto carved images. The daughter, Dinah, was troubled by Shechem and the maiden Aseneth, daughter of Potipherah. The tribes multiply to put forth the law. Do not speak of idolatry. In the house of Jacob, written by Jacob, is the great name and the holy tzietz. Take Mikal to become the wife of Potipherah. Proclaim Joseph to take the daughter. Around the Shin, twelve prayers divide, corresponding to the twelve tribes. The three divide and three tribes spread out as they go forth from Egypt. The letter Daleth corresponds to the back, corresponding to Isaac. Straighten the back to unite the name of God. Daleth is the flesh of the back. All the flesh of the back corresponds to the back of the neck. Of all the flesh of the back of the neck, wring the neck. Therefore, shave the back, Place the strap upon the flesh. Inquire of Isaac. The letter Daleth is over the head in purple. Therefore, the letter Daleth corresponds to the neck. Also, draw above and below, dwelling in the fourth firmament, the name in the Holy Temple, thus the holy tabernacle of four coverings. The first covering is sky-blue. The second veil is of goat skin. The third is of ram's leather. The fourth covering is of Egyptian leather.
In the lowest dwelling, Isaac is sacrificed upon the back of the altar of degrees, therefore corresponding to Daleth. It is written in the Book of Formation, reign with Daleth. Bind it tight and create Mars in the fifth firmament. Close to the Sun, it receives the heat of the Sun to be dry as fire. Therefore, Daleth corresponds to Isaac, the rising of the Sun. Mars is dry as fire and appointed over heat, and over anger and wrath. Therefore, when God is angry, remember Isaac, as he is honored. It is written, remove the ashes from the burnt offerings.
The Yod of Isaac corresponds to Abraham tested by ten trials. Give in prayer near the side of the first house over the first name Abraham. It is written in the Book of Formation, the letter Yod reigns. Bind to the crown and create therein Virgo. Abraham takes his beloved bride as virgin and form with the letter Yod. The perfection of the Lord is separated. Rise over by counsel from the perfection. It is written, rise up to the perfection. It is written in contrast to the counsel, take instruction and correspond to perfection. Give counsel and speak to close friends. The father Abraham did not learn much from the book, but learned perfection is as two fountains or springs of wisdom.
Also, the letter Yod corresponds to Abraham lifting the hand of the Lord God. The Yod corresponds to the heart. It is written, the faithful reach out with the heart. Also, the Yod corresponds to Abraham, as according to it, God foresees Abraham serves by ten trials. Create the universe by ten commandments. It is written of the history of the heavens and the earth, the name Abram became Abraham. The ten numbers are nothing. Thus one and two, three and four, five and six, seven and eight, nine and ten. Then all calculations repeat. Begin eleven, twelve, and so on. Then twenty is two times the letter Yod. Thirty is three times the letter Yod, and so on. Thus all calculations are perfection. Nothing is concealed by language. By ten numbers, speak and close the mouth to speak profoundly.
At first, the Shekinah precedes the universe by myriad myriads years, or as many years afterward. The glory of the universe is above or below, deep and profound. It is in the east and west, north and south. How great is the light. In darkness, obscure the firmament. Here is the letter Yod. At first is the letter Aleph. At the end is the letter Beth. Gimel is above. Daleth is below. Heh is to the east. Vau is to the west. Zayin is to the north. Cheth is to the south. The light of the letter Teth reveals light in the air. Darkness obscures all things. All is formed. It is in all and it is all. Bow down by all. Rise up and give thanksgiving in the heart. As the letter Yod bows down, the ancestors of Abraham go forth. Understand by the Book of Formation. Reveal over the Lord. Place it in the bosom and kiss the head. Make a covenant.
Also, much more is revealed in the secret work of Berashith with help of Shaddai. Also, the letter Yod corresponds to Abraham as Yod upholds Kaph. From Adam until Abraham is twenty generations. The universe was created by Yod. Bring forth small things, as Yod is diminutive. Yod is as a humble man, bowing down and rising up. Also, make clear the reverence of Shaddai. Man serves God with love in the heart. Great is the reverence and devotion. Establish the heart. Keep the commandments. Rejoice in supplication to serve the creator of the universe. By rejoicing and reverence, serve the Lord in reverence and tremble in exaltation. It is written, serve the Lord by rejoicing. The heart rejoices to petition the Lord. Revere Elohim and serve in fear of Gihenam and the day of judgment, of the suffering and torment. That is the reverence of Elohim. Judge and deliver retribution, as angered by the sins of man. Of every word, it is difficult to speak, Elohim, I do revere you and speak with great difficulty, very loudly at your feet. I shall not fall to rest, but journey to the house and revere you, lest I be punished. It is written, Elohim, judge me by reverence. I revere Elohiek, speaking every word devoted in my heart. It is spoken, by the Lord Elohiek, revere and uphold the reverence of Elohim, not to fall from grace. In every place, revere Elohim and serve from the reverence.
Behold the reverence of the Lord. Serve in love, corresponding to the burnt offering. Be sustained in exaltation by the reverence of Shaddai, for not to revere is not to serve the Lord. Corresponding to the peace offering, fat and blood is consumed. The remainder is to the Lords. The desire of the high priest is the peace offering, bringing peace in the world. Serve from love and supplication, and strengthen the body. Give to him the Torah, of wealth and treasures and glory and understanding, revere Elohim. Serving in reverence is the foundation. Of the house of man, do not deprive support corresponding to the sin offering going over sins. There is great love from the petition and supplication from the reverence.
At this time, become wise and prosper. Of the love of the blessed, after, write the secret of the Merkabah. Let man be wise by reverence forever. Consider the wisdom of the world. By the glory, form the king of flesh and blood.
Command the armies and go to battle to smite the enemies in the name of the Lord. Give reverence before going into battle. If there is not reverence enemies lay waste, prevailing over the land in every dwelling. The king of all kings, God, exalts in reverence before going on all paths. The Lord is everywhere and in every place. He observes the good and wicked in every place. The worthy revere the Lord in righteousness. Unite the nations in order that the nation not be divided. Work for the sake of the heavens. Every path is created from the blessings. Establish the heart. It is written, satisfy the Lord. He is eternal, therefore established.
Blessed is the Lord. Command man to bind and calculate every season. Of the man who is a sinner or thief or adulterer of women, bind to consider much. Of the wisdom, this man is not to know and not to come near, disgraced in every dwelling created by the wisdom of the Creator. Consider the wisdom that created the commandments, making reward for the love. Serve the Lord a little and serve much. Also, man considers forever not to forsake the wish of the Creator. Bring the Lord of judgment before the magistrates.
Reveal that the magistrates rule over the necromancer and magician, or engage in demoniacal works or works by the knowledge of the signs of the zodiac. Do not be false or deceitful, as it is revealed the magistrates know all. Also, fear the works binding with an evil spell, lest you come forth to be judged before the magistrates. God gives life to man in the heart. By the path of reverence, reveal all thoughts and understanding of all works. Lord over people and know to summon the Lord of judgment. Speak the words to end deceit. Rise up that the words may be true. It is written, those not pure will not rise up to know of the universe. It is made known when shame is necessary. Speak, I will not do acts of iniquity, nor deceive by speaking or writing words, not to establish before the eyes. Thus, in every hour and minute, consider the love and search the heart. Examine the perfection. Keep the commandments and show reverence over the lifetime. Of the root of benevolent acts measured previously, be judged by every word you write, of favor over all works. Of the root of reverence, the words are difficult. Know you revere Elohim and perfection. Of the root of supplication, rejoice in the heart in love of God. Rejoice in the heart from the petition of the Lord. Therefore, be loved and protected. Of the root of the Torah, the most profound knowledge of the works of all words, it is written, all made by the Lord is good.
The root of the commandments is eight words, corresponding to the eight threads of the Tzitzith. Write and remember all the commandments of the Lord. The first thread corresponds to the eyes. Do not see without raising up the eyes. Do not brim with tears. After, the eyes do not close. Speak by the power of eyes, lest you forget the words seen. Cast down the eyes to salvation. Also, the Totephith is between the eyes. The second thread corresponds to the ears. Do not be deceived by hearing lies, nor hear the ending of words. Israel hears the decrees. The third thread corresponds to the throat. Do not swallow all abominations. Make to eat matzoh and similar things. The fourth thread corresponds to the mouth. Let the tongue not speak words. Of all words written, do not labor to make the oath, do not deceive by words or speaking the name, do not make the oath and speak falsehoods. Also, the teeth are not white in the mouth, or the tongue articulate. The fifth thread corresponds to the hands. Do not lay the hand in sin and do not steal. Open the door with the hand. Bind the signs by the means of it. The sixth thread corresponds to the feet. Do not walk about after strange Gods, not stumble and fall. Walk after the Lord Elohik. Journey by all paths, as commanded by the Lord Elohik.
Watch the feet as you walk to the house of Elohik. The seventh thread corresponds to the skin. Do not commit adultery. Be fruitful and multiply. Respect circumcision. The eighth thread corresponds to the nose. Let it not be irritated or excited by the sweet scent of idolatry, nor desire the oblation. Smell the myrtle on the Sabbath, and similar things. Man is to remember these eight things for all time. Let them be in the heart. Eyes first, ears second, throat third, mouth fourth, hands fifth, feet sixth, and skin seventh. Do not sin by them. The heart is with each. Consider thoughts of every one.
It is written in the Midrash, the congregation diminishes and grows. Behold them equally over the years. Cast down to the battles. The first rise up and make the offering, fixing the crowns. The first rise up, fixing the crowns. Reveal what is great. Speak, to ascend by the crowns. Of the wicked, smite the sinners rotting before smelling the scent of idolatry. The eyes close before the journey and the head turns away from the Lord in Gihenam. The first threads of the Tzitzith are the strands of the greatest length and suitable to adorn.
Of the first strand, speak not to deliver the strong ones to vanquish the uncircumcised. The body is righteous to fulfill the commandments. First, beginning in prayer. Second, the proclamations of the Torah. Third, opening the heart. Fourth, the nose smells the Fifth, the hands give righteousness. Sixth, consecration of the Torah and supplication before God. Seventh, the covenant of he body is suspended therein. Eight, the feet walk to the synagogue and the house of study. Therefore complete perfection.
The root of the reverence of the Lord is to forsake the pleasures of lust by the path of the reverence of the Lord. Do not revere the Lord for the sake of salvation of the universe, or being eternal. You just revere, lest not to be perfect before God in love. As the commandments come into the hands, you labor over the works. Make as Abraham by sacrificing the son. It is written, at this time, know you revere Elohim. At this time, it is made known. Is it not so that before the secrets of the universe were revealed, the knowledge was not yet concealed in the womb? Speak, you are not tempted. Henceforth not to be tempted by all temptations. Also, the letter reveals by the word. The heart is perfect by all commandments, as it is not necessary to be tempted. At this time, know the Lord is great. All to Elohim.
Also, by the name Aloah, Joseph spoke: Elohim, I show reverence to you. It is difficult to rise up and go forth to you by the feet. Indeed Elohim. I revere you. My sons endure in famine and the wrath of El. You, the Lord, are revered. It is difficult to rise up, lest reveal not to dwell and be slayed. However, he spoke of reverence of Elohik with devotion in the heart. He spoke to the Lord, I honor you in reverence. You, the Lord, by the holy words. The weight is upon the heart. Consider before the reverence of the Lord. I revere you, the Lord. Surely, take up your son Isaac in the name of God. Take up Nephesh and consider the power. Come to bind, as a word. It is difficult to rise up, through that beyond desire. The root of love is to cherish the Lord. The Nephesh is filled with love. You rejoice by passing over the pleasures of the body. Reign over the pleasures of the universe. Love is rejoicing in strength. Strengthen the heart. Consider always how to create de-sire of God. Bring forth pleasure, walking as women before the love of the Creator. More in youth and passing of the days, many women do not come before El. From desire of the Lord El, the heart burns to rise up to the Lord. From much love and desire, rise up to the Lord. Of the lightning of the early rain, benefit much from all without making desire of the Creator. The body is kept in purity and holiness by the love. Phineas betrayed the body and slayed Zimri.
As Abraham, place the hand to the highest when below. Until the shoe latchet, Elishah did not desire to receive from Na'aman, and loved the heavens in the heart as flames. Bind the divisions, not seeing women there and not from the word cast forth. End the words. Toil and labor, making favor of the Creator. Delight by praises to fulfill desire. Rejoice to cherish the Lord. The root of humility is to go away from the glory and be praised when returning before the Rabbi. It is revealed, gather the friends of the Rabbi to sleep. Know when to rest. Lie down after hard labors. Know when not to toil. Speak thus of labor and desire. Give glory to the friend, but do not speak of young women. It is written, of you who send forth to journey, speak to send forth. Do not speak to send forth before the heretics, not speaking by the authority in the place. They are also humble. Go before the name of the friend, the house of praise to the house of heaven. The friend senses and stops speaking. All are able to diminish the glory. Great is the glory to revere the name.
It is written, honor the Lord with the reverence in the eyes to condemn. When seeing humility, there is no desire to go before God. Great is he. Go before Shemethbiyiesh. Be humble before the great Shemethbiyiesh. From honoring them, go before the Lord. When proclaiming, man learns of El, Rabbi Shemethbiyiesh proclaims. Do not praise man much before and much after, and not speaking much. Speak thus, as it is written. Speak to him to learn of Rabbi Eleazer over Rabbi Jochenan Ben Zeketzi. The friend is permitted. El beholds the heart of man himself. When you praise, do not praise the body. It is written, praise the enemy, and not the mouth, but only of the friend. Learn to teach. From the teacher, be able to praise the body. Speak of the perfection of Ahieh. Watch the path of the Lord. Declare the strength to rise up to the high place. Lengthen the days and show them the high place. Also, lengthen their days.
Keep all the commandments in secret. In secret, go with Elohik. When keeping them, know how to work before all, such as in prayers, and by the Tzitzith. Of envious writers, increase the wisdom and the commandments. All are able to make commandments for the sake of the heavens. Speak of the righteous, you are righteousness by every commandment. Do not be occupied by other matters. Place the love of the Creator in the heart. Reverence is necessary before him. Be skillful making the commandments. Rejoice before El and speak the final words. In every place and in the synagogue, stand in awe before the Shekinah. Establish the heart only to him. Do not with hold passage, as there is disgrace before making the covenant. He is angered when man is not seen to revere, lest you make it known to human beings to be disgraced.
All passes forth, that which brothers make. Do not make labor multiply. Every man toils before the king and before woman. The Creator of the commandments sees before the king. By splendor, the king finds favor in the eyes; however, women are forbidden to see. Speak, it is forbidden for the wife of man to see even the face of the Lord. When preventing sickness, do not see before the women. The labor doubles. Know all the increased words are brought into the hands of the sinner. Consider the suffering of the loss of commandments corresponding to labor. Let all works be for the sake of the heavens. It is good to possess more from them of the brilliance. When you make them, be happy in the world. Good things come to you forever.
They come from the assistance of the Lord, who created the heavens and Earth. The secret is reverence of the Lord. Of the secret work of Be-rashith, Isaac speaks, it is not necessary to begin the Torah, but only restore this to you. Begin by Berashith. Because of that, speak of the power of works revealed to people. All was created in order to know and understand and make wise by the greatest and most wondrous works. Bear witness there is none as, and there is none other than. I write the book to proclaim the secrets and reveal the strength of the creator of the universe. Man is happy to learn the secrets. Revere the Lord. Shelter him, dividing the universe. Come and write over the mouth of the gates of all that is above. Know of the unity of God. Of the glory, give the heart over to reverence. Bow down to him. He is one and there are not two of him. Blessed is he.
Aleph is as God. It is first and last. He is king over all the universe. There is no other unto him. In as much as the Aleph is first of the letters, God is first of all the Malachim. The Aleph is first. The calculation is small. There is none less than. Thus a myriad calculations. Aleph is the first letter of the word Achad and Aleph is the last letter of the word Rebova. Speak of one Achad and a myriad Rebova.
It is written by Ezekial, the first word is El Achad. By Daniel, it is written of a myriad myriads before existence. The Aleph fell, as it is the first to designate one. Speak Achad Rebova. The Aleph fell, as it is at the end of Rebova. Speak Rebov. Human beings know it is first. There are none second to it. It is first and it is last. Aleph is the beginning of calculations and the end of calculations. Also, Aleph begins the alphabet, as Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth. Aleph is at the end, as Aleph, Tau, Shin, Resh, Qoph, Tzadik, Peh, Ayin, Samek. It is proclaimed by three letters, Aleph Lamed Peh. Aleph is the letter of the larynx. Lamed is the letter of the top of the tongue, in the center of the palate. Peh is the letter of the lips. Aleph begins in the throat. Of the larynx and the tongue, it is in center of the palate. By the tongue and the lips, to speak. Let it be known that Achad is first, middle, and last. The last Aleph is opposite from the rest of the letters. The Achad is in the universe. Create the universe turned away from the universe. Speak and revere the power.
Do not understand, as foreseen by the destruction of the Beth. Speak, do not permit destruction in the world. Hide the face from it. Know that, in the beginning, to create the universe. Indicate the destruction of the Beth. The Beth of Berashith is the great Beth Rashith of the Holy Temple, written therein upon the heavens of the first place of the most holy.
Through the gate of Earth, falling to chaos by the written word in the middle. By Gematria, Tau Yod, indicating the first house, serves 410 years to fall. By Gematria, Tau Koph indicates the second house, serving 420 years in chaos. Tau Lamed indicates two temples, both serving for 430 years: That is to say, Tau Yod, Tau Koph ShKNThI is in the middle of ShKIN. Here is Tau Yod also in the letters ShKNThI. Also, Tau Koph is in many places, indicating the destruction of the Beth. In time, make known Beth Rashith in the beginning of the universe. Remember the destruction of the Beth to destroy all that is created. The Lord alone is sublime. All created by Beth are in pairs. Two worlds, heaven and Earth. Mountains and hills, seas and rivers. Gihenam and the Garden of Eden. Leviathan and Nechesh Beriech. The Sun and the Moon. Man and woman. Wickedness and righteousness. Man has two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth and tongue, two hands, two feet and sides, so on and so forth. The Lord El distinguishes Beth, revealing one division. Make known to all, there is a pair. Therefore, opened by the outer Beth, he is one in the kingdom. Blessed is he.
According to Shem, Aleph is the first of the letters. Aleph begins the name ADNI; however Yod begins the chosen name YHVH. It is recognized. Aleph Vau Melaphom makes known the universe was created by the ten commandments and filled all. Also, recognize Aleph Vau. Above is the punctuation point of Vau. The punctuation point is below Aleph. Thus, Aleph, Ka-matz, Patah, Aleph, Hatef, Kamatz, Aleph, Hatef, Patah Aleph, Vau. Of the seven above, recognize Aleph Vau. Reveal it is united above the seven firmaments. He is the ruler of all and therefore, the name of Aleph. The name Ahieh is the beginning of the ten sephiroth, above to below. Adonai is the end of the ten sephiroth, beginning by Aleph. Aleph is first of all letters and end of letters, before Tau Shin Resh Peh. Complete to see every one by these letters.
Recognize all the most holy names. Yod begins the chosen name YHVH. You are not able to write Aleph without the first Yod and also all the vowels. Recognize the letter. It is not able to exist without Yod Vau, that Yod, Cholem or Melaphom or Chiroq. Reveal by Yod, create ten sephiroth, the universe in the middle, and the universe at the bottom–of Aleph itself, Sheva, Tzeri, Pethach, Chiroq, Cholem, Melaphom, Cheteph, Pethach QO, Petach, Sheni, Yod, Sheva, Hatef, Patah QO. When the Yod is below Kametz with Yod above. Of Vau, Cholem with the middle Yod QO, Melaphom, as when above the line, Chiroq without the line, Sheva or Tzeri with the line. Of three letters SGL. Aleph by itself, Yod Vau Yod. It is written of the name HOIH. Reveal the Lord is one and created all the universe, the highest, middle, and lowest, filling all. There is not a vowel placed or the covenant without him. Blessed is he. He is one above the seven firmaments and he rules over all.
Consider the one God for many myriad myriads years. In the beginning of the universe and in the worlds, you see by them and by them, the splendor and glory. Speak in the heart. Human beings are not to consider the glory of the kingdom. Create the universe, that it is to pass. Complete the understanding of El in the heart in reverence. Serve in truth with the perfect heart, and goodness to them all the days.
The Lord spoke, all come forth from the Ruoch of the holy spirit. It is the first of all the covenants of man. From the word, Ruoch comes forth from the mouth. Therefore, spirits are not shut up by the worthy in silence. The tractates on fasting are in the Book of Formation. Here are words of the Ruoch of fire and water. From the word, man presses the lips. By force, the voice goes forth. Sparks go forth by the Ruoch. Therefore it is spoken, as a hammer smashing rocks. Sparks go forth from stones. Fire comes from the power of the sparks coming from the mouth. Therefore, it is written, is it not so the power of the word is as fire? Here is power from the voice of man, the Ruoch of water, the heat of the fire in every dwelling. From the word, fire consumes fire. Therefore, speak of how to create fire and water. The Ruoch is the glory of Elohim, the secret word. From blessings over the days, all exist by words.
The Letter of Aristeas
SINCE I have collected Material for a memorable history of my visit to Eleazar the High priest of the Jews, and because you, Philocrates, as you lose no opportunity of reminding me, have set great store upon receiving an account of the motives and object of my mission, I have attempted to draw up a clear exposition of the matter for you, for I perceive that you possess a natural love of learning, 2 a quality which is the highest possession of man -to be constantly attempting ' to add to his stock of knowledge and acquirements ' whether through the study of history or by actually participating in the events themselves. It is by this means, by taking up into itself the noblest elements, that the soul is established in purity, and having fixed its aim on piety, the noblest goal of all, it uses this as its infallible guide and so acquires a definite purpose. 3 It was my devotion to the pursuit of religious knowledge that led me to undertake the embassy to the man I have mentioned, who was held in the highest esteem by his own citizens and by others both for his virtue and his majesty and who had in his possession documents of the highest value to the Jews in his own country and in foreign lands for the interpretation of the divine law, for their 4 laws are written on leather parchments in Jewish characters. This embassy then I undertook with enthusiasm, having first of all found an opportunity of pleading with the king on behalf of the Jewish captives who had been transported from Judea to Egypt by the king's father, when he first obtained possession of this city and conquered the land of Egypt. It is worth while that I should tell 5 you this story, too, since I am convinced that you, with your disposition towards holiness and your sympathy with men who are living in accordance with the holy law, will all the more readily listen to the account which I purpose to set forth, since you yourself have lately come to us from the island and are anxious to hear everything that tends to build up the soul. On a former occasion, too I sent you a record of the facts which I thought worth relating about the Jewish race, - the record 7 which I had obtained from the most learned high priests of the most learned land of Egypt. As you are so eager to acquire the knowledge of those things which can benefit the mind, I feel it incumbent upon me to impart to you all the information in my power. I should feel the same duty towards all who possessed the same disposition but I feel it especially towards you since you have aspirations which are so noble, and since you are not only my brother in character no less than in blood but are one with me as well in the pursuit of goodness. For neither the pleasure derived from gold nor any other of the possessions which are prized by shallow minds confers the same benefit as the pursuit of culture and the study which we expend in securing it. But that I may not weary you by a too lengthy introduction, I will proceed at once to the substance of my narrative.
9 Demetrius of Phalerum, the president of the king's library, received vast sums of money, for the purpose of collecting together, as far as he possibly could, all the books in the world. By means of purchase and transcription, he carried out, to the best of his ability, the purpose of the king. On one occasion when I was present he was asked, How many thousand books are there in the library ? 10 and he replied, ' More than two hundred thousand, O king, and I shall make endeavor in the immediate future to gather together the remainder also, so that the total of five hundred thousand may be reached. I am told that the laws of the Jews are worth transcribing and deserve a place in 11 your library.' ' What is to prevent you from doing this ? ' replied the king. ' Everything that is necessary has been placed at your disposal.' 'They need to be translated,' answered Demetrius, ' for in the country of the Jews they use a peculiar alphabet (just as the Egyptians, too, have a special form of letters) and speak a peculiar dialect. They are supposed to use the Syriac tongue, but this is not the case; their language is quite different.' And the king when he understood all the facts of the case ordered a letter to be written to the Jewish High Priest that his purpose (which has already been described) might be accomplished.
12 Thinking that the time had come to press the demand, which I had often laid before Sosibius of Tarentum and Andreas, the chief of the bodyguard, for the emancipation of the Jews who had been transported from Judea by the king's father -for when by a combination of good fortune and courage he had brought his attack on the whole district of Coele -Syria and Phoenicia to a successful issue, in the process of terrorizing the country into subjection, he transported some of his foes and others he reduced to captivity. The number of those whom he transported from the country of the Jews to Egypt amounted to no less than a hundred thousand. Of these he armed thirty thousand picked men and settled them in garrisons in the country districts. (And even before this time large numbers of Jews had come into Egypt with the Persian, and in an earlier period still others had been sent to Egypt to help Psammetichus in his campaign against the king of the Ethiopians. But these were nothing like so numerous as the captives whom Ptolemy the son of Lagus transported.) As I have already said Ptolemy picked out the best of these, the men who were in the prime of life and distinguished for their courage, and armed them, but the great mass of the others, those who were too old or too young for this purpose, and the women too, he reduced to slavery, not that he wished to do this of his own free will, but he was compelled by his soldiers who claimed them as a reward for the services which they had rendered in war. Having, as has already been stated, obtained an opportunity for securing their emancipation, I addressed the king with the following arguments. ' Let us not be so unreasonable as to allow 15 our deeds to give the lie to our words. Since the law which we wish not only to transcribe but also to translate belongs to the whole Jewish race, what justification shall we be able to find for our embassy while such vast numbers of them remain in a state of slavery in your kingdom ? In the perfection and wealth of your clemency release those who are held in such miserable bondage, since as I have been at pains to discover, the God who gave them their law is the God who maintains your kingdom. They worship the same God -the Lord and Creator of the Universe, as all other men, as we ourselves, O king, though we call him by different names, such as Zeus or 16 Dis. This name was very appropriately bestowed upon him by our first ancestors, in order to signify that He through whom all things are endowed with life and come into being, is necessarily the ruler and lord of the Universe. Set all mankind an example of magnanimity by releasing those who are held in bondage.'
17 After a brief interval, while I was offering up an earnest prayer to God that He would so dispose the mind of the king that all the captives might be set at liberty - (for the human race, being the creation of God, is swayed and influenced by Him. Therefore with many divers prayers I called upon Him who ruleth the heart that the king might be constrained to grant my request. For I had 18 great hopes with regard to the salvation of the men since I was assured that God would grant a fulfillment of my prayer. For when men from pure motives plan some action in the interest of righteousness and the performance of noble deeds, Almighty God brings their efforts and purposes to a successful issue) - the king raised his head and looking up at me with a cheerful countenance asked, ' How many thousands do you think they will number?' Andreas, who was standing near, replied, 'A little more than a hundred thousand.' 'It is a small boon indeed,' said the king, 'that Aristeas asks of us!' Then Sosibius and some others who were present said, ' Yes, but it will be a fit tribute to your magnanimity for you to offer the enfranchisement of these men as an act of devotion to the supreme God. You have been greatly honored by Almighty God and exalted above all your forefathers in glory and it is only fitting that you should render to Him the greatest thank offering in your power.' Extremely pleased with these arguments he gave orders that an addition should be 20 made to the wages of the soldiers by the amount of the redemption money that twenty drachmae should be paid to the owners for every slave, that a public order should be issued and that registers of the captives should be attached to it. He showed the greatest enthusiasm in the business, for it was God who had brought our purpose to fulfillment in its entirety and constrained him to redeem not only those who had come into Egypt with the army of his father but any who had come before that time or had been subsequently brought into the kingdom. It was pointed out to him that the ransom money would exceed four hundred talents.
21 I think it will be useful to insert a copy of the decree, for in this way the magnanimity of the king, who was empowered by God to save such vast multitudes, will be made clearer and more 22 manifest. The decree of the king ran as follows: 'All who served in the army of our father in the campaign against Syria and Phoenicia and in the attack upon the country of the Jews and became possessed of Jewish captives and brought them back to the city of Alexandria and the land of Egypt or sold them to others -and in the same way any captives who were in our land before that time or were brought hither afterwards- all who possess such captives are required to set them at liberty at once, receiving twenty drachmae per head as ransom money. The soldiers will receive 23 this money as a gift added to their wages, the others from the king's treasury. We think that it was against our father's will and against all propriety that they should have been made captives and that the devastation of their land and the transportation of the Jews to Egypt was an act of military wantonness. The spoil which fell to the soldiers on the field of battle was all the booty which they should have claimed. To reduce the people to slavery in addition was an act of absolute injustice. Wherefore since it is acknowledged that we are accustomed to render justice to all men and especially to those who are unfairly in a condition of servitude, and since we strive to deal fairly with all men according to the demands of justice and piety, we have decreed, in reference to the persons of the Jews who are in any condition of bondage in any part of our dominion, that those who possess them shall receive the stipulated sum of money and set them at liberty and that no man shall show any tardiness in discharging his obligations. Within three days after the publication of this decree, they must make lists of slaves for the officers appointed to carry out our will, 25 and immediately produce the persons of the captives. For we consider that it will be advantageous to us and to our affairs that the matter should be brought to a conclusion. Any one who likes may give information about any who disobey the decree on condition that if the man is proved guilty he will become his slave; his property, however, will be handed over to the royal treasury.'
26 When the decree was brought to be read over to the king for his approval, it contained all the other provisions except the phrase ' any captives who were in the land before that time or were brought hither afterwards,' and in his magnanimity and the largeness of his heart the king inserted this clause and gave orders that the grant of money required for the redemption should be deposited in full with the paymasters of the forces and the royal bankers, and so the matter was decided and the 27 decree ratified within seven days. The grant for the redemption amounted to more than six hundred and sixty talents; for many infants at the breast were emancipated together with their mothers. When the question was raised whether the sum of twenty talents was to be paid for these, the king ordered that it should be done, and thus he carried out his decision in the most comprehensive way. When this had been done, he ordered Demetrius to draw up a memorial with regard to the transcription of the Jewish books. For all affairs of state used to be carried out by means of decrees and with the most painstaking accuracy by these Egyptian kings, and nothing was done in a slipshod or haphazard fashion. And so I have inserted copies of the memorial and the letters, the number of the presents sent and the nature of each, since every one of them excelled in 29 magnificence and technical skill. The following is a copy of the memorial. The Memorial of Demetrius to the great king. ' Since you have given me instructions, O king, that the books which are needed to complete your library should be collected together, and that those which are defective should be repaired, I have devoted myself with the utmost care to the fulfillment of your wishes, 30 and I now have the following proposal to lay before you. The books of the law of the Jews (with some few others) are absent from the library. They are written in the Hebrew characters and language and have been carelessly interpreted, and do not represent the original text as I am 31 informed by those who know; for they have never had a king's care to protect them. It is necessary that these should be made accurate for your library since the law which they contain, in as much as it is of divine origin, is full of wisdom and free from all blemish. For this reason literary men and poets and the mass of historical writers have held aloof from referring to these books and the men who have lived and are living in accordance with them, because their 32 conception of life is so sacred and religious, as Hecataeus of Abdera says. If it please you, O king, a letter shall be written to the High Priest in Jerusalem, asking him to send six elders out of every tribe -men who have lived the noblest life and are most skilled in their law -that we may find out the points in which the majority of them are in agreement, and so having obtained an accurate translation may place it in a conspicuous place in a manner worthy of the work itself and your purpose. May continual prosperity be yours ! '
33 When this memorial had been presented, the king ordered a letter to be written to Eleazar on the matter, giving also an account of the emancipation of the Jewish captives. And he gave fifty talents weight of gold and seventy talents of silver and a large quantity of precious stones to make bowls and vials and a table and libation cups. He also gave orders to those who had the custody of his coffers to allow the artificers to make a selection of any materials they might require for the purpose, and that a hundred talents in money should be sent to provide sacrifices for the temple and 34 for other needs. I shall give you a full account of the workmanship after I have set before you copies of the letters. The letter of the king ran as follows:
35 ' King Ptolemy sends greeting and salutation to the High Priest Eleazar. Since there are many Jews settled in our realm who were carried off from Jerusalem by the Persians at the time of their 36 power and many more who came with my father into Egypt as captives -large numbers of these he placed in the army and paid them higher wages than usual, and when he had proved the loyalty of their leaders he built fortresses and placed them in their charge that the native Egyptians might be intimidated by them. And I, when I ascended the throne, adopted a kindly attitude towards all 37 my subjects, and more particularly to those who were citizens of yours- I have set at liberty more than a hundred thousand captives, paying their owners the appropriate market price for them, and if ever evil has been done to your people through the passions of the mob, I have made them reparation. The motive which prompted my action has been the desire to act piously and render unto the supreme God a thank offering for maintaining my kingdom in peace and great glory in all the world. Moreover those of your people who were in the prime of life I have drafted into my army, and those who were fit to be attached to my person and worthy of the confidence of the 38 court, I have established in official positions. Now since I am anxious to show my gratitude to these men and to the Jews throughout the world and to the generations yet to come, I have determined that your law shall be translated from the Hebrew tongue which is in use amongst you 39 into the Greek language, that these books may be added to the other royal books in my library. It will be a kindness on your part and a regard for my zeal if you will select six elders from each of your tribes, men of noble life and skilled in your law and able to interpret it, that in questions of dispute we may be able to discover the verdict in which the majority agree, for the investigation is of the highest possible importance. I hope to win great renown by the accomplishment of this 40 work. I have sent Andreas, the chief of my bodyguard, and Aristeas -men whom I hold in high esteem- to lay the matter before you and present you with a hundred talents of silver, the firstfruits of my offering for the temple and the sacrifices and other religious rites. If you will write to me concerning your wishes in these matters, you will confer a great favour upon me and afford me a new pledge of friendship, for all your wishes shall be carried out as speedily as possible. Farewell.'
41 To this letter Eleazar replied appropriately as follows: ' Eleazar the High priest sends greetings to King Ptolemy his true friend. My highest wishes are for your welfare and the welfare of Queen Arsinoe your sister and your children. I also am well. I have received your letter and am greatly 42 rejoiced by your purpose and your noble counsel. I summoned together the whole people and read it to them that they might know of your devotion to our God. I showed them too the cups which you sent, twenty of gold and thirty of silver, the five bowls and the table of dedication, and the hundred talents of silver for the offering of the sacrifices and providing the things of which the 43 temple stands in need. These gifts were brought to me by Andreas, one of your most honored servants, and by Aristeas, both good men and true, distinguished by their learning, and worthy in every way to be the representatives of your high principles and righteous purposes. These men imparted to me your message and received from me an answer in agreement with your letter. I will consent to everything which is advantageous to you even though your request is very unusual. For you have bestowed upon our citizens great and never to be forgotten benefits in many 45 (ways). Immediately therefore I offered sacrifices on behalf of you, your sister, your children, and your friends, and all the people prayed that your plans might prosper continually, and that Almighty God might preserve your kingdom in peace with honor, and that the translation of the 46 holy law might prove advantageous to you and be carried out successfully. In the presence of all the people I selected six elders from each tribe, good men and true, and I have sent them to you with a copy of our law. It will be a kindness, O righteous king, if you will give instruction that as soon as the translation of the law is completed, the men shall be restored again to us in safety. Farewell.'
47 The following are the names of the elders: Of the first tribe, Joseph, Ezekiah, Zachariah, John, Ezekiah, Elisha. Of the second tribe, Judas, Simon, Samuel, Adaeus, Mattathias, Eschlemias. Of 48 the third tribe, Nehemiah, Joseph, Theodosius, Baseas, Ornias, Dakis. Of the fourth tribe, Jonathan, Abraeus, Elisha, Ananias, Chabrias.... Of the fifth tribe, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, 49 Sabbataeus, Simon, Levi. Of the sixth tribe, Judas, Joseph, Simon, Zacharias, Samuel, Selemias. Of the seventh tribe, Sabbataeus, Zedekiah, Jacob, Isaac, Jesias, Natthaeus. Of the eighth tribe Theodosius, Jason, Jesus, Theodotus, John, Jonathan. Of the ninth tribe, Theophilus, Abraham 50 Arsamos, Jason, Endemias, Daniel. Of the tenth tribe, Jeremiah, Eleazar, Zachariah, Baneas, Elisha, Dathaeus. Of the eleventh tribe, Samuel, Joseph, Judas, Jonathes, Chabu, Dositheus. Of the twelfth tribe, Isaelus, John, Theodosius, Arsamos, Abietes, Ezekiel. They were seventy-two in all. Such was the answer which Eleazar and his friends gave to the king's letter.
51 I will now proceed to redeem my promise and give a description of the works of art. They were wrought with exceptional skill, for the king spared no expense and personally superintended the workmen individually. They could not therefore scamp any part of the work or finish it off negligently. 52 First of all I will give you a description of the table. The king was anxious that this piece of work should be of exceptionally large dimensions, and he caused enquiries to be made of the Jews 53 in the locality with regard to the size of the table already in the temple at Jerusalem. And when they described the measurements, he proceeded to ask whether he might make a larger structure. And some of the priests and the other Jews replied that there was nothing to prevent him. And he said that he was anxious to make it five times the size, but he hesitated lest it should prove useless 54 for the temple services. He was desirous that his gift should not merely be stationed in the temple, for it would afford him much greater pleasure if the men whose duty it was to offer the fitting 55 sacrifices were able to do so appropriately on the table which he had made. He did not suppose that it was owing to lack of gold that the former table had been made of small size, but there seems to have been, he said, some reason why it was made of this dimension. For had the order been given, there would have been no lack of means. Wherefore we must not transgress or go beyond the proper 56 measure. At the same time he ordered them to press into service all the manifold forms of art, for he w as a man of the most lofty conceptions and nature had endowed him with a keen imagination which enabled him to picture the appearance which would be presented by the finished work. He gave orders too, that where there were no instructions laid down in the Jewish Scriptures, everything should be made as beautiful as possible. When such instructions were laid down, they were to be carried out to the letter.
57 They made the table two cubits long (one cubit broad) one and a half cubits high, fashioning it of pure solid gold. What I am describing was not thin gold laid over another foundation, but the whole 58 structure was of massive gold welded together. And they made a border of a hand's breadth round about it. And there was a wreath of wave-work, engraved in relief in the form of ropes marvelously 59 wrought on its three sides. For it was triangular in shape and the style of the work was exactly the same on each of the sides, so that whichever side they were turned, they presented the same appearance. Of the two sides under the border, the one which sloped down to the table was a very 60 beautiful piece of work, but it was the outer side which attracted the gaze of the spectator. Now the upper edge of the two sides, being elevated, was sharp since, as we have said, the rim was three-sided, from whatever point of view one approached it. And there were layers of precious stones on it in the midst of the embossed cord-work, and they were interwoven with one another by an inimitable artistic 61 device. For the sake of security they were all fixed by golden needles which were inserted in 62 perforations in the stones. At the sides they were clamped together by fastenings to hold them firm. On the part of the border round the table which slanted upwards and met the eyes, there was wrought a pattern of eggs in precious stones, elaborately engraved by a continuous piece of fluted relief-work, closely 63 connected together round the whole table. And under the stones which had been arranged to represent eggs the artists made a crown containing all kinds of fruits, having at its top clusters of grapes and ears of corn, dates also and apples, and pomegranates and the like, conspicuously arranged. These fruits were wrought out of precious stones, of the same color as the fruits themselves and 64 they fastened them edgeways round all the sides of the table with a band of gold. And after the crown of fruit had been put on, underneath there was inserted another pattern of eggs in precious stones, and other fluting and embossed work, that both sides of the table might be used, according to the wishes of the owners and for this reason the wave-work and the border were extended 65 down to the feet of the table. They made and fastened under the whole width of the table a massive plate four fingers thick, that the feet might be inserted into it, and clamped fast with linch-pins which fitted into sockets under the border, so that which ever side of the table people preferred, might be used. Thus it became manifestly clear that the work was intended to be used 66 either way. On the table itself they engraved a ' meander ', having precious stones standing out in the middle of it, rubies and emeralds and an onyx too and many other kinds of stones which excel 67 in beauty. And next to the ' meander ' there was placed a wonderful piece of network, which made the center of the table appear like a rhomboid in shape, and on it a crystal and amber, as it is called, 68 had been wrought, which produced an incomparable impression on the beholders. They made the feet of the table with heads like lilies, so that they seemed to be like lilies bending down beneath the table, and the parts which were visible represented leaves which stood upright. The basis of the foot on the ground consisted of a ruby and measured a hand's breadth high all round. It had the appearance of a shoe and was eight fingers broad. Upon it the whole expanse of the foot rested. 70 And they made the foot appear like ivy growing out of the stone, interwoven with akanthus and surrounded with a vine which encircled it with clusters of grapes, which were worked in stones, up to the top of the foot. All the four feet were made in the same style, and everything was wrought and fitted so skillfully, and such remarkable skill and knowledge were expended upon making it true to nature, that when the air was stirred by a breath of wind, movement was imparted to the leaves, and 71 everything was fashioned to correspond with the actual reality which it represented. And they made the top of the table in three parts like a triptychon, and they were so fitted and dove-tailed together with spigots along the whole breadth of the work, that the meeting of the joints could not be seen or even discovered. The thickness of the table was not less than half a cubit, so that the whole work 72 must have cost many talents. For since the king did not wish to add to its size he expended on the details the same sum of money which would have been required if the table could have been of larger dimensions. And everything was completed in accordance with his plan, in a most wonderful and remarkable way, with inimitable art and incomparable beauty.
73 Of the mixing bowls, two were wrought (in gold), and from the base to the middle were engraved with relief work in the pattern of scales, and between the scales precious stones were inserted with 74 great artistic skill. Then there was a ' maeander ' a cubit in height, with its surface wrought out of precious stones of many colors, displaying great artistic effort and beauty. Upon this there was a mosaic, worked in the form of a rhombus, having a net-like appearance and reaching right up to the 75 brim. ln the middle, small shields which were made of different precious stones, placed alternately and varying in kind, not less than four fingers broad enhanced the beauty of their appearance. On the top of the brim there was an ornament of lilies in bloom, and intertwining clusters of grapes were 76 engraven all round. Such then was the construction of the golden bowls, and they held more than two firkins each. The silver bowls had a smooth surface, and were wonderfully made as if they were intended for looking-glasses, so that everything which was brought near to them was reflected even more 77 clearly than in mirrors. But it is impossible to describe the real impression which these works of art produced upon the mind when they were finished. For, when these vessels had been completed and placed side by side, first a silver bowl and then a golden, then another silver, and then another golden, the appearance they presented is altogether indescribable, and those who came to see 78 them were not able to tear themselves from the brilliant sight and entrancing, spectacle. The impressions produced by the spectacle were various in kind. When men looked at the golden vessels, and their minds made a complete survey of each detail of workmanship, their souls were thrilled with wonder. Again when a man wished to direct his gaze to the silver vessels, as they stood before him, everything seemed to flash with light round about the place where he was standing, and afforded a still greater delight to the onlookers. So that it is really impossible to describe the artistic beauty of the works. 79 The golden vials they engraved in the center with vine wreaths. And about the rims they wove a wreath of ivy and myrtle and olive in relief work and inserted precious stones in it. The other parts of the relief work they wrought in different patterns, since they made it a point of honor to 80 complete everything in a way worthy of the majesty of the king. In a word it may be said that neither in the king's treasury nor in any other, were there any works which equaled these in costliness or in artistic skill. For the king spent no little thought upon them, for he loved to gain glory for the 81 excellence of his designs. For oftentimes he would neglect his official business, and spend his time with the artists in his anxiety that they should complete everything in a manner worthy of the place to which the gifts were to be sent. So everything was carried out on a grand scale, in a manner 82 worthy of the king who sent the gifts and of the high priest who was the ruler of the land. There was no stint of precious stones, for not less than five thousand were used and they were all of large size. The most exceptional artistic skill was employed, so that the cost of the stones and the workmanship was five times as much as that of the gold.
83 I have given you this description of the presents because I thought it was necessary. The next point in the narrative is an account of our journey to Eleazar, but I will first of all give you a description of the whole country. When we arrived in the land of the Jews we saw the city situated 84 in the middle of the whole of Judea on the top of a mountain of considerable altitude. On the summit the temple had been built in all its splendor. It was surrounded by three walls more than seventy cubits high and in length and breadth corresponding to the structure of the edifice. All the buildings 85 were characterized by a magnificence and costliness quite unprecedented. It was obvious that no expense had been spared on the door and the fastenings, which connected it with the door-posts, and 86 the stability of the lintel. The style of the curtain too was thoroughly in proportion to that of the entrance. Its fabric owing to the draught of wind was in perpetual motion, and as this motion was communicated from the bottom and the curtain bulged out to its highest extent, it afforded a pleasant 87 spectacle from which a man could scarcely tear himself away. The construction of the altar was in keeping with the place itself and with the burnt offerings which were consumed by fire upon it, and the approach to it was on a similar scale. There was a gradual slope up to it, conveniently arranged for the purpose of decency, and the ministering priests were robed in linen garments, down to their 88 ankles. The Temple faces the east and its back is toward the west. The whole of the floor is paved with stones and slopes down to the appointed places, that water may be conveyed to wash away the 89 blood from the sacrifices, for many thousand beasts are sacrificed there on the feast days. And there is an inexhaustible supply of water, because an abundant natural spring gushes up from within the temple area. There are moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, as they pointed out to me, at a distance of five furlongs all round the site of the temple, and each of them has countless pipes 90 so that the different streams converge together. And all these were fastened with lead at the bottom and at the side-walls, and over them a great quantity of plaster had been spread, and every part of the work had been most carefully carried out. There are many openings for water at the base of the altar which are invisible to all except to those who are engaged in the ministration, so that all the blood of the sacrifices which is collected in great quantities is washed away in the twinkling of an 91 eye. Such is my opinion with regard to the character of the reservoirs and I will now show you how it was confirmed. They led me more than four furlongs outside the city and bade me peer down towards a certain spot and listen to the noise that was made by the meeting of the waters, so that the great size of the reservoirs became manifest to me, as has already been pointed out.
92 The ministration of the priests is in every way unsurpassed both for its physical endurance and for its orderly and silent service. For they all work spontaneously, though it entails much painful exertion, and each one has a special task allotted to him. The service is carried on without interruption -some provide the wood, others the oil, others the fine wheat flour, others the spices; others 93 again bring the pieces of flesh for the burnt offering, exhibiting a wonderful degree of strength. For they take up with both hands the limbs of a calf, each of them weighing more than two talents, and throw them with each hand in a wonderful way on to the high place of the altar and never miss placing them on the proper spot. In the same way the pieces of the sheep and also of the goats are wonderful both for their weight and their fatness. For those, whose business it is, always select the beasts which are without blemish and specially fat, and thus the sacrifice which I have described, 94 is carried out. There is a special place set apart for them to rest in, where those who are relieved from duty sit. When this takes place, those who have already rested and are ready to assume their duties rise up spontaneously since there is no one to give orders with regard to the arrangement of 95 the sacrifices. The most complete silence reigns so that one might imagine that there was not a single person present, though there are actually seven hundred men engaged in the work, besides the vast number of those who are occupied in bringing up the sacrifices. Everything is carried out with 96 reverence and in a way worthy of the great God.
We were greatly astonished, when we saw Eleazar engaged in the ministration, at the mode of his dress, and the majesty of his appearance, which was revealed in the robe which he wore and the precious stones upon his person. There were golden bells upon the garment which reached down to his feet, giving forth a peculiar kind of melody, and on both sides of them there were pomegranates 97 with variegated flowers of a wonderful hue. He was girded with a girdle of conspicuous beauty, woven in the most beautiful colors. On his breast he wore the oracle of God, as it is called, on which twelve stones, of different kinds, were inset, fastened together with gold, containing the names of the leaders of the tribes, according to their original order, each one flashing forth in an indescribable way 98 its own particular color. On his head he wore a tiara, as it is called, and upon this in the middle of his forehead an inimitable turban, the royal diadem full of glory with the name of God inscribed in sacred letters on a plate of gold . . . having been judged worthy to wear these emblems in the 99 ministrations. Their appearance created such awe and confusion of mind as to make one feel that one had come into the presence of a man who belonged to a different world. I am convinced that any one who takes part in the spectacle which I have described will be filled with astonishment and indescribable wonder and be profoundly affected in his mind at the thought of the sanctity which is attached to each detail of the service.
100 But in order that we might gain complete information, we ascended to the summit of the neighboring citadel and looked around us. It is situated in a very lofty spot, and is fortified with many towers, which have been built up to the very top of immense stones, with the object, as we were informed, of 101 guarding the temple precincts, so that if there were an attack, or an insurrection or an onslaught of the enemy, no one would be able to force an entrance within the walls that surround the temple. On the towers of the citadel engines of war were placed and different kinds of machines, and the position was 102 much higher than the circle of walls which I have mentioned. The towers were guarded too by most trusty men who had given the utmost proof of their loyalty to their country. These men were never allowed to leave the citadel, except on feast days and then only in detachments. nor did they permit any 103 stranger to enter it. They were also very careful when any command came from the chief officer to admit any visitors to inspect the place, as our own experience taught us. They were very reluctant to 104 admit us, -though we were but two unarmed men- to view the offering of the sacrifices. And they asserted that they were bound by an oath when the trust was committed to them, for they had all sworn and were bound to carry out the oath sacredly to the letter, that though they were five hundred in number they would not permit more than five men to enter at one time. The citadel was the special protection of the temple and its founder had fortified it so strongly that it might efficiently protect it.
105 The size of the city is of moderate dimensions. It is about forty furlongs in circumference, as far as one could conjecture. It has its towers arranged in the shape of a theater, with thoroughfares leading between them now the cross roads of the lower towers are visible but those of the upper 106 towers are more frequented. For the ground ascends, since the city is built upon a mountain. There are steps too which lead up to the cross roads, and some people are always going up, and others down and they keep as far apart from each other as possible on the road because of those who 107 are bound by the rules of purity, lest they should touch anything which is unlawful. It was not without reason that the original founders of the city built it in due proportions, for they possessed clear insight with regard to what was required. For the country is extensive and beautiful. Some parts of it are level, especially the districts which belong to Samaria, as it is called, and which border on the land of the Idumeans, other parts are mountainous, especially (those which are contiguous to the land of Judea). The people therefore are bound to devote themselves to agriculture and the cultivation of the soil that by this means they may have a plentiful supply of crops. In this way 108 cultivation of every kind is carried on and an abundant harvest reaped in the whole of the aforesaid land. The cities which are large and enjoy a corresponding prosperity are well-populated, but they neglect the country districts, since all men are inclined to a life of enjoyment, for every one has a natural tendency towards the pursuit of pleasure. The same thing happened in Alexandria, which excels all cities in size and prosperity. Country people by migrating from the rural districts and settling 110 in the city brought agriculture into disrepute: and so to prevent them from settling in the city, the king issued orders that they should not stay in it for more than twenty days. And in the same way he gave the judges written instructions, that if it was necessary to issue a summons against any one 111 who lived in the country, the case must be settled within five days. And since he considered the matter one of great importance, he appointed also legal officers for every district with their assistants, that the farmers and their advocates might not in the interests of business empty the granaries of the 112 city, I mean, of the produce of husbandry. I have permitted this digression because it was Eleazar who pointed out with great clearness the points which have been mentioned. For great is the energy which they expend on the tillage of the soil. For the land is thickly planted with multitudes of olive trees, with crops of corn and pulse, with vines too, and there is abundance of honey. Other kinds of fruit trees and dates do not count compared with these. There are cattle of all kinds in 113 great quantities and a rich pasturage for them. Wherefore they rightly recognize that the country districts need a large population, and the relations between the city and the villages are properly 114 regulated. A great quantity of spices and precious stones and gold is brought into the country by the Arabs. For the country is well adapted not only for agriculture but also for commerce, and the 115 city is rich in the arts and lacks none of the merchandise which is brought across the sea. It possesses too suitable and commodious harbors at Askalon, Joppa, and Gaza, as well as at Ptolemais which was founded by the King and holds a central position compared with the other places named, being not far distant from any of them. The country produces everything in abundance, 116 since it is well watered in all directions and well protected from storms. The river Jordan, as it is called, which never runs dry, flows through the land. Originally (the country) contained not less than 60 million acres-though afterwards the neighboring peoples made incursions against it -and 600,000 men were settled upon it in farms of a hundred acres each. The river like the Nile rises in harvest- time and irrigates a large portion of the land. Near the district belonging to the people of 117 Ptolemais it issues into another river and this flows out into the sea. Other mountain torrents, as they are called, flow down into the plain and encompass the parts about Gaza and the district of 118 Ashdod. The country is encircled by a natural fence and is very difficult to attack and cannot be assailed by large forces, owing to the narrow passes, with their overhanging precipices and deep ravines, and the rugged character of the mountainous regions which surround all the land. We were told that from the neighboring mountains of Arabia copper and iron were formerly obtained. This was stopped, however, at the time of the Persian rule, since the authorities of the time spread 120 abroad a false report that the working of the mines was useless and expensive, in order to prevent their country from being destroyed by the mining in these districts and possibly taken away from them owing to the Persian rule, since by the assistance of this false report they found an excuse for entering the district.
I have now, my dear brother Philocrates, given you all the essential information upon this subject 121 in brief form. I shall describe the work of translation in the sequel. The High priest selected men of the finest character and the highest culture, such as one would expect from their noble parentage. They were men who had not only acquired proficiency in Jewish literature, but had studied most 122 carefully that of the Greeks as well. They were specially qualified therefore for serving on embassies and they undertook this duty whenever it was necessary. They possessed a great facility for conferences and the discussion of problems connected with the law. They espoused the middle course -and this is always the best course to pursue. They abjured the rough and uncouth manner, but they were altogether above pride and never assumed an air of superiority over others, and in conversation they were ready to listen and give an appropriate answer to every question. And all of them carefully observed this rule and were anxious above everything else to excel each other in 123 its observance and they were all of them worthy of their leader and of his virtue. And one could observe how they loved Eleazar by their unwillingness to be torn away from him and how he loved them. For besides the letter which he wrote to the king concerning their safe return, he also earnestly 124 besought Andreas to work for the same end and urged me, too, to assist to the best of my, ability and although we promised to give our best attention to the matter, he said that he was still greatly distressed, for he knew that the king out of the goodness of his nature considered it his highest privilege, whenever he heard of a man who was superior to his fellows in culture and wisdom, to 125 summon him to his court. For I have heard of a fine saying of his to the effect that by securing just and prudent men about his person he would secure the greatest protection for his kingdom, since such friends would unreservedly give him the most beneficial advice. And the men who were 126 now being sent to him by Eleazar undoubtedly possessed these qualities. And he frequently asserted upon oath that he would never let the men go if it were merely some private interest of his own that constituted the impelling motive-but it was for the common advantage of 127 all the citizens that he was sending them. For, he explained, the good life consists in the keeping of the enactments of the law, and this end is achieved much more by hearing than by reading. From this and other similar statements it was clear what his feelings towards them were.
128 It is worth while to mention briefly the information which he gave in reply to our questions. For I suppose that most people feel a curiosity with regard to some of the enactments in the law, 129 especially those about meats and drinks and animals recognized as unclean. When we asked why, since there is but one form of creation, some animals are regarded as unclean for eating, and others unclean even to the touch (for though the law is scrupulous on most points, it is specially scrupulous on such 130 matters as these) he began his reply as follows: ' You observe,' he said, ' what an effect our modes of life and our associations produce upon us; by associating with the bad, men catch their depravities and become miserable throughout their life; but if they live with the wise and prudent, they find 131 the means of escaping from ignorance and amending their lives. Our Lawgiver first of all laid down the principles of piety and righteousness and inculcated them point by point, not merely by prohibitions but by the use of examples as well, demonstrating the injurious effects of sin and the 132 punishments inflicted by God upon the guilty. For he proved first of all that there is only one God and that his power is manifested throughout the universe, since every place is filled with his sovereignty and none of the things which are wrought in secret by men upon the earth escapes His knowledge. For all that a man does and all that is to come to pass in the future are manifest to 133 Him. Working out these truths carefully and having made them plain he showed that even if a man should think of doing evil -to say nothing of actually effecting it,- he would not escape detection, for he made it clear that the power of God pervaded the whole of the law. Beginning from this starting point he went on to show that all mankind except ourselves believe in the existence of many gods, though they themselves are much more powerful than the beings whom they vainly worship. For when they have made statues of stone and wood, they say that they are the images of those who have invented something useful for life and they worship them, though 136 they have clear proof that they possess no feeling. For it would be utterly foolish to suppose that any one became a god in virtue of his inventions. For the inventors simply took certain objects already created and by combining them together, showed that they possessed a fresh utility: they 137 did not themselves create the substance of the thing, and so it is a vain and foolish thing for people to make gods of men like themselves. For in our times there are many who are much more inventive and much more learned than the men of former days who have been deified, and yet they would never come to worship them. The makers and authors of these myths think that they are 138 the wisest of the Greeks. Why need we speak of other infatuated people, Egyptians and the like, who place their reliance upon wild beasts and most kinds of creeping things and cattle, and worship them, and offer sacrifices to them both while living and when dead ?'
139 'Now our Lawgiver being a wise man and specially endowed by God to understand all things, took a comprehensive view of each particular detail, and fenced us round with impregnable ramparts and walls of iron, that we might not mingle at all with any of the other nations, but remain pure in body and soul, free from all vain imaginations, worshiping the one Almighty God above the whole 140 creation. Hence the leading Egyptian priests having looked carefully into many matters, and being cognizant with (our) affairs, call us " men of God ". This is a title which does not belong to the rest of mankind but only to those who worship the true God. The rest are men not of God but of meats and drinks and clothing. For their whole disposition leads them to find solace in these things. 141 Among our people such things are reckoned of no account. but throughout their whole life their 142 main consideration is the sovereignty of God. Therefore lest we should be corrupted by any abomination, or our lives be perverted by evil communications, he hedged us round on all sides by 143 rules of purity, affecting alike what we eat, or drink, or touch, or hear, or see. For though, speaking generally, all things are alike in their natural constitution, since they are all governed by one and the same power, yet there is a deep reason in each individual case why we abstain from the use of certain things and enjoy the common use of others. For the sake of illustration I will run over one or two 144 points and explain them to you. For you must not fall into the degrading idea that it was out of regard to mice and weasels and other such things that Moses drew up his laws with such exceeding care. All these ordinances were made for the sake of righteousness to aid the quest for virtue and 145 the perfecting of character. For all the birds that we use are tame and distinguished by their cleanliness, feeding on various kinds of grain and pulse, such as for instance pigeons, turtle-doves, 146 locusts, partridges, geese also, and all other birds of this class. But the birds which are forbidden you will find to be wild and carnivorous, tyrannizing over the others by the strength which they possess, and cruelly obtaining food by preying on the tame birds enumerated above and not only so, but 147 they seize lambs and kids, and injure human beings too, whether dead or alive, and so by naming them unclean, he gave a sign by means of them that those, for whom the legislation was ordained, must practice righteousness in their hearts and not tyrannize over any one in reliance upon their own strength nor rob them of anything, but steer their course of life in accordance with justice, just as the tame birds, already mentioned, consume the different kinds of pulse that grow upon the earth 148 and do not tyrannize to the destruction of their own kindred. Our legislator taught us therefore that it is by such methods as these that indications are given to the wise, that they must be just and effect nothing by violence, and refrain from tyrannizing over others in reliance upon their own 149 strength. For since it is considered unseemly even to touch such unclean animals, as have been mentioned, on account of their particular habits, ought we not to take every precaution lest our own 150 characters should be destroyed to the same extent ? Wherefore all the rules which he has laid down with regard to what is permitted in the case of these birds and other animals, he has enacted with the object of teaching us a moral lesson. For the division of the hoof and the separation of the claws are intended to teach us that we must discriminate between our individual actions with a view 151 to the practice of virtue. For the strength of our whole body and its activity depend upon our shoulders and limbs. Therefore he compels us to recognize that we must perform all our actions with discrimination according to the standard of righteousness -more especially because we have 152 been distinctly separated from the rest of mankind. For most other men defile themselves by promiscuous intercourse, thereby working great iniquity, and whole countries and cities pride themselves upon such vices. For they not only have intercourse with men but they defile their own 153 mothers and even their daughters. But we have been kept separate from such sins. And the people who have been separated in the aforementioned way are also characterized by the Lawgiver as possessing the gift of memory. For all animals " which are cloven-footed and chew the cud " 154 represent to the initiated the symbol of memory. For the act of chewing the cud is nothing else than the reminiscence of life and existence. For life is wont to be sustained by means of food 155 wherefore he exhorts us in the Scripture also in these words: ' Thou shalt surely remember the Lord that wrought in thee those great and wonderful things". For when they are properly conceived, they are manifestly great and glorious; first the construction of the body and the disposition of the 156 food and the separation of each individual limb and, far more, the organization of the senses, the operation and invisible movement of the mind, the rapidity of its particular actions and its discovery of the 157 arts, display an infinite resourcefulness. Wherefore he exhorts us to remember that the aforesaid parts are kept together by the divine power with consummate skill. For he has marked out every 158 time and place that we may continually remember the God who rules and preserves (us). For in the matter of meats and drinks he bids us first of all offer part as a sacrifice and then forthwith enjoy our meal. Moreover, upon our garments he has given us a symbol of remembrance, and in like manner he has ordered us to put the divine oracles upon our gates and doors as a remembrance of 159 God. And upon our hands, too, he expressly orders the symbol to be fastened, clearly showing that we ought to perform every act in righteousness, remembering (our own creation), and above all the 160 fear of God. He bids men also, when lying down to sleep and rising up again, to meditate upon the works of God, not only in word, but by observing distinctly the change and impression produced upon them, when they are going to sleep, and also their waking, how divine and incomprehensible 161 the change from one of these states to the other is. The excellency of the analogy in regard to discrimination and memory has now been pointed out to you, according to our interpretation of " the cloven hoof and the chewing of the cud ". For our laws have not been drawn up at random or in accordance with the first casual thought that occurred to the mind, but with a view to truth and the 162 indication of right reason. For by means of the directions which he gives with regard to meats and drinks and particular cases of touching, he bids us neither to do nor listen to anything, thoughtlessly 163 nor to resort to injustice by the abuse of the power of reason. In the case of the wild animals, too, the same principle may be discovered. For the character of the weasel and of mice and such 164 animals as these, which are expressly mentioned, is destructive. Mice defile and damage everything, not only for their own food but even to the extent of rendering absolutely useless to man whatever 165 it falls in their way to damage. The weasel class, too, is peculiar: for besides what has been said, it has a characteristic which is defiling: It conceives through the ears and brings forth through the 166 mouth. And it is for this reason that a like practice is declared unclean in men. For by embodying in speech all that they receive through the ears, they involve others in evils and work no ordinary impurity, being themselves altogether defiled by the pollution of impiety. And your king, as we are informed, does quite right in destroying such men.' 167 Then I said ' I suppose you mean the informers, for he constantly exposes them to tortures and to 168 painful forms of death'. 'Yes,' he replied, 'these are the men I mean, for to watch for men's destruction is an unholy thing. And our law forbids us to injure any one either by word or deed. My brief account of these matters ought to have convinced you, that all our regulations have been drawn up with a view to righteousness, and that nothing has been enacted in the Scripture thoughtlessly or without due reason, but its purpose is to enable us throughout our whole life and in all our actions 169 to practice righteousness before all men, being mindful of Almighty God. And so concerning meats and things unclean, creeping things, and wild beasts, the whole system aims at righteousness and righteous relationships between man and man.'
170 He seemed to me to have made a good defense on all the points; for in reference also to the calves and rams and goats which are offered, he said that it was necessary to take them from the herds and flocks, and sacrifice tame animals and offer nothing wild, that the offerers of the sacrifices might understand the symbolic meaning of the lawgiver and not be under the influence of an arrogant self-consciousness. For he, who offers a sacrifice makes an offering also of his own soul in all its moods. 171 I think that these particulars with regard to our discussion are worth narrating and on account of the sanctity and natural meaning of the law, I have been induced to explain them to you clearly, Philocrates, because of your own devotion to learning.
172 And Eleazar, after offering the sacrifice, and selecting the envoys, and preparing many gifts for the 173 king, despatched us on our journey in great security. And when we reached Alexandria, the king, was at once informed of our arrival. On our admission to the palace, Andreas and I warmly greeted 174 the king and handed over to him the letter written by Eleazar. The king was very anxious to meet the envoys, and gave orders that all the other officials should be dismissed and the envoys 175 summoned to his presence at once. Now this excited general surprise, for it is customary for those who come to seek an audience with the king on matters of importance to be admitted to his presence on the fifth day, while envoys from kings or very important cities with difficulty secure admission to the Court in thirty days -but these men he counted worthy of greater honor, since he held their master in such high esteem, and so he immediately dismissed those whose presence he regarded as superfluous and continued walking about until they came in and he was able to welcome them. 176 When they entered with the gifts which had been sent with them and the valuable parchments, on which the law was inscribed in gold in Jewish characters, for the parchment was wonderfully prepared and the connection between the pages had been so effected as to be invisible, the king as soon 177 as he saw them began to ask them about the books. And when they had taken the rolls out of their coverings and unfolded the pages, the king stood still for a long time and then making obeisance about seven times, he said: ' I thank you, my friends, and I thank him that sent you still more, and 178 most of all God, whose oracles these are.' And when all, the envoys and the others who were present as well, shouted out at one time and with one voice: ' God save the King! ' he burst into tears of joy. For his exaltation of soul and the sense of the overwhelming honor which had been 179 paid him compelled him to weep over his good fortune. He commanded them to put the rolls back in their places and then after saluting the men, said: ' It was right, men of God, that I should first of all pay my reverence to the books for the sake of which I summoned you here and then, when I had done that, to extend the right-hand of friendship to you. It was for this reason that I 180 did this first. I have enacted that this day, on which you arrived, shall be kept as a great day and it will be celebrated annually throughout my life time. It happens also that it is the anniversary of 181 my naval victory over Antigonus. Therefore I shall be glad to feast with you to-day.' 'Everything that you may have occasion to use ', he said, ' shall be prepared (for you) in a befitting manner and for me also with you.' After they had expressed their delight, he gave orders that the best quarters near the citadel should be assigned to them, and that preparations should be made for the banquet. 182 And Nicanor summoned the lord high steward, Dorotheus, who was the special officer appointed to look after the Jews, and commanded him to make the necessary preparation for each one. For this arrangement had been made by the king and it is an arrangement which you see maintained to-day. For as many cities (as) have (special) customs in the matter of drinking, eating, and reclining, have special officers appointed to look after their requirements. And whenever they come to visit the kings, preparations are made in accordance with their own customs, in order that there may be no discomfort to disturb the enjoyment of their visit. The same precaution was taken in the case of the Jewish envoys. Now Dorotheus who was the patron appointed to look after Jewish guests was 183 a very conscientious man. All the stores which were under his control and set apart for the reception of such guests, he brought out for the feast. He arranged the seats in two rows in accordance with the king's instructions. For he had ordered him to make half the men sit at his right hand and the rest behind him, in order that he might not withhold from them the highest possible honor. When they had taken their seats he instructed Dorotheus to carry out everything in 1844 accordance with the customs which were in use amongst his Jewish guests. Therefore he dispensed with the services of the sacred heralds and the sacrificing priests and the others who were accustomed to offer the prayers, and called upon one of our number, Eleazar, the oldest of the Jewish priests, to offer prayer instead. And he rose up and made a remarkable prayer. ' May Almighty 185 God enrich you, O king with all the good things which He has made and may He grant you and your wife and your children and your comrades the continual possession of them as long as you live ! ' At these words a loud and joyous applause broke out which lasted for a considerable time, and then 186 they turned to the enjoyment of the banquet which had been prepared. All the arrangements for service at table were carried out in accordance with the injunction of Dorotheus. Among the attendants were the royal pages and others who held places of honor at the king's court.
187 Taking an opportunity afforded by a pause in the banquet the king asked the envoy who sat in the seat of honor (for they were arranged according to seniority), How he could keep his kingdom 188 unimpaired to the end? After pondering for a moment he replied, 'You could best establish its security if you were to imitate the unceasing benignity of God. For if you exhibit clemency and inflict mild punishments upon those who deserve them in accordance with their deserts, you will 189 turn them from evil and lead them to repentance.' The king praised the answer and then asked the next man, How he could do everything for the best in all his actions? And he replied, ' If a man maintains a just bearing towards all, he will always act rightly on every occasion, remembering that every thought is known to God. If you take the fear of God as your starting-point, you will never miss the goal.
190 The king complimented this man, too, upon his answer and asked another, How he could have friends like-minded with himself? He replied, ' If they see you studying the interests of the multitudes over whom you rule; you will do well to observe how God bestows his benefits on the 191 human race, providing for them health and food and all other things in due season.' After expressing his agreement with the reply, the king asked the next guest, How in giving audiences and passing judgments he could gain the praise even of those who failed to win their suit ? And he said, ' If you are fair in speech to all alike and never act insolently nor tyrannically in your treatment of 192 offenders. And you will do this if you watch the method by which God acts. The petitions of the worthy are always fulfilled, while those who fail to obtain an answer to their prayers are informed by means of dreams or events of what was harmful in their requests and that God does not smite them according to their sins or the greatness of His strength, but acts with forbearance towards them.'
193 The king praised the man warmly for his answer and asked the next in order, How he could be invincible in military affairs ? And he replied, ' If he did not trust entirely to his multitudes or his warlike forces, but called upon God continually to bring his enterprises to a successful issue, while 194 he himself discharged all his duties in the spirit of justice.' Welcoming this answer, he asked another how he might become an object of dread to his enemies. And he replied, ' If while maintaining a vast supply of arms and forces he remembered that these things were powerless to achieve a permanent and conclusive result. For even God instils fear into the minds of men by granting reprieves and making merely a display of the greatness of his power.'
195 This man the king praised and then said to the next, What is the highest good in life? And he answered ' To know that God is Lord of the Universe, and that in our finest achievements it is not we who attain success but God who by his power brings all things to fulfillment and leads us to the goal.'
196 The king exclaimed that the man had answered well and then asked the next How he could keep all his possessions intact and finally hand them down to his successors in the same condition? And he answered ' By praying constantly to God that you may be inspired with high motives in all your undertakings and by warning your descendants not to be dazzled by fame or wealth, for it is God who bestows all these gifts and men never by themselves win the supremacy'.
197 The king expressed his agreement with the answer and enquired of the next guest, How he could bear with equanimity whatever befell him? And he said, ' If you have a firm grasp of the thought that all men are appointed by God to share the greatest evil as well as the greatest good, since it is impossible for one who is a man to be exempt from these. But God, to whom we ought always to pray, inspires us with courage to endure.'
198 Delighted with the man's reply, the king said that all their answers had been good. ' I will put a question to one other', he added, ' and then I will stop for the present: that we may turn our attention 199 to the enjoyment of the feast and spend a pleasant time.' Thereupon he asked the man, What is the true aim of courage ? And he answered, ' If a right plan is carried out in the hour of danger in accordance with the original intention. For all things are accomplished by God to your advantage, O king, since your purpose is good.'
200 When all had signified by their applause their agreement with the answer, the king said to the philosophers (for not a few of them were present), ' It is my opinion that these men excel in virtue and possess extraordinary knowledge, since on the spur of the moment they have given fitting answers to these questions which I have put to them, and have all made God the starting-point of their words.'
201 And Menedemus, the philosopher of Eretria, said, 'True, O King -for since the universe is managed by providence and since we rightly perceive that man is the creation of God, it follows 202 that all power and beauty of speech proceed from God.' When the king had nodded his assent to this sentiment, the speaking ceased and they proceeded to enjoy themselves. When evening came on, the banquet ended.
203 On the following day they sat down to table again and continued the banquet according to the same arrangements. When the king thought that a fitting opportunity had arrived to put inquiries to his guests, he proceeded to ask further questions of the men who sat next in order to those who 204 had given answers on the previous day. He began to open the conversation with the eleventh man, for there were ten who had been asked questions on the former occasion. When silence was 205 established, he asked How he could continue to be rich ? After a brief reflection, the man who had been asked the question replied If he did nothing unworthy of his position, never acted licentiously, never lavished expense on empty and vain pursuits, but by acts of benevolence made all his subjects well disposed towards himself. For it is God who is the author of all good things and 206 Him man must needs obey.' The king bestowed praise upon him and then asked another How he could maintain the truth ? In reply to the question he said, ' By recognizing that a lie brings great disgrace upon all men, and more especially upon kings. For since they have the power to do whatever they wish, why should they resort to lies ? In addition to this you must always remember, O King, that God is a lover of the truth.'
207 The king received the answer with great delight and looking at another said, 'What is the teaching of wisdom? ' And the other replied, ' As you wish that no evil should befall you, but to be a partaker of all good things, so you should act on the same principle towards your subjects and offenders, and you should mildly admonish the noble and good. For God draws all men to himself by his benignity.'
208 The king praised him and asked the next in order How he could be the friend of men ? And he replied, ' By observing that the human race increases and is born with much trouble and great suffering: wherefore you must not lightly punish or inflict torments upon them, since you know that the life of men is made up of pains and penalties. For if you understood everything you would be filled with pity, for God also is pitiful.'
209 The king received the answer with approbation and inquired of the next 'What is the most essential qualification for ruling ? ' ' To keep oneself ', he answered, ' free from bribery and to practice sobriety during the greater part of one's life, to honor righteousness above all things, and to make friends of men of this type. For God, too, is a lover of justice.'
210 Having signified his approval, the king said to another 'What is the true mark of piety?' And he replied, 'To perceive that God constantly works in the Universe and knows all things, and no man who acts unjustly and works wickedness can escape His notice. AS God is the benefactor of the whole world, so you, too, must imitate Him and be void of offense.'
211 The king signified his agreement and said to another ' What is the essence of kingship ? ' And he replied, ' To rule oneself well and not to be led astray by wealth or fame to immoderate or unseemly desires, this is the true way of ruling if you reason the matter well out. For all that you really need is yours, and God is free from need and benignant withal. Let your thoughts be such as become a man, and desire not many things but only such as are necessary for ruling.'
212 The king praised him and asked another man How his deliberations might be for the best ? and he replied, 'If he constantly set justice before him in everything and thought that injustice was equivalent to deprivation of life. For God always promises the highest blessings to the just.'
213 Having praised him, the king asked the next How he could be free from disturbing thoughts ill his sleep ? And he replied, ' You have asked me a question which is very difficult to answer, for we cannot bring our true selves into play during the hours of sleep, but are held fast in these 214 by imaginations that cannot be controlled by reason. For our souls possess the feeling that they actually see the things that enter into our consciousness during sleep. But we make a mistake if we suppose that we are actually sailing on the sea in boats or flying through the air or traveling to other regions or anything else of the kind. And yet we actually do imagine such 215 things to be taking place. So far as it is possible for me to decide, I have reached the following conclusion. You must in every possible way, O King, govern your words and actions by the rule of piety that you may have the consciousness that you are maintaining virtue and that you never choose to gratify yourself at the expense of reason and never by abusing your power do 216 despite to righteousness. For the mind mostly busies itself in sleep with the same things with which it occupies itself when awake. And he who has all his thoughts and actions set towards the noblest ends establishes himself in righteousness both when he is awake and when he is asleep. Wherefore you must be steadfast in the constant discipline of self.'
217 The king bestowed praise on the man and said to another-' since you are the tenth to answer, when you have spoken, we will devote ourselves to the banquet.' And then he put the question, 218 How can I avoid doing anything unworthy of myself? And he replied, 'Look always to your own fame and your own supreme position, that you may speak and think only such things as are 219 consistent therewith, knowing that all your subjects think and talk about you. For you must not appear to be worse than the actors, who study carefully the role, which it is necessary for them to play, and shape all their actions in accordance with it. You are not acting a part, but are really a king, since God has bestowed upon you a royal authority in keeping with your character.'
220 When the king had applauded loud and long in the most gracious way, the guests were urged to seek repose. So when the conversation ceased, they devoted themselves to the next course of the feast.
221 On the following day, the same arrangement was observed, and when the king found an opportunity of putting questions to the men, he questioned the first of those who had been left over 222 for the next interrogation, What is the highest form of government? And he replied, 'To rule oneself and not to be carried away by impulses. For all men possess a certain natural bent of mind. 223 It is probable that most men have an inclination towards food and drink and pleasure, and kings a bent towards the acquisition of territory and great renown. But it is good that there should be moderation in all things. What God gives, that you must take and keep, but never yearn for things that are beyond your reach.'
224 Pleased with these words, the king asked the next How he could be free from envy ? And he after a brief pause replied, ' If you consider first of all that it is God who bestows on all kings glory and great wealth and no one is king by his own power. All men wish to share this glory but cannot, since it is the gift of God.'
225 The king praised the man in a long speech and then asked another How he could despise his enemies? And he replied, ' If you show kindness to all men and win their friendship, you need fear no one. To be popular with all men is the best of good gifts to receive from God.'
226 Having praised this answer the king ordered the next man to reply to the question, How he could maintain his great renown ? and he replied that ' If you are generous and large-hearted in bestowing kindness and acts of grace upon others, you will never lose your renown, but if you wish the aforesaid graces to continue yours, you must call upon God continually.'
227 The king expressed his approval and asked the next, To whom ought a man to show liberality? And he replied, ' All men acknowledge that we ought to show liberality to those who are well disposed towards us, but I think that we ought to show the same keen spirit of generosity to those who are opposed to us that by this means we may win them over to the right and to what is advantageous to ourselves. But we must pray to God that this may be accomplished, for he rules the minds of all men.'
228 Having expressed his agreement with the answer, the king asked the sixth to reply to the question, To whom ought we to exhibit gratitude? And he replied, 'To our parents continually, for God has given us a most important commandment with regard to the honor due to parents. In the next place He reckons the attitude of friend towards friend for He speaks of " a friend which is as thine own soul". You do well in trying to bring all men into friendship with yourself.'
229 The king spoke kindly to him and then asked the next, What is it that resembles beauty in value? And he said, 'Piety, for it is the pre-eminent form of beauty, and its power lies in love, which is the gift of God. This you have already acquired and with it all the blessings of life.'
230 The king in the most gracious way applauded the answer and asked another How, if he were to fail, he could regain his reputation again in the same degree ? And he said, ' It is not possible for you to fail, for you have sown in all men the seeds of gratitude which produce a harvest of goodwill, 231 and this is mightier than the strongest weapons and guarantees the greatest security. But if any man does fail, he must never again do those things which caused his failure, but he must form friendships and act justly. For it is the gift of God to be able to do good actions and not the contrary.'
232 Delighted with these words, the king asked another How he could be free from grief? And he replied, ' If he never injured any one, but did good to everybody and followed the pathway of 233 righteousness, for its fruits bring freedom from grief. But we must pray to God that unexpected evils such as death or disease or pain or anything of this kind may not come upon us and injure us. But since you are devoted to piety, no such misfortune will ever come upon you.'
234 The king bestowed great praise upon him and asked the tenth, What is the highest form of glory? And he said, ' To honor God, and this is done not with gifts and sacrifices but with purity of soul and holy conviction, since all things are fashioned and governed by God in accordance with His will. Of this purpose you are in constant possession as all men can see from your achievements in the past and in the present.'
235 With loud voice the king greeted them all and spoke kindly to them, and all those who were present expressed their approval, especially the philosophers. For they were far superior to them [i.e. the philosophers] both in conduct and in argument, since they always made God their starting point. After this the king to show his good feeling proceeded to drink the health of his guests.
236 On the following day the same arrangements were made for the banquet, and the king, as soon as an opportunity occurred, began to put questions to the men who sat next to those who had already responded, and he said to the first ' Is wisdom capable of being taught?' And he said, 'The soul is so constituted that it is able by the divine power to receive all the good and reject the contrary.'
237 The king expressed approval and asked the next man, What is it that is most beneficial to health? And he said, 'Temperance, and it is not possible to acquire this unless God create a disposition towards it.'
238 The king spoke kindly to the man and said to another, 'How can a man worthily pay the debt of gratitude to his parents?' And he said, 'By never causing them pain, and this is not possible unless God dispose the mind to the pursuit of the noblest ends.'
239 The king expressed agreement and asked the next How he could become an eager listener? And he said, ' By remembering that all knowledge is useful, because it enables you by the help of God in a time of emergency to select some of the things which you have learned and apply them to the crisis which confronts you. And so the efforts of men are fulfilled by the assistance of God.'
240 The king praised him and asked the next How he could avoid doing anything contrary to law ? And he said, ' If you recognize that it is God who has put the thoughts into the hearts of the lawgivers that the lives of men might be preserved, you will follow them.'
241 The king acknowledged the man's answer and said to another, ' What is the advantage of kinship ? ' And he replied, ' If we consider that we ourselves are afflicted by the misfortunes which fall upon our relatives and if their sufferings become our own -then the strength of kinship is 242 apparent at once, for it is only when such feeling is shown that we shall win honor and esteem in their eyes. For help, when it is linked with kindliness, is of itself a bond which is altogether indissoluble. And in the day of their prosperity we must not crave their possessions, but must pray God to bestow all manner of good upon them.'
243 And having accorded to him the same praise as to the rest, the king asked another How he could attain freedom from fear ? And he said, ' When the mind is conscious that it has wrought no evil, and when God directs it to all noble counsels.'
244 The king expressed his approval and asked another How he could always maintain a right judgment ? And he replied, ' If he constantly set before his eyes the misfortunes which befall men and recognized that it is God who takes away prosperity from some and brings others to great honor and glory.'
245 The king gave a kindly reception to the man and asked the next to answer the question How he could avoid a life of ease and pleasure ? And he replied, ' If he continually remembered that he was the ruler of a great empire and the lord of vast multitudes, and that his mind ought not to be occupied with other things, but he ought always to be considering how he could best promote their welfare. He must pray, too, to God that no duty might be neglected.'
246 Having bestowed praise upon him, the king asked the tenth How he could recognize those who were dealing treacherously with him ? And he replied to the question, ' If he observed whether the bearing of those about him was natural and whether they maintained the proper rule of precedence at receptions and councils, and in their general intercourse, never going beyond the bounds of 247 propriety in congratulations or in other matters of deportment. But God will incline your mind, O King, to all that is noble.' When the king had expressed his loud approval and praised them all individually (amid the plaudits of all who were present), they turned to the enjoyment of the feast.
248 And on the next day, when the opportunity offered, the king asked the next man, What is the grossest form of neglect ? And he replied, ' If a man does not care for his children and devote every effort to their education. For w always pray to God not so much for ourselves as for our children that every blessing may be theirs. Our desire that our children may possess self-control is only realized by the power of God.'
249 The king said that he had spoken well and then asked another How he could be patriotic ? ' By keeping before your mind,' he replied, the thought that it is good to live and die in one's own country. Residence abroad brings contempt upon the poor and shame upon the rich as though they had been banished for a crime. If you bestow benefits upon all, as you continually do, God will give you favour with all and you will be accounted patriotic.'
250 After listening to this man, the king asked the next in order How he could live amicably with his wife ? And he answered, ' By recognizing that womankind are by nature headstrong and energetic in the pursuit of their own desires, and subject to sudden changes of opinion through fallacious reasoning, and their nature is essentially weak. It is necessary to deal wisely with them 251 and not to provoke strife. For the successful conduct of life the steersman must know the goal toward which he ought to direct his course. It is only by calling upon the help of God that men can steer a true course of life at all times.'
252 The king expressed his agreement and asked the next How he could be free from error ? And he replied, ' If you always act with deliberation and never give credence to slanders, but prove for yourself the things that are said to you and decide by your own judgment the requests which are made to you and carry out everything in the light of your judgment, you will be free from error, O King. But the knowledge and practice of these things is the work of the Divine power.'
253 Delighted with these words, the king asked another How he could be free from wrath ? And he said in reply to the question, ' If he recognized that he had power over all even to inflict death upon them, if he gave way to wrath, and that it would be useless and pitiful if he, just because he was lord, 254 deprived many of life. What need was there for wrath, when all men were in subjection and no one was hostile to him ? It is necessary to recognize that God rules the whole world in the spirit of kindness and without wrath at all, and you,' said he, ' O king, must of necessity copy His example.
255 The king said that he had answered well and then inquired of the next man, What is good counsel ? ' To act well at all times and with due reflection,' he explained, ' comparing what is advantageous to our own policy with the injurious effects that would result from the adoption of the opposite view, in order that by weighing every point we may be well advised and our purpose may be accomplished. And most important of all, by the power of God every plan of yours will find fulfilment because you practice piety.'
256 The king said that this man had answered well, and asked another What is philosophy? And he explained, ' To deliberate well in reference to any question that emerges and never to be carried away by impulses, but to ponder over the injuries that result from the passions, and to act rightly as the circumstances demand, practicing moderation. But we must pray to God to instil into our mind a regard for these things.'
257 The king signified his consent and asked another How he could meet with recognition when traveling abroad ? ' By being fair to all men,' he replied, ' and by appearing to be inferior rather than superior to those amongst whom he was traveling. For it is a recognized principle that God by His very nature accepts the humble. And the human race loves those who are willing to be in subjection to them.'
258 Having expressed his approval at this reply, the king asked another How he could build in such a way that his structures would endure after him ? And he replied to the question, ' If his creations were on a great and noble scale, so that the beholders would spare them for their beauty, and if he never dismissed any of those who wrought such works and never compelled others to minister to his 259 needs without wages. For observing how God provides for the human race, granting them health and mental capacity and all other gifts, he himself should follow His example by rendering to men a recompense for their arduous toil. For it is the deeds that are wrought in righteousness that abide continually.'
260 The king said that this man, too, had answered well and asked the tenth, What is the fruit of wisdom ? And he replied, ' That a man should be conscious in himself that he has wrought no evil 261 and that he should live his life in the truth, since it is from these, O mighty King, that the greatest joy and steadfastness of soul and strong faith in God accrue to you if you rule your realm in piety.' And when they heard the answer they all shouted with loud acclaim, and afterwards the king in the fullness of his joy began to drink their healths.
262 And on the next day the banquet followed the same course as on previous occasions, and when the opportunity presented itself the king proceeded to put questions to the remaining guests, and 263 he said to the first, ' How can a man keep himself from pride ? ' And he replied, ' If he maintains equality and remembers on all occasions that he is a man ruling over men. And God brings the proud to nought, and exalts the meek and humble.'
264 The king spoke kindly to him and asked the next, Whom ought a man to select as his counselors ? and he replied, ' Those who have been tested in many affairs and maintain unmingled goodwill towards him and partake of his own disposition. And God manifests Himself to those who are worthy that these ends may be attained.'
265 The king praised him and asked another, What is the most necessary possession for a king ? ' The friendship and love of his subjects,' he replied, ' for it is through this that the bond of goodwill is rendered indissoluble. And it is God who ensures that this may come to pass in accordance with your wish.'
266 The king praised him and inquired of another, What is goal of speech? And he replied, 'To convince your opponent by showing him his mistakes in a well-ordered array of arguments. For in this way you will win your hearer, not by opposing him, but by bestowing praise upon him with a view to persuading him. And it is by the power of God that persuasion is accomplished.'
267 The king said that he had given a good answer, and asked another How he could live amicably with the many different races who formed the population of his kingdom ? ' By acting the proper part towards each,' he replied, ' and taking righteousness as your guide, as you are now doing with the help of the insight which God bestows upon you.'
268 The king was delighted by this reply, and asked another ' Under what circumstances ought a man to suffer grief ? ' ' In the misfortunes that befall our friends,' he replied, when we see that they are protracted and irremediable. Reason does not allow us to grieve for those who are dead and set free from evil, but all men do grieve over them because they think only of themselves and their own advantage. It is by the power of God alone that we can escape all evil.' 269 The king said that he had given a fitting answer, and asked another, How is reputation lost? And he replied, When pride and unbounded self-confidence hold sway, dishonor and loss of reputation are engendered. For God is the Lord of all reputation and bestows it where He will.'
270 The king gave his confirmation to the answer, and asked the next man, To whom ought men to entrust themselves ? ' To those,' he replied, who serve you from goodwill and not from fear or self-interest, thinking only of their own gain. For the one is the sign of love, the other the mark of ill-will and time-serving. For the man who is always watching, for his own gain is a traitor at heart. But you possess the affection of all your subjects by the help of the good counsel which God bestows upon you.'
271 The king said that he had answered wisely, and asked another, What is it that keeps a kingdom safe? And he replied to the question, ' Care and forethought that no evil may be wrought by those who are placed in a position of authority over the people, and this you always do by the help of God who inspires you with grave judgment '.
272 The king spoke words of encouragement to him, and asked another, What is it that maintains gratitude and honor ? And he replied, ' virtue, for it is the creator of good deeds, and by it evil is destroyed, even as you exhibit nobility of character towards all by the gift which God bestows upon you.'
273 The king graciously acknowledged the answer and asked the eleventh (since there were two more than seventy), How he could in time of war maintain tranquillity of soul ? And he replied, ' By remembering that he had done no evil to any of his subjects, and that all would fight for him in return for the benefits which they had received, knowing that even if they lose their lives, you will care for those 274 dependent on them. For you never fail to make reparation to any-such is the kind-heartedness with which God has inspired you.' The king loudly applauded them all and spoke very kindly to them and then drank a long draught to the health of each, giving himself up to enjoyment, and lavishing the most generous and joyous friendship upon his guests.
275 On the seventh day much more extensive preparations were made, and many others were present from the different cities (among them a large number of ambassadors). When an opportunity occurred, the king asked the first of those who had not yet been questioned How he could avoid 276 being deceived by fallacious reasoning ? and he replied, ' By noticing carefully the speaker, the thing spoken, and the subject under discussion, and by putting the same questions again after an interval in different forms. But to possess an alert mind and to be able to form a sound judgment in every case is one of the good gifts of God, and you possess it, O King.'
277 The king loudly applauded the answer and asked another, Why is it that the majority of men never become virtuous ? ' Because,' he replied, ' all men are by nature intemperate and inclined to 278 pleasure. Hence, injustice springs up and a flood of avarice. The habit of virtue is a hindrance to those who are devoted to a life of pleasure because it enjoins upon them the preference of temperance and righteousness. For it is God who is the master of these things.'
279 The king said that he had answered well, and asked, What ought kings to obey ? And he said, ' The laws, in order that by righteous enactments they may restore the lives of men. Even as you by such conduct in obedience to the Divine command have laid up in store for yourself a perpetual memorial.'
280 The king said that this man, too, had spoken well, and asked the next, Whom ought we to appoint as governors? And he replied, 'All who hate wickedness, and imitating your own conduct act righteously that they may maintain a good reputation constantly. For this is what you do, O mighty King,' he said, ' and it is God who has bestowed upon you the crown of righteousness.' 281 The king loudly acclaimed the answer and then looking at the next man said, Whom ought we to appoint as officers over the forces?' And he explained, ' Those who excel in courage and righteousness and those who are more anxious about the safety of their men than to gain a victory by risking their lives through rashness. For as God acts well towards all men, so too you ill imitation of Him are the benefactor of all your subjects.'
282 The king said that he had given a good answer and asked another, What man is worthy of admiration ? And he replied, The man who is furnished with reputation and wealth and power and possesses a soul equal to it all. You yourself show by your actions that you are most worthy of admiration through the help of God who makes you care for these things.'
283 The king expressed his approval and said to another 'To what affairs ought kings to devote most time ? ' And he replied, ' To reading and the study of the records of official journeys, which are written in reference to the various kingdoms, with a view to the reformation and preservation of the subjects. And it is by such activity that you have attained to a glory which has never been approached by others, through the help of God who fulfils all your desires.'
284 The king spoke enthusiastically to the man and asked another How ought a man to occupy himself during his hours of relaxation and recreation? And he replied, 'To watch those plays which can be acted with propriety and to set before one's eyes scenes taken from life and enacted 285 with dignity and decency is profitable and appropriate. For there is some edification to be found even in these amusements, for often some desirable lesson is taught by the most insignificant affairs of life. But by practicing the utmost propriety in all your actions, you have shown that you are a philosopher and you are honored by God on account of your virtue.'
286 The king, pleased with the words which had just been spoken, said to the ninth man, How ought a man to conduct himself at banquets? And he replied, ' You should summon to your side men of learning and those who are able to give you useful hints with regard to the affairs of your kingdom and the lives of your subjects (for you could not find any theme more suitable or more 287 educative than this) since such men are dear to God because they have trained their minds to contemplate the noblest themes-as you indeed are doing yourself, since all your actions are directed by God.'
288 Delighted with the reply, the king inquired of the next man, What is best for the people? That a private citizen should be made king over them or a member of the royal family ? And he 289 replied, He who is best by nature. For kings who come of royal lineage are often harsh and severe towards their subjects. And still more is this the case with some of those who have risen from the ranks of private citizens, who after having experienced evil and borne their share of 290 poverty, when they rule over multitudes turn out to be more cruel than the godless tyrants. But, as I have said, a good nature which has been properly trained is capable of ruling, and you are a great king, not so much because you excel in the glory of your rule and your wealth but rather because you have surpassed all men in clemency and philanthropy, thanks to God who has endowed you with these qualities.'
291 The king spent some time in praising this man and then asked the last of all, What is the greatest achievement in ruling an empire ? And he replied, ' That the subjects should continually dwell in a state of peace, and that justice should be speedily administered in cases of dispute. 292 These results are achieved through the influence of the ruler, when he is a man who hates evil and loves the good and devotes his energies to saving the lives of men, just as you consider injustice the worst form of evil and by your just administration have fashioned for yourself an undying reputation, since God bestows upon you a mind which is pure and untainted by any evil.'
293 And when he ceased, loud and joyful applause broke out for some considerable time. When it stopped the king took a cup and gave a toast in honor of all his guests and the words which they had uttered. Then in conclusion he said, ' I have derived the greatest benefit from your presence. 294 I have profited much by the wise teaching which you have given me in reference to the art of ruling.' Then he ordered that three talents of silver should be presented to each of them, and appointed one of his slaves to deliver over the money. All at once shouted their approval, and the banquet became a scene of joy, while the king gave himself up to a continuous round of festivity.
295 I have written at length and must crave your pardon, Philocrates. I was astonished beyond measure at the men and the way in which on the spur of the moment they gave answers which 296 really needed a long time to devise. For though the questioner had given great thought to each particular question, those who replied one after the other had their answers to the questions ready at once and so they seemed to me and to all who were present and especially to the philosophers to be worthy of admiration. And I suppose that the thing will seem incredible to those who will 291 read my narrative in the future. But it is unseemly to misrepresent facts which are recorded in the public archives. And it would not be right for me to transgress in such a matter as this. I tell the story just as it happened, conscientiously avoiding any error. I was so impressed by the force of their utterances, that I made an effort to consult those whose business it was to make 298 a record of all that happened at the royal audiences and banquets. For it is the custom, as you know, from the moment the king begins to transact business until the time when he retires to rest, for a record to be taken of all his sayings and doings-a most excellent and useful arrangement. 299 For on the following day the minutes of the doings and sayings of the previous day are read over before business commences, and if there has been any irregularity, the matter is at once set right. 300 I obtained therefore, as has been said, accurate information from the public records, and I have set forth the facts in proper order since I know how eager you are to obtain useful information.
301 Three days later Demetrius took the men and passing along the sea-wall, seven stadia long, to the island, crossed the bridge and made for the northern districts of Pharos. There he assembled them in a house, which had been built upon the sea-shore, of great beauty and in a secluded situation, and invited them to carry out the work of translation, since everything that they needed for the purpose 302 was placed at their disposal. So they set to work comparing their several results and making them agree, and whatever they agreed upon was suitably copied out under the direction of Demetrius. 303 And the session lasted until the ninth hour; after this they were set free to minister to their physical 304 needs. Everything they wanted was furnished for them on a lavish scale. In addition to this Dorotheus made the same preparations for them daily as were made for the king himself-for thus he had been commanded by the king. In the early morning they appeared daily at the Court, and 305 after saluting the king went back to their own place. And as is the custom of all the Jews, they washed their hands in the sea and prayed to God and then devoted themselves to reading and 306 translating the particular passage upon which they were engaged, and I put the question to them, Why it was that they washed their hands before they prayed? And they explained that it was a token that they had done no evil (for every form of activity is wrought by means of the hands) since in their noble and holy way they regard everything as a symbol of righteousness and truth.
307 As I have already said, they met together daily in the place which was delightful for its quiet and its brightness and applied themselves to their task. And it so chanced that the work of translation was completed in seventy-two days, just as if this had been arranged of set purpose.
308 When the work was completed, Demetrius collected together the Jewish population in the place where the translation had been made, and read it over to all, in the presence of the translators, who met with a great reception also from the people, because of the great benefits which they had 309 conferred upon them. They bestowed warm praise upon Demetrius, too, and urged him to have the whole law transcribed and present a copy to their leaders. 310 After the books had been read, the priests and the elders of the translators and the Jewish community and the leaders of the people stood up and said, that since so excellent and sacred and accurate a translation had been made, it was only right that it should remain as it was and no 311 alteration should be made in it. And when the whole company expressed their approval, they bade them pronounce a curse in accordance with their custom upon any one who should make any alteration either by adding anything or changing in any way whatever any of the words which had been written or making any omission. This was a very wise precaution to ensure that the book might be preserved for all the future time unchanged. 312 When the matter was reported to the king, he rejoiced greatly, for he felt that the design which he had formed had been safely carried out. The whole book was read over to him and he was greatly astonished at the spirit of the lawgiver. And he said to Demetrius, ' How is it that none of the historians or the poets have ever thought it worth their while to allude to such a wonderful 313 achievement ? ' And he replied, ' Because the law is sacred and of divine origin. And some of those who formed the intention of dealing with it have been smitten by God and therefore desisted from 314 their purpose.' He said that he had heard from Theopompus that he had been driven out of his mind for more than thirty days because he intended to insert in his history some of the incidents from the earlier and somewhat unreliable translations of the law. When he had recovered 315 a little, he besought God to make it clear to him why the misfortune had befallen him. And it was revealed to him in a dream, that from idle curiosity he was wishing to communicate sacred truths to common men, and that if he desisted he would recover his health. I have heard, too, from the lips 316 of Theodektes, one of the tragic poets, that when he was about to adapt some of the incidents recorded in the book for one of his plays, he was affected with cataract in both his eyes. And when he perceived the reason why the misfortune had befallen him, he prayed to God for many days and was afterwards restored. 317 And after the king, as I have already said, had received the explanation of Demetrius on this point, he did homage and ordered that great care should be taken of the books, and that they should 318 be sacredly guarded. And he urged the translators to visit him frequently after their return to Judea, for it was only right, he said, that he should now send them home. But when they came back, he 319 would treat them as friends, as was right, and they would receive rich presents from him. He ordered preparations to be made for them to return home, and treated them most munificently. He presented each one of them with three robes of the finest sort, two talents of gold, a sideboard weighing one talent, all the furniture for three couches. 320 And with the escort he sent Eleazar ten couches with silver legs and all the necessary equipment, a sideboard worth thirty talents, ten robes, purple, and a magnificent crown, and a hundred pieces of the finest woven linen, also bowls and dishes, and two golden beakers to be dedicated to God. 321 He urged him also in a letter that if any of the men preferred to come back to him, not to hinder them. For he counted it a great privilege to enjoy the society of such learned men, and he would rather lavish his wealth upon them than upon vanities. 322 And now Philocrates, you have the complete story in accordance with my promise. I think that you find greater pleasure in these matters than in the writings of the mythologists. For you are devoted to the study of those things which can benefit the soul, and spend much time upon it. I shall attempt to narrate whatever other events are worth recording, that by perusing them you may secure the highest reward for your zeal.
II Enoch 69-73, or The Exaltation of Melchizedek
Book of Creation, or Sepher Yetzirah
Book of Raziel Part One
Letter of Aristeas
Chapters 69-73 of 2 Enoch (sometimes referred as the Exaltation of Melchizedek or 2EM) outline the priestly succession of Enoch. There is not unanimous consensus whether this section belongs to the main body of the text or it is an early addition. Considering the not-fragmentary main manuscripts, 2EM is not included in P V N, it is included partially in J, while it is fully included in R U B, which anyway represent the best traditions of all versions. So we have both shorter and a longer versions of 2EM. Some early authors, as Charles, have not included this section mainly because they based their edition on manuscripts P and N. The lack of this section in recent manuscripts is explained by others because of the scandalous content (the virgin birth of Melchisedek) for Christian copyists. According to Vaillant, who edited the first critical edition of 2 Enoch, there is no evidence that 2EM ever existed separately. Modern editions usually include also these chapters.
Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Sēpher Yəṣîrâh "Book of Formation," or "Book of Creation," ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest extant book on Jewish esotericism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed to Kabbalah. "Yetzirah" is more literally translated as "Formation"; the word "Briah" is used for "Creation". The Sefer Yetzirah is devoted to speculations concerning God's creation of the world. The ascription of its authorship to the biblical patriarch Abraham shows the high esteem which it enjoyed for centuries. It may even be said that this work had a greater influence on the development of the Jewish mind than almost any other book after the completion of the Talmud.
Sefer Raziel HaMalakh, (Hebrew ספר רזיאל המלאך "Book of Raziel the Angel”), is a medieval Kabbalistic grimoire, primarily written in Hebrew and Aramaic, but surviving also in Latin translation, as Liber Razielis Archangeli, in a 13th century manuscript produced under Alfonso X. The book cannot be shown to predate the 13th century, but may in parts date back to Late Antiquity. Like other obscure ancient texts such as the Bahir and Sefer Yetzirah, the work has been extant in a number of versions. The tradition around the book attributes it to have been revealed to Adam by the angel Raziel. The title itself is mentioned in another magical work of late antiquity, The Sword of Moses. Critical historians regard it as a medieval work, most probably originating among the Chassidei Ashkenaz, as citations from it begin to appear only in the 13th century. Sections of it are no doubt older. The likely compiler of the medieval version is Eleazer of Worms, as "Sefer Galei Razia", which developed to what we have now as "Sefer Raziel HaMalakh", including more writings written by people of various theological opinions.
The Letter of Aristeas or Letter to Philocrates is a Hellenistic work of the 2nd century BCE, assigned by Biblical scholars to the Pseudepigrapha. Josephus who paraphrases about two-fifths of the letter, ascribes it to Aristeas and to have been written to a certain Philocrates, describing the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law by seventy-two interpreters sent into Egypt from Jerusalem at the request of the librarian of Alexandria, resulting in the Septuagint translation. Though some have argued that its story of the creation of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible is fictitious, it is the earliest text to mention the Library of Alexandria.