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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter XXI

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Text Commentary

1And in the sixth year of the seventh 1 Probably ‘sixth’ should be read. week of this jubilee Abraham called his son Isaac and instructed him, saying, I am old and full of years, and I do not know when I shall die. 2Behold, I am a hundred and seventy-five years old, and throughout my life I have remembered the Lord and set my heart on the doing of his will and walking straight in all his paths. 3My soul has hated idols, and I have despised those that serve them; and I have devoted my heart and spirit 2 Eth. om. ‘and I have despised…spirit’. to observe and do the will of him who created me. 4For he is the living God, and holy and faithful and righteous above all: he does not respect persons and he cannot be bribed; for he is a righteous God and executes judgement on all who transgress his commandments and despise his covenant.

5And as for you, my son, observe his commandments and his precepts and his judgements, and do not go astray after idols 3 So Lat. (lit. ‘abominations’): Eth. ‘those who are unclean’. and after images, whether carved or cast in metal. 6And do not eat the blood of any of the wild animals or cattle, nor of any bird that flies in heaven. 7And if you kill a victim as a peace-offering that is to be acceptable to God, kill it and pour out its blood on the altar, and all the fat offer on the altar as an offering with fine flour, and the meat-offering, 4 Lat. om. ‘and the meat-offering’. mixed with oil, with its drink-offering – offer them all together on the altar as a whole-offering: 5 So Eth.: Lat. ‘on the altar of fruits’. it is a soothing odour before the Lord. 8And you shall put the fat of the sacrifice of thank-offerings on the fire which is on the altar – the fat that is on the belly, and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys, and all the fat that is on them and that is on the loins; and the liver you shall remove together with the kidneys. 6 So Lat.: Eth. ‘…on the loins and envelops the liver and the kidneys’. Cp. Lev. iii. 9–10 . 9And offer all these as a soothing odour, acceptable before the Lord, with its meat-offering and with its drink-offering, as a soothing odour, as food offered to the Lord. 10And eat the meat of it on that day and on the second day, and do not let sunset on the second day find any of it still uneaten. Let none of it be left over till the third day; for it is not by then acceptable, nor is it desirable. Let none of it, therefore, be eaten then; and all who do eat of it then will bring sin upon themselves – for so I have found it written in the books of my forefathers (in the words of Enoch and in the words of Noah).

11And on all your offerings you shall sprinkle salt, and do not let the salt of the covenant 7 All MSS read ‘the covenant of salt’. Cp. Lev. ii. 13 . be lacking on any of your offerings before the Lord.

12And as regards the wood of the sacrifices, on no account use any other kinds of wood apart from these – cypress, bay, almond, fir, pine, cedar, savin, fig, olive, myrrh, laurel, aspalathus. 8 Several renderings in this list are uncertain. 13And of these kinds of wood place under the sacrifice on the altar only such pieces as have been inspected first; 9 Lit. ‘such as have been tested as to their appearance’. and do not use 10 Lit. ‘place’. any wood that is split or spotted, but only what is hard and clean, without any spots, and of recent growth – no old wood, for old wood has lost its fragrance, and there is no fragrance in it as there once was. 14Besides these there are no other kinds of wood you should put on the altar, for their smell 11 Lit. ‘fragrance…and the smell of their fragrance’. In the last clause Charles, following Littmann, inserted a negative (‘and their smell does not ascend…’). is not pleasant (and their smell 11 Lit. ‘fragrance…and the smell of their fragrance’. In the last clause Charles, following Littmann, inserted a negative (‘and their smell does not ascend…’). ascends to heaven). 15Observe this commandment and carry it out, my son, that you may be upright in everything you do.

16And at all times keep your body clean: wash yourself with water before you approach the altar to make an offering on it, and wash your hands and your feet before you come near it; 12 Lit. ‘the altar’. and when you have done sacrificing, wash your hands and your feet again. 17And see there is no blood, either on you or on your clothes: be careful about blood, my son, be very careful indeed: cover it with dust. 18And do not eat any blood, for it is the soul: do not eat any blood at all. 19And accept no bribe for the blood of man, lest it be shed to no profit and unjustly; for it is the blood that is shed that makes the earth to sin, and the earth 13 The MSS read ‘its blood’. For the emendation cp. vii. 33. cannot be cleansed from the blood of man except by the blood of the man that shed it. 20Accept no bribe or gift for the blood of man: blood for blood is what is required 14 Lit. ‘is acceptable’. There is some variation between the MSS here. before the Lord, the Most High God; and hold fast to what is good, 15 Lit. ‘and let there be keeping of the good’. so that you may be preserved from all evil and he may keep you safe from every kind of death.

21I see, my son, that all the works of the sons of men are sin and wickedness, and all their deeds are uncleanness and an abomination and a pollution, and there is no righteousness with them. 22Beware, lest you walk in their way and tread in their footsteps; and commit no deadly sin before the Most High God, or he will hide his face from you, and give you back into the hands of your transgression, and uproot you from the land, and your descendants also from under heaven, and your name and your posterity shall perish from the whole earth. 23Turn away from all their deeds and all their uncleanness, and keep the commandment 16 Lit. ‘keep the keeping’. of the Most High God, and do his will, and be upright in all things. 24And he will bless you in all you do, and he will raise up from you a plant of righteousness through all the earth, in every generation of the earth, and my name and your name will never at any time be forgotten 17 Lit. ‘be silenced’. under heaven. 25Go, my son, in peace: may the Most High God, my God and your God, strengthen you to do what he wills, and may he bless all your descendants and your posterity, in every generation for ever, with every righteous blessing, that you may be a blessing in all the earth.

26And he went out from him rejoicing.

Notes:

1 Probably ‘sixth’ should be read.

2 Eth. om. ‘and I have despised…spirit’.

3 So Lat. (lit. ‘abominations’): Eth. ‘those who are unclean’.

4 Lat. om. ‘and the meat-offering’.

5 So Eth.: Lat. ‘on the altar of fruits’.

6 So Lat.: Eth. ‘…on the loins and envelops the liver and the kidneys’. Cp. Lev. iii. 9–10 .

7 All MSS read ‘the covenant of salt’. Cp. Lev. ii. 13 .

8 Several renderings in this list are uncertain.

9 Lit. ‘such as have been tested as to their appearance’.

10 Lit. ‘place’.

11 Lit. ‘fragrance…and the smell of their fragrance’. In the last clause Charles, following Littmann, inserted a negative (‘and their smell does not ascend…’).

12 Lit. ‘the altar’.

13 The MSS read ‘its blood’. For the emendation cp. vii. 33.

14 Lit. ‘is acceptable’. There is some variation between the MSS here.

15 Lit. ‘and let there be keeping of the good’.

16 Lit. ‘keep the keeping’.

17 Lit. ‘be silenced’.

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