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

Chapter XXII

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Text Commentary

1But Methusalom stood at the head of the altar and at the head of all the people from that day. 2In the year 1480 he explored 1 B ‘In 482 he explored’: U ‘In 492 he inherited’; R recasts the passage, ‘From that day for ten years, hoping for the eternal inheritance, he sought out …’. Vaillant's emendation is based on the number of years from the Creation according to the figures in the Septuagint. the whole earth and sought out all those who had believed in the Lord, and those who had fallen away: 2 Lit. ‘changed’. he corrected and converted them; and no man was found, who had fallen away 2 Lit. ‘changed’. from the Lord's ways, 3 Lit. ‘face’. all the days that Methusalom lived. 3And the Lord blessed Methusalom in his sacrifices and his offerings and in all his ministry before the Lord.

4And when Methusalom's days were near their end, 4 Lit. ‘And after the ending of the days of Methusalom’. the Lord appeared to him in a vision by night and said to him, Listen, Methusalom, I am 5 BR add ‘the Lord’. the God of your father Enoch. I would have you know that the days of your life are at an end and the day of your rest is approaching. 5Call Nir, your son Lamech's second son, and array him in your own holy robes and set him at my altar, and tell him everything that will happen in his days. 6For the time is coming for the destruction of the whole earth and of every man and of everything that moves on the earth. 7For in his days there will be great disorder on the earth, for man has become envious of man; and people will oppress 6 B ‘threaten’; R ‘behave themselves proudly against’. people, and nation will make war upon nation: the whole earth will be filled with blood and with evil disorder. 8Moreover, they will fall away from their Creator and worship what is fixed in heaven and what moves on earth 7 All MSS corrupt. U ‘the movement over the earth’: BR ‘the fixing in the heaven and the movement of the earth’. and the waves of the sea; and the adversary will magnify himself and rejoice in what they do to my sorrow. 9The whole earth will change its order, and all the fruits and all the grass will 8 will: U om. change their seasons, 9 R ‘seeds’. for they will be waiting for the time of destruction; and all nations on the earth will fall away, 10 Lit. ‘will change’. and all I have desired. 11 B ‘to my sorrow’. 10And then will I command the abyss and it will pour itself out on the earth, and the treasuries of the waters of heaven will pour themselves out on the earth, and all will be without form as it was in the beginning; 12 Lit. ‘…on the earth, in matter as great as primitive matter’. The reference is to the primaeval ‘matter’ out of which the world was made. and the whole structure of the earth will perish, and the whole earth will tremble and lose its stability 13 So R: BU ‘its strong one’. from that day onward. 11Then will I preserve Noe, your son Lamech's eldest son; and I will raise up from his descendants another world, and his descendants shall endure for ever.

12And when he got up from his sleep, Methusalom was much distressed about the dream. 13He called all the elders of the people, and he told them everything the Lord had said to him and the vision the Lord had revealed to him. 14And the people too were distressed about his vision, and they answered him, The Lord has power to do what he wills; so you must now do everything the Lord has told you. 15Methusalom called Nir, Lamech's second son, and arrayed him in the priestly robes before all the people, and he set him at the head of the altar and taught him all that he had to do 14 U ‘all that he did’. among the people. 16And Methusalom said to the people, Behold Nir! Behold, he shall be your leader 15 Lit. ‘he shall be before you’. from today and the guide of the princes. 17And the people answered Methusalom, May the word of the Lord be fulfilled on us as he promised you. 16 So U: B and R have slightly longer variants. 18And while Methusalom was speaking to the people, his spirit was troubled, and he fell on his knees and stretched out his hands to heaven and prayed to the Lord; and as he prayed, his spirit left him.

19And Nir made haste, and all the people, and built a tomb for Methusalom; and they put there incense and sweet-cane and many things to consecrate it. 17 So U: B ‘many lights’; R has a longer conflate reading. 20And Nir and the people went, and they took up Methusalom's body and laid it in the tomb that they had built for him and covered it. 18 So BR: U ‘and set it down’. 21And the people said, Blessed was Methusalom before the Lord and before all the people. 22And afterwards 19 Lit. ‘And from there’. they assembled together, and Nir said to the people, Make haste today, and bring the sheep and the bullock and the turtle-dove and the pigeon, so that we may sacrifice before the Lord, and he shall rejoice today; 20 B ‘and rejoice today’. and then go to your own homes. 23And the people listened to Nir the priest: they made haste and brought the victims and bound them at the head of the altar; and Nir took the sacrificial knife and sacrificed before the Lord. 24And the people made haste and did what they had been told, and they made merry before the Lord the whole day: they glorified the Lord God, the saviour 21 the saviour = U: B ‘of heaven and’; R ‘of heaven and earth and’. of Nir, before the people. 25From that day there was peace and order throughout the whole earth in Nir's days, for two hundred and two years. 22 Vaillant suggests emending 202 to 2200 (σβ′ to βσ′), which would be the date of the generation preceding the flood.

26And after that the people fell away 23 Lit. ‘the people changed’. from the Lord and began to be envious of one another; and people stood up against people and nation rose up against nation in strife, and there was great tumult. 27And Nir the priest heard about it, and he was much distressed and said to himself, The time has come and the words are fulfilled that the Lord spoke to my grandfather Methusalom.

Notes:

1 B ‘In 482 he explored’: U ‘In 492 he inherited’; R recasts the passage, ‘From that day for ten years, hoping for the eternal inheritance, he sought out …’. Vaillant's emendation is based on the number of years from the Creation according to the figures in the Septuagint.

2 Lit. ‘changed’.

3 Lit. ‘face’.

4 Lit. ‘And after the ending of the days of Methusalom’.

5 BR add ‘the Lord’.

6 B ‘threaten’; R ‘behave themselves proudly against’.

7 All MSS corrupt. U ‘the movement over the earth’: BR ‘the fixing in the heaven and the movement of the earth’.

8 will: U om.

9 R ‘seeds’.

10 Lit. ‘will change’.

11 B ‘to my sorrow’.

12 Lit. ‘…on the earth, in matter as great as primitive matter’. The reference is to the primaeval ‘matter’ out of which the world was made.

13 So R: BU ‘its strong one’.

14 U ‘all that he did’.

15 Lit. ‘he shall be before you’.

16 So U: B and R have slightly longer variants.

17 So U: B ‘many lights’; R has a longer conflate reading.

18 So BR: U ‘and set it down’.

19 Lit. ‘And from there’.

20 B ‘and rejoice today’.

21 the saviour = U: B ‘of heaven and’; R ‘of heaven and earth and’.

22 Vaillant suggests emending 202 to 2200 (σβ′ to βσ′), which would be the date of the generation preceding the flood.

23 Lit. ‘the people changed’.

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