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

Chapter VII

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Text Commentary

1Fire, I say, 1 He has perished … I say: JK ‘He has no might left, having perished utterly. And Abraham, having reasoned thus, came to his father, saying, Father Thara, fire …’ (see above p. 365). is more honourable than images; for even things that are otherwise unsubdued are subdued by it, and it mocks what perishes so easily in its flames. 2 images; for … flames: RJK ‘your gods of gold, silver, stone, and wood, for the fire burns your gods, and the gods it burns are subject to the fire, and the fire mocks them; and it has devoured your gods. But neither would I call it god, for it is subject to the waters’. 2But more honourable still are the waters, for they overcome fire and satisfy the earth. 3But neither would I call them god, for they are subdued, and are inferior to 3 Lit. ‘they are subdued, turning under’. the earth. 4But I call the earth more honourable still, since it overcomes the substance and abundance of the waters. 4 SR ‘the substance and abundance of the earth’: JK ‘the substance of water’. 5But I would not call it god, since it is dried up by the sun, and it is made for the use of man. 6I would call the sun more worthy of worship than the earth, 5 I would … earth = RJK: S om. for with its rays it illumines the universe and the several airs. 7But I would not account it god, for by night a cloud obscures its course. 6 for … course: RJK ‘for when the night comes it is overcast with darkness’. 8Nor, again, would I call the moon and stars god, for they too in their season are darkened in their light at night. 9Listen, Tera, my father, I will examine with you the question who is the God 7 So S: RJK ‘I will tell you about the God’. who created all these gods for whom we care. 10For who is he, or what is he, who has made the heavens purple, who made the sun gold, and who set light in the moon, and the stars with her? 11Who is he who has made the dry land in between the many waters, and has given you the power of speech? 8 Lit. ‘and set you yourself in words’: RJK add ‘and has sought me out in the confusion of my thoughts’. 12Let God himself appear to us. 9 RJK add a Christian gloss and then continue ‘When his father Thara heard this, he looked at Abraham with bitter eyes, for what Abraham had said displeased him, because he loved the deceit handed down by his father Nachor. Abraham said to himself, I will test my father's gods and see whether they are able to help themselves. And Abraham took fire, and he set light to the temple where his father's gods were. When Aron (K ‘Aran’), Abraham's brother, saw this (since he was devoted to the idols) he tried to save the idols from the fire; and so he himself was burned with his father's gods, and died before his father – for before this no son had died before his father, but the father had always died before the son; but after this men began to die before their fathers. And God loved Abraham, and God said to Abraham, Abraham, Abraham! You have sought the God of gods: leave now your father's house, and go into the land I will direct you to, and I will make you into a great nation, and all the generations of the earth shall be blessed from you’. Another Christian gloss follows, and then the text continues with the beginning of chap. viii (‘While I was talking …).

Notes:

1 He has perished … I say: JK ‘He has no might left, having perished utterly. And Abraham, having reasoned thus, came to his father, saying, Father Thara, fire …’ (see above p. 365).

2 images; for … flames: RJK ‘your gods of gold, silver, stone, and wood, for the fire burns your gods, and the gods it burns are subject to the fire, and the fire mocks them; and it has devoured your gods. But neither would I call it god, for it is subject to the waters’.

3 Lit. ‘they are subdued, turning under’.

4 SR ‘the substance and abundance of the earth’: JK ‘the substance of water’.

5 I would … earth = RJK: S om.

6 for … course: RJK ‘for when the night comes it is overcast with darkness’.

7 So S: RJK ‘I will tell you about the God’.

8 Lit. ‘and set you yourself in words’: RJK add ‘and has sought me out in the confusion of my thoughts’.

9 RJK add a Christian gloss and then continue ‘When his father Thara heard this, he looked at Abraham with bitter eyes, for what Abraham had said displeased him, because he loved the deceit handed down by his father Nachor. Abraham said to himself, I will test my father's gods and see whether they are able to help themselves. And Abraham took fire, and he set light to the temple where his father's gods were. When Aron (K ‘Aran’), Abraham's brother, saw this (since he was devoted to the idols) he tried to save the idols from the fire; and so he himself was burned with his father's gods, and died before his father – for before this no son had died before his father, but the father had always died before the son; but after this men began to die before their fathers. And God loved Abraham, and God said to Abraham, Abraham, Abraham! You have sought the God of gods: leave now your father's house, and go into the land I will direct you to, and I will make you into a great nation, and all the generations of the earth shall be blessed from you’. Another Christian gloss follows, and then the text continues with the beginning of chap. viii (‘While I was talking …).

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