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

Chapter XVII

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Text Commentary

1,2Then Abraham got up and went into his house. But Death followed him all the way. 3And Abraham went up to his room; but Death also went up with him. 4And Abraham lay down on his couch; and Death came and sat at his feet. 5And Abraham said, Go away, go away from me; for I want to rest on my couch. 6Death said, I will not go away until I take your spirit from you. 7Abraham said to him, By God, who is immortal, I bid you tell me the truth: are you Death? 8Death said to him, I am Death: I am the one who destroys the world. 9And Abraham said, Since you are Death, I pray you, tell me whether you come to all men in this way, in fine form and glory and beauty like this? 10And Death said, No, my lord Abraham: your righteous deeds and the boundless ocean of your hospitality and the immensity of your love of God have become a crown upon my head. 11I approach the righteous in beauty, and very quietly, and with gentle guile; but sinners I approach, stinking of corruption, with the greatest possible ferocity and asperity, 1 Lit. ‘bitterness’. and an expression that is both savage and without mercy. 12And Abraham said, I pray you, listen to me, and show me your ferocity, and all your corruption and asperity. 1 Lit. ‘bitterness’. 13And Death said, You could not see my ferocity, most righteous Abraham. 14And Abraham said, Yes: I could see all your ferocity, because of the name of the living God; for the power of my God who is in heaven is with me. 15Then Death stripped himself of all his radiance and beauty, and all the glory and sun-like appearance he had assumed, and he put on a tyrant's robe. 16And he gave himself a threatening look, more savage than any kind of wild beast and fouler than any foul thing known to man. 2 Lit. ‘fouler than all foulness’. 17He displayed to Abraham seven fiery dragons' heads and 18fourteen faces of blazing fire and great ferocity – one dark-looking face, one viper-like of the blackest kind, one a most horrible cliff, one fiercer than an asp, one of a fearsome lion, and one of a horned viper and a basilisk. 19And he displayed also the face of a fiery sword, a face bearing a sword, a face of dreadful flashing lightning, and a sound of fearful thunder. 20Moreover, he displayed another face of a ferocious raging sea, and a fiercely boiling river, and a terrifying three-headed dragon, and a cup of poisons mixed together. 21In short, he displayed to him ferocity in plenty, asperity 1 Lit. ‘bitterness’. beyond endurance, and every kind of deadly disease – the smell of death hung about it all. 3 Lit. ‘… death-bearing disease, as of the smell of death’. 22And so great was the asperity 1 Lit. ‘bitterness’. and ferocity displayed that the men-servants and maid-servants died, in number about seven thousand. 23And even the righteous Abraham himself came to the brink of death, 4 Or ‘And righteous Abraham entered the faint of death’. Lit. ‘… came even to the neglect of death’. Cp. xviii. 8; xx. 12. and his spirit failed him. 5 Or ‘and his breathing began to fail’. Cp. xviii. 8.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘bitterness’.

2 Lit. ‘fouler than all foulness’.

3 Lit. ‘… death-bearing disease, as of the smell of death’.

4 Or ‘And righteous Abraham entered the faint of death’. Lit. ‘… came even to the neglect of death’. Cp. xviii. 8; xx. 12.

5 Or ‘and his breathing began to fail’. Cp. xviii. 8.

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