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

Chapter III

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Text Commentary

1Hear, then, about the seven heavens. The lowest is the gloomiest because it witnesses 1 So II: b ‘it is near’; k ‘it endures’. all the unrighteous deeds of men. 2The second holds fire, snow, ice, ready for the day which the Lord has decreed 2 Lit. ‘the day of the Lord's decree’. in the righteous judgement of God: in it are all the spirits 3 Or ‘winds’. of retribution for vengeance on the wicked. 3In the third are the warrior hosts appointed to wreak vengeance on the spirits of error and of Beliar at the day of judgement. But the heavens down to the fourth above these are holy. 4 The text is difficult. There is clearly a division at this point between the three lower heavens, described already, and the four higher, which are now described in descending, instead of ascending, order. Charles proposed to emend ‘And the four heavens above these are holy’. 4For in the highest of all the Great Glory dwells, in the holy of holies, far above all holiness. 5And in the heaven next to it are the angels of the Lord's presence, who minister and make expiation to the Lord for all the sins committed unwittingly 6by the righteous; and they offer to the Lord a soothing odour, a spiritual and bloodless offering. 7And in the heaven below it are the angels who bear the answers to the angels of the Lord's presence. 8And in the heaven next to it are thrones and powers, in which praises, 5 Lit. ‘hymns’. are offered to God continually. 9And when the Lord looks upon us, all of us are shaken; and the heavens and the earth and the abysses are shaken at the presence of his majesty. 10Yet men do not perceive these things, and they sin and provoke the Most High.

Notes:

1 So II: b ‘it is near’; k ‘it endures’.

2 Lit. ‘the day of the Lord's decree’.

3 Or ‘winds’.

4 The text is difficult. There is clearly a division at this point between the three lower heavens, described already, and the four higher, which are now described in descending, instead of ascending, order. Charles proposed to emend ‘And the four heavens above these are holy’.

5 Lit. ‘hymns’.

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