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

Chapter IV

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Text Commentary

1I enquired of the demon whether there was a female among the demons. 2When he said there was, I asked to see her. 1 Lit. ‘I wished to know’. Some MSS, however, read ‘I wished to see’. And Beezebul went off and fetched Onoskelis 2 This could be translated ‘Donkey Shanks’. She was a well-known Hellenistic demon. for me to see. 3 Lit. ‘And going away Beelzebul showed me Onoskelis’. She was very beautiful in form, and had the body of a fair-skinned woman, but the shanks of a mule. 3When she came to me I said to her, Tell me who you are. 4She said, I am called Onoskelis, a spirit in bodily form, who lurks in holes on earth, for I have my dwelling in caves; but my ways are varied. 5Sometimes I choke a man: sometimes I pervert them from their nature. My most frequent dwellings are cliffs, caves, chasms. 6Often, too, I have intercourse with men, since they consider me a woman — most often with the olive-skinned, because they share my star, for these worship my star both secretly and openly, and then do not realize that they harm themselves and stimulate me to more mischief. For they want through the recollection of it to get money. 7But I supply little even to those who worship me well.

8I asked her whence she was born. And she said, From an unseasonable noise, the so-called echo of the sky when it emits a leaden noise, was I born in a wood. 9I said to her, Under what star do you pass? And she said, Under the full moon, because it is under the moon that I travel for the most part. I said, What is the angel that inhibits you? 10And she said, The very same as in you, O king. 11Thinking that this was a piece of foolery, I ordered a soldier to hit her; but she cried out and said, I tell you, O king, by the wisdom of God that is given to you. 12And I blessed 4 Lit. ‘spoke’. the name of the Holy One of Israel; and I ordered her to spin hemp for the ropes of the work of the temple of God. Thus sealed and bound she was inhibited, so that I made her stand spinning hemp night and day.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘I wished to know’. Some MSS, however, read ‘I wished to see’.

2 This could be translated ‘Donkey Shanks’. She was a well-known Hellenistic demon.

3 Lit. ‘And going away Beelzebul showed me Onoskelis’.

4 Lit. ‘spoke’.

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