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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

1Now Adarces, king of the Arabians, sent a letter which ran as follows,

Adarces, king of the Arabians, to king Solomon greeting. Behold, we have heard of the wisdom that has been given you and that, man as you are, understanding has been given you from the Lord in respect of the spirits of the air and earth and under the earth. 2There is a spirit in Arabia; for at dawn there comes a wind which blows until the third hour, and its blast is terrible, and it kills men and cattle, and nothing that breathes can live before the demon. 3I beg you, therefore, since the spirit is like a wind, to devise something wise in accordance with the wisdom that has been given you-by the Lord your God, and deign to send a man able to arrest it. 4And behold, we will be yours, king Solomon, both I and all my people; and all my land, even all Arabia, will be at peace, if you can bring about this deliverance 1 Lit. ‘vengeance’. for us. 5Wherefore we beg you, do not ignore our supplication, and become our lord for all time, for ever. May my lord fare well always, continually.

6I Solomon, when I had read this letter, folded it and gave it to my slave, saying to him, After seven days remind me of this letter. 7Jerusalem had been built, and the temple was being completed. And there was a great corner-stone, that I wanted to put into place as the main corner-stone, that I wanted to put into place as the main corner-stone, to complete the temple of God. 8And all the craftsmen and all the demons that were co-operating with them came together to bring the stone and set it on the pinnacle of the temple; but they were not strong enough to lift it. 9But after seven days I remembered the letter of the king of the Arabians; and I 10called my slaveling and said to him, Load up your camel, and take a wine-skin and this seal, and go to Arabia, to the place where the evil spirit blows, and hold the wine-skin and the ring in front of the mouth of the wine-skin. 11And when the wine-skin is inflated, you will find that it is the demon who inflates it. Then quickly tie the wine-skin up tightly, and, when you have sealed it with the ring, load it onto your camel and bring it here. So go, and fare you well.

12Then the slave did as he was ordered and journeyed to Arabia. And the people there were doubtful whether he would after all be able to arrest the evil spirit. 13And at daybreak the servant got up and stood in front of the spirit's blast; and he put the wine-skin on the ground, and on it he put the ring also. And it entered the wine-skin and inflated it. 14But the slave stood and tied the wine-skin tightly at the mouth, in the name of the Lord Sabaoth; and the demon was kept a prisoner 3 Lit. ‘the demon remained’. in the wine-skin. 15The slave, too, remained for three days to see that all was well; 4 Lit. ‘… for three days as a demonstration’. and the spirit no longer blew, and the Arabians recognised that he had safely confined the spirit. 16Then he loaded the wine-skin onto his camel. The Arabians sent the slave on his way with gifts and honours, praising God (for they now had peace). But the slave brought the spirit and set it on top of the temple.

17On the next day I, Solomon, went into the temple; and I was worried about the main corner-stone. And the wine-skin, standing up, walked seven paces, and stood on its mouth and did obeisance to me. 18And amazed that, although tied up in the wine-skin, it still was able to walk, I told it to stand up. The wine-skin stood up, and stood inflated on its feet. 19And I questioned him, saying, Who are you? The spirit inside said, I am a demon called Ephippas, the Arabian. 20And I said to him, What angel are you inhibited by? He said, By him who is to be born of a virgin, since angels worship him, and who is to be crucified by the Jews.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘vengeance’.

3 Lit. ‘the demon remained’.

4 Lit. ‘… for three days as a demonstration’.

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