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

Chapter V

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Text Commentary

1Then Beliar's anger was roused against Isaiah because of these visions, and he took up his abode in Manasseh's heart; and he sawed Isaiah in two with a wood-saw. 1 The ‘wooden saw’ of the MSS and the tradition is due, according to Charles, to a misunderstanding of an original Hebrew phrase, ‘a saw of wood’, which was intended to mean ‘a saw for sawing wood’, presumably made of metal – indeed, in one passage in Gk.L (iii. 14–15) it is specifically said to be ‘an iron saw’. 2And while Isaiah was being sawn, his enemy Balchira stood by, and all the false prophets stood by, laughing and rejoicing at what was happening to Isaiah. 3And Balchira, inspired by Mechembechus, 2 Lit. ‘in M.’: Dillmann emended ‘and M.’ to accord with the verbs in the rest of the verse which are plural. came near to Isaiah, 3 Lit. ‘stood up before Isaiah’. laughing and making fun 4 So C: AB ‘laughing, making fun’. Charles omitted ‘laughing’ as a doublet. of him. 4And Balchira 5 So B: AC ‘Beliar’. said to Isaiah, Say, I have been wrong 6 Lit. ‘I have lied’. in everything I have said: what Manasseh does is good and right. 5And what Balchira and those with him do is also good. 6And this he said to him when they started sawing him in two. 7But Isaiah was in a vision of the Lord: his eyes were open but he did 〈not〉 see them. 8And Balchira said to Isaiah, Say what I tell you to, and I will make them change their minds; and I will make Manasseh and the princes of Judah and the people and all Jerusalem fall down before you. 9And Isaiah answered and said, All I can say is, May you be accursed and damned, you and all your powers and all your house. 7 So B: A and C have several small variations. 10For you can take nothing from me but only the skin off my body. 11Then they took Isaiah, the son of Amoz, and sawed him in two with a wood-saw. 12And Manasseh and Balchira and the false prophets and the princes and the people all stood looking on. 13But before he was sawn in two he had said to the prophets who were with him, Make your escape into the region of Tyre and Sidon, because God has mixed this cup for me alone. 14And while he was being sawn in two Isaiah neither cried out nor wept; but he went on speaking by the Holy Spirit until he was sawn right through. 15This Beliar did to Isaiah using Balchira and Manasseh as his agents; for Sammael had been furious with Isaiah since the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, because of the vision he had seen about the Beloved, 16and because of the vision about the destruction of Sammael he had seen through the Lord, when Hezekiah his 8 i.e. Manasseh's. father was still king. And he 9 i.e. Manasseh. acted in accordance with the will of Satan.

The Vision which Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw.

Notes:

1 The ‘wooden saw’ of the MSS and the tradition is due, according to Charles, to a misunderstanding of an original Hebrew phrase, ‘a saw of wood’, which was intended to mean ‘a saw for sawing wood’, presumably made of metal – indeed, in one passage in Gk.L (iii. 14–15) it is specifically said to be ‘an iron saw’.

2 Lit. ‘in M.’: Dillmann emended ‘and M.’ to accord with the verbs in the rest of the verse which are plural.

3 Lit. ‘stood up before Isaiah’.

4 So C: AB ‘laughing, making fun’. Charles omitted ‘laughing’ as a doublet.

5 So B: AC ‘Beliar’.

6 Lit. ‘I have lied’.

7 So B: A and C have several small variations.

8 i.e. Manasseh's.

9 i.e. Manasseh.

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