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

Chapter VII

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Text Commentary

1And Isaiah related the vision he had seen to Hezekiah, and to his son Josab, and to Micah, and to the other prophets:

2When I was prophesying and you were listening to me, I saw a glorious angel, whose glory was not like that of the angels I had been in the habit of seeing; for he had a glory and a dignity 1 Lit. ‘order’: L2 Slav. ‘light’; L1 ‘holy’ (i.e. ‘a great and holy glory’). of a kind so great that I cannot describe the splendour of this angel. 2 L2 Slav. ‘which (i.e. the light) I cannot make known’; L1 ‘which glory I cannot describe’. 3And I was looking at him when he took me by the hand; 3 L1 ‘And he approached and took me by the hand’; L2 Slav. ‘And he took me by the hand and raised me on high’. and I said to him, Who are you? What is your name? And where are going to take me? (For the power to talk to him had been given to me.) 4And he said to me, When I have taken you up and shown you the vision I have been sent to show you, then you will understand who I am, but my name you shall not know, 4 So Eth. L2 Slav.: L1 ‘I will not tell you’. because you are to return again to your flesh. 5But in the place where I am to take you, 5 L1L2 Slav. ‘But when I have taken you up’. you will see a vision, for I have been sent for this very purpose. 6 L2 Slav. om. ‘for I … purpose’. 6And I was overjoyed because he spoke gently to me. 7And he said to me, Are you then overjoyed because I have spoken gently to you? And he said, One who is greater than I am will you see, and he will speak to you gently and graciously. 8And the Father of the One who is greater than I am will you also see, 7 There is not a little variation in detail between the authorities here. for I have been sent from the seventh heaven to explain all this to you. 9And we went up, he and I, into the vault of heaven, and there I saw Sammael and his hosts; and there was much strife there, for the angels 8 So L1 (and by implication L2 Slav., which have a substantially different text): Eth. ‘words’ (reading λόγοι for ἄγγελοι). of Satan were all jealous of one another. 10And as it is on high, so also is it on earth: what happens in the vault of heaven happens similarly here on earth. 11And I said to the angel, 〈 What is this strife and 〉 9 Supplied from L1: L2 Slav. ‘What is this strife and jealousy and conflict?’ why this jealousy? 12And he said to me, It has been like this since the world was made till now; 10 It has been … now: L2 Slav. ‘this is the Devil's strife’. and this strife will continue until the One you are to see comes and destroys him.

13After this he took me up 〈into the regions 11 Supplied from L2 Slav. above the vault, which is the first 11 Supplied from L2 Slav. heaven. 14And there I saw in the middle of it a throne; 12 L2 Slav. add ‘and on it there sat an angel in great glory’. and on its right and on its left were angels. 15And the angels on the left 13 So L1: Eth. om. ‘And the angels on the left’; L2 Slav. om. ‘And the angels … left … right’. were not like those on the right; but those on the right had a greater glory and they all sang praises together. 14 Lit. ‘with one voice’. The throne was in the middle, and they sang praises. 15 The throne … praises: L2 Slav. om.; L1 om. ‘and they sang praises’. And those on the left sang praises after them, but their voices were not like the voices of those on the right and their praises were not like the others’ praises. 16And I asked the angel who was accompanying me and said to him, To whom is this praise addressed? 17And he said to me, To the glory of him who is in 16 Eth. ‘In the glory of’. The emendation is based on L1L2 Slav., but more particularly on L1. the seventh heaven, to him who takes his rest in the holy world, 17 So A: the other authorities vary. Charles thought them all corrupt and suggested as a possible original ‘to him who inhabits eternity’. and to the Beloved, from whom I have been sent to you. 18 Eth. adds ‘thither is it sent’.

18And again he took me up — into the second heaven (now the height of this heaven is the same as the distance from the heaven to the earth 19 So BC L1: L2 Slav. ‘from the first heaven to the earth’; A ‘from the earth to the heaven’; then Eth. L1 add ‘and to the vault’. ). 19And 〈 there, as 〉 20 Supplied on the basis of L1L2 Slav. ‘And I saw there as’ (L1 + ‘I had seen’). in the first heaven, were angels on the right and on the left, and a throne in the middle, and the praises of the angels in the second heaven; and the one who was seated on the throne in the second heaven had greater glory than all the rest. 21 and a throne … all the rest: L2 Slav. om.; L1 breaks off at ‘middle’. 20And great was the glory in the second heaven, and their praises were not like the praises of those in the first heaven. 22 L2 ‘And the glory of these angels and their song were more excellent than those of the first angels’; and similarly Slav. 21And I fell on my face to worship him; but the angel who was accompanying me 23 L2 Slav. ‘instructing me’. would not permit it and said to me, You must not worship any throne or angel that is in the six heavens 24 So Eth.: L2 ‘in that heaven’; Slav. ‘from heaven’. (that is why 25 So L2 Slav.: Eth. ‘whence’. I have been sent to accompany you 26 L2 Slav. ‘to instruct you’. ), but you shall worship only him whom I shall tell you to in the seventh heaven. 27 L2 Slav. om. ‘in the seventh heaven’. 22For your throne, your garments, and your crown, which you will see later, are set above all these heavens and their angels. 23And I rejoiced greatly because those who love the Most High and his Beloved will in the end be taken up there by the angel of the Holy Spirit.

24And he took me up into the third heaven; and, as before, I saw angels on the right and on the left, and there also a throne was set in the middle, 28 So B: AC add ‘and one who sat’; L2 Slav. invert ‘… I saw a little throne and angels on the right and on the left’. but the memory of this world had no place there. 29 Lit. ‘of this world was not named’. 25And I said to the angel who was with me (for my face was becoming brighter and brighter 30 Lit. ‘for the glory of my face was being transformed’. as I went up from heaven to heaven), Has nothing, then, of that vain world any place here? 31 Lit. ‘Is nothing … world named here?’ 26And he answered and said to me, Nothing of that world has any place 32 Lit. ‘is named’. because of its frailty, yet nothing is hidden here of what is done there. 33 So Slav.: Eth. L2 ‘and nothing is hidden there of what is done’. 27And I asked 34 Lit. ‘And I desired to understand’. how it is known, and he answered, saying, When I have brought you up to the seventh heaven, from which I was sent, that is to the heaven which is above these heavens, you will understand that nothing is hidden from the thrones and from those who live in the heavens and from the angels. And great were the praises which they sang and the splendour of the one who was seated on the throne; and the glory of the angels on the right and on the left was greater than that of the heavens beneath them. 35 Both L2 and Slav. have much shorter texts in this verse.

28And again he took me up – into the fourth heaven; and the height from the third to the fourth heaven was greater than that from the earth to the vault of heaven. 29And there I saw again angels on the right and angels on the left, and one seated on a throne in the middle; 36 L2 Slav. ‘And there I saw a throne and angels on the right and on the left’. L2 om. from here to the end of verse 30. and there too they sang praises. 30And the praises and the splendour of the angels on the right were greater than those of the angels on the left. 31So also the splendour of the one who was seated on the throne was greater than that of the angels on the right, yet their glory was greater than the glory of those who were below.

32,33And he took me up into the fifth heaven. And again I saw angels on the right and on the left, and one seated on a throne, more glorious than those of the fourth heaven. 34But the glory of the angels on the right was greater than the glory of those on the left. 37 Eth. adds ‘from the third to the fourth heaven’. 35And the splendour of the one who was seated on the throne was greater than that of the angels on the right. 36And their praises were more glorious than those of the fourth heaven. 37And I praised him who cannot be named, and the only-begotten Son who dwells in the heavens, whose name has not been revealed to any man, 38 Lit. ‘flesh’. who has given such great glory to the angels and even greater glory still to the one who is seated on the throne. 39 L2 Slav. diverge widely from Eth. in their description of the fifth heaven: verses 32–34 are much abbreviated, 35 is lacking, and 37 is altogether different.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘order’: L2 Slav. ‘light’; L1 ‘holy’ (i.e. ‘a great and holy glory’).

2 L2 Slav. ‘which (i.e. the light) I cannot make known’; L1 ‘which glory I cannot describe’.

3 L1 ‘And he approached and took me by the hand’; L2 Slav. ‘And he took me by the hand and raised me on high’.

4 So Eth. L2 Slav.: L1 ‘I will not tell you’.

5 L1L2 Slav. ‘But when I have taken you up’.

6 L2 Slav. om. ‘for I … purpose’.

7 There is not a little variation in detail between the authorities here.

8 So L1 (and by implication L2 Slav., which have a substantially different text): Eth. ‘words’ (reading λόγοι for ἄγγελοι).

9 Supplied from L1: L2 Slav. ‘What is this strife and jealousy and conflict?’

10 It has been … now: L2 Slav. ‘this is the Devil's strife’.

11 Supplied from L2 Slav.

12 L2 Slav. add ‘and on it there sat an angel in great glory’.

13 So L1: Eth. om. ‘And the angels on the left’; L2 Slav. om. ‘And the angels … left … right’.

14 Lit. ‘with one voice’.

15 The throne … praises: L2 Slav. om.; L1 om. ‘and they sang praises’.

16 Eth. ‘In the glory of’. The emendation is based on L1L2 Slav., but more particularly on L1.

17 So A: the other authorities vary. Charles thought them all corrupt and suggested as a possible original ‘to him who inhabits eternity’.

18 Eth. adds ‘thither is it sent’.

19 So BC L1: L2 Slav. ‘from the first heaven to the earth’; A ‘from the earth to the heaven’; then Eth. L1 add ‘and to the vault’.

20 Supplied on the basis of L1L2 Slav. ‘And I saw there as’ (L1 + ‘I had seen’).

21 and a throne … all the rest: L2 Slav. om.; L1 breaks off at ‘middle’.

22 L2 ‘And the glory of these angels and their song were more excellent than those of the first angels’; and similarly Slav.

23 L2 Slav. ‘instructing me’.

24 So Eth.: L2 ‘in that heaven’; Slav. ‘from heaven’.

25 So L2 Slav.: Eth. ‘whence’.

26 L2 Slav. ‘to instruct you’.

27 L2 Slav. om. ‘in the seventh heaven’.

28 So B: AC add ‘and one who sat’; L2 Slav. invert ‘… I saw a little throne and angels on the right and on the left’.

29 Lit. ‘of this world was not named’.

30 Lit. ‘for the glory of my face was being transformed’.

31 Lit. ‘Is nothing … world named here?’

32 Lit. ‘is named’.

33 So Slav.: Eth. L2 ‘and nothing is hidden there of what is done’.

34 Lit. ‘And I desired to understand’.

35 Both L2 and Slav. have much shorter texts in this verse.

36 L2 Slav. ‘And there I saw a throne and angels on the right and on the left’. L2 om. from here to the end of verse 30.

37 Eth. adds ‘from the third to the fourth heaven’.

38 Lit. ‘flesh’.

39 L2 Slav. diverge widely from Eth. in their description of the fifth heaven: verses 32–34 are much abbreviated, 35 is lacking, and 37 is altogether different.

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