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

Chapter VI

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Text Commentary

1And he took me and brought me to where the sun starts out on its daily journey. 2And he showed me a chariot and four, under which burned a fire; and in the chariot a man was sitting, wearing a crown of fire, and the chariot was drawn by forty angels. And behold, a bird was circling before the sun, about nine…away. 1 The text reads ὡς ὄϱει ἐννέα, for which no satisfactory emendation has yet been proposed. 3And I said to the angel, What is this bird? And he said to me, This is the guardian of the world. 4And I said, My lord, how is it the guardian of the world? 5Explain to me. And the angel said to me, This bird flies beside the sun, and, as it stretches out its wings, it catches the sun's fiery rays. 6If it did not catch them, the human race would not be preserved, nor any other living creature. God appointed this bird to do this. 7And the bird stretched out its wings, and I saw on its right wing some very large letters indeed, as large as the area of a threshing-floor – about four thousand modii; and the letters were of gold. 8And the angel said to me, Read them. And I read them, and they said this, Neither earth nor heaven brought me to the birth, but wings of fire brought me to the birth. 9And I said, What is this bird, my lord, and what is its name? 10And the angel said to me, Its name is Phoenix. 11And 〈I said〉, What does it eat? And he said to me, The manna of heaven and the dew of the earth. 12And I said, Does the bird excrete? And he said to me, It excretes a worm, and the excrement of the worm is cinnamon, which kings and princes use. 13But wait and you shall see the glory of God. And while he was talking with me there came a thunder-clap, and the place was shaken where we were standing. And I asked the angel, What is this noise, my lord? And the angel said to me, The angels are now opening the three hundred and sixty-five gates of heaven, and the light is being separated from the darkness. 14And a voice came, which said, Lightgiver, give brightness to the world. 15And when I heard the bird's cry I said, What is this cry, my lord? 16And he said, This is the bird that wakes up the cocks on earth. For just as others do through their mouths, 2 Reading τὰ διὰ στόματος for τὰ δίστομα. so too does the cock proclaim his message to those who are in the world in his own way. For the sun is made ready by the angels, and the cock crows.

Notes:

1 The text reads ὡς ὄϱει ἐννέα, for which no satisfactory emendation has yet been proposed.

2 Reading τὰ διὰ στόματος for τὰ δίστομα.

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