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

Chapter I

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Text Commentary

1(A 1) … dies, we will bury him like every man: if he dies, we will carry him out, and play the lyre before him, and sing our songs over his body.

But I went with the angel of the Lord. 2He took me over my whole city. 3There was no one to be seen. Then I saw two men walking together on the same road: I saw 〈them talking〉. And I saw also two women grinding at a mill together; and I saw them talking. And I saw 〈also〉 two on 〈one〉 couch, 〈both of them taking〉 their 〈rest(?)〉 on their couch. 4〈And I saw〉 the whole world 〈suspended〉 like a drop of 〈water, hanging from a bucket〉 (A 2) that comes up 〈from〉 a well. 1 Cp. Isa. xl. 15 . The text is restored following P. Lacau (‘Remarques sur le manuscrit akhmimique des Apocalypses de Sophonie et d'Élie’ in Journal asiatique, ccliv (1966), pp. 169–195). 5I said to the angel of the Lord, Is there no darkness nor night in this place? He said to me, No; for where the righteous and the saints are, in that place there is no darkness, but they are always in the light. 6And I saw all the souls of men who were undergoing punishment. And I cried out unto the Lord Almighty, 〈How long〉 wilt thou abide with the saints and be patient with the world 〈and〉 these souls which are undergoing punishment? 7The angel of the Lord said to me, Come and I will show you … of righteousness. And he took me up onto mount Seir; and he 〈showed me〉 three men, (A 3) with whom two angels were walking, happy and rejoicing over them. 8I said to the angel, Who 2 Lit. ‘What sort’. are these? He said to me, These are the three sons of Joatham the priest, who did not keep their father's commandment, nor did they observe the statutes of the Lord. Then I saw two more angels weeping over the three sons of Joatham the priest. 9I said 〈to〉 the angel, Who are these? He said, These are the angels of the Lord Almighty, who write down all the good works of the righteous upon their 3 Text ‘his’. roll, while they 〈sit〉 at the gate of heaven. But I take them from them and bring them 〈up〉 (A 4) before the Lord Almighty for him to write their name in the book of the living. 10And the other angels of the accuser, who is on the earth, also write down all the sins of men upon their roll; and they too sit at the gate of heaven and read them out to the accuser for him to write them down on his roll, so that he can accuse them when they come out of the world down below. 11I then walked further with 〈the〉 angel of the Lord, and I looked in front of me: I saw a place there … thousand and myriads upon 12myriads of angels walking through 〈it. 4 Cp. Apoc. Zeph. 7 . Their〉 face was like a panther's, their tusks protruded from their mouths 〈like〉 a wild boar's, their eyes (A 5) were bloodshot, their hair all loose like women's hair, 4 Cp. Apoc. Zeph. 7 . and they had scourges of fire in their hands. 13And when I saw them, I was afraid; and I said to that angel who was walking with me, Who 5 Lit. ‘What sort’. are these? 14He said to me, These are the attendants upon the whole creation, who come to the souls of the ungodly and take them and put them here. They spend three days going round with them in the air before they take them and hurl them into their eternal punishment. 15I said, I pray you, my lord, give them no authority to come to me. 16The angel said, Have no fear: I will not allow them to come to 〈you〉, for you are holy before (A 6) the Lord: I will not allow them to come to you, for the Lord Almighty has sent me to you, for 〈you are〉 holy before him. 17Then he signalled to them, and they turned back and kept their distance from me.

Notes:

1 Cp. Isa. xl. 15 . The text is restored following P. Lacau (‘Remarques sur le manuscrit akhmimique des Apocalypses de Sophonie et d'Élie’ in Journal asiatique, ccliv (1966), pp. 169–195).

2 Lit. ‘What sort’.

3 Text ‘his’.

4 Cp. Apoc. Zeph. 7 .

5 Lit. ‘What sort’.

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