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

Chapter III

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Text Commentary

1Then I got up and stood upon my feet. I saw a great angel in front of me, saying to me, Be victorious, be strong; for you have been strong, you have been victorious over the accuser, you have come up from hell and the abyss, 1 Cp. Apoc. Zeph. 3 (p. 919 above). you shall now cross at the ferry-place. 2Again he brought another roll, written by hand: he began to unfold it. I read in it. I found it was written in my own language … 2 pages missing … (A 13) 3They helped me: they set me upon that boat: they were singing praises before me, namely thousands upon thousands and myriads upon myriads of angels. I also put on an angelic garment. 4I saw all those angels praying. I too prayed together with them: I knew their language that they spoke with me. 5(This, my sons, is the trial that has to be – that the good and evil deeds of every man are weighed in a balance.) 6Then a great angel came out with a golden trumpet in his hand. He sounded it three times over my head, saying, Be victorious, he who has been victorious, be (A 14) strong, he who has been strong. 7For you have been victorious over the accuser, you have escaped from the abyss and hell. 1 Cp. Apoc. Zeph. 3 (p. 919 above). 8You shall now cross at the ferry-place; for your name has been written in the book of the living. 9I wanted to exchange greetings with him; but I could not, so great was his glory. 10Then he hurried off to all the righteous, to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Enoch, and Elijah, and David. He talked with them like a friend with friends, while they themselves were in conversation with one another. 11Then the great angel came to me, the golden trumpet in his hand. He sounded it up to heaven; and the heaven opened from east to west, from north to south. 12I saw the sea I had seen (A 15) down in hell: its waves rose up to the clouds. I saw all the souls submerged in it. I saw some bound with their hands to their necks, and fetters on their hands and feet. 13I said, Who are these? He said to me, These are those who search men out 2 Text ‘who carry them along’. and give them gold and silver to lead the souls of men astray.

14And I saw others covered with fiery mats. I said, Who are these? He said to me, These are those who lend money on interest and take interest on interest. 15And I saw others, blind men crying out. I was astonished when I had seen all these works of God. I said, Who are these? 16(A 16) He said to me, These are those who were under instruction and heard the word of God, but were weak and fell away. 3 Lit. ‘but were not perfect in the thing which they heard’. 17But I said to him, Have they no opportunity for repentance? He said, Yes. I said, How long for? 4 Lit. ‘Until what day?’ He said to me, Until the day when the Lord will judge the world. 18And I saw others with their hair on them. I said, Are there hair and body in this place? He said, Yes: the Lord gives them body and hair as he pleases.

19And I saw very many others also: he brought them out, and they looked at all these punishments. They cried out in prayer before the Lord Almighty, saying, We beseech thee (A 17) for those who suffer all these punishments, that thou wouldest have mercy on them all. 20But when I saw them, I said to the angel who was talking with me, Who are these? He said, Those who are interceding with the Lord are Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. 21At the same time each day they come with the great angel. He sounds the trumpet up to heaven and another fanfare over the earth. All the righteous hear the fanfare. 22They come running, praying daily to the Lord Almighty for these who suffer all these punishments. 23And again the great angel comes with the golden trumpet in his hand and sounds it over the earth. It is heard from east to west and from south to north. Again he sounds the trumpet (A 18) up to heaven; and his trumpet-call 5 Lit. ‘sound’. is heard.

24I said, my lord, why did you not let me see them all? He said to me, I have no authority to show them to you, until the Lord Almighty arises in his wrath to destroy the earth and the heavens. 25They will see what is happening and be troubled, and all will cry out, saying, All men 6 Lit. ‘flesh’. who belong to thee, we will give them all to thee on the day of the Lord. 26Who will be able to stand before him when he arises in his wrath to 〈destroy〉 the earth and 〈the heavens〉? All trees that grow upon the earth will be uprooted with their roots and fall down. And all high towers and the birds that fly 〈over them〉 [down and all high towers] will fall 〈to the ground〉. 7 The text is restored following Lacau. Cp. Apoc. Elijah iii. 62–63 (p. 771 above).

Notes:

1 Cp. Apoc. Zeph. 3 (p. 919 above).

2 Text ‘who carry them along’.

3 Lit. ‘but were not perfect in the thing which they heard’.

4 Lit. ‘Until what day?’

5 Lit. ‘sound’.

6 Lit. ‘flesh’.

7 The text is restored following Lacau. Cp. Apoc. Elijah iii. 62–63 (p. 771 above).

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