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

Chapter IV

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Text Commentary

1And the prophet said, Lord, I will not cease to plead with thee. 2,3And God said, Count the flowers on the earth. If you can count them, you can also plead with me. 4And the prophet said, Lord, I cannot count them: I am but human; 1 Lit. ‘I wear human flesh’. but in spite of this I will not cease my pleading with thee. 5I would, Lord, see also the lower parts of Tartarus. 6,7And God said, Come down and see. And he gave me Michael and Gabriel and thirty-four other angels. 8And I went down eighty-five steps; and they took me down another five hundred steps. 9And I saw a fiery throne, and upon it an old man was sitting, and his judgement was merciless. 10And I said to the angels, Who is this, and what was his sin? 11And they said to me, This is Herod who for a short spell was a king, and ordered the slaughter of the babes from two years old and under. 12,13And I said, Alas for his soul. And again they led me down a further thirty steps, and I saw there a 14seething fire, and in it a multitude of sinners; and I heard their voices, but their forms I did not see. 15And they led me down many steps lower still, which I could not count. 16And I saw there aged men, and red-hot lengths of metal were being screwed 2 Lit. ‘and burning pivots were turning’. into their ears. 17,18And I said, Who are these, and what is their sin? And they said to me, These were 3 Lit. ‘are’. eavesdroppers. 19And they led me down again another five hundred steps. 20And I saw there the worm that does not sleep, and the fire that consumes the sinners. 21And they led me down to the bottom of the pit of destruction, and I saw there the twelve plagues of the abyss. 22And they led me away towards the south, and I saw there a man hanging by his eyelids, and the angels were scourging him. 23And I asked, Who is this, and what was his sin? 24And Prince Michael said to me, This man committed incest with his mother: as a punishment for his miserable lust 4 Lit. ‘having accomplished his little will’. he was ordered to be hanged. 25And they led me away towards the north, and I saw there a man held down by iron bars. 26And I asked, Who is this? 27And he said to me, This is the man who says, I am the son of God, and who made stones 5 Reading λίθους for πλήθους. bread and water wine. 28And the prophet said, Lord, tell me what he looks like, and I will instruct 6 Reading παϱαγγελω̂ for παϱαγγέλλω. mankind not to believe him. 29And he said to me, His face is like a wild beast's. His right eye is like the Daystar, 7 Lit. ‘like a star that rises early’. Cp. Isa. xiv. 12; Rev. ii. 28, xxii. 16 . and the other does 30not move: 8 Gk. ἀσάλευτος – the Greek Bible rendering for the ‘phylactery’ which was to be worn ‘between the eyes’ (at Exod. xiii 16 and Deut. vi. 8, xi. 18 ). his mouth is a cubit across: his teeth are each a span long: 31his fingers are like pruning-hooks: his footmarks measure two spans; and on his forehead is an inscription, ‘Antichrist’. 32He has been exalted to heaven: to hell shall he descend. 9 Cp. Isa. xiv. 13–15; Matt. xi. 23 ǁ Luke x. 15 . 33At one time he will become a child, at another an old man. 34And the prophet said, Lord, how canst thou permit it, 10 Or ‘him’. and meanwhile the human race is led astray? 35And God said, Listen, my prophet: he becomes both a child and an old man, and yet no one believes him, that he is my beloved son. 36And after this a trumpet will sound, 11 So B: A om. ‘will sound’. and the tombs will be opened, and the dead will be raised incorruptible. 37Then the Adversary, when he hears the fearful threat, will hide himself outside in the darkness. 38Then will the heaven and the earth and the 39sea be destroyed: then will I burn the heaven to the extent of eighty cubits and the earth to the extent of eight hundred cubits. 40And the prophet said, And what sin has the heaven committed? 41And God said, When 〈…〉 there is the evil. 12 God's answer here is clearly incomplete. 42And the prophet said, Lord, and what sin has the earth committed? 43And God said, When the Adversary, after hearing my fearful threat, has hidden himself, and because of this, I will melt the earth in a furnace and with it the rebel of the human race.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘I wear human flesh’.

2 Lit. ‘and burning pivots were turning’.

3 Lit. ‘are’.

4 Lit. ‘having accomplished his little will’.

5 Reading λίθους for πλήθους.

6 Reading παϱαγγελω̂ for παϱαγγέλλω.

7 Lit. ‘like a star that rises early’. Cp. Isa. xiv. 12; Rev. ii. 28, xxii. 16 .

8 Gk. ἀσάλευτος – the Greek Bible rendering for the ‘phylactery’ which was to be worn ‘between the eyes’ (at Exod. xiii 16 and Deut. vi. 8, xi. 18 ).

9 Cp. Isa. xiv. 13–15; Matt. xi. 23 ǁ Luke x. 15 .

10 Or ‘him’.

11 So B: A om. ‘will sound’.

12 God's answer here is clearly incomplete.

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