1God said to him, If I were to take hold of his foot, he would only say, Thou didst show me no kindness in the world. So I left him to his will because I loved him. 2That is why I sent my righteous angels to guard him night and day. 3Sedrach said, I know, Lord, that among thy creatures thou didst love man first, among animals the sheep, among trees the olive, among fruits the grape, among winged creatures the bee, among rivers the Jordan, among cities Jerusalem. 4,5And all these things man also loves, my Lord. God said to Sedrach, I will ask you one question, Sedrach. If you can answer me, I can rightly take your part, although you have been cross-examining him who fashioned you. 6Sedrach said, What is the question, 1 Lit. ‘Sedrach said, Say’. my Lord God. 7〈The Lord God said to him,〉 Since the day that I made all things, how many men have been born, how many have died, how many will die, and how many hairs have they? 8Tell me, Sedrach, since the heaven and the earth were created, how many trees have there been on the earth, how many have fallen, how many will fall, how many will there be, and how many leaves have they? 9Tell me, Sedrach, since I made the sea, how many waves have risen up, how many have fallen back again, how many will rise up, and how many winds blow on the seashore? 10Tell me, Sedrach, since the creation of the ages of the earth, when it rains, how many drops have fallen on the earth, and how many will fall? 11And Sedrach said, Thou alone, Lord, knowest all these things: thou alone hast understanding of all these things. 12Only, I pray thee, set man free from punishment; otherwise, I too must go to punishment and not be separated from our race.
1 Lit. ‘Sedrach said, Say’.