And he ruled over the Canaanites and built on Golgotha a city named Zion, i. Salem, a name which being interpreted means in the language of the Hebrews 'the city of peace'. And he ruled over it one hundred and thirteen years and died, having preserved his chastity and righteousness as the wise Josephus, 43 the historian, has written in the beginning of his work on the history of the Jews. For he was the first to offer sacrifices to the God of heaven and bloodless oblations of bread and wine in the likeness of the holy mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ ; as David has sung, saying : 'Thou art His priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
And Salem also, that is, Jerusalem, is named [Jerusalem] 47 because peace abideth in Zion, that is, Melchizedek. And the Jews were called 48 Hebrews from Heber, from whom Abraham, the chosen vessel, was descended. And when the rebels against God built the tower and laboured in vain in their impious designs, Heber indeed refused to join with them : he alone preserved without wavering his loyalty to God. And when the confusion of tongues took place, Heber alone was not deprived of his speech 49 27 in its integrity and perfectness. And his successors guarded the language of angels which Adam spoke.
And for this reason they are called Hebrews and their language Hebrew. There was a man named Hesiod of the race of Japhet, the son of Noah. He invented Greek letters and was the first to teach them. He, it is told, prayed in secret to the Moon, and they say that he learnt from the Moon in a vision the name of God. It is told that in the time of Joshua the son of Nun, a king named Ogyges ruled over Attica, and that there was a great deluge in that country only. And the king himself perished and the inhabitants of that country.
And it became a desert and no man dwelt therein for two hundred and six years, 50 as Africanus has recorded in his chronicle. Now Petissonius went to the diviners who were in Memphis and to the celebrated oracle and offered sacrifice. And Petissonius inscribed this oracle on a tablet and placed it in the temple of the gods near the water-measure whereby they learn the volume of the Nile.
We should recount that, when the temple was already destroyed: this tablet was the only one in Egypt that was still unbroken till the foundations of the idol temples were overthrown, and it was no longer possible for any one to maintain the temple of Memphis. It was only through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ that all the temples were destroyed. Now this mad Petissonius, that is, the Pharaoh Amosius, was overwhelmed in the Red Sea together with his horses and horsemen.
Thereupon he went forth in pursuit of them with his army. And he was overwhelmed in the sea with his followers and there was not one left. And the children of Israel marched in the sea as on dry land, and they came to the place where God willed : for. He is the conqueror of all the elements of creation.
And, after the Egyptians had been destroyed, those who remained worshipped demons and forsook God, Those unhappy ones destroyed themselves and became like 29 unto the angels who rebelled against God, and they worshipped the work of their own hands. Some worshipped the cow, and some the ox, and some the dog and also the mule: and some the ass, and some the lion : and some fish, and some the crocodile : and some the leek and many other like things. And they named their cities of Egypt after the name of their god. And when these came in wrath, the inhabitants warred vigorously against them and slew many of them.
And in consequence of this happy victory, the barbarians did not for a long period come again against the city through the mercy of God who by the mighty power of his Godhead hath made all things to come into being out of nothingness. And the great river of Egypt was named Chrysorroas by the Greeks but it is named Gihon in the book that is inspired by God.
Now this river flowed anciently to the east of the city, but it changed its course from the east to the west of the city, and the city became like an island in the midst of the river like a plantation of trees named Akrejas, that is, the myrtle. And as for Jerusalem which had been built by Melchizedek its king under the sway of the Canaanites, that is, the Philistines, Joshua the son of Nun subdued it and called it Jebus.
And he dwelt in Shechem; for he had subdued all the adjoining country. And this city is named Nablus unto this day. And in the days of the wise kings David and Solomon, David prepared all the building materials for the building of the holy temple of God, and Solomon built it in Jerusalem. He was the first to devise in a city of the west all manner of handicrafts.
Prometheus and Epimetheus discovered a stone tablet with an inscription which had been written and engraved in the days of the ancients. And Elijah the prophet interpreted the verses. So the Greeks have recounted this saying that on account of this he ascended to heaven and that what had been in heaven was in his heart. And Deucalion, moreover, wrote a detailed history 55 of what had happened in the days of the deluge and the strange events of that time. And after the deluge in Attica, the sovereignty passed into the hands of the Athenians. And there ruled there a man named Elwates 56 and he established the common meal as a legal institution.
And he was also the first to ordain that all men should take as their wives young virgins and name them spouses: and that they should dig a fountain in a hidden place in order to cause milk to spring from the earth in abundance as a visible stream. Now before his reign the women of Attica and the Athenians lived in unclean intercourse and male was joined to male. And they were like beasts : each lusted after the other and none had a woman to himself; but they ravished with wicked violence as we have already recounted.
And they knew not their own offspring, either their male or female. And who could have known, seeing that none of them had fathers and all whom they bare 57 were begotten by all. Owing to their promiscuous intercourse they could not know whether they had male or female offspring.
And they were all pleased with this unclean mode of living. As Cecrops the author of the prescript in his law has said : 'This country of Attica will be destroyed bv a deluge from God. And after this time they became wise and 31 conformed to the law of marriage, the men and the women.
And Cecrops was highly honoured and esteemed all his days, and he brought it about that the children knew their fathers, as was befitting. And in these days lived Orpheus of Thrace, the lyric poet of the Odrysae, called the great sage among the Greeks. He expounded to them that which is called the Theogony, which being interpreted in their language means 'The combatant of God', which things are recounted by the chronicler Timothy.
He said : 'Before all time was the holy Trinity coequal in one Godhead, Creator of all things. It is said that certain savants of the Athenians were the first to practise the art of medicine. Indeed the philosophers were the first who made known the noble art of using medicines which agreed with the stomach.
And many people go to Athens for the sake of this art also, for it flourishes there until this day. King Solomon the son of David was the first to build baths and places for reading and instruction in every place under his dominion; for he had the demons subject to him. Now he enjoyed this privilege before he provoked God the Lord of all through the strange women who lived with him.
These polluted Jerusalem with their gods. In the days of the Judges also there arose in Phrygia a philosopher named Marsyas. He was the first to play upon the flute and the horn and the drum? And he deafened the ears of men and made himself out to be a god, saying : 'I have found food for man by means of a small member. And God was wroth with him and punished him and he became insane and cast himself into the river and perished.
And in those days also lived the hero Heracles and the Argonauts, the people that were with Jason. And they 32 went to the Hellespont. And the people of the Hellespont had a king named Cyzicus. And they attacked and slew the king Cyzicus without knowing it. And when they learned this , they were grieved; for they were all his kinsmen and he was sprung from their country. It is told further that they went to the place of those who announced oracles and to the seat of the elders and asked one of them, saying: 'Prophesy to us, O prophet, servant of Apollo, of what nature this building will be and to whom shall it belong.
And they presented gifts to him who spake to them and he said unto them : 'There are three Persons but one God only. And behold a virgin will conceive His word, and this house will be His and His name shall belong to thousands. And the idolaters wrote down this prophecy on a fragment of marble with a brazen pen, and they placed it in one of the temples. After these times in the days of the Godloving emperor Zeno, this temple was converted into a church, dedicated to the holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
This the emperor Zeno did at his own costs. And thus was accomplished the prophecy of the demons who proclaimed the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Argonauts sailed to the Hellespont to an island named Principus. Thence they went to Chalcedon and sought to pass into the sea of Pontus. But the inhabitants brought with them a man of valour and fought with them. And he gained the mastery and overcame them.
And fearing the wrath of this man, they fled to a very desolate extremity of the coast. And they saw a mighty portent from heaven which resembled a man with great wings on his shoulders after the likeness of a very terrible eagle. And it said unto them: 'When ye fight with Amyous ye will overcome.
And they honoured that place where they had seen the mighty figure, and they built there a temple and they placed in it a statue resembling the apparition they had seen. And they named this temple Sosthenium because they had sought refuge there and were saved. And so they name it unto this day. And in the days of Constantine, the greatest and most illustrious of Christian emperors, the servant of Jesus Christ, when he first established the seat of empire in Byzantium, that is in Rome, he came to the Sosthenium to close the temple of the idols to be found there.
And when he saw the statue which was in it, he at once recognized that it was the statue of an angel. And as his thoughts were troubled with doubts he prayed and besought our Lord Jesus Christ in whom he trusted, saying: 'Make me to know, O Lord, whose image this is. And thereupon he fell asleep and heard in a vision that the image was the image of S. Michael the archangel. Having learnt that it was he who had sent people to fight Amycus the emperor caused this temple to be adorned and commanded them to turn it to the east and [commanded them] to consecrate it in the name of the archangel Michael.
And numerous miracles were wrought in this temple through healings of the sick. And after that Christians began to build churches in the name of S. Michael the chief of the angels. And they offered in them holy offerings unto God. For they were in grievous danger till by means of this holy nail the waves of the sea, yea all the waves of the ocean, were quieted. And the empire made itself strong in the city of Constantine.
Now in the days of Zeno the empire had had its seat in Rome. Afterwards the two empires were united in one by a decree of the Senate. For one of these had been established on account of the continual outbreaks of the barbarians, and the other in accordance with the counsel of the prefects in order that they might have another authority in Asia. And in the days of Samson the last of the Judges, Lapathus ruled in the land 58 of Aegistheus. And he divided the provinces of his kingdom into two parts, one half for himself and the other half for his sons.
And when he died, one province was named Achaia after the name of his eldest son, and the other was named Laconia after the name of the younger son and such are their names unto this day. And at that epoch there reigned in Hellas a king whose name was Pelops. After this man the Hellenes called the kingdom Peloponnesian by his name unto this day. And he built a city and they named it Peloponnesus after his name. And the name of his kingdom is Hellas unto this day.
And there was a man named Bilawon. He built the city Farma after his own name. And there was a wise and sagacious man named Palamedes. He was the first to teach the arts of playing on the harp and lyre 61 and the flute and all manner of musical instruments. And Tros, also, who ruled over the country of Phrygia And Setabarja of Panton he named Asia of the Ephesians.
And he gave it to a man named Aiwani, which is by interpretation in the language of Canaan 'light', but he named the structure Palmyra. Indeed it was in that place that David his father, the strong and mighty one, was victorious when he slew and was victorious over Goliath the Philistine. It is for this reason that he appointed its name to be Mezad in order that strange peoples azmad might dwell therein.
And a great number of Jewish soldiers dwelt there. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Persia took this city, having to expend much toil and severe effort before he could take it and burn it with fire. And he caused the memorial of it to disappear till this day. And he took the city Tyre also, which is an island surrounded by water. And he put forth many a mighty effort to take it.
And he commanded his soldiers, the cavalry and foot-soldiers, and all the Persians to cast earth into the arm of the sea which surrounded it. And they filled it with earth till the water of the sea dried up and the strait became as land. And by these means Nebuchadnezzar the king of the Persians was able to take this city. And, moreover, Moses the prophet carried this stone as he went before the people in their journey through the wilderness, according to the commandment of God.
And as often as the people thirsted, he cast it upon the earth and smote it with the rod, and water came forth and the people were satisfied and all the cattle. And Jeremiah took those objects and the stone, and went hastily to the rock and hid them there until this day.
And on the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who will be preceded by the sign of the cross, this ark borne by angels will appear, and Moses also who made it will come and Jeremiah who hid it in the rock. And these words are to be found in the teaching of S. Epiphanius, our light-giving father, bishop of Cyprus, who has written in his book a complete history of the prophets after the overthrow of Jerusalem and the disappearance of the kingdom of Judah. Cyrus the Persian overcame Astyages and Cyrus became king And Croesus was stiffnecked and overweening.
And all the kingdoms afar off and close at hand had submitted to him. And the peoples that were subject to him paid him tribute and dwelt in peace. But those which resisted him, he led away captive, and spoiled their possessions and made himself master of their territories. For he was very great and formidable and victorious. And Cyrus was disquieted in heart; for he had a wife named Bardane, who had previously been the wife of Darius the successor of Belshazzar.
She spake, saying: 'We have amongst us a prophet of the Hebrews named Daniel, in whom is the wisdom of God. He belongs to the captivity of the children of Israel. Now Darius used to do nothing without his counsel, and every thing that he declared to him beforehand was accomplished. And when Cyrus heard these words he sent to Daniel the prophet and had 37 him brought with honour, and he asked him and said unto him : 'Shall I conquer Croesus or not?
But he was silent and did not speak for the space of an hour. And thereupon he spake, saying : 'Who can know the wisdom of God? And God said unto him : 'If he sends back the captivity of the children of Israel, he shall surely conquer and take to himself the power of Croesus. And when he heard these words from God, he told Cyrus that he should conquer Croesus if he sent back the children of Israel.
And when Cyrus heard these words he cast himself at Daniel's feet and sware, saying : ' As the Lord thy God liveth, I will send Israel back to their city Jerusalem, and they shall serve the Lord their God. And Cyrus, in accordance with his duty to God, heaped benefits upon Israel and sent them back to their own country. Now Croesus went out with a great army to war against the provinces of Cyrus. And having crossed the river of Cappadocia in order to slay Cyrus, Cyrus put him to shame and he was not able to escape secretly because of the river confronting him. Indeed when Croesus came to this river, a large multitude of his soldiers were speedily overwhelmed in it ; but he himself was not able to cross; for God had delivered him into Cyrus's hands by this means.
And Cyrus's soldiers pursued him and took him alive and seized him and put him in chains, and slew of his army 40, men. And Cyrus had his adversary Croesus suspended on a tree, and the rest of his army he humiliated and shamed. As for the Jews and their king he sent them off that they might return to their own country as he had promised to Daniel the prophet. And when Cyrus returned into Persia, he settled all the affairs of his government and appointed his son Cambyses to be king over Persia and Babylon. And he was a bad man, and he rejected the wisdom of his father and the worship of the Lord God.
And Apries moreover was king of Egypt and dwelt in the city of Thebes and in Memphis and in two other cities, Muhil and 38 Sufiru. And in those days, in consequence of the intrigues of the neighbouring peoples Cambyses sent to Jerusalem and gave orders to his officers to restrain them the Jews from rebuilding the sanctuary of God.
And afterwards he made an expedition to Egypt with a great and innumerable army of horse and foot from Media. And the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine got ready to oppose him but in vain , and he destroyed not a few but many cities of the Jews, for he was supreme over all the world. And in the pride of his heart he changed his name and named himself Nebuchadnezzar. And his disposition resembled that of a barbarian, and in the evil counsel of his desire he hated mankind.
And his father Cyrus had been great and honoured before the living God, and had commanded that they should build the temple of God in Jerusalem with all vigilance and zeal, what time he had sent Joshua the high priest, the son of Jozadak and Zerubbabel, that is Ezra, and all the captivity of Judah that they might return to the land of the Hebrews and Palestine. But Cambyses, that is, Nebuchadnezzar the second, and Belshazzar burnt the holy city Jerusalem and the sanctuary according to the prophecies of the holy prophets Jeremiah and Daniel.
And after they had burnt the city Cambyses came to Gaza and got together troops and all the materials of war, and he went down into Egypt to war against it. And in the war he gained the victory and he captured the Egyptian cities Parma and Sanhur and San and Basta. And he captured Apries, the Pharaoh, alive in the city of Thebes and he slew him with his own hand. Now there was in Egypt a warrior named Fusid who practised righteousness and hated iniquity. And he bound them and burnt their houses and took all that they had captive and brought them to the city of Memphis and he imprisoned them in the palace of the king.
And when a second war arose between the Assyrians and Egyptians, the Assyrians proved the stronger and gained the mastery over the Egyptians and took the palace which is in the city of Thebes. And the Assyrian soldiers shot arrows, and, as they shot, an arrow smote the warrior Fusid on the right side. But the Egyptian soldiers carried off the 39 warrior Fusid from the Assyrians, before he died. And he lived but an hour more and after this died and left a memory to those that came after.
But the Egyptians were moved with fear because they had lost such a warrior as Fusid. And for this reason they fled for refuge into the city Sais, because it was a strong city and its fortifications stronger than those of the others. And Cambyses attacked this city a second time and carried 66 it by storm and destroyed 66 it. And he captured all the other cities of lower Egypt towards the north to the sea coast and plundered them of all their possessions and destroyed their cities and neighbourhoods and burnt their houses with fire and left neither man nor beast living.
And he cut down their trees and destroyed their plantations and made the land of Egypt a desert. And returning in the direction of Rif he warred against the city of Memphis, and he conquered the king who was in it. And the city of Busir also, which lies below Memphis, he destroyed and annihilated and took its possessions as a booty, and burnt it with fire and made it a desert.
And the sons of the kings which survived fled for refuge to another city, the nearest at hand, even into its citadel and closed the gates of the fortress. And the Assyrians besieged this citadel and carried it by storm by night and destroyed the city of Memphis the great.
And one of the kings of Egypt, named Muzab, had sent in secret to his son, named Elkad, bidding him to bring all his wealth and that of all his officers and of the forty wives of Cambyses, that is, Nebuchadnezzar, even those which had been brought by Fusid the captain. And they opened the gates of the fortress by night, and they took and led them forth into the desert by another way which the people knew not.
And the four sons of Cambyses the inhabitants of the city of Memphis led back, and they made them ascend to the summit of the fortress and cut them in pieces and cast them to the base of the fortress where Cambyses was. And when the soldiers of Cambyses saw this evil thing which the inhabitants of the city of Memphis had done, they were filled with wrath and warred against the city without mercy. And they set up engines against it and destroyed the palaces of the kings, and they slew without mercy the children of the kings Muzab and Sufir and all the chiefs of the army which were found in the city.
And when Elkad was informed of the death of his father, he fled into Nubia. And Cambyses also destroyed the city of On and upper Egypt as far as the city Eshmun. And the inhabitants of this city on learning of his approach were seized with fear and fled into the city of Eshmunin. And they sent to Nubia to Elkad the son of Miizab, asking him to come unto them that they might make him king in the room of his father.
For he had formerly made war against the cities of Assyria. And thereupon Elkad gathered a large army of Ethiopians and Nubians and warred against the army of Cambyses on the eastern bank of the river Gihon. But the Ethiopians were not able to make the passage of the river. And the Persians, full of stratagems, wheeled about as though intending to flee. Then in the early part of the night they crossed the river with vigilance and took possession of the city and destroyed it before the army of Elkad were aware.
And when they had completed the destruction of the city Eshmunin they march into upper Egypt, and laid waste the city of Assuan. And they crossed to the opposite bank belonging to the city Ahif, and they destroyed Phile as they had done the other cities. And they turned back to the cities and provinces which still remained, and they ravaged them and burned them with fire till all the land of Egypt became a desert and there was no longer found in it a moving creature, neither a man nor even a bird of the air. Then Elkad king of Egypt devised another plan, he and all that had not been annihilated by the Persians.
And they proceeded and came upon Cambyses at some distance off, and they took with them gifts and harps and drums and timbrels 67 and prostrated themselves before him and besought him that they might receive from him mercy and friendship. And Cambyses showed mercy to the Egyptians that survived who had come to offer their submission, and he had compassion on them and led them away to Media and Babylon.
And he appointed as their ruler one of their own number. And as for Elkad he did not take from him his royal crown but established him on the royal throne and did not lead him away with him. And the number of the Egyptians whom Cambyses led away with him were 50,, besides women and children. And they lived in captivity in Persia forty years, and Egypt became a desert. And after devastating Egypt, Cambyses died in the city of Damascus. And he commanded Nehemiah the cupbearer to build the walls of Jerusalem, and he dealt kindly with the Jews, because Cyrus and Darius had honoured the God of heaven, and served Him.
And for this reason he supported all the enterprises of the Jews. And as for the Egyptians he dealt kindly and well with them and made them officers in order to take counsel with his prefects. And later he sent back the Egyptians, to their own country in the one and fortieth year of their captivity and the devastation of their country. And when they returned they began to build houses in their several cities : they did not construct great houses as formerly but small houses wherein to dwell.
And they planted trees and vines in abundance. And they set over themselves a king named Fiwaturos in compliance with the command of Artaxerxes the humane. And this man was very vigilant in rebuilding the cities and villages and restoring the tillage of the land so that in a short time he rebuilt all the villages of Egypt. And he restored Egypt and made it as it had been before. And there was great prosperity in his "days, and the Egyptians increased very much, and their cattle increased also.
And he reigned over them forty and eight years in happiness and peace because of the return of the Egyptians from captivity. And he went to rest full of honour. But before he died he numbered the Egyptians, and their number was , men. And after the death of Shenufi the Egyptians remained for a long time without a king, but they paid taxes to the Persians and Assyrians at the same time. And they remained at peace till they appointed a second Pharaoh as king and paid the taxes to him.
Now the Persians did not approve that the Egyptians should pay the taxes to their own king. But the Persians also were without a king after the death of the great Artaxerxes who had had compassion on the Egyptians. And he who reigned after Artaxerxes at first made war against the Jews and the Jews 42 submitted to him. And next he made war on the Egyptians and overcame them and took their possessions as a spoil; for the land of Egypt is through the help of God a very goodly land.
And he slew the last king of the Persians. And after some time Ochus reigned for twelve years over the Persians. And after him Artaxerxes reigned twenty-three years. And after him Darius, surnamed Akrejus, reigned for six years. And then Alexander rose up against him and slew him and took his kingdom of Babylon from him ; for Alexander the son of Philip of Macedon was ruler of the world.
And there was a man named Aeneas, who espoused the daughter of Latinus, named Lavinia. And he built a great city and named it after the name of Lavinia and established his kingdom in it. And there was in Italy a man named Pallas and he had a son. And he became a good and warlike man. And he stormed many cities belonging to Aeneas. And he built a palace also and named it Pallantium, which is by interpretation 'stronghold', after his name Pallas. And there was a Canaanitish woman named Dido, the wife of a man named Sichaeus. And she came originally from a small city Kardimas, 70 situated on the sea-coast between Tyre and Sidon.
And she was very rich. And she had a brother named Pygmalion, who rose against her husband and slew him from the covetous desire to get hold of her wealth and treasures. Then this woman arose in haste and collected together all the wealth and treasures in her house, and embarked on a ship and fled and went from Canaan to the country of Libya 71 in Africa, and built a great city in that province, which she named Carthage, but in the language of the Barbarians it is called 'New city'.
And she reigned there wisely until her death. And in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah there were two brothers whose names were Romulus and Remus. And these built a great city near a small city Valentia in Italy, a city of Latinus where previously there had been a royal palace named Pallantium. And this they rebuilt. Moreover they built a temple for their God named Zeus, and they named it in their own language the Capitol.
And in the Latin language they named the Capitol 'Head of the city'. And in those days they called themselves 'Romans' and the name of their city 'Rome'. And the two brothers ruled together in it. But afterwards a cause of enmity intervened, and Romulus slew Remus his brother and reserved the throne for himself alone. And thereupon the city was shaken with earthquake and all the people were panic-stricken together because of the great quakings in their midst. And Romulus also was terrified and became heavy of heart by means of his great terror, and he learnt from the diviners and the unclean spirits that his throne should not be established in Rome without his brother Remus.
Then he had recourse to many a device in order to raise his brother and he was not able. But a great quaking ensued and in the midst of that quaking he saw an image of his brother, a perfect likeness from his head to his breast. And he made an image of his brother in the likeness of the apparition which he had before seen, a golden statue representing his brother from the head to the breast, and he placed it on his throne and he adorned it with all manner of ornaments. And in his prescripts he wrote after this manner, saying : ' In the prescripts emanating from me and my brother so we declare, and so we command, so we execute', and so on.
And this custom derived from the Romans has prevailed to the present. Their kings and their magistrates have preserved this formula in the courts which are called 'praetorian', that is, in their places of justice. And Romulus also was the first to ride on horseback in Rome and to rush to the encounter at full speed and to be ardent to be victorious.
And he devised these diabolical practices and source of evils and vices, in order that his horse soldiers should be the strongest in the world. And he appointed also a place of conflict for women called Elmantatum that the soldiers might resort thither in order to be with them the women. For previously they had violated all the women, whether married, virgin, or widowed. And by reason of his fear and discouragement Romulus instituted this order of female cavalry and made them alone without the men into one force. And he divided them moreover into two parts, the virgins on one side and the married women on the other.
And he assembled from all the cities far and near a great assemblage of women cavalry without number. And 45 they kept watch over the foreign women in their midst who did not belong to Rome, in order to accomplish their desire. And Romulus ordered them to lay hands on all they found. Now the young girls of the city of the Sabines which is near to Rome were beautiful women. And he summoned and assembled them masc. And when Romulus had ended assembling the women, he gave them to the soldiers who had no wives. And the rest he ordered to carry them the women off as best they could.
And subsequently to this ordinance they chose their wives according to their individual tastes without violence. And moreover he instituted priests of the idols and named them priests of Apollo. And next Romulus commanded his most illustrious officers and soldiers to entertain 74 in the winter season. And he invited in order from alpha to omega the most illustrious of his officers, each in turn, and the commanders and magistrates of the people and all the soldiers whom he wished.
And this ordinance existed in Rome. And next he established a custom in Rome, called Abrastus. And next he built the walls of the city of Rome and completed them. And next he built a temple in the city of Ares, in the month 46 of March, that is Magabit. Now March is the beginning of months. And in the beginning of the month they celebrate a feast, and they named that feast 'Primus'. And after this feast he commanded the soldiers to fight. And they named this month March 76 because of the custom of the heathen who are demon-worshippers according as the ancients had prescribed in their foolish ignorance.
And the Romans have preserved this custom. It is for this reason that the holy fathers, the Egyptian monks, who were clothed with God, offer at the beginning of every month an unbloody sacrifice to the holy consubstantial Trinity and receive the holy life-giving mysteries, while they chant the words of the 80th Psalm: 'Blow up the trumpet in the day of the new moon, on the notable day of our festival. And after Romulus Numa became king. He was a wise and very prudent man.
And he caused the government of the city of Rome to go along a good path by means of an excellent discipline. And this illustrious man was the first to make money for selling and buying and for the exchange of silver. It is for this reason that stamped copper money is named felus unto this day. And next he appointed two places: one for the officers and one for the judges that they might give orders to the officers and all the army.
And furthermore he established them outside that they might judge the peoples who were under their authority ; and not only those who judged but those with functions which are subordinate according to rank, and others which resemble this. And this law is ordained and established amongst the Romans unto this day.
And in the days of the high priest of Jerusalem who was named Judas, Philip was king of Macedonia. And when he became king he warred against Thessaly and came 47 off victorious over it. And when he had won the victory, he built a city in Macedonia and named it Thessalonica. And when Alexander the son of Philip of Macedon became king he built in Egypt the great city Alexandria, and named it Alexandria after his own name. Now its name formerly in the Egyptian language was Rakoustis.
And he came to the confines of Europe, and he built there a place where his army and all his troops assembled. And he gave there gold in abundance to his chief generals and to all his officers and his numerous forces. And he named that place Chrysopolis. And in his war against Persia Alexander slew many of Darius's troops, nor did he stop till he had annihilated them.
And he seized all the kingdom of Darius and made himself master of it. And moreover he took captive his daughter, who was named Roxana. And she was a virgin and he made her his wife. And he did her no injury. Nor yet did he offer any outrage to Candace the queen of Ethiopia, because of her great intelligence ; for she had heard tidings of the great deeds of Alexander and how it was his custom when he wished to war against the kings of the earth to join with spies and so to visit their territories.
And queen Candace, being apprised of his arrival with the spies, had him arrested and said unto him : 'Thou art the king Alexander who hast seized upon all the world, and yet thou art to-day seized by a woman. And he said unto her: 'It is by means of thy knowledge and the subtility of thy intelligence and thy wisdom that thou hast seized me. Henceforth I will preserve thee unharmed, even thee and thy children, and I will make thee my wife. And when she heard these words she cast herself at his feet and made an alliance with him, and he made her his wife.
And thereupon the Ethiopians submitted to him. And when Alexander was dying he divided his kingdom among his four companions who had helped him in his campaigns. And Philip, his elder brother, took Macedonia and reigned over 48 it and all Europe. Furthermore he made Ptolemy, surnamed Lagus, king of Egypt. And in the days of Ptolemy Philadelphus, son of Lagus, whose name by interpretation means 'lover of the brethren', a man of large thought and wisdom, the holy books of God were translated from the Hebrew into the Greek langua,ge by old men in the space of seventy-two days, for there were seventy-two translators, but two died before they had completed the translation.
And Antigonus reigned over Asia and Cilicia and the river which is named Draco in the province of Orontes, 2. And this king warred against Antigonus king of Asia and slew him, because he had built a city on the borders of the river Draco and had named it Antigonia. And he seized all the property in the region of Iopolis and of the fortress which faces mount Silpion. Now this city was formerly named Bottia. And he built there the great city of Antioch, and named it after the name of his son Antiochus.
And again he built another city [in the name of his daughter], and he named it Laodicea, for his daughter's name was Laodicea. Now this city had formerly been named Mazabdan. And again he built a city and named it Apamea, which formerly had been named Pharnace. Seleucus, that is, Pausanias, 85 was the first to write Chronicles and annals and to name them. History of the Consuls of the early Romans. Julius Caesar the dictator seized the power and administration among the Romans before the incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The birth of Julius was not like the birth of ordinary men whom women give birth to in the ninth month. For his mother died during her pregnancy, and after she died the babe stirred in her womb. And the wise men seeing that the babe stirred, cut open the womb of the mother and brought forth the 49 babe living and nursed it and called its name Caesar. Now Caesar means 'drawn forth', 'cut out', 'separated'. And when he grew up they named him also Triumvir, and in accordance with a decree of the Senate of Rome he was appointed and became king.
And when his empire was consolidated, the Persians and barbarians were seized with fear. And this same Caesar made the month in which he became king the first month of the year. And he issued prescripts for his commanders and prefects according to their various offices in every province of his empire. And next he left the east and came to Alexandria the chief city of Egypt.
And he met queen Cleopatra, the daughter of Ptolemy, surnamed Dionysus, king of Egypt. And she was a very beautiful young girl. Caesar fell in love with her and married her and begat a son by her. And he gave her the kingdom of Egypt. And he named that son Julius Caesar. He was also named Caesarion. He built a beautiful palace and also a beautiful and magnificent and comely house, and he named it after his own name and that of his son.
And when the great Constantine, the emperor of the Christians, took possession of the Roman empire he changed this building into a church and named it after the name of S. And to this day it is named the church of Caesarion because it was built by Julius Caesar the younger and Caesar the elder. It is told regarding Archelaus the chief governor of Cappadocia and regarding Herod, who was full of wickedness and the murderer of his father, who was the first to eat raw meat with the blood, and not of the number of the faithful: now Herod was king of Judea : it is told that they submitted to Caesar the elder 86 and made him sovereign over their territories during all their life.
And Archelaus built in Cappadocia a city and named it Caesarea in Cappadocia to be a memorial of him Caesar. And formerly it was named Mazaca. And Herod also built a city in Palestine and named it Caesarea in honour of the emperor. And he constructed a way also which led into the city of Antioch, and he made the city more spacious and he covered the way with slabs of white stone at his own expense, and though 50 previously impassable he made it a way fit for kings. And he sent also a Jewish army into Egypt and he made all the cities submit to the emperor.
And in like manner he caused the orientals to pay tribute to Caesar. And queen Cleopatra went down from Palestine into Egypt in order to make her royal residence there. And when she came to the city Farma she gave battle to the Egyptians and overcame them.
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And next she came to Alexandria, and reigned there. And she was great in herself and in her achievements in courage and strength. There was none of the kings who preceded her who wrought such achievements as she. And she built in the confines of Alexandria a great and magnificent palace. And she built it on an island in the quarter of the north to the west of the city of Alexandria, outside the city and at a distance of four stadia.
And she raised a dike against the waters of the sea with stones and earth; and made the place of the waters over which they voyaged formerly in ships into dry land, and she made it passable on foot. And this stupendous and difficult achievement she wrought through the advice of a wise man named Dexiphanes, who made the sea into dry land that there might be a means of passage on foot. And next she constructed a canal to the sea, and she brought water from the river Gihon and conducted it into the city. And by this means she brought it about that ships could approach and enter the city and by this means there was great abundance.
Now the city was formerly without access to water, but she brought all the water it required lit. And she executed all these works in vigilant care for the well-being of the city. And before she died she executed many noble works and created important institutions. And this woman, the most illustrious and wise amongst women, died in the fourteenth year of the reign of Caesar Augustus.
Thereupon the inhabitants of Alexandria and of lower and upper Egypt submitted to the emperors of Rome, who set over them prefects and generals. And Augustus reigned fifty-six years and six months. He was born in the days when a decree went forth that all the world should be registered and every person numbered with a view to levying of taxes. And this measure was carried out through the advice of Eumenes and Attalus, illustrious and great men of Rome.
And Augustus moreover found the name of the month February inscribed in the middle of the year. Now if we start from the first, that is March, the earliest of the months of the Roman year, this month of February was the sixth in order of the Roman months. Now Augustus decreed 88 that they should make this month the last of the months of the year ; for Augustus blamed the chief of the army in those days, who was named Manlius of Cappadocia, possessing as he had power and authority over them; for it was he who arranged the order of the months, and he was influential and powerful amongst the Romans.
And instead of this month of February which he had made the last month, because it was the shortest of all the months, they introduced in its stead the full month named August after his name ; and it was the sixth month. The month which preceded the sixth month, i. And the Romans adopted and confirmed this regulation and have observed it till the present day. The sixth and fifth months are preceded by March. Ter, which is the first month amongst the Franks: 2. When the beginning of the month coincides with the first or second or third unto the end of the seven days.
And they observe moreover the commencement of their months in seeking to know whether it will he lucky or unlucky. And Socrates the sage and philosopher and astronomer established this custom in Rome. And Socrates the ordainer and establisher of the practice had altered among the pagans the writings of Ezra the prophet and saint.
He was deceived and he deceived those who read his book by his evil device. And after the death of the emperor Augustus, his son Tiberius became emperor, who had brought Cappadocia into siibjection to Rome after the death of Archelaus the governor of Cappadocia. And he built also a city in the province of Thrace and named it Tiberia. And, after the death of Claudius, the abominable Nero became emperor in Rome. Now he was a pagan and an idolater. And to his other vices he added the vice of sodomy, and he married as though he were a woman. And when the Romans heard of this detestable deed, they could no longer endure him.
And the idolatrous priests particularly inveighed against him, and the senators elders of the people deposed him from the throne 91 and took counsel in common to put him to death. And when this impure wretch was informed of the purpose of the senators, he quitted his residence and hid himself. But he was not able to escape the mighty and powerful hand of God. For when he fell into this disquietude of heart, owing to the debauchery which he had practised as a woman, owing to this cause I repeat his belly grew distended and became like that of a pregnant woman. And he was greatly afflicted by the multitude of his loathsome pains.
And therefore he ordered the wise men to visit him in the place where he was hidden , and to administer remedies. And 53 when the wise men came to him thinking that he was with child they opened his belly in order to deliver it. And he died by this evil death. And after the death of Titus Domitian his brother became emperor in his stead. And he was a great philosopher among the heathen. And he stirred up a persecution against the Christians and he brought many torments upon them by the hand of Decius and through the machinations of his officers.
And he had John the beloved evangelist brought to Rome, and he persecuted him and all the believers in God for their true and right faith. And afterwards being struck with admiration at the greatness of his wisdom be set him free in secret and without the knowledge of his officers and the idolatrous priests he had him conducted to his residence.
And next Domitian built a city in the province of Isauria and he named it Domitianus after his own name. And when the consummation of his sin was at hand, he had driven into exile the holy martyrs and he went to the temple of Titus and sought to offer a sacrifice to the demons; for he called a thing which could not speak a saviour. Then his officers took counsel to put him to death; for he had always humiliated them through his stiffneckedness and pride of heart, and, philosopher though he was, he had wholly failed to do justice. And they rose against him and put him to death secretly.
But the people were not aware that they had put him to death. And they took his silk garments and suspended them on the chains of the temple lamps, in order to deceive all the people by a lying statement, saying: ' The emperor had been carried up from earth into the air by the priests of the gods, because he was a philosopher. Thus they misled the people for some time; but afterwards they were apprised of the death of this wicked man, and there arose a tumult because they had put him to death in the 54 temple and by their mad act had profaned it, though they said: 'We are guiltless and our temple is not profaned.
And after this [there arose a tumult and] they agreed upon Nerva and made him emperor. Now he was the commander-in-chief of the army, an old man, very excellent, humane, and wise. And forthwith he sent to the sweet-tongued S. John and had him brought back from his place of exile to the city of Ephesus, where he died in goodly peace. Now this emperor was a good man and he established good laws, and moreover he put an end among men to the custom which prevailed of buffet for buffet and blow for blow.
And after the good emperor Nerva died, Trajan became emperor, who was much addicted to the worship of idols. He was the third of those who persecuted the Christians. And there were many martyrs in every place who were put to severe tortures. And furthermore the saint of God, Ignatius the patriarch of Antioch, who was appointed after Peter, the chief of the apostles, was brought by his orders in chains to Rome and delivered to a lion. When it became longer, even marvelously longer, it cast down before it three horns and behold in the side of the horn there were two eyes similar to the two eyes of man, and a mouth speaking wanton words.
This obviously alludes to the person who will found a new religion similar to the divine law, and make claims to a revelation of a Scripture, and to prophecy. He will furthermore endeavor to alter and abolish the Law, as it is said, "and he shall seek to change the seasons and the law. Daniel was divinely informed that He would destroy this person notwithstanding his greatness and his long endurance together with the remaining adherents of his predecessors.
For the three parties that warred against us will ultimately perish, i. Though they shall appear to be triumphant for a while, and be in the ascendancy for a longer or shorter period of time, they shall not last nor endure. We have a divine assurance from time immemorial that whenever a decree of apostasy is passed against us, God will ultimately terminate it. When King David inspired by the Holy Spirit and speaking in the name of the community reflected, how many peoples ruled over Israel in the past, and how many trials and tribulations they had undergone from the beginning of their history, and nevertheless were not exterminated, he was moved to exclaim, "Much have they afflicted me from my youth up; but they have not prevailed against me.
My brethren, you all know that in the time of Nebuchadnezzar the Wicked, the Jews were compelled to worship idols and none was spared save Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Ultimately God destroyed Nebuchadnezzar, and put an end to his laws, and the religion of Truth came back to its own. Similarly during the Second Commonwealth when the wicked Greek rulers gained control of Palestine, they instituted severe persecutions against Israel in order to abolish the Torah. The Jews were compelled to profane the Sabbath, and were forbidden to observe the rite of circumcision.
Every Jew was forced to write on his garment the words "we have no portion in the Lord God of Israel, and also to engrave this sentence on the horns of his ox and then plough with it. Finally, God brought to an end simultaneously their empire and their laws. The sages, of blessed memory, frequently allude to persecutions in the following manner: "once the wicked government passed the following decree of persecution," or, "they decreed so and so.
It was this observation that led the rabbis of blessed memory to affirm that persecutions are of short duration. Ketubot 3b. The divine assurance was given to Jacob our father, that his descendants would survive the people who degraded and discomfited them as it is written: "And thy seed shall be like the dust of the earth.
That is to say, although his offspring will be abased like dust that is trodden under foot, they will ultimately emerge triumphant and victorious, and as the simile implies, just as the dust settles finally upon him who tramples upon it, and remains after him, so shall Israel outlive its persecutors. The prophet Isaiah has long ago predicted that various peoples will succeed in vanquishing Israel and lording over them for some time.
But that ultimately God will come to Israel's assistance and will put a stop to their woes and affliction as is suggested in the following verse:. We are in possession of the divine assurance that Israel is indestructible and imperishable, and will always continue to be a pre-eminent community. As it is impossible for God to cease to exist, so is Israel's destruction and disappearance from the world unthinkable, as we read, "For I the Lord change not, and ye,.
O sons of Jacob, will not be consumed. Similarly He has avowed and assured us that it is unimaginable that He will reject us entirely even if we disobey Him, and disregard His behests, as the prophet Jeremiah avers, "Thus saith the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, Then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord" Jeremiah Indeed this very promise has already been given before through Moses our Teacher who says, "And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God.
Put your trust in the true promises of Scripture, brethren, and be not dismayed at the series of persecutions or the enemy's ascendency over us, or the weakness of our people. These trials are designed to test and purify us so that only the saints and the pious ones of the pure and undefiled lineage of Jacob will adhere to our religion and remain within the fold, as it is written, "And among the remnant are those whom the Lord shall call.
This verse makes it clear that they are not numerous, being the descendents of those who were present on Mount Sinai, 4 witnessed the divine Revelation, entered into the covenant of God, and undertook to do and obey as is signified in their saying, "we will do, and obey. They obligated not only themselves but also their descendants, as it is written, "to us and to our children forever. We have been given adequate divine assurance that not only did all the persons who were present at the Sinaitic Revelation believe in the prophecy of Moses and in his Law, but that their descendants likewise would do so, until the end of time, as it is written, "Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee forever.
Consequently it is manifest that he who spurns the religion that was revealed at that theophany, is not an offspring of the folk who witnessed it. For our sages of blessed memory have insisted that they who entertain scruples concerning the divine message are not scions of the race that were present on Mount Sinai.
Nedarim 20a. May God guard us and you from doubt, and banish from our midst confusion, suspicion, which lead to it.
Now, my co-religionists in the Diaspora, it behooves you to hearten one another, the elders to guide the youth, and the leaders to direct the masses. Give your assent to the Truth that is immutable and unchangeable, and to the following postulates of a religion that shall never fail. God is one in a unique sense of the term, and Moses is His prophet and spokesman, and the greatest and most perfect of the seers.
To him was vouchsafed by God what has never been vouchsafed to any prophet before him, nor will it be in the future. The entire Torah was divinely revealed to Moses of whom it was said, "with him do I speak mouth to mouth. It will neither be abrogated nor superseded, neither supplemented nor abridged. Never shall it be supplanted by another divine revelation containing positive and negative duties. Keep well in mind the Revelation on Sinai in accordance with the divine precept to perpetuate the memory of this occasion and not to allow it to fall into oblivion.
Furthermore we were enjoined to impress this event upon the minds of our children, as it is written, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes saw, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but make them known unto thy children and thy children's children. It is imperative, my fellow Jews, that you make this great spectacle of the Revelation appeal to the imagination of your children.
Proclaim at public gatherings its momentousness. For this event is the pivot of our religion, and the proof which demonstrates its veracity. Evaluate this phenomenon at its true importance for Scripture has pointed out its significance in the verse, "For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
Remember, my co-religionists, that this great, incomparable and unique historical event, is attested by the best of evidence. For never before or since, has a whole nation witnessed a revelation from God or beheld His splendor. The purpose of all this was to confirm us in the faith so that nothing can change it, and to reach a degree of certainty which will sustain us in these trying times of fierce persecution and absolute tyranny, as it is written, "for God is come to test you. Scripture means that God revealed Himself to you thus in order to give you strength to withstand all future trials.
Now do not slip nor err, be steadfast in your religion and persevere in your faith and its duties. Solomon, of blessed memory, has compared our people to a beautiful woman with a perfect figure, marred by no defect, in the verse, "Thou art all fair, my love; and there is no spot in thee. On the other hand, he depicted the adherents of other religions and faiths, who strive to entice and win us over to their convictions, as courtesans who lure virtuous women for lewd purposes.
Similarly they seek devices to trap us into embracing their religions, and subscribing to their doctrines. To these who endeavor to decoy her into avowing the superiority of their creed, our nation deftly replies, "Why do you take hold of me, can you confer upon me something like the felicity of the two companies?
What will you see in the Shulammite? As it were a dance of two companies. Now "Shulammite" signifies the perfect one; "A dance of the two companies" alludes to the joy of the theophany in Mt. Sinai in which both the camp of Israel and the camp of God showed as is intimated in the two following verses: "Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God," Exodus , and "The chariots of God are myriads, even thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in holiness. Note well the apt imagery and the deeper significance of the aforementioned verse.
The fourfold occurence of the word "return" is an allusion to the four empires, each of which will endeavor to coerce us to abandon our faith and embrace theirs. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that we are now living under the aegis of the Fourth Empire. A prediction to this effect is found in the Torah, that our enemies will force us to accept their faith, for we read, "And there shall ye serve god, the work of men's hands," Deuteronomy However, it will not be general throughout the world and God will never deprive us of His Law.
As he assured us saying: For it shall not be forgotten from the mouth of his seed. Indeed, Isaiah, the herald of the national redemption, has already stated that Israel's indestructibility is the result of a Divine pact betokened by the perpetuation of the Torah in our midst, and our devotion to its tenets and teachings, as he says, "And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
Our nation speaks with pride of the virulent oppression it has suffered, and the sore tribulations it has endured, to quote the words of the Psalmist, "Nay, but for Thy sake are we killed all the day. The rabbis, of blessed memory, in Midrash Hazita, remark that the verse "nay, but for Thy sake" allude to the generation that undergoes persecution. Midrash Song of Songs I:3, ed.
Vilna, f. Let those persons exult who suffered dire misfortunes, were deprived of their riches, forced into exile and lost their belongings. For the bearing of these hardships is a source of glory and a great achievement in the sight of God. Whoever is visited by these calamities is like a burnt offering upon the altar. We may apply in commendation the verse to them, "Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that he may also bestow upon you a blessing this day. It behooves the victim for the sake of his religion to escape and flee to the desert and wilderness, and not to consider separation from family or loss of wealth.
For they are a slight sacrifice and a paltry offering due to God, King of kings, possessor of all things, the Lord thy God, whose Name is glorious and awful. God may be trusted to compensate you well in this world and in the world to come. We have noted that godly and pious folk who are animated by a desire to get acquainted with the truth and those who are engaged in its pursuit, rush to the divine religion and, wend their way from the most distant parts, to the homes of scholars. They seek to gain increased insight into the law with the concomitant hope that God will amply reward them.
How much more is it one's duty to go into exile, if the question of observing the whole Torah is at stake. When a man finds it arduous to gain a livelihood in one country he emigrates to another. All the more is it incumbent upon a Jew who is restricted in the practice of his religion, to depart for another place.
If he finds it impossible to leave that locality for the time being, he must not become careless and indulge with abandon in the desecration of the Sabbath and the dietary laws on the assumption that he is exempt from all religious obligations. It is the eternally inescapable duty, willy-nilly, of every one belonging to the stock of Jacob to abide by the Law.
Nay, he exposes himself to punishment for the violation of each and every positive or negative precept. Let no man conclude that he may freely disregard the less important ceremonies without liability to penalty because he has committed under duress some major sins. For Jeroboam, son of Nebat, may his bones be ground to dust, was chastised not only for the sin of worshipping the calves and inciting Israel to do the same, but also for his failure to construct a booth on the Feast of Tabernacles.
This is one of the fundamental principles of our religion. Understand it aright, teach it, and apply the principle widely. In your letter you mention that the apostle has spurred on a number of people to believe that several verses in Scripture allude to the Madman, such as "bimeod meod" 5 Genesis , "he shined forth from Mount Paran" 6 Deuteronomy , "a prophet from the midst of thee" Deuteronomy , and the promise to Ishmael "I will make him a great nation" Genesis These arguments have been rehearsed so often that they have become nauseating.
It is not enough to declare that they are altogether feeble; nay, to cite as proofs these verses is ridiculous and absurd in the extreme. For these are not matters that can confuse the minds of anyone. Neither the untutored multitude nor the apostates themselves who delude others with them, believe in them or entertain any illusions about them.
Their purpose in citing these verses is to win favor in the eyes of the Gentiles by demonstrating that they believe the statement of the Koran that Mohammed was mentioned in the Torah. But the Muslims themselves put no faith in their own arguments, they neither accept nor cite them, because they are manifestly so fallacious. Inasmuch as the Muslims could not find a single proof in the entire Bible nor a reference or possible allusion to their prophet which they could utilize, they were compelled to accuse us saying, "You have altered the text of the Torah, and expunged every trace of the name of Mohammed therefrom.
Sojourn in a Dreadful Land (Yemen Chronicles)
First, Scripture was translated into Syriac, Greek, Persian and Latin hundreds of years before the appearance of Mohammed. Secondly, there is a uniform tradition as to the text of the Bible both in the East and the West, with the result that no differences in the text exist at all, not even in the vocalization, for they are all correct. Nor do any differences effecting the meaning exist. The motive for their accusation lies therefore, in the absence of any allusion to Mohammed in the Torah. The phrase "a great nation" cited above does not connote a people in possession of prophecy or a Law, but merely one large in numbers just as in reference to idolaters Scripture says "nations greater and mightier than yourselves.
Similarly, the phrase "bimeod meod" simply signifies "exceedingly. As it is, since Scripture says "I shall increase him bimeod meod," it can only denote an extravagant increment in numbers. There is no question that the Divine assurance to Abraham to bless his descendants, to reveal the Torah to them, and to make them the Chosen People, refers only to the offspring of Isaac.
For Ishmael is mentioned as an adjunct and appendage in the blessing of Isaac, which reads "and also of the son of the bond-woman will I make a nation. This verse suggests that Isaac holds a primary position and Ishmael a subordinate place. This point is made even more explicit in the blessing which ignores Ishmael entirely. The meaning of God's promise to Abraham is that the issue of Ishmael will be vast in numbers but neither pre-eminent nor the object of divine favor, nor distinguished for the attainment of excellence. Not because of them will Abraham be famed or celebrated, but by the noted and illustrious scions of Isaac.
The phrase "shall be called" simply means, shall be renowned, as it does in the verse, "Let thy name be called in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. Other verses also indicate that when God. Similarly, Isaac by bestowing the blessing of Abraham upon Jacob exclusively, debarred Esau from it, as we read in his benediction "And may He give you the blessing of Abraham" Genesis To sum up, the Divine covenant made with Abraham to grant the sublime Law to his descendants referred exclusively to those who belonged to the stock of both Isaac and Jacob.
Hence the prophet expresses his gratitude to God for "the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac, which He established unto Jacob for a statute, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant. It is also to be noted that the name of the Arabian prophet which the Mahommedans believe to be mentioned in the Torah, by way of allusion, which the Jewish apostates find in the phrase "bimeod meod," is A. So it is explicitly stated in the Koran: "They find him mentioned in the Torah and the Gospels Sura ; his name is Ahmad. The argument from the phrase "He shined forth from Mount Paran" Deuteronomy is easily refutable.
Shined is past tense. Had Scripture employed the future tense "he will shine forth from Mount Paran" then the imposters might have had a semblance of truth on their side. However the use of the past tense "he shined forth" demonstrates that this phrase describes an event that has taken place, namely the theophany on Sinai. When the Deity was about to reveal Himself on Sinai, the heavenly light did not descend suddenly like a thunder-bolt, but came down gently, manifesting itself gradually first from the top of one mountain, then from another, until He reached His abode on Sinai.
This notion is implied in the verse "The Lord revealed himself at Sinai, after His light had radiated to them from Seir and glimmered from Mount Paran. Mark well, that the phrase "unto them" refers to Israel. Note also how Scripture indicates the various gradations in the intensity of the Divine Splendor. It speaks of the light that glimmered from Mount Paran which is further removed from Sinai, but of the light that radiated from Mount Seir, which is nearer to it, and finally of the revelation of the full splendor of God on Sinai which was the goal of the theophany as is related in the verse "And the glory of God abode on Mount Sinai" Exodus , "and the Lord came from Sinai".
Deuteronomy Similarly, the idea that the light descended gradually from mountain to mountain is conveyed in Deborah's description of the grandeur of Israel at the Revelation on Sinai when she exclaimed "Lord when Thou didst go forth out of Seir, when Thou didst march out of the field of Edom" Judges Our sages of blessed memory, tell us that God, may He be praised and exalted, charged a prophet before the time of Moses to go to the Romans and another to go to the Arabs with the purpose of presenting them the Torah, but each of them in turn spurned it.
When Moses was later sent to us we signified our acceptance in the words "All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and obey" Exodus The aforementioned event happened before the Sinaitic Revelation, consequently Scripture speaks in the past tense: "He came, radiated forth, and shone," which proves that no prophecy is intended in these words. You write in your letter, that some people were duped by the argument that Mohammed is alluded to in the verse "A prophet will the Lord thy God raise up unto thee, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren" Deuteronomy , while others remained unconvinced because of the phrase "from the midst of thee.
Remember that it is not right to take a passage out of its context and to draw inferences from it. It is imperative to take into consideration the preceding and following statements in order to fathom the writer's meaning and purpose before making any deductions. Were it otherwise, then it would be possible to assert that Scripture has prohibited obedience to any prophet, and interdicted belief in miracles, by quoting the verse, "Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet," Deuteronomy It could likewise be affirmed that a positive command exists requiring.
Other illustrations could be multiplied ad libidinem. To sum up, it is wrong to interpret any given verse apart from its context. In order to comprehend unequivocally the verse under discussion namely, "A prophet will the Lord thy God raise up unto thee, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren," it is necessary to ascertain its context. The beginning of the paragraph whence the verse is taken, contains prohibitions of the acts of soothsaying, augury, divination, astrology, sorcery, incantation and the like.
The Gentiles believe that through these practices they can predict the future course of events and take the necessary precautions to forestall them. The interdiction of these occult proceedings were accompanied with the explanation that the Gentiles believe they can depend upon them to determine future happeneings. But you may not do so. You will learn about the time to come from a prophet who will rise up among you, whose predictions will come true without fail. You will thus arrive at a foreknowledge of circumstances without being obliged to resort to augury, divination, astrology and the like, for he will spare you that.
Matters will be facilitated for you by the fact that this prophet will live within your borders. You will not be compelled to go in search after him from country to country, nor to travel to distant parts, as is implied in the phrase, "from the midst of thee. Moreover, another notion is conveyed in the words "from the midst of thee from thy brethren like unto me," namely, that he will be one of you, that is, a Jew. The obvious deduction is that you shall be distinguished above all others for the sole possession of prophecy.
The words "like unto me" were specifically added to indicate that only the descendants of Jacob are meant. For the phrase "of thy brethren" by itself might have been misunderstood and taken to refer also to Esau and Ishmael, since we do find Israel addressing Esau as brother, for example, in the verse, "Thus saith thy brother Israel" Numbers On the other hand, the words "like unto me," do not denote a prophet as great as Moses, for this interpretation is precluded by the statement "And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses.
The general drift of the chapter points to the correctness of our interpretation and will be confirmed by the succession of the verses, to wit "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire etc. It is obviously clear that the prophet alluded to here will not be a person who will produce a new law, or found a new religion. He will merely enable us to dispense with diviners and astrologers, and will be available for consultation concerning anything that may befall us, just as the Gentiles confer with soothsayers and prognosticators.
Thus we find Saul advising with Samuel concerning his lost asses, as we read, "Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said: 'Come and let us go to the seer'; for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer. Our disbelief in the prophecy of Omar and Zeid 8 is not due to the fact that they are non-Jews, as the unlettered folk imagine, and in consequence of which they are compelled to justify their standpoint by the Biblical statement "from thy midst, out of thy brethren.
On the other hand, although Hananiah, the son of Azur was a Jew, he was deemed an accursed and false prophet. Whether one should yield credence to a prophet or not depends upon the nature of his doctrines, and not upon his race, as we shall explain presently. Our ancestors have witnessed Moses, our Teacher, foremost among the prophets, holding a colloquy with the Divinity, reposed implicit faith in him when they said to him, "Go thou near and hear," Deuteronomy Now he assured us that no other law remained in heaven that would subsequently be revealed, nor would there even be another Divine dispensation, as the verse, "It is not in heaven," Deuteronomy implies.
Scripture prohibits us from making any amendments to the Law or eliminating anything, for we read "Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it" Deuteronomy We pledged and obligated ourselves to God to abide by His Law, we, our children, and our children's children, until the end of time as Scripture says "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.
Any prophet, therefore, no matter what his pedigree is, be he priest, Levite, or Amalekite, is perfidious even if he asserts that only one of the precepts of the Torah is void, in. We would take no notice of the miracles that he might perform, just as we would disregard the wonder-working of one who seeks to lure people to idolatry, as we are enjoined in the verse "And the sign or wonder came to pass Since Moses, of blessed memory, has prohibited image worship for all the time, we know that the miracles of a would-be-seducer to idolatry are wrought by trickery and sorcery, Similarly, since Moses has taught us that the Law is eternal, we stamp definitely as a prevaricator any one who argues that it was destined to be in force for a fixed duration of time, because he contravenes Moses.
Consequently we pay no attention to his assertions or supernatural performances. Inasmuch as we do not believe in Moses because of his miracles, we are under no obligations to institute comparison between his miracles and those of others. Our everlastingly firm trust and steadfast faith in Moses is due to the fact that our forebears as well as he, had heard the Divine discourse on Sinai, as it is intimated in the Scripture, "and they will also believe thee forever" Exodus This event is analogous to the situation of two witnesses who observed a certain act simultaneously.
Each of them saw what his fellow saw and each of them is sure of the truth of the statement of his fellow, and does not require proof or demonstration, whereas other people, to whom they would report their testimony, would not be convinced without confirmation or certification. Similarly, we of the Jewish faith, are convinced of the truth of the prophecy of Moses, inasmuch as our ancestors in common with him witnessed the Divine revelation on Sinai, and not merely because of his miracles. We do not give credence to the tenets of a miracle worker, in the same way we trust in the truth of Moses our Teacher, nor does any analogy exist between them.
This distinction is a fundamental principle of our religion, but seems to have fallen into oblivion, and has been disregarded by our co-religionists. This thought was present in the mind of Solomon when he addressed the Gentiles in behalf of Israel, "What will you see in the Shulamite? The verse means to say, "If you can produce anything like the revelation on Sinai then we shall concede some misgivings concerning Moses. If a Jewish or Gentile prophet urges and encourages people to follow the religion of Moses without adding thereto or diminishing therefrom, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the others, we demand a miracle from him.
If he can perform it we recognize him and bestow upon him the honor due to a prophet, but if he fails to do so, he is put to death. We require only a miracle as his credentials, although it may be wrought by stratagem or magic, just as we accept the evidence of witnesses although there is a possibility of perjury. For we are divinely commanded through Moses to render judgment in a suit at law in accordance with the testimony of two witnesses, the possibility of false swearing notwithstanding.
Similarly we are enjoined to yield obedience to one who asserts that he is a prophet provided he can substantiate his claims by miracle or proofs, although there is a possibility that he is an impostor. However, if the would-be-prophet teaches tenets that negate the doctrines of Moses, then we must repudiate him. This point was made abundantly clear in the introduction to our large work on the commentary of the Mishnah, where you will find some useful information concerning principles which form the foundation of our religion, and the pillars of our faith.
It is incumbent upon you to know that the rule that nothing may ever be added to or diminished from the Laws of Moses, applies equally to the oral law, that is the traditional interpretation transmitted through the sages of blessed memory. Be cautious and on your guard lest any of the heretics, may they speedily perish! For although this country is, as you know, a place of scholars, students and schools, they indulge in bombastic talk and we warn our people against their occasional errors, heresies and mistakes.
As for you, in this distant country, although you are scholars, learned in the law, and pious, you are few in number, may God increase your number and hasten the time of gathering you all together. If any of the heretics rises up to corrupt the people, they will undermine the faith of the young folks and they will not find a savior.
Beware of them and know that it is permitted to slay them in our opinion for they repudiate the statement in the prophecy of Moses who commanded us. They assert in wicked defiance that they believe most firmly in the prophecy of Moses, as the Arabs and Byzantines say, yet they destroy and nullify his law and kill the adherents thereof.
Whoever joins them is just like his seducer. We deemed it imperative to call your attention to these facts, and to raise the young generation on these tenets, because they are a pillar of faith! In your letter you have adverted to the computations of the date of the Redemption and R. Saadia's opinion on the subject. First of all, it devolves upon you to know that no human being will ever be able to determine it precisely as Daniel has already intimated, "For the words are shut up and sealed.
Indeed many hypotheses were advanced by scholars, who fancied that they have discovered the date, as was anticipated in Scripture, "Many will run to and fro, and opinions shall be increased. That is, there shall be numerous views concerning it. Furthermore we have a Divine communication through the medium of the prophets that many persons will calculate the time of the advent of the Messiah but will fail to ascertain its true date. We are cautioned against giving way to doubt and distrust because of these miscalculations. The longer the delay, the more fervently shall you hope, as it is written, "And it declareth of the end and doth not lie, though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not delay.
Remember that even the date of the termination of the Egyptian Exile was not precisely known and gave rise to differences of opinion, although its duration was fixed in Scripture, where we read, "and they shall serve them and afflict them four hundred years" Genesis Some reckoned the period of four hundred years from the time of Jacob's arrival in Egypt, others dated it from the beginning of Israel's bondage, which happened seventy years later, while still others computed it from the time of the Covenant of the Pieces when this matter was Divinely predicted to Abraham.
At the expiration of four hundred years after this event, and thirty years before the appearance of Moses, a band of Israelites left Egypt because they believed that exile had ended for them. They were subdued and slain by the Egyptians. The lot of the Israelites who remained was consequently aggravated as we learn from our sages, the teachers of our national traditions. David already alluded to the vanquished Israelites who miscalculated the date of the redemption in the verse, "The children of Ephraim were as archers handling the bow that turned back in the day of battle" Psalms In truth, the period of four hundred years commences with the birth of Isaac the seed of Abraham, par excellence, as may be gathered from the verse, "For in Isaac shall seed be called to thee" Genesis , and the verse, "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, they shall serve them, and afflict them four hundred years" Genesis In exile, they would rule, enslave and maltreat them, this is the implication of this text.
The four hundred years mentioned in this verse refer to the duration of the exile, and not [solely] to the Egyptian bondage. This fact was misunderstood until the great prophet Moses came, when it was realized that the four hundred years mentioned in this verse refer to the duration of the exile, and not [solely] to the Egyptian bondage. This fact was misunderstood until the great prophet Moses came, when it was realized that the four hundred years dates back precisely to the birth of Isaac.
Now, if so much uncertainty prevailed in regard to the date of the emancipation from Egyptian bondage, the term of which was fixed, how much more would it be the case in respect to the date of the final redemption, the prolonged and protracted duration of which appalled and dismayed our inspired seers, so that one of them was moved to exclaim, "Wilt Thou be angry with us forever?
Wilt Thou draw out Thine anger to all generations? Isaiah, too, alluding to the long drawn out exile, declared: "And they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the dungeon, and shall be shut up in prison, and after many days shall they be released" Inasmuch as Daniel has proclaimed the matter a deep secret, our sages have interdicted the calculation of the time of the future redemption, or the reckoning of the period of the advent of the Messiah, because the masses might be mystified and bewildered should the Messiah fail to appear as forecast.
The rabbis invoked God to frustrate and destroy those who seek to determine precisely the advent of the Messiah, because the masses might be mystified and bewildered should the Messiah fail to appear as forecast. The rabbis invoked God to frustrate and destroy those who seek to determine precisely the advent of the Messianic era, because they are a stumbling block to the people, and that is why they uttered the imprecation "May the calculators of the final redemption come to grief" Sanhedrin 97b.
As for R.
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Saadia's Messianic calculations, there are extenuating circumstances for them though he knew they were disallowed. For the Jews of his time were perplexed and misguided. The Divine religion might well nigh have disappeared had he not encouraged the pusillanimous, and diffused, disseminated and propagated by word of mouth and pen a knowledge of its underlying principles. He believed, in all earnestness, that by means of the Messianic calculations, he would inspire the masses with hope for the truth.
Verily all. Consequently, in view of the probity of his motives, which we have disclosed, one must not decry im for his Messianic computations. I note that you are inclined to believe in astrology 10 and in the influence of the past and future conjunctions of the planets upon human affairs. You should dismiss such notions from your thoughts. Cleanse your mind as one cleanses dirty clothes.
Its postulates can be refuted by real proofs on national grounds. But this is not the place to enter into a discussion of them. Mark well, however, what Scripture has to say about the astrologers. At the time when Moses rose to leadership the astrologers had unanimously predicted that our nation would never be freed from bondage, nor gain their independence, but fortune smiled upon Israel, for the most exquisite of human beings appeared and redeemed them at the very time which was supposedly most inauspicious for them.
Furthermore, Egypt was smitten with the plagues at the very time for which the astrologers foretold an epoch of wholesome climate, abundance, and prosperity for its inhabitants. To the failure of their vaticination, Isaiah alludes when he says "Where are they then thy wise men?
Similarly the pundits, astrologers, and prognosticators were all of one mind that the administration of Nebuchadnezzar, the wicked, marked the beginning of an era of enduring prosperity. Forsooth, his dynasty was extinguished and destroyed, as was divinely forecast by Isaiah. He derided them for pretending to fore-knowledge, and held up to scorn the state which fancied itself in possession of sapient folk versed in futurity, as we read "Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up and save thee" They are likewise wrong in their predictions concerning the era of the Messiah, may he speedily come.
For while the Gentiles believe that our nation will never constitute an independent state, nor will they even rise above their present condition, and all the astrologers, diviners, and augurs concur in this opinion, God will prove false their views and beliefs, and will order the advent of the Messiah. Again it is Isaiah who makes reference to this event in the verse: "That frustrate the tokens of the impostors, and maketh the diviners mad, that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish, that confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers, that saith of Jerusalem, "She shall be inhabited, and of the cities of Judah, They shall be built, and I will raise up the waste places thereof.
This is the correct view that every Israelite should hold, without paying any attention to the conjunctions of the stars, of greater or smaller magnitude. I have observed your statement, that science is little cultivated, and that learning does not flourish, in your country, which you attribute to the influence of the conjunctions in the earthly trigon. Indeed, a Divine premonition of such a state of affairs is contained in a verse in Isaiah which reads, "Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work, and a wonder, and the wisdom of the wise men shall perish, and the prudence of the prudent men shall be hid.
This condition is not due to the earthly or fiery trigon, as is proven by the fact that Solomon, King of Israel, lived during the earthly trigon, and yet Scripture testifies that "he was wiser than all men. So did Abraham of blessed memory, who was designated the Pillar of the World, discover the First Cause of the entire universe, and demonstrated the central importance of the principle of the Unity of God for all mankind. He, Isaac and Jacob, all three of them, carry the throne of glory in their hearts, to make use of a rabbinical metaphor "The patriarchs are the chariots," Genesis Rabbah , which in turn was suggested by the verse, "And God rose up over him.
The meaning is that they have attained a true conception of the Deity. Now the three patriarchs lived during the earthly trigon. This matter will become clear if the following facts are borne in mind. There is first, the smaller conjunction, that is, the meeting of Saturn with Jupiter, which occurs once in approximately twenty solar years. These conjunctions continue to take place twelve times within the same trigon, covering a period of two hundred and forty years.
Then conjunctions take place in the second trigon, which occur every two hundred and forty solar years. The shift to the next trigon is known as the medium conjunction. According to this calculation an interval of nine hundred and sixty years will elapse between the first and second meeting of two planets in the same point of the Zodiac. This is the time that must elapse between the first and second meeting of Saturn and Jupiter in the same degree of Aries. If you will calculate back, you will understand my statement above that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as David lived during the earthly trigon.
My purpose in going into details was to dispel any suspicion of yours that the trigon exercises any influence upon human affairs. Furthermore you write that some people have calculated the forthcoming conjunction and have determined that all the seven planets will meet in one of the constellations of the Zodiac. This forecast is untrue, for no meeting of the seven planets will occur in the next conjunction, nor in the following ones. For such an event will not happen even in ten thousand years, as is well known to those who are familiar with the astronomical law of equation.
Verily this is the calculation of an ignorant person, as is evinced by other remarks of his, quoted by you, to the effect that there will be a deluge of air and of dust. It is essential for you to know that these and similar assertions are fabricated and mendacious. Do not consider a statement true because you find it in a book, for the prevaricator is as little restrained with his pen as with his tongue.
For the untutored and uninstructed are convinced of the veracity of a statement by the mere fact that it is written; nevertheless its accuracy must be demonstrated in another manner. Remember that a blind person submits to an individual having power of sight for intelligent direction knowing that he lacks the vision to guide him safely; and an ailing person, unskilled in the art of medicine, and uninformed as to matters detrimental to or beneficial for his health, defers to a physician for guidance and obeys him implicitly.
Just so is it indispensable for the laity to yield unswervingly to the prophets, who were men of true insight, and to confide in them in respect to matters affecting the truth or the error of a given teaching. Next in importance are the sages who have studied day and night the dogmas and doctrines of our faith and have learned to distinguish between the genuine and the spurious. After this exposition you may trust me that the statements you have previously quoted are inaccurate and this applies equally to similar views which you heard expressed in conversation or met with in books.
For the author of such sayings is either ignorant, a mountebank, or seeks to destroy the law and to demolish its bulwarks. Do you perceive the brazenness of these people who assert that there will be a deluge of air, and dust, and fire, in order to deceive and delude others to believe that the Deluge in the time of Noah was merely due to a concentration of water, and was not a Divine punishment for the immorality of the time, as is explicitly stated in Scripture that guides us against error and fallacy. Similarly Sodom, and the other cities were not destroyed because of the unbelief and wickedness of their inhabitants in direct contradiction to the Bible which says, "I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come to me.
Thus whatever happens in this world through Divine intervention, they say is the inevitable consequence of the planetary conjunctions. They have affirmed the truth of their propositions in order to undermine the principles of our religion, and to give free reign to their animal instincts and passions as do the beasts and the ostriches. We were divinely admonished against those views in Scripture to the following effect: "If you rebel against Me so that I bring disaster upon you as a punishment for your misdeeds, but you ascribe your reverses to chance rather than to your guilt, then shall I increase your afflictions and make them more grievous.
Now "keri" signifies chance, hazard. Scriptures means to say if you regard My chastisement as a fortuitous event, then shall I bring the most severe calamities upon you "sevenfold for your sins. These foregoing remarks have made it abundantly clear that the advent of the Messiah is in no way subject to the influence of the stars.
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Indeed one of our keen minds in the province of Andalusia, calculated by means of astrology the date of the final redemption and predicted the coming of the Messiah in a particular year. Every one of our distinguished scholars made little of his declaration, discounted what he did and censured him sharply for it. But grim fate dealt with him more sternly than we could have. For at the very time when the Messiah was supposed to arrive, a rebel leader appeared in Maghreb who issued an order of conversion as you are well aware. The event proved to be a great debacle for the partisans of this prognosticator.
Indeed the hardships experienced by our people in the diaspora are responsible for these extravagances, for a drowning man catches at a straw. Therefore, my co-religionists, "be strong and let your heart take courage, all you that wait for the Lord.
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Strengthen one another, affirm your faith in the Expected One, may he speedily appear in your midst. Isaiah, the herald of Israel's redemption predicted that the prolongation of the adversities of exile will impel many of our people to believe that God has relinquished and abandoned us far be it from Him , as we read "But Zion said: 'the Lord hath forsaken me, And the Lord hath forgotten me'.
But he was given the Divine assurance that such is not the case, to quote the following, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, these may forget, yet I will not forget thee. He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he swore unto them. It is, my co-religionists, one of the fundamental articles of the faith of Israel, that the future redeemer of our people will spring only from the stock of Solomon son of David.
And shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Seth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also, even his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel doeth valiantly. He will be sent by God at a time of great catastrophe and dire misfortune for Israel as was predicted in the verse "There will be none remaining, shut up or left at large" Deuteronomy And when he appears, he will fulfill the promises made in his behalf.
A later prophet too was alluding to the Messianic tribulations when he declared "But who can endure the day of his coming" Malachi This is the proper understanding of this article of faith. From the prophecies of Daniel and Isaiah and the statement of our sages it is clear that the advent of the Messiah will take place some time subsequent to the universal expansion of the Roman empire and Arabic rule, which is an actuality today.
This fact is true beyond question or doubt. Daniel in the latter part of his vision alludes to the Kingdom of the Arabs, to the rise of Mohammed and then to the arrival of the Messiah. Similarly Isaiah intimated that the coming of the Messiah will occur after the rise of the Madman, in the verse "A man riding on an ass, a man riding on a camel, and two men riding on horses. Now "the man riding on an ass" is a symbolical reference to the Messiah as is evident from another verse which describes him as "lowly and riding on an ass" Zechariah He will follow the "man riding on the camel" that is, the Arabic kingdom.
The statement "two men riding on horses" refers to both empires, the Roman and the Arabian. A similar interpretation of Daniel's vision concerning the image and the beasts is correct beyond doubt. They are conclusions derived from the plain meaning of the text. The precise date of the messianic advent cannot be known. But I am in possession of an extraordinary tradition which I received from my father, who in turn received it from his father, going back to our early ancestors who were exiled from Jerusalem, and who were mentioned by the prophet in the verse, "And the exiles of Jerusalem that are in Spain" Obadiah According to this tradition there is a covert indication in the prediction of Balaam to the future restoration of prophecy in Israel.
Incidentally it may be stated that there are other verses in the Torah which contain cryptic allusions in addition to their simple meaning. For example, the word "r'du" in the remark of Jacob to his sons, "r'du Shamah," "Get you down thither" Genesis , has the numerical value of , and contains a hint to the length of Israel's stay in. Likewise, the statement of Moses our Teacher, "When thou shalt beget children, and children's children and ye shall have been long in the land," Deuteronomy , embodies a reference to the duration of Israel's stay in Palestine, from the date of their arrival to the exile in the time of Jehoiakim, which was eight hundred and forty years, corresponding to the numerical value of the word We NoSHaNTeM.
Similarly, many other verses could be cited. To come back to Balaam's prophecy, the verse "After the lapse of time, one will tell Jacob and Israel what God hath wrought," Numbers , contains a veiled allusion to the date of the restoration of prophecy to Israel. The statement means that after the lapse of an interval equal to the time that passed from the Six Days of Creation to Balaam's day, seers will again tell Israel what God hath wrought. Now Balaam uttered his prediction in the thirty-eighth year after the Exodus which corresponds to the year after the Creation of the World, for the Exodus took place in the beginning of the year According to the interpretation of this chronology, prophecy would be restored to Israel in the year 15 after the creation of the world.
It is doubtless true that the reappearance of prophecy in Israel is one of the signs betokening the approach of the Messianic era as is intimated in Scripture "And your sons and your daughters shall prophecy And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth Before the great and terrible day of the Lord come" Joel , 3, 4. This is the most genuine tradition concerning the Messianic advent.
We were admonished against, and strictly prohibited form blazening it abroad, lest some folk deem it unduly postponed. We have already apprised you concerning it, but God knows best what is true. Your statement that Jeremiah alludes to the advent of the Messiah in the verse "It is a time of trouble unto Jacob" is incorrect, for it needs must refer to the war of God and Magog which will take place some time after the arrival of the Messiah.
Neither the fall of Giron Gate 16 nor similar omens portent the oncoming of the Messiah. Some of the supposed prophetic signs are mistakenly ascribed to the sages, while others owe their origin to figures of speech and enigmatic sayings of the rabbis, which should not be taken literally. You mention that a certain man in one of the cities of Yemen pretends that he is the Messiah.
Neither am I surprised at his votaries, for they were persuaded by him because of their sorry plight, their ignorance of the importance and high rank of the Messiah, and their mistaken comparison of the Messiah with the son of the Mahdi [the belief in] whose rise they are witnessing. But I am astonished that you, a scholar who has studied carefully the doctrines of the rabbis, are inclined to repose faith in him. Do you not know, my brother, that the Messiah is a very eminent prophet, more illustrious than all the prophets after Moses?
Do you not know that a false pretender to prophecy is liable to capital punishment, for having arrogated to himself unwarranted distinction, just as the person who prophesies in the name of idols is put to death, as we read in Scripture "But the prophet that shall speak a word presumptuously in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. What better evidence is there of his mendacity, than his very pretensions to be the Messiah. How odd is your remark about this man, that he is renowned for his meekness and a little wisdom, as if these were indeed the attributes of the Messiah.
Do these characteristics make him a Messiah? You were beguiled by him because you have not considered the pre-eminence of the Messiah, the manner and place of his appearance, and the marks whereby he is to be identified. The Messiah, indeed, ranks after Moses in eminence and distinction, and God has bestowed some gifts upon him which he did not bestow upon Moses, as may be gathered from the following verses: "His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
Six appellations were divinely conferred upon him as the following passage indicates: "For a child is born unto us, and a son is given unto us, and the government is upon his shoulder, and he is called Pele, Yoetz, el, Gibbor, Abiad, Sar-Shalom. And another verse alluding to the. Messiah culminates in the following manner "Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.
All these statements demonstrate the pre-eminence of the Messiah. Transcendent wisdom is a sine qua non for inspiration. It is an article of our faith that the gift of prophecy is vouchsafed only to the wise, the strong, and the rich. Strong is defined as the ability to control one's passions.
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