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

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Text Commentary

1And in the third week of this jubilee the unclean demons began to lead the children of Noah's sons astray and to mislead them and destroy them. 2And Noah's sons came to their father Noah and told him about the demons that were misleading and blinding and killing his grandsons. 3And he prayed before the Lord his God, and said,

God of the spirits of all mankind, who hast shown mercy to me, And hast saved me and my sons from the waters of the flood, And didst not leave me to perish 1 Alternative reading ‘And has not forgotten me so that I perished’. as thou didst those doomed to perdition; 2 Lit. ‘the sons of perdition’. For thy grace has been great towards me, And great has been thy mercy to my soul. Let thy grace be exalted upon my sons, And let not wicked spirits rule over them And destroy them from the earth.

4But do thou bless me and my sons, that we may be fruitful and increase and fill the earth. 5And thou knowest what thy Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, did in my day; and as for these spirits which are now alive, imprison them and hold them securely in the place of punishment, and let them not bring destruction on thy servant's sons, my God, for these are malevolent and created in order to destroy. 6And let them have no dominion over the spirits of the living, for thou alone knowest how to deal with them; 3 Lit. ‘their judgement (nature)’. and let them have no power over the sons of the righteous, either now or ever.

7,8And the Lord our God ordered us to bind them all. And Mastema, the chief of the spirits, came and said, O Lord, creator, let some of them remain before me, and let them listen to what I say and do everything I tell them; for if some are not left me, I shall not be able to exercise over men the authority I want; for these are destined for corruption and to be led astray 4 Lit. ‘and leading astray’. before my judgement, for great is the wickedness 5 Alternative reading ‘judgement’. of men. 9And he said, let a tenth of them remain before him, and let nine tenths go down into the place of punishment. 10And he commanded one of us to teach Noah all the remedies against them (for he knew they would not live upright lives, nor even try to do what is right). 11And we did as he told us: all the malevolent and evil ones we imprisoned in the place of punishment, and a tenth we left as agents of punishment under Satan 6 Lit. ‘that they might punish before Satan’. on the earth. 12And we explained to Noah all the remedies against their diseases, together with their seductions, 7 Alternative reading ‘evil effects’. and how to heal them with herbs. 8 Lit. ‘the trees of the earth’. 13And Noah wrote down everything in a book, as we instructed him about every kind of remedy: thus were the evil spirits kept from doing harm to Noah's sons. 14And he gave everything he had written to Shem, his eldest son; for he loved him most of all his sons.

15And Noah slept with his fathers and was buried on mount Lubar in the land of Ararat. 16He completed nine hundred and fifty years in all — nineteen jubilees, two weeks, and five years. 17And in his life on earth he surpassd all mortal men in achieving perfect righteousness, except Enoch; for Enoch had a special function to be a witness to the world's generations and report all the deeds of each generation till the day of judgement.

18And in the thirty-third jubilee, in the first year, in the second week, Peleg took a wife, whose name was Lomna, the daughter of Shinar; 9 Eth. ‘Sinaar’. and she bore him a son in the fourth year of this week, and he called him Reu, 10 Eth. ‘Ragau’. The name in the original was, of course, a pun on the Hebrew for ‘evil’. for he said, Behold the sons of men have become evil through their wicked purpose of building a city and a tower in the land of Shinar. 19(For they had left the land of Ararat and moved eastwards to Shinar; and in his days they built the city and the tower, saying, Come, let us go up into heaven by it.) 20And they began to build; and in the fourth week they baked bricks in the fire, and the bricks served them for stone; and the clay they bonded them with was asphalt, which comes out of the sea and out of the fountains of water in the land of Shinar. 21And they were forty-three years building it: they built it entirely of bricks (each brick was †thirteen cubits† wide, and the height of each a third of its width): its height altogether amounted to five thousand, four hundred, and thirty-three cubits, and two palms, and the extent of one wall was thirteen stades, and of the other thirty stades. 11 The details of the text of this passage are very problematical; and in the translation the final clause (about the walls) has been filled out from the description in Nicephorus's Catena (i. 175), which seems to be directly dependent on Jubilees. Several Christian writers give similar, though not identical, particulars about the construction and size of the building. 22And the Lord our God said to us, Behold, they are one people: they have begun to do this, and now they will not stop. Come, let us go down and confound their tongues, so that they cannot understand one another, and be dispersed into cities and nations, and thus have no common purpose 12 Lit. ‘and thus one purpose will no longer remain with them’. till the day of judgement. 23And the Lord went down, and we went down with him, to inspect the city and the tower that the sons of men had built. 24And he confounded all their tongues, 13 Lit. ‘all speech of their tongues’. and in consequence they no longer understood one another's speech and left off building the city and the tower. 25This is why the whole land of Shinar is called Babel, because the Lord confounded there all men's tongues; and from there they were dispersed to their various cities, each according to his language and his nation. 26And the Lord sent a violent wind against the tower and levelled it with the ground (its site is between Asshur and Babylon in the land of Shinar), and they called it, Collapse. 27 It was in the fourth week of the first year, at the beginning of it, in the thirty-fourth jubilee, that they were dispersed from the land of Shinar.

28And Ham and his sons went into the land set aside for him, which he had been allotted as his share in the land of the south. 14 Or ‘north’: see note on viii. 16. 29And Canaan saw the land of Lebanon as far as the river of Egypt, that it was very good, and did not go to the land that had fallen to him in the west by the sea, but settled in the land of Lebanon between the Jordan region and the sea. 15 Charles rendered ‘… Lebanon, eastward and westward from the border of Jordan and from the border of the sea’. 30And his father Ham, and Cush and Mizraim, his brothers, said to him, You have settled in a land that is not yours and that did not fall to us by lot. Do not do it. If you do, you and your sons will be reduced to ruin in the land and bring a curse upon yourselves because of your rebellious act; for as a rebel you have settled, and by rebellion will your children be reduced to ruin and you will be rooted up for ever. 31Do not encroach on Shem's patrimony, 16 Lit. ‘Dwell not in the dwelling of Shem’. for to Shem and his sons it fell by lot. 32Cursed you are, and cursed you will be more than all the sons of Noah, as a result of the curse by which we bound ourselves with an oath in the presence of the holy prince and in the presence of our father Noah. 33But he took no notice of them and settled in the land of Lebanon, from Hamath to the entrance of Egypt, he and his sons till this day. 34And this is why that land is called Canaan.

35And Japheth and his sons went towards the sea and settled in the land allotted to them; 17 Lit. ‘the land of their share’. and Madai looked at the land of the sea and was not pleased with it, and he begged a share from Elam and Asshur and Arpachshad, his wife's brother, and settled in the land of Media, near his wife's brother, till this day. 36And they called the place where he and his sons settled, Media, after the name of their father Madai.

Notes:

1 Alternative reading ‘And has not forgotten me so that I perished’.

2 Lit. ‘the sons of perdition’.

3 Lit. ‘their judgement (nature)’.

4 Lit. ‘and leading astray’.

5 Alternative reading ‘judgement’.

6 Lit. ‘that they might punish before Satan’.

7 Alternative reading ‘evil effects’.

8 Lit. ‘the trees of the earth’.

9 Eth. ‘Sinaar’.

10 Eth. ‘Ragau’. The name in the original was, of course, a pun on the Hebrew for ‘evil’.

11 The details of the text of this passage are very problematical; and in the translation the final clause (about the walls) has been filled out from the description in Nicephorus's Catena (i. 175), which seems to be directly dependent on Jubilees. Several Christian writers give similar, though not identical, particulars about the construction and size of the building.

12 Lit. ‘and thus one purpose will no longer remain with them’.

13 Lit. ‘all speech of their tongues’.

14 Or ‘north’: see note on viii. 16.

15 Charles rendered ‘… Lebanon, eastward and westward from the border of Jordan and from the border of the sea’.

16 Lit. ‘Dwell not in the dwelling of Shem’.

17 Lit. ‘the land of their share’.

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