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

Chapter XI

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Text Commentary

1And in the thirty-fifth jubilee, in the third week, in the first year of it, Reu took a wife, and her name was Ora, the daughter of Ur, the son of Chesed; and she bore him a son, and he called him Serug, in the seventh year of this week in this jubilee.

2And Noah's sons began to make war on each other, to take one another captive, and to kill each other, and to shed men's blood on the earth, and to eat blood, and to build strong cities and walls and towers; and certain individuals began to exalt themselves above the rest, 1 Lit. ‘the people’. and to set themselves up as kings, 2 Lit. ‘to found the beginnings of kingship’. and to go to war — people against people, and nation against nation, and city against city. And all of them began to do evil, to get arms, and to teach their sons to fight; and they began to capture cities, and to sell men and women as slaves. 3And Ur, the son of Chesed, built the city of Era 3 Alternative reading ‘Ara’: possibly we should read ‘Eraha’ (taking the final -ha as part of the name and not as an accusative ending). The more normal form ‘Ur’ occurs in verses 7 and 8 and subsequently. of the Chaldees, and called it after his own name and his father's name. 4And men made for themselves images of cast metal, and each man worshipped his own image that he had cast for himself; 4 Lit. ‘and they worshipped each the idol he had made for himself as an image of cast metal’. and they began to make carved images too, and unclean figures. And malevolent spirits egged them on and seduced them, so that they indulged in every kind of sin and uncleanness. 5And the prince Mastema exerted himself to do all this, and he sent out as agents the spirits that were under his control to do all kinds of wrong and sin, and all kinds of transgression, to corrupt and to destroy, and to shed blood on the earth. 6And so they called Serug's name Seruk, 5 From the Heb. root s-r-k, ‘twist, turn’ (cp. Jer. ii. 23 ). for everyone turned aside after all kinds of sin and transgression.

7And he grew up and lived in Ur of the Chaldees, near his wife's mother's father, and he worshipped idols; and he took a wife in the thirty-sixth jubilee, in the fifth week, in the first year of it, and her name was Milcah, the daughter of Heber, his father's brother's daughter. 8And she bore him Nahor, in the first year of this week; and he grew up and lived in Ur of the Chaldees, and his father instructed him in the learning of the Chaldees, how to divine and foretell the future from the signs of heaven.

9And in the thirty-seventh jubilee, in the sixth week, in the first year of it, he took a wife, and her name was Iscah, the daughter of Nestag of the Chaldees. 10And she bore him Terah in the seventh year of this week. 11And the prince Mastema sent ravens and other birds to eat up the seed that had been sown in the land, in order to destroy the land and rob men of the fruit of their labours: before they could plough the seed in, the ravens pecked it from the surface of the ground. 12And that is why he called him Terah, because the ravens and other birds had reduced them to destitution and had eaten up their seed. 6 No satisfactory explanation of this reason for the name has so far been given. 13And the years became sterile, owing to the birds, and they ate up all the fruit on the trees: it was only with great effort that they could save any at all of the earth's fruits in those 7 Lit. ‘their’. days.

14And in this thirty-ninth jubilee, in the second week, in the first year, Terah took a wife, the daughter of Abram, his father's sister's daughter. 15And in the seventh year of this week she bore him a son, and he called him Abram, after his mother's father (for he had died before his daughter had conceived a son). 16And the child began to understand the errors of the earth, how all went astray after carved images and uncleanness; and his father taught him writing. 17And when he was two weeks of years old, he separated himself from his father, so that he might not worship idols with him; and he began to pray to the creator of all things, that he might save him from the errors of mankind, and that it should not be his lot to go astray after the unclean and the degrading.

18And the seed time came for sowing on the land, and they all went out together to protect their seed from the ravens; and Abram went out with them 8 Lit. ‘those that went’. (and he was a lad of fourteen). 19And a cloud of ravens came to eat up the seed; and Abram ran to meet them before they settled on the ground, and he shouted to them before they settled on the ground to eat up the seed and said, Keep off: 9 Lit. ‘Do not come down’. go back to where you came from. 20And they turned and went away. And he did this to the cloud of ravens seventy times that day; and not a single raven settled on any of the fields where Abram was. 21And all who were with him in the fields saw him shout out and all the ravens turn back; and his fame spread through all the land of the Chaldees. 22And all those that wished to sow that year came to him, and he went with them until the time for sowing was over; and they sowed their land, and that year they brought home grain in plenty, 10 Lit. ‘sufficient grain’. and they ate their fill.

23And in the first year of the fifth week Abram gave instructions to the carpenters who made the agricultural implements, and they made a container above ground-level, facing the frame of the plough, to put the seed in, and the seed fell down from it onto the plougshare and was hidden in the earth; and so they were no longer frightened of the ravens. 24And they made containers like this above ground-level on all the frames of the ploughs; and they sowed all the land and tilled it, exactly as Abram told them, and they were no longer frightened of the birds.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘the people’.

2 Lit. ‘to found the beginnings of kingship’.

3 Alternative reading ‘Ara’: possibly we should read ‘Eraha’ (taking the final -ha as part of the name and not as an accusative ending). The more normal form ‘Ur’ occurs in verses 7 and 8 and subsequently.

4 Lit. ‘and they worshipped each the idol he had made for himself as an image of cast metal’.

5 From the Heb. root s-r-k, ‘twist, turn’ (cp. Jer. ii. 23 ).

6 No satisfactory explanation of this reason for the name has so far been given.

7 Lit. ‘their’.

8 Lit. ‘those that went’.

9 Lit. ‘Do not come down’.

10 Lit. ‘sufficient grain’.

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