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

Chapter XV

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Text Commentary

1And in the fifth year of the †fourth† 1 So most MSS: one has ‘seventh’. Probably ‘third’ should be read both here and at xvi. 15. week of this jubilee, in the third month, in the middle of the month, Abram celebrated the feast of the first-fruits of the grain 2 Or ‘wheat’. harvest. 2And he offered to the Lord on the altar new offerings, the first-fruits of the produce – a heifer and a he-goat and a sheep as a whole-offering to the Lord on the altar: their cereal-offerings and their drink-offerings he also offered on the altar with frankincense. 3And the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am God Almighty: prove yourself before me and be perfect. 4And I will make my covenant between myself and you, and I will multiply you greatly. 5And Abram fell on his 6face; and God talked with him and said, Behold, I have decreed a future for you, 3 Lit. ‘Behold my decree is with you’. and you shall be 4 Alternative reading ‘and I will make you’. the father of many nations. 7Your name therefore shall not be Abram, but from now on, till eternity, your name shall be Abraham; for the father of many nations have I appointed you. 8And I will make you very great, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall spring from you. 9And I will establish my covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, an eternal covenant, that I may be a God to you, and to your descendants after you, generation after generation. 10〈And I will give you and your descendants after you〉 5 Restored by Charles on the basis of Gen. xvii. 8 . the land where you have been an alien, the land of Canaan, as a possession for ever; and I will be their God.

11And the Lord said to Abraham, You for your part must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you: circumcise every male among you, and circumcise your foreskins; and it shall be a sign of my eternal covenant between myself and you. 12And you shall circumcise every male child on the eighth day, generation after generation, whether born in your house, or bought with money from a foreigner — one you have come by, who is not of your own stock. 6 Lit. ‘seed’. 13 Every male born in your house shall be circumcised, and those you have bought with money shall be circumcised; and the sign of my covenant shall be in your flesh as a rule 7 Alternative reading ‘shoot’ or ‘germ’. for all time. 14And every uncircumcised male, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin on the eighth day, shall be cut off from his father's kin; for he has broken my covenant.

15And God said to Abraham, As for your wife Sarai, she shall no more be called Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16And I will bless her and give you a son by her; and I will bless him, and he shall become a nation, and kings of nations spring from him. 17And Abraham threw himself down on his face and rejoiced and said to himself, Shall a son indeed be born to a man a hundred years old, and shall Sarah, who is ninety, bear a child? 18And Abraham said to God, If only Ishmael might live under thy special care! 8 Lit. ‘before thee’. 19And God said, He shall; 9 Lit. ‘Yes’. and Sarah also shall bear you a son, and you shall call him Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20And as for Ishmael, I have heard your prayer; and behold, I will bless him and make him great and multiply him greatly, and he shall be father of twelve princes, and I will make him a mighty nation. 21But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear you at this time next year. 22And he left off talking with him; and God went up from Abraham.

23And Abraham did as God had told him, and he took his son Ishmael, and all those born in his house, and those he had bought with money, every male in his house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins. 24And on the very same day Abraham himself was circumcised; and all the men of his house, and all those he had bought with money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.

25This law is for all generations for ever; and there can be no reduction in the number of the days, nor omission of even a single day out of the eight, 10 Lit. ‘and there is no circumcision (alternative reading ‘closure’) of the days, and no omission of one day out of the eight days’. for it is a rule for all time, ordained and written on the heavenly tablets. 26And every one that is born, the flesh of whose foreskin is not circumcised on 11 All Eth. MSS, supported by Lat., read ‘till’. the eighth day, does not belong among the sons of the covenant which the Lord made with Abraham, but is marked out for destruction: 12 Lit. ‘for he is of the sons of destruction’. there is no sign on him that he is the Lord's; and his destiny is to be destroyed and to perish and to be uprooted from the earth, because he has broken the covenant of the Lord our God. 27For all the angels of the presence and all the angels of holiness have been created as they are 13 Lit. ‘have been so created’. from the day of their creation; and, just as the Lord God hallowed the angels of the presence and the angels of holiness, so he has hallowed Israel, that they should be with him and with his holy angels. 28And you, for your part, command the sons of Israel to observe the sign of this covenant in every generation as a rule for all time, so that they are not uprooted from the land. 29The command is binding on all the sons of Israel: it is part of the covenant they must observe. 30For the Lord did not admit into his presence either Ishmael and his sons and brothers, or Esau, and he did not choose them, although they were children of Abraham, because he knew them; but he chose Israel as his people. 31And he hallowed it and gathered it from all mankind; for there are many nations and many peoples, and all are his, and he has set spirits in authority over all of them to lead them astray from him. 32But over Israel he appointed no angel or spirit, for he alone is their ruler; and he will preserve them and hold his angels and spirits and all his powers 14 Text ‘commands’. answerable for them, so that he may preserve them and bless them, and that they may be his and he theirs, now and for ever.

33But I warn you that the sons of Israel will not keep this rule, neither will they circumcise their sons in accordance with this law; for, though circumcised themselves, 15 Lit. ‘for in the flesh of their circumcision’. they will neglect the circumcision of their sons, and the miscreants, 16 Lit. ‘sons of Beliar’. all of them, will leave their sons uncircumcised, just as they were born. 34And great will be the Lord's wrath against the sons of Israel, because they have forsaken his covenant and turned aside from his word, and provoked him and shown their contempt for him by not observing the rule as regards this law; for they have treated their members like the Gentiles and will be removed and uprooted from the land. And although there is forgiveness and pardon for all sins, they will never be pardoned or forgiven for this transgression, not even in eternity. 17 Eth. obscure. The translation represents the most probable sense.

Notes:

1 So most MSS: one has ‘seventh’. Probably ‘third’ should be read both here and at xvi. 15.

2 Or ‘wheat’.

3 Lit. ‘Behold my decree is with you’.

4 Alternative reading ‘and I will make you’.

5 Restored by Charles on the basis of Gen. xvii. 8 .

6 Lit. ‘seed’.

7 Alternative reading ‘shoot’ or ‘germ’.

8 Lit. ‘before thee’.

9 Lit. ‘Yes’.

10 Lit. ‘and there is no circumcision (alternative reading ‘closure’) of the days, and no omission of one day out of the eight days’.

11 All Eth. MSS, supported by Lat., read ‘till’.

12 Lit. ‘for he is of the sons of destruction’.

13 Lit. ‘have been so created’.

14 Text ‘commands’.

15 Lit. ‘for in the flesh of their circumcision’.

16 Lit. ‘sons of Beliar’.

17 Eth. obscure. The translation represents the most probable sense.

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