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

Chapter XVI

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Text Commentary

1And on the new moon of the fourth month we appeared to Abraham at the oak of Mamre; and we talked with him and told him that a son would be given him by his wife Sarah. 2And Sarah laughed, for she heard that we had said this to Abraham; and we rebuked her, and she was frightened, and denied she had laughed at what we said. 3And we told her her son's name, Isaac – just as his name is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets. 4And we told her that when we returned to her at the time appointed, she would have conceived a son. 1 Or ‘And when we returned … she had …’

5And in this month the Lord executed his judgements on 2 Lit. ‘the judgements of’. Sodom and Gomorrah and Zeboim and all the Jordan region; and he burned them with fire and brimstone and destroyed them till this day (I have told you already everything they did, how they were very wicked and great sinners, and how they defiled themselves and committed fornication in their flesh and abandoned themselves to every kind of vice 3 Lit. ‘uncleanness(es)’. there is on earth. 6And God will execute a like judgement on places where men imitate the vices 3 Lit. ‘uncleanness(es)’. of the Sodomites, just as he judged Sodom. 7But Lot we saved; for God remembered Abraham, and he rescued him from the disaster. 8Nevertheless, he and his daughters committed sin on the earth, such as there had not been on the earth from the days of Adam till his time – that a man should lie with his daughter. 4 Alternative Eth. reading ‘daughters’, and also Lat. 9And behold, it was commanded and engraved on the heavenly tablets about all his descendants, that they should be removed and uprooted, and that judgement should be executed on them exactly as it was on Sodom, and that he should be left no descendants on earth on the final judgement-day.

10And in this month Abraham moved from Hebron and went and settled between Kadesh and Shur in the mountains 5 So Eth.: Lat. ‘boundaries’. of Gerar. 11And in the middle of the fifth month he moved from there and settled at the Well of the Oath.

12And in the middle of the sixth month the Lord showed Sarah favour and made good his promise to her, and she conceived and bore a son in the third month. 13And in the middle of the month, at the time the Lord had promised Abraham, on the festival of the first-fruits of the harvest, Isaac was born. 14And Abraham circumcised his son on the eighth day: he was the first to be circumcised in accordance with the rule of the covenant, which is ordained for ever.

15And in the sixth year of the fourth 6 Probably ‘third’ should be read. Cp. xv. 1. week we went to meet Abraham at the Well of the Oath, and we appeared to him [as we had told Sarah that we would return to her, and she would have conceived a son. 16And we returned in the seventh month and found Sarah with child before our eyes], and we blessed him 7 So Lat.: Eth. ‘her’. and told him 7 So Lat.: Eth. ‘her’. everything that had been decreed concerning him – that he should not die till he was the father of six sons more and that he should see them before he died, but that it was through Isaac that his true descent would be traced. 8 Lit. ‘in Isaac should name and seed be called for him’. 17And we told him that all the descendants of his other sons would be Gentiles, and be reckoned with the Gentiles, although one of Isaac's sons would become a 18holy seed, and not be reckoned with the Gentiles: he would become the Most High's portion, and all his descendants settled in that land which belongs to God, so as to be the Lord's special possession, 9 Eth. lit. ‘to be to the Lord a people of glory’ (the word translated ‘glory’ could also mean ‘adoption’): Lat. lit. ‘to be to the Lord a hallowed people’. The emendation assumes that an allusion in the original to Exod. xix. 5, Deut. vii. 6 , etc., has been either misunderstood or mistranslated in both Eth. and Lat. Cp. xix. 18. chosen out of all nations, and to be a kingdom of priests 10 So Lat.: Eth. ‘a kingdom and priests’. Cp. Exod. xix. 6 . and a holy nation. 19And we went our way and repeated to Sarah all we had told him; and they were both overjoyed.

20And he built an altar there to the Lord who had delivered him and was the cause of his joy in the land where he was an alien; and he celebrated a festival of joy in this month, lasting seven days, near the altar he had built at the Well of the Oath. 21And he built booths for himself and for his servants at this festival and he was the first man on earth to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. 22And during these seven days he brought to the altar each day a whole-offering to the Lord, two oxen, two rams, seven sheep, and one he-goat for a sin-offering (to make atonement by it for himself and his descendants). 23And as a thank-offering he brought seven rams, seven kids, seven sheep, and seven he-goats, and their fruit-offerings and their drink-offerings; and burnt all their fat on the altar – a choice offering to the Lord as a soothing odour. 24And every morning and evening he burnt fragrant substances – frankincense, and galbanum, and stacte, and nard, and myrrh, and spice, and costum: all these seven he offered, crushed, in exactly equal parts, mixed, and pure. 25And he celebrated this feast for seven days, rejoicing with all his heart and soul, he and all his household; and there was no alien with him, nor anyone uncircumcised. 26And he blessed his creator who had created him in his generation (for he had created him in accordance with his purpose), 11 Lit. ‘according to his good pleasure’. since he perceived and understood that from him would sprout the plant of righteousness for the generations to eternity, and that from him would come a holy seed to be like him who created all things.

27And he blessed the Lord and rejoiced; and he called this festival the Lord's festival, 12 So Eth.: Lat. ‘the festive day’ or (as in later Hebrew) simply ‘the festival’. a joy 13 So Eth.: Lat. ‘a day of joy’. acceptable to the Most High God. 28And we blessed him for ever, and all his descendants after him 14 So Eth.: Lat. ‘with him’. for all the generations of the earth, because he celebrated this festival at its appointed time, according to what is prescribed on the heavenly tablets. 29This is why it is prescribed on the heavenly tablets concerning Israel, that they shall celebrate the feast of Tabernacles for seven days with joy, in the seventh month, which is acceptable before the Lord – a precept for ever, for every generation, every year. 30And to this there is no time-limit; for it is ordained for ever concerning Israel, that they should celebrate it and live in booths, and put wreaths on their heads, and take leafy boughs, and willows from the brook. 31And Abraham took palm-branches and fruit from the choicest trees, and he went round the altar every day with the branches, seven times a day 15 So most Eth. MSS and Lat.: one Eth. MS has ‘on the seventh day’. in the morning, and he praised and gave thanks to his God with all joy.

Notes:

1 Or ‘And when we returned … she had …’

2 Lit. ‘the judgements of’.

3 Lit. ‘uncleanness(es)’.

4 Alternative Eth. reading ‘daughters’, and also Lat.

5 So Eth.: Lat. ‘boundaries’.

6 Probably ‘third’ should be read. Cp. xv. 1.

7 So Lat.: Eth. ‘her’.

8 Lit. ‘in Isaac should name and seed be called for him’.

9 Eth. lit. ‘to be to the Lord a people of glory’ (the word translated ‘glory’ could also mean ‘adoption’): Lat. lit. ‘to be to the Lord a hallowed people’. The emendation assumes that an allusion in the original to Exod. xix. 5, Deut. vii. 6 , etc., has been either misunderstood or mistranslated in both Eth. and Lat. Cp. xix. 18.

10 So Lat.: Eth. ‘a kingdom and priests’. Cp. Exod. xix. 6 .

11 Lit. ‘according to his good pleasure’.

12 So Eth.: Lat. ‘the festive day’ or (as in later Hebrew) simply ‘the festival’.

13 So Eth.: Lat. ‘a day of joy’.

14 So Eth.: Lat. ‘with him’.

15 So most Eth. MSS and Lat.: one Eth. MS has ‘on the seventh day’.

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