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

Chapter I

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Text Commentary

1And it came to pass in the first year of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, in the third month, on the sixteenth day of the month, that God spoke to Moses, saying, Come up to me on the mount, and I will give you the two stone tablets of the law and of the commandment, which I have written so that you may teach them. 2And Moses went up into the mount of God, and the glory of the Lord rested on mount Sinai and a cloud overshadowed it for six days. 3And on the seventh day he called to Moses in 1 Lit. ‘in the middle of’: Charles would emend to ‘out of’ to accord with Exod. xxiv. 16. the cloud; and the glory of the Lord looked like a flaming fire on the mountaintop. 4And Moses was on the mount forty days and forty nights; and God taught him the first things and the last things, and the division of all the days of the law and of the testimony.

5And he said, Listen carefully to everything that I tell you on this mountain, and write it in a book so that the generations to come may see how I have not forsaken them on account of all the evil they have done in transgressing the covenant that I am establishing between me and you on mount Sinai today for all their generations. 6And so, when all these things have happened to them, they will recognize that I am more righteous than they are in all they think and do, 2 Lit. ‘in all their judgements and in all their actions’. and they will recognize that I have kept faith with them.

7Write down everything, then, that I tell you today; for I know how defiant and stubborn they are, even before I lead them into the land about which I swore an oath to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, To your descendants will I give a land flowing with milk and honey. 8And they will eat and be satisfied, and they will turn to foreign gods that are powerless to rescue them in their distress; and then this evidence will serve as evidence against them. 9For they will forget all my commandments that I give them and copy the Gentiles, their uncleanness and their shame, and worship their gods; and these will prove a stumbling-block to them, a source of distress and misery, and a snare. 10And many will perish; and others will be taken captive and fall into the enemy's hands, because they have forsaken my law and commandment, and the festivals of my covenant and my sabbaths, and my holy offerings which I have hallowed for myself in their midst, and my tabernacle, and my sanctuary which I have hallowed for myself in the midst of the land to make it the dwelling-place for my name. 3 Lit. ‘that I should set my name upon it and that it should dwell there’. 11And they will make hill-shrines and sacred poles and carved images, and each one will worship his own carved image and go astray; and they will sacrifice their children to demons and to all the idols they have made in 4 Lit. ‘and to all the works of’. the error of their hearts. 12And I will send witnesses to them to witness against them; but they will not listen, and they will kill the witnesses and persecute those who seek the law, and they will abrogate and change everything and do what is evil in my sight. 13And I will hide my face from them and hand them over to the Gentiles to be taken captive and to be preyed upon and to be devoured; 5 Text ‘for captivity and for injustice and for devouring’. and I will drive them out of the land and scatter them among the Gentiles. 14And they will forget all my law and all my commandments and all my precepts and go astray as regards new moons and sabbaths and festivals and jubilees and the other ordinances. 6 Lit. ‘new moon … ordinance’ (i.e. singulars not plurals). 15And after this they will turn to me from among the Gentiles with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their strength; and I will gather them from among all the Gentiles, and they will seek me, and I will let them find me. 7 Lit. ‘so that I shall be found by them’. 16And when they seek me with all their heart and with all their soul, I will grant them an age of peace and righteousness 8 Lit. ‘I will reveal to them abounding peace of righteousness’. and set them apart as an upright plant, 9 Or ‘and set apart for them an upright plant’ (i.e. the latter-day community of saints). with all my heart and with all my soul; and they shall be a blessing and not a curse, the head and not the tail. 17And I will build my sanctuary in their midst, and I will dwell with them and be their God, and they shall be my people in truth and righteousness. 18And I will not forsake them nor fail them; for I am the Lord their God.

19And Moses prostrated himself and prayed and said, O Lord my God, do not forsake thy people and thine own possession, and let them not wander in the error of their hearts: deliver them not into the hands of their enemies, the Gentiles, and let them not rule over them and make them sin against thee. 20Let thy mercy, O Lord, watch over 10 Lit. ‘be lifted up upon’. thy people, and create in them an upright spirit; and let not the spirit of Beliar rule over them to accuse them before thee and ensnare them from all the paths of righteousness, so that they perish from thy sight. 21For they are thy people and thine own possession, whom thou hast delivered with thy great power from the hands of the Egyptians. Create in them a pure heart and a holy spirit, and let them not be ensnared in their sins now or ever.

22And the Lord said to Moses, I know their contrariness, their thoughts, and their stubbornness, and they will not be obedient till they ackowledge their own sin and the sin of their fathers. 23And after this they will turn to me in all uprightness and with all their heart and soul; and I will circumcise the foreskin of their heart and the foreskin of the heart of their sons, 11 Lit. ‘seed’. and I will create in them a holy spirit, and I will cleanse them so that they shall not turn away from me again, from that day till eternity. 24And they will hold fast to me and to all my commandments, and fulfil my commandments; and I will be their father, and they shall be my children. 25And they all shall be called children of the living God; and every angel and spirit shall know (they shall know indeed) that these are my children, and that I am truly and genuinely their father, 12 Lit. ‘I am their father in uprightness and righteousness’. and that I love them.

26And do you write down 13 Following two MSS which read ‘Do you write down for yourself’: the others read ‘I will write down for you’. everything I tell you on this mountain, the first things and the last things that shall come to pass in all the divisions of the days, in the law and in the testimony, and in the weeks of the jubilees till eternity, till I descend and dwell with them through all eternity.

27And he said to the angel of the presence, Write for Moses the account from the beginning of creation 14 Lit. ‘from the first creation’. till the time when my 28sanctuary shall be built among them for all eternity, and the Lord appear in the sight of all, and all know that I am the God of Israel and the father of all the sons of Jacob and king on mount Zion for all eternity, and Zion and Jerusalem shall be established. 15 Alternative reading ‘holy’. 29And the angel of the presence, who used to go before the camp of Israel, took the tablets of the divisions of the years, from the time of the creation of the law and of the testimony 16 The reference here is to the idea that the Law was created before the world. the tablets, that is, of the weeks of the jubilees according to their years, according to all the number of the jubilees according to their years, 17 One MS omits the second ‘according to their years’ and Charles bracketed it as an interpolation. This is probably not the only dittograph in the verse; and in several places both text and translation are highly uncertain. from the day of the creation until the day when the heavens and the earth are renewed and with them all created things both in heaven and on earth, 18 Lit. ‘and all their creation according to the powers of heaven and according to all the creation of the earth’. until the day when the sanctuary of the Lord is created in Jerusalem on mount Zion and all the luminaries are renewed as instruments of healing and of peace and of blessing for all the elect of Israel, and that so it may be from that day on as long as the earth lasts.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘in the middle of’: Charles would emend to ‘out of’ to accord with Exod. xxiv. 16.

2 Lit. ‘in all their judgements and in all their actions’.

3 Lit. ‘that I should set my name upon it and that it should dwell there’.

4 Lit. ‘and to all the works of’.

5 Text ‘for captivity and for injustice and for devouring’.

6 Lit. ‘new moon … ordinance’ (i.e. singulars not plurals).

7 Lit. ‘so that I shall be found by them’.

8 Lit. ‘I will reveal to them abounding peace of righteousness’.

9 Or ‘and set apart for them an upright plant’ (i.e. the latter-day community of saints).

10 Lit. ‘be lifted up upon’.

11 Lit. ‘seed’.

12 Lit. ‘I am their father in uprightness and righteousness’.

13 Following two MSS which read ‘Do you write down for yourself’: the others read ‘I will write down for you’.

14 Lit. ‘from the first creation’.

15 Alternative reading ‘holy’.

16 The reference here is to the idea that the Law was created before the world.

17 One MS omits the second ‘according to their years’ and Charles bracketed it as an interpolation. This is probably not the only dittograph in the verse; and in several places both text and translation are highly uncertain.

18 Lit. ‘and all their creation according to the powers of heaven and according to all the creation of the earth’.

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