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

Chapter XX

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Text Commentary

1And Abraham said, Tell me, I pray you, is the kind of death that comes to a man incalculable? 2Death said, I tell you truly, by God's truth, there are seventy-two deaths. 3One of these is the righteous death which has its appointed hour; 1 Lit. ‘its limit’. and many men arrive at death and burial within a single hour. 4Lo, I have told you everything you asked. 5Now I tell you, most righteous Abraham, have done with all this discussing, and once and for all stop questioning me. 6Come, follow me, even as God, the Judge of all has directed me. 7But Abraham said to Death, Leave me yet a little longer to rest on my couch, for I am very feeble. 2 Lit. ‘for want of heart is great upon me’. 8From the moment I set eyes upon you my strength failed: all my limbs seem like lumps of lead; and I am very short of breath. 3 Or ‘and my spirit is much distressed’. 9Go away for a little while, for I must confess 4 Lit. ‘for I have said’. I cannot bear the sight of you. 10And his son Isaac came and fell upon his breast, weeping. 11And his wife Sarah came too, and she flung her arms round his feet, wailing bitterly. 12And all his male and female slaves came as well, and they gathered round his couch; and Abraham came to the brink of death. 5 Or ‘and Abraham entered the faint of death’. Lit. ‘… came to the neglect of death’. Cp. xvii. 23; xviii. 8. 13And Death said to Abraham, Come, kiss my right hand; and may joy and life and power come to you (for Death was deceiving Abraham). 14And Abraham kissed his hand, and immediately his soul stuck fast to Death's hand. 15And at once the archangel Michael was at his side, with a host of angels, and they took his precious soul in their hands, in a sheet divinely woven. 16And with divinely-scented myrrh and spices they tended righteous Abraham's body until the third day after his death; and they buried him in the land of promise, at the oak of Mamre. 17And the angels escorted his precious soul and went up into heaven, chanting the Trisagion hymn to God, the Sovereign of all; and they placed it where it could worship God the Father. 18And when the great hymn of praise and doxology to the Lord was ended, and when Abraham had worshipped, there came the clear voice of God the Father, saying, Take my friend Abraham to Paradise, where are the tents of my righteous ones and the resting-places of my saints[, Isaac and Jacob in his bosom]. 19There is no toil there, no grief, no sighing, but peace and rejoicing and endless life. 6 The following addition is found in all the MSS: ‘Let us also, my beloved brethren, imitate the patriarch Abraham's hospitality, and let us attain to his virtuous way of life; so that we may be worthy of life eternal, giving glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. To him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen’.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘its limit’.

2 Lit. ‘for want of heart is great upon me’.

3 Or ‘and my spirit is much distressed’.

4 Lit. ‘for I have said’.

5 Or ‘and Abraham entered the faint of death’. Lit. ‘… came to the neglect of death’. Cp. xvii. 23; xviii. 8.

6 The following addition is found in all the MSS:

‘Let us also, my beloved brethren, imitate the patriarch Abraham's hospitality, and let us attain to his virtuous way of life; so that we may be worthy of life eternal, giving glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. To him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen’.

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