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

Chapter II

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Text Commentary

1And the angel of the presence spoke to Moses in accordance with the Lord's command, saying, Write the complete history of the creation, how the Lord God finished all his works and all that he created on the sixth day, and kept sabbath on the seventh day, and hallowed it for all ages and appointed it as a sign for all his works. 2For on the first day he created the heavens which are above, and the earth, and the waters, and every spirit that serves before him – the angels of the presence, and the angels of holiness, and the angels of the spirit of fire, 1 One MS omits ‘and the angels of the spirit of fire’. and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirit of the clouds and of darkness and of snow and of hail and of hoar-frost, and the angels of the depths and of thunders and lightnings, and the angels of the cold winds and the hot winds and of winter and spring and autumn and summer, and the spirits of his creatures in the heavens and on the earth and in all the abysses, and the deep darkness and the light and the dawn and the morning and the evening, which he had already prepared and planned. 2 Lit. ‘which he had prepared in the knowledge of his heart’. 3And then we saw his works, and we blessed him and sang praises before him because of all his works; for on the first day he created seven great works. 4And on the next day he created the vault between 3 Lit. ‘in the middle of’. the waters, and the waters were divided on that day – half of them went up above and half of them went down below the vault that was between 3 Lit. ‘in the middle of’. them over the earth; and this was the only work he did on the second day. 5And on the third day he commanded the waters to be gathered together from the surface of the earth into one place, and the dry land to appear. 6And the waters did so, just as he commanded them; and they receded from the surface of the earth into one place outside the vault, and the dry land appeared. 7And on that day he created all the seas in their separate gathering-places, and all the rivers, and the gatherings of the waters in the mountains and all over the earth, and all the lakes, and all the dew of the earth, and the seed that is sown, and all plants that grow, and the trees that bear fruit, and the trees of the wood, and the garden of Eden in Eden; 4 All MSS add ‘for delight’ – doubtless a translational variant of ‘in Eden’, which itself may well be a dittograph of the preceding ‘(garden) of Eden’. and all these four great works God created on the third day. 8And on the fourth day he created the sun and moon and stars, and he set them in the vault of heaven to give light on earth, to have charge over day and night, and to separate light from darkness. 9And God appointed the sun as a great sign on earth to mark the days and weeks 5 Or ‘sabbaths’. and months 6 Or ‘new-moon days’. and festivals and years and weeks 5 Or ‘sabbaths’. of years and jubilees 10and all the seasons of the years; and it separates light from darkness, and is the source of health, so that everything may be healthy that sprouts and grows on earth. These three kinds of lights 7 i.e. sun, moon, and stars. he made on the fourth day. 11And on the fifth day he created great sea-monsters in the depths of the waters (these were the first living creatures 8 Lit. ‘things of flesh’. that were created by his hands), and all the fish that swim in the waters, and all kinds of birds that fly. 12And the sun rose over them all to give them health, over everything that was on the earth – all plants and trees and living creatures. These three kinds of living creatures he created on the fifth day. 13And on the sixth day he created all the wild animals of the earth, and all the cattle, and everything that moves on the earth. 14And after all this he created man: a man and a woman he created; and he made him master over everything that is on the earth and in the seas, and over everything that flies, and over the wild animals and the cattle, and over everything that moves on the earth, and over the whole earth: over all this he made him master. 15And these four kinds of creatures he created on the sixth day. And there were altogether twenty-two kinds.

16And he finished all his work on the sixth day – all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and in the seas and the abysses, and in the light and the darkness, and in everything. 17And he gave us a great sign, the sabbath day, 9 Lit. ‘the day of the sabbaths’. that we should work for six days, 10 Or ‘keep on working on the sixth day’. If this is the meaning, it may be a polemic against the Rabbinic custom of beginning the sabbath an hour before sunset on Friday. but keep sabbath from all work on the seventh day. 18And all the angels of the presence and all the angels of holiness, these two great classes – he has commanded us to keep the sabbath with him in heaven and on earth. 19And he said to us, Behold, I will set apart for myself a people out of all the peoples, and they shall keep the sabbath day; and I will hallow them as my own people, and I will bless them: as I have hallowed the sabbath day and do hallow it as mine, 11 Lit. ‘to myself’. even so will I bless them, and they shall be my people and I will be their God. 20And I have chosen Jacob's descendants out of all the peoples 12 Text ‘… descendants in everything’. (for I have seen him, and I have marked him down as my eldest son and hallowed him as mine 11 Lit. ‘to myself’. for evermore); and I will teach them the law of the sabbath day, that they may keep sabbath on it from all work. 21And so he created in it a sign that they should be like him, and that they should keep sabbath with us on the seventh day, and eat and drink and bless him who created all things, as he blessed and hallowed as his own 13 Lit ‘to himself’. a special people out of all 22peoples, and that they should keep sabbath together with us, and the doing of his commands should ascend before him for ever like a pleasant soothing odour. 14 Several references to this passage in Christian writers (confirmed by Jewish tradition) suggest that there is a lacuna in the text here and that the original ran, ‘As there were twenty-two letters, and twenty-two sacred books, and twenty-two patriarchs from Adam to Jacob, so …’ 23There were twenty-two patriarchs from Adam to Jacob, and twenty-two kinds of created things 15 Lit. ‘kinds of work’. were made before the seventh day: this day is blessed and holy; and Jacob 16 Lit. ‘that’ (i.e. ‘the former’). also is blessed and holy; and so the two together are hallowed and blessed. 17 Lit. ‘this one serves with that one for hallowing and blessing’. 24And to Jacob and his descendants 18 Lit. ‘And to this’. it was granted that they should always be the blessed and holy ones of the first covenant and law, even as he had hallowed and blessed the sabbath on the seventh day. 19 Some MSS read ‘even as it had been hallowed and blessed on the seventh day’. 25In six days he created heaven and earth and everything that he created, and the seventh day God made holy for all his works: that is why he gave the command that whoever does any work on it shall die, and that whoever defiles it shall most surely die. 26And so you must command the sons of Israel to observe this day to keep it holy and not do any work on it and not defile it, for it is holier than all other days. 27And whoever profanes it shall most surely die, and whoever does any work on it shall most surely die eternally, so that Israel's sons may observe this day in every generation and not be uprooted from the land; for it is a holy day and a blessed day. 28And every man who observes it and keeps sabbath on it from all his work, will be holy and blessed for all time, like us. 29Proclaim the law of this day to the sons of Israel and tell them to keep sabbath on it, and not to make the mistake of thinking they can ignore it, 20 Lit. ‘not forsake it in the error of their hearts’. and that it is not lawful to do any work that is unseemly or do business 21 Lit. ‘do their own pleasure’. Cp. Isa. lviii. 13 . on it, or draw water, or carry any heavy load through their gates on it, either in or out, and that they should not prepare on it anything to eat or drink that they have not prepared for themselves already in their homes on the sixth day. 22 In the latter part of this verse Charles's suggested re-arrangement of the clauses has been followed. 30And they shall not bring in or take out anything from one house to another on that day, for that day is more holy and blessed than any jubilee day: 23 Text adds ‘of the jubilees’. that is why we kept sabbath in the heavens before it was made known to any mortal 24 Lit. ‘flesh’. to keep sabbath on it on earth. 31And the creator of all things blessed it, but he did not hallow all peoples and nations to keep sabbath on it, but Israel only: them alone on earth did he allow to eat and drink and keep sabbath on it. 32And the creator of all things blessed this day, which he had created for blessing and holiness and glory above all days. 33This law and statute was given to Israel's sons as a law for ever, for all their generations.

Notes:

1 One MS omits ‘and the angels of the spirit of fire’.

2 Lit. ‘which he had prepared in the knowledge of his heart’.

3 Lit. ‘in the middle of’.

4 All MSS add ‘for delight’ – doubtless a translational variant of ‘in Eden’, which itself may well be a dittograph of the preceding ‘(garden) of Eden’.

5 Or ‘sabbaths’.

6 Or ‘new-moon days’.

7 i.e. sun, moon, and stars.

8 Lit. ‘things of flesh’.

9 Lit. ‘the day of the sabbaths’.

10 Or ‘keep on working on the sixth day’. If this is the meaning, it may be a polemic against the Rabbinic custom of beginning the sabbath an hour before sunset on Friday.

11 Lit. ‘to myself’.

12 Text ‘… descendants in everything’.

13 Lit ‘to himself’.

14 Several references to this passage in Christian writers (confirmed by Jewish tradition) suggest that there is a lacuna in the text here and that the original ran, ‘As there were twenty-two letters, and twenty-two sacred books, and twenty-two patriarchs from Adam to Jacob, so …’

15 Lit. ‘kinds of work’.

16 Lit. ‘that’ (i.e. ‘the former’).

17 Lit. ‘this one serves with that one for hallowing and blessing’.

18 Lit. ‘And to this’.

19 Some MSS read ‘even as it had been hallowed and blessed on the seventh day’.

20 Lit. ‘not forsake it in the error of their hearts’.

21 Lit. ‘do their own pleasure’. Cp. Isa. lviii. 13 .

22 In the latter part of this verse Charles's suggested re-arrangement of the clauses has been followed.

23 Text adds ‘of the jubilees’.

24 Lit. ‘flesh’.

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