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

Chapter III

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Text Commentary

1And Balchira 1 So Gk. L1: Eth. ‘And to Belchira’. was well acquainted with the place where Isaiah and the prophets who were with him were, and he had seen it, for he himself lived near Bethlehem; and he was an adherent of Manasseh. And he prophesied lies in Jerusalem; and many of the people in Jerusalem attached themselves to him, though he was a Samaritan. 2(For when Shalmaneser, 2 Eth. ‘Alagar Zagar’; Gk. ‘Algasar’; L1 ‘Salmanassar’. king of Assyria, attacked and captured Samaria and took away the nine and a half 3 So Gk. and L1: Eth. om. ‘and a half’. tribes as captives and carried them off to the mountains 4 So Gk.: L1 ‘mountain’; Eth. ‘boundaries’. of the Medes and 3the rivers of Gozan, 5 So Gk. L1: Eth. ‘Tazon’. this Balchira, while still a youth, got away and came to Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah; but he did not follow the way of life of his Samaritan father, for he was afraid of Hezekiah. 4And in Hezekiah's time he was found making seditious statements 6 Lit. ‘speaking words of lawlessness’. in Jerusalem. 5And Hezekiah's servants accused him, and he made his escape to the neighbourhood of Bethlehem. 6And they persuaded … 7 There appears to be a gap in the text at this point. Gk. reads ‘And they persuaded’ and then carries straight on: similarly Eth. and Sah. with ‘And he persuaded’; L1 om. ‘And (t)he(y) persuaded’ altogether. ) And Balchira accused Isaiah and the prophets who were with him, saying, Isaiah and those who are with him are prophesying against Jerusalem and against the cities of Judah, saying that they will be laid in ruins, and against the sons of Judah and Benjamin 8 So L1: Eth. om ‘against the sons of Judah and’; Gk. om. ‘that they will be laid … sons of Judah’. that they will go into captivity, and against you, my lord king, that you will go too, loaded with hooks and iron chains. 7But they prophesy falsely against Israel and Judah. 8And Isaiah himself has said, I see more than the prophet Moses. 9For Moses said, No man can see God and live; but Isaiah has said, I have seen God, and behold I am still alive! 10You must know, o king, 9 Lit. ‘O king, know’. that he is a liar. 10 So Gk. L1: Eth. ‘that they are prophets of lies’. Furthermore, he has called Jerusalem Sodom and addressed the princes of Judah and Jerusalem 11 So Eth. L1: Gk. Sah. ‘Israel’. as people of Gomorrah. And Balchira 12 A Gk. Sah. L1 ‘he’: BC ‘they’. brought many charges against Isaiah and the prophets before Manasseh. 11Now Beliar had taken up his abode in the heart of Manasseh, and in the hearts of the princes of Judah and Benjamin, and the king's eunuchs and counsellors. 12And what Balchira said pleased Manasseh 13 Lit. ‘him’. greatly, and he sent and had Isaiah arrested.

13For Beliar was especially furious with Isaiah because of his vision, and because of his exposure of Sammael, and because it was through him that the going forth of the Beloved from the seventh heaven had been made known, and his transformation, and his descent to earth, and the likeness into which he would be transformed (that is the likeness of a man), and the persecution to which he would be subjected, and the torments the sons of Israel would inflict on him, and the calling and instruction 14 So Eth. (lit. ‘and the presence (or ‘advent’) and teaching’): Gk. ‘and the teaching’ only. of his twelve disciples, and that before the sabbath he would be crucified upon 14the tree, 15 Gk. om. this clause. and that he would be crucified with wicked men, and that he would be buried in the tomb, and the twelve who had been with him would have their faith in him shaken, and the guards who 15would guard the tomb, and the descent of the angel 16 So A Gk.: BC ‘angels’. of the Christian church which is in the heavens (whom he will summon 16in the last days), and that 〈 Gabriel 〉, 17 There is a lacuna in the Gk. at this point: the suggestion that it was filled by ‘Gabriel’ is due to Grenfell and Hunt. ‘The angel of the Holy Spirit’ appears several times in the Ascension (e.g. iv. 21, vii. 23): cp. especially xi. 4. the angel of the Holy Spirit, and Michael, the prince of the holy angels, would on the third day 17open the tomb, and the Beloved himself, sitting upon their shoulders, 18 So BC Gk.: A ‘upon the shoulders of the seraphim’. would come forth and send out his twelve disciples. 18And they will teach all nations and every language about the resurrection of the Beloved; and those who believe in his cross and in his ascension to the seventh heaven (where he came from) will be saved. 19And many who believe in him will speak by the Holy Spirit. 20And many wonders and miracles will be performed in those days. 21And afterwards, before he comes again, 19 Lit. ‘when he (the Lord) draws near’. his disciples will forsake the teaching of the twelve apostles and their faith 20 A Gk. ‘the Faith’. and their love and their purity. 22And there will be much strife before he comes. 21 So Gk.: Eth. ‘much strife at his coming and when he draws near’. 23In those days many there will be who love office, even though they are devoid of wisdom. 24And there will be many lawless elders and shepherds who oppress their flocks; and they will ravage them, because they have not holy shepherds. 22 Eth. is hopelessly corrupt after ‘and they will ravage’. Gk. has a lacuna and resumes with what appears to be the end of a passive participle (‘…ed because they have not pure shepherds’). Our translation follows Charles in combining elements from both Eth. and Gk. and assumes that ‘pure’ in Gk. (ἁγνούς) is a corruption of an original (ἁγίους) preserved in Eth. 25And many will exchange the honour of the garments of the saints for the garments of money-lovers; and there will be much respect of persons in those days, and many friends of this world's pomp. 26And there will be much backbiting and empty ambition before the Lord comes, 19 Lit. ‘when he (the Lord) draws near’. 27and the Holy Spirit will turn away from many; and there will be only a few in those days, whether prophets or any others 23 So Eth.: Gk. ‘and there will not be in those days many prophets’. whose 28words can be trusted 24 Lit. ‘whose words are strong’. – just one here and one there in different places, because of the spirit of error and fornication and empty ambition and love of money 25 Gk. has a lacuna from here to the end of verse 30. in those who will be called the servants of the Beloved 26 Lit. ‘that one’. and have received him. 26 Lit. ‘that one’. 29Shepherds and elders will hate one another. 30For in the last days there will be great jealousies, because each one will proclaim what he himself thinks is right. 31And they will ignore the prophecies of the prophets that were before me, and these my visions 27 B ‘the visions’. also they will repudiate in order to give free expression to their own lusts.

Notes:

1 So Gk. L1: Eth. ‘And to Belchira’.

2 Eth. ‘Alagar Zagar’; Gk. ‘Algasar’; L1 ‘Salmanassar’.

3 So Gk. and L1: Eth. om. ‘and a half’.

4 So Gk.: L1 ‘mountain’; Eth. ‘boundaries’.

5 So Gk. L1: Eth. ‘Tazon’.

6 Lit. ‘speaking words of lawlessness’.

7 There appears to be a gap in the text at this point. Gk. reads ‘And they persuaded’ and then carries straight on: similarly Eth. and Sah. with ‘And he persuaded’; L1 om. ‘And (t)he(y) persuaded’ altogether.

8 So L1: Eth. om ‘against the sons of Judah and’; Gk. om. ‘that they will be laid … sons of Judah’.

9 Lit. ‘O king, know’.

10 So Gk. L1: Eth. ‘that they are prophets of lies’.

11 So Eth. L1: Gk. Sah. ‘Israel’.

12 A Gk. Sah. L1 ‘he’: BC ‘they’.

13 Lit. ‘him’.

14 So Eth. (lit. ‘and the presence (or ‘advent’) and teaching’): Gk. ‘and the teaching’ only.

15 Gk. om. this clause.

16 So A Gk.: BC ‘angels’.

17 There is a lacuna in the Gk. at this point: the suggestion that it was filled by ‘Gabriel’ is due to Grenfell and Hunt. ‘The angel of the Holy Spirit’ appears several times in the Ascension (e.g. iv. 21, vii. 23): cp. especially xi. 4.

18 So BC Gk.: A ‘upon the shoulders of the seraphim’.

19 Lit. ‘when he (the Lord) draws near’.

20 A Gk. ‘the Faith’.

21 So Gk.: Eth. ‘much strife at his coming and when he draws near’.

22 Eth. is hopelessly corrupt after ‘and they will ravage’. Gk. has a lacuna and resumes with what appears to be the end of a passive participle (‘…ed because they have not pure shepherds’). Our translation follows Charles in combining elements from both Eth. and Gk. and assumes that ‘pure’ in Gk. (ἁγνούς) is a corruption of an original (ἁγίους) preserved in Eth.

23 So Eth.: Gk. ‘and there will not be in those days many prophets’.

24 Lit. ‘whose words are strong’.

25 Gk. has a lacuna from here to the end of verse 30.

26 Lit. ‘that one’.

27 B ‘the visions’.

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