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

Chapter XI

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Text Commentary

1And after this I looked, and the angel who was talking with me, who was accompanying me, 1 L2 Slav. om. ‘who was talking … accompanying me’. said to me, Understand this, Isaiah, son of Amoz, for this is why I have been sent by God. 2 So Eth. Slav.: L2 ‘the Lord’. L2 Slav. then give verses 2–22 only in summary (‘… sent by God) to show you all things, for no man before you has seen, nor will any man after you be able to see, what you have seen and heard. And I saw one like a son of man, and he lived with men in the world, and they did not recognize him’). 2And I saw clearly a woman of the family of the prophet David, whose name was Mary, and she was a virgin; and she was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, a carpenter (and he too was of the stock and family 3 B om. ‘and family’. of the righteous David, of Bethlehem in Judah; and he had received her as his wife by lot 4 Lit. ‘and he entered into possession of his lot’. This curious statement is explicable in the light of the tradition that appears in the Protevangelium of James (ix. 1, xix. 1) that Mary had been brought up in the Temple, and that when she was twelve years old, all the widowers in the neighbourhood were assembled in the Temple, each bringing a rod, so that a sign from heaven through the rods might indicate which of the widowers should be her husband. When, after prayer, Joseph's rod was handed back to him, a dove flew out of it and settled on his head. ). 3And when she was betrothed she was found to be with child; and Joseph the carpenter was minded to repudiate her. 4But the angel of the Spirit 5 So AC: B ‘Holy Spirit’. appeared in this world; and after that Joseph did not repudiate her, but kept Mary and told no one anything about it. 5And he did not approach Mary but kept her as a holy virgin, though a child was in her womb. 6,7And he did not live with her for two months. And two months afterwards Joseph was in his house and Mary his wife; 6 So AC (though in A it has been almost completely erased): B ‘betrothed’. and they were alone together. 8And while they were alone, Mary looked up and saw a little child; and she was frightened. 9And at that very moment 7 Lit. ‘And after she was frightened’. her womb was found 8 So A: BC ‘she found her womb’. as it had been before she had conceived. 10And when her husband 9 her husband = AC (but erased in A): B om. Joseph said to her, What is it that has frightened you?, his eyes were opened and he saw the infant and praised the Lord, because he realized that God had come into what was his. 10 Lit. ‘into his portion’. 11And there came a voice to them, Tell no one about this vision. 12Yet the story of the infant spread through Bethlehem. 13There were some who said, Mary the virgin has borne a child less than two months after she was married. 14And many said, She has not borne a child, for no midwife has attended her, and we have heard no cries of labour pains. And they were all kept from recognizing who he was: they all knew about him; but they did not know where he came from. 15And they 11 i.e. Joseph and Mary. took him and went to Nazareth in Galilee. 12 B om. ‘in Galilee’. 16And I saw, Hezekiah and son Josab (and I say this also to the other prophets who are standing by 13 Lit. ‘who are there’. ) – I saw that the whole of this was hidden from all the heavens and from all the princes and from all the gods of this world. 14 So AC: B ‘and from him who is of this world’. 17And I saw how as a babe at Nazareth he sucked the breast like any other babe, 15 Lit. ‘… breast, and it was according to custom’. in order not to be recognized. 18And when he was grown up, great were his marvels and wonders in the land of Israel and at Jerusalem. 19And then the Enemy, in a fit of jealousy, roused the sons of Israel against him (not knowing who he was), and they handed him over to the king and crucified him; and he descended to the angel of Sheol. 16 Descent ‘to the angel of Sheol’ is mentioned in GL ii. 39. 20,21In Jerusalem then I saw him hanging upon a cross. And so also after the third day I saw him rise again and remain on earth for several days. 17 So AB: C ‘for forty days’. Cp. ix. 16. (And the angel who was accompanying me said, Understand this, Isaiah.) 22And I saw him when he sent out the twelve apostles and ascended. 23And I saw him, and he was in the vault of heaven, 18 And I saw him (BC om.) … vault of heaven: L2 Slav. ‘And I saw him ascending into the vault of heaven’. but he had not transformed himself; and all the angels of the vault and Satan 19 L2 Slav. om. ‘and Satan’. saw him, and they worshipped. 20 and they worshipped = AC: B om.; L2 Slav. ‘and they feared greatly and worshipped’. 24And there was much lamentation there as 21 L2 Slav. om. ‘there was … as’. they said, How was it that our Lord descended into our midst 22 Eth. ‘upon us’; L2 in our midst’; Slav. ‘in the midst’. Both L2 and Slav. continue ‘and we did not recognize the king of glory’ (omitting ‘which…heaven’). and we did not perceive the glory which was upon him and which we see has been upon him from the sixth heaven? 25And he ascended into the second heaven; 23 L2 Slav. ‘And from the first heaven he ascended more glorious’; Sah. ‘And he] ascended into the fir[st heaven’. and he did not transform himself. 26But all the angels who were on the right and on the left and the throne in the middle both worshipped him and praised him; and they said, How was it that our Lord was hidden from us while he was descending and we did not perceive his glory? 24 L2 Slav. ‘How did you pass through us, Lord, and we did not see (Slav. ‘recognize’) you, nor did we worship you?’ Both then summarize verses 27–30 (‘And thus he ascended into the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth heaven’). Sah. agrees substantially with L2 Slav. against Eth. as far as ‘the fifth heaven’ in the summary in verse 29, but after this it approximates rather more closely to Eth. 27And so too he ascended into the third heaven; and they praised him and said the same. 28And in the fourth heaven and also in the fifth they said precisely the same. 29But now they could all see him in his true glory, for he did not transform himself. 25 Lit. ‘But there was but a single glory, and from it he did not change himself’. 30And I saw that when he ascended into the sixth heaven they worshipped him and praised him. 31And in every heaven the praises increased. 32And I saw how he ascended into the seventh heaven and all the righteous and all the angels 26 So Eth. Sah.: L2 Slav. add ‘and all the powers’. praised him; and then I saw him sit down on the right hand of the Great Glory, 27 So B Sah. Slav.: AC ‘of him’; L2 om. ‘and then I saw … Glory’. whose glory I told you I was not able to look upon. 28 So Eth. Sah.: L2 Slav. ‘upon whom (‘which’?) I was not able to look’. 33And I saw also the angel of the Holy Spirit 29 So Eth.: Slav. ‘the angel of the Spirit’; L2 ‘a marvellous angel’. sitting on the left hand. 34And this angel said to me, Isaiah, son of Amoz, I set you free; 30 So Eth.: L2 Slav. ‘it is enough for you’; and then Eth. adds ‘for these are great things’. for you have seen what no mortal man has ever seen before. 31 L2 Slav. add Isa. lxiv. 4 as quoted by St. Paul at 1 Cor. ii. 9 : they then continue ‘And he said to me, Return…’. 35Yet you must return to your garments of the flesh until your days are completed. Then will you come up here.

36These things Isaiah saw and told them 32 So L2 Slav.: Eth. ‘These things I saw, and Isaiah told them’ (which would seem to be supported by Sah.). to all who were in attendance, and they sang praises. 33 So Eth.: L2 Slav. ‘and when they heard these marvellous things they (L2 + ‘all’) sang praises and glorified God who shows such favour to men’. 37And he spoke to king Hezekiah and said, Thus have I spoken. 38And 34 L2 Slav. om. ‘and said … spoken. And’. the end of the world and all this vision will be fulfilled in the last generations. 35 B ‘at the last day’. 39And Isaiah made him swear that he would neither tell the people of Israel nor give 36 L2 Slav. ‘And he forbade them to tell … and to give’. these words to any man to transcribe. … 40And then shall you read them. 37 There must be a lacuna here since Isaiah is obviously speaking. The translation follows AC. L2 and Slav. both have long and interrelated texts; but they do not help since both are corrupt. And keep watch in the Holy Spirit, so that you may receive your garments and thrones and crowns of glory, which are stored up for you in the seventh heaven. 38 L2 Slav. ‘in the heavens’: they then add ‘And he finished speaking and went out from king Hezekiah’ and om. verses 41–43. Sah. would seem to have ended similarly, although it certainly read ‘in the seventh heaven’.

41It was because of these visions and prophecies that Sammael Satan sawed Isaiah, the son of Amoz, the prophet, in two, using Manasseh as his agent. 42And Hezekiah entrusted all these things to Manasseh in the twenty-sixth year. 39 B adds ‘of his reign’. 43But Manasseh did not remember them, nor did he take any notice of them; and so, by becoming the servant of Satan, he was destroyed.

Here ends the vision of Isaiah the prophet together with his ascension. 40 So AC: B om. altogether; L2 ‘Here ends the vision of Isaiah the prophet’; Slav. has a doxology instead.

Notes:

1 L2 Slav. om. ‘who was talking … accompanying me’.

2 So Eth. Slav.: L2 ‘the Lord’. L2 Slav. then give verses 2–22 only in summary (‘… sent by God) to show you all things, for no man before you has seen, nor will any man after you be able to see, what you have seen and heard. And I saw one like a son of man, and he lived with men in the world, and they did not recognize him’).

3 B om. ‘and family’.

4 Lit. ‘and he entered into possession of his lot’. This curious statement is explicable in the light of the tradition that appears in the Protevangelium of James (ix. 1, xix. 1) that Mary had been brought up in the Temple, and that when she was twelve years old, all the widowers in the neighbourhood were assembled in the Temple, each bringing a rod, so that a sign from heaven through the rods might indicate which of the widowers should be her husband. When, after prayer, Joseph's rod was handed back to him, a dove flew out of it and settled on his head.

5 So AC: B ‘Holy Spirit’.

6 So AC (though in A it has been almost completely erased): B ‘betrothed’.

7 Lit. ‘And after she was frightened’.

8 So A: BC ‘she found her womb’.

9 her husband = AC (but erased in A): B om.

10 Lit. ‘into his portion’.

11 i.e. Joseph and Mary.

12 B om. ‘in Galilee’.

13 Lit. ‘who are there’.

14 So AC: B ‘and from him who is of this world’.

15 Lit. ‘… breast, and it was according to custom’.

16 Descent ‘to the angel of Sheol’ is mentioned in GL ii. 39.

17 So AB: C ‘for forty days’. Cp. ix. 16.

18 And I saw him (BC om.) … vault of heaven: L2 Slav. ‘And I saw him ascending into the vault of heaven’.

19 L2 Slav. om. ‘and Satan’.

20 and they worshipped = AC: B om.; L2 Slav. ‘and they feared greatly and worshipped’.

21 L2 Slav. om. ‘there was … as’.

22 Eth. ‘upon us’; L2 in our midst’; Slav. ‘in the midst’. Both L2 and Slav. continue ‘and we did not recognize the king of glory’ (omitting ‘which…heaven’).

23 L2 Slav. ‘And from the first heaven he ascended more glorious’; Sah. ‘And he] ascended into the fir[st heaven’.

24 L2 Slav. ‘How did you pass through us, Lord, and we did not see (Slav. ‘recognize’) you, nor did we worship you?’ Both then summarize verses 27–30 (‘And thus he ascended into the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth heaven’). Sah. agrees substantially with L2 Slav. against Eth. as far as ‘the fifth heaven’ in the summary in verse 29, but after this it approximates rather more closely to Eth.

25 Lit. ‘But there was but a single glory, and from it he did not change himself’.

26 So Eth. Sah.: L2 Slav. add ‘and all the powers’.

27 So B Sah. Slav.: AC ‘of him’; L2 om. ‘and then I saw … Glory’.

28 So Eth. Sah.: L2 Slav. ‘upon whom (‘which’?) I was not able to look’.

29 So Eth.: Slav. ‘the angel of the Spirit’; L2 ‘a marvellous angel’.

30 So Eth.: L2 Slav. ‘it is enough for you’; and then Eth. adds ‘for these are great things’.

31 L2 Slav. add Isa. lxiv. 4 as quoted by St. Paul at 1 Cor. ii. 9 : they then continue ‘And he said to me, Return…’.

32 So L2 Slav.: Eth. ‘These things I saw, and Isaiah told them’ (which would seem to be supported by Sah.).

33 So Eth.: L2 Slav. ‘and when they heard these marvellous things they (L2 + ‘all’) sang praises and glorified God who shows such favour to men’.

34 L2 Slav. om. ‘and said … spoken. And’.

35 B ‘at the last day’.

36 L2 Slav. ‘And he forbade them to tell … and to give’.

37 There must be a lacuna here since Isaiah is obviously speaking. The translation follows AC. L2 and Slav. both have long and interrelated texts; but they do not help since both are corrupt.

38 L2 Slav. ‘in the heavens’: they then add ‘And he finished speaking and went out from king Hezekiah’ and om. verses 41–43. Sah. would seem to have ended similarly, although it certainly read ‘in the seventh heaven’.

39 B adds ‘of his reign’.

40 So AC: B om. altogether; L2 ‘Here ends the vision of Isaiah the prophet’; Slav. has a doxology instead.

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