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

Chapter V

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Text Commentary

1Now Abimelech had gone to fetch the figs and was bringing them back in the midday heat; 1 Lit. ‘And Abimelech fetched the figs in the heat’. and he came upon a tree, and sat down in its shade to rest awhile. And he leaned his head on the fig-basket and fell asleep; and he slept soundly for sixty-six years without waking up. 2And afterwards, when he did wake up, he said, It is a pity I did not sleep a little bit more: I feel very drowsy, 2 Lit. ‘my head is weighed down’. because I have not had enough sleep. 3Then he took off the cover over the fig-basket and found the figs oozing sap. 4And he said, I would have liked a bit more sleep, because I feel so drowsy. 2 Lit. ‘my head is weighed down’. 5But I am afraid that if I do go to sleep, I might not wake up for sometime, and my father Jeremiah will be put out; for if he had not been in a hurry, he would not have sent me out to-day at daybreak. 6So I will get up, and go on in the heat – would that I could find somewhere where there is no heat and daily toil! 3 Harris's reconstruction on the basis of a and b: c om.; Eth. is clearly corrupt. 7He got up accordingly, and picked up the fig-basket and put it on his shoulders, and made his way into Jerusalem; and he did not recognize it, neither his house, nor the district where he lived, 4 Lit. ‘nor place’. nor could he find any of his relations. 5 Lit. ‘nor his own stock’. 8And he said, Blessed be the Lord, for I must be in a trance: this is not the city. 9I am lost, for I came by the mountain road after I woke up from my sleep. 10And because I was drowsy 6 Lit. ‘And my head being heavy’. through not having had enough sleep, I must have lost my way. 11 It would be absurd to tell Jeremiah that I got lost. 12And he went out some distance from the city; and, looking at it, he saw the city's landmarks and said, This is indeed the city, but I am lost. 13And he went back again inside the city, and searched, and discovered no single person that he knew. 7 Lit. ‘no one of his own people’. 14And he said, Blessed be the Lord, for a mighty trance has fallen on me. 15And he went outside the city again, and remained there in deep distress, not knowing where to go. 16And he put the basket down, saying, I will sit here until the Lord takes this trance away from me. 17And while he was sitting there, he saw an old man coming in from the country; and Abimelech said to him, Tell me, old man, what city that is? 18And he said to him, Jerusalem. And Abimelech said to him, Where is Jeremiah the priest, and Baruch the scribe, and all the people of this city, because I have not been able to find them? 19And the old man said to him, Surely you must be from this 20city yourself: otherwise why should you be thinking about Jeremiah to-day and asking about him such a long time after he went away? 21Jeremiah is in Babylon with the people; for they were taken captive by king Nebuchadnezzar, and Jeremiah is with them preaching to them and instructing them. 8 Lit. ‘to evangelize them and instruct them in the word’. Cp. iii. 11. 22And as soon as 23Abimelech heard what the old man told him, he said to him, No one should insult anyone who is older than he is himself, and if you were not an old man, I would laugh at you and call you mad to tell me that the people have been taken captive to Babylon. 24Even if the cataracts of heaven 9 See Gen. vii. 11, viii. 2; 2 Kings vii. 2, 19; Mal. iii. 10 – in the LXX. had descended on them there would not yet have been time for them to reach Babylon. 25For how long is it since my father Jeremiah sent me to Agrippa's farm for a few figs to give to those of the people who are ill? 26I went off and fetched them, and on the way back in the heat I came to a tree, and I sat down to rest a bit, and leaned my head on the basket, and went to sleep; and when I woke up, I took off the cover over the fig-basket, as I thought I have been rather a long time, and I found the figs oozing sap, as if I had just picked them. Yet you tell me the people have been taken captive to Babylon. 27So that you may know that I am telling you the truth, come, look at the figs. 28And he took off the cover of the fig-basket for the old man. 29,30And he too saw them oozing sap. And when the old man saw them he said, My son, you are a righteous man, and God would not let you see the city's destruction; for it is God who has brought this trance upon you. For, behold, it is sixty-six years to the very day since the people were taken captive to Babylon. 31And so that you may understand that this is true, my child, look out on the countryside, and see how much progress the crops have made, and you will realize that it is not yet the time for figs. 10 Both text and interpretation here are uncertain; but the translation attempts to give the sense that seems to be required. 32Then Abimelech cried out aloud, saying, I will bless thee, Lord God of heaven and earth, the repose of the souls of the righteous in every place. 33And he said to the old man, What month is it? 34And he said, Nisan; and it is the twelfth of Nisan. 11 ab ‘Nisan, which is the twelfth month’; c ‘Isaac is this month’; Eth. ‘the twelfth of the month Nisan, which is Mijazja’. And Abimelech picked out some of the figs, and gave them to the old man, and said to him, God will light your way to the city of Jerusalem which is above.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘And Abimelech fetched the figs in the heat’.

2 Lit. ‘my head is weighed down’.

3 Harris's reconstruction on the basis of a and b: c om.; Eth. is clearly corrupt.

4 Lit. ‘nor place’.

5 Lit. ‘nor his own stock’.

6 Lit. ‘And my head being heavy’.

7 Lit. ‘no one of his own people’.

8 Lit. ‘to evangelize them and instruct them in the word’. Cp. iii. 11.

9 See Gen. vii. 11, viii. 2; 2 Kings vii. 2, 19; Mal. iii. 10 – in the LXX.

10 Both text and interpretation here are uncertain; but the translation attempts to give the sense that seems to be required.

11 ab ‘Nisan, which is the twelfth month’; c ‘Isaac is this month’; Eth. ‘the twelfth of the month Nisan, which is Mijazja’.

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