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

Chapter VI

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Text Commentary

1And on the new moon 1 Alternative reading ‘on the tenth day’. of the third month he went out of the ark and built an altar on that mountain. 2 Alternative reading ‘in that land’. 2And he made atonement for the earth, and took a kid and made atonement by its blood for all the guilt of the earth; for everything on it had been destroyed, apart from what was in the ark with Noah. 3And he put its fat on the altar; and he took an ox, and a he-goat, and a sheep, and kids, and salt, and a turtle-dove, and young pigeons, and offered them as a whole-offering on the altar, and poured an offering mixed with oil on it, and sprinkled wine and scattered frankincense over everything, and made a soothing odour, acceptable before the Lord. 4And the Lord smelt the soothing odour; and he made a covenant with him that there should never again be a flood to destroy the earth, that while the earth lasts seed-time and harvest should never cease, and that cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night, should not change their order or ever cease. 5And he said to Noah, Be fruitful and multiply on the earth, increase in number on it, and be a blessing in it. I will inspire the fear and dread of you in everything on earth and in the sea. 6And behold, I give you for food all the wild animals and birds, 3 Lit. ‘all winged things’. and everything that moves on earth, and the fish in the waters 4 Some MSS add ‘and cattle’. that is, all things: as once I gave you the green plants, so now I give you all things to eat. 7But you must not eat flesh with its life still in it – that is, its blood 5 Lit. ‘flesh with its life, with the blood’. (for the life of every creature 6 Lit. ‘the life of all flesh’. is in its blood), lest your own blood 7 Lit. ‘your blood in your lives’. be required. From every man, from every animal, 8 So Charles on the basis of Gen. ix. 5 . The MSS read ‘everyone’. will I require the blood of man. 8Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God he made man. 9And do you be fruitful and multiply on the earth. 10And Noah and his sons swore they would not eat any blood in any flesh; and in this month he made a covenant before the Lord God for ever, for every generation of the earth.

11It was for this reason that in this month he told you too to make a covenant with the sons of Israel on the mountain, with an oath, and to sprinkle blood on them to ratify the terms of the covenant, 9 Lit. ‘…on them because of all the words of the covenant’. which the Lord made 10 Alternative reading ‘I will make’. with them for ever. 12And this provision is written there for you to observe continually, namely, that you should never eat any blood of wild animals or birds or cattle as long as the earth lasts; 11 Lit. ‘during all the days of the earth’. and anyone who does eat the blood of wild animals or cattle or birds at any time, 11 Lit. ‘during all the days of the earth’. he and his offspring 12 Lit. ‘seed’. shall be uprooted from the land. 13Command the sons of Israel never to eat any blood at all, so that their names and their descendants 12 Lit. ‘seed’. may be before the Lord our God continually. 14And for this law there is no time-limit: it is for ever. They shall observe it in every generation, so that regularly every day they may make atonement on their 13 Alternative reading ‘your’. behalf with blood before the altar: in the morning and in the evening they shall seek forgiveness on their 14 Alternative readings ‘your’ and ‘its’. behalf perpetually before the Lord, that they may keep it and not be rooted up.

15And he gave Noah and his sons a sign that there should never again be a flood on the earth. 16He set his bow in the cloud as a sign of the eternal covenant that there should never again be a flood on the earth to destroy it. 17That is why it is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets that they should celebrate the feast of weeks in this month once a year – so as to renew the covenant each year. 18And this whole festival was always celebrated in heaven from the day of creation till Noah's days (for twenty-six jubilees and five weeks of years); and Noah and his sons observed it for seven jubilees and a week of years, till the day of Noah's death, but after Noah's death his sons became corrupt and ate blood, till the days of Abraham. 19Yet Abraham observed it, and Isaac and Jacob and his children observed it, till your days; but in your days the sons of Israel forgot it, till I restored it to them 15 Alternative reading ‘till you restored it’. at this mountain. 20Command the sons of Israel, then, to observe this festival in every generation as a commandment binding on them: on one day 16 So the text, literally translated. The meaning, however, is probably ‘on the first day (of the week), in this month, every year’ – i.e. always on a Sunday (as we would say in English). in the year, in this month, shall they celebrate the festival. 21It is the feast of weeks and the feast of first-fruits, a twofold and double festival: celebrate it, then, as you have been instructed. 17 Lit. ‘according to what is written and engraved concerning it’. 22For I have written in the book of the first law, which I have written for you, that you should celebrate it at its proper time, on one day 16 So the text, literally translated. The meaning, however, is probably ‘on the first day (of the week), in this month, every year’ – i.e. always on a Sunday (as we would say in English). in the year, and I have explained to you the details of its sacrifices, so that the sons of Israel may remember it and celebrate it in every generation, in this month, on one day 16 So the text, literally translated. The meaning, however, is probably ‘on the first day (of the week), in this month, every year’ – i.e. always on a Sunday (as we would say in English). in every year.

23And on the new moon of the first month, and on the new moon of the fourth month, and on the new moon of the seventh month, and on the new moon of the tenth month are the days of remembrance, festive days also, marking 18 Lit. ‘in’. the four divisions of the year: these are written and ordained as a testimony for ever. 24And Noah observed them himself and ordained them as feasts for future generations, 19 Lit. ‘And Noah ordained them for himself as feasts for the generations for ever’. so that they have become a memorial to him. 25On the new moon of the first month he was told to make himself an ark, and on that day too the earth was dry and he opened the window of the ark and saw the 26earth: on the new moon of the fourth month the mouths of the depths of the abyss below were closed: on the new moon of the seventh month the mouth of the depths of the earth was opened, 27and the waters began to descend into it; and on the new moon of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were seen, and Noah rejoiced. 28So it was that he observed them and ordained them as feasts 20 Lit. ‘he ordained them for himself as feasts’. as a memorial for ever; and so they are ordained.

29And they are on record 21 Lit. ‘And they placed them’. on the heavenly tablets: there is an interval of thirteen weeks between each feast and the next, 22 Lit. ‘each has thirteen weeks, from one to another is their memorial’. from the first to the second, from the second to the third, and from the third to the fourth. 30This makes in all fifty-two weeks, 23 Lit. ‘And all the days of the commandment are fifty-two weeks of days’. and together they make up a complete year: thus is it engraved and ordained on the heavenly tablets. 31And no year ever exceeds it. 32Command, then, the sons of Israel to observe the years according to this reckoning – three hundred and sixty-four days; and these shall make up a complete year. And they shall not change the times of its days or its feasts (for everything must follow in its appointed place); and they shall not leave out any day or pass over any feast. 33But if they neglect the proper order and fail to observe them as he commanded them, then all their seasons will get out of order and the sequence of the year will be disturbed. 24 The above is a free (perhaps over-free) rendering of a very difficult passage, made even more difficult by the inclusion of an obvious dittograph. Charles's original for verses 32b and 33 ran, ‘And they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts. But if they do neglect and do not observe them according to his commandment, then they will disturb all their seasons, and the years will be dislodged from this order, [and theywill disturb the seasons and the years will be dislodged] and they will neglect their ordinances’. 34Yet all the sons of Israel will forget and be ignorant of the progression of the years: 25 Lit. ‘and will not find the path of the years’. they will forget new moon and festival and sabbath, and so go wrong about the order of the years. 35For I know, and I tell you now, and it is not something I have imagined; for the book lies written before me, and on the heavenly tablets the division of the days is ordained, so that they should not forget the feasts of the covenant and keep 26 Lit. ‘walk according to’. the feasts of the Gentiles, and show themselves equally misguided and ignorant. 36There will be those who make careful observations of the moon (despite the fact that it upsets the seasons and comes in from year to year ten days too soon). 37Thus the years will come to them all wrong: they will make the day of testimony a day of no consequence 27 Lit. ‘a day despised’. and an ordinary 28 Lit. ‘unclean’. day a feast day; and they will mix up all the days, the holy with the ordinary, 28 Lit. ‘unclean’. and the ordinary 28 Lit. ‘unclean’. with the holy, and go wrong about the months and sabbaths and feasts and jubilees. 38This is why I am giving you this command and solemn warning, so that you may pass it on to them; for after your death your sons will upset everything through not making the length of the year three hundred and sixty-four days only, and so they will go wrong about the new moons and seasons and sabbaths and festivals; and they will eat all kinds of flesh with the blood still in it. 29 Lit. ‘all kinds of blood with all kinds of flesh’.

Notes:

1 Alternative reading ‘on the tenth day’.

2 Alternative reading ‘in that land’.

3 Lit. ‘all winged things’.

4 Some MSS add ‘and cattle’.

5 Lit. ‘flesh with its life, with the blood’.

6 Lit. ‘the life of all flesh’.

7 Lit. ‘your blood in your lives’.

8 So Charles on the basis of Gen. ix. 5 . The MSS read ‘everyone’.

9 Lit. ‘…on them because of all the words of the covenant’.

10 Alternative reading ‘I will make’.

11 Lit. ‘during all the days of the earth’.

12 Lit. ‘seed’.

13 Alternative reading ‘your’.

14 Alternative readings ‘your’ and ‘its’.

15 Alternative reading ‘till you restored it’.

16 So the text, literally translated. The meaning, however, is probably ‘on the first day (of the week), in this month, every year’ – i.e. always on a Sunday (as we would say in English).

17 Lit. ‘according to what is written and engraved concerning it’.

18 Lit. ‘in’.

19 Lit. ‘And Noah ordained them for himself as feasts for the generations for ever’.

20 Lit. ‘he ordained them for himself as feasts’.

21 Lit. ‘And they placed them’.

22 Lit. ‘each has thirteen weeks, from one to another is their memorial’.

23 Lit. ‘And all the days of the commandment are fifty-two weeks of days’.

24 The above is a free (perhaps over-free) rendering of a very difficult passage, made even more difficult by the inclusion of an obvious dittograph. Charles's original for verses 32b and 33 ran, ‘And they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts. But if they do neglect and do not observe them according to his commandment, then they will disturb all their seasons, and the years will be dislodged from this order, [and theywill disturb the seasons and the years will be dislodged] and they will neglect their ordinances’.

25 Lit. ‘and will not find the path of the years’.

26 Lit. ‘walk according to’.

27 Lit. ‘a day despised’.

28 Lit. ‘unclean’.

29 Lit. ‘all kinds of blood with all kinds of flesh’.

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