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

Chapter IV

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Text Commentary

1And I, Baruch, said, Behold, my lord, you have shown me some great and wonderful things; and now show me all things for the Lord's sake. 2And the angel said to me, Come let us go through it. 1 It would seem that the entry to the third heaven is to be located here, but that the descriptive details have somehow fallen out of the text. Cp. n1 to chap. x. 〈And I went〉 with the angel from there about a hundred and eighty-five days' journey. 2 Reading ὡς ὁϱάσεως πλέθϱα σ´ for ὡς ὡϱάσεως πέθϱας (i.e. nearly four miles). 3And he showed me a plain and a serpent, which appeared to be two hundred plethra in length. 3 Text ‘Samuel’: cp. ix. 7. And he showed me Hades; and it looked dark and god-forsaken. 4And I said, Who is this dragon, and who is the cruel creature round him? 5And the angel said, The dragon is the one who eats the bodies of those who live wicked lives, and he depends on them for sustenance. 6And this is Hades, which itself is very like him, in that it drinks about a cubit out of the sea, and yet the level of the sea does not go down at all as a result. 7Baruch said, And how is this? And the angel said, Listen, the Lord God made three hundred and sixty rivers, of which the most important are Alphias, Abyrus, and the Gericus; and it is because of these that the level of the sea does not go down. 8And I said, Show me, I pray you, which tree it was that led Adam astray. And the angel said to me, It was the vine, which the angel Sammael 3 Text ‘Samuel’: cp. ix. 7. planted, and the Lord God was angry about it and cursed him and his plant; and for this reason he forbade Adam to touch it, and that was why the devil was roused to envy and deceived him through his vine. 9[And I, Baruch, said, Since then the vine has been the cause of so much evil, and is under the judgement of the curse of God, and brought about the destruction of the first created man, how is it that it is now so useful? 10And the angel said, A good question. When God brought the flood upon the earth, and destroyed all mankind 4 Lit. ‘flesh’. and four hundred and nine thousand giants, and the water rose fifteen cubits above the highest mountains, then the water entered Paradise and destroyed every flower there; but it dislodged the vine 5 Lit. ‘the shoot of the vine’. from its place inside Paradise altogether and thrust it out. 11And when the earth appeared out of the water, and Noah came out of the ark, he began to plant some of the plants he found. 12And he found a shoot of the vine 6 Lit. ‘the shoot’. and picked it up and asked himself, What is it? 13And I came and told him about it. And he said, Shall I plant it, or what shall I do? If Adam was destroyed because of it, I have no desire to incur God's anger through it. And so saying he prayed that God would reveal to him what to do about it. 14He prayed earnestly and wept for forty days; and when he had finished his prayer he said, Lord, I entreat thee to reveal to me what to do about this plant. 15And God sent his angel Sarasael and said to him, Up, Noah, and plant the shoot, for these are the Lord's words,

Its bitterness shall be changed into sweetness, And its curse shall become a blessing, And what is produced from it shall become the blood of God.

And as it was through it that the human race was condemned, so again through Jesus Christ, the Immanuel, will they be restored in him and gain entry into Paradise.] 16But you must realize, Baruch, that just as it was through this very tree that Adam was condemned and divested of the glory of God, so men who now drink 7 Reading πίνοντες for δϱω̂ντες. the wine that comes from it without moderation are worse transgressors than Adam, and are far from the glory of God and on the road to eternal fire. 17For 〈no〉 good comes out of it. Those who drink to excess are led astray in all sorts of ways: 8 Lit. ‘…excess do these things’. brother has no pity for brother, nor father for son, nor children for parents: from drinking 9 Reading πόσεως for πτώσεως. wine come all evils – murders, adulteries, fornications, perjuries, thefts, and such like; and nothing good is achieved by it.

Notes:

1 It would seem that the entry to the third heaven is to be located here, but that the descriptive details have somehow fallen out of the text. Cp. n1 to chap. x.

2 Reading ὡς ὁϱάσεως πλέθϱα σ´ for ὡς ὡϱάσεως πέθϱας (i.e. nearly four miles).

3 Text ‘Samuel’: cp. ix. 7.

4 Lit. ‘flesh’.

5 Lit. ‘the shoot of the vine’.

6 Lit. ‘the shoot’.

7 Reading πίνοντες for δϱω̂ντες.

8 Lit. ‘…excess do these things’.

9 Reading πόσεως for πτώσεως.

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