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abundance of honey." The country is a commercial one as well : it handles the gold and precious stones and spices brought in by the Arabs; it has convenient harbours at Askalon, Gaza, Joppa, and Ptolemais; the Jordan is useful for irrigation; and it owes much to the natural defences of its narrow passes, overhanging rocks, and deep ravines. Such is the smiling picture of Palestine given by this writer of the first century before Christ.
The disquisition on the Law put into the mouth of Eleazar paints it as "an impregnable rampart and wall of iron, that we might not mingle at all with any of the other nations, but remain pure in body and soul, free from all vain imaginations, worshipping the one Almighty God above the whole creation.' Its disciplinary ordinances are all directed to impress virtue and righteousness on the heart of Israel. Thus the clean animals in their habits present an image of peace and holiness, while the unclean are symbolic of a wild and tyrannous character. The division of the hoof” and “the separation of the claws” remind us of man's duty and privilege to discriminate between evil and good in every action, and to abhor the promiscuous sexual intercourse of the Gentiles. “The chewing of the cud is a parable of man's gift of memory, the power he can exercise of remembering the Divine Presence and energy morning, noon and night. The symbols on the garments and on the door-posts of the Jew are likewise, as it were, God's expedient to keep His people mindful of Him. Above all, the sacrifices always of tame animals and never of wild, had its own deep symbolism, "for,” said Eleazar, "he who offers a sacrifice makes an offering also of his own soul in all its moods.”
One can realize how eagerly the nobler souls of heathenism must have turned from their polluted rites and contending philosophies to so pure and rational a conception of God and Duty.
With regard to the seventy-two gnomic answers
of the elders to Ptolemy, they need scarcely detain us. Their wisdom is that of the Proverbs; the greatness of God and the littleness of man is their keynote, and one seems to know the answer before the question is ended. Thus when the King asked,
What is the highest form of glory?” the ans was, “To honour God, and this is not done with gifts and sacrifices, but with purity of soul and holy conviction, since all things are governed and fashioned by God in accordance with His will; of this purpose you are in constant possession, as all men can see from your achievements in the past and in the present."
Some of the answers are of a domestic character; thus the way for a husband to live amicably with his wife is " by recognizing that women are by nature headstrong, and energetic in the pursuit of their own desires, and subject to sudden changes of opinion through fallacious reasoning, and their nature is essentially weak.”
The object of this part of the letter is, of course, to magnify the intellectual power and moral insight of the Jews. Thus heathen readers were prepared by Aristeas for the study of the Old Testament Scriptures by a picture of the extravagant generosity that Ptolemy showed the descendants of the patriarchs, by an attractive account of their outward worship, by a panegyric of the purity and truth of their teaching, and by an elaborate exhibition of their intellectual readiness and moral discernment.
Note.-S.P.C.K. edition, by Thackeray (1917).
THE BOOKS OF ADAM AND EVE
The Greek “ Apocalypse of Moses” embodied a mass of legend relating to Adam after the expulsion from Paradise. It was translated with the addition of further legendary matter into the Latin "Life of Adam and Eve." With Christian interpolations it was translated into many languages, and, united with the story of the Holy Rood,
was a popular book both in East and West in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The original work was certainly Jewish, the Christian additions being obvious patches.
It is always difficult to date a work that contains no allusions to historical events. The best authorities are hesitating. Prof. Host thought it might have been written any time during the first three Christian centuries. Mr. L. S. A. Wells places it between A.D. 60 and 300, and as it contains no anti-Christian polemic considers it was more probably written in the earlier years of that period by a Jew of the Dispersion. The Latin "Life" would not be much later.
The "Apocalypse" begins with Eve's dream about the death of Abel, but the “Life” tells first of the penance of Adam and Eve, standing up to their necks in the water of Jordan. It has the quaint fancy that the swimming creatures at Adam's invitation came and mourned with him. Satan then comes and persuades Eve to leave the water, and in answer to her rebuke recounts the story of his fall, how his rebellion had followed God's command that the angels should worship His new-made creature man :
Worship the image of God as the Lord God hath commanded.” Eve bears Cain, her birth-pangs being assuaged by two angels and two virtues, and "at once the babe ran, and bore a blade of grass in his hand, and took it to his mother."
Then the "Apocalypse" begins, and tells of Eve's dream and of the murder of Abel, and the birth of Seth and Adam's thirty sons and thirty daughters. The account of Adam's vision here follows in the “Life,” which is a prophetic and apocalyptic passage, with Christian additions. And last comes the pathetic scene of the death of Adam : he recounts to Seth as he lies in pain how the Lord had said,
Since thou hast abandoned My covenant I have brought upon the body seventy-two strokes; the trouble of the first stroke is a pain of the eyes, the second stroke an affection of the hearing. He sends Eve and Seth towards Paradise to bring him “of the tree out of which the oil floweth, and on the way Seth is assailed by the serpent. Outside Paradise the Angel Michael tells them that in no wise can the oil be given till the last days, and that Adam must die in six days. So they go back bearing herbs of fragrance, nard, crocus, calamus, and cinnamon. When they reach home Adam bids them call all his children and grandchildren together that Eve may tell them the story of their fall. In her account she tells how the devil poured on the forbidden fruit “ the poison of his wickedness, which is lust, the root and beginning of every sin," and how Adam departed from Paradise bearing fragrant herbs for incense to offer to God, and seed to sow for his food.
And Eve said, How is it that thou diest, and I live, or how long have I to live after thou art dead ? Tell me !” And Adam saith, “ Reck not of this, for thou tarriest not after me, but even both of us are to die together. And you shall be laid in my place. But when I die anoint me, and let no man touch me till the angel of the Lord shall speak somewhat concerning me. For God will not forget me, but will seek His own creature.”
When Adam dies Eve sees him borne away by the chariot of the Seraphim, and the angels praying for his pardon, and at length he is borne to rest in the third heaven. His body is transferred to Paradise by the Lord Himself together with that of Abel, and prepared for burial. He is buried in the place where God found the dust. And God called and said, 'Adam, Adam.' And the body answered from the grave and said, 'Here am I, Lord.' And God saith to him: 'I told thee that earth thou art, and to earth shalt thou return. Again I promise thee the Resurrection. I will raise thee up in the Resurrection, with every man who is of thy seed."
In six days Eve also dies, but before death she prays to be buried with Adam : “ Just as in our transgression we were both led astray and transgressed Thy command but were not separated—even so, Lord, do not separate us now.” So the angels came and buried her with Adam and Abel.
The most striking thing in these legends is the extremely crude and anthropomorphic ideas of God.
goes far beyond the primitive records of Genesis, and shows what the Jewish public appreciated, in spite of the elaborate spiritualizing of Old Testament conceptions that had gone on in Alexandria.
The teaching about the Future Life, the Resurrection, the Judgement, and the state of departed souls in the third heaven is that of later Judaism.
The book is full of the poetry that the dying figure of Adam cannot fail to evoke, and there are many sayings in it about death and life which by their naive simplicity touch the roots of human feeling. It is from this book that Mr. Binyon has drawn the materials for his striking poem, “The Death of Adam.”
Note.-The Book is most accessible in Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Vol. II. (Wells).