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THE SACRED BOOKS AND 
EARLY LITERATURE OF 
THE EAST 

WITH HISTORICAL SURVEYS OF THE CHIEF 
WRITINGS OF EACH NATION 


Translations, Bibliographies, etc., by the following 
Leading Orientalists: 

IN AMERICA: 

MORRIS JASTROW, LL.D., Professor of Semitic Languages, University of Penn¬ 
sylvania; JAMES H. BREASTED, LL.D., Professor of Egyptology, University of 
Chicago; CHARLES C. TORREY, D.D., Professor of Semitic Languages, Yale 
University; A. V. W. JACKSON, LL.D., Professor of Indo-Iranian, Columbia Uni¬ 
versity; CHARLES R. LANMAN, LL.D., Professor of Sanskrit, Harvard University; 
Rev. CHARLES F. AIKEN, S.T.D., Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Catholic 
University; FRIEDRICH HIRTH, LL.D., Professor of Chinese, Columbia Uni- 
versity; Rev. WILLIAM E. GRIFFIS, D.D., former Professor at the Imperial 
University, Tokio. 

IN EUROPE: 

E. A. W. BUDGE, F.S.A., Director of Egyptology in the British Museum; Sir 
GASTON MASPERO, D.CX., Member of the Royal Institute of France; Rev. A. H. 
SAYCE, LL.D., Professor of Comparative Philology, Oxford University; W. 
FLINDERS-PETRIE, LL.D., Professor of Egyptology, University College, London; 
STEPHEN LANGDON, Ph.D., Professor of Assyriology, Oxford University; Sir 
ERNEST SATOW, LL.D., G.C.M.G., British Minister to Japan; H. OLDENBERG, 
LL.D., Professor of Sanskrit, Kiel University; T. W. RHYS-DAVIDS, LL.D., 
Librarian of the Royal Asiatic Society; ARMINIUS VAMBERY, LL.D., Professor 
of Oriental Languages, University of Budapest. 

IN ASIA: 

Sir M. COOMARA SWAMY, Legislative Council of Ceylon; ROMESH CHUNDER 
DUTT, C.I.E., Author of the History of Civilization in Ancient India; DARAB 
D. P. SANJANA, Educational Society of Bombay; VISCOUNT KENCHO SUYE- 
MATSU, LL.M., Japanese Minister of the Interior; SHEIK FAIZ-ULLAH-BHAI, 
Head Master of the Schools of Anjuman-i-Islam; RALPH T. GRIFFITH, President 
Benares College, India; JIVANJI JAMSHEDJI MODI, Fellow of Bombay Uni¬ 
versity, Officier de lAcademie Frangaise. 


Under the editorship of a staff of specialists directed by 

Prof. CHARLES F. HORNE, Ph.D. 


PARKE, AUSTIN, AND LIPSCOMB, iNC. 
NEW YORK LONDON 



This Volume is one of a complete set of the Sacred Books 
and Early Literature of the East, consisting of fourteen 
volumes. In Volume I of the series will be found a cer¬ 
tificate as to the limitation of the edition and the registered 
number of this set. 


Copyright, 1917, 

Parke, Austin, and Lipscomb, Inc. 



THE SCROLL OF THE LAW. 

A newly found, very ancient copy of the first Five Books of 
the Bible, with its Preserver the Hebrew High Priest of the 
Samaritans. 








THE SACRED BOOKS AND EARLY 
LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


VOLUME III 

ANCIENT HEBREW 


THE EARLIEST REMAINS 
THE TALMUD 


In Translations by 

The American Revision Committee of the Holy Bible; W. 
H. Bennett, Litt.D., Professor of Hebrew in New College, London; 
H. Poland, former Professor of Hebrew in Maimonides College; Rev. 
Joseph Barclay, LL.D., Bishop of Jerusalem. 

With a Brief Bibliography by 
A. W. Oko, Librarian of Hebrew Lfnion College, Cincinnati. 


With an Historical Survey and Descriptions by 

Prof. CHARLES F. HORNE, Ph.D. 


PARKE, AUSTIN, AND LIPSCOMB, iNC. 
NEW YORK LONDON 



"Let there be light ."—GENESIS I, 3. 


"There never was a false god, nor was there ever 
really a false religion, unless you call a child a 
false man. ”—MAX MULLER. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME III 


ANCIENT HEBREW 

Introduction—T he Old Testament and the Tal¬ 
mud: The Two Mighty Treasure-Houses of 

Hebraic Thought. 1 

I.—The Earliest Remains. 8 

An Antediluvian Chant (age unknown) . 12 

Biblical Songs (about 1200 B.c.) . 13 

The Moabite Stone (850 B.c.) .... 19 

The Inscription of Siloam (before 587 B.C.). 21 

THE TALMUD 

II.—The Mishna, or Elder Talmud (219 a.d.) .. 25 

On Blessings. 27 

On the Sabbath . 40 

On the Day of Atonement. 52 

The Sanhedrin 69 

The Fathers. 97 

III. —The Gemara, OR Younger Talmud (425 a.d.). 123 

The Deliverance from Egypt. 124 

The Ten Plagues 135 

The Death of Moses. 142 

The Book of Esthei 145 

King Solomon the Wise. 167 

IV. —The Haggada, or Tales and Traditions of the 

Talmud. 181 

Legends and Parables. 183 

Tales of the Rabbis. 208 

Proverbs and Sayings of the Rabbis .... 240 

On Biblical History. 281 

V.—The Halacha, or Rules of the Law. 341 

THE BARAITHA 

VI.—The Tabernacle. 371 

VII.—Bibliography. 397 
















ILLUSTRATIONS IN VOLUME III 


FACING PAGE 

The Scroll of the Law . Frontispiece 

The Most Sacred Spot of the Hebraic Faith . 128 

The Tomb of Ezra, a Jewish Shrine of the "Captivity". 224 

An Egyptian Record of Joseph's Seven-Year Famine. 304 








SACRED BOOKS AND EARLY 
LITERATURE 

OF 

THE ANCIENT HEBREWS 


INTRODUCTION 

THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE TALMUD: THE TWO MIGHTY 
TREASURE-HOUSES OF HEBRAIC THOUGHT 

I T can not be too often emphasized that the chief ancient 
literature of the Hebrews is the Old Testament of the 
Bible. The Christian world has so completely adopted 
this volume as its own that the unprofessional reader is apt 
to overlook the Bible's original character. It is not one 
book, but a collection of books. It includes every written 
word that the Hebrews preserved from their period of inde¬ 
pendence; that is, from the days before Nebuchadrezzar 
carried them captive to Babylon (587 B.C.). It also includes 
the chief books of the later priestly State which flourished 
under the protection of the Persian conquerors and submitted 
to the domination of Home. Hence the Bible is not merely 
a part of Hebrew literature, but the whole of that literature 
from its beginnings down to about 200 B.C. 

The wonderful books of the Bible are, fortunately, within 
easiest access to every modem reader; and hence are not 
reprinted in this present series. But the reader who seeks 
to take with us a comprehensive view of the entire teach¬ 
ings and writings of the mysterious and meditative East 
must keep in mind that the Bible stands preeminent among 
them all. 

This would be tme even if we set aside for the moment our 
faith in the direct inspiration of the words of the Bible 
and looked upon it, as we have here looked upon other litera¬ 
tures, solely as the surviving record of the thought and his- 



2 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


tory of an antique race. Viewed in this way, the Bible 
presents us with, first, a clear statement of the Hebrews' 
religious belief as to God, the creation, and the duties of 
man toward God and toward his fellows. This is recorded 
in manuscripts, some of which may date back to Moses (1325 
B.C.), but which are chiefly of the centuries ranging between 
800 and 400 B.c. They are thus a voice speaking from the 
time of Assyria's power and of Egypt's decay. They tell 
with splendid solemnity of God's eternal existence and uni¬ 
versal power. They have conceived also his absolute right¬ 
eousness and the wisdom and tenderness of his care for man. 
They had thus reached a far higher vision than the Assyrians, 
or even than the Egyptians at their best. Tme, the Hebrews 
still thought of the imiversal deity as being chiefly inter¬ 
ested in the Hebrew people. They accounted themselves a 
"chosen race." But this was little more than an expression 
of the racial confidence that they were better than other 
nations, and hence fitter to be "chosen "— a state of faith 
not wholly unknown among modem peoples. 

Another momentous thought in which this Hebraic teach¬ 
ing rose beyond any of its contemporaries was its close asso¬ 
ciation of religion and morality, its realization that an om¬ 
nipotent God would demand of men not only reverence for 
him, but consideration for their fellow men. Not always 
do the early Hebraic books rise to this far-visioned view of 
the identity of justice and divinity. Yet on the whole the 
teaching is there. And one of the proudest Jewish claims 
for the Talmud, their later sacred book, is that in the Talmud 
this thought, that our duty to our fellows is identical with 
our duty to God, stands out clearly as the chief teaching. In 
the words of Rabbi Hillel, the great foremnner of Jesus: 
"What is displeasing to thee, do not to thy fellow men: 
that is the whole Law." Surely such words are but one step 
removed from the teaching of Jesus: "Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself." Yet it was the taking of that one 
step that separated Jesus from his race. As a matter of 
literature, that step still separates the Old Testament and 
the Talmud from the Gospels of Christianity. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


3 


In addition to soaring thus above the religious thought 
of surrounding nations, the books of the Old Testament gave 
to the Hebrews a knowledge of their own history far exceed¬ 
ing that of other races. The books record the Hebrews' 

descent from the old Babylonians, or rather Akkadians, of 
the city of Ur, their joumeyings in Palestine and Egypt and 
Sinai, their building of a strong kingdom under David, and 
its gradual decline and overthrow. This tale has recently 
been corroborated at many points by comparison with the 
rediscovered records of Babylon and Egypt. Historically 
speaking, its narrative may possibly be exaggerated in parts, 
but it is based on proved facts. 

It is usual to discriminate two other classes of books 
among those which constitute the Hebrew scriptures. These 
are the prophetic books, which are sermons urging the 

people to purer and firmer obedience to God, and the poetic 
books. The latter, from the literary standpoint, possess 
especial interest. The Hebrews had developed a poetic art 
superior to that of any of their neighbors; and so high and 
thoughtful was the spirit of their songs that the Book of 
Psalms holds probably as potent an influence on the lives of 
men to-day as it has ever done. 

For yet another reason the songs of the Bible call for 
notice here. Some of them are very old, obviously older 
than the books in which they are included. It has been 
the general experience of mankind that poetry will be kept 

alive in memory from an earlier era than prose; for the latter 
requires written books for its preservation. No one would 
presume to speak positively in saying that one part of the 

Bible is the oldest; but of some of these songs we may at least 

say that the evidence of their age is clear and that they 

are probably contemporary with the events they celebrate. 
Hence they rank among the earliest records of Hebrew 

thought; and on this groimd we have reprinted one or two 

of them at the beginning of our volume. 

When we look outside of the Bible for the writings of this 
early Hebrew period we are amazed at their scarcity. 
Many other books must have been composed, many tablets 



4 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


inscribed. So complete, however, was the destruction 
wrought upon the Hebrew cities by Assyrians, Babylonians, 

Egyptians, Romans, and the gnawing tooth of time, that 
nothing except the heroically sheltered "Sacred Scriptures" 
survived — nothing, that is, except two brief inscriptions, 
trifling in themselves, valuable solely as curios, as the only 
ancient Hebrew texts outside the Bible. These are the 
Moabite stone and the Siloam inscription. Both of them 

are given here. 

When from the early Hebrew we turn to that of about 

the time of Christ, we meet that remarkable successor of the 
Old Testament, the Talmud. To this great work the main 

portion of our volume is devoted. As a matter of manu¬ 
scripts the oldest portion of the Talmud, called the Mishna, 
or the elder Talmud, was perhaps not written down imtil 
about the year A.n. 550; but wholly reliable Jewish tradi¬ 
tion tells us that it was organized and arranged by Rabbi 
Judah, who died in A.D. 219. 

Rabbi Judah is so famed for his work upon the Talmud 
that he is often called "The Rabbi," as being above all others. 
What he did was to incorporate in this official priestly series 
of treatises all the accepted religious law of his people in 
his time. The Jewish tradition is that the laws had existed 
since the time of Moses, that God gave to Moses not only the 
written law of the older Biblical books but also a number 
of imwritten laws, and that these were handed down from 
priest to priest. Thus they continued as a well-known 
verbal law until the final destruction of Jerusalem by the 
Romans and the consequent driving forth of the Jews as 
wanderers over the earth. Then Rabbi Judah saw that the 
rmwritten law was becoming confused, and he set it down 
for preservation in the elder Talmud. 

Naturally the work of Rabbi Judah was one of selection; 
there were treatises on religious themes which he did not 
accept as authoritative and did not include in his Talmud. 
There was also an ever-growing, changing mass of human 
opinion among the Jews. Hence, as the centuries passed, 
later rabbis added notes to his work, comments, criticisms. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


5 


old legends explaining the reasons for Rabbi Judah's text, 
or the meanings underlying it. After a time later genera¬ 
tions came to regard these annotations as almost as authori¬ 
tative and sacred as the first text. They were incorporated 
with it as the younger Talmud, or Gemara. Hence we have 
to-day a Talmud consisting of the Mishna and Gemara, or 
text and commentary. In this later form the Talmud dates 
from about A.D. 427, and its chief editor or compiler was 
Rabbi Asche of Babylonia. 

This brings us to the interesting fact that there are really 
two Talmuds, or two versions of it. One of these was pre¬ 
served by the rabbinical schools of Palestine, the other by 
those of Babylon. The Babylonian Talmud, owing largely 
to the labors of Rabbi Asche, is much fuller than that of 
Palestine, which is commonly called the Jerusalem Talmud. 
Hence modem readers, whether Jew or Gentile, have given 
much more consideration to the Babylonian version. It is 
the one adopted for this volume, though with occasional refer¬ 
ence to or additions from the Jemsalem version. 

There is yet another division in the Talmud. Rabbinical 
teaching discriminates sharply between its laws and its illus¬ 
trations of them, its Halacha and its Haggada. These may 
appear either in Mishna or Gemara; but each Halachoth, or 
single law, wherever found, is accepted literally and followed 
exactly. Moreover, the Halacha are always written in the 
Aramaic language. The classic Hebrew tongue had grad¬ 
ually fallen out of use among the Jews, and the mass of them 
spoke the common Syrian or Aramaic tongue. Hence when 
the Talmud has a law to lay down, it does so in the common 
speech that every man could imderstand. When it turns 
to argument and dispute and explanation, it more often em¬ 
ploys the ancient Hebrew of the Bible, the language known 
only to priest and scholar of the Talmud's days. 

Our book gives a separate section to the best known of 
the Halacha, including the directions by which Jewish holy 
days are still conducted in our time. Mainly, however, this 
volume devotes itself to the Haggada, the tales and tradi¬ 
tions of the Talmud. These, which are drawn almost wholly 



6 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


from the Gemara, form to the ordinary reader much the 
more interesting part of the Talmud. The Mishna gives 
us a mass of ceremonial laws dealing chiefly with minute 
details of religious celebration, like the book of Leviticus 
in the Bible. The Gemara preserves old legends, old be¬ 
liefs, a thousand side lights on the Bible story, ten thousand 
pictures of human nature, old but ever new. Hence it is 
to the Gemara that our present volume gives most space. 
The more celebrated treatises of the Mishna are given that 
the reader may weigh them for himself, but the bulk of the 
volume is given to the stories, proverbs, and meditations of 
the Gemara. 



THE EARLIEST REMAINS 


THE BIBLE SONGS 


"Let there be light." 

— GENESIS I, 3. 

"Fools see only the garment of the Torah [the Five Bible 
Boohs of Moses\ the more intelligent see the body, the wise see 
the soul." 


— RABBI SIMEON BEN YOHAI. 




THE EARLIEST REMAINS 

(INTRODUCTION) 

HE oldest fragments of Hebrew that have come down 
to us are some of the songs which have been incorpor¬ 
ated in the Bible. Throughout the Biblical narrative we 
come again and again to the phrase that some one "sang 
this song," and in many cases this must imply that the song 
had existed before the narrative, that the writer of the latter, 
having told of the origin of some well-known chant, then 
inserted the chant itself. Indeed, if we are to take the Bible 
with exact literalness, then the oldest words ever heard on 
earth, preserved to us from the first flash of its creation, are 
those of the stupendous command of God in the opening 
chapter of Genesis, "Let there be light." With this com¬ 
mand creation began; and under this command the progress¬ 
ive creation of higher forms and higher thought is still ad¬ 
vancing. They are the words which we have chosen as the 
motto of this series. 

The first piece of poetry we come to in the Bible, the first 
section of connected lines presented as the actual remem¬ 
bered words of a person of an earlier time, is the lament of 
Lamech, the father of Noah. This brief chant is thus offered 
us as a fragment of antediluvian poetry, preserved in mem¬ 
ory from before the deluge. As such it holds the opening 
place in this volume. The chant is certainly very old. Its 
Hebrew wording can no longer be clearly understood; our 
best Biblical scholars hesitate as to its meaning; its connec¬ 
tion with its context is so slight that legends have been 
invented to explain its sense. So that, if we accept this 
lament as the oldest piece of Hebrew literature extant, we 
may not be far astray. 

In similar fashion we can cull several other venerable 
songs from the Bible text. Most celebrated among them. 



10 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


though with no convincing literal proof of its being an actual 
contemporary of its theme, is the "Song of Moses and the 
Israelites" over the destruction of Pharaoh's army. Com¬ 
posed in words much more decisive in their evidence of age 
is the "Song of Deborah." Our most critical scholars ac¬ 
cept this latter as a very early chant, probably actually sung 
by Deborah, the prophetess and poetess, in her joy over the 
victory she describes. The song dates therefore from about 
1200 B.c. and is the first Biblical piece of which we can speak 
thus positively. Both of these splendid and vigorous paeans 
of triumph are given here to recall to Bible readers the He¬ 
brew literature at its best. In spirit, at least, those early 
songs soar far above the stiffer phrasing and exactly settled 

priestly law of the Talmud. 

Our two other specimens of the older Hebrew are drawn 
from outside the Bible, and are only noteworthy as being the 
sole fragments that have thus survived. The first is called 
the Moabite stone. It is a large flat stone or monument 
such as Babylonian and Egyptian conquerors sometimes set 
up to celebrate their victories. This one, however, was 
erected by a lesser conqueror, by Mesha, a king of Moab, 
about 850 B.C., to record his victories over the Israelites. 
Moab was the land immediately east of Palestine between 
the Dead Sea valley and the Arabian desert. The Moabites 
are often mentioned in the Bible as close akin to the Hebrews, 
being the descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew. We know 

now from Mesha's stone that they even spoke the Hebraic 
tongue. 

The stone was foimd half a century ago by Biblical ex¬ 
plorers in the Holy Land. In its remote and desolate valley 
it had been sheltered unharmed for over twenty-five cen¬ 
turies; its discovery resulted in its destruction. The neigh¬ 
boring Arabs, being impressed by eager explorers with the 
value of the stone, conceived the somewhat childish scheme 
of breaking it up so as to sell the pieces one by one. Several, 
but not all, of the resulting fragments have been rescued; 
so that now for our knowledge of the inscription we are 

partly dependent upon the rough copies of the stone taken 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


11 


by those who first saw it as it stood, after the lapse of all 
these centuries, reposing in its somber and secluded dignity. 
The other surviving Hebraic record, the Siloam inscrip¬ 
tion, is even more fitted to bring a somber smile when we con¬ 
trast its simple character with the centuries during which it 
has outlasted greater things. On the outskirts of Jerusalem, 
far back in the days of Hebrew independence, a tunnel was 
cut to carry the brook Siloam into the city; and the engineer, 
proud of his success in boring the long distance underground, 
carved within the tunnel, near its exit into the Pool of Siloam, 
the record of his work. This carving was foimd some thirty 
odd years ago by some adventurous little boys creeping up the 
tunnel from the pool. The inscription does not seem to be 
official; it is carelessly scrawled, and contains no names or 
dates. Moreover, the ages have blurred it somewhat. Yet 
the careless phrases are still readable, except for one Hebrew 
word so old that its meaning has been forgotten. 




THE EARLIEST REMAINS 


THE LAMENT OE LAMECH' 

(AN ANTEDILUVIAN CHANT) 

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; 

Ye wives of Lamech, harken unto my speech; 

For I have slain a man for wounding me, 

And a young man for bruising me:^ 

If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, 

Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. 

' This and the following Bible songs are taken from the latest form 
of the "Revised Version," 1901. They differ slightly from the Au¬ 
thorized Version of King James, as they are translated with closer 
accuracy to the Hebrew. 

^ Possibly this couplet should read as it was formerly read: "1 have 

slain a man to my wounding. And a young man to my hurt." Pos¬ 

sibly also it is really a future threat, "I will slay," etc. 

In the Bible this chant has no explanation, and no introduction, 

except the naming of Lamech and his wives and children, and then the 
phrase, "And Lamech said unto his wives." To explain the chant 
Jewish tradition later told that Lamech had slain Cain. Lamech, the 

story says, was blind and was passing through a forest with his son 

Tubal-cain, when they heard a noise as of a wild animal. The son 

guided the father as to where to aim, and Lamech discharged an arrow. 

The noise had really been made by Cain crouching in a thicket, and 

the arrow killed him. Thereat Lamech in wrath at his son struck the 

lad too heavily; or perhaps in blind anguish beating his hands together 

he caught his son's head unwittingly between his huge fists. In either 

case Tubal-cain was killed, and Lamech made this song of sorrow for 
his two victims. This story obviously does not fit with our more mod¬ 

em translation of the lines. Their wording is obscure at best. 


12 





LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


13 


SONG OF MOSES AND THE ISRAEEITES 

I will sing unto Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously: 

The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 

Jehovah is my strength and song, 

And he is become my salvation: 

This is my God, and I will praise him; 

My father's God, and I will exalt him. 

Jehovah is a man of war: 

Jehovah is his name. 

Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea; 

And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea. 

The deeps cover them: 

They went down into the depths like a stone. 

Thy right hand, O Jehovah, is glorious in power. 

Thy right hand, O Jehovah, dasheth in pieces the enemy. 

And in the greatness of thine excellency thou overthrowest 
them that rise up against thee: 

Thou sendest forth thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble. 

And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were piled up. 

The floods stood upright as a heap; 

The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. 

The enemy said, 

I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; 

My desire shall be satisfied upon them; 

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 

Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: 

They sank as lead in the mighty waters. 

Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? 

Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness. 



14 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


Fearful in praises, doing wonders? 

Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, 

The earth swallowed them. 

Thou in thy loving-kindness hast led the people that thou 
hast redeemed: 

Thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habitation. 

The peoples have heard, they tremble: 

Pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia. 

Then were the chiefs of Edom dismayed; 

The mighty men of Moab, trembling taketh hold upon them; 

All the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away. 

Terror and dread falleth upon them; 

By the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone; 

Till thy people pass over, O Jehovah, 

Till the people pass over that thou hast purchased. 

Thou wilt bring them in, and plant them in the moimtain of 
thine inheritance. 

The place, O Jehovah, which thou hast made for thee to 
dwell in. 

The sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 

Jehovah shall reign forever and ever. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


15 


THE SONG OF DEBORAH 

For that the leaders took the lead in Israel, 

For that the people offered themselves willingly, 

Bless ye Jehovah. 

Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; 

I, even I, will sing unto Jehovah; 

I will sing praise to Jehovah, the God of Israel. 

Jehovah, when thou wentest forth out of Seir, 

When thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, 

The earth trembled, the heavens also dropped. 

Tea, the clouds dropped water. 

The moimtains quaked' at the presence of Jehovah,^ 

Even yon Sinai at the presence of Jehovah, the God of Israel. 

In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, 

In the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied. 

And the travelers walked through byways.^ 

The rulers ceased in Israel, they ceased,'' 

Until that I Deborah arose. 

That I arose a mother in Israel. 

They chose new gods; 

Then was war in the gates: 

Was there a shield or spear seen 
Among forty thousand in Israel? 

My heart is toward the governors of Israel, 

That offered themselves willingly among the people:^ 

' Or, "flowed down." 

^ Or, "the caravans ceased." 

^ Hebrew, "crooked ways." 

Or, "the villages were unoccupied." 

* Or, "Ye that offered yourselves willingly among the people, bless," 



16 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


Bless ye Jehovah. 

Tell of it, ye that ride on white asses, 

Te that sit on rich carpets. 

And ye that walk by the way. 

Far from the noise of archers,® in the places of drawing 
water. 

There shall they rehearse the righteous acts of Jehovah, 

Even the righteous acts of his rule in Israel.^ 

Then the people of Jehovah went down to the gates. 

Awake, awake, Deborah; 

Awake, awake, utter a song: 

Arise, Barak, and lead away thy captives, thou son of 
Ahinoam. 

Then came down a remnant* of the nobles and the people;® 

Jehovah came down for me against'® the mighty. 

Out of Ephraim came down they whose root is in Amalek: 

After thee, Benjamin, among thy peoples; 

Out of Machir came down governors," 

And out of Zebulun they that handle the marshal's staff. 

And the princes of Issachar'^ were with Deborah; 

As was Issachar, so was Barak; 

Into the valley they rushed forth at his feet. 

By the watercourses of Reuben 
There were great resolves of heart. 

Why sattest thou among the sheepfolds. 

To hear the pipings for the flocks? 

^ Or, "Because of the voice of the archers . . . there let them re- 
’ Or, "toward his villages." 

* Or, "Then go down, O remnant, for the nobles . . . O Jehovah, 
go down for me against the mighty." Or, "then made he a remnant 
to have dominion over the nobles and the people; Jehovah made me 
have dominion over the mighty." 

’ Or, as otherwise read, "the people of Jehovah came down for me 
against (or, among) the mighty." 

Or, "among." 

" Or, "lawgivers." 

Or, "the staff of the scribe." 

Or, "my princess in Issachar." 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


17 


At the watercourses of Reuben 
There were great searchings of heart. 

Gilead abode beyond the Jordan: 

And Dan, why did he remain in ships? 

Asher sat still at the haven'"^ of the sea, 

And abode by his creeks. 

Zebulun was a people that jeoparded their lives unto the 
death. 

And Naphtali, upon the high places of the field. 

The kings came and fought; 

Then fought the kings of Canaan, 

In Taanach by the waters of Megiddo: 

They took no gain of money. 

From heaven fought the stars. 

From their courses they fought against Sisera. 

The river Kishon swept them away. 

That ancient river, the river Kishon. 

O my soul, march on with strength.'^ 

Then did the horsehoofs stamp 

By reasons of the prancings, the prancings of their strong 
ones. 

Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of Jehovah, 

Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof. 

Because they came not to the help of Jehovah, 

To the help of Jehovah against'^ the mighty. 

Blessed above women shall Jael be. 

The wife of Heber the Kenite; 

Blessed shall she be above*^ women in the tent. 

He asked water, and she gave him milk; 

She brought him butter in a lordly dish. 

She put her hand to the tent-pin. 

And her right hand to the workmen's hammer; 

And with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote through 
his head; 

Or, "shore." 

Or, "thou hast trodden down strength." 

Or, "among." 

" Or, "of." 



18 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


Tea, she pierced and struck through his temples. 

At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay; 

At her feet he bowed, he fell: 

Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.** 

Through the window she looked forth, and cried. 

The mother of Sisera cried through the lattice. 

Why is his chariot so long in coming? 

Why tarry the wheels*^ of his chariots? 

Her wise ladies answered her. 

Yea, she returned answer to herself,^** 

Have they not found, have they not divided the spoil? 

A damsel, two damsels to every man; 

To Sisera a spoil of dyed garments, 

A spoil of dyed garments embroidered. 

Of dyed garments embroidered on both sides, on the necks 
of the spoil? 

So let all thine enemies perish, O Jehovah: 

But let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth 
in his might. 

Or, "overpowered." 

Hebrew, "steps." 

Or, "Yet she repeateth her words unto herself." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


19 


THE MOABITE STONE^ 

I am Mesha of Dibon, King of Moab, son of Chemosh- 
melekh. My father reigned thirty years over Moab and I 
succeeded him, and I erected this sanctuary of Chemosh in 
Khorkhah in commemoration of my victory over hostile 
kings, because Chemosh gave me victory and vengeance over 
all my enemies. 

When Chemosh was angry with his land, Omri, King of 
Israel, held Moab in subjection for many years; and his son 
succeeded him, and he also purposed to subdue Moab. This 
was in my days. But I avenged myself upon him and upon 
his house, and Israel finally lost all power over Moab. 

"Omri annexed the land of Medeba, and for forty years, 
his reign and half his son's reign, it was occupied by Israel, 
but Chemosh restored it to Moab in my days. 

I extended and fortified Baal-meon, where I made the 
reservoir, and Kirjathaim. 

From of old the Gadites occupied the land of Ataroth; 
and the King of Israel fortified Ataroth, but I besieged and 
took it, and massacred all the population to gratify Chemosh 
and Moab. I removed thence the altar-hearth of Dawdoh^ 
and transferred it to the temple of Chemosh at Kerioth; 
and I settled in Ataroth the men of Sharon and the men of 
Makharath. 

Chemosh said to me, "Go and take Nebo from Israel"; and 
I went by night, and assaulted it from daybreak till noon, 
and I took it, and massacred all the inhabitants, seven thou- 

' This and the following translation are from Prof W. Bennett's 
book, "The Moabite Stone." The translation of King Mesha's words 
is somewhat free, being meant to carry the sense to the reader, not the 
exact phrasing. 

^ Dawdoh is a god not mentioned elsewhere, and apparently not the 
same as Jehovah. The name in its Hebrew spelling bears a striking 
similarity to "David." 




20 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


sand men and boys, and women and girls and slave-girls, 
because I had vowed to destroy it utterly in honor of Ashtor- 
Chemosh. And I took thence the altar-hearths of Jehovah 
and transferred them to the temple of Chemosh. 

Then the King of Israel fortified Jahaz, and made it his 
headquarters while he fought against me, but Chemosh drove 
him out before me. I took the fighting men of the two 
hundred clans of Moab, and led them against Jahaz and 
took it, to annex it to the territory of Dibon. 

I extended and fortified Khorkhah, providing it with walls 
and gates and towers, and a palace, and, in the midst of the 
city, reservoirs. There were no cisterns in Khorkhah, and 
I bade every householder provide a cistern in his own house. 
I used the Israelite prisoners as laborers for my public works 
at Khorkhah. 

I made the road by the Amon, and I extended and fortified 
Aroer, and Bathbamoth that had been destroyed, and Bezer 
that was in ruins. In the royal district of Dibon there were 
fifty clans, and a hundred in the newly conquered towns and 
their territory. I extended and fortified Medeba and Beth- 
diblathaim. And as for Beth-baal-meon there I placed 
shepherds . . . sheep of the land . . . and Horonaim, 
wherein dwelt . . . and . . . Chemosh said to me, "Go 
down, attack Horonaim," and I went down . . . Chemosh 
in my days, and Eleadeh whence ... and I... 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


21 


THE INSCRIPTION OF SILOAM 

... the boring. Now this was the manner of the boring. 
While yet. . .' 

The pick each toward his fellow; and while there were yet 
three cubits to strike through, the voice of each was heard 

Calling to his fellows, for there was ZDH^ in the rock 
on the right hand ... and on the day of the 

Boring, the hewers struck through each opposite his fellow, 
pick to pick, and came 

The waters from the spring to the pool, 1,200 cubits. And 
100 

Cubits was the height of the rock above the head of the 
hewers. 

' There are six lines to the inscription as here shown, but the opening 
and close of the first line are worn away. 

^ This word is not found in later Hebrew. It may mean a "crack," 
a "fissure." The borers were working inward from either end of the 
1200-cubit tunnel. Perhaps the borings did not strike each other ex¬ 
actly, but they were so near that a crack in the rock, or perhaps a 
noise, made them realize how near they were and strike through at 
the right spot. The incident was thought worth recording. 




THE TALMUD 


THE MISHNA 

(ORELDER TALMUD) 


" What is displeasing to thee, do not to thy fellow man; this 
is the whole Law, the rest is but commentary." 


.MUD. 




THE TALMUD 


THE MISHNA 

(INTRODUCTION) 

T^HE word "Talmud" means "the study," that is, the 
material to be studied. "Mishna" means the same, 
only it springs from another root-word which perhaps throws 
more emphasis on memorizing. Hence a frequent though 
fanciful derivation connects Mishna with repetition, makes 
it "the material to be repeated" and so memorized. At any 
rate the Mishna is thus emphasized as being the part of the 
Talmud "study" which is to be most studied. Let us seek 
this center within a center. 

If one looks into a Hebrew copy of the Talmud, he finds 
what to the casual reader will seem a most strange-looking 
page. In the center of it is a small spot of clearly written 
or printed text. All around this is a smaller text, a sort 
of collection of notes, disconnected, sometimes reaching far, 
far off, both in space and thought, then stopping abruptly, or 
starting off from the central thought in a new direction. On 
some pages there are but a few lines of this outer, scattered 
text. On others it crowds close and full and tiny over all 
the page, and perhaps flows onward into space beyond. The 
solid central text constitutes the Mishna, or elder Talmud. 
The wandering commentary is the Gremara, or later Talmud. 

The spirit of the Mishna is expressed in the four-square, 
concentrated character of its central spot of text. It is 
direct, rmyielding, sometimes so condensed as to be hard 
to imderstand. It flatly lays down a series of laws, quoting 
them on the authority of former rabbis, to whom it is con¬ 
stantly referring. It is Rabbi Judah's condensation not only 
of earlier-written books, but of all the rmwritten law which 

25 



26 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


he and his people believed to have come down to them from 
Moses. The Gemara, again, is like its text, free-flowing and 
argumentative and full of quaint surprises. Sometimes a 
passage will almost directly contradict another passage; and 
then a later rabbi will make a note of this and bring the two 
together, seeking to adjudicate their quarrel without contra¬ 
dicting either, harmonizing them by the most subtle and hair- 
drawn distinctions and explanations. There is matter here 
to delight the soul of the most argumentative of dialecticians. 

In our volume we have sought first to take the reader back 
to the earliest Talmud by giving him several of the Mishna 
in their original, unannotated form. The Talmud as a 
whole consists of six large "books," called familiarly by 

Hebrews, the "Six." Of these the first is called "Plants," or 
the "Order of Seeds"; for its general theme is agriculture 

in its relation to religion and to religious offerings to the 
priests. But this title only covers loosely the matter in the 
book, for the opening treatise is "On Blessings," and regu¬ 
lates the hours and the forms of prayer. Eleven treatises are 

included in the book of Order of Seeds, and the other books 

are of about equal size, so that the Talmud holds sixty-three 
of these treatises in all. The Mishna of each constitutes 
some eight or a dozen brief chapters. Some of these have 

no Gemara, while in other cases the commentary will swell 
the chapter almost to a volume by itself. 

The opening Mishna, the treatise "On Blessings," is here 
given by itself without the subsequent Gemara. We thus 
face what is presumably the earliest work of the great Rabbi 
Judah. Then follow some of the other best-known Mishna: 
that of "Sabbath," which opens the second book of the 
Talmud, that on the "Day of Atonement," that on the 
"Sanhedrin" or priestly law council, and, last of all, the 
treatise on "The Fathers," a sort of biographical record of 
the great teachers who had been passing down the law since 
the days of Moses. This includes the teachings of Hillel, 
famous as the forerunner and possible instructor of Jesus. 
Of all the Mishna this of "The Fathers" holds by far the 
most interest for a modem reader. 




THE TALMUD 


Book I, Treatise I 

ON BLESSINGS 
CHAPTER I 

Mishna 1. "From what time do we recite the Shemah' 
in the evening?" "From the hour the priests^ enter the 
temple to eat their heave offerings, until the end of the first 
watch."^ The words of E. Eleazar; but the Sages say 
"until midnight." Rabban Gamaliel says, "until the pillar 
of the mom ascend." It happened that his sons came from 
a banquet. They said to him; "We have not yet said the 
Shemah." He said to them, "If the pillar of the mom, be 
not yet ascended, you are bound to say it; and not only this, 
but all that the Sages say, 'till midnight,' they command till 
the pillar of the mom ascend." The burning of the fat and 
members they command "till the pillar of the mom ascend." 
And all offerings, which must be eaten the same day, they 
command "till the pillar of the mom ascend." If so, why 
do the Sages say "imtil midnight"? "To withhold man 
from transgression." 

Mishna 2. "From what time do we recite the Shemah in 
the morning?" When one can discern betwixt "blue and 
white," E. Eleazar says "betwixt blue and leek green." 
And it may be finished "until the sun shine forth." E. 
Joshua says "imtil the third hour."'' For such is the way 

' The Shemah is a prayer taken from the Bible. "Hear, O Israel, 
the Lord our God is one Lord," etc. (Deut. vi. 4-9, xi. 13-21; Numb. 
XV. 37-41). Evening prayer might be said after 12.30 P.M. (Acts x. 

9). 

^ Priests who were legally unclean. (Lev. xxii. 7.) 

^ The Mishna begins the night at 6 P. M., and divides it into three 
watches of four hours each. 

The Mishna begins the day at 6 A. M. The third hour is 9 A. M. 

27 



28 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


of royal princes to rise at the third hour. He who recites 

Shemah afterward loses nothing. He is like a man reading 
the Law. 

Mishna 3. The school of Shammai say that in the eve¬ 
ning all men are to recline when they recite the Shemah; 
and in the morning they are to stand up; for it is said, 
"when thou liest down and when thou risest up."^ But the 
school of Hillel say "that every man is to recite it in his 

own way"; for it is said "when thou walkest by the way."^ 

If so, why is it said, "when thou liest down and when thou 
risest up"? "When mankind usually he down, and when 
mankind usually rise up." R. Tarphon said, "I came on the 
road, and reclined to recite the Shemah according to the 
words of the school of Shammai, and I was in danger of 
robbers." The Sages said to him, "thou wast guilty against 
thyself, because thou didst transgress the words of the school 
of Hillel." 

Mishna 4. In the morning two blessings are said before 
the Shemah, and one after it; and in the evening two 
blessings before and two after it, one long and one short.® 

Where the Sages have said to lengthen, none is allowed to 
shorten; and to shorten none is allowed to lengthen: to close, 
none is allowed not to close; not to close, none is allowed to 
close. 

Mishna 5. We commemorate the departure from Egypt at 
night; said E. Eleazar, son of Azariah, "truly I am a son 

of seventy years, and was not clear that thou shouldst say 

the departure from Egypt at night until the son of Zoma 
expounded, 'that thou mayest remember the day when thou 
earnest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy 
life';’ the days of thy life are days; all the days of thy 

life include the nights." But the Sages say, "the days of 
thy life are this world; all the days of thy life include the 

days of the Messiah." 

^ Deut. vi. 7. 

^ A long blessing begins and ends with "Blessed art Thou, O Lord"; 
a short blessing only ends with these words. 

’ Deut. xvi. 3. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


29 


CHAPTER II 

1. "If one who is reading in the Law when the time comes 

for praying intends it in his heart?" "He is free." "But 
if not?" "He is not free." "At the end of the sections 
one salutes out of respect, and responds; but in the middle of 
a section he salutes from fear, and responds." Such are the 

words of R. Mair. B. Judah says, "In the middle he salutes 
from fear, and responds out of respect; at the end he 

salutes out of respect, and repeats peace to every man." 

2. The intervals of the sections are between the first bless¬ 

ing and the second — between the second and "Hear, O 
Israel"; between "Hear" and "it shall come to pass;"* 

between "and it shall come to pass" and "and he said";^ be¬ 
tween "and he said" and "it is true and certain."*® Said R. 

Judah, "between 'and he said' and 'it is true and certain,' 

none is to pause."R. Joshua, the son of Korcha, said, "Why 
does the section "Hear," etc., precede "and it shall come to 
pass"? "That one may take on himself the kingdom of 

heaven, before he take on himself the yoke of the command¬ 
ments." Why does the section "and it shall come to pass" 
precede "and he said"? "Because 'and it shall come to 

pass' may be practised by day and by night;" but 'and he 

said,' etc., only by day."'^ 

3. He who recites the Shemah so as not to be audible to 

his own ears is legally free.'^ R. Jose says "he is not 

legally free." "If he has said it without grammar and pro- 
mmciation?" R. Jose says "he is legally free." R. Judah 
says "he is not legally free." "If he said it irregularly?" 

"He is not legally free." "In recitation he mistook?" 

*Deut. xi. 13-21. 

■'Numb. XV. 37-41. 

Because in Jer. x. 10 it is written, "But the Lord is the true 

God," etc. 

" Deut. xi. 19. 

Because it says, "that ye may look upon it," i.e., "the fringe," 

Numb. XV. 39. 

When the expressions "free" and "not free" are used, they refer 
to the decisions of the Levitical Law. So also is it with the expressions 
"clean" and "unclean." 



30 


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"He must recommence from the place where he mistook." 

4. Laborers may recite the Shemah on the top of a tree, 
or of a wall, but they are not allowed to do so with the 
prayer.'"^ 

5. A bridegroom is exempted from reciting the Shemah 

on the first night of marriage, and, even until the expiration 
of the Sabbath if the marriage be not complete. It happened 
that Rabban Gamaliel recited on the first night. His dis¬ 

ciples said to him, "Hast thou not taught us, our master, that 
a bridegroom is exempted from reciting Shemah on the first 
night?" He said to them, "I will not hear you, to deprive 

myself of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven even one hour." 

6. He (R. Gamaliel) bathed on the first night of his 

wife's death. His disciples said to him, "Hast thou not 

taught us, our master, that a mourner is forbidden to bathe?" 

He said to them, "I am not like all other men; I am 

infirm." 

7. When his slave Tabbi died, he received visits of con¬ 
dolence. His disciples said to him, "Hast thou not taught 

us, our master, that visits of condolence are not to be received 
for slaves?" He said to them, "My slave Tabbi was not 

like all other slaves; he was upright." 

8. The bridegroom who wishes to recite the Shemah on 

the first night may recite it. R. Simeon, the son of Gamaliel, 
said, "not every one who wishes to affect the pious reputa¬ 
tion can affect it." 


CHAPTER III 

1. He whose dead lies before him is exempted from recit¬ 
ing the Shemah — from the prayer — and from the phylac¬ 
teries.'^ Those who carry the bier, and those who relieve 
them, and those who relieve the relief — those who go before 
the bier, and those who follow it, who are required for the 
bier — are exempted from reciting the Shemah. But those 

“ I.e., the eighteen blessings called "Amidah." 

'^Phylacteries consist of texts of Scripture (Exod. xiii. 2-10, 11-17; 
Deut. vi. 4-9, 13-22) written on parchment and enclosed in a leather 
box. They are bound by thongs round the left arm and forehead. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


31 


not required for the bier are bound to recite it. Both parties 
are exempted from the prayer. 

2. When they have buried the dead, and return, if they 
have time to begin and end the Shemah before they reach 
the rows of mourners, they must begin; if not, they must not 
begin. Of those standing in the rows, the inner mourners 
are exempt, but the outer ones are bound to recite the Shemah. 

3. Women, slaves, and children are exempt from reciting 
the Shemah, and also from the phylacteries; but they are 
bound in the prayer, the sign on the door-post, and the bless¬ 
ing after food. 

4. A man in his legal imcleanness is to meditate in his 
heart on the Shemah, but he is not to bless before, or after 
it. After his food he blesses, but not before it. R. Judah 
says "he blesses both before and after it." 

5. If one stand in prayer, and recollect that he is in his 
uncleanness, he is not to pause, but to shorten the prayer. 
If he has gone down into the water to bathe,'® and can go 
up, dress, and recite the Shemah before the sun shines forth, 
he is to go up, dress, and recite it. But he is not to cover 
himself with foul water, or with water holding matter in 
solution unless he has poured clean water to it. "How far 
is he to keep from foul water, or excrement?" "Four 
cubits." 

6. A man in his imcleanness with a running issue, a woman 
in her uncleanness, during separation, and she who perceives 
the need of separation, require the bath. But R. Judah 
"exempts them." 


CHAPTER IV 

1. The morning prayer may be said till noon. R, Judah 
says "until the fourth hour." The afternoon prayer until 
the evening. R. Judah says "until half the afternoon." 
The evening prayer has no limit, and the additional prayers 
may be said all day. R. Judah says "until the seventh 
hour." 

Lev. XV. 16. 



32 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


2. R. Nechooniah, son of Hakanah, used to pray when 
he entered the lecture-room, and when he went out he said 
a short prayer. The Sages said to him, "What occasion 
is there for this prayer?" He said to them, "When I 
enter I pray that no cause of offense may arise through me; 
and when I go out I give thanks for my lot." 

3. Rabban Gamaliel said, "one must daily say the eight¬ 
een prayers." R. Joshua said "a summary of the eighteen." 
R. Akivah said, "if his prayer he fluent in his mouth, he 
says the eighteen; if not, a summary of the eighteen." 

4. R. Eleazar said, "if one make his prayer fixed, his 
prayer is not supplications." R. Joshua said, "if a man 
travel in dangerous places, let him use this short prayer: 
'Save, O Lord, thy people, the remnant of Israel; at every 
stage of their journey'’ let their wants be before thee. 
Blessed art thou, O Lord, who hearest prayers.'" 

5. If one ride on an ass, he must dismount: if he can not 
dismoimt, he must turn his face; and if he can not turn his 
face, he must direct his heart toward the Holy of Holies. 

6. If one be seated in a ship, or in a carriage, or on a 
raft, he must direct his mind toward the Holy of Holies. 

7. R. Eleazar, the son of Azariah, said "the additional’* 
prayers are only to be said in a public congregation." But 
the Sages say, "if there be a public congregation, or no 
public congregation." R. Judas said in his name, "in every 
place, where there is a public congregation, individuals are 
exempted from additional prayers." 


CHAPTERV 

1. Men should not stand up to pray, except with rever¬ 
ential head. The pious of ancient days used to pause one 
hour before they began to pray, that they might direct then- 
hearts to God. Though the king salute, one must not re¬ 
spond; and though a serpent wind itself round his heel, one 
must not pause. 

Or transgression. Called "Musaph." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


33 


2. Men should mention the heavy rain in praying for the 

resurrection of the dead; and entreat for rain in the blessing 

for the year, and "the distinction between the Sabbath and 

week-day"'® is to be said in the prayer "who graciously 

bestows knowledge."^" R. Akivah said, "the distinction be¬ 
tween the Sabbath and week-day is to be said in a fourth 

prayer by itself." R. Eleazar said, "in the thanksgivings." 

3. He who says, "Thy mercies extend to a bird's nest," 
or, "for goodness be thy name remembered," or he who says, 
"we give thanks, we give thanks,"^' is to be silenced. If a 
man pass up to the ark (where the rolls of the Law are kept) 
and make a mistake, another must pass up in his stead; nor 
may he in such a moment refuse. "Where does he begin?" 
"From the beginning of the prayer in which the other made 
the mistake." 

4. He who passes up to the ark is not to answer "Amen" 
after the priests, lest his attention be distracted. If no other 
priest be present but himself, he is not to lift up his hands 
to bless the congregation. But if he be confident that he 
can lift up his hands, and then resume, he is at liberty. 

5. If a man pray, and make a mistake, it is a bad sign 
for him. If he be a representative of a congregation, it is a 
bad sign for his constituents, for a man's representative is 
like himself. They say of R. Hanina, son of Dosa, that when 
he prayed for the sick, he used to say, "this one will live," 
or "this one will die." The Sages said to him, "how do you 
know?" He said to them, "if my prayer be fluent in my 
mouth, 1 know that it is accepted; but if not, 1 know that he 
is lost." 


CHAPTER VI 

1. "How do we bless for fhiit?" "For fruit of a tree 
say, 'Who createst the fhiit of the wood,' excepting the wine. 
For wine say, 'Who createst the fruit of the vine.' For 
fruits of the eahh say, 'Who createst the fhiit of the ground,' 
excepting the morsel. For the morsel say, 'Who bringest 

Prayer called "Habdelah." As if there were two gods. 

™ Called "Chonen hada'ath." 



34 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


forth bread from the earth.' For vegetables say, 'Who 

Greatest the fruit of the ground.' R. Judah says, 'Who 

Greatest various kinds of herbs.'" 

2. He who blessed the fruits of the tree thus, "Who 
Greatest the fruits of the groimd?" "He is free." And for 
the fruits of ground said, "Who Greatest the fruits of the 
wood?" "He is not free." But, in general, if one say, 
"Who Greatest everything?" "He is free." 

3. For the thing which groweth not from the earth, say, 
"Who Greatest everything." For vinegar, unripe fruit, and 
locusts, say "everything." For milk, cheese, and eggs, say 
"everything." R. Judah says, "whatever it be, which had 
its origin in a curse, is not to be blessed." 

4. If a man have before him many kinds of fruits? R. 

Judah says, "if there be among them of the seven^^ kinds. 

Mentioned Dent. viii. 8. The Jews make a distinction between Bio- 
curim, the fruits of the soil in their natural state, and Therumoth, 
the fruits in a prepared state, such as oil, flour, and wine. The first 

fruits were always brought to Jerusalem with great pomp and 
display. 

The Talmud says that all the cities which were of the same course of 
priests gathered together into one of the cities which was a priestly 
station, and they lodged in the streets. In the morning he who was 
chief among them said, "Arise, let us go up to Zion to the House of 
the Lord our God." An ox went before them with gilded horns, and 
an olive crown was on his head. This ox was intended for a peace¬ 
offering to be eaten by the priests in the court of the sanctuary. The 

pipe played before the procession until it approached Jerusalem. When 

they drew near to the holy city, the first fruits were "crowned" and 

exposed to view with great ostentation. Then the chief men and the 

high officers and the treasurers of the temple came out to meet them 

and receive them with honor. And all the workmen in Jerusalem rose 

up in their shops, and thus they saluted them: "O our brethren, 
inhabitants of such a city, ye are welcome." The pipe played before 
them till they came to the Temple Mount. Every one, even King 
Agrippa himself, took his basket upon his shoulder, and went forward 
till he came to the court. Then the Levites sang, "I will exalt thee, 
O Lord, because thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes 

to rejoice over me." (Ps. xxx. 1.) While the basket is still on his 
shoulder, he says, "I profess this day to the Lord my God." And 

when he repeats the passage, "A Syrian ready to perish was my father" 
(Deut. xxvi. 3-5), he casts the basket down from his shoulder, and 

keeps silent while the priest waves it hither and thither at the south¬ 
west comer of the altar. The whole passage of Scripture being then 
recited as far as the tenth verse, he places the basket before the altar. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


35 


he is to bless them." But the Sages say "he may bless 

whichever of them he pleases." 

5. "If one blessed the wine before food?" "The blessing 

frees the wine after food." "If he blessed the titbit before 

food?" "It frees the titbit after food." "If he blessed the 

bread?" "It frees the titbit." But the blessing on the titbit 

does not free the bread. The school of Shammai say, 

"neither does it free the cookery." 

6. "If several persons sit down to eat?" "Each blesses 

for himself." "But if they recline together?" "One blesses 
for all." "If wine come to them during food?" "Each 

blesses for himself." "But if after food?" "One blesses 

for all." He also blesses for the incense, even though they 
have not brought it till after the repast. 

7. "If they first set salt food before a man and bread 

with it?" "He blesses the salt food, which frees the bread, 

as the bread is only an appendage." The rule is, whenever 

there is principal and with it appendage, the blessing on the 
principal frees the appendage. 

8. "If one have eaten figs, grapes, and pomegranates?" 

"He must say after them three blessings." The words of 

Rabban Gamaliel. But the Sages say, "one blessing — a 

summary of the three." R. Akivah says, "if one have eaten 
boiled pulse; and it is his meal, he must say after it three 

blessings." Whoever drinks water for his thirst, says, "By 
whose word everything is," etc. R. Tarphon says, "Who 

createst many souls," etc. 

he worships, and goes out. The baskets of the rich were of gold or 

silver. The baskets of the poor were of peeled willow. These latter, 
together with their contents, were presented to the priests in service. 
The more valuable baskets were returned to their owners. They used 
to hang turtle doves and young pigeons round their baskets, which 

were freely adorned with flowers. These were then sacrificed for burnt 
offerings. 

The parties who brought the first fruits were obliged to lodge in 
Jerusalem all the night after they brought them, and the next morn¬ 
ing they were allowed to return home. The first fhiits were for¬ 
bidden to be offered before the feast of Pentecost, and after the feast 
of Dedication. 



36 


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CHAPTER VII 

1. Three men who have eaten together are bound to 

bless after food. "If a person have eaten of that which is 
doubtful, whether it has paid tithe or not; or of first tithe 
from which the heave-offering has been taken: or of second 
tithe or consecrated things, which have been redeemed; 
also, if the waiter have eaten the size of an olive; or a 

Samaritan be of the party?" "The blessing must be said." 
"But if one have eaten the untithed — or first tithes from 
which the heave-offering has not been taken — or conse¬ 
crated things which are unredeemed; or if the waiter have 
eaten less than the size of an olive, or a stranger be of the 
party?" "The blessing is not to be said." 

2. There is no blessing at food for women, slaves, and 

children. What quantity is required for the blessing of food? 
The size of an olive. R. Judah says, "the size of an egg." 

3. "How do we bless at food?" "If there be three, one 

says, "Let us bless," etc.; if three and himself, he says, 

"Bless ye," etc.; if ten, he says, "Let us bless our God," 
etc.; if ten and himself, he says, "Bless ye," etc.; so if 
there be ten or ten myriads. If there be an hundred, he says, 
"Let us bless the Lord our God," etc.; if there be an hun¬ 
dred and himself, he says, "Bless ye," etc.; if there be a 

thousand, he says, "Let us bless the Lord our God, the God 
of Israel"; if there be a thousand and himself, he says, 

"Bless ye," etc.; if there be a myriad, he says, "Let us bless 
the Lord our God, the God of Israel, the God of Hosts, who 
sitteth between the Cherubim," etc.; if there be a myriad 
and himself, he says, "Bless ye," etc. As he pronoimces 
the blessing, so they respond after him, "Blessed be the Lord 
our God, the God of Israel, the God of Hosts, who sitteth 

between the Cherubim, for the food we have eaten." R. 
Jose the Galilean says they should bless according to the 
number of the assembly; for it is written, "Bless ye God 
in the congregations; even the Lord from the foimtain of 
Israel. Said R. Akivah, "What do we find in the syna- 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


37 


gogue? whether many or few the minister says, "Bless ye the 
Lord," etc. R. Ishmael says. Bless ye the Lord, who is 
ever blessed." 

4. When three have eaten together, they are not per¬ 
mitted to separate without blessing; nor four or five. But 
six may divide into two parties, and so may any number up 
to ten. But ten may not separate without blessing, nor any; 
number less than twenty who can divide into two parties. 

5. If two companies have eaten in one house, and some 
of each company be able to see some of the other company, 
they may join in the blessing; but if not, each company 
blesses for itself. "They should not bless the wine till it 
has been mixed with water." The words of R. Eleazar. 
But the Sages say, "they may bless it unmixed." 


CHAPTER VIII 

1. These are the controversies relating to meals between 

the schools of Shammai and Hillel. The school of Shammai 

say, "one must say the blessing of the day, and then bless 

the wine"; but the school of Hillel say, "one must say 
the blessing on the wine, and then bless the day." 

2. The school of Shammai say, "men must pour water 

on the hands, and then mix the goblet"; but the school of 

Hillel say, "the goblet must be mixed, and then water poured 
on the hands." 

3. The school of Shammai say, "one is to wipe his hands 

on the napkin, and lay it on the table"; but the school of 

Hillel say, "on the cushion." 

4. The school of Shammai bless "the light, the food, the 
spices, and the distinction of the day"; but the school of 
Hillel bless "the light, the spices, the food, and the distinc¬ 
tion of the day." The school of Shammai say, "who created 
the light of fire"; but the school of Hillel say, "Creator of 
the lights of fire." 

6. Men must not bless light and spices of idolatrous Gen¬ 
tiles, nor light and spices of corpses, nor light and spices 




38 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


before an idol. They must not bless the light until they 

have enjoyed the light. 

7. "If one have eaten, and forgotten, and not blessed?" 

The school of Shammai say, "he must return to his place 

and bless." But the school of Hillel say, "he may bless in 
the place where he recollects." "How long is one obliged to 
bless?" "Until the food in his stomach be digested." 

8. "If wine came to the company, and there is but one 

goblet?" The school of Shammai say, "that one must bless 
the wine and then bless the food." But the school of Hillel 
say, "that one must bless the food and then bless the wine." 
Men must answer "Amen" when an Israelite blesses; but 

they must not answer "Amen" when a Samaritan blesses, 

until the whole^'* blessing be heard. 


CHAPTER IX 

1. He who sees a place where signs were wrought for 
Israel, says, "Blessed be he who wrought signs for our 
fathers in this place"; a place where idolatry has been rooted 
out — says, "Blessed be he who hath rooted idolatry out of 
our land." 

2. On comets, earthquakes, lightnings, thunder, and tem¬ 
pests, say, "Blessed be he whose strength and might fill the 
world." On moimtains, hills, seas, rivers, and deserts, say, 
"Blessed be he who made the creation." R. Judah says, 
when a man sees the great sea he is to say, "Blessed be he 
who made the great sea"— when he sees it at intervals. 
On rains, and on good news, say, "Blessed be he who is good 
and beneficent." On bad news say, "Blessed be the true 
Judge." 

3. He who has built a new house, or bought new furni¬ 
ture, says, "Blessed be he who has kept us alive," etc. One 
must bless for evil the source of good; and for good the 
source of evil. "He who supplicates for what is past?" 
"Such prayer is vain." "How?" His wife is pregnant, 

^ Lest it be a blessing used on Mount Gerizzim. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


39 


and he says, "God grant that my wife may bring forth a 
male child." Such prayer is vain. Or if one on the road 

hear the voice of lamentation in the city, and say, "God 

grant that it may not be my son, my house," etc., such prayer 
is vain. 

4. Whoever enters a fortified town must say two prayers, 
one at his entrance, and one at his departure. Ben Azai 
says, "four, two at his entrance, and two at his departure; he 
returns thanks for the past, and supplicates for the future." 

5. Man is bound to bless God for evil, as he is bound to 

bless him for good. For it is said, "And thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 
and with all thy might."^^ "With all thy heart" means, 
with both thy inclinations, the evil as well as the good. 
"With all thy soul" means, even should he deprive thee of 
life; and "with all thy might" means, with all thy wealth. 

Another opinion is, that "with all thy might" means what¬ 

ever measure he metes out unto thee, do thou thank him 
with thy entire might. No man is to be irreverent opposite 
the eastern gate of the Temple, for it is opposite the Holy 
of Holies. No man is to go on the mountain of the house 
with his staff, shoes, or purse, nor with dust on his feet, 
nor is he to make it a short cut, nor is he to spit at all. All 
the seals of the blessings in the sanctuary used to say, "from 
eternity." But since the Epicureans perversely taught there 
is but one world, it was directed that men should say, "from 
eternity to eternity." It was also directed that every man 

should greet his friend in The Name, as it is said, "And 
behold Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers. 
The Lord be with you: and they answered him. The Lord 

bless thee."^® And it is also said, "The Lord is with thee, 

thou mighty man of valor."^’ And it is said, "Despise not 

thy mother when she is old."^* And it is also said, "It is 
time for thee. Lord, to work, for they have made void thy 
law."^® R. Nathan says, "They have made void thy law 

because it is time for thee. Lord, to work." 

Deut. vi. 5. Judges vi. 12. ™ Psalm cxix. 126. 

“ Ruth ii. 4. Prov. xxiii. 22. 



THE TALMUD 


Book II, Treatise I 
ON THE SABBATH 

CHAPTER I 

1. Removals' on the Sabbath are two. These removals 
may be reckoned as four inside a place, and four outside a 
place.^ "How?" "beggar stands without, and the mas¬ 
ter of the house within. The beggar reached his hand within, 
and gave something into the hand of the master of the house, 
or took something from it and brought it out?" "The beg¬ 
gar is guilty,^ and the master of the house is free." "The 
master of the house reached his hand outside and gave some¬ 
thing into the hand of the beggar, or took something from it 
and brought it in?" "The master of the house is guilty, 
but the beggar is free." "The beggar reached his hand 
within, and the master of the house took something from it, 
or gave something into it, and the beggar brought it out?" 
"Both are free." "The master of the house reached his 
hand without, and the beggar took something from it, or 
gave something into it, and the master brought it in?" 
"Both are free." 

2. A man must not sit before the barber near to evening 
prayer,"' imtil he has prayed. He must not enter a bath, nor 
a tannery, nor eat, nor judge. "But if they began?" "They 
need not cease." They may cease to read the "Hear,"^ etc, 
but they must not cease to pray. 

3. A tailor must not go out with his needle near dusk,"* 
lest he forget and go afterward. Nor a scribe go out with 
his pen. Nor may one search his garments. Nor shall one 

' A "removal" means the transferring of things from one estate 
or property to another. This is forbidden, by the Bible, on the Sab¬ 
bath. (Jer. xvii. 21, 28.) 

^ That is, rabbinical ordinances thus consider and analyze them. 

^ Of death. '' On Friday evening. ^ Deut. vi. 4. 

40 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


41 


read at the light of the lamp. In truth they said, "the 
teacher may overlook when children are reading, but he 
himself shall not read." Similar to him, one with an issue 
shall not eat with her who has an issue, because of the custom 
of transgression. 

4. And these following are from the decisions which they 

mentioned of the upper chamber of Hananiah, the son of 
Hezekiah, the son of Gorion, when the Sages went up to 
visit him. The school of Shammai were counted, and were 
more numerous than the school of Hillel. And eighteen 

matters were determined on that day. 

5. The school of Shammai said, "they must not soak ink, 
nor paints, nor vetches, unless they be sufficiently soaked 
while it is yet day." But the school of Hillel allow it. 

6. The school of Shammai said, "they must not put bun¬ 

dles of flax inside the oven, except it be sufficiently steamed 
while it is yet day, nor wool into the boiler except it imbibe 
sufficient dye in the eye of day." But the school of Hillel 
allow it. The school of Shammai said, "they must not 

spread nets for beasts, nor birds, nor fishes, except they be 

netted while it is yet day." But the school of Hillel allow it. 

7. The school of Shammai said, "they must not sell to a 
stranger, and they must not lade his ass with him, and they 
must not load on him, except they have sufficient time to 
reach a near place before the Sabbath." But the school of 
Hillel allow it. 

8. The school of Shammai said, "they must not give skins 
to a tanner, nor articles to a strange laimdress; except they 
can be sufficiently done while it is yet day." But all of 
them the school of Hillel allow "with the sun." 

9. Said Rabbi Simon, the son of Gamaliel, "the house of 
my father used to give white articles to a strange laundress 
three days before the Sabbath." But both schools agree that 
"they may carry^ beams to the oil-press and logs to the 
wine-press." 

10. "They must not fiy flesh, onions, and eggs; except 

Though by their weight they continue to press out oil or wine on 
the Sabbath. 



42 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


they be sufficiently fried while it is yet day. They must 
not put bread in the oven at dusk, nor a cake on coals, except 
its face be sufficiently crusted while it is yet day." Rabbi 
Eliezer said, "that its under side be sufficiently crusted." 

11. "They may hang up the passover’ offering in an 
oven at dusk." And they may take a light from the wood- 
pile in the house of burning.* And in the suburbs "when 
the fire has sufficiently lighted the greater part." Rabbi 
Judah says, "from the coals, however little" (kindled before 
the Sabbath). 


CHAPTER II 

1. "With what may they light lamps on the Sabbath?" 
"And with what may they not light?" "They may not 
light with cedar moss, nor with unhackled flax, nor with 
floss silk, nor with a wick of willow, nor with a wick of 
nettles, nor with weeds from the surface of water, nor with 
pitch, nor with wax, nor with castor oil, nor with the defiled 
oil of heave-offering, nor with the tail, nor with the fat." 
Nahum the Median said, "they may light with cooked fat." 
But the Sages say, "whether cooked or uncooked, they must 
not light with it." 

2. They must not light with the defiled oil of the heave¬ 
offering on a holiday. Rabbi Ishmael said, "they must not 
light with pitch dregs for the honor of the Sabbath." But 
the Sages allow all oils, "with sesame oil, with nut oil, with 
radish oil, with fish oil, with colocynth oil, with pitch dregs 
and naphtha." Rabbi Tarphon said, "they must only light 
with olive oil." 

3. "They must not light with anything that grows from 
wood, except flax. And all that grows from wood does not 
contract the uncleanness of tents,® except flax. "A wick of 
cloth folded but not singed? "Rabbi Eliezer says, "it con¬ 
tracts rmcleanness, and they must not light it." Rabbi Akiba 
says, "it is clean, and they may light it." 

’ When the eve of the passover and the eve of the Sabbath coincided. 

® In the temple. 

^ Numb. xix. 18. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


43 


4. A man must not penetrate an eggshell, and fill it with 

oil, and put it on the mouth of the lamp, because it drops, 
even though it be of pottery. But Rabbi Judah "allows it." 
"But if the potter joined it at first?" "It is allowed, since 

it is one vessel." A man must not fill a bowl of oil, and put 
it by the side of the lamp, and put the end of the wick into 
it because it imbibes. But Rabbi Judah "allows it." 

5. "Whoever extinguishes the lamp because he fears the 

Gentiles, or robbers, or a bad spirit, or that the sick may 
sleep?" "He is free." "He spares the lamp?" "He 

spares the oil?" "He spares the wick?" "He is guilty." 
But Rabbi Jose frees in all cases except the wick, because 
"it makes coal." 

6. For three transgressions women die in the hour of 
childbirth: when they neglect times, and the dough-offering,'® 
and lighting the Sabbath lamp. 

7. Three things are necessary for a man to say in his 

house on the eve of the Sabbath at dusk. "Have you taken 

tithes?" "Have you prepared erub?"" "Light the 

lamp." "It is doubtful if it be dark or not?"'^ "They 
must not tithe that which is certainly untithed, and they must 
not baptize vessels, and they must not light the lamps. But 
they may take tithes of the doubtful heave-offering, and pre¬ 
pare erub, and cover up hot water." 


CHAPTER 111 

1. "A cooking-oven which was heated with stubble or 
brushwood?" "They may place on it cookery." "With oil- 
dregs and with wood?" "They must not place it, till the 
coals are raked out, or ashes put in." The school of Sham- 
mai say, "hot water, but not cookery." But the school of 
Hillel say, "hot water and cookery." The school of Sham- 

“ Numb. XV. 20. 

" I.e., "Have you so joined houses that are apart that they may 
be counted as one on the Sabbath for carrying articles?" etc. It is 
done by persons blessing a piece of dough which is common property. 

When three stars are seen, it is dark. 




44 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


mai say, "they may take it off, but not place it back." But 
the school of Hillel say, "they may place it back." 

2. "A cooking-stove, which was heated with stubble or 
brushwood?" "They must not place anything either inside 
or upon it." "A bake oven, which was heated with stubble 
or brushwood?" "It is as a cooking-oven." "With oil- 
dregs or with wood?" "It is as a cooking-stove." 

3. They must not put an egg beside a boiler, lest it be 
boiled. And they must not wrap it in towels. But Rabbi 
Jose allows it. And they must not hide it in sand, or in 
the dust of the roads, lest it be roasted. 

4. It happened that the men of Tiberias arranged, and 

introduced a pipe of cold water into a canal of the hot 
springs. The Sages said to them, "If it be Sabbath, it is as 
if hot waters were heated on Sabbath, they are forbidden 
for washing and drinking. But if on a holiday, as if hot 
waters were heated on a holiday, they are forbidden for 
washing but allowed for drinking." "A skillet with attached 
brazier?" "If one rake out the coals on Friday evening, 

persons may drink its hot waters on Sabbath." "A pan 

with double bottom?" "Even though the coals are raked 

out, they must not drink of it." 

5. "The boiler which is set aside from the fire?" "They 

must not put into it cold water to be warmed; but they may 
put into it, or into a cup, cold water to make it lukewarm." 
"A saucepan or an earthen pot, which they took off boiling?" 
"They must not put into it spices, but they may put them 
into a bowl or into a plate." Rabbi Judah says, "they may 

put them into all vessels, excepting a thing in which there is 
vinegar or fish-brine." 

6. They must not put vessels imder a lamp to catch the 
oil. "But if they place them, while it is still day?" "It 
is allowed." But they must not use it, because it is not pur¬ 
posely prepared for Sabbath use. They may remove a new 
lamp, but not an old one. Rabbi Simon says, "all lamps 
may be removed, except the lamp lighted for the Sabbath." 
They may put a vessel under the lamp to catch sparks, but 
they must not put water into it, as it quenches. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


45 


CHAPTER IV 

1. "With what may they cover up (pots to retain the 

heat)?" "And with what may they not cover them up?" 

"They may not cover them up with oil-dregs, or dung, or 

salt, or lime, or sand either fresh or dry, or straw, or grape- 
skins, or woolen, or herbs when they are fresh, but they 

may cover up with them when they are dry. They may 
cover up with garments, and fruits, with doves' wings, with 
carpenters' sawdust, and with tow of fine flax." Rabbi 

Judah forbids "fine," but allows "coarse." 

2. They may cover up with hides, and remove them; 

with woolen fleeces, but they must not remove them. "How 
does one do?" "He takes off the cover, and they fall 

down." Rammi Eleazar, the son of Azariah, says "the ves¬ 

sel is inclined on its side, and he takes them away." "Per¬ 
haps he took them away and can not return them?"'^ But 

the Sages say "he may take them away, and return them." 
"He does not cover it, while it is yet day?" "He must 
not cover it, when it begins to be dark." "He covered it, 

and it opened?" "It is allowed to cover it again." A man 
may fill the goblet, and put it imder the pillow or under the 
bolster to warm it. 


CHAPTERV 

1. "With what is a beast led forth, and with what is it 
not led forth?""One may lead forth the camel with a 
head-stall, and the she-camel with a nose-ring, and the 
Lydda'^ asses with a bridle, and a horse with a halter, and 
all animals that wear a halter they may lead forth with a 
halter, and they are held with a halter, and, if imclean, they 
may sprinkle water upon them, and baptize them in their 
places. 

As that would involve "labor." 

The point to be decided is the difference between what is necessary 
and what is a burden. 

Others think "Lybian" asses. 




46 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


2. The ass one may lead forth with a pack-saddle when 
it is bound on it. Rams go forth tied up. Ewes go forth 
with tails bound back, doubled down, or put in a bag. The 
goats go forth bound tightly. Rabbi Jose "forbids all, ex¬ 
cepting ewes, to have their tails in a bag." Rabbi Judas 
says "the goats go forth bound tightly to dry up then- 
udders, but not to guard the milk." 

3. "And with what must they not go forth?" "A camel 
must not go forth with a rag bound as a mark to its tail, 
nor fettered, nor with fore-foot tied doubled up, and so with 
the rest of all beasts; a man must not bind camels one to 
another, and lead them, but he may take their ropes 
into his hand, and hold them, guarding that they be not 
twisted. 

4. One must not bring forth an ass with a pack-saddle, 

when it is not tied upon him before the Sabbath; nor with 
a bell, even though it be muffled, nor with a ladder'^ on its 
throat, nor with a strap on its leg; nor may cocks and hens 

be led forth with twine or straps on their legs. Nor may 

rams be led forth with a gocart under their tails, nor ewes 

with John wood.'* And the calf must not be led forth with 

a muzzle, nor a cow with the skin of the hedgehog,'^ nor 
with a strap between her horns. The cow^" of Rabbi Elea- 
zar, the son of Azariah, used to go out with a strap between 
her horns, but not with the will of the Sages. 


CHAPTER VI 

1. "With what may a woman go out?" And "with 
what may she not go out?" "A woman may not go out 
with laces of wool, nor with laces of flax, nor with straps on 

Through fear of linen and woolen being mixed. (Deut. xxii. 11.) 

Ladder-shaped piece of wood to prevent it rubbing its throat if 

Wood which, when put into sheep's nostrils, caused them to sneeze 
and the maggots to fall off 

To prevent her being sucked by reptiles. 

The Gemara says, the cow was his neighbor's, but as he did not 
object, the blame was laid on him. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


47 


her head, and she can not baptize herself in them till she 
imloose them; nor with frontlets, nor temple fillets, unless 
sewn to her cap, nor with a headband, into the public street, 
nor with a golden crown in the form of Jerusalem, nor with 
a necklace, nor with nose-rings, nor with a ring without a 
seal, nor with a needle without an eye; but, if she go out, 
she is not guilty of a sin-offering." 

2. A man must not go out with hobnailed sandals,^' nor 
with one sandal when there is no sore on his other foot, nor 
with phylacteries, nor with an amulet unless it be of an 
expert, nor with a coat of mail, nor with a helmet, nor 
with greaves; but, if he go out, he is not guilty of a sin- 
offering. 

3. "A woman must not go out with an eyed needle, nor 
with a signet ring, nor with a spiral head-dress, nor with a 
scent-box, nor with a bottle of musk; and if she go out she 
is guilty of a sin-offering." The words of Rabbi Meier. 
But the Sages "absolve the scent-box and the bottle of 
musk." 

4. The man must not go out with sword, nor bow, nor 
shield, nor sling, nor lance; and if he go out he is guilty of a 
sin-offering. Rabbi Eleazar said, "they are his ornaments." 
But the Sages say, "they are only for shame, as is said, 'And 
they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears 
into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against 
nation, neither shall they learn war any more.' Garters 
are clean, and they may go forth in them on Sabbath. Ank¬ 
lets contract rmcleanness, and they must not go out in them 
on Sabbath. 

5. A woman may go out with plaits of hair whether they 
be her own or her companion's, or a beast's hair, with 
frontlets and temple fillets, when they are sewn to her cap, 
with a headband or a stranger's curl into the courtyard, with 
wool in her ear, and wool in her shoe, and wool prepared for 

Once a number of Jews took refuge in a eave, and hearing some 
persons pass, whom they supposed to be enemies, they trampled on 
each other with their hob-nailed sandals, and crushed each other to 

Isaiah xi. 4; Mieah iv. 3. 



48 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


her separation, with pepper, or with a grain of salt,^^ or with 
anything which she will put inside her mouth, except that 
she shall not put it in for the first time on the Sabbath, and 
if it fall out she must not put it back." A false tooth or a 
tooth of gold?" Rabbi "allows it" But the Sages "for¬ 

bid it." 

6. A woman may go out with a coin on a sore foot. 

Little girls may go out with plaits and even splinters in 

their ears. Arab women go out veiled, and Median women 

with mantillas; and so may any one, but, as the Sages have 
said, "according to their custom." 

7. A mantilla may be folded over a stone, or a nut, or 

money, save only that it be not expressly folded for the 
Sabbath. 

8. "The cripple may go out on his wooden leg." The 

words of Rabbi Meier. But Rabbi Jose forbids it. "But if 
it have a place for receiving rags?" "It is unclean." His 
crutches cause uncleanness by treading. But they may go 
out with them on the Sabbath, and they may enter with them 
into the temple court. The chair and crutches (of a para¬ 
lytic) cause uncleanness by treading, and they must not go 
out with them on the Sabbath, and they must not enter with 
them into the temple court. Stilts are clean, but they must 

not go out with them. 

9. The sons may go out with their fathers' girdles. And 

sons of kings with little bells; and so may any one, but, as 
the Sages have said, "according to their custom." 

10. "They may go out with an egg of a locust,^'' and a 
tooth of a fox,^^ and a nail of one crucified, as medicine."^® 
The words of Rabbi Meier. But the Sages say (others read 
the words of Rabbi Jose and Rabbi Meier), "it is forbidden 
even on a week-day, because of the ways of the Amorites."^’ 

To cure toothache. 

^ To cure earache. 

To cure one who did not sleep enough they used a tooth of a 
dead fox. For one who slept too much they used a tooth of a living 

To cure ague. 

Lev. xviii. 3. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


49 


CHAPTER VII 

1. The Sages laid down a great rule for the Sabbath: 
"Every one who forgets the principle of Sabbath, and did 
many works on many Sabbaths, is only responsible for one 
sin-offering. Every one who knows the principle of Sab¬ 
bath, and did many works on many Sabbaths, is responsible 
for every Sabbath. Every one who knows that there is 
Sabbath, and did many works on many Sabbaths, is respon¬ 
sible for every principal work.^^ Every one who has done 
many works, springing from one principal work, is only 
responsible for one sin-offering." 

2. The principal works are forty, less one — sowing, plow¬ 
ing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, sifting, 
grinding, riddling, kneading, baking, shearing wool, whiten¬ 
ing, carding, dyeing, spinning, warping, making two spools, 
weaving two threads, taking ont two threads, twisting, loos¬ 
ing, sewing two stitches, tearing thread for two sewings, 
hunting the gazelle, slaughtering, skinning, salting, curing 
its skin, tanning, cutting up, writing two letters, erasing to 
write two letters, building, demolishing, quenching, kindling, 
hammering, carrying from private to public property. Lo, 
these are principal works — forty, less one. 

3. And another rule the Sages laid down: "All that is 
worthy of reservation, and they reserve its like — if they 
carry it out on the Sabbath, they are responsible for a sin- 
offering; and everything which it not worthy of reservation, 
and they do not reserve its like — if they carry it out on the 
Sabbath, none is responsible but the reserver." 

4. Whoever brings out straw — a heifer's mouthful; hay 

— a camel's mouthful; chaff — a lamb's mouthful; herbs — 
a kid's mouthful; garlic leaves and onion leaves — if fresh, 
the size of a dried fig — if dry, a kid's mouthful; but they 
must not add one with the other, for they are not equal in 

Works are divided into "principal" and "secondary," or in Rab¬ 
binic language "fathers" and "children." And if a man does one 
principal work and twenty secondary works, they regarded them as 
"one" sin, and consequently deserving "one" punishment. 



50 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


their measures. Whoever carries out food the size of a 
dried fig is guilty of death. And victuals, they may" add 
one to another as they are equal in their measures, excepting 
their peels and their kernels, and their stalks and the fine 
and coarse bran. Rabbi Judah says, "excepting the peels 
of lentils, as they may cook them with them." 


CHAPTER VIII 

1. One may bring out wine sufficient for the cup,^® milk 
sufficient for a gulp, honey sufficient for a bruise, oil suffi¬ 
cient to anoint a small member, water sufficient to moisten 
the eye-salve, and the rest of all beverages a quarter of a 
log, and whatever can be poured out^” a quarter of a log. 
Rabbi Simeon says, "all of them by the quarter log." And 
they did not mention these measures save for those who 
reserve them. 

2. "Whoever brings out cord sufficient to make an ear 
for a tub, bulrush sufficient to hang the sieve and the rid¬ 
dle?" Rabbi Judah said, "sufficient to take from it the 
measure of a child's shoe; paper sufficient to write on it 
the signature of the tax-gatherers; erased paper sufficient to 
wrap round a small bottle of balm — is guilty" (of death). 

3. Leather sufficient for an amulet; parchment polished on 
both sides, sufficient to write a sign for a door-post; vellum 
sufficient to write on it a small portion, which is in phylac¬ 
teries, that is, "Hear, O Israel"; ink sufficient to write two 
letters; kohl^' sufficient to paint one eye. 

4. Bird-lime sufficient to put on the top of a perch; pitch 
or sulphur to fill a hole; wax sufficient to fill fhe mouth of 
a small hole; brick-clay sufficient to make a mouth of a 
crucible bellows for goldsmiths — Rabbi Judah says, "suffi¬ 
cient to make a crucible stand"; bran sufficient to put on 
the mouth of a crucible blow-pipe for goldsmiths; ointment 
sufficient to anoint the little finger of girls — Rabbi Judah 

I.e., One part wine and three parts water. 

E.g., Foul water. 

Henna dust for women's eyes. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


51 


says, "sufficient to make the hair grow"; Rabbi Nehemiah 
says, "to freshen the temple." 

5. Red earth "as the seal of merchants"— the words of 
Rabbi Akiba; but the Sages say, "as the seal of letters"; 
dung and fine sand, "sufficient to manure a cabbage-stalk" 

— the words of Rabbi Akiba; but the Sages say, "sufficient 
to manure a leek"; coarse sand sufficient to put on a full 
lime-hod; a reed sufficient to make a pen. "But if it be thick 
or split?" "sufficient to boil with it a hen's egg easy to be 
cooked amongst eggs, mixed with oil and put in a pan." 

6. A bone sufficient to make a spoon — Rabbi Judah said, 
"sufficient to make the ward of a key"; glass sufficient to 
scrape the top of a shuttle; a lump of earth or a stone suffi¬ 
cient to fling at a bird; Rabbi Eliezer said, "sufficient to 
fling at a beast." 

7. "A potsherd?" "Sufficient to put between two beams" 

— the words of Rabbi Judah; Rabbi Meier says, "sufficient 
to take away fire with it"; Rabbi Jose says, "sufficient to 
receive in it the fourth of a log." Said Rabbi Meier, "Al¬ 
though there is no visible proof of the matter, there is an 
indication of the matter, as is said, "there shall not be found 
in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth."^^ 
Rabbi Jose said to him, "thence is the visible proof, 'or to 
take water out of the pit.' 

Isaiah xxx. 14. 




THE TALMUD 


Book II, Treatise V 
ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT 

CHAPTER I 

1. Seven days before the Day of Atonement the High 
Priest was removed from his house to the chamber' Par- 
hedrin, and the council prepared for him another priest,^ 
lest there happen to him any defilement. R. Judah said, 
"they prepared also another wife, lest his wife die; as is 
said,^ "And he shall atone for himself and for his house"; 
for his house, i.e., for his wife. The Sages said to him, "if 
so, there is no end to the matter." 

2. All these seven days, he (the high priest) sprinkled 
the blood, burned the incense, and trimmed the lamps, and 
offered the head and the foot. On the remainder of all the 
days, if he wished to offer, he offered; since the high priest 
first offered part, and first took part in the sacrifices. 

3. The elders from the elders of the great Sanhedrin de¬ 
livered to him, and read before him, the ceremonial of the 

day; and they said to him, "My Lord High Priest, read 

with thy mouth, perchance thou hast forgotten, or perchance 
thou hast not learned.""' On the eve of the day of atone¬ 
ment, toward dawn, they placed him in the eastern gate of 
the temple, and they caused to pass before him bullocks, 
rams, and Iambs, that he might be skilled and expert in his 
ministry. 

4. All the seven days they did not withhold from him 

food and drink; the eve of the day of atonement, with the 

' Where the councilors sat. 

^ Called Sagan (suffragan). (2 Kings xxv. 18; Jer. Hi. 24.) 

^ Lev. xvi. 6. 

“ As might occur from the frequent changes during the second temple. 

52 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


53 


beginning of darkness, they did not permit him to eat much, 
since food induces sleep. 

5. The elders of the great Sanhedrin delivered him to 
the elders of the priesthood, who brought him to the upper 
chamber of the house Abtinas. And they administered to 
him the oath^ and they left him and departed. And they 
said to him, "My Lord High Priest, we are ambassadors of 
the great Sanhedrin, and thou art our ambassador, and the 
ambassador of the great Sanhedrin. We adjure thee by him, 
whose Name dwells in this house, that thou wilt not change 
aught of all which we have said to thee." He went apart 
and wept. They went apart and wept.'" 

6. If he were a learned man, he expounded; but if not, 

the disciples of the learned expounded before him. If he 
were skilled in reading, he read; but if not, they read before 

him. "And in what did they read before him?" "In Job, 

and in Ezra, and in Chronicles." Zachariah, the son of 
Kebutal, said, "I often read before him in Daniel." 

7. If he desired to sleep, the young priests filliped with 
the first finger’ before him, and said to him, "My Lord High 
Priest, stand up and refresh thyself* once on the pavement," 
and they kept him occupied^ until the time approached for 
slaying the victims. 

8. Every day they cleansed the altar at cockcrow, or at 

its approach, intermediate before or after it; and on the day 
of atonement'* at midnight; and in the three great feasts, at 
the first watch. And before cockcrow the court was crowded 
with Israel. 

^ That he would incense "within" the vail "(Lev. xvi, 12, 13), in 
opposition to the Sadducees, who maintained that the incense should 

be burned "without." 

^ That such an oath was necessary. 

" Or the "index" finger; another translation, the "middle" finger. 

* Or change thyself 

’ Singing to him "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor but 
in vain that build it," etc. (Psalm cxxvii.) 

The day of atonement was regarded as being the day on whieh 
Adam sinned, on which Abraham was circumcised, and on which 
Moses offered atonement for the sin of the golden calf 




54 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


CHAPTER II 

1. At first every one who wished to cleanse the altar, 
cleansed it. When they were many, they ran and mounted 
the ascent, and each one, who at the middle outstripped his 
companion by four cubits, won it. If two were equal the 
president said to them, "lift your fingers"" "And what 
is that?" "They lifted one or two fingers, but no one lifted 
the thumb in the sanctuary." 

2. It happened that two were equal, and running and 
mounting the ascent, one of them thrust his companion, so 
that he fell, and his leg was broken. And when the great 
Sanhedrin saw that they were getting into danger, they de¬ 
creed that they should not cleanse the altar save by lot. 
There were four lots, and this was the first lot. 

3. The second lot was: Who should slay? Who sprinkle? 

Who should take the ashes from the inner altar? and who 
should take the ashes from the candlestick? and who should 
carry the members to the ascent? the head and the right 
foot, and the hind feet, the tail, and the left foot, the breast, 
and the throat, and the two sides, and the inwards, and the 

fine flour, and the pancakes, and the wine. Thirteen priests 

discharged this lot. Said Ben Asai in the presence of R. 
Akiba from the mouth of Rabbi Joshua, "like to its way 
of motion" (when alive). 

4. The third lot" was for new men who came to offer 

incense, and they cast the lots. The fourth lot was for new 
men with the old, who should carry the members from the 
ascent to the altar. 

5. The daily offering was with nine, ten, eleven, twelve, 

" I.e., Cast lots, which was done by placing the priests in a row, 
and bidding them to hold up their fingers. After fixing on a certain 
number, the cap of one of them was taken off With this priest the 
reckoning began, and proceeded till the prearranged number fell on 
some one of them; and his was the lot. Particular care was taken 
to count the fingers which were held up, and not to number their 
persons, as this was considered unlawful. (1 Chron. xxi. 1.) 

The third lot for burning incense was the most important. It 
was always done by a fresh man, so that a priest might bum incense 
only once during his lifetime. (Luke i. 9; Rev. viii. 3, 4.) 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 55 

priests; not less and not more. "How?" "Itself with 
nine: at the feast of Tabernacles in the hand of one, a glass 
of water there is ten. The evening offering with eleven, 
itself with nine, and in the hands of two, two faggots of wood. 
On Sabbath, eleven; itself with nine, and two, in their 
hands two fragments of incense of the showbread. And on 
the Sabbath in the feast of Tabernacles in the hand of one 
a glass of water." 

6. The ram was offered with eleven; the flesh with five, 
the inner part, and the fine flour and the wine, to each two 
and two. 

7. The bullock was offered with twenty-four priests. 

"The head and the right foot?" "The head with one, and 
the foot with two." "The chine and the left foot?" "The 
tail with two, and the left foot with two." "The breast 
and the throat?" "The breast with one, and the throat with 
three, the two hind feet with two, and the two sides with 

two, the inner parts and the fine flour, and the wine, each 

with three and three." "Of which is that said?" "Of the 
offering for the whole congregation." "But for the offer¬ 
ings of an individual?" "If he wished to offer, he might 

offer." "For the skinning and cutting up?" "For these 
all were equal." 


CHAPTER III 

1. The overseer said to them, "go and look if the time 
for slaughter is come." If it came, the watchman said, 
"it is brightening."'^ Matthew the son of Samuel said, 
"is the whole east light as far as Hebron?" and he said 
"yes." 

2. "And why was that necessary?" "Because it once 
happened that the light of the moon came up, and they 
deemed it the light from the east." And they slaughtered 
the daily offering, and they brought it to the house of burn¬ 
ing. And they brought down the high priest to the house 
of baptism. This was the mle in the sanctuary that every 


Or, as your wish. 



56 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


one who covered his feet was required to wash; and every 
one retiring was required to sanctify his hands and feet. 

3. No one entered the court for service, however clean, 
until he washed. The high priest made five washings and 
ten purifications in this day, and all were in the holy place 
above the house of Parva,''* with the exception of this first 
one alone. 

4. They made a screen of linen between him and the 
people. He undressed, descended, and washed. He came 
up and wiped himself They brought to him robes of gold, 
and he dressed, and he sanctified his hands and feet. They 
brought to him the daily offering. He cut its throat, and 
another finished the slaughter at his hand. He received 
the blood and sprinkled it. He entered to offer the morning 
incense and to trim the lights, and to offer the head and the 
members, and the things fried in the pan, and the wine. 

5. The morning incense was offered between the blood 

and the members. That of the evening'^ between the mem¬ 
bers and the libations. If the high priest were old, or 

delicate, they heated for him iron, and they put it into the 
cold water, that its temperature should be changed. 

6. They brought him to the house of Parva, and it was 

in the sanctuary. They divided with the screen of linen 

between him and the people. He sanctified his hands and 
feet and undressed. R. Meier said, he undressed and sancti¬ 
fied his hands and feet, he descended and washed, he came 
up and he wiped himself. They brought to him white robes, 
he dressed and sanctified his hands and feet. 

7. "In the morning he was dressed with Pelusian linen 
worth twelve minas,'^ and in the evening with Indian linen 
worth eight hundred zuz."'^ The words of R. Meier. Put 

''' The Gemara says it was so called because Parva, a magician, built 

this room and digged through from it to see the service of the high 

priest on the day of atonement; or else because it was used for storing 
"bullock-hides." 

Literally, "between the evenings." 

The mina of the sanctuary was worth nearly $30, consequently the 
morning dress cost about $350. 

The zuz was worth over ten cents, consequently the evening dress 
cost about a hundred dollars. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


57 


the Sages say, "that in the morning his dress was worth 
eighteen minas, and in the evening twelve minas"; all these 
thirty minas were from the congregation, and if he wished 
to add to them he might add of himself. 

8. He came to the side of his bullock, and the bullock 
was standing between the porch and the altar; his head to 
the north, and his face to the west; and the priest stood 
in the east, and his face westward, and he placed both hands 
upon him and made confession, and thus he spake, "I be¬ 
seech thee, O Name, I have committed iniquity. I have 
sinned before thee — I, and my house — I beseech thee, O 
Name, pardon'* now the iniquities and the transgressions 
and the sins which I have perversely committed, and trans¬ 
gressed, and sinned before thee, I, and my house, as is written 
in the law of Moses thy servant, that in this day "He will 
atone for you," etc. And they answered after him, "Blessed 
be the Name. The honor of his kingdom forever and ever." 

9. He came to the east of the court to the north of the 

altar. The Sagan was at his right hand, and the chief of 
the fathers at his left. And there were the two goats; and 

the um was there, and in it were two lots of boxwood, and 

Ben Gamla made them of gold, and they commemorated him 
as praiseworthy. 

10. The son of Katin under twelve pipes to the laver, 

where before there were but two; and also he made a wheel 
for the laver, lest its water should be polluted by night. 
Monobazus'^ the king made all the handles of the vessels of 
gold, for the day of atonement. Helena, his mother, made 
a chandelier of gold near the door of the sanctuary, and she 
also made a tablet of gold upon which the section of the 

Sota^" was written. Wonders were wrought for the doors of 

Nicanor, and they were commemorated as praiseworthy. 

11. And these were in ignominy: The family of Garmu, 
who were imwilling to instruct in the preparation of the 
showbread. The family of Abtinas, who were unwilling to 

Literally, "cover over," i.e., "atone for." 

King of Adiabene, a proselyte to Judaism about A.D. 45. 

The accused woman. 




58 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


instruct in the preparation of incense. Hogrus, the son of 
Levi, knew a tune in the chant, and was unwilling to in¬ 
struct. The son of Kamzar was unwilling to instruct in 
the art of writing. Concerning the former it is said, "The 
memory of the just is blessed"; and concerning the latter it 
is said, but the name of the wicked shall rot." (Prov. x. 7.) 


CHAPTER IV 

1. He shook the um and brought up two lots; one was 

written "for the Name," and the other was written "for 
Azazel."^' The Sagan stood at his right hand, and the chief 
of the Fathers at his left. If "for the Name" came up in 
his right hand the Sagan said to him, "My Lord High Priest, 
lift up thy right hand"; and if "for the Name" came up in 
his left the chief of the Pathers said to him, "My Lord High 
Priest, lift up thy left hand." He placed them upon the two 
goats, and said, "for the Lord is the sin-offering." R. Ismael 
said, "it was not necessary to mention the sin-offering" but 
"for the Lord." And they answered after him, "Blessed 

be the Name. The honor of his kingdom forever and ever." 

2. He twisted a tongue^^ of brightness on the head of 

the goat to be sent away, and he placed him opposite the 
gate from whence he should be sent. And the one for 
slaughter he placed opposite the slaughter-house. He him¬ 
self came beside his bullock the second time, and laid his two 
hands upon him and made confession, and thus he spake: 
"I beseech thee, O Name, I have committed iniquity, I have 
transgressed, I have sinned before thee. I, and my house, 
and the sons of Aaron, thy holy people. I beseech thee, O 

A. V., "Scapegoat," or for the "devil." Others translate "wholly 
put away" in reference to the sins of the people, or for "the hard 
mountain," and others the "demon of dry places." Some, however, 
think Azazel to be the fallen angel mentioned in the Book of Enoch, 

and identical with Sammael, the angel of death. Symmachus trans¬ 

lates "the goat that departs." Theodotian translates "the goat sent 
away." Aquila, "the goat set free." The LXX. and Josephus under¬ 
stand by the term "the averter of ills," and the Vulgate "caper 
emissarius." 

A tongue-shaped piece of scarlet wool. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


59 


Name, pardon iniquities, transgressions, and sins which I 
have perversely committed, and transgressed, and sinned be¬ 
fore thee, I, and my house, and the sons of Aaron, thy holy 
people, as is written in the law of Moses, thy servant, saying, 
that in this day he will atone for you to purify you from 
all your sins 'Before the Lord. Ye shall he pure.' "And 
they answered after him, "Blessed be the Name. The honor 
of his kingdom forever and ever." 

3. He slaughtered him and caught his blood in a bowl, 
and he gave it to him who mixed it upon the fourth platform 
of the sanctuary, that it might not congeal. He took the 
censer, and went up to the top of the altar, and raked the 
live coals here and there, and gathered out from the inner 
embers. And went down and placed it upon the fourth 
platform in the court. 

4. Every day he gathered out the coals with one of silver 
and poured them out into one of gold, but to-day he gathered 
them with one of gold and he entered with it. Every day 
he gathered them out with one of four cabs^^ and poured 
them into one of three cabs. But to-day he gathered them 
out with one of three cabs, and with it he entered. Rabbi 
Joseph said, "every day he gathered out with one containing 
a seah,^'* and poured it into one of three cabs. But to-day 
he gathered out with one of three cabs, and with it he. 
entered. Every day it was heavy, but to-day it was light. 
Every day its handle was short, but to-day long. Every day 
it was green gold; to-day red." The words of Rabbi Mena- 
chem: "Every day he offered half a pound in the morning, 
and half a pound in the evening, but to-day he added his 
handful. Every day it was fine; but to-day the finest of 
the fine." 

5. Every day the priests went up the ascent to the altar 
in the east and descended in the west. But to-day the high 
priest went up in the middle and descended in the middle. 
R. Judah said, "The high priest ever went up in the middle 
and descended in the middle." Every day the high priest 

A cab contained nearly three pints. 

^ A seah contained one peck and one pint. 



60 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


sanctified his hands and his feet from the lave; but to-day 
from the golden basin. R. Judah said, "The high priest 
ever sanctified his hands and his feet from the golden basin." 
6. "Every day there were there four rows^^ of hearths; 
but to-day five." The words of E. Meier. Rabbi Joseph 
said, "every day three; but to-day four." Rabbi Judah 
said, "every day two; but to-day three." 


CHAPTER V 

1. They brought out for him the cup and the censer, and 

filled his hand full of incense, and put it into the cup, the 
large according to his largeness,^® and the smaller according 
to his smallness, and so was its measure. He took the 

censer in his right hand, and the spoon in his left. He 

proceeded in the sanctuary until he came between the two 
vails dividing between the holy and the holy of holies, and 
intermediate was a cubit. E. Joseph said, "there was one 
vail only," as he said, "the vail is the division for you be¬ 
tween the Holy and the Holy of Holies." (Exod. xxvi. 33.) 
Outside it was looped up southward, inside northward. He 

proceeded between them till he reached the north. When 
he reached the north his face was turned southward. He 

proceeded leftward near the vail till he came to the ark. 
When he came to the ark, he put the censer between its 
two staves, he heaped the incense on the live coals, and the 
whole house was entirely filled with smoke. He went out, 
and returned by the way of his entrance, and he offered a 
short prayer in the outer house, and he did not prolong his 
prayer, lest he should excite terror^^ in Israel. 

2. When the ark was removed, a stone was there from 
the days of the first prophets, and it was called "Founda¬ 
tion."^* It was three digits high above the earth, and upon 
it he put the censer. 

On the altar. 

The size of the priest's hands was proportionate to his stature. 

That he had been struck dead. 

Supposed by some to be the Sukhrah in the present Mosque of 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


61 


3. He took the blood from the mixer.^^ With it he 
entered to the place where he entered, and stood in the place 
where he stood. He sprinkled of it once on high, and seven 
times below, and he did not purpose to sprinkle neither on 
high nor below, but unintentionally,^® and so he coimted, 
"one, one and one, one and two, one and three, one and 
four, one and five, one and six, one and seven." He went 
out and placed it on the golden pedestal, which was in the 
sanctuary. 

4. They brought to him the goat, he slaughtered it and 
caught its blood in a bowl. He entered to the place where 
he entered, and stood in the place where he stood, and 
sprinkled of it once on high and seven times below, and he 
did not purpose to sprinkle neither on high nor below, but 
imintentionally;^® and so he counted, "one, one and one, one 
and two," etc. He went out, and placed it on the second 
pedestal, which was in the sanctuary. R. Judah said "there 
was but one pedestal only." He took the blood of the bul¬ 
lock and laid down the blood of the goat, and sprinkled of 
it on the vail opposite the ark, on the outside, once on high, 
seven times below, and he did not purpose, etc., and so he 
counted. He took the blood of the goat and laid down the 
blood of the bullock, and sprinkled of it on the vail opposite 
the ark, on the outside, once on high and seven times below, 
etc. He poured the blood of the bullock into the blood of the 
goat, and infused the full into the empty. 

5. And he went out to the altar which is before the Lord. 
This was the golden altar. He began cleansing it, and went 
down. "From what place did he begin?" "From, the 
northeastern comer, the northwestern, southwestern, and 
southeastern, the place where he began with the sin-offering of 
the outer altar, at the same place he finished upon the inner 
altar." R. Eliezer said, " he stood in his place and cleansed, 
and in general he operated from below upward, excepting 

Omar. From its position, however, it seems more probably to have 
been the foundation of the altar of burnt offerings. This sacred roek 
is sixty feet across and five feet high. 

A priest continued to stir the blood to prevent its coagulation. 

Or, "as a thrasher." 



62 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


that which was before him, on that he operated from above 
downward." 

6. He sprinkled on the middle^' of the altar seven times, 
and the remainder of the blood he poured out on the western 
foundation of the outer altar, and the blood from the outer 
altar he poured out on the southern foimdation. This and 
that commingled in the channel, and flowed out to the Kidron 
Valley, and they were sold to the gardeners for manure, and 
they became guilty^^ in themselves. 

7. All work of the day of atonement is described in order. 
If the high priest performed one before the other, he did 
nothing. If the blood of the goat be sprinkled before the 
blood of the bullock, he must return, and sprinkle from the 
blood of the goat after the blood of the bullock. And if he 
had not finished the performances within, the blood was 
spilled. He must bring other blood, and return to sprinkle 
first from within. And so in the sanctuary, and so on the 
golden altar, because all are an atonement in themselves. 
R. Eleazar and R. Simon say, "from the place where he 
stopped there he began." 


CHAPTER VI 

I. Both he-goats for the day of atonement are commanded 
to be alike in color, and in stature, and in price, and to be 
selected at the same time, and although they be not equal, 
yet are they lawful. "If one be selected to-day and the 

other to-morrow?" "They are lawful." "If one of them 
died?" "If he died before the lot be cast, the priest shall 

take a pair for the second; and if after the lot be cast 
he die, the priest shall fetch another pair, and cast the lot 
over them anew." And he shall say, "if that for the Name 
die, this over which this lot comes will be a substitute for 
the Name; and if that for Azazel die, this over which this 

lot comes will be a substitute for Azazel." And the second 

Or, "the clean place." 

I.e., The gardeners became liable for a trespass-offering. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


63 


shall go to pasture, until he become blemished, and he shall 
be sold, and his price must be put into the offertory. Since 
the sin-offering of the congregation dies not. R. Judah 
said, "thou shalt die";^^ and again said R. Judah, "is his 
blood shed?" "The one to be sent forth shall die." "Has 
the one to be sent forth died?" "His blood shall be 
shed." 

2. The high priest came to the side of the goat to be 
sent forth, and he placed his two hands^"^ on him and made 
confession, and thus he spake: "1 beseech thee, O Name, 
thy people, the house of Israel, have done perversely, have 
transgressed and sinned before thee. 1 beseech thee, O 
Name, pardon now their perverse doings, and their trans¬ 
gressions, and their sins, which they have perversely com¬ 
mitted, and transgressed, and sinned before thee. Thy peo¬ 
ple the house of Israel, as it is written in the law of Moses 
thy servant, saying, 'For on that day shall he make an atone¬ 
ment for you to cleanse you from all your sins; before the 
Lord ye shall be pure.'^^ And the priests and the people 
who stood in the court, on hearing the Name clearly pro¬ 
nounced by the mouth of the high priest, knelt and worshiped, 
and fell on their faces and said, 'Blessed be the Name. The 
honor of his kingdom forever and ever.'" 

3. They delivered the goat to his conductor. All were 
eligible for conducting him. But the great priests made a 
rule, and they did not permit Israel to lead him forth. Said 
R. Joseph, "it occurred that Arsela of Zippori led him 
forth, and he was an Israelite." 

4. And they made steps^® for him by reason of the Baby¬ 
lonians,^’ who plucked off his hair and said to him, "take 
and go, take and go." The nobles of Jerusalem escorted him 

R. Judah addresses in imagination the goat. 

It seems, according to the Talmud, that there was no "laying on 
of hands" on either the morning or evening saerifice; or on any other 
publie sacrifiee, exeepting the seapegoat and the bulloek, when the 
congregation had sinned through ignorance. 

Lev. xvi. 30. 

Or viaduet, or causeway. 

Supposed to be Alexandrian Jews, so called from hatred to the 
Babylonians. 



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to the first booth. There were ten booths from Jerusa¬ 
lem to Zuk — ninety stadia — seven and a half to every 
mile. 

5. At every booth they said to him, "there is food, there 
is water," and they escorted him from booth to booth, except 
the last. For they came not with him to Zuk, but stood 
afar off and saw his acts. 

6. "What did he do?" "His conductor divided the 

tongue of brightness. Half he twisted on the rock, and 
half he twisted between his horns. And he thrust him 
backward, and the goat rolled, and descended, and he had 
not reached to the half of the mountain, till his members were 
made members.^® He returned and sat under the last booth 
until darkness set in." "And when did he render garments 
unclean?"^® "From his exit from the wall of Jeru¬ 
salem." R. Simon said, "from the time of his thrusting 

at Zuk." 

7. The high priest came beside the bullock and he-goat 

which were to be burned. He cleft them, and brought out 

their entrails. He put them on a dish, and caused them to 
smoke upon the altar. He folded them in their skins, and 
caused them to be carried to the place of burning. "And 
when did he render garments unclean?" "From his 
proceeding without the wall of the court." R. Simon 
said, "when the fire kindled on the greatest part" of the 
sacrifice. 

8. They said to the high priest, "the he-goat has arrived 

in the wilderness." "And whence knew they that the he-goat 
had arrived in the wilderness?" "They set watchmen, who 

waved handkerchiefs, and they knew that the he-goat had 

I.e., broken to pieces. 

Maimonides says that those connected with the red heifer and 

scapegoat were rendered unclean because these animals were "sin- 

bearing" animals. All that Israelites now have to offer on the day 
of atonement is for males a white cock (because gever in Hebrew 

signifies a man and a cock), and for females a hen. And they pray, 

"Let this be my substitute — this my atonement. This cock goeth to 
death, but may 1 be gathered and enter into a long and happy life, 

and into peace." 





LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


65 


arrived in the wilderness." Said R. Judah, "and was not 
this a great sign to them? from Jerusalem to Bethhoron"*® 
there were three miles. They went a mile and returned, 
and rested the time of a mile, and they knew that the he-goat 
arrived in the desert." R. Ishmael'*' said, "and was there 
not another sign to them? a tongue of brightness was twisted 
on the door of the sanctuary, and when the he-goat ar¬ 
rived in the wilderness the tongue blanched, as is said, 
'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as 
snow.' 


CHAPTER VII 

1. The high priest came to read. If he wished to read 

in linen garments, he read. If not, he read in his own white 
stole. The public minister of the congregation took out the 
roll of the Law, and delivered it to the chief of the congre¬ 
gation, and the chief of the congregation gave it to the Sagan, 
and the Sagan gave it to the high priest. And the high 

priest stood and received it and read. He stood and read 

"after the death""^^ and "also on the tenth day."'"* And 
he rolled up the book of the Law, and put it into his bosom, 

and said, "More than what I have read before you is written 

here." And "on the tenth""^ in the Pentateuch of over¬ 

seers he recited, and pronounced upon it eight blessings; 
upon the Law, and upon the service, and upon the confes¬ 
sion, and upon the forgiveness of sins, and upon the sanctuary 
separately, and upon Israel separately, and upon Jerusalem 

separately, and upon the priests separately, and upon the 

remainder of the prayer. 

2. He who saw the high priest, when he read, could not 
see the bullock and the he-goat, when they were burning. 
And he who saw the bullock and the he-goat, when they 
were burning, could not see the high priest, when he read. 

Place of the hollow." Lev. xvi. 

■" Bereitha, or External Traditions. Lev. xxiii. 27. 

® Isaiah i. 18. Numb. xxix. 7. 





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Not because it was forbidden, but because the way was far, 
and the work of both was proceeding at once. 

3. If he read in linen garments, he sanctified his hands 
and his feet, he undressed, he descended and bathed. He 
came up, and wiped himself. They brought him golden gar¬ 
ments, and he dressed, and he sanctified his hands and his 
feet, and went forth and offered the ram for himself, and 
the ram for the people, and seven lambs without blemish of 
a year old. The words of R. Eleazar. R. Akiba said, "with 
the morning sacrifice they were offered." And the bullock 
of burnt offering and the he-goat"*® which was prepared with¬ 
out, were offered with the evening sacrifice. 

4. He purifieth his hands and his feet, and undressed, and 

washed, and he came up, and wiped himself. They brought 
to him white garments, and he dressed, and sanctified his 
hands and his feet. He entered to bring forth the spoon 
and the censer, he sanctified his hands and his feet, and 

undressed, and he descended, and washed. He came up, and 
wiped himself They brought to him garments of gold, and 
he dressed, and sanctified his hands and his feet. And he 
entered to offer the evening incense, and to trim the lights; 
and he sanctified his hands and his feet, and he dressed. 
They brought to him his own garments, and he dressed. 
And they escorted him to his house. And he made a feast- 

day for his friends, when he went out in peace from the 

sanctuary. 

5. The high priest ministered in eight vestments. And 

the ordinary priest in four: in the tunic, and drawers, and 
bonnet, and girdle. To these, the high priest added the 
breastplate, and ephod, and robe, and golden plate. In these 
they inquired by Urim and Thummim."'’ And they did not 
inquire in them for a private person; only for the king and 
the great Sanhedrin, and for whomsoever the congregation 

is necessary. 

Numb. xxix. 7. 

Urim and Thummim (lights and perfections) gave answer by the 
divine illumination of the suitable letters composing the names of the 
tribes which were graven on the breastplate of the high priest. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


67 


CHAPTER VIII 

1. On the day of atonement, food, and drink, and wash¬ 
ing, and anointing, and the sandal latchet,'** and marriage 
duties, are restricted. "But the king and bride are allowed 
to wash their face, and the woman after childbirth may wear 
sandals." The words of R. Eleazar, but the Sages forbid 
them. 

2. The person who eats the size of a big date and its 
grain, and drinks a jawful, is liable to punishment. All 
edible things are united for the measure of the date, and all 
drinkable things are united for the measure of the jawful. 
Eating and drinking are not united. 

3. He who eats and drinks unwittingly is only liable 
for one sin-offering. If he eat and work, he is liable for 
two sin-offerings. He who eats what is disagreeable for 
food, and drinks what is disagreeable for drinking, and he 
who drinks fish brine, or salt gravy, is free. 

4. They do not afflict young children in the day of atone¬ 
ment, but they coax them one or two years before, that they 
may be accustomed to the commandments. 

5. If the pregnant woman be affected by the odor, they 
give her food, till her strength return. To the sick person 
they give food by order from the physicians. If there be 
no physicians, they give him food at his, own demand until 
he say "it is enough." 

6. Him who is affected with blindness, they fed even with 

rmclean things, till his eyes got the power of vision. Him 

who is bitten by a mad dog, they fed not with the caul of 

his liver. But R. Mathia ben Charash said, "it is al¬ 
lowed"; and again said B. Mathia ben Charash, "to him 

who had throat complaint they administered medicine in his 
mouth on the Sabbath day, since there is uncertainty of life, 
and all uncertainty of life abrogates the Sabbath." 

7. "On whomsoever an old ruin falls, if there be a doubt, 
whether one be imder it or not; if there be doubt, whether 

Sandals were, however, allowed where there was fear of serpents 
and seorpions. Woolen soeks might be used. 



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he be alive or dead; if there be a doubt, whether he be a 
foreigner or an Israelite?" "They open over him the heap. 
If they find him alive, they open fully, but if dead, they 
leave him." 

8. The sin-offering, and the offering for known transgres¬ 
sion make atonement. Death and the day of atonement with 
repentance make atonement. Repentance atones for light 
transgressions, for commands positive and negative. But 
grave offenses are suspended, till the day of atonement come, 
and it will atone. 

9. He who said "I will sin and repent — I will sin and 

repent?" "They did not give him the opportunity of re¬ 
pentance." "I will sin, and the day of atonement shall 

atone?" "The day of atonement makes no atonement." 

Transgressions between man and The Place the day of atone¬ 
ment expiates. Transgressions between man and his neigh¬ 

bor, the day of atonement does not expiate, until his com¬ 
panion be reconciled. This R. Eleazar ben Azariah ex¬ 
plained, "From all thy sins before the Lord thou shalt be 
cleansed." Transgressions between man and The Place, the 

day of atonement expiated. Transgressions between man 
and his companion, the day of atonement did not expiate, 
until his companion be reconciled. Said R. Akiba, "Happy 
are ye, Israel! before whom are ye to be pure? Who will 
purify you? Your father in heaven, as is said, 'I will 
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean.'" Then 
said the Fountain of Israel, the Lord, "As the fountain 
purifies the defiled, so the Holy One, blessed be he, purifies 
Israel." 



THE TALMUD 


Book IV, Treatise IV, 

THE SANHEDRIN 
CHAPTER I 

1. "Judgments for money require three judges. Bobbery 
and beating require three. Damages or half damages, double 
payments and payments four or five fold require three. Con- 
sfraint, and enticement, and slander reqube three." The 
words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "slander requires 
twenty-three judges, because there exist in it judgments of 
souls." 

2. Stripes require three judges. In the name of Rabbi 
Ishmael, the Sages say, "twenty-three." "The intercalary 
month' requires three. The intercalary year requires three." 
The words of Rabbi Meier. Babban Simon the son of 
Gamaliel said, "with three judges they begin, and with five 
they discuss, and they conclude with seven; and if they 
concluded with three it is intercalated." 

3. "The appointment of elders, and striking off the 
heifer's neck^ require three." The words of Rabbi Simon. 
But Rabbi Judah said, "five." The loosing off the shoe,^ 


' The Jewish year is composed of twelve lunar months. It is 

adapted to the solar year by the use of an intercalary month called 
Veaddar — the additional Addar. Every nineteen years there are seven 

occasions on which this embohsmic month must be introduced to pre¬ 
vent the various feasts revolving over the four seasons of the year, 
like the Moslem fast of Ramadan. Formerly the Sanhedrin arranged 
this intercalary month to suit the harvest, so that if it were late, the 
wave sheaf and other observances should still be kept according to their 
proper dates. When, however, the Sanhedrin was suppressed by the 
Emperor Constantine, Hillel the Second of Tiberias ruled that an 
intercalary month of twenty-nine days should be added in the third, 
sixth, eighth, eleventh, thirteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth years of 
the Metonic Cycle. This decision has since remained the Jewish 
standard for reckoning time. 

^ Deut. xxi. 4. ^ Deut. xx. 5, 9. 

69 




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and dissatisfaction in marriage require three. The produce"^ 
of the fourth year/ the second tithes, of which the value is 
unknown, require three. The valuation of holy things re¬ 
quires three. The estimation of movable things requires 
three. R. Judah said, "one of them must be a priest." 
Immovable things require nine judges and a priest; and 

the valuation of a man slave is similar. 

4. Judgment of souls require twenty-three judges. 

Bestiality requires twenty-three, as is said, "and thou shalt 
slay the woman and the beast," and it is also said, "the beast 
thou shalt slay." An ox to be stoned requires twenty-three 

judges; as it is said, "The ox shall be stoned, and his owner 
also shall be put to death,"® as is the death of the owner, so 
is the death of the ox. The wolf, and the lion, and the bear, 
and the leopard, and the panther, and the serpent, are to be 
put to death with twenty-three judges. R. Eliezer said, 
"every one who first killed them has gained honor." R. 

Akiba said, "they are to be put to death after a judgment 

with twenty-three judges." 

5. A tribe must not be judged, nor a false prophet, nor a 

high priest, save before the tribimal of seventy-one. And 

soldiers must not go forth to lawful warfare, save by a decree 
of the tribunal of seventy-one. Men must not add to the city 
or to the temple courts, save by a decision of the tribimal of 
seventy-one. They must not appoint judges to the tribes, 

save by a decision of the tribimal of seventy-one. A city 

must not be excluded, save by the tribunal of seventy-one. 

And the tribunal must not exclude a city on the border, nor 

exclude three cities, but only one or two. 

6. The Great Sanhedrin consisted of seventy-one members, 

and the small one of twenty-three. And whence know we 
that the great one contained seventy-one? as is said, "Gather 
unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel"/ and Moses 

over them. There are seventy-one. R. Judah said "sev¬ 

enty." And whence know we that the small one consisted of 
twenty-three? as is said, "Then the congregation shall 

Lev. xix. 24. " Exod. xxi. 29. 

* Deut. xiv. 22-25. ’ Numb. xi. 17. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


71 


judge";* "and the congregation shall deliver." A congre¬ 

gation to judge, and a congregation to deliver, there are 
twenty. And whence know we that a congregation required 
ten? as is said, "How long shall I bear with this evil congre¬ 
gation?"^ Joshua and Caleb were excepted. "And whence 

know we to produce the other three? "From the meaning, 
as is said, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."'® 
I am hearing that "I shall be with them for good." If so, 
why is it said, "to decline after many to wrest judg¬ 
ment"? '® "Because thy inclinations to good do not 
equal thy inclinations to evil. Thy inclinations to good are 
by the report of one. Thy inclinations to evil are by the 

report of two. And a tribunal must not be balanced. An¬ 
other must be added. There are twenty-three." "And how 
populous must be the city suited for judges?" "One hun¬ 

dred and twenty." R. Nehemiah said, "two hundred and 
thirty to represent twenty-three overseers of tens." 


CHAPTER II 

1. The high priest may judge, and be judged." He may 
bear witness, and witness may be home against him. He may 
have his shoe loosed, and the shoe may be loosed for his wife.'^ 
His brother may take his wife, but he must not take his 
brother's wife, because he is prevented from marrying a 
widow. If there happened a death in his family, he must not 
go immediately behind the bier. "But when the mourners 
are concealed in a street, then he is discovered to the public. 
They are discovered to the public, and he is concealed in a 
street. And he may go with them to the entrance-gate of 
the city." The words of R. Meier. R. Judah said, "he 
must not depart from the sanctuary"; as is said, "neither 

*Numb. XXXV. 24, 25. A congregation, or minyan, must not be less 
than ten men. If there be 10,000 women they can not form a minyan. 

’ Numb. xiv. 27. 

“ Exod. xxiii. 2. 

" The Great Sanhedrin could whip a high priest for certain offenses, 
and afterward restore him to his office. 

Deut. XXV. 9. 




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shall he go out of the sanctuary."'^ And when he comforts 
others, the fashion of all the people is to pass one after the 
other, and the deputy priest puts him in the middle between 
himself and the people. But when he is comforted by others, 
all the people say to him, "we are thy atonement." And he 
says to them, "you shall be blessed from heaven." And at 
the first meal'"^ after a funeral, all the people recline on the 
ground, and he sits on a stool. 

2. The king neither judges, nor is judged. He neither 
bears witness, nor is witness home against him. He does 
not unloose the shoe, and the shoe is not unloosed for his 
wife. He does not marry his brother's wife, nor is his wife 
married by his brother. R. Judah said, "if he pleased he 
may unloose the shoe, or marry his brother's wife. He is 
remembered in prayer for good." The Sages said to him, 
"we do not hear him (the king) for unloosing the shoe and 
his widow must not marry." R. Judah said, "the king may 
marry the widow of a king, as we find with David that he 
married the widow of Saul"; as is said, "And 1 gave thee 
thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom." 

3. If there happened a death in his family, he goes not 
out from the entrance of his palace. R. Judah said, "if he 
pleases to go after the bier he may go, as we find in David 
that he went after the bier of Abner"; as is said, "And 
King David himself followed the bier."''' The Sages said 
to him, "this only happened to pacify the people." And at 
the first meal after a funeral, all the people recline on the 
ground, and he sits on a sofa. 

4. And he may go forth to lawful warfare by order of 
the supreme court of seventy-one, and he may break down a 
road for himself, and none can prevent him. The road of a 
king is without measure, and all the people plunder and lay 
it before him. And he takes part first. He must not multi¬ 
ply wives beyond eighteen. R. Judah said, "he may multi¬ 
ply wives for himself so long as they do not turn away his 
heart." R. Simon said, "even if one turn away his heart. 

Lev. xxi. 12. 2 Sam. xii. 8. 

Sam. iii. 35. 2 Sam. iii. 31. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


73 


he should not marry her." If so, wherefore is it said, "he 
must not multiply for himself wives, even though they be as 
Abigail"? He must not multiply horses, except sufficient 
for his own riding. And silver and gold he must not multi¬ 
ply much, only sufficient to pay his own expenses. And 
he must write a book of the law for himself. When he goes 
out to war, he must bring it with him. When he returns, he 
must bring it with him. If he sit in judgment it is with 
him. When he is seated it is before him, as is said, "And it 
shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of 
his life."'^ 

5. None may ride on his horse, and none may sit on his 
chair, and none may use his scepter, and none may see him 
shaving, either when he is naked, or in the bath, as is said, 
"Thou shah in any wise set him king over thee,"'* that his 
dread be upon thee. 


CHAPTER III 

1. "Judgment in money matters requires three judges. 

This party chooses for himself one, and the other party 

chooses for himself one. And both parties choose another." 

The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "the two judges 
choose for themselves the other." "This one may declare 
the judge of that one illegal. And that one may declare the 
judge of this one illegal." The words of R. Meier. But 

the Sages say, "it is only when witness can be brought 

against them that they are related or unlawful." "But if 

they be righteous or experienced, they must not be declared 
illegal." "This one may declare illegal the witness of that 

one. And that one may declare illegal the witness of this 

one." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "it is 
only when witness can be brought against them that they 

are related or unlawful, but if they be righteous they must 
not be declared illegal." 

2. One said to the other, "I trust my father," "I trust 

thy father," "I trust three cowherds." R. Meier said, "he 

" Deut. xvii. 19. Deut. xvii. 15. 



74 


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may change his mind." But the Sages say, "he must not 
change." If he must give an oath to his companion, and 
he said to him, "vow to me by the life of thy head"? R. 
Meier said, "he may change his mind." But the Sages say, 
"he must not change his mind." 

3. And these are illegal as judges or witnesses—one who 
played at cards, or lent on usury, or bet on the flight of 
doves, or traded in the Sabbatical year. R. Simon said, "at 
first they were called gatherers in the Sabbatical year; when 
they were forced by Gentiles to cultivate the ground, they 
changed to call them traders in the Sabbatical year." R. 
Judah said, "it is only when they have no other occupation 
but this one alone: but if they have another occupation, they 
are allowed." 

4. And these are related, his father and his brother, and 
the brethren of his father, and the brethren of his mother, 
and the husband of his sister, and the husband of his father's 
sister, and the husband of his mother's sister. And the hus¬ 
band of his mother and his father-in-law, and his brother-in- 
law, they, their children, and their sons-in-law, and his step¬ 
son alone. R. Jose said, "this was the teaching of R. Akiba; 
but the first teaching was, his uncle and the son of his uncle, 
and all suitable for inheritance, and every one related to him 
at the present time." "One was related and became es¬ 
tranged?" "He is lawful." R. Judah said, "even if his 
daughter died, and he has children left by her, they are 
related." 

5. "Who is a friend? and who is an enemy?" "A friend 
is the bridegroom's best man, an enemy is every one who has 
not spoken with him three days in malice." The Sages re¬ 
plied to him, "Israelites are not so suspicious." 

6. "How are witnesses examined?" "They are brought 
in and intimidated; and all other men are driven out. And 
the chief of the witnesses is left, and they say to him, "tell 
us how do you know that this man is indebted to that man?" 
If the witness said, "he told me that I am indebted to him" 
—"such a man told me that he is indebted to him"— he 
has said nothing, till he shall say, "he acknowledged in our 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


75 


presence that he owed him two hundred zuz." And after¬ 
ward the second witness is brought in, and examined. If 
their statements were found agreeing, the judges held a con¬ 
versation. Two of them said "he is clear," and one said "he 
is indebted"? "He is cleared." "Two said he is in¬ 
debted, and one said he is clear?" "He is indebted." 
"One said he is clear, and one said he is indebted? 
And even if two pronounced him clear or indebted, and 
one said, 'I don't know'?" "The judges must be in¬ 

creased." 

1. The matter is finished. They bring in the plaintiff 

and defendant. The chief judge says, "thou, such a one, 
art clear; thou, such a one, art indebted." "And whence 
know we that one of the judges on going out should not 
say, 'I was for clearing him, but my colleagues pronounced 
him indebted, but what shall I do when my colleagues are 
too many for me'?" "Of this man it is said, 'Thou shalt 
not go up and down as a talebearer among this people,''^ 
and it is said, 'A talebearer revealeth secrets.' 

8. At any time the one condemned may bring evidence 
and annul the judgment. The judges said to him, "bring 
all your evidence within thirty days from this date." If he 
brought them within thirty days, it is annulled; if after 

thirty days, it is not annulled. Rabban Simon, the son of 
Gamaliel, said, "what shall he do if he did not find them 

within thirty days, but foimd them after thirty days?" 
"The judges said to him, 'bring witnesses'; and he said, 'I 
have no witnesses'; they said, 'bring evidence'; and he 
said, 'I have no evidence': but afterward he found evidence, 
and formd witnesses?" "They are nothing." Rabban 
Simon, the son of Gamaliel, said, "what shall he do if he did 
not know that he had witnesses, and found witnesses; he did 
not know that he had evidence, and formd evidence?" 
"They said to him, 'bring witnesses'; he said, 'I have no 
witnesses.' 'Bring evidence,' and he said, 'I have no evi¬ 
dence.' " "He saw that he will be pronoimced indebted in 
judgment," and he said, "approach such a one, and such a 
Lev. xix. 16. ^ Prov. xi. 13. 



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one, and bear witness for me," or "he pulled out evidence 
from his pocket"? "It is nothing." 

CHAPTER IV 

1. Judgments in money and judgments in souls must be 
equally inquired into and investigated; as is said," Ye shall 
have one manner of law."^' "What is the difference be¬ 
tween judgments in money and judgments in souls?" 
"Judgments in money require three judges, judgments in 
souls twenty-three. Judgments in money open the case 
either for clearing or proving indebted, but judgments of 
souls open the case for clearing, and the case is not opened 
for condemning. Judgments in money are balanced by one 
judge either for clearing or proving indebted; but judgments 
in souls are balanced by one for clearing and by two for con¬ 
demning. Judgments in money may be reversed either for 
clearing or proving indebted; but judgments in souls may be 
reversed for clearing, but must not be reversed for condemna¬ 
tion. All may express an opinion on judgments in money 
for clearing or proving indebted. All may express an 
opinion on judgments in souls for clearing, but all must not 
express an opinion for condemnation. He who has expressed 
an opinion on judgments in money for proving indebted may 
express an opinion for clearing, and he who has expressed 
an opinion for clearing may express an opinion for proving 
indebted. He who has expressed an opinion on judgments 
in souls for condemnation may express an opinion for clear¬ 
ing, but he who has expressed an opinion for clearing must 
not reverse it to express an opinion for condemnation. Judg¬ 
ments in money are conducted by day and settled by night. 
Judgments in souls are conducted by day and settled by day. 
Judgments in money are settled on the same day, either for 
clearing or proving indebted. Judgments in souls are fin¬ 
ished on the same day for clearing, and on the day after it 
for condemnation; wherefore there can be no judgments on 
Friday or on the eve of a festival." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 77 

2. Judgments in legal uncleanness and legal cleansings 

begin with the supreme judge. Judgments in souls begin 

with a judge at his side. All are eligible to pronoimce judg¬ 

ments in money matters, but all are not eligible to pronoimce 
judgments in souls — only priests, Levites, and Israelites 
who can intermarry into the priesthood. 

3. The Sanhedrin was like half a round threshing-floor, 

in order that the members might observe one another. And 
two scribes of the judges stood before them — one on the 
right and one on the left. And they wrote the sentence of 
acquittal, and the sentence of condemnation. R. Judah said, 
"three; one scribe wrote the sentence of acquittal, and one 
wrote the sentence of condemnation; and the third wrote both 
the sentence of acquittal and the sentence of condemnation." 

4. And three rows of the disciples of the wise sat before 

them. And each one knew his place. When it was neces¬ 
sary to appoint a judge, they appointed one from the first 
row. One from the second row came instead of him into 

the first, and one from the third row came instead of him 
into the second, and they selected another from the congre¬ 
gation, and they seated him in the third row, and he did not 
sit in the place of his predecessor, but he sat in a place 
suitable for himself 

5. "How did the judges intimidate witnesses in the tes¬ 
timony for souls?" "They introduced them, and intimi¬ 
dated them." "Perhaps you are speaking from guess? or 

from hearsay? witness from witness? or from a trustworthy 
man we heard it?" Or perhaps "you don't know that at the 
last we shall proceed to inquire into your own character and 
investigate it." "Have a knowledge that the judgments of 
money are not as judgments of souls. In judgments for 

money, when the man pays the money he has atoned. In 

judgments for souls his blood and the blood of his posterity 
are suspended till the end of the world." So we find it with 
Cain when he slew his brother. It is said of him,^^ "the 
voice of thy brother's bloods crieth." He does not say thy 

brother's blood, but bloods of thy brother, his blood and the 


Gen. iv. 10. 



78 


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blood of his posterity. Another thing is also meant, that 
thy brother's bloods are spattered on wood, and on stones. 
Therefore man is created single, to teach thee that every one 
who destroys one soul from Israel, to him is the verse ap¬ 
plicable, as if he destroys a full world. And every one who 
supports one soul in Israel, to him is the verse applicable, as 
if he supports the full world. And it is also said, for the 
peace of creation, that no man may justly say to his compan¬ 
ion, my father is greater than thine. And that the Epicureans 
should not say, that there are more Creators in the heavens, 
and it is also said, to show forth the greatness of the Holy 
One, blessed be he! When man stamps many coins with one 
stamp, all are alike. But the King of Kings, the Holy One, 
blessed be he! stamped every man with the stamp of the first 
Adam, and no one of them is like his companion; therefore 
every one is bound to say, "for my sake was the world 
created." But, perhaps, the witnesses will say, "what is this 
trouble to us?" But is it not already said, "And is a wit¬ 
ness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter 
it"?^^ But perhaps the witnesses will say, "what is it to 
us, to be guilty of this man's blood?" But is it not already 
said, "When the wicked perish, there is shouting"?^'* 


CHAPTER V 

1. The witnesses were examined with seven investiga¬ 
tions. "In what Sabbatical year?" "In what year?" 
"In what month?" "What date in the month?" "What 
day?" "What hour?" "What place?" R. Jose said, 
"What day?" "What hour?" "What place?" "Did you 
know him?" "Did you warn him?" In a case of idol¬ 
atry, "whom did he serve?" "And with what did he 
serve?" 

2. Every judge who extends examinations is praiseworthy. 
It happened that the son of Zacchai examined even on the 
stems of figs. And what difference is there between inves- 

Lev. V. 1. Prov. xi. 10. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


79 


ligations and examinations? In investigations if one say, 

"I don't know," the witness is worthless. In examina¬ 
tions, if one say, "I don't know," and even two say, "we 

don't know," their witness stands. Whether in investiga¬ 
tions or examinations, when they contradict each other, then- 

witness is worthless. 

3. One witness said, "on the second of the month," and 

another witness said, "the third of the month." Their wit¬ 

ness stands. Because one knows of the intercalary month, 
and another does not know of the intercalary month. One 
said, "on the third," and another said, "on the fifth," then- 

witness is worthless. One said, "at the second hour," and 

another said "at the third hour"; their witness stands. 
One said, "at the third," and another said, "at the fifth"; 

their witness is worthless. R. Judah said "it stands." 
One said, "on the fifth," and another said, "on the sev¬ 
enth"; their witness is worthless, because at the fifth hour 
the sun is in the east, and at the seventh hour the sim is in 
the west. 

4. And afterward they introduce the second witness and 

examine him. If both their statements agree, they open 
the case with clearing. One of the witnesses says, "I pos¬ 

sess information to clear him." Or one of the disciples of 
the Sanhedrin says, "I possess information for condemning." 
They order him to keep silence. One of the disciples of the 
Sanhedrin says, "I possess information to clear him." They 
bring him up, and seat him between the judges, and he did 
not go down during the whole day. If there be substantial 

information, they give him a hearing. And even when he 
(the accused) says, "I possess information for clearing my¬ 
self," the judges give him a hearing; only there must be 
substantial information in his words. 

5. If the judges foimd him clear, they released him, but 

if not they deferred his judgment till the morrow. They 

conversed in pairs, and reduced their eating, and they drank 
no wine all the day, and discussed the matter the whole 
night. And on the morrow they came very early to the judg¬ 
ment-hall. He who was for clearing said, "I was for clear- 



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ing, and I am for clearing in my place." And he who was 
for condemning said, "I was for condemning, and I am for 
condemning in my place." He who pronounced for con¬ 
demning could pronounce for clearing, but he who pronounced 
for clearing could not turn roimd and pronoimce for con¬ 
demning. If the judges erred in a matter, the two scribes 
of the judges recalled it to their memory. If they found him 
clear, they released him; but if not, they stood to be counted. 
"Twelve cleared him, and eleven condemned?" "He is 
clear." "Twelve condemned him, and eleven cleared him, 
and even eleven cleared, and eleven condemned," and one 
said, "I don't know." And even twenty-two cleared or con¬ 
demned, and one said, "I don't know"? "They must add 

judges." "How many do they add as judges two by two?" 
"Up to seventy-one." "Thirty-six cleared him, and thirty- 

five condemned him?" "He is clear." "Thirty-six con¬ 

demned him, and thirty-five cleared him?" "They dis¬ 
puted with each other until one of the condemning party 

acknowledged the statement of the clearing party." 


CHAPTER VI 

1. When the judgment was finished, they brought him 

forth to stone him.^^ The place of stoning was outside the 

judgment-hall; as is said, "Bring him forth that hath 
cursed."^® One stood at the door of the judgment-hall with 
towels in his hand, and another man rode a horse at a distance 
from him, but so that he might see him. If one said, "I 

have something to tell for his clearing," this one waved the 
towels, and the other galloped his horse, and stopped the ac¬ 
cused. And even though he himself said, "I have some¬ 
thing to tell to clear myself," they brought him back as many 

Before executing a criminal, a quantity of frankincense in a cup of 
wine was given to him to stupefy him and render him insensible to 
pain. The compassionate ladies of Jerusalem generally provided this 

draught at their own cost. This cost was in obedience to Proverbs 
xxxi. 6, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine 
unto those that be of heavy hearts." 

“ Lev. xxiv. 14. 





LITERATURE OF THE EAST 81 

as four or five times, only there must be substance in bis 
words. If they found him clear, they freed him; but if not, 
they took him forth to stone him. And a herald preceded 
him crying, "Such a one, the son of such a one, is brought 
out for stoning, because he committed such a transgression, 

and so and so are witnesses; let every one who knows aught 
for clearing him come forth and tell it." 

2. When he was ten cubits from the place of stoning, 

they said to him "confess," as it is the custom of all about 
to die to confess, since to every one who confesses there is a 
portion in the world to come. So we find with Achan when 
Joshua said to him, "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the 
Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him."^^ 
"And Achan answered Joshua, and said. Indeed, I have 
sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus I 

have done." "And from whence know we that his confes¬ 
sion made atonement for him?" "As it is said, 'And 

Joshua said. Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall 

trouble thee this day.' This day thou art troubled, but thou 
shah not be troubled in the world to come." And if he did 
not know how to confess, they told him to say, "let my death 
be an atonement for all my sins." Rabbi Judah said, 

"if he knew that he was falsely condemned, he said, 'let my 
death be an atonement for all my sins, except this one'"; 

the Sages said, "if so, every man will speak thus to make 
himself innocent." 

3. When he was four cubits from the place of stoning, 

they stripped off his garments. "If a man, they covered 
him in front; if a woman, before and behind." The words 

of Rabbi Judah. But the Sages say, "a man was stoned 
naked, but the woman was not stoned naked." 

4. The place of stoning was two men high. One of the 

witnesses thrust him down on his loins. If he turned on 

his heart, the witness must turn him on his loins. If he died 

with that thrust it was finished; but if not, the second wit¬ 
ness took the stone, and cast it upon his heart. If he died 

with that blow, the stoning was finished. But if not, he 


' Joshua vii. 19, 20, 25. 



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was stoned by all Israel, as is said, "The hands of the wit¬ 
nesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and 
afterward the hands of all the people."^* "All who were 

stoned were hung up." The words of Rabbi Eliezer. But 
the Sages say, "none was hung up, save the blasphemer 
and the idolater." "The man is to be hung with his face 
toward the people, but the woman with her face toward the 
wood." The words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the Sages say, 
"the man was himg up, but they do not hang up a woman." 

Rabbi Eleazar said to them, "and did not Simon, the son of 

Shatach, hang women in Askalon?" They said to him, "he 
hung up eighty women (witches), and two could not be 
judged, in one day." "How did they hang him?" "They 
sunk a beam in the ground, and a transverse beam proceeded 
from it, and they bound his hands, one over the other, and 
hung him up "by them. R. Jose said, "the beam was in¬ 
clined against the wall, and he was hung upon it, just as the 
butchers do." And they loosed him immediately afterward. 

"But if he was out all night?" "It was a transgression of 
a negative command, as is said, 'His body shall not remain 
all night upon the tree, but thou shaft in any wise bury him 
that day, for he that is hanged is accursed of God,' etc. 
As one says, "wherefore is this one hung?" "Because he 
blasphemed the Name, and it follows that the heavenly Name 
is profaned." 

5. Rabbi Meier said, "when man is sorrowful,^® what 
language does the Shekinah^' make him to utter?" If it 
be lawful so to speak, "my head makes me ashamed, my arm 
makes me ashamed." If, to speak after the manner of men. 
Omnipresence is sorrowful, when the blood of the wicked 
is poured out, how much more sorrowful is he for the blood 
of the righteous? And not in the case of the condemned alone, 
but every one who leaves his dead overnight is a transgressor 

Deut. xvii. 7. 

Deut. xxi. 23. 

This supposes a man sorrowful, because he is obliged to punish 

I.e., the divine presence. The luminous eloud of glory in the 
holy of holies. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


83 


of a negative command. If they left him for the sake of 
honor, to bring a coffin and a shroud for him, there is no 
transgression. But they did not bury him (the condemned) 

in the sepulchers of his fathers. And there were two burial- 
grounds prepared for the judgment-hall — one for the stoned 
and the burned, and one for those beheaded and strangled. 

6. When the flesh of the condemned was consumed, they 
gathered his bones and buried them in their proper place; 

and his relatives came and asked after the peace of the 

judges, and the peace of the witnesses, as much as to say, 
"know there is nothing in our hearts against you, as your 

judgment was true." And they did not mourn, but were 
gloomy, since gloominess is only in the heart. 


CHAPTER VII 

1. Four pimishments were permitted to the supreme 
court — stoning, burning, beheading, and strangling. R. 
Simon said, "burning, stoning, strangling, and beheading." 
The preceding chapter is the order of stoning. 

2. The order for those burned was to be sunk in dung 

to their knees. And men put a hard towel in a soft one, 
and encircled his neck. One pulled on one side, and an¬ 

other pulled on the other side, till the condemned opened his 
mouth. And one lit a wick, and cast it into his mouth, and 
it went down to his bowels, and it consumed his intestines. 

R. Judah said, "if he died in their hands, they did not com¬ 

plete in him the order of burning; only they opened his 
mouth with tongs against his will, and lit the wick, and cast 
it into his mouth, and it went down to his bowels and con¬ 
sumed his intestines." Said R. Eleazar, the son of Zadok, 
"it happened with the daughter of a priest, who was im¬ 
moral, that they surrounded her with dry branches and 

burned her." The Sages replied, "because the court at that 
time was unskilled." 

3. The order of those beheaded was to have their heads 
struck off with a sword, as is the custom of governments. 



84 


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R. Judah said, "that was an abuse; they only rested his 
head on a block, and hewed it off with an axe." The Sages 
replied to him, "no death is a greater abuse than that." The 
order for those strangled was that they were sunk down in 
dung to their knees, and then a hard towel was put inside a 
soft one, and encircled the victim's neck. One pulled on one 
side, and another pulled on the other side, till his soul 

departed. 

4. These were stoned; ... a blasphemer, and an idol¬ 

ater, and he who gave his seed to Molech, and one with a 
familiar spirit,^^ and a wizard, and he who profaned the 
Sabbath, and he who cursed father or mother, and he who 
came to a betrothed maid, and an enticer to idolatry, and a 
withdrawer to idolatry, and a sorcerer, and a son stubborn 
and rebellious. 

5. The blasphemer was not guilty till he expressed the 

Name. Said R. Joshua, the son of Korcha, every day they 
examined the witnesses under a substituted (feigned) name, 
for example, "Jose shall beat Jose." When the judgment 
was finished, they could not execute him under the nickname, 
but they withdrew all men outside, and interrogated the 
principal witness, and said to him, "tell us clearly what 
thou hast heard," and he said it. And the judges stood 

up on their feet, and rent their garments, and they were 
never sewn again. And the second witness said, "even 
I heard as he," and the third said, "even I heard as 

he." 

6. One committed idolatry, whether he served the idol, 

or sacrificed to it, or burned incense to it, or made a libation 
to it, or bowed down to it, or accepted it for his god. And 

also, he who said to it, "thou art my God." But he who 

embraced it, and kissed it, and honored it, and dusted it, 
and washed it, and anointed it, and dressed it, and put shoes 
on it, transgressed a negative command. He who vowed 

The words in the original, Baal Aob, are supposed by some to 
denote a ventriloquist, as such persons are called in the LXX. 

'Eggastrimuthoi, and also from Aob, meaning a "bottle" or "stomach." 
Aob seems, however, much more likely to be allied to the Coptic word 
for a "serpent" or "python." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


85 


in its name, and performed the vow in its name, transgressed 
a negative command. "He exposed himself to Baal peor?" 
"That is positive service." "He cast a stone to Mercury?" 
"That is positive service." 

7. He who gave his seed to Molech^^ is not guilty till 
he hand it to Molech, and pass it through the fire. "If he 
hand it to Molech, and do not pass it through the fire, or if 
he passed it through the fire, and did not hand it to Molech?" 
"He is not guilty till he hand it to Molech, and pass it 
through the fire." One has a familiar spirit, when the 
python speaks from his arm. But the wizard speaks with 
his mouth. These are to be stoned, and inquiry from them 
is forbidden. 

8. He who profaned the Sabbath by aught which renders 

him guilty of presumption is to be cut off;^'* but if he pro¬ 
faned the Sabbath in error, a sin-offering is required from 
him. He who cursed father or mother is not guilty till he 

curse them by the Name. "If he curse them with a substi¬ 
tuted name of God? "R. Meier pronounces him "guilty"; 
but the Sages "free him." 

9. "If one came to a betrothed maid?" "He is not 

guilty, except she be a virgin and betrothed, and in the house 

The image of Molech was made of brass. It was hollow within 
and heated with fire outside. It stood in the valley of Hinnom with¬ 

out the walls of Jerusalem. Kimchi says the image of Molech con¬ 
tained seven chapels. These chapels are supposed by some to represent 
the seven planets. In the first chapel flowers were offered; in the 

second, turtle doves or young pigeons; in the third, lambs; in the 
fourth, rams; in the fifth, calves; in the sixth, oxen; "but whosoever 

offered his son, they opened to him the seventh chapel."The face of 
Molech was like the face of a calf, and the image stretched forth its 

hands "as a man who opens his hands to receive something of his 
neighbor." "They kindled the image with fire, and the priests took 
the babe and put it into the hands of Molech, and the babe gave up the 
ghost." They called it Tophet, because they made a noise with drums 
(tophim), that the father might not hear the screams of his child 
and have pity upon him. And they called it Hinnom, because the child 
roared (menahem) in his anguish. Others say it was called Hinnom, 

because the priests used to say, "May it profit thee — may it be sweet 

Cutting off is generally supposed to have extended to the family 
as well as the guilty person. It seems to have included the future as 
well as the present life. 



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of her father." "If two came to her?" "The first is to be 
stoned and the second strangled." 

10. "The enticer to idolatry?" "This ordinary man 

enticed an ordinary man; he said to him, 'there is an object 

of fear in such a place, so it eats, so it drinks, so it does good, 
so it does evil.'" Of all who are guilty of death in the law, 
we are not to set witnesses in concealment to convict them, 
except in this case of an enticer to idolatry. When he has 
spoken of his idolatry to two persons, they as witnesses bring 
him to the judgment-hall, and stone him. If he spoke thus 
to one, this one replies, "I have companions who desire to 

hear so and so." "If he be cunning, and he does not speak 

before them?" "Witnesses are concealed behind a wall, 

and he says to the idolater, 'tell me what thou saidst to me 
alone,' and the idolater told him. And he replied to him, 
'how can we leave our God, who is in heaven, and go and 
serve wood and stone?'" "If the idolater returned from 

his sin, it is well; but if he said, 'so is our duty, and so it is 

excellent for us,' they who stood behind the wall bring him 

to the judgment-hall, and stone him; if he said, 'I shall serve, 
I shall go and serve, let us go and serve; I will sacrifice, I 
will go and sacrifice, let us go and sacrifice; I will bum 
incense, I will go and bum incense, let us go and. bum in¬ 
cense; I will pour a libation, I will go and pour a libation, 
let us go and pour a libation; I will bow down, I will go 
and bow down, let us go and bow down' — the withdrawer 
is he who says, 'let us go and serve idols.'" 

11. The sorcerer, who has done the act, is guilty of death, 
but he is not guilty who merely deludes the eyes. R. Akiba 
said in the name of R. Joshua, "two sorcerers can gather 
cucumbers — one gathers them and is free, but another gath¬ 
ers them and is guilty. He who has performed the act is 
guilty. He who has merely deluded the eyes is free." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


87 


CHAPTER VIII 

1. A son stubborn and rebellious."From what time is 
he decidedly a son stubborn and rebellious?" "From the 
time the two hairs have come, and up to the time the beard 
has sprouted; but the Sages spoke in modest language. As 
is usually said, when a man has a son — a son, but not a 
daughter; a son, but not a man; a child as yet free from com¬ 
ing under the rule of the commandments." 

2. "From what time is he guilty?" "From the time he 

ate three-quarters of a pound of flesh, and drank half a log 
of Italian wine." R. Jose said, "a pound of flesh and a log 
of wine." "He ate it in an appointed feast; he ate it in the 
intercalary month; he ate it during the second tithes in Jeru¬ 
salem; he ate of a carcass and of things tom, abominable 
things and creeping things; he ate of that which had not paid 
tithes, and the first tithes before the heave-offering was sep¬ 
arated from them, and the second tithes and holy things 
which were not redeemed; he ate of a thing which is com¬ 
manded, and of a thing which is a transgression; he ate every 
kind of meat, but he did not eat flesh; he drank every kind 
of fluid, but he did not drink wine?" "He is not a son 
stubborn and rebellious till he eat flesh and drink wine," as 
is said, "A glutton and a drunkard;"^® and even though 
there is no conclusive evidence, there is a memorial to the 

matter, as is said, "Be not among winebibbers; among 
riotous eaters of flesh. 

3. "If he steal it from his father, and eat it, with permis¬ 

sion, on the property of his father; from others, and eat it 
on the property of others; from others, and eat it on the 
property of his father?" "He is not a son stubborn and 

rebellious till he steal it from his father and eat it on the 

property of others." R. Jose, the son of R. Judah, said, 

"till he steal it from his father and from his mother." 

4. "If his father desires his pimishment, and his mother 
does not desire it; his father does not desire it, and his mother 

Deut. xxi. 18. Deut. xxi. 20. ” Prov. xxiii. 20. 



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does desire it?" "He is not declared a son stubborn and 
rebellious until both of them desire it." R. Judah said, "if 
his mother was not suitable for his father, he is not declared 
a son stubborn and rebellious." "One of them was broken¬ 
handed, or lame, or dumb, or blind, or deaf?" "He is not 
declared a son stubborn and rebellious," as is said, '"Then 
shall his father and his mother lay hold on him,'^* which is 
impossible if they be broken-handed; 'and bring him out,' 
which is impossible if they be lame; 'and they shall say,' 
which is impossible if they be dumb; 'this our son,' which is 
impossible if they be blind; 'he will not obey our voice,' which 
is impossible if they be deaf. They must warn him before 
three judges, and then flog him." "He returned to his bad 
habits?" "He is to be judged before twenty-three judges, 
but he is not to be stoned till the three first judges are present, 
as is said, 'this our son' who was flogged before you." "He 
ran away before his judgment was finished, and afterward 
came to puberty?" "He is free." "But if be ran away 

after the decision and then came to puberty?" "He is 
guilty." 

5. A son stubborn and rebellious is judged for the sake 

of his future prospects. The law says, "better die when 

he is innocent, and not die when he is guilty." The death 

of the wicked is pleasant for them, and pleasant for the world; 

but the death of the righteous is evil for them, and evil for 
the world. Wine and sleep are pleasant to the wicked, and 
pleasant to the world; but for the righteous, it is evil for 
them, and evil for the world. Separation for the wicked is 
pleasant for them, and pleasant for the world; but for the 

righteous, it is evil for them, and evil for the world. Union 
for the wicked is evil for them, and evil for the world; but 

for the righteous, it is pleasant for them, and pleasant for 

the world. Rest for the wicked is evil for them, and evil 
for the world; but for the righteous, it is pleasant for them, 
and pleasant for the world. 

6. If one engaged in burglary, he is judged for the sake 
of his future prospects. "He engaged in burglary and broke 

Deut. xxi. 19, 20. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


89 


a barrel?" "If the owner might not kill him, he must pay 
for the barrel; but if the owner might kill him, he is freed 
from paying for the barrel." 

7. These are they who are rescued^^ with their souls — 
he who pursued after his companion to kill him, and one 
after a betrothed girl. But one about to profane the Sab¬ 
bath, and one about to serve idols, such can not be saved 
with their souls.‘*° 


CHAPTER IX 

1. And these are to be beheaded. The murderer and the 

men of a city withdrawn to idolatry. "The murderer who 
smote his neighbor with a stone or iron, and he pressed him 
down in the midst of the water, or in the midst of fire, and 
he could not come out from thence, and he died?" "He is 
guilty." "He pushed him into the midst of water, or into 
the midst of fire, and he could come out, but he died?" 
"He is free." "He encouraged a dog against him, he en¬ 
couraged a serpent against him?" "He is free." "He 

caused a serpent to bite him? "Rabbi Judah declared him 
"guilty," but the Sages "freed him." "He smote his com¬ 

panion either with a stone or his fist, and he was counted 
for dead, and he became lighter, and afterward became 

heavier, and died?" "He is guilty." R. Nehemiah said, 

"he is free, because there are extenuating circumstances in 

the matter." 

2. "His intention was to kill a beast, and he killed a 

man — a foreigner, and he killed an Israelite — a prema¬ 
ture birth, and he killed a timely child?" "He is free." 
"His intention was to smite his loins, and there was not 
sufficient force in the blow to cause death in his loins, and 

it passed to his heart, and there was sufficient force in the 
blow to cause death in his heart, and he died?" "He is 

they are saved from crime by immediately depriving them of 

life. This summary mode of procedure was called "the rebel's beat¬ 
ing." It was a kind of lynch-law inflicted by the people at once. 

As the former class of intending criminals could at once be killed, 
so this latter class must be guilty of the act, and they are then judged 
fork. 



90 


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free." "His intention was to smite him on his heart, and 
there was sufficient force in the blow to cause death on his 
heart, and it passed on to his loins, and there was not suffi¬ 
cient force in the blow to cause death on his loins, but he 
died?" "He is free." "His intention was to smite an 
adult, and there was not sufficient force in the blow to cause 
death to an adult, and it passed off to a child, and there was 
sufficient force to kill the child, and he died?" "He is 

free." "His intention was to smite a child, and there was 
sufficient force in the blow to cause death to a child, and it 
passed to an adult, and there was not sufficient force to cause 
death to the adult, but he died?" "He is free." "But his 

intention was to smite him on his loins, and there was suffi¬ 
cient force in the blow to cause death on his loins, and it 
passed to his heart, and he died?" "He is guilty." "His 
intention was to smite an adult, and there was sufficient force 
in the blow to cause the death of the adult, and it passed to 
a child, and he died?" "He is guilty." R. Simon said, 
"even if his intention be to kill this one, and he killed 

that one, he is free." 

3. "A murderer, who is mingled with others?" "All 

are to be freed." R. Judah said "they are to be collected 
in a prison." "Several condemned to different deaths are 
promiscuously mingled?" "They are all to be adjudged the 
lightest punishment." "Those condemned to stoning with 
those condemned to burning? "R. Simon said, "they are 
to be condemned to stoning, because burning is more griev¬ 
ous," but the Sages say, "they are to be condemned to burn¬ 
ing, because stoning is more grievous." To them replied R. 
Simon, if burning were not more grievous, it would not 
have been assigned to the daughter of a priest who was im¬ 
moral." They replied to him, "if stoning were not more 
grievous, it would not have been assigned to the blasphemer, 
and the idolater." "Those condemned to beheading, min¬ 
gled with those condemned to strangling? "R. Simon said, 
"they are to be put to death with the sword," but the Sages 
say, "with strangling." 

4. "He who is found guilty of two deaths by the judges?" 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


91 


"He is condemned to the more grievous punishment." "He 
committed a transgression, which made him deserve two 
deaths?" "He is condemned to the more grievous." R. 
Jose said, "he is condemned for the first deed which he 
committed." 

5. "He who is flogged once and again?" "The judges 
commit him to prison, and they give him barley to eat till 
bis belly bursts." "He who killed a person without wit¬ 
nesses?" "They commit him to prison, and they give him 
to eat the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction. 

6. "A thief who stole a sacred vessel, and he who cursed 
in necromancy, and the paramour of an Aramaean?" 
"The avengers may at once fall upon him." "The priest 
who served in legal uncleanness?" "His brother priests 
have no need to bring him to the tribunal, but the young 
priests drag him outside the court, and dash out his brains 
with faggots of wood." "A stranger who served in the sanc¬ 
tuary?" R. Akiba said, he is to be killed "with strangling," 
but the Sages say, "by the visitation of heaven." 


CHAPTER X 

1. All Israel have a portion in the world to come, as is 
said, "Thy people also shall be all righteous,"''^ etc. And 
these are they who have no portion in the world to come: 
he who says there is no resurrection of the dead in the law, 
and that there is no revealed law from heaven, and the 
Epicurean. R. Akiba said, "even he who reads in forbid¬ 
den''^ books, and he who mutters over a wound"; and he 
said, "1 will put none of these diseases upon thee, which 1 
have brought upon the Egyptians: for 1 am the Lord that 
healeth thee." Aba Shaul said, "even to meditate the 
Name''^ in its letters." 

Isaiah xxx. 20. 

“ Isaiah lx. 21. 

Literally, "outside." 

Exod. XV. 26. 

I.e., "to meditate with the intention to mutter 'Jehovah' over a 
wound." 



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2. Three kings and four ordinaiy persons have no por¬ 
tion in the world to come. Three kings, Jeroboam, Ahab, 
and Manasseh. B. Judah said, "Manasseh had a portion in 
the world to come," as is said, "And prayed imto him, and he 
was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought 
him again to Jemsalem into his kingdom.''® The Sages said 
to him, "He brought him back to his kingdom, but he did 
not bring him back to life in the world to come." Four 
ordinary persons, Balaam, and Doeg, and Ahitophel, and 
Gehazi, have no portion in the world to come. 

3. The generation of the deluge has no portion in the 

world to come, and they stand not in judgment, as is said, 
"My spirit shall not always strive with man."'*’ They have 
neither judgment nor spirit. The generation of the disper¬ 
sion has no portion in the world to come, as is said, "So the 
Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all 
the earth."'** And the Lord scattered them in this world, 
and from thence the Lord scattered them in the world to 
come. The men of Sodom have no portion in the world to 
come, as is said, "But the men of Sodom were wicked and 
sinners before the Lord exceedingly,"'*^ wicked in this world, 
and sinners in the world to come. But they will stand in 
judgment. B. Nehemiah said, "neither one nor other will 
stand in judgment," as is said, "Therefore the ungodly shall 

not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation 
of the righteous."®** "Therefore the wicked shall not stand 
in judgment"; this is the generation of the deluge: "nor 

sinners in the congregation of the righteous"; these are "the 
men of Sodom." The Sages said to him, "they do not stand 
in the congregation of the righteous, but they stand in the 

congregation of the wicked." The spies have no portion in 
the world to come, as is said, "Even those men that did bring 
up the evil report upon the land died by the plague before 
the Lord."®* And they died in this world. They also died 
in the plague in the world to come." The generation of 

Gen. xiii. 13. 

Ps. i. 5. 

Numb. xiv. 37. 


' 2 Chron. xxxiii. 13. 
' Gen. vi. 3. 

‘ Gen. xi. 8. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


93 


the wilderness has no portion in the world to come, and they 
will not stand in judgment, as is said, 'In this wilderness 
they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.' The 
words of R. Akiba. R. Eliezer said, "of them he (God) said, 
'Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made 
a covenant with me by sacrifice.' "The congregation of 

Korah will not come up, as is said, 'And the earth closed 
upon them'^'* in this world. 'And they perished from 
among the congregation' in the world to come." The words 
of R. Akiba. R. Eliezer said, "of them he said, 'The Lord 
killeth and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and 
bringeth up.' "The ten tribes will not return, as is said, 
'And cast them into another land, as it is this day';^® as 
the day departs and does not return, so they depart and do 
not return." The words of R. Akiba. R. Eliezer said, "as 
the day darkens and brightens, so will it be with the ten 
tribes; as it was dark for them, so will it be bright for them." 

4. The men of a city withdrawn to idolatry have no por¬ 
tion in the world to come, as is said, "Certain men, the chil¬ 
dren of Belial, are gone out from among you and have with¬ 
drawn the inhabitants of their city,"^’ and they are not to 
be killed till the withdrawers be from the city itself and from 
the tribe itself, and till it withdraw the majority, and till the 
withdrawers be men. If the withdrawers be women, or 
children, or the minority be withdrawn, or the withdrawers 
be outside of it, they are to be treated singly, and they need 
two witnesses, and a warning to each of them. It is more 
grievous for individuals than for the multitude, because in¬ 
dividuals must be stoned, though for that reason their money 
is safe for their heirs; but the multitude are cut off with the 
sword, and for that reason their money is lost. 

5. "Thou shah surely smite the inhabitants of that city,"^® 
etc. A caravan of asses or camels passing from place to 
place is delivered, as is said, "Destroying it utterly and all 

“ Numb. xiv. 35. “ Deut. xxix. 28. 

Ps. 1. 5. ” Deut. xiii. 13. 

Numb. xvi. 33. Deut. xiii. 15. 

“ 1 Sam. ii. 6. 




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that is therein," etc. From thence, they said, "the prop¬ 
erty of the righteous in it is lost, out of the city it is safe. 
But that of the wicked, whether inside or outside, is lost." 

6. "And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the 
midst of the street thereof If it have no street, they must 
make a street for it. If there he a street outside of it, they 
bring it inside. "And shalt bum with fire the city and all 
the spoil thereof" its spoil but not the spoil of heaven. From 
thence, they say, the holy things therein are to be redeemed, 
and the heave-offerings suffered to decay. The second tithes 
and holy writings are to be concealed. "Every whit for the 
Lord thy God." Said R. Simon, "The Holy One, blessed be 
he, said. If you execute judgment on the withdrawn city, I 
count it for you as though you brought a burnt-offering wholly 
before me." "And it shall be an heap forever; it shall not 
be built again." "Thou shalt not make of it even gardens or 
parks." The words of R. Jose, the Galilean. R. Akiba 
said, "it shall not be budded again. It must not be built as 
it was before, but it may be made into gardens and parks." 
"And there shall cleave naught of the cursed thing to thine 
hand."®° Whilst the wicked are in the world, wrath is in 
the world. When the wicked are destroyed from the world, 
wrath retires from the world. 


CHAPTER XI 

1. These are to be strangled: he who beats his father or 
his mother, and he who steals a soul from Israel, and an 
"elder" who is rebellious against the judges, and a false pro¬ 
phet, and he who prophesies in the name of idolatry, and false 
witnesses proved to be perjured against a priest's daughter 
and her paramour. He who beats father or mother is not 
guilty till he make a bmise in them. It is more grievous to 
curse them than to beat them. Because if he cursed them 
after their death, he is guilty; but if he beat them after death, 
he is free. He who stole a soul from Israel is not guilty till 
Deut. xiii. 16. Deut. xiii. 17. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


95 


he bring him on his property. R. Judah said, "till he bring 
him on his property and obtain service by him," as is said, 
"And maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him."®' "If 
he steal his own son? "R. Ishmael, the son of R. Jochanan, 
the son of Beroka, pronounces him "guilty," but the Sages 
pronounce him "free." "If he stole one, half a servant and 
half free?" R. Judah pronounces him "guilty," but the 
Sages pronounce him "free." 

2. The elder rebellious against the decision of the judges? 

as it is said, "If there arise a matter too hard for thee in 
judgment,"®^ etc. There were three places of judgment. 
One place was by the door of the Mountain of the House; 
and one was by the door of the court; and one was in the 
chamber of hewn stone. The witnesses against the rebellious 
elder came to the one by the door of the Mountain of the 
House, and each one said, "so I expounded, and so my com¬ 
panions expounded; so I taught, and so my companions 
taught." If the judges listened to them, they told them: 

but if not, they went to those at the door of the court, and 
each one said, "so I expounded, and so my companions ex¬ 
pounded; so I taught, and so my companions taught." If 

they listened to them, they told them; but if not, both parties 
went to the supreme court in the chamber of hewn stone, be¬ 
cause from it the Law proceeded forth to all Israel, as is said, 
"Of that place which the Lord shall choose."®^ "If the re¬ 

bellious elder returned to his city, and taught as before?" 
"He is free." "But if he decided to practise false teach¬ 
ing?" "He is guilty," as is said, "And the man that will do 
presumptuously."®'' He is not guilty till he decide to prac¬ 
tise his false teaching. A disciple who decided to practise 
false teaching is free. It follows that what is a grave offense 
in the one is a light offense in the other. 

3. The burden in the words of the scribes is greater than 
the burden in the words of the law. He who said, "There 
are no phylacteries, so as to transgress the words of the law"? 
"He is free." He who said, "There are five frontlets, so 

Deut. xxiv. 7. Deut. xvii. 10. 

“ Deut. xvii. 8. Deut. xvii. 12. 



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as to add to the words of the scribes"? "He is guilty." 

4. "The judges do not put such an offender to death in 

the tribunal of his city, nor in the tribunal of Jabneh,®^ but 
they bring him up to the supreme court in Jemsalem, and 
they guard him till a holiday; and they put him to death on 

a holiday, as is said, "And all the people shall hear and fear, 

and do no more presumptuously."^® The words of R. Akiba. 
R. Judah said, "they do not cause him anguish in delaying 
his judgment, but they execute him off-hand." And they 
write and send messengers to all places, "Such a man, the 

son of such a man, is condemned to death by the tribunal." 

5. A false prophet, who prophesied what he did not hear, 
and what was not told to him, is put to death by the hands 
of man. But he who suppressed his prophecy, and he who 
added to the words of a prophet, and a prophet who trans¬ 
gressed his own words, is put to death by the visitation of 
heaven, as is said, "I will require it of him."®^ 

6. And he who prophesied in the name of idolatry and 

said, "so the idol said," even though its decision was exactly 
to pronounce unclean the unclean, and to pronounce cleansed 
the clean, is to be strangled. And so also the false wit¬ 
nesses against a priest's daughter. Because all false wit¬ 
nesses are condemned to the same death which they had 
intended for the accused, except false witnesses against the 
daughter of a priest, and they are to be strangled. 

Now called Yebna. Deut. xvii. 13. Deut. xviii. 19. 



THE TALMUD 


BOOK IV, Treatise IX 
THE FATHERS 

CHAPTER I 

1. Moses received the oral law from Sinai and delivered 
it to Joshua, and Joshua delivered it to the elders, and the 
elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the men of the 
great synagogue.' They said three things: "Be deliberate in 
judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence for 
the law." 

2. Simon the Just was one of the last of the men of the 

great synagogue. He used to say that the world stood on 

three things —" on the law, the service, and the acts of the 
pious." 

3. Antigonus of Soco received the law from Simon the 
Just. He used to say, "he not as servants, who serve then- 
master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants 
who serve their master without the view of receiving a re¬ 
ward; and let the fear of heaven be upon you." 

4. Jose, son of Joezer of Zeredah, and Jose, son of Jocha- 

nan of Jerusalem, received the oral law from him. Jose, son 

of Joezer of Zeredah, said, "let thy house be a house of 
assembly for the wise, and dust thyself with the dust of 
their feet, and drink their words in thirstiness." 

5. Jose, son of Jochanan of Jerusalem, said, "let thy 

' The men of the great synagogue were the "Scribes" who flourished 
from the return out of Babylon till the Graeco-Syrian persecution, 
220 B.C. Their object was to preserve the sacred text with scrupulous 
minuteness, and make a "fence" for the law. They added numberless 
directions for the better observance of the old precepts. The Scribes 
were succeeded by the "learners," the "repeaters," and the "master 
builders," who continued from 220 B.C. till A.D. 220. In their time 

fall the Maecabean revolution, the birth of Christ, the overthrow of 

the temple by Titus, the rebellion of Barchochba, the complete destruc¬ 
tion of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews. 

97 



98 


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house be wide open, and let the poor be thy children. Dis¬ 
course not much with women, not even with thy wife, much 
less with thy neighbor's wife." Hence the wise men say, 
"whoever converses much with women brings evil on him¬ 
self, neglects the study of the law, and at last will inherit 
hell." 

6. Joshua, son of Perechiah, and Natai the Arbelite re¬ 
ceived the oral law from them. Joshua, son of Perechiah, 
said, "get thyself a master, and obtain a companion, and 
judge all mankind with favor." 

7. Natai the Arbelite said, "withdraw from an evil neigh¬ 
bor, and associate not with the wicked, neither flatter thyself 
to escape punishment." 

8. Judah, son of Tabia, and Simon, son of Shetach, received 
it of them. Judah, son of Tabai, said, "consider not thyself 
as the arranger of the law, and when the parties are before 
thee in judgment, consider them as guilty; but when they 
are departed from thee, consider them as innocent, when they 
have acquiesced in the sentence." 

9. Simon, son of Shetach, said, "be extremely careful in 
the examination of witnesses, and be cautious in thy words, 
lest they from thence should learn to utter a falsehood." 

10. Shemaiah and Abtalyon received it from them. She- 

maiah said, "love thy business and hate dominion, and be 
unknown to government." 

11. Abtalyon said, "ye Sages, be cautious of your words, 
lest ye be doomed to captivity, and carried captive to a place 
of bad waters, and the disciples who follow you should drink 
of them, by which means the name of God may be profaned." 

12. Hillel and Shamai received it of them. Hillel said, 
"be thou of the disciples of Aaron, who loved peace, and 
pursued peace, so that thou love mankind, and allure them 
to the study of the law." 

13. He used to say, "whoever aggrandizes his name de¬ 
stroys his name, and he who does not increase his knowledge 

in the law shall be cut off, and he who does not study the 

law is deserving of death, and he who serves himself with 
the crown of the law will perish." 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


99 


14. He also said, "if I perform not good works myself, 
who can do them for me?" and "when I consider myself, 
what am I?" and "if not now, when shall I?" 

15. Shamai said, "let thy study of the law be fixed, say 
little and do much, and receive all men with an open, pleasant 
face." 

16. Rabban Gamaliel said, "procure thyself an instructor, 
that thou mayest not be in doubt, and accustom not thyself 
to give tithes by conjecture." 

17. Simon, his son, said, "I have all my life been brought 
up among wise men, and never foimd anything so good for 
the body as silence, neither is the study of the law the prin¬ 
cipal thing, but its practise," and "whoever multiplies words 
causes sin." 

18. Rabban Simon, son of Gamaliel, said, "the duration 
of the world depends on three things: justice, truth, and 
peace; as is said, "judge truth, and justice, and peace in 
your gates." 


CHAPTER II 

1. Rabbi Judah said, "which are the most eligible paths 
for man to choose? All such as are an ornament to those 
who tread therein; and get them honor from man. Be also as 
careful of the observance of a light precept, as of a weighty 
one; because thou knowest not the due reward of the pre¬ 
cepts, and balance the loss sustained by the omission of a 
precept against its recompense, and the reward of sin and 
against its loss of happiness. Consider also three things, 
and thou wilt not transgress. Understand what is above thee: 
an All-seeing Eye and an Hearing Ear; and that all thy 
actions are written in a Book." 

2. Rabban Gamaliel, the son of Rabban Judah the Prince, 
said, "that the study of the law and intercourse with the 
world are commendable together, as the joining of these two 
annihilates sin; and all the study of the law, that is not 



100 


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supported by business, will become of none effect, and will 
be the cause of sin; and whoever is engaged in the service 
of the congregation ought to act for God's sake, then will 
the merit of their ancestors support them, and their charitable 
deeds exist to eternity; and 1 (God) shall account you 
deserving of a great recompense, as if ye had actually 
done it." 

3. "Be ye warned of following princes, as they only be¬ 
stow favors on men for their own interest. They show them¬ 
selves as friends while men are useful to them; but they will 
not support a man in time of need." 

4. He used to say, "do God's will as if it were thine own 
will, that he may accomplish thy will as if it were his will; 
abolish thy will for the sake of his will, that he may abolish 
the will of others for the sake of thy will." Hillel said, 
"separate not thyself from the congregation, nor have con¬ 
fidence in thyself, imtil the day of thy death. Judge not 
thy neighbor till thou art in his situation, neither utter a 
sentence as if it were incomprehensible, that afterward may 
be comprehended, nor say, when 1 shall have leisure 1 shall 
study; mayhap thou will not have leisure." 

5. He also said, "a boor can not be fearful of sin, nor can 
a rustic be a saint; the bashful will not become learned, nor 
the passionate man a teacher; neither will he, who is much 
engaged in traffic, become wise; and where there are no men, 
strive thou to be a man." 

6. He having also seen a skull floating on the water, said, 
"because thou didst make others float, have they floated 
thee! and the end of those who made thee float will be that 
they will float." 

7. He also said, "he who increases flesh increases worms; 
he who increases riches increases care; he who increases wives 
increases witchcraft; he who increases female servants in¬ 
creases lewdness; he who increases men servants increases 
robbery; but he who increases his knowledge of the law in¬ 
creases life; he who increases his study in college increases 
wisdom; he who increases counsel increases prudence; he who 
increases justice increases peace; if a man have gained a 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


101 


good name he has gained it for himself; if he have gained the 
words of the law he has gained for himself everlasting life 
in the world to come." 

8. Rabbi Jochanan, son of Zaceai, received the oral law 

from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say, "if thou hast 
spent much time in the study of the law, yet pride not thy¬ 
self thereon, because for that wast thou created." Rabbi 

Jochanan, son of Zaceai, had five disciples, and these are 
they: Rabbi Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, Rabbi Joshua, son of 
Chananya; Rabbi Jose the priest; Rabbi Simon, son of Na¬ 
thanael; Rabbi Eleazar, son of Arach. He used thus to 
estimate their merits: "R. Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, is as a 
well-plastered cistern which loses not a drop; Joshua, son of 
Chananya, happy are his parents; Jose the priest is a saint; 

Simon, son of Nathanael, fears sin; Eleazar, son of Arach, is 
a mighty spring." He used to say, "if all the Sages of Israel 
were in one scale of the balance, and R. Eleazar, son of 

Hyrcanus, in the other, he would outweigh them all." Abba 

Saul said in his name, "if all the Sages of Israel were in 
one scale, and even R. Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, with them, 
and R. Eleazar, son of Arach, in the other, he would outweigh 
them all." 

9. He also said to them, "go forth and consider, which 

is the good path for man to cleave to? "To this R. Eleazar 
answered, "a good eye." R. Joshua said, "a good com¬ 
panion." R. Jose said, "a good neighbor." R. Simon said, 

"he who foresees the future." R. Eleazar said, "a good 

heart." He then said to them, "I prefer the words of 

R. Eleazar, son of Arach, above yours, as his words include 
yours." He also said to them, "go forth and consider 
which is the bad way that man should shun"; to which R. 

Eleazar said, "a bad eye." R. Joshua said, "a bad com¬ 
panion." R. Jose said, "a bad neighbor." R. Simon said, 

"he who borrows and pays not; for when one borrows from 
man, it is as if he borrows from God, as is said, 'The wicked 

borroweth and payeth not again; but the righteous showeth 

mercy and giveth.' R. Eleazar said, "a bad heart." He 



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then said to them, "I prefer the words of R. Eleazar, son of 
Arach, above yours, as his words include yours." 

10. They also said three things. R. Eleazar said, "let 
the honor of thy companion be as dear to thee as thine own; 
and be not easily moved to anger; and repent one day before 
thy death; and warm thyself by the fire of the Sages, and 
be careful that their coal does not bum thee, for their bite 
is as the bite of a fox, and their sting is as the sting of a 
scorpion, and their bum is the bum of a fiery serpent, and 
all their words are as fiery coals." 

11. R. Joshua said, "the bad eye, the bad thought, and 
envy of companions, cause the death of man." 

12. R. Jose said, "let thy companion's property be as 
dear to thee as thine own; and prepare thyself to study the 
law, as it cometh not to thee by inheritance; and let all thine 
actions be in the name of God." 

13. R. Simon said, "be careful of reading the 'Hear,'^ 

etc., and the other prayers; and when thou art praying con¬ 
sider not thy prayer as fixed, but as supplicating mercy in 
the presence of the Supreme, as is said, 'For he is gracious 
and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and re- 
penteth him of the evil';"' and be not impious in thine own 
sight." 

14. R. Eleazar said, "be diligent to study the law, that 

thou mayest know how to confute the Epicurean; consider 

also in whose presence thou art laboring, for the Master of 
thy work is faithful to pay thee the reward of thy labor." 

15. R. Tarphon said, "the day is short, the labor vast, 
but the laborers are slothful, though the reward is great, 
and the Master of the house presseth for dispatch." 

16. He used to say, "it is not incumbent upon thee to 

complete the work, neither art thou free to cease from it. 

If thou hast studied the law, great shall be thy reward; for 
the Master of thy work is faithful to pay the reward of thy 
labor; but know that the reward of the righteous is in the 
world to come." 


Deut. vi. 4, etc. 


■' Joel ii. 13. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


103 


CHAPTER III 

1. Akabia, son of Mahallalel, said, "ponder on three 

things, and thou wilt not be led to the commission of sin; 
consider from whence thou comest, and whither thou goest; 
and in whose presence thou must in futurity stand to account 
in judgment. From whence comest thou? from a foul drop. 
And whither goest thou? to a place of dust — worms — and 
reptiles; and in whose presence art thou in future to account 
in judgment? even before the King who is King of kings, 

and the Holy One, blessed be he." 

2. Rabbi Chanina, suffragan of the priests, said, "pray for 

the peace of the kingdom, for, were it not for its fear, men 
would swallow each other alive." Rabbi Chanina, son of 
Theradion, said, "two who are sitting together and speak not 
of the law are an assembly of scomers; as is said, "Nor 
sitteth in the seat of the scornful."^ But two who sit to¬ 
gether, and speak of the law, the divine presence (Shechinah) 
rests between them; as is said, "Then they that feared the 
Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord harkened and 
heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him 

for them that feared the Lord; and for them that thought 
upon his name."^ This refers to two; but whence may we 
infer, that if but one sits engaged in the study of the law the 
Holy One, blessed be he, will appoint him a reward? Be¬ 
cause it is said, "He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, be¬ 

cause he hath borne it upon him."^ 

3. Rabbi Simon said, "three who have eaten at one table 

and have not spoken of the law are to be considered as if 
they had eaten of the sacrifices of the dead, for it is said, 

'For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there 

is no place clean.'* But three who have eaten at one table 

and have spoken of the law are considered as if they had 
eaten at God's table, as is said, "And he said unto me, 'This 
is the table that is before the Lord.' 

^ Ps. i. 1. * Isa. xxviii. 8. 

"Mal.iii. 16. ’ Ezek. xli. 22. 

’ Lam. iii. 28. 




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4. R. Chanina, son of Chanina, said, "he who wakes in 
the night and travels in the road alone, and turns his heart 
to vanity, is guilty of the death of his own soul." 

5. R. Nechunya, son of Hakana, said, "whoever lays on 
himself the yoke of the law is relieved from the yoke of the 
kingdom and the yoke of the custom of the world, and who¬ 
ever breaks off the yoke of the law imposes on himself the 
yoke of the kingdom and the yoke of the custom of the 
world." 

6. R. Chalaphta, of the village of Chananya, said, "ten 

men who assemble together and study the law, the Shechinah 
rests among them, as is said, 'God standeth in the congre¬ 
gation of the mighty.'And hence it is inferred that it is 
also so with five, because it is said, "and hath founded his 
troop in the earth."" And hence it is inferred that it is 

likewise so with three, because it is said, "He judgeth among 
the gods."" And hence it is inferred that it is also thus 
with two, because it is said, "Then they that feared the Lord 
spake often one to another, and the Lord harkened and 
heard," etc." And hence it is inferred that it is like¬ 
wise so with one, because it is said, "In all places where 1 
record my name 1 will come unto thee, and 1 will bless 
thee."" 

7. R. Eleazar of Barthota said, "give unto him of his 

own, for thou and all that thou hast are his." And thus 

said David, "For all things come of thee, and of thine own 
have we given thee."" R. Simon said, "he who journeys 
on the road, meditating on the law, and ceases therefrom to 
admire this beautiful tree or that beautiful fallow ground, is 
considered in Scripture as endangering his life." 

8. R. Dosthai, the son of Jonai, in the name of R. Meier, 

said, "whoever forgetteth anything of what he had obtained 

by study is considered in Scripture as having endangered 
his life; as is said, "Only take heed to thyself and guard 
thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine 

“ Ps. Ixxxii. 1. Mai. iii. 16. 

“ Amos ix. 6. Exod. xx. 24. 

Ps. Ixxxii. i. 1 Chron. xxix. 14. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


105 


eyes have seen."'® "Perhaps his study has been too power¬ 
ful for him?" "But it is said, 'And lest they depart from 
thy heart all the days of thy life.'Hence he endangers 
not his life, till he deliberately removes them from his 
heart." 

9. Rabbi Chanina, son of Dose, said, "whosoever's fear of 
sin precedes his wisdom, his wisdom will remain; but who¬ 
soever's wisdom precedes his fear of sin, his wisdom will not 
remain." He used to say, "whosoever's good deeds exceed 
his wisdom, his wisdom will remain; but whosoever's wisdom 
exceeds his good deeds, his wisdom will not remain." 

10. He also used to say, "with whomsoever the spirit of 
his companions is gratified, the Spirit of God is gratified; 
but with whomsoever the spirit of his companions is not 
gratified, the Spirit of God is not gratified." R. Jose, son of 
Harchinas, said, "that morning sleep, noontide wine, childish 
conversation, and the assembly of the ignorant, take man out 
of the world." 

11. R. Eleazar Hamodai said, "he who profanes the holy 
offerings, despises the solemn feasts, puts his neighbor to 
shame in public, makes void the covenant of our father 
Abraham, and expounds the law contrary to its true sense, 
although he be well learned in the law and possessed of good 
deeds, yet has he no share in the world to come." 

12. R. Ishmael said, "be humble to thy superior, and 
affable to thy inferior, and receive all mankind with joy." 

13. R. Akiba said, "laughter and levity accustom man¬ 
kind to lewdness, tradition is a fence to the law, tithes are a 
fence to riches, vows are a fence to abstinence, the fence to 
wisdom is silence." 

14. He used to say, "man is beloved as he was created 
in the image of God, but an additional love was shown to 
him that he was created in the image of God, as is said, 'In 
the image of God he made man.''® Beloved are Israel in 
that they are called the children of God, but an additional 
love was shown to them in that they are called the children 
of God, as is said, 'Ye are the children of the Lord your 

Deut. iv. 9. Deut. iv. 9. '* Gen. ix. 6. 



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God.'*^ Beloved are Israel, to whom was given the desirable 
vessel wherewith the world was created, but an additional 
love was shown imto them, that the desirable vessel where¬ 
with the world was created was given unto them, as is 
said, 'For 1 give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my 
law.' 

15. "Everything is seen by God, though freedom of choice 
is given unto man; the world is judged in goodness, though 
all is according to the greatness of the work." 

16. He used to say, "everything is given to man on pledge, 
and a net is spread over all living; the shop is open, and 
the merchant credits; the ledger is open, and the hand records, 
and whosoever chooses to borrow may come and borrow, as 
the collectors are daily coming round and getting payment 
of man, whether with his consent or without it, for they have 
good authority to support them, and the judgment is true 
justice, and all things are ready for the feast." 

17. R. Eleazar, son of Azariah, said, "if there be no law, 

there is no morality, and if there be no morality, there is no 
law; if there be no wisdom, there is no reverence, and if 
there be no reverence, there is no wisdom; if there be no 

understanding, there is no knowledge, and if there be no 
knowledge, there is no understanding; if there be no meal, 
there can be no study of the law, and if there be no law, 

there will be no meal." He used to say, "to what may he 
be likened whose wisdom exceeds his good deeds? To a 
tree whose branches are many and his roots few, so that the 
wind comes and plucks it up and overturns it, as is said, 

"For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and he shall 
not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched 
places in the wilderness in a salt land and not inhabited."^' 
But to what is he like whose good deeds exceed his wisdom? 
To a tree whose branches are few and its roots many, so that 
if all the winds in the world come and assail it, they can not 
move it from its place, as is said, "For he shall be like a 

tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots 
by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her 

Deut. xiv. 1. “ Prov. iv. 2. Jer. xvii. 6. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


107 


leaf shall be green and shall not be careful in the year of 
drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."^^ 

18. R. Eleazar, son of Chisma, said, "sacrifices of doves 
and observance of times are important constitutions. Astron¬ 
omy and geometry are the ornaments of wisdom." 


CHAPTER W 

1. The son of Zoma said, "Who is wise? He who is willing 

to receive instruction from all men, as is said, 'Than all my 
teachers.Who is mighty? He who subdues his evil 
imagination, as is said, 'He that is slow to anger is better 
than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that 
taketh a city.'^'* Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, 
as is said, 'For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands, 
happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee;^^ happy 
shalt thou be in this world, and it shall be well with thee in 

the world to come. Who is honorable? He who honors 

mankind, as is said, 'For them that honor me I will honor, 
and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.' 

2. Ben Asai said, "run to the performance of a slight 

precept as though it were a grave one, and flee from trans¬ 
gression, for the performance of a precept causes another 
precept, and transgression causes transgression, as the reward 
of a commandment is a commandment, and the reward of 
transgression is transgression." 

3. He used to say, "despise not all men, nor oppose all 
things, for there is no man who has not his hour, neither 
is there anything that has not its place." 

4. Rabbi Levitas of Jabneh said, "be very humble of 

spirit, as all the hope of man is to be food for worms." 

Rabbi Johanan, son of Beroka, said, "whosoever profanes 
God's name in secret will be punished publicly, whether it 
be done ignorantly or presumptuously, it is all one in the 
profanation of God's name." 

Jer. xvii. 8. Ps. cxxviii. 2. 

Ps. cxix. 99. “ 1 Sam. ii. 30. 

Prov. xvi. 32. 



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5. Rabbi Ishmael, his son, said, "be who leams that 
he may be able to teach others will be enabled to study and 
to teach others; but he who studies in order to perform the 
precepts will be enabled to study, teach, observe, and do the 
commandments." Rabbi Zadok said, "make not the study 
of the law subservient to thy aggrandizement, neither make 
a hatchet thereof to hew therewith." And thus said Hillel, 
"whosoever receiveth any emolument from the words of the 
law deprives himself of life." 

6. Rabbi Jose said, "he who honors the law, his person 
shall be honored by mankind; and he who profanes the law, 
his person shall be dishonored by mankind." 

7. Rabbi Ishmael, his son, said, "he who avoids being 
a judge delivers himself from enmity, robbery, and false 
swearing; but he who is arrogant in judging is a proud, 
wicked fool." 

8. He used to say, "judge not alone, for none ought to 
judge alone save One; neither say, receive ye my opinion, 
for they are at liberty to accept it, but thou canst not com¬ 
pel them." 

9. Rabbi Jonathan said, "Whosoever performs the law in 
poverty shall in the end perform it in riches; but he who 
neglects the law for riches will in the end neglect it for 
poverty." 

10. Rabbi Meier said, "diminish your worldly affairs 
and engage in the study of the law, and be humble in spirit 
before all men; and if thou neglect the law, there are many 
hindrances to oppose thee, but if thou hast labored in the 
study of the law, there is much reward to be given thee." 

11. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said, "he who per¬ 
forms but one precept gains for himself an advocate; and 
he who commits a single sin gains for himself an accuser; 
repentance and good deeds are a shield before the divine 
punishment." Rabbi Johannan Hasandelar said, "every con¬ 
gregation formed for God will be permanent, but that which 
is not for God will not be permanent." 

12. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Shamua, said, "let the honor 
of thy disciple be as dear to thee as thine own, and the honor 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


109 


of thy companion as the fear of thy master, and the fear 
of thy master as the fear of God." 

13. Rabbi Judah said, "be careful in doctrine, for an 
error in doctrine is presumptuous sin."Rabbi Simon said, 
"there are three crowns — the crown of the law, the crown 
of the priesthood, and the crown of monarchy, but the crown 
of a good name is better than all of them." 

14. Rabbi Nehorai said, "flee to a place where the law 
is studied, and do not say that it will follow thee, for thy 
companions will establish it for thee, and lean not to thine 
own understanding." 

15. Rabbi Janai said, "the prosperity of the wicked and 

the chastisements of the righteous are not in our hands." 
Rabbi Mathia, son of Charash, said, "be forward to greet all 
men, and be rather as the tail of the lion, than as the head 
of the foxes." 

16. Rabbi Jacob said, "this world may be likened to a 

courtyard before the world to come, therefore prepare thy¬ 
self in the hall, to enter into the dining-room." 

17. He used to say, "one hour employed in repentance 

and good deeds in this world is better than the whole life 
in the world to come; and one hour's refreshment of spirit 
in the world to come is better than the whole life in this 
world." 

18. Rabbi Simon, son of Eleazar, said, "try not to pacify 

your neighbor in the moment of his anger, and do not con¬ 
sole him while his dead lies before him; inquire not of him 

in the moment of his vowing, nor desire to see him in the 

time of his calamity." 

19. The younger Samuel used to say, "rejoice not when 

thine enemy falls, and let not thy heart be glad when he 
stumbles, lest the Lord see it and it be evil in his sight, and 
he turn his wrath from him." 

20. Elisha, son of Abuya, said, "he who teaches a child 

is like to one who writes on clean paper; but he who teaches 
old people is like to one who writes on blotted paper." 

Rabbi Jose, the son of Judah, of a village near Babylon, said, 

"to what may he who learns the law from little children be 



no 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


likened? To one who eats unripe grapes and drinks new 
wine." "And to what may he who learns the law from 
old men he likened? To one who eats ripe grapes and drinks 
old wine." Rabbi Meier said, "look not at the flask, but that 
which is therein, for there are new flasks full of old wine, 
and old flasks which have not even new wine in them." 

21. Rabbi Eleazer Hakapher said, "envy, lust, and ambi¬ 
tion take men out of the world." 

22. He used to say, "those who are bom are doomed to 
die, the dead to live, and the quick to be judged, to make 
us know, understand, and be informed that he is God. He 
is the Former, Creator, Omniscient, Judge, Witness, and 
Claimant, and he will judge thee hereafter, blessed be he; 
for in his presence there is no unrighteousness, forgetful¬ 
ness, respect of persons, or acceptance of a bribe, for every¬ 
thing is his. Know also that everything is done according 
to the account, and let not thine evil imagination persuade 
thee that the grave is a place of refuge for thee, for against 
thy will wast thou formed, and against thy will wast thou 
bom, and against thy will dost thou live, and against thy 
will shah thou die, and against thy will must thou hereafter 
render an account, and receive judgment in the presence of 
the King of kings, the Holy God, blessed be he." 


CHAPTERV 

1. With ten expressions^^ the world was created. "But 
wherefore is this taught, since God could have created it 
with one expression?" "This is to pimish the wicked, who 
destroy the world that was created with ten expressions, and 
to reward the righteous who establish the world created with 
ten expressions." 

2. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, to 
let us know that God is long-suffering, as all those genera- 

The Rabbis reckon that the expression "God said" is used nine 
times in the first chapter of Genesis, and that the tenth expression is 
to be found in the first verse, "In the beginning God created the heaven 
and the earth." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


111 


tions provoked him before he brought the deluge upon them. 
There were ten generations from Noah to Abraham, to let 
us know that God is long-suffering, as all those generations 
provoked him, until Abraham our father came and took the 
reward of them all. 

3. Our father Abraham was proved with ten trials, and 
in all of them he stood firm; to let us know how great was 
the love of our father Abraham to God. 

4. Ten miracles were wrought for our fathers in Egypt, 
and ten at the Red Sea. Ten plagues did the blessed God 
send on the Egyptians in Egypt, and ten at the Red Sea. 
Ten times did our fathers tempt the blessed God in the 
wilderness, as is said, "And have tempted me now these 
ten times, and have not harkened to my voice. 

5. Ten miracles were wrought for our fathers in the holy 
temple: no woman miscarried from the scent of the flesh 
of the sacrifices; nor did the flesh of the sacrifices ever 
stink; nor was a fly seen in the slaughter-house; nor did 
legal uncleanness happen to the high priest on the day of 
atonement; nor did the rain extinguish the fire of the wood 
arranged on the altar; nor did the wind prevent the straight 
ascension of the pillar of smoke; nor was any defect found 
in the omer, the two loaves, and the showbread; and though 
the people stood close together, yet when they worshiped 
there was room enough for all; nor did a serpent or scorpion 
injure a person in Jerusalem; nor did a man say to his 
neighbor, I have not room to lodge in Jerusalem. 

6. Ten things were created on the eve of the Sabbath in 
the twilight, and these are they: the mouth of the earth; 
the mouth of the well; the mouth of the ass; the rainbow; 
the manna; the rod of Moses; the shameer;^^ the letters; 
writing; and the tables of stone. And some say also the 
demons; and the grave of our lawgiver Moses; and the ram 
of our father Abraham; and some say the tongs, the model 
of tongs. 

Numb. xiv. 22. 

The shameer is the worm which knows how to hew stones; and 
helped Solomon to build the temple. 



112 


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7. Seven things are to be met with in a rude person, and 
seven in a wise man. The wise man will not speak before 
one who excels him in wisdom and years; nor will he inter¬ 
rupt his companion in his discourse; nor is he in haste to 
answer; he inquires according to the subject, and answers 
according to the decision; and he will answer the first propo¬ 
sition first, and the last proposition last; and what he has 
not heard he will acknowledge he has not heard it; and he 
confesses the truth. But the opposites of these are to be 
met with in a rude person. 

8. Seven kinds of punishment are brought on the world 
for seven important sins; for when a part of the people 
give tithes and the others do not, a scarcity and a dearth 
ensue, so that some are filled and others suffer hunger; but 
when the whole agree not to give tithes, a famine of dearth 
and confusion ensues. If they offer not up the "cake,"^° 
confusion and fire ensue. Pestilence comes into the world 
for the commission of sins said to be punished with death in 
the law, but which are not recognized by our judges; and 
for not observing the law concerning the fruits of the Sab¬ 
batical year. The sword enters the world on account of the 
delay of justice and its perversion; and on account of those 
who explain the law contrary to its true sense. 

9. Evil beasts come into the world on account of false 
swearing, and the profanation of God's name. Captivity 
enters the world on account of idolatry, immorality, blood¬ 
shed, and not suffering the land to rest on the Sabbatical 
year. At four seasons the pestilence is prevalent: in the 
fourth year, the seventh, and the end of the seventh, and the 
end of the feast of tabernacles in every year. In the fourth 
year, for not giving the poor's tithes of the third year; in the 
seventh, for withholding the poor's tithe of the sixth year; 
and at the end of the seventh, on accoimt of the fhiits of the 
Sabbatical year; and at the end of the feast of tabernacles 
yearly, on account of robbing the poor of the gifts due to them. 

10. There are four sorts of men: He who says that which 
is mine is mine, and that which is thine is thine, is a passable 

“ Numb. XV. 20. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


113 


custom, and some say this was the custom of Sodom. He 
who says, what is thine is mine, and what is mine is thine, 
is the custom of the ignorant. He who says, what is mine 

is thine, and what is thine is also thine, is the custom of the 
pious. He who says, what is mine is mine, and what is 

thine is mine, is the custom of the wicked. 

11. There are four sorts of passionate men: He who is 

easily provoked and easily pacified loses more than he gains; 
he whom it is difficult to provoke and difficult to pacify gains 
more than he loses; he whom it is difficult to provoke and 
easy to pacify is pious; but he who is easily provoked and 
with difficulty pacified is wicked. 

12. There are four sorts of disciples: He who is quick 

to hear and quick to forget loses more than he gains; he who 
is slow to hear and slow to forget gains more than he loses; 
he who is quick to hear and slow to forget is wise; he who 
is slow to hear and quick to forget has an evil portion. 

13. There are four sorts in those who bestow charity: 
He who is willing to give but does not wish that others 
should give, has an envious eye toward others; he who likes 
to see others give but will not give, has an evil eye toward 
himself; he who is willing to give and that others should also 
give, acts piously; he who will not give and likes not that 
others should give, acts wickedly. 

14. There are four sorts in those who go to college: He 
who goes but does not study has only the reward of going; 
he who studies and does not go has the reward of action; 
he who goes and studies is pious; he who neither goes nor 
studies is wicked. 

15. There are four sorts in those who sit before the Sages: 
Those who act as a sponge, a fiumel, a strainer, and a sieve; 
as a sponge which sucks up all, as a funnel which receives 
at one end and lets out at the other, as a strainer which lets 
the wine pass through but retains the lees, and as a sieve 
which lets the bran pass through but retains the fine flour. 

16. Every affection that depends on some carnal cause, 
if that cause ceases the affection ceases, but that which does 
not depend on such a cause will never cease. Where do we 



114 


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meet with an affection dependent on a carnal cause? Such 
was the love of Ammon to Tamar; but that which does not 
depend on such a cause was the love of David and Jonathan. 

17. Every dispute that is carried on for God's sake will 
in the end be established; but that which is not for God's 
sake will not be established. "What may be considered a 
dispute for God's sake?" "Such as the disputes of Hillel 
and Shammai; but that which was not for God's sake was the 
contention of Korah and all his company." 

18. He who by his conduct justifies the public, no sin 

will be caused through his means, and whosoever causes the 
public to sin is not suffered to repent. Moses acted justly 
and caused the public to obtain merit: the merit of the 
public was attributed to him, as is said, "He executed the 
justice of the Lord and his judgments with Israel."^' Jero¬ 
boam, the son of Nebat, sinned, and caused Israel to sin: the 

sin of the public was attributed to him, as is said, "Because 

of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel 
to sin."^^ 

19. He who possesses these three virtues is of the dis¬ 

ciples of our father Abraham, and he who is possessed of the 
three opposites is of the disciples of the wicked Balaam. 
The disciples of our father Abraham possess a benevolent 
eye, an humble spirit, and a contented mind. The disciples 
of Balaam have an evil eye, a haughty spirit, and a narrow 
mind. "What is the difference between the disciples of our 
father Abraham and the disciples of the wicked Balaam?" 
"The disciples of our father Abraham eat of the Suit of 
their good works in this world, and inherit the future one, 
for it is said, 'That 1 may cause those that love me to inherit 
substance, and 1 will fill their treasures.But the disciples 
of the wicked Balaam inherit hell and descend to the pit of 
destruction, as is said, 'But thou, O God, shalt bring them 
down into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men 
shall not live out half their days, but 1 will trust in thee.' 

20. Judah, son of Tamai, said, "be bold as a leopard, light 


Deut. xxxiii. 21. 
“ 1 Kings xiv. 16. 


“Prov. viii. 21. 
Ps.lv. 23. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


115 


as an eagle, swift as a roe, and strong as a lion, to do the 
will of thy Father, who is in heaven." He used to say, 
"the impudent are for hell and the modest for paradise. 
May it be acceptable in thy presence, O Lord our God! that 
thy city may speedily be rebuilt in our days, and let our 
portion be in thy law." 

21. He also said, "at five years of age a child should 

study the Bible; at ten he should study the Mishna; at 

thirteen he should observe the precepts; at fifteen he should 
study the Gemara; at eighteen he should get married; at 

twenty he should study the law; at thirty he is arrived at 
full strength; at forty he is arrived at understanding; at fifty 
he is able to give counsel; at sixty he is accoimted aged; at 
seventy he is hoary; at eighty he may still be accounted 
strong; at ninety he is only fit for the pit;^^ at a hundred he 
is as if already dead and forgotten from the world." 

22. The son of Bagbag said, "ponder the law again and 

again, for all things are in it; contemplate it always, and de¬ 
part not from it, for there is nothing to be preferred to it." 

23. The son of Haha said, "the reward is proportioned to 
the labor." 


CHAPTER VI 

1. The Sages studied in the language of the Mishna; 
blessed be he who made choice of them and their learning. 
B. Meier said, "he who is engaged in the study of the law for 
its own sake merits many things, and not only so, but the 
whole world is under the greatest obligation to him; he is 
called a dear friend, dear to God and dear to mankind; he 
rejoices God and rejoices his creatures. It clothes him with 
meekness and the fear of God, and directs him to become 
just, pious, righteous, and faithful; it removes him from sin, 
and brings him near to merit, and the world is benefited by 
his counsel, soimd wisdom, imderstanding, and strength; as 
is said, "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am under¬ 
standing, I have strength."^® It also bestows on his empire. 

Or perhaps "for meditation." 

“ Prov. viii. 14. 



116 


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dominion, and perception in judgment. It reveals the secrets 
of the law to him, and he shall be an increasing fountain, 
and a never-failing river; and it will cause him to be modest, 
slow to anger, and ready to pardon an injury done to him; 
and it will magnify and exalt him above all things." 

2. R. Joshua, son of Levi, said, "every day a divine voice 
{bath kol) proceeds from Mount Horeb, which proclaims and 
says, 'Woe be to those who contemn the law; for whoever is 
not engaged in the study of the law may be considered as ex¬ 
communicate'; for it is said, 'as a jewel of gold in a swine's 
snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion';^’ and 
it is said, 'And the tables were the work of God, and the 
writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.'^® 
Read not 'graven' but 'freedom'; for who are counted free 
but those engaged in the study of the law? and whoever is en¬ 
gaged in the study of the law is exalted; as it is said, 
'And from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to 
Bamoth.' 

3. He who learns from his companion one chapter, sen¬ 

tence, verse, or expression, ought to behave toward him with 
respect; for thus we find by David, King of Israel, who 
having learned only two things from Ahitophel, called him 
his teacher, guide, and acquaintance, as is said, "But it 
was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaint¬ 
ance. Hence it may be deduced that if David, King of 

Israel, who having learned only two things from Ahitophel, 
called him his "teacher, guide, and acquaintance," how much 
more ought he who learns from his companion a single chap¬ 
ter, sentence, verse, or expression, to show him the utmost 
respect? And there is no glory but the knowledge of the 
law; as is said, "The wise shall inherit glory";'*' and the 

perfect shall inherit the good; but nothing is really good but 

the law, as is said, "For 1 give you good doctrine, forsake 
ye not my law."'*’ 

4. Thus is the law to be observed: Thou shalt eat bread 

”Prov.xi.22. Ps.lv. 13. 

Ex. xxxii. 16. Prov. iii. 35. 

Numb. xxi. 19. Prov. iv. 2. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


117 


and salt, and water by measure shalt thou drink; on the 
earth shalt thou sleep, and a life of trouble shalt thou live; 
and thou shalt labor in the study of the law. If thou doest 
thus, thou shalt be happy, and it shall be well with thee; 
thou shalt be happy in this world, and it shall be well with 
thee in the world to come. 

5. Seek not grandeur for thyself, neither covet more honor 
than thy learning merits. Crave not after the tables of 
kings; for thy table is greater than their table, and thy crown 
is greater than their crown; and the Master who employs thee 
is faithful to pay thee the reward of thy labor. 

6. The law is more excellent than the priesthood and 

royalty; for royalty is acquired by thirty properties, and 
the priesthood by twenty-four; but the law is acquired by 

forty-eight things, and these are they: with study, attention, 
eloquence; an understanding heart, an intelligent heart; with 
dread and meekness, fear and joy; with attendance on the 
Sages, the acuteness of companions, and disputations of the 
disciples; with sedateness, the study of the Bible and the 
Mishna; in purity, in taking little sleep, in using little dis¬ 

course, in being little engaged in traffic, in taking little sport, 
in enjoying little delight and little worldly manners; in being 
slow to anger, in having a good heart, in having faith in 

the Sages, and in bearing chastisements; in being sensible 
of his situation, and rejoicing in his portion; in being cir¬ 
cumspect in his language, in not pretending to preeminence, 
in sincerely loving God, and loving his creatures; in loving 
admonition, and that which is right; in avoiding honor, and 
in not priding himself on his acquired knowledge; not re¬ 
joicing in pronoimcing sentence, in bearing the burden equally 
with his companion, and inclining him to merit, and con¬ 
firming him in the truth and in peace; is sedate in his study, 
inquires according to the subject, and answers according to 
the constitution; is attentive to study, and extends it; learns 
it with a view to the teaching of others, and also with a view 
to perform the precepts; increases his teacher's knowledge, 
and is attentive to his instruction, and reports everything in 
the name of the person who said it; hence it is inferred that 



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whoever reports anything in the name of the person who 
said it procures redemption for the world, as is said, "And 
Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.""^^ 

7. Great is the law, which bestows life on the doers of it, 

both in this world and in the world to come; as is said, 

"For they are life rmto those that find them, and health to 
all their flesh."'*'* And it is said, "It shall be health to thy 
navel, and marrow to thy bones.And it is said, "She is 
a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is 
every one that retaineth her.""*® And it is said, "For they 
shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains 

about thy neck.""*^ And it is said, "She shall give to thine 

head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she de¬ 
liver to thee.""** And it is said, "Length of days is in her 

right hand, and in her left hand riches and honor. ""*^ And 

it is said, "For length of days and long life, and peace shall 
they add to thee."®** 

8. Rabbi Simeon, son of Judah, in the name of Rabbi 

Simeon, son of Jochai, said, "beauty, strength, riches, honor, 
wisdom, age, hoariness, and many children, are suitable for 
the righteous, and suitable for the world," as is said, "The 

hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be foimd in the way of 
righteousness."®* And it is said, "Children's children are 
the crown of old men, and the glory of children are their 

fathers."®^ And it is said, "Then the moon shall be con- 

formded, and the srm ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall 
reign on Moimt Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his an¬ 
cients gloriously."®® 

9. Rabbi Simeon, son of Manasya, said, "those seven qual¬ 
ities which the Sages counted as proper for the righteous 
were all established in the Rabbi Judah and his children." 
Rabbi Jose, son of Kishma, said, 1 was once traveling along 
the road and met a certain person, who saluted me with peace. 


Esther ii. 22. 
" Prov. iv. 22. 
Prov. iii. 8. 
Prov. iii. 18, 
” Prov. i. 9. 
Prov. iv. 9. 


Prov. iii. 16. 
Prov. iii. 2. 

’’ Prov. xvi. 31. 
Prov. xvii. 6. 
Isaiah xxiv. 23. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


119 


and I returned his salutation. He then said to me, "Rabbi, 
whence art thou?" I answered him, "from a great city 
abounding in Sages and Scribes"; said he to me, "if thou be 
willing to dwell with us in our city, then will I give thee a 
thousand thousand golden dinars, and precious stones and 
pearls." To this I answered, "if thou wouldest give me all 
the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the 
world, I would only dwell in a place where the law is 
studied; because at the time of man's departure from this 
world he is hot accompanied either with silver and gold or 
precious stones and pearls, but with the law and good deeds 
alone, as is said, 'When thou goest it shall lead thee: when 
thou sleepest it shall keep thee: and when thou awakest it 
shall talk with thee.' "When thou goest it shall lead 
thee," that is in this world. "When thou sleepest it shall 

keep thee," in the grave; "and when thou awakest it shall 
talk with thee," in the world to come. And thus it is written 
in the book of Psalms by the hand of David, King of Israel, 
"The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of 
gold and silver."^^ And it is said, "The silver is mine, and 
the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts. 

10. Five possessions hath the Holy One, blessed be he, 
obtained in this world, and these are they: the law is one 
possession; heaven and earth another; Abraham another; 
Israel another; and the holy temple another. Now whence 

is it to be proved that the law is one possession? Because 
it is written, "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of 
his way before his works of old."^’ And whence is it proved 
that heaven and earth is another possession? Because it is 
said, "Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne and the 
earth is my footstool; where is the house that ye build imto 
me? and where is the place of my rest?"^* And it is said, 
"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou 
made them all; the earth is full of thy riches."^® Whence 

is it proved that Abraham is one possession? Because it 

^"Prov. vi. 22. ^’Prov. viii. 22. 

^^Ps. cxix. 72. Isaiah Ixvi. 1. 

“ Hag. ii. 8. Ps. civ. 24. 




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is written, "And he blessed him, and said blessed be Abra¬ 
ham of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. 
Whence is it proved that Israel is one possession? Because 
it is written, "Till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the 
people pass over, which thou hadst purchased."^* And it 
is said, "But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the 
excellent, in whom is all my delight."®^ Whence can it be 
proved that the holy temple is one possession? Because it 
is said, "The sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have estab¬ 
lished."®^ And it is said, "And he brought them to the 
border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain which his 
right hand hath purchased."®'* Everything which God cre¬ 
ated, he created but for his glory; as is said, "Every one 
that is called by my name; for 1 have created him for my 
glory, 1 have formed him; yea, 1 have made him."®® And 
the Lord will reign forever and ever. R. Chanina, son of 
Akasea, said, "the Holy One, blessed be he, wished to purify 
Israel, wherefore he magnified for them the Law and the 
Commandments, as is said, "The Lord is well pleased for his 
righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law and make it 
honorable."®® 

“ Gen. xiv. 19. “ Ps. Ixxviii. 54. 

Exod. XV. 16. Is. xliii. 7. 

®Ps. xvi. 3. ‘Gs. xlii. 21. 

® Exod. XV. 17. 



THE TALMUD 
THE GEMARA 

(OR YOUNGER TALMUD) 


"Flay a carcass in the street and take thy wage; say not 7 
am a great man, and the occupation is beneath me .' " 

— TALMUD. 

"Man is bom with his hands clinched; he dies with his hands 
wide open." 


— TALMUD. 




THE TALMUD 


THE GEMARA 

(INTRODUCTION) 

F rom our earlier explanation of the Mishna a reader will 
have seen exactly what the Gemara of the Talmud is — 
a loose-strung collection of notes intended to explain the 
Mishna. For any one but a devout and anxiously believing 
Hebrew, the reading of all these devious, analytic, intermin¬ 
able talks would be impossible. Our next step, therefore, 
has been to pluck out from the enormous mass such com¬ 
mentaries as have still an active value for this busy world 
of to-day. A few such Gemara are given in full, such as 
the "Deliverance from Egypt"; and these are kept in a 
typical Gemara form. This begins with a quoted passage 
from the Mishna or from the Bible itself, as being a sort of 
older Mishna. Then this passage is discussed, almost as a 
modem Christian sermon might discuss it, from many view¬ 
points. We have here, then, a sort of essay, very common to 
the Gemara, a string of little sermons illustrated by many 
stories. Especially interesting is the section dealing with 
the story of Esther. This Biblical book was a favorite with 
the Rabbis and they often turn aside to add to it some other 
touch of pity or of triumph. So also is the wisdom of Solo¬ 
mon a theme on which the Talmud writers loved to dwell, 
as shown in the sermon here on King Solomon. 



THE TALMUD 


SECTIONS FROM THE GEMARA 


THE DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT' 

"Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and tarried in the 
land of Midian, and sat down by a well."^ 

Three of the prominent Biblical characters met their wives 
for the first time by wells of water, namely, Isaac, Jacob, 
and Moses. 

In regard to Isaac we find, "And Isaac came from the 
road at the well of Chai roi" (Gen. xiii.); in addition to 
which Eleazer, his father's messenger, met Rebecca by the 
well. Jacob met Rachel by the well, and Moses met the 
daughters of Jithro when they came to water their father's 
flocks. 

The Lord hates idolatry. Why then did Moses seek the 
house of an idolator? 

The Rabbis say that Jithro had seen the error of his ways 
and resigned his position as priest to the idols of Midian, 
before Moses came to him. For this reason the people held 
aloof from him and his family, holding no intercourse with 
them, and for this reason the shepherds refiised to work for 
him, and his daughters were obliged to water and attend to 
his flocks. 

"His eyes see, his eyebrow searches the sons of man," 
says the Psalmist. 

"Although his divinity is of heaven," said Rabbi Janaai, 
"His eyes look upon earth. Even as the king who built a 
high tower in his orchard and dwelt therein. To his la- 

' This caption is not in the Gemara. 

'Exod. ii. 15. 

124 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


125 


borers he said, 'Look to my orchard that you keep it in good 
condition, the walks clean, and the trees carefully attended 
that they may bring forth good fruit. He among ye who is 
faithful shall receive a just reward, and he who neglects my 
charge shall meet the punishment he deserves!' The world, 
vast and immense, is the orchard of the great King of kings, 
and he has placed man therein to keep his laws and statutes, 
and to preserve the sweet savor of obedience. They who are 
faithful will be rewarded, while they who neglect their trust 
will be dealt with according to their deeds. Therefore the 

Psalmist says, 'His eyes see, his eyebrow searches the sons 

of man.'" 

He searches the righteous. How? By judging of the 
manner in which they attend to the flocks entrusted to their 
charge. 

David, the son of Jesse, he tried in this manner. Before 
the lambs David set tender grass for food; to the old sheep 
he gave soft herbs and tender grass, while to the young sheep, 
able to chew well, he gave the old grass; feeding each accord¬ 
ing to its wants and strength. Therefore the Lord said, 

"David, who is able to care for the wants of the flocks en¬ 
trusted to him, will be able to rule properly over my flock, 
the people of Israel," even as it is written, "After the young 
flock he brought him to rule over Jacob, his people." 

So did the Lord try Moses. While keeping the flock of 
his father-in-law in the wilderness a lamb left the flock and 
ran away. The merciful shepherd pursued it, and found 
it quenching its thirst at a spring by the roadside. "Poor 
lamb," said Moses, "I did not know that thou wast thirsty"; 
and after the lamb had finished drinking, he took it up ten¬ 
derly in his arms and carried it back to the flock. Then said 
God, "Moses, merciful Moses, if thy love and care are so 
great for an animal, how much greater will they be, exerted 
for thy fellow being! thou shaft lead my people Israel." 

Why did the Lord appear to Moses in a thom-bush? Be¬ 
cause the thom-bush is lowly among trees, and Israel was 
then lowly among the nations of the earth. Roses, the most 
beautiful of the flowers, grow with thorns, so among Israel 



126 


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both righteous and unrighteous men were numbered. He 
who thrusts his hand into thorns may do so without hurt, 
but he can not draw it forth again without being tom by 
the brambles. So was it with Israel. When Jacob entered 
Egypt it was with peace, none noticed, to disturb him; but 
when his children went out from the land it was with signs, 
miracles, and war. And lest Moses might chance to think 
that the rigor of the Egyptians had already destroyed Israel, 
God appeared in a burning bush that was not consumed, to 
typify the state and future of Israel, complete and perfect 
despite the fire of persecution. 

"And God said, 1 have greatly seen the affliction of my 
people who are in Egypt." 

When Hagar was dismissed by Abraham, and when her 
son cried to her for water in the wilderness, she appealed 
to heaven, saying, "Merciful Father, thou didst promise me, 
'1 will multiply thy seed'; and now, behold my son must 
die of thirst!" 

Upon this the angels asked, "What ails thee, Hagar?" 
etc. 

According to Rabbi Simon, the angels opposed the assist¬ 
ance rendered Ishmael, saying, "If he is saved to-day he 
will bring evil upon thy children Israel in the future." Then 
said God, "How has his conduct been to-day?" And when 
the angels answered, "Innocent and correct," God continued, 
"He shall be judged to-day only in relation to his actions 
of to-day." 

So was it with the Israelites in Egypt. The Lord knew 
what their future conduct would be. He said, "1 have seen 
greatly"; not simply "1 have seen," but "1 have seen 
greatly"; which means more than limited view or mere 
observation. 

The Lord said to Moses, "Thou seest one thing, but 1 see 
two. That the children of Israel will receive the Decalogue 
upon Mount Sinai is known to thee; but 1 foresee the event 
which will follow: the making of the molten calf. Yet still 
1 judge them but by their present conduct. 1 have heard 
their cry, and though 1 know that they will murmur 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


127 


against me in the wilderness, nevertheless will I redeem them. 
I said to Jacob their progenitor, 'I will go down with thee 
to Egypt, and I will also surely bring thee up again.' Now 
I am going to bring my children up as I have promised them, 
and lead them to the land which I gave imto their fathers. 
Their cry has reached me, and the last days of their bondage 
are drawing nigh. Go therefore . . . that thou mayest bring 
forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. Thou 
art the one appointed to redeem them." 

And Moses answered, 

"When Jacob went down into Egypt, didst thou not say 
to him, 'I will go down with thee to Egypt, and I myself will 
surely bring thee up again'? And now thou sayest, 'Go 
thou.' How can I bring them up? How protect them from 

the summer's heat and the cold of winter? How can I sup¬ 

port an army of six hundred thousand men, with many women 
and little ones, and some among them who are invalids and 
crippled, requiring extra care and special food?" 

"The unleavened bread which they will carry with them 

will be sufficient for them all for thirty days," replied the 
Lord. 

Then Moses said, 

"When they shall say to me, 'What is his name?' how 
shall I answer them?" 

And God replied, 

"I have many names. I am called 'God Almighty' 
(El-Shaddai), 'The Lord of Hosts' (Adonai Zebaoth), 

'God' (Elohim). When I judge the wicked I am called 
'The Lord of Hosts,' and when I rebuke the sinner I am 
called 'God Almighty.' When I show mercy to my people 
I am called 'Eternal' (Jehovah)." 

Then God said to Moses, "I will be that I will be; this 
is my name forever." 

God meant by this, "I will be with them in this bondage, 
and I will be with them in their future captivity." 

Then said Moses, 

"Why should I mention future captivity to them while 
they are suffering under their present bondage?" 



128 


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And God replied, 

"Thou hast spoken well; say naught of their future 
troubles." 

"And Moses answered and said, 'But behold they will 
not believe me.'" 

Moses was wrong in making this response, for God had 
aheady said, "They will harken to thy voice." 

So God said, 

"What hast thou in thy hand?" 

This was a rebuke, meaning that by the staff which he 
carried in his hand he deserved punishment for doubting. 
Why did Moses' staff become a serpent? Because he im¬ 
plied falsehood to the Lord, even as did the serpent in 
Eden. 

A heathen chief said to Rabbi Josah, "My gods are greater 
than thy gods." 

"Why?" asked the sage. 

"Because," replied the heathen, "when your God appeared 
in the thom-bush Moses hid his face, but when he saw the 
serpent, which is my god, he fled before it." 

And Rabbi Josah answered, 

"When our God appears we can not flee from him; he 
is in the heaven and on earth, on sea and dry land; but if 
a man flies from thy god, the serpent, a few steps deliver 
him." 

What significance has the serpent in respect to the re¬ 
demption of Israel? Pharaoh is compared to the serpent, 
as it is written (Ezek. xxviii.), "The great serpent." Even 
as the bite of a serpent to man was the bondage of Pharaoh 
to Israel. 

The Lord said to Moses, "Pharaoh is now as a serpent; 
thou shah smite him with thy staff and he shall become pow¬ 
erless as wood. Even as a staff is useless for aggression 
without man's assistance — motive power — so shall Pharaoh 
cease to be aggressive." Therefore, he said, "Put forth thy 
hand and grasp it by the tail." 

Why was Moses commanded to put his hand into his bosom 
when it was made white with leprosy? Because slander and 



THE MOST SACRED SPOT OF THE HEBRAIC 
FAITH. 

The Rock Ras Es Safsaf, from which Moses first proclaimed 
the Ten Commandments. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


129 


falsehood are generally spoken in secret, even as the bosom 
is hidden. 

How did this change to leprosy illustrate the redemption 
of Israel? 

Even as a leper defiles the clean, so did the Egyptian con¬ 
tact defile the Israelites, and as the leprous hand was restored 
to its purity, so did God design to purify his people. 

In the first two miracles which the Lord displayed to 
Moses the objects regained their original appearance; but in 
the third — the change from water to blood — the former did 
not recover its original qualities. So God foreshadowed that 
Moses would not be pardoned for his sin at Meribah. 

Each time when Moses's death is mentioned in the Scrip¬ 
tures, the cause of his death before entering the holy 
land, his disobedience at Meribah is mentioned. Why is 
this? 

Two men were once punished by the civil authorities; one 
had committed a crime, the other but a slight misdemeanor. 
The latter requested that the cause of his punishment might 
be made public, that people might not confound his misde¬ 
meanor with the greater crime. 

So was it with Moses. God decreed that he should die 
in the wilderness, and he also decreed that all that generation 
(save Joshua and Caleb) should also perish. Therefore that 
Moses might not be classed with them, as rebellious against 
the Lord, the special cause for his prmishment is mentioned 
in connection with his death. 

"Moses said to the Lord, Pardon, O Lord! I am not a 

man of words." 

Seven days did the Lord repeat his command to Moses, 

and still Moses hesitated to obey. "I am not a man of 
words to-day"— that is one day — "yesterday"—two days 
— "also" — three — "the day before"— four — "also" — 
five — "nor since" — six. "Thou hast spoken,"— seven. 

Then God said: 

"Even if thou be not a man of words, fear not; have I 
not created all the mouths which speak? can I not make those 

who speak dumb, and put words into the mouths of those 



130 


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who are dumb at my pleasure? It is my pleasure that thou 
shouldst speak to Pharaoh." 

And Moses made answer, saying, 

"They are the descendants of Abraham, those whom thou 
wouldst redeem. Which is the nearer to a man, his brother's 
son or his son's son? To redeem Lot, his brother's son, thou 
didst send angels; and now to redeem his own children, six 
hundred thousand strong, besides the women and the yoimg, 
thou wouldst send me. To Hagar thou didst send five angels 
when she fled from Sarah, her mistress; but to sixty 
thousand of the children of Sarah thou wouldst send 
but me." 

The Rabbis tell us that Moses was not reluctant to accept 
this mission through fear or a dread of labor, or a disincli¬ 
nation to obey God, but because he thought it should rightly 
belong to Aaron, his elder brother. Yet God was displeased 
with Moses, and, therefore, he gave the priesthood which he 
had designed for him, to Aaron, in saying, 

"Is there not Aaron thy brother, the Levite?" 

When God said thy brother," the word "Levite" was 
implied, because Moses being a Levite, his brother must 
necessarily have been the same; but this was God's 
meaning. 

"I thought to make thee my priest, and continue thy 
brother, the Levite; but for thy reluctance in obeying my 
wishes, he shall be the priest and thou the Levite." 

"And the Lord said to Aaron, 'Go to meet Moses.' 

"Oh that some one would make thee as my brother," is 
one of the beautiful expressions of Solomon's song. 

What kind of a brother? Not as was Cain to Abel, for 
"Cain rose up against his brother Abel and slew him." Not 
as Ishmael to Isaac, for Ishmael hated Isaac; neither as Esau, 
for "Esau hated Jacob." Not as the brothers of Joseph, 
for "they could not speak peaceably to him"; but even such 
a brother as Aaron to Moses, as it is written, "And he 
(Aaron) went and met him (Moses) by the mormt of God, 
and kissed him." (Exod. iv. 27.) 

"And after that Moses and Aaron went in." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


131 


Where were the elders? We find it written, "Thou and 
the elders of Israel shall come." 

The elders started out, but dropped off gradually, through 
fear; therefore, after this, it is always written simply, 
"Moses and Aaron went in." 

"Thus hath said the Everlasting One," etc. 

According to Rabbi Chiyah, it happened at this time that 
all the neighboring kings were calling upon Pharaoh to pay 
their homage to him and bring him presents; and each of 
the princes brought with him his god. Moses and Aaron 
stood at the palace-gates, and the guard, thinking they too 
were tributaries, bade them enter. Pharaoh looked at them, 
and, seeing them to be strangers, he imagined that they also 
brought him presents, and he wondered why they did not 
salute him as the others did. He spoke and asked them, 
"What is your desire?" And they answered, "Thus saith 
the Lord, let my people go," etc. 

And Pharaoh said in angry pride, 

"Who is this Lord that I am to obey — at whose voice I 
am to let Israel go? He has never made me an offering or 
appeared before me; I know him not, nor will I let Israel go." 

Then he continued: 

"Lo, I will consult my records and see if I find the name 
of your God. Here I find the names of all the gods; the 
gods of Amon, the gods of Moab, the gods of Zedin, but the 
name of your God I can not find." 

And Moses answered, 

"Our God is a living God." 

And Pharaoh said to him, 

"Is he young or old? What is his age; how many cities 
has he captured; how many coimtries has he conquered; how 
long has been his reign?" 

Then said Moses, 

"His power fills the universe. He was, before the world 
saw light; he will be, when the world exists no more. He 
formed thee; with his spirit thou breathes!" 

And Pharaoh further asked, "What are his deeds?" To 
which the messengers of God replied. 



132 


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"The voice of the Lord breaketh in pieces the cedars; he 
stretched out the heavens, he laid the foundation of the earth, 
rending the mountains, and breaking into stones the rocks. 
His bow is of fire, his arrows are of flame. He formed the 
mountains and the hills, covered the fields with green, bring¬ 
ing forth fruits and herbs. He removeth kings, and kings 
he exalteth." 

"Ye come to me with falsehoods," returned Pharaoh; 
"ye tell me that your God is the Lord of the world; know 
then that Egypt is mine, and 1 have created the great river 
Nile which floweth in its boundaries." 

"Mine is my stream, and 1 have made it for myself." 
(Ezek. xix. 3.) 

Then Pharaoh asked of his magicians, "Have ye ever heard 
of their God?" And the magicians answered, "We have 

heard of him. He is the son of wise men, the son of a 
king of olden time." 

"Thou askest now, 'Who is the Lord?'" said Moses. 

"The time will come when thou wilt say, 'The Lord is 
righteous.' Thou sayest now, '1 know not your Lord.' The 

time cometh when thou wilt say, '1 have sinned against your 
Lord.'" 

"And they met Moses and Aaron ... 'to put a sword in 
their hands to slay us.'" 

"Yea," said the overburdened children of Israel to 
Moses and Aaron, "we are like a lamb which the wolf has 
carried from its flock; the shepherd strives to take it from 
him, but between the two the lamb is pulled to pieces; be¬ 
tween ye and Pharaoh will we all be killed." 

"Then Moses said to the Lord, 'O Lord, wherefore hast 

thou let so much evil come upon this people?" 

The Lord had aheady informed Moses that he would 
harden Pharaoh's heart, and that he would refuse to let 
Israel go; therefore God now replied to him, "Thou 
wilt see now what 1 am going to do to Pharaoh, but thou 
wilt not see what 1 shall do to the three kingdoms of 
Canaan." 

"And 1 appeared to Abraham," etc. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


133 


The Lord said to Moses, 

"Woe, woe, that the righteous are no more; I mourn for 
the patriarchs. I revealed myself to Abraham, to Isaac, and 
to Jacob as God Almighty, but not by the name 'Eternal,' as 
I have done to thee, yet they never murmured either at my 
commands or at my works. I said to Abraham, 'Arise, walk 
through the land, its length and breadth, for I will give it 
to thee'; and when his wife died and he wanted but a grave 
for her, he was obliged to buy it with money, yet he did not 
murmur and reproach me, saying, 'Thou didst promise to 
give me all this land, and now I am obliged to sue for and 
purchase but a very small portion.' I said to Isaac, 'Sojourn 
in this land, for unto thee and thy seed will I give all these 

countries'; and when he wanted a little water he could get 

none, for the herdsmen of Gerar did strive with his herds¬ 
men to prevent their digging a well; still Isaac raised not his 
voice against me. I said to Jacob, 'The ground whereon 
thou best, to thee will I give it'; and when he wished to 

pitch there his tent he was obliged to pay a hundred kessitah, 
yet he did not murmur against the Lord, or even ask of me 
my name, as thou hast done." 

"And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, and gave 
them a charge unto the children of Israel, and imto Pharaoh 
the King of Egypt." 

A king had a fine and elegant orchard in which he planted 
trees, both fruitful and unfruitful. His servants said to 
him, "What benefit is there in the planting of barren 

trees?" 

And he replied to them, "Fruitful trees, and those which 
bear not, are equally useful; where could we procure wood 
for our houses, our ships, and our utensils, if we did not have 
these sturdy trees which bear no fruit?" 

Even as the righteous glorify the Lord in their happiness, 
so does the prmishment of the wicked glorify the Lord when 
they proclaim, "Justly have we been pimished." 

When Aaron performed the miracles with his staff. Pha¬ 
raoh laughed and made light of them, saying, 

"It is customary for merchants to carry their wares to 



134 


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places wanting them; why shouldst thou come with such 
tricks to a country full of magicians as Egypt is?" 

He sent for some small children, and even they changed 
their rods into serpents. 

"But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staves." 

The swallowing of their staves was not the only miracle, 
but that Aaron's staff did not grow larger in size thereafter, 
added to the wonder. 



THE TALMUD 


THE GEMARA 
II 

THE TEN PLAGUES 

"Thus hath said the Lord, 'By this thou shalt know that 
I am the Lord; behold I will smite ... the waters of the 
river, and they shall be turned to blood.' 

When a human being designs to injure another, or to take 
vengeance on an enemy, he comes upon him suddenly and 
without warning. Not so, however, does God act. He 
warned Pharaoh of every plague which he brought upon 
Egypt, in order to give him the opportunity for repentance. 

Why were the waters first smitten? Because the Egyp¬ 
tians worshiped the river Nile, and the Lord said, "I will 
first smite the god and then its nation," according to the 
proverb, "I will first smite the gods, then the priests will 
be terrified." 

Blood 

Why did the Lord punish the Egyptians with blood? Be¬ 
cause they shed the blood of innocent infants, therefore was 
the water of their rivers turned to blood. 

"And the Lord said unto Moses, say to Aaron, Take thy 
staff and stretch out thy hand over the waters of Egypt." 

Why could not Moses himself smite the river? 

Because the waters had protected and guarded him when 
he slumbered, a helpless infant, in the ark of bulrushes, and 
the wise sayings teach us, "Into the well wherefrom thou 
drawest water thou shouldst cast no stones." 

Frogs 

We are apt to think the frog superfluous, not requisite in 
the economy of the universe. Not so; every living thing has 
its purpose, and the frogs became an instrument in Pharaoh's 

‘ Exod. vii. 17. 

135 



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punishment. The river Nile brought forth frogs in abun¬ 
dance, but they strayed not from its banks. Then God said, 
"Thou sayest, 'the river is mine'; verily 1 will show thee 
that even thy house is not thy own; the frogs shall enter 
into it, even into thy kneading-trough; they will sit in thy 
dough and consume it." 

The frogs caused the Egyptians more annoyance than that 
occasioned by the mere pecuniary loss which they carried 
with them, for they were very noisy; therefore it is written, 
"Moses cried {i.e., spoke with a loud voice) to the Lord, on 
accoimt of the frogs." 

Lice 

"Say to Aaron ... and smite the dust of the earth." 

Why did not Moses himself smite the dust? 

Because Moses hid in the dust the body of the Egyptian 
whom he foimd smiting a Hebrew, and the dust concealed his 
action. Therefore were the plagues involving the water and 
the dust wrought through Aaron. 

Why were the Egyptians afflicted with this plague? 

Because they had forced the Israelites to sweep the streets 
and to work in mortar, dust, and bricks. Therefore was the 
dust of the streets turned to lice. The magicians were un¬ 
able to produce the lice, because they could not imitate articles 
smaller than a barleycorn; therefore they said, "This is the 
finger of God." 

The Multitude of Beasts 

"Rise up early," etc. 

God said to Moses, "This man persists in his obstinacy, 
despite the plagues already brought upon him; therefore say 
to him that the next will be more dreadful than the others all 
combined; bid him let Israel go." 

The beasts swarmed first into the house of Pharaoh, be¬ 
cause he was the first to oppress Israel, and then into the 
houses of his servants, because they followed in his lead. 

Why were these beasts brought upon the Egyptians? Be¬ 
cause they had forced the Israelites to endanger their lives 
by hrmting wild beasts. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


137 


We find that the frogs died in the land of Egypt, but that 
the beasts were removed. Why this difference? Because 
the frogs were worthless, but the Egyptians might have 
profited from the furs of the wild beasts. 

Pestilence 

Why was this plague brought upon them? 

To show that the plagues were directed only against the 
Egyptians, for as the Bible tells us, "There had not died of 
the cattle of the Israelites even one."Even cattle belonging 
to a Hebrew and in the possession of an Egyptian were saved, 
as were also the cattle owned in shares by an Egyptian and 
an Israelite. 

Boils 

Why did he bring boils upon them? 

Because they had compelled the Israelites to clean then- 
houses and courts, thus making their blood impure, and pro¬ 
ducing boils. 

Why were the magicians unable to stand before Moses 
on account of the inflammation? 

Because they had advised that every son bom to Israel 
should be cast into the river. 

"The Lord hardened," etc. 

When the Lord saw that the five plagues already brought 
upon Pharaoh did not cause his repentance, he said, "Even 
should he wish to repent hereafter, I will harden his heart 
that he may receive the full measure of his punishment." 

Hail 

"Behold, then will I let rain about this time to-morrow," 
etc. 

Moses made a mark upon the wall of Pharaoh's house, say¬ 
ing, "When the sim shall shine to-morrow upon this spot 
there will be hail, therefore bring in thy cattle," etc. 

Again, the compassion of God is displayed to us. Even 
in his anger he was still mercifully inclined toward the 
wicked people and their cattle. He intended the plague of 



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hail to destroy vegetation, not life; therefore he warned 
the people to keep themselves and their flocks under 
shelter. 

"The Lord said ... Stretch out thy hand toward the 
heaven," etc. 

Although "the heavens are the heavens of the Lord," yet 
"the earth hath he given to the children of men." (Psalm 
cxx. 16.) 

An emperor, ruling Rome and Syria, might issue a decree 
forbidding Romans to visit Syria, and Syrians to visit Rome. 
So God, in creating the world, pronounced the heavens "the 
heavens of the Lord," the residence of godly beings. 

"But the earth hath he given to the children of men"; 
the earth must be the scene of their sojoumings. Yet, 
"whatsoever the Lord willeth hath he done, in the heavens 
and on the earth; in the seas and in all the deeps." (Psalm 
cxxxv. 16.) 

He descended upon the earth at Mount Sinai; at the time 
of the creation he said, "Let the waters gather together in 
one place," and when it pleased him so to do, he made the sea 
dry land, even as it is written, "And the children of Israel 
walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea." 

In the same manner God gave Moses permission to rule 
over the heavens, to stretch his hands toward them, and bring 
down a hailstorm over the land of Egypt. 

Why were they prmished with hail? 

Because they had compelled the Israelites to plow their 
fields, sow their grain, care for their trees, and to perform all 
the menial labor incidental to the cultivation of the soil. 
Therefore God sent this hailstorm to destroy the products of 
the ground, that the Egyptians might reap no profit from 
the enforced labor of his people. When God saw that they 
disregarded his warning, and neglected to put their cattle 
under shelter, he caused the cattle to die from the effects 
of the storm. 

The hailstones were very large, each of them being about 
the size of an infant's head; and as they touched the ground 
they burst into flame. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


139 


Locusts 

Why did God bring the locusts into Egypt? 

The Israelites had sowed the fields with grain, and the 
locusts were brought to destroy all that had escaped the hail. 

This plague was so grievous as to wring from Pharaoh 
the acknowledgment, "I have sinned against the Lord your 
God, that I did not let Israel go." "And against you" 
(Moses and Aaron), "that I have driven you out of my 
house." 

Darkness 

"But for all the children of Israel there was light in their 
dwellings." 

Why is it not written, "There was light in the land of 
Goshen"? 

Because, wherever the Israelites were, there was light for 
them; but to an Egyptian, even in the same room with an 
Israelite, all was impenetrable darkness. 

The Slaying of the First-Born 

"Thou shah not see my face any more." 

Such were the words of Pharaoh, when Moses appeared 
before him, to warn him for the last time of the doom await¬ 
ing him should he still oppose the exodus of Israel. Moses 
answered, 

"Thou hast spoken well. Nevermore will I come to thee, 
but thou wilt come to me, and thy servants and thyself will 
entreat me, bending, to depart from thy coimtry, and then 
will I go." 

Some of the Egyptians, fearing Moses's prophecy, slept 
that night in the houses of the Israelites. But the death- 
stroke foimd them, and the Israelite awakening, found an 
Egyptian's corpse beside him. 

Great was the distress in Egypt. Pharaoh called to 
Moses and Aaron, and said, "Arise!" They replied, 
"What would Pharaoh with us?" "Has he come to us?" 
"Arise!" he cried, "arise and go." 

The Israelites went forth from Egypt on the eve of the 



140 


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fifteenth of Nissan; on this same night, many years later, 
the army of Sennacherib, encamped before Jerusalem, was 
slain by the Lord. King Hezekiah, and the inhabitants of 
the besieged city, celebrated the feast of Passover according 
to the command of God, and sang praises and hallelujahs to 
his holy Name. 

But Hezekiah was heavy at heart, and he said, 

"To-morrow the city may be taken." Yet lo, when they 
arose in the morning, the Lord had again passed over for 
his people, and the invading army lay dead in its camp. 

Before infticting the last plague, God warned Pharaoh, 
as it is written, "1 will smite all the first-bom of Egypt." 

Had God wished to make this the first, instead of the last 
of the plagues, he could have done so; but he desired to 
increase the severity with the number of the plagues, and 
accordingly the lightest he sent first. 

"The Lord will pass through the land of Egypt and smite 
all the first-bom." 

A certain king sent his son to a distant country, the people 
of which received him with great honors, and conferred dis¬ 
tinction upon him, finally making him their mler. When 
his father heard this, he said, 

"What honor shall 1 do them in return? 1 will call that 
country after the name of my son." 

After some time had elapsed, he again received news from 
the distant land; its people had taken away the honors con¬ 
ferred upon his son, and made him a slave. He therefore 
went to war with them and delivered his son. 

Joseph went down to Egypt and was made governor. 
Great respect was also paid to Jacob, for whose death "the 
Egyptians mourned seventy days." 

For this God named Egypt after the garden of Eden, as 
it is written, "As the garden of the Lord is the land of 
Egypt." When, however, the Israelites were oppressed and 
reduced to slavery, God made war upon Egypt, through the 
medium of the ten plagues, and through the last delivered 
his "son," Israel, from bondage. 

During the night, while the Hebrews sang praises to God, 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


141 


Pharaoh came to the place where Moses and Aaron dwelt, 
and he cried, "Arise, get thee out," etc. Then the people 
scattered themselves among the Egyptians, borrowing vessels 
of gold and silver. But Moses sought the sepulcher of 
Joseph, and carried forth his bones, according to the charge 
transmitted to him. 

"And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and 
thirty years," etc. 

These years are counted from the time that God appeared 
to Abraham in the vision known as "The Covenant of the 
Pieces," and told him that his seed should be "strangers in 
a land not theirs." They lived in Egypt, however, only two 
hundred and ten years. Upon the same month and day 
as they had entered Egypt, they left it. On that date Joseph 
was released from prison, and in subsequent years it wit¬ 
nessed the performance of many wonders in behalf of God's 
people. 

In King Hezekiah's time Jerusalem was delivered from 
Sennacherib; during the Babylonian captivity, Shedrach, 
Meshach, and Abednego were delivered from the fiery 
furnace, and Daniel came forth unharmed from the lions' 
den. 



THE TALMUD 


THE GEMARA 
III 

THE DEATH OF MOSES 

"The Lord said to Moses, Behold, thy days approach that 
thou must die." 

The death of Moses is alluded to, in the Bible, ten times. 

"Thy days approach that thou must die." (Deut. xxxi. 
14.) 

"And thou shalt die on the moimt." (Deut. xxxiii. 50.) 

"For I am going to die." 

"For I know that after my death." (Deut. xxxi. 29.) 

". . . And how much more after my death." (Deut. 
xxxi. 27.) 

"... Blessed the children of Israel before his death." 
(Deut. xxxiii, 1.) 

"And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when 
he died." (Deut. xxxiv. 7.) 

"And it came to pass after the death of Moses." (Josh, 

i. 1.) 

"Moses, my servant, is dead." (Josh. i. 2.) 

Moses himself thought that he had committed but a slight 
offense, which would be pardoned; for ten times had Israel 

tempted God's wrath and been forgiven through his inter¬ 

cession, as it is written, "And the Lord said, I have pardoned 
according to thy word." But when he became convinced 
that he would not be pardoned, he made the following 

supplication: 

"Sovereign of the universe, my trouble and my exertion 
142 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


143 


for Israel's sake are revealed and known before thee. How 
I have labored to cause thy people to know thee, and to 

believe in thy holy Name and practise thy holy law, has come 

before thee. O Lord, as I had shared their troubles and 
their distress, I hoped to share their happiness. Behold 

now the time has come when their trials will cease, when 

they will enter into the land of promised bliss, and thou 
sayest to me, 'Thou shalt not pass over this Jordan.' O 
Eternal, great and just, if thou wilt not allow me to enter 
into this goodly land, permit me at least to live on here in 
this world." 

Then God answered Moses, saying, 

"If thou wilt not die in this world, how canst thou live 
in the world to come?" 

But Moses continued, 

"If thou wilt not permit me to pass over this Jordan, 
let me live as the beasts of the field; they eat of the herbs 
and drink the waters, and live and see the world; let my 
life be even as theirs." 

And God answered, 

"Let it suffice thee; do not continue to speak unto me 
any more on this matter." (Deut. iii. 26.) 

Yet again Moses prayed, 

"Let me live even as the fowls; they gather their food in 
the morning and in the evening they return unto their nests; 
let my life be even as theirs." 

And again God said, 

"Let it suffice thee; do not continue to speak to me any 
more on this matter." 

Then Moses, convinced that his death was determined on, 
proclaimed: 

"He is the Rock; His work is perfect and his ways are 
just; the God of tmth, just and upright is he." 

"And Moses died there in the land of Moab, according to 
the word of the Lord." 

Holy writ testifies to the righteousness of Moses, "And 
there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, 
whom the Lord knew face to face." 



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The heavens wept and exclaimed, "The pious one hath 
departed; there is none upright among men." 

When Joshua searched for his friend and teacher and 
failed to find him, he wept bitterly and cried, "Help me, 
O Lord! for the pious have ceased to be." 

The angels proclaimed, "He executed the justice of the 
Lord"; and Israel added, "And his judgments with Israel." 
And together they exclaimed, 

"He shall come in peace; they shall rest in their beds 
every one walking in his uprightness." 

Blessed be the memory of the just. 



THE TALMUD 


THE GEMARA 
IV 

THE BOOK OF ESTHER 

And it came to pass when Nebuchadrezzar died, that his 
son, Evil-Merodach, claimed the kingdom. But the people 
refused to anoint him as ruler, and they said to him: 

"Behold, once before was thy father removed from the 
vicinity of human beings and compelled to eat herbs and 
grass like the beasts of the field for seven years. And lo, 
we deemed him dead and appointed princes in his stead 
to rule over us, and when he returned he put these princes 
to death. How can we now make you king? It may be with 
your father as it was in former days; he may yet return." 

Now when the people spoke thus to Evil-Merodach, he 
went to his father's tomb and removed from the same the 
corpse of the King. He fastened an iron chain about its 
feet, and dragged his father's body through the streets of 
the capital, to prove to the people that he was indeed dead. 
As it is written in Isaiah, 

"But thou, thou art cast out of thy grave like a discarded 
offshoot." (Isaiah xiv. 19.) 

Then the people of the coimtry proclaimed Evil-Merodach 
king. And Daniel said to the King: 

"Thy father, Nebuchadrezzar, never opened the door of 
his prisons" (meaning when he once incarcerated a person 
it was for life), "as it is written, 'never opened the prison- 
house of his prisoners.' (Isaiah xiv.-xvii.) Now when the 
Israelites were adjudged guilty by God of the many sins 
which they committed, behold thy father came up and laid 
the land of Israel desolate. He destroyed our holy temple, 
and our people he sent captives and exiles to Babel. Among 
them was Yehoyachim, the King of Judah. For thirty-two 

145 



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years he has lain in prison because he neglected to follow the 
will of God. Now, 1 pray thee, let him be released. Oh, 
be not stiff-necked. Remember the punishment of thy father 
when he became proud and blasphemed, and said, 'There is 
no king or ruler but myself only,' as it is written, '1 will 
ascend above the height of the clouds; 1 will be equal to the 
Most High.' "(Isaiah xiv. 14.) 

Then Evil-Merodach listened to the words of Daniel and 
performed the will of God. He released Yehoyachim, the 
King of the tribe of Judah, and he opened the doors to the 
other prisoners and gave them liberty. 

And he anointed Yehoyachim, and dressed him in royal 
garments; "and he ate bread before him continually all the 
days of his life." (Kings xxv. 29.) 

And from Evil-Merodach the kingdom descended to Da¬ 
rius of Media; and Ahasuems, of Persia, was the son of 
Darius of Media. 

From the house of this same Ahasuems was banished 
Vashti, the daughter of Evil-Merodach, the son of Nebu¬ 
chadrezzar. For her iniquity was she banished, for she 
compelled the Jewish women to labor upon their holy 
Sabbath. 

This same Ahasuems commanded that the wine of one 
hundred and twenty-seven provinces should be furnished on 
his banquet-table, that the men of one hundred and twenty- 
seven provinces might drink, each man of the wine of his 
own coimtry, of his own province, that he might not con¬ 
sume strange and hurtful drink. 

This same Ahasuems was a foolish King. "My Queen 
shall be sent away," he ordered; "but my decree must never 
be abolished." 

In the time of this same Ahasuems the people of Israel 

were sold — aye, without money; as it is written: "For 

naught were ye sold." (Isaiah hi. 3.) 

And in the time of this same Ahasuems the words written 
in the Pentateuch came to pass: "In the morning shall ye 

say, 'Would that it were evening,' and in the evening, 

'Would that the morning were nigh.' "(Deut. xxviii. 67.) 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


147 


This was the same Ahasuerus who once dismissed his wife 
for the sake of his friend, and again killed his friend for 
the sake of his wife. He sent away Vashti, his wife, in 

accordance with the advice of Memuchan his friend, and he 
killed his friend Haman, for the sake of Esther, his wife. 

And it came to pass in the days of this Ahasuems that 
he desired to sit upon the throne of Solomon; the magnifi¬ 
cent throne of Solomon which had been carried from Jeru¬ 
salem to Egypt by Sheshak, the King of Egypt. From 
his hands it passed to Sennacherib, the King of Assyria; 
from him was it returned to Hezekiah, and again carried 
away by Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt. Nebuchadrezzar, the 
King of Babel, wrenched it from the possession of Pharaoh, 
and when Cyrus, the King of Media, conquered the land 

of Persia, the throne was brought to Shushan and passed into 
the possession of Ahasuerus. 

But he had a new throne made for himself. He sent 

artizans to Alexandria, and they were two years making for 
him his throne. "In the third year of his reign, the King 

Ahasuerus sat upon his own throne, and Solomon's throne 

was not used any more." 

"There was a certain Jew in Shushan, the capital, whose 
name was Mordecai." 

Why was Mordecai called a Jew? He was not of the 
tribe of Judah, but a descendant of Benjamin. He was 

called a Jew because he feared the Lord as all Jews 
should do. 

Mordecai was a descendant of Shimi, whose life King 
David spared when he had incurred the penalty of death 

for reviling his ruler. For David foresaw the miracle which 
should be wrought through the instrumentality of Mordecai 
in years then hidden in the future. 

And Mordecai brought up his cousin Hadassah, or Esther. 
She was called Hadassah (meaning "myrtle") because of 
her sweet disposition and kindly acts, which were compared 
to the fragrant perfume and ever fresh beauty of the myrtle. 
In many instances the righteous are compared to the myrtle, 
as in Isaiah (Iv. 13), "In place of the thorn the fir-tree 



148 


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shall spring forth, and the nettle shall give place to the 
myrtle." 

This sentence is thus construed: 

Instead of Haman, the thorn, the fir-tree, Mordecai shall 
spring forth; and in place of Vashti, compared to a nettle, 
Esther, the myrtle, shall share the Persian throne. 

Her name, Esther, was also well chosen; from the Greek, 
Estarah, a bright star. Her pious deeds ceased only with 
her life, and her beauty was equaled only by her spiritual 
qualities. 

Shortly before Esther's birth her father died, and her 
mother followed him when the babe drew her first breath. 
Then Mordecai, her father's nephew, adopted her, and 
brought her up as his child. 

After the King had married Esther he was anxious to 

learn her descent, and asked her, "Where are thy kindred? 

Behold, 1 have prepared a banquet; bid them attend." 

And Esther answered him, 

"Thou art a wise king, and surely thou knowest that my 
parents are dead; do not sadden me, 1 pray, my lord, by 
such inquiries." 

'Twas then that the King released the people from the 

payment of the year's taxes, and gave presents "according 

to his ability" to all his nobles, declaring that it was done 
in "Esther's honor." 

He imagined that through this the fame of the proceeding 
and Esther's name would become known throughout the na¬ 
tions, and he might learn thereby of her people. 

When this plan failed he called all the beautiful virgins 
of his provinces together again, thinking that jealousy might 
induce Esther to tell him of her predecessors, but without 
avail. Esther mentioned not her people. 

"In those days, when Mordecai was sitting in the King's 
gate, Bigthana and Theresh became wroth," etc. 

Rabbi Johanan said: "God has made servants wroth 
against their lords for the accomplishment of justice, and he 
has also made masters wroth with their servants for the 
same purpose." The latter instance is to be found in the 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


149 


history of Joseph, as it is written, "There was with us in 
the prison a Hebrew lad," and the former instance is that 
of Bigthana and Theresh, the chamberlains of the King. 

"And the thing became known to Mordecai." 

The two officers spoke in a strange language; they thought 
that Mordecai could not understand them. But Mordecai 
had been a member of the Sanhedrin; he was a learned man, 
and what they said was well understood by him. 

One officer said to the other, 

"Since the King married Esther we have had neither 

rest nor peace; the coming and the going make life weari¬ 
some; it would be better for us if we should remove him 
from the world." 

The other acquiesced with him, but said, 

"How is it to be done? I am on guard; I can not 

leave." 

But the first speaker said, 

"Go, and I will attend to both thy guard and mine." 

Therefore it is written, "And the thing was inquired into 
and found true"; that is, one of the guards was foimd 

absent from his post. 

"After these events." What events? 

After God had created the remedy before the infliction 
of the wound; after Mordecai had saved the King's life 
before the orders for the destmction of his people were 

promulgated. 

After these events the King advanced Haman, the son 

of Hamdatha, the Agagite, to an illustrious position in the 

kingdom. He was raised, however, but to be destroyed. 
His destiny was like to that of the hog in the parable of 
the horse, the colt, and the hog. 

A certain man possessed a horse, a colt, and a hog. For 
the two former he measured out daily a certain amount of 
food; so much was their allowance, no more, no less; the 
hog, however, was allowed to eat according to his own pleas¬ 
ure. Said the colt to the horse, "How is this? Is it just? 

We work for our food while the hog is a useless animal; 

surely we should have as much to eat as is given him." 



150 


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"Wait," answered the horse, "and you will soon see, in 
the downfall of the hog, the reason." 

With the coming of the autumn the hog was killed. 

"See," said the horse, "they did not give the hog so 
much to eat for his own benefit, but in order to fatten him 
for the killing." 

Haman was a direct descendant of Esau. His father, 
Hamdatha, was the son of Sarach, he of Kuzah, Iphlotas, 
Joseph, Josim, Pedome, Made, Belaakan, Intimrom, Hari- 
dom, Shegar, Negar, Parmashtah, Vayzathah, Agag, Sumki, 
Amalek, and lastly Eliphaz, the first-born of Esau. 

"Why transgressest thou the King's commands?" 

The servants of the King's gate said to Mordecai, 

"Why wilt thou refuse to bow before Haman, transgress¬ 
ing thus the wishes of the King? Do we not bow before 
him?" 

"Ye are foolish," answered Mordecai, "aye, wanting in 
reason. Listen to me. Shall a mortal, who must return 
to dust, be glorified? Shall 1 bow down before one bom 

of woman, whose days are short? When he is small he 

cries and weeps as a child; when he grows older sorrow and 
sighing are his portion; his days are full of wrath and anger, 
and at the end he returns to dust. Shall I bow to one like 
to him? No, I prostrate myself before the Eternal God, 
who lives forever. He who dwells in heaven and bears the 
world in the hollow of his hand. His word changes simlight 
to darkness, his command illumines the deepest gloom. His 
wisdom made the world, he placed the boundaries of the 
mighty sea; the waters are his, the sweet and the salt; to 

the struggling waves he says, 'Be still, thus far shalt thou 
come, no further, that the earth may remain dry for my 
people.' To him, the great Creator and Ruler of the uni¬ 

verse, and to no other will I bow." 

Haman was wroth against Mordecai, and said to him, 

"Why art thou so stiff-necked? Did not thy forefather 
bow down to mine?" 

"How?" replied Mordecai; "which of my ancestors 
bowed before forefather of thine?" 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


151 


Then Haman answered, 

"Jacob, thy forefather, bowed down to Esau, his brother, 
who was my forefather." 

"Not so," answered Mordecai, "for I am descended from 
Benjamin, and when Jacob bowed to Esau, Benjamin was 
not yet bom. Benjamin never bowed until his descendants 
prostrated themselves in the holy temple, when the divinity 
of God rested within its sacred portals, and all Israel united 
with him. I will not bow before the wicked Haman." 

"In the first month, that is, in the month Nissan (April), 
they cast the lot before Haman." He cast the lot "from 
day to day." At first he selected the first day of the week 
as the one for the destmction of the Jews; but then he said, 
"No; light was created upon that day, which is to their 
merit. On the second day the heavens were created; also 
to their merit. On the third day, the Garden of Eden, with 
all the herbs and trees; on the fourth the sim, moon, stars, 
and all the hosts of heaven, also a merit to them. On the 
fifth day the fowls of the heaven were created, and among 
them the pigeon, which the Jews have used for a sacrifice, 
so that will not answer for their extermination. On the 
sixth day Adam and Eve were created, and on the seventh 
day is their Sabbath, the covenant between them and their 
God." 

He then took his chances with the months. In the month 
of Nissan (April) they were released from the servitude of 
Egypt, and many miracles were performed in their favor. 
In the month of lyar (May) the manna first descended from 
heaven, and in that month, too, five calamities were to hap¬ 
pen. During the month of Sivan they received the ten com¬ 
mandments, and hold their feast of weeks. Neither of these 
months would do. The next cast was the month Tamuz 
(July). But in that month the walls of Jemsalem were 
destroyed, and Haman, thinking that might prove sufficient 
punishment for any of their sins in that month, passed it 
by and cast again. The next lot fell on Ab (August). But 
in that month the last of the generations doomed to wander 
through the wilderness forty years had perished. The time 



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of their punishment had expired, and in that same month 
Moses had spoken with God, and prayed to him, "Show me 
thy glory." This was too great a month to the Israelites 
to allow its selection for their extermination. 

The next month was Elul (September). 'Twas in this 
month that Moses ascended for the third time the mount 
of God, to receive the second tables of stone. Also, during 
this month, the walls of Jerusalem were completed, as it is 
written in Nehemiah vi. 15: "And so was the wall finished 
on the twenty-and-fifth day of the month Elul." 

Tishri (October) would not be favorable to his purpose, 
because the Day of Atonement, when all Israel would be 
devout in prayer, occurs within it. Neither would the fol¬ 
lowing month, Heshvan, suit his designs, because it was in 
this month that the waters of the flood were set loose upon 

the world and Noah and his family saved. During Kislev 

(December) the foundation of the temple was laid. In 
Thebet (January) Nebuchadrezzar besieged Jerusalem, also 
a sufficient pimishment for that period. And also, during 
this month, the eleven tribes made peace with Benjamin. 
Neither was Shebat (Febmary) a month displaying any 
guilty action deserving of God's wrath on the part of his 
people. When he came to the month of Adar, however, he 
said, "Lo, 1 have thee now, even as the fish of the sea" 
(the sign of the month's planet being two fish). In this 

month the lawgiver, Moses, died, and Haman thought it 
would prove imlucky for Israel. He forgot, however, that 

Moses was also bom in Adar, on the seventh day of the 
month. 

"Then said Haman imto King Ahasuems, 

"There is a people scattered throughout thy provinces, 
yet separate and distinct from the nation among which they 
dwell. They will not intermingle or associate with us. 
They will not marry with the daughters of our land, neither 
will they allow our sons to wed their daughters. They do 
not aid in building up the State, for they have many holy 
days on which they are idle and refuse to traffic. The first 
hour of each day they devote to their prayer, 'Hear, O 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


153 


Israel, the Lord is One.' The second hour they also sing 
praises, and much time they waste in prayers and graces. 
Each seventh day they make a Sabbath, and pass the time 
in their synagogues reading from their Pentateuch and their 
prophets; aye, and in cursing thee, the King. They enter 
their children into a covenant of the flesh when they are 
but eight days old, that they may remain a peculiar people 
forever. In the month of Nissan they hold a feast, which 
they call the Passover, when they remove all leaven from 
their houses, and they say, 'As we remove the leaven from 
our houses, so may the wicked King be removed from our 
midst.' They have many fasts and feasts, upon all of which 
they curse the King, and pray for thy death and the downfall 
of thy kingdom. Lo, there arose once a king, Nebuchadrez¬ 
zar, who destroyed their temple, despoiled their great city, 
Jerusalem, and sent the inhabitants thereof into exile. Still 
their pride and stubborn spirit remained unbroken; Know, 
also, that their fathers went down into Egypt, seventy men, 
and when they went up from thence they numbered full six 
hundred thousand, in addition to their women and little ones. 
Among this nation there are men, large dealers; they buy 
and they sell, but they execute not the laws of the King and 
the realm. What profit, then, is it to have such a people 
scattered through thy provinces? 

"Now, if it be pleasing in the eyes of the King, let a 
decree be published to destroy and exterminate them from 
our midst." 

And Ahasuerus answered, 

"We are not able to do this thing. Their God has not 
deserted them, and they have prevailed over people greater 
and stronger than ourselves. We can not accept thy advice 
in this matter." 

Still Hainan persisted from time to time to pour com¬ 
plaints against the Jews in the ears of the King, and to urge 
their complete destruction. Finally Ahasuerus said, "As 
thou hast troubled me so much about this thing I will call 
together my officers, counselors, and wise men, and ask their 
opinion." 



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When these sages were called before him the King put 
the question to them, and asked, 

"Now what is your advice; shall this nation be destroyed 
or not?" 

And the wise men answered unanimously, and said, 

"Should Israel be stricken from existence the world itself 
would no longer be; for through the merit of Israel and the 
law to them the world exists. Are the people not called near 
to God relatives? 'Unto the children of Israel, a people 
near to him.' Not alone this, they are also called children 
of the Lord, as it is written, 'Ye are the children of the 
Lord your God' (Deut. xiv. 1). Who can escape that raises 
a hand against his children? Pharaoh was punished for his 
conduct toward them; how shall we escape?" 

Then Hainan arose and replied to these words, 

"The God who caused the death of Pharaoh and his hosts 
has grown old and feeble; his power has departed from him. 
Did not Nebuchadrezzar destroy his temple and send his 
people into exile? Why did he not prevent that if he was 
all-powerful?" 

By such arguments as these Haman altered the opinions 
and advice of the sages, and the letters ordering the massacre 
which he desired were prepared according to his command. 
When Mordecai ascertained what had been done he rent 
his garments, clothed himself in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 
He wept in his anguish, and said, "Woe, woe to us for this 
severe decree. Not even a half of our people shall be saved, 
nor a third part nor a fourth, but the whole body must be 
rooted out; woe, woe to us!" 

Then when the Israelites beheld Mordecai's grief and 
heard his words, they assembled together, a great multitude 
of people, and Mordecai addressed them as follows: 

"Ye people of Israel, ye chosen ones of our Father in 
heaven, know ye not what has happened? Have ye heard 
naught of the decree against us, that Haman and the King 
have ordered our destruction from the face of the earth? 
We have no friendly influence on which to depend, no 
prophets to pray for us, no city of refuge. We are a flock 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


155 


without a shepherd; we are as a ship at sea without a pilot, 
as orphans without a father, aye, as sucklings who have 
lost their mother." 

Then they carried the ark, in which the scrolls of the law 
were deposited, into the streets of Shushan, and draped the 
same in mourning colors. And Mordecai opened the scrolls 
and read the passage in Deuteronomy (iv. 30), "When thou 
art in tribulation, and all these things have overtaken thee, 
in the latter end of days, then wilt thou return to the Lord 
thy God, and be obedient unto his voice. For a merciful 
God is the Lord thy God." 

"People of the house of Israel," said Mordecai, "let us 
follow the example of the men of Nineveh, at the time when 
Jonah, the son of Amitai, was sent to proclaim the overthrow 
of their capital. The King rose from his throne, changed 
his royal robes for sackcloth and ashes, and caused a fast 
to be proclaimed. Neither man nor beast, neither herds nor 
flocks, tasted of food or drank of water. 'God saw their 
works that they turned from their evil ways, and God be¬ 
thought himself of the evil which he had spoken that he 
would do them and he did it not' (Jonah iii. 7). Let us 
likewise proclaim a penitential fast; these men were saved, 
and they were heathens; we are the sons of Abraham, and 
it behooves us more especially to repent our evil ways and 
trust to the forgiveness of a merciful God. Turn ye, turn 
ye from your unrighteous paths, oh house of Israel, where¬ 
fore will ye die!" 

And when he had finished speaking these words, Morde¬ 
cai went out into the city and cried with a loud and bitter 
cry. 

The house of Israel was filled with dread at the edict of 
the King. Sorrow crossed the threshold of each Jewish 
home; a spirit of anguish filled every habitation. 

A certain man called on a Persian friend and entreated 
him to use his influence to save his life and the lives of his 
family. "I, my wife, and my children will be your slaves," 
said he, "only save our lives." 

The Persian answered. 



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"How can I do so? The decree states that any Persian 
harboring a Jew shall be put to death with him." 

The Israelite departed with a broken spirit. "How 
truly," said he, "have the words of the Bible been fulfilled! 
'Ye will offer yourselves for sale unto your enemies, for 
bondmen and bondwomen, without any one to buy ye.'" 
(Deut. xxviii. 68.) 

Each day the people marked the passage of time, by say¬ 
ing, "Thus many days more have the Jews to live," and 
so was another Biblical passage verified. 

"And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee. ... In 
the morning thou wilt say. Who would but grant that it 
were only evening! And at evening thou wilt say. Who 
would but grant that it were only morning! From the dread 
of thy heart which thou wilt experience, and from the sight 
of thy eyes which thou wilt see." (Deut. xxviii. 66-67.) 
And with each day the mourning increased and hope seemed 
still more vain. 

If we lose a relation or a dear friend, our grief is at first 
intense, but with each day it loses its poignancy imtil we are 
consoled and comforted. How different was it in the case 
of the condemned Jews; each day the wailing grew stronger, 
for each day but brought them nearer to the hour of then- 
destruction. 

The act of Ahasuerus, in entrusting his ring to Haman, 
was productive of more repentant feelings in the people of 
Israel than had been the words of their forty-eight prophets. 
The prophets had cautioned Israel against serving idols, and 
urged upon them the necessity of atonement, and yet their 
words had been unheeded; but with the transmission of the 
King's ring to Hainan's possession, the great call for re¬ 
pentance made itself immediately heard. 

But Haman was to receive his prmishment. There is a 
saying of the Rabbis, "If a stone falls upon a pitcher, the 
pitcher breaks; if the pitcher falls upon the stone, the pitcher 
also breaks." Be it as it may, it is bad for the pitcher, 
and bad similarly for the enemies of Israel; for even when 
Israel strays from righteousness, the instruments of their 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


157 


chastisement are also punished, as in the instances of Nebu¬ 
chadrezzar, Titus, Haman, etc. 

"Then came the maidens of Esther with her chamberlains, 
and told it to her (the grief of Mordecai) . . . And she 
called Hathach and gave him a charge for Mordecai to know 
what this was, and why this was . . . And Mordecai told 
him all that had happened unto him." 

Meaning, a dream, which Mordecai had dreamed in the 
second year of the reign of King Ahasuerus, he now recol¬ 
lected and told to Hathach. "An earthquake shook the 
world, and darkness and great storms frightened the inhab¬ 
itants. Two monsters were engaged in deadly conflict, and 
the noise of the struggle caused the nations to quake with 
fear. In the midst of the nations was a small weak people, 
and the other nations wished to blot it from the world. A 
great distress oppressed this few people and they cried aloud 
to God for succor and protection. Then a small spring 
arose, even between the two monsters that were battling, and 
it increased in size until it seemed to become as wide and 
boundless as the sea, even as though it would engulf the 
world. Then the sun broke forth in brightness o'er the 
earth, and the weak nation, blessed with peace, dwelt safely, 
though the ruins of many greater nations were spread 
about it.' 

This dream he had previously related to Esther, and now 
through her messenger, he sent the Queen this word: 

"Behold, thou wilt recollect the dream which I related 
to thee in thy youth. Arise, pray to God and beseech from 
him mercy; then go before the King and speak bravely for 
the cause of thy people and thy kindred." And further he 
sent to Esther these words: 

" 'Imagine not in thy soul,' and say not 'the King has 
selected me for his Queer; and, therefore I need not pray for 
mercy to Israel.' Into exile thou wert carried as well as the 
rest of thy people, and the decree which destroys one destroys 
all. Do not imagine that thou alone canst escape, of all 
the Jews. For the sin of thy great-grandfather Saul do 
we now suffer. If he had obeyed the words of Samuel, the 



158 


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wicked Haman had not descended from him who was of the 
family of Amalek. If Saul had slain Agag, the son of 
Hamadatha had not brought us for ten thousand silver 
talents; the Lord would not have delivered Israel into the 
hands of the wicked. Yet Moses prayed to the Lord for 
Israel, and Joshua discomfited Amalek; so arise thou, and 
pray before thy Father in heaven, and he who did execute 
justice on Amalek will now do the same to his wicked seed. 
From three oppressors of Israel does Haman draw his life¬ 
blood. First, Amalek, who was the first to fight against 
Israel, and who was defeated by Joshua. Next, Sisera, who 
laid a hand of iron upon our ancestors and met his punish¬ 
ment through a woman, Ja'el. Lastly, Goliath, who defied 
the camp of Israel and was laid low by the son of Jesse. 
Therefore, let not thy prayers cease, for God has ever listened 
to the breathings of a contrite heart, and for the sake of 
our ancestors he will show us favor. They were delivered 
from their enemies when all seemed hopeless. Pray, there¬ 
fore, and imagine not that thou alone, of all thy people, shall 
be able to find safety." 

On the day when Mordecai ordered his brethren to fast 
and humble themselves before God, he uttered the following 
supplication: 

"Our God and God of our fathers, seated on thy throne 
of grace! O Lord of the universe, thou knowest that not 
through the promptings of a proud heart did 1 refuse to bow 
before Haman. Thee only 1 fear, and 1 am jealous of the 
glory of thy presence; 1 could not give to flesh and blood thy 
honor — to the creature that which belongs to the Creator 
alone. O God, deliver us from his hand, and let his feet 
become entangled in the net which he has spread for us. 
Let the world know, oh our Redeemer, that thou hast not for¬ 
gotten the promise which supports and strengthens us in our 
dispersion. 'And yet for all that, though they be in the 
land of their enemies, will 1 not cast them away, neither 
will 1 loath them to destroy them utterly, to break my cove¬ 
nant with them, for 1 am the Lord their God.'" 

When Esther received the message of Mordecai, she too 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


159 


ordered a fast, and replaced her royal apparel with the sack¬ 
cloth and ashes of mourning; and bowing her face before 
the Lord, she uttered this heartfelt prayer: 

"God of Israel, from the beginning of time thou hast 
reigned; the world and all it contains thy power has created; 
to thee, thy handmaid calls for help! I am alone, O God, 
without father and mother. Even as a poor woman, who 
begs from door to door, do I come before thee for mercy, 
from window to window in the house of Ahasuerus.' From 
thee alone can help and salvation flow. Oh, Father of the 
fatherless! stand upon the right hand of the orphan, I be¬ 
seech thee; give her mercy and favor in the eyes of Ahas- 
uerus, that he may be moved to grant her petition for the 
lives of her people. 'May the words of my mouth and the 
meditations of my heart be acceptable before thee, O Lord, 
my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen!'" 

"And it came to pass on the third day." 

After Esther had fasted three days, on the third day of 
her fast she arose from the ashes on which she had reposed, 
removed her garments of sackcloth, arrayed herself in her 
gorgeous robes of State, wearing her richest ornaments of 
gold of Ophir and precious stones, and prepared to enter 
the presence of the King. First, however, in voice broken 
by sobs and strong emotion, she again in privacy addressed 
the Most High. 

"Before thee, O God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, 
before thee, O God of Benjamin, my ancestor, I pray. Be¬ 
fore thee I pray, ere I appeal imto my husband, Ahasuerus, 
the King, to supplicate for thy people Israel, whom thou 
didst separate from other nations, to whom thou gavest thy 
holy law. Thy chosen people, O God, who praise thee three 
times daily, saying, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; 
the whole earth is full of his glory.' As thou didst save Cha- 
nanyah, Mishael, and Azaryah from the raging furnace, and 

' It was the ancient eustom of the Jews to stand by a window and 
look upon the sky when praying. We find the faet thus reeorded in 
Daniel (vi. 11), "He had open windows in his upper chamber in the 
direction of Jerusalem." 




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Daniel from the jaws of the lions, so save us now from the 
enemies who lie in wait for our destruction. Give me grace, 
1 pray thee, in the eyes of my lord, the King. Through our 
sins, O Lord, are we condemned; yea all of us in whom the 
blood of Abraham quickens; yet surely the children should 
not suffer for the father's sin! If we have provoked thy 
wrath, why should tender hearts and innocent babes be with 
us condemned to death? Oh remember the merit of Abra¬ 
ham to our salvation. Ten times didst thou tempt him and 
he remained faithful before thee. Protect the children of 
thy beloved friends, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; banish from 
about them the evil with which Hainan has encircled them." 
And Esther wept bitterly, and her tongue refused to utter 
the words which rose to her lips. "I go now," she said in 
her heart, "unto the King; oh let thy angels of mercy pre¬ 
cede my footsteps; let the favor of Abraham go before me, 
and the merit of Isaac support my trembling frame; let the 
kindness of Jacob be in my mouth, and the purity of Joseph 
upon my tongue. As thou didst listen to the voice of Jonah 
when he called upon thee, so listen now to me. O God, 
whose eye seest the inmost recesses of the heart, remember 
the merit of the pious ones who served thee faithfully, and 
for their sakes allow not my petition to be rejected. Amen." 

And Esther took with her two of her waiting-maids and 
entered the court of the King. On the arm of one she leaned, 
while the other followed bearing her train, that the golden 
fabric might not sweep along the ground. She concealed 
her grief in her heart, and her face was bright and her ap¬ 
pearance happy. 

It happened, when the King saw Esther standing in the 
court, that he was very wroth to think that she had over¬ 
stepped both law and custom. Esther glanced up, and read¬ 
ing his anger in his eyes, became greatly terrified and leaned 
heavily upon the handmaid who supported her. God saw 
her failing motion, and, pitying the distress of the orphan, 
he gave her grace before the King. The anger vanished from 
his eyes, and rising from his seat, he advanced to Esther 
and embraced and kissed her. With his arm about her neck 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


161 


he looked into her eyes, and seeing there her fear, he said, 
"What wilt thou. Queen Esther? Why art thou alarmed? 
Our laws are not meant for thee; thou art my friend; where¬ 
fore didst thou not speak when thy eyes looked upon me?" 

And Esther answered, 

"Because, my lord, when first I looked upon thee, thy 
glory and thy honor terrified me." .. . 

Esther had three objects in inviting Haman to her ban¬ 
quet with the King. 

First. She did not wish Haman to think that she knew of 
his guilt, or was conspiring against him, which he might 
suspect if he discovered that Hatach carried messages be¬ 
tween herself and Mordecai. 

Secondly. She desired, in pursuance of her plan, to make 
the King jealous of Haman. Naturally he would ask him¬ 
self why she had invited only Haman, thus singling him 
from, and honoring him above, the other princes. 

Thirdly. That Israel might not be too sure of her efforts 
and so depend upon her altogether. Rather to let them find 
additional reasons for relying solely on the Lord. 

"Then said unto him Zeresh, his wife, with all her friends, 
'Let them make a gallows,'" etc. 

"Thou canst never prevail against Mordecai by means 
which have aheady been brought to bear against his people," 
said Zeresh to Haman. "Thou canst not kill him with a 
knife or sword, for Isaac was delivered from the same; 
neither canst thou drown him, for Moses and the people of 
Israel walked safely through the sea. Fire will not bum 

him, for with Chananyah and his comrades it failed; wild 
beasts will not tear him, for Daniel was rescued from the 

lions' fangs; neither will a dimgeon contain him, for Joseph 
walked to honor through a prison's gates. Even if we de¬ 
prive him of sight we can not prevail against him, for 

Samson was made blind, and yet destroyed thousands of the 
Philistines. There is but one way left us; we must hang 

him." 

It was in accordance with this advice that Haman built 
the gallows fifty cubits high. After he had erected this 



162 


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dread instrument of death, he sought the presence of Morde- 
cai, to gloat over his coming triumph. He found the Jew 
in the college, with his pupils gathered arormd him. Then- 
loins were girded with sackcloth, and they wept at the words 
which their teacher was addressing to them. 

"To-morrow," said Haman, "1 will first destroy these 
children, and I will then hang Mordecai on the gallows 1 
have prepared." 

He remained in the school and saw the mothers of the 
pupils bring them their meals; but they all refused to eat, 
saying, "By the life of our teacher, Mordecai, we will neither 
eat nor drink; fasting will we die." 

"In that night sleep fled from the King." 

Ahasuerus imagined that Haman was a lover of Esther, 
because he alone, of all the princes, was invited to her ban¬ 
quet. When he slumbered he dreamed that he saw Haman 
with a sword in his hand, attempting his life, and, awaken 
ing in fright, he was unable again to sleep. So he arose and 
called to Shimshi, his scribe, who was a relative of Haman, 
and bade him open the book of the chronicles of events which 
happened during the reigns of the kings of Persia and Media, 
and read to him from the same. The first page at which 
Shimshi opened the book contained the record of Mordecai's 
discovery and disclosure of the treason of Bigthana and 
Theresh, the King's chamberlains. The scribe did not wish 
to read this, and was about turning to another portion, when 
the King saw the action, and commanded him to read from 
the page which was first spread before him. 

"Haman, therefore, said to the King, 'For the man whom 
the King desireth to honor let them bring a royal apparel,'" 
etc. 

When the King heard this advice his suspicions seemed to 
him as facts. "He wishes to put on my royal apparel," 
thought Ahasuerus, "and to place my crown upon his head; 
then he will destroy me and reign in my stead." 

Then said the King to Haman, "Bring from my State 
wardrobe the garment of purple from Ethiopia, the garment 
set with precious stones, to each of the four comers of which 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


163 


a golden chain is attached; bring also the ornaments which 
I wore on the day of my coronation, my hat of Ethiopian 
manufacture, and my royal cloak, embroidered with pearls 
from Africa. Go, then, to my stables, and take from thence 
the best steed which I possess; array Mordecai, the Jew, in 
the garments, and place him upon the horse." 

And Haman answered, "There are many Jews in Shu- 
shan who are called Mordecai; which one is to have the 
honor?" 

"Do all this that thou hast spoken," replied the King, 
"to Mordecai, the Jew, who lives by the King's gates; he 
who hath spoken well to the King and saved his life." 

When Haman heard these words the blood seemed to con¬ 
geal in his heart; his face blanched, his eyes became dim, 
and his mouth as though paralyzed; with great effort he 
said, 

"Oh King, how — how — can I tell which Mordecai thou 
meanest?" 

"I have but just said," returned the King, "he who 
dwells at my gates." 

"But he hates me," exclaimed Haman, "me and my an¬ 
cestors; do not force me to do him this honor, and I will 
pay ten thousand silver talents into thy treasury." 

The King answered, 

"Though I should give that ten thousand talents to 
Mordecai, aye, and give him also thy house to rule over 
it, yet this honor which thou hast spoken shouldst thou 
also do to him." 

"My ten sons shall run before thy chariot," pleaded 
Haman; "they shall be thy slaves, if thou wilt but forego 
this order." 

The King answered, 

"Though thou, and thy wife, and thy ten sons should 
be slaves to Mordecai, yet this honor should be also his." 

But Haman still entreated. 

"Lo, Mordecai is but a common subject of the King, 
appoint him ruler of a city, a province, or a street — let 
that be the honor paid him." 



164 


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And again the King replied: 

"Though 1 should appoint him ruler over all my provinces, 
though 1 should cause him to command all who owe me 
obedience on sea and land, still this honor, too, which thou 
hast spoken, should be done him. Surely he who has spoken 
to the advantage of his King, he who has preserved the life 
of his King, deserves all that should belong to the one whom 
the King most delights to honor." 

"But the letters," continued Haman; "the letters which 
have been sent to all thy provinces, condemning him and his 
people to death." 

"Peace, peace," exclaimed the King; "though they should 
be recalled, Mordecai should still be honored as thou hast 
spoken. Say no more, Haman; as thou hast spoken, do 
quickly; leave out nothing of all that thou hast said." 

When Haman saw that all appeal was useless, he obeyed 
the King's orders with a heavy heart. With the garments 
and the richly caparisoned steed he sought Mordecai, and 
said, "Arise, O Mordecai the righteous, descendant of Abra¬ 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob, arise from thy sackcloth and ashes; 
lo, they have prevailed more than my talents of silver, and 
thy God has bestowed mercy upon thee. Arise, Mordecai, 
throw off thy sackcloth and ashes and don these royal 
garments." 

Then Mordecai answered, "O, wicked Haman! the time 
cometh when thou shalt eat wormwood and drink gall, O 
son of Amalek." 

"Come," returned Haman, "dress and mount the steed; 
the orders of the King must be obeyed." 

Haman anointed Mordecai with sweet perfumes; arrayed 
him in royal robes, and mounted him upon the King's horse, 
according to his words and the commands of Ahasuems. 
Then a procession was formed. Seventeen thousand soldiers 
were detailed as escort and divided into two bodies; one pre¬ 
ceded and the other followed Mordecai, who was thus in the 
center on a horse led by Haman. As they marched through 
the streets of Shushan the soldiers shouted, "Thus shall be 
done to the man whom the King desireth to honor." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


165 


When the Jews beheld this great procession, and Mor- 
decai honored in the midst of it, they followed after, and 
in return to the shouts of the troops they called out loudly, 
"Thus shall be done to the man who serves the King who 
created heaven and earth, and whom he desireth to honor." 
When Esther saw her kinsman thus arrayed, she thanked 
the Lord and praised him. 

"With the Psalmist I may say," she exclaimed, " 'He 

raiseth up out of the dust the poor, from the dimg-hill he 
lifteth up the needy.' (Ps. cxiii. 7.) 'That he may set 
him with princes, even with the princes of his people.'" 

Mordecai also praised the Lord, and said: 

"'Thou hast changed my mourning into dancing for me, 
thou hast loosened my sackcloth and girded me with joy; 
I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast lifted me up, and 
hast not suffered my enemies to rejoice over me.'" (Ps. 

XXX. 12.) 

Four distinct services did Haman render Mordecai. 
First, he was his hairdresser, for he shaved and anointed 
him. Secondly, he was his valet, for he attended him in 
the bath. Thirdly, he was his footman, for he led the horse 
Mordecai rode. Fourthly, he was his trumpeter, for he pro¬ 
claimed before him: "Thus shall be done to the man whom 
the King desireth to honor." 

"And Haman related to Zeresh his wife," etc. 

Haman received but little comfort from his friends. 
"Thou wilt surely fall," said his wife; "for those who 

endeavored to bum Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah in 

the fiery furnace were themselves consumed in the flames; 
take heed, for thou wilt surely fall before this Jew." 

When the servants of the King saw that Haman was losing 
prestige, they too turned against him. Charbonyah told the 
King that Haman had designs against his royal person. 
"If thou believest not me," said the sycophant, "send to his 
house and there wilt thou find a gallows fifty cubits high 
for Mordecai, because he spoke well of thee and saved thy 
life." 

The King said to Mordecai, "Go bring thy enemy Haman 



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and hang him upon the gallows; do to him whatever is 
pleasing to thee." 

Haman appealed to Mordecai and begged to be put to 
death by the sword, but Mordecai harkened not to his words. 

"Who digs a pit for another deserves to fall therein him¬ 
self," said he; "he who rolls a stone against another must 
not complain if it turn back and crush himself." 

The following is the letter sent under the King's seal to 
counteract the decree issued against the Jews: 

"To the noblemen, princes, and inhabitants of all our 
provinces, peace. Our government can not prosper imless 
its people are united; let this find you all living in fraternal 
harmony. Let all the people of our provinces trade to¬ 
gether as one nation; let them have compassion and charity 
toward all nations and creeds, and honor all peaceful king¬ 
doms of the earth. They who would deceive the King by 
evil reports concerning any people in our midst, and en¬ 
deavor to obtain permission to exterminate peaceful, law- 
abiding persons, deserve death, and should meet with it. 
Let such as they perish, and the remainder live in harmony, 
forming a bond of peace never to be broken; aye, of triple 
thickness, that it may never grow weak. Let no insult be 
offered to any people. 

"Esther is pious, worthy, and our Queen, and Mordecai 
is the wisest of his age; he is without fault, he and his people. 
Through the advice of Haman, the son of Hamdatha, was 
our former decree issued, which now is declared null and 
void. And further we decree that the Jews may arise and 
protect themselves, aye, and take vengeance on such as raise 
a bloody hand against them. 

"He who created heaven and earth has put these words 
in our heart and in our mouth, and thus we utter and decree 
them according to the laws of Persia and Media." 



THE TALMUD 


THE GEMARA 
V 

KING SOLOMON, THE WISE 

"Sees! thou a man that is diligent in his work? Before 
kings may he place himself; let him not place himself before 
obscure men."(Prov. xxii. 29.) 

In this verse Solomon alludes to himself. He built the 
holy temple in seven years, while he occupied fourteen years 
in erecting his palace. Not because his palace was more 
elegant or more elaborate in its workmanship than was the 
temple, but because he was diligent in his work to finish 
God's house, while his own house could wait. 

Four cases of comparative righteousness between fathers 
and children may be noted: 

First. A righteous man begets a righteous son. 

Secondly. A wicked man begets a wicked son. 

Thirdly. A wicked man begets a righteous son. 

Fourthly. A righteous man begets a wicked son. 

To each of these cases we may find a Biblical allusion; 
to each of them we may apply a parable and a proverb. 

In reference to the righteous father and the righteous son, 
we find the following verse (Psalm xlv. 17): "Instead of 
thy fathers shall be thy children." And we may apply the par¬ 
able of the good fig-tree which brought forth luscious fmit. 

In reference to the wicked father and the wicked son we 
have in Numbers xxxii. 14: "And now behold, ye are risen 
up in your fathers' stead, a new race of sinful men." 

Ancient is the proverb, "From the wicked proceedeth 
wickedness"; and applicable the parable of the serpent bring¬ 
ing forth an asp. 

In the third case, the wicked father begets a righteous son, 
as it is written, "Instead of the thorn shall come up the 

167 



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fir-tree. "And to this can we apply the parable of the rose 
budding on the bramble-bush. 

Lastly, a righteous man has a wicked son, as it is written, 
"Instead of wheat, thorns come forth." (Job xxi. 40.) 
And we have also the parable of the attractive peach-tree 
which brought forth bitter fruit. 

Solomon was a king, the son of a king; the wise son of 
a wise father; a righteous man's righteous child. All the 
incidents in David's life, all his characteristics, were par¬ 
alleled in the life of Solomon. 

David reigned for forty years, as it is written, "And the 
days that David governed Israel were forty years." 

Of Solomon it is written, "And Solomon reigned in 
Jerusalem over all Israel forty years." David expressed 
himself by "words," as it is written, "And these are the 
last words of David." 

Solomon likewise expressed himself by "words." 

"The words of Koheleth the son of David." (Eccles. 

i.l.) 

David said, "All is vanity"; as it is written, "For 

vanity only do all men make a noise."(Psalm xxxix. 7.) 

Solomon expressed himself with the same word, "vanity." 

"Vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth."(Eccles. i. 2.) 

David wrote books, viz.: the five books of Psalms; and 

Solomon wrote three books: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the 

Song of Solomon. 

David composed songs: "And David spoke unto the Lord 
the words of this song."(Samuel xxii. 1.) 

Solomon also composed a song: "The song of songs, which 
is Solomon's." 

He was the wise king alluded to in Proverbs xvi. 23, 
"The heart of the wise maketh his mouth intelligent, and 
upon his lips increaseth information." Meaning that the 
heart of the wise is full of knowledge and imderstanding; 
but this is shown to the world through the words of his mouth. 
And, by uttering with his lips the thoughts of his mind (or 
heart) he increases the information of the people. If a man 
possessing brilliant diamonds and precious stones keeps his 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


169 


jewels concealed, no one is aware of their value; but if he 
allows them to be seen, their worth becomes known, and the 
pleasure of ownership is enhanced. 

Applying this comparison to the case of Solomon, while 
his wisdom was locked up in his own breast, it was of value 
to no one; but when he had given to the world his three 
books, men became acquainted with his great abilities. 
"The words of his lips increased the information of his peo¬ 
ple," and so great was his reputation that any one in doubt 
concerning the meaning of a Biblical passage sought the 
King for an interpretation. 

Not only in sacred lore did he raise the standard of edu¬ 
cation. He had mastered and taught the sciences of natural 
philosophy, physiology, botany, agriculture, mathematics in 
all its branches, astronomy, chemistry, and in fact all useful 
studies. He also taught rhetoric and the rules of poesy. In 
alliterative and alphabetical versification he was an adept. 

"And in addition to this that Koheleth was wise, he con¬ 
tinually taught the people knowledge." 

If what others said interested the people, how much more 
readily did they listen to Solomon; with how much more 
ease did they comprehend him! 

We may illustrate his method of teaching by the following 
comparison. There was a basket without ears, filled with 
fine fruit, but the owner was unable to get it to his home 
on account of the difficulty in carrying it, imtil a wise man, 
seeing the predicament, attached handles to the basket, when 
it could be carried with great ease. 

So did Solomon remove difficulties from the path of the 
student. 

Rabbi Huna further illustrates this same thing. "There 
was once," he said, "a well of most pure and excellent water; 
but the well was so deep that the people were not able to 
reach the water, imtil a man of wisdom taking a bucket 
attached to it one rope after another until the whole was 
long enough to reach to the water. So was it with Solomon's 
teachings. The Bible is a well of truth, but its teachings 
are too deep for the understanding of some. Solomon, how- 



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ever, introduced parables and proverbs suited to the compre¬ 
hension of all, through which means a knowledge of the law 
became readily obtainable." 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Chalafta, related the following 
parable: "A certain king had an officer to whom he was 
much attached, and whom he took great delight in honoring. 
One day he said to this favorite, 'Come, express a wish, 
anything that 1 can give thee shall be thine.' Then this offi¬ 
cer thought, 'If 1 ask the king for gold or silver or precious 
stones, he will give what 1 ask; even though 1 desire higher 
honor and more exalted station he will grant it, yet 1 will 
ask him for his daughter, for if he grants that, all the rest 
will be included.'" 

When the Lord appeared to Solomon in Gibbon, and said 
to him in a dream, "What shall 1 give to thee?" Solomon 
reflected, "If 1 ask for gold, silver, or jewels, the Lord will 
give them to me; 1 will ask, however, for wisdom; if that 
is granted me, all other good things are included." There¬ 
fore, he replied, "Give to thy servant an understanding 
heart." 

Then saith the Lord, 

"Because thou hast asked for wisdom, and requested not 
wealth or dominion over thy enemies; by thy life, wisdom 
and knowledge shall be thine, and through them thou shalt 
obtain wealth and power." 

"And Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream." He 
wandered into the fields, and he heard the voices of the ani¬ 
mals; the ass brayed, the lion roared, the dog barked, the 
rooster crowed, and behold he imderstood what they said, 
one to the other. 

An ox, even after being killed and dressed, may be made 
to stand, provided the sinews are uncut, but if they are 
severed, cords are required to hold the body together. While 
Solomon remained free from sin his prayers were granted 
him for his own sake, but when he departed from the 
righteous way, the Lord said to him, "For the sake of David, 
my servant, 1 will not take the kingdom from thee in thy 
lifetime." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


171 


Solomon said, "Vanity of vanities; vanity, even as a 

shadow." A shadow of what nature? The shadow of a 

tower or a tree remains the shadow for awhile, and then is 
lost, but the shadow of a bird flieth away, and there is neither 
bird nor shadow. David said, "Our days are as a passing 
shadow," and Rabbi Huna said, "Our days pass quickly 
from us, even as the shadow of a flying bird." 

With the word "vanity," Solomon expresses seven stages of 
a man's life. 

The infant he compares to a king; riding in his little 

coach, and being kissed, admired, and praised by all. The 

child of three or four years he compares to a pig; fond of the 
dirt and soiling itself with its food. The child of ten is 
fond of dress; the youth adorns himself and seeks a wife; 
the married man is bold as the dog in seeking a livelihood 
for himself and family; and the old man he likens to an ape. 

"God gave wisdom to Solomon." 

When Solomon was about building the temple, he applied 
to the King of Egypt for men to aid him in the work. Pha¬ 
raoh, consulting his astrologers, selected those men who were 
to die within the year. When they arrived at Jerusalem 
the wise King sent them back at once. With each man he 
sent a shroud, and directed them to say to their master, "If 
Egypt is too poor to supply shrouds for her dead, and for 
that purpose sends them to me, behold here they are, the men 
and the shrouds together; take them and bury thy dead." 

He was wiser than all other men, wiser even than Adam, 
who gave names to all the animals of the world, and even to 
himself, saying, "From the dust of the ground I was formed, 
and therefore shall my name be Adam." Rabbi Tanchum 
said, "Where is thy wisdom and thy understanding, O King 
Solomon? Thy words not only contradict themselves, but 
also the words of David, thy father. He said, 'Not the dead 
can praise the Lord' (Psalm cxv. 17), and thou didst say, 
'Thereupon praised I the dead that are already dead, more 
than the living who are still alive.' (Eccles. iv. 2.) And 
thou didst also say, 'For a living dog fareth better than a 
dead lion.' "(Eccles. ix. 4.) 



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These seeming contradictions, however, may be readily ex¬ 
plained. David said, "Not the dead can praise the Lord," 
meaning that we should study God's law during life, as after 
its cessation 'twould be impossible. Solomon said, "There¬ 
upon praised I the dead that are already dead." When the 
children of Israel sinned in the wilderness, Moses prayed 
for them for their own sakes, and his prayer was un¬ 
answered; but when he said, "Remember Abraham, and 
Isaac, and Israel, thy servants," he met with a prompt 
reply. Therefore did not Solomon speak well in saying, 
"Praise the dead that are already dead"? Take another in¬ 
stance. A king may decree laws, but many of his subjects 
may disregard them. Sometimes these laws, even if ear¬ 
nestly observed during the life of the one who made them, may 
be repealed or become obsolete after his death. Moses, how¬ 
ever, made many stringent laws, which have been observed 
through all generations. Therefore, Solomon said well, 
"Thereupon will I praise the dead." 

Rabbi Judah, in the name of Rah, further explained this 
verse. He said, "What is the meaning of the following 

passage? 'Show me a token for good, that they who hate 
me may see it and be ashamed.' (Psalm Ixxvi. 17.) David 
said to God, after his sin with Bathsheba (Samuel ii.), 

'Sovereign of the universe, pardon me for my sin.' The 

Lord answered, '1 will pardon thee.' Then said David, 

'Show me the token in my lifetime,' but God said, 'Not in 
thy lifetime, but in the lifetime of Solomon, thy son, will 

I show it.' Thus, when Solomon dedicated the temple, 

though he prayed with fervent devotion, he was not answered 
until he said, 'O Lord God, turn not away from the face of 
thy anointed. Remember the pious deeds of David, thy 
servant.' (2 Chron. vi. 42.) Then he was speedily an¬ 

swered, for in the next verse we read, 'And when Solomon 
had made an end of praying, a fire came down from heaven 
and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the 
glory of the Lord filled the house.' Then were the enemies 
of David put to shame, for all Israel knew that God had 

pardoned David for his sin. Did not Solomon say well then. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


173 


Thereupon praised I the dead'? For this reason, further 
on in the chapter we read, 'And on the three-and-twentieth 
day of the seventh month he dismissed the people unto their 
tents, joyful and glad of heart, because of the good that the 
Lord had done for David, and for Solomon, and for Israel, 
his people.'" 

Solomon said, "For a living dog fareth better than a dead 
lion." 

Expoimding this verse. Rabbi Judah said, in the name of 

Rah, "What is the meaning of the verse, 'Let me know, O 

Lord, my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; I 
wish to know when I shall cease to be'? (Psalm xxxix. 5.) 

"David said to God, 'Let me know, O Lord, my end.' 
God answered, 'I have decreed that for each one his end 

must be veiled in the future.' Then David said, 'What is 

the measure of my days? 'Again God replied, 'No man 
may know the measure of his days.' 'I wish to know when 
I shall cease to be,' continued David, and God answered, 
'Thou wilt die on a Sabbath.' 

" 'Let me die the day after,' entreated David, but the 

Lord answered, 'No; then the kingdom will be Solomon's, 
and one reign may not take away from another reign even 
so much as a hair's breadth.' 'Then let me die the day 

before,' exclaimed David, 'for a day in thy courts is better 

than a thousand elsewhere,' and God said, 'One day spent 
by thee in studying my law is more acceptable than the 
thousand burnt offerings thy son Solomon will sacrifice.' 

"It was David's custom to pass every Sabbath in the 

study of the Bible and its precepts, and he was thus engaged 
upon the Sabbath which was to be his last. Back of the 
King's palace there was an orchard, and David, hearing a 
noise therein, walked thither to ascertain its cause. On 
entering the orchard he fell to the ground, dead. 

"The noise in the orchard had been caused by the barking 
of the King's dogs, who had not that day received their food. 
Solomon sent a message to the Rabinical College, saying, 
'My father lies dead in his orchard; is it allowable to remove 
his body on the Sabbath? The dogs of my father are en- 



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treating for their food; is it proper to cut meat for them to¬ 
day? 'This answer was returned by the college: 'Thy 
father's body should not be removed to-day, but give meat 
to the dogs.' Therefore said Solomon, 'A living dog fareth 
better than a dead lion,' justly comparing the son of Jesse 
to that king of beasts." 

Solomon was the chosen of the Lord, who called him, 
through the mouth of Nathan, the prophet, Yedidiah (the 
beloved one). He was called Solomon (peace), because in 
his days peace reigned, as it is written, "And Judah and 

Israel dwelt in safety." (Kings v. 5.) He was called Ithiel 

(God with me) because God was his support. 

And when Solomon sat upon the throne of his father 
David, all the nations of the earth feared him; all the people 
of the earth listened anxiously for his words of wisdom. 

Afterward he had a throne made especially for himself 
by Hiram, the son of a widow of Tyre. It was covered with 
gold of Ophir, set with all kinds of precious and valuable 
stones. The seat of the throne was approached by six broad 
steps. The right side of the first step was guarded by an 

ox made of pure gold, and the left side by a lion of the same 
metal. On the right of the second step stood a bear also of 
gold, and upon the left a lamb, symbolical of enemies dwell¬ 
ing in peace together. On the right of the third step was 
placed a golden camel, and on the left an eagle. On the 

right of the fourth step there was also an eagle with out¬ 
spread wings, and on the left a bird of prey, all of the same 
precious metal. On the fifth step to the right a golden cat 
crouching in position; on the left a chicken. On the right 
of the sixth step a hawk was fashioned, and on the left side 
a pigeon, and upon the top of the step a pigeon clutched a 
hawk in her talons. These animals were designed to typify 
the time when those of adverse natures shall unite in har¬ 
mony, as it is written in Isaiah (xi. 6), "And the wolf shall 
then dwell with the sheep." 

Over the throne was hung a chandelier of gold with seven 
branches; it was ornamented with roses, knobs, bowls, and 
tongs; and on the seven branches the names of the seven pa- 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


175 


triarchs, Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and 
Job, were engraved. 

On the second row of the branches of the chandelier were 
engraved the names of the seven pious ones of the world, 
Levi, Kehath, Amram, Moses, Aaron, Eldad, and Madad. 
Above all this hung a golden chum filled with pure olive-oil, 
and on this were engraved the names of Eli, the high priest, 
and his two sons, Hophni and Phineas, and on the other 
side, the names of the two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu. 

On the right hand of the throne two chairs were placed, 
one for the high priest, and the other for the vice-high priest, 
and upon the left side, from the top to the ground, seventy- 
one chairs were stationed as seats for the members of the 
Sanhedrim. 

The throne was made upon wheels, that it could be moved 
easily wherever the King might desire it to be. 

The Lord gave Solomon the power of understanding the 
nature and properties of the herbs of the field and the trees 
of the forest, as it is written, "And he spoke concerning 
the trees, from the cedar-tree that is upon the Lebanon even 
unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall. He spoke 
also concerning the beasts, and concerning the fowls, and con¬ 
cerning the creeping things, and concerning the fishes." (1 
Kings V. 13.) 

It is said that Solomon mled the whole world, and this 
verse is quoted as proof of the assertion, "And Solomon was 
mling over all the kingdoms, which brought presents, and 
served Solomon all the days of his life."(l Kings v. 1.) 

All the kingdoms congratulated Solomon as the worthy 
successor of his father, David, whose fame was great among 
the nations; all save one, the kingdom of Sheba, the capital 
of which was called Kitore. 

To this kingdom Solomon sent a letter: 

"From me. King Solomon, peace to thee and to thy gov¬ 
ernment. Let it be known to thee that the Almighty God 
has made me to reign over the whole world, the kingdoms of 
the North, the South, the East, and the West. Lo, they have 
come to me with their congratulations, all save thee alone. 



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"Come thou also, 1 pray thee, and submit to my author¬ 
ity, and much honor shall he done thee; but if thou refusest, 
behold, 1 shall by force compel thy acknowledgment. 

"To thee. Queen Sheba, is addressed this letter in peace 
from me. King Solomon, the son of David." 

Now when Queen Sheba received this letter, she sent in 
haste for her elders and counselors to ask their advice as to 
the nature of her reply. 

They spoke but lightly of the message and the one who 
sent it, but the Queen did not regard their words. She sent 
a vessel, carrying many presents of different metals, min¬ 
erals, and precious stones, to Solomon. It was after a voy¬ 
age of two years' time that these presents arrived at Jeru¬ 
salem, and in a letter entrusted to the captain the Queen 
said, "After thou hast received the message then 1 myself 
will come to thee." And in two years after this time Queen 
Sheba arrived at Jerusalem. 

When Solomon heard that the Queen was coming he sent 
Benayahu, the son of Yehoyadah, the general of his army, 
to meet her. When the Queen saw him she thought he was 
the King, and she alighted from the carriage. 

Then Benayahu asked, "Why alightest thou from thy 
carriage?" And she answered, "Art thou not his Majesty, 

the King?" 

"No," replied Benayahu, "1 am but one of his officers." 

Then the Queen turned back and said to her ladies in 
attendance, "If this is but one of the officers, and he is so 
noble and imposing in appearance, how great must be his 

superior, the King." 

And Benayahu, the son of Yehoyadah, conducted Queen 
Sheba to the palace of the King. 

Solomon prepared to receive his visitor in an apartment 

laid and lined with glass, and the Queen at first was so 

deceived by the appearance that she imagined the King to 
be sitting in water. 

And when the Queen had tested Solomon's wisdom, and 
witnessed his magnificence, she said, 

"1 believed not what 1 heard, but now 1 have come, and 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


177 


my eyes have seen it all; behold, the half has not been told 
to me. Happy are thy servants who stand before thee con¬ 
tinually to listen to thy words of wisdom. Blessed be the 
Lord thy God, who hath placed thee on a throne to rule 
righteously and injustice." 

When other kingdoms heard the words of the Queen of 
Sheba they feared Solomon exceedingly, and he became 
greater than all the other kings of the earth in wisdom and 
in wealth. 

Solomon was bom in the year 2912 A. M., and reigned 
over Israel forty years. Four hundred and thirty-three 
years elapsed between the date of Solomon's reign and that 
of the temple's destmction. 




THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 

(OR,TALES AND TRADITIONS OF THE TALMUD) 


"The Law may be likened to two roads, one of fire, the other 
of snow. To follow the one is to perish by the fire; to follow 
the other is to die of the cold. The middle path alone is safe." 

— TALMUD. 

"If you desire to find the greatness of the Creator, study the 
Haggada ." 


— JEWISH PROVERB. 




THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 

(INTRODUCTION) 

F eeling that the reader will have sufficiently realized 
the voluminous style of the Gemara, we turn here to 
give him the heart of many of its wandering discussions. 
We have spoken already of the characteristic division of the 
whole Talmud into Haggada and Halacha, or that which 
may be believed and that which must be. The etymological 
meaning of Haggada is "opinion"; of Halacha, "the rule 
by which to walk." Hence the present section, being de¬ 
voted to the Haggada, contains the less solemnly formal 
matter. Most of this was kept shut from the mass of the 
Jews by being written in the ancient Hebrew, which they 
could no longer read. Sometimes the Haggada gives us a 
fairly long and finished tale, completed all at once. More 
often we find isolated statements referring to some bit of 
former history as being well known. By culling these from 
many sections of the Talmud, piecing together a thousand 
of its scattered sentences, we can rebuild much of its history 
and tradition. 

It should be remembered that as regards the spirit in 
which these tales are to be accepted there is much variance 
of opinion even among the Hebrews themselves. One 
teacher assures us that every statement dealing with Biblical 
personages presents plain facts, which are to be believed as 
absolutely as those in the Bible itself. Some extremists even 
insist on every tale of eveiy sort being thus accepted. 
Others recognize the bulk of the tales as mere parables in¬ 
tended to illustrate a truth, and will tell you that even the 



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comments on Biblical figures, while representing established 
Hebrew traditions and therefore reliable as history, do not 
demand implicit belief on the ground of having been divinely 
revealed. Only the books of the Bible, say they, are of such 
direct revelation from God that to question them is sin. 

Thus the reader is free to revel among the Haggada with 
unrestricted freedom, enjoying them merely as human 
glimpses of the past. They form what, to most non-Hebraic 
readers, will be the most interesting portion of the Talmud. 



THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 

(LEGENDS AND PARABLES) 

THE DESERT ISLAND 

A very wealthy man, who was of a kind, benevolent dis¬ 
position, desired to make his slave happy. He gave him, 
therefore, his freedom, and presented him with a shipload 
of merchandise. 

"Go," said he, "sail to different countries, dispose of 
these goods, and that which thou mayest receive for them 
shall be thine own." 

The slave sailed away upon the broad ocean, but before 
he had been long on his voyage a storm overtook him; his 
ship was driven on a rock and went to pieces; all on board 
were lost, all save this slave, who swam to an island shore 
near by. Sad, despondent, with naught in the world, he 
traversed this island, until he approached a large and beau¬ 
tiful city; and many people approached him, joyously shout¬ 
ing, "Welcome! welcome! Long live the king! "They 
brought a rich carriage, and placing him therein, escorted 
him to a magnificent palace, where many servants gathered 
about him, clothing him in royal garments, addressing him 
as their sovereign, and expressing their obedience to his will. 

The slave was amazed and dazzled, believing that he was 
dreaming, and that all that he saw, heard, and experienced 
was mere passing fantasy. Becoming convinced of the real¬ 
ity of his condition, he said to some men about him for whom 
he experienced a friendly feeling, 

"How is this? I can not understand it. That you 
should thus elevate and honor a man whom you know not, 
a poor, naked wanderer, whom you have never seen before, 
making him your ruler, causes me more wonder than I can 
readily express." 


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"Sire," they replied, "this island is inhabited by spirits. 
Long since they prayed to God to send them yearly a son of 
man to reign over them, and he has answered their prayers. 
Yearly he sends them a son of man, whom they receive with 
honor and elevate to the throne; but his dignity and power 
end with the year. With its close his royal garments are 
taken from him, he is placed on board a ship and carried to 
a vast and desolate island, where, imless he has previously 
been wise and prepared for this day, he will find neither 
friend nor subject, and be obliged to pass a weary, lonely, 
miserable life. Then a new king is selected here, and so 
year follows year. The kings who preceded thee were care¬ 
less and indifferent, enjoying their power to the full, and 
thinking not of the day when it should end. Be wiser thou; 
let our words find rest within thy heart." 

The newly made king listened attentively to all this, and 
felt grieved that he should have lost even the time he had 
already missed for making preparations for his loss of 

power. 

He addressed the wise man who had spoken, saying, "Ad¬ 
vise me, O spirit of wisdom, how 1 may prepare for the days 
which will come upon me in the future." 

"Naked thou earnest to us and naked thou wilt be sent to 
the desolate island of which 1 have told thee," replied the 
other. "At present thou art king, and may do as pleaseth 

thee; therefore send workmen to this island; let them build 
houses, till the ground, and beautify the surroimdings. The 

barren soil will be changed into fruitful fields, people will 

journey there to live, and thou wilt have established a new 
kingdom for thyself, with subjects to welcome thee in glad¬ 
ness when thou shalt have lost thy power here. The year is 
short, the work is long; therefore be earnest and energetic." 

The king followed this advice. He sent workmen and 
materials to the desolate island, and before the close of his 
temporary power it had become a blooming, pleasant, and 
attractive spot. The rulers who had preceded him had antic¬ 
ipated the day of their power's close with dread, or smoth¬ 
ered all thought of it in revelry; but he looked forward to it 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


185 


as a day of joy, when he should enter upon a career of per¬ 
manent peace and happiness. 

The day came; the freed slave, who had been made king, 
was deprived of his authority; with his power he lost his 
royal garments; naked he was placed upon a ship, and its 
sails set for the desolate isle. 

When he approached its shores, however, the people whom 
he had sent there came to meet him with music, song, and 
great joy. They made him a prince among them, and he 
lived with them ever after in pleasantness and peace. 

The wealthy man of kindly disposition is God, and the 
slave to whom he gave freedom is the soul which he gives 
to man. The island at which the slave arrives is the world; 
naked and weeping he appears to his parents, who are the 
inhabitants that greet him warmly and make him their king. 
The friends who tell him of the ways of the country are his 
"good inclinations." The year of his reign is his span of 
life, and the desolate island is the future world, which he 
must beautify by good deeds, "the workmen and material," 
or else live lonely and desolate forever. 

THE EMPEROR AND THE AGED MAN 

The Emperor Adrian, passing through the streets of Ti¬ 
berias, noticed a very old man planting a fig-tree, and paus¬ 
ing, said to him, 

"Wherefore plant that tree? If thou didst labor in thy 
youth, thou shouldst now have a store for thy old age, 
and surely of the fmit of this tree thou canst not hope to 
eat." 

The old man answered, 

"In my youth I worked, and I still work. With God's good 
pleasure I may e'en partake of the fruit of this tree I plant. 

I am in his hands." 

"Tell me thy age," said the Emperor. 

"I have lived for a hundred years." 

"A hrmdred years old, and still expect to eat from the 
fhiit of this tree?" 

"If such be God's pleasure," replied the old man; "if 





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not, I will leave it for my son, as my father left the fhiit of 
his labor for me." 

"Well," said the Emperor, "if thou dost live until 
the figs from this tree are ripe, I pray thee let me know 
of it." 

The aged man lived to partake of that very fruit, and 
remembering the Emperor's words, he resolved to visit him. 
So taking a small basket, he filled it with the choicest figs 
from the tree, and proceeded on his errand. Telling the 
palace-guard his purpose, he was admitted to the sovereign's 
presence. 

"Well," asked the Emperor, "what is thy wish?" 

The old man replied, 

"Lo, 1 am the old man to whom thou didst say, on the 
day thou sawest him planting a fig-tree, 'If thou livest to eat 
of its fiuit, 1 pray thee let me know'; and behold I have 
come and brought thee of the fruit, that thou mayest partake 
of it likewise." 

The Emperor was very much pleased, and emptying the 
man's basket of its figs, he ordered it to be filled with gold 
coins. 

When the old man had departed, the courtiers said to the 
Emperor, 

"Why didst thou so honor this old Jew?" 

"The Lord hath honored him, and why not 1?" replied 

the Emperor. 

Now, next door to this old man there lived a woman, who, 
when she heard of her neighbor's good fortune, desired her 
husband to try his luck in the same quarter. She filled for 
him an immense basket with figs, and bidding him put it on 
his shoulder said, "Now carry it to the Emperor; he loves 
figs and will fill thy basket with golden coin." 

When her husband approached the gates of the palace, 

he told his errand to the guards, saying, "1 brought these 
figs to the Emperor; empty my basket I pray, fill it up 
again with gold." 

When this was told to the Emperor he ordered the old man 

to stand in the hallway of the palace, and all who passed 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


187 


pelted him with his figs.He returned home wounded and 
crestfallen to his disappointed wife. 

"Never mind, thou hast one consolation," said she; "had 
they been cocoanuts instead of figs thou mightest have suf¬ 
fered harder raps." 


PROVING A CLAIM 

A citizen of Jerusalem traveling through the coimtry was 
taken very sick at an inn. Feeling that he would not re¬ 
cover, he sent for the landlord and said to him, "I am going 
the way of all flesh. If after my death any party should 
come from Jerusalem and claim my effects, do not deliver 
them imtil he shall prove to thee by three wise acts that he 
is entitled to them; for I charged my son before starting upon 
my way, that if death befell me he would be obliged to prove 
his wisdom before obtaining my possessions." 

The man died and was buried according to Jewish rites, 
and his death was made public that his heirs might appear. 
When his son learned of his father's decease, he started from 
Jerusalem for the place where he had died. Near the gates 
of the city he met a man who had a load of wood for sale. 
This he purchased and ordered it to be delivered at the inn 
toward which he was traveling. The man from whom he 
bought it went at once to the inn and said, "Here is the 
wood." 

"What wood?" returned the proprietor, "I ordered no 
wood." 

"No," answered the woodcutter, "but the man who fol¬ 
lows me, did; I will enter and wait for him." 

Thus the son had provided for himself a welcome when he 
should reach the inn, which was his first wise act. 

The landlord said to him, "Who art thou?" 

"The son of the merchant who died in thy house," he 
replied. 

They prepared for him a dinner and placed upon the 
table five pigeons and a chicken. The master of the house, 
his wife, two sons and two daughters sat with him at the 
table. 



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"Serve the food," said the landlord. 

"Nay," answered the young man; "thou art master, it 
is thy privilege." 

"1 desire thee to do this thing; thou art my guest, the 
merchant's son; pray help the food." 

The young man thus entreated, divided one pigeon be¬ 
tween the two sons, another between the two daughters, gave 
the third to the man and his wife, and kept the other two 
for himself. This was his second wise act. 

The landlord looked somewhat perplexed at this mode of 
distribution, but said nothing. 

Then the merchant's son divided the chicken. He gave 
to the landlord and his wife the head, to the two sons the 
legs, to the two daughters the wings, and took the body for 
himself. This was his third wise act. 

The landlord said, 

"Is this the way they do things in thy country? 1 noticed 
the manner in which thou didst apportion the pigeons, but 
said nothing; but the chicken, my dear sir! 1 must really 
ask thee thy meaning." 

Then the young man answered, 

"1 told thee that it was not my place to serve the food, 
nevertheless when thou didst insist 1 did the best 1 could, 
and 1 think 1 have succeeded. Thyself, thy wife, and one 
pigeon make three; thy two sons and one pigeon make three; 
thy two daughters and one pigeon make three, and myself 
and two pigeons make three also, therefore is it fairly 
done. 

"As regards the chicken, 1 gave to thee and thy wife the 
head, because ye are the heads of the family; 1 gave to each 
of thy sons a leg, because they are the pillars of the family, 
preserving always the family name; 1 gave to each of thy 
daughters a wing, because in the natural course of events they 
will marry, take wing and fly away from the home-nest. 1 
took the body of the chicken because it looks like a ship, and 
in a ship 1 came here and in a ship 1 hope to return. 1 am 
the son of the merchant who died in thy house, give me the 
property of my dead father." 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


189 


"Take it and go," said the landlord. And giving him 
his father's possessions the young man departed in peace. 

A PAYMENT WITH INTEREST 

A certain man, a native of Athina (a city near Jeru¬ 
salem), visited the city of Jerusalem and, after leaving it, 
ridiculed the place and its inhabitants. The Jemsalemites 
were very wroth at being made the subjects of his sport, and 
they persuaded one of their citizens to travel to Athina, to 
induce the man to return to Jerusalem, which would give 
them an opportunity to punish his insolence. 

The citizen thus commissioned reached Athina, and very 
shortly fell in with the man whom he had come to meet. 
Walking through the streets together one day, the man from 
Jerusalem said, "See, the string of my shoe is broken; take 
me, I pray, to the shoemaker." 

The shoemaker repaired the string, and the man paid him 
a coin, more in value than the worth of the shoes. 

Next day, when walking with the same man, he broke the 
string of his other shoe, and going to the shoemaker, he paid 
him the same large sum for repairing that. 

"Why," said the man of Athina, "shoes must be very 
dear in Jerusalem, when thou payest such a price but for 
repairing a string." 

"Yes," answered the other, "they bring nine ducats, and 
even in the cheapest times from seven to eight." 

"Then it would be a profitable employment for me to 
take shoes from my city and sell them in thine." 

"Yes, indeed; and if thou wilt but let me know of thy 
coming I will put thee in the way of customers." 

So the man of Athina, who had made merry over the 
Jerusalemites, bought a large stock of shoes and set out for 
Jerusalem, informing his friend of his coming. The latter 
started to meet him, and greeting him before he came to the 
gates of the city, said to him, 

"Before a stranger may enter and sell goods in Jerusalem, 
he must shave his head and blacken his face. Art thou 
ready to do this?" 



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"And why not," replied the other, "as long as I have a 
prospect of large profits; why should I falter or hesitate at 
so slight a thing as that?" 

So the stranger, shaving the hair from his head, and black¬ 
ening his face (by which all Jerusalem knew him as the man 
who had ridiculed the city), took up his place in the market, 
with his wares spread before him. 

Buyers paused before his stall, and asked him, 

"How much for the shoes?" 

"Ten ducats a pair," he answered; "or 1 may sell for 
nine; but certainly for not less than eight." 

This caused a great laugh and uproar in the market, and 
the stranger was driven from it in derision and his shoes 
thrown after him. 

Seeking the Jerusalemite who had deceived him, he said, 

"Why hast thou so treated me? did I so to thee in 
Athina?" 

"Let this be a lesson to thee," answered the Jerusalemite. 
"1 do not think thou wilt be so ready to make sport of us in 
the future." 


THE WEASEL AND THE WELL 

A young man, upon his journeys through the country, fell 
in with a yoimg woman, and they became mutually attached. 
When the young man was obliged to leave the neighborhood 
of the damsel's residence, they met to say "good-bye." Dur¬ 
ing the parting they pledged a mutual faith, and each prom¬ 
ised to wait until, in the course of time, they might be able 
to marry. "Who will be the witness of our betrothal?" 
said the young man. Just then they saw a weasel run past 
them and disappear in the woods. "See," he continued, 
"this weasel and this well of water by which we are standing 
shall be the witnesses of our betrothal"; and so they parted. 
Years passed, the maiden remained true, but the youth mar¬ 
ried. A son was bom to him, and grew up the delight of 
his parents. One day while the child was playing he became 
tired, and lying upon the ground fell asleep. A weasel bit 
him in the neck, and he bled to death. The parents were 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


191 


consumed with grief by this calamity, and it was not nntil 
another son was given them that they forgot their sorrow, 
But when this second child was able to walk alone it wan¬ 
dered without the house, and bending over the well, looking 
at its shadow in the water, lost its balance and was drowned. 
Then the father recollected his perjured vow, and his wit¬ 
nesses, the weasel and the well. He told his wife of the cir¬ 
cumstance, and she agreed to a divorce. He then sought 
the maiden to whom he had promised marriage, and found 
her still awaiting his return. He told her how, through 
God's agency, he had been punished for his wrong-doing, 
after which they married and lived in peace. 

THE LAWFUL HEIR 

A wise Israelite, dwelling some distance from Jemsalem, 
sent his son to the Holy City to complete his education. 
During his son's absence the father was taken ill, and feel¬ 
ing that death was upon him, he made a will, leaving all his 
property to one of his slaves, on condition that he should 
allow the son to select any one article which pleased him for 
an inheritance. 

As soon as his master died, the slave, elated with his good 
fortune, hastened to Jerusalem, informed his late master's 
son of what had taken place, and showed him the will. 

The yoimg man was surprised and grieved at the intelli¬ 
gence, and after the allotted time of mourning had expired, 
he began seriously to consider his situation. He went to 
his teacher, explained the circumstances to him, read him 
his father's will, and expressed himself bitterly on account 
of the disappointment of his reasonable hopes and expecta¬ 
tions. He could think of nothing that he had done to offend 
his father, and was loud in his complaints of injustice. 

"Stop," said his teacher; "thy father was a man of 
wisdom and a loving relative. This will is a living monu¬ 
ment to his good sense and far-sightedness. May his son 
prove as wise in his day." 

"What!" exclaimed the yoimg man. "I see no wisdom 



192 THE SACRED BOOKS 

in his bestowal of his property upon a slave; no affection in 
this slight upon his only son." 

"Listen," returned the teacher. "By his action thy 

father hath but secured thy inheritance to thee, if thou art 

wise enough to avail thyself of his understanding. Thus 
thought he when he felt the hand of death approaching, 'My 
son is away; when I am dead he will not be here to take 
charge of my affairs; my slaves will plunder my estate, and 
to gain time will even conceal my death from my son, and 
deprive me of the sweet savor of mourning.' To prevent 

these things he bequeathed his property to his slave, well 

knowing that the slave, believing in his apparent right, would 
give thee speedy information and take care of the effects, 
even as he has done." 

"Well, well, and how does this benefit me?" impatiently 
interrupted the pupil. 

"Ah!" replied the teacher, "wisdom, I see, rests not with 
the young. Doth thou not know that what a slave possesses 
belongs but to his master? Has not thy father left thee 
the right to select one article of all his property for thy own? 
Choose the slave as thy portion, and by possessing him thou 
wilt recover all that was thy father's. Such was his wise 
and loving intention." 

The yoimg man did as he was advised, and gave the slave 
his freedom afterward. But ever after he was wont to 
exclaim, 

"Wisdom resides with the aged, and imderstanding in 
length of days." 

NOTHING IN THE WORLD WITHOUT ITS USE 

David, King of Israel, was once lying upon his couch and 
many thoughts were passing through his mind. 

"Of what use in this world is the spider?" thought he; 
"it but increases the dust and dirt of the world, making 
places unsightly and causing great annoyance." 

Then he thought of an insane man: 

"How unfortunate is such a being. I know that all 
things are ordained by God with reason and purpose, yet this 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 193 

is beyond my comprehension; why should men be bom idiots, 
or grow insane?" 

Then the mosquitoes annoyed him, and the King thought, 

"What can the mosquito be good for? why was it created 
in the world? It but disturbs our comfort, and the world 
profits not by its existence." 

Yet King David lived to discover that these very insects, 
and the very condition of life, the being of which he deplored, 
were ordained even to his own benefit. 

When he fled from before Saul, David was captured in 
the land of the Philistines by the brothers of Goliath, who 
carried him before the King of Gath, and it was only by 
pretending idiocy that he escaped death, the King deeming 
it impossible that such a man could be the kingly David; 
as it is written, "And he disguised his reason before then- 
eyes, and played the madman in their hands, and scribbled 
on the doors of the gate and let his spittle mn down upon his 
beard." (Sam. xxi. 12-16.) 

Upon another occasion David hid himself in the cave of 
Adullam, and after he had entered the cave it chanced that 
a spider spun a web over the opening thereto. His pursuers 
passed that way, but thinking that no one could have entered 
the cave protected by the spider's web without destroying it, 
they continued on their way. 

The mosquito also was of service to David when he entered 
the camp of Saul to secure the latter's weapon. While stoop¬ 
ing near Abner, the sleeping man moved and placed his leg 
upon David's body. If he moved, he would awake Abner 
and meet with death, if he remained in that position morning 
would dawn and bring him death; he knew not what to do, 
when a mosquito alighted upon Abner's leg; he moved it 
quickly, and David escaped. 

Therefore sang David, 

"All my bones shall say, O Lord, who is like unto thee?" 

THE REWARD OF FAITH 


The Israelites were commanded to visit Jerusalem on 
three festivals. It happened upon one occasion that there 



194 


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was a scarcity of water in the city. One of the people called 
upon a certain nobleman who was the owner of three wells, 
and asked him for the use of the water which they con¬ 
tained, promising that they should be refilled by a stated 
date, and contracting in default of this to pay a certain large 
amount in silver as forfeit. The day came, there had been 
no rain, and the three wells were dry. In the morning the 
owner of the wells sent for the promised money. Nakdemon, 
the son of Gurion, the man who had imdertaken this burden 
for his people's sake, replied, "The day is but begun; there 
is yet time." 

He entered the temple and prayed that God might send 
rain and save him all his fortune which he had ventured. 
His prayer was answered. The clouds gathered and the rain 
fell. As he passed out of the temple with a grateful heart, 
he was met by his creditor, who said, 

"Tme, the rain has refilled my wells, but it is dark; the 
day has gone, and according to our agreement thou must 
still pay me the promised sum." 

Once more Nakdemon prayed, and lo, the clouds lifted 
and the sinking sim smiled brightly on the spot where the 
men stood, showing that the sunlight of day was still there, 
though the rain-clouds had temporarily obscured its gleams. 

ABTINOSS AND GARMAH 

There was a certain family, the family of Abtinoss, the 
members of which were learned in the art of preparing the 
incense used in the service. Their knowledge they refused 
to impart to others, and the directors of the temple, fearing 
that the art might die with them, discharged them from the 
service and brought other parties from Alexandria, in Egypt, 
to prepare the sweet perfume. These latter were unable to 
afford satisfaction, however, and the directors were obliged 
to give the service back into the hands of the family of Abti¬ 
noss, who on their part refused to accept it again, unless the 
remuneration for their services was doubled. When asked 
why they so persistently refused to impart their skill to 
others, they replied that they feared they might teach some 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


195 


unworthy persons, who would afterward use their knowledge 
in an idolatrous worship. The members of this family were 
very particular not to use perfume of any kind themselves, 
lest the people should imagine that they put the sweet spices 
used in the manufacture of the incense to a baser use. 

An exactly similar case to the above occurred with the 
family of Garmah, which had the monopoly of the knowledge 
of preparing the showbread used in the services of the temple. 

It was in reference to these cases, that the son of Azai 
said, "In thy name they shall call thee, and in thy city they 
shall cause thee to live, and from thy own they will give 
thee," meaning that trustful persons should not fear that 
others might steal their occupations; "for in thy name they 
will call thee," as with the families of Abtinoss and Garmah; 
"and from thy own they will give thee," meaning that what 
a man earns is his own, and can not be taken away. 

TRUST IN GOD 

Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Levi, fasted and prayed to the 
Lord that he might be permitted to gaze on the angel Elijah, 
he who had ascended alive to heaven. God granted his 
prayer, and in the semblance of a man Elijah appeared be¬ 
fore him. 

"Let me journey with thee in thy travels through the 
world," prayed the Rabbi to Elijah; "let me observe thy 
doings, and gain in wisdom and imderstanding." 

"Nay," answered Elijah; "my actions thou couldst not 
imderstand; my doings would trouble thee, being beyond 
thy comprehension." 

But still the Rabbi entreated. 

"I will neither trouble nor question thee," he said; "only 
let me accompany thee on thy way." 

"Come, then," said Elijah; "but let thy tongue be mute. 
With thy first question, thy first expression of astonishment, 
we must part company." 

So the two journeyed through the world together. They 
approached the house of a poor man, whose only treasure and 
means of support was a cow. As they came near, the man 



196 


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and his wife hastened to meet them, begged them to enter 
their cot, and eat and drink of the best they could afford, and 
to pass the night under their roof This they did, receiving 
every attention from their poor but hospitable host and 
hostess. In the morning Elijah rose up early and prayed 
to God, and when he had finished his prayer, behold the cow 
belonging to the poor people dropped dead. Then the trav¬ 
elers continued on their journey. 

Much was Rabbi Jochanan perplexed. "Not only did 
we neglect to pay them for their hospitality and generous 
services, but their cow we have killed"; and he said to 

Elijah, "Why didst thou kill the cow of this good man, 

who —" 

"Peace," interrupted Elijah; "hear, see, and be silent! 
If 1 answer thy questions we must part." 

And they continued on their way together. 

Toward evening they arrived at a large and imposing man¬ 
sion, the residence of a haughty and wealthy man. They 

were coldly received; a piece of bread and a glass of water 
were placed before them, but the master of the house did 

not welcome or speak to them, and they remained there dur¬ 
ing the night unnoticed. In the morning Elijah remarked 
that a wall of the house required repairing, and sending for 
a carpenter, he himself paid the money for the repair, as a 
return, he said, for the hospitality they had received. 

Again was Rabbi Jochanan filled with wonder, but he said 
naught, and they proceeded on their journey. 

As the shades of night were falling they entered a city 
which contained a large and imposing synagogue. As it 
was the time of the evening service they entered and were 
much pleased with the rich adornments, the velvet cushions, 
and gilded carvings of the interior. After the completion 
of the service, Elijah arose and called out aloud, "Who is 

here willing to feed and lodge two poor men this night?" 

None answered, and no respect was shown to the traveling 

strangers. In the morning, however, Elijah re-entered the 
synagogue, and shaking its members by the hands, he said, 

"1 hope that you may all become presidents." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


197 


Next evening the two entered another city, when the 
Shamas (sexton) of the synagogue came to meet them, 
and notifying the members of his congregation of the com¬ 
ing of two strangers, the best hotel of the place was opened 
to them, and all vied in showing them attention and 
honor. 

In the morning, on parting with them, Elijah said, "May 
the Lord appoint over you but one president." 

Jochanan could resist his curiosity no longer. "Tell me," 
said he to Elijah, "tell me the meaning of all these actions 
which I have witnessed. To those who have treated us 
coldly thou hast uttered good wishes; to those who have been 
gracious to us thou hast made no suitable return. Even 
though we must part, I pray thee explain to me the meaning 
of thy acts." 

"Listen," said Elijah, "and learn to trust in God, even 
though thou canst not understand his ways. We first en¬ 
tered the house of the poor man, who treated us so kindly. 
Know that it had been decreed that on that very day his wife 
should die. I prayed unto the Lord that the cow might prove a 
redemption for her; God granted my prayers, and the woman 
was preserved unto her husband. The rich man, whom next 
we called up, treated us coldly, and I repaired his wall. I 
repaired it without a new foundation, without digging to 
the old one. Had he repaired it himself he would have dug, 
and thus discovered a treasure which lies there buried, but 
which is now forever lost to him. To the members of the 
synagogue who were inhospitable I said, 'May you all be 
presidents,' and where many rule there can be no peace; 
but to the others I said, 'May you have but one president'; 
with one leader no misunderstanding may arise. Now, if 
thou seest the wicked prospering, be not envious; if thou 
seest the righteous in poverty and trouble, be not provoked 
or doubtful of God's justice. The Lord is righteous, his 
judgments all are true; his eyes note all mankind, and none 
can say, 'What dost thou?'" 

With these words Elijah disappeared, and Jochanan was 
left alone. 



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THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM 

There was once a man who pledged his dearest faith to 
a maiden, beautiful and true. For a time all passed pleas¬ 
antly, and the maiden lived in happiness. But then the man 
was called from her side, he left her; long she waited, but 
he did not return. Friends pitied her and rivals mocked 
her; tauntingly they pointed at her, and said, "He has 

left thee; he will never come back." The maiden sought her 
chamber, and read in secret the letters which her lover had 
written to her, the letters in which he promised to be ever 
faithful, ever true. Weeping she read them, but they 

brought comfort to her heart; she dried her eyes and 

doubted not. 

A joyous day dawned for her; the man she loved returned, 
and when he learned that others had doubted and asked her 
how she had preserved her faith, she showed his letters to 
him, declaring her eternal trust. 

Israel, in misery and captivity, was mocked by the nations; 
her hopes of redemption were made a laughing-stock; her 
sages scoffed at; her holy men derided. Into her syna¬ 
gogues, into her schools went Israel; she read the letters 

which God had written, and believed in the holy promises 
which they contained. 

God will in time redeem her; and when he says: 

"How could you alone be faithful of all the mocking 
nations?" 

She will point to the law and answer, 

"Had not thy law been my delight, 1 should long since 

have perished in my affliction."(Psalm cxix.) 

TRUTH 

When God was about to create man the angels gathered 
about him. Some of them opening their lips exclaimed, 
"Create, O God, a being who shall praise thee from earth 

even as we in heaven sing thy glory." 

But others said, 

"Hear us. Almighty King, create no more! The glorious 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


199 


harmony of the heavens which thou hast sent to earth will 
be by man disturbed, destroyed." 

Then silence fell upon the contesting hosts as the Angel 
of Mercy appeared before the throne of grace on bended 

knees. 

Sweet was the voice which said entreatingly, 

"O Father, create thou man; make him thine own noble 

image. With heavenly pity will 1 fill his heart, with sym¬ 

pathy toward every living thing impress his being; through 
him will they find cause to praise thee." 

Then the Angel of Mercy ceased, and the Angel of Peace 
with tearful eyes spoke thus: 

"O God, create him not! Thy peace he will disturb, the 

flow of blood will surely follow his coming. Confusion, hor¬ 
ror, war, will blot the earth, and thou wilt no longer find 
a pleasant place among thy works on earth." 

Then spoke in stem tones the Angel of Justice, 

"And thou wilt judge him, God; he shall be subject to 
my sway." 

The Angel of Tmth approached, saying, 

"Cease! O God of tmth, with man thou sendest false¬ 
hood to the earth." 

Then all were silent, and out of the deep quietness the 
divine words came, 

"Thou, O Tmth, shalt go to earth with him, and yet 

remain a denizen of heaven; 'twixt heaven and earth to 
float, connecting link between the two." 

THE DESTRUCTION OF BITHAR 

It was customary in Bithar when a child was bom for 

the parents to plant a yormg cedar-tree, to grow up with 
the infant. It happened upon one occasion when the daugh¬ 
ter of the emperor was riding through the city, that her 

chariot broke down, and her attendants pulled up a yoimg 

cedar-tree to use in repairing it. The man who had planted 
the tree, seeing this, attacked the servants and beat them 
severely. This action incensed the emperor, who immediately 
dispatched an army of eighty thousand men against the city. 



200 


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These captured it and killed the inhabitants, men, women, 
and children. The rivers ran red with blood, and 'tis said 
that the ground was rich and prolific to the farmers for 

seven years, from the bodies of those who perished, said 
to be four hundred thousand Israelites. 

THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM 

When the guilt of the Israelites grew too great for the 
forbearance of the Most High, and they refused to listen 
to the words and warnings of Jeremiah, the prophet left 
Jerusalem and traveled to the land of Benjamin. While 

he was in the Holy City, and prayed for mercy on it, it 

was spared; but while he sojourned in the land of Benjamin, 
Nebuchadrezzar laid waste the land of Israel, plundered 

the holy temple, robbed it of its ornaments, and gave it a 
prey to the devouring flames. By the hands of Nebuzaradan 
did Nebuchadrezzar send (while he himself remained in 
Biblah) to destroy Jerusalem. 

Before he ordered the expedition he endeavored by means 
of signs, in accordance with the superstition of his age, 
to ascertain the result of the attempt. He shot an arrow 
from his bow, pointing to the west, and the arrow turned 
toward Jerusalem. Then he shot again, pointing toward 
the east, and the arrow sped toward Jemsalem. Then he 
shot once more, desiring to know in which direction "lay 
the guilty city which should be blotted from the world, and 
for the third time his arrow pointed toward Jemsalem. 

When the city had been captured, he marched with his 
princes and officers into the temple, and called out mockingly 
to the God of Israel, "And art thou the great God before 
whom the world trembles, and we here in thy city and thy 
temple!" 

On one of the walls he found the mark of an arrow's head, 
as though somebody had been killed or hit near by, and he 
asked, "Who was killed here?" 

"Zachariah, the son of Yehoyadah the high priest," an¬ 
swered the people; "he rebuked us incessantly on accoimt 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


201 


of our transgressions, and we tired of his words, and put 

him to death." 

The followers of Nebuchadrezzar massacred the inhabi¬ 
tants of Jerusalem, the priests and the people, old and yoimg, 
women, and children who were attending school, even babies 
in the cradle. The feast of blood at last shocked even the 
leader of the hostile heathens, who ordered a stay of this 
wholesale murder. He then removed all the vessels of gold 
and silver from the temple, and sent them by his ships to 
Babel, after which he set the temple on fire. 

The high priest donned his robe and ephod and saying, 

"Now that the temple is destroyed, no priest is needed to 
officiate," threw himself into the flames and was consumed. 
When the other priests who were still alive witnessed this 
action, they took their harps and other musical instruments 
and followed the example of the high priest. Those of the 
people whom the soldiers had not killed were bound in iron 
chains, burdened with the spoils of the victors, and carried 

into captivity. Jeremiah the prophet returned to Jerusa¬ 
lem and accompanied his unfortunate brethren, who went 
out almost naked. When they reached a place called Bet 
Kuro, Jeremiah obtained better clothing for them. And he 
spoke to Nebuchadrezzar and the Chaldeans, and said, 

"Think not that of your own strength you were able to 
overcome the people chosen of the lord; 'tis their iniquities 
which have condemned them to this sorrow." 

Thus the people journeyed on with crying and moaning 
until they reached the rivers of Babylon. Then Nebuchad¬ 
rezzar said to them, "Sing, ye people — play for me; sing 
the songs ye were wont to sing before your great Lord in 
Jerusalem." 

In answer to this command, the Levites hung their harps 
upon the willow-trees near the banks of the river, as it is 
written, "Upon the willows in her midst had we hrmg up 
our harps." (Psalm cxxxvii. 2.) Then they said, "If we 
had but performed the will of God and sung his praises 
devoutly, we should not have been delivered into thy hands. 



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Now how can we sing before thee the prayers and hymns 
that belong only to the One Eternal God?" as it is said, 
"How should we sing the song of the Lord on the soil of 
the stranger?"(Psalm cxxxvii. 4.) 

Then said the officers of the captors, "These men are men 
of death; they refuse to obey the order of the King; let 
them die." 

But forth stepped Pelatya, the son of Yehoyadah, and thus 
he addressed Nebuchadrezzar. 

"Behold, if a flock is delivered into the hands of a shep¬ 
herd, and a wolf steals a lamb from the flock, tell me, who 
is responsible to the owner of the lost animal?" 

"Surely the shepherd," replied Nebuchadrezzar. 

"Then listen to thine own words," replied Pelatya. 
"God has given Israel into thy hands; to him art thou 
responsible for those who are slain." 

The King ordered the chains to be removed from the cap¬ 
tives, and they were not put to death. 

SECOND DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM 

Through Kamtzah and Bar Kamtzah was Jerusalem de¬ 
stroyed; and thus it happened. 

A certain man made a feast; he was a friend of Kamtzah, 
but Bar Kamtzah he hated. He sent a messenger to Kamt¬ 
zah with an invitation to his banquet, but this messenger 
making a mistake, delivered the invitation to his master's 
enemy. Bar Kamtzah. 

Bar Kamtzah accepted the invitation, and was on hand 
at the appointed time, but when the host saw his enemy enter 
his house, he ordered him to leave at once. 

"Nay," said Bar Kamtzah, "now that I am here, do 
not so insult me as to send me forth. I will pay thee for 
all that I may eat and drink." 

"I want not thy money," returned the other, "neither do 
I desire thy presence; get thee gone at once." 

But Bar Kamtzah persisted. 

"I will pay the entire expense of thy feast," he said; 
"do not let me be degraded in the eyes of thy guests." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


203 


The host was determined, and Bar Kamtzah withdrew 
from the banquet-room in anger. 

"Many Rabbis were present," said he in his heart, "and 
not one of them interfered in my behalf, therefore this insult 
which they saw put upon me must have pleased them." 

So Bar Kamtzah spoke treacherously of the Jews unto the 
king, saying, "The Jews have rebelled against thee." 

"How can I know this?" inquired the king. 

"Send a sacrifice to their temple and it will be rejected," 
replied Bar Kamtzah. 

The ruler then sent a well-conditioned calf to be sacrificed 
for him in the temple, but through the machinations of Bar 
Kamtzah the messenger inflicted a blemish upon it, and, of 
course, not being fit for the sacrifice (Lev. xxi. 21) it was not 
accepted. 

Through this cause was Caesar sent to capture Jerusalem, 
and for two years he besieged the city. Four wealthy citi¬ 
zens of Jerusalem had stored up enough food to last the in¬ 
habitants a much longer time than this, but the people being 
anxious to fight with the Romans, destroyed the storehouses 
and brought dire famine upon the city. 

A certain noble lady, Miriam, the daughter of Baythus, 
sent her servant to purchase some flour for household use. 
The servant found that all the flour had been sold, but there 
was still some meal which he might have purchased. Hurry¬ 
ing home, however, to learn his mistress's wishes in regard 
to this, he discovered on his return that this too had been 
sold, and he could obtain nothing save some coarse barley 
meal. Not wishing to purchase this without orders he re¬ 
turned home again, but when he returned to the storehouse 
to secure the barley meal, that was gone also. Then his 
mistress started out herself to purchase food, but she could 
find nothing. Suffering from the pangs of hunger she 
picked from the street the skin of a fig and ate it; this 
sickened her and she died. But previous to her death she 
cast all her gold and silver into the street, saying, "What 
use is this wealth to me when I can obtain no food for it?" 
Thus were the words of Ezekiel fulfilled. 




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"Their silver shall they cast into the streets." 

After the destruction of the storehouses, Rabbi Jochanan 
in walking through the city saw the populace boiling straw 
in water and drinking of the same for sustenance. "Ah, 
woe is me for this calamity! "he exclaimed; "How can 
such a people strive against a mighty host?" He applied 
to Ben Batiach, his nephew, one of the chiefs of the city, 
for permission to leave Jerusalem. But Ben Batiach re¬ 
plied, "It may not be; no living body may leave the city." 
"Take me out then as a corpse," entreated Jochanan. Ben 
Batiach assented to this, and Jochanan was placed in a coffin 
and carried through the gates of the city; Rabbi Eleazer, 
Rabbi Joshua, and Ben Batiach acting as pall-bearers. The 
coffin was placed in a cave, and after they had all returned 
to their homes Jochanan arose from the coffin and made his 
way to the enemy's camp. He obtained from the com¬ 
mander permission to establish an academy in Jabna with 
Rabbon Gamliel as the principal. 

Titus soon captured the city, killed many of the people, 
and sent the others into exile. He entered the temple, even 
in the Most Holy, and cut down the veil which separated it 
from the less sacred precincts. He seized the holy vessels, 
and sent them to Rome. 

From this history of Kamtzah and Bar Kamtzah we should 
learn to be careful of offending our neighbors, when in so 
slight a cause such great results may originate. Our Rabbis 
have said that he who causes his neighbor to blush through 
an insult should be compared to the one who sheds blood. 

HANNAH AND HER SEVEN SONS 

During the terrible times which followed the fall of the 
Holy City, Hannah and her seven sons were cast into prison. 

According to their ages were they brought before the tyrant 
conqueror, and commanded to pay homage to him and his 
gods. 

"God forbid," exclaimed the eldest lad, "that I should 
bow to thy image. Our commandments say to us, 'I am the 
Lord thy God'; to no other will I bow." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


205 


He was immediately led out to execution, and the same 
demand made of his brother, the second son. 

"My brother bowed not," he answered, "and no more 
will 1." 

"Wherefore not?" asked the tyrant. 

"Because," replied the lad, "the second commandment of 
the decalogue tells us, 'Thou shalt have no other God but 
me.'" 

His death followed immediately his brave words. 
"My religion teaches me, 'Thou shalt worship no other 
God'" (Exod. xxxiv. 14), said the third son, "and I wel¬ 
come the fate accorded to my brothers rather than bow to thee 
or thy images." 

The same homage was demanded of the fourth son, but 
brave and faithful as his brethren, he replied, " 'He that 
sacrificeth unto any god save unto the Lord only'" (Exod. 
xxii. 19), and was slain pitilessly. 

" 'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God, the Lord is One,'" 
exclaimed the fifth lad, yielding up his yoimg life with the 
watchword of Israel's hosts. 

"Why art thou so obstinate?" was asked of the sixth 
brother, when he, too, was brought before the tyrant and 
scorned the propositions made him. 

" 'The Lord thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty 
and terrible God'" (Deut. vii. 21), he said; and died for 
the principles he proclaimed. 

Then the seventh and youngest boy was brought before the 
murderer of his relatives, who addressed him kindly, 
saying, 

"My son, come bow before my gods." 

And the child answered, 

"God forbid! Our holy religion teaches us 'Know there¬ 
fore this day, and reflect in thy heart that the Lord he is 
God, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath there is 
none else' (Deut. iv. 39). Never will we exchange our 
God for any other, neither will he exchange us for any other 
nation, for as it is written, 'Thou hast this day acknowledged 
the Lord' (Deut. xxvi. 17), so is it also written, 'And the 



206 


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Lord hath acknowledged thee this day, that thou art unto 
him a peculiar people!'" 

Still the tyrant spoke smoothly, and with kind words. 

"Thou art young," he said; "thou hast seen but little 
of the pleasures and joys of life, not as much as has fallen 
to the portion of thy brethren. Do as I wish thee and thy 
future shall be bright and happy." 

"The Lord will reign forever and ever," said the lad; 
"thy nation and thy kingdom will be destroyed; thou art 

here to-day, to-morrow in the grave; to-day elevated, to¬ 
morrow lowly; but the most Holy One endures forever." 

"See," continued the other, "thy brothers lie slain before 
thee; their fate will be thine if thou refusest to do as I 
desire. See, I will cast my ring to the ground, stoop thou 

and pick it up; that I will consider allegiance to my gods." 

"Thinkest thou that I fear thy threats?" returned the 
unterrified lad; "why should I fear a human being more 
than the great God, the King of kings?" 

"Where and what is thy God?" asked the oppressor. 
"Is there a God in the world?" 

"Can there be a world without a Creator?" replied the 

youth. "Of thy gods 'tis said, 'mouths they have, but speak 
not.' Of our God the Psalmist says, 'By the word of the 
Lord were the heavens made.' Thy gods have 'eyes but 
see not,' but 'the eyes of the Lord run to and fro in the 
whole earth!' Thy gods have 'ears but hear not,' but of 
our God 'tis written, 'The Lord harkened and heard.' Of 
thy gods 'tis said, 'a nose they have but smell not,' while our 
God 'smelled the sweet savor.' 'Hands have thy gods but 
they touch not,' while our God says, 'My hand hath also 
founded the earth.' Of thy gods 'tis written, 'feet they 

have but walk not,' while Zachariah tells us of our God, 
'His feet will stand that day upon the mount of Olives.'" 

Then said the cruel one, 

"If Ihy God hath all these attributes, why does he not 
deliver thee from my power?" 

The lad replied, 

"He delivered Chananyah and his companions from the 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


207 


power of Nebuchadrezzar, but they were righteous men, and 
Nebuchadrezzar was a king deserving of seeing a miracle 
performed, but for me, alas! I am not worthy of redemption, 
neither art thou worthy of a demonstration of God's power." 

"Let the lad be slain as were his brothers," commanded 
the tyrant. 

Then spoke Hannah, the mother of the boys, 

"Give me my child," she cried, "O, cruel king, let me 
fold him in my arms ere thou destroyest his innocent young 
life." 

She threw her arms around the lad, clasping him tightly 
to her bosom, and pressing her lips to his. "Take my life," 
she cried; "kill me first before my child." 

"Nay," he answered, scoffingly, "I can not do it, for 
thy own laws forbid; 'whether it be ox or sheep ye shall not 
kill it and its young in one day.' "(Lev. xxviii.) 

"Oh, woe to thee," replied the mother, "thou who art so 
particular to regard the laws." Then pressing her boy to 
her heart, "Go, my dear one," she said, "say to Abraham 
that my sacrifice hath exceeded his. He built one altar 
whereon to sacrifice Isaac; thy mother hath built seven altars 
and sacrificed seven Isaacs in one day. He was but tempted; 
thy mother hath performed." 

After the execution of her last son, Hannah became insane, 
and threw herself from her house-top. Where she fell, she 
expired. 

Happy are ye, ye seven sons of Hannah; your portion in 
the future world was waiting for you. In faithfulness ye 
served your God, and with her children shall your mother 
rejoice forever in the eternal world. 



THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 

(TALES OF THE RABBIS ) 

I 

RABBI JUDAH, THE "CHIEF" 

Rabbi Judah, the holy, sometimes called, by reason of 
his eminence, simply "Rabbi," received his education in the 
different colleges and from the various sources of learning 
open to the student in his early days. He was a man of 
immense wealth, and when he reached the dignity of chief, 
or patriarch, he expended a great portion of his riches in the 
assistance and for the benefit of the poor. His authority 
among his contemporaries was superior to that allowed any 
of his predecessors. He commanded both their love and 
respect, and it is said that no man, since the time of Moses, 
combined such advanced learning with authority and dignity 
equal to his. He was, too, like Moses, truly modest and 
careful to avoid all pomp and display of power. 

He had his chair placed near the entrance of his lecture- 
room, to spare his hearers the necessity of rising while he 
passed among them, an honor exacted by the other chiefs. 
Through his influence with Antoninus, his people were per¬ 
mitted to study the law publicly and were granted many 
privileges previously denied them, and immunity from many 
persecutions under which they had previously suffered. It 
was while he occupied his high position in favor and afflu¬ 
ence that he collected the opinions and debates of preceding 
Rabbis, now forming the Mishna. 

The emperor once sent a valuable diamond to Rabbi Judah, 
requesting a token of friendship in return. The Rabbi sent 
him a Mezuzah/ 

' A strip of parchment inscribed with verses from the Pentateuch 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


209 


"My friend," said the emperor, "this gift of thine is of 
small value, compared to the rich offering which I dispatched 
to thee." 

"There is a difference between my gift and thine," re¬ 
turned the Rabbi. "That which thou gavest to me I must 
watch and guard lest it be stolen from me; but this which 
1 send will watch and guard over thee, even as it is written, 
'When thou walkest it will lead thee, and when thou best 
down it will watch over thee.'" 

Rabbi Judah desired to wed the widow of Rabbi Eleazer, 
and he sent a messenger to her charged with his proposals. 
The answer which she returned thereto was this: 

"Shall a vessel once used for holy purposes be now used 
for those less sacred?" Implying that Rabbi Eleazer, the 
son of Simon, had been a greater man that was Rabbi Judah. 
Her answer was of the same import as the proverb, "Shall 
the shepherd hang his work-vessels where the master of the 
house hung his ornaments?" 

On receiving this answer Rabbi Judah sent another mes¬ 
sage to her. 

"You are right," said he; "yom husband was a more 
learned scholar than am I, but in good deeds I am at least 
his equal." 

The widow replied, 

"Still we differ; I know not that my husband was more 
learned that Rabbi Judah, but he was his superior in right¬ 
eousness." 

But was Rabbi Eleazer the superior of Rabbi Judah in 
learning? 

It was the custom in the colleges for the teachers and 
learned Rabbis to sit upon elevated chairs while the pupils 
were seated on benches, near the floor. When Rabbi Simon, 
the son of Gamliel, Rabbi Joshua, the son of Korcha, and 
other celebrated Rabbis were occupying the chairs. Rabbi 
Eleazer, the son of Simon, and Rabbi Judah were sitting 

(Deut. vi. 4-10, and Dent. xi. 13-22), so arranged as to be plaeed 
upon the door-posts of a house in eomplianee with the Scriptural 
injunction. 




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near the floor. Rabbi Simon, son of Gamliel, the father 
of Rabbi Judah, desiring that some mark of distinction 
should be paid to his son, induced the teachers to elevate 
him to one of the chairs. This was done; and then Rabbi 
Joshua spoke, saying, "He who hath a father to speak for 
him may live; but he who hath none may do the best he 

can, and die." 

On hearing this the Rabbis elevated Rabbi Eleazer, the 
son of Rabbi Simon, also, but Rabbi Eleazer felt himself 

slighted and neglected, because the above words were spoken 
previous to his elevation, and said, "Is Rabbi Judah better 
than 1?" 

Never after did he feel friendly toward Rabbi Judah. 
Previously he had assisted the latter in preparing questions 
to be laid before the college, but now he made light of 
Judah's inquiries, saying, "They are not worthy of being 
considered." 

This treatment was very trying to the feelings of Rabbi 
Judah, and he complained to his father of the insults to 
which he was subjected. 

"Be not displeased, my son," replied the latter, "nor 

take umbrage at the words of Eleazer. Behold, he is a lion, 
and the son of a lion (a most learned man, and the son of 

a most learned man), whilst thou art a lion, but the son of 

a fox (a learned man thyself, but not possessing a learned 
father), therefore he is thy superior." 

This is probably the reason why Rabbi Judah has said, 

"The world has seen three meek men — my father, the sons 
of Bethera, and Jonathan, the son of Saul." 

The sons of Bethera vacated their positions as chiefs of the 
college in favor of Hillel, pronouncing him a man of su¬ 
perior learning, therefore their meekness. Jonathan, the 

son of Saul, said to David, "Thou shaft reign over Israel, 
and I shall be a second to thee," therefore his meekness, and 
Rabbi Simon, the son of Gamliel, because he called himself 
a fox. 

Rabbi Judah suffered greatly from bodily pain for thir¬ 
teen years previous to his death, and when he felt his end 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


211 


on earth approaching he called his children to him and 
spoke to them as follows: 

"Obey the voice of your mother, O my children, and 
remember the teachings of the Most High. Keep a light 
burning in my room, and let Joseph, the Hophnite, and 
Simon, the Ephraimite, faithful servants to me in my life, 
attend me also in my death. And now, my children, let me 
see the sages of Israel once more." 

When the sages entered, according to his request, he said, 

"Let no orations or eulogies be made for me in the cities. 
Open my college, and continue your holy duties thirty days 
after my death. Although my son Simon is a man of wis¬ 
dom and understanding, yet I desire that my son Gamliel 
shall be my successor. Chaninah, the son of Chamah, shall 
sit in the second seat, next to the chief. I weep that I may 
study God's law no more." 

Then he raised his two hands toward heaven, and said, 

"O Lord God of the universe, thou knowest whether I 
have worked faithfully with these hands for thy glory, to 
obtain a knowledge of thy law. May it be acceptable to 
thee, O Sovereign of the universe, that I may rest in peace." 

On the day of the Rabbi's death the Rabbins proclaimed 
a fast, and a day of prayer, for their beloved chief They 
also forbade any annoimcement of his death to interrupt their 
devotion, and they continued praying until a signal was 
thrown from the Rabbi's house; they all experienced a shock, 
as though a heavy missile had struck them, and ceased 
praying. 

Rabbi Judah was buried on the eve of Sabbath; with him 
died the meekness among the people, and the fear of God. 

It is said that the Rabbi had a servant who was richer 
than the emperor. He acquired his wealth from the sale 
of the litter from the Rabbi's stables, which gives some idea 
of the number of animals Rabbi Judah possessed. 

SIMON, THE RIGHTEOUS 

Simon was performing the functions of high priest during 
the triumphal career of Alexander, about the year 3000. 



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The sons of Judah found no cause to oppose this warrior, 
and when, after his first victories over the Persian army, 
he came to Syria on his way to Egypt, they joined with the 
kingdoms which paid him homage. 

Simon the Righteous, as representative of the nation, pro¬ 
ceeded to the seacoast to greet the conqueror, attired in his 
priestly rohes, and attended by a number of priests and 
nobles in the full dignity of their costumes. 

Alexander at once approached the high priest and greeted 
him warmly; and when his officers expressed their astonish¬ 
ment at this mark of condescension, he told them that the 
form and feature of this same priest, clad in the same robes 
he now wore, had appeared to him in a dream and promised 
him success in arms. 

Alexander was conducted through the temple by Simon. 
On entering, he said, "Blessed be the Lord of this house." 
He was charmed with the beauty of the structure, and ex¬ 
pressed a desire to have a statue of himself erected as a 
remembrance, between the porch and the altar. Simon in¬ 
formed him that it was not allowable to erect any statue or 
image within the temple walls, but promised that, as a re¬ 
membrance, the males bom among his people that year 
should be called Alexander. That is the manner in which 
the Rabbis Alexander obtained their names. 

Alexander continued well disposed toward the high priest, 
and through his intercessions granted the Jews religious free¬ 
dom and release from all tributary burden during the Sab¬ 
batic year; and the Jews entered Alexander's army, and 
assisted in his conquests. 

This state of affairs lasted, imfortunately, only until the 
death of Alexander. In the quarrels among his generals, 
which followed and continued for two decades, the Jewish 
people suffered much. The armies of Antigonus and his 
son Demetrius destroyed the fertile fields, gave wings to 
blessed peace, and filled the inhabitants of Judea with horror 
and dismay. 

'Twas on the Sabbath that Jemsalem was taken by storm. 
The mighty walls, impenetrable strongholds since the days 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


213 


of Nehemiah, were again breached and broken, and the city 
laid open to her enemies. 

These occurrences Simon lived to see, and his trust in 
God as well as his love for his people was sorely tried. Yet 

he did not waver in his faith. He fortified the temple, re¬ 
paired its damaged places, and raised the foundation of 

the five courts. He enlarged the water reservoir in the tem¬ 
ple to provide against a scarcity during siege times, and 
ever after that the temple was well supplied with water; a 
matter of note, considering the climate and the soil of 

Jerusalem. 

Neither did Simon neglect the spiritual interests of his 
people. He did not lead them to believe that their strength 
and safety depended only upon earthly means. He remem¬ 
bered well the teachings of his predecessors, "Upon three 
things does the salvation of Israel depend: on the observance 
of the law, upon reconciliation with God by means of grace 
furnished by the temple worship, and upon deeds of 
benevolence." 

The many wars and disturbances which agitated the period 
of his life were productive of much and varied evil, and 
the extremely pious sought, as in the days of the prophets, 
to withdraw from the world and consecrate themselves to 
God by Nazarean vows. 

Simon did not approve of this, and protested against it 
in many ways. He made an exception, however, in one 
case, that of a young and handsome shepherd, whom he found 
to be really sincere in his desire. When the latter came to 
him, desiring to become a Nazeer, the high priest ques¬ 
tioned him, 

"Why," he asked, "why do you, so young and handsome, 
with flowing, silken ringlets, why do you wish to hide so 
much beauty and destroy so much which is pleasant to the 
eye?" 

"Because," replied the youth, "my flowing ringlets have 
almost enticed me to sin from mere vanity. I saw the 
reflection of my face in a clear stream, and a proneness to 
self-deification seemed taking such hold of me, that I desire 



214 


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now at once to consecrate my hair unto the Lord, through 
the Nazarean vow."^ 

Simon kissed the young shepherd, and said to him, 

"Would to God there were in Israel many Nazareans 
like to thee." 

Simon is renowned for his familiarity with the law, for 
his services as president and member of the great Senate, 
and for the efficient manner in which he strengthened the 
religious fervor of the people and participated in all their 

doings and institutions. 

He officiated as high priest for forty years, and himself 

announced the approach of his death on completing the serv¬ 
ices on the Day of Atonement. On entering the holy of 
holies upon this sacred day, he had been used to perceive, 
every year, an apparition in white garments, which attended 
all his actions in the performance of his office. On this 

particular day he failed to see it, and considered this fact 
a harbinger of his death. He died seven days after the 
holy day. 

Posterity honored him as the most holy among men, and 
it has been asserted that during his life visible tokens of 
God's favor never ceased. 

His grandchildren, however, deserted Judaism entirely, 
and set the example for those actions which brought upon 
Israel the troublous times of Antiochus Epiphanes. 

It was shortly after Simon's death, and in view of the 
degeneracy of the people, that the pious resolved that only 
the priests should use the holy name of God. The four 

letters of the sacred name were substituted for the name 
itself, and the latter was only uttered by the priests when 
they concluded the daily sacrificial service, and pronounced 
a blessing on the people, and by the high priest on the Day 
of Atonement. 


RABBI ISHMAEL, THE HIGH PRIEST 
Rabbi Ishmael was one of the most prominent and excel¬ 
lent among the fathers of the Talmudical literature.His 

^ The law concerning this may be found in Numbers vi. 





LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


215 


doctrines are pure, his ideas sublime, and his explanations 
clear and concise. He died a martyr to Roman persecution, 
and this end has set the seal of truth and conviction on all 
the actions and sayings of his life. 

There is an historical immortality, as well as a spiritual 
immortality; Rabbi Ishmael has attained the former, and 
he was a firm believer in the latter. They who imagine the 
doctrine of immortality to be an outgrowth of man's vanity, 
claiming for himself an imaginary preference above other 
creatures; they who believe it an ancient fiction, without 
which no courts of law would be able to check the natural 
proneness of man toward evil-doing, could never rise to the 
courage and sublimity of martyrdom. To Ishmael, common 
observation as well as innate principles proved the truth 
of his belief 

First, no atom of matter, in the whole vastness of the 
universe, is lost; how, then, can man's soul, which comprises 
the whole world in one idea, be lost? 

Secondly, in all nature death is but a transformation; 
with the soul it is the portal to a new and higher realm. 

Thirdly, our thoughts and feelings, emanating from the 
soul, are not of an earthly nature. 

Rabbi Ishmael also advocated with energy the doctrine 
of man's free agency. 

"When a man enters upon the path of truth and justice," 
said he, "God helps him forward, but when he chooses the 
way of sin, God says, 'I gave thee reason and free will, 
go thy way,' even as the trader will wait upon the customer 
who purchases a good and pleasant article, while to one who 
desires pitch or sulphur he says, 'Go, wait upon thyself " 

Many ask, "Why does God permit so much corruption 
and evil?" Rabbi Ishmael answers, "Not God, but ye, 
yourselves, are the creators and supporters of moral evils. 
When a field is covered by weeds, shall a farmer complain 
to God? No; let him blame himself for his carelessness 
and neglect. Noble, indeed, is the feeling of the man who 
reflects that his virtue is his own work, and truly woeful 
is the profligate who can not but know that his guilt is his 



216 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


alone. 'To the pure help cometh from on high,' was the 
sentence which cheered our pious forefathers, and which 
should encourage us." 

His definition of sin, too, is far beyond and above the 
confused ideas of many theologians. 

"Sin is an obstruction in the heart; an inability to feel 

and comprehend all that is noble, true, and great, and to 
take part in the good." If man is to be freed from sin, his 
mind and heart must be opened to the influence of enlight¬ 
enment. The power of the passions must be subdued, and 
all prejudice, selfishness, and self-complacency be removed. 

For those who entertain the erroneous opinion that Juda¬ 
ism proclaims God as unforgiving and rancorous, nothing 
further should be necessary than to enumerate the Rabbi's 

classification of the effects of the Day of Atonement. 

"He who violates an affirmative commandment, and re¬ 
pents, is forgiven immediately. 

"He who does that thing which is forbidden, and repents, 
is forgiven on the Day of Atonement. 

"He who commits a sin punishable by extirpation, or the 
death penalty, may be forgiven through suffering, but noth¬ 
ing save death may atone for the one who profanes the name 
of God." 

What is a profanation of the name of God? According 

to Rah, he who borrows and does not repay commits that 
sin. Rabbi Abaya says, "A man who acts so that God's 

name is not honored in his mouth." 

And Rabbi Jochanan says, "The man who has abased 
his character." 

Why should a violation of the affirmative commandments 
be so easily expiated, as is generally believed, since they are 
so important? The Rabbi says that sin committed against 
man is more grievous in the eyes of God than that com¬ 
mitted against God. 


RABBI MEIR 

"All that God made was very good." 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Eleazer, uses the words "very 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


217 


good" in reference to sleep. "Man sleeps," says he, "and 
in a few hours he gains renewed strength." Rabbi Samuel, 
son of Nachman, said, "The incentive leading man toward 
women is 'very good,' for thereby households are organized 
and families are formed." Rabbi Hammuna was of the 
opinion that no more forcible meaning could be given to the 
words "very good" than in applying them to the ills of 

life, which, said he, "more than doctrines and reasonings 
keep men temperate and dependent on a Higher Power." 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Abba, applied the words "very 
good" to retaliation; and Rabbi Simon, the son of Lakish, 

to political government; but the teaching of Rabbi Meir was 
that the death of man is "very good." 

Judaism aims not to separate, but to unite mankind, and 
this was one of the great principles of Rabbi Meir's life. 

Concerning the passage, "Man shall observe the law and 
live in it," he said, "Holy writ says not Israelites, not Le- 
vites, not priests, but men; therefore the gentile who observes 
the law stands on a level with the high priest." 

"Walk before every man in modesty and humility," he 
said further. "Not only before your co-religionists, but 

before every man." 

Rabbi Meir Was a great allegorist; it is said that he knew 
three hundred allegories relating to the fox alone. Of these 
but three fragments remain to us. 

"A fox said to a bear, 'Come, let us go into this kitchen; 
they are making preparations for the Sabbath, and we shall 
be able to find food.' The bear followed the fox, but being 
bulky he was captured and pimished. Angry thereat he 
designed to tear the fox to pieces, under the pretense that the 
forefathers of the fox had once stolen his food; wherein 
occurs the first saying, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, 
and the children's teeth are set on edge.' 

" 'Nay,' said the fox, 'come with me, my good friend; 
let us not quarrel; I will lead thee to another place where 
we shall surely find food.' The fox then led the bear to 
a fountain, where two buckets were fastened together by a 
rope like balances. It was night, and the fox pointed to 



218 


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the moon reflected in the water, saying, 'Here is a flne 

cheese; let us descend and partake of it with an appetite.' 
The fox entered his pail first, but being too light to balance 
the weight of the bear he took with him a stone. As soon 

as the bear had gotten into the other pail, however, the fox 

threw this stone away, and consequently he rose, while the 

bear descended to the bottom." 

Here he applies his second saying, "The righteous is 
delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead." 
Each man must suffer for his own sins, and for his own guilt 
alone. He who follows the luminary of the night — sens¬ 

uality — must perish, while the righteous one, though carry¬ 
ing a stone (sin), will throw it away betimes, and be de¬ 
livered from death. 

The libertine Elishah, the son of Abuyah, generally called 

Acher, a most learned man, was one of Rabbi Meir's teach¬ 
ers, and they frequently conversed on Biblical passages. 

The people were not pleased that Rabbi Meir should so 

associate, and they called him therefore Acherim, a word 

composed of the letters of Meir and Acher. But Rabbi 
Meir referred them to the proverb, "Incline thy ears to listen 
to the words of the sages, but direct thy heart to what my 
thought is." 

Rabbi Meir ate the date and threw away the seeds; he 
found a pomegranate, and partaking of the Suit, he rejected 
the rind. His generation did not comprehend him. 

Acher upon one occasion said to Rabbi Meir, "Why is 
the law compared to gold and glass?" 

"Because," replied Rabbi Meir, "it is as hard to acquire 
as gold is hard in substance, and forgotten with as much ease 
as glass is broken." 

"No," returned the other, in the name of Rabbi Akiba, 
"the reason is this: when gold and glass are broken they 
may be melted and worked over into new shapes. So 
is it with the student of the law, though he may commit 
many faulty actions there are still hope and help for 
him. 

Rabbi Meir always favored benevolence, and a care of 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


219 


self as well as of others. "He only is truly rich," he as¬ 
serted, "who enjoys his wealth." 

The passage in Malachi xxvi., "Many he withheld from 
iniquity," he interpreted as referring to Aaron, the first high 
priest, who was so respected that the mere mention of his 
name, or the thought of how he might regard a certain action 
were he present, prevented many from falling into sin. 

A heathen once said to Rabbi Meir, "Does it seem credible 
that God, whose majesty you assert fills the universe, should 
have spoken from between the two staves in the ark of the 
sanctuary?" 

In answer. Rabbi Meir held up before the heathen a large 
and a small looking-glass, in each of which the inquirer 
beheld his image. 

"Now," said the Rabbi, "in each mirror your body is 
reduced to correspond with the size of the glass; should the 
same thing be impossible to God? The world is his large 

looking-glass, the sanctuary his small one." 

In regard to instruction. Rabbi Meir always said, "Teach 
your pupils concisely"; he also said, "Let your supplica¬ 
tions be brief; and his exhortation to parents was, "Teach 
thy son an honest handicraft." 

His favorite maxim was, "Be resolved to know my ways; 
be attentive at the doors of the law, and guard the law in 
thy heart. Before thy eyes be the fear of me; protect thy 
mouth from sinning; cleanse and sanctify thyself from all 

guilt and iniquity, and God will be with thee." 

From the sentence, "Be attentive at the doors of the law," 
Rabbi Meir declared that every scholar should have at least 
three teachers, and that the word "doors " possesses a pe¬ 
culiar idea of meaning. For instance, a person in passing 

the door of a house in which he passed his honeymoon, or 
the door of a hall of justice in which he has been convicted 
or acquitted, or the door of a house in which he has sinned, 
what different thoughts, feelings, and recollections will be 
awakened in him! With equal strength should the circum¬ 
stances under which he studied the law be impressed upon 
his mind. The Israelites are called the "children of God," 



220 


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and Rabbi Meir never ceased to present this filial relation in 
its true light, filling to the brim the goblet of family happi¬ 
ness and displaying it to the eyes of the people. "Jeremiah 
calls us 'foolish children,'" said he; "in Deuteronomy we 
are called 'children lacking faith'; but under all circum¬ 
stances we remain 'the children of God.'" 

Rabbi Meir's wife was good and pious as her husband. 

There dwelt in his neighborhood some co-religionists who 
were followers of Greek customs, who annoyed the Rabbi 
very much. In his vexation he would have prayed to God 
to destroy them, but said Beruryah, his wife, 

"Be mindful of the teachings of thy faith. Pray not that 
sinners may perish, but that the sin itself may disappear and 
no opportunity for its practise remain." 

During the Rabbi's absence from home two of his sons 
died. Their mother, hiding her grief, awaited the father's 
return, and then said to him, 

"My husband, some time since two jewels of inestimable 
value were placed with me for safe keeping. He who left 
them with me called for them to-day, and I delivered them 
into his hands." 

"That is right," said the Rabbi, approvingly. "We must 
always return cheerfully and faithfully all that is placed in 
our care." 

Shortly after this the Rabbi asked for his sons, and the 
mother, taking him by the hand, led him gently to the 
chamber of death. Meir gazed upon his sons, and realizing 
the truth, wept bitterly. 

"Weep not, beloved husband," said his noble wife; "didst 
thou not say to me we must return cheerfully, when 'tis 
called for, all that has been placed in our care? God gave 
us these jewels; he left them with us for a time, and we 
gloried in their possession; but now that he calls for his 
own, we should not repine." 

HILLEL HANNASI 

Hillel, "the chief of Israel," was the descendant of a 
renowned family; his father was of the tribe of Benjamin, 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


221 


while his mother was a lineal descendant of King David. 
He lived about a hundred years before the destruction of the 
second temple, and was called Hillel the Babylonian, having 
been bom in Babel. 

He was forty years of age before he left his native city 
to commence his studies of the law; he continued studying 
under Shemaiah and Abtalyon for forty years, and from 
then until his death, forty years after, he was chief of the 
college. 

During the period of his life as a student, Hillel was 
often cramped for means to pursue his studies. There is 
a generally accepted legend to the effect that upon one occa¬ 
sion, when he lacked the fee demanded by the porter for 
entrance to the college, he climbed up upon the window-sill, 
hoping to hear the lectures through the panes. It chanced 
to be snowing, and the student became so intensely interested 
that he was quite covered with the snow without being aware 
of it, and became insensible through the cold. The attention 
of those inside was called to his state by the early darkening 
of the room, and by them he was carried in and restored 
to consciousness. 

Hillel's elevation to the presidency of the college occurred 
in a remarkable manner. The eve of the Passover fell upon 
the Sabbath. The two chief rabbis of Jemsalem were the 
sons of Bethera, and they were asked to decide whether it 
would be right and lawful to prepare the paschal lamb upon 
the Sabbath. They were unable to decide the point, when it 
was mentioned to them that a man of Babel, who had studied 
under two renowned teachers, Shemaiah and Abtalyon, was 
then in the place, and might be able to aid their decision. 
Hillel was appealed to, and he met the question with such 
wisdom and clearness that the sons of Bethera exclaimed, 
"Thou art more worthy and competent to fill the office than 
we are," and through their means Hillel was elected chief 
of the college in the year 3728 A. M. Hillel was a man of 
very mild disposition, but he soon found in Shamai a rival 
of high and hasty temper. Shamai founded a college, which 
was called Beth Shamai, and between that institution and 



222 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


the Beth HUM the controversies were sharp and prolonged, 
though in the great majority of the cases Hillel and his 
disciples had by far the best of the arguments. 

Hillel's students numbered eighty; the most noted of 
whom was Jonathan, the son of Uziel. 

Upon one occasion an unbeliever approached Shamai and 
mockingly requested the Rabbi to teach to him the tenets 
and principles of Judaism in the space of time he could 
stand on one foot. Shamai, in great wrath, bade him begone, 
and the man then applied to Hillel, who said, 

"Do not imto others what you would not have others 
do to you. This is the whole law; the rest, merely commen¬ 
taries upon it." 

Many silly students were fond of asking plaguing 
questions. 

"How many laws are there?" asked one of these. 

"Two," replied Hillel;" the oral and the written law." 

"In the latter I believe," said the student; "but why 
should I believe the other?" 

Hillel then wrote the Hebrew alphabet upon a card, and 
pointing to the first letter, he asked, 

"What letter is that?" 

"Aleph, ’ replied the student. 

"Good," said Hillel;" now the next," pointing to it. 

"Beth." 

"Good again; but how knowest thou that this is an 'aleph' 
and this a 'beth'l" 

"Because we have learned so from our teachers and our 
ancestors." 

"Well," said Hillel, "as thou acceptest this in good faith, 
so accept the law." 

As an evidence of Hillel's practical mind and his thorough 
appreciation of the demands and wants of his day, the fol¬ 
lowing enactment is of interest. 

According to the Biblical laws, all debts were to be re¬ 
mitted in the Sabbatical year; as it is written, "At the 
end of every seven years shalt thou make a release; . . . 
the loan which he hath lent to his neighbor," etc.(Deut. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


223 


XV. 1-2.) This measure, intended to adjust the inequalities 
of fortune, and well qualified for its purpose under some 
circumstances, was in the Herodian age the cause of much 
trouble. The wealthy man was loath to lend his money to 
those most in need of it, fearing to lose it by the provisions 
of this law. To remedy this evil, Hillel, without directly 
abrogating the statute of limitation, ordained that the cred¬ 
itor might make a duly signed deposition before the Sab¬ 
batical year, reserving the right to collect his outstanding 
debts at any time that he might think proper. 

RABBI AKIBA 

It happened once when Rabbi Gamliel, Rabbi Eleazer, 

the son of Azaria, Rabbi Judah, and Rabbi Akiba were walk¬ 
ing together, they heard the shouts and laughter and joyous 
tones of a multitude of people at a distance. Four of the 
Rabbis wept; but Akiba laughed aloud. 

"Akiba," said the others to him, "wherefore laugh? 
These heathens who worship idols live in peace, and are 

merry, while our holy city lies in mins; weep, do not 
laugh." 

"For that very reason 1 laugh, and am glad," answered 
Rabbi Akiba. "If God allows those who transgress his 
will to live happily on earth, how infinitely great must be 
the happiness which he has stored up in the world to come 
for those who observe his commands." 

Upon another occasion these same Rabbis went up to 
Jemsalem. When they reached Moimt Zophim and saw the 
desolation about them they rent their garments, and when 
they reached the spot where the temple had stood and saw 
a fox run out from the very site of the holy of holies three 
of them wept bitterly; but again Rabbi Akiba appeared 

merry. His comrades again rebuked him for this, to them, 

imseemly state of feeling. 

"Ye ask me why 1 am merry," said he;" come now, tell 
me why do ye weep?" 

"Because the Bible tells us that a stranger (one not de¬ 
scended from Aaron) who approaches the holy of holies shall 



224 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


be put to death, and now behold the foxes make of it a 
dwelling-place. Why should we not weep?" 

"Ye weep," returned Akiba, "from the very reason which 
causes my heart to be glad. Is it not written, 'And testify 
to me, ye faithful witnesses, Uriah, the priest, and Zachariah, 
the son of Berachiahu'? Now what hath Uriah to do with 

Zachariah? Uriah lived during the existence of the first 

temple, and Zachariah during the second. Know ye not 

that the prophecy of Uriah is compared to the prophecy of 
Zachariah? From Uriah's prophecy we find, 'Therefore for 
your sake Zion will be plowed as is a field, and Jemsalem 
will be a desolation, and the mount of Zion shall be as a 
forest'; and in Zachariah we find, 'They will sit, the old 

men and women, in the streets of Jerusalem'? Before the 

prophecy of Uriah was accomplished I might have doubted 

the truth of Zachariah's comforting words; but now that one 

has been accomplished, I feel assured that the promises to 

Zachariah will also come to pass, therefore am I glad." 

"Thy words comfort us, Akiba," answered his compan- 

ions."May God ever provide us comfort." 

Still another time, when Rabbi Eleazer was very sick and 
his friends and scholars were weeping for him. Rabbi Akiba 
appeared happy, and asked them why they wept. "Be¬ 
cause," they replied, "our beloved Rabbi is lying between 

life and death." "Weep not; on the contrary, be glad there¬ 
for," he answered. "If his wine did not grow sour, if 
his flag was not stricken down, I might think that on earth 
he received the reward of his righteousness; but now that I 
see my teacher suffering for what evil he may have com¬ 
mitted in this world, I rejoice. He hath taught us that 

the most righteous among us commits some sin, therefore in 

the world to come he will have peace." 

While Rabbi Eleazer was sick, the four elders. Rabbi 
Tarphon, Rabbi Joshua, Rabbi Eleazer, the son of Azoria, 
and Rabbi Akiba, called upon him. 

"Thou art better to Israel than the raindrops to earth, 
for the raindrops are for this world only, whilst thou, my 



THE TOMB OF EZRA. 

A Jewish shrine of the "Captivity" on the Lower Tigris. 







LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


225 


teacher, have helped the ripening of fruit for this world 
and the next," said Rabbi Tarphon. 

"Thou art better to Israel than the sun, for the sun is 

for this world alone; thou hast given light for this world 
and the next," said Rabbi Joshua. 

Then spoke Rabbi Eleazer, the son of Azoria. 

"Thou art better to Israel," said he, "than father and 

mother to man. They bring him into the world, but thou, 
my teacher, showest him the way into the world of 
immortalitv." 

Then said Rabbi Akiba, 

"It is well that man should be afflicted, for his distresses 
atone for his sins." 

"Does the Bible make such an assertion, Akiba?" asked 

his teacher. 

"Yes," answered Akiba. " 'Twelve years old was Ma- 
nassah when he became King, and fifty-and-five years did 

he reign in Jerusalem, and he did what was evil in the eyes 
of the Lord' (Kings). Now how was this? Did Hezekiah 
teach the law to the whole world and not to his son Manas- 
sah? Assuredly not; but Manassah paid no attention to his 
precepts, and neglected the word of God imtil he was afflicted 
with bodily pain, as it is written (Chron. xxxiii. 10). 'And 
the Lord spoke to Manassah and to his people, but they lis¬ 
tened not, wherefore the Lord brought over them the captains 
of the armies belonging to the King of Assyria, and they took 
Manassah prisoner with chains, and bound him with fetters, 
and led him off to Babylon; and when he was in distress he 
besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly 
before the God of his fathers. And he prayed to him, and 
he permitted himself to be entreated by him and heard his 
supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem unto his 
kingdom. Then did Manassah feel conscious that the Lord 
is indeed the true God.' 

"Now what did the King of Assyria to Manassah? He 

placed him in a copper barrel and had a fire kindled be¬ 
neath it, and while enduring great torture of his body 

Manassah was further tortured in his mind. 'Shall I call 



226 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


upon the Almighty?' he thought. 'Alas! his anger hums 
against me. To call upon my idols is to call in vain — alas, 
alas, what hope remains to me!' 

"He prayed to the greatest of his idols, and waited in 
vain for a reply. He called to the lesser gods, and remained 
imanswered. Then with trembling heart he addressed the 
great Eternal. 

" 'O Eternal! God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and 
their descendants, the heavens and the earth are the works 
of thy hand. Thou didst give to the sea a shore, controlling 
with a word the power of the mighty deep. Thou art merci¬ 
ful as thou art great, and thou hast promised to accept the 
repentance of those who return to thee with upright hearts. 
As numerous are my sins as the sands which cover the sea¬ 
shore. I have done evil before thee, committing abomina¬ 
tions in thy presence and acting wickedly. Bound with 
fetters I come before thee, and on my knees I entreat thee, 
in the name of thy great attributes of mercy, to compas¬ 
sionate my suffering and my distress. Pardon me, O Lord, 
forgive me. Do not utterly destroy me because of my trans¬ 
gressions. Let not my punishment eternally continue. 

Though I am unworthy of thy goodness, O Lord, yet save 
me in thy mercy. Henceforth will I praise thy name all 
the days of my life, for all thy creatures delight in praising 
thee, and unto thee are the greatness and the goodness for¬ 
ever and ever, Selah!' 

"God heard this prayer, even as it is written, 'And he 
permitted himself to be entreated by him, and brought him 
back to Jemsalem rmto his kingdom.'" 

"From which we may learn," continued Akiba, "that 

affliction is an atonement for sin." 

Said Rabbi Eleazer, the great, "It is commanded 'thou 

shah love the Lord thy God with all thy soul and with all 
that is loved by thee.' 

"Does not 'with all thy soul,' include 'with all that is 

loved by thee'? 

"Some people love themselves more than they love their 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


227 


money; to them 'tis said, 'with all thy soul'; while for those 
who love their money more than themselves the command¬ 
ment reads, 'with all that is loved by thee.'" 

But Rabbi Akiba always expounded the words, "with all 
thy soul," to mean "even though thy life be demanded of 
thee." 

When the decree was issued forbidding the Israelites to 
study the law, what did Rabbi Akiba? 

He installed many congregations secretly, and in secret 
lectured before them. 

Then Papus, the son of Juda, said to him, 

"Art not afraid, Akiba? Thy doings may be discovered, 
and thou wilt be punished for disobeying the decree." 

"Listen, and I will relate to thee a parable," answered 
Akiba. "A fox, walking by the river side, noticed the fishes 
therein swimming and swimming to and fro, never ceasing; 
so he said to them, 'Why are ye hurrying, who do ye 
fear?' 

" 'The nets of the angler,' they replied. 

" 'Come, then,' said the fox, 'and live with me on dry 
land.' 

"But the fishes laughed. 

" 'And art thou called the wisest of the beasts? 'they 
exclaimed; 'verily thou art the most foolish. If we are 
in danger even in our element, how much greater would be 
our risk in leaving it.' 

"It is the same with us. We are told of the law that it 
is 'our life and the prolongation of our days.' This it is 
when things are peaceful with us; how much greater is our 
need of it then in times like these?" 

It is said that it was but shortly after this when Rabbi 
Akiba was imprisoned for teaching the law, and in the 
prison in which he was incarcerated he found Papus, who 
had been condemned for some other offense. 

Rabbi Akiba said to him, 

"Papus, what brought thee here?" 

And Papus replied, 

"Joy, joy, to thee, that thou art imprisoned for studying 



228 


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God's law; but woe, woe is mine that I am here through 
vanity." 

When Rabbi Akiba was led forth to execution, it was just 
at the time of the morning service. 

" 'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God, the Lord is one,'" 
he exclaimed in a loud and firm voice. 

The torturers tore his flesh with pointed cards, yet still 
he repeated, "The Lord is one." 

"Always did I say," he continued, "that 'with all thy 
soul,' meant even though life should be demanded of thee, 
and I wondered whether I should ever be able so to observe 
it. Now see, to-day, I do so; 'the Lord is one.'" 

With these words he died. 

Happy art thou. Rabbi Akiba, that thy soul went out in 
purity, for the happiness of all futurity is thine. 

ELISHAH BEN ABUYAH 

Elishah ben Abuyah, a most learned man, became in after¬ 
life an apostate. Rabbi Meir had been one of his pupils, 
and he never failed in the great love which he bore for his 
teacher. 

It happened upon one occasion when Rabbi Meir was lec¬ 
turing in the college, that some students entered and said 
to him: 

"Thy teacher, Elishah, is riding by on horseback on this 
holy Sabbath day." 

Rabbi Meir left the college and, overtaking Elishah, walked 
along by his horse's side. 

The latter saluted him, and asked, 

"What passage of Scripture hast thou been expormding?" 

"From the book of Job," replied Rabbi Meir. " 'The 
Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the be¬ 
ginning.' " 

"And how didst thou explain the verse? "said Elishah. 

"That the Lord increased his wealth twofold." 

"But thy teacher, Akiba, said not so," returned Elishah. 
"He said that the Lord blessed the latter days of Job with 
twofold of penitence and good deeds." 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


229 


"How," inquired Rabbi Meir, "wouldst thou explain 
the verse, 'Better is the end of a thing than the beginning 
thereof '? If a man buys merchandise in his youth and 
meets with losses, is it likely that he will recover his sub¬ 
stance in old age? Or, if a person studies God's law in his 
youth and forgets it, is it probable that it will return to his 
memory in his latter days?" 

"Thy teacher, Akiba, said not so," replied Elishah; "he 

explained the verse, 'Better is the end of a thing when the 
beginning was good.' My own life proves the soundness of 
this explanation. On the day when I was admitted into the 

covenant of Abraham, my father made a great feast. Some 
of his visitors sang, some of them danced, but the Rabbis 
conversed upon God's wisdom and his laws. This latter 

pleased my father, Abuyah, and he said, 'When my son 
grows up ye shall teach him and he shall become like ye'; 
he did not cause me to study for God's sake but only to make 
his name famous through me. Therefore, in my latter days 
have I become wicked and an apostate; and now, return 

home." 

"And wherefore?" 

"Because, on the Sabbath day, thou art allowed to go so 
far and no farther, and I have reckoned the distance thou 
hast traveled with me by the footsteps of my horse." 

"If thou art so wise," said Rabbi Meir, "as to reckon 
the distance I may travel by the footsteps of thy horse, and 
art so particular for my sake, why not return to God and 
repent of thy apostasy?" 

Elishah answered, 

"It is not in my power. I rode upon horseback once on 
the Day of Atonement; yea, when it fell upon the Sabbath, 
and when I passed the synagogue I heard a voice crying, 
'Return, O backsliding children, return to me and I will 
return to ye; except Elishah the son of Abuyah, he knew 
his Master and yet rebelled against him.'" 

What caused such a learned man as Elishah to turn to 
evil ways? 

It is reported that once while studying the law in the 



230 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


vale of Genusan, he saw a man climbing a tree. The man 
found a bird's-nest in the tree, and taking the mother with 

the young ones he still departed in peace. He saw another 

man who finding a bird's-nest followed the Bible's command 
and took the yoimg only, allowing the mother to fly away; 
and yet a serpent stung him as he descended, and he died. 
"Now," thought he, "where is the Bible's truth and prom¬ 
ises? Is it not written, 'And the young thou mayest take 

to thyself, but the mother thou shalt surely let go, that it 
may be well with thee and that thou mayest live many days'? 
Now, where is the long life to this man who followed the 

precept, while the one who transgressed it is imhurt?" 

He had not heard how Rabbi Akiba expoimded this verse, 
that the days would be long in the future world where all 
is happiness. 

There is also another reason given as the cause for Eli- 
shah's backsliding and apostasy. 

During the fearful period of religious persecution, the 
learned Rabbi Judah, whose life had been passed in the 
study of the law and the practise of God's precepts, was 
delivered into the power of the cruel torturer. His tongue 
was placed in a dog's mouth and the dog bit it off. 

So Elishah said, "If a tongue which uttered naught but 
truth be so used, and a learned, wise man be so treated, of 
what use is it to avoid having a lying tongue and being 
ignorant? Lo, if these things are allowed, there is surely 
no reward for the righteous, and no resurrection for the 
dead." 

When Elishah waxed old he was taken sick, and Rabbi 
Meir, learning of the illness of his aged teacher, called 
upon him. 

"Oh return, return unto thy God," entreated Rabbi Meir. 

"What!" exclaimed Elishah, "return! and could he re¬ 
ceive my penitence, the penitence of an apostate who has 
so rebelled against him?" 

"Is it not written," said Meir, " 'Thou tumest man to con¬ 
trition'? (Psalm xc. 3.) No matter how the soul of man 
may be crushed, he can still turn to his God and find relief." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


231 


Elishah listened to these words, wept bitterly and died. 
Not many years after his death his daughters came, poverty- 
stricken, asking relief from the colleges. "Remember," 
said they, "the merit of our father's learning, not his 
conduct." 

The colleges listened to the appeal and supported the 
daughters of Elishah. 


RABBI SIMON 

Rabbi Judah, Rabbi Joseh, and Rabbi Simon were con¬ 
versing one day, when Judah ben Gerim entered the apart¬ 
ment and sat down with the three. Rabbi Judah was speak¬ 
ing in a complimentary strain of the Gentiles (Romans). 
"See," said he, "how they have improved their cities, how 
beautiful they have made them, and how much they have 
done for the comfort and convenience of the citizens: bath¬ 
houses, bridges, fine broad streets; surely much credit is due 
them." 

"Nay," answered Rabbi Simon, "all that they have done 
has been from a selfish motive. The bridges bring them in 
a revenue, for all who use them are taxed; the bath-houses 
are for their personal adornment — 'tis all selfishness, not 
patriotism." 

Judah ben Gerim repeated these remarks to his friends, 
and finally they reached the ears of the Emperor. He would 
not allow them to pass unnoticed. He ordered that Judah, 
who had spoken well of the nation, should be advanced in 
honor; that Joseh, who had remained silent instead of sec¬ 
onding the assertions, should be banished to Zipore; and that 
Simon, who had disputed the compliment, should be put to 
death. 

The latter with his son fled and concealed himself in fhe 
college when this fiat became known to him. For some time 
he remained there comparatively safe, his wife bringing his 
meals daily. But when the officers were directed to make 
diligent search he became afraid, lest through the indiscre¬ 
tion of his wife his place of concealment might be discovered. 

"The mind of woman is weak and unsteady," said he. 




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"perhaps they may question and confuse her, and thus may 
death come upon me." 

So leaving the city, Simon and his son took refuge in a 
lonely cave. Near its mouth some fruit-trees grew, supply¬ 
ing them with food, and a spring of pure water bubbled from 
rocks in the immediate vicinity. For thirteen years Rabbi 
Simon lived here, until the Emperor died and his decrees 
were repealed. He then returned to the city. 

When Rabbi Phineas, his son-in-law, heard of his return, 
he called upon him at once, and noticing an apparent neglect 
in the mental and physical condition of his relative, he 
exclaimed, "Woe, woe! that I meet thee in so sad a 
condition!" 

But Rabbi Simon answered, 

"Not so; happy is it that thou findest me in this condition, 
for thou findest me no less righteous than before. God 
has preserved me, and my faith in him, and thus hereafter 
shall I explain the verse of Scripture, 'And Jacob came per¬ 
fect.' Perfect in his physical condition, perfect in his tem¬ 
poral condition, and perfect in his knowledge of God." 

Antoninus, in conversing with Rabbi Judah, said to him, 

"In the future world, when the soul comes before the 
Almighty Creator for judgment, may it not find a plea of 
excuse for worldly wickedness in saying, 'Lo, the sin is the 

body's; I am now free from the body; the sins were not 

mine'?" 

Rabbi Judah answered, "Let me relate to thee a parable. 
A king had an orchard of fine figs, which he prized most 
highly. That the fruit might not be stolen or abused, he 

placed two watchers in the orchard, and that they themselves 
might not be tempted to partake of the fruit, he chose one 
of them a blind man, and the other one lame. But lo, when 
they were in the orchard, the lame man said to his com¬ 
panion, 'I see very fine figs; they are luscious and tempting; 
carry me to the tree, that we may both partake of them.' 

"So the blind man carried the lame man, and they ate 

of the figs. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


233 


"When the king entered the orchard he noticed at once 
that his finest figs were missing, and he asked the watchers 
what had become of them. 

"The blind man answered, 

" 'I know not. I could not steal them; I am blind; I 

can not even see them.' 

"And the lame man answered, 

" 'Neither could I steal them; I could not approach the 
tree.' 

"But the king was wise, and he answered, 

" 'Lo, the blind carried the lame,' and he punished them 

accordingly. 

"So is it with us. The world is the orchard in which 

the Eternal King has placed us, to keep watch and ward, 
to till its soil and care for its fruit. But the soul and body 
are the man; if one violates the precepts so does the other, 
and after death the soul may not say, 'It is the fault of the 
body to which I was tied that I committed sins'; no, God will 
do as did the owner of the orchard, as it is written, 

" 'He shall call from the heaven above, and to the earth 

to judge his people' (Psalms). 

"He shall call from the 'heaven above,' which is the soul, 
and to the 'earth below,' which is the body, mixing with the 
dust from whence it sprung." 

A heathen said to Rabbi Joshua, "Thou believest that 
God knows the future?" 

"Yes," replied the Rabbi. 

"Then," said the questioner, "wherefore is it written, 
'The Lord said, I will destroy everything which I have 
made, because it repenteth me that I have made them'? 
Did not the Lord foresee that man would become corrupt?" 

Then said Rabbi Joshua, "Hast thou children?" 

"Yes," was the answer. 

"When a child was bom, what didst thou?" 

"I made a great rejoicing." 

"What cause hadst thou to rejoice? Dost thou not know 
that they must die?" 



234 


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"Yes, that is true; but in the time of enjoyment I do 
not think of the future." 

"So was it with God," said Rabbi Joshua. "He knew 

that men would sin; still that knowledge did not prevent 
the execution of his beneficent purpose to create them." 

One of the emperors said to Rabbon Gamliel, 

"Your God is a thief, as it is written, 'And the Lord 
God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept. 
And he took a rib from Adam.'" 

The Rabbi's daughter said, "Let me answer this asper¬ 

sion. Last night robbers broke into my room, and stole 
therefrom a silver vessel; but they left a golden one in its 
stead." 

The Emperor replied, " I wish that such thieves would 

come every night." 

Thus was it with Adam; God took a rib from him, but 
placed a woman instead of it. 

Rabbi Joshua, of Saknin, said in the name of Rabbi Levi, 
"The Lord considered from what part of the man he should 
form woman; not from the head, lest she should be proud; 
not from the eyes, lest she should wish to see everything; 
not from the mouth, lest she might be talkative; nor from the 
ear, lest she should wish to hear everything; nor from the 
heart, lest she should be jealous; nor from the hand, lest 
she should wish to find out everything; nor from the feet, 

in order that she might not be a wanderer; only from the 
most hidden place, that is covered even when a man is naked; 
namely, the rib." 

The scholars of Rabbi Simon ben Jochai once asked him, 

"Why did not the Lord give to Israel enough manna to 
suffice them for a year, at one time, instead of meting it out 
daily?" 

The Rabbi replied, 

"I will answer ye with a parable. There was once a king 
who had a son to whom he gave a certain yearly allowance, 
paying the entire sum for his year's support on one ap- 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


235 


pointed day. It soon happened that this day on which the 
allowance was due was the only day in the year when the 
father saw his son. So the king changed his plan, and gave 
his son each day his maintenance for that day only, and then 
the son visited his father with the return of each day's sun. 
"So was it with Israel; each father of a family, dependent 
upon the manna provided each day by God's bounty, for his 
support and the support of his family, naturally had his 
mind devoted to the Great Giver and Sustainer of life." 

When Rabbi Eleazer was sick his scholars visited him, 
and said: "Rabbi, teach us the way of life, that we may 
inherit eternity." 

The Rabbi answered, "Give honor to your comrades. 
Know to whom you pray. Restrain your children from 
frivolous conversation, and place them among the learned 
men, in order that they may acquire wisdom. So may 
you merit life in the future world." 

When Rabbi Jochanan was sick his scholars also called 
upon him. When he beheld them he burst into tears. 

"Rabbi!" they exclaimed, "Light of Israel! The chief 
pillar! Why weep?" 

The Rabbi answered, "Were I to be brought before a king 
of flesh and blood, who is here to-day, and to-morrow in the 
grave; who may be angry with me, but not forever; who 
may imprison me, but not forever; who may kill me, but 
only for this world; whom I may sometimes bribe; even then 
I would fear. But now, I am to appear before the King of 
kings, the Most Holy One, blessed be he, who lives through 
all eternity. If he is wroth, it is forever; if he imprisons 
me, it is forever; if he slays me, it is for the future world; 
and I can bribe him neither with words nor money. Not 
only this, two paths are before me, one leading to prmishment 
the other to reward, and I know not which one I must travel. 
Should I not weep?" 

The scholars of Rabbi Johanan, the son of Zakai, asked 
of their teacher this question: 



236 


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"Wherefore is it, that according to the law, the punish¬ 
ment of a highwayman is not as severe as the punishment 
of a sneak-thief? According to the Mosaic law, if a man 
steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he is required 
to restore five oxen for the one ox, and four sheep for the 
one sheep (Exodus xxi. 37); but for the highwayman we 

find, 'When he hath sinned and is conscious of his guilt, he 
shall restore that he hath taken violently away; he shall 

restore it and its principal, and the fifth part thereof he shall 
add thereto.' Therefore, he who commits a highway rob¬ 
bery pays as punishment one-fifth of the same, while a sneak- 
thief is obliged to return five oxen for one ox, and four 
sheep for one sheep. Wherefore is this?" 

"Because," replied the teacher, "the highway robber 
treats the servant as the master. He takes away violently 

in the presence of the servant, the despoiled man, and the 
master — God. But the sneak-thief imagines that God's eye 
is not upon him. He acts secretly, thinking as the Psalmist 

says, 'The Lord doth not see, neither will the God of Jacob 
regard it' (Psalms xciv. 5). Listen to a parable. Two 
men made a feast. One invited all the inhabitants of the 

city, and omitted inviting the king. The other invited 
neither the king nor his subjects. Which one deserves con¬ 
demnation? Certainly the one who invited the subjects and 

not the king. The people of the earth are God's subjects. 
The sneak-thief fears their eyes, yet he does not honor the 
eye of the king, the eye of God, which watches all his actions." 

Rabbi Meir says, "This law teaches us how God regards 
industry. If a person steals an ox he must return five in 

its place, because while the animal was in his imlawful 

possession it could not work for its right owner. A lamb, 

however, does no labor, and is not profitable that way; there¬ 
fore he is only obliged to replace it fourfold." 

Rabbi Nachman dined with his teacher. Rabbi Yitzchak, 

and, upon departing after the meal, he said, "Teacher, bless 
me!" 

"Listen," replied Rabbi Yitzchak. "A traveler was once 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


237 


journeying through the desert, and when weary, hungry, and 
thirsty, he happened upon an oasis, where grew a fruitful 
tree, wide-branched, and at the foot of which there gushed 

a spring of clear, cool water. 

"The stranger ate of the luscious fruit, enjoying and rest¬ 
ing in the grateful shade, and quenching his thirst in the 
sparkling water which bubbled merrily at his feet. 

"When about to resume his journey, he addressed the 
tree and spoke as follows: 

" 'O gracious tree, with what words can I bless thee, and 
what good can I wish thee? I can not wish thee good fruit, 
for it is already thine; the blessing of water is also thine, 

and the gracious shade thrown by thy beauteous branches 
the Eternal has already granted thee, for my good and the 
good of those who travel by this way. Let me pray to 
God, then, that all thy offspring may be goodly as 
thyself.' 

"So it is with thee, my pupil. How shall I bless thee? 

Thou art perfect in the law, eminent in the land, respected, 

and blessed with means. May God grant that all thy off¬ 
spring may prove goodly as thyself." 

A wise man, say the Rabbis, was Gebiah ben Pesisah. 
When the children of Canaan accused the Israelites of steal¬ 
ing their land, saying, "The land of Canaan is ours, as it 
is written, 'The land of Canaan and its boundaries belong 
to the Canaanites,'" and demanded restitution, Gebiah 
offered to argue the case before the mler. 

Said Gebiah to the Africans, "Ye bring your proof from 
the Pentateuch, and by the Pentateuch will I refute it. 
'Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto 
his brethren' (Gen. ix. 25). To whom does the property 
of a slave belong? To his master. Even though the 
land belonged to ye, through your servitude it became 
Israel's." 

"Answer him," said the ruler. 

The accusers asked for three days' time to prepare their 
reply, but at the end of the three days they had vanished. 



238 


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Then came the Egyptians, saying, " 'God gave the 
Israelites favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, and they lent 
them gold and silver. Now return us the gold and silver 
which our ancestors lent ye." 

Again Gebiah appeared for the sages of Israel. 

"Four hundred and thirty years," said he, "did the chil¬ 
dren of Israel dwell in Egypt. Come, now, pay us the 
wages of six hundred thousand men who worked for ye for 
naught, and we will return the gold and silver." 

Then came the children of Ishmael and Ketura, before 
Alexander of Mukdon, saying, "The land of Canaan is ours, 
as it is written, 'These are the generations of Ishmael, the 
son of Abraham'; even as it is written, 'These are the gen¬ 
erations of Isaac, the son of Abraham.' One son is equal to 
the other; come, give us our share." 

Again Gebiah appeared as counsel for the sages. 

"From the Pentateuch, which is your proof, will I con¬ 
found ye," said he. "Is it not written, 'Abraham gave all 
that he had to Isaac, but unto the sons of the concubines 
that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts.' The man who 
gives his children their inheritance during his life does not 
design to give it to them again after his death. To Isaac 
Abraham left all that he had; to his other children he gave 
gifts, and sent them away." 

Truly a good man, say the Rabbis, was King Mimmaz, a 
descendant of the Hashmonites. During a period of famine 
he gave to the poor the contents of his treasury and the treas¬ 
ury of his father. 

His relatives upbraided him for his liberality. "What 
thy father saved," they exclaimed, "thou hast thrown away." 

Then answered Mrmmaz, 

"My father laid up treasures here on earth; I gather it 
in the heavens above. 'The truth comes forth from the 
earth, but beneficence looks down from heaven.' My father 
hoarded it where hands might have been stretched forth for 
it; I have placed it beyond the reach of human hands. 'Thy 
throne is established in justice and beneficence.' For my 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


239 


father it produced no fruit, but for me it is bringing forth 
manifold. 'Say to the righteous it is good: the fruit of 
their labor they may eat.' My father saved money; I saved 
life. 'The fruit of the righteous is the tree of life. Who 
saves lives is a wise man.' My father saved for others; 
I save for myself; my father saved for this world, but I 
save for the next. 'Thy beneficence will go before thee; the 
glory of the Lord will gather thee.'" 



THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 

PROVERBS AND SAYINGS OF THE RABBIS 

Woe to the children banished from their father's table. 

A handful of food will not satisfy the lion, neither can a 
pit be filled again with its own dust. 

Pray to God for mercy until the last shovelful of earth 
is cast upon thy grave. 

Cease not to pray even when the knife is laid upon thy 
neck. 

Open not thy mouth to speak evil. 

To be patient is sometimes better than to have much 
wealth. 

The horse fed too liberally with oats becomes unruly. 

Happy the pupil whose teacher approves his words. 

When the cucumbers are young we may tell whether they 
will become good for food. 

Do not to others what you would not have others do to you. 

The ass complains of the cold even in July (Tamuz). 

First learn and then teach. 

Few are they who see their own faults. 

A single light answers as well for a hundred men as for 
one. 

Victuals prepared by many cooks will be neither hot nor 
cold. 

The world is a wedding. 

Youth is a wreath of roses. 

A myrtle even in the desert remains a myrtle. 

Teach thy tongue to say, "I do not know." 

The house which opens not to the poor will open to the 
physician. 

The birds of the air despise a miser. 

240 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


241 


Hospitality is an expression of divine worship. 

Thy friend has a friend, and thy friend's friend has a 
friend; be discreet. 

Do not place a blemish on thine own flesh. 

Attend no auctions if thou hast no money. 

Rather skin a carcass for pay, in the public streets, than 
lie idly dependent on charity. 

Deal with those who are fortunate. 

What is intended for thy neighbor will never be thine. 

The weakness of thy walls invites the burglar. 

The place honors not the man; 'tis the man who gives 
honor to the place. 

The humblest man is ruler in his own house. 

If the fox is king bow before him. 

If a word spoken in its time is worth one piece of money, 
silence in its time is worth two. 

Tobias committed the sins and his neighbor received the 
punishment. 

Poverty sits as gracefully upon some people as a red saddle 
upon a white horse. 

Drain not the waters of thy well while other people may 
desire them. 

The doctor who prescribes gratuitously gives a worthless 
prescription. 

The rose grows among thorns. 

The wine belongs to the master, but the waiter receives 
the thanks. 

He who mixes with unclean things becomes imclean him¬ 
self; he whose associations are pure becomes more holy with 
each day. 

No man is impatient with his creditors. 

Make but one sale, and thou art called a merchant. 

Mention not a blemish which is thy own, in detraction of 
thy neighbor. 

If certain goods sell not in one city, try another place. 

He who reads the letter should execute the message. 

A vessel used for holy purposes should not be put to use 
less sacred. 



242 


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Ornament thyself first, then magnify others. 

Two pieces of coin in one bag make more noise than a 
hundred. 

Man sees the mote in his neighbor's eye, but knows not of 
the beam in his own. 

The rivalry of scholars advances science. 

If thou teilest thy secret to three persons, ten know of it. 

When wine enters the head the secret flies out. 

When a liar speaks the truth he finds his punishment in 
the general disbelief. 

The camel desired horns, and his ears were taken from 
him. 

Sorrow for those who disappear never to be found. 

The officer of the king is also a recipient of honors. 

He who studies can not follow a commercial life; neither 
can the merchant devote his time to study. 

There is no occasion to light thy lamp at noontide. 

Let the fruit pray for the welfare of the leaf. 

Meat without salt is fit only for the dogs. 

Trust not thyself until the day of thy death. 

Woe to the country which hath lost its leader; woe to the 
ship when its captain is no more. 

He who increaseth his flesh but multiplieth food for the 
worms. 

The day is short, the labor great, and the workman sloth¬ 
ful. 

Be yielding to thy superior; be affable toward the yormg; 
be friendly with all mankind. 

Silence is the fence round wisdom. 

Without law, civilization perishes. 

Every man will surely have his hour. 

Rather be the tail among lions than the head among foxes. 

Into the well which supplies thee with water cast no stones. 

Many a colt's skin is fashioned to the saddle which its 
mother bears. 

Truth is heavy, therefore few care to carry it. 

Say little and do much. 

He who multiplieth words will likely come to sin. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


243 


Sacrifice thy will for others, that they may be disposed 
to sacrifice their wills for thee. 

Study to-day; delay not. 

Look not upon thy prayers as on a task; let thy supplica¬ 
tions be sincere. 

He who is loved by man is loved by God. 

Honor the sons of the poor; they give to science its 
splendor. 

Do not live near a pious fool. 

A small coin in a large jar makes a great noise. 

Use thy noble vase to-day; to-morrow it may break. 

The cat and the rat make peace over a carcass. 

He who walks each day over his estate finds a coin 
daily. 

The dog follows thee for the crumbs in thy pocket. 

The soldiers fight, and the kings are heroes. 

When the ox is down many are the butchers. 

Descend a step in choosing thy wife; ascend a step in 
choosing thy friend. 

Beat the gods and their priests will tremble. 

The sun will set without thy assistance. 

Hold no man responsible for his utterances in times of 
grief 

One man eats, another says grace. 

He who curbs his wrath merits forgiveness for his sins. 

Commit a sin twice and it will not seem to thee a crime. 

When love is intense both find room enough upon one 
board of the bench; afterward they may find themselves 
cramped in a space of sixty cubits. 

Study is more meritorious than sacrifice. 

Jerusalem was destroyed because the instruction of the 
yormg was neglected. 

The world is saved by the breath of school children. Even 
to rebuild the temple, the schools must not be closed. 

Blessed is the son who has studied with his father, and 
blessed the father who has instructed his son. 

Avoid wrath and thou wilt avoid sin; avoid intemperance 
and thou wilt not provoke Providence. 



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When others gather, do thou disperse; when others dis¬ 
perse, gather. 

When thou art the only purchaser, then buy; when other 
buyers are present, be thou nobody. 

The foolish man knows not an insult, neither does a dead 
man feel the cutting of a knife. 

The cock and the owl both await daylight. "The light," 
says the cock, "brings me delight; but what in the world art 
thou waiting for?" 

The thief who finds no opportunity to steal considers him¬ 
self an honest man. 

A Galilean said, "When the shepherd is angry with his 
flock, he appoints for its leader a blind bell wether." 

Though it is not incumbent upon thee to complete the 
work, thou must not therefore cease from pursuing it. If 
the work is great, great will be thy reward, and thy Master 
is faithful in his payments. 

There are three crowns: of the law, the priesthood, and 
the kingship; but the crown of a good name is greater than 
them all. 

Who gains wisdom? He who is willing to receive instruc¬ 
tion from all sources. Who is the mighty man? He who 
subdueth his temper. Who is rich? He who is content 
with his lot. Who is deserving of honor? He who honor- 
eth mankind. 

Despise no man and deem nothing impossible; every man 
hath his hour and everything its place. 

Iron breaks stone; fire melts iron; water extinguishes fire; 
the clouds consume water; the storm dispels clouds; man 
withstands the storm; fear conquers man; wine banishes 
fear; sleep overcomes wine, and death is the master of 

sleep; but "charity," says Solomon, "saves even from 

death." 

How canst thou escape sin? Think of three things: 

whence thou comest, whither thou goest, and before whom 

thou must appear. The scoffer, the liar, the hypocrite, and 
the slanderer can have no share in the future world of bliss. 
To slander is to commit murder. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


245 


Repent the day before thy death.' 

Ten measures of wisdom came into the world; the law of 
Israel received nine measures, and the balance of the world 
one. Ten measures of beauty came into the world; Jeru¬ 
salem received nine measures, and the rest of the world one. 

Rabbi Simon said, 

"The world stands on three pillars: law, worship, and 
charity." 

Rabbi Ada said, 

"When he who attends the synagogue regularly is pre¬ 
vented from being present, God asks for him." 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Joshua, said, 

"His enemies will humble themselves before the one who 
builds a place of worship." 

Rabbi Lakish said, 

"He who is able to attend synagogue, and neglects to do 
so, is a bad neighbor." 

Rabbi Jose said, 

"One need not stand upon a high place to pray, for it is 
written, 'Out of the depths have I called unto thee, O Lord.'" 
(Psalm XXX. 1.) The same Rabbi prohibits moving about 
or talking during the progress of prayers, enlarging on 
Solomon's advice, "Keep thy foot when thou goest into the 
house of the Lord, and be more ready to hear than to offer 
the sacrifice of fools." (Eccl. v. 1.) 

Rabbi Chia, the son of Abba, said, 

"To pray loudly is not a necessity of devotion; when we 
pray we must direct our hearts toward heaven." 

When our ancestors in the wilderness were saved from 
death by gazing upon the brazen serpent, it was not the 
serpent which killed or preserved. It was the trustful ap¬ 
peal to the Father in heaven. 

Say the Rabbis, "Praise the Lord for the evil as for the 
good"; and David is given as an example when he said, "I 

' The Rabbi who said, "Repent the day before thy death," was asked 
by his disciples how they could follow his advice, as man was unable 
to tell upon what day his death would occur. He answered, "Consider 
every day thy last; be ever ready with penitence and good deeds." 




246 


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had met with distress and sorrow, I then called on the name 
of the Lord." (Psalm cxvi.) 

Rabbi Ashi said, 

"Charity is greater than all." 

Rabbi Eleazar said, 

"Who gives charity in secret is greater than Moses." 

He finds authority for this saying in the words of Moses 
(Dent. ix. 19). "For I was afraid of the anger," and the 
words of Solomon (Prov. xxi. 14), which he presents as an 
answer, "A gift given in secret pacifieth anger." 

Rabbi Joshua said, 

"A miser is as wicked as an idolater." 

Rabbi Eleazar said, 

"Charity is more than sacrifices." 

Rabbi Jochanan said, 

"He who gives charity becomes rich," or as it is written, 
"A beneficent soul will be abundantly gratified." 

One day a philosopher inquired of Rabbi Akiba, "If your 
God loves the poor, why does he not support them?" 

"God allows the poor to be with us ever," responded 
Akiba, "that the opportunities for doing good may never 
fail." 

"But," returned the philosopher, "how do you know that 
this virtue of charity pleases God? If a master pimishes his 
slaves by depriving them of food and clothing, does he feel 
pleased when others feed and clothe them?" 

"But suppose, on the other hand," said the Rabbi, "that 
the children of a tender father, children whom he could no 
longer justly assist, had fallen into poverty, would he be 
displeased if kind souls pitied and aided them? We are not 
the slaves of a hard master. God calls us his children, and 
himself we call our Father." 

Rabbah said, 

"When one stands at the judgment-seat of God these ques¬ 
tions are asked: 

" 'Hast thou been honest in all thy dealings?' 

" 'Hast thou set aside a portion of thy time for the study 
of the law?' 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


247 


" 'Hast thou observed the first commandment?' 

" 'Hast thou, in trouble, still hoped and believed in 
God?' 

" 'Hast thou spoken wisely?'" 

"All the blessings of a household come through the wife, 
therefore should her husband honor her." 

Rah said, 

"Men should be careful lest they cause women to weep, 
for God coimts their tears. 

"In cases of charity, where both men and women claim 
relief, the latter should be first assisted. If there should not 
be enough for both, the men should cheerfully relinquish 
their claims. 

"A woman's death is felt by nobody as by her husband. 

"Tears are shed on God's altar for the one who forsakes 
his first love. 

"He who loves his wife as himself, and honors her more 
than himself, will train his children properly; he will meet, 
too, the fulfilment of the verse, 'And thou shalt know that 
there is peace in thy tent, and thou wilt look over thy habita¬ 
tion and shall miss nothing.'" (Job v. 24.) 

Rabbi Jose said, 

"I never call my wife 'wife,' but 'home,' for she, indeed, 
makes my home. 

"He who possesses a knowledge of God, and a knowledge 
of man, will not easily commit sin. 

"The Bible was given us to establish peace. 

"He who wrongs his fellow-man, even in so small a coin 
as a penny, is as wicked as if he should take life. 

"He who raises his hand against his fellow in passion is 
a sinner. 

"Be not the friend of one who wears the cloak of a saint 
to cover the deformities of a fool." 

Rabbi Simon said, 

"One who gives way to passion is as bad as an idolater. 

"Hospitality is as great a virtue as studying the law." 

"Never put thyself in the way of temptation," advised 
Rabbi Judah; "even David could not resist it." 



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Rabbi Tyra, on being asked by bis pupils to tell them the 
secret which had gained him a happy, peaceful old age, re¬ 
plied, "I have never cherished anger with my family; I 
have never envied those greater than myself, and I have 
never rejoiced in the downfall of any one." 

"Unhappy is he who mistakes the branch for the tree, 
the shadow for the substance. 

"Thy yesterday is thy past; thy to-day thy future; thy 
to-morrow is a secret. 

"The best preacher is the heart; the best teacher is time; 
the best book is the world; the best friend is God. 

"Life is but a loan to man; death is the creditor who will 
one day claim it. 

"Understand a man by his own deeds and words. The 
impressions of others lead to false judgment." 

Rabbi Jacob said, 

"He through whose agency another has been falsely pun¬ 
ished stands outside of heaven's gates." 

Rabbi Isaac said, 

"The sins of the bad-tempered are greater than his merits." 

Rabbi Lakish said, 

"The man who sins is foolish as well as wicked." 

Rabbi Samuel said, 

"The good actions which we perform in this world take 
form and meet us in the world to come. 

"Better to bear a false accusation in silence, than by 
speaking to bring the guilty to public shame. 

"He who can feel ashamed will not readily do wrong. 

"There is a great difference between one who can feel 
ashamed before his own soul and one who is only ashamed 
before his fellow-man." 

Rabbi Akiba said, 

"God's covenant with us included work; for the command, 
'Six days shalt thou work and the seventh shalt thou rest,' 
made the 'rest' conditional upon the 'work.'" 

Rabbi Simon said, on the same subject, 

"God first told Adam to dress the Garden of Eden, and 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


249 


to keep it (Gen. ii. 15), and then permitted him to eat of 
the fruit of his labor." 

Rabbi Tarphon said, 

"God did not dwell in the midst of Israel till they had 
worked to deserve his presence, for he commanded, 'They 
shall make me a sanctuary, and then I will dwell in the midst 
of them.'" 

When Jerusalem was in the hands of the Romans, one of 
their philosophers asked of the Rabbis, 

"If your God dislikes idolatry, why does he not destroy 
the idols and so put temptation out of the way?" 

The wise men answered, 

"Would you have the sim and the moon destroyed because 
of the foolish ones who worship them? To change the course 
of nature to punish sinners would bring suffering to the inno¬ 
cent also." 

In Ecclesiastes ix. 14, we find this verse: 

"There was a little city and the men therein were few, 
and there came against it a great king, and built aroimd it 
great works of siege; but there was found in it a poor wise 
man, and he delivered the city by his wisdom." 

The sages interpret this verse most beautifully. The 
"little city" is man, and the "few men" are his different 
qualities. The king" who besieged it is evil inclination, 
and the "great bulwarks" he built around it are "evil deeds." 
The "poor wise man" who saved the city is the "good 
actions" which the poorest may readily perform. 

Rabbi Judah said, 

"He who refuses to teach a precept to his pupil is guilty 
of theft, just as one who steals from the inheritance of his 
father; as it is written, 'The law which Moses commanded 
us is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.' (Deut.) 
But if he teaches him, what is his reward?" 

Raba says, "He will obtain the blessing of Joseph." 

Rabbi Eleazer said, 

"That house where the law is not studied by night should 
be destroyed. 



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"The wealthy man who aids not the scholar desirous of 
studying God's law will not prosper. 

"He who changes his word, saying one thing and doing 
another, is even as he who serveth idols." 

Rabbi Chamah, the son of Papa, said, 

"He who eats or drinks and blesses not the Lord is even 
as he who stealeth, for it is said, 'The heavens are the heavens 
of the Lord, and the earth hath he given to the children of 
men.'" 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Lakish, said, 

"They who perform one precept in this world will find 
it recorded for their benefit in the world to come; as it is 
written, 'Thy righteousness will go before thee; the glory 
of the Lord will gather thee in.' And the same will be the 
case, in contrast, with those who sin. For the Bible says, 
'Which I commanded thee this day to do them,' to 'do them,' 
the precepts, to-day, though the reward is not promised 
to-day; but in the future, ordinances obeyed, will testify in 
thy favor, for 'thy righteousness will go before thee.'" 

The Rabbis pronounced those the "friends of God" who 
being offended thought not of revenge; who practised good 
through love for God, and who were cheerful under suffering 
and difficulties. Of such Isaiah wrote, "They shall shine 
forth like the sun at noonday." 

Love thy wife as thyself; honor her more than thyself 
He who lives unmarried lives without joy. If thy wife is 
small, bend down to her and whisper in her ear. He who 
sees his wife die has, as it were, been present at the destruc¬ 
tion of the sanctuary itself. The children of a man who 
marries for money will prove a curse to him. 

He who has more learning than good deeds is like a tree 
with many branches but weak roots; the first great storm will 
throw it to the ground. He whose good works are greater 
than his knowledge is like a tree with fewer branches but 
with strong and spreading roots, a tree which all the winds 
of heaven can not uproot. 

Better is the curse of the righteous man than the blessing 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


251 


of the wicked. Better the curse of Achia, the Shelonite, 
than the blessing of Bil'am, the son of Beor. Thus did 

Achia curse the Israelites, "And the Lord will smite Israel 
as the reed is shaken in the water." (Kings xiv. 15.) The 
reed bends but it breaks not, for it groweth by the water, 

and its roots are strong. Thus did Bil'am bless Israel, "As 

cedar-trees beside the waters." Cedars do not grow beside 

the waters; their roots are weak, and when strong winds blow 
they break in pieces. 


BENEVOLENCE 

According to a proverb of the Fathers, benevolence is one 
of the pillars upon which the world rests. "The world," 
said they, "is sustained by virtue of three things: the law, 
divine worship, and active benevolence." The Pentateuch 
commences and ends with an act of benevolence, as it is 
written, "And the Lord God made unto Adam and to his 
wife coats of skin, and clothed them" (Gen. hi. 20); and 
also, "And he (God) buried him" (Deut. xxxiv. 6). To 
do a person a favor is to act beneficently toward him with¬ 
out any hope or desire of return, and may be practised in 
two eases — to oblige a person to whom we are not under 
obligation, and to accommodate or oblige a person, with more 
trouble to ourselves and more gain to him than he deserves. 
The mercy which is mentioned in the Bible is that which 
is given freely and without desert upon the part of one to 
whom it is granted; for instance, the benevolence of God is 
called mercy, because we are in debt to God, and he owes us 
nothing. Charity is also a species of benevolence, but it can 
only be applied to the poor and needy; while benevolence 
itself is both for poor and rich, high and lowly. We may 
even act benevolently toward the dead, attending to the last 
rites; this is called mercy and truth. If we oblige a fellow- 
man, it is possible that he may, in the course of time, repay 
the same; but benevolence to the dead is the very truth of 
mercy; it can not be returned. In three instances is benev¬ 
olence superior to charity. Charity may be practised by 
means of money; benevolence with or without money. Char- 



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ity is for the poor alone; benevolence either for the poor or 
for the rich. Charity we can display but to the living; 

benevolence to the living or the dead. 

"After the Lord your God ye shall walk." How is it 

possible for us to walk after God? By following his attri¬ 

butes and examples. The Lord clothed the naked, as it is 
written, "The Lord God made to Adam and his wife coats 

of skin and clothed them." So we must do the same. The 
Lord visited the sick. "The Lord appeared to him in the 
grove of Mamre" (which was immediately after the cir¬ 
cumcision). So we must do the same. The Lord com- 
forteth the mourner. "It came to pass after the death of 
Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac." So we must do the 
same. The Lord buried the dead, as it is written, "He 
(God) buried him." So must we do the same. To attend 
to the dead, follow to its last resting-place the dust of our 
fellows, is an act of benevolence both to the dead and the 
living—the spirit departed and the mourners. 

Rabbi Judah said, "If a person weeps and mourns ex¬ 
cessively for a lost relative, his grief becomes a murmur 
against the will of God, and he may soon be obliged to weep 
for another death." We should justify the decree of God, 
and exclaim with Job, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath 
taken; blessed be the name of the Lord." 

Hospitality is another attribute of benevolence. It is 
said of Abraham, "And he planted an orchard." This was 
not an orchard as we imderstand the word, but an inn. 
Abraham opened his house to passing travelers, and enter¬ 
tained them in a hospitable manner. When his guests 
thanked him for his attention, Abraham replied, "Do not 
thank me, for I am not the owner of this place; thank God, 
who created heaven and earth." In this manner he made 
the name of God known among the heathens. Therefore he 
gave us an example of hospitality which we should follow, 
as it is written in the proverbs of the Fathers, "Let thy 
house be open wide as a refuge, and let the poor be cordially 
received within thy walls." When they enter thy house, 
receive them with a friendly glance, and set immediately 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


253 


before them thy bread and salt. Perhaps the poor man may 
be hungry, and yet hesitate to ask for food. Even though 
there may be much to trouble thee, thou must hide thy 
feelings from thy guests; comfort them if they need kindly 
words, but lay not thine own troubles before them. Remem¬ 
ber how kindly Abraham acted toward the three angels whom 
he thought were men; how hospitably he treated them, say¬ 
ing, "My lords, if I have found grace in your eyes, do not 
pass away from your servant," etc. (Gen. xviii. 3.) Be 
always friendly to thy guests, then when thou shalt call upon 
the Lord he will answer thee. 

God knows whether the hearts which seek him offer him 
all of which they are capable. During the existence of the 
temple, the Lord received with equal favor the meat-offering 
of a handful of flour and the sacrifice of a bull. So now, the 
offering of the poor is just as acceptable as the utmost which 
the rich man can afford, if their hearts are equally with the 
Lord. 

It was said of Rabbi Tarphon that, though a very wealthy 
man, he was not charitable according to his means. One 

time Rabbi Akiba said to him, "Shall I invest some money 
for thee in real estate, in a manner which will be very profit¬ 
able?" Rabbi Tarphon answered in the affirmative, and 

brought to Rabbi Akiba four thousand denars in gold, to be 
so applied. Rabbi Akiba immediately distributed the same 
among the poor. Some time after this Rabbi Tarphon met 
Rabbi Akiba, and asked him where the real estate which he 
had bought for him was situated. Akiba led his friend to 
the college, and showed him a little boy, who recited for them 
the 112th Psalm. When he reached the ninth verse, "He 

distributeth, he giveth to the needy, his righteousness endur- 
eth forever," 

"There," said Akiba, "thy property is with David, the 

King of Israel, who said, he distributeth, he giveth to the 
needy.'" 

"And wherefore hast thou done this?" asked Tarphon. 

"Knowest thou not," answered Rabbi Akiba, "how Nak- 



254 


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dimon, the son of Guryon, was punished because he gave not 
according to his means?" 

"Well," returned the other, "why didst thou not tell me 
this; could I not have distributed my means without 
thy aid?" 

"Nay," said Akiba, "it is a greater virtue to cause an¬ 
other to give than to give one's self." 

From this we may learn that he who is not charitable 
according to his means will be prmished. 

Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Lakkai, was once riding out¬ 
side of Jerusalem, and his pupils had followed him. They 
saw a poor woman collecting the grain which dropped from 
the mouths and troughs of some feeding cattle, belonging to 
Arabs. When she saw the Rabbi, she addressed him in these 
brief words, "Oh Rabbi, assist me." He replied, "My 
daughter, whose daughter art thou?" 

"I am the daughter of Nakdimon, the son of Guryon," 
she answered. 

"Why, what has become of thy father's money?" asked 
the Rabbi; "the amount which thou didst receive as a dowry 
on thy wedding-day?" 

"Ah," she replied, "is there not a saying in Jerusalem, 
'The salt was wanting to the money?' 

"And thy husband's money," continued the Rabbi; 

"what of that?" 

"That followed the other," she answered; "I have lost 
them both." 

The Rabbi turned to his scholars and said, 

"I remember, when I signed her marriage-contract, her 
father gave her as a dowry one million golden denars, and 
her husband was wealthy in addition thereto." 

The Rabbi sympathized with the woman, helped her, and 
wept for her. 

"Happy are ye, O sons of Israel," he said; "as long as 
ye perform the will of God naught can conquer ye; but if ye 
fail to fulfil his wishes, even the cattle are superior to ye." 

^ Salt is used to preserve meat; without salt the meat rots. Charity 
is to money even as salt is to meat. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


255 


He who does not practise charity commits a sin. This 

is proved in the life of Nachum. 

Nachum, whatever occurred to him, was in the habit of 

saying, "This too is for the best." In his old age he became 
blind; both of his hands and both of his legs were ampu¬ 
tated, and the trunk of his body was covered with a sore 

inflammation. His scholars said to him, "If thou art a 
righteous man, why art thou so sorely afflicted?" 

"All this," he answered, "I brought upon myself. Once 
I was traveling to the house of my father-in-law, and I had 
with me thirty asses laden with provisions and all manner 
of precious articles. A man by the wayside called to me, 
'Oh Rabbi, assist me.' I told him to wait imtil I unloaded 
my asses. When that time arrived and I had removed their 
burdens from my beasts, I found to my sorrow that the poor 
man had fallen and expired. I threw myself upon his body 
and wept bitterly. 'Let these eyes, which had no pity on 
thee, be blind,' I said; 'these hands, that delayed to assist 
thee, let them be cut off, and also these feet, which did not 
run to aid thee.' And yet I was not satisfied until I prayed 
that my whole body might be stricken with a sore inflamma¬ 
tion. Rabbi Akiba said to me, 'Woe to me that I find thee 
in this state!' But I replied, 'Happy to thee that thou 
meetest me in this state, for through this I hope that my 
iniquity may be forgiven, and all my righteous deeds still 
remain recorded to gain me a reward of life eternal in the 
future world.'" 

Rabbi Janay upon seeing a man bestowing alms in a public 
place, said, "Thou hadst better not have given at all than to 
have bestowed alms so openly and put the poor man to shame. 

"One should rather be thrown into a fiery furnace than 
be the means of bringing another to public shame." 

The Rabbis particularly insist that we are not to confine 
the exercise of charity to our own people, for the law of 
Moses inculcates kindness and hospitality toward the stranger 
within our gates. Even the animals are especially remem¬ 
bered in his most merciful code. 



256 


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Rabbi Juda said, "No one should sit down to his own 
meals until seeing that all the animals dependent upon his 
care are provided for." 

Rabbi Jochanan has said that it is as pleasing in God's 

sight, if we are kind and hospitable to strangers, as if we rise 
up early to study his law; because the former is in fact put¬ 
ting his law into practise. He also said, "He who is active 

in kindnesses toward his fellows is forgiven his sins." 

Both this Rabbi and Abba say it is better to lend to the 
poor than to give to them, for it prevents them from feeling 
ashamed of their poverty, and is really a more charitable 

manner of aiding them. The Rabbis have always taught 
that kindness is more than the mere almsgiving of charity, 
for it includes pleasant words with the more substantial help. 

MEEKNESS 

We find in the Bible many instances of the pleasure which 
meekness and humility in the creature affords the Great 

Creator. The noblest of our ancestors were those who were 
free from self-pride. 

Abraham, the pure in heart, knew well he was but dust 
of the earth; and when the sons of Heth addressed him as the 
"prince of God," he bowed down before them. 

Moses and Aaron, the leaders of Israel, exclaimed, 

"What are we!" And Moses in place of being jealous on 
hearing that two of his followers were prophesying in the 
camp, said humbly, "Would that all the Lord's people were 
prophets." (Numb. xi. 29.) 

When David dedicated to God's service the costly material 
he had gathered for the temple, he meekly said, "Only of 
thine own have we given thee." (Psalm xxxvii. 11.) 

From the Great Eternal, himself, we learn humility. He 
chose Mount Sinai from which to give his commandments; 
'twas not the highest of the mountains. He called to Moses 
not from a lofty tree but from a lowly bush. When he spoke 
to Elijah he allowed the wind to roar, the earth to tremble, 
and the fire to flash forth; but for his medium he chose "the 
still, small voice." 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


257 


Rabbi Hunnah said, "He who is proud in heart is as 
sinful as the idolater." 

Rabbi Abira said, "He who is proud shall be humbled." 

Heskaiah said, "The prayers of a proud, hard-hearted 
man are never heard." 

Rabbi Ashi said, "He who hardens his heart with pride 
softens his brains with the same." 

Rabbi Joshua said, "Meekness is better than sacrifice"; 
for is it not written, "The sacrifices of God are a broken 
heart — a broken contrite spirit, thou, O Lord, wilt not 
despise"? 

THE FEAR OF GOD 

The son of Rabbi Hiumah said, "He who possesses a 
knowledge of God's law, without the fear of him, is as one 
who has been entrusted with the inner keys of a treasury, 
but from whom the outer ones are withheld." 

Rabbi Alexander said, "He who possesses worldly wisdom 
and fears not the Lord is as one who designs building a house 
and completes only the door, for as David wrote in Psalm 
cxi.,' The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.'" 

When Rabbi Jochanan was ill his pupils visited him and 
asked him for a blessing. With his dying voice the Rabbi 
said, "I pray that you may fear God as you fear man." 
"What!" exclaimed his pupils, "should we not fear God 
more than man?" 

"I should be well content," answered the sage, "if your 
actions proved that you feared him as much. When you do 
wrong you first make sure that no human eyes see you; show 
the same fear of God, who sees everywhere, and everything, 
at all times." 

Abba says we can show our fear of God in our inter¬ 
course with one another. "Speak pleasantly and kindly to 
every one," he says, "trying to pacify anger, seeking peace, 
and pursuing it with your brethren and with all the world, 
and by this means you will gain that 'favor and good imder- 
standing in the sight of God and man,' which Solomon so 
high prized." (Prov. iii. 9.) 



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Rabbi Jochanan had heard Rabbi Simon, son of Jochay, 
illustrate by a parable that passage of Isaiah which reads 
as follows: "I, the Lord, love uprightness; but hate rob¬ 
bery converted into bumt-offering." 

A king having imported certain goods upon which he laid 
a duty, bade his officers, as they passed the custom-house, to 
stop and pay the usual tariff. 

Greatly astonished, his attendants addressed him thus: 
"Sire! all that is collected belongs to your Majesty; why 
then give what must be eventually paid into thy treasury?" 

"Because," answered the monarch, "I wish travelers to 
learn, from the action I now order you to perform, how ab¬ 
horrent dishonesty is in my eyes." 

Even so is it regarding the dealings of the Almighty with 
us, pilgrims on earth. Though all we possess belongs to 
him, yet he adds to it continually, in order to increase our 
temporal enjoyment. Should any one imagine, therefore, 
that to defraud man in order to present to God what is solely 
his own, might be allowable, he would be rebuked by the 
teachings of Holy Writ, for the just God condemns the act, 
and calls it hateful. 

From this we may then infer, for instance, that palm- 
branches, stolen in order to perform therewith the prescribed 
rites at the Feast of Tabernacles, are unfit for use by reason 
of the unlawful manner in which they were obtained. 

Rabbi Eleazer said: "He who is guided by righteousness 
and justice in all his doings may justly be asserted to have 
copied God in his rmbounded beneficence. For of him 
(blessed be his name) we read, 'He loveth righteousness 
and justice'; that is, 'The earth is filled with the loving¬ 
kindness of God.' Might we think that to follow such a 
course is an easy task? No! The virtue of beneficence can 
be gained only by great efforts. Will it be difficult, how¬ 
ever, for him that has the fear of God constantly before his 
eyes to acquire this attribute? No; he will easily attain it 
whose every act is done in the fear of the Lord. 

"A crown of grace is the hoary head; on the way of 
righteousness can it be found." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


259 


So taught Solomon in his Proverbs. Hence various Rab¬ 
bis, who had attained an advanced age, were questioned by 
their pupils as to the probable cause that had secured them 
that mark of divine favor. Rabbi Nechumah answered that, 
in regard to himself, God had taken cognizance of three prin¬ 
ciples by which he had endeavored to guide his conduct. 

First, he had never striven to exalt his own standing by 
lowering that of his neighbor. This was agreeable to the 
example set by Rabbi Hunna, for the latter, while bearing 
on his shoulders a heavy spade, was met by Rabbi Choana 
ben Chanilai, who, considering the burden derogatory to the 
dignity of so great a man, insisted upon relieving him of the 
implement and carrying it himself. But Rabbi Hunna re¬ 
fused, saying, "Were this your habitual calling I might per¬ 
mit it, but I certainly shall not permit another to perform 
an office which, if done by myself, may be looked upon by 
some as menial." 

Secondly, he had never gone to his night's rest with a 
heart harboring ill-will against his fellow-man, conformably 
with the practise of Mar Zutra, who, before sleeping, offered 
this prayer: "O Lord! forgive all those who have done me 
injury." 

Thirdly, he was not penurious, following the example of 
the righteous Job, of whom the sages relate that he declined 
to receive the change due him after making a purchase. 

Another Rabbi, bearing also the name of Nechumah, re¬ 
plied to Rabbi Akiba that he believed himself to have been 
blessed with long life because, in his official capacity, he had 
invariably set his face against accepting presents, mindful 
of what Solomon wrote, "He that hateth gifts will live." 
Another of his merits he conceived to be that of never resent¬ 
ing an offense; mindful of the words of Rabba, "He who is 
indulgent toward others' faults will be mercifully dealt 
with by the Supreme Judge." 

Rabbi Zera said that the merit of having reached an 
extreme age was in his case due, under Providence, to his 
conduct through life. He governed his household with mild¬ 
ness and forbearance. He refrained from advancing an 



260 


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opinion before his superiors in wisdom. He avoided re¬ 
hearsing the word of God in places not entirely free from 
imcleanliness. He wore the phylacteries all day, that he 
might he reminded of his religions duties. He did not make 
the college where sacred knowledge is taught a place of con¬ 
venience, as, for instance, to sleep there, either occasionally 
or habitually. He never rejoiced over the downfall of a 
fellow-mortal, nor would he designate another by a name 
objectionable to the party personally, or to the family of 
which he was a member. 

HONOR THY PARENTS 

The Bible makes man's parents equally deserving, with 
the Most High, of his honor and reverence. "Honor thy 
father and thy mother," is one of the precepts of the dec¬ 
alogue, and it is also written, "Honor God from thy wealth." 
"Fear thy father and mother," and "The Lord thy God shalt 
thou fear," are also divine inculcations, while the penalty for 
the blasphemous child, who sins against either his earthly 
parents or the great Father of the universe, is the same, even 
as it is written, "Who curses his father and his mother shall 
be put to death," and "Every man who blasphemes God shall 
carry his death." 

"Three friends," said the Rabbis, "has man." God, his 
father, and his mother. "He who honors his parents," 
says God, "honors me, even as though I lived among 
them." 

Rabbi Judah said, "Known and revealed are the ways of 
man. A mother coaxes a child with kind words and gentle 
ways, gaining honor and affection; therefore, the Bible says, 
'Honor thy father,' before 'Honor thy mother.' But in re¬ 
gard to fearing, as the father is the preceptor of the child, 
teaching it the law, the Bible says, 'Every man shall fear his 
mother,' before the word 'father.'" 

Rabbi Ulah was once asked, "How extended should be this 
honor due to parents?" 

He replied, 

"Listen, and I will tell ye how thoroughly it was ob- 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


261 


served by a heathen, Damah, the son of Nethina. He was 
a diamond merchant, and the sages desired to purchase from 
him a jewel for the ephod of the high priest. When they 
reached his house they foimd that the key of the safe in 
which the diamond was kept was in the possession of 
Damah's father, who was sleeping. The son absolutely re¬ 
fused to wake his father, to obtain the key, even when the 
sages in their impatience offered him a much larger sum 
for the jewel than he had demanded. And further, when his 
father awoke, and he delivered the diamond to the pur¬ 
chasers, and they offered him the larger sum which they had 
named, he took from it his first price, returning the balance 
to them, with the words, 'I will not profit by the honor of 
my father.'" 

Man can not always judge of man, and, in the respect paid 
to parents by their children, earthly eyes can not always see 
the truth. For instance, a child may feed his parents on 
dainties, and yet deserve the punishment of a disrespectful 
son; while another may send his father to labor, and yet 
deserve reward. How may this be? 

A certain man placed dainty food before his father, and 
bade him eat thereof When the father had finished his 
meal, he said, 

"My son, thou hast prepared for me a most delicious meal. 
Wherefrom didst thou obtain these delicacies?" 

And the son replied, insultingly, 

"Eat as the dogs do, old man, without asking questions." 

That son inherited the punishment of disrespect. 

A certain man, a miller, had a father living with him, at 
the time when all people not working for themselves were 
obliged to labor a certain number of days for the government. 
When it came near the time when this service would be 
required of the old man, his son said to him, "Go thou and 
labor for me in the mill, and I will go and work for the 
government." 

He said this because they who labored for the government 
were beaten if their work proved unsatisfactory, and he 
thought "it is better for me to run the chance of being 



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beaten than to allow my father to risk it." Therefore, he 
deserved the reward of the son who "honors his father." 

Rabbi Chiyah asserted that God preferred honor shown 
to parents, to that displayed toward himself. "It is writ¬ 
ten," said he, " 'Honor the Lord from thy wealth.' How? 
Through charity, good deeds, putting the mezuzah upon thy 
doorposts, making a tabernacle for thyself during Succoth, 
etc.; all this if thou art able. If thou art poor the omission 
is not coimted a sin or a neglect. But it is written, 'Honor 
thy father and thy mother,' and the duty is demanded alike 
of rich and poor; aye, even shouldst thou be obliged to beg 
for them from door to door." 

Rabbi Abahu said, "Abini, my son, hath obeyed this pre¬ 
cept even as it should be observed." 

Abini had five children, but he would not allow any of 
them to open the door for their grandfather, or attend to 
his wants, when he himself was at home. Even as he desired 
them in their lives to honor him, so he paid respect to his 
father. Upon one occasion his father asked him for a glass 
of water. While he was procuring it the old man fell asleep; 
and Abini, re-entering the room, stood by his father's side 
with the glass in his hand imtil the latter awoke. 

"What is fear?" and "What is honor?" ask the Rabbis. 

Fear thy mother and thy father, by sitting not in their 
seats and standing not in their places; by paying strict 
attention to their words and interrupting not their speech. 
Be doubly careful not to criticize or judge their arguments 
or controversies. 

Honor thy father and thy mother, by attending to their 
wants; giving them to eat and to drink; put their raiment 
upon them, and tie their shoes if they are not able to perform 
these services for themselves. 

Rabbi Eleazer was asked how far honor toward parents 
should be extended, and he replied: "Cast all thy wealth 
into the sea; but trouble not thy father and thy mother." 

Simon, the son of Jochai, said: "As the reward to those 
who honor their parents is great, so is the punishment equally 
great for those who neglect the precept." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


263 


Each precept of the Bible states what the reward for its 
observance will be, and with this one we are told, "In order 
that thy days may be prolonged, and in order that it may 
go well with thee." 

That thy days may be prolonged, not only in this world, 
but also in the world to come. 

THE LAW AND ITS STUDY 

"The Lord created me as the beginning of his way." 
(Prov. viii. 22.) This means that God created the law be¬ 
fore he created the world. Many sages have made their lives 
as black as the raven, that is, cruel to themselves as the 
raven is to her children, by means of continual study, day 
and night. 

Rabbi Johanan said, "It is best to study by night, when 
all is quiet; as it is written, 'Shout forth praises in the 
night.'" 

Reshbi Lakish said, "Study by day and by night; as it 
is written, 'Thou shalt meditate therein day and night.'" 

Rabbi Chonan, of Zepora, said, "The study of the law 
may be compared to a huge heap of dust that is to be cleared 
away. The foolish man says, 'It is impossible that I should 
be able to remove this immense heap, I will not attempt it'; 
but the wise man says, 'I will remove a little to-day, some 
to-morrow, and more the day after, and thus in time I shall 
have removed it all.' 

"It is the same with studying the law. The indolent 
pupil says, 'It is impossible for me to study the Bible. Just 
think of it, fifty chapters in Genesis, sixty-six in Isaiah, one 
hundred and fifty Psalms, etc. I can not do it'; but the 
industrious student says, 'I will study six chapters every 
day, and so in time I shall acquire the whole.' 

"In Proverbs xxiv. 7, we find this sentence: 'Wisdom is 
too high for a fool.' 

"Rabbi Jochanan illustrates this verse with an apple 
depending from the ceiling. The foolish man says, 'I can 
not reach the ftuit, it is too high'; but the wise man says, 
'It may be readily obtained by placing one step upon another 



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until thy arm is brought within reach of it.' The foolish 
man says, 'Only a wise man can study the entire law'; but 
the wise man replies, 'It is not incumbent upon thee to 
acquire the whole.'" 

Rabbi Levi illustrates this by a parable. 

A man once hired two servants to fill a basket with water. 
One of them said, "Why should I continue this useless 
labor? I put the water in one side and it immediately 
leaks out of the other; what profit is it?" 

The other workman, who was wise, replied, "We have 
the profit of the reward which we receive for our labor." 

It is the same in studying the law. One man says, 
"What does it profit me to study the law when I must ever 
continue it or else forget what I have learned?" But the 
other man replies, "God will reward us for the will which 
we display even though we do forget." 

Rabbi Ze-irah has said that even a single letter in the 
law which we might deem of no importance, if wanting, 
would neutralize the whole law. In Deuteronomy xxii. 17, 
we read, "Neither shall he take to himself many wives, that 
his heart may turn away." Solomon transgressed this pre¬ 
cept, and it is said by Rabbi Simon that the angels took 
note of his ill-doing, and addressed the Deity: "Sovereign 
of the world, Solomon has made thy law even as a law liable 
to change and diminution. Three precepts he has disre¬ 
garded, namely, 'He shall not acquire for himself many 
horses'; 'neither shall he take to himself many wives'; 
'nor shall he acquire to himself too much silver and gold.'" 
Then the Lord replied, "Solomon will perish from the earth; 
aye, and a hundred Solomons after him, and yet the smallest 
letter of the law shall not be dispensed with." 

The Rabbis have often applied in a figurative sense various 
passages of Holy Writ, among others the opening verse of 
the fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. "Ho, every one of ye 
that thirsteth, come ye to the water, and he, too, that hath 
no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy without 
money and without price, wine and milk." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


265 


The three liquids which men are thus urged to procure 
are considered by the sages of Israel as typical of the law. 

One Rabbi asked, "Why is the Word of God compared 
to water?" 

To this question the following answer was returned: "As 
water runs down from an eminence (the mountains), and 
rests in a low place (the sea), so the law, emanating from 
heaven, can remain in the possession of those only who are 
humble in spirit." 

Another Rabbi inquired, "Wherefore has the Word of 
God been likened to wine and milk?" The reply made was, 
"As these fluids can not be preserved in golden vessels, but 
only in those of earthenware, so those minds will be the best 
receptacles of learning which are found in homely bodies." 

Thus, for instance. Rabbi Joshua ben Chaninah, who was 
very homely in appearance, possessed great wisdom and eru¬ 
dition; and one of his favorite sayings was, that "though 
many have exhibited a vast amount of knowledge, notwith¬ 
standing their personal attractions, yet had they been less 
handsome, their acquirements might have been more 
extensive." 

There is another reason for comparing the word of God 
to the last-mentioned liquids, namely, that they demand 
watching, lest they be spilled or spoiled, and in the same 
manner our acquaintance with the Bible and the traditions 
requires constant cultivation, else it will be lost. 

The precepts are compared to a lamp; the law of God to 
a light. The lamp gives light only so long as it contains 
oil. So he who observes the precepts receives his reward 
while performing them. The law, forever, is a light per¬ 
petual; it is a protection forever to the one who studies it, 
as it is written: 

"When thou walkest, it (the law) will guide thee; when 
thou best down, it will watch over thee; and when thou 
awakenest, it will converse with thee." 

When thou walkest, it will guide thee — in this world; 
when thou best down, it will watch over thee — in the grave; 



266 


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when thou awakenest, it will converse with thee — in the 
life to come. 

A traveler upon his journey passed through the forest 
upon a dark and gloomy night. He journeyed in dread; 
he feared the robbers who infested the route he was travers¬ 
ing; he feared that he might slip and fall into some unseen 
ditch or pitfall on the way, and he feared, too, the wild 
beasts, which he knew were about him. By chance he dis¬ 
covered a pine torch, and lighted it, and its gleams afforded 
him great relief. He no longer feared brambles or pitfalls, 

for he could see his way before him. But the dread of rob¬ 

bers and wild beasts was still upon him, nor left him till 
the morning's dawn, the coming of the sun. Still he was 

uncertain of his way, imtil he emerged from the forest and 
reached the cross-roads, when peace returned unto his heart. 

The darkness in which the man walked was the lack of 
religious knowledge. The torch he discovered typifies God's 

precepts, which aided him on the way imtil he obtained the 
blessed sunlight, compared to God's holy word, the Bible. 
Still, while man is in the forest (the world), he is not 
entirely at peace; his heart is weak, and he may lose the right 
path; but when he reaches the cross-roads (death), then may 
we proclaim him truly righteous, and exclaim, 

"A good name is more fragrant than rich perfume, and 
the day of death is better than the day of one's birth." 

Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Broka, and Rabbi Eleazer, the 
son of Chismah, visited their teacher. Rabbi Josah, and he 
said to them, 

"What is the news at the college; what is going on?" 

"Nay," they answered, "we are thy scholars; it is for 
thee to speak, for us to listen." 

"Nevertheless," replied Rabbi Josah, "no day passes 
without some occurrence of note at the college. Who lectured 
to-day?" 

"Rabbi Eleazer, the son of Azaryah." 

"And what was his subject?" 

"He chose this verse from Deuteronomy," replied the 
scholar: 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


267 


" 'Assemble the people together, the men, the women, 
and the children'; and thus he expounded it: 

" 'The men came to learn, the women to listen; but where¬ 
fore the children? In order that those who brought them 
might receive a reward for training their children in the 
fear of the Lord.' 

"He also expounded the verse from Ecclesiastes, 

" 'The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails 
fastened are the words of the men of the assemblies, which 
are given by one shepherd.' 

" 'Why is the law of God compared to a goad?' he said. 
'Because the goad causes the ox to draw the furrow straight, 
and the straight furrow brings forth a plenty of good food 
for the life of a man. So does the law of God keep man's 
heart straight, that it may produce good food to provide 
for the life eternal. But lest thou shouldst say, "The goad 
is movable, so therefore must the law be," it is also written, 
"as nails," and likewise, as "nails fastened," lest thou 
shouldst argue that nails poimded into wood diminish from 
sight with each stroke, and that therefore by this comparison 
God's law would "be liable to diminution also. No; as a nail 
fastened or planted, as a tree is planted to bring forth fruit 
and multiply. 

" 'The men of assemblies are those who gather in numbers 
to study the law. Frequently controversies arise among 
them, and thou mightest say, "With so many differing opin¬ 
ions how can I settle to a study of the law?" Thy answer 
is written in the words which are given by one shepherd. 
From one God have all the laws proceeded. Therefore make 
thy ears as a sieve, and incline thy heart to possess all these 
words.'" 

Then said Rabbi Josah, "Happy the generation which 
Rabbi Eleazer teaches." 

The sages of the academy in Jabnah expressed their re¬ 
gard for all human beings, learned and unlearned, in this 
manner: 

"I am a creature of God and 


is my neighbor. He 




268 


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may prefer to labor in the country; I prefer a calling in 
the city. I rise early for my personal benefit; he rises early 
to advance his own interests. As he does not seek to sup¬ 
plant me, I should be careful to do naught to injure his 
business. Shall I imagine that I am nearer to God because 
my profession advances the cause of learning and his does 
not? No. Whether we accomplish much good or little 

good, the Almighty will reward us in accordance with our 

righteous intentions." 

Abaygeh offered the following as his best advice: 

". . . Let him be also affable and disposed to foster 

kindly feelings between all people; by so doing he will gain 
for himself the love both of the Creator and his creatures." 

Rabba always said that the possession of wisdom and a 
knowledge of the law necessarily lead to penitence and good 
deeds. "For," said he, "it would be useless to acquire 
great learning and the mastery of Biblical and traditional 

law and act irreverently toward one's parents, or toward 
those superior on account of age or more extensive learning." 

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good 
imderstanding have all those who do God's commands." 

Rabba said, "Holy Writ does not tell us that to study 
God's commands shows a good understanding, but to do 
them. We must learn, however, before we can be able to 
perform; and he who acts contrary through life to the teach¬ 
ings of the Most High had better never have been bom." 

"The wise man is in his smallest actions great: the fool 
is in his greatest actions small." 

A pupil once inquired of his teacher, "What is real wis¬ 
dom?" The teacher replied, "To judge liberally, to think 
purely, and to love thy neighbor." Another teacher an¬ 
swered, "The greatest wisdom is to know thyself." 

"Beware of conceit and pride of learning; teach thy 
tongue to utter, 'I do not know.'" 

If a man devotes himself to study, and becomes learned, 
to the delight and gratification of his teachers, and yet is 
modest in conversation with less intelligent people, honest 
in his dealings, tmthful in his daily walks, the people say. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


269 


"Happy is the father who allowed him to study God's law; 
happy the teachers who instructed him in the ways of truth; 
how beautiful are his ways; how meritorious his deeds! Of 
such a one the Bible says, 'He said to me, Thou art my ser¬ 
vant; oh, Israel, through thee am I glorified.'" 

But when a man devotes himself to study, and becomes 
learned, yet is disdainful with those less educated than him¬ 
self, and is not particular in his dealings with his fellows, 
then the people say of him, "Woe to the father who allowed 
him to study God's law; woe to those who instructed him; 
how censurable is his conduct; how loathsome are his ways! 
'Tis of such a one the Bible says, 'And from his country the 
people of the Lord departed.'" 

When souls stand at the judgment-seat of God, the poor, 
the rich, and the wicked, each are severally asked what ex¬ 
cuse they can offer for not having studied the law. If the 
poor man pleads his poverty he is reminded of Hillel. 
Though Hillel's earnings were small he gave half each day 
to gain admittance to the college. 

When the rich man is questioned, and answers that the 
care of his fortune occupied his time, he is told that Rabbi 
Eleazer possessed a thousand forests and a thousand ships, 
and yet abandoned all the luxuries of wealth, and journeyed 
from town to town searching and expounding the law. 

When the wicked man pleads temptation as an excuse for 
his evil course, he is asked if he has been more tempted than 
Joseph, more cruelly tried than he was, with good or evil 
fortune. 

Yet though we are commanded to study God's law, we are 
not to make of it a burden; neither are we to neglect for 
the sake of study any other duty or reasonable recreation. 
"Why," once asked a pupil, "is 'thou shalt gather in thy 
com in its season' a Scriptural command? Would not the 
people gather their com when ripe as a matter of course? 
The command is superfluous." 

"Not so," replied the Rabbis; "the com might belong to 
a man who for the sake of study would neglect work. Work 




270 


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is holy and honorable in God's sight, and he would not have 
men fail to perform their daily duties even for the study 
of his law." 


PRAYER 

Bless God for the good as well as for the evil. When you 
hear of a death say, "Blessed is the righteous Judge." 

Prayer is Israel's only weapon, a weapon inherited from 
its fathers, a weapon proved in a thousand battles. Even 
when the gates of prayer are shut in heaven, those of tears 
are open. 

We read (Ex. xvii. 11) that in the contest with Amalek, 
when Moses lifted up his arms Israel prevailed. Did Moses's 

hands affect the war, to make it or to break it? No; but 

while the ones of Israel look upward with humble heart to 
the Great Father in Heaven, no evil can prevail against 
them. 

"And Moses made a serpent of brass and put it upon a 

pole; and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any 

man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived." (Numb, 
xxi. 9.) 

Had the brazen serpent the power of killing or of giving 
life? No; but while Israel looks upward to the Great 
Father in heaven, he will grant life. 

"Has God pleasure in the meat and blood of sacrifices?" 
ask the prophets. 

No. He has not so much ordained as permitted them. 
"It is for yourselves," he says; "not for me, that ye 
offer." 

A king had a son whom he daily discovered carousing with 
dissolute companions, eating and drinking. 

"Eat at my table," said the king; "eat and drink, my 
son, even as pleaseth thee; but let it be at my table and not 
with dissolute companions." 

The people loved sacrificing, and they made offerings to 
strange gods; therefore, God said to them: "If ye will sacri¬ 
fice, bring your offerings at least to me." 

Scripture ordains that the Hebrew slave who loves his 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


271 


bondage shall have his ears pierced against the doorpost. 
Why? 

Because that ear heard from Sinai's heights these words: 
"They are my servants; they shall not he sold as bondsmen." 
My servants, and not my servant's servants; therefore, pierce 
the ear of the one who loves his bondage and rejects the free¬ 
dom offered him. 

He who sacrifices a whole offering shall be rewarded for 
a whole offering; he who offers a bumt-offering shall have 
the reward of a bumt-offering; but he who offers humility 
to God and man shall receive as great a reward as though 
he had offered all the sacrifices in the world. 

The God of Abraham will help the one who appoints a 
certain place to pray to the Lord. 

Rabbi Henah said, "When such a man dies they will say 
of him, 'A pious man, a meek man, hath died; he followed 
the example of our father Abraham.'" 

How do we know that Abraham appointed a certain place 
to pray? 

"Abraham rose early in the morning and went to the 
place where he stood before the Lord." 

Rabbi Chelboh said, "We should not hurry when we leave 
a place of worship." 

"This," said Abayyeh, "is in reference to leaving a place 
of worship; but we should certainly hasten on our way 
thither, as it is written, 'Let us know and hasten to serve 
the Lord.'" 

Rabbi Zabid said, "When I used to see the Rabbis hurry¬ 
ing to a lecture in their desire to obtain good seats, I thought 
to myself, 'they are violating the Sabbath.' When, how¬ 
ever, I heard Rabbi Tarphon say, 'One should always hasten 
to perform a commandment even on the Sabbath,' as it is 
written, 'They shall follow after the Lord when he roareth 
like a lion,' I hurried also, in order to be early in at¬ 
tendance." 

That place wherein we can best pray to God is his house; 
as it is written: 



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"To listen to the praises and prayers which thy servant 
prays before thee." Alluding to the service in the house 
of God. 

Said Rabin, the son of Ada, "Whence do we derive the 
tradition that when ten men are praying in the house of 
God the Divine Presence rests among them? 

"It is written, 'God stands in the assembly of the mighty.' 
That an assembly or congregation consists of not less than 
ten, we learn from God's words to Moses in regard to the 
spies who were sent out to view the land of Canaan. 'How 
long,' said he, 'shall indulgence be given to this evil con¬ 
gregation?' Now the spies numbered twelve men, but 

Joshua and Caleb being true and faithful, there remained 
but ten to form the 'evil congregation.'" 

"Whence do we derive the tradition that when even one 
studies the law, the Divine Presence rests with him?" 

"It is written, 'In every place where I shall permit my 

name to be mentioned I will come unto thee and I will bless 
thee.'" 

Four Biblical characters offered up their prayers in a care¬ 
less, unthinking manner; three of them God prospered; the 
other met with sorrow. They were, Eleazer, the servant of 
Abraham; Caleb, the son of Ye Phunneh; Saul, the son of 

Kish, and Jephtah the Giladite. 

Eleazer prayed, "Let it come to pass that the maiden to 
whom I shall say, 'Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that 
I may drink'; and she shall say, 'Drink, and to thy camels 

also will I give drink'; shall be the one thou hast appointed 

for thy servant Isaac." 

Suppose a slave had appeared and answered all the require¬ 
ment which Eleazer proposed, would Abraham and Isaac 

have been satisfied? But God prospered his mission, and 

"Rebecca came out." 

Caleb said, "He that will smite Kiryath-sepher, and cap¬ 
ture it, to him will I give 'Achsah, my daughter, for wife." 
(Judges i. 12.) 

Would he have given his daughter to a slave or a heathen? 

But God prospered him, and "Othniel, the son of Kenaz, 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


273 


Caleb's younger brother, conquered it, and he gave him 
'Achsah, his daughter, for wife." 

Saul said, "And it shall be that the man who killeth him 
(Goliath) will the king enrich with great riches, and his 
daughter will he give him." (1 Samuel xvh.) 

He ran the same risk as Caleb, and God was good to him, 
also; and David, the son of Jesse, accomplished that for 
which he had prayed. 

Jephtah expressed himself thus: "If thou wilt indeed 
deliver the children of Amon into my hand, then shall it be 
that whatsoever cometh forth out of the doors of my house 
to meet me when I return in peace from the children of 
Amon shall belong to the Lord, and I will offer it up for a 
burnt-offering." (Judges xi. 31.) 

Supposing an ass, or a dog, or a cat, had first met him 
upon his return, would he have sacrificed it for a burnt- 
offering? God did not prosper this risk, and the Bible says, 
"And Jephtah came to Mizpah unto his house, and behold 
his daughter came out to meet him." 

Said Rabbi Simon ben Jochai, "The requests of three 
persons were granted before they had finished their prayers: 
Eleazer, Moses, and Solomon. 

"In regard to Eleazer we learn, 'And before he had yet 
finished speaking that, behold Rebecca came out.' 

"In regard to Moses, we find, 'And it came to pass when 
he had made an end of speaking all these words that the 
ground that was imder them was cloven asimder, and the 
earth opened her mouth and swallowed them.'" (Korach 

and his company.) 

"In regard to Solomon we find, 'And just when Solomon 
had made an end of praying a fire came down,'" etc. 

THE SABBATH 

Rabbi Jochanan said, in the name of Rabbi Joseh, "To 

those who delight in the Sabbath shall God give inheritance 
without end. As it is written, 'Then shalt thou find delight 
in the Lord,' etc. 'And I will cause thee to enjoy the in¬ 
heritance of Jacob, thy father.' Not as it was promised to 




274 


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Abraham, 'Arise and walk through the land to its length 
and breadth.' Not as it was promised to Isaac, 'I will give 
thee all that this land contains'; but as it was promised to 
Jacob, 'And thou shalt spread abroad, to the West, and to 
the East, to the North, and to the South.'" 

Rabbi Jehudah said that if the Israelites had strictly 
observed the first Sabbath, after the command to sanctify the 
seventh day had been given, they would have been spared 
captivity; as it is written, "And it came to pass on the 
seventh day, that there went out some of the people to gather 
the manna, but they found nothing." And in the next chap¬ 
ter we find, "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel 
in Rephidim." 

The following is one of the many tales designed to show 
that the observance of the Sabbath is rewarded: 

One Joseph, a Jew, who honored the Sabbath, had a very 
rich neighbor, who was a firm believer in astrology. He was 
told by one of the professional astrologers that his wealth 
would become Joseph's. He, therefore, sold his estate, and 
bought with the proceeds a large diamond, which he sewed 
in his turban, saying, "Joseph can never obtain this." It 
so happened, however, that while standing one day upon the 
deck of a ship in which he was crossing the sea, a heavy 
wind arose and carried the turban from his head. A fish 
swallowed the diamond, and being caught and exposed for 
sale in the market, was purchased by Joseph to supply his 
table on the Sabbath eve. Of course, upon opening it, he 
discovered the diamond. 

Rabbi Ishmael, the son of Joshua, was asked, "How did 
the rich people of the land of Israel become so wealthy?" 
He answered, "They gave their tithes in due season, as it 
is written, 'Thou shalt give tithes, in order that thou mayest 
become rich.'" "But," answered his questioner, "tithes 
were given to the Levites, only while the holy temple existed. 
What merit did they possess while they dwelt in Babel that 
they became wealthy there also?" "Because," replied the 
Rabbi, "they honored the holy law by expoimding it." 
"But in other coimtries, where they did not expound the 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


275 


law, how did they deserve wealth?" "By honoring the 
Sabbath," was the answer. 

Rabbi Achiya, the son of Abah, said, "I sojourned once 
in Ludik, and was entertained by a certain wealthy man on 
the Sabbath day. The table was spread with a sumptuous 
repast, and the dishes were of silver and gold. Before mak¬ 
ing a blessing over the meal the master of the house said, 
'Unto the Lord belongeth the earth, with all that it con¬ 
tains.' After the blessing he said, 'The heavens are the 
heavens of the Lord, but the earth hath he given to the chil¬ 
dren of men.' I said to my host, 'I trust you will excuse 
me, my dear sir, if I take the liberty of asking you how 
you have merited this prosperity?' He answered, 'I was 
formerly a butcher, and I always selected the finest cattle 
to be killed for the Sabbath, in order that the people might 
have the best meat on that day. To this, I believe firmly, 
I owe my prosperity.' I replied, 'Blessed be the Lord, that 
he hath given thee all this.'" 

The Governor Tumusrupis once asked Rabbi Akiba, 
"What is this day you call the Sabbath more than any 
other day? "The Rabbi responded, "What art thou more 
than any other person?" "I am superior to others," he 
replied, "because the emperor has appointed me governor 
over them." 

Then said Akiba, "The Lord our God, who is greater 
than your emperor, has appointed the Sabbath day to be 
holier than the other days." 

Beautiful is the legend of the Sabbath eve. 

When man leaves the synagogue for his home an angel 
of good and an angel of evil accompany him. If he finds 
the table spread in his house, the Sabbath lamps lighted, and 
his wife and children in festive garments ready to bless the 
holy day of rest, then the good angel says: 

"May the next Sabbath and all thy Sabbaths be like this. 
Peace unto this dwelling, peace; and the angel of evil is 
forced to say, "Amen!" 

But if the house is not ready, if no preparations have been 
made to greet the Sabbath, if no heart within the dwelling 



276 THE SACRED BOOKS 

has sung, "Come, my beloved, to meet the bride; the pres¬ 
ence of the Sabbath let us receive"; then the angel of evil 
speaks and says: 

"May all thy Sabbaths be like this"; and the weeping 
angel of goodness responds, "Amen!" 

REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS 

Samson sinned against the Lord through his eyes, as it 
is written, "I have seen a woman of the daughters of the 
Philistines. . . . This one take for me, for she pleaseth 

my eyes" (Judges xiv. 3). Therefore through his eyes was 

he punished, as it is written, "And the Philistines seized 

him, and put out his eyes." 

Abshalom was proud of his hair. "And like Abshalom 
there was no man as handsome in all Israel, so that he was 
greatly praised; from the sole of his foot up to the crown 
of his head there was no blemish on him. And when he 

shaved off the hair of his head, and it was at the end of every 
year that he shaved it off, because it was too heavy on him 
so that he had to shave it off, he weighed the hair of his 
head at two hundred shekels by the king's weight." There¬ 
fore by his hair was he hanged. 

Miriam waited for Moses one hour (when he was in the 
box of bulmshes). Therefore the Israelites waited for 
Miriam seven days, when she became leprous. "And the 
people did not set forward until Miriam was brought in 
again." 

Joseph buried his father. "And Joseph went up to bury 
his father." There was none greater among the children 
of Israel than Joseph. Moses excelled him afterward, how¬ 
ever; therefore we find, "And Moses took the bones of 
Joseph with him."But the world has seen none greater 
than Moses, therefore 'tis written, "And he (God) buried 
him in the valley." 


When trouble and sorrow become the portion of Israel, 
and the faint-hearted separate from their people, two angels 
lay their hands upon the head of him who withdraws, say- 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


277 


ing, "This one shall not see the comfort of the congregation." 

When trouble comes to the congregation it is not right for 
a man to say, "I will go home; I will eat and drink; and 
things shall he peaceful to me"; 'tis of such a one that the 
holy book speaks, saying, "And behold there is gladness 
and joy; slaying of oxen, and killing of sheep; eating of 
flesh, and drinking of wine. 'Let us eat and drink, for to¬ 
morrow we must die.' And it was revealed in my ears by 
the Lord of Hosts; surely the iniquity shall not be forgiven 
ye until ye die" (Isaiah xxii. 13). 

Our teacher, Moses, always bore his share in the troubles 
of the congregation, as it is written, "They took a stone and 
put it under him." (Exodus xvii. 12). Could they not have 

given him a chair or a cushion? But then he said, "Since 
the Israelites are in trouble (during the war with Amalek), 

lo, I will bear my part with them, for he who bears his por¬ 
tion of the burden will live to enjoy the hour of consolation. 

Woe to the one who thinks, 'Ah, well, I will neglect my 
duty; who can know whether I bear my part or not'; even 
the stones of his house, aye the limbs of the trees, shall 
testify against him, as it is written, ' For the stones will cry 
from the wall, and the limbs of the trees will testify.'" 

TRADES 

Rabbi Meir said, "When a man teaches his son a trade, 
he should pray to the Possessor of the world, the Dispenser 
of wealth and poverty; for in every trade and pursuit of 
life both the rich and the poor are to be found. It is folly 
for one to say, ' This is a bad trade, it will not afford me 
a living'; because he will find many well-to-do in the same 
occupation. Neither should a successful man boast and say, 
'This is a great trade, a glorious art, it has made me 
wealthy'; because many working in the same line as himself 
have found but poverty. Let all remember that everything 
is through the infinite mercy and wisdom of God." 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Eleazer, said, "Hast thou ever 
noted the fowls of the air and beasts of the field how easily 
their maintenance is provided for them; and yet they were 



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only created to serve me? Now should not I find a liveli¬ 
hood with even less trouble, for I was made to serve my 
fellow-creatures? But, alas! I sinned against my Creator, 
therefore am I punished with poverty and obliged to labor." 

Rabbi Judah said, "Most mule-drivers are cruel. They 
beat their poor beasts unmercifully. Most camel-drivers are 
upright. They travel through deserts and dangerous places, 
and have time for meditation and thoughts of God. The 
majority of seamen are religious. Their daily peril makes 
them so. The best of doctors are deserving of pimishment. 
In the pursuit of knowledge they experiment on their pa¬ 
tients, and often with fatal results. The best of butchers 
deserve to be rated with the Amalekites, they are accustomed 
to blood and cruelty; as it is written of the Amalekites, 
'How he met thee by the way and smote the hindmost of 
thee, and that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint 
and weary.'" 


DEATH 

Man is bom with his hands clenched; he dies with his 
hands wide open. Entering life he desires to grasp every¬ 
thing; leaving the world, all that he possessed has slipped 
away. 

Even as a fox is man; as a fox which, seeing a fine vine¬ 
yard, lusted after its grapes. But the palings were placed 
at narrow distances, and the fox was too bulky to creep be¬ 
tween them. For three days he fasted, and when he had 
grown thin he entered into the vineyard. He feasted upon 
the grapes, forgetful of the morrow, of all things but his 
enjoyment; and lo, he had again grown stout and was unable 
to leave the scene of his feast. So for three days more he 
fasted, and when he had again grown thin, he passed through 
the palings and stood outside the vineyard, meager as when 
he entered. 

So with man; poor and naked he enters the world, poor 
and naked does he leave. 

Very expressive is the legend, one of many woven around 
the name of Alexander. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


279 


He wandered to the gates of Paradise and knocked for 
entrance. 

"Who knocks?" demanded the guardian angel. 

"Alexander." 

"Who is Alexander?" 

"Alexander — the Alexander — Alexander the Great — 
the conqueror of the world." 

"We know him not," replied the angel; "this is the 
Lord's gate; only the righteous enter here." 

Alexander begged for something to prove that he had 
reached the gates of Paradise, and a small piece of a skull 
was given to him. He showed it to his wise men, who 
placed it in one scale of a balance. Alexander poured gold 
and silver into the other scale, but the small bone weighed 
heavier; he poured in more, added his crown jewels, his 
diadem; but still the bone outweighed them all. Then one 
of the wise men, taking a grain of dust from the ground, 
placed that upon the bone, and lo, the scale flew up. 

The bone was that which surrounds the eye of man; the 
eye of man which naught can satisfy save the dust which 
covers it in the grave. 

When the righteous dies 'tis earth that meets with loss. 
The jewel will ever be a jewel, but it has passed from the 
possession of its former owner. Well may the loser weep. 

Life is a passing shadow, say the Scriptures. The shadow 
of a tower or a tree; the shadow which prevails for a time? 
No; even as the shadow of a bird in its flight, it passeth 
from our sight, and neither bird nor shadow remains. 

FUNERAL SERVICE OVER A DEAD RABBI 

"My lover goes down into his garden, to the beds of spices, 
to wander about in the garden and pluck roses." (Song of 
Songs.) 

The world is the garden of my lover, and he my lover is the 
King of kings. Like a bed of fragrant spices is Israel, the 
sweet savor of piety ascends on high, the perfume of learn¬ 
ing lingers on the passing breeze, and the bed of beauty is 
fenced around by gentle peace. The plants flourish and put 



280 


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forth leaves, giving grateful shelter to those who suffer 
from the heats and disappointment of life, and my lover, seek¬ 
ing the most beautiful blossoms, plucks the roses, the students 
of the law, whose belief is their delight. 

"When the devouring flames seize upon the cedar, shall not 
the lowly hyssop fear and tremble? When anglers draw the 
great leviathan from his mighty deeps, what hope have the fish 
of the shallow pond? When the fishing-line is dropped into 
the dashing torrent, can they feel secure, the waters of the 
purling brook? 

Mourn for those who are left; mourn not for the one taken 
by God from earth. He has entered into the eternal rest, 
while we are bowed with sorrow. 



THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 

SELECTIONS BEARING OUT BIBLICAL HISTORY 

I 

NIMROD 

Cush, the son of Ham and grandson of Noah, married in 
his old age a yoimg wife, and begat a son whom he called 
Nimrod, because in those days the people were beginning to 
rebel again against the Lord's command, and "Nimrod" sig¬ 
nifies "rebellion." 

Now Nimrod grew up, and his father loved him exceed¬ 
ingly, because he was the child of his old age. And there was 
a certain coat of skins which God had made for Adam. When 
Adam died this coat became the possession of Enoch, from 
him it descended to Methusaleh, his son; Methusaleh gave 
it to Noah, who took it with him into the ark. And when 
the people left the ark Ham stole this coat, and hid it from 
his brothers, giving it secretly thereafter to Cush, his son. 
Cush kept it hidden for many years, until out of his great 
love he gave it to Nimrod, the child of his old age. When 
Nimrod was twenty years of age he put on this coat, and it 
gave him strength and might — might as a hunter in the 
fields, and might as a warrior in the subjection of his enemies 
and opponents. And his wars and undertakings prospered 
until he became king over all the earth. 

Behold, to this day his power is a proverb among men, and 
he who instructs the youthful arm in the wielding of weapons 
and the youthful mind in the secrets of the chase wishes his 
pupils" even as Nimrod, who was a mighty himter in the 
land, and prosperous in his wars." 

When Nimrod was forty years old his brethren, the sons of 
Ham, quarreled with the sons of Japhet. And Nimrod as- 

281 




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sembled the tribe of Cush, and went forth to battle with the 
sons of Japhet. And he addressed his army, saying: 

"Be not dismayed, and banish fear from your hearts. 
Our enemies shall surely be your booty, and ye shall do with 
them as ye please." 

Nimrod was victorious, and the opposing armies became 
his subjects. And when he and his soldiers returned home 
rejoicing, the people gathered around and made him king, 
and placed a crown upon his head. And he appointed coun¬ 
selors, judges, chiefs, generals, and captains. He established 
a national government, and he made Therach, the son of 
Nahor, his chief officer. 

When Nimrod had thus established his power he decided 
to build a city, a walled town, which should be the capital of 
his country. And he selected a certain plain and built a 
large city thereon, and called it Shinar. And Nimrod dwelt 
in Shinar in safety, and gradually became ruler over all the 
world; and at that time all the people of the earth were of 
one language and of one speech. 

Nimrod, in his prosperity, did not regard the Lord. He 
made gods of wood and stone, and the people copied after 

his doings. His son Mordon served idols also, from which 

we have, even to this day, the proverb, "From the wicked, 
wickedness comes forth." 

And it came to pass about this time that the officers of 
Nimrod and the descendants of Phut, Mitzrayim, Cush, and 
Canaan took coimsel together, and they said to one another: 

"Let us build a city and also in its midst a tall tower for 
a stronghold, a tower the top of which shall reach even to the 

heavens. Then shall we truly make for ourselves a great 

and mighty name, before which all our enemies shall tremble. 
None will then be able to harm us, and no wars may disperse 
our ranks." And they spoke these words to the king, and he 
approved of their design. 

Therefore these families gathered together and selected a 
suitable spot for their city and its tower on a plain toward 
the east, in the land of Shinar. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


283 


And while they were building, rebellion budded in their 
hearts, rebellion against God, and they imagined that they 
could scale the heavens and war with him. 

They divided into three parties; the first party said: 

"We will ascend to heaven and place there our gods, and 
worship them." 

The second party said: 

"We will pour into the heavens of the Lord and match our 
strength with his." 

And the third party said: 

"Yea, we will smite him with arrow and with spear." 

And God watched their evil enterprise, and knew their 
thoughts, yet they builded on. If one of the stones which 
they had raised to its height fell, they were sad at heart, 
and even wept; yet when any of their brethren fell from the 
building and were killed, none took account of the lives 
thus lost. 

Thus they continued for a space of years, till God said, 
"We will confuse their language." Then the people forgot 
their language, and they spoke to one another in a strange 
tongue. 

And they quarreled and fought on accoimt of the many 
misunderstandings occasioned by this confusion of language, 
and many were destroyed in these quarrels, till at last they 
were compelled to cease building. 

According to their deserts did God pimish the three re¬ 
bellious parties. Those who had said, "We will place our 
gods in the heavens," were changed in appearance, and be¬ 
came like apes; those who had said, "We will smite him with 
arrows," killed one another through misimderstandings; and 
those who had said, "Let us try our strength with his," were 
scattered over the face of the earth. 

The tower was exceedingly tall. The third part of it sunk 
down into the groimd, a second third was burned down, but 
the remaining third was standing until the time of the de¬ 
struction of Babylon. 

Thus were the people dispersed over the globe, and divided 
into nations. 



THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 
II 

ABRAHAM 

Therach, the son of Nahor, was the chief officer of King 
Nimrod, and a great favorite with his royal master; and 
when his wife Amtheta, the daughter of Kameho, bore him a 
son, she called the child Abraham, meaning "Great father." 

Therach was seventy years old when Abraham was bom. 

Now it came to pass on the night of Abraham's birth that 
Therach entertained a number of his friends, including the 
wise men and magicians of Nimrod the King. They passed 
the night in revelry and merriment, and when they went forth 
from the house of their host mom was dawning. Lifting 

their eyes heavenward, they beheld a large and brilliant star 
rise before them in the east, and swallow up or consume four 
stars from the four comers of the heavens. The magicians 
wondered much at this occurrence, and they said one to the 
other, "Verily, this is an omen connected with the newly bom 
child of Therach. When he grows up he will be fmitful 

and increase greatly in power and excellence, and his de¬ 
scendants will destroy this kingdom and possess its lands." 

And they went home and pondered over the matter, and 
when they met in the house of assembly they said, 

"Behold, we had better inform the King of the wonderful 
occurrence which greeted our sight. Should it come to his 

knowledge indirectly, he will be wroth with us for keeping it 
from him; he may even slay us for our neglect. Let us go 
to him at once that we may be free from blame." 

Entering into the presence of the King, his wise men sa¬ 
luted him, saying, "O King, live forever!" 

And the chief of the wise men then related to the King 

284 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


285 


the phenomenon which they had witnessed, and the interpre¬ 
tation or meaning which they assigned to it. Concluding 
the relation, he added, 

"And now, if it be pleasing to the King, we would advise 
him to pay the value of this child unto his father and destroy 
him while in his infancy, lest in the days to come, through 
him and his descendants, we and our children be utterly 
destroyed." 

The King listened attentively to the words of his servants 
and approved of their advice. He sent a messenger for 
Therach, and when the latter appeared before him he told 
him all that the wise men had related, and said, 

"Now, therefore, give up the child, that we may slay him 
before misfortune falls upon us, and in payment we will fill 
thy coffers with silver and with gold!" 

Then answered Therach, 

"I have listened to the words of my lord, and all that he 
wishes I will do; yet first I beg, let me tell the King of a 
request made to me but yesterday, and ask his advice 
thereon." 

"It is well," replied Nimrod; "speak." 

"Yesterday," said Therach, "Ayon, the son of Morad, 
came to my house desiring to purchase from me the beauti¬ 
ful steed, which thou, O King, didst graciously present to 
me. 'Sell me the horse,' said Ayon, 'and I will pay thee his 
full value and likewise fill thy stables with straw and prov¬ 
ender.' And I answered him that I did not feel at liberty 
to so dispose of the King's gift without the King's approval; 
and now, O King! I ask thee for advice." 

Angrily the King answered. 

"And thou wouldst think of selling my gift, of parting 
with that noble steed for gold and silver, straw and provender! 
Art thou in such need of these things that thou wouldst 
barter for them the horse which I have given thee, a steed 
unequaled in the land?" 

Then Therach bowed before the King and said, "And if 
such is thy feeling in regard to this horse, how canst thou 
ask me to give up my child? Gold and silver can not pay 



286 


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me for the gift of my King, neither can gold or silver replace 
for me my child." 

This application of his advice was exceedingly disagree¬ 
able to the King, and his feeling was so plainly pictured on 
his coimtenance that Therach quickly added, 

"All my possessions are my King's, even my child, with¬ 
out money and without price." 

"No," said the King, "for money will I buy him." 

"Pardon, my lord," returned Therach, "give me three 
days for consideration, and I will speak of this matter with 
the mother of the boy." 

Nimrod granted this request, and Therach departed from 
his presence. 

At the end of the three days the King sent a message to 
Therach, commanding him to send the child or be himself 
destroyed with all his family. 

When Therach received this message, realizing that the 
King was determined in his purpose, he took the child of one 
of his slaves, a child bom on the day of Abraham's birth, and 
sent it to King Nimrod, receiving the money for it and 
declaring it to be his child. 

The King himself slew the child, and Therach hid his 
wife, Abraham, and the child's nurse in a lonely cave, send¬ 
ing them food secretly every week. And Abraham remained 
in this cave until he was ten years old. 

At the end of ten years Nimrod and his officers had for¬ 
gotten all about Abraham and the episode of his birth, and 
Abraham came forth from the cave and was sent to live with 
Noah and his son Shem to learn from them the ways of the 
Lord; and he lived there thirty-nine years. 

During these years Charan, the son of Therach, the elder 
brother of Abraham, married, and his wife bore him a son 
whom he called "Lot"; she bore him also two daughters, 
one of whom he called Milcah and the other Sarai. At the 
time of Sarai's birth, Abraham was about forty-two years 
of age. 

From his earliest childhood Abraham was a lover of the 
Lord. God had granted him a wise heart ready to compre- 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


287 


hend and understand the majesty of the Eternal, and able 
to despise the vanity of idolatry. 

When quite a child, beholding the brilliant splendor of the 
noonday sun and the reflected glory which it cast upon all ob¬ 
jects around, he said, "Surely this brilliant light must be a 
god, to him will I render worship." And he worshiped the 
sim and prayed to it. But as the day lengthened the sim's 
brightness faded, the radiance which it cast upon the earth 
was lost in the lowering clouds of night, and as the twilight 
deepened the youth ceased his supplications, saying, "No, 
this can not be a god. Where then can I find the Creator, 
he who made the heavens and the earth?" He looked to¬ 
ward the west, the south, the north, and to the east. The sun 
disappeared from his view, nature became enveloped in the 
pall of a past day. Then the moon rose, and when Abraham 
saw it shining in the heavens surrounded by its myriads of 
stars, he said, "Perhaps these are the gods who have created 
all things," and he uttered prayers to them. But when the 
morning dawned and the stars paled, and the moon faded into 
silvery whiteness and was lost in the returning glory of the 
sun, Abraham knew God, and said, "There is a higher power, 
a Supreme Being, and these luminaries are but his servants, 
the work of his hands." From that day, even until the day 
of his death, Abraham knew the Lord and walked in all 
his ways. 

While Abraham, the son of Therach, added daily to his wis¬ 
dom and knowledge in the house of Noah, none knowing 
aught of his whereabouts, the subjects of King Nimrod, who 
then reigned in Babel, continued in their evil ways, despite 
of the warnings which they had received of the destmction 
of the wicked. And the servants of Nimrod called him Am- 
raphel. Merdon, the son of Nimrod, was more imrighteous 
than his father, and even Therach, who still remained chief 
officer to the King, became a worshiper of idols. In his 
house he had twelve large images of wood and stone, a sep¬ 
arate god for each month in the year, and to these he prayed 
and made obeisance. 

When Abraham was fifty years of age he left the house of 



288 


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his instructor, Noah, and returned to Therach, his father. 
He beheld the twelve idols occupying the places of honor in 
his father's house, and his soul waxed full with wrath, and 
he uttered a vow, saying, 

"By the life of the Lord, if these images remain here three 
days longer, may the God who created me make me even 
such as they." 

And Abraham sought his father when he was surrounded 
by his officers, and he spoke to him, saying: 

"Father, tell me, I pray, where I may find the God who 
created the heavens and the earth, thee, me, and all the 
people in the world." 

And Therach answered, 

"My son, the creator of all things is here with us in the 
house." 

Then said Abraham, 

"Show him to me, my father." 

And Therach led Abraham into an inner apartment, and 
pointing to the twelve large idols and the many smaller ones 
aroimd, he said, 

"These are the gods who created the heavens and the 
earth; thee, me, and all the people of the world." 

Abraham then sought his mother, saying, 

"My mother, behold, my father has shown to me the gods 
who have created the earth and all that it contains, therefore 
prepare for me, I pray thee, a kid for a sacrifice, that the 
gods of my father may partake of the same and receive it 
favorably." 

Abraham's mother did as her son had requested her, and 
Abraham placed the food which she prepared before the 
idols, but none stretched forth a hand to eat. 

Then Abraham jested, and said, "Perchance 'tis not ex¬ 
actly to their taste, or mayhap the quantity appears stinted. 
I will prepare a larger offering, and strive to make it still 
more savory." 

Next day Abraham requested his mother to prepare two 
kids and with her greatest skill, and placing them before the 
idols he watched with the same result as on the previous day. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


289 


Then Abraham exclaimed, 

"Woe to my father and to this evil generation; woe to 
those who incline their hearts to vanity and worship senseless 
images without the power to smell or eat, to see or hear. 
Mouths they have, but sounds they can not utter; eyes they 
have, but lack all power to see; they have ears that can not 
hear, hands that can not move, and feet that can not walk. 
Senseless as they are the men who wrought them, senseless 
all who trust in them and bow before them." 

And seizing an iron implement, he destroyed and broke 
with it all the images save one, into the hands of which he 
placed the iron which he had used. 

The noise of this proceeding reached the ears of Therach, 
who hurried to the apartment, where he found the broken 
idols and the food which Abraham had placed before them. 
In wrath and indignation he cried out unto his son, saying, 

"What is this that thou hast done unto my gods?" 

And Abraham answered, 

"I brought them savory food, and behold they all grasped 
for it with eagerness at the same time, all save the largest one, 
who, annoyed and displeased with their greed, seized that 
iron which he holds and destroyed them." 

"False are thy words," answered Therach in anger. 
"Had these images the breath of life, that they could move 
and act as thou hast spoken? Did I not fashion them with 
my own hands? How, then, could the larger destroy the 
smaller ones?" 

"Then why serve senseless, powerless gods?" replied Abra¬ 
ham, "gods who can neither help thee in thy need nor hear 
thy supplications? Evil is it of thee and those who unite 
with thee to serve images of stone and wood, forgetting the 
Lord God who made the heaven and the earth and all that is 
therein. Ye bring guilt upon your souls, the same guilt for 
which your ancestors were punished by the waters of the 
flood. Cease, oh, my father, to serve such gods, lest evil fall 
upon thy soul and the souls of all thy family." 

And seizing the iron from the hands of the remaining idol, 
he destroyed that also, before his father's eyes. 



290 


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When Therach witnessed this deed of his son, he hastened 
before King Nimrod and denounced Abraham, saying, "A 
son bom to me fifty years ago has acted so and so; let him 
be brought before thee, I pray, for judgment." 

When Abraham was summoned before the King, Nimrod 
said to him, 

"What is this that thou hast done unto thy father's 
gods?" 

And Abraham answered the King in the same words that 
he had spoken to his father. And when Nimrod replied, 

"The large god had no strength nor power to do this 
thing," Abraham continued, saying, 

"Then wherefore serve him? Why cause thy subjects 
to follow in thy vain ways? Rather serve the great Lord of 
the world who has power to do all things; who has the power 
to kill, the power to keep alive. Woe to thee, thou man of 
foolish heart. Turn from thy evil ways, serve him in whose 
hands is thy life and the lives of all thy people, or die in re¬ 
proach, thou and all who follow thee." 

The King commanded his officers to seize Abraham and 
lead him to confinement, and he remained in prison ten days. 
During this time Nimrod convened his council, and thus 
addressed his princes and his officers: 

"Ye have heard of the deeds of Abraham, the son of Ther¬ 
ach. He has treated me with disrespect and shown no dread 
of my power. Behold, he is in prison; therefore speak and 
tell me what punishment should be inflicted on this man, who 
has acted so audaciously before me." 

And the coimselors replied, 

"He who acts disrespectfully to the King should meet 
death upon the gallows; this man has done more; he is guilty 
of sacrilege, he has insulted our gods; therefore he should 
be burned to death. If it be pleasing to the King let a 
furnace be heated, day and night, and then let this Abraham 
be cast therein." 

This advice pleased the King, and he commanded such 
measures to be taken forthwith. 

And when the furnace was heated to a great and consum- 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


291 


ing heat, all the officers assembled, and the people, both great 
and small, to witness the carrying out of the King's orders. 
The women, carrying their children with them, ascended to 
the roofs of their houses, and the men gathered in great 
numbers; but all stood afar off, for none dared approach the 
great heat to look into the furnace. 

And it came to pass, when Abraham was brought out from 

prison and the wise men and magicians beheld him, that they 

cried aloud imto Nimrod, 

"Oh, King, we know this man! This is none other than 
the child at whose birth, fifty years ago, one large star con¬ 
sumed four other stars. His father has mocked thee and 

played thee false in sending another child in his stead, to be 
slain according to thy will." 

When the King heard these words he grew fiercely angry, 
and ordered Therach to be immediately brought before him. 
And he said to Therach, 

"Thou hast heard what these magicians have asserted. 
Tell me, now, have they spoken truly?" 

And Therach, observing the great anger of the King, an¬ 
swered truly, 

"It is as these wise men have spoken. I had compassion 
upon my child, and sent thee in his stead the child of one of 
my slaves." 

"Who advised thee to this? Speak truly, and thou shaft 
live!" demanded Nimrod. 

The King's manner terrified Therach, and he answered 
quickly, not knowing what he said, and altogether without 
foundation, 

"Charan, my other son, advised me to the thing." 
Now Charan was a man without strength of mind in faith, 
and undecided as to whether the idols of his father or the 
God of Abraham deserved his worship. When Abraham was 
cast in prison, Charan said in his heart, "Now will I see 
what God is powerful. If Abraham prevails I will profess 
his faith, and if he perishes I will follow the leading of the 
King." 

When Therach thus accused his son, Nimrod answered. 



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"Then Charan must suffer with Abraham, and both thy 
sons be cast into the furnace." 

And both Abraham and Charan were brought before the 
King, and in the presence of all the inhabitants their robes 
were removed from them, their hands and feet were bound, 
and they were east into the flaming furnace. 

Now the heat of the fire was so great that the twelve men 
who cast them therein were consumed by it, yet God had 
compassion upon his servant Abraham, and though the ropes 
which bound him were burned from off his limbs, he walked 
upright through the fire, unharmed. But Charan, his 
brother, whose heart was not the Lord's, met instantaneous 
death in the flames. And the servants of the King called out 
to their master, 

"Behold, Abraham walks imhurt through the flames, fhe 
ropes with which we bound him are consumed, yet he is un¬ 
injured." 

The King refused to believe so wonderful a thing, and sent 
trusted officers to look into the furnace, and when they cor¬ 
roborated the words of their inferiors, the King was lost in 
amazement, and commanded his officers to take Abraham out 
of the fire. They were nof able, however, fo execute his 
order, for the forks of flame blazed in their faces and they 
fled from the great heat. 

And the King reproached them, saying, ironically, 

"Haste ye — take Abraham out, else he may die!" 

But their second attempt was fruitless as the first, and in 
it eight men were burned to death. 

Then the King called to Abraham, saying, 

"Servant of the God of heaven, come forth from the fire 
and stand before me." 

And Abraham walked out of the fire and the furnace and 
stood before the King. And when the King saw that not 
even a hair of Abraham's head was singed by the flame, he 
expressed wonder and amazement. 

"The God of heaven, in whom I trust," said Abraham, 
"and in whose hand are all things, hath delivered me from 
the flames." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


293 


And the princes of the King bowed before Abraham, but 
he said to them, 

"Bow not to me, but to the great God of the universe, who 
hath created you. Serve him and walk in his ways; he is 
powerful to deliver and to save from death." 

The King, too, looked on Abraham with awe, and made 
him many valuable presents, and parted from him in peace. 

And it came to pass after this that Nahor and Abraham 
took to themselves wives; the name of Nahor's wife was 

Milcah, and the name of Abraham's wife Sarai, or Yiska. 

They were both the daughters of Charan, the brother of then- 
husbands. 

About two years after Abraham's deliverance from death 
by fire. King Nimrod dreamed. And behold, in this dream, 
he was standing with his army in a valley, opposite to a great 
furnace, in which a fire blazed; and a man, resembling Abra¬ 
ham, came forth from the furnace and stood before the King, 

holding in his hand a drawn sword. And the man ap¬ 
proached Nimrod with his sword uplifted, and Nimrod 
turned and fled. Then, as the King fled, the man threw 
after him an egg, and a huge river of water flowed forth from 
this egg, engulfing the King and all his army, and all were 
drowned save the King with three men. As they fled, the 
King turned to look at the companions who had been saved 
with him, and behold they were men of tall stature and com¬ 
manding appearance, and attired in royal apparel. And the 
river disappeared and only an egg remained. And further 
in his dream. King Nimrod beheld a bird issue forth from 
this egg, and the bird flew upon his head and pecked out his 
eyes. Then the King awoke in great terror, and lo, his heart 
was beating rapidly and his blood was feverish. 

In the morning the King sent for his wise men, and re¬ 
lating to them his dream, he demanded its interpretation. 
And one of the wise men, whose name was Anuki, answered, 
saying, 

"Behold, this dream foreshadows the evil which Abraham, 
and his descendants will cause the King in time to come. 
It foretells the day when they will rise and smite our lord 



294 


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the King with all his hosts, and there will none be saved 

except the King, with three other kings who will battle on his 
side. And the river and the bird, these that came forth from 
the egg, lo, they but typify the descendants of this man, who 
will work much evil to our nation and our people in after 
days. 

"This is the interpretation of the dream, its only mean¬ 
ing. And well thou knowest, oh, my lord, the King, that 

many years ago thy wise men beheld this very thing, and yet 
to thy own misfortune thou hast still allowed this man to 

live. While he walks on earth, thy kingdom remains 
imperiled." 

The words of Anuki made a deep impression on the King, 
and he sent secret emissaries to take Abraham's life. The 
King's design, however, was frustrated by Eleazer, a slave 
of Abraham's, whom Nimrod had presented to him. He 
learned of the King's intention and warned his master, 
saying, 

"Arise, get thee quickly hence, that thou mayest escape 

destruction." 

And he told Abraham of the King's dream, and the inter¬ 
pretation which the wise men had given to it. 

So Abraham hastened to the house of Noah, and remained 
there hiding while the servants of the King searched his own 
home and the surroimding coimtry in vain, and he remained 
a longer time, even until the people had forgotten him. 

And it came to pass during this period of concealment, 
that Therach, who was still a favorite with the King, came 
in secret to visit his son. And Abraham spoke to him, 
saying, 

"Come, let us all journey to another land; let us go to 
Canaan. Thou knowest that the King seeks my life, and 
even though he honors and exalts thee, yet wealth and power 
amoimt to naught in the hour of death and trouble. Jour¬ 
ney with me, O my father, abandon the vanity which thou 
pursuest; let us live in safety, worshiping the great God who 
created us, in happiness and peace." 

And Noah and his son Shem added their entreaties to those 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


295 


of Abraham, till Therach consented to do as they wished. 
And Therach with Abraham his son, and Lot his son's son, 
and Sarai his daughter-in-law, and all his family, went forth 
from Ur Chaldee, from the city of Babel to the land of 
Charan, and there they tarried. 

And the coimtry around them was pleasant and fertile, 
and there was ample space for the men and the cattle they 
had with them. And the people of Charan respected and 

honored them, and God blessed them and looked with favor 
on their household. 

And it came to pass after Abraham had dwelt in Charan 
about three years that the Lord appeared to him and said, 

"I am the Lord who brought thee safely through the fire 
of the Chaldeans, and delivered thee from the strength of thy 
enemies. If thou wilt harken earnestly to my words and 
follow diligently my commands, I will make thy seed even 
as the stars of the heaven, and those who hate shall like¬ 
wise fear thee. My blessing shall rest upon thee and my 
favor on thy doings. Now, arise, take Sarai thy wife, and 

those who belong to thee, and all thy possessions, and jour¬ 
ney to Canaan and dwell there, and I will be thy God and 
bless thee." 

And Abraham journeyed with his family to Canaan in 

obedience to the Lord's command. And he was fifty-five 
years old when he left Charan. 

When Abraham had pitched his tent in Canaan, among the 
inhabitants of the land, God again appeared to him and said, 

"This is the land which I have given as a permanent pos¬ 
session to thee and thy descendants. For the generations to 
spring from thee shall be numerous as the stars in heaven, 
and the countries which I have shown thee shall be their 

heritage on earth." 

Then Abraham built an altar to God and called it by the 
name of the Lord. And he continued to dwell in Canaan, 
and when he had lived there about three years Noah died 
at the age of nine himdred and fifty years. 

After this Abraham returned to Charan to visit his 
father and mother, and he remained with them in Charan 



296 


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for five years. During this time he endeavored to spread a 
knowledge of the Eternal, and he succeeded in gaining among 
the Charanites many followers of the one God. 

And the Lord appeared to him in Charan, saying, 

"Arise and return to the land of Canaan, thou and thy 
wife and all horn in thy house, and all the souls which thou 
hast made in Charan. To thee have I given the land from 
the river of Egypt even unto the great river, the river 
Euphrates." 

And Abraham did as the Lord commanded, and Lot, the 
son of his brother, went with him out of Charan to the land 
of Canaan. 

Now Lot possessed large herds of cattle, for God had pros¬ 
pered him in his rmdertakings. And it happened that the 
herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham quarreled 
and disputed in regard to rights of pasturage and water, and 
they strove one with the other. Therefore Abraham said 
to Lot, 

"Thou hast done wrong, and through thy herdsmen thou 
wilt cause me to be hated by our neighbors. Thy shepherds 
have pastured their flocks on lands which belong to others, and 
I must bear the reproach therefor. Thou knowest that I 
am but a stranger and sojourner in this land, and thou 
shouldst bid thy servants to be heedful." 

Despite the frequent rebukes of Abraham, however, the 
herdsmen of Lot continued to quarrel with Abraham's men 
and to trespass upon the pastures of their neighbors. At last 
Abraham spoke earnestly, saying, 

"Let there be no strife between us, for we are near rela¬ 
tions, yet we must separate. Go thou whither thou pleasest, 
choose thy dwelling-place where thou wilt, thou and thy cat¬ 
tle and all thy possessions, but bide no longer with me. If 
thou art in danger I will haste to aid thee, and in all things 
will I be with thee, but separate thyself from me, I pray." 

And Lot lifted up his eyes and looked upon the land oppo¬ 
site the river Jordan. He saw rich plains and fertile fields, 
a country pleasant for man, and with wide pastures for flocks, 
rich in water and gratifying to the sight. And Lot was much 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


297 


pleased with the country and journeyed thither even to 
Sodom, departing in peace from Abraham, with his flocks 
and all his possessions. And Abraham remained and dwelt 
in the groves of Mamre, near to Hebron. 

"The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the 
Lord exceedingly." 

Now, in these days Sodom and four other cities were in- 
babitated by men of evil actions, who provoked the anger and 
indignation of the Most High. They planted in the valley 
a beautiful garden many miles in extent, a place adorned 
with fruits and flowers, and objects pleasing to the sight and 
intoxicating to the senses. Thither the people flocked four 
times a year with music and with dancing, indulging in all 
sorts of excesses and acts of idolatrous worship, with none 

to utter a word of warning or rebuke. 

In their daily life they were both cruel and treacherous, 
oppressing the stranger and taking advantage of all persons 
thrown in contact with them. If a trader entered their city 
they would seize his goods either with violence or through 

trickery, and if he remonstrated they but mocked him and 
drove him from the place. 

It happened once that a man from Elam, journeying to a 
place beyond Sodom, reached this latter city even as the sim 
was setting. He had with him an ass bearing a valuable 

saddle to which some rare and precious merchandise was 
attached. Unable to find a lodging for himself and stabling 
for the animal, he resolved to pass the night in the streets 
of Sodom, and journey on in the morning. A certain citi¬ 
zen of Sodom, named Hidud, chanced to observe this stranger 
and, being cunning and treacherous, he accosted him, saying, 

"Whence contest thou, and whither art thou traveling?" 

"I am journeying from Hebron," replied the stranger; 

"my destination is beyond this place; but lo, the sun has set; 
I can obtain no lodging, and so I remain here in the streets. 
I have bread and water for myself and straw and provender 
for my beast, so I need not be rmder obligation to anybody." 

"Nay, this is wrong," returned Hidud, "come pass the 




298 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


night with me; thy lodging shall cost thee naught, and I will 
attend also to the wants of thy animal." 

Hidud led the stranger to his house. He removed the 
valuable saddle from the ass, and the merchandise which 
was attached to it he also removed, placing them in the closet 
in his house, then he gave the ass provender and set meat and 
drink before the stranger, who partook of the meal, and 
lodged that night with him. 

In the morning the stranger rose up early intending to 
pursue his journey, but Hidud said to him, "Take first thy 
morning meal, then go thy way." 

After the man had eaten he rose to go on his way, but 
Hidud stopped him, saying, "It is late in the day, remain I 
pray thee, bide with me yet this day and then depart." 

The stranger remained in Hidud's house until the follow¬ 
ing morning and then, declining another pressing invitation 
to remain one day more, he prepared for his departure. 

Then said Hidud's wife, 

"This man has lived with us two days and paid us 
naught." 

But Hidud answered, 

"Keep thy peace." 

He then brought forth the stranger's ass, and bade him 
"fare thee well." 

"Hold," said the stranger, "my saddle, the spread of 
many colors, and the strings attached to it, together with my 
merchandise, where are they?" 

"What!" exclaimed Hidud. 

"I gave thee," returned the stranger, "a beautiful spread 
with strings attached to it; thou hast hidden it in thy 
house." 

"Ah!" said Hidud pleasantly, "I will interpret thy 
dream. That thou hast dreamed of strings signifies that thy 
days will be prolonged even as strings may be stretched 
from end to end; that thou hast dreamed of a spread of many 
colors signifieth that thou wilt one day possess a garden rich 
in flowers and luscious fruits." 

The stranger answered. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


299 


"No, my lord, I dreamed not; I gave to thee a spread of 
many colors with strings attached, and thou hast hidden it in 
thy house." 

And Hidud said, 

"And I have interpreted thy dream; I have told thee its 
meaning, 'tis useless to repeat it. For the interpretation of 
a dream people generally pay me four pieces of silver, but 
as for thee, behold I will ask of thee only three." 

The stranger was very angry at this outrageous conduct, 
and he accused Hidud in the court of Sodom of steal¬ 
ing his goods. Then when each man told his story, the judge 
said, 

"Hidud speaks the truth; he is an interpreter of dreams; 
he is well known as such." 

And Hidud said to the stranger, 

"And as thou art such a liar, thou must even pay me the 
full price, four pieces of silver, as well as for the four meals 
eaten in my house." 

"Willingly will I pay thee for thy meals," replied the 
other, "if thou wilt but return my saddle and my goods." 

Then the two men wrangled with angry words, and they 
were driven forth from the court-house, and the men in the 
streets joined on Hidud's side, and they fought the stranger 
and thrust him forth from the city, robbed of all his 
possessions. 

When a poor man entered the city of Sodom the people 
would give him money in order to save a reputation for char¬ 
ity, but they made an agreement among themselves that no 
one should either give or sell him food, or allow him to de¬ 
part from the city. The man would consequently die of 
starvation, and the people would then regain the money they 
had given him. They would even rob the body of the rags 
which covered it, and bury it naked in the wilderness. 

Upon one occasion Sarai sent her servant Eleazer to Sodom 
to inquire concerning the welfare of Lot and his family. As 
he entered the city, Eleazer observed a Sodomite fighting 
with a stranger whom he had defrauded, and who, running 
to Eleazer, implored him for assistance. 



300 


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"What art thou doing to this poor man?" said Eleazer 
to the Sodomite; "shame upon thee to act in this manner 
toward a stranger in your midst!" 

And the Sodomite replied, 

"Is he thy brother? What is our quarrel to thee?" and 
picking up a stone, he struck Eleazer with it on the forehead, 
causing his blood to flow freely in the street. When the 
Sodomite saw the blood, he caught hold of Eleazer, crying, 

"Pay me my fee as a leech; see, I have freed thee of this 
impure blood; pay me quickly, for such is our law." 

"What!" exclaimed Eleazer, "thou hast wounded me and 
I am to pay thee for it!" 

This Eleazer refused to do, and the Sodomite had him 
brought into the court, and there before the judge reiterated 
his demand for a fee. 

"Thou must pay the man his fee," said the judge, address¬ 
ing Eleazer; "he has let thy blood, and such is our law." 

Eleazer paid the money, and then lifting up the stone he 
struck the judge heavily with it, and the blood spurted out 
in a strong stream. 

"There!" exclaimed Eleazer, "follow thy law and pay 
my fee to this man; I want not the money," and he left the 
court-house. 

At another time a certain poor man entered Sodom, and as 
everybody refused to give him food, he was very nearly 
starved to death when Lot's daughter chanced to meet him. 
For many days she supported him, carrying him bread when¬ 
ever she went to draw water for her father. The people of 
the city, seeing the poor man still living, wondered greatly as 
to how he managed to support life without food, and three 
men constituted themselves a committee to watch his goings 
and his doings. They saw Lot's daughter giving him bread, 
and seizing her they carried her before the judges, who con¬ 
demned her to death by burning, and this punishment was 
inflicted on her. 

Another maiden, who assisted a poor stranger, was smeared 
with honey, and left to be stung to death by bees. 

For such acts were Sodom and her sister cities destroyed 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


301 


by fire from heaven, and only Lot and his family spared 
through God's love for his servant Abraham. 

"And the Lord visited Sarah and she bore a son unto 
Abraham in his old age." 

"When Isaac was bom Abraham prepared a great feast in 
his honor, and invited thereto all the chiefs and men of birth 
and position who were his neighbors, such as Abimelech and 

the captains of his armies. Therach, Abraham's father, and 

Nahor, his brother, journeyed also from Charan to join in 
the festivities, and Shem with Eber, his son, were likewise of 
the party. They were all hearty in their congratulations, 
and Abraham's heart was full of gladness. 

Ishmael, the son of Hagar and Abraham, was very fond 
of hunting and field sports. He carried his bow with him 
at all times, and upon one occasion, when Isaac was about 

five years of age, Ishmael aimed his arrow at the child, cry¬ 
ing, "Now I am going to shoot thee." Sarah witnessed this 
action, and fearing for the life of her son, and disliking the 
child of her handmaid, she made many complaints to Abra¬ 
ham of the boy's doings, and urged him to dismiss both Hagar 
and Ishmael from his tent, and send them to live at some 

other place. 

For some time Ishmael lived with his mother in the wilder¬ 
ness of Paran, always indulging in his great passion for 
hunting; then they journeyed to Egypt, where Ishmael mar¬ 
ried, and where four sons and a daughter were bom to him. 
But soon he returned to his favorite home in the wilderness, 
building there tents for himself, his people and his family, 
for God had blessed him, and he was the master of large 
flocks and herds. 

And it came to pass after many years that Abraham, 
yielding to a longing which had always possessed him, de¬ 
termined to visit his son, and informing Sarah of his inten¬ 
tion he started off alone upon a camel. 

He reached Ishmael's dwelling-place about noontime, and 
found that his son was away from home, hunting. He was 
rudely treated by Ishmael's wife, who did not know him, and 



302 


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who refused him the bread and water which he asked for. 
Therefore he said to her, "When thy husband returns say 
thus to him, describing my appearance, 'An old man from 
the land of the Philistines came to our door during thy ab¬ 
sence, and he said to me, when thy husband returns, tell him 
to remove the nail which he has driven in his tent and to 
replace it with one more worthy,'" with which words Abra¬ 
ham rode away. 

When Ishmael returned home his wife related to him the 
occurrence, describing the man and repeating his words, and 
Ishmael knew that his father had visited him and been 
treated with disrespect. For which cause Ishmael divorced 
his wife, and married a maiden from the land of Canaan. 

Some three years after this Abraham again visited his son's 
tent, and again his son was away from home; but his wife 
was pleasant and hospitable, and begged the stranger, whom 
she did not know, to alight from his camel, and she set 
before him bread and meat. Therefore he said to her, 
"When thy husband returns, describe to him my appearance, 
and say, 'This old man came to thee from the land of the 
Philistines, and this message he left for thee: the nail which 
thou hast driven in thy tent is good and worthy, see that it is 
properly esteemed'and blessing Ishmael and his family, 
Abraham returned to his home. 

When Ishmael returned he was much pleased to hear his 
father's message, and he thanked God for a good and worthy 
wife, and after a time he and his family visited Abraham, 
and remained with him in the land of the Philistines for 
many days. 

When Abraham had dwelt here for six-and-twenty years, 
he removed with all his family and possessions to Beer- 
Sheba, near Hebron. Here he planted a grove and built 
large houses, which he kept always open for the poor and 
needy. Those who were himgry entered freely and partook 
of food according to their desire, and those who were needy 
were liberally supplied with the necessaries of life. When 
any of the grateftil ones would seek Abraham to thank 
him for his benevolence he replied to them. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


303 


"Address thy thanks to God. To the Eternal, who created 
all things, all that we receive belongs; through his bounty we 
are fed and clothed." 

To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to speak kindly 
to the unfortunate, to act justly toward all mankind, and to 
be ever grateful to the Eternal, formed the articles of the 
creed according to which Abraham fashioned his life. 




THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 
III 

JOSEPH 

The servants of the King brought Joseph forth from his 
dungeon, and shaved him and clothed him in new garments, 
and carried him before the King. The King was seated upon 
his throne, and the glare and glitter of the jewels which orna¬ 
mented the throne dazzled and astonished the eyes of Joseph. 

Now the throne of the King was reached by seven steps, 
and it was the custom of Egypt for a prince or noble who 
held audience with the King, to ascend to the sixth step; but 
when an inferior or a private citizen of the land was called 
into his presence, the King descended to the third step and 
from there spoke with him. So when Joseph came into the 
presence of the King he bowed to the ground at the foot of the 
throne, and the King descended to the third step and spoke 
to him. And he said: 

"Behold, I have dreamed a dream, and among all the 
wise men and magicians of the land there is not one able to 
read for me its meaning. I have heard that thou art far¬ 
sighted and blest with the gift of divination, and I have sent 
for thee to solve my dream." 

And Joseph answered: 

"O King, the power is not with me; but God will answer 
and give Pharaoh peace." 

And Joseph found favor in the eyes of the King, and he 
told to him his dream. And the spirit of God was upon 
Joseph, and the King inclined his ears and heart to the 
words of Joseph. And Joseph said to Pharaoh: 

"Let not the King think that his dreams are two and dis¬ 
tinct; they have but a single portent, and what the Lord 


304 



AN EGYPTIAN RECORD OF JOSEPH'S SEVEN- 
YEAR FAMINE. 

A remarkable inscription recently discovered on the Island 
of Sehel. 








LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


305 


intends doing upon the earth he has shown to Pharaoh in a 
vision. Let me advise thee, O King, how thou mayest pre¬ 
serve thy life and the lives of all the inhabitants of thy land 
from the grievous evils of the famine which is soon to drain 
and dry up its fruitfulness and its plenty. Let the King 
appoint a man wise and discreet, a man well versed in the 
laws of the country, and let him appoint other officers under 
him to go out through all the length and breadth of the land 
to gather food during the years of plenty and store it care¬ 
fully away for future use, that the land may not die in the 
years of famine which will follow. And let the King com¬ 
mand the people of the land, that they shall each and every 
one gather and store up in the years of plenty of the produce 
of the fields, to provide for their wants when the ground 
shall be barren and the fields unproductive." 

And the King answered, "How knowest thou that thou 
hast read the dream aright?" 

And Joseph said, "Lo, this shall be a sign that my words 
are true. A son shall be bom to the King, and upon the day 
of his birth thy first-bom son, who is now two years old, 
shall die." 

And when Joseph finished speaking these words he bowed 
low before the King and departed from his presence. 

The occurrence which Joseph predicted came to pass. 
The Queen bore a son, and upon the day when it was told 
to the King he rejoiced greatly. But as the messenger of 
glad tidings retired, the servants of the King found his first¬ 
born son dead, and there was a great crying and wailing in 
the palace of the King. 

And when Pharaoh inquired as to the cause of this great 
cry he was informed of his loss, and remembering the words 
of Joseph he acknowledged them as tme. 

After these things the King sent and gathered together 
all his princes, officers, and men of rank, and when they came 
before him he said, "You have seen and heard all the words 
of this Hebrew, and you know that as he spoke so has the 
thing occurred; therefore must we believe that his solution 
of my dream was the correct one, and that his words of ad- 



306 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


vice were of good weight and consideration. We must take 
measures of protection against the famine which is surely to 
come upon us. Therefore search, I pray you, over all Egypt 
for a man of wisdom and knowledge in his heart, that we 
may appoint him governor over the land." 

And they answered the King, "The advice of this Hebrew 
was very good; behold, the cormtry is in the hands of the 
King to do with it what is pleasing in his eyes; but the He¬ 
brew has proved himself wise and skilful, why should our 
lord the King not select and appoint him as governor over 
the land?" 

"Yea, surely," said the King, "if God has made these 
things known to the Hebrew, then there is none among us as 
wise and discreet as he is. What you have suggested is in 
accordance with my own thoughts; we will appoint the He¬ 
brew our governor, and through his wisdom shall our coimtry 
be saved the pangs of want." 

And Pharaoh sent for Joseph and said to him, "Thou 
didst advise me to appoint a wise and discreet man to deliver 
the land from the anguish of famine. Surely, there can be 
none more discreet than thyself to whom God has made 
known all these things. Thy name shall no more be Joseph, 
but 'Zaphenath-Pdaneah' (Revealer of hidden things) shalt 
thou hereafter be called among men. 

"Thou shalt be second to me only, and according to thy 
words shall the land of Egypt be ruled; only upon the throne 
shall I be greater than thyself." 

Then the King removed his ring from his finger and placed 
it upon the hand of Joseph. And he dressed Joseph in royal 
apparel, and placed a crown upon his head and a chain of 
gold about his neck. And Pharaoh commanded that Jo¬ 
seph should ride in his second chariot throughout the land of 
Egypt. And the people followed him with music, and a 
large concourse accompanied him upon his journey. 

Five thousand soldiers with drawn swords in their hands, 
swords glittering in the sunlight, preceded him, and twenty 
thousand soldiers followed. And the people of the land — 
men, women, and children — gazed upon the pageant from 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


307 


windows and from house-tops, and the beauty of Joseph 
pleased all eyes. 

And flowers were strewn in his path when he walked, and 
the air was made sweet with perfume and the savory odor of 
halms and spices. And proclamations were placed in promi¬ 
nent places declaring the authority of Joseph, and threaten¬ 
ing death to those who failed to pay him homage; for he was 
considered as dishonoring his King who failed to honor the 
man made second in the kingdom. The people bowed down 
and shouted, "Long live the King and his viceroy." And 
Joseph, seated in his chariot, lifted his eyes to heaven, and 
exclaimed in the fulness of his heart: 

"He raiseth the poor from the dust; from the dung-hill 
he lifteth up the needy. O Lord of Hosts, happy is the man 
who trusteth in thee!" 

And it came to pass after this that Joseph saw Osnath, the 
daughter of Potipharah, a pearl among the beauties of the 
land, and he loved her and she became his wife. And Jo¬ 
seph was but thirty years old when he was elevated to his hon¬ 
orable and trustworthy position. He built for himself a pal¬ 
ace, elegant and complete in its details and surroundings, so 
elaborate that three years' time was required for its com¬ 
pletion. And the Lord was with Joseph, and increased his 
wisdom and imderstanding, and blessed him with manners so 
affable and deserving that he quickly won the love and favor 
of all the inhabitants of the coimtry. 

And during seven years, as Joseph had foretold, the Lord 
increased the produce of Egypt sevenfold. And Joseph ap¬ 
pointed officers to gather up the plenty. They built huge 
storehouses and heaped up com during the seven years of 
plenty, till the amount stored grew so great that no man 
could number it. And Joseph and his officers were watchful 
and diligent that their stores of grain should not suffer 
from moth or mould. The people of the land, too, stored up 
their surplus crop, but they were not as careful and watchful 
as were Joseph and his assistants. 

And the wife of Joseph bore him two sons, Manassah and 



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Ephraim, and their father taught them diligently the way 
of truth; they listened to his words and departed not from 
the paths of pleasantness either to the right hand or to the 
left. They grew up bright and intelligent lads, and were 
honored among the people as were the children of the King. 

But the seven years of plenty drew to an end, and the 
fields became barren and the trees gave forth no fruit, and 
the famine which Joseph had predicted threw its gloomy 
shadow and threatening presence over the once fruitful land. 

And when the people opened their storehouses, they found 
to their sorrow that the moth and mould had taken advantage 
of their neglect. And they cried aloud to Pharaoh, "Give 
us food — let us not die of hunger before thee, we and our 
children; give to us, we pray thee, from the plenty of thy 
storehouses." 

And Pharaoh answered, "Why cry ye imto me, O careless 
people? did Joseph not tell ye of the famine which has come 
upon us? Why did ye not harken to his voice, and obey his 
commands to be frugal and painstaking?" 

"By thy life, our lord," replied the people, " as Joseph 
spoke, so did we, and gathered in our com during the years 
of plenty, but lo, when the pangs of hunger and the barren¬ 
ness of the land bid us open our granaries, the moth had 
destroyed the provisions which we had garnered." 

The King became alarmed lest all their precaution should 
prove imavailing against the famine's blight, and he bade the 
people to go to Joseph. "Obey his commands and rebel not 
against his words." 

And the people repeated to Joseph the cry for food they 
had addressed to Pharaoh. 

When Joseph heard the words of the people and learned the 
result of their want of care, he opened the storehouses of the 
King and sold food imto the hungry people. 

And the famine grew sore in the land of Egypt and spread 
through Canaan and the land of the Philistines, and to the 
other side of the Jordan. And when the inhabitants of these 
countries heard that com could be obtained in Egypt they 
came all of them into that country to buy, so that Joseph was 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


309 


obliged to appoint many officers to sell com to th large multi¬ 
tude of people. 

And Joseph's thoughts reverted to his father's home, and 
he knew that his brothers would be obliged to come to Egypt 
to purchase food, for the famine was very grievous in their 
neighborhood. Therefore he gave orders that no man de¬ 
siring com should send his servant to purchase it, but the 
head of each family should personally appear as a purchaser; 
either the father of a family or his sons. He proclaimed 
also, as the order of the King and his viceroy, that no man 
should be allowed to purchase com in Egypt to sell it again 
in other countries, but only such as he required for the sup¬ 
port of his immediate family; neither should any purchaser 
be allowed to buy more com than one animal could carry. 

And he put guards at all the gates of Egypt, and every 
man who passed through the gates was obliged to record his 
name and the name of his father in a book, which was brought 
by the guards every night for Joseph's inspection. 

Thus did Joseph design to ascertain when his brothers 
came to buy food; and all the commands which he had given 
were faithfully executed. 

Now, when the patriarch Jacob learned that food could 
be pinchased in Egypt, he bade his sons proceed thither and 
obtain a stock of provisions, for the famine was growing very 
severe, and he feared that his family would suffer from its 
pangs. Jacob instmcted his sons to enter the city by differ¬ 
ent gates, so that no objection should be made to the amoimt 
of their purchases, and as he commanded so they did. 

Thus did the sons of Jacob go down to Egypt, and while 
upon the way they thought of their brother Joseph, and their 
hearts chid them for their cmelty toward him, and they said 
one to the other: 

"Behold, we know that Joseph was carried down to Egypt; 
now when we come to the city let us seek for him, perchance 
we may discover his whereabouts, and then we will redeem 
him from his master." 

And so did Jacob's ten sons travel to Egypt. Benjamin 
was not with them, for his father feared that mischief might 



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befall him as it did the other son of Rachel, and he kept him 
at home by his side. 

By ten different gates did the ten sons of the patriarch 
enter into the land of Egypt, and the guards at the gates took 
down their names, which were sent with the other names to 
Joseph at the close of the day. "When Joseph read the names 
he commanded that all the storehouses save one should be 
closed, and he ordered, further, that every purchaser at this 
storehouse should be required to give his name; and mention¬ 
ing the names of his brethren, he said: "If these men come 
before ye, see that ye seize them, every one." 

When the sons of Jacob had entered the city they met 
together, and before buying their com they resolved to make 
a thorough search for their brother. They visited all places 
of public resort, and the houses of divination, but though 
they continued their search for three days, it proved un¬ 
availing. 

Now when three days had passed, and his brothers had not 
put in an appearance at the storehouse, Joseph wondered at 
their delay, and he sent sixteen of his servants to search for 
them quietly through the city. They were found among the 
Egyptian players, and brought straightway before the viceroy. 

Joseph was seated upon his throne dressed in his royal 
apparel, with his officers around him, when his brothers bowed 
to the groimd before him. They wondered exceedingly at 
the magnificence, the handsome appearance and the majestic 
presence of the powerful man before them, but they did not 
recognize in him their brother. 

And Joseph spoke to them saying, "Whence came ye?" 

"From the land of Canaan," they answered, "and to 
buy food, for lo! the famine is sore in the land; and thy ser¬ 
vants, learning that com might be purchased in Egypt, have 
journeyed hither to provide for their support and the support 
of their families." 

But Joseph said, "Nay, ye are spies, else why did ye enter 
the city by ten different gates?" 

They answered, "We are hue men; thy servants have 
never been spies. Thy servants are brothers, the sons of one 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


311 


father, and by his command did we enter the city separately, 
for coming together he feared our appearance might attract 
imfavorable attention." 

But Joseph repeated, "Ye are spies; to spy out the naked¬ 
ness of our land have ye come. Behold every man who comes 
to buy com makes his purchase and departs; but ye, lo three 
days have ye been in the city, in public places and among the 
players; it is as I have spoken, ye are spies." 

"God forbid!" they exclaimed; "our lord misjudges us. 
We are altogether twelve brothers, the sons of Jacob, in the 
land of Canaan; Jacob, the son of Isaac, and grandson of 
Abraham the Hebrew. Behold, our youngest brother is 
with his father, we ten are here, and the other brother, alas! 
he is not with us; we know not where he is. We thought per¬ 
chance he might be in your land, therefore have we searched 
all public places these three days." 

"And what should the son of Jacob be doing in the public 
places?" asked Joseph. 

"We heard," they answered, "that the Ishmaelites had 
sold him in Egypt, and being of very handsome appearance 
we thought it likely he might have been sold in one of the 
playhouses, therefore we went there hoping to find and to 
redeem him." 

"Suppose you had found him," said Joseph, "and his mas¬ 
ter had asked for him an enormous amount of money; were 
you prepared to comply with extraordinary demands?" 

The brothers answered in the affirmative, and Joseph 
continued: 

"Suppose again that you should find him and his master 
should refuse to sell or deliver him to you imder any circum¬ 
stances, what would you do in such a case?" 

"In such a case," they answered, "if neither prayers nor 
money should prove of avail, we would rescue our brother by 
violence; aye, even the death of his master, and flee with him 
to our father's house." 

"It is as I have said," retorted Joseph; "ye are spies; lo, 
with evil designs upon the inhabitants of our city ye have 
come. We have heard and know indeed how ye killed all the 



312 


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males of Shechem in the land of Canaan on your sister's 
account, and now ye would treat the men of Egypt in the same 
way for the sake of a brother. But yet we will give ye an 
opportunity to prove yourselves true men. Send one of your 
number to your father's house to bring hither the youngest 
brother of whom ye have spoken. If ye will do this, I shall 
know that you have spoken truly. Take three days to 
consider." 

And in obedience to Joseph's commands his brothers were 
held in ward for three days. 

After this time the brothers concluded to leave one of their 
number as a hostage, while the others returned to Canaan to 
bring Benjamin down to Egypt. So Menasseh, the son of 
Joseph, chose Simeon as the hostage, and he was kept in ward. 

Ere his brothers departed, Joseph spoke to them once more. 

"Take heed," said he, "that ye forget not my commands. 
If ye bring this brother to me I shall consider ye true men, 
and ye shall be free to traffic in the land; neither will I do 
harm to your brother; he shall be at liberty to return with 
ye to your father's house, in peace." 

And they bowed down to the ground and departed from 
Egypt. As they proceeded upon their homeward journey 
they stopped at an inn to feed their asses, and Levi opened 
his sack to provide the com for the meal. And lo, when he 
opened the sack, his money which he had paid for the com 
was lying on the top. And he was exceedingly afraid, and he 
told the thing to his brethren, and they, too, were filled with 
alarm. And when every man found his money returned they 
cried aloud, 

"What is this that God has done to us? Has the Lord 
withdrawn from us the mercy which he showed to our ances¬ 
tors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, that he has given us 
into the hands of Egypt's prince to mock us and make merry 
with us?" 

But Judah said, "It is just! Are we not guilty and sinful 
before the Lord! We sold our brother, our flesh. Why 
should we now complain that the favor God has lavished on 
our ancestors is denied to us?" 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


313 


"Did I not warn ye, 'sin not against the child'?" said 
Reuhen, "and ye would not harken to my words. His blood 
is upon us — why do ye say, therefore, 'Where is the kind¬ 
ness which the Lord promised unto our fathers?' Verily we 
have forfeited his protection." 

When Jacob's sons approached their home, and the 
patriarch came forth to meet them, he quickly missed the 
face of Simeon, and he asked, "Where is Simeon, your 
brother?" 

Then the brothers told their father all that had happened 
to them in Egypt, and Jacob said to them, 

"What is this that ye have done to me! Your brother 
Joseph I sent to ye to inquire of your welfare, and his face I 
looked upon no more — his bloody garments ye brought me, 
saying, 'Lo, the wild beasts of the forests have destroyed thy 
son.' Simeon I sent with ye to purchase food, and ye tell me 
that he is imprisoned in a cruel land; and now Benjamin ye 
wish to take also — for Joseph and for Benjamin ye would 
bring my gray hairs in sorrow to the grave. No, my son shall 
not go with ye." 

And Reuben said, "The lives of my two sons I place in 
your hands; if we do not bring back Benjamin safely to 
thee, their lives shall prove the forfeit." 

But Jacob said, "Neither shall ye return again to Egypt; 
stay here, for my son shall not go with ye, to die as did his 
brother." 

And Judah said to his brothers, "Urge him no more at 
present. Let us wait until these provisions have been con¬ 
sumed, and when cruel want and hunger press us he will con¬ 
sent to what we ask." 

And it came to pass when the provisions were gone that the 
children of his sons gathered aroimd Jacob and cried to him, 
"Oh, give us bread!" 

And the heart of Jacob was tom with anguish at the cry 
and, summoning his sons, he said to them, "Hear ye not the 
voices of your children crying for food? 'Give us bread,' 
they cried to me, and I — I have none to give them. Get ye 
down to Egypt, I pray ye, and buy us a little food." 



314 


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Then Judah answered, and said to his father, "If thou wilt 
send Benjamin with us, we will go; otherwise we can not. 
The King of Egypt is a mighty potentate; we dare not trifle 
with him. Should we return to Egypt, and our youngest 
brother be not with us, lo, he would destroy us all Our 
father, we can not disobey this King; greater even is he than 
Abimelech, the Philistine. Thou hast not seen, as we have, 
his throne, his palace, his myriads of officers; thou hast not 
witnessed, as have we, his wisdom, knowledge, and under¬ 
standing. God has blessed him with unequaled gifts; greater 
is he than all on earth beside. Our names he told us; what 
had happened to us in our youth; he inquired of thee, saying, 
'Is your father yet alive? Are all things well with him?' 
Thou hast not heard, as we have, of his power; over his people 
he is supreme; upon his word they go out, and upon his word 
they come in; his word governs, and the voice of his master. 
Pharaoh, is not required. Oh, my father, send the lad — we 
can not go without him; if thou refusest, we must see our 
children die with hunger." 

And Jacob said, in his sorrow, 

"Why did ye tell the man ye had a brother? — Oh, evil, 
evil is this thing which ye have done!" 

"Give the boy into my hands," said Judah, "and let us go 
down to Egypt and buy the com. If I do not return him 
safely to thee, a sinner against my father shall I be considered 
all my days. Our children weep before thee, and we have 
naught to stay their cries; have mercy on them — send our 
brother with us. Hast thou not often told us of the mercy 
which our God has promised to thee? Lo, he will protect thy 
son and return him to thee safely. Pray imto the Lord for 
our sakes, entreat him to give us grace and favor in the eyes 
of Egypt's prince. Lo, had we not tarried thus long, we 
should have now been back with food; yea, back twice to thee, 
and with thy son in safety." 

And Jacob answered, 

"The Lord God give you grace in the eyes of the king and 
officers of Egypt. In him will I put my tmst. Arise, go 
imto the man, take with ye gifts, the best the land affords; the 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


315 


Lord will be with ye, and ye shall bring back to me your 
brothers, Benjamin and Simeon." 

Then the sons of Jacob went down again to Egypt. And 
they took Benjamin with them, and they took, also, presents 
and twofold money. 

"Take heed of the lad," were Jacob's parting words; "sep¬ 
arate not from him either in Egypt or upon the road"; and 
when they had gone, he sought the presence of the Almighty 
in prayer: 

"Oh, Lord, God of heaven and of earth, remember, I 
beseech thee, the covenant which thou didst make with our 
father Abraham; remember, I beseech thee, the merit of 
Isaac, my father, and for their sakes show kindness unto my 
sons. Do not deliver them into the hands of Egypt's King 
for evil; redeem them, I pray thee, and bring them back 
safely with their two brothers." 

And the wives of Jacob's sons, and his grandchildren, they, 
too, lifted their eyes and hearts to heaven, and cried, 

"Deliver, O Lord, our fathers from the hands of Egypt's 
King." 

Jacob also addressed the following letter, to be delivered by 
his sons into the hands of Joseph: 

"From thy servant, Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of 
Abraham the Hebrew. 

"The prince of God unto the mighty and wise King 
Zaphenath Paaneah, the King of Egypt, peace. 

"My lord, the King, knows well that the famine is sore in 
the land of Canaan; therefore I sent my sons to thee to buy 
food for our sustenance. I charged them not to enter the city 
by the same gate, lest coming together they might attract the 
attention of the inhabitants. And lo, their obedience to my 
orders has caused them to be accused by thee as spies. Oh, 
my lord, could not an intelligent man, such as thou art, read 
truth upon the faces of my sons? Much have I heard of thy 
wisdom and the understanding which thou didst display in 
the interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams, in foretelling this 
grievous famine — how, then, was it possible that thou 
shouldst suspect my sons? 




316 


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"Behold, I am surrounded with children; 1 am very old, 
and my eyes wax dim; tearful have they been for twenty 
years in lamenting the loss of my son Joseph, and now 1 have 
sent to thee his brother Benjamin as thou didst command; 1 
pray thee, oh, my lord, to be good to him, and return him to 
me with his brothers. The strength of God has ever been 
with us; he has listened to our prayers, and he has never for¬ 
saken us; protect thou my son who is coming unto thee, and 
God will look favorably upon thee and upon thy kingdom. 
Send him home again with his brothers, and Simeon also 
send with them in peace." 

This letter was entrusted into Judah's hands. 

Thus the sons of Jacob went down again to Egypt with 
Benjamin and with the presents, and they stood before 
Joseph. And Joseph released Simeon from prison, and 
restored him to his brethren. And Simeon told them of the 
kind treatment which he had received since their departure. 

"I was not bound," said he, "or treated as a prisoner, but 
1 was taken to the governor's own house, and received there as 
a guest." 

Then Judah took Benjamin and brought him before Joseph, 
and they prostrated themselves to the ground. 

And the brothers gave Joseph the presents which their 
father had sent to him. And Joseph asked them whether all 
went well with their children and with their old father, and 
they answered, "It is well with all of us." 

Then Judah delivered his father's letter to Joseph, and the 
latter recognized his father's hand, and his feelings grew too 
strong for him; the recollections of his youth overpowered 
him, and retiring into a side apartment he wept bitterly. 

Returning to the presence of his brother, Joseph's eyes 
rested upon Benjamin, his mother's son, and he asked, "Is 
this your youngest brother of whom ye told me?" And 
when Benjamin drew near, Joseph laid his hand upon his 
brother's head, and said, "God be gracious imto thee, my 
son." 

Then restraining his feelings, he ordered his officers to pre¬ 
pare the dining-tables. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


317 


Then when the meal was ready Joseph took into his hand a 
cup — a cup of solid silver, set with precious stones — and 
holding it in his hand in the presence of his brothers, Joseph 
said, "I know by this cup that Reuben is the first-bom of 
your father, therefore shall he sit first, and Simeon, Levi, 
Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun shall follow him in this order, 
according to their ages; the rest shall follow these according 
to their ages." And he said further, "I know that your 
youngest brother has no mother, neither have I a mother, 
therefore will we two sit together." 

And the men marveled much at the words of Joseph, as 
they ate and drank with Joseph upon that day. 

Joseph placed two portions of food before his brother Ben¬ 
jamin, and when his sons, Ephraim and Menasseh, saw this 
they too gave their portions to Benjamin, and Osnath, 
Joseph's wife, gave also hers. Thus Benjamin had five 
portions. 

And Joseph brought wine to the board, and bade his breth¬ 
ren drink and be glad, but they refused, saying, "We have 
not partaken of wine since we lost our brother." Joseph 
pressed them, however, and forced them to drink and be 
merry with him. And he said to Benjamin, "Hast thou 
children?" And Benjamin answered, "Thy servant has ten 
sons, and I call them by names reminding me of the brother 
whom I have never seen." 

In the morning Joseph dismissed his brethren, and bade 
them return to their father in peace. But when they had 
departed he called his servants, and ordered them to pursue 
after, overtake them, and bring them back. 

And when the servants of Joseph overtook them, and said 
to them, 

"Why have ye done this thing to steal our master's cup?" 
the brothers of Joseph were indignant, and they answered, 
"If ye find the cup in the possession of any one of us, lo, he 
shall die, and we, his brethren, shall be your master's slaves"; 
but when the cup was found where Joseph had ordered it to 
be put, in Benjamin's sack, they returned, grieving and crest¬ 
fallen, to the presence of Joseph. 



318 


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The viceroy was seated upon his throne, and his officers of 
State were gathered about him when his brethren entered, 
and speaking roughly to them he said, 

"What evil deed is this which ye have wrought? Why 
did ye take my silver cup? Is it because you could not find 
that brother you spoke of in the coimtry that you stole the 
cup instead? Answer and tell me why have ye done this 
thing?" 

And Judah spoke, saying, "What shall we say imto my 
lord? What shall we speak, for how shall we justify our¬ 
selves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants, and 
sent this calamity upon us." 

Then Joseph arose, and grasping hold of Benjamin he led 
him to another room, and pushing him therein closed the door 
upon him. He then told the others to return to their homes 
in peace, saying, "1 will keep the one in whose possession the 
cup was found; return ye in peace." 

Then Judah approached Joseph, and said: 

"Let not thy anger, 1 pray thee, bum against thy servant, 
but let thy servant speak before thee"; and Joseph answered, 
"Speak." 

Then Judah continued: 

"From the commencement, from the moment we set foot 
in Egypt, thou hast mocked us. We have been accused as 
spies; we have been forced to bring our brother Benjamin 
hither with us; and now, still at this moment, thou art using 
us for thy sport. Let the King now harken to my words, and 
heed them, and allow our brother to return to his father with 
us, lest we destroy thee, aye, and all thy officers who are sta¬ 
tioned about thee. Thou knowest what two brothers of us did 
to the city of Shechem for a sister's sake; take heed that they 
work not the same revenge for their brother Benjamin. Lo, 
1 am stronger and more powerful than both of them; give 
over thy idle trifling with us, lest 1 strike thee with thy guard. 
Knowest thou not the punishment which God ordained upon 
Pharaoh when he acted wickedly toward Sarai, our great 
grandmother? Even to this day the people of thy land do 
tell about it! Beware, therefore, lest he punish thee too for 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


319 


thy wickedness in taking our brother Benjamin from his 
father. God will not forget the covenant which he made 
with Abraham, to protect his seed and chastise their enemies; 
therefore listen, oh my lord, to the words which I am 
speaking. Let our brother return to his father, lest I 
carry my words into effect; beware, you can not prevail 
over me." 

Then Joseph answered and said, 

"Why indulge in this vain self-glorying? Art proud of 
thy strength? Lo! one word to my officers, and they would 
destroy thee in a moment with thy brethren." 

"By God's life," exclaimed Judah, "if I draw I will com¬ 
mence with thee and end with Pharaoh." 

"Thy strength is not equal to thy boast," returned Joseph; 
"I myself am stronger than thou art; if thou shouldst draw 
thy sword I would sheathe it in thine own body; aye, with 
thine own sword would I put thy brothers and thyself to 
death." 

And Judah replied: 

"Oh, my lord, God is a witness between us that I seek not 
to fight; give us our brother and let us go in peace." 

"By the life of Pharaoh," answered Joseph, "if all the 
kings of Canaan should come and second your demand, I 
would not surrender your brother. Go your way, the rest of 
ye, unto your father, but Benjamin shall be my servant. He 
stole my cup and his liberty is forfeit to me." 

"What profit is the name of a king to such as thou?" 
retorted Judah. "A king's household contains much gold 
and silver in vessels and utensils, and lo, thou speakest much 
about a poor silver cup, which thou thyself hast placed in our 
brother's sack. God forbid that a descendant of Abraham 
should steal from thee, or from any other king, prince, or 
whatever he may be. Be silent now about this for thine own 
sake, lest it become known abroad and people say, 'Lo, for a 
trifling silver cup the great viceroy of Egypt fought with men 
and took one of them for a servant'; for thine own sake, say 
no more." 

But Joseph merely repeated what he had said: 



320 


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"Go ye, and leave your brother with me; the law makes 
him my servant; get ye gone, and take the cup with ye." 

"Never," exclaimed Judah; "we would not forsake our 
brother for a thousand cups, or for any sum of money which 
thou couldst name." 

Then Joseph replied quickly: 

"But you did forsake and abandon your brother; aye, and 
sold him for twenty silver pieces." 

"Give us our brother," reiterated Judah. "God is my 
witness I desire no quarrel with thee; let us depart without a 
brawl. What, oh what can we say to our father if we return 
without the lad? his grief would kill him; and we, what could 
we say?" 

"Say to him," said Joseph, "that the rope folioweth the 

bucket."' 

"Woe, woe unto the king who speaks a false judgment," 
cried Judah. 

"Say naught of false judgments," replied Joseph, "did ye 
not speak imtruths unto your father saying, 'A wild beast has 
devoured Joseph'? Did ye not sell him to the Midianites 

for twenty pieces? Say naught; be dumb in shame." 

"Now does the fire of Shechem bum within me," thun¬ 

dered Judah;" thyself and thy country shall perish in the 
fierce flame of my wrath." 

In the meantime, during this scene, Joseph had dispatched 
Menasseh, his son, to order troops to his palace, and now they 
came at full speed, armed and equipped at short notice. Five 
hundred mounted soldiers, two thousand on foot, and four 
hundred reserve guard of veterans. With cries and shouts 

they surrounded the sons of Jacob, who were exceedingly ter¬ 
rified and trembled for their lives. 

Then Joseph said to Judah, 

"Tell me, I pray, why thou alone of all thy company didst 
fight so zealously for the lad?" 

And Judah answered, 

"Know that I became a surety with our father for the lad's 
' Meaning that Joseph was the rope and Benjamin the bucket. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


321 


safe return. 'If he comes not back with us,' I said, 'Lo, I 
shall be considered as sinning before thee all my days.' Oh, 
my lord, let me find grace in thy eyes; let me but take the lad 
home to his father, and I will return to take his place as thy 
servant. See, I am stronger and older than he is, let me be 
thy servant instead of Benjamin." 

"Upon one condition," replied Joseph, "the lad may go 
with you. Bring before me his brother, his mother's son of 
whom you have spoken, and I will take him in place of Ben¬ 
jamin. You did not become a surety for him to your father, 
therefore let me have him, and the brother for whom you did 
become a surety shall return home with you." 

Then Simeon drew near and answered, 

"Did we not tell my lord, when first we came before him, 
that this lost brother we could not find? Wherefore will my 
lord speak such idle words? We know not, alas, whether this 
brother be alive or dead." 

"Suppose, then," said Joseph, "that I should call him 
before me, will ye then give him to me in place of Benja¬ 
min?" And raising his voice he called aloud, "Joseph! 
Joseph! Appear Joseph, and sit before thy brethren." 

The sons of Jacob wondered much at these words, and their 
blood grew chill as they looked around in fear and amaze¬ 
ment to see from whence their brother was to appear. 

And Joseph said to them: 

"Why do ye look aroimd? Your brother is before you. I 
am Joseph whom ye sold to Egypt. But nay, be not 
alarmed, ye were but instruments, and to save life did God 
send me hither." 

And the men were much frightened, and Judah especially 
was terrified at the startling words. Benjamin, who was in 
the inner court, heard them, and hurrying before Joseph he 
threw himself upon the latter's breast, and kissing him, they 
wept together. The other brothers too were much affected, 
and the people about wondered, and the report of the occur¬ 
rence reached Pharaoh's palace. 

Pharaoh was pleased with the news, and sent a deputation 



322 


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of his officers to welcome Joseph's brethren, and to bid them, 
in his name, to bring their families and their household goods 
and make their homes in Egypt. 

And Joseph clad his brethren in new and elegant garments, 
and made them many generous presents, and gave to each 
of them three hundred pieces of silver; and then he took them 
before Pharaoh and introduced them to the King. 

And when Pharaoh saw what goodly men the sons of Jacob 
were, he was much pleased and very gracious toward them. 

And when it became time for them to return to Canaan, 
Joseph procured eleven of Pharaoh's chariots and added to 
them his own, for their accommodation. And he sent rich 
presents to his father, and garments and presents to the 
children of his brothers and sister, and to his brothers' wives. 
And he accompanied his brethren upon their journey to the 
boundaries of Egypt, and parting with them, he said: 

"Do not, my brethren, quarrel on the way. This thing 
was wrought through God's wisdom; ye were but the instru¬ 
ments to save from famine and hunger a vast multitude." 
He also commanded them to be careful in imparting the great 
news they carried to their father, lest speaking suddenly it 
might have a bad effect upon so old a man. And the sons of 
Jacob returned unto the land of Canaan in gladness with 
happy hearts. 

And it came to pass when they drew near to Canaan that 
they said one to the other, "How shall we break this news 
imto our father? We can not tell him suddenly that Joseph 
is still alive." 

But it chanced when they reached Beer-Sheba that Serach, 
the daughter of Asher, came to meet her father and her rmcles. 
And Serach was a sweet singer, and she played upon the harp. 

So they said unto her, "Take thy harp, and go and sit 
before our father and play to him, and as thou playest, sing, 
sing of his son Joseph, and let him know in this manner that 
Joseph lives." 

And the maiden did as she was bid, and sitting before her 
grandfather, she sang to him a song, wherein she repeated 
seven times these words: 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


323 


"Lo, Joseph is not dead; he lives. 

My uncle rules o'er Egypt's land." 

And Jacob was pleased with her singing and playing; hap¬ 
piness seemed to find birth in his heart at her sweet voice, 
and he smiled upon the maiden and blessed her. And while 
he was talking to her his sons arrived with their horses and 
chariots, and Jacob arose and met them at the door, and they 
said to him, "We have joyful tidings for our father. Joseph, 
our brother, is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of 
Egypt." 

But Jacob remained cool and unaffected, for he did not 
believe their words, imtil he saw the presents which Joseph 
had sent, and all the signs of his greatness; then his eyes 
brightened, and gladness sparkled in their depths, and 
he said, 

"Enough, my son lives; I will go and see him before I 
die." 

And the inhabitants of Beer-Sheba and the surrounding 
countries heard the news, and came and congratulated Jacob, 
and he made a great feast for them. And he said, "I will go 
down to Egypt and see my son, and then will I return to 
Canaan, as the Lord had spoken to Abraham, giving this land 
unto his seed." 

And the word of the Lord came to Jacob, saying, "Go 
down to Egypt; be not afraid, for I am with thee, and will 
make of thee a great nation." 

And Jacob commanded his sons and their families to pre¬ 
pare to go down with him to Egypt, as the Lord had spoken, 
and they arose and started upon the way. And Jacob sent 
Judah in advance, to announce his coming and to select a 
place for his residence. 

And when Joseph learned that his father was upon the way, 
he gathered together his friends and officers, and soldiers of 
the realm, and they attired themselves in rich garments and 
gold and silver ornaments, and the troops were armed with all 
the implements of war, and they gathered together and 
formed a great company to meet Jacob upon the way and 
escort him to Egypt. Music and gladness filled the land, and 



324 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


all the people, the women and the children, assembled upon 
the housetops to view the magnificent display. 

Joseph was dressed in royal robes, with the crown of State 
upon his head; and when he came within fifty cubits of his 
father's company he descended from his chariot and walked 
to meet his father. And when the nobles and princes saw 
this, they, too, descended from their steeds and chariots and 
walked with him. 

And when Jacob saw all this great procession he wondered 
exceedingly, and he was much pleased thereat, and turning to 
Judah he asked, "Who is the man who marcheth at the head 
of this great array, in royal robes?" and Judah answered, 
"That is thy son." And when Joseph drew nigh to his 
father he bowed down before him, and his officers also bowed 
low to Jacob. 

And Jacob ran toward his son and fell upon his neck and 
kissed him, and they wept. And Joseph greeted his brethren 
with affection. 

And Jacob said to Joseph, "Now let me die. I have seen 
thy face, my eyes have beheld thee living and in great honor." 

And the great company escorted Jacob and his family to 
Egypt, and there Joseph gave to his relatives the best of the 
land, even Goshen. 

And Joseph lived in the land and governed it wisely. And 
the two sons of Joseph were great favorites with their grand¬ 
father, and were ever in his house. And Jacob taught them 
the ways of the Lord, and pointed out to them the path of 
happiness and peace in his service. 

And Jacob and his family lived in Goshen, and had pos¬ 
session of the land and multiplied therein exceedingly. 



THE TALMUD 


THE HAGGADA 
IV 

MOSES 

There lived in the land of Egypt a man named Amram; he 
was the son of Kehath, the son of Levi, the son of Jacob. 
This man married Yochebed, the daughter of Levi, his 
father's sister. And the woman bore a daughter whom she 
called Mir'yam, for this was in the days when the Egyptians 
embittered the life of the Hebrews. Afterward she bore a 
son, and called him Aaron. 

And it came to pass in the one hundred and thirtieth year 
after Israel had entered Egypt, that Pharaoh, the King of the 
land, dreamed that he was sitting on his throne, and raising 
his eyes, saw before him an old man holding in his hand a pair 
of large balances. The old man hung the balances, and tak¬ 
ing all the elders of Egypt, her princes and officers, he bound 
them together and placed them on one of the balances; on the 
other he placed a lamb, and lo, to the wonder of the dreaming 
man, the lamb weighed heavier than all the mighty men of 
Egypt. 

Pharaoh awoke, and sending for his officers, he related to 
them this dream, which caused them both fear and amaze¬ 
ment. Now among the magicians of Egypt there was one 
whom the King considered especially wise — Bil'am, the son 
of Be'or. For him the King sent, and desired an explanation 
of the vision. "A great evil will befall Egypt in the latter 
days," replied Bil'am, the son of Be'or. "A son will be 
bom in Israel who will destroy Egypt, kill its inhabitants, 
and carry his people out from among them. Now, O Lord 
and King, give heed to this matter, and destroy the power of 
the children of Israel and their future welfare before this 
misfortime to Egypt buds." 

325 



326 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


"What can we do?" inquired Pharaoh; "we have tried 
many plans without success." 

Bil'am answered, "Send for thy two nearest counselors, 
and we will consult together." 

And Pharaoh sent for Re'uel, the Midianite, and Job, his 
counselors, and they appeared before him accordingly. Then 
said the King, "Ye have all heard my dream and its inter¬ 
pretation; now give me your advice; how may this people 
Israel be conquered ere this threatened evil falls upon us?" 

Re'uel, the Midianite, answered and said, 

"Oh King, live forever! If it be pleasing in thy eyes, O 
King, cease to afflict this people. They are the chosen of God 
from the olden days, and never have they been oppressed with 
impunity. Pharaoh of old was punished for Sarah's sake, 
as was also Abimelech the Philistine, for the same cause. 
Jacob was delivered from the toils both of Esau, his brother, 
and his uncle, Laban. Thy great-grandfather exalted then- 
great-grandfather, Joseph, because he recognized the wisdom 
which God had implanted in him, and which saved the people 
of the land from starvation. Therefore, O King, remove thy 
yoke from them and let them go hence to Canaan, the land of 
the sojoumings of their forefathers." 

These words of Re'uel, the Midianite, angered Pharaoh, 
and he sent him in shame from his presence. Re'uel went 
out from Egypt that day unto his own country, carrying with 
him the staff of Joseph. 

The King then said to Job, his coimselor, 

"What is thy opinion concerning these Hebrews?" 

And Job answered, 

"Are not all the inhabitants of Egypt in the hands of the 
King? Whatever may be most pleasing in thy eyes, that 
do." 

Then spoke Bi'lam, and said, 

"None of the means proposed for the subduing of the 
Hebrews will prove successful. Eire can not prevail over 
them, for Abraham was delivered from its power; the sword 
will fail, for Isaac was delivered from its edge, and a ram 
killed in his stead; they can not be exterminated by rigorous 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


327 


labor, for Jacob worked day and night for Laban, and yet 
prospered. Listen, O King, to the advice which I will give 
thee. By this means only wilt thou be able to prevail over 
them. Command that all the male children bom to these 
Hebrews be cast into the river, for none of then ancestors ever 
escaped from the death in the water."' 

This advice pleased Pharaoh, and his princes and the 
King did according to the words of Bi'lam. A proclama¬ 
tion was issued, and Pharaoh sent his officers through the 
land of Goshen where the Israelites dwelt, to see that all 
the male children were cast into the river on their birth, 
while the female infants were kept alive. 

It came to pass about this time that Miriam, the daughter 
of Amram, the sister of Aaron, prophesied and said, "A 
second son will be bom to my father and mother, and he 
will deliver the Israelites from the Egyptian power." 

A second son was bom to them according to her words, 
and when his mother saw he was a goodly child of hand¬ 
some appearance she hid him in her inner chamber. 

Now in those days strict search was made in the houses 
of the Hebrews for male infants, and many means were 
used to ascertain the places where then parents concealed 
them. Egyptian women carried infants into the houses in 
Goshen, and making these babies cry the hidden infants 
would cry also, thus discovering their place of hiding. The 
women would then report to Pharaoh, and officers would 

seize the babe which parents had vainly endeavored to save. 

And it came to pass after Yochebed had succeeded in 
keeping her son concealed for three months, the fact of 
his birth became known in the above manner, and his mother 
taking the child quickly, before the officers arrived, hid him 
in a box made of bufrushes, and concealed the same care¬ 
fully in the flax which grew along the Nile. She sent 

' The three counselors of Pharaoh were traditionally dealt with by 
God according to their merits. Jithro (Re'uel), who desired to release 

and relieve them, was saved from destruction, and converted to Juda¬ 
ism; Job received the punishment mentioned in the book to which his 

name is given; and "Bi'lam, the son of Beor, they killed him with the 
sword." (Numb. xxxi. 8.) 



328 THE SACRED BOOKS 

Miriam, her daughter, to watch the box from a distance, 

and observe what might happen to it. 

And the day was hot and sultry, and the air oppressive, 
and many of the people came to find relief from the ex¬ 
hausting heat in the cooling waters of the Nile. Bathia, 
the daughter of Pharaoh, came with this purpose attended 

by her maidens, and entering the water she chanced to see 
the box made of bulrushes, and pitying the infant she res¬ 
cued him from death. 

Many were the names given to the infant thus miracu¬ 
lously preserved. Bathia called him "Moses," saying, "I 

have drawn him from out the water his father called him 

"Heher," becaiise he was reunited to his family; his mother 
called him "Yekuthiel," "for," said she, "I hoped in God"-, 
his sister called him "Yarad," saying, "7 went down to 
the river to watch him"; Aaron, his brother, called him 
"Abigedore," for God had repaired the breach in the house 
of Jacob, and the Egyptians ceased from that time to cast 
the infants into the water; his grandfather called him "Abi 
Socho," saying, "for three months he was hidden," and the 
children of Israel called him "Shemaiah Ben Nethanel," 
because in his day God heard their groaning and delivered 
them from their oppressors. 

Moses became even as a son of Bathia, the daughter of 
Pharaoh, as a child belonging rightly to the palace of the 
King. 

Now it came to pass when Pharaoh saw that the advice 
of Bi'lam did not prove effective, but that the Israelites, on 
the contrary, seemed to increase and multiply even more 
rapidly than before, he laid additional labor upon them, and 
issued orders that if any man failed in accomplishing his 
full daily task his children should be walled up alive in the 
building in which he worked. This order continued in effect 
for many years. 


About this time, when Moses was three years old. Pharaoh 
sitting at his banquet-table, with his Queen upon his right. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


329 


Bathia at his left, and his two sons, with Bi'lam and the 
princes of his realm about him, took Moses upon his lap. 
The little child stretched forth his hand, and taking the 
royal crown from Pharaoh's head placed it upon his 
own. 

In this action the King and the people aroimd him im¬ 
agined they saw a meaning, and Pharaoh asked, 

"How shall this Hebrew boy be punished?" 

Then said Bi'lam, the son of Be'or, the magician, "Think 
not, because the child is yoimg, that he did this thing thought¬ 
lessly. Remember, O King, the dream which thy servant 
read for thee; the dream of the balances. The spirit of 
understanding is already implanted in this child, and to 
himself he takes thy kingdom. Such, my lord, hath ever 
been the way of his people, to trample down those who have 
dealt kindly with them, to deceitfully usurp the power of 
those who have reared and protected them. Abraham, then- 
ancestor, deceived Pharaoh, saying of Sarah, his wife, 'She 
is my sister'; Isaac, his son, did the same thing; Jacob 
obtained surreptitiously the blessing which rightfully be¬ 
longed to his brother; he traveled to Mesopotamia, married 
the daughters of his uncle, and fled with them secretly, taking 
large flocks and herds and immense possessions; the sons of 
Jacob sold their brother Joseph into slavery; he was after¬ 
ward exalted by thy ancestor and made second in Egypt, 
and when a famine came upon the land he brought hither 
his father with all his family to feed upon its substance, 
while the Egyptians sold themselves for food; and now, my 
lord, this child arises to imitate their actions. He mocks 
thee, O King, thy elders and thy princes. Therefore, let 
his blood be spilled; for the future welfare of Egypt let this 
thing be done." 

The King replied to the words of Bi'lam, 

"We will call our judges together, and if they deem the 
child deserving of death he shall be executed." 

When the judges and wise men assembled according to 
the order of the King, Jithro, the priest of Midian, came 
with them. The King related the child's action and the 



330 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


advice which Bi'lam had given out, requesting their opinions 
on the same. 

Then said Jithro, desirous to preserve the child's life, 
"If it be pleasing to the King, let two plates be placed before 
the child, one containing fire, the other gold. If the child 
stretches forth his hand to grasp the gold, we will know 
him to be an understanding being, and consider that he 
acted toward thee knowingly, deserving death. But if he 
grasps the fire, let his life be spared." 

This advice met with the King's approval, and two plates, 
one containing gold, the other fire, were placed before the 
infant Moses. The child put forth his hand, and grasping 
the fire put it to his mouth, burning his tongue, and becoming 
thereafter" heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue," as men¬ 
tioned in the Bible. Through this childish action the life 
of Moses was saved. 

Moses grew up, a handsome lad, in the palace of the King; 
he dressed royally, was honored by the people, and seemed 
in all things of royal lineage. 

He visited the land of Goshen daily, observing the rigor 
with which his brethren were treated, and inquiring of them 
why they labored and were so oppressed, he learned of all 
the things which had happened before his birth; all things 
concerning the children of Israel and all things concerning 
himself. Learning of Bi'lam's desire to have him destroyed 
in his infancy, he expressed enmity toward the son of Be'or, 
who fearing his power and his favor with the King's daugh¬ 
ter, fled to Ethiopia. 

Moses urged the King of Egypt to grant the men of Goshen 
one day of rest from their labor, in each week, and the King 
acceded to his request.^ 

And the Lord was with Moses, and his fame extended 
through all the land. 

When he was about eighteen years old Moses visited his 
father and mother in Goshen; and going also where his 

^ Moses said "If you compel them to labor steadily their strength 
will fail them; for your own benefit and profit allow them at least one 
day in the week for rest and renewal of strength." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


331 


brethren were working he saw an Egyptian smiting a He¬ 
brew, and he killed the Egyptian and fled from Egypt, as 
the occurrence is related in the Bible. 

It came to pass in those days that the Assyrians rebelled 
against Kikanus, the King of Ethiopia, to whom they were 
under tribute. Kikanus, appointing Bi'lam, the son of 
Be'or, who had fled from Egypt, to be his representative in 
his absence, marched forth with a large army and subdued 
the Assyrians, and imposed heavy taxes upon them. 

Bi'lam, the son of Be'or, was unfaithful to his trust, and 
usurping the power he was delegated to protect he induced 
the people of Ethiopia to appoint him their King in place of 
the absent Kikanus. He strengthened the walls of the capi¬ 
tal, built huge fortresses, and dug ditches and pits between 
the city and the river Gichon, which compassed all the land 
of Ethiopia. 

When King Kikanus returned with his army he was 
amazed to witness the preparations for defense which had 
been made during his absence, and he thought that the people 
had feared an attack from the kings of Canaan while he was 
away, and had prudently made ready for it. But when the 
gates of the city were closed against him, and he called in 
vain to have them opened, he joined battle with the adherents 
of Bi'lam. For nine years the war between Kikanus and 
Bi'lam continued, with severe losses to the former. 

When Moses fled from Egypt he joined the army of Ki¬ 
kanus, and soon became a great favorite with the King and 
with all his companions. 

And Kikanus became sick and died, and his soldiers 
buried him opposite the city, rearing a monument over his 
remains, and inscribing upon it the memorable deeds of his 
life. Then they said to one another, "What shall we do? 
For nine years we have been absent from our homes; if we 
attack the city it is likely we shall be again repulsed, 
and if we remain here the kings of Edom, hearing that 
our leader is dead, will fall upon us and leave none alive. 
We had best appoint another king in the stead of 
Kikanus." 



332 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


So the army appointed Moses to be their king and leader, 
in the hundred and fifty-seventh year after Israel went down 
into Egypt. 

And Moses foimd favor in the eyes of the Lord, and he 
inspired his soldiers with courage by his voice and his ex¬ 
ample. He attacked the fortresses in mass, with the blowing 
of trumpets, and great enthusiasm, and the city was delivered 
into his hands; eleven hundred of his opponents being slain 
in the battle. 

But Bi'lam, the son of Be'or, escaped and fled back to 
Egypt, becoming one of the magicians mentioned in the 
Scriptures. 

And the Ethiopians placed Moses upon their throne and 
set the crown of State upon his head, and they gave him 
the widow of Kikanus for a wife. Moses remembered, how¬ 
ever, the teachings of his fathers — how Abraham made his 
servant swear that he would not bring a daughter of the 
Canaanites to be the wife of Isaac, and how Isaac had said 
to his son Jacob, "Thou shaft not take a wife from the daugh¬ 
ters of the Canaanites, neither shaft thou intermarry with 
the descendants of Ham"; therefore the widow of Kikanus 
was a wife to Moses in name only. 

When Moses was made King of Ethiopia the Assyrians 
again rebelled, but Moses subdued them and placed them 
imder yearly tribute to the Ethiopian dynasty. 

Now, it happened in the hrmdred and eightieth year after 
Israel had gone down into Egypt that there arose thirty thou¬ 
sand men of the tribe of Ephraim, and formed themselves 
into companies. And they said, "The time, mentioned by 
the Lord to Abraham at the covenant of the pieces (Gen. xv. 
13), has arrived; we will go up out of Egypt." And trust¬ 
ing in their own might these men left Egypt. 

They did not take any provisions with them, save what 
was necessary for a day's journey; they took naught but gold 
and silver, saying," We shall be able to buy food of the 
Philistines." 

As they traveled toward Gath they met a party of shep- 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


333 


herds and said to them, "Sell us your flocks, for we are 
hungry." 

But the shepherds replied, 

"The flocks are ours, and we will not sell them to you." 
Then the men of Ephraim seized upon the flocks by force, 
and the shepherds made a great outcry, which reached the 
ears of the inhabitants of Gath, who assembled to ascertain 
its cause. And when the Gathites learned how their breth¬ 
ren had been treated they armed themselves and marched 
forth to battle with the wrong-doers; and many fell from both 
parties. On the second day the men of Gath sent messengers 
to the cities of the Philistines, saying, 

"Come and help us smite these Ephraimites, who have 
come up from Egypt, seized our flocks, and battled with us 
for no cause." 

And the Philistines marched forth, about forty thousand 
strong, and they smote the Ephraimites, who were suffering 
from weariness and himger, and there escaped from the death 
dealt out to Ephraim only ten men. 

Thus were the men of Ephraim punished for going up 
out of Egypt before the time appointed by the Lord. 

The bodies of those who fell remained unburied in the 
valley of Gath, and their bones were the same bones which 
rose up, endowed with life, in the time of Ezekiel, as his 
prophecies record. 

The ten who escaped returned to Egypt and related to 
the children of Israel what had occurred to them. 

During this time Moses was reigning in Ethiopia in 
justice and righteousness. But the Queen of Ethiopia, 
Adonith, who was a wife to Moses in name only, said to the 
people, "Why should this stranger continue to rule over 
you? Would it not be more just to place the son of Kikanus 
upon his father's throne, for he is one of you?" 

The people, however, would not vex Moses, whom they 
loved, by such a proposition; but Moses voluntarily resigned 
the power which they had given him, and departed from 
their land. And the people of Ethiopia made him many 
rich presents, and dismissed him with great honors. 



334 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


Moses being still fearful of returning to Egypt, traveled 
toward Midian, and sat there to rest by a well of water. 
And it came to pass that the seven daughters of Re'uel (or 
Jithro) came to this well to water their flocks. The shep¬ 
herds of Midian drove them away, designing to keep them 
waiting until their own flocks had been watered, but Moses 
interfered in their behalf, and they returned home early to 
tell their father what had occurred. Re'uel then sent for 
Moses, and the latter related to him all that had happened 
them since his flight from Egypt. And Moses lived with 
Re'uel, and he looked with favor upon Ziporah, the daughter 
of his host, and married her. 

During this time the Lord smote Pharaoh, King of Egypt, 
with leprosy. The disease was exceedingly grievous, and 
the King suffered inexpressible agony. And the taskmasters 
who were placed over the Israelites complained to the King 
that the latter were neglecting their work and becoming lazy. 

"They are taking advantage of my sickness," exclaimed 
the King, and ordering his chariot, he prepared to ride out 
himself to upbraid the workmen, and to see that they did 
not shirk their labor. 

And it happened as he rode through a narrow pass his 
horses lost their footing, the chariot was overturned, the 
King was thrown into the road, and the wheels of the chariot 
passed over him. The tender flesh was tom from his body, 
and the bones, which had grown brittle with his disease, 
broke. His servants laid him upon a bier and carried him 
to his palace; but when they laid him upon his bed the 
King knew that his time to die had come. And his wife 
and his princes assembled, weeping, around his bed, and 
Pharaoh wept with them; and his officers requested him to 
name his successor. 

Now Pharaoh had two sons and three daughters. The 
eldest son was a man of foolish habits and excitable disposi¬ 
tion, while the second, who was intelligent and versed in the 
sciences of his coimtry, was yet a man of wicked imagina¬ 
tion, disfigured, and a dwarf Yet the King, taking into 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


335 


consideration his superior intelligence, named his second son 
to reign after him. 

For three years Pharaoh suffered intense agony, then he 

died, and was buried in the place of the kings; but he was 
not embalmed, for his body was in too diseased a state to 
admit of manipulation. 

In the two hundred and sixth year after Israel entered 
Egypt this Pharaoh ascended the throne of the land. And 

he made the burden on the children of Israel heavy and op¬ 
pressive; he would not continue to allow them the day of 
rest granted in his father's time, but made idleness during 

his father's sickness his excuse for depriving them of it. 

And the children of Israel sighed in their heavy bondage, 
and cried unto the Lord. And God heard their voices and 
remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and 
with Jacob. 

Now while Moses was living with Re'uel, the Midianite, 
he noticed a staff in the latter's garden, and he took it, to 
be a walking-stick in his hand. And this was the same 

staff, the staff of Joseph, which Re'uel carried away with him 
when he had fled from Egypt. This same staff Adam car¬ 
ried with him out of Eden. Noah inherited it, and gave 
it afterward to Shem, his son. It passed through the hands 
of Shem's descendants until it came into the possession of 
Abraham. When Abraham left all his worldly goods to 
Isaac this staff was numbered with them, and when Jacob 
fled from his brother's anger into Mesopotamia, he carried 
this staff in his hand, and while residing in Egypt he gave 
it to Joseph, his son. 

And it came to pass at the end of two years that the Lord 
again sent Moses unto Pharaoh to bring out the children of 
Israel from his land. And Moses spoke to Pharaoh all the 
words which the Lord had commanded, but Pharaoh would 
not harken to them. Therefore the strength of God was 
wielded against the Egyptians, and he smote Pharaoh and 
his officers and his people with grievous plagues. 

Through the hands of Aaron God changed the waters of 



336 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


Egypt into blood. They who drew water from a running 
stream looked into their vessels, and lo, their water was red 
blood; they who sought to drink and slake their thirst but 
filled their mouths with blood, and they who used water in 
preparing bread foimd blood mixed with the dough upon 
their kneading-troughs. 

Then the rivers brought forth frogs, and they entered into 
the house of the Egyptians, into their food and into their 
beds. 

And still the Lord's arm was stretched forth in anger 
over Egypt, and he smote the land with the grievous plague 
of lice; lice on man and beast, on king and queen, and all 
the people of the land. 

Then God sent against Egypt the wild beasts of the forest. 
And they entered the inhabited cities and destroyed men 
and cattle, and made great havoc in the land. And serpents, 
and scorpions, and all manner of reptiles, with mice, weasels, 
and all manner of vermin; and flies, and hornets, and 
all manner of insects filled the land of Egypt and fed 
upon it. 

Then God sent a pestilence among the cattle; all but a 
tenth part of the cattle of the Egyptians died in one night; 
but the cattle belonging to the Israelites in Goshen were not 
affected; they lost not a single animal. 

Then the bodies of the Egyptians became sore and full of 
boils, and noxious, and their flesh was greatly inflamed. Yet 
still the anger of God burned against them and his hand was 
still raised in wrath. 

And God sent a hailstorm which destroyed the vines and 
trees, and green herbs and growing plants, and the people 
who ventured out of their houses, and the imsheltered cattle 
were killed by the falling stones. Then great swarms of 
locusts filled the land, destroying all that the hail had spared. 

And after this darkness covered all the land, and for 
three days and three nights the people could not. see even 
their hands before them. 

All during this period of darkness God smote those of 
the Israelites who were rebellious of heart, and who were not 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


337 


desirous of obeying his commands. In the darkness did 
God do this that the Egyptians might not rejoice thereat. 

And after this God commanded Moses and Aaron to pre¬ 
pare the Passover sacrifice, saying, "I will pass over the 
land of Egypt and slay the first-born, both of man and beast." 
The children of Israel did as they had been commanded, and 
it came to pass at midnight that the Lord passed over the 
land and smote the first-born of Egypt, both of man and 
beast. 

Then there was a great and grievous cry through all the 
land, for there was not a house without its dead; and Pha¬ 
raoh and his people rose up in alarm and consuming grief 

And Bathia, the daughter of Pharaoh, went forth to seek 
Moses and Aaron, and she found them in their dwelling 
singing praises to the Lord. And Bathia addressed Moses, 
saying, 

"Lo, I have nourished thee in my arms and loved thee in 
my heart even from thy infancy, and how hast thou rewarded 
my care and affection! Upon me, upon my people, and upon 
my father's house, thou hast brought calamity and affliction." 

"Have any of the plagues troubled thee?" inquired 
Moses; "if so, tell me, I pray." And Bathia answered, 
"No." "Thou art also," continued Moses, "the first-born 
of thy mother, and yet thou art here alive and well before 
me. Be comforted; not the slightest harm shall come to 
thee." 

And Bathia answered, 

"Such comfort can not profit me, when I see this great 
misfortune bearing down the King my brother, his servants, 
and his house." 

"They would not harken to the voice of God," answered 
Moses, "and therefore is this punishment meted to them." 

Then Pharaoh appeared before Moses and Aaron, and he 
cried to them, 

"Arise, take thy brethren, their flocks and herds, and 
all they have; leave naught behind; go, but entreat the Lord 
for me." 

And the Egyptians sent the children of Israel forth with 




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great wealth, flocks, and herds, and precious things, even 
as the Lord had promised Abraham in his vision of the 
"covenant between the pieces." 

The children of Israel did not leave Egypt that night, 
for they said, "We are not men of secret ways, to hurry 
off at midnight." They waited until morning, obtaining 
gold and silver vessels from their late oppressors. 

Moses took with him the bones of Joseph, and the others 
of the people carried up with them also the bones of Jacob's 
other sons. 

And the children of Israel journeyed from Raamses to 
Succoth. Two hundred and ten years after their entrance 
into Egypt the Israelites departed therefrom, six hundred 
thousand men, with wives and children. 



THE TALMUD 


THE HALACHA 

(OR RULES OF THE LAW) 


"Adam was created alone, one man; and he who destroys a 
single life will be held as accountable as if he had destroyed a 
world. Therefore search well thy words." 

— WARNING FROM THE TALMUD ADDRESSED 
TO WITNESSES IN THE JEWISH LAW COURTS. 




THE TALMUD 


THE HALACHA 

CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LAW: THE HOLY DAYS 

"When do justice and good will meet? When the con¬ 
tending parties can be made to peaceably agree." 

To accomplish this end was the great aim of the ancient 
Jewish laws, but a marked distinction was made between 
the civil and criminal branches. In the former cases, argu¬ 
ments could be made before, and decisions rendered by, either 
the general magistracy or special judges chosen by the con¬ 
tending parties, and many were the fences erected about the 
judges to keep them within the lines of strict equity, such 
as the following: 

"He who unjustly transfers one man's goods to another 
shall answer to God for it with his own soul." 

"When the judge sits in judgment over his fellow man, he 
should feel as though a sword was pointed at his heart." 

"Woe to the judge who, knowing the unrighteousness of 
a decision, endeavors to make the witnesses responsible for 
the same. From him will God require an account." 

"When the parties stand before thee, look upon both as 
guilty; but when they are dismissed let them both be inno¬ 
cent, for the fiat has gone forth." 

The judge was not allowed to hear anything of a case, 
save in the presence of all the parties concerned; and he 
was particularly enjoined to be without bias caused by a 
difference in the standing or wealth of the parties; either in 
favor of the poor against the rich, or of the rich against the 
poor. 

The witnesses in a case were almost as closely scrutinized 
as the case itself, and they were at once incompetent if they 


341 



342 


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had any personal interest in the suit. If a plaintiff asked 
for more than he was legally entitled to, in the hope of more 
readily obtaining his due, he lost his suit. 

While three judges could form a tribunal for the settling 
of civil cases, that for the judgment of criminal suits was 
composed of twenty-three judges, and while in the former 
case a majority of one in the jury either acquitted or con¬ 
demned, in the latter a majority of one acquitted, but a 
majority of two was required to condemn. 

The witnesses in criminal suits were thus admonished on 
being brought into court: 

"Perchance you intend to speak from rumor, being the 

witness of another witness, to tell that which you have heard 

from a trustworthy man, or perchance you may not be 
aware that we shall try you with close questions and search¬ 
ing words. Know, then, that trials wherein the life of man 
hangs in the scale are not like trials concerning worldly 
goods. With money may money be redeemed, but in trials 
like this, not only the blood of the one unjustly condemned, 
but that of his seed and his seed's seed, until the end of time, 
will lay heavy on the soul of the false witness. Adam was 
created alone one man, and he who destroys a single life 

will be held as accountable as if he had destroyed a world. 
Therefore search well thy words. But say not, on the other 
hand, 'What have I to do with all this? 'Remember the 

words of Holy Writ, If a witness hath seen or known, if 
he do not utter, he shall bear his iniquity; and remember 
further, 'In the destruction of the wicked there is joy.'" 

The punishments were inflicted in the most humane man¬ 
ner, and the entire code is the perfection of justice tempered 
by mercy in its truest and highest sense. 

No matter how numerous the crimes of an offender might 
be, one punishment covered them all. A fine could not 
accompany any other pimishment, and in cases of flagella¬ 
tion, the number of strokes was limited in the most extreme 
cases to thirty-nine. 

The judges in capital cases were required to fast all day 
on the days when they pronounced judgments, and even after 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


343 


the sentence the case was again considered by the highest 
court before it was carried into effect. 

The place of execution was located a considerable dis¬ 
tance from the court, and on his progress thereto the prisoner 
was stopped several times, and asked whether he could think 
of anything not said which might influence the judges in 
his favor. He had the privilege of returning to the court 
as often as he pleased with new pleas, and a herald preceded 
him crying aloud, "This man is being led to execution, this 
is his crime . . . these are the witnesses against him . . . 
if any one knows aught in his favor let them come forth now 
and speak the words." 

Before his execution he was urged to confess. "Confess 
thy sins," said the officers; "every one who confesses has 
part in the world to come." If he offered no confession he 
was requested to repeat the words, "May my death be a 
redemption for all my sins." 

Capital punishment, however, was of such rare occurrence 
as to be practically abrogated. In fact many of the judges 
declared openly for its abolition, and a court which had 
pronounced one sentence of death in seven years was called 
"the court of murderers." 


PASSOVER 

The feast of unleavened bread, or "Passover," begins 
upon the evening of the 14th day of Nissan (April), and was 
instituted in commemoration of our ancestors' redemption 
from Egypt, a memorial forever. During its continuance 
we are strictly forbidden the use of any leavened thing. 

Moses said to the Israelites in the name of the Lord, 

"Draw out and take for yourselves a lamb," etc. 

By the observance of this precept they would deserve well 
of God and he would redeem them, for when he spoke 
they were "naked and bare" of good deeds and merito¬ 
rious acts. 

"Draw out and take for yourselves a lamb." 

Draw yourselves away from the idols which ye are wor¬ 
shiping with the Egyptians, the calves and lambs of stone 



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and metal, and with one of the same animals through which 
ye sin prepare to fulfil the commandments of your God. 

The planet sign of the month Nissan is a lamb; there¬ 
fore, that the Egyptians might not think that through the 
powers of the lamb they had thrown off fhe yoke of slav¬ 
ery, God commanded his people to take a lamb and 
eat it. 

They were commanded to roast it whole and to break no 
bone of it, so that the Egyptians might know that it was 

indeed a lamb which they had consumed. 

The Lord said to Moses, "Tell the children of Israel that 
they shall borrow of the Egyptians gold and silver vessels," 
in order that it might not be afterward said, "The words, 
'they will make them serve, and they will afflict them,' were 
fulfilled; but the words, 'they shall go out with great sub¬ 
stance,' did not come to pass." 

When Moses told the Israelites that they should go up 

out of Egypt with great substance, they answered, "Would 
that we could go even empty-handed," like to the servant 
confined in prison. 

"To-morrow," said the jailor to him, "I will release thee 
from prison, and give thee much money." 

"Let me go to-day, and give me nothing," replied the 

prisoner. 

On the seventh day of the Passover the children of Israel 
passed through the Red Sea on dry land. 

A man was once traveling along the road and his son 

preceded him on the way. A robber appeared in the path, 
and the man put his son behind him. Then lo, a wolf came 
after the lad, and his father lifted him up and carried him 
within his arms. 

The sea was before the Israelites, the Egyptians were be¬ 
hind them, so God lifted up his child and carried it within 
his arms. 

When Israel suffered from the hot rays of the sim God 
"spread the cloud for a covering"; when they were hungry 
he sent them bread from heaven; and when they thirsted 
"He brought forth floods from a rock." 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


345 


PENTECOST 

The Feast of Weeks, or "Pentecost," occurs upon the sixth 
day of the third month, Sivan (June). It is called the 
Feast of Weeks because forty-nine days, or seven weeks, duly 
numbered, elapse between the second day of Passover, when 
(during the existence of the temple) a sheaf of green barley 
was offered, and this festival, when two loaves made of the 
first flour of the wheat harvest were "brought before the 
Lord." It is also the anniversary of the delivery of the 
commandments from Mount Sinai. 

Why does not the Bible particularize in this as on other 
occasions, and say directly, "On the sixth day of the third 
month was the law given"? 

Because in ancient times the men called "wise" placed 
their faith and dependence upon the planets. They divided 
these into seven, apportioning one to each day of the week. 
Some nations selected for their greatest god the sun, other 
nations the moon, and so on, and prayed to them and wor¬ 
shiped them. They knew not that the planets moved and 
changed according to the course of nature, established by the 
Most High, a course which he might change according to his 
will, and into their ignorant ideas many of the Israelites 
had entered. Therefore, as they considered the planets as 
seven, God made many other things depending on that num¬ 
ber, to show that as he made them, so had he made the 
planets. 

The seventh day of the week he made the Sabbath; the 
seventh year he made the year of rest; after seven times 
seven years, or after seven Sabbatical years, he ordained the 
Jubilee, or year of release. Seven days he gave to the Pass- 
over festival, and seven days to the Feast of Tabernacles. 
Seven days was Jericho surrounded, and seven priests took 
seven trumpets and marched round its walls seven times upon 
the seventh day. 

Therefore, after numbering seven weeks during the ripen¬ 
ing time of the grain, the Israelites were to hold a holy 
convocation, to praise the One who can prevent all things. 



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but who can not be prevented; who can change all things, 
but is unchangeable. 

The first day the Israelites were redeemed from slavery 
and superstition; the fiftieth day a law was given them for 
their guide through life; therefore they are commanded to 
number these days and remember them. 

The children of Ishmael, says the legend, were asked to 
accept the law. "What does it contain?" they asked. 
"Thou shaft not steal," was the answer. "How can we 
then accept it," they returned, "when thus was our fore¬ 
father blessed, 'Thy hand shall be against every man'?" 

The children of Esau were asked to accept the law, and 
they also inquired, "What does it contain?" "Thou shah 
not kill," was the answer. "We can not accepet it, then," 
said they, "for thus did our father Isaac bless us, 'By the 

sword shah thou live.'" 

When Israel was asked to accept the law, the people an¬ 
swered, "We will do and obey." 

NEW YEAR, OR THE DAY OF MEMORIAL 

On the first day of the seventh month, Tishri (October), 

is the commemoration of the creation of the world. Then 
the comet is blown to announce to the people that a new 

year has begun its course, and to warn them to examine 

strictly their conduct and make amends therein where amends 
are needed. 

Would not any person of sense, knowing that he must ap¬ 
pear before a court of judgment, prepare himself therefor? 
Either in a civil or a criminal case would he not seek for 
counsel? How much more, then, is it incumbent upon him 
to prepare for a meeting with the King of kings, before whom 
all things are revealed? No counsel can help him in his case; 
repentance, devotion, charity — these are the arguments 
which must plead in his favor. Therefore, a person should 
search his actions and repent his transgressions previous to 
the day of judgment. In the month of Elul (September) 
he should arouse himself to a consciousness of the dread 
justice awaiting all mankind. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


347 


This is the season when the Lord pardoned the Israelites 
who had worshiped the molten calf. He commanded 
Moses to reascend the mount for a second tablef after he had 
destroyed the first. Thus say the sages, "The Lord said 
unto Moses in the month of Elul, 'Go up imto me on the 
mountain,' and Moses went up and received the second tablet 
at the end of forty days. Before he ascended he caused the 
trumpets to be sounded through the camp." Since that time 
it is customary to sound the Shophar (comet) in the syna¬ 
gogues, to give warning to the people that the day of judg- 
menf New Year, is rapidly approaching, and with it the 
Day of Atonement. Therefore, propitiatory prayers are said 

twice every day, morning and evening, from the second day 
of Elul until the eve of the Day of Atonement, which period 
comprises the last forty days which Moses passed on Sinai, 
when God was reconciled to Israel and pardoned their trans¬ 
gressions with the molten calf. 

Rabbi Eleazer said, "Abraham and Jacob were bom in 
Tishri, and in Tishri they died. On the first of Tishri the 
universe was created, and during the Passover was Isaac 
bom. On the first of Tishri (New Year) Sarah, Rachel, 
and Hannah, three barren women, were visited. On the 

first day of Tishri our ancestors discontinued their rigorous 

labor in Egypt. On the first of Tishri Adam was created; 
from his existence we coimt our years, that is the sixth day 
of the creation. On that day, too, did he eat of the forbidden 
fmit, therefore is the season appointed for one of penitence, 
for the Lord said to Adam, 'This shall be for a sign in future 
generations; thy descendants shall be judged upon these 
days, and they shall be appointed as days of pardon and 
forgiveness.'" 

Four times in the year the Lord pronounces his decrees. 

First, New Year, the first of Tishri. Then the judgments 

of all human beings for the coming year are ordained. 

Secondly. The first day of Passover. Then the scarcity 
or fulness of the crops is determined. 

Thirdly. Pentecost. Then the Lord blesses the fmit of 
the trees, or bids them bear not in plenty. 





348 


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Fourthly. The feast of Tabernacles. Then the Lord de¬ 
termines whether the rain shall bless the earth in its due 
season or not. 

Man is judged on New Year's, and the decree is made final 
on the Day of Atonement. 

Rabbi Nathan has said that man is judged at all times. 

Thus taught Rabbi Akiba. "Why does the law command 
the bringing of a sheaf of barley on the Passover? Because 
the Passover is the season of the harvest of the grain. The 
Lord says, 'Offer for me a sheaf of barley on Passover, that 
1 may bless the grain which is in the field.' 

"Why does the Bible says. Bring two loaves of the new 
wheat on Pentecost? Because at Pentecost time the fruit 
ripens, and God says, 'Offer for me two loaves of the new 
wheat, in order that 1 may bless the fruit which is on the 
trees.' 

"Why were we commanded to bring a drink-offering of 
water into the temple on the feast of Tabernacles? Because 
then is the season of rain, and the Lord says, 'Bring the 
drink-offering of water to me, in order that 1 may bless the 
rain of the year.' 

"Why do they make the comet which they blow of a 
ram's horn? In order that the Lord may remember the 
ram which was sacrificed instead of Isaac, and allow the 
merits of the patriarchs to weigh in favor of their descend¬ 
ants, as it is written in the Decalogue, 'Showing mercy to 
thousands of those who love me and keep my command¬ 
ments.' " (Ex. XX. 6.) 

On New Year's day they recite in the synagogues the 
record of the binding of Isaac for the same purpose. While 
God has mercy upon his creatures he gives them a season 
for repentance, that they may not perish in their wickedness, 
therefore as it is written in Lamentations hi. 40, we should 
"search through and investigate our ways and return unto 
the Lord." 

During the year man is apt to grow callous as to his trans¬ 
gressions, therefore the comet is sounded to arouse him to 
the consciousness of the time which is passing so rapidly 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


349 


away. "Rouse thee from thy sleep," it says to him; "the 
hour of thy visitation approaches." The Eternal wishes not 
to destroy his children, merely to arouse them to repentance 
and good resolves. 

Three classes of people are arraigned for judgment: the 
righteous, the wicked, and the indifferent. To the righteous 
the Lord awards a happy life; the wicked he condemns, and 
to the indifferent ones he grants a respite. From New Year's 
day imtil the Day of Atonement his judgment he holds in 
abeyance; if they repent truly they are classed with the 
righteous for a happy life, and if they remain untouched 
they are counted with the wicked. 

Three sounds for the comet are commanded in the Bible. 
A pure sound (T'kiah), a sound of alarm or trembling 
(T'mah), and thirdly, a pure sound again {T'kiah). 

The first sound typifies man's first awakening to peni¬ 
tence; he must search well his heart, desert his evil ways, 
and purify his thoughts, as it is written: "Let the wicked 
forsake his ways and the man of unrighteousness his 
thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord." 

The alarm sound typifies the sorrow which a repentant 
man feels for his misconduct and his earnest determination 
to reform. 

The last sound is the pure sound again, which typifies a 
sincere resolve to keep the repentant heart incormpt. 

The Bible says to us, 

"The word is very nigh rmto thee, in thy mouth and in 
thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. xxx. 14.) This 
verse teaches us that repentance is nearer to those who be¬ 
lieve in God and his book, than fanatics would make it. 
Difficult penances are ordained for the sinner among them. 
He must fast many days, or travel barefoot through mgged 
ways, or sleep in the open air. But we are not required 
to travel to the nether end of the ocean or to climb to moun¬ 
tain tops, for our holy word says to us, "It is not in 
heaven, neither is it beyond the sea, but the word is 
very nigh." 

In three ways may we repent. 



350 


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First. By words of mouth, finding birth in an honest 
heart. 

Secondly. With our feelings, sorrow for sins committed. 

Thirdly. By good deeds in the future. 

Rabbi Saadiah declared that God commanded us to soimd 
the comet on New Year's day for ten reasons. 

Birst. Because this day is the beginning of the creation, 
when God began to reign over the world, and as it is cus¬ 
tomary to sound the trumpets at the coronation of a king 
we should in like manner proclaim by the sound of the 
comet that the Creator is our king — as David said, "With 
tmmpets and the sound of the comet, shout ye before the 
Bord." 

Secondly. As the New Year day is the first of the ten 

penitential days, we sound the comet as a proclamation to 

admonish all to return to God and repent. If they do not 

so they at least have been informed, and can not plead igno¬ 
rance. Thus we find that earthly kings publish their de¬ 
crees with such concomitant that none may say, "We heard 

not this." 

Thirdly. To remind us of the law given on Mount Sinai, 
where it is said (Exod. xix. 16), "The voice of the comet 
was exceeding loud." To remind us also that we should bind 
ourselves anew to the performance of its precepts, as did 
our ancestors when they said, "All that the Lord hath said 
will we do and obey." 

Fourthly. To remind us of the prophets, who were com¬ 
pared to watchmen blowing the tmmpet of alarm, as we 
find in Ezekiel (xxxiii. 4), "Whosoever heareth the soimd 
of the comet and taketh not warning, and the sound cometh 
and taketh him away, his blood shall be upon his own head; 
but he that taketh warning shall save his life." 

Fifthly. To remind us of the destmction of the temple 
and the fearsome sound of the battle-cry of our enemies. 
"Because thou hast heard, oh my soul, the sound of the 
tmmpet, the alarm of war." (Jerem. iv. 19.) Therefore 
when we hear the sound of the comet we should implore God 
to rebuild the temple. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


351 


Sixthly. To remind us of the binding of Isaac, who will¬ 
ingly offered himself for immolation, in order to sanctify 
the Holy Name. 

Seventhly. That when we hear the terrifying soimd, we 
may, through dread, humble ourselves before the Supreme 
Being, for it is the nature of these martial instruments to 
produce a sensation of terror, as the prophet Amos observes, 
"Shall a trumpet be blown in a city, and the people not 
be terrified?" 

Eighthly. To remind us of the great and terrible Day of 
Judgment, on which the trumpet is to be soimded, as we find 
in Zeph. (i. 14-16): "The great day of the Lord is near, 
and hasteneth much, a day of the trumpet and of shouting." 

Ninthly. To remind us to pray for the time when the out¬ 
casts of Israel are to be gathered together, as promised in 
Isaiah (xxviii. 13): "And it shall come to pass in that day 
the great trumpet shall be sounded, and those shall come 
who were perishing in the land of Assyria." 

Tenthly. To remind us of the resurrection of the dead, 
and our firm belief therein, "Yea, all ye that inhabit the 
world, and that dwell on the earth, when the standard is 
lifted upon the mountain, behold, that when the trumpet is 
sounded, hear!" says the prophet Isaiah. 

Therefore should we set our hearts to these seasons, and 
fulfil the precept that the Bible commands us, as it is written, 

"And the Lord commanded us to do all the statutes . . . 
that it might be well with us at all times." (Deut. xi. 24.) 

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT 

The hearts of all who fear God should tremble with the 
reflection that all the deeds of the creature are known to the 
Creator, and will be by him accounted to them for good or 
evil. God is ready at all times to acknowledge true peni¬ 
tence; and of repentance there are seven degrees: 

First. The righteous man, who repents his misconduct as 
soon as he becomes aware of his sin. This is the best and 
most complete. 

Secondly. Of the man who has for some time led a life of 



352 


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sin, yet who, in the vigor of his days, gives over his evil 
ways and conquers his wrong inclinations. As Solomon has 
said, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youthful 
vigor" (Eccl. xii). While in the prime of life abandon thy 
evil ways. 

Thirdly. Of the one who was prevented by some cause 
from the commission of a contemplated sin, and who truly 
repents his evil intention. "Happy is the man who fears 
the Lord," said the Psalmist. The man, not the woman? 
Aye, all mankind. The word is used to denote strength; 
those who repent while still in their youth. 

Fourthly. Of the one who repents when his sin is pointed 
out to him, and he is rebuked for the same, as in the instance 
of the inhabitants of Nineveh. They repented not until 
Jonah proclaimed to them, "Yet forty days more, and 
Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah hi. 4). The men of 
Nineveh believed in God's mercy, and though the decree 
had been pronounced against them, yet they repented." And 
God saw their work, that they had returned from their evil 
ways, and God bethought himself of the evil which he had 
spoken that he would do to them, and he did it not." There¬ 
fore say the Rabbis, "Our brethren, neither sackcloth nor 
fasting will gain forgiveness for sins; but repentance of the 
heart and good deeds"; for it is not said of the men of Nin¬ 
eveh, "God saw their fasting and sackcloth," but "God saw 
their work, that they had turned from their evil ways." 

Fifthly. Of those who repent when trouble befalls them. 
How much nobler is this than human nature! Instance 
Jephtah: "Did ye not hate me . . . and why are ye come 
imto me now when you are in distress?" (Judges xi. 8.) 
But the infinite mercy of our God accepts even such repent¬ 
ance; as it is written, "When thou art in tribulation, and all 
these things have overtaken thee . . . then wilt thou return 
unto the Lord thy God." Founded upon this is the proverb 
of the Fathers, "Repentance and good deeds form a shield 
against punishment." 

Sixthly. The repentance of age. Even when man grows 
old and feeble, if he repents truly, his atonement will be re- 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


353 


ceived. As the Psalmist says, "Thou tumest man to con¬ 
trition, and sayest, 'Return, ye children of men.'" Mean¬ 
ing, man can return at any time or any age: "Return, ye 

children of men." 

Say the Rabbis, "Although a man has been righteous in 
his youth and vigor, yet if he rebels against the will of God 
in his old age the merit of his former goodness shall be lost 
to him, as it is written, 'When a righteous man turns away 
from his righteousness and doeth wrong, and dieth therefor; 
through his wrong which he hath done must he die' (Ezekiel 
xviii. 26). But a man who has been wicked in his early 

days, and feels true sorrow and penitence in his old age, 

shall not be called 'wicked' any more. This, however, is 

not gracious penitence when it is so long delayed." 

Seventhly. Is the last degree of penitence. Of the one 
who is rebellious against his Creator during all the days of 
his life; turns to him only when the hand of death is laid 
upon him. 

Say the Rabbis, if a person is sick, and the hour of his 
decease approaches, they who are by his death-bed should say 
to him, "Confess thy sins to thy Creator." 

They who are near the point of death should confess their 
shortcomings. The sick man is as the man who is before 

a court of justice. The latter may have advocates to defend 

him or laud his case, but the only advocates of the former 
must be penitence and good deeds. As it is written in the 

book of Job (xxxiii. 23), "If there be now about him one 
single angel as defender, one out of a thousand, to tell for 
man his uprightness; then is he gracious imto him and saith, 
'Release him from going down to the pit; I have found an 
atonement.'" 

Thus we have seven different degrees of penitence, and 
he who neglects them all must suffer in the world to come. 
Therefore fulfil the duties laid upon you; repent as long as 
you are able to amend. As the Rabbis say, "Repent in the 

antechamber, that thou mayest enter the room of state." 

"Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; wherefore will 
ye die, O house of Israel!" exclaimed the prophet Ezekiel; 



354 


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and what does this warning mean? without repentance ye 
shall die. 

Penitence is thus illustrated by a parable: 

There was once a great ship which had been sailing for 
many days upon the ocean. Before it reached its destina¬ 
tion a high wind arose, which drove it from its course; imtil 
finally, becalmed close to a pleasant-appearing island, the 
anchor was dropped. There grew upon this island beautiful 
flowers and luscious fruits in "great profusion"; tall trees 
lent a pleasing, cooling shade to the place, which appeared 
to the ship's passengers most desirable and inviting. They 
divided themselves into five parties; the first party deter¬ 
mined not to leave the ship, for said they, "A fair wind 
may arise, the anchor may be raised, and the ship sail on, 

leaving us behind; we will not risk the chance of missing our 
destination for the temporary pleasure which this island 
offers." The second party went on shore for a short time, 
enjoyed the perfume of the flowers, tasted of the fruit, and 
returned to the ship happy and refreshed, finding their places 
as they had left them; losing nothing, but rather gaining in 
health and good spirits by the recreation of their visit on 
shore. The third party also visited the island, but they 
stayed so long that the fair wind did arise, and hurrying back 
they just reached the ship as the sailors were lifting the 

anchor, and in the haste and confusion many lost their places, 
and were not as comfortable during the balance of then- 

voyage as at the outset. They were wiser, however, than the 
fourth party; these latter stayed so long upon the island and 
tasted so deeply of its pleasure that they allowed the ship's 
bell of warning to sound unheeded. Said they, "The sails 
are still to be set; we may enjoy ourselves a few minutes 
more." Again the bell sounded, and still they lingered, 
thinking, "The captain will not sail without us." So they 
remained on shore until they saw the ship moving; then in 
wild haste they swam after it and scrambled up the sides, 

but the bruises and injuries which they encountered in so 
doing were not healed during the remainder of the voyage. 
But, alas, for the fifth party. They ate and drank so deeply 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


355 


that they did not even hear the bell, and when the ship started 
they were left behind. Then the wild beasts hid in the thick¬ 
ets made of them a prey, and they who escaped this evil 
perished from the poison of surfeit. 

The "ship" is our good deeds, which bear us to our des¬ 
tination — heaven. The "island" typifies the pleasure of 
the world, which the first set of passengers refused to taste 
or look upon, but which when enjoyed temperately, as by the 
second party, make our lives pleasant, without causing us to 
neglect our duties. These pleasures must not be allowed, 
however, to gain too strong a hold upon our senses. True, 
we may return, as the third party, while there is yet time 
and but little bad effect, or even as the fourth party at the 
eleventh hour, saved, but with bmises and injuries which 
can not be entirely healed; but we are in danger of becom¬ 
ing as the last party, spending a lifetime in the pursuit of 
vanity, forgetting the future, and perishing even of the 
poison concealed in the sweets which attracted us. 

Who hath sorrow? Who hath woe? 

He who leaves much wealth to his heirs, and takes with 
him to the grave a burden of sins. He who gathers wealth 

without justice. "He that gathereth riches and not by right 

(Jer. viii. 11), in the midst of his days shall he leave them." 
To the portals of eternity his gold and his silver can not 
accompany the soul of man; good deeds and trust in God 

must be his directing spirits. 

Although God is merciful and pardons the sins of man 

against himself, he who has wronged his neighbor must gain 
that neighbor's forgiveness before he can claim the mercy of 
the Lord. "This must ye do," said Rabbi Eleazer, "that 

ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. (Lev. 
xvi. 30.) The Day of Atonement may gain pardon for the 
sins of man against his Maker, but not for those against his 
fellow-man, till every wrong done is satisfied." 

If a man is called upon to pardon his fellow, freely he must 

do it; else how can he dare, on the Day of Atonement, to 

ask pardon for his sins against the Eternal? It is custom¬ 

ary on this day for a man to thoroughly cleanse himself bod- 



356 


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ily and spiritually, and to array himself in white fresh 
clothing, to typify the words of Isaiah, "Though your sins 
should be as scarlet, they shall become white as snow." 

It happened that the mayor of a city once sent his servant 
to the market to purchase some fish. When he reached the 
place of sale he foimd that all the fish save one had been sold, 
and this one a Jewish tailor was about purchasing. Said the 
mayor's servant, "I will give one gold piece for it"; said the 
tailor, "I will give two." The mayor's messenger then ex¬ 
pressed his willingness to pay three gold pieces for it, but the 
tailor claimed the fish, and said he would not lose it though 
he should be obliged to pay ten gold pieces for it. The 
mayor's servant then returned home, and in anger related the 
circumstance to his master. The mayor sent for his subject, 
and when the latter appeared before him asked, 

"What is thy occupation?" 

"A tailor, sir," replied the man. 

"Then how canst thou afford to pay so great a price for 
a fish, and how dare degrade my dignity by offering for it 
a larger sum than that offered by my servant?" 

"I fast to-morrow," replied the tailor, "and I wished the 

fish to eat to-day, that I might have strength to do so. I 
would not have lost it even for ten pieces of gold." 

"What is to-morrow more than any other day?" asked 

the mayor. 

"Why art thou more than any other man?" returned the 

other. 

"Because the king hath appointed me to this office." 

"Well," replied the tailor, "the King of kings hath ap¬ 

pointed this day to be holier than all other days, for on this 
day we hope that God will pardon our transgressions." 

"If this be the case thou wert right," answered the mayor, 
and the Israelite departed in peace. 

Thus if a person's intention is to obey God, nothing can 
hinder its accomplishment. On this day God commanded 
his children to fast, but they must strengthen their bodies to 
obey him by eating on the day before. It is a person's duty 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


357 


to sanctify himself, bodily and spiritually, for the approach 
of this great day. He should be ready to enter at any mo¬ 
ment into the Fearful Presence with repentance and good 
deeds as his companions. 

A certain man had three friends. One of these he loved 
dearly; the second he loved also, but not as intensely as the 
first; but toward the third one he was quite indifferently 
disposed. 

Now the king of the coimtry sent an officer to this man, 
commanding his immediate appearance before the throne. 
Greatly terrified was the man at this summons. He thought 
that somebody had been speaking evil of him, or probably 
accusing him falsely before his sovereign, and being afraid 
to appear unaccompanied before the royal presence he re¬ 
solved to ask one of his friends to go with him. First he 
naturally applied to his dearest friend, but he at once de¬ 
clined to go, giving no reason and no excuse for his lack of 
friendliness. So the man applied to his second friend, who 
said to him, 

"I will go with thee as far as the palace-gates, but I will 
not enter with thee before the king." 

In desperation the man applied to his third friend, the 
one whom he had neglected, but who replied to him at once, 

"Fear not; I will go with thee, and I will speak in thy 
defense. I will not leave thee until thou art delivered from 
thy trouble." 

The "first friend" is a man's wealth, which he must leave 
behind him when he dies. The "second friend" is typified 
by the relatives who follow him to the grave and leave him 
when the earth has covered his remains. The "third friend," 
he who entered with him into the presence of the king, is as 
the good deeds of a man's life, which never desert, but accom¬ 
pany him to plead his cause before the King of kings, who 
regarded! not person nor taketh bribery. 

Thus taught Rabbi Eleazer: 

"On this great and tearful day the angel Samal finds no 
blots, no sins on Israel. Thus he addresses the Most High: 

" 'O Sovereign Lord, upon the earth this day one nation 



358 


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pure and innocent exists. Even as the angels is Israel on 
this Atonement Day. As peace exists in heaven, so rests it 
now upon this people, praying to thy Holy Name.' 

"God hears this testimony of his angel, and pardons all 
his people's sins." 

But though the Almighty thus forgives our sins, we may 
not repeat them with impunity, for "to such a one as saith, 
'I will commit a sin and repent,' there can be no forgiveness, 
no repentance." 


FEAST OF TABERNACLES 

The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth day of 
the seventh month, Tishri (October), and during its con¬ 
tinuance—seven days—the Israelites are commanded to 
dwell in tabernacles or booths. This is designed to keep 
fresh in their memory the tents which formed their homes 
during their forty years' sojourn in the wilderness. The 
symbols of the festival are branches of the palm, boimd with 
sprigs of myrtle and willow, and a citron. 

On this feast we are commanded to rejoice and be glad, 
for it is not the desire of God that we should always afflict 
ourselves as upon his precious holy day, the Day of Atone¬ 
ment. No, after humbling our hearts and returning to our 
Creator, we are enjoined to rejoice with our families and 
neighbors; therefore, we call this holy day the season of our 
rejoicing. 

The Lord said, "This is not to be to you a fast as the Day 
of Atonement; eat, drink, be merry, and sacrifice peace-offer¬ 
ings thereon." The Bible says, "Seven days unto the 
Lord"; therefore we should in all our merriment devote 
a few serious thoughts to him. 

The Omnipotent King has commanded us to remove from 
our permanent dwellings and live for seven days in booths. 
This precept teaches us that man should put no trust in the 
magnificent structures he may have raised and adorned with 
ornaments of value, nor to place his confidence entirely upon 
human beings, even though rulers in his land; but to rely 
solely upon the Almighty, the One who said, "Let the imi- 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


359 


verse come into being"; to him alone are the power and the 
dominion. He alone will never change, or be other than he 
has proclaimed himself, as it is written, "God is not a man 
that he should lie" (Numb, xxiii. 19), and he alone can 
prove our sure protection. 

The Feast of Tabernacles is held in the autumn, after the 
fruits of the field have been garnered in the storehouses, 
according to the words of the Bible: "The Feast of Taber¬ 
nacles shaft thou hold for thyself seven days when thou hast 
gathered in the produce of thy threshing-floor and thy wine¬ 
press." (Deut. xvi. 14.) 

At this time, when a man sees plenty around him, his heart 
perhaps may grow haughty, he may feel like enriching his 
house and furnishing it with elegance; for this reason he is 

commanded to leave it for a season, and dwell in booths, 

where his thoughts may be directed to God. That in the 
dwelling rudely put together, and unprotected from the rain, 
he may remember that through the rain sent by the Most 
High in its due season did the profusion of his crops result, 
and with this reflection appreciate the fact that all he pos¬ 

sesses he owes to the goodness of God, and not to his own in¬ 
telligence or strength. 

This dwelling in booths is also to bring to mind the man¬ 
ner in which the Israelites lived for forty years after they 
left Egypt. With merely temporary walls to protect them 
from summer's heat and winter's cold, from wind and storm. 
God was with them through all their generations, and they 

were protected from all evil. 

According to the opinion of some of the Rabbis, the Israel¬ 
ites did not really dwell in booths in the wilderness, but were 
surrounded by clouds; by seven clouds. Four clouds, one at 
each of the four sides; a fifth, a shadow, to protect them from 
the hot rays of the sim; the sixth, a pillar of fire, to give them 
light by night (they being able to see as clearly by night as by 
day), and the seventh, to precede their journeying and direct 
their way. 

The children of Israel departed from Egypt in Nissan 
(April) and obtained immediately these booths, which they 



360 


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made use of for forty years. Thus they were in booths dur¬ 
ing the entire cycle of the year, and we could as easily com¬ 
memorate this fact in the spring as in the fall, in the summer 
as in the winter. Why then has God made autumn, and 
neither spring nor summer, the season of observance? Be¬ 
cause if we dwelt in booths in the summer, it would be a 
question whether we did so in obedience to God's behest or 
for our own gratification; for many people seek airy retreats 
during this season; but in the fall, when the trees lose their 
leaves, and the air grows cold and chilling, and it is the time 
to make ready our houses for the winter, then by inhabiting 
these temporary residences we display our desire to do as our 
Creator has bidden us. 

The Feast of Tabernacles is also the Feast of Ingather¬ 
ing, when we should thank God for the kindness shown us, 
and the treasure with which he has blessed us. When the 
Eternal has provided man with his sustenance, in the long 
evenings which follow, he should meditate and study his 
Bible, and make this indeed a "feast to the Lord," and not 
entirely for personal gratification. 

The four species belonging to the vegetable kingdom, which 
we use on this festival, are designed to remind us of the four 
elements of nature, which work under the direction and ap¬ 
proval of the Most High, and without which all things would 

cease to exist. Therefore the Bible commands us, on this 

"feast of the Lord," to give thanks, and bring before him 

these four species, each typifying one of the elements. 

"Ye shall take for yourselves" (Lev. xxiii. 40) "the 
fruit of the tree hadar " (the citron). Its color is high yellow 
and resembles fire. The second species is the palm-branch 
(Heb., Lulab). The palm is a high tree, growing up straight 

in the air, and its fruit is sweet and delicious to the taste; 
this, then, represents the second element, air. The third is 
the bough of the myrtle, one of the lowliest of trees, growing 
close to the groimd; its nature, cold and dry as earth, fits it 
to represent that element. The fourth is "the willow of the 
brook," which grows in perfection close beside the water. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


361 


dropping its branches into the stream, and symbolizing thus 
the last element, water. 

The Bible teaches us that for each of these four elements 
we owe especial thanks to God. 

The citron we hold in the left hand, and the other three 
we grasp together in the right. This we do because the citron 
contains in itself all that the others represent. The outside 
skin is yellow, fire; the inside skin is white and damp, air; 
the pulp is watery, water; and the seeds are dry, earth. It 
is taken into the left hand, because the right hand is strong¬ 
est, and the citron is but one, while the other emblems are 
three. 

These four emblems represent likewise the four principal 

members of the human body. The citron is shaped some¬ 
what like a heart, without which we could not live, and with 
which man should serve his fellows; the palm-branch repre¬ 
sents the spine, which is the foundation of the human frame, 
in front of which the heart lies; this signifies that we should 
serve God with our entire body. The branches of the myrtle 
resemble a human eye, with which man recognizes the deeds 
of his fellows, and with which he may obtain a knowledge of 
the law. The leaves of the willow represent the lips, with 

which man may serve the Eternal and thank him. The 
myrtle is mentioned in the Bible before the willow, because 
we are able to see and know a thing before we can call its 

name with our lips; man is able to look into the Bible before 

he can study the same. Therefore, with these four princi¬ 

pal parts of the human frame should we praise the Creator, 
as David said, "All my bones shall say, O Lord, who is like 
imto thee?" 

The great Maimonides, in his work called "Moreh Ne- 
buchim" (The Guide of the Perplexed), explains that God 

commanded the Israelites to take these four emblems during 
his festival, to remind them that they were brought out from 
the wilderness, where no fruit grew and no people lived, into 
a land of brooklets, waters, a land flowing with milk and 

honey. For this reason did God command us to hold in our 



362 


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hands the precious fruit of this land while singing praises 

to him, the One who wrought miracles in our behalf, who 
feeds and supports us from the productiveness of the earth. 

The four emblems are different in taste, appearance, and 

odor, even as the sons of men are different in conduct and 
habits. 

The citron is a valuable fruit; it is good for food and has 
a most pleasant odor. It is compared to the intelligent man, 
who is righteous in his conduct toward God and his fellow- 
man. The odor of the fruit is his good deeds; its substance 
is his learning, on which others may feed. This is perfect 

among the emblems, and is, therefore, always mentioned first, 
and taken by itself in one hand. 

The palm-branch brings forth fruit, but is without odor. 

It is compared to those people who are learned, but who are 
wanting in good deeds; they who know the law, but transgress 
its mandates. 

The myrtle is compared to those people who are naturally 
good, who act correctly toward God and man, but who are 
imeducated. 

The willow of the brook has neither fruit nor odor; it is, 
therefore, compared to the people who have no knowledge 
and who perform no good deeds. 

If all unite together, however, and offer supplication to 
the Most High, he will surely harken to their words, and 
for this reason Moses said to the Israelites, "And ye shall 
take imto yourselves," etc.; meaning, to your own benefit, 
to praise the Lord during the seven days of the festival with 
these emblems, and to exclaim with the same "Hoshadnah" 
(O, save us now), and "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for his 
mercy endureth forever." 

The Rabbis have said that he who has failed to participate 
in the keeping of the Tabernacle Festival in Jemsalem has 
failed to taste real enjoyment in his life. The first day 
of the feast was kept with great solemnity, and the middle 
days with joy and gladness in various methods of public 
amusement. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


363 


The temple in Jerusalem was provided with a gallery for 
the women, which was called the apartment of the women, 
and the men sat below, as is still the custom of the syna¬ 
gogue. Thither all repaired. The yoimg priests filled the 
lamps of the large chandeliers with oil, and lighted them all, 
even that the place was so bright that its reflection lighted 
the streets of the city. Hymns and praises were chanted by 
the pious ones, and the Levites praised the Lord with harps, 
comets, trumpets, flutes, and other instruments of harmony. 
They stood upon fifteen broad steps, reaching from the lower 
floor to the gallery, the court of the women. And they sang 
fifteen psalms as they ascended, beginning with "A song of 
Degrees," and the large choir joined voices with them. The 
ancient Hillel was accustomed to address the assemblages on 
these occasions. 

"If God's presence dwells here," he was used to say, "then 
are ye here, each one of you, the souls of each; but if God 
should be removed from your midst through disobedience 
then which of you could be here? "For the Lord has said, 
"If thou wilt come to my house, then will I come to thy 
house, but if thou refusest to visit my dwelling, I will also 
neglect to enter yours"; as it is written, "In every place 
where I shall permit my name to be mentioned I will come 
unto thee and I will bless thee." (Exod. xx. 21.) 

Then some of the people answered, 

"Happy were the days of our youth, for they have not 
set to blush the days of our old age." These were men of 
piety. 

Others answered, 

"Happy is our old age, for therein have we atoned for 
the sins of our youth." These were repentants. 

Then joining together, both parties said, 

"Happy is the one who is free from sin; but ye who 
have sinned, repent, return to God, and ye will be for¬ 
given." 

The festival was continued during the entire night; for 
when the religious exercises concluded the people gave them¬ 
selves up to innocent but thorough enjoyment. 



364 


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This festival was also called the "Festival of Drawing 
Water." 

Because, during the existence of the temple, wine was 
offered during the year for a bumt-offering, but on the Feast 
of Tabernacles they offered two drink-offerings, one of wine 
and one of water. Of the other they made a special festival 
on the second day of the Tabernacle assemblage, calling it 
the Feast of Drawing the Water. It was foimded upon the 
words of the prophet, 

"And ye shall draw water with joy from the fountains of 
salvation." 


"HANNUCKAH," THE FEAST OF DEDICATION 

This festival is observed for eight days during the ninth 
month Kislev (December), and commemorates the dedication 
of the temple after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiph- 
anes, whose armies were overthrown by the valiant Macca¬ 
bees, Hashmoneans. 

The Most Holy One has frequently wrought wonders in 
behalf of his children in their hour of need, and thereby dis¬ 
played his supreme power to the nations of the world. These 
should prevent man from growing infidel and ascribing all 
happiness to the course of nature. The God who created the 
world from naught may change at his will the nature which 
he established. When the Hashmoneans gained, with the 

aid of God, their great victory, and restored peace and har¬ 
mony to their land, their first act was to cleanse and rededi¬ 
cate the temple, which had been defiled, and on the twenty- 
fifth day of Kislev, in obedience to the teachings of the 
Rabbis, we inaugurate the "Dedication Feast" by lighting 
the lamps or candles prepared expressly for this occasion. 

The first night we light one, and then an additional one 

each succeeding night of its continuance. We also celebrate 

it by hymns of thanksgiving and hallelujahs. 

This feast is foreshadowed in the book of Numbers. When 
Aaron observed the offerings of the princes of each of the 
tribes and their great liberality he was conscious of a feeling 
of regret, because he and his tribe were unable to join with 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


365 


them. But these words were spoken to comfort him: 
"Aaron, thy merit is greater than theirs, for thou lightest 
and fixest the holy lamps." 

When were these words spoken? 

When he was charged with the blessing to be found in 
Numbers vi. 23, as will be found in the book of Maccabees 
in the Apocrypha. 

The Lord said unto Moses, "Thus say imto Aaron. In 
the generations to come, there will be another dedication and 
lighting of the lamps, and through thy descendants shall the 
service be performed. Miracles and wonders will accom¬ 
pany this dedication. Fear not for the greatness of the 
princes of thy tribe; during the existence of the temple thou 
shah sacrifice, but the lighting of the lamps shall be forever, 
and the blessing with which I have charged thee to bless 
the people shall also exist forever. Through the destruc¬ 
tion of the temple the sacrifices will be abolished, but 
the lighting of the dedication of the Hashmoneans will 
never cease." 

The Rabbis have ordained this celebration by lighting of 
lamps, to make God's miracle known to all coming genera¬ 
tions, and it is our duty to light the same in the synagogues 
and in our homes. 

Although the Lord afflicted Israel on account of iniquities, 
he still showed mercy, and allowed not a complete destruc¬ 
tion, and to this festival do the Rabbis again apply the verse 
in Leviticus xxvi. 44. 

"And yet for all that, though they be in the land of their 
enemies, will I not cast them away, neither will I loathe them 
to destroy them utterly, to break my covenant with them, for 
I am the Lord their God." 

And thus do the Rabbis explain the same, 

"Will I not cast them away." In the time of the 
Chaldeans I appointed Daniel and his companions to 
deliver them. 

"Neither will I loathe them." In the time of the As¬ 
syrians I gave them Matthias, his sons and their comrades, to 
serve them. 



366 


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"To destroy them." In the time of Haman I sent Mor- 
decai and Esther to rescue them. 

"To break my covenant with them." In the time of the 
Romans I appointed Rabbi Judah and his associates to work 
their salvation. 

"For I am the Eternal, your God." In the future no 
nation shall rule over Israel, and the descendants of Abra¬ 
ham shall be restored to their independent state. 

The dedication commemorated by Hannuckah occurred in 
the year 3632 — 129 b.c.e. 


PURIM 

This festival, occurring on the fourteenth day of the 
twelfth month, Adar (March), is to commemorate the deliv¬ 
erance of the Hebrews from the wiles of Hainan, through the 
God-aided means of Mordecai and Esther. 

Although the Holy One threatens the Israelites, in order 
that they may repent of their sins, he has also tempted them, 
in order to increase their reward. 

For instance, a father who loves his son, and desires him 
to improve his conduct, must punish him for his misdeeds; 
but it is a punishment induced by affection which he bestows. 

A certain apostate once said to Rabbi Saphra, 

"It is written, 'Because I know you more than all the 
nations of the earth, therefore I visit upon you your in¬ 
iquities'; how is this? If a person has a wild horse, is it 
likely that he would put his dearest friend upon it, that he 
might be thrown and hurt?" 

Rabbi Saphra answered, 

"Suppose a man lends money to two persons; one of these 
is his friend, the other his enemy. He will allow his friend 
to repay him in instalments, that the discharge of the debt 
may not prove onerous; but from his enemy he will require 
the amount in full. The verse you quote will apply in the 
same manner, 'I love you, therefore will I visit upon you 
your iniquities'; meaning, 'I will punish you for them as 
they occur, little by little, by which means you may have 
quittance and happiness in the world to come.'" 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


367 


The action of the king in delivering his signet ring to 
Haman had more effect upon the Jews than the precepts and 
warnings of forty-eight prophets who lectured to them early 
and late. They clothed themselves in sackcloth, and re¬ 
pented truly with tears and fasting, and God had compassion 
upon them and destroyed Haman. 

Although the reading of the book of Esther (Megilah) on 
Purim is not a precept of the Pentateuch, 'tis nevertheless 
binding upon us and our descendants. Therefore the day is 
appointed as one of feasting and gladness, and interchange 
of presents, and also of gifts to the poor, that they too may 
rejoice. As in the decree of Haman, no distinction was 
made between rich and poor, as all alike were doomed to de¬ 
struction, it is proper that all should have equal cause to feel 
joyful, and therefore in all generations the poor should be 
liberally remembered on this day. 




THE BARAITHA 


THE TABERNACLE 


"How didBezaleel make the ark?" 


— THE TABERNACLE. 




THE BARAITHA 


THE TABERNACEE 

(INTRODUCTION) 

mT^HE TABERNACLE" is here added to our volume 
i as an illustration of the mass of literature extant 

among the Hebrews at the time of the formation of the 

Talmud, and deliberately rejected by Rabbi Judah and his 

successors as having no sufficient authority. 

These works were called, collectively, the Baraitha, which 
means foreign or external material. Much dispute was waged 
among the ancient sages as to the admission or rejection of 
various books. This treatise in particular, "The Taber¬ 
nacle," is held by some Jewish scholars to be quite as in¬ 
structive and valuable as many treatises within the Talmud. 
It adds considerably to the Old Testament details of the 

building of the ark and its sanctuary by Moses and his 
followers. 



THE BARAITHA 


THE TABERNACEE 

CHAPTER I 

Rabbi Judah the Holy said there were ten heave-offerings: 
the heave-offering of the Lord, and the heave-offering of the 
tithes, of the dough, and of the first-fruits; and the heave- 
offering of the Nazarite, and the heave-offering of thanks¬ 
giving, and the heave-offering of the land, and the heave-of¬ 
fering of Israelites dwelling in Midian, and the heave-offer¬ 
ing of the shekels, and the heave-offering of the tabernacle. 
The heave-offering of the Lord, and the heave-offering of the 
tithes, and of the dough, and of the first-fruits, and the heave- 
offering of the Nazarite, and the heave-offering of thanksgiv¬ 
ing, were for the priests. The heave-offering of the land was 
for the priests, the Levites, and the Nethinim,' and the sanc¬ 
tuary and Jerusalem. The heave-offering of Midian was for 
Eleazar the priest, the heave-offering of shekels was for the 
sockets of the tabernacle, the heave-offering of the tabernacle 
furnished the material of the tabernacle, and the oil for light¬ 
ing, and the sweet incense, and the garments of the priests, 
and the garments of the high priest. The length of the 
tabernacle was thirty cubits, and its breadth was ten cubits, 
and its height was ten cubits. Rabbi Jose said, "its length 
was thirty-one cubits." "How was the tabernacle set up?" 
"Forty sockets of silver were placed on the north, and forty 
sockets of silver on the south, and sixteen on the west, and 
four on the east. These are one hrmdred sockets. As is 
said,^ 'An hundred sockets of the hrmdred talents, a talent 

' The Nethinim, or, the "given ones," were added, it is supposed, 
from amongst the Gibeonites to fill up the defieiencies in the number 
of Levites who returned from the captivity in Babylon. They were 
held in low estimation, and were forbidden to intermarry with Israelites. 

^ Exod. xxxviii. 27. 


372 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


373 


for a socket.'" "How were the boards set up?" "Twenty 
boards were placed on the north, and twenty boards on the 
south, and eight on the west. On the east there was no board, 
but there were four pillars of shittim-wood. Upon them the 
vail was hung. As is said,^ 'thou shalt make a vail,' etc., 

'and thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim-wood, 
overlaid with gold,' etc., and 'thou shalt hang up the vail 
under the taches.'" And the sockets were made with holes, 
and these were cut out in the boards below, a quarter from 
one side and a quarter from the other side, and there was cut 
out half of it in the middle, and it made two pins like two 
supports, and they entered into two sockets, as is said, "two 

sockets under one board for its two tenons.The pins ex¬ 
tended from the boards two and two, to every one which was 
inserted, the positive into the negative, as it is said,^ "Set 
in order one against the other." The words of Rabbi Nehe- 
miah, when Rabbi Nehemiah said, "there is no meaning in 
saying, 'set in order.'" "And what is meant by set in 
order?" "It is meant that there should be made for them 
rungs like an Egyptian ladder." There was cut out from 
the board above a finger-breadth from one side, and a finger- 
breadth from the other side, and they were put into the 
golden ring, that they should not separate one from the 
other, as is said, 'And they shall be coupled together beneath, 
and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto 

one ring."® There is no meaning in saying, "imto one ring," 

and what is meant by saying, "unto one ring"? "The 
place where the bar was put in, and every board had in it 
two rings of gold, one above, and one below; in them were put 
in the bars." And there were two upper bars, and two lower 
bars on the south side; the length of each of them was fifteen 
cubits. It follows that two were in length thirty cubits 
against twenty boards, and the middle bar was in length 
thirty cubits against twenty boards, which was inserted in 
the middle of the boards from east to west, as is said, "And 
the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end 

^ Exod. xxvi. 31-33. ' Exod. xxvi. 17. 

'• Exod. xxvi. 19. " Exod. xxvi. 24. 



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'to end."’ As the boards were made in the south, so the 
boards were made in the north, but in the west they were not 
so; but the length of the upper bar and the lower one was six 
cubits against four boards, and the middle bar twelve cubits 
against eight boards. And the boards, and the bars, and the 
pillars, and the sockets, the place of the thickness of the 
boards were overlaid with gold, as is said, "And the boards 
thou shah overlay with gold."* "The places for the bars," 
there is no meaning in saying, "places for the bars," and 
what is the meaning of saying, "places for the bars"? "The 
place where the bar entered the boards." "And the bars 
themselves shall be overlaid with gold."^ "How was it 
done?" "Two pipes of gold were introduced — the length 
of each of them was a cubit and a half; and they were put 
into the hole of the board, the place where the bars were 
put in." 


CHAPTER II 

"How was the tabernacle covered?" "There were pro¬ 
vided ten curtains of blue, of purple, and scarlet, and fine- 
twined linen." As is said, "Moreover thou shalt make the 
tabernacle with ten curtains of fine-twined linen, and blue, 
and purple, and scarlet."'® "Their threads were doubled 
thirty-two times."The words of Rabbi Nehemiah, when R. 
Nehemiah said, "thread," i.e., one doubled in two, "twined," 
i.e., to four, "fine-twined," i.e., to eight. It follows that 
"their threads were doubled thirty-two times." But the 
Sages say, "thread," i.e., one doubled in two, "twined," i.e., 
to three, "fine-twined," i.e., to six. It follows that their 
threads were doubled twenty-four times. They were cou¬ 
pled in two vails, one of five, and one of five." As is said, 
"the five curtains shall be coupled together one to another: 
and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another," and 
they were coupled with loops of blue, as is said,'’ "And thou 

Exod. xxvi. 1. 

" Exod. xxvi. 3. 

Exod. xxvi. 4. 


Exod. xxvi. 28. 
Exod. xxvi. 29. 
Exod. xxvi. 29. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


375 


shall make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain 
from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou 
make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling 
of the second." And they were coupled to fifty taches of 
gold, as is said,'^ "And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, 
and couple the curtains together with the taches; and it shall 
he one tabernacle." And the taches appeared in the taber¬ 
nacle as stars in the firmament. The length of the curtains 
was twenty-eight cubits, as is said,''* "the length of one cur¬ 
tain shall be eight and twenty cubits." Take from them ten 
cubits for the breadth of the tabernacle, there will remain 
nine cubits from the one side, and nine cubits from the other 
side. They hung down and covered the boards till they 
reached the sockets. This teaches that the sockets were one 
cubit high. And the breadth of the curtains was forty cubits. 
As is said,'^ "and the breadth of one curtain four cubits." 
Take from them thirty cubits from the east to the west, which 
were on the roof of the tabernacle, and ten cubits to the west 
behind the tabernacle, there are forty. 


CHAPTER Iff 

There were provided eleven curtains of goats' hair, and 
the length of every one of them was thirty cubits, as is said, 
"And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a 
covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou 
make. The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits."'® 
And they were coupled in two vails, one of five, and one of 
six, as is said, "And thou shalt couple five curtains by them¬ 
selves, and six curtains by themselves,"'^ and they were 
coupled with fifty loops, as is said, "And he made fifty loops 
upon the outmost edge of the curtain in the coupling, and 
fifty loops made he upon the edge of the curtain which cou- 
pleth the second."'® And the loops were coupled to fifty 
Exod. xxvi. 6. Exod. xxvi. 7, 8. 

"* Exod. xxvi. 2. Exod. xxvi. 9. 

Exod. xxvi. 2. Exod. xxxvi. 17. 



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taches of brass, as is said, "And thou shalt make fifty taches 

of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the 

tent together that it may be one."'® The length of the cur¬ 
tains was thirty cubits. Take from them ten cubits for their 
breadth, there will remain ten cubits from one side, and ten 
cubits from the other side, as they hung down and covered 

the boards and the sockets. The breadth of the curtains was 
forty-four cubits, as is said, "And the breadth of one curtain 
four cubits; and the eleven curtains shall be all of one meas¬ 
ure."^" Take from them thirty cubits for the length of the 
tabernacle, and ten cubits behind the tabernacle — these are 
forty. There was left there one curtain which was doubled 

in front of the tent, as is said, "and thou shalt double the 

sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle."^' Rabbi 

Judah said, "half of it was doubled in the forefront of the 
tabernacle, and half of it was hanging behind the taber¬ 

nacle," as is said, "And the remnant that remaineth of the 
curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth shall 

hang over the back side of the tabernacle. There was also 
provided one great cover of rams' skins dyed red, its length 
thirty cubits, and its breadth ten cubits; with it they clothed 
the tent upon the tabernacle from east to west, as is said, "And 
thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins 
dyed red, and a covering above of badgers' skins,"^^ and 
it was made "like patchwork.^'' The words of Rabbi 
Nehemiah. 

Rabbi Judah said, "there were two covers — the lower one 
of rams' skins dyed red, and the upper one of badgers' skins," 
as is said, "his covering and the covering of the badgers' 
skins that is above upon it."^^ 


’’Exod. xxvi. 11. 
Exod. xxvi. 8. 
Exod. xxvi. 9. 
Exod. xxvi. 12. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


377 


CHAPTER IV 

The vail was woven ten cubits square, and there were made 
in it four loops, and it was hung on hooks on the tops of the 
pillars, and it was spread in the third portion of the taber¬ 
nacle, that there should be from it inward ten cubits, and 
from it outward twenty cubits, as is said, "And thou shalt 
hang up the vail under the taches."^^ It follows that the 
place of the Holy of Holies was ten cubits square, and there 
were put the ark, and the pot of manna, and the pan of 
anointing oil, and Aaron's rod with its almonds and flowers; 
and there Aaron entered four times on the Day of Atonement. 
Outside the vail were placed the table and candlestick. But 
the table was on the north, and opposite to it was the candle¬ 
stick on the south; as is said, "And thou shalt set the table 
without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table. 
And as they were placed in the tent of the congregation, so 
were they placed in the everlasting House.Now the tent 

of the congregation was in length thirty cubits, and in 

breadth ten cubits. But the everlasting House was in length 
sixty cubits, and in breadth twenty cubits. This teaches that 
the tent of the congregation was one-fourth part of the ever¬ 
lasting House. And as the vail was woven, so were woven 
the ephod and the breastplate, only in these there was an 
additional thread of gold; as is said, "And they did beat the 
gold into thin plates and cut it into wires.As was the 

weaving of the covering vail, so was the weaving of the 
covering for the entrance. But the vail was cunning work, 
as is said, "Thou shalt make the vail of blue and purple," 
etc.; "cunning work."^° But the covering of the entrance 
was needlework, as is said, "And thou shalt make an 

hanging for the door of the tent," etc., "of needlework."^' 
The words of R. Nehemiah. R. Nehemiah usually said, 

“ Exod. xxvi. 33. 

Exod. xxvi. 35. 

Or in the "House of dispensations." 

Exod. xxxix. 3. 

“ Exod. xxvi. 31. 

Exod. xxvi. 36. 




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"every place where it is said cunning work there were two 
figures — in the needlework there was but one figure only." 
And the branches of the candlestick were right opposite to 
the breadth of the table. And the golden altar was placed 
in the middle of the house, and divided the house, and its half 
inward was right opposite to the ark; as is said, "And thou 
shah put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony 
before the mercy-seat."^^ From the boards on the south to 
the branches of the candlestick there were two cubits and a 
half And from the branches of the candlestick to the table 
there were five cubits. And from the table to the boards on 
the north were two cubits and a half. This teaches that the 
breadth of the Holy place was ten cubits. From the boards 
on the west to the vail were ten cubits. From the vail to 
the table were five cubits. From the table to the golden altar 
were five cubits. From the golden altar to the boards on the 
east were ten cubits. This teaches that the length of the 
tabernacle was thirty cubits. 


CHAPTERV 

The court of the tabernacle was in length one hundred 
cubits, and in breadth fifty cubits, as is said, "And thou shaft 
make the court of the tabernacle for the south side, etc., an 
hundred cubits,^^ and likewise for the north side an hrm- 
dred cubits," as is said, "And likewise for the north 
side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits 
long."^'' And on the west fifty cubits, as is said, "On the 
west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits.And on the 
east fifty cubits, as is said, "On the east side eastward shall 
be fifty cubits."^® Take from fhem fifty cubits for hang¬ 
ings, as is said, "The hangings of one side of the gate shall 
be fifteen cubits,"^^ etc. "And for the other side," etc. 
From both sides the hangings on the south to the tent were 
twenty cubits, and the tent was ten cubits broad, and from 

Exod. XXX. 6. Exod. xxvii. 12. 

” Exod. xxvii. 9. “ Exod. xxvii. 13. 

Exod. xxvii. 11. ^^Exod. xxxviii. 14, 15. 





LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


379 


the tent to the hangings on the north were twenty cubits. 
This teaches that the breadth of the court was fifty cubits. 
From the hangings on the west to the tent were twenty 
cubits, and the tent was thirty cubits long; and from the tent 
to the hangings on the east there were fifty cubits. This 
teaches that its length was an hundred cubits, as is said, "The 
length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth 
fifty everywhere."^* Rabbi Jose said there is no meaning 
in saying "fifty everywhere," and what is meant by saying 
"fifty everywhere"? "That is in front of the tent." This 
teaches that its length was one hundred cubits, and its breadth 
fifty cubits. But you could not know the breadth of the 
hangings till you know the height of the court, as he (Moses) 
said, "And the height five cubits";** as the height was five 
cubits, so was the breadth five cubits. "How was the court 
set up?" Twenty sockets of brass were put on the north 
side, and twenty on the south side, and there was a pillar 
in every one of them. And there were beams, and a ring was 
fastened in their middle, and the beams were fastened with 
ropes and pillars; and the length of every beam was six hand- 
breadths, and its breadth was three handbreadths. And the 
ring was hung on the hook in the pillar; and the hanging was 
rolled on it like the sail of a ship. It follows that the hang¬ 
ing extended from the pillar two cubits and a half on one 
side, and two cubits and a half on the other side; and so 
with the second pillar. This teaches that between each pillar 
there were five cubits. The beams were coupled with ropes 
and pillars, and they were coupled in the pins of brass; and 
as there were pins to the tabernacle, so were there pins to 
the court, as is said, "All the vessels of the tabernacle in all 
the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins 
of the court, shall be of brass.But you could not know 
how much space there was from the hangings to the entrance 
of the court, till he said, "And the hangings of the court, and 
the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by 
the tabernacle, and by the altar."''® As between the taber¬ 
nacle and the altar there were ten cubits, so from the hang- 
Exod. xxvii. 18. Exod. xxvii. 19. Numb. iv. 26. 



380 


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ings to the entrance of the court there were ten cubits. But 
you could not know how high was the entrance of the court, 
till he said, "And for the gate of the court shall he an hanging 
of twenty cubits," in length and height. In breadth it was 
five cubits. "There was no meaning in saying five cubits, 
and what is the meaning of saying five cubits?" "To in¬ 
struct thee that its length was ten cubits, and its breadth 
five cubits." As was the entrance of the tent, so was the 
entrance of the court. As was the entrance of the court, so 
was the entrance of the sanctuary. As was the height of the 
entrance of the sanctuary, so was the breadth of the entrance 
of the porch. "The length of the court shall be an hundred 
cubits, and the breadth of it fifty everywhere."'*' The oral 
law says, "Take fifty and surround them with fifty."''^ 
Hence said Rabbi Jose, the son of Rabbi Judah,''^ "an en¬ 
closed space which can contain two scabs of sown grain as the 
court of the tabernacle, is lawful for carrying burdens on the 
Sabbath day." 


CHAPTER VI 

The ark which Moses made in the desert was in length 
two cubits and a half, and in breadth one cubit and a half, 
and in height one cubit and a half, as is said, "And they shall 
make an ark of shittim-wood, two cubits and a half shall be 
the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, 
and a cubit and a half the height thereof."'’'' R. Meier said, 
"with a cubit containing six handbreadths — thus they 
make fifteen handbreadths. Take from them twelve hand- 
breadths for the breadth of the tables, and two handbreadths 
for the place where the roll of the Law lay, and half a hand- 
breadth from either side for the thickness of the ark. And 
the breadth of the ark was nine handbreadths. Take from 

Exod. xxvii. 18. 

Some explain this to mean "multiply fifty with one hundred" 
(Aruch); others think that the measurement is to be made with a rope 
of fifty cubits. (Eruvin.) 

Some read "in the name of," etc. 

" Exod. XXV. 10. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


381 


them six handbreadths for the length of the tables, and for 
the place where the roll of the Law lay, two handbreadths, 
that it should not be pressed going in and out, and half a 
handbreadth on either side for the thickness of the ark." R. 
Judah said, "with a cubit containing five handbreadths, thus 
there were twelve handbreadths and a half, and four tables lay 
in it — two perfect, and two broken. And the length of each 
table was six handbreadths, and their breadth six, and their 
thickness three. Take from them twelve handbreadths for 
the breadth of the tables, and a fingerbreadth on either side 
for the thickness of the ark. And the breadth of the ark was 
seven handbreadths and a half. Take from them six hand¬ 
breadths for the length of the tables, and one handbreadth for 
the place where the handles (pillars) lay; and on it the 
explanation of the prophets is, "King Solomon made himself 
a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars 

thereof of silver."''^ And there was a fingerbreadth on 
either side for the thickness of the ark, but the roll of the 
Law was put on the side, as is said, "And put it in the side 
of the ark of the covenant of the Lord.""^® And so with the 
Philistines, he said, "And put the jewels of gold, which ye 
return for a trespass-offering, in a coffer by the side 

thereof."'*’ R. Judah the son of Lakish, said, "there were 
two arks, one which abode in the encampment, and one which 
went forth with them to war, and in it were the broken 

tables," as is said, "And the ark of the covenant of the Lord 
went."'** But the one with them in the encampment con¬ 

tained the roll of the Law. That is what is written, "Never¬ 
theless the ark of the covenant of the Lord; and Moses de¬ 
parted not out of the camp."'*® And so he said with regard 
to Saul, "And Saul said unto Ahiah, bring hither the ark 

of God."^° And so of Uriah it is said, "The ark, and 

Israel, and Judah abide in tents."^* But the ark of the 

covenant went not forth to war, save once only, as is said. 

Song of Solomon, iii. 9, 10. Numb. xiv. 44. 

Deut. xxxi. 26. 1 Sam. xiv. 18. 

1 Sam. vi. 8. 2 Sam. xi. 11. 

Numb. X. 33. 



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"So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from 
thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts.R. 
Judah said, "there was nothing in the ark save the tables 
of the covenant only," as is said, "There was nothing in the 
ark save the two tables of stone. 


CHAPTER VII 

"How did Bezaleel make the ark?" "He made three 
boxes, two of gold and one of wood. He put the wooden one 
inside the golden one, and the golden one inside the wooden 
one, and covered the upper edge with gold; as is said, "And 
thou shah overlay it with pure gold: within and without 
shah thou overlay it."^"^ "And what is the meaning of 
saying, 'thou shah overlay it'?" "It means that he 
covered the upper edges with gold." The golden mercy- 
seat was placed above upon it; as is said, "And thou shah 

put the mercy-seat above upon the ark."^^ And four rings 
of gold were fastened in it, two on the north and two on the 
south, and in them the staves were put, and they were 
never moved from thence; as is said, "The staves shall be 
in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it."^® 
Even though Solomon made the pattern of all the vessels, 
the pattern of the ark he did not make; as is said, "And 

all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the 
ark."^^ The ark was placed in the midst of the House, and 
divided the House ten cubits by ten cubits. And two 
cherubs of gold stood on their feet on the ground. From 

the wall to the cherub there were five cubits, and from the 

cherub to the wall five cubits. "Where is it mentioned, that 
as soon as the priests brought in the ark the staves were drawn 
out, and they reached to the vail, and they touched the en¬ 
trance?" As is said, "And they drew out the staves, that 
the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before 

^^Exod. XXV. 21. 

Exod. XXV. 15. 

” 1 Kings viii. 3. 


' 1 Sam. iv. 4. 

' 1 Kings viii. 9. 
Exod. XXV. 11. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


383 


the oracle."^* For that reason the doors of the Holy of 
Holies were never closed." And they were not seen with¬ 
out."^* It is not possible to say that they were not seen, 

since it was already said "they were seen." Neither is it 

possible to say that they were seen, since it is aheady said 
"they were not seen." "How is it?" "They were pushing 

out in the vail, and were seen in the sanctuary like the two 
paps of a woman." "And from whence do we know that 

they were drawn out from the inside?" As is said, "And 

they were not seen without." There we learned that they were 
drawn out from the inside. And from thence we learned that 
they were drawn out to the outside, as is said, "And the ends 
of the staves were seen." And where thou sayest that as the 
staves were drawn out, so were drawn out the wings of the 
chembims, and they covered the ark, and overshadowed the 
house from above, as is said, "And the cherubims covered the 
ark and the staves thereof, above. "And where was the 
ark concealed?" Rabbi Judah, the son of Lachish, said, "in 
its place in the house of the Holy of Holies, as is said, 'And 
there they are unto this day.'But the Sages say, "in 
the chamber of the wood." "And who concealed it?" 
Rabbi Judah the Holy said, "Josiah concealed it, as it is 
said; 'And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which 

were holy imto the Lord, Put the holy ark in the house which 

Solomon the son of David, King of Israel, did build; it shall 
not be a burden upon your shoulders."®' He said to them, 
"It shall not be carried captive with you to Babylon, that 
you should bear it upon your shoulders." Rabbi Eleazer 
said, "it went to Babylon, as is said, 'Nothing shall be left, 
saith the Lord,'®^ nothing, not even the words in it." The 
house of the Holy of Holies, which Solomon made for it, had 
a wall, entrance, and doors, as is said, "And the temple and 
the sanctuary had two doors."®^ But in the latter house 
there was no wall, only two boards were there, and the length 
of each one was a cubit and a half. And two vails of gold 

1 Kings viii. 8. 2 Chron. xxxv. 3. 

1 Kings viii. 7, 8. “ 2 Kings xx. 17. 

1 Kings viii. 8. ® Ezek. xli. 23. 



384 


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were there, spread over them from above, and it was called 
the place of Partition.®"^ 


CHAPTER VIII 

The table which Moses made in the wilderness was in 
length two cubits, and its breadth one cubit, and its height 
was one cubit and a half, as is said, "Thou shalt also make 
a table of shittim-wood, two cubits shall be the length thereof, 
and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the 
height thereof."®^ Rabbi Judah said, "the cubit contained 
five handbreadths, thus there are ten handbreadths." From 
thence the Sages said, "the table was in length ten hand¬ 
breadths, and in breadth five handbreadths. And the show- 
bread was in length ten handbreadths, and in breadth five. 
The length of the showbread was placed against the breadth 
of the table. It extended over two handbreadths and a half 
on either side. It follows that its length quite filled the 

breadth of the table." Rabbi Meier said, "the table was 
in length twelve handbreadths, and in breadth six hand¬ 
breadths. And the showbread was in length ten hand¬ 

breadths, and in breadth five. And its length was placed 
against the breadth of the table. It extended over two 

handbreadths on either side; and there was an opening of 
two handbreadths in the middle, that the air might blow 
through them (the loaves)." Aba Shaul said, "they put 

there two cups of incense of the showbread." The Sages said 
to him, "and is it not aheady said, 'And thou shalt put pure 
frankincense upon each row '?"®® He replied to them, "and 
is it not already said, 'And by him shall be the tribe of 
Manasseh'?"®’ Although Solomon made ten tables, and all 
of them were lawful for service, as is said, "He made also 

“ Some commentators interpret Traksin to mean "place of doubt¬ 
ing," as zealots continually disputed the exact division between the 

Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. 

Exod. XXV. 23. 

* Lev. xxiv. 7. 

Numb. ii. 20. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


385 


ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right 
side, and five on the left."®* "If thou sayest five on the 
south, and five on the north, is not a table on the south 
worthless?" But what is the meaning of saying, "five on 
the right and five on the left"? "Five to the right of the 
table of Moses, and five to the left of the table of Moses, even 
though he did not arrange the showbread, save for the table 
of Moses only, as is said, 'And the table whereupon the 
showbread was.' Rabbi Jose, the son of Rabbi Judah, 

said, "all the tables were arranged for showbread, as is said, 
'And the tables whereon the showbread was set.' 


CHAPTER IX 

The candlestick which Moses made in the wilderness was 
wrought from gold, and required hammering, and required 

knops and flowers, as is said, "And thou shaft make a candle¬ 
stick of pure gold; of beaten work shall the candlestick be 
made: his shaft and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and 
his flowers, shall be of the same."’' "Do I hear that he 

shall make separate members and join them to it?" "The 

teaching says that 'they shall be of the same.'" "Whence 
know we that it extends to the light?" "The teaching says, 
'Thou shaft make.'" "I am of opinion that it should be 

extended to the bowls, knops, and flowers. The teaching 

says 'it,' and what dost thou see to extend it to the light, 

and withhold it from the bowls, the knops, and the flowers?" 
"Because the verse extends and withholds, therefore I ex¬ 
tend it to the lights that they should be made with it, and 
I withhold the bowls, the knops, and the flowers, that they 
should not be made with it." "Whence know we to extend 

it to the tongs and snuff-dishes?" "The teaching says, 
'thou shaft make.'" "I am of opinion to extend it to 

the snuffers, and the tweezers." "The teaching says 'it,' 
and what dost thou see to extend it to the tongs and snuff- 

“ 2 Chron. iv. 8. ™ 2 Chron. iv. 19. 

^ 1 Kings vii. 48. ’’Exod. xxv. 31. 



386 


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dishes, and to withhold it from the snuffers?" "Because 
the verse extends and withholds. I extend it to the tongs 

and snuff-dishes, since they are used with it. And I with¬ 

hold it from the snuffers and tweezers, since they are not 
used with it." As it was made of gold, it required ham¬ 

mering; when it was not of gold it did not require hammer¬ 
ing. When it was made of gold it required bowls, knops, 
and flowers; when it was not of gold it did not require bowls, 
knops, and flowers. When it was made of gold it required 
a talent; when it was not of gold it did not require a talent. 
Rabbi Joshua, the son of Korcha, said, "it (the candlestick) 
was made of a talent, but the lights, and the tongs, and the 
snuff-dishes were not from the talent," as is said, "Of a 
talent of pure gold shall he make it."^^ "And what do I 
establish?" "That all these vessels were vessels of pure 

gold. But the tmmpets which Moses made in the wilderness 
were made of silver only, as is said, 'Make thee two tmmpets 
of silver.' 


CHAPTERX 

"How did Bezaleel make the candlestick?" "He made 
it from an ingot of gold, and it was like a beam. And 

above and below he made bowls, knops, and flowers, and 

drew out from it two branches, one on either side, and from 
it he drew out two other branches, one on either side, and 
again drew out two branches, one on either side, as is said, 
'And six branches shall come out of the sides of it.' But 
we could not understand the hammering of the bowls, until 
it be said, "And in the candlesticks shall be four bowls 

made like imto almonds with their knops and their 

flowers."^^ 

Aisi, the son of Judah, said, "there are five expressions in 
the Law, and they have no fixed meaning." These are they, 

Exod. XXV. 39. ™ Exod. xxv. 32. 

” Numb. X. 2. ” Exod. xxv. 34. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


387 


"accepted,"’® "cursed,"” "to-morrow,"’® "made like imto 
almonds,"’^ "and will rise up."®° "If thou doest well, 
shalt thou not be accepted?" or, "thou shalt be accepted even 
if thou doest not well." "Cursed be their anger for it was 
fierce," or, "for in their anger they slew a man, and in their 
self-will they hocked cursed oxen." "To-morrow I will 
stand," or, "go out, fight with Amalek to-morrow." "Made 
like imto almonds with their knops, and their flowers," or, 
"four bowls made like unto almonds." "And this people 
will rise up," or, "thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and 
thou shalt rise up." These are the five expressions in the 
Law which have no fixed meaning. Aisa, the son of Akbia, 
said, "it happened once to be more than a talent by a 
dinar of gold, and it was brought into the crucible eighty 
times." The body of the candlestick was eighteen hand- 

breadths, the feet and the flowers were three handbreadths, 
and two handbreadths were smooth, and one handbreadth 
was for the bowl, a knop and a flower, and two handbreadths 
were smooth, and one handbreadth a knop, and two branches 
proceeded from it, one on either side. And two hand¬ 

breadths were smooth, and one handbreadth a knop, and two 
branches proceeded from it, one on either side, and two 
handbreadths were smooth, and one handbreadth a knop, 

and two branches proceeded from it on either side. There 
remained three handbreadths, it which were the bowls, the 
knops, and the flowers, as is said, "Three bowls made 

like imto almonds with a knop and a flower in one 
branch."®' 

It follows that the bowls were twenty-two, and the knops 
eleven, and the flowers nine. "The bowls, to what were they 
like?" "To cups of Alexandria." "The knops, to what 
were they like?" "To the apples of pine-trees."®’ "The 
flowers, to what were they like?" "To the flowers on the 
pillars of the temple." It is found that you learn that there 

Gen. iv. 7. Deut. xxxl. 16. 

’’ Gen. xlix. 7. Exod. xxv. 33. 

Exod. xvii. 9. Or "egg-shaped, oval." 

™ Exod. rxv. 34. 



388 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


exist in the candlestick difficulty and forgetfulness more than 
in all the other vessels. "And whence know we that Omni¬ 
presence showed to Moses, the vessels ready, and the candle¬ 
stick ready?" As it is said, "see and make them according 
to their patterns."*^ Although Solomon made ten candle¬ 
sticks and all of them were lawful for service, as is said, 
"And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to then- 
form, and set them in the temple, five on the right hand and 
five on the left."*"^ If you say, five on the south and 
five on the north, is not the candlestick on the north 
worthless? 

"And what is meant by saying, five on the right hand and 
five on the left?" "Five on the right side of the candle¬ 

stick of Moses, and five on the left side of the candlestick 
of Moses, even though they lighted the candlestick of Moses 
only, as is said, 'And the candlestick of gold, with the lamps 
thereof, to bum every evening,' Rabbi Jose, the son of 
Rabbi Judah, said, "they were all lighted," as is said, 
"Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should 
bum after the manner, before the oracle of pure gold; and 

the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs made he of gold, 
and that perfect gold."®^ All these completed the golden 
one of Moses. Those on the west and east flaired in front 

of the middle light, as is said, "The seven lamps shall give 

light over against the candlestick."^^ From thence Rabbi 
Nathan said, "the middle one is the most honorable." The 
seven lamps flamed alike, and their lamps were equal, and 

they resembled each other. "How did they snuff it?" 
"They removed the snuff from the candlestick and deposited 
it in the tent, and mbbed it with a sponge." "It follows 

that many priests were busied on one lamp." The words 
of Rabbi Jose. But the Sages say, "They did not remove 

the lamps from their places; they only removed the snuff 

from the candlestick, as is said, 'He shall order the lamps 
upon the pure candlestick.' 

Exod. XXV. 40. *‘2 Chron. iv. 20, 21. 

2 Chron. iv. 7. Numb. viii. 2. 

2 Chron. xiii. 11. ** Lev. xxiv. 4. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


389 


CHAPTER XI 

The altar of incense was in length a cubit, and in breadth 
a cubit, and in height two cubits, as is said, "And thou 
shah make an altar to bum incense upon; of shittim-wood 
shah thou make it. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and 

a cubit the breadth thereof: four square shall it be: and 
two cubits shall be the height thereof: the boms thereof shall 
be of the same."*^ And it was all overlaid with gold, as 

is said, "And thou shah overlay it with gold."®° This altar 
had three names, the altar of incense, the altar of gold, the 
inner altar. The altar of burnt-offerings was in length five 
cubits, and in breadth five cubits, and in height three cubits, 
as is said, "And he made the altar of burnt-offering of 
shihim-wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five 
cubits the breadth thereof; it was four square; and three 
cubits the height thereof"^* The words of Rabbi Meier. 
To him said Rabbi Jose, "from hearing what is said five 
by five do we not know that it is four square? What is 
the meaning of saying four square?" "It is superfluous, 
save for identification in pronoimcing with regard to it an 
equal decision. It is said here four square, and there four 

square." "What four square is meant there?" "That 
its height is double its breadth, even the four square men¬ 
tioned here means that its height is double its breadth." 
Rabbi Meier said to him, "if it be according to thy words, 
it follows that the altar is higher than the curtains." Rabbi 
Jose answered him, "and is it not already said, 'And the 

hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the 
gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar 
round about.' As the tabernacle was ten cubits broad, 
so the altar of burnt-offerings was ten cubits broad. A 
painted line girdled it in the middle to divide between the 
blood sprinkled above, and the blood sprinkled below. The 
painted line and downward was five cubits. The foimdation 
was a cubit. And three cubits was the compass, and the 

Exod. XXX. 1. Exod. xxxviii. 1. 

Exod. XXX. 3. Numb. iv. 26. 



390 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


circuit was a cubit, and there they put the blood sprinkled 
below. The painted line and upward was five cubits — a 
cubit the boms, and three cubits the compass, and one cubit 

the circuit. And there they put the blood which was sprinkled 
above. And the blood intended to be sprinkled on the painted 
line and downward, if it were put on the painted line and 
upward, was worthless. And the blood that was intended to 
be sprinkled above the painted line, if it were put on the 
painted line and downward, was worthless. The altar which 
Moses made in the wilderness was in height ten cubits, and 

the one which Solomon made was in height ten cubits, and 

the one which the children of the captivity made was in 

height ten cubits, and the one prepared for the future, its 
height is ten cubits. The altar of bumt-offerings was placed 

in the midst of the court with its ascent on the south, with 

the laver on the west, with the slaughter-house on the north, 
and all the Israelites to the east, as is said, "And all the con¬ 
gregation drew near and stood before the Lord."®^ This 

altar had three names — the altar of bumt-offerings, the 

altar of brass, the outer altar. 


CHAPTER XII 

Moses made one laver, as is said, "Thou shall also make 
a laver of brass."®'' Solomon made ten lavers, as is said, 
"He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, 

and five on the left, to wash."®^ "There is no meaning in 

saying 'five on the right hand, and five on the left,' and 
what is the meaning of saying 'five on the right hand, and 
five on the left'?" "Five on the right of the laver of 
Moses, and five on the left of the laver of Moses." Solomon 
added to it when he made the sea, as is said, "And he made 
a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other; it 
was roimd all about, and his height was five cubits; and a 

line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. And it 

was an handbreadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought 

” Lev. ix. 5. Exod. xxx. 18. "^2 Chron. iv. 6. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


391 


like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies, it contained 
two thousand baths.It is not possible to say "two thou¬ 
sand," since before it is said "three thousand,"®^ and it is 
not possible to say "three thousand," since before it is said 

"two thousand." "How can it be?" "Two thousand 
liquid make three thousand dry measure." But you don't 
know how much is the bath until it be said, "The ephah 
and the bath contain one measure,"^* "for ten baths are an 
homer." Allow ten baths for every cur — there are two 

hundred curs. Subtract from them fifty curs, and allow 
fifty square, there are one hundred and fifty cleansing-pools; 

since every pool contains forty seahs. "And from whence 

do we know that every pool contains forty seahs?" "As is 
said, 'And bathe his flesh in water,'^® water to cover all his 
flesh." "And how much is it?" "A square cubit, in 
height three cubits." From thence the Sages judged the 

measure of a pool to be forty seahs. "And how can it con¬ 
tain one hundred and fifty cleansing-pools, if thou shaft say 

it was all round?" "It could not contain them." "If thou 
shaft say it was all square?" "It therefore contained more." 
But the three lowest cubits were square; allow for ten cubits 
square, there are an hundred cubits. Allow for an hundred 
square; there are an hundred cleansing-pools. The two 

highest cubits were round. Allow for ten cubits square; 
there are seventy-five cubits. Allow for seventy-five square; 
there are an himdred and fifty. Allow for fifty square; 
there are fifty cleansing-pools; since the square exceeds the 
round by a fourth. "And whence do we know that the 

square exceeds the round by a fourth?" "As is said, 'Ten 

cubits from brim to brim, roimd in compass, and a line of 

thirty cubits did compass it roimd about.' This teaches 

that the square exceeds the round by a fourth. "And 

whence do we know that it was round above?" "As is said, 
'And it was an handbreadth thick, and the brim thereof was 
wrought like the brim of a cup.'" "And whence know we 

’’’ 1 Kings vii. 23, 26. Lev. xv. 13. 

2 Chron. iv. 5. 2 Chron. iv. 2. 

Ezek. xlv. 11, 14. 



392 


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that it was square below?" "As is said, 'It stood upon 
twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three look¬ 
ing toward the west, and three looking toward the south, 
and three looking toward the east.'And what is 

meant by saying "looking toward" four times; but that 

when one entered the temple, he looked toward the right; 
when he entered into the court, he looked toward the right; 
when he entered the Mountain of the House, he looked toward 
the right; when the priest went up to the top of the altar, 
he looked toward the right? "And under it was the simili¬ 
tude of oxen, which did compass it round about, ten in a 
cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of 

oxen."'°^ It follows that there were four rows of the 
heads of oxen, which served for the four sides, as is said, 
"And the similitude of oxen, two rows of oxen were cast 
when it was cast."'°^ And it was all cast even from the feet 
of the ox. 


CHAPTER XIII 

"How did the Levites guard the tabernacle?" "The 
family of Kohath watched on the south, as is said, 'The 
families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the 
tabernacle southward.''®'^ And they were overseers of the 
vessels of the ark, as is said, 'And their charge shall be the 
ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and 
the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and 
the hanging and all the service thereof'*®^ Outside of them 
were the three tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Levi. The family 
of Gershon watched in the west, as is said, 'The families of 
the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle west¬ 
ward.''®^ And they were entrusted with all the vessels of 

"" 2 Chron. iv. 4. 

2 Chron. iv. 3. 

The Jerusalem Talmud states that the water poured through 
the feet of the oxen, and that this was the well of Etham. 

Numb. iii. 29. 

Numb. iii. 23. 

Numb. iii. 35. 




LITERATURE OF THE EAS^ 


393 


the tabernacle, as is said, 'And they shall hear the curtains 
of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation.''®^ 
Outside of them were the three tribes of Ephraim, and Ma- 
nasseh, and Benjamin. The family of Merari watched on 
the north, as is said, 'And the chief of the house of the father 
of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these 
shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward.''®* And 
they were entrusted with the taches, and boards, and bars, 
and pillars, and the sockets of the tabernacle, as is said, 'And 
under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be 
the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the 
pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof'®® And outside of 
them were the three tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. 
On the east were Moses, Aaron, and their families, as is 
said, 'But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward 
the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation east¬ 
ward, shall be Moses and Aaron and his sons.'"® And out¬ 
side of them were the three tribes of Judah, Tssachar, and 
Zebulon. The whole encampment of Israel was twelve miles. 
The standard of Judah was four miles, and the encampment 
of the Levites, and the encampment of the Shechinah, four 
miles. The standard of Reuben was four miles. The 
standard of Ephraim was four miles. The encampment of 
the Levites and the encampment of the Shechinah were four 
miles. And the encampment of Dan was four miles. It 
follows that the four comers of the tabernacle were four 
encampments for service on every side, as is said, 'Then 
the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with 
the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp; as they 
encamp so shall they set forward, every man in his place 
by their standards.'"' So soon as Israel set forward, the 
pillar of cloud which was standing still rolled up and spread 
out over the children of Judah like a kind of beam. The 
tmmpet sounded, and blew an alarm, and sounded, and the 
standard of Judah moved forward, as is said, 'In the first 

Numb. iii. 38. Numb. iii. 36. 

Numb. iii. 81. Numb. ii. 17. 

"■'Numb. iv. 25. 



394 


THE SACRED BOOKS 


place went the standard of the camp of the children of Judah 
according to their armies.'"^ At once Aaron and his sons 
entered the tabernacle and took down the vail, and with it 
they covered the ark, as is said, 'And when the camp setteth 
forward, Aaron shall come and his sons, and they shall take 
down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with 
it.'"^ The trumpet sounded, and blew an alarm, and 
sounded. And the standard of the encampment of Reuben 
set forward. At once the sons of Gershon, and the sons of 
Merari entered, and took down the tabernacle, and loaded 
it on the wagon. And they set up the tabernacle before the 
sons of Kohath came, as is said, 'And the Kohathites set 
forward, bearing the sanctuary; and the other did set up 
the tabernacle against they came.'"'' And the trumpet 
sounded, and blew an alarm, and sounded, and the standard 
of Ephraim moved forward; the children of Kohath entered 
and took down the holy vessels, and loaded them on then- 
shoulders, as is said, 'And when Aaron and his sons have 
made an end of covering the sanctuary and all the vessels 
of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that 
the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it.'"^ The trumpet 
sounded, and blew an alarm, and sounded. And the standard 
of Dan moved forward, as is said, 'And the standard of the 
camp of the children of Dan set forward.'"® It follows 
that two standards were in front, and two standards were in 
the rear, and the encampment of the Levites, and the en¬ 
campment of the Shechinah were in the middle, as is said, 
'Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward 
with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp.'"’ 
And as they encamped, so they set forward, as is said, 'As 
they encamp, so shall they set forward.' Israel set forward 
by three commands, by command of the Holy Blessed One, 
by command of Moses, and by command of the trumpets." 
"Whence know we the command of the Holy Blessed One?" 
"As is said, 'At the commandment of the Lord, the children 

’ Numb. iv. 15. 

" Numb. X. 22. 

’ Numb. ii. 17. 


Numb. X. 14. 
Numb. Iv. 5. 
""Numb. X. 21. 



LITERATURE OF THE EAST 


395 


of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord 
they pitched,' etc. "By the commandment of the Lord 
by the hand of Moses. "By commandment of Moses — 
how?" "Moses said in the evening, 'early in the morning 
you must go forward.' "At once the Israelites began to 

gather their cattle, and prepared their furniture for the 
march. "By commandment of the trumpets whence know 
we it?" "As is said, 'Make thee two trumpets of silver, 

etc., that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assem¬ 
bly, and for the journeying of the camps.' "How?" 

"The trumpets sounded, blew an alarm, and sounded three 
blasts for every standard." Rabbi Judah said, "there were 

three blasts for every tribe." 


CHAPTER XIV 

When Israel was to encamp, the pillar of cloud rose up 
and spread out over the children of Judah like a kind of 
booth, and it covered the tent outward, and filled the taber¬ 
nacle inward; as is said, "Then a cloud covered the tent of 
the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the taber¬ 
nacle."'^' And that was one of the clouds of glory, which 
served the Israelites in the wilderness forty years. One on 
the right hand, and one on the left, and one before them, 
and one behind them. And one over them, and a cloud 
dwelling in their midst (and the cloud, the Shechinah which 
was in the tent), and the pillar of cloud which moved before 
them, making low before them the high places, and making 
high before them the low places, and killing serpents and 
scorpions, and burning thorns and briers, and guiding them 
in the straight way. Rabbi Simon, the son of Jose, said, 
"During the forty years, when the Israelites were in the 
wilderness, none of them had need of the light of the sun 
by day, nor the light of the moon by night. When it be¬ 
came reddish they knew that the sun had set, and when 
"*Numb. ix. 18. ‘^°Numb. x. 2. 

Numb. ix. 23. Exod. xl. 34. 



396 THE SACRED BOOKS 

it became whitish they knew that the sun rose. And when 

one looked into a barrel, he knew what was in it; and into 
a pitcher, and he knew what was in it, by reason of the 

cloud, the Shechinah in their midst," as is said, "For the 

cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire 
was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel 
throughout all their journey."And so it is prepared to 
come in the future: as is said, "Arise, shine; for thy light 
is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." "The 
sim shall be no more thy light by day; neither for bright¬ 
ness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall 
be unto thee an everlasting light." "Thy sun shall no more 
go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the 

Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy 

mourning shall be ended. "From whence did the 
Shechinah speak with Moses? "Rabbi Nathan said, 
"from the altar of incense," as is said, "And thou shalt put 
it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, etc. 
Where I will meet with thee."*^'* 

Rabbi Simon, the son of Yochai, said, "beside the altar of 
incense," as is said, "And thou shalt beat some of it very 

small, and put it before the testimony in the tabernacle of 
the congregation; where I will meet with thee." 

The disciples of Rabbi Ishmael said, "beside the altar of 
bumt-offering," as is said, "This shall be a continual burnt- 

offering throughout your generations at the door of the taber¬ 

nacle of the congregation, before the Lord; where I will 
meet you." 

Exod. xl. 38. Exod. xxx. 6. 

Isa. lx. 1, 19, 20. Exod. xxix. 42. 


THE END 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The great authority for all Hebraic subjects, in English, is 


"The Jewish Encyelopedia" (edited by I. Singer, N. Y. 1901-1906). 

Beyond this, for a general understanding of Jewish history 
and thought in the ancient days, one should read 

H. T. Fowler, "History of the Literature of Ancient Israel" (New 

York, 1912). 

I. Abrahams, "Short History of Jewish Literature" (London, 1906). 

Lyman Abbott, "Life and Literature of the Ancient Hebrews" 

(Boston, 1901). 

L. Simons, "Aspects of Hebrew Genius" (London, 1910). 

D. S. Margoliouth, "Religions of Bible Lands" (London, 1902). 

W. R. Smith, "Religion of the Semites" (New York, 2d ed., 1907). 

T. K. Cheyne, "Jewish Religious Life after the Exile" (New York). 

M. L. Rodkinson, "History of the Talmud" (Boston, 1903). 

M. Meilziner, "Introduetion to the Talmud " (New York, 2d ed., 
1902). 

M. JASTROW, "Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud," ete., (New 
York, 1886). 

C. G. Montefiore, "Origin and Growth of Religion" (Edinburgh, 
1893). 

R. L. Ottley, "The Religion of Israel" (Cambridge, 1905). 

English translations of the texts, outside of the Bible and 
its Apocrypha, are neither numerous nor wholly satisfactory. 
Among the best are: 

Prof W. H. Bennett, "The Moabite Stone" (Edinburgh, 1911). 

C. D. GinsburG, "The Moabite Stone" (London, 2d ed., 1871). 

G. A. CoOKE, "A Text-book of North Semitic Inscriptions" (Ox¬ 

ford, 1903). 

A. W. Stream, "The Treatise Chagigah" (Cambridge, 1891). 

M. L. Rodkinson, "The Babylonian Talmud," (New York, 1900). 

E. Montague, "Tales from the Talmud" (London, 1906). 

W. A. Elmslie, "The Mishna on Idolatry" (Cambridge, 1911). 

1. Myers, "Gems from the Talmud." 

H. Poland, "Selections from the Talmud." 

Moses Schwab, "The Talmud of Jerusalem" (London, 1886). 

S. Rapaport, "Tales and Maxims from the Talmud." 

"Documents of Jewish Sectaries," ed. S. Schechter, 

"Miscellany of Hebrew Literature," ed. A. Lowy. 

See also "The Jewish Quarterly Review." 

397