THE TEN GENERATIONS--THE BIRTH OF CAIN--FRATRICIDE--THE PUNISHMENT OF CAIN--THE INHABITANTS OF THE SEVEN EARTHS--THE DESCENDANTS OF CAIN--THE DESCENDANTS OF ADAM AND LILITH--SETH AND HIS DESCENDANTS--ENOSH--THE FALL OF THE ANGELS--ENOCH, RULER AND TEACHER--THE ASCENSION OF ENOCH--THE TRANSLATION OF ENOCH--METHUSELAH
There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, to show how long-suffering is the Lord, for all the generations provoked Him unto wrath, until He brought the deluge upon them. By reason of their impiousness God changed His plan of calling one thousand generations into being between the creation of the world and the revelation of the law at Mount Sinai; nine hundred and seventy-four He suppressed before the flood.
Wickedness came into the world with the first being born of woman, Cain, the oldest son of Adam. When God bestowed Paradise upon the first pair of mankind, He warned them particularly against carnal intercourse with each other. But after the fall of Eve, Satan, in the guise of the serpent, approached her, and the fruit of their union was Cain, the ancestor of all the impious generations that were rebellious toward God, and rose up against Him. Cain's descent from Satan, who is the angel Samael, was revealed in his seraphic appearance. At his birth, the exclamation was wrung from Eve, "I have gotten a man through an angel of the Lord."
Adam was not in the company of Eve during the time of her pregnancy with Cain. After she had succumbed a second time to the temptations of Satan, and permitted herself to be interrupted in her penance, she left her husband and journeyed westward, because she feared her presence might continue to bring him misery. Adam remained in the east. When the days of Eve to be delivered were fulfilled, and she began to feel the pangs of travailing, she prayed to God for help. But He hearkened not unto her supplications. "Who will carry the report to my lord Adam?" she asked herself. "Ye luminaries in the sky, I beg you, tell it to my master Adam when ye return to the east!" In that self same hour, Adam cried out: "The lamentation of Eve has pierced to my ear! Mayhap the serpent has again assaulted her," and he hastened to his wife. Finding her in grievous pain, he besought God in her behalf, and twelve angels appeared, together with two heavenly powers. All these took up their post to right of her and to left of her, while Michael, also standing on her right side, passed his hand over her, from her face downward to her breast, and said to her, "Be thou blessed, Eve, for the sake of Adam. Because of his solicitations and his prayers I was sent to grant thee our assistance. Make ready to give birth to thy child!" Immediately her son was born, a radiant figure. A little while and the babe stood upon his feet, ran off, and returned holding in his hands a stalk of straw, which he gave to his mother. For this reason he was named Cain, the Hebrew word for stalk of straw.
Now Adam took Eve and the boy to his home in the east. God sent him various kinds of seeds by the hand of the angel Michael, and he was taught how to cultivate the ground and make it yield produce and fruits, to sustain himself and his family and his posterity.
After a while, Eve bore her second son, whom she named Hebel, because, she said, he was born but to die.
The slaying of Abel by Cain did not come as a wholly unexpected event to his parents. In a dream Eve had seen the blood of Abel flow into the mouth of Cain, who drank it with avidity, though his brother entreated him not to take all. When she told her dream to Adam, he said, lamenting, "O that this may not portend the death of Abel at the hand of Cain!" He separated the two lads, assigning to each an abode of his own, and to each he taught a different occupation. Cain became a tiller of the ground, and Abel a keeper of sheep. It was all in vain. In spite of these precautions, Cain slew his brother.
His hostility toward Abel had more than one reason. It began when God had respect unto the offering of Abel, and accepted it by sending heavenly fire down to consume it, while the offering of Cain was rejected. They brought their sacrifices on the fourteenth day of Nisan, at the instance of their father, who had spoken thus to his sons: "This is the day on which, in times to come, Israel will offer sacrifices. Therefore, do ye, too, bring sacrifices to your Creator on this day, that He may take pleasure in you." The place of offering which they chose was the spot whereon the altar of the Temple at Jerusalem stood later. Abel selected the best of his flocks for his sacrifice, but Cain ate his meal first, and after he had satisfied his appetite, he offered unto God what was left over, a few grains of flax seed. As though his offense had not been great enough in offering unto God fruit of the ground which had been cursed by God! What wonder that his sacrifice was not received with favor! Besides, a chastisement was inflicted upon him. His face turned black as smoke. Nevertheless, his disposition underwent no change, even when God spoke to him thus: "If thou wilt amend thy ways, thy guilt will be forgiven thee; if not, thou wilt be delivered into the power of the evil inclination. It coucheth at the door of thy heart, yet it depends upon thee whether thou shalt be master over it, or it shall be master over thee."
Cain thought he had been wronged, and a dispute followed between him and Abel. "I believed," he said, "that the world was created through goodness, but I see that good deeds bear no fruit. God rules the world with arbitrary power, else why had He respect unto thy offering, and not unto mine also?" Abel opposed him; he maintained that God rewards good deeds, without having respect unto persons. If his sacrifice had been accepted graciously by God, and Cain's not, it was because his deeds were good, and his brother's wicked.
But this was not the only cause of Cain's hatred toward Abel. Partly love for a woman brought about the crime. To ensure the propagation of the human race, a girl, destined to be his wife, was born together with each of the sons of Adam. Abel's twin sister was of exquisite beauty, and Cain desired her. Therefore he was constantly brooding over ways and means of ridding himself of his brother.
The opportunity presented itself ere long. One day a sheep belonging to Abel tramped over a field that had been planted by Cain. In a rage, the latter called out, "What right hast thou to live upon my land and let thy sheep pasture yonder?" Abel retorted: "What right hast thou to use the products of my sheep, to make garments for thyself from their wool? If thou wilt take off the wool of my sheep wherein thou art arrayed, and wilt pay me for the flesh of the flocks which thou hast eaten, then I will quit thy land as thou desirest, and fly into the air, if I can do it." Cain thereupon said, "And if I were to kill thee, who is there to demand thy blood of me?" Abel replied: "God, who brought us into the world, will avenge me. He will require my blood at thine hand, if thou shouldst slay me. God is the Judge, who will visit their wicked deeds upon the wicked, and their evil deeds upon the evil. Shouldst thou slay me, God will know thy secret, and He will deal out punishment unto thee."
These words but added to the anger of Cain, and he threw himself upon his brother. Abel was stronger than he, and he would have got the worst of it, but at the last moment he begged for mercy, and the gentle Abel released his hold upon him. Scarcely did he feel himself free, when he turned against Abel once more, and slew him. So true is the saying, "Do the evil no good, lest evil fall upon thee."
The manner of Abel's death was the most cruel conceivable. Not knowing what injury was fatal, Cain pelted all parts of his body with stones, until one struck him on the neck and inflicted death.
After committing the murder, Cain resolved to flee, saying, "My parents will demand account of me concerning Abel, for there is no other human being on earth." This thought had but passed through his mind when God appeared unto him, and addressed him in these words: "Before thy parents thou canst flee, but canst thou go out from My presence, too? 'Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?' Alas for Abel that he showed thee mercy, and refrained from killing thee, when he had thee in his power! Alas that he granted thee the opportunity of slaying him!"
Questioned by God, "Where is Abel thy brother?" Cain answered: "Am I my brother's keeper? Thou art He who holdest watch over all creatures, and yet Thou demandest account of me! True, I slew him, but Thou didst create the evil inclination in me. Thou guardest all things; why, then, didst Thou permit me to slay him? Thou didst Thyself slay him, for hadst Thou looked with a favorable countenance toward my offering as toward his, I had had no reason for envying him, and I had not slain him." But God said, "The voice of thy brother's blood issuing from his many wounds crieth out against thee, and likewise the blood of all the pious who might have sprung from the loins of Abel."
Also the soul of Abel denounced the murderer, for she could find rest nowhere. She could neither soar heavenward, nor abide in the grave with her body, for no human soul had done either before. But Cain still refused to confess his guilt. He insisted that he had never seen a man killed, and how was he to suppose that the stones which he threw at Abel would take his life? Then, on account of Cain, God cursed the ground, that it might not yield fruit unto him. With a single punishment both Cain and the earth were chastised, the earth because it retained the corpse of Abel, and did not cast it above ground.
In the obduracy of his heart, Cain spake: "O Lord of the world! Are there informers who denounce men before Thee? My parents are the only living human beings, and they know naught of my deed. Thou abidest in the heavens, and how shouldst Thou know what things happen on earth?" God said in reply: "Thou fool! I carry the whole world. I have made it, and I will bear it"--a reply that gave Cain the opportunity of feigning repentance. "Thou bearest the whole world," he said, "and my sin Thou canst not bear? Verily, mine iniquity is too great to be borne! Yet, yesterday Thou didst banish my father from Thy presence, to-day Thou dost banish me. In sooth, it will be said, it is Thy way to banish."
Although this was but dissimulation, and not true repentance, yet God granted Cain pardon, and removed the half of his chastisement from him. Originally, the decree had condemned him to be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. Now he was no longer to roam about forever, but a fugitive he was to remain. And so much was hard enough to have to suffer, for the earth quaked under Cain, and all the animals, the wild and the tame, among them the accursed serpent, gathered together and essayed to devour him in order to avenge the innocent blood of Abel. Finally Cain could bear it no longer, and, breaking out in tears, he cried: "Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?" To protect him from the onslaught of the beasts, God inscribed one letter of His Holy Name upon his forehead," and furthermore He addressed the animals: "Cain's punishment shall not be like unto the punishment of future murderers. He has shed blood, but there was none to give him instruction. Henceforth, however, he who slays another shall himself be slain." Then God gave him the dog as a protection against the wild beasts, and to mark him as a sinner, He afflicted him with leprosy.
Cain's repentance, insincere though it was, bore a good result. When Adam met him, and inquired what doom had been decreed against him, Cain told how his repentance had propitiated God, and Adam exclaimed, "So potent is repentance, and I knew it not!" Thereupon he composed a hymn of praise to God, beginning with the words, "It is a good thing to confess thy sins unto the Lord!"
The crime committed by Cain had baneful consequences, not for himself alone, but for the whole of nature also. Before, the fruits which the earth bore unto him when he tilled the ground had tasted like the fruits of Paradise. Now his labor produced naught but thorns and thistles. The ground changed and deteriorated at the very moment of Abel's violent end. The trees and the plants in the part of the earth whereon the victim lived refused to yield their fruits, on account of their grief over him, and only at the birth of Seth those that grew in the portion belonging to Abel began to flourish and bear again. But never did they resume their former powers. While, before, the vine had borne nine hundred and twenty-six different varieties of fruit, it now brought forth but one kind. And so it was with all other species. They will regain their pristine powers only in the world to come.
Nature was modified also by the burial of the corpse of Abel. For a long time it lay there exposed, above ground, because Adam and Eve knew not what to do with it. They sat beside it and wept, while the faithful dog of Abel kept guard that birds and beasts did it no harm. On a sudden, the mourning parents observed how a raven scratched the earth away in one spot, and then hid a dead bird of his own kind in the ground. Adam, following the example of the raven, buried the body of Abel, and the raven was rewarded by God. His young are born with white feathers, wherefore the old birds desert them, not recognizing them as their offspring. They take them for serpents. God feeds them until their plumage turns black, and the parent birds return to them. As an additional reward, God grants their petition when the ravens pray for rain.
When Adam was cast out of Paradise, he first reached the lowest of the seven earths, the Erez, which is dark, without a ray of light, and utterly void. Adam was terrified, particularly by the flames of the ever-turning sword, which is on this earth. After he had done penance, God led him to the second earth, the Adamah, where there is light reflected from its own sky and from its phantom-like stars and constellations. Here dwell the phantom-like beings that issued from the union of Adam with the spirits." They are always sad; the emotion of joy is not known to them. They leave their own earth and repair to the one inhabited by men, where they are changed into evil spirits. Then they return to their abode for good, repent of their wicked deeds, and till the ground, which, however, bears neither wheat nor any other of the seven species. In this Adamah, Cain, Abel, and Seth were born. After the murder of Abel, Cain was sent back to the Erez, where he was frightened into repentance by its darkness and by the flames of the ever-turning sword. Accepting his penitence, God permitted him to ascend to the third earth, the Arka, which receives some light from the sun. The Arka was surrendered to the Cainites forever, as their perpetual domain. They till the ground, and plant trees, but they have neither wheat nor any other of the seven species.
Some of the Cainites are giants, some of them are dwarfs. They have two heads, wherefore they can never arrive at a decision; they are always at loggerheads with themselves. It may happen that they are pious now, only to be inclined to do evil the next moment.
In the Ge, the fourth earth, live the generation of the Tower of Babel and their descendants. God banished them thither because the fourth earth is not far from Gehenna, and therefore close to the flaming fire. The inhabitants of the Ge are skilful in all arts, and accomplished in all departments of science and knowledge, and their abode overflows with wealth. When an inhabitant of our earth visits them, they give him the most precious thing in their possession, but then they lead him to the Neshiah, the fifth earth, where he becomes oblivious of his origin and his home. The Neshiah is inhabited by dwarfs without noses; they breathe through two holes instead. They have no memory; once a thing has happened, they forget it completely, whence their earth is called Neshiah, "forgetting." The fourth and fifth earths are like the Arka; they have trees, but neither wheat nor any other of the seven species.
The sixth earth, the Ziah, is inhabited by handsome men, who are the owners of abundant wealth, and live in palatial residences, but they lack water, as the name of their territory, Ziah, "drought," indicates. Hence vegetation is sparse with them, and their tree culture meets with indifferent success. They hasten to any waterspring that is discovered, and sometimes they succeed in slipping through it up to our earth, where they satisfy their sharp appetite for the food eaten by the inhabitants of our earth. For the rest, they are men of steadfast faith, more than any other class of mankind.
Adam remained in the Adamah until after the birth of Seth. Then, passing the third earth, the Arka, the abiding place of the Cainites, and the next three earths as well, the Ge, the Neshiah, and the Ziah, God transported him to the Tebel, the seventh earth, the earth inhabited by men.
Cain knew only too well that his blood-guiltiness would be visited upon him in the seventh generation. Thus had God decreed against him. He endeavored, therefore, to immortalize his name by means of monuments, and he became a builder of cities. The first of them he called Enoch, after his son, because it was at the birth of Enoch that he began to enjoy a measure of rest and peace. Besides, he founded six other cities. This building of cities was a godless deed, for he surrounded them with a wall, forcing his family to remain within. All his other doings were equally impious. The punishment God had ordained for him did not effect any improvement. He sinned in order to secure his own pleasure, though his neighbors suffered injury thereby. He augmented his household substance by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintances to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and he became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced a change in the ways of simplicity wherein men had lived before, and he was the author of measures and weights. And whereas men lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness.
Like unto Cain were all his descendants, impious and godless, wherefore God resolved to destroy them.
The end of Cain overtook him in the seventh generation of men, and it was inflicted upon him by the hand of his great-grandson Lamech. This Lamech was blind, and when he went a-hunting, he was led by his young son, who would apprise his father when game came in sight, and Lamech would then shoot at it with his bow and arrow. Once upon a time he and his son went on the chase, and the lad discerned something horned in the distance. He naturally took it to be a beast of one kind or another, and he told the blind Lamech to let his arrow fly. The aim was good, and the quarry dropped to the ground. When they came close to the victim, the lad exclaimed: "Father, thou hast killed something that resembles a human being in all respects, except it carries a horn on its forehead!" Lamech knew at once what had happened--he had killed his ancestor Cain, who had been marked by God with a horn. In despair he smote his hands together, inadvertently killing his son as he clasped them. Misfortune still followed upon misfortune. The earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the four generations sprung from Cain--Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, and Methushael. Lamech, sightless as he was, could not go home; he had to remain by the side of Cain's corpse and his son's. Toward evening, his wives, seeking him, found him there. When they heard what he had done, they wanted to separate from him, all the more as they knew that whoever was descended from Cain was doomed to annihilation. But Lamech argued, "If Cain, who committed murder of malice aforethought, was punished only in the seventh generation, then I, who had no intention of killing a human being, may hope that retribution will be averted for seventy and seven generations." With his wives, Lamech repaired to Adam, who heard both parties, and decided the case in favor of Lamech.
The corruptness of the times, and especially the depravity of Cain's stock, appears in the fact that Lamech, as well as all the men in the generation of the deluge, married two wives, one with the purpose of rearing children, the other in order to pursue carnal indulgences, for which reason the latter was rendered sterile by artificial means. As the men of the time were intent upon pleasure rather than desirous of doing their duty to the human race, they gave all their love and attention to the barren women, while their other wives spent their days like widows, joyless and in gloom.
The two wives of Lamech, Adah and Zillah, bore him each two children, Adah two sons, Jabal and Jubal, and Zillah a son, Tubal-cain, and a daughter, Naamah. Jabal was the first among men to erect temples to idols, and Jubal invented the music sung and played therein. Tubal-cain was rightly named, for he completed the work of his ancestor Cain. Cain committed murder, and Tubal-cain, the first who knew how to sharpen iron and copper, furnished the instruments used in wars and combats. Naamah, "the lovely," earned her name from the sweet sounds which she drew from her cymbals when she called the worshippers to pay homage to idols.
When the wives of Lamech heard the decision of Adam, that they were to continue to live with their husband, they turned upon him, saying, "O physician, heal thine own lameness!" They were alluding to the fact that he himself had been living apart from his wife since the death of Abel, for he had said, "Why should I beget children, if it is but to expose them to death?"
Though he avoided intercourse with Eve, he was visited in his sleep by female spirits, and from his union with them sprang shades and demons of various kinds, and they were endowed with peculiar gifts.
Once upon a time there lived in Palestine a very rich and pious man, who had a son named Rabbi Hanina. He knew the whole of the Torah by heart. When he was at the point of death, he sent for his son, Rabbi Hanina, and bade him, as his last request, to study the Torah day and night, fulfil the commands of the law, and be a faithful friend to the poor. He also told him that he and his wife, the mother of Rabbi Hanina, would die on the selfsame day, and the seven days of mourning for the two would end on the eve of the Passover. He enjoined him not to grieve excessively, but to go to market on that day, and buy the first article offered to him, no matter how costly it might be. If it happened to be an edible, he was to prepare it and serve it with much ceremony. His expense and trouble would receive their recompense. All happened as foretold: the man and his wife died upon the same day, and the end of the week of mourning coincided with the eve of the Passover. The son in turn carried out his father's behest: he repaired to market, and there he met an old man who offered a silver dish for sale. Although the price asked was exorbitant, yet he bought it, as his father had bidden. The dish was set upon the Seder table, and when Rabbi Hanina opened it, he found a second dish within, and inside of this a live frog, jumping and hopping around gleefully. He gave the frog food and drink, and by the end of the festival he was grown so big that Rabbi Hanina made a cabinet for him, in which he ate and lived. In the course of time, the cabinet became too small, and the Rabbi built a chamber, put the frog within, and gave him abundant food and drink. All this he did that he might not violate his father's last wish. But the frog waxed and grew; he consumed all his host owned, until, finally, Rabbi Hanina was stripped bare of all his possessions. Then the frog opened his mouth and began to speak. "My dear Rabbi Hanina," he said, "do not worry! Seeing thou didst raise me and care for me, thou mayest ask of me whatever thy heart desireth, and it shall be granted thee." Rabbi Hanina made reply, "I desire naught but that thou shouldst teach me the whole of the Torah." The frog assented, and he did, indeed, teach him the whole of the Torah, and the seventy languages of men besides. His method was to write a few words upon a scrap of paper, which he had his pupil swallow. Thus he acquired not alone the Torah and the seventy tongues, but also the language of beasts and birds. Thereupon the frog spoke to the wife of Rabbi Hanina: "Thou didst tend me well, and I have given thee no recompense. But thy reward will be paid thee before I depart from you, only you must both accompany me to the woods. There you shall see what I shall do for you." Accordingly, they went to the woods with him. Arrived there, the frog began to cry aloud, and at the sound all sorts of beasts and birds assembled. These he commanded to produce precious stones, as many as they could carry. Also they were to bring herbs and roots for the wife of Rabbi Hanina, and he taught her how to use them as remedies for all varieties of disease. All this they were bidden to take home with them. When they were about to return, the frog addressed them thus: "May the Holy One, blessed be He, have mercy upon you, and requite you for all the trouble you took on my account, without so much as inquiring who I am. Now I shall make my origin known to you. I am the son of Adam, a son whom he begot during the hundred and thirty years of his separation from Eve. God has endowed me with the power of assuming any form or guise I desire." Rabbi Hanina and his wife departed for their home, and they became very rich, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of the king.
The exhortations of the wives of Lamech took effect upon Adam. After a separation of one hundred and thirty years, he returned to Eve, and the love he now bore her was stronger by far than in the former time. She was in his thoughts even when she was not present to him bodily. The fruit of their reunion was Seth, who was destined to be the ancestor of the Messiah.
Seth was so formed from birth that the rite of circumcision could be dispensed with. He was thus one of the thirteen men born perfect in a way. Adam begot him in his likeness and image, different from Cain, who had not been in his likeness and image. Thus Seth became, in a genuine sense, the father of the human race, especially the father of the pious, while the depraved and godless are descended from Cain.
Even during the lifetime of Adam the descendants of Cain became exceedingly wicked, dying successively, one after another, each more wicked than the former. They were intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies, and if any one were slow to murder people, yet was he bold in his profligate behavior in acting unjustly and doing injury for gain.
Now as to Seth. When he was brought up, and came to those years in which he could discern what was good, he became a virtuous man, and as he was himself of excellent character, so he left children behind him who imitated his virtues. All these proved to be of good disposition. They also inhabited one and the same country without dissensions, and in a happy condition, without any misfortune's falling upon them, until they died. They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, they made two pillars, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire and at another time by the violence and quantity of water. The one was of brick, the other of stone, and they inscribed their discoveries on both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit these discoveries to mankind, and also inform them that there was another pillar, of brick, erected by them.
Enosh was asked who his father was, and he named Seth. The questioners, the people of his time, continued: "Who was the father of Seth?" Enosh: "Adam."--"And who was the father of Adam?"--"He had neither father nor mother, God formed him from the dust of the earth."--"But man has not the appearance of dust!"--"After death man returns to dust, as God said, 'And man shall turn again unto dust;' but on the day of his creation, man was made in the image of God."--"How was the woman created?"- "Male and female He created them."--"But how?"--"God took water and earth, and moulded them together in the form of man."--"But how?" pursued the questioners.
Enosh took six clods of earth, mixed them, and moulded them, and formed an image of dust and clay. "But," said the people, "this image does not walk, nor does it possess any breath of life." He then essayed to show them how God breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of Adam, but when he began to blow his breath into the image he had formed, Satan entered it, and the figure walked, and the people of his time who had been inquiring these matters of Enosh went astray after it, saying, "What is the difference between bowing down before this image and paying homage to a man?"
The generation of Enosh were thus the first idol worshippers, and the punishment for their folly was not delayed long. God caused the sea to transgress its bounds, and a portion of the earth was flooded. This was the time also when the mountains became rocks, and the dead bodies of men began to decay. And still another consequence of the sin of idolatry was that the countenances of the men of the following generations were no longer in the likeness and image of God, as the countenances of Adam, Seth, and Enosh had been. They resembled centaurs and apes, and the demons lost their fear of men.
But there was a still more serious consequence from the idolatrous practices introduced in the time of Enosh. When God drove Adam forth from Paradise, the Shekinah remained behind, enthroned above a cherub under the tree of life. The angels descended from heaven and repaired thither in hosts, to receive their instructions, and Adam and his descendants sat by the gate to bask in the splendor of the Shekinah, sixty-five thousand times more radiant than the splendor of the sun. This brightness of the Shekinah makes all upon whom it falls exempt from disease, and neither insects nor demons can come nigh unto them to do them harm.
Thus it was until the time of Enosh, when men began to gather gold, silver, gems, and pearls from all parts of the earth, and made idols thereof a thousand parasangs high. What was worse, by means of the magic arts taught them by the angels Uzza and Azzael, they set themselves as masters over the heavenly spheres, and forced the sun, the moon, and the stars to be subservient to themselves instead of the Lord. This impelled the angels to ask God: " 'What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?' Why didst Thou abandon the highest of the heavens, the seat of Thy glory and Thy exalted Throne in 'Arabot, and descend to men, who pay worship to idols, putting Thee upon a level with them?" The Shekinah was induced to leave the earth and ascend to heaven, amid the blare and flourish of the trumpets of the myriads of angel hosts.
The depravity of mankind, which began to show itself in the time of Enosh, had increased monstrously in the time of his grandson Jared, by reason of the fallen angels. When the angels saw the beautiful, attractive daughters of men, they lusted after them, and spoke: "We will choose wives for ourselves only from among the daughters of men, and beget children with them." Their chief Shemhazai said, "I fear me, ye will not put this plan of yours into execution, and I alone shall have to suffer the consequences of a great sin." Then they answered him, and said: "We will all swear an oath, and we will bind ourselves, separately and together, not to abandon the plan, but to carry it through to the end."
Two hundred angels descended to the summit of Mount Hermon, which owes its name to this very occurrence, because they bound themselves there to fulfil their purpose, on the penalty of Herem, anathema. Under the leadership of twenty captains they defiled themselves with the daughters of men, unto whom they taught charms, conjuring formulas, how to cut roots, and the efficacy of plants. The issue from these mixed marriages was a race of giants, three thousand ells tall, who consumed the possessions of men. When all had vanished, and they could obtain nothing more from them, the giants turned against men and devoured many of them, and the remnant of men began to trespass against the birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, eating their flesh and drinking their blood.
Then the earth complained about the impious evil-doers. But the fallen angels continued to corrupt mankind. Azazel taught men how to make slaughtering knives, arms, shields, and coats of mail. He showed them metals and how to work them, and armlets and all sorts of trinkets, and the use of rouge for the eyes, and how to beautify the eyelids, and how to ornament themselves with the rarest and most precious jewels and all sorts of paints. The chief of the fallen angels, Shemhazai, instructed them in exorcisms and how to cut roots; Armaros taught them how to raise spells; Barakel, divination from the stars; Kawkabel, astrology; Ezekeel, augury from the clouds; Arakiel, the signs of the earth; Samsaweel, the signs of the sun; and Seriel, the signs of the moon.
While all these abominations defiled the earth, the pious Enoch lived in a secret place. None among men knew his abode, or what had become of him, for he was sojourning with the angel watchers and holy ones. Once he heard the call addressed to him: "Enoch, thou scribe of justice, go unto the watchers of the heavens, who have left the high heavens, the eternal place of holiness, defiling themselves with women, doing as men do, taking wives unto themselves, and casting themselves into the arms of destruction upon earth. Go and proclaim unto them that they shall find neither peace nor pardon. For every time they take joy in their offspring, they shall see the violent death of their sons, and sigh over the ruin of their children. They will pray and supplicate evermore, but never shall they attain to mercy or peace."
Enoch repaired to Azazel and the other fallen angels, to announce the doom uttered against them. They all were filled with fear. Trembling seized upon them, and they implored Enoch to set up a petition for them and read it to the Lord of heaven, for they could not speak with God as aforetime, nor even raise their eyes heavenward, for shame on account of their sins. Enoch granted their request, and in a vision he was vouchsafed the answer which he was to carry back to the angels. It appeared to Enoch that he was wafted into heaven upon clouds, and was set down before the throne of God. God spake: "Go forth and say to the watchers of heaven who have sent thee hither to intercede for them: Verily, it is you who ought to plead in behalf of men, not men in behalf of you I Why did ye forsake the high, holy, and eternal heavens, to pollute yourselves with the daughters of men, taking wives unto yourselves, doing like the races of the earth, and begetting giant sons? Giants begotten by flesh and spirits will be called evil spirits on earth, and on the earth will be their dwelling-place. Evil spirits proceed from their bodies, because they are created from above, and from the holy watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they will be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits they will be named. And the spirits of heaven have their dwelling in heaven, but the spirits of the earth, which were born upon the earth, have their dwelling on the earth. And the spirits of the giants will devour, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and cause destruction on the earth, and work affliction. They will take no kind of food, nor will they thirst, and they will be invisible. And these spirits will rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. Since the days of murder and destruction and the death of the giants, when the spirits went forth from the soul of their flesh, in order to destroy without incurring judgment--thus will they destroy until the day when the great consummation of the great world be consummated. And now as to the watchers who have sent thee to intercede for them, who had been aforetime in heaven, say to them: You have been in heaven, and though the hidden things had not yet been revealed to you, you know worthless mysteries, and in the hardness of your hearts you have recounted these to the women, and through these mysteries women and men work much evil on earth. Say to them therefore: You have no peace!"
After Enoch had lived a long time secluded from men, he once heard the voice of an angel calling to him: "Enoch, Enoch, make thyself ready and leave the house and the secret place wherein thou hast kept thyself hidden, and assume dominion over men, to teach them the ways in which they shall walk, and the deeds which they shall do, in order that they may walk in the ways of God."
Enoch left his retreat and betook himself to the haunts of men. He gathered them about him, and instructed them in the conduct pleasing to God. He sent messengers all over to announce, "Ye who desire to know the ways of God and righteous conduct, come ye to Enoch!" Thereupon a vast concourse of people thronged about him, to hear the wisdom he would teach and learn from his mouth what is good and right. Even kings and princes, no less than one hundred and thirty in number, assembled about him, and submitted themselves to his dominion, to be taught and guided by him, as he taught and guided all the others. Peace reigned thus over the whole world all the two hundred and forty-three years during which the influence of Enoch prevailed.
At the expiration of this period, in the year in which Adam died, and was buried with great honors by Seth, Enosh, Enoch, and Methuselah, Enoch resolved to retire again from intercourse with men, and devote himself wholly to the service of God. But he withdrew gradually. First he would spend three days in prayer and praise of God, and on the fourth day he would return to his disciples and grant them instruction. Many years passed thus, then he appeared among them but once a week, later, once a month, and, finally, once a year. The kings, princes, and all others who were desirous of seeing Enoch and hearkening to his words did not venture to come close to him during the times of his retirement. Such awful majesty sat upon his countenance, they feared for their very life if they but looked at him. They therefore resolved that all men should prefer their requests before Enoch on the day he showed himself unto them.
The impression made by the teachings of Enoch upon all who heard them was powerful. They prostrated themselves before him, and cried "Long live the king! Long live the king!" On a certain day, while Enoch was giving audience to his followers, an angel appeared and made known unto him that God had resolved to install him as king over the angels in heaven, as until then he had reigned over men. He called together all the inhabitants of the earth, and addressed them thus: "I have been summoned to ascend into heaven, and I know not on what day I shall go thither. Therefore I will teach you wisdom and righteousness before I go hence." A few days yet Enoch spent among men, and all the time left to him he gave instruction in wisdom, knowledge, God-fearing conduct, and piety, and established law and order, for the regulation of the affairs of men. Then those gathered near him saw a gigantic steed descend from the skies, and they told Enoch of it, who said, "The steed is for me, for the time has come and the day when I leave you, never to be seen again." So it was. The steed approached Enoch, and he mounted upon its back, all the time instructing the people, exhorting them, enjoining them to serve God and walk in His ways. Eight hundred thousand of the people followed a day's journey after him. But on the second day Enoch urged his retinue to turn back: "Go ye home, lest death overtake you, if you follow me farther." Most of them heeded his words and went back, but a number remained with him for six days, though he admonished them daily to return and not bring death down upon themselves. On the sixth day of the journey, he said to those still accompanying him, "Go ye home, for on the morrow I shall ascend to heaven, and whoever will then be near me, he will die." Nevertheless, some of his companions remained with him, saying: "Whithersoever thou goest, we will go. By the living God, death alone shall part us."
On the seventh day Enoch was carried into the heavens in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery chargers. The day thereafter, the kings who had turned back in good time sent messengers to inquire into the fate of the men who had refused to separate themselves from Enoch, for they had noted the number of them. They found snow and great hailstones upon the spot whence Enoch had risen, and, when they searched beneath, they discovered the bodies of all who had remained behind with Enoch. He alone was not among them; he was on high in heaven.
This was not the first time Enoch had been in heaven. Once before, while he sojourned among men, he had been permitted to see all there is on earth and in the heavens. On a time when he was sleeping, a great grief came upon his heart, and he wept in his dream, not knowing what the grief meant, nor what would happen to him. And there appeared to him two men, very tall. Their faces shone like the sun, and their eyes were like burning lamps, and fire came forth from their lips; their wings were brighter than gold, their hands whiter than snow. They stood at the head of Enoch's bed, and called him by his name. He awoke from his sleep, and hastened and made obeisance to them, and was terrified. And these men said to him: "Be of good cheer, Enoch, be not afraid; the everlasting God hath sent us to thee, and lo! to-day thou shalt ascend with us into heaven. And tell thy sons and thy servants, and let none seek thee, till the Lord bring thee back to them."
Enoch did as he was told, and after he had spoken to his sons, and instructed them not to turn aside from God, and to keep His judgment, these two men summoned him, and took him on their wings, and placed him on the clouds, which moved higher and higher, till they set him down in the first heaven. Here they showed him the two hundred angels who rule the stars, and their heavenly service. Here he saw also the treasuries of snow and ice, of clouds and dew.
From there they took him to the second heaven, where he saw the fallen angels imprisoned, they who obeyed not the commandments of God, and took counsel of their own will. The fallen angels said to Enoch, "O man of God! Pray for us to the Lord," and he answered: "Who am I, a mortal man, that I should pray for angels? Who knows whither I go, or what awaits me?"
They took him from thence to the third heaven, where they showed him Paradise, with all the trees of beautiful colors, and their fruits, ripe and luscious, and all kinds of food which they produced, springing up with delightful fragrance. In the midst of Paradise he saw the tree of life, in that place in which God rests when He comes into Paradise. This tree cannot be described for its excellence and sweet fragrance, and it is beautiful, more than any created thing, and on all its sides it is like gold and crimson in appearance, and transparent as fire, and it covers everything. From its root in the garden there go forth four streams, which pour out honey, milk, oil, and wine, and they go down to the Paradise of Eden, that lies on the confines between the earthly region of corruptibility and the heavenly region of incorruptibility, and thence they go along the earth. He also saw the three hundred angels who keep the garden, and with never-ceasing voices and blessed singing they serve the Lord every day. The angels leading Enoch explained to him that this place is prepared for the righteous, while the terrible place prepared for the sinners is in the northern regions of the third heaven. He saw there all sorts of tortures, and impenetrable gloom, and there is no light there, but a gloomy fire is always burning. And all that place has fire on all sides, and on all sides cold and ice, thus it burns and freezes. And the angels, terrible and without pity, carry savage weapons, and their torture is unmerciful.
The angels took him then to the fourth heaven, and showed him all the comings in and goings forth, and all the rays of the light of the sun and the moon. He saw the fifteen myriads of angels who go out with the sun, and attend him during the day, and the thousand angels who attend him by night. Each angel has six wings, and they go before the chariot of the sun, while one hundred angels keep the sun warm, and light it up. He saw also the wonderful and strange creatures named phoenixes and chalkidri, who attend the chariot of the sun, and go with him, bringing heat and dew. They showed him also the six gates in the east of the fourth heaven, by which the sun goes forth, and the six gates in the west where he sets, and also the gates by which the moon goes out, and those by which she enters. In the middle of the fourth heaven he saw an armed host, serving the Lord with cymbals and organs and unceasing voices.
In the fifth heaven he saw many hosts of the angels called Grigori. Their appearance was like men, and their size was greater than the size of the giants, their countenances were withered, and their lips silent. On his question who they were, the angels leading him answered, "These are the Grigori, who with their prince Salamiel rejected the holy Lord." Enoch then said to the Grigori, "Why wait ye, brethren, and serve ye not before the face of the Lord, and why perform ye not your duties before the face of the Lord, and anger not your Lord to the end?" The Grigori listened to the rebuke, and when the trumpets resounded together with a loud call, they also began to sing with one voice, and their voices went forth before the Lord with sadness and tenderness.
In the seventh heaven he saw the seven bands of archangels who arrange and study the revolutions of the stars and the changes of the moon and the revolution of the sun, and superintend the good or evil conditions of the world. And they arrange teachings and instructions and sweet speaking and singing and all kinds of glorious praise. They hold in subjection all living things, both in heaven and on earth. In the midst of them are seven phoenixes, and seven cherubim, and seven six-winged creatures, singing with one voice.
When Enoch reached the seventh heaven, and saw all the fiery hosts of great archangels and incorporeal powers and lordships and principalities and powers, he was afraid and trembled with a great terror. Those leading him took hold of him, and brought him into the midst of them, and said to him, "Be of good cheer, Enoch, be not afraid," and they showed him the Lord from afar, sitting on His lofty throne, while all the heavenly hosts, divided in ten classes, having approached, stood on the ten steps according to their rank, and made obeisance to the Lord. And so they proceeded to their places in joy and mirth and boundless light, singing songs with low and gentle voices, and gloriously serving Him. They leave not nor depart day or night, standing before the face of the Lord, working His will, cherubim and seraphim, standing around His throne. And the six-winged creatures overshadow all His throne, singing with a soft voice before the face of the Lord, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; heaven and earth are full of His glory." When he had seen all these, the angels leading him said to him, "Enoch, up to this time we were ordered to accompany thee." They departed, and he saw them no more. Enoch remained at the extremity of the seventh heaven, in great terror, saying to himself, "Woe is me! What has come upon me!" But then Gabriel came and said unto him, "Enoch, be not afraid, stand up and come with me, and stand up before the face of the Lord forever." And Enoch answered: "O my lord, my spirit has departed from me with fear and trembling. Call the men to me who have brought me to the place! Upon them I have relied, and with them I would go before the face of the Lord." And Gabriel hurried him away like a leaf carried off by the wind, and set him before the face of the Lord. Enoch fell down and worshipped the Lord, who said to him: "Enoch, be not afraid! Rise up and stand before My face forever." And Michael lifted him up, and at the command of the Lord took his earthly robe from him, and anointed him with the holy oil, and clothed him, and when he gazed upon himself, he looked like one of God's glorious ones, and fear and trembling departed from him. God called then one of His archangels who was more wise than all the others, and wrote down all the doings of the Lord, and He said to him, "Bring forth the books from My store-place, and give a reed to Enoch, and interpret the books to him." The angel did as he was commanded, and he instructed Enoch thirty days and thirty nights, and his lips never ceased speaking, while Enoch was writing down all the things about heaven and earth, angels and men, and all that is suitable to be instructed in. He also wrote down all about the souls of men, those of them which are not born, and the places prepared for them forever. He copied all accurately, and he wrote three hundred and sixty-six books. After he had received all the instructions from the archangel, God revealed unto him great secrets, which even the angels do not know. He told him how, out of the lowest darkness, the visible and the invisible were created, how He formed heaven, light, water, and earth, and also the fall of Satan and the creation and sin of Adam He narrated to him, and further revealed to him that the duration of the world will be seven thousand years, and the eighth millennium will be a time when there is no computation, no end, neither years, nor months, nor weeks, nor days, nor hours.
The Lord finished this revelation to Enoch with the words: "And now I give thee Samuil and Raguil, who brought thee to Me. Go with them upon the earth, and tell thy sons what things I have said to thee, and what thou hast seen from the lowest heaven up to My throne. Give them the works written out by thee, and they shall read them, and shall distribute the books to their children's children and from generation to generation and from nation to nation. And I will give thee My messenger Michael for thy writings and for the writings of thy fathers, Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, and Jared thy father. And I shall not require them till the last age, for I have instructed My two angels, Ariuk and Mariuk, whom I have put upon the earth as their guardians, and I have ordered them in time to guard them, that the account of what I shall do in thy family may not be lost in the deluge to come. For on account of the wickedness and iniquity of men, I will bring a deluge upon the earth, and I will destroy all, but I will leave a righteous man of thy race with all his house, who shall act according to My will. From their seed will be raised up a numerous generation, and on the extinction of that family, I will show them the books of thy writings and of thy father, and the guardians of them on earth will show them to the men who are true and please Me. And they shall tell to another generation, and they, having read them, shall be glorified at last more than before."
Enoch was then sent to earth to remain there for thirty days to instruct his sons, but before he left heaven, God sent an angel to him whose appearance was like snow, and his hands were like ice. Enoch looked at him, and his face was chilled, that men might be able to endure the sight of him. The angels who took him to heaven put him upon his bed, in the place where his son Methuselah was expecting him by day and by night. Enoch assembled his sons and all his household, and instructed them faithfully about all things he had seen, heard, and written down, and he gave his books to his sons, to keep them and read them, admonishing them not to conceal the books, but tell them to all desiring to know. When the thirty days had been completed, the Lord sent darkness upon the earth, and there was gloom, and it hid the men standing with Enoch. And the angels hasted and took Enoch, and carried him to the highest heaven, where the Lord received him and set him before His face, and the darkness departed from the earth, and there was light. And the people saw, and did not understand how Enoch was taken, and they glorified God.
Enoch was born on the sixth day of the month of Siwan, and he was taken to heaven in the same month, Siwan, on the same day and in the same hour when he was born. And Methuselah hasted and all his brethren, the sons of Enoch, and built an altar in the place called Achuzan, whence Enoch was taken up to heaven. The elders and all the people came to the festivity and brought their gifts to the sons of Enoch, and made a great festivity, rejoicing and being merry for three days, praising God, who had given such a sign by means of Enoch, who had found favor with them.
The sinfulness of men was the reason why Enoch was translated to heaven. Thus Enoch himself told Rabbi Ishmael. When the generation of the deluge transgressed, and spoke to God, saying, "Depart from us, for we do not desire to know Thy ways," Enoch was carried to heaven, to serve there as a witness that God was not a cruel God in spite of the destruction decreed upon all living beings on earth.
When Enoch, under the guidance of the angel 'Anpiel, was carried from earth to heaven, the holy beings, the ofanim, the seraphim, the cherubim, all those who move the throne of God, and the ministering spirits whose substance is of consuming fire, they all, at a distance of six hundred and fifty million and three hundred parasangs, noticed the presence of a human being, and they exclaimed: "Whence the odor of one born of woman? How comes he into the highest heaven of the fire-coruscating angels?" But God replied: "O My servants and hosts, ye, My cherubim, ofanim, and seraphim, let this not be an offense unto you, for all the children of men denied Me and My mighty dominion, and they paid homage to the idols, so that I transferred the Shekinah from earth to heaven. But this man Enoch is the elect of men. He has more faith, justice, and righteousness than all the rest, and he is the only reward I have derived from the terrestrial world."
Before Enoch could be admitted to service near the Divine throne, the gates of wisdom were opened unto him, and the gates of understanding, and of discernment, of life, peace, and the Shekinah, of strength and power, of might, loveliness, and grace, of humility and fear of sin. Equipped by God with extraordinary wisdom, sagacity, judgment, knowledge, learning, compassionateness, love, kindness, grace, humility, strength, power, might, splendor, beauty, shapeliness, and all other excellent qualities, beyond the endowment of any of the celestial beings, Enoch received, besides, many thousand blessings from God, and his height and his breadth became equal to the height and the breadth of the world, and thirty-six wings were attached to his body, to the right and to the left, each as large as the world, and three hundred and sixty-five thousand eyes were bestowed upon him, each brilliant as the sun. A magnificent throne was erected for him beside the gates of the seventh celestial palace, and a herald proclaimed throughout the heavens concerning him, who was henceforth to be called Metatron in the celestial regions: "I have appointed My servant Metatron as prince and chief over all the princes in My realm, with the exception only of the eight august and exalted princes that bear My name. Whatever angel has a request to prefer to Me, shall appear before Metatron, and what he will command at My bidding, ye must observe and do, for the prince of wisdom and the prince of understanding are at his service, and they will reveal unto him the sciences of the celestials and the terrestrials, the knowledge of the present order of the world and the knowledge of the future order of the world. Furthermore, I have made him the guardian of the treasures of the palaces in the heaven 'Arabot, and of the treasures of life that are in the highest heaven."
Out of the love He bore Enoch, God arrayed him in a magnificent garment, to which every kind of luminary in existence was attached, and a crown gleaming with forty-nine jewels, the splendor of which pierced to all parts of the seven heavens and to the four corners of the earth. In the presence of the heavenly family, He set this crown upon the head of Enoch, and called him "the little Lord." It bears also the letters by means of which heaven and earth were created, and seas and rivers, mountains and valleys, planets and constellations, lightning and thunder, snow and hail, storm and whirlwind--these and also all things needed in the world, and the mysteries of creation. Even the princes of the heavens, when they see Metatron, tremble before him, and prostrate themselves; his magnificence and majesty, the splendor and beauty radiating from him overwhelm them, even the wicked Samael, the greatest of them, even Gabriel the angel of the fire, Bardiel the angel of the hail, Ruhiel the angel of the wind, Barkiel the angel of the lightning, Za'miel the angel of the hurricane, Zakkiel the angel of the storm, Sui'el the angel of the earthquake, Za'fiel the angel of the showers, Ra'miel the angel of the thunder, Ra'shiel the angel of the whirlwind, Shalgiel the angel of the snow, Matriel the angel of the rain, Shamshiel the angel of the day, Leliel the angel of the night, Galgliel the angel of the solar system, Ofaniel the angel of the wheel of the moon, Kokabiel the angel of the stars, and Rahtiel the angel of the constellations.
When Enoch was transformed into Metatron, his body was turned into celestial fire--his flesh became flame, his veins fire, his bones glimmering coals, the light of his eyes heavenly brightness, his eyeballs torches of fire, his hair a flaring blaze, all his limbs and organs burning sparks, and his frame a consuming fire. To right of him sparkled flames of fire, to left of him burnt torches of fire, and on all sides he was engirdled by storm and whirlwind, hurricane and thundering.
After the translation of Enoch, Methuselah was proclaimed ruler of the earth by all the kings. He walked in the footsteps of his father, teaching truth, knowledge, and fear of God to the children of men all his life, and deviating from the path of rectitude neither to the right nor the left. He delivered the world from thousands of demons, the posterity of Adam which he had begotten with Lilith, that she-devil of she-devils. These demons and evil spirits, as often as they encountered a man, had sought to injure and even slay him, until Methuselah appeared, and supplicated the mercy of God. He spent three days in fasting, and then God gave him permission to write the Ineffable Name upon his sword, wherewith he slew ninety-four myriads of the demons in a minute, until Agrimus, the first-born of them, came to him and entreated him to desist, at the same time handing the names of the demons and imps over to him. And so Methuselah placed their kings in iron fetters, while the remainder fled away and hid themselves in the innermost chambers and recesses of the ocean. And it is on account of the wonderful sword by means of which the demons were killed that he was called Methuselah.
He was so pious a man that he composed two hundred and thirty parables in praise of God for every word he uttered. When he died, the people heard a great commotion in the heavens, and they saw nine hundred rows of mourners corresponding to the nine hundred orders of the Mishnah which he had studied, and tears flowed from the eyes of the holy beings down upon the spot where he died. Seeing the grief of the celestials, the people on earth also mourned over the demise of Methuselah, and God rewarded them therefor. He added seven days to the time of grace which He had ordained before bringing destruction upon the earth by a flood of waters.
Legends of the Jews [Table of Contents]
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