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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



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Philo Of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.173
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1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 17.14-17.20, 18.9-18.22 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

17.14. כִּי־תָבֹא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ וְאָמַרְתָּ אָשִׂימָה עָלַי מֶלֶךְ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָי׃ 17.15. שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ מִקֶּרֶב אַחֶיךָ תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ לֹא תוּכַל לָתֵת עָלֶיךָ אִישׁ נָכְרִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־אָחִיךָ הוּא׃ 17.16. רַק לֹא־יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ סוּסִים וְלֹא־יָשִׁיב אֶת־הָעָם מִצְרַיְמָה לְמַעַן הַרְבּוֹת סוּס וַיהוָה אָמַר לָכֶם לֹא תֹסִפוּן לָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה עוֹד׃ 17.17. וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ נָשִׁים וְלֹא יָסוּר לְבָבוֹ וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב לֹא יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ מְאֹד׃ 17.18. וְהָיָה כְשִׁבְתּוֹ עַל כִּסֵּא מַמְלַכְתּוֹ וְכָתַב לוֹ אֶת־מִשְׁנֵה הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת עַל־סֵפֶר מִלִּפְנֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם׃ 17.19. וְהָיְתָה עִמּוֹ וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל־יְמֵי חַיָּיו לְמַעַן יִלְמַד לְיִרְאָה אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו לִשְׁמֹר אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת וְאֶת־הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה לַעֲשֹׂתָם׃ 18.9. כִּי אַתָּה בָּא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ לֹא־תִלְמַד לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּתוֹעֲבֹת הַגּוֹיִם הָהֵם׃ 18.11. וְחֹבֵר חָבֶר וְשֹׁאֵל אוֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִי וְדֹרֵשׁ אֶל־הַמֵּתִים׃ 18.12. כִּי־תוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה כָּל־עֹשֵׂה אֵלֶּה וּבִגְלַל הַתּוֹעֵבֹת הָאֵלֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מוֹרִישׁ אוֹתָם מִפָּנֶיךָ׃ 18.13. תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה עִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃ 18.14. כִּי הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יוֹרֵשׁ אוֹתָם אֶל־מְעֹנְנִים וְאֶל־קֹסְמִים יִשְׁמָעוּ וְאַתָּה לֹא כֵן נָתַן לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃ 18.15. נָבִיא מִקִּרְבְּךָ מֵאַחֶיךָ כָּמֹנִי יָקִים לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵלָיו תִּשְׁמָעוּן׃ 18.16. כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁאַלְתָּ מֵעִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּחֹרֵב בְּיוֹם הַקָּהָל לֵאמֹר לֹא אֹסֵף לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶת־קוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהָי וְאֶת־הָאֵשׁ הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת לֹא־אֶרְאֶה עוֹד וְלֹא אָמוּת׃ 18.17. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלָי הֵיטִיבוּ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּרוּ׃ 18.18. נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָּמוֹךָ וְנָתַתִּי דְבָרַי בְּפִיו וְדִבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּנּוּ׃ 18.19. וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִשְׁמַע אֶל־דְּבָרַי אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמִי אָנֹכִי אֶדְרֹשׁ מֵעִמּוֹ׃ 18.21. וְכִי תֹאמַר בִּלְבָבֶךָ אֵיכָה נֵדַע אֶת־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־דִבְּרוֹ יְהוָה׃ 18.22. אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר הַנָּבִיא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה הַדָּבָר וְלֹא יָבוֹא הוּא הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־דִבְּרוֹ יְהוָה בְּזָדוֹן דִּבְּרוֹ הַנָּבִיא לֹא תָגוּר מִמֶּנּוּ׃ 17.14. When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me’;" 17.15. thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother." 17.16. Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you: ‘Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.’" 17.17. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." 17.18. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites." 17.19. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them;" 17.20. that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel." 18.9. When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations." 18.10. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer," 18.11. or a charmer, or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer." 18.12. For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the LORD; and because of these abominations the LORD thy God is driving them out from before thee." 18.13. Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the LORD thy God." 18.14. For these nations, that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do." 18.15. A prophet will the LORD thy God raise up unto thee, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;" 18.16. according to all that thou didst desire of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying: ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.’" 18.17. And the LORD said unto me: ‘They have well said that which they have spoken." 18.18. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." 18.19. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him." 18.20. But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’" 18.21. And if thou say in thy heart: ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?’" 18.22. When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him."
2. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 7.1 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

7.1. וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶל־פַּרְעֹה וַיַּעַשׂוּ כֵן כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אַהֲרֹן אֶת־מַטֵּהוּ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וְלִפְנֵי עֲבָדָיו וַיְהִי לְתַנִּין׃ 7.1. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה רְאֵה נְתַתִּיךָ אֱלֹהִים לְפַרְעֹה וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ יִהְיֶה נְבִיאֶךָ׃ 7.1. And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘See, I have set thee in God’s stead to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet."
3. Hebrew Bible, Numbers, 12.6-12.8 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

12.6. וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְעוּ־נָא דְבָרָי אִם־יִהְיֶה נְבִיאֲכֶם יְהוָה בַּמַּרְאָה אֵלָיו אֶתְוַדָּע בַּחֲלוֹם אֲדַבֶּר־בּוֹ׃ 12.7. לֹא־כֵן עַבְדִּי מֹשֶׁה בְּכָל־בֵּיתִי נֶאֱמָן הוּא׃ 12.8. פֶּה אֶל־פֶּה אֲדַבֶּר־בּוֹ וּמַרְאֶה וְלֹא בְחִידֹת וּתְמֻנַת יְהוָה יַבִּיט וּמַדּוּעַ לֹא יְרֵאתֶם לְדַבֵּר בְּעַבְדִּי בְמֹשֶׁה׃ 12.6. And He said: ‘Hear now My words: if there be a prophet among you, I the LORD do make Myself known unto him in a vision, I do speak with him in a dream." 12.7. My servant Moses is not so; he is trusted in all My house;" 12.8. with him do I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD doth he behold; wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?’"
4. Plato, Theaetetus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

176a. THEO. If, Socrates, you could persuade all men of the truth of what you say as you do me, there would be more peace and fewer evils among mankind. SOC. But it is impossible that evils should be done away with, Theodorus, for there must always be something opposed to the good; and they cannot have their place among the gods, but must inevitably hover about mortal nature and this earth. Therefore we ought to try to escape from earth to the dwelling of the gods as quickly as we can;
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Preliminary Studies, 170, 132 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

132. This is Moses, the purest mind, the child that is really goodly; the child that received at the same time all legislative and prophetic skill by the means of inspired and heaven-bestowed wisdom; who, being by birth a member of the tribe of Levi, and being flourishing both in the things relating to his mother and in those affecting his father, clings to the truth;
6. Philo of Alexandria, On Giants, 56, 49 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

49. And again, the scripture saith in another passage, "But stand thou here with Me." For this is an oracle of God, which was given to the prophet, and his station was to be one of unmoved tranquillity by God, who always stands immovably; for it is indispensable, that all things which are placed by the side of him must be kept straight by such an undeviating rule.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 15, 151, 16-20, 34-35, 14 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

14. Very beautifully therefore has the sacred interpreter of God's will entitled one entire holy volume of the giving of the law, the Exodus, having thus found out an appropriate name for the oracles contained therein. For being a man desirous of giving instruction and exceedingly ready to admonish and correct, he desires to remove the whole of the people of the soul as a multitude capable of receiving admonition and correction from the country of Egypt, that is to say, the body, and to take them out from among its inhabitants, thinking it a most terrible and grievous burden that the mind which is endowed with the faculty of sight should be oppressed by the pleasures of the flesh, and should obey whatever commands the relentless desires choose to impose upon it.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Change of Names, 103, 11, 76, 10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. And what wonder is there if the living God is beyond the reach of the comprehension of man, when even the mind that is in each of us is unintelligible and unknown to us? Who has ever beheld the essence of the soul? the obscure nature of which has given rise to an infinite number of contests among the sophists who have brought forward opposite opinions, some of which are inconsistent with any kind of nature.
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 78, 77 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

77. And some one may inquire the cause why it was that man was the last work in the creation of the world. For the Creator and Father created him after every thing else as the sacred scriptures inform us. Accordingly, they who have gone most deeply into the laws, and who to the best of their power have investigated everything that is contained in them with all diligence, say that God, when he had given to man to partake of kindred with himself, grudged him neither reason, which is the most excellent of all gifts, nor anything else that is good; but before his creation, provided for him every thing in the world, as for the animal most resembling himself, and dearest to him, being desirous that when he was born, he should be in want of nothing requisite for living, and for living well; the first of which objects is provided for by the abundance of supplies which are furnished to him for his enjoyment, and the other by his power of contemplation of the heavenly bodies, by which the mind is smitten so as to conceive a love and desire for knowledge on those subjects; owing to which desire, philosophy has sprung up, by which, man, though mortal, is made immortal.
10. Philo of Alexandria, On Curses, 36-38, 40-46, 20 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

20. And it is said that he, at the same moment, is close to us and at a great distance, touching us with his creative or his punishing powers, which are close to each individual, and yet at the same time driving away the creature to an excessive distance from his nature as existing according to its essence, so that it cannot touch him without even the unalloyed and incorporeal efforts of the intellect.
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.176, 1.336, 2.52 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.176. I know that those men who devote themselves wholly to drinking parties and banquets, and who care only for costly entertainments, will make a mock at these things and turn them into ridicule, miserable slaves as they are of birds, and fishes, and meat, and all such nonsense as that, and not being able to taste of true freedom, not even in a dream. And all such men are to be disregarded and despised by those who seek to live in accordance with the will of God, in a manner pleasing to the true and living God; who, having learnt to despise the pleasures of the flesh, pursue the delights and luxuries of the mind, having exercised themselves in the contemplation of the objects of Nature.{21}{sections 177û193 were omitted in Yonge's translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These sections have been newly translated for this edition.} 1.336. this, also invented letters, and music, and the whole range of encyclical instruction, and brought them to perfection. This also, is the parent of that greatest of all good things, philosophy, and by means of its different parts it has benefited human life, proceeding by the logical portion of it to an infallible interpretation of difficulties, and by its moral part to a correction of the manners and dispositions of men; and by its physical division to the knowledge of the heaven and the world. And they have also collected and assembled many other praises of the mind on which they dwell, having a continual reference to the species already mentioned, about which we have not at the present time leisure to occupy ourselves.LXII. 2.52. In considering the melancholy and fearful condition of the human race, and how full it is of innumerable evils, which the covetousness of the soul begets, which the defects of the body produce, and which all the inequalities of the soul inflict upon us, and which the retaliations of those among whom we live, both doing and suffering innumerable evils, are continually causing us, he then wondered whether any one being tossed about in such a sea of troubles, some brought on deliberately and others unintentionally, and never being able to rest in peace nor to cast anchor in the safe haven of a life free from danger, could by any possibility really keep a feast, not one in name, but one which should really be so, enjoying himself and being happy in the contemplation of the world and all the things in it, and in obedience to nature, and in a perfect harmony between his words and his actions, between his actions and his words.
12. Philo of Alexandria, On The Contemplative Life, 11-12, 25, 28-29, 58, 64, 67-69, 78, 89-90, 1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1. Having mentioned the Essenes, who in all respects selected for their admiration and for their especial adoption the practical course of life, and who excel in all, or what perhaps may be a less unpopular and invidious thing to say, in most of its parts, I will now proceed, in the regular order of my subject, to speak of those who have embraced the speculative life, and I will say what appears to me to be desirable to be said on the subject, not drawing any fictitious statements from my own head for the sake of improving the appearance of that side of the question which nearly all poets and essayists are much accustomed to do in the scarcity of good actions to extol, but with the greatest simplicity adhering strictly to the truth itself, to which I know well that even the most eloquent men do not keep close in their speeches. Nevertheless we must make the endeavour and labour to attain to this virtue; for it is not right that the greatness of the virtue of the men should be a cause of silence to those who do not think it right that anything which is creditable should be suppressed in silence;
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.1, 1.57, 1.148-1.154, 1.156, 1.334, 2.1-2.3, 2.66, 2.76, 2.187-2.292 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.1. I have conceived the idea of writing the life of Moses, who, according to the account of some persons, was the lawgiver of the Jews, but according to others only an interpreter of the sacred laws, the greatest and most perfect man that ever lived, having a desire to make his character fully known to those who ought not to remain in ignorance respecting him 1.57. He said this; and they, being alarmed at his words, since while he was speaking he appeared inspired, and his appearance became changed, so that he looked like a prophet, and fearing lest he might be uttering divine oracles and predictions, they obeyed and became submissive, and brought back the flock of the maidens to the troughs, first of all removing their own cattle. 1.148. of all these men, Moses was elected the leader; receiving the authority and sovereignty over them, not having gained it like some men who have forced their way to power and supremacy by force of arms and intrigue, and by armies of cavalry and infantry, and by powerful fleets, but having been appointed for the sake of his virtue and excellence and that benevolence towards all men which he was always feeling and exhibiting; and, also, because God, who loves virtue, and piety, and excellence, gave him his authority as a well-deserved reward. 1.149. For, as he had abandoned the chief authority in Egypt, which he might have had as the grandson of the reigning king, on account of the iniquities which were being perpetrated in that country, and by reason of his nobleness of soul and of the greatness of his spirit, and the natural detestation of wickedness, scorning and rejecting all the hopes which he might have conceived from those who had adopted him, it seemed good to the Ruler and Governor of the universe to recompense him with the sovereign authority over a more populous and more powerful nation, which he was about to take to himself out of all other nations and to consecrate to the priesthood, that it might for ever offer up prayers for the whole universal race of mankind, for the sake of averting evil from them and procuring them a participation in blessings. 1.150. And when he had received this authority, he did not show anxiety, as some persons do, to increase the power of his own family, and promote his sons (for he had two 1.151. for he kept one most invariable object always steadily before him, namely, that of benefiting those who were subjected to his authority, and of doing everything both in word and deed, with a view to their advantage, never omitting any opportunity of doing anything that might tend to their prosperity. 1.152. Therefore he alone of all the persons who have ever enjoyed supreme authority, neither accumulated treasures of silver and gold, nor levied taxes, nor acquired possession of houses, or property, or cattle, or servants of his household, or revenues, or anything else which has reference to magnificence and superfluity, although he might have acquired an unlimited abundance of them all. 1.153. But as he thought it a token of poverty of soul to be anxious about material wealth, he despised it as a blind thing, but he honoured the far-sighted wealth of nature, and was as great an admirer as any one in the world of that kind of riches, as he showed himself to be in his clothes, and in his food, and in his whole system and manner of life, not indulging in any theatrical affectation of pomp and magnificence, but cultivating the simplicity and unpretending affable plainness of a private individual, but a sumptuousness which was truly royal, in those things which it is becoming for a ruler to desire and to abound in; 1.154. and these things are, temperance, and fortitude, and continence, and presence of mind, and acuteness, and knowledge, and industry, and patience under evil, and contempt of pleasure, and justice, and exhortations to virtue and blame, and lawful punishment of offenders, and, on the contrary, praise and honour to those who did well in accordance with law. 1.156. therefore, every one of the elements obeyed him as its master, changing the power which it had by nature and submitting to his commands. And perhaps there was nothing wonderful in this; for if it be true according to the proverb, --"That all the property of friends is common; 1.334. I have now, then, given an account of what was done by Moses while invested with kingly power. I must now proceed to relate in order all the actions which he performed in accordance with virtue, and also successfully as a chief priest, and also in his character as a lawgiver; for he also exercised these two powers as very closely connected with his kingly authority 2.1. The first volume of this treatise relates to the subject of the birth and bringing up of Moses, and also of his education and of his government of his people, which he governed not merely irreproachably, but in so exceedingly praiseworthy a manner; and also of all the affairs, which took place in Egypt, and in the travels and journeyings of the nation, and of the events which happened with respect to their crossing the Red Sea and in the desert, which surpass all power of description; and, moreover, of all the labours which he conducted to a successful issue, and of the inheritances which he distributed in portions to his soldiers. But the book which we are now about to compose relates to the affairs which follow those others in due order, and bear a certain correspondence and connection with them. 2.2. For some persons say, and not without some reason and propriety, that this is the only way by which cities can be expected to advance in improvement, if either the kings cultivate philosophy, or if philosophers exercise the kingly power. But Moses will be seen not only to have displayed all these powers--I mean the genius of the philosopher and of the king--in an extraordinary degree at the same time, but three other powers likewise, one of which is conversant about legislation, the second about the way of discharging the duties of high priest, and the last about the prophetic office; 2.3. and it is on these subjects that I have now been constrained to choose to enlarge; for I conceive that all these things have fitly been united in him, inasmuch as in accordance with the providential will of God he was both a king and a lawgiver, and a high priest and a prophet, and because in each office he displayed the most eminent wisdom and virtue. We must now show how it is that every thing is fitly united in him. 2.66. We have already, then, gone through two parts of the life of Moses, discussing his character in his capacity of a king and of a lawgiver. We must now consider him in a third light, as fulfilling the office of the priesthood. Now this man, Moses, practised beyond all other men that which is the most important and most indispensable virtue in a chief priest, namely, piety, partly because he was endowed with most admirable natural qualities; and philosophy, receiving his nature like a fertile field, cultivated and improved it by the contemplation of excellent and beautiful doctrines, and did not dismiss it until all the fruits of virtue were brought to perfection in him, in respect of words and actions. 2.76. Therefore the general form of the model was stamped upon the mind of the prophet, being accurately painted and fashioned beforehand invisibly without any materials, in species which were not apparent to the eye; and the completion of the work was made in the similitude of the model, the maker giving an accurate representation of the impression in material substances corresponding to each part of the model 2.187. Since, therefore, I have now stated that in the absolutely perfect governor there ought to be four things, royal power, the legislative disposition, and the priesthood, and the prophetic office (in order that by his legislative disposition he may command such things as are right to be done, and forbid such things as are not proper to be done, and that by his priesthood he may arrange not only all human but likewise all divine things; and that by his prophetic office he may predict those things which cannot be comprehended by reason 2.188. I am not unaware then that all the things which are written in the sacred books are oracles delivered by him; and I will set forth what more peculiarly concerns him, when I have first mentioned this one point, namely, that of the sacred oracles some are represented as delivered in the person of God by his interpreter, the divine prophet, while others are put in the form of question and answer, and others are delivered by Moses in his own character as a divinely-prompted lawgiver possessed by divine inspiration. 2.189. Therefore, all the earliest oracles are manifestations of the whole of the divine virtues, and especially of that merciful and bounteous character by means of which he trains all men to virtue, and especially the race which is devoted to his service, to which he lays open the road leading to happiness. 2.190. The second class have a sort of admixture and communication in them, the prophet asking information on the subjects as to which he is in difficulty, and God answering him and instructing him. The third sort are attributed to the lawgiver, God having given him a share of his prescient power, by means of which he will be able to foretell the future. 2.191. Therefore, we must for the present pass by the first; for they are too great to be adequately praised by any man, as, indeed, they could scarcely be panegyrised worthily by the heaven itself and the nature of the universe; and they are also uttered by the mouth, as it were, of an interpreter. But interpretation and prophecy differ from one another. And concerning the second kind I will at once endeavour to explain the truth, connecting with them the third species also, in which the inspired character of the speaker is shown, according to which it is that he is most especially and appropriately looked upon as a prophet. 2.192. And we must here begin with the promise. There are four places where the oracles are given by way of question and answer, being contained in the exposition of the law, and having a mixed character. For, first, the prophet feels inspiration and asks questions, and then the father prophesies to him, giving him a share of his discourse and replies. And the first case where this occurs is one which would have irritated, not only Moses, who was the most holy and pious man that ever lived, but even any one who had only had a slight taste of piety. 2.193. A certain man, illegitimately born of two unequal parents, namely, an Egyptian father and a Jewish mother, and who disregarded the national and hereditary customs which he had learnt from her, as it is reported, inclined to the Egyptian impiety, being seized with admiration for the ungodly practices of the men of that nation; 2.194. for the Egyptians, almost alone of all men, set up the earth as a rival of the heaven considering the former as entitled to honours equal with those of the gods, and giving the latter no especial honour, just as if it were proper to pay respect to the extremities of a country rather than to the king's palace. For in the world the heaven is the most holy temple, and the further extremity is the earth; though this too is in itself worthy of being regarded with honour; but if it is brought into comparison with the air, is as far inferior to it as light is to darkness, or night to day, or corruption to immortality, or a mortal to God. 2.195. For, since that country is not irrigated by rain as all other lands are, but by the inundations of the river which is accustomed every year to overflow its banks; the Egyptians, in their impious reason, make a god of the Nile, as if it were a copy and a rival of heaven, and use pompous language about the virtue of their country. 2.196. Accordingly, this man of mixed race, having had a quarrel with some one of the consecrated and well-instructed house of Israel, becoming carried away by his anger, and unable to restrain himself, and being also an admirer and follower of the impiety of the Egyptians, extended his impiety from earth to heaven, cursing it with his accursed, and polluted, and defiled soul, and with his wicked tongue, and with the whole power of all his vocal organs in the superfluity of his ungodliness; though it ought to be blessed and praised, not by all men, indeed, but only by those who are most virtuous and pious, as having received perfect purification. 2.197. Wherefore Moses, marvelling at his insanity and at the extravagance of his audacity, although he was filled with a noble impetuosity and indignation, and desired to slay the man with his own hand, nevertheless feared lest he should be inflicting on him too light a punishment; for he conceived that no man could possibly devise any punishment adequate to such enormous impiety. 2.198. And since it followed of necessity that a man who did not worship God could not honour his father either, or his mother, or his country, or his benefactors, this man, in addition to not reverencing them, dared to speak ill of them. And then what extravagance of wickedness did he fall short of? And yet evil-speaking, if compared with cursing, is the lighter evil of the two. But when intemperate language and an unbridled tongue are subservient to lawless folly, then inevitably and invariably some iniquitous conduct must follow. 2.199. O man! does any one curse God? What other god can he invoke to ratify and confirm his curse? Is it not plain that he must invoke God to give effect to his curses against himself? Away with such profane and impious ideas! It would be well to cleanse that miserable soul which has been insulted by the voice, and which has sued the ears for ministers, keeping the external senses blind. 2.200. And was not either the tongue of the man who uttered such impiety loosened, or the ears of him who was destined to hear such things closed up? unless, indeed, that was done in consequence of some providential arrangement of justice, which does not think that either any extraordinary good or that any enormous evil ought to be kept in darkness, but that such should be revealed in order to the most complete manifestation of virtue or vice, so that it may adjudge the one to be worthy of acceptance and the other of punishment. 2.201. On this account Moses ordered the man to be thrown into prison and bound with chains; and then he addressed propitiatory prayers to God, begging him to be merciful to the necessities of the external senses (by means of which we both see what it is not proper to see, and hear what it is not lawful to hear 2.202. And God commanded him to be stoned, considering, as I imagine, the punishment of stoning to be a suitable and appropriate one for a man who had a stony and hardened heart, and wishing at the same time that all his fellow countrymen should have a share in inflicting punishment on him, as he knew that they were very indigt and eager to slay him; and the only punishment which so many myriads of men could possibly join in was that which was inflicted by throwing stones. 2.203. But after the punishment of this impious murderer, a new commandment was enacted, which had never before been thought worthy of being reduced to writing; but unexpected innovations cause new laws to be devised for the repression of their evils. At all events, the following law was immediately introduced: "Whoever curses God shall be guilty of sin, and whoever names the name of the Lord shall Die."{2}{#le 24:15.} 2.204. Well done, O all-wise man! You alone have drunk of the cup of unalloyed wisdom. You have seen that it was worse to name God than even to curse him; for you would never have treated lightly a man who had committed the heaviest of all impieties, and inflicted the heaviest punishment possible on those who committed the slightest faults; but you fixed death, which is the very greatest punishment imaginable, as the penalty for the man who appeared to have committed the heaviest crime. 2.205. But, as it seems, he is not now speaking of that God who was the first being who had any existence, and the Father of the universe, but of those who are accounted gods in the different cities; and they are falsely called gods, being only made by the arts of painters and sculptors, for the whole inhabited world is full of statues and images, and erections of that kind, of whom it is necessary however to abstain from speaking ill, in order that no one of the disciples of Moses may ever become accustomed at all to treat the appellation of God with disrespect; for that name is always most deserving to obtain the victory, and is especially worthy of love. 2.206. But if any one were, I will not say to blaspheme against the Lord of gods and men, but were even to dare to utter his name unseasonably, he must endure the punishment of death; 2.207. for those persons who have a proper respect for their parents do not lightly bring forward the names of their parents, though they are but mortal, but they avoid using their proper names by reason of the reverence which they bear them, and call them rather by the titles indicating their natural relationship, that is, father and mother, by which names they at once intimate the unsurpassable benefits which they have received at their hands, and their own grateful disposition. 2.208. Therefore these men must not be thought worthy of pardon who out of volubility of tongue have spoken unseasonably, and being too free of their words have repeated carelessly the most holy and divine name of God. 2.209. Moreover, in accordance with the honour due to the Creator of the universe, the prophet hallowed the sacred seventh day, beholding with eyes of more acute sight than those of mortals its pre-eminent beauty, which had already been deeply impressed on the heaven and the whole universal world, and had been borne about as an image by nature itself in her own bosom; 2.210. for first of all Moses found that day destitute of any mother, and devoid of all participation in the female generation, being born of the Father alone without any propagation by means of seed, and being born without any conception on the part of any mother. And then he beheld not only this, that it was very beautiful and destitute of any mother, neither being born of corruption nor liable to corruption; and then, in the third place, he by further inquiry discovered that it was the birthday of the world, which the heaven keeps as a festival, and the earth and all the things in and on the earth keep as a festival, rejoicing and delighting in the all-harmonious number of seven, and in the sabbath day. 2.211. For this reason the all-great Moses thought fit that all who were enrolled in his sacred polity should follow the laws of nature and meet in a solemn assembly, passing the time in cheerful joy and relaxation, abstaining from all work, and from all arts which have a tendency to the production of anything; and from all business which is connected with the seeking of the means of living, and that they should keep a complete truce, abstaining from all laborious and fatiguing thought and care, and devoting their leisure, not as some persons scoffingly assert, to sports, or exhibitions of actors and dancers, for the sake of which those who run madly after theatrical amusements suffer disasters and even encounter miserable deaths, and for the sake of these the most domit and influential of the outward senses, sight and hearing, make the soul, which should be the heavenly nature, the slave of these senses. 2.212. But, giving up their time wholly to the study of philosophy, not of that sort of philosophy which wordcatchers and sophists, seek to reduce to a system, selling doctrines and reasonings as they would any other vendible thing in the market. Men who (O you earth and sun! 2.213. Now some one disregarding this injunction, even while he yet had the sacred words of God respecting the holy seventh day still ringing in his ears, which God had uttered without the intervention of the prophet, and, what is the most wonderful thing of all, by a visible voice which affected the eyes of those who were present even more than their ears, went forth through the middle of the camp to pick up sticks, well knowing that all the people in the camp were perfectly quiet and doing nothing, and even while he was committing the iniquity was seen and detected, all disguise being impossible; 2.214. for some persons, having gone forth out of the gates to some quiet spot, that they might pray in some retired and peaceful place, seeing a most unholy spectacle, namely this man carrying a faggot of sticks, and being very indigt, were about to put him to death; but reasoning with themselves they restrained the violence of their wrath, that they might not appear, as they were only private persons, to chastise any one rather than the magistrates, and that too uncondemned; though indeed in other respects the transgression was manifest and undeniable, wishing also that no pollution arising from an execution, even though most righteously inflicted, should defile the sacred day. But they apprehended him, and led him away to the magistrate, with whom the priests were sitting as assessors; and the whole multitude collected together to hear the trial; 2.215. for it was invariably the custom, as it was desirable on other days also, but especially on the seventh day, as I have already explained, to discuss matters of philosophy; the ruler of the people beginning the explanation, and teaching the multitude what they ought to do and to say, and the populace listening so as to improve in virtue, and being made better both in their moral character and in their conduct through life; 2.216. in accordance with which custom, even to this day, the Jews hold philosophical discussions on the seventh day, disputing about their national philosophy, and devoting that day to the knowledge and consideration of the subjects of natural philosophy; for as for their houses of prayer in the different cities, what are they, but schools of wisdom, and courage, and temperance, and justice, and piety, and holiness, and every virtue, by which human and divine things are appreciated, and placed upon a proper footing? 2.217. On this day, then, the man who had done this deed of impiety was led away to prison; and Moses being at a loss what ought to be done to the man (for he knew that he had committed a crime worthy of death, but did not know what was the most suitable manner for the punishment to be inflicted upon him 2.218. And that Judge delivered his sentence that the man ought to die, and in no other way than being stoned, since in his case, as in that of the criminal mentioned above, his mind had been changed to a dumb stone, and he had committed the most complete of offences, in which nearly every other sin is comprised which can be committed against the laws enacted respecting the reverence due to the seventh day. 2.219. Why so? Because, not only mere handicraft trades, but also nearly all other acts and businesses, and especially all such as have reference to any providing of or seeking for the means of life, are either carried on by means of fire themselves, or, at all events, not without those instruments which are made by fire. On which account Moses, in many places, forbids any one to handle a fire on the sabbath day, inasmuch as that is the most primary and efficient source of things and the most ancient and important work; and if that is reduced to a state of tranquillity, he thought that it would be probable that all particular works would be at a stand-still likewise. 2.220. And wood is the material of fire, so that a man who is picking up wood is committing a crime which is akin to and nearly connected with that of burning fire, doubling his transgression, in fact, partly in that he was collecting what it was commanded should remain unmoved, and partly that what he was collecting was that which is the material of fire, the beginning of all arts. 2.221. Therefore both those instances which I have mentioned comprise the punishments of wicked men, appointed and confirmed by question and answer. And there are two other instances, not of the same, but of a different character; the one of which has reference to the succession of an inheritance; the other, as far at least as it appears to me, to a sacrifice which was performed at an unseemly time. And we must first discuss the latter of the two. 2.222. Moses puts down the beginning of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year, attributing the chief honour, not as some persons do to the periodical revolutions of the year in regard of time, but rather to the graces and beauties of nature which it has caused to shine upon men; for it is through the bounty of nature that the seeds which are sown to produce the necessary food of mankind are brought to perfection. And the fruit of trees in their prime, which is second in importance only to the necessary crops, is engendered by the same power, and as being second in importance it also ripens late; for we always find in nature that those things which are not very necessary are second to those which are indispensable. 2.223. Now wheat and barley are among the things which are very necessary; as, likewise, are all the other species of food, without which it is impossible to live. But oil, and wine, and almonds are not among necessaries, since men often live without them to the very extremity of old age, extending their life over a number of years. 2.224. Accordingly, in this month, about the fourteenth day of the month, when the orb of the moon is usually about to become full, the public universal feast of the passover is celebrated, which in the Chaldaic language is called pascha; at which festival not only do private individuals bring victims to the altar and the priests sacrifice them, but also, by a particular ordice of this law, the whole nation is consecrated and officiates in offering sacrifice; every separate individual on this occasion bringing forward and offering up with his own hands the sacrifice due on his own behalf. 2.225. Therefore all the rest of the people rejoiced and was of joyful countece, every one thinking that he himself was honoured by this participation in the priesthood. But the others passed the time of the festival amid tears and groans, their own relations having lately died, whom they were now mourning for, and were overwhelmed with a two fold sorrow, having, in addition to their grief for their relations who were slain, the pain also which arose from being deprived of the pleasure and honour which accrue from the offering up of sacrifice, as they were not purified or cleansed on that day, inasmuch as their mourning had not yet lasted beyond the appointed and legitimate period of lamentation. 2.226. These men coming, after the assembly was over, to the ruler of the people, being full of melancholy and depression, related to him what had happened, namely, "that the recent death of their relations was an unavoidable affliction to which they could not help yielding, and that it was a further grief that, on that account, they were unable to bear their share in the sacrifice of the passover. 2.227. And then they besought him that they too might make their offerings no less than the others, and that the misfortune which had befallen them in the death of their kinsmen might not be reckoned against them as an iniquity of theirs, so as to produce them punishment instead of compassion; for that they thought that they were worse off than even the people who were dead, since these last had, indeed, no sense of the grievous privation, but they who continued live would appear to die the death perceptible to the outward sense. 2.228. When he heard this he saw that the justification which they alleged was not inconsistent with reason and truth, and that the excuse which they alleged for not having previously offered their sacrifice was founded in necessity, and that they were entitled to merciful consideration. And while he as wavering in his opinion, and inclining this way and that way as if in the balance of a scale, for compassion and justice inclined him one way, and on the other side the law of the sacrifice of the passover weighed him down, in which the first month and the fourteenth day of the month are appointed for the offering of the sacrifice; accordingly, Moses, being perplexed and balancing between consent and refusal, besought God to decide the question and to announce his decision to him by an oracular command. 2.229. And God listened to his entreaty and gave him an oracle bearing not only on the circumstances which had taken place, but on all such as should hereafter happen with reference to the same subject, if people should ever again find themselves in a similar case. He likewise, out of the abundance of his providence, gave further and general directions with respect to other individuals who at any time, for one reason or other, should be unable to offer up their sacrifice with the whole of the rest of the nation. 2.230. We must now, therefore, proceed to relate the oracular commands which were thus given by God with reference to these Cases.{3}{#nu 9:10.} He says, "The mourning for a relation is a necessary sorrow to those who are related by blood, and it is not set down as a piece of guilty indifference. 2.231. As long, therefore, as it lasts, until the time that is appointed by law for it to cease, let the man be repelled from the sacred precincts, which must be kept pure, not only from all intentional pollution, but likewise from all such as is involuntary. But when the legal time for mourning is expired, then let the mourners be no longer deprived of an equal share in the performance of the sacrifices, that those who are alive may not become an adjunct to those who are dead. And let them, as if they were in a second class, come again in the second month, on the fourteenth day of the month, and let them sacrifice in the same manner as the former sacrificers, and let them adopt the sacrifice in the same way as they did, in a similar manner and under similar rules. 2.232. Also, let the same regulations be observed with respect to those who are hindered, not by mourning, but by a distant journey, from offering up their sacrifice in common with and at the same time with the whole nation. "For those who are travelling in a foreign land, or dwelling in some other country, do no wrong, so as to deserve to be deprived of equal honour with the rest, especially since one country will not contain the entire nation by reason of its great numbers, but has sent out colonies in every direction. 2.233. Having now, then, given this account of those who were too late to sacrifice the festival of the passover with the rest of the nation by reason of some unexpected circumstances, but who were desirous to fulfil the duty which had thus been omitted, even though late, still in the necessary manner, I now proceed to the last injunction relating to the succession to inheritances; that being, in like manner, of a mixed character, and consisting of question and answer. 2.234. There was a certain man, named Shalpaath, a man of high character and of a distinguished tribe. He had four daughters, but not a single son. And after the death of their father the daughters, being afraid that they should be deprived of their father's inheritance, because the allotments of such inheritances were given to the male heirs, came to the ruler of the people with the modesty befitting maidens, not because they were eager for riches, but because they desired to preserve the name and reputation of their father. 2.235. And they said to Moses, "Our father is dead; and he died without having been mixed up in any of those seditions in which it has happened that so many thousands have been slain; but he was a cultivator of a life free from trouble and notoriety; unless, indeed, it is to be considered as a crime that he was without male offspring. And we are now here orphans in appearance, but in real fact desiring to find a father in you; for a lawful ruler is as closely connected with his subjects as a Father."{4}{#nu 27:4.} 2.236. And Moses marvelled at the wisdom of the maidens, and at their affection for their father, nevertheless he hesitated, being biased in some degree by other thoughts in accordance with which it seemed proper for men to divide the inheritances among themselves, that so they might receive the due reward of their military services and of the wars which they had gone through. But nature, which has given to woman protection from all such contests, does likewise by so doing plainly deprive them of their right to a share in what is put forward as a reward for encountering them. 2.237. On which account the mind of Moses was very naturally in a state of indecision, and was dragged different ways, so that Moses laid his perplexities before God, whom he knew to be the only being who could with true and unerring judgment decide such delicate differences with a complete display of truth and justice. 2.238. But the Creator of the universe, the Father of the world, who holds together earth and heaven, and the water and the air, and everything which is composed of any one of these things, and who rules the whole world, the King of gods and men, did not think it unbecoming for him to take upon himself the part of arbitrator respecting these orphan maidens. And, as arbitrator, he, in my opinion, did more for them than if he had been merely a judge of the law, inasmuch as he is merciful and beneficent, and has filled all things everywhere with his beneficent power for he gave great praise to the maidens. 2.239. O! Master how can any one sing your praises adequately, with what mouth, with what tongue, with what organisation of voice? Can the stars become a chorus and pour forth any melody which shall be worthy of the subject? Even if the whole of the heaven were to be dissolved into voice, would it be able to recount even a portion of your virtues? "Very rightly," says God, "have the daughters of Shalpaath spoken. 2.240. Who is there who can fail to perceive how great a praise this is when God bears witness in their favour? Come, now, ye who are violent; ye, who give yourselves airs because of your virtuous actions; ye, who hold up your hands higher than nature justifies, and who raise your eyebrows; ye, among whom the widowhood of woman is a cause for laughter, though it is a most pitiable evil; and in whose thoughts the desolation of orphan children is ridiculed even more shamefully than the distress before mentioned. 2.241. So now, seeing that those who appeared in such a low and unfortunate condition were not marked by God among the neglected and obscure, though all the kingdoms of the whole habitable world are the most insignificant portion of his dominion, because the whole circumference and space of the world is but the extremity of his works, learn a necessary lesson from this fact. 2.242. But Moses, having praised the conversation of the maidens, did not either leave them without their due honour and reward, nor yet, on the other hand, did he raise them to an equal degree of honour with the men on whom the brunt of the war falls; but to the latter he allotted the inheritances as the prizes which belonged to them as a reward for the gallant exploits which they had performed. But the former he thought worthy of grace and kindness, not of reward; as he showed most plainly by the expressions which he used, speaking of "gifts" and "presents," but not of "requital" or "recompense." For the one form of language is suited to those who receive what they have a right to, and the other belongs to those who are treated with gratuitous favour. 2.243. And having given his divine directions respecting the petitions which the orphan maidens had preferred, he proceeds to lay down a more general law concerning the succession to inheritances, summoning the sons in the first instance to the sharing of the paternal property; and, if there should be no sons, then the daughters in the second place, to whom he says that it is proper to attach the inheritance as an external and adventitious ornament, but not as a possession belonging to and rightly connected with them; for that which is attached to anything has no actual relationship to that which is adorned by it, inasmuch as it is devoid of all harmony and union with it. 2.244. And, after the daughters, then he invites the brothers to share it in the third place; and, in the fourth place, he assigns the property to the uncles on the father's side, showing under this figure that the fathers might, if alive be the heirs of their sons. For it is a very foolish idea to imagine that when he allots the inheritance of the nephew to his father's brother, out of a regard to his relationship to his father, he has excluded the father himself from the succession. 2.245. But since the law permits the property of parents to be inherited by the children, but does not allow the parents themselves to inherit, he has abstained from any express mention of the subject as one to be deprecated and of evil omen, in order that the father and mother might not seem to receive any gain from the inconsolable affliction of the loss of children dying prematurely; but he indirectly intimated their right to be invited to such an inheritance when he conceded it to the uncles, in order that in this way he might attain the best objects of cultivating propriety and of avoiding the improper alienation of the estate. And, after the uncles, the fifth class of inheritors was to be composed of the nearest relations, to the first of whom he invariably assigns the inheritance. 2.246. Having now, as I was forced to do, gone through the entire account of those sacred commands referring to a mixed possession of an inheritance, I shall now proceed to show the oracles which were divinely given by the inspiration of the prophet; for this was a subject which I promised to explain. Now the beginning of his divine inspiration, which was also the commencement of prosperity to his nation, arose when he was sent out of Egypt to dwell as a settler in the cities of Syria, with many thousands of his countrymen; 2.247. for both men and women, having accomplished together a long and desolate journey through the wilderness, destitute of any beaten road, at last arrived at the sea which is called the Red Sea. Then, as was natural, they were in great perplexity, neither being able to cross over by reason of their want of vessels, nor thinking it safe to return back by the way by which they had come. 2.248. And while they were all in this state of mind, a still greater evil was impending over them; for the king of the Egyptians, having collected a power which was far from contemptible, a vast army of cavalry and infantry, sallied forth in pursuit of them, and made haste to overtake them, that he might avenge himself on them for the departure which he had been compelled by undeniable communications from God to permit them to take. But, as it should seem, the disposition of wicked men is unstable, so that, like any thing in a lightly-balanced scale, it inclines on very slight causes to different directions at different times. 2.251. The fear is necessary, and the terror is inevitable, and the danger is great; in front of us is the widely open sea, there is no retreat to which we can flee, we have no vessels, behind are the phalanxes of the enemy ready to attack us, which march on and pursue us, never stopping to take breath. Where shall any one turn? Which way can any one look to escape? Every thing from every quarter has unexpectedly become hostile to us, the sea, the land, men, and the elements of nature. 2.255. and an utter destruction of the enemy, whom the walls the sea, which had been congealed and which now turned back again, overwhelmed, and the sea pouring down and hurrying into what had just been a road, as if into some deep ravine, washed away every thing, and there was evidence of the completeness of the destruction in the bodies which floated on the waters, and which strewed the surface of the sea; and a great agitation of the waves, by which all the dead were cast up into a heap on the opposite shore, becoming a necessary spectacle to those who had been delivered, and to whom it had been granted not merely to escape from their dangers, but also to behold their enemies punished, in a manner too marvellous for description, by no human but by a divine power. 2.256. For this mercy Moses very naturally honoured his Benefactor with hymns of gratitude. For having divided the host into two choruses, one of men and one of women, he himself became the leader of that of the men, and appointed his sister to be the chief of that of the women, that they might sing hymns to their father and Creator, joining in harmonies responsive to one another, by a combination of dispositions and melody, the former being eager to offer the same requital for the mercies which they had received, and the latter consisting of a symphony of the deep male with the high female voices, for the tones of men are deep and those of women are high; and when there is a perfect and harmonious combination of the two a most delightful and thoroughly harmonious melody is effected. 2.257. And he persuaded all those myriads of men and women to be of one mind, and to sing in concert the same hymn at the same time in praise of those marvellous and mighty works which they had beheld, and which I have been just now relating. At which the prophet rejoicing, and seeing also the exceeding joy of his nation, and being himself too unable to contain his delight, began the song. And they who heard him being divided into two choruses, sang with him, taking the words which he uttered. 2.258. This is the beginning and preface of the prophecies of Moses under the influence of inspiration. After this he prophesied about the first and most necessary of all things, namely, food, which the earth did not produce, for it was barren and unfruitful; and the heaven rained down not once only, but every day for forty years, before the dawn of day, an ethereal fruit under the form of a dew very like millet seed. 2.259. And Moses, when he saw it, commanded them to collect it; and being full of inspiration, said: "You must believe in God, inasmuch as you have already had experience of his mercies and benefits in matters beyond all your hopes. This food may not be treasured up or laid up in garners. Let no one leave any portion of it till the morning. 2.261. And Moses, when he saw this, was naturally indigt with those who were thus disobedient; for how could he help being so, when those who had beheld such numerous and great actions which could not possibly be perverted into mere fictitious and well contrived appearances, but which had been easily accomplished by the divine providence, did not only doubt, but even absolutely disbelieved, and were the hardest of all man to be convinced? 2.262. But the Father established the oracle of his prophet by two most conspicuous manifestations, the one of which he gave immediately by the destruction of what had been left, and by the evil stench which arose, and by the change of it into worms, the vilest of animals; and the other demonstration he afforded subsequently, for that which was over and above after that which had been collected by the multitude, was always melted away by the beams of the sun, and consumed, and destroyed in that manner. 2.263. He gave a second instance of his prophetical inspiration not long afterwards in the oracle which he delivered about the sacred seventh day. For though it had had a natural precedence over all other days, not only from the time that the world was created, but even before the origination of the heaven and all the objects perceptible to the outward senses, men still knew it not, perhaps because, by reason of the continued and uninterrupted destructions which had taken place by water and fire, succeeding generations had not been able to receive from former ones any traditions of the arrangement and order which had been established in the connection of preceding times, which, as it was not known, Moses, now being inspired, declared to his people in an oracle which was borne testimony to by a visible sign from heaven. 2.264. And the sign was this. A small portion of food descended from the air on the previous days, but a double portion on the day before the seventh day. And on the previous days, if any portion was left it became liquefied and melted away, until it was entirely changed into dew, and so consumed; but on this day it endured no alteration, but remained in the same state as before, and when this was reported to him, and beheld by him, Moses did not so much conjecture as receive the impulse of divine inspiration under which he prophesied of the seventh day. 2.265. I omit to mention that all such conjectures are akin to prophecy; for the mind could never make such correct and felicitous conjectures, unless it were a divine spirit which guided their feet into the way of truth; 2.266. and the miraculous nature of the sign was shown, not merely in the fact of the food being double in quantity, nor in that of its remaining unimpaired, contrary to the usual customs, but in both these circumstances taking place on the sixth day, from the day on which this food first began to be supplied from heaven, from which day the most sacred number of seven begun to be counted, so that if any one reckons he will find that this heavenly food was given in exact correspondence with the arrangement instituted at the creation of the world. For God began to create the world on the first day of a week of six days: and he began to rain down the food which has just been mentioned on the same first day; 2.267. and the two images are alike; for as he produced that most perfect work, the world, bringing it out of non-existence into existence, so in the same manner did he produce plenty in the wilderness, changing the elements with reference to the pressing necessity, that, instead of the earth, the air might bestow food without labour, and without trouble, to those who had no opportunity of providing themselves with food at their leisure. 2.268. After this he delivered to the people a third oracle of the most marvellous nature, namely that on the seventh day the air would not afford the accustomed food, and that not the very slightest portion would fall upon the earth, as it did on other days; 2.269. and this turned out to be the case in point of fact; for he delivered this prediction on the day before; but some of those who were unstable in their dispositions, went forth to collect it, and being deceived in their expectations, returned unsuccessful, reproaching themselves for their unbelief, and calling the prophet the only true prophet, the only one who knew the will of God, and the only one who had any foreknowledge of what was uncertain and future. 2.270. Such then are the predictions which he delivered, under the influence of inspiration, respecting the food which came down from heaven; but he also delivered others in succession of great necessity, though they appeared to resemble recommendations rather than actual oracles; one of which is that prediction, which he delivered respecting their greatest abandonment of their national customs, of which I have already spoken, when they made a golden calf in imitation of the Egyptian worship and folly, and established dances and prepared an altar, and offered up sacrifices, forgetful of the true God and discarding the noble disposition of their ancestors, which had been increased by piety and holiness 2.271. at which Moses as very indigt, first of all, at all the people having thus suddenly become blind, which but a short time before had been the most sharp-sighted of all nations; and secondly, at a vain invention of fable being able to extinguish such exceeding brilliancy of truth, which even the sun in its eclipse or the whole company of the stars could never darken; for it is comprehended by its own light, appreciable by the intellect and incorporeal, in comparison of which the light, which is perceptible by the external senses, is like night if compared to day. 2.272. And, moved by this cause, he no longer continued as before, but leaped as it were out of his former appearance and disposition, and became inspired, and said, "Who is there who has not consented to this error, and who has not given sanction to what ought not to be sanctioned? Let all such come over to Me."{6}{#ex 32:26.} 2.274. So they rushed forth with a shout, and slew three thousand, especially those who were the leaders of this impiety, and not only were excused themselves from having had any participation in the wicked boldness of the others, but were also enrolled among the most noble of valiant men, and were thought worthy of an honour and reward most appropriate to their action, to wit the priesthood. For it was inevitable that those men should be ministers of holiness, who had shown themselves valiant in defence of it, and had warred bravely as its champions. 2.275. I have also another still more marvellous and prodigy-like oracle to report, which indeed I have mentioned before, when I was relating the circumstances of the high priesthood of the prophet, one which he himself uttered when fully inspired by the divine spirit, and which received its accomplishment at no long period afterwards, but at the very moment that it was delivered. 2.276. There were two classes of ministrations concerning the temple; the higher one belonging to the priests, and the lower one to the keepers of the temple; and there were at this time three priests, but many thousand keepers of the temple. 2.277. These men, being puffed up at the exceeding greatness of their own numbers, despised the scanty numbers of the priests; and so they concerted two impious attempts at the same time, the one of which was the destruction of those who were superior to them, and the other was the promotion of the inferior body, the subjects as it were attacking the leaders, to the confusion and overthrow of that most excellent and most beneficial thing for the people, namely order. 2.278. Then, joining together and assembling in one place, they cried out upon the prophet as if he had given the priesthood to his brother, and to his nephews, out of consideration for their relationship to him, and had given a false account of their appointment, as if it had not taken place under the direction of divine providence, as we have represented. 2.279. And Moses, being vexed and grieved beyond measure at these things, although he was the meekest and mildest of men, was not so excited to a just anger by his disposition, which hated iniquity, that he besought God to reject their sacrifice. Not because there was any chance of that most righteous Judge receiving the unholy offerings of wicked men, but because the soul of the man who loved God could not be silent for his part, so eager was it that the wicked should not prosper, but should always fail in their purpose; 2.280. and while he was still boiling over and inflamed with anger by this lawful indignation he became inspired, and changed into a prophet, and uttered the following oracles. "Apostacy is an evil thing, but these faithless men shall be taught, not only by words but also by actions; they shall, by personal suffering, learn my truth and good faith, since they would not learn it by ordinary instruction; 2.281. and this shall be discerned in the end of their life: for it they receive the ordinary death according to nature, then I have invented these oracles; but if they experience a new and unprecedented destruction, then my truth will be testified to; for I see chasms of the earth opening against them, and widened to the greatest extent, and numbers of men perishing in them, dragged down into the gulf with all their kindred, and their very houses swallowed up, and the men going down alive into hell. 2.282. And when he ceased speaking the earth was cloven asunder, being shaken by an earthquake, and it was burst open, especially where the tents of those wicked men were so that they were all swallowed up together, and so hidden from sight. For the parts which were rent asunder came together again as soon as the purpose for which they had been divided was accomplished. 2.283. And a little after this thunderbolts fell on a sudden from heaven, and slew two hundred men, the leaders of this sedition, and destroyed them all together, not leaving any portion of their bodies to receive burial. 2.284. And the rapid and unintermittent character of the punishment, and the magnitude of each infliction, rendered the piety of the prophet conspicuous and universally celebrated, as he thus brought God forward as a witness of the truth of his oracular denunciations. 2.285. We must also not overlook this circumstance, that both earth and heaven, which are the first principles of the universe, bore their share in the punishment of these wicked men, for they had rooted their wickedness in the earth, and extended it up to the sky, raising it to that vast height 2.286. on which account each of the elements contributed its part to their chastisement, the earth, so as to drag down and swallow up those who were at that time weighing it down, bursting asunder and dividing; and the heaven, by tearing up and destroying them, raining down a mighty storm of much fire, a most novel kind of rain, and the end was the same 2.287. both to those who were swallowed up by the earth and to those who were destroyed by the thunderbolts, for neither of them were seen any more; the one body being concealed by the earth, the chasm being united again and meeting as before, so as to make solid ground; and the other people being consumed entirely by the fire of the thunderbolts. 2.288. And some time afterwards, when he was about to depart from hence to heaven, to take up his abode there, and leaving this mortal life to become immortal, having been summoned by the Father, who now changed him, having previously been a double being, composed of soul and body, into the nature of a single body, transforming him wholly and entirely into a most sun-like mind; he then, being wholly possessed by inspiration, does not seem any longer to have prophesied comprehensively to the whole nation altogether, but to have predicted to each tribe separately what would happen to each of them, and to their future generations, some of which things have already come to pass, and some are still expected, because the accomplishment of those predictions which have been fulfilled is the clearest testimony to the future. 2.289. For it was very appropriate that those who were different in the circumstances of their birth and in the mothers, from whom they were descended, should differ also in the variety of their designs and counsels, and also in the excessive diversity of their pursuits in life, and should therefore have for their inheritance, as it were, a different distribution of oracles and predictions. 2.290. These things, therefore, are wonderful; and most wonderful of all is the end of his sacred writings, which is to the whole book of the law what the head is to an animal. 2.291. For when he was now on the point of being taken away, and was standing at the very starting-place, as it were, that he might fly away and complete his journey to heaven, he was once more inspired and filled with the Holy Spirit, and while still alive, he prophesied admirably what should happen to himself after his death, relating, that is, how he had died when he was not as yet dead, and how he was buried without any one being present so as to know of his tomb, because in fact he was entombed not by mortal hands, but by immortal powers, so that he was not placed in the tomb of his forefathers, having met with particular grace which no man ever saw; and mentioning further how the whole nation mourned for him with tears a whole month, displaying the individual and general sorrow on account of his unspeakable benevolence towards each individual and towards the whole collective host, and of the wisdom with which he had ruled them. 2.292. Such was the life and such was the death of the king, and lawgiver, and high priest, and prophet, Moses, as it is recorded in the sacred scriptures.
14. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 1.57-1.58, 2.1, 3.162-3.168, 3.171-3.172 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.57. these are the plants of the Paradise. Nevertheless, he describes the characteristics of these same trees, showing that that which is desirable to be beheld is likewise most excellent to be enjoyed. For of the arts some are theoretical and not practical, such as geometry and astronomy. Some, again, are practical and not theoretical, such as the art of the architect, of the smith, and all those which are called mechanical arts. But virtue is both theoretical and practical; for it takes in theory, since the road which leads to it is philosophy in three of its parts--the reasoning, and the moral, and the physical part. It also includes action; for virtue is art conversant about the whole of life; and in life all actions are exhibited. 1.58. Still, although it takes in both theory and practice, nevertheless it is most excellent in each particular. For the theory of virtue is thoroughly excellent, and its practice and observation is a worthy object to contend for. On which account Moses says that the tree was pleasant to the sight, which is a symbol of theoretical excellence; and likewise good for food, which is a token of useful and practical good. XVIII.
15. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 259, 262, 4, 249 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

249. And about the setting of the sun a trance fell upon Abraham, and, behold, fear with great darkness fell upon Him." Now there is one kind of trance which is sort of frantic delirium, causing infirmity of mind, either through old age, or melancholy, or some other similar cause. There is another kind which is excessive consternation, arising usually from things which happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Another kind is mere tranquility of the mind, arising when it is inclined by nature to be quiet: but that which is the best description of all is a divinely inspired and more vehement sort of enthusiasm, which the race of prophets is subject to.
16. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 63 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

63. for it does not follow, that although the souls of such as contradict those virtuous men are deprived of all liberty for having been completely led away and enslaved by folly and other vices, that on this account the whole human race is so too. But it is no wonder if we do not see numerous companies of those men advancing as it were in a solid body. In the first place, because whatever is exceedingly beautiful is rare; secondly, because men who are removed from the main crowd of inconsiderately judging persons, have abundant leisure for the contemplation of the things of nature, endeavouring, as far as it may be in their power, to correct life in general (for virtue is a thing of great benefit to the whole community); but when they are unable to succeed in their object, by reason of the numbers of absurdities which are continually impeding them in the different cities, which the different passions and vices of the soul have given strength to, they then retire into solitude, in order not to be carried away by the violence and rush of these absurdities, as by a wintry torrent.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abram/abraham Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
allegorical commentary Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 196
aristotle Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 196
ascent Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
body, bodily Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
body Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
bread from heaven Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
commandment Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
contemplation Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
dream, vision Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
ecstasy Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
faith Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
hagar Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
isaac Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
ishmael Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
israel, nation/people Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
leah Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
liminality Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
logos Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
mind Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
moses, portrayal in early jewish sources DeJong, A Prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15, 18): The Origin, History, and Influence of the Mosaic Prophetic Succession (2022) 282
moses Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 196
mystic, mystical, mysticism Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
paradise, pardes Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
pentateuch Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 196
philosopher, philosophical, philosophy Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
plato, platonic, platonism Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
promises, divine' Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
prophet, as designation DeJong, A Prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15, 18): The Origin, History, and Influence of the Mosaic Prophetic Succession (2022) 282
prophetic office DeJong, A Prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15, 18): The Origin, History, and Influence of the Mosaic Prophetic Succession (2022) 282
ritual Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
sarah Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 563
seeing Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
soul Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
spiritual Werline et al., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry Into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (2008) 87
stoicism Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 196
telos Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89
therapeutae Putthoff, Ontological Aspects of Early Jewish Anthropology (2016) 89