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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9233
Philo Of Alexandria, On Curses, 101-158


nanBut Moses does not think it right to incline either to the right or to the left, or in short to any part of the earthly Edom; but rather to proceed along the middle way, which he with great propriety calls the royal road, for since God is the first and only God of the universe, so also the road to him, as being the king's road, is very properly denominated royal; and this royal road you must consider to be philosophy, not that philosophy which the existing sophistical crowd of men pursues (for they, studying the art of words in opposition to truth, have called crafty wickedness, wisdom, assigning a divine name to wicked action), but that which the ancient company of those men who practised virtue studied, rejecting the persuasive juggleries of pleasure, and adopting a virtuous and austere study of the honourable--


nanthis royal road, which we have stated to be true and genuine philosophy, the law calls the word and reason of God; for it is written, "Thou shalt not turn aside from the word which I command thee this day, to the right hand nor to the left," So that it is shown most manifestly that the word of God is identical with the royal road, since Moses' words are not to depart either from the royal road, or from this word, as if the two were synonymous, but to proceed with an upright mind along the middle and level road, which leads one aright. XXXI.


nanNow this Jubal," says Moses, "is the father who showed men the use of the psaltery and of the Harp." He in the strictest consistency with nature calls distinctly uttered language the father of music and of all the instruments used in music; for nature, having given the organ of voice to animals as the first and most perfect of organs, afterwards gave to this organ all the harmonies, and all the different kinds of melodies, in order that it might be a previously made model for those organs which are hereafter to be made by art.


nanAnd as he made an ear spherical, fashioning lesser circles in their greater ones and framing it as in a lathe, with the object of preventing the sounds of the voice which come from without from being wasted and dissipated, so that the voice when collected together and closely packed within the circle might, by a sort of diffusion of the power of hearing, be poured over the different channels of the principal part. And this immediately served as a model for those theatres which are found in handsome cities; so that the shape of a theatre is skilfully dictated by the mechanism of the ear. So also, nature, which formed animals, stretching the rough artery like a musical canon, and wearing beneath the harmonic and chromatic and diatonic kinds of sounds, according to the innumerable variations of combined and separated melodies, made a model in accordance with which every musical instrument might be made. XXXII.


nanPerhaps, at all events, flutes and lyres, and similar instruments which utter melodies, are as far inferior to the music of nightingales or swans as a thing made after a model, and an imitation must be from the archetypal model, or a perishable species from an imperishable genus; for it is not fitting to compare the music of man with that of any other animal, since it has an especial privilege with which it is honoured, namely, articulate distinctness of speaking;


nanfor all other animals, having a broken utterance in their voice, by this and by an incessant change of tones alone give pleasure to our ears. But man, being furnished by nature with the means not only of speaking but also of singing articulately, charms both the sense of hearing and the mind, soothing the one with his song and influencing the other with ideas;


nanfor, as an instrument, if it be given into the hands of a man who has no skill as a musician, is inharmonious, but if given to a musician it becomes harmonious according to the skill that is in him. So in the same manner speech, when put in motion by a worthless mind, is inharmonious; but, when it is put in motion by a virtuous mind, it is found to be very melodious.


nanA lyre, indeed, or any similar instrument, if it be not struck by some one, is silent; and speech, too, if it be not struck by the principal part, that is to say, the mind, is of necessity tranquil. And, again, as musical instruments are transposed and adapted to an infinite number of mixtures of airs, so also speech corresponds to them, becoming an interpreter of things;


nanfor who would converse in a similar manner with parents and children, being by nature the slave of the one, and by birth the master of the others? And who, again, would talk in the same manner to brothers or cousins; or, in short, to near and to distant relations? Who, again, could do so to friends and to strangers, to fellow citizens and to foreigners, though there may be no great difference in point of fortune, or nature, or age between them? For one must behave differently while associating with an old man and with a young one; and, again, with a man of high reputation and a humble man, with a servant and a master; and, again, with a woman and a man, and with an illiterate and a clever man.


nanAnd why need one cite an incredible variety of persons to whom speech varies itself, so as at one time to assume one character and at another time another? For it would not interpret great things and small, numerous things and rare, private and public matters, sacred and profane affairs, or old and new events in the same manner; but would use, in each case, language appropriate to the number, or importance, or magnitude of the affairs under discussion; at one time elevating itself to a lofty style, and at another time, on the contrary, confining and humbling itself.


nanBut as circumstances and persons give varieties to speech, so also do the causes of things and the manner in which they are done; and, moreover, those points especially with which everything is concerned, namely, time and place. Very beautifully, therefore, is he who inclines voices, namely Jubal, called "the father of the psaltery and of the harp," from a portion of the whole science of music, as has been shown already. XXXIII.


nanThe descendants, therefore, of Adah, and what she herself is, have now been explained. Let us consider next the other wife of Lamech, Zillah, and what she brings forth. Zillah, then, being interpreted, means "shadow," a symbol of the equalities of the body and of the external good things, which, in their real essence, are in no way better than a shadow. Is not beauty a shadow, which, after it has flourished for a brief time, withers away? And are not strength and activity of body shadows, which any chance disease can destroy? And the organs of the external senses, and the accuracy of their use, which any sudden cold may obstruct, or old age, that inevitable and common disease of all men, may impair, are not they shadows? And, again, are not riches and glory, and authority and honours, and all the external circumstances which are accounted goods, are not they, I say, all shadows?


nanBut one ought to lead the mind, as if by the steps of a flight of stairs, up to the origin of everything. Men in the rank of those who are considered illustrious have gone to Delphi, who have consecrated their happy lives to the service of that place, and like writings which have become effaced, not only in consequence of the lapse of ages but also by the vicissitudes which time brings bout, they have then expired [...] There are some again whom the impetuosity of an overflowing torrent, as it were, has suddenly extinguished and carried away.


nanFrom all these shadows, then, and all these unsubstantial dreams a son is born, whom his parents called Tubal (this name being interpreted means "all"). For they with great wisdom laying it down (instead of those things which are accounted good things by the multitude) that competency combined with good health is happiness, consider that in that is united everything great or small, in short everything.


nanBut if there were any such thing as an absolutely independent authority added, then becoming full of arrogant domination, and elated with vanity and false opinions, forgetting themselves and the contemptible material of which they are composed, they look upon themselves as composed of a more valuable material than the composition of man admits of; and becoming swollen with pride, they think themselves worthy of even divine honours. At all events, before now some persons have ventured to say, that they "do not know the true God," forgetting their own human nature, by reason of the immoderate excess of corporeal and external things [...] and each imagining [...] XXXIV.


nanThen Moses says, "He was a hammer-beater and forger of brass and Iron:" for the soul of that man who is intent on corporeal pleasures or external things is beaten by a hammer, like apiece of iron on an anvil, being drawn out according to the long and thin-drawn extensions of the appetites. Accordingly, you may see men fond of their bodies at every time, and in every place laying lines and nets to catch those objects that they desire; and others, who are lovers of money or covetous of glory, letting loose their desire and eagerness for those things to the furthest boundaries of earth and sea, and dragging in from all quarters by their unlimited desires, as if by so many nets, whatever can gratify them, till the excessive tension, being broken by its great violence, drags back those who are dragging at it, and throws them down headlong.


nanAll these men are causes of war, on account of which they are said to be workers in brass and iron, by means of which metals wars are carried on. For if any one contemplates the history of the greatest public or private quarrels that have arisen among men and among cities, he will not be wrong if [...] he looks upon all of them, whether upon those which took place long ago, or upon those which are now raging, or on all that will ever arise hereafter, as being caused either by the beauty of a woman, or by a love of money, or, in short, by some desire for the excessive indulgence of the body, and for some superfluity of external things:


nanbut no foreign war and no civil war has ever existed for the sake of instruction or virtue, which are the good things of the mind, which is the best part of us; for these things are in their nature peaceful, and by them good laws and tranquil stability, and whatever else is most beautiful to the sharpseeing eyes of the soul, not to the dim perceptions of the body, are seen to be established. For the perceptive powers of the body look only upon the external surface, but the eye of the mind penetrates within, and going deep down surveys all the interior and hidden things which are removed out of the reach of bodily sight.


nanAnd nearly all the troubles, and confusions, and enmities which arise among men, are about absolutely nothing, but about what is really a shadow: for Moses called Tubal the son of Zillah, that is to say of shadow, the maker of the warlike instruments of brass and iron, speaking philosophically, and being guided not by verbal technicalities, but by the exceeding propriety of the names; for he knew that every naval and every land expedition chooses to encounter the greatest dangers for the sake of bodily pleasures, or with a view to obtain a superfluity of external good things, of which nothing is firm or solid, as is testified by the history of time, which brings all things to proof: for they are like superficial sketches, being in themselves perishable and of no duration. XXXV.


nanMoses proceeds to say, that Tubal's sister was Noeman, the interpretation of which name is "fatness." For it follows that those who pursue a luxurious condition of the body, and the other objects which I have mentioned, do get fat when they obtain any of the things that they desire: but such fatness as this I lay down as not strength but weakness; for it teaches a man to depart from the honour due to God, which is the first and most excellent power of the soul:


nanand the law is a witness to this which in the great hymn speaks thus--"He was fat, he was rich, he was exceeding broad, and he forsook God who had made him, and he forgot God his Saviour." For in truth those men whose lives have been exceedingly fortunate and are so at the time, do not remember the eternal God, but they think time their god;


nanon which account Moses bears witness, exhorting us to war against the contrary opinions, for he says, "The time has departed from them, and the Lord is among Us." So that those men by whom the life of the soul is honoured, have divine reason dwelling among them, and walking with them; but those who pursue a life of pleasure have only a brief and fictitious want of opportunities: these men, therefore, having swollen extravagantly, and become enormously distended by their profuse fatness and luxury, have burst asunder. But the others, being made fat by that wisdom which nourishes the souls that love virtue, have a firm and unshaken power, a specimen of which is the fat which is sacrificed as a whole burnt-offering from every victim:


nanfor Moses says, "All the fat shall belong to the Lord by the everlasting Law;" so that the fat of the mind is offered up to God and is appropriated to him, owing to which it is made immortal; but the fat which clings to the body and belongs to external things is referred to time, which is contrary to God, through which it very rapidly wastes away. XXXVI.


nanTherefore, concerning the wives of Lamech and his children, I think that enough has been said. Let us now consider what we may look upon as the resurrection of Abel, who was treacherously slain. Moses tells us, "And Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and brought forth a son, and he called his name Seth; for, said he, "God has raised me up another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain Slew." The interpretation of the name Seth, is "irrigation.


nanAs, therefore, the seeds and plants which are put into the ground grow and blossom through being irrigated, and are thus made fertile for the production of fruits, but if they are deprived of moisture they wither away, so likewise the soul, as it appears when it is watered with the wholesome stream of wisdom, shoots forth, and brings fruit to perfection.


nanNow, irrigation may be looked upon in a two-fold light: with regard to that which irrigates, and with regard to that which is irrigated. And might one not say that each of the outward senses is irrigated by the mind as by a fountain, which widens and extends all their faculties, as if they were so many channels for water? No one, therefore, in his senses would say, that the eyes see, but that the mind sees by means of the eyes; or that the ears hear, but that the mind hears by the instrumentality of the ears; or that the nostrils smell, but that the predominant part of man smells through the medium of the nostrils. XXXVII.


nanOn which account it is said in Genesis, "And a fountain went up from the earth, and watered all the face of the Earth." For since nature has allotted the most excellent portion of the whole body, namely the face, to the outward senses, therefore the fountain which goes up from the superior part, being diffused over various parts, and sending up its streams like so many watercourses as high as the face, by their means conducts the faculties to each of the organs of the outwards senses. In this way in truth, it is that the word of God irrigates the virtues; for that is the beginning and the fountain of all good actions.


nanAnd the lawgiver shows this, when he says, "And a river went out of Eden to water the Paradise; and from thence it is divided into four Heads." For there are four generic virtues: prudence, courage, temperance, and justice. And of these, every single one is a princess and a ruler; and he who has acquired them is, from the moment of the acquisition, a ruler and a king, even if he has no abundance of any kind of treasure;


nanfor the meaning of the expression, "it is divided into four heads," is [...] nor distance; but virtue exhibits the pre-eminence and the power. And these spring from the word of God as from one root, which he compares to a river, on account of the unceasing and everlasting flow of salutary words and doctrines, by which it increases and nourishes the souls that love God. XXXVIII.


nanAnd of what kind they are, he proceeds to show in a few words, deriving his explanation from the natural things of art; for he introduces Agar as filling a leathern bag with water, and giving her child Drink. Now Agar is the handmaid of Sarah, the new dispensation of perfect virtue; and she is correctly represented so. Since, therefore, having come to the depth of knowledge, which Moses here calls a well, she draws up (filling the soul as if it were a vessel) the doctrines and speculations which she is in pursuit of, wishing to feed her child on the things on which she herself is fed.


nanAnd Moses, by her child, means, a soul which has lately learnt to desire instruction, and which has, in a manner, just been born to learn. In reference to which, the boy, when he has grown up to man's estate, becomes a sophist, whom Moses calls an archer; for whatever argument he applies his mind to, at that, as at a target, he shoots all his reasons, as an archer shoots his arrows. XXXIX.


nanBut Rebekkah is found to give her pupil drink no longer by improvement, but by perfection. How so the law will tell us: "For the damsel," says Moses, "was very beautiful to the sight, and was a maiden; no man had known her. And when he had gone down to the fountain, she filled her pitcher, and came up again; and the servant ran forward to meet her, and said, Give me now to drink a little water from thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord. And she made haste, and took down the pitcher on her arm, and gave to him to drink until he ceased drinking, And said, and I will also give to thy camels to drink, until they have all drunk; and she made haste, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and running to the well, she drew water for the Camels.


nanHere who can help wondering at the minute accuracy of the lawgiver as to every particular? He calls Rebekkah a maiden, and a very beautiful maiden, because the nature of virtue is unmixed and free from guile, and unpolluted, and the only thing in all creation which is both beautiful and good; from which arose the Stoic doctrine, that the only thing that was beautiful was the good. XL.


nanNow of the four virtues, some are always virgins, and some from having been women become changed into virgins, as Sarah did; "For it had ceased to be with her after the manner of Women," when she began to conceive her happy offspring Isaac. But that which is always a virgin, is that of which Moses says, "And no man whatever knows her." For in truth, it is not permitted to any mortal to pollute incorruptible nature, nor even clearly to comprehend what it is. If indeed he were able by any means to become acquainted with it, he would not cease to hate and regret it;


nanon which account Moses, in strict accordance with the principles of natural philosophy, represents Leah as Hated. For those whom the charms of pleasures, which are with Rachel, that is to say, with the outward sense, cannot be endured by Leah, who is situated out of the reach of the passions; on which account they repudiate and detest her. But as far as she herself is concerned, her alienation from the creature produces her a close connection with God, from whom she receives the seeds of wisdom, and conceives, and travails, and brings forth virtuous ideas, worthy of the father who begot them. If therefore, you, O my soul, imitating Leah, reject mortal things, you will of necessity turn to the incorruptible God, who will shed over you all the fountains of his good. XLI.


nanBut Rebekkah," says Moses, "went down to the fountain to fill her pitcher, and came up again." For from what source is it natural for the mind that thirsts after wisdom to be filled, except from the wisdom of God, that fountain which never fails, and to which the soul that descends comes up again like a virtuous disciple? For those who descend out of a vain pride, the reason of virtue receives, and taking them up by means of fame raises them to a height. On which account it is that Moses seems to me to use the expression, "Go, descend, and come Up," as if every one who measures his own loveliness comes forth more gloriously in the eyes of the judges of truth. And he speaks of these matters with great caution.


nanFor Agar bears a leathern bag to the well, but Rebekkah carries a pitcher. For the one who devotes himself to instruction and to the energetical branches of learning has need of some incorporeal things as it were of the outward senses, of vessels, and eyes, and ears, for a proper contemplation of the objects of her speculation. For from seeing many things and hearing many things, there is derived, in the case of those who are fond of learning the advantage which proceeds from knowledge. But the one who is filled with unalloyed wisdom has need only of a leathern habitation, which is no better than none at all. For the soul which loves unsubstantial things has learnt to put off the whole leathern bag of reasons, that is to say the body, and brings only a pitcher which is the symbol of a vessel, which contains the principal portion in great size and abundance, like water; as to which, those who are clever in such matters may make it a subject of philosophical speculation, whether it is a membrane or a heart.


nanTherefore, the man who is fond of learning, seeing men imbibing the sciences like water, from wisdom that divine fountain, runs up, and meeting them becomes a suppliant to them to know how he may allay his thirst for learning. And the soul which has received the best possible education, namely, the lesson not to envy, and to be liberal, immediately proffers to him the stream of wisdom, and invites him to drink abundantly, adding also this that she calls him who is only a servant her lord. This is the meaning of that most dogmatic assertion, that the wise man alone is free, and a king, even if he have ten thousand masters over his body. XLII.


nanMost correctly, therefore, after the servant has said, "Give me a little water to drink," does she make answer, not in the manner corresponding to his request: "I will give you to drink," but "Drink." For the one expression would have been suited to one who was displaying the riches of God, which are poured forth for all who are worthy of them and who are able to think of them; but the other expression is appropriate to one who professes that she will teach. But nothing which is connected with mere professions is akin to virtue.


nanBut he describes in a most skilful manner the language used by her who teaches and benefits her pupils. For "she made haste," he says, "and took down the pitcher on her arm." Her alacrity to serve the man was displayed by her making haste, and such alacrity is seated in the mind, beyond which envy is cast away. But by the expression, "taking down the pitcher on her arm," we see intimated the prompt and eager attention of the teacher to the pupil;


nanfor those teachers are foolish who attempt to regulate their explanations not by a reference to the capacity of their pupils, but to their own superior ability, not being aware that there is a vast difference between making a display and giving a lesson. For he who is making a display, relying on the good fortune of his present way of proceeding, brings into sight, without any trouble, the works at which he has for a long while been labouring at home, like the works of painters or sculptors, seeking for praise from the multitude. But he who is endeavouring to teach others, like a good physician, has a regard not to the greatness of his own skill, but to the capacity of his patient who is to be healed; not thinking how much he can do by his art, for it is unspeakable how much this may be; but what the patient requires, aiming at moderation, and bringing forward what may improve him. XLIII.


nanOn which account Moses says in another passage, "Thou shalt lend a loan to him who asks you for one, as much as he requires, having regard to what he Requires." By the second phrase showing that it is not everything which is to be given, but only such things as are suitable to the requirements of those who are asking for them. For to give an anchor, or an oar, or a rudder to a husbandman, or ploughs or a spade to a captain of a ship, or a lyre to a physician, or instruments suited to manual labour to a musician, would be ridiculous, unless indeed one ought to offer a thirsty man costly viands, or a hungry man unmixed wine in abundance, so as to show at once one's own riches and one's want of humanity, by turning the souls of one's companions into ridicule. The quantity to be given in an act of beneficence is defined according to due proportion, which is a most useful thing. For, says Moses, do not give all that right reason is able to give, but as much as he who is asking the loan is worthy to receive.


nanDo you not see that even God does not utter his oracles, having a regard to their being in proportion to the magnitude of his own oracular power, but always having respect to the capacity of those who are to be benefited by them? Since who could receive the whole power of the words of God, which are too mighty for any one to listen to? On which account those persons appear to speak with great truth, who say to Moses, "Do thou speak to us, and let not God speak to us, lest we Die." For they know that they have not in themselves any organ which can be worthy of God who is giving laws to his church;


nannor, indeed, could even the whole world, both land and sea, contain his riches if he were inclined to display them, unless we think that the descent of the rains and of the other things that happen in the world are appointed to take place according to the pre-arranged periods of the seasons, and not all at once, because of the scarcity and rarity of the things themselves, and not from any regard to the advantage of those who are benefited by them; who would be injured rather than be benefited by a continual enjoyment of such gifts.


nanOn this account it is, that God always judiciously limits and brings out with wise moderation his first benefits, stopping them before those who partake of them become wanton through satiety; and then he bestows others in their stead; and again a third class of advantages instead of the second set, and so on, continually substituting new blessings for those of older date, at one time giving such as are different from those which went before, and at another time such as are almost identical with them; for the creature is never wholly destitute of the blessings bestowed by God, since if he were he would be utterly destroyed; but he is unable to endure an unlimited and measureless abundance of them. On which account, as he is desirous that we should derive advantage from the benefits which he bestows upon us, he weighs out what he gives so as to proportion it to the strength of those who receive it. XLIV.


nanRebekkah, therefore, must be praised, who, in obedience to the injunctions of her father, having taken down the vessel of wisdom on her arm from a higher place, proffered her pitcher to the disciple; by the pitcher being understood that teaching which he is competent to receive.


nanAnd beyond all other things, I especially admire her exceeding liberality; for though she had only been asked for a small draught, she gave a large one, until she had filled the whole soul of the learner with wholesome speculations. For Moses says, "She gave him to drink till he ceased from drinking," a most marvellous example to teach us humanity. For if any one should not happen to be in want of many things, but should come forward, and out of shame ask only for a very little, let us not give him only what he mentions, but also those things of which he makes no mention, but of which he is nevertheless in reality in need.


nanBut it is not sufficient for the complete enjoyment of his teacher's lessons, that the disciple should merely comprehend what the master has taught him, unless he has also got memory. On which account, making a display of her bounteous disposition, when he has satisfied himself with the water, she offers to give his camels water also, which we have already said are here put symbolically for memory. For the animal while eating its food ruminates, and when, having stooped down it has received a heavy burden, with exceedingly great vigour of muscle it rises up lightly;


nanand in the same manner also, the soul of the man who is devoted to learning, when the burden of its speculations is placed upon it, becomes more lowly, and when it has risen up it rejoices; and from that mastication, and as it were the softening, of the first food that is placed down before it, arises its memory of those speculations.


nanBut she, beholding the nature of the servant to be well calculated for the reception of virtue, emptied her whole pitcher into the cistern, that is to say, she emptied the whole knowledge of the teacher into the soul of the learner. For the sophists, from a desire of gain and also from envy, repressing the natural characters of their pupils, keep silence about many things which ought to be mentioned, laying up for themselves a source of gain for future times.


nanBut virtue is an ungrudging and most liberal feeling, so that it does not hesitate to assist another with hand and foot, as the proverb goes, and with all its power. Therefore, pouring all that she knew into the mind of the pupil as into a cistern, she went again to the well to draw water, that is to say, she went to the ever-flowing wisdom of God, that what had been already imparted might be firmly fixed in by memory, and that he might also be irrigated with the knowledge of other and newer things. For the wealth of the wisdom of God is illimitable, and as a tree which is continually putting forth new shoots after the old ones, so that it never ceases growing young again, and being in the flower of its strength.


nanSo that they are marvellously simple people who have ever had an idea of coming to the end of any branch of knowledge whatever. For that which has seemed to be near and within reach is nevertheless a long way distant from the end; since no created being is perfect in any department of learning, but falls as far short of it as a thoroughly infant child just beginning to learn does, in comparison of a man who both by age and skill is qualified to be a master. XLV.


nanAnd we must inquire the cause why the handmaid gave the servant drink from the fountain, but gave the camels water from the well. May it not perhaps be that the stream here signifies the sacred scripture itself, which irrigates the sciences, and that the well is rather akin to memory? For the depths which he has already mentioned, he produces by means of memory as it were out of a well;


nanand such persons as these one ought to admit because of the goodness of their natural disposition. But there are some men among those who practise virtue to whom the all-beneficent God has shown the way that leads to virtue, such that at first it is accounted rough, and steep, and difficult, but subsequently level and easy, having changed the bitterness of the wayfarer's labour to sweetness. And how he has wrought this change we will now tell.


nanWhen he led us forth out of Egypt, that is to say, out of the passions which excite the body, we, travelling in the desert, that is to say, in the path of pleasure, encamped in the place called Marah, a place which had no drinkable water, but where all the water was Bitter. For still the pleasures which are brought into action by means of the eyes, and ears, and belly, and the parts adjacent to the belly, were tempting to us, and charmed us exceedingly, sounding close to us.


nanWhen, therefore, we desired to be entirely separated from them, they dragged us back, exerting themselves in opposition to us, and entwining themselves round us, and soothing us with all kinds of juggling tricks and assiduous blandishments; so that we, yielding to their unremitting caresses, became alienated from and disinclined to labour, as something very bitter and intolerable, and designed to run back again to Egypt, that is to say, to the condition of an intemperate and lascivious life, if the Saviour had not speedily taken pity on us, and thrown a sweetening branch like a medicine upon our soul, causing it to love labour instead of hating it.


nanFor he knew, inasmuch as he was our Creator, that we could not possibly survive any existing thing unless there were in us an intense love of doing so. Therefore, men never succeed in attaining any object that they desire if they pursue it without any connection with or consideration of fitness. But when friendship is added, and also a familiarity with the loved object, their endeavours then succeed rightly. XLVI.


nanThis is the food of a soul which is inclined to the practice of virtue, to consider labour a very sweet thing instead of a bitter one, which, however, it is not allowed to all persons to participate in; but to those only by whom the golden calf, the animal made by the Egyptians, the body, is sprinkled over with water after having been burnt with fire, and broken to pieces. For it is said in the sacred scriptures, that "Moses having taken the calf burnt it with fire, and broke it up into small pieces, and threw the pieces into the water and caused the children of Israel to drink Thereof.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

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1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 17.15 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

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׃ 17.15. 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."
2. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 3.14 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

3.14. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה וַיֹּאמֶר כֹּה תֹאמַר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶהְיֶה שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם׃ 3.14. And God said unto Moses: ‘I AM THAT I AM’; and He said: ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I AM hath sent me unto you.’"
3. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 18.11, 19.19, 24.1 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

18.11. וְאַבְרָהָם וְשָׂרָה זְקֵנִים בָּאִים בַּיָּמִים חָדַל לִהְיוֹת לְשָׂרָה אֹרַח כַּנָּשִׁים׃ 19.19. הִנֵּה־נָא מָצָא עַבְדְּךָ חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וַתַּגְדֵּל חַסְדְּךָ אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי לְהַחֲיוֹת אֶת־נַפְשִׁי וְאָנֹכִי לֹא אוּכַל לְהִמָּלֵט הָהָרָה פֶּן־תִּדְבָּקַנִי הָרָעָה וָמַתִּי׃ 24.1. וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַיהוָה בֵּרַךְ אֶת־אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל׃ 24.1. וַיִּקַּח הָעֶבֶד עֲשָׂרָה גְמַלִּים מִגְּמַלֵּי אֲדֹנָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ וְכָל־טוּב אֲדֹנָיו בְּיָדוֹ וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם אֶל־עִיר נָחוֹר׃ 18.11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.—" 19.19. behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shown unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest the evil overtake me, and I die." 24.1. And Abraham was old, well stricken in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things."
4. Septuagint, 3 Maccabees, 5.30 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 170 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

6. Philo of Alexandria, On Drunkenness, 212 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

212. And it is laid down as a doctrine of the most general applicability and usefulness, that every author of pleasure is unproductive of wisdom, being neither male nor female, because it is incompetent either to give or to receive the seeds which have a tendency to incorruptibility, but is able only to study the most disgraceful habits of life, to destroy what ought to be indestructible, and to extinguish the torches of wisdom, which ought to be enduring and inextinguishable.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Posterity of Cain, 122 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

122. on which account Moses bears witness, exhorting us to war against the contrary opinions, for he says, "The time has departed from them, and the Lord is among Us." So that those men by whom the life of the soul is honoured, have divine reason dwelling among them, and walking with them; but those who pursue a life of pleasure have only a brief and fictitious want of opportunities: these men, therefore, having swollen extravagantly, and become enormously distended by their profuse fatness and luxury, have burst asunder. But the others, being made fat by that wisdom which nourishes the souls that love virtue, have a firm and unshaken power, a specimen of which is the fat which is sacrificed as a whole burnt-offering from every victim:
8. Philo of Alexandria, On Curses, 102-168, 170-172, 79-100 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

100. And Jacob's brother, he says, was Jubal, and the interpretation of this latter name is "inclining," being symbolically speech according to utterance; for this is naturally the brother of intellect; and it is with extraordinary propriety that he called the conversation of that intellect which changes affairs, "inclining," for it agrees after a fashion and harmonizes with both, as the equivalent weight does in a scale, or as a vessel which is tossed by the sea inclines first to one side and then to the other, from the violence of the waves; for the foolish man has not learnt how to say anything firm or stable.
9. Philo of Alexandria, On Sobriety, 17 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.321, 4.134, 4.149, 4.157, 4.215 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.321. for envy is never found in conjunction with virtue. Let men who do injurious things be put to shame, and seeking hiding places and recesses in the earth, and deep darkness, hide themselves, concealing their lawless iniquity from sight, so that no one may behold it. But to those who do such things as are for the common advantage, let there be freedom of speech, and let them go by day through the middle of the market place where they will meet with the most numerous crowds, to display their own manner of life in the pure sun, and to do good to the assembled multitudes by means of the principal of the outward senses, giving them to see those things the sight of which is most delightful and most impressive, and hearing and feasting upon salutary speeches which are accustomed to delight the minds even of those men who are not utterly illiterate. 4.134. And I mean by this those virtues which are of common utility, for each one of these ten laws separately, and all of them together, train men and encourage them to prudence, and justice, and piety, towards God and all the rest of the company of virtues, connecting sound words with good intentions, and virtuous actions with wise language, that so the organ of the soul may be wholly and entirely held together in a good and harmonious manner so as to produce a well-regulated and faultless innocence and consistency of life. 4.149. There is also this commandment ordained which is of great common utility, that, "Thou shalt not move thy neighbours' landmarks which the former men have set Up."{35}{deuteronomy 19:14.} And this injunction is given, as it seems, not only with respect to inheritances, and to the boundaries of the land, in order to prohibit covetousness respecting them, but also as a guard to ancient customs; for customs are unwritten laws, being the doctrines of men of old, not engraved on pillars or written on paper which may be eaten by moths, but impressed in the souls of those living under the same constitution. 4.157. The all-wise Moses seeing this by the power of his own soul, makes no mention of any authority being assigned by lot, but he has chosen to direct that all offices shall be elected to; therefore he says, "Thou shalt not appoint a stranger to be a ruler over thee, but one of thine own Brethren,"{37}{#de 17:15.} implying that the appointment is to be a voluntary choice, and an irreproachable selection of a ruler, whom the whole multitude with one accord shall choose; and God himself will add his vote on favour of, and set his seal to ratify such an election, that being who is the confirmer of all advantageous things, looking upon the man so chosen as the flower of his race, just as the sight is the best thing in the body.XXXI. 4.215. But you seem rashly to forget those precepts of general advantage which I enjoined you to observe. For, at all events, if you had recollected the commandment concerning the seventh year, in which I commanded you to allow the land to remain fallow and sacred, without being exhausted by any agricultural operation of any kind, by reason of the labours which it has been going through for the six preceding years, and which is has undergone, producing its crops at the appointed seasons of the year in accordance with the ordices of nature; you would not now be introducing innovations, and giving vent to all your covetous desires, be seeking for unprecedented crops, sowing a land fit for the growth of trees, and especially one planted with vines, in order by two crops every year, both being founded in iniquity, to increase your substance out of undue avarice, amassing money by lawless desires.
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 185 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

185. It is a very beautiful exchange and recompense for this choice on the part of man thus displaying anxiety to serve God, when God thus without any delay takes the suppliant to himself as his own, and goes forth to meet the intentions of the man who, in a genuine and sincere spirit of piety and truth, hastens to do him service. But the true servant and suppliant of God, even if by himself he be reckoned and classed as a man, still in power, as has been said in another place, is the whole people, inasmuch as he is equal in value to a whole people. And this is naturally the case in other matters also;
12. Philo of Alexandria, On The Contemplative Life, 67, 2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2. but the deliberate intention of the philosopher is at once displayed from the appellation given to them; for with strict regard to etymology, they are called therapeutae and therapeutrides, either because they process an art of medicine more excellent than that in general use in cities (for that only heals bodies, but the other heals souls which are under the mastery of terrible and almost incurable diseases, which pleasures and appetites, fears and griefs, and covetousness, and follies, and injustice, and all the rest of the innumerable multitude of other passions and vices, have inflicted upon them), or else because they have been instructed by nature and the sacred laws to serve the living God, who is superior to the good, and more simple than the one, and more ancient than the unit;
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.67, 1.75, 1.132, 1.162, 2.3, 2.5-2.6, 2.14, 2.26-2.28, 2.32, 2.43-2.44, 2.58, 2.154, 2.200, 2.261, 2.278 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.67. For the burning bush was a symbol of the oppressed people, and the burning fire was a symbol of the oppressors; and the circumstance of the burning bush not being consumed was an emblem of the fact that the people thus oppressed would not be destroyed by those who were attacking them, but that their hostility would be unsuccessful and fruitless to the one party, and the fact of their being plotted against would fail to be injurious to the others. The angel, again, was the emblem of the providence of God, who mitigates circumstances which appear very formidable, so as to produce from them great tranquillity beyond the hopes or expectation of any one. 1.75. And God said, "At first say unto them, I am that I am, that when they have learnt that there is a difference between him that is and him that is not, they may be further taught that there is no name whatever that can properly be assigned to me, who am the only being to whom existence belongs. 1.132. But at this time its attack was prompted by God, so that its treachery and hostility were redoubled, since it not only displayed all its own natural covetousness, but also all that eagerness which it derived from the divine providence which went it forth, and armed it and excited it to acts of valour against the natives. 1.162. but, perhaps, since Moses was also destined to be the lawgiver of his nation, he was himself long previously, through the providence of God, a living and reasonable law, since that providence appointed him to the lawgiver, when as yet he knew nothing of his appointment. 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. 2.5. But a king and a lawgiver ought to pay attention not only to human things, but also to divine ones, for the affairs of neither kings nor subjects go on well except by the intervention of divine providence; on which account it was necessary that such a man as Moses should enjoy the first priesthood, in order that he might with perfectly conducted sacrifices, and with a perfect knowledge of the proper way to serve God, entreat for a deliverance from evil and for a participation in good, both for himself and for the people whom he was governing, from the merciful God who listens favourably to prayers. 2.6. But since there is an infinite variety of both human and divine circumstances which are unknown both to king, and lawgiver, and chief priest, for a man is no less a created and mortal being from having all these offices, or because he is clothed with such a vast and boundless inheritance of honour and happiness, he was also of necessity invested with the gift of prophecy, in order that he might through the providence of God learn all those things which he was unable to comprehend by his own reason; for what the mind is unable to attain to, that prophecy masters. 2.14. But the enactments of this lawgiver are firm, not shaken by commotions, not liable to alteration, but stamped as it were with the seal of nature herself, and they remain firm and lasting from the day on which they were first promulgated to the present one, and there may well be a hope that they will remain to all future time, as being immortal, as long as the sun and the moon, and the whole heaven and the whole world shall endure. 2.26. In olden time the laws were written in the Chaldaean language, and for a long time they remained in the same condition as at first, not changing their language as long as their beauty had not made them known to other nations; 2.27. but when, from the daily and uninterrupted respect shown to them by those to whom they had been given, and from their ceaseless observance of their ordices, other nations also obtained an understanding of them, their reputation spread over all lands; for what was really good, even though it may through envy be overshadowed for a short time, still in time shines again through the intrinsic excellence of its nature. Some persons, thinking it a scandalous thing that these laws should only be known among one half portion of the human race, namely, among the barbarians, and that the Greek nation should be wholly and entirely ignorant of them, turned their attention to their translation. 2.28. And since this undertaking was an important one, tending to the general advantage, not only of private persons, but also of rulers, of whom the number was not great, it was entrusted to kings and to the most illustrious of all kings. 2.32. And having explained his wishes, and having requested him to pick him out a number of men, of perfect fitness for the task, who should translate the law, the high-priest, as was natural, being greatly pleased, and thinking that the king had only felt the inclination to undertake a work of such a character from having been influenced by the providence of God, considered, and with great care selected the most respectable of the Hebrews whom he had about him, who in addition to their knowledge of their national scriptures, had also been well instructed in Grecian literature, and cheerfully sent them. 2.43. In this way those admirable, and incomparable, and most desirable laws were made known to all people, whether private individuals or kings, and this too at a period when the nation had not been prosperous for a long time. And it is generally the case that a cloud is thrown over the affairs of those who are not flourishing, so that but little is known of them; 2.44. and then, if they make any fresh start and begin to improve, how great is the increase of their renown and glory? I think that in that case every nation, abandoning all their own individual customs, and utterly disregarding their national laws, would change and come over to the honour of such a people only; for their laws shining in connection with, and simultaneously with, the prosperity of the nation, will obscure all others, just as the rising sun obscures the stars. 2.58. But when the whole of that district was thus burnt, inhabitants and all, by the impetuous rush of the heavenly fire, one single man in the country, a sojourner, was preserved by the providence of God because he had never shared in the transgressions of the natives, though sojourners in general were in the habit of adopting the customs of the foreign nations, among which they might be settled, for the sake of their own safety, since, if they despised them, they might be in danger from the inhabitants of the land. And yet this man had not attained to any perfection of wisdom, so as to be thought worthy of such an honour by reason of the perfect excellence of his nature; but he was spared only because he did not join the multitude who were inclined to luxury and effeminacy, and who pursued every kind of pleasure and indulged every kind of appetite, gratifying them abundantly, and inflaming them as one might inflame fire by heaping upon it plenty of rough fuel. 2.154. Then, when they had both come out and held up their hands in front of their head, they, with a pure and holy mind, offered up such prayers as were suitable and becoming for the nation. And while they were still praying a most marvellous prodigy happened; for from out of the inmost shrine, whether it was a portion of the purest possible aether, or whether the air, according to some natural change of the elements, had become dissolved with fire, on a sudden a body of flame shone forth, and with impetuous violence descended on the altar and consumed all that was thereon, with the view, as I imagine, of showing in the clearest manner that none of the things which had been done had been done without the especial providence of God. 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. 2.261. 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? 2.278. 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.
14. Philo of Alexandria, Hypothetica, 11.5 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

15. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 3.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

16. Philo of Alexandria, That The Worse Attacks The Better, 7 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

7. for as he philosophises more with a regard to political wisdom than to truth, he brings into one place and connects together the three kinds of good things, namely, external things, the things concerning the body, and those concerning the soul, things utterly different from one another in their whole natures; wishing to show that each has need of each, and that everything has need of everything; and that that which is really the complete and perfect good, is composed of all these things together, and that the parts of which this perfect good is compounded are parts or elements of good, but are not themselves perfect goods.
17. Philo of Alexandria, That God Is Unchangeable, 11 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

11. And yet she who is speaking is in reality only the mother of one son, namely, of Samuel. How then does she say that she has borne seven children, unless indeed any one thinks that the unit is in its strictest nature identical with the number seven, not only in number, but also in the harmony of the universe, and in the reasonings of the soul which is devoted to virtue? For he who was devoted to the one God, that is Samuel, and who had no connection whatever with any other being, is adorned according to that essence which is single and the real unit;
18. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 43 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

43. But the lawgiver of the Jews ventures upon a more bold assertion even than this, inasmuch as he was, as it is reported, a student and practiser of plain philosophy; and so he teaches that the man who is wholly possessed with the love of God and who serves the living God alone, is no longer man, but actually God, being indeed the God of men, but not of the parts of nature, in order to leave to the Father of the universe the attributes of being both and God.
19. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 9.6 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

9.6. Or have onlyBarnabas and I no right to not work?
20. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, None (3rd cent. CE - 6th cent. CE)

107b. בחברון מלך שבע שנים ובירושלים מלך שלשים ושלש שנים וכתיב (שמואל ב ה, ה) בחברון מלך על יהודה שבע שנים וששה חדשים וגו' והני ששה חדשים לא קחשיב ש"מ נצטרע,אמר לפניו רבש"ע מחול לי על אותו עון מחול לך (תהלים פו, יז) עשה עמי אות לטובה ויראו שונאי ויבושו כי אתה ה' עזרתני ונחמתני א"ל בחייך איני מודיע אבל אני מודיע בחיי שלמה בנך,בשעה שבנה שלמה את בית המקדש ביקש להכניס ארון לבית קדשי הקדשים דבקו שערים זה בזה אמר עשרים וארבעה רננות ולא נענה אמר (תהלים כד, ז) שאו שערים ראשיכם והנשאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד מי זה מלך הכבוד ה' עזוז וגבור ה' גבור מלחמה ונאמר (תהלים כד, ט) שאו שערים ראשיכם ושאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד וגו' ולא נענה,כיון שאמר (דברי הימים ב ו, מב) ה' אלהים אל תשב פני משיחך זכרה לחסדי דויד עבדך מיד נענה באותה שעה נהפכו פני שונאי דוד כשולי קדירה וידעו כל ישראל שמחל לו הקב"ה על אותו העון,גחזי דכתיב וילך אלישע דמשק להיכא אזל א"ר יוחנן שהלך להחזיר גחזי בתשובה ולא חזר אמר לו חזור בך אמר לו כך מקובלני ממך החוטא ומחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה,מאי עבד איכא דאמרי אבן שואבת תלה לחטאת ירבעם והעמידה בין שמים לארץ ואיכא דאמרי שם חקק בפיה והיתה מכרזת ואומרת אנכי ולא יהיה לך,וא"ד רבנן דחה מקמיה שנאמר (מלכים ב ו, א) ויאמרו בני הנביאים אל אלישע הנה [נא] המקום אשר אנחנו יושבים שם לפניך צר ממנו מכלל דעד השתא לא הוו (פיישי) [צר],תנו רבנן לעולם תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת לא כאלישע שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידים [ולא כרבי יהושע בן פרחיה שדחפו ליש"ו בשתי ידים],גחזי דכתיב (מלכים ב ה, כג) ויאמר נעמן הואל וקח ככרים (ויפצר) [ויפרץ] בו ויצר ככרים כסף וגו' ויאמר אליו אלישע מאין גחזי ויאמר לא הלך עבדך אנה ואנה ויאמר אליו לא לבי הלך כאשר הפך איש מעל מרכבתו לקראתך העת לקחת את הכסף ולקחת בגדים וזיתים וכרמים וצאן ובקר ועבדים ושפחות ומי שקל כולי האי כסף ובגדים הוא דשקל,אמר רבי יצחק באותה שעה היה אלישע יושב ודורש בשמונה שרצים נעמן שר צבא מלך ארם היה מצורע אמרה ליה ההיא רביתא דאישתבאי מארעא ישראל אי אזלת לגבי אלישע מסי לך כי אתא א"ל זיל טבול בירדן א"ל אחוכי קא מחייכת בי אמרי ליה הנהו דהוו בהדיה מאי נפקא לך מינה זיל נסי אזל וטבל בירדנא ואיתסי אתא אייתי ליה כל הני דנקיט לא צבי לקבולי מיניה גחזי איפטר מקמיה אלישע אזל שקל מאי דשקל ואפקיד,כי אתא חזייה אלישע לצרעת דהוה פרחא עילויה רישיה א"ל רשע הגיע עת ליטול שכר שמנה שרצים וצרעת נעמן תדבק בך ובזרעך עד עולם ויצא מלפניו מצורע כשלג: (מלכים ב ז, ג) וארבעה אנשים היו מצורעים פתח השער אמר ר' יוחנן גחזי ושלשה בניו,[הוספה מחסרונות הש"ס: רבי יהושע בן פרחיה מאי הוא כדקטלינהו ינאי מלכא לרבנן אזל רבי יהושע בן פרחיה ויש"ו לאלכסנדריא של מצרים כי הוה שלמא שלח לי' שמעון בן שטח מני ירושלים עיר הקודש ליכי אלכסנדרי' של מצרים אחותי בעלי שרוי בתוכך ואנכי יושבת שוממה,קם אתא ואתרמי ליה ההוא אושפיזא עבדו ליה יקרא טובא אמר כמה יפה אכסניא זו אמר ליה רבי עיניה טרוטות אמר ליה רשע בכך אתה עוסק אפיק ארבע מאה שיפורי ושמתיה,אתא לקמיה כמה זמנין אמר ליה קבלן לא הוי קא משגח ביה יומא חד הוה קא קרי קריאת שמע אתא לקמיה סבר לקבולי אחוי ליה בידיה הוא סבר מידחא דחי ליה אזל זקף לבינתא והשתחוה לה אמר ליה הדר בך אמר ליה כך מקובלני ממך כל החוטא ומחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה ואמר מר יש"ו כישף והסית והדיח את ישראל:],תניא א"ר שמעון בן אלעזר יצר תינוק ואשה תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת,ת"ר ג' חלאים חלה אלישע אחד שגירה דובים בתינוקות ואחד שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידים ואחד שמת בו [שנא' (מלכים ב יג, יד) ואלישע חלה את חליו וגו'],עד אברהם לא היה זקנה כל דחזי לאברהם אמר האי יצחק כל דחזי ליצחק אמר האי אברהם בעא אברהם רחמי דליהוי ליה זקנה שנאמר (בראשית כד, א) ואברהם זקן בא בימים עד יעקב לא הוה חולשא בעא רחמי והוה חולשא שנאמר (בראשית מח, א) ויאמר ליוסף הנה אביך חולה עד אלישע לא הוה איניש חליש דמיתפח ואתא אלישע ובעא רחמי ואיתפח שנא' (מלכים ב יג, יד) ואלישע חלה את חליו אשר ימות בו:, big strongמתני׳ /strong /big דור המבול אין להם חלק לעוה"ב ואין עומדין בדין שנא' (בראשית ו, ג) לא ידון רוחי באדם לעולם לא דין ולא רוח דור הפלגה אין להם חלק לעולם הבא שנאמר (בראשית יא, ח) ויפץ ה' אותם משם על פני כל הארץ (וכתיב ומשם הפיצם) ויפץ ה' אותם בעוה"ז ומשם הפיצם ה' לעולם הבא אנשי סדום אין להם חלק לעולם הבא שנא' (בראשית יג, יג) ואנשי סדום רעים וחטאים לה' מאד רעים בעולם הזה וחטאים לעולם הבא אבל עומדין בדין,ר' נחמיה אומר אלו ואלו אין עומדין בדין שנאמר (תהלים א, ה) על כן לא יקומו 107b. bin Hebron he reigned seven years, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years”(I Kings 2:11). bAnd it is written: “In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six monthsand in Jerusalem he reigned for thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah” (II Samuel 5:5). bAnd those six months,the prophet bdid not tallythem as part of the forty years of King David’s reign. bConclude from itthat there were six months that he was not considered king because he bwas afflicted with leprosy. /b,David bsaid before Himafter this: bMaster of the Universe, pardon me for this sin.God said to him: bIt is forgiven for you.David requested: b“Perform on my behalf a sign for good, that they that hate me may see it and be put to shame”(Psalms 86:17); show me a sign in my lifetime so that everyone will know that You have forgiven me. God bsaid to him: In your lifetime I will not makeit bknownthat you were forgiven, bbut I will makeit bknown in the lifetime of your son, Solomon. /b,The Gemara explains: bWhen Solomon built the Templeand bsought to bring the Ark into the Holy of Holies,the bgates clung togetherand could not be opened. Solomon buttered twenty-four songsof praise, bandhis prayer bwas not answered. He said: “Lift up your heads, you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle”(Psalms 24:7–8). bAnd it is stated: “Lift up your heads, you gates, yea, lift them up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in.Who then is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts; He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalms 24:9–10), band he was not answered. /b, bOnce he said: “O Lord God, turn not away the face of Your anointed; remember the good deeds of David Your servant”(II Chronicles 6:42), bhe was immediately answered,and the gates opened (II Chronicles 7:1). bAt that moment, the faces of all of David’s enemies turneddark blike thecharred bbottom of a pot. And all of the Jewish people knew that the Holy One, Blessed be He, had forgiven him for that sin,as it was only by David’s merit that Solomon’s prayer was answered.,§ The mishna states that bGehazi,the attendant of Elisha, has no share in the World-to-Come. The Gemara explains that this is bas it is written: And Elisha went to Damascus(see II Kings 8:7). bWhere did he go,and for what purpose? bRabbi Yoḥa says: He went to cause Gehazi to repent, but he did not repent.Elisha bsaid to him: Repent.Gehazi bsaid to him: Thisis the tradition that bI received from you: Whoever sins and causes the masses to sin is not given the opportunity to repent. /b, bWhat did he dothat caused the masses to sin? bThere arethose bwho saythat bhe hung a magnetic rock on Jeroboam’s sin,i.e., on the golden calf that Jeroboam established as an idol, so that bhe suspended it between heaven and earth,i.e., he caused it to hover above the ground. This seemingly miraculous occurrence caused the people to worship it even more devoutly than before. bAnd there arethose bwho say: He engravedthe sacred bnameof God bon its mouth, and it would declare and say: “I amthe Lord your God” (Exodus 20:2), band: “You shall not haveother gods” (Exodus 20:3). The idol would quote the two prohibitions from the Ten Commandments that prohibit idol worship, causing the people to worship it even more devoutly than before., bAnd there arethose bwho say:Gehazi bpushed the Sagesaway bfromcoming bbefore him,i.e., he prevented them from learning from Elisha, bas it is stated: “And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, behold this place where we are staying before you is too cramped for us”(II Kings 6:1). It may be derived bby inference that until now they were not numerousand the place was not bcrampedfor them, as Gehazi would turn people away., bThe Sages taught: Always have the lefthand bdrivesinners baway and the right drawthem bnear,so that the sinner will not totally despair of atonement. This is bunlike Elisha, who pushed away Gehazi with his two handsand caused him to lose his share in the World-to-Come, band unlike Yehoshua ben Peraḥya, who pushed away Jesus the Nazarene with his two hands. /b,Elisha drove bGehaziaway, bas it is written: “And Naaman said: Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silverin two bags, with two changes of garments” (II Kings 5:23). Naaman offered Gehazi payment for the help Elisha had given him. The verse states: b“And Elisha said to him: Where from, Gehazi? And he said: Your servant went nowhere at all. And he said to him: Went not my heart with you, when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it the time to receive silver and to receive garments, and olive groves, and vineyards, and sheep and cattle, and menservants and maidservants?”(II Kings 5:25–26). The Gemara asks: bAnd didGehazi btake all that? It ismerely bsilver and garments that he took. /b, bRabbi Yitzḥak says:This was the incident involving Gehazi: bAt that moment, Elisha was sitting and teachingthe ihalakhotof the beightimpure bcreeping animals.Now bNaaman, the general of the army of Aram, was a leper. A certain young Jewish woman who had been taken captive from Eretz Yisrael said to him: If you go to Elisha, he will heal you. WhenNaaman bcameto him, Elisha bsaid to him: Go immerse in the Jordan.Naaman bsaid to him: Are you mocking meby suggesting that this will cure me? bThosecompanions bwho were withNaaman bsaid to him: What is the difference to you? Go, tryit. Naaman bwent and immersed in the Jordan and was healed.Naaman bcameand bbrought toElisha ball thoseitems bthat he hadtaken with him from Aram, and Elisha bdid not agree to receivethem bfrom him. Gehazi took leave from before Elishaand bwentand btookfrom Naaman bwhat he took, andhe bdepositedthem., bWhenGehazi bcame, Elisha saw the leprosy that had grown onGehazi’s bhead.Elisha bsaid to him: Wicked one! The time has arrived to takeyour breward forstudying the matter of bthe eight creeping animals.Since the silver Gehazi received was his reward for studying the matter of the eight creeping animals, Elisha enumerated eight items that Gehazi sought to purchase with the silver that he took. Then Elisha said to Gehazi: b“The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your seed forever. And he went out of his presence a leper as white as snow”(II Kings 5:27). With regard to the verse: b“And there were four men afflicted with leprosy at the entrance of the gate”(II Kings 7:3), bRabbi Yoḥa says:These were bGehazi and his three sons,as he and his descendants were cursed.,§ bWhat isthe incident involving bYehoshua ben Peraḥya?The Gemara relates: bWhen King Yannai was killing the Sages, Yehoshua ben Peraḥya and Jesus,his student, bwent to Alexandria of Egypt. When there was peacebetween King Yannai and the Sages, bShimon ben Shataḥ senta message btoYehoshua ben Peraḥya: bFrom me, Jerusalem, the holy city, to you, Alexandria of Egypt: My sister, my husband is located among you and I sit desolate.The head of the Sages of Israel is out of the country and Jerusalem requires his return.,Yehoshua ben Peraḥya understood the message, barose, came, and happenedto arrive at ba certain innon the way to Jerusalem. bThey treated him with great honor.Yehoshua ben Peraḥya bsaid: How beautiful is this inn.Jesus, his student, bsaid to him:But bmy teacher, the eyes ofthe innkeeper’s wife bare narrow [ iterutot /i].Yehoshua ben Peraḥya bsaid to him: Wicked one!Do byou involve yourself with regard to thatmatter, the appearance of a married woman? bHe produced four hundred ishofarotand ostracized him. /b,Jesus bcame beforeYehoshua ben Peraḥya bseveral timesand bsaid to him: Accept our,i.e., my, repentance. Yehoshua ben Peraḥya btook no notice of him. One dayYehoshua ben Peraḥya bwas reciting iShema /iand Jesus bcame before himwith the same request. Yehoshua ben Peraḥya bintended to accept hisrequest, and bsignaled him with his handto wait until he completed his prayer. Jesus did not understand the signal and bthought: He is driving me away. He wentand bstood a brickupright to serve as an idol band he bowed to it.Yehoshua ben Peraḥya then bsaid toJesus: bRepent.Jesus bsaid to him: Thisis the tradition that bI received from you: Whoever sins and causes the masses to sin is not given the opportunity to repent. And the Master says: Jesus performed sorcery, incitedJews to engage in idolatry, band led Israel astray.Had Yehoshua ben Peraḥya not caused him to despair of atonement, he would not have taken the path of evil., bIt is taughtin a ibaraitathat bRabbi Shimon ben Elazar says:With regard to the evil binclination,to ba child, andto ba woman, have the lefthand bdrivethem baway and the right drawthem bnear.Total rejection of the evil inclination will lead to inaction, unlike channeling its power in a positive direction. One should not draw them too near, lest they lead him to sin, but one should not drive his wife or his child away completely, lest he cause them to abandon the path of righteousness., bThe Sages taught: Elisha fell ill with three illnesses: Oneillness was due to the fact bthat he incited bears toattack and eat bchildren(see II Kings 2:24–25); band onewas due to the fact bthat he pushed Gehazi away with two handsand caused him to despair of atonement; band onewas the illness bfrom which he died, as it is stated: “And Elisha was fallen ill of his illnessfrom which he was to die” (II Kings 13:14), indicating that he had previously suffered other illnesses.,Apropos the death of Elisha, the Gemara says: bUntilthe time of bAbraham there was no aging,and the old and the young looked the same. bAnyone who saw Abraham said: That is Isaac,and banyone who saw Isaac said: That is Abraham. Abraham prayed for mercy, that he would undergo aging, as it is stated: “And Abraham was old, well stricken in age”(Genesis 24:1). There is no mention of aging before that verse. bUntilthe time of bJacob there was no weakness,i.e., illness. Jacob bprayed for mercy and there was weakness, as it is stated: “And one said to Joseph: Behold, your father is ill”(Genesis 48:1). bUntilthe time of bElisha, there was no ill person who recovered, and Elisha came and prayed for mercy and recovered, as it is stated: “And Elisha was fallen ill of his illness from which he was to die”(II Kings 13:14). That is the first mention of a person who was ill and who did not die from that illness.,mishna The members of bthe generation of the flood have no share in the World-to-Come and will not stand in judgmentat the end of days, bas it is stated: “My soul shall not abide [ iyadon /i] in man forever”(Genesis 6:3); bneitherwill they stand in bjudgment [ idin /i] norshall their bsoulsbe restored to them. The members of bthe generation of the dispersion have no share in the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “And the Lord scattered them from there upon the face of all the earth”(Genesis 11:8), band it is written: “And from there did the Lord scatter themupon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9). b“And the Lord scattered them”indicates bin this world; “and from there did the Lord scatter them”indicates bfor the World-to-Come. The people of Sodom have no share in the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “And the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly”(Genesis 13:13). b“Wicked”indicates bin this world; “and sinners”indicates bfor the World-to-Come. But they will stand in judgmentand they will be sentenced to eternal contempt., bRabbi Neḥemya says:Both bthese,the people of Sodom, band those,the members of the generation of the flood, bwill not stand in judgment, as it is stated: “Therefore the wicked shall not stand /b
21. Anon., Letter of Aristeas, 80, 30

30. and I now have the following proposal to lay before you. The books of the law of the Jews (with some few others) are absent from the library. They are written in the Hebrew characters and language and have been carelessly interpreted, and do not represent the original text as I am
22. Stoic School, Stoicor. Veter. Fragm., 3.136



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham, as an elder Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
abraham, encomia on Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
abraham, faith of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
abraham, humanity of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
abraham, praise of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
age and youth Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
alexandria, philos perspective on Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
alexandria Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
apocalypticism/apocalyptic, jewish Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
aristeas, letter of Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
barnabas Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
christianity/christians, early writings/literature Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
christianity/christians, emergence of Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
christianity/christians, missionaries/travelers Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
clement of alexandria Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
cyprus Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
dispute between abraham and lot, allegorical interpretation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342, 403
dispute between abraham and lot, literal interpretation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
dispute between abraham and lot Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
elder, abraham as Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
eleazar (high priest in letter of aristeas), unnamed in philo of alexandrias account of the ptolemaic embassy to jerusalem Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
encomia, on abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
epistle of barnabas Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
external goods, faith vs. Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
external goods, virtue vs. Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
external goods Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
faith, as queen of the virtues Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
faith, external goods contrasted with Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
faith Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
gentiles, non-jews (christians, muslims) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
gomorrah, faith in god and Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
gomorrah, goods, kinds of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
gomorrah, the soul and Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
greek, language Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
humanity of abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
jerusalem, in letter of aristeas Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
judaea (judea), high priest of Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
lot, as unstable Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
memory, cultural Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
messiah, philos logos and Heo, Images of Torah: From the Second-Temple Period to the Middle Ages (2023) 195
messianism, apocalyptic (or acute) Heo, Images of Torah: From the Second-Temple Period to the Middle Ages (2023) 195
messianism, stoic logos related to Heo, Images of Torah: From the Second-Temple Period to the Middle Ages (2023) 195
moses, in philos life of moses Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
names of god, masculine participle Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
neuter participle Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
paul of tarsus Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
philo, and origen Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
philo of alexandria Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
philos perspective Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
piety, as highest virtue Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
plutarch Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
ptolemy ii philadelphus, in philos life of moses Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
ptolemy ii philadelphus Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
reputation, as an external good Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
sarah, as an elder Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
septuagint (lxx) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 233
soul, types of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
stoic logos, messianism related to Heo, Images of Torah: From the Second-Temple Period to the Middle Ages (2023) 195
stoicism Heo, Images of Torah: From the Second-Temple Period to the Middle Ages (2023) 195
stoics, classification of goods and Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
travel Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 374
trust in god vs. external goods Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
universal law' Heo, Images of Torah: From the Second-Temple Period to the Middle Ages (2023) 195
virtue, piety as highest Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
virtue, vs. wealth or external goods Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
εὐσέβεια Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
πρεσβύτερος Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
πίστις Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
τρόποι ψυχῆς Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 342
τὸ ὄν Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403
ὁ ὤν Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 403