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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9220
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Confusion Of Tongues, 174-177


nanAnd there is also in the air a most sacred company of incorporeal souls as an attendant upon the heavenly souls; for the word of prophecy is accustomed to call these souls angels. It happens therefore that the whole army of each of these worlds, being marshalled in their suitable ranks, are servants and ministers of the ruler who has marshalled them, whom they follow as their leader, in obedience to the principles of law and justice; for it is impossible to suppose that the divine army can even be detected in desertion.


nanBut it is suitable to the character of the king to associate with his own powers, and to avail himself of them, with a view to their ministrations in such matters as it is not fitting should be settled by God alone, for the Father of the universe has no need of anything, so as to require assistance from any other quarter if he wishes to make any thing. But seeing at once what is becoming, both for himself and for his works of creation, there are some things which he has entrusted to his subordinate powers to fashion; and yet he has not at once given even to them completely independent knowledge to enable it to accomplish their objects, in order that no one of those things which come to be created may be found to be erroneously made. XXXV.


nanThese things, then, it was necessary to give an idea of beforehand; but for what reason this was necessary we must now say. The nature of animals was originally divided into the portion endowed with and into that devoid of reason, the two being at variance with one another. Again the rational division was subdivided into the perishable and imperishable species, the perishable species being the race of mankind, and the imperishable species being the company of incorporeal souls which revolve about the air and heaven.


nanBut these have no participation in wickedness, having received from the very beginning an inheritance without stain and full of happiness; and not being bound up in the region of interminable calamities, that is to say, in the body. The divisions also of the irrational part are free from any participation in wickedness, inasmuch as, having no endowment of intellect, they are never convicted of those deliberate acts of wickedness which proceed upon consideration.


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

24 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 1.26, 3.22, 14.2, 14.8, 19.20-19.22 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

1.26. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל־הָאָרֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶמֶשׂ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃ 3.22. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ לָדַעַת טוֹב וָרָע וְעַתָּה פֶּן־יִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָם׃ 14.2. עָשׂוּ מִלְחָמָה אֶת־בֶּרַע מֶלֶךְ סְדֹם וְאֶת־בִּרְשַׁע מֶלֶךְ עֲמֹרָה שִׁנְאָב מֶלֶךְ אַדְמָה וְשֶׁמְאֵבֶר מֶלֶךְ צביים [צְבוֹיִים] וּמֶלֶךְ בֶּלַע הִיא־צֹעַר׃ 14.2. וּבָרוּךְ אֵל עֶלְיוֹן אֲשֶׁר־מִגֵּן צָרֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וַיִּתֶּן־לוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר מִכֹּל׃ 14.8. וַיֵּצֵא מֶלֶךְ־סְדֹם וּמֶלֶךְ עֲמֹרָה וּמֶלֶךְ אַדְמָה וּמֶלֶךְ צביים [צְבוֹיִם] וּמֶלֶךְ בֶּלַע הִוא־צֹעַר וַיַּעַרְכוּ אִתָּם מִלְחָמָה בְּעֵמֶק הַשִּׂדִּים׃ 19.21. וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הִנֵּה נָשָׂאתִי פָנֶיךָ גַּם לַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְבִלְתִּי הָפְכִּי אֶת־הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ׃ 19.22. מַהֵר הִמָּלֵט שָׁמָּה כִּי לֹא אוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר עַד־בֹּאֲךָ שָׁמָּה עַל־כֵּן קָרָא שֵׁם־הָעִיר צוֹעַר׃ 1.26. And God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’" 3.22. And the LORD God said: ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.’" 14.2. that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela—the same is Zoar." 14.8. And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela—the same is Zoar; and they set the battle in array against them in the vale of Siddim;" 19.20. Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither—is it not a little one?—and my soul shall live.’" 19.21. And he said unto him: ‘See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken." 19.22. Hasten thou, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither.’—Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.—"
2. Hebrew Bible, Psalms, 5.5 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

5.5. כִּי לֹא אֵל־חָפֵץ רֶשַׁע אָתָּה לֹא יְגֻרְךָ רָע׃ 5.5. For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; Evil shall not sojourn with Thee."
3. Septuagint, 1 Maccabees, 8.22, 10.36 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

8.22. and this is a copy of the letter which they wrote in reply, on bronze tablets, and sent to Jerusalem to remain with them there as a memorial of peace and alliance: 10.36. Let Jews be enrolled in the kings forces to the number of thirty thousand men, and let the maintece be given them that is due to all the forces of the king.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Cherubim, 28, 27 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

27. I have also, on one occasion, heard a more ingenious train of reasoning from my own soul, which was accustomed frequently to be seized with a certain divine inspiration, even concerning matters which it could not explain even to itself; which now, if I am able to remember it accurately, I will relate. It told me that in the one living and true God there were two supreme and primary powers--goodness and authority; and that by his goodness he had created every thing, and by his authority he governed all that he had created; 27. For one may almost say that the whole infinity of numbers is measured by this one, because the boundaries which make it up are four, namely, one, two, three, and four; and an equal number of boundaries, corresponding to them in equal proportions, make up the number of a hundred out of decades; for ten, and twenty, and thirty, and forty produce a hundred. And in the same way one may produce the number of a thousand from hundreds, and that of a myriad from thousands.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Confusion of Tongues, 170-173, 175-177, 179-181, 169 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

169. for there, too, Moses records that "the Lord God said, Come, let us now make man in our image; man in our Similitude. The expression, "Let us make," implying a number of creators. And, in another place, we are told that God said, "Behold, the man, Adam, has become as one of us, in respect of his knowing good and Evil;" for the expression, "as one of us," is not applicable to one person, but to many.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Preliminary Studies, 173 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

173. And what is said immediately afterwards is an evidence of this: "He fed thee with manna." Is it, then, proper to call that food which, without any exertion or hardship on his part, and without any trouble of his is given to man, not out of the earth as is usual, but from heaven, a marvellous work, afforded for the benefit of those who are to be permitted to avail themselves of it, the cause of hunger and affliction, and not rather, on the contrary, the cause of prosperity and happiness, of freedom from fear, and of a happy state of orderly living?
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 53-61, 64-65, 52 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

8. Philo of Alexandria, On Drunkenness, 43 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

43. And you are not the less convicted of false pretences, when you profess to compare things that cannot be compared, and say that you now recognise the greatness and pre-eminence of God in comparison of all other gods. For if thou hadst in real truth known the living God, you would never have supposed that there was any other god endued with independent authority;
9. Philo of Alexandria, On Flight And Finding, 66, 68-70, 137 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

137. Those also who have inquired what it is that nourishes the soul, for as Moses says, "They knew not what it was," learnt at last and found that it was the word of God and the divine reason, from which flows all kinds of instinctive and everlasting wisdom. This is the heavenly nourishment which the holy scripture indicates, saying, in the character of the cause of all things, "Behold I rain upon you bread from Heaven;
10. Philo of Alexandria, On Giants, 11, 16, 6-10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. Since what shall we say? Must we not say that these animals which are terrestrial or aquatic live in air and spirit? What? Are not pestilential afflictions accustomed to exist when the air is tainted or corrupted, as if that were the cause of all such assuming vitality? Again, when the air is free from all taint and innocent, such as it is especially wont to be when the north wind prevails, does not the imbibing of a purer air tend to a more vigorous and more lasting duration of life?
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 63, 65-68, 72-75, 84, 144 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

144. And who could these have been but rational divine natures, some of them incorporeal and perceptible only by intellect, and others not destitute of bodily substance, such in fact as the stars? And he who associated with and lived among them was naturally living in a state of unmixed happiness. And being akin and nearly related to the ruler of all, inasmuch as a great deal of the divine spirit had flowed into him, he was eager both to say and to do everything which might please his father and his king, following him step by step in the paths which the virtues prepare and make plain, as those in which those souls alone are permitted to proceed who consider the attaining a likeness to God who made them as the proper end of their existence. LI.
12. Philo of Alexandria, On Planting, 14, 12 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Sacrifices of Cain And Abel, 57 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

57. And he who conceives that he was deserving to receive the possession and enjoyment of good things, may be taught to change his opinion by the oracle which says, "You do not enter into this land to possess it because of thy righteousness, or because of the holiness of thy heart; but, in the first place, because of the iniquity of these nations, since God has brought on them the destruction of wickedness; and in the second place that he may establish the covet which he swore to our Fathers." Now by the covet of God his graces are figuratively meant (nor is it right to offer to him anything that is imperfect), as all the gifts of the uncreated God are complete and entirely perfect, and virtue is a thing complete among existing things, and so is the course of action in accordance with it.
14. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.15, 1.134-1.141, 1.162-1.163 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.15. May it not be that sacred historian here desires to represent, in a figurative manner, that as in the universe there are four elements of which this world is composed, and as there are an equal number in ourselves, of which we have been fashioned before we were moulded into our human shape, three of them are capable of being comprehended somehow or other, but the fourth is unintelligible to all who come forward as judges of it. 1.134. By the ladder in this thing, which is called the world, is figuratively understood the air, the foundation of which is the earth, and the head is the heaven; for the large interior space, which being extended in every direction, reaches from the orb of the moon, which is described as the most remote of the order in heaven, but the nearest to us by those who contemplate sublime objects, down to the earth, which is the lowest of such bodies, is the air. 1.135. This air is the abode of incorporeal souls, since it seemed good to the Creator of the universe to fill all the parts of the world with living creatures. On this account he prepared the terrestrial animals for the earth, the aquatic animals for the sea and for the rivers, and the stars for the heaven; for every one of these bodies is not merely a living animal, but is also properly described as the very purest and most universal mind extending through the universe; so that there are living creatures in that other section of the universe, the air. And if these things are not comprehensible by the outward senses, what of that? For the soul is also invisible. 1.136. And yet it is probable that the air should nourish living animals even more than the land or the water. Why so? Because it is the air which has given vitality to those animals which live on the earth and in the water. For the Creator of the universe formed the air so that it should be the habit of those bodies which are immovable, and the nature of those which are moved in an invisible manner, and the soul of such as are able to exert an impetus and visible sense of their own. 1.137. Is it not then absurd that that element, by means of which the other elements have been filled with vitality, should itself be destitute of living things? Therefore let no one deprive the most excellent nature of living creatures of the most excellent of those elements which surrounds the earth; that is to say, of the air. For not only is it not alone deserted by all things besides, but rather, like a populous city, it is full of imperishable and immortal citizens, souls equal in number to the stars. 1.138. Now of these souls some descend upon the earth with a view to be bound up in mortal bodies, those namely which are most nearly connected with the earth, and which are lovers of the body. But some soar upwards, being again distinguished according to the definitions and times which have been appointed by nature. 1.139. of these, those which are influenced by a desire for mortal life, and which have been familiarised to it, again return to it. But others, condemning the body of great folly and trifling, have pronounced it a prison and a grave, and, flying from it as from a house of correction or a tomb, have raised themselves aloft on light wings towards the aether, and have devoted their whole lives to sublime speculations. 1.140. There are others, again, the purest and most excellent of all, which have received greater and more divine intellects, never by any chance desiring any earthly thing whatever, but being as it were lieutets of the Ruler of the universe, as though they were the eyes and ears of the great king, beholding and listening to everything. 1.141. Now philosophers in general are wont to call these demons, but the sacred scripture calls them angels, using a name more in accordance with nature. For indeed they do report (diangellousi) the injunctions of the father to his children, and the necessities of the children to the father. 1.162. Now this disposition stands in need of two powers to take care of it, the power that is of authority, and that of conferring benefits, in order that in accordance with the authority of the governor, it may obey the admonitions which it receives, and also that it may be greatly benefited by his beneficence. But the other disposition stands in need of the power of beneficence only; for it has not derived any improvement from the authority which admonishes it, inasmuch as it naturally claims virtue as its own, but by reason of the bounty which is showered upon it from above, it was good and perfect from the beginning; 1.163. therefore God is the name of the beneficent power, and Lord is the title of the royal power. What then can any one call a more ancient and important good, than to be thought worthy to meet with unmixed and unalloyed beneficence? And what can be less valuable than to receive a mixture of authority and liberality? And it appears to me that it was because the practiser of virtue saw that he uttered that most admirable prayer that, "the Lord might be to him as God;" for he desired no longer to stand in awe of him as a governor, but to honour and love him as a benefactor.
15. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.13-1.20, 1.307 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.13. Some persons have conceived that the sun, and the moon, and the other stars are independent gods, to whom they have attributed the causes of all things that exist. But Moses was well aware that the world was created, and was like a very large city, having rulers and subjects in it; the rulers being all the bodies which are in heaven, such as planets and fixed stars; 1.14. and the subjects being all the natures beneath the moon, hovering in the air and adjacent to the earth. But that the rulers aforesaid are not independent and absolute, but are the viceroys of one supreme Being, the Father of all, in imitation of whom they administer with propriety and success the charge committed to their care, as he also presides over all created things in strict accordance with justice and with law. Others, on the contrary, who have not discovered the supreme Governor, who thus rules everything, have attributed the causes of the different things which exist in the world to the subordinate powers, as if they had brought them to pass by their own independent act. 1.15. But the most sacred lawgiver changes their ignorance into knowledge, speaking in the following manner: "Thou shalt not, when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and all the host of heaven, be led astray and fall down and worship Them."{3}{#de 4:19.} With great felicity and propriety has he here called the reception of these bodies as gods, an error; 1.16. for they who see that the different seasons of the year owe their existence to the advances and retreats of the sun, in which periods also the generation of animals, and plants, and fruits, are perfected according to well-defined times, and who see also that the moon is the servant and successor of the sun, taking that care and superintendence of the world by night which the sun takes by day; and also that the other stars, in accordance with their sympathy with things on earth, labour continually and do ten thousand things which contribute to the duration of the existing state of things, have been led into an inextricable error, imagining that these bodies are the only gods. 1.17. But if they had taken pains to travel along the straight and true road, they would soon have known that just as the outward sense is the subordinate minister of the mind, so in the same manner all the objects of the outward senses are servants of that which is appreciable only by intellect, being well contented if they can attain to the second place in honour. 1.18. But it is altogether ridiculous to imagine that the mind, which is the smallest thing in us, being in fact invisible, is the ruler of those organs which belong to the external senses, but that the greatest and most perfect ruler of the whole universe is not the King of kings; that the being who sees, is not the ruler of those who do not see. 1.19. We must, therefore, look on all those bodies in the heaven, which the outward sense regards as gods, not as independent rulers, since they are assigned the work of lieutets, being by their intrinsic nature responsible to a higher power, but by reason of their virtue not actually called to render in an account of their doings. 1.20. So that, transcending all visible essence by means of our reason, let us press forward to the honour of that everlasting and invisible Being who can be comprehended and appreciated by the mind alone; who is not only the God of all gods, whether appreciable only by the intellect or visible to the outward senses, but is also the creator of them all. And if any one gives up the service due to the everlasting and uncreated God, transferring it to any more modern and created being, let him be set down as mad and as liable to the charge of the greatest impiety.IV. 1.307. Do you not see that the most important and greatest of all the powers of the living God are his beneficent and his punishing power? And his beneficent power is called God, since it is by means of this that he made and arranged the universe. And the other, or punishing power, is called Lord, on which his sovereignty over the universe depends. And God is God, not only of men, but also of gods; and he is mighty, being truly strong and truly Powerful.{45}{#de 10:17.}LVII.
16. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.113, 2.4, 2.30, 2.37, 2.99 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.113. Such then were the chastisements which were inflicted by the agency of the brother of Moses. But those in which Moses himself was the minister, and from what parts of nature they were derived, must be next considered. Now next after the earth and the water, the air and the heaven, which are the purest portions of the essences of the universe, succeeded them as the medium of the correction of the Egyptians: and of this correction Moses was the minister; 2.4. It becomes a king to command what ought to be done, and to forbid what ought not to be done; but the commanding what ought to be done, and the prohibition of what ought not to be done, belongs especially to the law, so that the king is at once a living law, and the law is a just king. 2.30. and, in a word, the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings. 2.37. Therefore, being settled in a secret place, and nothing even being present with them except the elements of nature, the earth, the water, the air, and the heaven, concerning the creation of which they were going in the first place to explain the sacred account; for the account of the creation of the world is the beginning of the law; they, like men inspired, prophesied, not one saying one thing and another another, but every one of them employed the self-same nouns and verbs, as if some unseen prompter had suggested all their language to them. 2.99. But I myself should say, that what is here represented under a figure are the two most ancient and supreme powers of the divine God, namely, his creative and his kingly power; and his creative power is called God; according to which he arranged, and created, and adorned this universe, and his kingly power is called Lord, by which he rules over the beings whom he has created, and governs them with justice and firmness;
17. Philo of Alexandria, Against Flaccus, 123 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

123. O most mighty King of all mortal and immortal beings, we have come to offer thanks unto thee, to invoke earth and sea, and the air and the heaven, and all the parts of the universe, and the whole world in which alone we dwell, being driven out by men and robbed of everything else in the world, and being deprived of our city, and of all the buildings both private and public within the city, and being made houseless and homeless by the treachery of our governor, the only men in the world who are so treated.
18. Philo of Alexandria, On The Embassy To Gaius, 138 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

138. And one may find undeniable and notorious proofs of this having been the case. For, in the first place, one may derive them from about ten kings or more who reigned in order, one after another, for three hundred years, and who never once had any images or statues of themselves erected in our synagogues, though there were many of their relations and kinsmen whom they considered, and registered as, and spoke of as gods.
19. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.162-3.166 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

20. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 4.188 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

21. Philo of Alexandria, Plant., 14, 12 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

12. Those then that are affected by motion, inducing change of place, which we call animals, are attached to the most important portions of the universe; the terrestrial animals to the earth, the animals which swim to the water, the winged animals to the air and those which can live in the flame to the fire (which last are said to be most evidently produced in Macedonia), and the stars are attached to the heaven. For those who have studied philosophy pronounce the stars also to be animals, being endowed with intellect and pervading the whole universe; some being planets, and moving by their own intrinsic nature; and others, that is the fixed stars, being borne along with the revolutions of the universe; so that they likewise appear to change their places.
22. Anon., The Life of Adam And Eve, 29.4-29.6 (1st cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

23. Anon., Genesis Rabba, 50.2 (2nd cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

50.2. וְהוּא בְאֶחָד וּמִי יְשִׁיבֶנּוּ וְנַפְשׁוֹ אִוְּתָה וַיָּעַשׂ (איוב כג, יג), תָּנָא אֵין מַלְאָךְ אֶחָד עוֹשֶׂה שְׁתֵּי שְׁלִיחוֹת, וְלֹא שְׁנֵי מַלְאָכִים עוֹשִׂים שְׁלִיחוּת אֶחָת, וְאַתְּ אֲמַרְתְּ שְׁנֵי, אֶלָּא מִיכָאֵל אָמַר בְּשׂוֹרָתוֹ וְנִסְתַּלֵּק, גַּבְרִיאֵל נִשְׁתַּלַּח לַהֲפֹךְ אֶת סְדוֹם, וּרְפָאֵל לְהַצִּיל אֶת לוֹט. (בראשית יט, א): וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵי הַמַּלְאָכִים סְדֹמָה, הָכָא אַתְּ אָמַר מַלְאָכִים וּלְהַלָּן (בראשית יח, ב): קוֹרֵא אוֹתָן אֲנָשִׁים, אֶלָּא לְהַלָּן שֶׁהָיְתָה שְׁכִינָה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן קְרָאָם אֲנָשִׁים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּסְתַּלְּקָה שְׁכִינָה מֵעַל גַּבֵּיהֶן לָבְשׁוּ מַלְאָכוּת. אָמַר רַבִּי תַּנְחוּמָא אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי אַבְרָהָם שֶׁהָיָה כֹּחוֹ יָפֶה נִדְמוּ לוֹ בִּדְמוּת אֲנָשִׁים, אֲבָל לוֹט עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיָה כֹּחוֹ רַע נִדְמוּ לוֹ בִּדְמוּת מַלְאָכִים. אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא עַד שֶׁלֹא עָשׂוּ שְׁלִיחוּתָן קְרָאָן אֲנָשִׁים מִשֶּׁעָשׂוּ שְׁלִיחוּתָן מַלְאָכִים. אָמַר רַבִּי תַּנְחוּמָא לְאֶחָד שֶׁנָּטַל הֶגְמוֹנְיָא מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ, עַד שֶׁלֹא הִגִּיעַ לְבֵית אוֹרְיָין שֶׁלּוֹ הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ כְּפַגָּן, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לְבֵית אוֹרְיָין שֶׁלּוֹ הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ כְּקָאלְמִין, כָּךְ עַד שֶׁלֹא עָשׂוּ שְׁלִיחוּתָן קְרָאָן אֲנָשִׁים כֵּיוָן שֶׁעָשׂוּ שְׁלִיחוּתָן קְרָאָן מַלְאָכִים. 50.2. \"But He is at one with Himself, and who can turn him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth.\" (Job 23:13) It was taught: One angel does not carry out two commissions, and two angels do not carry out one commission. And you say \"two\"!? (Genesis 19:1) Rather, Michael said his tidings and departed, Gabriel was sent to overthrow Sodom, and Raphael to rescue Lot."
24. Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia, None (3rd cent. CE - 6th cent. CE)

86b. ריבה להן ומעשה נמי בר' יוחנן בן מתיא שאמר לבנו צא שכור לנו פועלים הלך ופסק להן מזונות וכשבא אצל אביו אמר לו בני אפילו אתה עושה להן כסעודת שלמה בשעתו לא יצאת ידי חובתך עמהן שהן בני אברהם יצחק ויעקב,למימרא דסעודתא דאברהם אבינו עדיפא מדשלמה והכתיב (מלכים א ה, ב) ויהי לחם שלמה ליום אחד שלשים כור סולת וששים כור קמח עשרה בקר בריאים ועשרה בקר רעי ומאה צאן לבד מאיל וצבי ויחמור וברבורים אבוסים ואמר גוריון בן אסטיון משמיה דרב הללו לעמילן של טבחים ור' יצחק אמר הללו לציקי קדירה,ואמר ר' יצחק אלף נשים היו לשלמה כל אחת ואחת עשתה לו בביתה כך מאי טעמא זו סבורה שמא אצלי סועד היום וזו סבורה [שמא] אצלי סועד היום ואילו גבי אברהם כתיב (בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם ויקח בן בקר רך וטוב ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה,התם תלתא תורי לתלתא גברי הכא לכל ישראל ויהודה שנאמר (מלכים א ד, כ) יהודה וישראל רבים כחול אשר על (שפת) הים,מאי ברבורים אבוסים אמר רב שאובסים אותן בעל כרחן ושמואל אמר שאבוסים ועומדים מאליהם ורבי יוחנן אמר מביאין תור ממרעיתו בדלא אניס ותרנגולת מאשפתה בדלא אניסא,אמר רבי יוחנן מובחר שבבהמות שור מובחר שבעופות תרנגולת אמר אמימר זגתא אוכמתא בי בטניתא דמשתכחא ביני עצרי דלא מציא פסיא קניא,(בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה ואימא חד כדאמרי אינשי רכיך וטב,א"כ לכתוב רך טוב מאי וטוב ש"מ לדרשה אימא תרי מדטוב לדרשה רך נמי לדרשה,מתיב רבה בר עולא ואיתימא רב הושעיא ואיתימא רב נתן ברבי הושעיא (בראשית יח, ז) ויתן אל הנער וימהר לעשות אותו כל חד וחד יהביה לנער חד (בראשית יח, ח) ויקח חמאה וחלב ובן הבקר אשר עשה ויתן לפניהם דקמא קמא דמטיא אייתי לקמייהו,ולמה לי תלתא תסגי בחד אמר רב חנן בר רבא כדי להאכילן שלש לשונות בחרדל אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי לעולם אל ישנה אדם מן המנהג שהרי משה עלה למרום ולא אכל לחם מלאכי השרת ירדו למטה ואכלו לחם ואכלו סלקא דעתך אלא אימא נראו כמי שאכלו ושתו,אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כל מה שעשה אברהם למלאכי השרת בעצמו עשה הקב"ה לבניו בעצמו וכל [מה] שעשה אברהם ע"י שליח עשה הקב"ה לבניו ע"י שליח,(בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם (במדבר יא, לא) ורוח נסע מאת ה' ויקח חמאה וחלב (שמות טז, ד) הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים,(בראשית יח, ח) והוא עומד עליהם תחת העץ (שמות יז, ו) הנני עומד לפניך שם על הצור [וגו'] (בראשית יח, טז) ואברהם הולך עמם לשלחם (שמות יג, כא) וה' הולך לפניהם יומם,(בראשית יח, ד) יוקח נא מעט מים (שמות יז, ו) והכית בצור ויצאו ממנו מים ושתה העם,ופליגא דר' חמא בר' חנינא דאמר ר' חמא בר' חנינא וכן תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בשכר שלשה זכו לשלשה בשכר חמאה וחלב זכו למן בשכר והוא עומד עליהם זכו לעמוד הענן בשכר יוקח נא מעט מים זכו לבארה של מרים,יוקח נא מעט מים ורחצו רגליכם אמר רבי ינאי ברבי ישמעאל אמרו לו וכי בערביים חשדתנו שהם משתחוים לאבק רגליהם כבר יצא ממנו ישמעאל,(בראשית יח, א) וירא אליו ה' באלוני ממרא והוא יושב פתח האוהל כחום היום מאי כחום היום אמר רבי חמא בר' חנינא אותו היום יום שלישי של מילה של אברהם היה ובא הקב"ה לשאול באברהם הוציא הקב"ה חמה מנרתיקה כדי שלא יטריח אותו צדיק באורחים,שדריה לאליעזר למיפק לברא נפק ולא אשכח אמר לא מהימנא לך היינו דאמרי תמן לית הימנותא בעבדי נפק איהו חזייה להקדוש ברוך הוא דקאי אבבא היינו דכתיב (בראשית יח, ג) אל נא תעבור מעל עבדך,כיון דחזא דקא אסר ושרי אמר לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא היינו דכתיב (בראשית יח, ב) וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו וירא וירץ לקראתם מעיקרא אתו קמו עליה כי חזיוהו דהוה ליה צערא אמרו לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא,מאן נינהו שלשה אנשים מיכאל וגבריאל ורפאל מיכאל שבא לבשר את שרה רפאל שבא לרפא את אברהם גבריאל אזל למהפכיה לסדום והא כתיב (בראשית יט, א) ויבאו שני המלאכים סדומה בערב דאזל מיכאל בהדיה לשזביה ללוט דיקא נמי [דכתיב] (בראשית יט, כה) ויהפוך את הערים האל ולא כתיב ויהפכו שמע מינה,מאי שנא לגבי אברהם דכתיב (בראשית יח, ה) כן תעשה כאשר דברת ומאי שנא לגבי לוט דכתיב 86b. bhe has increasedhis obligation to bthem,since if he had meant to give them no more than the accepted amount, he would not have made any stipulation at all. The mishna then continues: bAndthere is balsoa supporting bincident involving Rabbi Yoḥa ben Matya, who said to his son: Go outand bhire laborers for us.His son bwent,hired them, band pledgedto provide bsustece for themas a term of their employment, without specifying the details. bAnd when he cameback bto his fatherand reported what he had done, Rabbi Yoḥa ben Matya bsaid to him: My son, even if you were to prepare a feast for them like that ofKing bSolomon in his time, you would not have fulfilled your obligation to them, as they are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. /b,The Gemara asks: Is this bto say that the feast of Abraham, our forefather, was superior to that ofKing bSolomon? But isn’t it written: “And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and sixty measures of meal; ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and gazelles, and roebucks, and fatted fowl”(I Kings 5:2–3). bAnd Guryon ben Asteyon says in the name of Rav: Thesemeasures of flour mentioned in the verse bwereused merely bfor the bakers’ well-worked dough [ ila’amilan /i]that was placed in the pot to absorb the steam. bAnd Rabbi Yitzḥak says: Thesemeasures of flour were used bformeat bpudding,a mixture of wine, flour, and leftover meat, bin a pot. /b, bAnd Rabbi Yitzḥakfurther bsays:King bSolomon had one thousand wives, each one of whom would prepare for him at her homea feast of bsuchproportions. bWhat is the reasonthat they did this? bThiswife breasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today, and thatwife breasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today. But with regard to Abraham, it is written: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good”(Genesis 18:7), band Rav Yehuda saysthat bRav says,in explanation of the verse: b“A calf”indicates bone;the word b“tender”means an additional one, i.e., btwo; “and good”indicates yet another one. This makes a total of bthreecalves, a considerably smaller feast than that of Solomon.,The Gemara answers: bThere,with regard to Abraham, he prepared bthree oxen for three people,whereas bhere,in the case of Solomon, his wives would prepare a feast bfor the entirerealms of bIsrael and Judah, as it is stated: “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the seain multitude, eating and drinking and making merry” (I Kings 4:20). Abraham’s feast was proportionately greater than that of Solomon.,With regard to the verse cited in relation to King Solomon, the Gemara asks: bWhatis the meaning of the term b“fatted fowl [ iavusim /i]”? Rav says:It means bthat they are fed [ iovsim /i] by force. Shmuel says:It means bthat they were fattened [ iavusim /i] and maintained on their own accord,i.e., they were naturally fat. bRabbi Yoḥa says:Solomon’s feasts were of fine quality because bthey would bring from his herd an ox that had never been forcedto work, bandthey would also bring ba hen from its coop that had never been forcedto lay eggs, and use those for the cuisine.,The Gemara cites a related statement of Rabbi Yoḥa. bRabbi Yoḥa says: The choicest of cattleis the box. The choicest of fowlis the bhen.With regard to the type of hen to which this is referring, bAmeimar says:It is ba fattened, black hen [ izagta /i] that is found amongthe wine bvats, whichconsumes so many grape seeds that it bcannot take a stepthe length of ba reed,due to its corpulence.,The Gemara returns to discuss the verse in Genesis: b“And Abraham ran to the herd,and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7). bRav Yehuda saysthat bRav says: “A calf”is bone; “tender”indicates an additional one, i.e., btwo; “and good”indicates another one, for a total of bthreecalves. The Gemara asks: bButwhy not bsaythat the verse is referring to only bonecalf, bas people saywhen describing a single item that it is btender and good? /b,The Gemara answers: bIf so, letthe verse bwrite: Tender, good. Whatis the significance of the term b“and good,”which indicates an addition? bConclude from thisthat the verse is stated bforthe purpose of ban expositionand is referring to more than one calf. The Gemara challenges: But one can still bsaythere were only btwocalves. The Gemara answers: bFromthe fact that the word b“good”is written bfor an exposition,to include an additional calf, it may be inferred that the term b“tender”is balsowritten bfor an expositionand indicates yet another calf., bRabba bar Ulla raises an objection, and some sayit is bRav Hoshaya, and some sayit is bRav Natan, son of Rabbi Hoshaya,who raises the objection: The verse states: b“And he gave it to the servant; and he hastened to prepare it”(Genesis 18:7). The singular term “it” indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara answers: Abraham bgave each and everycalf bto one servant,i.e., he gave the three calves to three different servants. The Gemara raises a question from the verse: b“And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them”(Genesis 18:8), which again indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara responds: The verse means bthat as each calf arrivedprepared, bhe brought it before them,and he did not serve all three calves at once.,The Gemara asks: bAnd why do Ineed bthreecalves? bOnecalf bshould be sufficientfor three guests. bRav Ḥa bar Rava said:Abraham prepared three calves bin order to feedthe guests bthree tongues with mustard,a particular delicacy. With regard to this incident, bRabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: A person should never deviate from thelocal bcustom, as Moses ascended toheaven bon high and did not eat breadwhile he was there, whereas bthe ministering angels descended downto this world, as guests visiting Abraham, band they ate bread.You say: bAnd they atebread? Can it benter your mindthat they actually ate food? bRather, saythat btheymerely bappeared as though they ate and drank. /b, bRav Yehuda saysthat bRav says: Every action that Abraham performed himself for the ministering angels, the Holy One, Blessed be He, performed Himself forAbraham’s bdescendants. And every action that Abraham performed through a messenger, the Holy One, Blessed be He,likewise bperformed for his descendants through a messenger. /b,The Gemara elaborates: With regard to Abraham, the verse states: b“And Abraham ran to the herd”(Genesis 18:7), bringing the meat himself, and in reference to God’s actions for Abraham’s descendants the verse states: b“And there went forth a wind from the Lord,and brought across quails from the sea” (Numbers 11:31), that God brought meat to them. In reference to Abraham, the verse states: b“And he took curd and milk”(Genesis 18:8), and God says to the Jewish people: b“Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you”(Exodus 16:4), which shows that God gave food to the Jewish people.,With regard to Abraham, the verse states: b“And he stood by them under the tree,and they ate” (Genesis 18:8), and in reference to God, the verse states: b“Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rockin Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it” (Exodus 17:6). In the case of Abraham it is written: b“And Abraham went with them to bring them on the way”(Genesis 18:16), and the verse states: b“And the Lord went before them by day”(Exodus 13:21).,By contrast, Abraham performed certain actions through an agent. He said: b“Let now a little water be fetched”(Genesis 18:4), and correspondingly the verse states in reference to Moses, God’s messenger: b“And you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink”(Exodus 17:6).,The Gemara notes: bAndin stating this, Rav bdisagreeswith bthatstatement bof Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina. As Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says, and likewise the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: In reward for threeacts of hospitality that Abraham performed for the angels, his descendants bmerited threerewards. The Gemara elaborates: bIn reward forproviding them with bcurd and milk,the Jewish people bmerited the manna; in reward for: “And he stood [ iomed /i] by them,”the Jews bmerited the pillar [ iamud /i] of cloud; in reward forAbraham saying: b“Let now a little water be fetched,”they bmerited the well of Miriam.This statement does not distinguish between actions performed by Abraham himself and those performed by means of a messenger.,The Gemara continues its analysis of the verse: b“Let now a little water be fetched and wash your feet”(Genesis 18:4). bRabbi Yannai, son of Rabbi Yishmael, saidthat the guests bsaid toAbraham: bAre you suspicious that we are Arabs who bow to the dust of their feet? Yishmael has already issued from him,i.e., your own son acts in this manner.,§ The Gemara expounds another verse involving Abraham: b“And the Lord appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day”(Genesis 18:1). The Gemara asks: bWhatis the meaning of b“the heat of the day”? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: That day was the third day after Abraham’s circumcision, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, came to inquireabout the well-being bof Abraham. The Holy One, Blessed be He, removed the sun from its sheath in order not to bother that righteous one with guests,i.e., God made it extremely hot that day to allow Abraham to recover from his circumcision, as he would not be troubled by passing travelers whom he would invite into his tent.,Despite the intense heat, Abraham wanted to invite guests. bHe sent Eliezerhis slave bto go outsideto see if there were any passersby. Eliezer bwent out but did not findanyone. Abraham bsaid to him: I do not believe you.The Gemara comments: bThisdemonstrates the popular adage bthatpeople bthere,i.e., in Eretz Yisrael, bsay: Slaves do not have any credibility.The Gemara continues: Abraham bhimself went out and saw the Holy One, Blessed be He, standing at the entranceto his tent. bThis is as it is written:“My Lord, if now I have found favor in your eyes, bdo not leave Your servant”(Genesis 18:3), i.e., God’s presence was there, and Abraham asked Him for permission to attend to the travelers., bOnceGod bsawAbraham btying and untyingthe bandage on his circumcision, God bsaid:It is bnot proper conduct to stand here,i.e., it is not respectful to Abraham even for God to stand there. bThis is as it is written: “And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood over him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them”(Genesis 18:2). The verse first states that they stood over him, and then it says that he ran to meet them. The Gemara reconciles this apparent contradiction: bInitially, they came and stood over him. Upon seeing that he was in pain, they said:It is bnot proper conduct to stand here. /b,The Gemara continues: bWho are these three men?They are the angels bMichael, Gabriel, and Raphael: Michael, who came to announceto bSarahthat she was to give birth to a son; bRaphael, who came to heal Abrahamafter his circumcision; and bGabriel,who bwent to overturn Sodom.The Gemara asks: bBut it is written: “And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening”(Genesis 19:1). The Gemara answers bthat Michael went along withGabriel to Sodom bto save Lot.The Gemara notes: The language bis also precise, as it is written: “And he overturned those cities”(Genesis 19:25), band it is not written: They overturnedthose cities. bConclude from itthat only one angel overturned Sodom.,The Gemara asks: bWhat is different with regard tothe incident involving bAbraham,where the angels acquiesced immediately to his request to remain with him, bas it is written: “So do, as you have said”(Genesis 18:5), band what is different with regard to Lot,where they first displayed reluctance, bas it is written: /b


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aaron Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 53
adam, pardoning of Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
angels Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287; Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 11
authority Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
body, adam, of Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
church Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
demons, demonic Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 11
discipline Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 17
expulsion, adam, of Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
fair, sentence Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
false worship, nature worship Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 106
god, imitation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
god, presence of Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
god, rejection (refusal) of Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
god, representations of, creator Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 106
god, representations of, father Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 106
god Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
idolatry, error Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 106
imitation, of the divine Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
incense Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
israel, israelites Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 17
israel Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
literal interpretation, living laws Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
manna Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 17
manuscript fragment Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
michael Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
moon Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
name Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
pneumatology Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
powers of god, beneficent Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
powers of god, creative Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
powers of god, kingly Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
powers of god, punitive Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
priest Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
pseudo-sophronius, the ptolemies Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
punishment, gods powers doling out Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
seeds, food (sustece), for Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
segor (tsoʿar) Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
shame Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
sodom, literal and ethical interpretations of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
sodom, segor escaping Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
sodom, sodomite cities, destruction of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
sodom, the two visitors and Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
souls Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 11
speech Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
sun Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
testing passim, agents of Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 11, 17
the three visitors, vs. lots two visitors Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
thesmos, in philo' Martens, One God, One Law: Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law (2003) 142
tower Harkins and Maier, Experiencing the Shepherd of Hermas (2022) 180
virtue, whole and complete Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
watchers Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 11
wilderness Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 106
worship Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 917
νόμος Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287
νόμος ἔμψυχος Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 287