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The Book of the Bee 16 - 20

THE BOOK OF THE BEE

THE SYRIAC TEXT

EDITED FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS IN LONDON, OXFORD, AND MUNICH


CHAPTER XVI.

OF THE SIN OF ADAM.

WHEN God in His goodness had made Adam, He laid down a law for him, and commanded him not to eat of the tree of good and evil, which is the fig-tree. After Eve was created, Adam told her the story of the tree; and Satan heard it, and by his envy it became the occasion and cause of their being made to sin, and being expelled from Paradise, for it was by reason of him that Adam fell from the height of his glory. Some say that Satan heard when God commanded Adam not to eat of that tree. Others say that God commanded Adam in his mind, mentally (and not by sense); others again say, by sense and openly. And Satan saw that the serpent was more subtle than all four-footed beasts; and he played in him, as it were with pipes, in the hearing of Eve, like an instrument, and said to her, 'Ye shall not die, as God hath said to you, but ye shall be gods like God, knowers of good and evil.' Then Eve saw that the appearance of the fig-tree was beautiful, and that its smell was delightful; and she desired to eat of it and to become a goddess. So she stretched out her hand, and plucked, and ate, and gave also to her husband, and he likewise did eat. And they were stripped of the fair glory and glorious light of purity wherewith they were clothed, when they saw not each other's nakedness. And their eyes were opened, and they saw their nakedness; and they took leaves of the fig-tree, and covered their nakedness for shame, and hid themselves beneath thick trees. Then God called Adam and said to him, 'Where art thou, Adam?'--not that He did not know where he was, but in a chiding manner--and Adam said, 'Lord, I heard Thy voice, and I hid myself because I am naked.' God said, 'Whence knowest thou that thou art naked? peradventure hast thou transgressed the law and command which I laid down for thee, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee not to eat?' Adam said, 'The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave to me, and I did eat.' And God questioned Eve in like manner; and Eve said, 'The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.' And God cursed the serpent, saying, 'Cursed art thou above all beasts upon the earth.' With the cursing of the serpent, who was the tool of Satan, Satan, who had instigated the serpent, was himself cursed; and immediately his legs were destroyed, and he crawled upon his belly, and instead of being an animal became a hissing reptile. And God set enmity between the serpent and man, saying, 'He shall smite the heel of man, but man shall crush his head, and the food of the serpent shall be dust.' God said to Eve, 'In pain shalt thou bring forth children;' and to Adam He said, 'Cursed is the ground for thy sake, and in toil and the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.' And the earth, by reason of the curse which it had received, straightway brought forth thorns and thistles. And God drove them out from Paradise at the ninth hour of the same day in which they were created.


Footnotes

'And he went and dwelt in the serpent, and carried him and made him fly through the air to the skirts of Paradise. Why did he enter into the serpent and hide himself (there)? Because he knew that his appearance was hideous, and that if Eve saw his form she would straightway flee from him. As one who teaches a bird the Greek tongue, brings a large mirror and places it between himself and the bird, and then begins to speak to her; and the bird as soon as it hears his voice turns round, and seeing its own form in the mirror straightway rejoices, thinking that it is a companion speaking with her, and thus willingly inclines her ear and listens to the words of him that talks with her, and pays attention (to them) and learns to talk Greek; so also did Satan enter in and dwell in the serpent.' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 6; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 6 b, col. 1.

The bird that learns to talk is called 'parrot'.


CHAPTER XVII.

OF THE EXPULSION OF ADAM AND EVE FROM PARADISE.

AFTER God had expelled them from Paradise, like wicked servants driven forth from the inheritance of their master, and had cast them into exile, over the gate at the eastern side of Paradise He set a cherub with a sword and spear to frighten Adam from approaching Paradise. Some say that the cherub was one of the heavenly hosts, of the class of the Cherubim; and others say that he did not belong to the spiritual powers, but was a terrible form endowed with a body. So also the spear point and the sword were made of fire extended like a sharp sword, which went and came round about Paradise to terrify Adam and his wife. And God made for them garments of skin to cover their shame. Some say that they clothed themselves with the skins of animals, which they stripped off; but this is not credible, for all the beasts were created in couples, and Adam and Eve had as yet no knives to kill and flay them; hence it is clear that he means the bark of trees. Only the blessed Moses called the bark of trees 'skins,' because it fills the place of skins to trees. In the land of India there are trees whose bark is used for the clothing of kings and nobles and the wealthy, on account of its beauty. After God had expelled Adam and his wife from Paradise, He withheld from them the fruits of trees, and the use of bread and flesh and wine, and the anointing with oil; but they cooked grain and vegetables and the herbs of the earth, and did eat sparingly. Moreover, the four-footed beasts and fowl and reptiles rebelled against them, and some of them became enemies and adversaries unto them. They remained thus until Noah went forth from the ark, and then God allowed them to eat bread and to drink wine and to eat flesh, after they had slain the animal and poured out its blood. They say that when Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise, Adam cut off a branch for a staff from the tree of good and evil; and it remained with him, and was handed down from generation to generation unto Moses and even to the Crucifixion of our Lord; and if the Lord will, we will relate its history in its proper place.


CHAPTER XVIII.

OF ADAM'S KNOWING EVE.

WHEN Adam and Eve went forth from Paradise, they were both virgins. After thirty years Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and brought forth Cain together with his sister Kelath at one birth. And after thirty years Eve conceived and brought forth Abel and Lebhis sister at one birth. And when they arrived at the age for marriage, Adam wished and intended to give Abel's sister to Cain and Cain's sister to Abel; but Cain desired his own sister more than Abel's. Both (i.e. Kelath and Leb were his sisters, but because of their birth at one time I have called them thus. Now Cain's sister was exceedingly beautiful. The two brothers made an offering to God because of this matter. Abel, because he was a shepherd, offered up of the fat firstlings of his flock in great love, with a pure heart and a sincere mind. Cain, because he was a husbandman, made an offering of some of the refuse of the fruits of his husbandry with reluctance. He made an offering of ears of wheat that were smitten by blight; but some say of straw only. And the divine fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering of Abel, and it was accepted; while the offering of Cain was rejected. And Cain was angry with God, and envied his brother; and he persuaded his brother to come out into the plain, and slew him. Some say that he smashed his head with stones, and killed him; and others say that Satan appeared to him in the form of wild beasts that fight with one another and slay each other. At any rate, he killed him, whether this way or that way. Then God said to Cain, 'Where is Abel thy brother?' Cain said, 'Am I forsooth my brother's keeper?' God said, 'Behold, the sound of the cry of thy brother Abel's blood has come unto me;' and God cursed Cain, and made him a wanderer and a fugitive all the days of his life. From the day in which the blood of Abel was shed upon the ground, it did not again receive the blood of any animal until Noah came forth from the ark. Adam and Eve mourned for Abel one hundred years. In the two hundred and thirtieth year, Seth, the beautiful, was born in the likeness of Adam; and Adam and Eve were consoled by him, Cain and his descendants went down and dwelt in the plain, while Adam and his children, that is the sons of Seth, dwelt upon the top of the Mount of Eden, And the sons of Seth went down and saw the beauty of the daughters of Cain, and lay with them; and the earth was corrupted and polluted with lasciviousness; and Adam and Eve heard of it and mourned. Now Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years. Some say that in the days of Seth the knowledge of books went forth in the earth; but the Church does not accept this. When Seth was two hundred and fifty years old, he begat Enos; and Seth lived nine hundred and thirteen years, and he died. Enos was two hundred and ninety years old when he begat Cainan; and Enos first called upon the name of the Lord. Some say that he first composed books upon the course of the stars and the signs of the Zodiac. Enos lived nine hundred and five years. Cainan was a hundred and forty years old when he begat Mahalaleel; and he lived nine hundred and ten years. Mahalaleel was one hundred and sixty-five years old when he begat Jared; and he lived eight hundred and ninety-five years. Jared was one hundred and sixty-two years old when he begat Enoch; and he lived nine hundred and sixty-two years. Enoch was one hundred and sixty-five years old when he begat Methuselah; and when he was three hundred and sixty-five years old, God removed him to the generation of life, that is to Paradise. Methuselah was one hundred and eighty-seven years old when he begat Lamech; and he lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years. Lamech was a hundred and eighty-two years old when he begat Noah; and he lived seven hundred and seventy-seven years.


Footnotes

The 'Cave of Treasures' relates the story of Cain's birth and the dispute of the brothers thus: 'When Adam wished to know Eve his wife, he took from the skirts of Paradise gold, myrrh, and frankincense, and put them in a cave: and he blessed it and sanctified it that it might be the house of prayer of himself and of his sons, and he called it the "Cave of Treasures." And Adam and Eve came down from that holy mountain to its skirts below; and there Adam knew Eve his wife. Some say that Adam knew Eve thirty years after they had gone forth from Paradise. And she conceived and bare Cain and Lebhis sister with him; and again she conceived and bare Abel and Kelath his sister with him. When the youths had grown up, Adam said to Eve, "Let Cain take to wife Kelath who was born with Abel, and let Abel take Lebwho was born with Cain." But Cain said to Eve his mother, "I will take to wife my own sister, and let Abel take his;" for Leb was beautiful. When Adam heard these words, he was very grieved, and said, "It is a transgression of the law that thou shouldst take to wife thy sister who was born with thee. But take ye of the fruit of the trees and the young of the flocks, and go ye up to the top of this holy mountain, and enter into the Cave of Treasures, and offer up your offerings there, and pray before God, and then be united unto your wives." And it came to pass that when Adam the first priest, and Cain and Abel his sons, were going up to the top of the mountain, Satan suggested to Cain to slay Abel his brother for the sake of Leb and because his offering was rejected and not accepted before God, while that of Abel was accepted. And Cain increased his envy against Abel his brother; and when they came down to the plain, Cain stood up against Abel his brother and slew him by a wound from a flint stone.' See Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 8; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 7 b, col. 2 to fol. 8 a, col. 2.

And the sons of Seth had intercourse with the daughters of Cain; and they conceived by them and brought forth mighty men, the sons of heroes, like towers, Hence early writers have erred and written, "The angels came down from heaven, and had intercourse with mankind, and from them were born mighty men of renown," But this is not true; they have said this because they did not understand, Now see, my brother readers, and know that this is neither in the nature of spiritual beings, nor in the nature of the impure and evil-doing demons who love adultery; for there are no males nor females among them, nor has there been even one added to their number since they fell. If the devils were able to have intercourse with women, they would not leave one single virgin undefiled in the whole human race.' See Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 18; and Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 14 b, col. 2. 'Seth became a leader to the children of his people, and he ruled them in purity and holiness. And because of their purity they received this name, which is better than all names, that they should be called the children of God . . . . . . . . . and they went up in place of that band of demons which fell from heaven, to praise and glorify on the skirts of Paradise.' See Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 10; and Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 9 a, col. 2.


CHAPTER XIX.

OF THE INVENTION OF THE INSTRUMENTS FOR WORKING IN IRON.

SOME say that Cainan and Tubal-cain, who were of the family of Cain, were the first who invented the three tools of the art of working in iron, the anvil, hammer and tongs. The art of working in iron is the mother and begetter of all arts; as the head is to the body, so is it to all other crafts. And as all the limbs of the body cease to perform their functions if the head is taken away from it, so also all other arts would cease if the art of working in iron were to come to an end. In the days of Tubal and Tubal-cain, the sons of Lamech the blind, Satan entered and dwelt in them, and they constructed all kinds of musical instruments, harps and pipes. Some say that spirits used to go into the reeds and disturb them, and that the sound from them was like the sound of singing and pipes; and men constructed all kinds of musical instruments. Now this blind Lamech was a hunter, and could shoot straight with a bow; his son used to take him by the hand, and guide him to places where there was game, and when he heard the movement of an animal, he shot an arrow at it, and brought it down. One day, when shooting an arrow at an animal, he smote Cain the murderer, the son of Adam, and slew him.


Footnotes

'They put together and made all kinds of music: Jubal made flutes and cithers and pipes, and the devils entered into them and dwelt in them; and when they blew into them, the devils sang inside the flutes, and made a noise from within them. And Tubal-cain made cymbals and rattles and hand drums.' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 14; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 12 a, col. 1.


CHAPTER XX.

OF NOAH AND THE FLOOD.

WHEN Noah was five hundred years old, he took a wife from the daughters of Seth; and there were born to him three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet. And God saw Noah's uprightness and integrity, while all men were corrupted and polluted by lasciviousness; and He determined to remove the human race from this broad earth, and made this known to the blessed Noah, and commanded him to make an ark for the saving of himself, his sons, and the rest of the animals. Noah constructed this ark during the space of one hundred years, and he made it in three stories, all with boards and projecting ledges. Each board was a cubit long and a span broad. The length of the ark was three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Noah made it of box wood, though some say of teak wood; and he pitched it within and without. At the end of the six hundredth year, God commanded Noah, with his wife, his sons and his daughters-in-law--eight souls--to go into the ark, and to take in with him seven couples of every clean animal and fowl, and one couple of every unclean animal, a male and a female. And he took bread and water in with him according to his need: not an abundant supply, lest they might be annoyed by the smell of the faeces, but they got food just sufficient to preserve their lives. God forewarned the blessed Noah of what he was about to do seven days beforehand, in case the people might remember their sins and offer the sacrifice of repentance. But those rebels mocked at him scoffingly, and thrust out their unclean lips at the sound of the saw and the adze. After seven days God commanded Noah to shut the door of the ark, and to plaster it over with bitumen. And the fountains of the deeps were broken up from beneath, and a torrent of rain (fell) from above, for forty days and forty nights, without cessation, until the waters rose fifteen cubits above the highest mountains in the world. And the waters bore up the ark, which travelled over them from east to west and from north to south, and so inscribed the figure of the cross upon the world; and it passed over the ocean, and came to this broad earth. So the rain was stayed, and the winds blew, and the waters remained upon the earth without diminishing one hundred and fifty days, besides those forty days; which, from the time that Noah entered the ark and the flood began until the waters began to diminish, make in all one hundred and ninety days, which are six months and ten days--even until the twentieth day of the latter Teshr The waters began to diminish from the latter Teshrto the tenth month, on the first day of which the tops of the mountains appeared, but until the time when the earth was dry, and the dove found rest for the sole of her foot, was one hundred days. The ark rested upon the top of mount Kard In the tenth month, which is Shebu>t, Noah opened the door of the ark, and sent a raven to bring him news of the earth. And it went and found dead bodies, and it alighted upon them and returned not. For this reason people have made a proverb about Noah's raven. Again he sent forth a dove, but it found not a place whereon to alight, and returned to the ark. After seven days he sent forth another dove, and it returned to him in the evening carrying an olive leaf in its bill; and Noah knew that the waters had subsided. Noah remained in the ark a full year, and he came forth from it and offered up an offering of clean animals; and God accepted his offering and promised him that He would never again bring a flood upon the face of the earth, nor again destroy beasts and men by a flood; and He gave him (as) a token the bow in the clouds, and from that day the bow has appeared in the clouds; and He commanded him to slay and eat the flesh of beasts and birds after he had poured out their blood. The number of people who came forth from the ark was eight souls, and they built the town of Them after the name of the eight souls, and it is to-day the seat of a bishopric in the province of S Noah planted a vineyard, and drank of its wine; and one day when he slumbered, and was sunk in the deep sleep of drunkenness, his nakedness was uncovered within his tent. When Ham his son saw him, he laughed at him and despised him, and told his brethren Shem and Japhet. But Shem and Japhet took a cloak upon their shoulders, and walked backwards with their faces turned away, and threw the cloak over their father and covered him, and then they looked upon him. When Noah awoke and knew what had been done to him by the two sets of his sons, he cursed Canaan the son of Ham and said, 'Thou shalt be a servant to thy brethren;' but he blessed Shem and Japhet. The reason why he cursed Canaan, who was not as yet born nor had sinned, was because Ham had been saved with him in the ark from the waters of the flood, and had with his father received the divine blessing; and also because the arts of sin--I mean music and dancing and all other hateful things--were about to be revived by his posterity, for the art of music proceeded from the seed of Canaan. After the flood a son was born to Noah, and he called his name Jat; and he provided him with gifts and sent him to the fire of the sun, to the east. Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years; the sum of his years was nine hundred and fifty years; and he saw eighteen generations and families before and after it. He died on the fourth day of the week, on the second of N, at the second hour of the day; his son Shem embalmed him, and his sons buried him, and mourned over him forty days.


Footnotes

Gen. vi. 16. 'The lower one for the beasts and cattle, the middle for the feathered fowl, and in the upper shalt thou and the children of thy house be. And make in it reservoirs for water, and garners for food. And make thee a gong (nu>k) of teak wood uneaten by worms; its height shall be three cubits, and its breadth one and a half; and a hammer of the same. Thou shaltst strike it three times a day: once in the morning that the workmen may be gathered together for the work of the ark, once in the middle of the day for their food, and once at sunset that they may leave off.' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 17; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 14 a, col. 2.

'Set thou Adam's body in the middle of the ark . . . . . . Thou and thy sons shalt be in the eastern part of the ark, and thy wife and thy sons' wives shall be in the western part.' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 19; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 15 b, col. 1.

'Noah went into the ark at eventide on Friday the 17th of the blessed month .' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 21; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 17 a, col. 1.

'The angel of the Lord stood upon the outside of the ark to act as pilot.' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 23; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 17 b, col. 2.

'Why, since the whole sin belonged to Ham, was Canaan cursed except that, when the boy grew up and came to years of discretion, Satan entered into him and became a teacher of sin to him? and he renewed the work of the house of Cain the murderer.' Bezold, Die Schatzhle, p. 25; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 19 a, col. 2.

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