Monday, February 19, 2018
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Kebra Nagast Ch. 1 - 10



Translated from the Ethiopic






1. Concerning the Glory of Kings

The interpretation and explanation of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Orthodox (Fathers) concerning splendour, and greatness, and dignity, and how God gave them to the children of ADAM, and especially concerning the greatness and splendour of ZION, the Tabernacle (t) of the Law of God, of which He Himself is the Maker and Fashioner, in the fortress of His holiness before all created things, (both) angels and men. For the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit with good fellowship and right good will and cordial agreement together made the Heavenly ZION to be the place of habitation of their Glory. And then the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit said, "Let Us make man in Our similitude and likeness," and with ready agreement and good will They were all of this opinion. And the Son said, "I will put on the body of ADAM," and the Holy Spirit said, "I will dwell in the heart(s) of the Prophets and the Righteous," and this common agreement and covenant was (fulfilled) in ZION, the City of their Glory. And DAVID said, "Remember Thine agreement which Thou didst make of old for salvation, the rod of Thine inheritance, in Mount ZION wherein Thou dost dwell."

And He made ADAM in His own image and likeness, so that He might remove SATAN because of his pride, together with his host, and might establish ADAMHis own planttogether with the righteous, His children, for His praises. For the plan of God was decided upon and decreed in that He said, "I will become man, and I will be in everything which I have created, I will abide in flesh." And in the days that came after, by His good pleasure there was born in the flesh of the Second ZION the second ADAM, Who was our Saviour CHRIST. This is our glory and our faith, our hope and our life, the Second ZION.

2. Concerning the Greatness of Kings

Come then, let us go back, and let us consider, and let us begin (to state) which of the kings of the earth, from the first even unto the last, in respect of the Law and the Ordinances and honour and greatness, we should magnify or decry.

GREGORY, the worker of wonders and miracles, who was cast into a cave because of (his) love for the martyrdom of CHRIST and suffered tribulation for fifteen years, said, "When I was in the pit I pondered over this matter, and over the folly of the Kings of ARMENIA, and I said, In so far as I can conceive it, (in) what doth the greatness of kings (consist)? Is it in the multitude of soldiers, or in the splendour of worldly possessions, or in extent of rule over cities and towns? This was my thought each time of my prayer, and my thought stirred me again and again to meditate upon the greatness of kings. And now I will begin."

3. Concerning the Kingdom of ADAM

And I go up from ADAM and I say, God is King in truth, for Him praise is meet, and He appointed under Him ADAM to be king over all that He had created. And He drove him out of the Garden, because of his apostasy through the sin of the Serpent and the plotting of the Devil. And at that sorrowful moment CAIN was born, and when ADAM saw that the face of CAIN was ill-tempered (or, sullen) and his appearance evil he was sad. And then ABEL was born, and when ADAM saw that his appearance was good and his face good-tempered he said, "This is my son, the heir of my kingdom."

4. Concerning Envy

And when they had grown up together, SATAN had envy of him, and he cast this envy into the heart of CAIN, who was envious (of ABEL) first, because of the words of his father ADAM, who said, "He who hath the good-tempered face shall be the heir of my kingdom"; and secondly, because of his sister with the beautiful face, who was born with him and who had been given unto ABEL, even as God commanded them to multiply and fill the earthnow the face of the sister who had been born with ABEL resembled that of CAIN, and their father had transferred them (i.e., the two sisters) when giving them (in marriage);and thirdly, because when the two (brothers) offered up sacrifice, God accepted the offering of ABEL and rejected the offering of CAIN. And because of this envy CAIN killed ABEL. Thus fratricide was first created through SATAN'S envy of the children of ADAM. And having killed his brother, CAIN fell into a state of trembling and horrible fright, and he was repulsed by his father and his Lord. And (then) SETH was born, and ADAM looked upon him and said, "Now hath God shown compassion upon me, and He hath given unto me the light of my face. In sorrowful remembrance I will console myself (?) with him. The name of him that shall slay my heir shall be blotted out, even to his ninth generation."

5. Concerning the Kingdom of SETH

And ADAM died, and SETH reigned in righteousness. And SETH died, and H (ENOS) reigned. And H (ENOS) died, and ḲN (CAINAN) reigned. And ḲN (CAINAN) died, and MAL (MAHALALEEL) reigned. And MAL (MAHALALEEL) died, and Y (JARED) reigned. And Y died, and HH (ENOCH) reigned in righteousness, and he feared God, and (God) hid him so that he might not see death. And he became a king in his flesh in the Land of the Living. And after ENOCH disappeared M(METHUSELAH) reigned. And Mdied, and LH (LAMECH) reigned. And LH died, and N (NOAH) reigned in righteousness, and he pleased God in all his works.

6. Concerning the Sin of CAIN

And that accursed man CAIN, the murderer of his brother, multiplied evil, and his seed did likewise, and they provoked God to wrath with their wickedness. They had not the fear of God before their eyes, and they never kept in mind that He had created them, and they never prayed to Him, and they never worshipped Him, and they never called upon Him, and they never rendered service to Him in fear; nay, they ate, and they drank, and they danced, and they played upon stringed instruments, and sang lewd songs thereto, and they worked uncleanness without law, without measure, and without rule. And the wickedness of the children of CAIN multiplied, until at length in the greatness of their filthiness they introduced the seed of the ass into the mare, and the mule came into being, which God had not commandedeven like those who give their children who are believers unto those who deny God, and their offspring become the seed of the filthy GOMORRAITES, one half of them being of good and one half of them of evil seed. And as for those who do (this) wickedness, their judgment is ready, and their error is lasting.

7. Concerning NOAH

Now NOAH was a righteous man. He feared God, and kept the righteousness and the Law which his fathers had declared unto himnow NOAH was the tenth generation from ADAMand he kept in remembrance and did what was good, and he preserved his body from fornication, and he admonished his children, bidding them not to mingle with the children of CAIN, the arrogant tyrant, the divider of the kingdom, (who) walked in the counsel of the Devil, who maketh evil to flourish. And he taught them everything that God hatedpride, boastfulness of speech, self-adulation, calumniation, false accusation, and the swearing of false oaths. And besides these things, in the wickedness of their uncleanness, which was unlawful and against rule, man wrought pollution with man, and woman worked with woman the abominable thing.

8. Concerning the Flood

And this thing was evil before God, and He destroyed them with the water of the Flood, which was colder than ice. He opened the doors of heaven, and the cataracts of the Flood poured down; and He opened the fountains that were under the earth, and the fountains of the Flood appeared on the earth. And the sinners were blotted out, for they reaped the fruit of their punishment. And with them perished all beasts and creeping things, for they were all created for the gratification of ADAM, and for his glory, some to provide him with food, and some for his pleasure, and some for the names to the glorification of his Creator so that he might know them, even as DAVID saith, "And Thou hast set everything under his feet" for his sake they were created, and for his sake they were destroyed, with the exception of Eight Souls, and seven of every kind of clean beasts and creeping things, and two of every kind of unclean beast and creeping thing.

9. Concerning the Covenant of NOAH

And then NOAH the righteous man died, and SHEM reigned in wisdom and righteousness, for he was blessed by NOAH, saying, "Be God to thy brother." And to HAM he said, "Be servant to thy brother." And he said unto JAPHET, "Be thou servant to SHEM my heir, and be thou subject unto him." And again, after the Flood, the Devil, our Enemy, did not cease from his hostility against the children of NOAH, but stirred up CANAAN, the son of HAM, and he became the violent tyrant (or usurper) who rent the kingdom from the children of SHEM. Now they had divided the earth among them, and NOAH had made them swear by the Name of his God that they would not encroach on each other's boundaries, and would not eat the beast that had died of itself or had been rent (by wild animals), and that they would not cultivate harlotry against the law, lest God should again become angry with them and punish them with a Flood. And as for NOAH, he humbled himself, and offered up sacrifice, and he cried out, and groaned, and wept. And God held converse with NOAH, who said (unto Him), "If Thou wilt destroy the earth a second time with a Flood, blot Thou me out with those who are to perish." And God said unto him, "I will make a covenant with thee that thou shalt tell thy children they shall not eat the beast that hath died of itself or that hath been torn by wild beasts, and they shall not cultivate harlotry against the law; and I, on My part, (covenant) that I will not destroy the earth a second time with a Flood, and that I will give unto thy children Winter and Summer, Seedtime and Harvest, Autumn and Spring.

10. Concerning ZION

"And I swear by Myself and by ZION, the Tabernacle of My covenant, which I have created for a mercy seat and for the salvation of men, and in the latter days I will make it to come down to thy seed, that I will have pleasure in the offerings of thy children upon earth, and the Tabernacle of My covenant shall be with them for ever. And when a cloud hath appeared (in the sky), so that they may not fear and may not imagine that a Flood (is coming) I will make to come down from My habitation of ZION the Bow of My Covenant, that is to say, the rainbow, which shall the Tabernacle of My Law. And it shall come to pass that, when their sins multiply, and I am wishful to be wroth with them, I will remember the Tabernacle of My Covenant, and I will set the rainbow (in the sky), and I will put away Mine anger and will send My compassion. And I will not forget My word, and that which hath gone forth from My mouth I will not overlook. Though heaven and earth pass away My word shall not pass away."

And the Archbishops who were there answered and said to the blessed GREGORY, "Behold now, we understand clearly that before every created thing, even the angels, and before the heavens and the earth, and before the pillars of heaven, and the abysses of the sea, He created the Tabernacle of the Covenant, and this which is in heaven goeth about upon the earth."


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