Friday, August 18, 2017
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Kebra Nagast Ch. 11 - 20

THE 'BOOK OF THE GLORY OF KINGS'

KEBRA NAGAST

Translated from the Ethiopic

by SIR E. A. WALLIS BUDGE M.A., LITT.D., D.LITT., LIT.D. F.S.A.

MCMXXXII

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS LONDON : HUMPHREY MILFORD


11. The Unanimous Declaration of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Orthodox Fathers

And they answered and said unto him, "Yea, verily the Tabernacle of the Covenant was the first thing to be created by Him, and there is no lie in thy word; it is true, and correct, and righteous, and unalterable. He created ZION before everything else to be the habitation of His glory, and the plan of His Covenant was that which He said, 'I will put on the flesh of ADAM, which is of the dust, and I will appear unto all those whom I have created with My hand and with My voice.' And if it had been that the heavenly ZION had not come down, and if He had not put on the flesh of ADAM, then God the Word would not have appeared, and our salvation would not have taken place. The testimony (or proof) is in the similitude; the heavenly ZION is to be regarded as the similitude of the Mother of the Redeemer, MARY. For in the ZION which is builded there are deposited the Ten Words of the Law which were written by His hands, and He Himself, the Creator, dwelt in the womb of MARY, and through Him everything came into being."

12. Concerning CANAAN

Now, it was CANAAN who rent the kingdom from the children of SHEM, and he transgressed the oath which his father NOAH had made them to swear. And the sons of CANAAN were seven mighty men, and he took seven mighty cities from the land of SHEM, and set his sons over them; and likewise he also made his own portion double. And in later days God took vengeance upon the sons of CANAAN, and made the sons of SHEM to inherit their country. These are the nations whom they inherited: the CANAANITES, the PERIZZITES, the HIVITES, the HITTITES, the AMORITES, the JEBUSITES, and the GIRGASITES; these are they whom CANAAN seized by force from the seed of SHEM. For it was not right for him to invade (his) kingdom, and to falsify the oath, and because of this they ceased to be, and their memorial perished, through transgressing (God's) command, and worshipping idols, and bowing down to those who were not gods.

And after the death of SHEM ARPHAXAD reigned, and after the death of ARPHAXAD ḲN (CAINAN) reigned, and after the death of ḲN S (SALAH) reigned, and after him EBER reigned, and after him P (PELEG) reigned, and after him R (REU) reigned, and after him S (SERUG) reigned, and after him NH (NAHOR) reigned, and after him T(TERAH) reigned. And these are they who made magical images, and they went to the tombs of their fathers and made an image (or, picture) of gold, and silver, and brass, and a devil used to hold converse with them out of each of the images of their fathers, and say unto them, "O my son So-and-so, offer up unto me as a sacrifice the son whom thou lovest." And they slaughtered their sons and their daughters to the devils, and they poured out innocent blood to filthy devils.

13. Concerning ABRAHAM

And T(TERAH) begot a son and called him "ABRAHAM" (or, ABR). And when ABRAHAM was twelve years old his father TERAH sent him to sell idols. And ABRAHAM said, "These are not gods that can make deliverance"; and he took away the idols to sell even as his father had commanded him. And he said unto those unto whom he would sell them, "Do ye wish to buy gods that cannot make deliverance, (things) made of wood, and stone, and iron, and brass, which the hand of an artificer hath made?" And they refused to buy the idols from ABRAHAM because he himself had defamed the images of his father. And as he was returning he stepped aside from the road, and he set the images down, and looked at them, and said unto them, "I wonder now if ye are able to do what I ask you at this moment, and whether ye are able to give me bread to eat or water to drink?" And none of them answered him, for they were pieces of stone and wood; and he abused them and heaped revilings upon them, and they spake never a word. And he buffeted the face of one, and kicked another with his feet, and a third he knocked over and broke to pieces with stones, and he said unto them, "If ye are unable to deliver yourselves from him that buffeteth you, and ye cannot requite with injury him that injureth you, how can ye be called 'gods'? Those who worship you do so in vain, and as for myself I utterly despise you, and ye shall not be my gods." Then he turned his face to the East, and he stretched out his hands and said, "Be Thou my God, O Lord, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Creator of the sun and the moon, Creator of the sea and the dry land, Maker of the majesty of the heavens and the earth, and of that which is visible and that which is invisible; O Maker of the universe, be Thou my God. I place my trust in Thee, and from this day forth I will place my trust in no other save Thyself." And then there appeared unto him a chariot of fire which blazed, and ABRAHAM was afraid and fell on his face on the ground; and (God) said unto him, "Fear thou not, stand upright." And He removed fear from him.

14. Concerning the Covenant of ABRAHAM

And God held converse with ABR, and He said unto him, "Fear thou not. From this day thou art My servant, and I will establish My Covenant with thee and with thy seed after thee, and I will multiply thy seed, and I will magnify thy name exceedingly. And I will bring down the Tabernacle of My Covenant upon the earth seven generations after thee, and it shall go round about with thy seed, and shall be salvation unto thy race and afterwards I will send My Word for the salvation of ADAM and his sons for ever. And at this moment these who are of thy kinsmen are evil men (or, rebels), and My divinity, which is true, they have rejected. And as for thee, that day by day they may not seduce thee, come, get thee forth out of this land, the land of thy fathers, into the land which I will show thee, and I will give it unto thy seed after thee." And ABR made obeisance to God, and was subject to his God. And (God) said unto him, "Thy name shall be ABRAHAM"; and He gave him the salutation of peace and went up into heaven. And ABRAHAM returned to his abode, and he took S(SARAH) his wife, and went forth and did not go back to his father, and his mother, and his house, and his kinsfolk; and he forsook them all for God's sake. And he arrived in the city of S, and dwelt there and reigned in righteousness, and did not transgress the commandment of God. And God blessed him exceedingly, and at length he possessed (3)18 stalwart servants, who were trained in war, and who stood before him and performed his will. And they wore tunics richly embroidered with gold, and they had chains of gold about their necks, and belts of gold round their loins, and they had crowns of gold on their heads; and by means of these men ABRAHAM vanquished (his) foe. And he died in glory in God, and was more gracious and excellent than those who were before him. He was gracious, and held in honour, and highly esteemed.

15. Concerning ISAAC and JACOB

And ISAAC his son became king, and he did not transgress the commandment of God; and he was pure in his soul and in his body, and he died in honour. And his son JACOB reigned, and he also did not transgress the commandment of God, and his possessions became numerous, and his children were many; and God blessed him and he died in honour.

16. Concerning R (REUBEN)

And after him, JACOB'S firstborn son transgressed the commandment of God, and the kingdom departed from him and from his seed, because he had defiled his father's wife; now it is not right to transgress the law which God hath commanded. And his father cursed him, and God was wroth with him, and he became the least among his brethren, and his children became leprous and scabby; and although he was the firstborn son (of JACOB) the kingdom was rent from him And his younger brother reigned, and he was called JUDAH because of this And his seed was blessed, and his kingdom flourished, and his sons were blessed. And after him F (PHAREZ) his son reigned. And he died and IS (HEZRON) his son reigned. And after him his son ORNI (OREN ?) reigned, and after him AR (ARAM 5 ) his son reigned, and after him AM his son reigned, and after him N (NAASSON) his son reigned, and after him S(SALMON ?) his son reigned, and after him BOS (BOAZ) his son reigned, and after him IY (OBED) his son reigned, and after him ĔS (JESSE) his son reigned. And this is what I say (concerning) the kingdom: The blessing of the father (was) on the son, so that it (i.e., the kingdom) was blessed with prosperity. And as for the kingship over ISRAEL, after the death of JESSE DAVID reigned in righteousness, and in integrity, and in graciousness.

17. Concerning the Glory of ZION

And as concerning ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God: at the very beginning, as soon as God had stablished the heavens, He ordained that it should become the habitation of His glory upon the earth. And willing this He brought it down to the earth, and permitted MOSES to make a likeness of it. And He said unto him, "Make an ark (or, tabernacle) of wood that cannot be eaten by worms, and overlay it with pure gold. And thou shalt place therein the Word of the Law, which is the Covenant that I have written with Mine own fingers, that they may keep My law, the Two Tables of the Covenant." Now the heavenly and spiritual (original) within it is of divers colours, and the work thereof is marvellous, and it resembleth jasper, and the sparkling stone, and the topaz, and the hyacinthine stone (?), and the crystal, and the light, and it catcheth the eye by force, and it astonisheth the mind and stupefieth it with wonder; it was made by the mind of God and not by the hand of the artificer, man, but He Himself created it for the habitation of His glory. And it is a spiritual thing and is full of compassion; it is a heavenly thing and is full of light; it is a thing of freedom and a habitation of the Godhead, Whose habitation is in heaven, and Whose place of movement is on the earth, and it dwelleth with men and with the angels, a city of salvation for men, and for the Holy Spirit a habitation. And within it are a GOMOR of gold (containing) a measure of the manna which came down from heaven; and the rod of AARON which sprouted after it had become withered though no one watered it with water, and one had broken it in two places, and it became three rods being (originally only) one rod.

And MOSES covered (the Ark) with pure gold, and he made for it poles wherewith to carry it and rings (in which to place them), and they carried it before the people until they brought it into the land of (their) inheritance, which is JERUSALEM, the City of ZION. And when they were crossing the JORDAN and the priests were carrying it, the waters stood upright like a wall until all the people had passed over, and after all the people had passed over the priests passed over bearing the Ark, and they set it down in the city of JUDAH, the land of (their) inheritance. And prophets were appointed over the children of ISRAEL in the Tabernacle of Testimony, and the priests wore the ephod, so that they might minister to the Tabernacle of Testimony, and the high priests offered up offerings, so that they might obtain remission of their own sins and of the sins of the people likewise.

And God commanded MOSES and AARON to make holy vessels for the Tabernacle of Testimony for the furnishing of the Holy of Holies, namely, vessels of gold, bowls and pots, pitchers and sacred tables, netted cloths and tops for pillars, lamps and vessels for filling them, torch-holders and snuffers, tongs, candlesticks, and rings and rods for carrying them, large bowls and lavers, embroidered curtains and hangings, crowns and worked vestments, purple cloths and leather work, carpets and draperies, unguents for anointing priests and kings, hyacinthine and purple hangings, rugs of double thickness and hangings of silk (?), skins of kids and red hides of rams, and sardius stones, and rubies, and sapphires, and emeralds (and to place them) in the Tabernacle of Witness, where dwelleth ZION, the habitation of His glory. (And God told them) to make for it the "belly of a ship" with the Two Tables, which were written by the fingers of GodZION shall rest upon themAnd thou shalt make for it a tabernacle of wood that the worms cannot eat, whereon ZION shall rest, two cubits and half a cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and half a cubit the breadth thereof, and thou shalt cover it with pure gold, both the outside thereof and the inside thereof. And thou shalt make the fittings and the cover thereof of fine gold, and there shall be rings round about it; and thou shalt make in the four sides four holes for the carrying-poles. And thou shalt make it of wood that the worms cannot eat, and thou shalt cover it with pure gold, and in this ye shall carry the Tabernacle of the Law.

In this wise did God command MOSES on Mount SINAI, and He showed him the work thereof, and the construction and the pattern of the Tent, according to which he was to make it. And it (i.e., ZION) was revered and had exceedingly great majesty in ISRAEL, and it was acknowledged by God to be the habitation of His glory. And He Himself came down on the mountain of His holiness, and He held converse with His chosen ones, and He opened to them (a way of) salvation, and He delivered them from the hand of their enemies. And he spake with them from the pillar of cloud, and commanded them to keep His Law and His commandments, and to walk in the precepts of God.

18. How the Orthodox Fathers and Bishops Agreed

And again the Council of the Three Hundred and Eighteen answered and said, "Amen. This is the salvation of the children of ADAM. For since the Tabernacle of the Law of God hath come down, they shall be called, 'Men of the house of God', even as DAVID saith, 'And His habitation is in ZION.' And again he saith by the mouth of the Holy Ghost, 'And My habitation is here, for I have chosen it. And I will bless her priests, and I will make her poor to be glad. And unto DAVID will I give seed in her, and upon the earth one who shall become king, and moreover, in the heavens one from his seed shall reign in the flesh upon the throne of the Godhead. And as for his enemies they shall be gathered together under his footstool, and they shall be sealed with his seal.'"

19. How this Book came to be found

And DĔMĔY (the Patriarch TIMOTHEUS (?) who sat from 511 to 517), the Archbishop of R (i.e., CONSTANTINOPLE, BYZANTIUM), said, "I have found in the Church of (Saint) SOPHIA among the books and the royal treasures a manuscript (which stated) that the whole kingdom of the world (belonged) to the Emperor of R and the Emperor of ETHIOPIA."

20. Concerning the Division of the Earth

From the middle of JERUSALEM, and from the north thereof to the south-east is the portion of the Emperor of R; and from the middle of JERUSALEM from the north thereof to the south and to WESTERN INDIA is the portion of the Emperor of ETHIOPIA. For both of them are of the seed of SHEM, the son of NOAH, the seed of ABRAHAM, the seed of DAVID, the children of SOLOMON. For God gave the seed of SHEM glory because of the blessing of their father NOAH. The Emperor of R is the son of SOLOMON, and the Emperor of ETHIOPIA is the firstborn and eldest son of SOLOMON.

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