Zosimus and the Rechabites

The History of the Rechabites

The treatise of Zosimus on the life of the Blessed

Translation and notes: Alan Humm

The outer portion of this work tells the story of an ascetic named Zosimus, who travels to the land of the Blessed—the descendants of the Rechabites. The Rechabites are the subject of Jeremiah 35. In that passage, Jeremiah communicates with the descendants of Jehonadab son of Rechab, who tell him that Jehonadab had instructed them (CEB):

6 …“You and your children are never to drink wine; 7 nor are you to build or own houses or plant gardens and vineyards; rather, you are always to dwell in tents so you may live a long time in the fertile land you pass through.”
As a result, they have lived in that fashion ever since. Jeremiah approves and says,
18 …“The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Because you have obeyed all Jonadab's instructions and you have done everything he commanded you,.’ 19 the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel proclaims: Jonadab, Rechab's son, will always have a descendant that stands before me.”

In the inner portion of this work the Rechabites write a description of their history, and lifestyle. It is from this inner portion that the title, “The History of the Rechabites” derives.

Zosimus then takes that treatise back to the outside world—the ‘world of vanity,’ or as I have rendered it the, ‘futility-world.’ It is from there that the Greek title comes.

As we will see, this incarnation of the story has to be 4th century at the earliest (M.R. James was thinking 6th c.), but that doesen’t mean that some earlier version may not have existed. There is a possibility that the inner portion existed independently of the Zosimus portion, but if so, that has not survived. There is also the possibility that an earlier Jewish version of the story once existed, perhaps in Hebrew, but if so, that has also been lost. This rendering is clearly Christian.

The goal of this translation is to be as readable to English speakers as possible. I’m perfectly comfortable using contractions, and idioms. If you prefer painfully literal, feel free to go to Craigie’s translation, linked below, although I sometimes disagree with him. This is obviously also a translation of the Greek version. The Greek text is that of J. H. Charlesworth, taken from the “The online critical pseudepigrapha,” but the story exists in several languages. Charlesworth has translated the Syriac, and that can be found in vol. 2 of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, of which he is also the editor. Spanish translations of both Greek and Syriac can also be found in Juan J. Alarcón Sainz y Pablo A. Torijano, La Historia de los Rekabitas. Following Charlesworth, the chapter divisions are those adopted by W. A. Cragie in the Ante Nicene Christian Fathers.

Hover notes

My footnotes will be maroon hover notes. Hover your mouse over them and the notes will show up. Since they just show as text, I can't embed links, so anything I would have cited appears just below this. I also can't do italics, so I am using the old e-mail style (before WYSIWYG e-mail), putting *asterisks* around things I would have italicized if I could. Alternatively, these notes are linked to regualar end-notes, below, so you can just click on them if hovering doesn't work for you. There you can click on the opening link to come back to your starting place.

Charlesworth, James H. (1983). The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday.

Liddell, Henry G., Scott, Robert, Jones, Henry S., & McKenzie, Roderick (1996). A Greek-English Lexicon, Ninth Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (but if you don't want to spend $185 on it, you could just use Perseus instead.

Russo, Nicholas V. (2013), “The Early History of Lent,” The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University.

Wikipedia article on the Rechabites


Ο διήγησις ζωσίμου εἰς τὸν βίον τῶν μακάρων κύριε εὐλόγησον The treatise of Zosimus on the life of the Blessed. The Lord be praised.
1     1
    1 κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν ἐκ τῆς ἐρήμου ὑπῆρχεν ἀνήρ τις ὀνόματι ζώσιμος ὅς οὐκ ἔφαγεν ἄρτον ἔτη τεσσαράκοντα καὶ οἶνον οὐκ ἔπιεν· καὶ πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπου οὐχ ἑόρακεν· 2 οὗτος ἦν παρακαλῶν τὸν θεὸν ἵνα ἴδῃ τὴν διοίκησιν τῶν μακάρων· 3 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἀπεστάλη λέγων αὐτῷ· ζώσιμε ἄνθρωπε τοῦ θεοῦ· ἰδοὺ ἀπεστάλην ἀπὸ τοῦ ὑψίστου τοῦ τῶν ὅλων θεοῦ εἰπεῖν σοι ὅτι πεπορεύσῃ εἰς τοὺς μάκαρας· οὐ κατοικήσεις δὲ μετ᾽ αὐτῶν· 4 ἀλλὰ μὴ ὑψώσῃς τὴν καρδίαν σου εἰπών· ἔτη τεσσαράκοντα ἄρτον οὐκ ἔφαγον· ὁ γὰρ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ ἄρτον ἐστιν, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ οἶνόν ἐστιν· 5 τὸ γὰρ πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπου οὐκ εἶδον· ἰδοὺ τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ μεγάλου βασιλέως, ἐγγύς σου·     1 At that time a man named Zosimus came up from the desert, who had eaten no bread, had drunk no wine, and had not seen anyone for forty years. 2 He had been asking God that he might see the dwelling place of the Blessed. 3 Then an angel of the Lord was sent to him, telling him: “Zosimus, God’s man, I was sent from the most high, the God of everything, to tell you that you should go to the Blessed, but should not live with them. 4 Do not be conceited, though, telling yourself, ‘For forty years, I did not eat bread [or drink wine]’, because the Word of God is better than bread, and the Spirit of God is better than wine. 5 And if you say, ‘I didn't see anyone,’ consider that you are in the presence of the great King.”
    6 ὁ δὲ ζώσιμος ἔφη· οἶδα ὅτι ὅσα ἂν θέλῃ ὁ κύριος δύναται·     6 Zosimus said: “I know that the Lord is able to do whatever he wants.”
    7 ὁ δὲ ἄγγελος εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· γνῶθι καὶ τοῦτο· ὅτι πρὸς ἓν τῶν γευμάτων αὐτῶν οὐκ εἶ ἄξιος· πλὴν ἀναστὰς πορεύου·     7 The angel added, “You should know, too, that you are not worthy [even] to take part in one of their meals, nevertheless, get up and go!”
2 2
    1 ἐγὼ δὲ ζώσιμος ἐξελθὼν ἐκ τοῦ σπηλαίου μου τοῦ θεοῦ με προάγοντος ἐπορευόμην μὴ ἐπιστάμενος τὴν ὁδὸν ποῦ ἀπέρχομαι· 2 καὶ ὁδεύσας ἡμέρας τὸ πνεῦμά μου καὶ ἐξελύθη τὸ σῶμά μου· καὶ ἀκηδιάσας ἐκαθέσθην καὶ ἤμην προσευχόμενος ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ ἐπὶ ἡμέρας τρεῖς· 3 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἦλθεν ζῶον ἐκ τῆς ἐρήμου ὄνομα αὐτῷ κάμηλος· καὶ θήσας τὰ γόνατα εἰς τὴν γῆν· ἔλαβέν με εἰς τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐπορεύθη τὴν ἔρημον καὶ ἀπέθετό με·     1 I, Zosimus, coming out of my cave went, with God going before me, not knowing where the road was leading. 2 After having followed it for forty days, I was dispirited and exhausted. Discouraged, I sat down in one place and prayed for three days. 3 Miraculously, an animal (a camel) came out of the desert. It knelt, let me get on its neck, and took me out of the desert.
    4 καὶ ἦν ἀλαλαγμὸς τῶν θηρίων ἐκεῖ πολύς· καὶ βρυγμὸς καὶ ἰὸς θανατηφόρος· 5 ἔμφοβος δὲ γενόμενος, προσηυξάμην πρὸς κύριον· καὶ ἐγένετο σεισμὸς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ πολὺς μετ᾽ ἠχοῦς· 6 καὶ ἀνέμου· καὶ ἐκίνησέν με ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὕψωσέν με εἰς τὸ πτερύγιον αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἤμην προσευχόμενος καὶ ποευόμενος· καὶ ἔστησέν με ἐπὶ τόπου ποταμώδους· καὶ ὄνομα τῷ ποταμῷ εὐμελής·     4 Then there was a huge clamor of animals, a chattering, and deadly poison. 5 Afraid, I prayed to the Lord; and there was a loud earthquake there. 6 A powerful wind it caught me up from the ground and lifted me in its wings. I kept praying and moving, until it set me down in a place beside a river. The name of the river was Melodious.
    7 καὶ ἰδοὺ βουλομένου μου· διέρχεσθαι τὸν ποταμόν· ἐβόησέν τις ὡς ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος λέγων· ζώσιμε ἄνθρωπε τοῦ θεοῦ· οὐ δύνασαι διελθεῖν δι᾽ ἐμοῦ· οὐ γὰρ δύναται ὁ ἄνθρωπος τὰ ὕδατά μου διακόψαι· ἀλλ᾽ ἢ κατανόησον ἀπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· 8 καὶ κατανόησας· νεφέλης κρατοῦν ἀπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· 9 καὶ εἶπεν ἡ νεφέλη· ζώσιμε ἄνθρωπε τοῦ θεοῦ· δι᾽ ἐμοῦ οὐ διέρχεται πετεινὸν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου· οὐδὲ πνοὴ ἀνέμου· οὐδὲ αὐτὸς ὁ ἥλιος· οὐδὲ ὁ πειράζων ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ δύναται διελθεῖν δι᾽ ἐμοῦ·     7 It seemed that I needed to cross the river. A voice called from the water saying: “Zosimus, God's man, you cannot cross, no human is able to break through my waters. However, rather than the water, consider the sky!” 8 When I considered, I saw a wall of cloud filling the space from the waters up to the sky. 9 Then the cloud said, “Zosimus, God's man, birds from this world cannot cross through me, not a breath of wind, not the sun. Not even the world’s tempter can cross through me.
3 3
    1 ἐγὼ δὲ ἐξέστην ἐπὶ τοῖς ῥήμασιν τούτοις καὶ ἐπὶ τῇ φωνῇ τῇ λεγούσῃ μοι ταῦτα· 2 καὶ ἐμοῦ προσευχομένου ἰδοὺ δύο δένδρα ἀνεφάνησαν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καλοείδη καὶ εὐπρεπέστατα· γέμοντα καρπῶν εὐωδίας· 3 καὶ κλιθὲν τὸ δένδρον ἐντεῦθεν· ἔλαβεν με ἐπὶ τὴν κορυφὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ ὑψώθη σφόδρα ἀνάμεσον τοῦ ποταμοῦ· καὶ ὑπήντησεν τὸ ἄλλο δένδρον καὶ ἐδέξατό με ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ· καὶ κλιθέν· ἔστησέν με ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν 4 καὶ ἀνυψώθησαν τὰ καὶ ἔστησάν με ἀπὸ τοῦ ποταμοῦ πέραν·     1 I was taken aback, both by the words, and the voice speaking them. 2 Then, while I was praying, a couple of trees sprang up from the ground, most attractive and full of pleasant smelling fruit. 3 The tree closest to me bent down and received me at its top. I was lifted way up over the middle of the river. Next, the other tree came up to meet it, took me in its branches, bent, and set me on the ground. 4 Then both trees were lifted and set me on the other side, away from the river.
    5 καὶ ἀνεπαυσάμην ἡμέρας τρεῖς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ· καὶ πάλιν ἀναστὰς ἐπορευόμην· ὅπου δ᾽ ἂν οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον· 6 καὶ ἦν ὁ τόπος ἐκεῖνος πλήρης εὐωδίας πολλῆς· καὶ οὐκ ἦν ὄρος ἔνθα· ἀλλ᾽ ἦν ὁ τόπος ἐκεῖνος πεδινὸς ἄφθορος· ὅλος ἐστεφανωμένος· καὶ πᾶσα ἡ γῆ εὐπρεπής·     5 After I rested there for three days, I once again got up and headed out, not knowing where. 6 This [new] place was full of many pleasant smells, but without any mountains. Rather, it was all around flat and unblemished, and the whole land looked inviting.
4 4
    1 καὶ εἶδον ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπον γυμνὸν καθήμενον· καὶ εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτῷ· ἆρα μὴ οὕτως ἐστὶν ὁ πειράζων; 2 καὶ ἐμνήσθην τῆς φωνῆς τῆς νεφέλης ὅτι εἶπέν μοι· ὅτι οὐ διέρχεται δι᾽ ἐμοῦ οὔτε αὐτὸς ὁ πειράζων ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ·     1 I saw a naked man sitting there and thought to myself, “This wouldn’t be the tempter would it?” 2 But then I remembered what the cloud told me, “No one passes through me, not even the world’s tempter.”
    3 καὶ οὕτως θαρρήσας· εἶπον πρὸς αὐτόν· “χαίροις ἀδελφέ·”     3 Encouraged by this, I said to him, “Hello, brother.”
    4 καὶ αὐτὸς ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπέν μοι· “ἡ χάρις μετά σου·”     4 He answered me, “Grace to you!”
    5 καὶ πάλιν εἶπον πρὸς αὐτόν· “εἰπέ μοι ἄνθρωπε τοῦ θεοῦ, τίς εἶ;”     5 Speaking again to him, I said, “Tell me who you are, God’s man.”
    6 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπέν μοι· “σὺ γὰρ εἶ; τίς εἶ;”     6 He answered me, “Who, indeed, are you? Who are you?”
    7 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ἐγὼ εἶπον πάντα τὰ περὶ ἐμοῦ· καὶ ὅτι ηὐξάμην πρὸς κύριον, καὶ ἤνεγκέν με ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ·     7 So I answered, telling all about myself, and that I had been praying to the Lord, and he brought me to this place.
    8 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπέν μοι· “κἀγὼ γινώσκω ὅτι ἄνθρωπος τοῦ θεοῦ εἶ σύ· εἶ γε· οὐκ ἂν διῆλθες τὴν νεφέλην καὶ τὸν ποταμὸν καὶ 9 τὸ γὰρ πλάτος τοῦ ποταμοῦ· ὡς ἀπὸ μιλίων τριάκοντα· ἡ δὲ νεφέλη ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· τὸ δὲ βάθος τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἕως τῶν ἀβύσων·”     8 He replied, “I know that you are a man of God. If not, you couldn’t have come through the cloud, the river, or the air. 9 That river is twenty-eight miles wide, the cloud goes up to heaven, and at the depth of the river is the abyss.”
5 5
    1 καὶ πληρώσας τὸν λόγον τοῦτον ὁ ἄνθρωπος· εἶπεν πάλιν· σὺ ἐκ τῆς ματαιότητος τοῦ κόσμου ἦλθες ὧδε;     1 After he finished talking, the man spoke once again, “Did you come out of the futility-world?”
    2 ἐγὼ δὲ εἶπον αὐτῷ· διατί γυμνὸς ὑπάρχεις;     2 But I said to him, “Why are you naked?”
    3 καὶ εἶπεν· πόθεν ἔγνως ὅτι γυμνὸς ὑπάρχω; σὺ γὰρ φορῶν δέρματα εκ τῶν προβάτων τῆς γῆς ὑπάρχεις· καὶ αὐτὰ φθειρόμενα σὺν τῷ σώματί σου· ἀλλὰ κατανόησον τῷ ὑψώματι τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ θέασαι τὸ ἔνδυμά μου ποῖόν ἐστιν· 4 καὶ θεασάμενος ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ εἶδον τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ πρόσωπον ἀγγέλου· καὶ τὸ ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἡ ἐξ ἀνατολῶν εἰς δυσμὰς πορευομένη· καὶ ἐφοβήθην ὅτι υἱὸς θεοῦ ἦν· καὶ ἐγενήθην ἔντρομος πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν·     3 He said, “What makes you think I’m naked? You wear skins from earth-animals, and they wear out along with your body. But stare into the height of heaven and you will see the nature of my clothing.” 4 Looking into heaven, I saw his appearance like the appearance of an angel, and his clothes like lighting that shoots across the sky. I was terrified that he was a son of God, and trembling, I fell to the ground.
6 6
    1 Καὶ ἀνέστησέν με λέγων· κἀγὼ εἷς εἰμὶ τῶν μακάρων· 2 δεῦρο ὅπως ἄξω σε πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους·     1 Giving me a hand, he helped me up, saying, “I am one of the Blessed. 2 Come along, I will bring you to the elders.”
    3 καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρός μου· συμπεριεπάτησέν μοι· καὶ ἤγαγέν με ἐπί τινα ὄχλον καὶ ἦσαν ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἐκείνῳ πρεσβῦται ὅμοιοι υἱοὶ θεοῦ· καὶ ἦσαν παριστάμενοι νεανίσκοι τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις· 4 ἀπελθόντος δὲ ἐμοῦ ἔγγιστα αὐτῶν εἶπαν· οὗτος ἐκ τῆς ματαιότητος τοῦ κόσμου ἐλήλυθεν δεῦτε δεηθῶμεν τοῦ κυρίου καὶ φανερώσει ἡμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο· 5 μὴ ἄρα τὸ τέλος ἔφθασεν· ὅτι ἄνθρωπος τῆς ματαιότητος ἦλθεν ὧδε·     3 So, taking my hand he accompanied me and led me towards a crowd. Among that crowd there were elders resembling sons of God, and some youths standing with the elders. 4 When I came near them, they said, “This guy is from the futility-world! We’d better ask the Lord; he will clear up this mystery for us. 5 Apparently the end has not come, since a man of the futility has come here.”
    6 καὶ ἀναστάντες, ἐδεήθησαν τοῦ κυρίου ὁμοθυμαδόν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι δύο κατέβησαν ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ εἶπαν· μὴ φοβήθητε τὸν ἄνδρα· ὅτι ἀπέσταλκεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεὸς ἵνα ποιήσῃ ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας·     6 So standing, they asked the Lord together, and right away two angels came down from the heavens. They said, “Don’t be afraid of this man. God has sent him to spend seven days [here].
    καὶ λάβῃ τὰς διοικήσεις ὑμῶν· καὶ τότε ἐκπορεύεται· καὶ ἀπελεύσεται ἐν τῷ τόπῳ αὐτοῦ·     He will learn how you live, and then leave and go back to his own place.”
    7 οἱ δὲ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ εἰπόντες ταῦτα· ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἐνώπιον τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ἡμῶν·     7 After saying this, the angels went back to heaven in front of all of us.
7 7
    1 τότε παρέδωκάν με οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τῶν μακάρων ἕνα τῶν ὑπηρετῶν λέγοντες· φύλαξον αὐτὸν ἕως ἡμερῶν ἑπτά· 2 παραλαβών με οὖν ὁ ὑπηρέτης· ἀπήγαγέν με εἰς τὸ σπήλαιον αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἤμεθα ὑποκάτω δένδρου διοικούμενοι· 3 ἀπὸ γὰρ ἕκτης ὥρας ἕως ἕκτης τότε ἠσθίομεν· καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐξήρχετο ἀπὸ τοῦ δένδρου γλυκὺ ὑπὲρ τὸ μέλι· καὶ ἐπίνομεν πρὸς τὸν κόρον ἡμῶν, καὶ πάλιν τὸ ὕδωρ ἐδίδυσκεν εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ· 4 ἤκουσεν δὲ πᾶσα ἡ πατριὰ τῶν ἐκεῖσε περὶ ἐμοῦ· ὅτι ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῆς ματαιότητος τοῦ κόσμου ὧδε· 5 καὶ ἐσαλεύθη πᾶσα ἡ πατριά· καὶ ὅτι ξένον αὐτοῖς ἐφάνη· 6 ἦσαν οὖν πάντα· κἀγὼ ἤμην ἀναγγέλων αὐτοῖς· 7 καὶ ὠλιγοψύχησα τῷ πνεύματι καὶ τῷ σώματί μου· καὶ παρεκάλεσα τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ τὸν ὑπηρετοῦντά μοι καὶ εἶπον· παρακαλῶ σε ἀδελφέ· ἐὰν ἔλθωσίν τινες ἰδεῖν με ἀνάγγειλον αὐτοῖς ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε ἵνα ἀναπαύσωμαι μικρόν· 8 καὶ ἐβόησεν ὁ ἄνθρωπος τοῦ θεοῦ λέγων· οἴμοι ὅτι ἱστορία τοῦ ἀδὰμ ἐμοὶ ἀνεκεφαλαιώθη· ἐκεῖνον γὰρ διὰ τῆς εὔας ἠπάτησεν ὁ σατανᾶς καὶ ἐμὲ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος· διὰ τῆς κολακείας, ψεύστην θέλει ἀποκαταστῆσαι· ὄντος αὐτοῦ ὧδε· εἶπέν μοι· ὅτι ψεύσῃ καὶ εἶπε ὅτι οὐκ · 9  ἐντεῦθεν, ἐπεί· φεύξομαι ἰδοὺ γὰρ βούλεται κατασπείρειν ἐμοὶ σπέρματα τοῦ κόσμου τῆς ματαιότητος·     1 Then the elders of the Blessed entrusted me to one of the assistants, saying, “Watch over him for seven days.” 2 So the assistant took me to his cave, and we sat under a tree where they live 3 from noon one day to the next, then we ate. Water, sweeter than honey, came out from the tree; we drank our fill, after which the water sank back where it was from. 4 Everyone in the whole country heard about me, that a man from the futility-world had come there. 5 The whole country was stirred up, and came to see me, because it seemed strange. 6 So they were asking all sorts of things, and I was answering them. 7 When I was getting exhausted, mentally and physically, I called the God’s man who was assisting me and said, “Please, brother, if anyone comes to see me, tell them, ‘He’s not here,’ so I can get a little rest. 8 But the God’s man cried out, saying, “ I’m sunk! The story of Adam is coming down on my head! Through Eve, he was deceived by Satan, and I am being likewise by this man. Using flattery, he wants to make me a liar while he is here. He told me, ‘Lie, and say that I am not here.’ 9 Get me out of here, I need to escape from this place. See, he wants to sow in me the seeds of the futility-world.”
    10 καὶ κατεπανέστησάν μου πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος· καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ εἶπον· ἄπελθε ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπε οὐκ οἴδαμεν πόθεν ἐλήλυθας πρὸς ἡμᾶς·     10 Then the whole crowd and the elders accosted me and said, “Leave us, mister, we don’t know why you came to us.”
    11 ἐγὼ δὲ ἔκλαυσα κλαυθμῷ μεγάλῳ· καὶ ἀπέστη ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἡ φρόνησις· καὶ ἐβόησα πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους λέγων· συγχωρήσατέ μοι κύριοί μου· καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καταπαύσαντες· ἡσυχίαν παρέσχον· 12 τότε ἐξηγησάμην αὐτοῖς τὰ ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς ἕως δεῦρο· καὶ ὅτι ἐδεήθην τοῦ θεοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς· καὶ κατηξίωσέν με·     11 But I wept deeply, out of my mind, and cried to the elders, saying, “Sirs, please make allowances for me.” So the elders quieted [the crowd] and there was silence. 12 Then I related to them all from the beginning to the present, “I asked God to be allowed to come to you, and he judged me worthy.”
    13 καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι εἶπον· καὶ νῦν τί ποιήσωμέν σοι·     13 The elders said, “So now, what do you want us to do for you?”
    14 ἐγὼ δὲ εἶπον αὐτοῖς· θέλω λαβεῖν ἐξ ὑμῶν τὰς διοικήσεις ὑμῶν·     14 I told them, “I want to learn from you your way of life.”
8 8
    1 οἱ δὲ ἐχάρησαν χαρὰν μεγάλην, καὶ ἄραντες πλάκας λιθινάς· κατέγραψαν τοῖς ὄνυξιν αὐτῶν αὐτῶν οὕτως·     1 They were very happy, and lifting flat rocks, they wrote this on them with their fingernails:
    ἀκούσατε ἀκούσατε υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἡμῶν τῶν γενομένων μακάρων· ὅτι καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐσμέν· 2 ὅτε γὰρ ἐκήρυξεν ἰερεμίας ὁ προφήτης· ὅτι ἡ πόλις ἰερουσαλὴμ παραδοθήσεται εἰς χεῖρας τῶν ὀλοθρευόντων· διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ· καὶ περιεζώσατο σάκκον περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ· καὶ χοῦν ἔλαβεν ἐπὶ τῆς κοίτης αὐτοῦ· καὶ εἶπεν παντὶ τῷ λαῷ ἀποστραφῆναι ἀπὸ τῆς ὁδοῦ αὐτοῦ τῆς πονηρᾶς· 3 ἤκουσεν δὲ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν ῥηχὰβ υἱὸς ἀμιναδὰβ καὶ εἶπεν· πρὸς ἡμᾶς· ἀκούσατε υἱοὶ ῥηχὰβ καὶ θυγατέρες τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν· καὶ ἀποδύσασθε τὰ ἱμάτια ὑμῶν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος ὑμῶν καὶ κεράμιον οἴνου οὐ πίεσθε· καὶ ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ πυρὸς οὐ φάγεσθε· καὶ σίκερα καὶ μέλι οὐ πίεσθε· ἕως τοῦ εἰσακοῦσαι κύριον τῆς δεήσεως ὑμῶν·     Listen carefully, people, we, those who have become Blessed, are from among you. 2 For when Jeremiah the prophet declared that the city of Jerusalem was to be handed over to destroyers, he tore his garment, girded his loins with sackcloth, put ashes on his head, cast soil on his bed, and told all the people to turn from their evil way, 3 our father Rechab son of Aminadab paid attention. He told us, “Listen, sons of Rechab and daughters of your father: Take off your outfits, do not drink jars of wine, do not eat bread from the oven, and do not drink liquor or honey, until the Lord hears your prayers.”
    4 ἡμεῖς δὲ εἶπαμεν· ὅτι ἃ ἐνετείλατο ἡμῖν ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἀκουσώμεθα· 5 καὶ ἀπερρίψαμεν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος ἡμῶν τὴν περιβολὴν ἡμῶν· καὶ οὐκ ἐφάγομεν ἄρτον ἐκ πυρός· καὶ οὐκ ἐπίομεν κεράμιον οἴνου· οὔτε μέλι οὔτε σίκερα· καὶ ἐκλαύσαμεν κλαυθμῷ μεγάλῳ· καὶ ἐδεήθημεν τοῦ κυρίου 6 καὶ ἤκουσεν τῆς προσευχῆς ἡμῶν· καὶ ἀπέστρεψεν τὴν ὀργὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἰερουσαλήμ· καὶ ἐγενήθη τῇ πόλει ἰερουσαλὴμ ἔλεος παρὰ κυρίου καὶ ἠλέησεν τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἀπέστρεψεν τὴν ὀργὴν αὐτοῦ τὴν θανατηφόρον·     4 We said, “Whatever he commanded us, we will listen and do it.” 5 So we threw off our garments, stopped eating bread from the oven, did not drink jugs of wine, honey, or liquor. We wept deeply and entreated the Lord. 6 Then he heard our prayers, and turned his anger from the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem found pity from the Lord and he had mercy on his people, and turned away his deadly anger.
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    1 καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἀπέθανεν ὁ βασιλεὺς τῆς πόλεως ἰερουσαλήμ· καὶ ἀνέστη βασιλεὺς ἕτερος· 2 καὶ συνηθροίσθη πᾶς ὁ λαὸς πρὸς αὐτόν· καὶ κατάδηλον ἐποίησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν περὶ ἡμῶν καὶ εἶπαν· εἰσίν τινες ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ σου· οἵτινες ἤλλαξαν τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτῶν ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν· 3 καλέσας οὖν αὐτοὺς ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς ἕνεκεν τίνος πεποιήκασιν τοῦτο· 4 καὶ μετεκαλέσατο ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν· καὶ ποίας θρησκείας ἢ ἐκ ποίας πατρίδος;     1 After that the king of Jerusalem died and another king arose. 2 Then all the people gathered around him and informed him about us. They said, “There are some among your people who have altered their behavior from ours.” 3 Inquiring of them, the king asked why these people had done this. 4 So he summoned us and asked, “Who are you, and what sort of cult do you belong to, or from what country?”
    5 καὶ εἴπαμεν αὐτῷ ἡμεῖς· ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ σού ἐσμεν τῆς πόλεως ἰερουσαλήμ·     5 So we told him, “We are from your people, and from Jerusalem”
    καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεύς· τίνος υἱοί ἐστε·     Then the king asked, “Whose children are you?”
    καὶ εἴπαμεν αὐτῷ· υἱοί ἐσμεν παιδός σου· πατρὸς δὲ ἡμῶν ῥηχὰβ υἱοῖ ἰωναδάβ 6 καὶ ὅτε ἐκήρυξεν ἰερεμίας ὁ προφήτης ζῶντος τοῦ πατρός σου τοῦ βασιλέως, ἐκήρυξεν θάνατον τῇ πόλει ἰερουσαλὴμ ὅτι ἔτι τριῶν ἡμερῶν καὶ πᾶσα ἡ πόλις θανατωθήσεται· 7 ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς ὁ πατήρ σου μετέγνω ἐπὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐξέθετο δόγμα πᾶσιν τοῦ ἀποστρέψαι ἐκ τῆς ὁδοῦ αὐτῶν τῆς πονηρᾶς· 8 ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν ὁ παῖς σου· ἐνετείλατο ἡμῖν λέγων· κεράμιον οἴνου οὐ πίεσθε· καὶ ἄρτον ἐκ πυρὸς οὐ φάγεσθε· ἕως τοῦ εἰσακοῦσαι κύριον τῆς δεήσεως ὑμῶν· 9 ἡμεῖς δὲ ἐπηκούσαμεν τῆς ἐντολῆς τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν· καὶ ἐγυμνώσαμεν τὰ σώματα ἡμῶν· καὶ οἶνον οὐκ ἐπίομεν· καὶ ἄρτον ἐκ πυρὸς οὐκ ἐφάγομεν· καὶ προσηυξάμεθα πρὸς κύριον περὶ τῆς πόλεως ἰερουσαλήμ· 10 καὶ ἠλέησεν κύριος τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἀπέσρεψεν τὴν ὀργὴν αὐτοῦ· καὶ εἴδομεν καὶ ὀνήθη ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν καὶ εἶπαμεν· καλὸν εἶναι ἡμᾶς οὕτως·     We told him, “We are the children of one of your subjects. Our father is Rechab son of Jonadab. 6 When the prophet Jeremiah was proclaiming during the life of your father the king, he predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, that in three days the whole city would be destroyed. 7 Your father the king paid attention and repented from his sins and issued a law that all should turn from their wicked way. 8 In obedience our father directed us, ‘Do not drink jugs of wine, or eat bread from the oven, until the Lord answers your request.’ 9 We have obeyed our father’s command: we left our bodies naked, have not drunk wine, have not eaten bread from the oven, and prayed to the Lord concerning Jerusalem. 10 The Lord spared his people, and turned back his anger. We observed this, our souls were delighted, and we told [ourselves], “It is good for us to act in this way.”
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    1 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς ὁ βασιλεύς· καλῶς πεποιήκατε· 2 νῦν οὖν καταμίχθητε μετὰ τοῦ λαοῦ μου· καὶ φάγεσθε ἄρτον· καὶ πίεσθε οἶνον· καὶ δοξάσατε τὸν κύριον ὑμῶν· καὶ ἔσεσθε ὑπακούοντες, θεῷ καὶ βασιλεῖ·     1 The king told us, “You have done well. 2 So now mingle with my people, eat bread, drink wine, and glorify your God. You will be obeying God and King.”
    3 ἡμεῖς δὲ εἴπαμεν ὅτι οὐ παρακούομεν τὸν θεόν· 4 τότε ὀργισθεὶς ὁ βασιλεύς· ἔθετο ἡμᾶς ἐν φυλακῇ· καὶ ἤμεθα διανυκτερεύοντες τὴν νύκταν ἐκείνην· 5 καὶ ἰδοὺ φῶς ἔλαμψεν ἐν τῷ οἰκήματι· καὶ ἄγγελος ἀπεστέγασεν τὴν φυλακήν· καὶ ἐκράτησεν τῆς κορυφῆς ἡμῶν καὶ ἐξήγαγεν ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς φυλακῆς·     3 We responded, though, that we would not disobey God. 4 The king, being angered, threw us in prison, where we spent the night. 5 Then a light shown in that building, an angel took the roof off the jail, and grasping our heads brought us out of prison.
    καὶ ἔθετο ἡμᾶς εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ ἤνεγκεν ἡμᾶς πρὸς τὸ ὕδωρ τοῦ ποταμοῦ· καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς· ὅπου πορεύεται τὸ ὕδωρ πορεύεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς· 6 καὶ ἐβαδίσαμεν σὺν τῷ ὕδατι καὶ σὺν τῷ ἀγγέλῳ· 7 ὅτε οὖν ἤνεγκεν ἡμᾶς πρὸς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον· ἐψύγη ὁ ποταμὸς καὶ ἀπώλετο τὸ ὕδωρ· καὶ διερράγη ὁ τόπος· καὶ ἀνῆλθεν ὕδωρ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀβύσσου· 8 καὶ περιετείχισεν τὴν πατρίδα ταύτην· καὶ ἦλθεν τεῖχος νεφέλης καὶ ἐπεσκίασεν ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος·     He took us through the air and brought us beside the water of a river. He told us, “Go wherever the water goes.” 6 So we walked along with the water and the angel. 7 When we came to this place, the river dried up, the water disappeared, and the place was leveled. Then water came up from the abyss 8 and made a wall around this country and a wall of cloud came and overshadowed the water.
    9 καὶ οὐ διέστησεν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν· ἀλλ᾽ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν τὴν πατρίδα ταύτην·     9 So, he did not scatter us over the whole earth, but rather gave us this country.”
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    1 ἀκούσατε ἀκούσατε, υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὴν διοίκησιν τῶν μακάρων· 2 ἔθετο γὰρ ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ταύτης· καὶ γάρ ἐσμεν εὐσεβεῖς· ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἀθάνατοι· 3 ἀνέτειλεν γὰρ ἡ γῆ καρπὸν εὐωδέστατον· καὶ ἐξέρχεται ἐκ τῶν κορμῶν τῶν δένδρων ὕδωρ γλυκὺ ὑπὲρ τὸ μέλι· καὶ ταῦτα ἡμῖν βρῶσις καί πόσις· 4 ἐσμὲν δὲ καὶ προσευχόμενοι νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας· πᾶσα δὲ ἡ σπουδὴ ἡμῶν τοῦτό ἐστιν·     1 Listen carefully, people, concerning the way of life of the Blessed. 2 Because God put us in this land; we are pious but not immortal. 3 The land gives sweet smelling fruit and water sweeter than honey comes from the tree trunks. This is our meat and drink. 4 We pray night and day; this is how we busy ourselves.
    5 ἀκούσατε υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· ὅτι παρ᾽ ἡμῖν ἄμπελος οὐκ ἔστιν· οὔτε ἄρουρα· οὔτε ἔργα ἐκ ξύλου οὔτε σιδήρου· οὔτε οἶκός ἐστιν ἡμῖν· οὔτε οἰκοδομή οὔτε πῦρ οὔτε ξίφος· οὔτε ἀργὸς σίδηρος οὔτε ἐργάσιμος· οὔτε ἀργύριον οὔτε χρυσίον· οὔτε οὔτε πικρότατος·     5 Pay attention, people, we do not have wine, or farms; we do not work with wood or iron; we do not live in houses, or build them; we don’t have fire or swords, no farm tools or land that needs to be worked; we have no silver or gold, and the air is never smoky or bad smelling.
    6 οὔτε εἰσὶν ἐξ ἡμῶν λαμβάνοντες ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἕως οὗ ποιήσωσιν δύο τέκνα· 7 καὶ μετὰ τὸ δύο τέκνα ποιῆσαι· ἀφίστανται ἀπ᾽ ἀλλήλων καί εἰσιν ἐν ἁγνείᾳ μὴ γινώσκοντες συνηθείᾳ τοῦ γάμου· ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ὅτι ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς ἐν τῇ παρθενίᾳ ὑπάρχοντες· 8 μένει τὸ ἓν τέκνον εἰς τὸν γάμον· καὶ τὸ ἓν εἰς τὴν παρθενίαν·     6 No one among us takes a wife, except to have two children. 7 After the two children, they separate from each other and remain chaste not even knowing that they had been martially intimate, but rather supposing that they had been virgins from the beginning. 8 One of [the two] children is intended to marry, but the other to remain a virgin.”
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    1 καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν · οὔτε ἑβδομάδες οὔτε μῆνες· οὔτε ἐνιαυτός· πᾶσα γὰρ ἡ ἡμέρα ἡμῶν μία ἡμέρα ἐστίν· 2 ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν σπηλαίων ἡμῶν· τῶν δένδρων· καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ κοίτη ἡμῶν ὑποκάτω τῶν δένδρων· 3 οὐκ ἐσμὲν δὲ γυμνοὶ τῷ σώματι ὡς δὴ ἀλογίζεσθε ὑμεῖς· ἔχομεν γὰρ τὸ ἔνδυμα τῆς ἀθανασίας καὶ οὐκ αἰσχυνόμεθα ἀλλήλους· 4 ἐν δὲ τῇ ἕκτῃ ὥρᾳ ἐσθίομεν κατὰ πᾶσαν ἡμέραν· κατέρχεται γὰρ ὁ καρπὸς τοῦ δένδρου ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ ἐν τῇ ἕκτῃ ὥρᾳ καὶ ἐσθίομεν πρὸς τὸν κόρον ἡμῶν καὶ πίνομεν 5 καὶ πάλιν τὸ ὕδωρ διδύσκει εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ·     1 We do not count days, nor weeks, months, or years, because every day is one day. 2 We pile up tree leaves [from] under the trees in our caves, which serve as our beds. 3 We are not naked, as you supposed; because we have the garment of immortality, and are not ashamed of each other. 4 About noon every day we eat, because noon is when the fruit descends from the tree on its own. Once we have eaten and drunk our full, 5 the water sinks back to its place.
    6 οἴδαμεν δὲ καὶ ὑμᾶς τοὺς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ καὶ τοὺς ἐν ἁμαρτίαις ὄντας καὶ τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν· ὅτι καθ᾽ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ ἔρχονται καὶ ἀπαγγέλλουσιν ἡμῖν καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἐτῶν ὑμῶν· 7 ἡμεῖς δὲ εὐχόμεθα ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν πρὸς τὸν κύριον· ὅτι καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐσμὲν καὶ ἐκ τοῦ γένους ὑμῶν ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ὁ θεός· καὶ ἔθετο ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ ἀναμαρτήτους· 8 καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ οἰκοῦσιν μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν κατὰ πᾶσαν ἡμέραν καὶ λέγουσιν ἡμῖν πάντα τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν· καὶ χαίρομεν μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ἕνεκεν τῶν ἔργων τῶν δικαίων· 9 ἐπὶ δὲ τὰ ἔργα τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν λυπούμεθα· καὶ κλαίοντες προσευχόμεθα πρὸς κύριον· ἵνα παύσηται ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς καὶ φείσηται τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων ὑμῶν·     6 We know about you, though, who are in the world where you live, and are in sin. We know what you are up to, since every day angels of God come and tell us, as well as how many years it has been. 7 We pray for you, since, of course, we are from you and from your kindred, except that God chose us and set us in this sinless place. 8 God’s angels live with us every day and tell us all about you. We rejoice with the angels over the actions of the just 9 and grieve over the actions of sinners. Weeping, we ask the Lord to hold back his anger and have mercy regarding your sinful actions.
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    1 ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ χρόνος πάντα παύονται τὰ δένδρα ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν· 2 καὶ βρέχει τὸ μάννα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὅπερ ἔδωκεν τοῖς πατράσιν ἡμῶν· ἔστιν δὲ τὸ μάννα ὑπὲρ τὸ μέλι γλυκύ· 3 καὶ οὕτως γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐνήλλακται ὁ καιρὸς τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ·     1 When the forty day period comes all the trees stop bearing fruit, 2 and manna rains from heaven just as was given to our ancestors (the manna is sweeter than honey). 3 This is how we find out that a year has passed.
    4 ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ καιρὸς τοῦ ἁγίου πάσχα· τότε πάλιν ἀνατέλλει τὰ δένδρα τὸν καρπὸν τῆς εὐωδίας· καὶ οὕτως γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἀρχὴ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐστίν· 5 ἡ δὲ ἑορτὴ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τοῦ κυρίου· ἐν πολλῇ ἀγρυπνίᾳ ἐκτελεῖται· ἐσόμεθα γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἡμέρας τρεῖς καὶ νύκτας τρεῖς·     4 When the time for the holy Passover comes, the trees grow sweet-smelling fruit again, and we know it is the new year, 5 but we keep the feast of the Lord’s resurrection with wakeful watching. We keep up this watching for three days and nights.
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1 οἴδαμεν δὲ καὶ τὸν χρόνον ἡμῶν, τῆς τελειώσεως· οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν αἰκισμὸς καὶ βάσανος· οὐδὲ κόπος τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν· οὔτε ἀκηδία· οὔτε ἀρρώστημα· ἀλλ᾽ ἔστιν εἰρήνη καὶ ἀνεκτότης πολλὴ καὶ ἀγάπη· 2 οὔτε γὰρ ὀχλεῖται ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ ἐξελθεῖν· χαίρουσιν γὰρ οἱ ἄγγελοι ὅταν παραλαμβάνωσιν ἡμῶν τὰς ψυχάς· χαίρουσιν δὲ καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ ἡμῶν σὺν τοῖς ἀγγέλοις ὅταν βλέπωσιν αὐτούς· 3 ὥσπερ ἐκδέχεται νύμφη τὸν νυμφίον· οὕτως ἐκδέχεται ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν τὸν εὐαγγελισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων· οὐδὲν περισσὸν λέγοντες· ἀλλ᾽ ἢ μόνον τοῦτο, καλεῖ σε ὁ κύριος· 4 τότε ἡ ψυχὴ ἐξέρχεται ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, καὶ προσέρχεται τοῖς ἀγγέλοις· καὶ ἰδόντες τὴν ψυχὴν ἄσπιλον ἐξερχομένην, χαίρουσιν οἱ ἄγγελοι καὶ ἁπλώσαντες τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν δέχονται αὐτήν· 5 τότε μακαριοῦσιν αὐτὴν οἱ ἄγγελοι λέγοντες· μακαρία σὺ ψυχὴ ὅτι ἐπληρώθη τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν σοί· 1 We also know when we will are about to die, even though we don’t have sick feelings, bodily pain, exhaustion, or illness, but rather peace, much patience, and love. 2 This is because our souls are not snatched away by the angels, but rather the angels joyfully receive them, and our souls rejoice with the angels when they show up. 3 Like a bride accepting her bridegroom, our souls accept the good news from the holy angels, who say only this, “The Lord is calling you.” 4 Then the soul leaves the body and goes with the angels, who, when they see the stainless soul coming, spread out their robes to receive it. 5 Welcoming it they say, “You, soul, are blessed, since the will of God was fulfilled in you.”
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    1 ὁ δὲ χρόνος τῆς ζωῆς ἡμῶν οὗτός ἐστιν· 2 εἰ ἐν νεότητι ἐξερχόμενος ἐκ τοῦ σώματος· αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς ζωῆς αὐτοῦ αἱ ἐντεῦθεν ἔτη τριακόσια ἑξήκοντα· 3 ὁ δὲ ἐν τῷ γήρει ἐξερχόμενος ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς ζωῆς αὐτοῦ αἱ ἐντεῦθεν· ἔτη ἑπτακόσια ὀγδοήκοντα ὀκτώ·     1 Our length of life is as follows: 2 Someone 360 years old on leaving the body would be a young person, 3 on the other hand, someone leaving the body at 688 would be in old age.
4 δεδήλωται δὲ ἡμῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων· ἡ ἡμέρα τῆς συμπληρώσεως ἡμῶν· 5 ὅτε δὲ ἔλθωσιν οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ λαβεῖν ἡμᾶς πορευόμεθα μετ᾽ αὐτῶν· 6 καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ἰδόντες τοὺς ἀγγέλους συνάγουσιν πάντα τὸν λαόν· καὶ ἀπερχόμεθα μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ψάλλοντες· ἕως ἀπέλθωσιν οἱ ἄγγελοι ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον τῆς κατοικίας ἡμῶν· 7 διὰ δὲ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ἡμᾶς σκεῦος οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ δι᾽ ἑαυτῶν ποιοῦσιν τὴν θήκην τοῦ σώματος ἡμῶν· 8 καὶ οὕτως κατέρχεται ὁ καλούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ· πάντες δὲ ἀσπαζόμεθα αὐτὸν ἀπὸ μικροῦ ἕως μεγάλου προπέμποντες καὶ συντασσόμενοι· 9 καὶ τότε ἡ ψυχὴ ἐξέρχεται ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος· καὶ ἀσπάζονται αὐτὴν οἱ ἄγγελοι· 10 ἡμεῖς δὲ θεωροῦμεν τὸ εἶδος τῆς ψυχῆς, ὡς εἶδος φωτὸς πεπληρωμένην καθ᾽ ὅλου τοῦ σώματος χωρὶς τοῦ ἄρσενος καὶ τῆς θηλείας· 4 The angels have let us know the time of our completion. 5 So when the God’s angels come to take us, we go with them. 6 When the elders see the angels they gather all the people and we accompany the angels, psalming, until they arrive at our village. 7 Since we don’t have tools, God’s angels themselves prepare the grave for our body, 8 then the one who was called by God goes down, and everyone says their goodbyes, passing by in order by age. 9 Then the soul departs from the body and is greeted by the angels. 10 We see the appearance of the soul, as if completely of light in the shape of the body, but neither male nor female.
16 16
    1 τότε οἱ ἄγγελοι ἀναλαμβάνοντες· ᾄδουσιν ᾆσμα καὶ ὕμνον ψάλλοντες τῷ θεῷ· καὶ πάλιν ἄλλα τάγματα τῶν ἀγγέλων μετὰ σπουδῆς ὑπαντῶσιν ἀσπαζόμενοι τὴν ψυχὴν τὴν προσερχομένην καὶ εἰσερχομένην εἰς τὰ στερεώματα· 2 καὶ ὅτε ἀπέλθῃ εἰς τὸν τόπον ἐν ᾧ δεῖ προσκυνεῖν τὸν θεόν· αὐτὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων δέχεται τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ μάκαρος· καὶ προσφέρει πρὸς τὸν ἄχραντον πατέρα τῶν αἰώνων·     1 Then, the angels taking it up, sing a song and a hymn, psalming to God. Next, another order of angels comes quickly, greeting the soul who is coming to enter the expanse. 2 When it has come to the place where it is appropriate to worship God, the Son of God himself, with the angels receives the fortunate soul and brings it to the undefiled father of the ages.
3 καὶ πάλιν ὅταν ψάλλωσιν οἱ ἄγγελοι ἄνω· ἡμεῖς ὄντες κάτω ὑπακούομεν αὐτῶν· καὶ πάλιν ἡμεῖς ψάλλομεν, καὶ αὐτοὶ ὑπακούουσιν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἄνω· 4 καὶ οὕτως ἀνάμεσον ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων· ἀνέρχεται ἡ δοξολογία τῆς ὑμνολογίας· 5 ὅτε δὲ ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ μάκαρος πεσοῦσα ἐπὶ πρόσωπον προσκυνεῖ τὸν κύριον· τότε καὶ ἡμεῖς πεσόντες προσκυνοῦμεν τῇ αὐτῇ ὥρᾳ τὸν κύριον· 6 ὅτε δὲ ἀναστήσει αὐτὴν ὁ κύριος τότε καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀνιστάμεθα· 7 καὶ ὅτε ἀπέρχεται εἰς τὸν ὡρισμένον τόπον· καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀπερχόμεθα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ· πληροῦντες τὴν εὐχαριστίαν τοῦ κυρίου·     3 When the angels begin again to psalm above, we below listen to them, and begin again ourselves to psalm, and the angels themselves listen in heaven above. 4 So that a hymn-singing glorification ascends jointly from us and the angels. 5 When the fortunate soul falls on his face worshipping the Lord, then, at the same time, we also fall and worship; 6 when the Lord has it rise up, we also rise; 7 when he crosses the divide, we enter the church and celebrate the Eucharist of the Lord.
8 ταῦτα γράψαντες· καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν διοίκησιν τῶν μακάρων· ἐδώκαμεν τῷ ἀδελθῷ Ζωσίμῳ· καὶ προεπέμψαμεν αὐτὸν ἕως τοῦ τόπου τῶν δένδρων πρὸς τῷ ποταμῷ τῷ εὐμέλῃ·     8 After writing this, which is the whole lifestyle of the Blessed, we gave it to brother Zosimus and sent him on to the location of the trees by the river Melodious.
17 17
    1 ἐγὼ δὲ ζώσιμος ἐδεήθην πάλιν τῶν μακάρων· ἵνα δεηθῶσιν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ πρὸς τὸν κύριον· ἵνα δέξωνταί με τὰ δένδρα τοῦ περάσαι με· 2 καὶ κράξαντες πάντες πρὸς κύριον εἶπαν· ὁ θεὸς ὁ τὰ θαυμάσιά σου καὶ ποιήσας ἐλθεῖν τὸν δοῦλόν σου ζώσιμον πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τῆς ματαιότητος· πάλιν ἀποκατάστησον αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ μετ᾽ εἰρήνης· 3 καὶ κέλευσον κλιθῆναι τὰ δένδρα ταῦτα καὶ ἀναλαβεῖν τὸν δοῦλόν σου, καὶ στῆσαι αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ πέραν· 4 καὶ πληρωσάντων αὐτῶν τὴν εὐχήν· εὐθέως ἐκλίθησαν τὰ δένδρα ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν καὶ ἐδέξαντό με καθὰ καὶ τὸ πρώην· 5 καὶ σταθεὶς πέραν τοῦ ποταμοῦ, ἔκραξα φωνῇ μεγάλῃ καὶ εἶπον· ἄνθρωποι τῆς δικαιοσύνης· οἱ ὄντες ἀδελφοὶ τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων· δότε μοι ευχὴν μετ᾽ εἰρήνης· ἰδοὺ γὰρ πορεύομαι ἀφ᾽ ὑμῶν· 6 καὶ ποιήσαντες εὐχὴν, ἔκραξαν πάντες λέγοντες· εἰρήνη εἰρήνη σοι ἀδελφέ· 1 I, Zosimus, asked once more of the Blessed that they would ask the Lord for me that the trees would accept me to carry me across. 2 So they all called to the Lord, saying, “God, you have shown us your miracle in bringing your servant Zosimus to us from the futility-world. Restore him once more to his own place in peace. 3 Call on these trees to bend themselves down and lift your servant and set him on the other side.” 4 When they had finished praying, the trees immediately bent down in front of them, just like before 5 and once I was standing on the other side of the river, I shouted loudly, “Righteous people, brethren of the holy angels, grant me your prayer with peace, now that I am leaving you.” 6 So they prayed, and all cried out, “Peace, peace to you, brother.”
18 18
    1 τότε ηὐξάμην πρὸς κύριον καὶ ἦλθέν μοι λαῖλαψ τοῦ ἀνέμου· καὶ ἔλαβέν με ἐπὶ τῶν πτερύγων αὐτοῦ· καὶ εἵλκυσέν με ἕως τοῦ τόπου οὗ ηὗρέν με καθήμενον· καὶ ἀνέλυσέν μετ᾽ εἰρήνης· 2 καὶ ἄρας φωνήν· εἶπεν πρός με ὁ ἄνεμος· μακάριος εἶ ζώσιμε· ὅτι κατηριθμήθης μετὰ τῶν μακάρων· 1 Then I prayed to the Lord and a windstorm came and lifted me on its wings taking me to the place where it had found me sitting and left me there unharmed. 2 The wind howled at me, “You are fortunate, Zosimus, that you have been counted among the Blessed.”
3 καὶ ἦλθεν τὸ ζῶον ἐκ τῆς ἐρήμου ᾧ ὄνομα κάμηλος· καὶ ἔλαβέν με ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἤνεγκέν με ὀγδοήκοντα πέντε μονάς· 4 καὶ ἔθηκέν με εἰς τὸν τόπον οὗ ηὗρέν με προσευχόμενον· 5 καὶ ἀνέλυσεν ἐν εἰρήνῃ κράζων καὶ λέγων· ζώσιμε, ὅτι μετὰ τῶν μακάρων κατηριθμήθης· 3 then the animal (the camel) came, allowed me up on its neck, carried me past 85 stopping places, 4 and took me to the place where it had found me praying. 5 Setting me down unharmed it grunted, “You are fortunate, Zosimus, that you have been counted among the Blessed.”
19 19
    1 ἰδὼν δέ με ἐγκωμιαζόμενον ὁ σατανᾶς· ἠθέλησεν πειράσαι με καὶ ἀκοντίσαι ἀπὸ τῆς μονῆς· 2 ἦλθεν δὲ ἄγγελος τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ εἶπέν μοι· ζώσιμε· ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται ὁ σατανᾶς πειράσαι σε· ἀλλ᾽ ἔσται πολεμῶν ὑπέρ σου ὁ κύριος· ἡ γὰρ δόξα τῆς πίστεώς σου δεῖ σε ἔχειν τὸν σατανᾶν· 1 Seeing me acknowledged, Satan wanted to test me, hoping to wound me from his dwelling. 2 One of God’sangels came to me and said, “Zosimus, look out, Satan is coming to test you, but the Lord will be fighting for you, since the strength of your faith will bear you up against Satan.”
3 καὶ ἐφάνη ἄγγελος τοῦ θεοῦ κράζων καὶ λέγων· καλῶς ἐλήλυθας μάκαρ τοῦ χριστοῦ· 4 δεῦρο ἀπάξω σε ἐπὶ τὸ σπήλαιον τὸ γινόμενον κατοικητήριον τοῦ σώματός σου· 5 ἔσται γὰρ τὸ σπήλαιόν σου μαρτύριον τῆς ἐρήμου· ἴασις τῶν προσερχομένων· ἀσθενῶν· πειρατήριον καὶ βάσανος τῶν δαιμόνων· 3 Then [another] of God’s angels appeared crying, “Welcome, blessed of Christ! 4 Come, I will lead you to the cave that is to be the home of your body. 5 Your cave is a testimony to your solitude, a remedy for sick visitors, a trial and touchstone for demons.”
6 καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρός μου· ἐνίσχυσέν με· καὶ διήγαγέν με δι᾽ ἡμερῶν τεσσαράκοντα εἰς τὸ σπήλαιον· ἐν ᾧ ἤμην κατοικῶν· 7 καὶ ἐγενήθη τράπεζα δικαιοσύνης· καὶ ἤμην αὐλιζόμενος· μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ· 8 ἔθηκα δὲ τὰς πλάκας τὰς δοθείσας μοι ἀπὸ τῶν ἁγίων μακάρων ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ ἐν τῷ σπηλαίῳ μου· 6 So, grabbing my hand he forcefully led me for forty days to the cave where I had lived. 7 A table of righteousness appeared, and I passed the night with God’s angels. 8 I placed the tablets that the Blessed holy ones had given me on the step of the altar that was in my cave.
20 20
    1 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀναβάντων τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ· παρεγένετο ὁ διάβολος σχῆμα ἔχων ἄγριον· καὶ θυμοῦ ἀγόμενος καὶ χολῆς· 2 εἶπεν πρός με· ἐγὼ ᾔδειν ὅτι οὕτως ποιῆσαί σε εἶχεν ὁ θεὸς ὡς καὶ τοὺς μάκαρας· καὶ ἔχουσιν εἶναι ἀναμάρτητοι· καὶ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ὑπὲρ τοὺς ἀγγέλους· 3 καὶ διὰ τοῦτο εἰσήνεγκα διάνοιαν πονηράν· καὶ εἰσῆλθον εἰς τὸ σκεῦος τοῦ ὄφεως πανούργως πρὸς πανοῦργον· 4 καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐποίησα παραβῆναι τὸν ἀδὰμ τὸν πρῶτον ἄνθρωπον· γεύσασθαι αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς· ἐπειδὴ δὲ παρήγγειλεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεὸς μὴ φαγεῖν ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ· ἵνα ἔμεινεν ἴσος τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων· 1 As soon as God's angels ascended, the devil appeared, fierce looking, and full of venomous anger. 2 He said to me, “I knew that God would keep you firm just as with the Blessed; they hold firm to being sinless, and are higher than the angels. 3 Because of this I hatched an evil plan, and entered in the body of the serpent—villain into villain— 4 and in this manner I made Adam, the first man, transgress by tasting from the tree of life (sic.). [I did this] because God had instructed him not to eat from it, so he could maintain honor similar to God and of the holy angels.
5 καὶ σὺ πάλιν ἀπελθὼν ἤνεγκας τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην 6 ἵνα μὴ ὦσιν ἀναμάρτητοι, ἐγώ σοι δείξω πῶς ἀπολέσω σε· καὶ πάντας τοὺς δεχομένους τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην ἵνα μὴ ὦσιν ἀναμάρτητοι καὶ τὴν βίβλον ἣν ἤνεγκας· 5 Now you have brought this instruction back! 6 So, to keep them from becoming sinless, let me tell you, I'm going to destroy you, the book you brought, and anyone who accepts this instruction. They will not be sinless!”
21 21
    1 καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν ὁ διάβολος, ἐπορεύθη ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ· 2 καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμέρας ὀκτώ· συνήγαγεν μεθ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ· χιλίους τριακοσίους ἑξήκοντα δαίμονας· καὶ ἥρπασέν με ἀπὸ τοῦ σπηλαίου προσευχόμενον· 3 καὶ ἔτυπτόν με σφαιρίζοντες ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα· 1 When the devil had said this, he left me, 2 but after eight days he returned, bringing 1360 demons with him. While I was praying, he dragged me from the cave. 3 They beat me and tossed me around among themselves for forty days.
4 καὶ ἡμέρας ἔκλαυσεν ὁ διάβολος ἔμπροσθέν μου καὶ εἶπεν· οὐαί μοι· ὅτι δι᾽ ἕνα ἄνθρωπον τὸν κόσμον ἀπώλεσα· ἐνίκησέν με γὰρ διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς αὐτοῦ· 4 After the forty days, the devil wailed before me, “I’m sunk! Through one man I have lost the world; he defeated me through his prayers.”
5 καὶ ἤρξατο τρέχειν ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ· ἐγὼ δὲ κρατήσας αὐτὸν ἔστησα καὶ εἶπον· οὐ μὴ ἀποδράσῃς καὶ φύγῃς ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ· ἕως μοι τοῦ μηκέτι ἄνθρωπον πειράσαι: 5 He began to run away from me, but I grabbed and stopped him, and commanded, “Do not run away from me fleeing until you swear no longer to tempt people.”
6 καὶ κλαύσας κλαυθμῷ μεγάλῳ καὶ βιαίῳ· ὤμοσέν μοι ἐπὶ τῷ στερεώματι τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἕως οὗ ἡ κατοικία σού ἐστιν καὶ μετά σε οὐ μὴ ἀπέλθω ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον ἐκεῖνον· 7 τότε ἀπέλυσα αὐτὸν ἐκπέμψας εἰς τὸ αἰώνιον πῦρ καὶ τοὺς μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ δαίμονας· 6 Wailing loudly and defiantly, he swore to me upon the expanse of heaven, “As long as your dwelling is here, and after, I will not come to this place.” 7 Then, I released him, sending him into eternal fire, and the demons with him.
8 τότε ἦλθεν ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ συνευδοκήσας μοι ἐπὶ τῆς τραπέζης· καὶ ἤγαγέν με ἐν τῷ σπηλαίῳ μου, μετὰ δόξης πολλῆς· 8 Then the angel who had been pleased to join me at the table came and led me into my cave with great honor.
22 22
    1 ἔζησα δὲ μετὰ τοῦτο ἔτη τριάκοντα ἕξ· καὶ διέδωκα τὴν διοίκησιν τῶν μακάρων, τοῖς πατράσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· 1 After this, I lived for 36 years, and passed on the lifestyle of the Blessed to the desert fathers.
2 ἔκλαυσεν δὲ ὁ διάβολος διὰ τὰς πλάκας τῆς διοικήσεως τῶν μακάρων· ὅτι ἐὰν περιέλθῃ τοῦτο ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ γέγονα κατάγελως· καὶ οὗτοι μένουσιν ἀναμάρτητοι· κἀγὼ μόνος ἐν τῇ μωρίᾳ· 2 The devil lamented regarding the tablets of the Blessed's lifestyle, “If they got out into the world, I would be mocked, and folks would stay sinless. I alone would be the fool.”
3 καὶ μετὰ τὴν συμπλήρωσιν τῶν τριάκοντα ἓξ ἔτῶν· παρεγένοντο οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ πρός με καθάπερ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μάκαρας· 3 Then, after the 36 years were over, God's angels came to me, just as to the Blessed.
4 συνήχθησαν δὲ πάντες οἱ μοναχοὶ καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀκούσας· καὶ ἀνεγνώσθη ἐπὶ πάντων ἡ διαθήκη αὕτη· 5 καὶ ἐν τῇ τοιαύτῃ πολιτείᾳ παρέδωκεν τὴν ψυχὴν τῷ θεῷ· 4 All the monks gathered as well as any who heard about it. This testament was read to all. 5 Still living in this fashion, he gave his soul to God.
23 23
    1 ἐγὼ δὲ κρύσεως εἷς ὣν τῶν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· ἐκβαλὼν ἔδωκα πᾶσιν τοῖς θέλουσιν μανθάνειν καὶ ὠφελεῖσθαι· 1 I, Cyrus, was one of those in the wilderness. He spread [the message], giving it to anyone willing to learn and profit.
2 οἱ οὖν ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ συνεκόμισαν τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἁγίου ζωσίμου ὡς πολύτιμον δῶρον· 3 καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ μακαρίου, ὑπὲρ τὸν ἥλιον πεφωτισμένην ἑπταπλασίως· 4 ἀνέβησαν δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον παραχρῆμα φοίνικες ἑπτὰ, καὶ ἐπεσκίασαν τὸ σπήλαιον· 5 ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ πηγὴ ὕδατος ἐπὶ τοῦ τόπου ἐκείνου ὕδωρ ἅγιον· καὶ ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ταύτης· ἴασις καὶ σωτηρία πάντων τῶν προσερχομένων ἀσθενῶν· 2 So God's angels helped to bury St. Zosimus’ body, giving him full honors. 3 We could see his the fortunate soul, shining seven times brighter than the sun. 4 Seven palm trees quickly rose up on that place, shading the cave, 5 and a fountain of water came up there—holy water—that even to this day is healing and salvation to the sick who come to pray.
6 εἰρήνη πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀκούουσιν τὴν μνήμην τοῦ ἁγίου ζωσίμου· 7 ἔστιν δὲ ὁ κύριος συνήγορος καὶ ὄφελος πάντων εἰς τοὺς ἀτελευτήτους αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων 6 Peace to all who hear St. Zosimus’ account. 7 The Lord is an advocate and helper to all into the endless ages of eternity.
ἀμήν· Amen


1 “always have a descendant...” The Wikipedia article on the Rechabites (linked in the introduction) mentions several modern claimants to be descendants.

2 “Hover your mouse” That’s right, like that! Now click on the link at the start of this note to go back where you came from.

3 “a chattering, and deadly poison” In most Jewish and Christian texts the word behind ‘chattering’ refers to ‘gnashing (of teeth).’ The ‘of teeth’ part is missing here and it doesn’t make much sense either. ‘Chattering’ does appear in classical texts, and it could refer to the animal noises. ‘Deadly poison’ is also problematic, although there is no other way of translating it that I know of. I suppose it could refer to the presence of poisonous animals (snakes, spiders, etc.).

4 “wind it caught me up” In the Syriac, the animal (not identified as a camel) carries him the whole way to the water (no wind riding), and so also on the return journey in ch. 17.

5 “Melodious” Greek: Eumeles. I don’t know of a river by that name (which doesn’t mean that there wasn’t one), so the translation “Melodious” reflects the suspicion that the meaning of the place name is significant. Eumeles does appear occasionally in the ancient world as a person’s name.

5 “the other tree came up to meet it” In the Syriac, it reads like the trees are on opposite sides of the water, although in ch. 17, when he is returning, they appear to be in the middle of the water.'

7 “twenty-eight miles wide” Approximate. 30 Roman miles = 30,000 paces, ≈27.6 miles, 44.4 kilometers.

8 “a son of God” Note that it is not, “the Son of God.” This is the same class of being as the “sons of God” in Gen. 6 (elsewhere called “watchers”), although presumably, not one of the fallen ones described there.

9 “noon one day to the next” Literally, “from the sixth hour to the sixth.” Syriac has ninth to ninth, and has them fasting for this period, then eating.

10 “I’m sunk” Literally, “Woe is me!” which doesn’t seem to be an expression in English at this point, so this is my attempt to get at the current colloquial equivalent without using vulgarity.

11 “fingernails” Presumably because they do not have tools.

12 “Take off your outfits” The clothes instruction is not in Jeremiah’s version, so this seems to harken back to Adam and Eve’s nakedness before the fall. This and the word I translated, “garments” in v. 5 are not the same in Greek, but they can both be used to describe either outer garments or clothes in general. Where this sub-story is set, in Jerusalem in the early 7th century BCE, the outer garments would be the obvious choice. In 9.9, it makes it clear that they are naked, but even there, the Greek can indicate wearing undergarments only (as probably in Mark 14.52), or even destitute (as probably in James 2.15). In the Syriac in ch. 10, however, the king orders them to get dressed. His offense there (although not in the Greek) may indicate that that version has them completely naked. There is, certainly, a connection between this instruction by Rechab and the apparent nudity of the inhabitants in the land of the Blessed. The emphasis on nudity could also suggest an Adamite connection (a 2nd –4th  c. Christian group that held their services in the buff). . Although this reading too much into the narrative, it is certainly a story with which Adamites would have been comfortable..

13 “oven” Literally, “fire.” Also not mentioned by Jeremiah.

14 “Jonadab” The name of Rechab’s father is very similar to, but not the same as that given in 8.3 (Aminadab).

15 “destruction” Both here and at the end of the verse, the text literally says the “death” of the city.

16 “leveled” Literally, ‘destroyed,’ which doesn’t make much sense unless this place was previously inhabited by a group who, like Sodom and Gomorrah, fell under God’s judgment. Were that the case, I would have expected a comment to that effect, so this rendering is based on the fact that in 3.6, Zosimus comments on the absence of mountains. It does, however, present us with an interesting parallel to the Bedouin tribe found near the Dead Sea (presumed sight of Socom and Gomorrah) in the late 19th c. who claimed to be Rechabite descendants.

17 “he” i.e. the angel, or God.

18 “smoky” Literally, ‘thick.’

19 “have two children” The Syriac version says that they only sleep together once, from which the two children are conceived.

20 “remain chaste” This passage is the first major hint that “Rechabites” is a Christian story, a suspicion to be confirmed below in ch. 13. Nevertheless, while celibacy found its most welcome home among Christians, there were minority groups within Judaism that advocated it. This would likely include Essenes (at least at Qumran) and the group that Philo (or Pseudo-Philo) calls the “Therapeutai” (although some 3rd c. & later Christian writers thought these were 1st c. Christian monastics, possibly because of their celibacy).

21 “we have the garment of immortality” Which, it should be noted, according to 11.2 does not make them immortal.

22 “are not ashamed of each other” An obvious reference to Adam and Eve before the fall.

23 “noon” The ‘sixth hour.’

24 “descends” Or, perhaps, ‘falls.’

25 “forty day period comes” Lent. As I aluded to earlier in my note on 11.8, this passage establishes the Christian nature of this telling of the story. The reference to the 40-day fast leading up to the (Christian) holy week makes it abundantly clear. It also helps us get a terminus ad quo (earliest possible date) for this version of the account. All indications are that Lent as a fixed 40-day period is post-Nicene at least. (Nicholas V. Russo, "The Early History of Lent”). This would locate the terminus ad quo in the mid-4th c. Some scholars, including Charlesworth, argue that there may be a Jewish story lying behind this, which has undergone editing by a Christian. Passages like this are clearly Christian, but others parts are nowhere near so clear.

26 “Welcoming it they say” Or, ‘Then, blessing it, they say…’ Μακάριος can have a range of meanings.

27 “enter the expanse” 'Στερεώματα (expanse) is the plural of the word, often translated ‘firmament’ that in Genesis 1.7 describes the space between the waters below (the ocean) and the waters above, which in the next verse, God calls ‘heaven.’ The reason that ‘firmament’ is sometimes chosen is because the word literally means ‘something that is made firm or strong,’ which would be a literal translation of στερέωμα. In any case, in this story, it is assumed that the angels and the blessed departed are in the sky, but not just floating—there is something on which a non-corporeal being can stand. I went with ‘expanse’ because ‘firmament’ conjures inappropriate images in the English reader’s mind. I don’t use ‘heaven’ simply because οὐρανός, for which that is t proper translation, is also used in this passage. As we will see in v. 7, this is not the final abode of the blessed, but simply a stopping place on the way, still visible or audible, to those below, or at least those with the spiritual sight of the Blessed.

28 “crosses the divide” Lit. ‘enters into the division.’

29 “grant me your prayer with peace” I take this to mean, ‘Send me away in peace,’ particularly in light of their earlier discomfort with him.

30 “where it had found me sitting” Presumably in 2.6.

31 “left me there unharmed” The Syriac versions have several short endings, but do not go on from this point. For those endings, see Charlesworth.

32 “fortunate, Zosimus … Blessed” Most readers will already know that the word I have translated ‘fortunate’ here and elsewhere is the same one that lies behind ‘blessed.’ When I capitalize it like that I am referring to the inhabitants of the island in the Melodious, although in this context it could be more general.

33 “stopping places” Apparently, the same camel as in 2.3. The word I translated ‘stopping places’ (μονάς) is hard to make sense of. This is the word used in Jn. 14.2 & 23 for ‘dwelling (place).’ Elsewhere, it can just mean a tarrying, or place of rest. In 2.3 we see the camel carrying him out of the desert, to which, apparently they are returning. In such a journey, these could be oases, or simply public wells.

34 “grunted” This, apparently, is what you call a camel sound. Cats meow, camels grunt. They don’t sound like grunts to me, but it’s not like I have a better word.

35 “hoping to wound” Lit. ‘Hoping to throw a spear at me.’

36 “dwelling” Μονῆς. See the note on 18.3 (“stopping places”), above (n. 33).

37 “[another]” The word, ‘another,’ is strictly supplied by context. Of course, if there is a gap of time between vss. 2 & 3 in which the vs. 2 angel left, it could be the same angel. The Greek literally just says, ‘Then an angel of God….’

38 “touchstone” A stone “on which pure gold leaves a yellow streak” (LSJ), i.e. something that reveals their (in this case, demon’s) true nature.

39 “table of righteousness appeared” Lit. ‘came into existence.’ What the table is, is not clear. It could be for Eucharist, but 21.8 simply says they were there together in one accord.

40 “tree of life (sic.)” The author probably intended ‘The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.’

41 “destroy you … this instruction” Order changed from orig.: “Destroy you, anyone..., and the book.” It may work in Greek, but it is certainly run-on and confusing when rendered literally in English.

42 “tossed me” Played ball, using him as the ball.

43 “devil wailed” Ἔκλαυσεν (wailed) is sometimes used of the sufferer’s response to torture; here, it is the devil who came as torturer and ended up as the sufferer.