When it came to pass that Moses was about to die, Samael, the angel who is filled with enmity towards man, came before the throne of the Most Holy One and said, "Give me permission to take his soul from Moses." But God said to that angel who is named Severity of God, "How wouldst thou take his soul? From his face? How couldst thou approach the face that looked upon My face? From his hands?
[paragraph continues] But those hands received the Torah from Me, and how couldst thou be able to approach them? From his feet? But his feet touched My clouds, and how then couldst thou be able to approach them? Thou canst not go near Moses." But Samael said, "I pray thee permit me to take his soul." Then God said, "Thou hast my warrant."
Samael wrapped himself in the red of his wrath, and with his sword upon his thigh he went to where Moses was. And when he came before him Moses was writing the Ineffable Name. Therefore his face was suffused with radiance and his eyes were filled with light. And when he turned his face towards him and his eyes upon him, Samael's eyes grew dim, and his hand trembled upon his sword's handle. Humbly he said, "Yield to me thy soul, for the time is at hand for thee to depart from the world." But Moses said, "Not to thee, hater of man, will I yield my soul." Then holding his staff and standing upright he said to the angel with the sword, "I am he who led sixty myriads of Israel out of Egypt, who turned the bitter water into sweet, who mounted into Heaven and there spoke face to face with God the Al. mighty, who hewed out the two tables of stone on which God wrote His law, who waged war on the giants Sihon and Og that were created before the Flood, and were so tall that the Flood did not reach to their ankles: with my staff I slew the two of them. How darest thou then, wicked one, presume to seize such a soul as mine? Thou hast no power to sit where I sit nor stand where I stand. Get thee hence; I will not yield to thee my soul." In terror Samael went from before Moses and appeared once more before Almighty God.
Then the Most Holy One said, "In joy thou didst set out to take the soul of my servant Moses, and now thou comest back without it. Thou wretched one! Go fetch me Moses's soul, for if thou dost not, I will discharge thee from the office of taking men's souls!" Then Samael covered himself with the crimson of his fury, and, holding his sword naked in his hand, he went to where Moses was. Moses rose up when he appeared, and with the staff on which was written the Ineffable Name, he drove Samael away.
But even as he did this, Moses heard a voice that said, "Why dost thou strive in vain? Thy last minute is at hand!" Then God Himself appeared before him, and Moses fell upon his face and said, "Lord of the world! In love didst thou create the world, and in love thou
guidest it! Treat me with all of Thy love, and deliver me not into the hands of Samael, hater of man."
With the Most High there came the three angels, Michael, Gabriel, and Zagzagel. Gabriel went forward and arranged the couch for Moses, Michael spread a purple garment upon it, Zagzagel laid down a pillow. The Almighty One stayed at Moses's head, Michael at his right side, Gabriel at his left side, and Zagzagel at his feet. "Cross thy feet." Moses did so. "Fold thy hands." Moses did so. "Lay them on thy breast." Moses did so. Then the Almighty said, "Close thine eyes." Moses did so, and God said to the soul that was within, "O my daughter, for one hundred and twenty years I decreed that thou shouldst dwell with this righteous body, but delay not now to leave it, for the time has come for thee to do so." And when Moses heard these words he said unto his soul, "Return to thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." Thereupon God took Moses's soul by kissing him on the mouth.
God and His angels laid Moses's body in a secret place in the earth, and God took Moses's soul and laid it beside His throne. Samael did not know the doing of God and His angels, and for the third time he sought out Moses so that he might take his soul from him.
But Moses was not in the place he went to. Samael went into the Promised Land, thinking that Moses had gone there, and he asked the land where Moses was, and the land answered him and said, "Long did Moses pray to be here, but Moses is not here."
Then Samael hastened to the sea, and he said to the sea, "Is Moses here?" And the sea made answer and said, "I have not looked upon Moses since the day when he divided me into twelve parts so that the twelve tribes might pass through my waters." Samael went to the abyss, and he said, "Is Moses in the abyss?" And the abyss made answer and said, "I have not seen him, but I have heard his call." Samael went up into the clouds of Heaven, and he said to the clouds, "Is Moses with you?" And the clouds answered and said, "We have not seen him since the day when, at God's command, he went through us to receive the Torah in Heaven." Samael went to where the Tree of Knowledge grows, and he asked of the tree if it had seen aught of Moses, and the tree made answer through its leaves, and said, "Since the day when he came to me for a sliver of my wood with which to
make a pen for the writing of the Torah I have not seen Moses." And he went to the mountain, and when he asked of it concerning Moses, the mountain said, "Since he hewed the two tables out of me for the writing of the Law, I have not seen Moses." Then he asked of the angels had they seen Moses, and the angels answered and said, "We have heard lamentations for him on earth, and we have heard rejoicings over him in Heaven, but him we have not seen." Then Samael, Severity of God, went amongst men and asked of them where Moses was, and men looked at him boldly, and said to him, "What hast thou to do with him? God has taken his soul to Himself, and it is now in its place beside the throne of God." And when he heard this said, and saw the spirit that was in the faces of men, Samael, the Angel of Death, knew himself confounded.