The Samaritan Chronicle
The Book of Joshua, the son of Nun.
Translated from the Arabic, with notes by
Oliver Turnbull Crane, M.A.
John B. Alden, Publisher, New York, 1890
(Note that the notes from this book are not here shown)
(chapters 26- 50)
IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE.
HAMAM, the son of R'awan, king of the Persians, had been put to death along with all the kings whom Yush'a had killed, then his child grew up. Who was known by the name of Shaubak, and he was eminent in attainments and in the acquisition of wealth. And he began corresponding with kings throughout all the regions, puffing some of them up, and stirring up others of them to anger, and influencing some of them by promises, and conciliating others of them with gifts of riches. Thereupon he said, that he wished to take revenge for the murder of his father. And he also corresponded with the survivors of the Kana'anites, and recalled to their memory what the children of Israil had done with their children, their wives, their cities, and their possessions. Then he sent also unto the king of Arminiyeh (Armenia) the Greater, and Rumiyeh the Less (Asia Minor). And he joined unto himself the son of Yafet (Japheth) the giant, and also sent unto the king of Sida (Sidon) and of el-Qaimun, and to the king of esh-Sham (Syria), making known unto them what army had been assembled together unto him, and agreed with them that they should assemble together at el-Qaimun. And the opinion of the chiefs of the army and its leaders were agreed that they should send (as spy) a clothing-merchant, who should count the men, and inform himself as to the army (one who was clever in prudent management), in order that he might make known to them the condition of the children of Israil, and how was the way to them and the means of getting at them. And they resolved to write and forward by his hand a letter from their company to Yush'a the king, so that they might obtain security from him, seeing he acted as a messenger, for upon a messenger rests no crime and hence no fear.
STATEMENT OF A COPY OF THE LETTER WHICH THE GIANTS SENT
UNTO YUSH'A THE SON OF NUN, THE KING.
The letter began:
"From the assembly of the giants, the confederated, well-known, far-famed, victorious, triumphant, mighty in courage, protected from armor, and the foremost of all mortals; to Yush'a the shepherd, the son of Nun, and his people. Peace from us unto you.
We know, O murdering wolf, what thou hast done in the cities of our associates, and that thou hast in murder destroyed all of their leaders and sent them down to the bottom of the lowest depths, and hast demolished the places in which there was for us aid, and hast put down the provinces which were our supports and from which our helpers were ever providing themselves with food, and hast destroyed for us thirty cities, besides residences and small towns, and that thou didst not reverence old men, nor have compassion upon little infants, nor didst thou give ear unto them and grant them protection, nor leave a place unto those begging safety of thee. Nor grant time for good action. And the reason of this (thysuccess) was, that then we were distracted by discords and dissensions, and a lack of unity in our counsels; but now understand, O murdering wolf, that we are coming unto you with all the kings in harmonious agreement, with spirits in concord, and tongues that have pledged mutual covenants, and hands that have been struck together. With conditions all-perfected, and souls full (of wrath) and accumulated complaints, and livers, as it were, cut asunder, whom no stampede can ever overcome, nor a great fire put to fright.
And now after thirty days we will bring on the battle between us and thee in Merj Balata, in front of the mountain upon which thou worshipest they Lord, which is referred to as the Mount of Blessing. And there will be no delay on our part, or on the part of any one of us; so be prepared for those whom thou shall meet, and make no excuse for thyself by saying that thou art taken by surprise, or that the enemy came against thee by night. And, moreover, know that in our company there are thirty-six kings, and in the army of each king sixty thousand knights, besides foot-soldiers innumerable and countless, who make sport of devices (employed); and there is also with us the son of Yafet the giant, who has with him a thunderbolt of steel, and when he hurls it, and it is granted full success, it kills a thousand men, and when full success is not granted, it kills five hundred men; and they who are with him are kings, and with them are instruments and implements of war, which they have inherited from their grandfather Nuh (Noah)- peace be upon him. Therefore take knowledge of this and act in accordance therewith, and look out for thyself, for thou art about to be brought to account for what thou hast done. And now peace."
And the messenger took the letter, and proceeded on his journey at once. And they began to draw up the army and arrange it in order, and set out upon the journey to el-Qaimun, that they might unite with their confederates whom they had summoned by letter to be present.
THE HISTORY OF THE MESSENGER,
AND WHAT CAME OF HIM.
The messenger executed his orders on the tenth day of the second month of the twenty first year of the reign of the children of Israil, after their entrance into this territory: and he arrived on the fifth day (of the week), the morrow being the day el-Miqra (the Convocation), that is the feast of weeks. And he handed his letter unto the king, as he was sitting upon his royal throne pronouncing sentences upon such of them as were worthy of death, and such of them as deserved to be burned, and such of them as deserved to be stoned, and such of them as deserved to be imprisoned; for important cases were referred up to him at the time of the feasts, and then judgment was passed upon these in accordance with the light of God and the command of His saint. And he (Yush'a) did not turn towards the messenger until he had concluded his judgments, and had finished rendering his judicial decisions at the end of the day, then he took the letter, and read it at his home, and not a single person knew about it until his feast had passed by, and so the people did rejoice during their feast; but he himself was distracted in mind. Meanwhile the messenger was beholding the greatness of the army, and its good qualities, and the circumstances of the king and his prudent management, and the affairs of his Creator and His power, and the descending column of fire with its majesty, and he likewise saw the saint of God ant the terror which hedged him about, the like of which had never been beheld, or the like of it heard of in preceding ages. And when the children of Israil had celebrated the feast, the king gathered together his assembly, and had proclamation made throughout his army, and sent word to his chief commanders to assemble into their presence; but placed him in confinement in a certain place so that he might not witness their agitation or change of countenance. And when the leaders of the people were assembled, he read unto them the letter of the giants, and said to them: "Verily, never have I been overtaken by anything similar to this letter; and though I have waged wars for sixty years, yet never have I heard its like, nor anything approaching unto it." And when they heard the letter, their color changed and their heads hung down, and they said, "Never have we heard the like of this performance, nor have we ever encountered anything similar to it, or waged war with an army such as this is; but this war is one for God, and for us and for our children, and for thee, O king, overseer and master; and now manage us in accordance with the guidance and grace of God, and we will be obedient to thy supreme authority."
Then he brought out to them a reply which he had dictated, and he had dictated that which he had composed in accordance with the light of God- may His name be mighty- and he said to them: "This I lay before you as a reply that I have written, and as an address that I have drawn up, and if it seem to you to be the proper thing, I will send it; but if your opinion be that it should be abandoned, I will discard it."
AN ACCOUNT OF THE REPLY SENT TO THE GIANTS.
It began, saying:
"In the name of God, the Supreme King, the God of worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the Knower of secrets, the One resolute in wars, the God of Ibrahim and Ishaq and Yaqub, the Destroyer of infidels, the Annihilator of tyrants, the Destroyer of the obstinate, the Extirpator of intriguers, the Collector of the dispersed, the Scatterer of the confederates, the One who brings the dead to life, the One who puts to death the living: His hand is above the highest of the highest, and under His outstretched arms is eternity, the heavens and the earth are in His grasp, the holy angels in all their numbers and the whole creation He did create by His omnipotent power, and the spheres and the heavenly bodies moved under His guardian care, their rapid course He stopped by His mere word, and put in motion moving bodies by His divine authority. Of this Lord do I ask assistance, and upon Him do I place my trust, and in Him do I grow strong, and Him do I fear, and His mercy is a shield unto me, and unto my children, and He is my sufficiency and excellent Protector.
But now to proceed to what follows: I am Yush'a, the son of Nun, the mortal and spiritual, the disciple of Kalimu'l-lah (Moses), a child of Khalilu'l-lah (Abraham); upon me and my people be peace, mercy and success. But as for you, O ye people of unbelief and false religion and profligacy and given over unto the curse, corrupters throughout the land, destroyers of the servants of God, worshippers of idols, who kneel down unto images, who bow down unto the celestial bodies, who are subservient unto spirits, who are slaves unto matter; let not the peace of God rest upon you or upon your people, and may He not make your way successful or your circumstances prosperous, and may he not have pity upon your young or feel compassion for your aged, may He make your condition ruinous and scatter your confederation; and this He will do by the terror of His power and the omnipotence of Hid will; for He is a hearer and answerer (of Prayer). Ye have mentioned (may God not let the remembrance of you remain, may He not make you successful in a single thing, may he not bring to completion anything which ye have begun, may He not leave any life unto you), that ye are reinforced, joyful with good news, irresistible in power, and fully with good news, irresistible in power, and fully able to undertake the expedition towards me, and engage in battle with me around the place on which I worship my Lord, which is the Mount of Blessings and the holy spot, even the house of our Lord and the place of our God. May ye have no life and may that not come to pass, and may ye not behold my place with your eyes, and may the hallowed plain not be polluted with your armaments, and may ye never boast that ye have trodden my soil, nor of even having approached unto my soil, nor of having got into my vicinity through any way whatever. But now as to your granting a delay; God does not grant unto you a delay in undertaking the journey until after the expiration of thirty days, and therefore I will not put off the journey unto you, nor will I grant you any delay except only for seven days, and then I will make the attack and with me will be the troops which I will select; and they who have been tyrannical will then find out with what overthrow they shall be overthrown. Therefore know for a certainty and consider and understand and be aware, that I shall bring on the battle between me and you in the place known as el-Qaimun, and it is verily the place in which ye shall not get away from me, nor depart from it, nor flee unto another place, but there destroyed by the slaughter of the sword and put to death by strangling and burned with fire and annihilated in vengeance; it shall not be unto you, O deluded ones, as ye now boast it shall. And I do not say as ye say, that they will march with me six hundred thousand men who did wage war with Greater Misr (Egypt), and did eat the sacrifices of the Passover, and around whom the angels kept guard, and who crossed the sea in dryness and journeyed through the wilderness without any guide, the pillar of fire sheltered them from the cold by night and the pillar of cloud sheltering them from the heat by day, and whose food was the manna from heaven during forty years, and for whose sake the bitter water became sweet, and for whose sake the water brought forth from the rock, and who heard the voice of the Creator- His mention be honored and His name glorious, and who beheld the quaking of the mountain at his command, and the destruction of Sihun and `Ug and their people, and who inhabited their cities, and for whose sake the water of the Urdun was stayed until they passed through it, and who fought with Yariha and with the cities which ye well know. I do not boast that there march with me giants, as ye boast; but there march with me twelve thousand young men, who entered Midyan in safety, fought with it and came out safely there from. There is with me no thunderbolt such as ye mention; but with me is the Lord of thunderbolts and the Controller of the blowing winds, yea with me is the One who takes away spirits and who hears the voices of prayer, the Creator of the whole creation and the Distributor of gifts, whose greatness is glorious; He is the God whose creation is all gods and whose servants all kings are --blessed be He and exalted, in His company are three angels of His of whom, one brought the water of the flood upon the world to destroy corrupt transgressors, and another scattered the king of Babil (Babel, Babylon) and his host, and demolished their fortress and changed their languages, and another lifted up his five fingers five kings of cities, even Sadum (Sodom) and its buildings and riches and animals and plants, and rained down upon it sulphur and fire and salt. He who has in His company thousands and myriads of thousands of angels similar unto these; what king then shall boast that he can stand before this King, whose rank and dignity is so great, whose position is so exalted, by whose mighty power the kings were destroyed and in obedience to whom the true believers believe? What army can stand before Him? What giant can march out against Him? What great commander can escape from Him? Unto what place can any flee from Him? Have ye not heard of our poems wherein we say: "There is no power or might except in God, the Exalted, the Great; if it (the power of God) came to the water, it (the water) stood still. The idols heard it and fell down one after another?" Know that ye are the ones are consumed, taken and killed: ye shall not find a place unto which to flee, nor a refuge on which ye may rely; ye are ruined, ye are discomfited, ye are destroyed, yea, your people and your men and yourselves, and ye have made your wives widows and have rendered your children orphans; ye have made your enemies to rejoice, and ye have cut off your purpose before its allotted season and have made weak your power before its time; ye were ungrateful with the Divine mercy, and God took it away from you; ye have been rebellious against the Divine compassion, and God has ceased to bestow it unto you. The earth was broad for you and not narrow for you, either in condition or riches, but now there is no place or locality for you; seeing ye have opposed the One to whom belongs the great and high dominion, and have become subservient unto a decaying image, and your intentions are bent upon the destruction of the holy, favorite people, who are the guardians of the children of the prophets of God, and of His apostles. Who did sware unto them by His Name- mighty and glorious- that He would apportion unto them this territory, and now this Lord- blessed be He and exalted- says unto His people, that He will guard them as a man guards his eye. O ones whose hearts God has obscured and whose understanding He has bewildered and whose spirits He has extinguished and the light of whose eyes He has darkened! Have ye not heard what happened through our friends unto your friends, when our ancestor Ibrahim, el-Khalil- peace be upon him- marched against your friends, and in his company there were only three hundred and eighteen men; yet he did destroy of them five kings, the like of which was never heard of, nor did their fight cease short of Dimashq (Damascus)? Have ye not heard what befell the people of Misr, and what signs and wonders God- may He be exalted- showed, because of their abusive revilings? Have ye not heard how my comrade did kill the Nil with his rod, and crush the sea by his prayer, and stop the water through the reverence and respect which he inspired, and turn back the Divine wrath by his intercession, and cause the Divine compassion to descend by his words, and put to rout armies with his hand, and how the earth swallowed up those who opposed him? Have ye not heard what happened unto us in the wilderness, and what befell Sihun and his kingdom, and `Ug and his pride, and Bila'am and his sorcery, and the kings of Midyan and their host, and the kings of esh-Sham and their pomp? Have ye not heard what happened unto us at the Urdun, and what happened unto us at the Urdun, and what happened unto us with the kings who joined in a confederation and assembled together to attack us? Have ye not heard how I called upon my Lord to prolong the day, and the day did return after its setting, and the day stood still for me like as if it had been a whole year? And it will thus stand still for me a second time during your destruction. I do not boast that I am a giant, or the disciple of a giant, or the child of a giant. I boast that I am the disciple of Kalimu'l-lah, the mortal and spiritual; and a child of Khalilu'l-lah, the foundation of the prophets and the top branch of the pious; I boast in the myriads of the holy who march around my army. I am no giant, but the Lord of the giants is with me; and yet my stature from the ground up is five royal cubits. I do not dress in armor even, and in coats of mail and helmets; but my clothing is tunics of dark blue and purple and variegated crimson, and the royal crown is on my head with the name of my Lord inscribed upon the crown. I ride upon a white colt whose saddle-cloth is of purple and its saddle of pure gold: these are my distinguishing characteristics and these are my boastings. Aided by the prophets, surrounded by the holy, the Lord of creation is my armament, and His angels my triumph, and His omnipotent power my reliance. And He is the beholder of your affairs as well as the affairs of me and my people. We believe in no lord but Him, and no king besides Him: and He is our sufficiency and excellent Protector.
THE ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE DEPARTURE
OF THE MESSENGER FROM YUSH'A THE KING.
When the children of Israil heard this address and this reply, bowing down, they prostrated themselves before God, and spake, saying: "How adorable is He who has guided thee! How adorable is He who has enlightened thy heart! How adorable is He who was illuminated the light of thy intellect! How adorable is He who has ennobled they soul! How adorable is He who has sanctified thy spirit! How adorable is He who has ennobled thy soul! How adorable is He! Thou hast consoled our souls and hast strengthened our hearts; Thou has nerved our loins, Thou hast lifted up our heads, Thou hast exalted our renown, Thou hast spread abroad our glory, yea our friends do exalt, for Thou hast destroyed our enemies and hast annihilated their host. And now we are swift and zealous subjects in Thy presence, ready to go unto the horizon of the seas and to the abyss of darkness and unto the burnings of fire. And this is the approval and opinion we express to our master the king and let him carry it out by transmitting this letter; for in it lies the destruction of our enemies and their ruin, and the breaking up of their hearts and their purposes, through the power of God and his omnipotent might." And the king gave immediate direction that they should make known to him the list of the enumeration of those who had been chosen from the army, and that they make proclamation for them to mount at once. And scarce an hour passed before three hundred men had mounted, every one of whom was renowned fro manly qualities and skill, chosen men they were, the like of whom or better rank and file than theirs had ever been seen. And the officers returned and said unto him: "O our master and our lord, there have assembled for thee three hundred thousand chosen men, and if thou wert to command that there should be chosen as many more as they, we would be prompt to do the same, for in our lists there are other three hundred thousand men, but they are separated from us, and the mustering of them will be accomplished in the course of a week." And Yush'a the king answered them saying: "If He would destroy our enemies with six hundred thousand men, He is able to destroy them with three hundred thousand men." And he commanded that the messenger should be brought, for he knew that he was possessed of sagacity; and he-read the letter to the multitude in his presence. Thereupon he said unto him: "Look at and behold what I have collected unto me in one single hour, with regard to whom I do not need to bother myself about their provisions, or look after their condition, and in three days there will gather unto me a number equal to them, through the power of God and His omnipotent might; so now make known to thy companions what thou hast witnessed of the affairs of God- Mighty and Powerful- even the power of His people. And lo! I am about to march right on the tracks of my letter, with the help of God and his power and strength."
AN ACCOUNT OF THE RETURN OF THE MESSENGER,
AND WHAT HE DID WHEN HE REACHED THEM (I.E. THE ENEMIES).
When the messenger had heard the king, and his speech, and the reading of the letter and its words, and perceived the discipline of the army and its staunch condition, he took the letter and immediately started out on his journey, with head down-cast and heart rent asunder and color changed and eyes weeping. And when he arrived at the army of the enemy, he found them assembled together in el-Qaimun. And when he beheld them he weep with great weeping and cried with a loud voice, and said to them: "O woe unto me for you, and sad am I for your sakes. Whither ye marching? Is it unto the sea of darkness? Unto him who does not listen to a word of yours, nor sends back peace to you? Unto those ye have no stability or durability or permanency; every affair of theirs is in earnest, no jesting or secret backbiting exists among them. Therefore give attention unto the reply to the letter, that ye may know that God is over all things, powerful, ere I explain unto you what I have witnessed, and inform you of what I have beheld; for if I should continue for one year explaining and expounding about Him, I should not make known His substance or make known any of His attributes."
THE ACCOUNT OF THE READING OF THE LETTER,
AND WHAT THE ENEMY DID WHEN IT WAS READ.
He then took the letter and read it unto the company of the kings. Now the inscription written upon it was:
"To the company of reprobates, rebels, libertines, infidels: the calumniating, rebellious, polluted, and cowardly people; the filthy, self-disgraced, whose destruction is near at hand, and whose ruin is just impending:
"From the excellent, the faithful, the associates of purity, light, glory, firmness and victory, and possessed of authority and influence, the celebrated, far-famed, set-apart, chosen, protected by God, assisted unto victory by His power, sheltered under His mercy and compassion; and He is their sufficiency, and upon Him is their reliance."
Upon the reading of this inscription they wept until their eyes flowed blood, then they opned the letter, and a man read it in a plaintive voice, while they began beating their faces and wailing over themselves to greatest excess, until they had finished its reading. And the letter was not completed before their inwards were attenuated, and their heads bent down, and their hearts broken, and their tears poured out and their intellects bewildered; and they were neither able to arise from their places nor rest in quiet in them, for dementia and perturbation had seized them. Then they cried out while weeping, and said: "Woe unto us and unto our children, we have destroyed ourselves, we have brought about the violation of our women, we have waked up the sleeping lioness, we have stirred up the crouching lion, we have let loose the elephant that was tied, we have roused the bull that was tethered." And now their tongues jabbered on in their mouths, stuttering exceedingly as if tongue-tied, and they neither understood what they said, nor what was said to them; yea, they were deaf, they were dumfounded, they were stunned, they were bewildered, the hair on their heads stood on end and they tore their garments. Then there came unto them the sheikh of the magicians, and with him was the mother of Shaubak, the son of Hamam, who was skilled in magic and who worshipped the great luminary and the seven stars, and along with her was a crowd of the magicians and wizards and conjurers, and these calmed them, saying unto them: "O ye who turn back! Ye have wrecked your army before ye have seen the enemy, and ye have killed yourselves before your time; not thus should the leaders of the army do among the flock, ye have unnerved the men with fear, ye have slaughtered them without a sword being used. Sit ye down with us and listen with reason unto what we say, and bring hither the messenger whom ye sent, and consider what he shall describe unto you." So they brought the messenger, and he began to describe the king (Yush'a), and the feeling of awe that he carried away with him, and he described the army tribe by tribe, and the Divine ordinances which he had witnessed, and the grand condition of affairs which he had beheld. Then the messenger said to them: "O assembled men, accept my counsel, and do not yield yourselves unto any other; for I have seen what ye have not seen, therefore know what shall overtake you by surprise, for after three days will come the hasty rush and flight, and the abandonment of our baggage, and the saving of ourselves and our possessions; for, verily, he (Yush'a) is a magnificent commander, he is not to be held as contemptible and insignificant; and against this people neither sorcery nor stratagem is possible. Every god whom ye worship and serve will flee away from before their God whom they worship. Have ye not heard what happened unto our master and chief Bila'am?" Thereupon the band of magicians went apart by themselves and the mother of Shaubak with them, and they agreed in opinion that they would work out for them his (Yush'a) discomfiture, so as that he should not come unto them. And they commenced operations and built their altars and offered up their sacrifices, and they were answered in that which they requested, and they sat down in order that they night deliver their mandate with power and force. But God delayed this unto them, according as He willed. Blessed be He and exalted, for the consummation which He brought about.
THE ACCOUNT OF THE SETTING OUT OF YUSH'A
THE KING UPON HIS EXPEDITION.
When Yush'a the king desired to start out on the journey, he met with the saint of God, el-'Azar the imam- peace be upon him- and said unto him: "Go forth, invoke a blessing upon thy people and bless them, and when we have proceeded on our journey continue repeating it, and do not cease standing before thy Lord humbly beseeching Him, until thou hearest tidings of us." And el-`Azar, th imam, went forth to the tabernacle and blessed the people, and invoked a blessing upon them, and then he proceeded to bid farewell to the king, and to weep, while the priests invoked upon him safety and success and prosperity and good-fortune. Then he commanded the Liwanites to make proclamation throughout the army, in accordance with what our master Musa, the Prophet --the most excellent peace be upon Him,- had enjoined upon them in the Holy Law at the command of God, where he says: "When ye go out in battle against your enemies, and see horses and footmen, and a people more than ye, be not afraid of them; for God thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Misr"- and so on to the end of the chapter. And this having been executed, at close of the proclamation, Finahas (Phinehas), the son of the imam- peace be upon him, his cousin sounded on the two trumpets of clamor, and the congregation of the children of Israil shouted with one voice, and the angels in heaven and on earth did tremble by reason of their shout. And having knelt and bowed down, they then mounted and journeyed forward until they arrived in the vicinity of el-Lejjun.
THE ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
CHILDREN OF ISRAIL IN THIS PLACE.
When the children of Israil arrived at el-Lejjun, before they were aware of it, Yush'a and those who were with him had got inside of seven walls of iron, and the device of the magicians against them was consummated, in order that the decree of God- may He be exalted- might be accomplished, with regard to exalting the renown of Nabih, the king of the two and a half tribes, who was beyond the Urdun; for not a thing of this work had been effected, but for the sole purpose that the renown of Nabih might be glorified, and his name spread abroad. And one object of this was, that if the giants were put to rout they would cross over with them, and while they were fatigued, follow hard after them; and it was in their purpose so (to do). And another object of this was, to show up the result of the counsel of the deities of the giants; for Finahas alone did blow on the trumpet and dissolved every perplexing machination which the magicians had wrought. And another object of it was, that the embarrassment of king Yush'a might continue until the souls of the giants had become strong and their hearts elated and they settled down at ease; that the army of Nabih might cross over east; then would the magic from the west be dissolved, and the army issue forth and close upon the enemy from all directions, until not one of them should escape. Now this war was the last war that Yush'a the king witnessed; for the time of his death had drawn near. And we will recount what happened, so that even a hearer shall be as if he had been a witness of it; and he will be astonished at this great stratagem, and will praise Him who is powerful over all circumstances and spirits. Blessed and exalted and glorious be He above all that the ignorant heathen mention. Mighty be his name; and He it is from whom help is to be sought, and in whom trust is to be placed.
THE ACCOUNT OF HOW GOD FACILITATED THE ESCAPE
OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAIL FROM THE MAGICIANS.
When Yush'a beheld what had come to pass unto him, he remained in great perplexity and exceeding fear, and began to desire of his Lord that a dove might alight upon him from the doves of Nabih his cousin; and he had not finished expressing his desire before the dove alighted in the room, and he praised God- Mighty and Powerful: then he looked at it and knew that deliverance was certain. And he commenced and wrote a letter unto Nabih, his cousin, which I am about to make mention of, by the will of God and His assistance.
A STATEMENT OF A COPY OF THE LETTER
"I WRITE onto thee, O my cousin- may God protect thee and take care of thee, while I am sad of heart, weak in strength, with weeping eyes, humbled in soul, on the very verge of destruction, and three hundred thousand men along with me; for the stratagem of the magicians has been accomplished upon us, and I and my people are imprisoned and perplexed inside seven walls of iron, and in front of us are thirty six kings in complete joy and universal exultation, while we are in sadness and weeping and fear thereby. And now such affair as this had not been effectuated against us, except only that there might be accomplished what God- may He be exalted- desires with reference to the exaltation of thy renown, and the spreading abroad of thy authority; and God, God is the One, I my cousin, Who makes weak and makes strong. And truly thou knowest what covenants and compacts exist between me and thee, so rise up immediately and do not sleep; and if thou art asleep, awake: and if thou art awake, run; for I and the company of thy brethren, who are looking for deliverance from God- exalted be He- and thee, are imprisoned inside seven walls of Iron at el-Lejjun, and the host of the enemies are in el-Qaimun: so let not slackness nor rest nor laziness nor hesitation overtake thee, but outstrip the blowing winds and make manifest that by which thou shalt be remembered unto the end of the gliding ages, by the will of God and His assistance." And when Yush'a had finished folding the letter, the dove did not wait until it had been tied on to its wings, but snatched it in its bill and flapped its wings and soared aloft.
THE ACCOUNT OF NABIH AND WHAT HE DID.
Now Nabih was sitting upon his judgment throne, his waist girded up and on him a green robe and a green turban, and he was engaged in looking into the judicial affairs when the dove threw the note into the room, and he opened it and read it, and his eyes gushed forth with tears and he cried aloud, at which the court became agitated. And he himself then cried out at the top of his voice: "Assembly of my brothers and my cousins and my comrades! Follow me, and reach your brethren; for they are imprisoned by magic inside seven walls of iron at el-Lejjun. Assembly of Men! Haste! Haste!!" And they that were around him shouted out with a mighty shout, the sound of which was heard unto the horizon of heaven and to the regions of the earth, which were their assigned lands. And now the shout increased and voices were intermingled, and there mustered immediately, as though they had been for a long time and period prepared and equipt, six thousand men whose garments were white and their horses red, and six thousand men whose garments were red and their horses white, and six thousand men whose garments were green and their horses black and six thousand men whose garments were black and their horses piebald; not to mention the various colored and renowned ones who were many and without number. And the women and children joined in rendering aid. And there went forth of the men an innumberable multitude; and Nabih went forth, riding upon a celebrated colt that was spotted like a leopard and was fleet as the winds, and behind him was his army and he was saying: "Fire! Fire!! No rest and no repose! And the shout rode up on high, and a wonderful warning presented itself in the sky, so that the birds dropped down one after another and fled away from the great wind into the desert, and wild animals did not remain quiet in their dens, and from these was witnessed (an omen) the like of which had never been beheld in the past. And when Nabih drew near to the great meadow, he halted until his army had collected together. And it came to pass that the mother of Shaubak went up to a lookout she had in el-Qaumun to worship the great luminary according to her custom, and when she beheld the luminous star- that is to say Nabih- rising up out of the east, she made haste to descend unto her son, and she said to him: Lo! A luminous moon is rising up out of the east, and about him are brilliant stars- meaning Nabih and his soldiers; and if he be of our enemies, O woe unto thee and woe unto me; but if he be for our assistance, then it is well with thee and well with me." And he became enraged at her because she had hastened unto him with woe, and he killed her- may God have mercy on her. And he put on his armor and took his bow and arrows studded with pearls and corals and them made proclamation throughout his army and advanced alone against Nabih; and when he drew near him and beheld him, he said unto him: "O Nabih, what is the matter with thee that thou barkest?" And he answered him: "Yes, my name is Nabih, the son of Gil'ad the son of Makir the son of Manashsheh the son of Yusaf to whom was given the kingdom of Y'aqub the son of Ishaq the son of Ibrahim who killed the kings of esh-Sham; and my lord has sent me to anathematize thee and destroy thee, and as my father killed thy father so will his (my father's) son kill his (thy father's) son: and now, O thou anathematizes! O thou unclean one! Who art thou?" And he said to him: "I am Shaubak, the son of Hamam the son of Fut (Phut), the son of Ham, the son of Nuh whom God did bless at the time he came out of the ark. Stand for me until I shoot first, and then I next will receive (thy shoot)." And Nabih said unto him: "Of God I ask assistance, because thou shalt shoot first and kill first. Let drive, O anathematized, O, unclean one!" So he (Shaubak) let drive at him with the first arrow: now he was- God curse him- a man shooting with determination and confidence who never missed the mark. But Nabih dodged his head, and it passed by him and did not hit him. Thereupon he shot at him a second arrow; but Nabih lifted himself into the air, and it passed between him and his saddle. And he shot a third arrow; and he (Nabih) countered it with his right hand. And Shaubak the son of Hamam began to desire to flee away, and Nabih said unto him: "Whither dost thou flee, O anathematized, O unclean one? I have received from thee three witnesses (of thy skill), now receive of its kind one witness from me: take this from my right hand which God has blessed- and to Him belongs the mighty power." Then Nabih shot it, and the arrow rose up to heaven and reversing came down into the head of the man, and penetrated to his belly and to the belly of his horse, and penetrated to his belly and to the belly of his horse, and plunder into the earth to a depth of five royal cubits, which is twelve cubits according to this cubit, and in that place immediately a fountain gushed forth, which is called `Ain en-Nushshabeh (the Fountain of the Arrow) unto this time. And when the children of Israil witnessed this miracle, they shouted out in hinor of God- Glorious and Mighty- saying: "There is no power or might except in God." And when Yush'a and they who were imprisoned with him heard them, God made a revelation unto him, saying: "Speak unto the priests that they sound with the two trumpets." And when they had done so, the walls crumbled and fell down; and the army closed in upon the enemies, and the trumpets of the angels were heard from heaven. And Yush'a said to the day: "Stand still for me," and it stood still: and to the winds: "Assist me," and they assisted him. And while the enemies were hurling from the east, the west wind was returning each missile unto its hurler, and thus was it also from all quarters. And as to the man who had the thunderbolt with him, when he hurled it, it leaped back upon the enemies and killed of them one thousand men; and the sword continued doing its work among the rest of them, until. The horses plunged in blood up to their nostrils. Then said Yush'a to his people: "This day has annihilated the power of the confederates and of the allies of the confederates. All the children of Israil should offer praises and halleluiahs to the King of kings and Lord of lords, who has rescued them and preserved them, and protected them, and delivered them, and uprooted their enemies." And the king was offering praise, and saying: "God is the one who acts as the Hero for us in the wars, God is His name." And the children of Israil followed him, while all of them were saying: "Who is like unto Thee, perfect in holiness? O, One who dost inspire terror! O Revealer of secret things! O Doer of wonders! O One who dost protect His servants and those who love Him, in every place wherein they dwell!" Now, this is one of the paragraphs of our master Musa the Prophet- peace be upon him, in his hymn of praise at the sea. And Yush'a moreover said: "God shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." And this also is one of the sayings of Musa the Prophet- peace be upon him. And they lodged on the field of battle and rested that night; and they ceased not to commemorate God the whole night long, with hymns of praise and halleluiahs, until the rising of the sun, secure from any attack, amid great noise and merriment and gladness and booty; now that their enemies were destroyed and the remembrance of them blotted out. And God is the Victor, the Protector, the Guardian, and He is our sufficiency and illustrious Protector.
AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT WAS DONE DURING THE DAYS OF DIVINE FAVOR.
Now the length of this period was two hundred and sixty years. And the well ordered arrangement of the days of Divine favor existed during the days of Jush'a the king, and after him until the termination of this period; as I am about to mention and set forth. And they (the children of Israil) continued keeping the Sabbaths and the solemn assemblies- I mean, the new moons and the feasts, and from the era of the king they continued giving the land rest, one year in every seven years; in this year there was neither sowing nor cultivation, but yet every one had what was needed. And the children of Israil were delivering over to the Liwanites the tenth of all that came to them, and they possessed of every seed-sowing and fruit, and animal and other things. And the Liwanite was delivering over the tenth of this unto the high priest. And the children of Israil had another tenth, which before God they were disposing of, for themselves and for the imams and the infirm. And when they planted in the ground a new plant, its fruit was not eaten, except when in the fourth year the imam ate it, and then in the fifth it became released and made free to everyone. And the Hebrew slave who had served seven years was emancipated, and dominion over him was taken away. And when an Israilite, driven by want, sold his child and himself, there was always to him a right of ransom, and his account was settled, with reference to his years of service to come, on a basis of wages. And if there was not found for the Hebrew slave either a near or distant relative who would ransom him, he was set free in the year of jubilee; and so like was it with their lands which had been sold. And there was in every seven years a division of the land among the tribes, with reference to overplus and deficiency. And they always had chiefs whose duty it was to write up the calendars and keep record of the things which were brought to the treasury. And the firstlings of animals and seeds and fruits were carried unto the minister; and not a single ram or sheep or ox was sacrificed except upon the altar on the Blessed Mount, unless it was defective and was of the seven species, such as, the deer and the roebuck and the buffalo and the gazelle and the antelope and the giraffe. And they had judges who gave decisions for them, as to the commands and prohibitions (to be observed) at all times, so that they might keep them with right observance. And no one of them was able to commit an abomination, such as infidelity and other things of magic. But that it was brought to light, and the doer of the shameful thing, before he was aware would be apprehended, even though he was in the most remote parts of the assigned lands, for this was revealed by the jewels which were on the minister. And this minister would make a woman drink of the water of the temple, when her husband had suspicions against her; and if she had indeed been unfaithful to him and had become defiled with some one else, he would curse her; for if she was innocent in this regard, then she would return unharmed; but is she was guilty she was detected and immediately destroyed. And likewise it was that, no one did kill an innocent person, but that his murderer was made known by circumstances which were brought about, and the truth came to light. And there were transgressions and shortcomings and brutal deeds which the slaves did without due consideration, these did the minister, the imam, assume upon himself on every fast day, which is the tenth day of the seventh month wherein expiation is made for souls and spirits, such as for the raising of leavened bread during the feast of unleavened bread. And there were orders of the Liwanites, some of them wrote the Law, and some of them wrote hymns of praise and the genealogies, and some of them watched over the treasury of the children of Israil; and some of them had charge over the constant, perpetual burnt offering, and the continual ceremony in the temple; and some of them had charge over the anointing ointment, and the aromatic incense, and the perfume of the sacrifice, and the flour and the oil, and the candlesticks; and some of them had charge over the vessels of the temple and their arrangement; and the duty of looking after their condition; and some of them selected the animals (for sacrifice) out from the doubtful ones; and some of them did the sacrificing; and some of them sprinkled the blood upon the altar; and others of them did place in position the victims; yea, every company was organized for its special official work, and did not leave what had been prescribed unto it. And the continual burnt offering was offered up before the rising of the sun and after the going down of the same; and at the time when the blood of the burnt-offering was shed upon the altar, the priests sounded the trumpet on the summit of the Blessed Mount, and then the imams sounded in every district, and it was but the wink of an eye before all the children of Israil knew that the sacrifices had been offered up on the altar, and they rode up to pray; and the prayer was accepted, and the blessings were simultaneously bestowed, and Grace was full and Mercy all embracing; yea, circumstances were well ordered, and affairs were known and understood through the Divine light and auspicious favor; for the union between them and their Lord was close. Now this is an epitome of the whole. And the children of Israil were continually, addressing and consulting God, who guides with His mercy. And He is our sufficiency and illustrious Protector.
THE HISTORY OF THE DURATION OF THE DAYS OF DIVINE FAVOR,
UP TO THE TIME OF THE BEGINNING OF ERROR.
YUSH'A the son of Nun, reigned forty-five years, and at the approach of his death, he assembled the children of Israil and put them under covenant and bound them to an obligation that they would carefully keep what the Prophet Musa- peace be upon him- did, when he bid farewell. And he selected twelve chiefs from the congregation of the nine and a half tribes, and when he had tested them as to their knowledge and aptitude for administration, he cast lots over them in the presence of the congregation of the children of Israil, at Merj el-Baha (Meadow of Beauty); and the lot of king fell upon a man whose name was Abil, the son of the brother of Kalab, of the Judaic tribe. And he invested him with the royal authority and jurisdiction, and placed on him the crown, and had proclamation made throughout the congregation that they should be obedient to his commands. And he commanded him to be obedient unto the minister of God, and allow him an inspection into all his circumstances, and not to carry out a matter before that he had made it known to him. And Yush'a, the son of Nun- peace be upon him, died, and they buried him in Kefr Ghueirah: and Kaleb his comrade died, and they buried him near him. And this new king entered upon administering the government of the people, and he walked with them in perfect ways. And the report of the death of Yush'a reached the king Mab, and he sent and collected troops, and advanced against his territory; and this king (Abil) mustered his people, and God assisted him to gain the victory over them, and awe of him fell upon the remainder of his enemies, and he conquered territories and added them unto the assigned lands. And he reigned nine years, and then he died. And after him, Tarfi'a of the tribe of Afrim (Ephraim) was appointed successor and, when he was invested with the kingship, the king of `Amman (Ammon) marched against him; but God assisted him to gain the victory over him, and he continued in rule during the period that God had decreed to him, and then he died. Thereupon after him, up to the end of the space of time, which has been previously mentioned- and it is two hundred and sixty years, there were nine kings appointed to the office, who succeeded one another from all the tribes, and continued in their ruling two hundred and fifteen years; for Yush'a the son of Nun had reigned for the rest of the years. And the last of them was Shamsham (Samson) the king, who was unique among them: no one was seen as handsome as he, and he obtained greater victories over his enemies. Yet nevertheless, strength, and beauty and success and perfection shall be adjudged unto those who follow after them in the footsteps of those who have preceded them, and who act in accordance with their deeds, and offer sacrifices similar to their sacrifices.
THE HISTORY OF THE VICEGERENTS OF THE LORD,
AND OF THE MINISTERS OF THE DAYS OF DIVINE FAVOR,
DURING THE PRECEDING PERIOD THAT HAS BEEN MENTIONED.
When the death of el-Azar, the imam- peace be upon him, -drew near, he did as Yush'a the son of Nun had done, and collected the leaders of the children of Israil, and put them under a covenant and bound them to an obligation of obedience, and bid them farewell, and then bid the temple farewell, and worshipped his Lord; and when he came walking out, the holy odors were fragrant on the borders of his garments. And having gone to Kefr Ghueirah, he stripped off the holy garments which were on him, and placed them upon his son Finhas- peace be upon him- and he died and was buried in Kefr Ghuweirah; and all the children of Israil wept for him, after the custom of their fathers. And after him his son was installed, and he did as his father had done. And when his death approached, he also bound them to a covenant, and offered up sacrifices, and bid farewell; and having gone to Kefr Ghuweirah, stripped off the holy garments which were on him, and put them upon one of his offspring who was to succeed him, and then he died and was buried in that place. And after him there were installed five ministers for the Lord, and they served Him with acceptable service, and did as they who had gone before them had done, even up to the period that has been mentioned; and its days were well managed, adorned with the Light and with celestial and terrestrial happiness, up to the installment of `Uzi, the last of the vicegerents of the Lord in the days of Divine favor, and he was a young man. And the king of that time died, and another king was not appointed. Now the number of the years of the earth, from the time of Adam up to this time, was three thousand and fifty-four years. And there was gathered unto them, before the death of Shasham, a great multitude, so that if it was spread over the earth it would have filled the world, by reason of the abundance with which God had blessed them, and multiplied their possessions. But now there came to pass that which Musa, the Prophet- peace be upon him,- had spoken of in the address that he delivered; "Y'aqub shall eat, and be satisfied; Israil shall wax fat;" and let it be looked up to the end of the chapter in that great song. For then they did go astray from the way which he had prescribed unto them, that they should keep to and do. And the Omnipotent is our sufficiency; the Most Glorious, the One who is slow to chastise the rebellious.
THE HISTORY OF THE BEGINNING OF ERROR AFTER
THE DEATH OF SHAMSHAM, THE KING OF THAT TIME.
Now he was the ruling judge over the children of Israil, and took great revenge upon the nations, and destroyed a multitude of them. And when they were informed of his death, they assembled and bound themselves together by oath, and great zeal took possession of them. And when they read in the books of Bila'am, that these people could never be destroyed except by unbelief and pollution, they began to have recourse to devices to obtain a knowledge of how to work magic, and they did not leave a place, however remote in distance, which was prescribed for this profession, but that they sent messengers in search of it; and they obtained there from an ample share of the appearance of miracles, the like of which dupe the common people. And they sent some of the learned doctors from among their companions, and with them this knowledge; and they arrived in the neighborhood of the house of God. Now there was at this time no king administering the government, nor saint overlooking the holy matters. And the doctors entered into dealings with a company of the children of Israil who were people of pride, and expounded unto them the secret doctrine, and instructed for them one hundred men of the people, and wrought it out through men of the people, and wrought it out through their agency. And they inaugurated this audacious procedure and action, on a hill to the south of the Blessed Mount, and the place, from the sum of their number, received the name el-Miat. Thereupon they set to building up the place and offering sacrifices to idols, which effect no profit either in the present or in the future. Then the company removed, through fear of the children of Israil, to the west of the Blessed Mount; and on their going, their like followed after them, and they settled in a village on the slope of a mountain, and the place, from the number of their company, received the name el-Miatai, and in it they resided a brief time. Thereupon they removed from it; for they had multiplied in numbers and increased and branched out, and the place, on account of their great number, received the name Fer'ata. And God did not manifest His rebuke nor anger, until the affair of these infidels had reached unto all the leaders of the children of Israil, throughout all their assigned lands. And when they became careless and negligent about rising up against them, and had turned aside and become polluted; for some of them were overcome with cowardice and laziness, and others of them were engrossed, each one in his own possessions and wealth and riches and pride, and supposed that poverty would not overtake him though he might over-ride the world; and others of them were jealous, and the greater part of their will was bent towards waywardness. And the saints of God were overcome with blindness and confusion and cowardice; for envy was rife in the tribe of Finhas, and discord reigned among them. Now when these infamous deeds and brutal affairs were carried out, the angels shrunk away from them, and the Creator became angry at them and took away His presence from them, and from the Blessed Mount; and the light which had shone forth in the temple departed, and the Divine fire which had not been separated from the offerings upon the two altars was taken away; and decline was perfected in them, and disaster came upon them; for their sight was blinded. And we take refuge in God from misfortune, and of Him- mighty be His name- do we ask assistance.
THE ACCOUNT OF HOW THE BEGINNING OF ERROR
WAS STOPPED AMONG THE PEOPLE.
When it was the mourning of the second day (of the week), the first (day) of the year 361 of the reign of Divine favor- which day is known for greatest calamity and mightiest disaster and long lasting sorrow and wide-spread grief, which is like unto the day on which our father Adam was expelled from the garden, even the day in which was announced his death and the death of his seed- `Ozi, the imam, the saint of God whose greatness was spoiled and whose glory was ruined and whose holiness was destroyed and whose light was extinguished, passed, in the mourning of this day- the calamities of which have been mentioned- to the temple, and lifted up the veil of the inner holy house, and he beheld none of the signs of Divine favor. And he looked, and lo! dense darkness, and a black cloud spread abroad within the house, and he remained performing alternate service during the third day and the fourth; and when it was the morning of the fifth day, he looked at this darkness, and lo! it had spread and enveloped the foundations of the house; and then he knew that God- Mighty and Powerful- had become angry at them, and had taken away the light of His omnipotence and mercy and compassion from the place and from the children of Israil. And he began to gather up the vestments of the temple and the vessels of gold and silver, which had been from the days of the Prophet- peace be upon him,- and went out from the tabernacle. And God revealed unto him, in the Blessed Mount an open cave, which no one had beheld in that place before that day, and he took all that he found in the temple and placed them in that cave. And when he came out of it he wrote upon its mouth an inscription in his own handwriting, and made a list of what he had placed in it, and distinguished it with signs; them he turned to look again, and could not find neither cave nor sign nor writing. Thereupon he lifted up his voice in weeping and wailing and lamentation, and there gathered unto him the company of the Liwanites, and the twelve chiefs who acted with him, and likewise the seventy wise men, and they made inquiry of him as to his weeping and crying, and he informed them of what had been revealed to him. And when he explained unto them and their people, they rent their garments and beat their faces and bowed down their heads, and assembled their company and began enumerating what things God- Mighty and Powerful- had bountifully bestowed upon them, and what they now beheld of punishment and banishment and sorrow and calamity, and they did say: "Woe unto us and to our children after us, and how great is the exultation of the enemies over our misfortune! How great is the joy of the confederates over thee, O Israil! thy guardian is taken away, and who will now look after thee? Thy prop is taken away, and who will now support thee? Thy king is taken away, and who will now help thee? Thy power is taken away, and who will now strengthen thee? The Compassionate has become angry at thee, and who will now show pity? Signs were shown for thy sake, Misr was devastated for thee, the Divine power appeared in thy behalf, the sea was divided that thou mightest cross, Fir'aum and his people perished that thou mightest be preserved, manna descended for thy sustenance, bitter water became sweet to satisfy thy thirst, the voice of the Creator was heard for thy instruction, the rock brought forth water to test thee, `Amlaq was put to route at thy desire, the Creator let the Divine power dwell round about thee for thy protection, and His name alighted upon thee that thy enemies might have fear of thee. He placed the pillar of cloud as a sign of His tender compassion for thee. He closed up the two mountains of the valley el-Mujib (Arnon), that thou mightest pass over safely. He destroyed Sihun and `Ug, that thou mightest inherit their cities and possessions. He struck with terror the kings of `Amman and Mab and Midyan, that thou mightest plunder their cattle. He stopped the water of the Urdun, that He might display thy power and make prominent thy glory and exalt thy fame. He killed the seven tyrant kings, that He might give to thee their land and their cities, and their kingdoms. He gave over to destruction those who assembled together for thy slaughter. He extirpated Shaubak the son of Hamam, and those kings who were assembled with him to slay thee. He commanded the heavens and the earth to guard thee and protect thee. He removed the calamities of the skies and stars from thee and from thy county. He surrounded thee with the greatest prosperity and the largest blessing. He assigned unto thee the most exalted places, and the most glorious of which is the Gate of Paradise. He gave unto thee a kingdom in which no one boasteth besides thyself. He bestowed abundantly upon thee His grace, the like of which was never heard of in former ages. He assisted thee with His angels, and His omnipotence. He enveloped thee with His mercy, and surrounded thee with His compassion. He took thee into His keeping with joy on His part, and took thee under His protection among his own. But thou hast forsaken His worship, and renounced belief in His name, which should be exalted, and thou hast worshipped one that has not the power to remove calamity even from himself. Ye have not regarded those who became infidel, and your Lord has disregarded you. Thou did'st cover up from him, and He covered up His face from you. Our master Musa, the Prophet- the most excellent, peace be upon him- led you aright, but ye did not believe him. He informed you, but ye hearkened not unto him. He instructed you, but ye obeyed him not. Yush'a, his disciple, made covenant with you, but ye sported with him. Whither does your flight tend? Whom will ye find refuge for yourselves? From whence will ye help for yourselves? Who will rescue you from your enemies? Ye supposed that your victory resulted from the multitude of men, when, lo, the victory was the result of good behavior. Where are those who know our leaders? Where is the one who has pity on our infants? Where is the one who hears our voices? Where is the one who makes atonement for our sins and transgressions? Where is the one who makes manifest our power? Where is the one who renders our glory conspicuous here?" And they now felt remorse where remorse profited them nothing, while their weeping became great and their lamentations violent. Thereupon they took vows upon themselves that they would commemorate this sorrow, on the second and fifth days (of the week) always, until the favor of God- glorious be His might- should return unto them. And He is the one who knows when it will return; and we pray Him to remove His anger, and let fall the veil of His protection over us, through His greatness and compassion. Lo, He is a hearer and answerer (of prayer).
THE HISTORY OF THE ERRING MAN WHO WAS ENVIOUS OF THE DESCENDANT
OF FINHAS THE IMAM- PEACE BE UPON HIM.
Discord had arisen between the descendant of Finahas (`Ozi) and his cousin Ili (Eli), whose name being interpreted means; the insidious. This erring man was of the tribe of Itamar (Ithamar) the brother of el-Azar the imam. Now the right of administration belonged to the tribe of Finahas, and it was the one which was offering up the sacrifices upon the brazen altar, and stone altar. And this man- the insidious- was fifty years old, and being great in riches had obtained for himself the lordship over the treasure house of the children of Israil; and he had obtained, through the knowledge of magic, what he had acquired of riches, proud rank and wealth. And his self-importance being great in his own estimation, he gathered to himself a company, and said unto them: "I am one to whom to serve a boy is impossible, and I will not reconcile myself to this, and I hope that ye will not be content to have me do this." And the company answered him: "We are under thy command, and under obedience to thee: command us in whatsoever thou willest." And he put them under covenant that they would follow him unto the place where they purposed going on the mourning of the second day (of the week). And he offered up offering on the altar without salt, as if he was ignorant, and immediately started out on the journey with his outfit and company, and cattle, and every thing that he possessed, and settled in Seilun (Shiloh). And he gathered the children of Israil into a schismatical sect, and held correspondence with their leaders, and said unto them: "Whoever desires to behold miracles, let him come unto me." And there was collected to him a multitude in Seilun, and he built for himself a shrine there, and organized matters for himself in it on the model of the temple, and erected in it one altar, on which he might sacrifice and offer up offerings. And he had two sons, who used to gather the women into the temple in the mourning, and lie with them, and would eat up all that was present of the offerings of wine and other things. And this man continued diverting the people by magic, for the space of forty years; for God-exalted, exalted be He; glorious be His might- delayed this unto him. And there was Shamul (Samuel) of the tribe of Harun, the Liwanite, the magican and the infidel; for his father had delivered him over to him (Eli) when he was four years old, saying unto him: "This is a son whom I have received in fulfillment of a desire, and it occurred suddenly to my mind that this boy ought to serve in this temple throughout the days of his life." So the erring man received him, and instructed him, and revealed unto him hidden things; and he grew to be as potent in the working of magic as he himself was. And blessed be God who does not punish the rebellious, except after long delay and showing mercy unto them.
THE ACCOUNT OF THE CAUSE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS
ERRING MAN, AND HIS SONS AND COMPANY.
When the nations heard of the schism among the children of Israil, there gathered together of them a multitude of those who were inhabiting Yufa (Joppa) and Ludd (Lod, Lydda) and Beit Jibril and Ghuzzeh (Gaza) and other places, and they carried out the plan of making an attack upon the company that was in Seilun. And the army of the erring man went forth to meet them, but it was overthrown and put to rout, and there were killed of his companions four thousand men. And the troops returned to their friends, and said unto him (Eli): "Forsooth the cause of our route is, that the ark of gold was not with us;" so he delivered unto them the ark, and sent forth his two sons with them, and the flower of his army, in place of the first (army). Now they of the nations who had assembled had arranged an ambush, and upon the salling forth of his army, the army of the nations closed in upon them, and the sword did its work among them; and the ark was taken, and the two sons were slain. And one of those that had escaped safe, stained his garments with their blood, and came to their father, while he was sitting upon his seat, and said to him: "Disastrous news for thee; for thy two sons are killed, and my garments are even stained with their blood, and the ark of gold has been taken, and the sword has annihilated thy people." And when he heard tidings such as this, he threw himself backwards off his seat, and his neck was broken and he died. And when his daughter-in-law heard of this calamity- now she was big with child- the pains of childbirth grew violent in her, and she died. And so this man received reward for his action in this world, and he shall also be brought to account in the next. Blessed be He, Whom no affair escapes, and from nothing is hidden. Blessed be He and exalted.
THE HISTORY OF BOKHTONASSUR (NEBUCHADNEZZAR),
THE KING OF EL-MAUSIL (MOSUL),
WHICH IS FOUND IN THE BOOKS OF THE CHRONICLES OF HIS DEEDS.
He was one of the kings of the Persians, who had conquered the countries and subdued the people, and the kings obeyed him. And he restored the authority od all the kings of esh-Sham, and they went to the king of el-Quds (Jerusalem), and entered into agreement with him that they would come under the rule of Bokhtonassar, and become submissive to his decrees. And they continued so twelve years; but when it was the thirteenth year, they broke the compact and revolted, and he pardoned them. And when he warned them, and they were not affected with fear, he marched against them in the fourteenth year, and destroyed whomsoever of them he met. And he directed his march toward el-Quds, and besieged it till he captured it, and he killed in it with great slaughter, and took its king and put out his eyes and sent him to Beit-A.., and burned all the buildings and the edifice which Sulaiman (Solomon) the son of Dawid (David) had constructed. Then he turned aside towards our country- that is this country- and made proclamation therein, that: "Whosoever was found remaining in it after seven days, the shedding of his blood would be permissible." Thereupon he took to goading the people and driving them out unto every country, and brought people from el-Furs (Persia) and settled them in this country, the home of the children of Israil, who now got to the most remote parts of the world, scattered and dispersed throughout the regions east and west. And the word of the Holy Law came true: "And God shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth." And after a certain time had passed by, letters were brought back from Persians who were dwelling in their (the children of Israil's) territory in esh-Sham, regarding the earth's refusing her crops and fruits; for when the fruit promised well the destroying blight would waste it. And the letters in regard to this reached the king, and he had the leaders of the children of Israil brought before him, and made inquiry of them about this state of affairs, and they said: "The cause of this is our removal, and the abandonment in it of the service of our Lord; and we do praise God for its disorder, so that we may return unto it and serve our Lord upon the Holy Mount, and offer up offerings as He commanded us in His Book, by the hand of His Prophet--peace be upon him." And the king replied to them: "Go and build the house of thy Lord and offer up the offerings, and serve your Lord as was your custom, and I will assist you." And they said to him: "Give unto us a writing by thy own hand unto all our brethren, who are scattered abroad throughout all the regions; for we cannot return except we all go together." And the king gave them a writing of his hand, permitting them to journey to esh-Sham. And they departed from his presence, glad and rejoicing for what God had kindly bestowed upon them. And the imam and the king sent letters to every place, saying: "Know that the king- may God make him powerful- has granted us permission to go up to the holy place and build it up, and offer up the offerings upon it with the service that is acceptable. And now it is necessary that ye make haste, you and your harem and your children and all that ye posses, that we may assemble and go, and carry out the orders which he has commanded unto us, concerning the service of our Lord- Mighty and Powerful." And the people all came together, and the offspring of Yehudah (Judah) said to them: "We will unite all of us and go to el-Quds, and build it up, and we will be one word and one soul." But the offspring of Harun (Aaron) and Yusaf (Joseph) said to them: "No, but, on the contrary, we will go up to the Mount of Blessing, and build up the holy place, and we will be one soul and one word." And they persisted in the dispute, until it became necessary that they should come together into the presence of the king. And he decided in favor of them (the descendents of Aaron and Joseph) after this manner: the children of Israil, the friends of the Blessed Mount, assembled with the book of Musa, the Prophet- peace be upon him- and relied upon what it is said in designating the Blessed Mount, and no place else, as the proper place; and the offspring of Yehudah assembled, relying upon what certain books written after the days of Musa, the Prophet- peace be upon him- designated with reference to Beit el-Muqadda (Jerusalem) being the place. And the books were brought and read in the presence of the king; and when he had carefully considered this matter, he saw that the intention of all was the Blessed Mount. But Zorobabil (Zerubbabel) answered and said unto him: "O king, the book which I have furnishes me with arguments in favor of Beit el-Muqaddas, and the offering up of offerings therein; wouldst thou then compel me to go up and offer up offerings upon the Blessed Mount?" And Sanballat the Liwanite answered him, saying unto the king: "The books which Zorobabil has are a lie and a fraud. Permit me to throw them into the fire; and this, my book, if he is able, let him take it and throw it." And the king gave permission unto Sanballat to throw the books of Zorobabil into the fire, and he did this, and they were burned up. Thereupon he gave permission unto Zorobabil to throw the book of Sanballat, and he took it, and said: "My books are mine alone, but the Holy Book belongs both to him and to me." And the king answered, saying unto Zorobabil: "I see that thy books are false; why didst thou abstain from throwing his book?" Thereupon, he (Zorobabil) feared lest he be put to death, and he took the Law and cast it into the fire; and it jumped out of it. And he asked permission of him to throw it in a second time; and it was not affected by the fire in the least. Thereupon, he humbled himself before the king, beseeching him that he might throw the book a third time; and he granted him permission, and he took it and spat upon a paragraph, and cast it into the fire, and the place which had been spit upon burned, and then it sprang out into the bosom of the king. And the king immediately became angry at the children of Yehudah, and put to death immediately of them thirty-six souls of those who were present. But Sanballat, he and his company, obtained great honor with the king; for the king gave him gifts and presents and chain necklaces and bracelets, and invested him with the silk robe of honor, and promoted their leaders, and sent them away with the whole multitude of Israil who returned from the first exile, and their number was three hundred thousand men. And thereupon they followed the true religion, after having been unbelieving; and pursed right guidance, after having wandered into error. And God accepted them and broke the chains of their captivity, through the mercy He had for them and the compassion He felt, and the remembrance He had for the covenant with Ibrahim and Ishaq and Y'aqub- peace be upon them. And the king sent unto all the Persians who had taken up residence in their assigned land, and removed them from it to their own country; and the people (of Israil) entered into their assigned land, which is their holy place. And they made the sacred apparatus similar unto that which was in the (former) temple, and they offered up a multitude of offerings; and the earth gave forth its good things, and returned unto its former beauty and splendor; and with the carrying out of this act (on God's part) nothing was withheld from them, nor did he veil to them what of Divine power He was wont to veil to their ancestors. And to every circumstance there is a cause, and to every fate there is a final limit. And of God do we ask assistance, because of what He has benevolently bestowed through His mercy, and upon Him be the trust put.
THE HISTORY OF EL-ISKANDATE
(ALEXANDER THE GREAT.)