Sacred Texts  Bible  Index  Previous  Next 

Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

VI. (1) On the sixth day He brought forth from the earth all kinds of animals, male and female, and the Behemoth that lies on a thousand hills, from which it obtains its food every day. In the night-time the food grows again as if the hills had not been touched, as it is said, 'Its food is from the produce of the mountains, and it drinks from the waters of the Jordan;' for the waters of the Jordan encompass all the land of Israel, one half of which is above, and the other of which is below the earth, as it is said, 'For He can draw up the Jordan in his mouth.' The Behemoth is preserved for the day on which it is to be brought as a sacrifice on the occasion of the great banquet of the righteous, as it is said, 'Its Maker will approach it with His sword.' (2) Everything in the world was originally created before Adam, who was created last, on the sixth day, on the eve of Sabbath, lest people might say that God had a helper in the work of the creation.

(3) When God wished to create the world He called the company of angels commanded by the archangel Michael, and said unto them: 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.' Whereupon they replied: 'What is man, that Thou shouldst remember him; and the son of man, that Thou shouldst think of him?' At this God immediately stretched forth His little finger among them and destroyed them, so that Michael alone was left.

p. 15

[paragraph continues] He then called the company of angels commanded by Gabriel, and said: 'Let us make man in our image.' They also replied: 'What is man, that Thou shouldst remember him?' God again stretched forth His finger and destroyed them. (4) He then called Boël and his company, and said to them: 'Let us make man in our own image.' At which Boël said to his associates: 'See what has happened to those who said, What is man that Thou shouldst remember him? they were all destroyed. If we repeat what they have said, He will do the same to us, and in the end He will perform His will. It is therefore better that we comply with His wish.' They therefore immediately answered, and said: 'Lord of the world, it is well that Thou hast thought to create man; do Thou create him according to Thy will, and we shall act as attendants and servants upon him, and reveal unto him all our secrets.' (5) God then said to Boël: 'From this day henceforth thy name shall not be called Boël, but Raphael, because, through thy counsel, thou hast saved all thy host, so that they were not consumed like the other companies.' (6) God then called Gabriel, and said unto him: 'Go and bring Me dust from the four corners of the earth, and I will create man out of it.' Gabriel then went to gather dust from the earth, but the earth drove him away and would not allow him to take dust from it. Gabriel thereupon said: 'Why, O earth, dost thou not hearken to the voice of thy Lord, who founded thee upon the waters without props and without pillars?' The earth replied, and said: 'I am destined to become a curse, and to be cursed through man, and if God Himself does not take the dust from me, no one else shall ever do so.' (7) When God saw this He stretched forth His hand, took of the dust, and created therewith the first man on the sixth day. God created the matter of man in four colours, white, black, red and green. The bones and the sinews are white, the intestines black, the blood red, and the skin of the body green (livid). When the soul departs from the body, the body immediately becomes livid. (8) The Torah (Law) then

p. 16

said to God, 'O Lord of the universe, this man whom Thou hast created will be short-lived, and he will sin before Thee; what will become of him?' God replied: 'Is it to no purpose that I am called slow to anger, of abundant mercy and truth? He who returns to Me in repentance, I will pardon.' The Torah said, 'If so, do Thy will. (9) But why did God create man from the four corners of the earth, and not from the dust of one single spot?' 'Because man goeth to the four corners of the earth, and when he dies, the earth shall not be able to say, Thou wast not created from me, therefore thou shalt not be buried in me; go to the place whence thou wast created, and there be buried. Thus, wherever a man ends his days, there shall he rest. God created man poor and from dust, and to dust shall he return; therefore has the dust been taken from the four corners of the earth.'

(10) There are twelve hours in the day; in the first hour He gathered the dust for man, in the second He hardened it, in the third He shaped it in the form of man, in the fourth the soul was thrust into it, in the fifth man stood on his legs, in the sixth he gave names to all the birds and animals, in the seventh Eve was joined to him, in the eighth they produced two children, in the ninth they were commanded concerning the fruits of the trees, in the tenth he transgressed the command, in the eleventh he was judged, in the twelfth hour he was driven out, as it is said, 'And He drove Adam out of the Garden of Eden.' (11) God kneaded and moulded the dust for the first man in a pure place, He covered him with skin and sinews, and gave to it a human shape, but there was not yet any breath or soul in it. What did God do? He breathed with the breath of His mouth, and thrust the soul into him, as it is said, 'And He breathed in his nostrils the breath of life.' Adam then stood up and gazed above and below, saw all the creatures which God had created, and was amazed with wonderment, and he began to extol and praise his Creator, and said: 'How great are Thy works, O Lord!' (12) He stood upon his feet, and was in the likeness of

p. 17

[paragraph continues] God; his height extended from the east to the west, as it is said, 'Behind and in front Thou hast formed me.' Behind, that is the west, and in front, that is the east. All the creatures saw him and were afraid of him; they thought he was their creator, and prostrated themselves before him. Adam then said to the animals: 'Why do you come and prostrate yourselves before me? Come, let us all go and invest Him who created us with majesty and strength, and crown Him King over us. If the people do not show allegiance to the King, the King claims it by Himself, and if the people do not praise the King, the King causes Himself to be praised.' As soon as Adam had spoken, all the creatures assented and invested their Creator with majesty and strength, and proclaimed Him King over them, and said: 'The Lord the King is clothed with majesty.'

(13) Now, Adam walked about the Garden of Eden like one of the ministering angels. God said: 'Just as I am alone in My world, so is Adam; just as I have no companion, neither has Adam. To-morrow the creatures will say, "He does not propagate, he is surely our creator." It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmeet for him.' (14) When the earth heard the word helpmeet' it shook and trembled, and said to its Creator: 'O Lord of the world, I am not able to provide for the whole of mankind.' To which God replied: 'I will feed the whole of mankind.' And God made a compact with the earth, and God created the sleep of life, so that when man lies down and goes to sleep, he is fed, strengthened and refreshed, and this is the healing and the feeding which God provides, as it is said, 'Then I slept, then I felt refreshed.' God moreover assists the earth and waters it, so that it yields its fruits as food for all the creatures; but, in spite of all this, man obtains his food in toil and trouble.

(15) God had pity upon Adam; in order not to give him pain He caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, during which time He took the bone of one of his ribs and flesh from his heart and made of it a helpmeet for him, and placed her before him. When he awoke from his sleep and saw

p. 18

her standing before him, he said: 'This is woman; bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.' (16) While he was yet alone, he was called Adam. R. Joshua b. Qorḥa said that his name was Adam on account of the flesh and blood (of which he was composed). God said to him, 'Thou art Adam.' But when a helpmeet was made for him he was called Living Being—i.e., Fiery Being (Heb. ###). God then added two letters of His name to it and made the name of man to be ###, and the name of woman ###, saying, 'If they walk in My ways and observe My Commandments, behold My name will abide with them and deliver them from all trouble; but if not, behold I will take away My name from them, so that their names will become again ###'—i.e., fire consuming fire.

Next: VII