Sacred Texts  Bible  Index  Previous  Next 

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

XVI. (1) There are five kinds of punishment in hell, and Isaiah, the son of Amos, saw them all. He entered the first compartment and saw there two men carrying pails full of water on their shoulders, and they pour that water into a pit, which, however, never fills. Isaiah said to God, 'O Thou who unveilest all that is hidden, unveil to me the secret of this.' And the Spirit of the Lord answered, 'These are the men who coveted the property of their neighbours, and this is their punishment.'

(2) He entered the second compartment, and he saw two men hanging by their tongues; and he said, 'O Thou who unveilest the hidden, reveal to me the secret of this.' He answered, 'These are the men who slandered, therefore they are thus punished.'

(3) He entered the third compartment, and he saw there men hanging by their organs. He said, 'O Thou who unveilest the hidden, reveal to me the secret of this.' And He answered, 'These are the men who neglected their own wives, and committed adultery with the daughters of Israel.'

(4) He entered the fourth compartment and saw there women hanging by their breasts, and he said, 'O Thou who unveilest the hidden, reveal to me the secret of this.' And He answered, 'These are the women who uncovered their hair and rent their veil, and sat in the open marketplace to suckle their children, in order to attract the gaze of men and to make them sin; therefore they are punished thus.'

(5) He entered the fifth compartment, and found it full of smoke. There were all the princes, chiefs, and great

p. 37

men, and Pharaoh, the wicked, presides over them and watches at the gate of hell, and he saith unto them, 'Why did you not learn from me when I was in Egypt?' Thus he sits there and watches at the gates of hell.

(6) There are seven compartments in hell, and in each of them are 7,000 rooms, in each room 7,000 windows, in each window (recess) there are 7,000 vessels filled with venom, all destined for slanderous writers and iniquitous judges. It is to that that Solomon alludes when he says, 'And thou mournest at thy latter end when thy flesh and thy body are consumed.'

(7) The other nations, however, and the idolators are punished in the seven compartments of hell, in each compartment for a twelvemonth. And the river 'Dinur' floweth from beneath the throne of glory and falleth over the heads of the sinners, and the sound travels from one end of the world to the other.'

(8) All these punishments are prepared for the apostates, for those who deny the resurrection of the dead, for the renegades, slanderers, and traitors. Of these King Solomon said, 'Their end shall be as bitter as wormwood.' None of these are saved unless they repent, acquire learning, and perform pious deeds. But at the end the Almighty will have pity on all His creatures, as it is said, 'For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth, for the spirit shall pass before Me and the souls which I have made.'

Next: XVII