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

XLVIII. (1) The Lord rose in His strength and smote Pharaoh and his people with many great and terrible plagues, and turned all their rivers to blood, so that whenever an Egyptian came to the river to draw water, as soon as he looked into his pitcher, he found it turned to blood. Whether for drinking or for kneading the dough, or for boiling, it always looked like blood.

(2) After this all their waters brought forth frogs, so that whenever an Egyptian drank of them, his stomach became full of frogs, which croaked about in his entrails just as they did in the river. Whether they kneaded or whether they boiled, the water was filled with frogs. Even when they lay down upon their beds, their very perspiration was turned into frogs. (3) He then smote their dust so that it became lice two cubits high; on their very bodies they lay a handbreadth, as well on the king and queen as on the

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people. Following this, the Lord sent against them the wild beasts of the field to destroy them; serpents, vipers and scorpions to injure them; mice, weasels, lizards, and noxious reptiles; flies, hornets, and other insects to fly into their eyes and ears; fleas, ants, and every species of winged insect to torture them; they filled the innermost recesses of their houses. When the Egyptians tried to hide themselves in order to shut out and to escape the wild beasts, the Lord ordered the sea-monster (octopus? ###) to ascend to Egypt. It has arms ten cubits in length, according to the cubit of man. Rising to the roof, it uncovered the roof and exposed the rafters; and it then slid its arm inside the house; it wrenched off the bolt and lock, and thus forced open the houses of the Egyptians. In this manner the hordes of wild beasts got into the palace of Pharaoh and his servants, and they worried them greatly.

(4) And God sent a pestilence among the horses, asses, camels, cattle and sheep. When the Egyptian rose early in the morning and went out to his pasture, he found his animals lying about dead, there remaining alive but one in ten. (5) The Lord next sent a plague of fever among the Egyptians, which afterwards broke out into severe boils, which covered them from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head. They broke, and their flesh was running with streams of matter, until they wasted away and rotted, and (6) the hail devastated all their vines and trees so that not even the bark or the leaves were left: all their produce was dried up, and a burning fiery flame played in the midst of it. Even the men and animals found abroad were slain by the flame, and all the libraries (houses of books) were overthrown. (7) Various kinds of locust devoured everything left by the hail; what one species left, the other destroyed. The Egyptians, however, were glad to hunt them and salt them for food. The Lord then raised a very strong wind, which carried them all, including the salted ones, into the Red Sea, so that not a solitary one remained in the whole of Egypt. (8) Darkness then covered the

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earth for three days, so that one could not see his own hand before his eyes. During this period of darkness many Hebrews who had rebelled against their Creator, rebelled also against Moses and Aaron, saying: 'We shall not go forth lest we die in the desolate wilderness by famine.' God smote them by a plague, and they were buried during these three days, lest the Egyptians should see them and rejoice at their downfall. (9) All the firstborn of the Egyptians were then slain from man to animal, even the likeness of their firstborn engraved on the walls of their houses was effaced and thrown to the ground. The bones of their firstborn that were buried in their houses the dogs of Egypt dragged away, and, breaking them to pieces, devoured them before the very eyes of the people, so that their descendants cried out in anguish. The people of Egypt then hastened to accompany the servants of God, whom they sent away with much riches and many gifts, according to the oath which God sware at the Covenant between the pieces.

(10) Moses went to Shiḥor (the Nile), and drawing up the coffin of Joseph, took it away with him. The heads of the tribes of Israel also assisted in bringing up each one the coffins of his forefathers. Many of the heathen joined them in their departure from Egypt and in their journey of three days in the wilderness. (11) On the third day, however, they said to one another, 'Did not Moses and Aaron tell Pharaoh that they wished to go a journey of three days in the wilderness in order to sacrifice to the Lord their God? now let us rise early to-morrow morning and see if they return to Egypt to our lord; we shall thereby know that they are to be believed, but if not, we shall go to war against them and bring them back by main force.' On the fourth day they accordingly rose early, and found Moses and Aaron eating and drinking, and celebrating a festival to their God. The rabble said to them, 'Why do you not return to your master?' Moses replied: 'Because the Lord has warned us, saying, "Ye shall no more return to Egypt, but ye shall go to a

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land flowing with milk and honey, as I have sworn to your fathers."'

(12) As soon as the rabble saw that they refused to return, they went to war against the Israelites; but the Israelites prevailed against them, causing great slaughter. The remainder fled to Egypt to inform Pharaoh that the people had fled. And the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was forthwith turned against them, so that they pursued after them to bring them back to their burdens; for the Egyptians repented after they had sent them away. Pursuing them hastily, they at length overtook them while they were encamping by the Red Sea. There the Lord wrought many miracles for the Hebrews through Moses, His chosen servant, who stretched his staff upon the sea, when the waters were immediately divided into twelve rents (for the twelve tribes), through which they all passed over dryshod, just as one passes along the highway. After them came all the Egyptians. But they were all drowned except Pharaoh, King of Egypt, who thereupon offered a thanksgiving offering to the living God, and believed that He was the living God. God then commanded Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel, the heavenly princes, to bring him up from the sea. So they brought him to the land of Nineveh, where he remained for 500 years.

(13) The Israelites then journeyed into the wilderness, and Amaleq, the son of Eliphaz, the son of Esau, went to war against them. With him there came an innumerable army of wizards and enchanters. But the Lord delivered them into the hand of Moses His servant and Joshua the son of Nun, the Ephrathite, who put them to the edge of the sword. Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, then came out into the wilderness to Moses, where he was encamping by the mountain of God with Zipporah and his sons, and dwelt with them among the Israelites. Moses next fought against Sihon and Og, and captured their land. He then fought against Midian and slew Evi, Reqem, Ṣur, Ḥur and Reb‘a, the five kings of Midian. (14) He put Bala‘am the enchanter and his two sons to the edge of the sword.

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[paragraph continues] When Bala‘am the enchanter saw Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, and Pineḥas his son, captains of the host of Israel, following him for the purpose of slaying him, by means of witchcraft he flew in the air, just as an eagle is seen to fly heavenward. But, uttering the ineffable, revered name of God, they brought him down to the earth, and, capturing him, slew him with the rest of the princes of Midian. The Canaanites who dwelt in the mountains also descended with the Amaleqites to fight against Israel, but the Lord delivered them into the hand of Moses and the Israelites, who smote them utterly. (15) Moses was eighty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Through him the Lord redeemed Israel from Egypt. He reigned over them in the wilderness forty years, during which time the Lord maintained them by His mercy with the bread of the mighty and the fowl of the heaven, and from the flinty rock He brought forth fountains of water for them. The cloud of the Lord gently guided them by day like children, and a pillar of fire by night, and during the whole time of their travels in the wilderness neither their garments nor their shoes wore out, and no goodness lacked them there. (16) After travelling through the wilderness of Sin, they arrived at Mount Sinai on the third day of the third month after their departure from Egypt. The word of the Lord then came to Moses the Levite, saying, 'Come up to the mountain, and I will give thee the tablets of stone, the Law and the Commandments which I have written to teach the Israelites.' Moses accordingly told the people to sanctify themselves for three days, and on the third day, that is, on the sixth day of the third month, he ascended the mount. The Lord then gave the Israelites through Moses the 613 precepts refined as silver and tried as gold, accompanied by the sound of the trumpet, by thunders and lightnings. They next erected a tabernacle, with its vessels, for ministering to God, and the ark for the two tablets and for the scroll of the Law. They also prepared burnt-offerings, sacrifices, incense, frankincense, oil for the consecration and for anointing therewith the tabernacle

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with its vessels and the priests of God, viz., Aaron and his sons, who ministered before God and offered sacrifices and incense for the congregation. They also made for them garments of honour, and appointed the sons of Levi to guard the tabernacle of the Lord, to minister to their fellow-priests, and to sing hymns during the sacrifice. They also offered frankincense within to avert the anger and punishment of the Lord.

(17) In the fortieth year of their wanderings, Miriam the prophetess died, on the tenth day of the first month, and was buried in the wilderness of Ṣin, which is Qadesh. In the same year, on the first day of the fifth month, Aaron the priest died, and was buried on Mount Hor, and Eleazar and Ithamar were appointed to minister in the place of their father. The priesthood has remained in that family as an inheritance throughout all generations. (18) In that same year on the seventh day of the twelfth month—i.e., Adar—Moses, the servant of the Lord, died, 120 years old, and was buried in the valley at the nethermost part of the Mount of Ebarim, and Joshua the son of Nun, the Ephrathite, was appointed leader of the people. The rest of the words of Moses relating to his power, his military deeds, his entreaties and prayers on behalf of his people, are they not written in the 'Sefer Hayashar,' which is the Law of our God? Joshua the son of Nun rose up after him. He led the Israelites across the Jordan and divided the land by lots according to the word of God.

Next: XLIX. The Death of Aaron, of Blessed Memory