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


LXIV. (1) 'Thus saith the Lord of Ahab ben Qolaya and of Zedekiah ben Ma'aseyah, which prophesy falsely in My name, behold I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, and he shall slay them before your very eyes. From them a curse shall be taken up by all the captivity of Judah and Israel in Babylon, saying, "May the Lord make thee like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the King of Babylon 'roasted' in the fire."' It is not said, 'They were burnt,' but 'roasted.' R. Johanan, in the name of R. Simeon ben Johai, said, 'We learn from

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the above that He made them like parched ears of corn.' Because they committed abomination in Israel, they committed adultery with the wives of their neighbours, and spoke falsely in My name that which I had not commanded them, even I who know and testify against them, saith the Lord.' (2) Ahab went to the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, and said to her, 'The Lord said, "Hearken to Zedekiah, and there shall come forth from thee kings and prophets who will prophesy against Israel."' Hearing this, Zedekiah also went to her, and said, 'In the same manner as Ahab has said about me, so also listen to him, and there shall come forth from thee kings and prophets who will prophesy against Israel.' When she heard this, she immediately went to her father and told him all that had happened, saying, 'Thus and thus did Ahab and Zedekiah say unto me.' And her father replied, 'The God of these men hateth lewdness. As soon as they come to thee a second time again send them to me.' When they came, she accordingly said to them, 'I cannot do anything without my father's knowledge; therefore, go ye to my father, and, placing your request before him, listen to his reply.'

(3) Going to Nebuchadnezzar, they repeated what they had told his daughter. And he replied, 'What is the cause of it that your God did not tell this prophecy to Hananya, Mishael, and Azariah? Are they not prophets?' And they said, 'He did not command Hananya, Mishael, and Azariah to do anything, but it was us He commanded to do this thing.' At this Nebuchadnezzar retorted, 'I asked Hananya, Mishael, and Azariah, saying, "Is this thing which you ask my daughter prohibited or permitted?" "It is prohibited," said they.' 'But we are prophets,' answered Zedekiah and Ahab, 'as they. He did not command them but us to do this thing.' (4) 'I desire, then, to test you as I tested Hananya, Mishael, and Azariah, viz., in the fiery furnace.' 'But they were three, and we are only two,' added they. 'Then choose ye one whomsoever ye wish to be tried with you.' And they said, 'We desire Joshua the

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son of Jehozadak, the high priest.' They knew that his merit was so great that he would protect them also. Accordingly the three of them were brought and cast into the fiery furnace. Ahab and Zedekiah were consumed by the fire, but Joshua, the high priest, was not touched by it; his garments merely smelt of fire, as it is said, 'He showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to tempt him.' It is further written, 'And the Lord said unto Satan, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; the Lord who chose Jerusalem shall rebuke thee. Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?'

(5) 'I know now,' said Nebuchadnezzar, 'that thou art very righteous, but how is it that thy garments were touched a little by the fire, while in the case of Hananya, Mishael, and Azariah the fire did not touch them at all?' 'Because,' said Joshua, 'they were three and I was alone.' 'But,' said he, 'Abraham was also alone.' 'True, but there were no wicked people in his company, and the Lord therefore did not allow the fire to touch him; but with me there were two wicked men, and on this account the Lord allowed the fire to touch me a little.' This is the parable of the two dry torches and the one moist, where the two dry ones burn the moist.

Next: LXV. The History of Susanna