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


LXXXIV. (1) 'In those days, when Ahasuerus sat (upon the throne).' The word ### can only be understood as meaning 'sitting on a throne,' as it is said, 'When Ahasuerus sat upon the throne of his kingdom;' but with reference to Solomon, it is said, 'And Solomon sat upon the throne of the Lord as king over Israel.' It is related that the assembly of Israel said unto God, 'O Lord of the universe, this wicked man sits in the sane place where Solomon has been sitting; do not make abominable the throne of Thy glory.' In the third year of his reign—for he busied himself with this throne for three years—he sent for workmen to make a throne like unto that of Solomon, but they were unable to do so.

(2) And what was the throne of Solomon? The sages say that Solomon mounted his throne by six different ways, each way having steps. On each step there were two lions, one on the right and the other on the left, who did not remain quiet, but were active. And what did they do? When Solomon went up on the first step, the lions on the right stretched out their paws upon which a writing was engraved. He could not place his foot on the second step until he had read what was written on the lions’ paws. It was, 'Ye shall not respect persons in judgment.'

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[paragraph continues] Turning now to the left, he read what the other lions had written on their paws, 'Thou shalt not accept any bribe.' (3) Thus at every step he had to read some portion of the law of judgment. All the steps were set with precious stones and pearls, red, white and green. Kinds of trees and species of the palm-trees were fixed on both sides of each step, and upon their branches there nestled all kinds of eagles, peacocks and birds. On the highest step were two huge pillars of ivory on the heads of the lions, and two golden hollow vines fragrant with every kind of perfume, which they exhaled whenever Solomon ascended the throne. The throne itself was made of ivory, overlaid with the gold of Ophir, and surrounded with precious stones and pearls. On either side of the throne a golden seat of honour was placed, one for Gad the seer, and the other for Nathan the prophet. (4) And seventy other seats of gold for the seventy judges of the Sanhedrim formed a circle round the central throne. In front of it was a lamp of gold, with its snuffers and censers and other appurtenances; and on one side of this lamp were seen in sculptured work the seven patriarchs of the world, viz., Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Job, while on the other side were the seven pious men of the world, viz., Kehath, Amran, Moses, Aaron, Eldad, Medad and Ḥur, and on the top the form of a priest was seen kindling the light.

(5) On the steps approaching the throne were placed as many unclean animals as clean, all facing each other, on the first step the ox was placed opposite the lion; on the second, the goat opposite the wolf; on the third (third missing); on the fourth, the bear opposite the hart; on the fifth, the eagle opposite the dove; and on the sixth, the hawk opposite the turtledove. The ascent to the throne was made between these animals. As soon as Solomon placed his foot on the first step he turned round, and the lion immediately stretched out its paw on the right and the eagle its talon on the left. Upon these he leaned, and was spared the trouble of ascending himself because the same thing was done by the different animals and

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birds on each until he arrived at the top. (6) Then all the birds of every species began to chirp and sing, and the peacocks to shriek, and all the trees emitted their fragrant perfumes. A serpent of gold then encircled him, and, having seated him upon his throne, crept down beneath his feet. The eagles, nestling on the vines after wafting breezes of perfume with their wings, placed the crown upon his head, and, this done, all the beasts and birds with one accord exclaimed, 'Long may the kingdom of the house of David be established.' (7) After this a dove of gold opposite the throne brought a scroll of the law and placed it upon his knees. Then, laying it upon a golden reading-desk just by the throne, he read it to fulfil what is written, 'And it shall remain with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life.' Every step on the throne contained some verse in praise of the law. On the first was written, 'The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.' On the second, 'The testimony of the Lord is faithful, making the foolish (simple) wise.' On the third, 'The precepts of the Lord are just, rejoicing the heart.' On the fourth, 'The commandment of the Lord He created as an enlightenment to the eyes.' On the fifth, 'The fear of the Lord is pure, lasting for ever.' On the sixth, 'The judgments of the Lord are true, and are righteous, all of them.'

(8) When the people approached Solomon for judgment, the wheels of his throne turned, the oxen lowed, the lions roared, the bears howled, the lambs bleated, the eagles cried, the peacocks shrieked, the cocks crowed, the hawks screamed, and all the birds chirped, to terrify the plaintiffs and the witnesses, so that they did not plead wrong cases, and the witnesses were not testifying falsely. On account of all this, it is said, 'The like of it will never be made in any kingdom.' When Ahasuerus was king, he tried for three years to have a throne made like that of Solomon, but in vain. [End of the throne of Solomon.]

Next: LXXXV. The Book of the Maccabee