The Apocalypse of Moses




i 1 This is the story of Adam and Eve after they had gone out of Paradise. And Adam knew his wife
2 Eve and went upwards to the sun-rising and abode there eighteen years and two months. And
3 Eve conceived and bare two sons; Adiaphotos, who is called Cain and Amilabes who is called Abel.

ii 1 And after this, Adam and Eve were with one another and while they were sleeping, Eve said to Adam her lord: ‘My lord, Adam, behold,
2 I have seen in a dream this night the blood of my son Amilabes who is styled Abel being poured into the mouth of Cain his brother and he went on drinking it without pity. But he begged him to leave him a little of it. Yet he hearkened
3 not to him, but gulped down the whole; nor did it stay in his stomach, but came out of his mouth. And Adam said, ‘Let us arise and go
4 and see what has happened to them. (I fear) lest the adversary may be assailing them somewhere.’

iii 1 And they both went and found Abel murdered. I by the hand of Cain his brother. And God
2 saith to Michael the archangel: ‘Say to Adam: ” Reveal not the secret that thou knowest to Cain thy son, for he is a son of wrath. But grieve not, for I will give thee another son in his stead; he shall show (to thee) all that thou shalt do. Do thou tell him nothing.”‘ Thus spake the archangel
3 to Adam. But he kept the word in his heart, and with him also Eve, though they grieved concerning Abel their son.

iv 1 And after this, Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Seth.

And Adam said to Eve: ‘See! we have
2 begotten a son in place of Abel, whom Cain slew, let us give glory and sacrifice to God.’

v 1 And Adam begat thirty sons and thirty daughters and Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years; and he fell sick and cried with a loud
2 voice and said, ‘Let all my sons come to me that I may see them before I die.’
3 And all assembled, for the earth was divided into three parts. And Seth his son said to him:
4 ‘Father Adam, what is thy complaint?’

5 And he saith, ‘MY children, I am crushed by the burden of trouble.’ And they say to him, ‘What is trouble?’

vi 1 And Seth answered and said to him: ‘Hast thou called to mind, father, the fruit of paradise of which thou usedst to eat, and hast been grieved in yearning for it?’

‘If this be so, tell me, (and) I will go and
2 bring thee fruit from paradise. For I will set dung upon my head and will weep and pray that the Lord will hearken to me and send his angel (and bring me a plant from paradise), and I will bring it thee that thy trouble may cease from thee.’

Adam saith to him: ‘Nay, my son Seth, but
3 I have (much) sickness and trouble!’ Seth saith to him: ‘And how hath this come upon thee?’

vii 1 And Adam said to him: ‘When God made us, me and your mother, through whom also I die, He gave us power to eat of every tree which is in paradise, but, concerning that one only, He charged us not to eat of it, and through this one we are to die. And the hour drew nigh for the angels
2 who were guarding your mother to go up and worship the Lord, and I was far from her, and the enemy knew that she was alone and gave to her, and she ate of the tree of which she had been told not to eat.
3 Then she gave also to me to eat.

viii 1 ‘And God was wroth with us, and the Lord came into paradise and called me in a terrible voice and said: “Adam, where art thou? And why hidest thou from my face? Shall the house be able to hide itself from its builder?” And he saith to me: “Since thou hast abandoned my covenant, I have brought upon thy body seventy-two strokes; the trouble of the first stroke is a pain of the eyes, the second stroke an affection of the hearing, and likewise in turn all the strokes shall befall thee.”‘

ix 1 As he said this to his sons, Adam groaned sore and said: ‘What shall I do? I am in great distress.’

And Eve wept and said: ‘My lord
2 Adam, rise up and give me half of thy trouble and I will endure it; for it is on my account that this hath happened to thee, on my account thou art beset with toils and troubles.’ But Adam
3 said to Eve, ‘Arise and go with my son Seth near to paradise, and put earth upon your heads and weep and pray God to have mercy upon me and send his angel to paradise, and give me of the tree out of which the oil floweth, and bring it me, and I shall anoint myself and shall have rest from my complaint.’

x 1 Then Seth and Eve went towards paradise, and Eve saw her son, and a wild beast assailing him, and Eve wept and said: ‘Woe is me; if
2 I come to the day of the Resurrection, all those who have sinned will curse me saying: Eve hath not kept the commandment of God.’ And she
3 spake to the beast: ‘Thou wicked beast, fearest thou not to fight with the image of God? How was thy mouth opened? How were thy teeth made strong? How didst thou not call to mind thy subjection? For long ago wast thou made subject to the image of God.’ Then the beast
4 cried out and said:

xi 1 ‘It is not our concern, Eve, thy greed and thy wailing, but thine own; for (it is) from thee that the rule of the beasts hath arisen. How was thy
2 mouth opened to eat of the tree concerning which God enjoined thee not to eat of it? On this account, our nature also hath been transformed. Now therefore thou canst not endure it,
3 if I begin to reprove thee.’

xii 1 Then Seth speaketh to the beast, ‘Close thy mouth and be silent and stand off from the image of God until the day of Judgment.’ Then saith
2 the beast to Seth: ‘Behold, I stand off from the image of God.’ And he went to his lair.

xiii 1 And Seth went with Eve near paradise, and I they wept there, and prayed God to send his angel and give them the oil of mercy.

And God
2 sent the archangel Michael and he spake to Seth: ‘Seth, man of God, weary not thyself with prayers and entreaties concerning the tree which floweth with oil to anoint thy father Adam. For it shall not be thine now, but in the end of the times.
3 Then shall all flesh be raised up from Adam till that great day,-all that shall be of the holy people. Then shall the delights of paradise be given to them and God shall be in their midst. And they shall no longer sin before his face, for the evil heart shall be taken from them and there shall be given them a heart understanding the good and to serve God only.

But do thou go back to thy father. For the
6 term of his life hath been fulfilled and he will live three days from to-day and will die. But when his soul is departing, thou shalt behold the awful (scene of) his passing.’

xiv 1 Thus spake the angel and departed from them. And Seth and Eve came to the hut where Adam was laid. And Adam saith to Eve: ‘Eve, what
2 hast thou wrought in us? Thou hast brought upon us great wrath which is death, [lording it over all our race].’ And he saith to her, ‘Call all
3 our children and our children’s children and tell them the manner of our transgression.’

xv 1 Then saith Eve to them: ‘Hear all my children and children’s children and I will relate to you
2 how the enemy deceived us. It befell that we were guarding paradise, each of us the portion
3 allotted to us from God. Now I guarded in my lot, the west and the south. But the devil went to Adam’s lot, where the male creatures were. [For God divided the creatures; all the males he gave to your father and all the females he gave to me.]

xvi 1 And the devil spake to the serpent saying, Rise up, come to me and I will tell thee a word
2 whereby thou mayst have profit.” And he arose and came to him. And the devil saith to him:
3 “I hear that thou art wiser than all the beasts, and I have come to counsel thee. Why dost thou eat of Adam’s tares and not of paradise? Rise up and we will cause him to be cast out of paradise, even
4 as we were cast out through him.” The serpent saith to him, “I fear lest the Lord be wroth with
5 me.” The devil saith to him: “Fear not, only be my vessel and I will speak through thy mouth words to deceive him.”

xvii 1 And instantly he hung himself from the wall of paradise, and when the angels ascended to
2 worship God, then Satan appeared in the form of an angel and sang hymns like the angels. And I bent over the wall and saw him, like an angel. But he saith to me: “Art thou Eve?” And I said
3 to him, “I am.” ‘What art thou doing in paradise?” And I said to him, “God set us to guard and
4 to eat of it.” The devil answered through the mouth of the serpent: ‘Ye do well but ye do not eat
5 of every plant.” And I said: “Yea, we eat of all. save one only, which is in the midst of paradise, concerning which, God charged us not to eat of it: for, He said to us, on the day on which ye eat of it, ye shall die the death.”

xviii 1 Then the serpent saith to me, “May God live! but I am grieved on your account, for I would not have you ignorant. But arise, (come) hither, hearken to me and eat and mind the value of that tree.”
2,3 But I said to him, ” I fear lest God be wroth with me as he told us.” And he saith to me: “Fear not, for as soon as thou eatest of it, ye too shall be as God, in that ye shall know good and evil.
4 But God perceived this that ye would be like Him, so he envied you and said, Ye shall not eat of
5,6 it. Nay, do thou give heed to the plant and thou wilt see its great glory.” Yet I feared to take of the fruit. And he saith to me: “Come hither, and I will give it thee. Follow me.”

xix 1 And I opened to him and he walked a little way, then turned and said to me: “I have changed my
2 mind and I will not give thee to eat until thou swear to me to give also to thy husband.” (And) I said. “What sort of oath shall I swear to thee? Yet what I know, I say to thee: By the throne of the
3 Master, and by the Cherubim and the Tree of Life! I will give also to my husband to eat.” And when he had received the oath from me, he went and poured upon the fruit the poison of his wickedness, which is lust, the root and beginning of every sin, and he bent the branch on the earth and I took of the fruit and I ate.

xx 1 And in that very hour my eyes were opened, and forthwith I knew that I was bare of the righteousness
2 with which I had been clothed (upon), and I wept and said to him: “Why hast thou
3 done this to me in that thou hast deprived me of the glory with which I was clothed?” But I wept also about the oath, which I had sworn. But he descended from the tree and vanished.
4 And I began to seek, in my nakedness, in my part for leaves to hide my shame, but I found none, for, as soon as I had eaten, the leaves showered down from all the trees in my part, except the fig tree
5 only. But I took leaves from it and made for myself a girdle and it was from the very same plant of which I had eaten.

xxi 1 And I cried out in that very hour, ‘Adam, Adam, where art thou? Rise up, come to me and
2 I will show thee a great secret.” But when your father came, I spake to him words of transgression
3 [which have brought us down from our great glory]. For, when he came, I opened my mouth and the devil was speaking, and I began to exhort him and said, “Come hither, my lord Adam, hearken to me and eat of the fruit of the tree of which God told us not to eat of it, and thou shalt be as
4 a God.” And your father answered and said, “I fear lest God be wroth with me.” And I said to
5 him, “Fear not, for as soon as thou hast eaten thou shalt know good and evil.” And speedily I persuaded him, and he ate and straightway his eyes were opened and he too knew his nakedness.
6 And to me he saith, “O wicked woman! what have I done to thee that thou hast deprived me of the glory of God?”

xxii 1 And in that same hour, we heard the archangel Michael blowing with his trumpet and calling to
2 the angels and saying: “Thus saith the Lord, Come with me to Paradise and hear the judgement with which I shall judge Adam.”
3 And when God appeared in paradise, mounted on the chariot of his cherubim with the angels proceeding before him and singing hymns of praises, all the plants of paradise, both of your father’s lot
4 and mine, broke out into flowers. And the throne of God was fixed where the Tree of Life was.

xxiii 1 And God called Adam saying, “Adam, where art thou? Can the house be hidden from the presence
2 of its builder? “Then your father answered; “It is not because we think not to be found by thee, Lord, that we hide, but I was afraid, because I am naked, and I was ashamed before thy might,
3 (my) Master.” God saith to him, “Who showed thee that thou art naked, unless thou hast forsaken my
4 commandment, which I delivered thee to keep (it).” Then Adam called to mind the word which I spake to him, (saying) “I will make thee secure before God”; and he turned and said to me: “Why hast thou done this?” And I said, “The serpent deceived me.”

xxiv 1 God saith to Adam: ‘Since thou hast disregarded my commandment and hast hearkened to thy wife, cursed is the earth in thy labours. Thou shalt work it and it shall not give its strength: thorns and thistles shall spring up for thee, and in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread. [Thou shalt be in manifold toils; thou shalt be crushed by bitterness, but of sweetness shalt thou not taste.]
3 Weary shalt thou be and shalt not rest; by heat shalt thou be tired, by cold shalt thou be straitened: abundantly shalt thou busy thyself, but thou shalt not be rich; and thou shalt grow fat, but come to no end.
4 The beasts, over whom thou didst rule, shall rise up in rebellion against thee, for thou hast not kept my commandment.”

xxv 1 And the Lord turned to me and said: “Since thou hast hearkened to the serpent, and turned
2 a deaf ear to my commandment, thou shalt be in throes of travail and intolerable agonies; thou shalt bear children in much trembling and in one hour thou shalt come to the birth, and lose thy
3 life, from thy sore trouble and anguish. But thou shalt confess and say: ‘Lord, Lord, save me, and
4 I will turn no more to the sin of the flesh.’ And on this account, from thine own words I will judge thee, by reason of the enmity which the enemy has planted in thee.”

xxvi 1 But he turned to the serpent [in great wrath] and said: “Since thou hast done this, and become a thankless vessel until thou hast deceived the innocent hearts, accursed art thou among all beasts.
2 Thou shalt be deprived of the victual of which thou didst eat and shalt feed on dust all the days of
3 thy life: on thy breast and thy belly shalt thou walk and be robbed of hands and feet. There shall not be left thee ear nor wing, nor one limb of all that with which thou didst ensnare them in
4 thy malice and causedst them to be cast out of paradise; and I will put enmity between thee and his seed: he shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel until the day of Judgement.” xxvii 1,2 Thus he spake and bade the angels have us cast out of paradise: and as we were being driven out amid our loud lamentations, your father Adam besought the angels and said: “Leave me a little (space) that I may entreat the Lord that he have compassion on me and pity me, for I only
3 have sinned.” And they left off driving him and Adam cried aloud and wept saying: “Pardon me O Lord, my deed.” Then the Lord saith to the angels, “Why have ye ceased from driving Adam from paradise? Why do ye not cast him out? Is it I who have done wrong? Or is my judgement
5 badly judged?” Then the angels fell down on the ground and worshipped the Lord saying, “Thou art just, O Lord, and thou judgest righteous judgement.”

xxviii 1 But the Lord turned to Adam and said: ‘I will not suffer thee henceforward to be in paradise.”
2 And Adam answered and said, ” Grant me, O Lord, of the Tree of Life that I may eat of it, before
3 I be cast out.” Then the Lord spake to Adam, “Thou shalt not take of it now, for I have commanded the cherubim with the flaming sword that turneth (every way) to guard it from thee that
4 thou taste not of it; but thou hast the war which the adversary hath put into thee, yet when thou art gone out of paradise, if thou shouldst keep thyself from all evil, as one about to die, when again the Resurrection hath come to pass, I will raise thee up and then there shall be given to thee the Tree of Life.”

xxix 1,2 Thus spake the Lord and ordered us to be cast out of paradise. But your father Adam wept before the angels opposite paradise and the angels say to him: “What wouldst thou have us to do,
3 Adam? “And your father saith to them, “Behold, ye cast me out. I pray you, allow me to take away fragrant herbs from paradise, so that I may offer an offering to God after I have gone out of paradise that he hear me.” And the angels approached God and said: “JA’EL, Eternal King, command, my Lord, that there be given to Adam incense of sweet odour from paradise and seeds
5 for his food.” And God bade Adam go in and take sweet spices and fragrant herbs from paradise
6 and seeds for his food. And the angels let him go and he took four kinds: crocus and nard and calamus and cinnamon and the other seeds for his food: and, after taking these, he went out of
7 paradise. And we were on the earth.

xxx 1 Now then, my children, I have shown you the way in which we were deceived; and do ye guard yourselves from transgressing against the good.’

xxxi 1 And when Eve had said this in the midst of her sons, while Adam was lying ill and bound to die
2 after a single day from the sickness which had fastened upon him, she saith to him: ‘How is it that
3 thou diest and I live or how long have I to live after thou art dead? Tell me.’ And Adam saith to her: ‘Reck not of this, for thou tarriest not after me, but even both of us are to die together. And she shall lie in my place. But when I die, anoint me and let no man touch me till the
4 angel of the Lord shall speak somewhat concerning me. For God will not forget me, but will seek His own creature; and now arise rather and pray to God till I give up my spirit into His hands who gave it me. For we know not how we are to meet our Maker, whether He be wroth with us, or be merciful and intend to pity and receive us.’

xxxii 1,2 And Eve rose up and went outside and fell on the ground and began to say: I have sinned, O God, I have sinned, O God of All, I have sinned against Thee. I have sinned against the elect angels. I have sinned against the Cherubim. I have sinned against Thy fearful and unshakable Throne. I have sinned before Thee and all sin hath begun through my doing in the creation.’
3 Even thus prayed Eve on her knees; (and) behold, the angel of humanity came to her, and raised
4 her up and said: ‘Rise up, Eve, (from thy penitence), for behold, Adam thy husband hath gone out of his body. Rise up and behold his spirit borne aloft to his Maker.’

xxxiii 1 And Eve rose up and wiped off her tears with her hand, and the angel saith to her, ‘ Lift Up thyself
2 from the earth.’ And she gazed steadfastly into heaven, and beheld a chariot of light, borne by four bright eagles, (and) it were impossible for any man born of woman to tell the glory of them or
3 behold their face -and angels going before the chariot- and when they came to the place where your father Adam was, the chariot halted and the Seraphim. And I beheld golden censers, between your father and the chariot, and all the angels with censers and frankincense came in haste to the
5 incense-offering and blew upon it and the smoke of the incense veiled the firmaments. And the angels fell down and worshipped God, crying aloud and saying, JA’EL, Holy One, have pardon, for he is Thy image, and the work of Thy holy hands.’

xxxiv 1 And I Eve beheld two great and fearful wonders standing in the presence of God and I wept for
2 fear, and I cried aloud to my son Seth and said, ‘Rise up, Seth, from the body of thy father Adam and come to me, and thou shalt see a spectacle which no man’s eye hath yet beheld.’

xxxv 1 Then Seth arose and came to his mother and to her he saith: ‘What is thy trouble? Why weepest thou?’ (And) she saith to him: ‘Look
2 up and see with thine eyes the seven heavens opened, and see how the soul of thy father lies on its face and all the holy angels are praying on his behalf and saying: ‘Pardon him, Father of All, for he is Thine image.” ‘Pray, my child
3 Seth, what shall this mean? And will he one day be delivered into the hands of the Invisible Father, even our God? But who are the two negroes who stand by at the prayers for thy father Adam?’

xxxvi 1 And Seth telleth his mother, that they are the sun and moon and themselves fall down and pray on behalf of my father Adam. Eve saith
2 to him: ‘And where is their light and why have they taken on such a black appearance?’ And
3 Seth answereth her, ‘The light hath not left them, but they cannot shine before the Light of the Universe, the Father of Light; and on this account their light hath been hidden from them.

xxxvii 1 Now while Seth was saying this to his mother, lo, an angel blew the trumpet, and there stood up all the angels (and they were) lying on their faces, and they cried aloud in an awful voice and said: ‘Blessed (be) the glory of the Lord from
2 the works of His making, for He hath pitied Adam the creature of His hands.’ But when the
3 angels had said these words, lo, there came one of the seraphim with six wings and snatched up Adam and carried him off to the Acherusian lake, and washed him thrice, in the presence of God.

xxxix 1 And God saith to him: ‘Adam, what hast thou done? If thou hadst kept my commandment, there would now be no rejoicing among those who are bringing thee down to this place. Yet, I tell thee that I will turn their joy to grief
2 and thy grief will I turn to joy, and I will transform thee to thy former glory? and set thee on the throne of thy deceiver. But he shall be cast
3 into this place to see thee sitting above him, then he shall be condemned and they that heard him, and he shall be grieved sore when he seeth thee sitting on his honorable throne.’

4 And he stayed there three hours, lying down, and thereafter the Father of all, sitting on his holy throne stretched out his hand, and took Adam and handed him over to the archangel Michael saying: ‘Lift him up into Paradise unto the third Heaven, and leave him there until that fearful day of my reckoning, which I will make in the world.’ Then Michael took Adam and left
6 him where God told him.

xxxviii 1 But after all this, the archangel asked concerning the laying out of the remains. And God
2 commanded that all the angels should assemble in His presence, each in his order, and all the angels assembled, some having censers in their hands, and others trumpets. And lo ! the ‘Lord
3 of Hosts’ came on and four winds drew Him and cherubim mounted on the winds and the angels from heaven escorting Him and they came on the earth, where was the body of Adam. And
4 they came to paradise and all the leaves of paradise were stirred so that all men begotten of Adam slept from the fragrance save Seth alone, because he was born ‘according to the appointment of God ‘. Then Adam’s body lay there in
5 paradise on the earth and Seth grieved exceedingly over him.

xl 1 Then God spake to the archangel(s) Michael, (Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael): ‘Go away
2 to Paradise in the third heaven, and strew linen clothes and cover the body of Adam and bring oil of the ‘oil of fragrance’ and pour it over him. And they acted thus did the three great angels and they prepared him for burial. And God said: ‘Let the body of Abel also be
3 brought.’ And they brought other linen clothes and prepared his (body) also. For he was unburied since the day when Cain his brother slew him; for wicked Cain took great pains to conceal (him) but could not, for the earth would not receive him for the body sprang up from the earth and a voice went out of the earth saying: ‘I will not
5 receive a companion body, till the earth which was taken and fashioned in me cometh to me.’ At that time, the angels took it and placed it on a rock, till Adam his father was buried. And
6 both were buried, according to the commandment of God, in the spot where God found the dust, and He caused the place to be dug for two. And God sent seven angels to paradise and they
7 brought many fragrant spices and placed them in the earth, and they took the two bodies and placed them in the spot which they had digged and builded.

xli 1 And God called and said, ‘Adam, Adam.’ And the body answered from the earth and said: ‘Here am I, Lord.’ And God saith to him: ‘I told
2 thee (that) earth thou art and to earth shalt thou return. Again I promise to thee the Resurrection; I will raise thee up in the Resurrection with every man who is of thy seed.’

xlii 1 After these words, God made a seal and sealed the tomb, that no one might do anything to him for six days till his rib should return to him. Then the Lord and his angels went to their place.
2 And Eve also, when the six days were fulfilled,
3 fell asleep. But while she was living, she wept bitterly about Adam’s falling on sleep, for she knew not where he was laid. For when the Lord came to paradise to bury Adam she was asleep, and her sons too, except Seth, till He bade Adam be prepared for burial; and no man knew on earth, except her son Seth. And Eve prayed (in
4 the hour of her death) that she might be buried in the place where her husband Adam was. And after she had finished her prayer, she saith: ‘Lord,
5 Master, God of all rule, estrange not me thy handmaid from the body of Adam, for from his members didst thou make me. But deem me
6 worthy, even me unworthy that I am and a sinner, to enter into his tabernacle, even as I was with him in paradise, both without separation from each other; just as in our transgression, we were
7 (both) led astray and transgressed thy command, but were not separated. Even so, Lord, do not
8 separate us now.’ But after she had prayed, she gazed heavenwards and groaned aloud and smote her breast and said: ‘God of All, receive my spirit,’ and straightway she delivered up her spirit to God.

xliii 1 And Michael came and taught Seth how to prepare Eve for burial. And there came three angels and they buried her (body) where Adam’s body was and Abel’s. And thereafter Michael
2 spake to Seth and saith: ‘Lay out in this wise every man that dieth till the day of the Resurrection.’ And after giving him this rule; he
3 saith to him: ‘Mourn not beyond six days, but on the seventh day, rest and rejoice on it, because on that very day, God rejoiceth (yea) and we angels (too) with the righteous soul, who hath passed away from the earth.’ Even thus spake
4 the angel, and ascended into heaven, glorifying (God) and saying: ‘Allelujah.’
[Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, in the glory of
5 God the Father, for to Him it is meet to give glory, honour and worship, with the eternal life-giving spirit now and always and for ever. Amen.]
[Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. To whom be glory and power for ever and for ever Amen.]
[Then the archangel Joel glorified God; saying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, heaven and earth are full of thy glory.’]

R.H. Charles, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913

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