Exegetical. Fragments from Commentaries on Various Books of Scripture.
On the Hexaemeron, Or Six Days’ Work.
Now these things we are under the necessity of setting forth at length, in order to disprove the supposition of others. For some choose to maintain that paradise is in heaven, and forms no part of the system of creation. But since we see with our eyes the rivers that go forth from it which are open, indeed, even in our day, to the inspection of any who choose, let every one conclude from this that it did not belong to heaven, but was in reality planted in the created system. And, in truth, it is a locality in the east, and a place select.
Gen. I. 5. And it was evening, and it was morning, one day.
Hippolytus. He did not say3 “night and day,” but “one day,” with reference to the name of the light. He did not say the “first day; “for if he had said the “first” day, he would also have had to say that the “second” day was made. But it was right to speak not of the “first day,” but of “one day,” in order that by saying “one,” he might show that it returns on its orbit and, while it remains one, makes up the week.
Gen. I. 6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water.
Hipp. On the first day God made what He made out of nothing. But on the other days He did not make out of nothing, but out of what He had made on the first day, by moulding it according to His pleasure.
Gen. I. 6, 7. And let it divide between water and water: and it was so. And God made the firmament; and God divided between the water which was under the firmament, and the water above the firmament: and it was so.
Hipp. As the excessive volume of water bore along over the face of the earth, the earth was by reason thereof “invisible” and “formless.” When the Lord of all designed to make the invisible visible, He fixed then a third part of the waters in the midst; and another third part He set by itself on high, raising it together with the firmament by His own power; and the remaining third He left beneath, for the use and benefit of men. Now at4 this point we have an asterisk. The words are found in the Hebrew, but do not occur in the Septuagint.
Gen. III. 8. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden at even.
Hipp. Rather they discerned the approach of the Lord by a certain breeze. As soon, therefore, as they had sinned, God appeared to them, producing consciousness of their sin, and calling them to repentance.
Gen. XLIX. 3. Reuben, my first-born, thou art my strength, and the first of my children; hard to bear with, and hard and self-willed: thou hast waxed wanton as water; boil not over.5
Aquila. Reuben, my first-born, thou art my strength, and the sum of my sorrow: excelling in dignity and excelling in might: thou hast been insensate as water; excel not.6
Symmachus. Reuben, my first-born, and beginning of my7 pain: above measure grasping, and above measure hot as water, thou shalt not more excel.8
Hipp. For there was a great display of strength made by God in behalf of His first-born people from Egypt. For in very many ways was the land of the Egyptians chastised. That first people of the circumcision is meant by “my strength, and the first of my children: “even as God gave the promise to Abraham and to his seed. But “hard to bear with,” because the people hardened itself against the obedience of God. And “hard, self-willed,” because it was not only hard against the obedience of God, but also self-willed so as to set upon the Lord. “Thou hast waxed wanton,” because in the instance of our Lord Jesus Christ the people waxed wanton against the Father. But “boil not over,” says the Spirit, by way of comfort, that it might not, by boiling utterly over, be spilt abroad,-giving it hope of salvation. For what has boiled over and been spilt is lost.
Gen. XLIX. 4. For thou wentest up to thy father’s bed.
Hipp. First he mentions the event,-that in the last days the people will assault the bed of the Father, that is, the bride,9 the Church, with intent to corrupt her; which thing, indeed, it does even at this present day, assaulting her by blasphemies.
Gen. XLIX. 5. Simeon and Levi, brethren.
Hipp. Since from Simeon sprang the scribes, and from Levi the priests. For the scribes and priests fulfilled iniquity10 of their own choice, and with one mind they slew the Lord.
Gen. XLIX. 5. Simeon and Levi, brethren, fulfilled iniquity of their own choice. Into their counsel let not my soul enter, and in their assembly let not my heart contend; for in their anger they slew men, and in their passion they houghed a bull.
Hipp. This he says regarding the conspiracy into which they were to enter against the Lord. And that he means this conspiracy, is evident to us. For the blessed David sings, “Rulers have taken counsel together against the Lord,“11 and so forth. And of this conspiracy the Spirit prophesied, saying, “Let not my soul contend,” desiring to draw them off, if possible, so that that future crime might not happen through them. “They slew men, and houghed the bull; “by the “strong bull” he means Christ. And “they houghed,” since, when He was suspended on the tree, they pierced through His sinews. Again, “in their anger they houghed a bull.” And mark the nicety of the expression: for “they slew men, and houghed a bull.” For they killed the saints, and they remain dead, awaiting the time of the resurrection. But as a young bull, so to speak, when houghed, sinks down to the ground, such was Christ in submitting voluntarily to the death of the flesh; but He was not overcome of death. But though as man He became one of the dead, He remained alive in the nature of divinity. For Christ is the bull,-an animal, above all, strong and neat and devoted to sacred use. And the Son is Lord of all power, who did no sin, but rather offered Himself for us, a savour of a sweet smell to His God and Father. Therefore let those hear who houghed this august bull: “Cursed be their anger, for it was stubborn; and their wrath, for it was hardened.“12 But this people of the Jews dared to boast of houghing the bull: “Our hands shed this.“13 For this is nothing different, I think, from the word of folly: “His blood” (be upon us), and so forth.14 Moses recalls15 the curse against Levi, or, rather converts it into a blessing, on account of the subsequent zeal of the tribe, and of Phinehas in particular, in behalf of God. But that against Simeon he did not recall. Wherefore it also was fulfilled in deed.16 For Simeon did not obtain an inheritance like the other tribes, for he dwelt in the midst of Judah. Yet his tribe was preserved, although it was small in numbers.17
Gen. XLIX. 11. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt to the choice vine,-the tendril of the vine,-he will wash his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of the grape.
Hipp. By the “foal” he means the calling of the Gentiles; by the other, that of the circumcision: “one ass,” moreover, that is to signify that the two colts are of one faith; in other words, the two callings. And one colt is bound to the “vine,” and the other to the “vine tendril,” which means that the Church of the Gentiles is bound to the Lord, but he who is of the circumcision to the oldness of the law. “He will wash his garment in wine; “that is, by the Holy Spirit and the word of truth, he will cleanse the flesh, which is meant by the garment. And “in the blood of the grape,” trodden and giving forth blood, which means the flesh of the Lord, he cleanses the whole calling of the Gentiles.
Gen. XLIX. 12-15. His eyes are gladsome with wine, and his teeth white as milk. Zabulun shall dwell by the sea, and he shall be by a haven of ships, and he shall extend to Sidon. Issachar desired the good part, resting in the midst of the lots. And seeing that rest was good, and that the land was fat, he set his shoulder to toil, and became a husbandman.
Hipp. That is, his eyes are brilliant as with the word of truth; for they regard all who believe upon him. And his teeth are white as milk;-that denotes the luminous power of his words: for this reason he calls them white, and compares them to milk, as that which nourishes the flesh and the soul. And Zabulun is, by interpretation, “fragrance” and “blessing.”
Then, after something from Cyril:-
Hipp. Again, I think, it mystically signifies the18 sacraments of the New Testament of our Saviour; and the words, “his teeth are white as milk,” denote the excellency and purity of the sacramental food. And again, these words, “his teeth are white as milk,” we take in the sense that His words give light to those who believe on Him.
And in saying, moreover, that Zabulun will dwell by the sea, he speaks prophetically of his territory as bordering on the sea, and of Israel as mingling with the Gentiles, the two nations being brought as it were into one flock. And this is manifest in the Gospel. “The land of Zabulun, and the land of Nephthalim,” etc. And you will mark more fully the richness of his lot as having both inland territory and seaboard.
“And he is by a haven of ships; “that is, as in a safe anchorage, referring to Christ, the anchor of hope. And this denotes the calling of the Gentiles-that the grace of Christ shall go forth to the whole earth and sea. For he says, “And (he is) by a haven of ships, and shall extend as far as Sidon.” And that this is said prophetically of the Church of the Gentiles, is made apparent to us in the Gospel: “The land of Zabulun, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light.“19 In saying, then, that he, namely Zabulun, would inhabit a territory bordering on the sea, he plainly confirmed that, just as if he had said that in the future Israel would mingle with the Gentiles, the two peoples being brought together into one fold and under the hand of one chief Shepherd, the good (Shepherd) by nature, that is, Christ. In blessing him Moses said, “Zabulun shall rejoice.“20 And Moses prophesies, that in the allocation of the land he should have abundance ministered of the good things both of land and sea, under the hand of One. “By a haven of ships; “that is, as in an anchorage that proves safe, referring to Christ, the anchor of hope. For by His grace he shall come forth out of many a tempest, and shall be brought hereafter to land, like ships secure in harbours. Besides, he said that “he extends as far even as Sidon,” indicating, as it seems, that so complete a unity will be effected in the spirit’s course between the two peoples, that those of the blood of Israel shall occupy those very cities which once were exceeding guilty in the sight of God.21
After something from Cyril:-
Hipp. And “that the land was fat; “that is, the flesh of our Lord: “fat,” that is, “rich; “for it flows with honey and milk. The parts of the land are marked off for an inheritance and possession to him-that means the doctrine of the Lord. For this is a pleasant rest, as He says Himself: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,“22 etc. For they who keep the commandments, and do not disclaim the ordinances of the law, enjoy rest both in them and in the doctrine of our Lord; and that is the meaning of “in the midst of the lots.” As the Lord says, “I am not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them.“23 For even our Lord, in the fact that He keeps the commandments, does not destroy the law and the prophets, but fulfils them, as He says in the Gospels. “He set his shoulder to toil, and became a husbandman.” This the apostles did. Having received power from God, and having set themselves to labour, they became husbandmen of the Lord, cultivating the earth-that is, the human race-with the preaching of our Lord.
Gen. XLIX. 16-20. Dan shall judge his people, as himself also one tribe in Israel. And let Dan become a serpent by the way, lying on the path, stinging the horse’s heel; and the horseman shall fall backward, waiting for the salvation of the Lord. Gad-a robber’s troop shall rob him; and he shall spoil it24 at the heels. Aser-his bread shall be fat, and he shall furnish dainties to princes.
After something from Cyril, Apollinaris, and Diodorus:-
Hipp. The Lord is represented to us as a horseman; and the “heel” points us to the “last times.” And His “falling” denotes His death; as it is written in the Gospel: “Behold, this (child) is set for the fall and rising again of many.“25 We take the “robber” to be the traitor. Nor was there any other traitor to the Lord save the (Jewish) people. “Shall rob him,” i.e., shall plot against him. At the heels: that refers to the help of the Lord against those who lie in wait against Him. And again, the words “at the heels” denote that the Lord will take vengeance swiftly. He shall be well armed in the foot26 (heel), and shall overtake and rob the robber’s troop.
Aquila. “Girded, he shall gird himself; “that means that as a man of arms and war he shall arm himself. “And he shall be armed in the heel: “he means this rather, that Gad shall follow behind his brethren in arms. For though his lot was beyond Jordan, yet they (the men of that tribe) were enjoined to follow their brethren in arms until they too got their lots. Or perhaps he meant this, that Gad’s tribesmen were to live in the mummer of robbers, and that he was to take up a confederacy of freebooters, which is just a “robber’s troop,” and to follow them, practising piracy, which is robbery, along with them.
Whereas, on the abolition of the shadow in the law, and the introduction of the worship in spirit and truth, the world had need of greater light, at last, with this object, the inspired disciples were called, and put in possession of the lot of the teachers of the law. For thus did God speak with regard to the mother of the Jews-that is to say, Jerusalem-by the voice of the Psalmist: “Instead of thy fathers were thy sons; “27 that is, to those called thy sons was given the position of fathers. And with regard to our Lord Jesus Christ in particular: “Thou wilt appoint them rulers over all the earth.” Yet presently their authority will not be by any means void of trouble to them. Nay rather, they were to experience unnumbered ills and they were to be in perplexity; anti the course of their apostleship they were by no means to find free of peril, as he intimated indeed by way of an example, when he said, “Let (Dan) be,” meaning by that, that there shall be a multitude of persecutors in Dan like a “serpent lying by the way on the path, stinging the horse’s heel,” i.e., giving fierce and dangerous bites; for the bites of snakes are generally very dangerous. And they were “in the heel” in particular. for “he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.“28 And some did persecute the holy apostles in this way even to the death of the flesh. And thus we may say that their position was something like that when a horse stumbles and flings out his heels. For in such a case the horseman will be thrown, and, falling to the ground, I suppose, he waits29 thus for some one alive. And thus, too, the inspired apostles survive and wait for the time of their redemption, when they shall be called into a kingdom which cannot be moved, when Christ addresses them with the word, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, ’30 etc.
And again, if any one will take the words as meaning, not that there will be some lying in wait against Dan like serpents, but that this Dan himself lies in wait against others, we may say that those meant thereby are the scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites who, while in possession of the power of judgment and instruction among the people, fastened like snakes upon Christ, and strove impiously to compass His fall, vexing Him with their stings as He held on in His lofty and gentle course. But if that horseman did indeed fall, He fell at least of His own will, voluntarily enduring the death of the flesh. And, moreover, it was destined that He should come to life again, having the Father as His helper and conductor. For the Son, being the power of God the Father, endued the temple of His own body again with life. Thus is He said to have been saved by the Father, as He stood in peril as a man, though by nature He is God, and Himself maintains the whole creation, visible and invisible, in a state of wellbeing. In this sense, also, the inspired Paul says of Him: “Though He was crucified in weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God.“31
Aser obtained the parts about Ptolemais and Sidon. Wherefore he says, “His bread shall be fat, and he shall furnish dainties to princes.” This we take to be a figure of our calling; for “fat” means “rich.” And whose bread is rich, if not ours? For the Lord is out bread, as He says Himself: “I am the bread of life.“32 And who else will furnish dainties to princes but our Lord Jesus Christ?-not only to the believing among the Gentiles, but also to those of the circumcision, who are first in the faith, to wit, to the fathers, and the patriarchs, and the prophets, and to all who believe in His name and passion.
Gen. XLIX. 21-26. Nephthalim is a slender33 thing, showing beauty in the shoot. Joseph is a goodly son; my goodly, envied son; my youngest son. Turn back to me. Against him the archers took counsel together, and reviled him, and pressed him sore. And their bows were broken with might, and the sinews of the arms of their hands were relaxed by the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob. Thence is he who strengthened Israel from the God of thy father. And my God helped thee, and blessed thee with the blessing of heaven above, and with the blessing of the earth which possesseth all things, with the blessing of the breasts and womb, with the blessing of thy father and thy mother. It prevailed above the blessings of abiding mountains, and above the blessings of everlasting hills; which (blessings) shall be upon the head of Joseph, and upon the temples of his brothers, whose chief he was.
Hipp. Who is the son goodly and envied, even to this day, but our Lord Jesus Christ? An object of envy is He indeed to those who choose to hate Him, yet He is not by any means to be overcome. For though He endured the cross, yet as God He returned to life, having trampled upon death, as His God and Father addresses Him, and says, “Sit Thou at my fight band.“34 And that even those are brought to nought who strive with the utmost possible madness against Him, he has taught us, when he says, “Against Him the archers took counsel together, and reviled Him.” For the “archers”-that is, the leaders of the people-did convene their assemblies, and take bitter counsel. “But their bows were broken, and the sinews of their arms were relaxed, by the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,” that is to say, by God the Father, who is the Lord of power, who also made His Son blessed in heaven and on earth. And he (Naphtali) is adopted as a figure of things pertaining to us, as the Gospel shows: “The land of Zabulun, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan,“35 etc.; and, “To them that sat in darkness light has arisen.“36 And what other light was this but the calling of the Gentiles, which is the trunk, i.e., the tree of the Lord, in whom engrafted it bears fruit? And the word, “giving increase of beauty in the case of the shoot,” expresses the excellency of our calling. And if the words, “giving increase of beauty in the case of the shoot,” are understood, as perhaps they may, with reference to its, the clause is still quite intelligible. For, by progressing in virtue, and attaining to better things, “reaching forth to those things which are before,“37 according to the word of the blessed Paul, we rise ever to the higher beauty. I mean, however, of course, spiritual beauty, so that to us too it may be said hereafter, “The King greatly desired thy beauty.“38
After something from Apollinaris:-
Hipp. The word of prophecy passes again to Immanuel Himself. For, in my opinion, what is intended by it is just what has been already stated in the words, “giving increase of beauty in the case of the shoot.” For he means that He increased and grew up into that which He had been from the beginning, and indicates the return to the glory which He had by nature.39 This, if we apprehend it correctly, is (we should say) just “restored” to Him. For40 as the only begotten Word of God, being God of God,41 emptied Himself, according to the Scriptures, humbling Himself of His own will to that which He was not before, and took unto Himself this vile flesh, and appeared42 in the “form of a servant,” and “became obedient to God the Father, even unto death,” so hereafter He is said to be “highly exalted; “and as if well-nigh He had it not by reason of His humanity, and as if it were in the way of grace, He “receives the name which is above every name,“43 according to the word of the blessed Paul. But the matter, in truth, was not a “giving,” as for the first time, of what He had not by nature; far otherwise. But rather we must understand a return and restoration to that which existed in Him at the beginning, essentially and inseparably. And it is for this reason that, when He had assumed, by divine arrangement,44 the lowly estate of humanity, He said, “Father, glorify me with the glory which I had,“45 etc. For He who was co-existent with His Father before all time. and before the foundation of the world, always had the glory proper to Godhead. “He” too may very well be understood as the “youngest (son).” For He appeared in the last times, after the glorious and honourable company of the holy prophets, and simply once, after all those who, previous to the time of His sojourn, were reckoned in the number of sons by reason of excellence. That Immanuel, however, was an” object of envy,“46 is a somewhat doubtful phrase. Yet He is an “object of envy” or “emulation” to the saints, who aspire to follow His footsteps, and conform themselves to His divine beauty, and make Him the pattern of their conduct, and win thereby their highest glory. And again, He is an “object of envy” in another sense,-an “object of ill-will,” namely, to those who are declared not to love Him. I refer to the leading parties among the Jews,-the scribes, in sooth, and the Pharisees,-who travailed with bitter envy against Him, and made the glory of which He could not be spoiled the ground of their slander, and assailed Him in many ways. For Christ indeed raised the dead to life again, when they already stank and were corrupt; and He displayed other signs of divinity. And these should have filled them with wonder, and have made them ready to believe, and to doubt no longer. Yet this was not the case with them; but they were consumed with ill-will, and nursed its bitter pangs in their mind.
After something from Cyril:-
Hipp. Who else is this than as is shown us by the apostle, “the second man, the Lord from heaven? “47 And in the Gospel,48 He said that he who did the will of the Father was “the last.“49 And by the words, “Turn back to me,” is meant His ascension to His Father in heaven after His passion. And in the phrase, “Against Him they took counsel together, and reviled Him,” who are intended but just the people in their opposition to our Lord? And as to the words, “they pressed Him sore,” who pressed Him, and to this day still press Him sore? Those-these “archers,” namely-who think to contend against the Lord. But though they prevailed to put Him to death, yet “their bows were broken with might.” This plainly means, that “after the resurrection” their bows were broken with might. And those intended are the leaders of the people, who set themselves in array against Him, and, as it were, sharpened the points of their weapons. But they failed to transfix Him, though they did what was unlawful, and dared to assail Him even in the manner of wild beasts.
“Thou didst prevail above the blessings of abiding mountains.” By “eternal and abiding mountains and everlasting hills,” he means the saints, because they are lifted above the earth, and make no account of the things that perish, but seek the things that are above, and aspire earnestly to rise to the highest virtues. After the glory of Christ, therefore, are those of the Fathers who were most illustrious, and reached the greatest elevation in virtue. These, however, were but servants; but the Lord, the Son, supplied them with the means by which they became illustrious. Wherefore also they acknowledge (the truth of this word), “Out of His fulness have all we received.“50
“And my God helped thee.” This indicates clearly that the aid and support of the Son came from no one else but our God and Father in heaven. And by the word “my God,” is meant that the Spirit speaks by Jacob.51
Euseb. “The sinews of the arms.” He could not say, of “the hands” or “shoulders; “but since the broad central parts of the bow are termed “arms,” he says appropriately “arms.”
Hipp. “Blessings of the breasts and womb.” By this is meant that the true blessing from heaven is the Spirit descending through the Word upon flesh. And by “breasts and womb” he means the blessings of the Virgin. And by that of” thy father and thy mother,“52 he means also the blessing of the Father which we have received in the Church through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gen. XLIX. 27. “Benjamin is a ravening wolf; in the morning he shall devour still, and till evening he apportions food.”
Hipp. This thoroughly suits Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin. For when he was young, he was a ravening wolf; but when he believed, he “apportioned” food. This also is shown us by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the tribe of Benjamin is among the first persecutors, which is the sense of “in the morning.” For Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin, persecuted David, who was appointed to be a type of the Lord.
From the Commentary of the Holy Hippolytus of Rome Upon Genesis.53
Gen. II. 7. “And God formed man of the dust of the ground.” And what does this import? Are we to say, according to the opinion of some, that there were three men made, one spiritual, one animal, and one earthy? Not such is the case, but the whole narrative is of one man. For the word, “Let us make,” is about the man that was to be; and then comes the word, “God made man of the dust of the ground,” so that I he narrative is of one and the same man. For then He says, “Let him be made,” and now He “makes him,” and the narrative tells “how” He makes him.
Quoted in Jerome, Epist. 36, Ad Damasum, Num. XVIII. (from Galland).
54 Isaac conveys a figure of God the Father; Rebecca of the Holy Spirit; Esau of the first people and the devil; Jacob of the Church, or of Christ. That Isaac was old, points to the end of the world; that his eyes were dim, denotes that faith had perished from the world, and that the light of religion was neglected before him; that the elder son is called, expresses the Jews’ possession of the law; that the father loves his meat and venison, denotes the saving of men from error, whom ever), righteous man seeks to gain (lit. hunt for) by doctrine. The word of God here is the promise anew of the blessing and the hope of a kingdom to come, in which the saints shall reign with Christ, and keep the true Sabbath. Rebecca is full of the Holy Spirit, as understanding the word which she heard before she gave birth, “For the elder shall serve the younger.“55 As a figure of the Holy Spirit, moreover, she cares for Jacob in preference. She says to her younger son, “Go to the flock and fetch me two kids,“56 prefiguring the Saviour’s advent in the flesh to work a mighty deliverance for them who were held liable to the punishment of sin; for indeed in all the Scriptures kids are taken for emblems of sinners. His being charged to bring “two,” denotes the reception of two peoples: by the “tender and good,” are meant teachable and innocent souls. The robe or raiment of Esau denotes the faith and Scriptures of the Hebrews, with which the people of the Gentiles were endowed. The skins which were put upon his arms are the sins of both peoples, which Christ, when His hands were stretched forth on the cross, fastened to it along with Himself. In that Isaac asks of Jacob why he came so soon,57 we take him as admiring the quick faith of them that believe. That savoury meats are offered, denotes an offering pleasing to God, the salvation of sinners. After the eating follows the blessing, and he delights in his smell. He announces with clear voice the perfection of the resurrection and the kingdom, and also how his brethren who believe in Israel adore him and serve him. Because iniquity is opposed to righteousness, Esau is excited to strife, and meditates death deceitfully, saying in his heart, “Let the days of the mourning for my father come on, and I will slay my brother Jacob.“58 The devil, who previously exhibited the fratricidal Jews by anticipation in Cain, makes the most manifest disclosure of them now in Esau, showing also the time of the murder: “let the days,” says he, “of the mourning for my father come on, that I may slay my brother.” Wherefore Rebecca-that is, patience-told her husband of the brother’s plot: who, summoning Jacob, bade him go to Mesopotamia and thence take a wife of the family of Laban the Syrian, his mother’s brother. As therefore Jacob, to escape his brother’s evil designs, proceeds to Mesopotamia, so Christ, too, constrained by the unbelief of the Jews, goes into Galilee, to take from thence to Himself a bride from the Gentiles, His Church.
On Numbers. By the Holy Bishop and Martyr Hippolytus, from Balaam’s Blessings.59
Now, in order that He might be shown to have together in Himself at once the nature of God and that of man,-as the apostle, too, says: “Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.60 Now a mediator is not of one man,61 but two,“62 -it was therefore necessary that Christ, in becoming the Mediator between God and men, should receive from both an earnest of some kind, that He might appear as the Mediator between two distinct persons.
The question is raised, whether Samuel rose by the hand of the sorceress or not. And if, indeed, we were to allow that he did rise, we should be propounding what is false. For how could a demon call back the soul, I say not of a righteous man merely, but of any one whatever, when it had gone, and was tarrying one knew not where? But he says, how then was the woman dismayed, and how did she see in an extraordinary way men ascending? For if her vision had not been of an extraordinary kind, she would not have said, “I see gods64 ascending out of the earth.” She invoked one, and how did there ascend many? What then? Shall we say that the souls of all who appeared ascended, and those, too, not invoked by the woman;65 or that what was seen was merely phantasms of them? Even this, however, will not suffice. How, he urges further, did Saul recognise (what appeared), and do obeisance? Well, Saul did not actually see, but only, on being told by the woman that the figure of one of those who ascended was the figure he desired, and taking it to be Samuel, he consulted it as such, and did it obeisance. And it could be no difficult matter for the demon to conjure up the form of Samuel, as it was known to him. How then, says he, did he foretell the calamities that were to befall Saul and Jonathan at the same time? He did foretell indeed the end of the war, and how Saul would be overcome, drawing that as an inference from the wrath of God against him. Just as a physician, who has no exact knowledge of the science, might yet, seeing a patient past cure, tell of his death, though he made an error as to the hour, so, too, the demon, knowing the wrath of God by Saul’s deeds, and by this very attempt to consult the sorceress, foretells his defeat and his death at the same time, though in error as to the day of his death.
On the Psalms. The Argument Prefixed by Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome, to His Exposition of the Psalms.66
The book of Psalms contains new doctrine after the law of Moses. And after the writing of Moses, it is the second book of doctrine. Now, after the death of Moses and Joshua, and after the judges, arose David, who was deemed worthy of bearing the name of father of the Saviour himself; and he first gave to the Hebrews a new style of psalmody, by which he abrogates the ordinances established by Moses with respect to sacrifices, and introduces the new hymn and a new style of jubilant praise in the worship of God; and throughout his whole ministry he teaches very many other things that went beyond the law of Moses.67
On Psalm II.68 From the Exposition of the Second Psalm, by the Holy Bishop Hippolytus.
When he came into the world, He was manifested as God and man. And it is easy to perceive the man in Him, when He hungers and shows exhaustion, and is weary and athirst, and withdraws in fear, and is in prayer and in grief, and sleeps on a boat’s pillow, and entreats the removal of the cup of suffering, and sweats in an agony, and is strengthened by an angel, and betrayed by a Judas, and mocked by Caiaphas, and set at nought by Herod, and scourged by Pilate, and derided by the soldiers, and nailed to the tree by the Jews, and with a cry commits His spirit to His Father, and drops His head and gives up the ghost, and has His side pierced with a spear, and is wrapped in linen and laid in a tomb, and is raised by the Father on the third day. And the divine in Him, on the other hand, is equally manifest, when He is worshipped by angels, and seen by shepherds, and waited for b, y Simeon, and testified of by Anna, and inquired after by wise men, and pointed out by a star, and at a marriage makes wine of water, and chides the sea when tossed by the violence of winds, and walks upon the deep, and makes one see who was blind from birth, and raises Lazarus when dead for four days, and works many wonders, and forgives sins, and grants power to His disciples.
On Psalm XXII. Or XXIII. From the Commentary by the Holy Bishop and Martyr Hippolytus, on “The Lord is My Shepherd.“69
And, moreover, the ark made of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself. For by this was signified the imperishable and incorruptible tabernacle of (the Lord) Himself, which gendered no corruption of sin. For the sinner, indeed, makes this confession: “My wounds stank, and were corrupt, because of my foolishness.“70 But the Lord was without sin, made of imperishable wood, as regards His humanity; that is, of the virgin and the Holy Ghost inwardly, and outwardly of the word of God, like an ark overlaid with purest gold.
On Psalm XXIII. Or XXIV. From the Commentary by the Same, on Ps. XXIII.71
He comes to the heavenly gates: angels accompany Him: and the gates of heaven were closed. For He has not yet ascended into heaven. Now first does He appear to the powers of heaven as flesh ascending. Therefore to these powers it is said by the angels, who are the couriers of the Saviour and Lord: “Lift up your gates, ye princes; and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors: and the King of glory shall come in.72
On Psalm CIX. Or CX. From the Commentary by the Same on the Great Song.73
1. He who delivered from the lowest hell the man first made of earth, when lost and bound by the chains of death; He who came down from above, and exalted earth-born man on high; He who is become the preacher of the Gospel to the dead, the redeemer of souls, and the resurrection of the buried;-He became the helper of man in his defeat, and appeared in his likeness, the first-born Word, and took upon Himself the first Adam in the Virgin; and though spiritual Himself, He made acquaintance with the earthy in the womb; though Himself the ever-living One, He made acquaintance with the dead in transgressions; Himself the heavenly One, He bore the terrestrial on high; Himself of lofty extraction, He chose, by His own subjection, to set the slave free; and making man, who turns to dust, and forms food for the serpent, unconquerable as adamant, and that, too, when hung upon the tree, He declared him lord over his victor, and is thus Himself proved conqueror by the tree.
2. Those, indeed, who do not acknowledge the incarnate Son of God now, shall have to acknowledge Him as Judge, when He who is now despised in His inglorious body, comes in His glory.
3. And when the apostles came to the sepulchre on the third day, they did not find the body of Jesus; just as the children of Israel went up the mount to seek the tomb of Moses, and did not find it.
On Psalm LXXVII. Or LXXVIII.74
45. He sent the dog-fly among them, and consumed them; and the frog, and destroyed them.
46. He gave also their fruits to the mildew, and their labours to the locust.
47. He destroyed their vine with hail, and their sycamines with frost.
Now, just as, in consequence of an irregular mode of living, a deadly bilious humour may be formed in the inwards, which the physician by his art may bring on to be a sick-vomiting, without being himself chargeable with producing the sick humour in the man’s body; for excess in diet was what produced it, while the physician’s science only made it show itself; so, although it may be said that the painful retribution that falls upon those who are by choice wicked comes from God, it would be only in accordance with right reason, to think that ills of that kind find both their beginnings and their causes in ourselves. For to one who lives without sin there is no darkness, no worm, no hell (Gehenna), no fire, nor any other of these words or things of terror; just as the plagues of Egypt were not for the Hebrews,-those fine lice annoying with invisible bites, the dog-fly fastening on the body with its painful sting, the hurricanes from heaven falling upon them with hailstones, the husbandman’s labours devoured by the locusts, the darkened sky, and the rest. It is God’s counsel, indeed, to tend the true vine, and to destroy the Egyptian, while sparing those who are to “eat the grape of gall, and drink the deadly venom of asps.“75 And the sycamine of Egypt is utterly destroyed; not, however, that one which Zaccheus climbed that he might be able to see my Lord. And the fruits of Egypt are wasted, that is, the works of the flesh, but not the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace.76
48. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their substance to the fire.
Symmachus renders it: “Who gave up their cattle to the plague, and their possessions to birds.” For, having met an overwhelming overthrow, they became a prey for carnivorous birds, But, according to the Seventy, the sense is not that the hail destroyed their cattle, and the fire the rest of their substance, but that hail, falling in an extraordinary manner along with fire, destroyed utterly their vines and sycamines first of all, which were entirely unable to stand out against the first attack; then the cattle which grazed on the plains; and then every herb and tree, which the fire accompanying the hail consumed; and the affair was altogether portentous, as fire ran with the water, and was commingled with it. “For fire ran in the hail,” he says; and it was thus hail, and fire burning in the hail. David also calls the cattle and the fruit of the trees “substance,” or “riches.” And it should be observed that, though the hail is recorded to have destroyed every herb and every tree, yet there were left some which the locust, as it came upon them after the fiery hail, consumed; of which it is said, that it eats up every herb, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail left behind it. Now, in a spiritual sense, there are some sheep belonging to Christ, and others belonging to the Egyptians. Those, however, which once belonged to others may become His, as the sheep of Laban became Jacob’s; and contrariwise. Whichever of the sheep, moreover, Jacob rejected, he made over to Esau. Beware, then, lest, being found in the flock of Jesus, you be set apart when gifts are sent to Esau, and be given over to Esau as reprobate and unworthy of the spiritual Jacob. The single-minded are the sheep of Christ, and these God saves according to the word: “O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.“77 They who in their folly attach themselves to godless doctrine, are the sheep of the Egyptians, and these, too, are destroyed by the hail. And whatsoever the Egyptians possess is given over to the fire, but Abraham’s substance is given to Isaac.
49. He discharged upon them the wrath of His anger;-anger, and wrath, and tribulation, a visitation by evil angels.
Under anger, wrath, and tribulation, he intended bitter punishments; for God is without passion. And by anger you will understand the lesser penalties, and by wrath the greater, and by tribulation the greatest.78 The angels also are called evil, not because they are so in their nature, or by their own will, but because they have this office, and are appointed to produce pains and sufferings,-being so called, therefore, with reference to the disposition of those who endure such things; just as the day of judgment is called the evil day, as being laden with miseries and pains for sinners. To the same effect is the word of Isaiah, “I, the Lord, make peace, and create evil; “79 meaning by that, I maintain peace, and permit war.
On Proverbs. From the Commentary of St. Hippolytus on Proverbs.80
Proverbs, therefore, are words of exhortation serviceable for the whole path of life; for to those who seek their way to God, these serve as guides and signs to revive them when wearied with the length of the road. These, moreover, are the proverbs of “Solomon,” that is to say, the “peacemaker,” who, in truth, is Christ the Saviour. And since we understand the words of the Lord without offence, as being the words of the Lord, that no one may mislead us by likeness of name, he tells us who wrote these things, and of what people he was king, in order that the credit of the speaker may make the discourse acceptable and the hearers attentive; for they are the words of that Solomon to whom the Lord said: “I will give thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there has been none like thee upon the earth, and after thee there shall not arise any like unto thee,“81 and as follows in what is written of him. Now he was the wise son of a wise father; wherefore there is added the name of David, by whom Solomon was begotten. From a child he was instructed in the sacred Scriptures, and obtained his dominion not by lot, nor by force, but by the judgment of the Spirit and the decree of God.
“To know wisdom and instruction.” He who knows the wisdom of God, receives from Him also instruction, and learns by it the mysteries of the Word; and they who know the true heavenly wisdom will easily understand the words of these mysteries. Wherefore he says: “To understand the difficulties of words; “82 for things spoken in strange language by the Holy Spirit become intelligible to those who have their hearts right with God.
83 These things he understands of the people of the Jews, and their guilt in the blood of Christ; for they thought that He had His conversation (citizenship) on earth only.
84 They will not simply obtain, but inherit. The wicked, again, even though they are exalted, are exalted only so as to have greater dishonour. For as one does not honour an ugly and mis-shapen fellow, if he exalts him, but only dishonours him the more, by making his shame manifest to a larger number; so also God exalts the wicked, in order that He may make their disgrace patent. For Pharaoh was exalted, but only to have the world as his accuser.
85 It must be noted, that he names the law a good gift, on account of the man who takes gifts into his bosom unrighteously. And he forsakes the law who transgresses it; the law, namely, of which he speaks, or which he has kept.
86 And what is meant by “exalt (fortify) her? “Surround her with holy thoughts; for you have need of large defence, since there are many things to imperil such a possession. But if it is in our power to fortify her, and if there are virtues in our power which exalt the knowledge of God, these will be her bulwarks,-as, for example, practice, study, and the whole chain of other virtues; and the man who observes these, honours wisdom; and the reward is, to be exalted to be with her, and to be embraced by her in the chamber of heaven.
87 The heterodox are the “wicked,” and the transgressors of the law are “evil men,” whose “ways”-that is to say, their deeds-he bids us not enter.
88 He “looks right on” who has thoughts free of passion; and he has true judgments, who is not in a state of excitement about external appearances. When he says, “Let thine eyes look right on,” he means the vision of the soul; and when he gives the exhortation, “Eat honey, my son, that it may be sweet to thy palate,” he uses “honey” figuratively, meaning divine doctrine, which restores the spiritual knowledge of the soul. But wisdom embraces the soul also; for, says he, “love her, that she may embrace thee.” And the soul, by her embrace being made one with wisdom, is filled with holiness and purity. Yea more, the fragrant ointments of Christ are laid hold of by the soul’s sense of smell.
89 Virtue occupies the middle position; whence also he says, that manly courage is the mean between boldness and cowardice. And now he mentions the “right,” not meaning thereby things which are right by nature, such as the virtues, but things which seem to thee to be right on account of their pleasures. Now pleasures are not simply sensual enjoyments, but also riches and luxury. And the “left” indicates envy, robberies, and the like. For “Boreas,” says he, “is a bitter wind, and yet is called by name right.“90 For, symbolically, under Boreas he designates the wicked devil by whom every flame of evil is kindled in the earth. And this has the name “right,” because an angel is called by a right (propitious) name. Do thou, says he, turn aside from evil, and God will take care of thine end; for He will go before thee, scattering thine enemies, that thou mayest go in peace.
91 He shows also, by the mention of the creature (the hind), the purity of that pleasure; and by the roe he intimates the quick responsive affection of the wife. And whereas he knows many things to excite, he secures them against these, and puts upon them the indissoluble bond of affection, setting constancy before them. And as for the rest, wisdom, figuratively speaking, like a stag, can repel and crush the snaky doctrines of the heterodox. Let her therefore, says he, be with thee, like a roe, to keep all virtue fresh. And whereas a wife and wisdom are not in this respect the same, let her rather lead thee; for thus thou shalt conceive good thoughts.
92 That thou mayest not say, What harm is there in the eyes, when there is no necessity that he should be perverted who looks? he shows thee that desire is a fire, and the flesh is like a garment. The latter is an easy prey, and the former is a tyrant. And when anything harmful is not only taken within, but also held fast, it will not go forth again until it has made an exit for itself. For he who looks upon a woman, even though he escape the temptation, does not come away pure of all lust. And why should one have trouble, if he can be chaste and free of trouble? See what Job says: “I made a covenant with mine eyes, that I should not think of another’s wife.“93 Thus well does he know the power of abuse. And Paul for this reason kept “under his body, and brought it into subjection.” And, figuratively speaking, he keeps a fire in his breast who permits an impure thought to dwell in his heart. And he walks upon coals who, by sinning in act, destroys his own soul.
The “cemphus“94 is a kind of wild sea-bird, which has so immoderate an impulse to sexual enjoyment, that its eyes seem to fill with blood in coition; and it often blindly falls into snares, or into the hands of men.95 To this, therefore, he compares the man who gives himself up to the harlot on account of his immoderate lust; or else on account of the insensate folly of the creature, for he, too, pursues his object like one senseless. And they say that this bird is so much pleased with foam, that if one should hold foam in his hand as he sails, it will sit upon his hand. And it also brings forth with pain.
96 You have seen her mischief. Wait not to admit the rising of lust; for her death is everlasting. And for the rest, by her words, her arguments in sooth, she wounds, and by her sins she kills those who yield to her. For many are the forms of wickedness that lead the foolish down to hell. And the chambers97 of death mean either its depths or its treasure. How, then, is escape possible?
98 He intends the new Jerusalem, or the sanctified flesh. By the seven pillars he means the sevenfold unity of the Holy Spirit resting upon it; as Isaiah testifies, saying, “She has slain” her “victims.”
99 Observe that the wise man must be useful to many; so that he who is useful only to himself cannot be wise. For great is the condemnation of wisdom if she reserves her power simply for the one possessing her. But as poison is not injurious to another body, but only to that one which takes it, so also the man who turns out wicked will injure himself, and not another. For no man of real virtue is injured by a wicked man.
100 The fruit of righteousness and the tree of life is Christ. He alone, as man, fulfilled all righteousness. And with His own underived life101 He has brought forth the fruits of knowledge and virtue like a tree, whereof they that eat shall receive eternal life, and shall enjoy the tree of life in paradise, with Adam and all the righteous. But the souls of the unrighteous meet an untimely expulsion from the presence of God, by whom they shall be left to remain in the flame of torment.
102 Not from men, but with the Lord, will he obtain favour.
103 He asks of wisdom, who seeks to know what is the will of God. And he will show himself prudent who is sparing of his words on that which he has come to learn. If one inquires about wisdom, desiring to learn something about wisdom, while another asks nothing of wisdom, as not only wishing to learn nothing about wisdom himself, but even keeping back his neighbours from so doing, the former certainly is deemed to be more prudent than the latter.
104 As to the horse-leech. There were three daughters fondly loved by sin-fornication, murder,105 and idolatry. These three did not satisfy her, for she is not to be satisfied. In destroying man by these actions, sin never varies, but only grows continually. For the fourth, he continues, is never content to say “enough,” meaning that it is universal lust. In naming the “fourth,” he intends lust in the universal. For as the body is one, and yet has many members; so also sin, being one, contains within it many various lusts by which it lays its snares for men. Wherefore, in order to teach us this, he uses the examples of Sheol (Hades), and the love of women, and hell106 (Tartarus), and the earth that is not filled with water. And water and fire, indeed, will never say, “It is enough.” And the grave107 (Hades) in no wise ceases to receive the souls of unrighteous men; nor does the love of sin, in the instance of the love of women, cease to be given to fornication, and it becomes the betrayer of the soul. And as Tartarus, which is situated in a doleful and dark locality, is not touched by a ray of light, so is every one who is the slave of sin in all the passions of the flesh Like the earth not filled with water he is never able to come to confession, and to the laver of regeneration, and like water and fire, never says, “It is enough.”
108 For as a serpent cannot mark its track upon a rock, so the devil could not find sin in the body of Christ. For the Lord says, “Behold, the prince of this world cometh, and will find nothing in me.“109 -For as a ship, sailing in the sea, leaves no traces of her way behind her, so neither does the Church, which is situate in the world as in a sea, leave her hope upon the earth, because she has her life reserved in heaven; and as she holds her way here only for a short time, it is not possible to trace out her course.-As the Church does not leave her hope behind in the world, her hope in the incarnation of Christ which bears us all good, she did not leave the track of death in Hades.-Of whom but of Him who is born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin?-who, in renewing the perfect man in the world, works miracles, beginning from the baptism of John, as the Evangelist also testifies: And Jesus was then beginning to be about thirty years of age. This, then, was the youthful and blooming period of the age of Him who, in journeying among the cities and districts, healed the diseases and infirmities of men.
110 “The eye that mocketh at his father, and dishonours the old age of his mother.” That is to say, one that blasphemes God and despises the mother of Christ, the wisdom of God,-his eyes may ravens from the caves tear out, i.e., him may unclean and wicked spirits deprive of the clear eye of gladness; and may the young eagles devour him: and such shall be trodden under the feet of the saints.
111 “There be three things which I cannot understand, and the fourth I know not: the tracks of an eagle flying,” i.e., Christ’s ascension; “and the ways of a serpent upon a rock,” i.e., that the devil did not find a trace of sin in the body of Christ; “and the ways of a ship crossing the sea,” i.e., the ways of the Church, which is in this life as in a sea, and which is directed by her hope in Christ through the cross; “and the ways of a man in youth,“112 -the ways of Him, namely, who is born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin. For behold, says the Scripture, a man whose name is the Rising.113
114 “Such is the way of an adulterous woman, who, when she has done the deed of sin, wipeth herself, and will say that no wickedness has been done.” Such is the conduct of the Church that believes on Christ, when, after committing fornication with idols, she renounces these and the devil, and is cleansed of her sins and receives forgiveness, and then asserts that she has done no wickedness.
115 “By three things the earth is moved,” viz., by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “And the fourth it cannot bear,” viz., the last appearing of Christ. “When a servant reigneth: “Israel was a slave in Egypt, and in the land of promise became a ruler. “And a fool when he is filled with meat: “i.e., getting the land in possession readily, and eating its fruit, and being filled, it (the people) kicked. “And a handmaid when she casts out her mistress: “i.e., the synagogue which took the life of the Lord, and crucified the flesh of Christ.
116 “There be four things which are least upon the earth, and these are wiser than the wise: The ants have no strength, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” And in like manner, the Gentiles by faith in Christ prepare for themselves eternal life through good works. “And the conies,117 a feeble folk, have made their houses in the rocks.” The Gentiles, that is to say, are built upon Christ, the spiritual rock, which is become the head of the corner. “The spider,118 that supports itself upon its hands, and is easily caught, dwells in the strongholds of kings.” That is, the thief with his hands extended (on the cross), rests on the cross of Christ and dwells n Paradise, the stronghold of the three Kings-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
“The locust has no king, and yet marches out in array as by one command.” The Gentiles had no king, for they were ruled by sin; but now, believing God, they engage in the heavenly warfare.
119 “There be three things which go well,120 and the fourth which is comely in going; “that is, the angels in heaven, the saints upon earth, and the souls of the righteous under the earth. And the fourth, viz. God, the Word Incarnate, passed in honour through the Virgin’s womb; and creating our Adam anew, he passed through the gates of heaven, and became the first-fruits of the resurrection and of the ascension for all.
“The whelp of the lion is stronger than the beasts: “i.e., Christ as prophesied of by Jacob in the person of Judah. “A cock walking with high spirit among his dames: “such was Paul, when preaching boldly among the churches the word of the Christ of God. “A goat heading the herd: “such is He who was offered for the sins of the world. “And a king speaking among the people: “so Christ reigns over the nations, and speaks by prophets and apostles the word of truth.
121 That is one confirmed in wickedness.122 The apostle, too, says, “Them that sin, rebuke before all; “123 that is to say, all but reprobate. Who are meant by the “conies,“124 but we ourselves, who once were like hogs, walking in all the filthiness of the world; but now, believing in Christ, we build our houses upon the holy flesh of Christ as upon a rock?
125 The shaking (of the earth) signifies the change of things upon earth.-Sin, then, which in its own nature is a slave, has reigned in the mortal body of men: once, indeed, at the time of the flood; and again in the time of the Sodomites, who, not satisfied with what the land yielded, offered violence to strangers; and a third time in the case of hateful Egypt, which, though it obtained in Joseph a man who distributed food to all, that they might not perish of famine, yet did not take well with his prosperity, but persecuted the children of Israel. “The handmaid casting out her mistress: “i.e., the Church of the Gentiles, which, though itself a slave and a stranger to the promises, cast out the free-born and lordly synagogue, and became the wife and bride of Christ. By Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the whole earth is moved. The “fourth it cannot bear: “for He came first by lawgivers, and secondly by prophets, and thirdly by the Gospel, manifesting Himself openly; and in the fourth instance He shall come as the Judge of the living and the dead, whose glory the whole creation will not be able to endure.
Another Fragment.126 St. Hippolytus127 On Prov. IX. 1, “Wisdom Hath Builded Her House.”
Christ, he means, the wisdom and power of God the Father, hath builded His house, i.e., His nature in the flesh derived from the Virgin, even as he (John) hath said beforetime, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.“128 As likewise the wise prophet129 testifies: Wisdom that was before the world, and is the source of life, the infinite “Wisdom of God, hath builded her house” by a mother who knew no man,
to wit, as He assumed the temple of the body. “And hath raised130 her seven pillars; “that is, the fragrant grace of the all-holy Spirit, as Isaiah says: “And the seven spirits of God shall rest upon Him,“131 But others say that the seven pillars are the seven divine orders which sustain the creation by His holy and inspired teaching; to wit, me prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, the hierarchs, the hermits, the saints, and the righteous. And the phrase, “She hath killed her beasts,” denotes the prophets and martyrs who in every city and country are slain like sheep every day by the unbelieving, in behalf of the truth, and cry aloud, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we were counted as sheep for the slaughter.“132 And again, “She hath mingled her wine” in the bowl, by which is meant, that the Saviour, uniting his Godhead, like pure wine, with the flesh in the Virgin, was born of her at once God and man without confusion of the one in the other. “And she hath furnished her table: “that denotes the promised knowledge of the Holy Trinity; it also refers to His honoured and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper. And again, “She bath sent forth her servants: “Wisdom, that is to say, has done so-Christ, to wit-summoning them with lofty announcement. “Whoso is simple, Let him turn to me,” she says, alluding manifestly to the holy apostles, who traversed the whole world, and called the nations to the knowledge of Him in truth, with their lofty and divine preaching. And again, “And to those that want understanding she said”-that is, to those who have not yet obtained the power of the Holy Ghost“Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled for you; “by which is meant, that He gave His divine flesh and honoured blood to us, to eat and to drink it for the remission of sins.
On the Song of Songs.133
1. Arise, O north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out (Canticles iv. 16). As Joseph was delighted with these spices, he is designated the King’s son by God; as the Virgin Mary was anointed with them, she conceived the Word: then new secrets, and new truth, and a new kingdom, and also great and inexplicable mysteries, are made manifest.
2. And where is all this rich knowledge? and where are these mysteries? and where are the books? For the only ones extant are Proverbs, and Wisdom, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. What then? Does the Scripture speak falsely? God forbid. But the matter of his writings was various, as is shown in the phrase “Song of Songs; “for that indicates that in this one book he digested the contents of the 5, 000 songs.134 In the days moreover of Hezekiah, there were some of the books selected for use, and others set aside. Whence the Scripture says, “These are the mixed135 Proverbs of Solomon, which the friends of Hezekiah the king copied out.“136 And whence did they take them, but out of the books containing the 3, 000 parables and the 5, 000 songs? Out of these, then, the wise friends of Hezekiah took those portions which bore upon the edification of the Church. And the books of Solomon on the “Parables” and “Songs,” in which he wrote of the physiology of plants, and all kinds of animals belonging to the dry land, and the air, and the sea, and of the cures of disease, Hezekiah did away with, because the people looked to these for the remedies for their diseases, and neglected to seek their healing from God.137
On the Prophet Isaiah.138
Hippolytus, (Bishop) of Rome on Hezekiah.139
When Hezekiah, king of Judah, was still sick and weeping, there came an angel, and said to him: “I have seen thy tears, and I have heard thy voice. Behold, I add unto thy time fifteen years. And this shall be a sign to thee from the Lord: Behold, I turn back the shadow of the degrees of the house of thy father, by which the sun has gone down, the ten degrees by which the shadow has gone down,“140 so that day be a day of thirty-two hours. For when the sun had run its course to the tenth hour, it returned again. And again, when Joshua the son of Nun was fighting against the Amorites, when the sun was now inclining to its setting, and the battle was being pressed closely, Joshua, being anxious lest the heathen host should escape on the descent of night, cried out, saying, “Sun, stand thou still in Gibeon; and thou moon, in the valley of Ajalon,“141 until I vanquish this people. And the sun stood still, and the moon, in their places, so that day was one of twenty-four hours. And in the time of Hezekiah the moon also turned back along with the sun, that there might be no collision between the two elemental bodies, by their bearing against each other in defiance of law. And Merodach the Chaldean, king of Babylon, being struck with amazement at that time-for he studied the science of astrology, and measured the courses of these bodies carefully-on learning the cause, sent a letter and gifts to Hezekiah, just as also the wise men from the east did to Christ.
From the Discourse of St. Hippolytus on the beginning of Isaiah.142
Under Egypt he meant the world, and under things made with hands its idolatry, and under the shaking its subversion and dissolution.143 And the Lord, the Word, he represented as upon a light cloud, referring to that most pure tabernacle, in which setting up His throne, our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to shake error.
We find in the commentaries, written by our predecessors, that day had thirty-two hours. For when the sun had run its course, and reached the tenth hour, and the shadow had gone down by the ten degrees in the house of the temple, the sun turned back again by the ten degrees, according to the word of the Lord, and there were thus twenty hours. And again, the sun accomplished its own proper course, according to the common law, and reached its setting. And thus there were thirty-two hours.144
On Jeremiah and Ezekiel.145
What were the dimensions, then, of the temple of Solomon? Its length was sixty cubits, and its breadth twenty. And it was not turned to the east, that the worshippers might not worship the rising sun, but the Lord of the sun. And let no one marvel if, when the Scripture gives the length at forty cubits, I have said sixty. For a little after it mentions the other twenty, in describing the holy of holies, which it also names Dabir. Thus the holy place was forty cubits, and the holy of holies other twenty. And Josephus says that the temple had two storeys,146 and that the whole height was one hundred and twenty cubits. For so also the book of Chronicles indicates, saying, “And Solomon began to build the house of God. In length its first measure was sixty cubits, and its breadth twenty cubits, and its height one hundred and twenty; and he overlaid it within with pure gold.“147
On Daniel. I.
Preface by the most holy Hippolytus, (Bishop) of Rome.148
As I wish to give an accurate account of the times of the captivity of the children of Israel in Babylon, and to discuss the prophecies contained in the visions of the blessed Daniel, (as well as) his manner of life from his boyhood in Babylon, I too shall proceed to bear my testimony to that holy and righteous man, a prophet and witness of Christ, who not only declared the visions of Nebuchadnezzar the king in those times, but also trained youths of like mind with himself, and raised up faithful witnesses in the world. He is horn, then, in the time of the prophetic ministry of the blessed Jeremiah, and in the reign of Jehoiakim or Eliakim. Along with the other captives, he is carried off a prisoner to Babylon. Now there are born to the blessed Josiah these five sons-Jehoahaz, Eliakim, Johanan, Zedekiah, or Jeconiah, and Sadum.149 And on his father’s death, Jehoahaz is anointed as king by the people at the age of twenty-three years. Against him comes up Pharaoh-Necho, in the third month of his reign; and he takes him (Jehoahaz) prisoner, and carries him into Egypt, and imposes tribute on the land to the extent of one hundred talents of silver and ten talents of gold. And in his stead he sets up his brother Eliakim as king over the land, whose name also he changed to Jehoiakim, and who was then eleven years old. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,150 and carries him off prisoner to Babylon, taking with him also some of the vessels of the house in Jerusalem. Thrown into prison as a friend of Pharaoh, and as one set up by him over the kingdom,151 he is released at length in the thirty-seventh year by Evil-Merodach king of Babylon; and he cut his hair short, and was counsellor to him, and ate at his table until the day that he died. On his removal, his son Jehoiakim152 reigns three years.153 And against him came up Nebuchadnezzar, and transports him and ten thousand of the men of his people to Babylon, and sets up in his stead his father’s brother, whose name he changed also to Zedekiah; and after making agreement with him by oath and treaty, he returns to Babylon. This (Zedekiah), after a reign of eleven years, revolted from him and went over to Pharaoh king of Egypt. And in the tenth year Nebuchadnezzar came against him from (he land of the Chaldeans, and surrounded the city with a stockade, and environed it all round, and completely shut it up. In this way the larger number of them perished by famine, and others perished by the sword, and some were taken prisoners, and the city was burned with fire, and the temple and the wall were destroyed. And the army of the Chaldeans seized all the treasure that was found in the house of the Lord, and all the vessels of gold and silver; and all the brass, Nebuzaradan, chief of the slaughterers,154 stripped off, and carried it to Babylon. And the army of the Chaldeans pursued Zedekiah himself as he fled by night along with seven hundred men, and surprised him in Jericho, and brought him to the king of Babylon at Reblatha. And the king pronounced judgment upon him in wrath, because he had violated the oath of the Lord, and the agreement he had made with him; and he slew his sons before his face, and put out Zedekiah’s eyes. And he cast him into chains of iron, and carried him to Babylon; and there he remained grinding at the mill until the day of his death. And when he died, they took his body and cast it behind the wall of Nineveh. In his case is fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah, saying, “(As) I live, saith the Lord, though Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah should become the signet upon my right hand, yet will I pluck thee thence; and I will give thee into the hands of them that seek thy life, of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hands of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into a country where thou wast not born; and there ye shall die. But to the land which they desire in their souls, I will not send thee back. Dishonoured is Jeconias, like an unserviceable vessel, of which there is no use, since he is cast out and expelled into a land which he knew not. O earth, hear the word of the Lord. Write this man, a man excommunicate; for no man of his seed shall prosper (grow up), sitting upon the throne of David, ruling any more in Judah.“155 Thus the captivity in Babylon befell them after the exodus from Egypt. When the whole people, then, was transported, and the city made desolate. and the sanctuary destroyed, that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled which He spake by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “The sanctuary shall be desolate seventy years; “156 then we find that the blessed Daniel prophesied in Babylon, and appeared as the vindicator of Susanna.
The interpretation by Hippolytus, (bishop) of Rome, of the visions of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, taken in conjunction.157
1. In speaking of a “lioness from the sea,“158 he meant the rising of the kingdom of Babylon, and that this was the “golden head of the image.” And in speaking of its “eagle wings,” be meant that king Nebuchadnezzar was exalted and that his glory was lifted up against God. Then he says “its wings were plucked off,” i.e., that his glory was destroyed; for he was driven out of his kingdom. And the words, “A man’s heart was given it, and it was made stand upon the feet of a man,” mean that he came to himself again, and recognised that he was but a man, and gave the glory to God. Then after the lioness he sees a second beast, “like a bear,” which signified the Persians. For after the Babylonians the Persians obtained the power. And in saying that “it had three ribs in its mouth,” he pointed to the three nations, Persians, Medes, and Babylonians, which were expressed in the image by the silver after the gold. Then comes the third beast, “a leopard,” which means the Greeks; for after the Persians, Alexander of Macedon had the power, when Darius was overthrown, which was also indicated by the brass in the image. And in saying that the beast “had four wings of a fowl, and four heads,” he showed most clearly how the kingdom of Alexander was parted into four divisions. For in speaking of four heads, he meant the four kings that arose out of it. For Alexander, when dying, divided his kingdom into four parts. Then he says, “The fourth beast (was) dreadful and terrible: it had iron teeth, and claws of brass.” Who, then, are meant by this but the Romans, whose kingdom, the kingdom that still stands, is expressed by the iron? “for,” says he, “its legs are of iron.”
2. After this, then, what remains, beloved, but the toes of the feet of the image, in which “part shall be of iron and part of clay mixed together? “By the toes of the feet he meant, mystically, the ten kings that rise out of that kingdom. As Daniel says, “I considered the beast; and, lo, (there were) ten horns behind, among which shall come up another little horn springing from them; “by which none other is meant than the antichrist that is to rise; and he shall set up the kingdom of Judah. And in saying that “three horns” were “plucked up by the roots” by this one, he indicates the three kings of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, whom this one will slay in the array of war. And when he has conquered all, he will prove himself a terrible and savage tyrant, and will cause tribulation and persecution to the saints, exalting himself against them. And after him, it remains that “the stone” shall come from heaven which “smote the image” and shivered it, and subverted all the kingdoms, and gave the kingdom to the saints of the Most High. This “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
3. As these things, then, are destined to come to pass, and as the toes of the image turn out to be democracies,159 and the ten horns of the beast are distributed among ten kings, let us look at what is before us more carefully, and scan it, as it were, with open eye. The “golden head of the image” is identical with the “lioness,” by which the Babylonians were represented. “The golden shoulders and the arms of silver” are the same with the “bear,” by which the Persians and Medes are meant. “The belly and thighs of brass” are the “leopard,” by which the Greeks who ruled from Alexander onwards are intended. The “legs of iron” are the “dreadful and terrible beast,” by which the Romans who hold the empire now are meant. The “toes of clay and iron” are the “ten horns” which are to be. The “one other little horn springing up in their midst” is the “antichrist.” The stone that “smites the image and breaks it in pieces,” and that filled the whole earth, is Christ, who comes from heaven and brings judgment on the world.
4. But that we may not leave our subject at this point undemonstrated, we are obliged to discuss the matter of the times, of which a man should not speak hastily, because they are a light to him. For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6, 000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.“160 For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.“161 Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6, 000 years must be fulfilled. And they are not yet fulfilled, as John says: “five are fallen; one is,” that is, the sixth; “the other is not yet come.“162
5. In mentioning the “other,” moreover, he specifies the seventh, in which there is rest. But some one may be ready to say, How will you prove to me that the Saviour was born in the year 5500? Learn that easily, O man; for the things that took place of old in the wilderness, under Moses, in the case of the tabernacle, were constituted types and emblems of spiritual mysteries, in order that, when the truth came in Christ in these last days, you might be able to perceive that these things were fulfilled. For He says to him, “And thou shalt make the ark of imperishable wood, and shalt overlay it with pure gold within and without; and thou shalt make the length of it two cubits and a half, and the breadth thereof one cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half the height; “163 which measures, when summed up together, make five cubits and a half, so that the 5500 years might be signified thereby.
6. At that time, then, the Saviour appeared and showed His own body to the world, (born) of the Virgin, who was the “ark overlaid with pure gold,” with the Word within and the Holy Spirit without; so that the truth is demonstrated, and the “ark” made manifest. From the birth of Christ, then, we must reckon the 500 years that remain to make up the 6000, and thus the end shall be. And that the Saviour appeared in the world, bearing the imperishable ark, His own body, at a time which was the fifth and half, John declares: “Now it was the sixth hour,“164 he says, intimating by that, one-half of the day. But a day with the Lord is 10000 years; and the half of that, therefore, is 500 years. For it was not meet that He should appear earlier, for the burden of the law still endured, nor yet when the sixth day was fulfilled (for the baptism is changed), but on the fifth and half, in order that in the remaining half time the gospel might be preached to the whole world, and that when the sixth day was completed He might end the present life.
7. Since, then, the Persians held the mastery for 330 years,165 and after them the Greeks, who were yet more glorious, held it for 300 years, of necessity the fourth beast, as being strong and mightier than all that were before it, will reign 500 years. When the times are fulfilled, and the ten horns spring from the beast in the last (times), then Antichrist will appear among them. When he makes war against the saints, and persecutes them, then may we expect the manifestation of the Lord from heaven.
8. The prophet having thus instructed us with all exactness as to the certainty of the things that are to be, broke off from his present subject, and passed again to the kingdom of the Persians and Greeks, recounting to us another vision which took place, and was fulfilled in its proper time; in order that, by establishing our belief in this, he might be able to present us to God as readier believers in the things that are to be. Accordingly, what he had narrated in the first vision, he again recounts in detail for the edification of the faithful. For by the “ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward,” he means Darius, the king of the Persians, who overcame all the nations; “for,” says he, “these beasts shall not stand before him.” And by the “he-goat that came from the west,” he means Alexander the Macedonian, the king of the Greeks; and in that he “came against that very ram, and was moved with choler, and smote him upon the face, and shivered him, and cast him upon the ground, and stamped upon him,” this expresses just what has happened.
9. For Alexander waged war against Darius, and overcame him, and made himself master of the whole sovereignty, after routing and destroying his camp. Then, after the exaltation of the he-goat, his horn-the great one, namely-was broken; and there arose four horns under it, toward the four winds of heaven. For, when Alexander had made himself master of all the land of Persia, and had reduced its people into subjection, he thereupon died, after dividing his kingdom into four principalities, as has been shown above. And from that time “one horn was exalted, and waxed great, even to the power of heaven; and by him the sacrifice,” he says, “was disturbed, and righteousness cast down to the ground.”
10. For Antiochus arose, surnamed Epiphanes, who was of the line of Alexander. And after he had reigned in Syria, and brought under him all Egypt, he went up to Jerusalem, and entered the sanctuary, and seized all the treasures in the house of the Lord, and the golden candlestick, and the table, and the altar, and made a great slaughter in the land; even as it is written: “And the sanctuary shall be trodden under foot, unto evening and unto morning, a thousand and three hundred days.” For it happened that the sanctuary remained desolate during that period, three years and a half, that the thousand and three hundred days might be fulfilled; until Judas Maccabaeus arose after the death of his father Matthias, and withstood him, and destroyed the encampment of Antiochus, and delivered the city, and recovered the sanctuary, and restored it in strict accordance with the law.
11. Since, then, the angel Gabriel also recounted these things to the prophet, as they have been understood by us, as they have also taken place, and as they have been all clearly described in the books of the Maccabees, let us see further what he says on the other weeks. For when he read the book of Jeremiah the prophet, in which it was written that the sanctuary would be desolate seventy years, he made confession with fastings and supplications, and prayed that the people might return sooner from their captivity to the city Jerusalem. Thus, then, he speaks in his account: “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was king over the realm of the Chaldeans, I Daniel understood in the books the number of the years, as the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishment of the desolation of Jerusalem in seventy years,” etc.
12. After his confession and supplication, the angel says to him, “Thou art a man166 greatly beloved: “for thou desirest to see things of which thou shalt be informed by me; and in their own time these things will be fulfilled; and he touched me, saying, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city, to seal up sins and to blot out transgressions, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Most Holy; and thou shalt know and understand, that from the going forth of words for the answer, and for the building of Jerusalem, unto Christ the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.”
13. Having mentioned therefore seventy weeks, and having divided them into two parts, in order that what was spoken by him to the prophet might be better understood, he proceeds thus, “Unto Christ the Prince shall be seven weeks,” which make forty-nine years. It was in the twenty-first year that Daniel saw these things in Babylon. Hence, the forty-nine years added to the twenty-one, make up the seventy years, of which the blessed Jeremiah spake: “The sanctuary shall be desolate seventy years from the captivity that befell them under Nebuchadnezzar; and after these things the people will return, and sacrifice and offering will be presented, when Christ is their Prince.“167
14. Now of what Christ does he speak, but of Jesus the son of Josedech, who returned at that time along with the people, and offered sacrifice according to the law, in the seventieth year, when the sanctuary was built? For all the kings and priests were styled Christs, because they were anointed with the holy oil, which Moses of old prepared. These, then, bore the name of the Lord in their own persons, showing aforetime the type, and presenting the image until the perfect King and Priest appeared from heaven, who alone did the will of the Father; as also it is written in Kings: “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do all things according to my heart.“168
15. In order, then, to show the time when He is to come whom the blessed Daniel desired to see, he says, “And after seven weeks there are other threescore and two weeks,” which period embraces the space of 434 years. For after the return of the people from Babylon under the leadership of Jesus the son of Josedech, and Ezra the scribe, and Zerubbabel the son of Salathiel, of the tribe of David, there were 434 years unto the coming of Christ, in order that the Priest of priests might be manifested in the world, and that He who taketh away the sins of the world might be evidently set forth, as John speaks concerning Him: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!“169 And in like manner Gabriel says: “To blot out transgressions, and make reconciliation for sins.” But who has blotted out our transgressions? Paul the apostle teaches us, saying, “He is our peace who made both one; “170 and then, “Blotting out the handwriting of sins that was against us.“171
16. That transgressions, therefore, are blotted out, and that reconciliation is made for sins, is shown by this. But who are they who have reconciliation made for their sins, but they who believe on His name, and propitiate His countenance by good works? And that after the return of the people from Babylon there was a space of 434 years, until the time of the birth of Christ, may be easily understood. For, since the first covenant was given to the children of Israel after a period of 434 years, it follows that the second covenant also should be defined by the same space of time, in order that it might be expected by the people and easily recognised by the faithful.
17. And for this reason Gabriel says: “And to anoint the Most Holy.” And the Most Holy is none else but the Son of God alone, who, when He came and manifested Himself, said to them, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me; “172 and so forth. Whosoever, therefore, believed on the heavenly Priest, were cleansed by that same Priest, and their sins were blotted out. And whosoever believe it not on Him, despising Him as a man, had their sins sealed, as those which could not be taken away; whence the angel, foreseeing that not all should believe on Him, said, “To finish sins, and to seal up sins.” For as many as continued to disbelieve Him, even to the end, had their sins not finished, but sealed to be kept for judgment. But as many as will believe on Him as One able to remit sins, have their sins blotted out. Wherefore he says: “And to seal up vision and prophet.”
18. For when He came who is the fulfilling of the law and of the prophets (for the law and the prophets were till John), it was necessary that the things spoken by them should be confirmed (sealed), in order that at the coming of the Lord all things loosed should be brought to light, and that things bound of old should now be loosed by Him, as the Lord said Himself to the rulers of the people, when they were indignant at the cure on the Sabbath-day: “Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? and ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound these eighteen years, be loosed on the Sabbath-day? “173 Whomsoever, therefore, Satan bound in chains, these did the Lord on His coming loose from the bonds of death, having bound our strong adversary and delivered humanity. As also Isaiah says: “Then will He say to those in chains, Go forth; and to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.“174
19. And that the things spoken of old by the law and the prophets were all sealed, and that they were unknown to men, Isaiah declares when he says: “And they will deliver the book that is sealed to one that is learned, and will say to him, Read this; and he will say, I cannot read it, for it is sealed.“175 It was meet and necessary that the things spoken of old by the prophets should be sealed to the unbelieving Pharisees, who thought that they understood the letter of the law, and be opened to the believing. The things, therefore, which of old were sealed, are now by the grace of God the Lord all open to the saints.
20. For He was Himself the perfect Seal, and the Church is the key: “He who openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth,“176 as John says. And again, the same says: “And I saw, on the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals; and I saw an angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? “and so forth. “And I beheld in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, a Lamb standing slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having harps and golden vials full of incense, which is the prayers of the saints. And they sing a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood.“177 He took the book, therefore, and loosed it, in order that the things spoken concerning Him of old in secret, might now be proclaimed with boldness upon the house-tops.178
21. For this reason, then, the angel says to Daniel, “Seal the words, for the vision is until the end of the time.” But to Christ it was not said “seal,” but “loose” the things bound of old; in order that, by His grace, we might know the will of the Father, and believe upon Him whom He has sent for the salvation of men, Jesus our Lord. He says, therefore, “They shall return, and the street shall be built, and the wall; “which in reality took place. For the people returned and built the city, and the temple, and the wall round about. Then he says: “After threescore and two weeks the times will be fulfilled, and one week will make a covenant with many; and in the midst (half) of the week sacrifice and oblation will be removed, and in the temple will be the abomination of desolations.”
22. For when the threescore and two weeks are fulfilled, and Christ is come, and the Gospel is preached in every place, the times being then accomplished, there will remain only one week, the last, in which Elias will appear, and Enoch, and in the midst of it the abomination of desolation will be manifested,179 viz., Antichrist, announcing desolation to the world. And when he comes, the sacrifice and oblation will be removed, which now are offered to God in every place by the nations. These things being thus recounted, the prophet again describes another vision to us. For he had no other care save to be accurately instructed in all things that are to be, and to prove himself an instructor in such.
23. He says then: “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a word was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was Belshazzar; and the word was true, and great power and understanding were given him in the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three weeks of days. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine into my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three weeks of days were fulfilled. On the fourth day of the first month I humbled myself,” says he, “one and twenty days,” praying to the living God, and asking of Him the revelation of the mystery. And the Father in truth heard me, and sent His own Word, to show what should happen by Him. And that took place, indeed, by the great river. For it was meet that the Son should be manifested there, where also He was to remove sins.
24. “And I lifted up mine eyes,” he says, “and, behold, a man clothed in linen.“180 In the first vision he says, “Behold, the angel Gabriel (was) sent.” Here, however, it is not so; but he sees the Lord, not yet indeed as perfect man, but with the appearance and form of man, as he says: “And, behold, a man clothed in linen.” For in being clothed in a various-coloured coat, he indicated mystically181 the variety of the graces of our calling. For the priestly coat was made up of different colours, as various nations waited for Christ’s coming, in order that we might be made up (as one body) of many colours. “And his loins were girded with the gold of Ophaz.”
25. Now the word “Ophaz,” which is a word transferred from Hebrew to Greek, denotes pure gold. With a pure girdle, therefore, he was girded round the loins. For the Word was to bear us all, binding us like a girdle round His body, in His own love. The complete body was His,182 but we are members in His body, united together, and sustained by the Word Himself. “And his body was like Tharses.“183 Now “Tharses,” by interpretation, is “Ethiopians.” For that it would be difficult to recognise Him, the prophet had thus already announced beforehand, intimating that He would be manifested in the flesh in the world, but that many would find it difficult to recognise Him. “And his face as lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire; “for it was meet that the fiery and judicial power of the Word should be signified aforetime, in the exercise of which He will cause the fire (of His judgment) to light with justice upon the impious, and consume them.
26. He added also these words: “And his arms and his feet like polished brass; “to denote the first calling of men, and the second calling like unto it, viz. of the Gentiles.184 “For the last shall be as the first; for I will set thy rulers as at the beginning, and thy leaders as before. And His voice was as the voice of a great multitude.“185 For all we who believe on Him in these days utter things oracular, as speaking by His mouth the things appointed by Him.
27. And after a little He says to him: “Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia. But I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things but Michael your prince, and I left him there. For from the day that thou didst give thy countenance to be afflicted before the Lord thy God, thy prayer was heard, and I was sent to fight with the prince of Persia: “for a certain counsel was formed not to send the people away: “that therefore thy prayer might be speedily granted, I withstood him, and left Michael there.”
28. And who was he that spake, but the angel who was given to the people, as he says in the law of Moses: “I will not go with you, because the people is stiff-necked; but my angel shall go before along with you? “186 This (angel) withstood Moses at the inn, when he was bringing the child uncircumcised into Egypt. For it was not allowed Moses, who was the eider (or legate) and mediator of the law, and who proclaimed the covenant of the fathers, to introduce a child uncircumcised, lest he should be deemed a false prophet and deceiver by the people. “And now,” says he, “will I show the truth to thee.” Could the Truth have shown anything else but the truth?
29. He says therefore to him: “Behold, there shall stand up three kings in Persia: and the fourth shall be far richer than they all; and when he has got possession of his riches, he shall stand up against all the realms of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, and shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will; and when his kingdom stands, it shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven.” These things we have already discussed above, when we discoursed upon the four beasts. But since Scripture now again sets them forth explicitly, we must also discourse upon them a second time, that we may not leave Scripture unused and unexplained.
30. “There shall stand up yet three kings,” he says, “in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all.” This has been fulfilled. For after Cyrus arose Darius, and then Artaxerxes. These were the three kings; (and) the Scripture is fulfilled. “And the fourth shall be far richer than they all.” Who is that but Darius, who reigned and made himself glorious,-who was rich, and assailed all the realms of Greece? Against him rose Alexander of Macedon, who destroyed his kingdom; and after he had reduced the Persians, his own kingdom was divided toward the four winds of heaven. For Alexander at his death divided his kingdom into four principalities. “And a king shall stand up, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of Egypt.”
31. For Antiochus became king of Syria. He held the sovereignty in the 107th year of the kingdom of the Greeks. And in those same times indeed he made war against Ptolemy king of Egypt, and conquered him, and won the power. On returning from Egypt he went up to Jerusalem, in the 103d year, and carrying off with him all the treasures of the Lord’s house, he marched to Antioch. And after two years of days the king sent his raiser of taxes187 into the cities of Judea, to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their fathers, and submit to the decrees of the king. And he came, and tried to compel them, saying, “Come forth, and do the commandment of the king, and ye shall live.”
32. But they said, “We will not come forth: neither will we do the king’s commandment; we will die in our innocency: and he slew of them a thousand souls.“188 The things, therefore, which were spoken to the blessed Daniel are fulfilled: “And my servants shall be afflicted, and shall fall by famine, and by sword, and by captivity.“189 Daniel, however, adds: “And they shall be holpen with a little help.” For at that time Matthias arose, and Judas Maccabaeus, and helped them, and delivered them from the hand of the Greeks.
33. That therefore was fulfilled which was spoken in the Scripture. He proceeds then thus: “And the (king’s) daughter of the South shall come to the king of the North to make an agreement with him; and the arms of him that bringeth her shall not stand; and she, too, shall be smitten, and shall fall, and he that bringeth her.” For this was a certain Ptolemais190 queen of Egypt. At that time indeed she went forth with her two sons, Ptolemy and Philometor, to make an agreement with Antiochus king of Syria; and when she came to Scythopolis, she was slain there. For he who brought her betrayed her. At that same time, the two brothers made war against each other, and Philometor was slain, and Ptolemy gained the power.
34. War, then, was again made by Ptolemy against Antiochus, (and) Antiochus met him. For thus saith the Scripture: “And the king of the South shall stand up against the king of the North, and her seed shall stand up against him.” And what seed but Ptolemy, who made war with Antiochus? And Antiochus having gone forth against him, and having failed to overcome him, had to flee, and returned to Antioch, and collected a larger host. Ptolemy accordingly took his whole equipment, and carried it into Egypt. And the Scripture is fulfilled, as Daniel says: And he shall carry off into Egypt their gods, and their cast-works, and all their precious (vessels of) gold.
35. And after these things Antiochus went forth a second time to make war against him, and overcome Ptolemy. And after these events Antiochus commenced hostilities again against the children of Israel, and despatched one Nicanor with a large army to subdue the Jews, at the time when Judas, after the death of Matthias, ruled the people; and so forth, as is written in the Maccabees. These events having taken place, the Scripture says again: “And there shall stand up another king, and he shall prevail upon the earth; and the king of the South shall stand up, and he shall obtain his daughter to wife.”
36. For it happened that there arose a certain Alexander,191 son of Philip. He withstood Antiochus192 at that time, and made war upon him, and cut him off, and gained possession of the kingdom. Then he sent to Ptolemy king of Egypt, saying, Give me thy daughter Cleopatra to wife. And he gave her to Alexander to wife. And thus the Scripture is fulfilled, when it says: “And he shall obtain his daughter to wife.” And it says further: “And he shall corrupt her, and she shall not be his wife.” This also has been truly fulfilled. For after Ptolemy had given him his daughter, he returned, and saw the mighty and glorious kingdom of Alexander. And coveting its possession, he spoke falsely to Alexander, as the Scripture says: “And the two kings shall speak lies at (one) table.” And, in sooth, Ptolemy betook himself to Egypt, and collected a great army, and attacked the city at the time when Alexander had marched into Cilicia.
37. Ptolemy then invaded the country, and established garrisons throughout the cities; and on making himself master of Judea, set out for his daughter, and sent letters to Demetrius in the islands, saying, Come and meet me here, and I will give thee my daughter Cleopatra to wife, for Alexander has sought to kill me. Demetrius came accordingly, and Ptolemy received him, and gave him her who had been destined for Alexander. Thus is fulfilled that which is written: “And he shall corrupt her, and she shall not be his wife.” Alexander was slain. Then Ptolemy wore two crowns, that of Syria and that of Egypt, and died the third day after he had assumed them. Thus is fulfilled that which is written in Scripture: “And they shall not give him the glory of the kingdom.” For he died, and received not honour from all as king.
38. The prophet then, after thus recounting the things which have taken place already, and been fulfilled in their times, declares yet another mystery to us, while he points out the last times. For he says: “And there shall rise up another shameless king; and he shall exalt himself above every god, and shall magnify himself, and shall speak marvellous things, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; “anti so forth. “And these shall escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the chief (or principality) of the children of Ammon. And he shall stretch forth his hand upon the land; and the land of Egypt shall not escape. And he shall have power over the secret treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt and of the Libyans, and the Ethiopians in their strongholds.”
39. Thus, then, does the prophet set forth these things concerning the Antichrist, who shall be shameless, a war-maker, and despot, who, exalting himself above all kings and above every god, shall build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary. Him the impious will worship as God, and will bend to him the knee, thinking him to be the Christ. He shall cut off the two witnesses and forerunners of Christ, who proclaim His glorious kingdom from heaven, as it is said: “And I will give (power) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.“193 As also it was announced to Daniel: “And one week shall confirm a covenant with many; and in the midst of the week it shall be that the sacrifice and oblation shall be removed”-that the one week might be shown to be divided into two. The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during the test of the week, and desolate the world, that what is written may be fulfilled: “And they shall make the abomination of desolation for a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
40. Daniel has spoken, therefore, of two abominations; the one of destruction, and the other of desolation. What is that of destruction, but that which Antiochus established there at the time? And what is that of desolation, but that which shall be universal when Antichrist comes? “And there shall escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” For these are they who ally themselves with him on account of their kinship, and first address him as king. Those of Edom are the sons of Esau, who inhabit Mount Seir. And Moab and Ammon are they who are descended from his two daughters, as Isaiah also says: “And they shall fly (extend themselves) in the ships of strangers, and they shall also plunder the sea; and those from the east, and from the west, and the north, shall give them honour: and the children of Ammon shall first obey them.“194 He shall be proclaimed king by them, and shall be magnified by all, and shall prove himself an abomination of desolation to the world, and shall reign for a thousand two hundred and ninety days. “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days; “for when the abomination cometh and makes war upon the saints, whosoever shall survive his days, and reach the forty-five days, while the other period of fifty days advances, to him the kingdom of heaven comes. Antichrist, indeed, enters even into part of the fifty days, but the saints shall inherit the kingdom along with Christ.
41. These things being thus narrated, Daniel proceeds: “And, behold, there stood two men, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side; and they made answer to the man that stood upon the bank of the river, and said to him, How long shall it be to the end of these wonderful words which thou hast spoken? And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was upon the water of the river; and he lifted up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and they shall know all these things when the dispersion is accomplished,”
42. Who, then, were the two men who stood on the bank of the river, but the law and the prophets? And who was he who stood upon the water, but He concerning whom they prophesied of old, who in the last times was to be borne witness to by the Father at the Jordan, and to be declared to the people boldly by John, “who wore the casty195 of the scribe about his loins, and was clothed with a linen coat of various colours? “These, therefore, interrogate Him, knowing that to Him were given all government and power, in order to learn accurately of Him when He will bring the judgment on the world, and when the things spoken by Him will be fulfilled. And He, desiring by all means to convince them, lifted His right hand and His left hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever. Who is He that swore, and by whom sware He? Manifestly the Son by the Father, saying, The Father liveth for ever, but in a time, and times, and an half, when the dispersion is accomplished, they shall know all these things.
43. By the stretching forth of His two hands He signified His passion; and by mentioning “a time, and times, and an half, when the dispersion is accomplished,” He indicated the three years and a half of Antichrist. For by “a time” He means a year, and by “times” two years, and by an “half time” half a year. These are the thousand two hundred and ninety days of which Daniel prophesied for the finishing of the passion, and the accomplishment of the dispersion when Antichrist comes. In those days they shall know all these things. And from the time of the removal of the continuous sacrifice there are also reckoned one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Then) iniquity shall abound, as the Lord also says: “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.“196
44. And that divisions will arise when the falling away takes place, is without doubt. And when divisions arise, love is chilled. The words, “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days,” have also their value, as the Lord said: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Wherefore let us by no means admit the falling away, lest iniquity abound, and the abomination of desolation-that is, the adversary-overtake us. And He said to him, “unto evening”-that is, unto the consummation” and morning.” What is “morning? “The day of resurrection. For that is the beginning of another age, as the morning is the beginning of the day. And the thousand and four hundred days are the light of the world. For on the appearing of the light in the world (as He says, “I am the light of the world”), the sanctuary shall be purged, as he said,197 (of) the adversary. For it cannot by any means be purged but by his destruction.
Scholia on Daniel.198
Chap. I. 1. “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim.” The Scripture narrates these things, with the purpose of intimating the second captivity of the people, when Jehoiakim and the three youths with him, together with Daniel, were taken captive and carried off.
2. “And the Lord gave,” etc. These words, “and the Lord gave,” are written, that no one, in reading the introduction to the book, may attribute their capture to the strength of the captors and the slackness of their chief. And it is well said. “with part,” for the deportation was for the correction, not the ruin, of the whole nation, that there might be no misapplication of the cause.
8. “And Daniel purposed in his heart.” Oh, blessed are they who thus kept the covenant of the fathers, and transgressed not the law given by Moses, but feared the God proclaimed by him. These, though captives in a strange land, were not seduced by delicate meats, nor were they slaves to the pleasures of wine, nor were they caught by the bait of princely glory. But they kept their mouth holy and pure, that pure speech might proceed from pure mouths, and praise with such (mouths) the heavenly Father.
12. “Prove now thy servants.” They teach that it is not earthly meats that give to men their beauty and strength, but the grace of God bestowed by the Word. “And after a little.” Thou hast seen the incorruptible faith of the youths, and the unalterable fear of God. They asked an interval of ten days, to prove therein that man cannot otherwise find grace with God than by believing the word preached by the Lord.
19. “And among them all, was found none like Daniel.” These men, who were proved faithful witnesses in Babylon, were led by the Word in all wisdom, that by their means the idols of the Babylonians should be put to shame, and that Nebuchadnezzar should be overcome by three youths, and that by their faith the fire in the furnace should be kept at bay, and the desire of the wicked elders (or chiefs) proved vain.
Chap. II. 3. “I have dreamed a dream.” The dream, then, which was seen by the king was not an earthly dream, so that it might be interpreted by the wise of the world; but it was a heavenly dream, fulfilled in its proper times, according to the counsel and foreknowledge of God. And for this reason it was kept secret from men who think of earthly things, that to those who seek after heavenly things heavenly mysteries might be revealed. And, indeed, there was a similar case in Egypt in the time of Pharaoh and Joseph.
5. “The thing is gone from me.” For this purpose was the vision concealed from the king, that he who was chosen of God., viz., Daniel, might be shown to be a prophet. For when things concealed from some are revealed by an other, he who tells them is of necessity shown to be a prophet.
10. “And they say, There is not a man.” Whereas, therefore, they declared it to be impossible that what was asked by the king should be told by man; God showed them, that what is impossible with man is possible with God.
14. “Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard” (literally, “the chief slaughterer or cook”). For as the cook slays all animals and cooks them, of a similar nature was his occupation. And the rulers of the world slay men, butchering them like brute beasts.
23. “Because Thou hast given me wisdom and might.” We ought therefore to mark the goodness of God, how He straightway reveals and shows (Himself) to the worthy, and to those that fear Him, fulfilling their prayers and supplications, as the prophet says: “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? and prudent, and he shall know them? “199
27. “Cannot the wise men, the magicians.” He instructs the king not to seek an explanation of heavenly mysteries from earthly men, for they shall be accomplished in their due time by God.
29. “As for thee, O king, thy thoughts.” For the king, on making himself master of the land of Egypt, and getting hold of the country of Judea, and carrying off the people, thought upon his bed what should be after these things; and He who knows the secrets of all, and searcheth the thoughts of the hearts, revealed to him by means of the image the things that were to be. And He hid from him the vision, in order that the counsels of God might not be interpreted by the wise men of Babylon, but that by the blessed Daniel, as a prophet of God, things kept secret from all might be made manifest.
31. “Behold a great image.” How, then, should we not mark the things prophesied of old in Babylon by Daniel, and now yet in the course of fulfilment in the world? For the image shown at that time to Nebuchadnezzar furnished a type of the whole world. In these times the Babylonians were sovereign over all, and these were the golden head of the image. And then, after them, the Persians held the supremacy for 245 years, and they were represented by the silver. Then the Greeks had the supremacy, beginning with Alexander of Macedon, for 300 years, so that they were the brass. After them came the Romans, who were the iron legs of the image, for they were strong as iron. Then (we have) the toes of clay and iron, to signify the democracies that were subsequently to rise, partitioned among the ten toes of the image, in which shall be iron mixed with clay.
31. “Thou sawest,” etc. Apollinaris on this: He looked, and behold, as it were, an image. For it did not appear to him as an actual object, presented to the view of an onlooker, but as an image or semblance. And while it contains in it many things together, that is in such a way that it is not really one, but manifold. For it comprised a summary of all kingdoms; and its exceeding splendour was on account of the glory of the kings, and its terrible appearance on account of their power. Eusebius Pumphili, and Hippolytus the most holy bishop of Rome, compare the dream of Nebuchadnezzar now in question with the vision of the prophet Daniel. Since these have given a different interpretation of this vision now before us in their expositions, I deemed it necessary to transcribe what is said by Eusebius of Caesarea, who bears the surname Pamphili, in the 15th book of his Gospel Demonstration;200 for he expounds the whole vision in these terms: “I think that this (i.e., the vision of Nebuchadnezzar) differs in nothing from the vision of the prophet. For as the prophet saw a great sea, so the king saw a great image. And again, as the prophet saw four beasts, which he interpreted as four kingdoms, so the king was given to understand four kingdoms under the gold, and silver, and brass, and iron. And again, as the prophet saw the division of the ten horns of the last beast, and three horns broken by one; so the king, in like manner, saw in the extremities of the image one part iron and another clay. And besides this, as the prophet, after the vision of the four kingdoms, saw the Son of man receive dominion, and power, and a kingdom; so also the king thought he saw a stone smite the whole image, and become a great mountain and fill the sea. And rightly so. For it was quite consistent in the king, whose view of the spectacle of life was so false, and who admired the beauty of the mere sensible colours, so to speak, in the picture set up to view, to liken the life of all men to a great image; but (it became) the prophet to compare the great and mighty tumult of life to a mighty sea. And it was fitting that the king, who prized the substances deemed precious among men, gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, should liken to these substances the kingdoms that held the sovereignty at different times in the life of men; but that the prophet should describe these same kingdoms under the likeness of beasts, in accordance with the manner of their rule. And again, the king-who was puffed up, as it seems, in his own conceit, and plumed himself on the power of his ancestors-is shown the vicissitude to which affairs are subject, and the end destined for all the kingdoms of earth, with the view of teaching him to lay aside his pride in himself, and understand that there is nothing stable among men, but only that which is the appointed end of all things-the kingdom of God. For after the first kingdom of the Assyrians, which was denoted by the gold, there will be the second kingdom of the Persians, expressed by the silver; and then the third kingdom of the Macedonians, signified by the brass; and after it, the fourth kingdom of the Romans will succeed, more powerful than those that went before it; for which reason also it was likened to iron. For of it is said: “And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron; as iron breaketh and subdueth all things, so shall it break and subdue all things.” And after all these kingdoms which have been mentioned, the kingdom of God is represented by the stone that breaks the whole image. And the prophet, in conformity with this, does not see the kingdom which comes at the end of all these things, until he has in order described the four dominions mentioned under the four beasts. And I think that the visions shown, both to the king and to the prophet, were visions of these four kingdoms alone, and of none others, because by these the nation of the Jews was held in bondage from the times of the prophet.”
33. “His feet,” etc. Hippolytus: In the vision of the prophet, the ten horns are the things that are yet to be.
34. “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut.” Thou sawest, as it were, a stone cut without hands, and smiting the image upon its feet. For the human kingdom was decisively separated from the divine; with reference to which it is written, “as it were cut.” The stroke, however, smites the extremities, and in these it broke all dominion that is upon earth.
45. “And the dream is certain,” That no one, therefore, may have any doubt whether the things announced shall turn out so or not, the prophet has confirmed them with the words, “And the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure; “I have not erred in the interpretation of the vision.
46. “Then king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face.” Nebuchadnezzar hearing these things, and being put in remembrance of his vision, knew that what was spoken by Daniel was true. How great is the power of the grace of God, beloved, that one who a little before was doomed to death with the other wise men of Babylon, should now be worshipped by the king, not as man, but as God! “He commanded that they should offer manaa“201 (i.e., in Chaldee, “oblation”) “and sweet odours unto him.” Of old, too, the Lord made a similar announcement to Moses, saying, “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh; “202 in order that, on account of the signs wrought by him in the land of Egypt, Moses might no longer be reckoned a man, but be worshipped as a god by the Egyptians.
48. “Then the king made Daniel a great man.” For as he had humbled himself, and presented himself as the least among all men, God made him great, and the king established him as ruler over the whole land of Babylon. Just as also Pharaoh did to Joseph, appointing him then to be ruler over the whole laud of Egypt.
49. “And Daniel requested,” etc. For as they had united with Daniel in prayer to God that the vision might be revealed to him, so Daniel, when he obtained great honour from the king, made mention of them, explaining to the king what had been done by them, in order that they also should be deemed worthy of some honour as fellow-seers and worshippers of God. For when they asked heavenly things from the Lord, they received also earthly things from the king.
Chap. III. 1. “In the eighteenth year,” etc. (These words are wanting in the Vulgate, etc.) A considerable space of time having elapsed, therefore, and the eighteenth year being now in its course, the king, calling to mind his vision, “made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits.” For as the blessed Daniel, in interpreting the vision, had answered the king, saying, “Thou art this head of gold in the image,” the king, being puffed up with this address, and elated in heart, made a copy of this image, in order that he might be worshipped by all as God.
7. “All the people fell.” Some (did so) because they feared the king himself; but all (or “most”), because they were idolaters, obeyed the word commanded by the king.
16. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered,” etc. These three youths are become an example to all faithful men, inasmuch as they did not fear the crowd of satraps, neither did they tremble when they heard the king’s words, nor did they shrink when they saw the flame of the blazing furnace, but deemed all men and the whole world as nought, and kept the fear of God alone before their eyes. Daniel, though he stood at a distance and kept silence, encouraged them to be of good cheer as he smiled to them. And be rejoiced also himself at the witness they bore, understanding, as he did, that the three youths would receive a crown in triumph over the devil.
19. “And commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more.” He bids the vast furnace be heated one seven times more, as if he were already overcome by them. In earthly things, then, the king was superior; but in faith toward God the three youths were superior. Tell me, Nebuchadnezzar, with what purpose you order them to be cast into the fire bound? Is it lest they might escape, if they should have their feet unbound, and thus be able to extinguish the fire? But thou doest not these things of thyself, but there is another who worketh these things by thy means.
47.203 “And the flame streamed forth.” The fire, he means, was driven from within by the angel, and burst forth outwardly. See how even the fire appears intelligent, as if it recognised and punished the guilty. For it did not touch the servants of God, but it consumed the unbelieving and impious Chaldeans. Those who were within were besprinkled with a (cooling) dew by the angel, while those who thought they stood in safety outside the furnace were destroyed by the fire. The men who cast in the youths were burned by the flame, which caught them on all sides, as I suppose, when they went to bind the youths.
92 (i.e., 25). “And the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Tell me, Nebuchadnezzar, when didst thou see the Son of God, that thou shouldst confess that this is the Son of God? And who pricked thy heart, that thou shouldst utter such a word? And with what eyes wert thou able to look into this light? And why was this manifested to thee alone, and to none of the satraps about thee? But, as it is written, “The heart of a king is in the hand of God: “the hand of God is here, whereby the Word pricked his heart, so that he might recognise Him in the furnace, and glorify Him. And this idea of ours is not without good ground. For as the children of Israel were destined to see God in the world, and yet not to believe on Him, the Scripture showed beforehand that the Gentiles would recognise Him incarnate, whom, while not incarnate, Nebuchadnezzar saw and recognised of old in the furnace, and acknowledged to be the Son of God.
93 (i.e., 26). “And he said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” The three youths he thus called by name. But he found no name by which to call the fourth. For He was not yet that Jesus born of the Virgin.
97 (i.e., 30). “Then the king promoted,” etc. For as they honoured God by giving themselves up to death, so, too, they were themselves honoured not only by God, but also by the king. And they taught strange and foreign nations also to worship God.
Chap. VII. 1. “And he wrote the dream.” The things, therefore, which were revealed to the blessed prophet by the Spirit in visions, these he also recounted fully for others, that he might not appear to prophesy of the future to himself alone, but might be proved a prophet to others also, who wish to search the divine Scriptures.
2. “And behold the four winds.” He means created existence in its fourfold division.
3. “And four great beasts.” As various beasts then were shown to the blessed Daniel, and these different from each other, we should understand that the truth of the narrative deals not with certain beasts, but, under the type and image of different beasts, exhibits the kingdoms that have risen in this world in power over the race of man. For by the great sea he means the whole world.
4. “Till the wings thereof were plucked.” For this happened in reality in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, as has been shown in the preceding book. And he bears witness directly that this very thing was fulfilled in himself; for he was driven out of the kingdom, and stripped of his glory, and of the greatness which he formerly possessed. “And after a little: “the words, “It was made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it,” signify that Nebuchadnezzar, when he humbled himself, and acknowledged that he was but a man, in subjection under the power of God, and made supplication to the Lord, found mercy with Him, and was restored to his own kingdom and honour.
5. “A second beast like to a bear.” To represent the kingdom of the Persians. “And it had three ribs.” The three nations he calls three ribs. The meaning, therefore, is this: that beast had the dominion, and these others under it were the Medes, Assyrians, and Babylonians. “And they said thus to it, Arise, devour.” For the Persians arising in these times, devastated every land, and made many men subject to them, and slew them. For as this beast, the bear, is a foul animal, and carnivorous, tearing with claws and teeth, such also was the kingdom of the Persians, who held the supremacy for two hundred and thirty years.
6. “And, lo, another beast like a leopard.” In mentioning a leopard, he means the kingdom of the Greeks, over whom Alexander of Macedon was king. And he likened them to a leopard, because they were quick and inventive in thought, and bitter in heart, just as that animal is many-coloured in appearance, and quick in wounding and in drinking man’s blood.
“The beast had also four heads.” When the kingdom of Alexander was exalted, and grew, and acquired a name over the whole world, his kingdom was divided into four principalities. For Alexander, when near his end, partitioned his kingdom among his four comrades of the same race, viz., “Seleucus, Demetrius, Ptolemy, and Philip; “and all these assumed crowns, as Daniel prophesies, and as it is written in the first book of Maccabees.
7. “And behold a fourth beast.” Now, that there has arisen no other kingdom after that of the Greeks except that which stands sovereign at present, is manifest to all. This one has iron teeth, because it subdues and reduces all by its strength, just as iron does. And the rest it did tread with its feet, for there is no other kingdom remaining after this one, but from it will spring ten horns.
“And it had ten horns.” For as the prophet said already of the leopard, that the beast had four heads, and that was fulfilled, and Alexander’s kingdom was divided into four principalities, so also now we ought to look for the ten horns which are to spring from it, when the time of the beast shall be fulfilled, and the little horn, which is Antichrist, shall appear suddenly in their midst, and righteousness shall be banished from the earth, and the whole world shall reach its consummation. So that we ought not to anticipate the counsel of God, but exercise patience and prayer, that we fall not on such times. We should not, however, refuse to believe that these things will come to pass. For if the things which the prophets predicted in former times have not been realized, then we need not look for these things. But if those former things did happen in their proper seasons, as was foretold, these things also shall certainly be fulfilled.
8. “I considered the horns.” That is to say, I looked intently at the beast, and was astonished at everything about it, but especially at the number of the horns. For the appearance of this beast differed from that of the other beasts in kind.
13 “And came to the Ancient of days.” By the Ancient of days he means none other than the Lord and God and Ruler of all, and even of Christ Himself, who maketh the days old, and yet becometh not old Himself by times and days.
14. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion.” The Father, having put all things in subjection to His own Son, both things in heaven and things on earth, showed Him forth by all as the first-begotten of Cool, in order that, along with the Father, He might be approved the Son of God before angels, and be manifested as the Lord also of angels: (He showed Him forth also as) the first-begotten of a virgin, that He might be seen to be in Himself the Creator anew of the first-formed Adam, (and) as the first-begotten from the dead, that He might become Himself the first-fruits of our resurrection.
“Which shall not pass away.” He exhibited all the dominion given by the Father to His own Son, who is manifested as King of all in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and as Judge of all: of all in heaven, because He was born the Word, of the heart of the Father before all; and of all in earth, because He was made man, and created Adam anew of Himself; and of all under the earth, because He was also numbered among the dead, and preached to the souls of the saints, (and) by death overcame death.
17. “Which shall arise.” For when the three beasts have finished their course, and been removed, and the one still stands in vigour,-if this one, too, is removed, then finally earthly things (shall) end, and heavenly things begin; that the indissoluble and everlasting kingdom of the saints may be brought to view, and the heavenly King manifested to all, no longer in figure, like one seen in vision, or revealed in a pillar of cloud upon the top of a mountain, but amid the powers and armies of angels, as God incarnate and man, Son of God and Son of man-coming from heaven as the world’s Judge.
19. “And I inquired about the fourth beast.” It is to the fourth kingdom, of which we have already spoken, that he here refers: that kingdom, than which no greater kingdom of like nature has arisen upon the earth; from which also ten horns are to spring, and to be apportioned among ten crowns. And amid these another little horn shall rise, which is that of Antichrist. And it shall pluck by the roots the three others before it; that is to say, he shall subvert the three kings of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, with the view of acquiring for himself universal dominion. And after conquering the remaining seven horns, he will at last begin, inflated by a strange and wicked spirit, to stir up war against the saints, and to persecute all everywhere, with the aim of being glorified by all, and being worshipped as God.
22. “Until the Ancient of days come.” That is, when at length the Judge of judges and the King of kings comes from heaven, who shall subvert the whole dominion and power of the adversary, and shall consume all with the eternal fire of punishment. But to His servants, and prophets, and martyrs, and to all who fear Him, He will give an everlasting kingdom; that is, they shall possess the endless enjoyment of good.
25. “Until a time, and times, and the dividing of time.” This denotes three years and a half.
Chap. IX. 21. “And, behold, the man Gabriel … flying.” You see how the prophet likens the speed of the angels to a winged bird, on account of the light and rapid motion with which these spirits fly so quickly in discharge of orders.
Chap. X. 6. “And the voice of His words.” For all we who now believe on Him declare the words of Christ, as if we spake by His mouth the things enjoined by Him.
7. “And I saw,” etc. For it is to His saints that fear Him, and to them alone, that He reveals Himself. For if any one seems to be living now in the Church, and yet has not the fear of God, his companionship with the saints will avail him nothing.
12. “Thy words were heard.” Behold how much the piety of a righteous man availeth, that to him alone, as to one worthy, things not yet to be manifested in the world should be revealed.
13. “And lo, Michael.” Who is Michael but the angel assigned to the people? As (God) says to Moses, “I will not go with you in the way, because the people are stiff-necked; but my angel shall go with you.”
16. “My inwards are turned” (A. V., “my sorrows are turned upon me”). For it was meet that, at the appearing of the Lord, what was above should be turned beneath, in order that also what was beneath might come above.-I require time, he says, to recover myself, and to be able to endure the words and to make reply to what is said.-But while I was in this position, he continues, I was strengthened beyond my hope. For one unseen touched me, and straightway my weakness was removed, and I was restored to my former strength. For whenever all the strength of our life and its glory pass from us, then are we strengthened by Christ, who stretches forth His hand and raises the living from among the dead, and as it were from Hades itself, to the resurrection of life.
18. “And he strengthened me.” For whenever the Word has made us of good hope with regard to the future, we are able also readily to hear His voice.
20. “To fight with the prince of Persia.” For from the day that thou didst humble thyself before the Lord thy God thy prayer was heard, and I was sent “to fight with the prince of Persia.” For there was a design not to let the people go. Therefore, that thy prayer might be speedily answered, “I stood up against him.”
Chap. XII. 1. “There shall be a time of trouble.” For at that time there shall be great trouble, such as has not been from the foundation of the world, when some in one way, and others in another, shall be sent through every city and country to destroy the faithful; and the saints shall travel froth the west to the east, and shall be driven in persecution from the east to the south, while others shall conceal themselves in the mountains and caves; and the abominanation shall war against them everywhere, and shall cut them off by sea and by land by his decree, and shall endeavour by every means to destroy them out of the world; and they shall not be able any longer to sell their own property, nor to buy from strangers, unless one keeps and carries with him the name of the beast, or bears its mark upon his forehead. For then they shall all be driven out from every place, and dragged from their own homes and haled into prison, and punished with all manner of punishment, and cast out from the whole world.
2. “These shall awake to everlasting life.” That is, those who have believed in the true life, and who have their names written in the book of life. “And these to shame.” That is, those who are attached to Antichrist, and who are cast with him into everlasting punishment.
3. “And they that be wise shall shine.” And the Lord has said the same thing in the Gospel: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun.“204
7. “For a time, times, and an half.” By this he indicated the three and a half years of Anti-christ. For by a time he means a year; and by times, two years; and by an half time, half a year. These are the “one thousand two hundred and ninety days” of which Daniel prophesied.
9. “The words are closed up and sealed.” For as a man cannot tell what God has prepared for the saints; for neither has eye seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man (to conceive) these things, into which even the saints, too, shall then eagerly desire to look; so He said to him, “For the words are sealed until the time of the end; until many shall be chosen and tried with fire.” And who are they who are chosen, but those who believe the word of truth, so as to be made white thereby, and to cast off the filth of sin, and put on the heavenly, pure, and glorious Holy Spirit, in order that, when the Bridegroom comes, they may go in straightway with Him?
11. “The abomination of desolation shall be given (set up).” Daniel speaks, therefore, of two abominations: the one of destruction, which Antiochus set up in its appointed time, and which bears a relation to that of desolation, and the other universal, when Antichrist shall come. For, as Daniel says, he too shall be set up for the destruction of many.205
Other Fragments on Daniel.206
For when the iron legs that now hold the sovereignty have given place to the feet and the toes, in accordance with the representation of the terrible beast, as has also been signified in the former times, then from heaven will come the stone that smites the image, and breaks it; and it will subvert all the kingdoms, and give the kingdom to the saints of the Most High. This is the stone which becomes a great mountain, and fills the earth, and of which it is written: “I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; and all peoples, nations, and languages shall serve Him: His power is an everlasting power, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed.“207
On the Song of the Three Children.208
“O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord; O ye apostles, prophets, and martyrs of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and exalt Him above all, for ever.”
We may well marvel at the words of the three youths in the furnace, how they enumerated all created things, so that not one of them might be reckoned free and independent in itself; but, summing up and naming them all together, both things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, they showed them to be all the servants of God, who created all things by the Word, that no one should boast that any of the creatures was without birth and beginning.
What is narrated here, happened at a later time, although it is placed before the first book (at the beginning of the book). For it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings. For we find also in the prophets some visions recorded among the first and fulfilled among the last; and again, on the other hand, some recorded among the last and fulfilled first. And this was done by the disposition of the Spirit, that the devil might not understand the things spoken in parables by the prophets, and might not a second time lay his snares and ruin man.
Ver. 1. “Called Joacim.” This Joacim, being a stranger in Babylon, obtains Susannah in marriage. And she was the daughter of Chelcias the priest,210 who found the book of the law in the house of the Lord, when Josiah the king commanded him to purify the holy of holies. His brother was Jeremiah the prophet, who was carried, with the remnant that was left after the deportation of the people to Babylon, into Egypt, and dwelt in Taphnae;211 and, while prophesying there, he was stoned to death by the people.
“A very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord,” etc. For by the fruit produced, the tree also is easily known. For men who are pious and zealous for the law, bring into the world children worthy of God; such as he was who became a prophet and witness of Christ, and she who was found chaste and faithful in Babylon, whose honour and chastity were the occasion of the manifestation of the blessed Daniel as a prophet.
4. “Now Joacim was a great rich man,” etc. We must therefore seek the explanation of this. For how could those who were captives, and had been made subject to the Babylonians, meet together in the same place, as if they were their own masters? In this matter, therefore, we should observe that Nebuchadnezzar, after their deportation, treated them kindly, and permitted them to meet together, and do all things according to the law.
7. “And at noon Susannah went into (her husband’s garden).” Susannah prefigured the Church; and Joacim, her husband, Christ; and the garden, the calling of the saints, who are planted like fruitful trees in the Church. And Babylon is the world; and the two elders are set forth as a figure of the two peoples that plot against the Church-the one, namely, of the circumcision, and the other of the Gentiles. For the words, “were appointed rulers of the people and judges,” (mean) that in this world they exercise authority and rule, judging the righteous unrighteously.
8. “And the two elders saw her.” These things the rulers of the Jews wish now to expunge from the book, and assert that these things did not happen in Babylon, because they are ashamed of what was done then by the elders.
9. “And they perverted their own mind.” For how, indeed, can those who have been the enemies and corruptors of the Church judge righteously, or look up to heaven with pure heart, when they have become the slaves of the prince of this world?
10. “And they were both wounded with her (love).” This word is to be taken in truth; for always the two peoples, being wounded (instigated) by Satan working in them, strive to raise persecutions and afflictions against the Church, and seek how they may corrupt her, though they do not agree with each other.
12. “And they watched diligently.” And this, too, is to be noted. For up to the present time both the Gentiles and the Jews of the circumcision watch and busy themselves with the dealings of the Church, desiring to suborn false witnesses against us, as the apostle says: “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.“212
It is a kind of sin to be anxious to give the mind to women.
14. “And when they were gone out, they parted the one from the other.” As to their parting the one from the other at the hour of dinner (luncheon), this signifies that in the matter of earthly meats the Jews and the Gentiles are not at one; but in their views, and in all worldly matters, they are of one mind, and can meet each other.
14. “And asking one another, they acknowledged their lust.” Thus, in revealing themselves to each other, they foreshadow the time when they shall be proved by their thoughts, and shall have to give account to God for all the sin which they have done, as Solomon says: “And scrutiny shall destroy the ungodly.“213 For these are convicted by the scrutiny.
15. “As they watched a fit time.” What fit time but that of the passover, at which the layer is prepared in the garden for those who burn, and Susannah washes herself, and is presented as a pure bride to God?
“With two maids only.” For when the Church desires to take the laver according to use, she must of necessity have two handmaids to accompany her. For it is by faith on Christ and love to God that the Church confesses and receives the layer.
18. “And she said to her maids, Bring me oil.” For faith and love prepare oil and unguents to those who are washed. But what were these unguents, but the commandments of the holy Word? And what was the oil, but the power of the Holy Spirit, with which believers are anointed as with ointment after the layer of washing? All these things were figuratively represented in the blessed Susannah, for our sakes, that we who now believe on God might not regard the things that are done now in the Church as strange, but believe them all to have been set forth in figure by the patriarchs of old, as the apostle also says: “Now these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the world are come.“214
18. “And they went out at privy doors; “showing thus by anticipation, that he who desires to partake of the water in the garden must renounce the broad gate, and enter by the strait and narrow.215
“And they saw not the elders.” For as of old the devil was concealed in the serpent in the garden, so now too, concealed in the elders. he fired them with his own lust, that he might again a second time corrupt Eve.
20. “Behold, the garden doors are shut.” wicked rulers, and filled with the workings of the devil, did Moses deliver these things to you? And while ye read the law yourselves, do ye teach others thus? Thou that sayest, “Thou shalt not kill,” dost thou kill? Thou that sayest, “Thou shall not covet,” dost thou desire to corrupt the wife of thy neighbour?
“And we are in love with thee.” Why, ye lawless, do ye strive to gain over a chaste anti guileless soul by deceitful words, in order to satisfy your own lust?
21. “If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee.” This wicked audacity with which you begin, comes of the deceitfulness that lurks in you from the beginning And there was in reality a young man with her, that one216 of yours; one from heaven, not to have intercourse with her, but to bear witness to her truth.
22. “And Susannah sighed.” The blessed Susannah, then, when she heard these words, was troubled in her heart, and set a watch upon her mouth, not wishing to be defiled by the wicked elders. Now it is in our power also to apprehend the real meaning of all that befell Susannah. For you may find this also fulfilled in the present condition of the Church. For when the two peoples conspire to destroy any of the saints, they watch for a fit time, and enter the house of God while all there are praying and praising God, and seize some of them, and carry them off, and keep hold of them, saying, Come, consent with us, and worship our Gods; and if not, we will bear witness against you. And when they refuse, they drag them before the court and accuse them of acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, and condemn them to death.
“I am straitened on every side.” Behold the words of a chaste woman, and one dear to God: “I am straitened on every side.” For the Church is afflicted and straitened, not only by the Jews, but also by the Gentiles, and by those who are called Christians, but are not such in reality. For they, observing her chaste and happy life, strive to ruin her.
“For if I do this thing, it is death to me.” For to be disobedient to God, and obedient to men, works eternal death and punishment.
“And if I do it not, I cannot escape your hands.” And this indeed is said with truth. For they who are brought into judgment for the sake of God’s name, if they do what is commanded them by men, die to God, and shall live in the world. But if they refuse to do what is commanded them by men, they escape not the hands of their judges, but are condemned by them.
23. “It is better for me not to do it.” For it is better to die by the hand of wicked men and live with God, than, by consenting to them, to be delivered from them and fall into the hands of God.
24. “And Susannah cried with a loud voice.” And to whom did Susannah cry but to God? as Isaiah says: “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer thee; whilst thou art yet speaking, He shall say, Lo, here I am.“217
“And the two elders cried out against her.” For the wicked never cease to cry out against us, and to say: Away with such from off the earth, for it is not fit that they should live. In an evangelical sense, Susannah despised them who kill the body, in order that she might save her soul from death. Now sin is the death of the soul, and especially (the sin of) adultery. For when the soul that is united with Christ forsakes its faith, it is given over to perpetual death, viz., eternal punishment. And in confirmation of this, in the case of the transgression and violation of marriage unions in the flesh, the law has decreed the penalty of death.
25. “Then ran the one and opened the gates; “pointing to the broad and spacious way on which they who follow such persons perish.
31. “Now Susannah was a very delicate woman. Not that she had meretricious adornments about her person, as Jezebel had, or eyes painted with divers colours; but that she had the adornment of faith, and chastity, and sanctity.
34. “And laid their hands upon her head; “that at least by touching her they might satisfy their lust.
35. “And she was weeping.” For by her tears she attracted the (regard of) the Word from heaven, who was with tears to raise the dead Lazarus.
41. “Then the assembly believed them.” It becomes us, then, to be stedfast in every duty, and to give no heed to lies, and to yield no obsequious obedience to the persons of rulers, knowing that we have to give account to God; but if we follow the truth, and aim at the exact rule of faith, we shall be well-pleasing to God.
44. “And the Lord heard her voice.” For those who call upon Him from a pure heart, God heareth. But from those who (call upon Him) in deceit and hypocrisy, God turneth away His face.
52. “O thou that art waxen old in wickedness.” Now, since at the outset, in the introduction, we explained that the two elders are to be taken as a type of the two peoples, that of the circumcision and that of the Gentiles, which are always enemies of the Church; let us mark the words of Daniel. and learn that the Scripture deals falsely with us in nothing. For, addressing the first elder, he censures him as one instructed in the law; while he addresses the other as a Gentile, calling him “the seed of Chanaan,” although he was then among the circumcision.
55. “For even now the angel of God.” He shows also, that when Susannah prayed to God, and was heard, the angel was sent then to help her, just as was the case in the instance of Tobias218 and Sara. For when they prayed, the supplication of both of them was heard in the same day and the same hour, and the angel Raphael was sent to heal them both.
61. “And they arose against the two elders; “that the saying might be fulfilled, “Whoso diggeth a pit for his neighhour, shall fall therein.“219
To all these things, therefore, we ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest any one be overtaken in any transgression, and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the Judge of all; and the Word220 Himself is the Eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah.
On Matthew.221 Matt. VI. II.222
For this reason we are enjoined to ask what is sufficient for the preservation of the substance of the body: not luxury, but food, which restores what the body loses, and prevents death by hunger; not tables to inflame and drive on to pleasures, nor such things as make the body wax wanton against the soul; but bread, and that, too, not for a great number of years, but what is sufficient for us to-day.
Chap. II. 7. And if you please, we say that the Word was the first-born of God, who came down from heaven to the blessed Mary, and was made a first-born man in her womb, in order that the first-born of God might be manifested in union with a first-born man.
22. When they brought Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord, they offered the oblations of purification. For if the gifts of purification according to the law were offered for Him, in this indeed He was made tinder the law. But the Word was not subject to the law in such wise as the sycophants224 fancy, since He is the law Himself; neither did God need sacrifices of purification, for He purifieth and sanctifieth all things at once in a moment. But though He took to Himself the frame of man as He received it from the Virgin, and was made under the law, and was thus purified after the manner of the first-born, it was not because He needed this ceremonial that He underwent its services, but only for the purpose of redeeming from the bondage of the law those who were sold under the judgment of the curse.
Chap. XXIII. For this reason the warders of Hades trembled when they saw Him; and the gates of brass and the bolts of iron were broken. For, lo, the Only-begotten entered, a soul among souls, God the Word with a (human) soul. For His body lay in the tomb, not emptied of divinity; but as, while in Hades, He was in essential being with His Father, so was He also in the body and in Hades.225 For the Son is not contained in space, just as the Father; and He comprehends all things in Himself. But of His own will he dwelt in a body animated by a soul, in order that with His soul He might enter Hades, and not with His pure divinity.
Doubtful Fragments on the Pentateuch.226 Preface.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. This is a transcript of the excellent law. But before beginning to give the transcript of the book of the law, it will be worth while to instruct you, O brother, as to its excellence, and the dignity of its disposition. Its first excellence is, that God delivered it by the hand of our most blessed ruler, the chief of the prophets, and first of the apostles, or those who were sent to the children of Israel, viz. Moses the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, of the sons of Levi. Now he was adorned with all manner of wisdom, and endowed with the best genius. Illustrious in dignity, remarkable for the integrity of his disposition, distinguished for power of reason, he talked with God. And He chose him as an instrument of value. By His leader and prophet, God Most High sent it clown to us, and committed it to us (blessed be His name) in the Syriac tongue of the Targum, which the Seventy translated into the Hebrew tongue, to wit, into the tongue of the nation, and the idiom of the common people. Moses. therefore, received it from the eternal Lord, and was the first to whom it was entrusted, and who obeyed its rules and ordinances. Then he taught it to the children of Israel, who also embraced it. And he explained to them its profound mysteries and dark places. And he expounded to them those things which were less easy, as God permitted him, and concealed from them those secrets of the law, as God forbade him (to reveal them). Nor did there rise among them one who was better practised in His judgments and decrees, and who communicated more clearly the mysteries of His doctrine, until God translated him to Himself, after He had made him perfect by forty whole years in the wilderness.
And these following are the names of the teachers who handed down the law in continuous succession after Moses the prophet, until the advent of Messiah:-
Know, then, my brother, whom may God bless, that God delivered the most excellent law into the hands of Moses the prophet, the son of Amram.
And Moses delivered it to Joshua the son of Nun.
And Joshua the son of Nun delivered it Anathal.
And Anathal delivered it to Jehud.
And Jehud delivered it to Samgar.
And Samgar delivered it to Baruk.
And Baruk delivered it to Gideon.
And Gideon delivered it to Abimelech.
And Abimelech delivered it to Taleg.
And Taleg delivered it to Babin the Gileadite.
And Babin delivered it to Jiphtach.
And Jiphtach delivered it to Ephran.
And Ephran delivered it to Elul of the tribe Zebulon.
And Elul delivered it to Abdan.
And Abdan delivered it to Shimshon the brave.
And Shimshon delivered it to Helkanah, the son of Jerachmu, the son of Jehud. Moreover, he was the father of Samuel the prophet. Of this Helkanah mention is made in the beginning of the first book of Kings (Samuel).
And Helkanah delivered it to Eli the priest. And Eli delivered it to Samuel the prophet.
And Samuel delivered it to Nathan the prophet.
And Nathan delivered it to Gad the prophet.
And Gad the prophet delivered it to Shemaiah the teacher. And Shemaiah delivered it to Iddo the teacher. And Iddo delivered it to Achia.
And Achia delivered it to Abihu.
And Abihu delivered it to Elias the prophet.
And Elias delivered it to his disciple Elisaeus.
And Elisaeus delivered it to Malachia the prophet.
And Malachia delivered it to Abdiahu.
And Abdiahu delivered it to Jehuda.
And Jehuda delivered it to Zacharias the teacher. In those days came Bachthansar king of Babel, and laid waste the house of the sanctuary, and carried the children of Israel into captivity to Babel.
And after the captivity of Babel, Zacharia the teacher delivered it to Esaia the prophet, the son of Amos.
And Esaia delivered it to Jeremia the prophet.
And Jeremia the prophet delivered it to Chizkiel.
And Chizkiel the prophet delivered it to Hosea the prophet, the son of Bazi.
And Hosea delivered it to Joiel the prophet.
And Joiel delivered it to Amos the prophet.
And Amos delivered it to Obadia.
And Obadia delivered it to Jonan the prophet, the son of Mathi, the son of Armelah, who was the brother of Elias the prophet.
And Jonan delivered it to Micha the Morasthite, who delivered it to Nachum the Alcusite. And Nachum delivered it to Chabakuk the prophet.
And Chabakuk delivered it to Sophonia the prophet.
And Sophonia delivered it to Chaggaeus the prophet.
And Chaggaeus delivered it to Zecharia the prophet, the son of Bershia.
And Zecharia, when in captivity, delivered it to Malachia. And Malachia delivered it to Ezra the teacher.
227 And Ezra delivered it to Shamai the chief priest, and Jadua to Samean, (and) Samean delivered it to Antigonus.
And Antigonus delivered it to Joseph the son of Johezer, (and) Joseph the son of Gjuchanan.
And Joseph delivered it to Jehosua, the son of Barachia.
And Jehosua delivered it to Nathan the Arbelite.
And Nathan delivered it to Shimeon, the elder son of Shebach. This is he who carried the Messias in his arms.
Simeon delivered it to Jehuda.
Jehuda delivered it to Zecharia the priest.
And Zecharia the priest, the father of John the Baptist, delivered it to Joseph, a teacher of his own tribe.
And Joseph delivered it to Hanan and Caiaphas. Moreover, from them were taken away the priestly, and kingly, and prophetic offices.
These were teachers at the advent of Messias; and they were both priests of the children of Israel. Therefore the whole number of venerable and honourable priests put in trust of this most excellent law was fifty-six, Hanan (i.e., Annas) and Caiaphas being excepted.
And those are they who delivered it in the last days to the state of the children of Israel; nor did there arise any priests after them.
This is the account of what took place with regard to the most excellent law.
Armius, author of the book of Times, has said: In the nineteenth year of the reign of King Ptolemy, He ordered the elders of the children of Israel to be assembled, in order that they might put into his hands a copy of the law, and that they might each be at hand to explain its meaning.
The elders accordingly came, bringing with them the most excellent law. Then be commanded that every one of them should interpret the book of the law to him.
But he dissented from the interpretation which the elders had given. And he ordered the elders to be thrust into prison and chains. And seizing the book of the law, he threw it into a deep ditch, and cast fire and hot ashes upon it for seven days. Then afterwards he ordered them to throw the filth of the city into that ditch in which was the book of the law. And the ditch was filled to the very top.
The law remained seventy years under the filth in that ditch, yet did not perish, nor was there even a single leaf of it spoilt.
In the twenty-first year of the reign of King Apianutus they took the book of the law out of the ditch, and not one leaf thereof was spoilt.
And after the ascension of Christ into heaven, came King Titus, son of Aspasianus king of Rome, to Jerusalem, and besieged and took it. And he destroyed the edifice of the second house, which the children of Israel had built. Titus the king destroyed the house of the sanctuary, and slew all the Jews who were in it, and built Tsion (sic) in their blood. And after that deportation the Jews were scattered abroad in slavery. Nor did they assemble any more in the city of Jerusalem, nor is there hope anywhere of their returning.
After Jerusalem was laid waste, therefore, Shemaia and Antalia (Abtalion) delivered the law,-kings of Baalbach,228 a city which Soliman, son of King David, had built of old, and which was restored anew in the days of King Menasse, who sawed Esaia the prophet asunder.
King Adrian, of the children of Edom, besieged Baalbach, and took it, and slew all the Jews who were in it, (and) as many as were of the family of David he reduced to slavery. And the Jews were dispersed over the whole earth, as God Most High had foretold: “And I will scatter you among the Gentiles, and disperse you among the nations.”
And these are the things which have reached us as to the history of that most excellent book. The Preface is ended.
In the name of God eternal, everlasting, most mighty, merciful, compassionate.
By the help of God we begin to describe the book of the law, and its interpretation, as the holy, learned, and most excellent fathers have interpreted it.
The following, therefore, is the interpretation of the first book, which indeed is the book of the creation (and) of created beings.
Section I. Of the Creation of Heaven and Earth. “In the Beginning God Created,” Etc.
An exposition of that which God said.
And the blessed prophet, indeed, the great Moses, wrote this book, and designated and marked it with the title, The Book of Being, i.e., “of created beings,” etc.
Sections II., III.and the Lord Said: “And I Will Bring the Waters of the Flood Upon the Earth to Destroy All Flesh,” Etc.
Hippolytus, the Targumist expositor, said: The names of the wives of the sons of Noah are these: the name of the wife of Sem, Nahalath Mahnuk; and the name of the wife of Cham, Zedkat Nabu; and the name of the wife of Japheth, Arathka. These, moreover, are their names in the Syriac Targum.229 The name of the wife of Sem was Nahalath Mahnuk; the name of the wife of Cham, Zedkat Nabu; the name of the wife of Japheth, Arathka.
Therefore God gave intimation to Noah, and informed him of the coming of the flood, and of the destruction of the ruined (wicked).
And God Most High ordered him to descend from the holy mount, him and his sons, and the wives of his sons, and to build a ship of three storeys. The lower storey was for fierce, wild, and dangerous beasts. Between them there were stakes or wooden beams, to separate them from each other, and prevent them from having intercourse with each other. The middle storey was for birds, and their different genera. Then the upper storey was for Noah himself and his sons-for his own wife and his sons’ wives.
Noah also made a door in the ship, on the east side. He also constructed tanks of water, and store-rooms of provisions.
When he had made an end, accordingly, of building the ship, Noah, with his sons, Sem, Chain, and Japheth, entered the cave of deposits.230
And on their first approach, indeed, they happily found the bodies of the fathers, Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kainan, Mahaliel, Jared, Mathusalach, and Lamech. Those eight bodies were in the place of deposits, viz., those of Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kainan, Mahaliel, Jared, Mathusalach, and Lamech.
Noah, moreover, took the body of Adam. And his sons took with them offerings. Sem carried gold, Chain myrrh, and Japheth frankincense. Then, leaving the cave of deposits, they transferred the offerings and the body of Adam to the holy mount.231
And when they sat down by the body of Adam, over against paradise, they began to lament and weep for the loss of paradise.
Then, descending from the holy mount, and lifting up their eyes towards paradise, they renewed their weeping and wailing, (and) uttered an eternal farewell in these terms: Farewell! peace to thee, O paradise of God! Farewell, O habitation of religion and purity! Farewell, O seat of pleasure and delight!
Then they embraced the stones and trees of the holy mount, and wept, and said: Farewell, O habitation of the good! Farewell, O abode of holy bodies!
Then, after three days, Noah, with his sons and his sons’ wives, came down from the holy mount to the base of the holy mount, to the ship’s place. For the (ark) was under the projecting edge of the holy mount.
And Noah entered the ship, and deposited the body of Adam, and the offerings, in the middle of the ship, upon a bier of wood, which he had prepared for the reception of the body.
And God charged Noah, saying: Make for thyself rattles232 of boxwood (or cypress). Now r)m
Make also the hammer (bell) thereof of the same wood. And the length of the rattle shall be three whole cubits, and its breadth one and a half cubit.
And God enjoined him to strike the rattles three times every day, to wit, for the first time at early dawn, for the second time at mid-day, and for the third time at sunset.
And it happened that, as soon as Noah had struck the rattles, the sons of Cain and the sons of Vahim ran up straightway to him, and he warned and alarmed them by telling of the immediate approach of the flood, and of the destruction already hasting on and impending.
Thus, moreover, was the pity of God toward them displayed, that they might be converted and come to themselves again. But the sons of Cain did not comply with what Noah proclaimed to them. And Noah brought together pairs, male and female, of all birds of every kind; and thus also of all beasts, tame and wild alike, pair and pair.
Section IV. On Gen. VII. 6.
Hippolytus, the Syrian expositor of the Targum, has said: We find in an ancient Hebrew copy that God commanded Noah to range the wild beasts in order in the lower floor or storey, and to separate the males from the females by putting wooden stakes between them.
And thus, too, he did with all the cattle, and also with the birds in the middle storey. And God ordered the males thus to be separated from the females for the sake of decency and purity, lest they should perchance get intermingled with each other.
Moreover, God said to Moses: Provide victuals for yourself and your children. And let them be of wheat, ground, pounded, kneaded with water, and dried. And Noah there and then bade his wife, and his sons’ wives, diligently attend to kneading dough and laying it in the oven. They kneaded dough accordingly, and prepared just about as much as might be sufficient for them, so that nothing should remain over but the very least.
And God charged Noah, saying to him: Whosoever shall first announce to you the approach of the deluge, him you shall destroy that very moment. In the meantime, moreover, the wife of Cham was standing by, about to put a large piece of bread into the oven. And suddenly, according to the word of the Lord, water rushed forth from the oven, and the flow of water penetrated and destroyed the bread. Therefore the wife of Cham exclaimed, addressing herself to Noah: Oh, sir, the word of God is come good: “that which God foretold is come to pass; “execute, therefore, that which the Lord commanded. And when Noah heard the words of the wife of Chain, he said to her: Is then the flood already come? The wife of Cham said to him: Thou hast said it. God, however, suddenly charged Noah, saying: Destroy not the wife of Cham; for from thy mouth is the beginning of destruction-“thou didst first say, The flood is come.” At the voice of Noah the flood came, and suddenly the water destroyed that bread. And the floodgates of heaven were opened, and the rains broke upon the earth. And that same voice, in sooth, which had said of old, “Let the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear,“233 gave permission to the fountain of waters and the floods of the seas to break forth of their own accord, and brought out the waters.
Consider what God said about the world: Let all its high places be brought low, and they were brought low; and let its low places be raised from its depths.
And the earth was made bare and empty of all existence, as it was at the beginning.
And the rain descended from above, and the earth burst open beneath. And the frame of the earth was destroyed, and its primitive order was broken. And the world became such as it was when desolated at the beginning by the waters which flowed over it. Nor was any one of the existences upon it left in its integrity.
Its former structure went to wreck, and the earth was disfigured by the flood of waters that burst upon it, and by the magnitude of its inundations, and the multitude of showers, and the eruption from its depths, as the waters continually broke forth. In fine, it was left such as it was formerly234 .
Section V. On Gen. VIII. I.
Hippolytus, the expositor of the Targum, and my master, Jacobus Rohaviensis, have said: On the twenty-seventh day of the month Jiar, which is the second Hebrew month, the ark rose from the base of the holy mount; and already the waters bore it, and it was carried upon them round about towards the four cardinal points of the world. The ark accordingly held off from the holy mount towards the east, then returned towards the west, then turned to the south, and finally, bearing off eastwards, neared Mount Kardu on the first day of the tenth month. And that is the second month Kanun.
And Noah came out of the ark on the twenty-seventh day of the month Jiar, in the second year: for the ark continued sailing live whole months, and moved to and fro upon the waters, and in a period of fifty-one days neared the land. Nor thereafter did it float about any longer. But it only moved successively toward the four cardinal points of the earth, and again finally stood toward the east. We say, moreover, that that was a sign of the cross. And the ark was a symbol of the Christ who was expected. For that ark was the means of the salvation of Noah and his sons, and also of the cattle, the wild beasts, and the birds. And Christ, too, when He suffered on the cross, delivered us from accusations and sins, and washed us in His own blood most pure.
And just as the ark returned to the east, and neared Mount Kardu, so also Christ, when the work was accomplished and finished which He had proposed to Himself, returned to heaven to the bosom of His Father, and sat down upon the throne of His glory at the Father’s right hand.
As to Mount Kardu, it is in the east, in the land of the sons of Raban, and the Orientals call it Mount Godash;235 the Arabians and Persians call it Ararat.236
And there is a town of the name Kardu, and that hill is called after it, which is indeed very lofty and inaccessible, whose summit no one has ever been able to reach, on account of the violence of the winds and the storms which always prevail there. And if any one attempts to ascend it, there are demons that rush upon him, and cast him down headlong from the ridge of the mountain into the plain, so that he dies. No one, moreover, knows what there is on the top of the mountain, except that certain relics of the wood of the ark still lie there on the surface of the top of the mountain.237
Section X. On Deut. XXXIII. II.
Hippolytus, the expositor of the Targum, has said that Moses, when he had finished this prophecy, also pronounced a blessing upon all the children of Israel, by their several tribes, and prayed for them. Then God charged Moses, saying to him, Go up to Mount Nebo, which indeed is known by the name of the mount of the Hebrews, which is in the land of Moab over against Jericho.
And He said to him: View the land of Chanaan, which I am to give to the children of Israel for an inheritance. Thou, however, shalt never enter it; wherefore view it well from afar off. When Moses therefore viewed it, he saw that land,-a land green, and abounding with all plenty and fertility, planted thickly with trees; and Moses was greatly moved, and wept.
And when Moses descended from Mount Nebo, he called for Joshua the son of Nun, and said to him before the children of Israel: Prevail, and be strong; for thou art to bring the children of Israel into the land which God promised to fathers that He would give their them for an inheritance. Fear not, therefore, the people, neither be afraid of the nations: for God will be with thee.
And Moses wrote that Senna238 (Hebr. hgm
= “secondary law,” or “Deuteronomy”), and gave it to the priests the sons of Levi, and commanded them, saying: For seven years keep this Senna hid, and show it not within the entire course of seven years. (“And then”) in the feast of tabernacles, the priests the sons of Levi will read this law before the children of Israel, that the whole people, men and women alike, may observe the words of God: Command them to keep the word of God, which is in that law. And whosoever shall violate one of its precepts, let him be accursed.
Accordingly, when Moses had finished the writing of the law, he gave it to Joshua the son of Nun, and enjoined him to give it to the sons of Levi, the priests. Moses also enjoined and charged them to place the book of the law again within the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that it might remain there for a testimony for ever.
And when Moses had made an end of his injunctions, God bade him go up Mount Nebo, which is over against Jericho. The Lord showed him the whole land of promise in its four quarters, from the wilderness to the sea, and from sea to sea. And the Lord said to him, Thou hast seen it indeed with thine eyes, but thou shall never enter it. There accordingly Moses died, the servant of God, by the command of God. And the angels buried him on Mount Nebo, which is over against Beth-Phegor. And no one knows of his sepulchre, even to this day. For God concealed his grave.
And Moses lived 120 years; nor was his eye dim, nor was the skin of his face wrinkled.
Moses died on a certain day, at the third hour of the day, on the seventh day of the second month, which is the month Jiar.
And the children of Israel wept for him in the plains of Moab three days.
And Joshua the sun of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hand upon him. And all the children of Israel obeyed him. And God charged Joshua the son of Nun on a certain day,-namely, the seventh day of the month Nisan.
And Joshua the son of Nun lived 110 to years, and died on the fourth day, which was the first day of the month Elul. And they buried him in the city Thamnatserach, on Mount Ephraim.
Praise be to God for the completion of the work.
On the Psalms.239 I. The Argument of the Exposition of the Psalms by Hippolytus, (Bishop) of Rome.
1. The book of Psalms contains new doctrine after the law which was given by Moses; and thus it is the second book of doctrine after the Scripture of Moses. After the death, then of Moses and Joshua, and after the judges, David arose, one deemed worthy to be called the father of the Saviour, and he was the first to give the Hebrews a new style of psalmody, by which he did away with the ordinances established by Moses with respect to sacrifice, and introduced a new mode of the worship of God by hymns and acclamations; and many other things also beyond the law of Moses he taught through his whole ministry. And this is the sacredness of the book, and its utility. And the account to be given of its inscription is this: (for) as most of the brethren who believe in Christ think that this hook is David’s, and inscribe it “Psalms of David,” we must state what has reached us with respect to it. The Hebrews give the book the title “Sephra Thelim,“240 and in the “Acts of the Apostles” it is called the “Book of Psalms” (the words are these, “as it is written in the Book of Psalms”), but the name (of the author) in the inscription of the book is not found there. And the reason of that is, that the words written there are not the words of one man, but those of several together; Esdra, as tradition says, having collected in one volume, after the captivity, the psalms of several, or rather their words, as they are not all psalms. Thus the name of David is prefixed in the case of some, and that of Solomon in others, and that of Asaph in others. There are some also that belong to Idithum (Jeduthun); and besides these there are others that belong to the sons of Core (Korah), and even to Moses. As they are therefore. the words of so many thus collected together, they could not be said by any one who understands the matter to be by David alone.
2. As regards those which have no inscription, we must also inquire to whom we ought to ascribe them. For why is it that even the simplest inscription is wanting in them-such as the one which runs thus, “A psalm of David,” or “Of David,” without any addition? Now, my idea is, that wherever this inscription occurs alone, what is written is neither a psalm nor a song, but some sort of utterance under guidance of the Holy Spirit, recorded for the behoof of him who is able to understand it. But the opinion of a certain Hebrew on these last matters has reached me, who held that, when there were many without any inscription, but preceded by one with the inscription “Of David,” all these should be reckoned also to be by David. And if this be the case, it follows that those without any inscription are by those (writers) who are rightly reckoned, according to the titles, to be the authors of the psalms preceding these. This book of Psalms before us has also been called by the prophet the “Psalter,” because, as they say, the psaltery alone among musical instruments gives back the sound from above when the brass is struck, and not from beneath, after the manner of others. In order, therefore, that those who understand it may be zealous to carry out the analogy of such an appellation, and may also look above, from which direction its melody comes-for this reason he has styled it the Psalter. For it is entirely the voice and utterance of the most Holy Spirit.
3. Let us inquire, further, why there are one hundred and fifty psalms. That the number fifty is sacred, is manifest from the days of the celebrated festival of Pentecost, which indicates release from labours, and (the possession of) joy. For which reason neither fasting nor bending the knee is decreed for those days.241 For this is a symbol of the great assembly that is reserved for future times. Of which times there was a shadow in the land of Israel in the year called among the Hebrews “Jobel” (Jubilee). which is the fiftieth year in number, and brings with it liberty for the slave, and release from debt, and the like. And the holy Gospel knows also the remission of the number fifty, and of that number which is cognate with it, and stands by it, viz., five hundred;242 for it is not without a purpose that we have given us there the remission of fifty pence and of five hundred. Thus, then, it was also meet that the hymns to God on account of the destruction of enemies, and in thanksgiving for the goodness of God, should contain not simply one set of fifty, but three such, for the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit.
4. The number fifty, moreover, contains seven sevens, or a Sabbath of Sabbaths; and also over and above these full Sabbaths, a new beginning, in the eight, of a really new rest that remains above the Sabbaths. And let any one who is able, observe this (as it is carried out) in the Psalms with more, indeed, than human accuracy, so as to find out the reasons in each case, as we shall set them forth. Thus, for instance, it is not without a purpose that the eighth psalm has the inscription, “On the wine-presses,” as it comprehends the perfection of fruits in the eight; for the time for the enjoyment of the fruits of the true vine could not be before the eight. And again, the second psalm inscribed” On the wine-presses,” is the eightieth, containing another eighth number, viz., in the tenth multiple. The eighty-third, again, is made up by the union of two holy numbers, viz., the eight in the tenth multiple, and the three in the first multiple. And the fiftieth psalm is a prayer for the remission of sins, and a confession. For as, according to the Gospel, the fiftieth obtained remission, confirming thereby that understanding of the jubilee, so he who offers up such petitions in full confession hopes to gain remission in no other number than the fiftieth. And again, there are also certain others which are called “Songs of degrees,” in number fifteen, as was also the number of the steps of the temple, and which show thereby, perhaps, that the “steps” (or “degrees”) are comprehended within the number seven and the number eight. And these songs of degrees begin after the one hundred and twentieth psalm, which is called simply “a psalm,” as the more accurate copies give it. And this is the number243 of the perfection of the life of man. And the hundredth244 psalm, which begins thus, “I will sing of mercy and judgment, O Lord,” embraces the life of the saint in fellowship with God. And the one hundred and fiftieth ends with these words,” Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.”
5. But since, as we have already said, to do this in the case of each, and to find out the reasons, is very difficult, and too much for human nature to accomplish, we shall content ourselves with these things by way of an outline. Only let us add this, that the psalms which deal with historical matter are not found in regular historical order. And the only reason for this is to be found in the numbers according to which the psalms are arranged. For instance, the history in the fifty-first is antecedent to the history in the fiftieth. For everybody acknowledges that the matter of Doeg the Idumean calumniating David to Saul is antecedent to the sin with the wife of Urias; yet it is not without good reason that the history which should be second is placed first, since, as we have before said, the place regarding remission has an affinity with the number fifty. He, therefore, who is not worthy of remission, passes the number fifty, as Doeg the Idumean. For the fifty-first is the psalm that treats of him. And, moreover, the third is in the same position, since it was written when David fled from the face of Absalom his son; and thus, as all know who read the books of Kings, it should come properly after the fifty-first and the fiftieth.
And if any one desires to give further attention to these and such like matters, he will find more exact explanations of the history for himself, as well as of the inscriptions and the order of the psalms.
6. It is likely, also, that a similar account is to be given of the fact, that David alone of the prophets prophesied with an instrument, called by the Greeks the “psaltery,“245 and by the Hebrews the “nabla,” which is the only musical instrument that is quite straight, and has no curve. And the sound does not come from the lower parts, as is the case with the lute and certain other instruments, but from the upper. For in the lute and the lyre the brass when struck gives back the sound from beneath. But this psaltery has the source of its musical numbers above, in order that we, too, may practise seeking things above, and not suffer ourselves to be borne down by the pleasure of melody to the passions of the flesh. And I think that this truth, too, was signified deeply and clearly to us in a prophetic way in the construction of the instrument, viz., that those who have souls well ordered and trained, have the way ready to things above. And again, an instrument having the source of its melodious sound in its upper parts, may be taken as like the body of Christ and His saints-the only instrument that maintains rectitude; “for He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.“246 This is indeed an instrument, harmonious, melodious, well-ordered, that took in no human discord, and did nothing out of measure, but maintained in all things, as it were, harmony towards the Father; for, as He says: “He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven, testifies of what He has seen and heard.“247
7. As there are “psalms,” and “songs,” and “psalms of song,” and “songs of psalmody,“248 it remains that we discuss the difference between these. We think, then, that the “psalms” are those which are simply played to an instrument, without the accompaniment of the voice, and (which are composed) for the musical melody of the instrument; and that those are called “songs” which are rendered by the voice in concert with the music; and that they are called “psalms of song” when the voice takes the lead, while the appropriate sound is also made to accompany it, rendered harmoniously by the instruments; and “songs of psalmody,” when the instrument takes the lead, while the voice has the second place, and accompanies the music of the strings. And thus much as to the letter of what is signified by these terms. But as to the mystical interpretation, it would be a “psalm” when, by smiting the instrument, viz. the body, with good deeds we succeed in good action though not wholly proficient in speculation; and a “song,” when, by revolving the mysteries of the truth, apart from the practical, and assenting fully to them, we have the noblest thoughts of God and His oracles, while knowledge enlightens us, and wisdom shines brightly in our souls; and a “song of psalmody,” when, while good action takes the lead, according to the word, “If thou desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord shall give her unto thee,“249 we understand wisdom at the same time, and are deemed worthy by God to know the truth of things, till now kept hid from us; and a “psalm of song,” when, by revolving with the light of wisdom some of the more abstruse questions pertaining to morals, we first become prudent in action, and then also able to tell what, and when, and how action is to be taken. And perhaps this is the reason why the first inscriptions nowhere contain the word “songs,” but only “psalm” or “psalms; “for the saint does not begin with speculation; but when he has become in a simpleway a believer, according to orthodoxy, he devotes himself to the actions that are to be done. For this reason, also, are there many “songs” at the end; and wherever there is the word “degrees,” there we do not find the word “psalm,” whether by itself alone or with any addition, but only “songs.” For in the “degrees” (or “ascents”), the saints will be engaged in nothing but in speculation alone. And let the account which we have offered, following the indications given in the interpretation of the Seventy, suffice for this subject in general.
8. But again, as we found in the Seventy, and in Theodotion, and in Symmachus, in some psalms, and these not a few, the word dia/yalma inserted,250 we endeavoured to make out whether those who placed it there meant to mark a change at those places in rhythm or melody, or any alteration in the mode of instruction, or in thought, or in force of language. It is found, however, neither in Aquila nor in the Hebrew; but there, instead of dia/yalma (= an intervening musical symphony), we find the word a0ei/ (= ever). And further, let not this fact escape thee, O man of learning, that the Hebrews also divided the Psalter into five books, so that it might be another Pentateuch. For from Ps. i. to xl. they reckoned one book; and from xli. to lxxi. they reckoned a second; and from lxxii. to lxxxviii. they counted a third book; and from lxxxix. to cv. a fourth; and from cvi. to cl. they made up the fifth. For they judged that each psalm closing with the words, “Blessed be the Lord, Amen, amen,” formed the conclusion of a book. And in them we have “prayer,” viz., supplication offered to God for anything requisite; and the “vow,” i.e., engagement; and the “hymn,” which is the song of blessing to God for benefits enjoyed; and “praise” or “extolling,” which is the laudation of the wonders of God. For laudation is nothing else but just the superlative of praise.
9. However it may be with the “time when and the manner” in which this idea of the Psalms has hit upon by the inspired David, he at least seems to have been the first, and indeed the only one, concerned in it, and that, too, at the earliest period, when he taught his fingers to tune the psaltery. For if any other before him showed the use of the psaltery and lute, it was at any rate in a very different way that such an one did it, only putting together some rude and clumsy contrivance, or simply employing the instrument, without singing either to melody or to words, but only amusing himself with a rude sort of pleasure. But after such he was the first to reduce the affair to rhythm, and order, and art, and also to wed the singing of the song with the melody. And, what is of greater importance, this most inspired of men sang to God, or of God, beginning in this wise even at the period when he was among the shepherds and youths in a simpler and humbler style, and afterwards when he became a man and a king, attempting something loftier and of more public interest. And he is said to have made this advance, especially after he had brought back the ark into the city. At that time he often danced before the ark, and often sang songs of thanksgiving and songs to celebrate its recovery. And then by and by, allocating the whole tribe of the Levites to the duty, be appointed four leaders of the choirs, viz. Asaph, Aman (Heman), Ethan, and Idithum (Jeduthun), inasmuch as there are also in all things visible four primal principles. And he then formed choirs of men, selected from the rest. And he fixed their number at seventy-two, having respect, I think, to the number of the tongues that were confused, or rather divided, at the time of the building of the tower. And what was typified by this, but that hereafter all tongues shall again unite in one common confession, when the Word takes possession of the whole world?
Other Fragments on the Psalms.251
On Psalm XXXI. 22. Of the Triumph of the Christian Faith.
The mercy of God is not so “marvellous” when it is shown in humbler cities as when it is shown in “a strong city,“252 and for this reason “God is to be blessed.”
On Psalm LV. 15.
One of old used to say that those only descend alive into Hades who are instructed in the knowledge of things divine; for he who has not tasted of the words of life is dead.
On Psalm LVIII. 11.
But since there is a time when the righteous shall rejoice, and sinners shall meet the end foretold for them, we must with all reason fully acknowledge and declare that God is inspector and overseer of all that is done among men, and judges all who dwell upon earth. It is proper further to inquire whether the prophecy in hand, which quite corresponds and fits in with those preceding it, may describe the end.
When Hippolytus dictated these words,253 the grammarian asked him why he hesitated about that prophecy, as if he mistrusted the divine power in that calamity of exile.
The learned man calls attention to the question why the word diagra/fh| (= may describe) was used by me in the subjunctive mood, as if silently indicating doubt.
Hippolytus accordingly replied:-
You know indeed quite well, that words of that form are used as conveying by implication a rebuke to those who study the prophecies about Christ, and talk righteousness with the mouth, while they do not admit His coming, nor listen to His voice when He calls to them, and says, “He that hath ears to hear let him hear; “who who have made themselves like the serpent and have made their ears like those of a deaf viper, and so forth. God then does, in truth, take care of the righteous, and judges their cause when injured on the earth; and He punishes those who dare to injure them.
On Psalm LIX. II. Concerning the Jews.
For this reason, even up to our day, though they see the boundaries (of their country), and go round about them, they stand afar off. And therefore have they no longer king or high priest or prophet, nor even scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees among them. He does not, however, say that they are to be cut off; wherefore their race still subsists, and the succession of their children is continued. For they have not been cut off nor consumed from among men-but they are and exist still-yet only as those who have been rejected and cast down from the honour of which of old they were deemed worthy by God. But again, “Scatter them,” he says. “by Thy power; “which word has also come to pass. For they are scattered throughout the whole earth, in servitude everywhere, and engaging in the lowest and most servile occupations, and doing any unseemly work for hunger’s sake.
For if they were destroyed from among men, and remained nowhere among the living, they could not see my people, he means, nor know my Church in its prosperity. Therefore “scatter” them everywhere on earth, where my Church is to be established, in order that when they see the Church rounded by me, they may be roused to emulate it in piety. And these things did the Saviour also ask on their behalf.
On Psalm LXII. 6.
Aliens (metana/stai) properly so called are those who have been despoiled by some enemies or adversaries, and have then become wanderers; a thing which we indeed also endured formerly at the hand of the demons. But from the time that Christ took us up by faith in Him, we are no longer alleges from the true country-the Jerusalem which is above-nor have we to bear alienation in error from the truth.
On Psalm LXVIII. 18. Of the Enlargement of the Church.
And the unbelieving, too, He sometimes draws by means of sickness and outward circumstances; yea, many also by means of visions have come to make their abode with Jesus.
On Psalm IXXXIX, 4. Of the Gentiles.
And around us are the wise men of the Greeks mocking and jeering us, as those who believe without inquiry, and foolishly.
On the Words in Psalm XCVI. 11: “Let the Sea Roar (Be Moved), and the Fulness Thereof.”
By these words it is signified that the preaching of the Gospel will be spread abroad over the seas and the islands in the ocean, and among the people dwelling therein, who are here called “the fulness thereof.” And that word has been made good. For churches of Christ fill all the islands, and are being multiplied every day, and the teaching of the Word of salvation is gaining accessions.
On Psalm CXIX. 30-32.
He who loves truth, and never utters a false word with his mouth, may say, “I have chosen the way of truth.” Moreover, he who always sets the judgments of God before his eyes, and remembers them in every action, will say, “Thy judgments have I not forgotten.” And how is our heart enlarged by trials and afflictions! For these pluck out the thorns of anxious thoughts within us, and enlarge the heart for the reception of the divine laws. For, says he, “in affliction Thou hast enlarged me.” Then do we walk in the way of God’s commandments, well prepared for it by the endurance of trials.
On the Words in Psalm CXXVII. 7: “On the Wrath of Mine Enemies.” Etc.
Hast thou254 seen that the power (of God) is most mighty on every side? For (says he) Thou wilt be able to save me when in the midst of troubles, and to keep them in check when they rage, and rave, and breathe fire.
On the Words in Psalm CXXXIX. 15: “My Substance or (Bones) Was Not Hid from Thee, Which Thou Madest in Secret.”
It is said also by those who treat of the nature and generation of animals, that the change of the blood into bone is something invisible and intangible, although in the case of other parts, I mean the flesh and nerves, the mode of their formation may be seen. And the Scripture also, in Ecclesiastes, adduces this, saying, “As thou knowest not the bones in the womb of her that is with child, so thou shalt not know the works of God.“255 But from Thee was not hid even my substance, as it was originally in the lowest parts of the earth.