VI. 2 Then all they that had been divided and
dwelt upon the earth gathered together there after,
2. And they said everyone to his neighbour: Let us take bricks (lit. stones), and let us, each one, write our names upon the bricks and burn them with fire: and that which is thoroughly burned shall be for mortar and brick. (Perhaps, that which is not thoroughly burned shall be for mortar, and that which is, for brick.)
3. 1 And they took every man their bricks, saving 12 men, which would not take them, and these are their names: Abraham, Nachor, Loth, Ruge, Tenute, Zaba, Armodath, Iobab, Esar, Abimahel, Saba, Auphin. 4. And the people of the land laid hands on them and brought them before their princes and said: These are the men that have transgressed our counsels and will not walk in our ways. And the princes said unto them: Wherefore would ye not set every man your bricks with the people of the land? And they answered and said: We will not set bricks with you, neither will we be joined with your desire. One Lord know we, and him do we worship. And if ye should cast us into the fire with your bricks, we will not
consent to you. 5. And the princes were wroth and said: As they have said, so do unto them, and if they consent not to set bricks with you, ye shall burn them with fire together with your bricks. 6. Then answered Jectan which was the first prince of the captains: Not so, but there shall be given them a space of 7 days. And it shall be, if they repent of their evil counsels, and will set bricks along with us, they shall live; but if not, let them be burned according to your word. But he sought how he might save them out of the hands of the people; for he was of their tribe, and he served God.
7. And when he had thus said he took them and shut them up in the king's house: and when it was evening the prince commanded 50 mighty men of valour to be called unto him, and said unto them: Go forth and take to-night these men that are shut up in mine house, and put provision for them from my house upon 10 beasts, and the men bring ye to me, and their provision together with the beasts take ye to the mountains and wait for them there: and know this, that if any man shall know what I have said unto you, I will burn you with fire.
8. And the men set forth and did all that their prince commanded them, and took the men from his house by night; and took provision and put it upon beasts and took them to the hill country as he commanded them.
9. And the prince called unto him those 12 men and said to them: Be of good courage and fear not, for ye shall not die. For God in whom ye trust is mighty, and therefore be ye stablished in him, for he will deliver you and save you. And now lo, I have commanded So men to take [you with] provision from my house, and go before you
into the hill country 1 and wait for you in the valley: and I will give you other 50 men which shall guide you thither: go ye therefore and hide yourselves there in the valley, having water to drink that floweth down from the rocks: hold yourselves there for 30 days, until the anger of the people of the land be appeased and until God send his wrath upon them and break them. For I know that the counsel of iniquity which they have agreed to perform shall not stand, for their thought is vain. And it shall be when 7 days are expired and they shall seek for you, I will say unto them: They have gone forth and have broken the door of the prison wherein they were shut up and have fled by night, and I have sent 100 men to seek them. So will I turn them from their madness that is upon them.
10. And there answered him 11 of the men saying: Thy servants have found favour in thy sight, in that we are set free out of the hands of these proud men. 11. But Abram only kept silence, and the prince said unto him: Wherefore answerest thou not me, Abram, servant of God? Abram answered and said: Lo, I flee away to-day into the hill country, and if I escape the fire, wild beasts will come out of the mountains and devour us. Or our victuals will fail and we shall die of hunger; and we shall be found fleeing from the people of the land and shall fall in our sins. And now, as he liveth in whom I trust, I will not remove from my place wherein they have put me: and if there be any sin of mine so that I be indeed burned, the will of God be done. And the prince said unto him:
[paragraph continues] Thy blood be upon thy head, if thou refuse to go forth with these. But if thou consent, thou shall be delivered. Yet if thou wilt abide, abide as thou art. And Abram said: I will not go forth, but I will abide here.
12. And the prince took those 11 men and sent other 50 with them, and commanded them saying: Wait, ye also, in the hill country for 15 days with those 50 which were sent before you; and after that ye shall return and say We have not found them, as I said to the former ones. And know that if any man transgress one of all these words that I have spoken unto you, he shall be burned with fire. So the men went forth, and he took Abram by himself and shut him up where he had been shut up aforetime.
13. And after 7 days were passed, the people were gathered together and spake unto their prince saying: Restore us the men which would not consent unto us, that we may burn them with fire. And they sent captains to bring them, and they found them not, save Abram only. And they gathered all of them to their prince saying: The men whom ye shut up are fled and have escaped that which we counselled. 14. And Phenech and Nemroth said unto Jectan: Where are the men whom thou didst shut up? But he said: They have broken prison and fled by night: but I have sent 100 men to seek them, and commanded them if they find them that they should not only burn them with fire but give their bodies to the fowls of the heaven and so destroy them. 15. Then said they: This fellow which is found alone, let us burn him. And they took Abram and brought him before their princes and said to him: Where are they that were with thee? And he said: Verily at night I slept, and when I awaked I found them not.
16. And they took him and built a furnace and kindled it with fire, and put bricks burned with fire into the furnace. Then Jectan the prince being amazed (lit. melted) in his mind took Abram and put him with the bricks into the furnace of fire. 17. But God stirred up a great earthquake, and the fire gushed forth of the furnace and brake
18. And Abram arose out of the furnace, and the fiery furnace fell down, and Abram was saved. And he went unto the 11 men that were hid in the hill country and told them all that had befallen him, and they came down with him out of the hill country rejoicing in the name of the Lord, and no man met them to affright them that day. And they called that place by the name of Abram, and in the tongue of the Chaldeans Deli, which is being interpreted, God.
89:2 VI. This particular legend of the rescue of Abram from the fire is peculiar to Philo. Most of the stories make Nimrod the principal actor. Various forms may be seen in p. 90 Beer's Leben Abrahams or Baring-Gould's Legends of O. T. Characters.
90:1 3. Several of the names here are those of the sons of Jectan in IV. 10. Auphin is probably for Ophir.
92:1 9. and go before you, etc., et praecedite uos in montana et sustinete uos in ualle. Some such change as I have made in the translation appears necessary.