Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster , at sacred-texts.com
XXXV. (1) These are the generations of Terah, etc.: Haran, the firstborn, begat Lot and Yiskah, i.e., Sarai, and Milkah. And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in Ur of the Chaldees. On account of the idols of Terah he died in the fire of the Chaldeans, for the Chaldeans worshipped the fire. Terah used to make the idols of their
gods, and Haran, his eldest son, used to sell them. But Abram did not worship them. The Chaldeans came to dip both Haran and Abram in the fire, for they were accustomed to dip them in the fire, just as some nations dip their sons in the water. Abram, who did not worship, and who did not bow down to the idol, was saved from the fire of the Chaldeans and was not burnt; but Haran, who feared the idols, who honoured them and sold them for worship, was burnt in the fire of the Chaldeans and died. When Terah saw that God delivered Abram, he deserted his former faith, and went forth with him (Abram) to dwell in a foreign country; and he gave Milkah, the daughter of Haran, to Nahor, his son, to wife, and Yiskah, that is Sarai, he gave to Abram, his youngest son, after he had weaned her and brought her up in his own house on the death of her father Haran. And he gave Lot, the son of Haran, to Abram as an adopted son, for Sarai was barren. And they went forth towards the land of Canaan. (2) Now, it came to pass, when Abram came from Babylon—i.e., Ur of the Chaldees—he betook himself to Damascus, he and his household, and was made king over that city; for Eliezer was then the ruler of Damascus; but when he saw that the Lord was with Abram he presented him with the kingdom and surrendered himself to his service. And I, Jeraḥmeel, have discovered in the Book of Nicolaos of Damascus that there existed a certain neighbourhood in Damascus called the dwelling-place of Abram. This they honoured exceedingly.
(3) And the Lord said to him (Abram), 'I am the Lord, who brought thee forth from the fire of the Chaldeans.' The sages say that when Nimrod the Wicked cast Abram into the fiery furnace, Gabriel said to God, 'I shall go down and cool the furnace, and deliver this righteous man.' But God replied, 'I am One in My world, and he is one in this world; it is therefore proper for the One to deliver the other one.' But since God does not withhold reward from any creature, He added to Gabriel, 'Thou shalt deliver three of his posterity.' For when Nebuchadnezzar cast Hananya,
[paragraph continues] Mishael, and ‘Azaria, into the burning furnace Laqmi (###), the angel who rules over hail, spake to God, and said, 'I shall go down and cool the furnace, and thus deliver the righteous men.' But Gabriel interposed, and said, 'The greatness of God would not be shown in this manner, for thou art the ruler over hail, and all people know that water quenches fire; but I who am the ruler over fire shall go down and cool the inside while I am at the same time heating the outside of the furnace. Thus I shall perform a double miracle.' Then spake God to Gabriel, 'Descend.' And Gabriel at once exclaimed, 'The truth of God is everlasting.' (4) And Abram was rich in cattle, silver, gold, and in all the wisdom of 'hermetica' and astrology which he had acquired in Egypt from Pharaoh's magicians, so that there was none so wise as he. From Egypt these sciences spread over Greece. And Abram was able to foretell the future by the observance of the stars, and was very wise in astrology. He taught his magic science to Zoroastres, the philosopher, and he saw from the planets that the order of the world was not as before, for the order of creation was changed on account of the flood and the dispersion. Rabbi El‘azar, of Modiin, asserted that Abraham was exceedingly great in magic, so much so that all the kings of the East and West waited upon him.
(5) And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre. Josippon relates that Abram used to sit in an oak-tree, and that that oak lasted until the reign of Theodosius in Rome, when it withered, and despite the fact that it had dried up, yet its wood was excellent for medicinal purposes, for whoever took of its wood, whether animal or man, did not experience any illness to the day of his death.
(6) Then supervened the destruction of the cities of the plain. And Lot said, 'I am not able to flee to the mountain, for I am an old man, and the cold will kill me, and my soul is also weary. Behold there is a little city near to flee to; I pray thee let me escape thither, for the way is short, and my soul shall live.' And the name of the city had formerly been 'Bela‘.' Now, there was a great earthquake;
and Lot went and dwelt in a cave, for he feared the earthquake. And the Lord rained brimstone and fire from heaven upon Sodom, so that on the third day all the plain was filled with water. This they now call the Salt Sea, or 'Leber Meer' (###). Neither fish nor fowl are found there. It separates the land of Israel from Arabia. During the whole of the forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness they travelled round this sea. No ships are able to travel thereon, because the sea is like pitch, so that nothing can sink in it, but remains on the surface on account of the pitch; and if one places a burning torch upon the pitch, all the while it floats it burns, but as soon as it is extinguished it sinks to the bottom. And the sea vomits a kind of black pitch with which the things are joined together, for it is good for sticking. Josippon relates that he saw Vespasian cast a man into that sea, and that he hurled him with great force into it so that he should sink, but the sea brought him up again. The sand on the shores of the sea is salty, and one finds there the 'salty stones of Sodom' looking like pieces of marble.
(7) When Jacob was born Inachus was then the first King of Argos, and reigned for fifty years, and in the third year of his reign a daughter was born to Inachus whose name was Io, and the Egyptians gave her a surname and called her Izides (###), and worshipped her as a God. (8) And in the nineteenth year of Jacob's life the Egyptians made Apis King of Egypt; they made him a god and called his name Sarapis. And Apis made for himself a calf by means of the magic of his magicians. On the right eye of the calf there was a white mark in the likeness of the moon, and once every day at the fourth hour it used to rise up from the river and fly in the air. And the Egyptians used to worship and pray and sing praises to it with all kinds of instruments, and prostrate themselves before it. And in a moment the calf vanished and was no more, and it was hidden and concealed as before in the river, so that the Egyptians could not see it until the morrow at the fourth hour. This the calf repeated every day. The Egyptians
called it Sarapis, and for this idol-worship the Egyptians were punished by water when they perished in the Red Sea. (9) In the ninety-second year of Jacob's life Joseph was born, and at that time there was a flood in the land of Achayā (###), which was a very large kingdom. There reigned in it a king whose name was Ogiges (###). This king built anew the city Akta (###), and called its name Eliozin (###, Eleusis). At that time there arose a virgin, whose name was Titonide (###). She was versed in all the seven sciences. They called her Pallas, because she killed a giant called Palante (###. At that place the city of Palini (###) was built.