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OF THE ANNUNCIATlON OF THE ANGEL TO YÔNÂKÎR (JOACHIM) IN RESPECT OF MARY.
THIS Zadok, who was called Yônâkîr, and Dinah his wife were righteous before God, and were rich in earthly riches and in goods and chattels; but they had neither fruit nor offspring like other people2. They were reproached by the people for their barrenness, and they did not allow them to offer up the offering except after every one else, because they had no children among the people of Israel. And Yônâkîr went out into the desert, and pitched his tent outside the encampment, and he prayed before God with mournful tears, and put on garments of mourning; so also did Dinah his wife. And God heard their prayers and accepted the sacrifices of their tears. The angel of God came to them, and announced to them the conception of Mary, saying, 'Your prayer has been heard before God, and behold, He will give you blessed fruit, a daughter who shall be a sign and a wonder among all the generations of the world; and all families shall be blessed through her.' Then they two praised God, and Zadok returned to his habitation. And Dinah his wife conceived, and brought forth Mary; and from that day she was called Hannah (Anna) instead of Dinah, for the Lord had had compassion upon her. Now the name 'Mary' (Maryam or Miriam) is interpreted 'lifted up,' 'exalted;' and they rejoiced in her exceedingly. And after six months her parents said to one another, 'We will not allow her to walk upon the ground3;' p. 77 and they carried her with sacrifices and offerings, and brought her to the temple of the Lord. And they sacrificed oxen and sheep to the Lord, and offered Mary to the high priest. He laid his hand upon her head, and blessed her, saying, 'Blessed shalt thou be among women.' Two years after she was weaned, they brought her to the temple of the Lord, even as they had vowed to the Lord, and delivered her to the high priest. He laid his hand upon her head, and blessed her, and said to her that she should give herself over to the aged women who were there. And she was brought up with the virgins in the temple of the Lord, and performed the service of the temple with joyful heart and godly fervour until she was twelve years old. Because she was beautiful in appearance, the priests and the high priest took counsel and prayed before God that He would reveal to them what they should do with her1. And the angel of God appeared unto the high priest and said to him, 'Gather together the staves of the men who have been left widowers by their first wives, and are well known for piety, uprightness, and righteousness, and what God sheweth thee, do.' And they brought many staves and laid them down in the temple; and they prayed before God that day and its night. The chief priest went into the temple and gave to each of them his staff, and when Joseph took his staff in his hand, there went forth from it a white dove, and hovered over the top of the rod, and sat upon it. The chief priest drew near to Joseph and kissed him on his head, and said to him, 'The blessed maiden has fallen to thy lot from the Lord; take her to thee until she arrives at the age for marriage, and (then) make a marriage feast after the manner and custom of men; for it is meet for thee (to do so) more than others, because ye are cousins.' Joseph said to the chief priest, 'I am an old and feeble man, and this is a girl, and unfit for my aged condition; it is better to give her to one of her own age, because I cannot rely upon myself to watch her and guard her.' The chief priest said to him, 'Take heed that thou dost not transgress the command of God, and bring a punishment upon thee.' So Joseph took Mary, and went to his dwelling-place.
2Some days after the priests distributed various coloured silken p. 78 threads to weave for the veil of the sanctuary; and it fell to Mary's lot to weave purple. And while she was in the temple in prayer, having placed incense before the Lord, suddenly the archangel Gabriel appeared to her in the form of a middle-aged man, and a sweet odour was diffused from him; and Mary was terrified at the sight of the angel.
1 Chap. xxxviii in the Oxford MS.
2 See William Hone, The Apocryphal New Testament, 8vo, London, 1820, Protevangelion and Mary; Wright, Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Testament, p. 1; Cowper, The Apocryphal Gospels, pp. 3, 29, and 84 foll.; Tischendorf, Evangelia Apocrypha, Leipzig, 1853, pp. 53 foll.; Thilo, Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, Lipsiae, 1832, t. i, pp. 162 foll. For a list of other works on the Apocryphal Gospels, see Migne, Dictionnaire des Apocryphes, col. 962.
3 Then her mother caught her up and said, 'As the Lord my God liveth, thou shalt not walk again on this earth till I bring thee into the temple of the Lord.' Hone, Apoc. New Test., Mary, chap. vi. 2.
1 Hane, Apoc. New Test., chap. viii. 31.
2 Ibid., chap. ix.