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Chapter IX

1. WHEN there had come to Abram in She-a-do-wan four thousand five hundred souls, God spake to Abram, saying: Come, now; I will lead thee and thy people into another country.

2. So Abram led them thence and came into Lower Howd-Lutz. And it came to pass that in the next year after they departed out of She-a-do-wan a famine came upon the land and the enemies of God were cut off, and could not pursue Abram and his people.

3. After this it was that Abram was called Abraham, and he built altars of worship and altars of sacrifice, according to the commandments of God.

4. Now it came to pass in the early days of Abraham, he told his brothers that the light and power of God were with him; and, though others believed in Abraham, yet Lot, Abram's brother, and Lot, Abram's nephew, believed not in Abraham, saying of him: He was born naturally, and is wise of his own judgment.

5. God said to Abraham: Behold, it is an easy matter to commune with spirits, but to judge righteously of them is not so easy. For which reason thou and thy wife, and one hundred picked men, shall go and visit Sodom and Gomorrah in the valley of Siddim.

6. And Abraham and his people went as commanded by God, and visited the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; and God spake privily to Abraham, saying: I will destroy these cities, for they are as hells for evil spirits; but Lot shall escape for thy sake.

7. And when they came to Sodom, behold, angels walked amongst the people, and the people knew they were angels, but cared not for them. And there were laws made by Bera, king of Sodom, regarding the behavior betwixt angels and men.

8. And Abraham, being pressed by the presence of God, said unto his p. 327b people: Behold, there are angels that love to dwell in lust, and to partake with mortals; to eat with them, to lie down with them, and to partake in all ungodly pleasures.

9. God, through his angels, rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, and they were burnt and destroyed. Lot, the elder, escaped, and went and lived in a cave.

10. Now, after Abraham and his people were returned to Jireh, his camp, and it was night, God said to Abraham: Be thou steadfast, and show thy people that they may understand my words.

11. And whilst they were yet praying before the altar, God withdrew from Abraham, and suffered the evil angels, who had followed them from Sodom and Gomorrah, to draw near about the altar. And one of the angels clothed himself in a great light, and with a crown, and with sparkling gems, and he appeared, so all the multitude of people could look upon him.

12. Abraham said: Who art thou? And the spirit said: I am thy God, ruler of heaven and earth! Abraham said: I am thy servant; what wouldst thou? And the spirit said: Thou shalt take thine only son, Isaac, and thy hosts who were with thee at Sodom and Gomorrah, and go with me whither I will lead thee, for I have a great work for thee.

13. Abraham said: Whatsoever thou puttest upon me to do, that will I do.

14. So in the morning Abraham and his son Isaac, and the hosts who had been with Abraham to Sodom and Gomorrah, assembled together. And Abraham spake, saying: Whither, O God?

15. The spirit answered, saying: Take sticks and a fire-brand and come thou to the summit of yonder hill, for thou shalt restore the rites of burnt offerings. So Abraham told what God had said, and they started, and Isaac carried the bundle of willows, such as basket-makers use, saying: This will light the large pieces; but what wilt thou burn for an offering, O Father? And Abraham said: God will provide.

16. And when they ascended to the place, Abraham gathered logs and heaped them up, and Isaac placed the willows.

17. Then spake the spirit, saying: What shall a man love above all things in the world? And Abraham said: p. 328b God. And the spirit said: For which reason thou shalt offer thine only son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. And it shall be testimony before thy people that thou wilt obey God even to the sacrifice of thine own flesh and kin.

18. Abraham said: Show me that thou art God, that I may not err, for I have been commanded not to kill.

19. And the spirit departed away from Abraham, perceiving that he knew the higher law. And Isaac was grieved at heart, for he desired to witness what a sacrifice was. And the people, seeing a ram near at hand, went and caught it, and slaughtered it, and sprinkled the blood on the sacrifice, and they lighted the fire and roasted the flesh, and took it and gave it to the poor.

20. And Abraham called the place Jehovih-Jireh, and they returned to the camp; and Abraham, being moved of God, spake before the people.

Next: Chapter X