Book of Jubilees

Book of Jubilees
Catalog # SKU0011
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.10 lbs
Author Name Charles


The Book of Jubilees

Translated by R. H. Charles

Translator's notes:

Freedom and determinism. The author of Jubilees is a true Pharisee in that he combines belief in Divine omnipotence and providence with the belief in human freedom and responsibility. He would have adopted heartily the statement of the Pss. Sol. ix. 7 (written some sixty years or more later) (Gk.) ta erga emon en ekloge kai exousia tes psuches emon, tou poiesai dikaiosunen kai adikian en ergois cheiron emon: v. 6 anthropos kai e meris autou para soi en stathmo ou prosthesei tou pleonasai para to krima sou, o theos. Thus the path in which a man should walk is ordained for him and the judgement of all men predetermined on the heavenly tablets: 'And the judgment of all is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets in righteousness -even the judgment of all who depart from the path which is ordained for them to walk in' (v.13). This idea of an absolute determinism underlies many conceptions of the heavenly tablets (see Charles's edition, iii. 10 note). On the other hand, man's freedom and responsibility are fully recognized: 'If they walk not therein, judgment is written down for every creature' (v. 13): 'Beware lest thou walk in their ways, And tread in their paths, And sin a sin unto death before the Most High God. Else He will give thee back into the hand of thy transgression.' Even when a man has sinned deeply he can repent and be forgiven (xli. 24 seq.), but the human will needs the strengthening of a moral dynamic: 'May the Most High God . . . strengthen thee to do His will' (xxi. 25, xxii. 10).

The Fall. The effects of the Fall were limited to Adam and the animal creation. Adam was driven from the garden (iii. 17 seqq.) and the animal creation was robbed of the power of speech (iii. 28). But the subsequent depravity of the human race is not traced to the Fall but to the seduction of the daughters of men by the angels, who had been sent down to instruct men (v.1-4), and to the solicitations of demonic spirits (vii. 27). The evil engendered by the former was brought to an end by the destruction of all the descendants of the angels and of their victims by the Deluge, but the incitement to sin on the part of the demons was to last to the final judgement (vii. 27, x. 1-15, xi. 4 seq., xii. 20). This last view appears in I Enoch and the N.T.

The Law. The law was of eternal validity. It was not the expression of the religious consciousness of one or of several ages, but the revelation in time of what was valid from the beginning and unto all eternity. The various enactments of the law moral and ritual, were written on the heavenly tablets (iii. 31, vi. 17, &c.) and revealed to man through the mediation of angels (i.27). This conception of the law, as I have already pointed out, made prophecy impossible unless under the guise of pseudonymity. Since the law was the ultimate and complete expression of absolute truth, there was no room for any further revelation: much less could any such revelation, were it conceivable, supersede a single jot or tittle of the law as already revealed. The ideal of the faithful Jew was to be realized in the fulfilment of the moral and ritual precepts of this law: the latter were of no less importance than the former. Though this view of morality tends to be mainly external, our author strikes a deeper note when he declares that, when Israel turned to God with their whole heart, He would circumcise the foreskin of their heart and create a right spirit within them and cleanse them, so that they would not turn away from Him for ever (i. 23). Our author specially emphasizes certain elements of the law such as circumcision (xvi. 14, xv. 26, 29), the Sabbath (ii. 18 seq., 31 seq.), eating of blood (vi. 14), tithing of the tithe (xxxii. 10), Feast of Tabernacles (xvi. 29), Feast of Weeks (vi. 17), the absolute prohibition of mixed marriages (xx. 4, xxii. 20, xxv. 1-10). In connexion with many of these he enunciates halacha which belong to an earlier date than those in the Mishnah, but which were either modified or abrogated by later authorities.

The Messiah. Although our author is an upholder of the Maccabean dynasty he still clings like the writer of I Enoch lxxxiii-xc to the hope of a Messiah sprung from Judah. He makes, however, only one reference to this Messiah, and no role of any importance is assigned to him (see Charles's edition, xxxi. 18 n.). The Messianic expectation showed no vigorous life throughout this century till it was identified with the Maccabean family. If we are right in regarding the Messianic kingdom as of temporary duration, this is the first instance in which the Messiah is associated with a temporary Messianic kingdom.

The Messianic kingdom. According to our author (i. 29, xxiii. 30) this kingdom was to be brought about gradually by the progressive spiritual development of man and a corresponding transformation of nature. Its members were to attain to the full limit of 1,000 years in happiness and peace. During its continuance the powers of evil were to be restrained (xxiii. 29). The last judgement was apparently to take place at its close (xxiii. 30). This view was possibly derived from Mazdeism.

The writer of Jubilees, we can hardly doubt, thought that the era of the Messianic kingdom had already set in. Such an expectation was often cherished in the prosperous days of the Maccabees. Thus it was entertained by the writer of I Enoch lxxxiii-xc in the days of Judas before 161 B.C. Whether Jonathan was looked upon as the divine agent for introducing the kingdom we cannot say, but as to Simon being regarded in this light there is no doubt. Indeed, his contemporaries came to regard him as the Messiah himself, as we see from Psalm cx, or Hyrcanus in the noble Messianic hymn in Test. Levi 18. The tame effus1on in 1 Macc. xiv. 8-15 is a relic of such literature, which was emasculated by its Sadducean editor. Simon was succeeded by John Hyrcanus in 135 B.C. and this great prince seemed to his countrymen to realize the expectations of the past; for according to a contemporary writer (Test. Levi 8) he embraced in his own person the triple office of prophet, priest, and civil ruler (xxxi. i5), while according to the Test. Reuben 6 he was to 'die on behalf of Israel in wars seen and unseen'. In both these passages he seems to be accorded the Messianic office, but not so in our author, as we have seen above. Hyrcanus is only to introduce the Messianic kingdom, over which the Messiah sprung from Judah is to rule.

Priesthood of Melchizedek. That there was originally an account of Melchizedek in our text we have shown in the note on xiii. 2,5, and, that the Maccabean high-priests deliberately adopted the title applied to him in Gen. xiv, we have pointed out in the note on xxxii. I. It would be interesting to inquire how far the writer of Hebrews was indebted to the history of the great Maccabean king-priests for the idea of the Melchizedekian priesthood of which he has made so fruitful a use in chap. vii as applied to our Lord.

The Future Life. In our text all hope of a resurrection of the body is abandoned. The souls of the righteous will enjoy a blessed immortality after death (xxiii. 31). This is the earliest attested instance of this expectation in the last two centuries B.C. It is next found in Enoch xci-civ.

The Jewish Calendar. For our author's peculiar views see Charles's edition 18 and the notes on vi. 29-30, 32, xv. I.

Angelology. We shall confine our attention here to notable parallels between our author and the New Testament. Besides the angels of the presence and the angels of sanctification there are the angels who are set over natural phenomena (ii. 2). These angels are inferior to the former. They do not observe the Sabbath as the higher orders; for they are necessarily always engaged in their duties (ii. 18). It is the higher orders that are generally referred to in the New Testament but the angels over natural phenomena are referred to in Revelation: angels of the winds in vii. 1, 2, the angel of fire in xiv. 18, the angel of the waters in xvi. 5 (cf. Jub. ii. 2). Again, the guardian angels of individuals, which the New Testament refers to in Matt. xviii.10 (Acts xii. 15), are mentioned, for the first time in Jubilees xxxv. 17. On the angelology of our author see Charles's edition.

Demonology. The demonology of our author reappears for the most part in the New Testament:

(a) The angels which kept not their first estate, Jude 6 ; 2 Peter ii. 4, are the angelic watchers who, though sent down to instruct mankind (Jub. iv. 15), fell from lusting after the daughters of men. Their fall and punishment are recorded in Jub. iv.22, v.1-9.

(b) The demons are the spirits which went forth from the souls of the giants who were the children of the fallen angels, Jub. v.7, 9. These demons attacked men and ruled over them (x. 3, 6). Their purpose is to corrupt and lead astray and destroy the wicked (x. 8). They are subject to the prince Mastema (x. 9), or Satan. Men sacrifice to them as gods (xxii. 17). They are to pursue their work of moral ruin till the judgement of Mastema (x. 8) or the setting up of the Messianic kingdom, when Satan will be no longer able to injure mankind (xxiii. 29).

So in the New Testament, the demons are disembodied spirits (Matt. xii. 43-5; Luke xi. 24-6). Their chief is Satan (Mark iii.22). They are treated as divinities of the heathen (I Cor. x. 20). They are not to be punished till the final judgement (Matt. viii.29). On the advent of the Millennium Satan will be bound (Rev. xx. 2-3).

Judgement. The doctrine of retribution is strongly enforced by our author. It is to be individual and national in this world and in the next. As regards the individual the law of exact retribution is according to our author not merely an enactment of human justice -the ancient lex talionis, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; it is observed by God in His government of the world. The penalty follows in the line of the sin. This view is enforced in 2 Macc. v. 10, where it is said of Jason, that, as he robbed multitudes of the rites of sepulture, so he himself was deprived of them in turn, and in xv. 32 seq. it is recounted of Nicanor that he was punished in those members with which he had sinned. So also in our text in reference to Cain iv. 31 seq. and the Egyptians xlviii. 14. Taken crassly and mechanically the above law is without foundation, but spiritually conceived it represented the profound truth of the kinship of the penalty to the sin enunciated repeatedly in the New Testament: 'Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap' (Gal. vi.;); 'he that doeth wrong shall receive again the wrong that he hath done' (Col. iii. 25, &c.). Again in certain cases the punishment was to follow instantaneously on the transgression (xxxvii.17).

The final judgement was to take place at the close of the Messianic kingdom (xxiii. 30). This judgement embraces the human and superhuman worlds (v. 10 seq., 14). At this judgement there will be no respect of persons, but all will be judged according to their opportunities and abilities (v. 15 seq.).

5 x 8 inches, perfect bind, 158 pages

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