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THE PASSION OF OUR LORD

The Book of the Bee

edited and translated by

Earnest A. Wallis Budge, M.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Three years and three months after His baptism, Judas Iscariot the son of Simon betrayed his Lord to death. He was called Iscariot (Sekhariôtâ) from the name of his town (Sekhariôt), and he had the sixth place among the disciples before he betrayed our Lord. Our Lord was crucified at the third hour of Friday, the ninth of Nisan. Caiaphas, who condemned our Lord, is Josephus. The name of Bar-Abbâ was Jesus. The name of the soldier who pierced our Lord with the spear, and spat in His face, and smote Him on His cheek, was Longinus; it was he who lay upon a sick bed for thirty-eight years, and our Lord healed him, and said to him, 'Behold, thou art healed; sin no more, lest something worse than the first befall thee.' The watchers at the grave were five, and these are their names: Issachar, Gad, Matthias, Barnabas and Simon; but others say they were fifteen, three centurions and their Roman and Jewish soldiers. Some men have a tradition that the stone which was laid upon the grave of our Lord was the stone which poured out water for the children of Israel in the wilderness. The grave in which our Redeemer was laid was prepared for Joshua the son of Nun, and was carefully guarded by the Divine will for the burial of our Lord. The purple which they put on our Lord mockingly, was given in a present to the Maccabees by the emperors of the Greeks; and they handed it over to the priests for dressing the temple. The priests took it and brought it to Pilate, testifying and saying, 'See the purple which He prepared when He thought to become king,' The garment which the soldiers divided into four parts indicates the passibility of His body, The robe without seam at the upper end which was not rent, is the mystery of the Godhead which cannot admit suffering. As touching the blood and water which came forth from His side, John the son of Zebedee was deemed worthy to see that vivifying flow from the life-giving fountain. Mâr John Chrysostom says: 'When His side was rent by the soldiers with the spear, there came forth immediately water and blood. The water is a type of baptism, and the blood is the mystery of His precious blood, for baptism was given first, and then the cup of redemption. But in the gospel it is written, "There went forth blood and water,"' As to the tree upon which our Redeemer was crucified, some have said that He was crucified upon those bars with which they carried the ark of the covenant; and others that it was upon the wood of the tree on which Abraham offered up the ram as an offering instead of Isaac. His hands were nailed upon the wood of the fig-tree of which Adam ate, and behold, we have mentioned its history with that of Moses' rod. The thirty pieces of silver (zûzê) which Judas received, and for which he sold his Lord, were thirty pieces according to the weight of the sanctuary, and were equal to six hundred pieces according to the weight of our country. Terah made these pieces for Abraham his son; Abraham gave them to Isaac; Isaac bought a village with them; the owner of the village carried them to Pharaoh; Pharaoh sent them to Solomon the son of David for the building of his temple; and Solomon took them and placed them round about the door of the altar. When Nebuchadnezzar came and took captive the children of Israel, and went into Solomon's temple and saw that these pieces were beautiful, he took them, and brought them to Babylon with the captives of the children of Israel. There were some Persian youths there as hostages, and when Nebuchadnezzar came from Jerusalem, they sent to him everything that was meet for kings and rulers. And since gifts and presents had been sent by the Persians, he released their sons and gave them gifts and presents, among which were those pieces of silver about which we have spoken; and they carried them to their parents. When Christ was born and they saw the star, they arose and took those pieces of silver and gold and myrrh and frankincense, and set out on the journey; and they came to the neighbourhood of Edessa, and these kings fell asleep by the roadside. And they arose and left the pieces behind them, and did not remember them, but forgot that anything of theirs remained behind. And certain merchants came and found them, and took these pieces, and came to the neighbourhood of Edessa, and sat down by a well of water. On that very day an angel came to the shepherds, and gave them the garment without seam at the upper end, woven throughout. And he said to them, 'Take this garment, in which is the life of mankind.' And the shepherds took the garment, and came to the well of water by the side of which were those merchants. They said to them, 'We have a garment without seam at the upper end; will ye buy it?' The merchants said to them, 'Bring it here.' When they saw the garment, they marvelled and said to the shepherds: 'We have thirty pieces of silver which are meet for kings; take them and give us this garment.' When the merchants had taken the garment, and had gone into the city of Edessa, Abgar the king sent to them and said, 'Have ye anything meet for kings, that I may buy it from you?' The merchants said to him, 'We have a garment without seam at the upper end.' When the king saw the garment, he said to them, 'Whence have ye this garment?' They said to him, 'We came to a well by the gate of thy city, and we saw it in the hands of some shepherds, and we bought it from them for thirty pieces of stamped silver, which were also meet for kings like thyself.' The king sent for the shepherds, and took the pieces from them, and sent them together with the garment to Christ for the good that He had done him in healing his sickness. When Christ saw the garment and the pieces, He kept the garment by Him, but He sent the pieces to the Jewish treasury. When Judas Iscariot came to the chief priests and said to them, 'What will ye give me that I may deliver Him to you?' the priests arose and brought those pieces, and gave them to Judas Iscariot; and when he repented, he returned them to the Jews, and went and hanged himself. And the priests took them and bought with them a field for a burial-place for strangers.

   Of Joseph the senator (βουλευτής {Greek: Bouleuths}), and why he was thus called. The senators were a class very much honoured in the land of the Romans; and if it happened that no one could be found of the royal lineage, they made a king from among this class. If one of them committed an offence, they used to beat his horse with white woollen gloves instead of him. This Joseph was not a senator by birth, but he purchased the dignity, and enrolled himself among the Roman senate, and was called Senator.

   As for the committal of Mary to John the son of Zebedee by our Lord, He said to her, 'Woman, behold thy son;' and to John He said, 'Behold thy mother;' and from that hour he took her into his house and ministered unto her. Mary lived twelve years after our Lord's Ascension: the sum of the years which she lived in the world was fifty-eight years, but others say sixty-one years. She was not buried on earth, but the angels carried her to Paradise, and angels bore her bier. On the day of her death all the apostles were gathered together and they prayed over her and were blessed by her. Thomas was in India, and an angel took him up and brought him, and he found the angels carrying her bier through the air; and they brought it nigh to Thomas, and he also prayed and was blessed by her.

   As regards the name of `arûbhtâ (i.e. the eve of the Jewish Sabbath), it was not known until this time, but that day was called the sixth day. And when the sun became dark, and the Divine Care also set and abandoned the Israelitish people, then that day was called `arûbhtâ.

   Touching the writing which was written in Greek, Hebrew and Latin, and set over Christ's head, there was no Aramean written upon the tablet, for the Arameans or Syrians had no part in (the shedding of) Christ's blood, but only the Greeks and Hebrews and Romans; Herod the Greek and Caiaphas the Hebrew and Pilate the Roman. Hence when Abgar the Aramean king of Mesopotamia heard (of it), he was wroth against the Hebrews and sought to destroy them.

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