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Chapter XXX.

All the people upon the earth are to be regarded as having used one divine language, and so long as they lived harmoniously together were preserved in the use of this divine language, and they remained without moving from the east so long as they were imbued with the sentiments of the “light,” and of the “reflection” of the eternal light.41844184    ἐς ὅσον εἰσὶ τὰ τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ τοῦ ἀπὸ φωτὸς ἀϊδίου ἀπαυγάσματος φρονοῦντες.  But when they departed from the east, and began to entertain sentiments alien to those of the east,41854185    ἀλλότρια ἀνατολῶν φρονοῦντες. they found a place in the land of Shinar (which, when interpreted, means “gnashing of teeth,” by way of indicating symbolically that they had lost the means of their support), and in it they took up their abode.  Then, desiring to gather together material things,41864186    τὰ τῆς ὕλης. and to join to heaven what had no natural affinity for it, that by means of material things they might conspire against such as were immaterial, they said, “Come, let us made bricks, and burn them with fire.”  Accordingly, when they had hardened and compacted these materials of clay and matter, and had shown their desire to make brick into stone, and clay into bitumen, and by these means to build a city and a tower, the head of which was, at least in their conception, to reach up to the heavens, after the manner of the “high things which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God,” each one was handed over (in proportion to the greater or less departure from the east which had taken place among them, and in proportion to the extent in which bricks had been converted into stones, and clay into bitumen, and building carried on out of these materials) to angels of character more or less severe, and of a nature more or less stern, until they had paid the penalty of their daring deeds; and they were conducted by those angels, who imprinted on each his native language, to the different parts of the earth according to their deserts:  some, for example, to a region of burning heat, others to a country which chastises its inhabitants by its cold; others, again, to a land exceedingly difficult of cultivation, others to one less so in degree; while a fifth were brought into a land filled with wild beasts, and a sixth to a country comparatively free of these.


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