Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/55

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37
THE OLD TESTAMENT

the wicked ones. Headlong they returned to the magicians by whom they had been hired; and, said they: We lose our labour against this man, for he is stronger than we, and we cannot get near to the border of the place where he dwells.

"Meanwhile the day dawned, and Pharaoh anxiously expected that what the magicians had promised him, of the death of Moses, should have been fulfilled. But when the appointed time was past, and there came none to tell the tidings he desired, the King called the magicians and spake thus to them: Why, said he, hath the matter fallen out otherwise than as you promised? for you said, Moses shall not see another day after this.

"The magicians said to him: Have patience a little: the man's death is indeed near, but we can do nothing in haste, O King, and this day allows it not, for to-day it is new moon: when the moon begins to wane, then shall the life of Moses fail.

"This was the cause they pretended to him, until the appointed hour should come to Moses: but the King received their words gladly, being subject to the same errors as they.

"The magicians therefore set to work: they took somewhat of the hairs and garments of Moses, and made an image of him, and laid it up in a tomb, and set evil demons against it. Immediately the demons came, and the princes of them: Satan was ready with his hosts, all of them in divers forms, to destroy Moses.

"They ran against him in a troop. But when they lifted up their eyes to the holy prophet and saw him encompassed by a host of angels, like as it was once with Elisha, they could not bear the look of him, much less attack him, and all together they fled away in confusion with cries and howlings.

"This thing brought the magicians to perplexity. They turned therefore to other means to save their name and not be found guilty of deceit and lying before the King. Accordingly they took a cup full of wine and by their enchantments compelled vipers and dragons to spue their venom into it; and when it was ready they