Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/65

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47
THE OLD TESTAMENT

had died in the mount, Michael was sent to remove the body." Several of them read "God rebuke thee," instead of "the Lord," and this might be a quotation from the Assumption.

Next I place two accounts of the death of Moses. The first is from the Greek Palæa, a popular Bible-history of Byzantine times, which is the Eastern equivalent of the Historia Scholastica (of Petrus Comestor, cent. xii.), which, with the French version, the Bible Historiale, was so common in the West. The text of the Palæa, printed by Vassiliev in Anecdota Græco-Byzantina, has this passage (p. 247):

"Of the death of Moses. And Moses said unto Jesus the son of Nauë, 'Let us go up into the mountain.' And when they were gone up, Moses saw the land of promise and said to Jesus, 'Go down unto the people and tell them "Moses is dead."' And Jesus went down unto the people, but Moses came to the end of his life. And Samael tried to bring down his body (tabernacle) unto the people, that they might make him a god. But Michael, the Chief Captain, by the command of God came to take him and bury him, and Samael resisted him, and they contended. So the Chief Captain was wroth and rebuked him, saying, 'The Lord rebuke thee, devil.' And so the adversary was vanquished and took to flight, but the Archangel Michael buried the body of Moses where he was bidden by Christ our God (and no man saw the burial of Moses)."

The second is from the Slavonic Life of Moses translated by Bonwetsch in the Göttingen Nachrichten for 1900, pp. 581–607. This Life for the most part follows Jewish tradition very closely, and has the familiar additions to the story which we find in Josephus.

After mentioning the deaths of Miriam and Aaron, it says:

"But at the end of the same year in the 2nd (sic) month Nadet, on the 7th day (that is in March), Moses the servant of God died and was buried on the 4th of the month September on a certain mountain by the Chief Captain Michael. For the devil contended with