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Judith the Jewess and “Helen” the Hellene

Published April 15, 2016 by amaic

Елена в Трое

by

Damien F. Mackey

The Greeks may have inadvertently replaced the most beautiful Jewish heroine, Judith of Bethulia, with their own legendary Helen, whose ‘face launched a thousand ships’, given, for instance, these striking similarities (Judith and The Iliad):

The beautiful woman praised by the elders at the city gates:

“When [the elders of Bethulia] saw [Judith] transformed in appearance and dressed differently, they were very greatly astounded at her beauty” (Judith 10:7).

“Now the elders of the people were sitting by the Skaian gates…. When they saw Helen coming … they spoke softly to each other with winged words: ‘No shame that the Trojans and the well-greaved Achaians should suffer agonies for long years over a woman like this – she is fearfully like the immortal goddesses to look at’” [The Iliad., pp. 44-45].

This theme of incredible beauty – plus the related view that “no shame” should be attached to the enemy on account of it – is picked up again a few verses later in the Book of Judith (v.19) when the Assyrian soldiers who accompany Judith and her maid to Holofernes “marvelled at [Judith’s] beauty and admired the Israelites, judging them by her … ‘Who can despise these people, who have women like this among them?’”

Nevertheless:

‘It is not wise to leave one of their men alive, for if we let them go they will be able to beguile the whole world!’ (Judith 10:19).

‘But even so, for all her beauty, let her go back in the ships, and not be left here a curse to us and our children’.

* * * * *

The prophet Isaiah’s exclamation in 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!”, would be well applicable to Judith when emerging from her victory over the Assyrian commander-in-chief.

Concerning this Isaian text, pope John Paul II wrote of the Virgin Mary:

VISITATION IS PRELUDE TO JESUS’ MISSION Pope John Paul II

Like Elizabeth, the Church rejoices that Mary is the Mother of the Lord who brought her Son into the world and constantly co-operates in his saving mission. At the General Audience of Wednesday, 2 October, the Holy Father returned to his series of reflections on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Speaking of the Visitation, the Pope said: “Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, in fact, is a prelude to Jesus’ mission and, in co-operating from the beginning of her motherhood in the Son’s redeeming work, she becomes the model for those in the Church who set out to bring Christ’s light and joy to the people of every time and place”. Here is a translation of his catechesis, which was the 34th in the series on the Blessed Virgin and was given in Italian.1. In the Visitation episode, St Luke shows how the grace of the Incarnation, after filling Mary, brings salvation and joy to Elizabeth’s house. The Saviour of men, carried in his Mother’s womb, pours out the Holy Spirit, revealing himself from the very start of his coming into the world. In describing Mary’s departure for Judea, the Evangelist uses the verb “anístemi”, which means “to arise”, “to start moving”. Considering that this verb is used in the Gospels to indicate Jesus’ Resurrection (Mk 8:31; 9:9,31; Lk 24:7, 46) or physical actions that imply a spiritual effort (Lk 5:27-28; 15:18,20), we can suppose that Luke wishes to stress with this expression the vigorous zeal which led Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to give the world its Saviour. Meeting with Elizabeth is a joyous saving event2. The Gospel text also reports that Mary made the journey “with haste” (Lk 1:39). Even the note “into the hill country” (Lk 1:39), in the Lucan context, appears to be much more than a simple topographical indication, since it calls to mind the messenger of good news described in the Book of Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion: ‘Your God reigns’” (Is 52:7).

Like St Paul, who recognizes the fulfilment of this prophetic text in the preaching of the Gospel (Rom 10:15), St Luke also seems to invite us to see Mary as the first “evangelist”, who spreads the “good news”, initiating the missionary journeys of her divine Son.

Lastly, the direction of the Blessed Virgin’s journey is particularly significant: it will be from Galilee to Judea, like Jesus’ missionary journey (cf. 9:51).

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, in fact, is a prelude to Jesus’ mission and, in cooperating from the beginning of her motherhood in the Son’s redeeming work, she becomes the model for those in the Church who set out to bring Christ’s light and joy to the people of every time and place.

  1. The meeting with Elizabeth has the character of a joyous saving event that goes beyond the spontaneous feelings of family sentiment. Where the embarrassment of disbelief seems to be expressed in Zechariah’s muteness, Mary bursts out with the joy of her quick and ready faith: “She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth” (Lk 1:40).

St Luke relates that “when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb” (Lk 1:41). Mary’s greeting caused Elizabeth’s son to leap for joy: Jesus’ entrance into Elizabeth’s house, at Mary’s doing, brought the unborn prophet that gladness which the Old Testament foretells as a sign of the Messiah’s presence.

At Mary’s greeting, messianic joy comes over Elizabeth too and “filled with the Holy Spirit … she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’” (Lk 1:41-42).

By a higher light, she understands Mary’s greatness: more than Jael and Judith, who prefigured her in the Old Testament, she is blessed among women because of the fruit of her womb, Jesus, the Messiah.

  1. Elizabeth’s exclamation, made “with a loud cry”, shows a true religious enthusiasm, which continues to be echoed on the lips of believers in the prayer “Hail Mary”, as the Church’s song of praise for the great works accomplished by the Most High in the Mother of his Son.

In proclaiming her “blessed among women”, Elizabeth points to Mary’s faith as the reason for her blessedness: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). Mary’s greatness and joy arise from the fact the she is the one who believes.

In view of Mary’s excellence, Elizabeth also understands what an honour her visit is for her: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). With the expression “my Lord”, Elizabeth recognizes the royal, indeed messianic, dignity of Mary’s Son. In the Old Testament this expression was in fact used to address the king (cf. I Kgs 1:13,20,21 etc.) and to speak of the Messiah King (Ps I 10: 1). The angel had said of Jesus: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David” (Lk 1:32). “Filled with the Holy Spirit”, Elizabeth has the same insight. Later, the paschal glorification of Christ will reveal the sense in which this title is to be understood, that is, a transcendent sense (cf. Jn 20:28; Acts 2:34-36).

Mary is present in whole work of divine salvation

With her admiring exclamation, Elizabeth invites us to appreciate all that the Virgin’s presence brings as a gift to the life of every believer.

In the Visitation, the Virgin brings Christ to the Baptist’s mother, the Christ who pours out the Holy Spirit. This role of mediatrix is brought out by Elizabeth’s very words: “For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my cars, the babe in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk 1:44). By the gift of the Holy Spirit, Mary’s presence serves as a prelude to Pentecost, confirming a co-operation which, having begun with the Incarnation, is destined to be expressed in the whole work of divine salvation.

Taken from: L’Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English9 October 1996, page 11L’Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See.

The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:

The Cathedral Foundation L’Osservatore Romano English Edition320 Cathedral St. Baltimore, MD 21201Subscriptions: (410) 547-5315Fax: (410) 332-1069

lormail@catholicreview.org

Provided Courtesy of: Eternal Word Television Network5817 Old Leeds Road Irondale, AL 35210

www.ewtn.com

Catholics have long recognised Judith as an ancient type of the Virgin Mary.

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Judith the Simeonite and “Judith the Semienite”

Published April 15, 2016 by amaic

by

Damien F. Mackey

The history books tell of various strong female characters – whether real or not – the accounts of whom seem to have picked up traces of the great Jewish heroine, Judith of Simeon.

One of these, Queen Judith of Semien (NW Abyssinia), reads somewhat like the biblical Judith, now transported in time (AD) and space (Ethiopia).

 

 

 

Judith Types Emerging Throughout ‘History’?

 

Donald Spoto has named a few of these “types” – {but many more names could be added here} – in his book, Joan. The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint (Harper, 2007). Spoto, likening Joan of Arc to an Old Testament woman, has a chapter five in which he calls her “The New Deborah”.

Saint Joan has also been described as a “second Judith”. See my:

 

Judith of Bethulia and Joan of Arc

 

https://www.academia.edu/8815175/Judith_of_Bethulia_and_Joan_of_Arc

 

Both Deborah and Judith were celebrated Old Testament women who had provided military assistance to Israel.

Let us read of what Spoto has to say on the subject, starting with comparisons with some ancient pagan women (pp. 73-74):

 

Joan was not the only woman in history to inspire and to give direction to soldiers. The Greek poet Telesilla was famous for saving the city of Argos from attack by Spartan troops in the fifth century B.C. In first-century Britain, Queen Boudicca [Boadicea] led an uprising against the occupying Roman forces. In the third century Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra (latter-day Syria), declared her independence of the Roman Empire and seized Egypt and much of Asia Minor. Africa had its rebel queen Gwedit, or Yodit, in the tenth century. In the seventh appeared Sikelgaita, a Lombard princess who frequently accompanied her husband, Robert, on his Byzantine military campaigns, in which she fought in full armor, rallying Robert’s troops when they were initially repulsed by the Byzantine army. In the twelfth century Eleanor of Aquitaine took part in the Second Crusade, and in the fourteenth century Joanna, Countess of Montfort, took up arms after her husband died in order to protect the rights of her son, the Duke of Brittany. She organized resistance and dressed in full armor, led a raid of knights that successfully destroyed one of the enemy’s rear camps.

Joan [of Arc] was not a queen, a princess, a noblewoman or a respected poet with public support. She went to her task at enormous physical risk of both her virginity and her life, and at considerable risk of a loss of both reputation and influence. The English, for example, constantly referred to her as the prostitute: to them, she must have been; otherwise, why would she travel with an army of men?

Yet Joan was undeterred by peril or slander, precisely because of her confidence that God was their captain and leader. She often said that if she had been unsure of that, she would not have risked such obvious danger but would have kept to her simple, rural life in Domrémy.

[End of quote]

 

Some of these above-mentioned heroines, or amazons, can probably be identified with the ancient Judith herself – she gradually being transformed from an heroic Old Testament woman into an armour-bearing warrior on horseback, sometimes even suffering capture, torture and death. Judith’s celebrated beauty and/or siege victory I have argued on other occasions was picked up in non-Hebrew ‘history’, or mythologies: e.g. the legendary Helen of Troy is probably based on Judith, at least in part, in relation to her beauty and to a famous siege, rather than to any military noüs on Helen’s part. And, in the “Lindian Chronicle” of the Greco-Persian wars, in a siege of the island of Hellas by admiral Darius, also involving a crucial five-day period, as in the Book of Judith, the goddess Athene takes the place of Judith in the rôle of the heroine, to oversee a successful lifting of the siege.

In the name Iodit (Gwedit) above, the name Judith can, I think, be clearly recognised.

The latter is the same as Queen Judith of Semien (960 AD). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudit

 

Gudit (Ge’ez: ጉዲት, Judith) is a semi-legendary, non-Christian, Beta Israel queen (flourished c. 960) who laid waste to Axum and its countryside, destroyed churches and monuments, and attempted to exterminate the members of the ruling Axumite dynasty[citation needed]. Her deeds are recorded in the oral tradition and mentioned incidentally in various historical accounts.

Information about Gudit is contradictory and incomplete. Paul B. Henze wrote, “She is said to have killed the emperor, ascended the throne herself, and reigned for 40 years. Accounts of her violent misdeeds are still related among peasants in the north Ethiopian countryside.”[1]

[End of quote]

 

Interesting that Judith the Simeonite has a “Gideon” (or Gedeon) in her ancestry (Judith 8:1): “[Judith] was the daughter of Merari, the granddaughter of Ox and the great-granddaughter of Joseph. Joseph’s ancestors were Oziel, Elkiah, Ananias, Gideon, Raphaim, Ahitub, Elijah, Hilkiah, Eliab, Nathanael, Salamiel, Sarasadai, and Israel” … and the Queen of Semien, Judith, was the daughter of a King Gideon.

That the latter is virtually a complete fable, however, is suspected by Bernard Lewis

http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=314380:

 

Bernard Lewis (1): The Jews of the Dark continent, 1980

The early history of the Jews of the Habashan highlands remains obscure, with their origins remaining more mythical than historical. In this they areas in other respects, they are the mirror image of their supposed Kin across the Red sea. For while copious external records of Byzantine, Persian, old Axumite and Arab sources exist of the large-scale conversion of Yemen to Judaism, and the survival of a large Jewish community at least until the 11th century, no such external records exist for the Jews of Habash, presently by far the numerically and politically dominant branch of this ancient people.

Their own legends insist that Judaism had reached the shores of Ethiopia at the time of the First temple. They further insist that Ethiopia had always been Jewish. In spite of the claims of Habashan nationalists, Byzantine, Persian and Arab sources all clearly indicate that the politically dominant religion of Axum was, for a period of at least six centuries Christianity and that the Tigray cryptochristian minority, far from turning apostate following contact with Portugese Jesuits in the 15th century is in fact the remmanent [sic] of a period of Christian domination which lasted at least until the 10th century.

For the historian, when records fail, speculation must perforce fill the gap. Given our knowledge of the existence of both Jewish and Christian sects in the deserts of Western Arabia and Yemen it is not difficult to speculate that both may have reached the shores of Axum concurrently prior to the council of Nicaea and the de-judaization of hetrodox sects. Possibly, they coexisted side by side for centuries without the baleful conflict which was the lot of both faiths in the Meditaranian [sic]. Indeed, it is possible that they were not even distinct faiths. We must recall that early Christians saw themselves as Jews and practiced all aspects of Jewish law and ritual for the first century of their existence. Neither did Judaism utterly disavow the Christians, rather viewing them much as later communities would view the Sabateans and other messianic movement. The advent While Paul of Tarsus changed the course of Christian evolution but failed to formally de-Judaize all streams of Christianity, with many surviving even after the council of Nicaea.

Might not Habash have offered a different model of coexistence, even after its purpoted conversion to Christianity in the 4th century? If it had, then what occurred? Did Christianity, cut off from contact with Constantinopole following the rise of Islam, wither on the vine enabling a more grassroots based religion to assume dominance? While such a view is tempting, archaeological evidence pointing to the continued centrality of a Christian Axum as an administrative and economic center for several centuries following the purpoted relocation of the capital of the kingdom to Gonder indicates a darker possibility.

The most likely scenario, in my opinion, turns on our knowledge of the Yemenite- Axum-Byzantine conflict of the 6th century. This conflict was clearly seen as a religious, and indeed divinely sanctioned one by Emperor Kaleb, with certain of his inscriptures clearly indicating the a version of “replacement theology” had taken root in his court, forcing individuals and sects straddling both sides of the Christian-Jewish continuom [sic] to pick sides. Is it overly speculative to assume that those cleaving to Judaism within Axum would be subject to suspicion and persecution? It seems to me likely that the formation of an alternative capital by the shores of lake Tana, far from being an organized relocation of the imperial seat, was, in fact, an act of secession and flight by a numerically inferior and marginalized minority (2).

Read in this light, the fabled Saga of King Gideon and Queen Judith recapturing Axum from Muslim invaders and restoring the Zadokan dynasty in the 10th century must be viewed skeptically as an attempt to superimpose on the distant past a more contemporary enemy as part of the process of national myth making. What truly occurred during this time of isolation can only be the guessed at but I would hazard an opinion that the Axum these legendary rulers “liberated” was held by Christians rather than Muslims. ….

[End of quote]

 

What I am finding is that the kingdom of “Axum” (or Aksum) – in legends that seem to transpose BC history into AD time – can play the part of the ancient kingdom of Assyria.

 

 

 

Ebed-melech and Luqman (or Lokman)

Published May 14, 2015 by amaic

luqman

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

The disputed historical figure, Luqman, or Lokman, figures in Sura 31 of the Koran.

A renowned wise man, and presumably negroid, Luqman however appears to have borrowed from the proverbs of Ben Sirach and from Ahikar – the latter tentatively identified in Part Two of this series with Bildad of the Book of Job.

Luqman might be yet a further extension of Bildad’s colleague, Zophar, whom I identified in Part Three (iii) with the supposedly Ethiopian black, Ebed-melech.

  

 

Luqman a Jerusalemite?

 

According to http://www.iqrasense.com/islamic-history/the-story-of-luqman-from-the-qura: “Luqman Ibn ‘Anqa’ Ibn Sadun or, as stated by As-Suhaili from Ibn Jarir and Al-Qutaibi, Luqman Ibn Tharan, was from among the people of Aylah (Jerusalem)”.

This is rather striking in my context of Zophar the Naamathite’s being of the tribe of Judah. Moreover, it was Zophar’s praise of Wisdom that had led me to identify him as Baruch (in (ii)). So this next statement about Luqman, from the same source, could be applicable also to Zophar, and to Baruch: “He was a pious man who exerted himself in worship and who was blessed with wisdom”.

And I have already commented on the possibility that Luqman was, as Ebed-melech is thought to have been, a black Ethiopian. Thus we read (loc. cit.):

Sufyan Ath- Thawri narrated from Al-Ash’ath after ‘Ikrimah on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) that he was an Ethiopian slave who worked as a carpenter. Qatadah narrated from Abdullah Ibn Az-Zubair that Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah when asked about Luqman, said: “He was short with a flat nose. He was from Nubia.” Yahia Ibn Sa’ id Al-Ansari said after Sa’ id Ibn Al-Musayib that Luqman belonged to the black men of Egypt.

[End of quote]

In the case of, now Baruch, of, now Luqman, there is some difference of opinion as to whether the prophetic office was conferred on him. For instance, about Baruch we read (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_ben_Neriah): “The Tannaim are much divided on the question whether Baruch is to be classed among the Prophets. According to Mekhilta,[21] Baruch complained[22] because the gift of prophecy had not been given to him. “Why,” he said, “is my fate different from that of all the other disciples of the Prophets?” And, regarding Luqman (iqrasense, ibid.): “The majority of scholars are of the view that he was a wise man and not a prophet”. And again, in a very Job-ian context of having lost “all his children” (ibid.): “[Luqman] was very eloquent and well-versed. He did not weep or cry when all his children died. He even used to frequent the princes and men of authority to mediate. The majority of scholars are of the view that he was a wise man and not a prophet”.

But that is not the end of the apparent Job-ian connection, for, according to a tradition, Luqman “was sister’s son to Job” (http://archive.org/stream/TheStoryOfAhikar/Ahikar_djv):

Now concerning this Lokman, the commentators and the critics have diligently thrown their brains about. The former have disputed whether Lokman was an inspired prophet or merely a philosopher and have decided against his inspiration: and they have given him a noble lineage, some saying that he was sister’s son to Job, and others that he was nephew to Abraham, and lived until the time of Jonah. Others have said that he was an African: slave. It will not escape the reader’s notice that the term sister’s swi to Job, to which should be added rtephew of Abraham, is the proper equivalent of the €f aSeX^o? by which Nadan and Ahikar are described in the Tobit legends.

Job, moreover, is singularly like Tobit.

[Mackey’s comment: That is because Job was Tobias, son of Tobit].

That he lived till the time of Jonah reminds one of the destruction of Nineveh as described in the book of Tobit, in accordance with Jonah’s prophecy.

[End of quote]

 

Luqman Borrows from Book of Tobit

 

A contributor, given as “Lydia”, has noted this interesting fact on the Facebook site (http://masjidtucson.org/publications/books/sp/2009/dec/page3.html):

There’s a book in the Bible entitled “Tobit.” It’s not in every Bible, but it’s in most Catholic Bibles, so it’s in the New American Bible, which is an excellent translation. Within the book, there’s a section where the man Tobit is instructing his son, Tobiah. It reminds me very much of Luqman (Chapter 31) in the Quran. His advice is very sound. Tobit 4:3-19 ….

[End of quote]

That section of Tobit reads:

 

So Tobit called Tobias and said to him, ‘Son, when I die, give me a proper burial. And after I’m gone, show respect to your mother. Take care of her for the rest of her life, and when she dies, bury her beside me. Remember, she risked her life to bring you into this world, so try to make her happy and never do anything that would worry her.

Every day of your life, keep the Lord our God in mind. Never sin deliberately or disobey any of his commands. Always do what is right and never get involved in anything evil. Be honest, and you will succeed in whatever you do.

Give generously to anyone who faithfully obeys God. If you are stingy in giving to the poor, God will be stingy in giving to you. Give according to what you have. The more you have, the more you should give. Even if you have only a little, be sure to give something. This is as good as money saved. You will have your reward in a time of trouble. Taking care of the poor is the kind of offering that pleases God in heaven. Do this, and you will be kept safe from the dark world of the dead.

Son, be on your guard against prostitutes. Above all, marry a woman of our tribe, because we are descendants of the prophets. Do not marry anyone who is not related to us. Remember that Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our earliest ancestors, all married relatives. God blessed them with children, and so their descendants will inherit the land of Israel. Son, be loyal to your own relatives. Don’t be too proud to marry one of them. Such pride leads to terrible frustration and ruin, just as laziness brings on severe poverty and causes starvation.

Pay your workers each day; never keep back their wages overnight. Honor God in this way, and he will reward you. Behave properly at all times. Never do to anyone else anything that you would not want someone to do to you.

Do not drink so much wine that you get drunk, and do not let drinking become a habit.

Give food to the hungry and clothes to people in need. If you are prosperous, give generously, and do it gladly!

When one of God’s faithful people has died, prepare food for the family, but never do this when someone evil dies.

Take the advice of sensible people, and never treat any useful advice lightly.

Take advantage of every opportunity to praise the Lord your God. Ask him to make you prosper in whatever you set out to do. He does not give his wisdom to the people of any other nation. He is the source of all good things, but he can also destroy you and bring you to certain death, if he wishes.

And Luqman will advise his son along similar lines (http://www.al-islam.org/hayat-al-qulub-vol-1-allamah-muhammad-baqir-al-majlisi/account-luqman-and-his-words-wisdom):

…. Be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, he is only grateful for his own soul and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Praised. And when Luqman said to his son while he admonished him: O my son! Do not associate ought with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity -O my son! Surely if it is the very weight of the grain of a mustard -seed, even though it is in (the heart of) rock, or (high above) in the heaven or (deep down) in the earth, Allah will bring it (to light); surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware. O my son! Keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage: And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster: And pursue the right course in your going about and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voice is braying of the asses. (31:12, 13, 16-19)

Luqman Borrows from Ahikar

 

This last statement by Luqman, about the ‘braying of asses’, is, in turn, pure Ahikar, as we read in the following quote, showing also the startling dependence of Islam upon Ahikar (http://archive.org/stream/TheStoryOfAhikar/Ahikar_djvu.tx):

Now let us turn to the Sura of the Koran which bears the name Lokman, and examine it internally: we remark (i) that he bears the name of sage, precisely as Ahikar does : (ii) that he is a teacher of ethics to his son, using Ahikar’s formula ‘ ya bani ‘ in teaching him : (iii) although at first sight the matter quoted by Mohammed does not appear to be taken from Ahikar, there are curious traces of dependence. We may especially compare the following from Ahikar : ‘ O my son, bend thy head low and soften thy voice and be courteous and walk in the straight path and be not foolisL And raise not thy voice when thou laughest, for were it by a loud voice that a house was built, the ass would build many houses every day.’

Clearly Mohammed has been using Ahikar, and apparently from memory, unless we like to assume that the passage in the Koran is the primitive form for Ahikar, rather than the very forcible figure in our published texts. Mohammed has also mixed up Ahikar’s teaching with his own, for some of the sentences which he attributes to Lokman appear elsewhere in the Koran. But this does not disturb the argument. From all sides tradition

advises us to equate Lokman … and Ahikar, and the Koran confirms the equation. ….

[End of quote]

And, in another place from the same article, we read:

We pass on, in the next place, to point out that the legend of Ahikar was known toMohammed, and that he has used it in a certain Sura of the Koran.

There is nothing d priori improbable in this, for the Koran is full of Jewish Haggada and Christian legends, and where such sources are not expressly mentioned, they may often be detected by consulting the commentaries upon the Koran in obscure

passages. For example, the story of Abimelech and the basket of figs, which appears in the Last Words of Baruch, is carried over into the Koran, as we have shown inour preface to the Apocryphon in question. It will be interesting if we can add another volume to Mohammed’s library, or to the library of the teacher from whom he derived so many of his legends.

[End of quote]

Ahikar, for his part, must have been heavily dependent upon the Israelite wisdom, proverbs and axioms of his uncle Tobit, whom he had assisted for two years during Tobit’s blindness (Tobit 2:10): “For four years I could see nothing. My relatives were deeply concerned about my condition, and Ahikar supported me for two years before he went to the land of Elam”.

As for Tobit’s own sources of wisdom, this is what he tells us (1:8): “… we obeyed both the ordinances of the Law of Moses and the exhortations of Deborah the mother of our ancestor Ananiel …”.