Thursday, October 11, 2012

THE THREE WHO APPEARED TO ABRAHAM WERE - THREE ( ANGELS ) - ACCORDING TO JOSEPHUS!

GREEK TEXT: “...Ταῦτα [196.] τοῦ θεοῦ κρίναντος περὶ τῶν Σοδομιτῶν Ἅβραμος θεασάμενος τρεῖς ἀγγέλους, ἐκαθέζετο δὲ πρὸς τῇ δρυῒ τῇ Μαμβρῆ παρὰ τῇ θύρᾳ τῆς αὑτοῦ αὐλῆς, καὶ νομίσας εἶναι ξένους ἀναστὰς ἠσπάσατό τε καὶ παρ᾽ αὐτῷ καταχθέντας παρεκάλει ξενίας μεταλαβεῖν. [197.] ἐπινευσάντων δὲ ἄρτους τε προσέταξεν εὐθὺς ἐκ σεμιδάλεως γενέσθαι, καὶ μόσχον θύσας καὶ ὀπτήσας ἐκόμισεν αὐτοῖς ὑπὸ τῇ δρυῒ κατακειμένοις: οἱ δὲ δόξαν αὐτῷ παρέσχον ἐσθιόντων, ἔτι δὲ καὶ περὶ τῆς γυναικὸς ἐπυνθάνοντο, ποῖ ποτ᾽ εἴη Σάρρα. τοῦ δ᾽ εἰπόντος ἔνδον εἶναι, ἥξειν ἔφασαν εἰς τὸ μέλλον καὶ εὑρήσειν αὐτὴν ἤδη μητέρα γεγενημένην. [198.] τῆς δὲ γυναικὸς ἐπὶ τούτῳ μειδιασάσης καὶ ἀδύνατον εἶναι τὴν τεκνοποιίαν εἰπούσης αὐτῆς μὲν ἐνενήκοντα ἔτη ἐχούσης τοῦ δ᾽ ἀνδρὸς ἑκατόν, οὐκέτι κατέσχον λανθάνοντες ἀλλ᾽ ἐμήνυσαν ἑαυτοὺς ὄντας ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ὅτι πεμφθείη μὲν ὁ εἷς σημανῶν περὶ τοῦ παιδός, οἱ δύο δὲ Σοδομίτας καταστρεψόμενοι...” - (Book 1, Chapter 11, Verse 2, [1.11.2 = Whiston 1.196-198 = Brill] “Antiquities of the Jews,” “Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary,” by Louis H. Feldman, 12 vols., ed. Steve Mason, at “The Brill Josephus Project”: 2000.)

TITUS FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (circa. 37-100 C.E.): “...When God had thus resolved concerning the Sodomites, Abraham, as he sat by the oak of Mambre, at the door of his tent, saw [Gk., ( τρεῖς ἀγγέλους )] THREE ANGELS; and thinking them to be strangers, he rose up, and saluted them, and desired they would accept of an entertainment, and abide with him; to which, when they agreed, he ordered cakes of meal to be made presently; and when he had slain a calf, he roasted it, and brought it to them, as they sat under the oak. Now they made a show of eating; and besides, they asked him about his wife Sarah, where she was; and when he said she was within, they said they would come again hereafter, and find her become a mother. Upon which the woman laughed, and said that it was impossible she should bear children, since she was ninety years of age, and her husband was a hundred. Then they concealed themselves no longer, but declared that [Gk., ( ὄντας ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ )] THEY WERE ANGELS OF GOD; and that one of them was sent to inform them about the child, and two of the overthrow of Sodom...” - (1.11.2, [1.196-198 = Brill] “Antiquities of the Jews,” in “The Genuine Works of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish Historian,” Translated By William Whiston 1737.)

TITUS FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (circa. 37-100 C.E.): “...After [196.] God had issued this judgment concerning the Sodomites, Habramos, noticing [Gk., ( τρεῖς ἀγγέλους )] THREE ANGELS {608} and he was sitting near the oak of Mambre before the door of his courtyard{609} and thinking that they were strangers, stood up and welcomed them and leading them within his home invited them to enjoy his hospitality.{610} [197.] And when they agreed, he ordered loaves of bread to be made immediately from finest wheaten flour, and, sacrificing a calf and cooking it,{611} he brought it to them as they were lying down under the oak.{612} And they presented to him the appearance of eating.{613} Moreover, they inquired about his wife as to where Sarra was. And when he said that she was within, they said that they would come in the future and would find that she had already become a mother.{614} [198.] But when his wife smiled{615} at this and said that child-bearing was impossible,{616} since she was 90 years old and since her husband was 100, they no longer disguised themselves but revealed that [Gk., ( ὄντας ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ )] THEY WERE MESSENGERS OF GOD and that one of them had been sent to make a disclosure concerning the child, and the other two to destroy the Sodomites.{617}...” - (1.196-198, [1.11.2 = Whiston] “Antiquities of the Jews,” “Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary,” by Louis H. Feldman, 12 vols., ed. Steve Mason, at “The Brill Josephus Project”: 2000.)
[FOOTNOTE 608]: According to rabbinic tradition ( Baba Meẓi.a 86b, Midrash Gen. Rabbah 50.2, Jerusalem Targum on Gen. 18:2), the angels were Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, the first charged to heal the wound of Abraham after his circumcision (or to rescue Lot), the second to tell Sarai that she was to bear a son, and the third to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
[FOOTNOTE 609]: Abram cannot be associated with homey details that lack nobility. Hence, when Abraham entertains the three angels here, he is seated not in the tent door (Gen. 18:1) but before the door of his courtyard ( αὐλῆς), in a Greek type of house (so Thackeray, ad loc.). For similar reasons Josephus omits the detail about Abraham’s inviting them to wash their feet (Gen. 18:4).
[FOOTNOTE 610]: There is a serious problem in the biblical text (Gen. 18:1-3) in that it starts out by stating that God appeared to Abraham at Mamre but then goes on to say that when he lifted up his eyes he saw three men standing near him, whom he then proceeds to address as “My Lord.” Josephus resolves this problem by totally omitting God’s visit to Abraham. Philo ( De Abramo 25.132) explains that Abraham discourses with the visitors as though they were one rather than three. Secondly, Josephus does not speak of the three visitors as men or God but rather as angels ( Ant. 1.196) whom Abraham takes for strangers. He further clarifies the matter by having the angels ( Ant. 1.198) finally reveal themselves as messengers of God. Josephus here emphasizes Abraham’s hospitality by stating that he took them for mere strangers. Philo ( Quaestiones in Genesin 4.10) also stresses Abraham’s hospitality in noting that even though he had many slaves he insisted on personally preparing the meal for his guests. For midrashic parallels on the elaboration of Abraham’s hospitality see Ginzberg (1925:5:235, n. 140, and 5:248, n. 223).
[FOOTNOTE 611]: Josephus enhances Abraham’s hospitality by having Abram himself sacrifice and cook the calf, whereas in Gen. 18:7 he gives it to his servant to prepare it.
[FOOTNOTE 612]: Gen. 18:8 states that Abraham offered the visitors curds and milk together with the calf that he had prepared. Josephus omits the curds and milk perhaps because he found it difficult to believe that Abraham, who, though he lived before the revelation of the Torah, was said (Mishnah Qiddushin 4:14, Yoma 28b) to observe the Torah, could have served his visitors meat and dairy together, since this is prohibited (Exod. 23:19, 34:26, Deut. 14:21; cf. Ḥullin 105a).
[FOOTNOTE 613]: Whereas Gen. 18:8 says plainly that the angels visiting Abraham ate the food that he offered them, Josephus avoids this anthropomorphism by declaring that the angels merely gave him to believe that they ate. So also Philo, De Abramo 23.118. In Testament of Abram 4 the angel Michael hesitates to eat, and his food is eaten by a devouring spirit. Similarly, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and Targum Neofiti on Gen. 18:8, Baba Meẓia 86b, Midrash Gen. Rabbah 48.14, Midrash Eccl. Rabbah 3.14. But there is another rabbinic tradition ( Seder Eliyahu Rabbah 13 [ed. Friedmann, p. 59], Midrash Psalms 8.2) that God opened the mouths of the angels and that the angels did, in fact, eat as a reward for the preparations that Abraham had made in their behalf.
[FOOTNOTE 614]: Whereas in Gen. 18:9 the angels are speaking to Abraham, in 18:10 the text reads “And he said,” implying that it is either one of the angels or God Himself who is speaking. According to the latter passage, the speaker promises that he will return and that Sarah will have a son when the season comes around. The rabbis heighten the miracle by having one of the angels visiting Abram draw a line on the wall and declare that Isaac will be born when the sun returns to this line (see Sandmel [1956:67, n. 290]). But here in Josephus it is the angels rather than God who make this declaration, and they leave the time of their return indefinite (so also Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen. 18:10), stating merely that they would return some day in the future ( εἰ ς τὸ μέλλον) to find that Sarah had given birth to a son. When the birth occurs ( Ant. 1.214), Josephus says merely that it occurred during the following year.
[FOOTNOTE 615]: Inasmuch as Sarah is so closely identified with Abram, the fact that Sarah shows lack of faith in laughing (Gen. 18:12) when the angels predict that she will give birth to a son and the further fact that she then lies (Gen. 18:15) in denying that she has laughed are a definite blot on the character of Abraham and Sarah. It is seemingly a further defect in her character when she explains (Gen. 18:12) that not only is she old but that her husband is also, the latter remark being superfluous and perhaps an insult to Abraham. To compound the problem, the Bible (Gen. 18:13) has a scene in that God confronts Abraham and, in apparent indignation, asks why Sarai laughed and then, reporting the words of Sarah, omits her motivating statement that her husband was old. Josephus here resolves these problems by omitting the role of God altogether and by having the discussion take place between only the angels and Abraham and Sarah, by having Sarah smile rather than laugh, by omitting the scene in that Sarah denies that she had laughed, and by not having God confront Abraham at all with Sarah’s lie, thus omitting God’s seeming dissimulation in reporting Sarah’s words.
[FOOTNOTE 616]: The Hebrew text (Gen. 18:12) reads: “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure?” The LXX reads: “The thing has not as yet happened to me even until now.” Josephus would appear to be following the sense of the Hebrew text.
[FOOTNOTE 617]: The concept that one angel cannot fulfill two missions is found in rabbinic literature ( Midrash Gen. Rabbah 50.2, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen. 18:3, Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer 25). Philo ( De Abramo 28.142) also notes that of the three visitors only two went on to Sodom; he then (28.143) asserts that the third was, in his opinion, “the truly Existent, who held it fitting that He should be present to give good gifts by His own agency, but should leave the execution of the opposite of good entirely in the hands of His potencies acting as His ministers.” 
 
Gk., ( τρεῖς ἀγγέλους )

Gk., ( ὄντας ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ )

...No one --- has seen God --- at any time...” - John 1:18 NASB

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