The Mandean Book of John
Portents of John`s Birth.
In the name of the Great Life may hallowed Light be glorified.
A Child was planted out of the height, a mystery
revealed in Jerusalem.
The priests saw dreams ; chill seized on their children, chill seized Jerusalem(Ur-Ashlam).
Early in the morning he want ot the temple. He opened his mouth in blasphemy
and his lips of lying. He opened his mouth in blasphemy and spake to all of
In my vision of the night I beheld, I beheld in my vision this.
When I lay there, I slept not and rested not, and I beheld that a
star appeared and stood over Enishbhai (Elisabeth).
Fire burned in Old Father (Abâ Zâba) Zakhrià (Zachariah);
three heaven-lights appeared.
The Sun sank and the lights rose.
Fire lit up the house of the people (Synagogue) , smoke rose over the temple.
A quaking quaked in the Throne-Chariot, so that Earth removed from her seat.
A star flew down into Judea, a star flew down into Jerusalem.
The Sun appeared by night, and the moon rose by day.
When the priests heard this, they cast dust on their head.
Yaqif the priest weeps and Beni-Amin`s tears flow.
Shilai and Shalbai cast dust on their heads.
Elizar (the chief priest) opened his moiuth and spake unto all of the priests:
Yaqif interprets dreams, but as yet he has no understanding of
these. Beni-Amin interprets dreams ; is he not a man who discloses
your secrets? Tãb-Yómin gives us no revelation, though you deem
he can give information on all that is and that which is not.
Earth groans out of season and is sent a-whirl through the heaven-spheres.
Earth opens her mouth and speaks to Elizar:
Go to Lilyukh, that he may interpret the dreams you have seen.
Thereupon Elizar opened his mouth and spake unto all of the priests:
Who goes to Lilyukh, that he may interpret the dreams you have seen?
Then wrote they a letter and put it in the hand of Tâb-Yòmin.
Tâb-Yòmin took the letter and betook himself to Lilyukh.
Lilyukh lay on his bed; sleep had not yet flown from him.
A quaking came into his heart, shivered his heart and brought it
down from its stay. Tâb-Yòmin drew near to Lilyukh.
Tâb-Yòmin stepped up to Lilyukh, shook him out of his
sleep and spake to him :
The priests saw dreams ...... (the above paragraph repeated)...
and the moon rose by day.
When Lilyukh heard this, he cast dust on his head.
Naked, Lilyukh rose from his bed and fetched the dream-book.
He opens it and reads in it and looks for what stands there written.
He opens it and reads therein and interpret the dreams in silence
without reading aloud. He writes them in a letter and expounds them
to a leaf. In it he says to them ;
"Woe unto you, all of you priests, for Enishbai (Elisabeth)
shall bear a child. Woe unto you, Mistress Torah (the Law), for Yûhânâ shall be born
Lilyukh writes unto them in the letter and says to them:
"The star, that came and stood over Enishbhai (Elisabeth): A child
will be planted out of the height from above ; he comes and
will be given unto Enishbai (Elisabeth). The fire , that burned
in Old Father (Âba Zâba) Zakhriâ (Zachariah) :
Yûhânâ shall be born in Jerusalem."
Tâb-Yòmin took the letter and in haste made off to Jerusalem.
He came and found all the priests sitting in sorrow.
He took the letter and laid it in the hand of Elizar.
He opens it and reads it and finds in it wondrous discourses.
He opens it and reads it and sees what stands therein written.
He reads it in silence and gives them no decision about it.
Elizar then took it and laid it in the hand of Old Father Zakhriâ.
He opens it and reads it and sees what stands therein written.
He reads it in silence and gives no decision about it.
Elizar now opened his mouth and spake to Old Father Zakhriâ:
Old Father, get thee gone from Judea,
lest thou stir up strife in Jerusalem.
Old Father then raised his right hand and smote on the head of Elizar,
saying : Elizar, thou great house, thou had of all the priests!
If thou in thy inner part (soul?) knewest thy mother, thou wouldst
not dare come into our Synagogue. If thou in thy inner part knewest,
thou wouldst not dare read the Torah. For thy mother was a wanton.
A wanton was she, who did not match with the house of her husband`s father.
As thy father had not the hundred gold staters for writing her the bill
of divorcement, he abandoned her straightaway and enquired not for her.
Is there a day when I come and look forth, and see not Mìsha bar amrà (Moses,
son of Amram)? Yea, is there a day when I come without praying in your
Synagogue, that all of you should be false and dishonest and say a word
which you have ne`er heard about me? Where is there a dead man
who becomes living again, that Enishbai should bear a child? Where is there
a blind man who becomes seeing? Where is there a lame man for whom
his feet walk again? And where is there a mute who learns to read alud
from a book, that Enishbai should bear a child? Nay, neither through me
nor through you will Enishbai ever bear a child!
Then all of the priests arose and said to Old Father
Zakhriâ, they said in reproach;
Be at rest and keep thy seat, Old Father, and let the calm of the Good
rest upon thee. Old Father, if there were no dreams in Judea, then would all
that Mishâ has said, be lying. Rather shall thy word and our word be made
good, and the dreams we have seen. Yôhânâ will receive Jordan and be
called a prophet in Jerusalem.
Thereupon Old Father removed himself from their midst,
and Elizar followed him.
Then were seen three lights (lamps) which companied him. They ran up,
caught Old Father by the hem of his robe and said to him:
Old Father, what is it that goes before thee, and what is it that follows thee?
Then he answered them, saying: "O Elizar, thou great house, thou head of all
the priests, I know ot whom the lights guard which go before me. I know not
with whom the fire goes which follows me. But neither through me nor through
you will Enishbai ever bear a child"
Then all the priests rose and said to Old Father
Zakhriâ, in reproach they said:
Old Father Zakhriâ, be at peace, firm and decided, for the child will
be planted from out of the most high height and be given to thee in old age.
Yôhânâ will receive Jordan and be called a prophet in Jerusalem.
We will be baptized with his baptizing and with his ure sign will we be signed.
We will take his bread and drink his drink and with him ascend to Light`s region.
All the priests arose and said to Old Father Zakhriâ, in reproach they said:
Old Father ! We will enlighten thee as to thy race and thy fathers,
from whom thou hast come forth .. (here follows a long list of prophets
and sages, beginning with Moses, which I omit, as it requires a lenghty
commentary for which space here does not serve... ending with..)
Tâb-Yòmin and the school-teachers have come forth from thy race.
The blessed princes, who are thy forebears, Old Father, all of them
have taken no wife and begotten no sons. Yet in their old age each of them
had a son. They had sons, and they were prophets in Jerusalem. If now
out of thee as well a prophet comes forth, thou dost then revive this race
again. Yea, Yôhânâ will be born and will be called prophet in Jerusalem.
Then Elizar opened his mouth and said to Old Father:
Old Father! If Yôhânâ receobes Jordan, then will I be his servant,
be baptized with his baptizing and signed with his pure sign.
We will take his bread and drink his drink and with him
ascend to Light`s region.
Then Old Father opened his mouth and said unto all of
If the child comes out of the most high height,
What then will you do in Jerusalem?
They have taken the child of the basin of Jordan and
him in the womb of Enishbai (Elisabeth).
Life is victorious and victorious is the Man who has come hither.
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