Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster , at sacred-texts.com
XXI. (1) 'After this I implored him and said, "Do thou show me Gehinnom, which I desire to behold." But he would not allow me. And I said unto him, "Why wilt thou not let me see it?" To which the Messiah answered and said, "It is not meet for the righteous to see it, for there are no righteous people in hell." (2) I then forthwith sent to the angel Qipōd that he might measure hell from beginning to end; but he was not able to do so, because at that time R. Ishmael, R. Shim‘on, son of Gamliel, and ten other pious men were put to death. I tried, but
could not succeed. (3) After this, I went to the angel Qipōd, who went with me until I came before the fire at the gates of hell. The Messiah (also) went with me, and when the wicked in hell saw the light of the Messiah, they rejoiced and said, "This one will bring us forth from this fire." They showed me then a compartment in hell, which I entered, and, going round it, I measured it.' (4) R. Joshua said, 'When I measured the first compartment of hell, I found it to be one mile in length and breadth, and behold, there were many open pits in which were lions, and the lions were of fire. There were also two brooks, and when the wicked people fall therein, they are swallowed up, and lions of fire standing above cast them into the fire. (5) When I measured the second, I found it as the first, and I asked the same questions as I asked about the first, and they made the same reply. There were in it some of the nations of the world, presided over by Absalom, and one nation says to the other, "If we have sinned, it is because we did not wish to accept the law; but you, what sin have you committed?" And they reply, "We have committed the same sin as you." And they say to Absalom, "If thou hast not listened, thy ancestors have done so. And why hast thou then been punished in such a manner?" "Because," he replied, "I did not listen to the exhortations of my father." (6) An angel stands with a rod of fire, and this angel that smites them is named Qushiel. He orders the other angels to throw them down and to burn them, and one by one they are brought in, and after smiting them, they are cast upon the fire and burned until all the people have been consumed. After this, Absalom is brought in to be smitten, when a voice is heard to say, "Do not smite him nor burn him because he is one of the sons of those whom I love, who said on Mount Sinai, 'We shall do, and we shall hear.'" After they have finished smiting and burning the wicked these emerge from the fire just as if they had not been burnt; they are then smitten again, and again thrust into the fire, and this is repeated seven times every day and three times every
night. But Absalom is saved from all this because he is one of the sons of David. (7) The third compartment contains seven nations of the world, who are judged in the same manner, and Borah and his company are with them. The name of him who smites them is Shabṭil (###). But Korah and his company are saved from all this, because they exclaimed on Mount Sinai, "We shall do, and we shall hear." (8) The fourth compartment contains four nations of the world, with Jeroboam to preside over them, and the one who smites them is named Maktiel. But Jeroboam is delivered from all these punishments, because he descended from those who exclaimed, "We shall do, and we shall hearken." (9) In the fifth house they are judged likewise. It contains seven nations, with Aḥab among them, and he who smites them is named Ḥushiel. But Aḥab is delivered from all this, because his ancestors said on Mount Sinai, "We shall do, and we shall hearken." (10) The sixth house, containing ten nations of the world, is judged likewise, and Micah is among them, and the angel who smites them is named Parḥiel (###). But Micah is rescued from all this, because his ancestors also exclaimed on Mount Sinai, "We shall do, and we shall hear." (11) The seventh compartment contains six nations of the world, which are judged in the same manner, and among them is Elisha ben Abuya; and so in all the compartments. But one cannot see the other on account of the darkness, for the darkness that existed before the creation of the world is now there.'