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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at


LXI. (1) The banishment brought about by Titus, Vespasianus, and Hadrian, occurred on the eve of the ninth of Ab, on the outgoing of the Sabbath and the Sabbatical year. The Levites were then occupied with their ministrations, and, with their harps in their hands, were singing their hymns. But Scripture saith, 'He hath brought upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own evil.' The words 'He shall cut them off' were not yet fully uttered ere their enemies came upon them, slaughtered many of them, and sent the rest into exile. Thus, also, when Nebuchadnezzar the wicked sent them into exile it fell upon the eve of the ninth of Ab, the outgoing of the Sabbatical year and the Sabbath, when the Levites were standing on their 'Duchan,' being sixty myriads in number, who were, moreover, of the seed

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of Moses our instructor. While the harps were in their hands, the verse 'He hath brought upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own evil,' was not yet fully uttered, ere the enemy came and exiled them to Babylon. When they arrived in Babylon, their enemies and captors said to them, 'Sing us a song of Zion.' And they replied, 'How can we sing a song of Zion upon strange ground?'

(2) 'Now,' retorted their captors, 'ye shall sing by force.' But they at once cut off their fingers with their teeth, and cast them before them. And they replied, 'How can those fingers which struck the strings of the harps in the temple strike them here in a strange land?' And God exclaimed, 'If I forget Jerusalem, My right hand shall be forgotten.'

(3) A cloud then descended, and lifting all the children of Moses, with their sheep and cattle, brought them to the east of Havila. In the night they were let down, and on that same night they heard a great noise surrounding them, like that of a river, without seeing a drop of water descending, but heard only the rolling of stones and sand, where there had never been a river. This river then rolled great stones, and the sand, without any water, made a noise as of a great earthquake, so that if anyone came near that river, he was dashed to pieces. This continued until the Sabbath. The river they called Sabbatyon or Sabbatianus. In some part the river is less than sixty cubits in width; there the people stand and speak with those of the other side. On the Sabbath it ceases to flow, and on the eve of Sabbath a cloud descends full of smoke. No one is able to approach them, neither do they approach us. There are no wild beasts, no unclean animals, nor any reptiles or creeping things; nothing except their flocks and herds.

(4) They reap and sow, and they ask the others, and thus they learned of the destruction of the second temple. Behind the sons of Moses we do not know who may be dwelling; but Naphtali, Gad, and Asher came to Dan after the destruction of the second temple; for Isaachar, who lived at the mountains of the deep, quarrelled with them and

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called them 'the sons of the handmaids.' At length, being afraid lest they be coming to battle, those three tribes went away until they came to Dan, and these four tribes were thus living in one place.

Next: LXII. The Ten Banishments of the Sanhedrim