Freethought Archives > G W Foote & J M Wheeler > The Jewish Life of Christ

CHAPTER III.

ABOUT the middle of the night God put the bastard into a deep sleep, and Judas enchanted him in his sleep.

2. Then Judas entered into Jeshu's tent, and with a knife cut his flesh and took out therefrom the sacred parchment.

3. Jeshu awoke out of sleep affrighted by a great and horrid demon.

4. Wherefore he said to his disciples, Ye shall know now that my heavenly Father hath commanded me to come to him; I go because he seeth that I have no honor among men. [28:1]

5. Then his disciples said, What is to become of us?

6. He answered, O blessed ones, great will be your reward if ye keep my words, for ye shall sit at my right hand with my heavenly Father. [28:2]

7. Then they all lifted up their voices and wept.

8. But Jeshu said, Do not weep, for a great reward is in store for your piety; only beware lest ye transgress my words.

9. To which all responded, Whatsoever thou commandest we will do, and whosoever proveth disobedient to thy commands, let him die.

10. Then said Jeshu, If ye listen to my words and obey my commands ye will treat me with favor and justice. As ye go to fight for me at Jerusalem I will hide myself by mingling with you so that the citizens of Jerusalem may not know me. [28:3]

11. These things Jeshu spoke deceitfully, that he might go to Jerusalem and enter the Temple and again obtain the knowledge of the name.

12. Not in the least suspecting his evil intent, they all responded, All things that thou commandest we will do, nor will we depart therefrom a finger's breadth, either to the right or to the left.

13. Again he said, Make oath to me. So they all from the least to the greatest, bound themselves by an oath.

14. And they did not know that Judas was among them, because he was not recognised.

15. Afterwards Judas said to the attendants, Let us provide for ourselves uniform garments, so that no one maybe able to know our master.

16. This device pleased them, and they carried it out.

17. Then they journeyed to Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread. [29:4]

18. Now when the devout men saw Judas they rejoiced with great joy, and said to him, Point out to us we pray thee, what remaineth to be done.

19. (For he had secretly withdrawn himself and come to the elders and wise men of the city).

20. Then Judas related all that had happened, and how he had obtained the name from the bastard.

21. Wherefore they rejoiced, and Judas said to them, If ye will obey my orders, to-morrow I will deliver this fellow into your hands.

22. Then said the wise men, Hast thou enough knowledge of his going and coming?

23. Judas replied, Everything is known to me. Lo, he goeth to the temple to attend the sacrifice of the Paschal victim, but I have sworn to him by the ten commandments not to deliver him into your hands.

24. And he hath with him two thousand men. [29:5] Be ye prepared therefore to-morrow, and know that the man -before whom I bow down in adoration, he is the bastard. Act bravely, attack his followers, and seize him.

25. Simeon Ben Shetach and all the rest of the wise men danced for joy, and they promised Judas to obey his orders.

26. The next day came Jeshu with all his crowd, but Judas went out to meet him, and falling down before him he worshipped him.

27. Then all the citizens of Jerusalem, being well armed and mailed, captured Jeshu.

28. And when his disciples saw him held captive, and that it was vain to fight, they took to their legs [29:6] hither and thither, and gave themselves up to bitter weeping.

29. Meanwhile the citizens of Jerusalem, waxing stronger, conquered the bastard and his crowd, killing many of them, while the rest fled to the mountains.

30. Then the elders of Jerusalem brought Jeshu into the city, and bound him to a marble pillar, and scourged him, saying, Where now are all the miracles thou hast wrought?

31. Then they took thorn branches, and weaving a crown out of them, put it on his head.

32. Then the bastard becoming thirsty, said, Give me some water to drink.

33. So they offered him vinegar. Having tasted it, he cried out with a loud voice,

34. My forefather David prophesied concerning me, saying, And they gave me gall for meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

35. They answering, said, If thou art God, why didst thou not make known before thou didst drink that vinegar was offered to thee?

36. Then they added, Thou dost stand now upon the verge of the grave, nor wilt thou at last convert gall into good fruit.

37. But Jesus weeping bitterly, said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me [30:7]?

38. Then the elders said, If thou art the son of God, why dost thou not deliver thyself out of our hands?

39. Jeshu replied. My blood is shed for mortals, for thus Esaias prophesied, And from his wounds we are healed [30:8].

40. Afterwards they brought Jeshu before the greater and lesser Sanhedrim, where sentence was pronounced that he should be stoned and hanged. [30:9]

41. The same day was the preparation for the Sabbath and also the preparation for the Passover. [30:1]

42. Thence taking him out to the place of punishment they stoned him to death. [31:2]

43. Then the wise men commanded him to be hanged on a tree, but no tree was found that would support him for all being frail were broken.

44. His disciples seeing this, wailed and cried out, Behold the goodness of our master Jeshu, whom no tree will sustain.

45. But they knew not that he had enchanted all wood when he was in possession of the name. [31:3]

46. But he knew that he would surely suffer the-penalty of hanging, as it is written, When any man shall be judged to death for an offence and shall be put to death, then thou shalt hang him etc.

47. Then Judas, when he saw, that no wood would hold him up, said to the wise men, Behold the subtlety of this fellow, for he hath enchanted the wood that it might not sustain him.

48. But there is in my garden a great stem of a cabbage; [32:4] I will go and bring it hither; perhaps it will hold the body,

49. To whom the wise men said, Go and do so. So Judas went at once and brought the stalk, and on it Jeshu was hanged.

50. Toward night the wise men said, It is not lawful for us to break one letter of the divine law in regard to this fellow; we must do to him what the law demands, even though he did seduce men.

51. Therefore they buried him where he was stoned.

52. Now about the middle of the night his disciples came and sat down by the grave and wept and mourned for him.

53. Judas seeing this, took away the body and hid it in his garden under a brook. Diverting the water elsewhere, he buried the body in the channel and then brought the water back.

54. On the morrow, when the disciples came again and sat down to weep, Judas said to them, Why do ye weep? Look and see if the buried man is there.

55. And when they looked and found he was not there, the miserable crowd cried out, He is not in the grave but hath ascended to heaven. [32:5]

56. For he foretold this himself when alive, and as if concerning himself the saying was interpreted, [But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave]; for he shall receive me; Selah.

57. Meanwhile the Queen finding out what had been, commanded the wise men of Israel to appear; and when they came she said to them,

58. What have ye done with this man whom ye have accused of being a sorcerer and a seducer of men?

59. They answered, We have buried him according to the requirement of our law.

60. Then she said, Bring him hither to me.

61. And they went and sought for him in the grave; but did not find him.

62. Then returning to the Queen, they said, We know not who hath taken him from the grave.

63. The Queen answered and said, He is the Son of God and hath ascended to his Father in heaven; for thus it is prophesied of him, For he shall receive me; Selah.

64. Then the wise men said, Do not allow these thoughts to come into thy mind, for verily he was a sorcerer; and they gave proof by their own testimony that he was a bastard and the son of an adulteress.

65. The Queen replied, Why do I exchange words with you in vain? For if ye bring him hither ye shall be found innocent, but if not, none of you shall survive.

66. They all responded in these words: Give us time that we may discover the upshot of this affair. Peradventure we may find him there, but if we do not succeed, do unto us whatever pleaseth thee.

67. She allowed them three days' time, and they departed grieved at heart, lamenting, and not knowing what to do.

68. Therefore they ordered a fast, and when the appointed time came and they had not found the body, many left Jerusalem to escape the sight of the Queen.

69. Among the rest went a certain old man named Rabbi Tanchuma. He in great sorrow wandering through the fields, saw Judas sitting in his own garden, eating.

70. Coming up to him, Rabbi Tanchuma said, How is this? Why dost thou take food when all the Jews fast and are in sore distress?

71. Judas, greatly astonished, inquired wherefore they fasted.

72. Rabbi Tanchuma replied, It is because of this bastard who hath been hanged and buried near the place of stoning; he to hath been taken away from the grave, and none of us know who hath taken him.

73. But his worthless disciples declare that he hath gone up to heaven, and the Queen threateneth all of us Israelites with death unless we find him.

74. Then Judas asked, If this fellow shall be found, will it bring safety to the Israelites?

75. Rabbi Tanchuma said, Indeed it will.

76. Then said Judas, Come, and I will show thee the man, for I took him away from the grave because I feared less perchance his impious followers might steal him from the tomb, [33:6] and I hid him in my garden, and made the brook run over him.

77. Then Rabbi Tanchuma hastened to the wise men of Israel and related the matter.

78. Therefore they all assembled, and tying the body to a horse's tail, brought it and threw it down before the Queen, saying, Behold the man of whom thou hast said, He hath gone up to heaven.

79. When the Queen saw him, she was overwhelmed with shame and unable to speak.

80. Moreover, while the body was thus dragged about for some time, the hair of the head was pulled out.

81. And this is the reason why now the hair of a monk is shaved off in the middle of the head; it is done in remembrance of what happened to Jeshu. [33:7]

 


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