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LETTER OF SOLOMON MOLCHO.
upon tables; but I have not yet seen them. And he preached to many at Bologna and in other places; and many ran after him to hear his wisdom, and to prove him with riddles*. And Solomon told them all their words : there was nothing hid from him which he told them not; and when they saw the wisdom of Solomon, they said, “ It was a true report which we heard concerning thee, and thou hast gained wisdom exceeding the fame which we heardt.” And many clothed themselves with envy against him ; but they could cast no evil upon him in Italy, for he was beloved in the sight of the nobles : and he united himself with David, and they were as one in those days.
826. And Solomon wrote unto the wise men, words of peace and truth, saying :
827. “Ye great mountains, ye pillars of the “ captivity, knowing science, and understanding “ knowledge, a goodly sight before the face of “ Him who dwelleth in the holy habitation, in “ whom is power to stand in the temple of the “ Holy King, and who are bound up in the “ bundles of the seventy faces of the tree of
* 1 Kings, x. i., and 2 Chron. ix. 1. + 1 Kings, X., and 2 Chron. ix.
I i. e. The Jewish communion ; which being dispersed among the Gentiles, is considered to be in a state of captivity.
$ 1 Sam. xxv. 29.
|| There are, according to the rabbies seventy manners of interpreting the law which are called the Seventy Faces,
“ righteous life, to be a strong wall and a high “ bulwark round the destroyed city. May we “ live to see its rebuilding! And much peace be on “ the throne of the King Messiah. These* are the “ seed blessed by God from heaven.
828. “ Incline your ear to hear the words of a “worm and no mant, a rod out of the stem of the “ children of our captivity}, which came forth from “a lands of our adversaries, sitting in a forest and “in a desert, in a place of thorns, thistles, and “briers; there he fed, and there he lay down; “ for his father and his mother forsook him\; he “ walked in darkness and had no lights, medi“tating in the night upon his couch**, by what “ way the light is partedtt, that he might know “the place of the dawn, to keep himself from the “ways of the violent, that he might walk in the " paths of God to seek wisdom of him, and to hear " the words of truth. And He put in his heart “anxiety and trouble at all times, to save his “ soul from destruction, to shine in the light of “ life, that he might hold fast unto the right hand of “ God, and cast from him the leftff; in his distress * The sages addressed in this letter. † Ps. xxii. 7.
Comp. Isaiah xi. 1. $ Portugal. || Ps. xxvii. 10.
Is. 1. 10. ** Canticles ii. 1. tt Job. xxxviii. 24. II 5x20, i. e. What is not right; an allusion also to the name of the devil. SNOD, Sammael, angelus malignus, et princeps mortis.-Buxtorf.
“he lifted up his voice unto Him, even unto the “ Head and said, “Holy, make the tabernacle of “ peace. For it is better to trust in the Lord, than “ to put confidence in princes* (because they are “ dragonst, and will be destroyed); He shall “ stand for ever: see ye, and hearken unto this, “ give glory unto our Godf.
829. “In the twelfth month in the year “ OMRIM ( When I heard Di70X THEM SAYS, “ Let us go'll, he went to supplicate the face of the “ Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts; I also “ went into the palace of strangers in the great “ city, which is destined to become desolate, and
* Ps. cxviii. 9.
+ Din, belluæ marinæ, pisces ingentes, Gr. Kntoi, Gen. i. 21, dracones, serpentes. Gesenius, Lex. Manuale.
| Deut. xxxii. iii.
Q = 40
291 291 + 5000 = A. M. 5291, or A.D. 1530. || The passage between parentheses has no connexion with the sense of Molcho's letter ; and is merely cited, according to the custom of the Rabbies, because it contains in the word b ox the date of the year. There occur subsequently similar instances of this practice.
I i. e. Rome.
MUNICH - JOSEPH TITSA.
“ whose land will be burning pitch : there came “thither the messenger of your highnesses, and in “ his hand a roll of a book ; and he spread it out “ before me, and it was full of pleasant and tender “ words, and it was in my mouth like honey for “ sweetness* ; when I read therein with under“ standing eyes, I thought to return unto your “ highnesses an answer briefly. It is already “ known unto the honor of your learning, con“cerning the vision which I wrote from the “city Monasteriot unto our master, the revered “ Joseph Titsaf (may his Rock and Redeemer
preserve him !)$. For when I was there, he “ asked of me to make known unto him my jour“ ney from Portugal, in what manner it was; and “ I wrote to him every thing after its order; and I “ vowed to write also all which should in future “ happen unto me in the kingdom of Edom|| ; and “ in that vision your highnesses will see what came “ upon me during my coming from Portugal and “ Turkey unto the land of Edom, wherein I am “ now a prisoner by the hand of the king over “ kings of kings, the holy One (holy and blessed “is He!), by the hand of his servant, my master,
* Ezek. jii. 3.
t o w'ga. I %. $ 9'8", a contraction for 958929 1793 1790. 11 i. e. The European states, but especially Italy.
ANCONA. “ David, without permission to do any thing ex“ cept that which is shewn unto me from heaven. “ And now I am come to tell your highnesses the “ verity of the words of truth. When I reached “ Ancona, immediately an assembly of the wicked* “ encompassed me, and slandered me before the “ bishop, by their saying how I dwelt in the tents “ of Kedart, but now am I in peace: for when “ he sent for me, Jews from that place, and from “ Turkey, went with me to see how the thing would “ fall out; and he asked of me concerning the “ matter, and I said unto him, They have told “ thee the truth. And he answered me, "What “ hast thou seen concerning itf?' And I replied “ unto him, “That the Lord is God; He is truth, “ and his law is true, and there is no other; and “ he became dumb like a dead carcase. And “ upon the men who were with me there fell a “ great tremblings. And he dismissed me with “ peace, but commanded me, that I should not “ preach unto the Gentiles in opposition to their “ law. But notwithstanding all that, every time I “ was preaching, there came into the synagogue “ nobles and priests, and much people, and I also * Ps. xxii. 16.
+ Ps. cxx. 5. i. e. What was my condition and character among the orientals. Kedar means here the Mohammedan territories.
Idiom for, Why hast thou done thus? Esther ix. 26, § Gen. xv.