The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 2 – part 2

Continuing our translation.  More material summarised from the bible.

3. If someone objects that in the Torah it is written that the sons of Abraham – in another text: the sons of Israel – were slaves for four hundred years (11) and then asks why we say instead that they were slaves for two hundred and seventeen years, we answer: “You have not chosen correctly the date from which to begin to compute to get to the four hundred years.  Know that it is written in the first book of the Torah that God – highest be His praise – said to Abraham: “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can count them.  Your seed will be as numerous as them.”(12)  And God told him again: “I am the God who brought you out of Qarrà of the Chaldeans to bring you to this land that I will give you as an inheritance” (13). Abraham said: “My Lord, how will I know that I shall inherit it?”(14). And God answered him: “Take a young bull, a ram and a three-year-old goat, then take a turtledove and a pigeon. Divide them in half and place each half in front of the respective half, but do not divide the birds “(15).  Abraham did [as God had ordered him to do].  The birds immediately rushed to the sides, but Abraham called them and they went to him. It was sunset.  On Abraham there fell a deep sleep and a great fright because dense darkness had fallen on Abraham.  God told Abraham: “You must know that your descendants will dwell in a land not their own and will work there and will be slaves for four hundred years.  But I will judge the nation that they serve. Later they will come out and come here with great riches.  As for you, you will go in peace to your fathers and you will be buried after a decent old age”(16).  It is from this time when God said to Abraham: “Your descendants will be slaves for four hundred years” that it is necessary to compute the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Understand it well!

4. Pharaoh let the children of Israel go and told them: “Go with Moses and worship your Lord on the holy mountain (17).  But in three days, go back to your places”. Moses ordered the women of the children of Israel to borrow clothes and jewels from the Egyptians and wear them. The women did as Moses had ordered them to do. Moses led them out of Egypt. There were six hundred thousand. The sea split in two before them, on the orders of Moses, and allowed them to walk in the middle. The pharaoh regretted allowing the children of Israel to leave. The pharaoh of the times of Moses was called ‘Amyūs (18). He chased them with six hundred thousand men and passed through where they had passed. But the waters rejoined over them and drowned the pharaoh with his men, without even one being saved. From Abraham to when the children of Israel came out of Egypt five hundred and seven years had passed away; from Fāliq to the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, one thousand and forty-eight; from the deluge to the exodus of the childrens of Israel from Egypt, one thousand five hundred and seventy-nine years; from Adam to the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, three thousand eight hundred and thirty-five years.

The children of Israel wandered for forty years. God rained manna and quails on them. In their wandering from one place to another they fought against the Amalekites and the Philistines. Whenever they tried to occupy Palestine they were driven out, and every time they tried to enter the territory of the Amalekites they engaged in battle and were driven back. When they thought of returning to Egypt, they were afraid of the people. In the desert there prophesied the sons of Qūrih (19), who were swallowed up by the earth, namely Ashīr, Ilqānā and Anīsāf (20). The earth swallowed Qūrih because he had become arrogant to Moses and insulted him. Moses therefore commanded the earth [to open] and it swallowed Qūrih with his tent and all that belonged to him.  Moses and Harun made a census of the sons of Israel who were in the desert, of those who carried arms, from twenty years upwards, except those of the tribe of Levi, and counted them six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.  Then the sons of Levi, those from a month upwards, turned out to be twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three. The total number of the sons of Israel that Moses and Harūn counted thus turned out to be six hundred and twenty-five thousand eight hundred and twenty-three. While in the desert, Moses killed Sīhūn, king of Hishwan (21): he destroyed their homes, killed their men and took their women captive. He killed the king of Madyan, destroyed Madyan and killed the men and the children, taking the women prisoner.  He killed the king of ‘Ūğ and destroyed the city, killing the men and children and making the women prisoner (22).

5. Moses ascended Mount Tur Sīnā (23) and God gave him the Torah written on plates. When he came down he found that the sons of Israel had taken the jewels of their women, smelted them, and had forged a calf’s head and worshiped it. Seeing them in this condition, he threw down the plates which were broken in pieces. Then Moses picked them up and placed them in an ark. Moses built the Tent of time using the thread of the garments of the women of the Israelites and placed a sanctuary within it. Harūn, his brother, was a priest in the sanctuary. In the desert, many snakes were mortally biting the children of Israel, who asked Moses for help. God then ordered Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it in such a way as to be clearly visible and to raise the standard in the camp of the children of Israel. Anyone who was bitten and looked at the bronze snake would not report any damage from the snake’s venom. Moses, Harūn and Maryam, their sister, died in the desert in the same year, having wandered for forty years in the desert. First Maryam, their sister, on the sixth of Nīsān, or Barmūdah (24), died at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven; then Harūn died, on the first of the month of Āb, or Misra (25), at the age of one hundred and twenty-three years and was buried on Mount Hūr (26); finally Moses died – on him be peace – on the seventh of the month of Adhār, or Baramhāt (27), in the land of Muwāb. He was buried in the wādī of Muwāb (28): he was one hundred and twenty years old.

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