The Tower of Babel
The building of the Tower of Babel was the work of pride. The builders aimed at constructing something according to their own ideas, and thus resist the guidance of God. When the children of Noe had become very numerous, the proudest and most experienced among them met to resolve upon the execution of some work so great and so strong as to be the wonder of all ages to come and cause the builders to be spoken of as the most skillful, the most powerful of men. They thought not of God, they sought only their own glory. Had it been otherwise, as I was distinctly told, God would have allowed their undertaking to succeed. The children of Sem took no active part in the work. They dwelt in a level country where palm trees and similar choice fruit grow. They were, however, obliged to contribute something toward the building, for they did not dwell so far distant at that period as they did later. The descendants of Cham and Japhet alone were engaged in the work; and because the Semites refused to join them, they called them a stupid race. The Semites were less numerous than the children of Cham and Japhet, and among them the family of Heber and the ancestors of Abraham studiously refrained from encouraging the en-terprise. Upon Heber who, as we have said, took no part in the work, God cast His eyes; and amid the general disorder and corruption, He set him and his posterity apart as a holy nation. God gave him also a new and holy language possessed by no other nation, that thereby his race should be cut off from communication with all others. This language was the pure Hebrew, or Chaldaic. The first tongue, the mother tongue, spoken by Adam, Sem, and Noe, was different, and it is now extant only in isolated dialects. Its first pure offshoots are the Zend, the sacred tongue of India, and the language of the Bactrians. In those languages, words may be found exactly similar to the Low German of my native place. The book that I see in modern Ctesiphon, on the Tigris, is written in that language. Heber was still living at the time of Semiramis. His grandfather Arphaxad was the favorite son of Sem. He was a man of great judgment and full of profound wisdom. But a good deal of idolatrous worship and sorcery may have been handed down by him. The Magi derive their origin from him.
The Tower of Babel was built upon rising ground, about two leagues in circumference, around which lay an extensive plain covered with fields, gardens, and trees. To the foundations of the Tower, that is up to its first story, twenty-five very broad stone walks led from all sides of the plain. Twenty-five tribes were engaged in the building, and each tribe had its own road to the Tower. Off in the distance, where these roads began, each tribe had its own particular city that, in time of danger or attack, they might flee to the Tower for shelter. The Tower was intended likewise to serve as a temple for their idolatrous worship. The stone roads were, where they took their rise in the plain, tolerably far apart; but around the Tower, they lay so close that the inter-vening spaces were not greater than the breadth of a wide street. Before reaching the Tower, they were connected by cross arches, and between every two there opened a gateway about ten feet wide into its base. When these gently inclined roads had reached a certain height, they were pierced by single arcades. Near the Tower the arcades were double, one above the other, so that through them one could make the circuit of the building, even around the lowest part, under all the roads. Above the arches that connected the inclined roads were walks, or streets, running horizontally around the Tower.
Those gently rising roads extended like the roots of a tree. They were designed in part, as supporting counter-pillars to strengthen the foundation of the immense building, and partly as roads for the conveyance from all points of building materials and other loads to the first story of the Tower.
Between these extended bases were encampments upon substructures of stone. In many places the tops of the tents rose above the roads that ran through them. From every encampment, steps cut in the walls led up to the walks. One could go all around the Tower through the encampments and arches and under the stone roads.
Besides the occupants of the encampments, there were others who lived in the vaults and spaces on either side of the stone roads. In and around the whole building swarmed innumerable living beings. It was like a huge anthill. Countless elephants, asses, and camels toiled up and down the roads with their heavy burdens. Although these burdens were far broader than the animals themselves, yet several could with ease pass one another on the roads. On them were halting places for feeding and unloading the animals, also tents on the level spaces and even factories. I saw animals without a guide bearing their burdens up and down. The gateways in the basement of the Tower led into a labyrinth of halls, passages, and chambers. From this lower part of the Tower, one could mount by steps cut out on all sides. A spiral walk wound from the first story around the exterior of the polygonal building. The interior at this point consisted of cellars, immense and secure, covered chambers and passages.
The building was begun on all sides at once. All tended to one central point where at first stood a large encampment. They used tiles, also immense hewed stones, which they hauled to the site. The surface of the walks was quite white, and it glistened in the sun. At a distance, the sight it presented was wonderful. The Tower was planned most skillfully. I was told that it would have been finished and would now be standing as a magnificent monument of human skill, had it been erected to the honor of God. But the builders thought not of God. Their work was the offspring of presumption. The names of those that had contributed to the grandeur and magnificence of the building were inscribed with words of praise in the vaults and on the pillars; in the former by means of different colored stones, and on the latter in large characters. There were no kings, but only the heads of the different families, and they ruled according to common counsel. The stones employed in the building were skillfully wrought. They fitted into one another, held one another together. There were no raised figures on the building’ but many parts of it were inlaid with colored stones and, here and there, were figures hewn in niches. Canals and cisterns were constructed for water supplies. All lent a helping hand, even the women trod the clay with their feet. The men worked with breast and arms bare, the most distinguished wearing a little cap with a button. Even in very early times, women kept the head covered.
The building so increased in bulk and height that, on account of the shade it cast, it was quite cold on one side, while on the other the reflection of the sun’s rays made it very hot. For thirty years, the work went on. They were at the second story. They had already encircled and walled in the interior with tower like columns, had already recorded their names and races thereon in colored stones when the confusion broke forth. I saw one sent by God, Melchisedech, going around among the leaders and the masters of the building. He called upon them to account for their conduct, and he announced to them the chastisement of God. And now began the confusion. Many who had up to this time worked on peaceably, now boasted their skill and the great services they had rendered in the undertaking. They formed parties, they laid claim to certain privileges. This occasioned contradictions, animosities, and rebellion. There were at first only two tribes among the dis-affected and these, it was resolved, should be put down; but soon it was discovered that disunion existed among all. They struggled among themselves, they slew one another, they could no longer make themselves understood by one another, and so at last they separated and scattered over the whole earth. I saw Sem’s race going farther southward where later on was Abraham’s home. I saw one of Sem’s race. He was a good man, but he did not follow his leader. On account of his wife, he preferred staying among the wicked ones of Babel. He became the leader of the Samanenses, a race that always held themselves aloof from others. Under the cruel Semiramis, Melchisedech transplanted them to Palestine.
When in my childhood I had the vision of the building of the Tower, I used to reject it because I could not understand it. I had, of course, seen nothing like it, no buildings but our farmhouses 1 and the city of Coesfeld. More than once I thought it must be Heaven. But I had the vision again and again, and always in the same way I see it still, and I have also seen how it looked in Job’s time.
One of the chief leaders in the Tower building was Nemrod. He was afterward honored as a deity under the name of Belus. He was the founder of the race that honored Derketo and Semiramis as goddesses. He built Babylon out of the stones of the Tower, and Semiramis greatly embellished it. He also laid the foundation of Ninive, and built substructures of stones for tent dwellings. He was a great hunter and tyrant. At that period savage animals were very numerous, and they committed fearful ravages. The hunting expeditions fitted out against them were as grand as military expeditions. They who slew these wild animals, were honored as gods. Nemrod also
That is, where the door serves as an egress for the smoke, as well as for the cows. drove men together and subdued them. He practiced idolatry, he was full of cruelty and witchcraft, and he had many descendants. He lived to be about two hundred and seventy years old. He was of sallow complexion, and from early youth he had led a wild life. He was an instrument of Satan and very much given to star worship. Of the numerous figures and pictures that he traced in the planets and constellations, and according to which he prophesied concerning the different nations and countries, he sought to reproduce representations, which he set up as gods. The Egyptians owe their Sphinx to him, as also their many-armed and many-headed idols. For seventy years, Nemrod busied himself with the histories of these idols, with ceremonial details relative to their worship and the sacrifices to be offered them, also with the forming of the pagan priesthood. By his dia-bolical wisdom and power, he had subjected the races that he led to the building of the Tower. When the confusion of tongues arose, many of those tribes broke away from him, and the wildest of them followed Mesraim into Egypt. Nemrod built Babylon, subjected the country around, and laid the foundation of the Babylonian Empire. Among his numerous children were Ninus and Derketo. The last-mentioned was honored as a goddess.
From Derketo to Semiramis, I saw three generations of daughters. Derketo was a tall, powerful woman. I saw her clothed in skins with numerous straps and animals’ tails hanging about her. Her head was covered by a cap made of the feathers of birds. I saw her with a great train of followers, male and female, sallying forth from the neighborhood of Babylon. She was constantly in vision, or engaged in prophesying, offering sacrifice, founding cities, or roving about. She and her followers drove before them scattered tribes with their herds, prophesied on the subject of good dwelling places, piled up stones some of which were immense, offered sacrifice, and practiced all kinds of wickedness. She drew all to herself. She was sometimes here, sometimes there. She was everywhere honored. She had in her old age a daughter, who played a part similar to her own. I saw this vision in a plain, by which was signified the origin of the abomination. Lastly, I saw Derketo as a frightful old woman in a city by the sea. She was again carrying on her sorcery by the seashore. She was in a state of diabolical ecstasy, and she was proclaiming to her people that she must die for them, give her life for them. She told them that she could remain with them no longer, but that she would be transformed into a fish and as such be always near them. She gave directions for the worship to be paid her and, in presence of the assembled multitude, plunged into the sea. Soon after a fish arose above the waves, and the people saluted it with sacrifices and abominations of all kinds. Their divinations were full of mysteries, signs, etc., connected with water. Through Derketo’s instrumentality, an entire system of idolatry arose.
After Derketo, I saw another woman, the daughter of Derketo. She appeared to me on a low mountain, which signified that her position was more powerful than that of her mother. This was still in Nemrod’s time, for they belonged to the same age. I saw this daughter leading a life even wilder and more violent than her mother’s had been. She was engaged most of her time in hunting, attended by crowds of followers. She often went to a distance of three hundred miles, pursued wild animals, offered sacrifice, practiced witchcraft, and prophesied. In this way numerous places were founded and idolatrous worship established. I saw this woman fall into the sea while struggling with a hippopotamus.
Her daughter Semiramis I saw upon a lofty mountain surrounded by all the kingdoms and treasures of the world, as if Satan were showing them to her, giving them to her. I saw that Semiramis put the finishing touch to every abomination of the Babylonian race.
In the earliest times power over others was held more peaceably and was vested in many; later on unlimited jurisdiction was possessed by single individuals. These latter then became the leaders, the gods of their followers, and they formulated various systems of idolatrous worship, each according to his own ideas. They could also perform wonders of skill, valor, and invention, for they were full of the spirit of darkness. Thence arose whole tribes, first rulers and priests combined, later of priests alone. I have seen that, in those days, women of this stamp were more numerous than men. They were all in interior communication, connected with one another by feel-ings, thoughts, and influence. Many things narrated of them are imperfect recitals of their ecstatic, or mesmeric expressions relative to themselves, their origin, their doings uttered sometimes by themselves, at others by their devilish clairvoyants. The Jews also had many secret arts in Egypt. But Moses, the seer of God, rooted them out. Among the rabbis, however, many such things existed as points of learning. Later on these secret arts became low, vulgar practices among wandering tribes, and they still exist in witchcraft and superstition. But they have all sprung from the same tree of corruption, from the same low kingdom of darkness. I see the visions of all that engage in such practices either just above or entirely under the earth. There is an element of the same in magnetism.
Water was held specially sacred by those early idolaters. It entered into all their service. Whether divinations or ecstasies, they always began by a gazing into water. They had ponds consecrated to that purpose. After some time, their ecstatic state became habitual, and even without the aid of water they had their evil visions. I have seen the way in which they had those visions and it was indeed singular. The whole earth with all that it contains seemed to be once more under water, but veiled as in a dark sphere. Tree stood under tree, mountain under mountain, water under water. I saw that those enchantresses beheld all that was going on: wars, nations, perils, etc., just as is done at the present day, only with this difference that the former put what they saw into effect, made good what they saw. Here was a nation to be subdued, here one to be taken by surprise, there a city to be built. Here were famous men and women, and there was the plan by which they might be outwitted; in fine, every item of their diabolical worship was seen before reduced to practice by those females. Derketo saw in vision that she should cast herself into the sea and be transformed into a fish, and what she saw, she hesitated not to carry into effect. Even the abominations practiced in their worship, were all mirrored in the water before they put them into execution.
In the age in which Derketo’s daughter lived, dykes and roads began to be constructed. She raided down into Egypt itself. Her whole life was one series of movings and hunting expeditions. Her adherents belonged to the tribe that had plundered Job in Arabia. The diabolical worship of Derketo’s people became systematized first in Egypt. Here it took such hold that, while the witches sat in the temples and in chambers on strange-looking seats before various kinds of mirrors, their visions, communicated while actually seen, were reported by the priests to hundreds of men who engraved them upon the stone walls of caverns.
Strange that I should see all those abominable chief instruments of darkness always in unconscious communion with one another! I saw similar actions and things going on in different places among similar instruments of the evil one. The only difference among them was that which arose from the diversity of manners and customs among the several nations and the different degrees of depravity into which they had fallen. Some had not as yet sunk so deep in these abominations, and were not so far removed from the truth; those, for instance, from whom the family of Abraham and the races of Job and the Three Kings sprang, as also the star worshippers of Chaldea, and they that had the Shining Star
When Jesus Christ came upon earth, when the earth was soaked with His Blood, the fierce influence of such practices was considerably diminished, and witchcraft lost much of its power. Moses was a seer from his cradle, but he was according to God and he always practiced what he saw.
Derketo, her daughter, and her granddaughter Semiramis lived to be very old, according to the general age of that time. They were tall, powerful, mighty, such as would almost frighten us in our day. They were inconceivably bold, fierce, shameless, and they carried out with astonishing assurance whatever the evil one had shown them in vision. They felt their own power, they thought themselves divinities; they were facsimiles of those furious sorcerers on the high mountain that perished in the Deluge.
It is touching to see how the holy patriarchs, although they had frequent revelations from God, had nevertheless to suffer and to struggle unremittingly in order to keep clear of the abominations that surrounded them. And again, is it affecting to remember in what secret, what painful ways salvation at last came upon earth, while all went well with demonolatry, while all things were made to subserve its interests.
When I saw all this, the immense influence exercised by those goddesses and the high worship they received over all the earth; and, on the other side, when I contemplated Mary’s little band with whose symbolical picture in the cloud of Elias, the philosophers of Cyprus sought to couple their lying abominations; when I saw Jesus, the Fulfillment of all promises, poor and patient, standing before them teaching and afterward going to meet His Cross—ah, that made me inexpressibly sad! But after all, this is the history of the truth and the light ever shining in the darkness, and the darkness not comprehending it. And so it has been and so it is still, the same old story even down to our own day.
But the mercy of God is infinite. I have seen that at the time of the Deluge, many, very many were saved from eternal punishment. Fright and anguish converted them to God. They went to Purgatory, and Jesus freed them on His descent into hell.
Numbers of trees escaped being uprooted by the waters of the Deluge. I saw them thriving again, but most of them were covered, choked up by mud.
The mother of Semiramis was born in the region of Ninive. Outwardly demur, in secret she was cruel and dissolute. The father of Semiramis was a native of Syria and, like her mother, sunk in the most detestable idolatry. He was put to death after the child’s birth, his murder being in some way connected with, or in consequence of their divinations. Semiramis was born far away at Ascalon, in Palestine, and then taken by pagan priests to some shepherds in a wilderness. She spent much of her time during her childhood alone on a mountain. I saw her mother and the pagan priests turning aside, when on their hunting expeditions, to visit her. I saw too the devil under various forms playing with her, like John in the desert going around with angels. I saw near her birds of brilliant plumage. They brought her all kinds of curious toys. I do not remember all that went on connected with her, but it was the most horrible idolatry. She was beautiful, full of intelligence and seductive arts, and everything succeeded with her. In obedience to certain divinations, she became the wife of one of the chief shepherds of the King of Babylon, and later on she married the King himself. This King had conquered a nation far to the north, and had dragged a part of them to his own country as slaves. Some time after when Semiramis reigned alone, many of them were oppressed by her and forced to labor at her extravagant buildings. Semiramis was looked upon as a goddess by her nation.
The hunting expeditions carried on by Semiramis’ mother were wilder than those which she herself conducted. She, the mother, went about with a little army mounted on camels, striped asses, and horses. Once I saw them in Arabia toward the Red Sea, on a great hunt, at the time when Job dwelt in his city there. The huntresses were very dexterous, and they sat on horseback like men. They were fully clothed to the knee, below which the limbs were laced with straps. On the feet they wore soles with two high heels upon which were colored figures. They wore short, closely fitting jackets made of fine feathers of the most diverse hues and patterns. Crossed over the arms and breast were straps trimmed with feathers. The shoulders were covered with a cape, likewise of feathers, and set with glittering stones and pearls. On the head, they wore a kind of hat of red silk or wool. Over the face fell a veil in two halves, either of which could be used as a protection from wind and dust. A short mantle completed their costume. Their hunting weapons consisted of spears, bows, and arrows; at their side hung a shield. The savage animals had multiplied astonishingly. The hunters drove them together from all parts of immense districts and slew them. They also dug pits and covered them as snares. When the beasts fell into them, they were soon dis-patched with hatchets and clubs. I saw the mother of Semiramis hunting the animal described by Job under the name of behemoth, also tigers, lions, etc. I saw no monkeys in those early times. I saw similar hunts upon the water, upon which idolatry and numerous abominations were generally practiced. The mother was outwardly not so dissolute as Semiramis, but she possessed a diabolical nature with amazing strength and temerity. What a frightful thing, to plunge into the sea in her struggle with that mighty monster!1 Mounted on a dromedary, she pursued the animal, until dromedary and rider plunged into the waves. She was honored as the goddess of the chase and a benefactress to mankind.
Semiramis returning home from Africa after one of her hunting or military expeditions, went to Egypt. This kingdom had been founded by Mesraim, the grandson of Cham, who at his coming had found there already several scattered tribes of degenerate neighboring races. Egypt was peopled by several races, and ruled sometimes by one, sometimes by another. When Semiramis went to Egypt four cities were in existence. The oldest was Thebes where a lighter, a more slender, and agile race lived than in the city of Memphis, whose inhabitants were short and thickset. It lay upon the left bank of the Nile, over which was a long bridge. On the right bank was the place where in Moses’ time Pharaoh’s daughter lived. The darker inhabitants with woolly hair were even in those first ages, slaves, and they had never ruled in Egypt. They that first went thither and built Thebes came, I think, from Africa; the others from over the Red Sea and from where the Israelites entered. A third city was called Chume, later Heliopolis. It lies toward the north below Thebes.
When Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with Jesus, I saw extraordinarily large buildings still around this city. Lower down than Memphis, not very far from the sea, lay the city of Sais. I think it is still
Semiramis was very highly honored in Egypt where, by her intrigues and diabolical arts, she greatly contributed to the spread of idolatry. I saw her in Memphis, where human sacrifices were common, plotting and practicing magic and astrology. I did not at this period see the bull Apis, but I saw idols with tails and a head like the sun. It was Semiramis who here planned the first pyramid; it was built on the eastern bank of the Nile, not far from Memphis. The whole nation had to assist at its construction. When it was completed, I saw Semiramis again journeying thither with about two hundred followers. It was for the consecration of the building, Semiramis was honored almost as a divinity.
The pyramid happened to be constructed on marshy ground; consequently a foundation of stupendous pillars was built for it. It was like an immense broad bridge. The pyramid was raised upon it. One could go around under it, as if into an immense temple formed of columns. It was divided off into innumerable rooms, dungeons, and spacious halls. The pyramid itself up to the very summit also contained numerous apartments, large and small, with openings like windows from which I saw flags of cloth hanging and waving. All around the pyramid were baths and gardens. This building was the real center of Egyptian idolatry, astrology, witchcraft, and abominable impurity. Here children and the aged were offered in sacrifice. Astrologers and necromancers dwelt in the pyramid and there had their diabolical visions. Near the baths was immense machinery for purifying the muddy waters of the Nile. The baths witnessed the most infamous horrors of idol worship. I saw later on Egyptian women practicing the greatest abominations in them. This pyramid did not long exist; it was destroyed.
The nation was frightfully superstitious. The pagan priests were in darkness so great and so given to divination that in Heliopolis, even the dreams of the people were collected, recorded, and referred to the stars. Numerous mesmerists arose who, in their diabolical visions, confounded truth with falsehood. According to their visions, idolatry was formulated, and even the cycles of time computed. I saw that the idols Isis and Osiris were no other than Joseph and Aseneth whose coming into Egypt the astrologers foresaw in their demoniacal visions. They consequently incorpo-rated them into their religion. When they did come, they were honored as divinities. I saw that Aseneth wept over such impiety, and wrote against it.
The scholars of the present day who write about Egypt are in gross error. They accept so many things concerning the Egyptians as history, science, and learning, which nevertheless have no other foundation than astrology and false visions. That any nation could remain as stupid and beastly as the Egyptians is a proof of it. But these savants reject such demoniacal inspirations and practices as impossible. They esteem the Egyptians more ancient than they really are, because in those early times they appear to have possessed such knowledge of abstruse and hidden things.
But I saw that, even at the coming of Semiramis to Memphis, these people, in their pride had designedly confused their calendar. Their ambition was to take precedence of all other nations in point of time. With this end in view, they drew up a number of complicated calendars and royal genealogical tables. By this and frequent changes in their computations, order and true chronology were lost. That this confusion might be firmly established, they perpetuated every error by inscriptions and the erection of great buildings. For a long time they reckoned the ages of father and son, as if the date of the former’s demise were that of the latter’s birth. The kings, who waged constant war with the priests on the subject of chronology, inserted among their forefathers the names of persons that never existed. Thus the four kings of the same name who reigned simultaneously in Thebes, Heliopolis, Memphis, and Sais, were in accordance with this design, reckoned one after the other. I saw too that once they reckoned nine hundred and seventy days to a year, and again, years were computed as months. I saw a pagan priest drawing up a chronological table in which for every five hundred years, eleven hundred were set down.
I saw these false computations of the pagan priests at the same time that I beheld Jesus teaching on the Sabbath at Aruma. Jesus, speaking before the Pharisees of the Call of Abraham and his sojourn in Egypt, exposed the errors of the Egyptian calendar. He told them that the world had now existed 4028 years. When I heard Jesus say this, He was Himself thirty-one years old.
I saw in those times, also, a people who honored Seth as a god. They made distant and perilous journeys into Arabia where they supposed his grave to be. It seems to me that the descendants of this people are still in existence, and that the Turks suffer them to pass freely through their territory on their pilgrimages to that grave.
I have often seen Melchisedech, but never as a human being. I have always seen him as a being of another nature, as an angel, as one sent by God. I have never at any time seen any determinate dwelling place, any home, any family, any associates connected with him. I never saw him eating, drinking, or sleeping, and never did the thought occur to me that he was a mortal. He was clothed as no priest at the time on the earth, but like the angels in the heavenly Jerusalem. His robes were such as Moses, upon the command of God, afterward ordained the priestly vestments should be. I have seen Melchisedech appearing here and there, interposing and legislating the affairs of nations; as, for instance, at the celebration of victories after war, at that time waged with such cruelty. Wherever he appeared, wherever he was, he exercised an irresistible influence by his mere pres-ence. No one opposed him, and yet he never resorted to harsh measures; even the idolaters cheerfully accepted his decisions and acted upon his advice. He had no companion of his own nature; he was entirely alone. Sometimes he had two hired couriers. They were clothed in short white garments, and they ran on before him to announce his coming. He dismissed them when their mission was over. All that he needed, he had without trouble of acquiring. They from whom he received anything could always spare what they gave. They bestowed it upon him with joy. They regarded him with reverential fear, but esteemed themselves happy to be in his company. Although the wicked found fault with him, yet they humbled themselves in his presence. Melchisedech, that being of a higher order, was regarded by the great ones of the pagan world, those sensuous, godless men, in much the same light that an extraordinarily holy man would be looked upon at the present day, if he suddenly appeared amongst us as a stranger doing good to all around.
Thus I saw Melchisedech at the court of Semiramis in Babylon, where she reigned with indescribable grandeur and magnificence. She caused immense buildings to be erected by her slaves, whom she oppressed far more severely than did Pharao the children of Jacob in Egypt. The most horrible idolatry was practiced among the Babylonians. Human victims were buried up to the neck in the earth, and thus offered in sacrifice. It is hardly credible to what a degree all kinds of luxury, magnificence, opulence, and the arts were carried. Semiramis also waged great wars; her armies were composed of countless warriors. But these wars were almost always against nations off toward the east. She went not much westward. The nations toward the north were dark and sinister-looking people.
As time went on, there arose in the kingdom of Semiramis a numerous people of the Semitic race. After the building of the Tower, their ancestors had remained in Babylon. They lived as a little pastoral tribe under tents, raised cattle, and celebrated their religious ceremonies by night, either in an open tent or under the starry sky. Many blessings attended them, they were prosperous in all things, and their cattle was always remarkably fine. Semiramis, the diabolical woman, resolved to exterminate this tribe and she had already destroyed a great many belonging to it. She knew from the blessing attending them that God had merciful designs over them; therefore would she, as an instrument of the devil, oppress them. When the distress of these people was at its height, Melchisedech appeared. He went to Semiramis, demanded permission for them to depart, and rebuked her for her cruelty. Semiramis yielded to his desires, and he led them in different bands toward Palestine. Melchisedech dwelt in a tent near Babylon, and here he broke that bread to the good people from which they received strength to depart. He pointed out to them, here and there in Canaan, places suitable for settlements, and they received from him lands of various quality. He divided them off according to their purity in order that they should not mix with others. Their name sounded like Samanen, or Semanen. Melchisedech pointed out to some of them as suitable for a settlement the region which was afterward the site of the Dead Sea, but their city was destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrha.
Semiramis received Melchisedech with great reverence. She secretly dreaded him on account of his wisdom. He appeared before her as the King of the Morning Star, that is of the most distant eastern land. She fancied that he might perhaps woo her for his bride. But he spoke to her sternly, reproached her with her cruelty, and foretold to her the destruction of her pyramid at Memphis. Semiramis grew speechless from terror, and I saw the punishment that fell upon her. She became like a beast. She was for a long time penned up, and they cast to her in derision grass and straw in a manger; only one servant was faithful to her and furnished her with food. She was freed from the chastisement, but she carried on her disorders anew. She came at last to a frightful end, her intestines being torn from her body. She was aged one hundred and seventeen years.
Melchisedech came to be regarded as a prophet, as a teacher, as a being from a higher sphere, with whom all things succeeded. There were at that time, as also later, many such apparitions of beings of a higher order. They were to the people of that age as familiar as were the angels in Abraham’s time. But diabolical apparitions also were frequent, in the same way as false prophets rose up by the side of the true. The departure of the Semitic race from Babylon bears some analogy to that of the Israelites from Egypt, although the former were by no means so numerous as the latter.
Of the Samanenses whom Melchisedech settled in Palestine, I saw long before the coming of Abraham three men on the so-called Bread Mountain, in the neighborhood of Thabor. They lived in caves. They were of a browner complexion than Abraham, and were clothed in skins. They bound a great leaf on their head to protect them from the sun. Their life, modeled on that of Henoch, was a holy one. Their religion was simple, though full of mysterious signification, and they had visions and revelations which they easily interpreted. Their religion taught that God would unite Himself with man and for that union they must prepare in every possible way. They also offered sacrifice. A third part of their daily allowance they exposed to the sun, either to be consumed by it or, perhaps, for the benefit of other needy creatures. That the latter was the case, I also saw. These people lived quite solitary, apart from the rest of the inhabitants of the country. The latter were not yet numerous and lived scattered, here and there, in abodes built in the style of fortified tent cities. I saw those three men going through the country digging wells, cutting down forests, and laying the foundations of subsequent cities. I saw them driving the evil spirits from the air around whole regions and banishing them to other places, to poor, swampy, foggy districts. I saw again that the wicked spirits prefer such wretched abodes. I often saw these men wrestling with them. At first, I wondered how cities could arise where they laid stones, which so soon became overgrown, and then I had another vision in which I was shown a number of places built on these sites; for instance, Saphet, Bethsaida, Nazareth (where those three men worked on the spot upon which afterward stood the house in which the angel delivered the message to Mary); Gathepher, Sephoris (in the region near Nazareth, where Anne’s house afterward stood); Mageddo, Naim, Ainon, the caves of Bethlehem and Hebron. I also saw them founding Machmethat and many other places that I have now forgotten.
I saw them every month assembling on this mountain where Melchisedech broke a large four-cornered loaf (three feet square, perhaps, and tolerably thick) into numerous little pieces which he divided among them. The loaf was of a brownish color and had been baked in the ashes. I saw that Melchisedech always went to them without a companion. Sometimes he bore the loaf quite lightly, as if it merely floated above his hand; and again when he drew near to the mountain, I saw it as a weight upon his shoulders. I think he took this precaution on approaching them that they might look upon him as merely a man. Still they met him with great reverence, prostrating before him. He taught them how to plant vines on Thabor. He also gave them all kinds of seeds, which they scattered in many parts of the country and which now grow wild there. I saw these people every day cutting a piece off the loaf with the brown spades they used at work. They also ate birds, which flew toward them in great numbers. They had festival days, and they were familiar with the stars. They celebrated the eighth day with prayer and sacrifice, also some days in the course of the year. I saw them also making numerous roads through the still wild country to the places where they had laid foundations, dug wells, and sowed seed. This they did that the people coming after them might, by following these roads, make settlements near the wells and fertile places prepared for them. I saw these three men often surrounded while at work by crowds of evil spirits, whom they could see. I saw these spirits, by prayer and the word of command, banished to swampy wastes. They departed instantly, and the men went quietly on with their work, clearing and purifying.
They made roads to Cana, Mageddo, and Naim, and in this way they prepared the birthplace of most of the Prophets. They laid the foundations of Abelmahula and Dothain, and dug out the beautiful baths at Bethulia. Melchisedech still scoured the country alone and as a stranger; no one knew where he lived.
The three Samanenses were old, but still very active. On the site of the Dead Sea and in Judea, cities already existed. There were some also further north but none as yet in the central regions.
The Samanenses dug their own graves and sometimes stretched themselves in them; one made his near Hebron, another on Thabor, and the third in the caves not far from Saphet. They were, in a certain sense, for Abraham what John was for Jesus. They purified the country, they prepared the land and the ways, they sowed good fruit, and they brought water for the leader of God’s people. But John prepared the heart for penance and for a second birth in Jesus Christ. The Samanenses did for Israel what John did for the Church. I have seen such men in other places also, where they had been introduced by Melchisedech.
I often saw Melchisedech as he appeared in Palestine long before the time of Semiramis and Abraham, when the country was still a wilderness. He seemed to be laying it out, marking off and preparing certain districts. I saw him entirely alone, and I thought: What is this man doing here so early? There is not a human being in this place! I saw him near a mountain, boring a well. It was the source of the Jordan. He had a long fine instrument which, like a ray of light, pierced the mountainside. I saw him in the same way opening fountains in different parts of the earth. In those early times, that is, before the Deluge, I never saw the rivers gushing forth and flowing as they do now, but I saw volumes of water pouring down from a high mountain in the east.
Melchisedech took possession of many parts of Palestine by marking them off. He measured off the site for the Pool of Bethsaida, and long before Jerusalem existed he laid a stone where the Temple was to stand. I saw him planting in the bed of the Jordan the twelve precious stones upon which the priests stood with the Ark of the Covenant at the departure of the children of Israel. He planted them like seeds, and they increased in size.
I always saw Melchisedech alone, save when he had to busy himself with the uniting, the separating, or the guiding of nations and families.
I saw that Melchisedech built a castle at Salem. But it was rather a tent with galleries and steps around it, like the castle of Mensor, in Arabia. The foundation alone was solid, for it was of stone. I think the four corners where the principal posts stood, were still to be seen even in John’s time. It had only a very strong foundation of stone, which looked like a fortification overrun with verdure. John had there his little hut of rushes.
That tent castle was a resort for strangers and travelers, a kind of safe and convenient inn near the pleasant waters. Perhaps Melchisedech, whom I have always seen as the guide and counselor of the still unsettled races and nations, kept this castle as a place in which to harbor and instruct them. But even at that time, it bore some reference to Baptism.
This was Melchisedech’s central point. From it he started on his journeys to layout Jerusalem, to visit Abraham, and to go elsewhere. Here also he gathered together and distributed families and peoples, who settled in various places. All this took place previously to the offering of bread and wine which, I think, was made in a valley south of Jerusalem. Melchisedech built Salem before he built Jerusalem. Wherever he labored and constructed, he seemed to be laying the foundation of a future grace, to be drawing attention to that particular place, to be beginning something that would be perfected in the future.
Melchisedech belongs to the choir of angels that are set over countries and nations, that brought messages to Abraham and the other Patriarchs. They stand opposite the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
The father of Job, a great leader of the nations, was brother to Phaleg, the son of Heber. Shortly before his time occurred the dispersion of men at the building of the Babylonian Tower. Job was the youngest of thirteen sons. They dwelt north of the Black Sea near a mountain chain which was warm on one side, and on the other cold and covered with ice. Job was forefather of Abraham. Abraham’s mother was a great granddaughter of Job, who had married into the family of Heber. Job may have still been alive at the time of Abraham’s birth. He dwelt in different places, and his afflictions came upon him in three different abodes. Between the first and the second, there intervened a period of nine years’ prosperity; between the second and the third, seven years; and after the third, twelve years. His sufferings always befell him in a different dwelling place. But he never was so absolutely ruined as to have nothing left; he merely became quite poor when compared with his former circumstances. He always had enough left to pay all his debts.
Job could not remain in his parents’ house. His ideas and inclinations did not accord with theirs. Job adored in nature the one only God, especially in the stars and in the change from day to night. He spoke frequently of God’s wonderful works, and offered to Him a worship purer than that of those around him. He moved with his followers northward from the Caucasus to a very miserable swampy region. I think it is now inhabited by a nation distinguished by their flat noses, high cheekbones, and small eyes. Here Job first settled, and things went well with him. He gathered around him all kinds of poor, abandoned creatures who dwelt in caves and bushes, and who lived exclusively upon the raw flesh of birds and animals taken in hunting. Job was the first who taught them how to cook their food. With their help he dug up and cultivated the land. He and his people wore at that time but little clothing and they dwelt in tents. Job soon found himself the owner of immense herds in this place, among them numerous striped asses and spotted animals. Once three sons were born to him at one birth, and three daughters at another. He had as yet no city here, but went around among his fields which extended to a distance of seven leagues. No grain was cultivated in those marshy districts; but they raised a large sedge, which grows also in water, and whose pith was eaten either boiled or roasted. They dried their meat in holes dug in the earth, and exposed to the sun, until Job taught them how to cook it. They planted many species of gourds for food.
Job was unspeakably gentle, affable, just, and benevolent. He assisted all in need. He was, too, exceedingly pure and very familiar with God, who communicated with him through an angel, or “a white man,” as the people of that period expressed it. These angelic apparitions were like radiant, but beardless, youths in long white garments that fell in heavy folds or strips around them, I could not distinguish which. They were girded, and they took food and drink. God consoled Job during his sufferings by means of these apparitions, and they passed sentence on his friends, his nephews, and his other relatives. He did not, like the nations around him, worship idols. They made for themselves images of all kinds of animals and adored them. But Job fabricated for himself a representation of the Almighty God, the figure of a child crowned with rays. The hands were held one above the other, and in one was a globe upon which was depicted a little vessel riding on the waves. I think it was to represent the Deluge of which, as well as of the wisdom and mercy of God, Job often spoke to his two confidential servants. The figure was portable and shone like metal. Job prayed before it, and burned grain before it as a sacrifice. The smoke arose from the top of it as through a funnel. It was in this place that Job’s first affliction befell him. The time that intervened between the different misfortunes recorded of him, was not for him a time of peace. He always had to combat and struggle
against the wicked races by whom he was surrounded. After his first affliction, he removed further up the mountain range, the Caucasus, where he again began anew and where prosperity again followed him. He and his followers now began to clothe themselves less scantily, and their mode of life exhibited more refinement.
From this, his second dwelling place, Job went, accompanied by a numerous train of followers, to Egypt where at that time strangers called shepherd kings, and who were from his own native land, governed a part of the country. These shepherd kings were afterward
expelled by an Egyptian monarch. Job’s mission to Egypt was to conduct thither one of his own relatives, who was to be the bride of one of the shepherd kings. He took with him rich presents, about thirty camels, and many servants. When I saw him in Egypt, Job was a large, powerful man of agreeable appearance; he had a yellowish-brown complexion and reddish hair. Abraham was fairer. The Egyptians were of a dirty brown. Job was not contented in Egypt. I used to see him looking back longingly toward the east, toward his fatherland which lay more to the south than the most distant country of the Three Kings. I heard him complaining bitterly to his servants telling them that he would rather live with wild beasts than with the people of Egypt. The horrible idolatry that everywhere prevailed in that country afflicted him. The Egyptians worshipped a frightful idol with an upraised head, like that of an ox, and broad open jaws. They heated it intensely, and laid living children as offerings on its glowing arms.
The shepherd king, for whose son Job conducted the bride into Egypt, would fain have kept him there, and he assigned to him Matarea as a dwelling place. The region was at that time very different from what it was at a later period when the Holy Family sojourned there. Still I saw that Job dwelt on the spot afterward occupied by them, and that the Fountain of Mary was already shown him by God. When Mary discovered this well, it was already lined with stone, though still covered over. Job used the stone by the well for religious worship. By prayer he freed the country around his dwelling place from wild and venomous animals. Visions referring to man’s salvation were vouchsafed him here, and he saw, too, the trials in store for him. With burning zeal he exclaimed against the infamous practices of the Egyptians and their human sacrifices. I think these latter were in consequence abolished.
When Job had returned to his native country, his second misfortune overtook him; and when, after twelve years of peace, the third came upon him, he was living more toward the south and directly eastward from Jericho. I think this country had been given to him after his second calamity, because he was everywhere greatly revered and loved for his admirable justice, his knowledge, and his fear of God. This country was a level plain, and here Job began anew. On a height, which was very fertile, noble animals of various kinds were running around, also wild camels. They caught them in the same way as we do the wild horses on the heath.
Job settled on this height. Here he prospered, became very rich, and built a city. The foundations were of stone; the dwellings were tents. It was during this period of great prosperity that his third calamity, his grievous distemper, overtook him. After enduring this affliction with great wisdom and patience, he entirely recovered, and again became the father of many sons and daughters. I think Job did not die till long after, when another nation intruded itself into the country.
Although in the Book of Job this narrative is given very differently, yet many of Job’s own words are therein recorded. I think I could distinguish them all. Where the story says that the servants came quickly one after another to Job with news of his losses, it must be remarked that the words: “And as he still spoke of it,” signify, “And while the last calamity was not yet effaced from the mind of men,” etc.
That Satan appeared before God with the sons of God and brought an action against Job, is told in this way only for the sake of brevity. There was at that time much communication between the evil spirits and idolaters to whom they appeared in angelic form. In this way, Satan incited his wicked neighbors against Job, and they calumniated him. They said that he did not serve God properly, that he had a superfluity of possessions, and that it was very easy for him to be good. Then God resolved to show that afflictions are often only trials, etc.
The friends who spoke around Job symbolized the reflections of his kinsmen upon his fate. But Job longingly awaited the Saviour, and he was one of the ancestors of the race of David. He was to Abraham, through the mother of the latter (who was one of his descendants), what the ancestors of Anne were to Mary.
The history of Job, together with his dialogues with God, was circumstantially written down by two of his most trusty servants who seemed to be his stewards. They wrote upon bark, and from Job’s own dictation. These two servants were named respectively Hai and Uis, or Ois. These narratives were held very sacred by Job’s descendants. They passed from generation to generation down to Abraham. In the school of Rebecca, the Canaanites were instructed in them on account of the lessons of submission under trials from God that they inculcated.
Through Jacob and Joseph, they descended to the children of Israel in Egypt. Moses collected and arranged them differently for the use of the Israelites during their servitude in Egypt and their painful wanderings in the wilderness; for they contained many details that might not have been understood, and which would have been of no service in his time. But Solomon again entirely remodeled them, omitting many things and inserting many others of his own. And so, this once authentic history became a sacred book made up of the wisdom of Job, Moses, and Solomon. One can now only with difficulty trace the particular history of Job, for the names of cities and nations were assimilated to those of the land of Canaan, on which account Job came to be regarded as an Edomite.