Early Church Fathers
VII.-The Testament of Dan Concerning Anger and Lying.
1. The record of the words of Dan, which he spake to his sons in his last days. In the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life he called together his family, and said: Hearken to my words, ye sons of Dan; give heed to the words of the mouth of your father. I have proved in my heart, and in my whole life, that truth with just dealing is good and well-pleasing to God, and that lying and anger are evil, because they teach man all wickedness. I confess this day to you, my children, that in my heart I rejoiced concerning the death of Joseph, a true and good man; and I rejoiced at the selling of Joseph, because his father loved him more than us. For the spirit of jealousy and of vainglory said to me, Thou also art his son. And one of the spirits of Beliar wrought with me, saying, Take this sword, and with it slay Joseph; so shall thy father love thee when he is slain. This is the spirit of anger that counselled me, that even as a leopard devoureth a kid, so should I devour Joseph. But the God of Jacob our father gave him not over into my hands that I should find him alone, nor suffered me to work this iniquity, that two tribes should be destroyed in Israel.1
2. And now, my children, I am dying, and I tell you of a truth, that unless ye keep yourselves from the spirit of lying and of anger, and love truth and long-suffering, ye shall perish. There is blindness in anger, my children, and no wrathful man regardeth any, person with truth: for though it be a father or a mother, he behaveth towards them as enemies; though it be a brother, he knoweth him not; though it be a prophet of the Lord, he disobeyeth him; though a righteous man, he regardeth him not; a friend he doth not acknowledge. For the spirit of anger encompasseth him with the nets of deceit, and blindeth his natural eyes, and through lying darkeneth his mind, and giveth him a sight of his own making. And wherewith encompasseth he his eyes? In hatred of heart; and he giveth him a heart of his own against his brother unto envy.
3. My children, mischievous is anger, for it becometh as a soul to the soul itself; and the body of the angry man it maketh its own, and over his soul it getteth the mastery, and it bestoweth upon the body its own power, that it may work all iniquity; and whenever the soul doeth aught, it justifieth what has been done, since it seeth not. Therefore he who is wrathful, if he be a mighty man, hath a treble might in his anger; one by the might and aid of his servants, and a second by his wrath, whereby he persuadeth and overcometh in injustice: and having a third of the nature of his own body, and of his own self working the evil. And though the wrathful man be weak, yet hath he a might twofold of that which is by nature; for wrath ever aideth such in mischief. This spirit goeth always with lying at the right hand of Satan, that his works may be wrought with cruelty and lying.
4. Understand ye therefore the might of wrath, that it is vain. For it first of all stingeth him in word: then by deeds it strengtheneth him who is angry, and with bitter punishments disturbeth his mind, and so stirreth up with great wrath his soul. Therefore, when any one speaketh against you, be not2 ye moved unto anger, And if any man praiseth you as good, be not lifted up nor elated, either to the feeling or showing of pleasure.3 For first it pleaseth the hearing, and so stirreth up the understanding to understand the grounds for anger; and then, being wrathful, he thinketh that he is justly angry. If ye fall into any loss or ruin, my children, be hot troubled; for this very spirit maketh men desire that which hath perished, in order that they may he inflamed by the desire. If ye suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raiseth up wrath with lying. And wrath with lying is a twofold mischief;4 and they speak one with another that they may disturb the mind; and when the soul is continually, disturbed, the Lord departeth from it, and Beliar ruleth over it.
5. Observe, therefore, my children, the commandments of the Lord, and keep His law; and depart from wrath, and hate lying, that the Lord may dwell among you, and Beliar may flee from you. Speak truth each one with his neighbour, so shall ye not fall into lust and confusion; but ye shall be in peace, having the God of peace, so5 shall no war prevail over yon. Love the Lord through all your life, unit one another with a true heart. For I know that in the last days ye will depart from the Lord, and will provoke Levi unto anger, and will fight against Judah; but ye shall not prevail against them. For an angel of the Lord shall guide them both; for by them shall Israel stand. And whensoever ye depart from the Lord, ye will walk in all evil, working the abominations of the Gentiles, going6 astray with women of them that are ungodly; and the spirits of error shall work in you with all malice. For I have read in the book of Enoch the righteous, that your prince is Satan, and that all the spirits of fornication and pride shall be subject unto Levi, to lay a snare for the sons of Levi, to came them to sin before the Lord. And my sons will draw near unto Levi, and sin with them in all things; and the sons of Judah will be covetous, plundering other men's goods like lions. Therefore shall ye be led away with them in captivity, and there shall ye receive all the plagues of Egypt, and all the malice of the Gentiles: and so, when ye return to the Lord, ye shall obtain mercy, and He shall bring you into His sanctuary, calling peace upon you; and there shall arise unto you from the tribe of Judah and of Levi the salvation of the Lord;7 and He shall make war against Beliar, and He shall give the vengeance of victory to our coasts. And the captivity shall He take from Beliar, even the souls of the saints, and shall turn disobedient hearts unto the Lord, and shall give to them who call upon Him everlasting peace; and the saints shall rest in Eden, and the righteous shall rejoice in the new Jerusalem, which shall be unto the glory of God for ever and ever. And no longer shall Jerusalem endure desolation, nor Israel be led captive; for the Lord shall be in the midst of her, dwelling among men,8 even the Holy One of Israel reigning over them9 in humility and in poverty;10 and he who believeth on Him shall reign in truth in the heavens.
6. And now, my children, fear the Lord, and take heed unto yourselves of Satan and his spirits; and draw near unto God, and to the Angel11 that intercedeth for you, for He is a Mediator between God and man for the peace of Israel. He shall stand up against the kingdom of the enemy; therefore is the enemy eager to destroy all that call upon the Lord. For he knoweth that in the day on which Israel shall believe,12 the kingdom of the enemy shall be brought to an end; and the very angel of peace shall strengthen Israel, that it fall not into the extremity of evil. And it shall be in the time of the iniquity of Israel, that the Lord will depart from them, and will go after him that doeth His will, for unto none of His angels shall it be as unto him. And His name shall be in every place of Israel, and among the Gentiles-Saviour. Keep therefore yourselves, my children. from every evil work, and cast away wrath and all lying, and love truth and long-suffering; and the things which ye have heard from your father, do ye also impart to your children, that the Father of the Gentiles may receive you: for He is true and long-suffering, meek and lowly, and teacheth by His works the law of God. Depart, therefore, from all unrighteousness, and cleave unto, the righteousness of the law of the Lord: and bury me near my fathers.
7. And when he had said these things he kissed them, and slept the long sleep.13 And his sons buried him, and after that they carried up his bones to the side of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Nevertheless, as Dan had prophesied unto them that they should forget the law of their God, and should be alienated from the land of their inheritance, and from the race of Israel, and from their kindred, so also it came to pass.