32 – John’s Parents Continued

John teaches in the nights, John in the evenings of the nights
John teaches in the nights and says,
“The spheres and the Merkabah shook,
Earth and the heavens wept,
and tears flowed from the clouds.”
He says, “My father was 99 years old,
and my mother was 88 years old.
I came from the Jordan basin;
They took me, and brought me,
and placed me in the womb of Elizabeth.
And he said, “Nine months I dwelt in her womb, like all infants”
And he said, “No wise woman assisted with my birth in Judah,
And my umbilical cord was not cut in Jerusalem
They made for me no deceptive image
and they did not hang up a bell for me in wickedness.
I came into being from Elizabeth in Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem quaked
The city of the navel of priests was shaken
Eleazar, the great house, stood and his stature quaked

The Jews gathered and came to Old Father Zechariah
They said to him, “Oh Old Father Zechariah,
You must have a son.
Tell us, what name shall we give to him?
Shall we give him (the name) Joseph of wisdom,
so that he teaches the book in Jerusalem?
Shall we give him (the name) Zatan the pillar
so that the Jews find in him trustworthiness and not deception?”

When Elizabeth heard, she spoke up.
She cried out, saying,
“From all these names that that you mentioned
I do not desire to give him a single one
But I desire only to give him the name Yahia-Yuhana,
Which Life gave to him.”

When the Jews heard (this),
They were filled with wicked fury towards her.
They said, “What weapon will be used on that one and his mother,
That our own hand might slay him?”

Hearing this, Anush-Utra took him
and brought him to Paruan, the white mountain,
where infants and little ones are nurtured with sacramental drink
Until I was twenty two years.
I learned all of my wisdom
And I perfected all of my word
They dressed me in garments of radiance
and clothed me in a tunic of cloud
They tied a girdle around me,
a girdle of clear shining water
Forever [literally “from head to head”] they seated me in a cloud,
A cloud of radiance
And in the seven hours of Sunday they brought me up to the city of Jerusalem.

Clamour of war in Judah
Proclamation of war in Jerusalem

And they say, “Who [female] had a son and he was stolen away?
And who [female] made a vow and empowered it?
Who had a son and he was stolen away?
That one has arrived, and she will search for her son.

Who said to Battai?
Who explained to Battai?
Who told Battai to go to Elizabeth?
She says, she says to her, “A child comes to Judah,
A prophet comes to Jerusalem
A child comes to Judah
A redeemer messenger/guide stands with him.
His mouth resembles yours,
And his lips those of Old Father Zechariah his father.
His eyes resemble yours,
and his brow/eyebrows Old Father Zechariah, his father.
His light resembles yours,
and his hands, Old Father Zechariah, his father.”

Hearing this, Elizabeth went out without a veil.

Old Father Zechariah saw.
He wrote a letter of divorce.

The Sun muttered from in the sky
and the moon from amidst the stars
The Sun opened his mouth and spoke to Old Father Zechariah in Jerusalem,
“Oh Old Father Zechariah
who has become old and senile
and his perception has departed,
forsaking his destiny like an Arab.
A child comes to Judah
a prophet comes to Jerusalem
A child comes to Judah
Until you divorce Elizabeth?
[less literally, And you go so far as to divorce Elizabeth?]

Seeing the woman, the child accompanied her.
They freed themselves from the clouds
They fell, they freed themselves, they fell from the clouds.
And he kisses Elizabeth’s mouth.

Anush-Utra saw.
He spoke to John, saying to him in Jerusalem
“Is it written to you, Yahia, in your book?
Does your scroll instruct you to kiss only her mouth?”

John speaks and says to Anush Utra in Jerusalem,
“Nine months I dwelt in the womb,
like all infants dwell.
Her suffering (i.e. labor) was not hard for her
For me, it was not hard to kiss only her mouth.
Nevertheless, (let there be) kindness upon kindness
to the man who repays my father and mother
the man who repays my father and mother.
There is none like him in the world.”

When John said this
Anush Utra knew that John was wise
Anush Utra spoke to the Sun in Jerusalem, saying
“I kept the child safe, a man sent by an angel.
I kept the child safe, as long as we desired it.”
Anush Utra spoke also to the moon in Jerusalem, and said
“I kept the child safe, a man sent by an angel.
I kept the child safe, as long as we desired it.”

They spoke: Life is victorious and victorious the man who goes there.


About James F. McGrath

Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Butler University.
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