Introduction to the Book of Parables (37:2–5)

From: 1 Enoch 2

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

87  2-5 Composed of six distichs, this artfully crafted introduction expands on the theme of the superscription and serves as the introduction to the whole Book of the Parables: this is a book of unique divine wisdom, which Enoch received from God, “the Lord of Spirits,” and which he now mediates to human beings (“those who dwell on the earth”)—specifically to his own generation and to a later one, “the righteous and chosen,” living in the time of the real author. This description of the book’s content is underscored by the passage’s interlocking repetition of motifs and phrases. First, it is framed by a pair of parallel distichs: the beginning of the words of wisdom, which I took up to recount to those who dwell on the earth. (v. 2ab) three parables were (imparted) to me, and I took (them) up and spoke to those who dwell upon the earth. (v. 5ab) Numerous repetitions follow: the beginning of (the words of) wisdom (vv. 2a/3b) wisdom (vv. 2a, 3b, 4b) the words of wisdom/the words of the Holy One (vv. 2a/2d) the ancients and those who come after (vv. 2c, 3ab) the presence of the Lord of Spirits (vv. 2d, 4a) what was “given” or “received” (vv. 4a, 4b, 4d[5a]). Taken together, the superscription and the introduction imitate their counterparts in the Book of the Watchers and present the work as prophecy after the order of the Balaam oracles. First the superscription: The vision of wisdom that Enoch saw . . . the beginning of the words of wisdom (37:1a, 2a) The words of the blessing with which Enoch blessed . . . (1:1) 2 This is the beginning of the words of wisdom, which I took up to recounta to those who dwell on the earth. Listen, O ancients, and look, you who come after— the words of the Holy One,b which I speak in the presence of the Lord of Spirits. 3 It is profitable to speak these things at first,a and from those who come after, let us not withhold the beginning of wisdom. 4 Until now there had not been given from the presence of the Lord of Spirits such wisdom as I have received according to my insight, according to the good pleasure of the Lord of Spirits, by whom the lot of everlasting life was given to me. 5 Three parables were (imparted) to me, and I took (them) up and spoke to those who dwell on the earth. 2a , teμbeμl) or Heb. ‫ארץ‬, ‫אדמה‬, ‫תבל‬ (


pdf