1 Enoch, Book of Watchers: Enoch’s Vision


Ezekiel's Tomb

Ezekiel’s Tomb

Lawrence H. Schiffman, Texts and Traditions, Ktav, Hoboken 1998, p.336-340 and Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Apocrypha, copyright 1957 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Book of 1 Enoch is made up of five previously-existing texts, four of which were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in fragments of the original Aramaic. Four of the parts date from the third to second centuries B.C.E. while one, the Parables (or Similitudes), is probably a Christian work in its present form. The first of these, The Book of Watchers, is certainly a pre-Maccabean composition, and the earliest source for the story of the fallen angels, which continued to influence Jewish and Christian theology through the centuries. This selection narrates an alternate Flood story which lays the blame for corruption on earth at the feet of evil angels, Watchers, who taught mankind the art of war and then took human women for their wives. The second part of the selection is Enoch’s hekhalot vision, a mystical vision of God’s Temple, based on Ezekiel and heavily influenced by Daniel, which enriched later Jewish mystical literature.

The Righteous and the Wicked

1-1 The blessing of Enoch- with which he blessed the elect and the righteous who would be present on the day of tribulation at (the time of) the removal of all the ungodly ones. 2 And Enoch, the blessed and righteous man of the Lord, took up (his parable) while his eyes were open and he saw, and said, “(This is) a holy vision from the heavens which the angels showed me- and I heard from them everything and I understood. I look not for this generation but for the distant one that is coming. 3 I speak about the elect ones and concerning them.” And I took up with a parable (saying), “The God of the universe, the Holy Great One, will come forth from his dwelling. 4 And from there he will march upon Mount Sinai and appear in his camp emerging from heaven with a mighty power. And everyone shall be afraid, and Watchers 27 shall quiver. 5 And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth. 6 Mountains and high places will fall down and be frightened. And high hills shall be made low; and they shall melt like a honeycomb before the flame. 7 And earth shall be rent asunder; and all that is upon the earth shall perish. And there shall be a judgment upon all, (including) the righteous. 8 And to all the righteous he will grant peace. He will preserve the elect, and kindness shall be upon them. They shall all belong to God and they shall prosper and be blessed; and the light of God shall shine unto them. 9 Behold, he will arrive with ten million of the holy ones in order to execute judgment upon all. He will destroy the wicked ones and censure all flesh on account of everything that they have done, that which the sinners and the wicked ones committed against him.”

The Fall of Angels

6- 1 In those days, when the children of man had multiplied, it happened that there were born unto them handsome and beautiful daughters. 2 And the angels, the children of heaven, saw them and desired them; and they said to one another, “Come, let us choose wives for ourselves from among the daughters of man and beget us children.” 3 And Semyaz, being their leader, said unto them, “I fear that perhaps you will not consent that this deed should be done, and I alone will become (responsible) for this great sin.” 4 But they all responded to him. “Let us all swear an oath and bind everyone among us by a curse not to abandon this suggestion but to do the deed.” 5 Then they all swore together and bound one another by (the curse)….

7-1 And they took wives unto themselves, and everyone (respectively) chose one woman for himself, and they began to go unto them. And they taught them magical medicine, incantations, the cutting of roots, and taught them (about) plants. 2 And the women became pregnant and gave birth to great giants whose heights were three hundred cubits. 3 These (giants) consumed the produce of all the people until the people detested feeding them. 4 So the giants turned against (the people) in order to eat them. 5 And they began to sin against birds, wild beasts, reptiles, and fish. And their flesh was devoured the one by the other, and they drank blood. 6 And then the earth brought an accusation against the oppressors.

8-1 And Azaz’el taught the people (the art of) making swords and knives, and shields, and breastplates; and he showed to their chosen ones bracelets, decorations, (shadowing of the eye) with antimony, ornamentation, the beautifying of the eyelids, all kinds of precious stones, and all coloring tinctures and alchemy. 2 And there were many wicked ones and they committed adultery and erred, and all their conduct became corrupt…. 10-1 And then spoke the Most High, the Great and Holy One! And he sent Asuryal to the son of Lamech, (saying), 2 “Tell him in my name, ‘Hide yourself!’ and reveal to him the end of what is coming; for the earth and everything will be destroyed. And the Deluge is about to come upon all the earth; and all that is in it will be destroyed. 3 And now instruct him in order that he may flee, and his seed will be preserved for all generations.”4 And secondly the Lord said to Raphael, “Bind  Azaz’el hand and foot (and) throw him into the darkness!” And he made a hole in the desert which was in Duda’el and cast him there; 5 he threw on top of him rugged and sharp rocks. And he covered his face in order that he may not see light; 6 and in order that he may be sent into the fire on the great day of judgment. 7 And give life to the earth which the angels have corrupted. And he will proclaim life for the earth- that he is giving life to her. And all the children of the people will not perish through all the secrets (of the angels), which they taught to their sons….

14-1 This is the book of the words of righteousness and the chastisement of the eternal Watchers, in accordance with how the Holy and Great One had commanded in this vision…. 5 From now on you will not be able to ascend into heaven unto all eternity, but you shall remain inside the earth, imprisoned all the days of eternity. 6 Before that you will have seen the destruction of your beloved sons and you will not have their treasures, which will fall before your eyes by the sword. 7 And your petitions on their behalf will not be heard—neither will those on your own behalf (which you offer) weeping (and) praying—and you will not speak even a word contained in the book which I wrote.

Enoch’s Vision

8 And behold I saw the clouds- And they were calling me in a vision; 28 and the fogs were calling me; and the course of the stars and the lightnings were rushing me and causing me to desire; and in the vision, the winds were causing me to fly and rushing me high up into heaven. 9 And I kept coming (into heaven) until I approached a wall which was built of white marble and surrounded by tongues of fire; and it began to frighten me. 10 And I came into the tongues of the fire and drew near to a great house which was built of white marble, and the inner wall(s) were like mosaics of white marble, the floor of crystal, 11 the ceiling like the path of the stars and lightnings between which (stood) fiery cherubim and their heaven of water; 12 and flaming fire surrounded the wall(s), and its gates were burning with fire. 13 And I entered into the house, which was hot like fire and cold like ice, and there was nothing inside it; (so) fear covered me and trembling seized me. 14 And as I shook and trembled, 1 fell upon my face and saw a vision.

15 And behold there was an opening before me (and) a second house which is greater than the former and everything was built with tongues of fire. 16 And in every respect it excelled (the other)—in glory and great honor—to the extent that it is impossible for me to recount to you concerning its glory and greatness. 17 As for its floor, it was of fire and above it was lightning and the path of the stars; and as for the ceiling, it was flaming fire. 18 And I observed and saw inside it a lofty throne—its appearance was like crystal and its wheels like the shining sun; and (I heard) the voice of the cherubim; 19 and from beneath the throne were issuing Streams of flaming fire. It was difficult to look at it. 20 And the Great Glory was sitting upon it—as for his gown, which was shining more brightly than the sun, it was whiter than any snow- 21 None of the angels was able to come in and see the face of the Excellent and the Glorious One; and no one of the flesh can see him—22 the flaming fire was round about him, and a great fire stood before him. No one could come near unto him from among those that surrounded the tens of millions (that stood) before him. 23 He needed no council, but the most holy ones who are near to him neither go far away at night nor move away from him. 24 Until then I was prostrate on my face covered and trembling. And the Lord called me with his own mouth and said to me, “Come near to me, Enoch, and to my holy Word.” 25 And he lifted me up and brought me near to the gate, but I (continued) to look down with my face.

15-1 But he raised me up and said to me with his voice, “Enoch.” I (then) heard, “Do not fear, Enoch, righteous man, scribe of righteousness; come near to me and hear my voice. 2 And tell the Watchers of heaven on whose behalf you have been sent to intercede- ‘It is meet (for you) that you intercede on behalf of man, and not man on your behalf- 3 For what reason have you abandoned the high, holy, and eternal heaven; and slept with women and defiled yourselves with the daughters of the people, taking wives, acting like the children of the earth, and begetting giant sons? 4 Surely you, you [used to be] holy, spiritual, the living ones, [possessing] eternal life; but (now) you have defiled yourselves with women, and with the blood of the flesh begotten children; you have lusted with the blood of the people, like them producing blood and flesh, (which) die and perish. 5 On that account, I have given you wives in order that (seeds) might be sown upon them and children born by them, so that the deeds that are done upon the earth will not be withheld from you. 6 Indeed you, formerly you were spiritual, (having) eternal life, and immortal in all the generations of the world. 7 That is why (formerly) I did not make wives for you, for the dwelling of the spiritual beings of heaven is heaven.

26. Trans. E. Isaac, “1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. J. H. Charlesworth (Garden City, NY- Doubleday, 1983), vol. 1, pp. 13-18, 20-21, 35-37, 74, 86-87.

27. The fallen angels.

28. Enoch is now shown a vision of God’s Temple.

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