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cunning work*, and wrote upon them the names of the Holy; and many believed him in those days. And also unto Bologna, Ferrara, and Mantua, came that man; and he said that he would, with the consent of the kings of the uncircumcised, lead all the Jews who were found in the midst of them, unto his place and into his land. And he spake also unto the pope ; and the children of Israel feared much. And it came to pass, when they spake unto him, saying, " And what shall we do unto our wives this day, if we shall all go unto the battle, and what unto their children which they have borne?” That he replied, Surely there are many women in our country, like unto these woment: fear not, for there is no restraint with the Lord to saves.”

And he invented a writing of his own heart, saying, My brother, the king, hath sent it unto me written and sealed with the king's ring$;" and it came to pass, one day, that his secret was discovered, and they believed him no more; for he decreed decrees of nothingness ||.

825. And there came forth a rod from Portugal, whose name was Solomon Molcho, of a stem of Israel, which had been scattered there since

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* un gwyn, Exod. xxvi. 1. i. e. The work of an embroiderer.

+ 2 Sam. xii. 8. * i Sam. xiv. 6. § Esther viii. 8. Il Is. x. I.

Isaiah xi. 1.

-

WISDOM OF SOLOMON MOLCHO.

151

the days of destruction*; and he was a lad with the scribes of the king at that time. And when he saw the man David, the Lord touched his heart, and he returned unto the Lord, the God of his ancestors; and he circumcised the flesh of his foreskin. And he knew nothing of the law of the Lord, and of the Holy Scriptures in those days; and it came to pass, when he was circumcised, that the Lord gave wisdom unto Solomon, and he became wiser than all men in a very short time; and many wondered at him; and he went to Italy, and with a daring face he spake of the law of our God in the presence of [x3] kings, and hid not his face from them. And he went unto Turkey, and returned unto Rome, and spake with Clement, who extended towards him kindness against the desire of all those who knew law and judgmentt. And he gave him a written privilege signed with his name, to dwell according as it should be pleasing in his sight, and he surnamed himself by the name of Israelf; and he was wise in the wisdom of the Cabala; and he brought forth from his mouth words of grace, for the spirit of the Lord spake in him ; and His word was constantly upon his tongue. And he continually drew also g from the deep fountain of the Cabala goodly words; and he wrote them

. i. e. Baptism.
# i.e. he professed Judaism.

Esther i. 13.
§ Exodus ii. 19.

152

LETTER OF SOLOMON MOLCHO.

" It was

upon tables; but I have not yet seen them. And he preached to many at Bologna and in other places; and many ran after him to hear his wisdom, and to prove him with riddles*. And Solomon told them all their words : there was nothing hid from him which he told them not; and when they saw the wisdom of Solomon, they said, a true report which we heard concerning thee, and thou hast gained wisdom exceeding the fame which we heardt.” And many clothed themselves with envy against him; but they could cast no evil upon him in Italy, for he was beloved in the sight of the nobles : and he united himself with David, and they were as one in those days.

826. And Solomon wrote unto the wise men, words of peace and truth, saying :

827. “Ye great mountains, ye pillars of the captivityf, knowing science, and understanding

knowledge, a goodly sight before the face of “ Him who dwelleth in the holy habitation, in “ whom is power to stand in the temple of the “ Holy King, and who are bound up in the bundleg of the seventy faces of the tree of

1 Kings, x. i., and 2 Chron. ix. 1. + 1 Kings, X., and 2 Chron. ix.

+ i. e. The Jewish communion; which being dispersed among the Gentiles, is considered to be in a state of captivity.

§ 1 Sam. xxv. 29.

|| There are, according to the rabbies seventy manners of interpreting the law which are called the Seventy Faces,

152

LETTER OF SOLOMON MOLCHO.

צא

56 It was

upon tables; but I have not yet seen them. And he preached to many at Bologna and in other places; and many ran after him to hear his wisdom, and to prove him with riddles*. And Solomon told them all their words : there was nothing hid from him which he told them not; and when they saw the wisdom of Solomon, they said, a true report which we heard concerning thee, and thou hast gained wisdom exceeding the fame which we heardt.' And many clothed themselves with envy against him; but they could cast no evil upon him in Italy, for he was beloved in the sight of the nobles: and he united himself with David, and they were as one in those days.

826. And Solomon wrote unto the wise men,
words of peace and truth, saying:

827. “ Ye great mountains, ye pillars of the
captivity, knowing science, and understanding

knowledge, a goodly sight before the face of
“ Him who dwelleth in the holy habitation, in
"whom is power to stand in the temple of the
“ Holy King, and who are bound up in the

bundleg of the seventy faces of the tree of
* 1 Kings, x. i., and 2 Chron. ix. 1.
1 Kings, X., and 2 Chron. ix.

I i. e. The Jewish communion ; which being dispersed among
the Gentiles, is considered to be in a state of captivity.

§ 1 Sam. xxv. 29.

|| There are, according to the rabbies seventy manners of interpreting the law which are called the Seventy Faces,

153 X3 LETTER OF SOLOMON MOLCHO.

righteous life, to be a strong wall and a high “ bulwark round the destroyed city. May we “ “ live to see its rebuilding! And much peace be on “ the throne of the King Messiah. These* are the seed blessed by God from heaven.

828.“ Incline your ear to hear the words of a

worm and no mant, a rod out of the stem of the “ children of our captivity, which came forth from

a landş of our adversaries, sitting in a forest and “in a desert, in a place of thorns, thistles, and

briers; there he fed, and there he lay down; “ for his father and his mother forsook him\; he

walked in darkness and had no lights, meditating in the night upon his couch**, by what

way the light is partedtt, that he might know “ the place of the dawn, to keep himself from the

ways of the violent, that he might walk in the

paths of God to seek wisdom of him, and to hear " the words of truth. And He put in his heart

anxiety and trouble at all times, to save his “ soul from destruction, to shine in the light of

life, that he might hold fast unto the right hand of God, and cast from him the left|1; in his distress addressed in this letter.

† Ps. xxii. 7. Comp. Isaiah xi. 1. § Portugal. || Ps. xxvii. 10. IIs. 1. 10. ** Canticles iii. I. tt Job. xxxviii. 24.

1 SD0, i. e. What is not right; an allusion also to the name of the devil. 520, Sammael, angelus malignus, et princeps mortis.-Buxtorf.

* The

sages

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PRINCES DRAGONS.

צא

“ he lifted up his voice unto Him, even unto the “ Head and said, “Holy, make the tabernacle of peace.' For it is better to trust in the Lord, than “ to put confidence in princes* (because they are

dragonst, and will be destroyed); He shall “ stand for ever: see ye, and hearken unto this,

give glory unto our Godt.

829. “ In the twelfth month in the year “ OMRIM (“When I heard D'708 THEM SAYŞ, Let us go'll,) he went to supplicate the face of the

Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts; I also “ went into the palace of strangers in the great

city, which is destined to become desolate, and

* Ps. cxviii. 9.

+ an, belluæ marinæ, pisces ingentes, Gr. antol, Gen. i. 21, dracones, serpentes. Gesenius, Lex. Manuale. .

Deut. xxxii. iii. § Gen. xxxvii. 17, O'798, X 1

40

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291 291 + 5000 = A. M. 5291, or A.D. 1530. || The passage between parentheses has no connexion with the sense of Molcho's letter; and is merely cited, according to the custom of the Rabbies, because it contains in the word D'OX the date of the year. There occur subsequently similar instances of this practice.

I i. e. Rome.

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