In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
All Commentaries on Genesis 1:1 Go To Genesis 1
Hippolytus of Rome
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. This is a transcript of the excellent law. But before beginning to give the transcript of the book of the law, it will be worth while to instruct you, O brother, as to its excellence, and the dignity of its disposition. Its first excellence is, that God delivered it by the hand of our most blessed ruler, the chief of the prophets, and first of the apostles, or those who were sent to the children of Israel, viz. Moses the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, of the sons of Levi. Now he was adorned with all manner of wisdom, and endowed with the best genius. Illustrious in dignity, remarkable for the integrity of his disposition, distinguished for power of reason, he talked with God. And He chose him as an instrument of value. By His leader and prophet, God Most High sent it down to us, and committed it to us (blessed be His name) in the Syriac tongue of the Targum, which the Seventy translated into the Hebrew tongue, to wit, into the tongue of the nation, and the idiom of the common people. Moses. therefore, received it from the eternal Lord, and was the first to whom it was entrusted, and who obeyed its rules and ordinances. Then he taught it to the children of Israel, who also embraced it. And he explained to them its profound mysteries and dark places. And he expounded to them those things which were less easy, as God permitted him, and concealed from them those secrets of the law, as God forbade him (to reveal them). Nor did there rise among them one who was better practised in His judgments and decrees, and who communicated more clearly the mysteries of His doctrine, until God translated him to Himself, after He had made him perfect by forty whole years in the wilderness.
And these following are the names of the teachers who handed down the law in continuous succession after Moses the prophet, until the advent of Messiah:—
Know, then, my brother, whom may God bless, that God delivered the most excellent law into the hands of Moses the prophet, the son of Amram.
And Moses delivered it to Joshua the son of Nun.
And Joshua the son of Nun delivered it Anathal.
And Anathal delivered it to Jehud.
And Jehud delivered it to Samgar.
And Samgar delivered it to Baruk.
And Baruk delivered it to Gideon.
And Gideon delivered it to Abimelech.
And Abimelech delivered it to Taleg.
And Taleg delivered it to Babin the Gileadite.
And Babin delivered it to Jiphtach.
And Jiphtach delivered it to Ephran.
And Ephran delivered it to Elul of the tribe Zebulon.
And Elul delivered it to Abdan.
And Abdan delivered it to Shimshon the brave.
And Shimshon delivered it to Helkanah, the son of Jerachmu, the son of Jehud. Moreover, he was the father of Samuel the prophet. Of this Helkanah mention is made in the beginning of the first book of Kings (Samuel).
And Helkanah delivered it to Eli the priest. And Eli delivered it to Samuel the prophet.
And Samuel delivered it to Nathan the prophet.
And Nathan delivered it to Gad the prophet.
And Gad the prophet delivered it to Shemaiah the teacher. And Shemaiah delivered it to Iddo the teacher. And Iddo delivered it to Achia.
And Achia delivered it to Abihu.
And Abihu delivered it to Elias the prophet.
And Elias delivered it to his disciple Elisaeus.
And Elisaeus delivered it to Malachia the prophet.
And Malachia delivered it to Abdiahu.
And Abdiahu delivered it to Jehuda.
And Jehuda delivered it to Zacharias the teacher. In those days came Bachthansar king of Babel, and laid waste the house of the sanctuary, and carried the children of Israel into captivity to Babel.
And after the captivity of Babel, Zacharia the teacher delivered it to Esaia the prophet, the son of Amos.
And Esaia delivered it to Jeremia the prophet.
And Jeremia the prophet delivered it to Chizkiel.
And Chizkiel the prophet delivered it to Hosea the prophet, the son of Bazi.
And Hosea delivered it to Joiel the prophet.
And Joiel delivered it to Amos the prophet.
And Amos delivered it to Obadia.
And Obadia delivered it to Jonan the prophet, the son of Mathi, the son of Armelah, who was the brother of Elias the prophet.
And Jonan delivered it to Micha the Morasthite, who delivered it to Nachum the Alcusite. And Nachum delivered it to Chabakuk the prophet.
And Chabakuk delivered it to Sophonia the prophet.
And Sophonia delivered it to Chaggaeus the prophet.
And Chaggaeus delivered it to Zecharia the prophet, the son of Bershia.
And Zecharia, when in captivity, delivered it to Malachia. And Malachia delivered it to Ezra the teacher.
And Ezra delivered it to Shamai the chief priest, and Jadua to Samean, (and) Samean delivered it to Antigonus.
And Antigonus delivered it to Joseph the son of Johezer, (and) Joseph the son of Gjuchanan.
And Joseph delivered it to Jehosua, the son of Barachia.
And Jehosua delivered it to Nathan the Arbelite.
And Nathan delivered it to Shimeon, the elder son of Shebach. This is he who carried the Messias in his arms.
Simeon delivered it to Jehuda.
Jehuda delivered it to Zecharia the priest.
And Zecharia the priest, the father of John the Baptist, delivered it to Joseph, a teacher of his own tribe.
And Joseph delivered it to Hanan and Caiaphas. Moreover, from them were taken away the priestly, and kingly, and prophetic offices.
These were teachers at the advent of Messias; and they were both priests of the children of Israel. Therefore the whole number of venerable and honourable priests put in trust of this most excellent law was fifty-six, Hanan (i.e., Annas) and Caiaphas being excepted.
And those are they who delivered it in the last days to the state of the children of Israel; nor did there arise any priests after them.
This is the account of what took place with regard to the most excellent law.
Armius, author of the book of Times, has said: In the nineteenth year of the reign of King Ptolemy, He ordered the elders of the children of Israel to be assembled, in order that they might put into his hands a copy of the law, and that they might each be at hand to explain its meaning.
The elders accordingly came, bringing with them the most excellent law. Then be commanded that every one of them should interpret the book of the law to him.
But he dissented from the interpretation which the elders had given. And he ordered the elders to be thrust into prison and chains. And seizing the book of the law, he threw it into a deep ditch, and cast fire and hot ashes upon it for seven days. Then afterwards he ordered them to throw the filth of the city into that ditch in which was the book of the law. And the ditch was filled to the very top.
The law remained seventy years under the filth in that ditch, yet did not perish, nor was there even a single leaf of it spoilt.
In the twenty-first year of the reign of King Apianutus they took the book of the law out of the ditch, and not one leaf thereof was spoilt.
And after the ascension of Christ into heaven, came King Titus, son of Aspasianus king of Rome, to Jerusalem, and besieged and took it. And he destroyed the edifice of the second house, which the children of Israel had built. Titus the king destroyed the house of the sanctuary, and slew all the Jews who were in it, and built Tsion (sic) in their blood. And after that deportation the Jews were scattered abroad in slavery. Nor did they assemble any more in the city of Jerusalem, nor is there hope anywhere of their returning.
After Jerusalem was laid waste, therefore, Shemaia and Antalia (Abtalion) delivered the law,— kings of Baalbach, a city which Soliman, son of King David, had built of old, and which was restored anew in the days of King Menasse, who sawed Esaia the prophet asunder.
King Adrian, of the children of Edom, besieged Baalbach, and took it, and slew all the Jews who were in it, (and) as many as were of the family of David he reduced to slavery. And the Jews were dispersed over the whole earth, as God Most High had foretold: And I will scatter you among the Gentiles, and disperse you among the nations.
And these are the things which have reached us as to the history of that most excellent book. The Preface is ended.