I have been reading an ancient book called Jubilees that presents itself as an angel dictating to Moses from the heavenly tablets, and basically re-tells Genesis and the beginning of Exodus with some extra legal decisions thrown in. Guess where these legal decisions come from? Yeah, the heavenly tablets.
So basically, whomever the interpolator was, in Jubilees he wrote all of his legal decisions as coming from heaven in the books of Moses!
Can’t really argue with that if you’re a Second Temple Jew can you!
But there’s something “off” about the material in the heavenly tablets and the angel who dictates to Moses: they’re about as much fun as re-circumcising yourself with a dull rock.
You’re reading along, enjoying the story (I especially like some of the additional material in the Abraham narrative), and all of a sudden this angel dude is losing his rag:
“Anyone who acts in this way — anyone who lies with his mother-in-law — is to be burned in fire so that he burns in it because impurity and contamination have come on them. They are to be burned.” (Jub. 41:25)
I’m not really sure… I think he wants them burned, but I might need more context.
“Now you order the Israelites that there is to be no impurity among them, for anyone who lies with his daughter-in-law or his mother-in-law has done something that is impure. They are to burn the man who lay with her and the woman.” (41:26)
Yup, we’re definitely supposed to be burning people according to pyro angel.
But why is the angel so upset? Was the mother-in-law loving so prevalent that angry angels had to command people to burn the many perpetrators? What in the Sheol was going on in Jerusalem that a priest felt he needed to clarify his position on this one? Couldn’t we just cut out the middle man, save some wood and preparation, and have some of the Seraphim give a special hug to all of the dirty pervs?
Hard to see how this book didn’t become canonical…
Anyways, at some point here in the next few weeks I’m going to post all of the “references” from the heavenly tablets in Jubilees.
We might even learn something! (Lord forbid…)