Nimrod and the city of Babel – Rise of idolatry – Terah, the father of Abram – Abram
and Sarah visit Terah – The ten gods of Terah – Abram devises a test to determine
the power of Terah’s gods – Abram smashes the gods of Terah – Terah returns and demands
an answer – The god of stone, fierce and angry – Terah has Abram arrested and taken
to Nimrod – The king sentences Abram to be executed
1 Now in the lands of Shinar, by the waters of Diyalah, did Nimrod the son of Cush
rule, for he had built up the waste places, and Babel was made prince among all the
cities of the plain.
2 For he built also the city of Erech and placed upon the throne thereof Mardon;
and he established the foundation of Luzon, for there was fought there in ancient
times a great battle.
3 But in Babel did Nimrod rule over the children of men, and he caused that the
sons of men should sin before the God of Heaven, for from the heart of a wicked man
is evil multiplied unto the children of men.
4 Thus would Nimrod not remember the Lord, for he walked pridefully in the midst
of abominations, and he taught others to do even as he did.
5 Now the inhabitants of Nimrod were added upon by the wickedness of the people,
for he caused that all who dwelt in the lands of Shinar should be made to bend the
knee to gods made with hands.
6 Now there lived in Babel Terah, the son of Nahor, and he was captain of all the
king’s mighty men. Now Terah followed in the ways of Nimrod and he worshipped gods
made of wood and stone.
7 On a certain day there came unto the house of Terah his son Abram, and with him
was Sarah his wife.
8 And when he entered, Abram embraced his father and kissed him upon the cheek and
looking round about Abram saw ten gods standing in places of honor in the house of
9 Therefore was the heart of Abram made heavy because of the idolatry which was
made to dwell in the house of Terah by way of the king’s law, for all who dwelt in
the regions round about were made to worship the gods of Babel.
10 And Abram spoke to his father, saying: “My father, tell me truly. Among all these
gods, where is the God who created the heavens and the earth? Where is the God who
breathed into man the breath of life?”
11 So Terah, looking about at the ten gods who stood in places of honor, spoke unto
Abram, saying: “My son, the gods who created Heaven and earth are here within the
house of your father.
12 For all things which you see upon the face of the earth, even all the sons of
men, are made by these gods which you see before you this day.” And so speaking,
Terah bowed himself down before the ten gods.
13 Therefore, after some little while, Terah arose and bid his son farewell, for
he must go to the king to report, but Abram remained in the house of his father.
14 Now in the evening of the day, Abram came and sat before the gods who dwelt in
the house of his father, and he sat before them filled with great pondering.
15 And Sarah arising from her bed came to her husband and entreated him, saying:
“Come, my husband, and brood no longer because of the idolatry of Terah your father.
16 For in the lands of Shinar is Nimrod lord and king over all the people. Therefore,
seeing that your father is made captain of the king’s mighty men, should he not worship
the gods of his lord and master?
17 Come now, my husband, lie down beside me a little while, and I shall still the
troubling of your soul, and you shall find rest beside me.”
18 But Abram spoke to Sarah, saying: “My wife, if you would comfort me, then prepare
for me some food. For I desire to make an offering to the gods of my father’s house.”
19 So Sarah went and prepared some sweet dainties and she brought them unto Abram
and he, seeing such savory sweets, was pleased and he laid them before the ten gods
20 Wherefore, Abram sat before the gods of Babel, that he might see them stretch
forth hands of wood and stone.
21 But they had no power to partake of Abram’s offering, for they were but gods
made of wood and stone.
22 And they had no power to hear with their ears, or speak with their lips, neither
had they power to move from their resting place, nor had they power to stretch forth
the hand to eat.
23 Now seeing that the gods of Babel would not partake of his offering, he called
to Sarah and said:
24 “Behold, how these gods who created Heaven and earth and all living things will
not partake of these sweet dainties.
25 Perhaps I have offered that which is not pleasing to them. For behold how fierce
the gods of my father are made to appear. Surely they will prefer savory meat.
26 Therefore, go forth and from my flocks take a young goat and kill it. Take great
care in all your preparations, for I shall offer unto these fierce gods a feast of
27 So Sarah hastened to do as Abram requested. And she brought unto him goodly meat,
richly cooked and savory.
28 And Abram took the meat and placed it in the midst of the ten gods, and he sat
himself down to see if the gods would partake of his offering. And all that day Abram
sat before them, yet the gods of Babel moved not.
29 Wherefore, Abram grew heavy of heart and he proclaimed aloud, saying: “How foolish
has the iniquity of Nimrod made my father to become, that he should serve gods of
wood and stone;
30 That they, having hands, feel not, that, having legs, they move not; that, having
eyes, they cannot see, neither can they speak with their lips.
31 Seeing that these things are true, why are men made to trust in gods that they
have fashioned for themselves with their own hands?”
32 And rising from his father’s house, he went and fetched him a heavy stone, and
in great anger he smashed all the gods of Babel that were made to dwell in the house
33 But the largest god Abram did not break, for it was made of stone and not wood
as the others had been.
34 Now on the day after, Terah returned to his house and he beheld the gods of Babel,
that all were smashed and broken except the god made of stone. And he beheld the
savory meat which was placed before the gods as an offering.
35 So Terah called his son Abram and demanded to know the cause for which the gods
of Babel should lie in ruin upon the floor of his house.
36 And Abram spoke, saying: “My father, I will tell you all, for behold, I remembered
your words concerning the gods of Nimrod. How that they created Heaven and earth
and every living thing also.
37 Therefore, I desired to honor the gods of my father, and I caused to be prepared
for them a feast of savory meat, and I did offer it unto them.
38 But when I had laid before them the feast of meat, all these idols made of wood
rushed upon the offering to devour it, and they had no regard for this great idol
made of stone.
39 Wherefore, this god of stone arose from his place of honor and he smashed all
these gods of wood with his hands, for they had no regard for him, neither did they
take thought to honor him.”
40 In this manner spoke Abram to his father. And Terah spoke in anger against him,
saying: “Am I such a fool that you would have me believe so great a tale as this?
41 Would you have me to believe that the power of life is made to move within gods
made of wood and stone?”
42 And Abram answered, saying: “Seeing that you have spoken truly concerning these
gods of wood and stone, why then are you made to serve them? Have idols the power
to deliver in the moment of distress?
43 Shall ears made of wood and stone hear the prayers of the faithful? Can such
gods as these stretch forth the hand to deliver you from the hand of the enemy?
44 Have they power to lift the sword against the enemy who rushes upon the gates
of the city?
45 Hear, my father, the words of Abram. Behold, it is not good that you should bend
the knee to gods who hear not, neither do they speak.
46 How foolish are you made to become, because you are made to worship gods made
by the hands of other men.”
47 But Terah grew angry and he called forth certain guards and he caused that his
son should be brought before the king of Babel, for the law had been declared:
48 That whosoever should offend the gods of the city, even they should be brought
before the king for judgment.
49 So Terah caused that Abram should be brought before the king, and he told him
all the words of his son concerning the gods of the land.
50 How that when Abram had offered the gods a savory feast of good meat, the gods
of wood rushed to devour it for they had not regard for the larger god made of stone.
51 Which thing did anger the god made of stone, and he rose up in his anger and
smashed all the gods which were made of wood.
52 Now Nimrod, beholding the son of Terah, spoke to him, saying: “Tell me, Abram,
what evil spirit has come upon you to trouble you concerning the gods of Babel?
53 Did you not know that to bring shame to the gods of the land is to bring upon
yourself the king’s judgment?
54 Did you not know that gods of wood and stone have no power to put forth the hand
to eat, neither do they have power to put forth the hand to destroy?
55 Are you possessed of such madness as to believe that gods made with hands have
in themselves the power of life and death?”
56 And Abram answered the king, saying: “O king, by your own words have you declared
that the gods of Babel are without life, neither power do they possess.
57 Seeing that this is true, why then do you serve them? Why have you caused the
sons of men to follow after the foolishness of your heart?
58 Can gods of wood and stone deliver you in the day of trouble? Shall such gods
as these perform any labor, great or small?
59 Seeing that such gods as you have made are without life, why will you continue
to worship them? Shall not such foolishness make you to appear as ignorant before
60 Does not wisdom command that all they who desire to seek after God be not foolish
to worship created things? Is there not wisdom in seeking after the God who made
61 And if it so be that we should find him, would it not be wise to cease from following
in the ways of abomination, whereby many are made to stumble because of your example?
62 For I would not have you think me mad, O king. Yet on a certain day there came
upon me a troubling Spirit, which Spirit caused that I should forsake the sins of
my father and seek after the God of Heaven and earth, that him only I might serve.
63 Therefore, seeing that God has troubled me exceedingly, that I might be separated
from the foolish desires of men, why should I be made to fear?
64 For I am persuaded that God who made all things, both in Heaven and on earth,
shall surely come to me, if haply I might seek after him.”
65 Now when Abram had finished speaking, Nimrod turned unto Terah and said: “Truly
your son is without sensibility. Yet the law is plainly written concerning all those
who should offend the gods of Babel.
66 Therefore, take Abram and deliver him unto the prison, for on the tenth day I
shall deliver him to the tormentors.
67 And they shall strip his flesh from off his body, that we might appease the gods
lest they be angry with us.”