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And the Queen answered and said unto them, "Not as servants as ye say but as a father and a teacher will we treat you. For ye are the guardians of the Law of p. 153 God, and the guides of the commandment of the God of ISRAEL, and the men of the house of God, and the guardians of ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and we do not wish to transgress your commandments, for ye shall be unto us a guide to the path of God away from all evil. At your words we will withdraw from that wherewith God is not well-pleased, and we will draw nigh unto every good thing wherewith God is well-pleased at your commandment. Only do ye instruct all this people, and teach them the words of knowledge, for never before have they heard such things as they have heard this day. It is only those who have understanding in them that wisdom and understanding illumine like the light of the sun. As for me, up to this present I have not drunk deeply of the water of knowledge. Now it is sweeter than honey, and quencheth the thirst more than wine, and it satisfieth and maketh wisdom to bubble up, and it stimulateth the understanding, and maketh a man to pour forth words like a drunken man, and maketh the unsteady man like one who flieth, and maketh a man as hot as he that carrieth a heavy load on a difficult road in a parched land that is burnt up by a blazing sun. When the hearts of the wise are open to prophecy and to knowledge, they do not fear the king because of the greatness of his glory if he turneth himself aside from the way of God. And mark this: The word of the Law, which hath been uttered, is indeed understanding unto those who wish for it, and who drink it in and soak themselves therein. I pray Thee, O Lord God of ISRAEL, Thou Holiest of the Holy, grant unto me that I may follow wisdom, and may not become a castaway; grant unto me that I may make her a wall unto myself, and may never fall down; grant that I may make her a foundation for me, and may never be overthrown; grant that I may stand upon her as [firmly as] a pillar, and may never shake; grant that I may hide in her, and never p. 154 have her stripped from me; grant that I may build myself upon her, and may not topple over; grant that I may become vigorous through her, and not suffer from exhaustion; grant that I may stand through her, and may not fall; grant that I may lay hold upon her, and may not slip away; grant that I may grasp her firmly, and may not slide; grant that I may dwell in her in her peace; [grant that] I may be satisfied at her table, and may not vomit, and drink her and not get drunk upon her, and may be satisfied with her and not spit her out.
"I have drunk of her, but have not tottered; I have tottered through her, but have not fallen; I have fallen because of her, but have not been destroyed. Through her I have dived down into the great sea and have seized in the place of her depths a pearl whereby I am rich. I went down like the great iron anchor whereby men anchor ships for the night on the high seas, and I received a lamp which lighteth me, and I came up by the ropes of the boat of understanding. I went to sleep in the depths of the sea, and not being overwhelmed with the water I dreamed a dream. And it seemed to me that there was a star in my womb, and I marvelled thereat, and I laid hold upon it and made it strong in the splendour of the sun; I laid hold upon it, and I will never let it go. I went in through the doors of the treasury of wisdom and I drew for myself the waters of understanding. I went into the blaze of the flame of the sun, and it lighted me with the splendour thereof, and I made of it a shield for myself, and I saved myself by confidence therein, and not myself only but all those who travel in the footprints of wisdom, and not myself only but all the men of my country, the kingdom of ETHIOPIA, and not those only but those who travel in their ways, the nations that are round about. For the Lord hath given us seed in ZION and a habitation in JERUSALEM1. And moreover, there hath come to p. 155 us a portion with those whom He hath chosen, the seed of JACOB, for He hath set His habitation to abide with us. From this time forth they are set down, and from this time forth we are set upright. From this time forth they are despised and rejected, and from this time forth we shall be honoured and loved for ever and ever and throughout all the generations that are to come.
"And ye, O noble ones, hearken unto me, and learn well what cometh forth from my mouth and my words. Love ye what is right and hate falsehood, for what is right is righteousness and falsehood is the head of iniquity. And ye shall not use fraud and oppression among yourselves, for God dwelleth with you, and the habitation of His glory is among you; for ye have become members of His household. And from this time onward cease ye to observe your former customs, [namely] making auguries from birds, and from signs, and the use of charms, and incantations, and portents, and magic. And if after this day there be found any man who observeth all his former customs, his house shall be plundered, and he and his wife and his children shall be condemned."
And the Queen said unto AZARIAH, "Speak and declare how much thou lovest our Lady with her Heavenly King."
1 Compare the LXX Isaiah xxxi. 9. A mistranslation of the Hebrew text?