Nathan wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:55 am
John Reeves has translated the responsum of Hai Gaon alluded to in the OP, along with the portion of Leqach Tov
cited there as well, in his book Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader
. (That section of Leqach Tov
is also known as Aggadat Ha-Mashiach
, the title used by Reeves.)
Excellent. Thank you:
John C. Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic, A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader, pages 135-138, translating the Responsum of Hai Gaon:
At that time [at God’s instigation] there shall arise from among the descendants of Joseph a man who will be called the Lord’s Messiah, and many people will assemble around him in Upper Galilee, and he will become their ruler. Other people will continue gathering themselves to him, two or three coming from this province, and four or five from that one. Regarding this time scripture states: “I will take you—one from a city, and two from a family” (Jer 3:14). However, most of Israel will remain in their places of exile, for they will not realize that the appointed time (הקץ) has come.
Then the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph will go up from Galilee to Jerusalem together with the people who had gathered themselves to him, and they will kill the official appointed by the ruler of Edom and the people associated with him. Regarding this time scripture states: “I will enact my vengeance against Edom by the agency of my people Israel” (Ezek 25:14). He will dwell in Jerusalem for a brief time.
When all the nations hear that a king for Israel has arisen in Jerusalem, they will rise up against them in the rest of the provinces and drive them out. They will say to them: “Up to now you dwelt loyally with us, since you had no ruler or prince of your own. But now that you have a ruler, you can no longer dwell in our land!” Many Israelites will go out into the wilderness regions adjacent to their (former) homelands—regarding this time scripture says: “I shall make you enter the wilderness of the peoples” (Ezek 20:35)—and they will dwell there in tents, as scripture says about this time: “I shall make you live in tents again” (Hos 12:10). Many of them will lack food and water, and they will experience suffering based on their (previous) deeds. Scripture states about this time: “I will make you pass beneath the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant” (Ezek 20:37). Many will abandon the covenant with Israel, for they will be weary of their lives (as Jews), and about them scripture has stated: “I will purge from among you those who rebel and those who offend Me” (Ezek 20:38).
It will happen that when the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph and all the people who are with him have made their dwelling in Jerusalem, Armilos will hear the news about them. He will come and prepare charms and enticements so as to lead many astray by them.He will come up and do battle against Jerusalem, and he will defeat the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph and his people. Some of them he will kill, whereas others he will take captive, and he will divide their spoil. Regarding this time scripture states: “I will gather all the nations at Jerusalem to do battle” (Zech 14:2). Even the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph will be slain, and Israel will experience great distress. Scripture reveals about this time: “and they shall look to Me about the one whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one would mourn an only child, and feel bitterness about him as one would feel bitterness about (the death of) a firstborn son. On that day the mourning will be great in Jerusalem” (Zech 12:10–11).
Why will Armilos be granted the power to kill the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph? (This will occur) in order to break the heart(s) of the dissenters among Israel; that is, those who have no faith. They will say: “This is the man for whom we have been waiting? He has come and been slain! No more deliverance remains for [for Israel]!” They will abandon the covenant of Israel and cling to the gentile nations, but these latter will kill them, for scripture says about them: “all the sinners among My people will die by the sword” (Amos 9:10). Consequently those who remain in Jerusalem will be refined and purified, and also those who went out to the wilderness areas will be tested and refined; about two parts will be left over from these and about a third will be left of those.About them scripture testifies: “and it will come to pass in all the land—utterance of the Lord—that two portions in it will be cut off (and) will expire, and only a third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and I will refine them like one refines silver, and I will test them like one tests gold” (Zech 13:8–9). During that time all the “messianic birth-pangs” will pass over them, those things that have been expounded in numerous places from scriptural verses and the teachings of our Sages, may their memory be blessed. Afterwards they will cry out, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will hearken to their cry, as scripture promises: “and he will call upon My name, and I will answer him” (Zech 13:9).
At that time Elijah will appear in the desert among those who are located in the wilderness regions, and he will restore their hearts, as scripture says: “he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Mal 3:24). The Messiah of the lineage of David will suddenly appear to those who are in the Land, for the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph had previously assembled the people before him, as scripture states: “behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. Suddenly the Lord Whom you seek will enter His Temple” (Mal 3:1). The Israelites who are in the wilderness regions will follow Elijah until they meet the Israelites who are with the Messiah of the lineage of David in Judea. Scripture says about them: “in those days the house of Judah will come with the house of Israel, and they will come together from a northern land unto the land that I bequeathed your ancestors” (Jer 3:18).
Most of those who were slain will lie dead in the Land for forty days, for when the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph is killed, his corpse will be cast aside for forty days. Nevertheless no impure thing will afflict it until the Messiah of the lineage of David comes and resurrects him at the command of the Lord. This will be the first of the signs that he will perform; namely, the resurrection of the dead, for he will regain life.
Then the Messiah of the lineage of David, Elijah, and the Israelites who came from the wilderness regions to Jerusalem will dwell securely (and) undisturbed for a long time. They will construct houses, plant vineyards, and enjoy prosperity in business and trade. (This situation will continue) until Gog hears news of them, as it is written: “I shall come up against a land of unwalled towns; I will come to those who are tranquil (and) who live unsuspectingly” (Ezek 38:11). The land of Gog is Magog, (a territory) in the land of Edom, for scripture has said about him: “[Gog of the land of Magog] is chief prince of Meshek and Tubal” (Ezek 38:2). He will bring (with him) peoples from all of its surrounding areas and from Edom, as scripture attests: “the far reaches of the north and all his flanks—numerous peoples” (Ezek 38:6). These will, moreover, be augmented by masses (of people) drawn from every city and province through which they pass: (some will be) wicked and destructive men intending to mob them and annihilate them, but (also) others, some of the best of the gentiles, “who plan to gather beneath the wings of the Shekinah.” All of them will come to do battle, and they will fight against Jerusalem with the Messiah of the lineage of David and those persons with him. Scripture says about this time: “behold I will make Jerusalem (to be) a cup of venom” (Zech 12:2), in addition to what is said in the passage about Gog (i.e., Ezekiel 38–39). At that time a mighty earthquake will also rock the Land of Israel.