Friday, December 11, 2009

Legend of the Blessed Ones

The descendents of Jethro, the father in law of Moses, have some interesting legends being told about them. During the time of Jeremiah, while all the people were being exiled to Babylon, the Blessed Ones were saved on account of obeying their father and taken to a land of Paradise. The story is alluded to in the Bible.

There is a wonderful account of the Blessed Ones in Volume Two of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. At the present time, this writing does not appear to be in English form online.

Here is one version of the legend according to Alexander the Great.
According to Alexander, he was able to visit this paradise and see them in person.

The Promise to the Rechabites

Another account of the Rechabites, per the Legends of the Jews:

One of the descendants of Jethro was Jonadab, son of Rechab, who, when he heard from a prophet that God would destroy the Temple, bade all his children, as a toke of mourning, to drink no wine, use no oil for anointing themselves, nor cut their hair, nor dwell in houses. The Rechabites obeyed this command of their sire, and as a reward for this, God made a covenant with them that their descendants should always be members of the Sanhedrin, and teachers of Israel. The covenant with the Rechabites was even stronger than that with David, for to the house of the latter God promised to keep the covenant only if his descendants were pious, but He made an unconditional covenant with the Rechabites. God rewarded them for their devotion to Him in this way, although they did not belong to the Jewish nation. From this one can gather how great would have been their reward if they had been Israelites.

Here is an account that Matthew supposedly wrote (not in English), who also visited the Blessed Ones. This account is stored at :

St. Catherines Monastery at Mt. Sinai

St. Catherine's is the largest religious library, next to the Vatican. It contains the biblical original manuscripts and many ancient documents.

Cambridge University translated the Matthew documents into English. Here is the translation:

Cambridge Translation/critical analysis of text



The Acts of Matthew the disciple which he did in the country of the
Kahenaf^, in the peace of the Lord. Ameji.

And Peter and Andrew were on their return from the country of
El Barbar. And they had estabHshed them in the faith, and had taught
them the precepts of religion. While they were journeying on the road
Matthew met them. And they embraced one another with a spiritual kiss ;
and he said unto them : " Whence have ye come?" They said unto him:
" From the country of El Barbar." Matthew said unto them : " And I also
have come from the country of the Blessed." And each one of them told
him what sufferings had befallen him. Matthew said unto them : " The city
in which I have been, the Lord Jesus the Christ is present with them
every day : and He keepeth a feast with them. He setteth up His throne
in the midst of their church in the early morning, and He teacheth them
His precepts. And when I entered their city, and preached amongst
them, and proclaimed the Gospel in His name, they said : ' We know
this Name.' I said unto them : ' Who hath taught it to you ? ' They said
unto me : ' Be patient, and trouble not thyself until the morning ; thou
shalt look on Him Whom thou hast preached unto us.' And when the
f. io8a morrow came the Lord Jesus the Christ came riding upon a shining cloud,
and all the powers of heaven praising Him. And when I saw Him, in the
abundance of joy I exulted in the Holy Ghost, and cried, saying: ' Ascribe
ye glory to the King of kings ; and exalt His greatness to all genera-
tions.' And we remained three days praising Him in the church. And
when the three days were ended He blessed us and ascended to heaven
with great glory.

" Then I said unto them, ' How have ye become worthy of this honour?
that the Lord Jesus the Christ should keep a feast with you ? ' They
said unto me : ' Hath not the tale of the nine tribes and a half reached
thee, which the Lord caused to enter the Land of Promise? We are
they. When it is mid-day, Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, cometh
unto us ; and there come with him the hundred and the four and forty
thousand infants whom Herod slew ; they defiled not their garments in

^ i.e. " priests."


the world. And when they sing praise we sing praise with them, and
when they say Alleluia, we say it with them. But as for gold and
silver we do not wish for it in our country. We eat no flesh and drink
no wine in our country ; but honey is our food and our drink. We
do not look on the faces of our women with desire ; the first boy who
is born we present him as an offering to God, that he may serve the f. io8b
temple all his life, when he is three years old. Our drink is not the water
from wells dug by the hands of men ; but the water which we drink is the
water which overfloweth from Paradise. We do not wrap ourselves in
clothing made by the hands of men ; but our clothing is from the
leaves of trees. Our country heareth no lying speech, and no one
knoweth of it. No man weds two wives in our country ; and no boy
dieth before his father. And the younger speaketh not in the presence
of the elder. Lions dwell with us in our country ; they hurt us not, and
we hurt them not. When winds blow, we smell from them the scent of the
garden of Paradise. There is no cold in our country, and no snow, but a
breath of life ; and it is temperate.'

" And when I had heard [this] from them, I longed to dwell in their
country ; and my eyes were dazzled from hearing the sweetness of their

And Peter and Andrew praised God for this, and besought Him
to reveal unto them to what place they should go. And the Lord
appeared to them and said unto them, " My peace be upon you, O My pure
disciples! whom I have chosen before all mankind. Be strong, and believe ;
for I am dwelling with you always ; I will never be absent where ye are."
And they worshipped down to the ground. And they said: "We bless f. 109a
Thy name, O Lord ! and we thank Thee always. Command us on which
way we should go."

And the Lord commanded Peter to go forth to the city of Rome, and
Andrew to the city of Masya, and Matthew^ to the city of Kahenat.
Matthew^ said unto the Lord: " I know it not, and I have never entered
it." The Lord said unto him : " Art thou still of little faith .' go on this
path, which will bring thee to their city." And then a cloud arrived, and
carried Peter and Andrew until it brought each one of them to his place
wherein the Lord had commanded him to preach. And Matthew^ walked
a little way, and he lifted up his eyes to heaven and prayed, and said :
" O Thou, the Holy Lord, Jesus the Christ, my Lord ! Who taught
Abraham, and fulfilled His oath to Isaac ; and established His testimony

1 MS. "Matthias."

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