Old Testament Legends eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 118 pages of information about Old Testament Legends.


Abraham was the son of Terah, and Terah was a maker of idols which he sold to the people round about him.  Now this is the story of how Abraham came to believe in the true God; and in the ancient book the story is put into the mouth of Abraham himself, and he tells it in this way: 

I was troubled in my mind because I desired to know who was in truth the strongest of all the Gods.  And one day when I was attending to the gods of my father Terah, gods of wood and stone, gold and silver, iron and brass, I went into the temple where they stood, and found that one of them, the god named Marumath, who was carved out of stone, had fallen over and was lying at the feet of the god Zucheus.  When I saw that, I was alarmed, and thought that I should never be able to put him back in his place by myself, because he was so heavy; so I went and told my father, and he came, and the two of us could hardly manage to move him; but as we were doing so, the head of the god broke off in my hands.  At that my father said, “Abraham”, and I said, “Here am I, bring me the chisels out of the house.”  And when I had done so, he fashioned another Marumath out of stone, without a head, and fixed the head that had come off the first Marumath upon it; and the rest of the old Marumath he broke in pieces.

After that he made five more gods, and bade me take them and sell them in the streets of the city; and I saddled the ass, and put them upon it, and went to the river to sell them; and there I found merchants coming from Fandana in Syria with camels, on their way to Egypt to bring papyrus from the Nile.  And as I was talking with them one of their camels belched, and the donkey took fright and ran off, and the gods fell off its back, and three of them were broken, and only two remained whole.  But when the Syrians saw what had happened, they said, “Why did you not tell us that you had gods to sell?  We might have bought them before the donkey took fright, and they would not have been destroyed; at least we will take the gods that remain, and pay you the price of them all.”  And they did so; and the broken gods I cast into the river Gur, and they sank and were seen no more.

But as I returned home, I was bewildered and divided in my mind.  I said to myself, “What an evil trade is this that my father practises!  Is not he in truth the god of his own gods which he makes with his chisels and lathes and his skill?  Ought they not rather to worship him than he them?  Surely it is all deceit.  Look at Marumath, who fell and could not get up again, and these five other gods which could not punish the donkey for running away with them, nor keep themselves from being broken and thrown into the river.”

And as I was thinking of all these things, I arrived at my father’s house.  Then I gave the ass his hay and water, and went in and gave the price of the gods to my father Terah, and he was pleased and said, “Blessed be thou of my gods:  my labour has not been in vain.”  But I said, “It is rather thou, father, that givest blessing to the gods, for thou art their god; their own blessing is vain and their help is naught:  if they cannot help themselves, how should they help thee or bless me?” But he was very angry with me for speaking lightly of his gods.

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Old Testament Legends from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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