My attempt at organization. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the cities

     And the cities had four judges to four cities, and these were their names: Serak , Sharkad , Zabnac, and Menon. Eliezer the servant applied to them different names, and he converted Serak to Shakra, Sharkad to Shakrura, Zebnac to Kezobim, and Menon to Matzlodin.

     The cities' four judges told the people to erect beds in the streets of the cities, and if a man came to these places, they seized him, brought him to one of their beds, and by force made him lie in them. As he lay down, three men would stand at his head and three at his feet, and they would measure him by the length of the bed. If the man was less than the bed, the six men would stretch him at each end, and when he cried out to them, they would not answer him or stop. If the man was longer than the bed, they would draw together the two sides of the bed at each end til the man was close to death, and if he continued to cry out to them, they would answer him and say, "This must be done to any man that comes into our land."

     When men heard about these things the people of the cities did, they refrained from going there.

     When a poor man came to their land, they would give him silver and gold, but give an order throughout the whole city not to give him a morsel of bread to eat. If the stranger should remain there some days and die from hunger, not having been able to obtain a morsel of bread, then at his death, all the people of the city would come and reclaim their silver and gold they had given him. Those that could recognize the silver or gold they had given him took it back, and they also stripped him of his garments. They would fight about them, and he that prevailed over his neighbor took them.

     After that, they would carry him to the desert and bury him under some of the shrubs; so, they did this to any one that came to them and died in their land.

     After a while, Eliezer was sent to the cities to find his master's nephew and inquire after his welfare. When he went to the cities, he met a countryman fighting with a stranger, and the man of the cities stripped the poor man of all his clothes and went away. This poor man cried to Eliezer and found favor with him because of what the man of the cities had done to him. He said to the countryman, "Why did you act like this to the poor man who came to your land?"

     And the man of the cities answered, "Is this man your brother, or have the people of the cities made you a judge today, that you're allowed to speak for this man?"

     Eliezer argued with the man on behalf of the poor man, and when Eliezer approached to recover the poor man's clothes from the countryman, he quickly threw a stone and hit Eliezer in the forehead. The blood flowed copiously from Eliezer's forehead, and when the man saw the blood, he grabbed Eliezer, saying, "Pay me a service fee for having rid you of this bad blood from you forehead, for this is the custom and the law in our land."

     Eliezer said to him, "You have wounded me and require me to pay you a fee?" Eliezer would not hearken to the words of the man of cities, so the man captured Eliezer and brought him to Shakra, the man's city for judgment. The man spoke to the judge, "I beseech you my lord, this man is unwilling to pay my fee for hitting him with a stone and releasing the bad blood from his forehead."

     And the judge said to Eliezer, "This man speaks truth to you. Pay him his fee because this is the custom and the law in our land." Eliezer heard the words of the judge, and he lifted up a stone and hit  the judge on his forehead. The blood flowed copiously from the forehead of the judge, and Eliezer said, "If this then is the custom in your land, give this man what I should have given him. This has been your decision, and you did decree it." Eliezer left the man of the cities with the judge, and he went away from the cities.

     Another poor man came into the city to seek help, and he remained in the city some days. All the people of the city communicated their custom not to give this man a morsel of bread to eat. They talked about upholding the custom until the day he dropped dead. A woman of the city, Paltith, saw this man lying in the streets starved with hunger. No one would give him anything to sustain him, and he was upon the point of death. Her heart was filled with pity for the poor man; she fed him secretly with bread for many days, and the soul of this man was revived. When she went to fetch water, she would hide the bread in the water pitcher. She would visit the place the poor man was and give him  the bread to eat; she did this many days.

     All the people of the cities wondered how this man could bear starvation for so many days. They spoke among themselves, saying, "No man can bear starvation for so many days or live as this man has; therefore, he has to be drinking water and eating food," so three men concealed themselves in a place where the poor man was located to discover who was brining him bread to eat.

     Paltith went that day to fetch water, and she put bread into her pitcher. She went to draw water by the poor man's place. She took out the bread from the pitcher and gave it to the poor man, and he ate it. The three men saw what Paltith did for the poor man, and they said to her, "It is you who has supported him; therefore, he has not starved, nor changed in appearance nor died like the rest." Then, the three men came out of hiding and seized Paltith and the bread from the poor man's hand. They brought Paltith before their judges and told them what she had done for the poor man. They demanded, "Declare to us the punishment due to this woman for having transgressed our law."

     The people of the cities assembled and kindled a fire in the street, and they took the woman and threw her into the fire where she was burned to ashes.

     And in the city of Admah, another woman was also put to death, because a traveler came into this city to stay there during the night with the intention of going home in the morning, and he sat opposite the door of the house of the young woman's father. The young woman saw him sitting by the door of the house. He asked her for a drink of water, and she said to him, "Who are you?"

     He said to her, "I've been traveling on the road and reached here when the sun set, so I will stay here through the night, and in the morning, I will arise early and continue my journey."

     The young woman went into the house and fetched the man bread and water to eat and drink. This woman's actions became known to the people of Admah, and they assembled and brought the young woman before the judges, that they should judge her for this act. The judge said, "The judgment of death is awarded to this woman because she transgressed our law, and this is the decision concerning her actions.

     The people of those cities brought out the young woman and covered her with honey from head to foot, as the judge had decreed, and they placed her before the bee swarm's hive. The bees flew upon her and stung her, causing her whole body to swell. The young woman cried out because of the bees' stings, but no one took notice of her or pitied her, and her cries ascended to heaven. The Lord was provoked at this and at all the works of the cities, because they had an abundance of food and peace amongst them but would not sustain the poor and the needy.

                                                                                          -The Book of Jasher, Chp 19, concerning
                                                                                                           Sodom and Gomorrah

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