Monday, July 6, 2009

And Enoch Peed His Pants

As I am rereading 1 Enoch in George Nickelsburg's translation (since I cannot read Ge'ez), one thing I am noticing (and something I had noticed before on a more limited basis) is when Enoch is seized with fear and falls on his face. The first time this happens he ascends through the "houses" of the heavenly temple and comes into the inner chamber. At that point:

Fear enveloped me, and trembling seized me,
and I was quaking and trembling, and I fell upon my face
(1 Enoch 14:13-14)

This passage in the Book of Watchers, in fact, follows an important part of the typical prophetic call narrative, where a prophet is called, has a vision, or something, and acts in some way to express unworthiness. Like Enoch here, for example, Ezekiel constantly falls on his face and is even picked back up by his hair! But one thing I do not recall ever seeing before in the typical scene of unworthiness or humiliation of the prophetic figure is what happens to Enoch in the Book of Parables:

And great trembling stook hold of me, and fear seized me,
and my loins were crushed, and my kidneys were loosened,
and I fell on my face.
(1 Enoch 60:3)

For the most part, this follows the previous prophetic call humiliation. Enoch again experiences fear and trembling and falls on his face. But, unlike before, his "loins were crushed" and his "kidneys were loosened." I don't know if I should speculate on the crushing of the loins, but perhaps we should assume and hope that he had already begat Methusaleh before this vision! I am unaware of another prophetic/visionary figure who claims his loins were crushed. Ouch! In addition, I am unaware of any other visionary claiming his kidneys were loosened. If we were doing a "dynamic equivalent" translation, we could say that Enoch peed his pants. How embarrassing it must be to come before the "Head of Days" (60:2) with a sharp pain in a wet crotch!

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