Friday, January 04, 2013

Haggai and Hosea: The Sincere Seekers of God.

It is written by Daniel the prophet that when Haggai was fifteen years old, having sold his patrimony and given it to the poor, he went forth from Anathoth to serve Obadiah the prophet. Now the aged Obadiah, who knew the humility of Haggai, used him as a book wherewith to teach his disciples. Wherefore he oftentimes presented him raiment and delicate food, but Haggai ever sent back the messenger, saying: "Go, return to the house, for you have made a mistake. Shall Obadiah send me such things? Surely not: for he knows that I am good for nothing, and only commit sins. And Obadiah, when he had anything bad, used to give it to the one next to Haggai, in order that he might see it.

Thereupon Haggai. when he saw it, would say to himself: "Now, behold, Obadiah has certainly forgotten you, for this thing is suited to me alone, because I am worse than all. And there is nothing so vile but that, receiving it from Obadiah, by whose hands God grants it to me, it were a treasure."

When Obadiah desired to teach any one how to pray, he would call Haggai and say: "Recite here your prayer so that every one may hear your words." Then Haggai would say-

"Lord God of Israel, with mercy look upon your servant, who calls upon you, for that you have created him. Righteous Lord God, remember your righteousness and punish the sins of your servant, in order that I may not pollute your work. 
Lord my God, I cannot ask you for the delights that you grant to your faithful servants, because I do nought but sins. Wherefore, Lord, when you would give an infirmity to one of your servants, remember me your servant, for your own glory."

And when Haggai did so, God so loved him that to every one who in his time stood by him God gave, [the gift of] prophecy. And nothing did Haggai ask in prayer that God withheld.'

On the other Hand, "Hosea, when he went to serve God, was prince over the tribe of Naphtali, and aged fourteen years. And so, having sold his patrimony and given it to the poor, he went to be disciple of Haggai.

Hosea was so inflamed with charity that concerning all that was asked of him he would say: 'This has God given me for you, O brother; accept it, therefore!' For which cause he was soon left with two garments only namely, a tunic of sackcloth and a mantle of skins. He sold, I say, his patrimony and gave it to the poor, because otherwise no one would be suffered to be called a Pharisee.

Hosea had the Book of Moses, which he read with greatest earnestness. Now one day Haggai said to him: "Hosea, who has taken away from you all that you had?"
He answered: "The Book of Moses."

It happened that a disciple of a neighbouring prophet wanted to go to Jerusalem, but did not have a mantle. Wherefore, having heard of the charity of Hosea, he went to find him, and said to him: 'Brother, I would want to go to Jerusalem to perform a sacrifice to our God, but I have not a mantle, wherefore I know not what to do.'

When he heard this, Hosea said: 'Pardon me, brother, for I have committed a great sin against you: because God has given me a mantle in order that I might give it to you, and I had forgotten. Now therefore accept it, and pray to God for me.'

The man, believing this, accepted Hosea's mantle and departed. And when Hosea went to the house of Haggai, Haggai said: 'Who has taken away your mantle?'
Hosea replied: 'The Book of Moses.'
Haggai was much pleased at hearing this, because he perceived the goodness of Hosea.

It happened that a poor man was stripped by robbers and left naked. Whereupon Hosea, seeing him, stripped off his own tunic and gave it to him that was naked; himself being left with a little piece of goat-skin over the privy parts. Wherefore, as he came not to see Haggai, the good Haggai thought that Hosea was sick. So he went with two disciples to find him: and they found him wrapped in palm-leaves. Then said Haggai: 'Tell me now, why have you not been to visit me?'
Hosea answered: "The Book of Moses has taken away my tunic, and I feared to come thither without a tunic."
Whereupon Haggai gave him another tunic.

It happened that a young man, seeing Hosea read the Book of Moses, wept, and said: 'I also would learn to read if I had a book.'
Hearing which, Hosea gave him the book, saying: 'Brother, this book is yours; for God gave it me in order that I should give it to one who, weeping, should desire a book.'
The man believed him, and accepted the book.

There was a disciple of Haggai near to Hosea; and he, wishing to see if his own book was well written, went to visit Hosea, and said to him: "Brother, take your book and let us see if it is even as mine."
Hosea answered: "It has been taken away from me."
"Who has taken it from you?" said the disciple.
Hosea answered: "The Book of Moses,"

Hearing which, the other went to Haggai ;and said to him: "Hosea has gone mad, for he says that the Book of Moses has taken away from him the Book of Moses."
Haggai answered: "Would to God, O brother, that I were mad in like manner, and that all mad folk were like to Hosea!"

Now the Syrian robbers, having raided the land of Judea, seized the son of a poor widow, who dwelt hard by Mount Carmel, where the prophets and Pharisees abode. It chanced, accordingly, that Hosea having gone to cut wood met the woman, who was weeping. Thereupon he straightway began to weep; for whenever he saw any one laugh he laughed, and whenever he saw any one weep he wept. Hosea then asked the woman touching the reason of her weeping, and she told him all.

Then said Hosea: 'Come, sister, for God wills to give you your son."
And they went both of them to Hebron;, where Hosea;sold himself, and gave the money to the widow;, who, not knowing how he had gotten that money, accepted it, and redeemed her son. He who had bought Hosea took him to Jerusalem, where he had an abode, not knowing Hosea.

Haggai;, seeing that Hosea was not to be found, remained afflicted thereat. Whereupon the angel of God told him how he had been taken as a slave to Jerusalem.

The good Haggai, when he heard this, wept for the absence of Hosea as a mother weeps for the absence of her son. And having called two disciples he went to Jerusalem. And by the will of God, in the entrance of the city he met Hosea, who was laden with bread to carry it to the labourers in his master's vineyard.
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Having recognized him, Haggai said: "Son, how is it that you have forsaken your old father, who seeks you mourning?"
Hosea answered: "Father, I have been sold."
Then said Haggai in wrath: "Who is that bad fellow who has sold you?"
Hosea answered: "God forgive you, O my father; for he who has sold me is so good that if he were not in the world no one would become holy." '
‘Who, then, is he?" said Haggai;.
'Hosea answered: "O my father, it was the Book of Moses;."

Then the good Haggai remained as it were beside himself, and said: "Would to God, my son, that the Book of Moses; would sell me also with all my children, even as it has sold you!"

And Haggai went with Hosea to the house of his master, who when he saw Haggai said: "Blessed be our God, who has sent his prophet to my house"; and he ran to kiss his hand.

Then said Haggai: "Brother, kiss the hand of your slave whom you have bought, for he is better than I." And he narrated to him all that had passed; whereupon the master gave Hosea his freedom.’

The End.
Not Yet Verified.

Sources:
Gospel of Barnabas, CH-185-88

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