Sabine Baring-Gould

The death of Adam

20,000 BCE

Title: Legends of Old Testament Characters, from the Talmud and Other Sources
Author: Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A.
Publication Year: 1871
Publisher: Macmillan and Co., London and New York

This book, authored by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, presents a collection of legends about Old Testament characters. These stories are drawn from the Talmud and various other sources. Baring-Gould, known for his works on myths and religious beliefs, compiles these tales to explore the origins and developments surrounding notable figures from the Old Testament.

Discovery of Wheat-Bread

Adam was consoled for the loss of Abel by learning to make wheat-bread. Gabriel, an angel, brought Adam the remaining wheat grains from the forbidden tree, along with oxen and farming tools. Following Gabriel’s guidance, Adam plowed the land but encountered Abel’s body. Adam then learned to bake bread from the harvested wheat, whose grains had been significantly larger in earlier times.

Agricultural and Domestic Skills

Gabriel taught Adam and Eve agriculture and animal husbandry. Adam learned to sacrifice a lamb, shear wool, and skin sheep. Eve was instructed in spinning and weaving, creating garments for herself and Adam.

Progeny and Legacy

Adam and Eve raised a large family, instructing their descendants in the skills they learned. After Abel’s death and Cain’s punishment, Eve bore Seth, who became the progenitor of prophets.

The first pair brought up their grandsons and great grandsons, to the number of 40,000 according to some, and 70,000 according to others, and taught them all that they had learned of the angel.

Legends Of Old Testament Characters

Adam’s Death

At 930 years old, Adam encountered the Angel of Death, who appeared as a goat. Adam protested, claiming he was promised 1000 years, but the Angel reminded him of his gift of 70 years to David. Seth performed the burial rites for Adam, assisted by Gabriel.

David, often referred to as King David, is a significant figure in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. He is most famous for being the second king of Israel and Judah, succeeding King Saul. David is also celebrated for his musical and poetic contributions, with many Psalms attributed to him.

In the context of the narrative involving Adam, the story goes that Adam, the first human, was initially granted a lifespan of 1000 years. According to some Jewish traditions, he foresaw the greatness of David and decided to give 70 years of his own life to David, who was destined to have a shorter lifespan. Thus, Adam lived for 930 years, and David lived for 70 years, fulfilling the divine promise.

David’s legacy includes unifying the Israelite tribes, establishing Jerusalem as the capital, and his covenant with God, which promised that his descendants would rule Israel. He is also an ancestor of Jesus in Christian tradition, emphasizing his enduring significance across various religions.

After the death of Abel, and after Cain had been slain by the avenging angel, Eve bore a third son, named Seth, who became the father of the race of the prophets.

Legends Of Old Testament Characters

Burial Place Disputes

Traditions differ on Adam’s burial site, citing locations like India, Mount Kubeis, Jerusalem, Mecca, Ceylon, or the cave of Machpelah. A common belief is that Noah carried Adam’s bones in the Ark, and they were buried in Jerusalem, the supposed center of the earth.

Finally, when Adam had reached his nine hundred and thirtieth year, the Angel of Death appeared under the form of a goat, and ran between his legs.

Adam recoiled with horror, and exclaimed, “God has given me one thousand years; wherefore comest thou now?”

“What!” exclaimed the Angel of Death, “hast thou not given seventy years of thy life to the prophet David?”

Adam stoutly denied that he had done so. Then the Angel of Death drew the document of transfer from out of his beard, and presented it to Adam, who could no longer refuse to go.

His son Seth washed and buried him, after that the angel Gabriel, or, according to some accounts, Allah himself, had blessed him: Eve died a year later.

Legends Of Old Testament Characters

Adam’s Testament:
Adam’s will, as per some traditions, was dictated to his numerous offspring, overseen by Gabriel and millions of angels. Some apocryphal texts claim Adam authored psalms and delivered a final testament, sealed by Gabriel.

Eve’s Tomb:
Eve’s tomb is purportedly in Jedda, marked by distinct locations for her head, body, and feet, spanning a great length.

Gabriel Alvarez’s epitaph of Adam reflects on Adam’s creation, fall, penitence, and the redemption brought by Jesus Christ, the “Second Adam”. It emphasizes the transition from free-will leading to sin, to grace and salvation through repentance and divine mercy.

“Here lies, reduced to a pinch of dust, he who, from a pinch of dust, was formed to govern the earth, Adam,the son of None, the father of All, the stepfather of All and of himself.

Having never wailed as a child, he spent his life in weeping, the result of penitence.

Powerful, Wise, Immortal, Just,he sold for the price of disobedience, power, wisdom, justice,immortality.

Having abused the privilege of Free-will, which weapon he had received for the preservation of Knowledge and Grace, by one stroke he struck with death himself and all the human race.

The Omnipotent Judge who in His Justice took from him righteousness, by His Mercy restored it to him whole again: by whose goodness it has fallen out, that we may call that crime happy, which obtained such and so great A Redeemer.

Thenceforth Free-will, which he in happiness used to bring forth Misery, is used in Misery to bring forth Happiness.

For if we, partakers of his pernicious inheritance, partake also of his penitential example, and lend our ears to salutary counsels, Then we (who by our Free-will could lose ourselves) can be saved by the grace of the Redeemer, and the co-operation of our Free-will.

The First Adam Lived to Die;

The Second Adam Died to Live.

Go, and imitate the penitence of the First Adam;

Go, and celebrate the goodness of the Second Adam.”

Historia Ecclesiæ Antediluvianæ,” Madrid, 1713.
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