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53991683

Book of Abraham, Early 1842

A TRANSLATION
Of some ancient Records that have fallen into  our hands, from the Catecombs of Egypt,  purporting to be the writings of Abraham,  while he was in Egypt, called the Book of  Abraham, written by his own hand, upon  papyrus.
The Book of Abraham.
In the land of the Chaldeans, at the  residence of my father, I, Abraham, saw  that it was needful for me to obtain anoth er place of residence, and finding there  was greater happiness and peace and rest  for me, I sought for the blessings of the  fathers and the right whereunto I should  be ordained to administer the same; hav ing been myself a follower of righteous ness, desiring also to be one who posses sed great knowledge, and to be a greater  follower of righteousness, and to possess  a greater knowledge, and to be a father  of many nations, a prince of peace; and  desiring to receive instructions, and to  keep the commandments of God, I became  a rightful heir, a high priest, holding the  right belonging to the fathers, it was con ferred upon me from the fathers; it came  down from the fathers, from the begin ning of time, yea, even from the begin ning, or before the foundations of the  earth, to the present time, even the right  of the first born, on the first man, who is  Adam, or first father, through the fathers,  unto me.
2. I sought for mine appointment unto  the Priesthood according to the appoint ment of God unto the fathers, concerning  the seed. My fathers having turned from  their righteousness, and from the holy  commandments which the Lord their God  had given unto them, unto the worship ping of the Gods of the heathens, utterly  refused to hearken to my voice; for their  hearts were set to do evil, and were whol ly turned to the God of Elkenah, and the  God of Libnah, and the God of Mahmack rah, and the God of Korash, and the God  of Pharaoh, King of Egypt; therefore  they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of  the heathen in offering up their children  unto their dumb idols, and hearkened not  unto my voice but endeavored to take  away my life by the hand of the priest of  Elkenah; the priest of Elkenah was also  the priest of Pharaoh.
3. Now, at this time it was the custom of  the priest of Pharaoh, the King of Egypt  to offer up upon the altar which was built  in the land of Chaldea, for the offering  unto these strange Gods, both men, wo [m]en and children. And it came to pass  that the priest made an offering unto the  God of Pharaoh, and also unto the God of  Shagreel, even after the manner of the  Egyptians. Now the God of Shagreel  was the Sun. Even the thank-offering of  a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon  the altar, which stood by the hill called  Potiphar’s Hill, at the head of the plain of  Olishem. Now, this priest had offered  upon this altar three virgins at one time,  who were the daughters of Onitah, one of  the Royal descent, directly from the loins  of Ham. These virgins were offered up  because of their virtue; they would not  bow down to worship Gods of wood or of  stone, therefore they were killed upon this  altar, and it was done after the manner of  the Egyptians.
4. And it come to pass that the priests  laid violence upon me, that they might  slay me, also, as they did those virgins,  upon this altar; and that you might have  a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you  to the representation at the commence ment of this record. It was made after  the form of a bedstead, such as was had  among the Chaldeans, and it stood before  the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah,  Korash, & also a God like unto that of Pha raoh King of Egypt. That you may have  an understanding of these Gods, I have  given you the fashion of them in the fig ures, at the beginning, which manner of  the figures is called by the Chaldeans  Rahleenos, which signifies Hyeroglyph ics.
5. And as they lifted up their hands  upon me, that they might offer me up, and  take away my life, behold, I lifted up my  voice unto the Lord my God; and the  Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled  me with a vision of the Almighty, and the  angel of his presence stood by me, and im mediately unloosed my bands, and his  voice was unto me. Abram! Abram! be hold, my name is JEHOVAH, and I have  heard thee, and have come down to deli ver thee, and to take thee away from thy  fathers house, and from all thy kin-folks,  into a strange land, which thou knowest  not of, and this because they have turned  their hearts away from me, to worship  the God of Elkenah, and the God of Libnah,  & the God of Mahmackrah, & the God of  Korash, and the God of Pharaoh King of  Egypt; therefore I have come down to  visit them, and to destroy him who hath  lifted up his hand against thee, Abram,  my son, to take away thy life: Behold  I will lead thee by my hand, and I [p. 704]
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As discussed in the general introduction to the Book of Abraham manuscripts on this website, JS and his scribes Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Frederick G. Williams, and Warren Parrish spent considerable time in 1835 engaged in two separate yet related endeavors: a language-study effort that produced a number of Egyptian alphabet and grammar manuscripts; and the translation of the Book of Abraham, which yielded several Abraham manuscripts. However, none of their work related to Abraham appeared in print until 1842. At that time a portion, if not all, of the Abraham material available was published at Nauvoo, Illinois, in three installments of the Times and Seasons, two in March and one in May of that year as the Book of Abraham.
The Times and Seasons text featured here did not divide the material into chapters, but did include thirty-two numbered verses. In contrast, later publication of these Abraham texts, including those in use today, arrange the thirty-two verses of the Times and Seasons version into five chapters containing 136 shorter verses.
The first of the three printed installments, published on 1 March 1842, included the first thirteen verses (what is currently Abraham 1:1–2:18) of JS’s translation, plus facsimile 1. The second installment, published under date of 15 March but actually printed on 19 March (Woodruff, Journal, 19 Mar. 1842), included verses 14–32 (currently Abraham 2:19–5:21), plus facsimile 2. Neither of the first two installments featured hieratic characters in the left margin of the text, as did some earlier manuscripts. The third and final Times and Seasons installment of the Book of Abraham was published on 16 May and featured only facsimile 3.
A document (Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–A [Abraham 1:1–2:18]) produced in late 1841 or early 1842 in Willard Richards’s handwriting likely served as a printer’s manuscript for the first installment described above (verses 1–13 and facsimile 1; currently Abraham 1:1–2:18). A second document (Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–B [Abraham 3:18–26], also in Richards’s hand, probably served as a printer’s manuscript for the second installment (verses 14–23; currently Abraham 3:18–26). Manuscripts for the contents of both facsimile 3 and the last nine verses in the Times and Seasons version of the Book of Abraham (currently Abraham 4:3–5:21) are not extant.
Evidence from multiple sources suggests that JS may have produced other Abraham material that is no longer extant. However, JS did not subsequently publish any additional Abraham texts. (Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 5–6.)

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