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Book Of Exodus


ABBREVIATIONS: CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; CM: Cursor mundi; CT: Chau­cer, Canterbury Tales; DBTEL: A Dic­tionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, ed. Jeffrey; HS: Peter Comes­tor, Historia Scholastica, cited by book and chapter, followed by Patrologia Latina column in paren­theses; K: Kalén-Ohlander edition; MED: Middle English Dictionary; NOAB: New Oxford Annotated Bible; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; OFP: Old French Paraphrase, British Library, MS Egerton 2710, cited by folio and column; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Pro­verbial Phrases; York: York Plays, ed. Beadle. For other abbreviations, see Textual Notes.

1455 And so thei fayr faur hunderth yere. That four hundred years passed between the Isra­elites arrival in Egypt and Moses’ birth is not recorded at this point in the Bible, but has been transferred from Exodus 12:40. If we are to asso­ciate Joseph’s Pharaoh with the Hyksos period (1720–1550 BCE, see note to line 1409, above), then the oppression under the new king (line 1442) should be associated with the rise of the Nineteenth Dynasty under Seti I (1308–1290 BCE) and Rameses II (1290–1224 BCE); see NOAB, p. 70.

1461–64 The kyng was kend by clerkes / a chyld of them suld spryng . . . unto bale hym bryng. The Bible gives no rationalization for the Pharaoh’s decision to curb the population. That the order to kill any male Israelite children was the result of a proph­ecy that one of their number would rise up to defeat him links the Pharaoh with Herod in the Gospels, who is threatened by the idea of a child to come who might displace his authority. Compare the York Hosier’s play, where Pharaoh’s first counselor warns: “Lorde, we have herde oure fadres telle / Howe clerkis, that ful wele couthe rede, / Saide a man shulde wax tham emell / That suld fordo vs and owre dede” (11.63–66). This conjoining of Moses and Jesus is rather different from the usual Old Law/New Law juxtaposition so commonplace in medieval typology.

1470 Amryn and his wyfe, Jacabell. The names of Moses’ parents are not given in the Bible until Exodus 6:20. According to the genealogy of the Levites (Num­bers 26:57–62), Amram (“friend of Jehovah”) is the son of Kohath (“assem­bly”), son of Levi. Amram married Jochebed (“Jehovah is her glory”), who is also said to be a daughter of Levi (“adhesion”) and thus Am­ram’s aunt on his father’s side. Three children are known from the union: Aaron (“moun­tain of strength”), Moses (“drawn from the water”), and Miri­am (“their re­bel­lion”). The Paraphrase, Ohlander notes, is similar to OFP in introducing the names so early (“Old French Parallels,” p. 206).

1478 Tremouth. Pharaoh’s daughter is unnamed in the Bible. Her name goes back at least to Flavius Josephus — who calls her Thermuthis (Jewish Anti­quities 2.9.5) — though the Paraphrase-poet presumably gets the name from HS Exod. 5 (1143).

1487 Moyses. The poet alludes to the name deriving, as it does in Exodus 2:10, from the fact that he is drawn out of the water (thus corresponding to the Hebrew verb that might be behind his name, Mosheh). It has also been posi­ted that Moses derives from an Egyptian term “meaning ‘to beget a child’ and perhaps once joined with the name of an Egpytian deity (compare the name Thut-mose)” (NOAB, p. 71).

1495–96 Bot the barn wold not with them abyd, / ne towch ther papes for nokyns nede. That Moses fed on the milk of his Hebrew mother, rather than that of an Egyp­tian, is derived from Exodus 2:8–9; yet the Bible does not add the detail that this was so because the infant Moses refused to feed at the breasts of the Egyptian women. K (1:clxxxv) notes that this additional detail derives from HS Exod. 5 (1143). Ohlander, however, has observed that the detail is also found in OFP 11d (“Old French Parallels,” p. 207).

1501–02 systur . . . then with that lady was dwelland. Though unnamed in this account, the sister’s name is Miriam; see note to line 1470, above. Her entrance into the story here differs somewhat from the biblical account (Exodus 2:4), where she has been hiding nearby and watching Pharaoh’s daughter as she finds and opens the ark containing Moses. Instead, we here get a Miriam who has managed to find a place in the household of the Pharaoh and is thus in a posi­tion to offer up her mother’s services as a wet nurse for the child.

1529–36 This description of Moses, not found in the Bible, may owe much to both HS Exod. 5 (1143–44) and OFP 11c–12a (printed in Ohlander, “Old French Par­al­lels,” p. 207), either of which could be the boke mentioned in line 1532.

1537–96 Like the childhood of Jesus, the childhood of Moses is skipped over in the Bible, picking up his post-infancy life at the point at which his career begins: in this case, the murder of an Egyptian slavemaster when Moses was prob­ably in his fortieth year. This silence, the “white space” between Exo­dus 2:10 and 2:11, was subsequently filled in by Midrash writings, some of which were ulti­mately picked up by Christian commentators, as in the pre­sent case. The story of the infant Moses in Pharaoh’s court, here deriving probably from HS Exod. 5 (1143–44), ultimately comes from Exodus Rab­bah 1.31, which tells how Moses would play on Pharaoh’s lap and take the crown from his head in order to place it on his own. The Egyptian wisemen warned Pharaoh that this act was a sign that Moses would fulfill their pro­phecies that a Hebrew child would grow to defeat Pharaoh. They advised Pharaoh to kill the child. But Jethro — who was a priest and would later become Moses’ father-in-law (see Exodus 2:16 and 3:1) — was in court and suggested that Moses was only ac­ting as a foolish child will. To test Moses’ intent, they brought him two con­tainers, one filled with hot coals and the other with gold. Moses actually did start to reach for the gold, we are told, but the angel Gabriel turned his hand so that he picked up a hot coal in­stead. This he even placed in his mouth, burn­ing his tongue and forever giving him a speech impediment. This latter fact thus explained Moses’ claim to have “impediment and slow­ness of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). The story as it appears here in the Paraphrase di­verges from the tradition on several accounts: Pharaoh places the crown on Moses’ head, but the child puts it onto his feet instead; Moses is given no choice of gold or coals, just shown a container of coals; and neither Gabriel nor Jethro make an appear­ance.

1603–04 And sythyn when he myght wepyns weld, / he mustyrd manhed mony a tyde. The Para­phrase-poet makes of Moses a late medieval military man, perhaps destined to become a great knight.

1616 Madian. Midian (“strife”), named for the fourth son of Abraham by Ket­urah.

1618 Oreb hyll. Horeb (“mountain of the dried–up ground”) is a general name of the entire mountain range of which Sinai is a part. It is now known as Jebel Musa.

1619 Getro. Jethro (“his excellence”). Alternatively said to be a prince or priest of Midian, he is here said to be the local bishop. Num­bers 10:29 names him Hobab (“beloved”), the son of Reuel, indicating that Jethro was likely a titular name while Hobab was an informal one.

1630 Cephoram. Zipporah (“female bird”).

1632 Eliazar and Gersam. Gershom, whose name means “sojourner” and alludes to Moses being, as he says, a “stranger in a foreign land,” was Moses’ firstborn. While the Vulgate does relate at this time the birth of Eliezer, whose name means “my God is help,” this is not the case in all stemma of the text; it is related at this point in the Masoretic text and thus in many other translations of Exodus.

1723 Bot swylke fawt fell not in Jessen. The Paraphrase-poet, always sensitive to what we might call “historical” readings of the text, transplants the exception of Goshen — the place where Joseph had settled his family and thus a sub­stitute for the Israelites themselves — from 8:22–23, the fourth plague, to his first plague, thus illustrating that the Israelites were not affected by any of the plagues. It would not be right, after all, if the Israelites were pun­ished by God for the Pharaoh’s refusal to release them.

1733–34 K notes (1:cxci) a relationship to York 11.273–74: “Lorde, grete myses bothe morn and none / Bytis vs full bittirlye.” The precise nature of this particular plague depends largely on the translation of Exodus 8:16, which in the Vul­gate reads sciniphes. The AV translation is “lice,” while NEB reads “mag­gots.” Genesis and Exodus (line 2988) has “gnattes,” and Towneley Plays 73.286 has “mystis.” OFP 14c reads “pui(l)z” (K 5.61).

1743 Grett fleand loppes over all the land. This line has a parallel in Towneley 74.306: “grete loppys ouer all this land thay fly.”

1772 thei brast ther brayn. That the hail did not just “strike down” the Egyptians but actually burst their brains from their skulls is very much a romance con­ceit.

1801–04 This increase in the number of Israelites — from seventy to three hundred thousand — is not found in the Bible or HS Exod. 27 (1155–56). As Oh­lan­der observes, the source could be OFP 15b (“Old French Parallels,” p. 208). The detail is subsequently picked up by York 11.51–56.

1811–12 On nyghtys with flawme of fyre / in lyghtnes ware thei lede. It is interesting that one of the most remarkable miracles of the Exodus — the presence of God that led the Israelites into the desert, during the day as a pillar of cloud and during the night as a pillar of fire — is given very little notice in the Para­phrase. Indeed, the pillar of fire is here so quickly glossed that it seems the poet might be uncomfortable with the notion. His reduction of what is tra­di­tionally a very large pillar to a simple flawme could relegate the miracle to the realm of historical probability: the flame of torches or firepits rather than the actual presence of God. The pillar of cloud, which is ever-present in Exodus from this point forward, comes off even more poorly as it merits no mention anywhere in the Paraphrase.

1817 chares and mules and mekyll store. The Paraphrase-poet has apparently taken the fact of an army summoned by Pharaoh, an army said to include chariots and horses (Exodus 14:6), and has perceived that far more would be re­quired of such a substantial force — namely, mules to pull carts filled with all manner of supplies to feed, house, and clothe the army.

1818 the Greke Se. This would be, as I have glossed it, the Mediterranean, though such a route would make little sense in light of the path of the Exodus through known Egyptian geography. K (5:108) notes that OFP speaks only of “l’eve la mer,” “la sause,” and “l’element,” giving no indication of a Medi­ter­ranean location. HS Exod. 30 (1157) is similarly silent, following both the Vulgate and the Septuagint in giving the location as the Red Sea (mare Rub­rum). Technically speaking, the text perhaps ought to read “Sea of Reeds,” being not the Red Sea but a shallow body of water such as Lake Timsah, fur­ther north (NOAB, pp. 86–87). The Pearl-poet seems to utilize “Grece” as a token for any distant land (see, e.g., Pearl, line 231, or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, line 2023), and this fact, along with the his­torical associations between Egypt and the Mediterranean (and the Greeks themselves), might be behind the discrepancy here. It is also possible that the text originally read “the grete se” and any number of factors contri­buted to a misreading.

1855–56 Cantemus Domino Gloriose, / love we God and His power playne. Ohlander notes that this Latin phrase does not occur in either the Bible or OFP. It does, how­ever, appear in HS Exod. 31 (1158): “Moysesque Domino canticum exposuit hexametro carmine, Cantemus Domino, etc. Quod quia prius legitur cæteris Canticum dicitur canticorum” (“Old French Parallels,” p. 208).

1864–65 A forest that was fayr to gese. / Thore fand thei wellys fayr and clere. The Para­phrase conflates the bitter waters at Marah (Exodus 15:23–25) and the springs and trees of Elim (Exodus 15:17).

1871 Moyses with hys wand. In the Bible, Moses throws a tree (or, in some versions, a piece of wood) into the bitter waters to make them sweet. That it is only his staff (wand) that is used might come from either HS Exod. 32 (1158–59) or OFP 16b (Ohlander, “Old French Parallels, p. 208).

1889 Ther cloghyng was ever in lyke clere. The Bible notes the miraculous nature of the quail and manna, but it says nothing of the Israelites’ clothing being simi­larly renewed by God’s power. It is characteristic of the Paraphrase-poet to see past the “basic” workings of miracle stories to a more “realistic” need or effect: wandering in the desert for forty years would doubtless be rough on their garb, and the Israelites would have neither time nor material to fa­shion new cloth. Presumably, then, God would have provided regular re­place­ments for their worn-out clothes.

1897–1916 There are two biblical incidents involving the drawing of water from rock during the sojourn in the wilderness: one here in Exodus and one in Num­bers. On both occasions the people cry out for water and on both occasions Moses strikes the rock to draw it forth. Each place is then named Meribah, meaning “quarrel.” Unlike other seemingly twice-told tales that are ac­coun­ted only once in the Paraphrase, however, Meribah is actually told twice by the poet (here and at lines 2335–40). Ironically, this seems accurate to his­tory in­as­­much as we can treat these matters on historical principles: most cri­tics and exegetes agree that the two biblical stories, while parallel, repre­sent two dif­ferent events: one in Horeb (Exodus) and one in Kadesh (Num­bers). The fact that a water-producing rock was with the Israelites in both loca­­tions gave rise to the legend that the rock actually followed the Israelites through the desert, pro­viding sustenance. It is this tradition that Paul refers to in 1 Corin­thians 10:4, in which he says of the wandering Israelites: “they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.” But while the poet has rightly recorded both of the separate events, he still seems to treat them as one (or at least as interchangeable): he only presents the story in detail here, and this in a version in which he has taken the most inte­resting or integral por­tions of the various accounts and grafted them into a more or less seam­less narrative. So, for instance, Moses’ success at Meribah as told in Exo­dus — by which he manages to bring water to his parched people — is united with his failure at Meribah as told in Numbers — in which there is an impli­ca­tion that Moses has failed to interpret the water as being a sign from God. It is this im­plied failure that is made explicit in Deu­ter­onomy 32:50–52, where God de­nies Moses en­trance to the Promised Land because of the inci­dent at Meribah in Ka­desh. As elsewhere, the poet does not engage in typical Chris­tological readings of the Old Testament passage at hand: most Chris­tian exegetes, from the Glossa Ordinaria (PL 113:242) to the Biblia Pauperum (plate .f.), have followed Paul’s smitten-rock-as-Christ read­ing. The latter is es­pecially inter­esting in depicting the rock “not only with the Crucifixion but also with the creation of Eve from Adam’s left (sinistra) ribs, and with Christ’s being woun­ded by the spear of Longinus in the right (dex­tra) side, drawing thus on the First Adam/Second Adam typology as well as contrasting the old and new com­mand of Moses and Christ” (“Smitten Rock,” DBTEL, pp. 718–20).

1922 Amalec and other thre. In the Bible, Amalek (“dweller in a valley”) alone is men­tioned as attacking Israel at Rephidim. It is possible that the additional kings are the result of Judges 3:12–13, where the Amelekites join with the Am­mo­nites under the direction of King Eglon of Moab to defeat the Is­raelites.

1926 Josue. Joshua (“Jehovah is his help”) is the son of Nun, son of Ephraim.

1941–44 Getro of Madian . . . with wyf and chylder also. Jethro’s biblical role in cor­recting Moses and helping to organize the administration of the people (18:1–27) is here completely subsumed to the single detail (18:5) that he brought Moses’ wife, Zipporah, and his two children, Gershom and Eliezer, to join with Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. Presumably matters of legal administration, while a concern to Jethro, were of little interest to the romance narrative the poet is attempting to coalesce.

1951 Then Commawndmentes, os clerkes says. The Paraphrase-poet does not list the Ten Commandments, though they are listed in all of his assumed source texts: the Bible, HS Exod. 40 (1163–66), and OFP 16b (Ohlander, “Old French Parallels,” p. 208).

1979–80 The berdes of them wer gylt / like unto the gold wyre. This detail is not found in either the Bible or OFP 16d, but probably it has its source in HS Exod. 73 (1189–90) (Ohlander, “Old French Parallels,” p. 209). K 1:clxxxvi notes that another parallel can be found in CM, lines 6615–26.

1981 Aron. In the Bible it is Aaron who actually constructs the golden calf. Here, however, Aaron is only given the subsequent role of helping to mete justice upon the idolaters. Aaron’s role as idol-builder was the subject of great dis­cus­sion in exegetical traditions — higher criticism points to the passage as evi­dence of an attempt on the part of the Levite priests to put a band of Aaronic priests “in their place,” as it were — and it is no surprise to find it missing in a paraphrase interested in a straightforward and stirring nar­rative.

1987 twenty-thre milia sloyne. The number of other Israelites slain by the Levites (Exodus 32:38) differs according to the manuscript tradition. The Para­phrase here follows both the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate in reporting the number as twenty-three thousand. The Masoretic text and those trans­lations based upon it (e.g., NRSV) report only three thousand. It is some­what interesting to note that this seemingly insignificant detail is among the bits of evidence that the “Bible” of many early Christian com­munities was the Septu­agint: in 1 Corinthians 10:8 Paul refers to the “three and twenty thousand” who were killed as idolaters at Sinai.

2005–10 byschop . . . prestes and dekyns . . . duke . . . prince. In describing the formation of the priesthood and the aristocratic structure of the Israelites, the poet resorts to late medieval language, attempting to paste the familiar lan­guage of the feudal and ecclesiastical systems onto the unfamiliar notions of the text.

2015–16 So endes the secund boke, / that of Moyses wyll mene. One expects, based on the poem’s presentation thus far, that following the account of the second book of Moses, Exodus, we will receive an account of the third book, Leviticus. And, indeed, the headings of the manuscript would indicate that this is pre­cisely what we get, as the scribe records headings for Leviticus over the next few folios. On the contrary, the book of Leviticus is silently skipped over by the Paraphrase-poet, who has little use for the long sequences of priestly in­struc­tions concerning both the sacrifices at a Temple that was destroyed in 70 CE and the specific ethical obligations of what he would have considered the Old Law — replaced by the New Law of Christ a few decades before the Temple was destroyed. For more on the destruction of the Temple and the literary and theological history that developed in its wake, see Siege of Jeru­salem, ed. Livingston, pp. 2–7 and 30–36.


ABBREVIATIONS: L: MS Longleat 257; H: Heuser edition (partial); K: Kalén-Ohlander edition; O: Ohlander’s corrigenda to K; P: Peck edition (partial); S: MS Selden Supra 52 (base text for this edition).

1441 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 14r): Exodus.
1441, 43 Lines indented to leave space for an initial capital; first letter of line 1441 writ­ten in the middle of the space.

1448 gret. So K. S: gre.

1451 them. So S, O. K: the.

1454 forne. S: fore forne.

1455 yere. S: f 3ere.

1468 bot. So K. S omits.

1470 Amryn. So K. S: Maryn.

1473 The text of L begins here.

1474 thei. S: l þei.
durst. S: a durst.

1475 hym. So L, K. S: hyd.

1476 Marginalia in S (at right of fol. 14r): Inuencio Moysen.

1477 then. So L, K. S omits.

1487 name. So L, K. S: namyd.

1496 papes. So L, K. S: pape.

1501 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 14v): no heading.

1504 socur. So L, K. S: socurd.

1507 dyd. So L, K. S: dyr.

1520 ben. So S, L. K: been.
ylk dele. S: inserted below the line.

1524 cummand. So O. S, K: cunnand. L: connand.

1534 oft sythe. So L, K. S: of syght.

1538 with. So L, K. S omits.

1543 of. So K. S omits.

1561 thies. S: e inserted above the line.

1562 said. So L, K. S: fand.

1563 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 15r): Exodus.

1566 Therfor. S: that þerfor.
with wordes fone. S: inserted above canceled that same is hee.

1568 ne bettur. So S. L, K emends to no bettur.

1576 ys. So L, K. S omits.

1577 seyn. S: inserted above the line.

1578 bryn. So S, O. L, K: bryng.

1579 with. So L, K. S omits.

1580 soyn them hentt. So K. S: them hee hent. L: soone theym hent.

1609 meud. So K. L: meved. S: moud.

1621 keped. So L, K. S omits.

1622 than cumonly. So L, K. S: þam cumly.

1623 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 15v): no heading.

1628 he. So L, K. S omits.

1636 yt. So L, K. S omits.

1644 bot. So L, K. S: bo.

1646 swylk. So L, K. S: swyll.

1649 I am. S: inserted above the line.

1678 their. So L, K. S: þoir.

1681 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 16r): Pharo. Leviticus.

1702 say. So L, K. S omits.

1708 ase. S: al ase.

1710 sone. So L, K. S omits.

1715 bondom. So O. S, K: bondon. L: bondage.

1717, 19 Lines indented to leave space for an initial capital; first letter of line 1717 written in the middle of the space.

1718 so forto make theym turne theire moode. So L, K. S: wele wers then euer þei were blode.

1720 blude. S: inserted above the line.

1721 noght. So L, K. S omits.

1723 fawt. So K. L: faute. S: faw.

1726 them. So L, K. S omits.

1733 syne. So L, K. S: soyne.

1737 byd ther byte. So L, K. S: byte þerof.

1741 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 16v): no heading.

1753 come. So L, K. S: con, inserted above the line.
fast. So L, K. S: fall.

1754 well wers. So K. L: mych wars. S: was well wers.

1765 over. S: inserted above canceled or.

1766 sone. So L, K. S omits.
blayne. So L, K. S: blake rayn.

1770 and rayn. So L, K. S omits.

1771 With. So L, K. S: And with.
stryve. So L, K. S: stroye.

1775–76 So L, K. S omits lines.

1780 tre. S: inserted above the line.

1781 then. So L, K. S omits.

1790 wold. So L, K. S: wer told.

1792 thei herd ther talys bee told. So L, K. S: þer talys bee.

1794 old. S: inserted above the line.

1795 tyme. So S, L. K: tyms.

1801 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 17r): leviticus.

1806 na. So L, K. S: a.

1818 gart. S: gt gart.

1830 lyse. So L, K. S: lastes.

1832 have. So L, K. S omits.

1842 God. S: to god.
thor. S: inserted above the line.

1855 Marginalia in S (at right of fol. 17r): Cantemus.

1857 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 17v): no heading.

1874 that for them. So L, K. S: þerfor þei.

1875 sojourned. So L, K. S: suffern.

1879 theim. So L, K. S: þei.

1891 the. So L, K. S: þei.

1892 lyved. So L, K. S: lyve.

1897 fand thei non. So L, K. S: non þei fand, with non inserted above the line.

1915 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 18r): leuiticus and Amalett.
sall. So L, K. S: satt.

1916 I. So L, K. S omits.

1922 Amalec. So L, K. S: Amalet.

1938 gyfyn. So L, O. S, K: 3fyn.

1939 wyse. So L, K. S: wyses.

1956 S: lines 1951–52 after this line repeated, then canceled.

1970 to. So L, K. S: at.

1975 On. So L, K. S: And.

1977 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 18v): no heading.

1984 was. S: wax was.

1985 with. So L, K. S omits.

1989 them fald. So L, K. S: þen fall.

1990 them. So L, K. S omits.

1992 in. So L, K. S: on.

1993 An. So L, K. S: And.

2002 of: S: and of.

Here unfolds Exodus





When Joseph and hys brethyr ylkon
   wer ded, then com ther a new kyng.
Of Joseph wyst he ryght none,
   ne noyght wold knaw of his comyng.
Bot he levyd, and thai myght all one,
   ther kynred suld overcome all thyng.
Therfor he hath the consell tone
   in gret thraldom them forto bryng.
He gart them beyre and draw
   and do both dyke and delve,
So forto hald them law
   and lose ther lyneg twelfe.

Now wer thei sett in sorow sere;
   thei fand never of defawt beforne.
And so thei fayr faur hunderth yere
   with grett myschefe mydday and morne.
Bot unto God ay war thei dere,
   all that of that blud was borne:
Hee multiplyed in all maner
   themselfe, ther catell and ther corne.
The kyng was kend by clerkes
   a chyld of them suld spryng
To wast hym and his werkes
   and unto bale hym bryng.

each one; (t-note)
came there (in Egypt)
knew he nothing at all

believed, if they should continue
their kindred (the Israelites)
counsel taken
caused; bear
make both ditch and digging
hold them in servitude (low); (t-note)

many sorrows
experienced never such loss; (t-note)
endured; (see note); (t-note)

always were they dear

told; (see note)






To lett this harme then ordand hee
   all man kynd in ther byrth to qwell
That of the Israel borne suld be,
   bot all woman kynd to dwell.
A man wonnyd in that same cyté,
   heght Amryn and his wyfe, Jacabell.
Scho bare a sun semly to see,
   by qwom seyr farlys aftur fell.
Thre monethes thei hym hyd,
   and lengur thei durst not abyd
Bott in a case hym dyd
   and layd hym by the seesyd.

prevent this harm; ordered
male children at; kill
let live; (t-note)
named Amram; Jochebed; (see note); (t-note)
She bore a handsome son
whom many wonders
Three months; (t-note)
dare not wait; (t-note)
container (i.e., an ark) placed him; (t-note)
seaside (i.e., riverside); (t-note)











The kyng had then a doyghtur dere,
   Tremouth scho heght, os I herd say.
With hyr maydyns fayr in fere
   in that place wentt scho to play.
Thei saw the case in watur clere
   in poynt to falle and flett away.
At hyr byddyng thei broyght yt nere;
   a full fayr chyld therin fand thei.
For hyr sun scho yt chese
   and was full mery in mode
And gart name yt Moyses
   als funleng of the flud.

The lady trowd full well that tyd
   that yt was on of Ebreus lede,
And at thei sent yt so to hyd
   and durst no nother do for dred.
Scho sent to lades on ylka syd
   the chyld to norysch and furth fede.
Bot the barn wold not with them abyd,
   ne towch ther papes for nokyns nede.
Then had the lady kare;
   that syght full sore hyr rewys.
Scho bad them seke yt ay whare
   a noryse of Ebreus.

This chyldes systur, a damsell,
   then with that lady was dwelland.
Scho herd how all this ferly befell,
   and socur sone therfor scho fand.
Scho mad hyr moder Jacabell
   that chyld to warysch and warrand.
The lady dyd hym with hyr dwell
   and payd hyr hyre in hyr hand.
The chyld with all his mayn
   fell to the pappe full nere.
Then was that lady fayn;
   so wer all foure in fere.

For he to sowke so had begun,
   The lady bad no bettur yele.
The chyld was fayn when he had fown
   the moder pappe fully to fele.
The systur wyst how thei had wonn
   hyr brothyr lyfe, that lykyd hyr well.
Bot the moder was most fayn of hyr sun,
   that scho went had ben drownd ylk dele.
Scho fosterd hym full fayre
   tyll he cowd styr and stand.
To court then can scho care,
   als the lady had hyr cummand.

named Thermuthis; (see note)

about to slip (decline) and float

chose him for her son
did; Moses; (see note); (t-note)
foundling of the flood (river)

knew quite well at that time
one of the Hebrews’ people
And that they had sent it thus to hide [it]
could do nothing else for dread
two ladies on each side

(see note)
breasts for any reason; (t-note)

seek out everywhere

(Miriam); (see note); (t-note)

relief soon; (t-note)

save and protect
her hire (payment)
breast at once
that lady (his mother) joyful
all four [family members] together

glad; found
knew; won
her brother’s; pleased

she thought; drowned entirely; (t-note)

until he could walk

as; her commanded; (t-note)





For all ther consell well scho knew;
   unto the lady scho hym toke.
And Tremowth toke hym for hyr trew
   and for hyr sun hym never forsuke.
He was so fayr of hyd and hew:
   all men had lyst on hym to loke.
Befor his tyme was never Jew
   so fayr to syght, so says the boke.
And yf men myght hym see,
   that were sory oft sythe,
Trugh blyse of his bewty
   thei suld be glade and blythe.

true [child]

skin and complexion; (see note)

chronically depressed; (t-note)
Through delight in














So yt befell apon a day:
   the kyng and the lordes that with hym wore
Sat in the palys them to play,
   and cunnand clerkes was with them thore.
A damsell in rych aray
   broght the chyld them furth before.
And of that fayr full fayn war thei,
   for all men lufyd hym, lese and more.
The kyng can on hym loke
   and was ryght glad forthi.
In hand sone he hym toke
   and kyssyd hym curtasly.

Betwyx hys schankes he sett hym ryght
   and lappyd hym to hym for grett lufe.
And for he was so worthy a wyght,
   hys pertenes he toght forto prove.
His crown of gold, full fayr and bryght,
   that barne hed sett he above.
And sone was schewyd in ther syght
   a wonder case forto controve:
That chyld full lyghtly lete,
   the crown kast he downe,
And fylyd yt with his fete
   forto breke yt full bowne.

So qwen thies clerkes this syght can see,
   unto the kyng thei said full sone,
“Syr, wott thou not we wernyd thee
   with on Ebrew to be undowne?
Se this sygne: that same is hee!
   Therfor be wyse with wordes fone.
Hys bane belyv bot yf thou be,
   thynke thor to abyd ne bettur bone.
The case sen thou knavs,
   rewle thee by ryghwyse rede.”
The kyng sees by ther sawys
   that barne behovys to be ded.

Then a wys man of ther law
   sayd the chyld suld not be schent:
“This dede that he hath done this day,
   yt ys not doyn be yll entent;
That sall be seyn sone on asay.”
   Hott colys he gart bryn in present
And proferd the chyld with forto play.
   And in his mowth he soyn them hentt.
He kyd well he was yong,
   and no man wold hym marre;
The coylys brynt so his tong
   that he spake ever the warre.

This mater sone was movyd and ment
   in chamber emang this madyns all.
Tremuth toke therto full gud tent,
   and fast scho hyed into the hall.
The chyld in ermys sone hath scho hent
   for no defawt to hym suld fall.
Loe, how sone God hath socur sent;
   that He wyll save, be savyd thei sall.
To chamber scho hym bare;
   then was he owt of drede.
All that the clerkes sayd ayre
   was aftur done in dede.

(see note)
(i.e., Pharaoh); were; (t-note)
palace to enjoy themselves

fair child very glad; (t-note)



gathered him to himself
a young man
cleverness he thought

he set above that child’s head

event; contrive
very frivolously acted

defiled; feet

when these [gathered] wise men; (t-note)
don’t you know we warned; (t-note)
a Hebrew [you would] be undone
See this sign
few; (t-note)
Unless you quickly become his killer
no better reward; (t-note)
circumstances since you know
rule yourself; proper advice
child ought

seen at once through trial; (t-note)
coals; bring in(t-note)
offered [them to]; (t-note)
soon placed them; (t-note)
showed; young
would [therefore] hurt him


told and known

very careful attention
[her] arms
See, how quickly; succor
whom He would save, they shall be saved






Scho was full fayn to be his belde,
   and in hyr boure scho cane hym hyde,
Tyll he was waxin well of eld.
   Was none so semly in no syde;
All folke had hele that hym beheld,
   so was he fayr of hew and hyde.
And sythyn when he myght wepyns weld,
   he mustyrd manhed mony a tyde.
And on a day yt betyd
   he hard and was nerhand
How on of Egypt chyd
   with a chyld of his land.

Then Moyses meud hym them omell
   both for his kyn and his cuntré.
The man of Egypt can he qwell
   and hyde hym that none suld see.
Full soyne the kyng therof herd tell
   and demed that Moyses ded suld be.
And ther he durst no langer dwell,
   bot fast to Madian hastyd hee,
A cyté sett before
   under Oreb hyll to be.
Getro was byschope thore
   and goverynd grett degré.

bower she did hide him
had grown well in age
seemly; place
skin and complexion
then; weapons wield; (see note)
showed courage many times
heard; nearby
one of Egypt (an Egyptian) quarreled
man; (i.e., a Hebrew)

moved himself among them; (t-note)

did he kill

[Yet] very quickly
should be killed
there [in Egypt] he (Moses) dared
Midian; (see note)

Horeb; (see note)
Jethro; (see note)

[MOSES IN MIDIAN (2:16–22)]



Hys doyghtyrs keped his fee in feld,
   os custom was than cumonly.
The wemen myght no watur weld
   for hyrdmen that ware moyr myghty.
Then Moyses stud and them beheld
   and helpyd the wemen with maystry.
Thei told ther fader under teld,
   and he bad bryng hym home in hye.
Sythyn Getro gafe hym to
   hys doghtur, heght Cephoram.
Scho bare hym chylder two:
   Eliazar and Gersam.

possessions; (t-note)
as was then common custom; (t-note)
women; get [for their flock]; (t-note)
[because of] herders; more strong
stood up and saw them
in a tent
haste; (t-note)
Zipporah; (see note)
bore him two children
Eliezer; Gershom; (see note)














With hym laft Moyses, for his lay,
   to be hys hyrd, yt is not to hyd,
Als his doghturs wer wontt all way,
   for wrschyp was yt cald that tyde.
With his schepe wentt he on a day
   under the monte of Synay syde.
Ther fand he farlys hym to flay;
   abayst he was ther forto abyde.
A buske he saw up stand
   with floures and leves grene,
And that buske was byrnand,
   bot sulpyng was none sene.

Of mervyll myght no man hym blame;
   swylk ferlis ner before hym fell.
God carpyd to hym and cald by name
   within a buske wher He can dwell.
“Moyses, I am God the same
   of Abraham, Ysac, and Israel;
For the chylder that suffers schame,
   all myn entent I sall thee tell.
I wyll mustyr My myght
   and owt of bale them bryng,
Als I before hath heyght
   to them and there ofspryng.

“My messynger I wyll make thee
   to Pharo of Egypt kyng:
To byd hym lett My folke go free
   owt of his land at ther lykyng,
To make ther sacrafyce to Me
   In wyldernese of werldly thyng.
Thy brothyr Aron sall with thee be
   and beyr wytnese to old and yyng
How thou spekkes with Me here.
   And yf thei trow thee noght,
Sygnes, sore and sere,
   sall I send soyne unsoght.”

Then sayd Moyses, “Lord, understand
   this; I wold sum other wentt.
Thei lufe me noyght in Egypt land;
   unto my talys thei wyll not tent.”
He bad hym then cast down his wand,
   and sone yt semyd os a serpent.
And mesyll-lyke yt made his hand
   to apeyre in the kynges present.
“Yf thei aske thee of whom
   thou had their segnes and whore,
Say, ‘I am that am’;
   that is My name evermoyre.”

Moyses says, “It sall be done
   in this case, ose Thou hath commawnd.”
He toke his leve at Getron
   and held the way to Egypt land.
Als God hym heyght, his brothir Aron
   evyn in the way befor hym he fand.
Of his fader and his kyn ylkon
   he told to hym full gud tythand,
And how all his enmys
   wer dede and done away.
And he told on what wyse
   God sent hym for say.

[Jethro] left Moses alone, due to his loyalty
were previously accustomed to do
it was considered an honor at that time; (t-note)

side of Mt. Sinai
marvels; terrify
consumption; (t-note)

such wonders; (t-note)
spoke; called [him] by name

children who suffer shame (i.e., the Israelites)


command him [to]

worldly goods
bear witness
Signs, painful and abundant
at once, whether desired or not

would [prefer that] some

words they will not listen
He (God) told him (Moses); staff
as [if it was] a serpent

where; (t-note)


from Jethro


all of his kin




His fader and all hys frendes wer fayn
   of his cummyng to that cuntré.
He sayd he suld them bryng from payn
   unto a place of grett plenté.
And to fulfyll the purpase playn
   to Pharo went Aron and hee,
And schewyd to hym the segnes certayn
   wylke God bad thei suld lett hym see.
“For the schylder of Israel,”
   thei say, “God sentt us hase.”
Bot for oght thei cowd tell,
   he sayd thei suld not pase.


children of Israel





Moyses then cast down his wand,
   and soyne it semyd os a serpent.
He toke the tayle up in his hand,
   and ase a wand agayn yt went.
As mesyll furth his fyngurs stand,
   and hole agayn sone he them hentt.
The kyng sayd he hade clerkes connand
   cowd do the same by experiment.
He sett ther segnes at noyght,
   and sayd ther folke therfore
Suld be in bondom broyght
   wele wers then ever thei were.

at once

As a leper’s
whole; made; (t-note)
cunning wise men [who]
through their own knowledge
[the worth of] their signs as nothing

bondage; (t-note)
much worse

[THE TEN PLAGUES (7:14–12:32)]















God sent unto them venjance ten
   so forto make theym turne theire moode.
All the waters of Egypt then
   in feld and towne were turnd into blude
So that it myght noght helpe to men,
   ne unto bestes, ne fowles fode.
Bot swylke fawt fell not in Jessen,
   wher thei wonyd that to God wer gud.
The secund soyne can fall
   to greve them als God wyld:
Both feld, hows, and hall
   with taydes and froskes wer fyllyd.

All was venomd with the vermyne
   that suld oght reche ther releve.
Bot Pharo therfor wold not fyne,
   bot Goddes folke more then can he greve.
Then the thryd God send them syne:
   grett myse that made them mor myschefe.
Thei stroyd and corumpyd both corn and wyne.
   No man myght for ther malice meve.
Nothyng myght byd ther byte
   yf thei safe aftur suld be.
Bot Pharo wold not yett
   therfor lett this folke go free.

He sayd he suld them bynd in band;
   God send the faurt venjance forthye:
Grett fleand loppes over all the land
   batte men and bestes full bytturly.
Wherso thei fell on fott or hand,
   full hedos herm had thei in hye.
Bott Goddes folke non swylke fawtes fand;
   thei wonnyd in well, as was worthy.
Kyng Pharo was frowerd
   and ever of wekyd wyll.
His hert was mad so herd:
   Goddes folke ay haldes he styll.

Therfor the fyft come aftur fast,
   that well wers then any other was.
Moran was over ther catell kast,
   on schepe, swyn, oxe, and asse
So that in lyfe ther myght none last.
   the kyng therof most herme has,
Bot when this perell was overpast,
   he wold not lett the pepyll pase.
Therfor the sext was sene:
   when Moyses movyd his wand,
A powder yll and unclene
   was cast over all the land.

That powder blew over all bylyve;
   wherso yt blew, sone wex a blayne.
Yt mad like messels man and wyfe
   that ware not to Goddes bedyng bayn.
Both nyght and day swylke dust can dryve.
   Than was the sevynt of frost and rayn
With halestons that dyd them stryve;
   wherso thei bett, thei brast ther brayn.
Swylk thonour and lefynyng
   in all that land was wroght
That herbes and all maner of thyng
   was waist and broght to noght.

The aght was yll wormes fleand;
   thei coverd over all that cuntré.
Agayns the storme myght no thyng stand:
   thei left no fruttes, ne levys on tre.
The neynt then fell neyr at hand:
   so marke that none myght other see;
No lyght was levyd in all that land,
   and that enduryd by days thre.
The tent was sodan ded
   of all folke, fo and frend.
Then toke the kyng to red
   to lett the pepyll wend.

ten vengeances (plagues); (t-note)
change their minds; (t-note)

blood; (t-note)
beasts, nor bird’s food
such troubles did not occur in Goshen; (see note); (t-note)
lived who; loyal
the second [plague] soon
as God desired; (t-note)

toads and frogs

Everyone was poisoned; vermin
bring about

the third [plague]; quickly; (see note); (t-note)
many midges
destroyed and corrupted
endure their bites; (t-note)
and manage to be whole afterwards

bind them in bondage; (t-note)
the fourth vengeance (plague) therefore
flying fleas; (see note)
[that] bit

hideous harms; immediately

dwelled in safety

ever he holds [captive]

the fifth [plague]; (t-note)

(i.e., they would all die)
peril was finished
pass [from the land]
the sixth [plague] was seen


at once; (t-note)
grew a boil; (t-note)
bidding obedient

the seventh [plague]; (t-note)
hailstones; (t-note)
burst their brains; (see note)
thunder and lightning

plants; (t-note)
laid waste; nothing

The eighth [plague] was ill worms flying (locusts)

storm [of locusts]
fruits, nor leaves on the trees; (t-note)
The ninth [plague]; (t-note)
such darkness

The tenth [plague]; sudden death

people [of Israel] go

[THE EXODUS BEGINS (12:33–13:22)]






The kyng gafe leve unto Moysen
   and Aron to wend os thei wold.
On mold wer non more meri men
   fro tym thei herd ther talys bee told.
Thei hyghed them fast unto Jessen,
   wher the Jewes wonnyd both ying and old,
And sett them certan tyme and when
   to wend, and bad thei suld be bold
To borow and with them beyre
   all guds that thei myght gette.
And so ordand thei here
   full smartly small and grette.

Sexti and ten in yowth and eld
   wer told when thei enturd that land.
Now wer thei that myght wepyn weld
   to reckynd thre hunderth thowssand,
Owttakyn wemen and hyrdes in feld
   and chylder that in na stoure myght stand.
Thei prayd all God to be ther beld,
   and furth thei went, as was ordand.
On days at ther desyre
   with all fudes wer thei fede;
On nyghtys with flawme of fyre
   in lyghtnes ware thei lede.

On earth
these sentences pronounced; (t-note)
dwelt; (t-note)

obtain; bear


(i.e., seventy); (see note); (t-note)
numbered; entered
wield weapons

Not counting; shepherds
struggle; (t-note)
During the day

flame (pillar); (see note)









When Pharo wyst that thei wendyd ware,
   Moyses and Aron and ilka Jew,
He commawndyd all men, both lesse and mare,
   aftur that pepyll forto persew
With chares and mules and mekyll store.
   to the Greke Se he gart remew.
Full well he hopyd to have them thore,
   for kyndly course no ferre he knew.
He sayd, “Forsoth, we sall
   bynd them full soyre in bandes.”
Bot God that goverans all,
   He savys ay his servandes.

When thei herd, yt is not to hyd,
   the kyng was command on swylke a wyse,
Thei saw the see on that on syde
   and on that other all ther enmys,
For ferd full fast then can thei chyde
   and sayd, “Oure lyvys not lang lyse;
Bettur had us ben forto byde
   and have bene savyd in the kyng servyce.”
Thei wend Moyses had wyst
   and tylyd them furth with trayne.
Hee sayd, “Be ye of gud trest;
   God sall us save certayn.”

To God he bad them crye and call,
   and to the see wyghtly he wentt.
Hys wand he lete in the watur fall
   and prayd to God with gud entent.
The watur stud upe ose a walle:
   swylke grace God to them thor sentt.
Thurghtowt the see so wentt thei all
   that nowdyr chyld ne wyf wer schent.
Pharo con aftur fownd
   and trowd well them to have tane.
He and his meneye wer drownyd;
   on lyfe ther lafte not one.

knew that they had gone
every Jew

chariots; many supplies; (see note)
Greek Sea (Mediterranean) he moved away; (see note); (t-note)

no further natural road

securely (cruelly)


[that] the Pharaoh was coming
sea on that one side

fear; complain
remain; (t-note)
to have been kept; Pharaoh’s service; (t-note)
believed; known
drawn; duplicity


there; (t-note)

did pursue
thought; taken

[SONG OF MOSES (15:1–19)]



When Moyses and all hys meneye
   stud on land and lokyd agayn
And saw how thei ware past the see,
   and all ther enmys sleghly slayn,
To call on God then commawnd hee,
   and this songe sayd he certayn:
Cantemus Domino Gloriose,
   love we God and His power playne,
That savys us on this wyse
   owt of all wo to wende,
And hath stroyd our enmys
   that soght us forto schend.”

cunningly slain

Let us sing to glorious God; (see note); (t-note)

in this way; (t-note)





Moyses thus and hys folke in fere
   mad joy to God, both moyre and lesse.
So wentt thei furth and neghed nere
   A forest that was fayr to gese.
Thore fand thei wellys fayr and clere,
   with watur semand fayr and fresche.
Bot to asay on sydes sere,
   yt was all blend with bytturnese.
That gart them be grochand
   and murmerand in ther mode.
Then Moyses with hys wand
   thrugh Goddes grace made yt gude.

came near
look upon; (see note)
that seemed
to the taste in all ways
This caused them to begin grumbling
murmuring in their spirits
(see note)







Thus lovyd thei God of all His grace
   that for them wroght swylke werkes grett.
Thei sojourned thore a certayn space
   tyll thei were rest and well refette.
Sythyn past thei unto another place,
   a forest of Syne, was fere to gette.
And thore theim fell a febyll case:
   defawtt of fude, both drynke and mette.
Bot God herd Moyses stevyn,
   and Aron helpe he wold.
He send them foyde fro Hevyn,
   flour that “manna” was cald.

Thore fell before them foulys sere,
   aftur ther lyst and lykyng was.
And so thei were fede faurty yere,
   ay qwyls thei wonnyd in wyldernese;
Ther cloghyng was ever in lyke clere,
   and ever ther fude was fayr and fresche.
So wer the folke fede fayre in fere;
   ther bestes lyved with grouand gresse.
Then past thei furth fro Syn,
   a forest fayr and wyde,
To the forest of Raphadyn,
   and thore thei buskyd to abyde.


Sin, [which] was far to cross
befell; (t-note)
[a] lack of food


many birds
pleasure; delight

all the while they lived
clothing; (see note)
their beasts lived on growing grasses; (t-note)

prepared to sojourn






Watur befor them fand thei non
   in ryver, ne in dyke to stande.
Therfor thei mournyd and mad grett mone.
   To Moyses ware thei all grochand.
God spake to Moyses and Aron
   and bad that he suld with his wand
Before the folke stryke on the ston,
   and watur suld he have at hande.
Moyses sayd, “Men, take tent
   to me, both most and lest.”
He stroke, and watur went
   owt both to man and beste.

For Moyses sayd, “To me take hede,”
   and mad no mynd of Goddes myght,
God spake unto hym ther gud sped
   and reckynd to hym this reson ryght:
“For that thou demyd not of this dede
   that yt be Me was done and dyght,
My folke, I say, thou sall not lede
   into the land that I them heght.”
Then word of them sprang
   in cytys on ylka syde.
Thai say, “Yf thei last lang,
   our remys thei sall overryde.”

(see note); (t-note)

he (Moses) should

pay attention

struck [the rock]


there at once

Because of the fact that
through Me; accomplished
news of them (Israel)
cities on each side (i.e., in the area)

realms they shall override






Faure kynges hath horssus and harnes hent,
   Amalec and other thre.
Thei say, “This Ebrews sall be schentt,
   bot yf thei sped them fast to flee.”
Bot Moyses sone hys men hath sentt
   and made ther cheftan Josue.
He prayd at home with gud entent
   so that the vyctory hade hee.
Whyls Moyses held hys hende
   up unto Hevyn on hyghte,
Ther myght non enmys lend
   agaynys hys folke to fyght.

Josue overcom all thos enmyse,
   and full grett welth he wan therby
Of catell and of cloghes of price,
   and home agayn fast can thei hye.
Moyses gart make grett sacrafyce,
   for God had gyfyn them the victory,
And ordand pristys and princis wyse
   forto kepe furth ther cumpany.
Getro of Madian,
   that Moyses founded fro,
He soght unto hym then
   with wyf and chylder also.

Four; have horses; harnesses taken
Amalek; (see note); (t-note)

Joshua; (see note)

While; hand


prepared [to]
given; (t-note)
caused; (t-note)
Jethro of Midian; (see note)
had departed from

[Moses’] wife and children





Aftur that tyme thei toke the ways
   wher the montt of Synay was nere,
Wher Moyses for the pepyll prays,
   and God unto hym thor can apeyre.
He fastyd full faurty days,
   the Law of God for he wold lere.
Then Commawndmentes, os clerkes says,
   war to hym takyn in tables sere.
Bot whyls he thor can dwell
   to lere Goddes laws lely,
Hys folke full fowll fell
   and made them mawmentry.

mount of Sinai

there can appear
forty days
Ten Commandments; (see note)
on several tablets
there (on the mountain)
so foul fell [away]
idolatry; (t-note)

[THE GOLDEN CALF (32:1–35)]








A calf of gold thei gart up stand
   and honerd yt with all ther mayne.
“This broyght us owt of Egyp land
   and sall us save,” thei say certayn.
Then God unto Moyses commawnd:
   “Wend down unto thi pepyll agayn,
For thei have synnyd and tone on hand
   a werke that wyll wurth to payn.”
Moyses then from God past
   and hyed hym to that halfe.
He fand his folke full fast
   kneland befor that calfe.

That mawmentry that thei of ment
   was hedows thyng to hym at here.
He brake ther calfe and sone yt brent
   and kest the powder in watur clere.
Thei dranke therof ever os thei went,
   for other watur was non so nere.
On thos that to that syn assent
   the venjance of God cane apere,
For he wald have them spylt
   aftur ther awne desyre.
The berdes of them wer gylt
   like unto the gold wyre.

When Moyses and his brother Aron
   saw sygne of God in that sted,
Other wyttenese nede them none
   bot at ther here was waxin rede.
Of them that was with tresone tone
   and bold to breke that Moyses bede,
Ware twenty-thre milia sloyne;
   then wer the remland wyll of rede.
To fete thei can them fald,
   and Moyses gatte them grace,
And then to them he told
   how God spake in that space.

made to stand up
honored; power

turn to pain

hurried; place
discovered his people

hideous; for him to hear; (t-note)
broke; burnt

did appear
destroyed; (t-note)
as a result of their own desires
beards; were gilt; (see note)
golden wire

Aaron; (see note)
God’s sign in that appearance
that their hair; grown red; (t-note)
taken; (t-note)
what Moses bid
Were 23,000 slain; (see note)
remnant helpless (at a loss for a plan)
[their] feet; bend; (t-note)
granted; (t-note)








An Arke, he sayd, thei suld do make,
   therin to hold that holy store:
The tables that God can to hym take,
   with manna and with mekyll more:
All ther sacrafyce for Goddes sake
   and all that offerd suld be thore.
And therwith suld none wune ne wake
   bot folke that were ordand ther for.
This Arke thei made in hye
   of gold and prescius stone.
The lynege of Levy
   to tent therto was tone.

Aron was ordand byschop to be
   forto resave the sacrafyce,
And prestes and dekyns in ther degree
   at serve to hym in sere servyce.
And ryght so the duke Josue
   was chosyn os a prince and most in price,
Wherso thei come in ylke cuntré
   to sett the batels in asyce.
A Tabernakyll thei toke
   to kepe Godes Arke ay clene.
So endes the secund boke,
   that of Moyses wyll mene.


tablets; made him to take
much more

should be there
no one dwell or watch
ordained for that
lineage of Levi
to attend to that was chosen

(see note)
various services



always safe
(see note)
will be dealt with


Go to Book of Numbers