another as well, (namely) that the age of thirteen years is a neighbour and associate of fourteena years, whenb the generative movements are brought to their seed.c And so, lest alien seedd be sown, He takes care that the first generation shall be preserved intact,e representing the generative organ by the symbol of generation.f
In the third place He instructs him who is about to undertake marriage by all means to circumcise his sense-pleasuresg and amorous desires, rebuking those who are lascivious and lustful,h in order that they may restrain their excessive embraces,i which usually come about not for the sake of begetting children but for the sake of unrestrained pleasure.
62. (Gen. xvii. 27) Why does Abraham circumcise those of foreign birth?j
The wise man is helpful and at the same time philanthropic.k He saves and calls to himself not only his kinsmenl and those of like opinionsm but also those of foreign birth and of different opinions,n giving them of his own goods with patience and ascetic continence,o for these are the firm foundationsp to which all virtueq hastens and finds rest.
- aLit. “twice seven.”
- bLit, “behold!”
- cThe syntax is obscure; Aucher renders, “quo seminis motus ad generationem fertur.”
- dἀλλογενὲς σπέρμα.
- fσυμβόλῳ τοῦ γένους.
- hLit. “woman-loving.”
- iLit. “minglings.”
- jτοὺς ἀλλογενεῖς.
- lOr “countrymen.”
- mText slightly emended by Aucher.
- oὑπομονῇ καὶ ἀσκήσει ἐγκρατείας vel Sim.
1. (Gen. xviii. 1–2) Why does (Scripture) say, “And the Lord Godb appeared to Abrahamc at the oak of Mambre,d when he was sitting in the heat of daye at the entrance of his tent; and he lifted up his eyes”f?
The literal meaningg seems to me quite clear. But it is only necessary to explain the tree allegorically through the Chaldaeanh speech. According to Heracleitus,i our nature [a tree] likes to hide itself.j Now, in the first place, it is proper to recognize that the interpretation of Mambre is “from sight,”k and this means something like the following. Just as being wise comes from wisdom,l and being prudent comes from prudence,m and having various dispositions comes from these (various dispositions), so
- aBook IV, which is about as long as the combined first three books of the Quaestiones in Genesin, originally comprised Books IV, V and VI, as some ancient mss. indicate. See the Introduction.
- bHeb. “YHWH”; lxx and Arm. O.T, “God.”
- clxx and Heb. “to him.”
- dHeb. “Mamre.”
- eSo Heb.; lxx and Arm. O.T. “at midday.”
- fSo Heb. and Arm. O.T.; lxx “and looking up with his eyes.”
- gτὸ ῥητόν.
- hi.e. Hebrew.
- iCf. Diels-Kranz, Fragmenta der Vorsokratiker, Β 123  ἡ φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ (from Porphyry). The Arm. caṛ “tree” is out of place here.
- jArm. here uses two verbs, both of which render κρύπτεσθαι.
- kἀπὸ ὀράσεως (or ὁρωμένων), as if from Heb. mim-mar’êh. The same etymology is given in De Migratione 165.