By reconstructing the problem that the Book of Enoch was responding to, we can see that Enoch had gotten a bad reputation.
This is part of a series on mirror-reading the books of the Bible. You can view all posts in the series here. They are only cursory mirror-readings and, although I give evidence for their validity, further research is desired for support.
I don't normally mirror-read extra-Biblical books but since the Book of Enoch is quoted in Jude and alluded to in 2 Peter and possibly elsewhere in the New Testament, I thought it would be beneficial to have a look at it.
There are several sections to the Book of Enoch that seem to have been written at different times. For this post, I'll be focusing on the section referred to as "The Book of Watchers", specifically chapters 6-16.
Mirror-Reading The Book of Enoch Gives Us A Greater Understanding
The Watchers are often thought of as fallen angels, but only some of them fell and actually, they didn't really fall. They came down out of heaven by their own choice, although they weren't supposed to. They hooked up with some human women and got them pregnant and their children became giants and caused all sorts of problems.
Centuries later the people in ancient Israel were still dealing with issues that they thought stemmed from these Watchers. The giants were gone but they thought the Watchers were still on earth causing trouble. The Israelites knew that the prophet Enoch was intertwined with the story of the Watchers, but they didn't know the whole story and this was causing some problems for Enoch's reputation.
Some Israelites had heard of, or perhaps even read, a petition written by Enoch. The petition asked that God forgive the Watchers that had come down to earth. The petition didn't say what God's response was, so the people just assumed that God had forgiven them since it seemed like they were still having trouble with the Watchers.
@@What kind of prophet would petition to have the Watchers forgiven?@@ He must have been an evil one!
3 Ways The Author Of The Book Of Enoch Restored Enoch's Reputation
1. Enoch described as a righteous scribe
The writer of the Book of Enoch is sure to describe Enoch as righteous. Not only that, but that Enoch was also a scribe. That was his job. Just because he wrote something didn't mean that he endorsed it. He worked with the Watchers, both good and bad.
And I, Enoch was blessing the Lord of majesty and the King of the ages, and lo! the Watchers called me--Enoch the scribe--and said to me: 'Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves wives: "Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth:
The book of the words of righteousness, and of the reprimand of the eternal Watchers in accordance with the command of the Holy Great One in that vision.
And He answered and said to me, and I heard His voice: 'Fear not, Enoch, thou righteous man and scribe of righteousness: approach hither and hear my voice. 2. And go, say to the Watchers of heaven, who have sent thee to intercede for them: "You should intercede" for men, and not men for you:
2. The Petition was not granted
God did not forgive the Watchers on earth, and the author of the Book of Enoch points out in several places that the petition that Enoch wrote was thoroughly rejected.
And no request that they (i.e. their fathers) make of thee shall be granted unto their fathers on their behalf; for they hope to live an eternal life, and that each one of them will live five hundred years.'
And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children, The murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain."'
And Enoch went and said: 'Azâzêl, thou shalt have no peace: a severe sentence has gone forth against thee to put thee in bonds: And thou shalt not have toleration nor request granted to thee, because of the unrighteousness which thou hast taught, and because of all the works of godlessness and unrighteousness and sin which thou hast shown to men.' Then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid, and fear and trembling seized them. And they besought me to draw up a petition for them that they might find forgiveness, and to read their petition in the presence of the Lord of heaven. For from thenceforward they could not speak (with Him) nor lift up their eyes to heaven for shame of their sins for which they had been condemned. Then I wrote out their petition, and the prayer in regard to their spirits and their deeds individually and in regard to their requests that they should have forgiveness and length 〈of days〉. And I went off and sat down at the waters of Dan, in the land of Dan, to the south of the west of Hermon: I read their petition till I fell asleep. And behold a dream came to me, and visions fell down upon me, and I saw visions of chastisement, and a voice came bidding (me) I to tell it to the sons of heaven, and reprimand them. And when I awaked, I came unto them, and they were all sitting gathered together, weeping in ’Abelsjâîl, which is between Lebanon and Sênêsêr, with their faces covered. And I recounted before them all the visions which I had seen in sleep, and I began to speak the words of righteousness, and to reprimand the heavenly Watchers.
As He has created and given to man the power of understanding the word of wisdom, so hath He created me also and given me the power of reprimanding the Watchers, the children of heaven. I wrote out your petition, and in my vision it appeared thus, that your petition will not be granted unto you throughout all the days of eternity, and that judgement has been finally passed upon you: yea (your petition) will not be granted unto you.
And your petition on their behalf shall not be granted, nor yet on your own: even though you weep and pray and speak all the words contained in the writing which I have written.
Say to them therefore: "You have no peace."'
3. The Watchers were no longer free to cause trouble
After Enoch's petition was rejected, God took steps to restrain the Watchers that had caused trouble so that they could no longer cause trouble on the earth - ever. However, the disembodied spirits of their giant offspring could and did cause trouble.
And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated.
And from henceforth you shall not ascend into heaven unto all eternity, and in bonds of the earth the decree has gone forth to bind you for all the days of the world.
And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men, and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling. And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offenses. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.
What Do You Think?
What do you think of this mirror-reading of the Book of Enoch? Was the author of the Book of Enoch trying to restore Enoch's reputation? What other situations do you think the Book of Enoch was responding to?