NON-CANONICAL EPISTLES AND RELATED WRITINGS
were about to believe, testing them by the Spirit. 5 And this was no recent development. For indeed, bishops and deacons had been mentioned in writings long before. For thus the Scripture says in one place, “I will appoint their bishops in right eousness and their deacons in faith.”49
And why should it be so amaz ing if those who were in Christ and entrusted by God with such a work appointed the leaders mentioned earlier? For even the most fortunate Moses, a faithful servant in all the house,50 re corded in the sacred books all the direc tives that had been given him. And he was followed by all the other prophets, who together testiﬁed to the laws he laid down. 2 For when jealousy fell upon the tribes and created internal factions over the priesthood—concerning which of them should be adorned with that glori ous name—Moses commanded the twelve tribal leaders to bring him rods, each one inscribed with the tribe’s name.51 Taking these he bound them to gether, sealed them with the rings of the tribal leaders, and set them in the Tent of Testimony on the table of God. 3 And he shut the Tent and sealed the keys just as he had done with the rods. 4 And he said to them, “Brothers, the tribe whose rod will blossom has been chosen by God to serve as his priests and ministers.” 5 When early morning came, he called together all Israel, some six hundred thousand men, and showed the tribal leaders the seals. He opened the Tent of Testimony and brought out the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but even to be bearing fruit. 6 What do you think, loved ones? That
Moses did not know in advance this would happen? Of course he knew. But he did this so that there might be no disorderliness in Israel, that the name of the one who is true and unique might be gloriﬁed. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
So too our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that strife would arise over the ofﬁce of the bishop. 2 For this reason, since they under stood perfectly well in advance what would happen, they appointed those we have already mentioned; and afterwards they added a codicilp to the effect that if these should die, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. 3 Thus we do not think it right to re move from the ministry those who were appointed by them or, afterwards, by other reputable men, with the entire church giving its approval. For they have ministered over the ﬂock of Christ blame lessly and with humility, gently and un selﬁshly, receiving a good witness by all, many times over. 4 Indeed we commit no little sin if we remove from the bishop’s ofﬁce those who offer the gifts in a blameless and holy way. 5 How fortunate are the presbyters who passed on before, who enjoyed a fruitful and perfect departure from this life. For they have no fear that someone will remove them from the place estab lished for them. 6 But we see that you have deposed
The text appears here to be corrupt, and several emendations have been proposed.
Isa 60:17 (LXX). 50Num 12:7; Heb 3:5. 51The following account is drawn from Numbers 17.