THE LETTER OF BARNABAS
our hearts. The Lord says in the prophet, “They obeyed me because of what they heard with their ears.”41 Again he says, “Those who are far off will clearly hear; they will know what I have done.”42 And, “Circumcise your hearts,”43 says the Lord. 2 Again he says, “Hear O Israel, for thus says the Lord your God.”44 And again the Spirit of the Lord prophesies, “Who is the one who wants to live for ever? Let him clearly hear the voice of my servant.”45 3 Again he says, “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has said these things as a witness.”46 And again he says, “Hear, the word of the Lord, you rulers of this people.”47 And again he says, “Hear, O children, the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”48 Thus he cir cumcised our hearing, that once we heard the word we might believe. 4 But even the circumcision in which they trusted has been nulliﬁed. For he has said that circumcision is not a matter of the ﬂesh. But they violated his law, be cause an evil angel instructed them. 5 He says to them, “Thus says the Lord your God,” (here is where I ﬁnd a com mandment) “Do not sow among the thorns; be circumcised to your Lord.”49 And what does he say? “Circumcise your hardened hearts and do not harden your necks.”50 Or consider again, “See, says the Lord, all the nations are uncircum cised in their foreskins, but this people is uncircumcised in their hearts.”51 6 But you will say, “Yet surely the peo ple have been circumcised as a seal.i But every Syrian and Arab and all the priests of the idols are circumcised as well. So then, do those belong to their covenant? Even the people of Egypt are circumcised! 7 Thus learn about the whole matter fully, children of love. For Abraham, the
ﬁrst to perform circumcision, was look ing ahead in the Spirit to Jesus when he circumcised. For he received the ﬁrm teachings of the three letters. 8 For it says, “Abraham circumcised eighteen and three hundred men from his household.”52 What knowledge, then, was given to him? Notice that ﬁrst he men tions the eighteen and then, after a pause, the three hundred. The number eighteen [in Greek] consists of an iota [J], 10, and an eta [E], 8. There you have Jesus.j And because the cross was about to have grace in the letter tau [T], he next gives the three hundred, tau. And so he shows the name Jesus by the ﬁrst two letters, and the cross by the other. 9 For the one who has placed the im planted gift of his covenant in us knew these things. No one has learned a more reliable lesson from me. But I know that you are worthy.
And when Moses said, “Do not eat the pig, or the eagle, or the hawk, or the crow, or any ﬁsh without scales,”53 he received three ﬁrm teachings in his understanding. 2 Moreover, he said to them in the book of Deuteronomy, “I will establish a covenant with this people in my righteous demands.”54 So, then, the commandment of God is not a matter of avoiding food; but Moses spoke in the Spirit. 3 This is why he spoke about the pig: “Do not cling,” he says, “to such peo-
i.e., of the covenant ji.e., the number eighteen in Greek is JE, taken here as an abbreviation for the name “Jesus”
Ps 18:44. 42Cf.Isa 33:13. 43Isa 33:13; Jer 4:4. Cf Jer 7:2–3; Ps 34:12–13. 45Cf. Ps 34:12–13; Isa 50:10; Exod. 15:26. 46Cf. Isa 1:2. 47Cf Isa 1:10; 28: 14. 48Cf. Isa 40:3. 49Jer 4:3–4. 50Cf. Deut 10:16. 51 Jer 9:26. 52Cf. Gen 14:14; 17:23. 53Cf. Lev 11:7– 15; Deut 14:8–14. 54Cf. Deut 4:10, 13. 44