Introduction to the Epistle of Enoch – 1 Enoch 91-92

This last section of 1 Enoch contains wisdom-like literature which condemns various sinners.  The section also contains a “testament” in which Enoch urges his grandchildren to live a moral lifestyle.  Included as chapter 93 is an apocalyptic section commonly known as the Apocalypse  of Weeks.  Both chapter 91 and 92 have superscription in some manuscripts indicating the beginning of the fifth book, therefore chapter 91 may be a conclusion to the dream visions of the previous section. Nickelsburg calls chapter 91 a “narrative bridge” concluding the Dream Visions.

Enoch-manusrcriptLike Jacob in Genesis 49, Enoch gathers his children to listen to his word (91:1-4, 19) and describes to them the increase of violence in the world which will result in great plagues and finally in judgment (91:5-11).  In this judgment all sinners and blasphemers will be cut off.  Chapter 91:12-17 seem misplaced since they describe the eighth and ninth weeks; the Apocalypse of Weeks in chapter 93 cuts off after the seventh week. Charles re-arranges the text so that the Apocalypse of Weeks is in order, OTP leaves the text out of order without comment. This is confirmed by Aramaic fragments from Qumran discovered since Charles published (Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, Second Edition, 62).

Chapter 92 also forms an introduction to this final section (verse one). Enoch tells his readers they ought not to be troubled by difficult times, the Holy and Great One has declared “specific days for all things (92:2).  The Righteous One will wake from his sleep, and walk in righteousness forever.  God himself will give the Righteous One eternal uprightness and authority to judge.  The righteous will “walk in eternal light,” while the “sin and darkness will perish forever” will never be seen again.

This short chapter seems to speak of a messianic age, assuming the phrase “Righteous One” ought to be taken as the same as in the book of Similitudes (Righteous One, Elect One, “that son of man,” etc.).  There will come an individual who will establish God’s rule on earth and judge fairly between the righteous and the sinner.

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