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Codex Junius 11

GENESIS (Genesis B)
[Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 11]

from the Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #14b



(Beginning of "Genesis B")

V

(ll. 235-236) "...Eat freely of the fruit of every other tree.
From that one tree refrain.  Beware of its fruit.  And ye shall
know no dearth of pleasant things."

(ll. 237-245) Eagerly they bowed them down before the King of
heaven, and gave Him thanks for all, for His teachings and
counsels.  And He gave them that land to dwell in.  Then the Holy
Lord, the Steadfast King, departed into heaven.  And the
creatures of His hand abode together on the earth.  They had no
whit of care to grieve them, but only to do the will of God for
ever.  Dear were they unto God as long as they would keep His
holy word.


VI

(ll. 246-260) The Holy Lord, All-wielding God, with mighty hand
had wrought ten angel-orders in whom He trusted well, that they
would do Him service, and work His will.  Therefore God gave them
reason, with His own hands shaped them, and stablished them in
bliss.  But one He made so great and strong of heart, He let him
wield such power in heaven next unto God, so radiant-hued He
wrought him, so fair his form in heaven which God had given, that
he was like unto the shining stars.  He should have sung his
Maker's praise, and prized his bliss in heaven.  He should have
thanked his Lord for the great boon He showered on him in the
heavenly light, and let him long enjoy.  But he turned him to a
worse thing, and strove to stir up strife against the Highest
Lord of heaven, who sitteth on the throne of glory.

(ll. 261-276) Dear was he to our Lord.  Nor could it long be hid
from God that pride was growing in His angel's heart.  He set
himself against his Leader, scoffed at God with boasting, and
would not serve Him.  He said his form was beautiful and bright,
gleaming and fair of hue.  Nor could he find it in his heart to
serve the Lord God, or be subject to Him.  It seemed to him that
he had greater strength and larger following than Holy God might
have.  Many words the angel spake in his presumption.  By his own
power alone he thought to build a stronger throne and mightier in
heaven.  He said his heart was urging him to toil, to build a
stately palace in the north and west.  He said he doubted in his
heart if he would still be subject unto God:

(ll. 277-291) "Why should I slave?" quoth he. "I need not serve a
master.  My hands are strong to work full many a wonder.  Power
enough have I to rear a goodlier throne, a higher in the heavens.

Why should I fawn for His favour, or yield Him such submission? 
I may be God as well as He!  Brave comrades stand about me;
stout-hearted heroes who will not fail me in the fray.  These
valiant souls have chosen me their lord.  With such peers one may
ponder counsel, and gain a following.  Devoted are these friends
and faithful-hearted; and I may be their lord and rule this
realm.  It seemeth no wise right to me that I should cringe a
whit to God for any good.  I will not serve Him longer."

(ll. 292-298) Now when God had heard all this, how His angel was
beginning to make presumptuous head against his Leader, speaking
rash words of insolence against his Lord, needs must he make
atonement for that deed, endure the woe of strife, and bear his
punishment, most grievous of all deaths.  And so doth every man
who wickedly thinketh to strive with God, the Lord of might.

(ll. 299-319) Then Almighty God, High Lord of heaven, was filled
with wrath, and hurled him from his lofty throne.  He had gained
his Master's hate, and lost His favour.  God's heart was hardened
against him.  Wherefore he needs must sink into the pit of
torment because he strove against the Lord of heaven.  He
banished him from grace and cast him into hell, into the deep
abyss where he became a devil.  The Fiend and all his followers
fell from heaven; three nights and days the angels fell from
heaven into hell.  God changed them all to devils.  Because they
heeded not His deed and word, therefore Almighty God hurled them
into darkness, deep under earth, crushed them and set them in the
mirk of hell.  There through the never-ending watches of the
night the fiends endure an unremitting fire.  Then at the dawn
cometh an east wind, and bitter frost, ever a blast of fire or
storm of frost.  And each must have his share of suffering
wrought for his punishment.  Their world was changed when God
filled full the pit of hell with His foes!

(ll. 320-322) But the angels who kept their faith with God dwelt
in the heights of heaven.


VII

(ll. 322-336) The other fiends who waged so fierce a war with God
lay wrapped in flames.  They suffer torment, hot and surging
flame in the midst of hell, broad-stretching blaze of fire and
bitter smoke, darkness and gloom, because they broke allegiance
unto God.  Their folly and the angel's pride deceived them.  They
would not heed the word of God.  Great was their punishment! 
They fell, through folly and through pride, to fiery depths of
flame in hell.  They sought another home devoid of light and
filled with fire -- a mighty flaming death.  The fiends perceived
that through the might of God, because of their presumptuous
hearts and boundless insolence, they had won a measureless woe.

(ll. 337-355) Then spake their haughty king, who formerly was
fairest of the angels, most radiant in heaven, beloved of his
Leader and dear unto his Lord, until they turned to folly, and
Almighty God was moved to anger at their wantonness, and hurled
him down to depths of torment on that bed of death.  He named him
with a name, and said their leader should be called from
thenceforth Satan.  He bade him rule the black abyss of hell in
place of striving against God.  Satan spake -- who now must needs
have charge of hell and dwell in the abyss -- in bitterness he
spake who once had been God's angel, radiant-hued in heaven,
until his pride and boundless arrogance betrayed him, so that he
would not do the bidding of the Lord of hosts.  Bitterness was
welling in his heart; and round him blazed his cruel torment. 
These words he spake:

(ll. 355-367) "This narrow place is little like those other
realms we knew, on high in heaven, allotted by my Lord, though
the Almighty hath not granted us to hold our state, or rule our
kingdom.  He hath done us wrong to hurl us to the fiery depths of
hell, and strip us of our heavenly realm.  He hath ordained that
human kind shall settle there.  That is my greatest grief that
Adam -- wrought of earth -- should hold my firm-set throne and
live in joy, while we endure this bitter woe in hell.

(ll. 368-388) "Alas!  could I but use my hands and have my
freedom for an hour, one winter hour, then with this host I would
--  But bands of iron crush me down, the bondage of my chains is
heavy.  I am stripped of my dominion.  Firmly are hell's fetters
forged upon me.  Above me and below a blaze of fire!  Never have
I seen a realm more fatal -- flame unassuaged that surges over
hell.  Ensnaring links and heavy shackles hold me.  My ways are
trammelled up; my feet are bound; my hands are fastened.  Closed
are the doors of hell, the way cut off.  I may not escape out of
my bonds, but mighty gyves of tempered iron, hammered hot, press
hard upon me.  God hath set His foot upon my neck.  So I know the
Lord of hosts hath read the purpose of my heart, and knew full
well that strife would grow between our host and Adam over the
heavenly realm, had I the freedom of my hands.


VIII

(ll. 389-400) "But now we suffer throes of hell, fire and
darkness, bottomless and grim.  God hath thrust us out into the
black mists.  He cannot charge upon us any sin or evil wrought
against Him in His realm!  Yet hath He robbed us of the light and
cast us into utter woe.  Nor may we take revenge, nor do Him any
evil because He stripped us of the light.  He hath marked out the
borders of the world, and there created man in His own image,
with whom He hopes again to people heaven, with pure souls.  We
needs must ponder earnestly to wreak this grudge on Adam, if we
may, and on his children, and thwart His will if so we may
devise.

(ll. 401-407) "No longer have I any hope of light wherein He
thinketh long to joy, in bliss among His angel hosts; nor may we
ever bring this thing to pass, that we should change the purpose
of Almighty God.  Let us therefore turn the heavenly kingdom from
the sons of men, since we may not possess it, cause them to lose
His favour and turn aside from the command He laid upon them. 
Then shall His wrath be kindled, and He shall cast them out from
grace.  They shall seek out hell and its grim gulf, and in this
heavy bondage we may have the sons of men to serve us.

(ll. 408-424) "Begin now and plan this enterprise.  If ever in
olden days, when happily we dwelt in that good kingdom, and held
possession of our thrones, I dealt out princely treasure to any
thane, he could not make requital for my gifts at any better time
than now, if some one of my thanes would be my helper, escaping
outward through these bolted gates, with strength to wing his way
on high where, new-created, Adam and Eve, surrounded with
abundance, dwell on earth -- and we are cast out hither in this
deep abyss.  They are now much dearer unto God, and own the high
estate and rightful realm which we should have in heaven!  Good
fortune is allotted to mankind.

(ll. 425-437) "My soul is sorrowful within me, my heart is sore,
that they should hold the heavenly realm for ever.  But if in any
wise some one of you could bring them to forsake God's word and
teaching, soon would they be less pleasing unto Him!  If they
break His commandment, then will His wrath be kindled.  Their
high estate shall vanish; their sin shall have requital, and some
grim penalty.  Take thought now how ye may ensnare them.  I shall
rest softly in these chains if they lose heaven.  Whoso shall
bring this thing to pass shall have reward for ever, of all that
we may win to our advantage, amid these flames.


IX

(ll. 438-441) I will let him sit next me, whoever shall return to
hell proclaiming that they have set at naught, by word and deed,
the counsels of the King of heaven and been displeasing to the
Lord."

((LACUNA -- Section missing of indeterminate length.))


XI

(ll. 442-460) Then God's enemy began to make him ready, equipped
in war-gear, with a wily heart.  He set his helm of darkness on
his head, bound it full hard, and fastened it with clasps.  Many
a crafty speech he knew, many a crooked word.  Upward he beat his
way and darted through the doors of hell.  He had a ruthless
heart.  Evil of purpose he circled in the air, cleaving the flame
with fiendish craft.  He would fain ensnare God's servants unto
sin, seduce them and deceive them that they might be displeasing
to the Lord.  With fiendish craft he took his way until he came
on Adam upon earth, the finished handiwork of God, full wisely
wrought, and his wife beside him, loveliest of women, performing
many a goodly service since the Lord of men appointed them His
ministers.

(ll. 460-477) And by them stood two trees laden with fruit and
clothed with increase.  Almighty God, High King of heaven, had
set them there that the mortal sons of men might choose of good
and evil, weal and woe.  Unlike was their fruit!  Of the one tree
the fruit was pleasant, fair and winsome, excellent and sweet. 
That was the tree of life.  He might live for ever in the world
who ate of that fruit, so that old age pressed not heavily upon
him, nor grievous sickness, but he might live his life in
happiness for ever, and have the favour of the King of heaven
here on earth.  And glory was ordained for him in heaven, when he
went hence.

(ll. 478-495) The other tree was dark, sunless, and full of
shadows: that was the tree of death.  Bitter the fruit it bore! 
And every man must know both good and evil; in this world abased
he needs must suffer, in sweat and sorrow, who tasted of the
fruit that grew upon that tree.  Old age would rob him of his
strength and joy and honour, and death take hold upon him.  A
little time might he enjoy this life, and then seek out the murky
realm of flame, and be subject unto fiends.  There of all perils
are the worst for men for ever.  And that the evil one knew well,
the wily herald of the fiend who fought with God.  He took the
form of a serpent, coiled round the tree of death by devil's
craft, and plucked the fruit, and turned aside again where he
beheld the handiwork of the King of heaven.  And the evil one in
lying words began to question him:

(ll. 496-506) "Hast thou any longing, Adam, unto God?  His
service brings me hither from afar.  Not long since I was sitting
at His side.  He sent me forth upon this journey to bid thee eat
this fruit.  He said thy strength and power would increase, thy
mind be mightier, more beautiful thy body, and thy form more
fair.  He said thou wouldest lack no good thing on the earth when
thou hast won the favour of the King of heaven, served thy Lord
with gladness, and deserved His love.

(ll. 507-521) "In the heavenly light I heard Him speaking of thy
life, praising thy words and works.  Needs must thou do His
bidding which His messengers proclaim on earth.  Broad-stretching
are the green plains of the world, and from the highest realms of
heaven God ruleth all things here below.  The Lord of men will
not Himself endure the hardship to go upon this journey, but
sendeth His ministers to speak with thee.  He sendeth tidings
unto thee to teach thee wisdom.  Do His will with gladness!  Take
this fruit in thy hand; taste and eat.  Thy heart shall grow more
roomy and thy form more fair.  Almighty God, thy Lord, sendeth
this help from heaven."

(ll. 522-546) And Adam, first of men, answered where he stood on
earth: "When I heard the Lord, my God, speaking with a mighty
voice, He bade me dwell here keeping His commandments, gave me
this woman, this lovely maid, bade me take heed and be not
tempted to the tree of death and utterly beguiled, and said that
he who taketh to his heart one whit of evil shall dwell in
blackest hell.  Though thou art come with lies and secret wiles,
I know not that thou art an angel of the Lord from heaven.  Lo! 
I cannot understand thy precepts, thy words or ways, thy errand
or thy sayings.  I know what things our Lord commanded when I
beheld Him nigh at hand.  He bade me heed His word, observe it
well, and keep His precepts.  Thou art not like to any of His
angels that ever I have seen, nor hast thou showed me any token
that my Lord hath sent of grace and favour.  Therefore I cannot
hearken to thy teachings.  Get thee hence!  I have my faith set
firm upon Almighty God, who with His own hands wrought me.  From
His high throne He giveth all good things, and needeth not to
send His ministers."


XII

(ll. 547-550) Then turned the fiend with wrathful heart to where
he saw Eve standing on the plains of earth, a winsome maid.  And
unto her he said, the greatest of all ills thereafter would fall
on their descendants in the world:

(ll. 551-558) "I know God's anger will be roused against you,
when from this journey through far-stretching space I come again
to Him, and bring this message, that ye refuse to do His bidding,
as He hath sent commandment hither from the East.  He needs must
come to speak with you, forsooth, nor may His minister proclaim
His mission!  Truly I know His wrath will be kindled against you
in His heart!

(ll. 559-587) "But if thou, woman, wilt hearken to my words, thou
mayest devise good counsel.  Bethink thee in thy heart to turn
away His vengeance from you both, as I shall show thee.  Eat of
this fruit!  Then shall thine eyes grow keen, and thou shalt see
afar through all the world, yea!  unto the throne of God, thy
Lord, and have His favour.  Thou mayest rule the heart of Adam,
if thou incline to do it and he doth trust thy words, if thou
wilt tell him truly what law thou hast in mind, to keep God's
precepts and commandments.  His heart will cease from bitter
strife and evil answers, as we two tell him for his good.  Urge
him earnestly to do thy bidding, lest ye be displeasing to the
Lord your God.  If thou fulfill this undertaking, thou best of
women, I will not tell our Lord what evil Adam spake against me,
his wicked words accusing me of falsehood, saying that I am eager
in transgression, a servant of the Fiend and not God's angel. 
But I know well the angel race, and the high courts of heaven. 
Long ages have I served the Lord my God with loyal heart.  I am
not like a devil."

(ll. 588-599) So he urged with lies and luring wiles, tempting
the woman unto sin, until the serpent's counsel worked within her
-- for God had wrought her soul the weaker -- and her heart
inclined according to his teaching.  Transgressing God's
commandment, from the fiend she took the fatal fruit of the tree
of death.  Never was worse deed wrought for men!  Great is the
wonder that Eternal God, the Lord, would let so many of His
thanes be tricked with lies by one who brought such counsel.  She
ate the fruit and set at naught the will and word of God.

(ll. 600-610) Then could she see afar by gift of the fiend, whose
lies deceived and artfully ensnared her, so that it came to pass
the heavens appeared to her more radiant, and the earth and all
the world more fair, the great and mighty handiwork of God,
though she beheld it not by human wisdom; but eagerly the fiend
deceived her soul and gave her vision, that she might see afar
across the heavenly kingdom.  Then spake the fiend with hostile
purpose -- and nought of profit did he counsel:

(ll. 610-625) "Now mayest thou behold, most worthy Eve, nor need
I tell thee, how fair thy beauty and thy form how changed, since
thou didst trust my words and do my bidding.  A radiance shineth
round about thee, gleaming splendour, which I brought forth from
God on high.  Thou mayest touch it!  Tell Adam what vision thou
hast and power by my coming.  And even yet, if he will do my
bidding with humble heart, I will give him of this light
abundantly, as I have given thee, and will not punish his
reviling words, though he deserves no mercy for the grievous ill
he spake against me.  So shall his children live hereafter!  When
they do evil, they must win God's love, avert His doom, and gain
the favour of their Lord for ever!"

(ll. 626-635) Then the lovely maid, fairest of women that ever
came into this world, went unto Adam.  She was the handiwork of
the King of heaven, though tricked with lies and utterly undone,
so that through fiendish craft and devil's fraud she needs must
be displeasing to the Lord, forfeit God's favour, and lose her
glory and her heavenly home.  So often evil dwelleth with that
man who doth not shun it when he hath the power.

(ll. 636-646) Of the fatal apples some she carried in her hands
and some lay on her breast, the fruit of the tree of death
whereof the Lord of lords, the Prince of glory, had forbidden her
to eat, saying His servants need not suffer death.  The Holy Lord
bestowed a heavenly heritage and ample bliss on every race, if
they would but forgo that fruit alone, that bitter fruit, which
the mortal tree brought forth upon its boughs.  That was the tree
of death which the Lord forbade them!

(ll. 647-654) But the fiend, who hated God, and loathed the King
of heaven, deceived with lies Eve's heart and erring wisdom, and
she believed his words and did his bidding, and came at last to
think his counsels were indeed from God, as he so cunningly had
said.  He showed to her a token, and gave her promise of good
faith and friendly purpose.  Then to her lord she said:

(ll. 655-665) "Adam, my lord!  This fruit is sweet and pleasing
to the heart; this radiant messenger is God's good angel!  I know
by his attire he is a herald of our Lord, the King of heaven. 
Better to win his favour than his wrath!  If thou to-day hast
spoken aught of evil, yet will he still forgive thee, if we will
do his will.  Of what avail this bitter strife against the herald
of thy Lord?  We need his favour.  For he may plead our cause
before Almighty God, the King of heaven.

(ll. 666-683) "I can behold where in the south and east He who
shaped the world sits veiled in splendour.  I see the angels
circling round His throne, in winged flight, unnumbered myriads,
clothed in beauty.  Who could give me such discernment, except it
be sent straight from God, the Lord of heaven?  Widely may I hear
and widely see through all the world across the broad creation. 
I hear the hymns of rapture from on high.  Radiance blazes on my
soul without and within since first I tasted of the fruit.  Lo! 
my good lord!  I bring thee in my hand this fruit, and give thee
freely of it.  I do believe that it is come from God, and brought
by His command, as this messenger declared in words of truth.  It
is not like aught else on earth except, as this herald saith, it
cometh straight from God."


XIII

(ll. 684-703) Long she pled, and urged him all the day to that
dark deed, to disobey their Lord's command.  Close stood the evil
fiend, inflaming with desire, luring with wiles, and boldly
tempting him.  The fiend stood near at hand who on that fatal
mission had come a long, long way.  He planned to hurl men down
to utter death, mislead them and deceive them, that they might
lose the gift of God, His favour and their heavenly realm.  Lo! 
well the hell-fiend knew they must endure God's anger and the
pains of hell, suffer grim misery and woe, since they had broken
God's commandment, when with his lying words he tricked the
beauteous maid, fairest of women, unto that deed of folly, so
that she spake according to his will; and aided her in tempting
unto evil the handiwork of God.

(ll. 704-716) Over and over the fairest of women pled with Adam,
until she began to incline his heart so that he trusted the
command the woman laid upon him.  All this she did with good
intent, and knew not that so many evils, such grim afflictions,
would come upon mankind, when she was moved to hearken to the
counsels of the evil herald; but she hoped to win God's favour by
her words, showing such token and such pledge of truth unto the
man, that the mind of Adam was changed within his breast, and his
heart began to bend according to her will.

(ll. 717-726) From the woman he took both death and hell,
although it did not bear these names, but bore the name of fruit.

The sleep of death and fiends' seduction; death and hell and
exile and damnation -- these were the fatal fruit whereon they
feasted.  And when the apple worked within him and touched his
heart, then laughed aloud the evilhearted fiend, capered about,
and gave thanks to his lord for both:

(ll. 726-749) "Now have I won thy promised favour, and wrought
thy will!  For many a day to come is man undone, Adam and Eve! 
God's wrath shall be heavy upon them, for they have scorned His
precepts and commandments.  Wherefore they may no longer hold
their heavenly kingdom, but they must travel the dark road to
hell.  Thou needest not feel sorrow in thy heart, as thou liest
in thy bonds, nor mourn in spirit that men should dwell in heaven
above, while we now suffer misery and pain in realms of darkness,
and through thy pride have lost our high estate in heaven and
goodly dwellings.  God's anger was kindled against us because in
heaven we would not bow our heads in service before the Holy
Lord.  It pleased us not to serve Him.  Then was God moved to
wrath and hard of heart, and drove us into hell; cast a great
host into hell-fire, and with His hands prepared again in heaven
celestial thrones, and gave that kingdom to mankind.

(ll. 750-762) "Blithe be thy heart within thy breast!  For here
to-day are two things come to pass: the sons of men shall lose
their heavenly kingdom, and journey unto thee to burn in flame;
also heart-sorrow and affliction are visited on God.  Whatever
death we suffer here is now repaid on Adam in the wrath of God
and man's damnation and the pangs of death.  Therefore my heart
is healed, my soul untrammelled in my breast.  All our injuries
are now avenged, and all the evil that we long have suffered. 
Now will I plunge again into the flame, and seek out Satan, where
he lieth in hell's shadows, bound with chains."

(ll. 762-769) Then the foul fiend sank downward to the wide-flung
flames and gates of hell wherein his lord lay bound.  But Adam
and Eve were wretched in their hearts; sad were the words that
passed between them.  They feared the anger of the Lord their
God; they dreaded the wrath of the King of heaven.  They knew
that His command was broken.

(ll. 770-790) The woman mourned and wept in sorrow (she had
forfeited God's grace and broken His commandment) when she beheld
the radiance disappear which he who brought this evil on them had
showed her by a faithless token, that they might suffer pangs of
hell and untold woe.  Wherefore heartsorrow burned within their
breasts.  Husband and wife they bowed them down in prayer,
beseeching God and calling on the Lord of heaven, and prayed that
they might expiate their sin, since they had broken God's
commandment.  They saw that their bodies were naked.  In that
land they had as yet no settled home, nor knew they aught of pain
or sorrow; but they might have prospered in the land if they had
done God's will.  Many a rueful word they uttered, husband and
wife together.  And Adam spake unto Eve and said:

(ll. 791-820) "O Eve!  a bitter portion hast thou won us!  Dost
thou behold the yawning gulf of hell, sunless, insatiate?  Thou
mayest hear the groans that rise therefrom!  The heavenly realm
is little like that blaze of fire!  Lo!  fairest of all lands is
this, which we, by God's grace, might have held hadst thou not
hearkened unto him who urged this evil, so that we set at naught
the word of God, the King of heaven.  Now in grief we mourn that
evil mission!  For God Himself bade us beware of sin and dire
disaster.  Now thirst and hunger press upon my heart whereof we
formerly were ever free.  How shall we live or dwell now in this
land if the wind blow from the west or east, south or north, if
mist arise and showers of hail beat on us from the heavens, and
frost cometh, wondrous cold, upon the earth, or, hot in heaven,
shineth the burning sun, and we two stand here naked and
unclothed?  We have no shelter from the weather, nor any store of
food.  And the Mighty Lord, our God, is angry with us.  What
shall become of us?  Now I repent me that I prayed the God of
heaven, the Gracious Lord, and of my limbs He wrought thee for my
helpmeet, since thou hast led me unto evil and the anger of my
Lord.  Well may I repent to all eternity that ever I beheld thee
with mine eyes!"


XIV

(ll. 821-823) Then spake Eve, the lovely maid, fairest of women.
(She was the work of God, though led astray by power of the
fiend):

(ll. 824-826) "Well mayest thou upbraid me, my dear Adam!  But
thou canst not repent one whit more bitterly in thy heart than my
heart repenteth."

(ll. 826-839) And Adam answered her: "If I but knew the will of
God, the penalty I needs must pay, thou couldest not find one
more swift to do it, though the Lord of heaven bade me go forth
and walk upon the sea.  The ocean-stream could never be so
wondrous deep or wide that ever my heart would doubt, but I would
go even unto the bottom of the sea, if I might work the will of
God.  I have no wish for years of manhood in the world now that I
have forfeited the favour of my Lord, and lost His grace.  But we
may not be thus together, naked.  Let us go into this grove, and
under the shelter of this wood."

(ll. 840-851) And they turned and went weeping into the green
wood, and sat them down apart from one another to wait the fate
the Lord of heaven should assign them, since they had lost their
former state and portion which Almighty God had given them.  And
they covered their bodies with leaves, and clothed them with the
foliage of the wood, for they had no garments.  And both together
bowed in prayer; and every morning they besought Almighty God,
the Gracious Lord, that He would not forget them, but would teach
them how to live thenceforward in the light.

(End of Genesis B)

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