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274 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
MEGILLATH MISSRAIM, OR THE SCROLL
OF THE EGYPTIAN PURIM.
I. — Introductory Remarks.
In the course of my examination of the British Museum
MS. Or. 67, my attention was arrested by an interesting
historioo-liturgical document, which, on a closer study of
its contents, proved to be the long-lost Megillah of the
Egyptian Purim. My principal guide in the identification
of the document was the late Professor Graetz's reference
to it in Volume IX of his Oeschichte der Jvden 1 , and an
examination of the sources to which he refers has helped
to throw a good deal of fresh light on the subject. After
narrating the events connected with Ahmed Shaitan's revolt
against Sultan Soliman in 1524, and the deliverance of the
Ca'irene Jews from the destruction which the rebel had
designed for them, Professor Graetz states, in an elaborate
note 2 , that "there once existed a complete Megillah on
these events," and he then proceeds to name the " secondary
sources," which in default of the original Chronicle, he had
consulted. These are, (1) the "anonymous " work, entitled
nhy nijniNO 3 ; (2) David Conforte's nnnn nr\)p ; (3) Joseph
1 Dritte verbesserte imd vermehrte Ausgabe. Leipzig, 1891.
2 Op. tit., p. 22.
3 To this work Dr. Gaster drew my attention before I consulted
Graetz, and as it is not identical with the booklet bearing the same
title in Zedner's Catalogue of the Hebrew Books in the British Museum (see
under "Abraham Moses," page 32), he kindly lent me his copy of the
Hebrew text, together with a Spanish translation of a part printed in the
MEGILLATH MISSKAIM 275
Ibn Verga's Additamenta to TfXfft* D3B>; and (4) The
Chronicle of Joseph Sambary, published in Dr. Neubauer's
Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles. To these may be added
Joseph Cohen's toan poy (Wien, 1852). pp. 95-6, and the
short reference to the subject in the same author's "ny\
}N»noin rvai nsnx ^bzb awn (Lemberg, 1859), part II,fol. 5 a.
As students will, no doubt, proceed to examine these
secondary sources for themselves, I will here only remark
that special mention is made of the Megillah by Joseph
Sambary 1 , who finished his work in 1672, by David Con-
forte, whose nnnn Nilp 2 was written between 1677-83 3 ,
and also in ahjr rvuniND, fol. 19 b (under B^jcrnj? "ofo "yisd).
It may also be useful to notice that Joseph Sambary 's
account is on the whole in fuller agreement with the
Megillah itself than Joseph Ibn Verga's Additamenta,
which were written over a hundred years earlier 4 . This
is accounted for by the fact that Joseph Sambary was
a native of Egypt 5 , and had himself taken part in the
celebration of the Ca'irene Purim. Some further references
to several of the secondary sources will be found in the
notes added to the translation of the scroll, and a fuller
and wider view of the historical events 6 connected with
Hebrew character. The former appears to have been published at Smyrna
in 1756, and the title-page of the latter shows that it appeared at
Constantinople in 1767.
1 Dr. Neubauer's Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles, p. 145.
2 Edit. Venice, 1746, fol. 33 a.
3 See Dr. Steinschneider's Cat. Lib. Heir. Bibl. Bodl., p. 858.
4 Completed in 1554.
5 See Neubauer, op. tit., p. xvii: "The writer (i.e. J. Sambary) is well
acquainted with Egypt, his native country."
6 It is interesting to notice that the British Museum also possesses
a printed contemporary Latin News-letter in which Ahmed's revolt, to-
gether with certain subsequent events of Soliman's reign, are described.
This letter, which was written within a few months after Ahmed's death
(dated June 29th, 1524), was addressed by Michaelis Bocignolus toGerardus
Planias, "Caesareae Maiestatis secretarium." The writer does not, how-
ever, appear to have possessed a very accurate knowledge of the events on
which he wrote.
276 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
Ahmed's revolt may be gained by a perusal of the ac-
count given of it in Hammer-Purgstall's Geschichte des
Osmanischen Belches 1 .
There is at present no reason to doubt the statements
of Joseph Sambary, David Conforte, and the author of
D^iy nijniXD, who looked upon the Megillah as the com-
position of contemporaries of the events narrated therein,
and it is also only reasonable to suppose that the " savants
of Egypt " (DnVD 'Dan) of the former, and the " savants of
the generation " ("inn , 03n) of the two latter, include David
Ibn Abi Zimra 2 , under whose Rabbinate Ahmed's revolt
and hostility to the Jews broke out, and Samuel Sidillo,
who conducted the special " prayers and supplications " in
his own Synagogue (aiyriDD p"y>) s .
It is, at any rate, certain that a composition to which
a definite place was for a long number of years assigned in
the Egyptian liturgy, could only have been put forward
under the direct sanction of the spiritual heads of the
community, and it therefore follows that the Megillah
must have borne the "imprimatur" of the two honoured
names just mentioned, if it was not actually composed
With regard to the style in which the scroll was written,
it can be seen at a glance that it was purposely composed
in close imitation of the Book of Esther ; and although
it is not quite free from non-Biblical words and construc-
tions, it reads almost entirely like a Biblical narrative.
The imperfect with the " waw-consecutive " is regularly
employed in exact conformity with classical usage, and
the document is also singularly free from involved con-
structions, which form one of the marks of the Rabbinic
and the semi-Rabbinic Hebrew style.
1 Zweite verbesserte Ausgabe. Pesth, 1834, vol. II, pp. 36-8.
2 See Graetz, op. cit., pp. 19-21.
3 See nvrnn NTip, foL 32b. Comp. Keub., op. tit, p. 145, where it is
stated that the Synagogue is called ovn i» vVto p"p.
MEGILLATH MISSRAIM 277
II.— The Text.
psi n»-iain niabs inan rwbw ibn ton n»ta ibn ^a vm 2
b nota ibn natya ann awa jnian 8 nian»ai jv pxi rnten
wiab mane ba jaiam nbon Tyn wuoDipa new miab KD3
nnN • bbb>»31 pixa n»y n« B1S26 nnt< ne> nanoi n» bi> rbm
db«i yiTn jbbti icen yntyo ina s^k n»b> ibn ba nbn anain
anx» px b ik> mis n^i • inn ~\m an^n b b» it?Da nx
p-i ioj> b pa* tb ^1 3 ^n '131 i? rem: anwo nos6 win wi
yxan pTnnh pixa bisb& in» p»to ptn pi • p» has soan
naDan by) ansc px b yrrn |BB>n to*) • , w b a^n yaacni
ddh vca 3T»i Ben wya jnn B>yi ymh pie»y^ i»nm • na at^i
»a wyi ityaa nyac t£i an pn pap*i ibn -on yiTn }BK>n tyiB*i
ibn b fnrb nb jrvi ixd is^aa naam • *ind ny nvi B>aa am
disci anrnai a^n awn* vb lBpb' 1 ! anro tok bo an tin ppDtoi
pb^i mnan an!? db*i ansy nna n"na*i • b»n a'-ab wa atreci
naaaa vn new a^spa n^nn it nb»i • iany ^sb nnx b niyD ani>
1x3 ■«?« ^nn b ntc npi • B>aa a^ba ann dd^c -]bn ^n» aai
nob> ibn ^n ito iBto wi * niton nac b 4 lbs db»i "jb vb
-|ba Tie yiTn jot^n »ai njoaa vn n^t? "a^^vpn unnj »a ans^an
6 iau«i an'-b Tninb i-ud 1 -! naoan ^n ib^ ^nn b rapm no^c
n^ no^c nbn i»n '•a yiTn tocn niNna \ti • naina && naotj'
an^> -ion 1 '! vsyv ay ja^n pyivi ia moi njDa^ ib •oi ihpa lyoty
♦ lb 7 inis nBT?a w WBum wnsy bpn bn vb i-mdn^i • n^ya no
Bipn tN na ae>ni naDan npm no^c ^on ^n ay anbi n^ nny
wya aoTii nrn nann nx yiTn jta^n yw^a wi • HT3 nabcrn
aTb iaD«ai ioy ib n^x ^nn ay ?ib anayno Dp^i lb envy
1 There is no heading in the MS., but the title prefixed to this edition
2 Or. 67, fol. 260 b.
3 The right reading is probably rranoil .
4 MS. Vnns. s MS. D'rapa. 6 MS. aw (?).
7 The MS. has mirsb for -pia twsz, or -pryj.
278 THE JEWISH QUAKTEELY REVIEW
♦ nnn etn bx njDan mnwo icy bai win by'i pxn oyo D^abx wa
tab ii»3» sbi o^ nebe icy tt»rfa vmi neuron 'ba nx de jprn
by ta*i mneen ^3 n« ' omby "ibe 1 !' 'jrnn ova \mi • moan bx
e»« niND eon by noinn ham • pxb mbai noinn p ~mx brno
Ninn ova wi • dtid onjs neinn nnno Ditwi yimn pen b^no
nebe "jbon btio vnmi njDsn bx yimn pen bfl lbyi neinn biaJ3
oen }nj xbi lobeoi ima nebe -jben brio tanseom • eaj D^yen
pen mby nya Ninn ova • my onnriN *|vnb yimn pen b'n aba
ibe mixeye nyai • D.mby "jbo ib^n ba mix wn moan ba yimn
■>mi • "]b» yimn pen 2 neyj -a mny bai anso aima lpym omby
nx nnpb epa ••a onxea nex D^ejxn ba by dd oe^i ibo s imeyna
nym nn« "|bon iwtk vbx nowi yimn pen hn lNiai • Diieo ba
T>nay into dn nnyi • anvoa "jbe- wby mjsbcni ib rnsy ley no
ba nx naabi Jnnb meenb m ;njn 310 i?on by dxi m^ys jn
wa^iN on 13 one apjnbi nab obbei D^eji *p jpr nyi nyjo DHimn
aioa onb ieyi Dab d'owj ommn yimn pen Dmbx "udnV :un*i
ipyri nso naa ba« ieyi ntn nann onimn lyee neto \mi • Da^ya
D^pe rami nay Dean by ibyi 133*1 div wopi • rnoi rbm npyv
dvi dv baa vmi • na wv ba bbeixi pun baxni obm nyi ooopo
pen nana D'ainn ins 11 mmn * nccen omaa nnbye ny tfpyixi mex
pen hn yieea vri * laiaj omnvi bai oniffn mm3 nana nnm yimn
by ikis'i • ew D'abx pxn Dyei one laD^i oabe nan ns jmvi
N^D^e '•o ba iTm • ai bbe ono lbbe^i onb nex ba nx ina 11 ! noa T>yn
d'sni Dnn dttiu vn DHin^ni • D-'nin 1 ' neon mm uinb epao mm
'nci Dnsea nbna npyv %nni • D^no ubia now ^ onieaj n&? obeb
msn ne^een Den ba b^w ^3 nyie byni • nnan 3no nns mm
mn 7 n ,, n'' ii M N • apy> 6 Dyi pnv oyi d.tisn oy ma nex inna onb
nvna mm • w m3 8 pim wiei nry mbe bxm nmsn n3D33
n>n *3 wsb moyi yimn pen i-.eo neb nsnn "tjvi dvjiiv onimn
iben by dni iben m^ya ;n ^nN^o w dn iben ib iion , i • ib njeo
1 MS. ante. " MS. rrop. 3 MS. imraa. * Fol. 261a.
5 MS. noi. 6 MS. av\. ' The MS. appears to have itiv.
8 The MS. appears to have novn.
MEGILLATH MISSKAIM 279
• ddj?i ^pao T3 anDon ••a anxon noi ayca no '•a anin^ mn 310
TO 1J3"IJ?N "OUK "£on *W3 ^N Q3nn B3B3 Jill'' 310 ^ID.T i>y BN1
ayn bi pann -ik>k3 ntyy i? nation btt yiTn fotpn -umoi • wp3n
amnvi tvnn ro*i nation wi • wys ;n nxxo 13 Ta^ya 3103 ia nit?yi>
ai^e> anin^ naeon netn • wa it b»n oi^a 1 * 5>n "j^on -ion na
yi'Tn jot?n Wi i^b> new tpi • aa^y nix "ji^on 13 intd !>n Bab
-inx * cm&n inx rvaa mix m^i bb&n b na lnp 1 '! am.Tn nx
3nr ffira j^n ewDrn nxo oniiTno yiTn jot}>n B>p3 nfon ansnn
yioeoi • 3iru B3noN nnno3 oitosn *6 bn p aa -10x1 a^na
• tob» ibnaa 13 win may!? ta* xh ibNJVi nrn jnn "Din m anwn
at^Ni by -iay ip-im D3 nyaa ae>n t "o tax" m wn -it?N3 vw
hp3 Ben bx ipyvi ny-in istio b"n uw mvy itnjn naica iypm
i,a v i tw:tt Bno £yi an* vsb B^aannoi a^n nnvnai • .T3331 bna
by bo yiTn pswi Btn • an^N yo&? xh rtnN yiTn pen , oai>
ttbz 3nn «1D3 ^ wan bt,n -10x1 onmon 5?yi anxo '•eon byi psn
a^ana vni an poo anxoa vn -ik>n Bm.Tno yiTn pm n^i • ibbo
mvn DiT^y napn "lexsi • norein'nan nso anix nianb arrow T3
*TiT b' *3 anxo *swn bb m fnam amnvTO nxpo warm mrani
t awia B'wian dvi av S>33i • inn nna by ini^n" 1 tair im
pen ^n» q^jm ixn 11 ! • ncixy n3i n3D amsnh ar\u<b amnu
lpy^i • ani> icn bi p3nn dsd3 ano nnpi> amn^n lcarT'i yiTn
bra i>ip3 wn ba i3jnn ,, i • aw anTiipiscDi ani> nv3 at^n bx
• nnjNi 'laoni ,, 33 13 px itw* onsea n^a n»n xh anpw aen yaei
ib>n aniiT-n b riN T3sni> yvrn |orn cp3 nix cin^ -\wy nyen3i
iin tnni» i^y naiDBai 2 • rab a^n b^ji fjo ;pr ijn nyao ansea
aivai nbra npysai a ,, 3i:nn3i nbana acaa ^y TBy5» amn\n iv3pa
m yDE«i acn i>s i>s"is5« ^3 nyie ^ym • vyf? ysi" 1 naxi ptjn ••sai
ape nsi an>jyn dni an^yo nx a^p^N nt 1 ! • inns ani? iispi anpw
: anyn ^paoi an^is to aywi owna aye" 1 tbvn amy nn xh
manatn iaD3 uTii^an unsai av^n *jb^ wiw nn^y Ninn nVSn
anvos ie>k 'oy 8,| jy ns tcni nun ion ,, i • ^on yab ctnpa iwi
anen isyna wnn ova • V3iN3o jin TiyT ^3 wau 'aao anpyx nNi
1 So the MS. id=di would be better. 2 Pol. 261 b. 3 MS. >33.
280 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
♦ ah ai?a yiTn pen *tay nnano in lex no^e i^on hn» antroon
d»b6b> ansean rrob& "frvn hno Day inp ,,, i ynn pen eien^ nyvi
♦ pmon nua n\n '•a n^Dsa jnTfi pen ikvd *6i njDan ibyi • ew
rmi ywi leanb na i^x iahi fnim am nan -»»«!> an^> navi
nwi 2 y»e^i ywn pen nnx no^e i^cn hn iam) • an^ao
pen 13 nota itan ne nixns w * lnmo xh 1^1 ^an^ao
ansa maim ba ipyn ywim • na ub»i njDan ^>y i^n ma ynn
rrc&e itan wjiik tv nwi • nnan iw as^ nw npeni aii>e
nivn anin^ * nntoei rbm anrcn in» ny nhna nnbe nni ahy^>
hn ijapnai njnru tin enn^ ney nyenai • -ip ,| i peei nnoei miK
nei>e& no^e i^n ne *aipirw any 4 mnp ,, i pt "fa aienS hna
iNami awx yvrn pen hno idot ynn pen nnw la-TVi av^n
6 nea D'wara nni ima anwN ^ n»5>e *^»n hnb navi * ewpn nea
T^on hn ism * a'opn ne nxi anix la-ie*! ex an^y lane 11 ! a'opn
•^cn hn *a yiTn pen hni> wi * exa awe anix in-pi no^e
"arr-iTDnn nw 'an^oia tin i3T5n aaipa D3^ "nm annnx ej-m nri>e
♦ ijno*i iwn Tin ^n aosy mbm a^-i aw an» ima*t' -ohi
10 D:n * wn nae ^y avio nrriN int , i n»i>e i?on hn anny IN1311
aihaxi ma ani> irn3' , i anxo ny» -vy ta v^n i?3i yifn pen
arm uwi ynvi pen hn nnt* no^e itan hn ibtvi ♦ aipe»i
♦ exs "nnvpo isieM [nrnx] i^e^i T'yn m i»nm ^yn p a^si" 1
name BV31 ♦ e^N ana uin *b) amx 12 i^e -1^3 vn nes anwm
mix u^e'-i ynn ]mn nnx no^e i^»n hn ian m« enn^ aneyi
pen exi nx n»^e i^on hn itw * iexi n« wnrri inieam
••n^i • ayn bs wb nhinn nye ^y nnix ibm noin ^y n^i^n jn*rn
"•eax moe"! yi-rn pen exi aejn anitob no^e n^»n hn N3 ny3
nes a^D^n nxi aen nyie 11 nx anirin niNi3i • nbn nnoe ansa
i>a n« *i3Kh Jinnij T>eeni> epa nex ■'iisn pn "wa an^ ieyj
1 MS. vs. 2 MS. now.
3 The words within ( ) appear unnecessary.
4 MS. yjfjm . . . inpi. • MS. nwo. 6 MS. mm.
7 MS. DrrDiD. 8 MS. nmain. • Pol. 262 a.
10 MS. cwi. " MS. Dnspn. 12 Probably so, but not certain.
13 MS. m,
MEGILLATH MISSRAIM 281
Vy P yboyn py i^ 3 ' ^ t&bw DW i *P IP* "M "W crv^n
• DBwa atay aen Bmacno ^pi array bot -iam me^ yiTn joot
tin OTr6 antyyi nyae> ava nuynn^ waani oniffn i^npj p ^>y
nunoi Mny"6 k»n nuo miwi nnoK>i nne>» anew rooe> av nwh
^pao to aywii niN^wi b^dj bot anoy nt?y -ie>s by • awat6
ay-it bi an^y anvoa a'oe'vn amrr-n i^api io«p p ^>y • anie'ai
ntwi n^jon nnph tw enrfc r"a ava nuynr6 arrb ai^n b ^yi
■•D" 1 ntan a^ 'nop p ^y • nnoE>i nntw av win nwyh la n"aa
Has* p • anu^is to aye>im m^sai b^ anoy new bb> ^y b'-dj
toot^> ltppatj' yiTn jooti yj«n jon ids in^JB u^to dot mN b
DOTi • nai> a^>en awi *|D p nyi "iyio ttiwri $>a nx naxh anr&
anetMi ann maxi arm ii>ni aniae»no ^pi anvy nan voma
new vrom vniN^sa n«wi * pnh oipe>ni lrrnaja b>oot nxva vamtn
2 Toy unaKi ujwn jot bai nye> bai avi av ba way ne>y sin
$>N-ie* b 3
III. — Translation.
And it came to pass in the days of King Soliman 4 (this is King
Soliman who reigned in Turkey, and the Levant, and Greece, and in
many [other] provinces 5 ), that in those days, when King Soliman sat
on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Constantinople, the great
city, he considered all the provinces of his kingdom, and he sent to
each province a chief to judge its people in righteousness and equity.
After these things, King Soliman promoted one of his chiefs, whose
name was Ahmed Shaitan 6 , and he placed his seat above all the chiefs
1 MS. wV>.
2 The ■> in TO? is evidently intended to mark the vowel of the a
\jf&9, on account of the pause), and not to indicate a plural form.
3 In the MS. a word that looks like vn (probably some unknown
abbreviation) stands here. In the translation I have assumed the word
1 Sultan Soliman (or Sulaiman) I, surnamed the Magnificent, reigned
from 1520 to 1566.
5 The text has : "and in many military camps."
e The Hebrew has: " the well-known Satan" all through the Megillah.
By the term ri-pn, the Arabic name nnnx was probably meant to be
282 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
that were with him. And he sent him to be a ruler over the land of
Egypt, and he commanded him, saying, Egypt have I given to thee,
and in it shalt thou dwell, and according to thy word shall all my
people he ruled ; only in the throne will I he greater than thou. Only
be thou strong and very courageous to judge in righteousness, and to
discard unjust gain, and the coinage 1 shalt thou issue in my name.
And Ahmed Shaitan came into the land of Egypt, and he went up
to the citadel, and dwelt there. And he began to oppress, and to
exact money, and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Holy
One 2 , and the taxes increased in his days, and Ahmed Shaitan forsook
the command of the king, and gathered together much substance, and
his spirit was not satisfied, neither was his eye satisfied, for he was
a man of very great greed. And his soul was greatly lifted up, and he
determined to rebel against the king ; and he collected much substance
from all the people of Egypt, and vain and light persons gathered
round him, and he numbered them, and found them about two thou-
sand men. And he made a covenant with them, and remitted them
[their taxes], and he distributed money among them, to each man
according to his value. And he first stretched out his hand against
the wealthy men who were in the citadel, and he also killed about
thirty persons of the force of King Soliman. And he took all the
armed men who came to him, and he went and fixed his dwelling on
the banks of the Nile. And it came to pass, when the remainder of
the king's force saw that the wealthy men who had been in the
citadel were killed, and that Ahmed Shaitan had rebelled against
King Soliman, that the whole force assembled themselves, and went
up into the citadel, and closed its gates upon them, and they stayed
in it for eight days. And it came to pass, when Ahmed Shaitan saw
that the force of King Soliman listened not to his voice, and that
they had gone up into the citadel, and rebelled against him,
that he consulted with his councillors, and said unto them, What
should we do ? And they said unto him, If thou wilt accept our
counsel and act accordingly, then shall we make thee king. Now, go
and fight against the force of King Soliman, and take the citadel, and
dwell in it ; then shall the kingdom be established in thy hand. And
vaguely represented. In Turkish history, Ahmed bears the name of
1 The two most important sovereign rights of the Sultan were the
coinage and the Juki., i.e. the mention of his name in the public prayers
at the mosque.
2 The divine name is generally avoided in the Megillah. In the
translation, the term Dion is rendered by " the Holy One," wherever
MEGILLATH MISSRAIM 283
it came to pass, when Ahmed Shaitan heard this saying, that their
counsel was well-pleasing in his eyes, and he went and collected a
thousand men from among the slaves, together with the force that had
gone up with him ; and there assembled themselves unto them about
two thousand of the people of the land, and he and all his people
went up from behind the citadel to the top of the hill. And he pre-
pared there the instruments of destruction, and they continued to
fight against him for three days, so that they l could not enter the
citadel. And it came to pass on the fourth day that he hurled upon
them the instruments of destruction, and he scaled one wall of the
fortification, and brought it down to the ground. And it fell upon five
hundred men of Ahmed Shaitan's force, and they drew them out from
under the wall dead bodies. And it came to pass on that day, when
the wall fell, that the force of Ahmed Shaitan went up into the
citadel 2 , and killed ninety men of the force of King Soliman. And
the remainder of King Soliman's force fled and escaped, and the Holy
One did not put it into the heart of Ahmed Shaitan to pursue them
further. On that day, at the time when Ahmed Shaitan went up
into the citadel, his whole force made him king over them. And at
the time when they made him king over them, they proclaimed in the
streets of Cairo 3 , and in all the neighbouring cities, that Ahmed
Shaitan was made king. And it came to pass, when he had been made
king, that he laid a tax upon all the inhabitants of Egypt, for he
wanted to take away all their money. And Ahmed Shaitan's force
came and said unto him, Thou knowest, our lord the king, what
thy servants have done unto thee, and that we have made thee king
in Egypt. And now, if thy servants have found favour in thine eyes,
and if it please the king, let a decree be given to destroy, to kill, and
to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and
women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, and to take vengeance
of them, for they are our enemies and adversaries. And Ahmed
Shaitan said unto them, The Jews are given unto you, and do unto
them as is pleasing in your eyes 4 . And it came to pass when the Jews
1 I.e. the force of Ahmed Shaitan.
2 According to Hammer-PurgstalFs (op. cit.) account, Ahmed entered
the citadel by an old disused water-conduit, which had been pointed out
to him. This statement agrees with the circumstantial details of Ahmed's
entry into the castle as narrated in dto nuniHO, fol. 18 b.
3 It is well known that „a* (">so) is also used to designate Cairo, and
DMSO is, therefore, here translated sometimes by " Egypt," and sometimes
by " Cairo," according to the requirements of the respective passages in
which it occurs.
4 Both Joseph Sambary and David Conforte report that Ahmed
284 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
heard this thing, that they made a very grievous mourning, and they
cried with a loud and bitter cry. And they proclaimed a fast, and
they wept, and they put earth upon their heads, and they put on
sackcloth, from the least amongst them even unto the greatest,
and the land mourned, and all the inhabitants thereof languished.
And they continued fasting and crying every day until their weeping
rose up to heaven. The posts went out, being hastened by the com-
mandment of Ahmed Shaitan, and the decree was given in the quarter
of the Jews, and all the Jews were perplexed. And it came to pass,
when the force of Ahmed Shaitan heard the commandment of their
king, that there assembled themselves together of them and of the
people of the land about two thousand men. And they came upon
the city securely, and they plundered all that belonged to them, and
they took much spoil. And it was so that every one who found a
Jew sought to kill him, and they killed five 1 Jews. And the Jews
fled, running in haste to save their lives, for they said, We be all
dead men. And a great cry arose in Cairo, and one Jew died from
great fear. And the outcry of the children of Israel rose up to the
Holy One to heaven, and he remembered his covenant which he had
made with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.
There was one 2 man in the citadel of the city, and God sent him to
be my helper and deliverer, and the supporter of my right hand.
And it was so that when the Jews were crying, the matter was re-
ported to one of Ahmed Shaitan's chiefs, and he stood up before
him, for he was second to him [in rank] 3 . And he said unto him, If
I have found favour in thy sight, king, and if it please the king,
let the Jews alone, for what is their transgression, and what is their
Shaitan's anger against the Jews was caused by the part which Abraham
de Castro, who was set over the Egyptian mint, took in making known
to Sultan Soliman the designs of Ahmed with regard to the coinage.
In dVis ms-vmn, fol. 19 a: Sna nss anb rrn onsoa -run wnrrn bs cai
rvan'Np DmiN Vn "ran nn\H to. Bocignolus writes : "Erat Cayri quidam
Judaeus vir satis amplae mercaturae, hie nescio quonam modo defec-
tionem hanc non solum olfecerat, sed pene manifestis argumentis
comprehenderat. Quamobrem Constantinopolim veniens . . . quid
Axmatus moliatur exponit."
1 It is plain from the Megillah itself that plunder was the main object
of the enemy, and that massacre was only resorted to as a means to
2 Note the play on the words «ttt> and mm (Esther ii. 5). Joseph Ibn
Verga states that the name of this councillor was '3«n.
3 The word towd, which is here translated literally, is rendered by
" Grand Vizir" in the passages which follow.
MEGILLATH MISSRAIM 285
sin, that thou shouldst deliver them into the hand of those who seek
to do them evil. And if it be pleasing to the king, let their silver
and their gold be given into the treasuries of the king ; I will be
surety for it, at my hands thou mayest require it. And Ahmed
Shaitan said to the Grand Vizir, Go and do as thou desirest,
and do to the whole people as is good in thine eyes, for thou
hast found favour in my sight. And the Grand Vizir came and
proclaimed in the quarter of the Jews: Thus said the king, Let
no man stretch out his hand against the Jews. And the Grand
Vizir said to the Jews, Peace shall be upon you ; fear not, for the
king has given orders concerning you. And it came to pass when the
force of Ahmed Shaitan had plundered the Jews, that they took all
the spoil, and carried it into the house of one of the chiefs.
After these things, Ahmed Shaitan desired of the Jews a hundred
and fifty thousand great gold pieces 1 , and he also said, If ye bring
them not quickly, I shall kill you with the sword. And when the
Jews heard this evil thing, they mourned, and could not answer him,
for they were terrified before him. And it came to pass, when the
children of Israel saw that the hand of the Holy One had touched
them, that they threw earth upon their heads and blew the trumpet,
and they convoked an assembly, and every one returned from his evil
way, and they cried unto the Holy One with a loud voice and with
weeping. And whilst they were weeping and making supplication
before the Almighty, some men from amongst them went up, and fell
down to the ground before Ahmed Shaitan, but he listened not to
them. And Ahmed Shaitan imposed a tax upon the land, and upon
the people of Egypt, and upon the merchants, and he said unto them,
Bring unto me silver and gold without number. And Ahmed
Shaitan took from the Jews of Cairo much money, and they were
being seized by the hand of their enemies to smite them very sorely.
And when the tribulation and the evil decree pressed heavily upon
them, some of the Jews hid themselves, and the command was given
to all the people of Cairo that they should hang every Jew, who
should hide himself, on the door of his house. And every day the
task-masters stretched out their hands against the Jews to smite them
1 This agrees with the accounts given by Joseph Sambary, and the
author of chv ramro. Joseph Ibn Verga has rpa •n33 dtiho. The two
former appear to have taken the words crtru dttid rpx cmom rwo from the
Megillah itself, only leaving out the word am, which indeed mars the
construction of the different terms. Illustrations of the term rnns, lit.
"flowers" or "blossoms" will be found in e.g. H. A. Grueber's Account
of a Hoard of Coins found at Ephesus (London, 1872). Compare the term
VOL. VIII. U
286 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
very sorely. And certain men of Ahmed Shaitan's force came, and
seized the Jews, to take from them their silver and their gold and
everything that belonged to them. And they cried to the Holy One
in their trouble, and that he may save them out of their distresses.
And they made supplication 1 before the Holy One with a loud voice,
and the Holy One heard their groaning, and there was not a house in
Cairo in which there was not weeping, and lamentation, and sobbing.
And on the nineteenth day of the month Adar Ahmed Shaitan
sought to destroy all the Jews that were in Cairo, both young and
old, little children and women, and to take the spoil of them for
a prey. And on the eighteenth day of the month Adar, the Jews
assembled themselves to stand for their life in prayer and supplica-
tion, and great crying, and in fasting and weeping ; and sackcloth and
ashes were spread under many. And the cry of the children of Israel
went up to the Holy One, and he heard their groaning, and he re-
membered his covenant with them. And God saw their works, and
their fasting, and their sackcloth, and he did not despise their humilia-
tion, and he sent them help suddenly, and he saved them from the
hands of their enemies and of those who sought their hurt.
In that night our cry went up before Ood, and our prayers were
written in the book of remembrances, and they were read before
the king 2 . And he said, I have surely seen the affliction of my
people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason
of their task-masters, for I know their sorrows. On that day was
a council held by the chiefs who remained of King Soliman's force,
and who had been addressing Ahmed Shaitan with a double heart.
And they agreed to seize Ahmed Shaitan, and they took with them
thirty men of those who remained of King Soliman's force. And
they went up to the citadel, but they found not Ahmed Shaitan
in the citadel, for he was in the bath. And it was told to them,
saying, Behold, he is in the bath, and they went to him, in order to
seize him; but he heard of it, and fled before them. (And King
Soliman's force pursued Ahmed Shaitan, and he heard of it, and
fled before them) ; and they went up, and found him not. And it
came to pass, when Sultan Soliman's chiefs saw that Ahmed Shaitan
had fled, that they went up into the citadel, and dwelt therein.
And they hastened, and proclaimed in all the streets of Cairo : Peace
and quietness be unto you, and be ye not afraid. And they said,
1 Samuel Sidillo, the venerable chief of one of the Cairo Synagogues
(vide supra), took a very prominent part in the arrangement and conduct
of these services. See the accounts of Joseph Sambary, David Conforte,
and cVw nunwo .
2 Note the not very happy allusion to Esther vi. i.
MEGILLATH MISSRAIM 287
May our lord, the King Soliman, live for ever ; and there was very
much joy, and Cairo rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light,
and gladness, and joy and honour. And on the nineteenth day of
the month Adar, there was collected and assembled a great force,
and they put armour on them, and they took them with them, and
King Soliman's chiefs divided them into three parties, and they
pursued Ahmed Shaitan ; and certain men of Ahmed Shaitan's
force fled, and hid themselves in the plantation of reeds. And
it was reported to King Soliman's force, that certain men
had fled, and that they were hidden in the plantation of reeds,
and they threw fire upon them, and burnt them together with the
plantation of reeds. And King Soliman's force came, and they
saw them burnt in the fire. And it was told the force of Ahmed
Shaitan that King Soliman's force was pursuing them, and their
heart died within them, and they forsook their horses and their arms,
and they went away ; and many of their men fled, and threw them-
selves into the Nile and were drowned. And King Soliman's force
came, and they saw them dead on the banks of the Nile. And Ahmed
Shaitan and all his hosts fled to one of the cities of Egypt \ and they
made a covenant with them, and they gave them food and drink.
And King Soliman's force pursued the force of Ahmed Shaitan, and
they overtook them, as they were coming out of the city 2 , and they
destroyed the city, and they plundered [it], and burnt a part of it
with fire. But the Jews who were in the city they plundered, but
did not kill one of them. And on the twenty-eighth day of the
month Adar, King Soliman's force pursued Ahmed Shaitan, and they
overtook him, and seized him, and cut off his head. And King
Soliman's force brought Ahmed Shaitan's head fixed upon a spear,
and they hung it up on the gate of Zuwailah 3 before the eyes of all
the people. And it came to pass, when King Soliman's force entered
Cairo, [carrying] with them the head of Ahmed Shaitan, that the
people of Cairo rejoiced with a great rejoicing, And when the
1 In Hammer-Purgstall's account (p. 38), the tribe of the Benu-Bakr is
stated to have sheltered the rebel.
2 In Hammer-Purgstall the city is named Mahallel.
* The Hebrew has nVin, but sJb. \ is the correct designation of the gate.
See e.g. Q. Zaidan, in his i^ojii ya* .jjA? i_>Ua (Cairo, 1889), part ii,
p. 72. In Niebuhr's Reisebeschreibungen nach Arabien (Kopenhagen, 1774),
Band I, p. in, a Jj»*»Jl t_>l> (sueli) is mentioned as being "ein sehr
schOnes Thor, jetzt fast mitten in der Stadt." I must express my thanks
to my colleague, Mr. A. G-. Ellis, for directing my attention to several of
the authorities to which I have referred.
288 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
Jews saw the salvation of the Holy One, and the wonders which were
done to them, as in the days of Haman the Agagite, who had sought
to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish all Jews, both young and
old, little children and women, and to take the spoil of them for
a prey— for as the Amalekite had counselled, thus counselled also
Ahmed Shaitan to do ; but the Holy One brought their counsel to
nought, and caused their thoughts to perish, and their violent dealing
came down upon their own pate — the Jews were assembled, and
agreed to fast on the twenty- seventh day of the month Adar, and to
make the twenty-eighth day a feast and rejoicing, and for sending
portions one to another and gifts to the poor. Because the Holy One
had done to them marvels and wonderful things, and had helped them
out of the hands of those who had sought their life. The Jews,
therefore, who dwell in Cairo ordained and took upon them, and
upon their children, and upon all who join themselves to them, to
fast on the twenty-seventh day 1 of the month Adar, and to read this
scroll on the twenty- eighth day J of it, and to make it a day of feast-
ing and rejoicing. They, therefore, called these days the Days of
Marvels 2 , because he had done to them marvels and wonderful things,
and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies. Thus may all
the enemies of the Holy One and the enemies of thy peculiar people
perish like Haman the Agagite and Ahmed Shaitan, who had sought
to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish all Jews, both young and
old, little children and women, and to take the spoil of them for
a prey. But the Holy Que, in his mercy, brought to nought their
counsel and caused their thoughts to perish, and they hanged them,
and their spirit and their breath of life perished ; but those that love
him are like the rising of the sun in his strength ; and the land had
rest. And let us remember his wonderful deeds and his acts of loving-
kindness, which he is doing unto us every day, every hour ; and at all
times he has saved us. And we are thy people. Amen. [Peace] be
1 Joseph Sambary, David Conforte, and the author of rtw nuniND,
correctly give the twenty-eighth day of Adar as the date of the festival.
In Joseph Ibn Verga's account, the fast of the twenty-seventh appears to
have become confused with the feast on the following day. The chrono-
logical difficulty is clearly stated by Professor Graetz.
2 The feast was known as the Ca'irene Purim. In Graetz : " Kairo-
anische Purim. Furim al-Missrajin."