The Book of Enoch (Part 1)

Hello Religion discussers, so today I want to talk about my favorite apocryphal book.

The book of Enoch.  I love this one.  Sheer narrative wise, this expands the mythology and angeology set up in the old testament (and reused in the new testament) so well!  It’s a lot of fun.  Read it if you got the time.

Oh, you don’t have the time and are just planning on commenting “Apocrypha isn’t canon so I’m not talking about it” or “I don’t believe in god so I’m not talking about it”?  Well, in my experience this will put you in line with the majority of posters, but it is an incredibly boring response.   And hey, it’s canon to ethiopian jews, so give their sect’s scripture some respect (if you want any respect for your own).

Basically the set up is Enoch is the great grandfather of Noah.  He receives prophecies in dreams, sees the world around him, and just takes a number of trips to heaven/the kingdom of god/the kingdom of jehovah and receives revelations.

Enoch starts with the book of the watchers.  This describes the fall of the watchers/elohim (an angelic choir) who came to earth led by the angel Azazel and started sleeping with some humans (knew them in the biblical sense) to create Nephillim.  (Nephillim are in Genesis). The Nephillim would go on to sleep with humans and create Giants (also in the old testament).  A unique thing about later parts of the book of enoch is that the presence of these species are part of the motivation to justify the flood planned for later (even though giants exist after the flood in the bible, like Goliath.)  Another really fun thing about this is that a number of items of mankind’s ‘evil knowledge’ is expanded in this text (chapter 8):

” Moreover Azazyel taught men to make swords, knives, shields, breastplates, the fabrication of mirrors, and the workmanship of bracelets and ornaments, the use of paint, the beautifying of the eyebrows, the use of stones of every valuable and select kind, and all sorts of dyes, so that the world became altered. 2Impiety increased; fornication multiplied; and they transgressed and corrupted all their ways. 3Amazarak taught all the sorcerers, and dividers of roots: 4Armers taught the solution of sorcery; 5Barkayal taught the observers of the stars,  6Akibeel taught signs; 7Tamiel taught astronomy; 8And Asaradel taught the motion of the moon, 9And men, being destroyed, cried out; and their voice reached to heaven.”


Now I realize this post is getting long, so I’m just going to copy and paste a couple of other passages and get to questions because I can go on about this text forever.

Chapter 20

1These are the names of the angels who watch.

2Uriel, one of the holy angels, who presides over clamor and terror.

3Raphael, one of the holy angels, who presides over the spirits of men.

4Raguel, one of the holy angels, who inflicts punishment on the world and the luminaries.

5Michael, one of the holy angels, who, presiding over human virtue, commands the nations.

6Sarakiel, one of the holy angels, who presides over the spirits of the children of men that transgress.

7Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who presides over Ikisat, (31) over paradise, and over the cherubim.


(31) Ikisat. The serpents (Charles, p. 92; Knibb, p. 107)


And directly adjacent:

Chapter 21

1Then I made a circuit to a place in which nothing was completed.

2And there I beheld neither the tremendous workmanship of an exalted heaven, nor of an established earth, but a desolate spot, prepared, and terrific.

3There, too, I beheld seven stars of heaven bound in it together, like great mountains, and like a blazing fire. I exclaimed, For what species of crime have they been bound, and why have they been removed to this place? Then Uriel, one of the holy angels who was with me, and who conducted me, answered: Enoch, wherefore do you ask; wherefore do you reason with yourself, and anxiously inquire? These are those of the stars which have transgressed the commandment of the most high God; and are here bound, until the infinite number of the days of their crimes be completed.

4From there I afterwards passed on to another terrific place;

5Where I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst of which there was a division. Columns of fire struggled together to the end of the abyss, and deep was their descent. But neither its measurement nor magnitude was I able to discover; neither could I perceive its origin. Then I exclaimed, How terrible is this place, and how difficult to explore!

6Uriel, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered and said: Enoch, why are you alarmed and amazed at this terrific place, at the sight of this place of suffering? This, he said, is the prison of the angels; and here they are kept for ever.



Right, let’s have some questions:

  1. Were you familiar with the book of enoch?
  2. Have you ever read the book of enoch?  Do you plan to?
  3. Why do you think this book is only canon to ethiopian jews?
  4. I did part 1 as a focus on the “Book of the Watchers” which is just chapters 1-36.  (Book of parables is 37-72.  73-82 is ‘the astronomical book’ which makes the fact that fallen angels are blamed for teaching man astronomy kind of wild.  83-90 are dream visions.  and an epistle section to close out).  Would you be interested in a part 2 that gives further discussion to this fun story?
  5. What are your thoughts on the named archangels and their duties?
  6. Does the eternal imprisonment and burning of the fallen angels here pave the way for the Hebrew sheol to become the Christian hell?




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