“The Seven Spirits of Deceit” – an Excerpt from the Testament of Twelve Patriarchs (First Century BCE/First Century CE), a Jewish text originally authored in Hebrew, translated to Greek and improved upon by Christian scribes around 2nd Century CE.
A copy of the testament of Reuben: the things which he commanded to his sons before he died in the one hundred twenty-fifth year of his life… And when he was raised up he kissed them and said to them, “Listen, my brothers and my sons; give heed to the things which I, Reuben, your father, command you. See here, I call the God of heaven to bear witness to you this day, so that you will not behave yourselves in the ignorant ways of youth and sexual promiscuity in which I indulged myself and defiled the marriage bed of my father, Jacob… And now give heed to me, my children, concerning the things which I saw during my time of penitence, concerning the seven spirits of deceit. For seven spirits are established against mankind, and they are the sources of the deeds of youth. And seven other spirits are given to man at creation so that by them every human deed (is done).
First is the spirit of life, with which man is created as a composite being. The second is the spirit of seeing, with which comes desire. The third is the spirit of hearing, with which comes instruction. The fourth is the spirit of smell, with which is given taste for drawing air and breath. The fifth is the spirit of speech, with which comes knowledge. The sixth is the spirit of taste for consuming food and drink; by it comes strength, because in food is the substance of strength. The seventh is the spirit of procreation and intercourse, with which come sins through fondness for pleasure. For this reason, it was the last in the creation and the first in youth, because it is filled with ignorance; it leads the young person like a blind man into a ditch and like an animal over a cliff. In addition to all is an eighth spirit: sleep, with which is created the ecstasy of nature and the image of death. With these are commingled the spirits of error. (Testament of Reuben 1-3.2)
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