“The Sins Which Defile the Sun Rays” – an Excerpt from Ancient Jewish Literature – Apocalypse of Baruch or 3 Baruch (First/Second Century CE)
And I said to the angel, “What is this bird?” And he said to me, “This is the guardian of the world.”… And I said, “Lord, what is this bird, and what is its name?” And the angel told me, “His name is Phoenix”…And taking me, he led me to the west. And when the time of the setting (of the sun) came, I saw again the bird coming in front and the sun coming with the angels. When he came, I saw the angels, and they removed the crown from his head. And the bird was overcome and let his wings droop.
And when I saw these things, I said, “Why do they remove the crown from his head and why is the bird so overcome?” And the angel said to me, “When the day is completed, angels take the crown of the sun and carry it to heaven and renew it because it and its rays are defiled upon earth. And every day it is renewed.” And I Baruch said, “Lord, by what are its rays defiled upon earth?” And the angel said to me, “By the sight of the lawlessness and unrighteousness of men committing fornication, adultery, theft, robbery, idol-worship, drunkenness, murder, discord, jealousy, slander, murmuring, gossip, divination, and other things which are unacceptable to God. By means of these it is defiled, and because of this it is renewed. And now, concerning how the bird becomes overcome: It is overcome because it checks the rays of the sun and the fire and burning the whole day. For if its wings did not draw around the rays of the sun as earlier said, no living being would survive.” (3 Baruch 6-8)
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