|Chapter 2||The Childhood of Jesus|
Mary Spins For The New Temple Curtain
1. AT THAT TIME another curtain was needed in the temple, since the old one had become greatly worn here and there and needed to be covered.
2. A council was therefore held by the priests, and they said, 'Let us make a curtain in the temple of the Lord as a cover for the damaged one.
3. For the Lord may well come today or tomorrow, as it is written - how would we appear before Him if He found the temple thus neglected by us?'
4. Here the high priest said, 'Do not use such blind judgment, as if the Lord, whose sanctuary is in the temple, did not know how matters now stand in the temple.
5. Just the same, call me seven spotless maidens from the tribe of David, and we will draw lots to decide how the work is to be assigned.'
6. The attendants now went forth to seek the maidens from the tribe of David. After much searching only six were found available to the high priest.
7. The high priest then remembered that Mary, who only a few weeks before had been placed in Joseph's care, was also from the tribe of David, and quickly informed the attendants of this.
8. Hereupon the attendants went forth and notified Joseph, and he brought Mary into the temple again, led by the temple attendants.
9. When the maidens were gathered in the antechamber, the high priest came and led them all into the temple of the Lord.
10. And while they were thus assembled, he addressed them as follows,
11. 'Hear, oh maidens from the tribe of David, who according to the will of the Lord has ordained that the fine work on the curtain which divides the most holy tabernacle from the rest of the temple shall always be prepared by the maidens of his tribe,
12. and according to his testament the manifold work shall be distributed by lot, and each maiden according to her skill shall best prepare the work fallen to her.
13. Behold, there before you is the damaged curtain, and here upon the golden table lie the various raw stuffs already prepared for use.
14. You can see that this work is pressing, therefore draw lots promptly so we can see which of you shall spin the gold thread, the asbestos and the cotton thread,
15. the silk thread, the hyacinth-colored, the scarlet and the genuine purple!'
16. Thereupon the maidens meekly drew lots while the high priest prayed over them, and when they had drawn lots according to the prescribed order, it was determined how the work should be apportioned.
17. And to the maiden Mary, the daughter of Anna and Joachim, there fell by lot the scarlet and the genuine purple.
18. At this the maiden thanked God for such gracious recognition and apportionment of such distinguished labor in His honor, took the work and with it went home again, led by Joseph.
19. Arrived at home, Mary promptly began her work in a joyful mood, while Joseph commended her to all diligence, blessed her and then went right back to his house-building.
20. This took place at the same time that Zacharias, when he was appointed to make the smoke offering in the temple, lost his speech because of a small wavering in his faith, wherefore another had been chosen in his stead by whom this work was allotted.
21. Mary was related to Zacharias as well as to his proxy, wherefore she doubly increased her diligence that she might if possible be the first to finish her work.
22. Now she did not double her zeal out of a desire for praise, but only because she wanted to give the Lord God a real pleasure by completing her work as promptly and skillfully as possible.
23. First came the work on the scarlet, which needed to be woven with great concentration so the thread would not here or there be thicker or thinner.
24. With great mastery the scarlet thread was spun by Mary so that all who came to Joseph's house were greatly impressed by Mary's exceptional skill.
25. In the short space of three days Mary was finished with the scarlet and at once turned to the purple; but since this constantly needed to be moistened, she frequently while working had to take her jug and go out to get herself water.
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