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'Tell me now: the Pharisees of today, are they [really] Pharisees? are they servants of God? Surely not! Yes, and I say to you truly, that there is nothing worse here upon earth than [when] a man covers himself with [the] profession and garb of religion [in order] to cover his wickedness. I will tell you one single example of the Pharisees of old time, in order that you may know the present ones. After the departure of Elijah, because of the great persecution by idolaters, that holy congregation of Pharisees was dispersed. For in that same time of Elijah more than ten thousand prophets who were true Pharisees were slain in one year.

Two Pharisees went into the mountains to dwell there, and one [of them] abode fifteen years knowing nothing of his neighbour, although they were but one hour's journey apart. See then if they were inquisitive! It came to pass that there arose a drought on those mountains, and so both set themselves to search for water, and so they found each other. The more aged [one] said - for it was their custom that the eldest should speak before every other, and they held it a great sin for a young man to speak before an old one - the elder, therefore, said: 'Where do you dwell, brother?' He answered, pointing out the dwelling with his finger: 'I dwell here' (for they were near to the dwelling of the younger.)

 The elder said: 'How long [have] you dwelt here, brother?' The younger answered: 'Fifteen years.' The elder said: 'Perhaps you came [here] when Ahab slew the servants of God?' 'Even so,' replied the younger. The elder said: 'O brother, do you know who is now king of Israel?' The younger answered: 'It is God that is King of Israel, for the idolaters are not kings but persecutors of Israel.' 'It is true,' said the elder, "but I meant to say, who is it that now persecutes Israel?'

The younger answered: 'The sins of Israel persecute Israel, because, if they had not sinned, [God] would not have raised the idolatrous princes up against Israel.' Then the elder said: 'Who is that infidel prince whom God has sent for the chastisement of Israel?' The younger answered: 'How should I know, seeing [that for] these fifteen years I have not seen any man except you, and I do not know how to read so no letters are sent to me?' The elder said: '[But] how new are your sheepskins! Who has given them to you, if you have not seen any man?'

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