Christ and Satan, lines 655b-730 [end]

The poet continues his description of heaven, where God Himself sits. He suffered death for us, and also fasted for forty days, the poet says. At that point, the Devil tries to tempt him, asking him to turn stones into loaves.

[Here, although the manuscript is not damaged, there is a major break in the sense of the poem. In the Bible, there are 3 temptations, and Jesus uses quotations from Deuteronomy to argue against Satan. As you will see, the complete temptation scene is absent from Christ and Satan here.  Many scholars therefore think that a short section of the poem is thus missing]

Jesus answers the Devil that He alone has promised a reward to his followers [the sense and syntax of this passage are both confusing]. Then the Devil carries Him to a high place and offers him rule over the earth and its people. Jesus tells the Devil to take himself down to hell and lectures him about how miserable hell will be. Satan becomes miserable and runs away to hell where he will be stuck with God’s adversaries. The tormented spirits yell that they hope the Devil remains in his misery because he never previously cared about the good.

The poem end with “Finit Liber II” (the end of book 2). This is the last poem in the Junius Manuscript.

Christ and Satan, lines 534-655a

Simon Peter, in Galilee, asks Jesus if they are now really seeing Him. Some of the disciples have trouble believing. But the poet notes that it was by design that Jesus mounted the cross so that he could lead men out of hell.

Forty days later Jesus ascends from earth into heaven and gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. God also restores to life a countless number of souls, but not Judas, who is in hell. The poet describes Jesus seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Now the poet moves on to Judgment Day. The archangels will blow the trumpets and the dead will rise. They will be judged, and the righteous will come into the light of glory. The Lord will speak to the evil ones and send them to hell. There they will suffer the hell torments that the poet enjoys describing.

The poet then exhorts us to obey God and describes the dazzling beauty of God’s kingdom.

Christ and Satan, lines 441-533

The Harrowing of Hell continues. God’s Son mounts up to heaven bringing the righteous souls out of hell. The Devil and the fiends are consigned to the darkness.

God’s Son speaks, telling the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and their disobedience with the apple. Thus they and all subsequent souls were sent to hell. But God remembered the souls in hell and, when he had been born into the world, suffered and died, he came to lead them home to heaven.

Next the poet discusses the Resurrection and the appearance of Jesus to the disciples, particularly Simon Peter.

Christ and Satan, lines 315-440

More contrast of the joys of heaven with the sorrows of hell. Then we learn that the lead angel in the revolt was Lucifer. Description of the Harrowing of Hell, when Christ broke down the gates of hell and came to save the souls imprisoned there. The fiends lament the loss of their prey and the humiliation of being defeated.

Jesus leads the good souls out of hell, but before she leaves, Eve says she must speak, telling the story of the Fall of Man, noting that Satan is now bound in chains. She then holds out her hands to the King of Heaven, stating that He was born into the world through her daughter, Mary.

Christ and Satan, lines 224-314

The host of fiends continues to discuss their past. They remember all the pleasures of heaven from which they are now separated. They narrate the story of the Fall of the Angels, their attempt to drive God from his throne and seize all of heaven. But they failed, and now they must inhabit the place of exile, the abyss.

After noting that this is the way God’s adversaries are lamenting in hell, the poet urges us to remember the Lord always. If we do so, he says, we will be blessed and brought into the heavenly kingdom.

Christ and Satan, lines 125-223

The Devil continues to lament his condition: he is trapped in hell, where heat and cold afflict him and he must hear the yammering of hell’s inhabitants, some of whom struggle naked among  serpents. He complains about being changed from his former beauty to what he is now. There then follows a series of “Eala” [alas] laments, similar in structure, if not in content, to those in The Wanderer. The Devil acknowledges that what is most bitter to him is to be cut off forever from God.

The poet then exhorts us always to remember God and delight in Him. Then we may return to where God sits among his troops of Angels on His high throne.

Christ and Satan, lines 1-124

The poet begins by praising God and giving a brief catalogue of all creation (sun, moon, earth, seas, etc.).  God also created Adam and the leader of the angels, who led his followers in a revolt that ended with their being imprisoned in hell.  That leader (Satan) laments that hell is dark, fiery and unpleasant and that he must endure there in chains for the crime of pride.  His minions complain that it is Satan’s fault that they are in hell.

Satan then tells the story of the revolt of the angels, how he thought to overthrow God’s throne and seize power.  But he was banished now down to hell, the doors of which are guarded by dragons.  Having declared himself ruler of heaven, Satan says, “turned out the worse for me.”

Daniel, lines 676-760 [end]

Belshazzar is the third generation after Nebuchadnezzar and is responsible for the defeat of the Chaldeans by the Medes and Persians. Babylon had been safe and its people protected by its walls until Belshazzar provoked God by desecrating the sacred vessels of the Israelites (which had been captured) by using them in feasting.

Belshazzar boasts of the power of his armies, saying that they are more powerful than the God of the Israelites. Suddenly, an angel causes a hand to appear in the hall, writing unknown writings [Mene, Tekel, Pares are not mentioned by the poet].

The king is frightened, and no one can interpret the writing until Daniel the prophet comes. He interprets the writing on the wall to mean that God is angry about the improper use of the sacred vessels and the arrogance of Belshazzar.

Daniel, 531-675

Daniel is summoned by the king and ordered to explicate the dream. He summarizes the dream and says that the tree represents the king’s glory, so that the king’s power will be toppled and he will go into exile. There he will descend to the level of a beast, living in the wild with no understanding of human speech. After seven years, the king will finally believe in the truth of the power of God, and his kingdom will continue to abide. Daniel advises the king to give alms, and so, perhaps, prevent this from happening.

But Nebuchadnezzer is not swayed. He brags and boasts that he will stay ruler in Babylon. But suddenly the king has some kind of fit and rushes off into the wild, where he lives for seven years. But finally he looks up at the heavens, thinks about God, and his spirit turns back towards men. He goes back to his kingdom as a naked beggar, but his kingdom is waiting for him.

After this the king preaches the power of God, telling people about his exile and insanity. Everything happens just as Daniel had predicted. Nebuchadnezzar remains the mightiest ruler on earth until he dies, and his heirs enjoy strength and prosperity.

Daniel, lines 440-530

Now that the youths are free of the furnace, the angel returns to heaven. Nebuchadnezzar is eventually convinced by the prayers of the youths that they have been saved by God, and he command that none of his people are to deny this fact. The youths are given rewards and become counselors in Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar calls an assembly and announces that the Lord is the true and single God. However, the king is still arrogant until, the poet tells us, the Lord reduced him through force.

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of a beautiful tree rising up into the heavens and encompassing the entire world. Its branches are covered with fruit, and it provides food and shelter to every animal and bird. But then an angel commands the tree to be cut down, but the stump be left in place as a token (and when God commands, green shoots will arise from the stump). The tree is also fettered and given over for torment so that it knows that there is a being mightier than it.

Nebuchadnezzar awakes from this dream and ask his counselors what its meaning is. They do not know.

Daniel, lines 333-439

After Azarias’ hymn, and angel comes from heaven and protects the three men, throwing the fire at those who had put them in the furnace. And in the furnace itself the temperature becomes like that of a pleasant summer and the flames were put out wherever the men walked within the furnace.

Then the three men begin a hymn of praise, blessing the work of God and cataloguing his creation.

After this long prayer, Nebuchadnezzar speaks with his counselors, noting that four men, not three, were in the fire (and, we assume, recognizing that none of them have been burned up).

His counselor says that God is protecting the men and that it would be a good idea to take them out of the furnace. They are released, and though the ropes that had bound them were burned away, their clothing was not harmed at all by the flames.

Daniel, lines 209-332

The king is furious and tells the three young men that if they will not worship the idol, they will suffer torture in flames. But the young men still refuse. The king then commands that a furnace be heated, and when it is as hot as possible, he has the three young men bound and thrown inside.

But God sends an angel into the furnace who wraps the three youths in his arms, protecting them from the flame.

The king is even further infuriated, and commands that the youths be burned. More and more wood is thrown into the fire, but the three youths are still protected, and the fire harms the Babylonians. The king observes what is happening and understands he is seeing a miracle.

Then one of the youths, Azarias, sings a hymn in praise of God. [portions of this Hymn of Azarias are also treated in Old English in the Exeter Book].

Daniel, lines 104-208

We learn that the rule of Babylon dreamed that a violent end was coming to all empires. He gathered together his sorcerers and asked what he had dreamed (for he had forgotten), but they were unable to answer him. The king then tells his sorcerers that they will suffer death if they cannot understand the king’s dream. No one is successful at interpreting the dream until the prophet Daniel comes to the king.

Daniel explains the dream and become famous, but he is unable to convert the king to the worship of God. Instead, the king raises up a gold idol.

[There is then a leaf missing from the manuscript]

The people are then summoned to worship the idol. But there are three men who refuse to worship the idol.

Daniel, lines 1-103

The poem opens with a proem or overture very much like that of Beowulf: the poet has heard of the might of the Hebrews and how, after their escape from Egypt, they enjoyed great power and prosperity. But then the people [apparently similar to the Anglo-Saxons whom Bede describes as overwhelmed by a surfeit of “corn and luxury”] began to abandon the law. God becomes angry at them and send the Chaldeans, under their king, Nebuchadezzar, to invade the and plunder the land of Israel.

Nebuchadnezzar seeks out youths who had been well educated. He finds three, named Hananiah, Azarias and Mishael, who are commanded to make their wisdom available to the king.

Exodus, lines 477-590 [end]

The poet describes again the destruction wrought by the sea, crediting God. Every single person in the Egyptian army is killed for contending against God. There is then a homiletic passage / prayer in which the poet urges people to follow God’s law. He then links the events of Exodus to Judgment Day. Moses then speaks, saying that God has given them victory and a new land in Canaan. The people celebrate. The seas are still bloody. The people sing. Then they begin to loot the corpses of the Egyptians that have washed up on the shore. The Israelites divide up the treasure. There were many dead bodies on the edge of the sea.