GGJ01-55

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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 1 GGJ01-55 Chapter


Chapter 55 - Esau’s castle. The clever merchant

55,1. But we continue with our journey, arriving after one hour in a clean, shady grove belonging to a wealthy merchant of Sychar. This grove is provided with lots of ornaments, small gardens, brooklets and ponds with all sorts of fish and birds; and at the end of the extensive grove there stands an immense castle with massive, fortified walls. This castle had been built by Esau, and he lived there when Jacob was abroad. It had of course greatly suffered with the vicissitudes of time, but this merchant spent vast sums on it, completely restoring its habitability, frequently dwelling there with all his, own and on this occasion too. Although he was of a charitable disposition and owned many other properties, he was quite fastidious about this one and uneasy when seeing too many people entering it, for he took great pains to cultivate it.

55,2. When therefore he espied a large crowd moving through the grove and towards the fortifications, he quickly dispatched his many servants and workers to get us out of the grove, and to also find out what we were on about.

55,3. But I said to the workers: ‘Go to your lord and tell him, his and your Lord is letting him know that He and those with Him shall stop off for lunch.’

55,4. The workers and servants immediately return to their lord with the message. He asks them whether they were able to work out who I was. But the workers and servants replied: ‘We have already told you how he said to us that he was your and our lord, why do you ask again? Seven regally adorned daughters accompany him, and there is a measureless crowd in his train. He could turn out to be a prince of Rome, and it would therefore be advisable to rush to the portals and welcome him with all honors.’

55,5. On hearing this, the merchant says: ‘In that case bring me my most expensive festive clothing at once and let everyone look as festive as possible, for such a prince has to be welcomed gloriously.’

55,6. Everything throughout the castle now is a run-to and fro, with all cooks racing to the larder to move masses of edibles into the kitchen, while the gardeners are rushing to the large gardens to collect all kinds of precious fruit.

55,7. After some time the castle lord comes out, splendidly attired and surrounded by a hundred of his most distinguished servants, bows down nearly to the ground before Me three times, welcomes Me in the name of all, thanking Me for the inestimable grace, for he still is of the persuasion that I am in all earnest a prince of Rome.

55,8. But I gaze at him, asking: ‘Friend, what do you consider to be the highest station a human being can occupy on Earth?’

55,9. Replies the wealthy merchant: ‘Lord, forgive your most obedient slave, but I was unable to understand your question, of a most lofty wisdom; therefore please come down from your immeasurably exalted wisdom and put the question in a manner comprehensible to my unlimited mental dullness.’ (He nevertheless had understood the question quite well, but it was in those times a silly form of courtesy to not understand even the simplest question, where the questioner was one of exalted rank, so as to highlight the wisdom of the eminent person.)

55,10. But I say unto him: ‘Friend, you understood Me quite well, but pretend to not have understood Me, merely on account of the old courtesy rule, which however has already gone out of vogue. Put this old silliness aside therefore and answer My question.’

55,11. Replies the merchant: ‘Yes, if I may dare to answer your exalted question straight out, then with your permission I deem myself to have understood your exalted question, and my answer therefore would be that I naturally regard the emperor and his office as the highest a human can occupy on Earth.’

55,12. I said: ‘But friend, why do you contradict yourself so immensely in your own heart against your own dictum, running thus: “Truth is highest and holiest on this Earth, and an office-bearer who is a steward of the office of Truth and justice discharges the highest and most exalted office on Earth.” See, this is your maxim. How can you declare as highest the office of an emperor who as commander in chief occupies an office of brute force, which definitely does not always base itself on Truth and justice, thus flatly contradicting your inner convictions?’

55,13. Here the rich merchant is stunned, saying after a while: ‘Lord, exalted one. Who gave my adage away to you? I have never expressed it aloud, yet of course I thought it thousands upon thousands of times. Because we are only too well aware that with plain truth the best results are not always achieved and one has to often sacrifice it for political considerations, to escape unscathed among men.

55,14. But it seems that in yourself too, exalted princely son, I have detected a great friend of truth and justice, and you may deem it appropriate for me to meet you with cherished truth, because high-ranking lords never want to hear truth and therefore highly regard flattery after which alone they strive, all human rights being nothing to them. Whatever they want they take, preferably by force. Whether the poor complain about injustice, now or in times past, this is all one to the great who bask in high esteem. That's why one has to be political and talk with them nicely, otherwise prison and galley follow, multiplying mankind's torment and pain.’

55,15. I said: ‘You have spoken well and truly. In this case I am of similar opinion, but now tell Me for whom you actually take Me?’

55,16. Says the merchant: ‘Lord, this is a ticklish question. If I say too much I shall obviously be laughed at, but if I say too little I end up in the can. Therefore it shall be better to let the question go begging than, for answering it, to while away one's time with torture and pain in jail.’

55,17. I said: ‘But if I give you the assurance that you needn't fear either, then you shall surely be able to answer? Therefore say it straight out as to who you think I am.

55,18. Replies the merchant: ‘Well if I have to say it: a prince of Rome.’

55,19. Says Jonael behind Me: ‘This might be far too little. You'll just have to guess higher. The prince won’t do.’

55,20. The merchant is startled and says: ‘In the end, could it be the emperor himself?’

55,21. Says Jonael: ‘Still far too little; therefore guess a little higher.’

55,22. Says the merchant: ‘This I shall leave alone well and truly, because there is nothing higher than an emperor of Rome.’

55,23. Says Jonael: ‘And yet there is. Something much, much higher. Just think and say it straight out. Because I see into your heart, and this allocates the lowest place to the emperor of Rome. Why do you speak differently from what you think and feel in your heart? Therefore speak the truth.’

Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 1 GGJ01-55 Chapter