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Chapter 23 - THE LAWS OF HANOCH, THE TYRANT
23,1. When the building of the city was completed, Cain led Hanoch into the tall mansion built for him and there, in the presence of all his children, and already grandchildren, transferred to him the full power over them and asked him to give all of them laws according to his proper understanding and at his discretion, saying:
23,2. "Behold, Hanoch, in this mansion which was built especially for you I am handing over to you all my paternal rights with all the power and might for the free guidance of all the children, mine, yours and theirs, through laws given at your discretion. They shall keep these laws and regard them as sacred, for the law as such is not of major importance, be it one way or another, but everything depends on the exact observance of it. Therefore, it will mean: 'To act in accordance with it is to act right; to act against it is totally wrong, and this must always be punished according to the degree of the transgression.
23,3. "Thus, we shall become free through the observance and not through the law itself the nature of which is not important, although its observance is.
23,4. "However, you as the lawgiver are free from the law, for your freedom must be sacred because of the law. For if you were also bound to the law it would obstruct your action in the necessarily free sphere and make you a prisoner of the law. Therefore, you have to stand outside the law, as free as one who does not know any laws. But every one of your actions must be a strict law to the ones that are completely entrusted to you and they have to act in accordance with your will. Thus, all their actions and movements shall be only those willed by you."
23,5. Then the new sovereign opened his mouth and spake in a dictatorial voice: "So listen, all my subjects, male and female! Let no one ever regard anything as his property, but always as mine alone in order that the quarrels and strife among you may end. In the future all of you will serve only me and work for my storerooms, and for that you shall receive your food, according to your diligence. The most faithful shall be allowed to come closer to me than the less faithful, and the supervisors, the officers of the law and the executors of the just punishments shall have a better fare. Woe betides the disobedient one! I shall have him driven out to the mountains where the beasts are going to kill him and tear him to pieces. But those who will transgress my laws owing to their laziness, in attention and carelessness shall be chastised with the rod till blood is drawn. Those, however, who dare to oppose me, their sovereign, in anything shall be tormented with serpents right to the marrow of their bones, and their tongues shall be torn out and cast to the serpents for food. And if anyone would ever look at me with envy, his eyes shall be put out so that he will no longer be able to see his sovereign. The lazy one shall become a carrier of burdens and be treated like a beast of burden and beaten with sticks and cudgels to make his feet and hands faster.
23,6. "I give you no other law but that of the strictest obedience to all my unrestricted wishes and orders issued at any time of day or night, amen."
23,7. And behold, even Cain was deeply shocked, and so were all the others, and they left Hanoch's house and in their hearts cursed their cruel father Cain who for all their great efforts had prepared for them such a miserable lot.
23,8. In the evening they were all hungry and did not dare to eat, but went dejectedly to Hanoch and said: "Lord, we have worked all day, now give us food as you have promised."
23,9. But Hanoch rose to his feet and said: "Where are the fruits of your work? Bring them here and show them to me and put them into my storerooms, and then I will have everyone given what he is entitled to."
23,10. And they went and brought, as they had been commanded, some of them much and others little and put it all down at his feet.
23,11. But Cain and his wife did not bring anything assuming that they would be free. And behold, Hanoch distributed the fruits and said: "He who has worked shall also eat, but he who has not worked shall not eat."
23,12. Thus Cain and his wife had on this occasion to fast. They left the mansion of Hanoch weeping, and among all his children and grandchildren Cain did not find a single compassionate heart. So he went out into the fields and ate of the leftover fruits. And since no house had been erected for him, he and his wife spent the night in the open air.
23,13. The next day, when his children came to start work, they found him already gathering fruits. "Look," they said, "he is working for the first time in this land. It serves him right since this is what he wanted: Right instead of love!"
23,14. And behold, when they had again worked uninterruptedly until midday, some gathering fruits, others building still more houses, dwellings and storerooms, and again others serving their sovereign, his wife and his children for their comfort, they once more came to his mansion bringing fruits and other proofs of their tiring diligence and asked for the food they were entitled to, and so did Cain and his wife.
23,15. Then Hanoch rose and spoke in grim earnest: "How often during a day do you want to eat? Do you think I have the fruits gathered for you that you may be fed without a care! What shall I and my servants live on whose duty is not to work like you, but to do all they can for their lord's comfort! Therefore, go away all of you and let none of you ever dare come to the threshold of this my exalted mansion. From now on I shall have my servants collect from you the fruit for my house, and you can eat frugally of those fruits only, which have freely fallen boom bushes and trees. This applies to both the gatherers and the builders. This shall be a new commandment for you which you have to keep as sacred, and woe to the transgressors!"
23,16. Then Cain spoke, asking Hanoch with great sadness and deeply moved: "O Hanoch, you great sovereign, my former son, tell me honestly and justly from your heart whether your father and your mother are not excepted from all that you have wisely bidden your subjects at your discretion? And if I must be like my children, command them to supply with food their father and mother who are already old and have become weary and very weak. Or allow me graciously to leave this land and travel to the end of the world that I may not see the great misery of my children as they languish under the heavy yoke of free justice."
23,17. And behold, Hanoch said: "How can you ask me this? Am I not doing the right thing when I act in accordance with the instruction and the power you have given me? You have declared no one but me as free from the law and have not made an exception with yourself. How can you now demand this illegally thereby forcing me to mercilessly enforce upon you, the first lawgiver, the strictly legal consequences of disobedience as a deterring example for the others? And if I do act like that, have I then done wrong? Since there is no love with us, but only the bare right, how can you ask for an exception to the laws of my free discretion as a grace which cannot ever be consistent with the rights of your sovereign's laws? What is it to me that you are my father, since I came into existence through you without having ever under any circumstances wished to be! So you have begotten me without my will and also without my will made me a sovereign. Since I now have become what I am and how I am completely without my will, as I did not have one, unconditionally and purely by chance through your lust, and a sovereign through your ambition, tell me what obligation do I have towards you from a lawful point of view?
23,18. "Therefore, flee from my presence wherever you want to go in order that the severe consequences of justice may not catch up with you! This shall be the only grace I will grant you freely since I can do what I want. And now go and flee!"
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