Chapter 7ז׳
1 א

מִיסוֹדֵי הַדָּת לֵידַע שֶׁהָאֵל מְנַבֵּא אֶת בְּנֵי הָאָדָם. וְאֵין הַנְּבוּאָה חָלָה אֶלָּא עַל חָכָם גָּדוֹל בַּחָכְמָה, גִּבּוֹר בְּמִדּוֹתָיו, וְלֹא יְהֵא יִצְרוֹ מִתְגַּבֵּר עָלָיו בְּדָבָר בָּעוֹלָם אֶלָּא הוּא מִתְגַּבֵּר בְּדַעְתּוֹ עַל יִצְרוֹ תָּמִיד. וְהוּא בַּעַל דֵּעָה רְחָבָה נְכוֹנָה עַד מְאֹד. אָדָם שֶׁהוּא מְמֻלָּא בְּכָל הַמִּדּוֹת הָאֵלּוּ שָׁלֵם בְּגוּפוֹ, כְּשֶׁיִּכָּנֵס לַפַּרְדֵּס וְיִמָּשֵׁךְ בְּאוֹתָן הָעִנְיָנִים הַגְּדוֹלִים הָרְחוֹקִים, וְתִהְיֶה לוֹ דֵּעָה נְכוֹנָה לְהָבִין וּלְהַשִּׂיג וְהוּא מִתְקַדֵּשׁ וְהוֹלֵךְ וּפוֹרֵשׁ מִדַּרְכֵי כְּלַל הָעָם הַהוֹלְכִים בְּמַחֲשַׁכֵּי הַזְּמַן, וְהוֹלֵךְ וּמְזָרֵז עַצְמוֹ וּמְלַמֵּד נַפְשׁוֹ שֶׁלֹּא תִּהְיֶה לוֹ מַחֲשָׁבָה כְּלָל בְּאֶחָד מִדְּבָרִים בְּטֵלִים וְלֹא מֵהַבְלֵי הַזְּמַן וְתַחְבּוּלוֹתָיו, אֶלָּא דַּעְתּוֹ פְּנוּיָה תָּמִיד לְמַעְלָה קְשׁוּרָה תַּחַת הַכִּסֵּא לְהָבִין בְּאוֹתָן הַצּוּרוֹת הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת הַטְּהוֹרוֹת, וּמִסְתַּכֵּל בְּחָכְמָתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כֻּלָּהּ מִצּוּרָה רִאשׁוֹנָה עַד טַבּוּר הָאָרֶץ וְיוֹדֵעַ מֵהֶן גָּדְלוֹ, מִיָּד רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ שׁוֹרָה עָלָיו. וּבְעֵת שֶׁתָּנוּחַ עָלָיו הָרוּחַ תִּתְעָרֵב נַפְשׁוֹ בְּמַעֲלַת הַמַּלְאָכִים הַנִּקְרָאִים אִישִׁים וְיֵהָפֵךְ לְאִישׁ אַחֵר וְיָבִין בְּדַעְתּוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ כְּמוֹת שֶׁהָיָה אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּתְעַלָּה עַל מַעֲלַת שְׁאָר בְּנֵי אָדָם הַחֲכָמִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּשָׁאוּל (שמואל א י ו) "וְהִתְנַבִּיתָ עִמָּם וְנֶהְפַּכְתָּ לְאִישׁ אַחֵר":

It is a fundamental part of religion to acknowledge that God bestows prophecy upon the sons of men. But prophecy does not descend1Nedarim, 35; Pesahim, 66; Shabbat, 30. C. G. save upon a wise man, eminent in wisdom, of sterling character, never subdued by worldly passion, but conquering it by an ever-present will-power, broadminded and settled to the highest degree. A man, endowed with all these moral principles, of sound physique, when he enters the Vineyard and is carried away with the current of these great and remote subjects, and possessed of a mind ready to understand and attain, he continuing to gain in saintliness, separated from the general public which follows the dark paths of the times, continuing to take care of himself, training his soul to heed no thought in idle affairs nor in the vanities and phantasies of the time, but his mind be constantly ready and directed Upward, connected to the Throne Beneath, to understand the Holy and Pure Intelligences and to penetrate the scope of Wisdom of the Holy One, blessed is He! from the First Intelligence even unto the summit of the earth to know from them His greatness —immediately the Holy Spirit will rest upon him. And, when the Spirit will rest upon him his soul will be mingling with the Angels of the degree of the Sphere called Men, and will be transformed into another being, and will understand his own intelligence that he is not as he was, but that he was elevated above the degree of other wise sons of man, as it is said of Saul: "And thou shalt prophesy among them and thou shalt be turned into another man" (I Sam. 10.6).

2 ב

הַנְּבִיאִים מַעֲלוֹת מַעֲלוֹת הֵן. כְּמוֹ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בַּחָכְמָה חָכָם גָּדוֹל מֵחֲבֵרוֹ כָּךְ בַּנְּבוּאָה נָבִיא גָּדוֹל מִנָּבִיא. וְכֻלָּן אֵין רוֹאִין מַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה אֶלָּא בַּחֲלוֹם בְּחֶזְיוֹן לַיְלָה. אוֹ בַּיּוֹם אַחַר שֶׁתִּפּל עֲלֵיהֶן תַּרְדֵּמָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יב ו) "בַּמַּרְאָה אֵלָיו אֶתְוַדָּע בַּחֲלוֹם אֲדַבֶּר בּוֹ". וְכֻלָּן כְּשֶׁמִּתְנַבְּאִים אֵיבְרֵיהֶן מִזְדַּעְזְעִין וְכֹחַ הַגּוּף כָּשֵׁל וְעֶשְׁתּוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם מִתְטָרְפוֹת וְתִשָּׁאֵר הַדַּעַת פְּנוּיָה לְהָבִין מַה שֶּׁתִּרְאֶה. כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּאַבְרָהָם (בראשית טו יב) "וְהִנֵּה אֵימָה חֲשֵׁכָה גְדלָה נֹפֶלֶת עָלָיו". וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּדָנִיֵּאל (דניאל י ח) "וְהוֹדִי נֶהְפַּךְ עָלַי לְמַשְׁחִית וְלֹא עָצַרְתִּי כֹּחַ":

Prophets are of various degrees. Even as there is in wisdom, one wise man greater than his fellow, so it is in prophecy, one prophet is greater than another prophet. But all of them do not see the vision of prophecy save in a dream, in a vision by night, or during the day when a deep slumber falls upon them, as it is said: "I become known to him in vision; I speak to him in a dream" (Num. 12.6). And they all, when they prophesy, tremble in all their limbs, the strength of their bodies gives way, their thinking power becomes unbalanced, the sense of understanding alone remains open to grasp what it will see, as it is said of Abraham: "And behold, a great trembling and darkness befell upon him" (Gen. 15.12); and as it is said of Daniel: "For my comeliness was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength" (Dan. 10.8).

3 ג

הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁמּוֹדִיעִים לַנָּבִיא בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל מוֹדִיעִין לוֹ וּמִיָּד יֵחָקֵק בְּלִבּוֹ פִּתְרוֹן הַמָּשָׁל בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה וְיֵדַע מָה הוּא. כְּמוֹ הַסֻּלָּם שֶׁרָאָה יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ וּמַלְאָכִים עוֹלִים וְיוֹרְדִים בּוֹ וְהוּא הָיָה מָשָׁל לְמַלְכֻיּוֹת וְשִׁעְבּוּדָן. וּכְמוֹ הַחַיּוֹת שֶׁרָאָה יְחֶזְקֵאל וְהַסִּיר נָפוּחַ וּמַקֵּל שָׁקֵד שֶׁרָאָה יִרְמְיָה וְהַמְּגִלָּה שֶׁרָאָה יְחֶזְקֵאל וְהָאֵיפָה שֶׁרָאָה זְכַרְיָה. וְכֵן שְׁאָר הַנְּבִיאִים. מֵהֶם אוֹמְרִים הַמָּשָׁל וּפִתְרוֹנוֹ כְּמוֹ אֵלּוּ. וְיֵשׁ שֶׁהֵן אוֹמְרִים הַפִּתְרוֹן בִּלְבַד. וּפְעָמִים אוֹמְרִים הַמָּשָׁל בִּלְבַד בְּלֹא פִּתְרוֹן כְּמִקְצָת דִּבְרֵי יְחֶזְקֵאל וּזְכַרְיָה וְכֻלָּן בְּמָשָׁל וְדֶרֶךְ חִידָה הֵם מִתְנַבְּאִים:

The matters concerning which a prophet is informed by vision of prophecy, are imparted to him allegorically, but the interpretation thereof is engraved upon his heart simultaneously with the vision and he knows what it means, as the vision of the ladder which Jacob our father saw: "The angels of God were ascending and descending upon it" (Gen. 28.12); which was a parable, the interpretation of which is the rise and fall of kingdoms, or as the Living Creatures which Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 1. 1–27), or the Seething Pot and the Almond Rod which Jeremiah saw (Jer. 1.12–13), or the Scroll of Parchment which Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 2.9), or the Measure which Zechariah saw (Zech. 2.5). And so with the rest of the prophets; some of them relate the parable and its interpretation as these; others relate the interpretation alone; and still others relate the parable only without the interpretation, as parts of the prophecies of Ezekiel and Zechariah, but all of them are prophesying in parables and metaphors.

4 ד

כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים אֵין מִתְנַבְּאִין בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצוּ אֶלָּא מְכַוְּנִים דַּעְתָּם וְיוֹשְׁבִים שְׂמֵחִים וְטוֹבֵי לֵב וּמִתְבּוֹדְדִים. שֶׁאֵין הַנְּבוּאָה שׁוֹרָה לֹא מִתּוֹךְ עַצְבוּת וְלֹא מִתּוֹךְ עַצְלוּת אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ שִׂמְחָה. לְפִיכָךְ בְּנֵי הַנְּבִיאִים לִפְנֵיהֶם נֵבֶל וְתֹף וְחָלִיל וְכִנּוֹר וְהֵם מְבַקְּשִׁים הַנְּבוּאָה. וְזֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א י ה) "וְהֵמָּה מִתְנַבְּאִים" כְּלוֹמַר מְהַלְּכִין בְּדֶרֶךְ הַנְּבוּאָה עַד שֶׁיִּנָּבְאוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹמֵר פְּלוֹנִי מִתְגַּדֵּל:

All the prophets do not prophesy every time they may desire, but they must prepare their minds, rest in a state of exultation and hearty contentment, and in undisturbed solitude; for, prophecy does not rest upon any prophet either when he is in a state of melancholy or in a state of indolence, but when he is in a state of delightfulness.2Shabbot, 30a. C. Therefoer, the disciples of the prophets had before them the harp, the timbrel, the flute and the violin when they were seeking the spirit of prophecy, whereof it is said: "And they strove to prophecy" (I Sam. 10.5), meaning, they followed the path of prophecy until they did prophesy, as one says: "Yonder is one aspiring to become great."

5 ה

אֵלּוּ שֶׁהֵם מְבַקְּשִׁין לְהִתְנַבֵּא הֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים בְּנֵי הַנְּבִיאִים. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּכַוְּנִים דַּעְתָּם אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתִּשְׁרֶה שְׁכִינָה עֲלֵיהֶן וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא תִּשְׁרֶה:

They that seek the spirit of prophecy are called disciples of the prophets, and, although they train their minds well, it is uncertain whether the Shekinah will rest upon them or whether it will not.

6 ו

כָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ הֵם דֶּרֶךְ נְבוּאָה לְכָל הַנְּבִיאִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וְהָאַחֲרוֹנִים חוּץ מִמּשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ רַבָּן שֶׁל כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים. וּמַה הֶפְרֵשׁ יֵשׁ בֵּין נְבוּאַת משֶׁה לִשְׁאָר כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים. שֶׁכָּל הַנְּבִיאִים בַּחֲלוֹם אוֹ בְּמַרְאֶה וּמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ מִתְנַבֵּא וְהוּא עֵר וְעוֹמֵד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ז פט) "וּבְבֹא משֶׁה אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ וַיִּשְׁמַע אֶת הַקּוֹל מִדַּבֵּר אֵלָיו". כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים עַל יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ. לְפִיכָךְ רוֹאִים מַה שֶּׁהֵם רוֹאִים בְּמָשָׁל וְחִידָה. משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ לֹא עַל יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יב ח) "פֶּה אֶל פֶּה אֲדַבֶּר בּוֹ". וְנֶאֱמַר (שמות לג יא) "וְדִבֶּר ה' אֶל משֶׁה פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים". וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר יב ח) "וּתְמֻנַת ה' יַבִּיט" כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין שָׁם מָשָׁל אֶלָּא רוֹאֶה הַדָּבָר עַל בֻּרְיוֹ בְּלֹא חִידָה וּבְלֹא מָשָׁל. הוּא שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה מְעִידָה עָלָיו (במדבר יב ח) "בְּמַרְאֶה וְלֹא בְּחִידוֹת" שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְנַבֵּא בְּחִידָה אֶלָּא בְּמַרְאֶה שֶׁרוֹאֶה הַדָּבָר עַל בֻּרְיוֹ. כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים יְרֵאִים וְנִבְהָלִים וּמִתְמוֹגְגִין וּמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ אֵינוֹ כֵן הוּא, שֶׁהַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (שמות לג יא) "כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר אִישׁ אֶל רֵעֵהוּ", כְּלוֹמַר כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֵין אָדָם נִבְהָל לִשְׁמֹעַ דִּבְרֵי חֲבֵרוֹ כָּךְ הָיָה כֹּחַ בְּדַעְתּוֹ שֶׁל משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ לְהָבִין דִּבְרֵי הַנְּבוּאָה וְהוּא עוֹמֵד עַל עָמְדוֹ שָׁלֵם. כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים אֵין מִתְנַבְּאִים בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצוּ. משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ אֵינוֹ כֵן אֶלָּא כָּל זְמַן שֶׁיַּחְפֹּץ רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ לוֹבַשְׁתּוֹ וּנְבוּאָה שׁוֹרָה עָלָיו וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְכַוֵּן דַּעְתּוֹ וּלְהִזְדַּמֵּן לָהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא מְכֻוָּן וּמְזֻמָּן וְעוֹמֵד כְּמַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת. לְפִיכָךְ מִתְנַבֵּא בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ט ח) "עִמְדוּ וְאֶשְׁמְעָה מַה יְצַוֶּה ה' לָכֶם". וּבָזֶה הִבְטִיחוֹ הָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (גמרא יבמות סב א) "לֵךְ אֱמֹר לָהֶם שׁוּבוּ לָכֶם לְאָהֳלֵיכֶם וְאַתָּה פֹּה עֲמֹד עִמָּדִי". הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁכָּל הַנְּבִיאִים כְּשֶׁהַנְּבוּאָה מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת מֵהֶם חוֹזְרִים לְאָהֳלָם שֶׁהוּא צָרְכֵי הַגּוּף כֻּלָּם כִּשְׁאָר הָעָם. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין פּוֹרְשִׁין מִנְּשׁוֹתֵיהֶם. וּמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ לֹא חָזַר לְאָהֳלוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹן לְפִיכָךְ פֵּרַשׁ מִן הָאִשָּׁה לְעוֹלָם וּמִן הַדּוֹמֶה לוֹ וְנִקְשְׁרָה דַּעְתּוֹ לְצוּר הָעוֹלָמִים וְלֹא נִסְתַּלֵּק מֵעָלָיו הַהוֹד לְעוֹלָם וְקָרַן עוֹר פָּנָיו וְנִתְקַדֵּשׁ כְּמַלְאָכִים:

All the things hereinof spoken is the path of prophecy for all prophets, First and Last, save Moses our Master, the Master of all prophets. And what division is there between the prophecy of Moses and that of all the other prophets? All the other prophets prophesied while in a dream, or in a vision, but Moses our Master prophesied while awake and standing up, as it is said: "And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with Him, then he heard the Voice speaking unto him" (Num. 7.89); all other prophets received it through an Angel, they therefore saw what they did see in the form of allegory and riddles, but Moses our Master did not receive it through an angel, for it is said: "With him do I speak mouth to mouth" (Ibid. 12.8), and it is also said: "and the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face" (Ex. 33.11); and it is further said: "And the similitude of the Lord doth he behold" (Num. 12.8); which is to say that there is no manner of parable, for he sees the matter in its clearness without riddle and without parable, which is as the Torah testifies concerning him: "Even manifestly, and not in dark speeches" (Ibid.); he does not prophesy in dark speech but by sight for he sees the matter in its clearness; all prophets are awe-stricken, trembling and faint, but Moses our Master is not so, which is as the Verse says: "As a man speaketh unto his friend" (Ex. 33.11), meaning, that as no man trembles to hear the words of his friend, so was the power of the mind of Moses our Master to understand the words of prophecy, he remaining upright at his post unaffected; all other prophets could not prophesy any time they wanted, but not so Moses our Master, who at any time he desired, the Holy Spirit covered him, and prophecy rested upon him, and he needed not to prepare his mind, or be in readiness to meet it, as he was prepared and ready constantly like unto the ministering Angels. He, therefore, prophesied at all times, even as it is said: "Stand ye and let me hear what God will command concerning you" (Num. 9.8). Moreover, in this, Almighty assured him, saying: "Go and say to them, 'Return ye to your tents' and, as for thee, remain standing with me here"(Deut. 5.30–31). Herefrom we learn that all other prophets, when the spirit of prophecy departs from them, return to their tent for their bodily needs, they all, like unto the rest of the people. Therefore, do they not remain separated from their wives. But Moses our Master returned not again to his erstwhile abode, he therefore separated himself forever from his wife and from like matters; his intellect became apprenticed to the Rock of the Universe; glory never departed from him; his countenance became adorned with rays of light, and his saintliness was like that of Angels.

7 ז

הַנָּבִיא אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתִּהְיֶה נְבוּאָתוֹ לְעַצְמוֹ בִּלְבַד לְהַרְחִיב לִבּוֹ וּלְהוֹסִיף דַּעְתּוֹ עַד שֶׁיֵּדַע מַה שֶּׁלֹּא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ מֵאוֹתָן הַדְּבָרִים הַגְּדוֹלִים. וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיְּשֻׁלַּח לְעַם מֵעַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ אוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי עִיר אוֹ מַמְלָכָה לְכוֹנֵן אוֹתָם וּלְהוֹדִיעָם מַה יַּעֲשׂוּ אוֹ לְמָנְעָם מִמַּעֲשִׂים הָרָעִים שֶׁבִּידֵיהֶם. וּכְשֶׁמְּשַׁלְּחִים אוֹתוֹ נוֹתְנִין לוֹ אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ הָעָם שֶׁהָאֵל שְׁלָחוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת. וְלֹא כָּל הָעוֹשֶׂה אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת מַאֲמִינִים לוֹ שֶׁהוּא נָבִיא. אֶלָּא אָדָם שֶׁהָיִינוּ יוֹדְעִים בּוֹ מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ שֶׁהוּא רָאוּי לִנְבוּאָה בְּחָכְמָתוֹ וּבְמַעֲשָׂיו שֶׁנִּתְעַלָּה בָּהֶן עַל כָּל בְּנֵי גִּילוֹ וְהָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ בְּדַרְכֵי הַנְּבוּאָה בִּקְדֻשָּׁתָהּ וּבִפְרִישׁוּתָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא וְעָשָׂה אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת וְאָמַר שֶׁהָאֵל שְׁלָחוֹ מִצְוָה לִשְׁמֹעַ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח טו) "אֵלָיו תִּשְׁמָעוּן". וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת וְאֵינוֹ נָבִיא. וְזֶה הָאוֹת יֵשׁ לוֹ דְּבָרִים בְּגוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן מִצְוָה לִשְׁמוֹעַ לוֹ הוֹאִיל וְאָדָם גָּדוֹל וְחָכָם וְרָאוּי לִנְבוּאָה [הוּא] מַעֲמִידִים אוֹתוֹ עַל חֶזְקָתוֹ. שֶׁבְּכָךְ נִצְטַוֵּינוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּצְטַוֵּינוּ לַחְתֹּךְ אֶת הַדִּין עַל פִּי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בְּשֶׁקֶר הוֹאִיל וּכְשֵׁרִים הֵם אֶצְלֵנוּ מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָן עַל כַּשְׁרוּתָן. וּבַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן נֶאֱמַר (דברים כט כח) "הַנִּסְתָּרֹת לַה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹת לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ". וְנֶאֱמַר (שמואל א טז ז) "כִּי הָאָדָם יִרְאֶה לַעֵינַיִם וַה' יִרְאֶה לַלֵּבָב":

A prophet may possess the spirit of prophecy for his own sake alone, to broaden his mind and increase his knowledge so that he may know that which he did not know of certain great matters, or he may be sent to a nation of among the nations of the world, or to the inhabitants of a city, or to a government to establish them righteously, to instruct them what to do, or to restrain them from the evil deeds on their hands; and when he is so sent he is given a token or miracle so that the people may know that he is in truth the messenger of God. Nevertheless, not every one who delivers a token or performs a miracle should be believed to be a prophet; for only such man whom we knew heretofore to be worthy of prophecy, both by his wisdom and by his conduct, in consequence whereof he was above all his associates, and walked in the requisite ways of prophecy, in its holiness and self-denial, if, thereafter, he came and delivered a token and performed a miracle and said that he is a messenger of God, it is a mandatory commandment to hearken unto him, for it is said: "Unto him ye shall hearken" (Deut. 18.15). And yet, it is even possible that one such will deliver a token and perform a miracle and not be a prophet; as for the token, it might contain some doubtful matter; notwithstanding this, it is mandatory to hearken unto him; for, seeing that he is a great man, wise and worthy of being a prophet, he must be sustained on the presumption that he is a prophet. In this we were commanded to do as we were commanded to base a legal decision upon the testimony of two proper witnesses, even though they may have testified falsely, yet, because we consider them to be proper, their testimony must stand upon their fitness, and concerning this and like matters it is said: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children" (Deut. 29.28); and it is said: "For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (I Sam. 16.7).