1 IN the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, after our Adonai, Yahusha HaMashiach, was born according to the flesh in Bethlehem of Judea, Herod Antipatris, king of Judea, sought to kill Yahusha.
2 Then Michael came and said to Yoceph: “Flee with the child and his mother to Egypt.”
3 When Herod was seeking the Lord and did not find him, he commanded to kill the children in Bethlehem. Then Elizabeth took up her son and fled into the hill-country.
2 And Herod, looking for Yochanan and not finding him, dispatched to Zechariah his father, saying to him: “Where is your son? Where did you hide him? Bring him to me. Do you not know that your life is in my hands?”
2 Zechariah said: “I do not know where my son is. I am a servant to the Lord and I remain at the altar.”
3 Hearing these things, Herod sent his assassins and murdered him in the temple of Elohim at the altar.
4 Early in the morning all the people went in the sanctuary and waited for Zechariah at the hour of the formal greeting. And when he delayed in coming out to them, someone dared to go in, and behold a voice came in the sanctuary saying: “Zechariah has been murdered.”
5 All the people mourned for him until the seventh day. And the blood of Zechariah became stone fixed to the altar. And his body was not found.
3 While Elizabeth was going to the hill country with her son, she fainted and called out: “Mountain of Elohim, receive a mother with a son, who are pursued unjustly.”
2 And immediately, the mountain was split open and received her inside. And there, in the opening, Elisabeth stayed with her son Yochanan. And the hand of the Lord was with them and angels provided for them.
3 And the assassins of Herod went up to the opening and found no place to go in.
4 And in that place, there was a spring of water on the left of the opening and on the right bread was placed.
5 When Yochanan was five months old, the angel said to Elizabeth: “Wean the child and no longer offer the mother’s breast, but take locusts from the tree by the shelter and wild honey from the rock at your head and be sustained with them. They will not fail until Elohim commands you to depart from here.”
4 When the child became thirteen months old, he began to leap and to walk. And the angel said to Elizabeth: “Come out from here and go to your home, for the ones seeking to kill your son have died.”
2 And Elizabeth said: “Lord, I cannot find the road and where I must go.” And immediately, when she lifted up the child upon her lap, she received in a vision as if she had come through the air to her home.
5 When Yochanan became thirty, he went to every city and region proclaiming a baptism of repentance and self-control. And he ate locusts—that is, palm trees—and wild honey, and for clothing he had camel-hair and a leather belt around his waist.
2 And the report of Yochanan went out to all Judea. From which Herod heard that Yochanan was at the Jordan baptizing people, and he dispatched and summoned him. And then Yochanan was thirty-two years old.
3 Herod said to him: “Are you Yochanan, the son of Zechariah? Do you know that your blood is in my hand?”
4 And he said to him cheerfully: “I am the son of Zechariah, whose blood poured out in the sanctuary of Elohim, and he cried out concerning you and the senselessness of you, lawless one.”
5 This Herod was different from the father of Archelaus. This one was king after Archelaus, the first son of Herod fled to Galilee.
6 Since he was as wicked as the first Herod, Yochanan pronounced the first charge and said: “Be ashamed because you took the wife of Philip, your brother. Do you not fear Elohim?”
6 Then Herod whipped Yochanan and threw him in prison.
2 And when Yochanan was in the prison, he stung Herod even more about Polia, the wife of Philip. And Herod was afraid to kill Yochanan and Polia did not want to set him free from the prison.
3 Those who were served orders went and at the fourth hour they hung him by the head and burnt him, the holy one.
4 And Yochanan said to Herod: “Why are you distressed? Are you condemned by the truth?”
5 Herod said: “What truth are you talking about? Is it not in the law of Moses that if a brother dies without offspring, the living brother shall the wife left behind and raise to him offspring in Israel?”
6 And Yochanan said: “Pay careful attention to the law of Elohim in this because a sorcerer killed your brother and took his wife; however, also when he was alive, she committed adultery with you. Look, his soul cries out to Elohim and readily Elohim must avenge him so that you will depart life badly.”
7 Herod became deeply distressed at these things and desired to release Yochanan. And it happened in those days Herod had a birthday. And at the gathering, he invited the daughter of Herod to dance.
2 And when she danced, he vowed to her a guarantee of anything, so that whatever she asked he would give to her. And she asked her mother.
3 And she said to her: “Ask for the head of Yochanan the Baptist on a platter.”
4 And when she told her father about Yochanan, Herod was deeply grieved. Nevertheless, because of the oath, he sent a soldier of the guard and beheaded Yochanan. And he gave his head to Herodias upon a platter and she offered it to her mother Polia.
5 And his disciples came at night and took the body.
8 And the angel said to Elizabeth: “Rise, go to Bethlehem and take the body of your son and bury it where his father will rest.”
2 And the angel led her to the house of Zechariah in the sanctuary of Yahuah up to the altar. And a great voice came in the temple and suddenly an earthquake and thunder. And the altar was restored and the body of Zechariah was seen.
3 And Elizabeth buried Yochanan there beneath the altar. And the Most High summoned her saying: “Look, the blood of your husband, which will not be wiped away until the time of the condemnation of Herod. The burial place of your husband and your son no-one will know.”
9 And in her time, the daughter of Herod, on a winter’s day when it was cold, was playing near a frozen well of water and she fell in the thawed water.
2 And those nearby wishing to pull her out, cut off her head and her trunk went down.
3 And when Herod sat down, the head of Herodias was brought, and he put it upon his lap.
4 And he began to cry and say: “Oh righteous water, of unjust death most sharp. Oh, tomb of the saints in the holy sanctuary be prepared! Oh, righteous tomb not accepting unjust bodies, but opening to the birds of heaven and the beasts of the earth.”
5 And as Herod was dying, the earth did not accept his body, but threw it up. And the birds of heaven came and consumed his flesh.
10 All these things I, Euriptus, wrote, the disciple of Yochanan, the second of his disciples according to strictness, so that all the brothers in Messiah would observe the festival of the remembrance and resting-place of Yochanan, the beloved of Messiah, the Forerunner and Baptist, on August 29.
2 The grace of our Adonai, Yahusha HaMashiach, be with all of us. To him, the glory and the power forever and ever, amen.
This text is listed as one of three “Passions” of Yochanan in Geerard’s CANT (180; BHG 831-833). The other two have yet to be published. The Beheading is translated from the only edition ever made of the text: A. Vassiliev, Anecdota graeco-byzantina, I, Moscow, 1893, pp. 1-4, based on Montis Casin. 277 (11th c.). At least two other manuscripts exist (Vat. gr. 1192, 15th c.; and Vat. gr. 1989, 12th c.), but these have not been evaluated. This is the first translation of the text into a modern language.
Testimony on the beheading of the holy Yochanan, the Forerunner. Adonai Bless.