The Apocrypha

A Private Translation


Herman A. Hartmann

A Word from the Translator

This translation began as the result of the purchase of a book from the Half Priced Book Store. I found a new copy of Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament by F. Wilber Gingrich, for a ridiculously low price and purchased it. My mother always said, “Don’t buy anything unless you will use it.” I felt I should follow her instruction.

I decided to translate The Good News According to Mark and give it to my family and dear friends as a Christmas gift. That would be ‘using the book.’ But: I was intrigued with translation and continued.

When I had finished the New Testament I thought, “What next?” and decided I would try my hand at translating the Psalms. Then I translated the Minor Prophets, and kept on until I finished my translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.

On my 92nd birthday close friends met for a birthday party and one asked, since I was near the end of the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures: “What will you do next?” A dear friend sitting next to me responded, “I suppose he will translate the Apocrypha.” The night before, just prior to my going to sleep, I decided: “Deo volelnte – I will try to translate the Apocrypha.”

On the day of the 70th year since graduation from Theological Seminary I completed the translation, at the age of 93.

It is my hope and prayer that whoever might read any of this translation and receive, as I did, will also receive a new and deeper understanding of the work and will of the Almighty God and the greatness and importance of the role of Christ in our lives.

Herman A. Hartmann


As I write this I realize that today is the seventh anniversary of my ordination. At that time I had no idea that I would be translating the entire Bible, including The Apocrypha. I did have plans to translate my father’s Greek – German Lexicon since he kept assuring me that it was a very fine Lexicon. That was completed and enlarged, having finished it on March 1, 2013. At that time I was in the midst of the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.

It was not my intention to translate the entire Bible. I felt strongly that I was definitely not sufficiently proficient in Hebrew. However, the joy I had in the translation of the New Testament prompted me to continue. Beginning in 1990, I only planned to translate the Good News According to Mark as a small Christmas gift to family and close friends.

Having translated the New Testament I tried my hand at the Psalms, since many of them were short, and thus more ‘doable.’ After that I felt I had not spent time with the “Minor Prophets” and it would be good to carefully work on translating them. Then – on and on.

Considerable changes came across these years, the loss of my darling Granddaughter in a fall while rock climbing, a month prior to her sixteenth birthday, the loss of my beloved wife after sixty-six years of marriage, the death of my oldest son who struggled through life, severely handicapped, but not letting that difficulty stop or slow him down.

Also, there were times that I needed to lay translation aside and recover from surgeries and ailments.

Now, at ninety three years of age, I am grateful for God’s loving concern for me and my family, for all those who over the years have surrounded me with support and concern as I sought to be one of God’s Ambassadors in the proclamation of the Gospel.

Thanks be to God!

Herman A. Hartmann

May 26. 2016


The guidance of parents,

professors, church members,

and friends

has brought this

translation into completion.

May Richard of Chichester’s

prayer be fulfilled as we

read these words

of Sacred Scripture:

“That we may know Christ more clearly,

Love him more dearly,

And follow him more nearly

Forever and ever. Amen.”

Let all the people say, ‘Amen.’


This translation of the Apocrypha completes my translation of the Sacred Scripture.

On my 92nd birthday I was on the verge of completing the translation of the last two of three remaining chapters of the Hebrew Scriptures, having first translated the New Testament. At a lovely little Birthday Party the question was asked, ‘What are you going to do next?’ The person sitting next to me said, “I suppose he will translate the Apocrypha.” The night before, as I was ready to fall asleep, I thought: “Deo volente I will translate the Apocrypha.” It took a bit over a year to accomplish.

I have always tried to more clearly understand the words of the Bible and must say that this has been a remarkable learning process. I do not commend it to everyone but for me it has been amazing. I think for example of a question I had when I was in the 8th grade about what God had done and it seemed like a mistake. I found the explanation I was looking for. [Just one example.]

Perhaps the last lines of the unknown writer of II Maccabees are in order here. He writes of his work: “If it is well told and to the point that is what I myself desired, if it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do.”

Herman A. Hartmann

The Apocrypha

An Introduction

The Apocrypha came into being about three centuries prior to Common Era. A large number of people who were of the Jewish faith were living in Alexandria, Egypt. They were involved in business and Alexandria was one of the great business centers of the Mediterranean world. These people were not fluent in Hebrew which was the language to be used within Judaism. Since they were engaged in business they were fluent in Greek for that was the international language for business of that time. Possibly in about the year 275 BCE they petitioned the leadership of Judaism in Jerusalem to have the Hebrew Scriptures translated into Greek, the language of business, which could be read by people all around the Mediterranean Sea. Permission was granted, no doubt reluctantly, and over a period of years the entire Hebrew Canon (39 books) was translated.

Tradition says that approval was given and six scholars from each one of the twelve tribes of Israel were designated to go to Alexandria to carry out the work. Tradition also says, each of the translators had an identical copy of the Hebrew Scriptures, written in gold letters. They were housed in identical rooms for seventy (or, seventy two) days, At the end of that time they each had translated the Hebrew Scriptures, with seventy two identical translations.

Apparently the portion of the tradition about the number of translators is quite accurate. The translation came to be known as the Septuagint, meaning ‘The Seventy.’ From this point on, and during the translation of the Apocrypha, this name will appear as LXX, which is the universal symbol for the Septuagint.

While the tradition is a pleasant story we know that the translation was not done in seventy-(two) days but was done over a longer period of time. This was the first time that the Hebrew Scriptures were translated, since the Hebrew language was so revered by the followers of Judaism that they felt something was lost by not having the Hebrew language. It has been reported that one ancient Rabbi said, at the time of the translation that this was the saddest time in Judaism since the time of the making of the golden calf, while Moses was on Mount Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments.. [As someone who has just finished translating the Hebrew Scriptures, though not fluent in Hebrew, there seems to be some justification to the comment. It is a very special language, most suitable to present the concepts of faith.]

The people in Alexandria who requested the translation had some other writings which they felt were important, which came to be included in the LXX because they were highly regarded and had become accepted in the religious life of the followers of Judaism in Alexandria. The LXX therefore also came to be known as the Alexandrian Canon.

Several of these writings seemed to fill in the gaps that they felt were in existence within the Hebrew text. Two examples: In the Biblical book of Esther, based on the Hebrew Scriptures there is no mention of either God or prayer. As a result this was one of the last books to be accepted into the Hebrew Canon. [1]

The other book that seems to be filled in is the book of Daniel. In the Hebrew text there are the stories of the Lion’s Den and the Fiery Furnace to which Shadrac, Meshac, and Abednego are consigned. The additional stories in the Apocrypha are: The Prayer of Azariah, and The Song of the Children, which tell of the concern for the three men who were in the fiery furnace; the story of Susanna; the story of Bel and the Serpent (or, Dragon). When Shakespeare says in The Merchant of Venice, “A Daniel has come to judgment” he is referring the Apocrypha, not the Hebrew Canon.

A third, though lesser expansion of the Hebrew Canon is Baruch, a book attributed to the scribe who served as the secretary who wrote the book of Jeremiah for the prophet. Baruch reports from Babylon (though the Hebrew book of Jeremiah says he and Baruch were taken to Egypt). The 6th chapter of Baruch is a chapter attributed to Jeremiah, sometimes called the “Epistle of Jeremiah” in the LXX.

One if the leading scholars who published a remarkable study of the Apocrypha, R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament divides the books as follows:


I Esdras, I Maccabees, II Maccabees, III Maccabees.


Tobit, Judith.


Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon



I Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasses,

Additions to Daniel: Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Children;

Susanna; Bel and the Dragon; Additions to the Book of Esther.

It is not known when the books came to be called the Apocrapha (or, Hidden Books). The term used is: “apokrufa Biblia.“ Late Hebrew called the books: “Hidden Books.” The thought of their being hidden apparently is because they were not included in the Hebrew Canon. For those who followed Judaism they were considered to be totally out of the pale of acceptable Hebrew Scripture. The Talmud [2] speaks of those “whoso reads the outside books would have no part in the life to come:”

In much more recent times a parishioner in the congregation I was serving reported that her mother taught her: “If you have an Apocrypha in your house, your house will burn down.”

In the years since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls it has been learned that several books that comprise the Apocrypha were written in Hebrew. The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach (or, Jesus Ben Sirach) appears to be original Hebrew writing. Another book appears to have been translated into Hebrew. No complete manuscripts were found, only fragments.

When the Hebrew Canon, also called the Jerusalem Canon, required that the books that were included had been written in Hebrew. In two of these books there are brief sections that are written in Aramaic, which was a Hebrew dialect. These books had already been selected and, at the Council of Jamnia, [3] the additional books were not discussed. It was, however, the time that the books of the Jerusalem Canon were declared to be Sacred Books.” This was a new concept within our world.

As Catholacism grew Pope Damasus, (382 C. E.) instructed St. Jerome to translate the Bible into Latin, which is known as the Vulgate. [4] Tradition says that Jerome left his home in North Africa, (another tradition says he was driven out of Rome); going to Bethlehem for he thought that would be a sacred place for the translation. There had been earlier translations of at least portions of the Bible into Latin, called “Old Latin.” Jerome was also able to translate Greek and showed favor toward the LXX. Other scholars, some of whom assisted him translated from the LXX. The Vulgate became the ‘official translation’ and was declared to be the translation that was to be used within the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent (1545-63).

When Protestantism came into being with Martin Luther, his translation of the Bible, Luther separated the ‘additional books’ of the LXX, though he translated them, and placed them between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, entitling them “The Apocrypha.” He declared that they were good to read but were not to be used as the basis for any doctrines in the church.

In more recent years these books have come to be called Deutero-epigrapha, meaning, ‘The Second Writings.” A number of, (mainly Eastern) denominations have other writings that they accept as a part of the Bible. These all fall into the class of Deutero-epigrapha. Catholic scholars, beginning with Sixtus of Sienna (1500 C. E.) designated the Apocrypha as Deutero-canonical.

Lectionaries which are used in many denominations for worship are determined by an interdenominational organization ranging from conservative to liberal, protestant, Orthodox and Catholic. Some of these denominations accept the Apocrypha as equal to all other portions of the Bible. Thus, from time to time, the lectionary choices include passages from the Apocrypha. Each Sunday there are a number of additional options that are suggested to be used on a given Sunday, and occasionally among those options are readings from the Apocrypha, intended for those denominations that accept the Apocrypha

[1] Canon is the word that gives the understanding that these Hebrew books are the ones that are ‘official’ Sacred Books. The word ‘canon’ comes from Greek and means “measuring rod” or “measuring reed.”

The Hebrew Canon included thirty nine books, the same books that Protestants consider to be the Hebrew Scriptures (or, The Old Testament).

[2] The Talmud is a collection of 6,200 pages of writings by important Rabbis across several centuries which are based on explanations and ‘how to do it’ information within traditional Judaism.

[3] This council apparently took place between the years 60 to 90 of the Common Era. It’s significance is in question. It has been used as the point at which the Hebrew or Jerusalem Canon was determined. The fact is that the canon was discussed but not finalized.

[4] Vulgate gives us the English word ‘vulgar.’ The meaning here is that this was the language of the people, later to become the language of the church.