Infancy: The Two Robbers

In this selection, you will get another important back story that connects these events to the later events recounted in the Biblical gospels: while on their journey, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph here encounter the two thieves who will later be crucified to either side of Jesus. You can read more about the legends of these two thieves at Wikipedia. Just as in the Biblical text, this story distinguishes between the one thief who is kind-hearted and the other thief who is not.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Infancy Gospels unit. Story source: The Lost Books of the Bible, edited by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr. (1926): The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.

The Two Robbers

IN their journey from hence they came into a desert country and were told it was infested with robbers, so Joseph and St. Mary prepared to pass through it in the night. And as they were going along, behold they saw two robbers asleep in the road, and with them a great number of robbers, who were their confederates, also asleep.

The names of these two were Titus and Dumachus; and Titus said to Dumachus, "I beseech thee let those persons go along quietly that our company may not perceive anything of them." But Dumachus refusing, Titus again said, "I will give thee forty groats, and as a pledge take my girdle," which he gave him he had done speaking that he might not open his mouth, or make a noise.

When the Lady St. Mary saw the kindness which this robber did shew them, she said to him, "The Lord God will receive thee to his right hand, and grant thee pardon of thy sins."

Then the Lord Jesus answered and said to his mother, "When thirty years are expired, O mother, the Jews will crucify me at Jerusalem, and these two thieves shall be with me at the same time upon the cross, Titus on my right hand, and Dumachus on my left, and from that time Titus shall go before me into paradise."

And when she had said, "God forbid this should be thy lot, O my son," they went on to a city in which were several idols, which, as soon as they came near to it, was turned into hills of sand.

Hence they went to that sycamore tree, which is now called Matarea, and in Matarea the Lord Jesus caused a well to spring forth in which St. Mary washed his coat, and a balsam is produced, or grows, in that country from the sweat which ran down there from the Lord Jesus.

Thence they proceeded to Memphis, and saw Pharaoh, and abode three years in Egypt. And the Lord Jesus did very many miracles in Egypt, which are neither to be found in the Gospel of the Infancy nor in the Gospel of Perfection.

At the end of three years he returned out of Egypt, and when he came near to Judaea, Joseph was afraid to enter, for hearing that Herod was dead and that Archelaus his son reigned in his stead, he was afraid; and when he went to Judaea, an angel of God appeared to him, and said, "O Joseph, go into the city Nazareth, and abide there."

It is strange indeed that he, who is the Lord of all countries, should be thus carried backward and forward through so many countries.

(500 words)

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