The Ante-Nicene Fathers ranges from the Apostolic Fathers to various third and fourth century sources including the liturgies and ancient Syriac documents. It was intended to comprise translations into English of all the extant works of the Fathers (with the exception of the more bulky works of Origen) down to the date of the first General Council held at Nicaea in 325 A.D. This American edition by Arthur Cleveland Coxe is a revision of the original series edited by Alexander Roberts and Sir James Donaldson and published in Edinburgh. The revision involves a major rearrangement to conform to the historical sequence, the addition of brief introductions and notes indicating variances in readings, specifying references to scripture or literature, clarifying obscure passages, and noting corruptions or distortions of patristic testimony (as forged in the Decretals). The basic aim of the translations has been to strive for literary exactness, placing the English reader as nearly as possible on an equal footing with those who are able to read the original.
Volume 1: Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Inrenaeus
Volume 2: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Clement of Alexandria
Volume 3: Tertullian
Volume 4: Tertullian (IV), Minucius Felix, Commodian, Origen
Volume 5: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
Volume 6: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius the Great, Julius Africanus, Anatolius and Minor Writers, Methodius, Arnobius
Volume 7: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies
Volume 8: Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Aprocryphal Gospels and Acts, Syriac Documents
Volume 9: Gospel of Peter, Diatessaron, Testament of Abraham, Epistles of Clement, Origen and Miscellaneous Works
Volume 10: Bibliography, General Index, Annotated Index of Authors and Works
Hardcover: 6448 pages
Publisher: Hendrickson Pub; Revised edition (February 1, 1996)
The Testaments Of The Twelve Patriarchs
From: Early Church Fathers 38 Volumes
Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers down to a.d. 325 Vol. VIII
Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D.
Translated by Philip Schaff et al.
The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
I.— The Testament of Reuben Concerning Thoughts.
1. The copy of the Testament of Reuben, what things he charged his sons before he died in the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life. When he was sick two years after the death of Joseph, his sons and his sons' sons were gathered together to visit him. And he said to them, My children, I am dying, and go the way of my fathers. And when he saw there Judah and Gad and Asher, his brethren, he said to them, Raise me up, my brethren, that I may tell to my brethren and to my children what things I have hidden in my heart, for from henceforth my strength fails me. And he arose and kissed them, and said, weeping: Hear, my brethren, give ear to Reuben your father, what things I command you. And, behold, I call to witness against you this day the God of heaven, that you walk not in the ignorance of youth and fornication wherein I ran greedily, and I defiled the bed of Jacob my father. For I tell you that He smote me with a sore plague in my loins for seven months; and had not Jacob our father prayed for me to the Lord, surely the Lord would have destroyed me. For I was thirty years old when I did this evil in the sight of the Lord, and for seven months I was sick even unto death; and I repented for seven years in the set purpose of my soul before the Lord. Wine and strong drink I drank not, and flesh entered not into my mouth, and I tasted not pleasant food, mourning over my sin, for it was great. And it shall not so be done in Israel.
2. And now hear me, my children, what things I saw in my repentance concerning the seven spirits of error. Seven spirits are given against man from Beliar, and they are chief of the works of youth; and seven spirits are given to him at his creation, that in them should be done every work of man. The first (1) spirit is of life, with which man's whole being is created. The second (2) spirit is of sight, with which arises desire. The third (3) spirit is of hearing, with which comes teaching. The fourth (4) spirit is of smelling, with which taste is given to draw air and breath. The fifth (5) spirit is of speech, with which comes knowledge. The sixth (6) spirit is of taste, with which comes the eating of meats and drinks; and by them strength is produced, for in food is the foundation of strength. The seventh (7) spirit is of begetting and sexual intercourse, with which through love of pleasure sin also enters in: wherefore it is the last in order of creation, and the first of youth, because it is filled with ignorance, which leads the young as a blind man to a pit, and as cattle to a precipice.
3. Besides all these, there is an eighth (8) spirit of sleep, with which is created entrancement of man's nature, and the image of death. With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error. The first (1), the spirit of fornication, dwells in the nature and in the senses; the second (2) spirit of insatiateness in the belly; the third (3) spirit of fighting in the liver and the gall. The fourth (4) is the spirit of fawning and trickery, that through over-officiousness a man may be fair in seeming. The fifth (5) is the spirit of arrogance, that a man may be stirred up and become high-minded. The sixth (6) is the spirit of lying, in perdition and in jealousy to feign words, and to conceal words from kindred and friends. The seventh (7) is the spirit of injustice, with which are theft and pilferings, that a man may work the desire of his heart; for injustice works together with the other spirits by means of craft. Besides all these, the spirit of sleep, the eighth (8) spirit, is conjoined with error and fantasy. And so perishes every young man, darkening his mind from the truth, and not understanding the law of God, nor obeying the admonitions of his fathers, as befell me also in my youth.
And now, children, love the truth, and it shall preserve you. I counsel you, hear ye Reuben your father. Pay no heed to the sight of a woman, nor yet associate privately with a female under the authority of a husband, nor meddle with affairs of womankind. For had I not seen Bilhah bathing in a covered place, I had not fallen into this great iniquity. For my mind, dwelling on the woman's nakedness, suffered me not to sleep until I had done the abominable deed. For while Jacob our father was absent with Isaac his father, when we were in Gader, near to Ephratha in Bethlehem, Bilhah was drunk, and lay asleep uncovered in her chamber; and when I went in and beheld her nakedness, I wrought that impiety, and leaving her sleeping I departed. And forthwith an angel of God revealed to my father Jacob concerning my impiety, and he came and mourned over me, and touched her no more.
4. Pay no heed, therefore, to the beauty of women, and muse not upon their doings; but walk in singleness of heart in the fear of the Lord, and be labouring in works, and roaming in study and among your flocks, until the Lord give to you a wife whom He will, that you suffer not as I did. Until my father's death I had not boldness to look steadfastly into the face of Jacob, or to speak to any of my brethren, because of my reproach; and even until now my conscience afflicts me by reason of my sin. And my father comforted me; for he prayed for me unto the Lord, that the anger of the Lord might pass away from me, even as the Lord showed me. From henceforth, then, I was protected, and I sinned not. Therefore, my children, observe all things whatsoever I command you, and you shall not sin. For fornication is the destruction of the soul, separating it from God, and bringing it near to idols, because it deceives the mind and understanding, and brings down young men into hell before their time. For many has fornication destroyed; because, though a man be old or noble, it makes him a reproach and a laughing-stock with Beliar and the sons of men. For in that Joseph kept himself from every woman, and purged his thoughts from all fornication, he found favour before the Lord and men. For the Egyptian woman did many things unto him, and called for magicians, and offered him love potions, and the purpose of his soul admitted no evil desire. Therefore the God of my fathers delivered him from every visible and hidden death. For if fornication overcome not the mind, neither shall Beliar overcome you.
5. Hurtful are women, my children; because, since they have no power or strength over the man, they act subtly through outward guise how they may draw him to themselves; and whom they cannot overcome by strength, him they overcome by craft. For moreover the angel of God told me concerning them, and taught me that women are overcome by the spirit of fornication more than men, and they devise in their heart against men; and by means of their adornment they deceive first their minds, and instil the poison by the glance of their eye, and then they take them captive by their doings, for a woman cannot overcome a man by force.
Therefore flee fornication, my children, and command your wives and your daughters that they adorn not their heads and their faces; because every woman who acts deceitfully in these things has been reserved to everlasting punishment. For thus they allured the Watchers before the flood; and as these continually beheld them, they fell into desire each of the other, and they conceived the act in their mind, and changed themselves into the shape of men, and appeared to them in their congress with their husbands; and the women, having in their minds desire toward their apparitions, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven.
6. Beware, therefore, of fornication; and if you wish to be pure in your mind, guard your senses against every woman. And command them likewise not to company with men, that they also be pure in their mind. For constant meetings, even though the ungodly deed be not wrought, are to them an irremediable disease, and to us an everlasting reproach of Beliar; for fornication has neither understanding nor godliness in itself, and all jealousy dwells in the desire thereof. Therefore ye will be jealous against the sons of Levi, and will seek to be exalted over them; but you shall not be able, for God will work their avenging, and you shall die by an evil death. For to Levi the Lord gave the sovereignty, and to Judah, and to me also with them, and to Dan and Joseph, that we should be for rulers. Therefore I command you to hearken to Levi, because he shall know the law of the Lord, and shall give ordinances for judgment and sacrifice for all Israel until the completion of the times of Christ, the High Priest whom the Lord has declared. I adjure you by the God of heaven to work truth each one with his neighbour; and draw ye near to Levi in humbleness of heart, that you may receive a blessing from his mouth. For he shall bless Israel; and specially Judah, because him has the Lord chosen to rule over all the peoples. And worship we his Seed, because He shall die for us in wars visible and invisible, and shall be among you an everlasting king.
7. And Reuben died after that he had given command to his sons; and they placed him in a coffin until they bore him up from Egypt, and buried him in Hebron in the double cave where his fathers were.
II.— The Testament of Simeon Concerning Envy.
1. The copy of the words of Simeon, what things he spoke to his sons before he died, in the hundred and twentieth year of his life, in the year in which Joseph died. For they came to visit him when he was sick, and he strengthened himself and sat up and kissed them, and said to them:—
2. Hear, O my children, hear Simeon your father, what things I have in my heart. I was born of Jacob my father, his second son; and my mother Leah called me Simeon, because the Lord heard her prayer. Genesis 29:33 I became strong exceedingly; I shrank from no deed, nor was I afraid of anything. For my heart was hard, and my mind was unmoveable, and my bowels unfeeling: because valour also has been given from the Most High to men in soul and in body. And at that time I was jealous of Joseph because our father loved him; and I set my mind against him to destroy him, because the prince of deceit sent forth the spirit of jealousy and blinded my mind, that I regarded him not as a brother, and spared not Jacob my father. But his God and the God of his fathers sent forth His angel, and delivered him out of my hands. For when I went into Shechem to bring ointment for the flocks, and Reuben to Dotham, where were our necessaries and all our stores, Judah our brother sold him to the Ishmaelites. And when Reuben came he was grieved, for he wished to have restored him safe to his father. But I was angry against Judah in that he let him go away alive, and for five months I continued wrathful against him; but God restrained me, and withheld from me all working of my hands, for my right hand was half withered for seven days. And I knew, my children, that because of Joseph this happened to me, and I repented and wept; and I besought the Lord that He would restore my hand unto me, and that I might be kept from all pollution and envy, and from all folly. For I knew that I had devised an evil deed before the Lord and Jacob my father, on account of Joseph my brother, in that I envied him.
3. And now, children, take heed of the spirit of deceit and of envy. For envy rules over the whole mind of a man, and suffers him neither to eat, nor to drink, nor to do any good thing: it ever suggests to him to destroy him that he envies; and he that is envied ever flourishes, but he that envies fades away. Two years of days I afflicted my soul with fasting in the fear of the Lord, and I learned that deliverance from envy comes by the fear of God. If a man flee to the Lord, the evil spirit runs away from him, and his mind becomes easy. And henceforward he sympathizes with him whom he envied, and condemns not those who love him, and so ceases from his envy.
4. And my father asked concerning me, because he saw that I was sad; and I said, I am pained in my liver. For I mourned more than they all, because I was guilty of the selling of Joseph. And when we went down into Egypt, and he bound me as a spy, I knew that I was suffering justly, and I grieved not. Now Joseph was a good man, and had the Spirit of God within him: compassionate and pitiful, he bore not malice against me; nay, he loved me even as the rest of his brothers. Take heed, therefore, my children, of all jealousy and envy, and walk in singleness of soul and with good heart, keeping in mind the brother of your father, that God may give to you also grace and glory, and blessing upon your heads, even as you saw in him. All his days he reproached us not concerning this thing, but loved us as his own soul, and beyond his own sons; and he glorified us, and gave riches, and cattle, and fruits freely to us all. Then also, my beloved children, love each one his brother with a good heart, and remove from you the spirit of envy, for this makes savage the soul and destroys the body; it turns his purposes into anger and war, and stirs up unto blood, and leads the mind into frenzy, and suffers not prudence to act in men: moreover, it takes away sleep, and causes tumult to the soul and trembling to the body. For even in sleep some malicious jealousy, deluding him, gnaws at his soul, and with wicked spirits disturbs it, and causes the body to be troubled, and the mind to awake from sleep in confusion; and as though having a wicked and poisonous spirit, so appears it to men.
5. Therefore was Joseph fair in appearance, and goodly to look upon, because there dwelt not in him any wickedness; for in trouble of the spirit the face declares it. And now, my children, make your hearts good before the Lord, and your ways straight before men, and you shall find grace before God and men. And take heed not to commit fornication, for fornication is mother of all evils, separating from God, and bringing near to Beliar. For I have seen it inscribed in the writing of Enoch that your sons shall with you be corrupted in fornication, and shall do wrong against Levi with the sword. But they shall not prevail against Levi, for he shall wage the war of the Lord, and shall conquer all your hosts; and there shall be a few divided in Levi and Judah, and there shall be none of you for sovereignty, even as also my father Jacob prophesied in his blessings.
6. Behold, I have foretold you all things, that I may be clear from the sin of your souls. Now, if you remove from you your envy, and all your stiffneckedness, as a rose shall my bones flourish in Israel, and as a lily my flesh in Jacob, and my odour shall be as the odour of Libanus; and as cedars shall holy ones be multiplied from me for ever, and their branches shall stretch afar off. Then shall perish the seed of Canaan, and a remnant shall not be to Amalek, and all the Cappadocians shall perish, and all the Hittites shall be utterly destroyed. Then shall fail the land of Ham, and every people shall perish. Then shall all the earth rest from trouble, and all the world under heaven from war. Then shall Shem be glorified, because the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, shall appear upon earth as man, and saved by Him Adam. Then shall all the spirits of deceit be given to be trampled under foot, and men shall rule over the wicked spirits. Then will I arise in joy, and will bless the Most High because of His marvellous works, because God has taken a body and eaten with men and saved men.
7. And now, my children, obey Levi, and in Judah shall you be redeemed: and be not lifted up against these two tribes, for from them shall arise to you the salvation of God. For the Lord shall raise up from Levi as it were a Priest, and from Judah as it were a King, God and man. So shall He save all the Gentiles and the race of Israel. Therefore I command you all things, in order that you also may command your children, that they may observe them throughout their generations.
8. And Simeon made an end of commanding his sons, and slept with his fathers, being an hundred and twenty years old. And they laid him in a coffin of incorruptible wood, to take up his bones to Hebron. And they carried them up in a war of the Egyptians secretly: for the bones of Joseph the Egyptians guarded in the treasure-house of the palace; for the sorcerers told them that at the departure of the bones of Joseph there should be throughout the whole of Egypt darkness and gloom, and an exceeding great plague to the Egyptians, so that even with a lamp a man should not recognise his brother.
9. And the sons of Simeon bewailed their father according to the law of mourning, and they were in Egypt until the day of their departure from Egypt by the hand of Moses.
III. — The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance.
1. The copy of the words of Levi, what things he appointed to his sons, according to all that they should do, and what things should befall them until the day of judgment. He was in sound health when he called them to him, for it had been shown to him that he should die. And when they were gathered together he said to them:—
2. I Levi was conceived in Haran and born there, and after that I came with my father to Shechem. And I was young, about twenty years of age, when with Simeon I wrought the vengeance on Hamor for our sister Dinah. And when we were feeding our flocks in Abel-Maul, a spirit of understanding of the Lord came upon me, and I saw all men corrupting their way, and that unrighteousness had built to itself walls, and iniquity sat upon towers; and I grieved for the race of men, and I prayed to the Lord that I might be saved. Then there fell upon me a sleep, and I beheld a high mountain: this is the mountain of Aspis in Abel-Maul. And behold, the heavens were opened, and an angel of God said to me, Levi, enter. And I entered from the first heaven into the second, and I saw there water hanging between the one and the other. And I saw a third heaven far brighter than those two, for there was in it a height without bounds. And I said to the angel, Wherefore is this? And the angel said to me, Marvel not at these, for you shall see four other heavens brighter than these, and without comparison, when you shall have ascended thither: because you shall stand near the Lord, and shall be His minister, and shall declare His mysteries to men, and shall proclaim concerning Him who shall redeem Israel; Luke 24:21 and by you and Judah shall the Lord appear among men, saving in them every race of men; and of the portion of the Lord shall be your life, and He shall be your field and vineyard, fruits, gold, silver.
3. Hear, then, concerning the seven heavens. The lowest is for this cause more gloomy, in that it is near all the iniquities of men. The second has fire, snow, ice, ready for the day of the ordinance of the Lord, in the righteous judgment of God: in it are all the spirits of the retributions for vengeance on the wicked. In the third are the hosts of the armies which are ordained for the day of judgment, to work vengeance on the spirits of deceit and of Beliar. And the heavens up to the fourth above these are holy, for in the highest of all dwells the Great Glory, in the holy of holies, far above all holiness. In the heaven next to it are the angels of the presence of the Lord, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the ignorances of the righteous; and they offer to the Lord a reasonable sweet-smelling savour, and a bloodless offering. And in the heaven below this are the angels who bear the answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord. And in the heaven next to this are thrones, dominions, in which hymns are ever offered to God. Therefore, whenever the Lord looks upon us, all of us are shaken; yea, the heavens, and the earth, and the abysses, are shaken at the presence of His majesty; but the sons of men, regarding not these things, sin, and provoke the Most High.
4. Now, therefore, know that the Lord will execute judgment upon the sons of men; because when the rocks are rent, and the sun quenched, and the waters dried up, and the fire trembling, and all creation troubled, and the invisible spirits melting away, and the grave spoiled in the suffering of the Most High, men unbelieving will abide in their iniquity, therefore with punishment shall they be judged. Therefore the Most High has heard your prayer, to separate you from iniquity, and that you should become to Him a son, and a servant, and a minister of His presence. A shining light of knowledge shall you shine in Jacob, and as the sun shall you be to all the seed of Israel. And a blessing shall be given to you, and to all your seed, until the Lord shall visit all the heathen in the tender mercies of His Son, even for ever. Nevertheless your sons shall lay hands upon Him to crucify Him; and therefore have counsel and understanding been given you, that you might instruct your sons concerning Him, because he that blesses Him shall be blessed, but they that curse Him shall perish.
5. And the angel opened to me the gates of heaven, and I saw the holy temple, and the Most High upon a throne of glory. And He said to me, Levi, I have given you the blessings of the priesthood until that I shall come and sojourn in the midst of Israel. Then the angel brought me to the earth, and gave me a shield and a sword, and said, Work vengeance on Shechem because of Dinah, and I will be with you, because the Lord has sent me. And I destroyed at that time the sons of Hamor, as it is written in the heavenly tablets. And I said to Him, I pray You, O Lord, tell me Your name, that I may call upon You in a day of tribulation. And He said, I am the angel who intercedes for the race of Israel, that He smite them not utterly, because every evil spirit attacks it. And after these things I was as it were awaked, and blessed the Most High, and the angel that intercedes for the race of Israel, and for all the righteous.
6. And when I came to my father I found a brazen shield; wherefore also the name of the mountain is Aspis, which is near Gebal, on the right side of Abila; and I kept these words in my heart. I took counsel with my father, and with Reuben my brother, that he should bid the sons of Hamor that they should be circumcised; for I was jealous because of the abomination which they had wrought in Israel. And I slew Shechem at the first, and Simeon slew Hamor. And after this our brethren came and smote the city with the edge of the sword; and our father heard it and was angry, and he was grieved in that they had received the circumcision, and after that had been put to death, and in his blessings he dealt otherwise with us. For we sinned because we had done this thing against his will, and he was sick upon that day. But I knew that the sentence of God was for evil upon Shechem; for they sought to do to Sarah as they did to Dinah our sister, and the Lord hindered them. And so they persecuted Abraham our father when he was a stranger, and they harried his flocks when they were multiplied upon him; and Jeblae his servant, born in his house, they shamefully handled. And thus they did to all strangers, taking away their wives by force, and the men themselves driving into exile. But the wrath of the Lord came suddenly upon them to the uttermost.
7. And I said to my father, Be not angry, sir, because by you will the Lord bring to nought the Canaanites, and will give their land to you, and to your seed after you. For from this day forward shall Shechem be called a city of them that are without understanding; for as a man mocks at a fool, so did we mock them, because they wrought folly in Israel to defile our sister. And we took our sister from thence, and departed, and came to Bethel.
8. And there I saw a thing again even as the former, after we had passed seventy days. And I saw seven men in white raiment saying to me, Arise, put on the robe of the priesthood, and the crown of righteousness, and the breastplate of understanding, and the garment of truth, and the diadem of faith, and the tiara of miracle, and the ephod of prophecy. And each one of them bearing each of these things put them on me, and said, From henceforth become a priest of the Lord, you and your seed for ever. And the first anointed me with holy oil, and gave to me the rod of judgment. The second washed me with pure water, and fed me with bread and wine, the most holy things, and clad me with a holy and glorious robe. The third clothed me with a linen vestment like to an ephod. The fourth put round me a girdle like purple. The fifth gave to me a branch of rich olive. The sixth placed a crown on my head. The seventh placed on my head a diadem of priesthood, and filled my hands with incense, so that I served as a priest to the Lord. And they said to me, Levi, your seed shall be divided into three branches, for a sign of the glory of the Lord who is to come; and first shall he be that has been faithful; no portion shall be greater than his. The second shall be in the priesthood. The third— a new name shall be called over Him, because He shall arise as King from Judah, and shall establish a new priesthood, after the fashion of the Gentiles, to all the Gentiles. And His appearing shall be unutterable, as of an exalted prophet of the seed of Abraham our father. Every desirable thing in Israel shall be for you and for your seed, and everything fair to look upon shall you eat, and the table of the Lord shall your seed apportion, and some of them shall be high priests, and judges, and scribes; for by their mouth shall the holy place be guarded. And when I awoke, I understood that this thing was like the former. And I hid this also in my heart, and told it not to any man upon the earth.
9. And after two days I and Judah went up to Isaac after our father; and the father of my father blessed me according to all the words of the visions which I had seen: and he would not come with us to Bethel. And when we came to Bethel, my father Jacob saw in a vision concerning me, that I should be to them for a priest unto the Lord; and he rose up early in the morning, and paid tithes of all to the Lord through me. And we came to Hebron to dwell there, and Isaac called me continually to put me in remembrance of the law of the Lord, even as the angel of God showed to me. And he taught me the law of the priesthood, of sacrifices, whole burnt-offerings, first-fruits, free-will offerings, thank-offerings. And each day he was instructing me, and was busied for me before the Lord. And he said to me, Take heed, my child, of the spirit of fornication; for this shall continue, and shall by your seed pollute the holy things. Take therefore to yourself, while yet you are young, a wife, not having blemish, nor yet polluted, nor of the race of the Philistines or Gentiles. And before entering into the holy place, bathe; and when you offer the sacrifice, wash; and again when you finish the sacrifice, wash. Of twelve trees ever having leaves, offer up the fruits to the Lord, as also Abraham taught me; and of every clean beast and clean bird offer a sacrifice to the Lord, and of every firstling and of wine offer first-fruits; and every sacrifice you shall salt with salt.
10. Now, therefore, observe whatsoever I command you, children; for whatsoever things I have heard from my fathers I have made known to you. I am clear from all your ungodliness and transgression which you will do in the end of the ages against the Saviour of the world, acting ungodly, deceiving Israel, and raising up against it great evils from the Lord. And ye will deal lawlessly with Israel, so that Jerusalem shall not endure your wickedness; but the veil of the temple shall be rent, so as not to cover your shame. And you shall be scattered as captives among the heathen, and shall be for a reproach and for a curse, and for a trampling under foot. For the house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as is contained in the boo of Enoch the righteous.
11. Therefore, when I took a wife I was twenty-eight years old, and her name was Melcha. And she conceived and bare a son, and she called his name Gersham, for we were sojourners in our land: for Gersham is interpreted sojourning. And I saw concerning him that he would not be in the first rank. And Kohath was born in my thirty-fifth year, towards the east. And I saw in a vision that he was standing on high in the midst of all the congregation. Therefore I called his name Kohath, which means, beginning of majesty and instruction. And thirdly, she bare to me Merari, in the fortieth year of my life; and since his mother bare him with difficulty, she called him Merari, which means my bitterness, because he also died. And Jochebed was born in my sixty-fourth year, in Egypt, for I was renowned then in the midst of my brethren.
12. And Gersham took a wife, and she bare to him Lomni and Semei. And the sons of Kohath, Ambram, Isaar, Chebro, and Ozel. And the sons of Merari, Mooli and Homusi. And in my ninety-fourth year Ambram took Jochebed my daughter to him to wife, for they were born in one day, he and my daughter. Eight years old was I when I went into the land of Canaan, and eighteen years when I slew Shechem, and at nineteen years I became priest, and at twenty-eight years I took a wife, and at forty years I went into Egypt. And behold, you are my children, my children even of a third generation. In my hundred and eighteenth year Joseph died.
13. And now, my children, I command you that you fear our Lord with your whole heart, and walk in simplicity according to all His law. And do ye also teach your children learning, that they may have understanding in all their life, reading unceasingly the law of God; for every one who shall know the law of God shall be honoured, and shall not be a stranger wheresoever he goes. Yea, many friends shall he gain more than his forefathers; and many men shall desire to serve him, and to hear the law from his mouth. Work righteousness, my children, upon the earth, that you may find treasure in the heavens, and sow good things in your souls, that you may find them in your life. For if you sow evil things, you shall reap all trouble and affliction. Get wisdom in the fear of God with diligence; for though there shall be a leading into captivity, and cities be destroyed, and lands and gold and silver and every possession shall perish, the wisdom of the wise none can take away, save the blindness of ungodliness and the palsy of sin: for even among his enemies shall it be to him glorious, and in a strange country a home, and in the midst of foes shall it be found a friend. If a man teach these things and do them, he shall be enthroned with kings, as was also Joseph our brother.
14. And now, my children, I have learned from the writing of Enoch that at the last ye will deal ungodly, laying your hands upon the Lord in all malice; and your brethren shall be ashamed because of you, and to all the Gentiles shall it become a mocking. For our father Israel shall be pure from the ungodliness of the chief priests who shall lay their hands upon the Saviour of the world. Pure is the heaven above the earth, and you are the lights of the heaven as the sun and the moon. What shall all the Gentiles do if you be darkened in ungodliness? So shall you bring a curse upon our race for whom came the light of the world, which was given among you for the lighting up of every man. Him will you desire to slay, teaching commandments contrary to the ordinances of God. The offerings of the Lord will you rob, and from His portion will you steal; and before ye sacrifice to the Lord, you will take the choicest parts, in despitefulness eating them with harlots. Amid excesses will you teach the commandments of the Lord, the women that have husbands will you pollute, and the virgins of Jerusalem will you defile; and with harlots and adulteresses will you be joined. The daughters of the Gentiles will you take for wives, purifying them with an unlawful purification; and your union shall be like Sodom and Gomorrha in ungodliness. And ye will be puffed up because of the priesthood lifting yourselves up against men. And not only so, but being puffed up also against the commands of God, you will scoff at the holy things, mocking in despitefulness.
15. Therefore the temple which the Lord shall choose shall be desolate in uncleanness, and you shall be captives throughout all nations, and you shall be an abomination among them, and you shall receive reproach and everlasting shame from the righteous judgment of God; and all who see you shall flee from you. And were it not for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob our fathers, not one from my seed should be left upon the earth.
16. And now I have learned in the boo of Enoch that for seventy weeks will you go astray, and will profane the priesthood, and pollute the sacrifices, and corrupt the law, and set at nought the words of the prophets. In perverseness ye will persecute righteous men, and hate the godly; the words of the faithful will you abhor, and the man who renews the law in the power of the Most High will you call a deceiver; and at last, as you suppose, you will slay Him, not understanding His resurrection, wickedly taking upon your own heads the innocent blood. Because of Him shall your holy places be desolate, polluted even to the ground, and you shall have no place that is clean; but you shall be among the Gentiles a curse and a dispersion, until He shall again look upon you, and in pity shall take you to Himself through faith and water.
17. And because you have heard concerning the seventy weeks, hear also concerning the priesthood; for in each jubilee there shall be a priesthood. In the first jubilee, the first who is anointed into the priesthood shall be great, and shall speak to God as to a Father; and his priesthood shall be filled with the fear of the Lord, and in the day of his gladness shall he arise for the salvation of the world. In the second jubilee, he that is anointed shall be conceived in the sorrow of beloved ones; and his priesthood shall be honoured, and shall be glorified among all. And the third priest shall be held fast in sorrow; and the fourth shall be in grief, because unrighteousness shall be laid upon him exceedingly, and all Israel shall hate each one his neighbour. The fifth shall be held fast in darkness, likewise also the sixth and the seventh. And in the seventh there shall be such pollution as I am not able to express, before the Lord and men, for they shall know it who do these things. Therefore shall they be in captivity and for a prey, and their land and their substance shall be destroyed. And in the fifth week they shall return into their desolate country, and shall renew the house of the Lord. And in the seventh week shall come the priests, worshippers of idols, contentious, lovers of money, proud, lawless, lascivious, abusers of children and beasts.
18. And after their punishment shall have come from the Lord, then will the Lord raise up to the priesthood a new Priest, to whom all the words of the Lord shall be revealed; and He shall execute a judgment of truth upon the earth, in the fulness of days. And His star shall arise in heaven, as a king shedding forth the light of knowledge in the sunshine of day, and He shall be magnified in the world until His ascension. He shall shine forth as the sun in the earth, and shall drive away all darkness from the world under heaven, and there shall be peace in all the earth. The heavens shall rejoice in His days, and the earth shall be glad, and the clouds shall be joyful, and the knowledge of the Lord shall be poured forth upon the earth, as the water of seas; and the angels of the glory of the presence of the Lord shall be glad in Him. The heavens shall be opened, and from the temple of glory shall the sanctification come upon Him with the Father's voice, as from Abraham the father of Isaac. And the glory of the Most High shall be uttered over Him, and the spirit of understanding and of sanctification shall rest upon Him in the water. He shall give the majesty of the Lord to His sons in truth for evermore; and there shall none succeed Him for all generations, even for ever. And in His priesthood shall all sin come to an end, and the lawless shall rest from evil, and the just shall rest in Him. And He shall open the gates of paradise, and shall remove the threatening sword against Adam; and He shall give to His saints to eat from the tree of life, and the spirit of holiness shall be on them. And Beliar shall be bound by Him, and He shall give power to His children to tread upon the evil spirits. And the Lord shall rejoice in His children, and the Lord shall be well pleased in His beloved for ever. Then shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob be joyful, and I will be glad, and all the saints shall put on gladness.
19. And now, my children, you have heard all; choose therefore for yourselves either the darkness or the light, either the law of the Lord or the works of Beliar. And we answered our father, saying, Before the Lord will we walk according to His law. And our father said, The Lord is witness, and His angels are witnesses, and I am witness, and you are witnesses, concerning the word of your mouth. And we said, We are witnesses. And thus Levi ceased giving charge to his sons; and he stretched out his feet, and was gathered to his fathers, after he had lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. And they laid him in a coffin, and afterwards they buried him in Hebron, by the side of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.
IV.— The Testament of Judah Concerning Fortitude, and Love of Money, and Fornication.
1. The copy of the words of Judah, what things he spoke to his sons before he died. They gathered themselves together, and came to him, and he said to them: I was the fourth son born to my father, and my mother called me Judah, saying, I give thanks to the Lord, because He has given to me even a fourth son. I was swift and active in my youth, and obedient to my father in everything. And I honoured my mother and my mother's sister. And it came to pass, when I became a man, that my father Jacob prayed over me, saying, You shall be a king, and prosperous in all things.
2. And the Lord showed me favour in all my works both in the field and at home. When I saw that I could run with the hind, then I caught it, and prepared meat for my father. I seized upon the roes in the chase, and all that was in the plains I outran. A wild mare I outran, and I caught it and tamed it; and I slew a lion, and plucked a kid out of its mouth. I took a bear by its paw, and rolled it over a cliff; and if any beast turned upon me, I rent it like a dog. I encountered the wild boar, and overtaking it in the chase, I tore it. A leopard in Hebron leaped upon the dog, and I caught it by the tail, and flung it from me, and it was dashed to pieces in the coasts of Gaza. A wild ox feeding in the field I seized by the horns; and whirling it round and stunning it, I cast it from me, and slew it.
3. And when the two kings of the Canaanites came in warlike array against our flocks, and much people with them, I by myself rushed upon King Sur and seized him; and I beat him upon the legs, and dragged him down, and so I slew him. And the other king, Taphue, I slew as he sat upon his horse, and so I scattered all the people. Achor the king, a man of giant stature, hurling darts before and behind as he sat on horseback, I slew; for I hurled a stone of sixty pounds weight, and cast it upon his horse, and killed him. And I fought with Achor for two hours, and I killed him; and I clave his shield into two parts, and I chopped off his feet. And as I stripped off his breastplate, behold, eight men his companions began to fight with me. I wound round therefore my garment in my hand; and I slang stones at them, and killed four of them, and the rest fled. And Jacob my father slew Beelisa, king of all the kings, a giant in strength, twelve cubits high; and fear fell upon them, and they ceased from making war with us. Therefore my father had no care in the wars when I was among my brethren. For he saw in a vision concerning me, that an angel of might followed me everywhere, that I should not be overcome.
4. And in the south there befell us a greater war than that in Shechem; and I joined in battle array with my brethren, and pursued a thousand men, and slew of them two hundred men and four kings. And I went up against them upon the wall, and two other kings I slew; and so we freed Hebron, and took all the captives of the kings.
5. On the next day we departed to Areta, a city strong and walled and inaccessible, threatening us with death. Therefore I and Gad approached on the east side of the city, and Reuben and Levi on the west and south. And they that were upon the wall, thinking that we were alone, charged down upon us; and so our brethren secretly climbed up the wall on both sides by ladders, and entered into the city, while the men knew it not. And we took it with the edge of the sword; and those who had taken refuge in the tower—we set fire to the tower, and took both it and them. And as we were departing the men of Thaffu set upon our captives, and we took it with our sons, and fought with them even to Thaffu; and we slew them, and burnt their city, and spoiled all the things that were therein.
6. And when I was at the waters of Chuzeba, the men of Jobel came against us to battle, and we fought with them; and their allies from Selom we slew, and we allowed them no means of escaping, and of coming against us. And the men of Machir came upon us on the fifth day, to carry away our captives; and we attacked them, and overcame them in fierce battle: for they were a host and mighty in themselves, and we slew them before they had gone up the ascent of the hill. And when we came to their city, their women rolled upon us stones from the brow of the hill on which the city stood. And I and Simeon hid ourselves behind the town, and seized upon the heights, and utterly destroyed the whole city.
7. And the next day it was told us that the cities of the two kings with a great host were coming against us. I therefore and Dan feigned ourselves to be Amorites, and went as allies into their city. And in the depth of night our brethren came, and we opened to them the gates; and we destroyed all the men and their substance, and we took for a prey all that was theirs, and their three walls we cast down. And we drew near to Thamna, where was all the refuge of the hostile kings. Then having received hurt I was angry, and charged upon them to the brow of the hill; and they slang at me with stones and darts; and had not Dan my brother aided me, they would have been able to slay me. We came upon them therefore with wrath, and they all fled; and passing by another way, they besought my father, and he made peace with them, and we did to them no hurt, but made a truce with them, and restored to them all the captives. And I built Thamna, and my father built Rhambael. I was twenty years old when this war befell, and the Canaanites feared me and my brethren.
8. Moreover, I had much cattle, and I had for the chief of my herdsmen Iran Genesis 38:1 the Adullamite. And when I went to him I saw Barsan, king of Adullam, and he made us a feast; and he entreated me, and gave me his daughter Bathshua to wife. She bare me Er, and Onan, and Shelah; and the two of them the Lord smote that they died childless: for Shelah lived, and his children are you.
9. Eighteen years we abode at peace, our father and we, with his brother Esau, and his sons with us, after that we came from Mesopotamia, from Laban. And when eighteen years were fulfilled, in the fortieth year of my life, Esau, the brother of my father, came upon us with much people and strong; and he fell by the bow of Jacob, and was taken up dead in Mount Seir: even as he went above Iramna was he slain. And we pursued after the sons of Esau. Now they had a city with walls of iron and gates of brass; and we could not enter into it, and we encamped around, and besieged them. And when they opened not to us after twenty days, I set up a ladder in the sight of all, and with my shield upon my head I climbed up, assailed with stones of three talents' weight; and I climbed up, and slew four who were mighty among them. And the next day Reuben and Gad entered in and slew sixty others. Then they asked from us terms of peace; and being aware of our father's purpose, we received them as tributaries. And they gave us two hundred cors of wheat, five hundred baths of oil, fifteen hundred measures of wine, until we went down into Egypt.
10. After these things, my son Er took to wife Tamar, from Mesopotamia, a daughter of Aram. Now Er was wicked, and he doubted concerning Tamar, because she was not of the land of Canaan. And on the third day an angel of the Lord smote him in the night, and he had not known her, according to the evil craftiness of his mother, for he did not wish to have children from her. In the days of the wedding-feast I espoused Onan to her; and he also in wickedness knew her not, though he lived with her a year. And when I threatened him, he lay with her, ...according to the command of his mother, and he also died in his wickedness. And I wished to give Shelah also to her, but my wife Bathshua suffered it not; for she bore a spite against Tamar, because she was not of the daughters of Canaan, as she herself was.
11. And I knew that the race of Canaan was wicked, but the thoughts of youth blinded my heart. And when I saw her pouring out wine, in the drunkenness of wine was I deceived, and I fell before her. And while I was away, she went and took for Shelah a wife from the land of Caanan. And when I knew what she had done, I cursed her in the anguish of my soul, and she also died in the wickedness of her sons.
12. And after these things, while Tamar was a widow, she heard after two years that I was going up to shear my sheep; then she decked herself in bridal array, and sat over against the city by the gate. For it is a law of the Amorites, that she who is about to marry sit in fornication seven days by the gate. I therefore, being drunk at the waters of Chozeb, recognised her not by reason of wine; and her beauty deceived me, through the fashion of her adorning. And I turned aside to her, and said, I would enter in to you. And she said to me, What will you give me? And I gave her my staff, and my girdle, and my royal crown; and I lay with her, and she conceived. I then, not knowing what she had done, wished to slay her; but she privily sent my pledges, and put me to shame. And when I called her, I heard also the secret words which I spoke when lying with her in my drunkenness; and I could not slay her, because it was from the Lord. For I said, Lest haply she did it in subtlety, and received the pledge from another woman: but I came near her no more till my death, because I had done this abomination in all Israel. Moreover, they who were in the city said that there was no bride in the city, because she came from another place, and sat for awhile in the gate, and she thought that no one knew that I had gone in to her. And after this we came into Egypt to Joseph, because of the famine. Forty and six years old was I, and seventy and three years lived I there.
13. And now, my children, in what things so ever I command you hearken to your father, and keep all my sayings to perform the ordinances of the Lord, and to obey the command of the Lord God. And walk not after your lusts, nor in the thoughts of your imaginations in the haughtiness of your heart; and glory not in the works of the strength of youth, for this also is evil in the eyes of the Lord. For since I also gloried that in wars the face of no woman of goodly form ever deceived me, and upbraided Reuben my brother concerning Bilhah, the wife of my father, the spirits of jealousy and of fornication arrayed themselves within me, until I fell before Bathshua the Canaanite, and Tamar who was espoused to my sons. And I said to my father-in-law, I will counsel with my father, and so will I take your daughter. And he showed me a boundless store of gold in his daughter's behalf, for he was a king. And he decked her with gold and pearls, and caused her to pour out wine for us at the feast in womanly beauty. And the wine led my eyes astray, and pleasure blinded my heart; and I loved her, and I fell, and transgressed the commandment of the Lord and the commandment of my fathers, and I took her to wife. And the Lord rewarded me according to the thought of my heart, insomuch that I had no joy in her children.
14. And now, my children, be not drunk with wine; for wine turns the mind away from the truth, and kindles in it the passion of lust, and leads the eyes into error. For the spirit of fornication has wine as a minister to give pleasures to the mind; for these two take away the power from a man. For if a man drink wine to drunkenness, he disturbs his mind with filthy thoughts to fornication, and excites his body to carnal union; and if the cause of the desire be present, he works the sin, and is not ashamed. Such is wine, my children; for he who is drunken reverences no man. For, lo, it made me also to err, so that I was not ashamed of the multitude in the city, because before the eyes of all I turned aside unto Tamar, and I worked a great sin, and I uncovered the covering of the shame of my sons. After that I drank wine I reverenced not the commandment of God, and I took a woman of Canaan to wife. Wherefore, my children, he who drinks wine needs discretion; and herein is discretion in drinking wine, that a man should drink as long as he keeps decency; but if he go beyond this bound, the spirit of deceit attacks his mind and works his will; and it makes the drunkard to talk filthily, and to transgress and not to be ashamed, but even to exult in his dishonour, accounting himself to do well.
15. He that commits fornication, and uncovers his nakedness, has become the servant of fornication, and escapes not from the power thereof, even as I also was uncovered. For I gave my staff, that is, the stay of my tribe; and my girdle, that is, my power; and my diadem, that is, the glory of my kingdom. Then I repented for these things, and took no wine or flesh until my old age, nor did I behold any joy. And the angel of God showed me that for ever do women bear rule over king and beggar alike; and from the king they take away his glory, and from the valiant man his strength, and from the beggar even that little which is the stay of his poverty.
16. Observe therefore, my children, moderation in wine; for there are in it four evil spirits— of (1) lust, of (2) wrath, of (3) riot, of (4) filthy lucre. If you drink wine in gladness, with shamefacedness, with the fear of God, you shall live. For if you drink not with shamefacedness, and the fear of God departs from you, then comes drunkenness, and shamelessness steals in. But even if you drink not at all, take heed lest ye sin in words of outrage, and fighting, and slander, and transgression of the commandments of God; so shall you perish before your time. Moreover, wine reveals the mysteries of God and men to aliens, even as I also revealed the commandments of God and the mysteries of Jacob my father to the Canaanitish Bathshua, to whom God forbade to declare them. And wine also is a cause of war and confusion.
17. I charge you, therefore, my children, not to love money, nor to gaze upon the beauty of women; because for the sake of money and beauty I was led astray to Bathshua the Canaanite. For I know that because of these two things shall you who are my race fall into wickedness; for even wise men among my sons shall they mar, and shall cause the kingdom of Judah to be diminished, which the Lord gave me because of my obedience to my father. For I never disobeyed a word of Jacob my father, for all things whatsoever he commanded I did. And Abraham, the father of my father, blessed me that I should be king in Israel, and Isaac further blessed me in like manner. And I know that from me shall the kingdom be established.
18. For I have read also in the books of Enoch the righteous what evils you shall do in the last days. Take heed, therefore, my children, of fornication and the love of money; hearken to Judah your father, for these things do withdraw you from the law of God, and blind the understanding of the soul, and teach arrogance, and suffer not a man to have compassion upon his neighbour: they rob his soul of all goodness, and bind him in toils and troubles, and take away his sleep and devour his flesh, and hinder the sacrifices of God; and he remembers not blessing, and he hearkens not to a prophet when he speaks, and is vexed at the word of godliness. For one who serves two passions contrary to the commandments of God cannot obey God, because they have blinded his soul, and he walks in the day-time as in the night.
19. My children, the love of money leads to idols; because, when led astray through money, men make mention of those who are no gods, and it causes him who has it to fall into madness. For the sake of money I lost my children, and but for the repentance of my flesh, and the humbling of my soul, and the prayers of Jacob my father, I should have died childless. But the God of my fathers, who is pitiful and merciful, pardoned me, because I did it in ignorance. For the prince of deceit blinded me, and I was ignorant as a man and as flesh, being corrupted in sins; and I learned my own weakness while thinking myself unconquerable.
20. Learn therefore, my children, that two spirits wait upon man— the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; and in the midst is the spirit of the understanding of the mind, to which it belongs to turn whithersoever it will. And the works of truth and the works of error are written upon the breast of men, and each one of them the Lord knows. And there is no time at which the works of men can be hid from Him; for on the bones of his breast has he been written down before the Lord. And the spirit of truth testifies all things, and accuses all; and he who sins is burnt up by his own heart, and cannot raise his face unto the Judge.
21. And now, my children, love Levi, that you may abide, and exalt not yourselves against him, lest ye be utterly destroyed. For to me the Lord gave the kingdom, and to him the priesthood, and He set the kingdom beneath the priesthood. To me He gave the things upon the earth; to him the things in the heavens. As the heaven is higher than the earth, so is the priesthood of God higher than the kingdom upon the earth. For the Lord chose him above you, to draw near to Him, and to eat of His table and first-fruits, even the choice things of the sons of Israel, and you shall be to them as a sea. For as, on the sea, just and unjust are tossed about, some taken into captivity while others are enriched, so also shall every race of men be in you, some are in jeopardy and taken captive, and others shall grow rich by means of plunder. For they who rule will be as great sea-monsters, swallowing up men like fishes: free sons and daughters do they enslave; houses, lands, flocks, money, will they plunder; and with the flesh of many will they wrongfully feed the ravens and the cranes; and they will go on further in evil, advancing on still in covetousness. And there shall be false prophets like tempests, and they shall persecute all righteous men.
22. And the Lord shall bring upon them divisions one against another, and there shall be continual wars in Israel; and among men of other race shall my kingdom be brought to an end, until the salvation of Israel shall come, until the appearing of the God of righteousness, that Jacob and all the Gentiles may rest in peace. And he shall guard the might of my kingdom for ever: for the Lord sware to me with an oath that the kingdom should never fail from me, and from my seed for all days, even for ever.
23. Now I have much grief, my children, because of your lewdness, and witchcrafts, and idolatries, which you will work against the kingdom, following them that have familiar spirits; you will make your daughters singing girls and harlots for divinations and demons of error, and you will be mingled in the pollutions of the Gentiles: for which things' sake the Lord shall bring upon you famine and pestilence, death and the sword, avenging siege, and dogs for the rending in pieces of enemies, and revilings of friends, destruction and blighting of eyes, children slaughtered, wives carried off, possessions plundered, temple of God in flames, your land desolated, your own selves enslaved among the Gentiles, and they shall make some of you eunuchs for their wives; and whenever ye will return to the Lord with humility of heart, repenting and walking in all the commandments of God, then will the Lord visit you in mercy and in love, bringing you from out of the bondage of your enemies.
24. And after these things shall a Star arise to you from Jacob in peace, and a Man shall rise from my seed, like the Sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men in meekness and righteousness, and no sin shall be found in Him. And the heavens shall be opened above Him, to shed forth the blessing of the Spirit from the Holy Father; and He shall shed forth a spirit of grace upon you, and you shall be unto Him sons in truth, and you shall walk in His commandments, the first and the last. This is the Branch of God Most High, and this the Well-spring unto life for all flesh. Then shall the sceptre of my kingdom shine forth, and from your root shall arise a stem; and in it shall arise a rod of righteousness to the Gentiles, to judge and to save all that call upon the Lord.
25. And after these things shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob arise unto life, and I and my brethren will be chiefs, even your sceptre in Israel: Levi first, I the second, Joseph third, Benjamin fourth, Simeon fifth, Issachar sixth, and so all in order. And the Lord blessed Levi; the Angel of the Presence, me; the powers of glory, Simeon; the heaven, Reuben; the earth, Issachar; the sea, Zebulun; the mountains, Joseph; the tabernacle, Benjamin; the lights of heaven, Dan; the fatness of earth, Naphtali; the sun, Gad; the olive, Asher: and there shall be one people of the Lord, and one tongue; and there shall no more be a spirit of deceit of Beliar, for he shall be cast into the fire for ever. And they who have died in grief shall arise in joy, and they who have lived in poverty for the Lord's sake shall be made rich, and they who have been in want shall be filled, and they who have been weak shall be made strong, and they who have been put to death for the Lord's sake shall awake in life. And the harts of Jacob shall run in joyfulness, and the eagles of Israel shall fly in gladness; but the ungodly shall lament, and sinners all weep, and all the people shall glorify the Lord for ever.
26. Observe, therefore, my children, all the law of the Lord, for there is hope for all them who follow His way aright. And he said to them: I die before your eyes this day, a hundred and nineteen years old. Let no one bury me in costly apparel, nor tear open my bowels, for this shall they who are kings do: and carry me up to Hebron with you. And Judah, when he had said these things, fell asleep; and his sons did according to all whatsoever he commanded them, and they buried him in Hebron with his fathers.
V.— The Testament of Issachar Concerning Simplicity.
1. The record of the words of Issachar. He called his sons, and said to them: Hearken, my children, to Issachar your father; give ear to my words, you who are beloved of the Lord. I was the fifth son born to Jacob, even the hire of the mandrakes. For Reuben brought in mandrakes from the field, and Rachel met him and took them. And Reuben wept, and at his voice Leah my mother came forth. Now these mandrakes were sweet-smelling apples which the land of Aram produced on high ground below a ravine of water. And Rachel said, I will not give them to you, for they shall be to me instead of children. Now there were two apples; and Leah said, Let it suffice you that you have taken the husband of my virginity: will you also take these? And she said, Behold, let Jacob be to you this night instead of the mandrakes of your son. And Leah said to her, Boast not, and vaunt not yourself; for Jacob is mine, and I am the wife of his youth. But Rachel said, How so? for to me was he first espoused, and for my sake he served our father fourteen years. What shall I do to you, because the craft and the subtlety of men are increased, and craft prospers upon the earth? And were it not so, you would not now see the face of Jacob. For you are not his wife, but in craft were taken to him in my stead. And my father deceived me, and removed me on that night, and suffered me not to see him; for had I been there, it had not happened thus. And Rachel said, Take one mandrake, and for the other you shall hire him from me for one night. And Jacob knew Leah, and she conceived and bare me, and on account of the hire I was called Issachar.
2. Then appeared to Jacob an angel of the Lord, saying, Two children shall Rachel bear; for she has refused company with her husband, and has chosen continency. And had not Leah my mother given up the two apples for the sake of his company, she would have borne eight sons; and for this thing she bare six, and Rachel two: because on account of the mandrakes the Lord visited her. For He knew that for the sake of children she wished to company with Jacob, and not for lust of pleasure. For she went further, and on the morrow too gave up Jacob that she might receive also the other mandrake. Therefore the Lord hearkened to Rachel because of the mandrakes: for though she desired them, she ate them not, but brought them to the priest of the Most High who was at that time, and offered them up in the house of the Lord.
3. When, therefore, I grew up, my children, I walked in uprightness of heart, and I became a husbandman for my parents and my brethren, and I brought in fruits from the field according to their season; and my father blessed me, for he saw that I walked in simplicity. And I was not a busybody in my doings, nor malicious and slanderous against my neighbour. I never spoke against any one, nor did I censure the life of any man, but walked in the simplicity of my eyes. Therefore when I was thirty years old I took to myself a wife, for my labour wore away my strength, and I never thought upon pleasure with women; but through my labour my sleep sufficed me, and my father always rejoiced in my simplicity. For on whatever I laboured I offered first to the Lord, by the hands of the priests, of all my produce and all first-fruits; then to my father, and then took for myself. And the Lord increased twofold His benefits in my hands; and Jacob also knew that God aided my simplicity, for on every poor man and every one in distress I bestowed the good things of the earth in simplicity of heart.
4. And now hearken to me, my children, and walk in simplicity of heart, for I have seen in it all that is well-pleasing to the Lord. The simple coveteth not gold, defrauds not his neighbour, longs not after manifold dainties, delights not in varied apparel, does not picture to himself to live a long life, but only waits for the will of God, and the spirits of error have no power against him. For he cannot allow within his mind a thought of female beauty, that he should not pollute his mind in corruption. No envy can enter into his thoughts, no jealousy melts away his soul, nor does he brood over gain with insatiate desire; for he walks in uprightness of life, and beholds all things in simplicity, not admitting in his eyes malice from the error of the world, lest he should see the perversion of any of the commandments of the Lord.
5. Keep therefore the law of God, my children, and get simplicity, and walk in guilelessness, not prying over-curiously into the commands of God and the business of your neighbour; but love the Lord and your neighbour, have compassion on the poor and weak. Bow down your back unto husbandry, and labour in tillage of the ground in all manner of husbandry, offering gifts unto the Lord with thanksgiving; for with the first-fruits of the earth did the Lord bless me, even as He blessed all the saints from Abel even until now. For no other portion is given to you than of the fatness of the earth, whose fruits are raised by toil; for our father Jacob blessed me with blessings of the earth and of first-fruits. And Levi and Judah were glorified by the Lord among the sons of Jacob; for the Lord made choice of them, and to the one He gave the priesthood, to the other the kingdom. Them therefore obey, and walk in the simplicity of your father; for unto Gad has it been given to destroy the temptations that are coming upon Israel.
6. I know, my children, that in the last times your sons will forsake simplicity, and will cleave unto avarice, and leaving guilelessness will draw near to malice, and forsaking the commandments of the Lord will cleave unto Beliar, and leaving husbandry will follow after their wicked devices, and shall be dispersed among the Gentiles, and shall serve their enemies. And do you therefore command these things to your children, that if they sin they may the more quickly return to the Lord; for He is merciful, and will deliver them even to bring them back into their land.
7. I am a hundred and twenty-two years old, and I know not against myself a sin unto death. Except my wife, I have not known any woman. I never committed fornication in the haughtiness of my eyes; I drank not wine, to be led astray thereby; I coveted not any desirable thing that was my neighbour's; guile never entered in my heart; a lie never passed through my lips; if any man grieved, I wept with him, and I shared my bread with the poor. I never ate alone; I moved no landmark; in all my days I wrought godliness and truth. I loved the Lord with all my strength; likewise also did I love every man even as my own children. So ye also do these things, my children, and every spirit of Beliar shall flee from you, and no deed of malicious men shall rule over you; and every wild beast shall you subdue, having with yourselves the God of heaven walking with men in simplicity of heart.
And he commanded them that they should carry him up to Hebron, and bury him there in the cave with his fathers. And he stretched out his feet and died, the fifth son of Jacob, in a good old age; and with every limb sound, and with strength unabated, he slept the eternal sleep.
VI.— The Testament of Zebulun Concerning Compassion and Mercy.
1. The record of Zebulun, which he enjoined his children in the hundred and fourteenth year of his life, thirty-two years after the death of Joseph. And he said to them: Hearken to me sons of Zebulun, attend to the words of your father. I am Zebulun, a good gift to my parents. For when I was born our father was increased very exceedingly, both in flocks and herds, when with the streaked rods he had his portion. I know not, my children, that in all my days I have sinned, save only in thought. Nor do I remember that I have done any iniquity, except the sin of ignorance which I committed against Joseph; for I screened my brethren, not telling to my father what had been done. And I wept sore in secret, for I feared my brethren, because they had all agreed together, that if any one should declare the secret, he should be slain with the sword. But when they wished to kill him, I adjured them much with tears not to be guilty of this iniquity.
2. For Simeon and Gad came against Joseph to kill him. And Joseph fell upon his face, and said unto them, Pity me, my brethren, have compassion upon the bowels of Jacob our father: lay not upon me your hands to shed innocent blood, for I have not sinned against you; yea, if I have sinned, with chastening chastise me, but lay not upon me your hand, for the sake of Jacob our father. And as he spoke these words, I pitied him and began to weep, and my heart melted within me, and all the substance of my bowels was loosened within my soul. And Joseph also wept, and I too wept with him; and my heart throbbed fast, and the joints of my body trembled, and I was not able to stand. And when he saw me weeping with him, and them coming against him to slay him, he fled behind me, beseeching them. And Reuben rose and said, My brethren, let us not slay him, but let us cast him into one of these dry pits which our fathers dug and found no water. For for this cause the Lord forbade that water should rise up in them, in order that Joseph might be preserved; and the Lord appointed it so, until they sold him to the Ishmaelites.
3. For in the price of Joseph, my children, I had no share; but Simeon and Gad and six other of our brethren took the price of Joseph, and bought sandals for themselves, their wives, and their children, saying, We will not eat of it, for it is the price of our brother's blood, but will tread it down under foot, because he said that he was king over us, and so let us see what his dreams mean. Therefore is it written in the writing of the law of Enoch, that whosoever will not raise up seed to his brother, his sandal shall be unloosed, and they shall spit into his face. And the brethren of Joseph wished not that their brother should live, and the Lord loosed unto them the sandal of Joseph. For when they came into Egypt they were unloosed by the servants of Joseph before the gate, and so made obeisance to Joseph after the fashion of Pharaoh. And not only did they make obeisance to him, but were spit upon also, falling down before him forthwith, and so they were put to shame before the Egyptians; for after this the Egyptians heard all the evils which we had done to Joseph.
4. After these things they brought forth food; for I through two days and two nights tasted nothing, through pity for Joseph. And Judah ate not with them, but watched the pit; for he feared lest Simeon and Gad should run back and slay him. And when they saw that I also ate not, they set me to watch him until he was sold. And he remained in the pit three days and three nights, and so was sold famishing. And when Reuben heard that while he was away Joseph had been sold, he rent his clothes about him, and mourned, saying, How shall I look in the face of Jacob my father? And he took the money, and ran after the merchants, and found no one; for they had left the main road, and journeyed hastily through rugged byways. And Reuben ate no food on that day. Dan therefore came to him, and said, Weep not, neither grieve; for I have found what we can say to our father Jacob. Let us slay a kid of the goats, and dip in it the coat of Joseph; and we will say, Look, if this is the coat of your son: for they stripped off from Joseph the coat of our father when they were about to sell him, and put upon him an old garment of a slave. Now Simeon had the coat, and would not give it up, wishing to rend it with his sword; for he was angry that Joseph lived, and that he had not slain him. Then we all rose up together against him, and said, If you give it not up, we will say that you alone did this wickedness in Israel; and so he gave it up, and they did even as Dan had said.
5. And now, my children, I bid you to keep the commands of the Lord, and to show mercy upon your neighbour, and to have compassion towards all, not towards men only, but also towards beasts. For for this thing's sake the Lord blessed me; and when all my brethren were sick I escaped without sickness, for the Lord knows the purposes of each. Have therefore compassion in your hearts, my children, because even as a man does to his neighbour, even so also will the Lord do to him. For the sons of my brethren were sickening, were dying on account of Joseph, because they showed not mercy in their hearts; but my sons were preserved without sickness, as you know. And when I was in Canaan, by the sea-coast, I caught spoil of fish for Jacob my father; and when many were choked in the sea, I abode unhurt.
6. I was the first who made a boat to sail upon the sea, for the Lord gave me understanding and wisdom therein; and I let down a rudder behind it, and I stretched a sail on an upright mast in the midst; and sailing therein along the shores, I caught fish for the house of my father until we went into Egypt; and through compassion, I gave of my fish to every stranger. And if any man were a stranger, or sick, or aged, I boiled the fish and dressed them well, and offered them to all men as every man had need, bringing them together and having compassion upon them. Wherefore also the Lord granted me to take much fish: for he that imparts unto his neighbour, receives manifold more from the Lord. For five years I caught fish, and gave thereof to every man whom I saw, and brought sufficient for all the house of my father. In the summer I caught fish, and in the winter I kept sheep with my brethren.
7. Now I will declare unto you what I did, I saw a man in distress and nakedness in wintertime, and had compassion upon him, and stole away a garment secretly from my house, and gave it to him who was in distress. Do you therefore, my children, from that which God bestows upon you, show compassion and mercy impartially to all men, and give to every man with a good heart. And if you have not at the time wherewith to give to him that asks you, have compassion for him in bowels of mercy. I know that my hand found not at the time wherewith to give to him that asked me, and I walked with him weeping for more than seven furlongs, and my bowels yearned towards him unto compassion.
8. Have therefore yourselves also, my children, compassion towards every man with mercy, that the Lord also may have compassion upon you, and have mercy upon you; because also in the last days God sends His compassion on the earth, and wheresoever He finds bowels of mercy, He dwells in him. For how much compassion a man has upon his neighbours, so much also has the Lord upon him. For when we went down into Egypt, Joseph bore no malice against us, and when he saw me he was filled with compassion. And looking towards him, do ye also, my children, approve yourselves without malice, and love one another; and reckon not each one the evil of his brother, for this breaks unity, and divides all kindred, and troubles the soul: for he who bears malice has not bowels of mercy.
9. Mark the waters, that they flow together, and sweep along stones, trees, sand; but if they are divided into many streams, the earth sucks them up, and they become of no account. So also shall you be if you be divided. Divide not yourselves into two heads, for everything which the Lord made has but one head; He gave two shoulders, hands, feet, but all the members are subject unto the one head. I have learned by the writing of my fathers, that in the last days ye will depart from the Lord, and be divided in Israel, and you will follow two kings, and will work every abomination, and every idol will you worship, and your enemies shall lead you captive, and you shall dwell among the nations with all infirmities and tribulations and anguish of soul. And after these things ye will remember the Lord, and will repent, and He will lead you back; for He is merciful and full of compassion, not imputing evil to the sons of men, because they are flesh, and the spirits of error deceive them in all their doings. And after these things shall the Lord Himself arise to you, Malachi 4:2 the Light of righteousness, and healing and compassion shall be upon His wings. He shall redeem all captivity of the sons of men from Beliar, and every spirit of error shall be trodden down. And He shall bring back all the nations to zeal for Him, and you shall see God in the fashion of a man whom the Lord shall choose, Jerusalem is His name. And again with the wickedness of your words will you provoke Him to anger, and you shall be cast away, even unto the time of consummation.
10. And now, my children, grieve not that I am dying, nor be troubled in that I am passing away from you. For I shall arise once more in the midst of you, as a ruler in the midst of his sons; and I will rejoice in the midst of my tribe, as many as have kept the law of the Lord, and the commandments of Zebulun their father. But upon the ungodly shall the Lord bring everlasting fire, and will destroy them throughout all generations. I am hastening away unto my rest, as did my fathers; but do ye fear the Lord your God with all your strength all the days of your life. And when he had said these things he fell calmly asleep, and his sons laid him in a coffin; and afterwards they carried him up to Hebron, and buried him with his fathers.
VII.— The Testament of Dan Concerning Anger and Lying.
1. The record of the words of Dan, which he spoke to his sons in his last days. In the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life he called together his family, and said: Hearken to my words, you sons of Dan; give heed to the words of the mouth of your father. I have proved in my heart, and in my whole life, that truth with just dealing is good and well-pleasing to God, and that lying and anger are evil, because they teach man all wickedness. I confess this day to you, my children, that in my heart I rejoiced concerning the death of Joseph, a true and good man; and I rejoiced at the selling of Joseph, because his father loved him more than us. For the spirit of jealousy and of vainglory said to me, You also are his son. And one of the spirits of Beliar wrought with me, saying, Take this sword, and with it slay Joseph; so shall your father love you when he is slain. This is the spirit of anger that counselled me, that even as a leopard devours a kid, so should I devour Joseph. But the God of Jacob our father gave him not over into my hands that I should find him alone, nor suffered me to work this iniquity, that two tribes should be destroyed in Israel.
2. And now, my children, I am dying, and I tell you of a truth, that unless ye keep yourselves from the spirit of lying and of anger, and love truth and long-suffering, you shall perish. There is blindness in anger, my children, and no wrathful man regards any person with truth: for though it be a father or a mother, he behaves towards them as enemies; though it be a brother, he knows him not; though it be a prophet of the Lord, he disobeys him; though a righteous man, he regards him not; a friend he does not acknowledge. For the spirit of anger encompasses him with the nets of deceit, and blinds his natural eyes, and through lying darkens his mind, and gives him a sight of his own making. And wherewith encompasses he his eyes? In hatred of heart; and he gives him a heart of his own against his brother unto envy.
3. My children, mischievous is anger, for it becomes as a soul to the soul itself; and the body of the angry man it makes its own, and over his soul it gets the mastery, and it bestows upon the body its own power, that it may work all iniquity; and whenever the soul does anything, it justifies what has been done, since it sees not. Therefore he who is wrathful, if he be a mighty man, has a treble might in his anger; one by the might and aid of his servants, and a second by his wrath, whereby he persuades and overcomes in injustice: and having a third of the nature of his own body, and of his own self working the evil. And though the wrathful man be weak, yet has he a might twofold of that which is by nature; for wrath ever aids such in mischief. This spirit goes always with lying at the right hand of Satan, that his works may be wrought with cruelty and lying.
4. Understand ye therefore the might of wrath, that it is vain. For it first of all stings him in word: then by deeds it strengthens him who is angry, and with bitter punishments disturbs his mind, and so stirs up with great wrath his soul. Therefore, when any one speaks against you, be not ye moved unto anger. And if any man praises you as good, be not lifted up nor elated, either to the feeling or showing of pleasure. For first it pleases the hearing, and so stirs up the understanding to understand the grounds for anger; and then, being wrathful, he thinks that he is justly angry. If you fall into any loss or ruin, my children, be not troubled; for this very spirit makes men desire that which has perished, in order that they may be inflamed by the desire. If you suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raises up wrath with lying. And wrath with lying is a twofold mischief; and they speak one with another that they may disturb the mind; and when the soul is continually disturbed, the Lord departs from it, and Beliar rules over it.
5. Observe, therefore, my children, the commandments of the Lord, and keep His law; and depart from wrath, and hate lying, that the Lord may dwell among you, and Beliar may flee from you. Speak truth each one with his neighbour, so shall you not fall into lust and confusion; but you shall be in peace, having the God of peace, so shall no war prevail over you. Love the Lord through all your life, and one another with a true heart. For I know that in the last days ye will depart from the Lord, and will provoke Levi unto anger, and will fight against Judah; but you shall not prevail against them. For an angel of the Lord shall guide them both; for by them shall Israel stand. And whensoever ye depart from the Lord, you will walk in all evil, working the abominations of the Gentiles, going astray with women of them that are ungodly; and the spirits of error shall work in you with all malice. For I have read in the boo of Enoch the righteous, that your prince is Satan, and that all the spirits of fornication and pride shall be subject unto Levi, to lay a snare for the sons of Levi, to cause them to sin before the Lord. And my sons will draw near unto Levi, and sin with them in all things; and the sons of Judah will be covetous, plundering other men's goods like lions. Therefore shall you be led away with them in captivity, and there shall you receive all the plagues of Egypt, and all the malice of the Gentiles: and so, when you return to the Lord, you shall obtain mercy, and He shall bring you into His sanctuary, calling peace upon you; and there shall arise unto you from the tribe of Judah and of Levi the salvation of the Lord; and He shall make war against Beliar, and He shall give the vengeance of victory to our coasts. And the captivity shall He take from Beliar, even the souls of the saints, and shall turn disobedient hearts unto the Lord, and shall give to them who call upon Him everlasting peace; and the saints shall rest in Eden, and the righteous shall rejoice in the new Jerusalem, which shall be unto the glory of God for ever and ever. And no longer shall Jerusalem endure desolation, nor Israel be led captive; for the Lord shall be in the midst of her, dwelling among men, even the Holy One of Israel reigning over them in humility and in poverty; and he who believes in Him shall reign in truth in the heavens.
6. And now, my children, fear the Lord, and take heed unto yourselves of Satan and his spirits; and draw near unto God, and to the Angel that intercedes for you, for He is a Mediator between God and man for the peace of Israel. He shall stand up against the kingdom of the enemy; therefore is the enemy eager to destroy all that call upon the Lord. For he knows that in the day on which Israel shall believe, the kingdom of the enemy shall be brought to an end; and the very angel of peace shall strengthen Israel, that it fall not into the extremity of evil. And it shall be in the time of the iniquity of Israel, that the Lord will depart from them, and will go after him that does His will, for unto none of His angels shall it be as unto him. And His name shall be in every place of Israel, and among the Gentiles— Saviour. Keep therefore yourselves, my children, from every evil work, and cast away wrath and all lying, and love truth and long-suffering; and the things which you have heard from your father, do ye also impart to your children, that the Father of the Gentiles may receive you: for He is true and long-suffering, meek and lowly, and teaches by His works the law of God. Depart, therefore, from all unrighteousness, and cleave unto the righteousness of the law of the Lord: and bury me near my fathers.
7. And when he had said these things he kissed them, and slept the long sleep. And his sons buried him, and after that they carried up his bones to the side of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Nevertheless, as Dan had prophesied unto them that they should forget the law of their God, and should be alienated from the land of their inheritance, and from the race of Israel, and from their kindred, so also it came to pass.
VIII.— The Testament of Naphtali Concerning Natural Goodness.
1. The record of the testament of Naphtali, what things he ordained at the time of his death in the hundred and thirty-second year of his life. When his sons were gathered together in the seventh month, the fourth day of the month, he, being yet in good health, made them a feast and good cheer. And after he was awake in the morning, he said to them, I am dying; and they believed him not. And he blessed the Lord; and affirmed that after yesterday's feast he should die. He began then to say to his sons: Hear, my children; ye sons of Naphtali, hear the words of your father. I was born from Bilhah; and because Rachel dealt craftily, and gave Bilhah in place of herself to Jacob, and she bore me upon Rachel's lap, therefore was I called Naphtali. And Rachel loved me because I was born upon her lap; and when I was of young and tender form, she was wont to kiss me, and say, Would that I might see a brother of yours from my own womb, like you: whence also Joseph was like me in all things, according to the prayers of Rachel. Now my mother was Bilhah, daughter of Rotheus the brother of Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, and she was born on one and the self-same day with Rachel. And Rotheus was of the family of Abraham, a Chaldean, fearing God, free-born and noble; and he was taken captive, and was bought by Laban; and he gave him Aena his handmaid to wife, and she bore a daughter, and called her Zilpah, after the name of the village in which he had been taken captive. And next she bore Bilhah, saying, My daughter is eager after what is new, for immediately that she was born she was eager for the breast.
2. And since I was swift on my feet like a deer, my father Jacob appointed me for all errands and messages, and as a deer Genesis 49:21 did he give me his blessing. For as the potter knows the vessel, what it contains, and brings clay thereto, so also does the Lord make the body in accordance with the spirit, and according to the capacity of the body does He implant the spirit, and the one is not deficient from the other by a third part of a hair; for by weight, and measure, and rule is every creature of the Most High. And as the potter knows the use of each vessel, whereto it suffices, so also does the Lord know the body, how far it is capable for goodness, and when it begins in evil; for there is no created thing and no thought which the Lord knows not, for He created every man after His own image. As man's strength, so also is his work; and as his mind, so also is his work; and as his purpose, so also is his doing; as his heart, so also is his mouth; as his eye, so also is his sleep; as his soul, so also is his word, either in the law of the Lord or in the law of Beliar. And as there is a division between light and darkness, between seeing and hearing, so also is there a division between man and man, and between woman and woman; neither is it to be said that there is any superiority in anything, either of the face or of other like things. For God made all things good in their order, the five senses in the head, and He joins on the neck to the head, the hair also for comeliness, the heart moreover for understanding, the belly for the dividing of the stomach, the calamus for health, the liver for wrath, the gall for bitterness. the spleen for laughter, the reins for craftiness, the loins for power, the ribs for containing, the back for strength, and so forth. So then, my children, be ye orderly unto good things in the fear of God, and do nothing disorderly in scorn or out of its due season. For if you bid the eye to hear, it cannot; so neither in darkness can you do the works of light.
3. Be not therefore eager to corrupt your doings through excess, or with empty words to deceive your souls; because if you keep silence in purity of heart, you shall be able to hold fast the will of God, and to cast away the will of the devil. Sun and moon and stars change not their order; so also you shall not change the law of God in the disorderliness of your doings. Nations went astray, and forsook the Lord, and changed their order, and followed stones and stocks, following after spirits of error. But you shall not be so, my children, recognising in the firmament, in the earth, and in the sea, and in all created things, the Lord who made them all, that you become not as Sodom, which changed the order of its nature, in like manner also the Watchers changed the order of their nature, whom also the Lord cursed at the flood, and for their sakes made desolate the earth, that it should be uninhabited and fruitless.
4. These things I say, my children, for I have read in the holy writing of Enoch that you yourselves also will depart from the Lord, walking according to all wickedness of the Gentiles, and ye will do according to all the iniquity of Sodom. And the Lord will bring captivity upon you, and there shall you serve your enemies, and you shall be covered with all affliction and tribulation, until the Lord shall have consumed you all. And after that you shall have been diminished and made few, you will return and acknowledge the Lord your God; and He will bring you back into your own land, according to His abundant mercy. And it shall be, after that they shall come into the land of their fathers, they will again forget the Lord and deal wickedly; and the Lord shall scatter them upon the face of all the earth, until the compassion of the Lord shall come, a Man working righteousness and showing mercy unto all them that are afar off, and them that are near.
5. For in the fortieth year of my life, I saw in a vision that the sun and the moon were standing still on the Mount of Olives, at the east of Jerusalem. And behold Isaac, the father of my father, says to us, Run and lay hold of them, each one according to his strength; and he that seizes them, his shall be the sun and the moon. And we all of us ran together, and Levi laid hold of the sun, and Judah outstripped the others and seized the moon, and they were both of them lifted up with them. And when Levi became as a sun, a certain young man gave to him twelve branches of palm; and Judah was bright as the moon, and under his feet were twelve rays. And Levi and Judah ran, and laid hold each of the other. And, lo, a bull upon the earth, having two great horns, and an eagle's wings upon his back; and we wished to seize him, but could not. For Joseph outstripped us, and took him, and ascended up with him on high. And I saw, for I was there, and behold a holy writing appeared to us saying: Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Elamites, Gelachæans, Chaldeans, Syrians, shall possess in captivity the twelve tribes of Israel.
6. And again, after seven months, I saw our father Jacob standing by the sea of Jamnia, and we his sons were with him. And, behold, there came a ship sailing by, full of dried flesh, without sailors or pilot: and there was written upon the ship, Jacob. And our father says to us, Let us embark on our ship. And when we had gone on board, there arose a vehement storm, and a tempest of mighty wind; and our father, who was holding the helm, flew away from us. And we, being tost with the tempest, were borne along over the sea; and the ship was filled with water and beaten about with a mighty wave, so that it was well-nigh broken in pieces. And Joseph fled away upon a little boat, and we all were divided upon twelve boards, and Levi and Judah were together. We therefore all were scattered even unto afar off. Then Levi, girt about with sackcloth, prayed for us all unto the Lord. And when the storm ceased, immediately the ship reached the land, as though in peace. And, lo, Jacob our father came, and we rejoiced with one accord.
7. These two dreams I told to my father; and he said to me, These things must be fulfilled in their season, after that Israel has endured many things. Then my father says unto me, I believe that Joseph lives, for I see always that the Lord numbers him with you. And he said, weeping, You live, Joseph, my child, and I behold you not, and you see not Jacob that begat you. And he caused us also to weep at these words of his, and I burned in my heart to declare that he had been sold, but I feared my brethren.
8. Behold, my children, I have shown unto you the last times, that all shall come to pass in Israel. Do ye also therefore charge your children that they be united to Levi and to Judah. For through Judah shall salvation arise unto Israel, and in Him shall Jacob be blessed. For through his tribe shall God be seen dwelling among men on the earth, to save the race of Israel, and He shall gather together the righteous from the Gentiles. If you work that which is good, my children, both men and angels will bless you; and God will be glorified through you among the Gentiles, and the devil will flee from you, and the wild beasts will fear you, and the angels will cleave to you. For as if a man rear up a child well, he has a kindly remembrance thereof; so also for a good work there is a good remembrance with God. But him who does not that which is good, men and angels shall curse and God will be dishonoured among the heathen through him, and the devil makes him his own as his peculiar instrument, and every wild beast shall master him, and the Lord will hate him. For the commandments of the law are twofold, and through prudence must they be fulfilled. For there is a season for a man to embrace his wife, and a season to abstain therefrom for his prayer So then there are two commandments; and unless they be done in due order, they bring about sin. So also is it with the other commandments. Be therefore wise in God, and prudent, understanding the order of the commandments, and the laws of every work, that the Lord may love you.
9. And when he had charged them with many such words, he exhorted them that they should remove his bones to Hebron, and should bury him with his fathers. And when he had eaten and drunken with a merry heart, he covered his face and died. And his sons did according to all things whatsoever Naphtali their father had charged them.
IX.— The Testament of Gad Concerning Hatred.
1. The record of the testament of Gad, what things he spoke unto his sons, in the hundred and twenty-seventh year of his life, saying: I was the seventh son born to Jacob, and I was valiant in keeping the flocks. I guarded at night the flock; and whenever the lion came, or wolf, or leopard, or bear, or any wild beast against the fold, I pursued it, and with my hand seizing its foot, and whirling it round, I stunned it, and hurled it over two furlongs, and so killed it. Now Joseph was feeding the flock with us for about thirty days, and being tender, he fell sick by reason of the heat. And he returned to Hebron to his father, who made him lie down near him, because he loved him. And Joseph told our father that the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah were slaying the best of the beasts, and devouring them without the knowledge of Judah and Reuben. For he saw that I delivered a lamb out of the mouth of the bear, and I put the bear to death; and the lamb I slew, being grieved concerning it that it could not live, and we ate it, and he told our father. And I was angry with Joseph for that thing until the day that he was sold into Egypt. And the spirit of hatred was in me, and I wished not either to see Joseph or to hear him. And he rebuked us to our faces for having eaten of the flock without Judah. And whatsoever things he told our father, he believed him.
2. I confess now my sin, my children, that oftentimes I wished to kill him, because I hated him to the death, and there were in no wise in me bowels of mercy towards him. Moreover, I hated him yet more because of his dreams; and I would have devoured him out of the land of the living, even as a calf devours the grass from the earth. Therefore I and Judah sold him to the Ishmaelites for thirty pieces of gold, and ten of them we hid, and showed the twenty to our brethren: and so through my covetousness I was fully bent on his destruction. And the God of my fathers delivered him from my hands, that I should not work iniquity in Israel.
3. And now, my children, hearken to the words of truth to work righteousness, and all the law of the Most High, and not go astray through the spirit of hatred, for it is evil in all the doings of men. Whatsoever a man does, that does the hater abhor: though he works the law of the Lord, he praises him not; though he fears the Lord, and takes pleasure in that which is righteous, he loves him not: he dispraises the truth, he envies him that orders his way aright, he delights in evil-speaking, he loves arrogance, for hatred has blinded his soul; even as I also looked on Joseph.
4. Take heed therefore, my children, of hatred; for it works iniquity against the Lord Himself: for it will not hear the words of His commandments concerning the loving of one's neighbour, and it sins against God. For if a brother stumble, immediately it wishes to proclaim it to all men, and is urgent that he should be judged for it, and be punished and slain. And if it be a servant, it accuses him to his master, and with all affliction it devises against him, if it be possible to slay him. For hatred works in envy, and it ever sickens with envy against them that prosper in well-doing, when it sees or hears thereof. For as love would even restore to life the dead, and would call back them that are condemned to die, so hatred would slay the living, and those that have offended in a small matter it would not suffer to live. For the spirit of hatred works together with Satan through hastiness of spirit in all things unto men's death; but the spirit of love works together with the law of God in long-suffering unto the salvation of men.
5. Hatred is evil, because it continually abides with lying, speaking against the truth; and it makes small things to be great, and gives heed to darkness as to light, and calls the sweet bitter, and teaches slander, and war, and violence, and every excess of evil; and it fills the heart with devilish poison. And these things I say to you from experience, my children, that you may flee hatred, and cleave to the love of the Lord. Righteousness casts out hatred, humility destroys hatred. For he that is just and humble is ashamed to do wrong, being reproved not of another, but of his own heart, because the Lord views his intent: he speaks not against any man, because the fear of the Most High overcomes hatred. For, fearing lest he should offend the Lord, he will not do any wrong to any man, no, not even in thought. These things I learned at last, after that I had repented concerning Joseph. For true repentance after a godly sort destroys unbelief, and drives away the darkness, and enlightens the eyes, and gives knowledge to the soul, and guides the mind to salvation; and those things which it has not learned from man, it knows through repentance. For God brought upon me a disease of the heart; and had not the prayers of Jacob my father intervened, it had hardly failed that my spirit had departed. For by what things a man transgresses, by the same also is he punished. For in that my heart was set mercilessly against Joseph, in my heart too I suffered mercilessly, and was judged for eleven months, for so long a time as I had been envious against Joseph until he was sold.
6. And now, my children, love ye each one his brother, and put away hatred from your hearts, loving one another in deed, and in word, and in thought of the soul. For in the presence of our father I spoke peaceably with Joseph; and when I had gone out, the spirit of hatred darkened my mind, and moved my soul to slay him. Love ye therefore one another from your hearts; and if a man sin against you, tell him of it gently, and drive out the poison of hatred, and foster not guile in your soul. And if he confess and repent, forgive him; and if he deny it, strive not with him, lest he swear, and you sin doubly. Let not a stranger hear your secrets amid your striving, lest he hate and become your enemy, and work great sin against you; for ofttimes he will talk guilefully with you, or evilly overreach you, taking his poison from himself. Therefore, if he deny it, and is convicted and put to shame, and is silenced, do not tempt him on. For he who denies repents, so that he no more does wrong against you; yea also, he will honour you, and fear you, and be at peace with you. But if he be shameless, and abides in his wrongdoing, even then forgive him from the heart, and give the vengeance to God.
7. If a man prospers more than you, be not grieved, but pray also for him, that he may have perfect prosperity. For perchance it is expedient for you thus; and if he be further exalted, be not envious, remembering that all flesh shall die: and offer praise to God, who gives things good and profitable to all men. Seek out the judgments of the Lord, and so shall your mind rest and be at peace. And though a man become rich by evil means, even as Esau the brother of my father, be not jealous; but wait for the end of the Lord. For either He takes His benefits away from the wicked, or leaves them still to the repentant, or to the unrepentant reserves punishment for ever. For the poor man who is free from envy, giving thanks to the Lord in all things, is rich among all men, because he has not evil jealousy of men. Put away, therefore, hatred from your souls, and love one another with uprightness of heart.
8. And do ye also tell these things to your children, that they honour Judah and Levi, for from them shall the Lord raise up a Saviour to Israel. For I know that at the last your children shall depart from them, and shall walk in all wickedness, and mischief, and corruption before the Lord. And when he had rested for a little while, he said again to them, My children, obey your father, and bury me near to my fathers. And he drew up his feet, and fell asleep in peace. And after five years they carried him up, and laid him in Hebron with his fathers.
X.— The Testament of Asher Concerning Two Faces of Vice and Virtue.
1. The record of the testament of Asher, what things he spoke to his sons in the hundred and twentieth year of his life. While he was still in health, he said to them: Hearken, you children of Asher, to your father, and I will declare to you all that is right in the sight of God. Two ways has God given to the sons of men, and two minds, and two doings, and two places, and two ends. Therefore all things are by twos, one corresponding to the other. There are two ways of good and evil, with which are the two minds in our breasts distinguishing them. Therefore if the soul take pleasure in good, all its actions are in righteousness; and though it sin, it straightway repents. For, having his mind set upon righteousness, and casting away maliciousness, he straightway overthrows the evil, and uproots the sin. But if his mind turn aside in evil, all his doings are in maliciousness, and he drives away the good, and takes unto him the evil, and is ruled by Beliar; and even though he work what is good, he perverts it in evil. For whenever he begins as though to do good, he brings the end of his doing to work evil, seeing that the treasure of the devil is filled with the poison of an evil spirit.
2. There is then, he says, a soul which speaks the good for the sake of the evil, and the end of the doing leads to mischief. There is a man who shows no compassion upon him who serves his turn in evil; and this thing has two aspects, but the whole is evil. And there is a man that loves him that works evil; he likewise dwells in evil, because he chooses even to die in an evil cause for his sake: and concerning this it is clear that it has two aspects, but the whole is an evil work. And though there is love, it is but wickedness concealing the evil, even as it bears a name that seems good, but the end of the doing tends unto evil. Another steals, works unjustly, plunders, defrauds, and withal pities the poor: this, too, has a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. Defrauding his neighbour he provokes God, and swears falsely against the Most High, and yet pities the poor: the Lord who commands the law he sets at nought and provokes, and refreshes the poor; he defiles the soul, and makes gay the body; he kills many, and he pities a few: and this, too, has a twofold aspect. Another commits adultery and fornication, and abstains from meats; yet in his fasting he works evil, and by his power and his wealth perverts many, and out of his excessive wickedness works the commandments: this, too, has a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. Such men are as swine or hares; for they are half clean, but in very deed are unclean. For God in the Heavenly Tablets has thus declared.
3. Do not ye therefore, my children, wear two faces like them, of goodness and of wickedness; but cleave unto goodness only, for in goodness does God rest, and men desire it. From wickedness flee away, destroying the devil by your good works; for they that are double-faced serve not God, but their own lusts, so that they may please Beliar and men like themselves.
4. For good men, even they that are single of face, though they be thought by them that are double-faced to err, are just before God. For many in killing the wicked do two works, an evil by a good; but the whole is good, because he has uprooted and destroyed that which is evil. One man hates him that shows mercy, and does wrong to the adulterer and the thief: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole work is good, because he follows the Lord's example, in that he receives not that which seems good with that which is really bad. Another desires not to see good days with them that riot, lest he defile his mouth and pollute his soul: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole is good, for such men are like to stags and to hinds, because in a wild condition they seem to be unclean, but they are altogether clean; because they walk in a zeal for God, and abstain from what God also hates and forbids by His commandments, and they ward off the evil from the good.
5. You see therefore, my children, how that there are two in all things, one against the other, and the one is hidden by the other. Death succeeds to life, dishonour to glory, night to day, and darkness to light; and all things are under the day, and just things under life: wherefore also everlasting life awaits death. Nor may it be said that truth is a lie, nor right wrong; for all truth is under the light, even as all things are under God. All these things I proved in my life, and I wandered not from the truth of the Lord, and I searched out the commandments of the Most High, walking with singleness of face according to all my strength unto that which is good.
6. Take heed therefore ye also, my children, to the commandments of the Lord, following the truth with singleness of face, for they that are double-faced receive twofold punishment. Hate the spirits of error, which strive against men. Keep the law of the Lord, and give not heed unto evil as unto good; but look unto the thing that is good indeed, and keep it in all commandments of the Lord, having your conversation unto Him, and resting in Him: for the ends at which men aim do show their righteousness, and know the angels of the Lord from the angels of Satan. For if the soul depart troubled, it is tormented by the evil spirit which also it served in lusts and evil works; but if quietly and with joy it has known the angel of peace, it shall comfort him in life.
7. Become not, my children, as Sodom, which knew not the angels of the Lord, and perished for ever. For I know that you will sin, and you shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies, and your land shall be made desolate, and you shall be scattered unto the four corners of the earth. And you shall be set at nought in the Dispersion as useless water, until the Most High shall visit the earth; and He shall come as man, with men eating and drinking, and in peace breaking the head of the dragon through water. He shall save Israel and all nations, God speaking in the person of man. Therefore tell ye these things to your children, that they disobey Him not. For I have read in the Heavenly Tablets that in very deed ye will disobey Him, and act ungodly against Him, not giving heed to the law of God, but to the commandments of men. Therefore shall you be scattered as Gad and as Dan my brethren, who shall know not their own lands, tribe, and tongue. But the Lord will gather you together in faith through the hope of His tender mercy, for the sake of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.
8. And when he had said these things unto them, he charged them, saying: Bury me in Hebron. And he fell into a peaceful sleep, and died; and after this his sons did as he had charged them, and they carried him up and buried him with his fathers.
XI.— The Testament of Joseph Concerning Sobriety.
1. The record of the testament of Joseph. When he was about to die he called his sons and his brethren together, and said to them: My children and brethren, hearken to Joseph the beloved of Israel; give ear, my sons, unto your father. I have seen in my life envy and death, and I wandered not in the truth of the Lord. These my brethren hated me, and the Lord loved me: they wished to slay me, and the God of my fathers guarded me: they let me down into a pit, and the Most High brought me up again: I was sold for a slave, and the Lord made me free: I was taken into captivity, and His strong hand succoured me: I was kept in hunger, and the Lord Himself nourished me: I was alone, and God comforted me: I was sick, and the Most High visited me: I was in prison, and the Saviour showed favour unto me; in bonds, and He released me; amid slanders, and He pleaded my cause; amid bitter words of the Egyptians, and He rescued me; amid envy and guile, and He exalted me.
2. And thus Potiphar the chief cook of Pharaoh entrusted to me his house, and I struggled against a shameless woman, urging me to transgress with her; but the God of Israel my father guarded me from the burning flame. I was cast into prison, I was beaten, I was mocked; and the Lord granted me to find pity in the sight of the keeper of the prison. For He will in no wise forsake them that fear Him, neither in darkness, nor in bonds, nor in tribulations, nor in necessities. For not as man is God ashamed, nor as the son of man is He afraid, nor as one that is earth-born is He weak, or can He be thrust aside; but in all places is He at hand, and in various ways does He comfort, departing for a little to try the purpose of the soul. In ten temptations He showed me approved, and in all of them I endured; for endurance is a mighty charm, and patience gives many good things.
3. How often did the Egyptian threaten me with death! How often did she give me over to punishment, and then call me back, and threaten me when I would not company with her! And she said to me, You shall be lord of me, and all that is mine, if you will give yourself unto me, and you shall be as our master. Therefore I remembered the words of the fathers of my father Jacob, and I entered into my chamber and prayed unto the Lord; and I fasted in those seven years, and I appeared to my master as one living delicately, for they that fast for God's sake receive beauty of face. And if one gave me wine, I drank it not; and I fasted for three days, and took my food and gave it to the poor and sick. And I sought the Lord early, and wept for the Egyptian woman of Memphis, for very unceasingly did she trouble me, and at night she came to me under the pretence of visiting me; and at first, because she had no male child, she feigned to count me as a son. And I prayed unto the Lord, and she bare a male child; therefore for a time she embraced me as a son, and I knew it not. Last of all, she sought to draw me into fornication. And when I perceived it, I sorrowed even unto death; and when she had gone out I came to myself, and I lamented for her many days, because I saw her guile and her deceit. And I declared unto her the words of the Most High, if haply she would turn from her evil lust.
4. How often has she fawned upon me with words as a holy man, with guile in her talk, praising my chastity before her husband, while desiring to destroy me when we were alone. She lauded me openly as chaste, and in secret she said unto me, Fear not my husband; for he is persuaded concerning your chastity, so that even should one tell him concerning us he would in no wise believe. For all these things I lay upon the ground in sackcloth, and I besought God that the Lord would deliver me from the Egyptian. And when she prevailed nothing, she came again to me under the plea of instruction, that she might know the word of the Lord. And she said unto me, If you will that I should leave my idols, be persuaded by me, and I will persuade my husband to depart from his idols, and we will walk in the law of your Lord. And I said unto her, The Lord wills not that those who reverence Him should be in uncleanness, nor does He take pleasure in them that commit adultery. And she held her peace, longing to accomplish her evil desire. And I gave myself yet more to fasting and prayer, that the Lord should deliver me from her.
5. And again at another time she said unto me, If you will not commit adultery, I will kill my husband, and so will I lawfully take you to be my husband. I therefore, when I heard this, rent my garment, and said, Woman, reverence the Lord, and do not this evil deed, lest you be utterly destroyed; for I will declare your ungodly thought unto all men. She therefore, being afraid, besought that I would declare to no one her wickedness. And she departed, soothing me with gifts, and sending to me every delight of the sons of men.
6. And she sends to me food sprinkled with enchantments. And when the eunuch who brought it came, I looked up and beheld a terrible man giving me with the dish a sword, and I perceived that her scheme was for the deception of my soul. And when he had gone out I wept, nor did I taste that or any other of her food. So then after one day she came to me and observed the food, and said unto me, What is this, that you have not eaten of the food? And I said unto her, It is because you filled it with death; and how did you say, I come not near to idols but to the Lord alone? Now therefore know that the God of my father has revealed unto me by an angel your wickedness, and I have kept it to convict you, if haply you may see it and repent. But that you may learn that the wickedness of the ungodly has no power over them that reverence God in chastity, I took it and ate it before her, saying, The God of my fathers and the Angel of Abraham shall be with me. And she fell upon her face at my feet, and wept; and I raised her up and admonished her, and she promised to do this iniquity no more.
7. But because her heart was set upon me to commit lewdness, she sighed, and her countenance fell. And when her husband saw her, he said unto her, Why is your countenance fallen? And she said, I have a pain at my heart, and the groanings of my spirit do oppress me; and so he comforted her who was not sick. Then she rushed in to me while her husband was yet without, and said unto me, I will hang myself, or cast myself into a well or over a cliff, if you will not consent unto me. And when I saw the spirit of Beliar was troubling her, I prayed unto the Lord, and said unto her, Why are you troubled and disturbed, blinded in sins? Remember that if you kill yourself, Sethon, the concubine of your husband, your rival, will beat your children, and will destroy your memorial from off the earth. And she said unto me, Lo then you love me; this alone is sufficient for me, that you care for my life and my children: I have expectation that I shall enjoy my desire. And she knew not that because of my God I spoke thus, and not because of her. For if a man has fallen before the passion of a wicked desire, then by that has he become enslaved, even as also was she. And if he hear any good thing with regard to the passion whereby he is vanquished, he receives it unto his wicked desire.
8. I declare unto you, my children, that it was about the sixth hour when she departed from me; and I knelt before the Lord all that day, and continued all the night; and about dawn I rose up weeping, and praying for a release from the Egyptian. At last, then, she laid hold of my garments, forcibly dragging me to have connection with her. When, therefore, I saw that in her madness she was forcibly holding my garments, I fled away naked. And she falsely accused me to her husband, and the Egyptian cast me into the prison in his house; and on the morrow, having scourged me, the Egyptian sent me into the prison in his house. When, therefore, I was in fetters, the Egyptian woman fell sick from her vexation, and listened to me how I sang praises unto the Lord while I was in the abode of darkness, and with glad voice rejoiced and glorified my God only because by a pretext I had been rid of the Egyptian woman.
9. How often has she sent unto me, saying, Consent to fulfil my desire, and I will release you from your bonds, and I will free time from the darkness! And not even in thoughts did I incline unto her. For God loves him who in a den of darkness fasts with chastity, rather than him who in secret chambers lives delicately without restraint. And whosoever lives in chastity, and desires also glory, and if the Most High knows that it is expedient for him, He bestows this also upon him, even as upon me. How often, though she were sick, did she come down to me at unlooked-for times, and listened to my voice as I prayed! And when I heard her groanings I held my peace. For when I was in her house she was wont to bare her arms, and breasts, and legs, that I might fall before her; for she was very beautiful, splendidly adorned for my deception. And the Lord guarded me from her devices.
10. You see therefore, my children, how great things patience works, and prayer with fasting. And if you therefore follow after sobriety and purity in patience and humility of heart, the Lord will dwell among you, because He loves sobriety. And wheresoever the Most High dwells, even though a man fall into envy, or slavery, or slander, the Lord who dwells in him, for his sobriety's sake not only delivers him from evil, but also exalts and glorifies him, even as me. For in every way the man is guarded, whether in deed, or in word, or in thought. My brethren know how my father loved me, and I was not exalted in my heart; although I was a child, I had the fear of God in my thoughts. For I knew that all things should pass away, and I kept myself within bounds, and I honoured my brethren; and through fear of them I held my peace when I was sold, and revealed not my family to the Ishmaelites, that I was the son of Jacob, a great man and a mighty.
11. Do ye also, therefore, have the fear of God in your works, and honour your brethren. For every one who works the law of the Lord shall be loved by Him. And when I came to the Indocolpitæ with the Ishmaelites, they asked me, and I said that I was a slave from their house, that I might not put my brethren to shame. And the eldest of them said unto me, You are not a slave, for even your appearance does make it manifest concerning you. And he threatened me even unto death. But I said that I was their slave. Now when we came into Egypt, they strove concerning me, which of them should buy me and take me. Therefore it seemed good to all that I should remain in Egypt with a merchant of their trade, until they should return bringing merchandise. And the Lord gave me favour in the eyes of the merchant, and he entrusted unto me his house. And the Lord blessed him by my means, and increased him in silver and gold, and I was with him three months and five days.
12. About that time the Memphian wife of Potiphar passed by with great pomp, and cast her eyes upon me, because her eunuchs told her concerning me. And she told her husband concerning the merchant, that he had become rich by means of a young Hebrew, saying, And they say that men have indeed stolen him out of the land of Canaan. Now therefore execute judgment with him, and take away the youth to be your steward; so shall the God of the Hebrews bless you, for grace from heaven is upon him.
13. And Potiphar was persuaded by her words, and commanded the merchant to be brought, and said unto him, What is this that I hear, that you steal souls out of the land of the Hebrews, and sellest them for slaves? The merchant therefore fell upon his face, and besought him, saying, I beseech you, my lord, I know not what you say. And he said, Whence then is your Hebrew servant? And he said, The Ishmaelites entrusted him to me until they should return. And he believed him not, but commanded him to be stripped and beaten. And when he persisted, Potiphar said, Let the youth be brought. And when I was brought in, I did obeisance to the chief of the eunuchs— for he was third in rank with Pharaoh, being chief of all the eunuchs, and having wives and children and concubines. And he took me apart from him, and said unto me, Are you a slave or free? And I said, A slave. And he said unto me, Whose slave are you? And I said unto him, The Ishmaelites'. And again he said unto me, How did you become their slave? And I said, They bought me out of the land of Canaan. And he believed me not, and said, You are lying: and he commanded me to be stripped and beaten.
14. Now the Memphian woman was looking through a window while I was being beaten, and she sent unto her husband, saying, Your judgment is unjust; for you even punish a free man who has been stolen, as though he were a transgressor. And when I gave no other answer though I was beaten, he commanded that we should be kept in guard, until, said he, the owners of the boy shall come. And his wife said unto him, Wherefore do you detain in captivity this noble child, who ought rather to be set at liberty, and wait upon you? For she wished to see me in desire of sin, and I was ignorant concerning all these things. Then said he to his wife, It is not the custom of the Egyptians to take away that which belongs to others before proof is given. This he said concerning the merchant, and concerning me, that I must be imprisoned.
15. Now, after four and twenty days came the Ishmaelites; and having heard that Jacob my father was mourning because of me, they said unto me, How is it that you said that you were a slave? And lo, we have learned that you are the son of a mighty man in the land of Canaan, and your father grieves for you in sackcloth. And again I would have wept, but I restrained myself, that I should not put my brethren to shame. And I said, I know not, I am a slave. Then they take counsel to sell me, that I should not be found in their hands. For they feared Jacob, lest he should work upon them a deadly vengeance. For it had been heard that he was mighty with the Lord and with men. Then said the merchant unto them, Release me from the judgment of Potiphar. They therefore came and asked for me, saying, He was bought by us with money. And he sent us away.
16. Now the Memphian woman pointed me out to her husband, that he should buy me; for I hear, said she, that they are selling him. And she sent a eunuch to the Ishmaelites, and asked them to sell me; and since he was not willing to traffic with them, he returned. So when the eunuch had made trial of them, he made known to his mistress that they asked a large price for their slave. And she sent another eunuch, saying, Even though they demand two minæ of gold, take heed not to spare the gold; only buy the boy, and bring him hither. And he gave them eighty pieces of gold for me, and told his mistress that a hundred had been given for me. And when I saw it I held my peace, that the eunuch should not be punished.
17. You see, my children, what great things I endured that I should not put my brethren to shame. Do ye also love one another, and with long-suffering hide ye one another's faults. For God delights in the unity of brethren, and in the purpose of a heart approved unto love. And when my brethren came into Egypt, and learned that I returned their money unto them, and upbraided them not, yea, that I even comforted them, and after the death of Jacob I loved them more abundantly, and all things whatsoever he commanded I did very abundantly, then they marvelled. For I suffered them not to be afflicted even unto the smallest matter; and all that was in my hand I gave unto them. Their children were my children, and my children were as their servants; their life was my life, and all their suffering was my suffering, and all their sickness was my infirmity. My land was their land, my counsel their counsel, and I exalted not myself among them in arrogance because of my worldly glory, but I was among them as one of the least.
18. If you also therefore walk in the commandments of the Lord, my children, He will exalt you there, and will bless you with good things for ever and ever. And if any one seeks to do evil unto you, by well-doing pray for him, and you shall be redeemed of the Lord from all evil. For, behold, you see that through long-suffering I took unto wife even the daughter of my master. And a hundred talents of gold were given me with her; for the Lord made them to serve me. And He gave me also beauty as a flower above the beautiful ones of Israel; and He preserved me unto old age in strength and in beauty, because I was like in all things to Jacob.
19. Hear ye also, my children, the visions which I saw. There were twelve deer feeding, and the nine were divided and scattered in the land, likewise also the three. And I saw that from Judah was born a virgin wearing a linen garment, and from her went forth a Lamb, without spot, and on His left hand there was as it were a lion; and all the beasts rushed against Him, and the lamb overcame them, and destroyed them, and trod them under foot. And because of Him the angels rejoiced, and men, and all the earth. And these things shall take place in their season, in the last days. Do ye therefore, my children, observe the commandments of the Lord, and honour Judah and Levi; for from them shall arise unto you the Lamb of God, by grace saving all the Gentiles and Israel. For His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, which shall not be shaken; but my kingdom among you shall come to an end as a watcher's hammock, which after the summer will not appear.
20. I know that after my death the Egyptians will afflict you, but God will undertake your cause, and will bring you into that which He promised to your fathers. But carry ye up my bones with you; for when my bones are taken up, the Lord will be with you in light, and Beliar shall be in darkness with the Egyptians. And carry ye up Zilpah your mother, and lay her near Bilhah, by the hippodrome, by the side of Rachel. And when he had said these things, he stretched out his feet, and slept the long sleep. And all Israel bewailed him, and all Egypt, with a great lamentation. For he felt even for the Egyptians even as his own members, and showed them kindness, aiding them in every work, and counsel, and matter.
XII.— The Testament of Benjamin Concerning a Pure Mind.
1. The record of the words of Benjamin, which he set forth to his sons, after he had lived a hundred and twenty years. And he kissed them, and said: As Isaac was born to Abraham in his hundredth year, so also was I to Jacob. Now since Rachel died in giving me birth, I had no milk; therefore I was suckled by Bilhah her handmaid. For Rachel remained barren for twelve years after that she had borne Joseph: and she prayed the Lord with fasting twelve days, and she conceived and bare me. For our father loved Rachel dearly, and prayed that he might see two sons born from her: therefore was I called the son of days, which is Benjamin.
2. When therefore I went into Egypt, and Joseph my brother recognised me, he said unto me, What did they tell my father in that they sold me? And I said unto him, They dabbled your coat with blood and sent it, and said, Look if this is the coat of your son. And he said to me, Even so, brother; for when the Ishmaelites took me, one of them stripped off my coat, and gave me a girdle, and scourged me, and bade me run. And as he went away to hide my garment, a lion met him, and slew him; and so his fellows were afraid, and sold me to their companions.
3. Do ye also therefore, my children, love the Lord God of heaven, and keep His commandments, and be followers of the good and holy man Joseph; and let your mind be unto good, even as you know me. He that has his mind good sees all things rightly. Fear ye the Lord, and love your neighbour; and even though the spirits of Beliar allure you into all troublous wickedness, yet shall no troublous wickedness have dominion over you, even as it had not over Joseph my brother. How many men wished to slay him, and God shielded him! For he that fears God and loves his neighbour cannot be smitten by Beliar's spirit of the air, being shielded by the fear of God; nor can he be ruled over by the device of men or of beasts, for he is aided by the love of the Lord which he has towards his neighbour. For he even besought our father Jacob that he would pray for our brethren, that the Lord would not impute to them the evil that they devised concerning Joseph. And thus Jacob cried out, My child Joseph, you have prevailed over the bowels of your father Jacob. And he embraced him, and kissed him for two hours, saying, In you shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven concerning the Lamb of God, even the Saviour of the world, that spotless shall He be delivered up for transgressors, and sinless shall He be put to death for ungodly men in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation of the Gentiles and of Israel, and shall destroy Beliar, and them that serve him.
4. Know ye, my children, the end of the good man? Be followers of his compassion in a good mind, that you also may wear crowns of glory. The good man has not a dark eye; for he shows mercy to all men, even though they be sinners, even though they devise evil concerning him. So he that does good overcomes the evil, being shielded by Him that is good; and he loves the righteous as his own soul. If any one is glorified, he envies him not; if any one is enriched, he is not jealous; if any one is valiant, he praises him; he trusts and lauds him that is sober-minded; he shows mercy to the poor; he is kindly disposed toward the weak; he sings the praises of God; as for him who has the fear of God, he protects him as with a shield; him that loves God he aids; him that rejects the Most High he admonishes and turns back; and him that has the grace of a good spirit, he loves even as his own soul.
5. If you have a good mind, my children, then will both wicked men be at peace with you, and the profligate will reverence you and turn unto good; and the covetous shall not only cease from their inordinate desire, but shall even give the fruits of their covetousness to them that are afflicted. If you do well, even the unclean spirits shall flee from you; yea, the very beasts shall flee from you in dread. For where the reverence for good works is present unto the mind, darkness flees away from him. For if any one is injurious to a holy man, he repents; for the holy man shows pity on his reviler, and holds his peace. And if any one betray a righteous soul, and the righteous man, though praying, be humbled for a little while, yet not long after he appears far more glorious, even as was Joseph my brother.
6. The mind of the good man is not in the power of the deceit of the spirit of Beliar, for the angel of peace guides his soul. He gazes not passionately on corruptible things, nor gathers together riches unto desire of pleasure; he delights not in pleasure, he hurts not his neighbour, he pampers not himself with food, he errs not in the pride of his eyes, for the Lord is his portion. The good mind admits not the glory and dishonour of men, neither knows it any guile or lie, fighting or reviling; for the Lord dwells in him and lights up his soul, and he rejoices towards all men at every time. The good mind has not two tongues, of blessing and of cursing, of insult and of honour, of sorrow and of joy, of quietness and of trouble, of hypocrisy and of truth, of poverty and of wealth; but it has one disposition, pure and uncorrupt, concerning all men. It has no double sight, nor double hearing; for in everything which he does, or speaks, or sees, he knows that the Lord watches his soul, and he cleanses his mind that he be not condemned by God and men. But of Beliar every work is twofold, and has no singleness.
7. Flee ye therefore, my children, the evil-doing of Beliar; for it gives a sword to them that obeys, and the sword is the mother of seven evils. First the mind conceives through Beliar, and first there is envy; secondly, desperation; thirdly, tribulation; fourthly, captivity; fifthly, neediness; sixthly, trouble; seventhly, desolation. Therefore also Cain is delivered over to seven vengeances by God, for in every hundred years the Lord brought one plague upon him. Two hundred years he suffered, and in the nine hundredth year he was brought to desolation at the flood, for Abel his righteous brother's sake. In seven hundred years was Cain judged, and Lamech in seventy times seven; because for ever those who are likened unto Cain in envy unto hatred of brethren shall be judged with the same punishment.
8. Do ye also therefore, my children, flee ill-doing, envy, and hatred of brethren, and cleave to goodness and love. He that has a pure mind in love, looks not after a woman unto fornication; for he has no defilement in his heart, because the Spirit of God rests in him. For as the sun is not defiled by shining over dung and mire, but rather dries up both and drives away the ill smell: so also the pure mind, constrained among the defilements of the earth, rather edifies, and itself suffers no defilement.
9. Now I suppose, from the words of the righteous Enoch, that there will be also evil-doings among you: for you will commit fornication with the fornication of Sodom, and shall perish all save a few, and will multiply inordinate lusts with women; and the kingdom of the Lord shall not be among you, for forthwith He will take it away. Nevertheless the temple of God shall be built in your portion, and shall be glorious among you. For He shall take it, and the twelve tribes shall be gathered together there, and all the Gentiles, until the Most High shall send forth His salvation in the visitation of His only-begotten one. And He shall enter into the front of the temple, and there shall the Lord be treated with outrage, and He shall be lifted up upon a tree. And the veil of the temple shall be rent, and the Spirit of God shall descend upon the Gentiles as fire poured forth. And He shall arise from the grave, and shall ascend from earth into heaven: and I know how lowly He shall be upon the earth, and how glorious in the heaven.
10. Now when Joseph was in Egypt, I longed to see his visage and the form of his countenance; and through the prayers of Jacob my father I saw him, while awake in the daytime, in his full and perfect shape. Know ye therefore, my children, that I am dying. Work therefore truth and righteousness each one with his neighbour, and judgment unto faithful doing, and keep the law of the Lord and His commandments; for these things do I teach you instead of all inheritance. Do ye also therefore give them to your children for an everlasting possession; for so did both Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. All these things they gave us for an inheritance, saying, Keep the commandments of God until the Lord shall reveal His salvation to all nations. Then shall you see Enoch, Noah, and Shem, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, arising on the right hand in gladness. Then shall we also arise, each one over our tribe, worshipping the King of heaven, who appeared upon the earth in the form of a man of humility. And as many as believed on Him on the earth shall rejoice with Him; and then shall all men arise, some unto glory and some unto shame. And the Lord shall judge Israel first, even for the wrong they did unto Him; for when He appeared as a deliverer, God in the flesh, they believed Him not. And then shall He judge all the Gentiles, as many as believed Him not when He appeared upon earth. And He shall reprove Israel among the chosen ones of the Gentiles, even as He reproved Esau among the Midianites, who deceived their brethren, so that they fell into fornication and idolatry; and they were alienated from God, and became as they that were no children in the portion of them that fear the Lord. But if you walk in holiness in the presence of the Lord, you shall dwell in hope again in me, and all Israel shall be gathered unto the Lord.
11. And I shall no longer be called a ravening wolf on account of your ravages, but a worker of the Lord, distributing food to them that work what is good. And one shall rise up from my seed in the latter times, beloved of the Lord, hearing upon the earth His voice, enlightening with new knowledge all the Gentiles, bursting in upon Israel for salvation with the light of knowledge, and tearing it away from it like a wolf, and giving it to the synagogue of the Gentiles. And until the consummation of the ages shall he be in the synagogues of the Gentiles, and among their rulers, as a strain of music in the mouth of all; and he shall be inscribed in the holy books, both his work and his word, and he shall be a chosen one of God for ever; and because of him my father Jacob instructed me, saying, He shall fill up that which lacks of your tribe.
12. And when he finished his words, he said: I charge you, my children, carry up my bones out of Egypt, and bury me at Hebron, near my fathers. So Benjamin died a hundred and twenty-five years old, in a good old age, and they placed him in a coffin. And in the ninety-first year of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, they and their brethren brought up the bones of their fathers secretly in a place which is called Canaan; and they buried them in Hebron, by the feet of their fathers. And they returned from the land of Canaan, and dwelt in Egypt until the day of their departing from the land of Egypt.
Never in your long ascendancy will you lose the power to recognize your associates of former existences. Always, as you ascend inward in the scale of life, will you retain the ability to recognize and fraternize with the fellow beings of your previous and lower levels of experience. Each new translation or resurrection will add one more group of spirit beings to your vision range without in the least depriving you of the ability to recognize your friends and fellows of former estates.
Princess Bride 1987 Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya)
Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
And here is mystery: The more closely man approaches God through love, the greater the reality -- actuality -- of that man. The more man withdraws from God, the more nearly he approaches nonreality -- cessation of existence. When man consecrates his will to the doing of the Father's will, when man gives God all that he has, then does God make that man more than he is.
"And do you not remember that I said to you once before that, if you had your spiritual eyes anointed, you would then see the heavens opened and behold the angels of God ascending and descending? It is by the ministry of the angels that one world may be kept in touch with other worlds, for have I not repeatedly told you that I have other sheep not of this fold?"
But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience—God-consciousness.
When you are through down here, when your course has been run in temporary form on earth, when your trial trip in the flesh is finished, when the dust that composes the mortal tabernacle "returns to the earth whence it came"; then, it is revealed, the indwelling "Spirit shall return to God who gave it." There sojourns within each moral being of this planet a fragment of God, a part and parcel of divinity. It is not yet yours by right of possession, but it is designedly intended to be one with you if you survive the mortal existence.
And the greatest of all the unfathomable mysteries of God is the phenomenon of the divine indwelling of mortal minds. The manner in which the Universal Father sojourns with the creatures of time is the most profound of all universe mysteries; the divine presence in the mind of man is the mystery of mysteries.
To every spirit being and to every mortal creature in every sphere and on every world of the universe of universes, the Universal Father reveals all of his gracious and divine self that can be discerned or comprehended by such spirit beings and by such mortal creatures. God is no respecter of persons, either spiritual or material. The divine presence which any child of the universe enjoys at any given moment is limited only by the capacity of such a creature to receive and to discern the spirit actualities of the supermaterial world.
Paradise is the eternal center of the universe of universes and the abiding place of the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, the Infinite Spirit, and their divine co-ordinates and associates. This central Isle is the most gigantic organized body of cosmic reality in all the master universe. Paradise is a material sphere as well as a spiritual abode. All of the intelligent creation of the Universal Father is domiciled on material abodes; hence must the absolute controlling center also be material, literal. And again it should be reiterated that spirit things and spiritual beings are real.
Culture presupposes quality of mind; culture cannot be enhanced unless mind is elevated. Superior intellect will seek a noble culture and find some way to attain such a goal. Inferior minds will spurn the highest culture even when presented to them ready-made.
True liberty is the associate of genuine self-respect; false liberty is the consort of self-admiration. True liberty is the fruit of self-control; false liberty, the assumption of self-assertion. Self-control leads to altruistic service; self-admiration tends towards the exploitation of others for the selfish aggrandizement of such a mistaken individual as is willing to sacrifice righteous attainment for the sake of possessing unjust power over his fellow beings.
How dare the self-willed creature encroach upon the rights of his fellows in the name of personal liberty when the Supreme Rulers of the universe stand back in merciful respect for these prerogatives of will and potentials of personality! No being, in the exercise of his supposed personal liberty, has a right to deprive any other being of those privileges of existence conferred by the Creators and duly respected by all their loyal associates, subordinates, and subjects.
There is no error greater than that species of self-deception which leads intelligent beings to crave the exercise of power over other beings for the purpose of depriving these persons of their natural liberties. The golden rule of human fairness cries out against all such fraud, unfairness, selfishness, and unrighteousness.