IX. – The Testament of Gad Concerning Hatred.
1. The record of the testament of Gad, what things he spake 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 be 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,1 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 wroth 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 devoureth the grass from the earth. Therefore I and Judah sold him to the Ishmaelites for thirty2 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 doeth, that doth the hater abhor: though he worketh the law of the Lord, he praiseth him not; though he feareth the Lord, and taketh pleasure in that which is righteous, he loveth him not: he dispraiseth the truth, he envieth him that ordereth his way aright, he delighteth in evil-speaking, he loveth arrogance, for hatred hath blinded his soul; even as I also looked on Joseph.
4. Take heed therefore, my children, of hatred; for it worketh iniquity against the Lord Himself: for it will not hear the words of His Commandments concerning the loving of one’s neighbour, and it sinneth against God. For if a brother stumble, immediately it wisheth 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 accuseth him to his master, and with all affliction it deviseth against him, if it be possible to slay him. For hatred worketh in envy, and it ever sickeneth with envy against them that prosper in well-doing, when it seeth or heareth 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 worketh together with Satan through hastiness3 of spirit in all things unto men’s death; but the spirit of love worketh together with the law of God in long-suffering unto the salvation of men.4
5. Hatred is evil, because it continually abideth with lying, speaking against the truth; and it maketh small things to be great, and giveth heed to darkness as to light, and calleth the sweet bitter, and teacheth slander, and war, and violence, and every excess of evil; and it filleth the heart with devilish poison. And these things I say to you from experience, my children, that ye may flee hatred, and cleave to the love of the Lord. Righteousness casteth out hatred, humility destroyeth hatred. For be that is just and humble is ashamed to do wrong, being reproved not of another, but of his own heart, because the Lord vieweth his intent: he speaketh not against any man, because the fear of the Most High overcometh 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 learnt at last, after that I had repented concerning Joseph. For true repentance after a godly sort destroyeth unbelief, and driveth away the darkness, and enlighteneth the eyes, and giveth knowledge to the soul, and guideth the mind to salvation; and those things which it hath not learnt from man, it knoweth 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 transgresseth, by the same also is he punished. (Wisdom of Solomon 9:16) 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 spake peaceably with Joseph; and when I had gone out, the spirit of hatred darkened my mind, and moved my soul to slay him.5} Love ye therefore one another from your hearts; and if a man sin against thee, tell him of it gently, and drive out the poison of hatred, and foster not guile in thy soul. And if he confess and repent, forgive him; and if he deny it, strive not with him, lest he swear, and thou sin doubly. Let not a stranger hear your secrets amid your striving, lest he hate and become thy enemy, and work great sin against thee; for oft-times he will talk guilefully6 with thee, or evilly overreach thee, 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 denieth repenteth, so that he no more doeth wrong against thee; yea also, he will honour thee, and fear thee, and be at peace with thee. But if he be shameless, and abideth in his wrongdoing, even then forgive him from the heart, and give the vengeance to God.
7. If a man prospereth 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 giveth things good and profitable to all men. Seek out the judgments of the Lord, and so shall thy 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 taketh His benefits away from the wicked, or leaveth them still to the repentant, or to the unrepentant reserveth 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 hath 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 em shall the Lord raise up a Saviour to Israel.7 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.
1 Cf. Targum Ps. Jon. of Gen_37:2
2 The narrative of Gen_37:28 gives twenty pieces of silver; the LXX. twenty pieces of gold, with which latter agrees Josephus’ μνῶν εἴκοσιν (Antiq., ii. 3.3). [It is worthy of note that Judas took a meaner price for the “Son of Joseph.”]
3 For this unusual use of ὀλιγοψυχία, cf. Pro_14:29, LXX, where there is the same contrast with μακροθυμία.
4 [This passage is cited by Lardner as conspicuously fine.]
5 The Ox ms. Omits from here to the last clause of c. 7.
6 For δολωφωνῆσαι, the reading of the Cam. ms. here. Grabe conjectured δολοφονήσει. Probably δολοφωνήσει is to be preferred.
7 [The Virgin was the daughter of Judah, but had kinship with Levi. Luk_1:36. Compare Jer_33:20-22.]
X. – The Testament of Asher Concerning Two Faces of Vice and Virtue.
1. The record of the testament of Asher, what things he spake to his sons in the hundred and twentieth year of his life. While he was still in health, he said to them: Hearken, ye children of Asher, to your father, and I will declare to you all that is right in the sight of God. Two ways1 hath 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 straight-way repenteth. For, having his mind set upon righteousness, and casting away maliciousness, he straightway overthroweth the evil, and uprooteth the sin. But if his mind turn aside in evil, all his doings are in maliciousness, and he driveth away the good, and taketh unto him the evil, and is ruled by Beliar; and even though he work what is good, he perverteth it in evil. For whenever he beginneth as though to do good, he bringeth 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 saith, a soul which speaketh the good for the sake of the evil, and the end of the doing leadeth to mischief.2 There is a man who showeth no Compassion upon him who serveth his turn in evil; and this thing hath two aspects, but the whole is evil. And there is a man that loveth him that worketh evil; he likewise dwelleth in evil, because he chooseth even to die in an evil cause for his sake: and concerning this it is clear that it hath two aspects, but the whole is an evil work. And though there is love, it is but wickedness concealing the evil, even as it beareth a name that seemeth good, but the end of the doing tendeth unto evil. Another stealeth, worketh unjustly, plundereth, defraudeth, and withal pitieth the poor: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. Defrauding his neighbour he provoketh God, and sweareth falsely against the Most High, and yet pitieth the poor: the Lord who commandeth the law he setteth at nought and provoketh, and refresheth the poor; he defileth the soul, and maketh gay the body; he killeth many, and he pitieth a few: and this, too, hath a twofold aspect. Another committeth adultery and fornication, and abstaineth from meats; yet in his fasting he worketh evil, and by his power and his wealth perverteth many, and out of his excessive wickedness worketh the commandments: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. Such men are as swine or hares;3 for they are half clean, but in very deed are unclean. For God in the Heavenly4 Tablets hath thus declared.
3. Do not ye therefore, my children, wear two faces like unto them, of goodness and of wickedness; but cleave unto goodness only, for in goodness doth 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 unto 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 hath uprooted and destroyed that which is evil. One man hateth him that showeth mercy, and doeth wrong to the adulterer and the thief: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole work is good, because he followeth the Lord’s example, in that he receiveth not that which seemeth good with that which is really bad.5 Another desireth 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 hateth and forbiddeth by His commandments, and they ward off the evil from the good.
5. Ye see therefore, my children, how that there are two in all things, one against the other, and the one is hidden by the other.6 Death succeedeth 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 awaiteth 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 hath 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 ye will sin, and ye shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies, and your land shall be made desolate, and ye shall be scattered unto the four corners of the earth. And ye 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 ye 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 or the sake of them, he charged them, saying: Bury me in Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.7
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.
1 [see the Duœ Viœ, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7., p. 377, this series.]
2 [This section is commended by Dr. Lardner.]
3 Cf. Lev_11:5, Lev_11:7. [Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2. p. 555, note 124.]
4 Cf. Levi 5 footnote 6
5 [Mat_5:45. This seems contradictory.]
6 The Ox. ms. adds, ἐν τῇ εὐφροσύνῃ ἡ μέθη, ἐν τῷ γέλωτι τὸ πένθος, ἐν τῷ γάμῳ ἡ ἀκρασία. [Ecclesiasticus 42:24.]
7 [The Hebrew triad, father, son, and proceeding.]
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 Potiphar1 the chief cook2 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 divers ways doth 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 giveth 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, Thou shalt be lord of me, and all that is mine, if thou wilt give thyself unto me, and thou shalt be as our master. Therefore I remembered the words of the father my father Jacob, and I entered into my chamber3 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. (Dan_1:15) 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 thy 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 thou willest 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 thy Lord. And I said unto her, The Lord willeth not that those who reverence Him should be in uncleanness, nor doth 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 thou wilt not commit adultery, I will kill my husband, and so will I lawfully take thee 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 thou be utterly destroyed; for I will declare thy 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 sendeth 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 thou hast not eaten of the food? And I said unto her, It is because thou filledst it with death; and how saidst thou, I come not near to idols, but to the Lord alone? Now therefore know that the God of my father hath revealed unto me by an angel thy wickedness, and I have kept it to convict thee, if haply thou mayest see it and repent. But that thou mayest learn that the wickedness of the ungodly hath 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 thy 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 thou wilt 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 art thou troubled and disturbed, blinded in sins? Remember that if thou killest thyself; Sethon, the concubine of thy husband, thy rival, will beat thy children, and will destroy thy memorial from off the earth. And she said unto me, Lo then thou lovest me; this alone is sufficient for me, that thou carest 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 spake thus, and not because of her. For if a man hath fallen before the passion of a wicked desire, then by that hath 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 receiveth 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 Egyptian4 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 hath she sent unto me, saying, Consent to fulfil my desire, and I will release thee from thy bonds, and I will free thee from the darkness! And not even in thoughts did I incline unto her. For God loveth him who in a den of darkness fasteth with chastity, rather than him who in secret chambers liveth delicately without restraint. And whosoever liveth in chastity, and desireth also glory, and if the Most High knoweth that it is expedient for him, He bestoweth 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.5
10. Ye see therefore, my children, how great things patience worketh, and prayer with fasting. And if ye therefore follow after sobriety and purity in patience and humility of heart, the Lord will dwell among you, because He loveth sobriety. And wheresoever the Most High dwelleth, even though a man fall into envy, or slavery, or slander, the Lord who dwelleth in him, for his sobriety’s sake not only delivereth him from evil, but also exalteth and glorifieth 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 worketh 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, Thou art not a slave, for even thy appearance doth make it manifest concerning thee. 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 thy steward; so shall the God of the Hebrews bless thee, 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 thou stealest 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 thee, my lord, I know not what thou sayest. And he said, Whence then is thy 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, Art thou a slave or free? And I said, A slave. And he said unto me, Whose slave art thou? And I said unto him, The Ishmaelites’. And again he said unto me, How becamest thou their slave? And I said, They bought me out of the land of Canaan. And he believed me not, and said, Thou liest: 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, Thy judgment is unjust; for thou dost even punish a free man who hath 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 dost thou detain in captivity this noble child, who ought rather to be set at liberty, and wait upon thee? 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 belongeth 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 thou saidst that thou wert a slave? and lo, we have learnt that thou art the son of a mighty man in the land of Canaan, and thy father grieveth for thee 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. Ye 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 delighteth in the unity of brethren, and in the purpose of a heart approved unto love. And when my brethren came into Egypt, and learnt 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 ye 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 seeketh to do evil unto you, do ye by well-doing pray for him, and ye shall be redeemed of the Lord from all evil. For, behold, ye see that through long-suffering I took unto wife even the daughter of my6 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 linen7 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 (Isa_1:8; Isa_24:20) 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,8 or 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. (Gen_48:7 (Gen_48:7, LXX) 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.
1 The Greek spelling here is Φωτιμάρ, In the later chapters Πετεφρίς (Πεντεφρῆς, Cd. Oxon.). The former is more like the Hebrew, the latter really the LXX. spelling, Πετεφρῆς. we may perhaps see herein a trace of a double authorship in the Test. Joseph.
2 Cf. Gen_39:1, LXX., and Josephus (Antiq., ii. 4.1), who calls Potiphar μαγείρων ὁ βασιλεύς. The view of the Eng. ver. is most probably correct, though we find טבָּח used in the sense of cook in 1Sa_9:23.
3 [Mat_7:6. He veils the quotation by a fiction, as to authorship, to support the plan of his work.]
4 This repetition of a clause seems like the slip of a copyist. The Ox. ms. reads, εἰς τὴν εἱρκτὴν τοῦ Φαραώ.
5 [To this section Lardner takes exception, as unbecoming to the gravity of Joseph.]
6 Another account is given in the Targ. Ps. Jon. of Gen_41:45, “And he gave him to wife Asenath whom Dinah bare to Shechem: and the wife of Potipherath prince of Tanes brought up.”
7 This wearing of a linen garment would seem to imply a connection with the priestly tribe. St. Luk_1:36 indeed calls the virgin the kinswoman of Elisabeth. On this tendency to associate the old sacerdotal tribe with the new royalty of Messiah, cf., e.g., Protevangel. Jacobi, cc. 6, 7, 9: Augustine, contra Faustum, xxiii. 4; Epiphanius, Harr., lxxviii. 13. [See Reuben 6]
8 Cf. Test. Simeon 8, and Jubilees 46. The account of Joseph’s burial in the Targ. Ps. Jon. on Gen_1:16 is: “And Joseph died, a hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and placed him in a coffin and sank him in the middle of the Nile of Egypt.”
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 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 to 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.1
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 thy coat with blood and sent it, and said, Look if this is the coat of thy 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 ye know me. He that hath his mind good seeth 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 feareth God and loveth 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 hath 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, thou hast prevailed over the bowels of thy father Jacob. And he embraced him, and kissed him for two hours, saying, In thee 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 sinless2} shall He be put to death for ungodly men in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation3 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 ye also may wear crowns of glory. The good man hath not a dark eye; for he showeth mercy to all men, even though they be sinners, even though they devise evil concerning him. So he that doeth good overcometh the evil, being shielded by Him that is good; and he loveth the righteous as his own soul. If any one is glorified, he envieth him not; if any one is enriched, he is not jealous; if any one is valiant, he praiseth him; he trusteth and laudeth him that is sober-minded; he showeth mercy to the poor; he is kindly disposed toward the weak; he singeth the praises of God; as for him who hath the fear of God, he protecteth him as with a shield; him that loveth God he aideth; him that rejecteth the Most High he admonisheth and turneth back; and him that hath the grace of a good spirit, he loveth even as his own soul.
5. If ye 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 ye 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 fleeth away from him. For if any one is injurious to a holy man, he repenteth; for the holy man showeth pity on his reviler, and holdeth 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 appeareth 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 guideth his soul. He gazeth not passionately on corruptible things, nor gathereth together riches unto desire of pleasure; he delighteth not in pleasure, he hurteth not his neighbour, he pampereth not himself with food, he erreth not in the pride of his eyes, for the Lord is his portion. The good mind admitteth not the glory and dishonour of men, neither knoweth it any guile or lie, fighting or reviling; for the Lord dwelleth in him and lighteth up his soul, and he rejoiceth towards all men at every time. The good mind hath 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 hath one disposition, pure and uncorrupt, concerning all men. It hath no double sight, (Mat_6:22; Luk_11:34) nor double hearing; for in everything which he doeth, or speaketh, or seeth, he knoweth that the Lord watcheth his soul, and he cleanseth his mind that he be not condemned by God and men, But of Beliar every work is twofold, and hath no singleness.
7. Flee ye therefore, my children, the evil-doing of Beliar; for it giveth a sword to them that obeyeth, and the sword is the mother of seven evils. First the mind conceiveth 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 seven4 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 hath a pure mind in love, looketh not after a woman unto fornication; for he hath no defilement in his heart, because the Spirit of God resteth in him. For as the sun is not defiled by shining over dung and mire, but rather drieth up both and driveth away the ill smell; so also the pure mind, constrained among the defilements of the earth, rather edifieth, and itself suffereth no defilement.
9. Now I suppose, from the words of the righteous Enoch, that there will be also evil-doings among you: for ye 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 be gotten one. And He shall enter into the front5 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 ye 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;6 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 ye walk in holiness in the presence of the Lord, ye 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 wolf7 on account of your ravages, but a worker of the Lord, distributing food to them that work what is good. And one8 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;9 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 lacketh of thy 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.
1 The ordinary theory as to the meaning of Benjamin is comparatively late, and seems doubtful. The Targum Jerushalmi (on Gen_35:18), and the Breshith Rabba, § 82, make Benjamin and Benoni synonymous. Cf. Josephus, Antiq., i. 21.3; Cyril, Glaph. in Genesis, lib. iv. with the view mentioned in the text, cf. Arethas on Rev_8:8 (Cramer’s Catena, viii. 289).
2 This would seem to be the earliest instance of the application of the word ἀναμάρτητος to our Lord.
3 [How could any Christian more fully testify to the Nicene Faith? So the Gloria in Excelsis.]
4 For ἑπτακοσίοις ἔτεσιν the Ox. ms. reads simply ἑπτά.
5 This would seem to be the meaning of πρῶτος ναός.
6 [Rev_20:5,Rev_20:6. See Zebulun footnote 9]
7 Gen_49:27. This passage, referring to St. Paul (who was of the tribe of Benjamin, Rom_11:1, Phi_3:5), is quoted by Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem, v. 1.
8 Compare Scorpiace, cap. 13 [with reference to Gen_25:34; Gen_27:25, Lardner adds Origen, Hom. in Ezech., iv. tom. iii. p. 731; Theodoret, in Genesis Quœst., cx. tom. i. p. 77; and Augustine, Serm., 279 (and passim), tom. v. ed. Benedict].
9 [“Mel in ore, melos in aure melodia in corde.” – St. Bernard.]
Note by the American Editor.
I had prepared annotations for these pages which I find will require more space than this overloaded volume can afford. Let me indicate some sources of information which the student may find convenient. Thus, in Liddon’s Bampton Lecture (4th ed., London, 1869), Consult p. 71 for remarks on Philo and Alexandrian Jews; see also p. 91. Concerning the “Book of Enoch,” pp. 7 and 302; see Westcott, Study of the Gospels (London, 1867), p.109, a reference to the Book of Jubilees, and its lack of reference to Messiah. See Jewish doctrine of the Messiah, pp. 86, 143, 151; the “Book of Henoch,” pp. 69,93, 101; apocryphal words of Jews, p.428. He places the “Book of Henoch” earlier than the “Book of Jubilees,” and the “Twelve Patriarchs” after that. Compare Westcott’s’ Historic Faith (London, 1883), a quotation from Goldwin Smith, on “the blood of Christ,” note 8, p. 237.
I cannot forbear to note, among useful suggestions in these Testaments, that (Simeon footnote 1) of the share of Simeon in the persecution of Joseph. It explains the real purpose of Joseph in selecting Simeon as the hostage to be left in Egypt (Gen_42:21-24.) Joseph heard the mutual reproaches of his brothers, and foresaw that Simeon would be made to suffer as most guilty: so he was withdrawn. Again, a like anxiety (Gen_45:2) appears when Simeon was sent back with them to his father. Other Suggestions may be noted as substantially illustrating the sacred narrative.