SECTION IX.

VAYESHEV.

And Jakob dwelt in peace in the land of the sojourning of his fathers, in the land of Kenaan. These are the generations of Jakob. Joseph was a son of seventeen years. He had come forth from the school, and was a youth brought up with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpha his fathers wives. And Joseph brought their evil report; for he had seen them eat the flesh that had been torn by wild beasts, the ears and the tails; and he came and told it to his father. And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because the likeness of Joseph resembled his own, and he made him a figured robe. [JERUSALEM. A figured robe.] And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, and they cherished enmity against him, and were unwilling to speak peacefully with him.

 

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and declared it to his brethren, and they added yet to keep enmity against him. And he said to them, Hear now this dream which I have dreamed. Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves surrounded and bowed to my sheaf. [JERUSALEM. Were binding sheaves.] And his brothers said to him, Art thou thinking to reign over us, or dost thou expect to have rule over us? And they added yet to keep enmity against him, for his dream and for his words.

 

And he dreamed again another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream, and lo, the sun, and the moon, and eleven stars, bowed to me. And he related it to his father and to his brethren: but his father rebuked him, and said to him, What dream is this that thou hast dreamed? Shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren, really come and bow before thee to the ground? And his brothers envied him, yet his father kept the saying in his heart.

 

And his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shekem. And it was at the time of days that Israel said to Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed in Shekem? But I am afraid lest the Hivaee come and smite them because they smote Hamor and Shekem and the inhabitants of the city. Come now; and I will send thee to them And he said, Behold me. And he said, Go, see the welfare of Your brethren, and the welfare of the flock, and return my word to the deep Counsel. But he sent him according to the deep counsel which was spoken to Abraham in Hebron; for on that day began the cativity of Mizraim.

 

And Joseph arose and came to Shekem. And Gabriel in the likeness of a man found him wandering field. And the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brothers; show me, pray, where they feed. And the man said, They have journeyed hence: for I heard beyond the Veil, that behold from to‑day would begin the servitude to the Mizraee; and it was said to them in prophecy, Hivaee would seek to set battle in array against them. Therefore said they, we will go unto Dothan.

And Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan. And they saw him from afar, before he had come nigh to them, and plotted against him to kill him. And Shimeon and Levi, who were brothers in counsel, said each man to his brother, Behold, this master of dreams cometh. And now come let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits and say that an evil beast bath devoured him; arid we shall see what will be the interpretation of his dreams.

And Reuben heard, and delivered him from their hands, and said, We will not kill him nor become guilty of his blood. And Reuben said, Let us not shed innocent blood. Throw him into this pit in the wilderness, but the hand of the slayer stretch not forth against him; because he would deliver him from their hand, and restore him to his father.

And when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his garment, the figured garment that was on him, and took and threw him into the pit; but the pit was empty, no water was therein, but serpents and scorpions were in it. And they sat around to eat bread. And they lifted up their eyes, and looked, and behold a band of Arabians [JERUSALEM. A band of Saracens] were coming from Gilead with their camels, carrying wax, resin, balsam and stacte, proceeding to go into Mizraim. And Jehuda said to his brethren, What profit of mammon should we have if we killed our brother, and covered his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Arabians, and our hands shall not be upon him to kill him; for our brother is our own flesh. And his brethren agreed. And the Midianite men, masters of business, passed by; and they drew and brought up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Arabians for twenty mahin of silver; and they bought sandals of them. And they brought Joseph to Mizraim.

 

And Reuben returned to the pit; for he had not been with them to assist when they sold him, because he had sat fasting on account that he had confounded the couch of his father; and he had gone and sat among the hills, that he might return to the pit and bring him up for his father, if haply he might avert his anger. But when he had returned, and looked, and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes, and returned to his brethren, and said, The youth is not; and I, whither shall I go, and how shall I see the look of my father’s face? But they took the garment of Joseph, and killed a kid of the goats, because his blood is like the blood of a man, and they dabbled the garment in the blood. And they sent it by the hand of the sons of Zilpha and of the sons of Bilhah the figured garment; and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found; know now, whether it be thy son’s garment, or not. And he recognised it and said, It is my son’s garment: a beast of the wilderness hath not devoured him, neither hath he been slain by the hand of man; but I see by the Holy Spirit, that an evil woman standeth against him. [JERUSALEM. And he discerned it and said, It is my son’s garment: yet a wild beast hath not devoured him, neither is my son Joseph slain ; but I see by the Spirit of the sanctuary, that an evil woman standeth against him. And Jakob rent his clothes, and wrapped sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all the men of his house arose and went to console him; but he refused to receive consolation, and said, For I will go down to my son mourning to the house of the grave. And Izhak his father also wept for him. But the Midianites sold him in Mizraim to Potipliar a captain of Pharoh, a captain of the guards.[1][JERUSALEM. To Potiphar an officer of Pharoh, a captain of the guards.[2]]

 

XXXVIII. It was at that time that Jehuda bad gone down from his property, and separated himself from his brethren, and had inclined to a man an Adullemite whose name was Hira, that Jelluda saw there the daughter of a merchantman whose name was Shuva, and he proselyted her and entered with her. And she conceived and bare a son, and called his name Er[3], because he was to die without a child. And she conceived again, and bare a son, and called his name Onan[4], because his father would have to mourn for him. And she added, and bare a son, and called his name Shela, because her husband had forgotten her[5] and was in cessation when she bare him. [JERUSALEM.And it was that she ceased.]

 

And Jehuda took a wife for Er his firstborn, a daughter of Shem the great, whose name was Tamar. But Er the firstborn of Jehuda was evil before the Lord because he had not given his seed unto his wife, and the anger of the Lord prevailed against him, and the Lord slew him. And Jehuda said unto Onan, Enter thou to thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed unto the name of thy brother. And Onan knew that they would not call the children after his name, and it was, when he entered to the wife of his brother, that he corrupted his work upon the earth, that he might not raise up children to his brother’s name. And what he did was evil before the Lord and he cut off his days also.

 

And Jehuda said to Tamar his daughter‑in‑law, Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shela my son be grown up. For he said, Lest he also die as his brethrenTamar went and remained in her father’s house.

 

And days multiplied and the daughter of Shuva, Jehuda’s wife, had died, and Jehuda was comforted. And Jehuda went up to the shearing of his flock, he and Hira his friend the Adullemite, to Timnath. And it was told to Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father‑in‑law cometh up to Timnath to shear his flock. And she put the dress of her widowhood from her, and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the dividing of the road where all eyes see, upon the way of Timnath. For she knew that Shela was grown up, yet she had not been given to him to be his wife. And Jehuda saw her; but she seemed in his face as an harlot,[6] because she had provoked him to anger in his house, and Jehuda did not love her.[JERUSALEM. For she had enwrapped her face.] And he inclined to her in the way and said, Let me now go in with thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter‑in‑law. And she said What wilt thou give me to go in with me? And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, If thou wilt give me a pledge until thou shalt have sent. And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she answered, Thy seal, and thy mantle, and thy staff which is in thy hand. And he gave (them) to her, and went in with her; and she conceived by him. And she arose and went, and put her veil from her, and put on the dress of her widowhood And Hehuda sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullemite, to bring back the pledge from the hand of the woman; but he found her not. And he asked the men of the place, saying, Where is the harlot who was in the sight of the eyes by the way ? And they said, There is no harlot here. And he returned to Jehuda and said, I could not find her: and the men of the place also said that no harlot was there. And Jehuda said, Lest she should have taken the pledge, lest we become a laughing stock, behold, I have sent this goat, and thou canst not find her.

 

And it was at the time of three months, that she was known to be with child: and it was told to Jehuda, saying Tamar thy daughter‑in‑law hath committed fornication and, behold, she is with child by fornication. And Jehuda said, Is she not the daughter of a priest. Let her be brought forth and burned.

 

Tamar was brought forth to be burned, and she searched for the three pledges, but found them not. Uplifiting her eyes to the heavens above, she thus said, Mercy I implore from Thee, 0 Lord: answer Thou me in this hour of need, and enlighten mine eyes to find

the three witnesses; and I will dedicate unto Thee from my loins three saints who shall sanctify Thy name, and descend to the furnace of fire in the plain of Dura.

 

In that hour the Holy One, blessed be He, signed to Michael, who enlightened her eyes, that she found (the witnesses) and took and cast them before the, feet of the judges, and said, The man to whom these pledges belong is he by whom I am with child. Yet though I may be burned I do not make him manifest: nevertheless the Lord of the world will cause him in his heart to acknowledged them, and will deliver me from this great judgment.

 

Now when Jehuda saw them, he recognised them, and said in his heart, It is better for me to be ashamed in this world that passeth away, than be ashamed in the faces of my righteous fathers in the world to come. It is better that I burn in this world by a fire that is extinguished, than burn in the world to come with fire devouring fire. For measure is set against measure.[7] This is according to that which I said to Jakob my father, Know now the robe of thy son; so am I now constrained to hear at the place of judgment, Whose are this seal and mantle and staff ?

 

And Jehuda, acknowledged and said, Tamar is innocent; she is with child by me. And the Bath kol fell from heaven, and said, From before Me was this thing done, and let both be delivered from judgment. And Jehuda said, Because I gave her not to Shela my son, hath this happened to me. But he added not to know her again.

 

[JERUSALEM. 19. Her veil. 25. Tamar was brought forth to be burned with fire; and she sought the three witnesses but found them not. She lifted up her eyes on high and said For mercy I pray before the Lord. Thou art He, 0 Lord God, who answerest the afflicted in the hour of their affliction ; answer me in this the hour of my affliction, and I will dedicate to thee three saints in the valley of Dura, Hananva, Mishael, and Azarya.

[In that hour the Word of the Lord heard the voice of her supplication and said to Mikael Descend, and let her eyes have light….When she saw them, she took them, and cast them before the feet of the judges, saying By the man to whom these belong I am with child. But though I may be burned I declare him not, but confide in the Ruler of all the world the Lord who is witness between me and him, that He will give to the heart of the man to whom these belong, to ac­knowledge whose are these his ring, and mantle, and staff.

 

[And Jehuda recognised the three witnesses, and arose upon his feet and said, I pray you, my brethren, and ye men of the house of my fathers, to hear me. With the measure that a man measureth shall it be measured to him; whether good measure or evil; and blessed is every man who confesseth his works. Because I took the coat of Joseph my brother and dipped it into the blood of a goat, and brought it before the feet of my father and said to him, Know now whether this be thy son’s coat or not, the measure is according to the measure, and the rule to the rule. Better is it for me blush in this world than to blush in the world to come; better to burn with a fire that goes out, than to burn in the fire devouring fire. Let Tamar my daughterin‑law be spared. She hath not conceived a child by fornication, but because I did not give to her Shela my son.

 

[The Bath kol came forth from heaven, and said, Both of you are acquitted in the judgment. The thing was from the Lord. And he added not to know her.]

 

But it was in the time of her giving birth, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it was in being born that the child stretched forth his hand; and the midwife took it, and bound it with a scarlet thread, saying, This came the first. And after the child had withdrawn his hand, behold, his brother came forth, and she said, With what great power hast thou prevailed, and for thee will it be to prevail; for thou wilt possess the kingdom. And she called his name Pharets. And afterward came forth his brother, upon whose hand was bound the scarlet thread, and she called his name Zarach.

 

XXXIX. But Joseph was brought down into Mizraim; and Potiphar,[8] . . . a man of Mizraim, a chief of Pharoh, a chief of the executioners, bought him with the pledge[9] of the Arabians who had brought him down thither. And the Word of the Lord was Joseph’s Helper, and he became a prosperous man in the house of his Mizraite master. And his master saw that the Word of the Lord was his Helper, and that the Lord prospered in his hand all that he did; and Joseph found favour in his eyes, and he served him, and he appointed him superintendent over his house, and all that he had he delivered in his hands. [JERUSALEM. And he delivered in his hands and appointedhim superintendent.]

 

And it was from the time he appointed him superintendent over his house, and over all that he had, the Lord prospered the house of the Mizraite for the sake of the righteousness of Joseph, and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and took no knowledge of anything of his, except his wife with whom he lay.

 

And Joseph was of goodly form and beautiful aspect. And it was after these things that the wife of his master lifted up her eyes to Joseph, and said, Lie with me. But he refused to come near her, and said to his master’s wife, Behold, my master taketh no knowledge of what is with me in the house, and all he hath he delivereth into my hand; there is none in the house greater than I nor hath he restricted me from anything but thyself, because thou art his wife: and how can I do this great wickedness, and become guilty before the Lord ? And it was when she spake with Joseph this day and the next, and be hearkened not to her to lie with her, lest with her be should be condemned in the day of the great judgment of the world to come; it was on a certain day that he entered the house to examine the tablets of his accounts, and there was no man of the house within; that she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and went forth into the street. And when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had gone forth into the street, that she called the men of the house and said, See this, which the Hebrew man hath done whom your master hath brought to mock us. He came in to lie with me, and I cried with a high voice. And when he heard that I lifted up my voice, he left his garment with me, and went forth into the street. And she let the garment remain until his master came into his house; and she spake to him according to these words, saying The Hebrew servant whom thou broughtest to us came in to me to mock me. [JERUSALEM. And it was when I thundered with my voice.]

 

And when his master heard the words which his wife spake with him, saying, According to these things did thy servant to me, his wrath became strong. And Joseph’s master took counsel of the priests, who put him not to death, but delivered him into the house of the bound, where the king’s prisoners were bound; and he was there in the house of the bound. [JERUSALEM. In the prison house.] And the Word of the Lord was Joseph’s Helper, and extended mercy to him, and gave him favour in the eyes of the captain of the prison. And the captain of the prison confided all the prisoners who were in the house to Joseph’s hands, and whatsoever was done there he commanded to be done. It was not needful for the captain of the prison to watch Joseph, after the custom of all prisoners, because be saw that there was no fault in his hands; for the Word of the Lord was his Helper, and that which he did the Lord made it to prosper.

 

  1. And after these things it was shown, saying The chief of the butlers of the king of Mizraim, and the chief of the bakers, have offended; having taken counsel to throw the poison of death into his food, and into his drink, to kill their master the king of Mizraim. And Pharoh was angry when he heard concerning his two servants, the chief cup‑bearer and the chief baker. And he gave them in ward in the house of the chief executioner, the prison house where Joseph was confined. And the chief executioner intrusted Joseph with them, and he served them, and they were certain days in the house of custody.

 

And they dreamed a dream, both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man his own dream, and the interpretation of his companion’s dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Mizraim who were confined in the prison. And Joseph came to them in the morning, and saw them, and, behold, they were troubled. And Joseph asked the chiefs of Pharoh who were with him in the custody of his master’s house, saying, Why is the look of your faces more evil to‑day than all the other days that you have been here? And they said to him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it. And Joseph answered, Are not the interpretations of dreams from tile Lord? Tell it now to me. And the chief of the butlers related his dream to Joseph, and said to him, I saw in my dream, and, behold, a vine was before me. And in the vine were three branches; and as it sprouted it brought forth buds, an immediately they ripened into clusters, and became grapes. And I gave the cup of Pharoh into my hand, and I took the grapes, and expressed them into Pharoh’s cup, and gave the cup into Pharoh’s hand.

And Joseph said to him, This is the end of the interpretations of the dream. The three branches are the three Fathers of the world, Abraham, Izhak, and Jakob, the children of whose sons are to be enslaved in Mizraim in clay and brick (work,) and in all labour of the face of the field: but afterwards shall the be delivered by the the hand of three shepherds. As thou hast said, I took the grapes and expressed them into Pharoh’s cup, and gave the cup Into Pharoh’s band: It is the vial of wrath which Paroh (himself) is to drink at the last. But thou, the chief butler shalt receive a good reward concerning the good dream which thou hast dreamed; and the interpretation of it, to thyself, is this: The three branches are three days until thy liberation. At the end of three days the memory of thee will come before Pharoh and he will lift up thy head with honour, and restore thee to thy service, and thou wilt give the cup of Pharoh into his hand, according to thy former custom in pouring out[10] for him.

 

[JERUSALEM. And Joseph said, This is the interpretations of the dream : The three branches are the three Fathers of the world, Abraham, Izhak, and Jakob the children of whose sons will be enslaved in the land of Mizriam and will be delivered by the band of three faithful pastors,[11] who may be likened to the clusters. And whereas thou hast said, I took the grapes and expressed them into the cup of Pharoh and gave the cup into Pharoh’s hand: It is the cup of retribution which Pharoh is to drink at the last. As to thyself, the chief of the butlers, thou wilt not lose thy reward; for this dream which thou hast dreamed is good. Nevertheless the interpretation of the dream (as relating to himself) Joseph had not told him; but afterwards he explained it, when it pleased him. And Joseph said to him, The three branches are three days.]

 

Joseph, leaving his higher trust[12] and retaining confidence in a man, said to the chief butler, But be thou mindful of me when it shall be well with thee, and act kindly by me, and remember me before Paharoh and obtain my deliverance from this prison house. For I was verily carried away dishonestly from the land of the Hivraee and here also I have done nothing evil, that they should put me in prison.

 

And the chief baker, when he understood the interpretation of his companion’s dream, seeing that he had interpreted well, began to speak with an impatient tongue, and said to Joseph, I also saw in my dream, and, behold, three baskets of fine cakes were upon my bead; [JERUSALEM. And, behold, three baskets of hot loaves were upon my bead ;] and in the upper basket of all delicious meat for Pharoh made by the confectioner and the birds ate them from the basket upon my head.

 

Joseph answered and said, This is its interpretation. The three baskets are the three enslavements with which the house of Israel are to be enslaved. But thou, the chief of the bakers, wilt receive an evil award, by the dream which thou hast dreamed. And Joseph explained it, as it was proper in his eyes and said to him: This is its interpretation to thyself. The three baskets are three days until thy death. At the end of three days, Pharoh with the sword will take away thy head from thy body, and will hang thee upon a gibbet, and the birds will cut thy flesh from thee. [JERUSALEM And he said to him, The three baskets are the three heavy enslavements which are to happen to the house of Israel in the land of Mizriam in clay and in bricks, and in all work on the face of the field. It will be that Pharoh kin, of Mizriam will decree evil decrees against Israel and throw their children into the river. Neverthless Pharoh will perish, and his host be destroyed, but the sons of Israel will go forth redeemed with uncovered head. And thou, the chief of the bakers wilt receive punishment; for this dream which thou bast dreamed is evil. But the interpretation of the dream Joseph did not (at once) make known to him; but afterwards Joseph expounded it, When it pleased him. And Joseph said to him, This is the interpretation of the dream. The three baskets are three days.]

 

And it was on the third day, the nativity of Pharoh that he made a feast to all his servants. And he lifted up the bead of the chief butler, and the bead of the chief baker, in the midst of his servants. And be restored the chief butler to his butlership, because he found he had not been in that counsel. And he gave the cup into Pharoh’s hand. But the chief baker he hanged, because he had taken counsel to kill him, even as Joseph had expounded to them.

But because, Joseph had withdrawn from[13] the mercy that is above, and had put his confidence in the chief butler, he waited on the flesh. Therefore the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgat him, until from the Lord came the time of the end that he should be released. [JERUSALEM. Joseph left the mercy above, and the mercy beneath, and the mercy which accompanied him from his father’s house, and put his confidence in the chief butler: he trusted in the flesh, and the flesh be tasted of, even the cup of death. Neither did he remember the scripture where it is written expressly, Cursed shall be the man who trusteth in the flesh, and setteth the flesh as his confidence. Blessed shall be the man who trusteth in the Name of the Word of the Lord, and whose confidence is the Word of the Lord. Therefore the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgat him, until the time of the end came that he should be released.]

 

 

[1] Shalita “ruler.”

[1] Sapuklatoria, “spiculators, javelin men.”

[1] Er “naked,destitue.”

[1] Onan, “sorrow,” or “iniquity.”

[1] The Chaldee verb shelah is either “cessavit,” “destitue,” or “reject,vel oblitus est.”

[1] Ke-naphkath bara, “as an outcast.”

[1] Mekela kebel mekela

[1] I have omitted two clauses in this chapter

[1] Quando servos vendbebantur emporti dare sponsionem quod illos furati sint.–Castel, fol. 2889

[1] Or, “commingling.”

[1] Or, “rulers.”

[1] Rochetsana, “confident.”

[1] Shabak, “had foresaken.”

 

[1] Shalita “ruler.”

[2] Sapuklatoria, “spiculators, javelin men.”

[3] Er “naked,destitue.”

[4] Onan, “sorrow,” or “iniquity.”

[5] The Chaldee verb shelah is either “cessavit,” “destitue,” or “reject,vel oblitus est.”

[6] Ke-naphkath bara, “as an outcast.”

[7] Mekela kebel mekela

[8] I have omitted two clauses in this chapter

[9] Quando servos vendbebantur emporti dare sponsionem quod illos furati sint.–Castel, fol. 2889

[10] Or, “commingling.”

[11] Or, “rulers.”

[12] Rochetsana, “confident.”

[13] Shabak, “had foresaken.”