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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter VIII

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Text Commentary

1In the twenty-ninth jubilee, in the first week, in the beginning of it, Arpachshad took a wife, and her name was Rasuejah, the daughter of Susan, Elam's daughter; and she bore him a son in the third year in this week, and he called him Kainam. 2And the boy grew up, and his father taught him writing; 1 Or ‘(the) book (s)’. and he went to look for a place where he could found a city. 3And he came upon a writing which some men of old time had carved on a rock, and he read what was on it and transcribed it; 2 Or ‘translated it’: or, by a slight emendation, ‘it led him astray’ (so Charles). andhe sinned because of it, for it contained the teaching of the Watchers, in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of 3 Alternative readings ‘the chariot of’ or ‘the wheel of’ (with reference to the Zodiac?). the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven. 4And he wrote it down and said nothing about it; for he was afraid to tell Noah about it in case he might be angry with him because of it.

5And in the thirtieth jubilee, in the second week, in the first year of it, he took a wife, and her name was Melka, the daughter of Madai, 4 So Syr. and a Gk. scholion: Eth. ‘Abadai’. Cp. vii. 19, ix. 9, x. 35–36. Japheth's son; and in the fourth year she bore him a son, and he called him Shelah, for he said, Truly I have been sent. 6And Shelah grew up and took a wife, and her name was Muak, the daughter of Kesed, his father's brother: this was in the thirty-first jubilee, in the fifth week, in the first year of it. 7And she bore him a son in the fifth year of it, and he called him Eber; and he took a wife, and her name was Azurad, the daughter of Nimrod 5 Eth. ‘Nebrod’. – in the thirty-second jubilee, in the seventh week, in the third year of it. 8And in the sixth year of it, she bore him a son, and he called him Peleg, 6 Eth. ‘Falek’. for in the days when he was born Noah's sons began to divide the earth among themselves (that is why he called him Peleg). 9And they divided it secretly 7 Or ‘in wickedness’. among themselves, and they told Noah.

10And it was at the beginning of the thirty-third jubilee that they divided the earth into three parts, one part for Shem and one for Ham and one for Japheth, a share for each, 8 Lit. ‘according to the inheritance of each’. in the first year, in the first week, while one of us, who had been sent to them, was with them. 11And he called his sons and they came to him, they and their children; and he 9 Alternative reading ‘they’. divided the earth by drawing lots to decide what each of his three sons should have, and they stretched out their hands and took their lot 10 Lit. ‘took the writing’. out of their father Noah's lap.

12And Shem drew as his lot 11 Lit. ‘And there came out on the writing as Shem's lot’. the middle of the earth, to take it as his patrimony and his sons' patrimony for ever – from the middle of the mountain range of Rafa, from the mouth of the river Tina; 12 Lit. ‘from the mouth of the water from the river Tina’. and his share goes westwards through the middle of this river and extends as far as the water of the abysses, out of which this river rises and pours its waters into the sea of Miot, 13 Alternative reading ‘Meat’. and this river flows into the great sea (and all that is on the north is Japheth's and all that is on the south belongs to Shem). 13And it extends as far as Karaso 14 Alternative reading ‘Karan’. – this is in the heart 15 Lit. ‘bosom’. of the tongue that faces south. 14And his share extends along the great sea in a straight line till it reaches the west of the tongue that faces south; for this sea is called the tongue of the Egyptian sea. 15And it turns from here southwards, towards the mouth of the great sea, on the shores of its waters; and it extends to the west to 16 Alternative reading ‘of’. Afra 17 Alternative readings ‘Afara’, ‘Arafa’, ‘Wafara’. as far as the waters of the river Gihon, and to the south of the waters of Gihon, to the banks of this river. 16And it extends eastwards as far as the garden of Eden, to the south of it, [to the south] and from the east of the whole land of Eden and of the whole east, and it turns to the east and goes on till it reaches the east of the mountain called Rafa, and it goes down to the bank of the mouth of the river Tina. 18 There is obviously some geographical confusion in this verse. Charles proposed to read ‘north’ for ‘south’ (and also ‘west’ for ‘east’ in the clause ‘and it turns to the east’). In later Ethiopic tradition, and in some of the following chapters of Jubilees, the words for ‘north’ and ‘south’ were often given contrary meanings. 17This share fell by lot to Shem and to his sons as an eternal possession for his descendants for ever.

18And Noah rejoiced that this share had fallen to Shem and to his sons, and he remembered everything he had uttered with his mouth in his prophecy; for he had said,

Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, And may the Lord dwell in the dwelling of Shem.

19And he knew that the garden of Eden is the holy of holies and the Lord's dwelling place, and mount Sinai the centre of the desert, and mount Zion the centre of the navel of the earth: these three were created as holy places facing one another. 20And he blessed the God of gods, who had put the Lord's word into his mouth, even the Lord for evermore. 21And he knew that Shem and his sons were blessed 19 Lit. ‘that a share of blessing and a blessed one had come to Shem and to his sons’. for ever — the whole land of Eden, and the whole land of the Red Sea, and the whole land of the east, and India, and Bairetra 20 Perhaps (through the Gk. Ἐϱυθϱά) a mistranslation of Edom. and its mountains, and all the land of Bashan, 21 Lit. ‘Basa’: alternative readings ‘Bala’ and ‘Basor’. and all the land of Lebanon and the islands of Caphtor, and all the mountains of Senir and Amana, and the mountains of Asshur in the north, and all the land of Elam, Asshur, and Babel, and Susa, and Media, and all the mountains of Ararat, and all the region beyond the sea, which is beyond the mountains of Asshur north-wards, a blessed and spacious land, and all that is in it is very good.

22And Ham drew the second share – what lies beyond the Gihon southwards, to the right of the garden; and it extends southwards as far as all the fiery mountains; and it extends westwards to the sea of Atel, and further still 22 Lit. ‘and it extends westwards’. till it reaches the sea of Mauk (that is the sea into which everything that does not 23 One MS omits ‘not’. According to Charles the sense required is ‘if anything descends into it, it perishes’ – this sea being Oceanus in the extreme west. perish descends). 23And it goes northwards to the boundaries of Gadir and out to the coast of the waters of the sea, to the waters of the great sea, till it reaches the river Gihon, and the river Gihon goes along till it reaches the right of the garden of Eden. 24And this is the land that fell to Ham in the division, which he was to occupy for ever, he and his sons, generation after generation for ever.

25And Japheth drew the third share – what lies beyond the river Tina, to the north of its waters' outflow; and it extends on the north-east to the whole region of Gog and to all the country east of it. 26And it extends northwards as far as the mountains of Qelt 24 Text ‘And it extends northwards to the north, and it extends to the mountains Qelt towards the north’. and to the sea of Mauk; and it goes to the east of Gadir as far as the region of the waters of the sea. 27And it goes on until it reaches the west of Fara 25 Alternative readings ‘Fera’ and ‘Fereg’. and returns towards Aferag; 26 Alternative reading ‘Afreg’. and it extends east-wards to the waters of the sea of Meat. 28And in a north-easterly direction it extends to the region of the river Tina till it reaches the boundary of its waters towards the mountain Rafa; and then it turns round towards the north. 29This is the land that fell to Japheth and his sons as the share for them to hold as their patrimony, generation after generation for ever – five large islands, and a large tract of land in the north. 30But it is cold. Ham's land is hot. And Shem's is neither hot nor cold, but a blend of cold and heat.

Notes:

1 Or ‘(the) book (s)’.

2 Or ‘translated it’: or, by a slight emendation, ‘it led him astray’ (so Charles).

3 Alternative readings ‘the chariot of’ or ‘the wheel of’ (with reference to the Zodiac?).

4 So Syr. and a Gk. scholion: Eth. ‘Abadai’. Cp. vii. 19, ix. 9, x. 35–36.

5 Eth. ‘Nebrod’.

6 Eth. ‘Falek’.

7 Or ‘in wickedness’.

8 Lit. ‘according to the inheritance of each’.

9 Alternative reading ‘they’.

10 Lit. ‘took the writing’.

11 Lit. ‘And there came out on the writing as Shem's lot’.

12 Lit. ‘from the mouth of the water from the river Tina’.

13 Alternative reading ‘Meat’.

14 Alternative reading ‘Karan’.

15 Lit. ‘bosom’.

16 Alternative reading ‘of’.

17 Alternative readings ‘Afara’, ‘Arafa’, ‘Wafara’.

18 There is obviously some geographical confusion in this verse. Charles proposed to read ‘north’ for ‘south’ (and also ‘west’ for ‘east’ in the clause ‘and it turns to the east’). In later Ethiopic tradition, and in some of the following chapters of Jubilees, the words for ‘north’ and ‘south’ were often given contrary meanings.

19 Lit. ‘that a share of blessing and a blessed one had come to Shem and to his sons’.

20 Perhaps (through the Gk. Ἐϱυθϱά) a mistranslation of Edom.

21 Lit. ‘Basa’: alternative readings ‘Bala’ and ‘Basor’.

22 Lit. ‘and it extends westwards’.

23 One MS omits ‘not’. According to Charles the sense required is ‘if anything descends into it, it perishes’ – this sea being Oceanus in the extreme west.

24 Text ‘And it extends northwards to the north, and it extends to the mountains Qelt towards the north’.

25 Alternative readings ‘Fera’ and ‘Fereg’.

26 Alternative reading ‘Afreg’.

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