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

Chapter XXXI

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Text Commentary

1And on the new moon of the month Jacob spoke to all the members of his household, saying, Purify yourselves and change your clothes, and let us get up and go to Bethel, where I vowed a vow to the Lord 1 Lit. ‘to him’. on the day I fled from my brother Esau, because he has been with me and brought me into this land in peace; and do you rid yourselves of the foreign gods that are among you. 2And they gave up 2 So Charles, by a slight change in the Eth. (‘they melted down’). The Lat. is not extant at this point. the foreign gods, and the ornaments that were in their ears and on their necks; and Rachel gave to Jacob all the idols that she had stolen from her father Laban. And he burnt them and broke them in pieces and destroyed 3 Lit. ‘defaced’. them, and he hid them under an oak near 4 Lit. ‘in the land of’. Shechem.

3And he went up on the new moon of the seventh month to Bethel. And he built an altar at the place where he had slept, and he set up a pillar there; and he sent word to his father Isaac to come to him to his sacrifice, and to his mother Rebecca. 4And Isaac said, Let my son Jacob come to me, and let me see him here before I die. 5And Jacob went to his father Isaac and to his mother Rebecca, to the house of his father Abraham; and he took two of his sons with him, Levi and Judah, and came to his father Isaac and his mother Rebecca.

6And Rebecca came out from the tower, to the gate of the tower, to kiss Jacob and embrace him (for her spirit revived when she heard the words, Behold, Jacob your son has come), and she kissed him. 7And she saw his two sons, and she recognized them and said to him, Are these your sons, my son? And she embraced them and kissed them and blessed them, saying, Through you shall Abraham's line become famous, and you shall be a blessing on the earth.

8And Jacob went in to his father Isaac, into the room where he was lying, and his two sons were with him; and he took his father's hand, and stooping down he kissed him; and Isaac clung to his son Jacob's neck, and wept upon his neck. 9And the darkness left Isaac's eyes, and he saw Jacob's two sons, Levi and Judah, and he said, Are these your sons, my son, for they are like you? 10And he told him that they were indeed his sons (You have rightly seen, he said, that they are indeed my sons). 11And they came near him, and he turned and kissed them and embraced them both together. 12And the spirit of prophecy came down upon his mouth, and he took Levi by his right hand and Judah by his left.

13And he turned to Levi first, and began to bless him first, and said to him, May the God of all, the very Lord of all the ages, bless you and your children through all the ages. 14And may the Lord give you and your descendants greatness and great glory, 5 So one Eth. MS: the others differ among themselves and from the Latin (magno intellegere gloriam eius). and set you and your descendants apart from all mankind to minister to him and to serve 6 Lit. ‘and cause you and your seed from among all flesh to approach him to serve’. him in his sanctuary like the angels of the presence and the holy ones: like them your sons' descendants shall be accounted glorious, and great, and holy; and may he make them great for ever. 15And they shall be judges and princes and chiefs of all the descendants of Jacob's sons. They shall speak the Lord's word in righteousness, and dispense all his judgements in righteousness; and they shall declare my ways to Jacob and my paths to Israel: the blessing of the Lord shall be given by their mouths, to bless all the descendants of the beloved one. 16Your mother has named you Levi, and rightly she has named you: you shall be joined to the Lord, and be the companion of all the sons of Jacob. May his table be yours, and you and your sons eat of it; and may your table be full in every generation, and your food never fail to eternity. 17And may all who hate you fall down before you, and may all your adversaries be uprooted and perish; and blessed shall the man be that blesses you, and accursed every nation that curses you.

18And to Judah he said, May the Lord give you strength and power to tread down all that hate you: a prince shall you be (you and one of your sons) over the sons of Jacob: may your name and your sons' name go out and spread through every land and region. Then shall the Gentiles fear you, and all nations quake, and all peoples stand in awe of you. 7 Lit. ‘quake’, as in the preceding clause. Charles bracketed this clause as a dittograph. 19In you shall be Jacob's help, and in you shall be found Israel's salvation. 20And when you sit on the throne of honour, your righteousness will bring 8 Lit. ‘will be’. Another reading is ‘And when you sit on the throne of the honour of your righteousness there shall be…’. great peace for all the offspring of the sons of the beloved one. Blessed shall the man be that blesses you; and all that hate you and afflict you and curse you shall be uprooted and destroyed from the earth and be accursed.

21And he turned and kissed him again and embraced him, and rejoiced greatly (for he had seen his son Jacob's sons in very truth 9 Or ‘in righteousness’. ). 22And he disengaged himself 10 Lit. ‘he went forth from between his feet’. and fell down and bowed himself before him. And he blessed them. And he stayed there with his father Isaac that night; and they ate and drank with joy. 23And he made Jacob's two sons sleep, one on his right hand and the other on his left, and it was counted to him as righteousness. 24And during the night Jacob told his father everything, how the Lord had shown him great mercy, and how he had prospered him in every way and protected him from all evil. 25And Isaac blessed the God of his father Abraham, who had not withdrawn his mercy and his righteousness from his servant Isaac's sons.

26And in the morning Jacob told his father Isaac about the vow he had vowed to the Lord and the vision he had seen, and that he had built an altar, and that everything was ready for the sacrifice to be made before the Lord as he had vowed, and that he had come to set him on an ass and take him with him. 27And Isaac said to his son Jacob, I cannot go with you, for I am too old and unable to stand the journey: go, my son, in peace, for I am a hundred and sixty-five years old today. My travelling days are done: set your mother on the ass and let her go with you. 28And I know, my son, that you have come because of me; and blessed be this day on which you have seen me still alive, and I also have seen you, my son. 29May you prosper and fulfil the vow that you have vowed; and do not put it 11 Lit. ‘your vow’. off, for you will be called to account in respect of it, 12 Lit. ‘the vow’. so make haste and fulfil it now, and may the maker of all things, to whom you have vowed the vow, be pleased.

30And he said to Rebecca, Go with your son Jacob. And Rebecca went with her son Jacob, and Deborah with her, and they came to Bethel. 31And Jacob remembered the prayer with which his father had blessed him and his two sons, Levi and Judah; and he rejoiced and blessed the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac. 32And he said, Now I know that I have an eternal hope, and my sons also, before the God of all.

And so it was decreed concerning the two; and how Isaac blessed them is recorded on the heavenly tablets as an eternal testimony.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘to him’.

2 So Charles, by a slight change in the Eth. (‘they melted down’). The Lat. is not extant at this point.

3 Lit. ‘defaced’.

4 Lit. ‘in the land of’.

5 So one Eth. MS: the others differ among themselves and from the Latin (magno intellegere gloriam eius).

6 Lit. ‘and cause you and your seed from among all flesh to approach him to serve’.

7 Lit. ‘quake’, as in the preceding clause. Charles bracketed this clause as a dittograph.

8 Lit. ‘will be’. Another reading is ‘And when you sit on the throne of the honour of your righteousness there shall be…’.

9 Or ‘in righteousness’.

10 Lit. ‘he went forth from between his feet’.

11 Lit. ‘your vow’.

12 Lit. ‘the vow’.

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