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

Chapter XXXV

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Text Commentary

1And in the first year of the first week of the forty-fourth jubilee Rebecca summoned her son Jacob and gave him instructions to honour his father and his brother all the days of his life. 2And Jacob said, I will do everything you tell me; for to honour them will bring me honour, and greatness, and credit with 1 Lit. ‘and righteousness before’. the Lord. 3And you know, mother, all my deeds and thoughts from the day of my birth till now; and you know that I am always well-disposed towards everyone. 2 Eth. ‘that I always think good concerning all’: Lat. ‘that I always 〈have the intention〉 to do good to all’. 4How, then, should I not do what you tell me, and honour my father and my brother? 5Point out to me, mother, anything 3 Lit. ‘what’. you have observed in me that is evil, and I will set my face against it, and ask for mercy. 6And she said to him, I have never at any time, my son, seen you do anything that is evil but only what is good. 4 Lit. ‘upright’. And I will tell you the truth, my son: this year I shall die, and I shall not survive this present year; for I have seen the day of my death in a dream, and I know that I shall not live more than a hundred and fifty-five years: I have now all but completed the span of life allotted to me. 5 Lit. ‘all the days of my life which I am to live’. 7And Jacob laughed at his mother's words, because his mother told him that she was about to die, when she was sitting opposite him in full possession of all her faculties and was not in any way infirm; for she went in and out, her sight was good, her teeth were strong, and she had never had an illness in her life. 8And Jacob said to her, I should indeed be blessed, mother, if the span of my life were to be anywhere near what yours is, and I were to retain my faculties as you have: you are not dying: it is only an idle dream you are telling me about your death.

9And she went in to Isaac and said to him, One thing I would ask you: make Esau swear that he will not injure Jacob or maintain a feud with him; for you know Esau's disposition, how savage he has been from his youth up, and there is nothing good about him, and he is only waiting for your death to kill Jacob. 6 Lit. ‘for he desires after your death to kill him’. 10And you know everything he has done from the day his brother Jacob went to Haran until to-day, how he deliberately left us 7 Lit. ‘how he forsook us with all his heart’. and has done us evil: he has appropriated your flocks and stripped you of all your possessions. 11And when we implored and besought him for what was our own he assumed the role of someone taking pity on us. 12And he is embittered against you because you blessed Jacob, your perfect and upright son; for in Jacob 8 Lit. ‘in him’. there is nothing evil, but only what is good, and since he came back from Haran until to-day he has not let us lack for anything, but brings us everything in its season always, and rejoices with all his heart when we take it at his hands, and blesses us and has not left us since he came back from Haran until to-day, and he remains with us continually at home and honours us.

13And Isaac said to her, I too know and see what Jacob does, how he stays by us, 9 Lit. ‘who is with us’. and how he honours us with all his heart: at one time I loved Esau more than Jacob, because he was the firstborn; but now I love Jacob more than Esau, for Esau 10 Lit. ‘he’. has done all kinds of evil, and there is no righteousness in him at all – everything he does is vicious 11 Lit. ‘unrighteous’. and violent, and there is no righteousness about him whatsoever. 14But now I am troubled in mind because of what he does: neither he nor his descendants will be saved, for they are destined to perish from the earth and be uprooted from under heaven; for he has forsaken the God of Abraham and followed his wives and their uncleanness and their misdeeds, he and his children. 15And now you ask me to make him swear that he will not kill his brother Jacob: even if he does swear, he will not abide by his oath; and he will do no good, but evil only. 16But if he does want to kill his brother Jacob, he will be given into Jacob's hands and will not escape his hands [, for he will fall into his hands]. 17Have no fear on Jacob's account; for Jacob's guardian is great and powerful and honourable, and much more glorious than Esau's guardian.

18And Rebecca sent and summoned Esau; and he came to her, and she said to him, I have something to ask you, my son: promise me you will do it, my son. 19And he said, I will do everything you tell me and not refuse you what you ask. 20And she said to him, I ask that when I die, you will take me and bury me near Sarah, your father's mother. And I ask too that you and Jacob will love one another, and that neither will harbour evil desires against the other, but mutual love only, and so you will prosper, my sons, and be honoured in the land, and no enemy will rejoice over you, and you will be a blessing and a mercy in the eyes of all that love you. 21And he said, I will do everything you have told me, and on the day you die I will bury you near Sarah, my father's mother, since you want her bones to be near your bones. 22And I will, too, love my brother Jacob more than any other living creature; 12 Lit. ‘above all flesh’. for I have no other brother anywhere in the world, but him only. It is no great virtue in me if I love him, for he is my brother: we were sown together in your womb, and we came forth together from your womb, 13 Lit. ‘navel’. and if I do not love my brother, whom shall I love? 23And I, for my part, would ask you to appeal to Jacob on my behalf and on my sons' behalf, for I know that he must rule over me and over my sons; for on the day my father blessed him he made him the senior and me the junior. 24And I swear to you that I will love him and not harbour any evil desires against him, but good only, all my life. And he swore an oath to her in these terms.

25And she summoned Jacob in Esau's presence and gave him the same instructions she had given Esau. 26And he said, I will do as you would have me do: 14 Lit. ‘I will do your pleasure’. believe me, no evil shall come to Esau either from me or from my sons, and I will be the first in nothing, but in love only. 27And they ate and drank, she and her sons that night. And that night she died, three jubilees and one week and one year old; and her two sons, Esau and Jacob, buried her in the double cave near Sarah, their father's mother.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘and righteousness before’.

2 Eth. ‘that I always think good concerning all’: Lat. ‘that I always 〈have the intention〉 to do good to all’.

3 Lit. ‘what’.

4 Lit. ‘upright’.

5 Lit. ‘all the days of my life which I am to live’.

6 Lit. ‘for he desires after your death to kill him’.

7 Lit. ‘how he forsook us with all his heart’.

8 Lit. ‘in him’.

9 Lit. ‘who is with us’.

10 Lit. ‘he’.

11 Lit. ‘unrighteous’.

12 Lit. ‘above all flesh’.

13 Lit. ‘navel’.

14 Lit. ‘I will do your pleasure’.

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