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

The Testament of Gad, about Hatred

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Text Commentary

I.

1A copy of the Testament of Gad, which he gave 1 Lit. ‘spoke’. to his son$$$(MS PAGE NO 572) in 2the hundred and twenty-seventh 2 So bl: II-l ‘fifth’. year of his life, saying, I was the ninth 3 So II: b ‘seventh’. son born to Jacob, and I was a courageous keeper of the flocks. 3I used to guard the flock at night, and whenever a lion came against the flock, or a wolf, or a leopard, or a bear, or any wild animal, I would go after it and get hold of it by the foot with my hand, and whirl it round my head and stun it and send it flying from me, 4 Lit. ‘and hurled it over two stades’ – i.e. about a quarter of a mile! and so kill it. 4Now Joseph had been feeding the flocks with us for about a month, and, delicate as he was, he was affected by the heat and taken ill. 5And he returned to Hebron to his 5 So b: II ‘our’. father; and he made him lie down near him, because he loved him. 6And Joseph said to our father, Zilpah and Bilhah's sons are killing the best of the sheep 6 Lit. ‘…killing the good things’. and eating them without Judah and Reuben's knowledge. 7 Or ‘in defiance of Judah and Reuben’ (lit. ‘contrary to the opinion of Judah and Reuben’). 7For he had seen that I had rescued a lamb out of a bear's mouth and killed the bear, and I had destroyed the lamb because I was worried that it would not live, and we had eaten it; and he told our father. 8 So b: II-d om. ‘and he told our father’; d ‘and having seen the lamb he spoke against us to Jacob’. 8And I held this against Joseph until the day he was sold into Egypt. 9And the spirit of hatred was in me, and I did not want either to see Joseph or to hear about him; 9 Lit. ‘and I did not wish either through eyes or through hearing to see Joseph’. and he accused us to our faces of eating the sheep without Judah knowing it. And whatever he told our father, he believed him.

II.

1I confess my sin now, my children, how I often wanted to kill him, because I cordially hated him and had no kindly feelings towards him at all. 1 Lit. ‘because I hated him up to the soul and there was altogether no liver of mercy in me for him’. 2And I hated him even more because of his dreams; and I would have licked him out of the land of the living, just as a calf licks up the fresh green grass off the ground. 3That was why Judah 2 So b: II ‘Simeon’. and I sold him to the Ishmaelites for thirty pieces of gold; and we hid ten of them 3 Lit. ‘we hid the ten’. and showed the other twenty to our brothers. 4And so through covetousness I was bent on killing him. 5But 4 Lit. ‘And’. the God of my fathers saved him from me and prevented me from committing an outrage in Israel.

III.

1And now, my children, listen to the truth: 1 Lit. ‘listen to words of truth’. do what is right and keep the whole law of the Most High; and do not be led astray by the spirit of hatred, for it corrupts all human relationships. 2 Lit. ‘for it is evil in all the doings of men’. 2A man inspired by hatred takes exception to anything anyone does: if anyone keeps the law of the Lord he gets no praise: if anyone fears the Lord and strives for what is right, he is not loved. 3 A man inspired by hatred maligns the truth, envies the successful, welcomes back-biting, and loves arrogance; for hatred has blinded him. 3 Lit. ‘his soul’. And this is how I regarded Joseph.

IV.

1So beware of hatred, my children, because it is a sin 1 Lit. ‘it makes lawlessness’. against the Lord himself. 2For it refuses to listen to his commandments that we should love our neighbours, and it sins against God. 3For if a brother stumbles, 2 So b: II ‘falls’. it wants to publish it abroad immediately to everyone, and urges that he should be brought into court for it, and punished, and put to death. 4And with a servant, it stirs him up against his master, and applies every kind of pressure, 3 So bl: II-l ‘and rejoices over him in every affliction’. in the hope that it can somehow kill him. 5For hatred joins forces with envy against those who prosper: when it hears of their success, or sees it, it is always dismayed. 4 Lit. ‘sickly’. 6For just as love would bring back the dead to life and revoke a death sentence, so hatred would kill those who are alive and allow no one to live who is guilty of even the smallest crime. 7For the spirit of hatred co-operates with Satan in everything through faint-heartedness, and the result is men's death; but the spirit of love co-operates with the law of God by long-suffering, and the result is men's salvation.

V.

1Hatred is evil, for it invariably goes hand in hand with false-hood and speaks against the truth; and it makes small things out to be great, represents darkness as light, calls what is sweet bitter, and breeds 1 Lit. ‘teaches’. slander and wrath 2 So II: b om. ‘and wrath’. and war and violence and a craving for all kinds of evil things, 3 Lit. ‘and all covetousness of evil things’. and it fills the heart with devilish poison. 2And 4 So b: II om. I tell you this from my own experience, my children, so that you may turn your backs on hatred 5 So b: II ‘so that you may drive out the hatred of the devil’. and hold fast to the love of the Lord. 3Righteousness gets rid of hatred: humility destroys hatred; for the righteous and the humble man is ashamed to do what is unrighteous, since he is rebuked, not by someone else, but by his own conscience, 6 Lit. ‘heart’. because the Lord looks at his intentions. 4He speaks no ill of anyone, 7 So b (lit. ‘of a man’): II ‘of a holy man’. for the fear of the Most High 8 So bl: II-l ‘of God’. overcomes hatred. 5Because he is afraid he might offend the Lord, he will do no wrong at all to anyone, even in thought. 6I learned this myself in the end, after I had repented of my behaviour to Joseph. 7For true repentance, as God understands it, 9 Lit. ‘true repentance according to God’. destroys ignorance, 10 So II: b ‘disobedience’. drives out darkness, enlightens the eyes, gives knowledge to the soul, and leads the mind to salvation. 8And what it has not learned from men, it comes to know through repentance. 9For God afflicted me with a disease of the liver, and if it had not been for the prayers of my father Jacob, I would in all probability have died. 11 Lit. ‘…Jacob, my spirit would almost have been lost from me’. 10For by the very same things by which a man transgresses, by them is he punished. 11Consequently, since it was my liver that was set against Joseph without mercy, in my liver was I judged and suffered without mercy for eleven months – for just as long as I had nursed a grudge against Joseph until he was sold.

VI.

1And now, my children, love each one of you his brother, and put away hatred from your hearts, and love one another in deed and word and thought. 1 Lit. ‘and inclination of the soul’. 2For in my father's presence I would speak amicably to Joseph, and, when I had gone out, the spirit of hatred would darken my mind and excite my soul to kill him. 3So love one another from the heart. And if anyone sins against you, speak to him as a friend, having first got rid of the poison of hatred, and be frank with him; and if he confesses and repents, forgive him. 4But if he denies it, do not get involved in a dispute with him, in case he starts to swear and you become responsible for a double sin. 5Do not let another man hear your secret in an action at law: 2 Or ‘in a quarrel’ (lit. ‘in battle’). The alternative in the translation has been preferred because the author was evidently influenced here by Prov. xxv. 8–10 . if you do, he will hate you and become your enemy and do you serious harm; 3 Lit. ‘and commit a great sin against you’. for often enough when he talks to you deceitfully, or concerns himself in your affairs with evil intent, he has only caught the poison from you. 6And if he denies it, and yet exhibits a sense of shame when reproved, desist: 4 So II (lit. ‘keep quiet’): b has a passive form of the verb (‘he is to be left undisturbed’ (?) ). do not provoke him any further, for a man who denies something may repent and not wrong you again: on the contrary, he may even do you honour, and be afraid of you, and live at peace with you. 7But if he is shameless and persists in his wrong-doing, even so forgive him from the heart, and leave vengeance to God.

VII.

1If anyone is more prosperous than you are, do not distress yourselves; but pray for him, that he may have perfect prosperity, for to do so, maybe, is for your own good. 1 Or ‘for to do so is just as much for your own good’. 2And if he is even more successful, do not be envious: remember that everyone must die; and offer a hymn 2 So bl: II-l ‘offer hymns’. to the Lord, who gives good and profitable things to all men. 3Study the Lord's judgements, and he will not forsake your mind, but give it peace. 3 A combination of the readings of b (which leaves out ‘not’) and of the prototype of II (which leaves out the emphatic ‘he’). 4And if a man gets rich by evil means, like Esau my father's brother, do not be jealous; but 4 So II: b ‘for’. wait for the time appointed by the Lord. 5 Lit. ‘the limit of the Lord’. 5For either he takes away what has been acquired by evil means, or he forgives those who repent, or for the unrepentant he reserves punishment for ever. 6For the man who is poor and free from envy, who gives thanks to the Lord in all things, is himself richer than all men, 6 So II: b ‘rich among all men’. because he avoids the vexations of other men. 7 Or ‘because he does not engage in the worthless toils of other men’ (lit. ‘because he has not the evil distraction of men’ – cp. Eccl. i. 13; etc.). 7Have done, then, with hatred, and love one another in sincerity. 8 Lit. ‘in uprightness of heart’.

VIII.

1And also, tell your children to honour Judah and Levi; for from them will the Lord raise up a saviour 1 So b: ldm eaf ‘arise as a saviour’; k g chi Arm. ‘raise up salvation’. for Israel. 2For I know that at the last your children will turn away from them and be involved in all kinds of wickedness and oppression and corruption before the Lord. 3And when he had rested a little, he said to them 2 So b: II om. ‘to them’. again, My children, obey your father and bury me near my fathers. And he drew up his feet and fell asleep in peace. And five years afterwards they carried him up and buried 3 So II: b ‘laid’. him in Hebron with his fathers.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘spoke’.

2 So bl: II-l ‘fifth’.

3 So II: b ‘seventh’.

4 Lit. ‘and hurled it over two stades’ – i.e. about a quarter of a mile!

5 So b: II ‘our’.

6 Lit. ‘…killing the good things’.

7 Or ‘in defiance of Judah and Reuben’ (lit. ‘contrary to the opinion of Judah and Reuben’).

8 So b: II-d om. ‘and he told our father’; d ‘and having seen the lamb he spoke against us to Jacob’.

9 Lit. ‘and I did not wish either through eyes or through hearing to see Joseph’.

1 Lit. ‘because I hated him up to the soul and there was altogether no liver of mercy in me for him’.

2 So b: II ‘Simeon’.

3 Lit. ‘we hid the ten’.

4 Lit. ‘And’.

1 Lit. ‘listen to words of truth’.

2 Lit. ‘for it is evil in all the doings of men’.

3 Lit. ‘his soul’.

1 Lit. ‘it makes lawlessness’.

2 So b: II ‘falls’.

3 So bl: II-l ‘and rejoices over him in every affliction’.

4 Lit. ‘sickly’.

1 Lit. ‘teaches’.

2 So II: b om. ‘and wrath’.

3 Lit. ‘and all covetousness of evil things’.

4 So b: II om.

5 So b: II ‘so that you may drive out the hatred of the devil’.

6 Lit. ‘heart’.

7 So b (lit. ‘of a man’): II ‘of a holy man’.

8 So bl: II-l ‘of God’.

9 Lit. ‘true repentance according to God’.

10 So II: b ‘disobedience’.

11 Lit. ‘…Jacob, my spirit would almost have been lost from me’.

1 Lit. ‘and inclination of the soul’.

2 Or ‘in a quarrel’ (lit. ‘in battle’). The alternative in the translation has been preferred because the author was evidently influenced here by Prov. xxv. 8–10 .

3 Lit. ‘and commit a great sin against you’.

4 So II (lit. ‘keep quiet’): b has a passive form of the verb (‘he is to be left undisturbed’ (?) ).

1 Or ‘for to do so is just as much for your own good’.

2 So bl: II-l ‘offer hymns’.

3 A combination of the readings of b (which leaves out ‘not’) and of the prototype of II (which leaves out the emphatic ‘he’).

4 So II: b ‘for’.

5 Lit. ‘the limit of the Lord’.

6 So II: b ‘rich among all men’.

7 Or ‘because he does not engage in the worthless toils of other men’ (lit. ‘because he has not the evil distraction of men’ – cp. Eccl. i. 13; etc.).

8 Lit. ‘in uprightness of heart’.

1 So b: ldm eaf ‘arise as a saviour’; k g chi Arm. ‘raise up salvation’.

2 So b: II om. ‘to them’.

3 So II: b ‘laid’.

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