Translation of the Hebrew Bible

 

      This translation is part of the 'Original Torah Project'. The emphasis of this Talmidi translation of the Torah & the Prophets, is to capture the spiritual essence of what the Hebrew bible is trying to say, reflecting its culture, imagery and ideology. Throughout, Hebrew names are used, and the name of God is written as Yahveh where it appears in the text.

      The goal of this endeavour is to try and reconstruct the text of the Hebrew Bible in its final redacted form, as it was shortly after the return from the Babylonian Exile in 539 BCE. Some books however, like the Book of Job, will be taken back to their form before the Babylonian Exile, since in its current form, it reflects beliefs - such as a belief in Satan - which were not originally present in the Israelite religion, and only entered the Jewish religion from Zoroastrianism after the Babylonian Exile. Ultimately however, the goal of this translation is to glorify the Message of Yahveh, and give us an impression of the personality of the God of Israel, and so bless God. I have personally found that this task has given me a greater respect for God's overall Message and purpose.

      In its essence, this translation is a harmonisation of the 4 versions of the Bible (the Masoretic text [MT], the Samaritan Pentateuch [SP], the Septuagint [LXX] and the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible [DSS]).

      The main body of the text is translated from an online copy of the Aleppo Codex of the Hebrew Masoretic text. Words lifted from one of the other 3 versions (LXX, SP or DSS) are shown in italics.

      The words in brackets are of three types:

      a) words inserted to assist in understanding the sense of the Hebrew, which have to be added in order to make the English read naturally in Modern English (rather than give a stilted, literal rendering of it); if you wish to see what the Hebrew literally says, then read only what is outside of the square barackets.

      b) words inserted to explain or clarify the context of the Hebrew; these words are not present in the Hebrew - they are details which would have been understood by ancient readers, but which are not immediately obvious to the modern reader. They could be for cultural, historical reasons, or purely for narrative clarification.

      c) words in [italics in square brackets] are hypothetical, reconstructed words which are not attested in any Torah version, but have been reconstructed as possible missing words (e.g. at the end of Gen 19:13, I speculate that the angels must have given a warning to Lot of when the destruction of Sodom was going to take place, otherwise the sense of urgency is not apparent to the reader when one reads each subsequent line describing how the morning is breaking, and how the Sun is gradually rising throughout the chapter. The addition of the words gives the rest of the chapter a crescendo effect).

      Due to the repositioning of some verses, I have also had to renumber all the verses. The new chapter and verse numbers are in bold, and the original verse numbers most people are familiar with are in [italics in square brackets]. If there is only one verse number given (the one in bold), that indicates that the new verse number is the same as the KJV verse number.

      One needs to be aware that the original Hebrew manuscripts have no chapter or verse numbers; they only came into existence with the translators of the King James Version of the bible into English.

      If you need an explanation of how I arrived at a particular translation, or the sources of any reconstructed words, please email me on: shmuliq.parzal@googlemail.com (this will be fully given in appendices, once I have completed the whole Torah and published it in book form).

      So far, I have completed 64% of my way through Genesis. I work at a speed of between 1 - 5 chapters a week, and hope to be finished some time during 2019. As each chapter is completed, I will add them to this page (last update 24th September 2018). If you check in every Shabbat (Saturday), there should be a new update (uploaded every Friday).

Seifer Toldot / The Book of Generations

Bereishit / Genesis

Chapter 1: The first version of Creation

 

1:1 In the beginning, God was creating the sky and the land.

1:2 Now, the land was want and waste, and darkness was spread across the surface of the watery depths; yet still, a wind from God caressed the surface of the waters.

1:3 So God said, “Let there be light!” and there was light.

1:4 But God was taken aback by the light – at how pleasing it was – so God separated the light from the darkness.

1:5 And God called the light ‘Yom’, and the darkness He called ‘Láylah’; and thus an evening went, and a morning passed – First-Day.

1:6 Then God said, “Let there be a metal dome in the midst of the waters, and let there be a separation between the two bodies of water.” And it was so.

1:7 Thus God made the metal dome, and He separated the waters that were underneath the metal dome, from the waters that were on top of the metal dome.

1:8 And God called the metal dome ‘Shamáyim’; and God was taken aback at how pleasing it was. An evening went, and a morning passed – Second-Day.

1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters which are beneath the sky gather together into one gathering-place, so that the dry earth may appear.” And it was so. Thus the waters beneath the sky gathered together into their gathering-places, and the dry earth appeared.

1:10 And God called the dry earth ‘Éretz’, and the gathering of waters He called ‘Yamim’. And God was taken aback at how pleasing it was.

1:11 Then God said, “Let the land sprout vegetation – plants which bear seed in accordance with their form, and fruit trees which produce fruits in accordance with their form with their seed in them across the land.” And it was so.

1:12 Thus the land put forth vegetation – plants which bear their seed in accordance with their form, and trees that produce fruits in accordance with their form with their seed in them. And God was taken aback at how pleasing it was.

1:13 An evening went, and a morning passed – Third-Day.

1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the metal dome of the sky to give light upon the land, and to separate the day from the night, and let them be as signs for the timing of the appointed festivals, and for the reckoning of the days and the years;

1:15 and let the lights in the metal dome of the sky be there to give light upon the land”. And it was so.

1:16 Thus God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule over the day, and the lesser light to rule over the night; then He made the stars.

1:17 Then God set them in the metal dome of the sky to give light upon the land,

1:18 and to rule over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God was taken aback at how pleasing it was.

1:19 An evening went, and a morning passed – Fourth-Day.

1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with living sea creatures, and let winged creatures fly over the land across the face of the metal dome of the sky.” And it was so.

1:21 Thus God created the great sea monsters, and every living and wriggling creature with which the waters teem, in accordance with their form; and every creature that flies with wings in accordance with their form. And God was taken aback at how pleasing it was.

1:22 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the winged creatures multiply across the land.”

1:23 An evening went, and a morning passed – Fifth-Day.

1:24 Then God said, “Let the land bring forth living creatures in accordance with their form – domestic beasts, reptiles and insects, and wild animals in accordance with their form.” And it was so.

1:25 Thus God made wild animals in accordance with their form, and the domestic beasts in accordance with their form, and all reptiles and insects on the ground in accordance with their form. And God was taken aback at how pleasing it was.

1:26 And God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, and in accordance with our likeness; so let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the winged creatures of the sky, and over the domestic beasts, and over every reptile and insect that crawls above and below the ground.”

1:27 So God created the human in His image; in God’s image He created them – male and female He created them.

1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; replenish the land, and make it abundantly fruitful; and take guardianship over the fish of the sea, and over the winged creatures of the sky, and over all the animals that crawl above and below the ground.”

1:29 Then God said, “Behold! I have given to you every seed-bearing plant across the face of all the land, as well as every tree which has seed-bearing fruit on it; let them be food for you.”

1:30 “And to every wild animal, and to every winged creature of the sky, and to every reptile and insect on the ground which has the breath of life in it, I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

1:31 Then God beheld everything that He had made, and was astonished at how excellent it was; so an evening went, and a morning passed – Sixth-Day.

1:32 [2:1] Thus the sky and the land were completed in all their mighty array.

1:33 [2:2] Now, on the sixth day God completed the work that He had been doing, and rested on the seventh day from all the work that He had been doing.

1:34 [2:3] So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because God rested on it from all the work that He had created to do.

1:35 [2:4a] That was an account of the sky and the land when they were created.

Notes:

1:5 - The ancient Israelites believed that God's language was Hebrew, so the names that God gave everything was a Hebrew name. 'Yom' means 'day', 'laylah' means 'night' - so for example, God didn't call the light 'day', but rather 'Yom'.

1:6: 'metal dome' - most translations give this as 'firmament'. This translates Hebrew raqia`, from the verb raqa`: to beat thin (as with metal).

Chapter 2: The Second version of Creation

 

2:1 [2:4b] This is what happened on the day Yahveh God made sky and land:

2:2 [2:5] When there was not yet any wild shrub on the ground (nor yet had any wild plant sprung up, for Yahveh God had not sent rain upon the land, and there was no human to cultivate the soil),

2:3 [2:6] a mist used to come up from the ground and watered the whole surface of the soil.

2:4 [2:7] So Yahveh God formed the man of dry clay from the soil, and [gently] blew living breath into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

2:5 [2:8] Now Yahveh God had planted an enclosed garden, in ‘Eiden in the east; and He put there the man whom He had formed.

2:6 [2:9] For Yahveh God had caused to sprout up from the soil every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food. And there was a tree of life in the middle of the enclosed garden, as well as a tree for gaining the awareness of good and evil.

2:7 [2:10] Now a river flowed from ‘Eiden to water the enclosed garden; and from there it broke up and became four headstreams.

2:8 [2:11] The name of the first is the Pishon; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Chavilah, where there is gold.

2:9 [2:12] The gold of that land is excellent; bdellium resin and onyx stone are also [found] there.

2:10 [2:13] The name of the second river is the Gichon; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Ku’ush.

2:11 [2:14] The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that runs east of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

2:12 [2:15] So Yahveh God took the man and put him in the garden of ‘Eiden to cultivate it and to tend it.

2:13 [2:16] Thus Yahveh God gave instructions to the man, saying, “You can eat whatever you want from any tree in the garden;

2:14 [2:17] but as for the tree of the awareness of good and evil you must not eat from it, for on the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

2:15 [2:18] Then Yahveh God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a compatible helper for him.”

2:16 [2:19] So Yahveh God further formed from the soil every wild beast and every bird of the sky. Then He brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called them, that would be the living creature’s name.

2:17 [2:20] And [sure enough] the man gave names to every domestic animal, to every bird of the sky and to every wild beast. But for the man, no compatible helper was found.

2:18 [2:21] So Yahveh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man; and while he was sleeping, God took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place.

2:19 [2:22] Then Yahveh God fashioned the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman, and he brought her to the man.

2:20 [2:23] And the man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

because of this she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of her man.”

2:21 [2:24] For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and join to his wife, and from the two of them will come one flesh.

 

Chapter 3: The man and the woman are banished from the garden

 

3:1 [2:25] They were both of them naked – the man and his wife, but they felt no shame.

3:2 [3:1] But the snake had more naked cunning than any wild animal that Yahveh God had made. Thus it said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

3:3 [3:2] So the woman explained to the snake, “We may eat from the fruits of any tree of the garden,

3:4 [3:3] but from the fruits of the tree that is in the middle of the garden God said, ‘You must not eat from it, nor even lay a finger on it, for fear that you will die.’ “

3:5 [3:4] So the snake said to the woman, “You most certainly will not die!

3:6 [3:5] For God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, being aware of both good and evil.”

3:7 [3:6] When the woman saw that the tree was good for food – that it was a tempting delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for gaining understanding – she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and they ate.

3:8 [3:7] Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made waist-cloths for themselves.

3:9 [3:8] Then the man and his wife heard the sound of Yahveh God as He was moving about the garden in the early evening breeze, and so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahveh God among the trees of the garden.

3:10 [3:9] Yahveh God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

3:11 [3:10] He answered, “I heard the sound of you moving about in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and so I hid.”

3:12 [3:11] But [God] said, “Who could have even told you that you were naked! Unless you had eaten from the very tree that I [expressly] instructed you not to eat from!”

3:13 [3:12] So the man said, “The woman whom you put with me – she gave fruit to me from the tree, and I ate it.”

3:14 [3:13] Then Yahveh God exclaimed to the woman, “What have you done!” The woman replied, “The snake deceived me, and I ate.”

3:15 [3:14] So Yahveh God declared to the snake,

     “Because you have done this,

          they shall consider you more loathsome than any domestic animal

          or any wild beast!

     You shall move about on your belly,

          and you shall taste dry clay all the days of your life.

3:16 [3:15] And I will put hostility between you and the woman –

          between your offspring and her offspring;

          they will lie in wait to strike at your head,

          and you will lie in wait to strike at their heel.”

3:17 [3:16] To the woman He declared,

     “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbirth;

          in heavy labour you will bear children.

     And yet your yearning is going to be for your husband,

          and so he is going to have dominion over you.” 

 

3:18 [3:17] To the man he said,

     “Because you [simply] obeyed your wife,

          and ate from the tree about which I instructed you,

          ‘You must not eat from it,’

         the soil will be troublesome [and unpredictable] because of you;

          in hard labour you will eat from it all the days of your life.

3:19 [3:18] It will [now] yield thorns and thistles for you,

         so you will have to eat plants from fields [you have sown yourself].

3:20 [3:19] Only by the sweat of your brow will you eat your food

          until you return to the soil,

          since you were taken from it;

          for you are but dry clay,

          and to dry clay you will return.”

 

3:21 [3:20] The man gave his wife the name Chavah, because she would be mother of all the living.

3:22 [3:21] Then Yahveh God made garments of leather for the man and his wife, and clothed them.

3:23 [3:22] And Yahveh God said, “Look! The man has become like one of us – aware of good and evil. What now, if he should reach out his hand and take also from a tree of life and eat, and live forever?”

3:24 [3:23] So Yahveh God sent him out from the Garden of ‘Eiden to cultivate the soil from which he had been taken.

3:25 [3:24] Thus He drove the man out; He placed kheruv angels in front of the Garden of ‘Eiden and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to any tree of life.

 

Chapter 4: Qayin and Hevel

 

4:1 The Man lay with his wife Chavah so that she became pregnant, and she gave birth to Qayin. She [explained his name by] saying, “I have gotten a man with [the help of] Yahveh .”

4:2 [Later] she went on to give birth to his brother Hevel. Now Hevel kept sheep and goats, and Qayin mined the earth.

4:3 And it so happened that in the course of time, Qayin brought [an offering] - some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to Yahveh.

4:4 But Hevel also brought [an offering] – the choicest of the firstborn of his flocks. Yahveh regarded Hevel and his offering favourably,

4:5 but did not regard Qayin or his offering favourably. So Qayin became sorrowful, and his face was downcast.

4:6 So Yahveh said to Qayin, “Why are you so worked up? Why such a long face?

4:7 Have you not sinned if, [although] you have done right by bringing an offering, you have not rightly divided [it]? Already sin is crouching at the opening [flap of your tent]; you are its prey, but you must overcome it.

4:8 Now Qayin had said to his brother Hevel, “Let’s go out to the field.” But while they were in the field, Qayin turned on his brother Hevel and killed him.

4:9 So Yahveh said to Qayin, “Where is your brother Hevel?” At which [Qayin] replied, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

4:10 [Yahveh] exclaimed, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

4:11 So now you will be held in contempt by the earth, which forced open her mouth to receive his blood - your brother’s [blood] - from your hand;

4:12 because [whenever] you mine the earth, she will no longer yield up her wealth to you. Without stability or security you will exist on the earth.”

4:13 So Qayin said to Yahveh, “My punishment is more than I can bear.

4:14 Today you are cutting me off from open access to the earth, and so I will be hidden from [the blessings of] your presence; if I am to live without stability or security on the earth, then let whoever finds me kill me.

4:15 But Yahveh said to him, “That’s not how it’s going to be! Anyone who kills Qayin will suffer retribution seven times over.” So Yahveh put a mark on Qayin so that no one who met him would kill him.

4:16 Thus Qayin was separated from the [blessings of] Yahveh’s presence. He went to settle in the land of Nodh, to the east of ‘Eiden.

4:17 Qayin lay with his wife for her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to Chanokh. Qayin was then building a walled town, and he named it after his son Chanokh.

4:18 To Chanokh was born ‘Iradh, and ‘Iradh fathered Mechuya’eil, and Mechuya’eil fathered Methusha’eil, and Methusha’eil fathered Lamekh.

4:19 Lamekh took two women [to be his wives], one named ‘Adhah and the other Tsillah.

4:20 `Adhah gave birth to Yaval; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and raise livestock.

4:21 His brother’s name was Yuval; he was the ancestor of all who play the harp and flute.

4:22 Tsillah also had a son, Tuval, a smith who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. The sister of Tuval the smith was Na’amah.

4:23 Lamekh said to his wives,

 

“ `Adhah and Tsillah,

          listen to my voice;

wives of Lamekh,

          give ear to my words. 

I have killed a man

          for wounding me,

a young man

          for injuring me.

4:24         If Qayin is to be avenged

                             seven times,

then Lamekh seventy-seven times.”

 

4:25 The Man lay with his wife Chavah so that she became pregnant again; she gave birth to a son and named him Seith saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Hevel, since Qayin killed him.”

4:26 Seith also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to pray to Yahh.

 

Chapter 5: The descendants of Adham until Noach

 

5:1 This is a record of Adhām’s descendants: On the day God created humans, He made them in the likeness of God;

5:2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And on the day of their creation, he called them ‘Adhām’ (‘Humans’)

5:3 When Adhām was one hundred and thirty years old, he fathered a son in his likeness, in accordance with his image; and he named him Seith.

5:4 After Seith was born, Adhām lived eight years and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:5 Thus Adhām’s total lifespan was nine hundred and thirty years when he died.

5:6 When Seith was one hundred and five years old, he became the father of Enosh.

5:7 Seith lived eight hundred and seven years after the birth of Enosh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:8 Thus Seith’s total lifespan was nine hundred and twelve years when he died.

5:9 When Enosh was ninety years old, he became the father of Qeynan.

5:10 Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after the birth of Qeynan, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:11 Thus Enosh’s total lifespan was nine hundred and five years when he died.

5:12 When Qeynan was seventy years old, he became the father of Mahalal’eil.

5:13 Qeynan lived eight hundred and forty years after the birth of Mahalal’eil, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:14 Thus Qeynan’s total lifespan was nine hundred and ten years when he died.

5:15 When Mahalal’eil was sixty-five years old, he became the father of Yeredh.

5:16 Mahalal’eil lived eight hundred and thirty years after the birth of Yeredh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:17 Thus Mahalal’eil’s total lifespan was eight hundred and ninety-five years when he died.

5:18 When Yeredh was one hundred and sixty-two years old, he became the father of Chanokh.

5:19 Yeredh lived eight hundred years after the birth of Chanokh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:20 Thus Yeredh’s total lifespan was nine hundred and sixty-two years when he died.

5:21 When Chanokh was sixty-five years old, he became the father of Methushálach.

5:22 Chanokh walked in God’s ways for three hundred years after the birth of Methushálach, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:23 Thus Chanokh’s total lifespan was three hundred and sixty-five years.

5:24 Chanokh walked in God’s ways; then he was no more, because God took him away.

5:25 When Methushálach was one hundred and eighty-seven years old, he became the father of Lamekh.

5:26 Methushálach lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after the birth of Lamekh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:27 Thus Methushálach’s total lifespan was nine hundred and sixty-nine years when he died.

5:28 When Lamekh was one hundred and sixty-two years old, he had a son.

5:29 He named him Noach, explaining [his name like] this:

     ‘He will give us comfort

         from our labours,

      and from the painful toil

         of our hands,

      [and] from the soil,

         [for] Yahveh has blighted it

      [because of us].’

5:30 Lamekh lived five hundred and ninety-five years after the birth of Noach, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:31 Thus Lamekh’s total lifespan was seven hundred and seventy-seven years when he died.

5:32 And Noach was five hundred years old when he became the father of Sheim, Cham and Yáfeth.

5:33 [6:1] Now it so happened, once humans had begun to spread out across the earth, and daughters were born to them, 

5:34 [6:2] that God’s [First] Sons (‘the Firstlings’) saw how beautiful the daughters of humans were; so they took wives for themselves from amongst all those whom they had selected [as the most desirable].

5:35 [6:3] But Yahveh said, “My breath shall not remain in the human [body] forever; [for] in their straying, they [show they] are [but mortal] flesh; and so their lifespan shall be [limited to] one hundred and twenty years.” 

5:36 [6:4] There were [still] Fellnings on the earth in those days, and even after that. Now, whenever Firstling men lay with human women, they fathered children with them. These [children] became the mighty heroes of old, great men of renown.

5:37 [6:5] But Yahveh saw how terrible the wickedness of humankind had become across the earth, and how every intent of their innermost thoughts was directed towards evil all day long. 

5:38 [6:6] So Yahveh regretted that He had [also] put humans on the earth, and it grieved Him to the core.

5:39 [6:7] Then Yahveh said, “I will wipe out humankind whom I have created, [and remove them] from across the soil of the earth; and because of human beings, [I will also remove] the domestic animals, the reptiles and insects, and the winged creatures of the sky; for I am sorry that I made [any of] them.” 

5:40 [6:8] But Noach found favour in Yahveh’s estimation.

   

Chapter 6: The story of Noach

 

6:1 [6:9] This is [the] story of Noach. [Now] Noach was a righteous man, blameless among [the people of] his generation, [for] Noach conducted [himself in a manner pleasing] to God.

6:2 [6:10] And Noach fathered three sons: Sheim, Cham and Yáfeth.

6:3 [6:11] But the land had gone to ruin in God’s sight, for the land was full of [grievous] wrongdoing.

6:4 [6:12] Yahveh God beheld the land and was astonished at how it had gone to ruin, for all [mortal] flesh upon the land had become ruinous in their ways.

6:5 [6:13] So God said to Noach, “I have determined to put an end to all [living] flesh, for the land is filled with [grievous] wrongdoing because of them. So look, I am going to bring ruin upon them along with the land.

6:6 [6:14] [So] make yourself a box-ship of trees of gofer; [with] rooms you shall make the box-ship, and coat it inside and outside with pitch.

6:7 [6:15] Now this is how you are to make it: the length of the box-ship is to be 300 cubits, the width 50 cubits, and the height 30 cubits.

6:8 [6:16] Make windows for the box-ship, and finish them a cubit from the top. Put an entrance in the side of the box-ship and make lower, middle and upper decks.

6:9 [6:17] For take note: I am going to bring the Deluge – [flood]waters – upon the land, to bring ruin upon every creature under the skies that has the breath of life in it. Everything that [is] on land will perish.

6:10 [6:18] But with you I will establish my covenant, and you are to enter the box-ship – you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

6:11 [6:19] and you shall bring into the box-ship two of every kind of living thing to stay alive with you – every [kind] of domestic animal, reptile, insect and wild beast – everything of [mortal] flesh; they shall be male and female.

6:12 [6:20] Two of everything shall come to you to be kept alive – of the winged creatures according to their kind, and of domestic animals according to their kind, and of everything that crawls upon the ground according to their kind.

6:13 [6:21] And [as for] you, you are to take some of every kind of food that is to be eaten, and store it away as food for you and for them.”

6:14 [6:22] And Noach did so; he did everything just as God commanded him to do.

6:15 [7:1] Then Yahveh God said to Noach, “Come into the box-ship, you and your whole household, because I have found you righteous before me among [the people of] this generation.

6:16 [7:2] Take with you seven pairs of every kind of [ritually] pure animal, a male and a female, and [just] two of animals that are not [ritually] pure – a male and a female,

6:17 [7:3] and also seven pairs of every kind of [ritually] pure winged creature of the skies – a male and a female, and [just] two of every winged creature that is not [ritually] pure – a male and a female, to keep their species alive upon the surface of the whole land;

6:18 [7:4] because in seven days’ time I will send rain upon the land for forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out every living thing I have made from the surface of the ground.”

6:19 [7:5] And Noach did everything just as Yahveh God commanded him.

 

Chapter 7: The Flood

 

7:1 [7:6] Now Noach was six hundred years old [at the time of] the Deluge – when [flood]waters came upon the land.

7:2 [7:7] So they entered the box-ship – Noach and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him, [to escape] from the waters of the Deluge.

7:3 [7:8] Then, of the birds and of the domestic animals which [are ritually] pure, and of the birds and of the domestic animals that are not [ritually] pure, and of all [creatures] that crawl upon the ground,

7:4 [7:9] two by two they came to Noach [and entered] into the box-ship – a male and a female, just as God had commanded Noach.

7:5 [7:10] And so it was, that after the seven days [the] waters of the Deluge came upon the land.

7:6 [7:11] In the six hundredth year of Noach’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that [very] day all the underwater springs of the great deep were burst open, and the floodgates of the skies were opened up.

7:7 [7:12] And there was torrential rain on the land for forty days and forty nights.

7:8 [7:13] On that very same day they entered the box-ship – Noach and Sheim, Cham and Yáfeth, Noach’s sons, together with Noach’s wife and the three wives of his sons.

7:9 [7:14] They and every living creature according to its kind – every [type of] domestic animal according to its kind, every [type of] reptile and insect that crawls upon the land according to its kind, and every [type of] winged creature according to its kind – every song-bird, everything with wings.

7:10 [7:15] Two by two they came to Noach into the box-ship – from all [living] flesh that has the breath of life in it.

7:11 [7:16] And those entering [were] a male and a female of every living thing; they came, just as God had commanded Noach. Then Yahveh God shut [them] inside the box-ship.

7:12 [7:17] The Deluge was forty days on the land, and as the waters increased they lifted up the box-ship, raising [it] high above the land.

7:13 [7:18] The waters swelled and increased greatly upon the land, and the box-ship drifted upon the surface of the waters.

7:14 [7:19] And as the waters spread more and more over the land, even the mightiest mountains under all the skies were covered.

7:15 [7:20] The waters rose up 15 cubits above the mountains and concealed them.

7:16 [7:21] And all [living] flesh that moved about on the land perished – [every] bird, domestic animal, wild animal, and every creature that swarms over the land, and every human being.

7:17 [7:22] Everything that breath[ed with the] spirit of life in its nostrils – everything that [was] on dry land  – died.

7:18 [7:23] Every living thing that existed on the surface of the ground was wiped out; from human beings to domestic animals, to reptiles and insects, and to the winged creatures of the sky – all were wiped out from the land. Only Noach [remained], and those with him in the box-ship.

7:19 [7:24] The [flood]waters continued to rise upon the land for a hundred and fifty days.

 

Chapter 8: The Flood subsides

 

8:1 Then God turned His attention to Noach, and all the wild animals, and all the domestic animals, and all the winged creatures, and all the reptiles and insects which were with him in the box-ship, and He caused a wind to pass over the land, and [thus] the waters were calmed.

8:2 Then the underwater springs of the deep were closed up, as well as the flood-gates of the skies, and the torrential rain from the sky was held back.

8:3 Thus the waters gradually receded from upon the land, and by the end of the hundred and fiftieth day the waters had decreased.

8:4 So the box-ship rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month on the mountains of Ararat.

8:5 And the waters continued to decrease until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains could be seen.

8:6 And it was after forty days that Noach opened the window of the box-ship which he had made.

8:7 Then he let out a raven. So it went out, coming back and forth until the waters had dried up from upon the land.

8:8 Then he let out a dove after it to see if the waters had abated from upon the surface of the ground.

8:9 But the dove, not being able to find rest for the sole of her foot, returned to him in the box-ship, for the waters were still on the surface of all the land. So he put out his hand and took her back into the box-ship with him.

8:10 Then he waited another seven days more, and again sent out the dove from the box-ship.

8:11 And the dove came back to him during the evening, and behold, there was a freshly-plucked olive leaf in her beak. Thus Noach knew that the waters had [begun to] abate from upon the land.

8:12 Then he waited another seven days more, and again sent out the dove, but she did not return again to him any further.

8:13 [8:13a] And so it was, that in the six hundred and first year of Noach’s life, in the first [month of the year], on the first [day] of the month, the waters had completely dried up from the land.

8:14 [8:13b] So Noach removed the tent-covering on the box-ship which he had made, and [as] he looked out [he] saw [that] the waters had completely dried up from the surface of the land.

8:15 [8:14] And by the second month - on the twenty-seventh day of the month - the land was dry.

 

Chapter 9: After the Flood; the Covenant with Noach

 

9:1 [8:15] Then God spoke to Noach and said,

9:2 [8:16] ‘Come out from the box-ship – you and your wife, your sons and your sons’ wives with you.

9:3 [8:17] So too all the wild animals which are with you, of all [mortal] flesh – of winged creatures and of domestic animals, and of reptiles and insects which crawl upon the land, bring [them] out with you. Let them spread out abundantly on the land, so that they may be fruitful and increase throughout the land.’

9:4 [8:18] So he came out – Noach and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him.

9:5 [8:19] So too all the wild animals, and all the domestic animals, and all the winged creatures, and all the reptiles and insects which crawl upon the land; according to each family [of animals] they came out from the box-ship.

9:6 [8:20] Then Noach built an altar to Yahveh, and took some of the [ritually] pure domestic animals, and some of the [ritually] pure winged creatures, and offered up whole burnt offerings on the altar.

9:7 [8:21] And Yahveh sensed the pleasing aroma, so Yahveh God thought deeply and said, ‘Never again will I curse the soil on account of the actions of humanity, even though the inclination of the human heart [is towards what is] harmful from his youth; but never again will I strike down all living things as I have done.

9:8 [8:22] Until [the end of] all the days of the land, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and spring, day and night will not cease.’

9:9 [9:01] So God blessed Noach and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the land, and take stewardship of it.

9:10 [9:02] And [so that the] awe and apprehension of you shall be upon all the wild creatures of the land, and upon all the winged creatures of the sky – in everything that crawls along the ground, and in all the fish of the sea - I have placed them under your authority.

9:11 [9:03] Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; just like the green plants; I have given all of it to you.

9:12 [9:04] However, meat with its life-force [in it] – its blood – you shall not eat,

9:13 [9:05] for I will most surely demand [an accounting] for [the] blood [which is shed] of your lives at the hand of any wild animal; [so too] I will demand [an accounting of any blood shed] by human hand - [from each] man his brother, I will demand [an accounting for] the life of [every] human being.

9:14 [9:06] Whosoever sheds human blood, his own human blood shall be shed, for in the image of God [I] made human beings.

9:15 [9:07] And [as for] you, be fruitful then and multiply, be abundant over the land and take stewardship of it.”

9:16 [9:08] Then God spoke to Noach and his sons with him, and said,

9:17 [9:09] “Behold, I am establishing My covenant with you and your descendants after you,

9:18 [9:10] and with all the living things that [were] with you - with the winged creatures and domestic animals and all the wild creatures which [were] with you  - from everything that came out of the box-ship, to all the wild creatures of the land.

9:19 [9:11] I establish my covenant with you, that I will never again cut off all [mortal] flesh with the waters of a deluge; there will be no more deluges of water to bring ruin to all the land.”

9:20 [9:12] Then God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between you and Me, and between you and every living thing with you for all generations into eternity.

9:21 [9:13] I place my rainbow in the clouds, and it will act as a sign of the covenant between Me and the land.

9:22 [9:14] And so shall it be, that whenever I gather together clouds upon the land, the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds.

9:23 [9:15] And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you, and between every living thing - [between] all [mortal] flesh; never again will there be waters for a deluge to blot out all [mortal] flesh.

9:24 [9:16] So My rainbow will be in the clouds, and I will see it and remember the eternal covenant between Me and the land, and between every living creature - [between] all [mortal] flesh upon the land.’

9:25 [9:17] Then God said to Noach, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have made between Me and all [mortal] flesh which is upon the land.

 

Chapter 10: Noach and the Shame of Cana`an

 

10:1 [9:18] Now [these] were the sons of Noach who came out from the box-ship: Sheim and Cham and Yáfeth; Cham being the father of Cana`an.

10:2 [9:19] These [were the] three sons of Noach, and from these [humankind] scattered all [over] the land.

10:3 [9:20] Now Noach began to farm the soil, and he planted a vineyard.

10:4 [9:21] And he drank [some] of the wine and got drunk. So he was [lying] inside his tent, having uncovered himself, [when Cana`an … … …]

10:5 [9:22] Then Cham, the father of Cana`an, [also] saw his father naked, and so he [went and] told his two brothers outside.

10:6 [9:23] But Sheim and Yáfeth, taking [their father’s] mantle, put it across both their backs, and they walked backwards [until] they covered up their naked father; with their faces turned away, they did not see their father’s nakedness.

10:7 [9:24] [Eventually] Noach awoke from [the effects of] his wine, and he realised what [Cana`an] his youngest son had done to him.

10:8 [9:25] So he said, “Accursed be Cana`an! He shall be the lowest of slaves to his brothers!”

10:9 [9:26] Then he said, “Blessed be Yahveh, God of Sheim! May Cana`an be a slave unto him!

10:10 [9:27] May God enlarge Yáfeth[’s inheritance], and cause him to dwell in the tents of Sheim, where Cana`an shall be a slave unto him.”

10:11 [9:28] And Noach lived 350 years after the deluge,

10:12 [9:29] thus Noach’s total lifespan was 950 years when he died.

 

Notes:

10:4 [when Cana`an … … …] - scholars hypothesise that the original story may have had more details about what Cana`an had actually done, but the details were possibly too lurid to include in the final version. I have therefore shown this missing text as a lacuna, indicated with dots.

10:7 'what Cana`an his youngest son had done to him' - Cana`an was actually his grandson, but the ancient Hebrews considered their grandchildren as their children. They are therefore called 'sons' or 'daughters', and are numbered among their children.

Chapter 11: The descendants of Noach’s sons

 

11:1 [10:1] Now these were the descendants of Noach’s sons Sheim, Chām and Yáfeth. Children were born to them after the deluge:

11:2 [10:2] [The] sons of Yáfeth [were] Gomer, Māghogh, Mādhay, Yōvān, Tuvāl, Méshekh and Thirās.

11:3 [10:3] And [the] sons of Gomer were Ashkėnaz, Rifath and Thogharmāh.

11:4 [10:4] [The] descendants of Yōvān [were] Elishāh and Tharshish, [the] Cypriots and [the people of] Rhodes.

11:5 [10:5] From these islands they spread out from [their home-]nations into their [present] lands - each according to [their own] language, according to their tribes and in their nations.

11:6 [10:6] And [the] descendants of Chām [were] Kush (the Ethiopians), the Egyptians, the Libyans and the Canaanites.

11:7 [10:7] And [the] sons of Kush [were] Sėvā, Chavilāh, Savthāh, Ra`māh and Savthėkhā; and [the] sons of Ra`māh [were] Shėbā and Dėdān.

11:8 [10:8] And Kush produced Nimrodh; he grew to become a man of great might across the land.

11:9 [10:9] [For] he was a mighty hunter in Yahveh’s estimation; for this reason it is said, ‘Like Nimrodh – a mighty hunter before Yahveh!’

11:10 [10:10] And the beginning of his reign was in Babylon and Uruk, then Akkad – all of them in the land of Shin`ār.

11:11 [10:11] From that land came [the] Assyrians, and [they] built Ninėveh, a city of broad streets, as well as Kālach;

11:12 [10:12] [also] Resen between Ninėveh and Kālach - it was the capital city.

11:13 [10:13] and [from] the Egyptians [came] the Ludhim, [the] Anāmim, [the] Lėhāvim, [the] Nafthuchim,

11:14 [10:14] [the] Pathrusim and [the] Kasluchim; [the] Philistines came out of there with [the] Kaftorim.

11:15 [10:15] And Cana`an fathered Sidon his firstborn; then [the] Cheytites,

11:16 [10:16] [the] Jebusites, [the] Amorites, [the] Girgāshites,

11:17 [10:17] the Chivites, the Arqites, the Sinites,

11:18 [10:18] the Arvādhites, the Tsėmārites, and the Chamāthites; after [that] the Canaanite clans spread out.

11:19 [10:19] Now [the] border of the Canaanites ran from Sidon down towards Gerār as far as Gazā; then it ran across towards Sodom and Gomorrah, then [to] Adhmāh and Tsėvoyim as far as Lāsha`.

11:20 [10:20] These [then were the] sons of Chām, according to their clans and their languages, by their countries and their nations.

11:21 [10:21] Now, Sheim also had descendants; he [was the] ancestor of all [the] descendants of `Ever, brother of Yéfeth the elder.

11:22 [10:22] [So the] descendants of Sheim were the Elāmites, [the] Assyrians, [the people of] Arpakhshadh and Ludh, and [the] Arameans.

11:23 [10:23] And [the] descendants of the Arāmeans were `Uts, Chul, Géther and Mash.

11:24 [10:24] Then Arpakhshadh fathered Qeynan, Qeynan fathered Shélach, and Shélach fathered  `Éver.

11:25 [10:25] And to `Éver were born two sons; [the] name of the first [was] Pélegh, for in his time, the earth was divided up; and [the] name of his brother [was] Yoqān.

11:26 [10:26] And Yoqān fathered Almodhādh, Shélef, Chatsramuth, Yérach,

11:27 [10:27] Hadhorām, Uzāl, Diqlāh,

11:28 [10:28] `Ovāl, Avimā’eil, Shėba,

11:29 [10:29] Ofir, Chavilāh and Yovāv - all these [were the] sons of Yoqān.

11:30 [10:30] Their settlements stretched from Méishā, running across towards Sėfār, a mountain [range in] the east.

11:31 [10:31] These [then were the] descendants of Sheim, according to their clans and their languages, by their countries and their nations.

11:32 [10:32] Those [were the] clans of Noach’s descendants, [tracing] the lineage of their nations; and from these, the inhabited lands of the nations were scattered across the earth after the deluge.

 

Chapter 12: The Tower of Bável

 

12:1 [11:1] Now the whole earth was of one language and one way of speaking.

12:2 [11:2] And it so happened, that as people moved from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shin`ār, so they settled there.

12:3 [11:3] Then they said to each other, ‘Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly.’ Now, they used brick instead of stone, and had bitumen for mortar.

12:4 [11:4] Then they said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, with a tower whose top reaches to the heavens, so that we might make a reputation for ourselves, otherwise over the face of the whole earth we shall become [a] fractured [people].

12:5 [11:5] But Yahveh came down to see the city and the tower that the descendants of Adhām were building.

12:6 [11:6] And Yahveh said, ‘If as one people and of one language they have all begun to do this, then nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them.

12:7 [11:7] ‘Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that not one person will be able to understand the language of the person next to them.’

12:8 [11:8] So Yahveh scattered them from there over the whole face of the earth, and they stopped building the city and the tower.

12:9 [11:9] For this reason it is called Bável – because there, Yahveh caused the language of the whole earth to become a babble. And from there, Yahveh scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

   

Chapter 13: the lineage of Sheim as far as Avrām

 

13:1 [11:10] This is the lineage of Sheim. [When] Sheim was one hundred years old, he became the father of Arpakhshādh, two years after the deluge.

13:2 [11:11] And Sheim lived five hundred years after he fathered Arpakhshādh, and he had [other] sons and daughters.

13:3 Thus Sheim’s total lifespan was six hundred years when he died.

13:4 [11:12] When Arpakhshādh was one hundred and thirty-five years old, he became the father of Qeynan.

13:5 [11:13] And Arpakhshādh lived four hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Qeynan, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:6 Thus Arpakhshādh’s total lifespan was five hundred and sixty-five years when he died.

13:7 When Qeynan was one hundred and thirty years old, he became the father of Shélach.

13:8 And Qeynan lived three hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Shélach, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:9 Thus Qeynan’s total lifespan was four hundred and sixty years when he died.

13:10 [11:14]  When Shélach was one hundred and thirty years old, he became the father of `Éver.

13:11 [11:15] And Shélach lived three hundred and thirty years after he fathered `Éver, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:12 Thus Shélach’s total lifespan was four hundred and sixty years when he died.

13:13 [11:16] When `Éver was one hundred and thirty-four years old, he became the father of Pélegh.

13:14 [11:17] And `Éver lived three hundred and seventy years after he became the father of Pélegh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:15 Thus `Éver’s total lifespan was five hundred and four years when he died.

13:16 [11:18] When Pélegh was one hundred and thirty years old, he became the father of Re’ū.

13:17 [11:19] And Pélegh lived two hundred and nine years after he became the father of Re’ū, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:18 Thus Pélegh’s total lifespan was three hundred and thirty-nine years when he died.

13:19 [11:20] When Re’ū was one hundred and thirty-two years old, he became the father of Sėrūgh.

13:20 [11:21] And Re’ū lived two hundred and seven years after he became the father of Sėrūgh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:21 Thus Re’ū’s total lifespan was three hundred and thirty-nine years when he died.

13:22 [11:22] When Sėrūgh was one hundred and thirty years old, he became the father of Nāchor.

13:23 [11:23] And Sėrūgh lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nāchor, and fathered [other] sons and daughters.

13:24 Thus Sėrūgh’s total lifespan was three hundred and thirty years when he died.

13:25 [11:24] When Nāchor was seventy-nine years old, he became the father of Térach.

13:26 [11:25] And Nāchor lived one hundred and twenty-nine years after he became the father of Térach, and had [other] sons and daughters.

13:27 Thus Nāchor’s total lifespan was two hundred and eight years when he died.

13:28 [11:26] When Térach was seventy years old, he became the father of Avrām, Nāchor and Hārān.

 

The descendants of Térach

 

13:29 [11:27] Now, this is the lineage of Térach. Térach became the father of Avrām, Nāchor and Hārān. And Hārān became the father of Lot.

13:30 [11:28] And Hārān died while his father Térach was still alive, in the land of his birth – in Ur of the Chaldeans.

13:31 [11:29] Now, Avrām and Nāchor took wives for themselves. The name of Avrām’s wife was Sārai, and the name of Nāchor’s wife was Milkāh; she was the daughter of Hārān, the father of both Milkāh and Yiskāh.

13:32 [11:30] Now Sārai was barren; she had no children.

13:33 [11:31] Térach took his son Avrām, his grandson Lot son of Hārān, along with Sārai and Milkāh his daughters-in-law, the wives of Avrām and Nāchor his sons, and he led them forth out of Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Cana`an. But when they came to Hārān, they settled there.

13:34 [11:32] The lifespan of Térach was two hundred and five years, when he died in Hārān.

   

Chapter 14: The Calling of Avrām

 

14:1 [12:1] [This is an account of the story of Avrām:] Now Yahveh had said to Avrām, ‘Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsfolk and your father’s household, and [go] to the land that I will show you.

14:2 [12:2] I will make you into a great nation,

and I will bless you;

I will magnify your reputation,

and you will become a blessing.

14:3 [12:3] For I will bless those who bless you,

and whomsoever curses you I will curse;

and all the tribes of the earth will be blessed through you.’

14:4 [12:4] So Avrām left, just as Yahveh had told him to; and Loţ went with him. Now Avrām was seventy-five years old when he set out from Hārān.

14:5 [12:5a] And Avrām took Sārai his wife, his nephew Loţ, all the goods they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Hārān, and they set out towards the land of Cana`an.

14:6 [12:5b-6] Now [eventually] they arrived on the soil of Cana`an. So Avrām travelled across the length of the land as far as the [sacred] site of Shėkhem – as far as the Terebinth tree of the [divine] Teacher; at that time there were [still] Canaanites in the Land.

14:7 [12:7] Then Yahveh appeared to Avrām and said to him, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ So he built an altar there to Yahveh, who had appeared to him.

14:8 [12:8] Then he moved on from there towards the hill-country east of Beth-El and pitched his tents, with Beth-El on the west and the [town of] `Ai on the east. He built an altar to Yahveh there, and invoked the name of Yahveh [in prayer].

14:9 [12:9] Thereafter Avrām journeyed on, and proceeded to move his camp gradually towards the Négev.

14:10 [12:10] Now there was a famine in the Land, so Avrām went down towards Egypt to stay there for a while, because the famine in the Land was severe.

14:11 [12:11] As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sārai his wife, ‘Look, it goes without saying, I know what a beautiful woman you are to behold.

14:12 [12:12] So when the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife,” and they will kill me but let you live.

14:13 [12:13] So please say that you are my sister, so that [things] will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared out of regard for you.’

14:14 [12:14] And so it was that when Avrām entered Egypt, the Egyptians noticed the woman [with him], for she was very beautiful.

14:15 [12:15] And when Pharaoh’s courtiers saw her, they voiced their praise of her to Pharaoh, and [as a result] the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s household.

14:16 [12:16] So things went [very] well for Avrām because of her. He received sheep and cattle, male donkeys and menservants, maidservants and female donkeys – and camels.

14:17 [12:17] But Yahveh inflicted terrible skin-diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Sārai – Avrām’s  wife.

14:18 [12:18] So Pharaoh summoned Avrām and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?

14:19 [12:19] And why did you say, “She is my sister,” so that I took her as my wife? Look, here’s your wife! Now take her and be gone!’

14:20 [12:20] So Pharaoh put men in charge of him, and they sent him off, along with his wife and everything he had, and Loţ with him.

   

Chapter 15: Avrām and Loţ Separate

 

15:1 [13:1] So Avrām went up from Egypt – he and his wife, and everything that he had; and Loţ [set out] with him, [back] to the region of the Négev.

15:2 [13:2]  Now Avrām had grown very wealthy – in livestock, and in silver and in gold.

15:3 [13:3] And he [gradually] retraced his journey back from the Négev to Beth-El, as far as the place where he had earlier [pitched] his tents, between Beth-El and the [town of] `Ai

15:4 [13:4] – to the site of the altar that he had first built there; and there Avrām [again] invoked the Name of Yahveh [in prayer].

15:5 [13:5] Now Loţ, who was moving about with Avrām, also had [his own] flocks [of sheep], herds [of cattle] and [many] tents.

15:6 [13:6] But the land could not support them both [while they] stayed together, for their possessions were [so] great that they were unable to stay together.

15:7 [13:7] So quarrels arose between Avrām’s herdsmen and between Loţ’s herdsmen; at that time, the Canaanites – that is, Perizzites – were [also] settled in the Land.

15:8 [13:8] So Avrām said to Loţ, ‘Come now, let there not be any quarrel between me and you, or between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.

15:9 [13:9] Behold, the whole land lies before you, does it not! Then let’s part company amicably. As for me, if [you go to] the left, then I’ll go right; if [you go to the] right, I’ll go left.’

15:10 [13:10] So Loţ raised his eyes, and he beheld the whole valley of the Jordan as you go towards the region of Tso`ar, how well-watered it all was – [that is,] before Yahveh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah; [it was] like Yahveh’s Garden, or like the land of Egypt.

15:11 [13:11] So Loţ chose for himself the whole valley of the Jordan, and Loţ set out towards the east. Thus each man parted ways with his kinsman.

15:12 [13:12] Avrām dwelt in the land of Cana`an, while Loţ lived among the cities of the valley; and he pitched his tents near Sodom.

15:13 [13:13] Now the people of Sodom were wicked, and were sinning exceedingly against Yahveh.

15:14 [13:14] Then Yahveh said to Avrām after Loţ had parted from him, ‘Come, lift up your eyes and look yonder – from the place where you [are now], to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west,

15:15 [13:15] for all of the land that you see, I will give to you and to your descendants for ever.

15:16 [13:16] And I will cause your descendants [to be]  like the sands of the earth, so that if anyone could count the sands of the earth, [then] so too could your descendants be counted.

15:17 [13:17] Get up [then], and walk throughout the length and breadth of the Land, for I give it [all] to you.

15:18 [13:18] So Avrām moved his tents [from where he was], and went to live by the [great] Terebinth trees of Mamrei in Chevron; and he built an altar there to Yahveh.

   

Chapter 16: Avrām battles Kedorlaomer and rescues Loţ

 

16:1 [14:1] Now it so happened in the days of [Sodom and Gomorrah, that] Amrāfel king of Shin`ār, Ariyokh king of Ellāsār, Kėdorlā`omer king of `Eilām, and Tidh`āl king of Goym

16:2 [14:2] went to war against Béra` king of Sodom, Birsha` king of Gomorrah, Shin’av king of Adhmāh, Shem’eiver king of Tsevoyim, and the king of Béla` - that is, Tso`ar.

16:3 [14:3] All of these joined forces in the Valley of the Siddim – that is, the Salt Sea (Dead Sea).

16:4 [14:4] For twelve years they had been subject to Kėdorlā`omer, but [in the] thirteenth year they rebelled.

16:5 [14:5] Then in the fourteenth year Kėdorlā`omer came, along with the kings [allied] with him, and they defeated [the race of] Giants in Ashteroth Qarnáyim, the Zuzim in Chām, the Eimim in Shāveih Qiryāthāyim,

16:6 [14:6] and the Chorites in the hill-country of Sei`ir, as far as Eil Pārān, which is by the [Négev] desert.

16:7 [14:7] Then they turned back and came to `Eyn Mishpaţ – that is, Qādeish; and they conquered [the] whole territory of the `Amāleiqites, as well as the Amorites who dwelt in Chatsetson Tāmār.

16:8 [14:8] So the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Adhmāh, the king of Tsevoyim and the king of Béla` - that is, Tso`ar – drew up their battle lines in the Valley of the Siddim

16:9 [14:9] against Kėdorlā`omer king of `Eilām, Tidh`āl king of Goym, Amrāfel king of Shin`ār and Ariyokh king of Ellāsār – four kings against the five.

16:10 [14:10] Now the Valley of the Siddim was full of bitumen pits, so when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, [some of their men] fell into them, and those who were left fled to the hill-country.

16:11 [14:11] [The four kings] seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions; then they left.

16:12 [14:12] They also carried off Loţ, Avrām’s nephew, along with his possessions [and servants] when they left, since he was living in Sodom.

16:13 [14:13] One [however] escaped, and he came and reported [all this] to Avrām the Migrant. Now he was [currently] living near the [great] Terebinth trees of Mamrei the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and `Aneir, all of whom were allies [in a mutual defence] pact with Avrām.

16:14 [14:14] When Avrām heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he called up the 318 skilled fighting-men born in his household, and went out in pursuit as far as Dān.

16:15 [14:15] [During the] night, Avrām divided [his men to launch an attack] against them. Thus he and his servants routed them, pursuing them as far as Chovāh, which is north of Damascus.

16:16 [14:16] He recovered all the [stolen] property of Sodom, as well as his kinsman Loţ and his possessions [and servants]. He also brought back the [enslaved] women and [all the other captured] people.

16:17 [14:17] After [Avrām’s] return from defeating Kėdorlā`omer and the kings that were [allied] with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shāveih – that is, the Valley of the King.

16:18 [14:18] Then Malki-Tsédeq king of Salem [arrived], and brought out bread and wine. Now, he was a priest of God Most High,

16:19 [14:19] and so he blessed Avrām, saying,

‘Blessed is Avrām by God Most High,

Founder of heaven and earth;

16:20 [14:20] and blessed be God Most High,

who has delivered your enemies into your hands.’

Then Avrām gave him a tenth of everything [he had recovered].

16:21 [14:21] Then the king of Sodom said to Avrām, ‘Give me the people [you recovered], and keep the goods for yourself.’

16:22 [14:22] But Avrām said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand [and taken an oath] to Yahveh, God Most High, Founder of heaven and earth,

16:23 [14:23] that I will accept not a single thread or sandal-strap or anything that [belongs] to you, so that you will never be able to say, “It was I who made Avrām rich!”

16:24 [14:24] I will only accept what [my] troops have [already] eaten, and the share [that belongs to] the men who went with me – to `Aneir, Eshkol and Mamrei; let them have their share.’

   

Chapter 17: God’s Covenant With Avrām

 

17:1 [15:1] [Some time] after these events, a message of Yahveh came to Avrām in a vision, saying,

    ‘Do not be afraid, Avrām.

    I [shall be] your shield;

    your reward [shall be] very great.’

17:2 [15:2] But Avrām said, ‘O my Sovereign Yahveh, what [reward] can You [possibly] give me, since I go [to my grave] childless, and the one who [is going] to inherit my estate is Eli`ézer of Damascus?’

17:3 [15:3] Then Avrām added, ‘That’s about the sum of things: You have not given me any offspring, so a servant in my household will definitely inherit [my estate and family after] me.’

17:4 [15:4] Then behold, a message of Yahveh [came] to him and said, ‘This [man] will not be your heir, but rather [a son] who will come forth from own body – he will be your heir.’

17:5 [15:5] So [God] led him outside and said, ‘Come, look up towards the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them!’ Then [God] said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’

17:6 [15:6] And [Avrām] trusted in Yahveh, and [God] reckoned it to him as a righteous thing.

17:7 [15:7] Furthermore [God] said to him, ‘I am Yahveh, who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to take possession of it.’

17:8 [15:8] But [Avrām] said, ‘O my Sovereign Yahveh, how can I know that I will take possession of it?’

17:9 [15:9] So [God] said to him, ‘Bring Me a heifer in its third [year], a she‑goat in its third [year], and a ram in its third [year], along with a turtledove and a young pigeon.’

17:10 [15:10] So [Avrām] brought to God all of these [animals]; he cut them in two down the middle, and he put each half of them opposite the other; the birds, however, he did not cut in two.

17:11 [15:11] Whenever birds of prey came down upon the carcasses – upon the divided pieces – Avrām stayed with them and drove them away.

17:12 [15:12] Then as the sun was setting, a deep sleep fell upon Avrām, and behold, a terrible and frightening darkness fell upon him.

17:13 [15:13] Then it was said to Avrām [in a vision], ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers [residing] in a land not their own, and they will be in servitude to them, and they will be mistreated by them for four hundred years.

17:14 [15:14] But I will surely pass judgment on the nation whom they serve, and afterwards they will come out with great wealth.

17:15 [15:15] You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace, and you will be buried at a good old age.

17:16 [15:16] And after the fourth century [has passed, your descendants] will come back here, for the sins of the Amorites have not yet reached their full measure.’

17:17 [15:17] Now when the sun had set and a thick darkness had fallen, there appeared a smoking furnace with a blazing torch, which passed between those pieces [which Avrām had cut up].

17:18 [15:18] On that day, Yahveh cut a covenant with Avrām, saying, ‘To your descendants I shall give this land, from the Gully of Egypt to the great river Euphrates

17:19 [15:19] – [the land of] the Canaanites: the Qeinites, the Qenizzites, the Qadmonites,

17:20 [15:20-21a] the Cheytites, the Perizzites, the Refaim, the Amorites,

17:21 [15:21b], the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.’

   

Chapter 18: Hāghār becomes Avrām’s concubine, and gives birth to Yishma`eil

 

18:1 [16:1] Now Sārai, Avrām’s wife, had not borne him any children, but she had an Egyptian maidservant, whose name was Hāghār.

18:2 [16:2] So Sārai said to Avrām, “Please consider [how] Yahveh has kept me from having children, [so] please go and sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I will build up [children] through her.” So Avrām consented to Sārai’s request.

18:3 [16:3] Then Sārai, Avrām’s wife, took  Hāghār the Egyptian – her maidservant; after ten years of Avrām dwelling in Cana`an, [Sārai] gave her to Avrām her husband [to have] as his concubine.

18:4 [16:4] So he slept with Hāghār, and she conceived. When she realised she was pregnant, she began to view her mistress with disdain.

18:5 [16:5] So Sārai said to Avrām, “[This] outrage [against] me [is all] on you! I put my maidservant in your embrace, but now that she knows she is pregnant, she looks on me with disdain! May Yahveh judge between me and you!”

18:6 [16:6] So Avrām said to Sārai, “Look, your maidservant is in your hands; do with her [whatever you think is] the best thing in your view.” When Sārai began to mistreat her, [Hāghār] ran away from her.

18:7 [16:7] Then an angel of Yahveh found [Hāghār] near a spring of water in the desert – near the spring on the way to Shūr.

18:8 [16:8a] So it said, “Hāghār, maidservant of Sārai, where have you come from, and where are you going to?”

18:9 [16:8b] And she replied, “Away from my mistress Sārai; I’m running away.”

18:10 [16:9] But the angel of Yahveh said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

18:11 [16:10] Then the messenger of Yahveh added, “I will most surely increase the number of your descendants, so that [they] cannot be counted because of their [great] number.”

18:12 [16:11] The angel of Yahveh also said to her,

    “Look at you!

       [You are now] with child,

    and you will have a son.

       And you shall call his name Yishma`eil,

    for Yahveh heard you in your desolation.

18:13 [16:12] He will be a wild onager of a man;

    his hand will be [raised] against everyone,

       and everyone’s hand will be [raised] against him;

    for he will live [in constant hostility],

       at odds with all his brothers.”

18:14 [16:13] Then [Hāghār] named Yahveh who spoke to her, ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, “I have indeed continued to see, after the One who sees [has seen] me.”

18:15 [16:14] For this reason, the well was called Bė’eir Lachai Ro’ī {the Well of the Clan of the One who sees me}; it is still there, between Qadeish and Bāred.

18:16 [16:15] So Hāghār bore Avrām a son, and Avrām called the name of the son whom Hāghār bore, Yishma`eil.

18:17 [16:16] Avrām was eighty-six years old when Hāghār bore Yishma`eil to Avrām.

   

Chapter 19: The Covenant of Circumcision

 

19:1 [17:1] When Avrām was ninety-nine years old, Yahveh appeared to Avrām and said, “I am El Shadday; conduct yourself well in My presence and be blameless.

19:2 [17:2] I will confirm my covenant between Me and you, and I will greatly multiply you in number.”

19:3 [17:3] Avrām fell [to his knees and bowed] face down, and God spoke [further] with him and said,

19:4 [17:4]As for Me, behold, this shall be My covenant with you: You will become the father of a thronging multitude of nations.

19:5 [17:5] No longer shall you be called by your name Avrām; rather your name shall be Avrāhām, for I will make you father of a thronging multitude of nations.

19:6 [17:6] And I will make you most exceedingly fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

19:7 [17:7] And I will maintain My covenant between Me and you, and between your descendants after you, for [all] the generations [to come], as an eternal covenant – to be your God and [the God of] your descendants after you.

19:8 [17:8] And I shall give to you and your descendants after you, the land [where] you sojourn [now as a foreigner] – the whole land of Cana`an – as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

19:9 [17:9] Then God said to Avrāhām, “As for you, you must keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you for [all] the generations [to come].

19:10 [17:10] This [then] is My covenant which [all of] you shall keep, between Me and [all of] you, and between your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.

19:11 [17:11] You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and [all of] you.

19:12 [17:12] For [all] the generations [to come], every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, [including] those born in your household, or bought with money from anyone who is a foreigner, – [that is, even] those who are not your offspring.

19:13 [17:13] [Whether] born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh [shall be] an eternal covenant.

19:14 [17:14] But any uncircumcised male – one who has not had the flesh of his foreskin circumcised on the eighth day – that soul shall be cut off from his people; for My covenant has been broken.”

19:15 [17:15] Then God said to Avrāhām, “As for Sārai your wife, you shall no [longer] call her name Sārai; for her name [is to be] Sārāh.

19:16 [17:16] I will bless her, and through her I will also give to you a son, and I will bless him. She will be [the mother] of [many] nations; [the] kings of [many] peoples will come from her.

19:17 [17:17] Avrāhām [again] fell [on his knees and bowed] face down; he laughed and said to himself, “Can a son be born [to one who is] a hundred years old? Or can Sārāh give birth at the age of ninety?”

19:18 [17:18] So Avrāhām said to God, “Oh, may Yishma`eil live [and prosper] in Your presence!”

19:19 [17:19] But God said, “Yes indeed! But behold, your wife Sārāh will [herself] bear you a son, and you will call his name Yitschaq. I will confirm My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

19:20 [17:20] And as for Yishma`eil, I have heard you. So look: I shall bless him and make him fruitful, and will greatly increase him in number. He will be the forefather of twelve chieftains, and I will make him into a great nation.

19:21 [17:21] But My covenant I will establish with Yitschaq, whom Sārāh will bear to you by this time next year.”

19:22 [17:22] When He had finished speaking with him, God went up from Avrāhām.

19:23 [17:23] Thereafter, Avrāhām took his son Yishma`eil and all those born in his household, as well as those bought with his money – every male among the members of the house of Avrāhām – and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on the very same day, just as God had told him.

19:24 [17:24] Now, Avrāhām was ninety-nine years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised,

19:25 [17:25] and his son Yishma`eil was thirteen years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised;

19:26 [17:26] Avrāhām and his son Yishma`eil were [both] circumcised on that very same day.

19:27 [17:27] And all the men of his household, including those born in his household and those bought from foreigners, were circumcised with him.

 

Chapter 20: Three Archangels visit Avrāhām

 

20:1 [18:1] Now Yahveh [again] appeared to Avrāhām near the [great] Terebinth trees of Mamrei [the Amorite], while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent [in the middle of the afternoon], during the hottest part of the day.

20:2 [18:2] Avrāhām raised his eyes and looked [out], and he saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of his tent to greet them, and bowed low to the ground.

20:3 [18:3] He said, “Please my lords, if I have found favour in your eyes, then please do not pass your servant by.

20:4 [18:4] Please, let a little water be brought out, so that you may all wash your feet and rest yourselves under [this] tree.

20:5 [18:5] Then, let me get you a little something to eat, so you can refresh yourselves – now that you have passed your servant’s way – and afterwards you can continue along.”

So they replied, “Very well; do just as you have said.”

20:6 [18:6] So Avrāhām hurried into the tent, and said to Sārāh, “Quick, get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some [large] flat‑breads!”

20:7 [18:7] Then Avrāhām ran to [his] herd [of cattle] and selected a choice, tender male calf and gave it to a servant-boy, who quickly prepared it.

20:8 [18:8] He then brought some curds and milk – as well as the calf that had been prepared – and set [it all] before them. While they ate, he waited on them under the tree.

20:9 [18:9] Then they asked him, “Where [is] your wife Sārāh?”

So he said, “There, in the tent.”

20:10 [18:10] Then [God] said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and Sārāh your wife will have a son.” Now Sārāh was listening at the entrance-flap of the tent, as she was behind it.

20:11 [18:11] But Avrāhām and Sārāh were already old and well advanced in years, and Sārāh had [long] stopped having her periods.

20:12 [18:12] So Sārāh laughed to herself as she thought, “[Even] after I am worn with age and my husband is old, could I [still] have [this] delight?”

20:13 [18:13] But then Yahveh said to Avrāhām, “Why did Sārāh laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, even though I am old?’

20:14 [18:14] Is anything too wondrous for Yahveh? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sārāh will have a son.”

20:15 [18:15] So Sārāh tried to deny [it] and said, “I didn’t laugh,” for she was afraid. But [God] said, “On the contrary, you did laugh.”

   

Avrāhām pleads on behalf of Sodom

 

20:16 [18:16] When the [three] men got up to leave, they looked down towards Sodom, and Avrāhām walked along with them to see them [all] on their way.

20:17 [18:17] Then Yahveh said [to Himself], “Shall I hide from Avrāhām what I am about to do?

20:18 [18:18] Considering [how] Avrāhām is assured to become a great and powerful nation, and [how] all nations of the earth will be blessed through him.

20:19 [18:19] For I have made Myself known to him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the Way of Yahveh by observing righteousness and justice, so that Yahveh can bring about for Avrāhām what He has promised to him.”

20:20 [18:20] So Yahveh said, “[There is] an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is great – indeed, most grievous!

20:21 [18:21] Let Me go down [therefore], and see if what they have done is altogether as bad as the outcry that has reached Me. If not, I will know.”

20:22 [18:22] [Two of] the men then turned away and went towards Sodom, but Avrāhām remained standing before [the Messenger of] Yahveh.

20:23 [18:23] So Avrāhām drew near [to the Messenger of God] and said, “Will you sweep away the righteous along with the wicked?

20:24 [18:24] Suppose there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you still sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it?

20:25 [18:25] Far be it from You to do such a thing as this – to slay the righteous with the unrighteous throng, treating the righteous and the unrighteous throng alike. Far be it from You! Will not the Judge of all the earth do the [most] just thing?”

20:26 [18:26] So Yahveh said, “If I find fifty righteous people within the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

20:27 [18:27] Then Avrāhām spoke up again and said, “Forgive me for venturing to speak to [You like this,] my Sovereign, ’though I am nothing but dust and ashes,

20:28 [18:28] but suppose the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you bring the whole city to ruin because of [those] five people?”

So God said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] if I find forty-five there.”

20:29 [18:29] He proceeded to speak to [God] further and said, “What if only forty are found there?”

So [God] said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] for the sake of the forty.”

20:30 [18:30] Then he said, “Please don’t be annoyed, but let me speak [further] to [You] my Sovereign: What if [only] thirty can be found there?”

So [God] said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] if I find thirty there.”

20:31 [18:31] Then he said, “Forgive me if I venture [further] to speak to [You like this] my Sovereign, [but] what if only twenty can be found there?”

So [God] said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] for the sake of the twenty.”

20:32 [18:32] Then he said, “Please don’t be annoyed, but let me speak to [You] my Sovereign just [this] once [more]: what if only ten can be found there?”

So [God] said, “I will not bring ruin down [upon it] for the sake of the ten.”

20:33 [18:33] As soon as Yahveh had finished speaking with Avrāhām, [God] left, and Avrāhām returned to his camp.

   

Chapter 21: Sodom and the cities of the plain are destroyed

 

21:1 [19:1] Two of the angels arrived in Sodom in the evening, and Loţ was sitting in the [city-]gateway of Sodom. When Loţ saw them, he got up to greet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground.

21:2 [19:2] Then he said, “My lords please! Turn aside I pray to your servant’s house! You can stay the night – you can wash your feet, rise early and then go on your way.”

                 But they said, “No, we’re going to spend the night in the city-square.”

21:3 [19:3] But he urged them so strongly that they gave in to him and entered his house. So he prepared food and drink for them; he [also] baked unleavened bread, which they ate.

21:4 [19:4] Before they could go to bed, the citizens – that is, the men of Sodom – surrounded the house;  from young men to old – everyone from every part [of the city].

21:5 [19:5] Then they called out to Loţ and said to him, “[Come on - ] where are the men who arrived at your [house] tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them!”

21:6 [19:6] So Loţ went outside to [meet] them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him.

21:7 [19:7] Then he said, “Please, my brothers, don’t behave so wickedly!

21:8 [19:8] Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with any man. Let me bring them out to you, and you [can] do to them whatever you like. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof for this [very] reason.”

21:9 [19:9] But they said, “Get out of our way!” Then they said [to one another], “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he’s acting like judge and jury! Just for that, we’re going to deal with you worse than them!” So they pressed forcefully against the man – against Loţ – and came near to breaking down the door.

21:10 [19:10] But the [two] men [inside] thrust their hands out and pulled Loţ back into the house with them and shut the door.

21:11 [19:11] Then they struck blind the men who were [at the] entrance of the house [with a dazzling light] – from the least to the eldest – so that they could not find the doorway.

21:12 [19:12a] Then the [two] men said to Loţ, “Do you have anyone else here – sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city [related] to you?

21:13 [19:12b-13] [You must] get them out of this place, because we are about to destroy this place! For the outcry to Yahveh against these [people] has become so great, that Yahveh has sent us to destroy [the city] [at Sunrise tomorrow!”]

21:14 [19:14] So Loţ went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry! Get out of this place, because Yahveh is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

21:15 [19:15] As the dawn approached, the angels urged Loţ, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here [with you], or you will perish when the city is punished!

21:16 [19:16] When he hesitated, the [two] men took firm hold of his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters – for Yahveh was merciful to [them]; they led them out and brought them to rest outside the city.

21:17 [19:17] But as soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be consumed!”

21:18 [19:18] But Loţ said to them, “No, please my lords!

21:19 [19:19] Look, You have been gracious to Your servant, and You have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die.

21:20 [19:20] But look, this city over there is near enough to run to, and it’s [only] small. Oh please, let me flee to it – it’s just a small place, isn’t it? And I’ll survive.”

21:21 [19:21] So [God] said to him, “Very well, I will also grant your request in this matter: I will not overthrow the town you speak of.

21:22 [19:22] But flee there quickly! Because I cannot do anything until you get there.” And that is why the name of the town is Tso`ar.

21:23 [19:23] By the time Loţ entered Tso`ar, the Sun was [just] rising over the land.

21:24 [19:24] So then Yahveh rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah – [directly] from Yahveh out of the skies.

21:25 [19:25] Thus [God] overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities,  as well as [everything] that grew in the soil.

21:26 [19:26] But [Loţ’]s wife looked behind them, and she became a pillar of salt.

21:27 [19:27] That morning Avrāhām got up early, and [hurried back] to the place where he had stood in the presence of Yahveh.

21:28 [19:28] He looked down towards Sodom and Gomorrah, across the whole surface of the land of the plain; when he looked, he saw [nothing but dense] smoke rising from the land, like smoke [rising] from a furnace.

21:29 [19:29] So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, [this is how God] remembered Avrāhām – by bringing Loţ out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Loţ had lived.

   

Loţ and His Daughters

 

21:30 [19:30] Now Loţ left Tso`ar and settled in the mountains – [he] and his two daughters with him – for he was afraid to stay in Tso`ar. So he lived in a cave – he and his two daughters with him.

21:31 [19:31] [One day] the eldest daughter said to the youngest, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to sleep with us, as is the way every[where else] on earth.

21:32 [19:32] So come, let’s get our father drunk on wine and then sleep with him, and so preserve our family line through our father.”

21:33 [19:33] That night they got their father drunk on wine, and the eldest daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

21:34 [19:34] Then the following day the eldest daughter said to the youngest, “Look, last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him drunk on wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him, so we can [both] preserve our family line through our father.”

21:35 [19:35] So they got their father drunk on wine that night as well, and the younger daughter went and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

21:36 [19:36] So both of Loţ’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

21:37 [19:37] The eldest daughter had a son, and she named him Mo’āƀ, saying, ‘He is from my father’; he is the ancestor of [the] Moab[ites] of today.

21:38 [19:38] The youngest daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-`Ammi, saying, ‘He is the son of my kin’; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.

   

Chapter 22: Avrāhām and the Avimélekh of Gėrār

 

22:1 [20:1] [A short while after], Avrāhām journeyed [south] from there into the region of the Négev, and lived between Qadéish and Shūr. [For a time] he stayed in Gėrār.

22:2 [20:2] Now Avrāhām [had told Sārāh to say of him, “He is my brother”, for he had] said of his wife Sārāh, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” in case the men of the city should kill him because of her. So the Avimélekh of Gėrār sent [for Sārāh] and took her [as a concubine].

22:3 [20:3] But God came to the Avimélekh in a dream [one] night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; for she is a married woman.”

22:4 [20:4] But the Avimélekh had not [even] gone near her, so he said, “My Sovereign, will you really slay an innocent and righteous nation?

22:5 [20:5] Did he not tell me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she herself also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands!”

22:6 [20:6] So then God said to him in the dream, “Indeed! I know you did this with a clear conscience, [in fact it was] I who also kept you from [committing] any fault against Me; that is why I did not let you touch her.

22:7 [20:7] Therefore return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will intercede for you [in prayer] and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be certain that you and all your [household] will die.”

22:8 [20:8] So the Avimélekh rose early the [next] morning and summoned all his officials, and when he related all these things to them, they all became very much afraid.

22:9 [20:9] Then the Avimélekh called [in] Avrāhām and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I wronged you, that you would bring [the stain] of such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done!”

22:10 [20:10] Then the Avimélekh said to Avrāhām, “Whatever were you thinking when you did this?”

22:11 [20:11] So Avrāhām replied, “Because I was afraid; I said [to myself], ‘I am certain they have no respect for God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’

22:12 [20:12] Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father;  but she is not my mother’s daughter, so she became my wife.

22:13 [20:13] And so when God brought me [out] to wander from my father’s household and from the land of my birth, I said to her, ‘Do this kindness for me: Every place that we come to, say of me, ‘He is my brother’.”

22:14 [20:14] So then the Avimélekh [ordered] a thousand [pieces of] silver, and herds of sheep and cattle to be brought, as well as male and female slaves, and gave [them all] to Avrāhām; he also returned Sārāh his wife to him.

22:15 [20:15] Then the Avimélekh said to Avrāhām, “Behold, [all] my land [lies] before you; live wherever you like!”

22:16 [20:16] And to Sārāh he said, “Look, I have given your brother a thousand [pieces of] silver. This is to clear you in the sight of everyone who [might travel] with you.” And with all [that], [her innocence] was completely vindicated.

22:17 [20:17] Then Avrāhām prayed to God, and God healed the Avimélekh, his wife and his maidservants, so that they could [all] have children [again],

22:18 [20:18] for Yahveh had completely closed up every single womb in the Avimélekh’s household because of Sārāh, Avrāhām’s wife.

  

Chapter 23: The Birth of Yitschaq

 

23:1 [21:1] Now Yahveh took care of Sārāh just as He had said, and Yahveh did for Sārāh exactly what He had promised.

23:2 [21:2] Thus Sārāh became pregnant and bore a son to Avrāhām in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.

23:3 [21:3] And Avrāhām named the son that was born to him Yitschaq – [the son] whom Sārāh had born to him.

23:4 [21:4] Then Avrāhām circumcised his son Yitschaq when he was eight days old, just as God had commanded him.

23:5 [21:5] And Avrāhām was a hundred years old when his son Yitschaq was born to him.

23:6 [21:6] And Sārāh said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears [about this] will laugh with me!”

23:7 [21:7] Then she said, “Who could ever have announced to Avrāhām, ‘Sārāh will nurse [her own] children’? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age!”

   

Hāghār and Yishma`eil are sent away

 

23:8 [21:8] The child grew and was weaned, and Avrāhām held a great banquet on the day his son Yitschaq was weaned.

23:9 [21:9] But then Sārāh saw that the son whom Hāghār the Egyptian had borne to Avrāhām was making fun [of her own son],

23:10 [21:10] so she said to Avrāhām, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, because that slave woman’s son will never share in [your] inheritance with my son Yitschaq.”

23:11 [21:11] However, the matter greatly distressed Avrāhām, because it concerned his [own] son.

23:12 [21:12] But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy or about your maidservant. Whatever Sārāh tells you, do as she says, because it is through Yitschaq that your lineage will be so named.

23:13 [21:13] Nevertheless, I will also make the son of this maidservant into a great nation, because he is your offspring.”

23:14 [21:14] So Avrāhām rose early the next morning, took some food and a wineskin [full] of water, and gave them to Hāghār. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. So she went on her way, and wandered [aimlessly] in the desert [around] Bė’eir Shéva`.

23:15 [21:15] Once the water in the wineskin had been used up, she shoved the boy under one of the bushes [there].

23:16 [21:16] Then she went off and sat down some distance [from him], about a bow-shot away, for she said [to herself], “I cannot watch the child die.” And as she sat there at a distance, she let out a cry and wept [uncontrollably].

23:17 [21:17] Then God heard the sound of the boy [himself crying], so an angel of God called to Hāghār from heaven and said to her, “What’s the matter, Hāghār? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the sound of the boy [crying] in [the place] where he [was huddled over] there.

23:18 [21:18] So get up, raise the boy and keep him secure in your care, for I will make him into a great nation.”

23:19 [21:19] Then God opened her eyes, and she was able to see a well of water. So she went and filled the wineskin with water and gave the boy a drink.

23:20 [21:20] And God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became a skilled archer.

23:21 [21:21] While he was living in the Desert of Pā’rān, his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

 

The Pact at Bė’eir Shéva`

 

23:22 [21:22] At that time, the Avimélekh [of the Pėlishtites in Gėrār], Achuzzath his chief advisor, and Pīkhol the commander of his army spoke to Avrāhām and said, “God is with you in everything you yourself do!

23:23 [21:23] So then swear to me here before God, and assure me that you will not deal falsely with me or my progeny or my descendants; but accord to me and the country where you are living as an alien the [same] kindness that I have accorded to you.”

23:24 [21:24] So Avrāhām said, “I swear it!”

23:25 [21:25] Then Avrāhām complained to the Avimélekh about a well of water that the Avimélekh’s subjects had forcefully seized.

23:26 [21:26] But the Avimélekh said, “I don’t know who has committed this deed. You certainly didn’t inform me, and besides, I didn’t hear about it until today.”

23:27 [21:27] So Avrāhām brought a herd of sheep and cattle, and gave them to the Avimélekh, and the two of them made a pact.

23:28 [21:28] Avrāhām set apart seven female lambs from the flock,

23:29 [21:29] and the Avimélekh asked Avrāhām, “What is the meaning of these seven female lambs you have set apart by themselves?”

23:30 [21:30] So Avrāhām replied, “Take these seven lambs from my possession, and let them serve as a witness that I have dug this well.”

23:31 [21:31] So that place was called Bė’eir Shéva`, because both of them swore an oath there.

23:32 [21:32] After the pact had been made at Bė’eir Shéva`, the Avimélekh, Achuzzath his chief advisor and Pīkhol the commander of his army broke camp, and returned to the land of the Pėlishtites.

23:33 [21:33] [Shortly afterwards], Avrāhām planted a tamarisk tree in Bė’eir Shéva`, and there he invoked the name of Yahveh the Eternal God [in prayer].

23:34 [21:34] And Avrāhām stayed in the land of the Pėlishtites for a long while.

   

Chapter 24 – The binding of Yitschaq:  Avrāhām is tested

 

24:1 [22:1] It was [some time] after these things happened, that God tested Avrāhām. [God] said to him, “Avrāhām! Avrāhām!

And he replied, “Here I am!”

24:2 [22:2] Then [God] said, “Please take your son, your dearest one, the one whom you love – Yitschaq – and get yourself off to the land of Moriyyah. Offer him up for a burnt offering there on one of the mountains which I will tell you [about].”

24:3 [22:3] So Avrāhām got up early the next morning and saddled his donkeys. He took two of his young menservants with him, along with Yitschaq his son. When he had cut [some] wood for a burnt offering, he rose and set out for the place God had told him [about].

24:4 [22:4] On the third day Avrāhām raised his eyes and saw the place in the distance.

24:5 [22:5] He said to his young menservants, “Stay here with the donkeys while I and the lad go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

24:6 [22:6] So Avrāhām took the wood of the burnt offering and placed it on Yitschaq his son, but he took in his hand the firestone and the machete. Then the two of them went on together.

24:7 [22:7] And Yitschaq spoke to Avrāhām his father and said, “Father?”

So Avrāhām replied, “Here I am, my son.”

[Yitschaq] said, “Look, the firestone and the wood are here, but where is the sheep or goat for the burnt offering?”

24:8 [22:8] And Avrāhām said, “God will see to it – a sheep – for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

24:9 [22:9] When they came to the place God had told him [about], Avrāhām built the altar there and arranged the wood [on it]. Then he bound Yitschaq his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the [bundles of] wood.

24:10 [22:10] Then he put out his hand and took the machete to slay his son.

24:11 [22:11] But then an angel of Yahveh called out to him from the sky, and said, “Avrāhām! Avrāhām!”

And he replied, “Here I am!”

24:12 [22:12] So [the angel] said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad! Do not do anything to him! For now I know that you revere God in awe, because you have not withheld your son – your dearest one – from me.

24:13 [22:13] Then Avrāhām looked up and there in a thicket he saw a single ram caught by its horns. So Avrāhām went over and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

24:14 [22:14] Therefore Avrāhām called the name of that place ‘Yahveh Will See’ – just as it is said to this [very] day, ‘On a mountain Yahveh will be seen’.

24:15 [22:15] Then [the] angel of Yahveh called to Avrāhām from the sky a second time.

24:16 [22:16] And [it] said, “I swear by Myself, declares Yahveh, that because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son – your dearest one –  from Me,

24:17 [22:17] I will greatly bless you therefore, and greatly multiply your descendants, [so that they become as numerous] as the stars in the sky, and as the [grains of] sand on the shores of the sea. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

24:18 [22:18] and all nations of the earth will be blessed through your descendants, because you have obeyed My instructions.”

24:19 [22:19] Then Avrāhām returned [with Yitschaq] to his young menservants, and they [all] got up and set off together for Bė’eir Shéva`. And Avrāhām stayed in Bė’eir Shéva`.

 

The Sons of Nāchor

 

24:20 [22:20] Some time after these things took place, [some people] spoke to Avrāhām and informed him, “Milkāh has also borne sons herself to your brother Nāchor.”

24:21 [22:21] [These were] Ūts his firstborn, Būz his brother, and Qėmu’eil, the ancestor of Arām;

24:22 [22:22] Késedh, Chazo, Pildāsh, Yidhlāf and Bėthu’eil,

24:23 [22:23] and Bėthu’eil became the father of Rivqāh. These were the eight sons whom Milkāh bore to Nāchor, Avrāhām’s brother.

24:24 [22:24] His concubine, whose name was Rė’umāh, also had [children] herself: Ţéƀah, Gácham, Táchash and Ma`akhāh.

   

Chapter 25: The Death of Sārāh, and the Acquisition of the Cave of Makhpéilāh

 

25:1 [23:1] Now Sārāh lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old – [this was the] length of Sārāh’s life.

25:2 [23:2] She died in Qiryat Árba` where the valley is – that is, Chevron – in the land of Cana`an. So Avrāhām came to mourn for Sārāh and to weep over her.

25:3 [23:3] Then Avrāhām got up from beside his dead [wife] and he spoke to the Cheytites, saying,

25:4 [23:4] “I am a resident foreigner and a settler among you. Sell me [therefore] some property for a burial site on your territory, so that I can bury my dead [in a place] away from my [encampment].”

25:5 [23:5] The Cheytites answered Avrāhām and said,

25:6 [23:6]No my lord, but listen to us. You are a prince of God in our midst! [Therefore,] bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead!”

25:7 [23:7] Then Avrāhām stood up and bowed low before the people of [that] region, the Cheytites.

25:8 [23:8] And he spoke [further] with them, saying, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead away from my [encampment], then listen to me and intercede on my behalf with `Efron son of Tsochar,

25:9 [23:9] so that he will sell me the cave of Makhpéilāh, which [belongs] to him and which [lies] at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full asking-price as a burial site on your territory.”

25:10 [23:10] Now `Efron sat on the city-council of the Cheytites, so `Efron the Cheytite [came out and] responded to Avrāhām in the [full] hearing of all the Cheytites – of all his fellow townsfolk – and he said,

25:11 [23:11] “No, my lord, listen to me: I shall give you the field, and I shall give you the cave that is in it. I shall give it to you in the presence of my people, [as a] burial place for your dead.”

25:12 [23:12] But again Avrāhām bowed low before the people of [that] region,

25:13 [23:13] and he spoke to `Efron in the [full] hearing of [all] the local townsfolk, and said, “But pray listen to me, if you will. I will pay the [full asking-]price of the field. Accept it from me so that I can bury my dead there.”

25:14 [23:14] Then `Efron responded to Avrāhām, and said to him,

25:15 [23:15] “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between me and you? [Go ahead] and bury your dead!”

25:16 [23:16] So Avrāhām agreed to `Efron[’s terms], and Avrāhām weighed out for `Efron the [exact] price he had stipulated in the [full] hearing of the Cheytites: four hundred shekels of silver, [according to the] going market [weight].

25:17 [23:17-18a] So `Efron’s field which was by Makhpéilāh, which was opposite [the terebinth trees of] Mamrei – both the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field – was legally made over to Avrāhām

25:18 [23:18b] as [his] property in the presence of all the Cheytites – of all his fellow townsfolk.

25:19 [23:19] Therefore afterwards, Avrāhām buried his wife Sārāh in the cave of Makhpéilāh by the field opposite [the terebinth trees of] Mamrei – which is in Chevron, in the land of Cana`an.

25:20 [23:20] So the field and the cave in it were legally made over to Avrāhām by the Cheytites to own as a burial site.

   

Chapter 26: Eli`ézer is sent to find a wife for Yitschaq

 

26:1 [24:1] Avrāhām was by now old and well advanced in years, and Yahveh had blessed him in everything.

26:2 [24:2] So Avrāhām said to the chief servant of his household – the one in charge of all his property, “Please put your hand under my thigh,

26:3 [24:3] and I want you to swear by Yahveh, the God of the heavens and the God of the earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,

26:4 [24:4] but rather that you will go to my [native] land and to my kinsfolk, and procure [from there] a wife for my son Yitschaq.”

26:5 [24:5] So the servant asked him, “Supposing the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Should I then take your son back to the country you came from?”

26:6 [24:6] But Avrāhām said to him, “Be warned – on no account are you ever to take my son back there!

26:7 [24:7] Yahveh, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land, and who spoke to me and swore to me [on oath], saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land’ – [God] will send out his angel before you, [to enable you] to procure a wife for my son from there.

26:8 [24:8] Now if the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Likewise, only if you don’t take my son back there.”

26:9 [24:9] So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Avrāhām, and swore [an oath] to him with regard to [all] these things.

26:10 [24:10] Then the servant took ten camels from his master’s camel‑herd and left, taking with him all [kinds of] good things from his master. He set out for Aram along the Euphrates, and eventually made his way to Nāchor’s encampment.

26:11 [24:11] [Once there], he made the camels kneel down near a well of water outside the encampment; it was towards evening, about the time when women go out to draw water.

26:12 [24:12] So he prayed, “O Yahveh, God of my master Avrāhām, please grant me success before today [is over], and act [according to the promise of] faithfulness [that you have made] with my master Avrāhām!

26:13 [24:13] Look, I’m taking up my position beside [this] spring of water, while [the] daughters of [the] inhabitants of [this] encampment come out to draw water.

26:14 [24:14] Let it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please lower your water-jar so that I may have a drink,’ and she then says, ‘Drink, and I’ll also water your camels [for you]’ – let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Yitschaq. By this I will know that You have acted [according to the promise of] faithfulness [that you have made] with my master Avrāhām.”

26:15 [24:15] Before he had [even] finished praying in his heart, [he] caught sight of Rivqāh coming out by herself, with her water-jar on her shoulder. She had been born to Bėthu’eil son of Milkāh, [the] wife of Nāchor, Avrāhām’s brother.

26:16 [24:16] Now the girl was very beautiful, a virgin whom no man had ever known. She went down to the spring, filled her water-jar and came back up again.

26:17 [24:17] So the servant hurried to greet her and said, “Please give me a little water to sip from your jar.”

26:18 [24:18] And she said, “Drink up, my lord!” She quickly lowered the jar [from above her head and] into her hands, and gave him to drink.

26:19 [24:19] When she had let him drink his fill, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they’ve drunk their fill!”

26:20 [24:20] So she quickly emptied her water-jar into the trough, ran back again to the well to draw [more water], and drew [enough] for all his camels.

26:21 [24:21] Now the man [continued] to watch her closely, and quietly [tried] to figure out whether or not Yahveh had made his journey successful.

26:22 [24:22] But he [made up his mind] just as the camels had finished drinking, so the man took out a gold ring weighing one beqa [for her] to put upon her nostril, and two bracelets [for her to put] upon her arms; [the total] weight of [the two bracelets was] ten [sheqels] of gold.

26:23 [24:23] Then he said, “Whose daughter are you? Pray tell me! Is there a place in your father’s camp for us to stay overnight?”

26:24 [24:24] So she said to him, “I am the daughter of Bėthu’eil, the son that Milkāh bore to Nāchor.”

26:25 [24:25] Then she said to him, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as a place for you to stay overnight!”

26:26 [24:26] Then the man, being most pleased, bowed down and worshipped Yahveh, saying,

26:27 [24:27] “Blessed be Yahveh, the God of my master Avrāhām, who has not forsaken His [eternal promise] of faithfulness and surety to my master! As for me, Yahveh has guided me on the road [straight] to the household of my master’s kinsfolk!”

26:28 [24:28] [With that] the girl ran and told her mother’s family about [all] these things.

26:29 [24:29] Now Rivqāh had a brother whose name was Lāvān, and [when he heard all this], Lāvān hurried out to the man at the spring.

26:30 [24:30] That is to say, as soon as he saw the [gold] nostril-ring, along with the [gold] bracelets on his sister’s arms, no sooner had he heard Rivqāh saying the words, ‘This is what the man told me!” that he came out to [look for] the man, and found him standing by the camels near the spring.

26:31 [24:31] So he said, “Come, O blessed of Yahveh! Why are you standing out here? I myself have prepared the camp [for you], along with a place for the camels!”

26:32 [24:32] So the man went into the camp, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were provided for the camels, as well as water for him and the men with him to wash their feet.

 

Eli`ézer tells Rivqah’s family of his commision

 

26:33 [24:33] Now [food] was set before [the man] to eat, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.”

So [Lāvān] said, “Then speak!”

26:34 [24:34] So he said, “I am a servant of Avrāhām!

26:35 [24:35] Now, Yahveh has blessed my master exceedingly well, and he has become wealthy – [God] has given him sheep and cattle, and silver and gold, and menservants and maidservants, and camels and donkeys.

26:36 [24:36] My master’s wife Sārāh has borne to my master a son in his old age, and he has bequeathed to him everything that he owns.

26:37 [24:37] But my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You shall not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live,

26:38 [24:38] but rather you shall go to my father’s family and to my [own] clan, and get a wife for my son [there].’

26:39 [24:39] Then I asked my master, ‘Supposing the woman won’t come back with me?’

26:40 [24:40] So he said to me, ‘Yahveh, whose ways I have followed, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, and [enable] you to get a wife for my son from amongst my [own] clan and from my father’s family.

26:41 [24:41] Then, when you go to my clan, you will be absolved from [the penalty of] my oath – even if they refuse to give [her] to you, you will be absolved from [the penalty of] my oath.’

26:42 [24:42] So today when I came to the spring, I said, ‘O Yahveh, God of my master Avrāhām, let it be Your [will] to please grant success to the journey on which I have come.

26:43 [24:43] Look, I’m taking up my position beside [this] spring of water; and if a young maiden should come out to draw [water], and I say to her, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar’,

26:44 [24:44] and if she replies to me, ‘Not only will I let you have a drink, but I’ll also draw water for your camels’, let her be the one that Yahveh has chosen for my master’s son.’

26:45 [24:45] Then before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rivqāh coming out by herself with her jar on her shoulder. She went down towards the spring and drew [water], and I said to her, ‘Please let me have a drink.’

26:46 [24:46] So she quickly lowered her jar from above her [head] and said, ‘Drink up, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels as well.

26:47 [24:47] Then I asked her and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bėthu’eil son of Nāchor, whom Milkāh bore to him.’ So then I put the ring on her nostril and the bracelets on her arms,

26:48 [24:48] and I bowed down and worshipped Yahveh. I blessed Yahveh, the God of my master Avrāhām, who had led me on the right road to get the [grand]daughter of my master’s brother for his son.

26:49 [24:49] Now if you mean to deal kindly and favourably with my master, tell me; but if not, let me know, so that I can try elsewhere.”

26:50 [24:50] But Lāvān and Bėthu’eil responded and said, “This matter comes from Yahveh; we cannot have any say in it.

26:51 [24:51] Here [stands] Rivqāh before you; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as Yahveh has decreed.”

26:52 [24:52] And when Avrāhām’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before Yahveh.

26:53 [24:53] Then the servant brought out items of gold and silver, as well as articles of clothing and gave them to Rivqāh; he also gave valuable gifts to her brothers and to her mother.

26:54 [24:54] Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me [on my way] to my master.”

26:55 [24:55] But her brothers and her mother said, “Let the girl remain with us [for the] days [of the betrothal period – a year,] or ten [months at the least]; after that she can go.”

26:56 [24:56] But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that Yahveh has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so that I may go to my master.”

 

Rivqah is sent on her way

 

26:57 [24:57] So they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her personally.”

26:58 [24:58] So they called Rivqāh and said to her, “Are you going to go with this man?”

And she said, “I’ll go.”

26:59 [24:59] So they sent their sister Rivqāh, along with her nurse and everything she owned, on her way with Avrāhām’s servant and his men.

26:60 [24:60] And they blessed Rivqāh and said to her,

     “Our sister,

       may you become

           thousands of myriads;

       and may your descendants

       possess the gates

           of their enemies.”

   

26:61 [24:61] Then Rivqāh and her young maidservants got ready and mounted their camels, and went back with the man. Thus the servant took Rivqāh and left.

26:62 [24:62] Now Yitschaq was passing through the desert near the Well of Lachai Ro’ī, as he was living in the region of the Négev,

26:63 [24:63] and he went out onto the sand-flats about evening-time to meditate; and as he raised his eyes and looked out, he saw camels approaching.

26:64 [24:64] Now Rivqāh also raised her eyes and saw Yitschaq, so she got down from her camel.

26:65 [24:65] Then she asked the servant, “Who is that man over there coming across the sand-flats to meet us?”

And the servant said, “He is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself.

26:66 [24:66] Then the servant recounted to Yitschaq all the things he had done.

26:67 [24:67] Then Yitschaq brought her into the tent of his mother Sārāh, and he married Rivqāh, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Yitschaq was comforted after [the death of] his mother.

   

Chapter 27: The Death of Avrāhām

 

27:1 [25:1] Now Avrāhām took another wife, and her name was Qėţūrāh.

27:2 [25:2] And she bore him Zimrān, and Yōqshān, and Mėdhān, and Midhyān, and Yishbāq and Shūach.

27:3 [25:3] And Yōqshān fathered Shėvā and Dėdhān; and the descendants of Dėdhān were the Asshurites, the Lėţūshites and the Lėummites.

27:4 [25:4] The sons of Midhyān were `Eifāh, `Eifer, Chanokh, Avīdhā` and Eldā`āh. All these were descendants of Qėţūrāh,

27:5 [25:5] but Avrāhām bequeathed everything he owned to Yitschaq his son.

27:6 [25:6] However, to the sons of Avrāhām’s concubines, Avrāhām gave gifts and sent them away from his son Yitschaq while he was still alive, eastwards to the lands of the East.

27:7 [25:7] So this was the total number of the years of Avrāhām’s life that he lived: a hundred and seventy-five years.

27:8 [25:8] Then Avrāhām breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and fulfilled in life; and [his soul] was reunited [straight away] with his ancestors.

27:9 [25:9] His sons Yitschaq and Yishma`eil then buried him in the cave of Makhpéilāh adjoining the field of `Efron son of Tsochar the Cheytite, which is near [the terebinth trees of] Mamrei –  

27:10 [25:10] the field which Avrāhām had bought from the Cheytites. There Avrāhām was buried with his wife Sārāh.

27:11 [25:11] And so it was that after Avrāhām’s death, God blessed his son Yitschaq; and Yitschaq [went] to live near the Well of Lachai Ro’ī.

 

The descendants of Yishma`eil

 

27:12 [25:12] Now this is the lineage of Avrāhām’s son Yishma`eil, whom Sārāh’s maidservant, Hāghār the Egyptian, bore to Avrāhām.

27:13 [25:13] So these are the names of the sons of Yishma`eil, listed in the order of their birth: the firstborn of Yishma`eil [was] Nėvayoth, then Qeidhār, and Adhbė’eil, and Mivsām;

27:14 [25:14] then Mishmā`, Dūmāh, and Massā,

27:15 [25:15] Chadhadh and Teymā, Yėţūr, Nāfīsh and Qeidhmāh.

27:16 [25:16] These then were the sons of Yishma`eil; these then are their names according to their settlements and encampments –twelve chieftains according to their tribes.

27:17 [25:17] This was the length of Yishma`eil’s life: one hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and [his soul] was reunited [straight away] with his ancestors.

27:18 [25:18] His descendants ranged from Chavīlāh to Shūr, which is opposite the border of Egypt, as you go towards Asshūr. And he spread [his camps] alongside all his kinsmen.

 

Chapter 28: Ya`aqov and `Eisav

 

28:1 [25:19] This is an account of the story of Yitschaq son of Avrāhām.

   Avrāhām fathered Yitschaq,

28:2 [25:20] and Yitschaq was forty years old when he took Rivqāh, daughter of Bėthu’eil the Aramean from Paddan Arām and sister of Lāvān the Aramean, to be his wife.

28:3 [25:21] Now Yitschaq made supplication to Yahveh on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. Yahveh answered his prayer, and his wife Rivqāh became pregnant.

28:4 [25:22] But the babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “If this is how [my pregnancy] is, then why did I [even bother to pray for] this?” So she went to enquire of Yahveh.

28:5 [25:23] And Yahveh said to her,

   “Two nations are in your womb,

   and two peoples will separate from your belly;

   one people shall be mightier than the other people,

   and the older shall serve the youngest.”

28:6 [25:24] And when the time came for her to give birth, sure enough there were twins in her womb.

28:7 [25:25] The first to come out was ruddy, and his whole body was like a hairy cloak [of animal hide]; so they named him `Eisav.

28:8 [25:26] After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping onto `Eisav’s heel; so he was named Ya`aqov. And Yitschaq was sixty years old when Rivqāh gave birth to them.

28:9 [25:27] So the boys grew up, and `Eisav became a skilful hunter, a man of the open countryside, while Ya`aqov was a quiet man, who [was content to] remain in camp.

28:10 [25:28] Yitschaq loved `Eisav, because of the taste of his wild game, but Rivqāh loved Ya`aqov.

28:11 [25:29] Once when Ya`aqov was boiling up some stew, `Eisav came in from [an unsuccessful hunt in] the open countryside, and he [was] famished.

28:12 [25:30] So he said to Ya`aqov, “Hey, let me wolf down some of that red red-stuff, ’cos I am starving!” That is why he was [also] called Edom.

28:13 [25:31] But Ya`aqov said, “First sell your birthright [as firstborn] to me.”

28:14 [25:32] So `Eisav said, “Look, I’m gonna die here! Why do I care about my birthright?”

28:15 [25:33] But Ya`aqov [persisted and] said, “Swear to me right now!” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright [as firstborn] to Ya`aqov.

28:16 [25:34] Then Ya`aqov gave `Eisav some bread and some lentil stew. He ate, drank, got up and left. Thus `Eisav spurned his birthright [as firstborn].

 

Chapter 29: Yitschaq and the Avimélekh of Gėrār

 

29:1 [26:1] Now there was a famine in the land – besides the earlier famine in the time of Avrāhām. So Yitschaq went to [stay under the protection of] the Avimélekh – [that is,] the king – of the Pėlishtites in Gėrār,

29:2 [26:2] because Yahveh had appeared to Yitschaq and had said, “Do not go down to Egypt; remain living in the land that I am telling you about.

29:3 [26:3] Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you. For I will give to you and to your descendants all these lands, and will fulfil the oath I swore to your father Avrāhām.

29:4 [26:4] I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your descendants all nations on earth will be blessed,

29:5 [26:5] since Avrāhām your father obeyed My words, and kept my customs, my commandments, my practices and my precepts.”

29:6 [26:6] So [that is why] Yitschaq stayed in Gėrār.

29:7 [26:7] Now when the men of that place asked him about his wife Rivqāh, he said, “She is my sister”, because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” in case the men of the place should kill him on account of Rivqāh, because she was beautiful in appearance.

29:8 [26:8] But it so happened when Yitschaq had been there for quite a while, that the Avimélekh – [that is,] the king – of the Pėlishtites looked down from a window, and caught sight of Yitschaq canoodling with his wife Rivqāh.

29:9 [26:9] So the Avimélekh summoned Yitschaq and said, “So, she is really your wife! Then why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”

And Yitschaq said to him, “Because I told [myself], ‘In case I lose my life on account of her’.”

29:10 [26:10] Then the Avimélekh said, “What is this you have done to us? One of [my] people might easily have slept with your wife, and you would have brought the stain of guilt upon us!”

29:11 [26:11] So the Avimélekh gave orders to all his people and said, “Anyone who mistreats this man or his wife shall surely be put to death!”’.

Chapter 30: Yitschaq disputes with the Pelishtites over wells in their territory

 

30:1 [26:12] Now Yitschaq sowed crops in that land, and in the same year he reaped a hundred times [what he sowed], because Yahveh had blessed him.

30:2 [26:13] Thus the man became wealthy, and continued to grow in wealth until he became exceedingly wealthy.

30:3 [26:14] In fact he owned so many flocks [of sheep and goats], and [so many] herds of cattle, and [possessed such] an abundant retinue [of servants and herdsmen], that the Pėlishtites became envious of him.

30:4 [26:15] As a result, all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Avrāhām, the Pėlishtites stopped them up, and filled them with earth.

30:5 [26:16] So the Avimélekh said to Yitschaq, “Move away from us, for you have become far more powerful than we [are].”

30:6 [26:17] So Yitschaq moved away from there, and set up camp by the Wadi of Gėrār and dwelt there.

30:7 [26:18] Yitschaq re-excavated the wells of water that had been dug by the servants of his father Avrāhām, but which the Pėlishtites had stopped up after the death of Avrāhām; and he gave them the same names his father had given them.

30:8 [26:19] Now Yitschaq’s servants were digging in the wadi when they discovered a well of fresh spring-water there.

30:9 [26:20] However, the herdsmen of Gėrār quarrelled with Yitschaq’s herdsmen and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well `Eisek, because they had gotten into a dispute with him.

30:10 [26:21] Thereafter they dug another well, but [the herdsmen of Gėrār] quarrelled over that one too; so [Yitschaq] named it Siţnah.

30:11 [26:22] Then he moved on from there and he dug another well, and [this time] there was no quarrel over it. So he named it Rėovot, saying, “Now Yahveh has given us ample borders, and we will flourish in the Land.”

 

The Avimelekh makes a pact with Yitschaq

 

30:12 [26:23] From there [Yitschaq] went up to Bė’eir Shéva`,

30:13 [26:24] and that night Yahveh appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Avrāhām. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and I will increase [the number of] your descendants for the sake of my servant Avrāhām.”

30:14 [26:25] So Yitschaq built an altar there and invoked the Name of Yahveh [in prayer]. There he pitched his tents, and there Yitschaq’s servants [began to] dig a well.

30:15 [26:26] Meanwhile the Avimélekh came to him from Gėrār, along with Achuzzath his chief adviser and Pīkhol the commander of his army.

30:16 [26:27] So Yitschaq asked them, “Why have you come to [see] me, given that you were hostile towards me and sent me away?”

30:17 [26:28a] And they said, “We have clearly seen that Yahveh has been with you, so we decided [that] there should be a sworn agreement between us – between us and you.

30:18 [26:28b-29] Therefore let us cut a pact with you – that you will do us no harm, just as we did not mistreat you, but have only ever been good to you and sent you away in peace. And now [look at you – how greatly] you are blessed by Yahveh!”

30:19 [26:30] Thereupon Yitschaq made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.

30:20 [26:31] Then they rose early the next morning, and the men swore an oath – each man with his neighbour. Then Yitschaq sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace.

30:21 [26:32] That [very same] day, Yitschaq’s servants came and told him about the well they had [just] dug. They said to him, “We’ve found water!”

30:22 [26:33] So he called it Shiv`āh, and for this reason the name of the town is Bė’eir Shéva` to this day.

30:23 [26:34] Now, when `Eisav was forty years old, he married Yėhudhīt daughter of Bė’eirī the Cheytite, and also Bāsmat daughter of Eylon the Cheytite.

30:24 [26:35] However, they were a source of great anguish to Yitschaq and Rivqāh.

Chapter 31: Ya`aqov tricks Yitschaq into giving him his blessing

 

31:1 [27:1] [This is an account of the story of Ya`aqov son of Yitschaq.]

       Now when Yitschaq was old and his eyes were too weak to see, he called for `Eisav his older son and said to him, “My son!” To which [`Eisav] replied, “Here I am!”

31:2 [27:2] Then [Yitschaq] said, “Just look at me [my son] – I’ve grown old, and I could pass away at any time!

31:3 [27:3] So then, please take up your weapons – your quiver and your bow – and go out into the open country and hunt some wild game for me.

31:4 [27:4] And prepare for me [some of those] tasty roasts just how I like them, and bring them to me to eat, so that my soul can give you my [final] blessing [as my firstborn son] before I die.”

31:5 [27:5a] Now Rivqāh had been listening as Yitschaq was speaking to his son `Eisav.

31:6 [27:5b-6] So when `Eisav went out to the open country to hunt wild game and bring it back, Rivqāh spoke to her son Ya`aqov and said, “Look, I overheard your father speaking to your brother `Eisav, and he said,

31:7 [27:7] ‘Bring me [some] wild game, and make me [some of those] tasty roasts to eat, and [afterwards] I’ll give you my blessing [as firstborn] in the presence of Yahveh before I die.’

31:8 [27:8] So now, my son, listen carefully to what I say, and do [exactly] as I tell you:

31:9 [27:9] Please go [out] to the flock, and bring me two choice young goats from there, so that I can make some tasty roasts for your father, just the way he likes them.

31:10 [27:10] Then take [them] to your father to eat, in order that he can give you his [firstborn] blessing before he dies.”

31:11 [27:11-12a] But Ya`aqov said to Rivqāh his mother, “Look – my brother `Eisav is a hairy man, and I’m a man [with] smooth [skin]; what if my father should touch me?

31:12 [27:12b] In his eyes I would then be like someone making fun of him, and I would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing!”

31:13 [27:13] So his mother said to him, “My son, let the curse for you [be] on me! Just do as I’ve told you; now go and get [the goats] for me!”

31:14 [27:14] So he went and got [the young goats], and brought [them] to his mother. Then she prepared some tasty roasts, just the way his father liked them.

31:15 [27:15] Then Rivqāh took some clothes of `Eisav her older son – the best ones she had in her home – and put them on her younger son Ya`aqov.

31:16 [27:16] She also dressed his arms and the hairless part of his neck with the skins of the young goats.

31:17 [27:17] Then she handed over the tasty roasts to her son Ya`aqov, along with the bread she had made.

31:18 [27:18] So [Ya`aqov] came to his father and said, “Father!”

       And [Yitschaq] replied, “Here I am! Who are you my son?”

31:19 [27:19] Thereupon Ya`aqov said to his father, “I am `Eisav your firstborn. I have done just as you told me to. Please sit up and eat some of my wild game, so that your soul can give me your [final] blessing.”

31:20 [27:20] But then Yitschaq asked his son, “How is it that you found it so quickly, my son?”

So [Ya`aqov] said, “[It’s] because Yahveh your God brought me [success]!”

31:21 [27:21] But then Yitschaq said to Ya`aqov, “Please come nearer, so that I can touch you, my son, [so I can be sure] whether you really are my son `Eisav or not.”

31:22 [27:22] So Ya`aqov came closer to his father Yitschaq, who felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Ya`aqov, but the arms are the arms of `Eisav.”

31:23 [27:23] As a result he did not recognise him, for his arms were hairy like those of his brother `Eisav; so he welcomed him.

31:24 [27:24] Then he asked, “Are you really my son `Eisav?”  And [Ya`aqov] replied, “I am.”

31:25 [27:25] Then [Yitschaq] said, “Bring [the food] closer to me, so that I may eat of my son’s wild game; then my soul can give you my [final] blessing.” So [Ya`aqov] brought it closer to him and he ate; then he brought him [some] wine and he drank.

31:26 [27:26] Then his father Yitschaq said to him, “Please come closer and kiss me, my son.”

31:27 [27:27] So [Ya`aqov] came closer and kissed him. When Yitschaq caught the smell of his clothing, he blessed him and said,

   “Ah, the smell of my son

   is like the smell of an abundant field

   that Yahveh has blessed!

31:28 [27:28] May God give you [the produce] of heaven’s dew,

   and [the fruit] of the earth’s richness

   – an abundance of grain and new wine!

31:29 [27:29] May peoples serve you,

   and nations pay homage to you.

   Be a strong leader for your brothers,

   and may your mother’s descendants pay homage to you[r memory].

   May those who curse you be cursed,

   and may those who bless you be blest.”

 

`Eisav receives a portion of Yitschaq’s blessing

 

31:30 [27:30] Now it so happened, that no sooner had Yitschaq finished blessing Ya`aqov - Ya`aqov scarcely having left his father Yitschaq’s presence – that his brother `Eisav came in from his hunt.

31:31 [27:31] And he too prepared some tasty roasts and brought [them] to his father. Then he said to his father, “Let my father sit up, and eat some of his son’s wild game, so that your soul may give me your [final] blessing!”

31:32 [27:32] But Yitschaq his father said to him, “Who are you?”

And he said, “I am your son, your firstborn – `Eisav.”

31:33 [27:33] At this, Yitschaq [began to] tremble violently and uncontrollably, and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted wild game and brought it to me? I ate it all just before you came, and I blessed him –  and blessed he shall remain!”

31:34 [27:34] And so it was when `Eisav heard his father’s words, [that] he erupted with a very loud and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me – me too, my father!”

31:35 [27:35] But [Yitschaq] said, “Your brother came and dishonestly took away your blessing!”

31:36 [27:36] So `Eisav said, “Well, isn’t Ya`aqov just the right name for him! He has usurped me these two times: he took away my birthright [as eldest son], and look, now he’s taken away my [firstborn] blessing!” Then he said, “Haven’t you saved any blessing for me?”

31:37 [27:37] So Yitschaq replied and said to `Eisav, “Look, I have made him master over you, and have given all his relatives to him as his servants, and [my blessing] will sustain him with grain and new wine. So what [blessing] do I [possibly have left] for you, my son?

31:38 [27:38] So `Eisav said to his father, “Don’t you have even one blessing [left for me], my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then `Eisav let out with a loud voice and wept.

31:39 [27:39] So his father Yitschaq answered and said to him,

   “Behold, your habitations shall [arise] from the fertile earth,

   and from the dew of heaven above.

31:40 [27:40] You will live by the sword,

   but you will serve your brother.

   Yet it will come to pass, that when you become restless,

   you will [finally] shake his yoke

   off your neck.”

31:41 [27:41a] Thereafter, `Eisav held a grudge against Ya`aqov because of the [firstborn] blessing his father had given him.

   

Ya`aqov’s parents tell him to flee to his uncle Lāvān

 

31:42 [27:41b] Now `Eisav said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; after that I will kill my brother Ya`aqov.”

31:43 [27:42] But when Rivqāh was told what her older son `Eisav had said, she sent for and summoned her younger son Ya`aqov, and said to him, “Look, your brother `Eisav is consoling himself [with the thought] of killing you.

31:44 [27:43] So then, my son, listen carefully to what I say: Get ready and take yourself off to my brother Lāvān – to Chārān!

31:45 [27:44] Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides.

31:46 [27:45] When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you and fetch you back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

31:47 [27:46] Then Rivqāh [went over to] Yitschaq and said [to him], “I’m weary of my life because of these Cheytite women! If Ya`aqov should [also] take a wife from among the Cheytite women – such as those [that `Eisav has taken] from among the women of the Land – why should I go on living!”

31:48 [28:1] So Yitschaq called for Ya`aqov and blessed him, and gave him strict instructions, saying, “Do not take a wife from among the women of Canaan!

31:49 [28:2] Go [therefore] at once to Paddan Arām, to the family-camp of your mother’s father Bėthu’eil. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Lāvān, your mother’s brother.

31:50 [28:3] May Eil Shadday bless you and make you fruitful, and increase your numbers until you become an assembly of tribes!

31:51 [28:4] And may [God] give to you the blessing [given to] Avrāhām your [grand]father – to you and your descendants after you – so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien – the land God gave to Avrāhām.”

31:52 [28:5] Then Yitschaq sent Ya`aqov [on his way], and he went to Paddan Arām, to Lāvān son of Bėthu’eil the Aramean, the brother of Rivqāh, [who was the] mother of Ya`aqov and `Eisav.

 

`Eisav marries an Ishmaelite woman

 

31:53 [28:6] Now when `Eisav came to hear that Yitschaq had blessed Ya`aqov, and had sent him to Paddan Arām to take a wife for himself from there, and that in blessing him he had given him strict instructions, saying, ‘Do not take a wife from among the women of Canaan’,

31:54 [28:7] and that Ya`aqov had obeyed his father and his mother, and had gone to Paddan Arām,

31:55 [28:8] `Eisav realised [at that point] how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Yitschaq;

31:56 [28:9] so he went off to [the clan of] Yishma`eil and married Māchálath, daughter of Yishma`eil son of Avrāhām and sister of Nėvāyoth, in addition to the women he [had already taken] as wives.

 

Chapter 32: Ya`aqov Arrives in Beth-Eil

32:1 [28:10] So Ya`aqov left Bė’eir Shéva` and headed out towards Chārān.

32:2 [28:11] Now when he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking [one] of the stones of that place, he put [it] under his head and lay down in that place [to sleep].

32:3 [28:12] And he had a dream in which he saw a stairway set down in the earth, with its top reaching towards the skies; and he saw [that] the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

32:4 [28:13] And he saw Yahveh stationed over him, and [God] said, “I am Yahveh, the God of Avrāhām your [grand]father and the God of Yitschaq! Do not be afraid; the land upon which you are lying I shall give to you and to your descendants.

32:5 [28:14] And your descendants will be [as numerous] as the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. And all clans [and tribes] on earth will be blessed through you and through your offspring.

32:6 [28:15] Be assured, I shall be with you and watch over you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to [the] soil [of] this [land] – for I will not leave you until such time as I have done what I have promised you.”

32:7 [28:16] When Ya`aqov awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely Yahveh is in this place, and I was not aware of it!”

32:8 [28:17] Then he became filled with trembling awe, and said, “How awesome is this place! Surely this [stone] is none other than the housing of God[’s promise], and this [place is the] gateway [to] heaven!”

32:9 [28:18] So early the next morning, Ya`aqov took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a memorial-stone; then he poured oil on top of it.

32:10 [28:19] And he called the name of that place Beth-Eil, although the town was formerly called Lūz.

32:11 [28:20a] Then Ya`aqov vowed a solemn vow, saying, “If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey that I walk,

32:12 [28:20b-21] and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear, and return me safely to my father’s home, then Yahveh will be my God,

32:13 [28:22] and this stone that I have set up as a memorial-stone will be a housing of God[’s promise]; and I will give you a tenth of all that you give me.”

 

Notes:

32:6 - 'to the soil of this land - Hebrew: to this soil.

32:8 - 'Surely this [stone] is none other than the housing of God[’s promise]' - Alternative translation: There is no [stone like] this, for it [is] most certainly the housing of God'[s promise]'

32:10 - Beth-Eil - literally means 'House of God'. Originally in the text, it referred to the stone Jacob slept on as becoming the 'housing' or 'witness-stone' of what God had promised him. Later in history, this place will later become the site of the first shrine in the Holy Land of the Ark of the Covenant.

Chapter 33: Ya`aqov Arrives in Paddan Arām

 

33:1 [29:1] Then Ya`aqov got to his feet, and continued [on his way] towards the [home]land of the Easterners – to Lāvān son of Bėthu’eil the Aramean [and] brother of Rivqāh, [who was] the mother of Ya`aqov and `Eisav.

33:2 [29:2] [When he got] there, he looked [around] and caught sight of a well in an open field; he [also] noticed there [were] three flocks of sheep lying down around it, because the flocks were given water from that well. But [there was] a large stone over the mouth of the well.

33:3 [29:3] When all the flocks [came and] gathered there, [the shepherds] would roll the stone away from the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.

33:4 [29:4] So Ya`aqov asked [the shepherds], “My brothers, where are you from?”

And they replied, “We’re from Chārān.”

33:5 [29:5] Then he said to them, “Do you know Lāvān, Nāchor’s [grand]son?”

And they answered, “We do.”

33:6 [29:6] So Ya`aqov asked them, “Is he in good health?”

And they said, “He is. And look – [here] comes his daughter Racheil with the sheep!”

33:7 [29:7] So Ya`aqov said to them, “Look, the sun is still high, and it’s not [yet] time [for] the livestock to be rounded up. [Why don’t you go] water the sheep and then take them back out to pasture?”

33:8 [29:8] But they replied, “We can’t – not until all the shepherds have come together, and they roll the stone away from the mouth of the well; then we’ll water the sheep.”

33:9 [29:9] Now while he was [still] talking with them, Racheil came up, together with the sheep that [belonged] to her father, for she [was] a shepherdess.

33:10 [29:10] And so when Ya`aqov saw Racheil, the daughter of his uncle Lāvān, along with the sheep of his uncle Lāvān, Ya`aqov went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well, and he watered the sheep of his uncle Lāvān.

33:11 [29:11] Then Ya`aqov kissed Racheil [on both cheeks] and broke into tears,

33:12 [29:12] for he had made it known to Racheil that he was a relative of her father, and that he was a son of Rivqāh. So she ran and told her father.

33:13 [29:13] As soon as Lāvān heard the news about Ya`aqov, his sister’s son, he hurried out to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him [on both cheeks] and brought him into his home, and there Ya`aqov recounted all these things to him.

33:14 [29:14a] Then Lāvān said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood!” [And so Ya`aqov remained with him].

 

Notes:

33:5 - 'We do' - Hebrew, literally, 'We know'; the answers from the shepherds are initially very curt, so I have reflected this in the English.

33:6 - 'He is' - Hebrew, literally, 'Good health' - again, the answer is very curt and simple.

33:11 - The kiss Ya`aqov gives Racheil is not a romantic kiss on the lips - which would culturally be entirely inappropriate - but rather a kiss on the cheeks between close relatives.

33:14 - '[And so Ya`aqov remained with him]' - the opening words of v. 33:15 are not part of this verse; however, there may have been a repetition of the Hebrew 'and Ya`aqov stayed with him' to close off this section. A scribe may at some early point have seen the repetition, deemed it an error and deleted it.

Ya`aqov Marries Lei’āh and Racheil

 

33:15 [29:14b-15] After Ya`aqov had stayed with him for [the] space of a [whole] month, Lāvān said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”

33:16 [29:16] Now Lāvān had two daughters; the name of the older one was Lei’āh, and the name of the younger one was Racheil.

33:17 [29:17] Lei’āh was weak on the eyes, but Racheil had a beautiful figure and an attractive appearance.

33:18 [29:18] Ya`aqov had fallen in love with Racheil, so he said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for [the hand of] your younger daughter Racheil [in marriage].”

33:19 [29:19] So Lāvān said, “It’s better that I give her to you than I give her to [some] other man. Stay here [and work] for me.”

33:20 [29:20] So Ya`aqov served seven years [for the hand of] Racheil, but in his eyes they seemed like only a few days because of his love for her.

33:21 [29:21] [At the end of the seven years], Ya`aqov said to Lāvān, “Give me my wife. My time [of service to you] is completed, so let me be with her.”

33:22 [29:22] Subsequently Lāvān brought together all the people of the area and put on a [marriage] feast.

33:23 [29:23] But when evening came, he took his daughter Lei’āh and gave her to Ya`aqov [instead], and Ya`aqov slept with her.

33:24 [29:24] Meanwhile, Lāvān had given his servant girl Zilpāh to Lei’āh his daughter [to work] as a maidservant for her.

33:25 [29:25] When morning came, [Ya`aqov was shocked to] see it was Lei’āh, so he said to Lāvān, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Racheil that I worked for you? Then why have you tricked me?”

33:26 [29:26] So Lāvān replied, “That is not how it’s done in our country – to give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn.

33:27 [29:27] Complete the week [of marriage feasts] for this one; then we’ll give you that one as well – provided you work another seven years’ service more with me.”

33:28 [29:28] So Ya`aqov did so. He completed the week [of marriage feasts] for Lei’āh, then [Lāvān] gave him his daughter Racheil [to be] a wife for him.

33:29 [29:29] Meanwhile, Lāvān had given his servant girl Bilhāh to his daughter Racheil [to work] as a maidservant for her.

33:30 [29:30] So Ya`aqov slept with Racheil as well, but he also loved Racheil more than Lei’āh. Thereafter he worked for Lāvān another seven years more.

Notes:

33:17 - 'Lei’āh was weak on the eyes' - Hebrew literally says, 'Leiah's eyes were weak', that is, she was nothing special to look at.

Chapter 34: The birth of all Ya`aqov’s children

 

34:1 [29:31] When Yahveh saw that Lei’āh was unloved, he opened her womb [and enabled her to have children], but Racheil [remained] barren.

34:2 [29:32] Thereafter, Lei’āh became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And she called his name Rė’uvein, given that she had said, “Surely Yahveh has seen [me] in my misery – surely my husband will love me now.”

34:3 [29:33] Then she became pregnant again, and when she bore Ya`aqov a second son she said, “Because Yahveh heard that I am unloved, [God] has given me this one too.” So she called his name Shim`on.

34:4 [29:34] Then she became pregnant [yet] again, and when she gave birth to a [third] son she said, “Now at last my husband will grow attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Thus she called his name Leivī.

34:5 [29:35] Then she became pregnant [once] more, and when she gave birth to a [fourth] son she said, “This time I will praise Yahveh!” So she called his name Yėhudhāh. Then she stopped having children.

34:6 [30:1] Now when Racheil saw that she was not bearing Ya`aqov any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Ya`aqov, “Give me children, because if [you] don’t I shall die!”

34:7 [30:2] But Ya`aqov became incensed with Racheil and said, “Am I [here to act] in place of God, who [alone] has kept you from having children?”

34:8 [30:3] So [Racheil] said, “Here is my servant-girl Bilhāh. Sleep with her so that she will give birth on my knees; then through her I too can build up a family!”

34:9 [30:4] So she gave him her maidservant Bilhāh as a concubine, and Ya`aqov slept with her.

34:10 [30:5] As a result, Bilhāh became pregnant and bore Ya`aqov a son.

34:11 [30:6] Thereupon Racheil said, “God has judged my [case]! [God] has indeed listened to my plea and given me a son!” For this reason she called his name Dān.

34:12 [30:7] Then Racheil’s maidservant Bilhāh became pregnant again, and bore Ya`aqov a second son.

34:13 [30:8] Then Racheil said, “I have had some terrible struggles with my sister, but yet I have prevailed.” So she called his name Naftālī.

34:14 [30:9] When Lei’āh realised that she had stopped having children, she took her maidservant Zilpāh and gave her to Ya`aqov as a concubine.

34:15 [30:10] Subsequently, Lei’āh’s maidservant Zilpāh bore Ya`aqov a son.

34:16 [30:11] So Lei’āh said, “[What good] fortune has come!” So she called his name Gādh.

34:17 [30:12] Then Lei’āh’s maidservant Zilpāh bore Ya`aqov a second son.

34:18 [30:13] So Lei’āh said, “How happy I am! The women [of our clan] will call me happy!” So she named him Āsheir.

34:19 [30:14] Now [once], during the time of the wheat harvest, Rė’uvein went out and found some mandrake plants in an open field, so he brought them to Lei’āh his mother. Then Racheil said to Lei’āh, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

34:20 [30:15a] But [Lei’āh] said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Are you going to take my son’s mandrakes as well?”

34:21 [30:15b] So Racheil said, “Very well – [Ya`aqov] can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”

34:22 [30:16] So when Ya`aqov came in from [herding in] the fields that evening, Lei’āh went out to meet him. And she said, “[It is] with me you must sleep tonight, because I have secured your hire with my son’s mandrakes!” So he slept with her that night.

34:23 [30:17] And God was attentive to Lei’āh[’s situation], so she became pregnant and bore Ya`aqov a fifth son.

34:24 [30:18] At this, Lei’āh said, “God has rewarded me for giving my maidservant to my husband!” So she called his name Yiśśākhār.

34:25 [30:19] Then Lei’āh became pregnant again, and bore Ya`aqov a sixth son.

34:26 [30:20] So Lei’āh said, “[It is] me that God has endowed with a precious gift! From now on my husband will [choose to] dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons!” So she called his name Zėvulūn.

34:27 [30:21] [Some time] after, she gave birth to a daughter and called her name Dīnāh.

34:28 [30:22] Then God turned His attention towards Racheil; [God] listened to her [prayers] and enabled her to have children.

34:29 [30:23] So she became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my shame.”

34:30 [30:24] So she called his name Yōseif, and said, “May Yahveh add to me another son.”

Notes:

34:19-22 - the mandrakes: in ancient times, mandrakes were thought of as an aphrodisiac, and enabled barren women to conceive.

The names of all Ya`aqov's children are purely folk etymologies, given to explain the reason for their names:

Reuben: 'Look, a son', explained as being from ra'ah be`onyi: 'he has seen me in my affliction'

Shimon: 'Hearing', explained as being from shama`: 'he has heard'

Levi: 'Attachment', explained as being from yillaveh: 'he will become attached'

Judah: 'Yahveh's praise', explained as being from odeh et Yahveh: 'I will praise Yahveh'

Dan: 'Judgment', explained as being from dananni: 'he has judged [my case]'

Naftali: 'My struggle', explained as being from naftulim: 'struggles' and niftalti: 'I have struggled'

Gad: 'Good fortune', explained as being from gadh: 'good fortune'

Asher: 'Happiness', explained as being from ashri: 'my happiness', and ishruni: 'they willl call me fortunate/happy'

Issachar: 'A reward shall be raised up', explained as being from sekhari: 'my reward'

Zebulun: 'Dwelling', explained as being from zebaleini: 'he will dwell with me'

Joseph: 'Addition', explained as being from asaf: 'he has taken away', and yoseif: 'he shall add'.

Notably, the name of their only daughter, Dinah, is not given an explanation.

Chapter 35: How Ya`aqov gained his Wealth

35:1 [30:25] Now it so happened that once Racheil had given birth to Yōseif, Ya`aqov then said to Lāvān, “[Release me and] send me on my way, so that I can go back to my [own] country and my [own] village.

35:2 [30:26] Give me my wives and my children, for whom I’ve served you, and I’ll be on my way. Surely you [of all people should] know how hard I’ve worked for you!”

35:3 [30:27] But Lāvān said to him, “Please, if you will indulge me: I’ve learned through divination [that the reason I’ve become prosperous is] because Yahveh has blessed me through you.”

35:4 [30:28] Then he said, “[So stay]; name me your wages, and I’ll pay them.”

35:5 [30:29] So [Ya`aqov] said to him, “You [yourself] know how [hard] I’ve worked for you, and how [well] your livestock has done with me.

35:6 [30:30] Actually, [what] little you had before I [came] has expanded enormously, and Yahveh has blessed you wherever I’ve gone. But now, when do I get to do [something] for my [own] household?”

35:7 [30:31] So [Lāvān] said, “What shall I give you?”

                    But Ya`aqov said, “Don’t give me anything! [However], if you will do this [one] thing for me, I will go on tending and watching over your flocks:

35:8 [30:32] Let me go through all your flocks [of sheep and goats] today, [and let me] remove from there every spotted or mottled sheep and goat – every dark-coloured animal among the sheep, and every mottled or spotted [one] among the goats; and they will be my wages.

35:9 [30:33] And you’ll be able to check on my honesty in the days to come, whenever you come to look over the wages [you’ve paid] me; because any [individual] that is not spotted or mottled among the [sheep or] goats, or any [individual] that is not dark-coloured among the sheep, [shall be considered] stolen [if] it [is found] with me.”

35:10 [30:34] So Lāvān said to him, “Agreed. Let it be as you have said.”

35:11 [30:35] However, on that very same day, [Lāvān] removed all the male goats that were streaked or mottled, and all the spotted or mottled female goats – all that had any white on them – as well as all the dark-coloured ones among the sheep, and he placed them in the care of his sons.

35:12 [30:36] Then he put a three-day journey between them and Ya`aqov, while Ya`aqov continued to tend the rest of Lāvān’s flocks.

35:13 [31:10] [Now it so happened that during the breeding season for the flocks, Ya`aqov had a vision].

35:14 [31:11] And an angel of God called to him in the vision, and it said, “Ya`aqov!” And he answered, “Here I am!”

35:15 [31:12a] Then it said, “Look up and see that all the male animals which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or dappled.

35:16 [31:12b-13a] Now, I have seen everything that Lāvān has been doing to you, [but I will deal well with you], for I am the God of Beth-Eil, where you anointed a memorial-stone and where you vowed a solemn vow to Me.

35:17 [31:13b] So leave this land and go back to your native land, and I will be [with] you.”

35:18 [30:37] Consequently, [in order to stimulate the stronger sheep and goats to mate], Ya`aqov got himself some freshly-cut shoots from white poplar, almond and oriental plane trees; then he peeled them, [making] white stripes on them by exposing the white inner wood of the sticks.

35:19 [30:38a] Then he set the peeled sticks down in the troughs – in the water of the drinking troughs, [so that they would be] directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink [from them].

35:20 [30:38b-39] So when they were in heat and came to drink, the flocks [were stimulated] by [the presence of] the sticks to mate. And [it was these very] sheep and goats [which] bore [young that were] streaked, spotted and mottled.

35:21 [30:40] Then Ya`aqov set apart these [newly-born] sheep [and goats]; then he made the rest mate with the streaked and dark-coloured [animals] in Lāvān’s flocks. Thus he kept his own flocks by themselves, and did not put them with Lāvān’s flocks.

35:22 [30:41] And so it was, that whenever the stronger females were in heat, Ya`aqov would place the sticks in the troughs in front of the sheep and goats, [so that they would be stimulated] to mate by the sticks,

35:23 [30:42] but if [the animals] from the flock were weak, he would not place them [in] there. So the weak [animals went] to Lāvān, and the strong [ones went] to Ya`aqov.

35:24 [30:43] In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous, and came to own large flocks, as well as maidservants and manservants, and camels and donkeys.

35:25 [31:1] But then Ya`aqov heard that Lāvān’s sons were saying, “Ya`aqov has taken everything that belonged to our father, and has gained all this prestige from what belonged to our father.”

Chapter 36: Ya`aqov Flees with his Family and Possessions from Lāvān

 

36:1 [31:2] Subsequently, Ya`aqov [began to] notice that Lāvān’s attitude towards him was not what it had previously been.

36:2 [31:3] Now [earlier], Yahveh had said to Ya`aqov, “Go back to [the] land [which belongs to] your father [and your grandfather], and to the native land of your birth, and I will be with you.”

36:3 [31:4] So Ya`aqov sent word and called Racheil and Lei’āh [to come out] to the fields [where] his flocks [were].

36:4 [31:5] And he said to them, “I [can] see that your father’s attitude towards me is not what it was before, but the God of my father [and grandfather] has been with me.

36:5 [31:6] Now you [yourselves] know that I’ve served your father as diligently as I could,

36:6 [31:7] and yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages time and time again. However, God has not allowed him to harm me.

36:7 [31:8] Whenever he said, ‘The spotted ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to spotted young; and whenever he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to streaked young!

36:8 [31:9] So God has taken away your father’s livestock and given [it] to me.

36:9 [31:10] Now it so happened that during the breeding season for the flocks, I lifted my eyes and [had a vision]; I saw that the male goats which were mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or dappled.

36:10 [31:11] Then an angel of God spoke to me in the vision, and it said,

36:11 [31:12b-13] ‘I have seen all that Lāvān has done to you, for I am the God of Beth-Eil, where you anointed a memorial-stone and where you vowed a solemn vow to Me. Now, get up [and] leave this land, and go back to the land of your birth.’ ”

36:12 [31:14] So Racheil and Lei’āh replied and said to him, “Do we still have any share or inheritance [at all] in our father’s estate?

36:13 [31:15] Aren’t we considered [the same] as foreign women to him? Because not only has he sold us, but he has also completely used up what was paid for us!

36:14 [31:16] Surely all the wealth and prestige that God has taken away from our father [now belongs] to us and to our children! [So] then, do whatever God has told you!”

36:15 [31:17] With that, Ya`aqov packed up and put his wives and his children on camels,

36:16 [31:18] and he set off [with] all his livestock, along with all the goods he had amassed – [that is, all] the acquired livestock which he had amassed in Paddan Arām – to come [back] to his father Yitschaq in the land of Cana`an.

36:17 [31:19] Now when Lāvān went to shear his sheep, Racheil had stolen the divination idols that belonged to her father.

36:18 [31:20] Moreover, Ya`aqov had stolen [the rug from under] Lāvān the Aramean, by not telling him that he [intended to] flee.

36:19 [31:21] So he fled, and with everything he had he set off and crossed the River [Euphrates], heading for the hill country of Gilė`ādh.

Notes:

36:17 - 'divination idols' (Hebrew: terafim). It seems that YHVH is only one of several gods that Lavan worships; he still engages in the pagan practice of using idols to divine the will of God.

36:18 - 'Ya`aqov had stolen [the rug from under] Lāvān the Aramean' - the Hebrew literally says, 'and Ya`aqov stole the heart of Lavan'; this is usually taken to mean that Ya`aqov hoodwinked and sneaked away from Lavan.

 

Lāvān Pursues Ya`aqov

 

36:20 [31:22] Lāvān was informed three days later that Ya`aqov had fled.

36:21 [31:23] So taking his kinsmen with him, he [embarked] on a seven-day journey in pursuit of Ya`aqov, and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilė`ādh.

36:22 [31:24] But God came to Lāvān the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful of what you might say to Ya`aqov, [whether it be] good or bad.”

36:23 [31:25] When Lāvān caught up with him, Ya`aqov had pitched his tents in the hill country, and so Lāvān [also] camped along with his kinsmen in the hill country of Gilė`ādh.

36:24 [31:26] Then Lāvān said to Ya`aqov, “For what reason [could] you have done [this] – that you [had to] steal away so secretly, and rob me, and carry off my daughters like captives in war!

36:25 [31:27] Why did you run off so sneakily, and steal away from me, and not tell me? Otherwise I could have sent you away with joyful singing, to [the sound of] tambourines and lyres!

36:26 [31:28] You didn’t even allow me to kiss my [grand]children and my daughters [good-bye]! All in all, you’ve acted foolishly in what you’ve done!

36:27 [31:29] Now, I’m fully capable of being really unpleasant towards you; but last night the God of your father spoke to me and told me, ‘Be careful of what you say to Ya`aqov, [be it] good or bad.’

36:28 [31:30] Now, [I suppose] that you must have gone off because you were homesick for your father’s [side of the] family. [But] why did you steal my [household] gods?”

36:29 [31:31] So Ya`aqov answered and said to Lāvān, “[I fled] because I was afraid – because I thought maybe you would take your daughters away from me by force.

36:30 [31:32] But if you find whoever [has] your [household] gods, may he not live! In full sight of [all] our relatives, point out for yourself anything [of yours that I have here] with me, and take it yourself!” Now Ya`aqov was unaware that Racheil had stolen [Lāvān’s household gods].

36:31 [31:33a] So Lāvān entered and searched in Ya`aqov’s tent and in Lei’āh’s tent and in the tent of the two concubines, but he didn’t find anything.

36:32 [31:33b] After he came out of Lei’āh’s tent, he entered Racheil’s tent.

36:33 [31:34] Now Racheil had taken the divination idols and put them inside [her] camel’s pack-saddle, and she was sitting on them. Lāvān rummaged through everything [inside] the tent but didn’t find [anything].

36:34 [31:35] Then Racheil said to her father, “Let it not upset my lord if I cannot stand up in your presence, because I’m having my period.” So he [continued to] search, but did not find the divination idols.

36:35 [31:36] [After all that], Ya`aqov was furious and [began to] berate Lāvān. Ya`aqov responded [to all the accusations] by saying to Lāvān, “What is my crime? And what sin have I committed, that you had to come after me in hot pursuit?

36:36 [31:37] Now that you’ve groped [your way] through all my things, what have you discovered out of anything [that belongs to] your household? Put it right here in front of [all] my relatives and your relatives, and let them judge between the two of us!

36:37 [31:38] It’s now been twenty years that I’ve been with you. Your ewes and your she-goats have never miscarried, nor have I [ever] eaten [any] rams from your flocks!

36:38 [31:39] I’ve never laid on you [the cost of] any animals that were mauled; I [chose instead to] bear the loss [myself] out of my [own expenses]. [Yet] you [still] demanded [I pay for] them, regardless of whether they had been carried off by day, or carried off by night!

36:39 [31:40] This [is what it] was [like for] me: The burning heat consumed me by day, and the chilling cold by night, and I barely got a wink’s sleep!

36:40 [31:41] It [was like this] for me the twenty years I slaved in your household for you! Fourteen years [I worked] for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages time and time again!

36:41 [31:42] If the God of my fathers – the God of Avrāhām and the Awe of Yitschaq – had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed! But God has seen my misery and hard labour, and last night He rebuked you!”

Notes:

36:30 - 'may he not live' - this expression normally means, 'may he not go unpunished' rather than any desire for someone to be put to death; but as a careless curse, it comes true, since Racheil ends up with a shortened lifespan.

36:33 - 'camels' pack saddle' - this was a square padded box used as a saddle on camels. Once placed on the camel, it usually had a curtained covering over the rider, like a howdah.

 

Lāvān makes a Pact with Ya`aqov

 

36:42 [31:43] Lāvān responded and said to Ya`aqov, “The[se] daughters are my daughters, the[se] children are my [grand]children, and the[se] flocks are my flocks. So everything that you see, it’s mine! Yet what can I do today for these daughters of mine, or for the children they have borne?

36:43 [31:44] Come now, let’s make a pact, you and I; [let us gather some stones; you set up pillar on your side, and I will set up a cairn on my side]. And let [them] serve as a witness between me and you.”

36:44 [31:45] So Ya`aqov took a stone and set it up as a pillar.

36:45 [31:46] Then Ya`aqov said to his relatives, “Gather up [some] stones.” So they took [some] stones and constructed a cairn, and they ate there by the cairn.

36:46 [31:47] [In Aramaic], Lāvān called it Yėghar Śahadutā, and [in Hebrew] Ya`aqov called it Galė`eidh.

36:47 [31:48] Lāvān said, “This cairn is a witness between me and you today.” That is why [the] name [of the place] was called Galė`eidh.

36:48 [31:49] And [it was also called] the Watch-place, because [Lāvān] said, “May Yahveh keep watch between me and you when we are away from each other.

36:49 [31:50] If you [ever] ill-treat my daughters, or if you take [any] wives besides my daughters, [even though] there is no-one with us to see, God [shall be] witness between me and you.”

36:50 [31:51] Lāvān also said to Ya`aqov, “Look at this cairn, and look at this pillar that I have erected between me and you.

36:51 [31:52] This cairn is a witness, and this pillar is a testimony, that I will not go beyond this cairn to you, and that you will not come past [it] to me – [that we will not go beyond] this cairn or this pillar to harm [one another].

36:52 [31:53] May the God of Avrāhām and the god of Nāchor – their ancestral deities – judge between us [if either one of us does]!” But Ya`aqov swore an oath [only] in [the name of] the Awe of his father Yitschaq.

36:53 [31:54] He offered up a sacrificial offering [there] on the heights [of Gile`adh], and he invited his relatives to share a meal. After they had eaten [the] meal, they spent the night in the hills.

36:54 [J: 32:1 / C: 31:55] Lāvān rose early the next morning; he kissed his [grand]children and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and went back to his home-camp.

36:55 [J: 32:2 / C: 32:1] Ya`aqov also went on his way, and [in the course of his journey] he looked up and saw the [heavenly] battalions of God encamped.

36:56 [J: 32:3 / C: 32:2] So when Ya`aqov saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” And the angels of God [came to] meet him. Thereafter he called the name of that place Machanáyim.

Notes:

36:43 (and following verses) - 'a cairn': a mound of stones commonly found in ancient Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

36:46 - Yeghar Sahaduta and Gale'eidh both mean 'Mound of Witness' in the two languages.

36:48 - 'the Watch-Place - Hebrew: Mitspah.

36:56 - Machanayim means, 'Two-Encampments'.

 

Chapter 37: Ya`aqov Prepares to Meet `Eisav his Brother

 

37:1 [J: 32:4 / C: 32:3] Now Ya`aqov sent messengers ahead of him to his brother `Eisav, [to go to] the land of Śei`īr – the country of Edhom.

37:2 [J: 32:5 / C: 32:4] And he gave them strict instructions saying, “This is what you are to say to my lord – to `Eisav: ‘This is what your servant Ya`aqov says – I have been staying with Lāvān and I have been delayed there until now.

37:3 [J: 32:6 / C: 32:5] I have [acquired] oxen and donkeys, flocks [of sheep and goats], as well as menservants and maidservants. Now I am sending word to inform my lord, so that I may find favour in your eyes.’

37:4 [J: 32:7 / C: 32:6] When the messengers returned to Ya`aqov, they said, “We got to your brother `Eisav, but he was already coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”

37:5 [J: 32:8 / C: 32:7] At this Ya`aqov grew afraid, and became greatly distressed, and so he split up the people who were with him into two camps, along with the flocks [of sheep and goats], the herds [of cattle], and the camels as well.

37:6 [J: 32:9 / C: 32:8] For he said [to himself], “If `Eisav comes upon one camp and attacks, the camp that is left may escape.”

37:7 [J: 32:10 / C: 32:9] Then Ya`aqov [prayed], saying “O God of my father Avrāhām! O God of my father Yitschaq! O Yahveh, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and to the native land of your birth, and I will deal well with you,’

37:8 [J: 32:11 / C: 32:10] I am unworthy of all the merciful kindness and all the faithfulness that you have shown your servant. [I had only] my staff when I [first] crossed this Jordan river, but now I have become two [strong] camps!

37:9 [J: 32:12 / C: 32:11] So please save me from the hand of my brother – from the hand of `Eisav – for I am [really] afraid of him, in case he comes [here] and wipes me out – [every man], woman and child!

37:10 [J: 32:13 / C: 32:12] But haven’t You said [to me], ‘I will deal most favourably with you, and will cause your descendants to become like the sand of the sea, so great in number that [they] cannot be counted’!”

37:11 [J: 32:14 / C: 32:13] So he spent the night there, selecting a tribute-offering for his brother `Eisav from amongst what he had [with him] to hand:

37:12 [J: 32:15 / C: 32:14] two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,

37:13 [J: 32:16 / C: 32:15] thirty milch-camels with their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.

37:14 [J: 32:17 / C: 32:16] Then he put them in the care of his servants, each drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Go along ahead of me, and keep some space between each of the droves.”

37:15 [J: 32:18 / C: 32:17] And he gave strict instructions to the one in the lead, saying, “When my brother `Eisav meets you and demands of you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going to, and who [owns all] these [animals] in front of you?’

37:16 [J: 32:19 / C: 32:18] then you are to say, ‘[They belong] to your servant Ya`aqov. They are a tribute-offering sent to my lord `Eisav, and in fact he is also [coming right] behind us.’ ”

37:17 [J: 32:20 / C: 32:19] He also gave [similar] strict instructions to the second as well as the third, along with all the others who followed the droves, saying, “You are to say this same thing to `Eisav when you encounter him.

37:18 [J: 32:21 / C: 32:20] And be sure to say, ‘Look, your servant Ya`aqov is coming [right] behind us.’ For he said [to himself], “I will appease him with [all] these tribute-offerings I am sending on ahead; after that, when I see him, perhaps he will deal more kindly with me.

37:19 [J: 32:22 / C: 32:21] So Ya`aqov’s tribute-offerings went on ahead of him, but he [himself] spent the night in the camp.

 

Ya`aqov Wrestles with the Guardian Angel of Edhom

 

37:20 [J: 32:23 / C: 32:22] [Later] that night, Ya`aqov got up and took his two wives, his two concubines and his eleven sons, and he crossed at the ford of the Yabboq river.

37:21 [J: 32:24 / C: 32:23] After he had taken [all his family] and sent them across the stream, he sent over all that he had [of his possessions].

37:22 [J: 32:25 / C: 32:24] But when Ya`aqov was left alone, [there appeared a being in the form of] a man, and it wrestled with him until daybreak.

37:23 [J: 32:26 / C: 32:25] When [the being] saw that it could not overpower him, it struck the socket of Ya`aqov’s hip, so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with [the being].

37:24 [J: 32:27 / C: 32:26] Then [the being] said, “Let me go, for dawn is breaking.”

                    But [Ya`aqov] said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”

37:25 [J: 32:28 / C: 32:27] So [the being] said to him, “What is your name?”

                    And he said, “Ya`aqov.”

37:26 [J: 32:29 / C: 32:28] Then [the being] said, “Your name will no longer be called Ya`aqov, but rather Yiśrā’eil, because you have struggled with beings both heavenly and human, and you have prevailed.”

37:27 [J: 32:30 / C: 32:29] So Ya`aqov pressed him and said, “Please tell me your name.”

                    But it said, “Why do you ask my name?” Then it blessed him there, [and it vanished just as the Sun was rising].

37:28 [J: 32:31 / C: 32:30] So Ya`aqov called the name of the place Pėnu’eil, saying, “It is because I saw a heavenly being face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

37:29 [J: 32:32 / C: 32:31] The sun rose above him as he passed Pėnu’eil, and he was limping because of his [wrenched] hip.

37:30 [J: 32:33 / C: 32:32] Therefore to this day, Israelites do not eat the tendon of the thigh attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Ya`aqov’s hip was struck near the tendon of the thigh.

Notes:

37:22 (and following) - the text refers to the being only as 'a man'; however, it is obvious from verses 37:26-28, that the being is not a man, but a heavenly being; he merely has the form and appearance of a man. This is why I use the word 'being' throughout, rather than 'man'.

This 'man' is identified in Jewish tradition as the guardian angel of the nation of Edom, and a portent of the struggles between Israel and Edom over the coming millennia.

37:27 - 'and it vanished just as the Sun was rising' - this line does not appear in any text, but was added for narrative clarification to clear up a missing detail, gleaned from 37:24 where the being says it has to go because dawn is breaking, and 37:29, where it says the Sun is above Jacob.

37:28 - Penu'eil - 'face of God' or 'face of a heavenly being'.

Ya`aqov finally meets `Eisav after many years away

 

37:31 [33:1] [Later that day], Ya`aqov raised his eyes and looked out, and he caught sight of `Eisav coming, accompanied by four hundred men; so he divided the children among Lei’āh, Racheil and the two concubines.

37:32 [33:2] And he put the concubines and their children in front, Lei’āh and her children next, and Racheil and Yōseif last.

37:33 [33:3] Then he himself went on ahead of them, and he bowed down to the ground seven times until he reached his brother.

37:34 [33:4] But `Eisav ran to meet Ya`aqov and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they [both] wept.

37:35 [33:5] Then `Eisav raised his eyes and saw the women and children, so he said, “Who are these [people] with you?”

                    So [Ya`aqov] said, “[They are] the children whom God has graciously given your servant.”

37:36 [33:6] Then the concubines approached – they and their children – and bowed down.

37:37 [33:7] Next, Lei’āh and her children drew near and they too bowed down [to `Eisav]. Last of all Yōseif and Racheil approached, and they bowed down [to `Eisav as well].

37:38 [33:8] Then `Eisav said, “What’s the meaning of this great mass [of animals] I encountered?”

                    So [Ya`aqov] said, “[They were] so that you would look on me favourably, my lord.”

37:39 [33:9] Then `Eisav said, “I [already] have plenty, my brother; so keep what belongs to you for yourself.”

37:40 [33:10] But Ya`aqov said, “No, please! If I have indeed found favour in your eyes, then accept my tribute-offering from me. Because seeing your face is like seeing the face of a heavenly being, now that you have accepted me.

37:41 [33:11] Please take the [token of] blessing that was brought for you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all [I need].” And because [Ya`aqov continued to] insist, [`Eisav] accepted [it all].

 

Ya`aqov and `Eisav part company

 

37:42 [33:12] Then `Eisav said, “Let us resume our journey and go; and I’ll travel alongside you.”

37:43 [33:13] But Ya`aqov said to him, “My lord knows that the children are [of] tender [age], and that the flocks [of sheep and goats], and the herds [of cattle] – which are nursing their young – [are a concern] to me. So if I were to drive them hard [for even] one day, all the [animals in] the flocks will die!

37:44 [33:14] So please, let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I myself shall proceed slowly at the speed of the droves before me, and at the pace of the children, until I get to my lord in Śei`īr.”

37:45 [33:15] So `Eisav said, “Then let me leave with you some of my men.”

                    But [Ya`aqov] said, “Why [do you need to do] that? [It’s enough that] I have found favour in the eyes of my lord.”

37:46 [33:16] So that day, `Eisav started on his way back to Śei`īr.

37:47 [33:17] However, Ya`aqov journeyed to Sukkoth [instead], where he built a home for himself and made booths for his livestock. That is why the name of the place is called Sukkoth.

Notes:

37:47 - 'Sukkoth' - identified with modern Tell Deir Alla in the modern Kingdom of Jordan, not far from the Yabboq river.

 

 

 

 

 

   
Site Content © Shmuliq Parzal 2004-6 contact us | site map | site terms