Seifer Toldot / The Book of Generations
Bereishit / Genesis

You can find an original Talmidi commentary for the first 3 chapters of Genesis on this webpage.

(for an explanation of the format, notes and conventions used in this translation, please see the page on The Translation of the Torah and the Prophets. For an explanation of my methodology, see the page on The Original Torah Project).

If you have any questions, please email me at:

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS AN INTERPRETATIVE ADAPTATION OF THE HEBREW TEXT, NOT A LITERAL TRANSLATION. The intent is to give the modern reader an understanding of the sense and intent of the original, rather than a word for word rendering. Unless one is conversant in the idioms of Hebrew, and the nuances of ancient Israelite culture, a literal rendering will give you the words, but not the message.

Key to conventions:

words in italics without brackets – words not found in the traditional Masoretic text [MT], but attested in one or more other Bible version (Samaritan Pentateuch [SP], Dead Sea Scrolls Bible [DSS], Greek Septuagint [LXX]).

[words in square brackets] words implied by the Hebrew words, inserted to help give the sense of the Hebrew words in natural, Modern English.

{words in brace brackets} words not in any version of the biblical text, but inserted to help explain a cultural or historical detail that would have been implicitly understood by an ancient Hebrew, but which might not be by a modern reader; also, words inserted for narrative clarification (like a midrash to explain something vital to an understanding of the narrative, but which is unclear in the traditional text). These should be considered as ‘in-text footnotes’, rather than face accusations of ‘adding to Torah’, since one of the purposes of this translation is to clarify the narrative, in order to make the meaning of the story clearer.

{words in italics in brace brackets} – hypothetical, reconstructed words, theorised to have been in the original text; the second purpose of this translation is to try to reconstruct what might have been the original text of the Bible.

(‘words in italics in plain brackets’) translations of Hebrew names, the meanings of which are important to understand in English.

A note on the use of the Holy Name & ‘Eil Shadday’:

Whenever the Holy Name appears in the Hebrew text, I have transliterated it as ‘Yahveh’. If you are used to pronouncing it as ‘Yehovah’, please do so, if that form is more meaningful to you.

Now, MT Ex 6:3 says, “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as ‘Eil Shadday’, but by my name ‘Yahveh’ I did not make myself known to them.” Scholars interpret this as meaning that they worshipped God under the name of ‘Eil Shadday’, but that the name of ‘Yahveh’ was unknown to them – or at least, far less familiar to them. Furthermore, scholars also surmise that the name of ‘Yahveh’ was indiscriminately inserted into the text in place of ‘Eil Shadday’ throughout the text of Genesis, by scribes during its period of final redaction in the 6th century BCE. Since one of the aims of this project is to present a reconstruction of the possible original text of Torah, I have exchanged ‘Yahveh’ with ‘Eil Shadday’ wherever the Holy Name is spoken by or to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob (to conform with MT Ex 6:3); this exchange has been indicated by putting ‘Eil Shadday’ in brace brackets and italics (as {Eil Shadday}). However, I have left the Holy Name as it is whenever it appears in non-spoken narrative.

Page last updated on: 11th Jan 2019

(Genesis now: 100% translated)

Chapter 1: The first version of Creation

1:1 [It was] in the beginning, [when] God was creating the sky and the land,

1:2 [that] 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’ (‘Day’), and the darkness [God] called ‘Láylah’ (‘Night’); 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 [God] separated the waters that were underneath the metal dome, from the waters that were above the metal dome.

1:8 And God called the metal dome ‘Shamáyim’ (‘Skies’); 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 reservoir, so that the dry earth may appear.” And it was so. Thus the waters beneath the sky gathered together into their reservoir, and the dry earth appeared.

1:10 And God called the dry earth ‘Érets’ (‘Land’), and the gathering of waters [God] called ‘Yamīm’ (‘Seas’). 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 kinds, and fruit trees which produce fruits in accordance with their kinds, 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 kinds, and trees that produce fruits in accordance with their kinds 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 appointed times, 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 have domain over the day, and the lesser light to have domain over the night; then [God] 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 have domain 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 kinds; and every creature that flies with wings in accordance with their kinds. 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 kinds – domestic beasts, reptiles and insects, and wild animals in accordance with their kinds.” And it was so.

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

God creates Humans on the Sixth-day

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 [God’s] image; in God’s image [God] created them – male and female [God] created them.

1:28 Then God blest them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; replenish the land, and make it abundantly fruitful; and take stewardship 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 crawling 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 [God] had made, and was astonished at how excellent it was; so an evening went, and a morning passed – Sixth-Day.

God ceases from all creative work on the seventh 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 [creative] work that [God] had been doing, and rested on the seventh day from all the [creative] work that [God] 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 [God] had created to do.

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


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).

1:9‘reservoir’ – In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew word used is ‘miqveh’ – ‘water-gathering-place’ (the LXX also translates it this way); in the MT & SP, the word is ‘maqom’ – ‘a place’. Miqveh is written m-q-v-h, and maqom is written m-q-v-m, if the letter heh is not written properly, it can look like a final mem (hence the misreading as maqom instead of miqveh).

1:11 – ‘in accordance with their kinds’ – this phrase means that God produced various plants and animals to exist as numerous species, and also to produce descendants after the genetic pattern of the plant or animal that they were descended from (i.e. so that apple trees will not bear raspberries, and dogs will not give birth to goats, etc).

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 land, nor yet had any wild plant sprung up, for Yahveh God had not [yet] sent rain upon the land, and there were no humans to cultivate the soil,

2:3 [2:6] a mist would come up from the ground and water the whole surface of the soil.

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

The Garden of ‘Eidhen

2:5 [2:8] Now Yahveh God had planted an enclosed garden, in ‘Eidhen in the east; and there [God] placed the human whom [God] 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 ‘Eidhen 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 Pīshōn; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Chavilāh, 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 Gīchōn; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Khoosh.

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 human and settled him in the garden of ‘Eidhen, to cultivate it and tend it.

2:13 [2:16] Then Yahveh God gave strict instructions to the human, 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 do eat from it, you will surely die.”

God creates a suitable Counterpart for the Man

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

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

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

2:18 [2:21] So Yahveh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the human; 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 built up the rib that he had taken from the human into a woman, and [God] brought her to the human.

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

“She is the one this time!

[For she is] 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 embarrassment.

3:2 [3:1] Now, 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.”

The Man and the Woman eat the forbidden fruit

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 became conscious of their nakedness; so they sewed fig leaves together and made waist-cloths for themselves.

God is already aware that the Man and the Woman ate the forbidden Fruit

3:9 [3:8] Then the man and his wife heard the sound of Yahveh God as [God] 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 amongst 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 is the one who gave me [fruit] from the tree, and so 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 so I ate.”

God’s Disciplinary Action

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 the dust [of the soil]

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 [God] 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 [God] said,

“Because you obeyed your wife [without question],

and ate from the tree about which I gave you strict instructions,

‘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 dust [from the soil],

and to the dust [of the soil] you will return.”

God sends the Man and the Woman out of the Garden

3:21 [3:20] The man gave his wife the name Chavāh (‘Life’), because she would become mother of all the living.

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

3:23 [3:22] And Yahveh God said, “Look! The humans have become like one of us – aware of good and evil. What now, if they should reach out their hands and take also from a Tree of Life and eat, and live forever?”

3:24 [3:23] So Yahveh God sent them out from the Garden of ‘Eidhen, to cultivate the soil from which they had been taken.

3:25 [3:24] Thus [God] drove the humans out, and made them dwell to the east of the garden of ‘Eidhen; then [God] stationed kheruv angels, along with the flaming sword, which flashed 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 Chavāh so that she became pregnant, and she gave birth to Qáyin (‘Acquisition’). 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 Hével. Now Hével kept sheep and goats, and Qáyin was a tiller of the soil.

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

4:4 [4:4a] But Hével also brought {an offering} – the choicest of the firstborn of his flocks.

4:5 [4:4b-5a] Yahveh regarded Hével and his offering favourably, but did not regard Qáyin or his offering favourably.

4:6 [4:5b] So Qáyin became exceedingly resentful, and his face was downcast.

4:7 [4:6] So Yahveh said to Qáyin, “Why are you so worked up? Why such a long face?

4:8 [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 [of your tent]; you are its prey, but you must overcome it.

Qáyin kills Hével, and God’s Judgment on Qáyin

4:9 [4:8] Presently, Qáyin said to his brother Hével, “Let’s go out to the field.” But while they were in the field, Qáyin turned on his brother Hével and killed him.

4:10 [4:9] So Yahveh said to Qáyin, “Where is your brother Hével?” At which [Qáyin] replied, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

4:11 [4:10] [Yahveh] exclaimed, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground!

4:12 [4:11] So now you will be held in contempt by the earth, which was forced to open her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand;

4:13 [4:12] because [whenever] you work the soil, {from now on} she will no longer yield up her wealth to you. You will exist as a restless [and aimless] wanderer on the earth.”

Qáyin is marked by God

4:14 [4:13] So Qáyin said to Yahveh, “My punishment is more than I can bear!

4:15 [4:14] Today you are banishing me from {access to the fruits of} the earth, and so I will be hidden from {the blessings of} your Presence; if I am to live as a restless wanderer on the earth, then let whoever finds me kill me!

4:16 [4:15] But Yahveh said to him, “That’s not how it’s going to be! Anyone who kills Qáyin will suffer retribution seven times over.” So Yahveh put a {protective} mark on Qáyin, so that no one who encountered him would kill him.

4:17 [4:16] Thus Qáyin departed from Yahveh’s presence. He went to settle in the land of Nōdh (‘Wandering’), to the east of ‘Eidhen.

The Descendants of Qáyin

4:18 [4:17] Qáyin lay with his wife for her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to Chanōkh. Afterwards, Qáyin became a builder of a walled town, and he named it after his son Chanōkh.

4:19 [4:18] To Chanōkh was born `Īrādh, and `Īrādh fathered Mechūyā’eil, and Mechūyā’eil fathered Methūshā’eil, and Methūshā’eil fathered Lāmekh.

4:20 [4:19] Lāmekh took two women [to be his wives], one named `Ādhāh and the other Tsillāh.

4:21 [4:20] `Ādhāh gave birth to Yāvāl; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and raise livestock.

4:22 [4:21] His brother’s name was Yūvāl; he was the ancestor of all who play the harp and flute.

4:23 [4:22] Tsillāh also had a son, Tūval, a smith who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. The sister of Tūval the smith was Na`amāh.

4:24 [4:23] Lāmekh said to his wives,

“ `Ādhāh and Tsillāh,

listen to my voice;

wives of Lāmekh,

give ear to my words.

I have killed a man

for wounding me,

a young man

for injuring me.

4:25 [4:24] If Qáyin is to be avenged

seven times over,

then [let it be so for] Lāmekh

seventy-seven times.”

Adhām’s third Son, Sheith

4:26 [4:25] The Man lay with his wife Chavāh so that she became pregnant again; she gave birth to a son and named him Sheith (‘Put in place of another’), saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Hével, since Qáyin killed him.”

4:27 [4:26] Sheith also had a son, and he named him Enōsh (‘Mortal Man’). At that time, people began to pray in the name of {Yahh}.


4:27‘At that time, people began to pray in the name of Yahh’ – The original MT has ‘began to pray in the name of YHVH’. This is historically – and biblically – incorrect. The name of YHVH was revealed at the time of Moses, according to Exodus. Historically, we know that there are inscriptions in the Sinai (at Serabit el-Khadim) with the name of ‘Yahh’, dating to about 1600 BCE. However, 6th century BCE editors of the Torah began inserting the Holy Name indiscriminately, and this may have been one of those indiscriminate emendations (from Yahh and Elohim). The reason for the change in this translation from YHVH to Yahh, is that Yahh is more historically correct and truthful.


Chapter 5: The descendants of Adhām until Nóach


5:1 [5:1a] This is a record of the generations [descended from] Adhām:

5:2 [5:1b] On the day God created humans, [God] made them in the likeness of God;

5:3 [5:2] [God] created them male and female and blessed them. And on the day of their creation, he called them ‘Adhām’ (‘Humans’)

5:4 [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 Sheith.

5:5 [5:4] After Sheith was born, Adhām lived {a further} eight hundred years and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:6 [5:5] Thus Adhām’s total lifespan was nine hundred and thirty years when he died.

5:7 [5:6] When Sheith was one hundred and five years old, he became the father of Enōsh.

5:8 [5:7] Sheith lived {a further} eight hundred and seven years after the birth of Enōsh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:9 [5:8] Thus Sheith’s total lifespan was nine hundred and twelve years when he died.

5:10 [5:9] When Enōsh was ninety years old, he became the father of Qeynān.

5:11 [5:10] Enōsh lived {a further} eight hundred and fifteen years after the birth of Qeynān, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:12 [5:11] Thus Enōsh’s total lifespan was nine hundred and five years when he died.

5:13 [5:12] When Qeynān was seventy years old, he became the father of Mahalal’eil.

5:14 [5:13] Qeynān lived {a further} eight hundred and forty years after the birth of Mahalal’eil, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:15 [5:14] Thus Qeynān’s total lifespan was nine hundred and ten years when he died.

5:16 [5:15] When Mahalal’eil was sixty-five years old, he became the father of Yéredh.

5:17 [5:16] Mahalal’eil lived {a further} eight hundred and thirty years after the birth of Yéredh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:18 [5:17] Thus Mahalal’eil’s total lifespan was eight hundred and ninety-five years when he died.

5:19 [5:18] When Yéredh was one hundred and sixty-two years old, he became the father of Chanōkh.

5:20 [5:19] Yéredh lived {a further} eight hundred years after the birth of Chanōkh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:21 [5:20] Thus Yéredh’s total lifespan was nine hundred and sixty-two years when he died.


Chanōkh is taken alive into heaven when he dies

5:22 [5:21] When Chanōkh was sixty-five years old, he became the father of Mėthūshálach.

5:23 [5:22] Chanōkh walked [in] God[’s ways] for {a further} three hundred years after the birth of Mėthūshálach, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:24 [5:23] Thus Chanōkh’s total lifespan was three hundred and sixty-five years.

5:25 [5:24] Chanōkh walked [in] God[’s ways], {living a pious life}; then he was no more, because God took him away.

5:26 [5:25] When Mėthūshálach was one hundred and eighty-seven years old, he became the father of Lāmekh.

5:27 [5:26] Mėthūshálach lived {a further} seven hundred and eighty-two years after the birth of Lāmekh, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:28 [5:27] Thus Mėthūshálach’s total lifespan was nine hundred and sixty-nine years when he died.


The Birth of Nóach

5:29 [5:28] When Lāmekh was one hundred and sixty-two years old, he had a son.

5:30 [5:29] He named him Nóach, 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}.’

5:31 [5:30] Lāmekh lived {a further} five hundred and ninety-five years after the birth of Nóach, and had [other] sons and daughters.

5:32 [5:31] Thus Lāmekh’s total lifespan was seven hundred and seventy-seven years when he died.

5:33 [5:32] And Nóach was five hundred years old when he became the father of Sheim, Chām and Yáfeth.


The Mixing of the various kinds of Humans

5:34 [6:1] Now it so happened, once humans had begun to spread out across the earth, and daughters were born to them,

5:35 [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}.

5:36 [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.”

5:37 [6:4] There were [still] Fellnings on the earth in those days, and even after that. {This was the time} when Firstling men [first] coupled with human women, and fathered children with them. These [children] became the mighty heroes of old, great men of renown.


God grows disappointed in how corrupt humanity becomes

5:38 [6:5] However, 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.

5:39 [6:6] So Yahveh regretted that [God] had [also] put humans on the earth, and it grieved [God] to the core.

5:40 [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.”

5:41 [6:8] Nóach, however, found favour in Yahveh’s estimation.


5:2Adham – God called them ‘Humans’ (Adham means ‘human’).

5:34 – God’s First Sons (Firstlings) – In my view, these were the Neanderthals. They were the first intelligent hominins created by God. Through genetic testing, it has been found that non-African humans have between 2-4% of their DNA from Neanderthals, confirming that there was indeed some mixing of the two species.

5:36 – Fellnings – (Hebrew Nefilim). I believe these were the Denisovans, cousins of the Neanderthals who lived in Asia. From the scant remaining fossil teeth that we have, they were giants – up to seven feet tall. People in Eastern Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea and Australian Aborigines have 4-6% of their DNA from Denisovans.

Chapter 6: The story of Nóach

6:1 [6:9a] This is an account of [the story of] Nóach:

6:2 [6:9b] [Now] Nóach was a righteous man, blameless among [the people of] his generation, [for] Nóach conducted [himself in a manner pleasing] to God.

6:3 [6:10] And Nóach fathered three sons: Sheim, Chām and Yáfeth.

6:4 [6:11] But the earth had gone to ruin in God’s sight, for the earth was full of [grievous] wrongdoing.

6:5 [6:12] So Yahveh God beheld the earth, and was astonished at how it had gone to ruin, for all [mortal] flesh upon the earth had become ruinous in their ways.

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

Instructions to build the Box-ship

6:7 [6:14] [So] make yourself a box-ship of wood from cypress trees; you shall make the box-ship [with] rooms [inside], and coat it inside and outside with pitch.

6:8 [6:15] Now this is how you are to make it: the length of the box-ship is to be three hundred cubits, the width fifty cubits, and the height thirty cubits.

6:9 [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.

6:10 [6:17] For take note: I am going to bring the Deluge – [flood]waters – upon the earth, to bring ruin upon every creature under the skies that has the breath of life in it. Everything that [is] on land will perish.

Instructions to bring all kinds of Animals into the Box-ship

6:11 [6:18] However, 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;

6:12 [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.

6:13 [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.

6:14 [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.”

6:15 [6:22] And Nóach did so; he did everything just as God commanded him to do.

6:16 [7:1] Then Yahveh God said to Nóach, “Come into the box-ship, you and your entire household, because I have found you righteous before Me among [the people of] this generation.

6:17 [7:2] Take with you seven pairs of every kind of [ritually] clean animal, a male and a female, and [just] two of animals that are not [ritually] clean – a male and a female,

6:18 [7:3] and also seven pairs of every kind of [ritually] clean winged creature of the skies – a male and a female, and [just] two of every winged creature that is not [ritually] clean – a male and a female, to keep their species alive upon the surface of the whole earth;

6:19 [7:4] because in seven days’ time I will send rain upon the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out every living thing I have made from the surface of the ground.”

6:20 [7:5] And Nóach did everything just as Yahveh God commanded him.

Chapter 7: The Flood

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

7:2 [7:7] So they entered the box-ship – Nóach 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] clean, and of the birds and of the domestic animals that are not [ritually] clean, and of all [creatures] that crawl upon the ground,

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

The rains begin to fall

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

7:6 [7:11] In the six hundredth year of Nóach’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 flung open.

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

7:8 [7:13] On that very same day they entered the box-ship – Nóach and Sheim, Chām and Yáfeth, Nóach’s sons, together with Nóach’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 ground according to its kind, and every [type of] winged creature according to its kind – every song-bird, and everything with wings.

7:10 [7:15] Two by two they came to Nóach into the box-ship – out of 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 all came, just as God had commanded Nóach. Then Yahveh God shut [them] inside the box-ship.

The Deluge rises, and all life is wiped out

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

7:13 [7:18] The waters swelled and increased greatly upon the earth, 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 earth, even all the mightiest mountains beneath the heavens were covered.

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

7:16 [7:21] And so all [living] flesh that moved about on the ground perished – [every] bird, domestic animal, wild animal, and every creature that swarms over the ground, 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 earth. Only Nóach [remained], and those with him in the box-ship.

7:19 [7:24] Thus the floodwaters prevailed upon the earth for a hundred and fifty days.


Chapter 8: The Flood subsides


8:1 Then God turned [God’s] attention to Nóach, and to all the wild animals, all the domestic animals, all the winged creatures, and all the reptiles and insects which were with him in the box-ship; and [God] caused a wind to pass over the earth, 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 skies was held back.

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

8:4 So the box-ship came to rest in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Arārāṭ.

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 appeared.

Nóach sends out birds to see if the waters really have receded

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

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

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 the whole earth. 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 Nóach knew that the waters had [begun to] abate from upon the earth.

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 Nóach’s life, in the first {month of the year}, on the first [day] of the month, the waters had completely dried up from the earth.

8:14 [8:13b] So Nóach 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 Nóach 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 that 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 multiply throughout the earth.’

9:4 [8:18] So he came out – Nóach 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 Nóach built an altar to Yahveh, and took some of the [ritually] clean domestic animals, and some of the [ritually] clean winged creatures, and offered {them} up {as} 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; never again will I strike down all living things as I have done.

9:8 [8:22] As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will not cease.’

God gives the stewardship of the Earth to humanity

9:9 [9:01] So God blessed Nóach 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 earth, 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.

An accounting will be demanded for any blood shed

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 of your lives {which is shed} at the hands of any wild animal; but [so too] I will demand {an accounting of any blood shed} by human hands – {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 earth and take stewardship of it.”

God establishes a covenant with Nóach

9:16 [9:08] Then God spoke to Nóach 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 earth.

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 the whole earth.”

9:20 [9:12] Then God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am setting up between you and Me, and between every living thing that was 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 earth.

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 earth, and between every living creature – [between] all [mortal] flesh upon the earth.

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


Chapter 10: Noach and the Shame of Cana`an


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

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

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

10:4 [9:21] Then 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 Chām, 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] Nóach 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 {Yahh}, 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 Nóach lived 350 years after the Deluge;

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



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; although Cana`an is Noach’s grandson, he is considered as Noach’s youngest son.

Chapter 11: The descendants of Noach’s sons


11:1 [10:1] Now these were the descendants of Nóach’s sons Sheim, Chām and Yáfeth – children were born to them after the Deluge.

The Descendants of Yáfeth

11:2 [10:2] [The] descendants of Yáfeth [were] Gomer (‘the Cimmerians’), Māghōgh (‘the Persians’), Mādhay (‘the Medes’), Yōvān (‘the Ionian Greeks’), Tuvāl (‘the Luwians’), Méshekh (‘the Moshkians’) and Thīrās (‘the Etruscans’).

11:3 [10:3] And [the] descendants of Gomer were Ashkėnaz (‘the Scythians’), Rīfath and Thogharmāh.

11:4 [10:4] [The] descendants of Yōvān [were the people of the cities of] Elīshāh and Tharshīsh, [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.

The Descendants of Chām

11:6 [10:6] And [the] descendants of Chām [were] Kush (‘the Ethiopians’), the Egyptians, the Libyans and the Cana`anites.

11:7 [10:7] And [the] descendants of Kush {were the people of the tribes of} Sėvā, Chavilāh, Savthāh, Ra`māh and Savthėkhā; and [the] descendants of Ra`māh [were the people of the lands of] 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 Libyan Berbers’); [the] Philistines came out of there with [the] Kaftorim (‘the Minoans’).

The Descendants of Cana`an

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

11:16 [10:16] [the] Yevusites, [the] Emorrites, [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 Cana`anite clans spread out.

11:19 [10:19] Now [the] border of the Cana`anites 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] descendants of Chām, according to their clans and their languages, by their countries and their nations.

The Descendants of Sheim

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 Qeynān, Qeynān 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] Yoqṭān.

11:26 [10:26] And Yoqṭān 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 Yoqṭān.

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 Nóach’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 bake bricks and fire them thoroughly.’ So for them, brick was used like stone, and bitumen was used like 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 memorial for ourselves, in case we are scattered over the face of the whole earth.

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 scheme to do will elude them.

12:7 [11:7] ‘Come, let us go down and make their language there a baffling confusion, 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 ceased building the city and the tower.

12:9 [11:9] For this reason it is called Bável (‘Confusion’) – 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 called upon the name of {Eil Shadday} [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.



14:1 – ‘This is an account of the story of Avram’ – these are hypothetical, restored words; every new section of Genesis begins with the Hebrew words, elleh toldot (‘these are the generations’, meaning ‘this is an account of the story of xx’), except for the story of Avram.

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] called upon the Name of {Eil Shadday} [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 time 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 {latter kings} had joined forces in the Valley of the Siddim – that is, the Salt Sea (‘the 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 {Emorrites} 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 – five kings against the four. {Nevertheless, the five kings of the Valley of Siddim were routed by the four invading kings}.

16:10 [14:10] Now the Valley of the Siddim [was riddled with] bitumen pits, so when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they hid themselves there, and the remaining {kings} fled to the hill-country.

Lo is carried off by the four invading kings


16:11 [14:11] {Then Kėdorlā`omer and his allies} seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions; then they departed.

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

16:13 [14:13] One {servant however} escaped, and he came and reported [all this] to Avrām the Migrant. Now {at that time}, he was camped near the [great] Terebinth trees of Mamrei the {Emorrite}, 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 marshalled his retainers – 318 {skilled fighting-men} born in his household – and went out in pursuit {of Kėdorlā`omer and the kings that were allied with him}, 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 retainers 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 Loṭ, his possessions {and servants}. He also brought back the [enslaved] women and {all the other captured} people.

Avrām meets with the Kings of Sodom and Salem


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

who has delivered your enemies into your hands.’

16:21 [14:20b] Then Avrām gave him a tenth of all {the spoils he had captured}.

16:22 [14:21] Then the king of Sodom said to Avrām, ‘Give me the people {whom you recovered}, but keep the goods for yourself.’

16:23 [14:22] However, Avrām said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand {and taken an oath} to {Eil Shadday}, God Most High, Founder of heaven and earth,

16:24 [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!”

16:25 [14:24] {There will be nothing for me}, except only what [my] lads have [already] eaten; but as for the share [that belongs to] {my allies} who went with me – to `Aneir, Eshkol and Mamrei – let them take their share.’


16:7 – Emorrites – These are the biblical Amorites, who are different from the historical Amorites, although both seemed to have been Canaanite Semitic peoples. The historical Amorite people lived in what is now northern Lebanon and the Syrian coast from 2400 BCE to about 2000 BCE. Then they migrated to Mesopotamia (what is now central Iraq), and lived there until about 1740 BCE, when they disappear from history.

         The biblical Amorites – whom I have called Emorrites, directly from the Hebrew Emori – seem to have lived in areas either side of the Dead Sea from the time of Abraham (1980 BCE) until the time of the Exodus (1446 BCE) and later. Geographically and chronologically therefore, the historical Amorites and the biblical Amorites cannot be the same people.

         The Emorrite cities mentioned in the Bible are all in the area which was later inhabited by the Ammonites. Hatsetson Tamar is now Eyn Gedi on the western shore of the Dead Sea, and Heshbon is in what is now the Kingdom of Jordan.


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 [am] your shield;

your reward [shall be] very great.’

17:2 [15:2] But Avrām said, ‘O my Sovereign, {Eil Shadday}, what [reward] can You [possibly] give me, since I am going {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 steward in my household will definitely inherit {my estate and my family after} me.’

17:4 [15:4] Then behold, a message of Yahveh [came] to him, saying, ‘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, so [God] reckoned it to him as a righteous thing {in his favour}.

God promises to give Avrām’s Descendants the Land of Canaan


17:7 [15:7] Furthermore, [God] said to him, ‘I am {Eil Shadday}, who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.’

17:8 [15:8] But [Avrām] said, ‘O my Sovereign, {Eil Shadday}, how can I know [for certain] that I will possess 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, [right] down the middle, and he put each [party’s] half opposite the other; the birds, however, he did not cut in two.

17:11 [15:11] Since carrion birds were coming 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 that 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 execute 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 generation {in enslavement}, {your descendants} will come back here, for the iniquity of the {Emorrites} has not yet reached its full measure.’

17:17 [15:17] Now when the sun had set and a thick darkness had fallen, astonishingly there appeared a smoking pot-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 [direct] descendants I have given this land, {lying between} the Gully of Egypt and the great river, the River Euphrates

17:19 [15:19] – [the land of] the Cana`anites: the Qeinites, the Qenizzites, the Qadmonites,

17:20 [15:20-21a] the Cheytites, the Perizzites, the Refa’im, the {Emorrites},

17:21 [15:21b], the Girgashites, the Chivites and the Yevusites.’


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] {Eil Shadday} 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 {Yahh} 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.” However, 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 (‘Eil shall hear’),

for {Eil Shadday} 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 Emorrite], 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 Sovereign, if I have found favour in Your eyes, then please do not pass Your servant by.

20:4 [18:4] Please, {my lords}, permit me to have a little water brought out, so that you may all wash your feet and rest yourselves under [this] tree.

20:5 [18:5a] Then, let me get you all 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.”

20:6 [18:5b] So they replied, “Very well; do just as you have said.”

20:7 [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!”

20:8 [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.

20:9 [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.

God reiterates the promise that Sārāh will bear a son

20:10 [18:9a] Then they asked him, “Where [is] your wife Sārāh?”

20:11 [18:9a] So he said, “There, in the tent.”

20:12 [18:10a] Then [God] said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and Sārāh your wife will have a son.”

20:13 [18:10b] Now Sārāh had been listening at the entrance-flap of the tent, as she was behind it.

20:14 [18:11] But Avrāhām and Sārāh were already old and well advanced in years, and Sārāh had [long] stopped having her periods.

20:15 [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?”

20:16 [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?’

20:17 [18:14] Is anything too wondrous for {Eil Shadday}? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sārāh will have a son.”

20:18 [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

20:19 [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.

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

20:21 [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.

20:22 [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 [God] has promised to him.”

20:23 [18:20] So Yahveh said {to Avrāhām}, “[There is] an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sins are great – indeed, most grievous!

20:24 [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.”

20:25 [18:22] {Two of} the men then turned away and went towards Sodom, but Avrāhām remained standing before {the Archangel Messenger of} Yahveh.

20:26 [18:23] So Avrāhām drew near {to the Messenger of God} and said, “Will you sweep away the righteous along with the wicked?

20:27 [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?

20:28 [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 thing {that is} [most] just?”

20:29 [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.”

20:30 [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,

20:31 [18:28a] 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?”

20:32 [18:28b] So God said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] if I find forty-five there.”

20:33 [18:29a] He proceeded to speak to [God] further and said, “What if only forty are found there?”

20:34 [18:29b] So [God] said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] for the sake of the forty.”

20:35 [18:30a] 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?”

20:36 [18:30b] So [God] said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] if I find thirty there.”

20:37 [18:31a] 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?”

20:38 [18:31b] So [God] said, “I will not bring down ruin [upon it] for the sake of the twenty.”

20:39 [18:32a] 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?”

20:40 [18:32b] So [God] said, “I will not bring ruin down [upon it] for the sake of the ten.”

20:41 [18:33] As soon as Yahveh had finished speaking with Avrāhām, {the Mesenger of 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 Loṭ was sitting in the [city-]gateway of Sodom, {watching as people were entering and leaving the city}. However, when Loṭ saw them, {knowing that such good-looking men as them would be in danger}, he got up to greet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground.

21:2 [19:2a] 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.”

21:3 [19:2b] But they said, “No, we’re going to spend the night in the city-square.”

21:4 [19:3] However, 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.

21:5 [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, and from every station of life}.

21:6 [19:5] Then they called out to Loṭ 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!”

21:7 [19:6] So Loṭ squeezed outside to [meet] them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him.

21:8 [19:7] Then he said, “Please, my brothers, don’t behave so wickedly!

21:9 [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!”

21:10 [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 Loṭ – and came near to breaking down the door.

21:11 [19:10] But the [two] men [inside] thrust their hands out and pulled Loṭ back into the house with them and shut the door.

21:12 [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.

The Archangels warn Lo that Sodom will be destroyed at Sunrise the next day

21:13 [19:12a] Then the [two] men said to Loṭ, “Do you have anyone else here – sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city {related} to you?

21:14 [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!”}

21:15 [19:14] So Loṭ 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, {so they dismissed his plea}.

21:16 [19:15] As the dawn approached, the angels urged Loṭ, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here [with you], or you will perish when the city is punished!”

21:17 [19:16] When he hesitated, the [two] men took firm hold of his hand, along with 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.

21:18 [19:17] But as soon as they had brought them out, one of them shouted, “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!”

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

21:20 [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.

21:21 [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.”

21:22 [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.

21:23 [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 (‘Small’).

Sodom and the cities of the Plain are destroyed

21:24 [19:23] By the time Loṭ entered Tso`ar, the Sun was [just] rising over the Land.

21:25 [19:24] So then Yahveh rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah – [directly] from Yahveh, from the heavens.

21:26 [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.

21:27 [19:26] But [Loṭ’]s wife looked behind them, and she became a pillar of salt.

21:28 [19:27] That morning Avrāhām got up early, and [hurried back] to the place where he had stood in the presence of Yahveh.

21:29 [19:28] He looked down towards Sodom and Gomorrah, across the whole surface of the land of the plain; and when he looked, he saw [nothing but dense] smoke rising from the land, like smoke [rising] from a furnace.

21:30 [19:29] So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, [this is how God] was mindful of Avrāhām – by bringing Loṭ out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Loṭ had lived..

Loţ and His Daughters

21:31 [19:30] Soon afterwards, Loṭ 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.

21:32 [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.

21:33 [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.”

21:34 [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.

21:35 [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 lines through our father.”

21:36 [19:35] So they got their father drunk on wine that night as well, and the younger daughter went and slept with him. Once again, he was not aware of it when she lay down, or when she got up.

21:37 [19:36] So both of Loṭ’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

21:38 [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.

21:39 [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.


21:1‘knowing that such good-looking men as they would be in danger’ – this is a midrash purely for the benefit of the reader, a narrative insert to explain why Lot singled them out of the crowd for special attention; it is not part of the biblical text


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 camped {at various places} between Qadhéish and Shūr; [for a time] he sojourned 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,” since he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” in case the men of the city should kill him because of her. So {the king of the Avvites} – the Avimélekh of Gėrār – sent {for Sārāh} and took her {as a concubine}.

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

22:4 [20:4] Now, 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 . . . 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} are doomed to die.”

The Avimélekh castigates Avrāhām

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 as they listened, the men all became very much afraid.

22:9 [20:9] Then the Avimélekh summoned Avrāhām and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I wronged you, that you should 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] {When  Avrāhām made no reply,} the Avimélekh said to Avrāhām, “Whatever were you thinking when you did this?”

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

22:12 [20:12] And, in point of fact, 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] from my father’s household and from the land of my birth to live a nomadic life, I said to her, ‘Do this kindness for me: Every place that we come to, say of me, ‘He is my brother’.”

The Avimélekh gives Avrāhām permission to live anywhere in his territory

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 guard you from the disapproving eyes of anyone 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, {and made every man impotent}.


Chapter 23: The Birth of Yitschaq


23:1 [21:1] Now Yahveh took care of Sārāh just as [God] had said, and Yahveh did for Sārāh exactly what [God] 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 gave the name Yitzchaq (‘He shall laugh’) to the son that was born to him – [the son] whom Sārāh had born to him,

23:4 [21:6] since Sārāh had said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears {about this} will laugh with me!”

23:5 [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!”

23:6 [21:4] Then Avrāhām circumcised his son Yitzchaq when he was eight days old, just as God had commanded him.

23:7 [21:5] Avrāhām was a hundred years old when his son Yitzchaq was born to him.

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 Yitzchaq 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 is never going to share in [your] inheritance with my son – with Yitzchaq!”

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

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

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

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, {along with the sole responsibility for} the boy, and then sent her off. 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 had 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 lad {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 lad [crying] in {the place over} there where he {is huddled}.

23:18 [21:18] So get up, raise the lad 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 young lad a drink.

23:20 [21:20] And God was with the lad as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became a seasoned 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] Now it so happened at that time, that the Avimélekh {that is, the king of all the Avvites}, along with Achuzzath his chief advisor, and Pīkhol the commander of his army, {came to} speak with Avrāhām and said, “God is with you in everything that 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 with my kith and kin; but that you will accord to me and to 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 haven’t heard {anything} about it until today.”

23:27 [21:27] So Avrāhām took {a flock of} sheep and {a herd of} cattle, and gave them to the Avimélekh; thereafter, the two of them made a pact.

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

23:29 [21:29] so the Avimélekh asked Avrāhām, “What is the significance 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` (‘Well of the Oath’), 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 {Avvites}.

23:33 [21:33] [Shortly afterwards], Avrāhām planted a Tāmārisk tree at Bė’eir Shéva`, and there he called upon the name of {Eil Shadday} the Eternal God [in prayer].

23:34 [21:34] Thereafter, Avrāhām sojourned in the land of the {Avvites} for a long while.


23:32 (and throughout Genesis) ‘the Avvites’ – according to MT Deut 2:23, the Avvites were the original inhabitants of what would later become Philistia. The verse says that people from Crete (Kaftor) came and dispossessed them. These Kaftorites would become the Philistines. They arrived in the area about 1180 BCE, well after the Exodus in 1446 BCE – which is why the use of the term ‘Philistines’ is an anachronism in the text.

      The original texts may have said ‘Avvite’, (the title ‘Avimelekh’ may even have meant ‘king of the Avvites’), but at the time of the final redaction of the books of the Torah, the people and the land were more familiar to the Israelites as Philistines and Philistia, so I conjecture that all mentions of ‘Avvites’ in Genesis were changed to ‘Philistines’. In my attempt to reconstruct the original Torah, I have changed it back to ‘Avvites’.


Chapter 24 – The binding of Yitschaq:  Avrāhām is tested


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

24:2 [22:1b] And he replied, “Here I am!”

24:3 [22:2] Then [God] said, “Please take your son, your dearest one, the one whom you love – Yitzchaq – and get yourself off to the land of Moriyyah. Offer him up as a burnt offering there on one of the mountains which I will indicate to you.”

24:4 [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 Yitzchaq his son. When he had split [some] wood for a burnt offering, he rose and set out for the place God had told him [about].

24:5 [22:4] On the third day, Avrāhām looked out {to gain his bearings}, and he saw the place in the distance.

24:6 [22:5] He said to his young menservants, “Stay here with the donkeys, and let me and the lad go yonder. We will offer worship, and then we will come back to you.”

24:7 [22:6] So Avrāhām took the wood [for] the burnt offering and placed it on Yitzchaq his son [to carry], but he took in his [own] hand the firestone and the machete. Then the two of them went on together.

24:8 [22:7a] Presently, Yitzchaq spoke to Avrāhām his father and said, “Dad?” So Avrāhām replied, “Here I am, my son.”

24:9 [22:7b] [Yitzchaq] said, “Look, the firestone and the wood are here, but where’s the sheep for the burnt offering?”

24:10 [22:8] And Avrāhām said, “God will see to it – a sheep – for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them went on together.

24:11 [22:9] When they came to the place God had told him [about], Avrāhām built the altar there and [carefully] arranged the wood [on it]. Then he bound Yitzchaq his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the [bundles of] wood.

24:12 [22:10] Then he put out his hand and took the machete to slay his son.

24:13 [22:11a] But then an angel of Yahveh called out to him from the heavens, and said, “Avrāhām! Avrāhām!”

24:14 [22:11b] And he replied, “Here I am!”

24:15 [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.

24:16 [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 [hold of] the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

24:17 [22:14] Therefore Avrāhām called the name of that place ‘{Shadday} Will Provide’ – just as it is said to this [very] day, ‘On the mountain of {Shadday} it will be provided’.

24:18 [22:15] Then [the] angel of Yahveh called to Avrāhām from the heavens a second time.

24:19 [22:16] And [it] said, “I swear by Myself, declares {Eil Shadday}, that because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son – your dearest one – from Me,

24:20 [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,

24:21 [22:18] and all nations of the earth will be blessed through your descendants, because you have obeyed My instructions.”

24:22 [22:19] Then Avrāhām returned [with Yitzchaq] 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

24:23 [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.”

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

24:25 [22:22] Késedh, Chazo, Pildāsh, Yidhlāf and Bėthu’eil,

24:26 [22:23] and Bėthu’eil became the father of Rivqāh. These were the eight sons whom Milkāh bore to Nāchor, Avrāhām’s brother.

24:27 [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. Grant 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]Pray listen to us, my lord. 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 grant me the cave of Makhpéilāh, which [belongs] to him and which [lies] at the end of his field. Ask him to grant 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 forward and] responded to Avrāhām in the [full] hearing of all the Cheytites – of all [his fellow townsfolk] – and he said,

25:11 [23:11] “Pray listen to me, my lord: I shall grant you the field, and I shall grant you the cave that is in it. I shall grant 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,

25:15 [23:15] “Pray 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] 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 –

25:18 [23:18] was legally made over to Avrāhām 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 {Eil Shadday}, 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] {Eil Shadday}, 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 {Eil Shadday}, 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 {Eil Shadday}, the God of my master Avrāhām, who has not forsaken His [eternal promise] of faithfulness and surety to my master! As for me, {Eil Shadday} 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 {Eil Shadday}! 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 commission

26:33 [24:33a] 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.”

26:34 [24:33b] So [Lāvān] said, “Then speak!”

26:35 [24:34] So he said, “I am a servant of Avrāhām!

26:36 [24:35] Now, {Eil Shadday} 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.

26:37 [24:36] My master’s wife Sārāh has [even] borne to my master a son in his old age, and he has bequeathed to him everything that he owns.

26:38 [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 Cana`anites, in whose land I live,

26:39 [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].’

26:40 [24:39] Then I asked my master, ‘Supposing the woman won’t come back with me?’

26:41 [24:40] So he said to me, ‘{Eil Shadday}, whose ways I have followed, will send [God’s] 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 [own] father’s family.

26:42 [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.’

26:43 [24:42] So today when I came to the spring, I said, ‘O {Eil Shadday}, God of my master Avrāhām, let it be Your [will] to please grant success to the journey on which I have come.

26:44 [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’,

26:45 [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 {Eil Shadday} has decided upon for my master’s son.’

26:46 [24:45] Then before I had even 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.’

26:47 [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.

26:48 [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,

26:49 [24:48] and I bowed down and worshipped {Eil Shadday}. I blessed {Eil Shadday}, 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.

26:50 [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.”

Lāvān responds on Bėthu’eil’s behalf to Eli`ézer’s story

26:51 [24:50] But Lāvān responded {in the stead of his now deceased father} Bėthu’eil and said, “This matter comes from {Eil Shadday}; we cannot have any say in it.

26:52 [24:51] Here [stands] Rivqāh before you; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, just as {Eil Shadday} has decreed.”

26:53 [24:52] And when Avrāhām’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before Yahveh.

26:54 [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.

26:55 [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 back} to my master.”

26:56 [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.”

26:57 [24:56] But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that {Eil Shadday} has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so that I may go {back} to my master.”

Rivqah is sent on her way

26:58 [24:57] So they said, “Let’s consult the girl and ask her personally.”

26:59 [24:58a] They consulted Rivqāh and said to her, “Are you going to go with this man?”

26:60 [24:58b] And she said, “I’ll go.”

26:61 [24:59] So they sent their sister Rivqāh on her way, along with [Dėvorāh] her nurse and everything she owned, accompanied by Avrāhām’s servant and his men.

26:62 [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 foes.”

26:63 [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.

Rivqāh and Yitzchaq meet

26:64 [24:62] Now Yitzchaq was passing through the desert near the Well of Lachai Ro’ī, as he was {presently} dwelling in the region of the Négev,

26:65 [24:63] and he went out onto the sand-flats to meditate, just as evening was drawing near; and as he raised his eyes and looked out, he saw camels approaching.

26:66 [24:64] Now Rivqāh also raised her eyes and saw Yitzchaq, so she got down from her camel.

26:67 [24:65a] Then she asked the servant, “Who is that man over there coming across the sand-flats to meet us?”

26:68 [24:65b] And the servant said, “He is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself.

26:69 [24:66] Then the servant recounted to Yitzchaq all the things he had done.

26:70 [24:67] Afterwards, Yitzchaq brought her into the tent of his mother Sārāh, and he married Rivqāh, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Yitzchaq was comforted after [the death of] his mother.


Chapter 27: The Death of Avrāhām


27:1 [25:1] Now Avrāhām had taken 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 Lė’ummites.

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

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

27:6 [25:6] However, to the sons of Avrāhām’s concubines, Avrāhām gave gifts and sent them away from his son Yitzchaq 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 Yitzchaq 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 alongside his wife Sārāh.

27:11 [25:11] And so it was that after Avrāhām’s death, God blessed his son Yitzchaq; and Yitzchaq [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] 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 [25:19a] This is an account of {the story of} Yitzchaq son of Avrāhām:

28:2 [25:19b-20] Avrāhām fathered Yitzchaq, and Yitzchaq was forty years old when he took Rivqāh, daughter of Bėthu’eil the Aramean and sister of Lāvān the Aramean, from Paddan Arām to be his wife.

28:3 [25:21] Now Yitzchaq 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 going to be}, 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 (‘Hairy’).

28:8 [25:26] After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping onto `Eisav’s heel; so he was named Ya`aqov (‘Supplanter/Heel’). And Yitzchaq 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] Yitzchaq favoured `Eisav, because of the taste of his wild game, but Rivqāh favoured Ya`aqov.

Ya`aqov takes `Eisav’s birthright as firstborn


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’m starving!” That is why he was [also] called Edhom (‘Red one’).

28:13 [25:31] But Ya`aqov said, “First sell your birthright {as firstborn} to me – right now!”

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: Yitzchaq 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 Yitzchaq went to {stay under the protection of} the Avimélekh – {that is}, the king of the {Avvites} – in Gėrār,

29:2 [26:2] because Yahveh had [come] to Yitzchaq {in a dream} and had said, “Do not go down to Egypt; remain living in the land that I am speaking to 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} Yitzchaq stayed in Gėrār.

Yitzchaq pretends that Rivqāh is his sister


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 Yitzchaq had been there for quite a while, that the Avimélekh – {that is,} the king of the {Avvites} – looked down from a window, and caught sight of Yitzchaq canoodling with his wife Rivqāh.

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

29:10 [26:9b] So Yitzchaq said to him, “Because I told [myself], ‘In case I lose my life on account of her’.”

29:11 [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!”

29:12 [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 Avvites over wells in their territory

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

30:2 [26:13] Thus the man became wealthy, and continued to grow in wealth until he had become 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 {Avvites} 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 {Avvites} stopped them up, and filled them with earth.

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

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

30:7 [26:18] Yitzchaq re-excavated the wells of water that had been dug by the servants of his father Avrāhām, but which the {Avvites} 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 Yitzchaq’s servants were digging in the dry gully, when they discovered a well of fresh spring-water there.

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

30:10 [26:21] Thereafter they dug another well, but {the herdsmen of Gėrār} quarrelled over that one too; so [Yitzchaq] named it Siţnah (‘Hostility’).

30:11 [26:22] After that, he pulled up stakes {and moved on} from there. Then he dug another well, and {this time} there was no quarrel over it. So he named it Rėḥovot (‘Expanses’), saying, “Now {Eil Shadday} has given us ample borders, and we will flourish in the Land.”


The Avimélekh makes a pact with Yitzchaq


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

30:13 [26:24] and that night, Yahveh [came] to him {in a dream} 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 {the promise I made to} My servant Avrāhām.”

30:14 [26:25] So {in the morning}, Yitzchaq built an altar there, and called upon the Name of {Eil Shadday} {in prayer}. There he pitched his tents, and there Yitzchaq’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 Yitzchaq asked them, “Why have you come to [see] me, given that you were so hostile towards me [that] you sent me away from you?”

30:17 [26:28a] And they said, “We have clearly seen that {Yahh} 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 have not mistreated you, and just as we have only ever been good to you and sent you away in peace. And now {look at you – how greatly} you are blessed by {Yahh}!”

30:19 [26:30] Thereupon Yitzchaq organised a feast for them, and {that evening} 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 Yitzchaq sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace.

30:21 [26:32] That {very same} day, Yitzchaq’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 (‘Seven’), and for this reason the name of the town is Bė’eir Shéva` (‘Well of the Seven’) to this day.

`Eisav marries several Canaanite women


30:23 [26:34] Now, when `Eisav was forty years old, he married Yėhudhīt daughter of Bė’eirī the Cheytite, as well as {`Ādhāh and} Bāsmath, daughter[s] of Eylon the Cheytite.

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


30:23 – Adhah is included here; her name is missing from the Hebrew in this verse, but does appear in MT 36:2 (HTT 40:2).

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

31:1 [27:1a] {This is an account of [the story of] Ya`aqov son of Yitzchaq:}

31:2 [27:1b] Now when Yitzchaq 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!”

31:3 [27:2] Then [Yitzchaq] said, “Just look at me [my son] – I’ve grown old, and I could pass away at any time!

31:4 [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.

31:5 [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.”

31:6 [27:5a] Now Rivqāh had been listening as Yitzchaq was speaking to his son `Eisav.

31:7 [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,

31:8 [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 {Eil Shadday} before I die.’

31:9 [27:8] So now, my son, listen carefully to what I say, and do [exactly] as I tell you:

31:10 [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.

31:11 [27:10] Then take [them] to your father to eat, in order that he can give you his [solemn] blessing before he dies.”

31:12 [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?

31:13 [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!”

31:14 [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!”

31:15 [27:14] So he went and got [the young goats], and brought [them] to his mother. She then prepared some tasty roasts, just the way his father liked them.

31:16 [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.

31:17 [27:16] She also dressed his arms and the hairless part of his neck with the skins of the young goats.

31:18 [27:17] Then she handed over the tasty roasts to her son Ya`aqov, along with the bread she had made.

31:19 [27:18a] So [Ya`aqov] came to his father and said, “Father!”

31:20 [27:18b] And [Yitzchaq] replied, “Here I am! Who are you my son?”

31:21 [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 [solemn] blessing.”

31:22 [27:20a] But then Yitzchaq asked his son, “How is it that you found it so quickly, my son?”

31:23 [27:20b] So [Ya`aqov] said, “[It’s] because {Eil Shadday} your God brought me [success]!”

31:24 [27:21] But then Yitzchaq 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.”

31:25 [27:22] So Ya`aqov came closer to his father Yitzchaq, who felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Ya`aqov, but the arms are the arms of `Eisav.”

31:26 [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.

31:27 [27:24] Then he asked, “Are you really my son `Eisav?”  And [Ya`aqov] replied, “I am.”

31:28 [27:25] Then [Yitzchaq] 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.

31:29 [27:26] Then his father Yitzchaq said to him, “Please come closer and kiss me, my son.”

31:30 [27:27a] So [Ya`aqov] came closer and kissed him. When Yitzchaq caught the smell of his clothing, he blessed him and said,

31:31 [27:27b] “Ah, the smell of my son

is like the smell of an abundant field

that {Eil Shadday} has blessed!

31:32 [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!

31:33 [27:29] May peoples serve you,

and nations pay homage to you.

Be a strong leader for your kinsmen,

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

31:34 [27:30] Now it so happened, that no sooner had Yitzchaq finished blessing Ya`aqov – Ya`aqov scarcely having left his father Yitzchaq’s presence – that his brother `Eisav came in from his hunt.

31:35 [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!”

31:36 [27:32a] However, Yitzchaq his father said to him, “Who are you?”

31:37 [27:32b] And he said, “I’m your son, your firstborn – `Eisav.”

31:38 [27:33] At this, Yitzchaq [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 blest him – and blest he shall remain!”

31:39 [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, dad!”

31:40 [27:35] But [Yitzchaq] said, “Your brother came and dishonestly took away your blessing!”

31:41 [27:36] So [`Eisav] said, “Well, isn’t Ya`aqov (‘He will usurp’) 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?”

31:42 [27:37] So Yitzchaq replied and said to `Eisav, “Look, I have made him clan-chief over you, and have given all his kinsfolk 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?

31:43 [27:38] So `Eisav said to his father, “Don’t you have even one blessing [left for me], dad? Bless me too, dad!” Then `Eisav let out with a loud voice and wept.

31:44 [27:39a] So his father Yitzchaq answered and said to him,

31:45 [27:39b] “Behold, your habitations shall [arise] from the fertile earth,

and from the dew of heaven above.

31:46 [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.”

31:47 [27:41a] Thereafter, `Eisav held a seething 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

31:48 [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.”

31:49 [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.

31:50 [27:43] So then, my son, listen carefully to what I say: Get ready and take yourself off to my brother Lāvān – to Chārān!

31:51 [27:44] Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides.

31:52 [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?”

31:53 [27:46] Then Rivqāh {went over to} Yitzchaq{’s tent 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 {whom `Eisav has already taken} from among the women of the Land – why should I go on living!”

31:54 [28:1] So Yitzchaq called for Ya`aqov and blessed him, and gave him strict instructions, saying, “Do not take a wife from among the women of Cana`an!

31:55 [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.

31:56 [28:3] May Eil Shadday bless you and make you fruitful, and increase your numbers until you become an assembly of tribes!

31:57 [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.”

31:58 [28:5] Then Yitzchaq 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

31:59 [28:6] Now when `Eisav came to hear that Yitzchaq 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 Cana`an’,

31:60 [28:7] and that Ya`aqov had obeyed his father and his mother, and had gone to Paddan Arām,

31:61 [28:8] `Eisav realised {at that point} how displeasing the Cana`anite women were to his father Yitzchaq;

31:62 [28:9] so he went off to {the clans 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 came upon a [certain] place, he stopped there for the night because the sun was setting. 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 heavens; and he saw [that] the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

32:4 [28:13] Then he saw {the angel-messenger of} Yahveh stationed over him, and [God] said, “I am {Eil Shadday}, the God of Avrāhām your [grand]father and the God of Yitzchaq! 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 progeny.

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 {Eil Shadday} 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! There is no {stone like} this, for it [is] most certainly 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 (‘House of God’), 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 {Eil Shadday} 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 everything that You give me.”

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. However, {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 [29:4a] So Ya`aqov asked {the shepherds}, “My brothers, where are you from?”

33:5 [29:4b] And they replied, “We’re from Chārān.”

33:6 [29:5a] Then he said to them, “Do you know Lāvān, Nāchor’s {grand}son?”

33:7 [29:5b] And they answered, “We do.”

33:8 [29:6a] So Ya`aqov asked them, “Is he in good health?”

33:9 [29:6b] And they said, “He is. And look – {here} comes his daughter Racheil with {his} sheep!”

33:10 [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?”

33:11 [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.”

Ya`aqov and Racheil meet for the first time

33:12 [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.

33:13 [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 {all by himself}, and he watered the sheep of his uncle Lāvān.

33:14 [29:11] Then Ya`aqov kissed Racheil {on both cheeks} and broke into tears,

33:15 [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.

33:16 [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.

33:17 [29:14a] Then Lāvān said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood!” {And so Ya`aqov remained with him}.

Lāvān promises his daughter Racheil to Ya`aqov in return for seven years’ service

33:18 [29:14b-15] After Ya`aqov had been staying 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.”

33:19 [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.

33:20 [29:17] Lei’āh was weak on the eyes, but Racheil had a beautiful figure and an attractive appearance.

33:21 [29:18] Ya`aqov had {already} 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}.”

33:22 [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.”

33:23 [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.

33:24 [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.”

33:25 [29:22] Subsequently Lāvān brought together all the people of the area and put on a {marriage} feast.

33:26 [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.

33:27 [29:24] Meanwhile, Lāvān had given his servant girl Zilpāh to Lei’āh his daughter {to work} as a maidservant for her.

Ya`aqov realises he has been tricked


33:28 [29:25] Now when morning came, {Ya`aqov was shocked to} see [that] it was Lei’āh, so he said to Lāvān, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Racheil that I’ve been working for you {all this while}? Then why have you tricked me?”

33:29 [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.

33:30 [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 more years’ service with me.”

33:31 [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.

33:32 [29:29] Meanwhile, Lāvān had given his servant girl Bilhāh to his daughter Racheil {to work} as a maidservant for her.

33:33 [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 more years.


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.

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 {Eil Shadday} 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 {Eil Shadday} 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 {Yahh}!” 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 {Eil Shadday} add to me another son.”


34:19-22 – the mandrakes: in ancient times, mandrakes were thought of as an aphrodisiac, and were thought to enable 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 {Eil Shadday} 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 have fared with me.

35:6 [30:30] Actually, {what} little you had before I [came] has rapidly increased to a great multitude, and {Eil Shadday} has blessed you {because of me} since my coming. But now, when do I get to do {something} for my [own] household?”

Ya`aqov lays out the conditions for him staying

35:7 [30:31a] So [Lāvān] said, “What shall I give you?”

35:8 [30:31b] But Ya`aqov said, “Don’t give me anything! [However], if you’ll do this [one] thing for me, I’ll go on tending and watching over your flocks:

35:9 [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.

35:10 [30:33] Thereafter, 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.”

35:11 [30:34] So Lāvān said to him, “Agreed. Let it be as you’ve said.”

35:12 [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.

35:13 [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.

Ya`aqov is visited by an angel of God in a vision

35:14 [31:10] {Now it so happened that it was the breeding season for the flocks, and Ya`aqov had a vision}.

35:15 [31:11] And an angel of God called to him in the vision, and it said, “Ya`aqov!” And he answered, “Here I am!”

35:16 [31:12a] Then it said, “Look up and note that all the male animals which have been mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or dappled,

35:17 [31:12b-13a] because I have noted everything that Lāvān has been doing to you; [and 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.

35:18 [31:13b] So now get up! Leave this land, and go back to the native land of your birth, and I will be [with] you.”


Ya`aqov causes the stronger sheep and goats to mate

35:19 [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.

35:20 [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].

35:21 [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.

35:22 [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 in with Lāvān’s flocks.

35:23 [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,

35:24 [30:42] but if [the animals] from the flock were weak, he would not place them [in] there. So the weaker [animals went] to Lāvān, and the stronger [ones went] to Ya`aqov.

Ya`aqov grows exceedingly prosperous

35:25 [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.

35:26 [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] country of your father and 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 secretly out to} the fields, to {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 do me any harm.

36:7 [31:8] Whenever he said, ‘The spotted ones will be your wages,’ then all the herds {of goats} gave birth to spotted young; and whenever he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the herds {of goats} gave birth to streaked young.

36:8 [31:9] In this way, God has taken away your father’s livestock and given [them] 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 [either] 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 everything that Lāvān has done to you, for I am the God who appeared to you at 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 native 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!”

Ya`aqov leaves Lavan’s camp with his wives and children

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 Yitzchaq in the land of Cana`an.

36:17 [31:19] Now while Lāvān was away shearing his sheep {with all his men}, 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.

Lāvān Pursues Ya`aqov

36:20 [31:22] Now Lāvān was informed three days later that Ya`aqov had fled.

36:21 [31:23] So taking his {sons and} 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 had come 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] So when Lāvān [finally] 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 music 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 your} family. [But] why did you steal my [household] gods?”

Lāvān searches for his 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 {inside her tent}. 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.

Ya`aqov berates Lāvān

36:35 [31:36] {After all that}, Ya`aqov was furious and {began to} berate Lāvān. Ya`aqov responded {to all his 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 {by wild beasts}; I {chose instead to} bear the loss [myself] out of my {own expenses}. [Yet] you [still] demanded {that 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 {often 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 [entire] twenty years I slaved in your household for you! Fourteen years {I worked} for your two daughters, and six {further} 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 Yitzchaq – 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 [God] rebuked you!”

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’ve borne?

36:43 [31:44] Come now, let’s make a pact, you and I; {let us gather some stones; you set up a 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 memorial-pillar.

36:45 [31:46] Then Ya`aqov said to his kinsmen, “Now 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 (‘Cairn of Witness’), and {in Hebrew}, Ya`aqov called it Galė`eidh (‘Mound of Witness’).

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} Ha-Mitspeh (‘the Watch-place’), because [Lāvān] said, “May {Eil Shadday} keep watch between me and you when we are away from each other.

36:49 [31:50] [For] 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 that I have erected between me and you, and look at this memorial-pillar.

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 {respective} 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 Yitzchaq.

36:53 [31:54] He offered up a sacrificial offering [there] on the heights {of Gilė`adh}, and he invited his relatives to share a meal. After they had eaten [the] meal, they spent the night in the hills.

Lāvān and Ya`aqov say farewell to one another

36:54 [J: 32:1 / C: 31:55] Lāvān rose early the next morning; he kissed his [grand]children and his daughters and blest 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 {at a certain point in his journey}, he looked out and saw the [heavenly] battalions of God encamped, and the angels of God [were coming out to] meet him.

36:56 [J: 32:3 / C: 32:2] So when Ya`aqov saw them, he said, “That’s the camp of God!” Thereafter he called the name of that place Machanáyim (‘Two Camps’).


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.

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.

36:43 (and following verses) – ‘a cairn’: a mound of stones commonly found in ancient Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

36:46Yeghar 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, [off to] the land of Śei`īr, {on the} steppes 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 to `Eisav: ‘My lord, this is what your servant Ya`aqov says – I have been staying with Lāvān, and I have tarried 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. 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.”

Ya`aqov prays to God for protection

37:7 [J: 32:10 / C: 32:9] Then Ya`aqov [prayed], saying “O God of my father Avrāhām! O God of my father Yitzchaq! O {Eil Shadday}, 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 steadfast 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’!”

Ya`aqov prepares a tribute-offering for `Eisav

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 distance 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 too {is 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 [group], 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] But you must 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 with me in a more forgiving way.”

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 Struggles 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 everything 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 struggled 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 struggled with {the being}.

37:24 [J: 32:27a / C: 32:26a] Then {the being} said, “Let me go, for dawn is breaking.”

37:25 [J: 32:27b / C: 32:26b] But [Ya`aqov] said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”

37:26 [J: 32:28a / C: 32:27a] So {the being} said to him, “What is your name?”

37:27 [J: 32:28b / C: 32:27b] And he said, “Ya`aqov.”

37:28 [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.”

37:29 [J: 32:30a / C: 32:29a] So Ya`aqov pressed him further and said, “Please tell me your name.”

37:30 [J: 32:30b / C: 32:29b] But it said, “Why do you ask my name?” Then it blessed him there, {and it promptly vanished, just as the Sun was rising}.

37:31 [J: 32:31 / C: 32:30] So Ya`aqov called the name of the place Pėnu’eil (‘Face of a Heavenly Being’), saying, “It’s because I faced off with a heavenly being, one on one, and yet my life was spared.”

37:32 [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.

37:33 [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.

Ya`aqov finally meets `Eisav after many years away

37:34 [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.

37:35 [33:2] He put the concubines and their children in front, Lei’āh and her children next, and Racheil and Yōseif last.

37:36 [33:3] Then he himself went on ahead of them, and he prostrated himself on the ground seven times until he reached his brother.

37:37 [33:4] However, `Eisav ran to meet Ya`aqov and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they [both] wept.

37:38 [33:5a] Then `Eisav raised his eyes and saw the women and children, so he said, “Who are these {people} with you?”

37:39 [33:5b] So [Ya`aqov] said, “[They are] the children whom God has graciously given your servant.”

37:40 [33:6] Then the concubines approached – they and their children – and prostrated themselves.

37:41 [33:7] Next, Lei’āh and her children drew near and they too prostrated themselves {to `Eisav}. Last of all Yōseif and Racheil approached, and they prostrated themselves {to `Eisav as well}.

37:42 [33:8a] Then `Eisav said, “What was the meaning of that great mass {of animals} I came across?”

37:43 [33:8b] So [Ya`aqov] said, “{They were} so that you would look on me favourably, my lord.”

37:44 [33:9] Then `Eisav said, “I [already] have plenty, dear brother; so keep what belongs to you for yourself.”

37:45 [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 received me favourably.

37:46 [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

37:47 [33:12] Then `Eisav said, “Let us resume our journey and go; and I’ll travel alongside you.”

37:48 [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 also a concern} to me. So if I were to drive them hard {for even} one day, all {the young animals in} the flocks would die!

37:49 [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.”

37:50 [33:15a] So `Eisav said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”

37:51 [33:15b] 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.”

37:52 [33:16] So that day, `Eisav started off on his way back to Śei`īr.

37:53 [33:17] However, Ya`aqov journeyed on to Sukkoth [instead], where he built a home for himself and made shanty-huts for his livestock. That is why the name of the place is called Sukkoth.


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 HTT Gen 37:24 where the being says it has to go because dawn is breaking, and HTT Gen 37:29, where it says the Sun is above Jacob.

37:28 – Penu’eil – ‘face of God’ or ‘face of a heavenly being’.

37:47 – ‘Sukkoth’ – identified with modern Tell Deir Alla in the modern Kingdom of Jordan, not far from the Yabboq river.

Chapter 38: Ya`aqov’s Sojourn outside of Shėkhem

38:1 [33:18] {After some time}, Ya`aqov went on peacefully to the city of Shėkhem in the land of Cana`an – having [finally] arrived {on his long journey} from Paddan Arām – and he camped within sight of the city.

38:2 [33:19] And {in the place} where he had set up his tents, he bought a plot of ground there for the price of a hundred kessitahs, from what was owned by the sons of Chamor, the founder of Shėkhem.

38:3 [33:20] Then he set up an altar there, and called it, ‘{to the} Mighty One, [the] God of Yiśrā’eil’.

Dīnāh and the Shėkhemites

38:4 [34:1] {Many years later} Dīnāh, the daughter whom Lei’āh had borne to Ya`aqov, slipped out to mingle with the {pagan} women of the Land.

38:5 [34:2] But when she was seen by Shėkhem son of Chamor the Chivvite, the ruler of [that] area, he seized her, lay with her and so violated her.

38:6 [34:3] {Afterwards however}, he developed strong feelings for Dīnāh daughter of Ya`aqov; he loved [her] and spoke tenderly to the young lass.

38:7 [34:4] {While Dīnāh was locked up in his room}, Shėkhem spoke to his father Chamor, saying, “Get me this girl as [my] wife!”

38:8 [34:5] Now when Ya`aqov heard that his daughter Dīnāh had been defiled, his sons were with his livestock out in the fields; so he remained silent {about it} until they came home.

Chamor tries to negotiate marriage terms with Ya`aqov

38:9 [34:6] Then Chamor, Shėkhem’s father, came out to Ya`aqov to discuss {marriage} terms with him.

38:10 [34:7] But then Ya`aqov’s sons came in from the fields as soon as they heard {what had happened}. The men were outraged and it greatly angered them, because [Shėkhem] had committed a disgraceful act in {the house of} Yiśrā’eil by lying with Ya`aqov’s daughter, {and so violating her} – a thing that should not be done.

38:11 [34:8] Nevertheless, Chamor {tried to} speak with them, saying, “My son Shėkhem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife.

38:12 [34:9] {In return, your people can} intermarry with us! Give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves!

38:13 [34:10] {In this way,} you can settle among us; the [whole] land will be open to you! {You’ll be able to} live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it!”

38:14 [34:11] Then Shėkhem [himself] spoke to [Dīnāh]’s father and brothers. “Let me make it up to you, and whatever you ask me for, I’ll give [you].

38:15 [34:12] Set the bride-price as high as you like, and ask for wedding-gifts as expensive as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me for. Only give me the young lass as my wife.”

Ya`aqov’s sons devise a plan against Shėkhem and his people

38:16 [34:13] So Ya`aqov’s sons gave their reply to Shėkhem and his father Chamor; but they spoke with guile, because [Shėkhem] had defiled their sister Dīnāh.

38:17 [34:14] They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing as this – give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That {would bring} shame to us.

38:18 [34:15] But {if you do} this {one thing}, we will give our consent to you: if you will circumcise yourselves – all your males –

38:19 [34:16] then we will give our daughters to you, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves. In this way we shall settle among you, and we’ll become as one people {with you}.

38:20 [34:17] But if you won’t agree to our request to be circumcised, we’ll take [the] daughter[s of] our [clan] and we’ll be gone.”

38:21 [34:18] Now their proposal seemed good in the eyes of Chamor and in the eyes of Shėkhem son of Chamor,

38:22 [34:19a] so the young lad lost no time in going about getting done what they had asked for, because he was so enamoured with Ya`aqov’s daughter.

Shėkhem persuades the men of his City to circumcise themselves

38:23 [34:19b-20] Now Shėkhem was the most respected of all his father’s household, so Chamor and his son Shėkhem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city, and said,

38:24 [34:21] “These men are peaceable towards us. So, let them settle in [our] land and trade in it – see, the land has more than enough room for them! We can take their daughters as our wives, and so let us give them our daughters.

38:25 [34:22] But the men will only consent to dwell among us and become one people, on condition that all our males circumcise themselves, just as they themselves are circumcised.

38:26 [34:23] {After all}, won’t their cattle, their property and all their [other] animals become ours? So {come}, let us give our consent to them, and they will settle among us!”

38:27 [34:24] So all the men who lived within the gates of his city agreed with Chamor and his son Shėkhem, and [subsequently] every male was circumcised – [including] everyone who {was tasked with} defending the gates of his city.

Shim`on and Leivi take Revenge for their Sister

38:28 [34:25] Now it so happened three days later, while they were [all] still in pain, that two of Ya`aqov’s sons, Shim`on and Leivī, Dīnāh’s [full‑]brothers, each took their swords and attacked the city unopposed, slaughtering every male.

38:29 [34:26] Then they put Chamor and his son Shėkhem to the sword and, taking Dīnāh from Shėkhem’s house, they left.

38:30 [34:27] Then the {other adult} sons of Ya`aqov fell upon {the property of} the slain men, and thus they looted the city where their sister had been defiled.

38:31 [34:28] {They seized also} their flocks [of sheep and goats], along with their herds [of cattle] and their donkeys; whatever [was] in the city and whatever [was out] in the fields, they took.

38:32 [34:29] They carried off all their wealth, and took captive all their little children and their wives, and even plundered everything in {their} houses.

Ya`aqov is extremely angry with what his adult sons have done

38:33 [34:30] However, {on seeing all the captive women and little children}, Ya`aqov said to {his adult sons – and particularly to} Shim`on and Leivī – “You have stirred up trouble for me by making me a hateful stench to the Cana`anite inhabitants of this land – the Perizzites. We are but few in number, and if they gather together against me and attack me, I and my household will be wiped out!”

38:34 [34:31] But they said, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”

38:35 {After that, Ya`aqov ordered that all the captive women and little children – who were innocent of any fault – be released. He also returned some of the plunder, so that they might support themselves}.


38:2 – ‘kessitahs’ – a unit or weight of silver of unknown value; ancient translations understood a kessitah to be the price of one lamb a year old.

38:23 – ‘the gate of their city’ – the city-gates of Canaanite and later Israelite cities had buildings within them, containing the city’s council chambers. The city gates were therefore places where public meetings were held, and decisions made affecting the whole city.

38:27 – ‘all who lived within the gates of his city’ / ‘all who defended the gates of his city’ – Heb: ‘all going out of the gate of his city’; i.e. all those who ‘go out of the gate’ to war; by crippling the able-bodied men, they stifled the city’s ability to defend themselves.

38:33 – * ‘on seeing the captive women and little children’ – these additional words are for narrative emphasis, based on the previous verse – details that are understood but otherwise missing; you have to ask yourself, ‘What did Ya`aqov see that made him rebuke his sons?’ Ya`aqov would have seen the misery of his sons’ captives and been horrified at the sight; without this additional line, readers do not get why Ya`aqov was so angry – his sons’ response to the crime against their sister went way beyond all requirements of justice.

            – * ‘Ya`aqov said to {his adult sons – and particularly to} Shim`on and Leivī’ – Yoseif would only have been a boy at this point – only about 11 or 12 years old, so would not have participated in the pillaging of Shekhem. This may have added to the love Ya`aqov had for Yoseif – his older sons pillaged Shekhem, but Yoseif did not.

38:34‘After that, Ya`aqov ordered that all the captive women and little children be released‘ – Not in any text, but I believe that it is a detail that would have been understood by the ancient reader (hence its inclusion). Keeping the women and children would have created an intolerable situation, where these hundreds of women hated their Hebrew captors, and would have brought up their children in the resentful knowledge that the people amongst whom they were slaves had killed their innocent fathers. Releasing them would have been the only logical option open to Ya`aqov for peace. Besides, it would have been the first among his sons looted booty that he would have divested himself of, before the subsequent divesting of pagan idols and talismanic earrrings in the next chapter.

Chapter 39: Ya`aqov Returns to Sojourn in Beth-Eil

39:1 [35:1] Thereafter, {an angel of} God said to Ya`aqov, “Arise and go up to Beth-Eil and settle there, and build an altar there to the Mighty One who appeared to you when you were on the run from the reach of your brother `Eisav.”

39:2 [35:2] Thereupon Ya`aqov said to his household and to everyone who was with him, “Get rid of the {idols of} foreign gods that you have among you; and purify yourselves and change your clothes.

39:3 [35:3] Then let us pull up [camp] and go up to Beth-Eil, where I shall build an altar to the Mighty One who answered me in the day of my distress, and who has been with me along the way, wherever I’ve gone.”

39:4 [35:4] So they gave Ya`aqov all the {idols of} foreign gods which [were] in their possession, as well as the {pagan talisman-}rings which [were] in their ears, and Ya`aqov buried them, {concealing them} under the [great] Terebinth oak that [grew] beside Shėkhem.

39:5 [35:5] Then they {broke camp and} set out, and the terror of God [fell] upon the towns all around them, so that no-one went after the sons of Ya`aqov.

39:6 [35:6] Eventually Ya`aqov came to Lūz in the land of Cana`an – that is, [to] Beth-Eil – he and all the people who [were] with him.

39:7 [35:7] And he built an altar there, and he called the site ‘{to the} Mighty One of Beth-Eil’, because it was there that the {might of} God was revealed to him when he was on the run from the reach of his brother.

The Deaths of Dėvorāh and Rivqāh

39:8 [35:8a] Now Dėvorāh, Rivqāh’s nurse-maid, died {at that time}, and was buried under the [great] Terebinth oak [that grew] south of Beth-Eil.

39:9 [35:8b] Thereafter, the name {of the tree} was called Allon Bakhūth (‘Oak of Weeping’), {for Rivqāh wept there in mourning for her nurse-maid.}

39:10 [cf 49:31] {However, soon after she returned to Qiryat Árba` – that is, Chevron – Rivqāh herself also died, and she was buried there in the cave of Makhpéilāh.}


39:1 – ‘an angel of God’ – it is logical to presume that this is an angel speaking, since it then refers to God as ‘the Mighty One’, rather than ‘Me’.

39:2-4 – getting rid of the idols of foreign gods, and the pagan talisman-rings in their ears – these are items his relatives would have brought with them from Paddan Aram; the culture there did not worship YHVH exclusively, but now, Ya`aqov is getting his family to dedicate themselves solely to YHVH.

39:8-10 * ‘Allon Bakhuth’ – means ‘Terebinth-Oak of Weeping’.

         * ‘for Rivqah wept in mourning for her nurse-maid there’ – the Bible inevitably gives the reason for the name of something; this detail is missing from the traditional text.

         * ‘However, soon after she returned to Qiryat Arba` – that is, Chevron – Rivqāh herself also died, and she was buried there in the cave of Makhpéilāh’ – According to Jewish midrashic tradition, Rivqah also died at this point; although her actual death is never mentioned anywhere in the Bible, we are told she was buried at Makhpeilah in MT Gen 49:31.

An Angel of God appears again to Ya`aqov in Beth-Eil

39:11 [35:9] Now {the same angel of} God appeared to Ya`aqov yet again, {the one who appeared to him} after he had come [back] from Paddan Arām; and God blessed him.

39:12 [35:10] God said to him, “[Although] your name is Ya`aqov, your name shall no longer be called Ya`aqov, but rather Yiśrā’eil shall be your name.” In this way, [God] renamed him Yiśrā’eil.

39:13 [35:11] Then God said to him, “I am Eil Shadday; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation – indeed, an assembly of nations – will come from you, and kings will be begotten by you.

39:14 [35:12] And [as for] the land which I gave to Avrāhām and Yitzchaq, I shall give it to you; and to your descendants after you I shall [also] give [this] land.”

39:15 [35:13] Then {the angel of} God went up from him at the place where it had been speaking with him.

39:16 [35:14] Then Ya`aqov set up a memorial-pillar at the place where God had spoken with him – a pillar of stone; and he poured out a drink-offering upon it; he [also] poured out olive oil onto it.

39:17 [35:15] Thereafter, Ya`aqov called the name of the place where God had spoken with him Beth-Eil.

The Death of Racheil

39:18 [35:16] Then they moved on from Beth-Eil. However, while there was still some distance {to go before they could} get to Efrath, Racheil went into labour, and the birth was very difficult.

39:19 [35:17] But while she was straining to give birth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, because you are definitely going to have this son!”

39:20 [35:18] And it so happened that as she was breathing her last – for she was dying – she called his name Ben-Ōnī. But his father called him Binyāmīn [instead].

39:21 [35:19] So Racheil died, and she was buried on the way to Efrath – that is, Beth-léchem.

39:22 [35:20] And Ya`aqov erected a memorial-pillar over her tomb; it [is this same] memorial-pillar {which stands on} Racheil’s tomb to this day.

Ya`aqov moves to Mighdal `Eider; a List of the Sons of Ya`aqov

39:23 [35:21] Then Yiśrā’eil moved on [again], and pitched his tents beyond Mighdal `Eider.

39:24 [35:22a] Now it so happened that while Yiśrā’eil was living in that region, that Rė’uvein went in{to his father’s tent}, and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhāh. When Yiśrā’eil came to hear of it, he was greatly angered by what his son had done, {but he remained silent about it}.

39:25 [35:22b] Now Ya`aqov had twelve sons:

39:26 [35:23] The sons of Lei’āh [were] Rė’uvein, the firstborn of Ya`aqov, then Shim`on, and Leivī, and Yėhudhāh, and Yiśśākhār and Zėvulūn.

39:27 [35:24] The sons of Racheil [were] Yōseif and Binyāmīn.

39:28 [35:25] The sons of Racheil’s maidservant Bilhāh [were] Dān and Naftālī.

39:29 [35:26a] The sons of Lei’āh’s maidservant Zilpāh [were] Gādh and Āsheir.

39:30 [35:26b] These were [all] the sons of Ya`aqov, who were born to him in Paddan Arām {and Canaan}.

The Death of Yitzchaq

39:31 [35:27] Now Ya`aqov came [home] to his father Yitzchaq[’s camp at] Mamrei in Qiryat Árba` – that is, Chevron – there in the land of Canaan where Avrāhām and Yitzchaq had dwelt as aliens.

39:32 [35:28] And Yitzchaq’s total lifespan was a hundred and eighty years.

39:33 [35:29a] Then he breathed his last and died, and his soul was gathered up straight away with his ancestors – an old man, and yet fulfilled of life.

39:34 [35:29b] And his sons ‛Eisav and Ya‛aqov both buried him; for ‛Eisav had come up from Sei‛īr to Qiryat Árba‛, when he heard the news that his father Yitzchaq was dying.

39:35 He brought with him his wives, as well as his sons and his daughters, and all the people of his household, along with his livestock and all his pack-animals, to sojourn with his brother Ya‛aqov in the land of Canaan.


39:11 – ‘ [the one who appeared to him] after he had come [back] from Paddan Arām‘ – referring back to the angel who appeared at HTT Gen 39:1.

39:12‘your name shall no longer be called Ya`aqov, but rather Yiśrā’eil shall be your name’ – Ya`aqov continues to use his birth name interchangeably with Yisraeil.

39:13‘an assembly of nations’ – possibly referring to the nations of Israel and Judah; or the succession of different national entities that the people of Israel have existed in over the centuries; or the assembly of tribes.

39:20 – Ben-Oni – means ‘Son of my Strength’. Benyamin – means ‘Son of Right Hand’ / ‘Son of the South’. It may even be a proto-Semitic term meaning, ‘Son of old age’ (if yamin is interpreted as ‘days’).

39:30 – ‘who were born to him in Paddan Aram [and Cana`an]’ – the additional words ‘and Canaan’ take Benjamin into account, who was not born in Paddan Aram, but who has nevertheless been listed in the preceding list. An alternative explanation for the statement that Benjamin was born in Paddan Aram, is that this is taken from the Priestly Source, which has no knowledge of Racheil giving birth to Benjamin outside Efrath. However, if Racheil is buried near Efrath, and she did die in childbirth, then the reconstructed words ‘and Canaan’ are factually correct.

39:32 – ‘and [his soul] was reunited [straight away] with his ancestors’ – the Hebrew phrase ‘he was gathered to his people’ is enigmatic. Avraham is described as being ‘gathered to his people’ (HTT Gen 27:8). This cannot mean that he was buried with his ancestors, because the same phrase is also used of Aaron and Moses; none of these three were buried with, i.e. amongst their people. Nor can it be describing the act of interment itself, because Ya`aqov was buried quite a while after being ‘gathered to his people’, and the others have their burials described separately. Death and interment seem to be quite separate events to being ‘gathered to one’s people’.

        It has been suggested that this may actually reflect the early beginnings of a belief in a soul and an afterlife, that something survived the body, which was united with one’s deceased ancestors and relatives. Then why is it not said more widely? What was different about these people’s deaths? It may be that this was a way of saying that their souls went straightaway to heaven, without having to go through the trials of Azza Zeil (the place where souls work through their unrepented sins before going to heaven).

39:34-35 – the additional material is a hypothetical reconstruction of what might have existed in the original oral version, based on MT Gen 36:6. There is nothing else to tell the reader how Eisav’s entire clan came to be in Canaan; the short mention in MT Gen 35:29b, that Eisav buried his father, doesn’t prepare us for the decription of his entire clan being there, and having to leave to go back to Seir. 

Chapter 40: `Eisav’s Wives and Children settle in Sei`īr

40:1 [36:1] This is an account of {the descendants of} `Eisav – that is, Edhom:

40:2 [36:2] `Eisav had taken three of his wives from among the daughters of Canaan: {Yėhudhīt daughter of Bė’eirī the Cheytite}, and ‛Ādhāh {and Bāsmath}, daughters of Eylon the Cheytite; but Ohōlīvāmāh daughter of ‛Anāh, son of Tsiv‛on the {Chorite, he had married in Sei‛īr}.

40:3 [36:3] [He] also [took] Māchálath, daughter of Yishma`eil and sister of Nėvāyoth.

40:4 [36:4] `Ādhāh bore Elīfāz to `Eisav, then Māchálath bore Rė`ū’eil;

40:5 [36:5] and Ohōlīvāmāh bore Yė`ūsh, Ya`lām and Qorach. These were the sons of `Eisav, who were born to him in Canaan.

40:6 [36:6] Then `Eisav took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all the people of his household, along with his livestock and all his pack-animals, and all his possessions which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and he went out of the land of Canaan to {another} land, away from {the territory occupied by} Ya`aqov his brother.

40:7 [36:7] For their possessions had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not support them [both] because of {the multitude of} their livestock.

40:8 [36:8] So `Eisav settled in the hill country of Sei`īr; `Eisav [is also called] Edhom.

The Sons of `Eisav in Sei`īr

40:9 [36:9] Now this is an account of [the descendants of] `Eisav, the ancestor of [all the] Edhom[ites], in the hill country of Sei`īr.

40:10 [36:10] So these are the names of `Eisav’s sons: Elīfāz, [the] son of `Eisav’s wife `Ādhāh, and Rė`ū’eil [the] son of `Eisav’s wife Māchálath.

40:11 [36:11] And the sons of Elīfāz were Teymān, Omār, Tsėfo, Ga`tām and Qėnaz.

40:12 [36:12] Now Timna` was a concubine of `Eisav’s son Elīfāz, and she bore `Amāleiq to Elīfāz. Those [were the] descendants of `Eisav’s wife `Ādhāh.

40:13 [36:13] And these [were the] sons of Rė`ū’eil: Nachath and Zérach, Shammāh and Mizzāh. Those were the descendants of `Eisav’s wife Māchálath.

40:14 [36:14] These were [the] sons of `Eisav’s wife Ohōlīvāmāh, the daughter of `Anāh son of Tsiv`on, whom she bore to `Eisav: Yė`ūsh, and Ya`lām and Qorach.

The Chieftains descended from `Eisav

40:15 [36:15a] These [were the] chieftains [among the] sons of `Eisav:

40:16 [36:15b-16a] [Among the] descendants of Elīfāz, [the] firstborn of `Eisav, [were] chief of [the clan of] Teymān, chief of [the clan of] Omār, chief of [the clan of] Tsėfo, chief of [the clan of] Qėnaz, chief of [the clan of] Ga`tām, [and] chief of [the clan of] `Amāleiq.

40:17 [36:16b] Those [were the] chieftains [descended from] Elīfāz in the land of Edhom; those [were the] descendants of `Ādhāh.

40:18 [36:17a] And these [were the] descendants of Rė`ū’eil, `Eisav’s [second] son: chief of [the clan of] Nachath, chief of [the clan of] Zérach, chief of [the clan of] Shammāh, [and] chief of [the clan of] Mizzāh.

40:19 [36:17b] Those [were the] chieftains [descended from] Rė`ū’eil in the land of Edhom; those [were the] descendants of `Eisav’s wife Māchálath.

40:20 [36:18a] And these [were the] descendants of `Eisav’s wife Ohōlīvāmāh: chief of [the clan of] Yė`ūsh, chief of [the clan of] Ya`lām, [and] chief of [the clan of] Qorach.

40:21 [36:18b] Those [were the] chieftains [descended from] `Eisav’s wife Ohōlīvāmāh daughter of `Anāh.

40:22 [36:19] Those [were the] descendants of `Eisav – that is, Edhom – and those were their chieftains.

The descendants of Sei`īr the Chorite – the original inhabitants of the Land of Edhom

40:23 [36:20-21a] Now these [were the] sons of Sei`īr the Chorite – [the native people] inhabiting the land [of Edhom]: Lōţān and Shōvāl, and Tsiv`on and [his son] `Anāh, and Dishon and Eitser and Dīshān.

40:24 [36:21b] These [were the] chieftains of the Chorites, the sons of Sei`īr in the land of Edhom.

40:25 [36:22] The sons of Lōţān were Chorī and Heimām; and Lōţān’s sister was Tamnā`.

40:26 [36:23] And these [were the] sons of Shōvāl: `Alvān and Mānachath and `Eivāl, Shėfō and Ōnām.

40:27 [36:24] And these [were the] sons of Tsiv`on: Ayyāh and `Anāh – he is the `Anāh who found the hot springs in the wilderness while he was grazing the donkeys [belonging] to his father Tsiv`on.

40:28 [36:25] And these [were the] children of `Anāh: Dishon and Ohōlīvāmāh, daughter of `Anāh.

40:29 [36:26] And these [were the] sons of Dishon: Hemdān and Eshbān, and Yithrān and Kėrān.

40:30 [36:27] And these [were the] sons of Eitser: Bilhān, Zō`ān and `Aqān.

40:31 [36:28] And these [were the] sons of Dīshān: `Ūts and Arān.

40:32 [36:29-30a] These were the chieftains among the Chorites: chief of [the clan of] Lōţān, chief of [the clan of] Shōvāl, chief of [the clan of] Tsiv`on, chief of [the clan of] `Anāh, chief of [the clan of] Dishon, chief of [the clan of] Eitser, [and] chief of [the clan of] Dīshān.

40:33 [36:30b] Those [were the] chiefs among the Chorites, [according] to their [various] chiefdoms in the land of Sei`īr.

A King-list of the Rulers of Edhom

40:34 [36:31] Now these were the kings who ruled in the land of Edhom – before any king [ever] ruled over the Israelites.

40:35 [36:32] Béla` ben Bė`or ruled in Edhom, and the name of his [chief] city was Dinhāvāh.

40:36 [36:33] Then Béla` died, and Yōvāv ben Zérach of Bōtsrāh became king in his place.

40:37 [36:34] Then Yōvāv died, and Chushām of the land of the Teymānites became king in his place.

40:38 [36:35] Then Chushām died, and Hadhadh ben Bėdhadh, who defeated Midian on the plains of Moab, became king in his place; and the name of his [chief] city was `Avīth.

40:39 [36:36] Then Hadhadh died, and Śamlāh of Maśreiqāh became king in his place.

40:40 [36:37] Then Śamlāh died, and Shā’ūl of Rėchovoth-on-the-river became king in his place.

40:41 [36:38] Then Shā’ūl died, and Ba`al-chānān ben `Akhbōr became king in his place.

40:42 [36:39] Then Ba`al-chānān ben `Akhbōr died, and Haradh ben Baradh became king in his place; and the name of his [chief] city was Pā`ū; and his wife’s name was Mėheyţav’eil, the daughter of Maţreidh, daughter of Meyzāhāv.

Second list of chieftains descended from `Eisav

40:43 [36:40a] Now these were the names of the chieftains descended from `Eisav, according to their clans and their localities, by their names:

40:44 [36:40b] chief of [the clan of] Tamnā`, chief of [the clan of] `Alvāh, chief of [the clan of] Yėtheyth,

40:45 [36:41] chief of [the clan of] Ohōlīvāmāh, chief of [the clan of] Eilāh, chief of [the clan of] Pīnon,

40:46 [36:42] chief of [the clan of] Qėnaz, chief of [the clan of] Teymān, chief of [the clan of] Mivtsār,

40:47 [36:43a] chief of [the clan of] Maghdī’eil [and] chief of [the clan of] `Īrām.

40:48 [36:43b] That [was a list of the] chiefs of Edhom, according to their settlements in the land they possessed; it [is the lineage of] `Eisav, the ancestor of [all the] Edhom[ites] {in the land of Edhom}.

40:49 [37:1] However, Ya`aqov remained in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan.


40:2-3 – Eisav had 5 wives, but at this point the MT & LXX mentions only 3 wives: Adhah, Oholivamah and Basmath. The SP also mentions only 3 wives, but names Mahalath as the 3rd wife instead of Basmath. Mahalath is actually the correct one, because the daughter of Yishmaeil that Eisav married was called Mahalath, not Basmath (see MT Gen 28:9); and Basmath was actually a daughter of Eylon the Cheytite (see MT Gen 26:34), and therefore a sister to Adhah. The first wife, not mentioned in any of the texts at this point, was Yehudhit bat Be’eiri ha-Cheyti (see MT Gen 26:34). He therefore had 4 Canaanite wives and 1 Ishmaelite wife.

40:2‘Tsivon the Chorite’ – at this point, all the text-versions say ‘Hivite’, but elsewhere in the text (HTT Gen 40:23-33) say ‘Chorite’. The Hivites lived north of Jerusalem to the south of Lebanon, and the Hivites lived in what is now the eastern Negev, so ‘Chorite’ is more correct.

40:34‘before any king [ever] ruled over the Israelites’ – This is one of the lines in Genesis that show this book could not have been written by Moses; as a book in itself, it must have been written between 1050-539 BCE. However, it’s oral sources could be much older.

Chapter 41: The story of Yōseif: Yōseif’s Dreams

41:1 [37:2a] This is an account of {the story of} {Yōseif son of} Ya`aqov:

41:2 [37:2b] Now Yōseif was seventeen years of age, when he was bossing his brothers about among the flocks, and he was tearing strips off the sons of Bilhāh and the sons of Zilpāh, his father’s concubines; and he brought their father a bad report about them.

41:3 [37:3] Now Yiśrā’eil loved Yōseif more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; so he had made a richly coloured, striped tunic for him.

41:4 [37:4] But when his brothers saw that it was him that their father loved most out of all his sons, they hated him, and could not [bear] his conciliatory words {towards them}.

Yōseif’s dreams about his family

41:5 [37:5] Then Yōseif had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.

41:6 [37:6] He said to them, “Please listen to this dream I had:

41:7 [37:7] And behold! We were binding sheaves out in the middle of the field, when suddenly my sheaf rose up and actually stood upright, and behold! Your sheaves gathered round mine and prostrated to my sheaf!”

41:8 [37:8] But his brothers said to him, “Do you intend to become lord and master over us? Are you really going to become the ruler over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams, and because of [what] his words [implied].

41:9 [37:9] Then he had yet another dream, and he related it to his father as well as to his brothers, saying, “Look, I had another dream, and behold – the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me!”

41:10 [37:10] But his father scolded him and said, “What kind of a dream is this you dreamed! Are your mother and your brothers and I actually going to come and bow down to the ground before you?”

41:11 [37:11] So his brothers grew jealous of him, but as for his father, he pondered over the meaning {of the dreams}.

Yōseif is sent to look for his brothers

41:12 [37:12] Now one day, [Yōseif]’s brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shėkhem,

41:13 [37:13a] so Yiśrā’eil said to Yōseif, “Aren’t your brothers grazing [the flocks] near Shėkhem? Get ready, because I {need} to send you to them!”

41:14 [37:13b] So he said {to his father}, “I’m ready and willing!”

41:15 [37:14a] Then {his father} said to him, “Please go and see how your brothers are doing – if everything is all right with the flocks – and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Chevron.

41:16 [37:14b-15] As Yōseif was coming to Shėkhem, a man found him; he had caught sight [of him] wandering around in the fields. So the man questioned him, saying, “What are you looking for?”

41:17 [37:16] So he said, “[It’s] my brothers I’m looking for. Please can you tell me, where are they grazing {their flocks}?”

41:18 [37:17] So the man answered, “They’ve moved on from here, because I heard [them] say, ‘Let’s go over to Dothāyn.’’” So Yōseif went after his brothers and found them near Dothāyn.

Yōseif’s brothers initially plot to kill him

41:19 [37:18] However, they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted amongst themselves to kill him.

41:20 [37:19] They said to each other, “Look – here comes our little dream-master!

41:21 [37:20] So come now, let’s kill him and throw him down into one of those rainwater-cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him; then we’ll see what will become of his dreams!”

41:22 [37:21] However, when Rė’uvein heard this he {tried to} save him from their clutches. So he {spoke out and} said. “Let’s not take his life!”

41:23 [37:22] Then Rė’uvein {went on} to say to them, “Just don’t shed any blood! Why not [simply] throw him into this rain-cistern out here in the desert – but just don’t harm him!” {Rė’uvein said this} in order to save him from their hands, [and somehow] get him back to his father.

41:24 [37:23] And so it was, that just as Yōseif got to his brothers, they {seized him and} stripped Yōseif of his tunic – the richly coloured, striped tunic he was wearing.

41:25 [37:24] Then they took him, {terrified and pleading for his life}, and threw him into the rain-cistern. Now the rain-cistern was empty; there wasn’t any water in it.

Yōseif’s brothers decide to sell him to the Yishmaelites

41:26 [37:25] {Before discussing what to do next}, {they sent Rė’uvein away on some pretext}. But as they sat down to have a meal {some distance away}, they looked up and caught sight of a caravan of Yishma`eilites coming from Gilė`ādh. Their camels were loaded with aromatic gums, balsamum and ladanum resins, on their way to take them down to Egypt.

41:27 [37:26] So Yėhudhāh said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his murder?

41:28 [37:27] Come, let’s sell him to the Yishma`eilites without harming him; after all, he is our brother, and our [own] flesh [and blood].” And so his brothers agreed.

Some Midianite Merchants take Yōseif instead, and sell him to the Yishmaelites

41:29 [37:28] But {while the brothers had been discussing what to do}, some [other] men – Midianite merchants – [also] came by; {they heard Yōseif’s cries}, and [it was] they [who] pulled up Yōseif and lifted him out of the rain-cistern, and they [who] sold Yōseif for twenty shekels of silver to the Yishma`eilites; then {the Yishma`eilites} conveyed Yōseif {as a slave} to Egypt.

41:30 [37:29] So when Rė’uvein returned {and went over} to the rain-cistern, he realised that Yōseif was no longer there, and he tore his clothes [in grief].

41:31 [37:30] Then he went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! What’s going to come of me now?”

The Brothers decide to cover up Yōseif’s disappearance

41:32 [37:31] {Unaware that the Midianites had kidnapped their brother and sold him on to the Yishma`eilites}, they got Yōseif’s tunic, slaughtered a young goat {from their flocks}, and dipped the tunic in [its] blood.

41:33 [37:32] Then they took the {blood-stained} striped-tunic, and had [it] brought back to their father; {and the ones who presented it} said, “We found this! Do you recognise it at all – whether it {might be} your son’s tunic or not?”

41:34 [37:33] And he did indeed recognise it and said, “It’s my son’s robe! Some wild animal has devoured him! Yōseif must have been torn to pieces!”

41:35 [37:34] Then Ya`aqov rended his clothes {in grief}, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned many years for his son.

41:36 [37:35] All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, saying, “I will go to my grave mourning for my son!” Thus his father wept {and mourned} for him.

41:37 [37:36] But the Midianites had [already] sold Yōseif {to the Yishma`eilites, who had then sold him on} to Egypt – to Poţīfar, one of the Pharaoh’s court officials, [and] commander of the royal bodyguards.


41:2‘he was bossing his brothers about among the flocks’ – The Hebrew word ro’eh is normally treated as a noun, ‘shepherd’, but it is actually a verb, as it is followed by the accusative object marker et. This is a Hebrew idiom, meaning ‘to boss people about’.

        – ‘he was tearing strips off the sons of Bilhah …’ – the Hebrew word n-`-r is normally read as na`ar, ‘youth’. However, it too is followed by the accusative marker et, making it the verb no`er. This is another idiom, meaning, ‘to dress down someone’, or ‘to tear strips off someone’.

41:4 – ‘they could not bear his conciliatory words towards them’ – that is, their father tried to patch things up (ie they were ‘his words’) between Yosef and his brothers, but they would not listen.

41:24[terrified and pleading for his life] – a detail gleaned from MT Gen 42:21.

41:25[Before discussing what to do next], [they sent Rė’uvein away on some pretext] – in 41:29, we are told that Reuvein returns, but the text never actually says he went away. It can be surmised that his brothers may have realised that Reuven wanted to save Yosef, so they sent him away to stop him restoring his own position in their father’s eyes.

41:28 – It is the Midianites who pull Yosef out of the pit – possibly having heard his cries – and the brothers are not aware of what the Midianites did, possibly because, to get away from his cries, they had gone and sat down to have their meal at some distance from the pit. We know the Midianites kidnapped Yosef, because that is what Yosef later says happened at MT Gen 40:15. And the brothers were not aware of this, because that is what they say in MT Gen ch 42 – that they didn’t know what happened to their brother.

41:34‘ and mourned many years for his son’ – the Hebrew literally says, ‘and mourned his son for days‘. Since the mourning period for someone could be either 30 or 70 days, the implication here is that Ya’aqov mourned his son for far longer than the traditional mourning period – possibly for the whole time he was missing in Egypt, unbeknownst to any of his family.

41:35‘All his sons and daughters came to comfort him’ – since ancient Israelite culture considered grandchildren as one’s children, this mention may have included his grandchildren as well as his children.

Chapter 42: Yėhudhāh’s sons

42:1 [38:1] Now it so happened at that time, that Yėhudhāh went down from where his brothers [were], and spent {an extended stretch of} time with a certain man of `Adhullām, whose name [was] Hīrāh.

42:2 [38:2] [While] there, Yėhudhāh gave his attentions to the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shūa`. So he married her and slept with her.

42:3 [38:3] Then she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and she called his name `Eir.

42:4 [38:4] After that she became pregnant again and gave birth to {another} son, and she called his name Ōnān.

42:5 [38:5] Then she became pregnant yet again, and gave birth to {a third} son, and she called his name Sheilāh. It was in Kėzīv that she gave birth to him.

42:6 [38:6] {When his two eldest sons were grown up}, Yėhudhāh got a wife for `Eir, his firstborn, and her name [was] Tāmār.

42:7 [38:7] But `Eir, Yėhudhāh’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of Yahveh; so Yahveh brought about his death {through an illness}.

42:8 [38:8] Subsequently Yėhudhāh said to Ōnān, “Sleep with your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of levirate marriage with her, and so produce {proxy} offspring for your brother.”

42:9 [38:9] But Ōnān knew that such offspring would not be {legally considered} his heirs; and so it was, that whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he wasted {his semen} on the ground, in order not to produce any heirs for his brother.

42:10 [38:10] But what he did was displeasing in the sight of Yahveh; so [God] brought about his death {through an illness} as well.

The Story of Yėhudhāh and Tāmār

42:11 [38:11] As a result, Yėhudhāh said to his daughter-in-law Tāmār, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Sheilāh has grown up.” But {nevertheless}, he {still} said {to himself}, “{I fear} he might die too, just like his brothers.” So Tāmār went to live in her father’s house.

42:12 [38:12] Then a long while went by, and Yėhudhāh’s wife, the daughter of Shūa`, died. After Yėhudhāh had completed his period of mourning, he went up towards Timnāh, to {oversee} the men who were shearing his flocks – he and his friend Hīrāh the `Adhullāmite.

Tamar devises a plan

42:13 [38:13] When it was reported to Tāmār his daughter-in-law, “You should know, your father-in-law is going up towards Timnāh to shear his sheep”,

42:14 [38:14a] she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to {the pagan shrine at} `Eynáyim, which is on the road leading up to Timnāh.

42:15 [38:14b] For she realised that, even though Sheilāh had now grown up, she had still not been given to him as his wife.

42:16 [38:15] So when Yėhudhāh saw her, he thought she was a shrine-prostitute, for she had covered her face.

42:17 [38:16a] Not realising that she was his daughter-in-law, he turned aside from his journey to [see] her and said, “Would you consider letting me sleep with you?”

42:18 [38:16b] So she asked, “What will you give me if I let you sleep with me?”

42:19 [38:17a] So he said, “I’ll send you a young goat from my herd.”

42:20 [38:17b] Then she asked, “Will you give me something as a pledge {for security} until you send it?

42:21 [38:18a] So he said, “What {kind of} security-pledge should I give you?”

42:22 [38:18b] And she answered, “Your {clay} seal and your neck-cord, as well as the staff in your hand.”

42:23 [38:18c] So he gave them {all} to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.

42:24 [38:19] After she got up and left, she took her veil off and donned her widow’s clothes [once again].

Yehudhdah cannot redeem his security-pledges

42:25 [38:20] Meanwhile, Yėhudhāh sent the young goat by way of his friend {Hīrāh} the `Adhullāmite, in order to redeem his security-pledges from the woman, but he {could} not find her.

42:26 [38:21a] So {Hīrāh} questioned [all] the local people, saying, “Where has the shrine-prostitute gotten to – the one who was beside the road at `Eynáyim?”

42:27 [38:21b] But they said, “There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute round here.”

42:28 [38:22] So [Hīrāh] went back to Yėhudhāh and said, “I couldn’t find her. Besides, [all] the local people said, ‘There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute round here.’’”

42:29 [38:23] So Yėhudhāh said, “Let her keep {the pledges} for herself, or else we’ll become a laughing-stock. After all, I did {try to} send her this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”

Tamar is discovered to be pregnant

42:30 [38:24a] Then it so happened about three months later that Yėhudhāh was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tāmār has been a pagan whore, and what’s more she is now pregnant through her pagan whoring!”

42:31 [38:24b] So Yėhudhāh said, “Bring her out and have her burned {to death}!”

42:32 [38:25] [As] she was being brought out, she sent [a message] to her father-in-law, saying, “I am pregnant by the man who owns these!” And she added, “Please see if you recognise to whom this seal and cord and staff belong!”

42:33 [38:26] And Yėhudhāh did indeed recognise [them] and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Sheilāh.” And he did not sleep with her again.

Tamar gives birth to two sons

42:34 [38:27] And it so happened when the time came for her to give birth, it was found that there were twin boys in her womb.

42:35 [38:28] And as she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took [it] and tied a scarlet thread on his wrist saying, “This one came out first.”

42:36 [38:29] But then he drew back his hand, and his brother came out [instead]. So {the midwife} said, “How did you break {your way} out! {Mistress}, you’ve got a break-out {battle going on}!” And so his name was called Pérets (‘He who breaks out’).

42:37 [38:30] Afterwards his brother came out – {the one} who had the scarlet thread on his wrist – and his name was called Zérach (‘He who comes forth’).


42:7, 42:10‘brought about his death [through an illness]’ – the verb heimit ‘to kill’ is the hiphil form of the verb mat (to die) and is used of God to imply that God brings about someone’s death through an illness.

42:8‘the duty of levirate marriage’ – throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, it was the custom whereby, if a man died without children, then his brother had to marry the widow, and the first son would be considered the dead brother’s legal heir. In many other cultures, the brother had to marry the widow to support her, even if there were children. Torah obviates the unfairness of this institution, by the custom of chalitsah, so that there is a way out if the 2 people involved do not want to marry.

42:19‘Your [clay] seal and your neck-cord, as well as the staff in your hand’ – the neck-cord would have been threaded through the clay seal, and kept around one’s neck. The seal was a clay cylinder used to make an impression on wax when sealing documents; and the cord would have been a distinctive, pleated cord. The staff itself would have been distinctively carved, and maybe even have had Yehudhah’s name on it. Together, the three items would have been easily identifiable.

Chapter 43: Yōseif in Poţīfar’s household

43:1 [39:1] Now Yōseif had been taken down to Egypt; and Poţīfar, a certain court official of the Pharaoh – an Egyptian man [who was] commander of the [royal] bodyguard – had bought him from the hands of the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.

43:2 [39:2a] However, Yahveh was with Yōseif, so he became a successful man.

43:3 [39:2b-3] Now it was while he was in the house of his master the Egyptian, that his master saw how Yahveh [was] with him, and [how] Yahveh was causing everything that he did to prosper in his hands.

43:4 [39:4] So his master took a liking to Yōseif, and he became his personal attendant; and then he made him overseer over his house, and {eventually}, everything that he owned he put in [Yōseif]’s charge.

43:5 [39:5] And it so happened that from the time he made [Yōseif] overseer in his house and over everything that he owned, Yahveh blessed the Egyptian’s household on account of Yōseif; and so it was that Yahveh’s blessing was upon everything that he owned, [both] within his house and [out] in the field.

43:6 [39:6a] As a result he left everything he owned in Yōseif’s charge; and with him there, he did not concern himself with anything except for his [own] physical needs.

Yōseif and Poţīfar’s wife

43:7 [39:6b] Now Yōseif was good-looking and had a handsome physique.

43:8 [39:7] And it so happened after [all] these things {which Poţīfar did for him}, that his master’s wife lusted after Yōseif, and she said, “Sleep with me!”

43:9 [39:8] But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me [here], my master does not [need to] concern [himself with] anything in [this] house, and he has given over [responsibility for] everything that he owns into my hands.

43:10 [39:9] So there is no one [with] greater [authority] in this house than I { – not even him}. But even so, he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I then commit this great wickedness and sin against God?”

43:11 [39:10] And even though she pestered Yōseif day after day, he did not listen to her {appeals} to sleep with her, or to be {alone} with her.

Poţīfar’s wife tries to accost Yōseif

43:12 [39:11] Now it so happened one day that Yōseif went into the house to do his work, but none of the men of the household was there inside the house.

43:13 [39:12] So she grabbed him by his waist-cloth, saying, “Sleep with me!” However, he left his waist-cloth in her hand and fled, and then stepped outside {wearing only his under-cloth}.

43:14 [39:13] When she saw that he had left his waist-cloth in her hand and had fled and gone outside,

43:15 [39:14] she summoned the men of her household and spoke to them, saying, “See! He has brought us a Hebrew man to toy with us! He came inside to me to sleep with me, and I screamed!

43:16 [39:15] So when he heard that I had raised my voice and screamed, he left his waist-cloth beside me, and fled and went outside!”

43:17 [39:16] So she left his waist-cloth lying beside her {on her bed} until his master came home.

Yōseif is accused and put in a dungeon

43:18 [39:17] {When his master came home}, she told him tales like this, saying, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought for us, came inside to toy with me!

43:19 [39:18] And when I raised my voice and screamed, he left his waist-cloth beside me and fled outside.”

43:20 [39:19] Now when [Yōseif’s] master heard his wife’s tales as she was speaking to him, saying, “This is the way your slave treated me,” he became indignant.

43:21 [39:20a] {Yōseif protested his innocence}, so Yōseif’s master took him and consigned him to his private prison – the place where the king’s own prisoners were confined.

43:22 [39:20b-21] However, even while he remained there in the dungeon, Yahveh was with Yōseif and showed him kindness, by causing the chief jailer to view him favourably.

43:23 [39:22] Thereafter, the chief jailer gave Yōseif responsibility for all the prisoners who were in the dungeon, so that whatever they did there, he was in charge of it.

43:24 [39:23] Moreover, the chief jailer did not supervise anything that was Yōseif’s responsibility, because Yahveh was with him; and everything that he did, Yahveh made it a success.


43:13 (and subsequent verses) – ‘waist-cloth’ – the Hebrew merely says ‘garment’. A slave would have had two items of clothing: a linen, kilt-like garment tucked in around the waist, and a longer under-cloth, worn like underwear. It would have been the outer waist-cloth that Potifar’s wife would have been able to easily pull off.

43:20‘he became indignant’ – It’s possible that Yoseif spoke up in his own defence. Potifar could even have executed Yoseif for what his wife was accusing him of doing, but notably he didn’t. He may not therefore have believed his wife’s tales, and may actually have been angry that he was losing an excellent steward. It could even be that the reason why he put Yoseif in hail, was because he thought the jail was the only place where he could keep his wife away from Yoseif.

43:21‘private prison‘ – in Hebrew, this is beit ha-sohar. It was a uniquely Egyptian institution. High-ranking court officials would have run their own prisons on behalf of the king – a type of dungeon built somewhere separate on the courtier’s own estate. As the commander of the royal bodyguard, Potifar’s own private prison would have housed those people the king had personally ordered put in prison.

Chapter 44: Yōseif interprets the Dreams of the Cupbearer and the Baker

44:1 [40:1] {Some years} after these events took place, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and the baker [both] gave offence to their lord, the king of Egypt.

44:2 [40:2] Now, the Pharaoh was furious with his two courtiers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker,

44:3 [40:3] so he placed them under confinement on the estate of the commander of the [royal] bodyguard, in [his] private prison – {the same} place where Yōseif was imprisoned.

44:4 [40:4] But then the commander of the [royal] bodyguard put Yōseif in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were under confinement for about a year.

44:5 [40:5] Then the two of them had a dream – each one [having] his dream on the same night, [with] each man’s dream [having] its [own] meaning – [both] the cupbearer and the baker who {had been in service} to the king of Egypt, and who {were both now} confined in prison.

44:6 [40:6] Then when Yōseif came round to them in the morning and looked at them, he noticed how distressed they were.

44:7 [40:7] So he enquired of the Pharaoh’s [two] courtiers, who were with him under confinement on his master’s estate, saying, “What’s the reason your faces are so glum today?”

44:8 [40:8] And they said to him, “We have [both] had a dream, and there is no one to interpret it.” So Yōseif said to them, “Do not interpretations [belong] to God? Please, describe [your dreams] to me.”

The cupbearer’s dream

44:9 [40:9] So the chief cupbearer described his dream to Yōseif, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, there was a vine in front of me;

44:10 [40:10] and on the vine [were] three winding tendrils. And it seemed like [the vine] had [barely] come into bud, when its blossoms burst forth, and then its clusters produced ripe grapes!

44:11 [40:11] Then [suddenly] the Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the ripe grapes and squeezed them into the Pharaoh’s cup, and then I put the cup into the Pharaoh’s hand.”

44:12 [40:12] So Yōseif said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three tendrils – they are three days;

44:13 [40:13] within three more days the Pharaoh will review your case and restore you to your office; and you will put the Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, just like you did before, when you were his cupbearer.

44:14 [40:14] Only bear me in mind when things go well for you, and please do me the kindness of mentioning me to the Pharaoh, and so get me out of this place.

44:15 [40:15] For I was cruelly kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that [would warrant] them putting me into this pit-hole!”

Yōseif interprets the chief baker’s dream

44:16 [40:16] Now, when the chief baker saw that he had given a favourable interpretation, he said to Yōseif, “I also {saw things} in my dream, and behold, there were three wicker bread-baskets on my head;

44:17 [40:17] and in the top-most basket, there was an assortment of all kinds of baked goods for the Pharaoh, and the birds were {freely} eating them out of the basket on my head.”

44:18 [40:18] Then Yōseif answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets – they are three days;

44:19 [40:19] within three more days the Pharaoh will review your case; he will behead you and hang {your body} on a stake, and the birds will pick off your flesh from you.”

The two dreams come about

44:20 [40:20] Thus it came about on the third day, which was the Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his palace officials; and out of all his officials [in jail], he reviewed the cases of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker.

44:21 [40:21] He restored the chief cupbearer to his position as cupbearer, and he put the cup into the Pharaoh’s hand;

44:22 [40:22] but he hanged the chief baker, just as Yōseif had {told them in his} interpretion to them.

44:23 [40:23] Yet not only did the chief cupbearer not remember Yōseif, he {completely} forgot about him.


44:13 (and also 44:19, 44:20) ‘will review your case’ – the Hebrew literally says, ‘will lift up your head.

44:15‘the land of the Hebrews’ – since the Hebrews didn’t at this point own all the land, this is more in the sense of ‘the land where Hebrews live’.

44:19 – * ‘he will behead you’ – in Hebrew, the words ‘will lift up your head from upon you’ serve the dual function to mean ‘to review one’s case’ and ‘to behead’.

          – * ‘and hang your body on a stake’ – other translations ignore the previous, ‘will lift your head from upon you’ (= ‘behead’), and instead give the whole thing as, ‘and will impale you on a stake’.

44:20‘made a feast for all his palace officials’ – the Hebrew literally says ‘for all his servants’, however, these would not have been servants as we would understand the term, rather they would have been the courtiers and chief officials of the royal household, as well as all the ministers of the government.

          ‘The Pharaoh’s birthday’ – Apparently, Pharaohs did not celebrate their birthdays until much later in Egyptian history. If historical, then this event is more likely to have been an anniversary-celebration of the Pharaoh’s ascension to the throne, or of his coronation.

Chapter 45: Pharaoh’s Two Dreams

45:1 [41:1a] Now it so happened at the end of two full years that the Pharaoh had a dream:

45:2 [41:1b-2] And behold, he was standing by the Nile, when suddenly from the Nile there came up seven cows – healthy-looking and plump in flesh; and they {began to} graze on the marsh-reeds.

45:3 [41:3] But then behold, seven other cows came up [shortly] after them out of the Nile, {which were} sickly-looking and gaunt in flesh; and they {went and} stood beside the {other} cows on the bank of the Nile.

45:4 [41:4] Then the seven cows [which were] sickly-looking and gaunt in flesh ate up the seven cows [which were] healthy-looking and plump in flesh. Then the Pharaoh woke up.

The Pharaoh’s Second Dream

45:5 [41:5] Then he fell asleep [again] and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and well-formed.

45:6 [41:6] Then behold, seven [other] ears of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up [shortly] after them.

45:7 [41:7] Then the seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of grain. Then the Pharaoh woke up; he realised {it had been another} dream.

45:8 [41:8] And so it was, that in the morning his spirit was deeply troubled; so he sent for and summoned all the sacred diviners of Egypt, and all her wise men. And the Pharaoh recounted to them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them {satisfactorily} for the Pharaoh.

The Cupbearer remembers Yoseif to Pharaoh

45:9 [41:9] Then the chief cupbearer spoke to the Pharaoh, saying, “I {need to} make mention today of my [past] offenses.

45:10 [41:10] {If Pharaoh will recall}, Pharaoh was furious with [us] his servants, and he put me under confinement on the estate of the commander of the [royal] bodyguard – [both] me and the chief baker.

45:11 [41:11] And we [both] had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed his [own] dream, {each one having its own} meaning.

45:12 [41:12] Now, with us there {in jail was} a Hebrew youth, a slave of the commander of the [royal] bodyguard; so we related {our dreams} to him, and he interpreted [them] for us. For each one {of us he gave a separate} interpretation according to his [own] dream.

45:13 [41:13] And so it was, that according to the interpetations he gave us, that was exactly how [things] turned out; I was restored to my [former] position, and he was hanged.”

Yōseif is summoned into the Pharoah’s presence

45:14 [41:14] So the Pharaoh sent for and summoned Yōseif, and they hurriedly got him up out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved {his head and his face} and changed his clothing, he came [before] the Pharaoh.

45:15 [41:15] And the Pharaoh said to Yōseif, “I have had a [couple of] dream[s], but there’s no one [who can] interpret [them]; but I have heard people saying about you, that you might be able to understand a dream and interpret it.”

45:16 [41:16] But Yōseif replied to the Pharaoh, saying, “The {question of} Pharaoh’s welfare shall receive an answer, [but] not [from] me – {rather, from} Elohim!”

The Pharaoh recounts his two dreams to Yōseif

45:17 [41:17] So the Pharaoh spoke to Yōseif {about his dream}. “In my dream, I beheld myself standing on the bank of the Nile;

45:18 [41:18] and behold, out of the Nile came up seven cows, plump in flesh and healthy in form, and they [began] grazing on the marsh-reeds.

45:19 [41:19] Then behold, seven other cows came up after them – scrawny, very ugly in form and lean in body, of an ugliness such as I have never {before} seen in all the land of Egypt!

45:20 [41:20] And the seven lean and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat and healthy cows.

45:21 [41:21] Yet even after they had entered their bellies, no one would have been able to tell that they had entered their bellies, for in their appearance they were just as ugly as they were to begin with. Then I woke up.

45:22 [41:22] Then I saw {similar things} in my [other] dream: And behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, {and they were} full and well-formed.

45:23 [41:23] Then behold, seven [other] ears of grain – withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind – sprouted up after them.

45:24 [41:24a] and the seven thin and scorched ears of grain swallowed up the seven well-formed and full ears of grain.

45:25 [41:24b] Then I told {the dreams} to the sacred diviners, but there was no one who could throw any real light {on them} for me.”

Yōseif interprets the two Dreams

45:26 [41:25] So Yōseif said to the Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s [two] dream[s are] one {and the same in meaning}; what Elohim is about to do, {Elohim} has disclosed to Pharaoh.

45:27 [41:26] The seven good cows – these are seven {good} years; and the seven good ears of grain – these are [also] seven {good} years; {both the} dream[s are] one {and the same in meaning}.

45:28 [41:27] But the seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them – these are seven years {of famine}; and the seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind – they are [also] seven years of famine; {they are one and the same in meaning}.

45:29 [41:28] So this is the message that I have to give to Pharaoh: that Elohim is about to do what {Elohim} has shown to Pharaoh.

45:30 [41:29] For behold, seven years of great plenty are about to come for the whole land of Egypt,

45:31 [41:30] but then there will arise seven years of famine after them, and all the [years of] plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, because the famine will so ravage the land.

45:32 [41:31] No trace of the {former} abundance will be seen in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it will be extremely severe.

45:33 [41:32] Now, as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter has been determined by Elohim, and [that] Elohim will quickly bring it about.

Yōseif makes recommendations based on the Dreams

45:34 [41:33] So accordingly, let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.

45:35 [41:34] And let Pharaoh take action to appoint local governors over the land, and let him exact a fifth {of the produce of} the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty.

45:36 [41:35] Then let them gather up all the food of these seven good years that are coming, and let them store up the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, {so that there will be} food in the cities, and have them guard it.

45:37 [41:36] And let this food be held in reserve for the country, [to be used] during the seven years of famine that are coming upon Egypt, so that the country will not be destroyed by the famine.

Chapter 46: Yōseif is Put in Charge of Egypt

46:1 [41:37] Now, [Yōseif’s] plan seemed like a good one to the Pharaoh and to all his palace officials.

46:2 [41:38] So the Pharaoh said to his officials, “Can a man be found such as this – one who has [the] spirit of Elohim in him?”

46:3 [41:39] Then the Pharaoh said to Yōseif, “Since Elohim has made all this known to you, there can be no one so discerning and wise as yourself!

46:4 [41:40] You yourself shall be in charge of my household {and my lands}, and all my people shall be guided by your orders. Only {with respect to the personal duties of} the throne will I be greater than you.”

46:5 [41:41] Thereupon the Pharaoh said to Yōseif, “See, I have set you over the whole land of Egypt!”

46:6 [41:42] Then the Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and put it on Yōseif’s finger. Then he had him dressed in garments of fine linen, and placed a golden wesekh-collar about his neck.

46:7 [41:43] He even had him ride in a war-chariot, which was {normally} reserved for his second-in-command; and [men] would shout before him, “Abrekh! (‘Make way!’)” In this way he set him over the whole land of Egypt.

46:8 [41:44] Then the Pharaoh said to Yōseif, “I am Pharaoh, {and I proclaim} that without your say, no-one shall lift their hand or foot {anywhere} in all of Egypt.”

46:9 [41:45a] Thereafter, the Pharaoh called Yōseif by the name of Psōthom-Fenech (‘Saviour of the Age’), and gave him Asen-Neth – daughter of Padīpa-Rā`, a priest of Heliopolis – to be his wife.

Yōseif oversees the whole of Egypt

46:10 [41:45b] Now Yōseif[’s authority] extended over the [whole] land of Egypt,

46:11 [41:46] and Yōseif was thirty years old when he entered the service of the Pharaoh, king of Egypt. So, having received his commission from the Pharaoh, Yōseif travelled the length and breadth of the land of Egypt.

46:12 [41:47] And the land produced bumper crops during the seven years of abundance.

46:13 [41:48] So [Yōseif] collected up all the food that was {produced} in abundance in the land of Egypt {during} the seven years, and stored up the food in {all} the cities. In the middle of each city, he stored up the food {that had been produced} in the fields which surrounded them.

46:14 [41:49] In this way, Yōseif amassed {huge quantities of} grain like the sands of the sea; it was so very much that in the end he stopped recording {it}, because it was beyond measure.

Yōseif’s Two Sons

46:15 [41:50] Now two sons were born to Yōseif before the years of famine came; they were born to him by Asen-Neth daughter of Padīpa-Rā`, priest of Heliopolis.

46:16 [41:51] Yōseif called the name of his firstborn ‘Mėnashsheh’ (‘He who causes to forget’), {saying}, “{It is} because God has made me forget all my troubles, and everything {that happened in} my father’s household.”

46:17 [41:52] And he called the name of {his} second {son} ‘Efrāyim’ (‘Doubly Fruitful’), {saying’}, “{It is} because God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

Chapter 47: The Famine Begins

47:1 [41:53] Now [the] seven years of abundance which were {enjoyed} in [the] land of Egypt came to an end,

47:2 [41:54] and then the seven years of famine began to set in, just as Yōseif had said. There was {immediate} famine in every {other} country, but everywhere in the land of Egypt there was food.

47:3 [41:55] However, when the whole of Egypt {itself} began to feel the famine, the people cried out to the Pharaoh for bread. So the Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Yōseif, and do whatever he tells you.”

47:4 [41:56] Since the famine was {spread} over every part of the country, Yōseif opened all the storehouses that {had} grain in them, and {rationed out the} distribution of grain to the Egyptians, for the famine had become severe throughout the land of Egypt.

47:5 [41:57] Subsequently, all the {neighbouring} countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Yōseif, because the famine was severe in every {other} country.

Ya`aqov sends Yōseif’s Brothers down to Egypt

47:6 [42:1] As soon as Ya`aqov learned that there was grain-rationing {available} in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you just staring at each others’ faces?”

47:7 [42:2] Then he said, “Look, I’ve heard that there’s grain-rationing in Egypt. So get down there and buy some rations for us, so that we [can] stay alive and not die!”

47:8 [42:3] Thus ten of Yōseif’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.

47:9 [42:4] However, Ya`aqov did not send Binyāmīn, Yōseif’s [full-]brother, along with his [half-]brothers, because as he said, “Just in case any harm should befall him.”

47:10 [42:5] As a result, the sons of Yiśrā’eil were among {the many people} who came to buy grain, because there was famine in the land of Canaan [as well].

The Brothers come before Yōseif

47:11 [42:6] Now Yōseif was the Vice-regent over the land [of Egypt]; he was [also] the one {in charge of} rationing grain to all the people of the country. So when Yōseif’s brothers arrived, they prostrated to him, with their faces to the ground.

47:12 [42:7a] As soon as Yōseif saw his brothers, he recognised them, but he pretended to be a stranger to them and so spoke harshly with them. And he said to them, “Where do you come from?”

47:13 [42:7b-8] And they said, “From the land of Canaan – to buy provisions.” And although Yōseif recognised his brothers, they themselves did not recognise him.

47:14 [42:9] Then he remembered his dreams about them, and so he {decided to} say to them, “You are spies! You’ve come to see where [our] land is vulnerable!”

47:15 [42:10] But they told him, “No, my lord! On the contrary, your servants have come to buy provisions!

47:16 [42:11] We are all of us the sons of one man – we are honest men; your servants have never been spies!”

47:17 [42:12] But [still] he said to them, “No! Rather it’s the vulnerability of [our] land that you’ve come to see!”

47:18 [42:13] So then they said, “Your servants were twelve brothers, {all the} sons of one man {who lives} in the land of Canaan. But actually, the youngest is with our father at the moment, and the [other] one [is] no longer [alive].

Yōseif decides to test the Brothers

47:19 [42:14] However, Yōseif {continued to} insist to them, “It’s just as I told you [when] I said: You are spies!

47:20 [42:15] This is how you shall be tested: [By] the Pharaoh’s life, you are not getting out of this [place] unless your youngest brother comes over here!

47:21 [42:16] So, send one among you and let him fetch your brother; meanwhile, {the rest of} you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see whether you are telling the truth. If you are not, then {as surely as} the Pharaoh lives, you are spies!”

47:22 So they said [to him], “But the boy cannot leave his father – {he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father dotes on him.} If he does leave him, then his father will die!”

47:23 {However, Yōseif told them, “If your youngest brother does not come down [to Egypt] with you, you will never be admitted into my presence again!”}

47:24 [42:17] So he put all {his brothers} under confinement {in jail} for three days.

Yōseif Releases Most of His Brothers from Jail

47:25 [42:18] On the third day, Yōseif said to [his brothers], “Do this and you shall live, [for it is] Elohim [that] I revere:

47:26 [42:19] If [indeed] you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain where you are in jail under arrest, while [the rest of] you go and take the grain back [for] your starving households.

47:27 [42:20] But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified, and you won’t die!” And so this is what they [agreed] to do.

47:28 [42:21] However, to one another the brothers then said, “Surely we’re being punished for our sins against our brother! Because we saw the anguish on his face when he pleaded with us {for his life}, but we wouldn’t listen; that’s why all this anguish has come upon us!”

47:29 [42:22] Then Rė’uvein responded to [what] they were saying and said, “Didn’t I tell you! I told you not to commit this sin against the boy, but you wouldn’t listen! So look – [now a reckoning] is being required [for] his blood!”

47:30 [42:23] However, they did not realise that Yōseif could understand them, since the interpreter {had been translating everything said} between them.

47:31 [42:24] At that point he turned away from them and broke into tears, but he {quickly} came back to them again and spoke with them. Then he took Shim`on away from them, and before their eyes had him taken off {to jail} in fetters.

Yōseif has his brothers’ silver returned, and sends them back to Canaan

47:32 [42:25a] Now Yōseif had given {secret} orders {to his servants} to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back into his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey.

47:33 [42:25b-26] After he had done all this for them, they then loaded their grain onto their donkeys and departed from there.

47:34 [42:27] However, at the [first] site where they made camp, one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver – finding it in the mouth of his grain-sack.

47:35 [42:28] So he said to his brothers, “My silver’s been returned! Look – it’s actually [right here] in my grain-sack!” With that, their hearts sank. Trembling with fear, they then turned to one another and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

The brothers report to their father everything that happened to them in Egypt

47:36 [42:29] Eventually they got back to their father Ya`aqov in the land of Canaan, and they reported to him everything that had happened to them, saying,

47:37 [42:30] “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us, and treated us as though we had come to spy on the country!

47:38 [42:31] But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies!

47:39 [42:32] We are twelve brothers, [all] sons of [the same] father. But one is no longer alive, and at the moment the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan.’

47:40 [42:33] Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, then take [these rations] for your starving households and be gone!

47:41 [42:34] But bring your youngest brother to me, so I’ll know that you’re not spies but honest men. Then I’ll give your brother [back to you], and you can move about freely in the country.’’”

47:42 [42:35] But then it happened, that as they were emptying out their sacks, lo and behold, every [single] man’s pouch of silver [had also been returned] in each sack. So when they saw the pouches of their silver – they and their father – they became afraid.

Ya`aqov becomes angry with his sons

47:43 [42:36] Then their father Ya`aqov said to them, “I’m the one you have bereaved [of my children]! Yōseif is no more, and Shim`on is no more, and now you want to take Binyāmīn! All this is too much for me to take!”

47:44 [42:37] Then Rė’uvein spoke to his father, saying, “You may kill both of my sons if I don’t bring him back to you! Entrust him into my care, and I’ll bring him back to you.”

47:45 [42:38] But Ya`aqov said, “My son isn’t going anywhere with you! His brother is dead, and he’s the only one I’ve got left! If any harm should come to him along the journey you intend to go on, you’ll only be sending this grey-haired [old man] grieving to his grave!”

Chapter 48: Yiśrā’eil Sends His Sons on a Second Journey down to Egypt


48:1 [43:1] Now the famine [continued to be] severe in the land {of Canaan}.

48:2 [43:2] And so it happened, just when they had finished consuming [all] the grain that they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little [more] food.”

48:3 [43:3] But Yėhudhāh spoke to him, saying, “The man warned us most solemnly, ‘You will not see my face [again] unless your brother is with you all.’

48:4 [43:4] If you can see it in {your heart} to send our brother along with us, we will go down [to Egypt], and we will buy food for you.

48:5 [43:5] But if you cannot see your way into sending [him], we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you all.’

48:6 [43:6] So Yiśrā’eil exclaimed, “Why would you do such a wicked thing to me by informing the man [that] you had yet another brother?”

48:7 [43:7] They replied, “The man questioned [us] thoroughly about ourselves and about our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive?’ and, ‘Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was simply in answer to these questions! How could we possibly have known that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down [here]’?”

Yehudhah makes himself the guarantor for Binyamin’s life

48:8 [43:8] Then Yėhudhāh said to Yiśrā’eil his father, “Send the lad with me! We’ll get ready and go [at once], so that we may [all] live, and not die {of starvation} – neither we, nor you or our small children.

48:9 [43:9] I myself will personally guarantee [his safety]; so you can hold me responsible if I don’t bring him [back] to you and set him right here before you; I will take the blame {for the woe that has befallen} you for the rest of my life.

48:10 [43:10] As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have [gone and] returned twice over by now!”

48:11 [43:11] So their father Yiśrā’eil said to them, “If this [is how things must be], then do this: Put some of the best products of the Land in your packs, and take them down to the man as a tribute-offering – a little balsamum resin and a little date-honey, some aromatic gums and ladanum resin, some pistachio nuts and almonds.

48:12 [43:12] And take double the amount of silver with you, since you have to return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your grain-sacks; perhaps it was an error.

48:13 [43:13] Now take your brother and get ready, and go back to the man [at once]!

48:14 [43:14] And may Eil Shadday grant that the man be merciful towards you, so that he will release your other brother to you, along with Binyāmīn. As for me, if I am to be bereaved [of my children], [then] I am bereaved.”

48:15 [43:15a] So the men took this tribute; they [also] took double the amount of silver with them, and Binyāmīn as well. Then they hurried down towards Egypt.

The Brothers Present Themselves a Second Time to Yōseif

48:16 [43:15b] Now [the men] [came and] stood before Yōseif,

48:17 [43:16] and when Yōseif saw them and his brother Binyāmīn – his own mother’s son – he said to the steward of his house, “Have the men brought over to my house; and make sure to slaughter a choice animal, and get everything ready [for a feast]; the men shall dine with me at noon!”

48:18 [43:17] So the man did just as Yōseif told him, and he took the men up to Yōseif’s house.

48:19 [43:18] Now the men were frightened when they were being brought up to Yōseif’s house, for they said [amongst themselves], “We’re being brought [here] because of the matter of the silver that was put back in our grain-sacks the first time round. He wants to assault us and overpower us, seize us as slaves and [take] our donkeys!”

The brothers try to return the silver that they found in their grain-sacks

48:20 [43:19] So they approached the steward in charge of Yōseif’s house, and spoke with him at the gateway to the house.

48:21 [43:20] And they said, “Excuse us sir, but we actually came down here once before to buy food,

48:22 [43:21] but it so happened that at the [first] site we came to and made camp, we opened our grain-sacks, and to our astonishment each of us found his silver in the mouth of his grain-sack – the full weight of [all] our silver! So we’ve brought it back with us.

48:23 [43:22] We’ve also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver [back] in our sacks.”

48:24 [43:23] But [the steward] said, “It’s all right – don’t be afraid. Your God – {Elohim}, the God of your ancestors – has bestowed upon you hidden treasure in your grain-sacks! I received your silver.” Then he brought Shim`on out to them.

48:25 [43:24] After that, the [steward] led the men into Yōseif’s house. He gave them water, and they washed their feet. He [also] provided fodder for their donkeys.

48:26 [43:25] Then they prepared their tribute-offering for Yōseif’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were going to be sharing a meal there.

Chapter 49: Yōseif Entertains His Brothers with a Meal

49:1  [43:26] Now when Yōseif came home, [the men] presented to him the tribute that they [had brought along] with them into the house, and they bowed down to the ground {in reverence} to him.

49:2 [43:27] After he had asked them how they were, he then said, “How is your aged father of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”

49:3 [43:28a] So they replied, “Your servant our father is well – he is still alive.”

49:4 [43:28b] Then [Yōseif] said, “May that man be blest by Elohim!” And they [again] bowed low and prostrated themselves {in reverence to him}.

49:5 [43:29] As he looked about and saw his brother Binyāmīn – his own mother’s son – he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he added, “May Elohim be gracious to you, my son!”

49:6 [43:30] But then Yōseif hurried out, for he was overcome with emotion over his brother, and looked {for a place} to weep {out of sight}. So he went to [his] private quarters and wept in there.

49:7 [43:31] After he had thrown some water over his face {and dried off}, he then came out {again}. Having regained his composure, he ordered, “Serve the food!”

49:8 [43:32] {The servants} served [Yōseif] by himself, [the men] by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves – because Egyptians were unable to eat meals with the Hebrews, for that was a detestable thing for Egyptians.

49:9 [43:33] Then the men were shown to their seats at his direction {according to their correct order of birth}, from the firstborn in accordance with his status as firstborn, down to the youngest in accordance with his youth; and {because of this}, each of the men looked at those {seated} either side of them in astonishment.

49:10 [43:34a] And when [each] course was carried over to them from Yōseif’s table, Binyāmīn’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s.

49:11 [43:34b] So they ate and drank [together], and became cheerfully inebriated with him.

Yōseif’s Ruse – the Silver Cup in Binyāmīn’s Sack

49:12 [44:1] Now Yōseif gave strict instructions to the steward of his household, saying: “Fill the men’s grain-sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his grain-sack.

49:13 [44:2] Then you shall put my {personal} goblet – the silver goblet – in the mouth of the youngest one’s grain-sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And [the steward] acted according to the instructions which Yōseif spoke.

49:14 [44:3] [As soon as] the [first] light of morning {dawned}, the men were sent on their way – they and their donkeys.

49:15 [44:4] [However], they had not gotten far out of the city when Yōseif said to the steward of his household, “Get up and go after [those] men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?

49:16 [44:5] Isn’t this {the goblet} my master drinks from, and [which] he [also] uses to successfully practise divination? This is a wicked thing that you’ve done!’’”

49:17 [44:6] So when [the steward] caught up with [the men], he repeated these words to them.

49:18 [44:7] But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things as these? Heaven forbid that your servants should do such a thing as this!

49:19 [44:8] Look, we even brought you back from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our grain-sacks {the first time round}! So why then would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house?

49:20 [44:9] Whichever of your servants is found with it, then let him die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves!”

49:21 [44:10] So [the steward] said, “Even though things should be as you propose, only the one who is found with it will become my slave; but [the rest of] you will be [deemed] innocent.”

49:22 [44:11] So each of them hurriedly lowered his grain-sack to the ground, and each of them [in turn] opened up his grain-sack.

49:23 [44:12] Then the steward began the search, starting with the oldest and ending with the youngest; in the end, the goblet was found in Binyāmīn’s grain-sack.

49:24 [44:13] At this, they tore their clothes {with grief}. Then each one loaded his donkey back up and returned to the city.

49:25 [44:14] So Yėhudhāh came back with his brothers to Yōseif’s house, for he was still there; so they threw themselves to the ground before him.

49:26 [44:15] Then Yōseif said to them, “What is this act you have committed? Don’t you know that a man like me can successfully practise divination {and so find things out}?”

49:27 [44:16] So Yėhudhāh replied, “What can we tell my lord? And what can we [possibly] say? And how can we vindicate ourselves? For [it is] Elohim [who] has uncovered the guilt of your slaves! So look, we are now my lord’s slaves – {and that goes for all of} us, {not just} the one who was found [to be] in possession of the goblet!”

49:28 [44:17] But Yōseif said, “Heaven forbid that I should do such a thing as that! [Only] the man who was found [to be] in possession of the goblet will become my slave. As for the rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”

Chapter 50: Yehudhah Appeals to Yōseif

50:1 [44:18] Then Yėhudhāh approached [Yōseif] and said, “Oh my lord, please let your servant have a personal word with my lord, and do not let your anger flare up against your servant, even though you are equal to the Pharaoh [himself]!”

50:2 [44:19] {Once aside, he continued}, “My lord questioned his servants, saying, ‘Do you have a father or [another] brother?’

50:3 [44:20] And we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and [there is] a child born to him in his old age, a young lad. Since his [full-]brother is dead, he is the only one left of his mother[’s sons], and his father dotes on him.’

50:4 [44:21] Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so that I can see him with my own eyes.’

50:5 [44:22] And we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, because if he does leave him, his father will die.’

50:6 [44:23] But then you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not be admitted into my presence again.’

50:7 [44:24] And so it was that we went back to your servant our father, and we informed him of what my lord had said.

50:8 [44:25] So when our father said to us, ‘Go back and buy a little more food for us,’

50:9 [44:26] we said, ‘We cannot go [back] down [there]; only if our youngest brother is with us, then we can go. For we cannot be admitted into the man’s presence, unless our youngest brother is with us.’

50:10 [44:27] So your servant my father said to us, ‘You [yourselves] know that my [beloved] wife [Racheil] bore me two sons.

50:11 [44:28] When one of them departed from me {and never came back}, I supposed that he must have been torn to pieces. And I have not seen him to this [day].

50:12 [44:29] So if you take this one from me as well, and any harm should come to him, you’ll send this grey-haired [old man] down to his grave in grief.’

50:13 [44:30] So therefore, if I go back to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us – then since [my father’s] life is [so closely] bound up with [the lad’s] life,

50:14 [44:31] I can guarantee that when he sees that the lad isn’t with us, he will die. So your servants will have brought the grey-haired {head} of our father your servant down to his grave in sorrow.

50:15 [44:32] Now your servant pledged [himself] to his father as surety for the lad[’s safety], saying, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, and set him right here before you, I’ll bear the blame before [you], dad, for the rest of my life!’

50:16 [44:33] So therefore, please let {me}, your servant, remain [here] as my lord’s slave in place of the lad, and let the lad go back with his brothers.

50:17 [44:34] Because how can I go up to my father if the lad is not with me? I could not bear to see the misery that would overwhelm my father!”

Yōseif Makes Himself Known to his brothers

50:18 [45:1] At that point, Yōseif could no longer hold in his emotion in front of all those who were in attendance on him, so he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So none of his attendants were {in the room} with [Yōseif] when he made himself known to his brothers.

50:19 [45:2] But he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard {him}, and {even those in} the Pharaoh’s palace [could] hear [him].

50:20 [45:3] Then Yōseif said to his brothers, “I am Yōseif! Is dad [really] still alive?” But his brothers were unable to respond to him, because they were terrified of his presence.

50:21 [45:4] Then Yōseif said to his brothers, “Please – come closer to me!” So they came closer. Then he said, “I [really] am your brother Yōseif, the one whom you [tried] to sell into [slavery] in Egypt!

50:22 [45:5] But now, don’t be upset or angry with yourselves for [trying to] sell me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

50:23 [45:6] For two years now there has been famine in the midst of the Land, and there are five more years in which there will be no ploughing or reaping.

50:24 [45:7] But God has sent me ahead of you to preserve your posterity in the Land, and to save your lives by [providing you with] an astonishing [means of] deliverance.

50:25 [45:8] So therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God. [God] has set me up as a vice-regent to the Pharaoh – lord of his entire household, and governor of all the land of Egypt.

Yoseif asks his brothers to bring his father to Egypt

50:26 [45:9] Now hurry back up to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Yōseif says: God has appointed me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me without delay!

50:27 [45:10] You shall dwell in the province of Goshen where you will be near me – you, your children and grandchildren, as well as your flocks [of sheep and goats], and your herds [of cattle], and everything that belongs to you.

50:28 [45:11] I will provide for you there {with everything you need}, because there are still five years of famine to come. Otherwise {if you stay where you are}, you and your household and everyone who is with you will become destitute.’

50:29 [45:12] So look, your own eyes can see – and so can the eyes of my brother Binyāmīn – that it’s really me, speaking to you {directly in your own language}!

50:30 [45:13] So report to my father about all the honour accorded to me in Egypt, and about everything you have seen. And make haste to bring my father back down here!”

50:31 [45:14] Then he threw his arms around his brother Binyāmīn and wept on his shoulder, and Binyāmīn wept too as he embraced him.

50:32 [45:15] Then he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. And after this, his brothers {were finally able to} speak with him.

Chapter 51: Pharaoh Sends an Invitation to Yōseif’s Brothers

51:1 [45:16] When the news reached the Pharaoh’s palace, saying that Yōseif’s brothers had come, it was pleasing to the Pharaoh and all his court officials.

51:2 [45:17] So the Pharaoh said to Yōseif, “Tell your brothers, ‘This [is what] you shall do: Load up your animals and depart – return to the land of Canaan,

51:3 [45:18] collect your father and your families and come [back] to me. Then I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat of the choicest yield of the land!’

51:4 [45:19] And you, for your part, are commanded [to tell them], ‘This you shall [also] do: Take some waggons for yourselves from Egypt, to [transport] your little ones and your wives, pick up your father and come back.

51:5 [45:20] And do not worry yourselves over your belongings, because the best of all the land of Egypt will be yours.’ ”

Yōseif’s Brothers Return to Canaan

51:6 [45:21] So this is what the sons of Yiśrā’eil did. Yōseif gave them waggons, just as the Pharaoh had ordered, and he [also] gave them provisions for their journey.

51:7 [45:22] To each and every one of them he gave a fresh set of clothing, but to Binyāmīn he gave three hundred pieces of silver, as well as five [new] sets of clothing.

51:8 [45:23] And this is what he sent to his father: ten male donkeys loaded with the finest products of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and [other] provisions for his father on [his] journey.

51:9 [45:24] Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

51:10 [45:25] So they went up out of Egypt and came [back] to the land of Canaan – to their father Ya`aqov.

51:11 [45:26a] And they gave him this report, saying, “Yōseif is still alive! In fact, he is governor of the whole land of Egypt!”

51:12 [45:26b] However, [Ya`aqov] was stunned, for he did not believe them.

51:13 [45:27] But when they told him everything Yōseif had said to them, and moreover, when he saw the waggons Yōseif had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Ya`aqov revived.

51:14 [45:28] Then Yiśrā’eil said, “[That’s] more than enough {to convince me}! My son Yōseif is still alive! I [must] go and see him before I die!”

Ya`aqov Goes Down to Egypt

51:15 [46:1] So Yiśrā’eil {pulled up sticks and} set out with everything that belonged to him; and when he reached Bė’eir Shéva`, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Yitzchaq.

51:16 [46:2] And God spoke to Yiśrā’eil in a vision during the night and said, “Ya`aqov! Ya`aqov!”  And he replied, “Here I am!”

51:17 [46:3] And God said, “I am the Mighty One, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down into Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.

51:18 [46:4] I Myself shall go down to Egypt with you, and I shall assuredly bring you back again. And Yōseif’s [own] hand will close your eyes {when you go to your final rest}.”

51:19 [46:5] Then Ya`aqov packed up and left Bė’eir Shéva`, and Yiśrā’eil’s sons conveyed their father Ya`aqov, along with their children and their wives in the waggons that the Pharaoh had sent to transport him.

51:20 [46:6] They [also] took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and entered into Egypt –Ya`aqov and all his [direct] descendants with him.

51:21 [46:7] [He took] his sons and grandsons with him, [as well as] his daughters and granddaughters; he brought all his [direct] descendants with him into Egypt.

The Direct Descendants of Yiśrā’eil Who Went Down to Egypt With Him

51:22 [46:8a] Now, these are the names of the sons of Yiśrā’eil – [that is], of Ya`aqov and his descendants – who entered into Egypt:

51:23 [46:8b] the firstborn of Ya`aqov: Rė’uvein.

51:24 [46:9] The sons of Rė’uvein: Chanokh, Pallū, Chetsrōn and Karmī.

51:25 [46:10] The sons of Shim`on: Yėmu’eil, Yāmīn, Ohadh, Yākhīn, Tsokhar and Shā’ūl, the son of a Canaanite woman.

51:26 [46:11] The sons of Leivī: Geirshōn, Qohāth and Mėrārī.

51:27 [46:12a] The sons of Yėhudhāh: `Eir, Ōnān, Sheilāh, Pérets and Zérach – but `Eir and Ōnān had died in the land of Canaan.

51:28 [46:12b] These were the sons of Pérets: Chetsrōn and Chāmūl.

51:29 [46:13] The sons of Yiśśākhār: Tōlā`, Puvāh, Yashūv and Shimrōn.

51:30 [46:14] The sons of Zėvulūn: Séredh, Eilōn and Yachlė’eil.

51:31 [46:15] These were the sons Lei’āh bore to Ya`aqov in Paddan Arām, besides his daughter Dīnāh. So his sons, his daughter [and grandsons] were thirty-four individuals [in all].

51:32 [46:16] The sons of Gādh: Tsifyōn, Chaggī, Shūnī, Etsbon, `Eidhī, Arōdhī and Ar’eilī.

51:33 [46:17a] The sons of Āsheir: Yimnāh, Yishvāh, Yishvī and Bėrī`āh. Their sister was Śérach.

51:34 [46:17b] The sons of Bėrī`āh: Chéver and Malkī’eil.

51:35 [46:18] These were the children of Zilpāh, whom Lāvān gave to Lei’āh his daughter – and these she bore to Ya`aqov, sixteen individuals.

51:36 [46:19] The sons of Ya`aqov’s wife Racheil: Yōseif and Binyāmīn.

51:37 [46:20] In Egypt, Mėnasseh and Efrāyim were born to Yōseif by Asen‑Neth, daughter of Padīpa-Rā`, a priest of Heliopolis.

51:38 [46:21] The sons of Binyāmīn: Béla`, Békher, Ashbeil, Geirā, Na`amān, Eichī, Rosh, Muppīm, Chuppīm and Āradh.

51:39 [46:22] These were the sons of Racheil whom she bore to Ya`aqov – fourteen in all.

51:40 [46:23] The son of Dān: Chushīm.

51:41 [46:24] The sons of Naftālī: Yachtsė’eil, Gūnī, Yéitser and Shilleim.

51:42 [46:25] These were the sons of Bilhāh, whom Lāvān gave to Racheil his daughter – and these she bore to Ya`aqov, seven individuals in all.

51:43 [46:26] All those who entered into Egypt with Ya`aqov – those who were his direct descendants, not counting the wives of Ya`aqov’s sons – [numbered] sixty-six individuals in all.

51:44 [46:27] With the two [sons] of Yōseif who had been born to him in Egypt, the total [number of] individuals of Ya`aqov’s household who entered into Egypt [were] seventy [in all].

Chapter 52: Yōseif welcomes his father to Egypt

52:1 [46:28a] Now [Ya`aqov] sent Yėhudhāh ahead of him to [meet] Yōseif, to get directions to Goshen.

52:2 [46:28b-29a] When they arrived in the region of Goshen, Yōseif had his chariot hitched up, and went up to Goshen to meet his father Yiśrā’eil.

52:3 [46:29b] As soon as Yōseif caught sight of him, he [ran and] threw his arms around his father, and wept on his shoulder for a long time.

52:4 [46:30] Then Yiśrā’eil said to Yōseif, “Now I can die [in peace], after having seen you for myself – that you are still alive!”

52:5 [46:31] Then Yōseif said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I’ll go up and report to Pharaoh, and I’ll say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who [were living] in the land of Cana`an, have come to me.

52:6 [46:32] The men are herders of sheep and goats; indeed, they have [always] been keepers of livestock, and have brought along their flocks [of sheep and goats], and their herds [of cattle], and everything they own.’

52:7 [46:33] And so when Pharaoh summons you and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’

52:8 [46:34a] you should answer, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our boyhood right to this day – not just us, but our forefathers as well.’

52:9 [46:34b] Then you will [be allowed to] settle in the region of Goshen, for all sheep- and goat-herders are detestable to the Egyptians.”

The Meeting with Pharaoh – First Version: Yōseif Presents His Brothers to Pharaoh

52:10 [47:1] Thereupon Yōseif went and informed Pharaoh, saying, “My father and brothers, together with their flocks [of sheep and goats] and their herds [of cattle], and everything they own, have come from the land of Cana`an, and in fact they’ve [just arrived] in Goshen.”

52:11 [47:2] Then from amongst all of his brothers, he chose five men and presented them before Pharaoh.

52:12 [47:3a] [Sure enough], Pharaoh said to Yōseif’s brothers, “What is your occupation?”

52:13 [47:3b] So they replied to Pharaoh, “Your servants have been keepers of livestock – not just us, but our forefathers as well.”

52:14 [47:4] But then they [also] said to Pharaoh, “We have come in order to dwell in [this] land [a while], because your servants’ flocks have no pasture, since the famine is severe in the land of Cana`an. So therefore, please let your servants settle in the region of Goshen.”

52:15 [47:5a, 6b] So Pharaoh spoke to Yōseif, saying, “Let them live in the region of Goshen. And if you know of any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my own livestock.”

The Meeting with Pharaoh – Second Version: Yōseif Presents His Father to Pharaoh

52:16 [47:5b] Now Ya`aqov and his sons entered into Egypt to [be with] Yōseif. And Pharaoh king of Egypt [came to] hear [about this] and said to Yōseif, “{I have heard that} your father and your brothers have come to [be with] you;

52:17 [47:6a] so behold, the [whole] land of Egypt [lies] before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land!”

52:18 [47:7] Then Yōseif brought his father Ya`aqov in and presented him before Pharaoh; and Ya`aqov blessed Pharaoh [in greeting].

52:19 [47:8] Then Pharaoh said to him, “How many years have you lived?”

52:20 [47:9] And Ya`aqov said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning have been a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, but they do not come close to the length of years that my forefathers lived during the days of their sojourning.”

52:21 [47:10] Then Ya`aqov blessed Pharaoh [in farewell], and went out from Pharaoh’s presence.

52:22 [47:11] So Yōseif settled his father and his brothers in the land of Egypt, and gave them property in the best part of the land – in the region of {Goshen}, just as Pharaoh had directed.

52:23 [47:12] Yōseif also supported his father and his brothers and all his father’s household, [by regularly providing each and every person] with food, [right down] to their smallest children,

52:24 [47:13a] since food was scarce throughout the whole region, because the famine was very severe.

How Yōseif dealt with the Famine; the Egyptians become serfs to Pharaoh

52:25 [47:13b] Now both Egypt and Cana`an were wasting away as a result of the famine.

52:26 [47:14] Meanwhile, Yōseif collected together all the money that was located [around] the land of Egypt and the land of Cana`an, {which had been taken in payment} for the grain they had rationed, and Yōseif brought [all] the money into Pharaoh’s palace.

52:27 [47:15] But when [all] the money in the land of Egypt and the land of Cana`an had been completely used up, all [the] Egyptians came to Yōseif and said, “Give us food! Are you going to let us die right here in front of you? Our money has [all] run out!”

52:28 [47:16] So Yōseif said [to them], “Then bring [me] your livestock; I will sell you food in [exchange for] your livestock, since your money has run out.

52:29 [47:17a] So they brought [all] their livestock to Yōseif, and Yōseif gave them food in [exchange for] their horses, their flocks of sheep and goats, their herds of cattle and their donkeys.

52:30 [47:17b] Thus he brought them through that year with food [given in exchange] for all their livestock.

52:31 [47:18] However, when that year was over, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We cannot hide from our lord [the fact that] since [all] our money been used up, and [all] our herds of livestock [belong] to our lord, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our lands.

52:32 [47:19] Are you going to let us die while you watch – not just us, but our lands as well? So buy us and our lands in [exchange for] food; and we, together with our lands, will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Only give us seed so that we may live and not die, and so that the soil may not become a [barren] desolation.

52:33 [47:20a] Thus Yōseif bought all the arable lands of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians – each and every one of them – sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them.

52:34 [47:20b-21] [In this way] the land became Pharaoh’s, and he reduced the people to servitude, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other.

52:35 [47:22] However, [Yōseif] did not buy the lands of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh, and had [enough] food from the allotment which Pharaoh gave them; that is why they did not sell their lands.

52:36 [47:23] Thereafter, Yōseif said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your lands today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so that you can sow the soil.

52:37 [47:24] But when the harvests come in, you shall give a fifth of them to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths shall be your own as seed for the fields, and as food for yourselves and your households, and for feeding your children.”

52:38 [47:25] At this, [the people] said, “You have saved our lives! If it is pleasing in the sight of our lord, then we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.”

52:39 [47:26] Thus Yōseif established it as a statute concerning land in Egypt – still in force to this day – that a fifth [of the land’s produce] belongs to Pharaoh – except for the lands of the priests; that alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

Yiśrā’eil’s final wishes

52:40 [47:27] Now the Israelites settled in the land of Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful, and increased greatly in number.

52:41 [47:28] And Ya`aqov lived in Egypt seventeen years, so that the total number of years of his life [came to] a hundred and forty-seven years.

52:42 [47:29a] When the time drew near for Yiśrā’eil to die, he called for his son Yōseif and said to him, “If I have found favour in your eyes, please put your hand under my thigh, and [promise me that] you will be gracious and [honour my last request] faithfully:

52:43 [47:29b-30a] Please do not bury me in Egypt, but when I [go to] rest with my ancestors, carry me up out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”

52:44 [47:30b] So [Yōseif] said, “I will [personally] do as you have said.”

52:45 [47:31] But [his father] said, “Swear to me!” So Yōseif swore to him, and Yiśrā’eil bowed [in grateful thanks] as he lay on his pillow.


The first and second versions of the meeting with Pharaoh: These come from two different accounts of the story, preserved in the LXX text. The account of the meeting between Pharaoh and Ya`aqov is not aware of the previous meeting between Pharaoh and Yosef’s brothers.

52:19 – ‘How many years have you lived?’ Even in Hebrew (‘How many are the days of the years of your life’), this is an unusual way of asking ‘How old are you?’ In his answer, Ya`aqov views his life as a temporary sojourn on the earth.

52:22 – ‘in the region of {Goshen}’ – the text says ‘Raamses’, but this would be an anachronism, since the city had not yet been built; it was built at least 600 years later in the time of Rameses the Great. Perhaps it was added to identify the region for the benefit of the people of later generations.

52:34 – ‘in this way he reduced the people to servitude’ – The MT says, ‘and he moved the people into the cities’. This makes no sense; if they are all in cities, how can they then sow and harvest the land? Why would they ask for seed to replenish farmland if they are all in cities? Many rabbinic commentaries write whole paragraphs to try and explain this odd statement. However, the SP and LXX provide the solution to this problem: it is a scribal error. Instead of le-`arim (‘to cities’), the Hebrew word should read le-`avdim (‘to servants’, i.e. to servitude). There is a letter veyt ב missing, and the letter dalet ד has been misread as a reysh ר.

52:45 – ‘and Yiśrā’eil bowed [in grateful thanks] as he lay on his pillow’ – The Hebrew literally says, ‘and Yisrael bowed at the head of his bed’. Yaaqov is too weak to get up and bow to his son; all he can manage is to bow his head while lying on his pillow. The Hebrew word for bed here is mittah; however, the LXX reads the word as matteh: staff (hence the LXX reads, “and Israel bowed on the top of his staff’).

Chapter 53: Ya`aqov gives Efrāyim and Mėnashsheh the Birthright-Blessings of His Eldest Sons

53:1 [48:1] Now it so happened a short while after [Ya`aqov] said this, that Yōseif was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Mėnashsheh and Efrāyim along with him.

53:2 [48:2] When Ya`aqov was told, “Look, your son Yōseif has come to [see] you,” Yiśrā’eil rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.

53:3 [48:3] Then Ya`aqov said to Yōseif, “Eil Shadday appeared to me at Lūz in the land of Cana`an, and [there] He blessed me,

53:4 [48:4] and said to me, ‘Behold, I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’

53:5 [48:5] Now then, your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, they [will be reckoned as] mine; Efrāyim and Mėnashsheh will be mine, just as much as Rė’uvein and Shim`on [are mine].

53:6 [48:6] But in the territory they inherit, they will be reckoned instead of the names of their [eldest] brothers; any children born to you after them will be [counted as] yours.

53:7 [48:7a] Now, {I’m doing this because} as I was returning from Paddan Aram, Racheil your mother died, to my sorrow, in the land of Cana`an along the way, while we still had a little distance to go to Efrath.

53:8 [48:7b] So I buried her there beside the road to Efrath.” – that is, Bethlehem.

Ya`aqov gives Efrāyim and Mėnashsheh the Birthright-Blessings of His Eldest Sons

53:9 [48:8] When Yiśrā’eil saw the sons of Yōseif, he said, “[State to me] who these [boys] are to you.”

53:10 [48:9a] So Yōseif said to his father, “They are the sons that God has given me in this [land].”

53:11 [48:9b] Then [Yiśrā’eil] said, “Please bring them to me, so that I may bless them.”

53:12 [48:10a] Now Yiśrā’eil’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see,

53:13 [48:10b] so Yōseif brought [his sons] closer to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.

53:14 [48:11] Then Yiśrā’eil said to Yōseif, “I never expected to see your face [again], and now look – God has allowed me to see your [own] children too.”

53:15 [48:12] Then Yōseif removed them from his [father’s] knees, and prostrated [himself] with his face to the ground.

53:16 [48:13] And Yōseif took both of them, Efrāyim on his right towards Yiśrā’eil’s left [hand], and Mėnashsheh on his left towards Yiśrā’eil’s right [hand], and brought them close to him.

53:17 [48:14] But Yiśrā’eil reached out his right hand and put it on Efrāyim’s head, ’though he was the younger; and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Mėnashsheh’s head, even though Mėnashsheh was the firstborn.

53:18 [48:15-16a] Then he blessed {the sons of} Yōseif and said, “May the God whose ways my fathers Avrāhām and Yitschaq followed, the God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day – the Messenger who has redeemed me from all ill-[fortune] – may He bless these boys!

53:19 [48:16b] And may they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Avrāhām and Yitschaq, and may they grow into a teeming multitude in the midst of the Land.”

53:20 [48:17] Now, when Yōseif saw his father placing his right hand on Efrāyim’s head, it sat ill with him; so he took hold of his father’s [right] hand to move it from Efrāyim’s head to Mėnashsheh’s head.

53:21 [48:18] Then Yōseif said to his father, “Not like that, my father; this one is the firstborn; put your right [hand] on his head.”

53:22 [48:19] But his father refused and said, “I knew [that], my son, I knew [that]. But he too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than him, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”

53:23 [48:20] So he blessed them that day and said, “In your names Yiśrā’eil will be blessed, saying, ‘May God make you [to be] like Efrāyim and Mėnashsheh.’ And thus he put Efrāyim ahead of Mėnashsheh.

53:24 [48:21] Then Yiśrā’eil said to Yōseif, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you all and take you all back to the land of your ancestors.

53:25 [48:22] And now, I [myself] give to you one portion more than your brothers – [the one] that I took from the {Emorrites} with my swordsmen and my bowmen.”

Chapter 54: Ya`aqov’s Final Testaments for His Sons

54:1 [49:1] Then Ya`aqov called for [all] his [other] sons and said,

“Gather round so that I can tell you what will happen to you {and your descendants} in the days after [I’m gone].

54:2 [49:2] Assemble and listen, O Sons of Ya`aqov;

listen to your father Yiśrā’eil.

54:3 [49:3] Rė’uvein, you are my firstborn, [the first-fruit of] my might,

and choicest produce of my vigour,

[once] excelling in rank,

and exceeding in authority;

54:4 [49:4] yet turbulent as the waters, you will no [longer] excel,

for you went up onto your father’s bed and defiled it –

he went up onto my couch!

54:5 [49:5] Shim`on and Leivī are brothers [and allies] –

tools of violence [are] their ties of kinship.

54:6 [49:6] So let my soul not enter their council [of tribal elders],

                                   and let my honour not have any part in their [tribal] gatherings;

for in their anger they have killed [innocent] men,

and in their pleasure they have hamstrung oxen.

54:7 [49:7] Cursed be their anger, so fierce,

and their fury, so cruel!

I will disperse them among [the sons of] Ya`aqov,

and scatter them among [the tribes of] Yiśrā’eil.

54:8 [49:8] O Yėhudhāh, you [alone] will your brothers praise;

your hands will be on the neck of your [fleeing] enemies;

your father’s sons will bow down to you.

54:9 [49:9] You are a lion’s cub, O Yėhudhāh;

you have grown up, my son, on [the flesh of] prey.

Like a lion he crouches and lies down;

like the king of beasts – who dares rouse him?

54:10 [49:10] The [royal] sceptre will not depart from Yėhudhāh,

nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

so that tribute shall come to him,

and the homage of peoples be his.

54:11 [49:11] He will tether his donkey to a vine,

and his donkey’s colt to the choicest branch;

he will wash his garments in wine,

his robes in the blood of grapes.

54:12 [49:12] [His] eyes [will be] darker than wine,

[his] teeth whiter than milk.

54:13 [49:13a] Zėvulūn will settle by the shore of the Sea [of Kinnereth],

and [become] a haven for ships.

54:14 [49:14] Yiśśākhār is a strong-boned donkey

lying down between two saddlebags;

54:15 [49:15] when he sees how good is his resting place

and how pleasant is his land,

he will bend his shoulder to bear [his burden]

and become a toiling serf.

54:16 [49:16] Dān will govern his [own] people

as one of the tribes of Yiśrā’eil.

54:17 [49:17] Dān will be a serpent by the roadside,

a horned viper along the path –

one that bites at horses’ heels,

so that their riders tumble backwards;

54:18 [49:18] I hope in your deliverance, O {Eil Shadday}!

54:19 [49:19] Gādh will be harried by bands of raiders,

but he will harry [them right back] on their heels.

54:20 [49:20, 49:13b] From Āsheir [will come] rich food;

he will provide delicacies [fit for] a king,

{and his furthest borders will extend towards Sidon}.

54:21 [49:21] Naftālī is a doe set free –

one that bears beautiful fawns.

54:22 [49:22] Yōseif is [like] the colt of a wild ass,

a wild ass’s colt near a spring –

[like] wild fillies leaping against an enemy.

54:23 [49:23] In bitter rage, archers shot at him and hunted [after him],

54:24 [49:24]      but his bow remained steady,

and his forearms stayed supple,

by the hand of the Strong One of Ya`aqov,

because of the [Great] Shepherd,

the Rock of Yiśrā’eil,

54:25 [49:25] by your father’s God, who helps you,

because of Eil Shadday who blesses you

[with] blessings of the heavens above,

[with] blessings of the deep that lies below,

[and with] blessings of the breast and the womb.

54:26 [49:26a] The blessings of your father and your mother are greater

than the blessings of [all] the ancient mountains,

[greater] than the bounty of the age-old hills.

54:27 [49:26b] Let [all] these rest forever on the head of Yōseif,

on the brow of the [hallowed] leader among his brothers!

54:28 [49:27] Binyāmīn is a ravenous wolf;

in the morning he shall devour [his] plunder,

and in the evening he shall divide [his] spoils.”


54:29 [49:28b] So this is what their father said to them when he bade them farewell, giving each one the blessing [and farewell-testament] appropriate to him.

54:30 [49:28a] And all these have become the twelve tribes of Yiśrā’eil.


53:9 – ‘State to me who these boys are to you’ – both the SP and LXX add ‘to you’ at the end of this line. This clarifies that Jacob is not asking the question because he doesn’t know who the boys are; he asks the questions as a legal requirement forming part of the whole adoption process.

54:1‘what will happen to you {and your descendants} in the years {and generations} to come’ – the Hebrew literally says, ‘what will befall you in the after-days’. Since what follows refers to Jacob’s sons as they are now, and as their descendants will be in the days of tribal Israel, the phrase ‘after-days’ cannot possibly refer to the end-times; it has to be translated in some other way. ‘in the after-days’ has to mean ‘in the days after I am gone’.

54:5‘ties of kinship’ – this translates the Hebrew word mekeirah, which is problematic. Ancient sources cannot agree on what this means. Modern translators interpret it variously as some kind of weapon or tool, others that it means ‘kinship’ ie that which binds Shimon and Levi – what they have in common.

54:6‘let my soul not enter their council [of tribal elders], and let my honour not have any part in their [tribal] gatherings’ – Heb: ‘let my soul not come to their council, let my glory not join their assembly’; the meaning of the first 2 lines of this verse is problematic. Jacob is dying, so he will not be physically present at anything; what councils and what assemblies is he referring to therefore? The JPS interprets this as meaning that Jacob does not want himself to be included or numbered among the Simeonites or Levites.

54:13 – The inclusion of the phrase ‘his borders will extend to Sidon’ at the end of this verse in the MT, seem to suggest that Zevulun’s territory was by the Mediterranean Sea. However, we know that their tribal land was nowhere near the Meditrerranean. However, the territory of Asher did extend to Sidon, so in this translation, the line has been moved to the verse dealing with Asher (54:20). The sea(s) mentioned in Zevulun’s verse would then refer to the Sea of Galilee (known as the Sea of Kinnereth in those days), something that would be much more plausible.

54:22‘Yoseif is the colt of a wild ass’ – the Hebrew is ben porat; my translation assumes that porat is the feminine form of pere: a wild ass. Other translations interpret ben porat to mean ‘a fruitful bough’.

Chapter 55: The Death of Ya`aqov

55:1 [49:29a] Then he gave them his last will and testament and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to {the souls of} my kinsfolk.

55:2 [49:29b-30] Bury me therefore with my ancestors in the cave that is in the field of `Efron the Cheytite – in the cave that is in the field of Makhpéilāh, which is opposite {the terebinth trees of} Mamrei in the land of Canaan – the field which Avrāhām bought from `Efron the Cheytite as an [eternal] possession [for] a burial site.

55:3 [49:31] There Avrāhām and his wife Sārāh were buried; there Yitzchaq and his wife Rivqāh were buried; and there I buried Lei’āh –

55:4 [49:32] in the cave and the field that it’s in, {which were both} bought from the Cheytites.”

55:5 [49:33] When Ya`aqov had finished giving his final will to his sons, he passed away peacefully; he breathed his last, and {his soul} was gathered up to {be with the souls of} his kinsfolk.

The Mourning for Ya`aqov, and his Funeral

55:6 [50:1] With that, Yōseif collapsed upon his father’s {body}, and wept over him and kissed him.

55:7 [50:2a] Then Yōseif gave orders to the physicians in his service to embalm his father Yiśrā’eil.

55:8 [50:2b-3a] So the physicians embalmed Yiśrā’eil, and they took a full forty days {to do} it, for such is the time required for embalming.

55:9 [50:3b] And the Egyptians mourned him for seventy days.

55:10 [50:4a] Once the mourning period [for] his [father] had passed, Yōseif then spoke to {the chief officials in} the Pharaoh’s palace, saying, “If I have found favour in your eyes, please have a personal word with the Pharaoh {for me},

55:11 [50:4b-5] and tell {him}, ‘My father made me swear an oath and said, ‘I am about to die; you should bury me [only] in the tomb that I purchased for myself in the land of Canaan.’ So therefore, please let me go up there and bury my father; then I will return.’’”

55:12 [50:6] So the Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, just as he made you swear {to do}.”

Yoseif and the whole family return to Canaan to bury Ya`aqov

55:13 [50:7] So Yōseif went up to bury his father; and all the Pharaoh’s officials went up with him – the senior members of his court and all the senior officials of Egypt –

55:14 [50:8] in addition to all {the members of} Yōseif’s household and his brothers, and {all those belonging to} his father’s household. Only their small children, and their flocks {of sheep and goats}, and their herds {of cattle} did they leave in the province of Goshen.

55:15 [50:9] Chariots and cavalry also went up with him; so it was a very large entourage.

55:16 [50:10] When they reached Goren ha-Ātādh, which is beyond the Jordan [River], they mourned there with a great and most solemn lamentation; and {there Yōseif} observed seven days of mourning for his father.

55:17 [50:11a] When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at Goren ha-Ātādh, they said, “This {is a place of} solemn mourning for the Egyptians.”

55:18 [50:11b] That is why that place beyond the Jordan is called Aveil Mitsraim (‘Mourning of the Egyptians’).

55:19 [50:12] Then Ya`aqov’s sons did as {their father} had instructed them,

55:20 [50:13] for his sons, having carried him to the land of Canaan, then buried him in the cave [in the] field of Makhpéilāh – the field which Avrāhām had bought from `Efron the Cheytite as an [eternal] possession for a burial site, opposite {the terebinth trees of} Mamrei.

55:21 [50:14] After having buried his father, Yōseif returned to Egypt – he and his brothers, and everyone who had gone up {to the Land} with him to bury his father.

Yōseif Reassures His Brothers

55:22 [50:15] Now when Yōseif’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they had said {amongst themselves}, “What if Yōseif [still] holds a grudge against us, and pays us back in full for all the wrongs that we dealt out to him?”

55:23 [50:16] So they ordered {that a message be sent} to Yōseif, saying, “[It was] your father [who] gave these strict instructions before he died, saying,

55:24 [50:17a] ‘This is what you are to say to Yōseif, ‘I beg you, please forgive your brothers’ sins and their wrongs, for they inflicted evil on you.’’ So therefore, please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.”

55:25 [50:17b] When their message came to him, Yōseif wept.

55:26 [50:18] Then his brothers also came, and they threw themselves down before him and said, “Behold! We are your slaves!”

55:27 [50:19] But Yōseif said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for {do} I {stand in} the place of God?

55:28 [50:20] As for you, you intended evil against me, but God intended it for good, in order to bring about this present result – to enable many people to live.

55:29 [50:21] So therefore, don’t be afraid; I myself will provide for you [all] and for your children.” In this way he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

The Death of Yōseif

55:30 [50:22a] Thereafter, Yōseif stayed in Egypt – he and his father’s [entire] household.

55:31 [50:22b-23a] He [went on to] live a hundred and ten years, and Yōseif [even lived to] see Efrāyim’s great-grandchildren.

55:32 [50:23b] In addition, the sons of Makhīr son of Mėnasseh were placed at birth on Yōseif’s knees.

55:33 [50:24] Then Yōseif said to his brothers, “I myself am about to die, but {the time will arrive when} God will most assuredly come to your aid, and take you up out of this land to the land [God] promised on oath to Avrāhām, Yitzchaq and Ya`aqov.”

55:34 [50:25] Then Yōseif made the sons of Yiśrā’eil swear an oath and said, “When {the time arrives for} God to come [conclusively] to your aid, then you must carry my bones up from this place, {and re-inter them in the land of Canaan}.”

55:35 [50:26] So Yōseif died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin {inside a tomb} in Egypt.


55:16‘When they reached Goren Ātādh, which is beyond the Jordan River’ – This place is near modern Hebron, which is not beyond the Jordan. From the perspective of the Egyptians and Yosef’s family, the place is not beyond the Jordan. However, it is possible that this part of the story comes from an oral source from whose perspective the place is indeed ‘beyond the Jordan’. Yosef’s grandson Makhir (Menasseh’s oldest son) is mentioned several times in this chapter and in preceding chapters. If the source of these sections was the clan of Makhir, and this clan was part of East Menasseh, then from their perspective Goren Atadh would indeed be ‘beyond the Jordan’.

55:32‘the sons of Makhīr son of Mėnasseh were placed at birth on Yōseif’s knees’ – that is, he adopted them to replace Efrayim and Menasseh.

© Shmuel ben Naftali

Talmidi International Version

This edition completed 11th January 2019