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

Chapter XIX

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Text Commentary

1And in the first year of the first week in the forty-second jubilee Abraham returned and lived two weeks of years opposite Hebron (that is Kirjath -Arba). 2And in the first year of the third 1 Probably ‘second’ should be read. week of this jubilee the time came for Sarah to die; and she died in Hebron. 3And Abraham went to mourn over her and bury her; and we tested him to see if he was patient in demeanour and free from rancour in what he said, and he was found patient too in this and undisturbed. 4For with consistent patience he conducted the negotiations with the sons of Heth and asked them to give him a place where he could bury his dead. 5And the Lord made all who saw him well-disposed towards him; and he pleaded gently with the sons of Heth, and they gave him the plot of land of the double cave opposite Mamre (that is Hebron) for four hundred 2 So Lat.: Eth. ‘forty’. pieces of silver. 6And they begged him, saying, We will give it you for nothing. But he would not take it from them for nothing: he paid the price of the place in full, in ready money, and bowed before them twice; and after this he buried his dead in the double cave. 7And Sarah was a hundred and twenty-seven years old – that is, two jubilees, four weeks, and a year: so long had Sarah's life lasted. 8This is the tenth test by which Abraham was tested; and he was found faithful and consistently patient. 9And he said not a single word about the rumour in the land, 3 Or ‘the promise concerning the land’. how that God had said that he would give it to him and to his descendants after him, but begged a place in it to bury his dead; for he was found faithful and was recorded on the heavenly tablets as the friend of God.

10And in the fourth year of it he took a wife for his son Isaac; and her name was Rebecca, [the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, Abraham's brother,] the sister of Laban and daughter of Bethuel (and Bethuel was the son of Milcah, Abraham's brother Nahor's wife). 4 There is doubtless some dittography here. The translation follows the Lat., which gives a clearer overall sense than the Eth. 11And Abraham took a third wife, whose name was Keturah, from among his household servants (for Hagar had died before Sarah). 12And she bore him six sons, Zimram, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah, in two weeks of years. 13And in the sixth 5 Probably ‘fifth’ should be read. week, in the second year of it, Rebecca bore Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau; and Jacob was a mild 6 Or ‘smooth’: so Lat. (lenis – cp. Gen. xxvii. 11 ). Of the various Eth. readings ‘perfect’ goes back to the Heb. and ‘misshapen’ to the LXX at Gen. xxv. 27 , while ‘happy’ is an easily intelligible scribal emendation. and upright man, while Esau was ruthless, a man of the field, and hairy; and Jacob stayed by the tents. 14And the boys grew up, and Jacob learned to write, 7 Lit. ‘books’. but Esau did not learn to write, for he was a man of the field and a hunter: he learned to fight, 8 Lit. ‘war’. and all his deeds were ruthless. 15And Abraham loved Jacob, but Isaac loved Esau.

16And Abraham saw what Esau did and he realized that it was through Jacob that his promised heirs would come; 9 Lit. ‘that in Jacob would his name and seed be called’. and he called Rebecca and gave her instructions about Jacob, for he saw that she too loved Jacob much more than Esau. 17And he said to her, My daughter, watch over my son Jacob; for he shall take my place on earth, and be a blessing among the sons of men, and the glory of the whole line of Shem. 18For I know that the Lord will choose him to be his special possession 10 There is much variation between the Eth. MSS, though no one of them gives a tolerable sense. Lat. has ‘to be a holy people to himself’. However, the verse is very evidently an adaptation of Deut. vii. 6 – hence the emendation. Cp. xvi. 18. from all the peoples on the earth. 19And behold, my son Isaac loves Esau more than Jacob, but I can see there is no doubt that you love Jacob. 20Increase yet more your concern for him, and may your eyes watch over him in love, for he shall be a blessing to us on the earth from now on and for evermore. 21May your hands be strong and your heart rejoice in your son Jacob, for I love him far more than any of my sons: he shall be blessed for ever, and his descendants shall fill the earth. 22If anyone is ever able to count the grains of sand on the earth, then his descendants shall be counted too. 23And all the blessings that the Lord has promised me and my descendants shall be Jacob's and his descendants' always. 24And by his descendants shall my name be blessed, and the name of my fathers, Shem, and Noah, and Enoch, and Mahalalel, and Enosh, and Seth, and Adam. 25And these shall serve to lay the foundations of heaven, and to strengthen the earth, and to renew all the luminaries that are upon the vault of heaven. 11 So Eth.: Lat. ‘so that all the luminaries of the vault of heaven may be recognized’.

26And he summoned Jacob in the presence of his mother Rebecca 27and kissed him, and he blessed him and said, Jacob, my beloved son, whom my soul loves, may God bless you from above the vault of heaven, and may he give you all the blessings he showered on Adam and Enoch and Noah and Shem; and may he bestow on 12 Lit. ‘cause to cling to’. you, and on your descendants for ever, all the things about which he told me and all the things he promised to give me, unfailing as 13 Lit. ‘according to’. the days of heaven above the earth. 28And the spirits of Mastema shall not have power over you or over your descendants to turn you from the Lord, who is your God from now on, and for ever. 29And may the Lord God be a father to you, and may you be the first-born son and a people always. 30Go in peace my son. And they both left Abraham together. 14 So most MSS (lit. ‘And they both went out together from Abraham’): alternative reading ‘And they both went out together with him’. 31And Rebecca loved Jacob with all her heart and soul, very much more than Esau; but Isaac loved Esau much more than Jacob.

Notes:

1 Probably ‘second’ should be read.

2 So Lat.: Eth. ‘forty’.

3 Or ‘the promise concerning the land’.

4 There is doubtless some dittography here. The translation follows the Lat., which gives a clearer overall sense than the Eth.

5 Probably ‘fifth’ should be read.

6 Or ‘smooth’: so Lat. (lenis – cp. Gen. xxvii. 11 ). Of the various Eth. readings ‘perfect’ goes back to the Heb. and ‘misshapen’ to the LXX at Gen. xxv. 27 , while ‘happy’ is an easily intelligible scribal emendation.

7 Lit. ‘books’.

8 Lit. ‘war’.

9 Lit. ‘that in Jacob would his name and seed be called’.

10 There is much variation between the Eth. MSS, though no one of them gives a tolerable sense. Lat. has ‘to be a holy people to himself’. However, the verse is very evidently an adaptation of Deut. vii. 6 – hence the emendation. Cp. xvi. 18.

11 So Eth.: Lat. ‘so that all the luminaries of the vault of heaven may be recognized’.

12 Lit. ‘cause to cling to’.

13 Lit. ‘according to’.

14 So most MSS (lit. ‘And they both went out together from Abraham’): alternative reading ‘And they both went out together with him’.

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