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

Chapter XXXII

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Text Commentary

1And he spent 1 So Eth.: Lat. ‘they slept’. that night at Bethel. And Levi dreamed that they had ordained him and made him the priest of the Most High God, him and his sons for ever; and he woke up from his sleep and blessed the Lord. 2And Jacob got up early in the morning, on the fourteenth of this month, and gave a tithe of everything that had come with him, of men and cattle, of gold, and of every vessel and garment: he gave tithes of all. 3And in these days Rachel was pregnant with her son Benjamin. And Jacob counted his sons from him upwards, and so it was that Levi was chosen to minister to the Lord; 2 Lit. ‘and Levi fell to the portion (or ‘lot’) of the Lord’. The idea seems to be that as Levi was the third of Jacob's sons (so xxviii. 14 above) he would be the tenth if the count were started from the bottom with Benjamin. and his father clothed him in the garments of the priesthood and installed him. 3 Or ‘consecrated him’ (lit. ‘filled his hands’).

4And on the fifteenth of this month he brought to the altar fourteen oxen from the cattle, and twenty-eight rams, and forty-nine sheep, and seven 4 So Lat.: Eth. ‘…sixty…twenty-nine’. lambs, and twenty-one 4 So Lat.: Eth. ‘…sixty…twenty-nine’. kids from the goats, as a whole-offering on the altar, a sacrifice acceptable as a soothing odour before God. 5This was his offering in fulfilment of the vow he had vowed that he would give a tenth, with their fruit-offerings and their drink-offerings. 6And when the fire had consumed it he burnt incense on the fire over it, and for a thank-offering he offered two oxen, and four rams, and four sheep, four he-goats, and two sheep of a year old, and two kids from the goats; and so he did daily for seven days. 7And he and all his sons and his men ate there with joy for seven days, and he blessed and thanked the Lord who had delivered him from all his distress and granted him his prayer. 5 Lit. ‘vow’. 8And he tithed all the clean animals and made a whole-offering, but the unclean animals he gave to his son Levi, 6 Charles supplied a negative in this clause (‘…he gave not to his son Levi’). and he gave him also all the souls of men. 9And Levi discharged the priestly office at Bethel before his father Jacob in preference to his ten brothers, and he was a priest there. And Jacob fulfilled his vow; in this way he tithed again the tithe to the Lord and hallowed it, and it became holy to him.

10And for this reason it is decreed on the heavenly tablets as a law for the tithing again the tithe to eat before the Lord from year to year in the place chosen as a dwelling for his name; and to this law there is no time limit whatever. 11This decree is written that it may be fulfilled from year to year, and that the second tithe may be eaten before the Lord in the place chosen, and nothing of it shall be left over from one year to the next. 12For in its own year shall the seed be eaten till the time when the seed of that year is harvested, and the wine be drunk till the time when the grapes are gathered in, 7 Lit. ‘till the days of the wine’. and the oil similarly. 8 Lit. ‘till the days of its season’. 13And whatever of it is left over and becomes stale – let it be treated as polluted: let it be burnt, for it is unclean. 14And so let all of them eat it together in the sanctuary and not allow it to become stale. 15And all the tithes of the oxen and sheep shall be holy to the Lord, and shall belong to his priests: they shall eat them before him from year to year; for it is so decreed and engraved about the tithe on the heavenly tablets.

16And on the following night, on the twenty-second of this month, Jacob decided to start building at that place, and to surround the court with a wall, and to hallow it and make it holy for ever, for himself and his children after him. 17And the Lord appeared to him by night and blessed him and said to him, Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel shall be your name. 18And he said to him again, I am the Lord who created heaven and earth, and I will increase you and multiply you greatly, and kings shall spring from you, and they shall sit in judgement in every land wherever men have set their feet. 19And I will give to your descendants all the earth that is 9 So Eth.: Lat. ‘all the blessings that are’. under heaven, and they shall judge all the nations in accordance with their desires, and after that they shall gain possession of the entire earth and inherit it for ever.

20And he finished speaking with him and went up from him; and Jacob looked after him till he had gone up into heaven. 21And that night he saw a vision, and behold, an angel came down from heaven with seven tablets in his hands, and he gave them to Jacob; and he read them and understood 10 So Lat. (‘got to know’): Eth. ‘read’. everything that was written on them – what would befall him and his sons in every age. 22And he showed him everything that was written on the tablets, and said to him, Do not start building at this place and do not make it either an eternal sanctuary or a permanent abode; for this is not the chosen place. Go to your father Abraham's house and live there with your father Isaac till the day of your father's death. 23You will die in peace in Egypt, but you will be buried in this land with honour in your fathers' grave, with Abraham and Isaac. 24Do not be afraid, for as you have seen and read it, so shall it all be; and write down everything, just as you have seen it and read it. 25And Jacob said, Lord, how can I remember all that I have read and seen? And he said to him, I will see that you remember everything; and he went up from him. 26And he woke up from his sleep and remembered everything he had read and seen, and he wrote down every word. 11 Lit. ‘he wrote down all the words that he had read and seen’.

27And he celebrated an extra day there, and he offered sacrifices on it, just as he had on the previous days; and he called it Addition 12 So Eth.: Lat. ‘Keeping back’ (retentatio). The allusion is to the ‘closing ceremony’ (Heb. ‘aṣereth) of the feast of Tabernacles (cp. Lev. xxiii. 36, Num. xxix. 35, and Neh. viii. 18 ). (because it was an additional day 13 Lit. ‘because this day was added (Lat. ‘kept back’ = retentus est)’. ), and the previous days he called The Feast. 28And it was made plain that it should be so, and it is written on the heavenly tablets; and that is why it was revealed to him that he should celebrate it and add 14 So both Eth. and Lat. (adicere). it to the seven days of the feast. 29And it was called Addition because it was recorded among the feast days according to the number of the days of the year. 15 The Eth. and Lat. are in essential agreement on the text of this verse. Charles conjectured an original ‘And it was called ‘Asereth when it was recorded among the feast days in the number of the days of the year.’

30And on the twenty-third of this month, in the night, Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, died, and they buried her below the city, under the oak by the river; and he 16 So Eth.: Lat. ‘they’. called the place, Deborah's River, and the oak, The oak of mourning for Deborah. 31And Rebecca returned home to his father Isaac; and Jacob sent with her rams and sheep and he-goats, so that she could prepare food for his father of the kind he liked. 32And he went after his mother till he came to the land of Kabratan, and he settled there.

33And Rachel gave birth to a son in the night, and she called him Son of my sorrow (for her birth-pangs were severe), but his father called him Benjamin – on the eleventh of the eighth month in the first year of the sixth week of this jubilee. 34And Rachel died there and was buried in the land of Ephratha (that is Bethlehem); and Jacob set up a pillar over Rachel's grave, by the road above her grave.

Notes:

1 So Eth.: Lat. ‘they slept’.

2 Lit. ‘and Levi fell to the portion (or ‘lot’) of the Lord’. The idea seems to be that as Levi was the third of Jacob's sons (so xxviii. 14 above) he would be the tenth if the count were started from the bottom with Benjamin.

3 Or ‘consecrated him’ (lit. ‘filled his hands’).

4 So Lat.: Eth. ‘…sixty…twenty-nine’.

5 Lit. ‘vow’.

6 Charles supplied a negative in this clause (‘…he gave not to his son Levi’).

7 Lit. ‘till the days of the wine’.

8 Lit. ‘till the days of its season’.

9 So Eth.: Lat. ‘all the blessings that are’.

10 So Lat. (‘got to know’): Eth. ‘read’.

11 Lit. ‘he wrote down all the words that he had read and seen’.

12 So Eth.: Lat. ‘Keeping back’ (retentatio). The allusion is to the ‘closing ceremony’ (Heb. ‘aṣereth) of the feast of Tabernacles (cp. Lev. xxiii. 36, Num. xxix. 35, and Neh. viii. 18 ).

13 Lit. ‘because this day was added (Lat. ‘kept back’ = retentus est)’.

14 So both Eth. and Lat. (adicere).

15 The Eth. and Lat. are in essential agreement on the text of this verse. Charles conjectured an original ‘And it was called ‘Asereth when it was recorded among the feast days in the number of the days of the year.’

16 So Eth.: Lat. ‘they’.

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