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THE JEWISH WAR
War, Volume 1
War, Volume 2
War, Volume 3
War, Volume 4
War, Volume 5
War, Volume 6
War, Volume 7

ANTIQUITIES
Ant. Jud., Bk 1
Ant. Jud., Bk 2
Ant. Jud., Bk 3
Ant. Jud., Bk 4
Ant. Jud., Bk 5
Ant. Jud., Bk 6
Ant. Jud., Bk 7
Ant. Jud., Bk 8
Ant. Jud., Bk 9
Ant. Jud., Bk 10
Ant. Jud., Bk 11
Ant. Jud., Bk 12
Ant. Jud., Bk 13
Ant. Jud., Bk 14
Ant. Jud., Bk 15
Ant. Jud., Bk 16
Ant. Jud., Bk 17
Ant. Jud., Bk 18
Ant. Jud., Bk 19
Ant. Jud., Bk 20
OTHER
Vs Apion, Bk 1
Vs Apion, Bk 2
Life/Autobiog.


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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1.

From the Creation to Isaac's death
(The Deluge, Patriarchal stories)

Text in Greek and English, click here


Volumes, Chapters, Paragraphs and Verses in this translation

Prologue to the Antiquities

01. Creation of the World; First Parents

02. Generations from Adam to Noah

03. Noah's Ark. Settling in Shinar

04. Tower of Babel; splitting of language

05. Noah's progeny spread over the earth

06. Nations named from the children of Noah

07. Abram to the land of Canaan; his monotheism

08. Famine; Abram to Egypt & back to Canaan

09. The Assyrians fight against Sodom

10. Abram saves Lot; Melchisedek blesses him.

11. God punishes Sodom for its sins

12. Ishmael is born to Hagar

13. The sacrifice of Isaac; God's promise

14. The death of Abraham's wife, Sarah

15. Abraham fathers the Troglodytes

16. Isaac meets and marries Rebecca

17. The death and burial of Abraham

18. Esau and Jacob, children of Isaac

19. Jacob flees; marries Leah and Rachel

20. Jacob and Esau are reconciled

21. Dinah's brothers take bloody revenge

22. Isaac's death; his burial in Hebron


Volumes, Chapters, Paragraphs and Verses in this translation

The Volume and Chapter divisions in this version correspond with those in the Loeb although the chapter-names have been added by the translator, to suggest what each chapter contains. The numbered verses running sequentially through each book, (each verse expressed in three-digit form: e.g. 001 to 999 etc) are the subdivisions used by Benedikt Niese in his critical edition of of the Greek text (1885-1895.) In the translation I have aimed at an accurate equivalence, verse by verse, with the Greek, even in cases where a sentence may continue beyond the verse ending.

The numbered paragraphs within each chapter correspond to those introduced by William Whiston, in his translation of all of Josephus' works, circa 1785. We have incorporated his paragraphing division also in the Greek text as presented in the parallel edition.

Prologue to the Antiquities

1.

001 I notice that people setting out to write histories do not always take up that work for one single reason, but for many and varied reasons. 002 Some apply themselves to this branch of learning in order to show off their writing skill and so gain fame for their erudition; others seek to gratify people who were involved in the events and try to achieve this, even when the project surpasses their abilities. 003 Still others are driven by a sense of duty, for having taken part in the events they feel they must record them. For some, finally, it is greatness of the events that makes them wish to bring them from obscurity into the light, for the benefit of the public. 004 Of all these reasons for writing history, I am affected by the last two. For since I was myself involved in that war which we Jews fought against the Romans and have first hand knowledge of its details and its conclusion, I needed to write about it since others in their writings have distorted the truth about it.

2.

005 I undertake the present work in the belief that all who know Greek will find it worthy of their attention. It will explain our past history and the constitution of our government, as interpreted from the Hebrew Scriptures. 006 It was my intention to explain in my earlier book, about the War, who the Jews originally were, the fortunes that came to them, the laws by which they were taught piety and the practice of other virtues, and also the wars they fought in ages past, before being unwillingly dragged into this recent war with the Romans. 007 But as that would have made that work too long, I kept it aside to form a separate work, with its own proper beginning and ending. However, in the course of time, as often happens when one undertakes so large a project, I grew weary and made slow progress, since it is a major and toilsome task to interpret our history into a foreign, to us unfamiliar, tongue. 008 And yet some who wanted to know this history urged me to go on with it, and I yielded mainly to the persuasion of Epaphroditus, who loves learning of all kinds, but especially the knowledge of history, since he himself was involved in important events and in various turns of fortune, and has shown admirable firmness of character and a steadfast resolve through them all. 009 He is always motivating people of ability towards whatever is useful and beneficial, to join their efforts to his own. So I was ashamed to let any laziness of disposition get the better of me, instead of devoting myself to what is worthwhile, and went on more cheerfully with my work. Besides these motives, I had others to think about: whether our ancestors wanted to share our knowledge, and whether any of the Greeks were eager to learn the story of our nation.

3.

010 I discovered that the second of the Ptolemy kings was deeply interested in learning and a collector of books. He was particularly eager to have our law and how we are ruled translated into Greek. 011 Our high priest Eleazar, who was second to none in virtue, did not refuse that king this favour, which he certainly would have done except for our ancestral custom of hiding nothing that is good. 012 So I thought that I should imitate our high priest's generosity and assume that today there are still many lovers of learning like the king. Yet even he did not receive not all of our writings, since those who were sent to Alexandria as interpreters gave him only the books of the Law. 013 Countless matters are reported in our sacred books, for they contain the history of five thousand years and include many strange events, many hazards of war and great deeds of leaders, as well as changes in how we were ruled. 014 Speaking generally, whoever reads this history can learn above all that things turn out well, even beyond expectation, for those who follow God's will and do not dare to break his excellent laws, and that the reward of happiness is promised by God; but when people turn aside in any way from their strict observance, what before was possible becomes impossible and any project they set about turns into an absolute disaster. 015 So now I urge all who read these books to apply their minds to God and to consider whether our Legislator has properly understood His nature and attributed to Him only such acts as become His power, and kept his words about Him unstained by those indecent myths current among others, even though, dealing with matters of so long ago, he might have allowed himself the use of such fictions. 016 For he was born two thousand years ago, even farther back in time than the poets dare to set as the birth of their gods, much less the actions or the laws of human beings. 017 I will proceed, therefore, to describe in detail and in order what is contained in our records. For that is the procedure I have promised to follow throughout this work, without adding or omitting anything.

4.

018 But as almost everything in it depends on the wisdom of Moses our Legislator, I must first briefly say something about him, or otherwise those who read my book may wonder how it is that my discourse about laws and historical events, enters so much into philosophy. 019 The reader must realise that Moses deemed it vital that one who would live his own life well and give laws to others, must in the first place consider the divine nature, and contemplate God's actions so as to imitate the best of all patterns, so far as is possible for human nature, and try to persevere in it. 020 Without such contemplation the Legislator himself could not be in the right frame mind, nor would what he wrote go to promote virtue in his readers. I mean, they must be taught first of all that God is the Father and Lord of all things, who sees all things, and that He grants a happy life to those who follow Him, but plunges into inevitable misery those who do not walk in the paths of virtue.

021 When Moses wished to teach his countrymen this lesson, he did not begin establishing his laws in the same way that other legislators do, based on contracts and rights between one man and another, but by raising their minds towards God and his creation of the world, and by persuading them that we humans are God's most excellent creatures upon earth. Once they obeyed God, they were easily persuaded in all things. 022 Other legislators promoted fables and in their words attributed the most shameful of human vices to the gods and provided bad men with the most plausible excuses for their crimes, 023 while our Legislator, having once shown God as perfect in virtue, believed that men should strive to share in this, and severely reproached those who did not so hold and believe.

024 I beg my readers then, to examine this whole undertaking from that viewpoint. Then they will see that there is nothing in it against either the majesty of God, or his love towards mankind, for all things here have a reference to the nature of the universe. Our Legislator speaks wisely, but sometimes enigmatically and in devtional allegory, but he speaks plainly and explicitly when necessary. 025 However, those who desire to know the reasons of everything, may find here a very curious philosophical theory, which I refrain from explaining here and now, but if God gives me time I will write it when I have finished the present work. 026 I shall set myself to the history before me, after first mentioning what Moses says about the creation of the world, as I find it described in the sacred books.

Chapter 01. [027-051]
First Beginnings of Creation. The Destiny of Adam and Eve

1.

027 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. While this lay invisible in thick darkness, with a wind moving across its surface, God commaned that there should be light. 028 When this was made, he looked on the entire mass and separated light from darkness, and named them Night and Day, giving the name Evening to the time of rest and Morning to the dawning of light. 029 This was to be the first day, for Moses called it "day one." I could give the reason for this now, but as I have promised to give the causes for everything in a separate treatise, I shall postpone its explanation until then.

030 After that, on the second day, he placed the heaven above the whole world, deciding that it should stand apart, and placing a firmament around it he arranged it in harmony with the earth, to supply moisture and rain and dews according to need. 031 On the third day he made dry land appear, and around it the sea. That same day he made the plants and the seeds spring up from the earth. On the fourth day he adorned the heaven with the sun, the moon and the other stars and set them in their motions and orbits, to mark the changes of the seasons. 032 On the fifth day he made living creatures, both those that swim and those that fly, in the sea and in the air. He arranged their intercourse and coupling for procreation, so that their kind might increase and multiply. On the sixth day he created four-footed beasts, making them male and female and on the same day he formed humankind. 033 So Moses says that in just six days the world and all that is in it was made, and that the seventh day he rested and took repose from labour. That is why we celebrate a rest from our labours on that day and call it the Sabbath, a word which in Hebrew means Rest.

2.

034 Then after the seventh day, Moses begins to treat of nature, telling about the formation of man, how God took dust from the ground and formed man and placed within him spirit and soul. This man was called Adam, which in the Hebrew tongue means Red, as he was formed from red earth, for virgin and true earth is of that colour. 035 Then God presented to Adam the living creatures, male and female, which he had made according to their kinds, and he gave them the names by which they are still called. When He saw how Adam had no female for companionship, for there was none, and noticed how the other animals had this, He put him to sleep and took one of his ribs and from it formed a woman. 036 When she was brought to him Adam recognised her as made from himself. In the Hebrew tongue a woman is called Issha, but the name of this woman was Eva, which means the mother of all living.

3.

037 He says that God planted a paradise in the east, with abundant plants of all sorts, and that among them was the plant of life and another of knowledge, for distinguishing good and evil. 038 When He brought Adam and his wife into this garden, He told them to care for the plants. The garden was watered by one river, which ran round the whole earth and was divided into four sections: Phison, which denotes a large number, flows into India and into the sea and is called Ganges by the Greeks. 039 The Euphrates and the Tigris flow into the Red Sea. The name Euphrates, or Phoras, means either a dispersion or a flower, whereas Tigris, or Diglath, means what runs swiftly in a narrow channel. Geon which runs through Egypt means what rises on the other side from us, and the Greeks call it the Nile.

4.

040 God told Adam and his wife to eat of all the rest of the plants, but to abstain from the tree of knowledge, and warned them that if they touched it, it would become their ruin. 041 While all living creatures at that time spoke the same language, the snake that lived alongside Adam and his wife envied them the happiness they would have if they were obedient to God's commands. 042 Thinking that if they were to disobey they would fall into misfortune, he maliciously persuaded the woman to taste of the tree of knowledge, saying that in it lay the discernment of good and evil, and if they took possession of it they would lead a happy life no less than the Divinity. 043 In this way he misled the woman to despise the command of God, and once she had tasted of the plant and liked it, she persuaded Adam to share it too. 044 Then they found that they were naked to each other, and feeling ashamed to be so in public thought of some covering. The plant had sharpened their minds, so that they covered themselves with fig-leaves, and tying these in front for modesty's sake, they felt somewhat better, finding it what they previously lacked. 045 When God came into the garden, Adam, who previously used to accompany Him, kept out of His way, conscious of his crime. God found this strange and asked the reason for it, and why he who previously enjoyed His company, now shunned and avoided it. 046 Knowing that he had disobeyed God's command, he said nothing, but God said, "I had planned for you to lead a happy life, with no hardship or care or worry of soul, with all things needed for your enjoyment and pleasure growing of their own accord by my providence, without your labour and toil, since a life of labour and toil would soon bring on old age, and death would not be far away. 047 But now that you have spurned my will and disobeyed my commands, your silence does not spring from virtue but from a guilty conscience." 048 Adam sought to excuse his sin and begged God not to be angry with him. He blamed his wife for the affair, saying that she had misled him into committing the offence, while she accused the snake. 049 But God imposed a penalty on him for submitting to female advice, saying that the earth would no longer produce of its own accord, but would yield some of its fruits only under stress from their toil, and others it would not give at all. He subjected Eve to childbearing and the pains of birth because she misled Adam just as the snake had persuaded her, and so caused disaster. 050 He deprived the snake of speech, angry at his malice towards Adam, putting poison under his tongue and making him an enemy to humans, which is why they aimed blows at his head, the place of his malice towards men, as the easiest way to take revenge on him. By depriving the snake of the use of his feet, He made him to crawl and wriggle along the ground. 051 Having set these penalties for them, God exiled Adam and Eve from the garden to another place.

Chapter 02. [052-071]
Generations from Adam to Noah

1.

052 They had two male children of whom the elder was called Cain, which means "aquiring," and the younger was called Abel, which means "nothing," and they also had daughters. 053 Now the two brothers chose different lifestyles. Abel, the younger, devoted himself to righteousness, and believing that God was present in all that he did, attended to virtue and lived the life of a shepherd. But Cain was very evil and in particular cared about profit, and it was he who first thought of ploughing the ground. He killed his brother for the following reason. 054 They decided to sacrifice to God and Cain brought the fruits of the earth and of his farming, but Abel brought milk and the first-fruits of his flocks. God favoured this offering, preferring to be honoured by what grew naturally on its own than by what a covetous man had forced from the ground. 055 Cain was furious that God preferred Abel over him, so he killed his brother and hid his corpse, thinking to be undetected. But God knew if it, so he came to Cain and asked what had become of his brother, since for many days he had not seen him and he used to see them together in company. 056 Cain was at a loss and did not know what to say to God. First he declared that he knew nothing about his brother's disappearance, but angry at God's insistent questioning, he replied that he was not his brother's tutor or guardian, and had not noticed what he was doing. 057 At this, God condemned Cain for his brother's murder, saying: "I am surprised that you do not know what has become of a man whom you killed yourself." 058 But God did not punish him with death, because he offered sacrifice and implored him not to be severely angry, yet he made him accursed and warned his descendants to the seventh generation, and expelled him and his wife from that land. 059 As he was afraid that in his wanderings he might fall victim to wild beasts and be killed, He bade him not to be depressed for such reason, but to travel all over the earth without fearing any harm from wild beasts. Then he set a recognisable mark upon him and told him to leave.

2.

060 After many travels Cain and his wife built a city called Nais, and settled and had children there. He did not accept his punishment in a good spirit but rather grew more wicked, for all he wanted was what served his bodily pleasure, even if this drove him to encroach upon his neighbours. 061 Through robbery and violence he increased the wealth of his household, and urged those he met to win pleasure and loot by robbery, instructing them in it, whereas up to then people had lived simply, in community. He was the author of measures and weights, which changed the former innocent way of life towards cunning and craftiness. 062 He was also the first to fence lands in, and built a city and fortified it with walls and forced his family to come and live in it, and called that city Anocha, after his eldest son Anoch. 063 Anoch had a son named Jarad, whose son was Malaliel, whose son was Mathousalas, whose son was Lamech, who had seventy seven children by two wives, Sella and Ada. 064 Of those children by Ada, one was Jobel, who built tents and loved the pasturing of sheep. Youbal, who was born of the same mother as him, devoted himself to music, and invented harps and lutes, while one of his children by the other wife, Tubal, surpassed everyone in strength and was famous for warlike activities, through which he won all he needed for his bodily pleasure; and he was first to invent the forging of brass. 065 Lamech had a daughter called Naamah, and because he was so skilled in divine matters that he knew he would pay a special penalty for Cain's murder of his brother, he told it to his wives. 066 Already in Adam's lifetime, Cain's descendants became very wicked, each of them turning out worse than his predecessor. They were fierce in war and plunged into robbing, and any of them who was hesitant to murder was still bold in insolence and greed.

3.

067 We must say something more about Adam, who was the first man and made from the earth. After Abel was killed and Cain fled due to his murder, Adam longed for children and had a great desire to beget them, though he was two hundred and thirty years old, to which he added another seven hundred years before he died. 068 He did indeed have many other children, including Seth. It would take long to name the others, so I will only try to give an account of the descendants of Seth. When he was reared to the age of discretion he became a virtuous man, and with his excellent character he left behind him children who followed his footsteps. 069 All of them were of good character and they lived happily all their lives in the same land, without strife or severe incidents, and were the founders of of the science of the ordered beauty of the heavenly bodies. 070 So that their discoveries might not be lost to humanity before being properly known, as Adam had predicted that the world would at some stage be destroyed by the fire and again by a flood of water, they made two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, on which they inscribed their discoveries, 071 so that if the pillar of brick were ever ruined by a flood, the pillar of stone would remain to teach mankind what was inscribed on it, and that they had built another pillar of brick. This remains in the land of Seiris to this day.

Chapter 03. [072-108]
Noah's Ark. Settlement on the Plains of Shinar

1.

072 For seven generations these people continued to follow God as the Lord of the universe and to follow the guidance of virtue, but in the course of time they were perverted and abandoned the customs of their fathers, not paying due honour to God or caring about justice to others. Their former zeal for virtue was now replaced in double measure with evil, as though they were at war with God. 073 Many angels of God now went in to women and had sons who proved arrogant and, trusting in their own strength, despised all that was good. Our tradition says that these men acted audaciously, like those whom the Greeks call giants. 074 Noah, indignant at their conduct and displeased at their scheming, urged them to mend their outlook and actions for the better. But seeing them so enslaved to their wickedness and pleasure that they would not yield to him and afraid that they would kill him with his wife and children and their spouses, he emigrated from the land.

2.

075 God loved this man for his righteousness, but not only did he condemn the wickedness of the others, he decided to destroy all of mankind and make another race pure from evil, and shortening their lives and reducing the number of their years to one hundred and twenty, he turned the dry land into sea. 076 So all the others were killed and Noah alone was saved, for God put into his mind this plan as a means of survival. 077 He made a four storey-high ark, three hundred feet long, fifty feet broad and thirty feet high, and entering that ark with his wife and sons and their wives, he brought into it provisions to support their needs, and all sorts of living creatures, male and female, to preserve their kinds, some of them numbered in sevens. 078 The sides and roof of the ark were so strong that it could not be sunk or swamped by the violence of the water, and by it Noah and his family were saved. 079 He was the tenth in the line of Adam, being the son of Lamech, whose father was Mathuselah, son of Anoch, son of Jared, son of Malaleel, who, along with many of his sisters, were the children of Cain, son of Anos who was the son of Seth, son of Adam.

3.

080 This sorrow came in the six hundredth year of Noah's rule, in the second month, called Dius by the Macedonians, and Marsuan by the Hebrews, for that is how they arranged their calendar in Egypt. 081 Moses appointed Nisan, or Xanthicus, as the first month for their festivals, because in that month he brought them out of Egypt. He counted this month as starting the year regarding divine worship, though he kept the original sequence for selling and buying and other ordinary affairs. He says that this flood began on the twenty seventh day of that month. 082 This was two thousand six hundred and fifty six years from Adam, the first man, for the time is written down in our sacred books, since those who lived then noted most carefully both the births and deaths of prominent men.

4.

083 Seth was born when Adam was in his two hundred and thirtieth year, and he lived nine hundred and thirty years. Seth begot Anos in his two hundred and fifth year, and after living for nine hundred and twelve years, he passed on the leadership to Caina his son, whom he begot in his hundred and ninetieth year. His span of life was nine hundred and twelve years. 084 Caina who lived nine hundred and ten years, had a son, Malaleel, in his hundred and seventieth year. This Malaleel lived eight hundred and ninety five years and died, leaving his son Jared, whom he begot when he was in his hundred and sixty fifth year. 085 He lived for nine hundred and sixty nine years and his son Anoch succeeded him, born when his father was a hundred and sixty two. He, after living for three hundred and sixty five years, left to go to God, which is why there is no written account of his death. 086 Mathuselah was born to Anoch when he was a hundred and sixty five years old, and at the age of a hundred and eighty seven he had Lamech, to whom he handed over the leadership, having held it for nine hundred and sixty nine years. 087 When Lamech had ruled for seven hundred and seventy seven years, he put his son Noah in charge of affairs, who was born when Lamech was aged a hundred and eighty eight years; and he ruled affairs for nine hundred and fifty years. 088 All together, these add up to the above-named sum of years. One should not focus on these men's date of death, for their lifetimes reached into those of their children and grandchildren, but rather pay attention to their dates of birth.

5.

089 When God gave the sign and it began to rain, it poured for all of forty days, until the water rose fifteen feet above the earth. This was why so few survived, as they had nowhere to take refuge. 090 When the rain ceased, the water only began to abate after a hundred and fifty days, on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, when it gradually began to subside. The ark came to rest on top of a mountain in Armenia and on noting this, Noah opened it up, saw a small piece of land around it and remained calm, with his hopes revived. 091 Some days later, when the water had receded still more, he sent out a raven, to learn if any other part of the earth were left dry by the water and whether he might safely leave the ark. But the raven, finding all the land still flooded, returned to Noah. After seven days he sent out a dove, to learn the state of the ground. 092 It returned to him covered in mud and bringing an olive branch, by which he knew that the earth was now cleared of the cataclysm. After another seven days he sent the living creatures out of the ark, and emerged with his family and sacrificed to God and feasted with his household. The Armenians call this place the Landing Place for the ark landed safely there, and its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day.

6.

093 All the barbarian history writers mention this flood and this ark; among whom is Berosus the Chaldean. For when describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on: "It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans, and that some people carry off pieces of the asphalt, to use as amulets for averting harm." 094 It is also mentioned by Hieronymus the Egyptian, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities and Mnaseas, and by many others. Nicholas of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, tells of it in this way: 095 "Above Minyas in Armenia there is a large mountain called Baris, where many are said to have found safety at the time of the Deluge, and that one man landed on its summit, carried in an ark, the remnants of whose timber were preserved for a long time. He may be the one of whom Moses the Jewish Legislator wrote."

7.

096 Noah was afraid that since God had sentenced mankind to destruction, he might flood the earth each year, so he offered burned-sacrifice and begged God to let nature later follow its former orderly course and never again inflict such a penalty as would endanger all living things; and having punished the wicked, to spare those who for their merits had been spared from the disaster. 097 If they were not fully saved, these would be worse off than the others and suffer a worse condemnation, if they were spared only to suffer another deluge. After bearing the terrible sight of the first deluge, must they also be ruined by a second? 098 So he begged Him to accept his sacrifice, that the earth may never again suffer similar effects of his anger, but to let people go on cultivating it, building cities and living happily in them, not lacking any of those good things that they enjoyed before the Flood, and reach a good, ripe old age, like the people of old.

8.

099 When Noah had made these prayers, God loved him for his righteousness, and granted all his prayers, saying that it was not He who had brought destruction on the world, but those who had suffered this just vengeance. 100 He would not have brought men into the world had he meant to destroy them, since it would show greater wisdom not to have given them life at all than to destroy them, after it was given. "But their outrages to my sanctity and goodness," he said, "forced me to inflict this punishment on them. 101 However in future I will not so angrily punish their misdeeds, especially due to your prayers. If at any time I send unusually bad weather, do not fear the size of the downpours, for the water shall never again swamp the earth. 102 You are to refrain from shedding human blood and from murder and punish those who do any such thing. I allow you to use all other animals to satisfy your needs and appetites, for I have made you masters of all that walk on the land and swim in the waters and fly in the air, except for their blood, for in it is the life. 103 And by my bow (meaning the rainbow, which they call the bow of God) I will give you a sign that I have set aside my anger. When God had said and promised this, he went away.

9.

104 When Noah had lived three hundred and fifty years after the Flood and all that time happily, he died, having lived for nine hundred and fifty years. 105 But let no one, comparing the lives of the ancients with our own and the brevity of its years, think that what is said of them is false; or make the shortness of our present lives an argument, that could not reach so long a lifespan either. 106 For they were beloved by God and had come from God himself, and as their diet then was more conducive to longevity, they could well live so long. Besides, God gave them longer life on account of their virtue and their useful astronomical and geometrical discoveries, for they could not have foretold anything with security unless they lived in least six hundred years, or the full cyclic year. 107 All who have written about ancient times, whether Greeks or barbarians, confirm the truth of this. For Manetho, who wrote the history of Egypt and Berosus who did so for the Chaldeans and Mochus and Hestieus, and, besides these, Hieronymus the Egyptian and those who wrote the history of the Phoenicians, agree to what I say here. 108 Hesiod too and Hecataeus, Hellanicus and Acusilaus, as well as Ephorus and Nicholas tell how the ancients lived a thousand years. But let each one judge these things as he thinks fit.

Chapter 04. [109-119]
Tower of Babel and Division of Languages

1.

109 Noah had three sons, Shem, Japhet and Ham, born a hundred years before the Deluge. First, these men descended from the mountains into the plains and lived there, and persuaded others who because of the flood were much afraid of the lower ground and reluctant to come down from the heights, to dare to follow their example. 110 The plain where they first lived was called Senaar. God told them to send out colonies to fully populate of the earth, and not to quarrel among themselves, but to cultivate much of the earth and enjoy its plentiful fruits. But in their foolishness they disobeyed God, and therefore fell into disasters which made them experience the error of their ways. 111 For when they were flourishing with a large young population God again advised them to send out colonies, but they did not obey, imagining their prosperity was due not to God's favour but their own innate strength. 112 Along with disobeying the divine will, they suspected that He had ordered them to go out in colonies merely so that they would be easier to overcome, being isolated from each other.

2.

113 It was Nabrod who provoked them to such an insult and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, son of Noah, a bold man of great strength, who persuaded them to attribute their prosperity not to God, but to their own courage. 114 He gradually brought matters under a tyranny, seeing that the only way to turn people from the fear of God was to keep them dependent on his own power, and that to defend them, in case God should ever again want to drown the world, he threatened to build a tower too high for the waters to reach, and so avenge the ruin of their ancestors.

3.

115 The populace readily followed Nabrod's view and reckoned it a slavery to submit to God, so they built a tower, sparing no effort and not delaying in the work. With so many working on it, it rose up more quickly than anyone would have expected. 116 It was so stout and strongly built that it appeared less than its great height, and was built of baked bricks, cemented with asphalt so as to be watertight. 117 When God saw them acting in this mad way, he did not decide to utterly destroy them, since even the destruction of the previous sinners had not taught them wisdom, but he put them in turmoil by making them speak different tongues, so that they could not understand each other. The place where they built the tower is called Babylon nowadays, after the confusion of that original language once understood by all, for in Hebrew Babel means confusion. 118 The Sibyl also mentions this tower and the confusion of human language, when she says, "When all people were of one language, some of them built a high tower as if by it they could climb up to heaven; but the gods sent windstorms and destroyed the tower and gave each one his own language, and for this reason the city was called Babylon." 119 Hestiaeus mentions the plan of Senaar in the district of Babylonia, as follows: "The priests who survived took the sacred vessels of Zeus Enyalius and came to Senaar of Babylonia."

Chapter 05. [120-121]
Noah's progeny spread out over the earth

1.

120 They were scattered then, due to their variety of languages, and formed colonies everywhere and each colony took possession of the land they found and to which God led them, so that they filled the whole earth, both the inland and the coastland, and some crossed the sea in ships and inhabited the islands. 121 Some of those nations retain the names their founders gave them, but some were changed so as to be more intelligible to the inhabitants. It was the Greeks who did this, for when they grew powerful in later ages, they claimed the glory of the past and gave to the nations names they could understand, and imposed their form of culture on them, as if they had founded them.

Chapter 06. [122-153]
Nations gave names to their countries

1.

122 Noah's children had sons in whose honour the nations were named by their first occupants. Noah's son Japhet had seven sons, who occupied first the mountains of Taurus and Amanus and proceeded through Asia as far as the river Tanais and across Europe as far as Gadeira, settling the lands they encountered where none had lived before, and calling the nations by their own names. 123 Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, but were then called Gomerites and Magog founded the Magogites after himself, whom they call Scythians. 124 The sons of Japhet, Javan and Mados, were also founders of nations: from Mados came the Madaeans, whom the Greeks call Medes, and from Javan are descended Ionia and all the Greeks. Theobel founded the Theobelites, who are now called Iberes. 125 The Mescheni were founded by Meschos and are now called Cappadocians, though a trace of their ancient name is still visible, for there is still among them a city called Mazaca, an indication to those who understand such things that this was once the name of the whole nation. Thiras called his subjects Thirasians, but the Greeks changed the name into Thracians. 126 These were the countries occupied by the children of Japhet. Of the three sons of Gomer, Aschanaxes founded the Aschanaxans, who are now called by the Greeks Rheginians; and Riphath founded the Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians, and Thygrames the Thygrameans, whom the Greeks called Phrygians. 127 Of the three sons of Javan, son of Japhet, Halisa named the Haliseans whom he ruled, who are now the Aeolians; and Tharsus named the Tharsians, the former name of Cilicia, in sign of which their noblest city and metropolis Tarsus, the tau having replaced the theta. 128 Cethimus occuped the island of Cethima, now called Cyprus, from which all islands and most of the sea-coasts are called by the Hebrews Cethim, a sign of which is that one city in Cyprus has kept that name. It is called Citius by those who use the Greek language, not far removed from the name Cethim. These were the nations occupied by the children and grandchildren of Japhet. 129 After noting something that the Greeks probably do not know, I will return to explain what I have omitted. To please my readers the names are here rendered in the Greek style, as our native language does not pronounce them like that, for we retain the form and termination of names and for us, Noah is Nochas, and his name retains this form in all cases.

2.

130 The children of Ham held the land from Syria and Amanus and the mountains of Libanus; taking all its sea-coast as far as the ocean and making it their own. Some of its names have vanished utterly while others have changed in pronunciation, and so are hard to identify, though a few have kept their names intact. 131 Of the four sons of Ham, time has no way changed the name of Chus, for his Ethiopian descendants are even to this day called Chusites, both by themselves and by everyone in Asia. 132 The memory of the Mesraites is preserved in their name, for all of us living here call Egypt Merse and the Egyptians Merseans. Phut was the founder of Libya and called the inhabitants Phutites, after himself. 133 There is even a river in the land of the Moors bearing that name, which is why one sees most of the Greek historiographers mentioning that river and the adjoining area under the name of Phut, which was changed and is now called after Libyos, one of the sons of Mesraim. We will soon report what caused it to be also called Africa. 134 Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, lived in the country now called Judea and called it by his own name Canaan. The children of these were: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans, Evilas, who founded the Evileans, now called Getuli, and Sabathes the Sabathens, whom the Greeks call Astaborans. 135 Sabactas founded the Sabactenians, Ragmus the Ragmeans, and he had two sons, one of whom, Judadas, settled the Judadeans, a nation of the western Ethiopians and left them his name; as did Sabas to the Sabeans. But Nabrod, son of Chus, stayed and was tyrant in Babylon, as already said. 136 The eight children of Mesraim possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it kept the name of only one, Philistinos, and the Greeks name his country Palestine. 137 The others were Lumaeus and Anamia and Labimos, who settled alone in Libya and called the country after himself. Of Nedim and Pethrosim and Chesloim and Cephthomos we know nothing except their names, for the Ethiopian war which we shall later describe destroyed those cities. 138 The sons of Canaan were: Sidonius, who built a city of the same name, called by the Greeks Sidon; Amathus who lived in Amathine, which the locals even now call Amathe, though from one of his descendants the Macedonians gave it the name Epiphania. Arudaeus took the island of Aradus and Arucaeus took Arce in Libanus. 139 Of the seven others, Euaeus, Chetteus, Jebuseus, Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus and Samareus, we have nothing from the sacred books except their names, for the Hebrews destroyed their cities, a fate that befell them for the reason I shall explain.

3.

140 When the earth was restored to its former condition after the deluge, Noah set to planting it with vines, and when he gathered the grapes in due season and the wine was ready for use, he offered sacrifice and held a feast. 141 When he was drunk he fell asleep and lay there indecently naked; and as his youngest son saw him he laughingly pointed it out to his brothers, who covered up their father. 142 When Noah learned what had happened, he prayed that his other sons might prosper though he did not curse Ham because he was his son, but he cursed his offspring; and while the rest of them escaped God's curse, it fell on the children of Canaan. About this we shall say more later.

4.

143 Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who occupied the land from the Euphrates to the Indian Ocean. For Elam left behind him the Elamites, the forebears of the Persians. Ashur lived in the city of Ninon, and named his subjects Assyrians, who prospered greatly. 144 Arphaxad named his subjects the Arphaxadites, now called the Chaldeans. Aramaeus ruled the Aramites, whom the Greeks call Syrians, and Loudas founded the Loudites, now called Lydians. 145 Of the four sons of Aramos, Ouses founded Trachonitis and Damascus which is between Palestine and Coele-Syria, Ouros founded Armenia, and Getheres the Bactrians, and Mesa the Mesaneans in the area that is now called Charax Spasini. 146 Arphaxad's son was Sala, whose son was Heber, from whom the Jews were originally called Hebrews. Heber begot Joetan and Phaleg, who got the name Phaleg because he was born at the dispersion of the territories, as for the Hebrews phalek means division. 147 Of the children of Heber, Joctan's sons were Elmodad, Saleph, Azermoth, Eira, Edoram, Ouzal, Dakles, Ebal, Abimael, Safas, Ophir, Euiles and Jobel. These inhabited part of India from the river Cophen and part of Asia adjoining it. Such is my report about the sons of Shem.

5.

148 I will go on to speak about the Hebrews. Reus was the son of Heber's son Phaleg, and his son was Serug, to whom was born Nahor, whose son was Therros, the father of Abraham, who was the tenth generation from Noah, born in the two hundred and ninety second year after the deluge. 149 Therros begot Abram in his seventieth year; Nahor begot Therros when he was a hundred and twenty; Serug was a hundred and thirty two when Nahor was born to him; Rumos had Serug at one hundred and thirty, and Phaleg was the same age when he had Rumos. 150 Heber begot Phaleg in his hundred and thirty-fourth year, having himself being born of the hundred and thirty year-old Selos, whom Arphaxad begot at the age of a hundred and thirty five. Arphaxad was the son of Shem and born twelve years after the deluge. 151 Now Abram had two brothers, Nahor and Aran, of whom Aran left behind a son, Lot, and daughters, Sara and Melcha, and he died among the Chaldeans, in a Chaldean city named Ur, and his tomb is shown to this day. The brothers married their nieces, Nabor taking Melcha and Abram taking Sara. 152 Now as Therros hated Chaldea, in his grief for the loss of Aran, they all moved to Haran in Mesopotamia, where Therros died and was buried, after living to be two hundred and five years old, for the human lifespan was already diminishing and becoming shorter up to the birth of Moses, after whom the limit of human life was fixed by God at a hundred and twenty years, the length that Moses lived. 153 By Melcha Nahor had eight sons: Uz and Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Azau, Pheldas, Jadelph and Bethuel. These were all the legitimate sons of Nahor, for Teba and Gaam and Tachas and Maaca were born of his concubine Reuma; and Bethuel had a daughter, Rebecca, and a son, Laban.

Chapter 07. [154-160]
Abram goes to the land of Canaan.His religious belief: monotheism

1.

154 Abram, having no son of his own, adopted Lot, his brother Aran's son and his wife Sara's brother, and left the land of Chaldea when he was seventy-five years old and at God's command went into Canaan, where he lived and then left it to his descendants. He had a remarkable grasp of all things and great powers of persuasion and was not mistaken in his views. 155 Thus he began to have higher ideas of virtue than others and decided to renew and change the opinion all people then had about God. He was the first who dared to proclaim that there was only one God, the Creator of the universe, and that if any others contributed to human prosperity, each gave it only at his command and not by their own power. 156 This he concluded from the movements of both land and sea, and those of the sun and moon and all the heavens. If these had power of their own, they would control their own regular motions, but since they do not, it is clear that where they co-operate for our advantage, they do it not of their own power but as subject to Him who orders them, to whom alone we should properly give honour and thanksgiving. 157 When the Chaldeans and other Mesopotamians challenged him about these doctrines he decided to emigrate, and guided and helped by God, gained possession of the land of Canaan. When he had settled there, he built an altar and offered sacrifice to God.

2.

158 Berosus mentions our father Abram without naming him, when he says, "In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a just and great man, skilled about the heavens." 159 Hecataeus gave him more than a mere mention, for he left a book about him. And Nicolaus of Damascus, in the fourth book of his History, says, "Abram reigned though he was a foreigner, for he came with an army from the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans. 160 Soon he moved from that country with his people and went into the land then called Canaan, which is now Judea, and his descendants were many; of them we will tell in another work. The name of Abram is still honoured near Damascus, where they point out a village named after him "Abram's Abode."

Chapter 08. [161-170]
Abram goes down to Egypt. Returns to Canaan and divides the land with Lot

1.

161 When a famine gripped Judea and Abram realised that the Egyptians were prospering, he wanted to go down to them, both to share in their plenty and to hear what their priests had to say about the gods. If they had better notions, he would follow them, but if his ideas were right he would convert them to a better understanding. 162 He took Sara with him but on account of his wife's great beauty he feared that the king, with an Egyptian's mania for women, would have him killed, so he came up with this plan: he would claim to be her brother and get her to pretend the same, for the sake of them both. 163 When he came into Egypt, it turned out as Abram had expected. His wife's beauty was highly praised, so that when he heard of her the king of the Egyptians, Pharaothes, would not rest until he saw Sara and was eager for her embrace. 164 But God thwarted his unjust desires by sending on him an illness and a civic revolt. When he asked the priests how he could be freed from these troubles, they told him that his misfortune resulted from the wrath of God, for intending to abuse the stranger's wife. 165 Full of fear, he asked Sara who she was and whom she had brought with her, and once he learned the truth he apologised to Abram. Thinking she was his sister and not his wife he had desired her, seeking a family bond with Abram and not drawn by lust to abuse her. He made him a large gift of money and let him converse with the most learned of the Egyptians, from which his virtue and reputation shone out even more than before.

2.

166 Since the Egyptians were formerly devoted to different customs and despised each other's rites and were therefore hostile to each other, he conferred with them individually and confuted their principles, proving them to be empty and void of truth. 167 In those conferences he was admired by them as a very wise and prudent man who taught wisely and persuasively on any subject and shared arithmetic with them and passed on to them the science of astronomy. 168 Before Abram's arrival the Egyptians were ignorant of those things, for they came from the Chaldeans into Egypt and from there also to the Greeks.

3.

169 When returned to Canaan he divided out the land with Lot, because their shepherds were quarrelling over the pasturage, and gave Lot of which area to take. 170 He himself took the base of the mountains, the land the other had left, and lived in Hebron, a city seven years older than Tanis of Egypt. But Lot occupied the land of the plain around the river Jordan, not far from the city of Sodom, at that time a fine city though now destroyed by the will and anger of God, for reasons which I shall show later, in due time.

Chapter 09. [171-175]
Destruction of the men of Sodom.

1.

171 At that time, when the Assyrians ruled over Asia, the people of Sodom were flourishing, both in riches and in the numbers of their youth. Five kings ruled their land: Balas, Balaeas, Senabanes and Summobor, with the king of the Baleni, with each ruling his own area. 172 The Assyrians went to war against them, and besieged them, dividing their army into four parts, each part under its own commander. After the battle the victorious Assyrians imposed a tax on the kings of the Sodomites, 173 who for twelve years submitted to this slavery and continued to pay the tax, but on the thirteenth year rebelled. Then the army of the Assyrians came against them, under their officers Amrapsides, Arioch, Chodorlamor and Thadal. 174 These had destroyed all Syria and subdued the descendants of the giants, and when they reached the area of Sodom, they camped in the valley called Asphalt Springs, for at that time there were springs there, but now that the city of Sodom has disappeared, the valley has become the lake called Asphaltitis, 175 and about this lake we shall soon have more to say. When the Sodomites clashed with the Assyrians, it was a very hard-fought battle and many of them were killed and the rest were taken prisoner, among them Lot, who had gone over to the Sodomites as an ally.

Chapter 10. [176-193]
Abram saves Lot, and Melchisedek blesses him.Rivalry between Sarah and Hagar

1.

176 When Abram heard of their plight, he feared for his kinsman Lot and felt pity for his Sodomite friends and neighbours. 177 Planning to come to their help, he marched without delay and on the fifth night attacked the Assyrians near Dan, for so the other source of the Jordan is named, and killed some as they were in their beds, with no inkling of disaster, before they could grasp their armour. Others, who were not yet asleep but were too drunk to fight, fled. 178 Abram pursued them, until on the next day he corralled them at Hoba in the area of Damascus and, since victory depends not on the size of the group or the number of available hands but on the soldiers' spirit and courage, he overcame their whole force and defeated such a large army with no more than three hundred and eighteen of his servants and three of his friends. Any of them who fled returned home without glory.

2.

179 So Abram, when he had saved the Sodomites who had been captured by the Assyrians, including his kinsman Lot, returned home in peace. The king of Sodom met him at a place they called the Royal Plain. 180 Melchisedec, king of the city of Salem, also received him there. His name means "righteous king" and such he was, as all agree, and on this account he was made the priest of God, and later Salem was called Jerusalem. 181 This Melchisedec supplied Abram's army most hospitably and gave them provisions in abundance, and during their feasting he began to praise him and to bless God for subduing his enemies to him. When Abram gave him the tenth part of his booty, he accepted the gift. 182 Then the king of Sodom asked Abram to keep the remaining booty, wanting only the return of those of his people whom Abram had saved from the Assyrians. But Abram did not accept and wanted no more of the booty than what would feed his servants, though he also provided a portion to his friends who had helped him in the battle. The first of them was called Eschol, and the others Enner and Mambre.

3.

183 God praised his virtue and said, "You shall not lose the rewards you merited by such good actions." He replied, "And what good are such rewards, when I have none to enjoy them after me?' - for he was still childless. God promised that he would have a son and that would have so many descendants that they would be as numerous as the stars. 184 When he heard this, he offered a sacrifice to God, as he had commanded him. The manner of the sacrifice was this: at God's command, he divided a three-year-old heifer and a three-year-old goat and a three-year-old ram, and took a turtle-dove and a pigeon, but the birds he did not divide. 185 Before he built his altar and while birds of prey were flying there, eager for blood, a divine voice came to him, declaring that for four hundred years his descendants would have harsh neighbours when they were in Egypt, but that after being afflicted they would overcome their enemies and conquer the Canaanites in war and take over their land and cities.

4.

186 Abram lived near the oak called Ogyges, in a place belonging to Canaan, not far from the city of Hebronites, where, discontent at his wife's barrenness, he begged God to grant him the birth of a male child. 187 God bade him take heart, saying that on top of all the other benefits he had given to him since leading him from Mesopotamia, he would have children too. So, at God's command, Sara brought to his bed one of her serving girls named Hagar, a woman of Egyptian descent, in order to have children through her. 188 When this serving girl became pregnant she dared to insult Sara, queening it as though the leadership were to pass to the child to be born of her. When Abram left it to Sara to punish her, she managed to escape, to avoid the humiliation, and begged God to have pity on her. 189 Now as she was going through the wilderness an angel of God met her, and told her to return to her masters, for she would later have a better life under self-control, since her woes came from being ungrateful and arrogant to her mistress. 190 If she disobeyed God and continued on her way, she would die, but if she returned, she would become the mother of a son who would reign over that country. She obeyed these directions and returned to her masters and was forgiven. A little while later, she bore Ismael; which may be rendered Heard by God, because God had heard her prayers.

5.

191 Abram was already eighty-six years old when that son was born to him. When he was ninety-nine, God appeared to him and promised that he would have a son by Sara. He commanded him to name him Isaac, and revealed that from this son would spring great nations and kings and that they would take all of Canaan by war, from Sidon to Egypt. 192 But in order to keep his descendants distinct from others, he instructed that they be circumcised in the flesh of their foreskin, a thing to be done on the eighth day after their birth. I will explain the reason for this circumcision, in another place. 193 When Abram also asked about the life of Ismael, God revealed that he would live a long time and become the father of great nations. Abram then gave thanks to God for these things and he was circumcised immediately with all his family and his son Ismael, who was thirteen years of age and he himself was in his ninety-ninth year.

Chapter 11. [194-206]
The Assyrians attack the people of Sodom

1.

194 About this time the Sodomites, arrogant in their numbers and great wealth, grew insolent towards men and impious towards God, no longer recalling the benefits they had received from him, becoming hostile to strangers and avoiding all contact with others. 195 Angry at this, God decided to punish them for their pride and destroy their city and wither their land, so that neither plant nor fruit would grow from it.

2.

196 After God's judgment on the Sodomites, Abraham saw three angels, as he sat by the oak of Mambre, at the door of his tent, and thinking them to be strangers, he got up to greet them and asked them to lodge with him as his guests. 197 When they accepted, he immediately ordered cakes of meal to be made, and killed a calf and roasted it and brought it to them, as they sat under the oak. They seemed to him to be eating, and then asked about his wife and how Sarah was. When he said she was inside, they said they would come back again to find she had become a mother. 198 At this the woman laughed inwardly, considering that child-bearing was impossible, as she was ninety years of age and her husband was a hundred. Then they no longer remained concealed, but declared that they were angels of God, one of whom was sent to tell them about the child and the other two to destroy the Sodomites.

3.

199 When Abraham heard this, he was grieved for the people of Sodom, and he got up and implored God for them, not to destroy the good and upright along with the wicked. When God said that there was no good man among the Sodomites, but that if there were just ten such men among them, he would forgive the sins of them all, Abraham stayed silent. 200 The angels came to the city of the Sodomites and Lot invited them as his guests, for he was a hospitable man who had learned the goodness of Abraham. When the Sodomites saw that the young men who had taken lodgings with Lot were very good-looking, they resolved to force themselves on them, to enjoy their beauty. 201 Lot urged them to show restraint and not to dishonour the guests, but to respect the fact that they lodged with him, but if they could not restrain themselves, he offered his own daughters for their lust, instead of these strangers; but even this did not satisfy them.

4.

202 Angry at their outrages, God first struck them with blindness so that they could not find entrance to the house, and then condemned all the Sodomites to destruction. Warned by God of the coming ruin of the Sodomites, Lot left the place with his wife and daughters, both of them still virgins, for those who were betrothed to them scorned the thoughts of leaving and treated Lot's words as absurd. 203 God then hurled a thunderbolt at the city and burned it up, with its inhabitants, and wiped out the countryside with fire, as I said earlier when describing the Jewish War. Lot's wife, who continually turned back to view the city as she left it and too curious about its fate despite God's forbidding it, was changed into a pillar of salt, for I have seen it and it remains to this day. 204 He and his daughters took refuge in a small place sheltered from the fire and settled there. It is still called Zoar, the Hebrew word for a small thing, where, isolated from mankind and short of provisions, he lived in want.

5.

205 Thinking that the whole human race had perished, the virgins secretly had intercourse with their father. They did this to prevent the extinction of the race, and sons were born to them; to the elder was born Moab, denoting "from his father" and to the younger, Amman, denoting "derived from a kinsman". 206 The former was ancestor of the Moabites, still today a great nation; the latter was the father of the Ammanites, and both of them inhabit Coele-syria. Such was the manner of Lot's departure from among the Sodomites.

Chapter 12. [207-221]
King Abimelech is warned not to covet Sarah. Ishmael is born to Hagar.

1.

207 Abraham moved on to Gerar in Palestine, taking Sarah with him disguised as his sister, using the same deceit he had used before, out of fear, for he was afraid that the local king, Abimelech, lusted for Sarah and wanted to seduce her. 208 This lust was checked by a dangerous illness which came upon him from God, and the doctors had despaired of his life when he fell asleep and saw in a dream, "Do not abuse the stranger's wife!" When he recovered, he told his friends that God had inflicted that illness upon him, to prevent him from wronging the stranger and to preserve the chastity of his wife, since that was not his sister with him, but his lawful wife, and that God had promised to be gracious to him in the future, if this man were reassured about his wife. 209 After saying this, on his friends' advice he sent for Abraham and told him to have no more fear about any unworthy attempt on his wife, for God was taking care of him and by his providence he would get his wife back unharmed, as God and his wife's conscience would testify; for he would not have desired her from the first, if he had known she was his wife, but since she had been introduced as a sister, he had done him no wrong. 210 He implored him to be fair and to pray to God for him, promising him all he needed if he wished to remain with him, but if he preferred to leave, he could have an escort and take whatever supplies he had sought when he came to him. 211 Abraham replied that his relationship to his wife had not been a lie, since she was his brother's daughter, and that in his travels abroad he did not feel safe without such a deception. To show that he had not caused the king's sickness, but was only anxious for his own safety, he said he was prepared to stay on with him. 212 So Abimelech assigned him land and money, and they covenanted to be honest with each other and took an oath at a well called Beersheba, which means "The Well of the Oath," as the local people still call it.

2.

213 Not long afterwards, as God had foretold, Abraham had a son by Sarah, whom he called Isaac, which means "Laughter." This was because Sarah laughed when God said that she would bear a son, as she was past the age of child-bearing and could not expect it, being ninety years old and Abraham a hundred. 214 This son was born a year later, and they circumcised him on the eighth day, and from then on the Jews practice circumcision that many days after a birth, whereas the Arabs circumcise after the thirteenth year, because that was the age when the founder of their race, Ismael, born of Abraham's concubine, was circumcised, as I will later expound in detail.

3.

215 Sarah at first loved Ismael, who was born of her serving girl Hagar, with an affection no less than if he were her own son, for he was being reared to take over the leadership. When she herself had Isaac, she did not want Ismael to be reared along with him, as he was too old for him and could do him harm after their father was dead, 216 so she persuaded Abraham to send him and his mother away. At first he did not agree to Sarah's eager request, thinking it cruel to send away a young child and a woman unprovided with the necessities of life. 217 Later, however, seeing that God approved of Sarah's wishes, he agreed. Entrusting Ismael to his mother, for he was not yet able to walk alone, he told her to take a skinful of water and a loaf of bread and be gone, guided by necessity. 218 When her provisions failed, she was in a trouble and when the water was almost finished, she laid the young child, who was about to die, under a fir-tree and went on ahead, so as not to be present at his death. 219 But an angel of God met her and told her of a nearby fountain and told her go ahead and rear the child, for she would be very blessed through the survival of Ismael. Encouraged by these promises she then met with some shepherds, by whose help she escaped from her plight.

4.

220 When the lad reached manhood, she found him a wife, a Egyptian woman as she originally was herself. Of this wife twelve sons were born to Ismael; Nabaioth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mabsam, Idumas, Masmaos, Masaos, Chodad, Theman, Jetur, Naphesus and Cadmas. 221 These inhabited all the land from the Euphrates to the Red Sea and called it Nabatene. They are an Arab nation and name their tribes after them, because of their own virtue and of the dignity of their father Abraham.

Chapter 13. [222-236]
Abraham is prepared to sacrifice Isaac, and for this utter obedience, God's promise to him is confirmed

1.

222 Abraham greatly loved Isaac his only son, given to him by God's favour at the threshold of old age. The child endeared himself to his parents still more by the practice of every virtue and fulfilling his duty towards them and being zealous in the worship of God. 223 Abraham trusted in the promise that when he died he would leave his son in a safe and secure situation. God willed to grant him this, but he wanted first to test Abraham's religious attitude, so He appeared to him and listed all the ways he had blessed him; 224 how he had given him victory over his enemies, and given him his son Isaac, the mainstay of his present prosperity. He said he required this son as a sacrifice and victim and told him to bring him to mount Moriah and there build an altar and offer him upon it as a holocaust, to prove his devotion and that he set God's will above the survival of his own son.

2.

225 Abraham wished to disobey God in nothing but to serve him completely, for it is by his loving providence that all things have life. So he concealed from his wife and servants God's command and his own intention to slaughter his son, for they would have kept him from obeying God, and he took Isaac and two of his servants, and loading an ass with all that was required for sacrifice, he went off to the mountain. 226 The two servants accompanied him for two days, but when he saw the mountain on the third day, he left his companions on the plain, and went alone with his son to the mountain, where later king David established the temple. 227 They had brought with them all that was needed for a sacrifice except the animal to be offered. Isaac was twenty-five years old, and as he was built the altar he asked his father what he intended to offer, since there was no animal there for a victim. He said that God himself would provide a victim, since he can make provide plentifully for people in need, and deprive others of what they already have, if they confide in it too much; and if He graciously chose to be present at this sacrifice, he would provide a victim too.

3.

228 When the altar was prepared and Abraham had laid on the wood and all was ready, he said to his son, "My child, I prayed so long to have you as my son. Then when you came into my life there was nothing I would not do for your upbringing, which I cherished, and nothing made me happier than to see you grow up, so that at my death I could leave you to rule after me. 229 But just as it was by God's will that I became your father, so it is now his will that I give you up, so bear this dedication generously. It is to God my support and protector that I surrender you, who now sees fit to ask this homage in return for his favours to me. 230 Just as you were born, so you will now die, not in the normal way but as sent ahead in sacrifice by your own father to God, the Father of all. I reckon he judges you worthy not to leave this life by disease, war, or any of the other cruel ways by which death usually comes. 231 He will receive your soul with prayers and religious rites and put you close to himself, where you will be the help and support me in my old age. It was for this that I brought you up, and now you leave God to me, to console me instead of you."

4.

232 As the son of such a father, Isaac had such a generous character that he gladly accepted this explanation. He said he would be unworthy of his birth if he rejected the will of God and of his father and not did readily resign himself up to both, for it would be wrong to disobey, even if his father alone had decided it. So he went immediately to the altar to be sacrificed, and it would have happened if God had not prevented it. 233 He loudly called Abraham's name and forbade him to kill his son, since it was not a desire for human blood that had moved him to order him to kill his son, nor had he made him a father only to remove the boy so terribly, but he just wished to test his spirit, to see if he would obey such a command. 234 Now that he was sure of his loyalty and his deep devotion, he was glad to have given him so much, and promised to show all care for him and his race, and that his son would live to a great age and after a happy life would pass on the noble leadership to his good and legitimate offspring. 235 He foretold too that his family would grow into many nations and that the patriarchs would leave behind them an everlasting name, and gain possession of the land of Canaan and be envied by all people. 236 After saying this, God sent them a ram they had not noticed before, as the sacrifice. So Abraham and Isaac embraced, having received each other back beyond all expectation and with the promises of such great blessings. After the sacrifice they returned to Sarah and lived happily together, and God helped them in everything they asked.

Chapter 14. [237]
The death of Abraham's wife, Sarah

237 Sarah died a short time later, having lived one hundred and twenty-seven years, and they buried her in Hebron, where the Canaanites publicly allowed them a burying-place. Abraham bought this piece of ground for four hundred shekels from Ephron, an inhabitant of Hebron. Here too Abraham and his descendants built tombs for themselves.

Chapter 15. [238-241]
By Keturah, Abraham fathers the nation of Troglodytes

1.

238 Abraham later married Keturah, by whom he had six sons, men of courage and intelligence: Zambran and Jazar and Madan and Madian and Josabak and Sous. The sons of Sous were Sabathan and Dadan. The sons of Dadan were Latusim and Assur and Luom. The sons of Madan were Ephas and Eophren and Anoch and Ebidas and Eldas. 239 Abraham managed to send all these sons and grandsons out to colonise, and they took possession of Troglodytis and of Arabia Felix, extending to the Red Sea. It is said that this Eophren made war on Libya and took it and that his grandchildren, when they inhabited it, called it Africa after him. 240 Alexander Polyhistor is my witness here, when he says, "Cleodemus the prophet, surnamed Malchus, who wrote a history of the Jews, just as did their Legislator, Moses, says that many sons were born to Abraham by Keturah. 241 He gives their names and lists three of them, Jafra, Surim and Japheros. From Surim the land of Assyria was named, and from the other two, Jafra and Japheros, the land of Africa was named, for these men soldiered with Hercules against Libya and Antaeus, and that Hercules married Jafra's daughter and of her he begot a son, Diodorus, and that Sophon was his son, from whom the barbarous Sophacians were named."

Chapter 16. [242-255]
Isaac marries Rebecca

1.

242 When Abraham, the father of Isaac, intended to take Rebecca, his brother Nahor's grand-daughter, as wife for his son Isaac, who was then about forty years old, he sent the oldest of his servants to arrange her betrothal, after binding him with firm pledges. 243 They pledged as follows, each put his hand under the other's thigh and called on God to witness what they would do. He also sent to the people living there gifts such as they had rarely if ever seen before. 244 It took this man some time to get there, as travel is difficult in Meopotamia, in winter because of the deep mud and in summer for lack of water, and also because of the bandits who can be avoided only by prudent travellers; but he reached Haran, and on the outskirts of the town met a large number of maidens going to get water. 245 He prayed to God that he would find Rebecca among them, whom Abraham had sent him to espouse for his son, if she would agreed to the marriage, and to make her known to him through this sign that while others denied him a drink, she would give it him.

2.

246 With this intention he went to the well and asked the maidens to fetch him a drink. But while the others refused, claiming that they needed all of it at home and could spare none for him, only one of the whole group rebuked their rudeness towards the stranger, saying: "What will you ever share with anybody, if you won't even give them water?" and kindly offered it to him. 247 He began to hope for the success of his mission, but wishing to find out, praised her generosity and good nature for not fearing to give to those in need what had cost her some effort to draw. He asked who her parents were, wishing them joy from having such a child. "And may you be espoused," he said, "to their satisfaction, into the house of a good husband and bear him legitimate children." 248 She did not reject his inquiries, but told him about her family. "My name is Rebecca; my father was Bethuel, but he is dead, and Laban is my brother, and along with my mother takes care of all our affairs and is the guardian of my virginity." 249 When the servant heard this, he was very glad at what had been done and said, seeing how clearly God had directed his journey. Producing his bracelets and other ornaments which it was thought decent for virgins to wear, he gave them to the girl, in thanks for her kindness in letting him drink, saying that it was right for her to have them since she had been kinder than the other girls. 250 She asked him to come and lodge with them, since the onset of night would not let him travel any farther, so producing the splendid women's garments he had brought, he said there was no one he could more securely entrust it to than the sort of person she had proven to be. From her he felt he could guess at the kindness of her mother and brother, who would not turn him away, for he did not wish to burden anybody but would pay for his lodging with his own money. 251 She replied that he was right about the kindness of her parents, but blamed him for thinking them so mean as to accept his money. He would have everything free of charge but she must first inform her brother Laban, and then bring him with his permission.

3.

252 When this was done, she introduced the stranger, and his camels were taken and tended to by Laban's servants, and he was brought in to him to supper. After supper, he said to him and the girl's mother, "Abraham is the son of Terah and a kinsman of yours, for Nahor, the grandfather of these children, was the brother of Abraham, both on his father's and mother's side. 253 This man has sent me to you, wanting to take the girl as a wife for his legitimate son, who was reared as his only heir. Though he could have for him had the most prosperous of all the women in that region, he did not want his son to marry any of them, but wants this match out of honour to his clan. 254 He is a man whose ardour and inclination you should not despise. All that happened on my journey was by the will of God and that I came upon your daughter and your house. For when I was near the city, I saw many maidens coming to the well and to meet with this girl, as it turned out. 255 So you should ratify the match which God has already pointed out, and show your respect for Abraham, who sent me here so urgently, by giving your consent to this girl." They understood it as God's will and gladly approved of the offer and sent their daughter, as was asked. And Isaac married her, having now come into his inheritance, for the children of Keturah had gone off to their colonies.

Chapter 17. [256]
The death and burial of Abraham.

256 Shortly after this Abraham died. He was a man of incomparable virtue and honoured by God for his devotion to him. He lived in all for a hundred seventy and five years and was buried in Hebron, with his wife Sarah, by their sons Isaac and Ismael.

Chapter 18. [257-277]
Esau and Jacob, sons of Isaac; their birth and the birthright

1.

257 After Abraham's death, Isaac's wife conceived and when her belly grew very large Isaac was worried and enquired of God, who replied that Rebecca would bear twins, and that two nations would take the names of those sons, and that he who appeared the second would excel the elder. 258 A little later, as God had foretold, she bore twins; the elder of whom was very rough and hairy from head to foot, but the younger took hold of his heel as they were being born. The father loved the elder, named Esau, a name suited to his roughness, for the Hebrews call such a hairy roughness esauron, but Jacob the younger was more loved by his mother.

2.

259 When there was a famine in the land, Isaac resolved to go to Egypt, where things were good, but went to Gerar at God's command. Here Abimelech the king received him, because Abraham had formerly lived with him as his friend. But though he treated him kindly at first, he was unable to continue in it, through envy of him. 260 For when he saw how God was with Isaac and took such care of him, he drove him away; and he, seeing the change in Abimelech, retreated to a place called the Valley, not far from Gerar. There, as he was digging a well, the shepherds attacked him and began fighting, hindering the work, and as he did not want to fight, they seemed to get the better of him. 261 So he retreated and dug still another, and when other shepherds of Abimelech began to be violent, he left that also, still retreating, and so won security for himself by prudent conduct. 262 Finally they let him dig a well untroubled, which he named Rehoboth, which means spacious. The earlier wells he called Escon, which means battle, the other Stena, which means enmity.

3.

263 Isaac's strength and possessions began to flourish, but Abimelech brooded about him, since their situation made them mutually suspect, and was secretly hostile for fear that their former friendship would not save him if Isaac were to recall the wrongs he had done him. So he renewed his treaty of friendship with him, through Philoch, one of his generals. 264 Having obtained everything he asked because of Isaac's good nature, who thought of the earlier friendship Abimelech had shown to him and his father rather than of his later anger towards him, he returned home.

4.

265 Of the sons of Isaac, Esau, the father's favourite, at the age of forty, married Adah, the daughter of Helon and Aholibamah, the daughter of Esebeon, Canaanite nobles, making these marriages on his own authority, without asking his father's advice. 266 Isaac would not have approved, for he did not want any alliance with the people of that region, but not wanting to be at odds with his son by ordering him to set aside these wives, he resolved to be silent.

5.

267 When he was old and completely blind, he called Esau to him and said that besides his sorrow at the ailment of his eyes, his old age hindered him from showing his devotion to God. 268 So he told him to go out hunting and when he had caught as much venison as he could, to prepare him a supper, and after this he would intercede with God to be his ally and helper all his life, for it was uncertain when he would die, but he wanted first by his prayers to obtain God's favour for him.

6.

269 Esau then went out hunting. But Rebecca preferred to have the prayer for God's favour applied to Jacob, unknown to Isaac, so she told him to kill some young goats and prepare a supper; and Jacob obeyed all of his mother's instructions. 270 When the supper was ready he took a goat's skin and put it around his arm, to make his father believe by its hairy roughness that he was Esau; indeed, as twins they were alike in everything except this, but he feared that his ruse might be discovered before the prayers and provoke his father to curse him. So he brought the supper to his father. 271 Detecting him by the sound of his voice, Isaac called his son to him, but when he reached to him his arm, wrapped in the goat-skin, he cried out, "You sound like Jacob, but by the thickness of your hair you seem to be Esau." 272 So suspecting no deceit, he ate the supper and then turned to his prayers, calling on God and saying, "Lord of the ages and Creator of all, since it was you that provided my father a great store of good things and were pleased to bestow on me whatever I have and have promised your gracious aid to my descendants and to give them still greater blessings. 273 Therefore confirm your word and do not neglect me in my present weakness, which makes me pray to you the more. Be gracious to this my son, and preserve him and save him from all that is evil. Give him a happy life in the possession of as many good things as your power can grant, making him feared by his enemies and honoured and loved by his friends."

7.

274 Thinking he was praying for Esau he called on God in this way, and had just finished when Esau came in from hunting. When Isaac noticed his mistake he stayed silent, but Esau demanded the same blessing from his father that his brother had received. 275 When his father refused, since all his prayers had been poured out on Jacob, he lamented the mistake. Then, being grieved at his tears, his father said that he would excel in hunting and strength of body, in arms and all such activities, and through them he and his descendants after him would win eternal glory, but that he would serve his brother.

8.

276 Fearing his brother who wanted revenge, Jacob was saved by his mother, who persuaded her husband send him to Mesopotamia to find a wife among his relatives. 277 Already Esau had married Basemmath, the daughter of Ismael, without his father's consent, for Isaac did not like the Canaanites, so that he disapproved of Esau's former marriages, which was why he took Basemmath as wife, to please him and indeed he had a great affection for her.

Chapter 19. [278-324]
Jacob flees from Esau and works for Laban. He marries Leah and Rachel

1.

278 So Jacob was sent by his mother to Mesopotamia to marry the daughter of her brother, Laban, which Isaac agreed to at his wife's request. He journeyed through the land of Canaan, and because he hated the people of that region, he would not lodge with any of them, 279 but lodged in the open air and laid his head on a heap of stones he had gathered. While asleep he saw a vision like this: He saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven and upon the ladder persons descending who appeared more splendid than human beings, and finally God himself stood above it clearly seen by him and addressing him by his name, in these words:

280 "Jacob, it is not right for you, son of a good father and grandson of one with such a reputation for virtue, to be dejected by your present state, for you can hope for better times. 281 By my help you shall have an abundance of all good things. For it was I who brought Abraham here out of Mesopotamia, when he was driven away by his relatives, and I gave prosperity to your father, and will bestow no less upon yourself. 282 Take heart, therefore, and proceed on your journey under my guidance, for the marriage you are eager for will take place. You will have children of good character, whose number will be beyond counting, and they will leave their estate to even more numerous offspring, to whom and to whose descendants, I give the dominion of all the land. Their offspring will fill the entire earth and sea, so far as the sun shines on them. 283 Do not fear any danger, or the many toils you must undergo, for by my providence I will direct what you are to do in the present and even more in the future."

2.

284 These were the predictions God made to Jacob. Heartened by what he had seen and heard, he poured oil on the stones where the prediction of such blessings was made. He also vowed to offer sacrifices upon them, if he returned with his life unharmed, and on this return he would give to God a tenth of all he had gained. He also judged the place to be sacred and named it Bethel, which in the Greek tongue translates as House of God.

3.

285 So he journeyed to Mesopotamia and finally came to Haran, and at a well outside the town he met some shepherds along with some youths and girls sitting about. He stayed talking with them, wanting water to drink, and asking if they knew a certain Laban and was he still alive. 286 They all said that yes, they knew him, for such a man was known to everyone there, and that his daughter pastured her father's flock along with them. They were surprised that she had not yet arrived, and said, "from her you may learn whatever details you want to know about that family." As they were saying this the girl arrived, and other shepherds came down along with her. 287 They pointed out Jacob to her as a stranger who came asking about her father's business. Innocently pleased at Jacob's coming, she asked him who he was and where he came from, and what had brought him there, and said she hoped they would be able to supply his needs.

4.

288 Jacob was touched, less by the fact of their being relatives and the affection arising from this than by his love of the girl and his amazement at her beauty, which was in such bloom as few women of that age could rival. He said, "if you are the daughter of Laban, there is kinship between you and me, from way before our births. 289 Abraham was the son of Terah, along with Haran and Nahor. Bethuel your grandfather was Nahor's son and Isaac my father was the son of Abraham and Sarah, the daughter of Haran. But there is a nearer and later bond of kinship between us, 290 for my mother Rebecca is sister to Laban your father, both by the same father and mother; therefore you and I are cousins. I have come now to greet you and to renew that bond which should be between us." 291 At the mention of Rebecca, the girl, as is wont to happen to youngsters, wept because of her fondness for her father and embraced Jacob, having learned about Rebecca from her father and knowing how her parents loved to hear her spoken of. 292 After greeting him, she said that he brought the most welcome and highest pleasure to her father and all their family, for he was always mentioning Jacob's mother and thinking of her, and "in his eyes this will make you equal to any good you can think of." Then she told him to follow her to her father and deprive him no longer of the pleasure of meeting him.

5.

293 With these words she brought him to Laban, and when his uncle recognised him, he felt secure and among his friends, and his unexpected arrival gave them great pleasure. 294 After a few days, saying that he could not express in words his joy he had at seeing him, Laban asked why he had come, leaving his aged mother and father who needed his care, and promised him every help he needed. 295 Jacob explained the whole reason for his journey: how Isaac had twin sons, himself and Esau, and how, for missing out on his father's blessing, which he had gained through his mother's wisdom, his brother had sought to kill him for robbing him of the authority God would have given him and of the blessings for which their father prayed. 296 This was the reason for his coming here, at his mother's suggestion. "For we are all brothers, but our mother want a further union between our families; so I look to yourself and God for protection and feel safe in my present circumstances."

6.

297 Laban promised to treat him with great kindness, both due to his ancestors and particularly for the sake of his mother, towards whom, he said, he would show his kindness, even though she were absent, by taking care of him, for he assured him he would make him the head shepherd of his flock and give him the authority for this and when he wanted to return to his parents, he would send him back with gifts suited to the nearness of their relationship. 298 This Jacob heard gladly, and said he would willingly and gladly bear any sort of hardships to remain with them, but in return asked for Rachel as his wife, since she was dear to him for many reasons and not least because she was the means of his finding him. He said it was his love for the girl that drove him to make this proposal. 299 Laban was well pleased with this agreement and consented to give the girl to him, having desired no better son-in-law. He would agree to it if he would stay some time with him, not wanting to send his daughter to live among the Canaanites, for he repented of the alliance he had already made by letting his sister marry there. 300 Jacob consented to this, and agreed to stay seven years, determined to serve his father-in-law for so many years to show them his character and what sort of man he was. Accepting his terms, at the proper time Laban held the wedding-feast. 301 But after nightfall, without Jacob's knowledge, he put his other daughter into bed to him, who was both older than Rachel and no beauty. Jacob lay with her that night, being both in drink and in the dark, but in the daylight he saw the injustice done to him and he rebuked Laban for it. 302 He apologised but said he had to do it, for it was not from malice that he gave him Leah but as bound by another greater duty. Still, nothing stopped him from marrying Rachel, for he would give him her whom he loved, if he served another seven years. Jacob agreed, for his love for the girl gave him no alternative, and after another seven years he took Rachel as his wife.

7.

303 Their father gave handmaids to each of them; Leah had Zilpha and Rachel had Bilha, who were not at all slaves, but servants. Now Leah was suffered keenly at seeing her husband's love for her sister, and thought she would be more honoured if she gave him children, so she constantly prayed to God. 304 When she had a son and it made her husband more attentive to her, she named the son "Rubel" because it showed God's mercy to her, for that is what the name means. After some time she had three more sons: Simeon, a name which means God heard her prayer, then Levi, the confirmer of their friendship, and after him Judas, which means thanksgiving. 305 Fearing that her sister's fruitfulness would lessen her share of Jacob's affections, Rachel sent her serving girl Bilha to bed with him and by her Jacob had Dan, which in the Greek tongue means "divine judgment," and after him Nephthali, meaning "wily," since by him Rachel countered the fruitfulness of her sister. 306 In the same way Leah countered her sister, by sending her own serving girl to bed with him. Therefore by Zilpha Jacob had a son called Gad, meaning "fortune," and after him Asher, a "happy man," for he added to his mother's fame. 307 Rubel, Leah's eldest son, brought mandrake apples to his mother. When Rachel saw them she asked her for some, for she loved eating them, but Leah refused, saying she should be satisfied with having taken away her share of her husband's love. To soften her sister's anger Rachel said she would yield him to her and she could lie with her husband that evening. 308 She accepted the offer and Jacob slept with Leah, by Rachel's favour. She had these sons: Issachar, denoting one "born by hire" and Zabulon, born as a "pledge of benevolence" towards her, and a daughter, Dinah. After some time Rachel had a son, named Joseph, which meant that another would be added to him.

8.

309 All this time, twenty years, Jacob fed the flocks of Laban his father-in-law, after which he asked his father-in-law for leave to take his wives and go home, and when his father-in-law would not let him, he planned to do it secretly. 310 He tested the feelings of his wives about this departure, and they accepted it gladly. Rachel took with her the images of the gods, which they used to worship in their own country and escaped with her sister, and their children and handmaids and possessions went along with them. 311 Without fore-warning Laban, Jacob took away half the livestock ; and the reason why Rachel took the images of the gods, although Jacob had taught her to scorn the worship of such gods, was that if they were followed and caught by her father, she could use these images to obtain his pardon.

9.

312 Laban first heard of Jacob's and his daughters' departure a day later, and furiously pursued them with a band of men, and on the seventh day caught up with them as they rested on a hillside. 313 He did not confront them at once, for it was evening. Then God stood beside him in a dream and warned him to treat his son-in-law and his daughters peaceably and not to do anything rash or angry to them, but to make peace with Jacob, warning that if he scorned their fewness, or was hostile to them, He would stand by them. 314 So forewarned, Laban called Jacob for a conversation next day and told him of his dream. Then he began to accuse him, how he had welcomed him when he was poor and in need and had given him plenty of everything he had. "I even gave you my daughters in marriage" he said, "and thought your goodwill for me would be greater than before; 315 but you cared neither for your mother's relationship to me, or for the new affinity between us, or about the wives you have married or the children, of whom I am the grandfather. Like an enemy, you drove away my livestock and persuaded my daughters to run away from their father, 316 and took away the paternal sacred images worshipped by my ancestors and by myself. You did this though you are my kinsman and my sister's son and husband of my daughters and were treated hospitably by me and ate at my table." 317 When Laban had spoken, Jacob defended himself. He was not the only one prompted by God to love his native land, for that was rooted in everyone, and after so long time, it was right for him to return to it. 318 "As for accusing me of theft, if anyone else were the arbitrator you would be found in the wrong, for instead of the thanks I should have from you for keeping your livestock and increasing them, how can you blame me for taking and keeping a small portion of them? As for your daughters, note that it is not through any trickery of mine that they follow me to my home, but from the proper affection of wives for their husband. They follow not so much myself as their own children." 319 This was his defense, to clear himself of having acted unjustly. To it he added his own complaint and accusation of Laban, "Though I was your sister's son and you gave me your daughters in marriage, you have worn me out with your harsh rules and kept me under them for twenty years. If what was required of me in order to marry your daughters was tolerable, after those marriages I had to bear what even an enemy would not impose." 320 For Laban had certainly treated Jacob very badly. When he saw God granting all his prayers that, as he had promised, of the young livestock to be born, he should have sometimes what was white in colour and sometimes what was black in colour, 321 but when those who should have been Jacob's share proved numerous, he did not keep his pledge, but promised to give them next year, envious of the abundance of his possessions. He made his promises, not expecting such increases, but when they appeared, he cheated him.

10.

322 He bade him search for the sacred images, and when Laban accepted, Rachel heard it and putting the images into the saddle of the camel on which she rode, she sat on it and said that her natural period hindered her from getting up. 323 Laban gave up the search, not thinking that his daughter would go near those images in such a state. So he made an agreement with Jacob and bound himself on oath not to bear him any malice for what had happened, and Jacob promised to love the daughters. 324 These they swore on oath, which they confirmed by raising a pillar in the form of an altar. Therefore that hill is called Galades, from which they call that area the Galadene to this day; and when they had feasted after the swearing, Laban returned home.

Chapter 20. [325-336]
Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau

1.

325 As Jacob went on his journey to the land of Canaan, he had a vision, offering him good hope for his future, and that place he named the Camp of God. Eager to know his brother's intentions towards him, he sent ahead to tell him everything in detail, being afraid on account of the former suspicions between them. 326 He told his envoys to tell Esau that Jacob thought it wrong to live near him while he was angry with him and had then left the region, but was now returning, assuming that his long absence had healed the rift between them. He was bringing with him his wives and children, and the property he had gained, and placed himself and what was dearest to him, into his hands, and would think it his greatest good fortune to share with his brother what God had given to him." 327 As they said this to him, Esau was very glad and came with four hundred men to meet his brother. When he heard of him coming with so many men, Jacob was very afraid, but trusting in God he gave thought to how to save himself and his own in the circumstances, and defeat his enemies if they wanted to harm him. 328 So he divided his company and sent some on ahead, with the others close behind, so that if the first were overpowered by his brother's attack, they could take refuge among those who came after. 329 After setting his group in this order, he sent some of them to bring gifts to his brother. The gifts consisted of pack-animals and many quadrupeds of various kinds, which would be most acceptable to their recipients, who were short of them. 330 The messengers went at intervals, so that coming soon after each other, they might seem even more numerous, and on account of the gifts his anger, if he still felt it might be relaxed. The messengers were also instructed to speak courteously to him.

2.

331 After spending the day arranging this he moved on with his group at nightfall, and when they had crossed over a river called the Jabacchos, Jacob stayed behind and met with an apparition, who began wrestling with him, but he defeated the apparition. 332 Then it raised its voice and spoke to him words of greeting, encourging him by the event and saying that his victory was a significant one, for he had overcome a divine messenger and should see it as a sign of great future blessings, and that his descendants would never fail and that nobody would excel him in power. 333 He told him to take the name Israel, which in the Hebrew tongue means one who struggled with an angel of God. He foretold these things at Jacob's request, for recognising him as an angel of God, he asked him to indicate what would happen to him later. After saying this to him, the apparition disappeared. 334 Delighted, Jacob named the place Phanuel, which means, the face of God. Since after the fight he felt pain around his broad sinew, he abstained later from eating that joint as food, and for his sake it is still not eaten by us.

3.

335 Learning that his brother was near, he ordered his wives to go ahead of him, separately, with their handmaids, to observe the actions of the men, if Esau opted for battle. Then he went up to his brother and bowed down to him and the brother showed no evil intent. 336 Esau greeted him and asked him about the throng of children and the women. When he had heard all about them, he asked him to go with him to their father, but when Jacob claimed that the livestock were tired, Esau returned to his home in Seir, which he had named after his own shaggy hair.

Chapter 21. [337-344]
Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, is raped by Sikimites.Her brothers take bloody revenge

1.

337 Jacob next reached what still to this day are called the Tents and went on from there to Sikima, a city of the Canaanites. While the Sikimites were celebrating a festival, Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, went into the city to see the finery of the local women. When Sikima, son of Hamor the king, saw her, he defiled her by rape, and seized with love for the girl, asked his father to obtain her for him as a wife. 338 Agreeing, he went to Jacob, requesting that his son Sikima be married to Dinah according to the law. Not wishing to refuse such an eminent man and yet not thinking it right to marry his daughter to a foreigner, Jacob implored him to let him consult about his request. 339 The king left, hoping that Jacob would agree to the marriage, but Jacob told his sons of the defilement of their sister and of Hamor's request, and asked their advice on what to do. Most of them said nothing, not knowing what advice to give. But Simeon and Levi, the brothers of the girl by the same mother, agreed between themselves on the following action. 340 As it was during a festival, when the Sikimites were at leisure and feasting, they attacked the sleeping watchmen, and, coming into the city, killed all the males including the king and his son, but spared the women; and doing this without their father's consent, they took their sister back.

2.

341 While Jacob was appalled at the grossness of this act and severely blamed his sons for it, God stood beside him and told him to take heart, and to purify his tents and offer the sacrifices he had vowed when he went first into Mesopotamia and saw his vision. 342 As he was purifying his followers, he found the gods of Laban; for he did not know Rachel had stolen them. He hid them in Sikima, in the ground under an oak-tree, and on leaving he offered sacrifice at Bethel, where he had earlier seen his dream when going to Mesopotamia.

3.

343 Moving on from there he came to near Ephrata, where he buried Rachel, who had died in child-birth. She was the only one of Jacob's relatives not to have the honour of burial at Hebron. After mourning her a long time, he called the son she had borne Benjamin, for the sorrow his mother had with him. 344 These are all the children of Jacob, twelve males and one female. Of them eight were legitimate, six by Leah and two by Rachel, and four were by the handmaids, two by each, all of whose names I have already given.

Chapter 22. [345-346]
Isaac's death. His Burial in Hebron

345 From there he went to Hebron, a city located among the Canaanites, where Isaac lived, and so they lived together for a short time; but Jacob did not find Rebecca alive. Not long after his son's return, Isaac himself died and was buried by his sons, alongside his wife, in their ancestral tomb in Hebron. 346 Isaac was a man beloved by God who after Abraham his father received great signs of providence, and who lived to be very old, for when he had lived virtuously one hundred and eighty-five years, he died.