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Antiquities, Book 2.

From the death of Isaac to the Exodus; Israel in Egypt, and the call of Moses

Text in Greek and English, click here


01. The separation of Esau and Jacob

02. Joseph's Dream and his brothers' envy

03. Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt

04. Joseph's notable Chastity.

05. Joseph's time in prison; released, explains Pharao's dreams

06. Joseph's power in Egypt; his brothers come for food; reunited

07. Jacob and family go down to Egypt, to escape a famine

08. The Deaths of Jacob and Joseph, in Egypt

09. The plight of the Hebrews in Egypt; the birth of Moses

10. How Moses made war with the Ethiopians

11. Moses flees from Egypt into Madian

12. The burning bush; the God-empowered rod of Moses

13. Moses and Aaron return into Egypt, to confront Pharaothes

14. The ten plagues which came upon the Egyptians

15. Guided by Moses the Hebrews left Egypt

16. The sea parts for Moses and destroys the pursuing Egyptians


Chapter 01. [001-006]
The separation of Esau and Jacob

1.

001 After the death of Isaac, his sons moved away to live separately rather than stay on in the property they had acquired previously. Esau left the city of Hebron to his brother, and lived in Seir and ruled over Idumaea, calling the region after himself, for he was called Adom, a name that he got in this way: 002 During his youth, as he was returning very hungry from a hard day's hunting, he met his brother who was preparing a pot of the best red lentils for his dinner; and feeling a deep desire for them he asked for some of the food to eat. 003 The other took advantage of his brother's hunger and made him surrender his birthright to him and, compelled by his hunger, he handed it over to him on oath. Therefore, from the redness of this pottage, he was jokingly called by his mates, Adom, for that is the Hebrew for whatever is red. It was also the name given to the region, though the Greeks gave it the more elegant name of Idumaea.

2.

004 He became the father of five sons, of whom Jaus and Lamus and Coreus were by one wife named Alibama, and Aliphaz was later born to him by Adasa and Raouel by Basamath. 005 Those were the sons of Esau. Aliphaz had five legitimate sons; Theman, Omer, Sophous, Jotham and Kanaz, for Amalek was not legitimate, but by a concubine named Thamnae. 006 These lived in the part of Idumaea which is called Gobolitis and the one named "Amalekitis" after Amalek, for Idumaea was a large region and had a single name, while its individual parts kept the names of the local inhabitants.

Chapter 02. [007-019]
Joseph's Dream and his brothers' envy

1.

007 Jacob reached a level of prosperity rarely attained by anyone and was richer than the rest of the local inhabitants and envied and admired for having such virtuous sons, for they were lacking in nothing but were resilient and cheerful at manual work and also shrewd in intellect. 008 God's providential care for him and his welfare brought him such great blessings, even out of what seem the worst of conditions, and granted to our forefather and his descendants the exodus from Egypt, in the way that we shall relate. 009 When Jacob's son Joseph was born to him by Rachel, his father loved him more than the rest of his sons for his physical beauty and the virtue of his soul, and his exceptional prudence. 010 His father's affection roused his brothers to envy and hate him; as also did the dreams which he saw and reported to his father and to them, foretelling his future success, for people are usually jealous of the success of even their nearest relatives. The visions which Joseph saw in his sleep were these:

2.

011 When he was sent out along with his brothers by their father to gather in the harvest, he saw a vision in a dream that far surpassed the usual appearances which come when we are asleep, and when he got up he told it to his brothers, for them to judge what was meant by it. He told how during the night he had seen his own wheat-sheaf standing still just where he set it, while their sheaves ran to bow down to it, as servants bow down to their masters. 012 Noting how the vision foretold how he would gain power and wealth and how his power would surpass theirs, they made no comment to Joseph, as if they did not understand the dream, but prayed that none of what they suspected as its meaning would come true, and hated him still more on account of it.

3.

013 In response to their envy the Deity sent a second, more wonderful vision to Joseph, where it seemed to him that the sun took along the moon and the rest of the stars and came down to the earth and bowed down to him. 014 Suspecting no ill-will from his brothers who were present, he told the vision to his father, asking him to explain its meaning. 015 Jacob was pleased with the dream, for shrewdly pondering the prediction he rightly guessed its meaning and was glad of the great things it signified, since it declared his son's future prosperity. By the blessing of God, the time would come when he would be honoured and venerated by his parents and brothers. 016 He reckoned that the moon and sun meant his mother and father; the one giving all things increase and nourishment, and the other shaping them and giving them other powers. The stars meant his brothers, eleven in number, like stars receiving their power from the sun and moon.

4.

017 This was Jacob's shrewd judgment about the vision, but what he said caused great grief to Joseph's brothers, and made them feel alienated from him as if he kept for himself the good things his dreams signified, not sharing them in partnership as a brother should, for they who shared the same parentage should share in the same prosperity. 018 They resolved to kill the young man, and after agreeing on that intention, when they had gathered in the harvest they went to Sikima, which is a good region for feeding livestock and for pasturage. There they fed their flocks, without telling their father that they had gone there. 019 He was deeply worried at not knowing how they were and at receiving no message from the flocks with news about them; so, in his anxiety about them he sent Joseph to the flocks, to learn what had happened to his brothers and bring him word of what they were doing.

Chapter 03. [020-038]
Joseph's Coat & his Brothers' Envy. Sold as a Slave, he Prospers in Egypt

1.

020 The brothers were glad to see him coming to them, not as for the arrival of a relative, or one sent by their father, but as an enemy whom Providence had put into their hands, and were eager to kill him and not let their opportunity slip. 021 When the eldest of them, Rubel, saw their mood and how they planned to achieve their purpose, he tried to restrain them by showing the enormity of what they were about and its dreadfulness. 022 If it is a crime in the sight of God and men to murder even a person not related to them, how much more heinous and detestable is the slaughter of one's brother, by which a father is treated unjustly and a mother is grieved, lamenting that her son is taken away from her in an inhuman way. 023 So he implored them to respect their feelings and realise the harm caused to them by the death of so good a child, their youngest; and also to fear God, who saw and witnessed their plan against their brother; and how He would love them if they refrained from this act, yielding to repentance and good judgment. 024 If, however, they proceeded with the fratricide, all sorts of punishments would follow, for scorning God's ever-present eye which is nowhere blind to what is done, whether in solitude or in cities. For wherever we are, we should know that God is also there. 025 He said that if they did this terrible thing they would have their own conscience as an enemy which cannot be dismissed, whether it be good or such as would haunt them if they killed their brother. 026 To all the preceding he added that even if a brother had done them an injustice it was wrong to kill him, and that it is good not to remember the apparent sins of one's friends. Surely they would not kill Joseph, who had done them no harm, "since his junior status should rather elicit our mercy and move us to care for him." 027 Their reason for killing him only made the act so much worse, since it was from envy at his future prosperity, in which they would have a share once he reached it, not as outsiders but as relatives. 028 They should reckon as their own whatever God gave to Joseph, and that they would provoke Him to anger if they killed one whom He judged worthy of the good things hoped for, since by killing him they would prevent God from bestowing them upon him.

2.

029 Rubel said these and many other things, trying to divert them from fratricide. But seeing that his words had not mollified them and that they were in a hurry to be rid of him, he advised them to do a lesser evil, in the way they got rid of him. 030 For as he had first urged them to refrain instead of taking revenge, now, since they insisted on disposing of their brother, he proposed a plan that would not be so gross a sin. In their present distress it would be less grievously wrong and would achieve what they wanted. 031 They should not put their brother to death by their own hands, but throw him into the nearby cistern and so let him die without defiling their hands with his blood. To this the young men agreed, so Rubel took the lad and tied him with a rope and let him down gently into the cistern, which was dry; and then went off seeking pasturage for his flocks.

3.

032 But after Rubel had left another of Jacob's sons, Judas, seeing some of the Arab descendants of Ismael bringing spices and Syrian wares from the Galadene to Egypt, advised his brothers to draw Joseph from the cistern and sell him to the Arabs, 033 for if he died far away among strangers, they would be innocent of this foul deed. This was agreed, so they drew Joseph up from the cistern and sold him to the merchants for twenty pounds. He was now seventeen years old. 034 Rubel had planned to save Joseph, and unknown to his brothers came back to the cistern by night. When he got no answer to his call he was afraid they had killed him after he had left, and protested to his brothers; but when they said what they had done, Rubel ceased his mourning.

4.

035 When Joseph's brothers had done this to him, they considered what to do in order to avoid any suspicion from their father. When they let him down into the cistern they had taken the coat Joseph was wearing when he came to them, and torn it in pieces and dipped it in goats' blood and brought it back to show to their father, to make him believe he had been killed by wild beasts. 036 Then they came to the old man, but not before he had already learned what had happened to his son. They claimed not to have seen Joseph, nor to know what became of him, but that they found his coat bloody and torn to pieces, which made them suspect he had fallen among wild beasts and so met his death, if that was the coat he was wearing when he left home. 037 Up to then, Jacob had hoped that his son had only been taken prisoner, but now he set that idea aside and took the coat as a clear sign that he was dead, for he knew that this was the coat he was wearing when he sent him to his brothers. From then on he grieved for the lad as dead, without taking any comfort in the rest. 038 As though he were now the father of only one, he had grieved his loss before meeting Joseph's brothers, but now thought of Joseph as killed by wild beasts. He sat down in sackcloth and heavy mourning, and found no comfort from his sons, nor did his grief ease with the passing of time.

Chapter 04. [039-059]
Joseph's Loyalty & Chastity. He instructs and rejects the wife of Pentephres

1.

039 Joseph was sold by the merchants and bought by the chief cook of king Pharaothes, an Egyptian named Pentephres, who held him in high esteem, gave him an education fit for a free man and assigned him better nourishment than was given to slaves, and entrusted to him the care of his house. 040 While enjoying these advantages, his changed condition did not draw him away from his previous virtue, but he showed how wisdom can govern life's unruly passions, in one who is really wise and does not merely put it on for a show in order to succeed.

2.

041 For when his master's wife had fallen in love with him, both for his handsome appearance and his management skill, and thought that if she declared her love to him she could persuade him to make love to her and that he would regard himself as fortunate that his mistress should ask him, 042 Seeing only his state of slavery but not his moral character, which continued after his change of status, she revealed her feelings and spoke to him of intercourse; but he rejected her words, not thinking it true to his religion to yield in this, and do such an injury and insult to the man who had purchased him and given him such honours. 043 He urged her to govern her passion, showing the impossibility of what she desired, which he thought could be quelled if she had no hope of success. He himself would endure everything, he said, rather than be persuaded to it. Even though a slave like him should do nothing against the wishes of his mistress, he would be excused where his refusal was to this sort of command. 044 But Joseph's unexpected opposition stoked her love for him still further, and obsessed with this wicked passion, she resolved to achieve her goal by a second attempt.

3.

045 As there was a public festival coming up, when it was customare for women to join the general assembly, she pretended to her husband to be sick, in order to gain the solitude and leisure to ask Joseph again, and finding it, she spoke to him more gently than before. 046 He really should have yielded to her first request, she said, and not have repulsed her, respecting the dignity of the one soliciting him and the heat of her passion, which drove his mistress to descend beneath her dignity, but now he should follow wiser counsel, and purge his previous foolishness. 047 Whether he was expecting her to repeat her request more warmly, now that she had pretended sickness on this account and preferred his company over the festival and its splendour, or whether he had at first rejected her overtures because he did not think she was serious, the fact that she now persisted with them was a sign that it was not a trap. 048 If he submitted to her, he would proceed to even more good things, but he must expect revenge and hatred from her if he rejected her desires, preferring his precious chastity above his mistress. 049 In that case he would gain nothing, because she would then accuse him and falsely pretend to her husband that he had attacked her chastity, and Pentephres would heed her words rather than his, no matter if they were far from the truth.

4.

050 Though the woman said this with tears in her eyes, Joseph was neither swayed from his chastity by pity, nor compelled by fear to give in to her, but rejected her pleas and resisted her threats. He chose to suffer unjustly and bear the worst penalty rather than take an offer that in his conscience he knew would merit death. 051 He reminded her that she should have intercourse only with her husband, and should prefer this to the brief pleasure of lust, which would only bring her regret and grief and could not be mended after the sin was done; and the fear of being caught, and how secrecy lasts only while the evil stays unknown. 052 With her husband she could enjoy intimacy without risk, and the security of a good conscience, in the sight of both God and other people. By preserving chastity, she could exercise authority over him better as his mistress than if both were ashamed of sinning together, for it is far better to know one has lived well than to have to rely on concealing evil.

5.

053 By saying this and more, he tried to curb the woman's violent passion and to turn her feelings towards what was reasonable, but she grew more ungovernable and intense, and in despair of persuading him, she laid hands upon him to force him. 054 But Joseph fled from her anger, leaving his garment behind in her grasp as he rushed from her chamber, and she was very afraid that he would tell her husband, and much insulted by the insult he had offered her. She resolved to accuse Joseph falsely to Pentephres and so to revenge herself on him for scorning her, considering it a wise and womanly thing to forestall his accusation. 055 So she sat in silent disarray, showing such anger that her sorrow for her frustrated lust, seemed to be for the attempt upon her chastity. When her husband came home he was troubled at how she looked and asked about the cause, she began to accuse Joseph and said, "My husband, you may die if you do not punish the wicked slave who has tried to defile your bed. 056 He has forgotten who he was when he came to our house, so as to behave modestly, or the favours he had received from your bounty. What an ungrateful man he must be not to behave himself well toward us in all things. He planned to abuse your wife, availing of your absence during the festival. His former apparent modesty was only out of fear of you, but clearly he was not of good character. 057 This has come from his being honoured beyond his merits and his hopes, so he thought that being entrusted with your estate and your household and being set above your oldest servants, he might also be allowed to touch your wife." 058 When she finished talking, she showed him his garment, as though he had left it behind when he attempted to force her. Pentephres, unable to disbelieve his wife's tears and what she said and what he saw, and misled by his love for his wife, did not set to examining the truth. 059 Assuming that his wife was chaste and condemning Joseph as wicked, he threw him into prison for wrongdoing, and thought even more highly of his wife, praising her decency and chastity.

Chapter 05. [060-090]
Joseph's time in prison. Released, he interprets Pharao's dreams

1.

060 Entrusting all his concerns to God, Joseph did not seek either to defend himself or to go into the details of what had occurred, but silently bore his chains and his plight, trusting that God, who knew the cause and the truth about his disaster was better than his captors. 061 And he soon had proof of providence, for noting his care and fidelity in the tasks given to him and the dignity of his bearing, the prison guard eased his chains and made his situation milder and more bearable for him, and also allowed him better rations than those of the other prisoners. 062 As is usual among partners in misfortune, when their chores were done, the prisoners turned to conversation and told each other the reasons why they were sentenced. 063 Among them the king's wine-waiter, once highly regarded but now imprisoned due to a fit of anger, shared a chain with Joseph and grew familiar with him and noting his intelligence, told him of a dream he had. He asked him to interpret its meaning, complaining that, on top of the penalty imposed by the king, the Deity was adding more anxieties by his dreams.

2.

064 He said that in his sleep he saw three clusters of grapes hanging upon three branches of a vine, large and ready for picking, and that he squeezed them into a cup held by the king, and when he had strained the must he gave it to the king to drink, who took it with satisfaction. 065 He explained that this was what he saw, and asked him, if he understood such matters, what this vision foretold. He told him to take heart and to expect to be set free from his chains in three days, for the king required his service and was about to restore him to it. 066 For God bestows the fruit of the vine for our good and wine is poured out for man and is the pledge of fidelity and friendship, resolving quarrels and banishing passion and grief from those who use it and giving them pleasure. 067 "You say you squeezed this wine from three clusters of grapes with your hands, and gave it to the king. Then realise that this good vision granted to you predicts your release from this plight in the same number of days as the branches from which, in your sleep, you picked the grapes. 068 When it turns out so, remember that I predicted this good fortune for you, and when you are back in office, do not forget us here where you will leave us while you go to what we have foretold. For we are not in prison for any crime. 069 It is because of virtue and self-control that we are condemned to suffer like criminals and because we were unwilling, for our own pleasure, to wrong the man who did this to us." Of course, the wine-waiter was glad to hear this interpretation of his dream and looked forward to its coming true.

3.

070 But another slave who had been a baker for the king was also a prisoner with the wine-waiter, and he took hope, hearing Joseph's interpretation of the other's vision, for he too had seen a dream. So he asked Joseph to tell him the meaning of what he had seen the night before. 071 They were as follows: "I thought," he said "I was carrying three baskets on my head, two of them full of loaves and the third full of pastries and such other kinds of food as are prepared for kings. Then birds flew up and ate them all, regardless of my efforts to drive them away." 072 He expected a prediction like that of the wine-waiter, but after pondering and thinking about the dream, Joseph told him he would rather interpret good things for him than those warned about in his dream. He said he had only two full days more to live, for that was what the baskets meant. 073 On the third day he would be crucified and become food for the birds, unable to help himself. Both outcomes were exactly as Joseph foretold, for on the predicted third day, when the king celebrated his birth-day, he crucified the chief baker, but set the wine-waiter free from his chains and restored him to his former service.

4.

074 Without the wine-waiter giving him any help in memory of his predictions, Joseph was set free after bearing his chains for two years, for God devised this means of release for him. 075 On one single evening Pharaothes the king saw in his sleep two visions along with their meanings. Though he forgot the latter, he remembered the actual dreams and was troubled at what he had seen, for it seemed to him to portend no good for him. Next day he called together the wisest of the Egyptians to learn from them the meaning of his dreams. 076 When they were at a loss the king was even more troubled. Seeing Pharaothes in turmoil the wine-waiter recalled the memory of Joseph and his understanding of dreams. 077 So he went to him to tell of Joseph and the vision he had seen in prison and how the upshot proved to be just as he had said; and how the chief baker was crucified on the same day, also according to Joseph's prediction, based on his dream. 078 He told how the man, born to a noble Hebrew family and whose father was renowned, was kept chained as a slave by the head cook, Pentephres. "If you just send for this man and not scorn his present misfortune, you will learn the meaning of your dreams." 079 So the king told them to bring Joseph into his presence, and his servants went as ordered and having taken care of him, brought him in, according to the royal command.

5.

080 The king took him by the hand and said, "Young man, my servant says you are now the best and most competent person I can consult; do me the same favour you did for my servant and tell me what is foretold by these visions in my sleep. I want you to suppress nothing out of fear, nor flatter me with lies designed to please. 081 I seemed to be walking along the river and saw seven well-fed cows of extraordinary size, going from the river to the marshland. The same number of other cows met them, coming from the marshes, emaciated and terrible to see, which ate up the fat, large cows and were still not improved, so wretchedly hollow were they with hunger. 082 After this vision I woke from sleep troubled and puzzling about what this fantasm could mean. Then I fell asleep again and saw another dream, far stranger than the former, which scared and troubled me still more. 083 I saw seven ears of corn growing from one root, weighed down and bent with fruit, which was now ripe and ready for reaping. Beside them I saw seven other ears of corn, thin and weak for lack of rain, which began eating and devouring the ripe ears, putting me in a state of shock."

6.

084 After listening to him Joseph replied: "My king, although seen under two forms, this dream refers to the same future event. The sight of the cows, animals made for the plough and for toil, devoured by their inferiors, 085 and the ears of corn eaten up by the smaller ears, foretells famine and unfruitfulness for as many years as the former prosperity, for the plenty of these years will be eaten up by the same number of years of scarcity, when it will be very hard to get the necessaries of life. 086 The sign of this is that the gaunt cows were still hungry after devouring the better ones. But God fore-shows the future to human beings not to grieve them but that by prudence they may lessen the experience they have foreseen. Therefore, if you carefully ration the plentiful crops to come in the first period, you will protect the Egyptians from feeling the effects of the coming disaster."

7.

087 Amazed at the shrewdness and wisdom of Joseph, the king asked him in what way the harvests in the plentiful years should be administered, so as to make the time of barrenness more bearable. 088 He proposed and advised that the good harvests should be set aside and the Egyptians not allowed to waste them, but to preserve for the time of need the surplus they would have wasted. He should take the corn from the farmers and give them only as much as they needed for food. 089 Pharaothes was so impressed not only by Joseph's explanation of the dream but by his advice that he entrusted him with the administration, with the power to do whatever he thought would be best for the people of Egypt and the king, believing that he who first thought out this plan would be the best for carrying it out. 090 With this authority given him by the king and permission to use his seal and wear the purple, Joseph drove in his chariot through all the land of Egypt and took the corn of the farmers, allotting to each enought for seed and for food, but without telling anyone the reason why he did so.

Chapter 06. [091-167]
Joseph's brothers come to Egypt for food. He plays a trick on them, then reveals himself

1.

091 He had now passed his thirtieth year and enjoyed great honours from the king, who called him Psothom-Phanech, in view of his mighty intellect, for the name means the Discoverer of Secrets. With the king's help he also made a very fine marriage, espousing the daughter of Pentephres, one of the priests of Heliopolis; she was a virgin named Asenethis. 092 By her he had children before the scarcity began: Manasses, the elder, whose name means "cause of forgetfulness," for his present prosperity made him forget his former troubles, and the younger Ephraim, meaning "restored," because he was restored to the freedom of his ancestors. 093 When Egypt had happily spent seven years, according to Joseph's interpretation of the dreams, famine seized them in the eighth year. And as this misfortune came on them unforeseen, they felt it all the worse and came running to the king's gates. 094 He called on Joseph, who sold them corn and was publicly praised as the people's saviour. Not only did he open this market for the local people, but foreigners also could buy it, since Joseph held that all who are naturally akin to each other should receive help from those who lived in prosperity.

2.

095 When Jacob learned that the corn market was open to foreigners, he sent all his sons into Egypt to buy corn, for Canaan was grievously hit by the famine, and the misery afflicted the whole region. He kept back only Benjamin, born to him by Rachel and who had the same mother as Joseph. 096 These then came into Egypt and asked Joseph's permission to buy corn, for nothing of this kind was done without his approval. Even showing honour to the king himself was of benefit only to those who also showed homage to Joseph. 097 He recognised his brothers, but they never thought about him, for he was only a youth when he left them and he now had reached an age when his features had changed. His rank prevented them from suspecting his identity, so he was not known by them, and he began testing their feelings about the whole affair. 098 He refused to sell them corn and said they had come to spy upon the king's business. He alleged that they had come from several countries and banded together, pretending to be relatives, for it was difficult for a king, let alone an individual man to rear so many fine-looking sons as this. 099 He did this to find out about his father and what had happened after his own departure, and wanting to know what had become of his brother Benjamin, for he feared that they had dared to rid the family of him, as they had done to him.

3.

100 They were quaking with fear and thought themselves in great danger, never thinking him to be their brother, but rejecting his charges against them. They made their defense using Rubel, the eldest, as their spokesman. 101 "We did not come here," he said, "with any bad intention, or to harm to the king's business in any way, but merely to save our lives, hoping that your kindness might provide us a respite from the woes of our country; for we heard of your selling corn, not only to your own countrymen, but also to strangers and so providing a means of survival to all in need of it. 102 That we are brothers and of the same common blood, the features of our faces plainly show, since we are so alike. Our father's name is Jacob, a Hebrew, to whom we twelve children were born by four wives, and we were happy while all twelve of us were alive. 103 However, when Joseph, one of our brothers, died, our affairs changed for the worse. Our father mourned a long time for him and we are saddened both by our brother's death and the old man's misery. 104 Now we come to buy corn, having entrusted the care of our father and charge of the household, to our youngest brother, Benjamin. You have only to send to our house, to learn if there is any falsehood in what we say."

4.

105 In this way Rubel tried to persuade Joseph to think better of them. But learning that Jacob was alive and that his brother was not dead, he put them in prison, as though to examine them at leisure. 106 On the third day he brought them out and said, "Since you insist that you come with no malice towards to the king's realm and that you are brothers born to the father you spoke about, you can convince me of this by leaving with me one of your company, who will not be maltreated here. Then if, after bringing corn to your father, you return to me with you your brother, whom you say you left there, to support the truth of what you say." 107 This grieved them more and they wept and began blaming each other for Joseph's fate, saying that this misery was God's punishment for their plots against him. Rubel sharply rebuked them that this repentance came too late to help Joseph. He urged them to patiently bear whatever they might suffer, since it was God's vengeance for him. 108 This is how they spoke to each another, not imagining that Joseph understood their language. At Rubel's words sadness and remorse gripped them for what they had done, and they condemned the wrong for which God was justly punishing them. 109 Seeing them so distressed, Joseph was moved to tears, but not wanting it noticed by the brothers, he withdrew and after a while returned to them again. 110 Then taking Symeon as a hostage for the brothers' return, he bade them take the corn they had bought and leave, telling his steward to secretly put the money they had brought to purchase the corn into their sacks and to dismiss them with it, and these orders he duly carried out.

5.

111 When Jacob's sons returned to Canaan, they told their father what had happened to them in Egypt and how they were suspected as spies against the king, and how they had said they were brothers and had left their eleventh brother behind with their father, but were not believed, and how they had left Symeon behind with the ruler, til Benjamin should go there and prove what they said was true. 112 They begged their father to fear nothing, but to send the lad with them. But Jacob was not pleased with what his sons had done; he took hard the detention of Symeon and thought it foolish to hand over Benjamin too. 113 Rubel implored him in vain, offering his own sons in exchange, saying that their grandfather could kill them in reprisal, if any harm came to Benjamin in the journey. They did not know what to do, being futher troubled when the money was found hidden in their sacks of corn. 114 Yet when the corn they had brought gave out and they were still under the famine, Jacob was forced to send Benjamin with his brothers, 115 since there was no returning to Egypt without bringing what they had promised. As things grew daily worse and his sons continued to beg him, he had no other choice in the circumstances, 116 for Judas, who was of daring temperament in other things, spoke his mind freely to him, not to be afraid on account of to his son, or go on suspecting the worst, for nothing would happen his son but what God sent, which would equally happen if he stayed home with him. 117 He ought not, out of unreasonable fear for his son Benjamin, condemn them to certain death, depriving them of the abundant food they could have from Pharaothes. He should rather care for Symeon's safety, and not let him die by delaying Benjamin's journey. Let him entrust him to God, for he would either bring his son back to him safe, or would lay down his own life along with him. 118 Jacob was finally persuaded and gave Benjamin to them, along with double the price of the corn. He also sent gifts to Joseph of the fruits of the land of Canaan, balsam and myrrh, and turpentine and honey. Their father shed many tears at the departure of his sons, and so did they. 119 His care was to receive his sons back safe after their journey, and theirs was to find their father still well and not stricken with grief on their behalf. This grieving lasted all day, and the old man was left behind mournful, but they went to Egypt, trying to ease their grief at their present troubles with the hope of a better future.

6.

120 On reaching Egypt, they were brought to Joseph, deeply afraid of being accused about the price of the corn, as if they had done wrong. They made profuse apology to Joseph's steward, saying how on arriving home they found the money in their sacks and that they were now bringing it back. 121 He said he did not know what they meant, and so relieved them of that fear, and after releasing Symeon and giving him clothing, he allowed him to be with his brothers. Meanwhile Joseph came from attending on the king, so they offered him their gifts, and when he asked them about their father, they replied that they found him well. 122 He asked whether the one he had seen was Benjamin, their younger brother. When they said he was, he replied that the God who is over all was his protector. 123 But his affection for him made him shed tears, and he hid himself, not wanting his brothers to see him. Then he took them to supper and they sat just as they used to sit at their father's table. And while he treated them all kindly, Joseph honoured Benjamin with double of what the other guests got.

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124 When after supper they had gone off to sleep, Joseph ordered his steward to give them their measures of corn and to hide the money again in their sacks, and put into Benjamin's sack his favourite golden cup from which he liked to drink. 125 This he did to test whether his brothers would help Benjamin when he was accused of theft and seemed in danger, or if, innocent themselves, they would abandon him and return to their father. 126 When the servant did as he was told, the sons of Jacob, knowing nothing of it, went their way and took Symeon with them and had a double cause for joy, in getting him back and taking Benjamin back to their father as they had promised. But soon a cavalry troop surrounded them, with Joseph's servant, who had put the cup in Benjamin's sack. 127 They were troubled by the unexpected cavalry, and asked why they came in this way against those whom not long before their master had honoured with a hospitable reception? 128 He replie that they were wicked wretches who had forgotten the kind hospitality Joseph had shown them and did not scruple to harm him by stealing the very cup from which he had so amicably drunk to them. Had they no regard for their friendship with Joseph, or the risk they ran if they were caught, compared with their wrongful gain? 129 He threatened them with punishment, for though they might escape the notice of a servant, yet they had not escaped God's notice, nor gotten away with the theft. "They ask, indeed, why we have come after them, as if they knew nothing of it!" - but when they were punished they would know it! This and more the servant said, insulting them. 130 But unaware of the situation they laughed at what the servant said and were amazed at his abusive language, boldly accusing men who previously did not even keep the price of their corn, which was found in their sacks, but brought it back again, although nobody else knew anything about it, so far were they from any harmful intentions. 131 But thinking that a search would vindicate them more than mere denial of the fact, they invited him to search. In no way aware of any crime, and thinking it quite safe, they said that if any of them were found guilty of theft, he could punish them all! He said that yes, a search would be made, but the punishment would affect only the one found guilty of the theft. 132 So they searched, and finally came to Benjamin, knowing it was in his sack they had hidden the cup, and indeed the rest were only searched in pretence. 133 They had no fear for themselves and were now concerned only about Benjamin, still feeling sure that he too would be found innocent, and they reprimanded their pursuers for delaying them, since they might have meanwhile gone a good part of their journey. 134 But on searching Benjamin's sack, they found the cup and took it from him and all was changed into mourning and lamentation. They rent their clothing and wept for the penalty their brother must suffer for his theft, and for misleading their father with their promise to bring Benjamin safely back to him. 135 Their misery was sharper because this awful thing came when they thought they were in the clear, but they confessed that their brother's misfortune, and the grief of their father for him, was their fault, since it was they who pressed their father to send him along, against his wishes.

8.

136 The cavalry took Benjamin and brought him to Joseph, while his brothers followed him and seeing him in chains and them in mourning dress, he said, "Vile wretches, what strange notion have you of my kindness to you and of God's providence? Is this your return to me for treating you so hospitably?" 137 So, in order to save Benjamin, they gave themselves up to be punished, remembering the outrages they had done to Joseph. They also said that, if he was dead, he was better off than themselves, set free from the miseries of this life, and if he were alive, he could enjoyed the pleasure of seeing them punished by God. They added that they were a plague on their father, now adding this grief for Benjamin to his former grief for Joseph, and Rubel was loud in blaming them. 138 But Joseph dismissed them, declaring that they had committed no offense and that he would be content with punishing the lad. He said it was not right to let him go free just because the otherse were innocent, nor should they be punished along with the one who had stolen. When he promised to let them leave in safety, the rest of them were woebegone and unable to speak for sadness. 139 But Judas, the very courageous man of action who had persuaded their father to send the boy off, decided to risk himself for the survival of his brother. 140 "It is true, lord ruler," he said, "that we have been very wicked with regard to you, and deserve punishment on account of it. We may all be justly punished, though the theft was not committed by all, but only by the youngest of us. Yet still we have hope in our despair, for your goodness offers us a refuge from our present danger. 141 I beg you not to look at our unworthiness or our crime but at your own excellent nature; take advice from your own virtue, not from that anger you have against us-a passion indulged by those who otherwise are of lower character, as they apply their power not only on great, but also on very trifling occasions. Overcome that passion, sir, and do not be subdued by it, nor let it kill those who cannot protect their own safety, but wish to accept it from you. 142 Indeed, this is not the first time that you will grant it on us, but earlier, when we came to buy corn, you gave us great plenty of food and allowed us to bring as much home to our family as has saved them from dying by famine. 143 There is no difference between not overlooking men who were dying for lack of necessities, and not punishing those who seem offenders and have been so unfortunate as to lose the benefit of that glorious goodwill they received from you. This will be an instance of equal favour, though bestowed in a different way. 144 In this way you will save those whom you fed in the other and by your bounty you will keep alive those souls whom you did not allow to be ruined by famine. Indeed it is a wonderful and a great thing to sustain our lives with corn and, now in our distress, bestow on us that pardon by which we may continue those lives. 145 I suppose that, by bringing us to this disaster, God is giving you a chance to show your virtue so that it may be seen how you can forgive wrongs done to yourself and be philanthropic to those who, in various ways, need your help. 146 For it is a fine thing to do good to those who are in need, but a still more glorious one to save those who deserve to be punished for offenses against yourself. For if it is commendable to forgive and overlook people's small offenses, to restrain one's passion towards the guilty whose very life is at stake is to be like the most excellent nature of God himself. 147 For myself, if our father had not shown at Joseph's death how terribly he feels the loss of his children, I would say nothing about sparing our own lives, other than that it would be a fine quality in yourself to spare those who would have nobody to mourn them after their death; but we would yield ourselves to whatever you wish. 148 But now (for we do not plead for mercy for ourselves, even if we die so young before having properly enjoyed life,) thinking of our father and out of pity for his old age, we petition you for his sake. We beg for our lives, which our wrongdoing has made liable to your punishment. 149 He is neither a criminal himself nor did he raise us to be wicked, but a good man who should not have to bear such trials, and now while we are away, he suffers from anxiety for us; and if he hears of our death and the reason for it, he will die. 150 The ignominy of our ruin will be the death of him, for he will hurry from from this life into insensibility, before the sad story of our end is heard in the rest of the world. 151 In light of this, although our misdeed now infuriates you, forgive it for our father's sake, and let your pity for him outweigh our wickedness. Pity his old age, who if we die, will be lonely while he lives and will soon die too, and grant it in honour of fathers. 152 By this you will honour him that begot you, as well as yourself, who are already a father. For it you will be protected unharmed by God, the Father of all, for joining him in cordially showing mercy to our father, so that he is not bereft of his sons! 153 It is in your power to concede to us what God has given us, though you have the right to take it away, and so to resemble him in charity, for it is good to use on the merciful side the power to give or take away, and though you have the power to kill, to forget that you have it and to see yourself as only given power for saving others, and that the more one uses this power, the better reputation he gains. 154 You will save us all by forgiving our brother his misfortune, for we cannot go on living if he is put to death, since we dare not show ourselves alive to our father without our brother, but must here share in his fate. 155 So we beg you, general, if you condemn our brother to die, to punish us along with him, as partners in his crime. We do not wish to live only in order to die of grief at our brother's death but would rather die as equally guilty with him. 156 Remember that he was young and immature when sinned and how one naturally forgives such young persons. I end here and will say no more than this: if you condemn us, it may be what I have failed to say that brings this severity on us, 157 but if you set us free, let it be attributed to your own goodness, aware that you freed us from condemnation, not merely by sparing us but by granting us to appear more righteous than we really are, finding more reasons than ourselves to save us. 158 So if you wish to execute him, lay the penalty on me instead and send him back to his father.If you intended to keep him with you as a slave, I am fitter for you in that capacity too, for you see I am more suited for either of those penalties." 159 So Judas, being quite willing to undergo anything for the saving of his brother, fell down at Joseph's feet, struggling to assuage his anger and pacify him. And all his brothers fell down before him, weeping and offering themselves up to destruction for the sake of Benjamin.

9.

160 But Joseph, by now overcome by his feelings and no longer able to play the part of an angry man, ordered all present to leave, in order to make himself known to his brothers in private. When the rest had left he made himself known to his brothers, saying, 161 "I commend your virtue and your kindness to our brother and find you better men than I could have expected after what you did to me. Indeed, I did all this to test your brotherly love, so I believe you were not wicked by nature in what you did to me, but that all has happened according to the will of God, who secures our enjoyment of the good things we have, and, if his favour continues to us, our future good too. 162 Therefore since I know that our father is safe and well beyond what I expected and I see you so good to your brother, I will no longer remember your sin against me, and end my grievance, and rather thank you for playing your part in God's plan to bring things to their present state. 163 I want you also to forget about it, since that foolishness of yours led to such a happy ending, rather than be ill-at-ease and ashamed of your offenses. Do not now grieve about the sentence you passed on me or the bitter remorse of it, since what you planned did not happen. 164 So go your way with joy at what divine Providence has done and tell it to your father, lest he fade away with worry on your behalf and deprives me of the best part of my happiness and dies before he comes into my sight and tastes the good things we now enjoy. 165 Bring our father and your wives and children and all your relatives and come and live here, for it is not right for those dearest to me to live far from me, now that my affairs are prospering, especially when they have five more years of famine to come." 166 Saying this, Joseph embraced his brothers, who were in tears and sorrow, but their brother's goodwill seemed to leave no fear of their being punished for what they had conspired and done against him and they were elated. 167 The king, when he heard that Joseph's brothers had come to him, was as glad as if it had been his personal good fortune, and gave them wagons full of corn and gold and silver, to bring to their father. After receiving still more from their brother, some for their father and some as gifts for each of them, with Benjamin getting even more than the rest, they left.

Chapter 07. [168-193]
Jacob and family go down to Egypt, to escape a famine

1.

168 When on his sons' return Jacob learned that Joseph not only had escaped the death his father had been mourning for so long, but actually lived in splendor and prosperity, ruling Egypt alongside its king, who had entrusted almost everything to his care 169 he no longer considered anything to be incredible, in light of the greatness of the works of God and his kindness to him, though at times it was less visible; so he instantly and eagerly set out to go to Joseph.

2.

170 When he reached the Well of the Oath he offered sacrifice to God, afraid that the prosperity in Egypt might tempt his descendants to fall in love with it and settle in it and no more think of moving to the land of Canaan and possessing it, as God had promised them. 171 He also feared that if this descent into Egypt was against the will of God, his family might be destroyed and he might depart this life before seeing Joseph again. Revolving these doubts in his mind, he fell asleep.

3.

172 But God stood near him and twice called him by name, and as he asked who he was, said, "Surely Jacob, you cannot fail to know the God who has always protected and helped your ancestors, and now you too. 173 For when your father would have denied you the leadership, I gave it to you, and it was by my kindness that, when you were sent all alone into Mesopotamia, you met good wives and returned with many children and much wealth. 174 Your whole family has been upheld by my providence, and it was I who led Joseph, your son, whom you gave up for lost, to enjoy such great prosperity as lord of Egypt that he differs but little from a king. 175 I now come as a guide to you in this journey, and foretell that you will die in the arms of Joseph: and that your descendants shall be in authority and glory over long ages, as I will settle them in the land which I have promised."

4.

176 Encouraged by this dream, he set off more cheerfully for Egypt with his sons and all belonging to them, who were seventy in all. I once thought it best not to set down the names of this family, mainly on account of their difficulty. 177 But now I think it necessary to mention the names, to rebut those who claim we originally came not from Mesopotamia but from Egypt. Now Jacob had twelve sons, of whom Joseph had gone ahead; and we will set down the names of his children and grandchildren. 178 Rubel had four sons, Anoch, Phallu, Assaron and Charmi. Simeon had six, Jamuel, Jamin, Avod, Jachin, Soar and Saul. Levi had three, Gersom, Caath and Merari. Judas had three, Sala, Phares and Elelos, and by Phares two grandchildren, Esron and Amour. Issachar had four, Thoulas, Phrouras, Jobos and Samaron. 179 Zabulon had three, Sarad, Helon and Jalel. Thus far, the descendants of Leah and with her was her daughter Dinah, thirty-three in all. 180 Rachel had two sons, one of whom, Joseph, also had two sons, Manasses and Ephraim. The other, Benjamin, had ten sons, Bolos, Baccharis, Asabel, Gelas, Naaman, Jes, Aros, Nomphis, Oppais and Arod. These fourteen added to the thirty-three above-listed, amount to forty-seven. 181 These were the legitimate descendants of Jacob. Besides, he had by Bilhah, the serving girl of Rachel, Dan and Nephthali, who in turn had four sons to follow him, Eliel, Gounis, Sares and Sellimos. Dan had just one son, Ousis. 182 Along with the above-named, these add up to fifty-four. Gad and Asseron were the sons of Zilpha, Leah's serving girl. Gad had seven children, Sophoniah, Ougis, Sunis, Zabrona, Irene, Eroides and Ariel. 183 Aseron had a daughter, Sarah and six boys, whose names were Jomnes, Isousios, Ioubes, Baris, Abaros and Melchielos. If we add these, which are sixteen, to the fifty-four, the cited number is complete, without including Jacob himself.

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184 When Joseph learned that his father was coming, for his brother Judas went ahead to announce his approach, he went out to meet him and they met together at the City of Heroes. At this great and unexpected joy, the old man almost passed away, but Joseph revived him, though he too could not restrain a similar passion of delight, but he was not as overcome by feeling as was his father. 185 Then he bade them to travel on slowly, while he himself took five of his brothers and hurried to the king, to announce the arrival of Jacob and his family. He was glad to hear this news and asked Joseph what sort of life his brothers liked to lead, so as to let them continue it. 186 He replied that they were good shepherds, who were used to no other employment, so he provided that they should not be separated, but live in the same region and take care of their father. He also took care that they should be acceptable to the Egyptians, by doing no activity that would interfere with theirs, for the practice shepherding was forbidden to the Egyptians.

6.

187 After Jacob had met and greeted the king and wished prosperity to his realm, Pharaothes asked him how long he had now lived. 188 When he replied a hundred and thirty years, he wondered at Jacob's longevity, but he replied that still he had not lived as long as his ancestors. Then he let him and his children live in Heliopolis, the city where the royal shepherds had their pasturage.

7.

189 But the famine extended to the Egyptians and their plight grew more insoluble as the river did not flood; for it had ceased to rise and God send no rain, and they had made no preparations, unsure of what to do. Then Joseph sold them corn for their money, and when their money failed they bought corn with their cows and their slaves. 190 Any of them who had a small piece of land gave it up to purchase food, so that the king became owner of all their property, and they were moved here and there so that their land came firmly into the king's possession, except that of the priests, which continued to be their own. 191 The crisis enslaved their minds as well as their bodies, and finally forced them to obtain food by shameful means. When the misery ceased and the river overflowed the ground, so that it again became very fruitful, 192 Joseph went to every city and assembled the people and gave them back entirely the land which, with their own consent, the king alone might have possessed and enjoyed, urging them to look on it as the possession of all, and to set cheerfully about their farming, paying as a tax to the king one fifth of the fruits of the land which the king, when it was his, restored to them. 193 These were glad at unexpectedly recovering their lands and willingly accepted this decree, by means of which Joseph achieved for himself a greater authority among the Egyptians and gained their greater love toward the king. This law, taxing a fifth part of their fruits, continued to later kings.

Chapter 08. [194-200]
Deaths of Jacob and Joseph, in Egypt

1.

194 When Jacob had lived seventeen years in Egypt, he fell ill and died in the presence of his sons, having prayed for their prosperity and foretold in prophecy how each of them would fare in the land of Canaan, as happened many years later. 195 He also praised Joseph highly, for not holding his brothers evil doings against them, but treating them kindly, with such gifts as men seldom give even to their benefactors. He told his own sons to count Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasses, among their number and give each of them a share in the land of Canaan, as we shall later describe. 196 With a request to be buried at Hebron, he died, when he had lived full a hundred and fifty years, less three, having been second to none of his ancestors in religious devotion and having a fitting reward for such goodness. With the king's permission, Joseph brought his father's corpse to Hebron and buried it there, in splendour. 197 His brothers were at first unwilling to return with him, afraid of being punished for their plotting, now that their father was dead, for whose sake he had been gracious to them. But persuading them not to fear and not suspect him of this, he brought them with him and lavished them with property and never ceased in his full concern for them.

2.

198 Joseph himself died aged a hundred and ten, a man of admirable virtue who conducted all his affairs by reason, and used his authority fairly, which was why he enjoyed such fortune among the Egyptians, though he came from another country in such a pitiful state, as we have said. 199 His brothers also died, after living happily in Egypt. Some time later their children and descendants brought their bodies to Hebron and buried them there. 200 But later they brought the bones of Joseph into the land of Canaan, when the Hebrews left Egypt, as Joseph had made them swear to do. I will tell later what happened each of them and of their laborious capture of the land of Canaan, but first I must tell how they left Egypt.

Chapter 09. [201-237]
The plight of the Hebrews in Egypt. Moses' childhood in Pharao's family

1.

201 The Egyptians grew too soft and lazy for hard work and went in pursuit of pleasures instead, and were devoted to profit. They grew harsh towards the Hebrews, envying their prosperity. 202 Seeing how through their virtue and love of toil the Israelite nation flourished and grew very wealthy, they regarded their increase as a loss to themselves. Over a long time they forgot what they had gained from Joseph, since the crown had passed to another family, and they much abused the Israelites and devised many ways to afflict them. 203 They made them cut many channels and walls and earthworks for the river in their cities, to prevent its waters from stagnating after it had overflowed its banks. They also wore them out with building pyramids, forcing them to learn all sorts of arts and grow used to hard labour. 204 Four hundred years they spent under these sufferings in mutual conflict, the Egyptians wanting to destroy the Israelites by these labours and the Israelites wanting to hold out under them to the end.

2.

205 While they were in this state, something came up that made the Egyptians wish all the more to obliterate our nation. One of their sacred scribes, adept at foretelling the future, told the king that about this time an Israelite child would be born who if he were reared, would bring down the Egyptians' rule and raise up the Israelites. He would excel all people in virtue and win a glory that would be remembered through all ages. 206 This was so feared by the king that, following the man's opinion, he ordered them to throw every male child born to the Israelites into the river and destroy it. Besides, the Egyptian midwives should watch the Hebrew women in labour and observe what is born, 207 and those women assigned to the office of midwives among them, because of their relationship with the king, would not transgress his commands. He ordered also, that if any parents disobeyed him and dared to save their male children alive, they and their families should be killed. 208 This was a severe hardship to those subject to it, not only by losing their sons and making the parents act to destroy their own children, but also as it was meant to wipe out their nation. To see the destruction of their children and their own gradual extinction was a hard and inconsolable disaster to them. 209 Such was their state at the time. But none can resist God's purposes, even by devising thousands of subtle ways. For the child foretold by the sacred scribe was reared, concealed from the king's guards, and the predicter made no mistake about what his survival would mean, as we shall see.

3.

210 Amram, one of the noblest of the Hebrews, feared that his whole nation would die out for lack of young men to carry it on, and was agitated as his wife was with child and he did not know what to do. 211 So he devoted himself to prayer to God, imploring him to pity those who had broken none of the laws of his worship and to rescue them from their present affliction and thwart their enemies' hopes of destroying their nation. 212 And God had mercy on him and listened to his prayer, standing beside him in his sleep and urging him not to despair of his favour in the future. He added that he did not forgotten their piety towards him and would always reward them for it, as in the past he had favoured their ancestors and made them increase from a few to so great a number. 213 He reminded him that when Abraham had come alone from Mesopotamia into Canaan, he had prospered him in various ways, and that when his wife was at first barren, he had later enabled her to conceive seed and to bear him sons. He had left the region of Arabia to Ismael and his descendants, and Troglodytis to his sons by Ketura, and Canaan to Isaac. 214 "By my help," he said, "he did great exploits in war, which, unless you are impious, you must still remember. Jacob too became well known to strangers by the greatness of the prosperity he enjoyed and which he left to his sons, who came into Egypt with no more than seventy souls, while you have now become more than six hundred thousand. 215 Know that I will provide for the common good of you all, and for your personal fame. This child, whose birth the Egyptians so fear that they have doomed the Israelite children to destruction, will be this child of yours, who shall be hidden from those who watch to destroy him. 216 When he has been surprisingly reared, he will save the Hebrew nation from the hardship they suffer from the Egyptians. His fame will last as long as the world, not just among Hebrews but also among foreigners, because of my favour to you and your descendants. His brother, too, shall gain my priesthood, and his descendants after him shall have it to the end of the world.

4.

217 When the vision had told him of these things, Amram woke up and told it to Jochebed his wife, and their fear increased due to the prediction in Amram's dream. They were anxious, not only for the child, but about the great prosperity that was to come. 218 But his mother's labour confirmed the prediction of God, for it was hidden from those who watched her, as her pains were light and the throes of delivery did not fall violently upon her. They nourished the child at home secretly for three months, 219 but later Amram was afraid of being found out, and that, falling under the king's displeasure, both he and his child would die and so nullify the promise of God. So he decided to entrust the child's safety and care to God, rather than concealing him, which he saw as a risk that endangered both himself and the child, so secretly nourished. 220 He reckoned that God would somehow keep it quite safe and not let his prediction be false. With that thought they made a little boat of bullrushes, like a cradle, large enough to hold an infant, and daubed it with tar, 221 to keep the water from entering between the bulrushes. Then they set the infant in it and putting it afloat upon the river, left its survival to God. The river received the child and carried him along, but the child's sister Miriam went along upon the bank opposite him, as her mother told her, to see where the ark would be carried. 222 God then showed that human wisdom can do nothing while He can do anything for a good purpose and that those who to save their own lineage condemn others to destruction, fail in it no matter what they do, 223 while others are amazingly spared and by God's guidance find the way to prosper almost from the heart of their troubles. An instance of this happened in the case of the child, and demonstrates God's power.

5.

224 Thermuthis, the king's daughter, was playing on the banks of the river, and seeing the cradle carried along by the current, sent swimmers to bring the cradle to her. When the ones sent came back with the cradle and she saw the little child, she was lovestruck by it, for its size and beauty. 225 Since God had formed Moses with such care as made him seem worthy of bringing up and providing for, even by those who had resolved to destroy of the rest of the Hebrew nation, Thermuthis told them to bring her a woman who could breast-feed the child. 226 However, when he was placed there he would not take the breast, but turned away from it and did the same to many other women. Miriam was nearby when this happened, not seeming to be there on purpose, but only staying to see the child, and she said, "It is useless, my queen, to call for these women who are not related to the child, to nourish it. 227 But if you have one of the Hebrew women come, perhaps it may take the breast from one of its own nation." As it seemed good advice, she told her to find and bring one of them who could give suck, and with this authority she returned and brought the mother, who was known to nobody there. The child gladly clung to her breast, and at the queen's request, the nursing of the child was entirely entrusted to her.

6.

228 That is how they gave him his name, from the fact of being placed in the river, for the Egyptians call water by the name of Mou, and those saved from it are called eses. Putting the two words together, they gave him this name. 229 As God foretold, he was recognised by all as the best of the Hebrews, for greatness of mind and for enduring hardships. Descended from Abraham seven generations back, Moses was the son of Amram, and Caath's father Levi was the son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. 230 Moses was intelligent beyond his age, and grew far beyond that again, and his deeds as a child gave promise of greater things when he came to manhood. Already when he was only three years old, God made him remarkably tall. 231 As to his beauty, on seeing Moses, there was nobody so unpolite as not to be touched by his fine appearance. Many who met him as he was carried along the road had to turn around for another look at the child, leaving what they were about to get a good look at him, his childhood charm was so remarkable that it held the viewers against their will.

7.

232 Thermuthis was not blessed with children, and when she saw what a child he was, she adopted him as her son. Once she brought Moses to show to her father, with a view to making him her successor, if the Deity should will she had no legitimate child of her own. She said, "I have reared a child of divine appearance, with a generous mind, and receiving him from the bounty of the river, I thought to adopt him my son and heir to your kingdom." 233 Saying this, she placed the infant in her father's hands, who took him and hugged him to his breast, and for his daughter's sake jokingly put his crown on him. But Moses took it off and threw it on the ground, and kicked it around in a childish way. 234 This seemed an evil presage about the kingdom of Egypt, and when the sacred scribe who had foretold that his birth would lay that kingdom low, saw it, he rushed across to kill him, 235 and with a dreadful cry he said, "This, my king, is the child of whom God showed that if we kill him we shall be free from danger, and he proves the prediction true by trampling on your government and crown. Kill him and save the Egyptians from fear about him and take away the Hebrews' hope of being encouraged by him." 236 But Thermuthis was too quick for him and snatched the child away, and the king was reluctant to kill him, inclined by God, whose providence watched over Moses. So he was reared with great care, and the Hebrews depended on him and hoped great things from him, while the Egyptians were suspicious of his rearing. 237 Yet because, if Moses were killed, there was nobody, either related or adopted, with any prediction on his side for claiming the crown of Egypt and likely to be of more use to them, they refrained from killing him.

Chapter 10. [238-253]
How Moses made war with the Ethiopians

1.

238 Moses, therefore, when he was born and reared in the manner we have described and came to maturity, proved his virtue to the Egyptians, and how he was born to bring them down and raise the Hebrews, as follows. 239 The Ethiopians, neighbours to the Egyptians, encroached on their region, and seized and took the property of the Egyptians, who were enraged at this and fought to ward them off, but were beaten in battle, where some were killed while the rest shamefully saved themselves by running away. 240 So the Ethiopians went in pursuit and thinking it cowardly not to subdue all Egypt, went further still and when they had tasted the sweet fruits of the region, never refrained from them. As the nearest areas did not dare to fight them at first, they proceeded to Memphis and the sea itself, with none of the cities able to oppose them. 241 Crushed by this woe the Egyptians turned to their oracles, and when God counselled them to use Moses the Hebrew as their ally, the king ordered his daughter to bring him out, to be the general of his army. 242 So after making him swear to do him no harm, she handed him over to the king, expecting his help to greatly benefit them. She also reprimanded the priests, who previously warned the Egyptians to kill him, but now were not ashamed to use his help.

2.

243 Persuaded by Thermuthis and the king, Moses willingly undertook the task. The sacred scribes of both nations were glad, the Egyptians at the prospect of soon overcoming their enemies through his daring and that in the same action Moses would be killed, but the Hebrews expecting to escape from the Egyptians, with Moses as their leader. 244 He attacked the enemy by surprise and led his army on them by surprise, not coming by the river but overland, in a wonderful proof of his prudence. 245 The land was difficult to cross because of the number of snakes, which it produces in vast numbers. Indeed, some of those creatures are unique to it, not found in other countries, and are worse than others in their harmful effect and appearance, and can fly up unseen and harm men unawares. But Moses found a wonderful ploy to keep the army safe and unharmed. 246 He made baskets like little boxes out of reeds and brought them along, filled with ibes; this animal is the greatest enemy to snakes, who flee when they come near them, and as they flee they are caught and devoured by them like deer. The ibes are tame creatures and only fierce toward snakes. 247 About them I write no more at present, since a bird of the ibis kind is not unknown to the Greeks. When he reached the breeding area, he released the ibes and through them repelled the snakes and used them before the army arrived. In this way he came upon the Ethiopians expectedly. 248 He attacked them, defeated them in battle and foiled their plans against the Egyptians and went on to overthrow their cities, killing many of the Ethiopians. When, through Moses, the Egyptian army had tasted success, they did not let up, putting the Ethiopians in danger of being reduced to slavery and utter destruction.

249 At last they took refuge in Saba, a royal city of Ethiopia, which Cambyses later named Mero, after his own sister. They were besieged there. But the place was very hard to take since it was surrounded by the Nile and other rivers, the Astapus and the Astaboras, whose currents were it very difficult to cross. 250 The city was situated within a sort of island, and was surrounded against their enemies with a strong wall as well as the rivers, and had great earthworks between the wall and the rivers, so that even when the waters rose most violently, it cannot be flooded. So it is almost impossible to capture the city, even for those who could get over the rivers. 251 When Moses was dissatisfied with the army's lying idle, for the enemies dared not come out to battle, something happened. 252 Tharbis the daughter of the king of the Ethiopians happened to see Moses leading the army near the ramparts and fighting with great courage. Admiring his shrewd proceedings and recognising him to as the cause of the Egyptians' success, when they had despaired of regaining their liberty, and the cause of the extreme danger the Ethiopians were in, who had boasted of their achievements, she fell deeply in love with him and caught by that passion, sent to him the most faithful of her servants to discuss a marriage with him. 253 He accepted on condition she would have the city handed over, and gave her his oath that when he had once taken possession of the city, he would keep faith and take her as his wife. No sooner said than done; after destroying the Ethiopians, Moses thanked God and held the marriage and led the Egyptians back to their own land.

Chapter 11. [254-263]
Moses flees from Egypt into Madian

1.

254 Though they had been saved by Moses, the Egyptians hated him and were all the more hotly plotting against him, suspecting that he would avail of his success to raise a revolt in Egypt, and they told the king he ought to be killed. 255 He was thinking the same thing, envious of Moses' campaign and fearing that he might bring him down, so at the urging of the sacred scribes he was planning to kill Moses. 256 He, however, getting wind of the plots against him, went off in secret, and as the highways were guarded, made his escape through the desert, where his enemies would not expect him to travel, and went on bravely, though short of food. 257 When he reached the city of Madian on the Red Sea, named after one of Abraham's sons by Keturah, he sat beside a well not far from the city at the noontime of the day to rest after his long, hard journey, where the local custom gave him a chance to prove his worth and improve his situation.

2.

258 As those places were very dry the shepherds used to seize the wells in advance, in case their flocks ran short of water if others took it all before them. Now seven sisters came to this well, the virgin daughters of the priest Raguel, a man greatly honoured by the local people. 259 These tended to their father's flocks, a work normally done by women in the region of the cave-dwellers. They arrived first to draw from the well enough water for their flocks, into troughs which were there for that purpose. 260 The shepherds set upon the maidens and drove them off, to have all the water themselves. Moses, thinking it would be wrong for him to let the girls be unjustly treated and let the men's violence over-ride the maidens' rights, drove off those who wanted too much and duly helped the others. 261 On being so kindly treated they went to tell their father about the shepherds's insolence and the stranger's help, imploring him not to ignor this generous action or let it pass without reward. He was pleased that his daughters were so keen to reward their benefactor, and told them to bring Moses to him, to be thanked as he deserved. 262 When he came, he reported what his daughters had said of how he had helped them, and commended his valour, and said that those whom Moses had helped were not ungrateful, but were able to return his kindness and even to exceed his own level of generosity. 263 So he took him as his son and gave him one of his daughters in marriage, and appointed him guardian and pastor of his flocks, for in times past all the wealth of the barbarians was in livestock.

Chapter 12. [264-276]
The Vision at the Burning Bush. Miracles against Pharao

1.

264 Moses, when he had gained the favour of Jethro, for that was one of Raguel's names, stayed there and pastured his flock, and some time later, camping at the mountain called Sinai, he drove his flocks there. 265 This is the highest of all those mountains and the best for pasturage, and it had not been grazed before, because of the belief that God lived there, and the shepherds did not dare approach it. Here he met with a wonderful prodigy. 266 A fire fed on a thorn bush, yet its green foliage and flowers continued and the fire did not at all consume its fruiting branches, though the flame was hot and fierce. 267 He was fearful at this strange sight, and even more astounded when a voice spoke from the fire calling him by name and saying how daring he had been to come to a place where no one had ever gone before, since it was divine. He should to move away from the flame and be satisfied with what he had seen, and though he was a good man and descended of great men he shoudl pry no further. 268 It foretold to him that he would have glory and honour among men, by the presence of the Deity along with him. It also told him to go away from there with confidence to Egypt, to be the commander and leader of the Hebrew masses and to deliver his relatives from the wrongs they endured there. 269 "For," it said, "they shall live in this happy land where your forefather Abraham lived and shall enjoy all good things." It went on to order that, having brought the Hebrews from the land of Egypt, he should bring them to that place and there offer sacrifices of thanksgiving. Such were the divine commands out of the fire.

2.

270 Moses was astounded by what he saw and much more by what he heard, and he said, "O Lord, I would think it mad for one who reveres you as I do to distrust your power, since I adore it and know that it has been revealed to my ancestors. 271 Still I wonder how a private, powerless citizen like me could persuade my own countrymen to leave the region where they now live and follow me to a land where I would lead them. Even if they were persuaded, how can I make Pharaothes let them leave, since they increase their local prosperity by the labours they force on them?"

3.

272 But God urged him to dare all and promised to be with him and help him to persuade by miracles and he could not win by his words. To prove the truth of this, He told him to throw his rod upon the ground When he did so, it crawled like a snake and rolled in its folds and raised its head, ready to strike at an attacker; and then it became a rod again. 273 Then he had him put his right hand into his bosom and when he obeyed he took it out it was white in colour, like chalk, but then resumed its usual colour. He was told to take the water near him and pour it on the ground, and saw it become the colour of blood. 274 As he was amazed by these signs, God encouraged and assured him he would be his great ally, telling him to use those signs to prove to everyone, that "sent by me, you do all according to my commands. I order you, wait no longer but hurry to Egypt, travelling night and day. Make no delay and do not prolong the Hebrews' slavery and sufferings."

4.

275 Finding it impossible to doubt divine nesssage after the proofs he had seen and heard, Moses begged for that same power when he was back in Egypt, and asked to know His name, so that after hearing and seeing Him, he could also announce his name, and invoke Him by name when he offered sacrifice in the sanctuaries. 276 So God told him his holy name, which had never been revealed to humans before, and about which I am not free to say any more. These signs accompanied Moses, not only then, but always when he prayed for them. He gave firmest assent of all of them to the fire in the bush, and trusting in God as his gracious supporter, he hoped he could save his own nation and bring woes to the Egyptians.

Chapter 13. [277-292]
Moses and Aaron return into Egypt, to confront Pharaothes

1.

277 When he learned that Pharaothes had died, who had been king of Egypt when he fled, he asked Raguel's permission to go to Egypt for the sake of his relatives, and taking Raguel's daughter Sapphorah, whom he had married and Gersom and Eleazer, the children he had by her, he hurried to Egypt. 278 Of these names, Gersom in Hebrew means "he was in a strange land," and Eleazer, that with the help of the God of his fathers, he had escaped from the Egyptians. 279 When they were near the borders, by God's command his brother Aaron met him, to whom he told all that had happened to him at the mountain, and God's commands. As they proceeded, the leaders of the Hebrews, heard that they were coming and met them. 280 Moses declared to them the signs he had seen, and to convince them, performed them before their eyes. Astounded by these unexpected sights they took courage and hoped all would be well, believing now that God was looking after their survival.

2.

281 Finding the Hebrews amenable to him, willing to obey his directions and much attached to liberty, Moses went to the king who had recently taken over the leadership, 282 to remind him of all he had done on behalf of the Egyptians when the Ethiopians despised them and were ravaging their region, and how he had commanded their forces and faced toil and danger for them, as if they were his own people, without any proper reward. 283 He also told in detail of his experiences at Mount Sinai, and the voice of God and the signs shown to make him believe in those commands, and urged him not to disbelieve this or oppose the will of God.

3.

284 When the king mocked him, Moses let him see with his own eyes the signs that were done at Mount Sinai, but the king was angry and called him a reprobate who had earlier fled from slavery among the Egyptians and was now back with misleading tricks and wonders and magic to astound him. 285 Saying this, he ordered the priests to let him see the same spectacles, knowing the skill of the Egyptians in this kind of learning and that he was not the only one to know them and claim them as divine. He affirmed that even though he set such wonderful sights before him, he would only be believed by the unlearned; and when they threw down their rods, these too became snakes. 286 Undaunted, Moses said, "O king, I do not scorn the wisdom of the Egyptians, but I claim that what I do is above what these do by magic and art, as much as the divine is above the human. For I will show that what I do is not done by craft, or by simulating the truth, but by the providence and power of God." 287 When he had said this, he threw his rod upon the ground, ordering it to become a snake. It obeyed and went around eating up the rods of the Egyptians, which loked like dragons, until it had devoured them all; then it resumed its proper form and Moses took it up again.

4.

288 The king was no more moved by this than before, but said furiously that he could not impose on the Egyptians by his cunning and craft. Then he ordered the man who was chief taskmaster over the Hebrews to give them no rest from their labours, but make their hardships worse than before. 289 Where formerly he had provided them with chaff for making bricks, he would no longer do so, but made them collect the chaff by night after working hard all day. When this doubled their labour, they put the blame on Moses, on whose account their toil and misery had become worse. 290 Not giving in to the king's threats or letting his zeal wilt in face of the Hebrews' complaints, he set his soul resolutely against both and devoted every effort to gaining freedom for his countrymen. 291 Going to the king, he persuaded him to let the Hebrews go to Mount Sinai where they would sacrifice to God, as He had commanded, and not to oppose His will but to value His favour above all things. He must let them go, for fear of thwarting Him unawares, and so bring on himself the penalty for opposing God's commands. 292 For all things work against those who provoke the divine wrath. Neither the earth nor the sky befriend them, nor do the fruits of the womb come in their natural way, but all is askew and hostile. He said the Egyptians would learn this by sad experience, and that, even without their consent, the Hebrews would leave their land.

Chapter 14. [293-314]
The ten plagues which came upon the Egyptians

1.

293 When the king despised the words of Moses and took no heed of them, dire plagues came on the Egyptians, which I will describe in detail, both because no such plagues as the Egyptians now experienced ever befell others, and to show that Moses never failed in anything he foretold to them, and because it is good for people to learn this caution, never to do anything to displease God for fear He be provoked to anger and punish them for their wrong-doing. 294 For at God's command their river ran with blood, so that it could not be drunk and they had no other source, and not only was the water the colour of blood, but it brought great and bitter pains on those who drank it. 295 It was like that to the Egyptians, but to the Hebrews it was sweet and fit to drink and no way different to normal. As in these paradoxical circumstances the king did not know what to do and was afraid on behalf of the Egyptians, he allowed the Hebrews to leave, but when the plague ceased, he changed his mind again, end would not let them go.

2.

296 When God saw his ingratitude and his failure to grow wise after this disaster, he sent another plague upon the Egyptians. Countless frogs consumed the fruit of the ground; the river was full of them, so that those who drew water found it spoiled by the blood of these animals as they were died and the water was filthy with their slime. 297 The land was polluted by their breeding and their dying, and they spoiled the vessels used in the homes and were found in what they ate and drank and came swarming into their beds. A dreadful smell and stink arose from them, of frogs alive or dead or putrefying. 298 As the Egyptians were burdened by these pests, the king ordered Moses to take the Hebrews and be gone, at which the whole mass of frogs disappeared, and both land and river returned to their natural state. 299 But as soon as Pharaothes saw the land freed of the plague, he forgot why it had come and kept the Hebrews back, and as if wishing to experience more sufferings, still would not release Moses and his people, having given permission from fear rather than from any good motive.

3.

300 God then punished his deceit with another plague, for the bodies of the Egyptians now swarmed with lice, by which those wretches died miserably, unable to destroy this sort of vermin either with salves or ointments. 301 This horror shook the king of Egypt, who feared the ruin of his people by so shameful a form of death, and made him half draw back from his folly to a sounder mind. 302 He allowed the Hebrews to depart, but when the plague then eased, he required them to leave their children and wives behind, to guarantee their return, which provoked God still further, for thinking to turn aside his providence, as if not He but Moses were punishing the Egyptians for the sake of the Hebrews. 303 He filled the land with all sorts of vile creatures, whose properties had never before been seen and from which the people died so that the land lacked farmers to cultivate it; and even if people survived, they were worn out by illness.

4.

304 When Pharaothes even then did not yield to God's will, but while letting the husbands take along their wives, made the children stay behind, the Deity did not fail to punish his wickedness by sending many sorts of afflictions still worse than before, for their bodies broke out in terrible boils and their innards wasted away and so most of the Egyptians died. 305 When the king did not come to his senses even by this plague, hail was sent down from heaven, such as the skies of Egypt had never suffered before, unlike that which falls in winter in other climates, but larger than what falls in the middle of spring on people living it the northern, arctic regions, which flattened their crops. 306 After this a tribe of locusts consumed any seed which was not harmed by the hail, destroying all the Egyptians' hopes of a harvest from the earth.

5.

307 One would think the aforesaid troubles would be enough to bring one who was merely foolish, not malicious, to see reason and see where his interests lay. But Pharaothes was led not so much by his folly as by his malice. Even when he saw the cause, he still stood against God and willfully betrayed the path of virtue, so he bade Moses lead away the Hebrews with their wives and children, leaving their livestock behind, since their own had been destroyed. 308 Moses said he did not reckon this as just, for they needed the livestock to offer sacrifices to God; so during the delay caused by this, a thick darkness without a glimmer of light, spread over the Egyptians, blocking their sight and choking their breath by the density of the air, so that they died miserably, terrified of being swallowed up by the fog. 309 This dissipated after three days and nights, and when Pharaothes still did not repent and let the Hebrews go, Moses came to him and said, "How long will you disobey the command of God? For he orders you to let the Hebrews go. Unless you do so, there no other way to be free your afflictions." 310 But the king angry at what he said, threatened to behead him if he came again to trouble him about this. Moses said he would no longer speak to him about them, for he himself, along with the leading Egyptians, would beg the Hebrews to leave; and saying this, he went away.

6.

311 God indicated that with one plague he would force the Egyptians to let Hebrews go and ordered Moses to tell the people to prepare a sacrifice and get ready on the tenth of the month Xanthicus, for the fourteenth, to bring out the Hebrews with all their possessions. This month is called Pharmuth by the Egyptians, Nisan by the Hebrews, and Xanthicus by the Macedonians. 312 He got the Hebrews ready for their exodus and having sorted them into tribes, kept them together in one place. When the fourteenth day arrived and all were ready for departure they offered the sacrifice and purified their houses with the blood, using bunches of hyssop, and burned the rest of the flesh after supper, ready to leave. 313 That is why we sacrifice in the same way even now, and call the feast Pascha, meaning the feast of the passover, for on that day God passed over us and smote the Egyptians with disease, for the first-born of the Egyptians were destroyed that night, so that many living near the palace advised Pharaothes to let the Hebrews go. 314 He then called for Moses and told them to be gone; thinking that once they were gone from the region Egypt's afflictions would cease. They also honoured the Hebrews with gifts; some to hasten their departure and others because they had known them as neighbours.

Chapter 15. [315-333]
Guided by Moses the Hebrews left Egypt

1.

315 So they left, with the Egyptians weeping and repenting for having treated them so badly. They journeyed by Letopolis, at that time deserted but where a Babylon was later built, when Cambyses laid Egypt. Leaving quickly, on the third day they reached Beelzephon, a place on the Red Sea. 316 Finding no food from the land as it was a desert, they ate loaves kneaded of flour, just barely baked. They subsisted on this bread for thirty days, which was as long as they could survive on what they had brought from Egypt, while rationing it and using only for their minimum needs, and not eating their fill. 317 Thus, in memory of the need we then experienced, we keep for eight days, a feast called Unleavened Bread. The whole number of those who went out, including women and children, could not easily be counted, but those who were of military age were six hundred thousand.

2.

318 They left Egypt on the fifteenth day of the lunar month of Xanthicus, four hundred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham came to Canaan, and two hundred and fifteen years after Jacob moved into Egypt. 319 Moses was in his eightieth year and Aaron was three years older. They brought out with them the bones of Joseph, as he had told his sons to do.

3.

320 But the Egyptians soon regretted letting the Hebrews leave and the king was mortified that it had been won by the magic arts of Moses, so they resolved to to out after them. So they took their weapons and equipment and pursued them, to bring them back if they overtook them, since they would now have no pretext to pray to God against them, once they had been allowed to leave. 321 They expected to overcome them easily, unarmed and weary after their journey, so they hurried in pursuit, enquiring of everyone which way they had gone; and indeed that land was difficult to cross, not only by armies but even by oneself. 322 Moses led the Hebrews in this direction so that if the Egyptians changed their minds and wished to go in pursuit, they would suffer for their malice and for breaking their sworn promises; but also on account of the Philistines, who had quarreled with them and hated them of old, not to alert them to their departure, for their region is near that of Egypt. 323 So Moses led them not along the road leading to the land of the Philistines, but wanted them to go through the desert, so as to enter the land of Canaan after a long journey and much suffering. Also, God had commanded him to bring the people to Mount Sinai, to sacrifice to him there. 324 When the Egyptians overtook the Hebrews they prepared for battle and by their numbers drove them into a narrow place. For their pursuers had six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand cavalry and two hundred thousand infantry, all armed. They also seized the roads by which they thought the Hebrews might escape, shutting them between steep cliffs and the sea, 325 for their path was blocked by a mountain ending at the sea, and ruggedly impassable. Thus they pressed upon the Hebrews, with their army camped between the mountains and the sea and blocking any way out into the plain.

4.

326 Unable to continue under the siege, because they lacked provisions, and seeing no possible way of escape, and even if they thought of fighting, they had no weapons, they expected to be totally wiped out unless they gave themselves up to the Egyptians. 327 They put the blame on Moses and forgot all the signs God had wrought to win their freedom, so that in their unbelief they wanted to throw stones at the prophet, who had roused their courage and promised them rescue; and they resolved to surrender to the Egyptians. 328 Among the women and children there was sorrow and lamentation, for nothing but destruction lay before them, surrounded by mountains, the sea and the enemy and seeing no way out from them.

5.

329 But while the crowd looked at him wildly, Moses did not abandon his care for them or his trust in God, who had fulfilled all his other predictions about regaining their freedom and would not now let them be enslaved or killed by the enemy. 330 Standing up in the middle of them, he said, "It is not right for us to distrust even men who up to now have managed our affairs well, as if they would not continue the same, but it is no less than madness to despair now of the providence of God, 331 who beyond your expectations has performed everything he promised through me in your escape from slavery. Indeed as you see, when we are in dire distress we ought rather to trust in the help of God, under whose guidance we find ourselves now this tight place. 332 He can save us from our impossible plight, in ways that neither you nor the enemy can imagine, and thereby show his power and providence over us. God helps those whom he favours not just in small things, but in cases where one can see no human hope of a solution. 333 Trust in a a Protector who can make small things great and can show up this mighty force as merely weakness. Even if you see no hope of escape because of the sea in front and the mountains behind, do not fear the Egyptian army or despair of salvation, for if God wishes, even these mountains may be flattened for you and the sea become dry land."

Chapter 16. [334-349]
The sea parts for Moses and destroys the pursuing Egyptians

1.

334 After saying this, Moses led them towards the sea while the Egyptians looked on. Though they were within sight, these were so worn out by their pursuit that they thought it best to postpone the battle til the next day. When Moses arrived at the sea-shore, he took the rod and called on God to be their ally and help, saying, 335 "You know well, O Lord, that to escape our present plight is beyond human power or planning so if this army is to be saved, after leaving Egypt under your direction, it will be only by your doing. 336 We despair of any other help or plan and take refuge only in you, if there is any way we can escape by your providence from the wrath of the Egyptians. Let it come quickly and show us your power and raise up courage and hope of deliverance in this people who have fallen into despair. 337 We are in a hopeless place, but it is a place owned by you, for the sea is yours, the mountains that surround us are yours and can open up for us if you command them and the sea also can become dry land. We could even escape through the air, if by your power you save us in that way."

2.

338 With these words of worship, he struck the sea with his rod, and it parted at the stroke and it turned back on itself, leaving the ground dry, as a way of escape for the Hebrews. 339 When Moses saw this divine manifestation and how the sea gave place to dry land, he went into it first of all and bade the Hebrews follow on that divine road, rejoicing at the danger to the enemy following them and thanking God for providing them such an amazing means of salvation.

3.

340 They made no delay, but went on quickly, led by God's presence with them, and the Egyptians at first thought they were mad and were going to certain destruction. When they saw how they went forward a long way without harm with no obstacle to block their journey, they hurried to pursue them, hoping that the sea would also stay calm for them, and with their horses in front they went down into the sea. 341 While these were spending time putting on their armour, the Hebrews escaped them and, unharmed, reached land on the other side. The enemy pursued them more bravely, expecting no harm to come to them either. 342 But the Egyptians did not know that they were going on a road made for the Hebrews and for no others, one made for those in danger, not for those sought to use it for others' destruction. 343 As soon as the whole Egyptian army was within it, the sea flowed back to its place and came down around the Egyptians with a torrent of storm and wind. Showers of rain fell from the sky with dreadful thunder and lightning, and thunderbolts darted upon them. 344 There was nothing that God sends upon men as signs of his anger, which did not happen at this time, for a dark and dismal night oppressed them, so that they all died in this way, so that there was not one left to report this disaster to the survivors.

4.

345 The Hebrews could hardly contain themselves for joy at their wonderful salvation and the destruction of the enemy, and felt themselves now securely saved, since those who wished to force them into slavery were destroyed and when they found God so clearly as their protector. 346 When they had so escaped their danger and seeing their enemies punished in an inhuman way, they spent all night singing hymns and rejoicing. Moses also composed a song to God, in hexameter verse, chanting his praises and in thanksgiving for his kindness.

5.

347 I have passed on every detail of this as I found it in the sacred books. Let nobody by amazed by the strangeness of the story, how a way was opened for those in former times, who were free from wickedness, whether it happened by the will of God or whether it happened of its own accord, 348 whereas not long ago, for the sake of those with Alexander the king of Macedon, the Pamphylian Sea let them pass through, when they had no other way to go, when it was the will of God to destroy the rule of the Persians. This is accepted as true by all who have written of Alexander's deeds. But regarding these events, let each one decide as he pleases.

6.

349 On the next day Moses gathered the weapons of the Egyptians, which were brought to the Hebrews camp by the current of the sea and the winds blowing in that direction, and he guessed that this too came from divine Providence, not to leave them without weapons. When he had gathered and armed the Hebrews, he led them to Mount Sinai, to sacrifice to God and give thanks for the salvation of the people, as he had been instructed to do.