Pharaoh gave to Joseph of the Hebrews Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On, as his wife. This is an account of their story, restored for the Commonwealth of Israel, and updated to common English by Jesse ben Joseph; based upon the Armenian manuscript, as translated by Jacques Issaverdens, in the Gregorian year 1901.
1 It came to pass, on the seventh day of the second month in the first year of the seven years of plenty, that Pharaoh sent Joseph to make a tour throughout all the land of Egypt. 2 Joseph reached the territory of the town of Heliopolis on the eighteenth day of the month, 3 and the corn that he gathered corn in that land was as plentiful the sand of the sea. 4 There was a man in that town who was a minister of Pharaoh, and who, through his wisdom, was the greatest of all in Pharaoh’s court. 5 His name was Potipherah, and he was a priest of the town of Heliopolis. 6 He had a virgin daughter, about eighteen years old; she was a tall and lovely maiden, of very fair appearance, fairer than all the maids that were around. 7 She bore no resemblance at all to the daughters of the Egyptians, but was like the daughters of the Hebrews. 8 She was tall as Sarah, as fair as Rebekah, and more graceful than Rachel. The name of that maid was Asenath, 9 and the fame of her beauty went out into all the Earth. The sons of the great men, and of the governors, and of the kings, all the young and valiant warriors, desired her for a wife, 10 and there was jealousy and rivalry among them because of her, so that they were preparing to fight. 11 The firstborn of Pharaoh heard of her, and entreated his father to give her to him; 12 but Pharaoh said to him, “Why do you ask for wife who is inferior to yourself 13 to be king of Egypt? 14 Is not the daughter of the king of the Moabites who is betrothed to you very fair?”
1 Now Asenath herself disdained and despised all men, and was very proud and conceited. No man had ever seen Asenath, because Potipherah had a tower near his palace, and in that tower there was an upper story richly furnished, in which Asenath dwelt, out of the sight of all men. 2 That upper story was spacious and very high, and there were ten rooms in it.
3 The first room was large, and was adorned with beautiful marbles, and draped with purple. The walls glittered with precious stones, 4 and the ceiling was of massive gold. In that room, near the wall of the second room, were placed the innumerable gold and silver gods of the Egyptians, 5 which Asenath adored and revered. Every day she offered sacrifices and burned incense before them.
6 In the second room there were chests containing Asenath’s ornaments of gold and silver in abundance, 7 precious and rare jewels, clothes woven with gold, fine and costly linen, and all the adornments of her maidenhood.
8 The third room was the storehouse of Asenath’s household.
10 Seven maidens had grown up with Asenath. 11 They were exactly her own age, having all been born the same night; they were as fair looking as stars of heaven, and no man had ever spoken to them, not even a young boy. 12 In Asenath’s own room, which her maidens tended, there were three large windows: 13 the first one was very large, and faced toward east, overlooking the courtyard; the second faced toward the south; and the third faced toward the north.
14 Near the eastern window a golden board was fixed, and a bed was placed upon it, 15 adorned with fine linen and coverings of hyacinth and purple embroidered with gold. 16 Asenath alone slept on that bed, for neither man nor woman ever even sat upon it.
17 All around the palace there was a large court, the walls of which, built of great square stones, were very high. 18 The courtyard had four iron doors which were overseen by by gallant and well armed men. 19 Within the courtyard, near the walls, there were different kinds of beautiful plants which bore all manner of fruits, and all their fruits were ripe and ready to be gathered. 20 On the right side of the courtyard there was a large fountain of clear water, and under the fountain was a large basin to receive the water that flowed out through the courtyard and watered all of its trees.
1 It came to pass, on the eighteenth day of the fourth month in the first year of the seven years of plenty, that Joseph came to the boundaries of the town of Heliopolis, and began to gather in the corn. 2 When Joseph came near to that town, he sent messengers to Potipherah the priest, and said, “The heat is great! 3 I will rest at your house during mid-day, and relax under the shadow of your roof.”
4 When Potipherah heard this, he felt great joy, and said, 5 “Blessed be the God of Joseph, who is pleased this very day to come to us!” Potipherah called the steward of his house, and said to him, 6 “Hurry! Make the house ready, and prepare a great dinner, for Joseph– the mighty man of God– is coming to us today!”
7 Asenath heard that her father and mother were coming from the country lands of their possession, 8 and she rejoiced and said, “I will go and see my father and mother, who have come from the country at harvest time.” 9 Asenath quickly put on fine linen and adorned herself with a garment of gold and hyacinth, and bound a golden girdle around her waist. She put bracelets on her hands and feet, and clasped two precious necklaces around her neck, and put golden shoes upon her feet. 10 Her whole person was adorned with precious stones, and the names of the gods of the Egyptians were marked upon all the ornaments, and upon the bracelets; there were painted upon the precious stones the figures of the idols of Egypt. 11 She put a handkerchief upon her head, and fastened a crown under the headbands, and covered her head with a summer veil.
1 She descended quickly down the stairs from the upper story, and came to see her father and mother; she prostrated herself before them, and hailed them. 2 Potipherah and his wife felt a great joy in their daughter, for they saw her adorned like a bride with the ornaments of the gods. 3 They took out all the good things they had brought from the land of their possession, and gave them to her. 4 Asenath rejoiced because of all the good things they had brought: grapes, figs, dates, and other fruits.
5 Potipherah said to Asenath his daughter, “My child!”
Asenath replied, “Here am I, my lord!”
Potipherah said, “Come, sit down between us, and I will tell you what I have to say.”
6 So Asenath sat between her father and mother. 7 Potipherah took hold of the right hand of his daughter; he kissed it, and said, “Asenath, my child!”
8 Asenath replied, “Here am I, my and father!”
Potipherah said, “Joseph, mighty man of God, is coming to us today, and he is the ruler over all the land of Egypt; for Pharaoh has appointed him as head of his possessions, and he is the savior of all this land; for it is he who gives corn to this country, and will save men from the present famine and from the coming one. 9 Joseph is pious and chaste, a virtuous man, full of wisdom, and he resembles you who are also virtuous. Joseph is powerful through his wisdom and wit, for the Spirit of God and the grace of YHWH are with him. 10 Now my child, listen to me, and let me give you to him for a wife, and let him marry you and be your husband from this day onward.”
11 It came to pass, when Asenath heard the words of her father, the color of her face changed, and she became sad and full of anger. She looked at her father with disapproval, and said, 12 “Why do you, my and father, say these things, to give me as a slave to a stranger and a fugitive, even to a servant who was sold? 13 Is he not the son of a shepherd from the land of the Canaanites, 14 who was chided for having wronged his master’s wife? Did not his master put him in a dark prison, although Pharaoh the king drew him out of the prison for having explained his dream, like the old women of Egypt also explain dreams? 15 This must not be so, for I will marry the eldest son of Pharaoh, for he is the king of all Egypt.”
16 Potipherah was afraid to speak again to his daughter concerning Joseph, for she had answered him with boldness and indignation.
1 A young man of the servants of Potipherah came running in, and announced, “Behold! Joseph is at the doors of the house, near the courtyard.”
2 Asenath then hastened from the presence of her father and mother, when she heard that Joseph’s presence had been announced, and went to her room in the upper story. She stood before her large window which faced toward the east, that she might see Joseph while he was entering the house of her father.
3 Potipherah and his wife, along with all of his servants and the whole household, went to meet Joseph. 4 They opened the gate of the court which faced toward the east, and Joseph entered, seated in the golden chariot of Pharaoh, 5 which was drawn by four horses as white as snow and adorned with golden bridles. 6 Joseph was clothed in a beautiful white tunic, and wore a cloak of purple and fine linen woven with gold; on his head there was a crown of gold, and around the crown there were twelve precious stones, upon which there were twelve radiant figures. 7 In his left hand he held a scepter, and in his right hand he held a long olive branch full of very beautiful fruit.
8 Joseph entered into the courtyard, and all the doors were shut, 9 so that all the people remained outside the court, for the guardians of the doors had locked them and did permit anyone to go in. 10 Potipherah and his wife, and all his relatives, except Asenath their daughter, came; they prostrated themselves upon their faces before Joseph, and adored him. 11 Joseph got out of his chariot, and they received him in their arms.
1 When Asenath saw Joseph, she felt a strong love for him; her soul was humbled, her knees grew weak, and her body trembled, 2 for she was seized with a great fear. She sighed from the bottom of her heart, and said, 5 “What will I do now, miserable that I am? Is it not but just now that my father and mother were speaking with me, and I regarded he who was coming to us with contempt, calling him the son of a shepherd from the land of the Canaanites? Did not they truly speak of Joseph? And Joseph has come to us like a sun, and entered into our temple. 6 And I, wicked and rash, and vile that I am, despised and disdained him, and was offended by him, and spoke evil words concerning him. I did not know that Joseph was like the son of God; for who else among men is gifted with such beauty? 7 Who could bring forth such a glorious man? But I, wretched and foolish that I am, spoke evil words concerning him to my father. Where will I go to hide myself from his presence, lest Joseph, the beloved of God, might see me? It seems that he knows all secrets, and that nothing is hidden from him, because of the great light that is in him. Now, my God: pardon my ignorance in speaking evil words about him, 1 8 and let my father give me to Joseph as a maidservant to serve him, and I will become his servant forever!”
1 Joseph entered Potipherah’s palace and sat down on the throne. They washed his feet, and prepared that he should eat separately; for Joseph did not eat with the Egyptians, he considering it a defilement to eat with them.
2 Joseph said to Potipherah, and to all his relatives, “Who is that woman who stands in the upper story near the window? Let her go away from the palace.”
3 Joseph feared, and thought within himself, “She may be a trouble to me.” He thought this because all the women and daughters of the governors of Egypt, when they saw Joseph were filled with great passion because of his beauty, and they annoyed him. 4 But Joseph despised them; he repelled with indignation the messengers that the women of the Egyptians sent to him, and rejected with contempt their gold and silver and costly gifts. 5 “For,” he said, “I will not sin before YHWH, the Savior of Israel.” 6 He always kept in the forefront of his mind the figure of Jacob his father, and remembered his precepts. For Jacob said to Joseph, and to all his sons, “My children, keep yourselves from the women of the strangers, and have no fellowship with them; for their fellowship causes perdition and corruption.” 7 It is because of this that Joseph said, “Let that woman go away from the palace.”
8 Potipherah said to him, “The woman you have seen in the upper story is not a stranger; she is our daughter, and your servant, a virgin, whom no man besides yourself has ever seen. 9 If you will permit it, she will come and bow down before you, for our daughter is as your sister.”
10 Joseph greatly rejoiced when Potipherah said that she was a virgin, and that she hated to fall under the sight of any man. Joseph thought within himself, “If she is a virgin, and she hates all men, then perhaps she will not annoy me.” 2 11 Joseph then said to Potipherah, and to all his household, “If she is your daughter, and a virgin, let her come; for she is my sister, and I will love her as my sister from this point onward.”
1 Her mother went up to the upper story, and brought down Asenath to present her before Joseph. Potipherah said to Asenath his daughter, “Hail your brother, for he is pure as yourself until this day, and he rejects all foreign women, as you have rejected all foreign men.”
2 Asenath said to Joseph: “Rejoice, my lord, the blessed of the Most High God.”
3 Joseph said to Asenath, “May YHWH bless you, for He gives life to everything.”
4 Potipherah said to his daughter, “Come near, and embrace your brother.”
It came to pass, when Asenath did approach to embrace him, Joseph stretched out his hand and put it against her breast, and said, 5 “It is not fitting that a righteous man, who adores the living God, who eats of the Bread of Life, and drinks of the Cup of Immortality, and is anointed with the Oil of Incorruptibility, should embrace a foreign woman, who glorifies with her own mouth the dumb and deaf idols, who eats at their table strangled meats, who drinks wine at their table from the cup of deceit, and who anoints herself with the oil of perdition. 6 But to a man who adores God, it is right to embrace his friend and his pious mother and sister, and all those who are of his own family and tribe, and the woman who is his wife, and who confesses the living God with her own mouth. 7 Likewise, it is not right that a pious woman should embrace a foreign man; for it is a sin before God.”
8 When Asenath heard the words of Joseph, she was filled with sorrowed, and became oppressed with grief; she groaned and sighed, and stared intensely at Joseph the meek, who feared God. As she gazed, her eyes became filled with tears. 9 Joseph saw her, and had compassion on her; 10 he raised up his right band, and put it upon her head, and said, “YHWH, God of Israel my father: You, the powerful God and the Most High of Jacob, who have given life to all, and have called them out of darkness to light, and from error to truth, and from death to life: You, O YHWH, bless this virgin, and 11 renew her through Your Spirit, whom You have created, and give her new life through Your secret hand. Let her eat of the bread of life, and drink of the cup of life; unite her with the number of Your people, whom You have chosen before anything was created; let her enter into Your rest, which You have prepared for Your beloved, and let her dwell for all eternity in You, who are the life.”
1 Asenath rejoiced greatly at Joseph’s blessing, and returned to the upper story alone. She fell upon her bed sighing, because she felt joy mixed with sadness, with fear and trembling. She had perspired excessively when she heard the words of Joseph, which he spoke to her in the name of the Most High God. 2 She wept very bitterly, and repented in her heart because of her gods which she adored; she hated all her idols, and waited for the evening.
3 Joseph ate and drank, and commanded the servants to harness the horses to his chariot, for he said, “I must go and visit this land.”
4 Potipherah said to Joseph, “Let my lord rest here today, and tomorrow you may go your way.”
5 Joseph replied, “That will not do; I must go today, for this is the day in which YHWH began to create all His creation. I will return to you on the seventh day, and will take my rest with you.”
1 Joseph went on his way, and Potipherah, together with his family, returned to their possession. 2 Asenath remained alone with her seven maidens; she became oppressed with sorrow, and wept until the sun disappeared, neither eating bread, nor drinking water. It came to pass, when night approached, that everyone in the house was asleep, except for Asenath. 3 She thought of Joseph, weeping and beating her own chest, and she was extremely afraid, trembling greatly. 3
3 When the whole house was silent, Asenath rose from her bed, left the upper story, softly crept down the stairs, and went near the millstones to the miller, only to find that the miller was asleep with his children. 4 Asenath quickly pulled from the door the curtain of haircloth, and filled it with ashes from the fireplace; then, carrying it to the upper story, she put it on the ground. 5 She shut the doors, fastened them with a bolt, sighed heavily, and shed many tears.
6 The maidens, who were brought up with her, along with her nurse, whom Asenath loved more than all of them, heard her, and came to her door. They found it locked, and as they heard the groaning and the weeping, they drew near, and said, 7 “What is the matter, Asenath, our lady? 8 What is the cause of your affliction? Open the door to us, and let us see what has happened to you.”
Asenath did not open the door, but from within she said to them, “I am stricken by a bad headache, and cannot rest; I cannot even get up to open the door for you, for my limbs are weak. As for you all: everyone of you should return to her own room and rest; leave me to become calm and collect myself.”
9 According to her order, the maidens each went to her own room. Asenath then arose, softly opened the door, and went to the second room, where the chests with her ornaments were. She opened a chest and took out her black clothes, which was her mourning dress. 10 (She had worn it before for mourning the death of her younger brother.) 11 Asenath took her black clothes and brought them into her room. She shut the door behind her, and fastened it with a bolt. Asenath quickly took off her royal clothes: the fine linen and those of purple interwoven with gold, the golden belt, the crown from her head, and the bracelets from her hands and feet; 12 she took all of them, and threw them from the window which faced toward the north. 13 In like manner, Asenath hurriedly took all the gods of Egypt, which were made of gold and silver, and were without number, and threw them down from the window of the upper story. 14 Asenath took her royal evening meal: the bread, the flesh of the heifer, everything which was sacrificed to her gods, and the wine vessels in which she performed the sacrifices, and threw them down from the window, to be the prey of strange dogs. Asenath said, “My dogs will not eat of the meal and of the lambs sacrificed to the idols, and they will not be defiled from this day onward; but let the dogs of strangers eat them.”
15 It came to pass, after this, that Asenath took the curtain of haircloth which she had filled with ashes, and poured the ashes on the floor of the house. 16 She took the curtain of haircloth, and girded herself with it; then, undoing the tresses of her hair, she placed the ashes that were on the ground upon her head. 17 She beat her breast, and wept bitterly for the whole night until the morning. 18 It came to pass, at dawn, that Asenath saw that the ashes on the floor of the house had turned into mud from her tears. 19 She fell on her face again until sunset, when evening had come. 20 Asenath did this again, and again, until the seventh day. She ill-treated and vexed herself all the seven days, neither eating bread nor drinking water the entire time.
1 On the eighth day at dawn, when the rooster began crowing, and the dogs began to bark at those passing by, that she lifted up her head, and her limbs were weak and faint because she had not eaten for seven days. 4 She again knelt down on the floor of the room, placed her hand on the floor, and bowed down her head. Her hair, because of the weight of the ashes, was torn and broken. Asenath, joining her hands together, mourned because of her head, and beat her breast, and loudly groaned and sighed. She plucked off her hair, and put on ashes; thus Asenath grew weary and vexed in spirit, and lost her strength. She turned towards the wall and sat down by the window which toward the east. 2 She bowed her head on her bosom, clasped her hands on her knees, and did not speak any more words. During the seven days of her sadness, Asenath did not open her mouth.
3 She said in her heart, “What will I do? Who will I make my refuge? Where will I go, seeing that I am a maiden, lonely and helpless? 4 Everyone has abandoned and hated me; even my father has hated me, for I have despised their gods, whom I have destroyed and caused to be trodden under foot by all men. 5 My father, my mother, and all my relatives therefore hate me. My father said, ‘Asenath will no longer be called our daughter, because she destroyed our gods made of gold and silver!’ 6 And look! I have become hateful to all men, because in my pride. I did wrong against all men, and against the man to whom I was betrothed. Now, in this affliction of mine, I have become hateful to everyone, and I cherish my affliction.”
7 She thought, and said, “Lord, God of Joseph, You who are the Most High! You hate those who adore idols that are lifeless, dumb, and senseless, for You are a vengeful and terrible God against strange gods. 8 You, O God, must hate me also, for I have adored the speechless, deaf, and senseless idols, and have offered prayers to them. 9 I have eaten of their bread and sacrifices, and my mouth has been defiled at the table of their sacrifices, and I do not dare invoke the God of heaven and earth, the Most High Savior of Joseph, for my soul has been contaminated by the sacrifices offered to idols. 10 Now I have been told that the true God is that of the Hebrews, and that He is the God of the living, and that He is merciful, long-suffering, compassionate, and patient, and that He does not remember the sins of the man who repents, and that He does not punish man in the time of his distress. 11 Let me have courage to turn to Him, and to make Him my refuge, and confess to Him all my sins, and to offer my prayers before Him; and He will be merciful to me.
12 “Perchance that He may look upon my desolation! Perchance that He may see my desolation, and have pity upon me. 13 Perchance He may see my distress and come to my help, because He is the Father of the orphan 5 and the Helper of those who suffer. 14 Let me have courage and cry out to Him, so that He may grant me forgiveness!”
15 Asenath rose up from the wall by which she sat and turned herself towards the window which faced toward the east. She knelt down, and raised up her hands to heaven, but felt afraid to open her mouth and invoke the name of God. She turned again to the wall and sat down; she beat her breast with her hand, and spoke in her own heart, and said without opening her mouth, 16 “O wretched one that I am, orphan and desolate; my mouth is defiled by the sacrifices to the idols, and by the prayers I offered to the gids of the Egyptians. 17 I have tortured my body, mingling ashes with my tears, but even now I dare not open my mouth and invoke Your holy and awesome Name, for it may be that God will be angry with me. 18 What am I to do, wretched as I am? Let me take courage and open my mouth to Him, and should He be angry and crush me, He can again heal me. Should He punish me again with sufferings, He can comfort me once more, and in punishing me, He may renew me through His mercy, should He be angry because of of my sins. He may be reconciled to me, and grant me pardon for all my sins. Now let me have courage, and open my mouth to Him, so that He will have mercy upon me and take away my sins.”
1 Asenath rose up from the wall, and knelt down, lifting up her hands towards the east, and looking up toward heaven. She opened her mouth to God, and said, 2 “YHWH, eternal God, who has created all beings, and has given life to them;
“You who have given the breath of life to all Your creatures;
“You who have brought to light the invisible things;
“You who have created all visible creation out of the invisible, and out of nothing;
3 “You who have made the heaven on high, and have laid its foundations upon the winds;
“You who, with Your holy stones, have built the earth upon the waters;
“You who have thrown huge stones upon the depths of the waters, so that the stones are not submerged, but like leaves of the oak tree remain on the waters, for those stones are alive, and listen to Your voice, O YHWH.
4 “You, YHWH, give life to all Your creatures;
“I turn to You, O YHWH, for justice;
“To You I pour out my prayers;
“To You I will reveal mine iniquities.
5 “Have pity upon me, O YHWH, for I have sinned and transgressed before You;
“O YHWH; I have committed many sins and transgressions; I committed iniquities, and I spoke evil and wicked words. My mouth was defiled with the sacrifices of the idols; because of this, I have sinned many times through ignorance, and have adored the idols that are lifeless and dumb. 6 Because of my many sins, I am not worthy to open my mouth.
7 “I, Asenath, daughter of Potipherah the priest, and princess, hereby declare: I was once proud and arrogant, like hell itself, grown in riches more than any other; I have now become an orphan, hated and abandoned by all. I confide in You, O YHWH, and I cry out to You, to save me before my persecution begins. A child, in his terror, takes refuge with his father, and the father, extending his hand, takes hold of him, and lifts him up from the ground; the child clings around the neck of his father, and being soothed and comforted, rests in his arms. In the same way I, too, perplexed on all sides, take refuge with You, my Master and Father.
8 “Extend Your hand, and lift me up from the ground. Behold! The wild and old Lion persecutes me, 9 for he is the father of the gods of the Egyptians. The idols of the heathen are sons of the Lion; and I threw away all the gods and destroyed them, and the Lion their father, filled with anger, persecutes me.
10 “Save me, O YHWH, from his hands, and deliver me from his mouth! He will carry me away with violence; he will tear me to pieces, and throw me into the fire of the furnace. He will cast me into the hurricane, and the hurricane whirling around me will leave me blinded. He will throw me into the depths of the abyss, and the ancient sea beast will swallow me up, and I will perish for ever.
11 “Deliver me, O YHWH, before all this comes upon me. Deliver me, and save me while I am estranged, for my father and mother have cast me off; they have said, ‘Asenath is not our daughter, because she has destroyed our gods, and has hated them.’ Because of this I have become hated by them, and have been abandoned and an orphan; but my hope is in You, for there is none beside You, O YHWH, in whom I may have refuge. You are the Father of the orphan and the persecuted, and the Helper of the oppressed. Have pity on me, a maiden afflicted and forsaken, for You are a Father and a Mother, good and sweet. Who else is a father, as sweet as You? Who else is a mother, as compassionate as You? Who else is as patient as You toward the sinners? 6
12 “Everything that my father Potipherah gave me for an inheritance is perishable and temporal, for they are not incorruptible; but all of Your gifts and inheritance will not pass not away, for they are eternal.”
1 “Look upon me, oppressed as I am, and have mercy upon me. I ran away from all the world, and have made You my refuge, O YHWH. I have abandoned all the good things of the world, and have put my hope in You. I now repent, in sackcloth and ashes, and mourn for my sins.
2 “Behold, I have cast off my royal garments, the fine linen, which was adorned with jewels and embroidered with gold, and have put on a dress of mourning.
3 “Behold, I have untied my golden girdle, and have put on a haircloth curtain. 4 I have cast off my crown and diadem, and instead of them, I have anointed myself with ashes.
5 “Behold, the floor of my house was made of marble and bright purple, yet I poured upon it perfumes and cleansed it with clean linen; now my tears have fallen upon it, and have mingled with the ashes.
6 “Behold, through my tears these ashes have been changed into mire, and have become like the mud of the streets and public roads.
7 “Behold, amidst my tears, I have given my royal meal to the dogs of strangers, 8 and for seven days and seven nights ate no bread, nor did I drink water. My mouth has dried up like the parchment of a drum, and my tongue has become like horn, and my lips like brick. My face is bowed down, and my eyes are swollen and disfigured because of my prolific tears; all my strength has departed me. I know the gods, which I once worshiped in ignorance; they are speechless and dumb idols. I cast them out, to be trodden upon, and the vandals have ravished those of gold and silver. I have destroyed them all from before my face.
9 “I take refuge in You, O YHWH, God of Joseph; save me, O YHWH, and grant me pardon! I have sinned through ignorance, and through folly I went astray, and spoke blasphemous words against our master Joseph, 10 because I did not know that You love him as a son. But there were people who spoke to me in sincerity, saying that Joseph was the son of a shepherd from the land of the Canaanites. I believed them, and was wrong in despising him; I spoke wicked words against him, because I did not know that You love Joseph like a son.
11 “Who can create such beauty, such wisdom and virtue. 12 Keep him, O YHWH, through the grace of Your wisdom, and give me to him as a handmaid and a slave, so that I may prepare his bed and wash his feet and be a maidservant to him.”
1 It came to pass, when Asenath had finished speaking to the YHWH, that the morning star shone forth. 2 Asenath rejoiced when she saw the star, and said, “Perhaps YHWH has heard my prayers, for behold! The star of God, which is an angel and a herald, shines forth.” 3 Asenath looked again, and behold! Near the morning star, the heaven was opened, and a great light appeared, 4 and Asenath fell on her face upon the ashes at the sight of it.
One with the likeness of a man then descended from heaven; standing before Asenath, he called to her, and said, “Asenath!”
5 She thought to herself, “Who is it who calls me? The doors of my room are shut, and this tower is high; how could he enter into my room?”
6 The man called to her a second time, and said, “Asenath!”
Asenath replied, “Here am I. But tell me- who are you?”
7 The man said, “I am the chief ruler over the House of YHWH, and commander of the host of the Most High. 7 Arise! Stand up upon your feet, and I will tell you what I have to say.”
8 Asenath lifted up her head, and she saw that the man was quite like Joseph with his garment, his crown and his royal scepter. 9 His face was like lightning; his eyes were like the rays of the sun; his hair was like flames; his hands were like red hot iron; and from his hands and feet fell down sparks like from roaring fire. 10 When Asenath saw him, she fell down on her face upon the ground, frightened, with all of her limbs trembling.
11 The man said to her, “Be of good cheer, Asenath. Do not be afraid, but arise, and stand on your feet. I will tell you what I have to say.”
12 Asenath rose up and stood upon her feet. The man said, “Go, and take off that black garment of mourning that you wear, that haircloth curtain, and shake off the ashes from your head. Wash yourself with living water, 13 and put on a new, magnificent garment! Gird yourself with the golden girdle of your maidenhood, 14 and allow me to tell you what I have to say.”
15 Asenath quickly went to her second room, in which were the chests with her ornaments. She opened one of the chests and took from it magnificent linen clothes which had never been worn. She took off the black garment of mourning, and cast the haircloth curtain from her loins; she dressed herself in the magnificent robes, 16 and girded her breasts and loins with the girdles of her maidenhood. 17 She shook the ashes off of her head, and washed her hands and face. She covered her head with a new and clean linen handkerchief.
She returned to the first room, and stood before the man. He said to her, “Take off the handkerchief from your head. Why do you wear it today? To this day you are a holy and chaste maiden, and your head resembles that of a young man.”
2 Asenath took the handkerchief off of her head. The man said to her, “Be of good comfort, Asenath, holy maiden. I have heard your confessions and your prayers. Behold! I have seen your seven days of suffering and destitution, and I have seen the mire from the ashes and the tears. 3 Be of good comfort, Asenath, holy maiden, for your name is written by the hand of God in heaven in the Book of Life, among those who’s names were written down from the very beginning. By the witness of many, your name was written down for all eternity. 4 Behold! From this day forward, you will be renewed, and once more alive again! You will eat of the Bread of Life, and will drink of the Cup of Immortality, and will be anointed with the Oil of Incorruptibility.
5 “Be of good cheer, Asenath, holy maiden, for I have given you today as a spouse to Joseph, and he will be your husband forever. 6 You will no longer be called Asenath, but rather “A City of Refuge”. Through you a great many generations will take refuge in the YHWH, God of heaven, and your shadow will shelter those who have put their hope in the YHWH God, and in your walls those who repent to the Most High will entrench themselves.
7 “Repentance lifts a man near heaven, and makes him dear to the Most High when he seeks Him with sincerity. God is the Giver of all gifts, and He grants strength to all virgins. He seeks purity, and loves it very much; He always watches you with tenderness. He receives those who repent as near to Him in His dwelling, and prepares a heavenly place of rest for them, where all who have repented will rest; they will always be there, under His eye forever, and He will spare them. 8 Repentance herself is as a virgin; she is very beautiful and pure; she is chaste and gentle. The Most High God loves her, and all His angels revere her. 8
9 “Behold! I am going to Joseph, and I will speak to him all that I have to say about you. Joseph will come to see you today, and he will rejoice because of you. He will love you, and he will be your husband, and you will be his bride forever.
10 “Listen to me, maiden, Asenath; you have put on your wedding robe, which was prepared for you from the beginning; you have adorned and embellished yourself with all your ornaments as a good bride. Rise up, go, and meet Joseph, 11 for he is coming to you today.”
12 It came to pass, when the man finished speaking, that Asenath felt a great joy for everything that he had said. 13 She fell upon her face at his feet and adored him, and said, “Blessed be the Most High God, who sent you, and saved me from this darkness! He has raised me up from the bottom of the depths. Blessed be His name forever! 14 Tell me, my lord, what is your name? Tell me, my lord, so that I might also give blessing to you for all eternity.”
The man said to her, “My name is written in heaven from all eternity, in the Book of the Most High, among those who were written in the very beginning, before all others, for I am the chief of the Most High. All the names that are written in the Book of the Most High are unfathomable, and no man in this world can either hear them or see them; their names are great, admirable, and praiseworthy.” 9
Asenath said, “I have found favor before you, and I understand all that you have said to me. Let now me, your handmaiden, speak before you.”
He replied, “Speak.”
Asenath said, “I beseech you, my lord.” In saying this, she stretched out her hand, and made it reach his hand and his knee, and earnestly pleading with him, she said, “Sit down on this bed, for this bed is clean and pure, and neither man nor woman has ever sat upon. I will prepare a table for you, and will bring bread from the storehouse, and old and sweet wine, so that you may eat and drink before going on your way.”
15 The man said to her, “Hurry, and bring it.”
1 Asenath brought an empty table and set it before him, and as she was going to her pantry to bring bread for him, he said to her, “Bring me a honeycomb also.”
2 Asenath stopped what she was doing and became sad, for she had no honeycomb in her pantry.
The man said, “Why did you stop, and why are you sad?”
Asenath replied, “I will send a boy out of our town, for our country possession is near this place, and he will fetch from there a honeycomb for me to give you, my .”
3 The man said to her, “Go into your cellar, and you will find a honeycomb on the table; bring it here.”
Asenath replied, “There is no honeycomb in my cellar.”
The man said, “Go into the cellar, and you will find one.”
4 Asenath went into her cellar, and there she found a honeycomb on the table; the honeycomb that she found was large, as white as the snow, and entirely full of honey. It was like the dew of heaven, and its smell was like the Breath of Life. 10 Asenath was amazed, and she wondered if perhaps the honeycomb had come from the man’s mouth, since it smelled like his breath. 5 Asenath took the honeycomb, brought it before the man, and placed it upon the empty table which she had prepared. The man said to her, “Why did you say that there was no honeycomb in your cellar? From where did this excellent honeycomb come?”
6 Asenath was frightened, and said, “My lord, I had no honeycomb in my cellar, but you have spoken, and it was so! Perhaps it came forth from your mouth, for its smell is as the perfume of your mouth.”
7 The man smiled at Asenath’s modesty. He called her near him, and put his right hand upon her head. Asenath was afraid of the man’s hand, for from his hand fell down sparks as from a red hot iron. The man, when he saw her fear, smiled, and said, “You are blessed, Asenath, that the secrets of the Most High God have been revealed to you. Blessed also are those who stand before YHWH through repentance, for they will eat of this honeycomb. 8 This honeycomb is the Breath of Life, prepared by the bees in the Garden of God’s Delight, from the dew of the rosebushes of God’s life. The angels of God will eat of it, as will the sons of the Most High, also the chosen of God, for it is the honeycomb of life, and whoever eats of it will never die.”
9 The man stretched out his hand and broke a little piece of the honeycomb, and ate from it, and what remained in his hand he put it into Asenath’s mouth. He said, “Behold, you have eaten of the Bread of Life, and drunk of the Cup of Immortality, and have been anointed with the Oil of Incorruptibility. From this day forward, your body will bud like a flower, and will bring forth double, like a living flower of the Garden of the Most High. Your bones will grow strong like the cedars of the Garden of God’s Delight, and you will be surrounded by strength that will never tire; your youth will never see old age, and your beauty will never fail. You will be like a fortified town in the name of the YHWH God, the eternal King.”
10 After this the man stretched forth his hand and touched the honeycomb which he had broken, and instantly the cavity was perfectly filled again, and it became complete as it was before. 11 He stretched forth the forefinger of his right hand and touched the east side of the honeycomb, and brought his it around to the west side, and the print of his finger became like blood. 11 He stretched forth his hand a second time and touched the north side of the honeycomb, and brought it around to the south side, and the appearance of the print of his finger became like blood. 12 Asenath watched in amazement to see what the man was doing.
13 The man said to the honeycomb, “Come here.” Bees emerged from the cells of the honeycomb, and there were clusters and thousands of thousands of bees, white as the snow, and full of honey. Their wings were long and crimson colored, and some of them were like twined fine linen. Around their heads they looked as if they had golden crowns. They were of a noble appearance, and had a sharp sting, but they did not harm anyone. 14 They surrounded Asenath from the feet to the head; they were the absolute best bees, being large like queens. They arose from the surface of the honeycomb and sat upon Asenath’s face, and worked around it, and the opening of the honeycomb was in the shape of Asenath’s mouth.
15 The man said to the bees, “Go to your place.”
All the bees arose and flew away, and went towards the sky; 16 yet those who would have hurt Asenath fell down and died. 17 The man extended his staff to the dead bees, and said, “Arise also, and go to your place.” The dead bees arose and went opposite Asenath’s palace, and settled themselves upon the fruit-bearing trees.
1 The man said to Asenath, “Do you understand what you have seen?”
2 She replied, “I do.”
The man said, “According to all the words I have spoken to you today, so it will happen to you.”
3 He stretched out his right hand a third time and touched the honeycomb; a fire burst forth and consumed the honeycomb, but the table was not damaged; the smell of the honeycomb filled the room, and its scent was extremely delicious.
4 Asenath said to the man, “With me there are seven maidens; they have grown up with me, and were born on the same night as myself. I love them like my sisters; let me call them here, that you might bless them like you blessed me.”
5 The man replied, “Call them.”
Asenath called for them and presented them to the man. He said to them, “YHWH, the Most High God, let Him bless you. You will become as seven columns of this town, and the blessing of YHWH will rest upon you for all eternity.”
6 He said to Asenath, “Take away the table from its place.”
Asenath took away the table from its place; she turned to put it in its proper place, and the man disappeared from Asenath’s sight.
Asenath saw what appeared to be a chariot going up toward the east, into heaven. The chariot appeared to be like fire, with its horses like lightning, and the man stood in the chariot. 7 Asenath said, “I am foolish and rash, for I spoke rashly, and said that a man came into my room, when I did not even understand that the angel of YHWH has come to me this day from heaven! Behold- he has returned to his place.”
She went on to say, “Pardon me, my lord, and spare your handmaid; for I have spoken rashly and wickedly before you.”
1 While Asenath was thinking on this, one of Pitipherah’s servants, a young boy, ran in, and said, “Behold, Joseph the mighty one of God, is coming to us! Even now, his forerunner is on the threshold of the courtyard.”
2 Asenath hastened; she called her head nurse and said to her, “Hurry! Prepare the palace, and make ready an excellent meal for Joseph, the mighty one of God, who is coming here today!”
3 Her nurse looked at her, and realized how her face had fallen from her seven days’ lack of food. She became very sad, and wept; she kissed her right hand, and said, “What is the matter with you, my child, that your face has fallen like this?”
4 Asenath replied, “A heavy headache had seized me, and my eyes lost their sleep; that is why face has fallen.”
5 The nurse went to prepare the palace and a meal.
Asenath remembered the man and his orders, and quickly entered her inner room, where the chests of her ornaments were kept. She opened the big chest and took out from it her wedding dress, the best of the best, which was as brilliant as lightning. She put it on, 6 and girded herself with a royal golden girdle, ornamented with studs. She put on her arms and ankles bracelets of gold, and adorned her neck with precious ornaments, upon which there was a variety of many precious stones. She put a crown of gold upon her head, in front of which was a gem, and to the right and left of it there were six large precious and valuable stones. 7 Like a true bride, she put a summer veil on her head, and took the royal scepter in her hand.
Asenath then remembered what her nurse had said, that her complexion looked sad, and she sighed and grew very sad. She said, “If Joseph sees that my face has grown thin, he will hate me!”
8 She said to her nurse, “Bring me clean water from the fountain, and I will wash my face.”
9 The nurse brought her the water and poured it into a hand-basin. Asenath, stooping down to wash her face, saw her complexion in the water, that it was like the sun, and her eyes resembled the dawning of the morning star. Her footsteps were smooth and graceful; her cheeks were red like pieces of pomegranate, and her lips were like a budding rose. Her teeth were beautifully set like shield-bearers in war; her hair was like a vineyard field full of fruits, and her neck was beautiful like a tower.
10 Asenath, seeing herself like this in the water, was filled with great joy, and she did not wash her face any more. 11 Her nurse came into the room to tell Asenath what she had prepared for her, and when she saw her she was lost in wonder. She remained in wonder for about two hours, for Asenath’s beauty caused her a great fear. Falling at her feet, she said, “How can this be, my lady? From where has this surprising and wonderful beauty come to you? I think that YHWH, God of heaven, has chosen you to be a bride for Joseph.” 12
1 While they were talking, the servant-boy came to Asenath, and declared, “Behold! Joseph is at the doors of the courtyard!”
2 Asenath quickly went down the stairs, together with the seven virgins, to meet Joseph, and she stopped in the passage of the palace. 3 As soon as Joseph entered the courtyard, the doors were closed, leaving all the strangers to remain outside. 4 Asenath went in to the passageway to meet Joseph. When Joseph saw her he was struck with wonder by her great beauty; he said to her, “Who are you? Tell me, quickly!”
5 She replied, “I am Asenath, your handmaiden; according to your command, I threw out and destroyed all my idols. A man came today; he gave me Bread of Life, and I ate it, and I drank of the cup of blessing. He said to me, ‘I will give you to Joseph as a bride, and he will be to you as a husband for eternity.’ Again, he said to me, ‘You will no longer be called Asenath, but rather a Town of Refuge; for through you, many generations will take refuge in YHWH the Most High God.’ 6 And again, he said, ‘I will go to Joseph, and I will tell him what I have said about you.’ 7 Now, my lord, you if the man has come to you, and whether or not he has told you these things.”
8 Joseph said to Asenath, “You are blessed by YHWH, the Most High God; for YHWH God has raised your walls on immovable foundations, a wall of life, for many of the sons of men will dwell in that town of refuge, and YHWH God will reign over them for all eternity. 9 That man came to me today, and he said these words about you. Now come to me, holy maiden! Why do you stop so far from me?”
10 He raised his hand and summoned for Asenath to come near him; Asenath hastened and went near Joseph. She fell on his bosom, and their souls were revived, and were filled with joy. 11 Joseph kissed her, and the spirit of life was given to her, as well as the spirit of wisdom and the spirit of truth; then, embracing one another, they found many hours of amusement. 13
1 Asenath said, “Come, my lord, come into our house; for I have put things here in order, and have prepared a feast.” 2 She took him by the hand and led him into the house, and, seating him in her father’s chair, she brought out water to wash his feet.
3 Joseph said, “Let one of the maidens come to wash my feet.”
4 Asenath replied, “Let it not be, my ; from this day forward, I am your handmaiden. Why do you wish that another should wash your feet? Your feet are as my feet, and your body is as my body.”
5 She pressed on, and washed his feet. Joseph looked, and saw that her hands were like the hands of life, and that her fingers were like the pen of a ready writer. At this, Joseph took her right hand and kissed it; Asenath kissed his head, and sat down at his right side.
6 Her father and mother came from their country house, with all their relatives. They saw that Asenath was like a vision of light, and that her beauty resembled the beauty of heavenly beings. They saw that she sat with Joseph, and was dressed in wedding attire. 7 They were amazed by this, and were struck with wonder because of the beauty; they gave thanks to God, who gives life to all things.
8 After these things, they ate, drank, and rejoiced. 9 Potipherah said to Joseph, “Tomorrow, call for the governors and the great men of the Egypt, and I will celebrate your wedding, and you will take Asenath my daughter as your wife.”
10 Joseph replied, “Let it not be so; for tomorrow, I will call upon the king, Pharaoh, for he is as my father. He appointed me ruler over this land, and I will speak to him about Asenath, and he will give her to me as my wife.”
Potipherah said, “Go in peace.”
1 Joseph remained at Potipherah’s house that day, but he kept himself from Asenath; “For,” he said, “It is not becoming of a pious man to lay with his wife before the wedding.” 2 Joseph arose in the morning. He went to Pharaoh, and said to him, “Give me Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah the priest, of the town of Heliopolis, as my wife.”
3 Pharaoh replied, “Behold, has she not been promised to you to be your wife from this day onward, and for eternity?”
4 Pharaoh called for Potipherah; Potipherah, in turn, brought Asenath, and presented her before Pharaoh. Pharaoh was struck with wonder at her beauty, and said, “May the God of Joseph bless you, my child, and may your beauty stay with you forever. Truly, YHWH has indeed chosen you to become a bride to Joseph forever, because he is like the son of God, and you will be called from this day onward ‘the daughter of the Most High’.”
5 Pharaoh took Joseph and Asenath, and put crowns of gold on them, which had long since been in the treasuries of his house. 6 Pharaoh placed Asenath at the right hand of Joseph; he placed his hand on his head, and his right hand on the head of Asenath, and said to them, “May the Most High God bless you, and glorify you always.”
7 Pharaoh turned them toward one another, and they kissed each other. 8 Pharaoh then made a great feast, to which he invited all the princes of the Egypt and the kings of the nations. There was much rejoicing for seven days, and a proclamation was made throughout all the land of Egypt; it said, “Anyone who does any work during the seven days of Joseph and Asenath’s wedding, he will die.”
9 It came to pass, after these things, that Joseph knew Asenath; she conceived, and bore Manasseh and Ephraim in the house of Joseph, to the glory of God. Amen.
Intermission: Asenath’s Confession to God
1 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I, Asenath, am the daughter of Potipherah the priest of the town of Heliopolis, who is officer of the gods.
2 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have committed wrong. I have worshiped many gods, and have eaten of their sacrifices.
3 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have committed wrongs. I was a proud and haughty maiden.
4 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I have eaten of the strangled meat, and have drank of the cup of deception, and have eaten at the table of death.
5 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I did not know YHWH, the God of heaven, and did not put my hope in Most High God, the Eternally Living One.
6 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I was proud and haughty, trusting in the greatness of my own glory and beauty.
7 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before you, and have greatly transgressed. I despised all men, and there has been no one whom I have valued.
8 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I declared there to be no prince upon the earth who could loosen the girdle of my virginity.
9 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I have hated all who would take me as a bride, and have both despised and disdained them.
10 I have sinned, O YHWH; I have sinned before You, and have greatly transgressed. I considered myself to be the bride of Pharaoh’s eldest son; forgive me for this! When Joseph, the mighty one of God, came, he conquered me, and brought me down from my haughtiness. He enticed me with his beauty, and through his wisdom he caused me to be obedient; he caught me like a fish in a net. Through his spirit, he has caused made me drink of the Drink of Life, and through his power he confirmed me, and offered me to the Eternal God. He gave the Bread of Life to me to eat, and the Cup of Immortality to drink, and I have become his bride forever.
1 After the seven years of plenty came to an end, the seven years of famine began.
2 Jacob heard about Joseph his son, and he came into Egypt with all his household, on the twenty-first day of Nisan in the second year of the famine, and he settled in the land of Goshen. 3 Asenath said to Joseph, “I will go and see your father, for your father Jacob is like my father.”
4 Joseph replied, “Yes- come with me to see my father.”
5 Joseph and Asenath went into the land of Goshen, where they were met by Joseph’s brothers. They bowed down before Joseph and Asenath with their faces toward the ground, especially before Asenath. 14 6 Joseph and Asenath went to see Jacob as he sat on his bed; he was gray-haired, and very old. 7 Asenath was amazed when she saw him, for although he was old, he had a respectable appearance, and in his old age he looked as handsome as an attractive young man. His hair was as white as snow, and very short, stiff, and curly; his beard was white and graceful, lying on his chest; and His eyes were full of tenderness, shining and handsome. His chest, shoulders, arms, and fingers were strong like those of an angel; his hips legs were like those of a giant. 8 Jacob looked like a man who could wrestle with God Himself. Asenath was amazed when she saw him; she bowed down before him with her face toward the ground, and had reverence for him.
Jacob said to Joseph, “Is this my daughter-in-law, your wife? May she be blessed by the Most High God.”
9 He called her close to him, and kissed her, and blessed her. Asenath stretched out her hands and clasped her hands around Jacob’s neck like one who, after having been rescued from a battle, returned to her home, and cast herself upon her own father. 10 Afterward they ate and drank, and Joseph and Asenath returned to their home; they gave praise to God, who is blessed forever.
11 The sons of Leah, Joseph’s brothers, went with them to protect and escort them; but the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah, the handmaids of Leah and Rachel, did not go with them, for they envied Joseph and Asenath as enemies. 15 12 Levi walked on Asenath’s right side, and Joseph walked on her left side, and 13 Asenath held Levi by the hand. She loved Levi more than all Joseph’s other brothers, because Levi was acquainted with the secret mysteries of the Most High, which he revealed to her mysterious words. Levi felt a great affection for Asenath; he saw her resting place in heaven, and its walls were immovable, and its foundations were of stone.
1 It came to pass, when Joseph and Asenath were walking, that Pharaoh’s oldest son saw them from the walls, and became very unhappy; 2 he was grieved because of Asenath’s beauty, and said, “This must not be!”
3 Pharaoh’s son sent messengers to call Shim’on and Levi to him; they came and presented themselves before him. Pharaoh’s son said to them, “I acknowledge this day that you two are the most powerful men in the world, for through your right hands the town of Shechem was destroyed, and by your two swords thirty thousand warriors were slain. 4 Behold, I will consider you as my friends, and will give you gold, servants, handmaidens, houses, and many good possessions; I ask that you deal kindly with me, and do what I am about to ask. I have been offended and despised by your brother Joseph, because he took Asenath, who was betrothed to be my wife from the beginning. 5 Come, and fight against your brother Joseph; I will kill him with my sword, and I will take Asenath to be my wife. You will become my brothers, my favorite friends, my confidants; all I ask is that you do this for me. 6 But if you hesitate, and you despise my command, behold! My sword is ready for you.” In saying this, he drew his sword to show it to them.
When Shim’on and Levi heard these things, they were very troubled, for Pharaoh’s son spoke to them with threats and arrogance. 7 Shim’on, a rash and bold man, thought to put his hand to the hilt of his own sword, so as to draw it out of its scabbard and kill Pharaoh’s son for having spoken to them roughly. 8 Levi, however, knew the thought of his heart, for Levi was a prophet; in the purity of his mind saw secrets, and with his own eyes he could read what was written in the hearts of men. He stomped his foot upon the right foot of Shim’on, and motioned to him to restrain his anger. 9 He whispered to Shim’on, “Why do you give in to your anger against this man? We are pious people; it is not fitting for us to repay his evil with evil of our own.”
10 With no wrath in his heart, because he was a gentle man, Levi spoke aloud to Pharaoh’s son, “Why do you, our lord, speak to us like this? We are pious men, and our father is beloved of the Most High God, and this God loves our brother Joseph. 11 How can we do this evil thing, to sin before our God, before Jacob our father, and before Joseph our brother? 12 Listen to my words. It is not ordinarily fitting for a pious man to cause harm anyone in any way; but if someone should injure a pious man, and that pious man becomes enraged, then his hand is sacred if he kills he who injured him. 16 13 As for you, beware of speaking like this again about our brother Joseph, for if you persist in this wicked intention, then behold! Our swords are drawn in our right hands against you.”
14 Shim’on and Levi drew their swords from their scabbards, and said, “You see in our hands these swords; these are the swords through which YHWH took vengeance upon the Shechemites for the outrage through which they offended the sons of Israel because Shechem, the son of Hamor, defiled Dinah.”
15 Pharaoh’s son saw the two-edged swords, and a strong shiver ran through his bones, for the swords glistened like a flame. His eyes were bedazzled, and he fell down on the ground upon his face, and was overtaken by terror.
Levi stretched out his hand and, taking hold of him, said, “Arise, and do not be afraid, but beware of speaking wickedly anymore against our brother Joseph.”
16 Shim’on and Levi departed from the presence of Pharaoh’s son.
1 Pharaoh’s son was filled with fear and sorrow, for he was afraid of Shim’on and Levi. He was oppressed and vexed by Asenath’s beauty, and was tormented by boundless affliction. 2 His servants spoke to him, and said, “The sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, the handmaidens of Jacob, are enemies to Joseph and Asenath; they are envious of them, and will do according to your plan.
3 Pharaoh’s son sent messengers to call for them. When nighttime fell, they came to present themselves before him. Pharaoh’s son said to them, “I have something I must say to you, for you are mighty men of valor.”
4 Dan and Gad, the older brothers, responded, and said, “Let our speak now, and we, your servants, will listen and do according to your will.”
5 Pharaoh’s son was filled with great joy, and said to his servants, “Depart from me for a little while, for I have a secret matter to discuss with these men.”
6 His servants departed, and Pharaoh’s son said to them, “Blessing and death are before your eyes; choose blessing rather than death! 7 You are mighty men, and you do not die like women; rather, you are of good courage, equipping yourselves like men, and taking your own vengeance upon your enemies!
8 “I have heard your brother Joseph say to Pharaoh my father concerning you, ‘They are children of my mother’s handmaidens; they are not really my brothers. 9 I wait for my father’s death, so that I may crush them and their generation, lest they should inherit with us; for they are the children of mere handmaidens. They sold me to the Ishmaelites, 10 so I will repay to them all the evil they did to me when my father dies.’ 11 My father Pharaoh commended him, and said in response, ‘What you say is very good; I will give you a thousand warriors to help.’ ”
12 When Joseph’s brothers heard the words of Pharaoh’s son, they became troubled and very grieved, and said to him, “We beseech you, : help us!”
He replied, “I will help you, if you hear me out on this.”
They said, “We are your servants! Command us, and we will do according to you will.”
13 Pharaoh’s son said to them, “I will slay my father Pharaoh tonight, for he is also the father of Joseph. Give me your help; for I will go before you, and you will slay Joseph. I will take Asenath for my wife, and you and your brothers will become heirs with me if you as I command.”
14 Dan and Gad said to him, “We are your servants today, and we will do what you have commanded us. Just today we have heard Joseph say to Asenath, ‘Go to our country home tomorrow, for it is vintage time.’ He gave her six hundred valiant warriors, and fifty forerunners. Now listen to us, and let us speak with you.” 15 So they spoke with him secretly.
Pharaoh’s son gave to all of the four brothers seven thousand men, and appointed them as chiefs and leaders. 16 Dan and Gad said to him, “We will go tonight and will watch the brook, and will hide ourselves among the thickness of the reeds. 17 Take fifty archers with you on horses, and go on afar, for Asenath will come and fall into our hands. We will destroy the soldiers that are with her; 18 she will then flee in her carriage, and will fall into your hands, and you may do with her according to the desires of your heart. 19 After this we will slay Joseph’s children before his eyes, and then we will slay him while he is mourning for Asenath.”
20 Pharaoh’s son rejoiced when he heard their words, and he sent two thousand warriors to go with them. 21 They came to the brook and hid themselves among the thickness of the reeds. They encamped on the side of the brook, and between them there was a wide and spacious road.
1 Pharaoh’s son arose that night and went into his father’s house to slay him by the sword. His father’s guards hindered him from entering to see his father, and said to him, “What do you want, our ?”
2 Pharaoh’s son said to them, “I want to see my father, as I am going to gather grapes from the newly planted vineyard.” 3 The guards said to him, “Your father is suffering a headache, and has not slept the whole night, and although the the pain has somewhat subsided, he has said, ‘Do not let anyone come near to me.’ ”
4 Pharaoh’s son went and took his soldiers, and laid an ambush. 17
5 When Asenath approached in a chariot, and soldiers went before it and behind it, and the enemies- Dan, Gad, and Pharaoh’s son- leaped forth from their hiding place to attack them.
6 As soon as Asenath saw them she called upon the Most High God, and behold! The man of God that had previously come to Asenath appeared, and YHWH took her under His protection. The swords of the enemies were shattered, and all their weapons melted as wax before the fire. 7 Pharaoh’s son fell to the ground before Asenath as if he was dead when he heard that the sons of Jacob were coming in anger.
1 Dan and Gad, seeing that YHWH was fighting, became afraid, and said, “It is YHWH who fights against us!” 2 They fell down before Asenath, and said to her, “You, O lady, are our queen, and we have committed iniquity before you, 3 and YHWH has repaid us according to our deeds. We, your servants, beseech you; be merciful to us, and save us from the hands of our brothers! They have come to us to take vengeance upon their enemies, and their swords are before our eyes.”
4 Asenath said, “Be of good comfort, and do not fear your brothers, for they are people who fear YHWH; they are pious, and respect every man. 5 Go, hide in the thickness of the reeds, until I am able to calm their anger, for you have been very foolish and reckless against them. 6 Be of good courage, and do not fear; let YHWH be the judge between me and you.”
7 Dan, Gad, and their brothers fled into the grove of reeds, 8 and the sons of Leah came running like a herd of deer. Asenath stepped down from her covered chariot and welcomed them with tears. 9 They fell down on the ground and reverenced her, and wept with a loud voice, asking for their brothers. 10 Asenath said to them, “Spare your brothers, and do not repay them evil for evil, for YHWH has protected me against them. Their swords were broken to pieces, and melted on the ground like wax before the fire; 11 this is enough, for it is YHWH who has fought for us. Spare them, for they are your brothers; they are the blood of Israel, your father.”
12 Shim’on said to her, “Why does our lady speak good words for our enemies? 13 Let it not be so; rather, let us destroy them with our swords. For this is the third time they have plotted to commit evil! First it was against our brother, Joseph; then against our father, Israel; and now against you, our lady and our queen.”
14 Asenath stretched out her hand, and took hold of his beard. She embraced him, and said, “Let it not be so, my brother; do not render evil for evil, for that will be a sin against YHWH. They are your brothers, and sons of your father; they have fled far away from your presence.”
15 Levi drew near and kissed her hand; 16 he understood that she intended to save their brothers who were hiding in the thickets of the reeds. Levi and his brothers knew that she did not disclose where they had been hiding for fear that they might slay them in their anger.
1 Pharaoh’s son arose from the ground and sat up, with blood flowing out of his ears and mouth. 2 Binyamin ran toward him with his sword drawn, 3 prepared to plunge it into his chest to kill him; but Levi took hold of his hand, and said, “My brother, do not do this! We are pious men, and it is not fitting for a pious man to repay evil for evil. It is not permitted to trample on an enemy who has fallen, or to harass an enemy to the point of death. Now put back your sword, and come and help me! 4 Let us cure his wounds so that he may live, and be our friend from this day onward; for Pharaoh is as our father.”
5 Levi raised up Pharaoh’s son, and wiped the blood from his face, and wrapped his face in a handkerchief. Levi placed him on his horse, and carried him to his father Pharaoh, 6 to whom he told everything that had transpired. 7 Pharaoh arose from his throne and bowed down before Levi.
8 Pharaoh’s son then died on the third day, having been stricken by a punishment from God.
1 Some manuscripts omit from “Where will I go…” to “…speaking evil words about him.”
2 Some manuscripts omit from “Joseph thought within himself…” through “…she will not annoy me.”
3 Some manuscripts omit verse 3.
4 Some manuscripts omit from here through all of verse 18.
5 Psalm 68:5.
6 Large portions of verses 7-11 are not present in all manuscripts.
7 An alternate reading is as follows: “I am the Prince of Israel, and more powerful than all the saints of the Most High.”
8 Some manuscripts omit verse 8.
9 Some manuscripts omit from “what is your name…” through “…great, admirable, and praiseworthy.”
10 Literally “odor” or “smell.”
11 Some manuscripts omit from “He said, ‘Behold…’” in verse 9 through “…complete, as it was before.” in verse 10.
12 Some manuscripts omit from “Her footsteps were smooth and graceful…” in verse 9 through all of verse 11.
13 Some manuscripts omit verses 2-10 and most of 11.
14 Some manuscripts omit verses 6-9.
15 Some manuscripts omit from “but the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah…” through “…they envied Joseph and Asenath as enemies.”
16 Some manuscripts omit from “It is not ordinarily fitting…” to “…who injured him.”
17 Some manuscripts add much elaboration here into Chapters 25-27, but the story is still very much the same. The next three verses are referenced in other translations as 26:5, 27:8, and 27:9. Chapters 26 and 27 in this edition are alternatively referenced as Chapters 28 and 29 in other manuscripts and translations, due to these elaborated accounts.
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