Book of Jasher 42

Book of Jasher 42

Chapter 42


And they went and sat on the opposite
side, about the distance of a bow-shot, and they sat there to eat bread, and whilst
they were eating, they held counsel together what was to be done with him,
whether to slay him or to bring him back to his father.

They were holding the counsel, when
they lifted up their eyes, and saw, and behold there was a company of
Ishmaelites coming at a distance by the road of Gilead, going down to Egypt.

And Judah said unto
them, What gain will it be to us if we slay our brother? peradventure God will
require him from us; this then is the counsel proposed concerning him, which
you shall do unto him: Behold this company of Ishmaelites going down to

Now therefore, come let us dispose of
him to them, and let not our hand be upon him, and they will lead him along
with them, and he will be lost amongst the people of the land, and we will not
put him to death with our own hands. And the proposal pleased his brethren and
they did according to the word of

And whilst they were discoursing
about this matter, and before the company of Ishmaelites had come up to them,
seven trading men of Midian passed by them, and as they passed they were
thirsty, and they lifted up their eyes and saw the pit in which Joseph was
immured, and they looked, and behold every species of bird was upon him.

And these Midianites ran to the pit
to drink water, for they thought that it contained water, and on coming before
the pit they heard the voice of Joseph crying and weeping in the pit, and they
looked down into the pit, and they saw and behold there was a youth of comely
appearance and well favored.

And they called unto him and said,
Who art thou and who brought thee hither, and who placed thee in this pit, in
the wilderness? and they all assisted to raise up Joseph and they drew him out,
and brought him up from the pit, and took him and went away on their journey and
passed by his brethren.

And these said unto them, Why do you
do this, to take our servant from us and to go away? surely we placed this
youth in the pit because he rebelled against us, and you come and bring him up
and lead him away; now then give us back our servant.

And the Midianites answered and said
unto the sons of Jacob, Is this your servant, or does this man attend you?
peradventure you are all his servants, for he is more comely and well favored
than any of you, and why do you all speak falsely unto us?

Now therefore we will not listen to
your words, nor attend to you, for we found the youth in the pit in the
wilderness, and we took him; we will therefore go on.

And all the sons of Jacob approached
them and rose up to them and said unto them, Give us back our servant, and why
will you all die by the edge of the sword? And the Midianites cried out against
them, and they drew their swords, and approached to fight with the sons of

And behold Simeon rose up from his
seat against them, and sprang upon the ground and drew his sword and approached
the Midianites and he gave a terrible shout before them, so that his shouting
was heard at a distance, and the earth shook at Simeon’s shouting.

And the Midianites were terrified on
account of Simeon and the noise of his shouting, and they fell upon their
faces, and were excessively alarmed.

And Simeon said unto them, Verily I
am Simeon, the son of Jacob the Hebrew, who have, only with my brother,
destroyed the city of Shechem and the cities of the Amorites; so shall God
moreover do unto me, that if all your brethren the people of Midian, and also
the kings of Canaan, were to come with you, they could not fight against me.

Now therefore give us back the youth
whom you have taken, lest I give your flesh to the birds of the skies and the
beasts of the earth.

And the Midianites were more afraid
of Simeon, and they approached the sons of Jacob with terror and fright, and
with pathetic words, saying,

Surely you have said that the young
man is your servant, and that he rebelled against you, and therefore you placed
him in the pit; what then will you do with a servant who rebels against his
master? Now therefore sell him unto us, and we will give you all that you
require for him; and the Lord was pleased to do this in order that the sons of
Jacob should not slay their brother.

And the Midianites saw that Joseph
was of a comely appearance and well-favored; they desired him in their hearts
and were urgent to purchase him from his brethren.

And the sons of Jacob hearkened to
the Midianites and they sold their brother Joseph to them for twenty pieces of
silver, and Reuben their brother was not with them, and the Midianites took
Joseph and continued their journey to

They were going along the road, and
the Midianites repented of what they had done, in having purchased the young
man, and one said to the other, What is this thing that we have done, in taking
this youth from the Hebrews, who is of comely appearance and well favored.

Perhaps this youth is stolen from the
land of the Hebrews, and why then have we done this thing? and if he should be
sought for and found in our hands we shall die through him.

Now surely hardy and powerful men
have sold him to us, the strength of one of whom you saw this day; perhaps they
stole him from his land with their might and with their powerful arm, and have
therefore sold him to us for the small value which we gave unto them.

And whilst they were thus discoursing
together, they looked, and behold the company of Ishmaelites which was coming
at first, and which the sons of Jacob saw, was advancing toward the Midianites,
and the Midianites said to each other, Come let us sell this youth to the
company of Ishmaelites who are coming toward us, and we will take for him the
little that we gave for him, and we will be delivered from his evil.

And they did so, and they reached the
Ishmaelites, and the Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty
pieces of silver which they had given for him to his brethren.

And the Midianites went on their road
Gilead, and the Ishmaelites took Joseph and
they let him ride upon one of the camels, and they were leading him to

And Joseph heard that the Ishmaelites
were proceeding to Egypt, and Joseph lamented and wept at this thing that he
was to be so far removed from the land of Canaan, from his father, and he wept
bitterly whilst he was riding upon the camel, and one of their men observed
him, and made him go down from the camel and walk on foot, and notwithstanding
this Joseph continued to cry and weep, and he said, O my father, my father.

And one of the Ishmaelites rose up
and smote Joseph upon the cheek, and still he continued to weep; and Joseph was
fatigued in the road, and was unable to proceed on account of the bitterness of
his soul, and they all smote him and afflicted him in the road, and they
terrified him in order that he might cease from weeping.

And the Lord saw the ambition of
Joseph and his trouble, and the Lord brought down upon those men darkness and
confusion, and the hand of every one that smote him became withered.

And they said to each other, What is
this thing that God has done to us in the road? and they knew not that this
befell them on account of Joseph. And the men proceeded on the road, and they
passed along the road of Ephrath where Rachel was buried.

And Joseph reached his mother’s
grave, and Joseph hastened and ran to his mother’s grave, and fell upon the
grave and wept.

And Joseph cried aloud upon his
mother’s grave, and he said, O my mother, my mother, O thou who didst give me
birth, awake now, and rise and see thy son, how he has been sold for a slave,
and no one to pity him.

O rise and see thy son, weep with me
on account of my troubles, and see the heart of my brethren.

Arouse my mother, arouse, awake from
thy sleep for me, and direct thy battles against my brethren. O how have they
stripped me of my coat, and sold me already twice for a slave, and separated me
from my father, and there is no one to pity me.

Arouse and lay thy cause against them
before God, and see whom God will justify in the judgment, and whom he will

Rise, O my mother, rise, awake from
thy sleep and see my father how his soul is with me this day, and comfort him
and ease his heart.

And Joseph continued to speak these
words, and Joseph cried aloud and wept bitterly upon his mother’s grave; and he
ceased speaking, and from bitterness of heart he became still as a stone upon
the grave.

And Joseph heard a voice speaking to
him from beneath the ground, which answered him with bitterness of heart, and
with a voice of weeping and praying in these words:

My son, my son Joseph, I have heard
the voice of thy weeping and the voice of thy lamentation; I have seen thy
tears; I know thy troubles, my son, and it grieves me for thy sake, and
abundant grief is added to my grief.

Now therefore my son, Joseph my son,
hope to the Lord, and wait for him and do not fear, for the Lord is with thee,
he will deliver thee from all trouble.

Rise my son, go down unto Egypt with
thy masters, and do not fear, for the Lord is with thee, my son. And she
continued to speak like unto these words unto Joseph, and she was still.

And Joseph heard this, and he
wondered greatly at this, and he continued to weep; and after this one of the
Ishmaelites observed him crying and weeping upon the grave, and his anger was
kindled against him, and he drove him from there, and he smote him and cursed

And Joseph said unto the men, May I
find grace in your sight to take me back to my father’s house, and he will give
you abundance of riches.

And they answered him, saying, Art
thou not a slave, and where is thy father? and if thou hadst a father thou
wouldst not already twice have been sold for a slave for so little value; and
their anger was still roused against him, and they continued to smite him and
to chastise him, and Joseph wept bitterly.

And the Lord saw Joseph’s affliction,
and Lord again smote these men, and chastised them, and the Lord caused
darkness to envelope them upon the earth, and the lightning flashed and the
thunder roared, and the earth shook at the voice of the thunder and of the
mighty wind, and the men were terrified and knew not where they should go.

And the beasts and camels stood
still, and they led them, but they would not go, they smote them, and they
crouched upon the ground; and the men said to each other, What is this that God
has done to us? what are our transgressions, and what are our sins that this
thing has thus befallen us?

And one of them answered and said
unto them, Perhaps on account of the sin of afflicting this slave has this
thing happened this day to us; now therefore implore him strongly to forgive
us, and then we shall know on whose account this evil befalleth us, and if God
shall have compassion over us, then we shall know that all this cometh to us on
account of the sin of afflicting this slave.

And the men did so, and they
supplicated Joseph and pressed him to forgive them; and they said, We have
sinned to the Lord and to thee, now therefore vouchsafe to request of thy God
that he shall put away this death from amongst us, for we have sinned to him.

And Joseph did according to their
words, and the Lord hearkened to Joseph, and the Lord put away the plague which
he had inflicted upon those men on account of Joseph, and the beasts rose up
from the ground and they conducted them, and they went on, and the raging storm
abated and the earth became tranquilized, and the men proceeded on their
journey to go down to Egypt, and the men knew that this evil had befallen them
on account of Joseph.

And they said to each other, Behold
we know that it was on account of his affliction that this evil befell us; now
therefore why shall we bring this death upon our souls? Let us hold counsel
what to do to this slave.

And one answered and said, Surely he
told us to bring him back to his father; now therefore come, let us take him
back and we will go to the place that he will tell us, and take from his family
the price that we gave for him and we will then go away.

And one answered again and said,
Behold this counsel is very good, but we cannot do so for the way is very far
from us, and we cannot go out of our road.

And one more answered and said unto
them, This is the counsel to be adopted, we will not swerve from it; behold we
are this day going to Egypt, and when we shall have come to Egypt, we will sell
him there at a high price, and we will be delivered from his evil.

And this thing pleased the men and
they did so, and they continued their journey to Egypt with Joseph.

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