Joseph and Assaneth


Translated by Jacques Issaverdens, 1901


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The Fame of Assaneth

1 Now it came to pass in the first year of the seven years of plenteousness, on the seventh day of the month, Pharaoh sent Joseph to make a tour throughout all the land of the Egyptians 2And in the first year, on the eighteenth day of the month Joseph reached the territory of the town of Heliopolis, 3and gathered corn in that land as the sand of the sea. 4And 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, 5and his name was Potipherah. He was a priest of the town of Heliopolis, 6and had a virgin daughter, about eighteen years old, a tall and comely maiden, of a very fair countenance, fairer than all the maids that were around. 7She bore no resemblance at all to the daughters of the Egyptians, but was like unto the daughters of the Hebrews. 8She was tall as Sarah, and fair-looking as Rebekah, and more graceful than Rachel. The name of that maid was Assaneth, 9and the fame of her beauty went out into all the Earth. The sons of the Satraps, even the sons of the great men and of the kings, all young and valiant warriors, desired her for a wife; 10there was jealousy and rivalry among them on account of Assaneth, and preparations were made to fight. 11And the firstborn of Pharaoh heard of her, and entreated his father to give her unto him; 12but Pharaoh said to him: "Why dost thou ask for wife one inferior to thyself 13who wilt be king of Egypt? 14Is not the daughter of the king of the Moabites betrothed unto thee who is very fair?"      {Top}

Assaneth's Pampered Life

2 Now Assaneth herself disdained and despised all men, and was very proud and vain-glorious. No man had ever seen Assaneth, because Potipherah had a tower near his palace, and in that tower there was an upper storey richly furnished, in which Assaneth dwelt, out of the sight of all men. 2That upper storey was spacious and very high; there were ten rooms in it; 3the first was large and adorned with beautiful marbles and draped with purple; the walls glittered with precious stones, 4and the ceiling was of massive gold. And in that room, near the wall of the second room, were placed the innumerable gold and silver gods of the Egyptians, 5which Assaneth adored and feared. Every day she offered sacrifices and burned incense before them.

6In the second room there were chests containing Assaneth's ornaments of gold and silver in great quantity, 7precious and rare jewels, clothes woven with gold, fine and costly linen, and all the adornments of her maidenhood.

8And the third room was the storehouse of Assaneth's household.

10Seven maids had grown up with Assaneth 11of exactly her own age, having been born on the same night; all were fair looking like the stars of heaven, and no man had ever spoken to them, nor even a male child. 12In Assaneth's own room which her maidens tended, there were three large windows; 13the first one was very large, and looked eastward into the court; the second looked southward, and the third on the highway looked towards the north.

14Near the eastern window a golden board was fixed, and upon it placed a bed, 15decked with fine linen and coverings of hyacinth and purple embroidered with gold. 16On that bed Assaneth slept alone, and neither man nor woman did ever sit upon it.

17All around the palace there was a large court, the walls of which, built of great square stones, were very high. 18And the court had four iron doors watched over at sight by gallant and well armed men. 19In it, 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. 20And in the court on the right side there was a large fountain of very limpid water, and under the fountain a large basin to receive the water which flowed out through the court and watered all the trees that were in it.      {Top}

Joseph Plans to Visit Potipherah

3 Now it came to pass in the first of the seven years of plenteousness, on the eighteenth day of the fourth month, Joseph came to the boundaries of the town of Heliopolis, and began to gather in the corn. 2And when Joseph came near to that town, he sent messengers to Potipherah the priest, and said: "The heat being great, 3I will put up at thine house at noon-tide and repose myself within its shadow."

4When 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." And Potipherah called the steward of his house and said unto him: 6"Haste thee, make ready the house and prepare a great dinner, for Joseph the powerful one through God is coming to us today."

7And Assaneth heard that her father and mother were coming from the country lands of their possession, 8and she rejoiced and said: "I will go and see my father and my mother who have come from the country at harvest time." 9And Assaneth quickly put on fine linen and decked herself with a garment of gold and hyacinth, and bound around her waist, a golden girdle. She put bracelets on her hands and on her feet, and around her neck she clasped two precious necklaces, upon her feet were golden shoes; 10thus 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 and upon the precious stones there were painted the figures of the idols of Egypt. 11Upon her head she put a handkerchief, and fastened a crown under the headbands, and covered her head with a summer veil.      {Top}

Conflict Between Assaneth and Her Father

4 And quickly, from the upper storey, she descended the stairs and came to see her father and mother; and prostrated herself and hailed them. 2And 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. 3And they took out all the good things they had brought from the land of their possession, and they gave them to her. 4And Assaneth rejoiced because of all the good things they had brought, the grapes, the figs, the dates and other fruits.

5And Potipherah said unto Assaneth his daughter: "My child!"

And Assaneth said: "Here am I, my lord!"

And Potipherah said: "Come, sit down between us, and I will tell thee what I have to say."

6And Assaneth sat between her father and mother.

7And Potipherah took hold of the right hand of his daughter and kissed it saying: "Assaneth, my child!"

8And Assaneth said: "Here am I, my lord and father!"

And Potipherah said: "Joseph, the powerful one through God is coming to us today, and he is the ruler over all the land of the Egyptians. For Pharaoh has appointed him head of his possessions, and he is the saviour 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. 9Joseph is godly and chaste, a virtuous man, full of wisdom, and he resembles thee who art virtuous also. And Joseph through his wisdom and wit is powerful, for the Spirit of God and the grace of the Lord are with him. 10Now my child, listen unto me and let me give thee unto him for a wife, and let him marry thee and be thy husband henceforth."

11And it came to pass when Assaneth heard the words of her father, the colour of her face changed, and she became sad and full of anger; and she looked askance at her father and said: 12"Why dost thou, my lord and father, speak according to these words, to give me as a slave to a stranger and a fugitive, even to a servant who was sold? 13Is he not the son of a shepherd from the land of the Canaanites, 14who was chided for having wronged his master's wife; and his master put him in a dark prison, although the king Pharaoh drew him out of the prison for having explained unto him his dream, like as the old women of the Egyptians do explain dreams? 15This shall not be so; but I will marry the eldest son of Pharaoh, for he is the king of all Egypt."

16And Potipherah was afraid to speak again to his daughter concerning Joseph, for she answered with boldness and indignation.      {Top}

The Arrival of Joseph

5 And a young man of the servants of Potipherah ran and said unto him: "Behold Joseph is at the doors of the house near the court."

2Then Assaneth hastened from the presence of her father and mother, when she heard the words they spoke on account of Joseph, and she went to the upper storey and entered into her room, and stood before her large window which looked towards the east, that she might see Joseph while he was entering into the house of her father.

3And Potipherah and his wife and all his servants and all the household, went to meet Joseph. 4And they opened the gate of the court which looked eastward, and Joseph entered seated in the chariot of Pharaoh, 5which was drawn by four horses white as snow and decked with golden bridles. And the chariot was all of gold. 6And Joseph was clothed in a beautiful white tunic, and wore a cloak of purple and fine linen woven with gold; and 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; and in his left hand there was a wand, 7and in his right hand he held a long olive branch full of fruit, and very beautiful fruit!

8And Joseph entered into the court, and all the doors were shut; 9and all the people remained outside the court; for the guardians of the doors had locked them and did not let any body go in. 10Potipherah and his wife and all his relatives, except Assaneth their daughter, came and prostrated themselves upon their faces before Joseph and adored him. 11And Joseph got out of his chariot and they received him in their arms.      {Top}

Assaneth and Joseph Meet

6 And when Assaneth saw Joseph she felt a strong love for him, and her soul was humbled, her knees grew weak, and her body trembled, 2and she was seized with a great fear. She sighed from the bottom of her heart and said: 5"What shall I do now, miserable one that I am? Is it not but just now that my father and mother were speaking with me, and I saying with contempt that the son of the shepherd from the land of the Canaanites was coming to us? Did not they truly speak of Joseph? And Joseph has come unto us like a sun, and entered into our temple. 6And I, wicked and rash and vile that I am, I despised and disdained him and was offended at him and did speak evil words concerning him. I did not know that Joseph was like the son of God; for who is he amongst men who is gifted with such beauty? 7and who could bring forth such a glorious man? But I, wretched and foolish that I am, spoke to my father evil words concerning him. 3And now where shall I go to hide myself from his presence, lest that Joseph, the beloved of God, should see me? It seemeth to me that he knoweth all secrets, and nothing is hidden from him, by reason of the great light that is in him. 4And now, my God pardon my ignorance in speaking evil words concerning him 8and let my father give me unto Joseph as a maidservant to serve him, and I will become his servant for ever!"      {Top}

Joseph Inquires Concerning Assaneth

7 And Joseph entered into Potipherah's palace and sat down on the throne. And 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.

2And Joseph said unto Potipherah and to all his relatives: "Who is that woman who stands in the upper storey near the window? Let her go away from the palace."

3For Joseph feared and thus he thought within himself: "She may be a trouble unto me". For all the women and daughters of the grandees of Egypt when they saw Joseph were filled with a great passion on account of his beauty and annoyed him. 4But Joseph despised them, and repelled with indignation the messengers that the women of the Egyptians sent unto him and rejected with contempt their gold and silver and costly gifts. 5"For, said he, "I will not sin before the Lord, the Saviour of Israel." 6And he kept always before his eyes the figure of Jacob his father and remembered his precepts. For Jacob said unto Joseph and unto all his sons: "Keep yourselves, my children, from the women of the strangers, and have no fellowship with them; for their fellowship causes perdition and corruption." 7Wherefore Joseph said: "Let that woman go away from the palace."

8Potipherah said unto him: "The woman thou hast seen in the upper storey, is not a stranger, she is our daughter and thy servant, a virgin, whom no man has ever seen but thyself today. 9If thou allowest it she will come and bow down before thee; for our daughter is as thy sister."

10And Joseph was greatly rejoiced when Potipherah said that she was a virgin and that she hated to fall under the sight of any man. 11And Joseph thought within himself and said: "If she is a virgin and she hates all men, she will not annoy me."

And Joseph said unto Potipherah and unto all his household: "If she is thy daughter and a virgin, let her come, for she is my sister, and I will love her henceforth as my sister."      {Top}

Joseph Prays for Assaneth

8 Her mother went up unto the upper storey, and brought Assaneth and presented her before Joseph.

And Potipherah said unto Assaneth his daughter: "Hail this thy brother, for he is pure as thou until this day, and he hates all women as thou dost hate all strange men."

2And Assaneth said unto Joseph: "Rejoice, my lord, thou the blessed of God the Most High."

3And Joseph said unto Assaneth: "May the Lord bless thee, even He who gives life to every thing."

4And Potipherah said unto his daughter: "Come near and embrace thy brother."

And it came to pass when Assaneth did approach to embrace him, Joseph stretched out his hand and put it upon her breast saying: 5"It is not convenient that a righteous man. who adores the living God, who eats of the blessed and life-giving bread, who drinks of the blessed cup of immortality, and who anoints himself with the oil of incorruptibility, should embrace an alien woman, who glorifies with her own mouth the dumb and deaf idols, and eats at their table strangled meats, who drinks wine at their table from the cup of deceit and anoints herself with the oil of perdition. 6But to a man who adores God it is right to embrace his friend and his godly mother and sister, and all those who are of his own family and tribe, and the woman who is his wife, and who with her own mouth confesses the living God. 7Likewise it is not right that a godly woman should embrace an alien man; for it is a sin before God."

8And when Assaneth heard the words of Joseph she sorrowed much and became oppressed with grief; she groaned and sighed and looked fixedly at Joseph the meek, who feared God. And as she gazed her eyes became filled with tears. 9And Joseph saw her and had compassion on her; 10and raising his right band, he put it upon the head of Assaneth saying: "Lord God of Israel my father, Thou the powerful God and the Most High of Jacob, who hast given life to all, and hast called them out of darkness to light and from error to truth, and from death to life: Thou, O Lord, bless this virgin, and 11through thy Spirit, renew her, whom Thou hast created, and give her new life, through thy secret hand. And let her eat of the bread of life, and drink of the cup of life, and unite her unto the number of thy people whom Thou hast chosen before anything was created; and let her enter into thy rest which Thou hast prepared for thy beloved, and let her dwell for all eternity in Thee, who art the life."      {Top}

Assaneth's Heart Begins to Turn

9 And Assaneth rejoiced greatly at Joseph's blessing; and again went unto the upper storey alone, and fell upon her bed sighing; because she felt joy and sadness, and fear and trembling, and excessive sweat, when she heard all the words of Joseph, which he spake unto her in the name of God the Most High. 2She wept bitterly, very sore; and she repented in her heart on account of her gods which she adored, and she did hate all her idols and waited for the evening.

3And Joseph ate and drank, and bade the servants harness the horses to his chariot, for he said: "I must go and visit this land."

4And Potipherah said unto Joseph: "Let my lord rest today here, and tomorrow thou mayest go thy way."

5And Joseph said: "That can not be so, but I must go today, for this is the day in which the Lord began to create all his creatures. And on the seventh day when this very day shall return I also will return unto you and will take my rest with you."      {Top}

The Mourning of Assaneth

10 And Joseph went his way, and Potipherah, together with his family, went to their possession; 2and Assaneth remained alone with the seven maidens. And she became oppressed with sorrow and wept until the sun disappeared; and she neither ate bread nor drank water.

And it came to pass when night approached, and all those who were in the house were sleeping, Assaneth only remained awaked; 3and she was thinking of Joseph, and she wept and smote upon her breast, and she was extremely afraid and trembled greatly. And when silence reigned every where, Assaneth arose from her bed, left the upper storey and softly crept down the stairs, and went near the millstones to the miller. And the miller was sleeping with his children. 4And Assaneth quickly pulled from the door the curtain of haircloth and filled it with ashes from the fireplace; then carrying it up to the upper storey she put it on the ground, 5and shutting the door she fastened it with a bolt; and sighed heavily and shed tears.

6And the maidens who were brought up with her, and her nurse whom Assaneth loved more than all of them, heard her, and came to the door of Assaneth and found it locked, and as they heard the groaning and the weeping they drew near saying: 7"What is the matter with thee, Assaneth our lady? 8and what is the cause of thine affliction? Open to us and let us see what has happened unto thee."

But Assaneth did not open the door, but from within she said unto them: "I am taken with a bad headache and cannot rest, and cannot even get up and open unto you; for all my limbs are weak. And ye, go every one to her own room and take rest, and leave me to become calm and repose myself."

9And the maids according to her order went each one to her own room. Then Assaneth arose and softly opened the door and went to the second room, where were the chests with her ornaments. And she opened a chest and took out the black clothes, which were her mourning dress; 10for when her younger brother died, Assaneth wore that dress when in a loud voice she mourned her brother. 11 And Assaneth took her black clothes and brought them into her room, and shutting the door she fastened it with a bolt. And Assaneth quickly took off her royal clothes, the fine linen and those of purple interwoven with gold, and the golden belt, and the crown from her head, and the bracelets from her hands and feet: 12she took all these and threw them from the window, which looked towards the north. 13Likewise Assaneth took quickly all the gods of Egypt which were of gold and silver, and were innumerable, and from the window of the upper storey she threw them down. 14And Assaneth took her royal evening meal, the bread, and the flesh of the heifer, and all which was for the sacrifices of her gods, and the wine vessels in which she performed the sacrifices, and threw them out from the window, to be the prey of strange dogs; for Assaneth said: "My dogs shall not eat of the meal and of the lambs sacrificed to the idols, and they shall not be defiled henceforth; but let the dogs of strangers eat them."

15And it came to pass after this, Assaneth took the haircloth which she had filled with ashes, and poured the ashes on the floor of the house; 16and she took the haircloth and girded herself with it. Then undoing the tresses of her hair she put on her head of the ashes that were on the ground, 17and beat her breast, and wept sore the whole night until the morning. 18And it came to pass at dawn Assaneth saw that the ashes that were on the floor of the house had turned into mud from her tears. 19And again she fell on her face until the evening towards the sunset. 20Thus did Assaneth until the seventh day. And she ill-treated and vexed herself all the seven days, she did neither eat bread nor drink water.      {Top}

Assaneth Regrets Her Idols

11 On the eighth day at dawn, when the cock began crowing, and the dogs to bark at the passers by, she lifted up her head, and her limbs were weak and faint on account of the seven days' want of food. Then she again knelt down on the floor of the room and placed her hand on the floor and bowed down her head. And the hair of her head, by reason of the weight of the ashes, was torn and broken. And Assaneth joining her hands bewailed on account of her head, and beat her breast, and loudly groaned and sighed, and plucked off the hair of her head and put on ashes. Thus Assaneth grew weary and vexed in spirit, and lost her strength. And she turned towards the wall, and sat down by the window which looked towards the east, 2bowed her head on her bosom, and clasped her hands on her knees, and spoke no more words.

And Assaneth during the seven days of her sadness did not open her mouth, 3and she said in her heart: "What shall I do, or whom shall I make my refuge, or where shall I go, maiden as I am, lonely and helpless? 4All have abandoned and hated me; even my father hated me for I have despised their gods, whom I have destroyed and caused to be trodden under foot by all men, 5therefore my father and my mother and all my relatives hate me. And my father said: 'Assaneth shall no more be called our daughter, because she destroyed our gods made of gold and of silver.' 6And, lo, I have become hateful to all men, because in my pride I did wrong against all men, and against him to whom they would betroth me. And now in this affliction of mine I become hateful to every one, and I cherish this mine affliction."

7Thus she thought and then she said: "Lord God, of Joseph, Thou who are the Most High! who hatest all those who adore idols that are lifeless, dumb, and senseless, for Thou art a revengeful and terrible God against strange gods. 8Wherefore, Thou, God, dost hate me also; for I have adored the speechless, and the deaf, and the senseless idols, and have offered them prayers, 9and eaten of their bread and of their sacrifices; and my mouth has been defiled at the table of their sacrifices, and I dare not invoke the God of heaven and earth, the Most High Saviour of Joseph. For my soul has been contaminated by the sacrifices offered to idols. 10And now I have been told that the true God is that of the Hebrews, and that He is the God of the living, and He is merciful, long-suffering, compassionate, and patient, and does not remember the sins of the man who repents, and does not punish man in the time of his distress. 11And now let me have courage to turn unto Him and make Him my refuge, and confess unto him all my sins, and offer my prayers before him, and He will be merciful unto me. 12Peradventure He may look upon my desolation! Peradventure He may see my desolation and have pity upon me. 13Who knows, peradventure He may see my distress and come to my help, because He is the Father of the orphan and the Helper of those who suffer. 14Let me have courage and cry unto Him; peradventure He may grant me pardon!"

15And Assaneth arose from the wall by which she sat and turned herself towards the window which looked eastward, and she knelt upon her knees, and raised her hands to heaven; but she felt afraid to open her mouth and invoke the name of God. She turned again to the wall and sat down, and with her hand she beat her breast and her head many times, and spoke in her own heart, without opening her mouth, and said: 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 gods of the Egyptians. 17And now I have tortured my body mingling ashes with my tears, but even now I dare not open my mouth and invoke thy holy and terrible Name; for it may be that God will be angry with me. 18What then shall I do, wretched as I am? Let me take courage and open my mouth unto Him, and should He be angry and crush me, He can again heal me. And should He again punish me with sufferings, He can once more comfort me, and in punishing me He may renew me through his mercy, should He be angry on account of my sins. He may be reconciled unto me, and grant me pardon for all my sins. Now let me have courage and open my mouth unto him, peradventure He will have mercy upon me and take away my sins."      {Top}

Assaneth Repents

12 And Assaneth got up from the wall, and knelt upon her knees, and lifting up her hands towards the east, looked up unto heaven, and she opened her mouth unto God, saying: 2"Lord, eternal God, who hast created all beings and hast given life to them: Thou that hast given the breath of life to all thy creatures; who hast brought to light the invisible things, who hast created thy creatures, that are seen, out of the unseen and out of nothing; 3who hast made the heaven on high and hast laid its foundations upon the winds; Thou who with thine holy stones hast built the earth upon the waters, who hast thrown huge stones upon the depths of the waters; the stones do not sink, but like leaves of the oaktree remain on the waters; and those stones are alive, and they listen to thy voice, O Lord. 4Because Thou, Lord, givest life to all thy creatures, I have recourse unto thee, O Lord, and unto thee I pour out my supplications, and unto thee I will reveal mine iniquities. 5Have pity upon me, O Lord, for I have sinned and transgressed before thee, O Lord; I have multiplied my sins and my transgressions, I committed iniquities and I spoke evil and wicked words. My mouth was defiled with the sacrifices of the idols on account of which many times I sinned through ignorance, and have adored the idols that are lifeless and dumb.

6"And now I am not worthy, on account of the multitude of my sins, to open my mouth. 7I, Assaneth, daughter of Potipherah the priest, princess as I am: I was once as hell, proud and arrogant, grown in riches more than any man; now I have become an orphan and hateful and am abandoned by all. I confide in thee, O Lord, and I cry unto thee, save me before my persecution begins. For as 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; and 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 thee, my Lord and Father. 8Now extend thine hand and lift me up from the ground; for behold, the wild and old Lion persecuteth me; 9for he is the father of the gods of the Egyptians. Because all the idols of the heathen are sons of the Lion; and I did throw away all the gods and destroyed them, and the Lion their father filled with anger persecutes me. 10Save me, O Lord, from his hands and deliver me from his mouth, lest he should carry me off by violence, and should tear me to pieces and throw me into the fire of the furnace, and the fire should cast me into the hurricane; and the hurricane whirling around me should blind me and throw me into the depths of the abyss, and the great whale that exists from the beginning should swallow me, and I should perish for ever. 11Deliver me, O Lord, before all this comes upon me. Deliver and save me who am estranged, for my father and mother have cast me off, saying: 'Assaneth is not our daughter, because she has destroyed our gods and has hated them. By reason of this I have become hateful unto them and am abandoned and an orphan; but my hope is in Thee, and there is none beside Thee, O Lord, in whom I may have refuge; for Thou art the Father of the orphan and of the persecuted, and the Helper of the oppressed. Have pity upon me, a maid afflicted and forsaken; for Thou art a father and a mother good and sweet. Who is the father, O Lord, sweet like unto Thee, and who is the mother compassionate like Thee, O Lord, and who is longsuffering like Thee toward the sinners? 12Behold all that Potipherah my father gave me for an inheritance is perishable and temporal, it is not incorruptible and eternal; but all thy gifts and inheritance pass not away, they are eternal.      {Top}

Assaneth Turns to God

13 And now look upon me who am oppressed, and have mercy upon me.

"Behold, I ran away from all the world, and have made Thee my refuge, O Lord. Lo, I have abandoned all the good things of the world and put my hope in Thee. Arid now I repent in sackcloth and ashes and mourn for my sins. 2Behold, I have cast from me the royal garment, the fine linen, that which was decked with jewels and embroidered with gold, and I have put on a dress of mourning. 3Behold, I have untied my golden girdle and have put on haircloth. 4Behold, I have cast away from my head my crown and my diadem, and instead thereof I have anointed myself with ashes. 5Behold, the floor of my house was made of marble and of bright purple; and as before I poured upon it perfumes and cleansed it with clean linen, so now my tears have fallen upon it and have mingled with the ashes. 6Behold, through my tears these ashes have been changed into mire and have become like the mud of the streets and of the public roads. 7Behold, amid my tears I gave my royal meal to the dogs of strangers, 8and for seven days and seven nights I did not at all eat 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 on account of the abundance of my tears, and all my strength has gone from me. Now know I the gods, which before I worshipped in ignorance, are speechless idols and dumb; so I gave them to be trodden upon, and the robbers have ravished those that were of gold and of silver, and I have destroyed them all from before my face. 9Because I took refuge in Thee, O Lord God of Joseph, save me, O Lord, and grant me pardon; for I have sinned through ignorance and through folly I went astray, and did pronounce words of blasphemy concerning our lord Joseph, 10because I did not know that Thou didst love him like a son. But there were people who spake unto me as in sincerity, saying, that Joseph was the son of a shepherd from the land of the Canaanites; and I believed them and committed an error and despised him, and pronounced wicked words against him, and did not know that Thou lovedst Joseph like a son. 11For who is the man who can beget such beauty, and such wisdom and virtue. 12Keep him, O Lord, through the grace of thy wisdom, and commend me unto him as a handmaid and as a slave, that I may prepare his bed and wash his feet and be unto him as a maidservant."      {Top}

An Angelic Visitation

14 And it came to pass when Assaneth ended speaking unto the Lord, Venus shone forth. 2And Assaneth seeing the star rejoiced and said: "Peradventure the Lord did hear my prayers, for, lo, the star of God, which is an angel and a herald, shines forth." 3And again Assaneth looked, and behold, near Venus the heaven was opening, and a light was appearing great and unspeakable; 4and Assaneth seeing it fell on her face upon the ashes.

Then the likeness of a man descended from heaven, and standing before Assaneth, he called and said: "Assaneth!"

5And she said: "Who is it that calls me? for the doors of my room are shut, and this tower is high; how could he enter into my room?"

6And the man called her a second time saying: "Assaneth!"

And Assaneth said: "Here am I. Who art thou? Tell me."

7And the man said: "I am the Prince of Israel, and more powerful than all the saints of the Most High. Arise, stand up upon thy feet, and I will tell thee what I have to say."

8And Assaneth lifted up her head and looked, and, behold, the man was quite like Joseph with his garment, his crown and his royal sceptre. 9But his face was like lightning, and his eyes like the rays of the sun, and the hairs of his head like flame, and his hands like a red hot iron, and from his hands and feet fell down sparks as from a roaring fire. 10And Assaneth seeing him fell down on her face upon the ground, being sore afraid, and all the limbs of her body trembled.

11And the man said unto her: "Be of good cheer, Assaneth, fear not, but arise and stand on thy feet and I will tell thee what I have to say."

12And Assaneth arose and stood upon her feet.

And the man said: "Go and take off that black garment of mourning that thou wearest and the haircloth from thy loins, and shake off the ashes from thine head, and wash thyself with living water," 13and put on a new and magnificent garment, and gird thyself with the golden girdle which belongs to thy maidenhood, 14and come and let me tell thee what I have to say."

15And Assaneth quickly entered into her second room, where there were the chests with her ornaments. She opened a chest and took out magnificent linen clothes, which had never been touched by any one. And taking off the black garment of mourning, she cast off the haircloth from her loins, dressed herself in the magnificent robes, 16and taking the two girdles which belonged to her maidenhood, she girded her loins with the one and with the other she girded her breast. 17And she shook off the ashes from her head, and washed her hands and face, and took a new and clean linen handkerchief and covered her head.      {Top}

The Angel's Message of Good Cheer

15 And she came towards the man into the first room and she stood before him.

And the man said unto her: "Take off the handkerchief from thine head; why didst thou put it on today? Until this day thou art a holy and chaste maiden, and thine head resembles that of a young man." 2And Assaneth took off from her head the handkerchief. And the man said unto her: "Be of good comfort, Assaneth, thou holy maid; lo, I heard thy words of confession and thy prayers. Behold, I have seen the sufferings of thy seven days' utter destitution; and, lo, from the ashes and the tears, I see before mine eyes a great mire. 3Be of good comfort, Assaneth, holy maiden; lo, thy name is written by the hand of God in the book of the living in heaven, among those who were written from the beginning; and before that of many thy name was written and written indelibly for all eternity. 4Behold, henceforth thou shalt be renewed, and once more vivified, and thou shalt eat the blessed bread which gives life, and shalt drink the blessed cup of immortality, and thou shalt be anointed with the oil of incorruption. 5Be of good cheer, Assaneth, holy maiden; lo. I have given thee this day for a spouse to Joseph and he will be thy bridegroom for ever. 6And thy name shall be no more Assaneth, but it shall be called a Town of Refuge; for through thee a great many generations will take refuge in the Lord God of heaven; and under thy shadow will be sheltered those who have put their hope in the Lord God, and in thy walls will entrench themselves those who in repentance have submitted themselves unto the Most High. 7For penitence lifts a man near heaven, and makes him dear to the Most High when he seeks Him with a true mind. For God is the Giver of all gifts, and He grants strength to all virgins, He seeks purity and greatly loves it, and watches you tenderly always; and all those who repent He receives them near Him in his dwelling, and prepares for them in heaven a place of rest, where all who have repented rest, and there they shall be always under his eye for all eternity, and He will spare them. 9And, behold. I am going unto Joseph, and I will speak unto him all my sayings concerning thee. And Joseph will come unto thee today, and will see thee and will rejoice on account of thee, and he will love thee. And he will be thy bridegroom, and thou shall be his bride for ever.

10"And now listen unto me, thou maiden Assaneth, who hast put on thy wedding robe, which was prepared for thee from the beginning; and hast decked and embellished thyself with all thy ornaments as a good bride, rise up and go and meet Joseph, 11for lo! he is coming to thee today."

12And it came to pass when the man ended his sayings, Assaneth felt a great joy for all that the man had spoken; 13and falling at his feet upon her face she adored him, saying: "Blessed be God the Most High, who sent thee and saved me from this darkness, and has raised me up from the bottom of the depths, and blessed be thy name for ever. 14And tell me, my Lord, what is thy name? Tell me, my Lord, that I may give blessing unto thee for all eternity."

The man said unto her: "My name is written in heaven from all eternity, in the Book of the Most High, among those who were written in the beginning, before all others; for I am the chief of the Most High. And all the names that are written in the Book of the Most High are inscrutable, and no man can either hear them or see them in this world; for their names are great, and admirable and worthy of great praise."

And Assaneth said: "I have found favour before thee, and I understand all that thou hast spoken unto me; but let thy handmaid speak before thee."

And he said: "Speak on."

Assaneth Waits on the Angel

And Assaneth said: "I pray thee, O Lord." And so saying she stretched out her hand and made it reach his hand and his knee, and entreating him earnestly she said: "Sit down a while on this bed; for this bed is clean and pure, and neither man nor woman did ever sit on it. And I will prepare a table before thee, and will bring from the storehouse bread, and old and sweet wine, and thou shalt eat and drink and then shalt go thy way."

15And the man said unto her: "Make haste and bring it."      {Top}

16 And Assaneth quickly brought an empty table and set it before him; and as she was going to her pantry to bring bread and put it before him, he said unto her: "Bring me an honeycomb."

2And Assaneth stopped and became sad, because in her pantry she had no honeycomb.

The man said "Why didst thou stop and become sad?"

And Assaneth said: "I will send a boy out of the town, for our country possession is near this place, and he will quickly bring from thence an honeycomb, and I will put it before thee, my Lord."

3The man said unto her: "Go into thy cellar, and on the table thou shall find a honeycomb, take it and bring it here."

And Assaneth said: "There is no honeycomb in my cellar."

And the man said: "Go into it and thou shall find one."

4And Assaneth went into her cellar and there she found a honeycomb on the table, and the honeycomb was large and as white as the snow, entirely full of honey. And the honeycomb was like the dew of heaven, and its perfume like the odour of life. And Assaneth was amazed, and she thought whether the honeycomb had come out of the mouth of the man, for its smell was like the smell of the mouth of the man. 5And Assaneth took that honeycomb and brought it before the man, and put it upon the empty table, which she had prepared. The man said unto her: "How is it that thou hast said, 'There is no honeycomb in my cellar?' And now from whence comes this excellent honeycomb?"

6And Assaneth being frightened, said: "My lord, I had no honeycomb in my cellar; but thou hast spoken and it was so; perhaps it came forth from thy mouth, for its odour is as the perfume of thy mouth."

7And the man smiled, considering Assaneth's modesty. And he called her near him, and put his right hand upon her head. And Assaneth was afraid of the hand of the man, for from his hand fell down sparks as from a red hot iron. And Assaneth was terrified and looked fixedly at his hands. And the man seeing it smiled and said: "How happy art thou, Assaneth, that the secrets of God the Most High have been revealed unto thee; and how happy shall be all those who will stand before the Lord through penance; for they will eat of this honeycomb. 8Because this honeycomb is the breath of life, prepared by the bees of the Garden of the delights of God, that is to say from the dew of the rosebushes of God's life; so that all the angels of God should eat of it, and all the sons of the Most High, as well as the chosen of God. For it is a honeycomb of life, and whosoever shall eat of it, he will never die."

9And the man stretched out his hand and broke a little piece of the honeycomb, and ate of it, and what remained in his hand he put it into the mouth of Assaneth, saying: "Behold, thou hast eaten of the bread of life, and drunk of the cup of immortality, and hast been anointed with incorruptible oil. Lo, hereafter thy body will bud like a flower, and will bring forth double, like a living flower of the Garden of the Most High. And thy bones will grow fat like the cedars of the Garden of the delights of God, and thou shalt be surrounded by a strength never subject to fatigue, and thy youth shall never see old age, and thy beauty shall never fail; and thou shalt be for all like a fortified town in the name of the Lord God, the eternal King."

The Vision of the Honeycomb and the Bees

10And 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 became complete as it was before. And again he stretched forth his right hand and his forefinger and touched the extremity of the honeycomb which was at the east side, and brought it to the west side, and the print of his finger became like blood. 11And again a second time he stretched forth his hand and touched the extremity of the honeycomb which was at the north side, and brought it to the side which was at the south, and the appearance of the print of his finger became like blood.

12And Assaneth in her amazement observed what the man was doing.

13And the man said unto the honeycomb: "Come here." And the bees came out of the cells of the honeycomb, and there were myriads and thousands of thousands of bees, white as the snow, and full of honey. And their wings were longer and of a crimson colour like that of the cochineal; and some of them were like twined fine linen, and around their heads they looked as if they had golden crowns. They were of a noble appearance, and had a sharp sting, but they hurt no man; 14and they surrounded Assaneth from the feet to the head. And these bees were the choicest, and very large like the queens. And they arose from the surface of the honeycomb and sat upon Assaneth's face, and worked around it, and the orifice of the honeycomb was in Assaneth's mouth.

15Then the man said unto the bees: "Let every one of you go to his place."

And all the bees arose and flew away, and went towards the sky; 16and those who would hurt Assaneth fell down and died. 17And the man extended his stick unto the dead bees saying: "Arise ye also, and go your way to your place." And the dead bees arose and went opposite Assaneth's palace, and settled themselves upon the fruit-bearing trees.      {Top}

17 And the man said unto Assaneth: "Didst thou understand that vision?"

2And she said: "I did."

And the man said: "According to all the words I have spoken to thee today, it shall happen unto thee."

3And a third time he stretched out his right hand and touched the pieces of the honeycomb, and ate the honeycomb, and the table suffered no injury, and the odour of the piece of the honeycomb filled the room; and the perfume was extremely delicious.

4And Assaneth said unto the man: "There are with me seven maidens, grown up with me, born on the same night, I and they; and I love them like my sisters. Let me call them here that thou mayest bless them, as thou didst bless me."

5And the man said: "Call them."

And Assaneth called and presented them to the man; and the man said unto them: "The Lord God, the Most High, let Him bless you. And ye shall become seven columns of this town, and the blessing of the Lord will rest upon you for all eternity."

6And he said unto Assaneth: "Take away the table from that place."

And Assaneth took away the table from that place and turned herself to the other side to put it in its proper place; and the man disappeared from the sight of Assaneth.

And Assaneth saw the likeness of a chariot going up to heaven eastwards. And the chariot was like unto fire, and its horses like lightning, and the man stood in the chariot. 7And Assaneth said: "Foolish and rash one that I am, for I spoke rashly and said that a man came into my room, and did not understand that the angel of the Lord came this day from heaven unto me, and lo! he has returned to his place."

And she went on to say: "Pardon me, my Lord, and spare thy handmaid, for rashly and wickedly I pronounced all my words before thee."      {Top}

Joseph Returns

18 And while Assaneth was thinking on this, lo! a boy of the servants of Potipherah ran in, saying: "Behold, Joseph the powerful through God, is coming; to us, his forerunner is on the threshold of the court."

2And Assaneth hastened and called her nurse who was set over the household, and said: "Make haste and prepare the palace, and make ready an excellent meal for Joseph, the powerful through God, who is coming here today."

3And her nurse looked at her, and lo! her face had fallen in from the want of food during the seven days, and she became very sad and wept, and taking her right hand she kissed it, saying: "What is the matter with thee, my child, that thy face has fallen in in this manner?"

4Assaneth said: "A heavy headache seized me, and my eyes lost their sleep; on account of this my face did fail."

5And the nurse went and made ready the palace and prepared the meal.

And Assaneth remembered the man and his orders, and quickly entered her inner room, where the chests of her ornaments were kept. And she opened the big chest and took out her wedding-dress, the first and choice one, which was like the lightning, and she put it on, 6and she girded herself with the princely golden girdle, which was ornamented with various studs. And on her arms and ankles she put bracelets of gold, and decked her neck with precious ornaments, upon which there was a great quantity of varied and precious stones; and upon her head she put a crown of gold, and in front of the crown there was a gem, at the right and left of which there were large stones to the number of six, very precious stones and of great value. 7And like a bride she put on her head a summer veil, and took in her hand the princely sceptre.

And Assaneth remembered the words of her nurse, who said unto her that her countenance looked sad; and she sighed and grew very sad, saying: "If my face has grown thin and Joseph sees me, he will despise me."

8And she said unto her nurse: "Bring me clear water from the fountain and I will wash my face."

9And she brought and poured it into the hand-basin. And Assaneth stooping herself to wash her face, saw her countenance in the water, that it was like the sun, and her eyes resembled the star Venus when it dawns, and her footsteps were as smooth and graceful furrows; her cheeks were red like pieces of pomegranate, and her lips like a full-blown rose, when it bursts forth from its bud, her teeth were beautifully set like shield-bearers in war, and the hair of her head was like a vineyard field full of fruits; her neck beautiful like a tower.

10And Assaneth seeing herself thus in the water, was filled with great joy, and she washed her face no more. 11And her nurse came to tell her about all she had ordered for her; and it came to pass when she saw her she was lost in wonder and remained in rapture about two hours; and the aspect of her beauty caused her a great fear, and falling at her feet she said: "What is this, my lady, and from whence comes unto thee such surprising and wonderful beauty? I think the Lord God of heaven has chosen thee for a bride for Joseph."      {Top}

The Romance of Joseph and Assaneth

19 And while they were talking, lo! a boy came crying unto Assaneth: "Behold, Joseph is at the doors of the court."

2And Assaneth quickly went down the stairs, together with the seven virgins, to meet Joseph, and she stopped in the passage of the palace. 3And Joseph entered into the court, and the doors were closed and all the strangers remained outside. 4And Assaneth went into the passage to meet Joseph. And when Joseph saw her he was struck with wonder on account of her great beauty, and said: "Who art thou? Tell me quickly."

5And she said: "I am Assaneth thy handmaid, who according to thine order, threw away and destroyed all the idols. And a man came today and gave me bread of life and I ate it, and I drank of a cup of blessing; and he said unto me: "Behold I give thee to Joseph for a bride, and he will be unto thee a bridegroom to the end of time. And he said again, "Thou shalt no more be called Assaneth, but a Town of refuge; for through thee many generations shall take refuge in the Lord God, the Most High. 6"And once more he said unto me: 'I will go unto Joseph and will tell him what I have said concerning thee' 7And now, my lord, thou knowest whether the man did go unto thee and did tell thee his words, or not."

8And Joseph said unto Assaneth: "Thou art blessed of the Lord God the Most High; for the Lord God has raised thy walls on adamantine foundations, a wall of life; for a great number of the sons of men that have life shall dwell in that town of refuge, and the Lord God will reign over them for all eternity. 9For that man came today unto me, and spoke according to these words concerning thee. Now come unto me, holy maiden; why dost thou stop so far from me?"

10And he raised his hand and called Assaneth. And Assaneth hastened and went near Joseph and fell on his bosom, and their souls did revive, and they were filled with joy. 11And Joseph kissed Assaneth, and gave unto her the spirit of life, and the spirit of wisdom, and the spirit of truth; and then embracing each other they amused themselves for many hours.      {Top}

Assaneth Waits Upon Joseph

20 And Assaneth said: "Come, my lord, come into our house; for I have put in order our palace and have prepared a feast." 2And taking him by the hand she led him into the house, and seated him in the chair of her father, and brought water to wash his feet.

3And Joseph said: "Let one of the maids come and wash my feet."

4Assaneth said: "Not so, my lord; henceforth I am thy handmaid. And why dost thou wish that another should wash thy feet? for thy feet are my feet, and thy person is my person."

5And she pressed upon him and washed his feet. And Joseph looked and lo! he saw that her hands were like the hands of life, and her fingers like the pen of a ready writer.

And thereupon Joseph took her right hand and kissed it; and Assaneth kissed his head and sat down at his right side.

6And her father and mother came from their country house, with all their relatives. And they beheld and saw that Assaneth was like a vision of light, and her beauty resembled the beauty of heavenly beings. And they saw that she sat with Joseph, and was dressed in wedding attire. 7And they were astonished, and were struck with wonder on account of their beauty; and they gave thanks unto God who gives life to all things.

8And thereafter they ate and drank and rejoiced. 9And Potipherah said unto Joseph. "Tomorrow call thou the satraps and the grandees of the Egyptians, and I will celebrate your wedding, and thou shalt take Assaneth my daughter to wife."

10And Joseph said: "Not so; but tomorrow I will call upon the king, Pharaoh, for he is as it were my father: and he appointed me ruler over this land; and I will speak unto him on account of Assaneth, and he will give her to me to wife."

And Potipherah said: "Go thy way in peace."      {Top}

Joseph and Assaneth are Wed

21 And Joseph remained at Potipherah's that day, but he kept himself from Assaneth; for he said that it was not becoming to a godly man to lie down with his wife before the wedding. 2And Joseph arose in the morning and went to Pharaoh and said unto him: "Give me for wife Assaneth, the daughter of Potipherah the priest, of the town of Heliopolis."

3And Pharaoh said: "Behold, was she not promised unto thee to be thy wife henceforth and for evermore?"

4And Pharaoh sent and called Potipherah and his daughter. And he brought Assaneth and presented her before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh was struck with wonder at her beauty, and said: "May the God of Joseph bless thee, my child, and may thy beauty stay with thee for ever and ever. For truly the Lord has indeed chosen thee to become a bride unto Joseph for ever; because he is like the son of God, and thou shalt be called henceforth the daughter of the Most High."

5And Pharaoh took Joseph and Assaneth, and put on them crowns of gold, which were in the house of his treasures from the beginning of time. 6And Pharaoh placed Assaneth at the right hand of Joseph, and put his hand on his head, and his right hand on the head of Assaneth, and said: "May God the Most High bless you, and glorify you for ever."

7And Pharaoh caused them to turn towards one another and made them draw near, and they kissed each other.

8And after this Pharaoh made a feast, and a great supper, and there was much rejoicing for seven days. And he bade all the princes of the Egyptians and the kings of the nations. And a proclamation was made throughout all the land of the Egyptians, saying: "Any one who shall do any work during the seven days of Joseph and Assaneth's wedding, he shall die."

9And it came to pass thereafter that Joseph knew Assaneth, and she conceived and bare Manasseh and Ephraim in the house of Joseph, to the glory of God. Amen.

The Record of the Prayer of Assaneth

11I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee, and greatly transgressed, I, Assaneth, daughter of Potipherah the priest of the town of Heliopolis, who was the officer of all the gods.

13I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee and committed wrong, and worshiped numberless gods, and eaten of their sacrifices.

14I have sinned, O Lord, and committed wrong; I was a proud and haughty maiden.

I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee, and greatly transgressed; I ate the strangled meat and drank of the cup of imposture, and ate at the table of death.

15I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee and greatly transgressed, and did not know the Lord God of heaven, and did not put my hope in God the Most High, in the Eternally Living One.

16I have sinned, O Lord. I have sinned before thee and greatly transgressed; and I trusted in the greatness of my glory and in my beauty, and I was proud and haughty.

17I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee and greatly sinned, for I despised all men, and there was no man before me whom I valued.

18I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee; I have transgressed, greatly transgressed, for I said that there was no prince upon the earth who could loose the girdle of my virginity.

I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee, and greatly transgressed; as I have hated all those who would have me for a bride, and I despised and disdained them.

20I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before thee and greatly transgressed; for I have considered myself the bride of Pharaoh's eldest son; forgive me. 21When Joseph the mighty one of God came, he conquered me, and brought me down from my haughtiness, and enticed me with his beauty, and through his wisdom he made me to be obedient, and caught me like a fish in a net. And through his spirit he made me drink the draught of life, and through his power confirmed me, and offered me unto the Eternal God, and gave me to eat the bread of life, and to drink the cup of immortality, and I have become his bride for ever.

      {Top}

The Arrival of Jacob in Egypt

22 And after this the seven years of plenteousness came to an end and the seven years of dearth began.

2And Jacob heard about Joseph his son, and he came into Egypt with all his household, in the second year of the dearth on the 21st day of the month of Nisan, and he settled himself in the land of Goshen.

3And Assaneth said unto Joseph: "I will go and see thy father, for Jacob thy father is like my God."

4And Joseph said: "Thou shalt go with me and see my father."

5And Joseph and Assaneth went into the land of Goshen. And the brethren of Joseph met them, and they bowed themselves with their faces toward the ground before them, and particularly before Assaneth. 6And they went in unto Jacob as he sat on his bed. And he was gray-headed and very old. 7And when Assaneth saw him she was struck with great amazement; for Jacob was an old man of a goodly countenance, and in his old age he looked as handsome as a fine youth. His head was quite white like snow, and the hair of his head curled, short and very stiff, like that of a negro. And his beard was white and graceful, lying on his breast; and his eyes full of tenderness, shining and handsome; and his breast, his shoulders, his arms and the fingers of his hands were strong like those of an angel, and his hips and legs like those of a giant. 8And Jacob looked like a man who could engage in wrestling with God. And when Assaneth saw him, she was greatly amazed, and she fell upon her face on the ground and reverenced him.

And Jacob said unto Joseph: "Is this my daughter-in-law thy wife? May God the Most High bless her."

9And he called her near him and kissed and blessed her. And Assaneth stretched out her hands and clasped her hands around Jacob's neck like one who, rescued from the battle, returns to his home and casts himself upon his father. 10And afterwards they ate and drank, and Joseph and Assaneth returned to their home, giving praise to God, who is blessed for ever. 11And only the sons of Leah, Joseph's brethren, went with them to bring them on the way. But the sons of Zilpha and Bilhah, the handmaids of Leah and Rachel, did not go with them to bring them on the way, for they envied them and were their enemies. 12And Levi walked at the right of Assaneth, and Joseph at her left. 13And Assaneth held Levi by the hand. And she loved Levi more than all Joseph's brethren; because Levi was acquainted with the secret mysteries of the Most High, and revealed unto Assaneth everything in mysterious words. And Levi felt a great affection for Assaneth and he saw her resting place in heaven, and its walls like adamantine walls, and its foundations like the foundations of a rock.      {Top}

Pharoah's Son Covets Joseph's Wife

23 And it came to pass, when Joseph and Assaneth were going, that the eldest son of Pharaoh saw them from the walls, and felt very unhappy, 2and he grieved on account of Assaneth's beauty, and said: "This must not be."

3The son of Pharaoh sent messengers and called unto him Simeon and Levi; and they came and presented themselves before him.

And the eldest, son of Pharaoh said unto them: "I acknowledge this day that ye are more powerful than all the men that are in the world, and that through these your two right hands the town of the Shechemites was destroyed, and in two days through these your right hands thirty thousand warriors were slain. 4And, behold, I will take you as my fellows, and will give you gold, and servants, and handmaidens, and houses, and immense and good possessions; but deal kindly with me and do this thing; for I have been offended and despised by Joseph your brother, because he took Assaneth, who was to be my wife, and was promised to me from the beginning. 5And now come and fight against Joseph your brother; and I will kill him with my sword and will take Assaneth for my wife. And ye shall become my brethren, and favourites and confidants, only do this for me. 6But should you hesitate to do this, and should you despise my command, behold my sword is ready for you." And saying this, he drew his sword and shewed it unto them.

And when Simeon and Levi heard these things, they were much vexed; for the son of Pharaoh spoke unto them with threats and arrogance. 7And Simeon was a rash and bold man; he thought to put his hand to the hilt of his sword and to draw it out of its scabbard and kill the son of Pharaoh, for having spoken unto them roughly. 8But Levi knew the thought of his heart; for Levi was a prophet, who in the purity of his mind saw secrets, and with his own eyes could read what was written in the heart of a man. He forthwith trod with his foot upon the right foot of Simeon, and signed to him to restrain his anger. 9And he softly said to Simeon: "Why dost thou put thyself in a passion against this man? We are godly persons: it is unbecoming in us to render unto him evil for evil."

10And Levi spoke boldly unto the son of Pharaoh; and there was no wrath in him, because of the gentleness of his heart. "Why dost thou, our lord, speak unto us in this way? We are godly men, and our father is beloved of God the Most High; and God loves Joseph our brother. 11Now, how can we do this evil thing, and commit a sin before our God and before Jacob our father, and before Joseph our brother? 12And now listen to my words: It is not convenient for a godly man to injure anybody in any way. But if some one should injure a godly man and that godly man gets into a passion, his hand is sacred if he kills him. 13And thou, beware of speaking now in this way with respect to Joseph our brother. But if thou persist in that wicked intention, behold our swords are drawn in our right hands against thee."

14And Simeon and Levi drew their swords out of their scabbards, saying: "Behold, thou seest in our hands these swords; these are the swords through which the Lord took vengeance upon the Shechemites for the outrage through which they offended the sons of Israel on account of Dinah, whom Shechem, the son of Hamor, defiled."

15And the son of Pharaoh saw the two-edged swords, and a strong shivering ran through all his bones; for the swords glittered like a fire-flame; and his eyes were dazzled and he fell down on the ground upon his face, and was overtaken by great fear.

And Levi stretched out his hand and took hold of him, and said: "Arise and be not afraid, but beware of speaking wickedly any more with respect to Joseph our brother."

16And Simeon and Levi went away out of the presence of the son of Pharaoh.      {Top}

Pharoah's Son Plans Evil with Dan and Gad

24 And the son of Pharaoh was filled with fear and sorrow, for he feared Simeon and Levi. And he was oppressed and vexed on account of Assaneth's beauty, and an affliction beyond bounds tormented him. 2And his servants spoke unto him saying: "Behold, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpha, the handmaids of Jacob, are enemies unto Joseph and unto Assaneth, and they envy them, and will obey thee and do according to thy will.

3And the son of Pharaoh sent messengers unto them and called them unto him; and at night time they came and presented themselves unto him.

And the son of Pharaoh said unto them: "I have somewhat to say unto you, for ye are mighty men of valour."

4And Dan and Gad, the two brothers, said unto him: "Let our lord speak now, and we thy servants will hear and do according to thy will."

5And the son of Pharaoh was filled with great joy, and said unto his servants: "Let all of you go away from me for a little while, for I have a secret matter with these men." 6And they all went away.

And the son of Pharaoh said unto them: "Behold, blessing and death are before thine eyes; choose rather blessing than death, 7for ye are mighty men, and you do not die like women. Be of good courage and quit yourselves like men, and revenge yourselves on your enemies. 8For I heard Joseph your brother, say unto Pharaoh my father concerning you, that they are children of my mother's handmaids, and they are not my brethren; 9and I wait for my father's death, that I may crush them and their generation, lest they should inherit with us; for they are children of handmaidens, and they are those who sold me to the Ishmaelites. 10I will return unto them all the evil they did to me when my father shall die.' 11And Pharaoh my father commended him. saying: 'What thou sayest is very good: I will give unto thee a thousand warriors, to help thee.'"

12And when those men heard the words of the son of Pharaoh, they became perplexed and very grieved, and they said unto him: "We beseech thee, lord, to help us."

And he said: "I will help you, if ye listen unto me."

And they said: "We are thy servants; command us and we will do according to thy will."

13And the son of Pharaoh said unto them: "I will slay Pharaoh my father tonight, for Pharaoh is the father of Joseph. Now give me your help, and I will go before you, and ye shall slay Joseph. And I will take Assaneth for my wife, and ye and your brethren shall become heirs with me if ye do this thing."

14And Dan and Gad said unto him: "We are thy servants this day, and we will do what thou dost command us. And we have heard Joseph today say to Assaneth: 'Go thou tomorrow to our country possession, for it is vintage time.' And he gave her six hundred valiant warriors, and fifty forerunners. And now listen unto us and let us speak with thee."

15And they spake with him secretly.

And the son of Pharaoh gave to each of the four brothers seven thousand men, and appointed them chiefs and leaders. 16And Dan and Gad said unto him: "We will go tonight and will watch by the way, and will conceal ourselves among the thickness of the canes. 17And thou, take with thee fifty archers with their horses, and go on afar, and Assaneth will come and fall into our hands: and we will destroy the soldiers that are with her, 18and she will flee away in her carriage and fall into thy hands, and thou wilt do with her according to the wish of thy heart. 19And thereafter we will slay Joseph's children before his eyes, and himself while he is mourning for Assaneth."

20And the son of Pharaoh rejoiced on hearing their words, and he sent two thousand warriors to go with them. 21And they came to the torrent and hid themselves among the thickness of the canes. And they encamped on each side of the torrent, and between them there was a wide and spacious road.      {Top}

The Plan Begins to Unwind

25 And the son of Pharaoh arose on that night and went into his father's house to slay his father with a sword. And his father's guards hindered him from entering in to his father, and said unto him: "What dost thou desire, our lord?"

2And the son of Pharaoh said unto them: "I want to see my father, as I am going for the vintage of the newly planted vineyard." 3And the guards said unto him: "Thy father suffered with headache, and has not slept the whole night, and now that the pain has somewhat lessened, thy father said: 'Let no one come near to me.'"

4And the son of Pharaoh went and took his soldiers, and laid an ambuscade.      {Top}

26  5And behold, Assaneth came in a chariot, and soldiers went before it and behind it. And the enemies, Dan and Gad and the son of Pharaoh, leaping from their hiding-place attacked them.      {Top}

Assaneth Divinely Protected

27  8And Assaneth saw and called upon God the Most High. And, behold, the man of God that had come to Assaneth, appeared, and the Lord took her under his protection. And the swords of the enemies were broken, and all the weapons melted as wax before the fire. 9And the son of Pharaoh fell down on the ground before Assaneth, and became like one dead when he heard that the sons of Jacob were coming on in anger.      {Top}

Dan and Gad Repent Before Assaneth

28 And Dan and Gad, seeing that the Lord was fighting, became afraid and said: "It is the Lord that fights against us." 2And they fell down before Assaneth, saying: "Thou art our lady and our queen, and we have committed iniquity before thee, 3and the Lord has rewarded us according to our deeds. And we thy servants entreat thee, be merciful unto us and save us from the hands of our brethren. For they have come unto us to take vengeance upon their enemies, and their swords are before our eyes."

4And Assaneth said: "Be of good comfort, and fear not your brethren; for they are people who fear the Lord, they are godly and respect every man. 5Go ye into the thick of those canes until I appease their anger; for ye have been very audacious against them. 6Be of good courage and fear ye not; let the Lord be the judge between me and you."

7And Dan and Gad and their brethren fled into the grove of canes. 8And behold, the sons of Leah came running like a herd of deer. And Assaneth stepped down from her covered chariot, and received them with tears. 9And they fell down on the ground and reverenced her, and wept with a loud voice, and asked for their brethren. 10And Assaneth said: "Spare your brethren, and do not render them evil for evil; for the Lord protected me against them, and their swords were broken to pieces, and were melted on the ground like wax before the fire. 11And this is enough, for it is the Lord that has fought for us; and spare ye them, for they are your brethren, and the blood of Israel, your father."

12And Simeon said unto her: "Why doth our lady speak good words for our enemies? 13Not so; let us destroy them with our swords. For this is the third time they have plotted against thee, and against Israel our father, and against Joseph our brother; thou art our lady and our queen."

14And Assaneth stretched out her hand, and took hold of his beard, and embraced him, saying: "Not so, my brother, do not render evil for evil; for that will be a sin against the Lord. They are your brethren, and sons of your father, and they fled far away from your presence."

15And Levi drew near and kissed her hands: 16and he understood that she intended to save their brethren. And they were in the thicket of the reeds; and their brethren knew that she did not discover them for fear that in their anger they should slay them.      {Top}

The Death of Pharaoh's Son

29 And the son of Pharaoh arose from the ground and sat up; and the blood flowed out of his ears and out of his mouth. 2And Benjamin ran unto him and took his sword and drew it, 3and would have plunged it into the breast of the son of Pharaoh to kill him, but Levi running unto him, took hold of his hand, saying: "My brother, do not this thing; for we are godly men, and it is not befitting for a godly man to render evil for evil; and it is not allowed to any one to trample on, or to harass to death an enemy who falls into his hands. Now put thy sword back into its place, and come and help me, 4and let us cure his wounds, that he may live and be henceforth our friend; for Pharaoh is as our father."

5And Levi raised up the son of Pharaoh, and wiped the blood from his face, and wrapped his face in a handkerchief. Then he placed him on his horse, and carried him unto Pharaoh his father, 6to whom he told all these things. 7And Pharaoh arose from his throne and bowed down before Levi.

8And on the third day the son of Pharaoh died, being stricken by a punishment from God.      {Top}


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