Page images

vailed over them so the land became Pharaoh's. And as for the people, he made bondmen of them from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them wherefore they sold not their lands.1

Then Joseph said unto the people: "Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh. Lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones." And they said: "Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants." And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.

Jacob's Blessing and Death (Gen. xlvii. 27-xlviii. 22; xlix. 1, 28–33; l. 1–14). And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him: "If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying-place." And he said, "I will do as thou hast said." And he said, "Swear unto me.' ." And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, 'Behold, thy father is sick :" and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told Jacob, and said,

Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee;" and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said

[ocr errors]

i Sepulchral inscriptions show that between the 12th and the 18th dynasties - that is, within the Hyksos period · the landed estates had passed from the nobles and the governors of nomes (districts) to the crown and the great temples.

unto Joseph: "God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance."

And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?" And Joseph said unto his father, "They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place." And he said: "Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them." Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. And Israel said unto Joseph: "I had not thought to see thy face and lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed." And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said: "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which. redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. And Joseph said unto his father: "Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head." And his father refused, and said: "I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations." And he

blessed them that day, saying:-"In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh:" and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph: "Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow."

And Jacob called unto his sons, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said unto them: "I am to be gathered unto my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth."

And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying: "If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, Lo I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again." And Pharaoh said: "Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear."


And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company. And they came to the

threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, "This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians:" wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim,1 which is beyond Jordan. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.


The Later Days of Joseph (Gen. 1. 15–26). And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said: 'Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him." And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying: "Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father." And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, "Behold, we be thy servants." And Joseph said unto them: "Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones." And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees. And Joseph said unto his brethren: "I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying: "God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence." So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

1 Abel-mizraim. 'Mourning of Egypt'; properly Meadow of Egypt.'



Increase of the Israelites (Ex. i. 7-22). And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people: "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities,1 more they afflicted them, the


Ramses II in his Youth

Pithom and Raamses. But the

1 treasure cities. Cities for storing grain, probably in order to supply Egyptian troops at the eastern frontier. Excavations in 1883 have identified the ruins of Pithom. The city was enclosed by a huge square brick wall, and contained a temple and numerous rectangular brick chambers, which could be filled with grain from the top. Raamses has probably been located (by Professor Petrie, in 1906) eight miles southeast of Pithom. Since Ramses II (about 1292-1225 B. C.) is named in inscriptions as the founder of Pithom, he is generally thought to be the Pharaoh of the Oppression. A campaign record of his, however, gives Aseru as the name of a district about where the book of Joshua locates the tribe of Asher. This fact, together with the occurrence in a still earlier inscription of Jacob-el and Joseph-el as Canaanite town-names, and the mention of a Canaanite people Ysiraal in an inscription of Ramses II's successor, has raised the question whether it may not have been only a part of the Israelite clan that was in Egypt. The mummy of Ramses II was found near Karnak in 1881.

« PreviousContinue »