Testament of the 12 Patriarchs

Testament of the 12 Patriarchs



Est. Date. 200 b.c.

Orig. Language. Hebrew and Greek

Orig. Writer.

Translated by. R.H. Charles

This literary work claims to be the testament of each of the 12 patriarchs, each give their own history and confession of their sins and virtues.

There are many resemblances between this text and the Qumrans [T12P] however only fragments of two of the testaments have been found-

that of Naphtali and Levi. Scholars debate over the true origins of this text, and opinions remain divided.


1 The copy of the testament of Reuben, even the commands which he gave his sons before he 2 died in the hundred and twenty-fifth year of

his life. Two years after the death of Joseph his 3 brother, when Reuben fell ill, his sons and his sons' sons were gathered together to visit him.

And 4 he said to them: My children, behold I am dying, and go the way of my fathers. And seeing there Judah, and Gad, and Asher, his brethren,

he said to them: Raise me up, that I may tell to my brethren and to my children what things I have hidden in my heart, for behold now at length

5 I am passing away. And he arose and kissed them, and said unto them: Hear, my brethren, and 6 do ye, my children, give ear to Reuben your

father in the commands which I give unto you. And behold I call to witness against you this day the God of heaven, that ye walk not in the sins

of 7 youth and fornication, wherein I was poured out, and defiled the bed of my father Jacob. And I tell you that he smote me with a sore

plague in my loins for seven months; and had not my father 8 Jacob prayed for me to the Lord, the Lord would have destroyed me. For I was

thirty years old 9 when I wrought the evil thing before the Lord, and for seven months I was sick unto death. And 10 after this I repented with

set purpose of my soul for seven years before the Lord. And wine and strong drink I drank not, and flesh entered not into my mouth, and I eat

no pleasant food; but I mourned over my sin, for it was great, such as had not been in Israel.

2 1 And now hear me, my children, what things I saw concerning the seven spirits of deceit, when 2 I repented. Seven spirits therefore are

appointed against man, and they are the leaders in the works 3 of youth. [And seven other spirits are given to him at his creation, that through

them should be 4 done every work of man. The first is the spirit of life, with which the constitution (of man) is 5 created. The second is the

sense of sight, with which ariseth desire. The third is the sense of hearing, with which cometh teaching. The fourth is the sense of smell, with

which tastes are given 6, 7 to draw air and breath. The fifth is the power of speech, with which cometh knowledge. The sixth is the sense of

taste, with which cometh the eating of meats and drinks; and by it strength is 8 produced, for in food is the foundation of strength. The seventh

is the power of procreation and 9 sexual intercourse, with which through love of pleasure sins enter in. Wherefore it is the last in order of

creation, and the first in that of youth, because it is filled with ignorance, and leadeth the youth as a blind man to a pit, and as a beast to a


3 1 Besides all these there is an eighth spirit of sleep, with which is brought about the trance of 2 3 nature and the image of death. With these

spirits are mingled the spirits of error.] First, the spirit of fornication is seated in the nature and in the senses; the second, the spirit of

insatiableness, 4 in the belly; the third, the spirit of fighting, in the liver and gall. The fourth is the spirit of 5 obsequiousness and chicanery, that

through officious attention one may be fair in seeming. The fifth is the spirit of pride, that one may be boastful and arrogant. The sixth is the

spirit of lying, 6 in perdition and jealousy to practise deceits, and concealments from kindred and friends. The seventh is the spirit of injustice,

with which are thefts and acts of rapacity, that a man may fulfill the desire of his heart; for injustice worketh together with the other spirits by

the taking of gifts. 7, 8 And with all these the spirit of sleep is joined which is (that) of error and fantasy.] And so perisheth every young man,

darkening his mind from the truth, and not understanding the law of 9 God, nor obeying the admonitions of his fathers as befell me also in my

youth. And now, my children, love the truth, and it will preserve you: hear ye the words of Reuben your father. 10 Pay no heed to the face of a

woman, Nor associate with another man's wife, Nor meddle with affairs of womankind. 11 For had I not seen Bilhah bathing in a covered place,

I had not fallen into this great iniquity. 12 For my mind taking in the thought of the woman's nakedness, suffered me not to sleep until I had 13

wrought the abominable thing. For while Jacob our father had gone to Isaac his father, when we were in Eder, near to Ephrath in Bethlehem,

Bilhah became drunk and was asleep uncovered in her 14 chamber. Having therefore gone in and beheld nakedness, I wrought the impiety

without her 15 perceiving it, and leaving her sleeping I departed. And forthwith an angel of God revealed to my father concerning my impiety,

and he came and mourned over me, and touched her no more.

4 1 Pay no heed, therefore, my children, to the beauty of women, nor set your mind on their affairs; but walk in singleness of heart in the fear

of the Lord, and expend labour on good works, and on study and on your flocks, until the Lord give you a wife, whom He will, that ye suffer not

as I did. 2 For until my father's death I had not boldness to look in his face, or to speak to any of my brethren, 3 because of the reproach. Even

until now my conscience causeth me anguish on account of my 4 impiety. And yet my father comforted me much and prayed for me unto the

Lord, that the anger of the Lord might pass from me, even as the Lord showed. And thenceforth until now I have 5 been on my guard and

sinned not. Therefore, my children, I say unto you, observe all things 6 whatsoever I command you, and ye shall not sin. For a pit unto the soul

is the sin of fornication, separating it from God, and bringing it near to idols, because it deceiveth the mind and understanding, 7 and leadeth

young men into hades before their time. For many hath fornication destroyed; because, though a man be old or noble, or rich or poor, he

bringeth reproach upon 8 himself with the sons of men and derision with Beliar. For ye heard regarding Joseph how he guarded himself from a

woman, and purged his thoughts from all fornication, and found favour in 9 the sight of God and men. For the Egyptian woman did many things

unto him, and summoned 10 magicians, and offered him love potions, but the purpose of his soul admitted no evil desire. Therefore 11 the God

of your fathers delivered him from every evil (and) hidden death. For if fornication overcomes not your mind, neither can Beliar overcome you.

5 1 For evil are women, my children; and since they have no power or strength over man, they use 2 wiles by outward attractions, that they

may draw him to themselves. And whom they cannot 3 bewitch by outward attractions, him they overcome by craft. For moreover, concerning

them, the angel of the Lord told me, and taught me, that women are overcome by the spirit of fornication more than men, and in their heart


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

they plot against men; and by means of their adornment they deceive first their minds, and by the glance of the eye instill the poison, and then

through the accomplished 4 act they take them captive. For a woman cannot force a man openly, but by a harlot's 5 bearing she beguiles him.

Flee, therefore, fornication, my children, and command your wives and your daughters, that they adorn not their heads and faces to deceive

the mind: because every woman 6 who useth these wiles hath been reserved for eternal punishment. For thus they allured the Watchers who

were before the flood; for as these continually beheld them, they lusted after them, and they conceived the act in their mind; for they changed

themselves into the shape of men, and 7 appeared to them when they were with their husbands. And the women lusting in their minds after

their forms, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven.

6 1 Beware, therefore, of fornication; and if you wish to be pure in mind, guard your senses from every 2 woman. And command the women

likewise not to associate with men, that they also may be pure 3 in mind. For constant meetings, even though the ungodly deed be not

wrought, are to them an 4 irremediable disease, and to us a destruction of Beliar and an eternal reproach. For in fornication 5 there is neither

understanding nor godliness, and all jealousy dwelleth in the lust thereof. Therefore, then I say unto you, ye will be jealous against the sons of

Levi, and will seek to be exalted 6 over them; but ye shall not be able. For God will avenge them, and ye shall die by an evil death. 7 For to Levi

God gave the sovereignty [and to Judah with him and to me also, and to Dan and 8 Joseph, that we should be for rulers]. Therefore I command

you to hearken to Levi, because he shall know the law of the Lord, and shall give ordinances for judgement and shall sacrifice for all Israel until

the consummation of the times, as the anointed High Priest, of whom the Lord spake, 9 I adjure you by the God of heaven to do truth each one

unto his neighbour and to entertain love 10 each one for his brother. And draw ye near to Levi in humbleness of heart, that ye may receive 11 a

blessing from his mouth. For he shall bless Israel and Judah, because him hath the Lord chosen to 12 be king over all the nation. And bow down

before his seed, for on our behalf it will die in wars visible and invisible, and will be among you an eternal king.

7 1, 2 And Reuben died, having given these commands to his sons. And they placed him in a coffin until they carried him up from Egypt, and

buried him in Hebron in the cave where his father was.


1 1 The copy of the words of Simeon, the things which he spake to his sons before he died, in the 2 hundred and twentieth year of his life, at

which time Joseph, his brother, died. For when Simeon was sick , his sons came to visit him, and he strengthened himself and sat up and kissed

them, and said:--

2 1 Hearken, my children, to Simeon your father, And I will declare unto you what things I have in my heart. 2 I was born of Jacob as my father's

second son; And my mother Leah called me Simeon, Because the Lord had heard her prayer. 3 Moreover, I became strong exceedingly; I shrank

from no achievement, Nor was I afraid of ought. 4 For my heart was hard, And my liver was immovable, And my bowels without compassion. 5,

6 Because valour also has been given from the Most High to men in soul and body. For in the time of my youth I was jealous in many things of

Joseph, because my father loved him beyond 7 all. And I set my mind against him to destroy him, because the prince of deceit sent forth the

spirit of jealousy and blinded my mind, so that I regarded him not as a brother, nor did I spare even 8 Jacob my father. But his God and the God

of his fathers sent forth His angel, and delivered him 9 out of my hands. For when I went to Shechem to bring ointment for the flocks, and

Reuben to Dothan, where were our necessaries and all our stores, Judah my brother sold him to the Ishmaelites. 10 And when Reuben heard

these things he was grieved, for he wished to restore him to his father. 11 But on hearing this I was exceedingly wroth against Judah in that he

let him go away alive, and 12 for five months I continued wrathful against him. But the Lord restrained me, and withheld from 13 me the power

of my hands; for my right hand was half withered for seven days. And I knew, my children, that because of Joseph this had befallen me, and I

repented and wept; and I besought the Lord God that my hand might be restored, and that I might hold aloof from all pollution and envy 14

and from all folly. For I knew that I had devised an evil thing before the Lord and Jacob my father, on account of Joseph my brother, in that I

envied him.

3 1 2 And now, my children, hearken unto me and beware of the spirit of deceit and envy. For envy ruleth over the whole mind of a man, and

suffereth him neither to eat nor to drink, nor to do any 3 good thing. But it ever suggesteth (to him) to destroy him that he envieth; and so long

as he that 4 is envied flourisheth, he that envieth fadeth away. Two years therefore I afflicted my soul with fasting in the fear of the Lord, and I

learnt that deliverance from envy cometh by the fear of God. 5 For if a man flee to the Lord, the evil spirit runneth away from him, and his mind

is lightened. 6 And henceforward he sympathiseth with him whom he envied and forgiveth those who are hostile to him, and so ceaseth from

his envy.

4 1 And my father asked Concerning me, because he saw that I was sad; and I said unto him, I am 2 pained in my liver. For I mourned more than

they all, because I was guilty of the selling of Joseph. 3 And when we went down into Egypt, and he bound me as a spy, I knew that I was

suffering justly, 4 and I grieved not. Now Joseph was a good man, and had the Spirit of God within him: being compassionate and pitiful, he

bore no malice against me; but loved me even as the rest of his 5 brethren. Beware, therefore, my children, of all jealousy and envy, and walk in

singleness of soul and with good heart, keeping in mind Joseph your father's brother, that God may give you also grace and glory, and blessing

upon your heads, even as ye saw in 6 Joseph's case. All his days he reproached us not concerning this thing, but loved us as his own 7 soul, and

beyond his own sons glorified us, and gave us riches, and cattle and fruits. Do ye also, my children, love each one his brother with a good heart

and the spirit of envy will withdraw from 8 you. For this maketh savage the soul and destroyeth the body; it causeth anger and war in the mind,

and stirreth up unto deeds of blood, and leadeth the mind into frenzy, and suffereth not prudence to act in men; moreover, it taketh away

sleep, [and causeth tumult to the soul and trembling to the body]. 9 For even in sleep some malicious jealousy, deluding him, gnaweth and with

wicked spirits disturbeth his soul, and causeth the body to be troubled, and waketh the mind from sleep in confusion; and as a wicked and

poisonous spirit, so appeareth it to men.

5 1 Therefore was Joseph comely in appearance and goodly to look upon, because no wickedness 2 dwelt in him; for some of the trouble of the

spirit the face manifesteth. And now, my children, Make your hearts good before the Lord, And your ways straight before men. And ye shall find

grace before the Lord and men. 3 Beware, therefore, of fornication, For fornication is mother of all evils, Separating from God, and bringing

near to Beliar. 4 For I have seen it inscribed in the writing of Enoch that your sons shall be corrupted in fornication, 5 and shall do harm to the

sons of Levi with the sword. But they shall not be able to withstand Levi; 6 for he shall wage the war of the Lord, and shall conquer all your

hosts. And they shall be few in number, divided in Levi and Judah, and there shall be none of you for sovereignty, even as also our father

prophesied in his blessings.


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

6 1, 2 Behold I have told you all things, that I may be acquitted of your sin. Now, if ye remove from you your envy and all stiff-neckedness, As a

rose shall my bones flourish in Israel, And as a lily my flesh in Jacob, And my odour shall be as the odour of Libanus; And as cedars shall holy

ones be multiplied from me forever, And their branches shall stretch afar off. 3 Then shall perish the seed of Canaan, And a remnant shall not

be unto Amalek, And all the Cappadocians shall perish, And all the Hittites shall be utterly destroyed. 4 Then shall fail the land of Ham, And all

the people shall perish. Then shall all the earth rest from trouble, And all the world under heaven from war. 5 Then the Mighty One of Israel

shall glorify Shem, For the Lord God shall appear on earth, And Himself save men. 6 Then shall all the spirits of deceit be given to be trodden

under foot, And men shall rule over wicked spirits. 7 Then shall I arise in joy, And will bless the Most High because of his marvellous works,

[Because God hath taken a body and eaten with men and saved men].

7 1 And now, my children, obey Levi and Judah, and be not lifted up against these two tribes, for 2 from them shall arise unto you the salvation

of God. For the Lord shall raise up from Levi as it were a High-priest, and from Judah as it were a King [God and man], He shall save all [the

Gentiles 3 and] the race of Israel. Therefore I give you these commands that ye also may command your children that they may observe them

throughout their generations.

8 1 And when Simeon had made an end of commanding his sons, he slept with his fathers, being an 2 hundred and twenty years old. And they

laid him in a wooden coffin, to take up his bones to 3 Hebron. And they took them up secretly during a war of the Egyptians. For the bones of

Joseph 4 the Egyptians guarded in the tombs of the kings. For the sorcerers told them; that on the departure of the bones of Joseph there

should be throughout all the land darkness and gloom, and an exceeding great plague to the Egyptians, so that even with a lamp a man should

not recognize his brother.

9 1, 2 And the sons of Simeon bewailed their father. And they were in Egypt until the day of their departure by the hand of Moses.


1 1 The copy of the words of Levi, the things which he ordained unto his sons, according to all that 2 they should do, and what things should

befall them until the day of judgement. He was sound in health when he called them to him; for it had been revealed to him that he should die.

And when they were gathered together he said to them:

2 1, 2 I, Levi, was born in Haran, and I came with my father to Shechem. And I was young, about

3 twenty years of age, when, with Simeon, I wrought vengeance on Hamor for our sister Dinah. And when I was feeding the flocks in Abel-Maul,

the spirit of understanding of the Lord came upon me, and I saw all men corrupting their way, and that unrighteousness had built for itself

walls, and lawlessness 4 sat upon towers. And I was grieving for the race of the sons of men, and I prayed to the 5 Lord that I might be saved.

Then there fell upon me a sleep, and I beheld a high mountain, and 6 I was upon it. And behold the heavens were opened and an angel of God

said to me, Levi enter 7 And I entered from the first heaven, and I saw there a great sea hanging. 8 And further I saw a second heaven far

brighter and more brilliant, for there was a boundless light also therein. 9 And I said to the angel, Why Is this so? And the angel said to me,

Marvel not at this, for thou shalt see another heaven more brilliant and incomparable. 10 And when thou hast ascended thither, Thou shalt

stand near the Lord, And shalt be His minister, And shalt declare His mysteries to men, And shall proclaim concerning Him that shall redeem

Israel. 11 And by thee and Judah shall the Lord appear among men Saving every race of men. 12 And from the Lord's portion shall be thy life,

And He shall be thy field and vineyard, And fruits, gold, and silver.

3 l Hear, therefore, regarding the heavens which have been shown to thee. The lowest is for this cause gloomy unto thee, in that it beholds all

the unrighteous deeds of men. 2 And it has fire, snow, and ice made ready for the day of judgement, in the righteous judgement of God; for in

it are all the spirits of the retributions for vengeance on men. 3 And in the second are the hosts of the armies which are ordained for the day of

judgement, to work vengeance on the spirits of deceit and of Beliar. And above them are the holy ones. 4 And in the highest of all dwelleth the

Great Glory, far above all holiness. 5 In [the heaven next to] it are the archangels, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the sins

of ignorance of the righteous; Offering to the Lord a sweet- smelling savour, a reasonable and a bloodless offering. 7 And [in the heaven below

this] are the angels who bear answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord. 8 And in the heaven next to this are thrones and dominions, in

which always they offer praise to God. 9 When, therefore, the Lord looketh upon us, all of us are shaken; yea, the heavens, and the earth, and

the abysses are shaken at the presence of His majesty. 10 But the sons of men, having no perception of these things sin and provoke the Most


4 1 Now, therefore, know that the Lord shall execute judgment upon the sons of men. Because when the rocks are being rent, And the sun

quenched, And the waters dried up, And the fire cowering, And all creation troubled, And the invisible spirits melting away; And Hades taketh

spoils through the visitations of the Most High, Men will be unbelieving and persist in their iniquity. On this account with punishment shall they

be judged. 2 Therefore the Most High hath heard thy prayer, To separate thee from iniquity, and that thou shouldst become to Him a son, And

a servant, and a minister of His presence. 3 The light of knowledge shalt thou light up in Jacob, And as the sun shalt thou be to all the seed of

Israel. 4 And there shall be given to thee a blessing, and to all thy seed, Until the Lord shall visit all the Gentiles in His tender mercies for ever. 5

And therefore there have been given to thee counsel and understanding, That thou mightst instruct thy sons concerning this; 6 Because they

that bless Him shall be blessed, And they that curse Him shall perish.

5 1 And thereupon the angel opened to me the gates of heaven, and I saw the holy temple, and upon 2 a throne of glory the Most High. And He

said to me: Levi, I have given thee the blessings of the 3 priesthood until I come and sojourn in the midst of Israel. Then the angel brought me

down to the earth, and gave me a shield and a sword, and said to me: Execute vengeance on Shechem because 4 of Dinah, thy sister, and I will

be with thee because the Lord hath sent me. And I destroyed at 5 that time the sons of Hamor, as it is written in the heavenly tables. And I said

to him: I pray 6 thee, O Lord, tell me Thy name, that I may call upon Thee in a day of tribulation. And he said: I am the angel who intercedeth for

the nation of Israel that they may not be smitten utterly, 7 for every evil spirit attacketh it. And after these things I awaked, and blessed the

Most High, and the angel who intercedeth for the nation of Israel and for all the righteous.

6 1 And when I was going to my father, I found a brazen shield; wherefore also the name of the 2 mountain is Aspis, which is near Gebal, to the

south of Abila And I kept these words in my 3 heart. And after this I counselled my father, and Reuben my brother, to bid the sons of Hamor not

to be circumcised; for I was zealous because of the abomination which they had wrought on 4, 5 my sister. And I slew Shechem first, and

Simeon slew Hamor. And after this my brothers 6 came and smote that city with the edge of the sword. And my father heard these things and

was wroth, and he was grieved in that they had received the circumcision, and after that had been 7 put to death, and in his blessings he looked

amiss upon us. For we sinned because we had done 8 this thing against his will, and he was sick on that day. But I saw that the sentence of God


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

was for evil upon Shechem; for they sought to do to Sarah and Rebecca as they had done to Dinah our 9 sister, but the Lord prevented them.

And they persecuted Abraham our father when he was a stranger, and they vexed his flocks when they were big with young; and Eblaen, who

was born in his 10 house, they most shamefully handled. And thus they did to all strangers, taking away their 11 wives by force, and they

banished them. But the wrath of the Lord came upon them to the uttermost.

7 1 And I said to my father Jacob: By thee will the Lord despoil the Canaanites, and will give 2 their land to thee and to thy seed after thee. For

from this day forward shall Shechem be 3 called a city of imbeciles; for as a man mocketh a fool, so did we mock them. Because also 4 they had

wrought folly in Israel by defiling my sister. And we departed and came to Bethel.

8 1, 2 And there again I saw a vision as the former, after we had spent there seventy days. And I saw seven men in white raiment saying unto

me: Arise, put on the robe of the priesthood, and the crown of righteousness, and the breastplate of understanding, and the garment of truth,

and the plate of faith, and the 3 turban of the head, and the ephod of prophecy. And they severally carried (these things) and put (them,) on

me, and said unto me: From henceforth become a priest of the Lord, thou and thy seed for 4, 5 ever. And the first anointed me with holy oil,

and gave to me the staff of judgment. The second washed me with pure water, and fed me with bread and wine (even) the most holy things,

and clad 6, 7 me with a holy and glorious robe. The third clothed me with a linen vestment like an ephod. The 8, 9 fourth put round me a girdle

like unto purple. The fifth gave me a branch of rich olive. The sixth 10 placed a crown on my head. The seventh placed on my head a diadem of

priesthood, and filled my 11 hands with incense, that I might serve as priest to the Lord God. And they said to me: Levi, thy 12 seed shall be

divided into three offices, for a sign of the glory of the Lord who is to come. And the 13 first portion shall be great; yea, greater than it shall

none be. The second shall be in the priesthood. 14 And the third shall be called by a new name, because a king shall arise in Judah, and shall 15

establish a new priesthood, after the fashion of the Gentiles [to all the Gentiles]. And His presence is beloved, as a prophet of the Most High, of

the seed of Abraham our father. 16 Therefore, every desirable thing in Israel shall be for thee and for thy seed, And ye shall eat everything fair

to look upon, And the table of the Lord shall thy seed apportion. 17 And some of them shall be high priests, and judges, and scribes; For by their

mouth shall the holy place be guarded. 18, 19 And when I awoke, I understood that this (dream) was like the first dream. And I hid this also in

my heart, and told it not to any man upon the earth.

9 1, 2 And after two days I and Judah went up with our father Jacob to Isaac our father's father. And my father's father blessed me according to

all the words of the visions which I had seen. And 3 he would not come with us to Bethel. And when we came to Bethel, my father saw a vision

4 concerning me, that I should be their priest unto God. And he rose up early in the morning, 5 and paid tithes of all to the Lord through me.

And so we came to Hebron to dwell there. 6 And Isaac called me continually to put me in remembrance of the law of the Lord, even as the 7

angel of the Lord showed unto me. And he taught me the law of the priesthood, of sacrifices, 8 whole burnt-offerings, first-fruits, freewill-

offerings, peace-offerings. And each day he was instructing me, and was busied on my behalf before the Lord, and said to me: Beware of the

spirit of 10 fornication; for this shall continue and shall by thy seed pollute the holy place. Take, therefore, to thyself a wife without blemish or

pollution, w bile yet thou art young, and not of the race of 11 strange nations. And before entering into the holy place, bathe; and when thou

offerest the 12 sacrifices wash; and again, when thou finishest the sacrifice, wash Of twelve trees having leaves 13, offer to the Lord, as

Abraham taught me also. And of every clean beast and bird offer a 14 sacrifice to the Lord. And of all thy first -fruits and of wine offer the first,

as a sacrifice to the Lord God; and every sacrifice thou shalt salt with salt.

10 1 Now, therefore, observe whatsoever I command you, children: for whatsoever things I have 2 heard from my fathers I have declared unto

you. And behold I am clear from your ungodliness and transgression, which ye shall commit in the end of the ages [against the Saviour of the

world, Christ, acting godlessly], deceiving Israel, and stirring up against it great evils from the 3 Lord. And ye shall deal lawlessly together with

Israel, so He shall not bear with Jerusalem because of your wickedness; but the veil of the temple shall be rent, so as not to cover your 4 shame.

And ye shall be scattered as captives among the Gentiles, and shall be for a reproach 5 and for a curse there. For the house which the Lord shall

choose shall be called Jerusalem, as is contained in the book of Enoch the righteous.

11 1,2 Therefore when I took a wife I was twenty-eight years old, and her name was Melcha. And she conceived and bare a son, and I called his

name Gersam, for we were sojourners in our land 3, 4 And I saw concerning him, that he would not be in the first rank, And Kohath was born in

the 5 thirty-fifth year of my life, towards sunrise. And I saw in a vision that he was standing on high 6 in the midst of all the congregation,

Therefore I called his name Kohath [which is, beginning of 7 majesty and instruction]. And she bare me a third son, in the fortieth year of my

life; and since his mother bare him with difficulty, I called him Merari, that is, 'my bitterness,' because he also was 8 like to die. And Jochebed

was born in Egypt, in my sixty-fourth year, for I was renowned then in the midst of my brethren.

12 1, 2 And Gersam took a wife, and she bare to him Lomni and Semei. And the sons of Kohath, 3, 4 Ambram, Issachar, Hebron, and Ozeel. And

the sons of Merari, Mooli, and Mouses. And in the ninety-fourth year Ambram took Jochebed my daughter to him to wife, for they were born in

one 5 day, he and my daughter. Eight years old was I when I went into the land of Canaan, and eighteen years when I slew Shechem, and at

nineteen years I became priest, and at twenty-eight years I took 6 a wife, and at forty-eight I went into Egypt. And behold, my children, ye are a

third generation. 7 In my hundred and eighteenth year Joseph died.

13 1 And now, my children, I command you: Fear the Lord your God with your whole heart, And walk in simplicity according to all His law. 2 And

do ye also teach your children letters, That they may have understanding all their life, Reading unceasingly the law of God. 3 For every one that

knoweth the law of the Lord shall be honoured, And shall not be a stranger whithersoever he goeth. 4 Yea, many friends shall he gain more

than his parents, And many men shall desire to serve him, And to hear the law from his mouth. 5 Work righteousness, therefore, my children,

upon the earth, That ye may have (it) as a treasure in heaven. 6 And sow good things in your souls, That ye may find them in your life. But if ye

sow evil things, Ye shall reap every trouble and affliction. 7 Get wisdom in the fear of God with diligence; For though there be a leading into

captivity, And cities and lands be destroyed, And gold and silver and every possession perish, The wisdom of the wise nought can take away,

Save the blindness of ungodliness, and the callousness (that comes) of sin. 8 For if one keep oneself from these evil things, Then even among his

enemies shall wisdom be a glory to him, And in a strange country a fatherland, And in the midst of foes shall prove a friend. 9 Whosoever

teaches noble things and does them, Shall be enthroned with kings, As was also Joseph my brother.

14 1 Therefore, my children, I have learnt that at the end of the ages ye will transgress against the Lord, stretching out hands to wickedness

[against Him]; and to all the Gentiles shall ye become a scorn. 2 For our father Israel is pure from the transgressions of the chief priests [who

shall lay their hands upon the Saviour of the world]. 3 For as the heaven is purer in the Lord's sight than the earth, so also be ye, the lights of

Israel, (purer) than all the Gentiles. 4 But if ye be darkened through transgressions, what, therefore, will all the Gentiles do living in blindness?

Yea, ye shall bring a curse upon our race, because the light of the law which was given for to lighten every man this ye desire to destroy by

teaching commandments contrary to the ordinances of God. 5 The offerings of the Lord ye shall rob, and from His portion shall ye steal choice


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

portions, 6 eating (them) contemptuously with harlots. And out of covetousness ye shall teach the commandments of the Lord, wedded women

shall ye pollute, and the virgins of Jerusalem shall ye defile: and with harlots and adulteresses shall ye be joined, and the daughters of the

Gentiles shall ye take to wife, purifying them with an unlawful purification; and your union shall be like unto Sodom and 7 Gomorrah. And ye

shall be puffed up because of your priesthood, lifting yourselves up against 8 men, and not only so, but also against the commands of God. For

ye shall contemn the holy things with jests and laughter.

15 1 Therefore the temple, which the Lord shall choose, shall be laid waste through your uncleanness, 2 and ye shall be captives throughout all

nations. And ye shall be an abomination unto them, and ye 3 shall receive reproach and everlasting shame from the righteous judgement of

God. And all who hate 4 you shall rejoice at your destruction. And if you were not to receive mercy through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our

fathers, not one of our seed should be left upon the earth.

16 1 And now I have learnt that for seventy weeks ye shall go astray, and profane the priesthood, and 2 pollute the sacrifices. And ye shall make

void the law, and set at nought the words of the prophets by evil perverseness. And ye shall persecute righteous men, and hate the godly the

words of the 3 faithful shall ye abhor. [And a man who reneweth the law in the power of the Most High, ye shall call a deceiver; and at last ye

shall rush (upon him) to slay him, not knowing his dignity, taking 4 innocent blood through wickedness upon your heads.] And your holy places

shall be laid waste 5 even to the ground because of him. And ye shall have no place that is clean; but ye shall be among the Gentiles a curse and

a dispersion until He shall again visit you and in pity shall receive you [through faith and water].

17 1 And whereas ye have heard concerning the seventy weeks, hear also concerning the priesthood. 2 For in each jubilee there shall be a

priesthood. And in the first jubilee, the first who is anointed to the priesthood shall be great, and shall speak to God as to a father. And his

priesthood shall be perfect with the Lord, [and in the day of his gladness shall he arise for the salvation of the world]. 3 In the second jubilee, he

that is anointed shall be conceived in the sorrow of beloved ones; and his 4 priesthood shall be honoured and shall be glorified by all. And the

third priest shall be taken hold 5 of by sorrow. And the fourth shall be in pain, because unrighteousness shall gather itself against 6 him

exceedingly, and all Israel shall hate each one his neighbour. The fifth shall be taken hold of 7 by darkness Likewise also the sixth and the

seventh. And in the seventh shall be such pollution 8 as I cannot express before men, for they shall know it who do these things. Therefore shall

they 9 be taken captive and become a prey, and their land and their substance shall be destroyed. 10 And in the fifth week they shall return to

their desolate country, and shall renew the house of the 11 Lord. And in the seventh week shall become priests, (who are) idolaters, adulterers,

lovers of money, proud, lawless, lascivious, abusers of children and beasts.

18 1 And after their punishment shall have come from the Lord, the priesthood shall fail. 2 Then shall the Lord raise up a new priest. And to him

all the words of the Lord shall be revealed; And he shall execute a righteous judgement upon the earth for a multitude of days. 3 And his star

shall arise in heaven as of a king. Lighting up the light of knowledge as the sun the day, And he shall be magnified in the world. 4 He shall shine

forth as the sun on the earth, And shall remove all darkness from under heaven, And there shall be peace in all the earth. 5 The heavens shall

exult in his days, And the earth shall be glad, And the clouds shall rejoice, [And the knowledge of the Lord shall be poured forth upon the earth,

as the water of the seas; And the angels of the glory of the presence of the Lord shall be glad in him. 6 The heavens shall be opened, And From

the temple of glory shall come upon him sanctification, With the Father's voice as from Abraham to Isaac. 7 And the glory of the Most High shall

be uttered over him, And the spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him [in the water]. 8 For he shall give the majesty of the

Lord to His sons in truth for evermore; And there shall none succeed him for all generations for ever. 9 And in his priesthood the Gentiles shall

be multiplied in knowledge upon the earth, And enlightened through the grace of the Lord: In his priesthood shall sin come to an end, And the

lawless shall cease to do evil. [And the just shall rest in him.] 10 And he shall open the gates of paradise, And shall remove the threatening

sword against Adam. 11 And he shall give to the saints to eat from the tree of life, And the spirit of holiness shall be on them. 12 And Beliar shall

be bound by him, And he shall give power to His children to tread upon the evil spirits. 13 And the Lord shall rejoice in His children, And be well

pleased in His beloved ones for ever. 14 Then shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob exult, And I will be glad, And all the saints shall clothe

themselves with joy.

19 1 And now, my children, ye have heard all; choose, therefore, for yourselves either the light or the 2 darkness, either the law of the Lord or

the works of Beliar. And his sons answered him, saying, 3 Before the Lord we will walk according to His law. And their father said unto them,

The Lord is witness, and His angels are witnesses, and ye are witnesses, and I am witness, concerning the word 4 of your mouth. And his sons

said unto him: We are witnesses. And thus Levi ceased commanding his sons; and he stretched out his feet on the bed, and was gathered to his

fathers, after he had 5 lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. And they laid him in a coffin, and afterwards they buried him in Hebron, with

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob


1 1, 2 The copy of the words of Judah, what things he spake to his sons before he died. They gathered 3 themselves together, therefore, and

came to him, and he said to them: Hearken, my children, to Judah your father. I was the fourth son born to my father Jacob; and Leah my

mother named 4 me Judah, saying, I give thanks to the Lord, because He hath given me a fourth son also. I was 5 swift in my youth, and

obedient to my father in everything. And I honoured my mother and my 6 mother's sister. And it came to pass, when I became a man, that my

father blessed me, saying, Thou shalt be a king, prospering in all things.

2 1, 2 And the Lord showed me favour in all my works both in the field and in the house. I know that 3 I raced a hind, and caught it, and

prepared the meat for my father, and he did eat. And the roes I used to master in the chase, and overtake all that was in the plains. A wild mare

I overtook, and 4 caught it and tamed it. I slew a lion and plucked a kid out of its mouth. I took a bear by its paw 5 and hurled it down the cliff,

and it was crushed. I outran the wild boar, and seizing it as I ran, 6 I tore it in sunder. A leopard in Hebron leaped upon my dog, and I caught it

by the tail, and 7 hurled it on the rocks, and it was broken in twain. I found a wild ox feeding in the fields, and seizing it by the horns, and

whirling it round and stunning it, I cast it from me and slew it.

3 1 And when the two kings of the Canaanites came sheathed in armour against our flocks, and much people with them, single-handed I rushed

upon the king of Hazor, and smote him on the greaves 2 and dragged him down, and so I Slew him. And the other, the king of Tappuah, as he

sat upon his 3 horse, [I slew, and so I scattered all his people. Achor the king] a man of giant stature I found, hurling javelins before and behind

as he sat on horseback, and I took up a stone of sixty pounds 4 weight, and hurled it and smote his horse, and killed it. And I fought with (this)

other for two 5 hours; and I clave his shield in twain, and I chopped off his feet, and killed him. And as I was 6 stripping off his breastplate,

behold nine men his companions began to fight with me. And I wound my garment on my hand; and I slung stones at them, and killed four of


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

them, and the rest fled. 7 And Jacob my father slew Beelesath, king of all the kings, a giant in strength, twelve cubits high. 8, 9 And fear fell

upon them, and they ceased warring against us. Therefore my father was free from 10 anxiety in the wars when I was with my brethren. For he

saw in a vision concerning me that an angel of might followed me everywhere, that I should not be overcome.

4 1 And in the south there came upon us a greater war than that in Shechem; and I joined in battle array with my brethren, and pursued a

thousand men, and slew of them two hundred men and 2, 3 four kings. And I went up upon the wall, and I slew four mighty men. And so we

captured Hazor, and took all the spoil.

5 1 On the next day we departed to Aretan, a city strong and walled and inaccessible, threatening us 2 with death. But I and Gad approached on

the east side of the city, and Reuben and Levi on the 3 west. And they that were upon the wall, thinking that we were alone, were drawn down

against 4 us. And so my brothers secretly climbed up the wall on both sides by stakes, and entered the city, 5 while the men knew it not. And

we took it with the edge of the sword. And as for those who had taken refuge in the tower, we set fire to the tower and took both it and them.

6 And as we were departing the men of Tappuah set upon our spoil, and delivering it up to our sons we fought with them as far as Tappuah. 7

And we slew them and burnt their city, and took as spoil all that was in it.

6 1, 2 And when I was at the waters of Kozeba, the men of Jobel came against us to battle. And we fought with them and routed them; and

their allies from Shiloh we slew, and we did not leave 3 them power to come in against us. And the men of Makir came upon us the fifth day, to

seize our spoil; and we attacked them and overcame them in fierce battle: for there was a host of mighty 4 men amongst them, and we slew

them before they had gone up the ascent. And when we came to 5 their city their women rolled upon us stones from the brow of the hill on

which the city stood, And I and Simeon hid ourselves behind the town, and seized upon the heights, and destroyed this city also.

7 1 And the next day it was told us that the king of the city of Gaash with a mighty host was coming 2 against us. I, therefore, and Dan feigned

ourselves to be Amorites, and as allies went into their 3 city. And in the depth of night our brethren came and we opened to them the gates;

and we destroyed all the men and their substance, and we took for a prey all that was theirs, and their three 4 walls we cast down. And we

drew near to Thamna, where was all the substance of the hostile kings. Then being insulted by them, I was therefore wroth, and rushed against

them to the summit; and 6 they kept slinging against me stones and darts. And had not Dan my brother aided me, they would 7 have slain me.

We came upon them, therefore, with wrath, and they all fled; and passing by 8 another way, they besought my father, and he made peace with

them. And we did to them no hurt, 9 and they became tributary to us, and we restored to them their spoil. And I built Thamna, and my 10

father built Pabael. I was twenty years old when this war befell. And the Canaanites feared me and my brethren.

8 1, 2 And I had much cattle, and I had for chief herdsman Iram the Adullamite. And when I went to him I saw Parsaba, king of Adullam; and he

spake unto us, and he made us a feast; 3 and when I was heated he gave me his daughter Bathshua to wife. She bare me Er, and Onan and

Shelah; and two of them the Lord smote: for Shelah lived, and his children are ye.

9 1 And eighteen years my father abode in peace with his brother Esau, and his sons with us, after 2 that we came from Mesopotamia, from

Laban. And when eighteen years were fulfilled, in the fortieth year of my life, Esau, the brother of my father, came upon us with a mighty and

strong 3 people. And Jacob smote Esau with an arrow, and he was taken up wounded on Mount Seir, and 4 as he went he died at Anoniram.

And we pursued after the sons of Esau. Now they had a city with walls of iron and gates of brass; and we could not enter into it, and we

encamped around, and 5 besieged it. And when they opened not to us in twenty days, I set up a ladder in the sight of all and with my shield

upon my head I went up, sustaining the assault of stones, upwards of three 6, 7 talents weight; and I slew four of their mighty men. And

Reuben and Gad slew six others. Then they asked from us terms of peace; and having taken counsel with our father, we received them as 8

tributaries. And they gave us five hundred cors of wheat, five hundred baths of oil, five hundred measures of wine, until the famine, when we

went down into Egypt.

10 1 And after these things my son Er took to wife Tamar, from Mesopotamia, a daughter of Aram. 2 Now Er was wicked, and he was in need

concerning Tamar, because she was not of the land 3 of Canaan. And on the third night an angel of the Lord smote him. And he had not known

her according to the evil craftiness of his mother, for he did not wish to have children by her. In the days of the wedding-feast I gave Onan to

her in marriage; and he also in wickedness knew her not, 5 though he spent with her a year. And when I threatened him he went in unto her,

but he spilled the seed on the ground, according to the command of his mother, and he also died through wickedness. 6 And I wished to give

Shelah also to her, but his mother did not permit it; for she wrought evil against Tamar, because she was not of the daughters of Canaan, as she

also herself was.

11 1 And I knew that the race of the Canaanites was wicked, but the impulse of youth blinded my 2 mind. And when I saw her pouring out wine,

owing to the intoxication of wine I was deceived, and 3 took her although my father had not counselled (it). And while I was away she went and

took for 4 Shelah a wife from Canaan. And when I knew what she had done, I cursed her in the anguish of 5 my soul. And she also died through

her wickedness together with her sons.

12 1 And after these things, while Tamar was a widow, she heard after two years that I was going up 2 to shear my sheep, and adorned herself

in bridal array, and sat in the city Enaim by the gate. For it was a law of the Amorites, that she who was about to marry should sit in fornication

seven days 3 by the gate. Therefore being drunk with wine, I did not recognize her; and her beauty deceived 4 me, through the fashion of her

adorning. And I turned aside to her, and said: Let me go in unto thee. And she said: What wilt thou give me? And I gave her my staff, and my

girdle, and the 5 diadem of my kingdom in pledge. And I went in unto her, and she conceived. And not knowing 6 what I had done, I wished to

slay her; but she privily sent my pledges, and put me to shame. And when I called her, I heard also the secret words which I spoke when lying

with her in my drunkenness; 7 and I could not slay her, because it was from the Lord. For I said, Lest haply she did it in 8 subtlety, having

received the pledge from another woman. But I came not again near her while 9 I lived, because I had done this abomination in all Israel.

Moreover, they who were in the city said there was no harlot in the gate, because she came from another place, and sat for a while in the 10,

11 gate. And I thought that no one knew that I had gone in to her. And after this we came into 12 Egypt to Joseph, because of the famine. And I

was forty and six years old, and seventy and three years lived I in Egypt.

13 1 And now I command you, my children, hearken to Judah your father, and keep my sayings to 2 perform all the ordinances of the Lord, and

to obey the commands of God. And walk not after your lusts, nor in the imaginations of your thoughts in haughtiness of heart; and glory not in

the deeds 3 and strength of your youth, for this also is evil in the eyes of the Lord. Since I also gloried that in wars no comely woman's face ever

enticed me, and reproved Reuben my brother concerning Bilhah, the wife of my father, the spirits of jealousy and of fornication arrayed

themselves against me, until I lay with Bathshua the Canaanite, and Tamar, who was espoused to my sons. For I said to my father-in-law: I will

take counsel with my father, and so will I take thy daughter. And he was unwilling, but he showed me a boundless store of gold in his

daughter's behalf; for he was 5 a king. And he adorned her with gold and pearls, and caused her to pour out wine for us at the 6 feast with the


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

beauty of women. And the wine turned aside my eyes, and pleasure blinded my 7 heart. And I became enamoured of and I lay with her, and

transgressed the commandment of the 8 Lord and the commandment of my fathers, and I took her to wife. And the Lord rewarded me

according to the imagination of my heart, inasmuch as I had no joy in her children.

14 1 And now, my children, I say unto you, be not drunk with wine; for wine turneth the mind away 2 from the truth, and inspires the passion of

lust, and leadeth the eyes into error. For the spirit of fornication hath wine as a minister to give pleasure to the mind; for these two also take

away the 3 mind of man. For if a man drink wine to drunkenness, it disturbeth the mind with filthy thoughts leading to fornication, and heateth

the body to carnal union; and if the occasion of the lust be 4 present, he worketh the sin, and is not ashamed. Such is the inebriated man, my

children; for he 5 who is drunken reverenceth no man. For, lo, it made me also to err, so that I was not ashamed of the multitude in the city, in

that before the eyes of all I turned aside unto Tamar, and I wrought 6 a great sin, and I uncovered the covering of my sons' shame. After I had

drunk wine I reverenced 7 not the commandment of God, and I took a woman of Canaan to wife. For much discretion needeth the man who

drinketh wine, my children; and herein is discretion in drinking wine a man 8 may drink so long as he preserveth modesty. But if he go beyond

this limit the spirit of deceit attacketh his mind, and it maketh the drunkard to talk filthily, and to transgress and not to be ashamed, but even to

glory in his shame, and to account himself honourable.

15 1 He that committeth fornication is not aware when he suffers loss, and is not ashamed when put 2 to dishonour. For even though a man be

a king and commit fornication, he is stripped of his 3 kingship by becoming the slave of fornication, as I myself also suffered. For I gave my staff,

that is, the stay of my tribe; and my girdle, that is, my power; and my diadem, that is, the glory of my 4 kingdom. And indeed I repented of

these things; wine and flesh I eat not until my old age, nor 5 did I behold any joy. And the angel of God showed me that for ever do women bear

rule over 6 king and beggar alike. And from the king they take away his glory, and from the valiant man his might, and from the beggar even

that little which is the stay of his poverty.

16 1 Observe, therefore, my children, the (rights limit in wine; for there are in it four evil spirits--- of 2 lust, of hot desire, of profligacy of filthy

lucre. If ye drink wine in gladness, be ye modest in the fear of God. For if in (your) gladness the fear of God departeth, then drunkenness ariseth

and 3 shamelessness stealeth in. But if ye would live soberly do not touch wine at all, lest ye sin in words of outrage, and in fightings and

slanders, and transgressions of the commandments of God, 4 and ye perish before your time. Moreover, wine revealeth the mysteries of God

and men, even as I also revealed the commandments of God and the mysteries of Jacob my father to the Canaanitish 5 woman Bathshua, which

God bade me not to reveal. And wine is a cause both of war and confusion.

17 1 And now, I command you, my children, not to love money, nor to gaze upon the beauty of women; because for the sake of money and

beauty I was led astray to Bathshua the Canaanite. 2, 3 [For I know that because of these two things shall my race fall into wickedness. For even

wise men among my sons shall they mar, and shall cause the kingdom of Judah to be diminished, which 4 the Lord gave me because of my

obedience to my father. For I never caused grief to Jacob, my 5 father: for all things whatsoever he commanded I did. And Isaac, the father of

my father, blessed 6 me to be king in Israel, and Jacob further blessed me in like manner. And I know that from me shall the kingdom be


18 1 And I know what evils ye will do in the last days.] 2 Beware, therefore, my children, of fornication, and the love of money, and hearken to

Judah your father. 3 For these things withdraw you from the law of God, And blind the inclination of the soul, And teach arrogance, And suffer

not a man to have compassion upon his neighbour 4 They rob his soul of all goodness, And oppress him with toils and troubles, And drive away

sleep from him, And devour his flesh. 5 And he hindereth the sacrifices of God; And he remembereth not the blessing of God, He hearkeneth

not to a prophet when he speaketh, And resenteth the words of godliness. 6 For he is a slave to two contrary passions, And cannot obey God,

Because they have blinded his soul, And he walketh in the day as in the night.

19 1 My children, the love of money leadeth to idolatry; because, when led astray through money, men name as gods those who are not gods,

and it causeth him who hath it to fall into madness 2 For the sake of money I lost my children, and had not my repentance, and my humiliation,

and 3 the prayers of my father been accepted, I should have died childless. But the God of my fathers 4 had mercy on me, because I did it in

ignorance. And the prince of deceit blinded me, and I sinned as a man and as flesh, being corrupted through sins; and I learnt my own weakness

while thinking myself invincible.

20 1 Know, therefore, my children, that two spirits wait upon man the spirit of truth and the spirit 2 of deceit. And in the midst is the spirit of

understanding of the mind, to which it belongeth to turn whithersoever it will. 3 And the works of truth and the works of deceit are written

upon the hearts of men, and each one of them the Lord knoweth. 4 And there is no time at which the works of men can be hid; for on the heart

itself have they been 5 written down before the Lord. And the spirit of truth testifieth all things, and accuseth all; and the sinner is burnt up by

his own heart, and cannot raise his face to the judge.

21 1 And now, my children, I command you, love Levi, that ye may abide, and exalt not yourselves 2 against him, lest ye be utterly destroyed.

For to me the Lord gave the kingdom, and to him the 3 priesthood, and He set the kingdom beneath the priesthood. To me He gave the things

upon the 4 earth; to him the things in the heavens. As the heaven is higher than the earth, so is the priesthood of God higher than the earthly

kingdom, unless it falls away through sin from the Lord and is 5 dominated by the earthly kingdom. For the angel of the Lord said unto me: The

Lord chose him rather than thee, to draw near to Him, and to eat of His table and to offer Him the first-fruits of the choice things of the sons of

Israel; but thou shalt be king of Jacob. 6 And thou shalt be amongst them as the sea. For as, on the sea, just and unjust are tossed about, some

taken into captivity while some are enriched, so also shall every race of men be in thee: some shall be impoverished, being taken captive, and

others grow rich by plundering the possessions of others. 7 For the kings shall be as sea-monsters. They shall swallow men like fishes: The sons

and daughters of free men shall they enslave; Houses, lands, flocks, money shall they plunder: 8 And with the flesh of many shall they

wrongfully feed the ravens and the cranes; And they shall advance in evil, in covetousness uplifted, 9 And there shall be false prophets like

tempests, And they shall persecute all righteous men.

22 1 And the Lord shall bring upon them divisions one against another. And there shall be continual wars in Israel; 2 And among men of another

race shall my kingdom be brought to an end, Until the salvation of Israel shall come, Until the appearing of the God of righteousness, That Jacob

[and all the Gentiles] may rest in peace. 3 And He shall guard the might of my kingdom for ever; For the Lord sware to me with an oath that He

would not destroy the kingdom from my seed for ever.

23 1 Now I have much grief, my children, because of your lewdness and witchcrafts, and idolatries which ye shall practise against the kingdom,

following them that have familiar spirits, diviners, and 2 demons of error. Ye shall make your daughters singing girls and harlots, and ye shall

mingle in 3 the abominations of the Gentiles. For which things' sake the Lord shall bring upon you famine and pestilence, death and the sword,

beleaguering by enemies, and revilings of friends, the slaughter of children, the rape of wives, the plundering of possessions, the burning of the


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

temple of God,] the 4 laying waste of the land, the enslavement of yourselves among the Gentiles. And they shall make some of you eunuchs

for their wives. 5 Until the Lord visit you, when with perfect heart ye repent and walk in all His commandments; and He bring you up from

captivity among the Gentiles.

24 1 And after these things shall a star arise to you from Jacob in peace, And a man shall arise [from my seed], like the sun of righteousness,

walking with the sons of men in meekness and righteousness; And no sin shall be found in him. 2 and the heavens shall be open unto him, To

pour out the spirit, (even) the blessing of the Holy Father; 3 And He shall pour out the spirit of grace upon you; And ye shall be unto Him sons in

truth, And ye shall walk in His commandments first and last. 4 [This Branch of God Most High, And this Fountain giving life unto all.] 5 Then shall

the sceptre of my kingdom shine forth; And from your root shall arise a stem; 6 And from it shall grow a rod of righteousness to the Gentiles, To

judge and to save all that call upon the Lord.

26 1 And after these things shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob arise unto life, and I and my brethren shall be chiefs of the tribes of Israel: Levi

first, I the second, Joseph third, Benjamin fourth, 2 Simeon fifth; Issachar sixth, and so all in order. And the Lord blessed Levi, and the Angel of

the Presence, me; the powers of glory, Simeon; the heaven, Reuben; the earth, Issachar; the sea, Zebulun; the mountains, Joseph; the

tabernacle, Benjamin; the luminaries, Dan; Eden, Naphtali; the sun, Gad; the moon, Asher. 3 And ye shall be the people of the Lord, and have

one tongue; And there shall be there no spirit of deceit of Beliar, For he shall be cast into the fire for ever. 4 And they who have died in grief

shall arise in joy , And they who were poor for the Lord's sake shall be made rich, And they who are put to death for the Lord's sake shall awake

to life. 5 And the harts of Jacob shall run in joyfulness, And the eagles of Israel shall fly in gladness; And all the people shall glorify the Lord for


26 1 Observe, therefore, my children, all the law of the Lord, for there is hope for all them who hold 2 fast unto His ways. And he said to them:

Behold, I die before your eyes this day, a hundred and 3 nineteen years old. Let no one bury me in costly apparel, nor tear open my bowels, for

this 4 shall they who are kings do; and carry me up to Hebron with you. And Judah, when he had said these things, fell asleep; and his sons did

according to all whatsoever he commanded them, and they buried him in Hebron, with his fathers.


1 1 The copy of the words of Issachar. For he called his sons and said to them: Hearken, my children, to Issachar your father; Give ear to the

words of him who is beloved of the Lord. 2, 3 I was born the fifth son to Jacob, by way of hire for the mandrakes. For Reuben my brother 4

brought in mandrakes from the field, and Rachel met him and took them. And Reuben wept, and 5 at his voice Leah my mother came forth.

Now these (mandrakes) were sweet-smelling apples 6 which were produced in the land of Haran below a ravine of water. And Rachel said: I will

not give them to thee, but they shall be to me instead of children. For the Lord hath despised me, 7 and I have not borne children to Jacob. Now

there were two apples; and Leah said to Rachel: 8 Let it suffice thee that thou hast taken my husband: wilt thou take these also? And Rachel

said 9 to her: Thou shalt have Jacob this night for the mandrakes of thy son. And Leah said to her: 10 Jacob is mine, for I am the wife of his

youth. But Rachel said: Boast not, and vaunt not thyself; for he espoused me before thee, and for my sake he served our father fourteen years.

11 And had not craft increased on the earth and the wickedness of men prospered, thou wouldst not now see the face of Jacob.

2 1 Then appeared to Jacob an angel of the Lord, saying: Two children shall Rachel bear, inasmuch 2 as she hath refused company with her

husband, and hath chosen continency. And had not Leah my mother paid the two apples for the sake of his company, she would have borne

eight sons; for this reason she bare six, and Rachel bare the two: for on account of the mandrakes the Lord 3 visited her. For He knew that for

the sake of children she wished to company with Jacob, and not for lust of pleasure. For on the morrow also she again gave up Jacob. Because

of the mandrakes; 5 therefore, the Lord hearkened to Rachel. For though she desired them, she eat them not, but offered them in the house of

the Lord, presenting them to the priest of the Most High who was at that time.

3 1 When, therefore, I grew up, my children, I walked in uprightness of heart, and I became a husbandman for my father and my brethren, and I

brought in fruits from the field according to 2, 3 their season. And my father blessed me, for he saw that I walked in rectitude before him. And 4

I was not a busybody in my doings, nor envious and malicious against my neighbour. I never slandered any one, nor did I censure the life of any

man, walking as I did in singleness of eye. 5 Therefore, when I was thirty-five years old, I took to myself a wife, for my labour wore away my

strength, and I never thought upon pleasure with women; but owing to my toil, sleep overcame me. 6 And my father always rejoiced in my

rectitude, because I offered through the priest to the Lord 7 all first-fruits; then to my father also. And the Lord increased ten thousandfold His

benefits in my 8 hands; and also Jacob, my father, knew that God aided my singleness. For on all the poor and oppressed I bestowed the good

things of the earth in the singleness of my heart.

4 1 And now, hearken to me, my children, And walk in singleness of your heart, For I have seen in it all that is well-pleasing to the Lord. 2 The

single-(minded) man coveteth not gold, He overreacheth not his neighbour, He longeth not after manifold dainties, He delighteth not in varied

apparel. 3 He doth not desire to live a long life, But only waiteth for the will of God. 4 And the spirits of deceit have no power against him, For

he looketh not on the beauty of women, Lest he should pollute his mind with corruption. 5 There is no envy in his thoughts, [No malicious

person maketh his soul to pine away,] Nor worry with insatiable desire in his mind. 6 For he walketh in singleness of soul, And beholdeth all

things in uprightness of heart, Shunning eyes (made) evil through the error of the world, Lest he should see the perversion of any of the

commandments of the Lord.

5 1 Keep, therefore, my children, the law of God, And get singleness. And walk in guilelessness, Not playing the busybody with the business of

your neighbour, 2 But love the Lord and your neighbour, Have compassion on the poor and weak. 3 Bow down your back unto husbandry, And

toil in labours in all manner of husbandry, Offering gifts to the Lord with thanksgiving. 4 For with the first-fruits of the earth will the Lord bless

you, even as He blessed all the saints 5 from Abel even until now. For no other portion is given to you than of the fatness of the earth, 6 whose

fruits are raised by toil. For our father Jacob blessed me with blessings of the earth and of 7 first-fruits. And Levi and Judah were glorified by the

Lord even among the sons of Jacob; for the Lord gave them an inheritance, and to Levi He gave the priesthood, and to Judah the kingdom. 8

And do ye therefore obey them, and walk in the singleness of your father; [for unto Gad hath it been given to destroy the troops that are

coming upon Israel].

6 1 Know ye therefore, my children, that in the last times Your sons will forsake singleness, And will cleave unto insatiable desire; And leaving

guilelessness will draw near to malice; And forsaking the commandments of the Lord, They will cleave unto Beliar. 2 And leaving husbandry,

They will follow after their own wicked devices, And they shall be dispersed among the Gentiles. And shall serve their enemies. 3 And do you


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

therefore give these commands to your children, that, if they sin, they may the more 4 quickly return to the Lord; For He is merciful, and will

deliver them, even to bring them back into their land.

7 1 Behold, therefore, as ye see, I am a hundred and twenty-six years old and am not conscious of committing any sin. 2 Except my wife I have

not known any woman. I never committed fornication by the uplifting of my eyes. 3 I drank not wine, to be led astray thereby; I coveted not

any desirable thing that was my neighbour's. 4 Guile arose not in my heart; A lie passed not through my lips. 5 If any man were in distress I

joined my sighs with his, And I shared my bread with the poor. I wrought godliness, all my days I kept truth 6 I loved the Lord; Likewise also

every man with all my heart. 7 So do you also these things, my children, And every spirit of Beliar shall flee from you, And no deed of wicked

men shall rule over you; And every wild beast shall ye subdue, Since you have with you the God of heaven and earth (And) walk with men in

singleness of heart. 8 And having said these things, he commanded his sons that they should carry him up to Hebron, and bury him there in the

cave with his fathers. And he stretched out his feet and died, at a good old age; with every limb sound, and with strength unabated, he slept the

eternal sleep.


1 1 The copy of the words of Zebulun, which he enjoined on his sons before he died in the 2 hundred and fourteenth year of his life, two years

after the death of Joseph. And he said to them: 3 Hearken to me, ye sons of Zebulun, attend to the words of your father. I, Zebulun, was born a

good gift to my parents. For when I was born my father was increased very exceedingly, both in flocks 4 and herds, when with the straked rods

he had his portion. I am not conscious that I have sinned 5 all my days, save in thought. Nor yet do I remember that I have done any iniquity,

except the sin of ignorance which I committed against Joseph; for I covenanted with my brethren not to tell 6 my father what had been done.

But I wept in secret many days on account of Joseph, for I feared my brethren, because they had all agreed that if any one should declare the

secret, he should be slain. 7 But when they wished to kill him, I adjured them much with tears not to be guilty of this sin.

2 1, 2 For Simeon and Gad came against Joseph to kill him, and he said unto them with tears: Pity me, my brethren, have mercy upon the

bowels of Jacob our father: lay not upon me your hands 3 to shed innocent blood, for I have not sinned against you. And if indeed I have sinned,

with chastening chastise me, my brethren but lay not upon me your hand, for the sake of Jacob our 4 father. And as he spoke these words,

wailing as he did so, I was unable to bear his lamentations, and began to weep, and my liver was poured out, and all the substance of my

bowels was loosened. 5 And I wept with Joseph, and my heart sounded, and the joints of my body trembled, and I was 6 not able to stand. And

when Joseph saw me weeping with him, and them coming against him to 7 slay him, he fled behind me, beseeching them. But meanwhile

Reuben arose and said: Come, my brethren, let us not slay him, but let us cast him into one of these dry pits, which our fathers digged 8 and

found no water. For for this cause the Lord forbade that water should rise up in them, in order that Joseph should be preserved. And they did

so, until they sold him to the Ishmaelites.

3 1, 2 For in his price I had no share, my children. But Simeon and Gad and six other of our brethren took the price of Joseph, and bought

sandals for themselves, and their wives, and their children, 3 saying: We will not eat of it, for it is the price of our brother's blood, but we will

assuredly tread it under foot, because he said that he would be king over us, and so let us see what will become of 4 his dreams. Therefore it is

written in the writing of the law of Moses, that whosoever will not raise 5 up seed to his brother, his sandal should be unloosed, and they

should spit in his face. And the brethren of Joseph wished not that their brother should live, and the Lord loosed from them the 6 sandal which

they wore against Joseph their brother. For when they came into Egypt they were unloosed by the servants of Joseph outside the gate, and so

they made obeisance to Joseph after the 7 fashion of King Pharaoh. And not only did they make obeisance to him, but were spit upon also, 8

falling down before him forthwith, and so they were put to shame before the Egyptians. For after this the Egyptians heard all the evils that they

had done to Joseph.

4 1 And after he was sold my brothers sat down 2 to eat and drink. But I, through pity for Joseph, did not eat, but watched the pit, since Judah

feared lest Simeon, Dan, and Gad should rush 3 off and slay him. But when they saw that I did not eat, they set me to watch him, till he was 5

sold to the Ishmaelites. And when Reuben came and heard that while he was away (Joseph) had been sold, he rent his garments, (and)

mourning, said: How shall I look on the face of my father 6 Jacob? And he took the money and ran after the merchants, but as he failed to find

them he returned grieving. But the merchants had left the broad road and marched through the Troglodytes by a short cut. 7 But Reuben was

grieved, and eat no food that day. Dan therefore came to him and said: 8, 9 Weep not, neither grieve; for we have found what we can say to

our father Jacob. Let us slay 10 a kid of the goats, and dip in it the coat of Joseph; and let us send it to Jacob, saying: Know, is 11 this the coat of

thy son? And they did so. For they stripped off from Joseph his coat when they were selling him, and put upon him the garment of a slave. Now

Simeon took the coat, and would not give it up, for he wished to rend it with his sword, as he was angry that Joseph lived and that 12 he had

not slain him. Then we all rose up and said unto him: If thou givest not up the coat, we 13 will say to our father that thou alone didst this evil

thing in Israel. And so he gave it unto them, and they did even as Dan had said.

5 I And now, my children, I bid you to keep the commands of the Lord, and to show mercy to your neighbours, and to have compassion towards

all, not towards men only, but also towards, beasts. 2 For all this thing's sake the Lord blessed me, and when all my brethren were sick, I

escaped without 3 sickness, for the Lord knoweth the purposes of each. Have, therefore, compassion in your hearts, my children, because even

as a man doeth to his neighbour, even so also will the Lord do to him. 4 For the sons of my brethren were sickening and were dying on account

of Joseph, because they 5 showed not mercy in their hearts; but my sons were preserved without sickness, as ye know. And when I was in the

land of Canaan, by the sea-coast, I made a catch of fish for Jacob my father; and when many were choked in the sea, I continued unhurt.

6 1 I was the first to make a boat to sail upon the sea, for the Lord gave me understanding and 2 wisdom therein. And I let down a rudder

behind it, and I stretched a sail upon another upright 3 piece of wood in the midst. And I sailed therein along the shores, catching fish for the

house of my father until we came to Egypt. 4, 5 [And through compassion I shared my catch with every stranger. And if a man were a stranger,

or sick, or aged, I boiled the fish, and dressed them well, and offered them to all men, as every man 6 had need, grieving with and having

compassion upon them. Wherefore also the Lord satisfied me with abundance of fish when catching fish; for he that shareth with his neighbour

receiveth manifold 7 more from the Lord.] For five years I caught fish [and gave thereof to every man whom I saw, 8 and sufficed for all the

house of my father]. And in the summer I caught fish, and in the winter I kept sheep with my brethren.

7 1 [Now I will declare unto you what I did. I saw a man in distress through nakedness in winter time, and had compassion upon him, and stole

away a garment secretly from my father's house, and 2 gave it to him who was in distress. Do you, therefore, my children, from that which God

bestoweth upon you, show compassion and mercy without hesitation to all men, and give to every man with 3 a good heart. And if ye have not


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

the wherewithal to give to him that needeth, have compassion for 4 him in bowels of mercy. I know that my hand found not the wherewithal to

give to him that needed, and I walked with him weeping for seven furlongs, and my bowels yearned towards him in compassion.

8 1 Have, therefore, yourselves also, my children, compassion towards every man with mercy, that the 2 Lord also may have compassion and

mercy upon you. Because also in the last days God will send 3 His compassion on the earth, and wheresoever He findeth bowels of mercy He

dwelleth in him. For in the degree in which a man hath compassion upon his neighbours, in the same degree hath the 4, 5 Lord also upon him.]

And when we went down into Egypt, Joseph bore no malice against us. To whom taking heed, do ye also, my children, approve yourselves

without malice, and love one 6 another; and do not set down in account, each one of you, evil against his brother. For this breaketh unity and

divideth all kindred, and troubleth the soul, and weareth away the countenance.

9 1 Observe, therefore, the waters, and know when they flow together, they sweep along stones, trees, 2 earth, and other things. But if they

are divided into many streams, the earth swalloweth them up, 3, 4 and they vanish away. So shall ye also be if ye be divided. Be not ye,

therefore, divided into two heads, for everything which the Lord made hath but one head, and two shoulders, two 5 hands, two feet, and all

the remaining members. For I have learnt in the writing of my fathers, that Ye shall be divided in Israel, And ye shall follow two kings, And shall

work every abomination. 6 And your enemies shall lead you captive, And ye shall be evil entreated among the Gentiles, With many infirmities

and tribulations. 7 And after these things ye shall remember the Lord, and repent, [And He shall cause you to return]; for He is merciful and

compassionate. And He setteth not down in account evil to the sons of men, because they are flesh, And the spirits of deceit deceive them in all

their deeds. 8 And after these things there shall arise unto you the Lord Himself, the light of righteousness, [And healing and compassion shall

be in His wings. He shall redeem all the captivity of the sons of men from Beliar; And every spirit of deceit shall be trodden down]; And he shall

bring back all the Gentiles into zeal for Him. And ye shall return unto your land. And ye shall see Him in Jerusalem, for His name's sake. 9 And

again through the wickedness of your works shall ye provoke Him to anger, And ye shall be cast away by Him unto the time of consummation.

10 1 And now, my children, grieve not that I am dying, nor be cast down in that I am coming to my 2 end. For I shall rise again in the midst of

you, as a ruler in the midst of his sons; and I shall rejoice in the midst of my tribe, as many as shall keep the law of the Lord, and the

commandments 3 of Zebulun their father. But upon the ungodly shall the Lord bring eternal fire, and destroy them 4, 5 throughout all

generations. But I am now hastening away to my rest, as did also my fathers. But 6 do ye fear the Lord our God with all your strength all the

days of your life. And when he had 7 said these things he fell asleep, at a good old age. And his sons laid him in a wooden coffin. And afterwards

they carried him up and buried him in Hebron, with his fathers.


1 1 The copy of the words of Dan, which he spake to his sons in his last days, in the hundred and 2 twenty-fifth year of his life. For he called

together his family, and said: Hearken to my words, ye 3 sons of Dan; and give heed to the words of your father. I have proved in my heart, and

in my whole life, that truth with just dealing is good and well pleasing to God, and that lying and anger 4 are evil, because they teach man all

wickedness. I confess, therefore, this day to you, my children, 5 that in my heart I resolved on the death of Joseph my brother, the true and

good man. [And 6 I rejoiced that he was sold, because his father loved him more than us.] For the spirit of jealousy 7 and vainglory said to me:

Thou thyself also art his son. And one of the spirits of Beliar stirred me up, saying: Take this sword, and with it slay Joseph: so shall thy father

love thee when he is dead. 8 Now this is the spirit of anger that persuaded me to crush Joseph as a leopard crusheth a kid. 9 But the God of my

fathers did not suffer him to fall into my hands, so that I should find him alone and slay him, and cause a second tribe to be destroyed in Israel.

2 1 And now, my children, behold I am dying, and I tell you of a truth, that unless ye keep yourselves from the spirit of lying and of anger, and

love truth and longsuffering, ye shall perish. 2 For anger is blindness, and does not suffer one to see the face of any man with truth. 3 For

though it be a father or a mother, he behaveth towards them as enemies; though it be a brother, he knoweth him not; though it be a prophet

of the Lord, he disobeyeth him; though 4 a righteous man, he regardeth him not; though a friend, he doth not acknowledge him. For the spirit

of anger encompasseth him with the net of deceit, and blindeth his eyes, and through lying 5 darkeneth his mind, and giveth him its own

peculiar vision. And wherewith encompasseth it his eyes? With hatred of heart, so as to be envious of his brother.

3 1 For anger is an evil thing, my children, for it troubleth even the soul itself. And the body of the angry man it maketh its own, and over his

soul it getteth the mastery, and 3 it bestoweth upon the body power that it may work all iniquity. And when the body does all 4 these things,

the soul justifieth what is done, since it seeth not aright. Therefore he that is wrathful, if he be a mighty man, hath a threefold power in his

anger: one by the help of his servants; and a second by his wealth, whereby he persuadeth and overcometh wrongfully; and thirdly, having his 5

own natural power he worketh thereby the evil. And though the wrathful man be weak, yet hath 6 he a power twofold of that which is by

nature; for wrath ever aideth such in lawlessness. This spirit goeth always with lying at the right hand of Satan, that with cruelty and lying his

works may be wrought.

4 1, 2 Understand ye, therefore, the power of wrath, that it is vain. For it first of all giveth provocation by word; then by deeds it strengtheneth

him who is angry, and with sharp losses disturbeth his 3 mind, and so stirreth up with great wrath his soul. Therefore, when any one speaketh

against you, be not ye moved to anger, [and if any man praiseth you as holy men, be not uplifted: be not moved 4 either to delight or to

disgust]. For first it pleaseth the hearing, and so maketh the mind keen to perceive the grounds for provocation; and then being enraged, he

thinketh that he is justly angry 5 If ye fall into any loss or ruin, my children, be not afflicted; for this very spirit maketh (a man) 6 desire that

which is perishable, in order that he may be enraged through the affliction. And if ye suffer loss voluntarily, or involuntarily, be not vexed; for

from vexation ariseth wrath with lying. 7 Moreover, a twofold mischief is wrath with lying; and they assist one another in order to disturb the

heart; and when the soul is continually disturbed, the Lord departeth from it, and Beliar ruleth over it.

5 1 Observe, therefore, my children, the commandments of the Lord, And keep His law; Depart from wrath, And hate lying, That the Lord may

dwell among you, And Beliar may flee from you. 2 Speak truth each one with his neighbour. So shall ye not fall into wrath and confusion; But ye

shall be in peace, having the God of peace, So shall no war prevail over you. 3 Love the Lord through all your life, And one another with a true

heart. 4 I know that in the last days ye shall depart from the Lord, And ye shall provoke Levi unto anger, And fight against Judah; But ye shall not

prevail against them, For an angel of the Lord shall guide them both; For by them shall Israel stand. 5 And whensoever ye depart from the Lord,

ye shall walk in all evil and work the abominations of the Gentiles, going a-whoring after women of the lawless ones, while with all wickedness

the spirits 6 of wickedness work in you. [For I have read in the book of Enoch, the righteous, that your prince is Satan, and that all the spirits of

wickedness and pride will conspire to attend constantly on the sons of Levi, to cause them to sin before the Lord. 7 And my sons will draw near

to Levi. And sin with them in all things; And the sons of Judah will be covetous, Plundering other men's goods like lions.] 8 Therefore shall ye be


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

led away [with them] into captivity, And there shall ye receive all the plagues of Egypt, And all the evils of the Gentiles. 9 And so when ye return

to the Lord ye shall obtain mercy, And He shall bring you into His sanctuary, And He shall give you peace. 10 And there shall arise unto you from

the tribe of [Judah and of] Levi the salvation of the Lord; And he shall make war against Beliar. And execute an everlasting vengeance on our

enemies; 11 And the captivity shall he take from Beliar [the souls of the saints], And turn disobedient hearts unto the Lord, And give to them

that call upon him eternal peace. 12 And the saints shall rest in Eden, And in the New Jerusalem shall the righteous rejoice, And it shall be unto

the glory of God for ever. 13 And no longer shall Jerusalem endure desolation, Nor Israel be led captive; For the Lord shall be in the midst of it

[living amongst men], And the Holy One of Israel shall reign over it [in humility and in poverty; and he who believeth on Him shall reign amongst

men in truth].

6 1, 2 And now, fear the Lord, my children, and beware of Satan and his spirits. Draw near unto God and unto the angel that intercedeth for

you, for he is a mediator between God and man, and for the 3 peace of Israel he shall stand up against the kingdom of the enemy. Therefore is

the enemy eager 4 to destroy all that call upon the Lord. For he knoweth that upon the day on which Israel shall 5 repent, the kingdom of the

enemy shall be brought to an end. For the very angel of peace shall 6 strengthen Israel, that it fall not into the extremity of evil. And it shall be

in the time of the lawlessness of Israel, that the Lord will not depart from them, but will transform them into a nation 7 that doeth His will, for

none of the angels will be equal unto him. And His name shall be in every place in Israel, and among the Gentiles. 8 Keep, therefore, yourselves,

my children, from every evil work, And cast away wrath and all lying, And love truth and long-suffering. 9 And the things which ye have heard

from your father, do ye also impart to your children [that the Saviour of the Gentiles may receive you; for he is true and long-suffering, meek

and lowly, and 10 teacheth by his works the law of God]. Depart, therefore, from all unrighteousness, and cleave unto the righteousness of

God, and your race will be saved for ever. And bury me near my fathers.

7 1, 2 And when he had said these things he kissed them, and fell asleep at a good old age. And his sons buried him, And after that they carried

up his bones, and placed them near Abraham, and 3 Isaac, and Jacob. [Nevertheless, Dan prophesied unto them that they should forget their

God, and should be alienated from the land of their inheritance and from the race of Israel, and from the family of their seed.]


1 1 The copy of the testament of Naphtali, which he ordained at the time of his death in the hundred 2 and thirtieth year of his life. When his

sons were gathered together in the seventh month, on the 3 first day of the month, while still in good health, he made them a feast of food and

wine. And after 4 he was awake in the morning, he said to them, I am dying; and they believed him not. And as he 5 glorified the Lord, he grew

strong and said that after yesterday's feast he should die. And he began 6 then to say: Hear, my children, ye sons of Naphtali, hear the words of

your father. I was born from Bilhah, and because Rachel dealt craftily, and gave Bilhah in place of herself to Jacob, and she 7 conceived and bare

me upon Rachel's knees, therefore she called my name Naphtali. For Rachel loved me very much because I was born upon her lap; and when I

was still young she was wont 8 to kiss me, and say: May I have a brother of thine from mine own womb, like unto thee. Whence 9 also Joseph

was like unto me in all things, according to the prayers of Rachel. Now my mother was Bilhah, daughter of Rotheus the brother of Deborah,

Rebecca's nurse, who was born on one and 10 the self-same day with Rachel. And Rotheus was of the family of Abraham, a Chaldean, God 11

fearing, free-born, and noble. And he was taken captive and was bought by Laban; and he gave him Euna his handmaid to wife, and she bore a

daughter, and called her name Zilpah, after the name 12 of the village in which he had been taken captive. And next she bore Bilhah, saying: My

daughter hastens after what is new, for immediately that she was born she seized the breast and hastened to suck it.

2 1 And I was swift on my feet like the deer, and my father Jacob appointed me for all messages, 2 and as a deer did he give me his blessing. For

as the potter knoweth the vessel, how much it is to contain, and bringeth clay accordingly, so also doth the Lord make the body after the

likeness of 3 the spirit, and according to the capacity of the body doth He implant the spirit. And the one does not fall short of the other by a

third part of a hair; for by weight, and measure, and rule was all the 4 creation made. And as the potter knoweth the use of each vessel, what it

is meet for, so also doth the Lord know the body, how far it will persist in goodness, and when it beginneth in evil. For 5 there is no inclination

or thought which the Lord knoweth not, for He created every man after His own image. 6 As a man's strength, so also is his work; and as his

mind, so also is his skill; and as his purpose, so also is his achievement; and as his heart, so also is his mouth; as his eye, so also is his sleep; as

his soul, so also is his word, either in the law of the Lord or in the works of Beliar. 7 And as there is a division between light and darkness,

between seeing and hearing, so also is there a division between man and man, and between woman and woman; and it is not to be said that

the 8 one is like the other either in face or in mind. For God made all things good in their order, the five senses in the head, and He joined on

the neck to the head, adding to it the hair also for comeliness and glory, then the heart for understanding, the belly for excrement, and the

stomach for (grinding), the windpipe for taking in (the breath), the liver for wrath, the gall for bitterness, the spleen for laughter, the reins for

prudence, the muscles of the loins for power, the lungs for drawing 9 in, the loins for strength, and so forth. So then, my children, let all your

works be done in order 10 with good intent in the fear of God, and do nothing disorderly in scorn or out of its due season. For if thou bid the

eye to hear, it cannot; so neither while ye are in darkness can ye do the works of light.

3 1 Be ye, therefore, not eager to corrupt your doings through covetousness or with vain words to beguile your souls; because if ye keep silence

in purity of heart, ye shall understand how to hold 2 fast the will of God, and to cast away the will of Beliar. Sun and moon and stars change not

their 3 order; so do ye also change not the law of God in the disorderliness of your doings. The Gentiles went astray, and forsook the Lord, and

changed their order, and obeyed stocks and stones, spirits of 4 deceit. But ye shall not be so, my children, recognizing in the firmament, in the

earth, and in the sea, and in all created things, the Lord who made all things, that ye become not as Sodom, which 5 changed the order of

nature. In like manner the Watchers also changed the order of their nature, whom the Lord cursed at the flood, on whose account He made the

earth without inhabitants and fruitless.

4 1 These things I say unto you, my children, for I have read in the writing of Enoch that ye yourselves also shall depart from the Lord, walking

according to all the lawlessness of the Gentiles, and 2 ye shall do according to all the wickedness of Sodom. And the Lord shall bring captivity

upon you, and there shall ye serve your enemies, and ye shall be bowed down with every affliction and 3 tribulation, until the Lord have

consumed you all. And after ye have become minished and made few, ye shall return and acknowledge the Lord your God; and He shall bring

you back into your 4 land, according to His abundant mercy. And it shall be, that after that they come into the land of 5 their fathers, they shall

again forget the Lord and become ungodly. And the Lord shall scatter them upon the face of all the earth, until the compassion of the Lord shall

come, a man working righteousness and working mercy unto all them that are afar off, and to them that are near.


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

5 1 For in the fortieth year of my life, I saw a vision on the Mount of Olives, on the east of Jerusalem, 2 that the sun and the moon were

standing still. And behold Isaac, the father of my father, said to us; Run and lay hold of them, each one according to his strength; and to him

that seizeth them 3 will the sun and moon belong . And we all of us ran together, and Levi laid hold of the sun, and Judah outstripped the

others and seized the moon, and they were both of them lifted up with them. 4 And when Levi became as a sun, lo, a certain young man gave

to him twelve branches of palm; 5 and Judah was bright as the moon, and under their feet were twelve rays. [And the two, Levi and 6 Judah,

ran, and laid hold of them.] And 10, a bull upon the earth, with two great horns, and an 7 eagle's wings upon its back; and we wished to seize

him; but could not. But Joseph came, and 8 seized him, and ascended up with him on high. And I saw, for I was there, and behold a holy writing

appeared to us, saying: Assyrians, Medes, Persians, [Chaldeans,] Syrians, shall possess in captivity the twelve tribes of Israel.

6 1 And again, after seven days, I saw our father Jacob standing by the sea of Jamnia, and we were 2 with him. And behold, there came a ship

sailing by, without sailors or pilot; and there was written 3 upon the ship, The Ship of Jacob. And our father said to us: Come, let us embark on

our ship. 4 And when he had gone on board, there arose a vehement storm, and a mighty tempest of wind; and 5 our father, who was holding

the helm, departed from us. And we, being tossed with the tempest, were borne along over the sea; and the ship was filled with water, (and

was) pounded by mighty waves, 6 until it was broken up. And Joseph fled away upon a little boat, and we were all divided upon nine 7 planks,

and Levi and Judah were together. And we were all scattered unto the ends of the earth. 8, 9 Then Levi, girt about with sackcloth, prayed for us

all unto the Lord. And when the storm ceased, the ship reached the land as it were in peace. And, 10, our father came, and we all rejoiced with

one accord.

7 1 These two dreams I told to my father; and he said to me: These things must be fulfilled in their season, after that Israel hath endured many

things. 2 Then my father saith unto me: I believe God that Joseph liveth, for I see always that the Lord numbereth him with you, 3 And he said,

weeping: Ah me, my son Joseph, thou livest, though I behold thee not, and thou seest not Jacob that begat thee. 4 He caused me also,

therefore, to weep by these words, and I burned in my heart to declare that Joseph had been sold, but I feared my brethren.

8 1 And lo! my children, I have shown unto you the last times, how everything shall come to pass in 2 Israel. Do ye also, therefore, charge your

children that they be united to Levi and to Judah; For through them shall salvation arise unto Israel, And in them shall Jacob be blessed. 3 For

through their tribes shall God appear [dwelling among men] on earth, To save the race of Israel, And to gather together the righteous from

amongst the Gentiles. 4 If ye work that which is good, my children, Both men and angels shall bless you; And God shall be glorified among the

Gentiles through you, And the devil shall flee from you, And the wild beasts shall fear you, And the Lord shall love you, [And the angels shall

cleave to you]. 5 As a man who has trained a child well is kept in kindly remembrance: So also for a good work there is a good remembrance

before God. 6 But him that doeth not that which is good, Both angels and men shall curse, And God shall be dishonoured among the Gentiles

through him, And the devil shall make him as his own peculiar instrument, And every wild beast shall master him, And the Lord shall hate him. 7

For the commandments of the law are twofold, And through prudence must they be fulfilled. 8 For there is a season for a man to embrace his

wife, And a season to abstain therefrom for his prayer. 9 So, then, there are two commandments; and, unless they be done in due order, they

bring very 10 great sin upon men. So also is it with the other commandments. Be ye therefore wise in God, my Children, and prudent,

understanding the order of His commandments, and the laws of every word, that the Lord may love you.

9 1 And when he had charged them with many such words, he exhorted them that they should 2 remove his bones to Hebron, and that they

should bury him with his fathers. And when he had 3 eaten and drunken with a merry heart, he covered his face and died. And his sons did

according to all that Naphtali their father had commanded them.


1 1 The copy of the testament of Gad, what things he spake unto his sons, in the hundred and twenty 2 fifth year of his life, saying unto them:

Hearken, my children, I was the ninth son born to Jacob, 3 and I was valiant in keeping the flocks. Accordingly I guarded at night the flock; and

whenever the lion came, or the wolf, or any wild beast against the fold, I pursued it, and overtaking (it) 4 I seized its foot with my hand and

hurled it about a stone's throw, and so killed it. Now Joseph my brother was feeding the flock with us for upwards of thirty days, and being

young, he fell sick 5 by reason of the heat. And he returned to Hebron to our father, who made him lie down near him, 6 because he loved him

greatly. And Joseph told our father that the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah were slaying the best of the flock and eating them against the judgement

of Reuben and Judah. 7 For he saw that I had delivered a lamb out of the mouth of a bear, and put the bear to death; but 8 had slain the lamb,

being grieved concerning it that it could not live, and that we had eaten it. And 9 regarding this matter I was wroth with Joseph until the day

that he was sold, And the spirit of hatred was in me, and I wished not either to hear of Joseph with the ears, or see him with the eyes because

he rebuked us to our faces saying that we were eating of the flock without Judah. For whatsoever things he told our father, he believed him.

2 1 I confess now my sin, my children, that oftentimes I wished to kill him, because I hated him from 2 my heart. Moreover, I hated him yet

more for his dreams; and I wished to lick him out of the land of the living, even as an ox licketh up the grass of the field. 3 Therefore I and

Simeon sold him to the Ishmaelites [for thirty pieces of gold, and ten of them we hid, and showed the twenty to our brethren] 4 And thus

through covetousness we were bent on slaying him. 5 And the God of my fathers delivered him from my hands, that I should not work

lawlessness in Israel.

3 1 And now, my children, hearken to the words of truth to work righteousness, and all the law of the Most High, and go not astray through the

spirit of hatred, for it is evil in all the doings of 2 men. Whatsoever a man doeth the hater abominateth him: and though a man worketh the law

of the Lord, he praiseth him not; though a man feareth the Lord, and taketh pleasure in that which is 3 righteous, he loveth him not. He

dispraiseth the truth, he envieth him that prospereth, he welcometh evil-speaking, he loveth arrogance, for hatred blindeth his soul; as I also

then looked on Joseph.

4 I Beware, therefore, my children of hatred; for it worketh lawlessness even against the Lord Himself. 2 For it will not hear the words of His

commandments concerning the loving of one's neighbour, 3 and it sinneth against God. For if a brother stumble, it delighteth immediately to

proclaim it to all men, and is urgent that he should be judged for it, and be punished and be put to death. 4 And if it be a servant it stirreth him

up against his master, and with every affliction it deviseth against 5 him if possibly he can be put to death, For hatred worketh with envy also

against them that prosper: so long as it heareth of or seeth their success, it always languisheth. 6 For as love would quicken even the dead, and

would call back them that are condemned to die, so hatred would slay the living, and those that had sinned venially it would not suffer to live. 7

For the spirit of hatred worketh together with Satan, through hastiness of spirit, in all things to men's death; but the spirit of love worketh

together with the law of God in long-suffering unto the salvation of men.


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

5 1 Hatred, therefore, is evil, for it constantly mateth with lying, speaking against the truth; and it maketh small things to be great, and causeth

the light to be darkness, and calleth the sweet bitter, and teacheth slander, and kindleth wrath, and stirreth up war, and violence and all

covetousness; 2 it filleth the heart with evils and devilish poison. These things, therefore, I say to you from experience, my children, that ye may

drive forth hatred, which is of the devil, and cleave to 3 the love of God. Righteousness casteth out hatred, humility destroyeth envy. For he

that is just and humble is ashamed to do what is unjust, being reproved not of another, but of his own heart, 4 because the Lord looketh on his

inclination. He speaketh not against a holy man, because the fear 5 of God overcometh hatred. For fearing lest he should offend the Lord, he

will not do wrong to any 6, 7 man, even in thought. These things I learnt at last, after I had repented concerning Joseph. For true repentance

after a godly sort [destroyeth ignorance, and] driveth away the darkness, and 8 enlighteneth the eyes, and giveth knowledge to the soul, and

leadeth the mind to salvation. And 9 those things which it hath not learnt from man, it knoweth through repentance. For God brought upon me

a disease of the liver; and had not the prayers of Jacob my father succoured me, it had 10 hardly failed but my spirit had departed, For by what

things a man transgresseth, by the same also 11 is he punished. Since, therefore, my liver was set mercilessly against Joseph, in my liver too I

suffered mercilessly, and was judged for eleven months, for so long a time as I had been angry against Joseph.

6 1 And now, my children, I exhort you, love ye each one his brother, and put away hatred from 2 your hearts, love one another in deed, and in

word, and in the inclination of the soul. For in the presence of my father I spake peaceably to Joseph; and when I had gone out, the spirit of

hatred darkened my mind, and stirred up my soul to slay him. 3 Love ye, therefore, one another from the heart; and if a man sin against thee,

cast forth the poison of hate and speak peaceably to him, and in thy soul hold not guile; and if he confess and repent, forgive him. 4 But if he

deny it, do not get into a passion with him, lest catching the poison from thee he take 5 to swearing and so thou sin doubly. [Let not another

man hear thy secrets when engaged in legal strife, lest he come to hate thee and become thy enemy, and commit a great sin against thee; for 6

ofttimes he addresseth thee guilefully or busieth himself about thee with wicked intent.] And though he deny it and yet have a sense of shame

when reproved, give over reproving him. For he who denieth may repent so as not again to wrong thee; yea, he may also honour thee, and

[fear 7 and] be at peace with thee And if he be shameless and persist in his wrong-doing, even so forgive him from the heart, and leave to God

the avenging.

7 1 If a man prospereth more than you, do not be vexed, but pray also for him, that he may have 2 perfect prosperity. For so it is expedient for

you. And if he be further exalted, be not envious of him, remembering that all flesh shall die; and offer praise to God, who giveth things good

and 3 profitable to all men. Seek out the judgements of the Lord, and thy mind will rest and be at peace. 4 And though a man become rich by

evil means, even as Esau, the brother of my father, be not jealous; 5 but wait for the end of the Lord. For if he taketh away (from a man) wealth

gotten by evil 6 means He forgiveth him if he repent, but the unrepentant is reserved for eternal punishment. For the poor man, if free from

envy he pleaseth the Lord in all things, is blessed beyond all men, because 7 he hath not the travail of vain men. Put away, therefore, jealousy

from your souls, and love one another with uprightness of heart.

8 1 Do ye also therefore tell these things to your children, that they honour Judah and Levi, for from 2 them shall the Lord raise up salvation to

Israel. [For I know that at the last your children shall depart from Him, and shall walk in all wickedness, and affliction and corruption before the

Lord.] 3 And when he had rested for a little while, he said again; My children, obey your father, and bury 4, 5 me near to my fathers. And he

drew up his feet, and fell asleep in peace. And after five years they carried him up to Hebron, and laid him with his fathers.


1 1 The copy of the testament of Asher, what things he spake to his sons in the hundred and 2 twenty-fifth year of his life. For while he was still

in health, he said to them: Hearken, ye children of Asher, to your father, and I will declare to you all that is upright in the sight of the Lord. 3

Two ways hath God given to the sons of men, and two inclinations, and two kinds of action, and 4 two modes (of action), and two issues.

Therefore all things are by twos, one over against the 5 other. For there are two ways of good and evil, and with these are the two inclinations

in our 6 breasts discriminating them. Therefore if the soul take pleasure in the good (inclination), all its 7 actions are in righteousness; and if it

sin it straightway repenteth. For, having its thoughts set upon righteousness, and casting away wickedness, it straightway overthroweth the

evil, and uprooteth 8 the sin. But if it incline to the evil inclination, all its actions are in wickedness, and it driveth away the good, and cleaveth

to the evil, and is ruled by Beliar; even though it work what is good, 9 he perverteth it to evil. For whenever it beginneth to do good, he forceth

the issue of the action into evil for him, seeing that the treasure of the inclination is filled with an evil spirit.

2 1 A person then may with words help the good for the sake of the evil, yet the issue of the action 2 leadeth to mischief. There is a man who

showeth no compassion upon him who serveth his turn in 3 evil; and this thing hath two aspects, but the whole is evil. And there is a man that

loveth him that worketh evil, because he would prefer even to die in evil for his sake; and concerning this it is clear that it hath two aspects, but

the whole is an evil work. 4 Though indeed he have love, yet is he wicked who concealeth what is evil for the sake of the good name, but the

end of the action tendeth unto evil. 5 Another stealeth, doeth unjustly, plundereth, defraudeth, and withal pitieth the poor: this too 6 hath a

twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. He who defraudeth his neighbour provoketh God, and sweareth falsely against the Most High, and yet

pitieth the poor: the Lord who commandeth the 7 law he setteth at nought and provoketh, and yet he refresheth the poor. He defileth the soul,

and maketh gay the body; he killeth many, and pitieth a few: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the 8 whole is evil. Another committeth

adultery and fornication, and abstaineth from meats, and when he fasteth he doeth evil, and by the power of his wealth overwhelmeth many;

and notwithstanding his excessive wickedness he doeth the commandments: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the 9 whole is evil. Such men

are hares; clean,- like those that divide the hoof, but in very deed are 10 unclean. For God in the tables of the commandments hath thus


3 1 But do not ye, my children, wear two faces like unto them, of goodness and of wickedness; but 2 cleave unto goodness only, for God hath

his habitation therein, and men desire it. But from wickedness flee away, destroying the (evil) inclination by your good works; for they that are

double-faced serve not God, but their own lusts, so that they may please Beliar and men like unto themselves.

4 1 For good men, even they that are of single face, though they be thought by them that are double 2 faced to sin, are just before God. For

many in killing the wicked do two works, of good and evil; 3 but the whole is good, because he hath uprooted and destroyed that which is evil.

One man hateth the merciful and unjust man, and the man who committeth adultery and fasteth: this, too, hath a two fold aspect, but the

whole work is good, because he followeth the Lord's example, in that he 4 accepteth not the seeming good as the genuine good. Another

desireth not to see a good day with them that riot, lest he defile his body and pollute his soul: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole is 5

good. For such men are like to stags and to hinds, because in the manner of wild animals they seem to be unclean, but they are altogether


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

clean; because they walk in zeal for the Lord and abstain from what God also hateth and forbiddeth by His commandments, warding off the evil

from the good.

5 1 Ye see, my children, how that there are two in all things, one against the other, and the one is hidden by the other: in wealth (is hidden)

covetousness, in conviviality drunkenness, in laughter 2 grief, in wedlock profligacy. Death succeedeth to life, dishonour to glory, night to day,

and darkness to light; [and all things are under the day, just things under life, unjust things under 3 death;] wherefore also eternal life awaiteth

death. Nor may it be said that truth is a lie, nor 4 right wrong; for all truth is under the light, even as all things are under God. All these things,

therefore, I proved in my life, and I wandered not from the truth of the Lord, and I searched out the commandments of the Most High, walking

according to all my strength with singleness of face unto that which is good.

6 1 Take heed, therefore, ye also, my children, to the commandments of the Lord, following the truth 2 with singleness of face. For they that

are double-faced are guilty of a twofold sin; for they both do the evil thing and they have pleasure in them that do it, following the example of

the spirits of 3 deceit, and striving against mankind. Do ye, therefore, my children, keep the law of the Lord, and give not heed unto evil as unto

good; but look unto the thing that is really good, and keep it in all 4 commandments of the Lord, having your conversation therein, and resting

therein. For the latter ends of men do show their righteousness (or unrighteousness), when they meet the angels of the 5 Lord and of Satan.

For when the soul departs troubled, it is tormented by the evil spirit which also it served in lusts and evil works. 6 But if he is peaceful with joy

he meeteth the angel of peace, and he leadeth him into eternal life.

7 1 Become not, my children, as Sodom, which sinned against the angels of the Lord, and perished for 2 ever. For I know that ye shall sin, and

be delivered into the hands of your enemies; and your land shall be made desolate, and your holy places destroyed, and ye shall be scattered

unto the four 3 corners of the earth. And ye shall be set at nought in the dispersion vanishing away as water. Until the Most High shall visit the

earth, coming Himself [as man, with men eating and drinking, and breaking the head of the dragon in the water. He shall save Israel and all the

Gentiles [God speaking in 4 the person of man]. [Therefore do ye also, my children, tell these things to your children, that they 5 disobey Him

not. For I have known that ye shall assuredly be disobedient, and assuredly act ungodly, not giving heed to the law of God, but to the

commandments of men, being corrupted 6 through wickedness. And therefore shall ye be scattered as Gad and Dan my brethren, and ye shall 7

know not your lands, tribe, and tongue. But the Lord will gather you together in faith through His tender mercy, and for the sake of Abraham,

Isaac, and Jacob.]

8 1 And when he had said these things unto them he commanded them, saying: Bury me in Hebron. 2 And he fell asleep and died at a good old

age. And his sons did as he had commanded them, and they carried him up to Hebron, and buried him with his fathers.


1 1 The copy of the testament of Joseph. When he was about to die he called his sons and his brethren together, and said to them:-- 2 My

brethren and my children, Hearken to Joseph the beloved of Israel; Give ear, my sons, unto your father. 3 I have seen in my life envy and death,

Yet I went not astray, but persevered in the truth of the Lord. 4 These my brethren hated me, but the Lord loved me: They wished to slay me,

but the God of my fathers guarded me: They let me down into a pit, and the Most High brought me up again. 5 I was sold into slavery, and the

Lord of all made me free: I was taken into captivity, and His strong hand succoured me. I was beset with hunger, and the Lord Himself

nourished me. 6 I was alone, and God comforted me: I was sick, and the Lord visited me: I was in prison, and my God showed favour unto me;

In bonds, and He released me; 7 Slandered, and He pleaded my cause; Bitterly spoken against by the Egyptians, and He delivered me; Envied by

my fellow-slaves, and He exalted me.

2 1, 2 And this chief captain of Pharaoh entrusted to me his house. And I struggled against a shameless woman, urging me to transgress with

her; but the God of Israel my father delivered me from 3 the burning flame. I was cast into prison, I was beaten, I was mocked; but the Lord

granted me to find mercy in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 4 For the Lord doth not forsake them that fear Him, Neither in darkness, nor

in bonds, nor in tribulations, nor in necessities. 5 For God is not put to shame as a man, Nor as the son of man is he afraid, Nor as one that is

earth-born is He [weak or] affrighted. 6 But in all those things doth He give protection, And in divers ways doth He comfort, (Though) for a little

space He departeth to try the inclination of the soul. 7 In ten temptations He showed me approved, And in all of them I endured; For endurance

is a mighty charm, And patience giveth many good things.

3 1 How often did the Egyptian woman threaten me with death! How often did she give me over to punishment, and then call me back and

threaten me, and when I was unwilling to company with 2 her, she said to me: Thou shalt be lord of me, and all that is in my house, if thou wilt

give thyself 3 unto me, and thou shalt be as our master. But I remembered the words of my father, and going 4 into my chamber, I wept and

prayed unto the Lord. And I fasted in those seven years, and I appeared to the Egyptians as one living delicately, for they that fast for God's sake

receive beauty of face. 5 And if my lord were away from home, I drank no wine; nor for three days did I take my food, but 6 I gave it to the poor

and sick. And I sought the Lord early, and I wept for the Egyptian woman of Memphis, for very unceasingly did she trouble me, for also at night

she came to me under pretence of visiting me. 7 And because she had no male child she pretended to regard me as a son, and so I prayed to

the Lord, and she bare a male child. 8 And for a time she embraced me as a son, and I knew it not; but later, she sought to draw me 9 into

fornication. And when I perceived it I sorrowed unto death; and when she had gone out, I came to myself, and lamented for her many days,

because I recognized her guile and her deceit. 10 And I declared unto her the words of the Most High, if haply she would turn from her evil lust.

4 1 Often, therefore, did she flatter me with words as a holy man, and guilefully in her talk praise my 2 chastity before her husband, while

desiring to ensnare me when we were alone. For she lauded me openly as chaste, and in secret she said unto me: Fear not my husband; for he

is persuaded concerning 3 thy chastity: for even should one tell him concerning us, he would not believe. Owing to all these things I lay upon

the ground, and besought God that the Lord would deliver me from her 4 deceit. And when she had prevailed nothing thereby, she came again

to me under the plea of 5 instruction, that she might learn the word of God. And she said unto me: If thou willest that I should leave my idols,

lie with me, and I will persuade my husband to depart from his idols, and 6 we will walk in the law of thy Lord. And I said unto her: The Lord

willeth not that those who reverence Him should be in uncleanness, nor doth He take pleasure in them that commit adultery, 7 but in those

that approach Him with a pure heart and undefiled lips. But she held her peace, 8 longing to accomplish her evil desire. And I gave myself yet

more to fasting and prayer, that the Lord might deliver me from her.

5 1 And again, at another time she said unto me: If thou wilt not commit adultery, I will kill my 2 husband by poison; and take thee to be my

husband. I therefore, when I heard this, rent my garments, and said unto her: Woman, reverence God, and do not this evil deed, lest thou be 3


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

destroyed; for know indeed that I will declare this thy device unto all men. She therefore, being 4 afraid, besought that I would not declare this

device. And she departed soothing me with gifts, and sending to me every delight of the sons of men.

6 1, 2 And afterwards she sent me food mingled with enchantments. And when the eunuch who brought it came, I looked up and beheld a

terrible man giving me with the dish a sword, and 3 I perceived that (her) scheme was to beguile me. And when he had gone out I wept, nor did

4 I taste that or any other of her food. So then after one day she came to me and observed the food, 5 and said unto me: Why is it that thou

hast not eaten of the food? And I said unto her: It is because thou hast filled it with deadly enchantments; and how saidst thou: I come not near

to 6 idols, but to the Lord alone. Now therefore know that the God of my father hath revealed unto me by His angel thy wickedness, and I have

kept it to convict thee, if haply thou mayst see and repent. 7 But that thou mayst learn that the wickedness of the ungodly hath no power over

them that worship God with chastity, behold I will take of it and eat before thee. And having so said, I prayed thus: The God of my fathers and

the angel of Abraham, be with me; and ate. 8 And when she saw this she fell upon her face at my feet, weeping; and I raised her up and

admonished her. And she promised to do this iniquity no more.

7 1 But her heart was still set upon evil, and she looked around how to ensnare me, and sighing deeply she became downcast, though she was

not sick. 2 And when her husband saw her, he said unto her: Why is thy countenance fallen? And she said unto him: I have a pain at my heart,

and the groanings of my spirit oppress me; and so 3 he comforted her who was not sick. Then, accordingly seizing an opportunity, she rushed

unto me while her husband was yet without, and said unto me: I will hang myself, or cast myself over a cliff, 4 if thou wilt not lie with me. And

when I saw the spirit of Beliar was troubling her, I prayed unto 5 the Lord, and said unto her: Why, wretched woman, art thou troubled and

disturbed, blinded through, sins? Remember that if thou kill thyself, Asteho, the concubine of thy husband, thy rival, 6 will beat thy children,

and thou wilt destroy thy memorial from off the earth. And she said unto me: Lo, then thou lovest me; let this suffice me: only strive for my life

and my children, and 7 I expect that I shall enjoy my desire also. But she knew not that because of my lord I spake 8 thus, and not because of

her. For if a man hath fallen before the passion of a wicked desire and become enslaved by it, even as she, whatever good thing he may hear

with regard to that passion, he receiveth it with a view to his wicked desire.

8 1 I declare, therefore, unto you, my children, that it was about the sixth hour when she departed from me; and I knelt before the Lord all day,

and all the night; and about dawn I rose up, weeping 2 the while and praying for a release from her. At last, then, she laid hold of my garments,

forcibly dragging me to have connexion with her. 3 When, therefore, I saw that in her madness she was holding fast to my garment, I left it

behind, and fled away naked. 4 And holding fast to the garment she falsely accused me, and when her husband came he cast me into prison in

his house; and on the morrow he scourged me and sent me into Pharaoh's prison. 5 And when I was in bonds, the Egyptian woman was

oppressed with grief, and she came and heard how I gave thanks unto the Lord and sang praises in the abode of darkness, and with glad voice

rejoiced, glorifying my God that I was delivered from the lustful desire of the Egyptian woman.

9 1 And often hath she sent unto me saying: Consent to fulfill my desire, and I will release thee from thy bonds, and I will free thee from the

darkness. And not even in thought did I incline unto 2 her. For God loveth him who in a den of wickedness combines fasting with chastity,

rather than the man who in kings' chambers combines luxury with licence. And if a man liveth in chastity, and desireth also glory, and the Most

High knoweth that it is expedient for him, He bestoweth this 3 also upon me. How often, though she were sick, did she come down to me at

unlooked for times, 5 and listened to my voice as I prayed! And when I heard her groanings I held my peace. For when I was in her house she

was wont to bare her arms, and breasts, and legs, that I might lie with her; for she was very beautiful, splendidly adorned in order to beguile

me. And the Lord guarded me from her devices.

10 1, 2 Ye see, therefore, my children, how great things patience worketh, and prayer with fasting. So ye too, if ye follow after chastity and

purity with patience and prayer, with fasting in humility of 3 heart, the Lord will dwell among you, because He loveth chastity. And wheresoever

the Most High dwelleth, even though envy, or slavery, or slander befalleth (a man), the Lord who dwelleth in him, for the sake of his chastity

not only delivereth him from evil, but also exalteth him even as me. 4, 5 For in every way the man is lifted up, whether in deed, or in word, or in

thought. My brethren knew how my father loved me, and yet I did not exalt myself in my mind: although I was a child, 6 I had the fear of God in

my heart; for I knew that all things would pass away. And I did nor raise myself (against them) with evil intent, but I honoured my brethren; and

out of respect for them, even when I was being sold, I refrained from telling the Ishmaelites that I was a son of Jacob, a great man and a mighty.

11 1 Do ye also, my children, have the fear of God in all your works before your eyes, and honour 2 your brethren. For every one who doeth the

law of the Lord shall be loved by Him. And when I came to the Indocolpitae with the Ishmaelites, they asked me, saying: Art thou a slave? And 3

I said that I was a home-born slave, that I might not put my brethren to shame. And the eldest of them said unto me: Thou art not a slave, for

even thy appearance doth make it manifest. But 4 I said that I was their slave. Now when we came into Egypt they strove concerning me, which

of 5 them should buy me and take me. Therefore it seemed good to all that I should remain in Egypt 6 with the merchant of their trade, until

they should return bringing merchandise. And the Lord 7 gave me favour in the eyes of the merchant, and he entrusted unto me his house. And

God blessed 8 him by my means, and increased him in gold and silver and in household servants. And I was with him three months and five


12 1 And about that time the Memphian woman, the wife of Pentephri, came down in a chariot, with 2 great pomp, because she had heard

from her eunuchs concerning me. And she told her husband that the merchant had become rich by means of a young Hebrew, and they say

that he had assuredly 3 been stolen out of the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, render justice unto him, and take away the youth to thy house;

so shall the God of the Hebrews bless thee, for grace from heaven is upon him.

13 1 And Pentephris was persuaded by her words, and commanded the merchant to be brought, and said unto him: What is this that I hear

concerning thee, that thou stealest persons out of the land 2 of Canaan, and sellest them for slaves? But the merchant fell at his feet, and

besought him, saying: 3 I beseech thee, my lord, I know not what thou sayest. And Pentephris said unto him: Whence, then, is the Hebrew

slave? And he said: The Ishmaelites entrusted him unto me until they should return. 4 But he believed him not, but commanded him to be

stripped and beaten. And when he persisted 5 in this statement, Pentephris said: Let the youth be brought. And when I was brought in, I did 6

obeisance to Pentephris (for he was third in rank of the officers of Pharaoh). And he took me apart 7 from him, and said unto me: Art thou a

slave or free? And I said: A stave. And he said: 8 Whose? And I said: The Ishmaelites. And he said: How didst thou become their slave? And 9 I

said: They bought me out of the land of Canaan. And he said unto me: Truly thou liest; and strightway he commanded me to be stripped and


14 1 Now the Memphian woman was looking through a window at me while I was being beaten, for her house was near, and she sent unto him

saying: Thy judgement is unjust; for thou dost punish 2 a free man who hath been stolen, as though he were a transgressor. And when I made

no change in my statement, though I was beaten, he ordered me to be imprisoned, until, he said, the owners 3 of the boy should come. And the


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

woman said unto her husband: Wherefore dost thou detain the 4 captive and well-born lad in bonds, who ought rather to be set at liberty, and

be waited upon? For 5 she wished to see me out of a desire of sin, but I was ignorant concerning all these things. And he said to her: It is not

the custom of the Egyptians to take that which belongeth to others before 6 proof is given. This, therefore, he said concerning the merchant;

but as for the lad, he must be imprisoned.

15 1 Now after four and twenty days came the Ishmaelites; for they had heard that Jacob my father 2 was mourning much concerning me. And

they came and said unto me: How is it that thou saidst that thou wast a slave? and lo, we have learnt that thou art the son of a mighty man in

the land of 3 Canaan, and thy father still mourneth for thee in sackcloth and ashes. When I heard this my bowels were dissolved and my heart

melted, and I desired greatly to weep, but I restrained myself, that I should not put my brethren to shame. And I said unto them, I know not, I

am a slave. 4, 5 Then, therefore, they took counsel to sell me, that I should not be found in their hands. For they feared my father, lest he

[should come and] execute upon them a grievous vengeance. For they had 6 heard that he was mighty with God and with men. Then said the

merchant unto them: Release 7 me from the judgement of Pentiphri. And they came and requested me, saying: Say that thou wast bought by

us with money, and he will set us free.

16 1 Now the Memphian woman said to her husband: Buy the youth; for I hear, said she, that they are selling him. 2 And straightway she sent a

eunuch to the 3 Ishmaelites, and asked them to sell me. But since the eunuch would not agree to buy me (at their price) he returned, having

made trial of them, and he made known to his mistress that they asked a large price for their slave. 4 And she sent another eunuch, saying:

Even though they demand two minas, give them, do not spare the gold; only buy the boy, and bring him to me. 5 The eunuch therefore went

and gave them eighty pieces of gold, and he received me; but to the Egyptian woman he said: I have given a hundred. 6 And though I knew

(this) I held my peace, lest the eunuch should be put to shame.

17 1 Ye see, therefore, my children, what great things I endured that I should not put my brethren to 2 shame. Do ye also, therefore love one

another, and with long-suffering hide ye one another's 3 faults. For God delighteth in the unity of brethren, and in the purpose of a heart that

takes 4 pleasure in love. And when my brethren came into Egypt they learnt that I had returned their 5 money unto them, and upbraided them

not, and comforted them. And after the death of Jacob my father I loved them more abundantly, and all things whatsoever he commanded I did

very 6 abundantly for them, And I suffered them not to be afflicted in the smallest matter; and all that 7 was in my hand I gave unto them. And

their children were my children, and my children as their servants; and their life was my life, and all their suffering was my suffering, and all

their sickness 8 was my infirmity. My land was their land, and their counsel my counsel. And I exalted not myself among them in arrogance

because of my worldly glory, but I was among them as one of the least.

18 1 If ye also, therefore, walk in the commandments of the Lord, my children, He will exalt you there, 2 and will bless you with good things for

ever and ever. And if any one seeketh to do evil unto you, 3 do well unto him, and pray for him, and ye shall be redeemed of the Lord from all

evil. [For], behold, ye see that out of my humility and long -suffering I took unto wife the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis. And a hundred

talents of gold were given me with her, and the Lord made 4 them to serve me. And He gave me also beauty as a flower beyond the beautiful

ones of Israel; and He preserved me unto old age in strength and in beauty, because I was like in all things to Jacob.

19 1 Hear ye, therefore, me vision which I saw. 2 I saw twelve harts feeding. And nine of them were dispersed. Now the three were preserved,

but on the following day they also were dispersed. 3 And I saw that the three harts became three lambs, and they cried to the Lord, and He

brought them forth into a flourishing and well watered place, yea He brought them out of darkness into light. 4 And there they cried unto the

Lord until there gathered together unto them the nine harts, and they became as twelve sheep, and after a little time they increased and

became many 5 flocks. And after these things I saw and behold, twelve bulls were sucking one cow, which produced a sea of milk, and there

drank thereof the twelve flocks and innumerable herds. 6 And the horns of the fourth bull went up unto heaven and became as a wall for the

flocks, and in the midst of the two horns there grew 7 another horn. And I saw a bull calf which surrounded them twelve times, and it became a

help to the bulls wholly. 8 And I saw in the midst of the horns a virgin [wearing a many-coloured garment, and from her] went forth a lamb; and

on his right (was as it were a lion; and) all the beasts and all the reptiles rushed (against him), and the lamb over 9 came them and destroyed

them. And the bulls rejoiced because of him, and the cow [and the 10 harts] exulted together with them. And these 11 things must come to

pass in their season. Do ye therefore, my children, observe the commandments of the Lord, and honour Levi and Judah; for from them shall

arise unto you [the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world] one who saveth [all the Gentiles and] Israel. 12 For His kingdom is an

everlasting kingdom, which shall not pass away; but my kingdom among you shall come to an end as a watcher's hammock, which after the

summer disappeareth.

20 1For I know that after my death the Egyptians will afflict you, but God will avenge you, and will 2 bring you into that which He promised to

your fathers. But ye shall carry up my bones with you; for when my bones are being taken up thither, the Lord shall be with you in light, and

Beliar shall be in darkness with the Egyptians. 3 And carry ye up Asenath your mother to the Hippodrome, and near Rachel your mother bury

her. 4, 5 And when he had said these things he stretched out his feet, and died at a good old age. And all Israel mourned for him, and all Egypt,

with a great mourning. 6 And when the children of Israel went out of Egypt, they took with them the bones of Joseph, and they buried him in

Hebron with his fathers, and the years of his life were one hundred and ten years.


1 1 The copy of the words of Benjamin, which he commanded his sons to observe, after he had lived 2 a hundred and twenty-five years. And he

kissed them, and said: As Isaac was born to Abraham 3 in his old age, so also was I to Jacob. And since Rachel my mother died in giving me birth,

I had 4 no milk; therefore I was suckled by Bilhah her handmaid. For Rachel remained barren for twelve years after she had borne Joseph; and

she prayed the Lord with fasting twelve days, and she 5 conceived and bare me. For my father loved Rachel dearly, and prayed that he might

see two 6 sons born from her. Therefore was I called Benjamin, that is, a son of days.

2 1 And when I went into Egypt, to Joseph, and my brother recognized me, he said unto me: 2 What did they tell my father when they sold me ?

And I said unto him, They dabbled thy coat with blood and sent it, and said: Know whether this be thy son's coat. 3 And Joseph said unto me:

Even so, brother, the Canaanite merchants stole me by force, 4 And it came to pass that as they went on their way they concealed my garment,

as though a wild beast had met 5 me and slain me. And so his associates sold me to the Ishmaelites. 6 And they did not lie in saying this. For he

wished to conceal from me the deeds of my brethren. And he called to him his brethren and said: 7 Do not tell my father what ye have done

unto me, but tell him 8 as I have told Benjamin. And let the thoughts among you be such, and let not these things come to the heart of my



Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

3 1 Do ye also, therefore, my children, love the Lord God of heaven and earth, and keep His commandments, following the example of the good

and holy man Joseph. 2 And let your mind be unto good, even as ye know me; for he that hath his mind right seeth 3 all things rightly. Fear ye

the Lord, and love your neighbour; and even though the spirits of Beliar claim you to afflict you with every evil, yet shall they not have dominion

over you, even 4 as they had not over Joseph my brother. How many men wished to slay him, and God shielded him! For he that feareth God

and loveth his neighbour cannot be smitten by the spirit of 5 Beliar, being shielded by the fear of God. Nor can he be ruled over by the device of

men or beasts, for he is helped by the Lord through the love which he hath towards his neighbour. 6 For Joseph also besought our father that

he would pray for his brethren, that the Lord would 7 not impute to them as sin whatever evil they had done unto him. And thus Jacob cried

out: My good child, thou hast prevailed over the bowels of thy father Jacob. And he embraced him, and kissed him for two hours, saying: 8 In

thee shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven [concerning the Lamb of God, and Saviour of the world], and that a blameless one shall be

delivered up for lawless men, and a sinless one shall die for ungodly men [in the blood of the covenant. for the salvation of the Gentiles and of

Israel, and shall destroy Beliar and his servants].

4 1 See ye, therefore, my children, the end of the good man? Be followers of his compassion, therefore, 2 with a good mind, that ye also may

wear crowns of glory. For the good man hath not 3 a dark eye; for he showeth mercy to all men, even though they be sinners. And though they

devise with evil intent concerning him, by doing good he overcometh evil, being shielded by God: 4 and he loveth the righteous as his own soul.

If any one is glorified, he envieth him not; if any one is enriched, he is not jealous; if any one is valiant, he praiseth him; the virtuous man he

laudeth, on the poor man he hath mercy; on the weak he hath compassion; unto God he singeth praises. 5 As for him who hath the fear of God,

he protecteth him as with a shield; him that loveth God he helpeth; him that rejecteth the Most High he admonisheth and turneth back; and

him that hath the grace of a good spirit he loveth as his own soul.

5 1 If, therefore, ye also have a good mind, then will both wicked men be at peace with you, and the profligate will reverence you and turn unto

good; and the covetous will not only cease from 2 their inordinate desire, but even give the objects of their covetousness to them that are

afflicted. If 3 ye do well, even the unclean spirits will flee from you; and the beasts will dread you. For where there is reverence for good works

and light in the mind, even darkness fleeth away from him 4 For if any one does violence to a holy man, he repenteth; for the holy man is

merciful to his reviler, and holdeth his peace. 5 And if any one betrayeth a righteous man, the righteous man prayeth: though for a little he be

humbled, yet not long after he appeareth far more glorious, as was Joseph my brother.

6 1 The inclination of the good man is not in the power of the deceit of the spirit of Beliar, for the 2 angel of peace guideth his soul. And he

gazeth not passionately upon corruptible things, nor 3 gathereth together riches through a desire of pleasure. He delighteth not in pleasure, [he

grieveth for not his neighbour], he sateth not himself with luxuries, he erreth not in the uplifting of the eyes, 4 the Lord is his portion. The good

inclination receiveth not glory nor dishonor from men, and it knoweth not any guile, or lie, or fighting or reviling; for the Lord dwelleth in him

and lighteth up his 5 soul, and he rejoiceth towards all men alway. The good mind hath not two tongues, of blessing and of cursing, of

contumely and of honor, of sorrow and of joy, of quietness and of confusion, of hypocrisy and of truth, [of poverty and of wealth]; but it hath

one disposition, uncorrupt and pure, concerning all 6 men. It hath no double sight, nor double hearing; for in everything which he doeth, or

speaketh, or 7 seeth, he knoweth that the Lord looketh on his soul. And he cleanseth his mind that he may not be condemned by men as well

as by God. And in like manner the works of Beliar are twofold, and there is no singleness in them.

7 1 Therefore, my children, I tell you, flee the malice of Beliar; for he giveth a sword to them that obey him. 2 And the sword is the mother of

seven evils. First the mind conceiveth through Beliar, and first there is bloodshed; secondly ruin; thirdly, tribulation; fourthly, exile; fifthly,

dearth; sixthly, panic; seventhly, destruction. 3 Therefore was Cain also delivered over to seven vengeances by God, for in every hundred years

the Lord brought one plague upon him. 4 And when he was two hundred years old he began to suffer, and in the nine-hundredth year he was

destroyed. For on account of Abel, his brother, with all the evils was he judged, but Lamech with seventy times seven. 5 Because for ever those

who are like Cain in envy and hatred of brethren, shall be punished with the same judgment.

8 1 And do ye, my children, flee evil-doing, envy, and hatred of brethren, and cleave to goodness 2 and love. He that hath a pure mind in love,

looketh not after a woman with a view to fornication; for he hath no defilement in his heart, because the Spirit of God resteth upon him. 3 For

as the sun is not defiled by shining on dung and mire, but rather drieth up both and driveth away the evil smell; so also the pure mind, though

encompassed by the defilements of earth, rather cleanseth (them) and is not itself defiled.

9 1 And I believe that there will be also evil-doings among you, from the words of Enoch the righteous: that ye shall commit fornication with the

fornication of Sodom, and shall perish, all save a few, and shall renew wanton deeds with women; and the kingdom of the Lord shall not be

among, you, for straightway He shall take it away. 2 Nevertheless the temple of God shall be in your portion, and the last (temple) shall be more

glorious than the first. And the twelve tribes shall be gathered together there, and all the Gentiles, until the Most High shall send forth His

salvation in the visitation of an only 3 begotten prophet. [And He shall enter into the [first] temple, and there shall the Lord be treated with

outrage, and He shall be lifted up upon 4 a tree. And the veil of the temple shall be rent, and the Spirit of God shall pass on to the Gentiles 5 as

fire poured forth. And He shall ascend from Hades and shall pass from earth into heaven. And I know how lowly He shall be upon earth, and

how glorious in heaven.]

10 1 Now when Joseph was in Egypt, I longed to see his figure and the form of his countenance; and through the prayers of Jacob my father I

saw him, while awake in the daytime, even his entire figure exactly as he was. 2 And when he had said these things, he said unto them: Know

ye, therefore, my children, that I am dying. 3 Do ye, therefore, truth and righteousness each one to his neighbour, and judgement unto

confirmation, and keep the law of the Lord and his commandments. 4 For these things do I leave you instead of inheritance. Do ye also,

therefore, give them to your 5 children for an everlasting possession; for so did both Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. For all these things they

gave us for an inheritance, saying: Keep the commandments of God, until the Lord 6 shall reveal His salvation to all Gentiles. And then shall ye

see Enoch, Noah, and Shem, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, rising on the right hand in gladness. 7 Then shall we also rise, each one over

our tribe, worshipping the King of heaven, [who appeared upon earth in the form of a man in humility. And as many as believe on Him on the

earth 8 shall rejoice with Him]. Then also all men shall rise, some unto glory and some unto shame. And the Lord shall judge Israel first, for their

unrighteousness; [for when He appeared as God in the flesh to deliver them they believed Him 9 not]. And then shall He judge all the Gentiles,

[as many as believed Him not when He appeared 10 upon earth]. And He shall convict Israel through the chosen ones of the Gentiles, even as

He reproved Esau through the Midianites, who deceived their brethren, [so that they fell into fornication, and idolatry; and they were alienated

from God], becoming therefore children in the portion of them that fear the Lord. 11 If ye therefore, my children, walk in holiness according to

the commandments of the Lord, ye shall again dwell securely with me, and all Israel shall be gathered unto the Lord.


Testament of the 12 Patriarchs streetwitnessing.org

11 1 And I shall no longer be called a ravening wolf on account of your ravages, but [a worker of the Lord, distributing food to them that work

what is good. 2 And there shall rise up from my seed in the latter times one] beloved of the Lord, [hearing upon the earth His voice] and a doer

of the good pleasure of His will, [enlightening with new knowledge all the Gentiles, even the light of knowledge, bursting in upon Israel for

salvation and tearing away from them like a wolf, and giving to the synagogue of the Gentiles. 3 Until the consummation of the age shall he be

in the synagogues of the Gentiles, and among their 4 rulers, as a strain of music in the mouth of all. And he shall be inscribed in the holy books,

both 5 his work and his word, and he shall be a chosen one of God for ever. And through them he shall go to and fro as Jacob my father, saying:

He shall fill up that which lacketh of thy tribe].

12 1 And when he finished his words, he said: I command you, my children, carry up my bones out of Egypt, and bury me at Hebron, near my 2

fathers. So Benjamin died a hundred and twenty-five years old, at a good old age, and they 3 placed him in a coffin. And in the ninety-first year

from the entrance of the children of Israel into Egypt, they and their brethren brought up the bones of their fathers secretly during the

Canaanitish war; and they buried them in Hebron, 4 by the feet of their fathers. And they returned from the land of Canaan and dwelt in Egypt

until the day of their departure from the land of Egypt.


The Apocryphal Old Testament [Paperback] H. F. D. Sparks