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The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus

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The Antiquities of the Jews (1)

by Flavius Josephus

Translated by William Whiston


1. Those who undertake to write histories, do not, I perceive,
take that trouble on one and the same account, but for many
reasons, and those such as are very different one from another.
For some of them apply themselves to this part of learning to
show their skill in composition, and that they may therein
acquire a reputation for speaking finely: others of them there
are, who write histories in order to gratify those that happen to
be concerned in them, and on that account have spared no pains,
but rather gone beyond their own abilities in the performance:
but others there are, who, of necessity and by force, are driven
to write history, because they are concerned in the facts, and so
cannot excuse themselves from committing them to writing, for the
advantage of posterity; nay, there are not a few who are induced
to draw their historical facts out of darkness into light, and to
produce them for the benefit of the public, on account of the
great importance of the facts themselves with which they have
been concerned. Now of these several reasons for writing history,
I must profess the two last were my own reasons also; for since I
was myself interested in that war which we Jews had with the
Romans, and knew myself its particular actions, and what
conclusion it had, I was forced to give the history of it,
because I saw that others perverted the truth of those actions in
their writings.

2. Now I have undertaken the present work, as thinking it will
appear to all the Greeks (2) worthy of their study; for it will
contain all our antiquities, and the constitution of our
government, as interpreted out of the Hebrew Scriptures. And
indeed I did formerly intend, when I wrote of the war, (3) to
explain who the Jews originally were, - what fortunes they had
been subject to, - and by what legislature they had been
instructed in piety, and the exercise of other virtues, - what
wars also they had made in remote ages, till they were
unwillingly engaged in this last with the Romans: but because
this work would take up a great compass, I separated it into a
set treatise by itself, with a beginning of its own, and its own
conclusion; but in process of time, as usually happens to such as
undertake great things, I grew weary and went on slowly, it being
a large subject, and a difficult thing to translate our history
into a foreign, and to us unaccustomed language. However, some
persons there were who desired to know our history, and so
exhorted me to go on with it; and, above all the rest,
Epaphroditus, (4) a man who is a lover of all kind of learning,
but is principally delighted with the knowledge of history, and
this on account of his having been himself concerned in great
affairs, and many turns of fortune, and having shown a wonderful
rigor of an excellent nature, and an immovable virtuous
resolution in them all. I yielded to this man's persuasions, who
always excites such as have abilities in what is useful and
acceptable, to join their endeavors with his. I was also ashamed
myself to permit any laziness of disposition to have a greater
influence upon me, than the delight of taking pains in such
studies as were very useful: I thereupon stirred up myself, and
went on with my work more cheerfully. Besides the foregoing
motives, I had others which I greatly reflected on; and these
were, that our forefathers were willing to communicate such
things to others; and that some of the Greeks took considerable
pains to know the affairs of our nation.

3. I found, therefore, that the second of the Ptolemies was a
king who was extraordinarily diligent in what concerned learning,
and the collection of books; that he was also peculiarly
ambitious to procure a translation of our law, and of the
constitution of our government therein contained, into the Greek
tongue. Now Eleazar the high priest, one not inferior to any
other of that dignity among us, did not envy the forenamed king
the participation of that advantage, which otherwise he would for
certain have denied him, but that he knew the custom of our
nation was, to hinder nothing of what we esteemed ourselves from
being communicated to others. Accordingly, I thought it became me
both to imitate the generosity of our high priest, and to suppose
there might even now be many lovers of learning like the king;
for he did not obtain all our writings at that time; but those
who were sent to Alexandria as interpreters, gave him only the
books of the law, while there were a vast number of other matters
in our sacred books. They, indeed, contain in them the history of
five thousand years; in which time happened many strange
accidents, many chances of war, and great actions of the
commanders, and mutations of the form of our government. Upon the
whole, a man that will peruse this history, may principally learn
from it, that all events succeed well, even to an incredible
degree, and the reward of felicity is proposed by God; but then
it is to those that follow his will, and do not venture to break
his excellent laws: and that so far as men any way apostatize
from the accurate observation of them, what was practical before
becomes impracticable (5) and whatsoever they set about as a good
thing, is converted into an incurable calamity. And now I exhort
all those that peruse these books, to apply their minds to God;
and to examine the mind of our legislator, whether he hath not
understood his nature in a manner worthy of him; and hath not
ever ascribed to him such operations as become his power, and
hath not preserved his writings from those indecent fables which
others have framed, although, by the great distance of time when
he lived, he might have securely forged such lies; for he lived
two thousand years ago; at which vast distance of ages the poets
themselves have not been so hardy as to fix even the generations
of their gods, much less the actions of their men, or their own
laws. As I proceed, therefore, I shall accurately describe what
is contained in our records, in the order of time that belongs to
them; for I have already promised so to do throughout this
undertaking; and this without adding any thing to what is therein
contained, or taking away any thing therefrom.

4. But because almost all our constitution depends on the wisdom
of Moses, our legislator, I cannot avoid saying somewhat
concerning him beforehand, though I shall do it briefly; I mean,
because otherwise those that read my book may wonder how it comes
to pass, that my discourse, which promises an account of laws and
historical facts, contains so much of philosophy. The reader is
therefore to know, that Moses deemed it exceeding necessary, that
he who would conduct his own life well, and give laws to others,
in the first place should consider the Divine nature; and, upon
the contemplation of God's operations, should thereby imitate the
best of all patterns, so far as it is possible for human nature
to do, and to endeavor to follow after it: neither could the
legislator himself have a right mind without such a
contemplation; nor would any thing he should write tend to the
promotion of virtue in his readers; I mean, unless they be taught
first of all, that God is the Father and Lord of all things, and
sees all things, and that thence he bestows a happy life upon
those that follow him; but plunges such as do not walk in the
paths of virtue into inevitable miseries. Now when Moses was
desirous to teach this lesson to his countrymen, he did not begin
the establishment of his laws after the same manner that other
legislators did; I mean, upon contracts and other rights between
one man and another, but by raising their minds upwards to regard
God, and his creation of the world; and by persuading them, that
we men are the most excellent of the creatures of God upon earth.
Now when once he had brought them to submit to religion, he
easily persuaded them to submit in all other things: for as to
other legislators, they followed fables, and by their discourses
transferred the most reproachful of human vices unto the gods,
and afforded wicked men the most plausible excuses for their
crimes; but as for our legislator, when he had once demonstrated
that God was possessed of perfect virtue, he supposed that men
also ought to strive after the participation of it; and on those
who did not so think, and so believe, he inflicted the severest
punishments. I exhort, therefore, my readers to examine this
whole undertaking in that view; for thereby it will appear to
them, that there is nothing therein disagreeable either to the
majesty of God, or to his love to mankind; for all things have
here a reference to the nature of the universe; while our
legislator speaks some things wisely, but enigmatically, and
others under a decent allegory, but still explains such things as
required a direct explication plainly and expressly. However,
those that have a mind to know the reasons of every thing, may
find here a very curious philosophical theory, which I now indeed
shall wave the explication of; but if God afford me time for it,
I will set about writing it (6) after I have finished the present
work. I shall now betake myself to the history before me, after I
have first mentioned what Moses says of the creation of the
world, which I find described in the sacred books after the
manner following.


Containing The Interval Of Three Thousand Eight Hundred And
Thirty-Three Years.

From The Creation To The Death Of Isaac.


The Constitution Of The World And The Disposition Of The

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But
when the earth did not come into sight, but was covered with
thick darkness, and a wind moved upon its surface, God commanded
that there should be light: and when that was made, he considered
the whole mass, and separated the light and the darkness; and the
name he gave to one was Night, and the other he called Day: and
he named the beginning of light, and the time of rest, The
Evening and The Morning, and this was indeed the first day. But
Moses said it was one day; the cause of which I am able to give
even now; but because I have promised to give such reasons for
all things in a treatise by itself, I shall put off its
exposition till that time. After this, on the second day, he
placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the
other parts, and he determined it should stand by itself. He also
placed a crystalline [firmament] round it, and put it together in
a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving
moisture and rain, and for affording the advantage of dews. On
the third day he appointed the dry land to appear, with the sea
itself round about it; and on the very same day he made the
plants and the seeds to spring out of the earth. On the fourth
day he adorned the heaven with the sun, the moon, and the other
stars, and appointed them their motions and courses, that the
vicissitudes of the seasons might be clearly signified. And on
the fifth day he produced the living creatures, both those that
swim, and those that fly; the former in the sea, the latter in
the air: he also sorted them as to society and mixture, for
procreation, and that their kinds might increase and multiply. On
the sixth day he created the four-footed beasts, and made them
male and female: on the same day he also formed man. Accordingly
Moses says, That in just six days the world, and all that is
therein, was made. And that the seventh day was a rest, and a
release from the labor of such operations; whence it is that we
Celebrate a rest from our labors on that day, and call it the
Sabbath, which word denotes rest in the Hebrew tongue.

2. Moreover, Moses, after the seventh day was over(1) begins to
talk philosophically; and concerning the formation of man, says
thus: That God took dust from the ground, and formed man, and
inserted in him a spirit and a soul.(2) This man was called Adam,
which in the Hebrew tongue signifies one that is red, because he
was formed out of red earth, compounded together; for of that
kind is virgin and true earth. God also presented the living
creatures, when he had made them, according to their kinds, both
male and female, to Adam, who gave them those names by which they
are still called. But when he saw that Adam had no female
companion, no society, for there was no such created, and that he
wondered at the other animals which were male and female, he laid
him asleep, and took away one of his ribs, and out of it formed
the woman; whereupon Adam knew her when she was brought to him,
and acknowledged that she was made out of himself. Now a woman is
called in the Hebrew tongue Issa; but the name of this woman was
Eve, which signifies the mother of all living.

3. Moses says further, that God planted a paradise in the east,
flourishing with all sorts of trees; and that among them was the
tree of life, and another of knowledge, whereby was to be known
what was good and evil; and that when he brought Adam and his
wife into this garden, he commanded ;hem to take care of the
plants. Now the garden was watered by one river,(3) which ran
round about the whole earth, and was parted into four parts. And
Phison, which denotes a multitude, running into India, makes its
exit into the sea, and is by the Greeks called Ganges. Euphrates
also, as well as Tigris, goes down into the Red Sea.(4) Now the
name Euphrates, or Phrath, denotes either a dispersion, or a
flower: by Tiris, or Diglath, is signified what is swift, with
narrowness; and Geon runs through Egypt, and denotes what arises
from the east, which the Greeks call Nile.

4. God therefore commanded that Adam and his wife should eat of
all the rest of the plants, but to abstain from the tree of
knowledge; and foretold to them, that if they touched it, it
would prove their destruction. But while all the living creatures
had one language, (5) at that time the serpent, which then lived
together with Adam and his wife, shewed an envious disposition,
at his supposal of their living happily, and in obedience to the
commands of God; and imagining, that when they disobeyed them,
they would fall into calamities, he persuaded the woman, out of a
malicious intention, to taste of the tree of knowledge, telling
them, that in that tree was the knowledge of good and evil; which
knowledge, when they should obtain, they would lead a happy life;
nay, a life not inferior to that of a god: by which means he
overcame the woman, and persuaded her to despise the command of
God. Now when she had tasted of that tree, and was pleased with
its fruit, she persuaded Adam to make use of it also. Upon this
they perceived that they were become naked to one another; and
being ashamed thus to appear abroad, they invented somewhat to
cover them; for the tree sharpened their understanding; and they
covered themselves with fig-leaves; and tying these before them,
out of modesty, they thought they were happier than they were
before, as they had discovered what they were in want of. But
when God came into the garden, Adam, who was wont before to come
and converse with him, being conscious of his wicked behavior,
went out of the way. This behavior surprised God; and he asked
what was the cause of this his procedure; and why he, that before
delighted in that conversation, did now fly from it, and avoid
it. When he made no reply, as conscious to himself that he had
transgressed the command of God, God said, "I had before
determined about you both, how you might lead a happy life,
without any affliction, and care, and vexation of soul; and that
all things which might contribute to your enjoyment and pleasure
should grow up by my providence, of their own accord, without
your own labor and pains-taking; which state of labor and
pains-taking would soon bring on old age, and death would not be
at any remote distance: but now thou hast abused this my
good-will, and hast disobeyed my commands; for thy silence is not
the sign of thy virtue, but of thy evil conscience." However,
Adam excused his sin, and entreated God not to be angry at him,
and laid the blame of what was done upon his wife; and said that
he was deceived by her, and thence became an offender; while she
again accused the serpent. But God allotted him punishment,
because he weakly submitted to the counsel of his wife; and said
the ground should not henceforth yield its fruits of its own
accord, but that when it should be harassed by their labor, it
should bring forth some of its fruits, and refuse to bring forth
others. He also made Eve liable to the inconveniency of breeding,
and the sharp pains of bringing forth children; and this because
she persuaded Adam with the same arguments wherewith the serpent
had persuaded her, and had thereby brought him into a calamitous
condition. He also deprived the serpent of speech, out of
indignation at his malicious disposition towards Adam. Besides
this, he inserted poison under his tongue, and made him an enemy
to men; and suggested to them, that they should direct their
strokes against his head, that being the place wherein lay his
mischievous designs towards men, and it being easiest to take
vengeance on him, that way. And when he had deprived him of the
use of his feet, he made him to go rolling all along, and
dragging himself upon the ground. And when God had appointed
these penalties for them, he removed Adam and Eve out of the
garden into another place.


Concerning The Posterity Of Adam, And The Ten Generations From
Him To The Deluge,

1. Adam and Eve had two sons: the elder of them was named Cain;
which name, when it is interpreted, signifies a possession: the
younger was Abel, which signifies sorrow. They had also
daughters. Now the two brethren were pleased with different
courses of life: for Abel, the younger, was a lover of
righteousness; and believing that God was present at all his
actions, he excelled in virtue; and his employment was that of a
shepherd. But Cain was not only very wicked in other respects,
but was wholly intent upon getting; and he first contrived to
plough the ground. He slew his brother on the occasion following
: - They had resolved to sacrifice to God. Now Cain brought the
fruits of the earth, and of his husbandry; but Abel brought milk,
and the first-fruits of his flocks: but God was more delighted
with the latter oblation,(6) when he was honored with what grew
naturally of its own accord, than he was with what was the
invention of a covetous man, and gotten by forcing the ground;
whence it was that Cain was very angry that Abel was preferred by
God before him; and he slew his brother, and hid his dead body,
thinking to escape discovery. But God, knowing what had been
done, came to Cain, and asked him what was become of his brother,
because he had not seen him of many days; whereas he used to
observe them conversing together at other times. But Cain was in
doubt with himself, and knew not what answer to give to God. At
first he said that he was himself at a loss about his brother's
disappearing; but when he was provoked by God, who pressed him
vehemently, as resolving to know what the matter was, he replied,
he was not his brother's guardian or keeper, nor was he an
observer of what he did. But, in return, God convicted Cain, as
having been the murderer of his brother; and said, "I wonder at
thee, that thou knowest not what is become of a man whom thou
thyself hast destroyed." God therefore did not inflict the
punishment [of death] upon him, on account of his offering
sacrifice, and thereby making supplication to him not to be
extreme in his wrath to him; but he made him accursed, and
threatened his posterity in the seventh generation. He also cast
him, together with his wife, out of that land. And when he was
afraid that in wandering about he should fall among Wild beasts,
and by that means perish, God bid him not to entertain such a
melancholy suspicion, and to go over all the earth without fear
of what mischief he might suffer from wild beasts; and setting a
mark upon him, that he might be known, he commanded him to

2. And when Cain had traveled over many countries, he, with his
wife, built a city, named Nod, which is a place so called, and
there he settled his abode; where also he had children. However,
he did not accept of his punishment in order to amendment, but to
increase his wickedness; for he only aimed to procure every thing
that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be
injurious to his neighbors. He augmented his household substance
with much wealth, by rapine and violence; he excited his
acquaintance to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and
became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also
introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived
before; and was the author of measures and weights. And whereas
they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of
such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness. He first
of all set boundaries about lands: he built a city, and fortified
it with walls, and he compelled his family to come together to
it; and called that city Enoch, after the name of his eldest son
Enoch. Now Jared was the son of Enoch; whose son was Malaliel;
whose son was Mathusela; whose son was Lamech; who had
seventy-seven children by two wives, Silla and Ada. Of those
children by Ada, one was Jabal: he erected tents, and loved the
life of a shepherd. But Jubal, who was born of the same mother
with him, exercised himself in music;(7) and invented the
psaltery and the harp. But Tubal, one of his children by the
other wife, exceeded all men in strength, and was very expert and
famous in martial performances. He procured what tended to the
pleasures of the body by that method; and first of all invented
the art of making brass. Lamech was also the father of a
daughter, whose name was Naamah. And because he was so skillful
in matters of divine revelation, that he knew he was to be
punished for Cain's murder of his brother, he made that known to
his wives. Nay, even while Adam was alive, it came to pass that
the posterity of Cain became exceeding wicked, every one
successively dying, one after another, more wicked than the
former. They were intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies;
and if any one were slow to murder people, yet was he bold in his
profligate behavior, in acting unjustly, and doing injuries for

3. Now Adam, who was the first man, and made out of the earth,
(for our discourse must now be about him,) after Abel was slain,
and Cain fled away, on account of his murder, was solicitous for
posterity, and had a vehement desire of children, he being two
hundred and thirty years old; after which time he lived other
seven hundred, and then died. He had indeed many other
children,(8) but Seth in particular. As for the rest, it would be
tedious to name them; I will therefore only endeavor to give an
account of those that proceeded from Seth. Now this Seth, when he
was brought up, and came to those years in which he could discern
what was good, became a virtuous man; and as he was himself of an
excellent character, so did he leave children behind him who
imitated his virtues.(9) All these proved to be of good
dispositions. They also inhabited the same country without
dissensions, and in a happy condition, without any misfortunes
falling upon them, till they died. They also were the inventors
of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the
heavenly bodies, and their order. And that their inventions might
not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's
prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the
force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity
of water, they made two pillars, (10) the one of brick, the other
of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in
case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the
pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to
mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of
brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to
this day.


Concerning The Flood; And After What Manner Noah Was Saved In An
Ark, With His Kindred, And Afterwards Dwelt In The Plain Of

1. Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord
of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for
seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted,
and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither
pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they
any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of
zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their
actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to
be their enemy. For many angels(11) of God accompanied with
women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all
that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own
strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled
the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. But Noah was
very uneasy at what they did; and being displeased at their
conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their
acts for the better: but seeing they did not yield to him, but
were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would
kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had
married; so he departed out of that land.

2. Now God loved this man for his righteousness: yet he not only
condemned those other men for their wickedness, but determined to
destroy the whole race of mankind, and to make another race that
should be pure from wickedness; and cutting short their lives,
and making their years not so many as they formerly lived, but
one hundred and twenty only,(12) he turned the dry land into sea;
and thus were all these men destroyed: but Noah alone was saved;
for God suggested to him the following contrivance and way of
escape : - That he should make an ark of four stories high, three
hundred cubits(13) long, fifty cubits broad, and thirty cubits
high. Accordingly he entered into that ark, and his wife, and
sons, and their wives, and put into it not only other provisions,
to support their wants there, but also sent in with the rest all
sorts of living creatures, the male and his female, for the
preservation of their kinds; and others of them by sevens. Now
this ark had firm walls, and a roof, and was braced with cross
beams, so that it could not be any way drowned or overborne by
the violence of the water. And thus was Noah, with his family,
preserved. Now he was the tenth from Adam, as being the son of
Lamech, whose father was Mathusela; he was the son of Enoch, the
son of Jared; and Jared was the son of Malaleel, who, with many
of his sisters, were the children of Cainan, the son of Enos. Now
Enos was the son of Seth, the son of Adam.

3. This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's
government, [age,] in the second month, (14) called by the
Macedonians Dius, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan: for so did they
order their year in Egypt. But Moses appointed that Nisan,
which is the same with Xanthicus, should be the first month for
their festivals, because he brought them out of Egypt in that
month: so that this month began the year as to all the
solemnities they observed to the honor of God, although he
preserved the original order of the months as to selling and
buying, and other ordinary affairs. Now he says that this flood
began on the twenty-seventh [seventeenth] day of the
forementioned month; and this was two thousand six hundred and
fifty-six [one thousand six hundred and fifty-six] years from
Adam, the first man; and the time is written down in our sacred
books, those who then lived having noted down,(15) with great
accuracy, both the births and deaths of illustrious men.

4. For indeed Seth was born when Adam was in his two hundred and
thirtieth year, who lived :nine hundred and thirty years. Seth
begat Enos in his two hundred and fifth year; who, when he had
lived nine hundred and twelve years, delivered the government to
Cainan his son, whom he had in his hundred and ninetieth year. He
lived nine hundred and five years. Cainan, when he had lived nine
hundred and ten years, had his son Malaleel, who was born in his
hundred and seventieth year. This Malaleel, having lived eight
hundred and ninety-five years, died, leaving his son Jared, whom
he begat when he was in his hundred and sixty-fifth year. He
lived nine hundred and sixty-two years; and then his son Enoch
succeeded him, who was born when his father was one hundred and
sixty-two years old. Now he, when he had lived three hundred and
sixty-five years, departed and went to God; whence it is that
they have not written down his death. Now Mathusela, the son of
Enoch, who was born to him when he was one hundred and sixty-five
years old, had Lamech for his son when he was one hundred and
eighty-seven years of age; to whom he delivered the government,
when he had retained it nine hundred and sixty-nine years. Now
Lamech, when he had governed seven hundred and seventy-seven
years, appointed Noah, his son, to be ruler of the people, who
was born to Lamech when he was one hundred and eighty-two years
old, and retained the government nine hundred and fifty years.
These years collected together make up the sum before set down.
But let no one inquire into the deaths of these men; for they
extended their lives along together with their children and
grandchildren; but let him have regard to their births only.

5. When God gave the signal, and it began to rain, the water
poured down forty entire days, till it became fifteen cubits
higher than the earth; which was the reason why there was no
greater number preserved, since they had no place to fly to. When
the rain ceased, the water did but just begin to abate after one
hundred and fifty days, (that is, on the seventeenth day of the
seventh month,) it then ceasing to subside for a little while.
After this, the ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in
Armenia; which, when Noah understood, he opened it; and seeing a
small piece of land about it, he continued quiet, and conceived
some cheerful hopes of deliverance. But a few days afterward,
when the water was decreased to a greater degree, he sent out a
raven, as desirous to learn whether any other part of the earth
were left dry by the water, and whether he might go out of the
ark with safety; but the raven, finding all the land still
overflowed, returned to Noah again. And after seven days he sent
out a dove, to know the state of the ground; which came back to
him covered with mud, and bringing an olive branch: hereby Noah
learned that the earth was become clear of the flood. So after he
had staid seven more days, he sent the living creatures out of
the ark; and both he and his family went out, when he also
sacrificed to God, and feasted with his companions. However, the
Armenians call this place, (GREEK) (16) The Place of Descent; for
the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by
the inhabitants to this day.

6. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of
this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berosus the Chaldean.
For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes
on thus: "It is said there is still some part of this ship in
Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people
carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use
chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs." Hieronymus the
Egyptian also, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas,
and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of
Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation
about them; where he speaks thus: "There is a great mountain in
Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported
that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that
one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it;
and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved.
This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews

7. But as for Noah, he was afraid, since God had determined to
destroy mankind, lest he should drown the earth every year; so he
offered burnt-offerings, and besought God that nature might
hereafter go on in its former orderly course, and that he would
not bring on so great a judgment any more, by which the whole
race of creatures might be in danger of destruction: but that,
having now punished the wicked, he would of his goodness spare
the remainder, and such as he had hitherto judged fit to be
delivered from so severe a calamity; for that otherwise these
last must be more miserable than the first, and that they must be
condemned to a worse condition than the others, unless they be
suffered to escape entirely; that is, if they be reserved for
another deluge; while they must be afflicted with the terror and
sight of the first deluge, and must also be destroyed by a
second. He also entreated God to accept of his sacrifice, and to
grant that the earth might never again undergo the like effects
of 'his wrath; that men might be permitted to go on cheerfully in
cultivating the same; to build cities, and live happily in them;
and that they might not be deprived of any of those good things
which they enjoyed before the Flood; but might attain to the like
length of days, and old age, which the ancient people had arrived
at before.

8. When Noah had made these supplications, God, who loved the man
for his righteousness, granted entire success to his prayers, and
said, that it was not he who brought the destruction on a
polluted world, but that they underwent that vengeance on account
of their own wickedness; and that he had not brought men into the
world if he had himself determined to destroy them, it being an
instance of greater wisdom not to have granted them life at all,
than, after it was granted, to procure their destruction; "But
the injuries," said he, "they offered to my holiness and virtue,
forced me to bring this punishment upon them. But I will leave
off for the time to come to require such punishments, the effects
of so great wrath, for their future wicked actions, and
especially on account of thy prayers. But if I shall at any time
send tempests of rain, in an extraordinary manner, be not
affrighted at the largeness of the showers; for the water shall
no more overspread the earth. However, I require you to abstain
from shedding the blood of men, and to keep yourselves pure from
murder; and to punish those that commit any such thing. I permit
you to make use of all the other living creatures at your
pleasure, and as your appetites lead you; for I have made you
lords of them all, both of those that walk on the land, and those
that swim in the waters, and of those that fly in the regions of
the air on high, excepting their blood, for therein is the life.
But I will give you a sign that I have left off my anger by my
bow [whereby is meant the rainbow, for they determined that the
rainbow was the bow of God]. And when God had said and promised
thus, he went away.

9. Now when Noah had lived three hundred and fifty years after
the Flood, and that all that time happily, he died, having lived
the number of nine hundred and fifty years. But let no one, upon
comparing the lives of the ancients with our lives, and with the
few years which we now live, think that what we have said of them
is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an
argument, that neither did they attain to so long a duration of
life, for those ancients were beloved of God, and [lately] made
by God himself; and because their food was then fitter for the
prolongation of life, might well live so great a number of years:
and besides, God afforded them a longer time of life on account
of their virtue, and the good use they made of it in astronomical
and geometrical discoveries, which would not have afforded the
time of foretelling [the periods of the stars] unless they had
lived six hundred years; for the great year is completed in that
interval. Now I have for witnesses to what I have said, all those
that have written Antiquities, both among the Greeks and
barbarians; for even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian History, and
Berosus, who collected the Chaldean Monuments, and Mochus, and
Hestieus, and, besides these, Hieronymus the Egyptian, and those
who composed the Phoenician History, agree to what I here say:
Hesiod also, and Hecatseus, Hellanicus, and Acusilaus; and,
besides these, Ephorus and Nicolaus relate that the ancients
lived a thousand years. But as to these matters, let every one
look upon them as he thinks fit.


Concerning The Tower Of Babylon, And The Confusion Of Tongues.

1. Now the sons of Noah were three, - Shem, Japhet, and Ham, born
one hundred years before the Deluge. These first of all descended
from the mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation
there; and persuaded others who were greatly afraid of the lower
grounds on account of the flood, and so were very loath to come
down from the higher places, to venture to follow their examples.
Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar. God
also commanded them to send colonies abroad, for the thorough
peopling of the earth, that they might not raise seditions among
themselves, but might cultivate a great part of the earth, and
enjoy its fruits after a plentiful manner. But they were so ill
instructed that they did not obey God; for which reason they fell
into calamities, and were made sensible, by experience, of what
sin they had been guilty: for when they flourished with a
numerous youth, God admonished them again to send out colonies;
but they, imagining the prosperity they enjoyed was not derived
from the favor of God, but supposing that their own power was the
proper cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not
obey him. Nay, they added to this their disobedience to the
Divine will, the suspicion that they were therefore ordered to
send out separate colonies, that, being divided asunder, they
might the more easily be Oppressed.

2. Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and
contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a
bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to
ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were
happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which
procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government
into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of
God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power.
He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a
mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower
too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would
avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers !

3. Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination
of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to
God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being
in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the
multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than
any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and
it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed,
upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of
burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that
it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they
acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since
they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former
sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them
divers languages, and causing that, through the multitude of
those languages, they should not be able to understand one
another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called
Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they
readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word
Babel, confusion. The Sibyl also makes mention of this tower, and
of the confusion of the language, when she says thus: "When all
men were of one language, some of them built a high tower, as if
they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent storms
of wind and overthrew the tower, and gave every one his peculiar
language; and for this reason it was that the city was called
Babylon." But as to the plan of Shinar, in the country of
Babylonia, Hestiaeus mentions it, when he says thus: "Such of the
priests as were saved, took the sacred vessels of Jupiter
Enyalius, and came to Shinar of Babylonia."


After What Manner The Posterity Of Noah Sent Out Colonies, And
Inhabited The Whole Earth.

1. After this they were dispersed abroad, on account of their
languages, and went out by colonies every where; and each colony
took possession of that land which they light upon, and unto
which God led them; so that the whole continent was filled with
them, both the inland and the maritime countries. There were some
also who passed over the sea in ships, and inhabited the islands:
and some of those nations do still retain the denominations which
were given them by their first founders; but some have lost them
also, and some have only admitted certain changes in them, that
they might be the more intelligible to the inhabitants. And they
were the Greeks who became the authors of such mutations. For
when in after-ages they grew potent, they claimed to themselves
the glory of antiquity; giving names to the nations that sounded
well (in Greek) that they might be better understood among
themselves; and setting agreeable forms of government over them,
as if they were a people derived from themselves.


How Every Nation Was Denominated From Their
First Inhabitants.

1. Now they were the grandchildren of Noah, in honor of whom
names were imposed on the nations by those that first seized upon
them. Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so,
that, beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they
proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tansis, and along
Europe to Cadiz; and settling themselves on the lands which they
light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the
nations by their own names. For Gomer founded those whom the
Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called
Gomerites. Magog founded those that from him were named
Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians. Now as to
Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans,
who are called Medes, by the Greeks; but from Javan, Ionia, and
all the Grecians, are derived. Thobel founded the Thobelites, who
are now called Iberes; and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch;
now they are Cappadocians. There is also a mark of their ancient
denomination still to be shown; for there is even now among them
a city called Mazaca, which may inform those that are able to
understand, that so was the entire nation once called. Thiras
also called those whom he ruled over Thirasians; but the Greeks
changed the name into Thracians. And so many were the countries
that had the children of Japhet for their inhabitants. Of the
three sons of Gomer, Aschanax founded the Aschanaxians, who are
now called by the Greeks Rheginians. So did Riphath found the
Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians; and Thrugramma the
Thrugrammeans, who, as the Greeks resolved, were named Phrygians.
Of the three sons of Javan also, the son of Japhet, Elisa gave
name to the Eliseans, who were his subjects; they are now the
Aeolians. Tharsus to the Tharsians, for so was Cilicia of old
called; the sign of which is this, that the noblest city they
have, and a metropolis also, is Tarsus, the tau being by change
put for the theta. Cethimus possessed the island Cethima: it is
now called Cyprus; and from that it is that all islands, and the
greatest part of the sea-coasts, are named Cethim by the Hebrews:
and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve
its denomination; it has been called Citius by those who use the
language of the Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect,
escaped the name of Cethim. And so many nations have the children
and grandchildren of Japhet possessed. Now when I have premised
somewhat, which perhaps the Greeks do not know, I will return and
explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced here
after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own
country language does not so pronounce them: but the names in all
cases are of one and the same ending; for the name we here
pronounce Noeas, is there Noah, and in every case retains the
same termination.

2. The children of Ham possessed the land from Syria and Amanus,
and the mountains of Libanus; seizing upon all that was on its
sea-coasts, and as far as the ocean, and keeping it as their own.
Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away; others of
them being changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to
be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their
denominations entire. For of the four sons of Ham, time has not
at all hurt the name of Chus; for the Ethiopians, over whom he
reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men
in Asia, called Chusites. The memory also of the Mesraites is
preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit this country [of
Judea] called Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans. Phut
also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants
Phutites, from himself: there is also a river in the country of
Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may see the
greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river
and the adjoining country by the apellation of Phut: but the
name it has now has been by change given it from one of the sons
of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos. We will inform you presently
what has been the occasion why it has been called Africa also.
Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called
Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan. The children of
these [four] were these: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans; Evilas,
who founded the Evileans, who are called Getuli; Sabathes founded
the Sabathens, they are now called by the Greeks Astaborans;
Sabactas settled the Sabactens; and Ragmus the Ragmeans; and he
had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas, settled the Judadeans, a
nation of the western Ethiopians, and left them his name; as did
Sabas to the Sabeans: but Nimrod, the son of Chus, staid and
tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already informed you. Now all
the children of Mesraim, being eight in number, possessed the
country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the name of one
only, the Philistim; for the Greeks call part of that country
Palestine. As for the rest, Ludieim, and Enemim, and Labim, who
alone inhabited in Libya, and called the country from himself,
Nedim, and Phethrosim, and Chesloim, and Cephthorim, we know
nothing of them besides their names; for the Ethiopic war(17)
which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those
cities were overthrown. The sons of Canaan were these: Sidonius,
who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the
Greeks Sidon
Amathus inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by
the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania,
from one of his posterity: Arudeus possessed the island Aradus:
Arucas possessed Arce, which is in Libanus. But for the seven
others, [Eueus,] Chetteus, Jebuseus, Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus,
Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in the sacred books but their
names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities; and their
calamities came upon them on the occasion following.

3. Noah, when, after the deluge, the earth was resettled in its
former condition, set about its cultivation; and when he had
planted it with vines, and when the fruit was ripe, and he had
gathered the grapes in their season, and the wine was ready for
use, he offered sacrifice, and feasted, and, being drunk, he fell
asleep, and lay naked in an unseemly manner. When his youngest
son saw this, he came laughing, and showed him to his brethren;
but they covered their father's nakedness. And when Noah was made
sensible of what had been done, he prayed for prosperity to his
other sons; but for Ham, he did not curse him, by reason of his
nearness in blood, but cursed his prosperity: and when the rest
of them escaped that curse, God inflicted it on the children of
Canaan. But as to these matters, we shall speak more hereafter.

4. Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the
land that began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean.
For Elam left behind him the Elamites, the ancestors of the
Persians. Ashur lived at the city Nineve; and named his subjects
Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others.
Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans.
Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians; as Laud
founded the Laudites, which are now called Lydians. Of the four
sons of Aram, Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus: this country
lies between Palestine and Celesyria. Ul founded Armenia; and
Gather the Bactrians; and Mesa the Mesaneans; it is now called
Charax Spasini. Sala was the son of Arphaxad; and his son was
Heber, from whom they originally called the Jews Hebrews. (18)
Heber begat Joetan and Phaleg: he was called Phaleg, because he
was born at the dispersion of the nations to their several
countries; for Phaleg among the Hebrews signifies division. Now
Joctan, one of the sons of Heber, had these sons, Elmodad,
Saleph, Asermoth, Jera, Adoram, Aizel, Decla, Ebal, Abimael,
Sabeus, Ophir, Euilat, and Jobab. These inhabited from Cophen, an
Indian river, and in part of Asia adjoining to it. And this shall
suffice concerning the sons of Shem.

5. I will now treat of the Hebrews. The son of Phaleg, whose
father Was Heber, was Ragau; whose son was Serug, to whom was
born Nahor; his son was Terah, who was the father of Abraham, who
accordingly was the tenth from Noah, and was born in the two
hundred and ninety-second year after the deluge; for Terah begat
Abram in his seventieth year. Nahor begat Haran when he was one
hundred and twenty years old; Nahor was born to Serug in his
hundred and thirty-second year; Ragau had Serug at one hundred
and thirty; at the same age also Phaleg had Ragau; Heber begat
Phaleg in his hundred and thirty-fourth year; he himself being
begotten by Sala when he was a hundred and thirty years old, whom
Arphaxad had for his son at the hundred and thirty-fifth year of
his age. Arphaxad was the son of Shem, and born twelve years
after the deluge. Now Abram had two brethren, Nahor and Haran: of
these Haran left a son, Lot; as also Sarai and Milcha his
daughters; and died among the Chaldeans, in a city of the
Chaldeans, called Ur; and his monument is shown to this day.
These married their nieces. Nabor married Milcha, and Abram
married Sarai. Now Terah hating Chaldea, on account of his
mourning for Ilaran, they all removed to Haran of Mesopotamia,
where Terah died, and was buried, when he had lived to be two
hundred and five years old; for the life of man was already, by
degrees, diminished, and became shorter than before, till the
birth of Moses; after whom the term of human life was one hundred
and twenty years, God determining it to the length that Moses
happened to live. Now Nahor had eight sons by Milcha; Uz and Buz,
Kemuel, Chesed, Azau, Pheldas, Jadelph, and Bethuel. These were
all the genuine sons of Nahor; for Teba, and Gaam, and Tachas,
and Maaca, were born of Reuma his concubine: but Bethuel had a
daughter, Rebecca, and a son, Laban.


How Abram Our Forefather Went Out Of The Land Of The Chaldeans,
And Lived In The Land Then Called Canaan But Now Judea.

1. Now Abram, having no son of his own, adopted Lot, his brother
Haran's son, and his wife Sarai's brother; and he left the land
of Chaldea when he was seventy-five years old, and at the command
of God went into Canaan, and therein he dwelt himself, and left
it to his posterity. He was a person of great sagacity, both for
understanding all things and persuading his hearers, and not
mistaken in his opinions; for which reason he began to have
higher notions of virtue than others had, and he determined to
renew and to change the opinion all men happened then to have
concerning God; for he was the first that ventured to publish
this notion, That there was but one God, the Creator of the
universe; and that, as to other [gods], if they contributed any
thing to the happiness of men, that each of them afforded it only
according to his appointment, and not by their own power. This
his opinion was derived from the irregular phenomena that were
visible both at land and sea, as well as those that happen to the
sun, and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, thus: - "If [said he]
these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take
care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve
such regularity, they make it plain, that in so far as they
co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their own
abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them,
to whom alone we ought justly to offer our honor and
thanksgiving." For which doctrines, when the Chaldeans, and other
people of Mesopotamia, raised a tumult against him, he thought
fit to leave that country; and at the command and by the
assistance of God, he came and lived in the land of Canaan. And
when he was there settled, he built an altar, and performed a
sacrifice to God.

2. Berosus mentions our father Abram without naming him, when he
says thus: "In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was
among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skillful in
the celestial science." But Hecatseus does more than barely
mention him; for he composed, and left behind him, a book
concerning him. And Nicolaus of Damascus, in the fourth book of
his History, says thus: "Abram reigned at Damascus, being a
foreigner, who came with an army out of the land above Babylon,
called the land of the Chaldeans: but, after a long time, he got
him up, and removed from that country also, with his people, and
went into the land then called the land of Canaan, but now the
land of Judea, and this when his posterity were become a
multitude; as to which posterity of his, we relate their history
in another work. Now the name of Abram is even still famous in
the country of Damascus; and there is shown a village named from
him, The Habitation of 4bram."


That When There Was A Famine In Canaan, Abram Went Thence Into
Egypt; And After He Had Continued There A While He Returned Back

1. Now, after this, when a famine had invaded the land of Canaan,
and Abram had discovered that the Egyptians were in a flourishing
condition, he was disposed to go down to them, both to partake of
the plenty they enjoyed, and to become an auditor of their
priests, and to know what they said concerning the gods;
designing either to follow them, if they had better notions than
he, or to convert them into a better way, if his own notions
proved the truest. Now, seeing he was to take Sarai with him, and
was afraid of the madness of the Egyptians with regard to women,
lest the king should kill him on occasion of his wife's great
beauty, he contrived this device : - he pretended to be her
brother, and directed her in a dissembling way to pretend the
same, for he said it would be for their benefit. Now, as soon as
he came into Egypt, it happened to Abram as he supposed it would;
for the fame of his wife's beauty was greatly talked of; for
which reason Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, would not be satisfied
with what was reported of her, but would needs see her himself,
and was preparing to enjoy her; but God put a stop to his unjust
inclinations, by sending upon him a distemper, and a sedition
against his government. And when he inquired of the priests how
he might be freed from these calamities, they told him that this
his miserable condition was derived from the wrath of God, upon
account of his inclinations to abuse the stranger's wife. He
then, out of fear, asked Sarai who she was, and who it was that
she brought along with her. And when he had found out the truth,
he excused himself to Abram, that supposing the woman to be his
sister, and not his wife, he set his affections on her, as
desiring an affinity with him by marrying her, but not as incited
by lust to abuse her. He also made him a large present in money,
and gave him leave to enter into conversation with the most
learned among the Egyptians; from which conversation his virtue
and his reputation became more conspicuous than they had been

2. For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different
customs, and despised one another's sacred and accustomed rites,
and were very angry one with another on that account, Abram
conferred with each of them, and, confuting the reasonings they
made use of, every one for their own practices, demonstrated that
such reasonings were vain and void of truth: whereupon he was
admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, and one
of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he
undertook; and this not only in understanding it, but in
persuading other men also to assent to him. He communicated to
them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy;
for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with
those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans
into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also.

3. As soon as Abram was come back into Canaan, he parted the land
between him and Lot, upon account of the tumultuous behavior of
their shepherds, concerning the pastures wherein they should feed
their flocks. However, he gave Lot his option, or leave, to
choose which lands he would take; and he took himself what the
other left, which were the lower grounds at the foot of the
mountains; and he himself dwelt in Hebron, which is a city seven
years more ancient than Tunis of Egypt. But Lot possessed the
land of the plain, and the river Jordan, not far from the city of
Sodom, which was then a fine city, but is now destroyed, by the
will and wrath of God, the cause of which I shall show in its
proper place hereafter.


The Destruction Of The Sodomites By The Assyrian Wall.

At this time, when the Assyrians had the dominion over Asia, the
people of Sodom were in a flourishing condition, both as to
riches and the number of their youth. There were five kings that
managed the affairs of this county: Ballas, Barsas, Senabar, and
Sumobor, with the king of Bela; and each king led on his own
troops: and the Assyrians made war upon them; and, dividing their
army into four parts, fought against them. Now every part of the
army had its own commander; and when the battle was joined, the
Assyrians were conquerors, and imposed a tribute on the kings of
the Sodomites, who submitted to this slavery twelve years; and so
long they continued to pay their tribute: but on the thirteenth
year they rebelled, and then the army of the Assyrians came upon
them, under their commanders Amraphel, Arioch, Chodorlaomer, and
Tidal. These kings had laid waste all Syria, and overthrown the
offspring of the giants. And when they were come over against
Sodom, they pitched their camp at the vale called the Slime Pits,
for at that time there were pits in that place; but now, upon the
destruction of the city of Sodom, that vale became the Lake
Asphaltites, as it is called. However, concerning this lake we
shall speak more presently. Now when the Sodomites joined battle
with the Assyrians, and the fight was very obstinate, many of
them were killed, and the rest were carried captive; among which
captives was Lot, who had come to assist the Sodomites.


How Abram Fought With The Assyrians, And Overcame Them, And Saved
The Sodomite Prisoners, And Took From The Assyrians The Prey They
Had Gotten.

1. When, Abram heard of their calamity, he was at once afraid for
Lot his kinsman, and pitied the Sodomites, his friends and
neighbors; and thinking it proper to afford them assistance, he
did not delay it, but marched hastily, and the fifth night fell
upon the Assyrians, near Dan, for that is the name of the other
spring of Jordan; and before they could arm themselves, he slew
some as they were in their beds, before they could suspect any
harm; and others, who were not yet gone to sleep, but were so
drunk they could not fight, ran away. Abram pursued after them,
till, on the second day, he drove them in a body unto Hoba, a
place belonging to Damascus; and thereby demonstrated that
victory does not depend on multitude and the number of hands, but
the alacrity and courage of soldiers overcome the most numerous
bodies of men, while he got the victory over so great an army
with no more than three hundred and eighteen of his servants, and
three of his friends: but all those that fled returned home

2. So Abram, when he had saved the captive Sodomites, who had
been taken by the Assyrians, and Lot also, his kinsman, returned
home in peace. Now the king of Sodom met him at a certain place,
which they called The King's Dale, where Melchisedec, king of the
city Salem, received him. That name signifies, the righteous
king: and such he was, without dispute, insomuch that, on this
account, he was made the priest of God: however, they afterward
called Salem Jerusalem. Now this Melchisedec supplied Abram's
army in an hospitable manner, and gave them provisions in
abundance; and as they were feasting, he began to praise him, and
to bless God for subduing his enemies under him. And when Abram
gave him the tenth part of his prey, he accepted of the gift: but
the king of Sodom desired Abram to take the prey, but entreated
that he might have those men restored to him whom Abram had saved
from the Assyrians, because they belonged to him. But Abram would
not do so; nor would make any other advantage of that prey than
what his servants had eaten; but still insisted that he should
afford a part to his friends that had assisted him in the battle.
The first of them was called Eschol, and then Enner, and Mambre.

3. And God commended his virtue, and said, Thou shalt not however
lose the rewards thou hast deserved to receive by such thy
glorious actions. He answered, And what advantage will it be to
me to have such rewards, when I have none to enjoy them after me?
- for he was hitherto childless. And God promised that he should
have a son, and that his posterity should be very numerous;
insomuch that their number should be like the stars. When he
heard that, he offered a sacrifice to God, as he commanded him.
The manner of the sacrifice was this : - He took an heifer of
three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram in
like manner of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a pigeon
(19) and as he was enjoined, he divided the three former, but the
birds he did not divide. After which, before he built his altar,
where the birds of prey flew about, as desirous of blood, a
Divine voice came to him, declaring that their neighbors would be
grievous to his posterity, when they should be in Egypt, for four
hundred years; (20) during which time they should be afflicted,
but afterwards should overcome their enemies, should conquer the
Canaanites in war, and possess themselves of their land, and of
their cities.

4. Now Abram dwelt near the oak called Ogyges,--the place belongs
to Canaan, not far from the city of Hebron. But being uneasy at
his wife's barrenness, he entreated God to grant that he might
have male issue; and God required of him to be of good courage,
and said that he would add to all the rest of the benefits that
he had bestowed upon him, ever since he led him out of
Mesopotamia, the gift of children. Accordingly Sarai, at God's
command, brought to his bed one of her handmaidens, a woman of
Egyptian descent, in order to obtain children by her; and when
this handmaid was with child, she triumphed, and ventured to
affront Sarai, as if the dominion were to come to a son to be
born of her. But when Abram resigned her into the hand of Sarai,
to punish her, she contrived to fly away, as not able to bear the
instances of Sarai's severity to her; and she entreated God to
have compassion on her. Now a Divine Angel met her, as she was
going forward in the wilderness, and bid her return to her master
and mistress, for if she would submit to that wise advice, she
would live better hereafter; for that the reason of her being in
such a miserable case was this, that she had been ungrateful and
arrogant towards her mistress. He also told her, that if she
disobeyed God, and went on still in her way, she should perish;
but if she would return back, she should become the mother of a
son who should reign over that country. These admonitions she
obeyed, and returned to her master and mistress, and obtained
forgiveness. A little while afterwards, she bare Ismael; which
may be interpreted Heard of God, because God had heard his
mother's prayer.

5. The forementioned son was born to Abram when he was eighty-six
years old: but when he was ninety-nine, God appeared to him, and
promised him that he Should have a son by Sarai, and commanded
that his name should be Isaac; and showed him, that from this son
should spring great nations and kings, and that they should
obtain all the land of Canaan by war, from Sidon to Egypt. But he
charged him, in order to keep his posterity unmixed with others,
that they should be circumcised in the flesh of their foreskin,
and that this should be done on the eighth day after they were
born: the reason of which circumcision I will explain in another
place. And Abram inquiring also concerning Ismael, whether he
should live or not, God signified to him that he should live to
be very old, and should be the father of great nations. Abram
therefore gave thanks to God for these blessings; and then he,
and all his family, and his son Ismael, were circumcised
immediately; the son being that day thirteen years of age, and he

How God Overthrew The Nation Of The Sodomites, Out Of His Wrath
Against Them For Their Sins.

1. About this time the Sodomites grew proud, on account of their
riches and great wealth; they became unjust towards men, and
impious towards God, insomuch that they did not call to mind the
advantages they received from him: they hated strangers, and
abused themselves with Sodomitical practices. God was therefore
much displeased at them, and determined to punish them for their
pride, and to overthrow their city, and to lay waste their
country, until there should neither plant nor fruit grow out of

2. When God had thus resolved concerning the Sodomites, Abraham,
as he sat by the oak of Mambre, at the door of his tent, saw
three angels; and thinking them to be strangers, he rose up, and
saluted them, and desired they would accept of an entertainment,
and abide with him; to which, when they agreed, he ordered cakes
of meal to be made presently; and when he had slain a calf, he
roasted it, and brought it to them, as they sat under the oak.
Now they made a show of eating; and besides, they asked him about
his wife Sarah, where she was; and when he said she was within,
they said they would come again hereafter, and find her become a
mother. Upon which the woman laughed, and said that it was
impossible she should bear children, since she was ninety years
of age, and her husband was a hundred. Then they concealed
themselves no longer, but declared that they were angels of God;
and that one of them was sent to inform them about the child, and
two of the overthrow of Sodom.

3. When Abraham heard this, he was grieved for the Sodomites; and
he rose up, and besought God for them, and entreated him that he
would not destroy the righteous with the wicked. And when God had
replied that there was no good man among the Sodomites; for if
there were but ten such man among them, he would not punish any
of them for their sins, Abraham held his peace. And the angels
came to the city of the Sodomites, and Lot entreated them to
accept of a lodging with him; for he was a very generous and
hospitable man, and one that had learned to imitate the goodness
of Abraham. Now when the Sodomites saw the young men to be of
beautiful countenances, and this to an extraordinary degree, and
that they took up their lodgings with Lot, they resolved
themselves to enjoy these beautiful boys by force and violence;
and when Lot exhorted them to sobriety, and not to offer any
thing immodest to the strangers, but to have regard to their
lodging in his house; and promised that if their inclinations
could not be governed, he would expose his daughters to their
lust, instead of these strangers; neither thus were they made

4. But God was much displeased at their impudent behavior, so
that he both smote those men with blindness, and condemned the
Sodomites to universal destruction. But Lot, upon God's informing
him of the future destruction of the Sodomites, went away, taking
with him his wife and daughters, who were two, and still virgins;
for those that were betrothed (21) to them were above the
thoughts of going, and deemed that Lot's words were trifling. God
then cast a thunderbolt upon the city, and set it on fire, with
its inhabitants; and laid waste the country with the like
burning, as I formerly said when I wrote the Jewish War. (22) But
Lot's wife continually turning back to view the city as she went
from it, and being too nicely inquisitive what would become of
it, although God had forbidden her so to do, was changed into a
pillar of salt;(23) for I have seen it, and it remains at this
day. Now he and his daughters fled to a certain small place,
encompassed with the fire, and settled in it: it is to this day
called Zoar, for that is the word which the Hebrews use for a
small thing. There it was that he lived a miserable life, on
account of his having no company, and his want of provisions.

5. But his daughters, thinking that all mankind were destroyed,
approached to their father, (24) though taking care not to be
perceived. This they did, that human kind might not utterly fail:
and they bare sons; the son of the elder was named Moab, Which
denotes one derived from his father; the younger bare Ammon,
which name denotes one derived from a kinsman. The former of whom
was the father of the Moabites, which is even still a great
nation; the latter was the father of the Ammonites; and both of
them are inhabitants of Celesyria. And such was the departure of
Lot from among the Sodomites.


Concerning Abimelech; And Concerning Ismael The Son Of Abraham;
And Concerning The Arabians, Who Were His Posterity.

1. Abraham now removed to Gerar of Palestine, leading Sarah along
with him, under the notion of his sister, using the like
dissimulation that he had used before, and this out of fear: for
he was afraid of Abimelech, the king of that country, who did
also himself fall in love with Sarah, and was disposed to corrupt
her; but he was restrained from satisfying his lust by a
dangerous distemper which befell him from God. Now when his
physicians despaired of curing him, he fell asleep, and saw a
dream, warning him not to abuse the stranger's wife; and when he
recovered, he told his friends that God had inflicted that
disease upon him, by way of punishment, for his injury to the
stranger; and in order to preserve the chastity of his wife, for
that she did not accompany him as his sister, but as his
legitimate wife; and that God had promised to be gracious to him
for the time to come, if this person be once secure of his wife's
chastity. When he had said this, by the advice of his friends, he
sent for Abraham, and bid him not to be concerned about his wife,
or fear the corruption of her chastity; for that God took care of
him, and that it was by his providence that he received his wife
again, without her suffering any abuse. And he appealed to God,
and to his wife's conscience; and said that he had not any
inclination at first to enjoy her, if he had known she was his
wife; but since, said he, thou leddest her about as thy sister, I
was guilty of no offense. He also entreated him to be at peace
with him, and to make God propitious to him; and that if he
thought fit to continue with him, he should have what he wanted
in abundance; but that if he designed to go away, he should be
honorably conducted, and have whatsoever supply he wanted when he
came thither. Upon his saying this, Abraham told him that his
pretense of kindred to his wife was no lie, because she was his
brother's daughter; and that he did not think himself safe in his
travels abroad, without this sort of dissimulation; and that he
was not the cause of his distemper, but was only solicitous for
his own safety: he said also, that he was ready to stay with him.
Whereupon Abimelech assigned him land and money; and they
coventanted to live together without guile, and took an oath at a
certain well called Beersheba, which may be interpreted, The Well
of the Oath: and so it is named by the people of the country unto
this day.

2. Now in a little time Abraham had a son by Sarah, as God had
foretold to him, whom he named Isaac, which signifies Laughter.
And indeed they so called him, because Sarah laughed when God
(25) said that she should bear a son, she not expecting such a
thing, as being past the age of child-bearing, for she was ninety
years old, and Abraham a hundred; so that this son was born to
them both in the last year of each of those decimal numbers. And
they circumcised him upon the eighth day and from that time the
Jews continue the custom of circumcising their sons within that
number of days. But as for the Arabians, they circumcise after
the thirteenth year, because Ismael, the founder of their nation,
who was born to Abraham of the concubine, was circumcised at that
age; concerning whom I will presently give a particular account,
with great exactness.

3. As for Sarah, she at first loved Ismael, who was born of her
own handmaid Hagar, with an affection not inferior to that of her
own son, for he was brought up in order to succeed in the
government; but when she herself had borne Isaac, she was not
willing that Ismael should be brought up with him, as being too
old for him, and able to do him injuries when their father should
be dead; she therefore persuaded Abraham to send him and his
mother to some distant country. Now, at the first, he did not
agree to what Sarah was so zealous for, and thought it an
instance of the greatest barbarity, to send away a young child
(26) and a woman unprovided of necessaries; but at length he
agreed to it, because God was pleased with what Sarah had
determined: so he delivered Ismael to his mother, as not yet able
to go by himself; and commanded her to take a bottle of water,
and a loaf of bread, and so to depart, and to take Necessity for
her guide. But as soon as her necessary provisions failed, she
found herself in an evil case; and when the water was almost
spent, she laid the young child, who was ready to expire, under a
fig-tree, and went on further, that so he might die while she was
absent. But a Divine Angel came to her, and told her of a
fountain hard by, and bid her take care, and bring up the child,
because she should be very happy by the preservation of Ismael.
She then took courage, upon the prospect of what was promised
her, and, meeting with some shepherds, by their care she got
clear of the distresses she had been in.

4. When the lad was grown up, he married a wife, by birth an
Egyptian, from whence the mother was herself derived originally.
Of this wife were born to Ismael twelve sons; Nabaioth, Kedar,
Abdeel, Mabsam, Idumas, Masmaos, Masaos, Chodad, Theman, Jetur,
Naphesus, Cadmas. These inhabited all the country from Euphrates
to the Red Sea, and called it Nabatene. They are an Arabian
nation, and name their tribes from these, both because of their
own virtue, and because of the dignity of Abraham their father.


Concerning Isaac The Legitimate Son Of Abraham.

1. Now Abraham greatly loved Isaac, as being his only begotten
(27) and given to him at the borders of old age, by the favor of
God. The child also endeared himself to his parents still more,
by the exercise of every virtue, and adhering to his duty to his
parents, and being zealous in the worship of God. Abraham also
placed his own happiness in this prospect, that, when he should
die, he should leave this his son in a safe and secure condition;
which accordingly he obtained by the will of God: who being
desirous to make an experiment of Abraham's religious disposition
towards himself, appeared to him, and enumerated all the
blessings he had bestowed on him; how he had made him superior to
his enemies; and that his son Isaac, who was the principal part
of his present happiness, was derived from him; and he said that
he required this son of his as a sacrifice and holy oblation.
Accordingly he commanded him to carry him to the mountain Moriah,
and to build an altar, and offer him for a burnt-offering upon it
for that this would best manifest his religious disposition
towards him, if he preferred what was pleasing to God, before the
preservation of his own son.

2. Now Abraham thought that it was not right to disobey God in
any thing, but that he was obliged to serve him in every
circumstance of life, since all creatures that live enjoy their
life by his providence, and the kindness he bestows on them.
Accordingly he concealed this command of God, and his own
intentions about the slaughter of his son, from his wife, as also
from every one of his servants, otherwise he should have been
hindered from his obedience to God; and he took Isaac, together
with two of his servants, and laying what things were necessary
for a sacrifice upon an ass, he went away to the mountain. Now
the two servants went along with him two days; but on the third
day, as soon as he saw the mountain, he left those servants that
were with him till then in the plain, and, having his son alone
with him, he came to the mountain. It was that mountain upon
which king David afterwards built the temple. (28) Now they had
brought with them every thing necessary for a sacrifice,
excepting the animal that was to be offered only. Now Isaac was
twenty-five years old. And as he was building the altar, he asked
his father what he was about to offer, since there was no animal
there for an oblation : - to which it was answered, "That God
would provide himself an oblation, he being able to make a
plentiful provision for men out of what they have not, and to
deprive others of what they already have, when they put too much
trust therein; that therefore, if God pleased to be present and
propitious at this sacrifice, he would provide himself an

3. As soon as the altar was prepared, and Abraham had laid on the
wood, and all things were entirely ready, he said to his son, "O
son, I poured out a vast number of prayers that I might have thee
for my son; when thou wast come into the world, there was nothing
that could contribute to thy support for which I was not greatly
solicitous, nor any thing wherein I thought myself happier than
to see thee grown up to man's estate, and that I might leave thee
at my death the successor to my dominion; but since it was by
God's will that I became thy father, and it is now his will that
I relinquish thee, bear this consecration to God with a generous
mind; for I resign thee up to God who has thought fit now to
require this testimony of honor to himself, on account of the
favors he hath conferred on me, in being to me a supporter and
defender. Accordingly thou, my son, wilt now die, not in any
common way of going out of the world, but sent to God, the Father
of all men, beforehand, by thy own father, in the nature of a
sacrifice. I suppose he thinks thee worthy to get clear of this
world neither by disease, neither by war, nor by any other severe
way, by which death usually comes upon men, but so that he will
receive thy soul with prayers and holy offices of religion, and
will place thee near to himself, and thou wilt there be to me a
succorer and supporter in my old age; on which account I
principally brought thee up, and thou wilt thereby procure me God
for my Comforter instead of thyself."

4. Now Isaac was of such a generous disposition as became the son
of such a father, and was pleased with this discourse; and said,
"That he was not worthy to be born at first, if he should reject
the determination of God and of his father, and should not resign
himself up readily to both their pleasures; since it would have
been unjust if he had not obeyed, even if his father alone had so
resolved." So he went immediately to the altar to be sacrificed.
And the deed had been done if God had not opposed it; for he
called loudly to Abraham by his name, and forbade him to slay his
son; and said, "It was not out of a desire of human blood that he
was commanded to slay his son, nor was he willing that he should
be taken away from him whom he had made his father, but to try
the temper of his mind, whether he would be obedient to such a
command. Since therefore he now was satisfied as to that his
alacrity, and the surprising readiness he showed in this his
piety, he was delighted in having bestowed such blessings upon
him; and that he would not be wanting in all sort of concern
about him, and in bestowing other children upon him; and that his
son should live to a very great age; that he should live a happy
life, and bequeath a large principality to his children, who
should be good and legitimate." He foretold also, that his family
should increase into many nations (29) and that those patriarchs
should leave behind them an everlasting name; that they should
obtain the possession of the land of Canaan, and be envied by all
men. When God had said this, he produced to them a ram, which did
not appear before, for the sacrifice. So Abraham and Isaac
receiving each other unexpectedly, and having obtained the
promises of such great blessings, embraced one another; and when
they had sacrificed, they returned to Sarah, and lived happily
together, God affording them his assistance in all things they

Concerning Sarah Abraham's Wife; And How She
Ended Her Days.

Now Sarah died a little while after, having lived one hundred and
twenty-seven years. They buried her in Hebron; the Canaanites
publicly allowing them a burying-place; which piece of ground
Abraham bought for four hundred shekels, of Ephron, an inhabitant
of Hebron. And both Abraham and his descendants built themselves
sepulchers in that place.


How The Nation Of The Troglodytes Were Derived From Abraham By

Abraham after this married Keturah, by whom six sons were born to
him, men of courage, and of sagacious minds: Zambran, and Jazar,
and Madan, and Madian, and Josabak, and Sous. Now the sons of
Sous were Sabathan and Dadan. The sons of Dadan were Latusim, and
Assur, and Luom. The sons of Madiau were Ephas, and Ophren, and
Anoch, and Ebidas, and Eldas. Now, for all these sons and
grandsons, Abraham contrived to settle them in colonies; and they
took possession of Troglodytis, and the country of Arabia the
Happy, as far as it reaches to the Red Sea. It is related of this
Ophren, that he made war against Libya, and took it, and that his
grandchildren, when they inhabited it, called it (from his name)
Africa. And indeed Alexander Polyhistor gives his attestation to
what I here say; who speaks thus: "Cleodemus the prophet, who was
also called Malchus, who wrote a History of the Jews, in
agreement with the History of Moses, their legislator, relates,
that there were many sons born to Abraham by Keturah: nay, he
names three of them, Apher, and Surim, and Japhran. That from
Surim was the land of Assyria denominated; and that from the
other two (Apher and Japbran) the country of Africa took its
name, because these men were auxiliaries to Hercules, when he
fought against Libya and Antaeus; and that Hercules married
Aphra's daughter, and of her he begat a son, Diodorus; and that
Sophon was his son, from whom that barbarous people called
Sophacians were denominated."


How Isaac Took Rebeka To Wife.

1. Now when Abraham, the father of Isaac, had resolved to take
Rebeka, who was grand-daughter to his brother Nahor, for a wife
to his son Isaac, who was then about forty years old, he sent the
ancientest of his servants to betroth her, after he had obliged
him to give him the strongest assurances of his fidelity; which
assurances were given after the manner following : - They put
each other's hands under each other's thighs; then they called
upon God as the witness of what was to be done. He also sent such
presents to those that were there as were in esteem, on account
that that they either rarely or never were seen in that country,
The servant got thither not under a considerable time; for it
requires much time to pass through Meopotamia, in which it is
tedious traveling, both in the winter for the depth of the clay,
and in summer for want of water; and, besides this, for the
robberies there committed, which are not to be avoided by
travelers but by caution beforehand. However, the servant came to
Haran; and when he was in the suburbs, he met a considerable
number of maidens going to the water; he therefore prayed to God
that Rebeka might be found among them, or her whom Abraham sent
him as his servant to espouse to his son, in case his will were
that this marriage should be consummated, and that she might be
made known to him by the sign, That while others denied him water
to drink, she might give it him.

2. With this intention he went to the well, and desired the
maidens to give him some water to drink: but while the others
refused, on pretense that they wanted it all at home, and could
spare none for him, one only of the company rebuked them for
their peevish behavior towards the stranger; and said, What is
there that you will ever communicate to anybody, who have not so
much as given the man some water? She then offered him water in
an obliging manner. And now he began to hope that his grand
affair would succeed; but desiring still to know the truth, he
commended her for her generosity and good nature, that she did
not scruple to afford a sufficiency of water to those that wanted
it, though it cost her some pains to draw it; and asked who were
her parents, and wished them joy of such a daughter. "And mayst
thou be espoused," said he, "to their satisfaction, into the
family of an agreeable husband, and bring him legitimate
children." Nor did she disdain to satisfy his inquiries, but told
him her family. "They," says she, "call me Rebeka; my father was
Bethuel, but he is dead; and Laban is my brother; and, together
with my mother, takes care of all our family affairs, and is the
guardian of my virginity." When the servant heard this, he was
very glad at what had happened, and at what was told him, as
perceiving that God had thus plainly directed his journey; and
producing his bracelets, and some other ornaments which it was
esteemed decent for virgins to wear, he gave them to the damsel,
by way of acknowledgment, and as a reward for her kindness in
giving him water to drink; saying, it was but just that she
should have them, because she was so much more obliging than any
of the rest. She desired also that he would come and lodge with
them, since the approach of the night gave him not time to
proceed farther. And producing his precious ornaments for women,
he said he desired to trust them to none more safely than to such
as she had shown herself to be; and that he believed he might
guess at the humanity of her mother and brother, that they would
not be displeased, from the virtue he found in her; for he would
not be burdensome, but would pay the hire for his entertainment,
and spend his own money. To which she replied, that he guessed
right as to the humanity of her parents; but complained that he
should think them so parsimonious as to take money, for that he
should have all on free cost. But she said she would first inform
her brother Laban, and, if he gave her leave, she would conduct
him in.

3. As soon then as this was over, she introduced the stranger;
and for the camels, the servants of Laban brought them in, and
took care of them; and he was himself brought in to supper by
Laban. And, after supper, he says to him, and to the mother of
the damsel, addressing himself to her, "Abraham is the son of
Terah, and a kinsman of yours; for Nahor, the grandfather of
these children, was the brother of Abraham, by both father and
mother; upon which account he hath sent me to you, being desirous
to take this damsel for his son to wife. He is his legitimate
son, and is brought up as his only heir. He could indeed have had
the most happy of all the women in that country for him, but he
would not have his son marry any of them; but, out of regard to
his own relations, he desired him to match here, whose affection
and inclination I would not have you despise; for it was by the
good pleasure of God that other accidents fell out in my journey,
and that thereby I lighted upon your daughter and your house; for
when I was near to the city, I saw a great many maidens coming to
a well, and I prayed that I might meet with this damsel, which
has come to pass accordingly. Do you therefore confirm that
marriage, whose espousals have been already made by a Divine
appearance; and show the respect you have for Abraham, who hath
sent me with so much solicitude, in giving your consent to the
marriage of this damsel." Upon this they understood it to be the
will of God, and greatly approved of the offer, and sent their
daughter, as was desired. Accordingly Isaac married her, the
inheritance being now come to him; for the children by Keturah
were gone to their own remote habitations.


Concerning The Death Of Abraham.

A Little while after this Abraham died. He was a man of
incomparable virtue, and honored by God in a manner agreeable to
his piety towards him. The whole time of his life was one hundred
seventy and five years, and he was buried in Hebron, with his
wife Sarah, by their sons Isaac and Ismael.


Concerning The Sons Of Isaac, Esau And Jacob; Of Their Nativity
And Education.

1. Now Isaac's wife proved with child, after the death of
Abraham; (30) and when her belly was greatly burdened, Isaac was
very anxious, and inquired of God; who answered, that Rebeka
should bear twins; and that two nations should take the names of
those sons; and that he who appeared the second should excel the
elder. Accordingly she, in a little time, as God had foretold,
bare twins; the elder of whom, from his head to his feet, was
very rough and hairy; but the younger took hold of his heel as
they were in the birth. Now the father loved the elder, who was
called Esau, a name agreeable to his roughness, for the Hebrews
call such a hairy roughness [Esau, (31) or] Seir; but Jacob the
younger was best beloved by his mother.

2. When there was a famine in the land, Isaac resolved to go into
Egypt, the land there being good; but he went to Gerar, as God
commanded him. Here Abimelech the king received him, because
Abraham had formerly lived with him, and had been his friend. And
as in the beginning he treated him exceeding kindly, so he was
hindered from continuing in the same disposition to the end, by
his envy at him; for when he saw that God was with Isaac, and
took such great care of him, he drove him away from him. But
Isaac, when he saw how envy had changed the temper of Abimelech
retired to a place called the Valley, not far from Gerar: and as
he was digging a well, the shepherds fell upon him, and began to
fight, in order to hinder the work; and because he did not desire
to contend, the shepherds seemed to get the him, so he still
retired, and dug another and when certain other shepherds of
Abimelech began to offer him violence, he left that also, still
retired, thus purchasing security to himself a rational and
prudent conduct. At length the gave him leave to dig a well
without disturbance. He named this well Rehoboth, which denotes a
large space; but of the former wells, one was called Escon, which
denotes strife, the other Sitenna, name signifies enmity.

3. It was now that Isaac's affairs increased, and in a
flourishing condition; and this his great riches. But Abimelech,
thinking in opposition to him, while their living made them
suspicious of each other, and retiring showing a secret enmity
also, he
afraid that his former friendship with Isaac would not secure
him, if Isaac should endeavor the injuries he had formerly
offered him; he therefore renewed his friendship with him,
Philoc, one of his generals. And when he had obtained every thing
he desired, by reason of Isaac's good nature, who preferred the
earlier friendship Abimelech had shown to himself and his father
to his later wrath against him, he returned home.

4. Now when Esau, one of the sons of Isaac, whom the father
principally loved, was now come to the age of forty years, he
married Adah, the daughter of Helon, and Aholibamah, the daughter
of Esebeon; which Helon and Esebeon were great lords among the
Canaanites: thereby taking upon himself the authority, and
pretending to have dominion over his own marriages, without so
much as asking the advice of his father; for had Isaac been the
arbitrator, he had not given him leave to marry thus, for he was
not pleased with contracting any alliance with the people of that
country; but not caring to be uneasy to his son by commanding him
to put away these wives, he resolved to be silent.

5. But when he was old, and could not see at all, he called Esau
to him, and told him, that besides his blindness, and the
disorder of his eyes, his very old age hindered him from his
worship of God [by sacrifice]; he bid him therefore to go out a
hunting, and when he had caught as much venison as he could, to
prepare him a supper (32) that after this he might make
supplication to God, to be to him a supporter and an assister
during the whole time of his life; saying, that it was uncertain
when he should die, and that he was desirous, by prayers for him,
to procure, beforehand, God to be merciful to him.

6. Accordingly, Esau went out a hunting. But Rebeka (33) thinking
it proper to have the supplication made for obtaining the favor
of God to Jacob, and that without the consent of Isaac, bid him
kill kids of the goats, and prepare a supper. So Jacob obeyed his
mother, according to all her instructions. Now when the supper
was got ready, he took a goat's skin, and put it about his arm,
that by reason of its hairy roughness, he might by his father be
believed to be Esau; for they being twins, and in all things else
alike, differed only in this thing. This was done out of his
fear, that before his father had made his supplications, he
should be caught in his evil practice, and lest he should, on the
contrary, provoke his father to curse him. So he brought in the
supper to his father. Isaac perceivest to be Esau." So suspecting
no deceit, he ate the supper, and betook himself to his prayers
and intercessions with God; and said, "O Lord of all ages, and
Creator of all substance; for it was thou that didst propose to
my father great plenty of good things, and hast vouchsafed to
bestow on me what I have; and hast promised to my posterity to be
their kind supporter, and to bestow on them still greater
blessings; do thou therefore confirm these thy promises, and do
not overlook me, because of my present weak condition, on account
of which I most earnestly pray to thee. Be gracious to this my
son; and preserve him and keep him from every thing that is evil.
Give him a happy life, and the possession of as many good things
as thy power is able to bestow. Make him terrible to his enemies,
and honorable and beloved among his friends."

7. Thus did Isaac pray to God, thinking his prayers had been made
for Esau. He had but just finished them, when Esau came in from
hunting. And when Isaac perceived his mistake, he was silent: but
Esau required that he might be made partaker of the like blessing
from his father that his brother had partook of; but his father
refused it, because all his prayers had been spent upon Jacob: so
Esau lamented the mistake. However, his father being grieved at
his weeping, said, that "he should excel in hunting and strength
of body, in arms, and all such sorts of work; and should obtain
glory for ever on those accounts, he and his posterity after him;
but still should serve his brother."

8. Now the mother delivered Jacob, when she was afraid that his
brother would inflict some punishment upon him because of the
mistake about the prayers of Isaac; for she persuaded her husband
to take a wife for Jacob out of Mesopotamia, of her own kindred,
Esau having married already Basemmath, the daughter of Ismael,
without his father's consent; for Isaac did not like the
Canaanites, so that he disapproved of Esau's former marriages,
which made him take Basemmath to wife, in order to please him;
and indeed he had a great affection for her.


Concerning Jacob's Flight Into Mesopotamia, By Reason Of The Fear
He Was In Of His Brother.

1. Now Jacob was sent by his mother to Mesopotamia, in order to
marry Laban her brother's daughter (which marriage was permitted
by Isaac, on account of his obsequiousness to the desires of his
wife); and he accordingly journeyed through the land of Canaan;
and because he hated the people of that country, he would not
lodge with any of them, but took up his lodging in the open air,
and laid his head on a heap of stones that he had gathered
together. At which time he saw in his sleep such a vision
standing by him: - he seemed to see a ladder that reached from
the earth unto heaven, and persons descending upon the ladder
that seemed more excellent than human; and at last God himself
stood above it, and was plainly visible to him, who, calling him
by his name, spake to him in these words: -

2. "O Jacob, it is not fit for thee, who art the son of a good
father, and grandson of one who had obtained a great reputation
for his eminent virtue, to be dejected at thy present
circumstances, but to hope for better times, for thou shalt have
great abundance of all good things, by my assistance: for I
brought Abraham hither, out of Mesopotamia, when he was driven
away by his kinsmen, and I made thy father a happy man, nor will
I bestow a lesser degree of happiness on thyself: be of good
courage, therefore, and under my conduct proceed on this thy
journey, for the marriage thou goest so zealously about shall be
consummated. And thou shalt have children of good characters, but
their multitude shall be innumerable; and they shall leave what
they have to a still more numerous posterity, to whom, and to
whose posterity, I give the dominion of all the land, and their
posterity shall fill the entire earth and sea, so far as the sun
beholds them: but do not thou fear any danger, nor be afraid of
the many labors thou must undergo, for by my providence I will
direct thee what thou art to do in the time present, and still
much more in the time to come."

3. Such were the predictions which God made to Jacob; whereupon
he became very joyful at what he had seen and heard; and he
poured oil on the stones, because on them the prediction of such
great benefits was made. He also vowed a vow, that he would offer
sacrifices upon them, if he lived and returned safe; and if he
came again in such a condition, he would give the tithe of what
he had gotten to God. He also judged the place to be honorable
and gave it the name of Bethel, which, in the Greek, is
interpreted, The House of God.

4. So he proceeded on his journey to Mesopotamia, and at length
came to Haran; and meeting with shepherds in the suburbs, with
boys grown up, and maidens sitting about a certain well, he staid
with them, as wanting water to drink; and beginning to discourse
with them, he asked them whether they knew such a one as Laban,
and whether he was still alive. Now they all said they knew him,
for he was not so inconsiderable a person as to be unknown to any
of them; and that his daughter fed her father's flock together
with them; and that indeed they wondered that she was not yet
come, for by her means thou mightest learn more exactly whatever
thou desirest to know about that family. While they were saying
this the damsel came, and the other shepherds that came down
along with her. Then they showed her Jacob, and told her that he
was a stranger, who came to inquire about her father's affairs.
But she, as pleased, after the custom of children, with Jacob's
coming, asked him who he was, and whence he came to them, and
what it was he lacked that he came thither. She also wished it
might he in their power to supply the wants he came about.

5. But Jacob was quite overcome, not so much by their kindred,
nor by that affection which might arise thence, as by his love to
the damsel, and his surprise at her beauty, which was so
flourishing, as few of the women of that age could vie with. He
said then, "There is a relation between thee and me, elder than
either thy or my birth, if thou be the daughter of Laban; for
Abraham was the son of Terah, as well as Haran and Nahor. Of the
last of whom (Nahor) Bethuel thy grandfather was the son. Isaac
my father was the son of Abraham and of Sarah, who was the
daughter of Haran. But there is a nearer and later cement of
mutual kindred which we bear to one another, for my mother Rebeka
was sister to Laban thy father, both by the same father and
mother; I therefore and thou are cousin-germans. And I am now
come to salute you, and to renew that affinity which is proper
between us." Upon this the damsel, at the mention of Rebeka, as
usually happens to young persons, wept, and that out of the
kindness she had for her father, and embraced Jacob, she having
learned an account of Rebeka from her father, and knew that her
parents loved to hear her named; and when she had saluted him,
she said that "he brought the most desirable and greatest
pleasures to her father, with all their family, who was always
mentioning his mother, and always thinking of her, and her alone;
and that this will make thee equal in his eyes to any
advantageous circumstances whatsoever." Then she bid him go to
her father, and follow her while she conducted him to him; and
not to deprive him of such a pleasure, by staying any longer away
from him.

6. When she had said thus, she brought him to Laban; and being
owned by his uncle, he was secure himself, as being among his
friends; and he brought a great deal of pleasure to them by his
unexpected coning. But a little while afterward, Laban told him
that he could not express in words the joy he had at his coming;
but still he inquired of him the occasion of his coming, and why
he left his aged mother and father, when they wanted to be taken
care of by him; and that he would afford him all the assistance
he wanted. Then Jacob gave him an account of the whole occasion
of his journey, and told him, "that Isaac had two sons that were
twins, himself and Esau; who, because he failed of his father's
prayers, which by his mother's wisdom were put up for him, sought
to kill him, as deprived of the kingdom (34) which was to be
given him of God, and of the blessings for which their father
prayed; and that this was the occasion of his coming hither, as
his mother had commanded him to do: for we are all (says he)
brethren one to another; but our mother esteems an alliance with
your family more than she does one with the families of the
country; so I look upon yourself and God to be the supporters of
my travels, and think myself safe in my present circumstances."

7. Now Laban promised to treat him with great humanity, both on
account of his ancestors, and particularly for the sake of his
mother, towards whom, he said, he would show his kindness, even
though she were absent, by taking care of him; for he assured him
he would make him the head shepherd of his flock, and give him
authority sufficient for that purpose; and when he should have a
mind to return to his parents, he would send him back with
presents, and this in as honorable a manner as the nearness of
their relation should require. This Jacob heard gladly; and said
he would willingly, and with pleasure, undergo any sort of pains
while he tarried with him, but desired Rachel to wife, as the
reward of those pains, who was not only on other accounts
esteemed by him, but also because she was the means of his coming
to him; for he said he was forced by the love of the damsel to
make this proposal. Laban was well pleased with this agreement,
and consented to give the damsel to him, as not desirous to meet
with any better son-in-law; and said he would do this, if he
would stay with him some time, for he was not willing to send his
daughter to be among the Canaanites, for he repented of the
alliance he had made already by marrying his sister there. And
when Jacob had given his consent to this, he agreed to stay seven
years; for so many years he had resolved to serve his
father-in-law, that, having given a specimen of his virtue, it
might be better known what sort of a man he was. And Jacob,
accepting of his terms, after the time was over, he made the
wedding-feast; and when it was night, without Jacob's perceiving
it, he put his other daughter into bed to him, who was both elder
than Rachel, and of no comely countenance: Jacob lay with her
that night, as being both in drink and in the dark. However, when
it was day, he knew what had been done to him; and he reproached
Laban for his unfair proceeding with him; who asked pardon for
that necessity which forced him to do what he did; for he did not
give him Lea out of any ill design, but as overcome by another
greater necessity: that, notwithstanding this, nothing should
hinder him from marrying Rachel; but that when he had served
another seven years, he would give him her whom he loved. Jacob
submitted to this condition, for his love to the damsel did not
permit him to do otherwise; and when another seven years were
gone, he took Rachel to wife.

8. Now each of these had handmaids, by their father's donation.
Zilpha was handmaid to Lea, and Bilha to Rachel; by no means
slaves, (35) but however subject to their mistresses. Now Lea was
sorely troubled at her husband's love to her sister; and she
expected she should be better esteemed if she bare him children:
so she entreated God perpetually; and when she had borne a son,
and her husband was on that account better reconciled to her, she
named her son Reubel, because God had had mercy upon her, in
giving her a son, for that is the signification of this name.
After some time she bare three more sons; Simeon, which
name signifies that God had hearkened to her prayer. Then she
bare Levi, the confirmer of their friendship. After him was born
Judah, which denotes thanksgiving. But Rachel, fearing lest the
fruitfulness of her sister should make herself enjoy a lesser
share of Jacob's affections, put to bed to him her handmaid
Bilha; by whom Jacob had Dan: one may interpret that name into
the Greek tongue, a divine judgment. And after him Nephthalim, as
it were, unconquerable in stratagems, since Rachel tried to
conquer the fruitfulness of her sister by this stratagem.
Accordingly, Lea took the same method, and used a
counter-stratagem to that of her sister; for she put to bed to
him her own handmaid. Jacob therefore had by Zilpha a son, whose
name was Gad, which may be interpreted fortune; and after him
Asher, which may be called a happy man, because he added glory to
Lea. Now Reubel, the eldest son of Lea, brought apples of
mandrakes (36) to his mother. When Rachel saw them, she desired
that she would give her the apples, for she longed to eat them;
but when she refused, and bid her be content that she had
deprived her of the benevolence she ought to have had from her
husband, Rachel, in order to mitigate her sister's anger, said
she would yield her husband to her; and he should lie with her
that evening. She accepted of the favor, and Jacob slept with
Lea, by the favor of Rachel. She bare then these sons: Issachar,
denoting one born by hire: and Zabulon, one born as a pledge of
benevolence towards her; and a daughter, Dina. After some time
Rachel had a son, named Joseph, which signified there should be
another added to him.

9. Now Jacob fed the flocks of Laban his father-in-law all this
time, being twenty years, after which he desired leave of his
father-in-law to take his wives and go home; but when his
father-in-law would not give him leave, he contrived to do it
secretly. He made trial therefore of the disposition of his wives
what they thought of this journey; - when they appeared glad, and
approved of it. Rachel took along with her the images of the
gods, which, according to their laws, they used to worship in
their own country, and ran away together with her sister. The
children also of them both, and the handmaids, and what
possessions they had, went along with them. Jacob also drove away
half the cattle, without letting Laban know of it beforehand But
the reason why Rachel took the images of the gods, although Jacob
had taught her to despise such worship of those gods, was this,
That in case they were pursued, and taken by her father, she
might have recourse to these images, in order obtain his pardon.

10. But Laban, after one day's time, being acquainted with
Jacob's and his daughters' departure, was much troubled, and
pursued after them, leading a band of men with him; and on the
seventh day overtook them, and found them resting on a certain
hill; and then indeed he did not meddle with them, for it was
even-tide; but God stood by him in a dream, and warned him to
receive his son-in-law and his daughters in a peaceable manner;
and not to venture upon any thing rashly, or in wrath to but to
make a league with Jacob. And he him, that if he despised their
small number, attacked them in a hostile manner, he would assist
them. When Laban had been thus forewarned by God, he called Jacob
to him the next day, in order to treat with him, and showed him
what dream he had; in dependence whereupon he came confidently to
him, and began to accuse him, alleging that he had entertained
him when he was poor, and in want of all things, and had given
him plenty of all things which he had. "For," said he, "I have
joined my daughters to thee in marriage, and supposed that thy
kindness to me be greater than before; but thou hast had no
regard to either thy mother's relations to me, nor to the
affinity now newly contracted between us; nor to those wives whom
thou hast married; nor to those children, of whom I am the
grandfather. Thou hast treated me as an enemy, driving away my
cattle, and by persuading my daughters to run away from their
father; and by carrying home those sacred paternal images which
were worshipped by my forefathers, and have been honored with the
like worship which they paid them by myself. In short, thou hast
done this whilst thou art my kinsman, and my sister's son, and
the husband of my daughters, and was hospiably treated by me, and
didst eat at my table." When Laban had said this, Jacob made his
defense - That he was not the only person in whom God had
implanted the love of his native country, but that he had made it
natural to all men; and that therefore it was but reasonable
that, after so long time, he should go back to it. "But as to the
prey, of whose driving away thou accusest me, if any other person
were the arbitrator, thou wouldst be found in the wrong; for
instead of those thanks I ought to have had from thee, for both
keeping thy cattle, and increasing them, how is it that thou art
unjustly angry at me because I have taken, and have with me, a
small portion of them? But then, as to thy daughters, take
notice, that it is not through any evil practices of mine that
they follow me in my return home, but from that just affection
which wives naturally have to their husbands. They follow
therefore not so properly myself as their own children." And thus
far of his apology was made, in order to clear himself of having
acted unjustly. To which he added his own complaint and
accusation of Laban; saying, "While I was thy sister's son, and
thou hadst given me thy daughters in marriage, thou hast worn me
out with thy harsh commands, and detained me twenty years under
them. That indeed which was required in order to my marrying thy
daughters, hard as it was, I own to have been tolerable; but as
to those that were put upon me after those marriages, they were
worse, and such indeed as an enemy would have avoided." For
certainly Laban had used Jacob very ill; for when he saw that God
was assisting to Jacob in all that he desired, he promised him,
that of the young cattle which should be born, he should have
sometimes what was of a white color, and sometimes what should be
of a black color; but when those that came to Jacob's share
proved numerous, he did not keep his faith with him, but said he
would give them to him the next year, because of his envying him

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