The Creation – The First Day
1[1-5] When God first created the skies and the earth, the earth was useless and empty and no light shined on the waters that covered the earth. As the Spirit of God hovered over the top of the waters, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then God separated the light from the darkness, calling the light “day” and the darkness “night.” So there was evening and morning, which was the first day.
The Second Day
[6-8] Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, separating the waters of the earth from the waters of the skies.” So God made a space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the skies, and it happened just as God said. And God called the space “sky.” So there was evening and morning, which was the second day.
The Third Day
[9-13] Then God said, “Let the waters under the sky come together in one place, so that the dry ground may be seen.” And it happened just as God said. God called the dry land “earth” and the waters that had come together “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land grow grass and plants, which make the same kinds of seeds, and fruit trees, which fruits has seeds to make the same kinds of fruit trees.” And it happened just as God said. So the earth grew grass and plants, which make the same kinds of seeds, and fruit trees, which fruits has seeds to make the same kinds of fruit trees. And God saw that it was good. So there was evening and morning, which was the third day.
The Fourth Day
[14-19] Then God said, “Let lights be made in the sky to separate the day from the night, which are for signs and seasons (holy days), days and years. Let them be for lights in the skies of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it happened just as God said. And God made two great lights, the sun, which is the greatest to light the day, and the smaller ones, the moon and the stars, to light the night. So God made the lights in the skies of the heavens to give light to the earth, to light the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So there was evening and morning, which was the fourth day.
The Fifth Day
[20-23] Then God said, “Let the seas be filled with living creatures, and let the skies of the earth be filled with birds.” So God created the great sea creatures, the fish, and every other living thing that moves, which are in the water, each after its own kind, and every bird with wings, each after its own kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Create many more of your own kind. Let the sea creatures fill the seas, and let the birds fill the earth.” So there was evening and morning, which was the fifth day.
The Sixth Day
[24-25] Then God said, “Let the earth make living creatures, each animal after its own kind, tame animals, rodents in the land, and wild animals, each after their own kind;” and it happened just as God said. So God made all kinds of wild animals, tame animals, and rodents to live in the land, each after its own kind; and God saw that it was good.
[26-28] Then God said, “Let us make human beings in Our likeness, as a reflection of Ourselves to rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the tame animals, all the wild animals of the earth, and the rodents in the land.” So God created human beings to be like God. God created them, male and female, both in the likeness of God. Then God blessed them and said, “Create more of your own kind and make many more people to fill the earth and take charge of it. Take charge of the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that live on the land.”
[29-31] Then God said, “Look! I’ve given you every plant on the face of the earth, which makes its own seed and all the trees, which make their own fruit, for your food. And I’ve given every green plant as food for all the animals, the birds in the sky, and the rodents in the land, everything that breathes with life.” And it happened just as God said. Then God saw everything that was done, and it was very good! So there was evening and morning, which was the sixth day.
The Seventh Day
2[1-3] So the heavens and the earth and everything in them was finished. God had finished the work of creation by the seventh day, so God stopped to rest on the seventh day. And God blessed the Seventh Day and made it holy, because it was the day God stopped working on all the creation.
Adam and Eve in the Garden
[4-6] This is the story of the birth of the skies and the earth in their creation. When Yahweh God made the earth and the heavens, neither plants nor grasses were growing on the earth yet. Yahweh God had not yet sent rain on the earth, and there were no people to work the soil. At that time, a mist came up from the ground and watered all the land.
[7-9] Then Yahweh God formed the first human being from the dust of the ground. God breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Then Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and placed the man whom God had made in it. So Yahweh God made every tree that was beautiful or good for food to grow from the ground. And God placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden.
[10-14] A river went out of Eden, which watered the garden and which parts into four smaller rivers. The first one is called Pishon, which flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where gold is found. The gold of that land is very good, and aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second one is called Gihon, which flowed around the whole land of Cush. The third one is called Tigris, which flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth one is called Euphrates.
[15-17] So Yahweh God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. But Yahweh God told the man, “You may eat of every tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. On the day you eat of it, you’ll start dying, and then you’ll die.”
[18-20] Then Yahweh God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone. I’ll make him a helper, who will be his equal.” Yahweh God had formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. So God brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and whatever the man called them became the name for each one. The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals of the lands. But for the man, there wasn’t yet a helper to be his equal.
[21-25] So Yahweh God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, Yahweh God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh where it was. Then Yahweh God built up the rib that was taken from the man, making it into a woman. And when God brought her to the man, the man said, “This was the right thing to do. This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She’ll be called woman, because she was taken from man.” (This is why a man leaves his father and mother and stays with his wife, and the two become as one person.) Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they weren’t ashamed of themselves.
The Fall of Humanity
3[1-5] Now the snake was the trickiest of all the animals that Yahweh God had made, and said to the woman, “Is it true that God said you can’t eat from any of the trees in the garden?” And the woman said to the snake, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden, but only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; or you’ll begin to die.’” Then the snake said to the woman “You won’t die! God knows that in the day you eat it, you’ll have knowledge, and you’ll be like God, knowing good and evil.”
[6-7] The woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was beautiful to look at and she wanted it to be wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it, and gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. Suddenly, they both knew that they were naked and were ashamed. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves clothes.
[8-13] Then the man and his wife heard Yahweh God walking through the garden in the breeze of the day, so they hid from the face of Yahweh God among the trees. Then Yahweh God called to the man, “Where are you?” So the man said, “I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Then Yahweh God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” “ Have you eaten from the tree which I told you not to eat?” Then the man said, “The woman You put here with me gave me the fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then Yahweh God asked the woman, “What have you done?” And she said, “The snake confused me and I ate it.”
[14-19] Then Yahweh God said to the snake, “Because you’ve done this, you’ll be punished more than all the animals, both tame and wild. You’ll move around on your belly, and eat the dust as long as you live. And I’ll make you and the woman hate each other, and make your child and her Child to be enemies. Her Child will stomp your head, and you’ll hurt her Child’s heel.” Then God said to the woman, “I’ll make you have more children and you’ll have more pain when you give birth. In sorrow, you’ll have children, but you’ll want your husband anyway. In this way, he’ll have control over you.” And then God said to the man, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree, which fruit I told you not to eat, the ground will be your punishment. You’ll eat from it in sorrow all your life. When you eat the plants of the fields, it’ll grow thorns and brambles as well. You’ll eat by the sweat of your face until you go back to the ground from which you were made. You were made from dust, and you’ll go back to dust.”
[20-24] And the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all humanity. And Yahweh God made clothes for Adam and his wife from the skin of an animal that God had to kill and put it on them. Then Yahweh God said, “Look, the human beings have become like Us, knowing both good and evil. Now if they take the fruit from the tree of life, and eat it, they’ll live forever!” So Yahweh God sent them away from the Garden of Eden, and sent Adam out to work the ground from which he had been made. Then Yahweh God put strong angels to the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword that moved to guard the way of the tree of life.
Cain and Abel
4[1-7] Now, Adam had sex with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “Yahweh God has given me a man child!” Then she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd and Cain became a farmer. At the end of the year, when it was time for the harvest Cain brought some of his crops as a gift to Yahweh and Abel also brought the fattest of the firstborn lambs from his flock. Yahweh accepted Abel and his gift but he didn’t accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry and he looked upset. So Yahweh asked Cain, “Why are you so angry? Why do you look so upset? Won’t you be accepted if you do what’s right? But if you don’t do what’s right, sin follows. Sin wants to have control over you, but you must control it.”
[8-12] Then Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go into the field.” When they were in the field, Cain fought with his brother, Abel, and killed him. Then Yahweh asked Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” So Cain said, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s keeper?” Then God said, “What have you done? The sound of your brother’s blood shouts to Me from the ground! Now for your punishment, the ground will be taken away from you, which has swallowed your brother’s blood, which you killed. When you work the land, it won’t give you anymore crops to make you strong! From now on you’ll be a wanderer on the earth, shaking in fear.”
[13-16] Then Cain said to Yahweh, “My punishment is too great for me! You’ve sent me from the land and I hide from Your presence; You’ve made me a wanderer, who shakes in fear. Everyone who finds me will try to kill me!” So Yahweh said, “No, I’ll punish anyone who kills you seven times as much.” Then Yahweh put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him. So Cain left Yahweh’s presence and wandered around, living in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
The Descendants of Cain
[17-24] Cain had sex with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Then Cain built a city, which he named Enoch, after his son. Enoch had Irad. Irad had Mehujael. Mehujael had Methushael. Methushael had Lamech. And Lamech married two women. The first was named Adah and the second was Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the first of those who bought and sold and who lived in tents. His brother’s name was Jubal, the first of all who played the musical instruments. Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became a teacher of those who made things of brass and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah. One day Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me! Listen to me, you wives of Lamech. I’ve killed a man who hurt me, a young man who wounded me. If someone who kills Cain is to be punished seven times as much, then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times as much!”
The Birth of Seth
[25-26] Adam had sex with his wife again, and she gave birth to another son. She named him Seth, and said, “God has given me another son in place of Abel, whom Cain killed.” When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh. It was at that time that people first began to preach in the Name of Yahweh.
The Descendants of Adam
5[1-5] This is the story of the descendants of Adam. When human beings were created, God made them to be like God. God created them, male and female, and blessed them and called them “human beings.” So when Adam was 130 years old, he had a son who was like him—in his own likeness. He named his son Seth. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. Adam lived 930 years, and died.
[6-8] When Seth was 105 years old, he had Enosh. After the birth of Enosh, Seth lived another 807 years, and had other sons and daughters. Seth lived 912 years, and died.
[9-11] When Enosh was 90 years old, he had Kenan. After the birth of Kenan, Enosh lived another 815 years, and had other sons and daughters. Enosh lived 905 years, and died.
[12-14] When Kenan was 70 years old, he had Mahalalel. After the birth of Mahalalel, Kenan lived another 840 years, and had other sons and daughters. Kenan lived 910 years, and died.
[15-17] When Mahalalel was 65 years old, he had Jared. After the birth of Jared, Mahalalel lived another 830 years, and had other sons and daughters. Mahalalel lived 895 years, and died.
[18-20] When Jared was 162 years old, he had Enoch. After the birth of Enoch, Jared lived another 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. Jared lived 962 years, and died.
[21-24] When Enoch was 65 years old, he had Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch followed God for another 300 years, and had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, following God. Then he disappeared, because God took him.
[25-27] When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had Lamech. After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years, and had other sons and daughters. Methuselah lived 969 years, and died.
[28-31] When Lamech was 182 years old, he had a son, who he named Noah. He said, “May he bring us rest from our work, the hard work of farming the land that Yahweh has punished.” After the birth of Noah, Lamech lived another 595 years, and had other sons and daughters. Lamech lived 777 years, and died.
 Noah was 500 years old, and he had Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
6[1-3] Then there began to be many more people on the earth and daughters were born to the human beings. The (fallen) angels of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and took any they wanted as their wives. Then Yahweh said, “My Spirit won’t always try to save human beings. Since their first wrongdoing, they only want to do what’s pleasurable to their bodies, so they’ll live no more than 120 years.”
[4-6] These giant fallen angels lived on the earth in those days, and even afterwards, whenever they had sex with women, they gave birth to children who became the giant warriors who were well known since ancient times. Then Yahweh saw how great the evil of humanity was on the earth, seeing that everything they thought or imagined was only evil. So Yahweh God was sorry for making human beings on the earth and was greatly saddened.
[7-8] So Yahweh said, “I’ll wipe this human race that I’ve created from off the face of the earth. Yes, and I’ll destroy every living thing, from the people to the animals, to the rodents in the land, and even to the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” But Yahweh saw that Noah was good and had grace for him.
[9-13] This is the story of Noah and his family. Noah was a good man, the only person living on earth at that time whose geneology (DNA) was pure (from the fallen angels), who followed God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now God saw that the earth had become evil and was filled with violence. And God looked at the earth and saw that it had become evil, for everyone on earth had been changed by their evil. So God said to Noah, “I see the end of all humanity, and the earth is filled with violence because of them. Look, I’ll destroy them all, along with the earth!
[14-16] Build a large boat from cypress wood, and make rooms in it, and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. And this is how you’ll do it. Make the boat 450’ long, 75′ wide, and 45’ high. Leave an 18’’ opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on its side, and build three decks inside, a lower, middle, and upper deck.
[17-22] Look! I am going to send waters to flood the earth to destroy every living thing that breathes under heaven. Everything on earth will die. But I’ll make a promise with you, when you go into the boat, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal, a male and a female, into the boat with you to keep them alive. Birds after their kind, tame animals after their kind, and every rodent in the land after their kind, two of each kind will come to you to be kept alive. And gather every kind of food that is eaten, which will be food for your family and for all the animals.” So Noah did everything just as God had told him to do.
7[1-6] Then Yahweh said to Noah, “Come into the boat with all your family, for you alone are good among all the people who live on the earth. Take with you seven pairs, a male and female, of each animal that’s good for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the other animals. Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird, a male and a female, so that they’ll have young ones on the earth after the flood. In seven more days I’ll send rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, until I’ve wiped all the living things I’ve made from the face of the earth.” So Noah did everything just as Yahweh told him. And Noah was 600 years old when the flood came on the earth.
[7-12] So Noah went in the boat to escape the flood, he and his wife and his sons and their wives. All kinds of animals, those good for eating and for sacrifice, and those that were not, along with all the birds and the rodents in the land entered the boat in pairs, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. After seven days, the waters of the flood came and covered the earth. So when Noah was 600 years old, on the 17th day of the 2nd month, all the underground stores of water burst open from the earth, and all the stores of water from the heavens were opened up. And it poured rain for 40 days and 40 nights.
[13-16] On that very day that Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives, Yahweh closed the door of the boat. They went in, along with every tame animal after its kind, every wild animal after its kind, every rodent in the land after its kind, and every bird with wings after its kind. And they came in two by two to Noah in the boat, of every living thing that breathes. A male and female pair of each kind went in, as God had told Noah. Then Yahweh closed the door for Noah.
[17-24] The rain lasted for 40 days, so as the waters kept rising higher, it covered the ground and lifted the boat up off the earth. As the waters kept rising higher on the earth, the boat floated on the surface of the water. The water covered the highest mountains on the earth by more than 22 feet. Every living thing on earth, all the birds, the tame animals, the wild animals, the rodents in the land, and all the people died. Every living thing that breathed and lived on dry land died. So God wiped out every living thing on the earth, all the people, the tame animals, the rodents in the land, and the birds of the sky. Everything was wiped out. Only Noah and those with him in the boat were left. The waters covered the earth for 150 days.
The Flood Dries Up
8[1-5] And God thought about Noah and all the wild animals and tame animals that were with him in the boat and sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the waters began to dry up. The underground waters closed up, and the rains from the sky stopped falling, so the waters began to dry up from the earth. After 150 days, the waters were going down. On the 17th day of the 7th month, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters kept going down until the 1st day of the 10th month, when the other mountain peaks became visible.
[6-14] After 40 more days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and let out a raven, which flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had dried up enough to find dry ground. But the dove couldn’t find a place to land because the water still covered the ground. So the dove came back to the boat, and Noah held out his hand to bring it back inside. After waiting another seven days, Noah sent out the dove again. The dove came back to him in the evening with an olive leaf torn off in its beak, so Noah knew that the waters were dried up from off the earth. He waited another seven days and then sent the dove out again and it didn’t come back anymore. In Noah’s 601st year, on the 1st day of the new year, the waters were almost dried up from the earth. Noah turned back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. In the 27th day of the 2nd month, the earth was finally dry!
[15-19] Then God said to Noah, ”Go out of the boat, you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. Let out all the animals that are with you, the birds, the tame animals, and the rodents in the land, so they can make many more of their own kind to live throughout the earth.” So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. And all of the animals, rodents, and birds, every living thing in their own families, came out of the boat.
[20-22] Then Noah built an altar to Yahweh, where he sacrificed one of each kind of the animals and birds that had been approved for sacrifices as burnt offerings to rise up from the alter. And Yahweh smelled the sweet smell of the sacrifice and said, “I’ll never again punish the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is evil from their childhood, and I’ll never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth is here, there will be planting time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”
God Makes a Promise
9[1-4] Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Create more of your own kind and make many more people to fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the rodents in the land, and all the fish in the sea will fear and go away from you. I give them all to you to be in your control. I’ve given them all to you for food, as I’ve given you the green plants. But don’t eat meat that still has its blood in it.
[5-7] And I’ll only require your death if you take another person’s life. If an animal kills a human being, I’ll require its death, and if a person kills another human being, I’ll require their death. If anyone takes another human life, that person’s life must also be taken by human hands, because human beings were made in the likeness of God. Now create more of your own kind and make many more people to fill the earth.”
[8-17] Then God told Noah and his sons, “I am making My promise with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you, the birds, the tame animals, and all the wild animals, from all that went out of the boat to every living creature on earth. So I am making My promise with you, that I’ll never again kill all living creatures with a flood; and never again will a flood destroy the earth.” Then God said, “I am giving you the sign of My promise I am making with you and with all living creatures, and for all the peoples to come. I’ve placed my rainbow in the clouds, which is the sign of My promise with you and with all the earth. When I send a cloud over the earth, and the rainbow is seen in the cloud, I’ll remember My promise with you and with all living creatures, and never again will a flood destroy all living things. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I’ll remember the eternal promise between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “This rainbow is the sign of the promise I’ve made between Me and every living creature on earth.”
[18-23] The sons of Noah who came out of the boat were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham is the father of Canaan.) From these three sons of Noah came all the people who are on the earth. Then Noah began to farm the earth again, and he planted a vineyard. When he drank some wine, he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Then Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his two brothers. So Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover up their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.
[24-29] When Noah woke up from his drunkenness, he found out what Ham, his youngest son, had done. Then he punished Canaan, the son of Ham, saying, “May the descendants of Canaan be punished! They’ll be the lowest of workers in all their family.” Then Noah said, “May Yahweh, my God bless Shem, and Canaan will be his worker! May God make Japheth more beautiful! May Japheth live in shadow of Shem, and Canaan will be his worker.” Then Noah lived another 350 years after the great flood. He lived 950 years in all, and then died.
The Descendants of Noah
10 This is the story of the families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah. Many children were born to them after the great flood.
Descendants of Japheth
[2-5] The descendants of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The descendants of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The descendants of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim. Their descendants became the peoples of the coastlands that spread out to various lands, each identified by its own language, family, and nation.
Descendants of Ham
[6-12] The descendants of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. The descendants of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, who was famous on earth. He was a great hunter, who rebelled against Yahweh, which is why people would say someone was, “Like Nimrod, the great hunter who rebelled against Yahweh.” He started to build his kingdom in the land of Babel, with the cities of Babylon, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh. From that land he went to Assyria, building the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen (the great city between Nineveh and Calah).
[13-20] Mizraim was the ancestor of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Casluhites, and the Caphtorites, from whom the Philistines came. Canaan’s oldest son was Sidon, the ancestor of the Sidonians. Canaan was also the father of Heth, the ancestor of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites. The Canaanite families eventually spread out, and the land of Canaan extended from Sidon in the north to Gerar and Gaza in the south, and east as far as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, near Lasha. These were the descendants of Ham, identified by their families, language, land, and nation.
Descendants of Shem
[21-25] Sons were also born to Shem, the older brother of Japheth. Shem was the ancestor of all the descendants of Eber (Hebrews). The descendants of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. The descendants of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah was the father of Eber. Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg (which means “division”), for during his lifetime the earth was divided. His brother’s name was Joktan.
[26-31] Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan. Their land extended from Mesha all the way to Sephar in the eastern mountains. These were the descendants of Shem, identified by family, language, land, and nation.
 These are the families that descended from Noah’s sons, arranged by nation according to their lines of descent. All the nations of the earth descended from these families after the great flood.
The Tower of Babel
11[1-4] At this time all the people of the world spoke the same language and spoke the same way. As the people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and lived there. Then they said to one another, “Come, help! Let’s make bricks and bake them hard with fire.” (They used bricks for stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, help! Let’s build a city for ourselves with a high tower that reaches into the sky. We will make ourselves famous and not be scattered all over the world.”
[5-9] But Yahweh came down to look at the city and the tower that the people built. And Yahweh said, “Look! The people are all together, and they all speak the same language. Look what they have dreamed of doing. Now, nothing will be too hard for them of whatever they want to do! Come, let’s go down and give the people different languages, so they won’t be able to understand each other.” So, Yahweh scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where Yahweh gave the people different languages and scattered them all over the world.
The Lineage from Shem to Abram
[10-11] This is the story of Shem’s family. Two years after the great flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he had Arphaxad. After the birth of Arphaxad, Shem lived another 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
[12-13] When Arphaxad was 35 years old, he had Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Arphaxad lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
[14-15] When Shelah was 30 years old, he had Eber. After the birth of Eber, Shelah lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
[16-17] When Eber was 34 years old, he had Peleg. After the birth of Peleg, Eber lived another 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
[18-19] When Peleg was 30 years old, he had Reu. After the birth of Reu, Peleg lived another 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
[20-21] When Reu was 32 years old, he had Serug. After the birth of Serug, Reu lived another 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
[22-23] When Serug was 30 years old, he had Nahor. After the birth of Nahor, Serug lived another 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
[24-25] When Nahor was 29 years old, he had Terah. After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived another 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
The Family of Terah
[26-28] When Terah was 70 years old, he had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. This is the story of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his birth, while his father, Terah, was still living.
[29-30] Abram and Nahor both married wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. (Milcah and her sister Iscah were daughters of Nahor’s brother Haran.) But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children.
[31-32] One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (Haran’s child) and left from Ur of the Chaldeans, going toward the land of Canaan. They stopped at Haran and lived there. Terah lived for 205 years and died there in Haran.
The Call of Abram
12[1-3] Yahweh had said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I’ll show you. I’ll make you into a great nation. I’ll bless you and make your name well known, and you’ll be a blessing to others. I’ll bless those who speak well of you and punish those who speak badly of you. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”
[4-6] So Abram left as Yahweh had said, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and everything they owned, and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran, and left for the land of Canaan. When they got to Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. They stopped at the oak of Moreh. At that time, the Canaanites still lived there.
[7-9] Then Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, “I’ll give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to Yahweh, who had appeared to him. Then, Abram left from there and went towards a mountain at the east of Bethel and set up his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar to Yahweh, and preached in the Name of Yahweh. Then Abram continued moving south little by little toward the Negev desert.
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
[10-13] Then there was a severe lack of food in the land of Canaan, so Abram left to go to Egypt, to stay while the lack of food was so great. As they came to Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you’re a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they’ll say, ‘This is his wife’ and they’ll kill me and keep you alive. So please tell them you’re my sister, so that it’ll be well with me because of you and I’ll live for your sake.”
[14-16] So when Abram went in to Egypt, the Egyptians saw how beautiful Sarai was. When the great house officials saw her, they told Ruler of Egypt about her, and Sarai was taken into his great house. Then Ruler of Egypt gave Abram many gifts because of her, sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, camels, and male and female workers.
[17-20] But Yahweh sent terrible diseases upon Ruler of Egypt and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Ruler of Egypt called Abram and asked, “What have you done to me?” “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She’s my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Look, here’s your wife back. Take her and go!” So Ruler of Egypt ordered some of his men to lead them out, and he sent Abram away, along with his wife and everything he owned.
Abram and Lot Separate
13[1-4] So Abram left Egypt, going south into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot, and everything that they owned. (Abram was very rich in tame animals, silver, and gold.) From the Negev, they continued going toward Bethel, and they set up their tents where they started out between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he preached in the Name of Yahweh again.
[5-7] Lot, who was going with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. But the land couldn’t support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds, so that they were unable to keep on living together. Then, fights broke out between those who kept the animals of Abram and Lot. (And the Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
[8-9] Finally Abram said to Lot, “Please don’t let trouble come between us or those who keep our animals. We’re family! Isn’t the whole countryside open to you? Please, separate from me. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you want the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
[10-13] So Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole land was well watered everywhere, like the garden of Yahweh or the land of Egypt. (This was before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them and left from his uncle Abram. So Abram lived in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and lived among the cities of the plain. But the people of this land were very evil and always sinning and doing what Yahweh said was evil.
[14-18] After Lot had gone, Yahweh said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction, north, south, east, and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants forever. And I’ll give you as many descendants as the dust of the earth, so that they can’t be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and lived near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to Yahweh.
Abram Saves Lot
14[1-3] About this time war broke out in the land. Ruler Amraphel of Babylonia, Ruler Arioch of Ellasar, Ruler Kedorlaomer of Elam, and Ruler Tidal of Goiim fought against Ruler Bera of Sodom, Ruler Birsha of Gomorrah, Ruler Shinab of Admah, Ruler Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the ruler of Bela (also called Zoar). This second group of rulers joined forces in Siddim Valley (that is, the valley of the Dead Sea).
[4-9] For twelve years they had been subject to Ruler Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him. One year later Kedorlaomer and his allies got there and defeated the Rephaites at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites at Ham, the Emites at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites at Mount Seir, as far as El-paran at the edge of the countryside. Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (now called Kadesh) and took control over all the land of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites living in Hazazon-tamar. Then the rebel rulers of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela got ready for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea. They fought against Ruler Kedorlaomer of Elam, Ruler Tidal of Goiim, Ruler Amraphel of Babylonia, and Ruler Arioch of Ellasar, these four rulers against five.
[10-12] The valley of the Dead Sea was filled with tar pits and as the army of the rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits, while the rest escaped into the mountains. The invaders then took valuables from Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the prizes of war and the food supplies. They also captured Lot, Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom, and carried off everything he owned.
[13-16] But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram, the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre, the Amorite. Mamre and his family, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies. When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he got the 318 trained men who had been born into his household ready to fight. Then he chased Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram got back everything that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with everything he owned and all the women and other prisoners.
Melchizedek Blesses Abram
[17-20] As Abram was going home from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the ruler of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the Ruler’s Valley). Melchizedek, the ruler of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram saying, “Abram, you’re blessed by God Most High, Creator of Heaven and Earth. God Most High be blessed, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had gotten back.
[21-24] The ruler of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured, but you may keep for yourself everything else you took back.” Abram said to the ruler of Sodom, “I solemnly promise to Yahweh, God Most High, Creator of Heaven and Earth that I won’t take so much as a single thread or the lace of a sandal from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ I’ll accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I ask that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”
Yahweh’s Promise to Abram
15[1-6] A while later, Yahweh spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Abram; I’ll protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram said, “O God Most High, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a worker in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You’ve given me no descendants of my own, so one of my workers will be my heir.” Then Yahweh said to him, “No, your worker won’t be your heir, for you’ll have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then Yahweh took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you’ll have!” And Abram believed Yahweh, and Yahweh counted him as good because of his faith.
[7-11] Then Yahweh told him, “I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your own.” But Abram said, “O God Most High, how can I be sure that I’ll actually get it?” So Yahweh told him, “Bring me a three-year-old female cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old male goat, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” So Abram gave all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; but he didn’t cut the birds in half. Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.
[12-16] As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. Then Yahweh said to Abram, “Know that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they’ll be under enemy control for 400 years. But I’ll punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they’ll come away with great wealth. (As for you, you’ll die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will come back here to this land, for the faults of the Amorites haven’t grown so much that I must destroy them yet.”
[17-21] After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So Yahweh made a promise with Abram that day and said, “I’ve given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River, the land that is now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”
The Birth of Ishmael
16[1-3] Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to have any children for him, but she had an Egyptian worker named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Yahweh has kept me from having children. Go and have sex with my worker. Maybe I can have children through her.” Abram did as Sarai said. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian worker and gave her to Abram as a wife, which was ten years after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan.
[4-6] So Abram had sex with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with great disrespect. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my worker into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with great disrespect. Yahweh will show who’s wrong, you or me!” So Abram said, “Look, she’s your worker, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so badly that she finally ran away.
[7-12] Then the angel of Yahweh found Hagar beside a spring of water in the countryside, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s worker, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She answered, “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai.” So the angel of Yahweh said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and do as she tells you. I’ll give you more descendants than you can count. You’re pregnant and will give birth to a son. You’re to name him Ishmael (‘God hears’), for Yahweh has heard your cry of trouble. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He’ll fight against everyone, and everyone will fight against him. Yes, he’ll be openly angry with all his family.”
[13-16] Afterward, Hagar used another name to refer to Yahweh, who had spoken to her. She said, “You’re the God Who Sees Me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One Who Sees Me?” So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “Well of the Living One Who Sees Me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
Abram Is Named Abraham
17[1-8] When Abram was 99 years old, Yahweh appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai, ‘God, Ruler of All Creation.’ Serve Me faithfully and live a blameless life and I’ll make a promise to you, in which I’ll promise to give you more descendants than you can count.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, ”This is My promise to you: I’ll make you the father of many nations! I am also changing your name. It’ll no longer be Abram. Instead, you’ll be called Abraham, for you’ll be the father of many nations. I’ll make you have many descendants. Your descendants will become many nations, and rulers will be among them! ”I’ll renew My promise with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting promise: I’ll always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I’ll give the whole land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It’ll be theirs forever, and I’ll be their God.”
The Mark of the Promise
[9-14] Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the promise. You and all your descendants will be responsible for this forever. This is the promise that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must have the foreskin of his penis cut off. You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the promise between Me and you. From generation to generation, every male child must have his foreskin cut off on the eighth day after his birth. You must do this, not only to members of your family, but also to the workers born in your household and the foreign workers whom you’ve purchased. All the males must have their foreskins cut off. Your bodies will carry the mark of My everlasting promise. Any male who fails to have his foreskin cut off will be cut off from the blessings of the promise for breaking it.”
Sarai Is Named Sarah
[15-22] Then God said to Abraham, “About Sarai, your wife, her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I’ll bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I’ll bless her richly, and she’ll become the mother of many nations. Rulers of nations will be among her descendants.” Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in unbelief.” How could I become a father at 100 years old?” he thought.” And how can Sarah have a baby when she’s 90 years old?” So Abraham said to God, “I wish that Ishmael would live up to your special blessing!” But God said, “No, Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You’ll name him Isaac, and I’ll confirm My promise with him and his descendants as an everlasting promise. As for Ishmael, I’ll bless him also, as you’ve asked. I’ll make him have many descendants. He’ll become the father of twelve princes, and I’ll make them a great nation. But My promise will be made with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.” So when God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.
[23-27] On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he cut their foreskins off as God had told him. Abraham was 99 years old when he was cut their foreskins off, and Ishmael, his son, was thirteen. Both Abraham and his son, Ishmael, had their foreskins cut off on that same day, along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether they were born there or bought as workers. They all had their foreskins cut off with him.
A Son is Promised to Sarah
18[1-5] Yahweh appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove in Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent in the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw Three People (the tree persons of God) standing nearby. When he saw Them, he ran to meet Them and welcomed Them, bowing low to the ground.” My God,” he said, “if it pleases You, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash Your feet. And since You’ve honored Your worker with this visit, let me have some food made to refresh You before You continue on Your journey.” So they said.” Yes, do as you’ve said.”
[6-10] So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.” Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his worker, who quickly cooked it. When the food was ready, Abraham took some cheese and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to Them. As they ate, Abraham waited on Them in the shade of the trees.
[9-15] “Where is Sarah, your wife?” The visitors asked.” She’s inside the tent,” Abraham said. Then One of Them said, “I’ll come back to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was too old to have children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could an old woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my husband is old, too?” Then Yahweh said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for Yahweh God? I’ll come back about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But Yahweh said, “You did laugh.”
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
[16-19] Then They got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As They left, Abraham went with Them to send Them on Their way. “Should I hide My plan from Abraham?” Yahweh God asked the Other Two. “Abraham will certainly become a great and powerful nation and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I’ve chosen him so that he’ll teach his family to keep the way of Yahweh by doing what’s right and fair. Then I’ll do for Abraham all that I’ve promised.”
[20-26] So Yahweh told Abraham, “I’ve heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is done so openly. I am going down to see if their actions are as evil as I’ve heard. If not, I’ll know.” The Other Two turned and headed toward Sodom, but Yahweh stayed with Abraham. So Abraham said to God, “Will You wipe out both the good and the evil? What if You find 50 good people living there in the city? Will You still wipe it out and not spare it for their sakes? Surely You wouldn’t do that, killing the good along with the evil. Then You would be treating the good and the evil in the same way! Surely You wouldn’t do that! Shouldn’t the Judge of All the Earth do what’s right?” So Yahweh said, “If I find 50 good people in Sodom, I’ll spare the whole city for their sake.”
[27-33] Then Abraham spoke up again.” Since I’ve begun, let me speak again to my God, even though I’m only dust and ashes. What if there are only 45 good people rather than 50? Will You destroy the whole city for lack of five?” Yahweh said, “I won’t destroy it if I find 45 good people there.” Then Abraham asked again, “What if there are only 40?” Yahweh said, “I won’t destroy it for the sake of 40.” Then Abraham begged again, “Please, don’t be angry, my God. Let me speak again. What if there are only 30 good people found?” So Yahweh said, “I won’t destroy it if I find 30.” Then Abraham said, “Since I’ve dared to talk to Yahweh, let me ask again. What if there are only 20?” And Yahweh said, “Then I won’t destroy it for the sake of 20.” Finally, Abraham said, “God, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. What if only 10 are found there?” So Yahweh said, “Then I won’t destroy it for the sake of 10.” After speaking with Abraham, Yahweh went on, and Abraham went back to his tent.
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
19[1-3] That evening the Two Angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom. Lot was sitting there, and when he saw Them, he stood up to meet Them. Then he welcomed Them and bowed face down. Lot said, “Come to my home to wash Your feet, and be my guests for the night. Then get up early in the morning and be on Your way again.” But They answered, “No, we’ll spend the night out here in the city square.” But Lot insisted, so at last They went home with him. Then Lot made supper for them with fresh flat bread, and they ate.
[4-10] But before they went to sleep for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, “Where are the Ones who came to spend the night with you? Bring Them out to us so we can have sex with Them!” So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. “Please,” he begged, “don’t do such an evil thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never had sex before. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want to with them. But please, leave These Two alone, for They are my guests and I am responsible for protecting Them.” But they shouted back, “Get out of the way! You came to town as an outsider, and now you’re acting like our judge! We’ll treat you much worse than Them!” Then they pushed against Lot to break down the door. But the Two Angels reached out, and pulled Lot back into the house, and locked the door. Then They blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so the men stopped trying to get inside.
[12-14] In the meantime, the Angels asked Lot, “Do you have any other family here in the city? Get them out of this place, your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. For we’re about to completely destroy this city. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached Yahweh, who has sent Us to destroy it.” So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters’ fiancés, “Come quickly, and get out of the city! Yahweh is about to destroy it.” But the young men thought he was only joking.
[15-17] At dawn the next morning the Angels said to Lot, “Hurry! Take your wife and two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you’ll be wiped out in the destruction of the city!” So when Lot still waited, the Angels took his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and took them safely outside the city, for Yahweh was merciful to them. So when they were safely out of the city, One of the Angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you’ll be wiped out!”
[18-22] “Oh no, my God!” Lot begged.” You’ve been so gracious to me and saved my life, and you’ve shown such great kindness. But I can’t go to the mountains. Disaster would come to me there, and I’d soon die. See, there’s a small town nearby. Please let me go there instead; see how small it is? Then my life will be saved.” So the Angel said, “I’ll let you do that. I won’t destroy that little town. But hurry! Escape to it, for I can’t do anything until you get there.” (This explains why that town was known as Zoar, which means “little place.” )
[23-26] So Lot reached the town just as the sun was rising over the horizon. Then Yahweh rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. God completely destroyed them, along with the other cities and towns of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.
[27-29] Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had talked with Yahweh. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and saw the smoke rise from the cities like smoke from an oven. But God had listened to Abraham and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.
Lot and His Daughters
[30-38] Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. One day, the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this whole land, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we’ll have sex with him. That way we’ll save our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had sex with her father. He didn’t know that she came or went. The next morning the older daughter said to her younger sister, “I had sex with our father last night. Let’s get him drunk with wine again tonight, and you go in and have sex with him. That way we’ll save our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had sex with him. Like before, he didn’t know that she came or went. So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites. And when the younger daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Ben-ammi. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Ammonites.
Abraham Deceives Abimelech
20[1-7] Later Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She’s my sister.” So Ruler Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his great house. But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You’re a dead man, for that woman you’ve taken is already married!” But Abimelech had not had sex with her yet, so he said, “God, will you destroy an innocent nation? Didn’t Abraham tell me, ‘She’s my sister’? And she herself said, ‘Yes, he’s my brother.’ I acted in complete innocence! My hands are clean.” So in the dream God answered, “Yes, I know you’re innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I didn’t let you touch her. Now give her back to her husband, and he’ll pray for you, for he’s a preacher. Then you’ll live. But if you don’t give her back to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die.”
[8-13] So Abimelech got up early the next morning and quickly called all his workers together. When he told them what had happened, his men were terrified. Then Abimelech called for Abraham.” What have you done to us?” he demanded. “What have I done that deserves treatment like this, making me and my kingdom guilty of this great sin? No one should ever do what you’ve done! Why would you to do such a thing?” So Abraham said, “I thought, ‘This is a godless place. They’ll want my wife and will kill me to get her.’ And she really is my sister, for we both have the same father, but different mothers, and I married her. When God told me to leave my father’s home and travel to this land, I told her, ‘Do me a favor; Wherever we go, tell the people that I am your brother.’”
[14-18] Then Abimelech took some of his sheep and goats, cattle, and male and female workers, and he gave them to Abraham. He also gave his wife, Sarah, back to him. Then Abimelech said, “Look over my land and choose any place where you want to live.” And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your ‘brother’ 1,000 silver coins in the presence of all these witnesses. This is to repay you for any wrong I may have done to you. This will settle any claim against me, and your reputation is cleared.” Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female workers, so they could have children, because Yahweh had caused all the women to not be able to have children because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.
The Birth of Isaac
21[1-7] Yahweh kept the promise and did everything that was told Abraham and Sarah. Sarah became pregnant, and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at the very time God had said it would. So Abraham named their son Isaac, and eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham cut the foreskin off him as God had told him. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. So Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would breastfeed a baby? Yet, I’ve given Abraham a son in his old age!”
Hagar and Ishmael Are Sent Away
[8-13] When Isaac grew up and was weaned, Abraham made a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. But Sarah saw Ishmael, the son of Abraham and her Egyptian worker Hagar, making fun of her son, Isaac. So she turned to Abraham and insisted, “Get rid of that slave-woman and her son. I don’t want him to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac!” This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. But God told Abraham, “Don’t be upset over the boy and your worker. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be blessed. But I’ll also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he’s your son, too.”
[14-20] So Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food and a jug of water ready, and strapped them on Hagar’s shoulders. Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered around in the countryside of Beersheba. When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush, then went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she prayed, as she began to cry. But God heard the boy crying, and the Angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Don’t be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Go to him and comfort him, for I’ll make a great nation from his descendants.” Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her jug and gave the boy some to drink. God was with the boy as he grew up in the countryside. Ishmael became a skillful archer, and lived in the countryside of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt.
Abraham’s Promise with Abimelech
[22-26] About this time, Abimelech came with Phicol, his army commander, to visit Abraham. “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do,” Abimelech said. “Promise to me in God’s Name that you’ll never deceive me, my children, or any of my descendants. I’ve been loyal to you, so now promise that you’ll be loyal to me and to this country where you’re living as a foreigner.” So Abraham said, “Yes, I promise!” Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s workers had taken by force from Abraham’s workers. But Abimelech answered, “This is the first I’ve heard of it. I have no idea who’s responsible. You’ve never complained about this before.”
[27-34] So then Abraham gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made an agreement. But Abraham also took seven additional female lambs and set them off by themselves. So Abimelech asked, “Why have you set these seven apart from the others?” So Abraham said, “Please accept these seven lambs as proof that this well is mine.” Then he named the place Beersheba (“Well of the promise”), because that was where they had made the promise. After making their promise at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they went back home to the land of the Philistines. Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and worshiped Yahweh, the Living God, there. And Abraham lived as a foreigner in the Philistine’s country for a long time.
God Tests the Faith of Abraham
22[1-5] Later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. He answered, “Yes, here I am.” God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I’ll show you.” So the next morning Abraham got up early. He took his donkey and two of his workers, along with his son, Isaac. Then he got some wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the workers. “The young man and I will go a little farther. We’ll worship there, and then we’ll come back.”
[6-12] So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” Abraham said, “Yes, my son?” Isaac said, “We’ve got the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God will provide a sheep for the offering, my son,” So they both walked on together. When they got to the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and put the wood on it. Then he tied up his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham lifted up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice, but the Angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” So Abraham said, “Here I am!” The Angel said, ”Don’t lay a hand on the young man! Don’t hurt him, for now I know that you truly fear God. You’ve not even kept your son, your only son from Me.”
[13-19] Then Abraham looked up and saw a goat caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the goat and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. So Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (“Yahweh will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of Yahweh it’ll be provided.” Then the Angel of Yahweh called again to Abraham from heaven. “Yahweh says, ‘Because you’ve obeyed me and haven’t even kept your son, your only son, from Me, I promise by My Own Name that I’ll surely bless you. I’ll make your descendants more than you can count, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. Through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed because you’ve obeyed me.’”
[19-24] Then they went back to the workers and traveled back to Beersheba, where Abraham settled down to live. Soon after this, Abraham heard that Milcah, his brother Nahor’s wife, had borne Nahor eight sons. The oldest was named Uz, the next was Buz, followed by Kemuel (the ancestor of the Arameans), Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel. (Bethuel had Rebekah.) In addition to these eight sons from Milcah, Nahor had four more children from his wife Reumah, whose names were Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
The Burial of Sarah
23[1-8] When Sarah was 127 years old, she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. Abraham mourned and cried for her there. Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.” The Hittites said to Abraham,”Listen, you’re an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse you.” Then Abraham bowed low before the Hittites and said, ”Since you’re willing to help me in this way, be so kind as to ask Ephron, son of Zohar, to let me buy his cave at Machpelah, down at the end of his field. I’ll pay the full price in the presence of witnesses, so I’ll have a permanent burial place for my family.”
[10-16] Ephron was sitting there with the others, and he answered Abraham as the others listened, speaking publicly before all the Hittite elders of the town. ”No,” he said to Abraham, “Please listen to me. I’ll give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.” Abraham again bowed low before the citizens of the land, and said to Ephron as everyone listened, “No, listen to me. I’ll buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.” So Ephron answered Abraham, “Please listen to me. The land is worth 400 silver coins, but what’s that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead.” So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and paid the amount he had suggested, 400 silver coins, weighed out with the Hittite elders witnessing the sale.
[17-20] So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and the surrounding land. It was sold to Abraham in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (which is Hebron). So the land and cave were sold by the Hittites to Abraham for a permanent burial place.
Abraham Finds a Wife for Isaac
24[1-4] Abraham was now a very old man, and Yahweh had blessed him in every way. One day Abraham said to his oldest worker, the man in charge of his household, “Make me a promise by putting your hand under my thigh. Promise by Yahweh, the God of heaven and earth, that you won’t allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my family, and find a wife for my son Isaac there.”
[5-8] The worker asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who’s willing to go so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your family in the land you came from?” Abraham answered, “No! Never take my son there. Yahweh, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. God will send an angel ahead of you, and make sure that you find a wife for my son. If she’s unwilling to come back with you, then you’re free from this promise to me. But you are never to take my son there.”
[9-11] So the worker made a promise by putting his hand under the thigh of his boss, Abraham. He promised to follow Abraham’s instructions. Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his boss, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had lived. He made the camels kneel beside a well outside the town. It was evening, so the women were coming out to draw water.
[12-14] “O God, God of my boss, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unending love to my boss, Abraham. See, I’m standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. So I ask this. I’ll ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I’ll water your camels, too!’ then let her be the one You’ve chosen as Isaac’s wife. This is how I’ll know that You’ve shown unending love to my boss.”
[15-20] Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. Rebekah was very beautiful, but she was still unmarried. She went down to the creek, filled her jug, and came up again. Running over to her, the worker said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” So she answered “Yes, sir, have a drink.” Then she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels.
[21-27] The worker quietly watched her, wondering whether or not Yahweh had given him success in his mission. Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists. “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “Please tell me, would your father have room to put us up for the night?” She said, “I’m Bethuel’s daughter. My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and room for guests.” So the man bowed low and worshiped Yahweh. “Praise Yahweh, the God of my boss, Abraham,” he said. “Yahweh has shown unending love and faithfulness to my boss, who has led me straight to my boss’s family.”
[28-31] Then the young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the creek. He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the creek, where the man was still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by Yahweh! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place made for the camels?”
[32-49] So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. Then food was served. But Abraham’s worker said, “I don’t want to eat until I’ve told you why I’ve come.” So Laban said, “Go ahead, tell us.” So he said, “I’m Abraham’s worker, and Yahweh has greatly blessed my boss; who is a rich man. Yahweh has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female workers and camels and donkeys. When Sarah, my boss’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my boss’s son, and my boss has given him everything he owns. My boss made me make a promise. He said, ‘Don’t let my son marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go to my father’s house, to my family instead, and find a wife there for my son.’ But I said to my boss, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who’s willing to go back with me?’ He answered, ‘Yahweh, in whose presence I’ve lived, will send an angel with you and will make you successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my family, from my father’s family. Then you’ll have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my family and they refuse to let her go with you, you’ll be free from my promise.’ So today when I came to the creek, I prayed this prayer: ‘O God, God of my boss, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is what I ask. When a young woman comes to draw water, I’ll say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you’ve chosen to be the wife of my boss’s son.’ And before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the creek and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I’ll water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels. Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. Then I bowed low and worshiped Yahweh. I praised Yahweh, the God of my boss, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my boss’s niece to be his son’s wife. So tell me—will you or won’t you show unending love and faithfulness to my boss? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.”
[50-56] Then Laban and Bethuel said, “Yahweh has obviously brought you here, so there’s nothing we can say. Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your boss’s son, as Yahweh has led you.” So when Abraham’s worker heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped Yahweh. Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother. Then they ate their meal, and the worker and the men with him stayed there overnight. But early the next morning, Abraham’s worker said, “Send me back to my boss.” So they said, “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days, then she can go.” But he said, “Don’t keep me. Yahweh has made me successful; now send me back so I can go back to my boss.”
[57-61] “Well,” they said, “We’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Are you willing to go with this man?” And she said, “Yes, I’ll go.” So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s worker and his men, along with the woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse. They gave her this blessing as she left: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.” Then Rebekah and her worker girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s worker took Rebekah and went home.
[62-67] In the meantime, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had went back from Beer-lahai-roi. One evening as he was walking and thinking in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming. When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly jumped off her camel and asked the worker, “Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” and he said, “It’s my boss.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. Then the worker told Isaac everything he had done. And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her, and she was a great comfort to him after his mother’s death.
The Death of Abraham
25[1-6] Then Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. Dedan’s descendants were the Asshurites, Letushites, and Leummites. Midian’s sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. These were all descendants of Abraham through Keturah. Abraham gave everything he owned to his son Isaac, but before he died, he gave gifts to his mistresses’ sons and sent them off to a land in the east, away from Isaac.
[7-11] So Abraham lived 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life. He died and joined his ancestors. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the field of Ephron, son of Zohar, the Hittite. This was the field Abraham had purchased from the Hittites and where he had buried his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived near Beer-lahai-roi in the Negev.
The Descendants of Ishmael
[12-18] This is the story of the family of Ishmael, the son of Abraham through Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian worker, listed by their names and families: The oldest was Nebaioth, followed by Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These twelve sons of Ishmael became the founders of twelve families named after them, listed according to the places they lived and camped. Ishmael lived for 137 years. Then he died and joined his ancestors. Ishmael’s descendants occupied the land from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt in the direction of Asshur. There they lived in open hostility toward all their family.
The Births of Esau and Jacob
[19-23] This is the story of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham. When Isaac was 40 years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban, who were Aramean. Isaac prayed to Yahweh on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. So Yahweh answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. But the two children struggled with each other in her womb, so she went to ask Yahweh about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked. So Yahweh told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.” And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah did in fact have twins! The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair. So they named him Esau. Then the other twin was born with his hand holding Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when the twins were born.
Esau Sells His Birthright
[27-34] As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau got home from the countryside exhausted and hungry. So Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “Red.” ) So Jacob said, “Yes, but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” So Esau said, “Look, I’m dying of starvation! What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must promise that your birthright is mine.” So Esau made a promise, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. So Esau showed great disrespect for his rights as the firstborn.
Isaac Deceives Abimelech
26[1-6] A great lack of food struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time, so Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, ruler of the Philistines, lived. But Yahweh appeared to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I’ll be with you and bless you. I‘ll make good the promise that I’ll give all these lands to you and your descendants, as I promised Abraham, your father. I’ll cause your descendants to be as many as the stars of the sky, and I’ll give them all these lands. Through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. I’ll do this because Abraham believed Me and obeyed all My orders, rules, laws, and judgments.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
[7-11] When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She’s my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She’s my wife,” thinking, “They’ll kill me to get her, because she’s so beautiful.” But some time later, Abimelech, ruler of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac playfully holding Rebekah. So Abimelech called for Isaac and said excitedly, “She’s clearly your wife! Why did you say, ‘She’s my sister’?” So Isaac said, “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me.” Then Abimelech said excitedly, “How could you do this to us? One of my people might easily have taken your wife and had sex with her, and you would have made us guilty of a great sin.” So Abimelech issued a public statement saying, “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!”
Conflict over Water Rights
[12-16] When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he had planted. Yahweh blessed him and he became a very rich man. He had so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and workers that the Philistines became jealous of him. So they filled up all of Isaac’s wells with sand, which had been dug by the workers of his father, Abraham. So finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country, saying, “Go somewhere else! You’ve become too great for us.”
[17-22] So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac gave them the names Abraham had given them. Isaac’s workers also dug in the Gerar Valley and found a well of fresh water. But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the creek. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s people, who kept the animals. So Isaac named the well Esek (“Argument”). Then Isaac’s men dug another well, but again there was an argument over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (“hostility”). So leaving that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no argument over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (“open space”), for he said, “At last Yahweh has given us enough space to do well in this land.”
[23-25] From there Isaac moved to Beersheba, where Yahweh appeared to him on the night he got there. Yahweh said to him, “I am the God of your father, Abraham. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I’ll make you have many descendants, and they’ll become a great nation. I’ll do this because of My promise to Abraham, My worker.” So Isaac built an altar there and worshiped Yahweh God. He set up his camp there, and his workers dug another well.
Isaac’s Promise with Abimelech
[26-31] Then one day Ruler Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. So Isaac asked, “Why have you come here? You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.” They said, “We clearly see that Yahweh is with you. So we want to make an agreement with you. Promise that you won’t hurt us, just as we’ve never troubled you. We’ve always treated you well, and we sent you away in peace. And now look how Yahweh has blessed you!” So Isaac made a feast to celebrate the agreement, and they ate and drank together. Early the next morning, they made a promise not to bother each other. Then Isaac sent them away again, and they left in peace.
[32-35] That very day Isaac’s workers came and told him about a new well they had dug. “We’ve found water!” they said excitedly. So Isaac named the well Shibah (“Promise”). To this day the town that grew up there is called Beersheba (“well of promise”). Then at the age of 40, Esau married two Hittite wives: Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon. But Esau’s wives made Isaac and Rebekah miserable.
Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing
27[1-4] One day when Isaac was old and almost blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son, I’m old now, and I don’t know when I’ll die. Take your bow and arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Make my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I’ll give you the blessing of the firstborn, before I die.”
[5-13] But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me some wild game and make me my favorite dish. Then I’ll bless you in Yahweh’s presence before I die.’ Now, listen to me, my son. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to make your father’s favorite dish. Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.” So Jacob said to Rebekah, “But my brother, Esau, is a hairy man; and my skin is smooth. What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll punish me instead of blessing me.” But his mother said, “Then let the punishment fall on me, my son! But do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”
[14-17] So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and made a good meal, just the way Isaac liked it. Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there at home, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. Then she gave Jacob the tasty meal, with freshly baked bread.
[18-24] So Jacob took the food to his father.” Father,” he said; and Isaac answered, “Yes, my son! Who are you, Esau or Jacob?” So Jacob said, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here’s the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” So Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” So Jacob said, “Yahweh your God put it right in my path!” Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him.” The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. But he didn’t recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy like Esau’s. So Isaac blessed Jacob. Are you really my son, Esau?” he asked. Jacob answered, “Yes, I am.”
[25-29] Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I’ll give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.” So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son, saying, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which Yahweh has blessed! From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. May many nations become your workers, and may they bow down to you. May you be the leader of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who speak badly of you will be punished, and all who speak well of you will be blessed.”
[30-33] As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and right after Jacob had left his father, Esau came back from his hunt. Then Esau made a tasty meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.” But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” So Esau said, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.” Then Isaac was visibly shaken and said, “Then who just served me that tasty meal? I’ve already eaten, and I blessed him before you came; and that promise is unbreakable!”
[34-39] When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and mournful cry.” Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged. But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken your blessing.” So Esau said excitedly, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he’s stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” Isaac said to Esau, “I’ve made Jacob your leader and have said that all his brothers will be his workers. I’ve given him very much grain and wine; what’s left for me to give you, my son?” But Esau begged, “Don’t you have just one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and cried. So finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You’ll live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You’ll live by your sword, and you’ll serve your brother. But when you’re strong, you’ll break free from his control over you.”
Jacob Runs to Paddan-Aram
[41-46] From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. Esau began to plan, “I’ll soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I’ll kill my brother, Jacob.” But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is comforting himself by plotting to kill you. So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and run to my brother, Laban, in Haran. Stay there with him until your brother cools off. When he calms down and forgets what you’ve done to him, I’ll send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these Hittite women! I’d rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.”
28[1-5] So Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and said, “You must not marry any of these Canaanite women. Instead, go now to Paddan-aram, to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Laban’s daughters. May God, Ruler of All Creation, bless you and give you many children. And may you have many descendants and become many nations! May God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings he promised to Abraham. May you own this land where you’re now living as a foreigner, as God gave this land to Abraham.” So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle Laban, his mother’s brother, the son of Bethuel, the Aramean.
[6-9] Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman” and knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram. So it was very clear to Esau that his father didn’t like the Canaanite women. So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife’s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
[10-15] In the meantime, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. At sundown he found a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven and saw the angels of God going up and coming down the steps. At the top of the stairway stood Yahweh, who said, “I am Yahweh, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you’re lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They’ll spread out in all directions, west, east, north, and south. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. I am with you, and I’ll protect you wherever you go, and one day I’ll bring you back to this land. I won’t leave you until I’ve given you everything I’ve promised.”
[16-22] Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely, Yahweh is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It’s the House of God, the very gates of heaven!” So the next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. He named that place Bethel (“House of God”), although the name of the nearby town was Luz. Then Jacob made this promise: “If God will in fact be with me and protect me on this journey, and if Yahweh provides me with food and clothing, and if I go back safely to my father’s home, then Yahweh will certainly be my God. And this memorial stone I’ve set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I’ll give to God a tenth of everything I’ve been given.”
Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram
29[1-6] Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well. It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to come before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?” They answered, “We’re from Haran.” So Jacob asked, “Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” They said, “Yes, we do.” So Jacob asked, “Is he doing well?” They answered, “Yes, he’s well. Look, here comes his daughter, Rachel, with the flock now.”
[7-12] Then Jacob said, “Look, it’s still mid-day! It’s too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?” So they said, ”We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have come. Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.” Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel got there with her father’s flock, because she was the shepherd. So because Rachel was his cousin, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he spoke up, explaining to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side, the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
[13-20] As soon as Laban heard that his nephew, Jacob, had come, he ran out to meet him. He hugged and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, Laban said excitedly, “You really are my own flesh and blood!” Then after Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we’re family. Tell me how much your pay should be.” Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were sad, but Rachel was a beautiful girl. Jacob loved Rachel, so he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” So Laban agreed and said, “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel, but his love for her was so strong that it seemed only a few days to him.
[21-27] Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I’ve done what I agreed to do,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can marry her.” So Laban invited everyone in the land and made a wedding supper. But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, who had sex with her. (Laban had given Leah a worker, Zilpah, to be her female worker.) But when Jacob woke up in the morning, his bride was Leah instead of Rachel! So Jacob ran out to Laban and shouted, “What have you done to me? I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” So Laban said, ”It’s not our custom here to marry a younger daughter before the firstborn. But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel, too, provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
[28-30] So Jacob agreed to work seven more years, and a week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. (Laban gave Rachel a worker, Bilhah, to be her female worker.) So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban for seven more years.
[31-35] When Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved, God made her able to have children, but Rachel wasn’t able to get pregnant. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, saying, “Yahweh has seen my misery, and now my husband will love me.” She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, saying, “Yahweh heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi, saying, “Surely this time my husband will love me, since I’ve given him three sons!” And once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, saying, “Now I’ll praise Yahweh!” And then she stopped having children for a while.
30[1-8] When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She begged Jacob, “Give me children or I’ll die!” Then Jacob became angry with her, saying, “Am I God? God is the one who has kept you from having children! Not me.” Then Rachel told him, “Take my worker, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She’ll carry children for me, and through her I can have a family, too.” So Rachel gave her worker, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he had sex with her. Bilhah became pregnant and gave him a son. Rachel named him Dan, saying, “God has defended me! God has heard my prayer and given me a son.” Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, “I’ve struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!”
[9-13] In the meantime, Leah realized that she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, so she gave her worker, Zilpah, to Jacob as a wife. Soon Zilpah gave him a son. So Leah named him Gad, for she said, “How happy I am!” Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son. Leah named him Asher, for she said, “How happy I am! Now the other women will celebrate with me.”
[14-21] Then one day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes (for fertility).” But Leah angrily said, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?” So Rachel answered, “I’ll let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.” So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him.” You must come and sleep with me tonight!” She said, “I’ve paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.” So that night he slept with Leah. And God answered Leah’s prayers and she became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. She named him Issachar, for she said, “God has rewarded me for giving my worker to my husband as a wife.” Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. She named him Zebulun, for she said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I’ve given him six sons.” Then later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
[22-24] Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by making her able to have children. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said; and she named him Joseph, for she said, “May Yahweh add yet another son to my family.”
Jacob’s Wealth Increases
[25-30] Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please let me go so I can go home to my own country. Let me take my wives and children, for I’ve earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You know how hard I’ve worked for you.” But Laban said, “Please listen to me, I’ve become wealthy, for Yahweh has blessed me because of you. Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.” So Jacob said, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. You had little in fact before I came, but your wealth has grown greatly. Yahweh has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?”
[31-33] Then Laban asked, ”What do you want me to pay you?” So Jacob said, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll stay and tend to your flocks. Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my pay. In the future, when you check on the animals you’ve given me as my pay, you’ll see that I’ve been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you’ll know that I’ve stolen them from you.”
[34-40] So Laban agreed and said, “It’ll be as you say.” But that very day Laban went out and took away all the male and female goats that were striped and spotted, speckled, or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, who took them a three-day’ journey from where Jacob was. In the meantime, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock. Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, because that was where they mated. When they mated in front of the white-striped branches, they gave birth to young that were striped, speckled, and spotted. So Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. At mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were striped or black. This is how he built up his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s.
[41-43] Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, male and female workers, and many camels and donkeys.
Jacob Leaves Laban’s Household
31[1-3] But Jacob heard Laban’s sons saying about him, “Jacob has taken what belonged to our father. Everything he has he has gotten from our father.” Jacob saw that Laban’s attitude toward him wasn’t good. Then Yahweh said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your father and your family, and I’ll be with you.”
[4-9] So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. He said to them, “I’ve seen that your father’s attitude toward me isn’t good. But the God of my father has been with me. You know how hard I’ve worked for your father, but he has cheated me and changed my pay ten times. But God has not allowed him to hurt me. If he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your pay,’ the whole flock had speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, ‘The striped animals will be your pay,’ then the whole flock had striped young. So God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me.
[10-13] One time when the goats were mating, I had a dream and saw that the males mating with the females were striped, speckled, and spotted. Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I said, ‘Yes, here I am.’ Then the angel said, ‘Look, see that only the striped, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. I’ve seen everything that has been done to you by Laban. I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, the place where you anointed the stone and made your promise to Me. Now get up and leave this country and go back to the land of your birth.’”
[14-16] Rachel and Leah answered, “Is there anything we own left for us in our father’s house? He treats us like strangers. He sold us, and used up all our money. Everything God has given you from our father really belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”
[17-21] So Jacob got up and put his wives and children on camels. Then he took all his tame animals and everything he had gotten in Paddan-aram with him and set out for the land of Canaan, to his father, Isaac. Now Laban was shearing his sheep, so Rachel stole her father’s false gods of the household and took them with her. So Jacob secretly left Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that they planned to go. So Jacob left with everything he had and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Chases Jacob
[22-25] Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had left. So he gathered a group of his family and chased him down, catching up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. But the night before, God had appeared to Laban, the Aramean, in a dream and told him, “Be careful what you say to Jacob.” So when Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, he set up his camp not far from Jacob’s.
[26-30] So Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, leaving without telling me? You took my daughters away like prisoners of war! Why did you go without telling me? I might have sent you away with happiness and singing, with tambourines and harps. You didn’t let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye. That was a stupid thing to do! I could hurt you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, ‘Be careful what you say to Jacob.’ I know that you’ve gone because you wanted to go home. But why have you stolen my gods?”
[31-32] So Jacob answered, “I left secretly because I was afraid, thinking you might take your daughters away from me by force. If you find those false gods of yours, you may kill whoever has taken them! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, show it to this whole family of ours and take it with you!” But Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen the household gods.
[33-35] Then Laban went into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then into the tents of the two mistresses, but he didn’t find them. So finally, he went into Rachel’s tent. But Rachel had taken the household gods and hidden them under her camel’s saddle, and was sitting on them. When Laban had searched all through her tent without finding them, she said to her father, “I hope it doesn’t upset you that I can’t get up for you. I’m on my period.” So Laban kept on searching, but he couldn’t find his household gods.
[36-42] Then Jacob got angry, and questioned Laban, “What have I done wrong? What’s my sin that you chase after me like this? You’ve gone through everything I own. Now if you’ve found anything that belongs to you, set it here in front of our family, for all to see. Let them judge between us! For twenty years I’ve been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I’ve never eaten a goat of your flock. If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never brought it to you. You required me to take the loss myself! You made me pay you back for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night. I worked for you through the heat of the day and the cold nights, losing my own sleep. For twenty years I’ve worked in your house! I’ve worked for fourteen years for your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock, and you changed my pay ten times! If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse of me and my hard work, and told you to leave me alone last night!”
Jacob’s Agreement with Laban
[43-47] Then Laban said to Jacob, “These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks. Everything you see is mine. But what could I do to my own daughters and their children? So come, let’s make a promise, you and I, and it’ll be a witness between us.” So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument. Then he told his family members, “Gather some stones.” So they gathered stones and put them in a pile, eating on it. In recognition of the event, Laban called the place Jegar-sahadutha (“Witness pile” in Aramaic), and Jacob called it Galeed (“Witness pile” in Hebrew).
[48-55] Then Laban said, “This pile of stones will stand as proof to remind us of the promise we’ve made to each other today.” This is why it was called Galeed, but it was also called Mizpah (“Watchtower”), because Laban said, “May Yahweh watch between you and me when we’re apart from each other. If you abuse my daughters or if you marry other wives besides them, God will see it even if no one else does. God is a witness between us. I’ve set this pile of stones between us as proof. They stand here as proof of our promise that I’ll never pass this pile of stones to hurt you, and you must never pass them to hurt me. I call on the God of our ancestors, the God of your grandfather Abraham and my grandfather Nahor, to serve as judge between us.” So Jacob promised by the God of his father, Isaac. Then Jacob offered a sacrifice to God there on the mountain and called everyone to come eat. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain. Then Laban got up early the next morning, kissed his grandchildren and daughters, and blessed them. Then he left and went back home.
32[1-2] As Jacob began to go, the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw Them, he said excitedly, “This is God’s camp!” So he named the place Mahanaim.
Jacob Sends Gifts to Esau
[3-5] Then Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother, Esau, who was living in Seir in the land of Edom. He told them, “Tell my brother Esau, ‘Your worker Jacob says, “Until now I’ve been living with Uncle Laban, and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many workers, both men and women. I’ve sent these messengers to tell you of my coming, hoping that I’ll be treated kindly by you.”’”
[6-8] The messengers came back to Jacob and reported, “We met your brother, Esau, and he’s coming to meet you with 400 men!” Jacob was very scared when he heard this news, so he divided his household, along with the flocks, herds, and camels, into two groups, thinking, “If Esau meets one group and attacks it, maybe the other group will escape.”
[9-12] Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and my father, Isaac, Yahweh, who told me, ‘Go back to your own land and to your family and I’ll treat you well.’ I’m not worthy of even a little of all the mercy and truth You’ve shown to me, Your worker. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I had nothing but my walking stick, and now my household is two large camps! O God, please save me from the power of my brother, Esau. I’m afraid that he’s coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But You promised me, ‘I’ll surely treat you well, and I’ll make your descendants grow until they become as many as the sands along the seashore, more than you can count.’”
[13-16] Jacob stayed where he was for the night and took whatever came to his hand as gifts for his brother, Esau; 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewe lambs, 20 rams, 30 female camels along with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. He gave them to his workers, separating each herd by itself. Then he told his workers, “Go ahead of me, but keep some distance between the herds.”
[17-21] He told those leading the first group: “When my brother, Esau, meets you, and asks, ‘Whose workers are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?’ Tell him, ‘They belong to your little brother Jacob, who sends them as a gift for his older brother, Esau. Look, he’s coming behind us.’” Jacob gave the same instructions to the second, the third, and all who followed behind the herds: “You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. And be sure to say, ‘Look, your little brother Jacob is coming behind us.’ I’ll try to calm him down by sending gifts ahead of me and when I see him face to face, maybe he’ll be kind to me.” So the gifts were sent ahead, while Jacob himself spent that night in the camp.
Jacob Wrestles with God
[22-26] That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two mistresses, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over everything he owned. When Jacob was left alone in the camp, Someone came and wrestled with him until the sun began to come up. So realizing that Jacob wasn’t giving up, the Angel touched Jacob’s hip and it came out of its socket. Then the Angel said, “Let me go; the sun is coming up!” But Jacob said, “I won’t let You go unless You bless me.”
[27-32] So the Angel asked, “What’s your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” The Angel said, ”Your name will no longer be Jacob, but you’ll be called Israel, because you’ve struggled with both God and men and haven’t given up.” Then Jacob said, “Please tell me Your Name?” The Angel said, “Why do you want to know My Name?” and blessed Jacob there. So Jacob named the place Peniel (“face of God”), saying, “I’ve seen God face to face, yet my life is spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because his hip was hurt. (Even today, the people of Israel don’t eat the muscle near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the Angel pulled the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)
Jacob Makes Peace with Esau
33[1-4] Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two mistresses. He put the mistresses and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went ahead, and as he came to his brother, bowed down seven times. Then Esau ran to meet him and hugged him, throwing his arms around his neck, and kissed him, and they both cried.
[5-11] Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?” Jacob said, “These are the children God has graciously given to me, your worker.” Then the mistresses came forward with their children and bowed at his feet. Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed at his feet. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed at his feet. “What do you mean by all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. So Jacob said, “They’re a gift, brother, that I might please you.” Esau answered, ”I have more than enough, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.” But Jacob insisted, “No, if you’re pleased with me, please take this gift from me. Because I’ve seen your face again and you were pleased with me, it’s like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I’ve brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” Jacob wouldn’t take no for an answer, so Esau took it.
[12-16] So Esau said, “Let’s take our trip and go. I’ll lead the way.” But Jacob said, “You can see that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they’re driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. Please, Esau, go on ahead of me. We’ll follow slowly, at the right pace for the animals and the children and I’ll meet you at Seir.” So Esau said, “Yes, but at least let me tell some of my men to guide and protect you.” But Jacob answered, “That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve accepted me kindly, Esau!” So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day.
[17-20] Jacob then traveled on to Succoth, where he built himself a house and made shelters for his animals. That is why the place was named Succoth (“Shelters”). Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob went safely to the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. Then Jacob bought from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of land where he camped for 100 silver coins, and built an altar there and named it El-Elohe-Israel.
Jacob’s Sons take Revenge against Shechem
34[1-4] One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the young women who lived in the land. But when the local prince, Shechem, son of Hamor, the Hivite, saw Dinah, he took her and raped her, forcing her to have sex with him. But then he fell in love with her, and spoke kindly to the young woman. He said to his father, Hamor, “Get me this young woman. I want to marry her.”
[5-7] Jacob heard that Shechem had raped his daughter, Dinah, but his sons were out in the fields herding the animals, so he said nothing until they came back. Then Hamor, Shechem’s father, came to talk to Jacob. Jacob’s sons came in from the field as soon as they heard what had happened. They were very upset and angry that their sister had been raped. Shechem had done a disgraceful thing against Jacob’s daughter, by having sex with her, something that should never be done.
[8-10] Then Hamor spoke with Jacob and his sons, saying, “My son, Shechem, is truly in love with your daughter. Please let him marry her and let’s make other marriages, too. You give us your daughters for our sons, and we’ll give you our daughters for your sons. And you may live among us; the land is open to you! Live here and trade with us, and buy property for yourselves in the land.”
[11-17] Then Shechem himself spoke to Dinah’s father and brothers, saying, “Let me please you, and marry your daughter. I’ll give you whatever you ask. No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I’ll pay it, if you just give me the young woman as my wife.” But since Shechem had shamed their sister, Dinah, Jacob’s sons lied to Shechem and his father, Hamor, saying to them, “We couldn’t do this, because it would be a disgrace to us for our sister to marry a man who hasn’t cut off his foreskin! But if every man among you will have his foreskin cut off like we are, then we’ll give you our daughters, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves. We will live among you and become one people. But if you don’t agree to cut your foreskins off, we’ll take her and go.”
[18-23] Hamor and his son Shechem liked what they said, so Shechem wasted no time in doing what they asked, because he loved Jacob’s daughter, being more honorable than the rest of his family. So he went with his father, Hamor, to talk to the leaders at the city gate, saying, “These men are friendly towards us. Let them live here among us and trade with us. Look, the land is large enough to hold them. We can take their daughters as wives and let them marry ours. But they’ll only stay here and becoming one people with us if all of our men have their foreskins cut off, just as they are. If we do this, all their animals and everything they own will be ours. Let’s do what they ask and they’ll live here with us.”
[24-26] So they all agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the city had their foreskins cut off. But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and went boldly into the city, slaughtering every male. They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.
[27-29] Later, the rest of Jacob’s sons went in and took all the valuables in the city because their sister had been shamed there. They took all the sheep, oxen, and donkeys, everything inside the city and outside in the fields. They took all the valuables out of their houses, and took all their little children and wives as prisoners.
[30-31] Afterward Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You’ve caused me nothing but trouble! You’ve made me horrible to all the people of this land, both the Canaanites and Perizzites. We’re few, so they’ll gather together and kill me and my family. My whole family will be destroyed!” But they said to him, ”Should we let him treat our sister like a whore?”
Jacob’s Goes Back to Bethel
35[1-3] Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and go to Bethel and live there. Build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.” So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your false gods, wash yourselves, and put on clean clothes. Let’s get ready and go to Bethel, where I’ll build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in trouble, and has been with me wherever I’ve gone.” So they gave Jacob all their false gods and their earrings, and he buried them under the pistachio tree near Shechem. As they set out, the terror of God came over all the cities around them, and no one came after Jacob’s family.
[6-8] Then Jacob and his family got to Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (“God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was runing from his brother, Esau. Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the pistachio tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (“Tree of crying”).
[9-13] God appeared to Jacob again at Bethel, when he came from Padan-Aram, and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you won’t be called Jacob anymore. From now on your name will be Israel.” So God renamed him Israel. Then God said, “I am God, Ruler of All Creation. Create more of your own kind and make many more people. You’ll become a great nation, and later, many nations. Rulers will come from your line of descendants! And I’ll give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I’ll give it to you and your descendants after you.” After speaking with Jacob, God went up from there.
[14-15] Jacob set up a stone to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed it with olive oil. Jacob named the place Bethel (“House of God”), because God had spoken to him there.
The Death of Rachel
[16-20] Then they left Bethel, and when there was only a little farther to go to Ephrath, Rachel went into labor to have her baby and she was in hard labor. When she was in hard labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, you’ll have this son, too!” So as Rachel was dying, she named the baby Ben-oni (“Son of my sorrow”), but his father called him Benjamin (“Son of my right hand”). So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Jacob put a stone over Rachel’s grave, and it’s Rachel’s gravestone to today.
[21-22] Then Jacob traveled on and camped beyond the tower of Eder. While he was living there, Reuben had sex with Bilhah, his father’s wife, and Jacob heard about it.
[23-26] These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob: The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s worker, were Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s worker, were Gad and Asher. These are the names of the sons who were born to Jacob at Paddan-aram.
[27-29] So Jacob went back to his father, Isaac, in Mamre, which is near Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had both lived as foreigners. Isaac lived for 180 years and died, joining his ancestors, being very old. His sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him together.
The Descendants of Esau
36[1-5] This is the story of the descendants of Esau (Who was also called Edom). Esau married two young women from Canaan: Adah, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite; and Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, the Hivite. He also married his cousin Basemath, who was the daughter of Ishmael and the sister of Nebaioth. Adah gave birth to a son named Eliphaz for Esau. Basemath gave birth to a son named Reuel. Aholibamah gave birth to sons named Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. All these sons were born to Esau in the land of Canaan.
[6-8] Esau took his wives, his children, and his whole household, along with his animals and cattle, everything he had gotten in the land of Canaan, and moved away from his brother, Jacob. There wasn’t enough land to support them both because of all the animals and stuff they had gotten. So Esau (also called Edom) lived in the hill country of Seir.
[9-13] This is the story of Esau’s descendants, the Edomites, who lived in the hill country of Seir. These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau’s wife Adah; and Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. The descendants of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. Timna, the wife of Esau’s son Eliphaz, gave birth to a son named Amalek. These are the descendants of Esau’s wife Adah. The descendants of Reuel were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the descendants of Esau’s wife Basemath.
[14-19] Esau also had sons through Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon. Their names were Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the descendants of Esau who became the leaders of different families: The descendants of Esau’s oldest son, Eliphaz, became the leaders of the families of Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, Korah, Gatam, and Amalek. These are the family leaders in the land of Edom who descended from Eliphaz. All these were descendants of Esau’s wife Adah. The descendants of Esau’s son Reuel became the leaders of the families of Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the family leaders in the land of Edom who descended from Reuel. All these were descendants of Esau’s wife Basemath. The descendants of Esau and his wife Aholibamah became the leaders of the families of Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the family leaders who descended from Esau’s wife Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah. These are the families descended from Esau (also known as Edom), identified by their family leaders.
Original Peoples of Edom
[20-30] The names of the families of Seir, the Horite, who lived in the land of Edom are Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. These were the Horite family leaders, the descendants of Seir, who lived in the land of Edom. The descendants of Lotan were Hori and Heman. Lotan also had a sister named Timna. The descendants of Shobal were Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. The descendants of Zibeon were Aiah, and Anah, who found the hot springs in the countryside while he was grazing his father’s donkeys. The descendants of Anah were his son, Dishon, and his daughter, Aholibamah. The descendants of Dishon were Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Keran. The descendants of Ezer were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. The descendants of Dishan were Uz and Aran. So these were the leaders of the Horites: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. The Horite families are named after their leaders, who lived in the land of Seir.
The Rulers of Edom
[31-43] The rulers who ruled in the land of Edom before anyone ruled over the Israelites were Bela, son of Beor, who ruled in Edom from the city of Dinhabah. After Bela died, Jobab, son of Zerah, from Bozrah became ruler in his place. After Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites became ruler in his place. After Husham died, Hadad, son of Bedad, became ruler in his place and ruled from the city of Avith, who defeated the Midianites in the land of Moab. After Hadad died, Samlah from the city of Masrekah became ruler in his place. After Samlah died, Shaul from the city of Rehoboth-on-the-River became ruler in his place. After Shaul died, Baal-hanan, son of Acbor, became ruler in his place. After Baal-hanan died, Hadad became ruler in his place and ruled from the city of Pau. Hadad’s wife was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred and granddaughter of Me-zahab. These are the names of the leaders of the families descended from Esau, who lived in the places named for them: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Aholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram. These are the leaders of the families of Edom, listed according to their settlements in the land they occupied. They all descended from Esau, the ancestor of the Edomites.
Joseph the Dreamer
37[1-4] So Jacob lived again in the land of Canaan, where his father was a foreigner. This is the story of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks with his brothers. He worked with his half-brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph told his father the bad things his brothers were doing. Jacob, also called Israel, loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob made for Joseph a coat woven with many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than the rest of them, they hated him more and couldn’t talk to him peacefully.
[5-8] One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to my dream! We were out in the field, gathering up bunches of grain. Suddenly my bunch stood up, and your bunches all gathered around and bowed down to mine!” Then his brothers answered, “Do you actually think you’ll be our ruler? Do you actually think you’ll reign over us?” and they hated him all the more because of his dreams and what he said about them.
[9-11] Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it, saying, “Listen, I’ve had another dream! This time the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me!” This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him, saying, “What does this dream of yours mean? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground to you?” So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering what the dreams meant.
[12-14] Later, Joseph’s brothers went to feed their father’s flocks at Shechem. So Jacob, also called Israel, said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers feeding the sheep at Shechem? Come here, and I’ll send you to them.” So Joseph said, “I’m ready.” Then Israel said, “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing. Then come back and tell me.” So he sent him to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron.
[15-17] When he got there, a man from the land saw him wandering around the countryside and asked him, “What are you looking for?” So Joseph said, “I’m looking for my brothers. Do you know where they are feeding their sheep?” Then the man told him, “They have left here, but I heard them say, ‘Let’s go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph went to look for his brothers in Dothan and found them there.
Joseph Sold into Slavery
[18-22] When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, before he got close to them, they made plans to kill him. They said, “Here comes the dreamer! ” Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into a pit. We’ll say, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” But when Reuben heard of their evil plan, he tried to save Joseph’s life and said, “Let’s not kill him.” Don’t shed any blood. Just throw him into this pit out here in the countryside, and don’t lay a hand on him.” He planned to save Joseph from them and bring him back to his father.
[23-27] So when Joseph got there, his brothers took the colorful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into an empty pit that had no water. Then, just as they had sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a group of Ishmaelite traders with a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. They were taking a load of spices, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt. So Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother and hiding it? Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelite traders instead. Let’s not kill him because he’s our brother, our own flesh and blood!” So his brothers agreed.
[28-30] So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the pit and sold him to them for twenty silver coins. And the traders took him to Egypt. Later, Reuben came back to get Joseph out of the pit. But when he found that Joseph wasn’t there, he tore his clothes, being very upset. Then he went back to his brothers and cried, “The boy is gone! What will I do?”
[31-33] Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. They brought the colorful robe to their father and asked, “We found this. Is this the robe that belongs to your son?” Their father knew it immediately and said, “Yes, it’s my son’s robe. A wild animal has eaten him. Without a doubt, Joseph has been torn to pieces!”
[34-36] Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in mourning clothes, mourning for his son for a very long time. All his family tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, saying, “I’ll go down to my grave mourning for my son.” So his father sadly cried for him. In the meantime, the Midianite traders sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Ruler of Egypt, the ruler of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the guard.
Judah and Tamar
38[1-5] At this time, Judah left home and moved to Adullam, where he stayed with a man named Hirah. There he saw a Canaanite woman, the daughter of Shua, and married her. When he had sex with her, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. So he named the boy Er. Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son, who she named Onan. And when she gave birth to a third son, she named him Shelah. At the time of Shelah’s birth, they were living at Kezib.
[6-10] After some time, Judah arranged for his firstborn son, Er, to marry a young woman named Tamar. But Yahweh saw that Er was an evil man, and took his life. Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and marry your brother’s wife Tamar, and give your brother an heir.” But Onan wasn’t willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had sex with his brother’s wife, he withdrew from her and let the semen spill on the ground, to keep her from having a child who would belong to his brother. But Yahweh wasn’t pleased with Onan and took his life, too.
[11-13] Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Go back to your parents’ home and remain a survivor until my son Shelah is old enough to marry you.” (But Judah was afraid Shelah would also die, like his two brothers.) So Tamar went back to live in her parent’s home. Then some years later Judah’s wife died and after the time of mourning was over, Judah and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite, went up to Timnah to shear the sheep. So someone told Tamar, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”
[14-18] Tamar knew that Shelah had grown up, but she had not been given to him in marriage. So she changed out of her survivor’s clothing and covered herself with a veil to disguise herself. Then she sat beside the road at the entrance to the town of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. So when Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, since she had covered her face. So he stopped and made her an offer, saying, “Let me have sex with you,” not realizing that she was his own daughter-in-law. So she asked, “What will you give to have sex with me?” Tamar asked. So Judah promised, ”I’ll send you a young goat from my flock.” Then she said, “But give me something to make sure that you send the goat.” So he asked, “What should I give you?” And she answered, “Give me your ring to identify you and its cord and the walking stick you’re carrying.” So Judah gave them to her and had sex with her, and she became pregnant by him.
[19-23] So she went back home, took off her veil, and put on her survivor’s clothing again. Later Judah asked his friend Hirah, the Adullamite, to take the young goat to the woman and to pick up the things he had given her as his promise. But Hirah couldn’t find her. So he asked the men who lived there, “Where can I find the prostitute who was sitting out here beside the road?” But they said, “We’ve never had a prostitute here.” So Hirah went back to Judah and told him, “I couldn’t find her anywhere, and the men of the town claim they’ve never had a prostitute there.” So Judah said, “Then let her keep the things I gave her or we would be shamed. I sent the young goat as we agreed, but you couldn’t find her.
[24-26] Then about three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has acted like a prostitute and is pregnant because of what she did.” So Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned to death!” But as they were taking her out to kill her, she sent this message to her father-in-law: “The man who owns these things is the one who got me pregnant. Find out whose seal, cord and walking stick these are?” So Judah recognized them immediately and said, “She’s better than I am, because I didn’t let her marry my son, Shelah.” So Judah never had sex with Tamar again.
[27-30] When the time came for Tamar to give birth, she was having twins. While she was in labor, one of the babies reached out his hand, so the midwife grabbed it and tied a scarlet string around the child’s wrist, announcing, “This one came out first.” But then he pulled back his hand, and his brother was born first, so the midwife said excitedly, “How did you break through first?” So he was named Perez. Then the baby with the scarlet string on his wrist was born, and he was named Zerah.
Joseph in Potiphar’s House
39[1-4] When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was bought by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Ruler of Egypt, the ruler of Egypt. Yahweh was with Joseph, and blessed him in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian boss. Potiphar saw this and realized that Yahweh, his God was with Joseph, helping him to do well in everything he did. Potiphar was pleased, so he soon put Joseph in charge of his whole household and everything he owned.
[5-6] From the day Joseph was put in charge of his boss’s household and property, Yahweh blessed it for Joseph’s sake. Everything he owned, both inside and out did well. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete control over everything he owned, and didn’t even know what he had, except the food he ate! And Joseph was a very good looking and well-built.
[7-10] Soon Potiphar’s wife began to look at him and want him, saying, “Come and have sex with me.” But Joseph refused and told her, “Look, my boss trusts me with everything he has in his whole household. No one here has more say than I do and he’s held back nothing from me except you, because you’re his wife. How could I do such an evil thing and sin against God?” She kept on asking Joseph day after day, but he refused to have sex with her.
[11-15] Then one day, no one else was around when he went in to do his work, so she grabbed him by his clothes, and said, “Have sex with me!” But Joseph ran away, and left his clothes in her hand as he ran outside. When she saw that she was holding his clothes and he had run away, she called out to her workers, saying, “Look! My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside, but he left his clothes behind with me.”
[16-18] She kept the clothes with her until her husband came home. Then she told him this story, saying, “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and rape me. But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his clothes with me!”
Joseph in Prison
[19-23] Potiphar was very angry when he heard what his wife said about how Joseph had treated her. So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the ruler’s prisoners were held. So he stayed there in the prison. But Yahweh was with Joseph in the prison and showed him kindness. Yahweh made Joseph well-liked by the prison warden. The warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden didn’t have to look into anything that was under Joseph’s control. Yahweh was with him and caused everything he did to go well.
Joseph Explains Two Dreams
40[1-4] A while later, the Ruler of Egypt’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended the ruler. The Ruler of Egypt became angry with these two officers, and put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the great house of the captain of the guard. They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard told Joseph to look after them.
[5-8] While they were in prison, the Ruler of Egypt’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream in one night, and each dream had a different meaning. When Joseph saw them the next morning, he saw that they both looked upset. So he asked them, “Why do you look so upset today?” And they said, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.” But Joseph said, “God knows what they mean, so tell me your dreams.”
[9-15] So the chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream first, saying, “In my dream, I saw a grapevine in front of me. The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes. I was holding the Ruler of Egypt’s wine cup in my hand, so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in the Ruler of Egypt’s hand.” Then Joseph said, “This is what the dream means. The three branches are three days. Within three days the Ruler of Egypt will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cup-bearer. So please remember me and show kindness to me when things go well for you. Mention me to the Ruler of Egypt, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, though I’ve done nothing to deserve it.”
[16-19] When the chief baker saw that meaning of the first dream was good, he said to Joseph, “I had a dream, too. In my dream there were three white baskets stacked on my head. The top basket contained all kinds of baked goods for the Ruler of Egypt, but the birds came and ate them from the basket on my head.” But Joseph told him, ”This is what the dream means. The three baskets are also three days. Three days from now the Ruler of Egypt will cut your head off and hang your body on a tree. Then birds will eat at your flesh.”
[20-23] Then the Ruler of Egypt’s birthday came three days later, and he made a feast for all the workers. He called for his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the others. He then gave the chief cup-bearer his old job again, and he handed the Ruler of Egypt his cup, but the Ruler of Egypt hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said would happen. But Ruler of Egypt’s chief cup-bearer forgot about Joseph, and didn’t remember him.
Ruler of Egypt’s Two Dreams
41[1-4] Two years later, the Ruler of Egypt dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. In his dream he saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and feed in the grass. Then he saw seven more cows come up behind them from the Nile, but these were weak and skinny. These cows stood beside the fat cows on the riverbank. Then the weak and skinny cows ate all the seven healthy, fat cows! Then the Ruler of Egypt woke up.
[5-7] He fell asleep again and had another dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain, plump and good, all growing on one stalk. Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were dried-up and shrunken by the east wind. The thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, good heads! Then the Ruler of Egypt woke up again and realized it was a dream.
[8-13] In the morning, the Ruler of Egypt was very upset by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Ruler of Egypt told them his dreams, no one could tell him what they meant. Finally, the ruler’s chief cup-bearer spoke up, saying, “I’m reminded of my fault, today. When you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the great house of the captain of the guard, one night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had a different meaning. There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. And everything happened just as he had said. I was restored to my place as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was killed and hung on a pole.”
[14-16] Then the Ruler of Egypt sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the prison. He shaved and changed his clothes, and then went in to the Ruler of Egypt. Then the Ruler of Egypt said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that you can understand a dream and explain it.” Then Joseph said, “It’s not in my power, but God will tell you what it means and give you peace.”
[17-24] So the Ruler of Egypt told Joseph his dream, saying, “In my dream, I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and feed in the grass. But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, weak and skinny, come up after them, such sorry-looking animals as I’ve ever seen in all the land of Egypt. These thin, skinny cows ate the seven fat cows, but no one would have known it, for they were still as skinny as before! Then I woke up. Then I fell asleep again, and I had another dream. This time I saw seven heads of grain, plump and good, all growing on one stalk. Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were dried up and shrunken by the east wind. And the thin heads swallowed the seven good heads. Then I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.”
[25-32] Then Joseph answered, “Both of your dreams mean the same thing. God has shown the Ruler of Egypt what’s about to happen. Both the seven good cows and the seven good heads of grain are seven very good years. The seven weak and skinny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain dried up by the east wind are seven years of no harvest. This will happen just as I’ve told you, for God has shown you what’s about to happen. For seven years there will be a time of great plenty throughout the land of Egypt, but afterward there will be seven years of no harvest, and all the plenty will be forgotten in Egypt. A great famine will ruin the land. So all the good years will be forgotten because of the seven years following them, the famine will be so terrible. And the dream was repeated twice to the Ruler of Egypt because it’s God’s doing and it’s going to happen soon.
[33-36] ”So, you, Ruler of Egypt, should find an understanding and smart man and put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then you should set supervisors over the land and let them collect a fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food in the good years that are coming and store it in the cities under your control. Then that food will be saved for the seven years of no harvests that are coming to the land of Egypt and the land will be saved.”
Joseph Made Ruler Over Egypt
[37-40] So the Ruler of Egypt and all his officials liked what Joseph had said. Then the Ruler asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this, a man who has the spirit of God?” Then Ruler said to Joseph, “Since God has shown all this to you, no one else is as understanding or as smart as you are. You’ll be ruler of my house, and all my people will be ruled by whatever you say. Only I will be greater than you because I sit on the throne.”
[41-44] Then the Ruler of Egypt said to Joseph, “See, I’ve put you in control of the whole land of Egypt.” Then the Ruler of Egypt took his signet ring from off his hand and put it on Joseph’s finger. He gave him fine linen clothes and a gold chain was hung around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the second chariot (war vehicle) following his and they shouted out as he went, “Bow down on your knees!” So the Ruler made Joseph ruler over all of Egypt and said to him, “I am Ruler of Egypt, and no one will lift a hand or a foot in the whole land of Egypt without your saying so.”
[45-49] Then the Ruler of Egypt gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah. He also gave him a wife, Asenath, who was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. So Joseph was the overseer of the whole land of Egypt. Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving the Ruler of Egypt. When Joseph left from the Ruler’s court, he went and looked over the whole land of Egypt. For seven years the land produced very good crops. So Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt in the first seven years and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. The amount of grain that Joseph gathered was like the sand on the seashore, too much to count.
[50-57] Before the years of no harvests came, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Joseph named his older son Manasseh, and said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and my father’s family.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim, and said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my troubles.” Then the seven years of good crops in the land of Egypt ended and the seven years of no crops began, just as Joseph had said. The crops died in all the surrounding countries as well, but there was still food in Egypt. When the crops failed throughout all the land of Egypt, the people cried to Ruler of Egypt for food. So the Ruler told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you to do.” The lack of food was everywhere, so Joseph opened up the storehouses and sold the grain to the Egyptians, for all the crops had failed throughout the land of Egypt. And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the crops had failed in all the surrounding countries.
Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
42[1-5] When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you just looking at one another? I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt, so go down there, and buy grain so that we will live and not die.” So Joseph’s ten older brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. But Jacob didn’t let Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, saying, “Something bad might happen to him.” So Jacob’s sons went to Egypt along with the other people who were going to buy food, because the crops had failed in Canaan.
[6-10] Since Joseph was ruler over all of Egypt and sold the grain to all the people, his brothers came to him and bowed their faces to the ground in front of him. Joseph recognized his brothers, but he acted like a stranger and spoke to them harshly. Joseph asked, “Where are you from?” So they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” Though Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them, so he said to them, “You’re all spies! You’ve come to see how bare our land is.”
[10-13] They said to him, “No, Ruler of Egypt! Your workers have come to buy food. We’re all brothers, the sons of one man. We’re honest men and not spies!” But Joseph said, “Yes, you are! You’ve come to see how bare our land is.” So they said, “Your workers are twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is with our father now, and one isn’t with us anymore.”
[14-17] But Joseph said again, “You’re spies as I said! So I’ll test you in this way. By the life of the Ruler of Egypt, you’ll never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here! One of you must go and get him and the rest of you will be kept here in prison to find out whether or not what you say is true. By the life of the Ruler of Egypt, if not, then I’ll know you’re spies.” So Joseph put them all in prison together for three days.
[18-20] On the third day Joseph said to them, “I know God. If you do what I say, you’ll live. If you’re honest men, choose one of your brothers to stay here in prison. The rest of you, go and carry grain to your hungry families. When you bring your youngest brother back to me, this will prove that you’re telling the truth, and you won’t die.” So they did this.
[21-24]Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we’re guilty for what we did to Joseph. We saw how upset he was when he begged us, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.” Then Reuben asked, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy and you wouldn’t listen? And now we have to pay for his blood!” They didn’t know that Joseph understood them, because he used an interpreter to talk to them. Joseph turned away from them and cried. Then he came back and spoke to them again. He took Simeon from among them and had him tied up right in front of them.
[25-28] Then Joseph ordered his workers to fill their bags with grain, and to put each brother’s money back in the top of his bag and to give them supplies for their journey home. So they loaded their donkeys with grain and left there. But when they camped for the night, one of them opened his bag to feed his donkey, and saw his money in the top of his bag. So he said to his brothers, “My money has been put back in my bag!” Then their hearts sank and they said to one another, “What has God done to us?”
Joseph’s Brothers Go Back to Canaan
[29-34] When they came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them, saying, ”The man who’s ruler of the land spoke very harshly to us and said we were spies in the country. But we said, ‘We’re honest men, not spies. We’re twelve brothers, sons of one father. One brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan.’ Then the man who’s ruler of the land told us, “If you’re honest men, choose one of your brothers to stay here in prison. The rest of you, go and carry grain to your hungry families. When you bring your youngest brother back to me, this will prove that you’re telling the truth, and you won’t die. Then I’ll give your brother back to you, and you may trade freely in the land.’”
[35-38] Then as they emptied out their bags, there in each man’s bag was the bag of money he had paid for the grain! When they and their father saw them, they were all very scared. Then Jacob said to them, “You’re taking all my children away from me! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!” Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my own two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. If you put him in my hands, I’ll bring him back to you.” But Jacob said, “My son won’t go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he’s the only one left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you’d bring my gray-hair down to the grave in sorrow.”
The Brothers Go Back to Egypt
43[1-5] The lack of crops continued throughout the land of Canaan. When the grain they had brought from Egypt was gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.” But Judah said, “The man strongly warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you send Benjamin with us, we’ll go down and buy more food. But if you don’t let him go, we won’t go. The man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
[6-10] Then Israel said, “Why did you do me so wrong and tell him you had another brother?” So they said, “The man clearly asked about us and our family, asking, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered him honestly. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here?’” Then Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we’ll go, so we’ll all live and not die, both you and us, and our children. I will personally keep him safe. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you, and I will be the blame forever. If we hadn’t waited all this time, we would have gone and come back the second time by now.”
[11-14] So their father, Jacob, said to them, “If it must be this way, then do this. Pack some of the best fruits of this land in your bags. Take them as a gift for the man. Take some balm, and a little honey, some spices, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Also take double the money of what was put back in your bags, as it might have been a mistake. Take your brother, too, and go back to the man. May God, Ruler of All Creation, give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he’ll release Simeon and Benjamin, too. But if I must lose them, then I lose them.”
[15-18] So the men packed the gifts and Benjamin and took double the money. When they got to Egypt they went to Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, “Take these men to my home and then go kill an animal and cook it. These men will eat with me at noon.” So the man did as Joseph told him and took them into Joseph’s house. The brothers were very afraid when they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s house. They said, “It’s because of the money that was put in our bags the first time we were here, so that he can accuse us and take us, to make us slaves, and take our donkeys.”
A Feast at Joseph’s Great House
[19-25] So the brothers went to the manager of Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the doorway to the great house, saying, ”Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy food. But as we were going back home, we camped for the night and opening our bags we found each man’s money, the full price, in the top of his bag! We’ve brought it back with us, and have more money to buy food. We don’t know who put our money in our bags.” So the household manager told them “ Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, put the treasure into your bags. I had your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to meet them. He brought them into Joseph’s great house and gave them water to wash their feet and fed their donkeys. Then they got their gifts ready for Joseph, because they had been told they would eat with him at noon.
[26-31] When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed down on the ground to him. Then he asked how they were doing and asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?” So they said, “Yes, our father, your worker, is doing well and still alive.” And they bowed down again. Then Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother, and asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about? May God be gracious to you, my son.” Then Joseph was about to cry because he had wanted to see his brother for a long time, so he quickly looked for a place to cry. He went to his room, and cried there. After washing his face, he came back out, keeping control of himself and said, “Serve the meal!”
[32-34] So they served Joseph at his own table, his brothers at another table, and the Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table. The Egyptians couldn’t eat with Hebrews because it wasn’t right to them. So they sat where Joseph told them to, and were amazed that he had seated them according to their age, from oldest to youngest. Then Joseph took their plates to them, filled with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the rest of them. So they drank and enjoyed themselves with him.
Joseph’s Silver Cup
44[1-2] Joseph told the manager of his house, “Fill each of their bags with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man’s money back into the top of his bag. Then put my own silver cup at the top of my youngest brother’s bag, along with the money for his grain.” So the manager did what Joseph told him.
[3-5] At dawn the brothers were sent on their way with their loaded donkeys. But when they had left the city and had gone only a little way, Joseph said to the manager, “Chase after them and when you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Why have you stolen my boss’s silver cup, which he drinks from and uses to tell the future? You’ve done an evil thing!’”
[6-10] When the manager caught up with them, he said to them what he had been told. “Why would he say such a thing?” The brothers answered, “We would never do such a thing! Didn’t we bring back the money we found in our bags from the land of Canaan? Then how could we steal silver or gold from your boss’s house? Let the man die who has your boss’s cup, and all the rest of us will be his slaves.” So the manager said, “It’ll be as you say, but only the one who stole the cup will be my boss’s slave and the rest of you may go free.”
[11-13] Quickly, they all put their bags down on the ground and opened them. He searched all their bags, from the oldest to the youngest and the cup was found in Benjamin’s bag. Then the brothers were so upset that they tore their clothes and loaded their donkeys again and went back to the city.
[14-17] Joseph was still in his house when Judah and his brothers got there, so they fell to the ground at his feet. Then Joseph said to them, “What have you done? Don’t you know that a man like me can tell the future?” Then Judah answered, “What can we say to you? What words can we say to clear ourselves? God has found out our faults, so we’ve all come back to be your slaves, both us and the one who had your cup.” Then Joseph said, “I’d never do that! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
Judah Speaks for His Brothers
[18-23] Then Judah stepped up closer and said, “Please, let your worker have a word with you and don’t be angry with me, even though you’re like the Ruler of Egypt himself.” You asked us, your workers, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ And we answered, ‘Yes, we have a father who’s an old man, and his youngest son is a child of his old age. His full brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him very much.’ ”And you said to us, ‘Bring him here so I can see him with my own eyes.’ But we said to you, ‘The boy can’t leave his father, or his father would die.’ But you told us, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you’ll never see my face again.’
[24-34] So we went back to our father, and told him what you had said. Later, when he said, ‘Go back again and buy us some more food,’ we said, ‘We can’t go unless you let our youngest brother go with us. We’ll never get to see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ Then my father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife had two sons, and one of them went away and never came back. Doubtless he was torn to pieces by some wild animal. I’ve never seen him since. Now if you take his brother away from me, and anything happens to him, you’ll send this gray-headed man to his grave in sorrow.’ And now, I can’t go back to my father without the boy. Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life and if he sees that the boy isn’t with us, our father will die. We, your workers, will in fact be responsible for sending that gray-headed man to his grave in sorrow. I promised my father that I’d take care of the boy. I told him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I’ll take the blame forever.’ So please, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t stand to see the sorrow this would cause my father!”
Joseph Reveals His Identity
45[1-3] Joseph couldn’t keep from crying in front of all the people in the room any longer so he shouted to his guards, “Make everyone leave me!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and word of it quickly came to the Ruler of Egypt’s great house. Then he said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word, they were so shocked when they knew who he was.
[4-8] And Joseph said, “Please, come closer to me.” So they came closer and he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me here. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to save lives. This lack of food that has hurt the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither planting nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to save you and your families for the future and to save your lives in a great way. So it wasn’t you who sent me here, but God, who’s the One who made me a counselor to the Ruler of Egypt and the manager of his whole house and the ruler of all Egypt.
[9-15] Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘Your son, Joseph, says, God has made me ruler over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me now and don’t wait! You can live in the land of Goshen, where you can be near me with all of your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. I’ll take care of you there, or you, your household, and all your animals will starve. There’s still five more years of no food crops.” Then Joseph added, “Look! You and my brother Benjamin can see for yourselves that it is me who speaks to you! Go tell my father of all my fame and wealth here in Egypt. Tell him everything you’ve seen, and then quickly bring my father here.” Then he hugged Benjamin’s neck and cried, and Benjamin hugged his neck and cried. Then Joseph kissed all his brothers and cried over them, and after that they talked freely with him.
Ruler of Egypt Invites Jacob to Egypt
[16-20] The news soon reached the Ruler of Egypt’s great house: “Joseph’s brothers have come!” The Ruler of Egypt and his officials were very pleased to hear this. The Ruler said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals, and go back to the land of Canaan. Then get your father and all of your families, and come back here to me. I’ll give you the very best land in Egypt, and you’ll eat from the best of the land. Take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little children and your wives, and bring your father here. Don’t worry about all your things, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”
[21-23] So the sons of Israel did as they were told. Joseph gave them with wagons, as the Ruler of Egypt had said, and supplies for the journey. And he gave each of them new clothes, but to Benjamin he gave five changes of clothes and 300 silver coins. He also sent his father ten male donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other food for his journey.
[24-28] So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t worry about all this along the way!” So they left Egypt and went back to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive! And he’s ruler of all the land of Egypt!” Jacob’s heart skipped a beat at the news, because he couldn’t believe it! But when they told Jacob everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw all the wagons Joseph had sent to carry him, their father’s spirit revived. Then Israel said, “It’s enough that my son, Joseph, is still alive and I’ll go and see him before I die!”
Jacob’s Journey to Egypt
46[1-4] So Israel began traveling toward Egypt with everything that he owned and came to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. Then God spoke to him in the dreams of the night, saying, “Jacob! Jacob!” And Jacob said, “Here I am.” Then God said, “I am God, the God of your father. Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt, because I’m going to make your family into a great nation there. I’ll go with you down to Egypt, and I’ll bring you back again. And Joseph will close your eyes when you die.”
[5-7] So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt, carrying him and their wives and children in the wagons the Ruler of Egypt had given them. They took all their animals and everything they had gotten in the land of Canaan and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants. He brought his sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters, and all the rest of his descendants with him to Egypt.
[8-15] These are the names of the children of Israel, the sons of Jacob, who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob’s first son. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, along with their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three.
[16-18] The sons of Gad were Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and Serah, their sister. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel. These were the sons of Zilpah, the worker Laban gave to Leah, his daughter. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen.
[19-22] The sons of Jacob’s wife, Rachel, were Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph’s sons, who were born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On, had. Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen.
[23-25] The son of Dan was Hushim. The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. These were the sons of Bilhah, the worker Laban gave to Rachel, his daughter. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven.
[26-27] All those who went with Jacob to Egypt, who came from his body, not counting his sons’ wives, were sixty-six people. And Joseph had two sons who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.
Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen
[28-34] Then Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and point the way to the land of Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, Joseph got in his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father, Israel. When Joseph got there, he hugged his father and cried on his shoulder for a long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I’ve seen your face again and know you’re still alive.” Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s whole family, “I’ll go to the Ruler of Egypt and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s whole family have come to me from the land of Canaan. These men are shepherds, and they raise animals and have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’” Then he said, “When the Ruler of Egypt calls for you and asks what you do, you must tell him, ‘We, your workers, have raised animals all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he’ll let you live here in the land of Goshen, because shepherds are hated by the Egyptians.”
Jacob Blesses the Ruler of Egypt
47[1-6] Then Joseph went to see the Ruler of Egypt and told him, “My father and my brothers have come from the land of Canaan and have brought all their flocks and herds and everything they own with them, and are now in the land of Goshen.” Joseph took five of his brothers with him and brought them to the Ruler of Egypt. Then the Ruler asked the brothers, “What do you do?” So they said, “We, your workers, are shepherds, just like our ancestors. We’ve come to live here in Egypt, as there’s no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The drought is very bad there. So please, let us live in the land of Goshen.” Then the Ruler said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have come here, too, choose the best part of the land of Egypt for them to live in. Let them live in the land of Goshen. And if you know that any of them are very good at what they do, put them in charge of my animals, too.”
[7-12] Then Joseph brought in his father, Jacob, to Ruler of Egypt; and Jacob blessed the Ruler. The Ruler asked him, “How old are you?” So Jacob said, “I’ve traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But the days of my life have been few and evil compared to the lives of my ancestors.” Then Jacob blessed the Ruler again and left him. So Joseph gave the best of the land of Egypt, in the land of Rameses, to his father and brothers to live in, just as the Ruler had said. And Joseph gave food to his father and brothers, and more than enough for all their families.
Joseph’s Leadership in the Famine
[13-17] Now the lack of food became so severe that all the food was used up, and people were starving throughout the lands of Egypt and Canaan. So Joseph took in all the money in Egypt and Canaan by selling grain to the people, and he put the money into the Ruler of Egypt’s treasury. When the people of Egypt and Canaan ran out of money, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, saying, “Please give us food, or we’ll die right here in front of you! All our money is gone!” So Joseph said, “Since your money is gone, bring me your animals. I’ll give you food in exchange for your animals.” So they brought their animals to Joseph in exchange for food. In exchange for their horses, flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and donkeys, Joseph gave them food for another year.
[18-22] But that year ended, and the next year they came again and said, “We can’t hide the truth from you. Our money is gone, and all our animals and cattle are yours. We’ve nothing left to give but our bodies and our land. Why should we die right here in front of you? Buy us and our land in exchange for food; we give our land and ourselves as slaves for the Ruler of Egypt. Just give us grain so we may live and not die, and so the land doesn’t’ become empty.” So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for the Ruler. All the Egyptians sold him their fields because the drought was so severe, and soon all the land belonged to Ruler. As for the people, he moved them all into the cities, from one end of Egypt to the other. The only land he didn’t buy was the land belonging to the priests. They received their food directly from the Ruler of Egypt, so they didn’t need to sell their land.
[23-28] Then Joseph said to the people, “Look, today I’ve bought you and your land for the Ruler of Egypt. I’ll provide you with seed so you can plant the fields. Then when you harvest it, a fifth of your crop will belong to the Ruler. You may keep the four-fifths that are left as seed for your fields and as food for you, your households, and your children.” So they said, “You’ve saved our lives! May it please you to let us be the Ruler’s workers.” Then Joseph made it a law in the land of Egypt to this day that the Ruler of Egypt would get a fifth of all the crops grown on the land, except what belonged to the priests, which wasn’t given to the Ruler. So the people of Israel lived in the land of Goshen in Egypt. They were given homes, and the number of their people quickly grew. Jacob lived for seventeen years after he came to Egypt, so he lived 147 years in all.
[29-31] As the time of Jacob’s death drew near, he called for his son, Joseph, and said to him, “If I have pleased you, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you’ll treat me honestly and with kindness. Please, don’t bury me in Egypt, but bury me with my ancestors. You shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.” So Joseph promised, “I’ll do as you ask.” Then Jacob said, “Promise that you’ll do it.” So Joseph gave his promise, and Israel bowed humbly at the head of his bed.
Jacob Blesses Manasseh and Ephraim
48[1-7] Later after this, Joseph was told, “Your father really is dying.” So Joseph went to visit his father, and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Joseph got there, Jacob was told, “Your son, Joseph, has come to see you.” So Jacob gathered his strength and sat up in bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God, the Ruler of All Creation, appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me and said to me, ‘I’ll bless you, and I’ll make you have many descendants. And I’ll give this land of Canaan to your descendants after you to own forever.’ Now I’m claiming as mine these two boys of yours, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born here in the land of Egypt before I came here. They’ll be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. But any children born to you later will be your own, and they’ll be given part of the land in the land of their brothers, Ephraim and Manasseh. As for me, when I came from Paddan-aram, Rachel died in the land of Canaan, when we were still on the way, only a little way from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
[8-11] Then Israel saw the two boys, and said, “Are these your sons?” Joseph told him, “Yes, these are the sons God has given me here in Egypt.” And Jacob said, “Bring them to me, and I will bless them.” Now Jacob was almost blind because of his age and couldn’t see well. Then Joseph brought the boys to him, and Jacob kissed and hugged them. Then Jacob said to Joseph, “I never thought I’d see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!”
[12-13] Then Joseph brought the boys to their grandfather’s knees, and he bowed with his face down. Then he brought the boys closer to Jacob, with his right hand he put Ephraim at Jacob’s left hand, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand. But Jacob purposefully crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys’ heads, putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the first.
[15-16] Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May God, whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, followed, the God who has fed me all my life to this day, the Angel who has saved me from all evil, bless these boys. May they take my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac. And may they have many descendants throughout the earth.”
[17-22] But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. He said, “No, father, this one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” But his father said, “No. I know, my son; I know. Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater, and his descendants will become many nations.” So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing, “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing, saying, ‘May God make you as great as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” So, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to Canaan, the land of your ancestors. And I am giving you an extra share more than what I’ve given your brothers, of the land that I took from the Amorites with my weapons.”
Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons
49[1-2] Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I’ll tell you what will happen to each of you in the last days.” Come and listen, you sons of Jacob; listen to Israel, your father.
[3-4] Reuben, you’re my firstborn, my power, the first of my strength and youth. You’re pride and power are great. But you’re as troubled water, and you won’t do well because you went to bed with my wife and ruined my marriage bed.
[5-7] ”Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; weapons of violence are in their homes. My soul will never accept their judgment; My honor will never take part in their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and crippled animals in their selfishness. They’ll be punished for their anger, because it’s violent; they’ll be punished for their rage, because it’s cruel. I’ll divide them among the descendants of Jacob and scatter them throughout Israel.
[8-12] Judah, your brothers will praise you. You’ll grab your enemies by the neck. All your family will bow before you. Judah is a young lion that has finished eating its prey. Like a lion he bows and lies down; And as a lion, who would dare to wake him? The ruler’s staff won’t leave from Judah’s people, nor will a lawgiver from his descendants, until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the One whom all nations will obey. Tying a foal to a grapevine, the colt of a donkey to a choice vine, this One’s clothes and robes will be as red as wine, and dipped in the blood of grapes, whose eyes are darker than wine, and whose teeth are whiter than milk.
 Zebulun will live by the sea and be a harbor for ships; his borders will go to Sidon.
[14-15] Issachar is a strong donkey, resting between two heavy packs. He saw that rest is good and how pleasing the land is, so he’ll put his shoulder under the load and become a bunch of hard workers.
[16-18] Dan will rule his people, as one of the family groups in Israel. Dan will be a snake beside the road, a poisonous snake along the path that bites the horse’s hooves so its rider is thrown off. I trust you to save me, O God!
 Gad will be attacked by raiding soldiers, but he’ll beat them at last.
 Asher will have rich foods and make food fit for rulers.
 Naphtali is a deer set free that uses beautiful words.
[22-26] Joseph is a fruitful branch, a fruitful branch by the water, his branches run over the wall. Archers have cruelly attacked him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained tight, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Strong God of Jacob, by the shepherd, the Rock of Israel. The God of your father will help you; The Almighty will bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and the blessings of the waters below, and the blessings of the breasts and womb. The blessings of your father have been more than the blessings of my ancestors, reaching to the farthest boundaries of the eternal hills. They’ll rest on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the one who was separated from his brothers.
 Benjamin is a starving wolf, killing his enemies in the morning and taking what he has gotten in the evening.”
 These are the twelve families of Israel, and this is what their father said as he blessed them. He blessed each one with his own blessing.
Jacob’s Death and Burial
[29-33] Then Jacob told them, “I’m dying and will join my ancestors. Bury me with my father and grandfather in the cave in the field of Ephron, the Hittite. This is the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought from Ephron, the Hittite, as a burial place. There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried. There Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, are buried. And there I buried Leah. It’s the field and the cave that my grandfather Abraham bought from the Hittites.” When Jacob had finished saying this to his sons, he lay down in bed, and died, and joined his ancestors.
50[1-5] Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and cried over him and kissed him. Then Joseph told the physicians who served him to embalm his father’s body; so Jacob was embalmed. The embalming took 40 days, which is how long embalming takes. And the Egyptians mourned his death for seventy days. When the time of mourning was over, Joseph spoke to the Ruler of Egypt’s advisers and said, “If I have pleased you, talk to the Ruler and tell him, ‘My father made me make a promise. He said to me, ‘Listen, I am dying. Bury me in the grave I have made for myself in the land of Canaan.’ So please let me go and bury my father, and I’ll come back.’”
[6-9] So the Ruler of Egypt said, “Go and bury your father, as he made you promise.” So Joseph went up to bury his father with all of the Egyptian officials, all the highest people of the Ruler of Egypt’s household, and all of the highest officers of Egypt. Joseph also took his whole household and his brothers and their households, but left their little children and flocks and herds in the land of Goshen. A great number of people with horses and chariots went with Joseph.
[10-13] When they got to the harvest field of Atad, near the Jordan River, they held a very great and solemn memorial service, with the time of mourning for Joseph’s father lasting seven days. The local people, the Canaanites, saw them mourning at the harvest field of Atad and said, “This is a place of deep mourning for these Egyptians.” So they renamed that place near the Jordan Abel-mizraim. So Jacob’s sons did as he had told them. They carried his body to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought as a burial place from Ephron, the Hittite.
Joseph Reassures His Brothers
[14-21] After burying Jacob, Joseph went back to Egypt with his brothers and all who had went with him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “Now Joseph might hate us and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him.” So they sent this message to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died, he told us to say to you, ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you, for their sin in what they did to you.’ So we, the workers of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph heard the message, he broke down and cried. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph, saying, “See, we’re your slaves!” But Joseph said, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You tried to hurt me, but God meant it for good, in order for it to happen like it is today, to save many people. Now, don’t be afraid. I’ll take care of you and your children.” So he put them at ease and spoke kindly to them.
The Death of Joseph
[22-26] So Joseph and all his family continued to live in Egypt. And Joseph lived to be 110 years old. He lived to see three generations of Ephraim’s descendants, and he lived to see the children of Manasseh’s son Makir, whom he brought up. Then Joseph told his brothers “I’m dying, but God will surely come and lead you out of this land to the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel make a promise, and said, “When God comes to lead you back, you must take my bones with you.” So Joseph died at 110 years old. The Egyptians embalmed him, and his body was put in a coffin in Egypt.