The Testament of Issachar

the fifth son of Jacob and Leah

Chapter 1

1:1 “A copy of the words of Issachar. He called his sons to him and said, Listen, children, to Issachar, your father; give ear to the words of one who is beloved of the Lord.”
1:2 “I was the fifth son to be born to Jacob as a payment for mandrakes,”
1:3 “For when Reuben, my brother, brought in mandrakes from the field, Rachel met him on the way and took them.”
1:4 “Reuben wept, and at the sound of his voice his mother, Leah, came out.”
1:5 “These were fragrant fruit produced in the land of Horan in the high country below a waterfall.”
1:6 “Rachel said, I will not give you these because they shall be mine in place of children.”
1:7 “There were two of the fruits. Leah said, Is it not enough that you took the husband of my virginity? Must you take these as well?”
1:8 “And Rachel said, In exchange for your son’s mandrakes let Jacob be yours tonight.”
1:9 “Leah replied to her, Do not boast, and do not hold too high opinion of yourself, for Jacob is mine and I am the wife of his youth.”
1:10 “Rachel said, What do you mean? I was prepared for marriage to him first and for my sake he served our father fourteen years.”
1:11 “What can I do with you? Treachery and human trickery are increasing, and treachery is spreading over the earth. If that were not so, you would not see Jacob’s face.”
1:12 “You are not his wife, but by craftiness you were taken to him in my place.”
1:13 “My father deceived me and replaced me that night, not allowing Jacob to see me. Because if I had been there this would not have happened.”
1:14 “Then Rachel said, In exchange for the mandrakes I will hire out a woman to Jacob for one night. And Jacob had intercourse with Leah; she conceived and bore me.”
1:15 “And on account of the “hire,” I was called Issachar.”

Chapter 2

2:1 “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Jacob and said, Rachel shall bear two children, because she despised intercourse with her husband, choosing rather continence.”
2:2 “If Leah, my mother, had not given up the two fruits in exchange for sexual intercourse, she would have born eight sons. But accordingly, she bore six and Rachel bore two, because through the use of mandrakes the Lord had regard for her.”
2:3 “For he perceived that she wanted to lie with Jacob for the sake of children and not merely for sexual gratification.”
2:4 “In addition, she gave up Jacob on the following day so that she might obtain the other mandrake. Thus it was through the mandrakes that the Lord listened to Rachel.”
2:5 “Even though she longed for them passionately, she did not eat them, but presented them in the house of the Lord, offering them up to the priest of the Most High who was there at that time.”

Chapter 3

3:1 “Accordingly, when I grew up, my children, I lived my life in rectitude of heart; I became a farmer for the benefit of my father and my brothers, and I brought the produce from the fields at their appropriate times.”
3:2 “And my father blessed me, since he saw that I was living in integrity.”
3:3 “I was no meddler in my dealings, nor was I evil or slanderous to my neighbor.”
3:4 “I spoke against no one, nor did I disparage the life of any human.”
3:5 “I lived my life with singleness of vision. Accordingly, when I was thirty-five I took myself a wife because hard work consumed my energy, and pleasure with a woman never came to my mind; rather sleep overtook me because of my labor.”
3:6 “And my father was continually rejoicing in my integrity. Whatever it was that I labored over at every harvest and whenever there was a firstborn, I first made an offering to the Lord through the priest, then for my father, and then for myself.”
3:7 “And the Lord doubles the good things in my hands. Jacob knew that God collaborated with my integrity.”
3:8 “In the integrity of my heart, I supplied everything from the good things of the earth to all the poor and the oppressed.”

Chapter 4

4:1 “Now, listen to me, children, and live in integrity of heart, for in it I have observed everything that is well-pleasing to the Lord.”
4:2 “The genuine man does not desire gold, he does not defraud his neighbor, he does not long for fancy foods, nor does he want fine clothes.”
4:3 “He does not make plans to live a long life, but awaits only the will of God.”
4:4 “And the spirits of error have no power over him, since he does not include feminine beauty in the scope of his vision, lest by allowing distraction he might corrupt his mind.”
4:5 “Envy will not penetrate his thinking; no malice dissipates his soul; no avarice intrudes upon his integrity.”
4:6 “For he lives by the integrity of his soul, and perceives all things by the rectitude of his heart, making no place for an outlook made evil by this world’s error, in order that he might envision no turning aside from any of the Lord’s commands.”

Chapter 5

5:1 “Keep the Law of God, my children; achieve integrity; live without malice, not tinkering with God’s commands or your neighbor’s affairs.”
5:2 “Love the Lord and your neighbor, be compassionate toward poverty and sickness.”
5:3 “Bend your back in farming, perform the tasks of the soil in every kind of agriculture, offering gifts gratefully to the Lord.”
5:4 “Thus the Lord will bless you with the first fruits, as he has blessed all the saints/elect from Abel until the present.”
5:5 “For to you is given no other portion than the fertility of the earth, from which comes produce through toil.”
5:6 “Our father, Jacob, blessed me by the blessing of the earth and of the first fruits.”
5:7 “And Levi and Judah were glorified by the Lord among the sons of Jacob. The Lord made choice among them: To one he gave the priesthood and to the other, the kingship.”
5:8 “Subject yourselves to them, and live in integrity as did your father, because to Gad has been assigned the rout of the attackers who are coming against Israel.”

Chapter 6

6:1 “Understand, my children, that in the last times your sons will abandon sincerity and align themselves with insatiable desire. Forsaking guilelessness, they will ally themselves with villainy. Abandoning the commands of the Lord, they ally themselves with Beliar/Satan.”
6:2 “Giving up agriculture, they pursue their own evil schemes, they will be scattered among the nations and enslaved by their enemies.”
6:3 “Tell these things to your children, therefore, so that even though they might sin, they may speedily return to the Lord,”
6:4 “Because he is merciful: He will set them free and take them back to their land.”

Chapter 7

7:1 “I am a hundred and twenty-two years old, and I am not aware of having committed a sin unto death.”
7:2 “I have not had intercourse with any woman other than my wife, nor was I promiscuous by lustful look.”
7:3 “I did not drink wine to the point of losing self-control. I was not passionately eager for any desirable possession of my neighbor.”
7:4 “There was no deceit in my heart; no lie passed through my lips.”
7:5 “I joined in lamentation with every oppressed human being, and shared my bread with the poor. I did not eat alone; I did not transgress boundaries;”
7:6 “I acted in piety and truth all my days. The Lord I loved with all my strength; likewise, I loved every human being as I love my children.”
7:7 “You do these as well, my children, and every spirit of Beliar/Satan will flee from you, and no act of human evil will have power over you. Every wild creature you shall subdue, so long as you have the God of heaven with you, and walk with all mankind in sincerity of heart.”
7:8 “And he instructed them that they should take him up to Hebron and bury him there in the cave with his fathers.”
7:9 “And he stretched his legs and died at a good old age – the fifth son, with all his members sound and still strong; he slept the eternal sleep.”

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