The Testament of Judah

the fourth son of Jacob and Leah

Chapter 1

1:1 “A copy of the words of Judah which he spoke to his sons before he died.”
1:2 “When they gathered together and came to him, he said to them, Listen, my children, to Judah, your father.”
1:3 “I was the fourth son born to my father, Jacob; and Leah, my mother, named me Judah, saying, I give thanks to the Lord, because he has given me a fourth son.”
1:4 “In my youth I was keen; I obeyed my father in accord with his every word,”
1:5 “And I honored my mother and her sister.”
1:6 “And it happened that as I matured, my father declared to me: You shall be king, achieving success in every way.”

Chapter 2

2:1 “And the Lord bestowed on me grace in all my undertakings, in the field and at home.”
2:2 “I know that I raced a deer, caught it, prepared it as food for my father, and he ate it.”
2:3 “By chasing it, I captured a gazelle, and everything that was in the fields I overtook.”
2:4 “I killed a lion and removed a kid from its mouth. Seizing a bear by the paw, I dropped it over a cliff and it was crushed.”
2:5 “I raced a wild boar and as I ran, overtook it and dismembered it.”
2:6 “In Hebron a leopard leapt on a dog and seized it; I snatched it by the tail and broke it in tow on a rock.”
2:7 “I found a wild ox grazing in the country; grasping it by the horns and brandishing it in a circle until it was blind, I hurled it down and destroyed it.”

Chapter 3

3:1 “When two armor-clad kings of the Canaanites came with a large force to seize our flocks, I ran out alone against one of the kings, struck him on his leg armor, knocked him down, and killed him,”
3:2 “As I did the other, the king of Tappual, while he was astride his horse, with the result that all his people were scattered.”
3:3 “Achor, the king, a giant of a man, was shooting arrows before and behind while on a horse; I lifted a stone of sixty pounds weight, hurled it at his horse, and killed it.”
3:4 “After I had fought with Achor for two hours, I killed him, cut his shield in two, and hacked off his feet.”
3:5 “While I was removing his breastplate, eight of his companions started to attack me.”
3:6 “Wrapping my clothing in my hand, I slung stones at them, killing four of them, and the rest fled.”
3:7 “My father, Jacob, killed Belisath, king of all kings, a giant of a man in strength, twelve cubits tall.”
3:8 “Trembling seized them and they stopped attacking us,”
3:9 “So that my father had no anxiety about battles so long as I was with my brothers.”
3:10 “For he saw in a vision concerning me that a powerful angel accompanied me everywhere so that no one might touch me.”

Chapter 4

4:1 “After that, an attack against us occurred in the south that was greater than the one at Shechem. After my brothers and I joined forces, we pursued a thousand men and killed two hundred of them, and destroyed four kings.”
4:2 “I went up on the wall and killed their king. Thus we liberated Hebron and took all the captives.”

Chapter 5

5:1 “Next day we went off to Areton, a city secure and strong which threatened us with death.”
5:2 “Gad and I went up from east of the city, while Reuben and Levi came from the west.”
5:3 “Those who were on the wall, supposing that we were the sole attackers, were drawn out against us.”
5:4 “And so, secretly, by means of pegs, my brothers climbed up the wall on the other sides and invaded the city without their knowing it.”
5:5 “And we captured it with the edge of the sword; those on the walls fled into a tower, which we set afire, and thereby took all of them and all their possessions.”
5:6 “As we were leaving, the men of Tappual killed them and burned their city, plundering everything that was in it.”

Chapter 6

6:1 “When I was in the waters of Chozeba, the men of Jabel launched an attack against us.”
6:2 “And having joined battle with them, we put them to flight, slew their allies from Siloam, and we left them with no means to attack us.”
6:3 “Again, on the fifth day, the people of Macher attacked. Marshaling our forces, we triumphed over them in a mighty onslaught, and killed them even before they could withdraw into their stronghold.”
6:4 “When we approached their city, the women rolled stones from the crest of the hill on which the city was built. But Simeon and I, entering the city secretly from behind, seized its heights and completely destroyed it as well.”

Chapter 7

7:1 “On the next day we were told that the king of the city of Gaash was coming against us with a large force.”
7:2 “So Dan and I, pretending to be Amorites, entered their city as allies.”
7:3 “In the depth of night our brothers came and we opened the gates for them. All their possessions and all their loot we destroyed; their three walls we razed.”
7:4 “We drew near to Thamna, where all their equipment was.”
7:5 “Then since I was being insulted by them, I became angry and launched an attack against them up to the heights, while they were slinging stones and shooting arrows.”
7:6 “Had it not been that Dan, my brother, fought along with me, they would have killed me.”
7:7 “We went out against them with wrath and they all fled. Proceeding by another route, they petitioned my father, and he made peace with them;”
7:8 “We did them no harm, but we kept them subject to tribute and returned to them the spoils taken from them.”
7:9 “I built Thamna and my father built Rabael.”
7:10 “I was twenty when this battle occurred.”
7:11 “And the Canaanites were fearful of me and my brothers.”

Chapter 8

8:1 “I had many cattle; I had Hiram the Adullamite as chief herdsman.”
8:2 “When I approached him, I saw Barsaba, the king of Adullam. He conversed with us and held a drinking party for us. When I urged him, he gave me his daughter, named Saba, as a wife.”
8:3 “She bore my Er, Onan, and Shelom. The Lord took away two of them, but Shelom lived.”

Chapter 9

9:1 “For eighteen years my father was at peace with his brother Esau and his sons with us, after we had come out of Mesopotamia from Laban.”
9:2 “When the eighteen years were completed, Esau, my father’s brother, came up against us with a force powerful and strong.”
9:3 “Jacob struck Esau with an arrow, and in death he was carried up to Mount Seir.”
9:4 “We pursued Esau’s sons, who had possession of a fortified city which we were unable to enter. Encamping around it, we besieged it.”
9:5 “When they had not opened to us after twenty days, I set up a ladder and, holding a shield in position over my head, climbed up in spite of being hit by stones.”
9:6 “I killed four of their powerful men while Rueben and Gad killed six others.”
9:7 “Then they asked us for peace terms, and following consultation with our father we took them as subjects under tribute.”
9:8 “They regularly gave us 200 cors of wheat and 500 baths of oil and 500 measures of wine, until the famine, when we went down into Egypt.”

Chapter 10

10:1 “After this my son Er brought from Mesopotamia Tamar, daughter of Aram, as a wife for himself.”
10:2 “Er was wicked, and a difficulty arose concerning Tamar, because she was not of the land of Canaan. An angel of the Lord took him away on the third night.”
10:3 “He had not had intercourse with her, in keeping with his mother’s treacherous scheme, because he did not want to have children by her.”
10:4 “In the days designated for the bridal chamber, I assigned Onan to fulfill the marital role with her, but in his wickedness he did not have intercourse with her even though he was with her for a year.”
10:5 “When I threatened him, he lay with her, but let his semen spill out on the ground, as his mother ordered him. He also died through his wickedness.”
10:6 “I wanted to give Shelom to her also, but his mother would not allow it. She did this evil thing because Tamar was not the daughter of Canaan as she was.”

Chapter 11

11:1 “And I knew that the race of the Canaanites was evil, but youthful impulses blinded my reason,”
11:2 “And when I saw her, I was led astray by the strong drink and had intercourse with her.”
11:3 “While I was absent, she went off and brought from Canaan a wife for Shelom.”
11:4 “When I realized what she had done, I pronounced a curse on her in the anguish of my soul,”
11:5 “And she died in her wickedness, together with her children.”

Chapter 12

12:1 “After this, while Tamar was a widow she heard two years later that I was going up to shear sheep.”
12:2 “Decking herself in bridal array she sat at the entrance of the inn in the city of Enan, for there was a law among the Amorites that a woman who was widowed should sit in public like a whore.”
12:3 “Since I was drunk with wine, I did not recognize her and her beauty enticed me because of her manner of tricking herself out.”
12:4 “I bent down and said to her, ‘I shall go into you.’ And she said, ‘What will you give me?’ And I gave her my staff, my ring, my royal crown as a pledge. So I had intercourse with her and she conceived.”
12:5 “Not understanding what I had done, it was my wish to kill her. But she sent me secretly the pledges and utterly humiliated me.”
12:6 “I summoned her and heard the words spoken in a mystery, when I was drunk and sleeping with her. So I could not kill her, because it was from the Lord.”
12:7 “I kept saying, What if she did it deceitfully, having received the pledge from some other woman?”
12:8 “But I did not go near her again until the end of my life because I had done this thing which was revolting in all Israel.”
12:9 “Those who were in the city were saying that there had been no whore at the gate, because she had come quickly from another district and sat at the gate.”
12:10 “So I supposed no one knew that I had gone in to her.”
12:11 “Afterward I went to Egypt to Joseph on account of the famine.”
12:12 “I was forty six years old and I spent seventy years in Egypt.”

Chapter 13

13:1 “And now, my children, I command you give heed to Judah, your father, and keep my words so as to perform all the Lord’s just decrees and to obey the command of God.”
13:2 “Do not pursue evil impelled by your lusts, by the arrogance of your heart, and do not boast the exploits and strength of your youth because this too is evil in the Lord’s sight.”
13:3 “Since I had boasted that during a war not even a beautifully formed woman’s face would entice me, and I had scolded Reuben my brother concerning Bilhah, my father’s wife, the spirit of envy and promiscuity plotted against me until I lay with Anan, the Canaanite woman, and Tamar, who was pledged in marriage to my son.”
13:4 “For I said to my father-in-law, I will confer with my father and then I will take your daughter. But since he was unwilling to delay, he showed me a measureless mass of gold which was in his daughter’s name.”
13:5 “He decked her in gold and pearls, and made her pour out wine for us in a feast.”
13:6 “The wine perverted my eyesight; pleasure darkened my heart.”
13:7 “I longed for her and lay with her, thus I transgressed the Lord’s command and that of my father when I took her as my wife.”
13:8 “And the Lord repaid me according to the rashness of my soul, because I had no delight in her children.”

Chapter 14

14:1 “And now, my children, I tell you, Do not be drunk with wine, because wine perverts the mind from the truth, arouses the impulses of desire, and leads the eyes into the path of error.”
14:2 “For the spirit of promiscuity has wine as its servant for the indulgence of the mind.”
14:3 “If any one of you drinks wine to the point of drunkenness, your mind is confused by sordid thoughts, and your body is kindled by pleasure to commit adultery. Thus he commits sin and is unashamed.”
14:4 “Such is the drunkard, my children; he who is drunken has respect for no one.”
14:5 “See, even I was deceived so that I was not ashamed before the throng in the city, because before the eyes of all I turned aside to Tamar and committed a great sin, and disclosed to my sons my acts of uncleanness.”
14:6 “When I had drunken wine I flouted shamelessly God’s command and took the Canaanite woman.”
14:7 “He who drinks wine needs much perception, my children, and this is the perception the wine drinker requires; So long as he is decent, he may drink.”
14:8 “But if he exceeds the limit, the spirit of error invades his mind and makes the drunkard become foul-mouthed and lawless; yet rather be ashamed, he boasts in his dishonorable action and considers it to be fine.”

Chapter 15

15:1 “The promiscuous man is unaware when he has been harmed and shameless when he has been disgraced.”
15:2 “For even someone who is a king, if he is promiscuous, is divested of his kingship, since he has been enslaved by sexual impulses, just as I experienced.”
15:3 “For I gave my staff (that is, the stability of my tribe), my girdle (that is, my power), and my crown (that is, the glory of my kingdom).”
15:4 “Since I repented of these acts, I consumed neither wine nor meat until my old age, and I saw no merriment at all.”
15:5 “And the angel of the Lord showed me that women have the mastery over both king and poor man;”
15:6 “From the king they will take away his glory; from the virile man, his power, and from the poor man, even the slight support that he has in his poverty.”

Chapter 16

16:1 “Take care to be temperate with wine, my children; for there are in it four evil spirits: desire, heated passion, debauchery, and sordid greed.”
16:2 “If you drink wine in merriment, showing due respect for the fear/reverence of God, you shall live. But if you drink without restraint and the fear/reverence of God departs, the result is drunkenness and shamelessness sneaks in.”
16:3 “But if you wish to live prudently, abstain completely from drinking in order that you might not sin by uttering lewd words, by fighting, by slander, by transgressing God’s commands, then you shall not die before your allotted time.”
16:4 “The mysteries of God and men wine discloses, just as I disclosed to the Canaanite woman the commandments of God and the mysteries of Jacob, my father, which God had told me not to reveal.”

Chapter 17

17:1 “And now, my children, I command you not to love money or to gaze on the beauty of women. Because it was on account of money and attractive appearance that I was led astray to Bathshua the Canaanite.”
17:2 “And I know that on account of these two things my tribe is doomed to wickedness.”
17:3 “For even the wise men from among my sons will be changed for the worse, and the kingdom of Judah they shall cause to be diminished, though the Lord gave it to me because of my obedience to my father.”
17:4 “For at no time did I bring grief to Jacob, my father, because everything he said, I did.”
17:5 “And Abraham, my father’s father, blessed me as destined to be the king in Israel; and Jacob blessed me similarly.”
17:6 “And so I know that through me the kingdom will be established.”

Chapter 18

18:1 “For in the books of Enoch the Righteous I have read the evil things you will do in the last days.”
18:2 “Guard yourselves therefore, my children, against sexual promiscuity and love of money;”
18:3 “Listen to Judah, your father, for these things distance you from the Law of God, blind the direction of the soul, and teach arrogance. They do not permit a man to show mercy to his neighbor.”
18:4 “They deprive his soul of all goodness, and oppress him with hardships and grief, they take away sleep from him and utterly waste his flesh.”
18:5 “They impede the sacrifices to God, he does not remember the blessings of God, he does not obey the prophet when he speaks, and he is offended by a pious word.”
18:6 “For two passions contrary to God’s commands enslave him, so that he is unable to obey God; They blind his soul, and he goes about in the day as though it were night.”

Chapter 19

19:1 “My children, love of money leads to idolatry, because once they are led astray by money, they designate as gods those who are not gods. It makes anyone who has it go out of his mind.”
19:2 “On account of money I utterly lost my children, and had it not been for the penitence of my flesh, the humility of my soul, and the prayers of my father, Jacob, I would have met death childless.”
19:3 “But the God of my fathers, who is compassionate and merciful, pardoned me because I acted in ignorance.”
19:4 “The prince of error blinded me, and I was ignorant – as a human being, as flesh, in my corrupt sins – until I learned of my own weakness after supposing myself to be invincible”

Chapter 20

20:1 “So understand, my children, that two spirits await an opportunity with humanity: the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
20:2 “In between is the conscience of the mind which inclines as it will.”
20:3 “The things of truth and the things of error are written in the affections of man, each one of whom the Lord knows.”
20:4 “There is no moment in which man’s works can be concealed, because they are written on the heart in the Lord’s sight.”
20:5 “And the spirit of truth testifies to all things and brings all accusations. He who has sinned is consumed in his heart and cannot raise his head to face the judge.”

Chapter 21

21:1 “And now, children, love Levi so that you may endure. Do not be arrogant toward him or you will be wholly destroyed.”
21:2 “To me God has given the kingship and to him, the priesthood; and he has subjected the kingship to the priesthood.”
21:3 “To me he gave earthly matters and to Levi, heavenly matters.”
21:4 “As heaven is superior to the earth, so is God’s priesthood superior to the kingdom on earth, unless through sin it falls away from the Lord and is dominated by the earthly kingdom.”
21:5 “For the Lord chose him over you to draw near to him, to eat at his table to present as offerings the costly things of the sons of Israel.”
21:6 “You shall be to them like the sea; as in it the just and the unjust are tempest-tossed, some are taken captive, some become rich, so shall it be in every race of mankind: Some shall be exposed to danger, some taken captive, some shall grow rich by looting:”
21:7 “Those who rule shall be like sea monsters, swallowing up human beings like fish. Free sons and daughters they shall enslave; houses, fields, flocks, goods they shall seize.”
21:8 “With the flesh of many persons they shall wickedly gorge crows and cranes. they shall make progress in evil; they shall be exalted in avarice.”
21:9 “Like a whirlwind shall be the false prophets: They shall harass the righteous.”

Chapter 22

22:1 “The Lord will instigate among them factions set against each other and conflicts will persist in Israel.”
22:2 “My rule shall be terminated by men of alien race, until the salvation of Israel comes, until the coming of the God of righteousness, so that Jacob may enjoy tranquility and peace, as well as all the nations.”
22:3 “He shall preserve the power of my kingdom forever. With an oath the Lord swore to me that the rule would not cease for my posterity.”

Chapter 23

23:1 “My grief is great, my children, on account of the licentiousness and witchcraft and idolatry that you practice contrary to the kingship, following ventriloquists, omen dispensers, and demons of deceit.”
23:2 “You shall make your daughters into musicians and common women, and you will become involved in revolting gentile/heathen affairs.”
23:3 “In response to this the Lord will bring you famine and plague, death and the sword, punishment by a siege, scattering by enemies like dogs, the scorn of friends, destruction and putrefaction of your eyes, slaughter of infants, the plunder of your sustenance, the rape of your possessions, consumption of God’s sanctuary by fire, a desolate land, and yourselves enslaved by the gentiles/nations.”
23:4 “And they shall castrate some of you as eunuchs for their wives,”
23:5 “Until you return to the Lord in integrity of heart, penitent and living according to all the Lord’s commands. Then the Lord will be concerned for you in mercy and will free you from captivity under your enemies.”

Chapter 24

24:1 “And after this there shall arise for you a Star from Jacob in peace: And a man shall arise from my posterity like the Sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men in gentleness and righteousness, and in him will be found no sin.”
24:2 “And the heavens will be opened upon him to pour out the spirit as a blessing of the Holy Father.”
24:3 “And he will pour the spirit of grace on you. And you shall be sons in truth, and you will walk in his first and final decrees.”
24:4 “This is the Branch of God Most High; this is the fountain for the life of all humanity.”
24:5 “Then he will illuminate the scepter of my kingdom,”
24:6 “And from your root will arise the Branch, and through it will arise the rod of righteousness for the nations, to judge and to save all that call on the Lord.”

Chapter 25

25:1 “And after this Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be resurrected to life and I and my brothers will be chiefs (wielding) our scepter in Israel: Levi, the first; I, second; Joseph, third; Benjamin, fourth; Simeon, fifth;”
25:2 “Issachar, sixth; and all the rest in their order. And the Lord blessed Levi; the Angel of the Presence blessed me; the powers of glory blessed Simeon; the heaven blessed Reuben; the earth blessed Issachar; the sea blessed Zebulon; the mountains blessed Joseph; the Tent blessed Benjamin; the lights blessed Dan; luxury blessed Naphtali; the sun blessed Gad; the olive tree blessed Asher.”
25:3 “And you shall be one people of the Lord, with one language. There shall no more be Beliar’s/Satan’s spirit of error, because he will be thrown into eternal fire.”
25:4 “And those who died in sorrow shall be raised in joy; and those who died in poverty for the Lord’s sake shall be made rich; those who died on account of the Lord shall be wakened to life.”
25:5 “And the deer of Jacob shall run with gladness; the eagles of Jacob shall fly with joy; the impious shall mourn and sinners shall weep, but all peoples shall glorify the Lord forever.”

Chapter 26

26:1 “Observe the whole Law of the Lord, therefore, my children, because it is hope for all who pursue his way,”
26:2 “And he said to them, At one hundred nineteen years of age, I am dying before your eyes this day.”
26:3 “Do not bury me in expensive clothing or disembowel me for embalming because that is what is done for royal rulers. But take me up to Hebron with you.”
26:4 “When he had said this, Judah fell asleep and his sons did everything as he had instructed them, and they buried him in Hebron with his fathers.”

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