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The Testament of Levi

the third son of Jacob and Leah

Chapter 1

1:1 “A copy of the words of Levi: the things that he decreed to his sons concerning all they were to do, and the things that would happen to them until the day of judgment.”
1:2 “He was in good health when he summoned them to him, but it had been revealed to him that he was about to die. When they all were gathered together he said to them:”

Chapter 2

2:1 “I, Levi, was born in Haran and came with my father to Shechem.”
2:2 “I was a youth, about twenty years old. It was then that, together with Simeon, I performed vengeance against Hamor because of our sister, Dinah.”
2:3 “As I was tending the flocks in Abel-Maoul a spirit of understanding from the Lord came upon me, and I observed all human beings making their way in life deceitfully. Sin was erecting walls and injustice was ensconced in towers.”
2:4 “I kept grieving over the race of the sons of men, and I prayed to the Lord that I might be delivered.”
2:5 “Then sleep fell upon me, and I beheld a high mountain, and I was on it.”
2:6 “And behold, the heavens were opened, and an angel of the Lord spoke to me: ‘Levi, Levi, enter!”
2:7 “And I entered the first heaven, and saw there much water suspended.”
2:8 “And again I saw a second heaven much brighter and more lustrous, for there was a measureless height in it.”
2:9 “And I said to the angel, ‘Why are these things thus?’ And the angel said to me, ‘Do not be amazed concerning this, for you shall see another heaven more lustrous and beyond compare.”
2:10 “And when you have mounted there, you shall stand near the Lord. You shall be his priest and you shall tell forth his mysteries to men. You shall announce the one who is about to redeem Israel.”
2:11 “Through you and Judah the Lord will be seen by men.”
2:12 “Your life shall be from the Lord’s provision; he shall be to you as field and vineyard and produce, as silver and gold.”

Chapter 3

3:1 “Listen, therefore, concerning the heavens which have been shown to you.”
3:2 “The lowest is dark for this reason: It sees all the injustices of humankind,”
3:3 “And contains fire, snow, and ice, ready for the day determined by God’s righteous judgment. In it are all the spirits of those dispatched to achieve the punishment of mankind.”
3:4 “In the uppermost heaven of all dwells the Great Glory in the Holy of Holies, superior to all holiness.”
3:5 “There with him are the archangels, who serve and offer propitiatory sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of all the sins of ignorance of the righteous ones.”
3:6 “They present to the Lord a pleasing odor, a rational and bloodless oblation.”
3:7 “In the heaven below them are the messengers who carry the responses to the angels of the Lord’s presence.”
3:8 “There with him are thrones and authorities; there praises to God are offered eternally.”
3:9 “So when the Lord looks upon us we all tremble. Even the heavens and earth and the abysses tremble before the presence of his majesty.”
3:10 “But the sons of men, being insensitive to these matters, keep sinning and provoking the anger of the Most High.”

Chapter 4

4:1 “Know, then, that the Lord will effect judgment on the sons of men. ‘For even when stones are split, when the sun is extinguished, the waters are dried up, fire is cowed down, all creation is distraught, invisible spirits are vanishing, and hell is snatching spoils by sufferance of the Most High, men – unbelieving still – will persist in their wrongdoing. Therefore they shall be condemned with punishment.”
4:2 “The Most High has given heed to your prayer that you be delivered from wrongdoing, that you should become a son to him, as minister and priest in his presence.”
4:3 “The light of knowledge you shall kindle in Jacob, and you shall be as the sun for all the posterity of Israel.”
4:4 “Blessing shall be given to you and to all your posterity until through his son’s compassion the Lord shall visit all the nations forever, [although your sons will lay hands on him in order to impale him].”
4:5 “Therefore counsel and understanding have been given to you so that you might give understanding to your sons concerning this.”
4:6 “Because those who bless him shall be blessed, those who curse him shall be destroyed.”

Chapter 5

5:1 “At this moment the angel opened for me the gates of heaven and I saw the Holy Most High sitting on the throne.”
5:2 “And he said to me, ‘Levi, to you I have given the blessing of the priesthood until I shall come and dwell in the midst of Israel.”
5:3 “Then the angel led me back to the earth, and gave me a shield and a sword, and said to me, ‘Perform vengeance on Shechem for the sake of Dinah, your sister, and I shall be with you, for the Lord sent me.”
5:4 “At that time I put an end to the sons of Hamor, as is written in the tablets of the fathers.”
5:5 “And I said to him, ‘I beg you, Lord, teach me your name, so that I may call on you in the day of tribulation.”
5:6 “And he said, ‘I am the angel who makes intercession for the nation Israel, that they might not be beaten.”
5:7 “And after this I awoke and blessed the Most High.”

Chapter 6

6:1 “And as I was going to my father, I found a brass/brazen shield. Thus the name of the mountain is Aspis, which is near Gebal to the right of Abima.”
6:2 “And I guarded these words in my heart.”
6:3 “Then I advised my father and Reuben that they tell the sons of Hamor that they should not be circumcised, because I was filled with zeal on account of the abominable thing they had done to my sister.”
6:4 “And I destroyed Shechem first, and Simeon destroyed Hamor.”
6:5 “Then my brothers came and destroyed that city by the sword.”
6:6 “When my father heard of this he was angry and sorrowful, because they had received circumcision and died, and so he passed us by in his blessings.”
6:7 “Thus we sinned in doing this contrary to his opinion, and he became sick that very day.”
6:8 “But I saw that God’s sentence was ‘Guilty,’ because they had wanted to do the same thing to Sarah and Rebecca that they did to Dinah, our sister. But the Lord prevented them.”
6:9 “They persecuted Abraham when he was a nomad, and they harassed his flocks when they were pregnant, and they grossly mistreated Eblaen, who had been born in this house.”
6:10 “This is how they treated the nomadic people, seizing their wives and murdering them.”
6:11 “But the wrath of God ultimately came upon them.”

Chapter 7

7:1 “And I said to my father, Jacob, ‘Through you the Lord will bring the Canaanites to nothing and will give their land to you and your descendants after you.”
7:2 “For from this day forward, Shechem shall be called “City of the Senseless,” because as one might scoff at a fool, so we scoffed at them,”
7:3 “Because by defiling my sister they committed folly in Israel,”
7:4 “And we left there and came to Bethel.”

Chapter 8

8:1 “There I again saw the vision as formerly, after we had been there seventy days.”
8:2 “And I saw seven men in white clothing, who were saying to me, ‘Arise, put on the vestments of the priesthood, the crown of righteousness, the oracle of understanding, the robe of truth, the breastplate of faith/truth, the miter for the head, and the apron for prophetic power,”
8:3 “Each carried one of these and put them on me and said, ‘From now on be a priest, you and all your posterity.”
8:4 “The first anointed me with holy oil and gave me a staff.”
8:5 “The second washed me with pure water, fed me by hand with bread and holy wine, and put on me a holy and glorious vestment.”
8:6 “The third put on me something made of linen, like an ephod.”
8:7 “The forth placed around me a girdle which was like purple.”
8:8 “The fifth gave me a branch of rich olive wood.”
8:9 “The sixth placed a wreath on my head.”
8:10 “The seventh placed the priestly diadem on me and filled my hands with incense, in order that I might serve as priest for the Lord God.”
8:11 “And they said to me, ‘Levi, your posterity shall be divided into three offices as a sign of the glory of the Lord who is coming.”
8:12 “The first lot shall be great; no other shall be greater than it.”
8:13 “The second shall be in the priestly role.”
8:14 “But the third shall be granted a new name, because from Judah a king will arise and shall found a new priesthood in accord with the gentile model/model of the people and for all nations.”
8:15 “His presence is beloved, as a prophet of the Most High, a descendant of Abraham, our father.”
8:16 “To you and your posterity will be everything desired in Israel, and you shall eat everything attractive to behold, and your posterity will share among themselves the Lord’s table.”
8:17 “From among them will be priests, judges, and scribes, and by their word the sanctuary will be controlled.”
8:18 “When I awoke, I understood that this was like the first dream.”
8:19 “And I hid this in my heart as well, and I did not report it to any human being on the earth.”

Chapter 9

9:1 “And after two days Judah and I went with our father, Jacob, to Isaac, our grandfather.”
9:2 “And my father’s father blessed me in accord with the vision that I had seen. And he did not want to go with us to Bethel.”
9:3 “When we came to Bethel my father, Jacob, saw a vision concerning me that I should be in the priesthood.”
9:4 “And thus we came to Hebron to settle there.”
9:5 “He arose early and paid tithes for all to the Lord, through me.”
9:6 “And Isaac kept calling me continually to bring to my remembrance the Law of the Lord, just as the angel had shown me.”
9:7 “And he taught me the law of the priesthood: sacrifices, holocausts, voluntary offerings of the first fruits, offerings for safe return.”
9:8 “Day by day he was informing me, occupying himself with me. And he said to me,”
9:9 “Be on your guard against the spirit of promiscuity, for it is constantly active and through your descendants it is about to defile the sanctuary.”
9:10 “Therefore take for yourself a wife while you are still young, a wife who is free of blame or profanation, who is not from the race of alien nations.”
9:11 “Before you enter the sanctuary, bathe; while you are sacrificing, wash, and again when the sacrifice is concluded, wash.”
9:12 “Present to the Lord the twelve trees that have leaves, as Abraham taught me.”
9:13 “And from every clean living animal and bird, bring a sacrifice to the Lord,”
9:14 “And of all your first fruits and wine bring the very first as a sacrifice to the Lord God. And salt with salt every sacrificial offering.”

Chapter 10

10:1 “And now, my children, observe the things which I commanded you, since what I heard from my ancestors I have told to you.”
10:2 “See, I am free of responsibility for your impiety or for any transgression which you may commit until the consummation of the ages in leading Israel astray and in fomenting in it great evils against the Lord.”
10:3 “And you shall act lawlessly in Israel, with the result that Jerusalem cannot bear the presence of your wickedness, but the curtain of the Temple will be torn, so that it will no longer conceal your shameful behavior.”
10:4 “You shall be scattered as captives among the nations, where you will be a disgrace and a curse.”
10:5 “For the house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as the book of Enoch the Righteous maintains.”

Chapter 11

11:1 “I was twenty-eight when I took a wife; her name was Melcha.”
11:2 “She conceived and gave birth to a son, and I gave him the name Gersom, because we were sojourners in the land.”
11:3 “And I saw that, as concerns him, he would not be in the first rank.”
11:4 “And Kohath was born in the thirty-fifth year of my life, before sunrise.”
11:5 “And in a vision I saw him standing in the heights, in the midst of the congregation.”
11:6 “This is why I called him Kohath, that is the Ruler of Majesty and Reconciliation.”
11:7 “And she bore me a third son, Merari, in the fortieth year of my life, and since his mother bore him with great pain, I called him Merari; that is Bitterness.”
11:8 “Jochebed was born in Egypt in the sixty-fourth year of my life, for by that time I had a great reputation in the midst of my brothers.”

Chapter 12

12:1 “And Gersom took a wife who bore him Lomne and Semei.”
12:2 “The sons of Kohath were Abraham, Issachar, Hebron, and Osee.”
12:3 “And the sons of Merari were Mooli and Moses.”
12:4 “And in the ninety-fourth year Abraham took Jochebed, my daughter, as his wife, because he and my daughter had been born on the same day.”
12:5 “I was eight years old when I entered the land of Canaan, and eighteen years old when I killed Shechem. At nineteen years I served as a priest; at twenty-eight years I took a wife; and at forty-eight I entered Egypt. See, my children, you are a third generation. During my one hundred eighteenth year Joseph died.”

Chapter 13

13:1 “And now, my children, I command you: Fear/reverence the Lord your God with your whole heart, and walk according to his Law in integrity.”
13:2 “Teach your children letters also, so that they might have understanding throughout all their lives as they ceaselessly read the Law of God.”
13:3 “For everyone who knows the Law of God shall be honored wherever he goes, he shall not be a stranger.”
13:4 “He shall acquire many more friends than his parents, and many men will want to serve him and to hear the Law from his mouth.”
13:5 “Therefore, my sons, do righteousness on earth in order that you might find it in heaven.”
13:6 “Sow good things in your souls and you will find them in your lives. If you sow evil, you will reap every trouble and tribulation.”
13:7 “Acquire wisdom in the fear/reverence of the Lord because if a captivity occurs, if cities and territories are laid waste, if silver and gold and every possession are lost, nothing can take away the wisdom of the wise man except the blindness of impiety and the obtuseness of sin.”
13:8 “For if anyone preserves himself from these evil deeds, his wisdom shall be glorious, even among his opponents; it will be found to be a homeland in a foreign territory, and a friend in the midst of his enemies.”
13:9 “Whoever teaches good things and practices them shall be enthroned with kings, as was Joseph, my brother.”

Chapter 14

14:1 “And now, my children, I know from the writings of Enoch that in the end-time you will act impiously against the Lord, setting your hands to every evil deed; because of you, your brothers will be humiliated and among all the nations you shall become the occasion for scorn.”
14:2 “For your father, Israel, is pure with respect to all the impieties of the chief priests, [who laid their hands on the Savior].”
14:3 “As heaven is pure above the earth, and you should be the lights of Israel as the sun and the moon.”
14:4 “For what will all the nations do if you become darkened with impiety? You will bring down a curse on our nation, because you want to destroy the light of the Law which was granted to you for the enlightenment of every man, teaching commandments which are opposed to God’s just ordinances.”
14:5 “You plunder the Lord’s offerings; from his share you steal choice parts, contemptuously eating them with whores.”
14:6 “You teach the Lord’s commands out of greed for gain; married women you profane; you have intercourse with whores and adulteresses. You take gentile/hethan women for your wives and your sexual relations will become like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
14:7 “You will be inflated with pride over your priesthood, exalting yourselves not merely by human standards but contrary to the commands of God.”
14:8 “With contempt and laughter you will deride the sacred things.”

Chapter 15

15:1 “Therefore the sanctuary which the Lord chose shall become desolate through your uncleanness, and you will be captives in all the nations.”
15:2 “And you shall be to them a revolting thing, and you shall receive scorn and eternal humiliation through the just judgment of God.”
15:3 “All who hate you will rejoice at your destruction.”
15:4 “And unless you had received mercy through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our fathers, not a single one of your descendants would be left on the earth.”

Chapter 16

16:1 “Now I have come to know that for seventy weeks you shall wander astray and profane the priesthood and defile the sacrificial altars.”
16:2 “You shall set aside the Law and nullify the words of the prophets by your wicked perversity. You persecute just men: and you hate the pious; the word of the faithful you regard with revulsion.”
16:3 “A man who by the power of the Most High renews the Law, you name ‘Deceiver,’ and finally you shall plot to kill him, not discerning his eminence; by your wickedness you take innocent blood on your heads.”
16:4 “I tell you, on account of him your holy places shall be razed to the ground.”
16:5 “You shall have no place that is clean, but you will be as a curse and a dispersion among the nations until he will again have regard for you, and will take you back in compassion.”

Chapter 17

17:1 “Because you have heard about the seventy weeks, listen also concerning the priesthood.”
17:2 “In each jubilee there shall be a priesthood: In the first jubilee the first person to be anointed to the priesthood will be great, and he shall speak to God as father; and his priesthood shall be fully satisfactory to the Lord, and in the days of his joy, he shall rise up for the salvation of the world.”
17:3 “In the second jubilee the Anointed One shall be conceived in sorrow of the beloved one, and his priesthood shall be praised and shall be glorified by all.”
17:4 “The third priest shall be overtaken by grief, and,”
17:5 “The fourth priesthood shall be with sufferings, because injustice shall be imposed upon him in a high degree, and all Israel shall hate each one his neighbor.”
17:6 “The fifth shall be overcome by darkness;”
17:7 “Likewise the sixth and the seventh.”
17:8 “In the seventh there shall be pollution such as I am unable to declare in the presence of human beings, because only the ones who do these things understand such matters.”
17:9 “Therefore they shall be in captivity and will be preyed upon; both their land and their possessions shall be stolen.”
17:10 “And in the fifth week they shall return to the land of their desolation, and shall restore anew the house of the Lord.”
17:11 “In the seventh week there will come priests; idolaters, adulterers, money lovers, arrogant, lawless, voluptuaries, pederasts, those who practice bestiality.”

Chapter 18

18:1 “When vengeance will have come upon them from the Lord, the priesthood will lapse.”
18:2 “And then the Lord will raise up a new priest to whom all the words of the Lord will be revealed. He shall effect the judgment of truth over the earth for many days.”
18:3 “And his star shall rise in heaven like a king; kindling the light of knowledge as day is illumined by the sun. And he shall be extolled by the whole inhabited world.”
18:4 “This one will shine forth like the sun in the earth; he shall take away all darkness from under heaven, and there shall be peace in all the earth.”
18:5 “The heavens shall greatly rejoice in his days and the earth shall be glad; the clouds will be filled with joy and the knowledge of the Lord will be poured out on the earth like the water of the seas. And the angels of glory of the Lord’s presence will be made glad by him.”
18:6 “The heavens will be opened, and from the temple of glory sanctification will come upon him, with a fatherly voice, as from Abraham to Isaac.”
18:7 “And the glory of the Most High shall burst forth upon him. And the spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him [in the water].”
18:8 “For he shall give the majesty of the Lord to those who are his sons in truth forever. And there shall be no successor for him from generation to generation forever.”
18:9 “And in his priesthood the nations shall be multiplied in knowledge on the earth, and they shall be illumined by the grace of the Lord, but Israel shall be diminished by her ignorance and darkened by her grief. In his priesthood sin shall cease and lawless men shall rest from their evil deeds, and righteous men shall find rest in him.”
18:10 “And he shall open the gates of paradise, he shall remove the sword that has threatened since Adam,”
18:11 “And he will grant to the saints/elect to eat of the tree of life.”
18:12 “And Beliar/Satan shall be bound by him. And he shall grant to his children the authority to trample on wicked spirits.”
18:13 “And the Lord will rejoice in his children; he will be well pleased by his beloved ones forever.”
18:14 “Then Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will rejoice, and I shall be glad, and all the saints/elect shall be clothed in righteousness.”

Chapter 19

19:1 “And now, my children, you have heard everything. Choose for yourselves light or darkness, the Law of the Lord or the works of Beliar/Satan.”
19:2 “And his sons replied: Before the Lord we will live according to his Law,”
19:3 “And their father said to them: The Lord is my witness and his angels are witnesses, and you are witnesses, and I am witness concerning the word from your mouth.”
19:4 “And his sons said: We are witnesses. Then Levi finished giving instructions to his sons. He stretched out his feet on his bed and was gathered to his fathers, having lived a hundred and thirty-seven years.”
19:5 “And they put him in a coffin and later buried him in Hebron with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

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