The Testament of Zebulon

the sixth son of Jacob and Leah

Chapter 1

1:1 “A copy of the testament of Zebulon, which he decreed for his sons in the one hundred fourteenth year of his life, thirty-two years after the death of Joseph.”
1:2 “And he said to them, Listen to me, sons of Zebulon; heed the words of your father.”
1:3 “I am Zebulon, a good gift to my parents, for when I was born my father prospered exceedingly, in flocks and herds, when he got his share of them by means of spotted rods.”
1:4 “I am not aware, my children, that I have sinned in all my days, except in my mind.”
1:5 “Nor do I recall having committed a transgression, except what I did to Joseph in ignorance, because in a compact with my brothers I kept from telling my father what had been done, although I wept much in secret.”
1:6 “I was afraid of my brothers because they had all agreed that, if any one disclosed the secret, he should be killed by a sword.”
1:7 “Even when they wanted to kill him, I exhorted them with tears not to commit this lawless act.”

Chapter 2

2:1 “Simeon and Gad came upon Joseph to kill him. Falling on his face, Joseph began to say to them,”
2:2 “Have mercy on me, my brothers; pity the deep feelings of Jacob, our father. Do not put your hands on me to pour out innocent blood, because I have not sinned against you.”
2:3 “If I have sinned, discipline me as one trains a child, but do not lay your hand on me for the sake of our father, Jacob.”
2:4 “As he was saying these words, I was moved to pity and began to weep; my courage grew weak and all the substance of my inner being became faint within my soul”
2:5 “Joseph wept, and I with him; my heart pounded, the joints of my body shook and I could not stand.”
2:6 “And when he saw me crying with him, while the others were coming to kill him, he rushed behind me beseeching them.”
2:7 “Reuben stood up and said, My brothers, let us not kill him, but let us throw him into one of those dry cisterns which our fathers dug and in which there is to be found no water.”
2:8 “Accordingly, the Lord prohibited any water from rising up in them so that Joseph’s preservation might be accomplished.”
2:9 “And the Lord did this until the time when they sold him to the Ishmaelites.”

Chapter 3

3:1 “I had no share in the price received for Joseph, my children.”
3:2 “But Simeon, Gad, and our other brothers accepted the money, bought shoes for themselves, their wives, and their children.” (Amos 2:6)
3:3 “We will not use the money for eating, which is the price of our brother’s blood, but we will trample it underfoot in response to his having said he would rule over us. Let us see what comes of his dreams.” (Matt 27:6-10)
3:4 “Accordingly, it is written in the book of the Law of Moses that anyone who is unwilling to raise up posterity for his brother, his shoe should be removed and one should spit in his face.”
3:5 “Joseph’s brothers did not want their brother to live, and the Lord removed Joseph’s shoe from them.”
3:6 “For when they arrived in Egypt their shoes were removed by Joseph’s servants before the gate, and thus they did obeisance to Joseph in the manner of the Pharaoh.”
3:7 “Not only did they do obeisance, but they were spit upon, prostrating themselves forthwith before him. And thus they were humiliated before the Egyptians.”
3:8 “After that the Egyptians heard all the wicked things that we had done to Joseph.”

Chapter 4

4:1 “After they had thrown him into the pit, they sat down and began to eat;”
4:2 “As for me, I tasted nothing for two days and two nights, being moved with compassion for Joseph. And Judah joined me in abstaining from food; he stayed near the cistern, because he was afraid that Simeon and Gad might go out and kill Joseph.”
4:3 “When they observed that I was not eating, they assigned me to guard him until he might be sold.”
4:4 “He remained in the cistern three days and three nights, so that when he was sold he was starving.”
4:5 “When Reuben heard that Joseph had been sold while he was away, he tore his clothing in mourning, saying, How can I look my father in the face?”
4:6 “He took money and ran after the merchants, but found no one, since they had left the highway and had traveled by a shortcut through the region of the Troglodytes.”
4:7 “And Reuben ate no food that day. Then Dan came to him and said,”
4:8 “Do not weep; do not mourn, for I have found what we should say to our father, Jacob.”
4:9 “Let us kill a goat’s kid and dip Joseph’s coat in its blood. Then we shall say, Do you recognize whether this is your son’s garment?”
4:10 “(For they had taken off from Joseph his father’s coat when they were about to sell him and put on him an old garment of a slave.).”
4:11 “Simeon had the garment and was unwilling to give it to him, preferring to cut it up with his sword, since he was burning with anger that he had not killed him.”
4:12 “But we all rose in opposition to him and said, If you don’t give it up we shall say you alone did this evil deed in Israel.”
4:13 “So he gave it up and they did as Dan had stated.”

Chapter 5

5:1 “Now, my children, I tell you to keep the Lord’s commands; show mercy to your neighbor, have compassion on all, not only human beings but to dumb animals.”
5:2 “For these reasons the Lord blessed me, and when all my brothers were ill, I alone passed without sickness, for the Lord knows the purpose of each man.”
5:3 “Have mercy in your inner being, my children, because whatever anyone does to his neighbor, the Lord will do to him.”
5:4 “For the sons of my brothers were sickly and died on account of Joseph, because they did not act in mercy out of their inner compassion.”
5:5 “But you, my sons, were preserved free from illness, as you know. When I was in Canaan catching fish by the sea for our father, Jacob, many were drowned in the sea, but I survived unharmed.”

Chapter 6

6:1 “I was the first to make a boat to sail on the sea, because the Lord gave me understanding and wisdom concerning it.”
6:2 “I positioned a rudder behind it, put up a sail on a straight piece of wood in the middle.”
6:3 “In it I sailed along the shores, catching fish for my father’s household until we went to Egypt.”
6:4 “Being compassionate, I gave some of my catch to every stranger.”
6:5 “If anyone were a traveler, or sick, or aged, I cooked the fish, prepared it well, and offered to each person according to his need, being either convivial or consoling.”
6:6 “Therefore the Lord made my catch to be an abundance of fish; for whoever shares with his neighbor receives multifold from the Lord.”
6:7 “I fished for five years, sharing with every person whom I saw, and sufficing for my father’s household.”
6:8 “Summers, I fished; winters, I tended the flock of my brothers.”

Chapter 7

7:1 “Now I will tell you what I did. I saw a man suffering from nakedness in the wintertime and I had compassion on him: I stole a garment secretly from my own household and gave it to the man in difficulty.”
7:2 “You, therefore, my children, on the basis of God’s caring for you, without discrimination be compassionate and merciful to all. Provide for every person with a kind heart.”
7:3 “If at any time you do not have anything to give to the one who is in need, be compassionate and merciful in your inner self.”
7:4 “For when my hand could not find the means for contributing to a needy person, I walked with him for seven stades, weeping; my inner being was in torment with sympathy for him.”

Chapter 8

8:1 “You also, my children, have compassion toward every person with mercy, in order that the Lord may be compassionate and merciful to you.”
8:2 “In the last days God will send his compassion on the earth, and whenever he finds compassionate mercy, in that person he will dwell.”
8:3 “To the extent that a man has compassion on his neighbor, to that extent the Lord has mercy on him.”
8:4 “For when we went down into Egypt, Joseph did not hold a grudge against us. When he saw me, he was moved with compassion.”
8:5 “Whomever you see, do not harbor resentment, my children; love one another, and do not calculate the wrong done by each to his brothers.”
8:6 “This shatters unity, and scatters all kinship, and stirs up the soul. He who recalls evil receives neither compassion nor mercy.”

Chapter 9

9:1 “Pay heed to the streams; when they flow in the same channel they carry along stones, wood, and sand,”
9:2 “But if they are divided into many channels, the earth swallows them and they become unproductive.”
9:3 “And you shall be thus if you are divided.”
9:4 “Do not be divided into two heads, because everything the Lord has made has a single head. He provides two shoulders, two hands, two feet, but all members obey one head.”
9:5 “In the writing of the fathers I came to know that in the last days you shall defect from the Lord, and you shall be divided in Israel, and you shall follow after two kings; you shall commit every abomination and worship every idol.”
9:6 “Your enemies will take you captive and you shall reside among the gentiles/nations with all sorts of sickness and tribulation and oppression of soul.”
9:7 “And thereafter you will remember the Lord and repent, and he will turn you around because he is merciful and compassionate; he does not bring a charge at wickedness against the sons of men, since they are flesh and the spirits of deceit lead them astray in all their actions.” (Eph 6:12)
9:8 “And thereafter the Lord himself will arise upon you, the light of righteousness with healing and compassion in his wings. He will liberate every captive of the sons of men from Beliar/Satan, and every spirit of error will be trampled down. He will turn all nations to being zealous for him. And you shall see [God in a human form], he whom the Lord will choose: Jerusalem is his name.”
9:9 “You will provoke him to wrath by the wickedness of your works, and you will be rejected until the time of the end.”

Chapter 10

10:1 “And now, my children, do not grieve because I am dying, nor be depressed because I am leaving you.”
10:2 “I shall rise again in your midst as a leader among your sons, and I shall be glad in the midst of my tribe – as many as keep the Law of the Lord and the commandments of Zebulon, their father.”
10:3 “But the Lord shall bring down fire on the impious and will destroy them to all generations,”
10:4 “I am now hurrying to my rest, like my fathers.”
10:5 “But you fear/reverence the Lord your God with all your strength all the days of your life.”
10:6 “When he had said this, he fell into a beautiful sleep, and his sons placed him in a coffin. Later they carried him up to Hebron and buried him with his fathers.”

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