The Book of Jasher

Chapter 44

44:1 “And the sons of Ishmael who had bought Joseph from the Midianites, who had bought him from his brothers, went to Egypt with Joseph, and they came on the borders of Egypt, and when they came near to Egypt, they met four men of the sons of Medan the son of Abraham, who had gone forth from the land of Egypt on their journey.”
44:2 “And the Ishmaelites said to them, do you desire to purchase this slave from us? and they said, deliver him over to us, and they delivered Joseph over to them, and they beheld him, that he was a very comely youth and they purchased him for twenty shekels.”
44:3 “And the Ishmaelites continued their journey to Egypt, and the Medanim also returned that day to Egypt, and the Medanim said to each other, behold, we have heard that Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, seeks a good servant who shall stand before him to attend him, and to make him overseer over his house and all belonging to him.”
44:4 “Now therefore come let us sell him to him for what we may desire, if he be able to give to us that which we shall require for him.”
44:5 “And these Medanim went and came to the house of Potiphar, and said to him, we have heard that you seek a good servant to attend you, behold, we have a servant that will please you, if you can give to us that which we may desire, and we will sell him to you.”
44:6 “And Potiphar said, bring him before me, and I will see him, and if he please me I will give to you that which you may require for him.”
44:7 “And the Medanim went and brought Joseph and placed him before Potiphar, and he saw him, and he pleased him exceedingly, and Potiphar said to them, tell me what you require for this youth?”
44:8 “And they said, four hundred pieces of silver we desire for him, and Potiphar said, I will give it you if you bring me the record of his sale to you, and will tell me his history, for perhaps he may be stolen, for this youth is neither a slave, nor the son of a slave, but I observe in him the appearance of a goodly and handsome person.”
44:9 “And the Medanim went and brought to him the Ishmaelites who had sold him to them, and they told him, saying, he is a slave and we sold him to them.”
44:10 “And Potiphar heard the words of the Ishmaelites in his giving the silver to the Medanim, and the Medanim took the silver and went on their journey, and the Ishmaelites also returned home.”
44:11 “And Potiphar took Joseph and brought him to his house that he might serve him, and Joseph found favor in the sight of Potiphar, and he placed confidence in him, and made him overseer over his house, and all that belonged to him he delivered over into his hand.”
44:12 “And the Lord was with Joseph and he became a prosperous man, and the Lord blessed the house of Potiphar for the sake of Joseph.”
44:13 “And Potiphar left all that he had in the hand of Joseph, and Joseph was one that caused things to come in and go out, and everything was regulated by his wish in the house of Potiphar.”
44:14 “And Joseph was eighteen years old, a youth with beautiful eyes and of comely appearance, and like to him was not in the whole land of Egypt.”
44:15 “At that time while he was in his master’s house, going in and out of the house and attending his master, Zelicah his master’s wife lifted up her eyes toward Joseph and she looked at him, and behold, he was a youth comely and well favored.”
44:16 “And she coveted his beauty in her heart, and her soul was fixed on Joseph, and she enticed him day after day, and Zelicah persuaded Joseph daily, but Joseph did not lift up his eyes to behold his master’s wife.”
44:17 “And Zelicah said to him, how goodly are your appearance and form, truly I have looked at all the slaves, and have not seen so beautiful a slave as you art; and Joseph said to her, surely he who created me in my mother’s womb created all mankind.”
44:18 “And she said to him, how beautiful are your eyes with which you have dazzled all the inhabitants of Egypt, men and women; and he said to her, how beautiful they are while we are alive, but should you behold them in the grave, surely you would move away from them.”
44:19 “And she said to him, how beautiful and pleasing are all your words; take now I pray you, the harp which is in the house, and play with your hands and let us hear your words.”
44:20 “And he said to her, how beautiful and pleasing are my words when I speak the praise of my God and his glory; and she said to him how very beautiful is the hair of your head, behold the golden comb which is in the house, take it I pray you and curl the hair of your head.”
44:21 “And he said to her, how long will you speak these words? cease to utter these words to me, and rise and attend to your domestic affairs.”
44:22 “And she said to him, there is no one in my house, and there is nothing to attend to but to your words and to your wish; yet notwithstanding all this she could not bring Joseph to her, neither did he place his eye on her, but directed his eyes below to the ground.”
44:23 “And Zelicah desired Joseph in her heart, that he should lie with her, and at the time that Joseph was sitting in the house doing his work, Zelicah came and sat before him, and she enticed him daily with her discourse to lie with her, or even to look at her, but Joseph would not listen to her.”
44:24 “And she said to him, if you will not do according to my words, I will chastise you with the punishment of death, and put an iron yoke on you.”
44:25 “And Joseph said to her, surely God who created man loosens the fetters of prisoners, and it is he who will deliver me from your prison and from your judgment.”
44:26 “And when she could not prevail over him, to persuade him, and her soul being still fixed on him, her desire threw her into a grievous sickness.”
44:27 “And all the women of Egypt came to visit her, and they said to her, why are you in this declining state? you that lack nothing; surely your husband is a great and esteemed prince in the sight of the king, should you lack anything of what your heart desires?”
44:28 “And Zelicah answered them, saying, this day it shall be made known to you, where this disorder springs in which you see me, and she commanded her maid servants to prepare food for all the women, and she made a banquet for them, and all the women ate in the house of Zelicah.”
44:29 “And she gave them knives to peel the citrons to eat them, and she commanded that they should dress Joseph in costly garments, and that he should appear before them, and Joseph came before their eyes and all the women looked on Joseph, and could not take their eyes from off him, and they all cut their hands with the knives that they had in their hands, and all the citrons that were in their hands were filled with blood.”
44:30 “And they knew not what they had done but they continued to look at the beauty of Joseph, and did not turn their eyelids from him.”
44:31 “And Zelicah saw what they had done, and she said to them, what is this work that you have done? behold, I gave you citrons to eat and you have all cut your hands.”
44:32 “And all the women saw their hands, and behold, they were full of blood, and their blood flowed down on their garments, and they said to her, this slave in your house has overcome us, and we could not turn our eyelids from him on account of his beauty.”
44:33 “And she said to them, surely this happened to you in the moment that you looked at him, and you could not contain yourselves from him; how then can I refrain when he is constantly in my house, and I see him day after day going in and out of my house? how then can I keep from declining or even from perishing on account of this?”
44:34 “And they said to her, the words are true, for who can see this beautiful form in the house and refrain from him, and is he not your slave and attendant in your house, and why do you not tell him that which is in your heart, and suffer your soul to perish through this matter?”
44:35 “And she said to them, I am daily endeavoring to persuade him, and he will not consent to my wishes, and I promised him every thing that is good, and still I could meet with no return from him; I am therefore in a declining state as you see.”
44:36 “And Zelicah became very ill on account of her desire toward Joseph, and she was desperately lovesick on account of him, and all the people of the house of Zelicah and her husband knew nothing of this matter, that Zelicah was ill on account of her love to Joseph.”
44:37 “And all the people of her house asked her, saying, why are you ill and she said to them, I know not this thing which is daily increasing on me.”
44:38 “And all the women and her friends came daily to see her, and they spoke with her, and she said to them, this can only be through the love of Joseph; and they said to her, entice him and seize him secretly, perhaps he may listen to you, and put off this death from you.”
44:39 “And Zelicah became worse from her love to Joseph, and she continued to decline, till she had scarce strength to stand.”
44:40 “And on a certain day Joseph was doing his master’s work in the house, and Zelicah came secretly and fell suddenly on him, and Joseph rose up against her, and he was more powerful than she, and he brought her down to the ground.”
44:41 “And Zelicah wept on account of the desire of her heart toward him, and she supplicated him with weeping, and her tears flowed down her cheeks, and she spoke to him in a voice of supplication and in bitterness of soul, saying,”
44:42 “Have you ever heard, seen or known of so beautiful a woman as I am, or better than myself, who speak daily to you, fall into a decline through love for you, confer all this honor on you, and still you will not listen to my voice?”
44:43 “And if it be through fear of your master lest he punish you, as the king lives no harm shall come to you from your master through this thing; now therefore pray listen to me, and consent for the sake of the honor which I have conferred on you, and put off this death from me, and why should I die for your sake? and she ceased to speak.”
44:44 “And Joseph answered her, saying, refrain from me, and leave this matter to my master; behold, my master knows not what there is with me in the house, for all that belongs to him he has delivered into my hand, and how shall I do these things in my master’s house?”
44:45 “For he has also greatly honored me in his house, and he has also made me overseer over his house, and he has exalted me, and there is no one greater in this house than I am, and my master has refrained nothing from me, excepting you who are his wife, how then can you speak these words to me, and how can I do this great evil and sin to God and to your husband?”
44:46 “Now therefore refrain from me, and speak no more such words as these, for I will not listen to your words. But Zelicah would not listen to Joseph when he spoke these words to her, but she daily enticed him to listen to her.”
44:47 “And it was after this that the brook of Egypt was filled above all its sides, and all the inhabitants of Egypt went forth, and also the king and princes went forth with timbrels and dances, for it was a great rejoicing in Egypt, and a holiday at the time of the inundation of the sea Sihor, and they went there to rejoice all the day.”
44:48 “And when the Egyptians went out to the river to rejoice, as was their custom, all the people of the house of Potiphar went with them, but Zelicah would not go with them,
for she said, I am indisposed, and she remained alone in the house, and no other person was with her in the house.”
44:49 “And she rose up and ascended to her temple in the house, and dressed herself in princely garments, and she placed on her head precious stones of onyx stones, inlaid with silver and gold, and she beautified her face and skin with all sorts of women’s purifying liquids, and she perfumed the temple and the house with cassia and frankincense, and she spread myrrh and aloes, and she afterward sat in the entrance of the temple, in the passage of the house, through which Joseph passed to do his work, and behold, Joseph came from the field, and entered the house to do his master’s work.”
44:50 “And he came to the place through which he had to pass, and he saw all the work of Zelicah, and he turned back.”
44:51 “And Zelicah saw Joseph turning back from her, and she called out to him, saying, what ails you Joseph? come to your work, and behold, I will make room for you until you shall have passed to your seat.”
44:52 “And Joseph returned and came to the house, and passed from there to the place of his seat, and he sat down to do his master’s work as usual, and behold, Zelicah came to him and stood before him in princely garments, and the scent from her clothes was spread to a distance.”
44:53 “And she hurry and caught hold of Joseph and his garments, and she said to him, as the king lives if you will not perform my request you shall die this day, and she hurry and stretched forth her other hand and drew a sword from beneath her garments, and she placed it on Joseph’s neck, and she said, rise and perform my request, and if not you die this day.”
44:54 “And Joseph was afraid of her at her doing this thing, and he rose up to flee from her, and she seized the front of his garments, and in the terror of his flight the garment which Zelicah seized was torn, and Joseph left the garment in the hand of Zelicah, and he fled and got out, for he was in fear.”
44:55 “And when Zelicah saw that Joseph’s garment was torn, and that he had left it in her hand, and had fled, she was afraid of her life, lest the report should spread concerning her and she rose up and acted with cunning and put off the garments in which she was dressed, and she put on her other garments.”
44:56 “And she took Joseph’s garment and she laid it beside her, and she went and seated herself in the place where she had sat in her illness, before the people of her house had gone out to the river, and she called a young lad who was then in the house, and she ordered him to call the people of the house to her.”
44:57 “And when she saw them she said to them with a loud voice and lamentation, see what a Hebrew your master has brought to me in the house, for he came this day to lie with me.”
44:58 “For when you had gone out he came to the house, and seeing that there was no person in the house, he came to me, and caught hold of me, with intent to lie with me.”
44:59 “And I seized his garments and tore them and called out against him with a loud voice, and when I had lifted up my voice he was afraid of his life and left his garment before me, and fled.”
44:60 “And the people of her house spoke nothing, but their wrath was very much kindled against Joseph, and they went to his master and told the words of his wife.”
44:61 “And Potiphar came home enraged, and his wife cried out to him, saying, what is this thing that you have done to me in bringing a Hebrew servant into my house, for he came to me this day to sport with me; this did he do to me this day.”
44:62 “And Potiphar heard the words of his wife, and he ordered Joseph to be punished with severe stripes, and they did so to him.”
44:63 “And while they were smiting him, Joseph called out with a loud voice, and he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and he said, O Lord God, you know that I am innocent of all these things, and why shall I die this day through falsehood, by the hand of these uncircumcised wicked men, whom you know?”
44:64 “And while Potiphar’s men were beating Joseph he continued to cry out and weep, and there was a child there eleven months old, and the Lord opened the mouth of the child, and he spoke these words before Potiphar’s men, who were smiting Joseph, saying,”
44:65 “What do you want of this man, and why do you do this evil to him? my mother speaks falsely and utters lies; this was the transaction.”
44:66 “And the child told them accurately all that happened, and all the words of Zelicah to Joseph day after day did he declare to them.”
44:67 “And all the men heard the words of the child and they wondered greatly at the child’s words, and the child ceased to speak and became still.”
44:68 “And Potiphar was very much ashamed at the words of his son, and he commanded his men not to beat Joseph any more, and the men ceased beating Joseph.”
44:69 “And Potiphar took Joseph and ordered him to be brought to justice before the priests, who were judges belonging to the king, in order to judge him concerning this affair.”
44:70 “And Potiphar and Joseph came before the priests who were the king’s judges, and he said to them, decide I pray you what judgment is due to a servant, for this has he done.”
44:71 “And the priests said to Joseph, why did you do this thing to your master? and Joseph answered them, saying, not so my lords, this was the matter; and Potiphar said to Joseph, surely I entrusted in your hands all that belonged to me, and I withheld nothing from you but my wife, and how could you do this evil?”
44:72 “And Joseph answered, saying, not so my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, my lord, the word which you did hear from your wife is untrue, for this was the affair this day.”
44:73 “A year has elapsed to me since I have been in your house; have you seen any iniquity in me, or any thing which might cause you to demand my life?”
44:74 “And the priests said to Potiphar, send, we pray you, and let them bring before us Joseph’s torn garment, and let us see the tear in it, and if it shall be that the tear is in front of the garment, then his face must have been opposite to her and she must have caught hold of him, to come to her, and with deceit did your wife do all that she has spoken.”
44:75 “And they brought Joseph’s garment before the priests who were judges, and they saw and behold, the tear was in front of Joseph, and all the judging priests knew that she had pressed him, and they said, the judgment of death is not due to this slave for he has done nothing, but his judgment is, that he be placed in the prison house on account of the report, which through him has gone forth against your wife.”
44:76 “And Potiphar heard their words, and he placed him in the prison house, the place where the king’s prisoners are confined, and Joseph was in the house of confinement twelve years.”
44:77 “And notwithstanding this, his master’s wife did not turn from him, and she did not cease from speaking to him day after day to listen to her, and at the end of three months Zelicah continued going to Joseph to the house of confinement day by day, and she enticed him to listen to her, and Zelicah said to Joseph, how long will you remain in this house? but listen now to my voice and I will bring you out of this house.”
44:78 “And Joseph answered her, saying, it is better for me to remain in this house than to listen to your words, to sin against God; and she said to him, if you will not perform my wish, I will pluck out your eyes, add fetters to your feet, and will deliver you into the hands of them whom you did not know before.”
44:79 “And Joseph answered her and said, behold, the God of the whole earth is able to deliver me from all that you can do to me, for he opens the eyes of the blind, and loosens those that are bound, and preserves all strangers who are unacquainted with the land.”
44:80 “And when Zelicah was unable to persuade Joseph to listen to her, she left off going to entice him; and Joseph was still confined in the house of confinement. And Jacob the father of Joseph, and all his brothers who were in the land of Canaan still mourned and wept in those days on account of Joseph, for Jacob refused to be comforted for his son Joseph, and Jacob cried aloud, and wept and mourned all those days.”

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