Book of Jasher 51
And Jacob afterward heard that there
was corn in Egypt, and he called unto his sons to go to Egypt to buy corn, for
upon them also did the famine prevail, and he called unto his sons, saying,
Behold I hear that there is corn in
Egypt, and all the people of the earth go there to purchase, now therefore why
will you show yourselves satisfied before the whole earth? go you also down to
little corn amongst those that come there, that we may not die.
And the sons of Jacob hearkened to
the voice of their father, and they rose up to go down to
buy corn amongst the rest that came there.
And Jacob their father commanded
them, saying, When you come into the city do not enter together in one gate, on
account of the inhabitants of the land.
And the sons of Jacob went forth and
they went to Egypt, and the sons of Jacob did all as their father had commanded
them, and Jacob did not send Benjamin, for he said, Lest an accident might
befall him on the road like his brother; and ten of Jacob’s sons went forth.
And whilst the sons of Jacob were
going on the road, they repented of what they had done to Joseph, and they
spoke to each other, saying, We know that our brother Joseph went down to
Egypt, and now we will seek him where we go, and if we find him we will take
him from his master for a ransom, and if not, by force, and we will die for
And the sons of Jacob agreed to this
thing and strengthened themselves on account of Joseph, to deliver him from the
hand of his master, and the sons of Jacob went to Egypt; and when they came
near to Egypt they separated from each other, and they came through ten gates
of Egypt, and the gate keepers wrote their names on that day, and brought them
to Joseph in the evening.
And Joseph read the names from the
hand of the gate-keepers of the city, and he found that his brethren had
entered at the ten gates of the city, and Joseph at that time commanded that it
should be proclaimed throughout the
Go forth all ye store guards, close
all the corn stores and let only one remain open, that those who come may
purchase from it.
And all the officers of Joseph did so
at that time, and they closed all the stores and left only one open.
And Joseph gave the written names of
his brethren to him that was set over the open store, and he said unto him,
Whosoever shall come to thee to buy corn, ask his name, and when men of these
names shall come before thee, seize them and send them, and they did so.
And when the sons of Jacob came into
the city, they joined together in the city to seek Joseph before they bought
And they went to the walls of the
harlots, and they sought Joseph in the walls of the harlots for three days, for
they thought that Joseph would come in the walls of the harlots, for Joseph was
very comely and well favored, and the sons of Jacob sought Joseph for three
days, and they could not find him.
And the man who was set over the open
store sought for those names which Joseph had given him, and he did not find
And he sent to Joseph, saying, These
three days have passed, and those men whose names thou didst give unto me have
not come; and Joseph sent servants to seek the men in all
bring them before Joseph.
And Joseph’s servants went and came
not find them, and went to
were not there, and then went to the city of
not find them.
And Joseph continued to send sixteen
servants to seek his brothers, and they went and spread themselves in the four
corners of the city, and four of the servants went into the house of the
harlots, and they found the ten men there seeking their brother.
And those four men took them and brought
them before him, and they bowed down to him to the ground, and Joseph was
sitting upon his throne in his temple, clothed with princely garments, and upon
his head was a large crown of gold, and all the mighty men were sitting around
And the sons of Jacob saw Joseph, and
his figure and comeliness and dignity of countenance seemed wonderful in their
eyes, and they again bowed down to him to the ground.
And Joseph saw his brethren, and he
knew them, but they knew him not, for Joseph was very great in their eyes,
therefore they knew him not.
And Joseph spoke to them, saying,
From whence come ye? and they all answered and said, Thy servants have come
for the famine prevails throughout the earth, and thy servants heard that there
was corn in
have come amongst the other comers to buy corn for their support.
And Joseph answered them, saying, If
you have come to purchase as you say, why do you come through ten gates of the
city? it can only be that you have come to spy through the land.
And they all together answered
Joseph, and said, Not so my lord, we are right, thy servants are not spies, but
we have come to buy corn, for thy servants are all brothers, the sons of one
man in the land of Canaan, and our father commanded us, saying, When you come
to the city do not enter together at one gate on account of the inhabitants of
And Joseph again answered them and
said, That is the thing which I spoke unto you, you have come to spy through
the land, therefore you all came through ten gates of the city; you have come
to see the nakedness of the land.
Surely every one that cometh to buy
corn goeth his way, and you are already three days in
the land, and what do you do in the walls of harlots in which you have been for
these three days? surely spies do like unto these things.
And they said unto Joseph, Far be it
from our lord to speak thus, for we are twelve brothers, the sons of our father
Jacob, in the land of Canaan, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the Hebrew,
and behold the youngest is with our father this day in the land of Canaan, and
one is not, for he was lost from us, and we thought perhaps he might be in this
land, so we are seeking him throughout the land, and have come even to the
houses of harlots to seek him there.
And Joseph said unto them, And have
you then sought him throughout the earth, that there only remained Egypt for
you to seek him in? And what also should your brother do in the houses of
harlots, although he were in Egypt? have you not said, That you are from the
sons of Isaac, the son of Abraham, and what shall the sons of Jacob do then in
the houses of harlots?
And they said unto him, Because we
heard that Ishmaelites stole him from us, and it was
told unto us that they sold him in Egypt, and thy servant, our brother, is very
comely and well favored, so we thought he would surely be in the houses of
harlots, therefore thy servants went there to seek him and give ransom for him.
And Joseph still answered them,
saying, Surely you speak falsely and utter lies, to say of yourselves that you
are the sons of Abraham; as Pharaoh liveth you are
spies, therefore have you come to the houses of harlots that you should not be
And Joseph said unto them, And now if
you find him, and his master requireth of you a great
price, will you give it for him? and they said, It shall be given.
And he said unto them, And if his
master will not consent to part with him for a great price, what will you do
unto him on his account? and they answered him, saying, If he will not give him
unto us we will slay him, and take our brother and go away.
And Joseph said unto them, That is
the thing which I have spoken to you; you are spies, for you are come to slay
the inhabitants of the land, for we heard that two of your brethren smote all
the inhabitants of Shechem, in the land of Canaan, on
account of your sister, and you now come to do the like in Egypt on account of
Only hereby shall I know that you are
true men; if you will send home one from amongst you to fetch your youngest
brother from your father, and to bring him here unto me, and by doing this
thing I will know that you are right.
And Joseph called to seventy of his
mighty men, and he said unto them, Take these men and bring them into the ward.
And the mighty men took the ten men,
they laid hold of them and put them into the ward, and they were in the ward
And on the third day Joseph had them
brought out of the ward, and he said unto them, Do this for yourselves if you
be true men, so that you may live, one of your brethren shall be confined in
the ward whilst you go and take home the corn for your household to the land of
Canaan, and fetch your youngest brother, and bring him here unto me, that I may
know that you are true men when you do this thing.
And Joseph went out from them and
came into the chamber, and wept a great weeping, for his pity was excited for
them, and he washed his face, and returned to them again, and he took Simeon
from them and ordered him to be bound, but Simeon was not willing to be done
so, for he was a very powerful man and they could not bind him.
And Joseph called unto his mighty men
and seventy valiant men came before him with drawn swords in their hands, and
the sons of Jacob were terrified at them.
And Joseph said unto them, Seize this
man and confine him in prison until his brethren come to him, and Joseph’s
valiant men hastened and they all laid hold of Simeon to bind him, and Simeon
gave a loud and terrible shriek and the cry was heard at a distance.
And all the valiant men of Joseph
were terrified at the sound of the shriek, that they fell upon their faces, and
they were greatly afraid and fled.
And all the men that were with Joseph
fled, for they were greatly afraid of their lives, and only Joseph and Manasseh
his son remained there, and Manassah the son of
Joseph saw the strength of Simeon, and he was exceedingly wroth.
the son of Joseph rose up to Simeon, and Manassah smote
Simeon a heavy blow with his fist against the back of his neck, and Simeon was
stilled of his rage.
laid hold of Simeon and he seized him violently and he bound him and brought
him into the house of confinement, and all the sons of Jacob were astonished at
the act of the youth.
And Simeon said unto his brethren,
None of you must say that this is the smiting of an Egyptian, but it is the
smiting of the house of my father.
And after this Joseph ordered him to
be called who was set over the storehouse, to fill their sacks with corn as
much as they could carry, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and
to give them provision for the road, and thus did he unto them.
And Joseph commanded them, saying,
Take heed lest you transgress my orders to bring your brother as I have told
you, and it shall be when you bring your brother hither unto me, then will I
know that you are true men, and you shall traffic in the land, and I will
restore unto you your brother, and you shall return in peace to your father.
And they all answered and said,
According as our lord speaketh so will we do, and
they bowed down to him to the ground.
And every man lifted his corn upon
his ass, and they went out to go to the land of Canaan to their father; and
they came to the inn and Levi spread his sack to give provender to his ass,
when he saw and behold his money in full weight was still in his sack.
And the man was greatly afraid, and
he said unto his brethren, My money is restored, and lo, it is even in my sack,
and the men were greatly afraid, and they said, What is this that God hath done
And they all said, And where is the
Lord’s kindness with our fathers, with Abraham, Isaac, end Jacob, that the Lord
has this day delivered us into the hands of the king of
them, Surely we are guilty sinners before the Lord our God in having sold our
brother, our own flesh, and wherefore do you say, Where is the Lord’s kindness
with our fathers?
And Reuben said unto them, Said I not
unto you, do not sin against the lad, and you would not listen to me? now God requireth him from us, and how dare you say, Where is the
Lord’s kindness with our fathers, whilst you have sinned unto the Lord?
And they tarried over night in that
place, and they rose up early in the morning and laded their asses with their
corn, and they led them and went on and came to their father’s house in the
And Jacob and his household went out
to meet his sons, and Jacob saw and behold their brother Simeon was not with
them, and Jacob said unto his sons, Where is your brother Simeon, whom I do not
see? and his sons told him all that had befallen them in