YASHAR 14 (Jasher 14)

1 In those days there was in the land of Shin’ar a wise man who had understanding in all wisdom, and good-looking, but he was poor and needy. His name was Riḵayon and he was hard pressed to support himself.

2 And he resolved to go to Mitsrayim, to Oswiris son of Anamim sovereign of Mitsrayim, to show the sovereign his wisdom – for maybe he might find favour in his sight, to raise him up and give him support – and Riḵayon did so.

3 And when Riḵayon came to Mitsrayim he asked the inhabitants of Mitsrayim concerning the sovereign, and the inhabitants of Mitsrayim told him the custom of the sovereign of Mitsrayim, for it was then the custom of the sovereign of Mitsrayim that he went from his royal palace and was seen abroad only one day in the year, and after that the sovereign would return to his palace to remain there.

4 And on the day when the sovereign went forth he passed judgment in the land, and every one having a case came before the sovereign that day to obtain his request.

5 And when Riḵayon heard of the custom in Mitsrayim and that he could not come into the presence of the sovereign, he grieved greatly and was very sorrowful.

6 And in the evening Riḵayon went out and found a house in ruins, formerly a bakehouse in Mitsrayim, and he stayed there all night in bitterness of being and pinched with hunger, and sleep fled from his eyes.

7 And Riḵayon considered within himself what he should do in the town until the sovereign made his appearance, and how maintain himself there.

8 And he rose in the morning and walked about, and met in his way those who sold vegetables and various kinds of seed with which they supplied the inhabitants.

9 And Riḵayon wanted to do the same in order to get a livelihood in the city, but he was unacquainted with the custom of the people, and he was like a blind man among them.

10 And he went and obtained vegetables to sell them for his support, and the rabble assembled about him and ridiculed him, and took his vegetables from him and left him nothing.

11 And he rose up from there in bitterness of being, and went sighing to the bakehouse in which he had remained all the night before, and he slept there the second night.

12 And on that night again he reasoned within himself how he could save himself from starvation, and he devised a scheme how to act.

13 And he rose up in the morning and acted cleverly, and went and hired thirty strong men of the rabble carrying their weapons in their hands, and he led them to the top of the Mitsrite tomb, and he placed them there.

14 And he commanded them, saying, “Thus said the sovereign, ‘Strengthen yourselves and be mighty men, and let no man be buried here until two hundred pieces of silver be given, and then he may be buried.’ ” And those men did according to the order of Riḵayon to the people of Mitsrayim the whole of that year.

15 And in eight months time Riḵayon and his men gathered great riches of silver and gold, and Riḵayon took a great quantity of horses and other animals, and he hired more men, and he gave them horses and they remained with him.

16 And at the turn of the year, at the time the sovereign went forth into the town, all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim assembled together to speak to him concerning the work of Riḵayon and his men.

17 And the sovereign went forth on the appointed day, and all the Mitsrites came before him and cried to him, saying,

18 “May the sovereign live forever. What is this matter you do in the town to your servants, to not allow a dead body to be buried until so much silver and gold be given? Was there ever the like of this done in the whole earth, from the days of former sovereigns even from the days of Aḏam, to this day, that the dead should not be buried except for a fixed price?

19 “We know it to be the custom of sovereigns to take a yearly levy from the living, and you do not only do this, but from the dead also you exact a levy day by day.

20 “Now, O sovereign, we can no longer bear this, for this sake the whole city is ruined, and do you not know it?”

21 And when the sovereign heard all that they had spoken he was very wroth, and his wrath burned within him at this matter, for he had known nothing of it.

22 And the sovereign said, “Who and where is he that dares to do this wicked matter in my land without my command? Indeed you will tell me!”

23 And they told him all the works of Riḵayon and his men, and the sovereign’s wrath was aroused, and he ordered Riḵayon and his men to be brought before him.

24 And Riḵayon took about a thousand children, sons and daughters, and clothed them in silk and embroidery, and he put them on horses and sent them to the sovereign by means of his men. And he also took a great quantity of silver and gold and precious stones, and a strong and good-looking horse, as a present for the sovereign, with which he came before the sovereign and bowed down to the earth before him. And the sovereign, his servants and all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim wondered at the work of Riḵayon, and they saw his riches and the present that he had brought to the sovereign.

25 And it greatly pleased the sovereign and he wondered at it, and when Riḵayon sat before him, the sovereign asked him concerning all his works. And Riḵayon spoke all his words wisely before the sovereign, his servants and all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim.

26 And when the sovereign heard the words of Riḵayon and his wisdom, Riḵayon found favour in his sight, and he met with favour and kindness from all the servants of the sovereign and from all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim, because of his wisdom and excellent speeches, and from that time they loved him exceedingly.

27 And the sovereign answered and said to Riḵayon, “Your name shall no more be called Riḵayon but your name shall be Pharaoh, since you exacted a levy from the dead; and he called his name Pharaoh.”

28 And the sovereign and his subjects loved Riḵayon for his wisdom, and they consulted with all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim to make him prefect under the sovereign.

29 And all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim and its wise men did so, and it was made a law in Mitsrayim.

30 And they made Riḵayon Pharaoh prefect under Oswiris sovereign of Mitsrayim, and Riḵayon Pharaoh governed over Mitsrayim, daily administering right-ruling to the whole city, but Oswiris the sovereign would judge the people of the land one day in the year, when he went out to make his appearance.

31 And Riḵayon Pharaoh cunningly usurped the reign of Mitsrayim, and he exacted a levy from all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim.

32 And all the inhabitants of Mitsrayim greatly loved Riḵayon Pharaoh, and they made a decree to call every sovereign that should reign over them and their seed in Mitsrayim, Pharaoh.

33 Therefore all the sovereigns that reigned in Mitsrayim from that time onward were called Pharaoh to this day.