YASHAR 43 (Jasher 43)

1 And when the sons of Ya’aqoḇ had sold their brother Yosĕph to the Miḏyanites, their hearts were smitten because of him, and they repented of their acts, and they sought for him to bring him back, but could not find him.

2 And Re’uḇĕn returned to the pit in which Yosĕph had been put, in order to lift him out, and restore him to his father. And Re’uḇĕn stood by the pit, but he heard not a word, and he called out, “Yosĕph! Yosĕph!” But no one answered or uttered a word.

3 And Re’uḇĕn said, “Yosĕph has died through fright, or some serpent has caused his death!” And Re’uḇĕn went down into the pit, and he searched for Yosĕph but could not find him in the pit, and he came out again.

4 And Re’uḇĕn tore his garments and he said, “The youth is not there, and how shall I reconcile my father about him if he be dead?” And he went to his brothers and found them grieving because of Yosĕph, and consulting together how to appease their father about him. And Re’uḇĕn said to his brothers, “I came to the pit and see, Yosĕph was not there! What then shall we say to our father, for my father will indeed seek the boy from me?”

5 And his brothers answered him saying, “Thus and thus we did, and our hearts afterward smote us because of this deed, and we now sit to seek an excuse how we shall appease our father toward it.”

6 And Re’uḇĕn said to them, “What is this you have done to bring down the grey hairs of our father in sorrow to the grave? The matter is not good, that you have done!”

7 And Re’uḇĕn sat with them, and they all rose up and swore to each other not to tell this matter to Ya’aqoḇ. And they all said, “The man who will tell this to our father or his household, or who will report this to any of the children of the land, we will all rise up against him and slay him with the sword.”

8 And the sons of Ya’aqoḇ feared each other in this matter, from the youngest to the oldest, and no one spoke a word, and they concealed the matter in their hearts.

9 And afterward they sat down to determine and plan something to say to their father Ya’aqoḇ concerning all these matters.

10 And Yissasḵar said to them, “Here is advice for you if it seems good in your eyes to do this matter: take the coat which belongs to Yosĕph and tear it, and kill a kid of the goats and dip it in its blood.

11 “And send it to our father and when he sees it he will say an evil beast has devoured him. Therefore tear his coat and see, his blood will be upon his coat, and by your doing this we shall be free of our father’s grumblings.”

12 And Yissaskar’s advice pleased them, and they listened to him and they did according to the word of Yissasḵar which he had advised them.

13 And they hurried and took Yosĕph’s coat and tore it, and they killed a kid of the goats and dipped the coat in the blood of the kid, and then trampled it in the dust. And they sent the coat to their father Ya’aqoḇ by the hand of Naphtali, and they commanded him to say these words:

14 “We had gathered in the cattle and had come as far as the way to Sheḵem and farther, when we found this robe on the way in the wilderness soaked in blood and in dust. Now therefore know whether it be your son’s robe or not.”

15 And Naphtali went and he came to his father and he gave him the coat, and he spoke to him all the words which his brothers had commanded him.

16 And Ya’aqoḇ saw Yosĕph’s coat and he knew it and he fell on his face to the ground, and became as still as a stone. And afterward he rose up and cried out with a loud and weeping voice and said, “It is the robe of my son Yosĕph!”

17 And Ya’aqoḇ hastened and sent one of his servants to his sons, who went to them and found them coming along the way with the flock.

18 And the sons of Ya’aqoḇ came to their father about evening, and see, their garments were torn and dust was on their heads, and they found their father crying out and weeping with a loud voice.

19 And Ya’aqoḇ said to his sons, “Tell me truly what evil have you suddenly brought upon me this day?” and they answered their father Ya’aqoḇ, saying, “We were coming along along this day after the flock had been gathered in, and we came as far as the city of Sheḵem by the way in the wilderness, and we found this robe soaked with blood the ground. And we knew it and sent to you if you could know it.”

20 And Ya’aqoḇ heard the words of his sons and he cried out with a loud voice, and he said, “It is the robe of my son! An evil beast has devoured him! Yosĕph is torn in pieces, for I sent him this day to see whether it was well with you and well with the flocks and to bring me word again from you. And he went as I commanded him, and this has befallen him this day while I thought my son was with you.”

21 And the sons of Ya’aqoḇ answered and said, “He did not come to us, neither have we seen him from the time of our going out from you until now.”

22 And when Ya’aqoḇ heard their words he again cried out aloud, and he rose up and tore his garments, and he put sackcloth upon his loins, and wept bitterly. And he mourned and lifted up his voice in weeping and exclaimed and spoke these words:

23 “Yosĕph my son, O my son Yosĕph! I sent you this day after the welfare of your brothers, and see, you have been torn in pieces. Through my hand has this befallen my son.

24 “It grieves me for you Yosĕph my son, it grieves me for you! How sweet were you to me during life, and now how exceedingly bitter is your death to me.

25 “O that I had died in your place Yosĕph my son, for it grieves me sadly for you my son. O my son, my son, Yosĕph my son! Where are you, and where have you been taken? Arise, arise from your place, and come and see my grief for you, O my son Yosĕph!

26 “Come now and number the tears gushing from my eyes down my cheeks, and bring them up before 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄, that his wrath may turn from me.

27 “O Yosĕph my son, how did you fall? By the hand of one whom no one had fallen from the beginning of the world to this day. For you have been put to death by the smiting of an enemy, inflicted with cruelty, but indeed I know that this has befallen you, because of the multitude of my sins.

28 “Arise now and see how bitter my trouble is for you my son. Although I did not raise you, nor form you, nor give you breath and being, but it was Elohim who formed you and built your bones and covered them with flesh, and breathed in your nostrils the breath of life, and then He gave you to me.

29 “Now truly Elohim who gave you to me, He has taken you from me, and this has befallen you.”

30 And Ya’aqoḇ continued to speak such words concerning Yosĕph, and he wept bitterly, fell to the ground and became still.

31 And all the sons of Ya’aqoḇ seeing their father’s trouble, repented of what they had done, and they also wept bitterly.

32 And Yahuḏah rose up and lifted his father’s head from the ground, and placed it upon his lap, and he wiped his father’s tears from his cheeks. And Yahuḏah wept an exceedingly great weeping, while his father’s head was resting on his lap, still as a stone.

33 And the sons of Ya’aqoḇ saw their father’s trouble, and they lifted up their voices and continued to weep, but Ya’aqoḇ was still lying on the ground still as a stone.

34 And all his sons and his servants and his servant’s children rose up and stood round him to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted.

35 And the whole household of Ya’aqoḇ rose up and mourned a great mourning for the sake of Yosĕph and their father’s trouble. And the news reached Yitsḥaq, son of Aḇraham, the father of Ya’aqoḇ, and he wept bitterly for the sake of Yosĕph, he and all his household. And he went from the place where he dwelt in Ḥeḇron, and his men with him, and he comforted Ya’aqoḇ his son, but he refused to be comforted.

36 And after this, Ya’aqoḇ rose up from the ground, and his tears were running down his cheeks. And he said to his sons, “Rise up and take your swords and your bows, and go out into the field, and seek whether you can find my son’s body and bring it to me that I may bury it.

37 “Seek also please, among the beasts and hunt them, and that which shall come the first before you, seize and bring it to me. Maybe 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 will pity my affliction this day, and prepare before you that which tore my son in pieces. And bring it to me, and I will avenge the cause of my son.”

38 And his sons did as their father had commanded them, and they rose early in the morning, and each took his sword and his bow in his hand, and they went out into the field to hunt the beasts.

39 And Ya’aqoḇ was still crying aloud and weeping and walking to and fro in the house, and smiting his hands together, saying, “Yosĕph my son, Yosĕph my son!”

40 And the sons of Ya’aqoḇ went into the wilderness to seize the beasts, and see, a wolf came toward them. And they seized it, and brought it to their father, and they said to him, “This is the first we have found, and we have brought it to you as you commanded us, but your son’s body we could not find.”

41 And Ya’aqoḇ took the beast from the hands of his sons, and he cried out with a loud and weeping voice, holding the beast in his hand. And he spoke with a bitter heart to the beast, “Why did you devour my son Yosĕph, and how did you have no fear of the Elohim of the earth, or of my trouble for my son Yosĕph?

42 “And you devoured my son for naught, for he committed no violence, and by this I bear the blame for his sake, therefore Elohim will require him that is persecuted.”

43 And 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 opened the mouth of the beast in order to comfort Ya’aqoḇ with its words, and it answered Ya’aqoḇ and spoke these words to him,

44 “As Elohim lives who created us in the earth, and as your being lives, my master, I did not see your son, neither did I tear him to pieces. But I also came from a distant land to seek my son who went from me this day, and I do not know whether he is alive or dead.

45 “And I came this day into the field to seek my son, and your sons found me, and seized me and increased my grief, and have this day brought me before you, and I have now spoken all my words to you.

46 “And now therefore, O son of man, I am in your hands, and do to me this day as it seems good in your eyes, but by the Ḥai of Elohim who created me, I did not see your son, nor did I tear him to pieces, neither has the flesh of man entered my mouth all the days of my life.”

47 And when Ya’aqoḇ heard the words of the beast he was greatly astonished, and released the beast from his hand, and she went her way.

48 And Ya’aqoḇ was still crying aloud and weeping for Yosĕph day after day, and he mourned for his son many days.