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Genesis 1:0-10:0 :: Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Story of Creation
1In the beginning God
created the heavens
and the earth. 2The earth was barren,
with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean
covered with darkness.
But the Spirit of God was moving over the water.
The First Day
3 God said, "I command light to shine!" And light started shining. 4God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5and named the light "Day" and the darkness "Night." Evening came and then morning--that was the first day.
The Second Day
6 God said, "I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it." 7And that's what happened. God made the dome 8and named it "Sky." Evening came and then morning--that was the second day.
The Third Day
9 God said, "I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground." And that's what happened. 10God named the dry ground "Land," and he named the water "Ocean." God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.
11God said, "I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain." And that's what happened. 12The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13Evening came and then morning--that was the third day.
The Fourth Day
14 God said, "I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. 15I command them to shine on the earth." And that's what happened. 16God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 19Evening came and then morning--that was the fourth day.
The Fifth Day
20 God said, "I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth." 21So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the ocean. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 22Then he gave the living creatures his blessing--he told the ocean creatures to live everywhere in the ocean and the birds to live everywhere on earth. 23Evening came and then morning--that was the fifth day.
The Sixth Day
24 God said, "I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles." And that's what happened. 25God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good.
26God said, "Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures."
27So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28God gave them his blessing and said:
Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth.
29I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds.
31God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morning--that 1was the sixth day.
1So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created.
The Seventh Day
2 By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. 3God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work.
4That's how God created the heavens and the earth.
When the LORD God made the heavens and the earth,
The Garden of Eden
5no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. 6But streams came up from the ground and watered the earth. 7The LORD God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. 8The LORD made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there. 9The LORD God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave life--the other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong.
10From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. 11The first one is the Pishon River that flows through the land of Havilah, 12where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. 13The second is the Gihon River that winds through Ethiopia. 14The Tigris River that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the Euphrates River. 15The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16But the LORD told him, "You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!"
18The LORD God said, "It isn't good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him." 19-20So the LORD took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names.
None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21So the LORD God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, 22the LORD made a woman out of the rib.
The LORD God brought her to the man, 23and the man exclaimed,
"Here is someone like me!
She is part of my body,
my own flesh and bones.
She came from me, a man.
So I will name her Woman!" 24That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.
25Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.
The First Sin
1The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the LORD God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, "Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?"
2The woman answered, "God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 3except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die."
4"No, you won't!" the snake replied. 5"God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does."
6The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too. 7Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves.
8Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the LORD God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.
The Trouble with Sin
9The LORD called out to the man and asked, "Where are you?"
10The man answered, "I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!"
11"How did you know you were naked?" God asked. "Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?"
12"It was the woman you put here with me," the man said. "She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it."
13The LORD God then asked the woman, "What have you done?"
"The snake tricked me," she answered. "And I ate some of that fruit."
14So the LORD God said to the snake:
"Because of what you have done,
you will be the only animal
to suffer this curse--
For as long as you live,
you will crawl on your stomach
and eat dirt.
15You and this woman
will hate each other;
your descendants and hers
will always be enemies.
One of hers will strike you
on the head,
and you will strike him
on the heel."
16Then the LORD said to the woman,
"You will suffer terribly
when you give birth.
But you will still desire
and he will rule over you."
17The LORD said to the man,
"You listened to your wife
and ate fruit from that tree.
And so, the ground
will be under a curse
because of what you did.
As long as you live,
you will have to struggle
to grow enough food.
18Your food will be plants,
but the ground
thorns and thistles.
19You will have to sweat
to earn a living;
you were made out of soil,
and you will once again
turn into soil."
20The man Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all who live. 21Then the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for the man and his wife.
22The LORD said, "These people now know the difference between right and wrong, just as we do. But they must not be allowed to eat fruit from the tree that lets them live forever." 23So the LORD God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, where they would have to work the ground from which the man had been made. 24Then God put winged creatures at the entrance to the garden and a flaming, flashing sword to guard the way to the life-giving tree.
Cain Murders Abel
1Adam and Eve had a son. Then Eve said, "I'll name him Cain because I got him with the help of the LORD." 2Later she had another son and named him Abel. Abel became a sheep farmer, but Cain farmed the land. 3One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the LORD, 4and Abel also gave an offering to the LORD. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the LORD the best parts of it. The LORD was pleased with Abel and his offering, 5but not with Cain and his offering. This made Cain so angry that he could not hide his feelings.
6The LORD said to Cain:
What's wrong with you? Why do you have such an angry look on your face? 7If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling. But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don't let it! 8Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go for a walk." And when they were out in a field, Cain killed him. 9Afterwards the LORD asked Cain, "Where is Abel?"
"How should I know?" he answered. "Am I supposed to look after my brother?"
10Then the LORD said:
Why have you done this terrible thing? You killed your own brother, and his blood flowed onto the ground. Now his blood is calling out for me to punish you. 11And so, I'll put you under a curse. Because you killed Abel and made his blood run out on the ground, you will never be able to farm the land again. 12If you try to farm the land, it won't produce anything for you. From now on, you'll be without a home, and you'll spend the rest of your life wandering from place to place.
13"This punishment is too hard!" Cain said. 14"You're making me leave my home and live far from you. I will have to wander about without a home, and just anyone could kill me." 15"No!" the LORD answered. "Anyone who kills you will be punished seven times worse than I am punishing you." So the LORD put a mark on Cain to warn everyone not to kill him. 16But Cain had to go far from the LORD and live in the Land of Wandering, which is east of Eden.
More and More People
17Later, Cain and his wife had a son named Enoch. At the time Cain was building a town, and so he named it Enoch after his son. 18Then Enoch had a son named Irad, who had a son named Mehujael, who had a son named Methushael, who had a son named Lamech.
19Lamech married Adah, then Zillah. 20-21Lamech and Adah had two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Their son Jabal was the first to live in tents and raise sheep and goats. Jubal was the first to play harps and flutes.
22Lamech and Zillah had a son named Tubal Cain who made tools out of bronze and iron. They also had a daughter, whose name was Naamah.
23One day, Lamech said to his two wives, "A young man wounded me, and I killed him. 24Anyone who tries to get even with me will be punished ten times more than anyone who tries to get even with Cain."
25Adam and his wife had another son. They named him Seth, because they said, "God has given us a son to take the place of Abel, who was killed by his brother Cain." 26Later, Seth had a son and named him Enosh. About this time people started worshiping the LORD.
Descendants of Adam
1-2God created men and women to be like himself. He gave them his blessing and called them human beings. This is a list of the descendants of Adam, the first man:
3-4When Adam was one hundred thirty, he had a son who was just like him, and he named him Seth. Adam had more children 5and died at the age of nine hundred thirty.
6When Seth was one hundred five, he had a son named Enosh. 7Seth had more children 8and died at the age of nine hundred twelve.
9When Enosh was ninety, he had a son named Kenan. 10Enosh had more children 11and died at the age of nine hundred five.
12When Kenan was seventy, he had a son named Mahalalel. 13Kenan had more children 14and died at the age of nine hundred ten.
15When Mahalalel was sixty-five, he had a son named Jared. 16Mahalalel had more children 17and died at the age of eight hundred ninety-five.
18When Jared was one hundred sixty-two, he had a son named Enoch. 19Jared had more children 20and died at the age of nine hundred sixty-two.
21When Enoch was sixty-five, he had a son named Methuselah, 22and during the next three hundred years he had more children. Enoch truly loved God, 23-24and God took him away at the age of three hundred sixty-five.
25When Methuselah was one hundred eighty-seven, he had a son named Lamech. 26Methuselah had more children 27and died at the age of nine hundred sixty-nine.
28When Lamech was one hundred eighty-two, he had a son. 29Lamech said, "I'll name him Noah because he will give us comfort, as we struggle hard to make a living on this land that the LORD has put under a curse." 30Lamech had more children 31and died at the age of seven hundred seventy-seven. 32After Noah was five hundred years old, he had three sons and named them Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The LORD Will Send a Flood
1-2More and more people were born, until finally they spread all over the earth. Some of their daughters were so beautiful that supernatural beings came down and married the ones they wanted. 3Then the LORD said, "I won't let my life-giving breath remain in anyone forever. No one will live for more than one hundred twenty years." 4The children of the supernatural beings who had married these women became famous heroes and warriors. They were called Nephilim and lived on the earth at that time and even later.
5The LORD saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought and planned was evil. 6He was very sorry that he had made them, 7and he said, "I'll destroy every living creature on earth! I'll wipe out people, animals, birds, and reptiles. I'm sorry I ever made them."
8But the LORD was pleased with Noah, 9and this is the story about him. Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God. 10He had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11-12God knew that everyone was terribly cruel and violent. 13So he told Noah:
Cruelty and violence have spread everywhere. Now I'm going to destroy the whole earth and all its people. 14Get some good lumber and build a boat. Put rooms in it and cover it with tar inside and out. 15Make it four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16Build a roof on the boat and leave a space of about eighteen inches between the roof and the sides. Make the boat three stories high and put a door on one side. 17I'm going to send a flood that will destroy everything that breathes! Nothing will be left alive. 18But I solemnly promise that you, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law will be kept safe in the boat. 19-20Bring into the boat with you a male and a female of every kind of animal and bird, as well as a male and a female of every reptile. I don't want them to be destroyed. 21Store up enough food both for yourself and for them.
22Noah did everything the LORD told him to do.
1The LORD told Noah:
Take your whole family with you into the boat, because you are the only one on this earth who pleases me. 2Take seven pairs of every kind of animal that can be used for sacrifice and one pair of all others. 3Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird with you. Do this so there will always be animals and birds on the earth. 4Seven days from now I will send rain that will last for forty days and nights, and I will destroy all other living creatures I have made. 5-7Noah was six hundred years old when he went into the boat to escape the flood, and he did everything the LORD had told him to do. His wife, his sons, and his daughters-in-law all went inside with him. 8-9He obeyed God and took a male and a female of each kind of animal and bird into the boat with him. 10Seven days later a flood began to cover the earth.
11-12Noah was six hundred years old when the water under the earth started gushing out everywhere. The sky opened like windows, and rain poured down for forty days and nights. All this began on the seventeenth day of the second month of the year. 13On that day Noah and his wife went into the boat with their three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. 14They took along every kind of animal, tame and wild, including the birds. 15Noah took a male and a female of every living creature with him, 16just as God had told him to do. And when they were all in the boat, God closed the door.
17-18For forty days the rain poured down without stopping. And the water became deeper and deeper, until the boat started floating high above the ground. 19-20Finally, the mighty flood was so deep that even the highest mountain peaks were almost twenty-five feet below the surface of the water. 21Not a bird, animal, reptile, or human was left alive anywhere on earth. 22-23The LORD destroyed everything that breathed. Nothing was left alive except Noah and the others in the boat. 24A hundred fifty days later, the water started going down.
The Water Goes Down
1God did not forget about Noah and the animals with him in the boat. So God made a wind blow, and the water started going down. 2God stopped up the places where the water had been gushing out from under the earth. He also closed up the sky, and the rain stopped. 3For one hundred fifty days the water slowly went down. 4Then on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the year, the boat came to rest somewhere in the Ararat mountains. 5The water kept going down, and the mountain tops could be seen on the first day of the tenth month.
6-7Forty days later Noah opened a window to send out a raven, but it kept flying around until the water had dried up. 8Noah wanted to find out if the water had gone down, and he sent out a dove. 9Deep water was still everywhere, and the dove could not find a place to land. So it flew back to the boat. Noah held out his hand and helped it back in.
10Seven days later Noah sent the dove out again. 11It returned in the evening, holding in its beak a green leaf from an olive tree. Noah knew that the water was finally going down. 12He waited seven more days before sending the dove out again, and this time it did not return.
13Noah was now six hundred one years old. And by the first day of that year, almost all the water had gone away. Noah made an opening in the roof of the boat and saw that the ground was getting dry. 14By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the earth was completely dry. 15God said to Noah, 16"You, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law may now leave the boat. 17Let out the birds, animals, and reptiles, so they can mate and live all over the earth." 18After Noah and his family had gone out of the boat, 19the living creatures left in groups of their own kind.
The LORD's Promise for the Earth
20Noah built an altar where he could offer sacrifices to the LORD. Then he offered on the altar one of each kind of animal and bird that could be used for a sacrifice. 21The smell of the burning offering pleased God, and he said: Never again will I punish the earth for the sinful things its people do. All of them have evil thoughts from the time they are young, but I will never destroy everything that breathes, as I did this time.
22As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting
cold and heat;
winter and summer,
day and night.
God's Promise to Noah
1God said to Noah and his sons:
I am giving you my blessing. Have a lot of children and grandchildren, so people will live everywhere on this earth. 2All animals, birds, reptiles, and fish will be afraid of you. I have placed them under your control, 3and I have given them to you for food. From now on, you may eat them, as well as the green plants that you have always eaten. 4But life is in the blood, and you must not eat any meat that still has blood in it. 5-6I created humans to be like me, and I will punish any animal or person that takes a human life. If an animal kills someone, that animal must die. And if a person takes the life of another, that person must be put to death.
7I want you and your descendants to have many children, so people will live everywhere on earth.
8Again, God said to Noah and his sons:
9I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. 10This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. 11I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood.
12-13The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. 14When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, 15I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. 16When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature. 17The rainbow will be the sign of that solemn promise.
Noah and His Family
18Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, came out of the boat. Ham later had a son named Canaan. 19All people on earth are descendants of Noah's three sons.
20Noah farmed the land and was the first to plant a vineyard. 21One day he got drunk and was lying naked in his tent. 22Ham entered the tent and saw him naked, then went back outside and told his brothers. 23Shem and Japheth put a robe over their shoulders and walked backwards into the tent. Without looking at their father, they placed it over his body.
24When Noah woke up and learned what his youngest son had done, 25he said,
"I now put a curse on Canaan!
He will be the lowest slave
of his brothers.
26I ask the LORD my God
to bless Shem
and make Canaan his slave.
27I pray that the LORD
will give Japheth
more and more land and let him take over
the territory of Shem.
May Canaan be his slave."
28Noah lived three hundred fifty years after the flood 29and died at the age of nine hundred fifty.
The Descendants of Noah
1After the flood Shem, Ham, and Japheth had many descendants.
The Descendants of Japheth
2-5Japheth's descendants had their own languages, tribes, and land. They were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
Gomer was the ancestor of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
Javan was the ancestor of Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim, who settled along the coast.
The Descendants of Ham
6-20Ham's descendants had their own languages, tribes, and land. They were Ethiopia, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. Cush was the ancestor of Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. Raamah was the ancestor of Sheba and Dedan.
Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, a mighty warrior whose strength came from the LORD. Nimrod is the reason for the saying, "You hunt like Nimrod with the strength of the LORD!" Nimrod first ruled in Babylon, Erech, and Accad, all of which were in Babylonia. From there Nimrod went to Assyria and built the great city of Nineveh. He also built Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, as well as Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah. Egypt was the ancestor of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim, the ancestor of the Philistines. Canaan's sons were Sidon and Heth. He was also the ancestor of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites.
Later the Canaanites spread from the territory of Sidon and went as far as Gaza in the direction of Gerar. They also went as far as Lasha in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim.
The Descendants of Shem
21-31Shem's descendants had their own languages, tribes, and land. He was the older brother of Japheth and the ancestor of the tribes of Eber.
Shem was the ancestor of Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.
Aram was the ancestor of Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
Arpachshad was the father of Shelah and the grandfather of Eber, whose first son was named Peleg, because it was during his time that tribes divided up the earth. Eber's second son was Joktan. Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. Their land reached from Mesha in the direction of Sephar, the hill country in the east.
32This completes the list of Noah's descendants. After the flood their descendants became nations and spread all over the world.
The Tower of Babel
1At first everyone spoke the same language, 2but after some of them moved from the east and settled in Babylonia, 3-4they said: Let's build a city with a tower that reaches to the sky! We'll use hard bricks and tar instead of stone and mortar. We'll become famous, and we won't be scattered all over the world.
5But when the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower, 6he said:
These people are working together because they all speak the same language. This is just the beginning. Soon they will be able to do anything they want. 7Come on! Let's go down and confuse them by making them speak different languages--then they won't be able to understand each other.
8-9So the people had to stop building the city, because the LORD confused their language and scattered them all over the earth. That's how the city of Babel got its name.
The Descendants of Shem
10-11Two years after the flood, when Shem was one hundred, he had a son named Arpachshad. He had more children and died at the age of six hundred. This is a list of his descendants:
12When Arpachshad was thirty-five, he had a son named Shelah. 13Arpachshad had more children and died at the age of four hundred thirty-eight.
14When Shelah was thirty, he had a son named Eber. 15Shelah had more children and died at the age of four hundred thirty-three.
16When Eber was thirty-four, he had a son named Peleg. 17Eber had more children and died at the age of four hundred sixty-four.
18When Peleg was thirty, he had a son named Reu. 19Peleg had more children and died at the age of two hundred thirty-nine.
20When Reu was thirty-two he had a son named Serug. 21Reu had more children and died at the age of two hundred thirty-nine.
22When Serug was thirty, he had a son named Nahor. 23Serug had more children and died at the age of two hundred thirty.
24When Nahor was twenty-nine, he had a son named Terah. 25Nahor had more children and died at the age of one hundred forty-eight.
The Descendants of Terah
26-28After Terah was seventy years old, he had three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran, who became the father of Lot. Terah's sons were born in the city of Ur in Chaldea, and Haran died there before the death of his father. The following is the story of Terah's descendants. 29-30Abram married Sarai, but she was not able to have any children. And Nahor married Milcah, who was the daughter of Haran and the sister of Iscah.
31Terah decided to move from Ur to the land of Canaan. He took along Abram and Sarai and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran. But when they came to the city of Haran, they decided to settle there instead. 32Terah lived to be two hundred five years old and died in Haran.
The LORD Chooses Abram
1The LORD said to Abram:
Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you. 2I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. 3I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you. 4-5Abram was seventy-five years old when the LORD told him to leave the city of Haran. He obeyed and left with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and slaves they had gotten while in Haran.
When they came to the land of Canaan, 6Abram went as far as the sacred tree of Moreh in a place called Shechem. The Canaanites were still living in the land at that time, 7but the LORD appeared to Abram and promised, "I will give this land to your family forever." Abram then built an altar there for the LORD.
8Abram traveled to the hill country east of Bethel and camped between Bethel and Ai, where he built another altar and worshiped the LORD. 9Later, Abram started out toward the Southern Desert.
Abram in Egypt
10-11The crops failed, and there was no food anywhere in the land. So Abram and his wife Sarai went to live in Egypt for a while. But just before they got there, he said, "Sarai, you are really beautiful! 12When the Egyptians see how lovely you are, they will murder me because I am your husband. But they won't kill you. 13Please save my life by saying that you are my sister."
14As soon as Abram and Sarai arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how beautiful she was. 15The king's officials told him about her, and she was taken to his house. 16The king was good to Abram because of Sarai, and Abram was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels. 17Because of Sarai, the LORD struck the king and everyone in his palace with terrible diseases. 18Finally, the king sent for Abram and said to him, "What have you done to me? Why didn't you tell me Sarai was your wife? 19Why did you make me believe she was your sister? Now I've married her. Take her and go! She's your wife."
20So the king told his men to let Abram and Sarai take their possessions and leave.
Abram and Lot Separate
1Abram and Sarai took everything they owned and went to the Southern Desert. Lot went with them.
2Abram was very rich. He owned many cattle, sheep, and goats, and had a lot of silver and gold. 3Abram moved from place to place in the Southern Desert. And finally, he went north and set up his tents between Bethel and Ai, 4where he had earlier camped and built an altar. There he worshiped the LORD.
5Lot, who was traveling with him, also had sheep, goats, and cattle, as well as his own family and slaves. 6-7At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the same area, and so there wasn't enough pastureland left for Abram and Lot with all of their animals. Besides this, the men who took care of Abram's animals and the ones who took care of Lot's animals started quarreling.
8Abram said to Lot, "We are close relatives. We shouldn't argue, and our men shouldn't be fighting one another. 9There is plenty of land for you to choose from. Let's separate. If you go north, I'll go south; if you go south, I'll go north."
10This happened before the LORD had destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And when Lot looked around, he saw there was plenty of water in the Jordan Valley. All the way to Zoar the valley was as green as the garden of the LORD or the land of Egypt. 11So Lot chose the whole Jordan Valley for himself, and as he started toward the east, he and Abram separated. 12Abram stayed in the land of Canaan. But Lot settled near the cities of the valley and put up his tents not far from Sodom, 13where the people were evil and sinned terribly against the LORD.
Abram Moves to Hebron
14After Abram and Lot had gone their separate ways, the LORD said to Abram:
Look around to the north, south, east, and west. 15I will give you and your family all the land you can see. It will be theirs forever! 16I will give you more descendants than there are specks of dust on the earth, and someday it will be easier to count the specks of dust than to count your descendants. 17Now walk back and forth across the land, because I am giving it to you.
18Abram took down his tents and went to live near the sacred trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar in honor of the LORD.
Abram Rescues Lot
1About this time, King Amraphel of Babylonia, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 2attacked King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, also known as the city of Zoar. 3-4King Chedorlaomer and his allies had ruled these last five kings for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year the kings rebelled and came together in Siddim Valley, which is now covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea. 5A year later King Chedorlaomer and his allies attacked and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth-Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, and the Emites in Shaveh-Kiriathaim. 6They also defeated the Horites in the hill country of Edom, as far as El-Paran, near the desert. 7They went back to the city of Enmishpat, better known as Kadesh. Then they captured all the land that belonged to the Amalekites, and they defeated the Amorites who were living in Hazazon-Tamar.
8-9At Siddim Valley, the armies of the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela fought the armies of King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar. The valley 10was full of tar pits, and when the troops from Sodom and Gomorrah started running away, some of them fell into the pits. Others escaped to the hill country. 11Their enemies took everything of value from Sodom and Gomorrah, including their food supplies. 12They also captured Abram's nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom. They took him and his possessions and then left.
13At this time Abram the Hebrew was living near the oaks that belonged to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his brothers Eshcol and Aner were Abram's friends. Someone who had escaped from the battle told Abram 14that his nephew Lot had been taken away. Three hundred eighteen of Abram's servants were fighting men, so he took them and followed the enemy as far north as the city of Dan.
15That night, Abram divided up his troops, attacked from all sides, and won a great victory. But some of the enemy escaped to the town of Hobah north of Damascus, 16and Abram went after them. He brought back his nephew Lot, together with Lot's possessions and the women and everyone else who had been captured.
Abram Is Blessed by Melchizedek
17Abram returned after he had defeated King Chedorlaomer and the other kings. Then the king of Sodom went to meet Abram in Shaveh Valley, which is also known as King's Valley.
18King Melchizedek of Salem was a priest of God Most High. He brought out some bread and wine 19and said to Abram:
"I bless you in the name
of God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
20All praise belongs
to God Most High
for helping you defeat
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
21The king of Sodom said to Abram, "All I want are my people. You can keep everything else."
The LORD God Most High made the heavens and the earth. And I have promised him 23that I won't keep anything of yours, not even a sandal strap or a piece of thread. Then you can never say that you are the one who made me rich. 24Let my share be the food that my men have eaten. But Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre went with me, so give them their share of what we brought back.
The LORD's Promise to Abram
1Later the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision, "Abram, don't be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly."
2But Abram answered, "LORD All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own. 3You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything." 4The LORD replied, "No, he won't! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his." 5Then the LORD took Abram outside and said, "Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That's how many descendants you will have." 6Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD was pleased with him.
The LORD Makes Another Promise to Abram
7The LORD said to Abram, "I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land."
8Abram asked, "LORD God, how can I know the land will be mine?"
9Then the LORD told him, "Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon."
10Abram obeyed the LORD. Then he cut the animals in half and laid the two halves of each animal opposite each other on the ground. But he did not cut the doves and pigeons in half. 11And when birds came down to eat the animals, Abram chased them away. 12As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and everything became dark and frightening. 13-15Then the LORD said:
Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.
But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn't belong to them. They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years. But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions.
16Four generations later, your descendants will return here and take this land, because only then will the people who live here be so sinful that they deserve to be punished. 17Sometime after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal. 18At that time the LORD made an agreement with Abram and told him: I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River. 19They will possess the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Hagar and Ishmael
1Abram's wife Sarai had not been able to have any children. But she owned a young Egyptian slave woman named Hagar, 2and Sarai said to Abram, "The LORD has not given me any children. Sleep with my slave, and if she has a child, it will be mine." Abram agreed, 3and Sarai gave him Hagar to be his wife. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years. 4Later, when Hagar knew she was going to have a baby, she became proud and was hateful to Sarai. 5Then Sarai said to Abram, "It's all your fault! I gave you my slave woman, but she has been hateful to me ever since she found out she was pregnant. You have done me wrong, and you will have to answer to the LORD for this." 6Abram said, "All right! She's your slave, and you can do whatever you want with her." But Sarai began treating Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
7Hagar stopped to rest at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur. While she was there, the angel of the LORD came to her 8and asked, "Hagar, where have you come from, and where are you going?"
She answered, "I'm running away from Sarai, my owner."
9The angel said, "Go back to Sarai and be her slave. 10-11I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael, because I have heard your cry for help. And later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. 12But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him." 13Hagar thought, "Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?" So from then on she called him, "The God Who Sees Me." 14That's why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered, "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me." 15-16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to their son, and he named him Ishmael.
God's Promise to Abraham
1Abram was ninety-nine years old when the LORD appeared to him again and said, "I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, 2I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted." 3Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said:
4-5I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That's why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham. 6I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings. 7I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God. 8I will give you and them the land in which you are now a foreigner. I will give the whole land of Canaan to your family forever, and I will be their God.
9Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me. 10-11As the sign that you are keeping this promise, you must circumcise every man and boy in your family. 12-13From now on, your family must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old. You must even circumcise any man or boy you have as a slave, both those born in your homes and those you buy from foreigners. This will be a sign that my promise to you will last forever. 14Any man who isn't circumcised hasn't kept his promise to me and cannot be one of my people.
15Abraham, your wife's name will now be Sarah instead of Sarai. 16I will bless her, and you will have a son by her. She will become the mother of nations, and some of her descendants will even be kings.
17Abraham bowed with his face to the ground and thought, "I am almost a hundred years old. How can I become a father? And Sarah is ninety. How can she have a child?" So he started laughing. 18Then he asked God, "Why not let Ishmael inherit what you have promised me?" 19But God answered:
No! You and Sarah will have a son. His name will be Isaac, and I will make an everlasting promise to him and his descendants. 20I have heard what you asked me to do for Ishmael, and so I will also bless him with many descendants. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make his family a great nation. 21But your son Isaac will be born about this time next year, and the promise I am making to you and your family will be for him and his descendants forever.
22God finished speaking to Abraham and then left.
23-27On that same day Abraham obeyed God by circumcising Ishmael. Abraham was also circumcised, and so were all other men and boys in his household, including his servants and slaves. He was ninety-nine years old at the time, and his son Ishmael was thirteen.
The LORD Promises Abraham a Son
1One hot summer afternoon Abraham was sitting by the entrance to his tent near the sacred trees of Mamre, when the LORD appeared to him. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. He quickly ran to meet them, bowed with his face to the ground, 3and said, "Please come to my home where I can serve you. 4I'll have some water brought, so you can wash your feet, then you can rest under the tree. 5Let me get you some food to give you strength before you leave. I would be honored to serve you."
"Thank you very much," they answered. "We accept your offer."
6Abraham quickly went to his tent and said to Sarah, "Hurry! Get a large sack of flour and make some bread." 7After saying this, he rushed off to his herd of cattle and picked out one of the best calves, which his servant quickly prepared. 8He then served his guests some yogurt and milk together with the meat.
While they were eating, he stood near them under the trees, 9and they asked, "Where is your wife Sarah?"
"She is right there in the tent," Abraham answered.
10One of the guests was the LORD, and he said, "I'll come back about this time next year, and when I do, Sarah will already have a son."
Sarah was behind Abraham, listening at the entrance to the tent. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was well past the age for having children. 12So she laughed and said to herself, "Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?" 13The LORD asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh? Does she doubt that she can have a child in her old age? 14I am the LORD! There is nothing too difficult for me. I'll come back next year at the time I promised, and Sarah will already have a son."
15Sarah was so frightened that she lied and said, "I didn't laugh."
"Yes, you did!" he answered.
Abraham Prays for Sodom
16When the three men got ready to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked part of the way with them.
17The LORD said to himself, "I should tell Abraham what I am going to do, 18since his family will become a great and powerful nation that will be a blessing to all other nations on earth. 19I have chosen him to teach his family to obey me forever and to do what is right and fair. Then I will give Abraham many descendants, just as I promised." 20The LORD said, "Abraham, I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are doing all kinds of evil things. 21Now I am going down to see for myself if those people really are that bad. If they aren't, I want to know about it."
22The men turned and started toward Sodom. But the LORD stayed with Abraham, 23who asked, "LORD, when you destroy the evil people, are you also going to destroy those who are good? 24Wouldn't you spare the city if there are only fifty good people in it? 25You surely wouldn't let them be killed when you destroy the evil ones. You are the judge of all the earth, and you do what is right."
26The LORD replied, "If I find fifty good people in Sodom, I will save the city to keep them from being killed."
27Abraham answered, "I am nothing more than the dust of the earth. Please forgive me, LORD, for daring to speak to you like this. 28But suppose there are only forty-five good people in Sodom. Would you still wipe out the whole city?"
"If I find forty-five good people," the LORD replied, "I won't destroy the city."
29"Suppose there are just forty good people?" Abraham asked.
"Even for them," the LORD replied, "I won't destroy the city."
30Abraham said, "Please don't be angry, LORD, if I ask you what you will do if there are only thirty good people in the city."
"If I find thirty," the LORD replied, "I still won't destroy it."
31Then Abraham said, "I don't have any right to ask you, LORD, but what would you do if you find only twenty?"
"Because of them, I won't destroy the city," was the LORD's answer.
32Finally, Abraham said, "Please don't get angry, LORD, if I speak just once more. Suppose you find only ten good people there."
"For the sake of ten good people," the LORD told him, "I still won't destroy the city."
33After speaking with Abraham, the LORD left, and Abraham went back home.
The Evil City of Sodom
1That evening the two angels arrived in Sodom, while Lot was sitting near the city gate. When Lot saw them, he got up, bowed down low, 2and said, "Gentlemen, I am your servant. Please come to my home. You can wash your feet, spend the night, and be on your way in the morning." They told him, "No, we'll spend the night in the city square." 3But Lot kept insisting, until they finally agreed and went home with him. He baked some bread, cooked a meal, and they ate. 4Before Lot and his guests could go to bed, every man in Sodom, young and old, came and stood outside his house 5and started shouting, "Where are your visitors? Send them out, so we can have sex with them!"
6Lot went outside and shut the door behind him. 7Then he said, "Friends, please don't do such a terrible thing! 8I have two daughters who have never been married. I'll bring them out, and you can do what you want with them. But don't harm these men. They are guests in my home."
9"Don't get in our way," the crowd answered. "You're an outsider. What right do you have to order us around? We'll do worse things to you than we're going to do to them."
The crowd kept arguing with Lot. Finally, they rushed toward the door to break it down. 10But the two angels in the house reached out and pulled Lot safely inside. 11Then they struck everyone in the crowd blind, and none of them could even find the door.
12-13The two angels said to Lot, "The LORD has heard many terrible things about the people of Sodom, and he has sent us here to destroy the city. Take your family and leave. Take every relative you have in the city, as well as the men your daughters are going to marry."
14Lot went to the men who were engaged to his daughters and said, "Hurry and get out of here! The LORD is going to destroy this city." But they thought he was joking, and they laughed at him.
15Early the next morning the two angels tried to make Lot hurry and leave. They said, "Take your wife and your two daughters and get out of here as fast as you can! If you don't, every one of you will be killed when the LORD destroys the city." 16At first, Lot just stood there. But the LORD wanted to save him. So the angels took Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17When they were outside, one of the angels said, "Run for your lives! Don't even look back. And don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, where you will be safe."
18-19Lot answered, "You have done us a great favor, sir. You have saved our lives, but please don't make us go to the hills. That's too far away. The city will be destroyed before we can get there, and we will be killed when it happens. 20There's a town near here. It's only a small place, but my family and I will be safe, if you let us go there."
21"All right, go there," he answered. "I won't destroy that town. 22Hurry! Run! I can't do anything until you are safely there."
The town was later called Zoar because Lot had said it was small.
Sodom and Gomorrah Are Destroyed
23The sun was coming up as Lot reached the town of Zoar, 24and the LORD sent burning sulfur down like rain on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25He destroyed those cities and everyone who lived in them, as well as their land and the trees and grass that grew there.
26On the way, Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a block of salt.
27That same morning Abraham got up and went to the place where he had stood and spoken with the LORD. 28He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and saw smoke rising from all over the land--it was like a flaming furnace.
29When God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot lived, he remembered his promise to Abraham and saved Lot from the terrible destruction.
Moab and Ammon
30Lot was afraid to stay on in Zoar. So he took his two daughters and moved to a cave in the hill country. 31One day his older daughter said to her sister, "Our father is old, and there are no men anywhere for us to marry. 32Let's get our father drunk! Then we can sleep with him and have children." 33That night they got their father drunk, and the older daughter got in bed with him, but he was too drunk even to know she was there.
34The next day the older daughter said to her sister, "I slept with my father last night. We'll get him drunk again tonight, so you can go to bed with him, and we can each have a child." 35That night they got their father drunk, and this time the younger sister slept with him. But once again he was too drunk even to know she was there.
36That's how Lot's two daughters had their children. 37The older daughter named her son Moab, and he is the ancestor of the Moabites. 38The younger daughter named her son Benammi, and he is the ancestor of the Ammonites.
Abraham and Sarah at Gerar
1Abraham moved to the Southern Desert, where he settled between Kadesh and Shur. Later he went to Gerar, and while there 2he told everyone that his wife Sarah was his sister. So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him. 3But God came to Abimelech in a dream and said, "You have taken a married woman, and for this you will die!"
4-5Abimelech said to the Lord, "Don't kill me! I haven't slept with Sarah. Didn't they say they were brother and sister? I am completely innocent."
6God spoke to Abimelech in another dream and said:
I know you are innocent. That's why I kept you from sleeping with Sarah and doing anything wrong. 7Her husband is a prophet. Let her go back to him, and his prayers will save you from death. But if you don't return her, you and all your people will die.
8Early the next morning Abimelech sent for his officials, and when he told them what had happened, they were frightened. 9Abimelech then called in Abraham and said:
Look what you've done to us! What have I ever done to you? Why did you make me and my nation guilty of such a terrible sin? 10What were you thinking when you did this?
I did it because I didn't think any of you respected God, and I was sure that someone would kill me to get my wife. 12Besides, she is my half sister. We have the same father, but different mothers. 13When God made us leave my father's home and start wandering, I told her, "If you really love me, you will tell everyone that I am your brother."
14Abimelech gave Abraham some sheep, cattle, and slaves. He sent Sarah back 15and told Abraham that he could settle anywhere in his country. 16Then he said to Sarah, "I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver as proof to everyone that you have done nothing wrong." 17-18Meanwhile, God had kept Abimelech's wife and slaves from having children. But Abraham prayed, and God let them start having children again.
Sarah Has a Son
1The LORD was good to Sarah and kept his promise. 2Although Abraham was very old, Sarah had a son exactly at the time God had said. 3Abraham named his son Isaac, 4and when the boy was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, just as the LORD had commanded.
5Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born, 6and Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Now everyone will laugh with me. 7Who would have dared to tell Abraham that someday I would have a child? But in his old age, I have given him a son." 8The time came when Sarah no longer had to nurse Isaac, and on that day Abraham gave a big feast.
Hagar and Ishmael Are Sent Away
9-10One day, Sarah noticed Hagar's son Ishmael playing, and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that Egyptian slave woman and her son! I don't want him to inherit anything. It should all go to my son." 11Abraham was worried about Ishmael. 12But God said, "Abraham, don't worry about your slave woman and the boy. Just do what Sarah tells you. Isaac will inherit your family name, 13but the son of the slave woman is also your son, and I will make his descendants into a great nation."
14Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar an animal skin full of water and some bread. Then he put the boy on her shoulder and sent them away.
They wandered around in the desert near Beersheba, 15and after they had run out of water, Hagar put her son under a bush. 16Then she sat down a long way off, because she could not bear to watch him die. And she cried bitterly.
17When God heard the boy crying, the angel of God called out to Hagar from heaven and said, "Hagar, why are you worried? Don't be afraid. I have heard your son crying. 18Help him up and hold his hand, because I will make him the father of a great nation." 19Then God let her see a well. So she went to the well and filled the skin with water, then gave some to her son.
20-21God blessed Ishmael, and as the boy grew older, he became an expert with his bow and arrows. He lived in the Paran Desert, and his mother chose an Egyptian woman for him to marry.
A Peace Treaty
22About this time Abimelech and his army commander Phicol said to Abraham, "God blesses everything you do! 23Now I want you to promise in the name of God that you will always be loyal to me and my descendants, just as I have always been loyal to you in this land where you have lived as a foreigner." 24And so, Abraham promised.
25One day, Abraham told Abimelech, "Some of your servants have taken over one of my wells."
26"This is the first I've heard about it," Abimelech replied. "Why haven't you said something before? I don't have any idea who did it." 27Abraham gave Abimelech some sheep and cattle, and then the two men made a peace treaty.
28Abraham separated seven female lambs from his flock of sheep, 29and Abimelech asked, "Why have you done this?"
30Abraham told him, "I want you to accept these seven lambs as proof that I dug this well." 31So they called the place Beersheba, because they made a treaty there. 32When the treaty was completed, Abimelech and his army commander Phicol went back to the land of the Philistines. 33Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and worshiped the eternal LORD God. 34Then Abraham lived a long time as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines.
The LORD Tells Abraham To Offer Isaac as a Sacrifice
1Some years later God decided to test Abraham, so he spoke to him.
Abraham answered, "Here I am, LORD."
2The LORD said, "Go get Isaac, your only son, the one you dearly love! Take him to the land of Moriah, and I will show you a mountain where you must sacrifice him to me on the fires of an altar." 3So Abraham got up early the next morning and chopped wood for the fire. He put a saddle on his donkey and left with Isaac and two servants for the place where God had told him to go.
4Three days later Abraham looked off in the distance and saw the place. 5He told his servants, "Stay here with the donkey, while my son and I go over there to worship. We will come back."
6Abraham put the wood on Isaac's shoulder, but he carried the hot coals and the knife. As the two of them walked along, 7-8Isaac said, "Father, we have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?"
"My son," Abraham answered, "God will provide the lamb."
The two of them walked on, and 9when they reached the place that God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it. Next, he tied up his son and put him on the wood. 10He then took the knife and got ready to kill his son. 11But the LORD's angel shouted from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Here I am!" he answered.
12"Don't hurt the boy or harm him in any way!" the angel said. "Now I know that you truly obey God, because you were willing to offer him your only son."
13Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the bushes. So he took the ram and sacrificed it in place of his son.
14Abraham named that place "The LORD Will Provide." And even now people say, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." 15The LORD's angel called out from heaven a second time:
16You were willing to offer the LORD your only son, and so he makes you this solemn promise, 17"I will bless you and give you such a large family, that someday your descendants will be more numerous than the stars in the sky or the grains of sand along the beach. They will defeat their enemies and take over the cities where their enemies live. 18You have obeyed me, and so you and your descendants will be a blessing to all nations on earth."
19Abraham and Isaac went back to the servants who had come with him, and they returned to Abraham's home in Beersheba.
The Children of Nahor
20-23Abraham's brother Nahor had married Milcah, and Abraham was later told that they had eight sons. Uz was their first-born; Buz was next, and then there was Kemuel who became the father of Aram; their other five sons were: Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel, who became the father of Rebekah. 24Nahor also had another wife. Her name was Reumah, and she had four sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
Sarah's Death and Burial
1-2When Sarah was one hundred twenty-seven years old, she died in Kiriath-Arba, better known as Hebron, in the land of Canaan. After Abraham had mourned for her, 3he went to the Hittites and said, 4"I live as a foreigner in your land, and I don't own any property where I can bury my wife. Please let me buy a piece of land."
5-6"Sir," they answered, "you are an important man. Choose the best place to bury your wife. None of us would refuse you a resting place for your dead."
7Abraham bowed down 8and replied, "If you are willing to let me bury my wife here, please ask Zohar's son Ephron 9to sell me Machpelah Cave at the end of his field. I'll pay what it's worth, and all of you can be witnesses."
10Ephron was sitting there near the city gate, when Abraham made this request, and he answered, 11"Sir, the whole field, including the cave, is yours. With my own people as witnesses, I freely give it to you as a burial place for your dead."
12Once again, Abraham bowed down 13and said to Ephron, "In front of these witnesses, I offer you the full price, so I can bury my wife. Please accept my offer."
14-15"But sir," the man replied, "the property is worth only four hundred pieces of silver. Why should we haggle over such a small amount? Take the land. It's yours."
16-18Abraham accepted Ephron's offer and paid him the four hundred pieces of silver in front of everyone at the city gate. That's how Abraham got Ephron's property east of Hebron, which included the field with all of its trees, as well as Machpelah Cave at the end of the field. 19So Abraham buried his wife Sarah in Machpelah Cave that was in the field 20he had bought from the Hittites.
A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now a very old man. The LORD had made him rich, and he was successful in everything he did. 2One day, Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said to him, "Solemnly promise me 3in the name of the LORD, who rules heaven and earth, that you won't choose a wife for my son Isaac from the people here in the land of Canaan. 4Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for him from among my relatives."
5But the servant asked, "What if the young woman I choose refuses to leave home and come here with me? Should I send Isaac there to look for a wife?"
6"No!" Abraham answered. "Don't ever do that, no matter what. 7The LORD who rules heaven brought me here from the land where I was born and promised that he would give this land to my descendants forever. When you go back there, the LORD will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son. 8If the woman refuses to come along, you don't have to keep this promise. But don't ever take my son back there." 9So the servant gave Abraham his word that he would do everything he had been told to do.
10Soon after that, the servant loaded ten of Abraham's camels with valuable gifts. Then he set out for the city in northern Syria, where Abraham's brother Nahor lived. 11When he got there, he let the camels rest near the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when the women came out for water. 12The servant prayed:
You, LORD, are the God my master Abraham worships. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today. 13The young women of the city will soon come to this well for water, 14and I'll ask one of them for a drink. If she gives me a drink and then offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen and that you have kept your promise to my master.
15-16While he was still praying, a beautiful unmarried young woman came by with a water jar on her shoulder. She was Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. Rebekah walked past Abraham's servant, then went over to the well, and filled her water jar. When she started back, 17Abraham's servant ran to her and said, "Please let me have a drink of water."
18"I'll be glad to," she answered. Then she quickly took the jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19-20After he had finished, she said, "Now I'll give your camels all the water they want." She quickly poured out water for them, and she kept going back for more, until his camels had drunk all they wanted. 21Abraham's servant did not say a word, but he watched everything Rebekah did, because he wanted to know for certain if this was the woman the LORD had chosen.
22The servant had brought along an expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets. When Rebekah had finished bringing the water, he gave her the ring for her nose and the bracelets for her arms. 23Then he said, "Please tell me who your father is. Does he have room in his house for me and my men to spend the night?" 24She answered, "My father is Bethuel, the son of Nahor and Milcah. 25We have a place where you and your men can stay, and we also have enough straw and feed for your camels."
26Then the servant bowed his head and prayed, 27"I thank you, LORD God of my master Abraham! You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him."
28Rebekah ran straight home and told her family everything. 29-30Her brother Laban heard her tell what the servant had said, and he saw the ring and the bracelets she was wearing. So Laban ran out to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well. 31Then Laban said, "The LORD has brought you safely here. Come home with me. There's no need for you to keep on standing outside. I have a room ready for you in our house, and there's also a place for your camels."
32Abraham's servant went home with Laban, where Laban's servants unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then they brought water into the house, so Abraham's servant and his men could wash their feet. 33After that, they brought in food. But the servant said, "Before I eat, I must tell you why I have come."
"Go ahead and tell us," Laban answered.
34The servant explained:
I am Abraham's servant. 35The LORD has been good to my master and has made him very rich. He has given him many sheep, goats, cattle, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of silver and gold, and many slaves. 36Sarah, my master's wife, didn't have any children until she was very old. Then she had a son, and my master has given him everything. 37I solemnly promised my master that I would do what he said. And he told me, "Don't choose a wife for my son from the women in this land of Canaan. 38Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for my son from among my relatives."
39I asked my master, "What if the young woman refuses to come with me?"
40My master answered, "I have always obeyed the LORD, and he will send his angel to help you find my son a wife from among my own relatives. 41But if they refuse to let her come back with you, then you are freed from your promise."
42When I came to the well today, I silently prayed, "You, LORD, are the God my master Abraham worships, so please lead me to a wife for his son 43while I am here at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I'll ask her to give me a drink. 44If she gives me a drink and offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen."
45Even before I had finished praying, Rebekah came by with a water jar on her shoulder. When she had filled the jar, I asked her for a drink. 46She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and said, "Have a drink. Then I'll get water for your camels." So I drank, and after that she got some water for my camels. 47I asked her who her father was, and she answered, "My father is Bethuel the son of Nahor and Milcah." Right away I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48Then I bowed my head and gave thanks to the God my master Abraham worships. The LORD had led me straight to my master's relatives, and I had found a wife for his son.
49Now please tell me if you are willing to do the right thing for my master. Will you treat him fairly, or do I have to look for another young woman?
50Laban and Bethuel answered, "The LORD has done this. We have no choice in the matter. 51Take Rebekah with you; she can marry your master's son, just as the LORD has said." 52Abraham's servant bowed down and thanked the LORD. 53Then he gave clothing, as well as silver and gold jewelry, to Rebekah. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and her mother.
54Abraham's servant and the men with him ate and drank, then spent the night there. The next morning they got up, and the servant told Rebekah's mother and brother, "I would like to go back to my master now."
55"Let Rebekah stay with us for a week or ten days," they answered. "Then she may go."
56But he said, "Don't make me stay any longer. The LORD has already helped me find a wife for my master's son. Now let us return."
57They answered, "Let's ask Rebekah what she wants to do." 58They called her and asked, "Are you willing to leave with this man right now?"
"Yes," she answered.
59So they agreed to let Rebekah and an old family servant woman leave immediately with Abraham's servant and his men. 60They gave Rebekah their blessing and said, "We pray that God will give you many children and grandchildren and that he will help them defeat their enemies." 61Afterwards, Rebekah and the young women who were to travel with her prepared to leave. Then they got on camels and left with Abraham's servant and his men. 62At that time Isaac was living in the southern part of Canaan near a place called "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me." 63-65One evening he was walking out in the fields, when suddenly he saw a group of people approaching on camels. So he started toward them. Rebekah saw him coming; she got down from her camel, and asked, "Who is that man?" "He is my master Isaac," the servant answered. Then Rebekah covered her face with her veil. 66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened.
67Isaac took Rebekah into the tent where his mother had lived before she died, and Rebekah became his wife. He loved her and was comforted over the loss of his mother.
Abraham Marries Keturah
1Abraham married Keturah, 2and they had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Later, Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan, and when Dedan grew up, he had three sons: Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4Midian also had five sons: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.
5-6While Abraham was still alive, he gave gifts to the sons of Hagar and Keturah. He also sent their sons to live in the east far from his son Isaac, and when Abraham died, he left everything to Isaac.
The Death of Abraham
7-8Abraham died at the ripe old age of one hundred seventy-five. 9-10His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him east of Hebron in Machpelah Cave that was part of the field Abraham had bought from Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. Abraham was buried there beside his wife Sarah. 11God blessed Isaac after this, and Isaac moved to a place called "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me."
12Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the slave woman of Sarah. 13Ishmael had twelve sons, in this order: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16Each of Ishmael's sons was a tribal chief, and a village was named after each of them.
17-18Ishmael had settled in the land east of his brothers, and his sons settled everywhere from Havilah to Shur, east of Egypt on the way to Asshur. Ishmael was one hundred thirty-seven when he died.
The Birth of Esau and Jacob
19Isaac was the son of Abraham, 20and he was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel. She was also the sister of Laban, the Aramean from northern Syria. Almost twenty years later, 21Rebekah still had no children. So Isaac asked the LORD to let her have a child, and the LORD answered his prayer.
22Before Rebekah gave birth, she knew she was going to have twins, because she could feel them inside her, fighting each other. She thought, "Why is this happening to me?" Finally, she asked the LORD why her twins were fighting, 23and he told her:
"Your two sons will become
two separate nations. The younger of the two
will be stronger,
and the older son
will be his servant."
24When Rebekah gave birth, 25the first baby was covered with red hair, so he was named Esau. 26The second baby grabbed on to his brother's heel, so they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.
Esau Sells His Rights as the First-Born Son
27As Jacob and Esau grew older, Esau liked the outdoors and became a good hunter, while Jacob settled down and became a shepherd. 28Esau would take the meat of wild animals to his father Isaac, and so Isaac loved him more, but Jacob was his mother's favorite son.
29One day, Jacob was cooking some stew, when Esau came home hungry 30and said, "I'm starving to death! Give me some of that red stew right now!" That's how Esau got the name "Edom." 31Jacob replied, "Sell me your rights as the first-born son." 32"I'm about to die," Esau answered. "What good will those rights do me?"
33But Jacob said, "Promise me your birthrights, here and now!" And that's what Esau did. 34Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the first-born.
Isaac and Abimelech
1Once during Abraham's lifetime, the fields had not produced enough grain, and now the same thing happened. So Isaac went to King Abimelech of the Philistines in the land of Gerar, 2because the LORD had appeared to Isaac and said:
Isaac, stay away from Egypt! I will show you where I want you to go. 3You will live there as a foreigner, but I will be with you and bless you. I will keep my promise to your father Abraham by giving this land to you and your descendants.
4I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, and I will give your descendants all of this land. They will be a blessing to every nation on earth, 5because Abraham did everything I told him to do. 6Isaac moved to Gerar 7with his beautiful wife Rebekah. He was afraid that someone might kill him to get her, and so he told everyone that Rebekah was his sister. 8After Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech looked out a window and saw Isaac hugging and kissing Rebekah. 9Abimelech called him in and said, "Rebekah must be your wife! Why did you say she is your sister?"
"Because I thought someone would kill me," Isaac answered.
10"Don't you know what you've done?" Abimelech exclaimed. "If someone had slept with her, you would have made our whole nation guilty!" 11Then Abimelech warned his people that anyone who even touched Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death.
12Isaac planted grain and had a good harvest that same year. The LORD blessed him, 13and Isaac was so successful that he became very rich. 14In fact, the Philistines were jealous of the large number of sheep, goats, and slaves that Isaac owned, 15and they stopped up the wells that Abraham's servants had dug before his death. 16Finally, Abimelech said, "Isaac, I want you to leave our country. You have become too powerful to stay here."
17Isaac left and settled in Gerar Valley, 18where he cleaned out those wells that the Philistines had stopped up. Isaac also gave each of the wells the same name that Abraham had given to them. 19While his servants were digging in the valley, they found a spring-fed well. 20But the shepherds of Gerar Valley quarreled with Isaac's shepherds and claimed the water belonged to them. So the well was named "Quarrel," because they had quarreled with Isaac. 21Isaac's servants dug another well, and the shepherds also quarreled about it. So that well was named "Jealous." 22Finally, they dug one more well. There was no quarreling this time, and the well was named "Lots of Room," because the LORD had given them room and would make them very successful.
23Isaac went on to Beersheba, 24where the LORD appeared to him that night and told him, "Don't be afraid! I am the God who was worshiped by your father Abraham, my servant. I will be with you and bless you, and because of Abraham I will give you many descendants." 25Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the LORD. Then he set up camp, and his servants started digging a well.
26Meanwhile, Abimelech had left Gerar and was taking his advisor Ahuzzath and his army commander Phicol to see Isaac. 27When they arrived, Isaac asked, "Why are you here? Didn't you send me away because you hated me?"
28They answered, "We now know for certain that the LORD is with you, and we have decided there needs to be a peace treaty between you and us. So let's make a solemn agreement 29not to harm each other. Remember, we have never hurt you, and when we sent you away, we let you go in peace. The LORD has truly blessed you."
30Isaac gave a big feast for them, and everyone ate and drank. 31Early the next morning Isaac and the others made a solemn agreement, then he let them go in peace.
32Later that same day Isaac's servants came and said, "We've struck water!" 33So Isaac named the well Shibah, and the town is still called Beersheba.
Esau's Foreign Wives
34When Esau was forty, he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35But these two women brought a lot of grief to his parents Isaac and Rebekah.
Isaac Blesses Jacob
1After Isaac had become old and almost blind, he called in his first-born son Esau, who asked him, "Father, what can I do for you?"
2Isaac replied, "I am old and might die at any time. 3So take your bow and arrows, then go out in the fields, and kill a wild animal. 4Cook some of that tasty food that I love so much and bring it to me. I want to eat it once more and give you my blessing before I die."
5Rebekah had been listening, and as soon as Esau left to go hunting, 6she said to Jacob, "I heard your father tell Esau 7to kill a wild animal and cook some tasty food for your father before he dies. Your father said this because he wants to bless your brother with the LORD as his witness. 8Now, my son, listen carefully to what I want you to do. 9Go and kill two of your best young goats and bring them to me. I'll cook the tasty food that your father loves so much. 10Then you can take it to him, so he can eat it and give you his blessing before he dies."
11"My brother Esau is a hairy man," Jacob reminded her. "And I am not. 12If my father touches me and realizes I am trying to trick him, he will put a curse on me instead of giving me a blessing."
13Rebekah insisted, "Let his curse fall on me! Just do what I say and bring me the meat." 14So Jacob brought the meat to his mother, and she cooked the tasty food that his father liked. 15Then she took Esau's best clothes and put them on Jacob. 16She also covered the smooth part of his hands and neck with goatskins 17and gave him some bread and the tasty food she had cooked.
18Jacob went to his father and said, "Father, here I am."
"Which one of my sons are you?" his father asked.
19Jacob replied, "I am Esau, your first-born, and I have done what you told me. Please sit up and eat the meat I have brought. Then you can give me your blessing."
20Isaac asked, "My son, how did you find an animal so quickly?"
"The LORD your God was kind to me," Jacob answered.
21"My son," Isaac said, "come closer, where I can touch you and find out if you really are Esau." 22Jacob went closer. His father touched him and said, "You sound like Jacob, but your hands feel hairy like Esau's." 23And so Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau.
24Isaac asked, "Are you really my son Esau?"
"Yes, I am," Jacob answered.
25So Isaac told him, "Serve me the wild meat, and I can give you my blessing."
Jacob gave him some meat, and he ate it. He also gave him some wine, and he drank it. 26Then Isaac said, "Son, come over here and kiss me." 27While Jacob was kissing him, Isaac caught the smell of his clothes and said:
"The smell of my son
is like a field
the LORD has blessed.
28God will bless you, my son,
with dew from heaven
and with fertile fields,
rich with grain and grapes.
29Nations will be your servants
and bow down to you.
You will rule over your brothers,
and they will kneel
at your feet.
Anyone who curses you
will be cursed;
anyone who blesses you
will be blessed."
30Right after Isaac had given Jacob his blessing and Jacob had gone, Esau came back from hunting. 31He cooked the tasty food, brought it to his father, and said, "Father, please sit up and eat the meat I have brought you, so you can give me your blessing."
32"Who are you?" Isaac asked.
"I am Esau, your first-born son."
33Isaac started trembling and said, "Then who brought me some wild meat right before you came in? I ate it and gave him a blessing that cannot be taken back."
34Esau cried loudly and begged, "Father, give me a blessing too!"
35Isaac answered, "Your brother tricked me and stole your blessing."
36Esau replied, "My brother deserves the name Jacob, because he has already cheated me twice. The first time he cheated me out of my rights as the first-born son, and now he has cheated me out of my blessing." Then Esau asked his father, "Don't you still have any blessing left for me?" 37"My son," Isaac answered, "I have made Jacob the ruler over you and your brothers, and all of you will be his servants. I have also promised him all the grain and grapes that he needs. There's nothing left that I can do for you."
38"Father," Esau asked, "don't you have more than one blessing? You can surely give me a blessing too!" Then Esau started crying again.
39So his father said:
"Your home will be far
from that fertile land,
where dew comes down
from the heavens.
40You will live by the power
of your sword
and be your brother's slave.
But when you decide to be free,
you will break loose."
41Esau hated his brother Jacob because he had stolen the blessing that was supposed to be his. So he said to himself, "Just as soon as my father dies, I'll kill Jacob."
42When Rebekah found out what Esau planned to do, she sent for Jacob and told him, "Son, your brother Esau is just waiting for the time when he can kill you. 43Now listen carefully and do what I say. Go to the home of my brother Laban in Haran 44and stay with him for a while. When Esau stops being angry 45and forgets what you have done to him, I'll send for you to come home. Why should I lose both of my sons on the same day?" 46Rebekah later told Isaac, "Those Hittite wives of Esau are making my life miserable! If Jacob marries a Hittite woman, I'd be better off dead."
Isaac's Instructions to Jacob
1Isaac called in Jacob, then gave him a blessing, and said:
Don't marry any of those Canaanite women. 2Go at once to your mother's father Bethuel in northern Syria and choose a wife from one of the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. 3I pray that God All-Powerful will bless you with many descendants and let you become a great nation. 4May he bless you with the land he gave Abraham, so that you will take over this land where we now live as foreigners. 5Isaac then sent Jacob to stay with Rebekah's brother Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean.
Esau Marries the Daughter of Ishmael
6Esau found out that his father Isaac had blessed Jacob and had warned him not to marry any of the Canaanite women. He also learned that Jacob had been sent to find a wife in northern Syria 7and that he had obeyed his father and mother. 8Esau already had several wives, but he realized at last how much his father hated the Canaanite women. 9So he married Ishmael's daughter Mahalath, who was the sister of Nebaioth and the granddaughter of Abraham.
Jacob's Dream at Bethel
10Jacob left the town of Beersheba and started out for Haran. 11At sunset he stopped for the night and went to sleep, resting his head on a large rock. 12In a dream he saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven, and God's angels were going up and down on it. 13The LORD was standing beside the ladder and said: I am the LORD God who was worshiped by Abraham and Isaac. I will give to you and your family the land on which you are now sleeping. 14Your descendants will spread over the earth in all directions and will become as numerous as the specks of dust. Your family will be a blessing to all people. 15Wherever you go, I will watch over you, then later I will bring you back to this land. I won't leave you--I will do all I have promised. 16Jacob woke up suddenly and thought, "The LORD is in this place, and I didn't even know it." 17Then Jacob became frightened and said, "This is a fearsome place! It must be the house of God and the ladder to heaven." 18When Jacob got up early the next morning, he took the rock that he had used for a pillow and stood it up for a place of worship. Then he poured olive oil on the rock to dedicate it to God, 19and he named the place Bethel. Before that it had been named Luz. 20Jacob solemnly promised God, "If you go with me and watch over me as I travel, and if you give me food and clothes 21and bring me safely home again, you will be my God. 22This rock will be your house, and I will give back to you a tenth of everything you give me."
Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home
1As Jacob continued on his way to the east, 2he looked out in a field and saw a well where shepherds took their sheep for water. Three flocks of sheep were lying around the well, which was covered with a large rock. 3Shepherds would roll the rock away when all their sheep had gathered there. Then after the sheep had been watered, the shepherds would roll the rock back over the mouth of the well.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, "Where are you from?"
"We're from Haran," they answered.
5Then he asked, "Do you know Nahor's grandson Laban?"
"Yes we do," they replied.
6"How is he?" Jacob asked.
"He's fine," they answered. "And here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep."
7Jacob told them, "Look, the sun is still high up in the sky, and it's too early to bring in the rest of the flocks. Water your sheep and take them back to the pasture."
8But they replied, "We can't do that until they all get here, and the rock has been rolled away from the well."
9While Jacob was still talking with the men, his cousin Rachel came up with her father's sheep. 10When Jacob saw her and his uncle's sheep, he rolled the rock away and watered the sheep. 11He then kissed Rachel and started crying because he was so happy. 12He told her that he was the son of her aunt Rebekah, and she ran and told her father about him.
13As soon as Laban heard the news, he ran out to meet Jacob. He hugged and kissed him and brought him to his home, where Jacob told him everything that had happened. 14Laban said, "You are my nephew, and you are like one of my own family."
After Jacob had been there for a month,
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
15Laban said to him, "You shouldn't have to work without pay, just because you are a relative of mine. What do you want me to give you?"
16-17Laban had two daughters. Leah was older than Rachel, but her eyes didn't sparkle, while Rachel was beautiful and had a good figure. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he answered, "If you will let me marry Rachel, I'll work seven years for you." 19Laban replied, "It's better for me to let you marry Rachel than for someone else to have her. So stay and work for me." 20Jacob worked seven years for Laban, but the time seemed like only a few days, because he loved Rachel so much.
21Jacob said to Laban, "The time is up, and I want to marry Rachel now!" 22So Laban gave a big feast and invited all their neighbors. 23But that evening he brought Leah to Jacob, who married her and spent the night with her. 24Laban also gave Zilpah to Leah as her servant woman.
25The next morning Jacob found out that he had married Leah, and he asked Laban, "Why did you do this to me? Didn't I work to get Rachel? Why did you trick me?"
26Laban replied, "In our country the older daughter must get married first. 27After you spend this week with Leah, you may also marry Rachel. But you will have to work for me another seven years." 28-30At the end of the week of celebration, Laban let Jacob marry Rachel, and he gave her his servant woman Bilhah. Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, but he had to work another seven years for Laban.
31The LORD knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, and so he gave children to Leah, but not to Rachel. 32Leah gave birth to a son and named him Reuben, because she said, "The LORD has taken away my sorrow. Now my husband will love me more than he does Rachel." 33She had a second son and named him Simeon, because she said, "The LORD has heard that my husband doesn't love me." 34When Leah's third son was born, she said, "Now my husband will hold me close." So this son was named Levi. 35She had one more son and named him Judah, because she said, "I'll praise the LORD!"
Problems between Rachel and Leah
1Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, "I'll die if you don't give me some children!"
2But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, "Don't blame me! I'm not God."
3"Here, take my servant Bilhah," Rachel told him. "Have children by her, and I'll let them be born on my knees to show that they are mine."
4Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, 5and they had a son. 6Rachel named him Dan, because she said, "God has answered my prayers. He has judged me and given me a son." 7When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, 8Rachel said, "I've struggled hard with my sister, and I've won!" So she named the boy Naphtali. 9When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10and they had a son. 11"I'm really lucky," Leah said, and she named the boy Gad. 12When they had another son, 13Leah exclaimed, "I'm happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am." So she named him Asher.
14During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15but Leah said, "It's bad enough that you stole my husband! Now you want my son's love flowers too." "All right," Rachel answered. "Let me have the flowers, and you can sleep with Jacob tonight."
16That evening when Jacob came in from the fields, Leah told him, "You're sleeping with me tonight. I hired you with my son's love flowers."
They slept together that night, 17and God answered Leah's prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18Leah shouted, "God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant," and she named the boy Issachar. 19When Leah had another son, 20she exclaimed, "God has given me a wonderful gift, and my husband will praise me for giving him six sons." So she named the boy Zebulun. 21Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah. 22-23Finally, God remembered Rachel--he answered her prayer by giving her a son. "God has taken away my disgrace," she said. 24"I'll name the boy Joseph, and I'll pray that the LORD will give me another son."
Jacob and Laban
25After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, "Release me from our agreement and let me return to my own country. 26You know how hard I've worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave." 27-28But Laban told him, "If you really are my friend, stay on, and I'll pay whatever you ask. I'm sure the LORD has blessed me because of you." 29Jacob answered:
You've seen how hard I've worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You didn't have much before I came, but the LORD has blessed everything I have ever done for you. Now it's time for me to start looking out for my own family.
31"How much do you want me to pay you?" Laban asked.
Then Jacob told him:
I don't want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I'll take care of your sheep and goats. 32Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled and the black lambs. That's all you need to give me. 33In the future you can easily find out if I've been honest. Just look and see if my animals are either spotted or speckled, or if the lambs are black. If they aren't, they've been stolen from you. 34"I agree to that," was Laban's response. 35Before the end of the day, Laban had separated his spotted and speckled animals and the black lambs from the others and had put his sons in charge of them. 36Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.
37Jacob cut branches from some poplar trees and from some almond and evergreen trees. He peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. 38Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled. 40Some of the sheep that Jacob was keeping for Laban were already spotted. And when the others were ready to mate, he made sure that they faced in the direction of the spotted and black ones. In this way, Jacob built up a flock of sheep for himself and did not put them with the other sheep.
41When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42But he would not put out the branches when the weaker animals were mating. So Jacob got all of the healthy animals, and Laban got what was left. 43Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.
Jacob Runs from Laban
1Jacob heard that Laban's sons were complaining, "Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father." 2Jacob also noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before. 3One day the LORD said, "Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your ancestors, and I will bless you."
4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his sheep, 5and he told them:
Your father isn't as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God my ancestors worshiped has been on my side. 6You know that I have worked hard for your father 7and that he keeps cheating me by changing my wages time after time. But God has protected me. 8When your father said the speckled sheep would be my wages, all of them were speckled. And when he said the spotted ones would be mine, all of them were spotted. 9That's how God has taken sheep and goats from your father and given them to me.
10Once, when the flocks were mating, I dreamed that all the rams were either spotted or speckled. 11Then God's angel called me by name. I answered, 12and he said, "Notice that all the rams are either spotted or speckled. I know everything Laban is doing to you, 13and I am the God you worshiped at Bethel, when you poured olive oil on a rock and made a promise to me. Leave here right away and return to the land where you were born." 14Rachel and Leah said to Jacob:
There's nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15He treats us like foreigners and has even cheated us out of the bride price that should have been ours. 16Now do whatever God tells you to do. Even the property God took from our father and gave to you really belongs to us and our children. 17Then Jacob, his wives, and his children got on camels and left 18for the home of his father Isaac in Canaan. Jacob took all of the flocks, herds, and other property that he had gotten in northern Syria. 19Before Rachel left, she stole the household idols while Laban was out shearing his sheep. 20Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean by not saying that he intended to leave. 21When Jacob crossed the Euphrates River and headed for the hill country of Gilead, he took with him everything he owned.
Laban Catches Up with Jacob
22Three days later Laban found out that Jacob had gone. 23So he took some of his relatives along and chased after Jacob for seven days, before catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But God appeared to Laban in a dream that night and warned, "Don't say a word to Jacob. Don't make a threat or a promise."
25Jacob had set up camp in the hill country of Gilead, when Laban and his relatives came and set up camp in another part of the hill country. Laban went to Jacob 26and said:
Look what you've done! You've tricked me and run off with my daughters like a kidnapper. 27Why did you sneak away without telling me? I would have given you a going-away party with singing and with music on tambourines and harps. 28You didn't even give me a chance to kiss my own grandchildren and daughters good-by. That was really foolish. 29I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshiped has warned me not to make any threats or promises.
30I can understand why you were eager to return to your father, but why did you have to steal my idols?
31Jacob answered, "I left secretly because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by force. 32If you find that any one of us has taken your idols, I'll have that person killed. Let your relatives be witnesses. Show me what belongs to you, and you can take it back." Jacob did not realize that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33Laban searched the tents of Jacob, Leah, and the two servant women, but did not find the idols. Then he started for Rachel's tent. 34She had already hidden them in the cushion she used as a saddle and was sitting on it. Laban searched everywhere and did not find them. 35Rachel said, "Father, please don't be angry with me for not getting up; I am having my period." Laban kept on searching, but still did not find the idols. 36Jacob became very angry and said to Laban:
What have I done wrong? Have I committed some crime? Is that why you hunted me down? 37After searching through everything I have, did you find anything of yours? If so, put it here, where your relatives and mine can see it. Then we can decide what to do.
38In all the twenty years that I've worked for you, not one of your sheep or goats has had a miscarriage, and I've never eaten even one of your rams. 39If a wild animal killed one of your sheep or goats, I paid for it myself. In fact, you demanded the full price, whether the animal was killed during the day or at night. 40I sweated every day, and I couldn't sleep at night because of the cold. 41I had to work fourteen of these twenty long years to earn your two daughters and another six years to buy your sheep and goats. During that time you kept changing my wages. 42If the fearsome God worshiped by Abraham and my father Isaac had not been on my side, you would have sent me away without a thing. But God saw my hard work, and he knew the trouble I was in, so he helped me. Then last night he told you how wrong you were.
Jacob and Laban Make an Agreement
43Laban said to Jacob, "Leah and Rachel are my daughters, and their children belong to me. All these sheep you are taking are really mine too. In fact, everything you have belongs to me. But there is nothing I can do to keep my daughters and their children. 44So I am ready to make an agreement with you, and we will pile up some large rocks here to remind us of the agreement."
45After Jacob had set up a large rock, 46he told his men to get some more rocks and pile them up next to it. Then Jacob and Laban ate a meal together beside the rocks. 47Laban named the pile of rocks Jegar Sahadutha. But Jacob named it Galeed. 48Laban said to Jacob, "This pile of rocks will remind us of our agreement." That's why the place was named Galeed. 49Laban also said, "This pile of rocks means that the LORD will watch us both while we are apart from each other." So the place was also named Mizpah. 50Then Laban said:
If you mistreat my daughters or marry other women, I may not know about it, but remember, God is watching us! 51-52Both this pile of rocks and this large rock have been set up between us as a reminder. I must never go beyond them to attack you, and you must never go beyond them to attack me. 53My father Nahor, your grandfather Abraham, and their ancestors all worshiped the same God, and he will make sure that we each keep the agreement.
Then Jacob made a promise in the name of the fearsome God his father Isaac had worshiped. 54Jacob killed an animal and offered it as a sacrifice there on the mountain, and he invited his men to eat with him. After the meal they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning, Laban kissed his daughters and his grandchildren good-by, then he left to go back home.
Jacob Gets Ready To Meet Esau
1As Jacob was on his way back home, some of God's angels came and met him. 2When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is God's camp." So he named the place Mahanaim. 3Jacob sent messengers on ahead to Esau, who lived in the land of Seir, also known as Edom. 4Jacob told them to say to Esau, "Master, I am your servant! I have lived with Laban all this time, 5and now I own cattle, donkeys, and sheep, as well as many slaves. Master, I am sending these messengers in the hope that you will be kind to me."
6When the messengers returned, they told Jacob, "We went to your brother Esau, and now he is heading this way with four hundred men."
7Jacob was so frightened that he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two groups. 8He thought, "If Esau attacks one group, perhaps the other can escape."
9Then Jacob prayed:
You, LORD, are the God who was worshiped by my grandfather Abraham and by my father Isaac. You told me to return home to my family, and you promised to be with me and make me successful. 10I don't deserve all the good things you have done for me, your servant. When I first crossed the Jordan, I had only my walking stick, but now I have two large groups of people and animals. 11Please rescue me from my brother. I am afraid he will come and attack not only me, but my wives and children as well. 12But you have promised that I would be a success and that someday it will be as hard to count my descendants as it is to count the stars in the sky.
13After Jacob had spent the night there, he chose some animals as gifts for Esau: 14-15two hundred female goats and twenty males, two hundred female sheep and twenty males, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten males.
16Jacob put servants in charge of each herd and told them, "Go ahead of me and keep a space between each herd." 17Then he said to the servant in charge of the first herd, "When Esau meets you, he will ask whose servant you are. He will want to know where you are going and who owns those animals in front of you. 18So tell him, `They belong to your servant Jacob, who is coming this way. He is sending them as a gift to his master Esau.' "
19Jacob also told the men in charge of the second and third herds and those who followed to say the same thing when they met Esau. 20And Jacob told them to be sure to say that he was right behind them. Jacob hoped the gifts would make Esau friendly, so Esau would be glad to see him when they met. 21Jacob's men took the gifts on ahead of him, but he spent the night in camp.
Jacob's Name Is Changed to Israel
22-23Jacob got up in the middle of the night and took his wives, his eleven children, and everything he owned across to the other side of the Jabbok River for safety. 24Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone.
A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. 26They kept on wrestling until the man said, "Let go of me! It's almost daylight."
"You can't go until you bless me," Jacob replied.
27Then the man asked, "What is your name?"
"Jacob," he answered.
28The man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That's why your name will be Israel." 29Jacob said, "Now tell me your name."
"Don't you know who I am?" he asked. And he blessed Jacob.
30Jacob said, "I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive." So he named the place Peniel. 31The sun was coming up as Jacob was leaving Peniel. He was limping because he had been struck on the hip, 32and the muscle on his hip joint had been injured. That's why even today the people of Israel don't eat the hip muscle of any animal.
Jacob Meets Esau
1Later that day Jacob met Esau coming with his four hundred men. So Jacob had his children walk with their mothers. 2The two servant women, Zilpah and Bilhah, together with their children went first, followed by Leah and her children, then by Rachel and Joseph. 3Jacob himself walked in front of them all, bowing to the ground seven times as he came near his brother.
4But Esau ran toward Jacob and hugged and kissed him. Then the two brothers started crying.
5When Esau noticed the women and children he asked, "Whose children are these?"
Jacob answered, "These are the ones the LORD has been kind enough to give to me, your servant."
6Then the two servant women and their children came and bowed down to Esau. 7Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down; finally, Joseph and Rachel also came and bowed down.
8Esau asked Jacob, "What did you mean by these herds I met along the road?"
"Master," Jacob answered, "I sent them so that you would be friendly to me."
9"But, brother, I already have plenty," Esau replied. "Keep them for yourself."
10"No!" Jacob said. "Please accept these gifts as a sign of your friendship for me. When you welcomed me and I saw your face, it was like seeing the face of God. 11Please accept these gifts I brought to you. God has been good to me, and I have everything I need." Jacob kept insisting until Esau accepted the gifts.
12"Let's get ready to travel," Esau said. "I'll go along with you."
13But Jacob answered, "Master, you know traveling is hard on children, and I have to look after the sheep and goats that are nursing their young. If my animals travel too much in one day, they will all die. 14Why don't you go on ahead and let me travel along slowly with the children, the herds, and the flocks. We can meet again in the country of Edom."
15Esau replied, "Let me leave some of my men with you."
"You don't have to do that," Jacob answered. "I am happy, simply knowing that you are friendly to me."
16So Esau left for Edom. 17But Jacob went to Succoth, where he built a house for himself and set up shelters for his animals. That's why the place is called Succoth.
Jacob Arrives at Shechem
18After leaving northern Syria, Jacob arrived safely at Shechem in Canaan and set up camp outside the city. 19The land where he camped was owned by the descendants of Hamor, the father of Shechem. So Jacob paid them one hundred pieces of silver for the property, 20then he set up his tents and built an altar there to honor the God of Israel.
Dinah Is Raped
1Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the women who lived there. 2She was seen by Hamor's son Shechem, the leader of the Hivites, and he grabbed her and raped her. 3But Shechem was attracted to Dinah, so he told her how much he loved her. 4He even asked his father to get her for his wife.
5Meanwhile, Jacob heard what had happened. But his sons were out in the fields with the cattle, so he did not do anything at the time. 6Hamor arrived at Jacob's home 7just as Jacob's sons were coming in from work. When they learned that their sister had been raped, they became furiously angry. Nothing is more disgraceful than rape, and it should not be tolerated in Israel.
8Hamor said to Jacob and his sons:
My son Shechem really loves Dinah. Please let him marry her. 9Why don't you start letting your families marry into our families and ours marry into yours? 10You can share this land with us. Move freely about until you find the property you want; then buy it and settle down here.
11Shechem added, "Do this favor for me, and I'll give whatever you want. 12Ask anything, no matter how expensive. I'll do anything, just let me marry Dinah."
13Jacob's sons wanted to get even with Shechem and his father because of what had happened to their sister. 14So they tricked them by saying:
You're not circumcised! It would be a disgrace for us to let you marry Dinah now. 15But we will let you marry her, if you and the other men in your tribe get circumcised. 16Then your families can marry into ours, and ours can marry into yours, and we can live together like one nation. 17But if you don't agree to get circumcised, we'll take Dinah and leave this place. 18Hamor and Shechem liked what was said. 19Shechem was the most respected person in his family, and he was so in love with Dinah that he hurried off to get everything done. 20The two men met with the other leaders of their city and told them:
21These people really are friendly. Why not let them move freely about until they find the property they want? There's enough land here for them and for us. Then our families can marry into theirs, and theirs can marry into ours.
22We have to do only one thing before they will agree to stay here and become one nation with us. Our men will have to be circumcised like their men. 23Just think! We'll get their property, as well as their flocks and herds. All we have to do is to agree, and they will live here with us.
24Every grown man followed this advice and got circumcised.
Dinah's Brothers Take Revenge
25Three days later the men who had been circumcised were still weak from pain. So Simeon and Levi, two of Dinah's brothers, attacked with their swords and killed every man in town, 26including Hamor and Shechem. Then they took Dinah and left. 27Jacob's other sons came and took everything they wanted. All this was done because of the horrible thing that had happened to their sister. 28They took sheep, goats, donkeys, and everything else that was in the town or the fields. 29After taking everything of value from the houses, they dragged away the wives and children of their victims. 30Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "Look what you've done! Now I'm in real trouble with the Canaanites and Perizzites who live around here. There aren't many of us, and if they attack, they'll kill everyone in my household."
31They answered, "Was it right to let our own sister be treated that way?"
Jacob Returns to Bethel
1God told Jacob, "Return to Bethel, where I appeared to you when you were running from your brother Esau. Make your home there and build an altar for me."
2Jacob said to his family and to everyone else who was traveling with him:
Get rid of your foreign gods! Then make yourselves acceptable to worship God and put on clean clothes. 3Afterwards, we'll go to Bethel. I will build an altar there for God, who answered my prayers when I was in trouble and who has always been at my side.
4So everyone gave Jacob their idols and their earrings, and he buried them under the oak tree near Shechem. 5While Jacob and his family were traveling through Canaan, God terrified the people in the towns so much that no one dared bother them. 6Finally, they reached Bethel, also known as Luz. 7Jacob built an altar there and called it "God of Bethel," because that was the place where God had appeared to him when he was running from Esau. 8While they were there, Rebekah's personal servant Deborah died. They buried her under an oak tree and called it "Weeping Oak."
God Blesses Jacob at Bethel
9-11After Jacob came back to the land of Canaan, God appeared to him again. This time he gave Jacob a new name and blessed him by saying:
I am God All-Powerful, and from now on your name will be Israel instead of Jacob. You will have many children. Your descendants will become nations, and some of the men in your family will even be kings. 12I will give you the land that I promised Abraham and Isaac, and it will belong to your family forever. 13After God had gone, 14Jacob set up a large rock, so that he would remember what had happened there. Then he poured wine and olive oil on the rock to show that it was dedicated to God, 15and he named the place Bethel.
Benjamin Is Born
16Jacob and his family had left Bethel and were still a long way from Ephrath, when the time came for Rachel's baby to be born. 17She was having a rough time, but the woman who was helping her said, "Don't worry! It's a boy." 18Rachel was at the point of death, and right before dying, she said, "I'll name him Benoni." But Jacob called him Benjamin. 19Rachel was buried beside the road to Ephrath, which is also called Bethlehem. 20Jacob set up a tombstone over her grave, and it is still there. 21Jacob, also known as Israel, traveled to the south of Eder Tower, where he set up camp.
22During their time there, Jacob's oldest son Reuben slept with Bilhah, who was one of Jacob's other wives. And Jacob found out about it.
Jacob's Twelve Sons
23-26Jacob had twelve sons while living in northern Syria. His first-born Reuben was the son of Leah, who later gave birth to Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Leah's servant Zilpah had two sons: Gad and Asher. Jacob and his wife Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel's servant woman Bilhah had two more sons: Dan and Naphtali.
27Jacob went to his father Isaac at Hebron, also called Mamre or Kiriath-Arba, where Isaac's father Abraham had lived as a foreigner. 28-29Isaac died at the ripe old age of one hundred eighty, then his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
1Esau, also known as Edom, had many descendants. 2He married three Canaanite women: The first was Adah, the daughter of Elon the Hittite; the second was Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3the third was Basemath, who was Ishmael's daughter and Nebaioth's sister.
4-5Esau and his three wives had five sons while in Canaan. Adah's son was Eliphaz; Basemath's son was Reuel; Oholibamah's three sons were Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
6Esau took his children and wives, his relatives and servants, his animals and possessions he had gotten while in Canaan, and moved far from Jacob. 7He did this because the land was too crowded and could not support him and his brother with their flocks and herds. 8That's why Esau made his home in the hill country of Seir.
9-14Esau lived in the hill country of Seir and was the ancestor of the Edomites. Esau had three wives: Adah, Basemath, and Oholibamah. Here is a list of his descendants: Esau and Adah had a son named Eliphaz, whose sons were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. Timna was the other wife of Esau's son Eliphaz, and she had a son named Amalek. Esau and Basemath had a son named Reuel, whose sons were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
Esau and Oholibamah had three sons: Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
Chiefs and Leaders in Edom
15Esau and Adah's oldest son was Eliphaz, and the clans that descended from him were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16Korah, Gatam, and Amalek. These and Esau's other descendants lived in the land of Edom.
17The clans that descended from Esau and Basemath's son Reuel were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
18The clans that descended from Esau and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah were Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. 19All of these clans descended from Esau, who was known as Edom.
20Seir was from the Horite tribe that had lived in Edom before the time of Esau. The clans that had descended from him were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.
22Lotan's sons were Hori and Heman; his sister was Timna.
23Shobal's sons were Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.
24Zibeon's sons were Aiah and Anah--the same Anah who found an oasis in the desert while taking the donkeys of his father out to pasture. 25Anah's children were Dishon and Oholibamah.
26Dishon's sons were Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran.
27Ezer's sons were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.
28Dishan's sons were Uz and Aran.
29The clans of the Horites were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan, and they lived in the land of Seir.
31-39Before there were kings in Israel, the following kings ruled Edom one after another:
Bela son of Beor from Dinhabah;
Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah;
Husham from the land of Teman;
Hadad son of Bedad from Avith (Bedad had defeated the Midianites in Moab);
Samlah from Masrekah;
Shaul from the city of Rehoboth on the Euphrates River;
Baalhanan son of Achbor;
Hadar from the city of Pau (his wife Mehetabel was the daughter of Matred and the granddaughter of Mezahab).
40The clans that descended from Esau took their names from their families and the places where they lived. They are Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43Magdiel, and Iram. These clans descended from Esau, who was known as Edom, the father of the Edomites. They took their names from the places where they settled.
Joseph and His Brothers
1Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived, 2and this is the story of his family.
When Jacob's son Joseph was seventeen years old, he took care of the sheep with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. But he was always telling his father all sorts of bad things about his brothers. 3Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born after Jacob was very old. Jacob had given Joseph a fancy coat 4to show that he was his favorite son, and so Joseph's brothers hated him and would not be friendly to him. 5One day, Joseph told his brothers what he had dreamed, and they hated him even more. 6Joseph said, "Let me tell you about my dream. 7We were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles gathered around and bowed down to it."
8His brothers asked, "Do you really think you are going to be king and rule over us?" Now they hated Joseph more than ever because of what he had said about his dream.
9Joseph later had another dream, and he told his brothers, "Listen to what else I dreamed. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me."
10When he told his father about this dream, his father became angry and said, "What's that supposed to mean? Are your mother and I and your brothers all going to come and bow down in front of you?" 11Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering about the dream.
Joseph Is Sold and Taken to Egypt
12One day when Joseph's brothers had taken the sheep to a pasture near Shechem, 13his father Jacob said to him, "I want you to go to your brothers. They are with the sheep near Shechem."
"Yes, sir," Joseph answered.
14His father said, "Go and find out how your brothers and the sheep are doing. Then come back and let me know." So he sent him from Hebron Valley.
Joseph was near Shechem 15and wandering through the fields, when a man asked, "What are you looking for?"
16Joseph answered, "I'm looking for my brothers who are watching the sheep. Can you tell me where they are?"
17"They're not here anymore," the man replied. "I overheard them say they were going to Dothan."
Joseph left and found his brothers in Dothan. 18But before he got there, they saw him coming and made plans to kill him. 19They said to one another, "Look, here comes the hero of those dreams! 20Let's kill him and throw him into a pit and say that some wild animal ate him. Then we'll see what happens to those dreams."
21Reuben heard this and tried to protect Joseph from them. "Let's not kill him," he said. 22"Don't murder him or even harm him. Just throw him into a dry well out here in the desert." Reuben planned to rescue Joseph later and take him back to his father.
23When Joseph came to his brothers, they pulled off his fancy coat 24and threw him into a dry well. 25As Joseph's brothers sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with all kinds of spices that they were taking to Egypt. 26So Judah said, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body? 27Let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him. After all, he is our brother." And the others agreed.
28When the Midianite merchants came by, Joseph's brothers took him out of the well, and for twenty pieces of silver they sold him to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt. 29When Reuben returned to the well and did not find Joseph there, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 30Then he went back to his brothers and said, "The boy is gone! What am I going to do?"
31Joseph's brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's fancy coat in its blood. 32After this, they took the coat to their father and said, "We found this! Look at it carefully and see if it belongs to your son."
33Jacob knew it was Joseph's coat and said, "It's my son's coat! Joseph has been torn to pieces and eaten by some wild animal."
34Jacob mourned for Joseph a long time, and to show his sorrow he tore his clothes and wore sackcloth. 35All of Jacob's children came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "I will go to my grave, mourning for my son." So Jacob kept on grieving. 36Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to a man named Potiphar, who was the king's official in charge of the palace guard.
Judah and Tamar
1About that time Judah left his brothers in the hill country and went to live near his friend Hirah in the town of Adullam. 2While there he met the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite man. Judah married her, 3and they had three sons. He named the first one Er; 4she named the next one Onan. 5The third one was born when Judah was in Chezib, and she named him Shelah.
6Later, Judah chose Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son. 7But Er was very evil, and the LORD took his life. 8So Judah told Onan, "It's your duty to marry Tamar and have a child for your brother." 9Onan knew the child would not be his, and when he had sex with Tamar, he made sure that she would not get pregnant. 10The LORD wasn't pleased with Onan and took his life too. 11Judah did not want the same thing to happen to his son Shelah, and he told Tamar, "Go home to your father and live there as a widow until my son Shelah is grown." So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Some years later Judah's wife died, and he mourned for her. He then went with his friend Hirah to the town of Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared. 13Tamar found out that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14She also realized that Shelah was now a grown man, but she had not been allowed to marry him. So she decided to dress in something other than her widow's clothes and to cover her face with a veil. After this, she sat outside the town of Enaim on the road to Timnah.
15When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute 16and asked her to sleep with him. She asked, "What will you give me if I do?"
17"One of my young goats," he answered.
"What will you give me to keep until you send the goat?" she asked.
18"What do you want?" he asked in return.
"The ring on that cord around your neck," was her reply. "I also want the special walking stick you have with you." He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant. 19After returning home, Tamar took off the veil and dressed in her widow's clothes again.
20Judah had his friend Hirah take a goat to the woman, so he could get back the ring and walking stick, but she wasn't there. 21Hirah asked the people of Enaim, "Where is the prostitute who sat along the road outside your town?"
"There's never been one here," they answered.
22Hirah went back and told Judah, "I couldn't find the woman, and the people of Enaim said no prostitute had ever been there."
23"If you couldn't find her, we'll just let her keep the things I gave her," Judah answered. "And we'd better forget about the goat, or else we'll look like fools."
24About three months later someone told Judah, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar has behaved like a prostitute, and now she's pregnant!"
"Drag her out of town and burn her to death!" Judah shouted.
25As Tamar was being dragged off, she sent someone to tell her father-in-law, "The man who gave me this ring, this cord, and this walking stick is the one who got me pregnant."
26"Those are mine!" Judah admitted. "She's a better person than I am, because I broke my promise to let her marry my son Shelah." After this, Judah never slept with her again.
27-28Tamar later gave birth to twins. But before either of them was born, one of them stuck a hand out of her womb. The woman who was helping tied a red thread around the baby's hand and explained, "This one came out first."
29Right away his hand went back in, and the other child was born first. The woman then said, "What an opening you've made for yourself!" So they named the baby Perez. 30When the brother with the red thread came out, they named him Zerah.
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
1The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, the king's official in charge of the palace guard. 2-3So Joseph lived in the home of Potiphar, his Egyptian owner. Soon Potiphar realized that the LORD was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did. 4Potiphar liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant, putting him in charge of his house and all of his property. 5Because of Joseph, the LORD began to bless Potiphar's family and fields. 6Potiphar left everything up to Joseph, and with Joseph there, the only decision he had to make was what he wanted to eat.
Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7and Potiphar's wife soon noticed him. She asked him to make love to her, 8but he refused and said, "My master isn't worried about anything in his house, because he has placed me in charge of everything he owns. 9No one in my master's house is more important than I am. The only thing he hasn't given me is you, and that's because you are his wife. I won't sin against God by doing such a terrible thing as this." 10She kept begging Joseph day after day, but he refused to do what she wanted or even to go near her.
11One day, Joseph went to Potiphar's house to do his work, and none of the other servants were there. 12Potiphar's wife grabbed hold of his coat and said, "Make love to me!" Joseph ran out of the house, leaving her hanging onto his coat.
13When this happened, 14she called in her servants and said, "Look! This Hebrew has come just to make fools of us. He tried to rape me, but I screamed for help. 15And when he heard me scream, he ran out of the house, leaving his coat with me."
16Potiphar's wife kept Joseph's coat until her husband came home. 17Then she said, "That Hebrew slave of yours tried to rape me! 18But when I screamed for help, he left his coat and ran out of the house."
19Potiphar became very angry 20and threw Joseph in the same prison where the king's prisoners were kept.
While Joseph was in prison, 21the LORD helped him and was good to him. He even made the jailer like Joseph so much that 22he put him in charge of the other prisoners and of everything that was done in the jail. 23The jailer did not worry about anything, because the LORD was with Joseph and made him successful in all that he did.
Joseph Tells the Meaning of the Prisoners' Dreams
1-3While Joseph was in prison, both the king's personal servant and his chief cook made the king angry. So he had them thrown into the same prison with Joseph. 4They spent a long time in prison, and Potiphar, the official in charge of the palace guard, made Joseph their servant. 5One night each of the two men had a dream, but their dreams had different meanings. 6The next morning, when Joseph went to see the men, he could tell they were upset, 7and he asked, "Why are you so worried today?"
8"We each had a dream last night," they answered, "and there is no one to tell us what they mean."
Joseph replied, "Doesn't God know the meaning of dreams? Now tell me what you dreamed."
9The king's personal servant told Joseph, "In my dream I saw a vine 10with three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its grapes became ripe. 11I held the king's cup and squeezed the grapes into it, then I gave the cup to the king."
This is the meaning of your dream. The three branches stand for three days, 13and in three days the king will pardon you. He will make you his personal servant again, and you will serve him his wine, just as you used to do. 14But when these good things happen, please don't forget to tell the king about me, so I can get out of this place. 15I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and here in Egypt I haven't done anything to deserve being thrown in jail.
16When the chief cook saw that Joseph had given a good meaning to the dream, he told Joseph, "I also had a dream. In it I was carrying three breadbaskets stacked on top of my head. 17The top basket was full of all kinds of baked things for the king, but birds were eating them."
This is the meaning of your dream. The three baskets are three days, 19and in three days the king will cut off your head. He will hang your body on a pole, and birds will come and peck at it.
20Three days later, while the king was celebrating his birthday with a dinner for his officials, he sent for his personal servant and the chief cook. 21He put the personal servant back in his old job 22and had the cook put to death.
Everything happened just as Joseph had said it would, 23but the king's personal servant completely forgot about Joseph.
Joseph Interprets the King's Dreams
1Two years later the king of Egypt dreamed he was standing beside the Nile River. 2Suddenly, seven fat, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass along the bank. 3Then seven ugly, skinny cows came up out of the river and 4ate the fat, healthy cows. When this happened, the king woke up. 5The king went back to sleep and had another dream. This time seven full heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6Later, seven other heads of grain appeared, but they were thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full heads. Again the king woke up, and it had only been a dream.
8The next morning the king was upset. So he called in his magicians and wise men and told them what he had dreamed. None of them could tell him what the dreams meant.
9The king's personal servant said:
Now I remember what I was supposed to do. 10When you were angry with me and your chief cook, you threw us both in jail in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night we both had dreams, and each dream had a different meaning. 12A young Hebrew, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, was there with us at the time. When we told him our dreams, he explained what each of them meant, 13and everything happened just as he said it would. I got my job back, and the cook was put to death.
14The king sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of jail. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to the king.
15The king said to him, "I had a dream, yet no one can explain what it means. I am told that you can interpret dreams."
16"Your Majesty," Joseph answered, "I can't do it myself, but God can give a good meaning to your dreams."
17The king told Joseph:
I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass. 19Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt. 20The skinny cows ate the fat ones. 21But you couldn't tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before. Right away, I woke up.
22I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. The heads were full and ripe. 23Then seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert. 24These heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.
Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do. 26The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain. 27The seven skinny, ugly cows that came up later also stand for seven years, as do the seven bad heads of grain that were scorched by the east wind. The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won't be enough grain.
28It is just as I said--God has shown what he intends to do. 29For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain, 30but that will be followed by seven years when there won't be enough. The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving. 31The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty. 32God has given you two dreams to let you know that he has definitely decided to do this and that he will do it soon.
33Your Majesty, you should find someone who is wise and will know what to do, so that you can put him in charge of all Egypt. 34Then appoint some other officials to collect one-fifth of every crop harvested in Egypt during the seven years when there is plenty. 35Give them the power to collect the grain during those good years and to store it in your cities. 36It can be stored until it is needed during the seven years when there won't be enough grain in Egypt. This will keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food.
Joseph Is Made Governor over Egypt
37The king and his officials liked this plan. 38So the king said to them, "No one could possibly handle this better than Joseph, since the Spirit of God is with him." 39The king told Joseph, "God is the one who has shown you these things. No one else is as wise as you are or knows as much as you do. 40I'm putting you in charge of my palace, and everybody will have to obey you. No one will be over you except me. 41You are now governor of all Egypt!"
42Then the king took off his royal ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He gave him fine clothes to wear and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43He also let him ride in the chariot next to his own, and people shouted, "Make way for Joseph!" So Joseph was governor of Egypt.
44The king told Joseph, "Although I'm king, no one in Egypt is to do anything without your permission." 45He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah. And he let him marry Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis. Joseph traveled all over Egypt. 46Joseph was thirty when the king made him governor, and he went everywhere for the king. 47For seven years there were big harvests of grain. 48Joseph collected and stored up the extra grain in the cities of Egypt near the fields where it was harvested. 49In fact, there was so much grain that they stopped keeping record, because it was like counting the grains of sand along the beach.
50Joseph and his wife had two sons before the famine began. 51Their first son was named Manasseh, which means, "God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home." 52His second son was named Ephraim, which means "God has made me a success in the land where I suffered." 53Egypt's seven years of plenty came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was not enough food in other countries, but all over Egypt there was plenty. 55When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do."
56The famine became bad everywhere in Egypt, so Joseph opened the storehouses and sold the grain to the Egyptians. 57People from all over the world came to Egypt, because the famine was severe in their countries.
Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt To Buy Grain
1When Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why are you just sitting here, staring at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Now go down and buy some, so we won't starve to death."
3Ten of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph's younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him. 5So Jacob's sons joined others from Canaan who were going to Egypt because of the terrible famine.
6Since Joseph was governor of Egypt and in charge of selling grain, his brothers came to him and bowed with their faces to the ground. 7-8They did not recognize Joseph, but right away he knew who they were, though he pretended not to know. Instead, he spoke harshly and asked, "Where do you come from?"
"From the land of Canaan," they answered. "We've come here to buy grain."
9Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, "You're spies! You've come here to find out where our country is weak."
10"No sir," they replied. "We're your servants, and we have only come to buy grain. 11We're honest men, and we come from the same family--we're not spies."
12"That isn't so!" Joseph insisted. "You've come here to find out where our country is weak."
13But they explained, "Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead."
It's just like I said. You're spies, 15and I'm going to find out who you really are. I swear by the life of the king that you won't leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16Choose one of you to go after your brother, while the rest of you stay here in jail. That will show whether you are telling the truth. But if you are lying, I swear by the life of the king that you are spies!
17Joseph kept them all under guard for three days, 18before saying to them:
Since I respect God, I'll give you a chance to save your lives. 19If you are honest men, one of you must stay here in jail, and the rest of you can take the grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then I'll know that you are telling the truth, and you won't be put to death.
Joseph's brothers agreed 21and said to one another, "We're being punished because of Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in, but we refused to help him when he begged us. That's why these terrible things are happening."
22Reuben spoke up, "Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen, and now we have to pay the price for killing him."
23They did not know that Joseph could understand them, since he was speaking through an interpreter. 24Joseph turned away from them and cried, but soon he turned back and spoke to them again. Then he had Simeon tied up and taken away while they watched.
Joseph's Brothers Return to Canaan
25Joseph gave orders for his brothers' grain sacks to be filled with grain and for their money to be put in their sacks. He also gave orders for them to be given food for their journey home. After this was done, 26they each loaded the grain on their donkeys and left. 27When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and right away he saw his moneybag. 28"Here's my money!" he told his brothers. "Right here in my sack."
They were trembling with fear as they stared at one another and asked themselves, "What has God done to us?"
29When they returned to the land of Canaan, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened to them:
30The governor of Egypt was rude and treated us like spies. 31But we told him, "We're honest men, not spies. 32We come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and the other is dead."
33Then the governor of Egypt told us, "I'll find out if you really are honest. Leave one of your brothers here with me, while you take the grain to your starving families. 34But bring your youngest brother to me, so I can be certain that you are honest men and not spies. After that, I'll let your other brother go free, and you can stay here and trade."
35When the brothers started emptying their sacks of grain, they found their moneybags in them. They were frightened, and so was their father Jacob, 36who said, "You have already taken my sons Joseph and Simeon from me. And now you want to take away Benjamin! Everything is against me."
37Reuben spoke up, "Father, if I don't bring Benjamin back, you can kill both of my sons. Trust me with him, and I will bring him back."
38But Jacob said, "I won't let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you. His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left. I am an old man, and if anything happens to him on the way, I'll die from sorrow, and all of you will be to blame."
Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt with Benjamin
1The famine in Canaan got worse, 2until finally, Jacob's family had eaten all the grain they had bought in Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, "Go back and buy some more grain."
3-5Judah replied, "The governor strictly warned us that we would not be allowed to see him unless we brought our youngest brother with us. If you let us take Benjamin along, we will go and buy grain. But we won't go without him!"
6Jacob asked, "Why did you cause me so much trouble by telling the governor you had another brother?"
7They answered, "He asked a lot of questions about us and our family. He wanted to know if you were still alive and if we had any more brothers. All we could do was answer his questions. How could we know he would tell us to bring along our brother?"
8Then Judah said to his father, "Let Benjamin go with me, and we will leave right away, so that none of us will starve to death. 9I promise to bring him back safely, and if I don't, you can blame me as long as I live. 10If we had not wasted all this time, we could already have been there and back twice."
11Their father said:
If Benjamin must go with you, take the governor a gift of some of the best things from our own country, such as perfume, honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Also take along twice the amount of money for the grain, because there must have been some mistake when the money was put back in your sacks. 13Take Benjamin with you and leave right away. 14When you go in to see the governor, I pray that God All-Powerful will be good to you and that the governor will let your other brother and Benjamin come back home with you. If I must lose my children, I suppose I must.
15The brothers took the gifts, twice the amount of money, and Benjamin. Then they hurried off to Egypt. When they stood in front of Joseph, 16he saw Benjamin and told the servant in charge of his house, "Take these men to my house. Slaughter an animal and cook it, so they can eat with me at noon."
17The servant did as he was told and took the brothers to Joseph's house. 18But on the way they got worried and started thinking, "We are being taken there because of the money that was put back in our sacks last time. He will arrest us, make us his slaves, and take our donkeys."
19So when they arrived at Joseph's house, they said to the servant in charge, 20"Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy grain. 21But when we stopped for the night, we each found in our grain sacks the exact amount we had paid. We have brought that money back, 22together with enough money to buy more grain. We don't know who put the money in our sacks."
23"It's all right," the servant replied. "Don't worry. The God you and your father worship must have put the money there, because I received your payment in full." Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The servant took them into Joseph's house and gave them water to wash their feet. He also tended their donkeys. 25The brothers got their gifts ready to give to Joseph at noon, since they had heard they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought, and they bowed down to him. 27After Joseph had asked how they were, he said, "What about your elderly father? Is he still alive?"
28They answered, "Your servant our father is still alive and well." And again they bowed down to Joseph.
29When Joseph looked around and saw his brother Benjamin, he said, "This must be your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son."
30Right away he rushed off to his room and cried because of his love for Benjamin. 31After washing his face and returning, he was able to control himself and said, "Serve the meal!"
32Joseph was served at a table by himself, and his brothers were served at another. The Egyptians sat at yet another table, because Egyptians felt it was disgusting to eat with Hebrews. 33To the surprise of Joseph's brothers, they were seated in front of him according to their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. 34They were served food from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was given five times as much as each of the others. So Joseph's brothers drank with him and had a good time.
The Missing Cup
1-2Later, Joseph told the servant in charge of his house, "Fill the men's grain sacks with as much as they can hold and put their money in the sacks. Also put my silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother." The servant did as he was told.
3Early the next morning, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4But they had not gone far from the city when Joseph told the servant, "Go after those men! When you catch them, say, `My master has been good to you. So why have you stolen his silver cup? 5Not only does he drink from his cup, but he also uses it to learn about the future. You have done a terrible thing.' "
6When the servant caught up with them, he said exactly what Joseph had told him to say. 7But they replied, "Sir, why do you say such things? We would never do anything like that! 8We even returned the money we found in our grain sacks when we got back to Canaan. So why would we want to steal any silver or gold from your master's house? 9If you find that one of us has the cup, then kill him, and the rest of us will become your slaves."
10"Good!" the man replied, "I'll do what you have said. But only the one who has the cup will become my slave. The rest of you can go free."
11Each of the brothers quickly put his sack on the ground and opened it. 12Joseph's servant started searching the sacks, beginning with the one that belonged to the oldest brother. When he came to Benjamin's sack, he found the cup. 13This upset the brothers so much that they began tearing their clothes in sorrow. Then they loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers got there, Joseph was still at home. So they bowed down to Joseph, 15who asked them, "What have you done? Didn't you know I could find out?"
16"Sir, what can we say?" Judah replied. "How can we prove we are innocent? God has shown that we are guilty. And now all of us are your slaves, especially the one who had the cup."
17Joseph told them, "I would never punish all of you. Only the one who was caught with the cup will become my slave. The rest of you are free to go home to your father."
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18Judah went over to Joseph and said:
Sir, you have as much power as the king himself, and I am only your slave. Please don't get angry if I speak. 19You asked us if our father was still alive and if we had any more brothers. 20So we told you, "Our father is a very old man. In fact, he was already old when Benjamin was born. Benjamin's brother is dead. Now Benjamin is the only one of the two brothers who is still alive, and our father loves him very much." 21You ordered us to bring him here, so you could see him for yourself. 22We told you that our father would die if Benjamin left him. 23But you warned us that we could never see you again, unless our youngest brother came with us. 24So we returned to our father and reported what you had said.
25Later our father told us to come back here and buy more grain. 26But we answered, "We can't go back to Egypt without our youngest brother. We will never be let in to see the governor, unless he is with us."
27Sir, our father then reminded us that his favorite wife had given birth to two sons. 28One of them was already missing and had not been seen for a long time. My father thinks the boy was torn to pieces by some wild animal, 29and he said, "I am an old man. If you take Benjamin from me, and something happens to him, I will die of a broken heart."
30That's why Benjamin must be with us when I go back to my father. He loves him so much 31that he will die if Benjamin doesn't come back with me. 32I promised my father that I would bring him safely home. If I don't, I told my father he could blame me the rest of my life.
33Sir, I am your slave. Please let me stay here in place of Benjamin and let him return home with his brothers. 34How can I face my father if Benjamin isn't with me? I couldn't bear to see my father in such sorrow.
Joseph Tells His Brothers Who He Is
1Since Joseph could no longer control his feelings in front of his servants, he sent them out of the room. When he was alone with his brothers, he told them, "I am Joseph." 2Then he cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard him and told about it in the king's palace. 3Joseph asked his brothers if his father was still alive, but they were too frightened to answer. 4Joseph told them to come closer to him, and when they did, he said:
Yes, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. 5Don't worry or blame yourselves for what you did. God is the one who sent me ahead of you to save lives.
6There has already been a famine for two years, and for five more years no one will plow fields or harvest grain. 7But God sent me on ahead of you to keep your families alive and to save you in this wonderful way. 8After all, you weren't really the ones who sent me here--it was God. He made me the highest official in the king's court and placed me over all Egypt.
9Now hurry back and tell my father that his son Joseph says, "God has made me ruler of Egypt. Come here as quickly as you can. 10You will live near me in the region of Goshen with your children and grandchildren, as well as with your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 11I will take care of you there during the next five years of famine. But if you don't come, you and your family and your animals will starve to death."
12All of you, including my brother Benjamin, can tell by what I have said that I really am Joseph. 13Tell my father about my great power here in Egypt and about everything you have seen. Hurry and bring him here.
14Joseph and Benjamin hugged each other and started crying. 15Joseph was still crying as he kissed each of his other brothers. After this, they started talking with Joseph.
16When it was told in the palace that Joseph's brothers had come, the king and his officials were happy. 17So the king said to Joseph:
Tell your brothers to load their donkeys and return to Canaan. 18Have them bring their father and their families here. I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they can eat and enjoy everything that grows on it. 19Also tell your brothers to take some wagons from Egypt for their wives and children to ride in. And be sure to have them bring their father. 20They can leave their possessions behind, because they will be given the best of everything in Egypt.
21Jacob's sons agreed to do what the king had said. And Joseph gave them wagons and food for their trip home, just as the king had ordered. 22Joseph gave some new clothes to each of his brothers, but to Benjamin he gave five new outfits and three hundred pieces of silver. 23To his father he sent ten donkeys loaded with the best things in Egypt, and ten other donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other food for the return trip. 24Then he sent his brothers off and told them, "Don't argue on the way home!"
25Joseph's brothers left Egypt, and when they arrived in Canaan, 26they told their father that Joseph was still alive and was the ruler of Egypt. But their father was so surprised that he could not believe them. 27Then they told him everything Joseph had said. When he saw the wagons Joseph had sent, he felt much better 28and said, "Now I can believe you! My son Joseph must really be alive, and I will get to see him before I die."
Jacob and His Family Go to Egypt
1Jacob packed up everything he owned and left for Egypt. On the way he stopped near the town of Beersheba and offered sacrifices to the God his father Isaac had worshiped. 2That night, God spoke to him and said, "Jacob! Jacob!"
"Here I am," Jacob answered.
3God said, "I am God, the same God your father worshiped. Don't be afraid to go to Egypt. I will give you so many descendants that one day they will become a nation. 4I will go with you to Egypt, and later I will bring your descendants back here. Your son Joseph will be at your side when you die."
5-7Jacob and his family set out from Beersheba and headed for Egypt. His sons put him in the wagon that the king had sent for him, and they put their small children and their wives in the other wagons. Jacob's whole family went to Egypt, including his sons, his grandsons, his daughters, and his granddaughters. They took along their animals and everything else they owned. 8-15When Jacob went to Egypt, his children who were born in northern Syria also went along with their families. Jacob and his wife Leah had a total of thirty-three children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but two of their grandchildren had died in Canaan.
Their oldest son Reuben took his sons Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
Their son Simeon took his sons Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, whose mother was a Canaanite.
Their son Levi took his sons Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Their son Judah took his sons Shelah, Perez, and Zerah. Judah's sons Er and Onan had died in Canaan. Judah's son Perez took his sons Hezron and Hamul.
Their son Issachar took his sons Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron. Their son Zebulun took his sons Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
Their daughter Dinah also went.
16-18Jacob and Zilpah, the servant woman Laban had given his daughter Leah, had a total of sixteen children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Their son Gad took his sons Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
Their son Asher took his sons Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, who took his sons, Heber and Malchiel.
Serah, the daughter of Asher, also went.
19-22Jacob and Rachel had fourteen children and grandchildren.
Their son Joseph was already in Egypt, where he had married Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of Heliopolis. Joseph and Asenath had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Jacob and Rachel's son Benjamin took his sons Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
23-25Jacob and Bilhah, the servant woman Laban had given his daughter Rachel, had seven children and grandchildren.
Their son Dan took his son Hushim.
Their son Naphtali took his sons Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
26Sixty-six members of Jacob's family went to Egypt with him, not counting his daughters-in-law. 27Jacob's two grandsons who were born there made it a total of seventy members of Jacob's family in Egypt.
28Jacob had sent his son Judah ahead of him to ask Joseph to meet them in Goshen. 29So Joseph got in his chariot and went to meet his father. When they met, Joseph hugged his father around the neck and cried for a long time. 30Jacob said to Joseph, "Now that I have seen you and know you are still alive, I am ready to die."
31Then Joseph said to his brothers and to everyone who had come with them:
I must go and tell the king that you have arrived from Canaan. 32I will tell him that you are shepherds and that you have brought your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 33The king will call you in and ask what you do for a living. 34When he does, be sure to say, "We are shepherds. Our families have always raised sheep." If you tell him this, he will let you settle in the region of Goshen. Joseph wanted them to say this to the king, because the Egyptians did not like to be around anyone who raised sheep.
1-2Joseph took five of his brothers to the king and told him, "My father and my brothers have come from Canaan. They have brought their sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else they own to the region of Goshen."
Then he introduced his brothers to the king, 3who asked them, "What do you do for a living?"
"Sir, we are shepherds," was their answer. "Our families have always raised sheep. 4But in our country all the pastures are dried up, and our sheep have no grass to eat. So we, your servants, have come here. Please let us live in the region of Goshen."
5The king said to Joseph, "It's good that your father and brothers have arrived. 6I will let them live anywhere they choose in the land of Egypt, but I suggest that they settle in Goshen, the best part of our land. I would also like for your finest shepherds to watch after my own sheep and goats."
7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and introduced him to the king. Jacob gave the king his blessing, 8and the king asked him, "How old are you?"
9Jacob answered, "I have lived only a hundred thirty years, and I have had to move from place to place. My parents and my grandparents also had to move from place to place. But they lived much longer, and their life was not as hard as mine." 10Then Jacob gave the king his blessing once again and left. 11Joseph obeyed the king's orders and gave his father and brothers some of the best land in Egypt near the city of Rameses. 12Joseph also provided food for their families.
A Famine in Egypt
13The famine was bad everywhere in Egypt and Canaan, and the people were suffering terribly. 14So Joseph sold them the grain that had been stored up, and he put the money in the king's treasury. 15But when everyone had run out of money, the Egyptians came to Joseph and demanded, "Give us more grain! If you don't, we'll soon be dead, because our money's all gone." 16"If you don't have any money," Joseph answered, "give me your animals, and I'll let you have some grain." 17From then on, they brought him their horses and donkeys and their sheep and goats in exchange for grain.
Within a year Joseph had collected every animal in Egypt. 18Then the people came to him and said:
Sir, there's no way we can hide the truth from you. We are broke, and we don't have any more animals. We have nothing left except ourselves and our land. 19Don't let us starve and our land be ruined. If you'll give us grain to eat and seed to plant, we'll sell ourselves and our land to the king. We'll become his slaves. 20The famine became so severe that Joseph finally bought every piece of land in Egypt for the king 21and made everyone the king's slaves, 22except the priests. The king gave the priests a regular food allowance, so they did not have to sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, "You and your land now belong to the king. I'm giving you seed to plant, 24but one-fifth of your crops must go to the king. You can keep the rest as seed or as food for your families." 25"Sir, you have saved our lives!" they answered. "We are glad to be slaves of the king." 26Then Joseph made a law that one-fifth of the harvest would always belong to the king. Only the priests did not lose their land.
Jacob Becomes an Old Man
27The people of Israel made their home in the land of Goshen, where they became prosperous and had large families. 28Jacob himself lived there for seventeen years, before dying at the age of one hundred forty-seven. 29When Jacob knew he did not have long to live, he called in Joseph and said, "If you really love me, you must make a solemn promise not to bury me in Egypt. 30Instead, bury me in the place where my ancestors are buried."
"I will do what you have asked," Joseph answered.
31"Will you give me your word?" Jacob asked.
"Yes, I will," Joseph promised. After this, Jacob bowed down and prayed at the head of his bed.
Jacob Blesses Joseph's Two Sons
1Joseph was told that his father Jacob had become very sick. So Joseph went to see him and took along his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2When Joseph arrived, someone told Jacob, "Your son Joseph has come to see you." Jacob sat up in bed, but it took almost all his strength.
3Jacob told Joseph:
God All-Powerful appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, where he gave me his blessing 4and promised, "I will give you a large family with many descendants that will grow into a nation. And I am giving you this land that will belong to you and your family forever."
5Then Jacob went on to say:
Joseph, your two sons Ephraim and Manasseh were born in Egypt, but I accept them as my own, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6Any children you have later will be considered yours, but their inheritance will come from Ephraim and Manasseh. 7Unfortunately, your mother Rachel died in Canaan after we had left northern Syria and before we reached Bethlehem. And I had to bury her along the way. 8-10Jacob was very old and almost blind. He did not recognize the two boys, and so he asked Joseph, "Who are these boys?"
Joseph answered, "They are my sons. God has given them to me here in Egypt."
"Bring them to me," Jacob said. "I want to give them my blessing." Joseph brought the boys to him, and he hugged and kissed them.
11Jacob turned to Joseph and told him, "For many years I thought you were dead and that I would never see you again. But now God has even let me live to see your children." 12Then Joseph made his sons move away from Jacob's knees, and Joseph bowed down in front of him with his face to the ground. 13After Joseph got up, he brought his two sons over to Jacob again. He led his younger son Ephraim to the left side of Jacob and his older son Manasseh to the right. 14But before Jacob gave them his blessing, he crossed his arms, putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left hand on the head of Manasseh. 15Then he gave Joseph his blessing and said:
My grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac worshiped the LORD God. He has been with me all my life, 16and his angel has kept me safe. Now I pray that he will bless these boys and that my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac will live on because of them. I ask God to give them many children and many descendants as well.
17Joseph did not like it when he saw his father place his right hand on the head of the younger son. So he tried to move his father's right hand from Ephraim's head and place it on Manasseh. 18Joseph said, "Father, you have made a mistake. This is the older boy. Put your right hand on him."
19But his father said, "Son, I know what I am doing. It's true that Manasseh's family will someday become a great nation. But Ephraim will be even greater than Manasseh, because his descendants will become many great nations."
20Jacob told him that in the future the people of Israel would ask God's blessings on one another by saying, "I pray for God to bless you as much as he blessed Ephraim and Manasseh." Jacob put Ephraim's name first to show that he would be greater than Manasseh. 21After that, Jacob said, "Joseph, you can see that I won't live much longer. But God will be with you and will lead you back to the land he promised our family long ago. 22Meanwhile, I'm giving you the hillside I captured from the Amorites."
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Jacob called his sons together and said:
My sons, I am Jacob,
your father Israel.
2Come, gather around,
as I tell your future.
3Reuben, you are my oldest,
born at the peak of my powers;
you were an honored leader.
4Uncontrollable as a flood,
you slept with my wife
and disgraced my bed.
And so you no longer deserve
the place of honor.
5Simeon and Levi,
you are brothers,
each a gruesome sword.
6I never want to take part
in your plans or deeds.
You slaughtered people
in your anger,
and you crippled cattle
for no reason.
7Now I place a curse on you
your fierce anger.
will be scattered
among the tribes of Israel.
8Judah, you will be praised
by your brothers;
they will bow down to you,
as you defeat your enemies.
9My son, you are a lion
ready to eat your victim!
You are terribly fierce;
no one will bother you.
10You will have power and rule
until nations obey you and come bringing gifts.
11You will tie your donkey
to a choice grapevine
and wash your clothes
in wine from those grapes.
12Your eyes are darker than wine,
your teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun, you will settle
along the seashore
and provide safe harbors
as far north as Sidon.
14Issachar, you are a strong donkey
resting in the meadows. 15You found them so pleasant
that you worked too hard
and became a slave.
16Dan, you are the tribe that will bring justice
17You are a snake that bites
the heel of a horse,
making its rider fall.
18Our LORD, I am waiting
for you to save us.
19Gad, you will be attacked, then attack your attackers.
20Asher, you will eat food
fancy enough for a king.
21Naphtali, you are a wild deer
with lovely fawns. 22Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
growing near a stream
and climbing a wall. 23Enemies attacked with arrows,
refusing to show mercy.
24But you stood your ground,
swiftly shooting back
with the help of Jacob's God,
the All-Powerful One--
his name is the Shepherd,
Israel's mighty rock. 25Your help came from the God
your father worshiped,
from God All-Powerful.
God will bless you with rain
and streams from the earth;
he will bless you
with many descendants.
26My son, the blessings I give
are better than the promise
of ancient mountains
or eternal hills. Joseph, I pray these blessings
will come to you,
because you are the leader
of your brothers.
27Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
destroying your enemies
morning and evening.
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.
29-31Jacob told his sons:
Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.
33When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.
1Joseph started crying, then leaned over to hug and kiss his father.
2Joseph gave orders for Jacob's body to be embalmed, 3and it took the usual forty days.
The Egyptians mourned seventy days for Jacob. 4When the time of mourning was over, Joseph said to the Egyptian leaders, "If you consider me your friend, please speak to the king for me. 5Just before my father died, he made me promise to bury him in his burial cave in Canaan. If the king will give me permission to go, I will come back here." 6The king answered, "Go to Canaan and keep your promise to your father."
7-9When Joseph left Goshen with his brothers, his relatives, and his father's relatives to bury Jacob, many of the king's highest officials and even his military chariots and cavalry went along. The Israelites left behind only their children, their cattle, and their sheep and goats.
10After crossing the Jordan River and reaching Atad's threshing place, Joseph had everyone mourn and weep seven days for his father. 11The Canaanites saw this and said, "The Egyptians are in great sorrow." Then they named the place "Egypt in Sorrow." 12So Jacob's sons did just as their father had instructed. 13They took him to Canaan and buried him in Machpelah Cave, the burial place Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite.
14After the funeral, Joseph, his brothers, and everyone else returned to Egypt.
Joseph's Promise to His Brothers
15After Jacob died, Joseph's brothers said to each other, "What if Joseph still hates us and wants to get even with us for all the cruel things we did to him?"
16So they sent this message to Joseph:
Before our father died, 17he told us, "You did some cruel and terrible things to Joseph, but you must ask him to forgive you."
Now we ask you to please forgive the terrible things we did. After all, we serve the same God that your father worshiped.
When Joseph heard this, he started crying.
18Right then, Joseph's brothers came and bowed down to the ground in front of him and said, "We are your slaves."
19But Joseph told them, "Don't be afraid! I have no right to change what God has decided. 20You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing. 21Don't be afraid! I will take care of you and your children." After Joseph said this, his brothers felt much better.
22Joseph lived in Egypt with his brothers until he died at the age of one hundred ten. 23Joseph lived long enough to see Ephraim's children and grandchildren. He also lived to see the children of Manasseh's son Machir, and he welcomed them into his family. 24Before Joseph died, he told his brothers, "I won't live much longer. But God will take care of you and lead you out of Egypt to the land he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25Now promise me that you will take my body with you when God leads you to that land."
26So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of one hundred ten; his body was embalmed and put in a coffin.