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Chapter 24

The author of Jubilees is unaware of the midrash which explains the red lentil stew which Jacob made as a mourning meal for the death of Abraham:
It came to pass after the death of Abraham, that the Lord blessed Isaac his son, and he arose from Hebron and went and dwelt at the Well of the Vision in the first year of the third week [sc. of years] of this jubilee, seven years. And in the first year of the fourth week [sc. of years] a famine began in the land, besides the first famine, which had been in the days of Abraham. Jacob sod lentil pottage, and Esau came from the field hungry. And he said to Jacob his brother: 'Give me of this red pottage.'
Isaac swears an oath of peace with Abimelech king of Gerar. The author of Jubilees is disquieted at this oath of friendship between a Hebrew and their traditional enemies the Philistines, and adds:

Isaac knew that day that he had sworn to tem under constraint to make peace with them. On that day Isaac cursed the Philistines and said: 'Cursed be the Philistines unto the day of wrath and indignation from the midst of all nations; may God make them a derision and a curse and an object of wrath and indignation in the hands of the sinners the Gentiles and in the hands of the Kittim. And whoever escapes the sword of the enemy and the Kittim, may the righteous nation root out in judgment from under heaven; for they shall be the enemies and foes of my children throughout their generations upon the earth, and no remnant shall be left to them, nor one that shall be saved on the day of the wrath of judgment. For destruction and rooting out and expulsion from the earth is the whole seed of the Philistines (reserved), and there shall no longer be left for these Caphtorim a name or a seed on the earth.

for though he ascend unto heaven, Thence shall he be brought down,
And though he make himself strong on earth, Thence shall he be dragged forth,
And though he hide himself amongst the nations, Even from thence shall he be rooted out;
And though he descend into Sheol, There also shall his condemnation be great, and there also he shall have no peace.

And if he go into captivity, By the hands of those that seek his life shall they slay him on the way, And neither name nor seed shall be left to him on all the earth; For into eternal malediction shall he depart.'

And thus is it written and engraved concerning him on the heavenly tablets, to do unto him on the day of judgment, so that he may be rooted out of the earth.

Strong stuff!

Chapter 26

When Isaac said "The hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob", why did he continue to accept Jacob's subterfuge? The Bible doesn't give an answer; Jubilees supplies one:
He felt him and said: 'The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau,' and he discerned him not, because it was a dispensation from heaven to remove his power of perception, and Isaac discerned not, for his hands were hairy as his brother Esau's, so that he blessed him.
When Esau returns from the hunt, and discovers he has been deceived, he cries out "Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, my father!" Isaac responds:
Behold, your dwelling shall be from the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you shall break his yoke from off your neck. הִנֵּה מִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ יִהְיֶה מוֹשָׁבֶךָ וּמִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם מֵעָל׃ וְעַל־חַרְבְּךָ תִחְיֶה וְאֶת־אָחִיךָ תַּעֲבֹד וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר תָּרִיד וּפָרַקְתָּ עֻלּוֹ מֵעַל צַוָּארֶךָ׃

Now, הִנֵּה מִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ יִהְיֶה מוֹשָׁבֶךָ, "Your dwelling shall be from the fatness of the earth", can mean either "Your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth," making this a blessing, or "Your dwelling shall be far from the fatness of the earth," making it a curse. Jubilees (predictably) goes for the latter, and then, not content with that, adds to the end:

You shall sin a complete sin unto death, And your seed shall be rooted out from under heaven.

Chapter 27

The Bible continues: "Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand, then will I kill my brother Jacob. These words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son," and told him to flee to Ḥaran. But wait; how could Rebekah know something Esau only said in his heart? Jubilees provides the answer by supplying, after "were told to Rebekah": "in a dream". In the Bible, Jacob meekly goes along with his mother's plan; in Jubilees, he is more assertive:
Jacob said, 'I am not afraid; if he tries to kill me, I will kill him!' But she said to him: 'Let me not be bereft of both my sons on one day.'

[Dead Sea Scroll of Jubilees] Jubilees posts                     Jewish learning notes index


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