lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
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Chapter 31

In Gen. 35:2, Jacob tells his household to put away their foreign gods. The narrative continues (v.4) :
They gave to Jacob all the foreign gods in their possession, and all the earrings in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak by Shechem. וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶל־יַעֲקֹב אֵת כָּל־אֱלֹהֵי הַנֵּכָר אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדָם וְאֶת־הַנְּזָמִים אֲשֶׁר בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם וַיִּטְמֹן אֹתָם יַעֲקֹב תַּחַת הָאֵלָה אֲשֶׁר עִם־שְׁכֶם׃
For the author of Jubilees, with his attitude towards righteousness, this isn't good enough:
They gave up the strange gods and that which was in their ears and which was on their necks and the idols which Rachel stole from Laban her father she gave wholly to Jacob. And he burnt and broke them to pieces and destroyed them, and hid them under an oak which is in the land of Shechem.

Note that this is the first mention of Rachel stealing her father's teraphim; the story of Rachel taking them and sitting on them so Laban couldn't find them when he searched her possessions is completely missing, presumably so as to miss the implication that Rachel was actually taking them for use in worship.

When Jacob had many years earlier tricked his father into giving him the blessing intended for Esau, we were told Isaac's eyes had grown dim in his old age. When Jacob finally returns to Cana`an, the Bible follows this immediately with the account of Isaac's death; but this is a case of it wanting to close Isaac's story here. If you add up the year counts, you can see that Isaac lived a good many years yet.* In Jubilees when Jacob finally returns to his father, he takes with him Levi and Judah, and the narrative says:

The darkness left the eyes of Isaac, and he saw the two sons of Jacob, Levi, and Judah, and he said: 'Are these thy sons, my son for they are like thee?'

* Which the rabbinical commentators knew, arguing that the superfluous "His father wept for [Joseph]" at the end of Gen. 37:35, when Jacob thinks that Joseph is dead, is not repeating information we already knew, but saying that Isaac wept for Jacob's unhappiness.

Isaac then blesses these grandsons of his, and once again the narrative imputes justification from the patriarchal age for something which actually arose much later: Addressing Levi:
May the Lord give to you and to your descendants seed greatness and great glory, and cause you and your descendants, from among all flesh, to approach Him to serve in His sanctuary as the angels of the presence and as the holy ones.

Chapter 32

Jacob counted his sons from him upwards and Levi fell to the portion of the Lord. His father clothed him in the garments of the priesthood and performed his investiture.
Having returned to Bethel, where God had appeared to him before he fled, now Jacob performs lots of sacrifices, for which Jubilees gives dates corresponding with the later festival of Succoth. "An angel descended from heaven with seven tablets in his hands, and he gave them to Jacob, and he read them and knew all that was written therein which would befall him and his sons throughout all the ages," on account of which:
He celebrated there yet another day, and he sacrificed thereon according to all that he sacrificed on the former days, and called its name 'Addition,' for this day was added and the former days he called 'The Feast'. Thus it was manifested that it should be, and it is written on the heavenly tablets, wherefore it was revealed to him that he should celebrate it, and add it to the seven days of the feast. Its name was called 'Addition,' because that it was recorded amongst the days of the feast days, according to the number of the days of the year.
"The [Pilgrimage] Festival", הֶחַג, without further qualification, is how the Torah refer to Succoth; the "Addition" is the Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly, which is half part of Succoth and half its own festival.
Rebecca went and returned to her house to his father Isaac, and Jacob sent by her hand rams and sheep and billy-goats that she should prepare a meal for his father such as he desired.
Sound familiar?
And he went after his mother till he came to the land of Kabratan, and he dwelt there.

Where? This book explains, which perhaps I should read;* it looks like it has better commentary than the copy of Jubilees I read.

* Subtext: If I want to turn this blog series into a talk for Limmud the way I did my Samaritan Torah notes. I'm making no promises about this, though!

Chapter 33

Gen. 35:22:
It happened when Israel dwelt in that land that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine*: and Israel heard it
now the sons of Jacob were twelve.
וַיְהִי בִּשְׁכֹּן יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאָרֶץ הַהִוא וַיֵּלֶךְ רְאוּבֵן וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֶת־בִּלְהָה פִּילֶגֶשׁ אָבִיו וַיִּשְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי־יַעֲקֹב שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר׃
Note the way the text breaks off in mid-sentence; the author evidently considered this subject too distasteful to pursue, though later (49:3-4) we do get:
Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed; then defiled you it: he went up to my couch. רְאוּבֵן בְּכֹרִי אַתָּה כֹּחִי וְרֵאשִׁית אוֹנִי יֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עָז׃ פַּחַז כַּמַּיִם אַל־תּוֹתַר כִּי עָלִיתָ מִשְׁכְּבֵי אָבִיךָ אָז חִלַּלְתָּ יְצוּעִי עָלָה׃
Jubilees tells us:
Jacob did not approach her again because Reuben had defiled her.

* Sleeping with one's father's concubine (normally after his death was apparently a way of asserting one's ascendancy over one's other brothers in the Middle East at the time, which is why in 1 Kings 2 when Adonijah petitions his younger brother King Solomon to be given David's concubine Abishag as wife, Solomon flies off the handle, retorts "Why not ask for the kingdom too?", and has him killed.)

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


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