THE TESTAMENT OF JOSEPH
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81 Verses | Page 1 / 2
The Eleventh Son of Jacob and Rachel.


(William Wake and Solomon Caesar Malan version)



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THE copy of the Testament of Joseph.
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When he was about to die he called his sons and his brethren together, and said to them:--
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My brethren and my children, hearken to Joseph the beloved of Israel; give ear, my sons, unto your father.
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I have seen in my life envy and death, yet I went not astray, but persevered in the truth--of the Lord.
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These my brethren hated me, but the Lord loved me:
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They wished to slay me, but the God of my fathers guarded me:
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They let me down into a pit, and the Most High brought me up again.
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I was sold into slavery, and the Lord of all made me free:
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I was taken into captivity, and His strong hand succoured me.
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I was beset with hunger, and the Lord Himself nourished me.
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I was alone, and God comforted me:
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I was sick, and the Lord visited me.
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I was in prison, and my God showed favour unto me;
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In bonds, and He released me;
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Slandered, and He pleaded my cause;
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Bitterly spoken against by the Egyptians, and He delivered me;
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Envied by my fellow-slaves, and He exalted me.
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And this chief captain of Pharaoh entrusted to me his house.
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And I struggled against a shameless woman, urging me to transgress with her; but the God of Israel my father delivered me from the burning flame.
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I was cast into prison, I was beaten, I was mocked; but the Lord granted me to find mercy, in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
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For the Lord doth not forsake them that fear Him, neither in darkness, nor in bonds, nor in tribulations, nor in necessities.
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For God is not put to shame as a man, nor as the son of man is he afraid, nor as one that is earth-born is He weak or affrighted.
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But in all those things doth He give protection, and in divers ways doth He comfort, though for a little space He departeth to try the inclination of the soul.
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In ten temptations He showed me approved, and in all of them I endured; for endurance is a mighty charm, and patience giveth many good things.
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How often did the Egyptian woman threaten me with death!
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How often did she give me over to punishment, and then call me back and threaten me, and when I was unwilling to company with her, she said to me:
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Thou shalt be lord of me, and all that is in my house, if thou wilt give thyself unto me, and thou shalt be as our master.
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But I remembered the words of my father, and going into my chamber, I wept and prayed unto the Lord.
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And I fasted in those seven years, and I appeared to the Egyptians as one living delicately, for they that fast for God's sake receive beauty of face.
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And if my lord were away from home, I drank no wine; nor for three days did I take my food, but I gave it to the poor and sick.
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And I sought the Lord early, and I wept for the Egyptian woman of Memphis, for very unceasingly did she trouble me, for also at night she came to me under pretence of visiting me.
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And because she had no male child she pretended to regard me as a son.
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And for a time she embraced me as a son, and I knew it not; but later, she sought to draw me into fornication.
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And when I perceived it I sorrowed unto death; and when she had gone out, I came to myself, and lamented for her many days, because I recognized her guile and her deceit.
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And I declared unto her the words of the Most High, if haply she would turn from her evil lust.
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Often, therefore, did she flatter me with words as a holy man, and guilefully in her talk praise my chastity before her husband, while desiring to ensnare me when we were alone.
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For she lauded me openly as chaste, and in secret she said unto me: Fear not my husband; for he is persuaded concerning thy chastity: for even should one tell him concerning us, he would not believe.
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Owing to all these things I lay upon the ground, and besought God that the Lord would deliver me from her deceit.
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And when she had prevailed nothing thereby, she came again to me under the plea of instruction, that she might learn the word of God.
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And she said unto me: If thou willest that I should leave my idols, lie with me, and I will persuade my husband to depart from his idols, and we will walk in the law by thy Lord.
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And I said unto her: The Lord willeth not. that those who reverence Him should be in uncleanness, nor doth He take pleasure in them that commit adultery, but in those that approach Him with a pure heart and undefiled lips.
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But she heed her peace, longing to accomplish her evil desire.
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And I gave myself yet more to fasting and prayer, that the Lord might deliver me from her.
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And again, at another time she said unto me: If thou wilt not commit adultery, I will kill my husband by poison; and take thee to be my husband.
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I therefore, when I heard this, rent my garments, and said unto her:
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Woman, reverence God, and do not this evil deed, lest thou be destroyed; for know indeed that I will declare this thy device unto all men.
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She therefore, being afraid, besought that I would not declare this device.
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And she departed soothing me with gifts, and sending to me every delight of the sons of men.
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And afterwards she sent me food mingled with enchantments.
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And when the eunuch who brought it came, I looked up and beheld a terrible man giving me with the dish a sword, and I perceived that her scheme was to beguile me.


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