Monday, February 20, 2006

Biblical Question and Answer Feb 16 2006.

Q: What’s up with all those different names assigned to the patriarchs and other biblical figures?

A: There are some serious problems with the traditional understanding of name-switching.
Let’s take Jacob, for example. The conventional understanding is that he was first named Jacob and after his struggle with an angel was renamed Israel. There are several problems with this. First, the text does not exclusively call him Israel after this event, as is the case with Abraham vs. Abram and Sarah vs. Sarai. Second, the origin of the name Israel is obviously mythological. An angel in human form do not exist in reality. Third, even if angels in human form do exist --or if assume that he struggled with an ordinary person-- how could they "change" a person’s name. If that is the name he is known by amongst his tribe, family and friends, then why and how could it be changed? If this particular patriarch was known as "Jacob" for most of his lifetime, then there’s no need to change this name. Finally, even if such a change could be effected and it did in fact occur, why does the biblical author bother with it. Why not call him "Jacob" all the time since that was his primary name or "Israel" all the time since that was his revised and ultimate name?

This is why I believe that name variations in the bible are attributable to variations in biblical documentary sources. In the case of Jacob/Israel I am very much convinced that this is the case, since the name is so different and because the new name is not applied consistently. Furthermore, I believe that these names do not refer to the same historical person. Thus, there was a "patriarch" to the northern Israelite tribes (headed by Ephraim) by the name of Israel and there was a Judahite patriarch known as Jacob. The priestly author or some other redactor (perhaps the JE redactor) had to reconcile these two divergent traditions and accomplished this through a "name change".

Q: What is so unique about the tribe of Joseph?

A: The tribe of Joseph is subdivided between Ephraim and Manasseh. According to the Genesis account (Genesis 48) Manasseh is the older one and is therefore entitled to the birthright (double portion of the inheritance) and a special blessing, much like that Isaac should have given to his eldest son Esau and ended up giving to Jacob after he fooled him. In the case of Ephraim and Manasseh, however, Jacob himself initiated the switch placing Ephraim before Manasseh because Ephraim’s future is destined to be bigger than Manasseh’s and his seed will "fill the nations".

But there’s something even more important in Jacob’s blessing to Joseph’s sons as recorded in the E document (Genesis 48:8-22). Jacob is saying to Joseph: The angel who redeemed me from all evil shall bless the lads and he shall call in them my name and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and they shall flourish like fish in the midst of the land. "call in them my name" means that they and only they represent the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and can be called Jacobites/Israelites. All other sons of Jacob will have to be subordinate to Ephraim and Manasseh and will not be the primary representatives of the Israelite family.

This is remarkable! Jacob is taking his youngest son and he is not only giving him the birthright by splitting Joseph into two tribes thus giving him a double portion, but he is also pretending that Ephraim and Manasseh are his direct sons and constitute the primary inheritors of his name.

We believe that most if not all stories in the Bible should be interpreted as myth and their sole purpose is to explain the origin and background to the realities of life experienced by the biblical author. Accordingly, this E story of Ephraim and Manasseh was developed during the divided kingdom in an attempt to explain the realities of contemporary political life.

* Manasseh is said to be the eldest son because in the formative years of Israel’s existence Manasseh played a pivotal role in the affairs of the loose Israelite tribal federation. Gide’on the son of Yoash and Jair the Gile’adite and Jephtach the Gile’adite were from the tribe of Manasseh. In the case of Gide’on Ben Yoash, he says to the angel (Judges 6:15) "My family is the poorest in Manasseh". Gide’on Ben Yoash heeded to the angel’s voice and lead Israel against the Amalzkites and Midianites. In the case of Jair the Gile’adite (Judges 10:3), he is said to have judged Israel 22 years and fathered thirty sons who in turn founded thirty cities which were called "Havothjair" in Gile’ad. Finally, there was Jephtach the Gile’adite who was at first despised by his people but was later appointed chief in order to defend the Gileadites against the Amonites (Judges 11).

Gile’ad is synonymous with Manasseh. We see this in several places:
Jair the son of Manasseh from Gile’ad founded "Havothjair". In judges 10 it doesn’t say that Jair was from Manasseh but this is stated in Deuteronomy 3:14.

In Joshua 17 it states that Makir the firstborn of Manasseh was the father of Gile’ad. He was "a man of war and so he had Gile’ad and Bashan" (Joshua 17:1).

* Ephraim is said to be the younger son of Joseph because Ephraim’s power emerged in later years. After the united kingdom was established by Saul and then continued by David and Solomon, Jeroboam Ben Nebat from Ephraim was the first Israelite king to break away from the southern Davidic kingdom and establish his own, more prosperous kingdom. Ever since then, "Ephraim" became synonymous with "Israel".

* Jacob is depicted as placing the younger and weaker Ephraim before Manasseh because the weaker Ephraim eventually becomes the stronger of the two. The weakness of Ephraim compared to Manasseh in the days of the judges is illustrated by the story in Judges (12:1-6) wherein the Manassites pursue the Ephraimites, conquer the passages of the Jordan and slay any Ephraimite attempting to escape. 42,000 Ephraimites are said to have died in this battle. By contrast, in the days of the monarchy, not only was Ephraim the royal tribe (as pointed out earlier that Jeroboam was an Ephraimite), but Manasseh didn’t seem to play any significant role in the monarchy. Like the other tribes who settled east of the Jordan (Reuben and Gad), it seems that they gradually assimilated into the neighboring nations of Amon, Moab and Edom. At the time of the monarchy, no mention is ever made in the book of kings or chronicles that any Israelite tribes lived east of the Jordan and inhabited such huge tracts of land as the Bashan and Gile’ad.

* Joshua, the servant of Moses is an Ephraimite in the E tradition. He followed Moses’ leadership of the Israelites into Canaan.

Are the biblical stories about Joseph true?

As I pointed out earlier, we believe that biblical stories of Israel’s ancestral past are reconstructed based on current realities. In the case of Joseph, consider the following parallels between the story of Joseph and later Israelite history.

* According to J, Le’ah had four sons (Genesis 29:31-35) Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Note that these tribes later (after 922 BCE) constituted the Southern "Davidic" Kingdom. Judah was the core of the Davidic kingdom, Levi provided the priesthood for the Jerusalem temple, Simeon first inherited land bordering the "Negev" in southern Judah. During monarchic times, however, Simeon had become assimilated into Judah. Reuben never inhabited any land west of the Jordan but they did live close to Judah east of the Jordan at one point in early history. By monarchic times we no longer hear from Reuben; it seems that they had assimilated into Moab or Edom. If they assimilated into Edom then Judah actually ruled Reubenites while they ruled Edom (until the days of Jehoshaphat) and Reubenites thus constituted part of the southern kingdom. At any rate, Reuben is certainly not associated with the northern kingdom like all other tribes are. They lived quite far from the northwestern territory of Israel and were never ruled by Jeroboam or subsequent Israelite dynasties.

* According to E, Rachel was the matriarch of the three tribes that later constituted the core of the northern kingdom: Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin. Banjamin lies to the immediate north of Judah, then comes Ephraim and then Manasseh. Manasseh’s northern border was Beth she’an and the valley of Jezreel.

To the north of Manasseh we have Issachar and Zebulon and then Dan and Naphtali to the far north. These four tribes were not always part of Israel; much of the land in their territory was never completely under tribal control. Even at monarchic times, their land was not always under the monarchy’s rule, especially the northernmost territories. Asher was part of the Phoenician coast and Gad occupied land east of the Jordan.

A clear picture of projected patriarchal affiliations based on later history now emerges. Rachel is the mother of the northern kingdom and Leah is the mother of the southern kingdom (Issachar and Zebulun are attributed to Le’ah by the E writer; they are NOT Leah’s sons in the J document). The E story, written in the north, portrays the six Le’ah brothers representing the southern tribes as antagonistic to the Rachel brothers representing the northern tribes and in the process created the story that even though Reuben and Judah were the older sons of Jacob (reflecting Judahite seniority during the united monarchy), they were not the most beloved of his sons. In fact, E claims that Israel loved Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) more than any of his other sons. The six Leah brothers envied him for this and ganged up to do something about it. The Le’ah brothers’ subjugation and humiliation of Joseph reprsents Solomon’s and Rehoboam’s heavy taxation and exploitation of the north. Solomon divided his kingdom into twelve districts and each district had to furnish provisions to the king on a different month; they also had to provide manpower to the Judahite king ("Mas obed"). The Le’ah borthers are going to find pasture in Shechem and then in Dothan, both of which are in Manasseh territory. This further illustrates how the south is attempting to unrightfully exploit the north.
Consequently, the northern tribes are forced to secede and form their own kingdom. Rehoboam declares war on the house of Israel and gathers 180 thousand soldiers to fight the Israelites (1kings 12:21). This is represented by the E expression: "they could not talk in peace with him" (Genesis 37:4), which means that it was the Le’ah brothers who initiated the schism. According to E, Jacob sends Joseph to Shechem to ensure the peace of his brothers and the peace of the sheep. This represents Israel’s willingness to make peace even under the heavy taxation by Judah but Judah is not willing to compromise and alleviate some of the taxation. It comes to a point where continued taxation by Judah is seen by E as synonymous with Israel’s annihilation and E therefore represents this event with the Le’ah brothers’ attempt to kill Joseph.

Reuben comes to the rescue and suggests that Joseph be lowered into a pit that does not contain water (so that he does not drown and die immediately) so that he dies of starvation and thirst and not in their hands. Reuben’s real plan is to eventually "rescue" Joseph and return him to his father but when he returns after having eaten a meal with his brothers elsewhere, it is found that Joseph is no longer there. He had been pulled out by Midianites and is on his way to Egypt.
In J’s version of this episode, it is Judah who comes to Joseph’s rescue but Judah only intends to save Joseph’s life, not to return him to his father. Judah suggests that Joseph be sold to Ismaelite merchants traveling from Gile’ad towards Egypt.

What accounts for the JE variation between Judah and Reuben?

In E, Reuben --as the eldest son of Israel-- is seen as the most important of the Le’ah brothers. Of course, Joseph is even more important even though he is the youngest but Joseph does not belong to the Le’ah family. Therefore, whenever E is about to describe a responsible role, it naturally confers that role upon the eldest Le’ah son, Reuben. E assumes this approach when it comes to the identitiy of Joseph’s savior and the one pledging to return Benjamin to his father.
J has a different approach. In J, Reuben is not important; the tribe of Reuben does not worship in the Jerusalem temple and has no cultural affiliation with Judah. Reuben, the eponymous forefather, has "lost" his birthright, as Jacob says in the Blessing of Jacob "You shall not excel!" (Genesis 49:4). In J, Judah has taken over as the most preeminent tribal patriarch among the Le’ah brothers and the roles played by Reuben in E are therefore played by Judah in J. In addition, J adds the role of Judah of pleading with Joseph to return Benjamin after he is arrested for stealing the silver cup. Moreover, the insistence that Reuben was the one objecting to the conspiracy to slay Joseph is a grave insult to the tribe of Judah as it implies that their eponymous ancestor stood there quietly as the eponymous ancestor of Joseph, the core of Israel, was about to be irreversably annihilated. Naturally, therefore, J’s version of the episode insisted that it was Judah who intervened on Joseph’s behalf.

Why are Dan and Naphtali viewed as sons of Rachel’s concubine, Bilhah while Gad and Asher are viewed as sons of Leah’s concubine?

Dan and Naphtali are naturally considered allies of the northern kingdom. However, as pointed out earlier, the Israelite grip over their territory was not that firm. Besides, these tribes were not considered as "elite" as the Ephraim and Manasseh tribes who constituted the core of Israel. Accordingly, they are represented as allied with the Rachel tribes but not related closely enough to belong to Israel proper.

Asher inhabited the phoenician coast which was never directly controlled by the northern kingdom. Likewise, Gad settled to the east of the Jordan in Amorite territoy (Sihon, king of the Amorites) and were never ruled or affiliated with the northern kingdom. What remains unclear, though, is how they came to be associated with the Le’ah tribes. It is possible that since Solomon maintained extremely good relations with the Phoenician kingdom of Tyre, Asher came to be viewed as part of that alliance. Gad, was also seen as seen as subordinate to the southern kingdom since the south presumably led some military campaigns in that area at some point in time. Gad and Asher thus came to be seen as vassals of Judah (in addition to their presumed ethnic ties) and were therefore depicted as descendant from a Le’ah concubine.

E source
J source
יח וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתוֹ מֵֽרָחֹק וּבְטֶרֶם יִקְרַב אֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּתְנַכְּלוּ אֹתוֹ לַֽהֲמִיתֽוֹ: כא וַיִּשְׁמַע רְאוּבֵן וַיַּצִּלֵהוּ מִיָּדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ: כב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־הַבּוֹר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר וְיָד אַל־תִּשְׁלְחוּ־בוֹ לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ מִיָּדָם לַֽהֲשִׁיבוֹ אֶל־אָבִֽיו: כד וַיִּקָּחֻהוּ וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתוֹ הַבֹּרָה וְהַבּוֹר רֵק אֵין בּוֹ מָֽיִם: כה וַיֵּֽשְׁבוּ לֶֽאֱכָל־לֶחֶם: כח וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹֽחֲרִים וַֽיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּֽעֲלוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף מִן־הַבּוֹר: כט וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן אֶל־הַבּוֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵין־יוֹסֵף בַּבּוֹר וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־בְּגָדָֽיו: ל וַיָּשָׁב אֶל־אֶחָיו וַיֹּאמַר הַיֶּלֶד אֵינֶנּוּ וַֽאֲנִי אָנָה אֲנִי־בָֽא: לו וְהַמְּדָנִים מָֽכְרוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־מִצְרָיִם לְפֽוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִֽים:
יט וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו הִנֵּה בַּעַל הַֽחֲלֹמוֹת הַלָּזֶה בָּֽא: כ וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַֽהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה־יִּֽהְיוּ חֲלֹֽמֹתָֽיו: [שלישי] כג וַיְהִי כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּא יוֹסֵף אֶל־אֶחָיו וַיַּפְשִׁיטוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים אֲשֶׁר עָלָֽיו: כד וַיִּשְׂאוּ עֵֽינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה אֹֽרְחַת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים בָּאָה מִגִּלְעָד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶם נֹֽשְׂאִים נְכֹאת וּצְרִי וָלֹט הֽוֹלְכִים לְהוֹרִיד מִצְרָֽיְמָה: כו וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל־אֶחָיו מַה־בֶּצַע כִּי נַֽהֲרֹג אֶת־אָחִינוּ וְכִסִּינוּ אֶת־דָּמֽוֹ: כז לְכוּ וְנִמְכְּרֶנּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְיָדֵנוּ אַל־תְּהִי־בוֹ כִּֽי־אָחִינוּ בְשָׂרֵנוּ הוּא וַֽיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶחָֽיו: כח וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף מִצְרָֽיְמָה: לא וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת יוֹסֵף וַֽיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים וַיִּטְבְּלוּ אֶת־הַכֻּתֹּנֶת בַּדָּֽם: לב וַֽיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶל־אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ זֹאת מָצָאנוּ הַכֶּר־נָא הַכְּתֹנֶת בִּנְךָ הִוא אִם־לֹֽא: לג וַיַּכִּירָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ טָרֹף טֹרַף יוֹסֵֽף: לד וַיִּקְרַע יַֽעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל־בְּנוֹ יָמִים רַבִּֽים: לה וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל־בָּנָיו וְכָל־בְּנֹתָיו לְנַֽחֲמוֹ וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם וַיֹּאמֶר כִּֽי־אֵרֵד אֶל־בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ אָבִֽיו:
לז וַיֹּאמֶר רְאוּבֵן אֶל־אָבִיו לֵאמֹר אֶת־שְׁנֵי בָנַי תָּמִית אִם־לֹא אֲבִיאֶנּוּ אֵלֶיךָ תְּנָה אֹתוֹ עַל־יָדִי וַֽאֲנִי אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ אֵלֶֽיךָ: לח וַיֹּאמֶר לֹֽא־יֵרֵד בְּנִי עִמָּכֶם כִּֽי־אָחִיו מֵת וְהוּא לְבַדּוֹ נִשְׁאָר וּקְרָאָהוּ אָסוֹן בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר תֵּֽלְכוּ־בָהּ וְהֽוֹרַדְתֶּם אֶת־שֵֽׂיבָתִי בְּיָגוֹן שְׁאֽוֹלָה:
ח וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו שִׁלְחָה הַנַּעַר אִתִּי וְנָקוּמָה וְנֵלֵכָה וְנִֽחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ גַם־אַתָּה גַּם־טַפֵּֽנוּ: ט אָֽנֹכִי אֶֽעֶרְבֶנּוּ מִיָּדִי תְּבַקְשֶׁנּוּ אִם־לֹא הֲבִֽיאֹתִיו אֵלֶיךָ וְהִצַּגְתִּיו לְפָנֶיךָ וְחָטָאתִי לְךָ כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים: י כִּי לוּלֵא הִתְמַהְמָהְנוּ כִּֽי־עַתָּה שַׁבְנוּ זֶה פַֽעֲמָֽיִם: יא וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲבִיהֶם אִם־כֵּן אֵפוֹא זֹאת עֲשׂוּ קְחוּ מִזִּמְרַת הָאָרֶץ בִּכְלֵיכֶם וְהוֹרִידוּ לָאִישׁ מִנְחָה מְעַט צֳרִי וּמְעַט דְּבַשׁ נְכֹאת וָלֹט בָּטְנִים וּשְׁקֵדִֽים: יב וְכֶסֶף מִשְׁנֶה קְחוּ בְיֶדְכֶם וְאֶת־הַכֶּסֶף הַמּוּשַׁב בְּפִי אַמְתְּחֹֽתֵיכֶם תָּשִׁיבוּ בְיֶדְכֶם אוּלַי מִשְׁגֶּה הֽוּא: יג וְאֶת־אֲחִיכֶם קָחוּ וְקוּמוּ שׁוּבוּ אֶל־הָאִֽישׁ: יד וְאֵל שַׁדַּי יִתֵּן לָכֶם רַֽחֲמִים לִפְנֵי הָאִישׁ וְשִׁלַּח לָכֶם אֶת־אֲחִיכֶם אַחֵר וְאֶת־בִּנְיָמִין וַֽאֲנִי כַּֽאֲשֶׁר שָׁכֹלְתִּי שָׁכָֽלְתִּי:
כב וַיַּעַן רְאוּבֵן אֹתָם לֵאמֹר הֲלוֹא אָמַרְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם לֵאמֹר אַל־תֶּֽחֶטְאוּ בַיֶּלֶד וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם וְגַם־דָּמוֹ הִנֵּה נִדְרָֽשׁ: ------------------------------------------
יד וַיָּבֹא יְהוּדָה וְאֶחָיו בֵּיתָה יוֹסֵף וְהוּא עוֹדֶנּוּ שָׁם וַיִּפְּלוּ לְפָנָיו אָֽרְצָה: טו וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם יוֹסֵף מָֽה־הַמַּֽעֲשֶׂה הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם הֲלוֹא יְדַעְתֶּם כִּֽי־נַחֵשׁ יְנַחֵשׁ אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כָּמֹֽנִי: טז וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה מַה־נֹּאמַר לַֽאדֹנִי מַה־נְּדַבֵּר וּמַה־נִּצְטַדָּק הָֽאֱלֹהִים מָצָא אֶת־עֲוֹן עֲבָדֶיךָ הִנֶּנּוּ עֲבָדִים לַֽאדֹנִי גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ גַּם אֲשֶׁר־נִמְצָא הַגָּבִיעַ בְּיָדֽוֹ: יז וַיֹּאמֶר חָלִילָה לִּי מֵֽעֲשׂוֹת זֹאת הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר נִמְצָא הַגָּבִיעַ בְּיָדוֹ הוּא יִֽהְיֶה־לִּי עָבֶד וְאַתֶּם עֲלוּ לְשָׁלוֹם אֶל־אֲבִיכֶֽם: ס ס ס [פרשת ויגש] יח וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי יְדַבֶּר־נָא עַבְדְּךָ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי וְאַל־יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ כִּי כָמוֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹֽה: יט אֲדֹנִי שָׁאַל אֶת־עֲבָדָיו לֵאמֹר הֲיֵשׁ־לָכֶם אָב אוֹ־אָֽח: כ וַנֹּאמֶר אֶל־אֲדֹנִי יֶשׁ־לָנוּ אָב זָקֵן וְיֶלֶד זְקֻנִים קָטָן וְאָחִיו מֵת וַיִּוָּתֵר הוּא לְבַדּוֹ לְאִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו אֲהֵבֽוֹ: כא וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל־עֲבָדֶיךָ הֽוֹרִדֻהוּ אֵלָי וְאָשִׂימָה עֵינִי עָלָֽיו: כב וַנֹּאמֶר אֶל־אֲדֹנִי לֹֽא־יוּכַל הַנַּעַר לַֽעֲזֹב אֶת־אָבִיו וְעָזַב אֶת־אָבִיו וָמֵֽת: כג וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל־עֲבָדֶיךָ אִם־לֹא יֵרֵד אֲחִיכֶם הַקָּטֹן אִתְּכֶם לֹא תֹֽסִפוּן לִרְאוֹת פָּנָֽי: כד וַֽיְהִי כִּי עָלִינוּ אֶֽל־עַבְדְּךָ אָבִי וַנַּגֶּד־לוֹ אֵת דִּבְרֵי אֲדֹנִֽי: כה וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִינוּ שֻׁבוּ שִׁבְרוּ־לָנוּ מְעַט־אֹֽכֶל: כו וַנֹּאמֶר לֹא נוּכַל לָרֶדֶת אִם־יֵשׁ אָחִינוּ הַקָּטֹן אִתָּנוּ וְיָרַדְנוּ כִּי־לֹא נוּכַל לִרְאוֹת פְּנֵי הָאִישׁ וְאָחִינוּ הַקָּטֹן אֵינֶנּוּ אִתָּֽנוּ: כז וַיֹּאמֶר עַבְדְּךָ אָבִי אֵלֵינוּ אַתֶּם יְדַעְתֶּם כִּי שְׁנַיִם יָֽלְדָה־לִּי אִשְׁתִּֽי: כח וַיֵּצֵא הָֽאֶחָד מֵֽאִתִּי וָֽאֹמַר אַךְ טָרֹף טֹרָף וְלֹא רְאִיתִיו עַד־הֵֽנָּה: כט וּלְקַחְתֶּם גַּם־אֶת־זֶה מֵעִם פָּנַי וְקָרָהוּ אָסוֹן וְהֽוֹרַדְתֶּם אֶת־שֵֽׂיבָתִי בְּרָעָה שְׁאֹֽלָה: ל וְעַתָּה כְּבֹאִי אֶל־עַבְדְּךָ אָבִי וְהַנַּעַר אֵינֶנּוּ אִתָּנוּ וְנַפְשׁוֹ קְשׁוּרָה בְנַפְשֽׁוֹ: [שני] לא וְהָיָה כִּרְאוֹתוֹ כִּי־אֵין הַנַּעַר וָמֵת וְהוֹרִידוּ עֲבָדֶיךָ אֶת־שֵׂיבַת עַבְדְּךָ אָבִינוּ בְּיָגוֹן שְׁאֹֽלָה: לב כִּי עַבְדְּךָ עָרַב אֶת־הַנַּעַר מֵעִם אָבִי לֵאמֹר אִם־לֹא אֲבִיאֶנּוּ אֵלֶיךָ וְחָטָאתִי לְאָבִי כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים: לג וְעַתָּה יֵֽשֶׁב־נָא עַבְדְּךָ תַּחַת הַנַּעַר עֶבֶד לַֽאדֹנִי וְהַנַּעַר יַעַל עִם־אֶחָֽיו: לד כִּי־אֵיךְ אֶֽעֱלֶה אֶל־אָבִי וְהַנַּעַר אֵינֶנּוּ אִתִּי פֶּן אֶרְאֶה בָרָע אֲשֶׁר יִמְצָא אֶת־אָבִֽי: