Joseph and Aseneth
Date: first century B.C. - second century A.D.
1And it happened in the first year of the seven years of plenty, in the second month, on the fifth of the month. Pharaoh sent out Joseph to drive around the whole land of Egypt.
2And Joseph came in the fourth month of the first year, on the eighteenth of the month,
into the territory of Heliopolis, and was gathering the grain of that region like the sand of the sea.
3And there was a man in that city, a satrap of Pharoah, and this (man) was a chief of all the satraps and the noblemen of Pharaoh. And this man was exceedingly rich and prudent and gentle, and he was a counselor of Pharaoh, because he was understanding beyond all the noblemen of Pharoah. And the name of that man (was) Pentephres, priest of Heliopolis.
4And he had a daughter, a virgin of eighteen years, (she was) very tall and handsome and
5beautiful to look at beyond all virgins on the earth. And this (girl) had nothing similar to the virgins of the Egyptians, but she was in every respect similar to the daughters of the Hebrews; and she was tall as Sarah and handsome as Rebecca and beautiful as Rachel.
6And the name of that virgin was Aseneth. And the fame of her beauty spread all over the land and to the ends of the inhabited (world). And all the sons of the noblemen and the sons of the satraps and the sons of all kings, all of them young and powerful, asked for her hand in marriage, and there was much wrangling among them over Aseneth, and they made attempts to fight against each other because of her.
7And Pharoah’s firstborn son heard about her and he kept entreating his father to give her to him for (his) wife. And his firstborn son said to Pharoah, “Father, give me Aseneth, the daughter of Pentephres, the priest of Heliopolis, for (my) wife. “ And Pharoah, his
8father, said to him, “Why do you seek a wife (that is) beneath you, and you are king of the whole land of Egypt? Behold, is not the daughter of the king of Moab, Joakim,
9betrothed to you, and she is a queen and exceedingly beautiful? This (one) take for (your) wife.”
1And Aseneth was despising and scorning every man, and she was boastful and arrogant with everyone. And no man had ever seen her, because Pentephres had a tower adjoining his house, very big and high, and on top of this tower was an upper floor including ten
2chambers. And the first chamber was big and splendid, paved with purple stones, and its walls were faced with colored and precious stones, and the ceiling of that chamber was of
3gold. And within that chamber gods of the Egyptians who were without number were fixed to the walls (even gods) of gold and silver. And Aseneth worshiped them all and
4feared them and performed sacrifices to them every day. And the second chamber contained Aseneth’s ornaments and chests, and there was much gold in it (the chamber) and silver and clothes interwoven with gold and chosen and costly stones and distinguished cloths
5and all the ornaments of her virginity. And the third chamber was Aseneth’s storeroom,
6and in it were all the good (things) of the earth. And seven virgins occupied the remaining seven chambers, each having one chamber, and these were waiting on Aseneth, and they were all of the same age, born in one night with Aseneth, and she loved them very much. And they were very beautiful, like the stars of heaven, and no man ever conversed with them, not (even) a male child.
7And there were three windows to Aseneth’s big chamber where her virginity was being fostered. And the one window, the first, was exceedingly big, looking east toward the court, and the second one was looking south, and the third one was looking north toward the street
8where people passed by. And there was a golden bed standing in the chamber, (a bed) that looked toward the window (looking) east, and the bed was laid with gold-woven purple
9stuff, interwoven with violet, purple, and white. And in this bed Aseneth slept, alone; and a man or another woman never sat on it, only Aseneth alone.
10And there was a large court surrounding the house, and a wall was around the court,
11very high, built from big square stones. And the court had four iron-plated gates, and eighteen powerful armed young men guarded each of these. And handsome trees of all sorts and all bearing fruit were planted within the court along the wall. And their fruit was
12ripe, for it was the time of harvest. And there was in the court, on the right hand, a spring of abundant living water, and below the spring was a big cistern receiving the water of that spring. From there a river ran right through the court and watered all the trees of that court
1And it happened in the first year of the seven years of plenty, in the fourth month, on the eighteenth of the month; Joseph came into the territory of Heliopolis and was gathering
2the surplus grain of that region. And when he had come close to that city, Joseph sent twelve men ahead of him to Pentephres the priest, saying, “I will lodge with you because it is the hour of noon and the time of lunch, and the heat of the sun is great, and ( I desire)
3that I may refresh myself under the shadow of your house.” And Pentephres called the (steward) of his house and said to him, “Hurry and make my house ready and prepare a great dinner, because Joseph, the Powerful One of God, is coming to us today.”
5And Aseneth heard that her father and mother had come from the field, which was their inheritance, and rejoiced and said, “I will go and see my father and my mother because they have come from the field which is our inheritance.” For it was (the0 time of harvest.
6And Aseneth hurried into the chamber, where her robes lay, and dressed in a (white) linen robe interwoven with violet and gold, and girded herself (with0 a golden girdle and put bracelets on her hands and feet, and put golden buskins about her feet, and around her neck she put valuable ornaments and costly stones which hung around from all sides, and the names of the gods of the Egyptians were engraved everywhere on the bracelets and the stones, and the faces of all the idols were carved on them. And she put a tiara on her head and fastened a diadem around her temples, and covered her head with a veil.
1And she hurried and went down the stairs from the upper floor, and came to her father and mother and greeted them and kissed them. And Pentephres and his wife rejoiced over her daughter Aseneth (with) great joy, because they saw her adorned like a bride of God.
2And they brought out all the good (things) which they had brought from the field which was their inheritance, and gave (them) to their daughter. And Aseneth rejoiced over all the good (things), the fruit, and the grapes, and the dates, and the doves, and the pomegranates, and the figs, because they were all handsome and good to taste.
3And Pentephres said to his daughter Aseneth, “My child.” And she said, “Behold, (here) I (am), my lord.” And he said to her, “Sit down between us, and I will tell you what I have to say.”
5And Aseneth sat between her father and mother. And Pentephres, her father, with his right hand grasped the right hand of his daughter and kissed it and said to her, “My child Aseneth.” And she said, “Behold, (here) I (am), lord, Let my lord and my father speak
7up.” And Pentephres, her father, said to her, :”Joseph the Powerful One of God is coming to us today. And he is chief of the whole land of Egypt, and the king Pharoah appointed him king of the whole land, and he is gibing grain to the whole land, and saving it from the oncoming famine. And Joseph is a man who worships God, and self-controlled, and a virgin like you today, and Joseph is (also) a man powerful in wisdom and experience,
8and the spirit of God is upon him, and the grace of the Lord (is) with him. Come, my child, and I will hand you over to him for (his) wife, and you will be a bride to him, and he will be your bridegroom for ever (and0 ever.
9And when Aseneth heard these words from her father, plenty of red sweat poured over her face, and she became furious with great anger, and looked askance at her father with her eyes, and said, Why does my lord and my father speak words such as these, to hand me over, like a captive, to a man (who is) an alien, and a fugitive, and (was) sold (as a
10slave)? Is he not the shepherd’s son from the land of Canaan, and he himself was caught in the act (when he was) sleeping with his mistress, and his master threw him into the prison of darkness; and Pharoah brought him out of prison, because he interpreted his
11dream just like the older women of the Egyptians interpret (dreams)? No, but I will be married to the king’s firstborn son, because he is king of the whole land of Egypt.
12Hearing this, Pentephres was ashamed to speak further to his daughter Aseneth about Joseph, because she had answered him daringly and with boastfulness and anger.
1And a young man of Pentephres’ servants rushed in ans says, Behold, Joseph is
2standing before the doors of our court. And Aseneth fled from her father’s and mother’s presence when she heard (them) speak these words about Joseph, and went up into the upper floor and entered her chamber and stood by the large window, the one looking east,
3in order to see Joseph entering her father’s house. And Pentephres and his wife and his
4whole family went out to meet Joseph. And the gates of the court looking east were opened, and Joseph entered, standing on Pharoah’s second chariot, and four horses, white as snow and with golden bridles, were harnessed (to it), and the entire chariot was
5manufactured from pure gold. And Joseph was dressed in an exquisite white tunic, and the robe which he had thrown around him was purple, made of linen interwoven with gold, and a golden crown (was) on his head, and around the crown were twelve chosen stones, and on top of the twelve stones were twelve golden rays. And a royal staff was in his left hand, and in his right hand he held outstretched an olive branch, and there was plenty
6of fruit on it, and in the fruits was a great wealth of oil. And Joseph entered the court, and the gates of the court were closed, and every man and woman, (if) strange, remained outside the court, because the guards of the gates drew tight and closed the doors, and all
7the strangers were closed out. And Pentephres and his wife and his whole family, except their daughter Aseneth, went and prostrated themselves face down to the ground before Joseph. And Joseph descended from his chariot and greeted them with his right (hand).
1And Aseneth saw Joseph on his chariot and was strongly cut (to the heart), and her soul was crushed, and her knees were paralyzed, and her entire body trembled, and she was filled with great fear. And she sighed and said in her heart:
2What shall I now do, wretched (that I am)?
Did I not speak saying that Joseph is coming,
the shepherd’s son from the land of Canaan?
And now, behold, the sun from heaven has come to us on its chariot
and entered our house today,
and shines in it like a light upon the earth,
3But I, foolish and daring have despised him
and spoken wicked words about him,
and did not know that Joseph is (a) son of God.
4For who among men on earth will generate such beauty,
and what womb of a woman will give birth to such light?
What a wretched and foolish (girl) I (am),
because I have spoken wicked words about him to my father.
5And now, where shall I go and hide from his face
in order that Joseph the son of God does not see me
because I have spoken wicked (things) about him?
6And where shall I flee and hide,
because every hiding place, he sees
and nothing hidden escapes him,
because of the great light that is inside him?
7And now be gracious on me, Lord, God of Joseph,
because I have spoken wicked words against him in ignorance
And now, let my father give me to Joseph for a maidservant and slave,
and I will serve him for ever (and) ever.
1And Joseph entered the house of Pentephres and sat upon the throne. And they washed his feet and set a table before him by itself, because Joseph never ate with the Egyptians,
2for this was an abomination to him. And looking up with his eyes, Joseph saw Aseneth leaning through (the window). And Joseph said to Pentephres and his whole family, saying, Who is this woman who is standing in the upper floor by the window? Let her leave this
3house, because Joseph was afraid, saying, This one must not molest me, too. For all the wives and the daughters of the noblemen and the satraps of the whole land of Egypt used to molest him (waiting) to sleep with him, and all the wives and the daughters of the
4Egyptians, when they saw Joseph, suffered badly because of his beauty. But Joseph despised them, and the messengers whom the women sent to him with gold and silver and valuable presents Joseph sent back with threats and insults, because Joseph said, I will not sin before (the) Lord God of my father Israel nor in the face of my father Jacob.
5And the face of his father Jacob, Joseph always had before his eyes, and he remembered his father’s commandments. For Jacob would say to his son Joseph and all his sons., My children, guard strongly against associating with a strange woman, for association (with)
6her is destruction and corruption. Therefore Joseph said, Let this woman leave this house.
7And Pentephres said to him, Lord, this one whom you have seen standing in the upper floor is not a strange woman, but she is our daughter, a virgin hating every man, and there is not any other man who has ever seen her except you alone today. And if you will, she
8will come and address you, because our daughter is like a sister to you. And Joseph rejoiced exceedingly with great joy because Pentephres had said, She is a virgin hating every man. And Joseph said by himself, If she is a virgin hating every man, this (girl) will certainly not molest me. And Joseph said to Pentephres and his whole family, If she is your daughter and a virgin, let her come, because she is a sister to me, and I love her from today as my sister.
1And Aseneth’s mother went up to the upper floor and brought her and stood her before Joseph. And Pentephres said to his daughter Aseneth. Get your brother, because he, too, is a virgin like you today and hates every strange woman, as you, too, every strange
2man. And Aseneth said to Joesph, Be of good cheer, my lord, blessed by the Most High Lord. And Joseph said to Aseneth, May the Lord God who gives life to all
4(things) bless you. And Pentephres said to his daughter Aseneth. Go up and kiss your
5brother. And as Aseneth went up to kiss Joseph, Joseph stretched out his right hand and put it on her chest between her two breasts, and her breasts were already standing upright like handsome apples. And Joseph said, It is not fitting for a man who worships God, who will bless with his mouth the living God and eat blessed bread of life and drink a blessed cup of immortality and anoint himself with blessed ointment of incorruptibility to kiss a strange woman who will bless with her mouth dead and dumb idols and eat from their table bread of strangulation and drink from their libation a cup of insidiousness and
6anoint herself with ointment of seduction. But a man who worships God will kiss his mother and the sister (who is born) of his mother and the sister (who is born) of his clam and family and the wife who shares his bed, (all of) who(m) bless with their mouths the
7living God. Likewise, for a woman who worships God it is not fitting to kiss a strange man, because this is an abomination before the Lord God.
8And when Aseneth heard these words of Joseph, she was cut (to her heart) strongly and was distressed exceedingly and sighed, and she kept gazing at Joseph with her eyes open and her eyes were filled with tears. And Joseph saw her, and had mercy on her exceedingly, and was himself cut (to the heart), because Joseph was meek and merciful and fearing
9God. And He lifted up his right hand and put it upon her head and said.
10Lord God of my father Israel,
the Most High, the Powerful One of Jacob,
who gave life to all (things)
and called (them) from the darkness to the light,
and from the error to the truth,
and from the death to the life,
you, Lord, bless this virgin,
11and renew her by your spirit,
and form her anew by your hidden hand,
and make her alive again by your life,
and let her eat your bread of life,
and drink your cup of blessing,
and number her among your people
that you have chosen before all (things) came into being,
and let her enter your rest
which you have prepared for your chosen ones,
and live in your eternal life for ever (and) ever.
1And Aseneth rejoiced exceedingly with great joy over Joseph’s blessing, and hurried and went into the upper floor by herself, and fell on her bed exhausted, because in her there was joy and distress and much fear and trembling and continuous sweating as she heard all these words of Joseph, which he had spoken to her in the name of the Most High God. And she wept with great and bitter weeping and repented of her (infatuation with the) gods whom she used to worship, and spurned all the idols, and waited for the evening to come.
And Joseph ate and drank and told his servants, Harness the horses to the chariots, for he said, I will go away and drive around the whole land. And Pentephres said to Joseph, Let my lord lodge here today, and tomorrow you will go out (on) your way, And Joseph said, No, but I will go out today, because this is the day on which God began to make all his creatures, and on the eighth day, when this day returns, I too will return to you and lodge here.
1And Joseph went away (on) his way and Pentephres and his whole family went away to their estate.
And Aseneth was left alone with the seven virgins, and she continued to be weighed down and weep until the sun set. And she ate no bread and drank no water. And the night fell, and all (people) in the house slept, and she alone was awake and continued to brood and to weep; and she often struck her breast with (her) hand and kept being filled with great fear and trembled (with) heavy trembling.
2And Aseneth rose from her bed and quietly went down the stairs from the upper floor and went to the gateway, and the woman gatekeeper was asleep with her children. And Aseneth hurried and took down from the window the skin (which hung there for a ) curtain, and filled it with ashes from the fireplace, and carried it up into the upper floor, and put it
3on the floor. And she closed the door firmly and slipped the iron bolt across and sighed with great sighing and bitter weeping.
4And the virgin (who was0 her foster sister, whom Aseneth loved beyond all the virgins, heard her sighing and hurried and woke up the other six virgins. And they went to Aseneth’s
5door and found the door closed. And they heard Aseneth’s sighing and weeping and said to her, What have you, mistress, and why do you feel so sad, and what is it that is
6bothering you? Open (the door to) us, and we will see what you have. And Aseneth did not open the door, and said to them from within, My head is (stricken with0 heavy pain, and I am resting in my bed, and I do not have the strength to rise and open (the
7door to) you, because I have grown weak in all my limbs. But go each of you in your
8chamber and rest and let me be quiet. And the virgins went away, each into her chamber. And Aseneth rose and opened the door quietly and went into her second chamber where the chests (containing) her ornaments were, and opened her coffer and took out a black and somber tunic. And this was her tunic of mourning when her younger brother died. In this
9Aseneth had dressed and mourned for her brother. And she took her black tunic and carried it into her chamber and closed the door again firmly and slipped the bolt across.
10And Aseneth hurried and put off her linen and gold woven royal robe and dressed in the black tunic of mourning, and loosened her golden girdle and girded a rope around (her), and put off the tiara from her head, and the diadem and the bracelets from her hands and
11feet, and put everything on the floor. And she took her chosen robe and the golden girdle and the head gear and the diadem, and threw everything through the window looking north
12to the poor. And Aseneth hurried and took all her gods that were in her chamber, the ones of gold and silver who were without number, and ground them to pieces, and threw all the idols of the Egyptians through the window looking north from her upper floor to
13 beggars and needy (persons). And Aseneth took her royal dinner and the fatlings and the fish and the flesh of the heifer and all the sacrifices of her gods and the vessels of their wine of libation and threw everything through the window looking north, and gave everything to the strange dogs. For Aseneth said to herself, By no means must my dogs eat from my dinner and from the sacrifice of the idols, but let the strange dogs eat those.
14And after that Aseneth took the skin (full) of ashes and poured it on the floor. And she took a piece of sackcloth and girded it around her waist. And she loosened the clasp of
15the hair of her head and sprinkled ashes upon her head. And she scattered the ashes on the floor, and struck her breast often with both hands, and wept bitterly, and fell upon the ashes and wept with great and bitter weeping all night with sighing and screaming until daybreak.
16And Aseneth rose at daybreak and looked, and behold, there was much mud from her tears and from the ashes. And Aseneth fell again upon her face on the ashes till evening and until the setting (of) the sun.
17And this way Aseneth did for seven days, and she ate no bread and drank no water in those seven days of her humiliation.
1And on the eighth day, behold, it was dawn and the birds were already singing and the dogs barking at (people who were) passing through, and Aseneth lifted her head (just) a little from the floor and the ashes on which she was lying, because she was exceedingly tired and could not control her limbs because of the want (of food) for the seven days.
And she rose on her knees and put her hand on the floor and lifter (herself) up a little from the floor, and (she was) still bowing her head, and the hairs of her head were stretched out (in strands) from the load of ashes. And Aseneth clasped her hands, finger against finger, and shook her head to and fro, and struck her breast continuously with her hands, and laid her head into her lap, and her face was flooded with her tears, and she sighed with great sighing, and pulled her hairs from her head, and sprinkled ashes on her head.
Ane Aseneth was tired and had become discouraged and her strength had gone. And she
2turned upward to the wall and sat below the window looking east. And she laid her head into her lap, clasping her fingers round her right knee, and he mouth was closed, and she
3(had) not opened it in the seven days and in the seven nights of her humiliation. And she said in her heart without opening her mouth.
What shall I do, miserable (that I am),
or where shall I go;
with whom shall I take refuge,
or what shall I speak,
I the virgin and an orphan and desolate and abandoned and hated?
4All people have come to hate me,
and on top of those my father and my mother,
because I, too, have come to hate their gods and have destroyed them,
and caused them to be trampled underfoot by men.
5And therefore my father and my mother and my whole family
have come to hate me and said, Aseneth is not our daughter
because she destroyed our gods.
6And all people hate me,
because I, too, have (come to) hate every man,
and all who asked for my hand in marriage.
And now, in this humiliation of mine, all have (come to) hate me,
and gloat over this affliction of mine.
7And the Lord the God of the powerful Joseph, the Most High,
hates all those who worship idols.
Because he is a jealous and terrible god
toward all those who worship strange gods.
8Therefore he has cone to hate me, too,
because I worshiped dead and dumb idols,
and blessed them,
9and ate from their sacrifice(s),
and my mouth is defiled from their table,
and I do not have the boldness to call on the Lord God of Heaven,
the Most High, the Mighty One of the powerful Joseph,
because my mouth is defiled from the sacrifices of the idols.
10But I have heard many saying
that the God of the Hebrews is a true God,
and a living God, and a merciful God,
and compassionate and ling-suffering and pitiful and gentle,
and does not count the sin of a humble person,
nor expose the lawless deeds of an afflicted person at the time of his affliction.
11Therefore I will take courage too and turn to him,
and take refuge with him,
and confess all my sins to him,
and pour out my supplication before him.
12Who knows, (maybe) he will see my humiliation
and have mercy on me, Perhaps he will see this desolation of mine
and have compassion on me,
13or see my orphanage
and protect me,
because he is the father of the orphans,
and a protector of the persecuted,
and of the afflicted a helper.
14I will take courage and cry to him.
15And Aseneth rose from the wall where she was sitting and turned to the window looking east and straightened up on her knees and spread her hands out toward heaven. And she was afraid to open her mouth and to name the name of God. And she turned again away to the wall and sat and struck her head and her breast with (her) hand often, and said in her heart without opening her mouth:
16(What) a wretched (woman) I (am), and an orphan and desolate,
my mouth is defiled from the sacrifices of the idols
and from the blessings of the gods of the Egyptians.
17And now, in these tears of mine and the ashes strewn around and the filth of my humiliation,
how shall I open my mouth to the Most High,
and how name his terrible holy name,
(and be sure) but the Lord will not be angry with me,
because in (the midst of) my lawless deeds I have called on his holy name?
16What shall I now do, wretched (that) I (am)?
I will rather take courage and open my mouth to him
and invoke his name.
And if in fury the Lord strikes me
he himself will again heal me;
and if he chastises me with his whips,
he himself will look again on me in his mercy;
and if he is furious at me in my sins,
he will again be reconciled with me and forgive me every sin.
So I will take courage to open my mouth to him.
19And Aseneth rose again from the wall where she sat and straightened up on her knees and spread her hand eastward and looked with her eyes up toward heaven, and opened her mouth to God, and said:
1Lord God of the ages,
who created all (things) and gave life (to them),
who gave breath of life to your whole creation,
who brought the invisible (things) out into the light,
2who made the (things that) are and the (ones that) have an appearance from the non-appearing and non-being,
who lifted up the heaven
and founded it on a firmament upon the back of the winds,
who founded the earth upon the waters,
who put big stones on the abyss of the water,
and the stones will not be submerged,
but they are like oak leaves (floating) on top of the water,
and they are living stones
and hear your voice, Lord,
and keep your commandments which you have commanded to them,
and never transgress your ordinances,
but are doing your will to the end.
For you, Lord, spoke and they were brought to life,
because your word, Lord, is life for all your creatures.
3With you I take refuge, Lord,
to you I will shout, Lord,
to you I will pour out my supplication,
to you I will confess my sins,
and to you I will reveal my lawless deeds.
4Spare me, Lord,
because I have sinned much before you,
I have committed lawlessness and irreverence,
and have said wicked and unspeakable (things) before you.
5My mouth is defiled from the sacrifices of the idols
and from the tables of the gods of the Egyptians.
I have sinned, Lord,
before you I have sinned much in ignorance,
and have worshiped dead and dumb idols.
And now I am not worthy to open my mouth to you, Lord.
And I, Aseneth, daughter of Pentephres the priest,
the virgin and queen,
who (was) once proud and arrogant,
and prospering in my riches beyond all people,
am now an orphan, and desolate, and abandoned by all people.
6With you I take refuge, Lord,
and to you I bring my supplication,
and to you I will shout,
7Rescue me before I am caught by my persecutors.
8For (just) as a little child who is afraid flees to his father,
and the father, stretching out his hands, snatches him off the ground,
and puts his arms around him by his breast,
and the child clasps his hands around his father’s neck,
and regains his breath after his fear,
and rests at his father’s breast,
the father, however, smiles at the confusion of his childish mind,
likewise you too, Lord, stretch out your hands upon me as a child-loving father,
and snatch me off the earth.
9For behold, the wild old lion persecutes me,
because he is (the) father of the gods of the Egyptians,
and his children are the gods of the idol maniacs.
And I have come to hate them,
because they are the lion’s children,
and have thrown all of them from me and destroyed them.
And the lion their father furiously persecutes me,
11but you, Lord, rescue me from his hands,
and from his mouth deliver me,
lest he carry me off like a lion,
and tear me up
and throw me into the flame of the fire,
and the fire will throw me into the hurricane,
and the hurricane (will) wrap me up in darkness
and throw me out into the deep of the sea,
and the big sea monster who (exists) since eternity will swallow me,
and I will be destroyed for ever (and0 ever.
12Rescue me, Lord,
before all this comes upon me.
Rescue me, Lord,
the desolate and solitary,
because my father and my mother disowned me and said,
Aseneth is not our daughter,
because I have destroyed and ground (to pieces) their gods,
and have come to hate them.
13And I am now an orphan and desolate,
and I have no other hope save in you, Lord,
and no other refuge except your mercy, Lord,
because you are the father of the orphans,
and a protector of the persecuted
and a helper of the afflicted.
14Have mercy upon me, Lord,
and guard me, a virgin (who is) abandoned and an orphan,
because you, Lord, are a sweet and good and gently father.
15What father is as sweet as you, Lord,
and who (is) as quick in mercy as you, Lord,
and who (is as) long-suffering toward our sins as you, Lord?
For behold, all the gifts of my father Pentephres,
which he gave me as an inheritance, are transient and obscure;
but the gifts of your inheritance, Lord, are incorruptible and eternal.
1Be mindful, Lord, of my humiliation
and have mercy upon me.
Look at my orphanage
and have compassion on the afflicted.
For behold, I fled from everything
and took refuge in you, Lord, the only friend to men.
2Behold, I left behind all the good (things) of the earth
and took refuge in you, Lord,
in this sackcloth and ashes,
naked and an orphan and left all alone.
3Behold, I put off my linen royal robe, interwoven with violet and gold,
and dressed in a black mourning tunic.
4Behold, I loosened my golden girdle and threw it off me
and girded a rope and sackcloth around myself.
5Behold, my tiara and my diadem I threw off my head,
and have sprinkled ashes (upon it).
6Behold, the floor of my chamber, paved with colored and purple stones,
which once used to be sprinkled with perfumes
and wiped with bright linen cloths,
is now besprinkled with perfumes
and was profaned having been powdered with ashes.
7Behold, my Lord, from my tears and the ashes
much mud has been formed in my chamber,
as on a broad street.
8Behold, Lord, my royal dinner and the cereals
I gave to the strange dogs.
9And behold, seven days and seven nights I was fasting
and ate no bread and drank no water,
and my mouth has become dry as a drum,
and my tongue as a horn,
and my lips as a potsherd,
and my face has fallen,
and my eyes are burning in shame from my many tears,
and my entire strength has left (me).
11Behold now, all the gods whom I once used to worship in ignorance;
I have now recognized that they were dumb and dead idols,
and I have caused them to be trampled underfoot by men,
and the thieves snatched those that were of silver and gold.
12And with you I have taken refuge, O Lord my God.
Yet you, rescue me from my many deeds of ignorance
13and pardon me,
because I have sinned against you in ignorance,
being a virgin,
and have fallen in error unwittingly,
and spoken blasphemous (words) against my lord Joseph,
because I did not know, the miserable (one that I am).
That he is your son,
as people told me
that Joseph is the shepherd’s son from the land of Canaan.
And I, the miserable one, have come to believe them
and fall into error.
And I have despised him
and spoken wicked (words) about him,
and did not know that he is your son.
14For who among men will give birth to such beauty
and such great wisdom and virtue and power,
as (owned by) the all-beautiful Joseph?
15Lord, I commit him to you,
because I love him beyond my (own) soul.
Preserve him in the wisdom of your grace.
And you, Lord, commit me to him for a maidservant and slave.
And I will make his bed
and wash his feet
and wait on him
and be a slave for him and serve him for ever (and) ever.
1And when Aseneth had ceased making confession to the Lord, behold, the morning star rose out of heaven in the east. And Aseneth saw it and rejoiced and said, So the Lord God listened to my prayer, because this star rose as a messenger and herald of the
2light of the great day. And Aseneth kept looking, and behold, close to the morning
3star, the heaven was torn apart and great and unutterable light appeared. And Aseneth saw (it) and fell on (her) face on the ashes. And a man came to her from heaven and
4,5stood by Aseneth’ head. And he called her and said, Aseneth, Aseneth. And she said, Who is he that calls me, because the door of my chamber is closed, and the tower
6is high, and how then did he come into my chamber? And the man called her a second
7time and said, Aseneth, Aseneth. And she said. Behold, (here) I (am), Lord. Who
8are you, tell me. And the man said, I am the chief of the house of the Lord and commander of the whole host of the Most High. Rise and stand on your feet, and I will tell you what I have to say.
9And Aseneth raised her head and saw, and behold, (there was) a man in every respect similar to Joseph, by the robe and the crown and the royal staff, except that his face was like lightning, and his eyes like sunshine, and the hairs of his head like a flame of fire of a burning torch, and hands and feet like iron shining forth from a fire, and sparks shot
10forth from his hands and feet. And Aseneth saw (it) and fell on her face at his feet on the
11ground. And Aseneth was filled with great fear, and all of her limbs trembled. And the man said to her, Courage, and do not be afraid, but rise and stand on your feet, and I
12will tell you what I have to say.And Aseneth rose and stood on her feet. And the man said to her, Proceed unhindered into your second chamber and put off your black tunic of mourning, and the sackcloth put off your waist, and shake off those ashes from your head, and wash your face and your hands with living water, and dress in a new linen robe (as yet) untouched, and distinguished and gird your waist (with) the new twin girdle of your
13virginity. And come (back) to me, and I will tell you what I have to say.
14And Aseneth hurried and went into her second chamber where the chests (containing) her ornaments were, and opened her coffer, and took a new linen robe, distinguished (and as yet) untouched, and undressed the black tunic of mourning and put off the sackcloth from her waist, and dressed in her distinguished (and as yet) untouched linen robe, and girded herself with the twin girdle of her virginity, one girdle around her waist, and another
15girdle upon her breast. And she shook off the ashes from her head, and washed her hands and her face with living water. And she took an (as yet) untouched and distinguished linen veil and covered her head.
1And she went to the man into her first chamber and stood before him. And the man said to her, Remove the veil from your head, and for what purpose did you do this? For you are a chaste virgin today, and your head is like that of a young man. And Aseneth removed the veil from her head.
2And the man said to her, Courage, Aseneth, chaste virgin, Behold, I have heard all
3the words of your confession and your prayer. Behold, I have also seen the humiliation and the affliction of the seven days of your want (of food). Behold, from your tears and
4these ashes, plenty of mud has formed before your face. Courage, Aseneth, chaste virgin. For behold, your name was written in the book of the living in heaven; in the beginning of the book, s the very first of all, your name was written by my finger, and it will not
5be erased forever. Behold, from today, you will be renewed and formed anew and made alive again, and you will eat blessed bread of life, and drink a blessed cup of immortality,
6and anoint yourself with blessed ointment of incorruptibility. Courage, Aseneth, chaste virgin. Behold, I have given you today to Joseph for a bride, and he himself will be your bridegroom for ever (and) ever.
7And your name shall no longer be called Aseneth, but your name shall be City of Refuge, because in you many nations will take refuge with the Lord God, the Most High, and under your wings many peoples trusting in the Lord God will be sheltered, and behind your walls will be guarded those who attach themselves to the Most High God in the name or repentance. For Repentance is in the heavens, an exceedingly beautiful and good daughter of the Most High. And she herself entreats the Most High God for you at all times and for all who repent in the name of the Most High god, because he is (the) father of Repentance. And she herself is guardian of all virgins, and loves you very much, and is beseeching the Most High for you at all times and for all who repent she prepared a place of rest in the heavens. And she will renew all who repent, and wait on them herself
8for ever (and) ever. And Repentance is exceedingly beautiful, a virgin pure and laughing always, and she is gentle and meek. And therefore, the Most High Father loves her, and all the angels stand in awe of her. And I, too, love her exceedingly, because she is also my sister. And because she loves you virgins, I love you, too.
9And behold, I am going away to Joseph and will tell him about you everything I have to say. And Joseph will come to you today, and see you, and rejoice over you, and love you, and he will be your bridegroom, and you will be a bride for him for ever (and) ever.
10 And now listen to me, Aseneth, chaste virgin, and dress in your wedding robe, the ancient and first robe which is laid up in your chamber since eternity, and put around you all your wedding ornaments, and adorn yourself as a good bride, and go meet Joseph. For behold, he himself is coming to you today, and he will see you and rejoice.
11And when the man had finished speaking these words, Aseneth rejoiced exceedingly with great joy about all these words and fell down at his feet and prostrated himself face
12 down to the ground before him, and said to him, Blessed be the Lord your God the Most High who sent you out to rescue me from the darkness and to bring me up from the
foundations of the abyss, and blessed be your name forever. What is your name, Lord; tell me in order that I may praise and glorify you for ever (and ) ever. And the man said to her, Why do you seek this, my name, Aseneth? My name is in the heavens in the book of the Most High, written by the finger of God in the beginning of the book before all (the others), because I am chief of the house of the Most High. And all names written in the book of the Most High are unspeakable, and man is not allowed to pronounce nor hear them in this world, because those names are exceedingly great and wonderful and laudable.
13And Aseneth said, If I have found favor in your sight, Lord, and will know that you will do all your words that you have spoken to me, let your maidservant speak before you.
14And the man said to her, Speak (up). And Aseneth stretched out her right hand and put it on his knees and said to him, I beg you, Lord, sit down a little on this bed, because this bed is pure and undefiled, and a man or woman never sat on it, And I will set a table before you, and bring you bread and you will eat, and bring you from my storeroom old and good wine, the exhalation of which will go up till heaven, and you will drink from
15it. And after this you will go out (on) your way. And the man said to her, Hurry and bring (it) quickly.
1And Asesnth hurried and set a new table before him and went to provide bread for
2him. And the man said to her, Bring me also a honeycomb. And Aseneth stood still
3and was distressed, because she did not have a honeycomb in her storeroom. And the
4man said to her, Why do you stand still? And Aseneth said, I will send a boy to the suburb, because the field which is our inheritance is close, and he will quickly bring you
5a honeycomb from there, and I will set (it) before you, Lord. And the man said to her, Proceed and enter your storeroom, and you will find a honeycomb lying upon the table.
6Pick it up and bring (it) here. And Aseneth said, Lord, a honeycomb is not in my
7storeroom. And the man said, Proceed and you will find (one).
8And Aseneth entered her storeroom and found a honeycomb lying on the table. And the comb was big and white as snow and full of honey. And that honey was like dew from
9heaven and its exhalation like breath of life. And Aseneth wondered and said in herself, Did then this comb cone out of the man’s mouth, because its exhalation is like the breath
10of this man’s mouth? And Aseneth took that comb and brought it to the man, and put it on the table which she had prepared before him.
And the man said to her, How is it that you said that a honeycomb is not in my
11storeroom? And behold, you have brought a wonderful honeycomb. And Aseneth was afraid and said, Lord, I did not have a honeycomb in my storeroom at any time, but you spoke and it came into being. Surely this came out of your mouth, because its exhalation is like breath of your mouth.
12,13 And the man smiled at Aseneth’s understanding, and called her to himself, and stretched out his right hand, and grasped her head and shook her head with his right hand. And Aseneth was afraid of the man’s hand, because sparks shot forth from his hand as from bubbling (melted) iron. And Aseneth looked, gazing with her eyes at the man’s hand.
14And the mans saw (it) and smiled and said, Happy are you, Aseneth, because the ineffable mysteries of the Most High have been revealed to you, and happy (are) all who attach themselves to the Lord God in repentance, because they will eat from this comb. For this comb is (full of the) spirit of life. And the bees of the paradise of delight have made this from the dew of the roses of life that are in the paradise of God. And all the angels of God eat of it and all the chosen of God and all the sons of the Most high, because this is a comb of life, and everyone who eats of it will not die for ever (and) ever.
15 And the man stretched out his right hand and broke a small portion off the comb, and he himself ate and what was left he put with his hand into Aseneth’s mouth, and said to her,
16Eat. And she ate. And the man said to Aseneth, Behold, you have eaten bread of life, and drunk a cup of immortality, and been anointed with ointment of incorruptibility. Behold, from today your flesh (will) flourish like flowers of life from the ground of the Most High, and your bones will grow strong like the cedars of the paradise of delight of God, and untiring powers will embrace you, and your youth will not see old age, and your beauty will not fail for ever. And you shall be like a walled mother-city of all who take
16refuge with the name of the Lord God, the king of the ages. And the man stretched out his right hand and touched the comb where he had broken off (a portion) , and it was restored and filled up, and at once it became whole as it was in the beginning.
17And again the man stretched out his right hand and put his (fore) finger on the edge of the comb looking east and drew it over the edge looking west, and the way of his finger became like blood. And he stretched out his hand the second time and put his finger on the edge of the comb looking north and drew it over to the edge looking south, and the way of his finger became like blood. And Aseneth stood at his lift (hand) and watched everything that the man was doing.
And the man said to the comb, Come. And bees rose from the cells of that comb, and the cells were innumerable, ten thousand (times) then thousand and thousands upon
18thousands. And the bees were white as snow, and their wings like purple and like violet and like scarlet (stuff) and like gold-woven linen cloaks, and golden diadems (were) on
19their heads, and they had sharp stings, and they would not injure anyone. And all those bees encircled Aseneth from feet to head.
And other bees were great and chosen like their queens, and they rose from the damaged part of the comb and encircled Aseneth’s mouth, and made upon her mouth and her lips
20a comb similar to the comb which was lying before the man. And all those bees ate of the comb which was on Aseneth’s mouth. And the man said to the bees. Go off to your
21,22place. And all the bees rose and flew and went away into heaven. And those who wanted to injure Aseneth fell to the ground and died. And the man stretched out his staff over the
23dead bees and said to them. Rise you, too, and go away to your place. And the bees who had died rose and went into the court adjoining Aseneth’s house and sought shelter on the fruit-bearing trees.
1And the man said to Aseneth, Have you seen this thing? And she said, Yes
2Lord, I have seen all these (things). And the man said to her, So will be all my words
3which I have spoken to you today. And the man for the third time stretched out his tight hand, and touched the damaged part of the comb, and at once fire went up from the table
4and consumed the comb, but the table it did not injure. And much fragrance came forth from the burning of the comb, and filled the chamber.
And Aseneth said to the man, Lord, with me are seven virgins ministering to me, fostered with me from my childhood, born with me in one night, and I lobe them as my
5sisters. I will call them, and you will bless them as you have blessed me, too. And the
6man said, Call them. And Aseneth called the seven virgins and stood them before the man. And the man blessed them and said, May the Lord God the Most High bless you. And you shall be seven pillars of the City of Refuge, and all the fellow inhabitants of the chosen of that city will rest upon you for ever (and) ever.
7And the man said to Aseneth, Put this table away. And Aseneth turned to put the table away, and at once the man went away out of her sight. And Aseneth saw (something) like a chariot of four horses traveling into heaven toward (the) east. And the chariot was like flame of fire, and the horses like lightning. And the man was standing on that chariot.
9And Aseneth said, (What a) foolish and bold (woman) I (am), because I have spoken with frankness and said that a man came into my chamber from heaven; and I did not know that (a) god came to me. And behold, now he is traveling (back) into heaven to his place.
10And she said in herself, Be gracious, Lord, to your slave, and spare your maidservant, because I have spoken boldly before you all my words in ignorance.
1And as Aseneth was still saying these things to herself, behold, a young man from Pentephres’s servant staff rushed in and said, Behold, Joseph the Powerful One of God is coming to us today. For a forerunner of his is standing at the gates of our court.
2And Aseneth hurried and called her foster-father, the (steward) of the house, and said to him, Hurry and make the house ready and prepare a good dinner, because Joseph the
3Powerful One of God is coming to us today. And her foster-father saw her, and behold, her face had fallen from the affliction and the weeping and the fasting of the seven days, and he was distressed and wept, and he took her right hand and kissed it and said. What
4have you, my child, because your face has fallen so (much)? And Aseneth said to him, My head is stricken with heavy pain, and the sleep kept away from my eyes, and therefore
5my face has fallen. And her foster-father went away and prepared the house and the dinner. And Aseneth remembered the man (from heaven) and his commandment, and she hurried and entered her second chamber where the chests (containing) her ornaments were, and opened her big coffer and brought out her first robe, (the one) of wedding, like lightning
6in appearance, and dressed in it. And she girded a golden and royal girdle around (herself) which was (made) of precious stones. And she put golden bracelets on her fingers and on her feet golden buskins, and precious ornaments she put around her neck in which innumerable costly (and) precious stones were fastened, and a golden crown she put on her head, and on that crown, in front on her brow, was a big sapphire stone, and around the big stone were six costly stones, And with a veil she covered her head like a bride, and she took a scepter in her hand.
7And Aseneth remembered the words of her foster-father, because he had said to her, Your face has fallen. And she sighed and was much distressed and said, Woe is me,
8the humble, because my face has fallen. Joseph will see me and despise me. And she said to her foster-sister, Bring me pure water from the spring, and I will wash my face.
9And she brought her pure water from the spring and poured it into the basin. And Aseneth leaned (over) to wash her face and saw her face in the water. And it was like the sun and her eyes (were) like a rising morning star, and her cheeks like fields of the Most High, and on her cheeks (there was) re (color) like a son of man’s blood, and her lips (were) like a rose of life coming out of its foliage, and her teeth like fighting men lined up for a fight, and her neck like an all-variegated cypress, and her breasts (were) like the mountains of the Most High God.
10And when Aseneth saw herself in the water, she was amazed at the sight and rejoiced with great joy, and did not wash her face, for she said, Perhaps I (will) wash off this
11great beauty. And her foster-father came to say to her, Everything is prepared as you have commanded. And when he saw her he was alarmed and stood speechless for a long (time). And was filled with great fear and fell at her feet and said, What is this, my mistress, and what is this great and wonderful beauty? At last the Lord God of heaven has chosen you as a bride for his firstborn son, Joseph?
1And while they were still speaking this (way) a boy came and said to Aseneth
2Behold, Joseph is standing at the doors of our court, And Aseneth hurried and went down the stairs from the upper floor with the seven virgins to meet Joseph and stood in the
3entrance of the house. And Joseph entered the court and the gates were closed, and all strangers remained outside.
And Aseneth went out of the entrance to meet Joseph, and Joseph saw her and was
5amazed at her beauty, and said to her, Who are you? Quickly tell me. And she said to him, I am your maidservant Aseneth, and all the idols I have thrown away from me and they were destroyed. And a man came to me from heaven today, and gave me bread of life and I ate, and a cup of blessing and I drank. And he said to me, I have given you for a bride to Joseph today, and he himself will be your bridegroom for ever (and) ever. And he said to me, Your name will no longer be called Aseneth, but your name will be called City of Refuge, and the Lord God will reign as king over many nations for ever,
6because in you many nations will take refuge with the Lord God, the Most High. And the man said to me, I will also go to Joseph and speak into his ears concerning you what
7I have to say, And now, you know, my lord, whether that man has come to you and spoken to you concerning me.
8And Joseph said to Aseneth, Blessed are you by the Most High God, and blessed (is) your name for ever, because the Lord God founded your walls in the highest, and your walls (are) adamantine walls of life, because the sons of the living God will dwell in your
9City of Refuge, and the Lord God will reign as king over them for ever and ever. For this man came to me today and spoke to me words such as these concerning you. And now, come to me, chaste virgin, and why do you stand far away from me?
10And Joseph stretched out his hands and called Aseneth by a wink of his eyes. And Aseneth also stretched out her hands and ran up to Joseph and fell on his breast. And Joseph put his arms around her, and Aseneth (put hers) around Joseph, and they kissed
11each other for a long time and both came to life in their spirit. And Joseph kissed Aseneth and gave her spirit of life, and he kissed her the second time and gave her spirit of wisdom, and he kissed her the third time and gave her spirit of truth.
1And Aseneth said to Joseph, Come, my Lord, and enter our house, because I have
2prepared our house and made a great dinner. And she grasped his right hand and let him into her house and seated him on Pentephres her father’s throne. And she brought
3water to wash his feet. And Joseph said, Let one of the virgins come and wash my
4feet. And Aseneth said to him, No, my Lord, because you are my lord from now on, and I (am) your maidservant. And why do you say this (that) another virgin (is) to wash your feet? For your feet are my feet, and your hands are my hands, and your soul my soul,
5and your feet another (woman) will never wash. And she urged him and washed his fee. And Joseph looked at her hands, and they were like hands of life, and her fingers fine like (the) fingers of a fast-writing scribe. And after this Joseph grasped her right hand and kissed it, and Aseneth kissed his head and sat at his right (hand).
6And her father and mother and his whole family came from the field which was their inheritance. And they saw Aseneth like (the) appearance of light, and her beauty was like heavenly beauty. And they saw her sitting with Joseph and dressed in a wedding garment.
7And they were amazed at her beauty and rejoiced and gave glory to God who gives life to
8the dead. And after this they ate and drank and celebrated.. And Pentephres said to Joseph, Tomorrow I will call all the noblemen and the satraps of the whole land of Egypt and gibe a marriage feast for you, and you will take my daughter
9Aseneth for (your) wife. And Joseph said, I will go tomorrow to Pharoah the king, because he is like a father to me and appointed me chief of the whole land of Egypt, and I will speak about Aseneth into his ears, and he himself will give her to me for (my) wife.
10And Pentephres said to him, Go in peace.
Chapter twenty one
1And Joseph stayed that day with Pentephres, and he did not sleep with Aseneth, because Joseph said. It does not befit a man who worships God to sleep with his wife before the wedding.
2And Joseph rose at daybreak and went away to Pharoah and said to him, Give me
3Aseneth, daughter of Pentephres, priest of Heliopolis, for (my) wife. And Pharoah rejoiced with great joy and said to Joseph, Behold, is not this one betrothed to you since eternity? And she shall be your wife from now on and for ever (and) ever.
4And Pharoah sent and called Phetephres, and he came and brought Aseneth, and stood her before Pharoah. And Pharoah saw her and was amazed at her beauty and said, May the Lord, the God of Joseph bless you, child, and let this beauty of yours remain for ever (and) ever, because justly the Lord, the God of Joseph, has chosen you as a bride for Joseph, because he is the firstborn son of God, And you shall be called a daughter of the
5Most High and a bride of Joseph from now on and for ever. And Pharoah took Joseph and Aseneth and put golden crowns on their heads which had been in his house from
6the beginning and of old. And Pharoah set Aseneth at Joseph’s right dies, and put his hands on their heads, and his right hand was on Aseneth’s head. And Pharoah said, May the Lord God the Most High bless you and multiply you and magnify and glorify you forever.
7And Pharoah turned them around toward each other face to face and brought them mouth to mouth and joined them by their lips, and they kissed each other.
8And after this Pharoah gave a marriage feast and a great dinner and a big banquet for seven days. And he called together all the chiefs of the land of Egypt and all the kings of the nations and proclaimed to the whole land of Egypt, saying, Every man who does (any) work during the seven days of Joseph’s and Aseneth’s wedding shall surely die.
9And it happened after this, Joseph went in to Aseneth, and Aseneth conceived from Joseph, and gave birth to Manasseh and Ephraim, his brother, in Joseph’s house.
10And then Aseneth began to confess to the Lord God and gave thanks, paying, for all the good (things) of which she was deemed worthy by the Lord:
11I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned,
before you I have sinned much,
I Aseneth, daughter of Pentephres, priest of Heliopolis,
who is an overseer of everything.
12I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned:
before you I have sinned much.
I was prospering in my father’s house,
and was a boastful and arrogant virgin.
13I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much,
And I have worshiped strange gods who were without number,
and eaten bread from their sacrifices.
14I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much.
Bread of strangulation I have eater,
and a cup of insidiousness I have drunk from the table of death.
15I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much.
And I did not know the Lord the God of Heaven,
and I did not trust in the Most High God of life.
16I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much.
For I trusted in the richness of my glory and in my beauty,
and I was boastful and arrogant.
17I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much.
And I despised every man on earth,
and there was no one who achieved something before me.
18I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much.
And I had come to hate all who had asked my hand in marriage,
and despised them and scorned them.
19I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;
before you I have sinned much.
And I spoke bold (words) in vanity and said,
There is no prince on earth who may loosen the girdle of my virginity.
20I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned;