פָּרָשַׁת וַיְחִי | Parashat Vayeḥi (Genesis 47:28-50:26), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanchuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017). As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

⬛ The kernel of biblical text upon which all other narratives were laid is thought to have been composed in the mid- to late eighth century BCE toward the end of the heyday of the northern Kingdom of Ephraim (one of the two kingdoms that occupied Biblical Israel). This layer, commonly referred to as ‘E’, is indicated with INDIGO text. The first parashah containing text of this layer was parashat Vayera.

⬛ The next oldest layer is thought to have been composed in the late eighth or early seventh century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. This layer, commonly known as ‘J’, is indicated with a BLUE text.

⬛ The next strata, thought to have been composed during the exilic to early post-exilic period (571–486 BCE) is, as Dr. Yoreh explains, “responsible for supplementing the ‘J’ narrative with dates, names, and numbers, thus ‘ordering’ and authenticating ‘J’s account.” This layer, commonly referred to as ‘P’ (for ‘Priestly’) appears here in GREEN text.

⬛ The most recent layer of text, is a post-exilic (pre-3rd century BCE) text that Dr. Yoreh refers to as the “Bridger” which supplements earlier strata with genealogies and popular myths, providing narrative bridges between distant story cycles. This ‘B’ layer is presented here in FUCHSIA.

⬛ An unknown, unattributed post-exilic (pre-3rd century BCE) addition is found in this parashah (Genesis 48:22). This verse is identified in RED.

Parashat Vayeḥi (Genesis 47:28-50:26) in the annual Torah reading cycle, is read on the second shabbat of the month of Tevet. The parashah is preceded by Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27); parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) in Sefer Shemot (the book of Exodus) follows it.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

מז כח וַיְחִ֤י יַעֲקֹב֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם שְׁבַ֥ע עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה שָׁנָ֑ה וַיְהִ֤י יְמֵֽי־יַעֲקֹב֙ שְׁנֵ֣י חַיָּ֔יו שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֔ים וְאַרְבָּעִ֥ים וּמְאַ֖ת שָׁנָֽה׃ כט וַיִּקְרְב֣וּ יְמֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ לָמוּת֒ וַיִּקְרָ֣א ׀ לִבְנ֣וֹ לְיוֹסֵ֗ף וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ שִֽׂים־נָ֥א יָדְךָ֖ תַּ֣חַת יְרֵכִ֑י וְעָשִׂ֤יתָ עִמָּדִי֙ חֶ֣סֶד וֶאֱמֶ֔ת אַל־נָ֥א תִקְבְּרֵ֖נִי בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃ ל וְשָֽׁכַבְתִּי֙ עִם־אֲבֹתַ֔י וּנְשָׂאתַ֙נִי֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם וּקְבַרְתַּ֖נִי בִּקְבֻרָתָ֑ם וַיֹּאמַ֕ר אָנֹכִ֖י אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה כִדְבָרֶֽךָ׃ לא וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִשָּֽׁבְעָה֙ לִ֔י וַיִּשָּׁבַ֖ע ל֑וֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַל־רֹ֥אשׁ הַמִּטָּֽה׃
47 28 And Yaakov lived in the land of Mitsrayim for seventeen years. And the days of Yaakov, the years of his life, were seven years and a hundred and forty years. 29 Now when Yisrael’s days drew near to death, he called his son Yosef and said to him: “Pray, if I have found favor in your eyes, pray put your hand under my thigh – deal with me faithfully and truly: pray do not bury me in Mitsrayim! 30 When I lie down with my fathers, carry me out of Mitsrayim, and bury me in their burial-site!” He said: “I will do according to your words.” 31 But he said: “Swear to me!” So he swore to him. Then Yisrael bowed, at the head of the bed.

מח א וַיְהִ֗י אַחֲרֵי֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְיוֹסֵ֔ף הִנֵּ֥ה אָבִ֖יךָ חֹלֶ֑ה וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־שְׁנֵ֤י בָנָיו֙ עִמּ֔וֹ אֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה וְאֶת־אֶפְרָֽיִם׃ ב וַיַּגֵּ֣ד לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה בִּנְךָ֥ יוֹסֵ֖ף בָּ֣א אֵלֶ֑יךָ וַיִּתְחַזֵּק֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־הַמִּטָּֽה׃ ג וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף אֵ֥ל שַׁדַּ֛י נִרְאָֽה־אֵלַ֥י בְּל֖וּז בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיְבָ֖רֶךְ אֹתִֽי׃ ד וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלַ֗י הִנְנִ֤י מַפְרְךָ֙ וְהִרְבִּיתִ֔ךָ וּנְתַתִּ֖יךָ לִקְהַ֣ל עַמִּ֑ים וְנָ֨תַתִּ֜י אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַזֹּ֛את לְזַרְעֲךָ֥ אַחֲרֶ֖יךָ אֲחֻזַּ֥ת עוֹלָֽם׃ ה וְעַתָּ֡ה שְׁנֵֽי־בָנֶ֩יךָ֩ הַנּוֹלָדִ֨ים לְךָ֜ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֗יִם עַד־בֹּאִ֥י אֵלֶ֛יךָ מִצְרַ֖יְמָה לִי־הֵ֑ם אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ וּמְנַשֶּׁ֔ה כִּרְאוּבֵ֥ן וְשִׁמְע֖וֹן יִֽהְיוּ־לִֽי׃ ו וּמוֹלַדְתְּךָ֛ אֲשֶׁר־הוֹלַ֥דְתָּ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֖ם לְךָ֣ יִהְי֑וּ עַ֣ל שֵׁ֧ם אֲחֵיהֶ֛ם יִקָּרְא֖וּ בְּנַחֲלָתָֽם׃ ז וַאֲנִ֣י ׀ בְּבֹאִ֣י מִפַּדָּ֗ן מֵ֩תָה֩ עָלַ֨י רָחֵ֜ל בְּאֶ֤רֶץ כְּנַ֙עַן֙ בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ בְּע֥וֹד כִּבְרַת־אֶ֖רֶץ לָבֹ֣א אֶפְרָ֑תָה וָאֶקְבְּרֶ֤הָ שָּׁם֙ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ אֶפְרָ֔ת הִ֖וא בֵּ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃
48 1 Now after these events it was that they said to Yosef: “Here, your father has taken sick!” So he took his two sons with him, Menasheh and Efrayim. . . . 2 When they told Yaakov, saying: “Here, your son Yosef is coming to you,” Yisrael gathered his strength and sat up in the bed. 3 Yaakov said to Yosef: “El Shaddai was seen by me in Luz, in the land of K’naan; he blessed me 4 and he said to me: ‘Here, I will make you bear fruit and will make you many, and will make you into a host of peoples; I will give this land to your seed after you, as a holding for the ages!’ 5 So now, your two sons who were born to you in the land of Mitsrayim before I came to you in Mitsrayim, they are mine, Efrayim and Menasheh, like Re’uven and Shim’on, let them be mine! 6 But your begotten sons, whom you will beget after them, let them be yours; by their brothers’ names let them be called, respecting their inheritance. 7 While I – when I came back from that country, Raḥel died on me, in the land of K’naan, on the way, with still a stretch of land left to come to Efrat. There I buried her, on the way to Efrat – that is now Beit Laḥem.”

ח וַיַּ֥רְא יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יוֹסֵ֑ף וַיֹּ֖אמֶר מִי־אֵֽלֶּה׃ ט וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יוֹסֵף֙ אֶל־אָבִ֔יו בָּנַ֣י הֵ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־נָֽתַן־לִ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּזֶ֑ה וַיֹּאמַ֕ר קָֽחֶם־נָ֥א אֵלַ֖י וַאֲבָרְכֵֽם׃ שני י וְעֵינֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ כָּבְד֣וּ מִזֹּ֔קֶן לֹ֥א יוּכַ֖ל לִרְא֑וֹת וַיַּגֵּ֤שׁ אֹתָם֙ אֵלָ֔יו וַיִּשַּׁ֥ק לָהֶ֖ם וַיְחַבֵּ֥ק לָהֶֽם׃ יא וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף רְאֹ֥ה פָנֶ֖יךָ לֹ֣א פִלָּ֑לְתִּי וְהִנֵּ֨ה הֶרְאָ֥ה אֹתִ֛י אֱלֹהִ֖ים גַּ֥ם אֶת־זַרְעֶֽךָ׃ יב וַיּוֹצֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֹתָ֖ם מֵעִ֣ם בִּרְכָּ֑יו וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ לְאַפָּ֖יו אָֽרְצָה׃ יג וַיִּקַּ֣ח יוֹסֵף֮ אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶם֒ אֶת־אֶפְרַ֤יִם בִּֽימִינוֹ֙ מִשְּׂמֹ֣אל יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה בִשְׂמֹאל֖וֹ מִימִ֣ין יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּגֵּ֖שׁ אֵלָֽיו׃ יד וַיִּשְׁלַח֩ יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל אֶת־יְמִינ֜וֹ וַיָּ֨שֶׁת עַל־רֹ֤אשׁ אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ וְה֣וּא הַצָּעִ֔יר וְאֶת־שְׂמֹאל֖וֹ עַל־רֹ֣אשׁ מְנַשֶּׁ֑ה שִׂכֵּל֙ אֶת־יָדָ֔יו כִּ֥י מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה הַבְּכֽוֹר׃ טו וַיְבָ֥רֶךְ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הָֽאֱלֹהִ֡ים אֲשֶׁר֩ הִתְהַלְּכ֨וּ אֲבֹתַ֤י לְפָנָיו֙ אַבְרָהָ֣ם וְיִצְחָ֔ק הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ הָרֹעֶ֣ה אֹתִ֔י מֵעוֹדִ֖י עַד־הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ טז הַמַּלְאָךְ֩ הַגֹּאֵ֨ל אֹתִ֜י מִכׇּל־רָ֗ע יְבָרֵךְ֮ אֶת־הַנְּעָרִים֒ וְיִקָּרֵ֤א בָהֶם֙ שְׁמִ֔י וְשֵׁ֥ם אֲבֹתַ֖י אַבְרָהָ֣ם וְיִצְחָ֑ק וְיִדְגּ֥וּ לָרֹ֖ב בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ׃
8 When Yisrael saw Yosef’s sons, he said: “Who are these?” 9 Yosef said to his father: “They are my sons, whom Elohim has given me here.” He said: “Pray take them over to me, that I may give-them-blessing.” 10 Now Yisrael’s eyes were heavy with age, he was not able to see. He brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 Yisrael said to Yosef: “I never thought to see your face (again), and here, Elohim has let me see your seed as well!” 12 Yosef took them from between his knees and they bowed low, their brows to the ground. 13 Yosef took the two of them, Efrayim with his right-hand, to Yisrael’s left, and Menasheh with his left-hand, to Yisrael’s right, and brought them close to him. 14 But Yisrael stretched out his right-hand and put it on the head of Efrayim – yet he was the younger! – and his left-hand on the head of Menasheh; he crossed his arms, although Menasheh was the firstborn. 15 Then he blessed Yosef and said: “Elohim in whose presence my fathers walked, Avraham and Yitsḥaq, Elohim who has tended me ever since I was (born), until this day – 16 the messenger who has redeemed me from all ill-fortune, may he bless the lads! May my name continue to be called through them and the name of my fathers, Avraham and Yitsḥaq! May they teem-like-fish to (become) many in the midst of the land!”

שלישי יז וַיַּ֣רְא יוֹסֵ֗ף כִּי־יָשִׁ֨ית אָבִ֧יו יַד־יְמִינ֛וֹ עַל־רֹ֥אשׁ אֶפְרַ֖יִם וַיֵּ֣רַע בְּעֵינָ֑יו וַיִּתְמֹ֣ךְ יַד־אָבִ֗יו לְהָסִ֥יר אֹתָ֛הּ מֵעַ֥ל רֹאשׁ־אֶפְרַ֖יִם עַל־רֹ֥אשׁ מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃ יח וַיֹּ֧אמֶר יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶל־אָבִ֖יו לֹא־כֵ֣ן אָבִ֑י כִּי־זֶ֣ה הַבְּכֹ֔ר שִׂ֥ים יְמִינְךָ֖ עַל־רֹאשֽׁוֹ׃
17 Now when Yosef saw that his father had put his right hand on Efrayim’s head, it sat ill in his eyes, and he laid hold of his father’s hand, to turn it from Efrayim’s head to Menasheh’s head. 18 Yosef said to his father: “Not so, father, indeed, this one is the firstborn, place your hand on his head!”

יט וַיְמָאֵ֣ן אָבִ֗יו וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יָדַ֤עְתִּֽי בְנִי֙ יָדַ֔עְתִּי גַּם־ה֥וּא יִֽהְיֶה־לְּעָ֖ם וְגַם־ה֣וּא יִגְדָּ֑ל וְאוּלָ֗ם אָחִ֤יו הַקָּטֹן֙ יִגְדַּ֣ל מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְזַרְע֖וֹ יִהְיֶ֥ה מְלֹֽא־הַגּוֹיִֽם׃ כ וַיְבָ֨רְכֵ֜ם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַהוּא֮ לֵאמוֹר֒ בְּךָ֗ יְבָרֵ֤ךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יְשִֽׂמְךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כְּאֶפְרַ֖יִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־אֶפְרַ֖יִם לִפְנֵ֥י מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃ כא וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף הִנֵּ֥ה אָנֹכִ֖י מֵ֑ת וְהָיָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ עִמָּכֶ֔ם וְהֵשִׁ֣יב אֶתְכֶ֔ם אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ אֲבֹתֵיכֶֽם׃ כב וַאֲנִ֞י נָתַ֧תִּֽי לְךָ֛ שְׁכֶ֥ם אַחַ֖ד עַל־אַחֶ֑יךָ אֲשֶׁ֤ר לָקַ֙חְתִּי֙ מִיַּ֣ד הָֽאֱמֹרִ֔י בְּחַרְבִּ֖י וּבְקַשְׁתִּֽי׃
19 But his father refused and said: “I know, my son, I know – he too will be a people, he too will be great, yet his younger brother will be greater than he, and his seed will become a full-measure of nations!” 20 So he blessed them on that day, saying: “By you shall Yisrael give-blessings, saying: Elohim make you like Efrayim and Menasheh!” Thus he made Efrayim go before Menasheh. 21 Then Yisrael said to Yosef: “Here, I am dying, but Elohim will be with you, he will have you return to the land of your fathers. 22 And I, I give you one portion over and above your brothers, which I took away from the Emori, with my sword, with my bow.”[1]Tzemah Yoreh notes, “Verse 22 marked in red alludes to the conquest of Shechem, indicating that at the very least it is post-Yahwistic [i.e., post-“J”]. Shechem, however, wasn’t conquered by the Israelites; rather, it was pillaged, and then the Israelites fled. It is thus quite difficult to imagine Shechem as a preferred inheritance as is stated in this verse. I find it difficult to attribute this verse to any of the known sources and thus mark it as unattributable.

רביעי מט א וַיִּקְרָ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב אֶל־בָּנָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הֵאָֽסְפוּ֙ וְאַגִּ֣ידָה לָכֶ֔ם אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָ֥א אֶתְכֶ֖ם בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית הַיָּמִֽים׃ ב הִקָּבְצ֥וּ וְשִׁמְע֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֑ב וְשִׁמְע֖וּ אֶל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל אֲבִיכֶֽם׃
49 1 Now Yaakov called his sons and said: “Gather round, that I may tell you what will befall you in the aftertime of days. 2 Come together and hearken, sons of Yaakov, hearken to Yisrael your father.”

ג רְאוּבֵן֙ בְּכֹ֣רִי אַ֔תָּה כֹּחִ֖י וְרֵאשִׁ֣ית אוֹנִ֑י יֶ֥תֶר שְׂאֵ֖ת וְיֶ֥תֶר עָֽז׃ ד פַּ֤חַז כַּמַּ֙יִם֙ אַל־תּוֹתַ֔ר כִּ֥י עָלִ֖יתָ מִשְׁכְּבֵ֣י אָבִ֑יךָ אָ֥ז חִלַּ֖לְתָּ יְצוּעִ֥י עָלָֽה׃
3 “Re’uven, my firstborn, you, my might, first-fruit of my vigor! Surpassing in loftiness, surpassing in force! 4 Headlong like water – surpass no more! For when you mounted your father’s bed, then you defiled it – he mounted the couch!”

ה שִׁמְע֥וֹן וְלֵוִ֖י אַחִ֑ים כְּלֵ֥י חָמָ֖ס מְכֵרֹתֵיהֶֽם׃ ו בְּסֹדָם֙ אַל־תָּבֹ֣א נַפְשִׁ֔י בִּקְהָלָ֖ם אַל־תֵּחַ֣ד כְּבֹדִ֑י כִּ֤י בְאַפָּם֙ הָ֣רְגוּ אִ֔ישׁ וּבִרְצֹנָ֖ם עִקְּרוּ־שֽׁוֹר׃ ז אָר֤וּר אַפָּם֙ כִּ֣י עָ֔ז וְעֶבְרָתָ֖ם כִּ֣י קָשָׁ֑תָה אֲחַלְּקֵ֣ם בְּיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַאֲפִיצֵ֖ם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
5 “Shim’on and Levi, such brothers, wronging weapons are their ties-of-kinship! 6 To their council may my being never come, in their assembly may my person never unite! For in their anger they kill men, in their self-will they maim bulls. 7 Damned be their anger, that it is so fierce! Their fury, that it is so harsh! I will split them up in Yaakov, I will scatter them in Yisrael.”

ח יְהוּדָ֗ה אַתָּה֙ יוֹד֣וּךָ אַחֶ֔יךָ יָדְךָ֖ בְּעֹ֣רֶף אֹיְבֶ֑יךָ יִשְׁתַּחֲו֥וּ לְךָ֖ בְּנֵ֥י אָבִֽיךָ׃ ט גּ֤וּר אַרְיֵה֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה מִטֶּ֖רֶף בְּנִ֣י עָלִ֑יתָ כָּרַ֨ע רָבַ֧ץ כְּאַרְיֵ֛ה וּכְלָבִ֖יא מִ֥י יְקִימֶֽנּוּ׃ י לֹֽא־יָס֥וּר שֵׁ֙בֶט֙ מִֽיהוּדָ֔ה וּמְחֹקֵ֖ק מִבֵּ֣ין רַגְלָ֑יו עַ֚ד כִּֽי־יָבֹ֣א שִׁילֹ֔ה וְל֖וֹ יִקְּהַ֥ת עַמִּֽים׃ יא אֹסְרִ֤י לַגֶּ֙פֶן֙ עִירֹ֔ה וְלַשֹּׂרֵקָ֖ה בְּנִ֣י אֲתֹנ֑וֹ כִּבֵּ֤ס בַּיַּ֙יִן֙ לְבֻשׁ֔וֹ וּבְדַם־עֲנָבִ֖ים סוּתֹֽה׃ יב חַכְלִילִ֥י עֵינַ֖יִם מִיָּ֑יִן וּלְבֶן־שִׁנַּ֖יִם מֵחָלָֽב׃
8 “Yehuda, you – your brothers will praise you, your hand on the neck of your enemies! Your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 A lion’s whelp, Yehuda – from torn-prey, my son, you have gone up! He squats, he crouches, like the lion, like the king-of-beasts, who dares rouse him up? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Yehuda, nor the staff-of-command from between his legs, until they bring him tribute, – the obedience of peoples is his. 11 He ties up his foal to a vine, his young colt to a crimson tendril; he washes his raiment in wine, his mantle in the blood of grapes; 12 his eyes, darker than wine, his teeth, whiter than milk.”

יג זְבוּלֻ֕ן לְח֥וֹף יַמִּ֖ים יִשְׁכֹּ֑ן וְהוּא֙ לְח֣וֹף אֳנִיֹּ֔ת וְיַרְכָת֖וֹ עַל־צִידֹֽן׃
13 “Zevulun, on the shore of the sea he dwells; he is a haven-shore for boats, his flank upon Tsidon.”

יד יִשָּׂשכָ֖ר חֲמֹ֣ר גָּ֑רֶם רֹבֵ֖ץ בֵּ֥ין הַֽמִּשְׁפְּתָֽיִם׃ טו וַיַּ֤רְא מְנֻחָה֙ כִּ֣י ט֔וֹב וְאֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ כִּ֣י נָעֵ֑מָה וַיֵּ֤ט שִׁכְמוֹ֙ לִסְבֹּ֔ל וַיְהִ֖י לְמַס־עֹבֵֽד׃
14 “Yissakhar, a bone-strong donkey, crouching among the fire-places. 15 When he saw how good the resting-place was, and how pleasant was the land, he bent his shoulder to bearing and so became a laboring serf.”

טז דָּ֖ן יָדִ֣ין עַמּ֑וֹ כְּאַחַ֖ד שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ יז יְהִי־דָן֙ נָחָ֣שׁ עֲלֵי־דֶ֔רֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹ֖ן עֲלֵי־אֹ֑רַח הַנֹּשֵׁךְ֙ עִקְּבֵי־ס֔וּס וַיִּפֹּ֥ל רֹכְב֖וֹ אָחֽוֹר׃ יח לִישׁוּעָתְךָ֖ קִוִּ֥יתִי יְהֹוָֽה׃
16 “Dan, his people will mete-out-judgment, (to all) of Yisrael’s branches together. 17 May Dan be a snake on the wayside, a horned-viper on the path, who bites the horse’s heels so that his rider tumbles backward. 18 I wait-in-hope for your deliverance, O YHVH!”

חמישי יט גָּ֖ד גְּד֣וּד יְגוּדֶ֑נּוּ וְה֖וּא יָגֻ֥ד עָקֵֽב׃
19 “Gad, goading robber-band will goad him, yet he will goad at their heel.”

כ מֵאָשֵׁ֖ר שְׁמֵנָ֣ה לַחְמ֑וֹ וְה֥וּא יִתֵּ֖ן מַֽעֲדַנֵּי־מֶֽלֶךְ׃
20 “Asher, his nourishment is rich, he gives forth king’s dainties.”

כא נַפְתָּלִ֖י אַיָּלָ֣ה שְׁלֻחָ֑ה הַנֹּתֵ֖ן אִמְרֵי־שָֽׁפֶר׃
21 “Naftali, a hind let loose, he who gives forth lovely fawns.”

כב בֵּ֤ן פֹּרָת֙ יוֹסֵ֔ף בֵּ֥ן פֹּרָ֖ת עֲלֵי־עָ֑יִן בָּנ֕וֹת צָעֲדָ֖ה עֲלֵי־שֽׁוּר׃ כג וַֽיְמָרְרֻ֖הוּ וָרֹ֑בּוּ וַֽיִּשְׂטְמֻ֖הוּ בַּעֲלֵ֥י חִצִּֽים׃ כד וַתֵּ֤שֶׁב בְּאֵיתָן֙ קַשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַיָּפֹ֖זּוּ זְרֹעֵ֣י יָדָ֑יו מִידֵי֙ אֲבִ֣יר יַעֲקֹ֔ב מִשָּׁ֥ם רֹעֶ֖ה אֶ֥בֶן יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ כה מֵאֵ֨ל אָבִ֜יךָ וְיַעְזְרֶ֗ךָּ וְאֵ֤ת שַׁדַּי֙ וִיבָ֣רְכֶ֔ךָּ בִּרְכֹ֤ת שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ מֵעָ֔ל בִּרְכֹ֥ת תְּה֖וֹם רֹבֶ֣צֶת תָּ֑חַת בִּרְכֹ֥ת שָׁדַ֖יִם וָרָֽחַם׃ כו בִּרְכֹ֣ת אָבִ֗יךָ גָּֽבְרוּ֙ עַל־בִּרְכֹ֣ת הוֹרַ֔י עַֽד־תַּאֲוַ֖ת גִּבְעֹ֣ת עוֹלָ֑ם תִּֽהְיֶ֙יןָ֙ לְרֹ֣אשׁ יוֹסֵ֔ף וּלְקׇדְקֹ֖ד נְזִ֥יר אֶחָֽיו׃
22 “Young wild-ass, Yosef, young wild-ass along a spring, donkeys along a wall. 23 Bitterly they shot at him, the archers assailed him, 24 yet firm remained his bow, and agile stayed his arms and hands – by means of the hands of Yaakov’s Champion, up there, the Shepherd, the Stone of Yisrael. 25 By your father’s El – may he help you, and Shaddai, may he give-you-blessing: Blessings of the heavens, from above, blessings of Ocean crouching below, blessings of breasts and womb! 26 May the blessings of your father transcend the blessings of mountains eternal, the bounds of hills without age. May they fall upon the head of Yosef, on the crown of the consecrated-one among his brothers.”

ששי כז בִּנְיָמִין֙ זְאֵ֣ב יִטְרָ֔ף בַּבֹּ֖קֶר יֹ֣אכַל עַ֑ד וְלָעֶ֖רֶב יְחַלֵּ֥ק שָׁלָֽל׃
27 “Binyamin, a wolf that tears-to-pieces! In the morning he devours prey, and then, in the evening, divides up the spoil.”

כח כׇּל־אֵ֛לֶּה שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שְׁנֵ֣ים עָשָׂ֑ר וְ֠זֹ֠את אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֨ר לָהֶ֤ם אֲבִיהֶם֙ וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אוֹתָ֔ם אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר כְּבִרְכָת֖וֹ בֵּרַ֥ךְ אֹתָֽם׃ כט וַיְצַ֣ו אוֹתָ֗ם וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ אֲנִי֙ נֶאֱסָ֣ף אֶל־עַמִּ֔י קִבְר֥וּ אֹתִ֖י אֶל־אֲבֹתָ֑י אֶ֨ל־הַמְּעָרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בִּשְׂדֵ֖ה עֶפְר֥וֹן הַֽחִתִּֽי׃ ל בַּמְּעָרָ֞ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בִּשְׂדֵ֧ה הַמַּכְפֵּלָ֛ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־פְּנֵי־מַמְרֵ֖א בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן אֲשֶׁר֩ קָנָ֨ה אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה מֵאֵ֛ת עֶפְרֹ֥ן הַחִתִּ֖י לַאֲחֻזַּת־קָֽבֶר׃ לא שָׁ֣מָּה קָֽבְר֞וּ אֶת־אַבְרָהָ֗ם וְאֵת֙ שָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ שָׁ֚מָּה קָבְר֣וּ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק וְאֵ֖ת רִבְקָ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְשָׁ֥מָּה קָבַ֖רְתִּי אֶת־לֵאָֽה׃ לב מִקְנֵ֧ה הַשָּׂדֶ֛ה וְהַמְּעָרָ֥ה אֲשֶׁר־בּ֖וֹ מֵאֵ֥ת בְּנֵי־חֵֽת׃ לג וַיְכַ֤ל יַעֲקֹב֙ לְצַוֺּ֣ת אֶת־בָּנָ֔יו וַיֶּאֱסֹ֥ף רַגְלָ֖יו אֶל־הַמִּטָּ֑ה וַיִּגְוַ֖ע וַיֵּאָ֥סֶף אֶל־עַמָּֽיו׃
28 All these are the tribes of Yisrael, twelve, and this is what their father spoke to them; he blessed them, according to what belonged to each as blessing, he blessed them. 29 And he commanded them, saying to them: “I am now about to be gathered to my kinspeople; bury me by my fathers, in the cave that is in the field of Efron the Ḥitti, 30 at the cave that is in the field of Makhpelah, that faces Mamré, in the land of K’naan. – Avraham had acquired that field from Efron the Ḥitti, as a burial holding. 31 There they buried Avraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Yitsḥaq and Rivqah his wife, there I buried Leah – 32 an acquisition, the field and the cave that is in it, from the Sons of Ḥet.” 33 When Yaakov had finished commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet onto the bed and expired, and was gathered to his kinspeople.

נ א וַיִּפֹּ֥ל יוֹסֵ֖ף עַל־פְּנֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ עָלָ֖יו וַיִּשַּׁק־לֽוֹ׃ ב וַיְצַ֨ו יוֹסֵ֤ף אֶת־עֲבָדָיו֙ אֶת־הָרֹ֣פְאִ֔ים לַחֲנֹ֖ט אֶת־אָבִ֑יו וַיַּחַנְט֥וּ הָרֹפְאִ֖ים אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ ג וַיִּמְלְאוּ־לוֹ֙ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים י֔וֹם כִּ֛י כֵּ֥ן יִמְלְא֖וּ יְמֵ֣י הַחֲנֻטִ֑ים וַיִּבְכּ֥וּ אֹת֛וֹ מִצְרַ֖יִם שִׁבְעִ֥ים יֽוֹם׃
50 1 Yosef flung himself on his father’s face, he wept over him and kissed him. 2 Then Yosef charged his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed Yisrael. 3 A full forty days were required for him, for thus are fulfilled the days of embalming. And Mitsrayim wept for him for seventy days.

ד וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ֙ יְמֵ֣י בְכִית֔וֹ וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יוֹסֵ֔ף אֶל־בֵּ֥ית פַּרְעֹ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם דַּבְּרוּ־נָ֕א בְּאׇזְנֵ֥י פַרְעֹ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר׃ ה אָבִ֞י הִשְׁבִּיעַ֣נִי לֵאמֹ֗ר הִנֵּ֣ה אָנֹכִי֮ מֵת֒ בְּקִבְרִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר כָּרִ֤יתִי לִי֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן שָׁ֖מָּה תִּקְבְּרֵ֑נִי וְעַתָּ֗ה אֶֽעֱלֶה־נָּ֛א וְאֶקְבְּרָ֥ה אֶת־אָבִ֖י וְאָשֽׁוּבָה׃
4 Now when the days of weeping for him had passed, Yosef spoke to Pharaoh’s household, saying: “Pray, if I have found favor in your eyes, pray speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying: 5 ‘My father had me swear, saying: Here, I am dying – in my burial-site which I dug for myself in the land of K’naan, there you are to bury me! So now, pray let me go up, bury my father, and return.'”

ו וַיֹּ֖אמֶר פַּרְעֹ֑ה עֲלֵ֛ה וּקְבֹ֥ר אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הִשְׁבִּיעֶֽךָ׃
6 Pharaoh said: “Go up and bury your father, as he had you swear.”

ז וַיַּ֥עַל יוֹסֵ֖ף לִקְבֹּ֣ר אֶת־אָבִ֑יו וַיַּֽעֲל֨וּ אִתּ֜וֹ כׇּל־עַבְדֵ֤י פַרְעֹה֙ זִקְנֵ֣י בֵית֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל זִקְנֵ֥י אֶֽרֶץ־מִצְרָֽיִם׃ ח וְכֹל֙ בֵּ֣ית יוֹסֵ֔ף וְאֶחָ֖יו וּבֵ֣ית אָבִ֑יו רַ֗ק טַפָּם֙ וְצֹאנָ֣ם וּבְקָרָ֔ם עָזְב֖וּ בְּאֶ֥רֶץ גֹּֽשֶׁן׃ ט וַיַּ֣עַל עִמּ֔וֹ גַּם־רֶ֖כֶב גַּם־פָּרָשִׁ֑ים וַיְהִ֥י הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה כָּבֵ֥ד מְאֹֽד׃ י וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ עַד־גֹּ֣רֶן הָאָטָ֗ד אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן וַיִּ֨סְפְּדוּ־שָׁ֔ם מִסְפֵּ֛ד גָּד֥וֹל וְכָבֵ֖ד מְאֹ֑ד וַיַּ֧עַשׂ לְאָבִ֛יו אֵ֖בֶל שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃ יא וַיַּ֡רְא יוֹשֵׁב֩ הָאָ֨רֶץ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֜י אֶת־הָאֵ֗בֶל בְּגֹ֙רֶן֙ הָֽאָטָ֔ד וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֵֽבֶל־כָּבֵ֥ד זֶ֖ה לְמִצְרָ֑יִם עַל־כֵּ֞ן קָרָ֤א שְׁמָהּ֙ אָבֵ֣ל מִצְרַ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּעֵ֥בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃ יב וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ בָנָ֖יו ל֑וֹ כֵּ֖ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּֽם׃ יג וַיִּשְׂא֨וּ אֹת֤וֹ בָנָיו֙ אַ֣רְצָה כְּנַ֔עַן וַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ בִּמְעָרַ֖ת שְׂדֵ֣ה הַמַּכְפֵּלָ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר קָנָה֩ אַבְרָהָ֨ם אֶת־הַשָּׂדֶ֜ה לַאֲחֻזַּת־קֶ֗בֶר מֵאֵ֛ת עֶפְרֹ֥ן הַחִתִּ֖י עַל־פְּנֵ֥י מַמְרֵֽא׃
7 So Yosef went up to bury his father; and with him went up all of Pharaoh’s servants, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Mitsrayim, 8 all of Yosef’s household, his brothers and his father’s household. Only their little-ones, their sheep, and their oxen did they leave behind in the region of Goshen. 9 And along with him went up chariots as well, and horsemen as well – the company was an exceedingly heavy one. 10 They came as far as Goren Ha-Atad/Bramble Threshing-Floor, which is in (the country) across the Yarden, and there they took up lament, an exceedingly great and heavy lament, and he held mourning for his father, for seven days. 11 Now when the settled-folk of the land, the K’naani, saw the mourning at Bramble Threshing-Floor, they said: “This is such a heavy mourning/evel for Mitsrayim! Therefore its name was called: ‘Meadow/avel of Mitsrayim,’ which is in (the country) across the Yarden. 12 So his sons did thus for him, as he had commanded them: 13 his sons carried him back to the land of K’naan and buried him in the cave in the field of Makhpelah. – Avraham had acquired that field as a burial holding from Efron the Ḥitti, (the field) facing Mamré.

יד וַיָּ֨שׇׁב יוֹסֵ֤ף מִצְרַ֙יְמָה֙ ה֣וּא וְאֶחָ֔יו וְכׇל־הָעֹלִ֥ים אִתּ֖וֹ לִקְבֹּ֣ר אֶת־אָבִ֑יו אַחֲרֵ֖י קׇבְר֥וֹ אֶת־אָבִֽיו׃
14 Then Yosef returned to Mitsrayim, he and his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

טו וַיִּרְא֤וּ אֲחֵֽי־יוֹסֵף֙ כִּי־מֵ֣ת אֲבִיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ ל֥וּ יִשְׂטְמֵ֖נוּ יוֹסֵ֑ף וְהָשֵׁ֤ב יָשִׁיב֙ לָ֔נוּ אֵ֚ת כׇּל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר גָּמַ֖לְנוּ אֹתֽוֹ׃ טז וַיְצַוּ֕וּ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֖ף לֵאמֹ֑ר אָבִ֣יךָ צִוָּ֔ה לִפְנֵ֥י מוֹת֖וֹ לֵאמֹֽר׃ יז כֹּֽה־תֹאמְר֣וּ לְיוֹסֵ֗ף אָ֣נָּ֡א שָׂ֣א נָ֠א פֶּ֣שַׁע אַחֶ֤יךָ וְחַטָּאתָם֙ כִּי־רָעָ֣ה גְמָל֔וּךָ וְעַתָּה֙ שָׂ֣א נָ֔א לְפֶ֥שַׁע עַבְדֵ֖י אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִ֑יךָ וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ יוֹסֵ֖ף בְּדַבְּרָ֥ם אֵלָֽיו׃ יח וַיֵּלְכוּ֙ גַּם־אֶחָ֔יו וַֽיִּפְּל֖וּ לְפָנָ֑יו וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ הִנֶּ֥נּֽוּ לְךָ֖ לַעֲבָדִֽים׃ יט וַיֹּ֧אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֛ם יוֹסֵ֖ף אַל־תִּירָ֑אוּ כִּ֛י הֲתַ֥חַת אֱלֹהִ֖ים אָֽנִי׃ כ וְאַתֶּ֕ם חֲשַׁבְתֶּ֥ם עָלַ֖י רָעָ֑ה אֱלֹהִים֙ חֲשָׁבָ֣הּ לְטֹבָ֔ה לְמַ֗עַן עֲשֹׂ֛ה כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה לְהַחֲיֹ֥ת עַם־רָֽב׃ שביעי כא וְעַתָּה֙ אַל־תִּירָ֔אוּ אָנֹכִ֛י אֲכַלְכֵּ֥ל אֶתְכֶ֖ם וְאֶֽת־טַפְּכֶ֑ם וַיְנַחֵ֣ם אוֹתָ֔ם וַיְדַבֵּ֖ר עַל־לִבָּֽם׃
15 When Yosef’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said: “What if Yosef holds a grudge against us and repays, yes, repays us for all the ill that we caused him!” 16 So they charged Yosef, saying: “Your father commanded before his death, saying: 17 ‘Say thus to Yosef: Ah, pray forgive your brothers’ offense and their sin, that they caused you ill!’ Now, pray forgive the offense of the servants of your father’s elo’ah!” Yosef wept as they spoke to him. 18 And his brothers themselves came, they flung themselves down before him and said: “Here we are, servants to you!” 19 But Yosef said to them: “Do not be afraid! For am I in place of Elohim? 20 Now you, you planned ill against me, (but) Elohim planned-it-over for good, in order to do (as is) this very day – to keep many people alive. 21 So now, do not be afraid! I myself will sustain you and your little-ones!” And he comforted them and spoke to their hearts.

כב וַיֵּ֤שֶׁב יוֹסֵף֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם ה֖וּא וּבֵ֣ית אָבִ֑יו וַיְחִ֣י יוֹסֵ֔ף מֵאָ֥ה וָעֶ֖שֶׂר שָׁנִֽים׃ מפטיר כג וַיַּ֤רְא יוֹסֵף֙ לְאֶפְרַ֔יִם בְּנֵ֖י שִׁלֵּשִׁ֑ים גַּ֗ם בְּנֵ֤י מָכִיר֙ בֶּן־מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה יֻלְּד֖וּ עַל־בִּרְכֵּ֥י יוֹסֵֽף׃ כד וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יוֹסֵף֙ אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו אָנֹכִ֖י מֵ֑ת וֵֽאלֹהִ֞ים פָּקֹ֧ד יִפְקֹ֣ד אֶתְכֶ֗ם וְהֶעֱלָ֤ה אֶתְכֶם֙ מִן־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֛ע לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ כה וַיַּשְׁבַּ֣ע יוֹסֵ֔ף אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר פָּקֹ֨ד יִפְקֹ֤ד אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְהַעֲלִתֶ֥ם אֶת־עַצְמֹתַ֖י מִזֶּֽה׃ כו וַיָּ֣מׇת יוֹסֵ֔ף בֶּן־מֵאָ֥ה וָעֶ֖שֶׂר שָׁנִ֑ים וַיַּחַנְט֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ וַיִּ֥ישֶׂם בָּאָר֖וֹן בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃
22 So Yosef stayed in Mitsrayim, he and his father’s household. Yosef lived a hundred and ten years; 23 Yosef saw from Efrayim sons of the third generation, and also the sons of Makhir son of Menasheh were born on Yosef’s knees. 24 Yosef said to his brothers: “I am dying, but Elohim will take account, yes, account of you, he will bring you up from this land to the land about which he swore to Avraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaakov.” 25 Yosef had the Sons of Yisrael swear, saying: “When Elohim takes account, yes, account of you, bring my bones up from here!” 26 And Yosef died, a hundred and ten years old. They embalmed him and they put him in a sarcophagus in Mitsrayim.

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, place names, and personal names, but I have made other changes. Where Fox translated “Mitsrayim” as ‘Egyptians,’ I have kept “Mitsrayim, and where he has ‘coffin,’ I have replaced this with ‘sarcophagus.’ Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Tzemah Yoreh notes, “Verse 22 marked in red alludes to the conquest of Shechem, indicating that at the very least it is post-Yahwistic [i.e., post-“J”]. Shechem, however, wasn’t conquered by the Israelites; rather, it was pillaged, and then the Israelites fled. It is thus quite difficult to imagine Shechem as a preferred inheritance as is stated in this verse. I find it difficult to attribute this verse to any of the known sources and thus mark it as unattributable.

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