top of page

Tales of The Patriarchs lQapGen

Genesis Apocryphon

Tales of The Patriarchs lQapGen

Frag,1 Col 2:

day of ... all ... land of... and the evil for ...

Frag. 2

.... and they were hit from behind ... in front of the Lord.

Col. 1

.... and with the sowing....not even the mystery of evil which....the mystery which

Col. 3

Then I decided that the conception was at the hands of Watchers, that the seed had been planted by the Holy Ones or Nephilim… I was in a turmoil because of this infant. Then I, Lamech, hurriedly went to my wife, Bitenosh, and I said to her, I adjure you by… and by the Most High, by the Lord, the Great One, by the King of all Eternity…have you conceived by one of the Sons of Heaven? Tell me every detail truthfully…in truth make it known to me, without lies. Was this… by the King of Eternity. You are to speak with me in utter truth, without lies…

Bitenosh allays Lamech's suspicions by recalling the time when Noah would have been conceived.

Then Bitenosh, my wife, replied to me very passionately, weeping. She said,"O, my brother, my lord, remember my voluptuousness…before the time of lovemaking, and my ardent response. I am telling you the whole truth…" and my mind was then changed. Now when my wife Bitenosh saw that my disposition had changed,...Then she restrained her anger, speaking with me and saying,"O, my lord, my brother, remember… my pleasure. I swear to you by the Great Holy One, by the King of Heaven…that this seed comes from you, this conception was by you, the planting of this fruit is yours… It was not by any stranger, neither by any of the Watchers, nor yet by any of the Sons of Heaven.Why has your expression been so altered, your mood so depressed?... Surely I am speaking with you truthfully."

Still confused by the baby's glorious appearance, Lamech sends an inquiry to Enoch, his grandfather. Enoch was thought to understand many hidden matters.

Thereupon I, Lamech, ran to Methuselah my father, and told him everything, so that he would go ask Enoch, his father, and come to understand the whole matter with certainty. For he, Enoch, is beloved and .. with the Holy Ones his lot has been cast. They reveal everything to him.When Methuselah heard of these matters he set out for his father Enoch, in order to learn from him the truth of the whole affair… his will. Then he went to the highest heaven, to Parvain, and there he found Enoch with the Holy Ones. He said to Enoch, his father,"O, my father, my lord, I have come to you... hear what I say to you. Do not be angry with me that I have come here…

Col. 4

Apparently contained the beginning of Enoch's reply to Methuselah. Enoch began by referring to the descent of angels to take human wives, which occurred in Jared's day. Compare Genesis 6:1-2.

Col. 5 

For in the days ofJared, my father…

Enoch's reply continues.

Col. 6 

Enoch,...not by the Sons of Heaven, but by Lamech, your son…And now, I say to you.. and reveal to you that…Go, say to Lamech your son…Now when Methuselah heard these things…And spoke… with Lamech his son…Now when I, Lamech, heard these things… as he brought forth from me…

The setting has shifted, and now the adult Noah speaks in his own words.

Col. 7 

And all my days I have practiced righteousness, Noah, a man…

God speaks to Noah.

Col. 8 

You shall have dominion over the earth and all that is upon it, over the seas and all that is within them… Then I rejoiced at the words of the Lord of Heaven…

The end of the Flood and some of the immediate aftermath.

Col. 11 

…the ark came to rest upon one of the mountains of Ararat… I atoned for all of the land… upon the altar I burned incense…

God again speaks to Noah and makes a covenant with him. Compare Genesis 9:4.

Col. 12 

You shall eat no blood…

Noah describes his family and their activities in the period after the Flood.

Col. 13 

…"Behold, I have placed My bow in the cloud." And it became a sign for me in the cloud, to be… the earth… many… was revealed to me… in the mountains of Ararat… a vineyard in the mountains of Ararat. Afterward, I descended to the base of this mountain, I and my sons and grandsons… the devastation of the earth was large-scale.

Sons and daughters were born to me after the Flood. To Shem, my oldest son, a son was born first, namely Arpachshad, two years after the flood. All the children of Shem were Elam, Ashur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aram, and five daughters. In addition, the children of Ham were: Cush, Mizraim, Put, Canaan, and seven daughters; the children of Japheth were: Gomer, Magog, Madai,Javan, Tubal, Moshok, Tiras, and four daughters.

Then I began to cultivate the earth together with all my sons. I planted a large vineyard at Mt. Lubar, and in the fourth year it produced wine for me… When the first festival came, on the first day of that first festival, that of the seventh month… I began to enjoy the fruits of my vineyard; I opened this vessel and began to drink from it on the first day of the fifth year since planting the vineyard… On this day I invited my sons and grandsons and all our wives-and;daughters, and we all gathered together and went to the place of the altar… and I blessed the Lord of Heaven, the Most High God, the Great Holy One who had saved us from destruction… and for all …of his father. They drank and…and I poured on the altar... and the wine…

Cols. 17 and 18 apparently detailed the division the earth among Noah's descendants.

Col. 17 

…all the land of the north as far as… boundary the waters of the Mediterranean…

Col. 18 

…to the west, to Asshur, as far as the Tigris… For Aram, the land of… as far as the source of… this Mount of the Ox, and he crossed this portion westward as far as… and upon the conjunction of the three portions… For Arpachshad,... To Gomer, he gave the northeastern portion as far as the Tina:River and its circuit. To Magog, he gave…

The hero of the story is now Abraham. This portion apparently concerns the 6uilding of the altar at Bethel. Compare Genesis 12:1-7.

Col. 20 

…And there I built the altar, and called there upon the name of God… And I said,"You are indeed the Eternal God for me… " Previously, I had not reached the holy mountain; so I journeyed to… and I continued traveling to the south… until I reached Hebron, though Hebron had yet to be built, and I lived there for two years …

Suffering from a famine, Abraham and his family go to Egypt.

Now, there was a famine in all that land, but I heard that in Egypt there was grain. So I journeyed to enter the land of Egypt … and I reached the Carmon River, one of the branches of the Nile … Until this point we were still within our own land, but now I crossed the seven branches of this river that … Now we had crossed our land and entered the land of the children of Ham, the land of Egypt.

Abraham has an ominous dream.

I, Abram, had a dream the night of my entry into the land of Egypt. In my dream, I saw a cedar tree and a date-palm growing from a single root. Then people came intending to cut down and uproot the cedar, thereby to leave the date-palm by itself. The date-palm, however, objected, and said,"Do not cut the cedar down, for the two of us grow from but a single root." So the cedar was spared because of the date-palm, and was not cut down.

Abraham relates the dream to his wife, Sarai, and interprets its meaning.

Then I started from my sleep while it was still night, and said to Sarai, my wife,"I have had a dream and now I am fearful because of it." She replied, "Tell me your dream so I may understand." So I began to explain it to her, and I also explained its significance. I said,"... men wiIl come intending to kill me while sparing you. Notwithstanding, this is the kindness that you can do for me. In every place where we shall go, say concerning me, 'He Is my brother.' Thus I may live because of you and my life be spared owing to you. … they wilL attempt to separate us and to kill me." Then Sarai wept at my words that night… and the Pharaoh of Zoan … Sarai no longer wanted to go to Zoan with me, for she was exceedingly afraid lest any man attached to the Pharaoh of Zoan should see her.

Nevertheless, after five years had passed there came three men, councilors from the Egyptian court and advisers of the Pharaoh of Zoan. They came having heard words about me and my wife, and kept playing me with many gifts. They asked me for knowledge of goodness, wisdom and righteousness, so I read to them the Book of the Words of Enoch … in the famine that … the Book of the words of Enoch … with much eating and drinking wine …

Pharaoh's advisors return to him, including one named Hyrcanos, who describes Sarai's wondrous beauty in a poem.

Col. 21 

… how splendid and beautiful is the aspect of her face, and how … And how supple is the hair of her head. How lovely are her eyes; how pleasant is her nose and all the radiance of her face … How shapely is her breast, how gorgeous all her fairness! Her arms, how comely! Her hands, Show perfect how lovely every aspect of her hands is! How exquisite are her palms, how long and delicate are all her fingers!

Her feet, how attractive! How perfect are her thighs! Neither virgins nor brides entering the bridal chamber exceed her charms. Over all women is her beauty supreme, her loveliness far above them allL. Yet with allL this comeliness, she possesses great wisdom, and all that she has is beautiful.

Pharaoh takes Sarai for himself? Abraham grieves and prays for God to judge Pharaoh and protect Sarai.

When the king heard Hyrcanos's words and those of his companions, for the three of them spoke of one accord, he desired her very much. So he sent immediately and had her brought to him. He saw her and was amazed at her beauty. Thereupon, he took her as his wife and sought to kill me, but Sarai said to the king,"He is my brother." Thus she benefited me and I, Abram was spared by her good graces, and not killed. Then I, Abram wept copiously, both I and Lot, my nephew, that night when 

Sarai was taken from me by force.

That night I prayed, entreating and seeking mercy. In anguish, tears running down my cheeks, I said,"Blessed are You, O God Most High, Eternal Lord, for You are Lord and Master over allL. Over all the kings of the earth You are Lord, to work justice among them. And now, I seek redress, O Lord, against the Pharaoh of Zoan, king of Egypt, for my wife has been taken from me by force. Render me a verdict against him, and display Your mighty hand against him and all his house. May he not be empowered this night to defile my wife! Thus they may know YOU? O my Lord, that You are Lord over all the kings 0f the earth." So I wept and spoke to none.

God answers Abraham's prayer, sending an afflicting spirit against Pharaoh.

That night God Most High sent a baneful spirit to smite him and every man of his household, an evil spirit that continued to afflict him and every man of his household. Consequently, he was unable to have sexual relations with her; indeed, he did not have intercourse with her even though she was with him two full years. At the end of two years the plagues and afflictions grew yet more severe against him and every man of his household, so he sent messengers calling for all[the wise men of Egypt, along with all the magicians and healers of Egypt, thinking that perhaps they could cure him and his household of this pestilence. Yet none of the healers, magicians, and wise men were able to cure him; on the contrary, the spirit afflicted all of them, too, so that they fled.

Abraham agrees to exorcize Pharaoh's evil spirit in return for Sarai's being restored to him. Pharaoh rewards them and has them escorted out of Egypt.

Then Hyrcanos came to me, asking me to come pray for the king, and to lay hands upon him and cure him, for he had seen me in a dream. But Lot replied,"My uncle, Abram, is unable to pray for the king while Sarai, his wife, remains with him. Now, go tell the king to send his wife to her husband. Then he will pray for him and he will be cured." When Hyrcanos heard Lot's words, he went and told the king,"All these smitings and plagues by which my lord the king has been smitten and afflicted are because of Sarai, the wife of Abram! Let him return Sarai to Abram, her husband, and this plague will depart from you, that is, the spirit causing the discharges of pus."

So he called me to himself and asked me,"What have you done to me because of your wife Sarai? You told me,'She is my sister,' yet she was actually your wife! I took her as my own wife! Here she is; take her, go, depart from all the provinces of Egypt! But first, pray for me and my house that this evil spirit may be exorcized from us." So I prayed for him, that blasphemer, and laid my hands upon his head. Thereupon the plague was removed from him, the evil spirit exorcized from him, and he was healed. The king rose and informed me … and the king swore to me with an oath that he had not touched her. Then they brought me Sarai. The king gave her much silver and gold, and great quantities of linen and purple-dyed garments … he put them before her, and before Hagar as well. He restored her to me and assigned men to escort me out of Egypt…

Abraham returns to Canaan.

So I, Abram, left, with many, many flocks, together with silver and gold, and went up from Egypt. Lot, my nephew, accompanied me, and he also had acquired many flocks for himself, and had taken a wife from among the daughters of Egypt. I camped with him in each of my former encampments until I reached Bethel, where I had once erected an altar. Now I rebuilt it and offered up burnt offerings and a cereal offering to God Most High. There I called upon the name of the Eternal Lord and praised the name of God. I blessed God and gave thanks to Him there for all the flocks and goods He had given me, and for the good that He had done for me, and because He had returned me to this land safely.

Lot separates from Abraham and goes to live in Sodom. Genesis 13:6-7 explains that the land could not support both of them, for their flocks were too numerous; also, their herders were fighting one another. The Tales downplays these difficulties. God appears to Abraham in a vision.

After this day Lot separated from me because of the actions of our shepherds. He went to live in the valley of the Jordan, taking all his flocks with him. I also added greatly to what he had. He pastured his flocks and kept on the move until he- reached Sodom, where he bought himself a house and settled down to live. I myself continued living on the mountain of Bethel, and thought it unwise that my nephew Lot had separated from me.

Thereafter God appeared to me in a vision of the night and told me,"Go up to Ramath-Hazor, which is on the north of Bethel where you now live, and lift up your eyes. Look to the east, west, south, and north. Survey all this land that I am about to give to you and your descendants forever.' So I went up the next day to Ramath-Hazor and surveyed the land from that height from the River of Egypt to Lebanon and Senir, and from the Mediterranean to the Hauran, and all the land of Gebal as far as Kadesh, and all the Great Desert to the east of the Hauran and Senir as far as the Euphrates. And He said to me,"I will give all this land to your descendants; they will inherit it forever. Moreover, I will multiply your descendants like the dust of the earth that none can count. Your descendants shall be numberless. Arise, walk about, go see how long and how wide it is, for I wilI give it to you and to your descendants after you, forever."

Abraham surveys the promised land.

Then I went -- I, Abraham traveling in a circuit to survey the land. I began the circuit at the Gihon River, traveling along the Mediterranean until I reached the Mount of the Ox. I circled from the coast of this great saltwater sea, skirting the Mount of the Ox, and continued eastward through the breadth of the land until I came to the Euphrates River.I journeyed along the Euphrates until I reached the Red Sea in the east, whence I followed the coast of the Red Sea until I came to the tongue of the Reed Sea, jutting out from the Red Sea. From there I completed the circuit, moving southward to arrive at the Gihon River. Afterwards I returned home safely and found all my men well.

Shortly thereafter I went to dwell at the oaks of Mamre that are in Hebron, actually somewhat to the northeast of Hebron. There I built an altar and offered up a burnt offering and a cereal offering to God Most High. I ate and drank there, alI and all the men of my household, and invited Mamre, Arnem, and Eshkol, three Amorite brothers and my friends. They ate and drank together with me.

Abraham battles the four kings of the east. Compare Genesis, whose narrative this portion of the Tales elaborates considerably. The author of the Tales is also concerned to update or identify the names of biblical peoples and places.

Prior to those days Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, Amraphel, the king of Babylon, Arioch, the king of Cappadocia, and Tidal, the king of Goiim, which ties between the two rivers had come. They had waged war on Bera, the king of Sodom, Birsha, the king of Gomorrah, Shinab, the king of Admah, Shemiabad, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela. All these gathered themselves together to battle in the Valley of Siddim. Now, the king of Elam and the kings with him proved stronger than the king of Sodom and all his allies. Thus they imposed tribute upon them.

For twelve years they continued to pay their tribute to the king of Elam, but in the thirteenth they rebelled against him. Consequently, in the fourteenth year,,the king of Elam sallied forth with all his allies, and they ascended by way of the desert. They smote and plundered beginning from the Euphrates. They kept smiting and smiting the Rephaim who were in Astaroth-Karnaim, the Zumzammim who were in Amman, the Emim who were in Shaveh-Hakerioth, and the Horites who were in the mountains of Gebal until they reached Paran, in the desert. Then they turned back and struck [En-mishpat and the people] who were in Hazazon-Tamar Thereupon the king of Sodom went out to confront them along with the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela. They waged war in the valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, and the kings who were his allies. The king of Sodom was put to flight, while the king of Gomorrah fell into pits of tar … The king of Elam plundered all the flocks of Sodom and Gomorrah …

And Lot, Abrams' nephew who had been living in Sodom, was taken captive along with them, he and all his flocks. One of the herdsmen of the flock that Abram had given Lot escaped from the captives and came to Abram at the time Abram dwelled in Hebron. The herdsman informed him that his nephew Lot and all his flocks had been taken into captivity, but that Lot had not been killed. He also told him that the kings were marching along the trail of the GreatValley toward their own territory, taking captives and plunder, smiting and killing, heading for the city of Damascus.

Abram wept over his nephew Lot, but then gathered his strength and arose to select from among his servants elite warriors, three hundred and eighteen of them. Arnem, Eshcol, and Mamreh set out with him. He pursued the kings as far as Dan, where he found them encamped in the Valley of Dan. He attacked by night from four directions, killing some of them that night. Some he slaughtered, others he pursued; they fled before him until they reached Helbon, located to the north of Damascus.

Thus Abram recovered from them everyone they had taken captive and everything they had taken as spoils, and despoiled their own property as well. He further saved his nephew Lot and all his flocks. All those who had been captured he brought back.

The king of Sodom heard that Abram had recovered all the captives and plunder, so he went up to meet him. He came to Salem, that is,Jerusalem, whereas Abram was encamped in the Valley 0f Shaveh, that is, the Valley of the King, the Valley of Beth Hakerem. Now Melchizedek, the king of Salem, provided food and drink for Abram and all the men with him. He himself was a priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,"Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the Lord of heaven and earth. Blessed be God Most High who has closed your grasp about your enemies." Then Abram gave him a tithe of all the flocks that had belonged to the king of Elam and his allies.

At that point the king of Sodom drew near and said to Abram,"My lord Abram, give me my men, the captives with you, whom you have rescued from the king of Elam; as for the plunder, let it all pass to you." Abram replied to the king of Sodom, "I lift my hand and swear this day by God Most High, the Lord of heaven and earth: I shall not take even a thread or sandal strap from all that is yours, lest you go on to say 'All Abram's wealth derives from plunder of what once was mine.' I exempt from this oath what my men have already eaten, and the portion belonging to the three men who marched with me. They are sovereign over their own portion, and can restore it to you or not." So Abram returned all the plunder and captives, giving them to the king of Sodom. As for all the captives accompanying him who were natives of this land, these he freed and sent on their way.

God appears to Abraham in a vision, and promises that Eliezer shall not be his heir. Compare Genesis 15:1-4; the Tales manifest a clear concern with chronology here, for Genesis says nothing about how long Abraham had been in various places. The dialogue between God and Abraham is also markedly different, here emphasizing Abraham's wealth much more than the biblical narrative does.

After these events God appeared to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Consider, ten full years have passed since the day that you left Haran. Two you spent here, seven in Egypt, and one has passed since you returned from Egypt. Now, take an accounting of all that you possess; note how your possessions have doubled and more, compared to what you took with you the day you left Haran. So fear not, I am with you. I shall be your support, your strength. I myself shall be your shield and buckler against any … than you. Your wealth and flocks shall multiply exceedingly"

Abram replied,"My Lord God, my wealth and flocks are already vast. But what good are all these things to me, inasmuch as when I die, I go childless, having no sons? In fact, one of my household staff will inherit what I have. Eliezer, a member of my household staff], that … young man is set to be my heir." God said to him,"No, this man shall not be your heir, but rather one who shall be your own issue …

bottom of page