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Chapter 1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 {At first after that,} the earth did not have {its present} form, and there was nothing {living} on it. It was {totally} dark, there was deep water {everywhere}, and God's Spirit was moving over the surface of the water. 3 Then God said, "I command light to start shining!” And {immediately} light started shining. 4 God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness {so that each had its own time}. 5 He named the light "Day{time},” and the darkness he named "Night{time}.” Then evening came and {later} morning came, {and that was} {the end of} the first day.

6 Then God said, "I command there to be a large {curved} space in the middle of the water, so that it divides the water into two separate places.” 7 That is how God made a large space and used it to separate the water that was below the space from the water that was above it. Everything happened {exactly} as he commanded, 8 and he named the space "Sky.” Then evening came and {later} morning came, {and that was} {the end of} the second day.

9 Then God said, "I command the water {that is} below the sky to gather in one place, so that there is dry ground.” And that is {exactly} what happened. 10 Then God named the dry ground "Land,” and he named the water which had gathered together "Ocean.” And he saw that {everything was} good.

11 Then God said, "I command the land to produce {green} plants all over the earth, {including} {all kinds of} plants that have seeds {and} {all kinds of} fruit trees that produce their own kind of fruit with seeds inside.” And that is {exactly} what happened: 12 The land started producing {green} plants, {including} {all kinds of} plants that have their own kind of seeds and {all kinds of} trees that have their own kind of fruit with seeds inside. And God saw that {everything he had made was} good. 13 Then evening came and {later} morning came, {and that was} {the end of} the third day.

14 Then God said, "I command there to be lights in the sky that separate the day{time} from the night{time}. They must show when seasons and days and years {begin and end}, 15 and they must be lights in the sky that shine {light} on the earth.” And that is {exactly} what happened. 16 That is how God made the two bright lights, the brighter light to shine during the day{time}, and the weaker light to shine during the night{time}. {That is} also {when he made} the stars. 17 He put those lights in the sky to shine light on the earth, 18 to shine during the day{time} or during the night{time}, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that {everything was} good. 19 Then evening came and {later} morning came, {and that was} {the end of} the fourth day.

20 Then God said, "I command the water to be full of large groups of living creatures, and I command there to be birds {that fly} in the sky above the earth.'' 21 That is how God created the huge sea animals and all {the other} {kinds of} creatures that live all over the place in the water and have their own kind of young. That is also {how he created} all {the different kinds of} birds that have their own kind of young. God saw that {everything was} good. 22 Then he blessed them {all} by saying {to them}, "You {water animals} are to have many young so that you increase {greatly} {in number} and live all over the place in the water in the ocean. And {you} birds are to {also} increase {greatly} {in number} all over the earth.” 23 Then evening came and {later} morning came, {and that was} {the end of} the fifth day.

24 Then God said, "I command the land to produce {every kind of} living animal that has its own kind of young, {including} domestic animals, animals that crawl and {all the other} living creatures on the earth that have their own kind of young.” And that is {exactly} what happened. 25 That is how God made {every kind of} living animal on the earth that has its own kind of young, including {every kind of} domestic animal that bears its own kind of young, and every {kind of} animal that crawls on the ground that has its own kind of young. And God saw that {everything he had made was} good.

26 Then God said {to himself}, "Let us make human beings to be like us and act like us, and let us give them authority over the fish in the ocean, over the birds in the sky, over the domestic animals, and over the entire earth, including all the animals that live on the earth.” 27 So God created human beings to be like himself, {yes,} he made them to be like himself, {and} he {also} created them to be male or female.

28 Then God blessed them by saying to them, "Have many children so that you {and your descendants} increase {greatly} {in number} and live all over the earth and take control of it. You have authority over the fish in the ocean, over the birds in the sky, and over all the {other} creatures that live on the earth.” 29 Then he {also} said {to them}, "Listen, I am giving to you {as food} every {kind of} plant that produces seeds and grows anywhere on the earth, as well as every {kind of} tree that {produces} fruit with seeds inside it. {All of} them are yours to eat from. 30 In the same way, I give {every kind of} green plant for food to every {kind of} animal that lives on the earth, including every {kind of} bird {that flies} in the sky, and every {other} {kind of} animal that lives on the earth and breathes {air}.” And that is how it was.

31 Then God looked at everything that he had made, and he saw that it was {all} very good. Then evening came and {later} morning came, {and that was} {the end of} the sixth day.

Chapter 2

1 That is how God finished {creating} the heavens and the earth, including all the many things that are in them. 2 By the seventh day he had finished his work that he had been doing, so he rested on that day from all the work that he had been doing. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it a holy day, because on that day he rested from all his work that he had been doing, creating {everything}.

4 What follows tells {more details about} the history of what Yahweh {who is} God did when he created the heavens and the earth: During the time when he made the earth and the heavens, 5 {for awhile} there were not yet any bushes {growing} in the fields on the earth, and there were not any {other} plants that had sprouted yet, because he had not {yet} sent rain to water the earth, and human beings did not exist {yet} to cultivate the ground. 6 {During that time} mist came up from the earth and watered the entire surface of the ground. 7 Then Yahweh {who is} God {took} {some} dirt from the ground {and} formed a man {out of it}. Then he blew his breath into the man's nostrils to make him live, so that the man became a living person.

8 Now Yahweh God had planted a {large} garden in {the land of} Eden, {which was} in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 {There} Yahweh God had caused every {kind of} tree to grow from the ground that is beautiful to look at and {that grows fruit that} is good to eat. In the middle of the garden was the tree whose fruit makes people live {forever} and the tree whose fruit enables people to know {what is} good and {what is} evil.

10 {There was} a river flowing out of {the land of} Eden that provided water for the garden. From there the river divided into four {smaller} rivers. 11 The name of the first {river} is {the} Pishon, which flows around through the entire region of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 In fact, the gold from that region is {very} pure, and {fragrant} perfume and {valuable} onyx gemstones are {also} {found} there. 13 The name of the second river is {the} Gihon, which flows around through the entire region of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is {the} Tigris, which flows east of {the region of} Assyria, and {the name of} the fourth river is {the} Euphrates.

15 After Yahweh God put the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and take care of it, 16 he commanded him, "You may eat as much {fruit} as you want {to eat} from any tree in the garden. 16-17 But Yahweh said to him, “I will not permit you to eat the fruit of the tree that will enable you to know what actions are good to do and what actions are evil to do. If you eat any fruit from that tree, on the day you eat it you will surely die. But I will permit you to eat the fruit of any of the other trees in the park.”

17 But you must not eat {any fruit} from the tree whose fruit enables people to know {what is} good and {what is} evil, because on the day that you eat {fruit} from that tree you will definitely die.” 18 Then Yahweh {who is} God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone, {so} I will create someone who will be a suitable companion for him to help him. 19 Now Yahweh God had {previously} used {dirt} from the ground to form every {kind of} living creature {that lives} in the fields and every {kind of} bird {that flies} in the sky. So he brought {them all} to the man to hear what he would name them, and whatever the man called each {kind of} living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the {different kinds of} livestock and to {all} the {different kinds of} birds {that fly} in the sky, and to all the {other} {different kinds of} living creatures {that live} in the fields, but none of them was suitable to be a companion to help him.

21 So Yahweh God caused the man to sleep deeply. Then while the man was asleep, God took a rib {out of the man’s body} and filled in the place where it had been with flesh {and healed it}. 22 Next Yahweh God made a woman from the rib which he had taken out of the man's body, and he took her to the man. 23 {When the man saw her,} he exclaimed, "Finally! Here is someone {like me} who has bones and flesh from me! I will call her 'woman,' because God took her from {the body of} a man.” 24 Because of that, {when a man gets married,} he must leave {the home of} his father and mother, and he must unite with his wife, so that they become completely united.

25 {During that time} the man and his wife were both naked, but {yet} they were not ashamed {about it}.

Chapter 3

1 Now the snake was the craftiest of all the animals that Yahweh God had made. {One day} he asked the woman, "Did God really command you to not eat {fruit} from any of the trees in the garden?” 2 The woman answered him, "{No,} {God said that} we may eat fruit from {any of} the trees in the garden, 3 except fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. He commanded {us} to not eat that fruit or even touch it, because if we do, we will die!“ 4 But the snake said to the woman, "{That's not true.} You will not die. 5 Actually God knows that on the day that you eat {fruit} from that tree, you will understand new things, so that you will be like him because you will know {what is} good and {what is} evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree's fruit looked good to eat and that the tree {itself} was {very} beautiful. She also wanted {to eat} the fruit so that it would make her wise. So she picked some of the fruit, and ate it. Then she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it {too}. 7 Suddenly they both understood new things, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed {some} fig {tree} leaves together and made clothes for themselves {to cover their nakedness}.

8 {Late that afternoon} during the cool time of the day, the man and his wife heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden, but they hid from him among the trees in the garden. 9 So Yahweh God called {out} to the man, "{Adam,} where are you?” 10 The man replied, "I heard the sound of you {walking} in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid {from you}.” 11 Then Yahweh God asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat {some fruit} from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man replied, "The woman whom you put here {to be} with me, she {is the one who} gave me some of that fruit, so I ate {it}.” 13 Then Yahweh God asked the woman, "What did you do?” The woman replied, "The snake tricked me, so I ate {some of the fruit}.” 14 So Yahweh God said to the snake, "Because you did that, I am cursing you more severely than all the livestock and all the animals in the fields! {As a result,} you must crawl on your belly and you must eat dust for as long as you live. 15 Besides that, I will cause you and your descendants to be enemies with the woman and her descendants. {In fact,} her Descendant will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.” 16 {Then} God said to the woman, "I will greatly increase how much you suffer when you bear children, {yes,} you will suffer {much pain} when you give birth. But you will {still} desire {to be with} your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 Then God said to Adam, "You did what your wife said and ate {fruit} from the tree that I commanded you not to eat {any fruit} from. Because of what you did, I have cursed the ground, {so that} for as long as you live, you will have to work {very} hard and suffer {to grow enough food} to eat. 18 In fact, thorn plants and thistle plants {and other weeds} will grow {and make it difficult} for you to grow {enough} crops in your fields for food. 19 {Yes,} you will have to {work hard and} sweat a lot in order to produce {enough} food {to eat}, until you {die and} become dust again, which I created you from. That's right, I created you out of dust, so dust is what you will become again {after you die}.”

20 Then Adam named his wife Eve {which means "living,"} because she would be the mother of everyone who would ever live. 21 Then Yahweh God made {some} clothes out of {animal} skins for Adam and his wife, and he put the clothes on them.

22 Then Yahweh God said {to himself}, "Look! The man {and his wife} have become like one of us, so that they know {what is} good and {what is} evil. So now we must do something so that they do not also eat fruit from the tree that gives people {eternal} life, which will make them live forever!" 23 So Yahweh God expelled the man {and his wife} from the garden of Eden to work the ground which he had made them from. 24 After he expelled them, he stationed to the east {side} of the garden {some} {powerful} cherubim {angels} and a flaming sword that was swinging around in all directions to keep everyone away from the path to the tree whose fruit makes people live {forever}.

Chapter 4

1 Then Adam slept with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to {a son they named} Cain {which means "obtained"}, because she said, "Yahweh has enabled me to obtain a son!” 2 Then Eve also gave birth to Cain's brother {whom they named} Abel. {When they grew up,} Abel became a shepherd, and Cain became a {crop} farmer. 3 As time went by, one day Cain brought some of the crops {that he had grown} in his fields to Yahweh as an offering. 4 Abel also made {an offering to Yahweh, but his was} some of the firstborn animals in his flocks, including some of their best parts. Yahweh was pleased with Abel and his offering. 5 However he was not pleased with Cain or his offering. So Cain became extremely angry and he frowned his face. 6 Then Yahweh asked Cain, "Why are you so angry? And why are you frowning? 7 If you do {what is} right, I will accept you {and your offering}. But if you do not do {what is} right, then sin {is like a fierce animal that} is waiting outside your door {to attack you}. It wants {to control} you, but you must rule over it.”

8 But {after that,} Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field {together}.” So they went out to the field, and while they were there, Cain attacked his brother and killed him.

9 Later Yahweh asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?” Cain responded, "I do not know. Is it my job to take care of my brother?" 10 Then Yahweh said {to him}, "You have done a terrible thing! I see your brother’s blood on the ground, and I must punish you {for killing him}! 11 So now I am cursing you {so that you will not be able to grow food} from the ground, which is where your brother's blood spilled out when you murdered him. 12 Whenever you {try to} farm the ground, it will no longer produce good crops for you. {From now on,} you will be a fugitive who wanders around on the earth {without a permanent home}."

13 Cain replied to Yahweh, "You are punishing me more {severely} than I can endure. 14 Look! Today you have banished me from {farming} the ground. I will be far away from you, and I will be a homeless fugitive on the earth, so that whoever sees me will kill me!” 15 Yahweh replied to him, "So then, {I will warn everyone that} I will take vengeance on whoever kills you {and punish him} seven times more {severely} {than I am punishing you}!” Then he put a mark on Cain to warn everyone who met him not to kill him. 16 Then Cain left Yahweh's presence and lived in the land of Nod {which means "land of wandering"}, {which was} east of {the land of} Eden.

17 Then Cain slept with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to {a son they named} Enoch. {At that time} Cain was building a city, so he named the city after his son Enoch. 18 Later on {when Enoch grew up,} Enoch had {a son named} Irad. Then Irad had {a son named} Mehujael, then Mehujael had {a son named} Methushael, then Methushael had {a son named} Lamech.

19 {When Lamech grew up,} he married two wives. His first wife's name was Adah, and his other wife's name was Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to {a son named} Jabal. He {grew up and} became the first of {all} those who live in tents and raise livestock {for a living}. 21 His brother's name was Jubal. He became the first of all those who play harps and flutes.

22 {Lamech's other wife} Zillah also gave birth to {a son named} Tubal Cain. He {was the first of all those who} make all {kinds of} tools {and other things} out of bronze and iron. Tubal Cain had a sister {whose name was} Naamah.

23 {One day} Lamech bragged to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, listen to what I have to say. My wives, listen to this: I killed a man for wounding me! In fact, {I killed} the young man {just} because he bruised me. 24 God will avenge Cain seven times, but {I,} Lamech {avenge myself} 77 times!”

25 Then Adam slept with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son, and she named him Seth {which means "given"}, because {she said}, "God has given me another child to replace Abel, whom Cain killed.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

During that time people began to worship {God} by using His name Yahweh.

Chapter 5

1 Here is the family record of Adam and his descendants: On the day when God created mankind, he made them to be like himself. 2 He {also} created them {to be} male and female, and on the {same} day that he created them, he blessed them and named them "mankind."

3 When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son who was like him in many ways, and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth's birth, Adam lived {another} 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 So Adam lived a total of 930 years, {and} then he died.

6 When Seth was 105 years old, he had {a son named} Enosh. 7 After Enosh's birth, Seth lived {another} 807 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So Seth lived a total of 912 years, {and} then he died.

9 When Enosh was 90 years old, he had {a son named} Kenan. 10 After Kenan's birth, Enosh lived {another} 815 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 So Enosh lived a total of 905 years, {and} then he died.

12 When Kenan was 70 years old, he had {a son named} Mahalalel. 13 After Mahalalel's birth, Kenan lived {another} 840 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So Kenan lived a total of 910 years, {and} then he died.

15 When Mahalalel was 65 years old, he had {a son named} Jared. 16 After Jared's birth, Mahalalel lived {another} 830 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, {and} then he died.

18 When Jared was 162 years old, he had {a son named} Enoch. 19 After Enoch's birth, Jared lived {another} 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So Jared lived a total of 962 years, {and} then he died.

21 When Enoch was 65 years old, he had {a son named} Methuselah. 22 After Methuselah's birth, Enoch lived in a close relationship with God for {another} 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Then while he was living in a close relationship with God, {suddenly} he was no longer {on earth}, because God had taken him {away} {to be with him}.

25 When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had {a son named} Lamech. 26 After Lamech's birth, Methuselah lived {another} 782 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, {and} then he died.

28 When Lamech was 182 years old, he had a son, 29 and he named him Noah {which means "rest,"} {because} he said, "This {son} will give us rest from the difficult work that we have to do because Yahweh has cursed the ground." 30 After Noah's birth, Lamech lived {another} 595 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So Lamech lived a total of 777 years, {and} then he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, he had {sons named} Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Chapter 6

1 Now it happened that people began to multiply {in number} all over the earth, and they were having daughters. 2 {When those girls grew up,} the sons of God saw that they were beautiful, so they chose any of them that they wanted and married them. 3 Then Yahweh said {to himself}, "My Spirit will not put up with mankind forever, because they are {very} corrupt. I will give them 120 years {to repent}.”

4 The Nephilim lived on the earth during that time and also later on. {That happened} when the sons of God slept with the daughters of mankind, and those women gave birth to children for them. Their children were {the Nephilim who were} the famous, mighty men who lived long ago.

5 Yahweh saw that the people on the earth had become very evil, and that everything they thought about and desired was completely evil all the time. 6 As a result, he regretted that he had made them {to live} on the earth, and his heart was filled with grief. 7 So he said {to himself}, "I will completely destroy from the earth {all} the people whom I created. "{In fact}, {I will destroy} {not only} {all} the people, but also {all} the animals, including the creatures that crawl {on the ground} and the birds {that fly} in the sky, because I am sorry that I {ever} made them.” 8 But Yahweh was pleased with Noah.

9 Here is {more of} the history about Noah and his descendants: Noah was a man who did what was right. Out of all the people living at that time God considered him to be the only one who was blameless, and he lived in a close relationship with God. 10 Eventually Noah had {his} three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now {the people on} the earth had become wicked according to God's standards, and all over the earth they were doing violent things. 12 God saw how wicked {everyone on} the earth had become, because all the people on the earth * were {continually} behaving in evil ways. 13 So he said to Noah, "I am going to destroy all people, because all over the earth they are doing violent things. In fact, I am going to destroy them and {everything else on} the earth {too}. 14 {Therefore} {you must} build a {very} large boat for yourself {and your family} out of gopher wood. Build rooms inside the boat, and seal it inside and outside with tar {to keep water out}. 15 You must make the boat 140 meters long, 23 meters wide and 14 meters high. 16 Make a half-meter high opening below the roof {all the way around} at the top of the walls {to let light and air in}. Put a door in the side of the boat, and build three levels {on the inside}. 17 Listen, I am going to bring a flood over the {whole} earth to destroy all the creatures under the sky that breathe {air}. {As a result,} every {living} thing that is {anywhere} on land will die! 18 But I will make my covenant with you, so you must go into the boat and {take} your wife and your sons and their wives with you. 19 You must also take into the boat pairs of every {kind of} living creature, including every {kind of} animal, to keep {them} alive with you. Make sure that there are male and female {pairs} {of each kind}. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird and every kind of animal, including every kind of creature that moves on the ground, will come to you so that you keep them alive {in the boat}. 21 You must {also} gather all the different kinds of food that people and animals eat and store it {on the boat} with you, so that there will be {enough} food for you {and your family} and for {all} the animals.” 22 So, that is what Noah did; he did everything exactly as God had commanded him {to do}.

Chapter 7

1 Then {after they had finished building the boat,} Yahweh commanded Noah, "You and your entire family must go into the boat, because I have seen that you are the {only} one among the people living today who is living rightly according to my standards. 2 Take with you seven male and female pairs of every {kind of} pure animal, and a male and female pair of {every kind of} impure animal, 3 {and} also seven male and female pairs of {every kind of} bird {that flies} in the sky, so that {later} their offspring live all over the earth. 4 {You must do that,} because seven days from today I will cause it to rain {all} over the earth for forty days and forty nights. In that way, I will completely destroy from the earth every living creature that I have made.” 5 Then Noah did everything {exactly} as Yahweh had commanded him {to do}.

6 Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters covered the earth. 7 {That is when} he and his wife and his sons and their wives went together into the boat so that they would not die in the flood. 8 {Also,} {every kind of} pure animal and {every kind of} impure animal and {every kind of} bird, {including} every {kind of creature} that moves on land, 9 came in pairs to Noah {and went} into the boat. {They were} male and female {pairs}, just as God had commanded him {to take along}.

10 So it happened that after seven days, water started to flood the earth. 11 When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month {of the year}, on that {very} day all the springs in the deep ocean started pouring out water. {God also caused} the water in the sky to start pouring down, as if he had opened {huge} floodgates {in the sky}, 12 so that it rained {continuously} all over the earth for forty days and forty nights.

13 {So it was that} on the same day {that the flood started}, Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, along with his wife and his sons' three wives {all} went into the boat. 14 They had with them every kind of living creature, including every kind of livestock and every {other} kind of creature that lives on the land, and every kind of bird {and} everything {else} that flies. 15 Pairs of every {kind of} living thing that breathes {air} came to Noah {and went} into the boat. 16 Those animals were male and female {pairs} from every {kind of} living thing; they went {into the boat} just as God had commanded Noah. Then {after they were all inside,} Yahweh closed the door {of the boat} behind them.

17 For forty days {and forty nights} the flood kept getting deeper and deeper {all} over the earth, and as the water rose, it lifted up the boat so that it floated {on the water} above the ground. 18 So the floodwaters continued to rise and get much deeper {all} over the earth, while the boat floated {safely} on the surface of the water. 19 Eventually the water became so deep on the earth that {even} all the highest mountains everywhere under the sky were covered {with water}. 20 {In fact,} the water rose {about} seven meters above {the highest mountain tops}, so that they were {completely} covered. 21 Then all the creatures that lived on the earth died, including {all} the birds, and the livestock, and the {other} living creatures, including every {kind of} creature that lived in large groups on the earth, and all people. 22 Every living creature that breathed air and lived on dry land died. 23 That is how Yahweh completely destroyed all the living creatures that lived on the earth, including {all} people and livestock and {all the other} creatures that live {on the land} and also the birds {that fly} in the sky. Yes, he completely destroyed everything {that lived} on the earth, so that the only ones who were still alive were Noah and his family and the animals that were with them in the boat. 24 The water continued to cover the {entire} earth for 150 days.

Chapter 8

1 But God did not forget Noah {and his family} and all the animals, including all the livestock, that {were} with them in the boat, and he caused a wind to blow over {the water that was covering} the earth, so that the water {started to} go down. 2 {He also caused} the springs in the deep {ocean} to stop {gushing}, and {he caused} the water to stop pouring from the sky, so that it stopped raining. 3 Then the water steadily went down from {the surface of} the land, and after the 150 days {had passed,} the water had gone down 4 so {much} that on the seventeenth day of the seventh month {of the year}, the boat came to rest on {one of} the mountains in the Ararat mountain range. 5 Then the floodwaters continued to go down until on the first {day} of the tenth month {of the year}, the peaks of the {surrounding} mountains became visible {above the water}.

6 After forty {more} days {had passed}, Noah opened a window in the boat that he had made, 7 and he released a raven, which kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up {more} from the land. 8 Meanwhile Noah {also} released a dove to find out if the water had gone down from the surface of the ground. 9 But water was {still} covering the entire earth, so the dove did not find anywhere to land and rest. Then it returned to Noah in the boat, and Noah reached out, caught it and brought it {back} into the boat. 10 Noah waited another seven days, then he released the dove from the boat again. 11 That evening the dove returned to him, and he saw that {it had} a fresh green olive {tree} leaf in its beak! That's how Noah realized that the water had gone down {further} from the land. 12 Then he waited seven more days and he released the dove {again}, but {this time} it did not come back to him again.

13 So it was, when {Noah was} 601 years old, on the first {day} of the first month {of the year}, the water had {almost} dried up from the land. Then Noah removed {part of} the roof of the boat and looked around, and he saw that the surface of the ground was {almost} dry. 14 Then by the twenty-seventh day of the second month {of the year}, the land had dried off.

15 Then God commanded Noah, 16 "Come out of the boat, together with your wife, your sons and your sons' wives. 17 Bring out all the living creatures that are with you, all of them, including the birds, the livestock and every {other} animal that moves on land, so that they can live all over the earth, {yes,} so that they can have many young and increase {in numbers} {all} over the earth.” 18 So Noah came out {of the boat}, along with his wife and his sons and their wives. 19 Every living creature, {including} all the animals that crawl and all the birds, {and} everything {else} that lives on land {also} came out of the boat in groups of their own kind.

20 Then Noah made an altar {out of stones} {to offer sacrifices} to Yahweh, and he chose some of every {kind of} clean animal and every {kind of} clean bird, and {killed them and} burned {their bodies} on the altar as an offering {to Yahweh} {to worship him}. 21 Yahweh smelled the aroma {of the offerings} and was pleased, and he thought to himself, "Never again will I curse the ground because of mankind{'s sin}, {even} though the desires of their hearts {are} evil from the time they are children. And never again will I destroy every living creature the way I {just} did. 22 As long as the earth {still} exists, {each year} there will always be a season to plant seeds and a season to harvest {crops}, as well as cold weather and hot weather, summer and winter, and day and night.”

Chapter 9

1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons by saying to them, "Have many children so that you {and your descendants} will become numerous and live all over the earth. 2 Every living creature on the earth will be afraid and terrified of you, including every bird {that flies} in the sky, {along} with every creature that moves on the ground, and all the fish in the sea. I have put them {all} under your authority. 3 {From now on} every creature that is alive and moves is yours {to eat} as food. In the same way that {I provided you} green plants {for food}, {now} I provide you everything {for food}. 4 However you must never eat meat that still has its blood {in it} which made it live. {First drain the blood out.} 5 Also, if {one of} you murders anyone, I definitely require that he must die. {In fact,} if any animal {kills a human being}, I require that it must die. {That's true} also for human beings; if anyone {murders} another person, I require that he must die. 6 {That's right,} you must put to death anyone who murders a human being, because God made human beings to be like himself.

7 "Now {as for} you, have many children so that you {and your descendants} will become numerous. Spread out all over the earth and become numerous everywhere.”

8 Then God said to Noah and his sons, 9 "Listen {carefully} to me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, including the birds, the livestock, and all the {other} living creatures on the earth {that are} with you. {That includes} all {those} that came out of the ark, and every living creature {that will ever live} on the earth. 11 My covenant that I'm establishing with you is that never again will all living things die from a flood. “That's right, never again will I use a flood to destroy {everything on} the earth.”

12 Then God continued, "This is what I will use to show {everyone} that I have made this covenant between me and you and every living creature that is with you, as well as all people and animals that will ever live: 13 I will put my rainbow in the clouds to remind {everyone} that I have made this covenant between me and {everything that lives on} the earth. 14 So whenever I cause clouds to form {in the sky} above the earth and a rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 then I will think of {and keep} my covenant that I have established between me and you and every living creature, {yes,} with all people and animals, that never again will I use a flood to destroy all living things. 16 Yes, whenever a rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and keep the covenant that never ends between me and every living creature, {yes,} with all people and animals that live on the earth.”

17 Then God concluded by saying to Noah, "That is what I will do to remind {everyone} that I have made this covenant between me and everything that lives on the earth.”

18 Noah's sons who came out of the ark {after the flood} were Shem, Ham and Japheth; Ham was the father of {a son named} Canaan. 19 It was the descendants of Noah's three sons who populated the entire earth {again}.

20 After awhile, Noah, who was a farmer, planted {some} grape vines {and made wine from the grapes}. 21 Then {one day} he drank {too much of} the wine, so that he became drunk and was {lying} naked inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked, and he went outside and told his two brothers {about it}. 23 However Shem and Japheth took a robe, and held it {between them} at shoulder level and walked backward {into the tent} and covered their father's naked body {with it}. {As they did that,} they kept their faces turned away so that they would not see him naked.

24 Later Noah woke up from being drunk, and he found out that his youngest son {Ham} had dishonored him. 25 So he exclaimed {about him}, "I {ask God to} curse {Ham's son} Canaan! He will be the lowest servant for Ham's brothers.” 26 Then Noah said, "Praise Yahweh, {who is} the God who takes care of Shem! May God cause Canaan to be Shem's servant. 27 I {also} ask God to give Japheth much land, and enable him to live together {in peace} with Shem. May God {also} cause Canaan to be Japheth's servant.”

28 From {the time that} the flood {began}, Noah lived {another} 350 years, 29 so that he lived a total of 950 years before he died.

Chapter 10

1 This is the record of {the names of} Noah's sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, and the descendants whom they had after the flood.

2 Japheth's sons were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.

3 Gomer's sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

4 Javan's sons were Elishah and Tarshish, {and he was the ancestor of} the Kittites and the Dodanites.

5 From Japheth's descendants came the people groups who lived {in regions} near the {Mediterranean} Sea. They spread out into their own territories, and each {group} spoke its own language. They each had their own families, which {grew and} became their own people groups."

6 Ham's sons were Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.

7 Cush's sons were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtecah. And Raamah's sons were Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush {also} had {a son named} Nimrod, who was the first {person} to be a powerful {ruler} on the earth. 9 He was {also} a great hunter whom Yahweh blessed. That's why people say {about other great men}, "{That man is} like Nimrod, a great hunter whom Yahweh blessed.” 10 Nimrod started ruling as king {over} {the cities of} Babel, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, {which were} {all} {located} in the region of Shinar. 11 From there he went to {the region of} Assyria where he built {the cities of} Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, {which is located} between {the cities of} Nineveh and the great city of Calah.

13 Mizraim was the ancestor of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Casluhites and Caphtorites. The Philistines descended from the Casluhites.

15 Canaan had Sidon {who was} his firstborn {son}. {He was} also {the ancestor of} the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later those families {that descended} from Canaan spread out, 19 so that the territory where the Canaanites lived reached from {the city of} Sidon {in the north} all the way {south} toward {the city of} Gerar to {the city of} Gaza, then as far {east} as {the cities of} Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, all the way to {the city of} Lasha.

20 Those {people} are Ham's descendants and each one had his own family. Each family {grew and} became its own people group that spoke its own language and lived in its own territory.

21 Shem also had {some} sons. He was the ancestor of all the descendants of Eber, and his older brother was Japheth. 22 Shem's sons were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram.

23 Aram's sons were Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash.

24 Arpachshad had {a son named} Shelah, then Shelah had {a son named} Eber. 25 Then Eber had two sons: the name of the first was Peleg {which means "division"}, because during his lifetime {the people on} the earth divided {into separate groups} {and spread out everywhere}. Peleg's {younger} brother's name was Joktan. 26 Joktan had {sons named} Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. Those were all Joktan's sons. 30 The region where they {and their descendants} lived reached from {the city of} Mesha {in the west} all the way to {the city of} Sephar {and} the hill country in the east.

31 Those {people} are Shem's descendants and each one had his own family. Each family {grew and} became its own people group that spoke its own language and lived in its own territory.

32 {All} those family groups descended from Noah's sons. Each family group had its own descendants and became its own people group. In fact, after the flood {all} the people groups on the earth descended from them and spread out everywhere.

Chapter 11

1 Now {at first,} all {the people on} the earth spoke the same language, so that everyone understood each other's words. 2 As time passed, they moved from the east, and came to a wide, flat valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 Then they urged each other, "Come on, let's {work together and} make bricks {from clay} and harden them with fire.” They used bricks {to build with} instead of stone, and they used tar {between the bricks} instead of mortar. 4 Then they said {to each other}, "Come on, let's build a city for ourselves that has a {high} tower that reaches up to heaven, so that we make ourselves famous, and so that we do not spread out all over the earth.”

5 But {one day} Yahweh came down {from heaven} and looked at the city and the tower that the people were building. 6 Then he said, "Look, they are one people {group} and they all speak the same language. This is {only} the beginning of what they can do {together}. Soon nothing that they plan {to do} will be impossible for them. 7 {So} let's go down there {now} and mix up their language, so that they are not able to understand what they say to each other." 8 That is how Yahweh caused the people to leave from there and spread out all over the earth, so that they stopped building the city {and the tower}. 9 That is why the name of the city is Babel {which means "mixed up"}, because that is where Yahweh mixed up the language that everyone on the earth shared, and {in that way} he made them spread out from there all over the earth.

10 This is the record of Shem's descendants:

Two years after the flood {began}, when Shem was 100 years old, he had {a son named} Arpachshad. 11 After Arpachshad was born, Shem lived {another} 500 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arpachshad was 35 years old, he had {a son named} Shelah. 13 After Shelah was born, Arpachshad lived {another} 403 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

14 When Shelah was 30 years old, he had {a son named} Eber. 15 After Eber was born, Shelah lived {another} 403 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber was 34 years old, he had {a son named} Peleg. 17 After Peleg was born, Eber lived {another} 430 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg was 30 years old, he had {a son named} Reu. 19 After Reu was born, Peleg lived {another} 209 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu was 32 years old, he had {a son named} Serug. 21 After Serug was born, Reu lived {another} 207 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug was 30 years old, he had {a son named} Nahor. 23 After Nahor was born, Serug lived {another} 200 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor was 29 years old, he had {a son named} Terah. 25 After Terah was born, Nahor lived {another} 119 years, and he had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah was 70 years old, he had {sons named} Abram, Nahor and Haran.

27 Here is the history about Terah and his descendants: Terah’s sons were Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran’s son was named Lot. 28 While his father was still alive, Haran died in the land where he was born, in {the city of} Ur where the Chaldeans lived. 29 Then Abram and Nahor each married a wife. Abram's wife was named Sarai, and Nahor's wife was Milcah. Milcah and {her sister} Iscah were the daughters of {Nahor's brother} Haran. 30 But Sarai was not able to become pregnant, {so} she did not have any children.

31 Then Terah took his son Abram, and his grandson Lot, who was Haran's son, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, who was Abram's wife, and they {all} left from {the city of} Ur where the Chaldeans lived to go to the land of Canaan. But when they arrived at {the city of} Haran, they decided to live there {instead}. 32 Then {many years later} when Terah was 205 years old, he died {there} in {the city of} Haran.

Chapter 12

1 {One day} Yahweh commanded Abram, "You must leave behind your homeland and your relatives, including your father's family, {and move} to the land that I will guide you to. 2 I will make you {and your descendants} become an important people group, and I will bless you {all}. I will make you important {and well-known}, and you {and your descendants} will bless {many people}. 3 I will bless everyone who blesses you, but I will curse anyone who curses you. I will use you {and your descendants} to bless all the people on the earth.”

4 So Abram left {the city of Haran} just as Yahweh had commanded him {to do}, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left from there. 5 He took {with him} his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot and everything that they owned, including servants {and everything else} they had acquired in {the city of} Haran, and they {all} started traveling to the land of Canaan. When they arrived there, 6 they traveled through the land as far as the city of Shechem, to Moreh's oak tree. At that time the Canaanites were {still living} in that land, 7 but Yahweh appeared to Abram and said {to him}, "I will give this land to your descendants.” So Abram built an altar {out of stones} in that place {and burned sacrifices on it} to Yahweh, because Yahweh had appeared to him {there}.

8 From {the city of} Shechem, Abram {and his family} moved {south} to the hill country that was east of {the town of} Bethel. They set up their tents between Bethel to the west and {the town of} Ai to the east. There Abram built another altar {and burned sacrifices on it} to Yahweh, and he addressed Yahweh by his name as he worshiped him. 9 Then Abram {and his family} moved from place to place {southward} until they reached the Negev {Desert}.

10 Now there was a famine in the Negev {Desert}, so Abram {and his family} headed {further} south toward {the country of} Egypt to live there for a while, because the famine was {so} severe. 11 Just before they arrived in Egypt, Abram said to his wife Sarai, "Please listen {to me}, I know that you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the people in Egypt see you {with me}, they will say that you are my wife. Then they will kill me and let you live {so that they can take you}. 13 {So} please tell people that you are my sister, so that they will treat me well because of you and let me live.”

14 That's {exactly} what happened: When Abram {and his family} arrived in {the country of} Egypt, the people there saw that Sarai was very beautiful. 15 When the {Egyptian} king's officials spotted her, they highly recommended her to the king. So he had them bring her to his palace {to be one of his wives}. 16 The king thought that Abram was Sarai's brother, so he treated him well. He gave him {many} sheep and cattle, as well as men and women servants, male and female donkeys, and camels.

17 But since the king had taken Abram's wife Sarai, Yahweh afflicted the king and his family with severe illnesses. 18 So the king summoned Abram {before him} and said {to him}, "You have treated me very badly! You should have told me that Sarai is your wife! 19 You should not have said that she is your sister, so that I ended up taking her to be my wife! So now, here is your wife. Take her and leave {my country}!” 20 Then the king ordered {some of} his soldiers to make sure that Abram left, so they forced him to leave {the country}, along with his wife and everything that he owned.

Chapter 13

1 Then Abram left {the country of} Egypt {and traveled} {back} to the Negev {Desert}. {He took} with him his wife and everything that they owned, and also {his nephew} Lot. 2 {By that time} Abram had become very rich so that he owned {many} livestock and {much} silver and gold. 3 From the Negev {Desert} he {and his family} traveled from place to place {northward} {until they came} to {the town of} Bethel, to the place where he had lived in tents before, between {the towns of} Bethel and Ai. 4 That is the {same} place where he had previously built an altar. There {again} he {sacrificed animals on the altar and} worshiped Yahweh by name.

5 Now Lot, who was traveling with {his uncle} Abram, also had {many} sheep and cattle and {many} tents. 6 In fact, they {both} owned so many livestock that they could not live in the same area. There was not enough land to provide enough food and water for all their animals. 7 As a result, the men who took care of Abram's livestock and the men who took care of Lot's livestock started to argue with each other. Besides that, the Canaanites and the Perizzites were {also} living in that land at that time.

8 Finally {one day} Abram said to Lot, "Please, since we are close relatives, let's do something so that you and I, and your herdsmen and my herdsmen, do not need to argue. 9 Look, the entire land is available to you {to choose from}. Please {choose where you want to live and} let's live in separate places. If you choose {the land to} the left {of here}, then I will take {the land to} the right, or if you choose {the land to} the right {of here}, then I will take {the land to} the left.”

10 Lot looked {all} around and he noticed that the entire Jordan {River} Valley, all the way to {the town of} Zoar, had plenty of water. {It was lush and green} like the garden that Yahweh had planted or like the country of Egypt. {That is what it was like} before Yahweh destroyed {the cities of} Sodom and Gomorrah {which were also in that valley}. 11 So Lot chose for himself the entire Jordan {River} Valley. Then he {left Abram and} moved to the east {to live there}. That is how Abram and Lot went separate ways from each other. 12 Abram stayed {where he was} in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived {in another part of the land} among the cities in the {Jordan River} valley and {eventually} moved his tents to {the city of} Sodom. 13 But the people {who lived} in {the city of} Sodom were {extremely} wicked and were {always} sinning terribly against Yahweh.

14 After Lot had left Abram, Yahweh said to Abram, "Look around from the place where you live: Look north, south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your descendants {to own} forever. 16 In fact, I will give you so many descendants that they will be as {numerous as} the {specks of} dust on the earth. No one will be able to count how many descendants you have, just as no one can count how many {specks of} dust there are. 17 Now go walk through the land {in all directions}, including its length and its width, {and look it over,} because I am giving it {all} to you.” 18 Then Abram {obeyed Yahweh and} moved his tents to the oak trees that were {on the land that was} owned by {a man named} Mamre, and he lived there near {the city of} Hebron. There he built an altar {out of stones} {and burned sacrifices on it} to {thank and} worship Yahweh.

Chapter 14

1 During that time Amraphel was the king over {the land of} Shinar, Arioch was the king over {the city of} Ellasar, Chedorlaomer was the king over {the land of} Elam, and Tidal was the king over the Goyim {people}. 2 Those {four} kings {joined forces and} went to war against {five other kings, including} Bera {who was} the king over {the city of} Sodom, Birsha {who was} the king over {the city of} Gomorrah, Shinab {who was} the king over {the city of} Admah, Shemeber {who was} the king over {the city of} Zeboyim, and the king over {the town of} Bela, which is {also called} Zoar. 3 Those {five kings} all united their armies {as allies} {and fought against the four kings} in the Siddim Valley, which is now the Salt Sea.

4 For twelve years the five kings had paid tribute to {King} Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they started to rebel {against him}. 5 Then in the fourteenth year {King} Chedorlaomer and the {three} kings who were his allies {united their armies and} went {to war} {against all their enemies}. {First} they defeated the Rephaites in {the city of} Ashteroth-Karnaim, then the Zuzites in {the city of} Ham, the Emites in {the city of} Shaveh-Kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites {who lived} in the Seir Mountains {all the way} to {the city of} El Paran, which is near the desert. 7 Next those {four} kings {and their armies} turned around and went to {the city of} En Mishpat, which is {also called} Kadesh. They conquered the entire territory where the Amalekites lived and also the Amorites who were living in {the city of} Hazezon Tamar.

8 Then the king over {the city of} Sodom, the king over {the city of} Gomorrah, the king over {the city of} Admah, the king over {the city of} Zeboyim, and the king over {the town of} Bela, which is {also called} Zoar, marched out {with their armies} into the Siddim Valley and got ready to fight 9 against Chedorlaomer {who was} the king over {the land of} Elam, Tidal {who was} the king over the Goyim, Amraphel {who was} the king over {the land of} Shinar, and Arioch {who was} the king over {the kingdom of} Ellasar. {Then} the four kings attacked the five {kings} {and started defeating them}.

10 Now there were many tar pits in the Siddim Valley. As the kings over {the cities of} Sodom and Gomorrah {and their soldiers} were running away {from the battle}, some {of their soldiers} died there {in the tar pits}. Those who escaped ran away to the mountains {to hide}. 11 Then the four kings seized all the {people's} belongings in {the cities of} Sodom and Gomorrah, including all their food, and carried it away. 12 They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his belongings, since he was living in {the city of} Sodom.

13 But someone {from Sodom} escaped {from the battle} and went to Abram the Hebrew and reported {to him} {what had happened}. {At that time} Abram was living near the oak trees that were owned by Mamre the Amorite, {who was} the brother of Eshcol and Aner. All {three} of them and Abram had promised to help each other {against their enemies}. 13-14 At that time, Abram was living near the big trees that belonged to Mamre, who belonged to the Amor clan. Abram had made an agreement with Mamre and his two brothers, Eshcol and Aner, that they would help each other if there was a war. One of the men who escaped from the battle told Abram the Hebrew what had happened and that the enemy had captured his nephew, Lot, and taken him away. So Abram summoned 318 men who were his servants, men who had been with Abram since they were born and who knew how to fight as warriors. They all went together and pursued their enemies as far as the city of Dan. 14 When Abram heard that {the four kings} had captured his nephew {Lot}, he called together 318 of his servants who had been born in his household and were skilled warriors. Then {together with his allies} they chased after the four kings and their armies as far as {the town of} Dan. 15 There during the night, Abram and his men divided {into groups}, {surprise} attacked the {four} kings {and their soldiers}, and defeated them. Then they chased them as far as {the town of} Hobah, which is north of {the city of} Damascus. 16 As a result, Abram recovered all the {people's} belongings {that the four kings had taken}. He also rescued his nephew Lot and his belongings, as well as the women and {all} the other people {whom the kings had captured}.

17 After Abram defeated {King} Chedorlaomer and the {other} {three} kings who were his allies, he started to return {home}. When he reached the Shaveh Valley, which is {also called} the King's Valley, the king over {the city of} Sodom came there and welcomed him. 18 Melchizedek who was the king over {the city of} Salem {also came there, and he} brought food and wine {for Abram and his men to eat and drink}. King Melchizedek was also a priest who served the greatest God, 19 so he blessed Abram by saying {to him}, "May the greatest God, who owns heaven and earth, bless you. 20 Praise the greatest God, because he enabled you to defeat your enemies!” Then Abram gave {King} Melchizedek ten percent of everything {that he had recovered in the battle}. 21 After that, the king over {the city of} Sodom said to Abram, "{Please} return to me the people {whom you rescued}, but keep for yourself {their} belongings {that you recovered}.” 22 But Abram replied to him, "{I will not keep anything, because} I have raised my hand {and sworn} to Yahweh, {who is} the greatest God {and} the One who owns heaven and earth, 23 that I will not accept anything that is yours {or your people's}, not even a string or the strap from a sandal. That way you can never say that you {were the one who} made me rich. 24 {So I will accept nothing,} except what my warriors ate and the part {of the plunder} that Aner, Eshcol and Mamre deserve for being my allies. {Please} let them have their part {of the plunder}.”

Chapter 15

1 After that, Yahweh said to Abram in a vision, "Do not be afraid, Abram, I will protect you, {and} I will give you a very great reward.” 2 But Abram said {to him}, "Yahweh, my Master, even if you reward me greatly, {that will not benefit me, since} I still have no children. So {when I die,} the one who will inherit all that I have is {my servant} Eliezer {who is} {a foreigner} from {the city of} Damascus.” 3 Then Abram continued, "That's right, you have not given me any children, so that now {when I die}, {one of} my household servants will inherit everything I own!” 4 But immediately Yahweh said to Abram, "{No,} your servant {Eliezer} will not inherit your property, rather it will be your very own {biological} son who will inherit it.” 5 Then Yahweh took Abram outside {his tent} and said {to him}, "Look {up} at the {night} sky and count how many stars there are, if {in fact} you are able to count them {all}.” {While Abram was looking at the stars,} Yahweh said to him, "That is how many descendants you will have.”

6 Abram trusted Yahweh, and because of that, Yahweh considered him to be righteous. 7 Then Yahweh said to him, "I am Yahweh who brought you {here} from {the city of} Ur that the Chaldeans rule, to give this land to you to own.” 8 But Abram asked {him}, "Yahweh, my Master, how can I be sure that this land will be mine?” 9 Yahweh replied, "Bring me a heifer, a female goat and a male sheep, each which is three years old, as well as a dove and a young pigeon.” 10 So {the next day} Abram brought all those {animals} to Yahweh {and killed them}. Then he cut their bodies in half lengthwise and laid each half a short space across from the other half {in two rows}, except for the birds, which he did not cut in half. 11 Then {some} vultures flew down {and landed} on the {animal} bodies {to eat them}, but Abram chased them away.

12 Later as the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and suddenly it became completely dark and he became terrified. 13 Then Yahweh said to him, "I want you to know that your descendants will live as foreigners in a country that is not their own. They will serve the people {of that country} {as slaves}, and those people will treat them cruelly for 400 years. 14 But I will punish those people whom they serve. After that, your descendants will leave {that country} and take many possessions with them. 15 As for you, after you have lived a good long life, you will die peacefully and join your ancestors {who have died before you}. 16 Then four generations later your descendants will return here {to live}, because that's when the Amorites will have sinned as much as I will allow {before I take away their land and give it to your descendants}.

17 When the sun had set, it became {very} dark. Then suddenly a {clay} pot appeared {that was full} of burning coals and had smoke coming from it, and also a blazing torch, and they {both} went between the {animal} halves. 18 At that time Yahweh made a covenant with Abram and said, "I am giving your descendants this land, {which extends} from Egypt's river {in the south} {up} to the great Euphrates River {in the north}. 19 {That includes} the land which {presently} belongs to the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

Chapter 16

1 Now Abram's wife Sarai had {still} not given birth to {any} children for him, but she owned an Egyptian servant woman whose name was Hagar. 2 So she told Abram, "Please listen {to this}: Yahweh has not allowed me to have children. {So} please sleep with my servant {Hagar}. Maybe I can have a family through her {children}." Abram agreed to do what Sarai requested. 3 {This all happened} after Abram {and his family} had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years. {That is when} his wife Sarai gave her Egyptian servant Hagar to him to be his {second} wife.

4 So Abram slept with Hagar and she became pregnant. But when she realized that she was pregnant, she started to disrespect her mistress {Sarai}. 5 So Sarai complained to Abram, "It is your fault that I am suffering! I gave my servant to you {to sleep with}, but now that she realizes that she is pregnant, she disrespects me! I ask Yahweh to judge whether it is you or I who is responsible {for this}!” 6 Abram replied to her, "Listen, you are in charge of your servant. Do with her what{ever} you think is best.”

Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she ran away {from home to get away} from her. 7 Then one of Yahweh's angels came to Hagar by a spring of water in the desert. It was the spring beside the road to {the city of} Shur. 8 And the angel asked {her}, "Hagar, Sarai's servant, where have you come from, and where are you headed?” She answered {him}, "I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” 9 Then Yahweh's angel told her, "Go back {home} to your mistress and {humbly} obey her {as her servant}.”

10 Then the angel added, "I {Yahweh} will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all.”

11 Then the angel {also} told her, "Listen, {as you know,} you are pregnant. You will have a son, and you are to name him Ishmael, {which means "God listens,”} because Yahweh listened to you when you were suffering {and helped you}. 12 {When Ishmael grows up,} he will be {proud and free} like a wild donkey. He will fight against everyone, and everyone will fight against him. In fact, he will {even} be hostile toward all his relatives.”

13 Then Hagar gave the name El Roi to Yahweh who had spoken to her, because she exclaimed {to herself}, "I just now saw here the back of God who sees me!“ {El Roi means, "the God who sees.”} 14 That is why the name of that well is Beer Lahai Roi {which means "Well of the Living One who sees me”}. It is {still} there between {the cities of} Kadesh and Bered.

15 Then Hagar {returned home and} gave birth to a son for Abram, and Abram named his son Ishmael. 16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar had Ishmael for him.

Chapter 17

1 {Years} later, when Abram was 99 years old, Yahweh appeared to him and said to him, "I am Almighty God. Live in a way that pleases me so that you will be blameless. 2 I will establish my agreement with you, and I will increase {the number of} your descendants so that they are very numerous.”

3 Then Abram bowed with his face to the ground {before God} {to show respect}, and God continued speaking to him, 4 "Listen, this is what I will do to fulfill my agreement with you: I will make you the ancestor of many people groups. 5 Your name will no longer be Abram, rather {from now on} it will be Abraham, because you will be the ancestor of many people groups. 6 Yes, I will give you many, many descendants, so that you will become {the ancestor of many} people groups. In fact, some of your descendants will be kings. 7 I will establish my agreement with you and {all} your descendants {who live} after you for {all} generations to come. It will be an agreement that never ends, that I will be your God and {the God} of {all} your descendants. 8 I will also give to you and your descendants this land where you have been living as a foreigner, {that is,} the entire land of Canaan. They will own it forever, and I will be their God.”

9 Then God continued, "Now as for your part {in this agreement}, you must obey me. {That applies to} you as well as {all} your descendants for {all} generations to come. 10 This is {what I require in} my agreement with you and your descendants: You must circumcise all males {who live} among you. 11 You must circumcise yourselves, and that {custom} will remind {you all} that {I made} this agreement with you. 12 For all {future} generations you must circumcise {every} baby boy among you who is eight days old, as well as all {other} males {in your household}. {That includes} those from your own family as well as those who are not your descendants, but are servants {whom you} bought from foreigners. 13 {That's right,} you must definitely circumcise {all of} them, {regardless of} whether they are sons from your own family or servants whom you have bought. That is how you must mark my agreement on your bodies to show that it is an agreement that never ends. 14 In fact, if any man refuses to let you circumcise him, you must {send him away and} not allow him to associate with my people, {because} he has disobeyed {what I require in} my agreement.”

15 Then God {also} told Abraham, "{As for} your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai {any more}, rather {from now on} her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her, and I will definitely give you a son from her. In fact, I will bless her so that she will become {the ancestor of many} people groups, and some of her descendants will be kings over people groups.”

17 Then Abraham bowed with his face to the ground {before God} {to respect him}, but he laughed and thought to himself, "How can a hundred-year-old man {like me} father a child? And how can Sarah who is 90 years old {still} have a baby?" 18 Then Abraham said to God, "Please let Ishmael be the one whom you bless {as my heir}!” 19 God replied, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will give birth to a son for you, and you must name him Isaac. I will establish my agreement with him as a permanent agreement {that will also stay in effect} with {all} his descendants {who live} after him.

20 "I also heard what you asked me to do for Ishmael. {So} this is what I will do: I will bless him and give him many children and greatly increase {the number of} his descendants. {In fact,} he will be the father of twelve {sons who become} {powerful} leaders, and I will make him become {the ancestor of} a large people group. 21 However I will establish my agreement with Isaac, whom Sarah will give birth to for you at this time next year.” 22 After he had finished talking to Abraham, God left him.

23 Then Abraham gathered his son Ishmael and all the {other} males who were born in his household and all his male servants whom he had bought, {yes,} every male in his household. Then on that same day he circumcised them {all}, just as God had commanded him {to do}. 24 Abraham was 99 years old when they circumcised him, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when Abraham circumcised him. 26 {So it was,} on that same day they circumcised Abraham, and {he circumcised} his son Ishmael. 27 And all the {other} males in Abraham's household, {including} those {who had been} born in his household and those {whom he had} bought {as slaves} from foreigners, were circumcised with him.

Chapter 18

1 Then {one day} Yahweh appeared {again} to Abraham at the oak trees on Mamre's land, while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw that there were three men standing a short distance away. As soon as he saw them, he {jumped up and} hurried {to them} to greet them. Then he bowed {before them} {with his face} to the ground {to show respect}, 3 and he said {to them}, "Sirs, if you consider me worthy {to be your host}, please do not leave here without letting me serve you {as my guests}. 4 Please let me bring {you} some water, so that you can wash {the dust off} your feet, and then rest under {the shade of} this tree. 5 Since you are here with me, let me {also} bring some food {for you} {to eat}, so that you can regain your strength before you continue on your way." They replied {to him}, "That's good, do what you have proposed.” 6 Then Abraham hurried into his tent to Sarah and told her, "Quickly use three batches of our best flour, and bake {some} bread.” 7 Then he ran {outside} to his herd {of cattle} and chose one of his best calves that would be good to eat. Then he took it to one of his servants, and the servant quickly butchered it and cooked it. 8 Then Abraham brought {some} yogurt and milk and the meat that his servant had prepared, and he put it {all} before his {three} guests {to eat}. Then he stood nearby them {where they were sitting} under the tree {and served them} while they ate. 9 Then {one of} the men asked Abraham, "Where is your wife Sarah?” Abraham answered, "{She is} there in the tent.” 10 Then the man {who was actually Yahweh} said {to Abraham}, "I will definitely return {here} to visit you at this time next year, and when I do, your wife Sarah will have a {baby} son.” Now Sarah was listening inside the entrance of the tent which was behind the man. 11 She and Abraham were {already} very old, so that Sarah was {far} past the age that she could have children. 12 So she laughed to herself {in disbelief} and said {to herself}, "It doesn't seem possible that I could experience the pleasure {of having a child} now that I am too old {to conceive} and my husband is {also} old!” 13 But Yahweh asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh {to herself} and say that she is too old to have a child? 14 Nothing is too difficult for Yahweh {to do}! At the time that I have set, I will return to you {here}. {Yes, I will come} at this time next year, and Sarah will {already} have a son.” 15 {When Sarah heard what the man said,} she was afraid, so she lied {to him} and said, "I did not laugh.” But Yahweh replied, "That's not true. You did laugh.”

16 {When they had finished eating,} the {three} men got up {to leave} and started walking down toward {the city of} Sodom. Abraham escorted them {for a while} to see them on their way. 17 Then Yahweh thought {to himself}, "Should I keep secret from Abraham what I am about to do {to the city of Sodom}? 18 After all, he {and his descendants} will definitely become a great and powerful people group, and through him I will bless all the people groups in the world. 19 In fact, I have chosen him so that he will train his children and his descendants, so that they will live the way I want them to live and do what is right and treat people justly. Therefore I will do for him everything I have promised him {that I will do}.” 20 Then Yahweh said {to Abraham}, "I have heard that {the people of} {the cities of} Sodom and Gomorrah have become very evil, and they are sinning very terribly. 21 So I must go down {to those cities} now and determine whether or not they are guilty of everything that I have heard against them. If {they are} not {guilty}, {then} I will know {it} {and I will not punish them}.” 22 Then the {other two} men left Yahweh and Abraham behind and continued walking toward {the city of} Sodom, while Abraham remained {there} with Yahweh. 23 Then Abraham stepped closer {to Yahweh} and asked {him}, "Certainly you will not destroy righteous people {along} with wicked people, will you? 24 What {will you do} if there are 50 righteous people in the city {of Sodom}? Will you really {still} destroy {all the people in} the city rather than let them all live because of the 50 righteous people who live there? 25 Certainly you would never do such a thing as kill righteous people together with evil people, so that you are treating them both the same way! Certainly you would never do such a thing! As the Judge over everyone on the earth, will you not treat people justly?” 26 Yahweh replied {to him}, "If I find 50 righteous {people} in the city of Sodom, then I will spare the whole city {and everyone who lives there} because of them.” 27 Then Abraham spoke up {again} and asked {Yahweh}, "My Lord, please excuse me for speaking to you so boldly, even though I am {as insignificant as} dirt and ashes {compared to you}. 28 {But} what {will you do} if there are only 45 righteous people {in the city} instead of 50? Will you destroy the whole city {and everyone in it} if there are five people too few {who are righteous}?” Yahweh answered, "I will not destroy the city, if I find 45 {righteous people living} there.” 29 Then Abraham spoke again to Yahweh and asked, "What {will you do} if you find {only} 40 {righteous people} in the city? {Will you destroy it then?}“ Yahweh answered, "I will not destroy {the city}, in order to save the 40 {righteous people}.” 30 Then Abraham pleaded {with him}, "My Lord, please do not be angry {with me}, but let me ask {you} {another question}: What {will you do} if you find {only} 30 {righteous people} {living} there?” He replied, "I will not destroy {the city}, if I find 30 {righteous people} there.” 31 Then Abraham asked {him}, "My Lord, please excuse me for speaking to you so boldly, {but} what {will you do} if you find {only} 20 {righteous people} {living} in the city?” Yahweh replied, "I will not destroy the city, in order to save the 20 {righteous people}.” 32 Then Abraham said, "My Lord, please do not be angry {with me}, but let me ask {you} just one more thing: What {will you do} if you find {only} ten {righteous people} in the city?" Yahweh answered {him}, "I will not destroy {the city}, in order to save the ten {righteous people}.” 33 When Yahweh had finished talking with Abraham, he left {him}, and Abraham returned home.

Chapter 19

1 That evening the two angels arrived at {the city of} Sodom, while Lot was sitting at the gate of the city. When Lot saw them, he stood up and greeted them and {then} bowed {before them} with his face to the ground {to show respect}. 2 Then he said {to them}, "Sirs, please listen. Please come to my house so that I can serve you and you can lodge for the night {there}. {That way} too {you can} wash {the dust off} your feet, then {tomorrow morning} you can get up early and continue traveling.” But the two angels replied, "Thank you, but we will {just} stay in the public square tonight.” 3 However Lot continued to urgently invite them until they {finally agreed and} went with him to his house. Then Lot prepared a big meal for them, including {some} flat bread, and they {sat down and} ate {the meal}.

4 {But} {after supper,} before they could lie down {to sleep}, {all} the men in the city of Sodom surrounded Lot's house, including men of all ages. {In fact,} all the people from every part {of the city were there}. 5 Then they shouted to Lot, "Where are the {two} men who came to lodge with you tonight? Bring them outside to us so that we can have relations with them!” 6 But Lot went outside near the doorway {to talk} to them, and he shut the door {of the house} behind him. 7 Then he pleaded {with them}, "I beg you, my friends, do not do such an evil thing! 8 Listen please, I have two daughters who have never had marital relations with a man. Please let me bring them out to you, so that you can do with them whatever you want. But do not harm these men, because they are my guests and I am responsible for their safety.” 9 But the men of Sodom shouted {at him}, "Get out of our way!” Then they said {to each other}, "This guy came {here} as a foreigner, and now he wants to judge us!” {Then they shouted at Lot,} "{Now} we will treat you worse than {we will treat} your {two} guests!” Then they started shoving hard against Lot and surged forward to break down the door {of his house}. 10 But Lot's {two} guests {opened the door}, reached outside and {quickly} pulled him {back} into the house with them and closed the door. 11 Then they caused the men who were at the door of the house to be blind, every last one of them, so that they exhausted themselves {groping around} trying to find the door.

12 Then the {two} angels asked Lot, "Do you have any other relatives here in Sodom? If you have sons-in-law or sons or daughters or any other relatives here, {hurry up and} get them away from this city, 13 because we are about to destroy it. Yahweh has heard that the people of this city are guilty of serious sins, so he has sent us to destroy the city.” 14 So Lot went to his {future} sons-in-law who were engaged to his daughters, and he warned them, "Hurry up {and} leave this city, because Yahweh is about to destroy it!” But his sons-in-law thought that he was joking, {so they ignored him}.

15 Early the next morning, the {two} angels urged Lot by saying, "Hurry up {and} take your wife and your two daughters {out of the city}! If you don't, you will die when {God} punishes {the people of} the city.” 16 Lot hesitated, but Yahweh was being merciful to him, so the {two} men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters, and took them outside the city. 17 As {soon as} the angels had taken them outside {the city}, one of them said {to Lot}, "Run away from here as fast as you can! Do not look behind you, and do not stop anywhere in the valley! Hurry to the mountains, or else you will die!” 18 But Lot replied to them, "I beg you, sirs, please don't {make us do that}. 19 Listen please. You have treated me well even though I am unimportant, and you have been very kind to me and saved my life. But I am not able to run {all the way} to the mountains before the disaster occurs and kills me. 20 {So} listen {to this} please: that town {up ahead} is near {enough} to run to {in time}, and it is {just} a small {town}. Please let us run there {and do not destroy it}, especially since it is so small. Then we can stay alive.” 21 The angel replied to Lot, "Alright, I will allow you to go to the {small} town that you're talking about and I will not destroy it. 22 {But} hurry up {now and} run there, because I cannot destroy anything until you get there.” Since Lot said the town was small, the name of the town is Zoar {which means "small”}.

23 The sun was rising over the land as Lot {and his family} reached {the town of} Zoar. 24 Then Yahweh caused fire and burning rocks to fall like {heavy} rain from the sky on {the cities of} Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 {In that way,} he {completely} destroyed those {two} cities and the entire valley, including everyone who lived in the cities and {all} the plants in the area. 26 But Lot's wife, {who was} {walking} behind him, looked back {at the city}, and she turned into a statue of {solid} salt {rock}.

27 {Meanwhile} early that same morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood with Yahweh {the day before}. 28 He looked down at {the cities of} Sodom and Gomorrah and all {the rest of} the valley, and there in front of him, he saw that {lots of thick} smoke was billowing up over the land like smoke from a {huge} fire.

29 So it was {that} when God destroyed the cities in the valley, he did not forget Abraham, and so he saved Lot from the catastrophe that {completely} destroyed the cities which Lot had lived in.

30 After that, Lot was afraid to stay in {the town of} Zoar, so he and his two daughters moved from there to the mountains and lived in a cave. 31 Then {one day} his oldest {daughter} said to the younger one, "Our father is old and there aren't any men around here to marry us, which is the custom {that people have} everywhere else in the world. 32 {So} come on, let's get our father drunk on wine, then let's have relations with him, so that we can continue our family line with him.” 33 So that night they got their father drunk on wine. Then the older {daughter} went {to him} and had relations with him. But {he was so drunk that} he was not {even} aware that she got in bed {with him} or that she left.

34 The next day Lot's older {daughter} said to the younger one, "Listen, last night I slept with our father. Let's get him drunk on wine again tonight, then you {also} go {and} have relations with him, so that we can continue our family line with him.” 35 So that night Lot's daughters got their father drunk on wine again. Then the younger {daughter} went and had relations with him. And {once again} {he was so drunk that} he was not aware that she got in bed {with him} or that she left.

36 In that way, both of Lot's daughters became pregnant from {having relations with} their father. 37 Later his older {daughter} gave birth to a son, and she named him Moab {which means "from my father”}. He became the ancestor of the Moabite people {who are still living} today. 38 Lot's younger {daughter} also gave birth to a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi {which means "son of my people”}. He became the ancestor of the Ammonite people {who are still living} today.

Chapter 20

1 Meanwhile Abraham {and his family} left the place where they were living {and moved south} to the Negev {Desert} area. There they lived between {the cities of} Kadesh and Shur, and they stayed for a while in {the city of} Gerar. 2 {While they were there,} Abraham told {people} that his wife Sarah was his sister. So {one day} Abimelech, {who was} the king of Gerar, had {some of his servants} bring Sarah {to his home} {to be his wife}. 3 But God appeared to {King} Abimelech in a dream during the night and said to him, "Listen, you are about to die because the woman whom you have taken {to be your wife} is {already} married to someone else!” 4 However Abimelech had not {yet} slept with Sarah, so he asked {God}, "My Lord, will you kill {me and my} people even if we are innocent? 5 Abraham himself told me that Sarah was his sister. And she herself also said that he was her brother. {So} I took her {to be my wife} with a pure conscience, and I did not know that I was doing anything wrong!” 6 God replied to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that it was with a pure conscience that you took Sarah {to be your wife}, and in fact I {am the one who} kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you sleep with her. 7 So now you must give Abraham's wife back {to him}. He is a prophet {for me}, so he will ask me to be merciful to you, so that you will not die. However if you refuse to give Sarah back {to him}, you can be sure that you and all your people will definitely die!”

8 Early the next morning {King} Abimelech got up and called together all of his officials. He told them everything that had happened, and they were very afraid {that God would punish them}. 9 Then the king called in Abraham and said to him, "You have treated us very badly! I never did anything wrong to you, and yet you have caused me and the people whom I rule to be guilty of sinning terribly! You have wronged me in ways that should never be done {to anyone}!” 10 Then {King} Abimelech asked him, "What motivated you to do what you did?” 11 Abraham answered {him}, "{I did it,} because I thought that surely no one in this place reveres God, so they will kill me to get my wife {for themselves}. 12 Besides that, Sarah actually is my half-sister. We had the same father, but different mothers, and {after we grew up,} we got married. 13 {Years} later when God told me to leave my father's family, I asked her to do me a favor and tell people wherever we go that I am her brother.”

14 Then {King} Abimelech brought {many} sheep and cattle and male and female servants {to Abraham} and gave {them all} to him. He {also} gave Abraham's wife Sarah back to him. 15 Then {King} Abimelech said {to him}, "Look, my land is available to you. Live {wherever} you decide is best.” 16 Then he {turned} to Sarah {and} said, "Listen, I am giving 1,000 pieces of silver to your brother. I'm doing this so that everyone knows you did nothing wrong, and to compensate you for everything {that has happened to you}.” 17 Then Abraham prayed to God {for King Abimelech}, so God healed him and his wife and his female servants, so that they could have children {again}. 18 {Previously} Yahweh had kept all the women in Abimelech's household from conceiving because he had taken Abraham's wife Sarah.

Chapter 21

1 Then Yahweh blessed Sarah just as he had said {he would}. Yes, he did for her exactly what he had promised {to do}. 2 So Sarah became pregnant and at the time {God had} appointed, she gave birth to a son for Abraham when he was old, just as God had promised him {that she would}. 3 Then Abraham named his son Isaac, the son whom Sarah had given birth to. 4 Also, when Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, just as God had commanded him {to do}.

5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. 6 {When he was born,} Sarah exclaimed, "God has made me laugh {for joy}, {and} everyone who hears {about this} will laugh {for joy} with me!" 7 She also exclaimed, "No one would have {even thought of} telling Abraham that I would have children. Yet I have given birth to a son {for him} when he is old!"

8 Isaac grew as a child and reached the age when his mother stopped nursing him. When that happened, Abraham held a big feast {to celebrate}. 9 But {during the feast} Sarah noticed that {Ishmael,} the son of {her} Egyptian {handmaid} Hagar and Abraham, was making fun of {Isaac}. 10 So she {was angry and} told Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son! Her son must never get anything that my son Isaac will inherit {from you}!" 11 Abraham was very upset about that, because {Ishmael} was {also} his son {and he cared about him too}. 12 But God said to Abraham, "Do not be upset about the boy or your slave woman. {Rather} listen to everything Sarah tells you {to do}, {and do it,} because Isaac is the one who will be the ancestor of your descendants {whom I promised to you}. 13 But I will also make your slave woman's son become {the ancestor of} a {great} people group, because he is your son."

14 Early the next morning Abraham got up, brought {some} food and a container of water to Hagar {and} put them on her back. Then he sent her off with the boy, and they left and wandered around in the desert near {the city of} Beersheba. 15 When they had finished {all} the water in the container, she left her son under {the shade of} a bush. 16 She thought {to herself}, "I cannot {bear to} watch my son die." So she went {away from him} and sat down by herself, about as far away as someone can shoot an arrow. Then she started crying loudly.

17 God {also} heard the boy crying, so one of his angels called to Hagar from heaven and said, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy crying over there {and will take care of him}. 18 {So} go help the boy get up and take care of him, because I {Yahweh} will make him become {the ancestor of} a great people group." 19 Then God enabled Hagar to see a well of water, so she went {to the well}, filled her {water} container with water and gave her son a drink.

20 As the boy grew up, God was with him {and helped him}. He lived in the {Paran} Desert and became a {skilled} bowhunter. 21 While he was there, his mother found a wife for him {who was} from the country of Egypt.

22 Meanwhile, one day {King} Abimelech {went} with his army captain Phicol {to Abraham} and said to him, "{I have noticed that} God is with you {and helps you} in everything that you do. 23 So now {please} vow to me here in God's presence that you will never deceive me or my children or my descendants, {but that} just as I have treated you kindly, you {also} will be kind to me and {my people in} this country where you are living." 24 Abraham replied {to him}, "I vow {that I will do those things}."

25 Then Abraham complained to {King} Abimelech about a water well that Abimelech's servants had taken control of {from his servants}. 26 But Abimelech responded, "I do not know who did that. Besides that, you did not tell me {about it} {before} and so today is the first that I have heard about it." 27 Then Abraham gave {some of his} sheep and cattle to Abimelech, and he and Abimelech made a {peace} treaty {with one another}. 28 Abraham {also} separated seven female lambs from the flock by themselves. 29 So Abimelech asked him, "Why did you separate those seven lambs {from the rest of the flock}?" 30 Abraham replied, "Because I want you to accept them from me, to show {everyone} that you agree with me that I dug this well {and it belongs to me}." 31 {Abimelech accepted the lambs,} so Abraham named that place Beersheba {which means "Well of the Seven" or "Well of the Vow"}, because that's where the two of them vowed {to live at peace with one another}.

32 After Abraham and {King} Abimelech made their treaty at Beersheba, Abimelech and his army captain Phicol left {from there} and returned {home} to {the capital city of} the Philistine territory {that he ruled as king}. 33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped Yahweh by name, {who is} the God who lives forever. 34 After that, Abraham lived {there} in the land of the Philistines for many years.

Chapter 22

1 Sometime later God {decided to} test Abraham. So he called to him, “Abraham!” Abraham replied, “Yes, {Lord}?” 2 Then God commanded {him}, “Take your son {with you}, {yes,} your only son Isaac whom you love, and travel {with him} to the region of Moriah. There you are to burn him up {on an altar} as a sacrifice {to me}, on one of the mountains that I will show to you."

3 So the next morning Abraham got up early and put a {pack} saddle on his donkey {to get it ready} {for the trip}. Then he got his son Isaac and two of his servants, and they chopped {some} {fire}wood that they would use to burn the sacrifice {and loaded it on the donkey}. Then they started traveling to the place that God had told Abraham {to go to}. 4 Three days later Abraham looked {ahead} and in the distance he could see the mountain {where they were headed}. 5 Then he told his servants, “You {two} stay here with the donkey, while my son and I go {to the mountain} over there and worship {God}. Then we will come back to you.”

6 Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering {off the donkey} and loaded it on his son Isaac{'s shoulder} {to carry}. He {himself} carried a fire pot {with hot coals in it} and a knife {to kill the sacrifice}. Then the two of them walked on together. 7 {As they walked,} Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father?” Abraham replied, “Yes, my son?” Then Isaac asked {him}, “I see {that we have} the fire {coals} and the {fire}wood, but where is the lamb that we will burn as a sacrifice {to God}?” 8 Abraham answered {him}, “My son, God himself will provide a lamb for us to burn as a sacrifice {to him}.” Then they continued walking together {toward the mountain}.

9 When they reached the place that God had told him {to go to}, Abraham built an altar there and put the wood {on top of it}. Then he tied his son Isaac{'s arms and legs} {with rope} and laid him on top of the wood on the altar. 10 Then he picked up the knife in order to kill his son. 11 But one of Yahweh's angels called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he replied, “Yes, {Lord}?” 12 Then the angel told {him}, “Do not harm your son or do anything {else} to him. Now I know that you revere me, since you {have obeyed me and} have not held back your son from me, {yes,} your only son.”

13 Then Abraham looked around and there behind him he saw a ram that had its horns stuck in a bush. So he {released Isaac,} went {over to the ram} and untangled it. {Then he killed it} and burned it {on the altar} as a sacrifice {to God} in place of his son. 14 That is why Abraham named that place “Yahweh-Yireh,” {which means “Yahweh will provide”}. {Even} today people {still} say, “On Yahweh's mountain he will provide what you need.”

15 Then Yahweh's angel called to Abraham from heaven again. 16 He said, “This is what Yahweh declares {to you}: 'With myself {as my own witness}, I promise {to you} that since you have obeyed me and did not hold back your son {from me}, {yes,} your only son, 17 I will abundantly bless you. I will greatly multiply your descendants {so that they will be as numerous} as the stars in the sky and {as numerous} as the {grains of} sand that are on the seashore. Your descendants will defeat their enemies and rule over them. 18 Through your Descendant I will bless all the people groups on the earth. {I will do that} because you obeyed me.' “

19 After that, Abraham returned {with Isaac} to his {two} servants. Then together they {all} traveled {back} {home} to {the city of} Beersheba, and Abraham {and his family} stayed there.

20 Sometime later someone told Abraham, “I have news {for you}: Your brother Nahor and {his wife} Milcah also have {some} sons, 21 {including} their oldest {son} Uz, then Buz, and Kemuel, {who is} the father of Aram. 22 {They also have sons named} Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel, 23 who has {a daughter named} Rebekah." Those are the eight sons that Milcah had for Abraham's brother Nahor. 24 Besides that, Nahor and his slave woman Reumah also had {some} sons, {including} Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maacah.

Chapter 23

1 Sarah lived to be 127 years old. That is how old she was 2 when she died in {the city of} Kiriath Arba, which is {also called} Hebron, in the land of Canaan. Abraham went {to her} and cried and mourned for her. 3 Later he stood up from {mourning} beside her and {went} to {the leaders of} the Hittites {at the city gates} and said to them, 4 "{As you know,} I am a foreigner who is living among you {so I do not own any property here}. {Please} sell me some land so that I can bury {the body of} my wife who has died.” 5 {The leaders of} the Hittites responded to Abraham, 6 "Sir, {please} listen to what we propose: You are a powerful man among us. {So please choose} {any} one of our best burial sites and bury your deceased {wife} there. All of us are willing for you to use {any of} our burial sites to bury her."

7 Then Abraham stood up and bowed {in respect} before {the leaders of} the Hittites, who owned the land {in the area}, 8 and he said to them, "If you are willing {for me} to bury my deceased {wife} {here}, {please} help me by asking Ephron the son of Zohar 9 to sell me his cave that is at the edge of his field in the Machpelah {area}. Ask him to sell it to me for its full price, with {all of} you {here} to witness {the sale}. That way I will have a place where I can bury {my wife who has died}.” 10 Now Ephron the Hittite was sitting {there at the meeting} among the {other} Hittite leaders, so he replied to Abraham as the {other} leaders listened, including everyone who had gathered {there} at the city gate. He said, 11 "That's not necessary, sir. {Please} accept this offer: I {hereby} give you the {entire} field, including the cave that is in it. I am giving it to you {now} as the leaders of my people watch. {You may} bury your deceased {wife} {there}.”

12 Then Abraham bowed {again} before the leaders who owned the land {in the area}. 13 As they listened, he said to Ephron, "Rather {than that,} since you are willing {to let me have the field}, {please} accept my offer. I want to pay {you} the {full} price for the field. {Please} let me buy it from you, so that {it will be mine and} I can bury {my wife} there who has died.” 14 Ephron responded to Abraham, 15 "Sir, {please} listen to me. The land is worth 400 shekels of silver. {However} since you and I are friends, there is no need for that. {Go ahead and} bury your deceased {wife} {there}.” 16 Abraham agreed with Ephron's price, and he paid Ephron the {amount of} silver that he had suggested while {the rest of} the Hittites listened. {Abraham weighed the} 400 shekels of silver using the standard weights that sellers used {at that time}.

17 So Ephron's field that was in the Machpelah {area} east of {the city of} Mamre, {including both} the field and the cave that was in the field, as well as all the trees that were anywhere inside the boundaries of the field, was {officially} sold 18 to Abraham and became his property while the Hittites watched, including everyone who had gathered at the city gate. 19 After that, Abraham put {the body of} his wife Sarah in the cave in that field in the Machpelah {area} east of {the city of} Mamre, which is {also called} Hebron, in the land of Canaan. 20 So {that is how} that field, including the cave that was in the field, was {officially} sold to Abraham by the Hittites, so that he had a place where he could bury {his wife who had died}.

Chapter 24

1 Abraham had lived a long time and was {now} {very} old, and Yahweh had blessed him in every way. 2 {One day} Abraham said to his chief household servant who managed his entire estate for him, "Please put your hand under my thigh {to show that you will do what I ask}. 3 I want you to vow to me, with Yahweh the God who rules the heavens and the earth as your witness, that you will not arrange for my son {Isaac} to marry {any of} the Canaanite women who live around us here. 4 Rather you must go to the country where I grew up, to my relatives {who live there}, and find a wife for him {from there}.”

5 But {Abraham's} servant asked him, "What {should I do} if the {young} woman {I find} refuses to come {back} with me to this land {to live}? Do you want me to take your son back {there} to your home country {to marry her} {and live there}?” 6 Abraham answered him, "{No,} be sure that you never take my son back there {to live}, 7 {because} Yahweh, the God who rules the heavens, brought me {here} from my father's household and from the land where {the rest of} my relatives live, and he vowed to me that he will give this land to my descendants. He will send one of his angels ahead of you {to help you}, so that you will find a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman {you find} refuses to come back {here} with you, then you will be free from {keeping} this vow that you are making to me {now}. But {no matter what happens,} never take my son back to my home country!”

9 So {Abraham's} servant put his hand under his master's thigh and vowed to him that he would do what Abraham had requested him to do. 10 Then he got ten of his master's camels ready {for the trip}, and after he loaded them with all kinds of valuable things from his master {to use as gifts}, he left {with some other servants} and made the {long} trip to {the region of} Aram Naharaim, to the city where Nahor lived. 11 {When they arrived there,} Abraham's servant had the camels kneel down {to rest} outside the city near the well {that was there}. It was evening time, when the {young} women {of the city} were starting to come out {to the well} to draw water.

12 Then Abraham's servant prayed, "{Dear} Yahweh, {who is} the God who takes care of my master Abraham, please help me succeed today and {in that way} be kind to my master. 13 As you see, I am standing by this well, and young women from the city are coming {here} to draw water. 14 {Please} make it happen that when I say to one of the young women, 'Please lower your jug so that I can have a drink,' she will say {to me}, 'Have a drink and I will also draw water for your camels.' Then I will know that she is the one you have chosen to be the wife of Isaac who serves you, and that you have been kind to my master.”

15 Before Abraham's servant had {even} finished praying, he saw {a young woman named} Rebekah coming out {of the city} carrying a water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, {who was} the son of Milcah and Abraham's brother Nahor. 16 She was a very beautiful unmarried young woman, whom no man had ever slept with. She walked down to the well, filled her jug {with water} and came {back} up {carrying it on her shoulder}.

17 Then {Abraham's} servant ran to meet her and said {to her}, "Please let me have a little water to drink from your jug.” 18 She replied, "{Please} have a drink, sir.” Then she quickly lowered her jug {from her shoulder} to her hands and let him drink {some water} {from it}. 19 After that, she said {to him}, "I will also draw water for your camels until they have had enough to drink.” 20 Then she quickly emptied {the rest of the water from} her jug into the {animal drinking} trough {that was there}, and ran back {and forth} to the well to draw {more water}, until she had drawn {enough} for all of the camels. 21 Meanwhile {Abraham's} servant silently watched Rebekah {and waited} to find out whether or not Yahweh had made him successful on his journey {to find a wife for Isaac}. 22 Finally, when the camels had finished drinking, the servant {gave Rebekah} a gold nose ring that weighed one beka, and two gold bracelets for her wrists that weighed ten shekels {each}. 23 Then he asked {her}, "Please tell me who your father is. {Also,} is there room at his house for me and my men to spend the night {there}?” 24 Rebekah answered him, "My father is Bethuel, and he is one of Nahor and Milcah's sons.” 25 Then she added, "We have plenty of both straw and {other} feed {at our house} {for the camels to eat}, {and there is} also {enough} room {for you all} to stay {there} tonight.” 26 Then the servant bowed to the ground and worshiped Yahweh, 27 saying, "Praise Yahweh, the God {who takes care} of my master Abraham! He has never stopped being kind and faithful to my master, and he has guided me on {my} journey {here} to the home of my master's relatives!”

28 Then Rebekah hurried {home} and told her mother's family about what had happened. 29 Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban, and he rushed out to the well where Abraham's servant was. 30 As soon as Laban had seen the nose ring {that his sister was wearing} and the bracelets on her arms, and had heard her announce what the servant had said to her, he went {out} to meet him. He found him standing with {his} camels at the well. 31 Then Laban said {to him}, "Come {with me}, you whom Yahweh has blessed. There is no need for you to stand out here. I have gotten our house ready {for you and your men to stay with us} and {there is also} a place for {your} camels {to stay}.” 32 So Abraham's servant went home {with Laban}. {When they arrived there,} Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and {other} feed to them {to eat}. {He} also {gave} water {to the servant} and the men who were with him to wash their feet. 33 Then {Laban's family} served them a meal to eat, but the servant said {to them}, "Before I can eat, I need to tell {you} why I am here.” Laban responded {to him}, "{Please} tell {us} {what you have to say}.”

34 So the servant told {them}, "I am Abraham's servant. 35 Yahweh has abundantly blessed my master, so that he has become wealthy. Yahweh has given him {many} sheep and cattle, {much} silver and gold, {many} male and female servants, and {many} camels and donkeys. 36 Besides that, my master's wife Sarah gave birth to a son for him when she was old, and my master has given him everything that he owns. 37 {Before I came here,} my master made me vow {to do something for him}. He said, 'You must not arrange for my son {Isaac} to marry {any of} the Canaanite women whose land we have been living in. 38 Rather go to my father's family, to my {own} relatives, and find a wife for my son {from among them}.' 39 So I asked my master, 'What {should I do} if the {young} woman {I find} refuses to come {back} {here} with me?' 40 He answered me, 'Yahweh whom I serve will send one of his angels with you. He will make you succeed on your journey, so that you will find a wife for my son from {among} my relatives, {someone} from my father's family. 41 At that time you will be free from {keeping} the vow {you are making} to me {if this happens}: If you find a wife for Isaac but my family refuses to let her go with you, then you will be free from {keeping} your vow to me.'

42 "Then today when I came to {your city's} well, I prayed, '{Dear} Yahweh, {who is} the God {who takes care} of my master Abraham, if you are willing, please give me success on this journey that I have come on. 43 As you see, I am standing by this well. {Please} make it happen that when a young woman comes out {of the city} to draw water and I ask her, "Please let me drink a little water from your jug,” 44 if she replies, "{Yes,} have a drink and I will also draw water for your camels,” {then} let her be the woman whom {you} Yahweh have chosen to be the wife of my master's son.'

45 "Before I had {even} finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out {of the city} carrying her {empty} {water} jug on her shoulder. After she walked down to the well and filled her jug with water, I said to her, 'Please let me have a drink.' 46 She quickly lowered her jug from her {shoulder} and said, 'Have a drink, and I will also draw water for your camels.' So I took a drink, and she also gave water to my camels. 47 Then I asked her, 'Who is your father?' She answered, 'My father is Bethuel, {who is} one of Nahor and Milcah's sons.' After that I gave her a nose ring and bracelets to wear. 48 Then I bowed {to the ground} and worshiped and praised Yahweh, the God {who takes care} of my master Abraham, because he guided me right where I should go to find the granddaughter of my master's brother {to be the wife} for my master's son. 49 So now, {please} tell me whether or not you are willing to be kind and faithful to my master {by letting her come with me}, so that I can decide what to do {next}.”

50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered {Abraham's servant}, "{It is clear that} Yahweh has made {all} this happen, {so} it is not our place to tell you anything different. 51 Here is Rebekah. Take {her with you} and return {home} so that she can marry your master's son as Yahweh has guided.” 52 When Abraham's servant heard what they said, he bowed to the ground {and thanked} Yahweh. 53 Then he took out {expensive gifts, including} silver and gold jewelry, and {also} {beautiful} clothing, and gave {them} to Rebekah. He {also} gave {valuable} gifts to her brother and mother.

54 Then Abraham's servant and the men who were with him ate {supper} and slept {there} that night. {Early} the next morning after everyone got up, Abraham's servant said {to Rebekah's family}, "{Please} let me return {home} {now} to my master.” 55 But Rebekah's brother and her mother replied, "{Please} let the young woman stay {here} with us {for another} ten days or so. Then you can go and take her {with you}.” 56 But the servant said to them, “{Please} do not delay me. Now that Yahweh has made my journey successful, let me go so that I can return to my master.” 57 So they replied, "Let's call Rebekah and ask her what she wants to do.”

58 So they called for her and asked her, "Do you want to go {now} with this man?” She answered {them}, "{Yes,} I will go {now}.” 59 So they {agreed to} send their sister Rebekah and her {personal} servant {who had helped raise her}, with Abraham's servant and his companions. 60 They blessed Rebekah by saying to her, "Sister, we pray that God will give you countless thousands {of descendants}, and that he will help them conquer {all} their enemies and rule over them!” 61 After Rebekah and her servants {who were going with her} packed their things, they got up on the camels {they were going to ride} and went with Abraham's servant. So {Abraham's} servant took Rebekah {with him} and started the journey {back} {home}.

62 Meanwhile Isaac returned {home} from visiting {the place called} Beer Lahai Roi. {At that time} he was living in the Negev {Wilderness}. 63 {One day} as it was becoming evening, he went to the field to pray. {As he was praying,} he looked up and suddenly he saw {in the distance} {some} camels coming {toward him}. 64 Rebekah {also} looked up and saw Isaac. Immediately she got down from the camel {that she was riding}, 65 and asked {Abraham's} servant, "Who is that man in the field who is walking {this way} to greet us?” The servant answered {her}, "He is my master {Isaac}.” So she covered her face with a veil {to show modesty}.

66 Then the servant told Isaac everything that he had done {on the journey}. 67 Then Isaac took Rebekah into the tent where his mother Sarah had lived, and he married her, so that she became his wife. Isaac loved her and he was happy again after {mourning for} his mother {who had died}.

Chapter 25

1 Then Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She had sons with him {whom they named} Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. 3 {Her son} Jokshan had {sons named} Sheba and Dedan. Dedan's descendants became {people groups named} the Asshurites, Letushites and Leummites. 4 {Keturah's son} Midian had sons {named} Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All of those were Keturah's descendants {whom she had with Abraham}.

5 Abraham gave everything that he owned to Isaac. 6 He also gave {valuable} gifts to the sons that his concubines had {with him}, but after that he made them move away to the east country {so that they would live} far away from his son Isaac.

7 Abraham lived to be 175 years old. 8 Then he took his last breath and died at a very old age. After he lived a long and satisfying life, he joined his ancestors {who had already died}. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael put his body in the cave of Machpelah {which was} in the field that had belonged to Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of {the city of} Mamre. 10 {That is} the {same} field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites. That is {the cave} where his sons buried his body next to {the body of} his wife Sarah {whom he had buried there before}. 11 After Abraham died, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived near {the well} Beer Lahai Roi.

12 What follows is a record of the descendants of Abraham's son Ishmael, the son Abraham had with Sarah's Egyptian slave woman Hagar. 13 Here is {a list of} the names of Ishmael's sons, {given} in the order that they were born: His oldest {son} was Nebaioth, followed by Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedermah. 16 Those were Ishmael's {twelve} sons, who were the {original} leaders of twelve tribes that were named after them, and each tribe lived in its {own} towns and villages. 17 Ishmael lived a total of 137 years. Then he took his last breath and died, and he joined his ancestors {who had died before him}. 18 His descendants lived {throughout the area that extended} from {the region of} Havilah to {the wilderness of} Shur that is east of {the country of} Egypt as you head {from there} to {the city of} Asshur. They lived as enemies against all their relatives.

19 Here is {more of} the history about Abraham's son Isaac and his descendants: {After} Abraham had Isaac, 20 Isaac {grew up and} married Rebekah when he was 40 years old. {She was} a daughter of Bethuel, {who was} an Aramean from {the region of} Paddan Aram, and her brother was Laban {who was also} an Aramean. 21 However {for many years} Rebekah was not able to become pregnant, so Isaac prayed that Yahweh would give her children. Yahweh did what Isaac prayed for, so that she became pregnant {with twins}. 22 But the {two} babies wrestled with each other inside her, so she asked, "Why is this happening to me?” Then she asked Yahweh about it. 23 Yahweh answered her, "{The ancestors of} two {future} people groups are inside you. They will be enemies {starting now} even before they are born. One of them will be more powerful than the other, so that the older {son's descendants} will serve the younger {son's descendants}.”

24 Later when it was time {for Rebekah} to give birth, {sure enough} there were twin boys inside her! 25 The first {one} who was born was completely covered with thick red hair. So his parents named him Esau {which means "hairy”}. 26 Next his brother was born with his hand grabbing on {tightly} to Esau's heel. So they named him Jacob {which means "heel-grabber”}. Isaac was 60 years old when Esau and Jacob were born.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skilled hunter and he enjoyed {being} in the open country, but Jacob had a quiet personality and {preferred} to work at home. 28 Isaac's favorite son was Esau, because he liked to eat the meat of wild animals {that Esau hunted}, whereas Rebekah's favorite son was Jacob.

29 {One day} when Jacob was making {some} soup, Esau came home from {hunting out in} the open country and he was exhausted {and hungry}. 30 So Esau requested from Jacob, "Please let me have some of that very red soup because I am exhausted {and hungry}!” That is why Esau's nickname was Edom {which means "red”}. 31 But Jacob replied, "First trade your rights as the oldest son to me {for the soup,} {then I will give you some}.” 32 Esau responded, "Look, I am about to die {from hunger}! So my birthright is of no use to me {right now}.“ 33 Jacob insisted, "{First} make a vow to me today {before God} {that your rights are now mine}!” So Esau vowed to Jacob that he had traded his rights as the oldest son to him {for the soup}. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau {some of} the lentil soup with {some} bread, and Esau {quickly} ate the meal and left. In that way, Esau treated his birthright {carelessly} as if it had no value.

Chapter 26

1 Now there was {another} severe food shortage in the region. {This was} a different shortage from the one that had happened {years} before, while Abraham was still alive. So Isaac {and his family} went {for help} to King Abimelech who ruled over the Philistines {and lived} in {their capital city of} Gerar. 2 Then Yahweh appeared to Isaac and commanded {him}, "Do not go to {the country of} Egypt, {rather} stay in this land where I tell you {to live}. 3 {Yes,} live {as a foreigner} in this land and I will stay with you and bless you. In fact, I will give you and your descendants all these lands, and I will continue {to keep} the promise I made to your father Abraham 4 that I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. I will also give them all these lands, and through your Descendant I will bless all the people groups on the earth. 5 {I will do all that} because Abraham obeyed me and did everything that I ever commanded {him} {to do}.”

6 Then Isaac {did what God said and} settled in {the city of} Gerar.

7 Now Rebekah was very beautiful, so the men in that city started asking {Isaac} about her. Isaac was afraid they might kill him in order to have her, so he {lied and} told {them} she was his sister. 8 {One day} after Isaac had lived there a long time, the Philistines' King Abimelech looked down from a window {of his palace} and saw to his surprise that Isaac was showing affection to his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and scolded {him}, "It is obvious that Rebekah is your wife! So why did you tell us that she is your sister?” Isaac answered him, "{I said that} because I thought someone might kill me in order to have her {as a wife}.” 10 Then Abimelech scolded {him} {further}, "You have treated us very badly! Sooner or later, one of my men could have slept with your wife, and you would have caused us to be guilty {of adultery}!” 11 Then {King} Abimelech warned all {his} people, "I will definitely execute anyone who harms Isaac or his wife!”

12 Isaac planted crops in that area, and that year he gathered {a huge harvest that was} a hundred times {more than what he had planted}. Yahweh continued to bless him, 13 so that he became richer and richer until he was extremely wealthy. 14 He owned many sheep and cattle and {he also owned} many servants. As a result, the Philistines were jealous of Isaac. 15 So they filled up with dirt all the wells that the servants of his father Abraham had dug while he was {still} alive.

16 Then {King} Abimelech said to Isaac, "{Please} move away from us, because you are so powerful {that you are a threat} to us.” 17 So Isaac moved from {the city of} Gerar and pitched his tents in the Gerar Valley and stayed there {for a while}. 18 Then Isaac {had his servants} dig the dirt out of the wells that Abraham's servants had dug and that the Philistines had {just} filled {with dirt}. He gave the wells the same names that his father had given them.

19 Next Isaac's servants dug {at a new place} in the valley and discovered a source of fresh water there. 20 But the herdsmen from {the city of} Gerar argued with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "That well is ours!” So Isaac named the well Esek {which means "argument”}, because they argued with him {about it}. 21 Then Isaac's servants dug another well, but Gerar's herdsmen argued {with them} about that one too, so Isaac named it Sitnah {which means "hostility”}. 22 Then Isaac {and his family} moved from there and he {had his servants} dig a third well. {This time} Gerar's herdsmen did not argue about it, so he named it Rehoboth {which means "space"}, because he said, "Finally Yahweh has provided space for us so that we will prosper in the land.”

23 From there Isaac {and his family} went south to {the city of} Beersheba. 24 That night Yahweh appeared to him and said {to him}, "I am the God whom your father Abraham serves. Do not be afraid, because I am with you. I will bless you and make your descendants numerous, just as {I promised} to Abraham who serves me.” 25 So Isaac built an altar there {at Beersheba} and worshiped Yahweh by name. He also set up his tents there, and his servants started digging {another} well there {too}.

26 Then {King} Abimelech went to Isaac from {the city of} Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and his army commander Phicol. 27 Isaac asked them, "Why have you come to me, {especially} since you have been hostile toward me and forced me to move away from you?” 28 They answered {him}, "It is very obvious to us that Yahweh is with you {and blessing you}, and we decided that we should make a vow with you {to live in peace with one another}. So {please} let us make a {peace} treaty with you, 29 that you will never harm us, just as we never harmed you, but only treated you well and sent you away in peace. {As a result,} Yahweh has now blessed you.” 30 Then Isaac prepared a feast, and they {all} ate and drank {together}. 31 Early the next morning they got up and made vows to one another {that they would keep their treaty}. Then Isaac said goodbye to them, and they went home from him in peace.

32 That {same} day Isaac's servants came to inform him about the well that they were digging and announced, "We have struck water!” 33 So Isaac named the well Shibah {which means "vow”}. That is why {even} today the name of that city is still Beersheba {which means "well of the vow"}.

34 When Esau was forty years old, he married {two} Hittite women: Judith whose father was Beeri, and Basemath whose father was Elon. 35 Isaac and Rebekah were very distressed that their son had married foreign women {rather than a woman from their own religion and people group}.

Chapter 27

1 One day when Isaac was an old man and he could no longer see, he sent for his older son Esau and said to him, "My son.” Esau answered him, "Yes, {sir}?" 2 Then Isaac told {him}, "Please listen {closely}: I am an old man {now} {and} I do not know when I will die. 3 So then, get your bow and arrows, go out in the open country and hunt {some} deer {meat} for me. 4 Next {use the meat to} cook a delicious meal for me the way that I like it, and bring it to me to eat, so that I can bless you before I die.”

5 Rebekah overheard what Isaac said to his son Esau. So after Esau had gone out to the open country to hunt, 6 she said to her son Jacob, "Listen, I {just} overheard your father tell your brother Esau 7 to get him {some} deer {meat} and {use it to} cook a delicious meal for him to eat. Then he wants to bless him before he dies, with Yahweh as his witness. 8 So then, my son, listen to me and do what I tell you {to do}. 9 Please go {out} to our flock {of goats} and get for me two of the best young goats. I will {use the meat from them to} cook a delicious meal for your father, {just} the way that he likes it. 10 Then you can take the meal to your father to eat, so that he will bless you before he dies.”

11 But Jacob responded to his mother, "As you know, my brother Esau has hairy skin, but I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father feels my skin? He will {recognize me and} realize that I am trying to deceive him. Then he will curse me instead of bless me.” 13 But his mother replied, "{If that happens,} may God curse me instead of you, my son. Just listen to me and go get two goats for me!” 14 So Jacob went {to the flock} and selected two goats and took them to his mother. Then she cooked a delicious meal the way that his father liked it. 15 She also got her older son Esau's finest clothes that she had in the house and had her younger son Jacob put them on. 16 And she used the goat skins to cover Jacob's arms and the part of his neck that had no hair {on it}.

17 Then she handed the delicious meal to Jacob, including some bread that she had baked. 18 He took the meal to his father and said, "Father.” His father answered, "Yes? Which of my sons are you?" 19 Jacob replied to his father, "I am Esau, your oldest son. I have done what you requested me {to do}. {So now} please sit up and eat some of the deer {meat} that I have cooked {for you}, so that you can bless me.” 20 But Isaac asked him, "How were you able to find the deer so quickly, my son?” Jacob answered, "Yahweh, {who is} the God who takes care of you, helped me to succeed.” 21 Then Isaac said to him, "My son, please come here so that I can feel you and make sure that you are really my son Esau.” 22 So Jacob stepped closer to his father Isaac, and his father felt him and thought {to himself}, "{Hmm,} his voice sounds like Jacob's voice, but {his} arms feel like Esau's arms.” 23 So Isaac was not able to identify who Jacob was because his arms felt hairy like his brother Esau's. Isaac was about to bless Jacob, 24 but {first} {he wanted to be completely sure, so} he asked {him}, "Are you really my son Esau?” Jacob answered, "{Yes,} I am." 25 So Isaac said {to him}, "Serve me the meal, so that I can eat some of your deer meat and bless you.” Then Jacob served the meal to his father and he ate it. Jacob also served him wine and he drank it.

26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come here and kiss me, my son.” 27 So Jacob went over {to his father} and kissed him {on the cheeks}. {As he did that,} his father recognized the fragrance of Esau's clothes, so he blessed him and said, "Ahh, my son, you smell {wonderful} like the fragrance of a field that Yahweh has caused to flourish! 28 I ask God to provide you {and your descendants} {plenty of} rain from the sky {for your crops and animals} and riches from the earth, including abundant harvests and {much} wine. 29 I also ask God to cause nations to serve and honor you {and your descendants}. You will rule over your brother's descendants, and they will {submit to you and} bow down to you. Whoever curses you God will curse, but whoever blesses you he will bless.”

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and right after Jacob had left his father's presence, Jacob's brother Esau returned {home} from hunting. 31 Then he too cooked a delicious meal, and he took it to his father {Isaac} and said to him, "Father, {please} sit up and eat some of your son's deer meat, so that you can bless me.” 32 But his father asked him, "Which son are you?” Esau answered, "I am your oldest son Esau.” 33 Then Isaac {became so upset that his body} shook very violently and he asked {Esau}, "Then who was it that hunted deer meat and brought a meal to me? I finished eating it just before you came, and I blessed him. So God will definitely bless him.” 34 When Esau heard what his father said, he shouted out with a very loud and distressed shout and begged his father, "{Please} bless me too, father!” 35 But his father responded, "Your brother came {to me} and tricked {me} and stole the blessing that I was planning to give you.” 36 Then Esau exclaimed, "The name Jacob fits him exactly, because he has tricked me like this two times {now}! {First} he stole my rights as the oldest son, and now look {what he has done}: he has stolen my blessing!”

Then Esau begged {his father}, "Is there still a way you can {ask God to} bless me?" 37 Isaac answered, "Listen, I have {already} appointed Jacob to be your master. In fact, I have asked {God to make it so} that you and all your descendants will serve him {and his descendants}. Besides that, I have {also} blessed him with {abundant} harvests and wine. So then, there is no way left for me to bless you, my son!“ 38 But Esau continued to beg his father {and say}, "Father, isn't there {just} one more way that you can bless {me}? {Please} bless me too, father!” Then Esau started crying loudly. 39 Finally his father said to him, "Listen, you {and your descendants} will live in a place where the land is not good {for farming} and where there is not much rain. 40 You {and your descendants} will have to fight battles to stay alive,

     and you will serve your brother {and his descendants}.

     But when you rebel {against them}, you will get free from their control over you.”

41 After that Esau held a grudge against Jacob because their father had blessed him. So Esau thought to himself, "Soon my father will die; then after we {bury him and} mourn for him, I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 But Rebekah heard about what her oldest son Esau was planning, so she sent for her youngest son Jacob and told him, "Listen, your brother Esau is planning to take revenge on you and kill you. 43 So then, my son, listen to me: Hurry {and} escape to {the city of} Haran to my brother Laban! 44 Live with him for a short time until your brother is no longer angry {with you}. 45 When he is not angry with you anymore and he forgets what you did to him, I will send word that it is safe for you to come {back home} from there. I do not want to lose both of you on the same day!“

46 Then Rebekah complained to Isaac, "My life is {very} miserable because of our Hittite daughters-in-law {whom Esau married}! If Jacob were to {also} marry a local Hittite woman like that, I would not want to keep on living!“

Chapter 28

1 So Isaac summoned Jacob, blessed him and told him, "You must not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 {Instead} you must go right away to {the land of} Paddan Aram, to the home of your mother's father, Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Laban's daughters. 3 I pray that God who is all-powerful will bless you and give you many children and increase {the number of} your descendants, so that you become {the ancestor of} many people groups. 4 I {also} pray that he will bless you and your descendants the same way that he blessed Abraham, so that you will own this land where you have been living as a foreigner, {the same land} which God gave to him.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob {on his way}, so Jacob started traveling to Laban{'s house which was} in {the land of} Paddan Aram. {Laban was} the son of Bethuel the Aramean and {also} the brother of Rebekah, {who was} Jacob and Esau's mother.

6 Now Esau had seen Isaac bless Jacob and send him to {the land of} Paddan Aram to marry a woman from there. As Isaac was blessing him, {Esau heard} him tell Jacob, "You must not marry a Canaanite woman!” 7 {Esau also saw that} Jacob obeyed their father and mother and started traveling to Paddan Aram. 8 That is when Esau realized that his father Isaac did not approve of {his sons marrying} Canaanite women. 9 So in addition to the {two} wives he already had, Esau went to {the family of} Abraham's son Ishmael and married Ishmael's daughter Mahalath, whose brother was Nebaioth.

10 {After} Jacob left from {his family's home} {in the city of} Beersheba, he started traveling to {the city of} Haran. 11 {That evening} he reached a good place {to sleep}, so he stopped there {for the night} because the sun had set. He chose {one} of the stones that was there and used it as a pillow. Then he lay down and went to sleep. 12 While he was dreaming, he saw a stairway. The bottom of the stairway was on the ground and its top reached up to heaven, and he saw God's angels going up and coming down on the stairway. 13 And there standing at the top {of the stairway} was Yahweh, and he said {to Jacob}, "I am Yahweh, the God whom your ancestors Abraham and Isaac serve. I will give you and your descendants this land that you are lying on. 14 They will be {as numerous} as the dust {specks} on the ground, so that they live throughout this land in every direction. Because of you and your descendants, I will bless all the families in the world. 15 Remember that I will {always} be with you and I will protect you wherever you go, and I will lead you back to this land. In fact, I will never leave you and I will do everything that I have promised you {that I will do}.”

16 Suddenly Jacob woke up from his dream and exclaimed {to himself}, "Yahweh definitely lives in this place, but I did not know it {before now}!” 17 He was afraid, so he {also} exclaimed, "This is a terrifying place! This can only be God's house! It must be the entrance to heaven!” 18 Early the next morning Jacob got up, took the stone that he had used as a pillow and set it up {on its end} to mark the place {where God had appeared to him}. Then he poured {some} {olive} oil on top of the stone {to dedicate the place to God}. 19 He named that place Bethel {which means "house of God”}. Previously the name of that town had been Luz.

20 Then Jacob made a vow {to God} and said, "God, if {you,} will stay with me and protect me as I travel on this journey and if you provide me food to eat and clothes to wear, 21 so that I return safely to my father's home, then Yahweh, {you} will be the God whom I serve. 22 This stone that I have set up will be your house and mark the place {that you appeared to me}, and I will give back to you a tenth of everything that you give to me.”

Chapter 29

1 Then Jacob left {Bethel} and continued traveling {until he came} to the land in the east where various people groups lived. 2 {When he arrived there,} he looked {around} and saw a well in an {open} field. There were three flocks of sheep lying near the well {waiting for water}. That was the well that flocks drank water from, but there was a large stone covering the top of the well. 3 {Every day} shepherds would bring all the flocks {of sheep} there. They would {work together to} remove the stone from the top of the well and draw water for the sheep. Then they would put the stone back over the top of the well.

4 Jacob asked the shepherds, "My friends, where do you live?” They replied, "We are from {the city of} Haran.” 5 So Jacob asked them, "Do you know Laban, Nahor's grandson?” They answered, "{Yes,} we do.” 6 So Jacob asked, "Is he doing well?” They answered {him}, "{Yes,} {he is} well. In fact, here comes his daughter Rachel {now}, bringing {his} sheep.” 7 Then Jacob urged {them}, "Look, the sun is still bright, and it is too early to gather the flocks {for the night}. {You ought to} draw water for them and take them back out {to the fields} to graze {some more}.” 8 But they replied, "We can't {do that} until all the shepherds are here with their flocks. Then {together} we will move the stone away from the top of the well and draw water for the sheep.”

9 While Jacob was still talking with the shepherds, Rachel arrived {at the well} with her father {Laban}'s sheep; it was her job to take care of them. 10 As soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of his uncle Laban with her father's sheep, he walked over {to the well}, removed the stone that covered it, and drew water for his uncle's sheep. 11 Then he kissed Rachel {on her cheek} and {he was so happy that} he started crying. 12 Then he told her that he was her father's nephew, the son of {her aunt} Rebekah. So she ran home and told her father {the news}.

13 When Laban heard about his sister's son Jacob, he ran {out} to greet him. Then he hugged him and kissed him {on the cheeks} and took him to his house. Then Jacob told Laban {about himself and} everything that had happened, 14 and Laban exclaimed to him, "There is no doubt that you are a close relative of my family!”

After Jacob had stayed with Laban {and worked for him} {for} an entire month, 15 Laban said to him, "{Just} because you are my nephew, {that does not mean that} you should {have to} work for me for free! Tell me what you want me to pay you.” 16 Now Laban had two daughters: The name of the older {one} was Leah, and the younger {one} was Rachel. 17 Leah had pretty eyes, but Rachel was extremely beautiful in every way. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said {to Laban}, "I will work seven years for you if you will let me marry your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban replied, "{I agree to your terms.} I would {much} rather give her to you {to marry} than give her to someone else. {So} stay here {and work for me}.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years {for Laban} so that he could marry Rachel, but he loved her so {much} that to him the time seemed {to pass quickly} like {only} a few days.

21 {When the seven years were over,} Jacob said to Laban, "{Please} let me marry {your daughter} {Rachel} {now} so that I can live with her {as} my wife, because I have finished my {seven} years {of work} {for you}." 22 So Laban invited all the local people and held a {wedding} feast. 23 But that evening Laban {tricked Jacob and} brought his daughter Leah {to Jacob's tent} {instead of Rachel}, so that he had marital relations with her. 24 Laban also gave his female servant Zilpah to Leah to be {her} {personal} servant.

25 But the next morning Jacob was shocked to see that it was Leah {he had married}! So he complained to Laban, "You have treated me very badly! {You know that} Rachel is the one I served you for! So why did you trick me?” 26 Laban replied, "It is not our custom here for the younger {daughter} to marry before the older {daughter} {marries}. 27 {So then,} {keep Leah as your wife and} finish this week of celebrating your marriage to her. Then our family will also give you {my} younger daughter {to marry} if you will work for me for another seven years.”

28 So Jacob {agreed with Laban and} did what he said: he finished celebrating his marriage to Leah that week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to marry. 29 Laban {also} gave his servant Bilhah to Rachel to be her servant. 30 Then Jacob had marital relations with Rachel, and he loved her more than {he loved} Leah. Then he {started} working for Laban for another seven years.

31 Now Yahweh knew that Jacob did not love Leah, so he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel was not able to conceive. 32 Then Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben {which means "See, a son!”}, because she exclaimed, "Now that Yahweh has seen that I am suffering {and helped me}, surely my husband will love me!”

33 Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to {another} son. She exclaimed, "Since Yahweh heard that my husband does not love me, he has given me this child also.” So she named him Simeon {which means "he hears”}.

34 Then Leah became pregnant {yet} again and gave birth to another son, and she exclaimed, "Now finally my husband will want to be with me because I have given him three sons!” That is why his name was Levi {which means "be with”}.

35 Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son, and she exclaimed, "This time I will praise Yahweh!” That is why she named him Judah {which means "praise”}. Then Leah stopped having children {for a while}.

Chapter 30

1 Meanwhile {when} Rachel realized that she was not able to bear {any} children for Jacob, she was jealous of her sister, and she demanded of Jacob, "Help me have children, or else I want to die!” 2 Jacob became very angry with Rachel and responded, "I am not God! He is the one who has prevented you from having children!” 3 Then Rachel told {him}, "You can have my servant Bilhah {as a wife}. Sleep with her, so that she will have children for me so that I too can have a family.” 4 So Rachel gave Jacob her servant Bilhah to be {another} wife {for him}, and Jacob slept with her.

5 Then Bilhah became pregnant and had a son for Jacob, 6 and Rachel exclaimed, "God has judged in my favor! Yes indeed, he has answered my prayer and given me a son!” That is why she named the baby Dan {which means "he judged in my favor”}. 7 Then Rachel's servant Bilhah became pregnant again and had a second son for Jacob. 8 So Rachel said, "I have had a difficult contest with my sister, and {now} I have defeated her!” Then she named that son Naphtali {which means "my contest”}.

9 Now when Leah realized that she had stopped having children, she brought her servant Zilpah {to Jacob} and gave her to him to be {another} wife {for him}. 10 Then Zilpah had a son for Jacob, 11 and Leah exclaimed, "I am so fortunate!” So she named him Gad {which means "fortunate”}.

12 Then Leah's servant Zilpah had a second son for Jacob, 13 and Leah exclaimed, "{God} has truly blessed me! Now {other} women will know that {God} has blessed me.” So she named that son Asher {which means "blessed”}.

14 Then {one day} during the season when people were harvesting wheat, Leah's son Reuben went out in a field and found {some} fertility plants, and he gave them to his mother. {When Rachel found out about the plants,} she begged Leah, "Please give me some of the fertility plants that your son found.” 15 But Leah replied to her, "{No!} It was {bad} enough that you stole my husband {from me}! And {now} you even want to take my son's fertility plants!” Rachel replied, "Alright then, Jacob can sleep with you tonight if you will give me your son's fertility plants.”

16 That evening when Jacob came {home} from {working in} the field, Leah went out to greet him and told {him}, "You must sleep with me {tonight}, because I have traded my son's fertility plants for time with you.” So Jacob spent that night with Leah. 17 God answered {the prayers of} Leah, so that she became pregnant and had a fifth son for Jacob. 18 Then she said, "God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband {as a wife}.” So she named that son Issachar {which means "reward”}.

19 Then Leah became pregnant again and had a sixth son for Jacob. 20 Then she said, "God has given me a valuable gift, {so that} now my husband will honor me because I have had six sons for him.” So she named their son Zebulun {which means "honor”}.

21 {Sometime} after that, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah.

22 God had not forgotten Rachel, so he answered her {prayers} and made it possible for her to have children. 23 Then she became pregnant and had a son, and she exclaimed, "God has made it so that I am no longer ashamed!” 24 She named her son Joseph {which means "may he give another”}, {because} she said, "I pray that Yahweh will give me another son.”

25 After Rachel had Joseph, Jacob requested of Laban, "{Please} allow me to leave {here}, so that I can return to my {own} home in my {own} country. 26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have finished serving you for, so that I can leave {with them}. You yourself know how {well} I have served you.” 27 But Laban responded to him, "Please be kind to me and stay, {because} I have found out from observing signs that Yahweh has blessed me because you {are here with me}.” 28 Then he added, "Tell me what you want your pay to be, and that is what I will pay you.” 29 Jacob replied to him, "You yourself know how {hard} I have worked for you and how {well} your animals have prospered under my care. 30 The few that you owned before I came have multiplied dramatically. Yes, Yahweh has blessed you because of me. But now, I need to also provide for my {own} family!“

31 So Laban asked {him}, "What can I pay you {to persuade you} {to stay here}?” Jacob answered, "Do not pay me anything. Just do this {one} thing for me, and I will continue taking care of your flocks: 32 Let me look through all your flocks today and separate out from them all the lambs that are speckled, spotted or dark-colored, and {all} the young goats that are spotted or speckled. They will be my pay. 33 That way {too}, in the future it will be easy {for you} to know whether {or not} I am being honest whenever you check the animals you have paid me. {If you see} that I have any {sheep or} goats that are not speckled or spotted, or any lambs {that are not} dark-colored, {you will know that} I stole them {from you}.”

34 Laban replied, "I agree. Yes, let's do exactly as you have suggested.” 35 But that {same} day, Laban separated {from his flocks} {all} the he-goats that had streaks or spots, and all the she-goats that had speckles or spots, all that {had any} white {marks} on them, together with all the dark-colored lambs. Then he told his sons to take care of them, 36 and he {and his sons} took {those animals} a three-day walking-distance away from Jacob. Meanwhile Jacob continued taking care of the rest of Laban's flocks.

37 Then Jacob cut {some} branches from poplar {trees}, almond {trees} and chestnut {trees}, and made white streaks on them {by peeling off long strips of bark}, which exposed the white {wood} that was inside the branches. 38 Then he put those {streaked} branches in all the drinking troughs that the flocks would come to drink from, so that the flocks would see the branches. {That way, whenever} the animals that were ready to mate came {to the troughs} to drink, 39 they would see the branches as they were mating. As a result, they would have {young that were} streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Then Jacob separated those young animals {from Laban's flocks} {to form new flocks for himself}, and he put {the rest of} the flocks with the streaked and dark-colored animals in Laban's flocks {so that they would mate and have young that were streaked or dark-colored}. In that way, {over time} he created separate flocks {of sheep and goats} for himself that he kept separate from Laban's flocks.

41 Whenever the stronger female animals were ready to mate, Jacob put the {streaked} branches in the {drinking} troughs in front of those animals so that they would see the branches as they were mating. 42 But whenever the weaker female animals {were ready to mate}, Jacob did not put {the branches in the troughs}. In that way, {the young from} the weaker animals were Laban's and {the young from} the stronger animals were Jacob's. 43 So Jacob became extremely wealthy and owned large flocks {of sheep and goats}, and {many} male and female servants, and {many} camels and donkeys.

Chapter 31

1 One day, someone told Jacob that Laban’s sons were complaining and saying, “Jacob has become very rich by taking everything that belonged to our father.” 2 Jacob noticed that Laban was not acting friendly toward him as he had done before. 3 Then Yahweh said to Jacob, “Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will help you there.”

4 So Jacob sent a message to Rachel and Leah, telling them to come out to the pastures where his flocks of sheep and goats were. 5 When they arrived, he said to them, “I see that your father does not act friendly toward me as he did previously. But God, whom my father worshiped, has helped me. 6 You two know that I have worked very hard for your father. 7 He has cheated me many times by decreasing my wages. But God has not allowed him to do me physical harm. 8 When Laban said, ‘The speckled animals are the ones that I will give you to be your wages,’ then all the animals gave birth to young ones that were speckled. When he changed his mind and said, ‘The ones that have black and white stripes on them will be your wages,’ then all the animals gave birth to young ones that were striped. 9 In that way, God has taken away the livestock that belonged to your father and has given them to me.

10 One time, when the animals were mating, I had a dream. In my dream I looked up and was surprised to see that some of the male goats that were mating with the female goats had black and white stripes on them, some were speckled, and some were spotted. 11 In the dream, an angel came from God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ I replied, ‘I am here!’ 12 He said to me, ‘Look up and you will see that all the male goats that are mating have black and white stripes on them, or are speckled or spotted. This is happening because I have seen all that Laban has done to you. 13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you set up a stone, poured olive oil on it and made a solemn promise to me. So now leave this land immediately and return to the land where you were born.’”

14 Rachel and Leah replied to him, “Our father will not give us anything more when he dies. 15 He treats us as though we were foreigners! The work that you did for him all these years was a payment that you gave him for us, but we will not inherit any of the wealth you produced for him. He has spent it all! 16 Certainly all of the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So do whatever God has told you to do!”

17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels. 18 He drove all his livestock just ahead of him as they went. He also took along all the other property and goods that he added to his own possessions while living in Paddan Aram. This is how they began their journey back to his father Isaac, who lived in the land of Canaan.

19 Now Laban had left to go shear his sheep. In his absence, Rachel stole the small wooden idols that were in her father’s tent. 20 Furthermore, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that they were planning to leave. 21 So Jacob and his family fled with all their possessions. They crossed the Euphrates River and then started traveling south toward the hill country of the region of Gilead.

22 On the third day after they left, someone told Laban that Jacob and his family were gone. 23 So he took some of his relatives with him and started to pursue Jacob. They walked for seven days and they caught up with him in hill country of the region of Gilead. 24 Then God appeared to Laban in a dream at night. He said to him, “When you catch up to Jacob, be very careful what you say to him.”

25 The next day, by the time Laban caught up with Jacob, Jacob and his household had set up their tents in the hills of Gilead. So Laban and his relatives set up their tents there too. 26 Then Laban went to Jacob and said to him, “Why have you done this? You have deceived me by carrying away my daughters as though you had captured them in a war! 27 Why did you run away and deceive me? Why did you not tell me that you were going to leave, so that we could have rejoiced and sung while people played music on tambourines and harps before I said ‘goodbye’ to you? 28 You did not even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye before they left! What you have done was foolish! 29 My relatives and I have the power to harm you, but last night the God whom your father worships said to me in a dream, ‘Be very careful what you say to Jacob.’ 30 Now I know you have left because you want to go back home. But why did you steal my idols?”

31 Jacob replied to Laban, “I did not tell you that we were planning to leave, because I was afraid that you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone here who has your idols, we will execute that person. While our relatives are watching, search for yourself to see if there is anything that belongs to you that is here with me. If you find anything, you can take it!” When Jacob said that, he did not know that Rachel had already stolen her father’s idols.

33 Then Laban went into Jacob’s tent, next into Leah’s tent, and then into the tent of the two female slaves and searched for the idols, but he did not find them. After he left their tents, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34 But Rachel had previously taken the idols and put them in the saddle of a camel, and she was sitting on the saddle. So when Laban searched all over for them inside Rachel’s tent, he did not find them. 35 Rachel said to her father, “Do not be angry with me, sir, but I cannot stand up in your presence to show respect for you, because I am having my menstrual period.” So even after searching more, Laban, he did not find his idols.

36 Then Jacob became angry. He said to Laban, “What crime did I commit? For what sin have you pursued me? 37 Now you have searched through all my possessions, and you have found nothing that belongs to you! If you have found anything, put it here in front of my relatives and your relatives, so that they can decide who is right, you or me!

38 I was with you for twenty years. In all that time, your sheep and goats have not miscarried. I have not killed and eaten any rams from your flocks. 39 When one of your animals was attacked and mauled by a wild animal, I did not bring it to you. I replaced the dead animal with a living one of my own animals. Whenever one of your animals was stolen, during the day or during the night, you demanded that I replace it with one of my own animals. 40 I suffered from the heat during the day and from the cold at night. I was often not even able to sleep! 41 I lived in your household for twenty years. I worked for you for fourteen years to marry your two daughters, and for six more years to buy some of your sheep and goats. During that time, you changed and reduced my wages ten times. 42 If God, the one whom my grandfather Abraham worshiped and before whom my father Isaac trembled in fear, had not been with me and helped me, you would have sent me away with nothing in my hands! But God saw how much I was suffering and how hard I was working, so last night he told you that what you have done to me was wrong.”

43 Laban replied, “These two women are my daughters, and their children are my grandchildren, and the animals are my animals. Everything you see here is mine! 44 I cannot do anything in order to keep them, so we should make a peace agreement, you and I. It will serve as a witness between you and me.”

45 So Jacob took a large stone and set it on its end. 46 Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they gathered some rocks and put them in a heap, and they ate some food there near the heap. 47 Laban gave the heap the Aramaic name Jegar Saha Dutha, but Jacob gave the heap the Hebrew name Galeed. 48 Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks we have put here today will help us to remember our agreement.” That is why Jacob called it Galeed. 49 They also named the place Mizpah, which sounds like the Hebrew word that means “watchtower,” because Laban said, “We will ask Yahweh to watch you and me while we are separated from each other, so that we do not try to harm each other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take other women to be your wives, even if no one tells me about it, do not forget that God sees what you and I are doing!”

51 Laban also said to Jacob, “You see this large stone and this pile of rocks that we have set up to be between us. 52 Both this pile of rocks and this large stone will remind us, that I will not go past these rocks to harm you and you will not go past these rocks to harm me. 53 May the God whom Abraham worshiped, and the god that Nahor worshiped, and the gods their ancestor Terah worshiped punish either one of us, if one of us harms the other.” Jacob solemnly promised by the God whom his father Isaac feared to do what they said in their peace agreement.

54 He offered a sacrifice to God there in the hill country, and he invited his relatives to eat with him. After they had eaten, they slept there that night. 55 The next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters, and he asked God to bless them. Then Laban and his men left and returned home.

Chapter 32

1 As Jacob and his family continued traveling, some angels came from God and met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s army camp!” So he named that place Mahanaim.

3 Jacob told some men to go ahead of him to his older brother Esau, who was living in Seir, that is, the land of Edom. 4 He told them, “This is what I want you to say to Esau: ‘I, Jacob, am your servant and you are my master. I have been living with our uncle Laban, and I have stayed there until now. 5 I now own many cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and male and female slaves. Now I am sending this message to you, sir, hoping that you will be friendly toward me when I arrive.’”

6 The messengers went and gave that message to Esau. When they returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your older brother Esau. He is coming to you, and four hundred men are coming with him.”

7 Jacob was very afraid and worried. So he divided the people who were with him into two groups. He also divided the sheep and goats, the cattle, and the camels, into two groups. 8 He was thinking, “If Esau and his men come and attack us, perhaps one of the groups will be left and will be able to escape.” 9 Then Jacob prayed, “O Yahweh God, whom my grandfather Abraham worshiped and my father Isaac worships, you said to me, ‘Go back to your own land and to your relatives, and I will cause good things to happen to you.’ 10 I am not worthy for you to have kept your covenant in so many faithful and trustworthy ways with me, your servant. I had only this walking stick with me when I crossed the Jordan River on my way to Haran, but now I am so wealthy that there are two large groups of my family and possessions. 11 So now I pray that you will rescue me from the power of my brother Esau, because I am afraid that he and his men will come and attack and kill me and the children and their mothers. 12 But do not forget that you have said, ‘I will certainly enable you to prosper, and I will cause your descendants to be as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore, which are so many that no one can count them.’”

13 Jacob slept in that place that night. The next morning he selected some animals to give to his brother Esau. 14 He selected two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred female sheep and twenty male sheep, 15 thirty female camels and their offspring, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He divided them into small herds, and put each herd into the care of one of his servants. He said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, one group at a time, and keep some space between each herd.” 17 He said to the servant who was going with the first group, “When my brother Esau meets you, he will ask you, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong?’ 18 Tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. He has sent them to you as a gift, sir. And he is coming behind us.’”

19 He also said the same thing to the servants who were taking care of the second and third groups, and to the other herdsmen. He said to them, “When you meet Esau, I want you to say to him the same thing that I told the first servant. 20 Also be sure to say ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” Jacob told them to say that because he was thinking, “Perhaps these gifts that I am sending ahead of me will cause him to act peacefully toward me. Later, when I see him, perhaps he will act kindly toward me.” 21 So the men taking the gifts went ahead, but Jacob himself stayed in the camp that night.

22 Some time during that night, Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female slaves, and his eleven sons, and he sent them across the ford at the Jabbok River. 23 After he sent all his people across the Jabbok River, then he also sent over everything he owned. 24 So Jacob was left there alone. But a man came and wrestled with him until dawn. 25 When the man realized that he was not winning against Jacob, he struck Jacob’s hip and caused the thigh bone to pull away from the hip socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, because it will soon be daylight.” Jacob replied, “No, if you will not bless me, I will not let you go!” 27 The man said to him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Jacob.” 28 The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. Your name will be Israel, which means ‘he struggles with God,’ because you have struggled with God and with people, and you have won.” 29 Jacob said, “Now, please tell me your name!” The man replied, “Why do you ask me what my name is?” But he blessed Jacob there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, which means “God’s face,” saying “I looked directly at God, but I did not die because of doing that.”

31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of what had happened to his hip. 32 The muscle on his hip joint had been injured. So to this present time, because of what happened to Jacob, the Israelite people do not eat the muscle that is attached to the socket of the hips of animals.

Chapter 33

1 Then Jacob joined the rest of his family. Later that day Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and there were four hundred men with him. Jacob was worried because of that, so he separated the children. He put Leah’s children with Leah, Rachel’s children with Rachel, and the two female slaves’ children with their mothers. 2 He put the two female slaves and their children in front. He put Leah and her children next. He put Rachel and Joseph at the rear. 3 He himself went ahead of them all, and as he continued to approach his older brother, he prostrated himself with his face on the ground seven times. 4 But Esau ran to Jacob. He hugged him, put his arms around his neck, and kissed him on the cheek. And they both cried. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and the children. He asked, “Who are these people who are with you?” Jacob replied, “These are the wives and children that God has graciously given to me.” 6 Then the female slaves and their children came near and bowed in front of Esau. 7 Then Leah and her children came and bowed down. Finally Joseph and Rachel came near and bowed down.

8 Esau asked, “What is the meaning of all the animals that I saw?” Jacob replied, “I am giving them to you, sir, so that you will feel good toward me.” 9 But Esau replied, “My younger brother, I have enough animals! Keep for yourself the animals that you have!” 10 But Jacob said, “No, please, if you feel good toward me, accept these gifts from me. You have greeted me very kindly. Seeing you smile at me assures me that you have forgiven me. It is like seeing the face of God! 11 Please accept these gifts that I have brought to you, because God has acted kindly toward me, and I still have plenty of animals!” Jacob kept on urging him to accept the animals, and finally Esau accepted them.

12 Then Esau said, “Let us continue traveling together, and I will lead you on the road.” 13 Jacob said, “You know, sir, that the children are weak, and that I must take care of the female sheep and cows that are sucking their mother’s milk. If I force them to walk fast for a long distance in just one day, the animals will all die. 14 You go ahead of me. I will lead the animals slowly, but I will walk as fast as the children and animals can walk. I will catch up with you in Seir.” 15 Esau said, “Then allow me to leave with you some of the men who came with me, to protect you.” But Jacob replied, “Why do that? The only thing that I want is for you to feel good toward me.” 16 So on that day Esau left to return to Seir. 17 But instead of going to Seir, Jacob and his family went to a place called Succoth. There he built a house for himself and his family, and built shelters for his livestock. That is the reason they named the place Succoth, which means “shelters.”

18 This is how Jacob and his family left Paddan Aram and traveled safely to the land of Canaan. There they set up their tents in a field near the city of Shechem. 19 One of the leaders of the people in that area was named Hamor. Hamor had several sons. Jacob paid the sons of Hamor one hundred pieces of silver for the piece of ground on which they set up their tents. 20 He built a stone altar there and named it El Elohe Israel, which means “God, the God of Israel.”

Chapter 34

1 One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the women in that area. 2 Shechem was one of the sons of Hamor, and he was descended from the people group of the Hivites. When he saw her, he took her and forced her to have sex with him. 3 He was very much attracted to her, and he became attached to her. He loved her and he spoke very tenderly to the girl. 4 So Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Please get this girl for me. I want her to become my wife!”

5 When Jacob found out that Shechem had seized his daughter Dinah and slept with her, his sons were still in the fields with his livestock, so he said nothing about this until they returned home.

6 In the meantime, Shechem’s father Hamor went to talk with Jacob. 7 Jacob’s sons came in from the field, and when they had found out what had happened, they were shocked and very angry, because Shechem had brought much shame to Israel by forcing himself on Jacob’s daughter. She was their sister! This was a terrible crime that should never be done.

8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem really likes this girl who is your daughter and your sister. Please allow him to marry her. 9 Let us make an agreement: You will give your daughters to our young men to be their wives, and we will give our daughters to your young men to be their wives. 10 You can live among us and live anywhere in our land that you wish. You can buy and sell things. If you find land that you want, then you can buy it.”

11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “If you feel good toward me and do what I am asking for, I will give you whatever you ask for. 12 Tell me what gifts you want and what bride price you want, and I will give you what you ask for. I just want you to give the girl to me to be my wife.”

13 But because Shechem had done a shameful thing to their sister Dinah, the sons of Jacob deceived Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, “No, we cannot do that. We cannot give our sister to be the wife of a man who is not circumcised, because that would be a shameful thing for us to do. 15 We will do that only if you do one thing: You must become like us by circumcising all the males that are among you. 16 Then we will give our daughters to your young men to be your wives, and we will take your daughters to be the wives of our young men. We will live among you, and we will become one people group. 17 But if you do not agree to be circumcised, we will take our sister and leave.”

18 What they said pleased Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 Shechem wanted very much to take Jacob’s daughter as his wife; also, since he was the most respected person in his father’s family, he quickly agreed to do what they suggested. 20 Shechem went with Hamor to the meeting place at the city gate, and they spoke to the city leaders. They said, 21 “These men are friendly toward us. We should let them live here and travel around. Certainly the land is big enough to support them and us. Our young men can marry their daughters, and their young men can marry our daughters. 22 But these men will agree to live among us and become one people group with us only if all our males are circumcised, as they are. 23 But if we do that, just think! Their cattle, their possessions, and all their animals will become ours! So we should agree to do what they suggest, and then they will live among us!” 24 All the men who were at the city gate agreed to what Hamor and Shechem suggested. Every male in the city was circumcised.

25 On the third day after that, when the men of the city were still sore because of being circumcised, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and entered the city without anyone stopping them, and killed all the men. 26 They even killed Hamor and his son Shechem. Then they took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and left the city. 27 Then the other sons of Jacob went into the city where all those dead bodies were. They looted the city to get revenge for the shameful thing that had been done to their sister. 28 They took away the people’s sheep and goats, their cattle, their donkeys, and everything else that they wanted from inside the city and from out in the countryside. 29 They took away everything that was valuable, even the children and the women. They seized and took away everything that was in the houses.

30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought me big trouble! Now the Canaan people group, the Perez people group, and everyone else who lives in this land will hate me! I do not have many men to fight for us, so if they all gather together and come to me and attack us, they will destroy us and all our household!” 31 But they replied, “Should we have allowed Shechem to treat our sister like a prostitute?”

Chapter 35

1 Some time later, God said to Jacob, “Go up to the city of Bethel and live there. Build an altar to worship me, God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your older brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all the others who were with him, “Get rid of the idols you brought from the land of Mesopotamia. Also, bathe yourselves and put on clean clothes. 3 Then we will get ready and go up to Bethel. There I will build an altar to worship God. He is the one who helped me at the time when I was greatly distressed and afraid, and he has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave to Jacob all the idols that they had brought, and all their earrings. Jacob buried them in the ground under the big oak tree that was near the city of Shechem.

5 As they prepared to leave there, God caused the people who lived in the cities around them to be very afraid of Jacob’s family, so that they did not pursue them. 6 Jacob and all those who were with him went to Luz, which is now called Bethel, in Canaan land. 7 There he built an altar. He named the place El Bethel, which means “God of Bethel,” because it was there that God revealed himself to Jacob when he was fleeing from his older brother Esau.

8 Deborah, who had taken care of Isaac’s wife Rebekah when Rebekah was a small girl, was now very old. She died and was buried under an oak tree south of Bethel. So they named that place Allon Bakuth, which means “oak of weeping.”

9 After Jacob and his family returned from Paddan Aram, while they were still at Bethel, God appeared to Jacob again and blessed him. 10 God said to him again, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. It will be Israel.” So Jacob was then called “Israel.” 11 Then God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Produce many children. Your descendants will become many nations, and some of your descendants will be kings. 12 The land that I promised to give to Abraham and Isaac, I will give to you. I will also give it to your descendants.”

13 When God finished talking there with Jacob, he left him. 14 Jacob set up a large stone at the place where God had talked with him. He poured some wine and some olive oil on it to dedicate it to God. 15 Jacob named that place Bethel, which means “house of God,” because God had spoken to him there.

16 Jacob and his family left Bethel and traveled south toward Ephrath town. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to have severe childbirth pains. 17 When her pain was the most severe, the midwife said to Rachel, “Do not be afraid, because now you have given birth to another son!” 18 But she was dying, and with her last breath she said, “Name him Ben-Oni,” which means “son of my sorrow,” but his father named him Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand.”

19 After Rachel died, she was buried alongside the road to Ephrath, which is now called Bethlehem. 20 Jacob set up a large stone over her grave, and it is still there, showing where Rachel’s grave is.

21 Jacob, whose new name was Israel, continued traveling with his family, and he set up his tents on the south side of the watchtower at Eder. 22 While they were living in that area, Jacob’s son Reuben slept with Bilhah, one of his father’s concubines. Someone told Jacob about it, and it made him very angry.

Now Jacob had twelve sons. 23 The sons of Leah were Reuben, who was Jacob’s oldest son, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. 24 The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Rachel’s female slave Bilhah were Dan and Naphtali. 26 The sons of Leah’s female slave Zilpah were Gad and Asher. All those sons of Jacob, except Benjamin, were born while he was living in Paddan Aram.

27 Jacob went back home to see his father Isaac at Mamre, which is also named Kiriath Arba, and which is now named Hebron. Isaac’s father Abraham had also lived there. 28 Isaac lived until he was 180 years old. 29 He was very old when he died and went to join his ancestors who had died previously. His sons Esau and Jacob buried his body.

Chapter 36

1 These are those who descended from Esau, whose other name was Edom, and what happened concerning them. 2 Esau married three women from Canaan land: Adah, the daughter of Elon the Hittite; Oholibamah, who was the daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hittite; 3 and Basemath, who was the daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. 4 Esau’s wife Adah gave birth to Eliphaz. Basemath gave birth to Reuel. 5 Oholibamah gave birth to Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. All these sons of Esau were born while he was living in Canaan land.

6 6-7 Jacob and Esau had very many possessions. For this reason, they needed more land for their livestock. The land where they were living was not big enough for all their livestock. So Esau, whose other name was Edom, had taken his wives and sons and daughters and all the other members of his household, his sheep and goats and his other animals, and all the other things he had obtained in Canaan land, and they had moved to an area that was away from Jacob. 7 8 They went to live in the hill country of Seir.

9 These are those who descended from Esau, the ancestor of the Edom people group who live in the Seir area. 10 Esau’s wife Adah gave birth to Eliphaz, and Esau’s wife Basemath gave birth to Reuel. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 Esau’s son Eliphaz also had a concubine. Her name was Timna. She gave birth to Amalek. Those six men were grandsons of Esau’s wife Adah.

13 Reuel’s sons were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. They were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath.

14 Esau’s wife Oholibamah, who was the daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, gave birth to three sons: Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

15 These are the chiefs among the descendants of Esau. The descendants of Eliphaz, his firstborn son, these were the chiefs: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam, and Amalek people groups. These were chiefs that descended from Eliphaz who lived in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah.

17 The sons of Esau’s son Reuel were ancestors of the Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah people groups. They were descended from Esau’s wife Basemath. They also lived in Edom.

18 The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, whose mother was Anah, were ancestors of the Jeush, Jalam, and Korah people groups.

19 That is the list of the sons of Esau, and the people groups who were their descendants.

20 This is a list of the descendants of Seir, who belonged to the Hor people group, who were the first people group who lived in the region of Edom: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. Those seven men each became ancestors of a people group. Each of the people groups had the same name as the name of their ancestor.

22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Heman. Lotan’s sister was Timna.

23 The sons of Shobal were Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.

24 The sons of Zibeon were Aiah and Anah. This Anah was the one who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was taking care of his father Zibeon’s donkeys.

25 Anah had two children—a son named Dishon and a daughter named Oholibamah.

26 Dishon’s sons were Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Keran.

27 Ezer’s sons were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.

28 Dishan’s sons were Uz and Aran.

29 29-30 The people groups who were descendants of Hor lived in Seir land. The names of the people groups are Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.

30 31 These are the names of the kings who ruled in Edom before any kings ruled over the Israelites. 32 Beor’s son Bela became the first king in Edom. The city where he lived was named Dinhabah.

33 When Bela died, Zerah’s son Jobab became the king. He was from the city of Bozrah.

34 When Jobab died, Husham became the king. He was from the region where the Teman people group lived.

35 When Husham died, Bedad’s son Hadan became the king. Husham’s army fought the army of the Midian people group in the region of Moab and defeated them. The city where Husham lived was Avith.

36 When Hadad died, Samlah became the king. He was from Masrekah.

37 When Samlah died, Shaul became the king. He was from Rehoboth, that was beside the Euphrates river.

38 When Shaul died, Akbor’s son Baal-Hanan became king.

39 When Akbor’s son Baal-Hanan died, Hadad became king. The city where he lived was named Pau. His wife’s name was Mehetabel. She was the daughter of Matred, who was the daughter of Me Zahab.

40 40-43 Here is a list of all the people groups that were descendants of Esau: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram. They all lived in the land of Edom. The land where each people group lived got the same name as the name of the people group. 41 42 43

Chapter 37

1 Jacob continued to live in Canaan land, where his father had lived previously. 2 This is what happened to Jacob’s family.

When his son Joseph was seventeen years old, he was taking care of the flocks of sheep and goats with some of his older brothers. They were sons of his father’s concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. Joseph told his father about bad things that his brothers were doing.

3 Jacob loved Joseph more than he loved any of his other children, because Joseph had been born when Jacob was an old man. Jacob had someone make for Joseph a beautiful piece of clothing with long sleeves. 4 When Joseph’s older brothers realized that their father loved him more than he loved any of them, they hated him. They never spoke kindly to him.

5 One night Joseph had a dream. He told his brothers about the dream, who hated him even more as a result. This is in detail what happened: 6 He said to them, “Listen to the dream I had! 7 In the dream, we were tying up bundles of wheat in the field. Suddenly my bundle stood up straight, and your bundles gathered around my bundle and bowed down to it!” 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you think that some day you will rule over us? Are you going to be our king?” They hated him even more than before because of what he had told them about his dream.

9 Later he had another dream, and again he told his older brothers about it. He said, “Listen to this! I had another dream. In this dream, the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me!” 10 He also told his father about it. His father corrected him, saying “What are you suggesting by that dream? Do you think it means that your mother and I and your older brothers will some day bow down to the ground in front of you?” 11 Joseph’s older brothers resented him, but his father kept thinking about what the dream might mean.

12 One day Joseph’s older brothers went to take care of their father’s sheep and goats that were in fields near Shechem. 13 Some time later, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are taking care of the sheep and goats near Shechem. I am going to send you there to see them.” Joseph replied, “I will go.” 14 Jacob said, “Go and see if they are doing okay, and if the flocks are doing okay. Then come back and give me a report.” So Jacob sent Joseph from the valley where they were living, the valley where Hebron is located, to go to find his brothers.

Then Joseph arrived near the city of Shechem. 15 While he was wandering around in the fields looking for his brothers, a man saw him and asked him, “Whom are you looking for?” 16 Joseph replied, “I am looking for my older brothers. Can you tell me where they are taking care of their sheep and goats?” 17 The man replied, “They are not here anymore. I heard one of them saying, ‘Let us take the sheep and goats and go to Dothan town.’”

So Joseph left there and went north, and found his older brothers near Dothan. 18 But they saw him when he was still far away, and they decided to kill him. 19 They said to each other things like, “Here comes that dreamer!” 20 “Come on, let us kill him and throw his body into one of the pits! Then we will tell people that a wild animal attacked and killed him and ate him. And then we will find out whether his dreams come true!”

21 Reuben heard what they were saying, so he tried to persuade them not to kill Joseph. He said, “No, we should not kill him. 22 Do not take his life! We can throw him into this pit in the desert, but we should not harm him.” He said that and then left them, planning to rescue Joseph later and take him back to his father.

23 When Joseph arrived where his older brothers were, they seized him and ripped off his long-sleeved clothing. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was dry; there was no water in it.

25 After they sat down to eat some food, they looked up and saw a caravan, descendants of Ishmael, coming from the Gilead area. Their camels were loaded with bags of spices and sweet-smelling resins. They were going down to Egypt to sell those things there. 26 Judah said to his older and younger brothers, “If we kill our younger brother and hide his body, what will we gain? 27 So instead of harming him, let us sell him to these men who are descendants of Ishmael. Do not forget, he is our own younger brother!” So they all agreed to do that.

28 When those traders from the Midian area came near, Joseph’s brothers pulled him up out of the pit. Then they sold him to the men from Midian for twenty pieces of silver. The traders then took Joseph to Egypt.

29 When Reuben returned to the pit, he saw that his younger brother was not there. He was so grieved that he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his younger brothers and said, “The boy is not in the pit! What can I do now?”

31 They did not dare to tell their father what they had done. So they decided to invent a story about what had happened. They got Joseph’s piece of long-sleeved clothing. Then they killed a goat and dipped the clothing into the goat’s blood. 32 They took that piece of clothing back to their father and said, “We found this! Look at it. Is it your son’s clothing?” 33 He recognized it, and he said, “Yes, it is my son’s! Some ferocious animal must have attacked and killed him! I am sure that the animal has torn Joseph to pieces!”

34 Jacob was so grieved that he tore his clothes. He put on sackcloth. He mourned. 35 All of his children came to try to comfort him, but he did not pay attention to what they said. He said, “No, I will still be mourning when I die and go to be with my son.” So Joseph’s father continued to cry because of what had happened to his son.

36 In the meantime, the men from Midian took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, who was one of the king’s officials. He was the captain of the soldiers who protected the king.

Chapter 38

1 At that time, Judah left his older and younger brothers and went down from the hill country and stayed with a man who lived in Adullam. His name was Hiram. 2 There he met a woman who was the daughter of a man from Canaan land named Shua. He married her and slept with her. 3 She became pregnant and later gave birth to a son. His father named him Er. 4 Later she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son, whom she named Onan. 5 Many years later, when Judah and his family went to live in Kezib, Judah’s wife gave birth to another son, and she named him Shelah.

6 When Judah’s oldest son Er grew up, Judah got a wife for him, a woman named Tamar. 7 But Er did something that Yahweh considered to be very wicked, so Yahweh caused him to die. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Your older brother died without having any sons. So marry his widow and sleep with her. That is what our customs require that you should do.” 9 But Onan knew if he did that, any children who would be born would not be considered to be his. So every time he slept with his brother’s widow, he spilled his semen on the ground, so that she would not get pregnant and produce children for his older brother. 10 Yahweh considered that what he did was wicked, so he caused him to die also.

11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Return to your father’s house, but do not marry anyone else. When my youngest son Shelah grows up, he can marry you.” But Judah really did not want Shelah to marry her, because he was afraid that then Shelah would die too, just as his older brothers had died. So Tamar obeyed Judah and went back to live in her father’s house again.

12 Several years later, Judah’s wife, who was the daughter of Shua, died. When the time of mourning for her was finished, Judah decided to go up to Timnah, to the place where his men were shearing his sheep. His friend Hiram, from Adullam, went with him. 13 Someone said to Tamar, “Your father-in-law is going to Timnah to help the men who are shearing his sheep.” 14 She realized that now Shelah was grown up, but Judah had not given her to him to be his wife. So she took off her widow’s clothes and covered her head with a veil, so that people would not recognize her. Then she sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. 15 When Judah came along and saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, because she had covered her head and sat where prostitutes often sat. 16 Judah did not realize that she was his daughter-in-law. So he said to her, “Let me sleep with you.” She replied, “What will you give me in exchange?” 17 He replied, “I will send you a young goat from my flock of goats.” She asked, “Will you give me something now for me to keep until you send the goat?” 18 He replied, “What do you want me to give to you?” She replied, “Give me the ring that has your name on it that is tied by a cord around your neck, and give me the walking stick that you are holding in your hand.” So he gave them to her. Then he slept with her, and she became pregnant. 19 After she left, she took off the veil and put her widow’s clothes on again.

20 Judah gave a young goat to his friend from Adullam, for him to take back to the woman, as he had promised. But his friend could not find the woman. 21 So his friend asked the men who lived there, “Where is the prostitute who was sitting by the road at Enaim?” They replied, “There has never been a prostitute here!” 22 So he went back to Judah and said, “I did not find her. Furthermore, the men who live in that town said, ‘There has never been a prostitute here.’” 23 Judah said, “She can keep the things that I gave to her. If we continued to search for her, people would ridicule us. I tried to send this young goat to her, but you could not find her to give it to her.”

24 About three months later, someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has become a prostitute, and now she is pregnant!” Judah said, “Drag her outside of the city and burn her to death!”

25 But as they were taking her outside of the city, she gave the ring and walking stick to someone, and told him to take them to Judah, and say to him, “The man who owns these things is the one who caused me to become pregnant.” She also said to tell him, “Look at this ring, and the cord that is attached to it, and this walking stick. Whose are they?” 26 When the man did that, Judah recognized the ring and the stick. He said, “She is more right than I am. I did not tell my son Shelah to marry her, as I promised that I would.” And Judah did not sleep with her again.

27 When it was time for her to give birth, she was surprised that there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand. So the midwife fastened a scarlet thread around his wrist, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But he pulled his hand back inside the womb, and his brother came out first. So she said, “So this is how you break your way out first!” So she named him Perez, which sounds like the Hebrew word that means “breaking out.” 30 Then his younger brother, the one who had the scarlet thread around his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah, which sounds like the Hebrew word that means “redness of dawn.”

Chapter 39

1 Meanwhile, the descendants of Ishmael took Joseph down to Egypt. There Potiphar bought Joseph from them. Potiphar was an Egyptian who was one of the king’s officials and the captain of the king’s palace guards. 2 Because Yahweh helped Joseph, he was able to do his work very well. He worked in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that Yahweh was helping Joseph and enabling him to be successful in everything that he did. 4 Joseph’s master was pleased with him, so he appointed him to be his personal servant. Then he appointed him to be the one who would take care of everything in his household and all of his possessions. 5 From the time Potiphar appointed Joseph to take care of everything in his household and all that he owned, Yahweh blessed the people who lived in Potiphar’s house because of Joseph. He also caused Potiphar’s crops to grow well. 6 Potiphar allowed Joseph to take care of everything that he owned. Potiphar needed to decide only about the food he ate. He did not worry about anything else in his house.

Now Joseph was well built and handsome. 7 Because of that, after a while, his master’s wife started to look fondly at Joseph. So one day she said to him, “Sleep with me!” 8 But he refused, saying to his master’s wife, “Listen! My master is not concerned about anything in this house. He has appointed me to take care of everything that he owns. 9 No one in this household has more authority than I do. The only thing that he has not allowed me to have is you, because you are his wife! So how could I do this wicked thing that you are asking me to do? I would be sinning against God if I did that!” 10 She kept on asking Joseph day after day to sleep with her, but he refused. He would not even go near her.

11 One day Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the other household servants were in the house. 12 Potiphar’s wife grabbed his clothing and said, “Sleep with me!” Joseph ran out of the house, but his clothing was still in her hand! 13 When she saw that he had run outside leaving his clothing in her hand, 14 she called the household servants. She said to them, “Look! This Hebrew man that my husband brought to us is insulting us! He came into where I was and tried to force me to sleep with him, but I screamed loudly. 15 As soon as he heard me scream, he left his clothing with me and ran outside!” 16 She kept the clothing beside her until her husband, Joseph’s master, came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave whom you brought here came into where I was and tried to force me to sleep with him! 18 As soon as I screamed loudly, he ran outside, leaving his clothing beside me!” 19 When Joseph’s master heard this story that his wife told him, and when she said, “This is how your slave treated me,” he was very angry. 20 Joseph’s master took Joseph and put him in prison, in the place where all the king’s prisoners were put, and Joseph stayed there.

21 But Yahweh was kind to Joseph and helped him because of his covenant with his ancestors; he caused the prison warden to be pleased with him. 22 So the prison warden put Joseph in charge of all those who were in the prison, and in charge of all the work that was done there. 23 The warden was not concerned with anything that Joseph was taking care of, because Yahweh helped Joseph to do all his work well.

Chapter 40

1 Some time later, two of the king of Egypt’s officials did things that displeased him. One was his chief drink server and the other was his chief baker. 2 The king became angry with both of them. 3 So he had them put in prison, in the house of the captain of the palace guards. That was the place where Joseph was being kept. 4 The two men were in prison for a long time. During that time, the captain of the palace guards appointed Joseph to bring them the things they needed.

5 One night the king’s chief drink server and chief baker each had a dream, as they were confined in prison. Each dream had a different meaning.

6 The next morning, when Joseph came to them, he saw that both of them were looking sad. 7 So he asked them, “Why do you look so sad today?” 8 One of them answered, “We both had dreams last night, but there is no one who can tell us the meaning of the dreams.” Joseph said to them, “It is God who can tell the meaning of dreams. So tell me what you dreamed, and God will tell me the meaning.” 9 So the king’s chief drink server told his dream to Joseph. He said, “In my dream I saw a grapevine in front of me. 10 On the vine there were three branches. The branches budded, then they blossomed, and then they produced clusters of grapes. 11 I was holding the king’s cup, so I took the ripe grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I gave the cup to the king to drink the juice.” 12 God immediately told Joseph what the dream meant. So Joseph said to him, “This is the meaning of your dream: The three branches of the vine represent three days. 13 Within three days the king will release you from prison. He will let you do the work that you did before. You will take cups of wine to the king as you did before, when you were his drink server. 14 But when you are out of prison and everything goes well for you, please do not forget me. 15 People took me away by force from the land where my fellow Hebrews live. I did nothing wrong there, and also while I have been here in Egypt, I have done nothing for which I deserved to be put in prison. So be kind to me and tell the king about me, so that he will release me from this prison!”

16 When the chief baker heard that the meaning of the dream of the king’s drink server was very good for the chief drink server, he also said to Joseph, “I also had a dream. In the dream I was surprised to see three baskets of bread stacked on my head. 17 In the top basket there were many kinds of baked goods for the king, but birds were eating them from the top basket that was on my head!” 18 God again told Joseph what the dream meant, so he said, “The three baskets also represent three days. 19 Within three days the king will command that your head be cut off. Then your body will be hung on a tree, and vultures will come and eat your flesh.”

20 The third day after that was the king’s birthday. On that day the king invited all his officials to celebrate his birthday. During the celebration, while they were all gathered there, the king summoned his chief drink server and chief baker from the prison. 21 He said that his chief drink server could have his previous job again, so once again he started to take cups of wine to the king. 22 But he commanded that the chief baker should be killed by being hanged, just as Joseph had said would happen when he told the two men the meaning of their dreams.

23 But the chief drink server did not think about Joseph. Instead, he forgot to do what Joseph asked him to do.

Chapter 41

1 Two complete years later, the king of Egypt had a dream. In the dream, he was standing alongside the Nile River. 2 Suddenly seven healthy fat cows appeared. They started eating the grass that was on the riverbank. 3 Soon seven other cows, unhealthy-looking and thin, came up behind them from the Nile River. They stood alongside the fat cows that were on the riverbank. 4 Then the unhealthy thin cows ate the seven healthy fat cows. And then the king woke up.

5 The king went to sleep again, and he had another dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain that were full of kernels of grain and ripe, and all growing on one stalk. 6 After that, the king saw that seven other heads of grain sprouted on that stalk. They were thin and had been dried up by the hot east wind. 7 Then the thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven ripe full heads. Then the king woke up. He realized that he had been dreaming.

8 But the next morning he was worried about the meaning of the dream. So he summoned all the magicians and wise men who lived in Egypt. He told them what he had dreamed, but none of them could tell him the meaning of the two dreams.

9 Then the chief drink server said to the king, “Now I remember something that I should have told you! I made a mistake by forgetting to tell it to you. 10 One time you were angry with two of us. So you put me and the chief baker in the prison in the house of the captain of the palace guards. 11 While we were there, one night each of us had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 12 There was a young Hebrew man there with us. He was a servant of the captain of the palace guards. We told him what we had dreamed, and he told us what our dreams meant. He told each of us the meaning of our dreams. 13 What happened after that was exactly the same as the meanings that he told us: You said I could have my previous job again, but the other man was killed by being hanged.”

14 When the king heard that, he told some servants to bring Joseph to him, and they quickly brought Joseph out of the prison. Joseph shaved and put on better clothes, and then he went and stood in front of the king. 15 The king said to Joseph, “I had two dreams, and no one can tell me what they mean. But someone told me that when you hear someone tell about a dream he has had, you can tell that person what the dream means.” 16 But Joseph replied to the king, “No, I cannot do that. It is God who knows the meaning of dreams, but he will enable me to tell you their meaning, and they will mean something good.”

17 The king said to Joseph, “In my first dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 Suddenly seven healthy fat cows came up out of the river, and they started eating the grass that was on the riverbank. 19 Soon seven other cows, ugly and thin ones, came up behind them from the river. I never saw such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt! 20 The thin ugly cows ate the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But afterwards, no one would have known that the thin cows ate them, because they were just as ugly as they were before. Then I woke up.

22 Then I had another dream. I saw seven heads of grain. They were full of kernels of grain and ripe, and they were all growing on one stalk. 23 Then to my surprise I saw seven other heads of grain that sprouted. They were thin and had been dried up by the hot east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven good heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but none of them could explain to me what they meant.”

25 Then Joseph said to the king, “Both your dreams have the same meaning. God is revealing to you in your dreams what he is about to do. 26 The seven healthy cows represent seven years. The seven good heads of grain also represent seven years. The two dreams both have the same meaning. 27 The seven thin ugly cows that came up behind them and the seven worthless heads of grain that were dried up by the hot east wind each represent seven years of famine. 28 It will happen just as I have told you, because God has revealed to you what he is about to do. 29 There will be seven years in which there will be plenty of food throughout the land of Egypt. 30 Then there will be seven years of famine. Then people will forget all the years when there was plenty of food, because the famine that will come afterward will ruin the country. 31 The people will forget how plentiful food was previously, because the famine will be very terrible. 32 The reason God gave to you two dreams is that he has firmly decided that this will happen, and he will cause it to happen very soon.

33 Now I suggest that you should choose a man who is wise and can make good decisions. I suggest that you appoint him to direct the affairs of the whole country. 34 You should also appoint supervisors over the country, in order that they can arrange to collect one-fifth of all the grain that is harvested during the seven years when food is plentiful. 35 They should collect this amount of grain during those seven years that are coming, when there will be plenty of food. Each of the cities should supervise and protect the food that is stored up. 36 This grain should be kept so that it can be eaten during the seven years when there will be a famine here in Egypt, so that the people in this country will not die from hunger.”

37 The king and his officials thought that this would be a good plan. 38 So the king said to them, “Can we find any other man like Joseph, a man to whom God has given his spirit?

39 Then the king said to Joseph, “Because God has revealed all this to you, it seems to me that there is no one who is as wise as you and who can decide wisely about things. 40 So I will put you in charge of everything in my palace. All the people here in Egypt must obey what you command. Only because I am king will I have more authority than you.”

41 Then the king said to Joseph, “I am now putting you in charge of the whole country of Egypt.” 42 The king took from his finger the ring that had his seal on it, and he put it on Joseph’s finger. He put robes made of fine linen on him, and he put a gold chain around his neck. 43 Then he arranged for Joseph to ride around in the chariot that showed that he was the second most important man in the country. When Joseph rode in the chariot, men shouted to the people who were on the road in front of him, “Bow down!” So Joseph went out to supervise this work all over Egypt.

44 The king said to Joseph, “I am the king, but no one in the whole land of Egypt will do anything if you do not permit them to do it.” 45 The king gave Joseph a new name, Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave him Asenath to be his wife. She was the daughter of Potiphera, who was a priest in a temple in the city of On. In this way Joseph became known through all the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he started to work for the king of Egypt. To do his work, he left the king’s palace and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the next seven years, the land produced abundant crops, so there was plenty of food. 48 As Joseph supervised them, his helpers collected one-fifth of all the grain that was produced during those years, and stored it in the cities. In each city, he had his helpers store up the grain that was grown in the fields that surrounded that city. 49 Joseph had them store up a huge amount of grain. It looked as plentiful as the sand on the seashore. There was so much grain that after a while they stopped keeping records of how much grain was stored, because there was more grain than they could measure.

50 And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. 51 Joseph named the first one Manasseh, which sounds like the Hebrew word that means “forget,” because he said, “God has caused me to forget all my troubles and all my father’s family.” 52 He named his second son Ephraim, which means “to have children,” because he said, “God has given me children here in this land where I have suffered.”

53 Finally the seven years in which there was plenty of food ended. 54 Then the seven years of famine started, just as Joseph had predicted. There was also a famine in all the other nearby lands, but although the crops did not grow, there was food everywhere in Egypt, because of the grain they had stored up in the cities. 55 When all the people of Egypt had eaten all of their own food and were still hungry, they begged the king for food. So the king told all the people of Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.”

56 When the famine was very bad over the whole country, Joseph ordered his helpers to open the storehouses. Then they sold the grain in the storehouses to the people of Egypt, because the famine was very severe all over Egypt. 57 People from many nearby countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was very severe everywhere.

Chapter 42

1 When someone told Jacob that there was grain in Egypt that people could buy, he said to his sons, “Why do you just sit there looking at each other? We need some grain!” 2 He said to them, “Someone told me that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, in order that we can stay alive!”

3 So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy some grain. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother, to go with the others, because he was afraid that something terrible might happen to him like what happened to Joseph. 5 So Jacob’s sons went down from Canaan to Egypt to buy grain, and others went too, because there was a famine in Canaan also.

6 At that time Joseph was the governor of Egypt. He was the one who sold grain to people who came from all over Egypt and from many other countries to buy grain. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they prostrated themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he pretended that he did not know them. He spoke harshly to them, saying, “Where do you come from?” One of them replied, “We have come from Canaan land, to buy some grain.”

8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them many years previously. But he decided not to tell them yet that he was their younger brother. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to find out whether we will be able to defend ourselves if you attack us!” 10 One of them replied, “No, sir! We have come to buy grain. 11 We are all sons of one man. We are honest men, not spies.” 12 He said to them, “I do not believe you! You have come just to see whether we would be able to defend ourselves if we were attacked!” 13 But one of them replied, “No, that is not true! Originally there were twelve of us who were brothers, the sons of one man. Our youngest brother is with our father. One of them is no longer alive. “

14 Joseph replied, “You are lying! I think it is just as I told you. You are spies! 15 But this is how I will find out whether what you are saying is true. I think that as surely as the king lives, you are spies. So you will not leave this place until your youngest brother comes here! 16 Send one of your group to go and get your younger brother and bring him here. I will put the rest of you in prison, in order that I may test what you have said to find out whether what you are telling me is true. If the one who goes does not bring your younger brother here, then, just as surely as the king lives, it will be clear that you are lying and that you are spies.” 17 Then Joseph put them all in prison for three days.

18 On the third day after that, Joseph went to the prison and said to them, “I am a man who fears that God will punish me if I do not do what I promise. So do what I tell you, and I will spare your lives. 19 If you are honest men, let one of you brothers stay here in prison, and the rest of you can take some grain back to your families who are very hungry because of the famine. 20 But if you come back here again, you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that you can prove that what you told me is true, and as a result I will not have you executed.” So they agreed to do that.

21 They said to each other, “It is surely because of what we did to our younger brother that we are being punished! We saw that he was very distressed when he pleaded with us not to harm him. But we did not pay any attention to him, and that is why we are having this trouble!”

22 Reuben said to them, “I told you not to harm the boy, but you did not pay attention to what I said! Now we are being paid back for killing him!”

23 While they were talking with Joseph, they were speaking to an interpreter, but when they said these things among themselves, they were speaking in their own language. They did not know that Joseph could understand their language and that he understood what they were saying. 24 Because of what they said, Joseph realized that they admitted that what they had done to him many years previously was wrong. But he knew that he could not keep from crying, and he did not want them to see him crying, so he left them and went outside the room and began to cry. But then he returned to them and talked to them again. Then he took Simeon, and while they were watching, he told his servants to tie him up. He left Simeon in the prison and told the others that they could go.

25 Joseph told his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also told them to put the money that each one had paid for the grain in the top of his sack. He also told them to give them food to eat along the way. And his brothers received the food from Joseph’s servants. 26 His older brothers loaded the sacks of grain on their donkeys and left.

27 At the place where they stopped to sleep that night, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey. He was amazed to see his money in the top of the sack. 28 He exclaimed to his brothers, “Someone has returned my money! Here it is in my sack!” They started shaking with fear, and said to each other, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 When they returned to their father in Canaan land, they told him all that had happened to them. One of them said, 30 “The man who governs the whole land of Egypt talked very harshly to us. He acted toward us as though we were spying on his country. 31 But we told him, ‘We are honest men! We are not spies. 32 Originally there were twelve of us who were brothers, the sons of one father. One has died, and our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.’ 33 The man who is the governor of the land did not believe us, so he said to us, ‘This is how I will know if you are truly honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me. Then the rest of you can take some grain for your families that are starving from hunger and go. 34 But when you return, bring your youngest brother to me, in order that I will know that you are not spies, but instead, that you are honest men. Then I will release your brother for you. And then you can buy whatever you want in this country.’”

35 As they were emptying their sacks, they were surprised that in each man’s sack was his pouch of money! When they and their father saw all the pouches of money, they were frightened. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have caused two of my children to be taken from me! Joseph is dead, and Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin from me! It is I who am suffering because of all these things that are happening!”

37 Reuben said to his father, “I will bring Benjamin back to you. Let me take care of him. If I do not bring Benjamin back to you, you may kill both of my sons.” 38 But Jacob said, “No, I will not let my son go down there with you. His older brother is dead, and he is the only one of my wife Rachel’s sons who is left! If something harms him while you are traveling, you would cause me, a gray-haired old man, to die because of sorrow.”

Chapter 43

1 The famine in Canaan got worse. 2 Finally, when Jacob and his family had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, Jacob said to them, “Go back to Egypt and buy some more grain for us!” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man who sold us the grain warned us sternly, ‘I will not let you see me again if you come and your younger brother is not with you.’ 4 So if you will send our younger brother with us, we will go down to Egypt and buy some grain for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down there, because that man said to us, ‘I will not let you see me again if your younger brother is not with you.’” 6 Jacob asked, “Why did you cause me to have this trouble by telling the man that you had a younger brother?” 7 One of them replied, “The man asked about us and about our family. He said, ‘Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?’ We had to answer his questions. We could not know that he would say, ‘The next time that you come down here, bring your brother with you!’”

8 Then Judah said to his father Jacob, “Send the boy with me, and we will go immediately, in order that we and you and our children may get grain and not die from hunger. 9 I myself will guarantee that he will return. You can require me to do what I am promising. If I do not bring him back to you safely, you can say forever that I am to blame. 10 If we had not wasted so much time, by now we could have gone there and returned two times!”

11 Then their father Jacob said to them, “If there is no other way, do this: Put in your sacks some of the best things that are grown in this land, and take them down to the man as a gift. Take some balm and honey and spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take twice as much money as you took the previous time, because you must return the silver that someone put in the tops of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake that it was put in your sacks. 13 Take your youngest brother and go back to that man. 14 I will pray that God Almighty will cause that man to act mercifully toward you, so that he will let your other brother, as well as Benjamin, come back here with you. But as for me, if my sons are taken from me, then I will not have my sons!”

15 So the men took the gifts that Jacob said that they should take, and twice the amount of money that the grain would cost. They also took Benjamin. They went down quickly to Egypt, and they stood in front of Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the man who was in charge of things in his house, “Take these men to my house. Slaughter an animal and prepare a meal, because I want them to eat with me at noon.” He told his servant in what order they were to be seated.

17 The man did as Joseph said; he took them to Joseph’s house. 18 But they were afraid because he was taking them to Joseph’s house. They were thinking, “He is taking us here because of the silver that was put in our sacks the first time that we came here. While we are eating, he will have his servants attack us and seize us and cause us to become his slaves, and also take our donkeys.”

19 They went with the man who was in charge of things in Joseph’s house. When they arrived at the entrance of the house, 20 one of them said to him, “Please, sir, listen to me. We came down here previously and bought some grain. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night as we were returning home, we opened our sacks. We were astonished to see that in the top of each of our sacks was the exact amount of silver that we had paid for the grain! So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought more silver with us to buy more grain. We do not know who put the silver in our sacks.”

23 The man replied, “Relax! Do not worry about it! I received the silver that you brought. Your God, the God your father worships, must have put it in your sacks.” And then he brought Simeon to them from the prison.

24 Then he took them into Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet and gave them food for their donkeys. 25 He told them that they were going to eat with Joseph at noon. So the men prepared their gifts to give to Joseph when he arrived.

26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts that they had brought into the house. Then they bowed down to the ground in front of him. 27 He asked them if they were well, and then he asked, “How is the health of your old father, the one that you told me about? Is he still living?” 28 One of them replied, “Yes, your servant, our father, is still alive, and he is well.” Then again they bowed down in front of him.

29 Then he saw his younger brother Benjamin, his own mother’s other son. He asked them, “Is this your youngest brother, the one whom you told me about?” After they said “Yes,” he said to Benjamin, “Young man, I pray that God will act kindly toward you.” 30 Joseph quickly left the room. He realized that he was about to cry because he was full of emotion about his younger brother. He went into his private room and cried there. 31 Then, after he washed the tears from his face, he came out, and controlling his emotions, he said to the servants, “Serve the food!”

32 Now the people of Egypt thought that it was disgraceful for them to eat with Hebrews, so the servants served food to Joseph by himself, and served the other people of Egypt who ate with him by themselves, and they served Joseph’s older brothers and younger brother by themselves. 33 His brothers were astonished to see that their seats were arranged according to their ages, from the youngest to the oldest! 34 When their portions of food were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s portion! So they ate food and drank wine with Joseph until they became very cheerful.

Chapter 44

1 When his brothers were ready to return home, Joseph said to the man who was in charge of things in his house, “Fill the sacks of those men with as much grain as they can carry on their donkeys. And put in the top of each man’s sack the silver that he paid for the grain. 2 Then put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the silver that he paid for the grain.” So the servant did what Joseph told him to do.

3 The next morning at dawn the men were allowed to leave for home with their donkeys. 4 When they had not gone far from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of things in his house, “Pursue those men immediately. When you catch up to them, say to them, ‘We did good things for you! Why have you paid us back by doing something bad to us? 5 You have stolen the cup that my master drinks from! It is the cup that he uses to find out things that nobody knows! What you did was very wicked!’”

6 When the servant caught up with them, he told them what Joseph had told him to say. 7 But one of them replied to him, “Sir, why do you say such things? We are your servants, and we would never do anything like that! 8 We even brought back to you from Canaan the silver that we found inside the tops of our sacks! So we certainly would not steal silver or gold from your master’s house! 9 If you discover that any of us has that cup, you can execute him, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”

10 The man replied, “I will do what you say. But the one who has the cup will not be executed. Instead, he will become my slave, and the rest of you may return home.”

11 Each of the men quickly lowered his sack down from the donkey to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the servant started to search for the cup in each sack. He started with the oldest brother’s sack and ended with the youngest one’s sack. He found the cup in Benjamin’s sack and showed it to them. 13 The brothers tore their clothes because they were so dismayed. They loaded the sacks on the donkeys again and returned to the city.

14 When Judah and his older and younger brothers entered Joseph’s house, Joseph was still there. The servant told Joseph what had happened. Then the brothers threw themselves down on the ground in front of Joseph. 15 He said to them, “Why did you do this? Do you not know that a man like me can find out things that nobody knows?”

16 Judah replied, “Sir, what can we say? How can we prove that we are innocent? God has paid us back for the sins we committed many years ago. So now we will become your slaves—both we and the one in whose sack the cup was found.” 17 But Joseph replied, “No, I could never do anything like that. Only the man in whose sack the cup was found will become my slave. The rest of you can return to your father peacefully.”

18 Then Judah came near to Joseph and said, “Sir, please let me say something to you. You are equal to the king himself, so you could command that I be executed; but do not be angry with me for speaking to you. 19 You asked us, ‘Is your father still living, and do you have another brother?’ 20 We answered, ‘Our father is alive, but he is an old man. He has a young son who was born after our father became an old man. That son had an older brother, who is now dead. So the youngest son is the only one of his mother’s sons who is still alive, and his father loves him very much.’ 21 Then you said to us, ‘The next time you come here, bring your younger brother down to me, so that I can see him.’ 22 We said to you, ‘No, we cannot do that, because the boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves his father, his father will die because of sorrow.’ 23 But you told us, ‘If your youngest brother does not come down with you, I will not let you see me again!’ 24 When we returned to our father, we told him what you said. 25 Months later our father said, ‘Go back to Egypt and buy some more grain!’ 26 But we said, ‘We cannot go back by ourselves. We will go only if our youngest brother is with us. We will not be able to see the man who sells grain if our youngest brother is not with us.’ 27 Our father replied, ‘You know that my wife Rachel gave birth to two sons for me. 28 One of them disappeared, and I said, “A wild animal has surely torn him to pieces.” And I have not seen him since then. 29 If you take this other one from me, too, and something harms him, you would cause me, an old gray-haired man, to die because of my sorrow.’

30 So please listen. My father will remain alive only if his youngest son remains alive. 31 If he sees that the boy is not with us when we return to him, he will die. We will cause our gray-haired father to die because of his sorrow. 32 I guaranteed that the boy would return safely. I told him, ‘You can require me to do what I am promising. If I do not bring him back to you, you can say forever that I am to blame for not bringing him back to you.’

33 So, please let me remain here as your slave instead of my youngest brother, and let the boy return home with his other older brothers. 34 I cannot return to my father if the boy is not with me! I do not want to see how miserable my father would become!”

Chapter 45

1 Joseph was not able to control his feelings any longer. He did not want to cry in front of his servants, so he said to them loudly, “All of you go outside!” After they went outside, there were no Egyptians there with Joseph when he told his brothers who he was. 2 He cried so loudly that even the people outside heard it, and even the people in the king’s palace heard it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is our father still alive?” But his brothers were not able to reply, because they were frightened because of what he said. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me!” When they came closer to him, he said, “I am your brother Joseph! I am the one you sold to traders who brought me here to Egypt! 5 But now, do not be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for having sold me as a slave. It was God who sent me here ahead of you in order to keep you from dying in the famine. 6 There has been a famine in this country for two years, and it will continue for five more years. During this time, no one will plow the ground, and there will be no crops to harvest. 7 God sent me here ahead of you to keep you from starving, and to make sure that your descendants would survive. 8 Therefore, it was not you who sent me here; it was God who sent me here! He has caused me to become like a father to the king. I am in charge of everything in his palace and the governor of everyone in Egypt! 9 Now return to my father quickly and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has caused me to become the governor over the whole land of Egypt. Come down to me immediately! 10 You can live in the region of Goshen. You and your children and your grandchildren, your sheep and goats and cattle, and everything that you own, will be near me. 11 Since there will be five more years of famine, I will make sure that you have food. If you do not come here, you and your family and all of your servants will starve. “‘

12 If you—and Benjamin, too—look closely at me, all of you will see that it is really I, Joseph, who am speaking to you. 13 Go and tell my father about how much honor I have here in Egypt. And tell him about everything else that you have seen. Bring my father down here quickly!”

14 Then he threw his arms around his younger brother Benjamin’s neck and cried. And Benjamin hugged him and cried. 15 Then he kissed his older brothers on their cheeks, and he cried. After that, his brothers started to talk with him.

16 Someone went to the palace and told the news that Joseph’s brothers had come. The king and all his officials were pleased. 17 The king said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers this: ‘Put loads of grain on your animals and return to Canaan land. 18 Then bring your father and your families back here. I will give you the best land in Egypt, and you will have the best food in the land to eat.’ 19 Also tell this to your brothers: ‘Take some carts from Egypt to carry your children and your wives, and get them and your father and come back here quickly. 20 Do not worry about bringing your possessions, because the best things in Egypt will be yours. Because of that, you will not need to bring things from Canaan.’”

21 Jacob’s sons did what the king commanded. Joseph gave them carts and food to eat along the way, as the king had ordered. 22 To each of them he gave new clothes, but he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of new clothes to Benjamin! 23 This is what he sent to his father: Ten male donkeys, loaded with some of the best things that came from Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and other food for his father’s trip to Egypt. 24 Then he sent his brothers on their way, saying to them “Do not quarrel along the way!”

25 So the brothers left Egypt and came to their father Jacob in Canaan land. 26 One of them told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is the governor over all of Egypt!” Jacob was extremely astonished; he could not believe that it was true. 27 But they told him everything that Joseph had said to them, and Jacob saw the carts that Joseph had sent to carry him and his family and possessions to Egypt. Then Jacob’s shock ended. 28 He said, “What you have said is enough to convince me! My son Joseph is still alive, and I will go and see him before I die!”

Chapter 46

1 So Jacob left, taking with him all his family and possessions. When they arrived at Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to God, the one whom his father Isaac worshiped. 2 That night, God called to Jacob in a vision, saying, “Jacob! Jacob!” He replied, “I am here!” 3 God said, “I am God, the one your father worshiped. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, because I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and later I will bring your descendants back to Canaan again. And Joseph will be with you when you die.”

5 So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took their father, their wives, and their children, in the carts that the king had sent for them to travel in. 6 In this way, Jacob and all his family went to Egypt. They took with them the livestock and all the other possessions that they had acquired in Canaan. 7 Jacob went to Egypt with all his sons, his daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters—his whole family.

8 This is a list of the names of the members of Jacob’s family who went with him to Egypt: Jacob’s oldest son;

    9 Reuben’s sons Hanok, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi;
      10 Simeon and his sons Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul, who was the son of a woman who came from the Canaanite people group;
        11 Levi and his sons Gershon, Kohath, and Merari;
          12 Judah and his sons, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (his other sons, Er, and Onan, had died in Canaan land); two sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul;
            13 Issachar and his sons Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron;
              14 Zebulon and his sons Sered, Elon, and Jahleel
                15 These were the sons of Jacob and Leah, who were born in Paddan Aram, in addition to Dinah his daughter. There were thirty-three sons and daughters altogether.
                  16 Gad and his sons Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli;
                    17 Asher and his sons Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah; and their sister Serah; sons: Heber and Malkiel;
                      18 (Those were the children and grandchildren of Jacob and Zilpah, the slave woman whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah. These were sixteen people altogether.)
                        19 Joseph and Benjamin, the sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel;
                          20 (Ephraim and Manasseh were Joseph’s two sons. They did not go down to Egypt because they had been born in Egypt. They were sons of Asenath, the daughter of On, who was the priest in the temple in the city of On.)
                            21 Benjamin and his sons Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard;
                              22 (These were the sons and grandsons of Rachel and Jacob. They were fourteen people altogether.)
                                23 Dan and his son Hushim;
                                  24 Naphtali and his sons Jahziel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
                                    25 (These were the sons and grandsons of Jacob and Bilhah, the slave girl whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel. They were seven people altogether.)

                                    26 Altogether there were sixty-six descendants of Jacob who went to Egypt with him. That number does not include his sons’ wives. 27 Including Jacob and Joseph and Joseph’s two sons who were born in Egypt, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family when they were all there in Egypt.

                                    28 Jacob sent Judah to go ahead of the rest of them to talk with Joseph and to ask for directions on how to travel to Goshen. Then Judah returned to the rest of his family and they all traveled to the region of Goshen. When they arrived there, 29 Joseph got his chariot ready and went to Goshen to meet his father. When Joseph arrived, he threw his arms around his father’s neck and cried for a long time. 30 Jacob said to Joseph, “I have seen you, and now I know that you are still alive! So I am ready to die.”

                                    31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to the rest of his father’s family, “I will go to the king and say to him, ‘My brothers and my father and the rest of his family, who were living in Canaan land, have all come to me. 32 The men are all shepherds. They take care of their livestock, and they have brought with them their sheep, goats, and cattle, and everything else that they own.’ 33 When the king summons you and asks, ‘What work do you do?’ 34 answer by saying, ‘From the time when we were young, we have taken care of livestock, just as our ancestors did.’ If you tell him that, he will let you live in the region of Goshen.” Joseph told them to say that because the people of Egypt despised shepherds.

                                    Chapter 47

                                    1 1-2 Joseph chose five of his brothers to go with him to talk to the king. He introduced them to the king, and then he said, “My father and my brothers have come from Canaan land. They have brought all their sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else that they own, and they are living now in region of Goshen.” 2 3 The king asked the brothers, “What work do you do?” They replied to the king, “We are shepherds, just as our ancestors were.” 4 They also said to him, “We have come here to live for a while in this land, because the famine is very severe in Canaan, and our animals have no pasture there. So now, please let us live in the region of Goshen.”

                                    5 The king said to Joseph, “So your father and brothers have come to you. 6 They can live wherever you want in all of Egypt. Give your father and your brothers the best part of the land. They can live in Goshen. And if you know that any of them have any special ability to work with livestock, have them be in charge of my own livestock, too.”

                                    7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob into the palace and introduced him to the king. Jacob asked God to bless the king. 8 Then the king asked Jacob, “How old are you?” 9 Jacob replied, “I have been traveling around for 130 years. I have not lived as long as my ancestors, but my life has been full of troubles.” 10 Then Jacob again asked God to bless the king and left him.

                                    11 That is how Joseph enabled his father and brothers to start living in Egypt. As the king had commanded, he gave them property in the best part of the land, in Goshen, which is now called Rameses. 12 Joseph also provided food for all his father’s family. The amounts that he gave them were according to how many children each of them had.

                                    13 There was no food growing in the whole country because the famine was very severe. The people of Egypt and Canaan became weak because they did not have enough food to eat. 14 Joseph received all the money that the people in Egypt and Canaan paid for the grain he sold them, and he brought it to the king’s palace. 15 When the people of Egypt and Canaan had spent all their money for grain, they all kept coming to Joseph and saying, “Please give us some food! If you do not give us grain, we will die! We have used all our money to buy food, and we have no money left!” 16 Joseph replied, “Since your money is all gone, bring me your livestock. If you do that, I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph. He gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle, and their donkeys.

                                    18 When that year was ended, the next year they came to him and said, “We cannot hide this from you: We have no more money, and now all our cattle belong to you. We have only our bodies and our land to give to you. We have nothing else left. 19 If you do not give us some food, we will die! If you do not give us seeds, our fields will become useless. Buy us and our land in exchange for food. Then we will be the king’s slaves, and he will own the land. Give us seeds so that we can plant and grow food, in order that we will not die, and in order that our land will not become like a desert.”

                                    20 So Joseph bought all the farms in Egypt for the king. The people of Egypt each sold their land to him because the famine was very severe and they had no other way to buy food. So all the farms became the king’s farms. 21 As a result, Joseph caused all the people from one border of the country to the other to become the king’s slaves. 22 But he did not buy the priests’ land, because they received their food from the king regularly. That is the reason they did not sell their land to him.

                                    23 Joseph said to the people, “Listen to me! Today I have bought you and your land for the king. So here are seeds for you so that you can plant them in the ground. 24 But when you harvest the crop, you must give one-fifth of the crop to the king. The rest of the crop you can keep to be seed to plant in the fields and to be food for you and your children and for everyone else in your household to eat.” 25 They replied, “You have saved our lives! We want you to be pleased with us. And we will be the king’s slaves.”

                                    26 So Joseph made a law about all the land in Egypt, stating that one-fifth of the crops that are harvested belongs to the king. That law still exists. Only the land that belonged to the priests did not become the king’s land.

                                    27 Jacob and his family started to live in Egypt, in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there. Many children were born to them there. As a result, their population increased greatly.

                                    28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years. Altogether he lived 147 years. 29 When it was almost time for him to die, he summoned his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have pleased you, put your hand between my thighs to solemnly promise that you will be faithful to me as your father and do what I am now trusting you to do: When I die, do not bury me here in Egypt. 30 Instead, when I die and join my ancestors who have died previously, take my body out of Egypt, and bury it in Canaan where they are buried.” Joseph replied, “I will do what you have said.” 31 Jacob said, “Swear to me that you will do it!” So Joseph swore to do it. Then Jacob bowed down as he worshiped God, near the head of his bed.

                                    Chapter 48

                                    1 Some time after this, someone told Joseph, “Your father is ill.” When Joseph heard that, he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to see his father. 2 When someone told Jacob, “Look, your son Joseph has come to see you!” Jacob, also called Israel, made an effort and sat up on the bed, even though it was difficult for him to do that. 3 He said to Joseph, “When I was at Luz in the land of Canaan, God Almighty appeared to me. He blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to enable you to become the father of many children. You will have many descendants, and they will become many people groups. And I will give this land to your descendants to possess forever.’

                                    5 And now I will consider that your two sons, who were born to you here in Egypt before I came here, belong to me. Ephraim and Manasseh will be my sons, and they will inherit my possessions, just like my sons Reuben and Simeon and the others will. 6 If you later become the father of any more children, they will not be considered to be my children, but instead as my grandchildren. They will receive as part of what they inherit some of the same land that is in the territory that their brothers will inherit. 7 Many years ago, as I was returning from Paddan Aram, your mother Rachel sadly died in the land of Canaan, while we were still traveling, not far from the town of Ephrath. So I buried her body there alongside the road to Ephrath” (which is now called Bethlehem).

                                    8 When Jacob saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these boys?” 9 Joseph replied to his father, “They are the sons that God has given to me here in Egypt.” Jacob said, “Bring them close to me so that I can bless them.” 10 Jacob was almost blind because he was very old. He could not see well. So Joseph brought his sons close to his father, and Jacob kissed them and hugged them. 11 Jacob said to Joseph, “I did not expect to see your face again, but look at this! God has allowed me to see you, and he has allowed me to see your children, too!”

                                    12 Joseph took the boys from Jacob’s knees. Then he bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 Then Joseph took both of the boys, putting Ephraim on his right side toward Jacob’s left hand, and putting Manasseh on his left side toward Jacob’s right hand, and brought them close to Jacob. 14 But Jacob did not do what Joseph wanted him to do. Instead, he reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, even though he was the younger son. He crossed his arms and put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the older son. 15 Then he blessed Joseph and his sons, saying, “My grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac conducted their lives as God desired, and to this very day God has led me and taken care of me as a shepherd leads and cares for his sheep. 16 The angel whom he sent has kept me from being harmed in any way.

                                         I pray that God will bless these boys.

                                         I pray that people will think about me and my ancestors, Abraham and Isaac, because of what God does for them.

                                         I pray that they will have many descendants who will live all over the earth.”

                                    17 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head and not on Manasseh’s head, he was distressed. So he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “My father, that is not right! The one on whom you put your left hand is my older son. Put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused, saying, “I know that, my son; I know what I am doing. Manasseh’s descendants will also become a people group, and they will become important. But his younger brother’s descendants will become greater than his will. His descendants will become many nations.” 20 So he blessed them both on that day, saying, “The people in Israel will use your names when they bless people. They will say, ‘We pray that God will help you as he helped Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In that way, Jacob said that Ephraim would become more important than Manasseh.

                                    21 Then Jacob said to Joseph, “I am about to die. But I know that God will help you. Some day he will take your descendants back to the land of their ancestors. 22 It is to you, who stands above your brothers that I will give the fertile hill in the area of Shechem. I captured that land from the Amor people group, fighting them with my sword and my bow and arrows.”

                                    Chapter 49

                                    1 Jacob summoned all his sons and said to them, 2 “Gather around close to me in order that I can tell you what will happen in the future. My sons, come and listen to me. I am your father, Jacob.

                                    3 Reuben, you are my oldest son. You were born when I was young and energetic. When I became a grown man, you were my first child. You are prouder and stronger than all the rest of my sons. 4 But you were as unstable as ocean waves. So now you will not be my most important son, because you climbed up onto my bed and slept with my concubine. That caused me, your father, to have great shame.

                                    5 Simeon and Levi, you two brothers have both acted like criminals. You use your swords to act violently. 6 I do not want to be with you when you make evil plans. I am too honorable to join you in your meetings, because you killed people when you became very angry, and you hamstrung oxen just to have fun.

                                    7 God says, ‘I will curse them for being very angry, for acting very cruelly when they were very furious. I will scatter their descendants throughout Israel land.’

                                    8 Judah, your older and younger brothers will praise you. They will bow down before you, because you will thoroughly defeat your enemies.

                                    9 Judah is like a young lion that has returned to its den satisfied after eating the animals that it has killed. He is like a lion that lies down and stretches out after eating; no one would dare to disturb it.

                                    10 There will always be a ruler from the descendants of Judah. Each one will hold a scepter to show that he has authority as a king. He will do that until nations bring tribute to him and show that they will obey him.

                                    11 The grapevines of his descendants will produce grapes very abundantly. As a result, they will not object to tying their young donkeys to the grapevines in order that they can eat the leaves of the grapevines. Wine will be very plentiful, with the result that they will wash their clothes in wine; they will wash their cloaks in wine that is as red as blood. 12 Their eyes will be red because of drinking too much wine, but their teeth will be very white because of drinking much milk from the cows.

                                    13 Zebulun, your descendants will live by the seashore where there will be a safe harbor for ships. Their land will extend north as far as the city of Sidon.

                                    14 Issachar, your descendants will be like strong donkeys that are lying down between two groups of sheep. so tired that they cannot get up! 15 They will see that their resting place is good and that the land pleases them very much. But they will bend their backs to carry heavy loads and be forced to work for others.

                                    16 Dan, although your tribe will be small, your leaders will rule their people just as the leaders of other tribes of Israel will rule their people. 17 Your descendants will be like snakes at the side of a road, like poisonous snakes lying beside a path. They will strike the heels of horses that pass by, causing the riders to fall backwards as the horses rear up on their hind legs.”

                                    18 Then Jacob prayed, “Yahweh, I am waiting for you to rescue me from my enemies.”

                                    19 Then Jacob continued telling his sons what would happen in the future. He said, “Gad, your tribe will be attacked by a group of bandits, but your tribe will pursue and attack them.

                                    20 Asher, your descendants will eat good tasting food; they will produce food that is delicious enough for kings to eat.

                                    21 Naphtali, your descendants will be like deer that run free, deer that have beautiful fawns.

                                    22 Joseph, you will have many descendants. Their children will be as many as the fruit on a vine near a spring of water, whose branches extend over a wall. 23 Their enemies will attack them fiercely, and shoot at them with bows and arrows and pursue them. 24 But they will hold their bows steady and their arms will remain strong, because of the power of my mighty God, because of Yahweh, who guides and provides for me, as a shepherd guides and provides for his sheep. The people of Israel will ask Yahweh to protect them, as people take refuge on top of a high rock.

                                    25 God, the one whom I worship, will help your descendants. God Almighty will bless them by sending them rain from the sky and by giving them water from deep below the ground. He will give them many children and will nourish them.

                                    26 The blessings that I want God to give you are great ones. They are greater than the blessings that come from the eternal mountains, than the ones that come from the everlasting hills. Joseph, I pray that these blessings will be given to you, because you are the leader of your brothers.

                                    27 Benjamin, your descendants will be like vicious wolves. In the morning they will kill their enemies like a wolf devours its prey, and in the evening they will divide among their warriors the spoils that they seized from their enemies.”

                                    28 Those twelve sons are the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. That is what their father said to them as he blessed them, telling to each one words that were right for him.

                                    29 Then Jacob said to his sons, “I will soon die and join my ancestors who have already died. Bury my body where some of my ancestors are buried, in the cave that is in the field that was bought from Ephron, who belonged to the Heth people group. 30 The field of Machpelah, was east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought it from Ephron to use as a burial place. 31 That is where they buried him and his wife Sarah. That is where they buried my father Isaac and his wife Rebekah. And that is where I buried my wife Leah. 32 That field and the cave in it were bought from the Heth people group; so that is where I want you to bury me.”

                                    33 When Jacob finished giving those instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed again. Then he stopped breathing and died.

                                    Chapter 50

                                    1 Joseph fell on his father’s face and he cried over him and kissed him. 2 Joseph commanded his servants who prepared the dead for burial to embalm his father’s body. 3 It took forty days to embalm Jacob’s body, because that is the amount of time that was always required for them to embalm a body. The people of Egypt cried for seventy days because of Jacob’s death. 4 When the time of mourning was finished, Joseph said to the king’s officials, “If you are pleased with me, please take this message to the king: 5 ‘When my father was about to die, he told me to solemnly promise that I would bury his body in Canaan land, in the tomb that he himself had prepared. So please let me go up to Canaan and bury my father’s body. Then I will return.’”

                                    6 After they gave the king the message, he replied, “Tell Joseph, ‘Go up and bury your father’s body, as you swore that you would do.’” 7 So Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father’s body. All of the king’s officials, all the king’s advisors, and all the elders in Egypt went with him. 8 His family’s small children and their sheep and goats and their cattle stayed in the region of Goshen. But all the rest of Joseph’s family and his brothers and his father’s family went with him. 9 Men riding in chariots and on horses also went along. It was a huge group.

                                    10 They went to the east side of the Jordan River and arrived at Atad. There was a place there where people threshed the grain to separate the wheat from the chaff. There they mourned loudly for Jacob for a long time. Joseph performed mourning ceremonies for his father for seven days. 11 When the Canaan people group who lived there saw them mourning like that, they said, “This is a sad mourning place for the people of Egypt!” So they named the place Abel Mizraim, which sounds like the Hebrew words that mean “mourning of the Egyptians.”

                                    12 Then Jacob’s sons did for him what their father had commanded. 13 They crossed the Jordan River and carried Jacob’s body into Canaan land. They buried it in the cave in the field at Machpelah, east of Mamre town. That was the field that Abraham had bought from Ephron, who was one of the Heth people group, to use as a burial place.

                                    14 After he had buried his father, Joseph and his brothers and all the others who had gone up to Canaan with him for the funeral returned to Egypt.

                                    15 After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers became worried. They realized what might happen. They said, “What will happen if Joseph is carrying hatred for us and wants to take revenge on us, because of all the evil things we did to him many years ago?” 16 So they sent someone to tell this to Joseph for them: “Before our father died, he told us this: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive your older brothers for the evil thing that they did to you, for their terrible sin against you, because what they did to you was very wrong.’ So now we, who are servants of your father’s God, ask you, please forgive us for what we did to you.” Joseph cried when he received their message. 18 Then his older brothers themselves came and threw themselves on the ground in front of Joseph, and one of them said, “Please listen. We will be your servants.” 19 But Joseph replied to them, “Do not be afraid! God is the one who punishes people; am I God? 20 As for you, yes, you wanted to do something very evil to me. But God caused something good to come from it! He wanted to save many people from dying of hunger, and that is what happened! Today they are alive! 21 So I say again, do not be afraid! I will make sure that you and your children have enough to eat.” In this way he reassured them as he spoke to them.

                                    22 Joseph lived with his father’s family in Egypt until he was 110 years old. 23 He lived long enough to see Ephraim’s children and grandchildren. The children of Joseph’s grandson Machir, who was Manasseh’s son, were born before Joseph died, and they were recognized as being his descendants. 24 One day Joseph said to his older brothers, “I am about to die. But God will certainly help you. Some day he will lead your descendants up out of this land and take them to Canaan, the land that he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph said, “When God enables you to do that, you must take my body up from here to Canaan.” He made his older brothers solemnly promise to do that.

                                    26 So Joseph died in Egypt when he was 110 years old. His body was embalmed and put in a coffin there.