IX. 3 And it came to pass after the departure of
|Ex. 1:6, 1:7|
wives: and he that is born of them shall be a bondman and serve us. And this is that that did appear most evil before the Lord.
2. Then the elders of the people assembled the people with mourning and mourned and lamented saying: An untimely birth have the wombs of our wives suffered. Our fruit is delivered over to our enemies and now we are cut off. Yet let us appoint us an ordinance, that no man come near his wife, lest the fruit of their womb be defiled, and our bowels serve idols: for it is better to die childless, until we know what God will do.
3. And Amram answered and said: It will sooner come to pass that the age shall be utterly abolished and the immeasurable world fall, 1 or the heart of the depths touch the stars, than that the race of the children of Israel should be diminished. And it shall be, when the covenant is fulfilled whereof God when he made it spake to Abraham saying: Surely thy sons shall dwell in a land that is not theirs, and shall be brought into bondage and afflicted 400 years.--And lo, since the word was passed which God spake to Abraham, there are 350 years. (And) since we have been in bondage in Egypt it is 130 years. 4. Now therefore I will not abide by that which ye ordain, but will go in and take my wife and beget sons, that we may be made many on the earth. For God will not continue in his anger, neither will he alway forget his people, nor cast forth the race of Israel to nought upon the earth, neither did he in vain make his covenant with our fathers: yea, when as yet we were not, God spake of these things. 5. Now therefore I will go and take my wife, neither will I consent to
the commandment of this king. And if it be right in your eyes, so let us do all of us, for it shall be, when our wives conceive, they shall not be known to be great with child until 3 months are fulfilled, like as also our mother Thamar 1 did, for her intent was not to fornication, but because she would not separate herself from the sons of Israel she took thought and said: It is better for me to die for sinning with my father-in-law than to be joined to Gentiles. And she hid the fruit of her womb till the 3rd month, for then was it perceived. And as she went to be put to death she affirmed it 2 saying: The man whose is this staff and this ring and goatskin, of him have I conceived. And her device delivered her out of all peril. 6. Now therefore let us also do thus. And it shall be when the time of bringing forth is come, if it be possible, we will not cast forth the fruit of our womb. And who knoweth if thereby God will be provoked, to deliver us from our humiliation?
7. And the word which Amram had in his heart was pleasing before God: and God said: Because the thought of Amram is pleasing before me, and he hath not set at nought the covenant made between me and his fathers, therefore, lo now, that which is begotten of him shall serve me for ever, and by him will I do wonders in the house of Jacob, and will do by him signs and wonders for my people which I have done for none other, and will perform in them my glory and declare unto them my ways. 8. I the Lord will kindle for him my lamp to dwell in him, and will show him my
covenant which no man hath seen, and manifest to him my great excellency, and my justice and judgments and will shine for him a perpetual light. For in ancient days I thought of him, saying: My spirit shall not be a mediator among these men for ever, for they are flesh, and their days shall be 120 years. 1
9. And Amram of the tribe of Levi went forth and took a wife of his tribe, and it was so when he took her, that the residue did after him and took their wives. Now he had one son and one daughter, and their names were Aaron and Maria,
10. And the spirit of God came upon Maria by night, and she saw a dream, 2 and told her parents in the morning saying: I saw this night, and behold a man in a linen garment stood and said to me: Go and tell thy parents: behold, that which shall be born of you shall be cast into the water, for by him water shall be dried up, and by him will I do signs, and I will save my people, and he shall have the captaincy thereof alway. And when Maria had told her dream her parents believed her not.
11. But the word of the king of Egypt prevailed against the children of Israel and they were humiliated and oppressed in the work of bricks.
12. But Jochabeth conceived of Amram and hid the child in her womb 3 months, for she could not hide it longer: because the king of Egypt had appointed overseers of the region, that when the Hebrew women brought forth they should cast the males into the river straightway. And she took her child and made him an ark of the bark of a
pine-tree and set the ark on the edge of the river. 13. Now the boy was born in the covenant of God and in the covenant of his flesh. 14. And it came to pass, when they cast him out, all the elders gathered together and chode with Amram saying: Are not these the words which we spake saying: "It is better for us to die childless than that our fruit should be cast into the water?" And when they said so, Amram hearkened not to them.
15. But the daughter of Pharao came down to wash in the river according as she had seen in a dream, 1 and her maids saw the ark, and she sent one of them and took it and opened it. And when she saw the child and looked upon the covenant, 2 that is, the testament in his flesh, she said: He is of the children of the Hebrews. 16. And she took him and nourished him and he became her son, and she called his name Moyses. But his mother called him Melchiel. 3 And the child was nourished and became glorious above all men, and by him God delivered the children of Israel, as he had said.
99:3 IX. 1. A Midrash quoted by Cohn (p. 317) agrees that the Egyptians desired to marry the Hebrew girls. Jashar and other authorities also say that Amram, in common with others, put away his wife when the Egyptian decree was promulgated.
100:1 3. in uictoria minuatur seculum: utterly, εἰσ νῖκοσ. The Hebraism (למנצח) occurs again, XII. 6, and perhaps in XLIX. 6.
101:1 5. Tamar. Here the author first introduces a story from the past history of Israel by way of illustration: it is his constant practice later on.
101:2 Affirmed it: statuit hoc. Perhaps "presented" the staff, etc.
102:1 8. fin. The point of the quotation is that Moses was 120 years old when he died. Cf. II. 2.
102:2 10. Miriam's vision. In Jashar and elsewhere (e.g. Talmud Bab. Megillah, tr. Rodkinson, p. 36) Miriam prophesies the birth of Moses. Cf. Cohn, p. 318.
103:1 15. according as she had seen in a dream. The usual story is that God sent a great heat upon Egypt, so that the people were constrained to bathe (Jashar, etc.).
103:2 covenant. Zaticon = διαθήκην. The Midrashim (Cohn, l.c.) agree that Moses was born circumcised.
103:3 16. Melchiel. Syncellus and Cedrenus say that he was called by his parents Melchias. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. I. 23) says they called him Ioacim, and he "had a third name after the assumption, as the initiated (μύσται) say, viz. Melchi." Jashar (and Jerahmeel) give a number of names, but Melchiel is not among them.