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Jubilees 34:1-9: Joseph, the “House of Joseph,” and the Josephites’ Portion

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Abstract This paper analyses Jub. 34:1-9, an extra-biblical account of Jacob and his sons warring against the Amorites. Herein, the Jubilean author portrays Joseph as an exemplary family man who assists his brothers in fighting for and occupying the allotment of Ephraim and Manasseh. While Joseph’s portrayal corresponds to the favorable presentation of the patriarchs in Jubilees, it also highlights Israelite solidarity in the face of an enemy attack. Enhancing Jacob-Israel’s military prowess, this unity leads the Israelites to victory and thus to inheritance of the land. While these themes appear apposite to the Maccabean period in general, the pericope does not reflect a historical military campaign.

1. FN11) For the former, see 4Q538; 4Q539; Sir 49:15; 1 Macc 2:53; Jub. 34:1-46:9; L.A.B. 8:9-10. For the latter, see Wis 10:10-14; the fragments from Demetrius the Chronographer and Artaphanus in Eusebius, Praep. ev. 9.21.12-18, 9.23.1-4 respectively; Philo, Joseph; Josephus, Ant. 2.7-200; cf. also the possibly later works of T. 12 Patr. and Jos. Asen.
2. FN22) Jub. 34:1-19, 39:1-40:13, 42:1-43:24, 45:1-46:9. For a discussion of Jub. 34-45, see J. C. Endres, Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees (CBQMS 18; Washington: Catholic Biblical Association, 1987), 171-95. Although fourteen Hebrew manuscripts of Jubilees were discovered at Qumran, only a very few words from the passage under discussion have survived in these (cf. 4Q223-224 2 i 4-5). While a Latin translation of Jub. 34:1-5 also exists, the full text of this literary unit—as well as of the book as a whole—is only preserved in Geʿez. As VanderKam has demonstrated, this text closely reflects the Hebrew original: see J. C. VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies in the Book of Jubilees (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977), 91-95. Herein, we rely primarily upon VanderKam’s critical edition of the Geʿez text: J. C. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees (CSCO 510-11; Scriptores Aethiopici 87-88; Leuven: Peeters, 1989). For the dating of Jubilees, see idem, “The Origins and Purposes of the Book of Jubilees,” in Studies in the Book of Jubilees (ed. M. Albani, J. Frey, and A. Lange; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 3-24.
3. FN33) Other exceptions to this rule are Jub. 34:10-19, 46:1-9. For the mourning for Joseph (Jub. 34:10-19; cf. Gen 37), see C. M. Carmichael, “The Story of Joseph and the Book of Jubilees,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls in their Historical Context (ed. T. H. Lim et al.; London: T&T Clark, 2000), 143-58. His final words (Jub. 46:1-9; cf. Gen 50:22-26) have been subjected to scrutiny by B. Halpern-Amaru, “Burying the Fathers: Exegetical Strategies and Source Traditions in Jubilees 46,” in Reworking the Bible: Apocryphal and Related Texts at Qumran (STDJ 58; ed. E. G. Chazon, D. Dimant, and R. A. Clements; Leiden: Brill, 2005), 135-52; J. T. A. G. M. van Ruiten, “Between Jacob’s Death and Moses’ Birth: The Intertextual Relationship between Genesis 50:15-Exodus 1:14 and Jubilees 46:1-16,” in Flores Florentino: Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish Studies in Honour of Florentino García Martínez (SJSJ 122; ed. A. Hilhorst, É. Puech, and E. J. C. Tigchelaar; Leiden: Brill, 2007), 467-89; J. C. VanderKam, “Jubilees 46:6-47:1 and 4QVisions of Amram,” DSD 17 (2010): 141-58. For studies of Jub. 34:1-9, see n. 6 below. The figure of Joseph in Jubilees has been studied by M. Niehoff, The Figure of Joseph in Post-Biblical Jewish Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1992), 43-44 and S. Docherty, “Joseph the Patriarch: Representations of Joseph in Early Post-Biblical Literature,” in Borders, Boundaries and the Bible (JSOTSup 313; ed. M. O’Kane; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002), 194-216, esp. 208-12; R. A. Kugler, “Joseph at Qumran: The Importance of 4Q372 Frg. 1,” in Studies in the Hebrew Bible, Qumran and the Septuagint Presented to Eugene Ulrich (VTSup 101; ed. P. W. Flint, E. Tov, and J. C. VanderKam; Leiden: Brill, 2006), 261-78, esp. 264-65.
4. FN44) See B. Beer, Das Buch der Jubiläen und sein Verhältniss zu den Midraschim (Leipzig: Wolfang Gerhard, 1856), 3. Gen 48:22 constitutes the only biblical intimation that Jacob took part in a battle. Some ancient translations and interpretations understood the term שכם as referring to the city (cf. LXX Gen 48:22 [Σίκιµα]; cf. Gen. Rab. 97:6), others rendering it as a “portion” (cf. Aquila, Tg. Neof., Vulgate). Tg. Ps.-J. combines both meanings. While Jub. 34:1-9 takes the noun to designate the city (Shechem), Jub. 45:14 interprets it as a “portion.” All biblical quotations cited here are taken from the NJPS, unless otherwise indicated.
5. FN55) Joseph does not play an independent role in earlier chapters. While Jub. 28:24 notes his birth, prior to the conflict story in Jub. 34:1-9 only his name appears in a genealogical list together with the remainder of Jacob’s sons (Jub. 33:22). Endres (Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, 171-72) thus correctly gives the title “Joseph’s beginnings” to Jub. 34:1-21; cf. Docherty’s similar observation (“Joseph the Patriarch,” 209).
6. FN66) For comparative studies of Jub. 34:1-9, see Beer, Das Buch der Jubiläen, 2-8; H. Rönsch, Das Buch der Jubiläen oder die kleine Genesis (Leipzig: Fues’s Verlag, 1874), 390-98; J. Becker, Untersuchungen zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Testamente der zwölf Patriarchen (AGJU 8; Leiden: Brill, 1970), 114-25; A. Hultgård, L’eschatologie des Testaments des Douze Patriarches II: Composition de l’ouvrage textes et traductions (Historia Religionum 7; Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell; 1981), 123-27; H. W. Hollander and M. de Jonge, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: A Commentary (SVTP 8; Leiden: Brill, 1985), 26-27, 185-86; E. M. Menn, Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38) in Ancient Jewish Exegesis ( JSJSup 51; Leiden: Brill, 1997), 123-35, 142-43; J. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), 369-73. For historical-geographical studies, see W. Bousset, “Die Testamente der zwölf Patriarchen, II,” ZNW 1 (1900), 202-5; R. H. Charles, The Book of Jubilees or the Little Genesis (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1902), lxii-lxiii, 200-204; S. Klein, “Palästinisches im Jubiläenbuch,” ZDPV 57 (1934): 7-27; J. C. VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies in the Book of Jubilees (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977), 217-54 (cf. also his later treatment of Jub. 34 in The Book of Jubilees [Sheffield: Academic Press, 2001], 73-74); K. Berger, Das Buch der Jubiläen ( JSHRZ 2/3; Gütersloh: Mohn, 1981), 483-86; G. Schmitt, Ein indirektes Zeugnis der Makkabäerkämpfe: Testament Juda 3-7 und Parallelen (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1983); A. Caquot, “Jubilés,” in La Bible: Écrits Intertestamentaires (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), 627-815, esp. 766-67; Z. Safrai, “Midrash Wayyisaʿu: The War of the Sons of Jacob in Southern Samaria,” Sinai 100 (1987): 613-27 [Hebrew]; cf. also D. Mendels, The Land of Israel as a Political Concept in Hasmonean Literature (TSAJ 15; Tübingen: Mohr, 1987), 70-82. For further comment on Jub. 34:1-9 see L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: JPS, 1909-38), 1:408-11, 5:315, n. 292; A. Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrasch (2d ed.; Jerusalem: Bamberger and Wahrmann, 1938), 3:ix-xiv [Hebrew]; M. de Jonge, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: A Study of their Text, Composition and Origin (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1975), 60-66; J. A. Goldstein, “The Date of the Book of Jubilees,” PAAJR 50 (1983): 63-86; C. Werman, “The Attitude Toward Gentiles in the Book of Jubilees and Qumran Literature Compared with Early Tanaaic Halakha and Contemporary Pseudepigrapha” (PhD diss., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1995), 11-22 [Hebrew].
7. FN77) R. Doran, “The Non-Dating of Jubilees,” JSJ 20 (1989): 1-11, esp. 1-4; cf. also Endres, Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, 171-73.
8. FN88) Jubilees is also unique in presenting Jacob as the principal protagonist in the war against the Amorites, in line with the central role this patriarch plays in the book, the Jubilean author not only giving Judah secondary status but also equal ranking with Levi and Joseph: see n. 41 below.
9. FN99) When Joseph is first presented as an “adult” in Genesis, he is seventeen years old (Gen 37:2). The Jubilean author relates this temporal allusion to the time of his sale into Egypt (Jub. 39:1).
10. FN1010) English citations of Jubilees follow VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees.
11. FN1111) The rendering “his sheep” in Jub. 34:1 follows M. Goldmann, “The Book of Jubilees,” in The Apocryphal Books (ed. A. Kahana; Tel Aviv: Masada, 1956), 2:288; Berger, Das Buch der Jubiläen, 491. While the majority of editions, including VanderKam (The Book of Jubilees, 2:225) prefer the plural suffix—i.e., “their sheep”—the singular suffix, which is “a strongly supported variant” (ibid.) seems to fit the context better, Jacob repossessing his flock at the end of the war (Jub. 34:8 [cf. 4Q223-224 2 I 5]). Gen 37:12-13, which constitutes the source of Jub. 34:1, likewise indicates that Jacob’s sons were herding their father’s sheep.
12. FN1212) Exceptionally, the Amorite kings were seven in number (Jub. 34:2): see below. The parallel narratives differ with regard to the number of Amorite kings Jacob and/or his sons kill. Thus while T. Jud. 3-7 refers to six Amorite kings, Midrash Wayyisaʿu speaks of five (cf. Josh 10:1-27) and Sefer Hayashar (37-40) seven.
13. FN1313) See below on v. 5. Jub. 11:16-23 states that Abraham was fourteen when he separated himself from his idol-worshipping father and prayed to God to save him from error and sin. At the same age, Abraham also caused the ravens threatening to destroy the new seeds to flee, thereby enabling the people of Ur to plant their fields and consume their crops. For the chronology of Abraham’s life in Jubilees, see J. C. VanderKam, “Studies in the Chronology of the Book of Jubilees,” in From Revelation to Canon: Studies in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature ( JSJSup 62; Leiden: Brill, 2000), 532-40; C. Berner, Jahre, Jahrwochen and Jubiläen (BZAW 363; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2006), 278-83; K. D. Dobos, “The Consolation of History: A Reexamination of the Chronology of the Abraham Pericope in the Book of Jubilees,” Henoch 31 (2009): 84-91.
14. FN1414) See below.
15. FN1515) VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies, 218; Berger, Das Buch der Jubiläen, 491; Endres, Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, 171, n. 26. As in Gen 37:12-13, Jub. 34:1 states that Jacob is in Hebron when he sends his son(s) to Shechem (cf. also Jub. 33:21-23, 34:3). For the question of whom Jacob sent, see the following note.
16. FN1616) Cf. Jub. 34:1: “During the sixth year of this week of this forty-fourth jubilee [2148], Jacob sent his sons to tend their sheep—his servants were also with them—to the field of Shechem” with Jub. 34:10: “During the seventh year of this week [2149] he [Jacob] sent Joseph from his house to the land of Shechem to find out about his brothers’ welfare” (italics added). The affinities between these verses similarly draws the reader’s attention to the contrast between the narratives: see the discussion of Jub. 34:6 below.
17. FN1717) For Shechem as belonging to the territory of the House of Joseph, see Josh 20:7, 21:21; 1 Chr 6:52, 7:28-29; cf. 1 Kgs 12:25.
18. FN1818) For the implied analogy between these stories and the implications of such parallelism, see the discussion of v. 2 below.
19. FN1919) The omission of the description of Jacob’s trade with Hamor, Shechem’s father, given in Gen 33:18-19 may reflect the Jubilean author’s insistence upon the Israelites’ separation from the gentile nations, a view laid out most prominently in Jub. 30: cf. Endres, Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, 122; C. Werman, “Jubilees 30: Building a Paradigm for the Ban on Intermarriage,” HTR 90 (1997): 1-22, esp. 9. Cf. also Abraham’s instruction to Jacob: “Separate from the nations, and do not eat with them. Do not act as they do, and do not become their companion . . .” (Jub. 22:16): see E. Schwarz, Identität durch Abgrenzung (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1982), 21-36; A. Shemesh, “Hilkhot ha-hibadlut shel kat midbar yehudah [The Separatist Halakhot of the Dead Sea Community],” in Revealing the Hidden: Exegesis and Halakha in the Qumran Scrolls (ed. C. Werman and A. Shemesh; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2011), 246-54 [Hebrew].
20. FN2020) While the Jubilean author retains the account of the purchase of the cave of Machpelah—where, as at Shechem, several of the patriarchs are buried—he drastically abbreviates the negotiation with the Hittites, representing the episode as God’s testing of Abraham (Jub. 19:1-9). He also inserts a lengthy extra-biblical account (Jub. 37:1-38:14) concerning Jacob’s battle at Hebron to highlight his view that the land can only be possessed through military combat. For the affinities between Jub. 34:1-9 and Jub. 37:1-38:14 see notes 24, 41, 50, 58 and A. Livneh, “With my Sword and Bow: Jacon as Warrior in Jubilees,” in Rewriting and Interpretation: The Patriarchs in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (BZAW; ed. D. Dimant and R. Kratz) (forthcoming).
21. FN2121) Jub. 34:1-4 consists of two parallel threads, the first relating to the events in Hebron (vv. 1, 3), the second to occurrences at Shechem (vv. 2, 4). The interweaving of these two strands creates the impression that these two episodes take place concurrently. The two units are linked by the report Jacob receives about the incident in Shechem (v. 5) and his setting forth from Hebron to the aid of his ambushed sons (v. 6). For literary devices of this type, cf. 1 Sam 17:12-20; 2 Sam 15-19.
22. FN2222) Joshua is himself a descendent of Joseph (cf. 1 Chr 7:20-29). The account of his war against seven Amorite kings ( Josh 10:28-43) refers to Judahite cities, together with Gezer in Ephraim’s portion (cf. Josh 16:3, 10). As Becker notes, however, the tension between the notation of seven kings in Jub. 34:2 and six kings in Jub. 34:7, together with other discrepancies in the story, may suggest that Jub. 34:1-9 constitutes a reworking of an earlier tradition of Jacob as warrior: J. Becker, Untersuchungen zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Testamente der zwölf Patriarchen (AGJU 8; Leiden: Brill, 1970), 114-16. Other inner “tensions” in the narrative are the names, which refer once to the Amorite cities and once to the kings (cf. Jub. 34:4/34:7), and the location of Jacob’s servants (at Shechem according to Jub. 34:1, at Hebron according to Jub. 34:6).
23. FN2323) This would support VanderKam’s suggestion (The Book of Jubilees [2001], 74) that “the location [of the battle] raises the possibility that this was the sort of attack that Jacob had feared after Simeon and Levi decimated the Shechemites.” With the exception of the notation mentioned above, however, no hint is given that the Amorite ambush constituted a late counter-attack in retaliation for the massacre at Shechem—which, according to Jubilees, took place five years (and three chapters) earlier. The parallel account in Midrash Wayyisaʿu does imply such a connection, however, in juxtaposing the two incidents.
24. FN2424) Jubilees 11:2: “Noah’s children began to fight one another, to take captives, and to kill one another; to shed human blood on the earth, to consume blood; to build fortified cities, walls, and towers; men to elevate themselves over peoples, to set up the first kingdoms; to go to war—people against people, nations against nations, city against city; and everyone to do evil, to acquire weapons, and to teach warfare to their sons. City began to capture city and to sell male and female slaves.” While bloodshed and warfare are considered abominations in Jubilees, they are permissible under certain conditions. The positive portrayal of Jacob in the account of his war with the Amorites clearly demonstrating self-defence to be a legitimate act, the Jubilean author thereby depicts the patriarch as establishing his possession of the Land of Israel by means of a war of defence (cf. Jub. 37:1-38:14).
25. FN2525) “The Amorites—evil and sinful—lived in their [the Rephaim’s] place. Today there is no nation that has matched all their sins” (Jub. 29:11).
26. FN2626) See below.
27. FN2727) Both the Jubilean conflict story and 1 Chr 7:21 portray the aggressors as failing to achieve their objective, dying in their self-initiated offensive (see Jub. 34:7-8).
28. FN2828) VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies, 229. Thus, contra Kugler (“Joseph at Qumran,” 265), Benjamin did not stay at home to comfort Isaac.
29. FN2929) Cf. Jub. 35:12: “He [Jacob] has not separated from us from the day he came from Haran until today. He has continually been living with us at home (all the while) honoring us’ ” (cf. also Jub. 29:14-20, 35:10). A similar interpretation of the fifth commandment as “not abandoning one’s parents” is attested in contemporary works: cf. Tob 4:3 (GII ) and Sir 3:12 (Ms A).
30. FN3030) Jacob and his sons are portrayed as dutiful offspring elsewhere in Jubilees: cf. Jub. 27:6, 29:14-20, 33:21-23, 35:10-12, 36:21-24, 38:1-14. The favorable portrayal of Jacob in Jubilees has been discussed in detail by Endres (Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, 18-182) and Werman (“The Attitude Toward Gentiles,” 177-99). For the positive portrayal of Levi in Jubilees, see Jub. 30, 31:5-23, 32:1-10, 38:6; J. Kugel, “Levi’s Elevation to the Priesthood in Second Temple Writings,” HTR 86 (1993): 1-64; R. A. Kugler, From Patriarch to Priest: The Levi Priestly Tradition from Aramaic Levi to Testament of Levi (SBLEJL 9; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996), 139-70; J. C. VanderKam, “Jubilees’ Exegetical Creation of Levi the Priest.” RevQ 17 (1996): 359-73; idem, “Isaac’s Blessing of Levi and his Descendants in Jubilees 31,” in The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls (STDJ 30; ed. D. W. Parry and E. Ulrich; Leiden: Brill, 1999), 497-519. For the positive portrayal of Judah, see Jub. 31:5-23, 38:5 (cf. also Jub. 41). For the latter text, see A. Shinan and Y. Zakovitch, The Story of Judah and Tamar ( Jerusalem: Hebrew University Press, 1992) [Hebrew], 151; M. Segal, The Book of Jubilees: Rewritten Bible, Redaction, Ideology and Theology ( JSJSup 113; Leiden: Brill, 2007), 59-72. The positive portrayal of Joseph in Jubilees is an elaboration of the favorable depiction given in Genesis: see Jub. 39-40, 42-43 (esp. Jub. 39:6-7, 40:8); Niehoff, The Figure of Joseph, 41-46; Docherty, “Joseph the Patriarch,” 208-12; Kugler, “Joseph at Qumran,” 264-65.
31. FN3131) Bowing is a gesture of respect expected from children to their parents: see Gen 48:12; Jub. 33:21-23.
32. FN3232) See below on v. 6.
33. FN3333) For the identification of the names of the cities as they appear in the Geʿez translation of Jubilees, see esp. VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies, 219-29, and n. 6 above. For these cities in the Hebrew Bible, see VanderKam, ibid., and Goldstein, “The Date of the Book of Jubilees,” 83-86. For their occurrence in passages explicitly related to the allotments of Ephraim and Manasseh, see Tafu (תפוח; cf. Josh 16:8, 17:8), Gaaz (געש; cf. Josh 24:30; Judg 2:9), Betoron (בית חרון; cf. Josh 16:3, 5, 21:22; 1 Chr 6:53, 7:24). Cf. also the location of Selo (שלה) in the Ephraimite hills ( Judg 21:19).
34. FN3434) In actual fact—as noted elsewhere in this chapter—the Josephites did not fully dispossess the Canaanites ( Josh 17:12; cf. 16:10).
35. FN3535) Hereby, the Jubilean author links the patriarchs with the tribal portions in line with the method employed in such passages as 1 Chr 7:14-29, discussed above. For this feature in 1 Chr 7:21, see S. Japhet, I & II Chronicles (Louisville: Westminster, 1993), 181-82.
36. FN3636) The first to note the similarities between Jub. 34:1-9 and Gen 14 was A. Caquot, “Jubilés,” 766. Doran (“The Non-Dating of Jubilees,” 1-4) and Werman (“The Attitude Toward Gentiles,” 14) have further elaborated this association.
37. FN3737) See Doran (ibid.) and Werman (ibid.). Associations between Jacob and Abraham occur elsewhere in the book: cf. Jub. 19:15-31, 22:1-23:8, 25:5. The story of Abraham’s war against the kings is elaborated in Jub. 13:22-29, a reworking which omits the account of the battle and Lot’s deliverance, possibly indicating the Jubilean author’s discomfiture with the idea that Abraham fought on behalf of the sinful ancestor of Moab and Ammon.
38. FN3838) See Jub. 34:7-9, below.
39. FN3939) Levi’s military prowess is demonstrated by his “coming upon” Shechem after Dinah’s rape (Gen 34), while Judah and Joseph’s fighting capacities can be discerned from Jacob’s blessings (Gen 49:8-10, 23-24). Since the latter text also refers to the skills of Dan, Gad, and Benjamin, it does not in and of itself explain the special role ascribed to Levi, Judah, and Joseph in the Jubilean conflict account: see below.
40. FN4040) Cf. “. . .the children of Israel . . . were of the same mind so that each one loved the other and each one helped the other” (Jub. 46:1): see D. Lambert, “Last Testaments in the Book of Jubilees,” DSD 11 (2004): 82-107, esp. 88-90; Jubilees understands the ordinance “You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart” as referring to “malicious intent,” specifically, the intent to murder: cf. Jub. 35:20, 36:4, 8-11, 37:4, 13, 18, 24. See A. Livneh, “Love Your Fellow as Yourself: The Interpretation of Leviticus 19:17-18 in the Book of Jubilees,” DSD 18 (2011): 173-99, esp. 181-82, 195-97.
41. FN4141) VanderKam’s comment (Textual and Historical Studies, 229) that, since he was only fourteen years old, Joseph was “clearly too young for military duty” and that Levi and Judah may thus have led Jacob’s forces is not supported by Jub. 34:6-7, which refers to three of Jacob’s sons—i.e., Levi, Judah, and Joseph—joining their father equally in aiding their brothers and pursuing the Amorites. For fourteen as a suitable age for going to war, cf. Gen. Rab. 80:10 (to Gen 34:25), which maintains that Simeon and Levi were thirteen when they put Shechem to the sword. Cf. the alliance between Jacob’s sons in their war against Esau, as reflected in their division into groups consisting of sons from different mothers (Jub. 38:4-8).
42. FN4242) “Judah” and “Joseph” designate the southern/northern tribes respectively in the Hebrew Bible itself: cf. Ezek 37:15-22; Ps 78:67-68; Zech 10:6. Cf. also 4Q372 1 13-15: [וכל] אמרי כזב ידברו להכעיס ללוי ו̇ל̇י̇ה̇ודה ולבנימין בדבריהם ו̇בכל זה יוסף [נתן] בידי בני נאכר. See E. Schuller and M. Bernstein, “4QNarrative and Poetic Compositionb,” in Wadi Daliyeh II and Qumran Cave 4 XXVIII: Miscellanea, Part 2 (DJD 28; ed. D. M. Gropp et al.; Oxford: Clarendon, 2001), 165-97.
43. FN4343) The chronological system of Jubilees links Joseph with another redeemer—Moses—who is born precisely four jubilees after Joseph (cf. Jub. 28:24, 47:10). The four jubilees separating the births of the two figures may reflect the “four generations” of enslavement indicated in Gen 15:16.
44. FN4444) Cf. the close cooperation between the law-abiding king and the priest in time of war depicted in the Temple Scroll (11Q19 56:15-59:21; cf. 61:12-15 [cf. Deut 20:2-4])—although there the context is legal and their collaboration takes place primarily in the context of a non-obligatory war: see Y. Yadin, The Temple Scroll ( Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1983), 1:344-62, 2:252-70; L. H. Schiffman, “Laws of War in the Temple Scroll,” in The Courtyards of the House of the Lord (STDJ 75; Leiden: Brill, 2008), 505-18.
45. FN4545) Cf. Docherty’s comment: “In this [Jubilean] account . . . Joseph is presented as an entirely virtuous character, the undeserving victim of his brother’s plotting” (“Joseph the Patriarch,” 210).
46. FN4646) Cf. the portrayal of Jacob as not abandoning his aged father in Jub. 34:3 (see above). The passage—which precedes the conflict account—stresses familial harmony (Jub. 33:21-23) by depicting Jacob as residing with his father in Isaac’s house in Hebron. This circumstance explains how Jacob set out not only with his own servants but also Isaac’s.
47. FN4747) Cf. Gen 26:12-14, 30:43-31:1, 36:6-7. As noted above, the number 6000 corresponds to other numerical data in the story which are multiples of six. It is also very large in comparison to the story of Jacob’s war against Esau, which speaks of only two hundred servants fighting with Jacob’s sons (Jub. 38:4-8). In the latter story, the small number of Jacob’s men accentuates his victory against all the odds.
48. FN4848) See Jub. 34:7, below.
49. FN4949) The bow, not attested in this Jubilean story, is Jacob’ choice of weapon in his war against Esau (Jub. 38:1-3). For a literal interpretation of the expression “with my sword and bow,” cf. Tg. Ps.-J. to Gen 48:22; Gen. Rab. 80:10, 97:6. Unlike Jubilees, these texts attribute the use of both weapons to a single battle in Shechem. Other ancient translations and interpretations understand this idiom figuratively: cf. Tg. Neof.; Mek. Beshallah 3, ll. 40-44; Mek. de R. Simeon bar Johai Beshallah to Exod 14:10; b. B. Bat. 123a; cf. Jerome, QG to Gen 48:22; and the surveys of M. Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis Translated, with Introduction and Notes (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1992), 156, n. 27 and C. T. R. Hayward, Saint Jerome’s Hebrew Questions on Genesis (Oxford: Clarendon, 1995), 234-35. Of the four sources which recount Jacob’s war against the Amorite kings, Jub. 34 is unique in depicting him as slaying them with his sword: T. Jud. 3:7 does not specify any weapon, while Sefer Hayashar and Midrash Wayyisaʿu describe Jacob killing at least one king with his bow.
50. FN5050) For a similar “division of labor” between Jacob and his sons and servants, see the account of Jacob’s opposition to Esau (cf. esp. Jub. 38:1-14). In contrast, the parallel accounts in T. Jud. 3-7, Midrash Wayyisaʿu, and Sefer Hayashar all attribute the killing of the Amorite kings to both Jacob and his sons.
51. FN5151) While these were not dispossessed by the House of Joseph, they were subject to their control: see Josh 16:1-17:13; Judg 1:22-35 (the latter text indicating a similar phenomenon in additional northern tribes as well). Cf. also the more general statement in 1 Kgs 9:20-21.
52. FN5252) Cf. the reworking of these verses in Jub. 45:12: “Joseph took the king’s fifth of the food which had been sown, and he left four parts for them for food and seed. Joseph made it a law for the land of Egypt until today” (original italics).
53. FN5353) According to Genesis, Jacob is said to have built a house and “stalls,” the place consequently being named “Succoth” (Gen 33:14). The omission of this episode from Jubilees appears to derive from the author’s efforts to present Jacob as a dutiful son who did not abandon his parents: the building of a permanent residence far removed from his father’s home contradicts this image (cf. Jub. 7:13-16 and nn. 29, 30 above). Genesis explicitly ascribes the building of cities to earlier generations: cf. Gen 4:17, 10:11, 11:4, Jubilees attributing this activity also to Noah’s sons (cf. Jub. 7:14-17, 11:2).
54. FN5454) Robel and Tamnatares are not mentioned prior to this episode (cf. Jub. 34:4, 7). While it is generally accepted that Tamnatares refers to Timnath-heres (תמנת חרס) (see Judg 2:9; cf. Josh 19:50), the precise identification of Robel (probably ארבל) is less obvious: see VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies, 227 and the references in n. 6 above. As VanderKam (ibid.) notes, if Robel is indeed ארבל, it is located in the Galilee and thus stands out in the list of hill-country cities in the Jubilean conflict story.
55. FN5555) See Judg 8:9, 11:31; 2 Chr 18:19. Cf. the similar notation—“Jacob . . . returned to his house”—in the account of Esau’s offensive against Jacob (Jub. 38:9).
56. FN5656) Cf. Goldstein, “The Date of the Book of Jubilees,” 85; Werman, “The Attitude Toward Gentiles,” 16.
57. FN5757) While T. Jud. 7:7, Midrash Wayyisaʿu, and Sefer Hayashar all indicate that peace was made with the Amorites immediately following their plea to Jacob for mercy, the author of Jubilees ascribes the quality of peace-making to Jacob in accordance with his negative view of warfare.
58. FN5858) See above on v. 2. The account of Jacob’s struggle with Esau (Jub. 37:1-38:14) likewise depicts Jacob as acting in self-defence.
59. FN5959) See Kugel, Traditions of the Bible, 371. For other reworkings of the theme of the curses against the surrounding nations, cf. Jub. 10:29-34, 23:30, 24:28-33, 36:8-11.
60. FN6060) I would like to thank Joseph Khalil for kindly sharing his observations regarding the figure of Joseph in Jubilees with me.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of Biblical Studies University of Haifa Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905 Israel


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