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The last words addressed by Judah to his sons were the following: "I was the fourth son begotten by my father, and my mother called me Judah, saying, 'I thank the Lord that He hath given me a fourth son.' I was zealous in my youth and obedient to my father in all things. When I grew up to manhood, he blessed me, saying, 'Thou wilt be king, and wilt prosper in all thy ways.' The Lord granted me His grace in whatever I undertook, in the field and in the house. I could speed as swiftly as the hind, and overtake it, and prepare a dish of it for my father. A deer I could catch on the run, and all the animals of the valley. A wild mare I could outstrip, hold it, and bridle it. A lion I slew, and snatched a kid from its jaws. A bear I caught by the paw, and flung it adown the cliff, and it lay beneath crushed. I could keep pace with the wild boar, and overtake it, and as I ran I seized it, and tore it to pieces. A leopard sprang at my dog in Hebron, and I grasped its tail, and hurled it away from me, and its body burst on the coast at Gaza. A wild steer I found grazing in the field. I took it by its horns, swung it round and round until it was stunned, and then I cast it to the ground and killed it."

Judah continued and told his children of his heroism in the wars that the sons of Jacob had waged with the kings of Canaan and with Esau and his family. In all these conflicts he bore a distinguished part, beyond the achievements of the others. His father Jacob was free from all anxiety when Judah was with his brethren in their combats, because he had had a vision showing him an angel of strength standing at the side of Judah on all his ways.

Judah did not conceal his shortcomings, either. He confessed how drunkenness and passion had betrayed him first into marriage with a Canaanitish woman, and then into improper relations with his daughter-in-law Tamar. He said to his children:

"Do not walk after the desire of your hearts, and vaunt not the valiant deeds of your youth. This, too, is evil in the eyes of the Lord. For while I boasted that the face of a beautiful woman had never allured me in the wars, and reviled my brother Reuben for his transgression with Bilhah, the spirit of passion and unchastity gained possession of me, and I took Bath-shua to wife, and trespassed with Tamar, though she was the affianced of my son. First I said to Bath-shua's father, 'I will take counsel with my father Jacob, to know whether I should marry thy daughter,' but he was a king, and he showed me an untold heap of gold accredited to his daughter, and he adorned her with the magnificence of women, in gold and pearls, and he bade her pour the wine at the meal. The wine turned my eyes awry, and passion darkened my heart. In mad love for her, I violated the command of the Lord and the will of my father, and I took her to wife. The Lord gave me a recompense according to the counsel of my heart, for I had no joy in the sons she bore me.

"And now, my children, I pray you, do not intoxicate yourselves with wine, for wine twists the understanding away from the truth, and confuses the sight of the eyes. Wine led me astray, so that I felt no shame before the throngs of people in the city, and I turned aside and went in to Tamar in the presence of them, and committed a great sin. And though a man be a king, if he leads an unchaste life, he loses his kingship. I gave Tamar my staff, which is the stay of my tribe, and my girdle-cord, which is power, and my signet- diadem, which is the glory of my kingdom. I did penance for all this, and unto old age I drank no wine, and ate no flesh, and knew no sort of pleasure. Wine causes the secret things of God and man to be revealed unto the stranger. Thus did I disclose the commands of the Lord and the mysteries of my father Jacob to the Canaanite woman Bath-shua, though God had forbidden me to betray them. I also enjoin you not to love gold, and not to look upon the beauty of women, for through money and through beauty I was led astray to Bath-shua the Canaanite. I know that my stock will fall into misery through these two things, for even the wise men among my sons will be changed by them, and the consequence will be that the kingdom of Judah will be diminished, the domain that the Lord gave me as a reward for my obedient conduct toward my father, for never did I speak in contradiction of him, but I did all things according to his words. And Isaac, my father's father, blessed me with the blessing that I should be ruler in Israel, and I know that the kingdom will arise from me. In the books of Enoch the just I read all the evil that ye will do in the latter days. Only beware, my children, of unchastity and greed, for love of gold leads to idolatry, causing men to call them gods that are none, and dethroning the reason of man. On account of gold I lost my children, and had I not mortified my flesh, and humbled my soul, and had not my father Jacob offered up prayers for me, I had died childless. But the God of my fathers, the merciful and gracious One, saw that I had acted unwittingly, for the ruler of deception had blinded me, and I was ignorant, being flesh and blood, and corrupt through sins, and in the moment when I considered myself invincible, I recognized my weakness."

Then Judah revealed to his sons, in clear, brief words, the whole history of Israel until the advent of the Messiah, and his final speech was: "My children, observe the whole law of the Lord; in it is hope for all that keep His ways. I die this day at the age of one hundred and nineteen years before your eyes. None shall bury me in a costly garment, nor shall ye cut my body to embalm it, but ye shall carry me to Hebron."

Having spoken these words, Judah sank into death.[10]

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