Two years after the death of Joseph, Reuben fell sick.
Feeling that his end was nigh, he called together his sons,
his grandsons, and his brethren, to give them his last
from out of the fulness of his experience. He spake: "Hear, my brethren, and do ye, my children, give ear unto Reuben your father in the commands that I enjoin upon you. And, behold, I adjure you this day by the God of heaven that ye walk not in the follies of youth and the fornications to which I was addicted, and wherewith I defiled the bed of my father Jacob. For I tell you now that for seven months the Lord afflicted my loins with a terrible plague, and if my father Jacob had not interceded for me, the Lord had swept me away. I was twenty years of age when I did what was evil before the Lord, and for seven months I was sick unto death. Then I did penance for seven years in the innermost depths of my soul. Wine and strong drink I drank not, the flesh of animals passed not my lips, dainties I tasted not, because I mourned over my sins, for they were great."
He admonished those gathered around him to beware of the seven tempter spirits, which are the spirit of fornication, gluttony, strife, love of admiration, arrogance, falsehood, and injustice. He cautioned them especially against unchastity, saying: "Pay no heed to the glances of a woman, and remain not alone with a married woman, and do not occupy yourselves with the affairs of women. Had I not seen Bilhah bathe in a secluded spot, I had not fallen into the great sin I committed, for after my thoughts had once grasped the nakedness of woman, I could not sleep until I had accomplished the abominable deed. For when our father Jacob went to his father Isaac, while we sojourned in Eder, not far from Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem, Bilhah was drunken with wine, and she lay asleep, uncovered, in her bedchamber, and I entered in and saw her nakedness and committed the sin, and I went out again, leaving her asleep. But an angel of God revealed my impious act to my father Jacob at once. He came back and mourned over me, and never again did he approach Bilhah. Unto the very last day of his life, I had not the assurance to look my father in the face or to speak to my brethren regarding my disgrace, and even now my conscience tortures me on account of my sin. Nevertheless my father spake words of comfort to me, and prayed to God in my behalf, that the wrath of the Lord might depart from me, as He showed me."
Reuben admonished his children impressively to join themselves to Levi, "because he will know the law of the Lord," he said, "and he will give ordinances for judgment, and bring sacrifices for all Israel, until the consummation of the times, as the anointed high priest of whom the Lord spake."
After announcing his last will to his sons, Reuben departed this life at the age of one hundred and twenty-five years. His body was laid in a coffin until his sons bore it away from Egypt, and carried it up to Hebron, where they buried it in the Double Cave.