The Website for Book Lovers

Legands of the Jews > Volume 2 >

Prev | Next | Contents


As Reuben confessed his sin upon his death-bed, and warned his children and his family to be on their guard against unchastity, the vice that had brought about his fall, so Simon, when he was about to die, assembled his sons around him, and confessed the sin he had committed. He had been guilty of boundless envy of Joseph, and he spoke: "I was the second son begotten by my father Jacob, and my mother Leah called me Simon, because the Lord had heard her prayer. I waxed strong, and shrank from no manner of deed, and I was afraid of naught, for my heart was hard, and my liver unyielding, and my bowels without mercy. And in the days of my youth I was jealous of Joseph, for our father loved him more than all the rest of us, and I resolved to kill him. For the prince of temptation sent the spirit of jealousy to take possession of me, and it blinded me so that I did not consider Joseph to be my brother, and I spared not even my father Jacob. But his God and the God of his fathers sent His angel and saved him out of my hands.

When I went to Shechem to fetch ointment for the herds, and Reuben was in Dothan, where all our supplies and stores were kept, our brother Judah sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites. On his return, when he heard what had happened, Reuben was very sad, for he had been desirous of saving Joseph and bringing him back to our father. But as for me, my wrath was enkindled against Judah, that he had let him escape alive. My anger abode with me all of five months. But the Lord restrained me from using the power of my hands, for my right hand withered for the length of seven days. Then I knew that what had happened was for the sake of Joseph. I repented and prayed to God to restore my hand and withhold me henceforth from all sorts of defilement, envy, and folly. For two years I gave myself up to fasting and the fear of God, for I perceived that redemption from jealousy could come only through the fear of God.

My father, seeing me downcast, asked to know the cause of my sadness, and I replied that I was suffering with my liver, but in truth I was mourning more than all my brethren, seeing that I had been the cause of Joseph's sale. And when we went down into Egypt, and Joseph bound me as a spy, I was not grieved, for I knew in my heart that my suffering was just retribution. But Joseph was good, the spirit of God dwelt within him. Compassionate and merciful as he was, he bore me no resentment for my evil deeds toward him, but he loved me with the same love he showed the others. He paid due honor to us all, and gave us gold, and cattle, and produce. And now, my dear children, do ye love one another, each one his brother, with a clean heart, and remove the spirit of jealousy from the midst of you."

Like Reuben, so also Simon adjured his sons to beware of unchastity, for this vice is the mother of all evil. It separates man from God, and abandons him to Behar. These were the closing words of his exhortation: "In the writings of Enoch I saw that your sons would be corrupted through unchastity, and they would maltreat the sons of Levi with the sword. But they will not be able to do aught against Levi, for the war he will wage is the war of the Lord, and he will vanquish all your armies. As a small remnant you will be scattered among Levi and Judah, and none among you will rise to be a judge or a king of our people, as, my father Jacob prophesied in his blessing."

Having completed his admonitions to his sons, Simon passed away and was gathered to his fathers, at the age of one hundred and twenty years. His sons placed him in a coffin made of imperishable wood, so that they might carry his bones to Hebron, as they did, in secret, during the war between the Egyptians and the Canaanites. Thus did all the tribes during the war; they took the remains each of its founder from Egypt to Hebron. Only the bones of Joseph remained in Egypt until the Israelites went out of the land, for the Egyptians guarded them in their royal treasure chambers. Their magicians had warned them that whenever Joseph's bones should be removed from Egypt, a great darkness would envelop the whole land, and it would be a dire misfortune for the Egyptians, for none would be able to recognize his neighbor even with the light of a lamp.[8]

Prev | Next | Contents

The Heptameron: The Very Naughty Book By Margueritte de Navarre

Princess Belle Etoile
The Beautiful Illustrations of a Dark Fairy Tale

WW1 Poster
World War One Propaganda Posters

Charles Dickens Mistress
A Victorian Scandal: Charles Dickens and The Actress

Art of Albrecht Durer
The Art of Albrecht Durer