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Testament of Benjamin

About a Pure Conscience

Testament of Benjamin

The Testament of Benjamin

Benjamin was the 12th son of Jacob and the 2nd child of Rachel. Rachel had named her son Ben-oni, who could mean "son of my suffering", because her childbirth was difficult and she died in labor. But Jacob called him Benjamin, which literally means "son of my right hand".   When Jacob blessed his 12 sons, he described Benjamin as a wolf devouring his enemies in the morning and sharing the spoils in the evening. 

  • Genesis 49:27 "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder."

King Saul, the first of the kings of Israel, judge Ehud, prophet Jeremiah, and apostle Paul the apostle were all descendants of Benjamin.

Chapter 1

  1. The copy of the words of Benjamin, which he commanded his sons to observe, after he had lived a hundred and twenty-five years.

  2. And he kissed them, and said: As Isaac was born to Abraham in his old age, so also was I to Jacob.

  3. And since Rachel my mother died in giving me birth, I had no milk; therefore I was suckled by Bilhah her handmaid.

  4. For Rachel remained barren for twelve years after she had borne Joseph; and she prayed the Lord with fasting twelve days, and she conceived and bare me.

  5. For my father loved Rachel dearly, and prayed that he might see two sons born from her.

  6. Therefore was I called Benjamin, that is, a son of days.

Chapter 2

  1. And when I went into Egypt, to Joseph, and my brother recognized me, he said unto me: What did they tell my father when they sold me?

  2. And I said unto him, They dabbled your coat with blood and sent it, and said, Look if this is the coat of your son.

  3. And he said to me, Even so, brother; for when the Ishmaelites took me, one of them stripped off my coat, and gave me a girdle, and scourged me, and bade me run.

  4. And it came to pass that as they went on their way they concealed my garment, as though a wild beast had met me and slain me.

  5. And so his associates sold me to the Ishmaelites. And they did not lie in saying this.

  6. For he wished to conceal from me the deeds of my brethren. And he called to him his brethren and said:

  7. Do not tell my father what you have done unto me, but tell him as I have told Benjamin.

  8. And let the thoughts among you be such, and let not these things come to the heart of my father.

Chapter 3

  1. Do you also, therefore, my children, love the Lord God of heaven and earth, and keep His commandments, following the example of the good and holy man Joseph.

  2. And let your mind be unto good, even as you know me; for he that has his mind right sees all things rightly.

  3. Fear the Lord, and love your neighbour; and even though the spirits of Beliar allure you to afflict you with every evil, yet they shall not have dominion over you, even as they had not over Joseph my brother.

  4. How many men wished to slay him, and God shielded him! For he that fears God and loves his neighbour cannot be smitten by the spirit of Beliar, being shielded by the fear of God.

  5. Nor can he be ruled over by the device of men or beasts, for he is helped by the Lord through the love which he has towards his neighbour.

  6. For Joseph also besought our father that he would pray for his brethren, that the Lord would not impute to them as sin whatever evil they had done unto him.

  7. And thus Jacob cried out: My good child, you have prevailed over the bowels of your father Jacob.

  8. And he embraced him, and kissed him for two hours, saying: In you shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven [concerning the Lamb of God, and Saviour of the world], and that a blameless one shall be delivered up for lawless men, and a sinless one shall die for ungodly men [in the blood of the covenant. for the salvation of the Gentiles and of Israel, and shall destroy Beliar and his servants].

Chapter 4

  1. Therefore, my children, do you see the end of the good man? Be followers of his compassion, therefore, with a good mind, that you also may wear crowns of glory.

  2. For the good man has not a dark eye; for he shows mercy to all men, even though they be sinners.

  3. And though they devise with evil intent concerning him, by doing good he overcomes evil, being shielded by God: and he loves the righteous as his own soul.

  4. If any one is glorified, he envies him not; if any one is enriched, he is not jealous; if any one is valiant, he praises him; the virtuous man he lauds, on the poor man he has mercy; on the weak he has compassion; unto God he sings praises.

  5. As for him who has the fear of God, he protects him as with a shield; him that loves God he helps; him that rejects the Most High he admonishes and turns back; and him that has the grace of a good spirit he loves as his own soul.

Chapter 5

  1. If, therefore, you also have a good mind, then will both wicked men be at peace with you, and the profligate will reverence you and turn unto good; and the covetous will not only cease from their inordinate desire, but even give the objects of their covetousness to them that are afflicted.

  2. If you do well, even the unclean spirits will flee from you; and the beasts will dread you.

  3. For where there is reverence for good works and light in the mind, even darkness fleeth away from him.

  4. For if any one does violence to a holy man, he repents; for the holy man is merciful to his reviler, and holds his peace.

  5. And if any one betrays a righteous man, the righteous man prays: though for a little he be humbled, yet not long after he will appear far more glorious, as was Joseph my brother.

Chapter 6

  1. The inclination of the good man is not in the power of the deceit of the spirit of Beliar, for the angel of peace guides his soul.

  2. And he gazes not passionately upon corruptible things, nor gathers together riches through a desire of pleasure.

  3. He delights not in pleasure, he hurts not his neighbour, he pampers not himself with luxuries, he errs not in the uplifting of the eyes, the Lord is his portion.

  4. The good inclination receives not glory nor dishonor from men, and it knows not any guile, or lie, or fighting or reviling; for the Lord dwells in him and lights up his soul, and he rejoices towards all men alway.

  5. The good mind has not two tongues, of blessing and of cursing, of contumely and of honor, of sorrow and of joy, of quietness and of confusion, of hypocrisy and of truth, of poverty and of wealth; but it has one disposition, uncorrupt and pure, concerning all men.

  6. It has no double sight, nor double hearing; for in everything which he does, or speaks, or sees, he knowes that the Lord looks on his soul.

  7. And he cleanses his mind that he may not be condemned by men as well as by God. And in like manner the works of Beliar are twofold, and there is no singleness in them.

Chapter 7

  1. Therefore, my children, I tell you, flee the malice of Beliar; for he gives a sword to them that obey him.

  2. And the sword is the mother of seven evils. First the mind conceives through Beliar, and first there is bloodshed; secondly ruin; thirdly tribulation; fourthly exile; fifthly dearth; sixthly panic; seventhly destruction.

  3. Therefore was Cain also delivered over to seven vengeances by God, for in every hundred years the Lord brought one plague upon him.

  4. And when he was two hundred years old he began to suffer, and in the nine-hundredth year he was destroyed. For on account of Abel, his brother, with all the evils was he judged, but Lamech with seventy times seven.

  5. Because for ever those who are like Cain in envy and hatred of brethren, shall be punished with the same judgment.

Chapter 8

  1. And do you, my children, flee evil-doing, envy, and hatred of brethren, and cleave to goodness and love.

  2. He that has a pure mind in love, looks not after a woman with a view to fornication; for he has no defilement in his heart, because the Spirit of God rests upon him.

  3. For as the sun is not defiled by shining on dung and mire, but rather dries up both and drives away the evil smell; so also the pure mind, though encompassed by the defilements of earth, rather cleans (them) and is not itself defiled.

Chapter 9

  1. And I believe that there will be also evil-doings among you, from the words of Enoch the righteous: that you shall commit fornication with the fornication of Sodom, and shall perish, all save a few, and shall renew wanton deeds with women; and the kingdom of the Lord shall not be among, you, for straightway He shall take it away.

  2. Nevertheless the temple of God shall be in your portion, and the last (temple) shall be more glorious than the first. And the twelve tribes shall be gathered together there, and all the Gentiles, until the Most High shall send forth His salvation in the visitation of an only begotten prophet. [And He shall enter into the [first] temple, and there shall the Lord be treated with outrage, and He shall be lifted up upon a tree. And the veil of the temple shall be rent, and the Spirit of God shall pass on to the Gentiles as fire poured forth. And He shall ascend from Hades and shall pass from earth into heaven. And I know how lowly He shall be upon earth, and how glorious in heaven.]

Chapter 10

  1. Now when Joseph was in Egypt, I longed to see his figure and the form of his countenance;

  2. And through the prayers of Jacob my father I saw him, while a wake in the daytime, even his entire figure exactly as he was.

  3. And when he had said these things, he said unto them: Know you, therefore, my children, that I am dying.

  4. Work therefore truth and righteousness each one with his neighbour, and judgement unto confirmation, and keep the law of the Lord and his commandments.

  5. For these things do I leave you instead of inheritance. Do you also, therefore, give them to your children for an everlasting possession; for so did both Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

  6. For all these things they gave us for an inheritance, saying: Keep the commandments of God, until the Lord shall reveal His salvation to all Gentiles.

  7. And then shall you see Enoch, Noah, and Shem, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, rising on the right hand in gladness....

  8. Then shall we also rise, each one over our tribe, worshipping the King of heaven, who appeared upon earth in the form of a man in humility. And as many as believe on Him on the earth shall rejoice with Him.

  9. Then also all men shall rise, some unto glory and some unto shame.

  10. And the Lord shall judge Israel first, for their unrighteousness; for when He appeared as God in the flesh to deliver them they believed Him not. And then shall He judge all the Gentiles, as many as believed Him not when He appeared upon earth. And He shall convict Israel through the chosen ones of the Gentiles, even as He reproved Esau through the Midianites, who deceived their brethren, so that they fell into fornication, and idolatry; and they were alienated from God, becoming therefore children in the portion of them that fear the Lord. If you therefore, my children, walk in holiness according to the commandments of the Lord, you shall again dwell securely with me, and all Israel shall be gathered unto the Lord.

Chapter 11

  1. And I shall no longer be called a ravening wolf on account of your ravages, but a worker of the Lord, distributing food to them that work what is good.

  2. And there shall rise up from my seed in the latter times one beloved of the Lord, hearing upon the earth His voice] and a doer of the good pleasure of His will, enlightening with new knowledge all the Gentiles, even the light of knowledge, bursting in upon Israel for salvation and tearing away from them like a wolf, and giving to the synagogue of the Gentiles. Until the consummation of the age shall he be in the synagogues of the Gentiles, and among their rulers, as a strain of music in the mouth of all. And he shall be inscribed in the holy books, both his work and his word, and he shall be a chosen one of God for ever. And through them he shall go to and fro as Jacob my father, saying: He shall fill up that which lacks of your tribe.

Chapter 12

  1. And when he finished his words, he said: I command you, my children, carry up my bones out of Egypt, and bury me at Hebron, near my fathers.

  2. So Benjamin died a hundred and twenty-five years old, at a good old age,

  3. and they placed him in a coffin.

  4. And in the ninety-first year from the entrance of the children of Israel into Egypt, they and their brethren brought up the bones of their fathers secretly during the Canaanitish war; and they buried them in Hebron, by the feet of their fathers.

  5. And they returned from the land of Canaan and dwelt in Egypt until the day of their departure from the land of Egypt.

To God be the glory. Amen!

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