Only he might care for the light and what was to come, for only the Death of All Things might reach so far and be so just. The light grew in the sight of the All-Death and became fire. As fire it burned and spread outwards, and with the fire came a song: From the darkness then came the Great Death, the Middle Brother. He was not so mighty nor as vast as the Eldest, though his reach was wide indeed.
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His domain was to be catastrophe, and thus his face was obscured by wrought metal and stone. Mountainlike he came, the Death of the multitudes, and his heralds came with him — their names were Conquest and War and Famine and Disease. Within the fire now could be seen the faint outlines of trunk and root and branches, as if made of the finest crystal.
The fire flowed through the tree and within the tree and around the tree, and the song was carried ever louder through the shining branches and strong roots.
From the darkness now came the Small Death, the Youngest Brother, pale of face and dark of robe, hard of eye and strict of hand. A silver sickle he carried, and it was by this tool that each soul born would be collected.
The Youngest did not approach his elder brothers, but remained apart from them. He was small in reach and mind, and his thoughts were narrow, such that the mind of the Middle was terrible to him, and the mind of the Eldest more horrible still. He watched the fire with cold silver eyes, but said nothing. By disparity we are made, and by disparity we are made necessary, yet why must it be so? The Eldest did not answer.
He knew the mind of the Small Death, and knew of his fears and doubts. No answer he might give would aid his brother, nor any truth give him solace. The answers he sought were known to the Eldest alone, and he alone might understand them. The Eldest rose, and towered over his brothers. His countenance was as dark as the void of his birth and his robes as white as the same. Above his head, shadows swirled about in the dark vaults of the heavens — the first of the elder gods kicked in their womb, and likewise in the abyss beneath his feet they swam.
The tree grew tall and broad, shone bright and sang loud. A great work awaits us. There was agreement between the Great and the Small, and the Brothers Three passed from the light of the tree into shadow. Later, there was the click of sensible heels, and a woman stepped out of the darkness.
For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and look, now he has taken away my blessing. What then can I do for you, my son? Bless me, me also, father! Why should I lose both of you in one day? If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me? Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. The stone on the well's mouth was large, [ Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.
Jacob told Laban all these things, [ Tell me, what shall your wages be? And Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me? He served Laban for another seven years. For the women will call me happy"; so she named him Asher.
Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes. Would you take away my son's mandrakes also? But now when shall I provide for my own household also? Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.
Let it be as you have said. And since they bred when they came to drink, [ But the God of my father has been with me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth. For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsfolk camped in the hill country of Gilead.
You have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword. I would have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre. What you have done is foolish. In the presence of our kinsfolk, point out what I have that is yours, and take it.
And he went out of Leah's tent, and entered Rachel's. Laban felt all about in the tent, but did not find them. Jacob said to Laban, "What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? Set it here before my kinsfolk and your kinsfolk, so that they may decide between us two.
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God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night. But what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about their children whom they have borne?
Thus says your servant Jacob, 'I have lived with Laban as an alien, and stayed until now; [ Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you? So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. When they heard of it, the men were indignant and very angry, because he had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done. Now he was the most honored of all his family. Only let us agree with them, and they will live among us. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.
So it was called Allon-bacuth. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan. These were the sons of Adah, Esau's wife. Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau's wife, Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, [ Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. Aiah and Anah; he is the Anah who found the springs in the wilderness, as he pastured the donkeys of his father Zibeon.
Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah. Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf. Are you indeed to have dominion over us? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?
Come, I will send you to them. He came to Shechem, [ The pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they took Joseph to Egypt. A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces. She was in Chezib when she bore him. So Tamar went to live in her father's house. She saw that Shelah was grown up, yet she had not been given to him in marriage. She said, "What will you give me, that you may come in to me? Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking.
How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; [ Please tell them to me. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh awoke, and it was a dream.
Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each according to his dream. When he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it. Never had I seen such ugly ones in all the land of Egypt. But when I told it to the magicians, there was no one who could explain it to me.
They are seven years of famine. Thus Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.
And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. They said, "From the land of Canaan, to buy food. He said to them, "You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land! The rest of you shall go and carry grain for the famine of your households, [ Thus your words will be verified, and you shall not die.
That is why this anguish has come upon us. But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood. And he picked out Simeon and had him bound before their eyes.
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This was done for them. Then I will release your brother to you, and you may trade in the land. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has happened to me! Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.
Have you another brother? Could we in any way know that he would say, 'Bring your brother down'? If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the top of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved. Then they went on their way down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. So we have brought it back with us. We do not know who put our money in our sacks. Is he still alive?
God be gracious to you, my son! So he went into a private room and wept there. So they drank and were merry with him. Why have you stolen my silver cup? Does he not indeed use it for divination?
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You have done wrong in doing this. Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! Then each one loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city. Do you not know that one such as I can practice divination? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves?
God has found out the guilt of your servants; here we are then, my lord's slaves, both we and also the one in whose possession the cup has been found. Only the one in whose possession the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother's children, and his father loves him.
Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us. I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father. Is my father still alive? He said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Hurry and bring my father down here. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.
My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die. Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, [ Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron. Sered, Elon, and Jahleel [ Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. The children of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel [ Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem [