3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
TESTAMENT OF REUBEN
The First-Born Son of Jacob and Leah.
Reuben, the first-born son of Jacob and Leah. The man of experience counsels against fornication and points out the ways in. which men are most apt to fall into error.
THE Copy of the Testament of Reuben, even the commands which he gave his sons before he died in the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life.
2 Two years after the death of Joseph his brother, when Reuben fell ill, his sons and his sons’ sons were gathered together to visit him.
3 And he said to them: My children, behold I am dying, and go the way of my fathers.
4 And seeing there Judah, and Gad, and Asher, his brethren, he said to them: Raise me up that I may tell to my brethren and to my children what things I have hidden in my heart, for
behold now at length I am passing away.
5 And he arose and kissed them, and said unto them: Hear, my brethren, and do ye my children, give ear to Reuben your father, in the commands which I give unto you.
6 And behold I call to witness against you this day the God of heaven, that ye walk not in the sins of youth and fornication, wherein I was poured out, and defiled the bed of my father Jacob.
7 And I tell you that he smote me with a sore plague in my loins for seven months; and had not my father Jamb prayed for me to the Lord, the Lord would have destroyed me.
8 For I was thirty years old when I wrought the evil thing before the Lord, and for seven months I was sick unto death.
9 And after this I repented with set purpose of my soul for seven years before the Lord.
10 And wine and strong drink I drank not, and flesh entered not into my mouth, and I ate no pleasant food; but I mourned over my sin, for it was great, such as had not been in Israel.
11 And now hear me, my children, what things I saw concerning the seven spirits of deceit, when I repented.
12 Seven spirits therefore are appointed against man, and they are the leaders in the works of youth.
13 And seven other spirits are given to him at his creation, that through them should be done every work of man.
14 The first is the spirit of life, with which the constitution of man is created.
15 The second is the sense of sight, with which ariseth desire.
16 The third is the sense of hearing, with which cometh teaching.
17 The fourth is the sense of smell, with which tastes are given to draw air and breath.
18 The fifth is the power of speech, with which cometh knowledge.
19 The sixth is the sense of taste, with which cometh the eating of meats and drinks; and by it strength is produced, for in food is the foundation. of strength.
20 The seventh is the power of procreation and sexual intercourse, with which through love of pleasure sins enter in.
21 Wherefore it is the last in order of creation, and the first in that of youth, because it is filled with ignorance, and leadeth the youth as a blind man to a pit, and as a beast to a precipice.
22 Besides all these there is an eighth spirit of sleep, with which is brought about the trance of nature and the of death.
23 With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error.
24 First, the spirit of fornication is seated in the nature and in the senses;
25 The second, the spirit of insatiableness in the belly;
26 The third, the spirit of fighting, in the liver and gall.
27 The fourth is the spirit of obsequiousness and chicanery, that through officious attention one may be fair in seeming.
28 The fifth is the spirit of pride, that one may be boastful and arrogant.
29 The sixth is the spirit of lying, in perdition and jealousy to practise deceits, and concealments from kindred and friends.
30 The seventh is the spirit of injustice, with which are thefts and acts of rapacity, that a man may fulfil the desire of his heart; for injustice worketh together with the other spirits by the taking of gifts.
31 And with all these the spirit of sleep is joined which is that of error and fantasy.
32 And so perisheth every young man, darkening his mind from the truth, and not understanding the law of God, nor obeying the admonitions of his fathers, as befell me also in my youth.
33 And now, my children, love the truth, and it will preserve you: hear ye the words of Reuben your father.
34 Pay no heed to the face of a woman,
35 Nor associate with another man’s wife,
36 Nor meddle with affairs of womankind.
37 For had I not seen Bilhah bathing in a covered place, I had not fallen into this great iniquity.
38 For my mind taking in the thought of the woman’s nakedness, suffered me not to sleep until I had wrought the abominable thing.
39 For while Jacob our father had gone to Isaac his father, when we were in Eder, near to Ephrath in Bethlehem, Bilhah became drunk and was asleep uncovered in her chamber.
40 Having therefore gone in and beheld her nakedness, I wrought the impiety without her perceiving it, and leaving her sleeping departed.
41 And forthwith an angel of God revealed to my father concerning my impiety, and he came and mourned over me, and touched her no more.