The Testament of Asher

Chapter One
1 A transcript of the testament of Asher which he spoke to his sons on the hundred and twentieth year of his life. 2 When he was still healthy, he said to them: Listen children of Asher, to your father, and I will show you all that is righteous in the face of god. 3 God granted two paths to the sons of humans, and two dispositions, and two actions, and two positions, and two ends. 4 For this reason all things are two, one the opposite other. 5 These are of two kinds, good and evil: among these, there are two dispositions in our breasts discerning them. 6 If, then, the soul is willing in the good, its every action is in righteousness, and if it sins, it repents immediately. 7 For he who gives thought to what is fitting, and casts off wickedness, immediately he overthrows the evil, and uproots sin. 8 But if the disposition inclines to wickedness, all its action is in wickedness. And he who thrusts away from the noble, fastens to evil and he is ruled by Beliar, and if he does a noble thing, he turns it around to wickedness. 9 For whenever he makes a beginning to do a noble thing, he drives the end of his action to do toward the evil; because the storehouse of the slanderer has been filled with the wicked spirit of poison.

Chapter Two
1 There is, then, a soul that speaks, saying the good for the sake of evil, and the end of the matter goes toward evilness. 2 There is a person that does not feel pity for one serving him in evil; and indeed this is two-faced, but the whole is wicked. 3 And there is a man who loved one who acts wickedly, in a like manner he is in wickedness, because he chose to die in evil due to him. And concerning this, it is manifest that it is two-faced, but the entire action is evil. 4 And indeed, although it is love, it is wickedness, concealing the evil; as if it is in the name of the noble, but the end of the action works to the evil. 5 One man steals, wrongs, plunders, is greedy, and shows mercy to beggars; this is also two-faced, and the whole is wicked. 6 He who takes his neighbour’s share angers God, and he forswears the most high, and he shows mercy to the beggar; he breaks faith with the Lord who commands the law, and provokes him, and he hinders the labourer; 7 He stains the soul and shines the body; he destroys many and shows mercy on few; and this indeed is two-faced. 8 Another man commits adultery, and prostitutes himself, but he avoids the shameful, and although he fasts, he does evil, and with his power and his wealth, he overpowers many, and from the evil of excess he does the commandments. But this is two-faced, and the whole is evil. 9 Men of this sort are like swine, split-foot, because they are half purified, but the truth is unclean. 10 For thus said God in the tablets of the heavens.

Chapter Three
You, then, my children, do not become two-faced like them, of goodness and evilness, but rather to goodness alone be glued, because God settles upon it, and people long for it. 2 Do away with the evilness, destroying the slanderer in your noble doings, because the two-faced are slaves, not to God but to their desires, so that they might appease Beliar and people like themselves.

Chapter Four
For the noble and single-minded men, even if they are believed to sin by the two-faced, are righteous with God. 2 For many, destroying the wicked, do two deeds, the evil on account of the good, and the whole is good, because he has uprooted and destroyed the evil. 3 There is someone who hates the pitiful, but wrongs the adulterer and the robber. And this is two-faced; but the whole deed is noble, because he imitates the Lord, not welcoming what seems good with genuine evil. 4 The other does not wish to see a good day among the profligate, so that he might not pollute the mouth, and he does not sully the soul; and this too is two-faced, but the whole is good, 5 because men of this kind are like the deer and gazelles; because in the custom of the wild they seem to be unclean, but on the whole, they are purified, because they proceed in the zeal of God, departing from that which God also hates, and forbids through his commandments, they warded the evil from the good.

Chapter Five
1 See then, children, how there are two in all things, one opposite the other, and one is hidden by the other. 2 Death takes over life, as dishonour does esteem, and the night the day, and the darkness the light; and all things are under the day, and all righteous things under life; on account of which eternal life awaits death; 3 and it is not possible to say that a falsehood is the truth, nor a wrong the righteous thing; because the whole truth is under the power of the light, just as all things are to God. 4 In my life, I put all these things to the test, and I was not led astray from the truth of the Lord, and I sought out the commandments of the most high, to the best of all my strength, conveying myself single-mindedly toward the noble.

Chapter Six
1 Therefore, children, be you also intent upon the commandments of the Lord, single-mindedly, guided by the truth, 2 because the two-faced are doubly chastised. Hate the spirits of error, they that contest for one person after another. 3 Keep the law of the Lord, and be not intent upon the evil as the good, but rather pay attention to the truly good, observe it closely in all the commandments of the Lord, rallying yourselves to him, and abiding in him, 4 because the ends of men show their righteousness, when they meet the messengers of the Lord and of Satan. 5 For if the soul departs disquieted, it is put to the rack by the wicked spirit, of whom it was also a slave in desires and wicked deeds; 6 but if quietly in joy, it met the messenger of peace, it will summon him in life.

Chapter Seven
1 Do not become, children, like Sodom, which did not recognize the messengers of the Lord, and it was destroyed for eternity. 2 For I know that you will sin, and you will be handed over into the hands of your hated foes; and your land will be laid waste, and you will be scattered to the four corners of the earth, and you will be in the diaspora, exhausted, like useless water, 3 until the most high visits the earth, and he himself coming like a man, eating and drinking with men, and in silence crushing the head of the serpent through water. This man will save Israel and all the tribes, God playing the part in a man. 4 Therefore tell these things to your children, and do not disobey him. 5 For I read in the tablets of heaven that being unpersuaded, you will disobey him, and being impious, you will sin against him, and being not intent upon the law of the Lord, but rather in the commandments of men. 6 Because of this, you will be scattered, like my brothers, Gad and Dan, who will not recognize their own lands, nor their clan, nor tongue. 7 But the Lord will gather you in faith, on account of the hope of his good heart, on account of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

Chapter 8
1 And once he told them these things, he enjoined them, saying: Bury me in Hebron. And falling into sweet sleep, he died; 2 and after that, his sons did as he enjoined them, and bearing him away, they buried with his fathers.

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