Codex Junius 11 HTML version

Liber I.31
(ll. 2173-2186) And Abraham, full of years and noble deeds, made answer to his
Lord and asked: "What comfort canst Thou give me, Lord of spirits, who am thus
desolate? No need have I to heap up treasure for any child of mine, but after me
my kinsmen shall enjoy my wealth. Thou grantest me no son, and therefore
sorrow presseth on my heart. I can devise no counsel. My steward goeth to and
fro rejoicing in his children, and firmly thinketh in his heart that after me his sons
shall be my heirs. He seeth that no child is born to me."
(ll. 2187-2215) And straightway God made answer unto him: "Never shall son of
thy steward inherit thy goods; but thine own son shall have thy treasure when thy
flesh lieth cold. Behold the heavens! Number their jewels, the shining stars, that
shed their wondrous beauty far and wide, and blaze so brightly over the spacious
sea. So shall thy tribe be and thy seed for number. Let not thy heart be troubled.
Yet shall thy wife conceive and bear a son, great in goodness, to be warden of
thy wealth, when thou art gone. Be not cast down. I am the Lord who, many a
year ago, brought thee forth from out the land of the Chaldeans, with but a few,
and gave thee this wide realm to rule. I give thee now My promise, prince of
Hebrews, thy seed shall settle many a spacious kingdom, the regions of the
world from the Egyptian borders even unto Euphrates, and where the Nile hems
in a mighty land and the sea limits it. All this shall thy sons inhabit; each tract and
tribal realm and lofty stone-built city, whatsoever those three waters and their
foaming floods encircle with their streams."
(ll. 2216-2219) Now Sarah's heart was heavy that she bare no goodly son to
gladden Abraham; with bitter grief she spake unto her husband:
(ll. 2220-2233) "The Lord of heaven hath denied me to increase thy tribe, or bear
thee children under heaven. I have no hope that we shall have a son to stay our
house. My heart is sad. My lord, do now according as I bid thee. Here is a virgin
subject unto thee, a comely maid, a daughter of the Egyptian people. Bid her go
quickly to thy bed and thou shalt prove if by this woman the Lord will send an heir
unto thy house."
(ll. 2234-2246) And the blessed man gave ear unto the woman's counsels, and
bade his handmaid go unto his bed, according as his wife had counselled him.
And the maiden conceived by Abraham, and her heart grew arrogant. She
stubbornly began to vex her mistress, was insolent, insulting, evil-hearted, and
would not willingly be subject to her, but straightway entered into strife with
Sarah. Then, as I have heard, the woman told her sorrow to her lord, speaking
with bitter grief:
(ll. 2247-2255) "Thou hast not done me right or justice! Since first my handmaid,
Hagar, knew thy bed, according as I counselled thee, thou sufferest her to vex