folio 41v
Esau Sent Hunting
British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV
Hexateuch
An Old English translation of the first six books of the Old Testament

   Click for a detail of Esau hunting

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Isaac Blesses Jacob

27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “See, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me. 4 Then prepare for me savory food, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.”

5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game, and prepare for me savory food to eat, that I may bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you. 9 Go to the flock, and get me two choice kids, so that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he likes; 10 and you shall take it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” (Genesis 27:1-9)


Date: 2nd quarter of the 11th century-2nd half of the 12th century
Title: Old English Hexateuch (imperfect), comprising Ælfric’s preface (1r–v), Genesis (1v–72v), Exodus (72v–105v), Leviticus (105v–110v), Numbers (111r–128r), Deuteronomy (128v–140r) and Joshua (140v–156v)

Claudius B.iv. was probably compiled in the second quarter of the 11th century at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. It incorporates translations and a preface by Ælfric of Eynsham, while the remaining parts of the translation were carried out by anonymous authors. Peter Clemoes suggests that Byrhtferth of Ramsey was responsible for the compilation as well as for parts of the translation.
The picture captions are in Anglo-Norman French.

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