Jubilees describes itself in the Prologue as 'the account of the division of the days of the law and of the testimony, of the events of the years, according to their year-weeks and their jubilees, through all the years of the world, as the Lord gave it to Moses on mount Sinai, when he went up to receive the stone tablets of the law and of the commandment, in accordance with God's command, as he said to him, Go up to the top of the mount'.
The scene is accordingly set in the biblical context of Exod. xxiv. 12-18. During the forty days and forty nights that Moses is on the mount 'the angel of the presence' recounts to him all the significant events from the Creation to the Exodus (including the circumstances of his own birth and early history, the passage of the Red Sea, and the celebration of the first Passover) and also initiates him into the mysteries of the secret traditions which had already been communicated to certain of the patriarchs. These traditions had been handed down from father to son, in some instances in writing; 1 and Moses is now instructed to write what is revealed to him 'in a book' 2 -- an instruction obviously inspired by the statement at Exod. xxiv. 4 (' Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord') and the definite instruction at Exod. xxxiv. 27 ('Write these words down'). But the 'book' referred to in Jubilees is not 'the book of the covenant', from which Moses reads at Exod. xxiv. 7. Nor is it one of the books of the Pentateuch, traditionally ascribed to Moses. It is the Book of Jubilees itself. Whereas the Pentateuch, 'the first law',3 had been published by Moses openly, Jubilees is represented as a kind of 'second law' (although the actual phrase does not occur), which Moses is commissioned to write and preserve for the generations in the last times ('. . . till I descend and dwell with them through all eternity'4).
Jubilees is thus in content for the most part a parallel version of Gen. i. 1 -- Exod. xv. 22; and it stands in much the same sort of____________________