Jubilees 3:27


27 And on that day on which Adam went forth from the Garden, he offered as a sweet savour an offering, frankincense, galbanum, and stacte, and spices in the morning with the rising of the sun from the day when he covered his shame. 28 And on that day was closed the mouth of all beasts, and of cattle, and of birds, and of whatever walks, and of whatever moves, so that they could no longer speak: for they had all spoken one with another with one lip and with one tongue. 29 And He sent out of the Garden of Eden all flesh that was in the Garden of Eden, and all flesh was scattered according to its kinds, and according to its types unto the places which had been created for them. 30 And to Adam alone did He give (the wherewithal) to cover his shame, of all the beasts and cattle.

Philo On the Creation 156


Therefore, having laid down these to be boundaries as it were in the soul, God then, like a judge, began to consider to which side men would be most inclined by nature. And when he saw that the disposition of man had a tendency to wickedness, and was but little inclined to holiness or piety, by which qualities an immortal life is secured, he drove them forth as was very natural, and banished him from paradise; giving no hope of any subsequent restoration to his soul which had sinned in such a desperate and irremediable manner. Since even the opportunity of deceit was blameable in no slight degree, which I must not pass over in this place. It is said that the old poisonous and earthborn reptile, the serpent, uttered the voice of a man. And he on one occasion coming to the wife of the first created man, reproached her with her slowness and her excessive prudence, because she delayed and hesitated to gather the fruit which was completely beautiful to look at, and exceedingly sweet to enjoy, and was, moreover, most useful as being a means by which men might be able to distinguish between good an evil.

 Notes and References

"... Jubilees portrays animals as even more rational than in the Bible. Language is important to Jubilees and is original to creation. Thus, it seems that even animals spoke Hebrew in the beginning. Targum Neofiti (Genesis 11:1) may also hint that animals could speak with humans and each other: “and all the inhabitants of the earth were of one tongue and one speech, and in the language of the Temple they used to converse, for through it had the world been created in the beginning.” Others writing around the time of Jubilees also unquestioningly accepted the idea of original animal speech. Josephus notes that at that time, “all the creatures spoke a common tongue” (Jewish Antiquities 1:41; compare 1:50). Philo concurs, “it is said that, in olden times ... snakes could speak with a man’s voice” (On the Creation of the World, 156). The Life of Adam and Eve (37:1–3) records the story of a serpent biting Seth while he was walking with Eve. Eve curses the serpent because it was not afraid to set itself against a human as the image of God, but the serpent “answered in a human voice: ‘O Eve, is not our enmity against you?’” ..."

Wells, A. Rahel 'One Language and One Tongue': Animal Speech in Jubilees 3:27–31 (pp. 319-337) Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2019

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.