The sons of Esau, of Ishmael, and of Keturah went on purpose to dispute
the burial (of Jacob); but when they saw that Joseph had placed his
crown upon the coffin, they did the same with theirs. There were
thirty-six crowns in all, tradition says. "And they mourned with a great
and very sore lamentation." Even the very horses and asses joined in it,
we are told. On arriving at the Cave of Machpelah, Esau once more
protested, and said, "Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and
Rebekah, are all buried here. Jacob disposed of his share when he buried
Leah in it, and the remaining one belongs to me." "But thou didst sell
thy share with thy birthright," remonstrated the sons of Jacob. "Nay,"
rejoined Esau, "that did not include my share in the burial-place."
"Indeed it did," they argued, "for our father, just before he died, said
(Gen. l. 5), 'In my grave which I have bought for myself.'" "Where are
the title-deeds?" demanded Esau. "In Egypt," was the answer. And
immediately the swift-footed Naphthali started for the records. ("So
light of foot was he," says the Book of Jasher, "that he could go upon
the ears of corn without crushing them.") Hushim, the son of Dan, being
deaf, asked what was the cause of the commotion. On being told what it
was, he snatched up a club and smote Esau so hard that his eyes dropped
out and fell upon the feet of Jacob; at which Jacob opened his eyes and
grimly smiled. This is that which is written (Ps. lviii. 10), "The
righteous shall rejoice when he sees vengeance; he shall wash his feet
in the blood of the wicked." Then Rebekah's prophecy came to pass (Gen.
xxvii. 45), "Why shall I be deprived also of you both in one day?" For
although they did not both die on the same day, they were both buried on
the same day.
THE TALMUD, _Soteh_, fol. 13, col. 1.