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person as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birth-right; for ye know how thut afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. In these words, not inheriting the blessing seems to be connected with his having sold his birth-right; as if having parted with the one, he could not possibly obtain the other. But I am in great doubt, whether this be the true meaning of these words. Esau himself, when he had sold his birth-right, did not imagine that he had sold his right to the blessing with it; for when his father told him, that his brother had come with subtlety, and taken away his blessing, Esau answered, Is he not rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times; he took away my birth-right, and behold now he hath taken away my blessing. If Esau had apprehended that the blessing and the birthright had been inseparable, having sold the one, he would not have expected or pretended to the other ; but he makes the getting from him the blessing a second hardship put upon him, distinct from, and independent of the former. St. Paul, I think, represents the case of Esau in the loss of the blessing in the same manner;" he does not suppose it owing to any thing that Esau had done, but represents it as a design of God, determined before Jacob and Esau were born ;k and a design determined purely by
& Gen. xxvii. 35, 36.
→ Rom. ix. k Ibid.
i Ver, 15,
the good will and pleasure of God, without any view to, or regard of any thing which Jacob or Esau should do.' God made the promise at first to Abraham, not to Lot; and afterwards determined, that Abraham's seed should be called in Isaac, not in Ishmael; and in the next generation in Jacob, not in Esau; and afterwards he divided the blessing among the sons of Jacob, The Messiah was to be born of Judah, and each of them in their posterity had a share of the land of Canaan. The author of the book of Ecclesiasticus sets this matter in the clearest light, by distinguishing the blessing into two parts. He calls one the blessing of all men, alluding to the promise made to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed; the other he calls the covenant, intimating hereby the covenant made with him about the land of Canaan; and both these parts of the blessing were given to Isaac, for Abraham's sake. With Isaac did he establish likewise, for Abraham his father's sake, the blessing of all men, and the covenant, and he made it rest upon the head of Jacob. He gave the whole blessing entire to Jacob also, but afterwards among the twelve tribes did he part them."
Rom. ix. 11.
m Ecclesiasticus xliv. 22, 23. » The words are, διεγειλε μεριδας αυτ8, εν φυλαις εμέρισεν doxaoduo. i.e. He separated the parts of it (i.e. of the blessing.) He parted them among the twelve tribes. Abraham is represented in Gen. xii. to have received only a promise of the blessing of all men; but God is said to make a cove. Dant with him to give him Canaan, Gen. xv. 18.
When the blessing came to descend to Jacob's chil. dren, it did not go entire according to birth-right, nor to any one person, who had deserved it better than all the rest; but as God at first made the promise and covenant to Abraham, not to Lot, and gave the title to it afterwards to Isaac, not to Ishmael, then to Jacob, not to Esau ; so in the next generation, he conveyed it entire to one single person, but divided it, and gave the blessing of all men to Judah, who was Jacob's fourth son; and partod the covenant about Canaan amongst all of them, giving two parts to Josepla in his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
There is a passage in the book of Chronicles, which may seem to contradict this account I am en. deavouring to give of Jacob's or Esau's birth right. The sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel, for he was, says the historian, the firstborn, but forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birth-right was. given unto the sons of Joseph, and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birth-right; for Judah, prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler, but the birth-right was Joseph's." In this passage the inspired writer may be thought to hint, that there was a birth-right to be observed in the division of Canaan; and that when God ordered the blessing to be parted he had a respect to such birth-right in the division of it; though he did not think fit to give it to a person, who by his demerits had forfeited it; and it may be asked, if Jacob's
• 1 Chron. v. 1, 2.
children had a birth-right in this matter, why should we suppose that Isaac's had not ? To this I answer : the passage I have mentioned does not in the least refer to any birth-right, which was esteemed to be such in ths days of Jacob and Esau. 1. For if the inheritance of the father's estate was at that time part of the birth-right; yet it is evident, that it was not so in the proportion here mentioned. · For not only a double portion particularly belonged to the eldest son in these times, but the whole. Thus Abraham gare all that he had unto Isaac; but unto the children, whom he had by Keturah, his second wife, he gave gifts and sent them away eastward, while he yet lived, from Isaac his son. If therefore the inheritance of Canaan had been given according to the birth-right in these days; one of Jacob's sons should have had the whole, and all the rest have been sent to live in some other country. 2. The right of the first-born was settled upon another footing by the law of Mo. ses. The priesthood was separated from it, and settled upon the tribe of Levi, and a double por, tion of the father's estate and substance declared to belong to P the first-born. 3. Esau, when he sold his birthright, did not sell his right of inherit. ance at his father's death. 4. Jacob had prophesied 9 that Joseph should have one portion of the land of Canaan ahove his brethren ; but does not any where hint that any one of his sons should have a birth-right to any one part of it more than the rest,
And we may say, that as the whole blessing was made to rest upon the head of Jacob, without Esau's having any part of it, so it might likewise have descended to any one of Jacob's sons, and it could have descended only to one of them, if it had been a birthright, and had not by the good-will and pleasure of Gop been designed to be parted among the twelve tribes, to every one such a portion of it, as God was pleased to appoint, and that part of it which contain. ed the blessing of all men to Judah only. For these reasons I conclude, 5. That the author of the book of Chronicles, writing after the law of Moses had altered the priest-hood, and appointed two por: tions of the inheritance to the eldest son; remarks that Joseph had the birthıright given to him, meaning to refer to what was then called the birth-right; but not to what was the birth-right, in Jacob and Esau's days, which was long prior to, and very different from, this establishment.
The Jews, at the time when the apostles preached the gospel, seem to have been of opinion, that the whole body of their nation had a birth-right and unalienable title to the blessings of the Messiah. This was the hope of the promise made by God unto their fathers, unto which promise their twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night hoped to come." After the blessing, which had been made to rest upon the head of Jacob, had been parted among the twelve tribes; they apprehended that this was to be the
"Acts xxvi. 7.