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* mourned for him threescore and ten days.


4 And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

5 My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now there fore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.

6 And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee

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9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.

10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father P seven days.

11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said. This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians; wherefore the name of it was called † Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.



12 And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them.

13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah; which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying-place, of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

o 41:43. 46:29. Ex. 14:7,17,28.
2 Kings 18:24. Cant. 1:9.

p 4. 1 Sam. 31:13. Job 2:13.

[Practical Observations.]

the Egyptians.

r Deut. 3:25,27. 11:30.

8 47:29-31. 49:29-32. Acts 7: 16.

q 10:15-19. 13:7. 24:5. 34:30.
That is, The mourning of t 23:16–18. 2 Kings 21:18.
he laid him under the solemn obligation of
an oath, to bury him in Canaan.-The cave at
Machpelah seems to have been large, with
many separate burying places in it; so that Ja-
cob, in addition to those before prepared, had
previously formed one for the reception of his
body at his decease.

V. 6. The king would not have Joseph violate an oath for his sake.-Such heathen kings will rise up in judgment against those Christian princes, who make a jest of their oaths.' Bp. Patrick.

CHAP. L. V. 2, 3. The Egyptians were eminent for the art of preserving dead bodies from putrefaction, by the skilful use of spices and drugs. Several of these bodies remain to this day, and are called Egyptian Mummies, being preserved as great curiosities; and some of them have probably continued in this state above 2000 years.-The same persons, who were consulted as physicians for the living, embalmed the dead bodies; and at least forty days were requisite to complete the process. These physicians were generally retained as servants, in V. 7-9. Perhaps it would be difficult to find the courts of princes, and in the families of any funeral, either in ancient or modern times, great men; and Joseph, in his high station, had more distinguished by the numerous attendseveral of them in his household. As therefore ance of great and eminent persons than this of the custom was not sinful, and as in the case of Jacob: yet he was neither monarch, nor conJacob's body, which was to be buried at a dis-queror, nor lawgiver; but a plain shepherd to tance, it was very expedient; Joseph complied the end of his days!-As this distinguished honwith it on this occasion: and for similar rea- or was conferred on Jacob, principally for the sons the survivors afterwards embalmed his sake of his son, it shews in what esteem Jobody (26). seph was held in Egypt: and serves to prove that, whatever modern adversaries may say of his conduct, he was considered at the time, as the great benefactor and deliverer of the country.

V. 4. The days of public mourning, or, as we should say, court-mourning, were past; but the mourning of Joseph and his brethren could not be supposed to terminate till after the funeral (10). Perhaps it was not allowed to come into the presence of the king in mourning: (Note, Esth. 4:2.) or Joseph wished to make his request to Pharaoh with all the modesty and decorum possible; and, in sending his message by the courtiers, he at once shewed his respect to him and to them.

V. 5. Joseph did not choose to appear weary of application to business, or negligent of the interests of Egypt and of Pharaoh, in thus requesting leave of absence: he was therefore careful to represent the matter, not so much as his own inclination, as the dying request of his father, who was so earnest in it, that

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V. 10, 11. Moses wrote or revised his history on the east side of Jordan; and therefore in his five books, beyond Jordan means west-ward of Jordan: in other parts of Scripture it generally means east-ward.-During seven days Jacob's sons performed solemn funeral obsequies, as it seems, before they came to the cave of Machpelah; perhaps because the place which they chose was more convenient for the encampment of so large a company. The inhabitants of Canaan naturally called them all Egyptians, as coming out of Egypt; though some of them must know to whom the sepulchre belonged.

V. 14. Various motives concurred to induce

15 T And when Joseph's brethren saw || 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will that "their father was dead, they said, nourish you, and your little ones. And he * Joseph will peradventure hate us, and comforted them, and spaket kindly unto will certainly requite us all the evil which them. we did unto him.

16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,


17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now we pray thee forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.


18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face: and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?


20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but & God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

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22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.

23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children, of the third generation: the children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were brought up upon Joseph's knees.

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24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

25 And Joseph " took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

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was greatly affected, at witnessing this most exact accomplishment of his dreams.

V. 19. It belongs to God to execute ven

prerogative. Thus he instructed his brethren, not to fear him, but to fear God; to humble themselves before God, and to seek his forgiveness.

the descendants of Jacob to continue in Egypt, notwithstanding Abraham's prophetical vision of their bondage there. Some might forget it, or disregard it if remembered; others might sub-geance, and Joseph did not intend to usurp his mit, and not deem themselves allowed to move without command from God; while fear, interest, love of ease and plenty, and similar inducements, would concur in detaining them, and effecting the purpose of God. At this time, however, Jo- V. 20. Joseph's brethren, in selling him to seph had engaged to return; he could not have the Ishmaelites, had acted with extreme malice done otherwise without the greatest impropriety and wickedness; and they intended that he and ingratitude; and both he and his brethren should live and die a destitute slave. But God, had left their families and possessions in Egypt, in permitting it, "meant it unto good" to Joseph, to which they must return. (Er. 10:9-11,24.) to Jacob, to his brethren, to their families, to V. 15-13. Joseph's brethren perhaps sup- Egypt, to Canaan, and to the neighboring naposed, that tenderness to Jacob had hitherto tions; nor can we number up all the important restrained him from inflicting punishment on purposes answered by it, to the church and to them, which they were conscious they had mer-the world; or calculate how many important ited: and judging of him from the general temper of human nature, they apprehended, that he would now avenge himself on them; and, not being able to resist or flee away, they attempted to soften him by entreaties. A deep conviction of their criminality, in their conduct to him, rendered them unreasonably suspicious; but their fears and submissions were calculated still more to humble and soften them, as well as to accomplish the purposes of God.-They first sent messengers to Joseph; but afterwards they were encouraged to go in person. They did not say, "our father," but more pathetically, "thy father." They urged the dying words of Jacob, who doubtless had given them some injunction to this purpose, that he might render them more deeply sensible of their guilt; and they pleaded with Joseph for pardon, in the character of the servants of Jacob's God. This shews with what care and prudence they had concerted the business; and we need not wonder that Joseph

events depended on it, through all succeeding generations.-The same is observable in many other instances in Scripture; and we cannot possibly account for the dispensations of Providence, without admitting, that God leaves evil men and evil spirits to themselves to commit wickedness, as far as he intends to over-rule it for good, but no further. They are influenced only by a desire of gratifying their own wicked and hateful passions, and are therefore justly condemned; but He, in omniscience and infinite wisdom, purposing most extensive and durable good, is on that very account worthy of all adoration and praise.

V. 22. An hundred and ten years.] Joseph survived Jacob about fifty-four years, and probably continued in authority to the last.

V. 23. Upon Joseph's knees.] Thus he expressed his affection, and the pleasure which he took in them.

V. 24-26. "By faith Joseph, when he died,

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made mention of the departing of the children body, with decent respect, unto the ground, 'in of Israel; and gave commandment concerning 'sure and certain hope of the resurrection to his bones." He fully expected that the promise eternal life' of all true believers; and whatever of God would be verified, and desired to have our hopes or fears may be, God is the only infal his lot beyond the grave with the Israelites, and lible Judge who are, and who are not, true benot with the Egyptians. It is probable, that he lievers. We ought scrupulously to observe the required, not only his brethren, but the chief last will and dying requests of our deceased persons in their several families, to take this friends; and much more should we most relioath: yet he did not order his body to be carried giously reverence the oath of God. But, in the directly to Canaan for burial, but to remain in most exact attention to necessary affairs, we Egypt until God should visit them. It was there- should consult in what manner to do them; that fore embalmed, and kept in a coffin in Egypt, we may give as little umbrage as possible, and most likely by the Israelites; and this circum-interfere with other duties no more than cannot stance would keep alive the expectation of a be avoided. speedy departure from Egypt, and preserve Canaan continually in their mind. It would also tend to attach Joseph's posterity to their brethren, and to prevent them from incorporating with the Egyptians.—It is not expressly said, how long each of the other sons of Jacob lived, or where they were buried; but it is generally thought that their bones likewise were carried to Canaan by the Israelites. (Note, Acts 7:15,|| 16.)


V. 1-14.

V. 15-26.

"There are many devices in the heart of man, but the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand:" and while men are often influenced by the worst of motives, God, by means of them, effects his own most righteous purposes.-How guilt dismays the heart in times of danger! It would however, be well, if it excited us to as diligent and humble endeavors to obtain forgiveness from God, as it often does to appease the displeasure of man, and to avert temporal calamities.-True religion will teach us, not only to forgive those who are conscious of having injured us, and whom we have in our power; but effectually, by kind actions as well as words, to obviate their fears, assure them of our forgiveness, and exhort them to seek pardon from him to whom ven

Though our pious friends have lived to a good old age, and we are confident that they are gone to glory, we may well regret our own loss, and should pay respect to their memory by lamenting for them: for grace does not destroy natural affec-geance belongs.-But the kindest friends, and tion; but purifies, moderates, and regulates, all our passions.-Others, besides relatives, have cause to mourn the death of eminent believers: for as their prayers, example, and influence were a public benefit, so is their death a public loss. But alas! such mournings in general are a mere compliment; and men are scarcely in earnest about any thing, but the pursuits of ambition, wealth, or pleasure.—The attention paid to the dead, though commonly the effect of custom or superstition, should result from faith in the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body. Our deceased friends still live, and we shall meet again; though separated from the body, a re-union shall certainly take place. Therefore we commit the

the most durable of our earthly comforts must die: let us then look off even from Joseph, that we may look unto Jesus, who ever liveth to bless those who trust in him. Notwithstanding former crimes, and present unbelieving injurious suspicions, he acknowledges for his brother every humble sinner, who supplicates his mercy; and as such he will comfort his heart, provide for his wants, and receive him to glory. Let us then, seek his favor, rely on his mercy, and submit to his will; and when we come to die, give him charge of both soul and body: so shall we find him faithful and "able to keep that which we have committed to him," until the great decisive day, so that "when Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory





In the Hebrew Bible this book is called SHEMOTH, or, Names, from the clause (D) with which it begins: but the Translators of the Old Testament, into that Greek Version called the Septuagint, entitled it Exodus, or The Departure: because the departure of Israel out of Egypt is the grand subject recorded in it. A general view is indeed given of the circumstances of the Israelites in Egypt, from the death of Joseph to that event, which took place about a hundred and forty-four years after; but the sacred historian dwells very fully on all the particu lars, which made way for this grand catastrophe, and which attended or immediately followed it. The subject is introduced by Moses with an account of his own parentage, birth, perilous exposure, marvellous preservation, education in Pharaoh's court, espousing the cause of his enslaved brethren, fleeing into Midian, living there as a shepherd, and at length being expressly commissioned and instructed by JEHOVAH, to lead Israel out of Egypt. He then re[185 VOL. I.


cords the miraculous plagues, by which proud Pharaoh was compelled to liberate the enslaved Israelites, and the manner in which the Red Sea was divided, and they were led through it as on dry land; while Pharaoh and his army were overwhelmed by its waters, and perished. We are next informed, how JEHOVAH miraculously conducted his people in the wilderness, notwithstanding their murmurings and rebellions; and how he spake the moral law to them from the fiery summit of Sinai, and delivered many parts of the judicial and ceremonial law to Moses; entered into covenant with the nation, appointed the Aaronic priesthood, commanded the erection of a Tabernacle, and instituted his worship among them; notwithstanding the interruption of these gracious plans, by the idolatry of the golden calf.-It is worthy of peculiar notice, that the events recorded in this book, are constantly referred to both in the Old and New Testament, as matters of undoubted certainty and notoriety, and with many express quotations from it, both by the sacred historians, in the Psalms, by the prophets, and by our Lord and his apostles: and this, in such language, as implies most evidently, not only that they regarded this narrative as the genuine work of "Moses, the servant of the LORD," but as divinely inspired; so that the miracles recorded are constantly referred to, as actually wrought by a divine power, to prove the laws promulgated and the doctrines established, to be the oracles of God himself. The Reader, by consulting the marginal references, may easily satisfy himself that this remark is well grounded.-This book likewise contains some prophecies, which were fulfilled before or soon after the death of Moses, and also others which were verified in after ages: especially that which is given in these words, "Neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God, thrice every year;" which the whole history shews to have been exactly accomplished. (Note, 34:24.) Indeed the Types, with which it abounds more than any book in Scripture, were real prophecies; the exact accomplishment of which after 1490 years, in the great Antitype, is a divine attestation that this book was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.-Learned men have also sufficiently shewn, that many of those fables, with which ancient profane history uniformly begins, were nothing more than distorted traditions of those events which Moses plainly relates, blended with various imaginations suited to the corrupt taste of mankind; and that pagan writers had heard some reports of the transactions, of which we have here an authentic history. Having therefore so firm ground for our confidence, that the narrative before us is the infallible word of God; let us read it with reverence and attention, and we shall find it replete with most important instruction, as to the real nature and effect of true religion.

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Thus their multitude and power became so great, that they became very formidable to the Egyptians.

V. 8. This must have been some years after Joseph's death, perhaps not less than sixty. Whether this king sprang from another family, or was a descendant of Joseph's patron, is not certain; but having no personal knowledge of Joseph, he had no regard to his memory, esteem for his excellency, or sense of the benefits which Egypt had received from him: and therefore he preferred his own supposed political interests to the claims of honor and gratitude, after the too general maxims of

CHAP. I. V. 5. Notes, Gen. 46:27. Acts 7:14. V. 7. The energetic expressions of this verse, being varied and accumulated, and some of them taken from the immensely rapid increase of insects, and of fishes, or other aquatic animals, are admirably suited to excite the reader's attention, to the unparalleled multiplication of the Israelites in Egypt, according to the repeated promises of God to their ancestors; and also to shew that they were as remarkably strong and healthy. It is computed, that the number of the Israelites was doubled every fourteen years, from the going down of Jacob and his family into Egypt, until the Exodus.kings and rulers.

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17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men-children alive.


18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men-children alive?

p 13. 5:7-21. Lev. 25:43,46, 15. Prov. 16:6. Dan. 3:16--
53. Is. 14:6. 51:23. 52:5. 58:6. 18. 6:13. Hos. 5:11. Mic. 6:
Jer. 50:33,34. Mic. 3:3.
16. Matt. 10:28. Acts 4:19.
q 22. Rev. 12:4.

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warfare betwixt the Seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent.

V. 9, 10. Pharaoh took occasion, from the great increase of the Israelites, compared with that of the Egyptians, to excite suspicions of V. 14. In the field.] That is, in cultivating them in his subjects, and thus to cover his in- the ground, digging trenches to convey the tentions of enslaving them. As if he had said, waters of the Nile, carrying out the dung to In order to keep them under, let us begin with- manure the land, and other mean and laborious 'out delay, or they will become too powerful.'- services.-The Egyptians treated the Israelites For when he afterwards expressed his appre- with rigor, both in the excess of their labors, hension, lest they should "get them up out of the and the severity of their punishments.-Many land," he discovered, that he feared nothing have supposed, that, besides the useful works but missing his opportunity of subjugating here mentioned, the Israelites were employed them, and of enriching himself by their labors. in building those enormous piles called the pyr-He had probably heard, that the Israelites amids, which remain to this day, and probably sometimes spoke of an approaching season, will continue till the end of the world; monuwhen they should leave Egypt, to take posses-ments, not so much of the greatness and wission of their promised inheritance; and this would the more excite his fear of losing such a number of useful subjects.-There are several intimations in Scripture, that the Israelites generally conformed to the idolatry of the Egyptians, for which they were thus chastised by them. (Josh. 24:14. Ez. 20:7,8. 23:8.)

dom, as of the folly, caprice, exorbitant power, and cruel tyranny, of the monarchs who projected them. It cannot indeed be denied, that the skill, by which they were planned, equals the vastness of the labor with which they were completed: but then, it is evident that they never could be useful, in any degree adequate to the toil and expense with which they were V. 11. Various labors seem to have been ex-erected. The supposition, however, is entirely acted of the Israelites, as a kind of tax, but in groundless: for the Israelites were employed in a degree which reduced them to slavery; and making bricks, while it is well known that the the lask-masters were Egyptians, appointed over pyramids were built of hewn stone.-But whatthem by public authority, to enforce these in-ever were the works, in which the Israelites iquitous exactions.-By this policy the Egyp-were compelled to serve; the Egyptians could tians seem to have intended not only to enrich themselves, but to break the spirits of the Israelites, that they might not affect liberty, or aspire after dominion; and also to prevent their too rapid increase, by imbittering domestic life. -The cities which they builded, were either intended (after the pattern which Joseph had set them) for granaries to lay up corn in store against a year of scarcity; or they were fortified places. They were however useful works, and as Israel's toil saved both the labor and the purses of the Egyptians, we may be sure these would favor the oppression.

V. 12. It exceedingly chagrined the Egyptians to find their schemes prove abortive; and excited alarms in their minds, lest in process of time the Israelites should resent and revenge the inhuman treatment which they had received. Thus Egypt's persecution could not prevent Israel's increase, but Israel's increase could disturb Egypt's comfort; for such is the

give as good reasons for thus cruelly oppressing them, as any at this day can urge in favor of the detestable slave-trade: for all the arguments adduced on the subject, when fairly weighed, mean nothing more, than that without this oppression, men could not amass so large estates, nor gratify their sensual appetites with such refined excess.

V. 15-17. These midwives, who feared God, seem to have been Hebrew women, and not Egyptians, appointed to this office, as some have conjectured.-Pharaoh might think that he could awe or bribe them into compliance, even to so inhuman and treacherous a conduct towards their own nation: for princes are not often refused in such cases. We may consider these two as the chief of the midwives, whose conduct would influence that of the others; for there must have been many more.-Pharaoh and his servants did not fear female slaves, however numerous, but accounted them their riches.


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