« PreviousContinue »
THE HISTORY OF JOSEPH, ABRIDGED.
ISRAEL loved Joseph more than all his chil
dren, because he was the son of his old age; and he gave him a coat of many colours. But when his brethren saw their father's partiality to him, they hated him, and would not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and told it to his brethren.
2. Behold, he said, we were binding sheaves in a field; and lo! my sheaf arose and stood upright; and your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said unto him, Shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? and they hated him the more for his dreams, and for his words.
3. It happened that his brethren went to feed their father's flock at Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren; but, when they saw him afar off, they conspired against him to slay him; and they said one to another, We will tell our father that some evil beast hath devoured him.
4. But Reuben wished to deliver him out of their hands; and he said, Let us not kill him, but cast him into the pit that is in the wilderness. And they followed his counsel, and cast him into the pit, which then contained no water.
5. A company of Ishmaelites, from Gilead, passed by at this time, with their camels, bearing spicery, balm and myrrh, which they were carrying into Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, Let us sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hands be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh. And Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of
6. And his brethren killed a kid, and dipped his coat in the blood thereof. And they brought it to their father, and said, this have we found. And Jacob knew it; and believing that Joseph was devoured by an evil beast, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins, and refused all comfort, saying, I will go down into the grave to my son mourning.
7. Thus wept his father for him. But Joseph was carried into Egypt, and sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pha
raoh's guard. And the Lord was with him, and prospered him, and he found favour in the sight of his master. But by the wickedness of Potiphar's wife, he was cast into the prison, where the king's prisoners were bound.
8. Here also the Lord continued to show him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And all the prisoners were committed to his care; amongst whom were two of Pharaoh's officers, the chief of the butlers, and the chief of the bakers.
9. And Joseph interpreted the dreams of the king's servants; and his interpretation being true, the chief butlers recommended him to Pharaoh, who had dreamed a dream, which Joseph thus showed unto him. Behold, there shall come seven years of great plenty, throughout all the land of Egypt. And there shall arise after them seven years of famine! and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine shall consume the land.
10. And the king said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewn you all this, thou shalt be over mine house; and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled. And Joseph gathered up all the food of the seven years, and laid up the food in the store-houses. Then the seven years of dearth began to come, as Joseph had foretold.
11. But in all the land of Egypt there was bread; and people from all countries came unto Joseph to buy corn, because the famine was sore in all the lands. Now amongst those who came, were the ten sons of Jacob, from the land of Canaan.
12. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly to them, saying Ye are spies. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.
13. But Joseph said unto them, Ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Lerone of your brethren be bound in prison, and go ye to carry corn for the famine of your houses, and bring your youngest brother unto me.
14. And their consciences reproached them; and they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our
brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear. Therefore is this distress come upon us.
15. And they knew not that Joseph understood them, for he spake unto them by an interpreter. And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them; and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. And they returned unto Jacob their father, in the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befallen them.
16. And Jacob, their father, said unto them, Me ye have bereaved of my children. Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away also. But my son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. If mischief befal him in the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
17. But the famine continued sore in the land; and when they had eaten up the corn, which they had brought out of Egypt, Jacob said unto them, Go again and buy us food. And if it must be so, now take also your brother Benjamin, and arise and go unto the man. And they brought presents unto Joseph, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
18. And he asked them of their welfare: and said, Is your father well? Is he alive? And he lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin his brother; and he was moved with compassion; and he sought where to weep, and he entered his chamber, and wept there. And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself.
19. Then he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put my cup, the silver cup, into the sack of Benjamin, the youngest. And the steward did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
20. But Joseph commanded his steward to follow them, and to search their sacks, and to bring them back. And when Judah and his brethren were returned into the city, Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done?
the man in whose hands the cup is found, shall be my servant: and as for you, get you in peace unto your father.
21. But they said, Our father will surely die, if he seeth that the lad is not with us; and we shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant, our father, with sorrow to the grave. Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me; and there stood no man with him, whilst Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
22. And he wept aloud, and said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? and his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you; and they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
23. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to save your lives by a great deliverance. Haste you, and go up to my father; and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord over all Egypt. Come down unto me; tarry not.
24. And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen; and thou shalt be near unto me, thou and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast. And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou and thy household and all that thou hast come to poverty.
25. And behold your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth which speaketh unto you. And you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and all which you have seen; and ye shall haste, and bring down my father hither.
26. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that, his brethren talked with him. And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house; and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.
27. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Invite hither thy father and his household; and I will give them the good of the land of Egypt; and they shall eat the fat of the land.
28. And the spirit of Jacob was revived when he heard these tidings; and he said, My son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die. And he took his journey, with all that he had. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel, his father, to Goshen; and presenting himself before him, he fell on his neck, and wept for some time.
29. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them possessions in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, as Pharaoh had commanded.
30. This interesting story contains a variety of affecting incidents; is related with the most beautiful simplicity; and furnishes many important lessons for instruction.
31. It displays the mischiefs of parental partiality; the fatal effects of envy, jealousy, and discord amongst brethren; the blessings and honours with which virtue is rewarded; the amiableness of forgetting injuries; and the tender joys which flow from fraternal love and filial piety.
ON THE INSTINCT OF ANIMALS.
THE arguments for Providence, drawn from
the natural history of animals, are, in my opinion, demonstrative. The make of every kind of animal is different from that of every other kind, and yet there is not the least turn in the muscle, or twist in the fibres of any one, which does not render them more proper for that particular animal's way of life, than any other texture would have been.
2. It is astonishing to consider the different degrees of care that are shown by parents to their young, only so far. as is necessary for leaving a posterity. Some creatures cast their eggs as chance directs them, and think of them no further; as insects, and several kinds of fish.
3. Others, of a nicer frame, find out proper beds to deposit them in, and there leave them; as the serpent, the crocodile and ostrich; others hatch their eggs and tend the birth, until the little one is able to shift for itself. What can we call the principle, which directs each different kind