Page images
PDF
EPUB

A. M. 2276. A. C. 1728 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3539. A. C. 1872. GEN. CH. Xxxvii TO THE END. their guilt ; but, in the conclusion of his speech, he him, and wept over him for joy; and having treated assured them, that the person only who was detected in all the rest in the same kind manner, and as a person the theft should remain a slave; the rest might return that was perfectly reconciled to them, they began to home when they pleased to their father.

take courage, and conversed more familiarly with him. Judah, who had taken Benjamin under his care, being A rumour, in the mean time, was spread through the by this time recovered from his surprise, drew near, and court, that Joseph's brethren were come to buy corn; addressed Joseph in the most submissive and pathetic which, when Pharaoh heard, he sent for him, and told terms. He acquainted him with the whole case between him, that since his father's family was so numerous, and them and their father, in relation to their bringing Benja- the famine as yet not half over, his best way would be min into Egypt, to take away the suspicion of their being to send for them, and place them in what part of the spies. He described very passionately their father's country he thought fit; for that they should never want melancholy condition for the loss of his son Joseph ; the provisions or any other favour that he could show them. extreme fondness he had for his son Benjamin; the He put him in mind likewise to send them a fresh supply difficulty they were under to prevail with him to trust of corn, and whatever else be thought would be necessary him with them, so that he himself was forced to become in their journey, with chariots and wagons to bring security for his safe return; and that, if he should go down their wives and children, and the best of their home without him, his father's life was so wrapt up in moveables. the child, that he would certainly die with grief. Rather Joseph gladly obeyed the king's command : and, therefore than see this grief of his aged father, and his besides the chariots and provisions, sent to his father grey hairs with sorrow descending to the grave, he ten asses, laden with the choicest commodities of Egypt; offered himself an equivalent for his brother : "Now, to his brethren he gave each of them changes of gartherefore, I beseech thee, my lord, let me, thy servant, ments, but to Benjamin he gave five, with three hundred abide here a slave, instead of the lad, and let him go pieces of silver ; and so dismissed them with this kind up with his brethren ; for how shall I see my father charge, that they should not ‘fall out by the way.' without him?' This moving speech, and generous offer, With hearts full of joy they proceeded in their journey were what Joseph's soul could not withstand; and there- to Canaan, and were gladly received by their good old fore, being able to contain himself no longer, he father, especially upon the return of his two sons, ordered all the company to leave the room, that he Simeon and Benjamin, whom he scarce expected to have might have a more affectionate freedom in discovering seen any more. But when they informed him that his himself to his brethren.

son Joseph was likewise alive, and in what pomp and But no sooner had he told them that he was Joseph splendour he lived ; that he was the very man, the king's their brother, which was all that his full heart would let prime minister and governor of Egypt, who had put him utter, than, reflecting upon what they had once them into so many deadly frights, being not able to bear done to him, they were all struck with such a surprise so much good news at once, be fainted away in their and confusion, that for a long time they could make him arms : but when he came to himself again, and they no answer.

showed him the presents which Joseph had sent, and the As soon, however, as he had recovered himself, he chariots and carriages which were come to take him and desired them to draw near unto him : he embraced them his goods away, his spirits revived, his doubts and his all round with an unfeigned tenderness ; and to dispel fears vanished, and in an ecstasy of joy, he cried out, all farther apprehensions, told them, that their selling 2 It is enough! Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go him into Egypt was directed by an unforeseen provi- and see him before I die.' dence ; that therefore, they had no reason to be angry

To see so dear a son, for whom he had mourned so with themselves for doing it, since they were no more long, in all his Egyptian state and glory, was enough to than the instruments in God's hand to bring about what make him hasten his journey; but as his gratitude to his eternal purpose bad determined ; that he had no God for all his late mercies vouchsafed unto him, and reason to resent it, since by that means he had been his farther want of the divine protection to accompany advanced to the honour and dignity of being governor him into Egypt, required some fresh act of religion from of all Egypt; nor his father or any of his family to him, he chose to go to Beersheba, and there offer some murmur at it, since God had appointed this method for sacrifices, both because it was the place where Abraham the preservation of their lives. For five years more, he and Isaac had lived so long, and because it was in the told them, there were to be of the famine ; and, there way to Egypt, as being the utmost boundary of Canaan fore, he bid them hasten into Canaan, and tell his father towards the south. of all his glory and greatness, and desire him to come

Here it was that God appeared to him again in a down, that he might take care of him, and feed him in vision; bid him a not fear to go down into Egypt, since this time of dearth, and provide him with a country, even the land of Goshen, not far distant from him, and

? Gen. xlv, 28. very commodious for such as led a pastoral life. All a It is not unlikely, that the good old man had promised himthis, he owned, would be strange and surprising for them self the comfort of spending the remainder of his days in the to tell ; but their father would hardly doubt the testimony land which God had been pleased to promise him; and therefore, of so many eye-witnesses ; above all, he would not fail after so much labour of life, and change of place, when he thought to believe what his favourite Benjamin told him: and the patriarchal line being put in possession before his death, to

himself at the end of his pilgrimage, and perhaps depended upm with that, he threw himself upon Benjamin's neck, kissed be obliged to leave his land, and to go into a foreign one, was

not a little discouraging, especially if he retained in his mind Gen. xliv. 33, 31.

the melancholy prediction to his grandfather, Gen. ,xr. 13,

1

A. M. 2276. A. C. 1728; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3548. A. C. 1863. GEN. CH. xxxvii. TO THE END. he would be with him, and protect him, and in due time and with infinite satisfaction, congratulated his arrival bring his posterity out of it again to enter into the pos- at a place where he had it in his power to make his life session of the promised land ; and that, as to his own happy and comfortable. What the expressions of filial particular, he should live near his beloved Joseph, die duty, and paternal affection were upon this occasion, in his arms, ** and have his yes closed by his hand. words cannot describe : tears of joy flowed from both · So that, encouraged by this divine promise, Jacob left sides; and while the son was contemplating the goodBeersheba, and cheerfully pursued his journey into ness of God, in bringing bim to the sight of his aged Egypt, where, when he arrived, o he and his family father, the father, on the other hand, thought all his made up in all just c the complement of seventy persons. happiness upon earth completed in this interview; and

As soon as he came within the borders of Egypt, not therefore, ' “ Now let me die,' says he to his son, since far from the land of Goshen, he sent Judah before to I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.' acquaint his son Joseph with his arrival'; who instantly As soon as these tender greetings, and the solemn took his chariot, with a retinue suitable to his high station, rejoicings which followed upon them, were over, Joseph

proposed to his father and brethren, to go and acquaint *Koow of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land Pharaoh with their arrival : and as he supposed that the that is not theirs, four hundred years, and shall serve them.'- king would have a curiosity to see some of them, he Bibliotheca Biblica in locum.

gave them in charge, that in case he should ask them a Gen. xlvi. 4.—This appears to have been a very ancient what occupation they were of, their answer should be, and general custom, as there are evidences of its existence that they were shepherds, as their ancestors, for many among the Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Ulysses thus expressing himself on the death of Socus :- generations, bad been before them ; by which means he Ah, wretch! no father shall thy corpse compose,

might d secure for them the land of Goshen, which would Thy dying eyes no tender mother close.

II. xl. - Pope, be a separate habitation, and a happy retreat from the There seems to be something of a reason in nature why insults of the Egyptians, who were known e to have an such a particular regard should be had at death to the eyes, and

utter detestation to shepherds. that is, because they are in life so eminently serviceahle both to body and mind. We close the eyes of the dead, because no part of the body looks so ghastly after death, whereas nothing was so

Gen, xlvi. 30. sprightly and beautiful before : and the reason why the nearest d By the general consent of ancient geographers, the land of in blood or friendship should have this office is too obvious to Goshen is situate in the eastern part of Egypt, between the Red need any explication. -" I entreat that the gods may ordain that Sea and the river Nile, upon the borders of Canaan, It was a when I am doomed to pay the debt of nature, he may be there fruitful spot of ground, very fit for pasturage; and therefore to close my eyes and thine.”Penel. ad Ulyss. de Telemach. Josephus tells us that Pharaoh's own cattle were kept there, and

6 The whole account of Jacob's sons and grandsons, who went accordingly we find him ordering Joseph to make one of his along with him into Egypt, stands thus :-By Leah 32; by brothers the inspector-general over them. The country was Zilpah 16; by Rachel 11; by Bilhah 7: in all 66, exclusive of separate from Egypt: and for this reason the Israelites inhabiting Jacob himself, and of Joseph, and his two sons, which make up it, might keep themselves in a body, without endangering their the 70: and it was necessary indeed that these genealogies religion or manners, by intermixing with the Egyptians, and should be exactly registered, not only to distinguish each tribe, without incurring their envy or odium, as they would have done, and thereby discover the Messias when he came, but, as it is in had they lived among them, and shared any power or profit the case before us, to make it apparent, that the increase of in the government. They came down into Egypt upon a partiIsrael, even under oppression, should bear a fair proportion to the cular exigency, and were to return again to take possession of promise made to Abraham, namely, 'That his seed should be the promised land; and therefore a country, that lay in a mamer even as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the sea-shore contiguous to it, was the most convenient for their abode, that for multitude.' Universal History, and Bibliotheca Biblica. they might be in readiness to remove whenever God should order

© There are three difierent accounts in Scripture of the num- them to leave it, which they would not have found so easy a her of Jacob's family, when they came down into Egypt. In thing to do, had they been settled in the heart of Egypt.- Poole's Gen. xlvi. 26, it is said, that all the souls which came with Annotations, Jacob into Egypt, were threescore and six :' in the very next e The country of Egypt, as Diodorus tells us, b, I., was divided verse, and in Deut. x. 22, it is said, that they were threescore into three parts, whereof the priests had one, the king a second, and ten;' and yet St Stephen, in Acts vii. 14, tells us expressly and the soldiery a third; but under these there were three other that they were seventy-five. Now, in order to reconcile these ranks of men, shepherds, husbandmen, and artificers. The husseeming contradictions, we must observe, that in each place bandmen served the king, and the other two orders, in tilling the there is a different manner of computation. In the first cata- ground for very small wages, and so did the shepherds, in their logue, Moses speaks of those persons only who came out of capacities; for the Egyptians, we must remember, had sheep and Jacob's loins, that is, his children and grandchildren that went oxen, as well as horses and asses, which they sold unto Joseph, in into Egypt with him ; and these exclusive of Jacob himself, and the time of the famine. It cannot be thought, therefore, that they Joseph and his two sons, who were in Egypt before, were exactly abominated all shepherds in general, but only such shepherds as sixty-six : whereas, including Jacob himself, together with were foreigners, and for what reason it was that they did this, is Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who, though not so easy a matter to resolve. Some are of opinion, that shepthey were in Egypt before, yet living there as strangers only, herds were held in detestation, because they were a people in and having their original from the land of Canaan, may be those days addicted to robbery, which made them very odious to reckoned as if they had come into Egypt with Jacob, the number the Egyptians; but others imagine, that theft among the Egypis exactly seventy. The difference between Moses and Sttians was not reputed so abominable a crime; and therefore they Stephen is a little more difficult to reconcile; and yet, if we think, that the most probable reason for this aversion to shepherds, suppose that St Stephen follows the first number of Moses, and to the Hebrews, as such, was the great oppression and tyranny namely, sixty-six, out of which he excludes Jacob, Joseph, and under which they had lately groaned, when the Phænician shephis two sons, and to which he adds only nine of his sons' wives, herds penetrated Egypt, wasted their cities, burnt their temples, for Judah's wife was already dead, and Benjamin is supposed to murdered the inhabitants, and seated themselves for a considerable be still unmarried, and Joseph's wife out of the case, these nine while in the possession of it. (See note, page 215.) But upon wives, I say, which though out of Jacob's blood, yet belonged whatever account it was, that the Egyptians had this aversion to to his family, and to Joseph's kindred, which is the very ex- shepherds, it certainly was an instance of Joseph's great modesty pression St Stephen makes use of, added to the number of and love of truth, that he was not ashamed of an employmeni, sixty-six other persons, will amount exactly to seventy-tive.- so mean in itself, and so vile in the eyes of the Egyptians. Had Patrick's Commentary, Universal and Howell's Histories. he been minded to make the most of the matter, he might have

A. M. 2276. A. C. 1728; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3548. A. C. 1863. GEN. CH. xxxvii, TO THE END. With this caution he took five of his brothers along their cattle, their houses, their lands, and 6 at length, with him; and having informed Pharaoh that his father their very selves, for provisions. All these Joseph purand family were come as far as Goshen, he presented chased of the people in the king's name, and for the his brothers to the king, who for his sake received them king's use ; and to let them see that the purchase was in very graciously; and when he asked them what profession earnest, and that their liberties and properties were now they were of, they told him that they were shepherds, as become the king's, he transplanted them from their former their family for many generations had been ; that want places of abode, into distant and different parts of the of pasture for their cattle, and of sustenance for them- kingdom, that they might in time lose the very rememselves, had made them leave Canaan; but that since, as brance of their ancient possessions. C they understood, his majesty had been so hospitable, as This, in another person, might have been thought an to give them reception in his dominions, they humbly immoderate zeal for an absolute power in the king, and prayed, that they might be allowed to settle in Goshen, an advantage unjustly taken of the necessities of the as a country most convenient for their purpose : which subject; but Joseph so managed the matter as to gain he readily granted, and offered moreover to make any the commendation of both prince and people ; for when one of them, whom Joseph should appoint, his royal the seventh and last year of famine was come, be shepherd.

acquainted them that they might now expect a crop Not long after this, Joseph, in like manner, presented against next year ; that the Nile would overflow, and his father to Pharaoh, who seeing him look very hale and the earth would bring forth her fruits as usual. Herehearty, and desiring to know of what age he might be, upon he distributed fresh lands, cattle and corn to them, was informed by Jacob, that he was e an hundred and that they might return to their tillage as before ; but upou thirty ; which, when the king seemed to wonder at, he this condition he did it, that from thenceforth the fifth told him moreover, that his life was not as yet, near 60 part of all the product of their lands should go to the long as that of some of his ancestors, because his fate king, and the rest be theirs. To these conditions the had been to have too large a share of troubles and people willingly consented, as imputing the preservation fatigues to harass and wear him out ; and so, wishing his of their lives entirely to Joseph's care ; and from that majesty abundance of health and prosperity, he returned time it passed into a law, that the fifth part of the proto Goshen, where Joseph took care to supply him, and duct of the land of Egypt should always belong to the all his family, with such a plentiful provision of corn, crown. and other necessaries, from the king's storehouses, as in While Joseph was enjoying the fruits of his great the time of the greatest scarceness made him insensible success and policy, his family at Goshen, which he failed of any want.

not frequently to visit, became very wealthy, and very But while Jacob and his family lived in plenty, the numerous, till at length his father Jacob, finding himself Egyptians found the sad effects of the famine, which grow old and feeble, and perceiving that his latter end increased daily upon them, and Joseph holding up his was near approaching, sent for him, and to this purpose corn at a high rate, in a short time brought all their addressed himself to him : “ Though the desire of seemoney into the king's coffers; and when their money ing a son, so dear to me as you are, raised to the height was gone, they were all, except the priests, who were of Egyptian glory, joined to the raging famine which furnished from the king's stores, obliged to part with then visited our land, made me willingly come down into

this strange conntry; yet Canaan being the inheritance instructed his brothers to have concealed their way or business which God promised to Abraham and his posterity, and of life; or if he was aware that they would follow the same in where he lies interred with my father Isaac, and some Egypt that they had done in Canaan, he might nevertheless have others of our family, in the ground which he purchased put into their mouths the high dignity of their descent, and the of the inhabitants for that purpose ; my last, and dying wonderful history of their family, namely, that Abraham was their great-grandfather, a prince renowned for his defeat of four request to you is, d that you will not suffer me to be confederate monarchs; that Isaac was their grandfather, whose amity and alliance had been courted by kings; and that Israel 6 When the Egyptians were driven to this last extremity, in was their father, who once gained a victory even over a mighty our translation it is said to be in the second year;' but this must prince of the celestial host; all great men in their generations, not be understood to be the second year of the seven years of and dignified with the conversation of God himself. This, and famine, but the second after that last mentioned, wherein they a great deal more, had Joseph been minded to serve the purposes had sold their cattle, which was in reality the last year of the of vanity, he might have suggested to his brethren; but by this famine ; because he now gave them corn for seed, as well as for open declaration, we may perceive, that his pleasure and ambi- food; whereas in the first years, there was neither sowing nor tion was, that the wonderful chain of the divine measures and reaping. Gen. xlv. 6.— Poole's Annotations. counsels, in bringing him from an humble condition of life, to c See note on this subject in the following chapter.-ED. such a sublimity of power and figure, might be as conspicuous d Though there be something of a natural desire in most men as possible.- Poole's Annotations, Patrick's Commentury, and to be buried in the places where their ancestors lie; yet Jacob's Bibliotheca Biblica in locum.

aversion to have his remains deposited in Egypt seems to be a Pharaoh's question to Jacob, and Jacob's answer, we may more earnest than ordinary, or otherwise he would never have suppose, were not all the discourse that passed between them, imposed an oath upon his sons, and charged them all with his but only what most deserved to be mentioned; because as the dying breath, not to suffer it to be done. For he very well learned' Pererius observes this answer of Jacob's is the very bnew, that had his body been buried in Egypt, his posterity, hinge upon which the whole chronology of the patriarchal times upon that very account, would have been too much wedded to turns. The same excellent commentator remarks, that though the country, ever to attempt the acquisition of the promised Jacob lived seventeen years after this, yet, even at last, he did not land; and therefore, to wean them from the thoughts of continu. attain ' to the days of the years of the life of his father,' since his ing in Egypt, and fix their minds and attections in Canaan, be father Isaac lived an hundred and fourscore years, and his grand ordered his body to be carried thither beforehand, in testimony father Abraham to an hundred and seventy-five.- Bibliotheca that he died in full persuasion of the truth of the promises which Biblioa.

were given to bim and his ancestors: nor was it inconvenient

assurance.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

A. M. 2276. A. C. 1728; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3543. A. C. 1863. GEN. CH. xxxvii, TO THE END. buried here, but swear to see me carried to Machpelah, “How tenderly I loved her," continued he,“ all my and there deposited with my ancestors. Your great family can testify ; but this farther proof I design to give power with the king will easily obtain that favour, which you of my affection to her. You have two sons born is the last I have to ask.” Joseph was not long before in a foreign country, and who, according to the usual he gave his father a satisfactory answer. He promised, order of inheritance, should have only the portion of and he swore to him, that he would fulfil his desire, grandchildren, in the division of the promised land; but which pleased the good old man to that degree, that a from this day forward, they shall be called by my name, he bowed, and made his acknowledgment for this kind be esteemed my sons, and as heads of two distinct tribes

(for they shall not be called the tribe of Joseph, but the Joseph, who could not be long absent from court, took tribes of Ephraiın and Manasseh) receive a double porhis leave of his father, but not without giving strict tion in that allotment. But it must not be so with the charge to some of the family, that upon the very first other sons which you beget after these : they come in appearance of danger, they should immediately send for only for the portion of grandchildren: and to you in him. Accordingly, as soon as word was brought him, particular, 1 bequeath that tract of ground, which, by that his father was a dying, he took his two sons, Ma- force of arms, I took from the Amorites, that it may nasseh and Ephraim with hiin, and went to visit him; descend to your tribe for ever." who when be heard that his favourite son was come, sum

All this while Jacob, whose sight was very much domoned all his spirits together, and was so far revived cayed, talked to his son concerning his children, as if a3 to be able to sit up in his bed.

they had been absent ; but when he perceived that they Here he began with recapitulating all the glorious were in the room, he rejoiced not a little, and ordered promises which God had formerly made him, concerning them to be brought near him. Joseph placed them in a bis numerous posterity's inhabiting the land of Canaan, position according to the order of their age, to receive and concluded with the death of his dear Rachel. his father's blessing ; but Jacob, crossing his hands, laid

his right, which carried with it the preference, upon the Ubat future generations, after their return to Canaan, should have younger, and his left upon the elder of them ; ¢ which belore their eyes the sepulchre of their forefathers, for a record of Lheir virtues, and an incitement to the imitation of them. But and frequented place; to which a right reverend commentathe strongest motive of all for Jacob's desiring to be buried in tor has added a further apology,—That, as she died in childbed, Canaan, supposing that he foreknew that our Saviour Christ and Jacob in his travels might not have all things necessary to was to live and die, and with some others, rise again in that preserve her body long, he was constrained to bury her sooner conutry, was, that he might be one of that blessed number; as it perhaps than otherwise he would have done.- Patrick's Commenwas indeed an ancient tradition in the church, that among those tary, and Bibliotheca Biblica in locum. "who came out of their graves after our Lord's resurrection,' c Gen. xlviii. 14. ' And Israel stretched out his right hand, Matth. xxvii. 53, the patriarch Jacob was one.—Poole's Anno- and laid it upon Ephraim's head.' Imposition of hands was a tations, and Bibliotheca Biblica.

Jewish ceremony, introduced, not by any divine authority, but a The words in our translation are, ‘he bowed himself upon the by custom: it being the practice among these people, whenever bed's head,' (Gen. xlvii. 31,) where some expositors, presuming, they prayed to God for any person, to lay their hand on his head, that his bowing was a religious action, will by no means have it Our Saviour observed the same custom, both when he conferred directed to Joseph, but to God only, for the assurance which Jo- his blessing on children, and when he healed sick, adding seph had given him, that he should be buried according to his prayer to the ceremony. The apostles likewise laid hands upon desire. But if the word must be translated bowed,' there is no those upon whom they bestowed the Holy Ghost. The priests Neressity to make it an act of adoration, but only a common form observed the same custom when any one was received into their of civility, wherewith the father might comply, without any dimi- hody. And the apostles themselves underwent the imposition of bution to his superiority over bis son. What led these expositors hands afresh every time they entered upon any new design. In into this conception, was the version of the Septuagint, and the the ancient church imposition of hands was even practised upon words of the apostle to the Hebrews, where Jacob is said, in al persons when they married, which custom the Abyssinians still lusion, as they suppose, to this passage, to have ' worshipped on observe. The ceremony of the imposition of hands on the head of Le top of his stati,' Heb. xi. 21. But the plain truth is, that the the victim, has been usually considered, in the case of piacular apostle here speaks of another thing, not of what Jacob did now, sacrifices, as a symbolical translation of the sins of the offender when Joseph swore unto him, but of what he did when he blessed upon the head of the sacrifice; and as a mode of deprecating the his other children. In the former case, he seems to have kept evil due to his transgressions. So we find it represented by his bed; but in the latter, to have received fresh spirits, and sat Abarbinel, in the introduction to his commentary on Leviticus, upon it, though leaning perhaps ' upon his staff.' So that the (De Viel, p. 301,) and so the ceremony of the scape-goat, in apostle's words are not taken from those of Moses, but are a reflec- Levit. xvi. 21, seems directly to assert. And it is certain that tion of his own, whereby he signifies the strength of Jacob's faith, the practice of imprecating on the head of the victim, the evils even when he was so weak as not to be able to bow himself and which the sacrificer wished to avert from himself, was usual worship, without the help of his staff. This clearly removes the amongst the heathen, as appears particularly from Herodotus, difficulty, and reconciles Moses and the apostle very perfectly. (b. ii. c. 39.) who relates this of the Egyptians, and at the same But there seems to be a more compendious way of doing this; for time asserts that no Egyptian would so much as taste the head of Since the word Shacah, which signifies to bou the body, may, in any animal, but under the influence of this religious custom, like manner, be rendered to lie or fall down, the most easy Aung it into the river. Confession of sin was always connected translation seems to be, he laid himself down upon his pillou, as with piacular sacrifices. (Levit. v. 5.; xvi. 21.; Numb. v. 7.) weak med are wont to do, after they have sat up a while, to des. The particular forms of confession used in the different kinds of patch some business.- Patrick's and Le Clerc's Commentary. piacular sacrifices are handed down to us by the Jewish writers,

6 Since Jacob had so strictly insisted upon his being buried and are given by Outram, (De Sacr. b. 1. c. 15, 10, 11.) The with his fathers, and bound Joseph with an oath to see it done, it form prescribed for the individual presenting his own sacrifice, wa* proper for him to explain and clear himself, as to what might seems particularly significant. O God, I have sinned, I bave be secretly objected to his not interring Rachel, Joseph's owu done perversely, I have trespassed before thee, and have done so mother, and his best beloved consort, in that burying-place, where and so. Lo, now I repent, and am truly sorry for my misdeeds. he so earnestly desired to lie himself; and for his excuse in this Let then this victim be my expiation.” These last words were Tespect be had two things to offer: Ist, That he was then upon accompanied by the action of laying hands on the victim; and bis journey, and in his return from Padan; and, 2dly, That he had were considered by the Jews as equivalent to this, “Let the evils erected a monumental pillar upon her grave, in a very public I whicb ia justice should have fallen on my head, light upon the A. M. 2276. A. C. 1723; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3548. A. C. 1863. GEN. CH. Xxxvii. TO THE END. Joseph supposing to proceed from a mistake, he was go- should the whole nation of the Jews derive their appeling to rectify, but was told by his father, that what he did lation; and that the form of government which he then was by divine direction, and so made Ephraim not only instituted, should endure among them until the Messiah the first in nomination, but gave him a blessing much came. e Of Zebulun Í he foretold that his tribe should more extensive than what he gave his brother.

be planted near the sea-coasts; and of $ Issachar, that By this time Jacob, finding himself grow faint, and his should prove a pusillanimous people, and be lovers the hour of his departure near approaching, called the of inglorious ease, more than of liberty and renown. rest of his sons together, to take his farewell of them, From Leah's sons the patriarch passes to those of his and distribute his blessing, or rather to foretell what two concubinary wives ; and h of Dan's posterity he should befall them and their posterity in future ages : foretells, that though they were descended from an handand so directing his speech to them severally, he began maid, yet they should have the same privileges with the with Reuben the eldest, and told him,—That for the other tribes, should become a politic people, and greatly crime of incest, in polluting his father's bed, he and versed in the stratagems of war; of i Gad's, that they bis tribe were degraded a from the privileges of his should be frequently infested with robbers, but overcome birthright. He told Simeon and Levi, whom he joined them at last ; of Asher's, that they should be situated in together upon this occasion, that for their impious a fruitful and exuberantly rich soil; and k of Naphtali's, massacre of Hamor and his people, their tribes should that they should spread their branches like an oak, and for ever be separated and dispersed among the other ; but multiply exceedingly. then turning to Judah, he prophesied of him, that to his tribe should the sovereignty belong, c and they bed along whose banks were the most delicious pasture-grounds for situated in a very fruitful country; that from his name cattle ; and, as modern travellers tell us, here are very large

grapes still to be met with, especially in the valley of Hebran, head of this victim."-See Outram De Sacr, b. 1. c. 22, 5, 6,9. which in all probability is that through which' this torrent Magee on Atonement and Sacrifice, vol. 1. p. 341,

runs.- Poole's Annotations, Bibliotheca Biblica, and Universal a The prerogatives of the birthright consisted chiefly in the History, b. 1. c. 7. honour of the priesthood, in the rule and government of the family,

e Gen. xlix. 10. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.' and in a double portion of the inheritance, which at this time Sceptres, or staves of some kind or other, have been among almost were all taken away from Reuben, and divided severally; since all nations the ensigns of civil authority, as they are to this day, it appears, in the sequel of the history, that the tribe of Reuben being in themselves very proper emblems of power extended, or continued all along in obscurity, while the priesthood was conferred acting at a distance from the person. Achilles, who was the on Levi, the government on Judah, and the double portion on

chief of a Grecian tribe or clan, is described in Homer as holding Joseph, to descend to their respective tribes.-. Howell's History a sceptre or staff, which of the Bible.

The delegates of Jove, dispensing laws, b Jacob's words, in this place, may imply a double dispersion,

Bear in their hands. namely, of the two tribes from each other; and of their being This remarkable prophecy fixes the date of the Saviour's interspersed among the rest: and accordingly that of Levi had no coming, which was not to exceed the time that the descendants inheritance among his brethren in the land of Canaan, but only of Judah were to continue an united people,- that a king should a certain number of cities assigned to them in every tribe. And rule over them that they should be govenied by their own laws, as for that of Simeon, they had properly no more than a portion and that their judges were to be from among their brethren.—ED. of Judah's inheritance, (Josh. xix. 1.) if we except some few f Had Jacob been present at the division of the land of Canaan places which they got upon mount Seir, and in the wilds of the he could hardly have given a more exact description of Zebulun's valley of Gedor, I Chron. vi. 39, &c.— Universal History, | lot than we find him doing two hundred and fifty years before it b. 1. c. 7.

happened. For it extended from the Mediterranean sea on the c Gen. xlix. 8. •Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine ene- west, to the lake of Genezareth on the east, and lay therefore mies.' This expression denotes triumph over an enemy, and very commodiously for trade and navigation. The foretelling so that Judah should subdue his adversaries. This was fulfilled in precisely and distinctly the situation and employment of this the person of David, and acknowledged by him. “Thou hast iribe, though, at first appearance, it may seem a matter of 10 also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy great moment, yet will be found to be quite otherwise, when it them that hate me,' Ps. xviii. 40. Treading on the neck of a is considered, that such particularities as these could not but be vanquished foe has been a very common practice. Amongst the very convincing to the Israelites that it was not chance, nor Franks it was usual to put the arm round the neck as a mark of power, nor policy, that put them in possession of the land of superiority on the part of him that did it. When Chrodin, de- Canaan, but God's right hand and his arm, and the light of his clining the office of mayor of the palace, chose a young nobleman, countenance, because he had a favour into them.' named Gogen, to fill that place, he immediately took the arm of g No less remarkable is the description of Issachar's tribe, that young man, and put it round his own neck, as a mark of his since, though they were a very laborious people in all rural emide pendance on him, and that he acknowledged him for his gene- ployments, yet they had no great inclination to war; and were ral and chief. “When a debtor became insolvent, he gave him therefore frequently infested and subjected by strangers, especially self up to his creditor as his slave, till he had paid all his debt: in the time of the judges. and to confirm his engagement, he took the arm of his patron, h The Jews think, that the prophecy of Dan's destroying his and put it round his own neck. This ceremony invested as it enemies by craft was more particularly fulfilled when Sampson, were, his creditor in his person.”—Stockdale's Manners of the who was of that tribe, pulled down the temple, which crushed Ancient Nations, vol. 1. p. 356. See Gen. xxvii. 40. Deut. himself and the Philistines to death. xxviii. 48, Isa, x. 27. Jer. xxvii. 8. Josh. x. 24. Lam. v. 5. i Gad's lot happened on the other side of Jordan, where they

d The country which the tribe of Judah was to inhabit is were continually exposed to the incursions of the bordering thus described by Jacob: • Binding his foal unto the vine, and his Arabs; but, by their watchfulness and bravery, they not only ass unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his prevented them, but several times caught, and plumdered them clothes in the blood of grapes,' (Gen. xlix. 11,) which are expres- in their turns, insomuch that, in one battle, they took from the sions somewhat hyperbolical : for they imply, that vines in this fifty thousand camels, two hundred and fifty thousand sheep, country should be as common as thorns in other places; and wine besides an hundred thousand men prisoners.—Deut. xxxiii. as plentiful as water; but were, in a great measure, answered 22., &r. in that fertile land which fell to the tribe of Judah's share. For k The words in our translation, Naphtali is a hind let loost, here was the valley of Escol, a bunch of whose grapes was he giveth goodly words,' are very obscure, and scarce intelligible. brought hy the spies as a specimen of the fruitfulness of the land, For though the former part of the prediction is commonly applied Numb. xiii. 23. Here was a brook or torrent of the same name, to Barak's overcoming Sisera, and the latter to that noble candice

« PreviousContinue »