Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

prophet directed an application of figs in order to his
recovery, and Hezekiah recovered upon the appli-
cation of them ; but since this application was made
not by any rules of physic then known, but by a
divine direction, we must ascribe the cure imme-
diately to God himself, even though it may possibly
be argued that figs were a proper medicine for Hee
zekiah's distemper. They were not then known or
thought to be so, and therefore human skill or pre-
scription had no part in the cure. Thus in Jacob's
case; if it can be supposed that pilled rods may be
naturally a means to variegate young cattle; yet un.
less we can think he knew that the use of them would
naturally have this effect; and that he used them,
not in obedience to a special direction from God, but
merely as an art to get Laban's cattle, we cannot
lay any blame upon him; it cannot, I think, be sup-
posed that Jacob had any such knowledge. GOD
Almighty determined to punish Laban for his in-
justice, and reward Jacob for his fidelity; therefore
he revealed to Jacob the manner in which he designed
to bless him; and ordered him to do an action as a
token that he einbraced Gov's promise, and expected :
the performance of it. Jacob faithfully observed the
orders which were given him; and God blessed hiin
according to his promise. Now there is no reason for
us to think, that Jacob knew of, or used any art to
over-reach Laban, and get away his cattle; but the
trae conclusion is what Jacob himself expressed in
his speech to his wives. Ye know, that with all my
power, I have served your father : and your father
hath deceited me, and changed my wages ten times;

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

but God suffered him not to hurt me. If he said thus, the speckled shall be thy wages, then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, the ringstraked shall be thy hire, then bare all the cattle ring-straked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them unto me.d

Jacob, finding Laban and his sons every day more and more indisposed towards him, took an opportunity, and contrived matters with his wives, and separated his own from his father-in-law's cattle; and retiring in a private manner, passed over Euphrates, and made towards Mount Gilead. lle was gone three days before Laban heard of it; who, when it was told him, gathered his family together and pursued him for seven days, and overtook him at Gilead. From Haran to mount Gilead must be above two hundred and fifty miles; so that Jacob made haste to travel thither in ten days, going about twenty-five miles each day; and Laban's pursuit of him was very eager, for he marched about thirty-seven miles a day for seven days together; but he was resolved to overtake him. When he came up with him, he purposed in his heart to revenge himself upon him ; 'but here God was pleased to interpose, and warn Laban not to offer Jacob any eyil. Hereupon, when he came up to him, he only expostulated with him his manner of leaving him, and complained that he had stolen his teraphim, which Rachel, fond of the memory of her ancestors, had, without Jacob's knowledge, taken

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

away with her;. but upon Jacob's offering all his company to be searched, Laban not being able to find where Rachel had hid them, they grew friends, made a solemn engagement with each other, and then parted. Laban returned home, and Jacob went on towards the place where he had left his father.

Jacob was now returning into Canaan in great prosperity; he was a few years before very low in the world, but now he had wives, children, and seryants, and a substance abundantly sufficient to maintain them. When he went over Jordan to go to Ilaran, his staff or walking stick was all his substance; but when he came to repass it, in order to return into Canaan, he found himself master of so large a family, as to make up two bands or companies;h and all this increase so justly acquired, that he could with an assured heart look up to God, and acknowledge his having truly blessed him, according to the promise which he had made. .

After Jacob had parted from Laban, he began to think of the danger which might befal him at his return home. The displeasure of his brother Esau came fresh into his mind; and he was sensible he could have no security, if he did not make his peace with him. Esau, when Jacob went to Haran, ohserving how strictly his father charged him not to marry a Canaanite, began to be dissatisfied with his own marriages;k therefore he went to Islımael and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

& Ver. 30. See Vol. I. Book 5. p. 311.
Gen. xxxii. 10. i Chap. xxxi. 9. & xxxii. 12.
Gen. xxviii. 69.

married one of his daughters, and went and lived in mount Seir, in the land of Edom. Jacob finding by enquiry that he was settled here, thought it necessary to send to him in order to appease him; that he might be secure of living without molestation from him.

Some writers have questioned why, or how Jacob should send this message to his brother. Jacob was in Gilead, and Esau in mount Seir, one hundred and twenty miles at least distant from one another. Jacob went down Gilead to the brook Jabbok ;' from whence his way lay over Jordan into Canaan, without coming any nearer to Esau; why therefore should he send to him? or having lived so long at such a distance, how should he know where he was settled, or what was become of him? These objections have been thouglit considerable by some very good writers; and Adrichomius conceived it necessary to describe Seir in a different situation from that in which the common maps of Canaan place it. He imagined, that there were two distinct countries called by the name of the land of Edom, and in each of them a mountain called Seir; and that one of them, namely that in which Esau lived at this time, lay near mount Gilead; and Brocard and Torniellus m arc said to have been of the same opinion. They say, the children of Esau removed hence in time into the other Edom or Idumea, when they grew strong enough to expel the Horites out of it;" but that they did not live in this Edom, which was the land of the Horites, in Jacob's days.

m Pool's Syn. in loc.

Gen. xxxii. 22. • Deut, ij. 19.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1 was

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

But as there are no accounts of Canaan which can
favour this opinion, I cannot see how this situation of
Edom can be admitted. They make and invent
names and places, known to no writers but themselves;
and so create real difficulties in geography, to solve
imaginary ones in history. The Horites were indeed
the first inhabitants of Seir, and the land of Edom,
and were in possession of it in Esau's days; for he
married one of their daughters, namely Aholibamah
the grand-daughter of Zibeon, and daughter of 'n
Anah; and this Zibeon was the son of Seir the
Horite,p and Anah was Seir's grandson, and both
of them were in their turns 'dukes or princes in the
land." Esau therefore lived and married in this
country; for here only we find the persons, whose
daughter he took to wife; and he lived here a so-
journer in the kingdoms of other men, until after some
generations God gave this country to his children,
who destroyed the Horites, and took possession of
their country, as Israel did of the land of his posses-
sion, which the LORD gave unto them. As to mount
Seir's being very distant from Gilead, where Jacob
stopped, and sent messengers to Esau, it is certain it
was so; so far distant, that after Jacob and Esau had
met, Jacob represented it as too long a journey for
his children to take, or his cattle to be driven, but.
by easy advances. It is easy to say, how Jacob
could tell where Esau lived, and why he thought fit-
to send to him. It is not to be supposed that Jacob

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

•Gen. xxxvi. 2.
• Deut. ii. 12.

Ver. 20. 9 Ibid.
Gen. xxxii. 13, 14.

Ver. 29. . .

« PreviousContinue »