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by his counsel, in the end bring them to glory? Commit your cause and your way, your soul and your body, unto the Lord; he will bring all to pass for your good and his glory. Particular notice is taken of all that went down into Egypt. Their names are all registered. The number is specified exactly. Why was this That there might be no mistake; that no member of the family might be left behind; that none who did not belong to the family might be added. As there was to be no loss, so was there to be no mixture. Are not the names of all the Lord's people registered in heaven Are they not all written in the Lamb's book of life Will ever any of that number be lost? Will ever any that belong not to the holy seed supplant their place, or take their inheritance No; the promise and the inheritance are both sure to all the seed. What a tender meeting is here described, between the aged father and his long lost son 1 Judah precedes his parent to inform Joseph; and he immediately hastens to give his beloved father an honourable and affectionate welcome. How they weep in each other's arms, as they mutually press each other to their bosoms' Years of sorrow and pain are abundantly compensated on either side in that happy moment. It was a mercy the aged patriarch thought, or feared, he should never realise ; and now he was ready at once to depart in peace! If such be the pleasure and delight felt between a father and long separated son on earth, what must be the joy felt in heaven when the sinner is found, and the soul is converted to God! We admire the affectionate remembrance between Israel and Joseph; let us admire and adore the love of Jesus for our souls; and learn to love him who never forgot us in our low estate.
that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. 2 And he took some of his brethren, eren five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation ? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. 4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. 5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: 6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. 7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh : and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, 'How old art thou ? 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. 11 *| And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, **according to their families. 13 *| And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of F.gypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. 15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence for the money faileth. 16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; o I will give you for your cattle, if money il. 17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph ; and Joseph gave them bread in earchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he “fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. 18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle ; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: 19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. 20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh ; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's. 21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one ... the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. 22 Only the land of the “priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them : wherefore they sold not their lands. 23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. 24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and
for them of your households, and for food for
your little ones. 25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants. 26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the "priests only, which became not Pharaoh's. 27 "I And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so 'the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. 29 And the time .." nigh that Israel must
die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.
31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.
(1) Heb. How many are the days (4) Heb. led them. of the years of thy life? (5) Or, princes.
(2) Or, as a little child is nourished. (6) or, princes.
(3) Heb. according to the little (7) Heb, the days of the years of ones. his life.
THERE are several things to be noticed and improved in this chapter. May we be wise and profit by them all ! First, Israel's presentation unto Pharaoh. This was done by Joseph, who was the medium of access between the prince, his father, and his brethren. Can we come before God, except in the appointed way What is that way ? It is Jesus, the sinner's Saviour and friend. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.” (1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.) “No man cometh to the Father, but by ” him. (John xiv. 6.) But all whom he presents meet with a gracious welcome. Take notice of this great truth, and use it in faith, from day to day, for the safety and comfort of your souls. Joseph succeeded in obtaining for his brethren all he desired, and all they hoped for. And Christ tells you, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it you. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John xvi. 23, 24.) Secondly, Pharaoh's enquiry about the age of the patriarch, and his instructive reply. Doubtless there was something venerable in Israel's appearance, as an aged and plain, humble man; quite different, we may suppose, from anything Pharaoh had ever heard of or seen before; and he asked the question, How old art thou ? Might it not be profitable to ask ourselves and others, from time to time, How old art thou ? Might it not serve to remind us of how large a portion of our life is already passed, and how small a part may yet be to come Might it not also serve to teach us how needful it is to enquire, How have our past years been spent? and what a loud call there is, that we should make a better use of life in time to come; that we should seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near? (Isaiah lv. 6.) May not the question be also very profitably asked in another sense Not only, how old art thou in thy natural years; but what is the date of thy spiritual age Hast thou been born again Art thou a child of God When did that change take place What is the number of thy spiritual years 2 Thirdly, observe the patriarch's reply. He speaks of his one hundred and thirty years as the days of the years of his pilgrimage. He speaks of those days as few and evil, and as not having attained unto the days of the years of the life of his fathers in the days of their pilgrimage (v. 9). How true, how descriptive are these words of the shortness and the fleetness of the days of the years of the life of man | What is the longest life, after all, but a few days! “It is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Ps. xc. 10.) Ah! do we think of this Are we duly impressed with this awakening fact Is it not in this manner our life hastens on and soon shall we depart to be seen no more. But, oh! how much depends on the manner in which this short, fleeting life is spent ' Heaven or hell stands at the end, and that for ever! It is said, Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before him. Perhaps he did not like to hear of the shortness of human life. The pomp and splendour of a court are ill suited for such serious reflections. Probably he was anxious to dismiss the troublesome visitor. The patriarch's words told him he must die, and he trembled at the thought. Israel might go ; but before he departs Israel gives Pharaoh his blessing. We had better leave those who dislike serious things ; and we cannot do so in a fitter manner than by giving them our parting prayer and blessing. Fourthly, after this Joseph provides for his family and the people. Their sufferings were great year after year, and they part with all to preserve their lives. What a lesson is this! How much more valuable is the life of the soul than the body What efforts should we,
then, make for the safety of that immortal jewel ! How ready should we be to renounce anything and everthing, that we may the more effectually obtain the pardon of our sins, peace with God, and rest above And if anything might serve to remind us of the necessity of doing so, surely it ought to be the solemn fact, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die. Yes, those days will come. Israel felt it to be so; others have found it so; you will soon find it so too; and if you die unfit and unprepared for the kingdom of God, what must become of your soul in the world beyond the grave 2
CHAPTER XLVIII. 1 Joseph with his sons visiteth his sick father. 2 Jacob strengtheneth himself to bless them. 3 He repeateth the promise. 5 He taketh Ephraim and Manasseh as his own. 7. He telleth Joseph of his mother's grave. 9 He blesseth Ephraim and Manasseh. 17. He preferreth the younger before the elder. 21 IIe prophesieth their return to Canaan. ND it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. 3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, 4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people ; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. 5 "I And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the
land of Egypt before I came unto thee into
Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. 6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. 7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem. 8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these ? 9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. 10 Now the eyes of Israel were 'dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. 11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed. 12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 "I And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them * grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. 17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it "displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. 18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a “multitude of nations. 20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee, shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh; and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. 21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die; but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.
soul from the body. The decay of nature, the cold clammy sweat, the final struggle, and the parting groan, all invest the last hour with a striking and awful solemnity. Even when a believer departs, when the sting of death is taken away, and the sweet hope of a blessed immortality gladdens the soul, there is much that is solemn and awakening. But the last hour of the wicked is fearful indeed. There is nothing but guilt and fear, terror and dismay. All is dark, within and without; and the prospect beyond the grave affords nothing “but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. x. 27.) What makes this difference The presence of Christ in the one case; the absence of Christ in the other. Pardon through the blood of Jesus gladdens the soul, and lights up the dark passage of the tomb. Guilt dismays the soul, sharpens the sting of the dreadful monster, and clothes the future with dark and fearful gloom. If, then, you would die happily, flee to the Redeemer, rest on his merits, pray for his Spirit, walk in his ways, and then you may look forward to his kingdom and glory in comfort and peace. We are reminded of these reflections by the subsequent parts of the patriarch's closing history. May we learn to be wise in time, and happy for eternity' You are here told of Israel's sickness, and Joseph's visit to his father during his illness. The event proved that it was the prelude of death. He seems to have been fully aware of this, and he prepares to make the best use of his remaining days, for the benefit of his sorrowing sons and family. Ought we not always to look upon every sickness we feel in the same light? When the earthly house of this tabernacle begins to totter, ought we not to think of and prepare for its fall. Although God may be pleased to recover us from illness time after time, still that sickness will come at last which will bring us down to the grave. Surely, then, we ought to think of our soul. Surely it is a loud call for repentance, for faith in Christ, for prayer to God. All ought to feel and act in this manner, however young or old; but when the aged frame is seized with sickness, on the verge of eternity, the call becomes still louder to “prepare to meet thy God.” (Amos iv. 12.) Joseph took his two sons with him to receive his father's blessing. His father takes a brief review of the principal events of his past life. He acknowledges the good hand of God in all his ways; and speaks of his approaching end with comfort and peace. How delightful it is to mark the steps of a saint ripe for glory ! What a blessed hope must that be which can then invigorate and cheer the expiring soul! And what a precious Saviour must Christ be to all who thus trust in him ' Learn to commit the safety of your soul into his hands whilst you live; and then, when you come to die, you will find that you have neither hoped nor trusted in him in vain. Your latter end will be rest and peace. Let us not pass over the circumstances connected with Israel's blessing Joseph's two sons. According to their birth Joseph took one in each hand, and brought them before his father, that his right hand might be placed on the head of the elder, and his left on the head of the younger; and thus he asked for his parent's blessing. Now what took place Just the contrary to Joseph's wishes. His father crossed hands, and laid his right upon the younger, and his left upon the elder. It is said, he guided his hands wittingly; that is, no doubt, he guided his hands as God guided his mind; and the purpose of God was, to place the younger before the elder. How often do we see the Lord acting in the same manner still 2 The last becomes first, and first last. In Israel's own case it had been so before ; and one of his last acts was, under the guidance of God, to inculcate the same truth. Do you ask what that truth is? Clearly, the sovereignty of God in all his ways. Why the elder should serve the younger, or Jacob have the birthright, or Ephraim be put before Mamasseh, we can give no other reason than that so it pleased him. And why one man is saved and not another, since all are sinners and equally need salvation, can only be explained in the same manner. God lays the hand of his grace upon the man of his right hand, the man of his choice and love, still ; and thus he shews, that while he is rich in mercy, he giveth no account of his matters. Joseph was displeased, but he acquiesced.
Nature spurns the sovereignty of God; but faith calms the tumult of the mind, and leads us to say, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Matt. xi. 26.)
1 Jacob calleth his sons to bless them. 3 Their blessing in particular. 29 He chargeth them about his burial. 33 He dieth. ND Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. 2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. 3 * Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4 Unstable as water, 'thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou if : * he went up to my couch. 5 *|| Simeon and Levi are brethren ; * instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. 6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; into their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they “digged down a wall. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. 8 * Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up : he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an ord lion; who shall rouse him up 2 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come ; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. 13 *|| Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. 14 || Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: