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lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; in a country competently fruitful, and refreshed ninth convenient dews
40 and showers* And by thy sword shalt thou live, by violence, rapine, and 'war, and shalt serve thy brother ;t and It shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, not over the Israelites,for ice never read of this; but, when thou shalt gain strength it shall come to pass that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.f
41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand, according to the course of nature; (yet he lived forty four years after) then will I slay my brother Jacob.
42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah i and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, BehoH, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself with thoughts of revenge, [purposing] to kill thee, and by that cruel means he hopes to recover his birthright again.
43 Now therefore, my son, obey my Toice ; and arise, flee thou
44 to Laban my brother to Haran; And tarry with him a few days, (which proved to be above twenty years, ch. xxxi. 3cf.)
45 until thy brother's fury turn away; Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget [that] which thou hast done to him : then I will send and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? one by murder, the other by the hand of justice, or by some remark able
46 stroke of divine vengeance. And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am, weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these [which are] of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me? Therefore let us send him to fetch a wife from his own kindred, as Abraham did. This was a plausible excuse for sending him away : and Isaat fell in with the proposal, as it related in the next chafvter.
'Mount Seir was such a plue, Joshua xxiv. 4. '' (
t This wai fulfilled in the time of David. See a Sam. viii. 14.
I Thij was done in the dars or jorara, as we read, 3 Kinp vUi. l6j ao, aa. when the EdomjKs rebelled aud threw offthe yoke.
1. rri HERE is but little reason to wish for a very adJ. vanced age. Isaac's life was a burden to him, though, no doubt, he enjoyed the pleasures of meditation and devotion. He lived above forty years after he was almost blind. It often happens in advanced age for those that look out of the windows to be darkened. Let young persons, therefore, be admonished to remember their Creator in the days of theiryouth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when they shall say, we have no pleasure in them. Improve the benefit of sight in reading God's word, treasure it up in your mind, and thereby get wisdom and understanding. Let aged christians set their house in order, like Isaac v. 2. make their wills, and settle their affairs. This thought, we know not the day of our death, should quicken us all, that whatever our hands find to do, we may do it with all our might; for time is uncertain, and the Son of man may come at an hour when we think not. Let us thank God for a better world, where we shall no more labour under the infirmities of age, and where the eyes that see ahatl no more be dim. Isa. xxxii. 3.
2. See the wisdom of God in carrying on his own gracious purposes. He can overrule the misguided passions of men to perfect his own schemes, as in the case of Isaac, who, contrary to his partial affection for Esau, was led to confer, and afterward to confirm the blessing on Jacob. The means by which it was obtained on the part of Jacob cannot be vindicated. This however is no objection against the credibility of the fact itself, which was undoubtedly under the divine direction, for it is said, By faith. Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come Heb. xi. 20.
3. How unaccountably does God dispose of his favours! This is Paul's reflection from this story ; Rom. xi. 16. It is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. Esau was willing, and ran ; but God knew him to be a profane man, and gave the blessing to Jacob. In all this he doeth according to his own will, and acts with unerring wisdom even when his dispensations are darkest: this is a good reason why we should submit to his determinations; there are many devices in the heart of man, but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.
4. Let us be careful not to despise the blessing, lest it be too late to obtain it. This is another reflection of Paul's in Heb. xii. 16, 17, for (speaking of profane Esau, he says) ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place ofrepentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Those who sacrifice their interest in God, their religion and conscience, for worldly things, judge themselves unworthy of spiritual blessings, and shall never possess them. Esau wept when it was too late, and so will sinners hereafter; they will cry with an exceeding bitter cry, but there is no blessing for them; they will know how to value it when it is too late. Today, therefore, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts ; but seek tl* Lord while he may be found, and call ufion him while he is near.
S. Let us guard against those malignant passions that are so ready to rise in our breasts. What a horrid figure does Esau make! what a strange composition of hatred to his brother, and affection to his aged father! It was not on a sudden passion only, but rank malice in his heart; he hoped for his father's death, like a wicked son; and this only kept him from imbruing his hand immediately in his brother's blood. Let us keep a guard upon our soulsj and rule our own spirits; and learn to be content and easy under1 the disappointments of life. If others prosper more than we, it is God's appointment; and it is highly wicked to quarrel \vith him. We learn from the whole, that those who despise and undervalue spiritual blessings, lay ft foundation for bitter disappointment, remorse, and vexation. Lijok diligently, therefore, lest any fail cfthe grace of God.
Give» an account of Jacob's journey, vision, and vote.
1 AND Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, purposedly, and J[X designedly; infaitA he now confirmed that blessing to him, which before he had given him unknoiaingly; and hereby God confirm» Jacob's faith against double and fears, and com*
forts him against future troubles that might befal him ¡ and Isaac charged him, and said unto him, Thou shall not take a
2 wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bçthuel, thy mother's father; and take thee it wife from thence of thé daughter* of Laban thy mother's
3 brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of
4 people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee ; that is, the land of Canaan, a numerou» offspring, and that the Messiah may spring from ihee ; that thovi mayest inherit the land wherein thou art at present a stran« ger, not being yet possessed of it ¡ but which God gave unto Abraham. Thus God confirms the settlement to him exclusive
5 of Esau. And Isaac sent away Jacob atme, that Esau might not suspect him: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
* When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou
7 «halt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; And that
V.QI. I. Q
Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Pa' i8 danaram; And Esau, seeing that the daughters of Canaan 9 pleased not Isaac his father; Then vent Esait unto the family e/"lshmael, and took unto the wives which he had MahaIath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Ne. bajoth, to be his wife. This he did in hope of ingratiating himself "with /iis father; but it was quite too late, and but a partial amendment ; for his hatred to Jacob and his profaneness still continued.
to And Jacob toot: with him his staff, and such small provisions as he could carry; to have taken more would have increased /lis brother's hatred and envy; and he went out from Beershe
11 ba, and went toward Haran. Arid he lighted upon a certain place,* and tarried there all nigh't, because the sun was set; and lie took of the stones of that place, and put [them for] his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. He had a cold lodging and a, hard pillow, but a comfortable night, for God a/?.'
12 peared to him there in a vision. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven ; to represent to Jacob the providence of God, who, though he dwells in heaven, extends his government and care to the earth, and all who dwell thereon: and, behold, the angels of
IS God ascending and descending on it.f And, behold, the 'glory of the Lord stood above it, appeared at the top of the ladder, and a voice said, I [am] the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to
14 thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south s and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth
15 be blessed. And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land ; for I Will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of. Thus God confirmed his promises to Jacob ; assuring him of defence, provision, protection, and at length a happy settlement in that land, together with all spiritual blessings.
»6 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place, by these tokens of his special and gracious presence, and the revelation of his mind and will to me; and I
17 knew [it] not, I little expected such revelations here. And he was afraid, struck with a reverentialfear of the majesty of God, in respect of his own vileness and unworthiness, and he said,
• A shady spot, where were almond trees, between thirty and forty miles from the place where he set out. and about eight miles from JerasaWm.*
t To shew that God makes use of them as ministring spirits, to execute his order* and do his pleasure: that they are ail active, all under the direction ol infinite wisdom* who will give them a particular charge concerning his servants. How suitable and encouraging a rcuriseaution was this to Jacob, when flymg tor has lite, mil dcttkutt ct all things I How dreadful, or awful, [is] this place ! this [is] none other but the house of God, the habitation where he dwells, with all his glorious attendants, and this [is] the gate of heaven that
18 leads to hi3 high and holy courts. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put [for] his pillows ; and set it up [for] a pillar, as a monument for the. remembrance of God's apftearing to him, and poured oil upon
19 the top of it, as a tfiank offering to God. And he called the' name of that place Bethel, that is, the house of God: tint the name of that city, tiear to which this pillar was set up, [was called] Luz at the first, thai is, almond, or, the city of almond trees.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, entered into a solemn religious promise or obligation, saying, If God will be with me, and \vilj keep me in this way that 1 go, and will give me bread to eat,
21 and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace, that is, when God shall have done according to his promise, (v. 15.) which I firmly believe he will perform; then shall the Lord be my God, owned by me as the author of my welfare and salvation, and worshipped in my family as such;
22 And this stone, which I have set [for] a pillar, shall be God's house ; a place for his worship, where I will build an altar and offer sacrifces; and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth .unto thee, for the maintenance of thy worship, and other pious uses,
I. TT is a great mercy to have religious parents, to recomX mend us to the blessing of God ; to pray for us and with us ; these prayers should be highly valued by us, for God values them. The children of his servants should rejoice in their privileges, and improve them; and above all, be thankful for Jesus Christ, who ever liveth to make intercession for tu.
2. Let us adore the providence of God, as exercised by his angels; and beg of him to give them charge concerning us; that we may have their guardian care and protection in ,aU our motions. This must have been a great comfort to Jacob, and confirm his faith and hope, and confidence in God and his providence. The great God hath legions of angels at his command; and they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation. How cheerfully may good men go on in the way of duty, when they have such protectors 1 the ladder is still fixed ; and by faith we may see the angels ascending and descending to receive orders from God, and execute his will. Though God's throne of glory is in heaven, and lie keeps his brightest court there, his providence extends to this world, and not « sparrow falls to the ground without his notice, lie feeds the