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4. See how secretly the providence of God works to bring About its own purposes, and in how mysterious a manner! This was the beginning of the whole scheme of the Jewish economy. Observe on how many circumstances it depended; on Reuben's interposition ; on Judah's proposal; on the merchants coming by at that time ; on his being sold into Egypt, to one of Pharaoh's officers! In all this we see the finger of God. There are •many device» in the heart of man, but the counsel of the Lord, that »hall aland. This U a key to many circumstances in the course of our lives, which may seem trifling in themselves, but on which great and important events depend.
5. Much of our sorrow for our departed friends arises from ignorance aud mistakes. Jacob's sorrow is an emblem of ours; he saw the garment torn, and concluded that Joseph was destroyed. We sec the body, which is but the soul's clothing, torn and breathless, and we conclude the soul is lost, at least we too often act as if we thought so; but the rent of the body only serves to let out the soul. Thus, like Jacob, we often perplex ourselves •with supposing things to be much worse than they are. If we could but be undeceived, if we did but know things right, we should act quite otherwise. We mourn our departed friends, because their bodies are torn and left behind, when, like Joseph, they are gone to reign, and to be ten thousand times happier than they could be with us. To give way to immoderate sorrow for our departed friends, is dishonourable to God and religion, and shows our ignorance or forgetfulness. So Paul in 1 Theea. iv. 13,14. / would not httve you ignorant, brethren, concerning them •which are asieefi, that ye »arrow not even at other» who have no Ло/ie. Far if we believe that Jesus died, and rote again, even to them also -who sleefi in Jesus voll God bring with him. Jacob's ever affectionate love to Joseph, and his immoderate grief, when he supposed him dead, teach us, as the apostle advises, to rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and to weefi as though ive lucfit not, and to use all our comforts so as not to overvalue or abuse them? »inte they are continually passing away.
In the middle of Joseph's story чае find here related tome /articulare of Judah's family: his marriage; the death of his tons ¡ his incest with Tamar ,• las confitsion at its discovery ¡ and the birth, of twin sons, in whom his family was built ufr*
\ A N D it came to pass at that time, that Judah went dowrf _/\. from his brethren, having quarrelledwith them about selling Joseph, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name [was] Hirah; a Canaanite, of little religion, but perhaps
2 as much as himself. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name [was] Shuah; and he tooK her to wife, contrary to his father's consent, (ch. xxiv. 3.) and
3 went in unto her. And she conceived, and bare a son; and
4 he called his name Er. And she conceived again, and bare
5 a son; and she called his name Onan. And she yet again conceived, and bare a son ; and called his name Shelah : and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name [was] Tamar; a tall, beautiful person, like a palm tree, as the
7 word signifies. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord slew him, in some ex
8 traordinary and remar/cable manner. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, accord' ing to that le-uitical lato, made afterward (Deut. xxv. 5.) and raise up seed to thy brother ; beget a child which may bear thy brother's name, and have his inheritance. In this case the eldest child was looked upon as the brother's, all the rest would
9 be considered as his cwn. And Onan knew that the seed, the firstborn (Deut. xxv. 6.) should not be his: and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled [it] on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. This was a wicked action, springing from an envious and obstinate temper; and God was ftleased severely to punish it.
10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also, struck him dead in an awful manner. Let selfpolluting sinners hear and fear, and do no more wickedly.
11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren [did.] And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's bouse.
12 And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father in lawgoeth
• At thi» chapter interrupt« the history ofJotepb, tht reading of it m»y be emitted m
14 up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which [is] by the way io Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. Her intention probably was to catch Shelah, whom she expected Judah would bring with
15 him. When Judah saw her, he thought her [to be] an harlot; because she had covered her face. So harlots were used to do,
16 not having then learned to glory in their shame. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee ; (for he knew not that she [was] his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me,
17 that thou raayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send [thee] a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give
18 [me] a pledge, till thou send [it ?] And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, perliaps a cloak or a girdle of small value, and thy staff that [is] in thine hand. And he gave [it] her, and came
19 in unto her, and she conceived by him. And she arose, and 'Went away, and laid by her veil from her, and put on the gar.
20 ments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive [his] pledge
21 from the woman's hand : but he found her not. Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where [is] the harlot that [was] openly by the way side? And they said, There was
22 no harlot in this [place.] And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said,
23 [that] there was no harlot in this [place.] And Judah said, Let her take [it] to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent
24 this kid, and thou hast not found her> And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, that she may be tried, and If found guilty, when she is delivered, let her be burned ; let her be put to death,
25 according to the law of God and of nations. When she [was] brought forth, to be tried for her adultery (for she was betrothed to Shelah and considered as his wife,) she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man whose these [are, am] I with child: and she said, Discern, 1 pray thee, whose [are] these, the
26 signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged [them,] and said, She hath been more righteous than I; she has more reason to accuse me, than I her; since I have been the cause of her sin because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more ; he was ashamed of his sin, and did not repeat it; and probably was not marritd after this, as we do not read of any other children of his.
Vot. I. W
37 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, beh'oT(f, twins [were] in lier womb ; and she had hard lunour^as afiun
28 ishmmtfor her sin. And it came to pass, when she travailed that [the one] put out [his] hand: and the midwife took*and' bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out
79 first, and shall b<- considered as theßrstborn. And it came to» pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How bust thou broken forth? [this] breach [be] upon thee: therefore his name was called Pha
30 rez, that is, a breach. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah, fir. ariseth or cometh forth again. Some commentators have laboured to find an extraordinary mystery in the birth . qf these clrildren, as relating to the Jems and Gentiles; but I think tvitkcut any softd foundation.
Í. Ж^1 О D is highly displeased with the sins of young people.
V_T Neither Ér nor Onan could be much above sixteen, yet they were severely punished. Youth has no licence to act at random. Some sins are called tricks of youth, and therefore are looked upon as small matters, but they are not so in God's esteem. When raen are capable of discerning good and evil, God expects that they act wisely, and he will punish them here or hereafter if they do not. He sometimes takes them away in his •wrath, and thus makes them- awful warnings- to others. There* fore young men are exhorted to be »ober minded, and tojiee youthful iusts, viluch -шаг against tlte. estate and reputation, the body and soul.
2. How does lust besot the mind, and bring shame on thosewho indulge it Г What scandalous stories are these 1 Such as Josephus, the Jewish historian, was ashamed to mention, as bringing a disgrace on the father of his nation. Lust robs a man of his bracelet and staff, h,s ornament and defence, and leaves men in a weak, infamous state. What a wretched figure does this patriarch make, when going in, as he supposed, to an harlot ', It should make us all careful to mortify the deeds of the body, and beep ourselves pure.
. 3. How many dread shame more than sin ; the tongues of men more than the eyes of God! Lent we be shamed, has a greater influence with many, than lest ive be damned; so unaccountable is the folly of this world. But how unworthy is this of the character of one of God's people t Seneca, an heathen, could say, ' Though all men should be ignorant of the evil I dor and I knew the gods would forgive me, yet for the filthiness there is in sin, I would not commit it.' Fear of shame may preserve from some sins, but the fear of God is the only preservative fres all sin.
4. How ready are we to censure our own faults when we observe them in others 1 Juduh pronounced a very severe sentence ea Tamar. Let us take heed lhat wherein we judge others, we do oot at the same time condemn ourselves : our Lord's advice is, First take the beam out of thine own eye, then thuu mil see clearly to take the mote out of thy brother'» eye.
We have before un e remarkable instance of Joseph's chastity and integrity, and Ait overcoming one of the most formidable temptations that ever youth was attacked with; a deliverance, »ays one of the ancients, as astonishing and remarkable as that of the three children in the fiery furnace. We have in this chapter hi» advancement, his glorious conquest of a strong tem/ttation; hit false accusation and imprisonment ; and God's gracious appearance for him
i AND Joseph was brought down to Egypt ; and Potiphar, jfjL an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard mho attended the Icing's person m/ien he чаепс abroad, and who had the charge of the state prison, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelhee, which had brought him down thith
3 er : into his family Joseph чоав taken, and God Alessed him. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man;
. God was with him, blessing and prospering all he took in hand: and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian, and aptilled himself patiently and faithfully to that low estate wherein
3 God's providence had placed him. And his master saw that the Lord [was] with him, and that the Lord made all that he did te prosper in his hand; which probably was not the case
4 before Joseph came into his family. And Joseph found grace in his sight, vas no longer treated by him as a slave, and he served him, attended hi» person; and, after tome time, he made him overseer over his house, and ail [lhat] he had he put inte his hand, he became steward of his household, and su
5 perintended all his affairs. And it came to pass from the time [that] he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field; every thing
t succeeded the better for Joseph's having a hand in them. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand ; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat ; every thing was trusted to Joseph's management. Thus -was the muster happy in an excellent servant^ and the servant happy in в