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to the shepherds in this incumbent posture, and affords some argument in favor of it."Now, in this passage of Isaiah, he was misled by reading it without points; for, the Hebrew means, that they shall make their sheep lie there; the verb being 17, Yarbeetzu, which is of the fifth conjugation, always used to express the causing of another to do an action; and I suppose he read it, Yerbytzu, of the first conjugation, rendering it, they shall lie down but then he had no regard to the translation of the English Bible, which is, neither shall the shepherds make their folds there; so that his emendation is ill grounded.
Ver. 1. This means, that he should entreat God for her sake, as his father had done for his wife.
Ver. 35. The pronoun he in the beginning of this verse, and his sons at the end, must both refer to Laban.
Ver. 37. The names of these trees are only guessed at; and, what Scripture means by white strakes, is not that he painted them so, but those strakes of the rods from which the rind was pilled off remained white.
Ver. 38. This verse should be translated thus:-" And he set the rods, which he had pilled, in the gutters that were in the watering-troughs; that, when the flocks came to drink, they might be before the flocks; (for, they conceive when they come to drink.)"
By the English translation it appears, that the rods had an effect upon the ewes, to make them conceive, which is absurd; I have therefore been obliged to make the above transposition in this verse, shewing thereby the intention of Jacob's contrivance: for, having in his possession only plain sheep of Laban's cattle, he puts these rods in the sight of the ewes when they came to drink, well knowing that at such time they require the ram; and then, having those rods before their eyes, so pilled, the strength of imagination might make them bring forth such spotted lambs as he required. Note, they refers to the rods.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXI.
Ver. 30. This is a supposition of Laban of what Jacob could answer to his first question; but the second charge was unanswerable, if true.
Ver. 32. This is not a curse, but a sentence of death if the thief should have been found out. Ver. 34 and 37. Searched, is the proper translation, though the Hebrew verb means felt. Ver. 50. This expression, in Hebrew, after an oath, a curse, or a covenant, is always rendered, very judiciously, by the English translator, in the negative : vide verse 52. I cannot guess what reason he had to deviate here.
Ver. 53. (The gods of their fathers) should be put in a parenthesis; for, it is a digression of Scripture, to inform us who these gods were.
Ver. 15. According to the English translator, and indeed as the meaning of this passage is generally understood, Jacob sends his brother a present, containing a proportionable number of males and females of several sorts of cattle, except camels, of which he sends thirty with their colts, which to me seems somewhat strange,, and therefore I think that this passage is not rightly urlerstood; for, the Hebrew word,, being common to male and female, I take the adjective, p, to mean nothing else than a distinction of the sex, signifying capable of giving suck, not that they actually gave suck so that the phrase may mean she-cumels. Likewise may be considered as a distinguishing adjective to particularise the male sex, the same as an ox is called, in Hebrew, and the pronoun, their, may refer to camels in general, not to these in particular, as their colts; as much as to say, the males of them, i. e. camels: the meaning of this verse should therefore be thus:-"Thirty she-camels, with their males." I cannot pass over this observation without taking notice of one made by the learned Aben Ezra, viz. "That when a sentence is understood, we are not to stand upon the meaning of the words, but try to make the words express the true meaning; particularly in the Hebrew language, of which we have so few classic writings extant; for, if we had more, perhaps we should find instances of such words bearing the meaning that we give them, which I may apply to this case."
Ver. 24 and 25. This passage bears many doubts, and seems almost unintelligible. First, What necessity had Jacob to stay alone behind, after he had carried over all his substance?
Second, What was the occasion of their quarrel?
Third, What had the morning to do with his letting him go?
Fourth, What could his blessing avail Jacob, unless he knew he was an angel? if so,Fifth, How comes he to ask him for his name? But most of the expositors think that there is no reality in this narrative, and that what Scripture saith, that he rose up at night, is the relation of a prophetic vision, to the end of the chapter.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXIII. XXXIV. XXXV. & XXXVI.
Ver. 12. It might also be rendered thus, agreeably to the Hebrew: “Move thou forward, and let us go on, and I will go as it suits thee." I am of opinion, “ And Esau said," ought to be added at the beginning of this verse, as it can hardly be determined whether Esau or Jacob speaks either of the following sentences: but, one being explained, the others are understood. 1995 must mean here, as it suits thee, the same as 1733), in chap. ii. ver, 18, means, such as it suits him.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXIV. Ver. 1. According to the English translation, the daughters of the land is the accusative to the verb to see; but, in Hebrew, the accusative of a verb never has the preposition 2, among :-therefore the verb to see hath no accusative expressed. But, as Aben Ezra observes, that every verb has its accusative understood of the nature of the verb, (as when you say tó cat; victuals is understood; likewise to see, a sight is understood; unless you choose to particularise what victuals, or wbat particular sight,) therefore I think if the translation of this verse was, “ And Dinah, the daughter of Leah, &c. went out among the daughters of the land to see a sight, the translation of this verse would be more natural. Perhaps she went to see some grand festival or procession, &c.
Ver. 6. This verse only gives us an account how Jacob had notice of this fact, which was by Hamor's coming to talk to him concerning it. And Jacob held his peace, in ver. 5,-doth not mean that he kept it a secret; for, perhaps he sent to his sons to acquaint them with it; but it means that he gave them no answer to their proposals, having referred it to the time when bis sons might come home. If so, the translation of the English Bible, ver. 7, might stand without emendation, only folly should be rendered vile deed.
Ver. 12. Ask me never so much dowry, 8c. The custom of those days were contrary to the present mode. No father gave a fortune with his daughter; but the bridegroom himself, or his relations, purchased the bride for a sum of money, or cattle, as they could agree.
Ver. 13 and 27, there is no because in the Hebrew in either of these two verses. The event narrated in this chapter, I apprehend, is not placed according to the succession of events; for, if it had happened immediately after his return from Laban; Dinah could not then have been more than seven years of age; but I think that a journey is here originally omitted, which is, his going to his brother at Seir, as in the foregoing chapter, ver, 14, it appears he had promised him, and thence to see his father to Mamre, mentioned in the next chapter; for, as nothing historical happened in that journey, I suppose it was deferred to the next chapter. And what is said in the said foregoing chapter, ver. 17, And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, must mean, from his father's house; for, I cannot think that he would make such a long stay at Shechem, as to build a house, make booths, and purchase a parcel of ground, before he had seen his father.
Note, The seeming treacherous behaviour of Jacob's sons, and their breach of trust so much complained of by some critics, I think might be deemed rather an imprudent act than an unjust one; for, by verse 23, in Hamor and Shechem's speech to their nation, it appears, that they intended to seize every thing they had as soon as Jacob and his sons were incorporated with them; for, they tell them, viz.“ Shall not their cattle, and their substance, and every beast of their's, be ours ?” So that Jacob's sons were only before hand with them, se defendendo.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXV. Ver. 1, 2, and 4. The English translator very often omits the article the, expressed in Hebrew, which I think here to be material in order to distinguish it from the gods of the aliens, mentioned in this chapter.
Ver. 2. The expression of strange gods intimates as if they had adopted them for gods, which is not to be supposed in Jacob's family; but this means the images that Rachel stole from her father's house, and perhaps some ear-rings in which there were some superstitious charms.
Ver. 22. The new section, marked here, in the Hebrew, in the middle of the verse, is, in my opinion, to shew that this is the end of Jacob's journey, and not, as Dr. W.right asserts, that the Jews allow of some words being here missing, For, this cannot be admitted but by snch Jews as know very little of their religious tenets, as it is contrary to their principles to think that there can be any error or omission in their Pentateuch, which they read in their Synagogues weekly; for, (excepting the mistakes of copyists,) they reckon it to be as pure as that delivered by Moses, for otherwise it would destroy the authenticity of it,
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXVI. This chapter contains the generations of Esan, and the dukes of Edom, that sprang from him; and also the generations and dukes of Seir, the Hivite, the iuhabitant of that country;
in the rehearsal of which there is such seeming confusion and such apparent contradictions ir comparing the narratives in this place with those in Genesis, and in first of Chronicles, that] own it is above my skill entirely to reconcile them; nevertheless, I shall point them out, and endeavour to settle them as far as my judgment will reach.
First, concerning Esan's wives, mentioned here, compared with chap. xxvi. ver. 34, and chap. xxviii. ver. 9.
A comparative view of their Names in both Places.
Aholibamah bath Anah, daughter of Zibeon,
Adah, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite.
In ver. 3.
In chap. xxvi. ver. 34.
Judith, the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite.
Bashemath, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite
Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael, Abra ham's son, sister of Nebajoth.
Bashemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth. As to the two last, they may be reconciled by the common observation of expositors, viz. that they had both names:-Bashemath was also called Adah, and Mahalath was also called Bashemath, as their descriptions, by the names of their fathers and of their country, are alike in both places. But I cannot think that Judith, the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite, can be the same as Aholibamah bath Anah, the daughter of Zibeon, the Hivite, the same being reckoned, in ver. 25, among the children of Seir, the Horite; for, in such case, we must suppose her father and her country likewise to have double names as well as herself. I am rather inclined to think that Judith died without leaving any issue, and therefore is not mentioned here; and that Aholibamah bath Anah is the name of another wife he took in her stead; and, as to Zibeon being described in one place the Hivite, and then reckoned among the sons of Seir, the Horite, perhaps this Seir was originally a Hivite, and afterwards settled himself in Hori, which may be another name for mount Seir.
Dr. Kennicott pretends to settle it, (and Dr. Wright follows him,) by supposing an error in the Hebrew Bible, substituting, the son of Zibeon, instead of the second, daughter of Zibeon. Menasseh ben Israel falls into the same error, but not by correcting the Hebrew text; only he saith the second bath must be translated son. But, besides the absurdity of pretending to correct the Pentateuch, for the reasons alleged in chap. xxxv. this emendation bears many difficulties. First, that the same must be done in ver. 14. Secondly, it is void of truth; for, this Anah, father of Aholibamah, was not the son of Zibeon, but the son of Seir, as may be seen in ver. 20, and so on to ver. 29, where only the generations of the sons of Seir are reckoned, but not those of his grandsons: so that this Anah, mentioned in ver. 25, as father of Aholibamah bath Anah, is the fourth son of Seir, and not the son of Zibeon:which plainly shews that Dr. Kennicott's emendation is inconsistent, as being fallacious. Second, in ver. 22, Timnah is found to be sister of Lotan, and Eliphas's concubine; as in ver. 12, and in first Chronicles, chap. 1, ver. 36, Timnah is reckoned among the sons of Eliphas, notwithstanding that, in ver. 39, of chap. 1, of first Chronicles, she is said to be the sister of Lotan as well as here. This may be easily reconciled by allowing a small mistake in the original transcriber of Chronicles, which is misplacing the before phy, which ought to have been before. Then this verse 36, should be in Hebrew thus, phoy yaMI NDI, and, in English, "The sons of Eliphas, Temar, and Omar, Zephi, and Gatam, and Kenas; and Timnah bore him Amalek." And with this emendation, it will be there exactly as it is here. Third, in ver. 16, Korah is mentioned as one of the dukes of the sons of Eliphas, but in ver, 11, he is not mentioned among his sons; and it cannot mean Korah, the son of Esau, for de was born of Aholibamah; and, in ver. 16, Scripture saith these are the sons of Adah': so I must conclude that Eliphas had such a son, though he is not mentioned in ver. 11.
There is another difficulty in this chapter, which is the circumstance narrated in verses 6,7, and 8. I cannot conceive at what period of Jacob's life this could have been; for, he nad no riches till he came from Laban, and then Esau lived already in Seir, as appears in chap. xxxii. ver. 3, and in chap. xxxiii. ver. 14 and 16, unless we say it was another Seir, near Isaac's habitation, and not mount Seir, where he afterwards settled himself.
Ver. 31. I think this verse should be thus translated, viz.—
"Now these are the kings that reigned in the country of Edom, before the king that reigned cotemporary with the children of Israel." The reason I have for this emendation is, because I understand that this alludes to the king that refused the children of Israel's passing through his land, as narrated in Numbers, chap. xx. ver. 14, for, it' this were to mean, before any aking reigned over the children of Israel, as it is generally understood, (some critics pretending to prove, from this, that this passage was not written in the Pentateuch in Moses's time,) then the Hebrew expression must have been, and not ; for, the verb
never governs any other preposition than a ory, throughout the whole Scripture; so that I think the noun, which should have the before it, is here understood as an ellipsis, meaning, that reigned in Edom, the other kings here mentioned being those that reigned in the country which was afterwards called Edom; and this, I suppose, was before they were governed by dukes, as Rabbi David Kimki justly inferreth from the expression in first Chronicles, chap. i. ver. 51, which revolution might have been occasioned by Esau's
coming to reside among them, and, growing powerful, he might have abolished the kingly government, and established that of dukedoms, electing them, by common consent, partly out of the inhabitants of the land, and partly out of Esau's family; and, when he became more in power, he established kings of Edom of his own family; and Scripture telleth us here, that it was one of them that refused the children of Israel's going through his land, and none of them that are here mentioned.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXVIII.
There is a very great difficulty, in this narrative, concerning the date thereof; for, it could never be, that, at the time that Joseph was sold, Judah went down from his brethren, but it must have been long before; for, there are only twenty-two years from that period to the time of Jacob and his family's going into Egypt, as will afterwards be proved; and he carried two sons of Perez with him, as it appears in chap. xlvi. ver. 12. Now, twelve years at least must have elapsed before Er, Judah's first-born, was marriageable; and, allowing three years more for the time before his death, the marriage of Onan, and Tamar's waiting for Shelah's growing up, (Scripture declaring that it was a long while before Judah's wife died,) and Tamar's pregnancy, makes fifteen years; and twelve years more before Perez was marriageable, and two years for the birth of Perez's two sons, make twenty-nine years. So that either this date must refer to the taking of Tamar to be Er's wife, or that this date is undetermined, meaning, whenever it was that Judah went from his brethren, he went to live with Hira. And I should rather choose to make Scripture express this last supposition, being the easiest, than in the first way, as this would require an alteration in five verses, by putting them all in the preter-pluperfect tense, and keeping the sentence in suspence till ver. 6.
Note, Joseph was at least seventeen years old when he was sold; he was thirty when he interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, (as in chap. xli. ver. 46,) which make thirteen years; seven years plenty and two years famine, which was the period when Jacob went into Egypt, (as in chap. xlv. ver. 6,) make together twenty-two years as above.
Ver. 14, 21.-Note, When the name of a thing is expressed in Hebrew with two words, as here, in ver. 14, Petah Enaim, one of them is often left out, and yet it means the same; as in ver. 21, it is called only Enaim, though it means Petah Enaim; vide observations on Numbers, chap. iii. ver. 31.-Note, This is the name of a place, and not in an oven place, as in the English Bible.
Ver. 15. This digression seems to be entirely unconnected with the general history, but I suppose it was introduced here to inform us of the extraordinary event that brought about the birth of Perez, from whom afterwards David descended, and from him the future Messiah. Note, When a history of some duration is narrated, the expression at that time must not necessarily refer to the beginning, but may refer to any intermediate period, or to the last.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXXIX,
Ver. 4. The Hebrew verb, n, means a more honourable service than that of a slave,
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLI.
Ver. 16. The meaning of this verse is this:-"Were I to give an interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams of my own accord, it would certainly be favourable to Pharaoh; but, besides that, God will answer Pharaoh favourably."-Note, The same word, with the pronoun of the second person joined to it, is found in ver. 44, and rendered by the English translator, without thee, and means the same as I have rendered it here.
Ver. 34. This, in my opinion, refers to the event at the end of the famine, in chap. xlvii. ver. 24, and the pronoun he refers to Pharaoh.
Ver. 56, 57. The verb and he sold, in ver. 56, and to sell, in ver. 57, being expressed by in Hebrew, which also signifies corn; that accusative is here fairly understood. Vide observations on chap. xxxiv. ver. 1.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLII.
I have to observe on this chapter, that, in this first dialogue of Joseph with his brethren, it appears as if they, of their own accord, had told Joseph that they had another brother, who was with their father, without being asked by him concerning their family; but that was not the case, for he certainly did ask them relative to it, as appears from their rehearsal to their father in chap. xliii. ver. 7, for, that was not an excuse made by them to appease their father's anger, but was an undoubted fact, as we see it related in their last dialogue with Joseph, in chap. xliv. before he made himself known to them. And this method is very common in Scripture, when a narrative is repeated once or twice to explain in one passage what is deficient in the other.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLIII. XLIV. XLVI. XLVII. XLVIII, & XLIX
Ver. 33. And they sat before him. I apprehend that he must have direcied how they were to be seated: for, if they had seated themselves, there would be no room for wondering at the regularity of their order according to their ages.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLIV. Ver. 10. This verse requires a correction in the translation, and should be rendered thus :" And he said, now also, according unto your words, so should it be: but he, with whom it is found, shall be my servant, &c." as the sentence that he pronounced is not the same that they proposed; for, they had offered themselves, all of them, as slaves, and Benjamin to be put to death; and he declares them all clear, except Benjamin.-Note, I do not know by what account Dr. Wright guesses Benjamin to be about twenty-four years old. He must have spoken at random; for, he was born in the way when Jacob came from Laban, as appears in chap. XXXV. ver. 9, and chap. xlviii. ver. 7. So that he was only six or seven years younger than Joseph, and, in course, at this time, he must have been about thirty-two or thirty-three years old.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLVI. Ver. 3. The article the omitted here is wrong; for, as, in verse 1, he offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac, now God tells him that it is the same God that speaks to him now: therefore, after the God of thy father, “ Isaac" is understood.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLVII. Ver. 11. In the best of the land, 8c. This verse should be transposed, as I think that this partof it cometh to explain where he placed thein, otherwise
the first sentence is not complete ; but, he gave them possession, 8c. I understand to be a new information in consequence thereof; the translation should therefore be rendered thus:-“ And Joseph placed his father and his brethren in the best of the land, in the country of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded : so. he gave them a possession in the land of Egypt.'
Ver. 13. The Hebrew expression, boy, means that they were at a loss, not knowing what to do, because of the famine, for the reasons alleged in the next versc. Aben Ezra.
Ver. 18. Expositors conclude, from this verse, that the famine lasted but two years, instead of seven, which, they say, was occasioned through Jacob's merit. But I cannot think that this verse is a sufficient proof of their assertion; for, this second year refers only to the time that their distress began for want of money, and that might be the fifth year of the famine; and, as a farther proof that this second year was expected to be the last, the people, in ver. 19, ask Joseph to give them seed, which they would not do if they had not known that it was the last year of the famine, Besides, according to their notion, this must have been the third year; for, the first year they spent their mouey, the second their cattle, and the third their bodies and land.
Ver. 24. It was this event that Joseph had binted at in his advice in chap. xli. ver. 34, after he had interpreted Pharaoh's dreams.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XLVIII. Ver.14. The Hebrew expression, translated in the English Bible-guiding his hands wittingly, is used in Scripture to express two meanings quite opposite to one another, viz. skilfully or unskilfully. I shall not determine which is the properest in this sentence; but this is certain, that, if the first be adopted, the next sentence should be rendered, althmigh Manasseh was the first-born; but, if the second meaning of this word is preferred, then it inust stand, because Munusseh was the first-born.