Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

parental affection overcame all his objections to a removal.

Jacob does not seem to have had any particular pleasure in reflecting on Joseph's exaltation and riches; it was enough for this affectionate father, that his long lost son was yet alive. He had no wish so great as that of beholding him once more before he died.

It was by the express conimand of God, thal Jacob fixed his abode in Canaan ; and we may suppose that he was acquainted with the prediction spoken by the Lord to Abraham. Thy seed shall be a stranger in a "landwhich is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years *. So that when he was "required to move with all his family into Egypt, it was natural for him to have dread and apprehensions. The present situation of his affairs was critical ; and however indifferent it n.ight be to him individually, in what part of the world he should reside, for the short - remainder of his days, as Heir of the Promises, it was of material consequence to obtain direction from God : with this view we may suppose, as well as to testify his gratitude, the patriarch offered sacrifices at Beer-sheba, which was in the way to Egypt, and on the utmost borders of Canaan to the south.

It must have been a great consolation to Jacob ta have had his fears quieted by a Divine Promise, before he took his last farewell of that country, in which he was born, and on which his hopes respecting the future prosperity of his family were fixed.

With what beautiful simplicity has the sacred historian described the interview between Joseph and his fa. ther! It evidently appears, that neither grandeur nor riches had any charms for Jacob; all the affections of his soul were at that instant collected together in the fuloess of paternal love. He felt in that happy mo* Gen. xv. 13.

ment,

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

ment, consolation for years of sorrow, the height of hunjan felicity ; and was contented to resign his life, since he had attained the summit of his desires.

« * The land of Goshen was situated in the eastern parts of Egypt, between the Red Sea and the river Nile, upon the borders of Canaan. It was a fruitful spot, every way fit for pasturage. This country was separated from Egypt, and on this account particularly desirable to the Israelites, as they might keep themselves in a body without endangering their religion or manners, by mixing with the Egyptians, and without incurring the envy or odium of the nation, as they would have done had they lived among shem, and shared any power or profit in the government. They were also very conveniently fixed for returning into Canaan, whenever it should please God to command them to leave Egypt.

“ The Egyptians held shepherds in general in ab, borrence, because they killed their gods, for the Egyptians worshipped sheep among a number of other idols ; and their aversion to shepherds was probably increased by the great oppression and tyranny they had endured from the Phænician shepherds, who had before penetrated into their country, made great devastations, and for a considerable time kept possession of it.” But, upon whatever account it was that shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians, we must consider it as a great instance of Joseph's modesty and love of truth that he was not ashamed of an employment so mean in itself, and so vile in their eyes. It is observable, that he did not boast of his descent from Abraham, a mighty prince, or stile his father Israel, a prince of God: his pleasure and ambition were to shew forth the wonderful goodness of God, in bringing hin from so low 2 condition in life to such power and grandeur.

* Siackhouse on the Bible.
M 6

The

The post to which Pharaoh appointed Joseph's brethrer was an honourable one, in reference to the occupation which they had themselves made choice of.

In what terms Jacob pronounced a blessing on Pha raoh we are not told ; but we may conclude, that he expressed gratitude for the benefits conferred on himself and his family, and wished the king prosperity and happi

ness.

upon earth.

If we reflect on the various calamities which had beFallén Jacob, sirice he first left his father's house, we may easily conceive why he said his days had been evil ; and he had not yet attained to the age of his progenitors.

It is remarkable, that in his answer to Pharaoh, Jacob called his life a pilgrimage ; and we find from several texts of Scripture*, that the patriarchs, and other good men, considered themselves as strangers and sojourners

This idea the Apostle to the Hebrews enlarges upon, and observest, that those who confessed themselves strangers and pilgrims, plainly declared, that they sought a country, which, he observes, could not be that from whence they came out, becáúse, to that they might have returned; but they sought a better, even an heavenly country. It may be inferred, that Jacob's hopes were actually fixed upon an heavenly state, since he was not at all elated with the prosperity that smiled upon him, neither did he lament his leaving Canaan.

Joseph's happiness must have been very great, in seeing his venerable parent, and all his relations, so happily settled around him.

From Joseph's advice to his brethren, see that ye fall not out by the way, a very instructive lesson may be learnt. How frequently does it happen, that children of the same family disagree concerning the gifts or legacies bestowed by relations, if one among them has a larger portion than * Ps. xxx.ix, 12. + Heb. xi. 13, 14, &c.

the

the rest. These contentions are not likely to benefit any ; on the contrary, such animosities destroy that concord which is of greater value than much treasure ; and prevent the intercourse of good offices, which affords more substantial pleasures than riches can purchase. :. The lesson may be extended farther; for if Christians in general consider human life as a pilgrimage, surely it must appear the height of folly to fall out with their fellow-travellers by the way, about straws and pebbles ; when they are journeying towards a country where treasures of inestimable value will be bestowed on each of them, if they love one another, and live in other respects as their Heavenly Father requires.

SECTION LII.

THE EGYPTIANS SELL THEMSELVES TO PHARAOH.

From Genesis, Chap. xlvii.

AND there was no bread in all the land; for the fa. mine was very sore ; so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.

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. .

And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

And they brought their cattle unto Joseph : and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the catole of the herds, and for the

asses:

asses : and he fed them with bread, for all their cattle, for that year.

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.

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.

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 Pha. raoh's. And

as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt, even to the other end thereof.

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.

Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day, and your land, for Pharaoh : lo, here is seed for

and

you, ye

shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that you 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 housholds, and for food for your little ones.

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.

And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt

unto

« EdellinenJatka »