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unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It evidently appears, that the famine in the land of Egypt was designed as a judgment on the people, not on the king, for while the former were reduced to slavery, the latter was raised to the highest pitch of affluence.
On a superficial view, Joseph seems to have had a partial regard for the king ; but we find that the people conplied willingly with his requisition, and there is no doubt but that he did right, as he was in this matter guided by unerring wisdom. In respect to the cattle, they were a burden to the Egyptians, if they had no pasturage ; and the extremities of famine would have reduced the people to live entirely upon flesh, which would have been hurtful to their constitutions ; so that by giving them corn in exchange, Pharaoh certainly conferred an immediate benefit upon his subjects.
What is in this section called the second year, was, in reality, the last
of the famine. It is to be observed, that the Egyptians voluntarily offered to resign their lands, and sell themselves as slaves to Pharaoh ; and it will be found, that in making the purchase, he had their welfare in view. We may suppose, by Joseph's removing them from their usual abodes, that there were some irregularities among them that required a reform.
The priests of Egypt consisted of all the nobility of the land; they filled the chief offices in the government, and it is likely that they had shewn a dutiful attachment to their sovereign, though they were idolaters; on which account Pharaoh right be actuated by gratitude, as well as veneration, when he forbore to reduce then to a state of slavery.
It is apparent that Joseph had the good of the people at heart, as well as that of the king in the measures he pursued; for no sooner had the former submitted, as the exigencies of the state required, than he restored them their liberties, and allotted them a portion of land, with a right to cultivate it for their own advantage, reserving only a fifth part for the expences of government; a tax which so fertile a country as Egypt could very well bear ; especially as it required but little trouble or charge to cultivate it. This measure appeared very reasonable to the Egyptians, who, sensible that they could not have managed so well for themselves, gratefully ascribed the preservation of their lives to their humane governor.
Joseph's conduct in the character of governor of Egypt, affords an excellent example to persons intrusted with the administration of public affairs. His situation was very critical, but the wisdom of his plans, and his equity in the execution of them, obtained him the esteem of all parties.
DEATH OF JACOB. From Genesis, Chap. xlvii. and xlviii. And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt in the country of Goshen ; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years : so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
And the time drew 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.
But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place ; and he said, I will do as thou hast said.
And he said, Swear unto me; and he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.
And 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.
And one told Jacob, and said, Behold thy son Joseph cometh unto thee ; and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
And Jacob said unto Joseph, God ALMIGHTY ap. peared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
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.
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.
And thy issue which thou shalt have after them shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.
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 Ephrach, the same is Bethlehem.
And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these? 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. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he
could not see well ; and Joseph brought them near unte him ; and Jacob kissed them, and embraced them.
And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face; and lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.
And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
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.
And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upor Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head; guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first born.
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, 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 inidst of the earth.
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.
And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father ; for this is the first born; fut thy right hand upon his head.
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.
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.
And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die : but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.
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.
And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather your selves together, that I may tell
that which shall befal you in the last days.
Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob ; and hearken unto Israel your
father. Reuben, thou art my first-born; the excellency of dig. nity, and the excellency of power; unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.'
Simeon and Levi are brethren : instruments of cruelty are in their habitations :
O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united ; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall.
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.
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.
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 old lion; who shall rouse him
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come ; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Binding bis foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice yine ; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.