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SECTION LIV

THE FUNERAL OF JACOB.

From Genesis, Chap. l. AND Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel.

And forty days were fulfilled for Jacob (for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed); and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, if now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die : in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Ca. naan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.

And Pharaoh said, Go up and bury thy father, according as he made, thee swear.

And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt.

And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house : only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.

And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.

And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great Vol. I.

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and very sore lamentation ; and he made a mourning for his father seven days.

And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaan. ites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians : wherefore the name of it was called Abel mizraim, which is beyond Jordan.

And his sons did unto him. according as he commanded them.

For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field, for a possession of a burġing place, of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father,

And when Joseph's brethren sawihat their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. ! And they sent messengers, unto Jcseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, - So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin ; for they did unto thee evil : and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face : and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

And Joseph said, unto them, Fear not; for I am in the place of God:

But as for you, ye thought evil against me ; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

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Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you; and your little ones.

And he comforted them, and spake. kindly upto them,

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ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS We find, that Joseph, like a dutiful sop, fulglled ther: dying request of his honoured and, lamented parenti and followed his dear remains with every circumstance of

respect that affection could suggest, or his own princely rank require in the eye of the world. Embalm: ing was an honour usually paid to the deceased in the land of Egypt; the manner of performing it is said to have been this : the bowels were taken out, washedje and secured from putrefaction by some powerful drugs, the whole body was anointed with oil of cedar, wita myrrh, cinnamon, and other costly things, for about thirty days, by which means it was preserved entires without so much as losing the hair ; after this, it was put in salt of nitre forty days; lastly, the body was taken out of the salt, washed and curiously wrapped in linen dipped in myrrh, and rubbed with a certain gum that the Egyptians used instead of glue; then it was put into a coffin, on the upper part of which was ress presented the deceased person ; it was also adorned with curious embellishinents ;. the nearest relations usually kept these coffins in their houses,

Bodies thus pres? served are called mummies ; and there are many remaining to this day, though the custom of embalming: has long been discontinued.

112 As Joseph had engaged to carry his father to such a distance, it was very necessary he should use every pre-l caution for preserving the body, because it would haver been, before they arrived at the cave' of Machpelah, in such a state of putrefaction, as would have endangered

the healths of the attendants on the funeral solemnity; besides, it is necessary, in many instances, for foreigners to comply with the customs of a country they have long resided in.

It certainly must have been a painful office for Joseph and his brethren to follow their dear father's remains' so many miles ;- sometimes we may suppose them shedding tears of tender sorrow, for the loss of so affectionate a friend, recollecting a thousand instances of parental love ; sometimes contemplating his character in those instances which procured him the favour of God, and drawing comfort from the hopes, that he enjoyed this ineffable blessing in a superlative degree ; elevating their own souls with ardent wishes to obtain the same glorious reward, and forming resolutions to follow the example of their pious parent.

When they had performed the funeral rites, and deposited the body of Israel by the venerable remains of his honoured ancestors, Joseph returned, attended by his brethren, to the land of Egypt; for he would nei. ther break his promise to Pharaoh, nor desert the office to which he had been appointed, as the whole land of Egypt would have been thrown into confusion by his resignation, because there was not another person qualified to fill his place.

Notwithstanding the numberless instances which Joseph had given his brethren of his sincere affection and perfect forgiveness, they could not divest themselves of the fear that his resentment, which might have been restrained by respect for his father, would break out again : so hard is it for the guilty conscience to be at rest! Their hearts told them what offences they had committed against their brother in his helpless youth ; and they well knew, that they had no title to his affection, but what was founded upon the goodness of his own dis

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position. With what amiable tenderness did he receive their message, and afterwards assure them of his protec. tion!

As Joseph acted towards his brethren, so should all peoople act towards their relations. If a brother or sister have

offended, we should never suffer resentment break out either in violent reproaches, or retaliation of injuries ; but seek out occasions of recalling their love, by acts of kind. ness and friendship. Let us think how often we offend God, who bestows more benefits on us than we can possibly do on any creature. He forgives us ; we should then forgive one another, more especially those who are nearly allied to us, and who have a natural claim to our affection.

SECTION LV.

THE DEATH OF JOSEPH.

From Genesis, Chap. I.

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And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house : and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years,

And Joseph saw Ephraim's children, of the third generation: the children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were brought up upon Joseph's knees.

And Joseph said unto his father's house, I die; and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware tò Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

i And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt; and all that generation died.

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ANNOTA

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