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ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS,
Joseph was about 56 years old when his father died; and we find, that he lived a long time after this. It is presumed, that he continued to the last in the high post to which Pharaoh had appointed him. Whether any
of his own brethren survived him we are not told. Before his death, his father's house had multiplied greatly; and all the people of it, according to the usage of the times, were called his brethren. ad. When the hour of his death approached, Joseph had, by Divine inspiration, à certain assurance of the accomplishment of the predictions made known to him by Jacob, that the Israelites would be settled at a fu. ture time in Canaan; and the command he gave concerning his remains, is reckoned by the Apostle to the Hebrews as a proof of his faith*. Many reasons might restrain Joseph from desiring to be interred immediately after his decease in Machpelah : it certainly was best, : 00 all accounts, that Joseph's bones should continue with
the Israelites, as a mean of strengthening and confirming - their faith, in the Lord's promises respecting the land of Canaan, which it is plain Joseph himself firmly be.
lieved. 1. From the eventful history of this Patriarch, we may ipfer, that every situation in human life affords suffi. cient opportunities for the cultivation of virtuous habits, and the performance of good actions. We also learn the value of virtuous and religious principles early sown, and deeply rooted in the heart. From his father's house Joseph brought treasures, which, even in a state of slavery, he could call his own; and which procured for
* Heb. xi. 22.
him what gold and silver could not have purchased, the favour of the Lord, and the esteem of mankind. We are likewise instructed, that the fear of God, and a serious regard to his authority, is the best preservative against criminal indulgencies, that adversity often proves the means of exaltation, that the proper use of power and riches is to employ them in promoting the general happiness of mankind, and of our relations in particular, and that a sted fast reliance on Divine Providence will support the mind under the most afflicting evils that can possibly befal us.
THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE ISRAELITES, THE BIRTH
From Exodus, Chap. i. and ii.
And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier
and so get
Come on, let us deal wisely with them ; lest they multiply, and it come to pass that when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us,
up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them task masters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure-cities, Pithom and Raamses. N 4
But the more they afflicted then, the niore they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour. And they made their lives bitter, with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service ia the field : all their service wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born to the Hebrews, ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
And there went a man of the house of Levi, whose name was Amram*, and took to wife a daughter of Levi, whose name was Jochebedt.
And the woman þare a son : and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
And when she could no longer hide him, she took for bim an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the filags by the river's brink.
And his sister stood afar off, to wit what should be done to him.
And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash her. self at the river : and her maidens walked along by the river's side: and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and behold the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee.
And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. * Exod, vi, 20.
And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pha. raoh's daughter and he became her son, and she called his name Moses; and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The kings of Egypt were all called Pharaoh, though they had names besides ; the monarch, in whose reigo Moses was born, came from another country, and had conquered the Egyptians: this accounts for his paying no respect either to the memory of Joseph, or the law. ful establishment which the children of Israel had obtained by a royal grant from a former monarch ; nor can we wonder that this king should be jealous of a people, who multiplied and flourished in so remarkable
The original word here translated task-masters, properly signifies tax-gatherers; and the burdens are afterwards mentioned as distinct things, under another name ; so that the resolution of council was, to lay heavy tributes upon the Israelites to impoverish, and heavy burdens to weaken them. Among other laborious works, it is supposed they were employed in building the famous Pyramids, in testimony of the splendor of the kings of Egypt, and as repositories for the dead bodies of those proud and cruel monarchs,
The treasure cities, mentioned in this section, are said to have been the places in which the kings of Egypt, a greeably to the custom introduced by Joseph, laid up N 5
their stores of grain ; but others conjecture that they were fortified cities.
What an inhuman wretch must Pharaoh have been, to command little innocent babes to be thrown into the river, unmindful of the pangs of their afflicted mothers !
The method which Jochebed employed to save her infant, proved, that she believed in the omnipotent power of God; for it was very unlikely that his life should be preserved in an ark of bulrushes ; especially in a river filled by an inundation, which, perhaps, was at that time daily increasing, and of which the direful crocodile was an inhabitant. Scripture teaches us to regard Jochebed in this instance as an example of faith * ; and we may conceive that we behold her
* With invocations to the living God,
What her sensations were, when she consigned her dear babe to the watery element, let the fond mother imagine!
It must be regarded as an interposition of Providence, that Pharaoh's daughter should come to the place just at that juncture; and that she should commit the child to the care of his own niother. It was a great act of niercy in this princess to run such a hazard of incurring the displeasure of her cruel father, and the censure of the public; but the babe wept, and she could not resist the eloquence of its cries and tears : she kindly redeemed him from the waves, and resolved to nurture him as her own, though he was of a mean and ignoble birth, and sprung from a race of strangers despised by the Egyptians.
* Heb. xi. 23,
Miss More's Sacred Dramas.