« PreviousContinue »
naments which it was esteemed decent for virgins | sent me to you, being desirous to take this dam-
Isaac married her, the inheritance being now
CHAP. XVII. the mother of the damsel, addressing himself to her, Abraham is the son of Terah, and a kinsman
OF ABRAHAM'S DEATH AND BURIAL. of yours: for Nahor, the grandfather of these A LITTLE while after this, Abraham died ;f he children, was the brother of Abraham, by both was a man of incomparable virtue, and honoured father and mother, upon which account he hath by God in a manner agreeable to his piety toa manner as sometimes to have the arm covered with them from outward adorning, of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or the wrist to the elbow. Poor people wear as many of glass or of putting on apparel. 1 Pet. ii. 3. See also Psalm xlv. 9, 13. horn. They hardly ever take them off. They are their riches. Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.-Her Harmer's Observations, vol. ii. p. 500.
clothing is of wrought gold. B. Among the several female ornaments which Abraham sent * Gen. xxiv. 59. by his servant, whom he employed to search out a wife for his + When Rebeka was sent away, it appears that her nurse ac. son Isaac, were jewels of silver and jewels of gold, exclusive of companied her. Nurses were formerly held in very high es. raiment, which probably was very rich and valuable for the age teem, and considered as being entitled to constant and lasting in which Abraham lived. Rich and splendid apparel, especially regard. “The nurse in an Eastern family is always an importsuch as was adorned with gold, was very general in the eastern ant personage. Modern travellers inform us, that in Syria she nations, from the earliest ages: and as the fashions and customs is considered as a sort of second parent, whether she has been of the Orientals are not subject to much variation, so we find foster-mother or otherwise. She always accompanies the bride that this propensity to golden ornaments, prevails even in the to her husband's house, and ever remains there an honoured present age, among the females in the countries bordering on character. Thus it was in ancient Greece.” Siege of Acre, Judea. Thus Mungo Park, in the account of his travels in b. ii. p. 35. Note. Africa, mentions the following singular circumstance, respecting Rebeka upon leaving her family received their blessing. the ornamental part of the dress of an African lady. * “ It is Nuptial benedictions were used both by the Jews, Greeks, and evident from the account of the process by which negroes ob- Romans. That of the Jews was in this form : “ Blessed be thou, tain gold in Manding, that the country contains a considerable O Lord, who hast created man and woman, and ordained marportion of this precious metal. A great part is converted into | riage," &c. This was repeated every day during the wedding ornaments for the women: and when a lady of consequence is week, provided there were new guests. The Grecian form of in full dress, the gold about her person may be worth, altogether, benediction was, apadn tuxn. The Latin was, Quod faustum from fifty to eighty pounds sterling."
felixque sit. The Jews constantly made use of the same form, We find also that the same disposition for rich ornamental | but the Greeks and Romans frequently varied theirs: a beneapparel prevailed in the times of the Apostles; for St. Peter diction, however, in some form, was always used. See Selden cautioned the females of quality in the first ages of Christianity, de Jure, N. et G. 1. 5. c. 19. B. when they adorned themselves, not to bave it consist in the # An. 1862.
that he saw a ladder which reached from the earth be afraid of the many labours thou must undergo, unto heaven, and persons descending down the for by my providence I will direct thee what thou ladder that seemed more excellent than human ; art to do in the time present, and still more in the and at last God himself stood above it, and calling time to come.” him by his name, said, “O Jacob, it is not fit for Such were the predictions which God made to thee, who art the son of a good father, and grand- Jacob. Whereupon he became very joyful at what son to one who had obtained a great reputation for he had seen and heard; and he poured oil upon his eminent virtue, to be dejected at thy present the stones,* because on them the prediction of circumstances, but to hope for better times. For such great benefits was made. He also vowed a thou shalt have great abundance of all good things, vow that he would offer sacrifice upon them, if he by my assistance. For I brought Abraham hither, lived and returned safe: and if he came again in out of Mesopotamia, when he was driven away by such a condition, he would give the tithe of what his kinsmen; and I made thy father a happy man. he had gotten to God. He also judged the place Nor will I bestow an inferior degree of happiness to be honourable, and gave it the name of Bethel; on thyself. Be of good courage, therefore ; and which, if explained in the Greek tongue, is the under my conduct, proceed on thy journey; for the House of God. marriage thou goest so zealously about shall be He then proceeded on his journey to Mesopoconsummated. And thou shalt have children of good tamia, and at length came to Haran, and meeting characters; whose multitude shall be innumerable. with shepherds in the suburbs, with boys grown And they shall leave what they have to a still more up and maidens sitting round a certain well, he numerous posterity; to whom, and to whose pos- stayed with them, as wanting water to drink; terity, I give the dominion of all the land, and their and beginning to discourse with them, he asked posterity shall fill the earth, so far as the sun be- them whether they knew such an one as Laban? holds them. But do not thou fear any danger, nor and whether he were still alive? they all said they
* One of the idols in the Pagoda of Juggernaut is described, from Major Symes's narrative of his Embassy to the kingdom of | by Captain Hamilton, as a huge black stone, of a pyramidical Ava. The temples of that people, vast as many of them are,
form, and the Sammona Codom of the Siamese is of the same are built without cavity of any sort, and he only mentions some complexion. The Ayeen Akbery mentions an octagonal pillar of the most ancient of those at Pagahım as constructed otherwise. of black stone fifty cubits high. Tavernier observed an idol of The following extract will sufficiently illustrate this matter: black stone in the Pagoda of Benares, and that the statue of “ The object in Pegu that most attracts, and most merits no. Chreeshna, in his celebrated temple of Mathura, is of black tice, is the noble edifice of Shoemadoo, or the golden supreme. marble. It is very remarkable, that one of the principal cere- This is a pyramidical building, composed of brick and mortar, monies incumbent upon the priests of these stone deities, ac- without excavation or aperture of any sort: octagonal at the cording to Tavernier, is to anoint them daily with odoriferous base, and spiral at the top. Each side of the base measures one oils; a circumstance which immediately brings to our remem- hundred and sixty-two feet. The extreme height of the edifice, brance the similar practice of Jacob, who, after the famous from the level of the country, is three hundred and sixty-one vision of the celestial ladder, took the stone which he had put feet, and above the interior terrace three hundred and thirty-one for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon | feet. Along the whole extent of the northern face of the upper the top of it. It is added, that he called the name of that place, terrace there is a wooden shed for the convenience of devotees, Bethel ; that is, the house of God. This passage evinces of how who come from a distant part of the country. There are several great antiquity is the custom of considering stones in a sacred low benches near the foot of the temple, on which the person, light, as well as the anointing them with consecrated oil. From who comes to pray, places his offering, commonly consisting of this conduct of Jacob, and this Hebrew appellative, the learned boiled rice, a plate of sweetmeats, or cocoa-nuts fried in oil; Bochart, with great ingenuity and reason, insists that the name when it is given, the devotee cares not what becomes of it; the and veneration of the sacred stones, called Baetyti, so celebrated crows and wild dogs often devour it in the presence of the donor, in all pagan antiquity, were derived. These Baetyti were stones who never attempts to disturb the animals. I saw several plates of a round form; they were supposed to be animated by means of victuals disposed of in this manner, and understood it was the of magical incantations, with a portion of the Deity; they were case with all that was brought. consulted on occasions of great and pressing emergency, as
« The temple of Shoedagan, about two miles and a half north a kind of divine oracles, and were suspended, either round the of Rangoon, is a very grand building, although not so high, by neck, or some other part of the body. Thus the setting up of a twenty-five or thirty feet, as that of Shoemadoo, at Pegu. The stone by this holy person, in grateful memory of the celestial terrace on which it stands is raised on a rocky eminence, convision, probably became the occasion of the idolatry in succeed- siderably higher than the circumjacent country, and is ascended ing ages, to these shapeless masses of unhewn stone, of which | by above a hundred stone steps. The name of this temple, 80 many astonishing remains are scattered up and down the which signifies Golden Dagon, naturally recalls to mind the Asiatic and the European world. Maurice's Indian Antiquities, passage in the scriptures, where the house of Dagon is menvol. ii. p. 355.
tioned, and the image of idolatry bows down before the Holy Jacob calls the pillar which he had set up, God's house. It | Ark.” appears strange to us to hear a stone pillar called God's house, “ Many of the most ancient temples at Pagahm are not solid being accustomed to give names of this kind to such buildings at the bottom: a well-arched dome supports a ponderous suonly as are capable of containing their worshippers within them. perstructure ; and, within, an image of Gaudona sits en. But this is not the case in every part of the world, as we learn shrined.” B.
knew him, for he was not so inconsiderable a per- || Laban; and being owned by his uncle, he was son as to be unknown to any of them; and that secure himself, as being among his friends; to his daughter fed her father's flock together with whom his unexpected arrival gave great pleasure. them: and that, indeed, they wondered she was But a little while afterward, Laban told him that not yet come, “ for by her means," said they, he could not express in words the joy he had at " thou mightest learn more exactly whatever thou his coming ; but still he inquired why he left his desirest to know about that family." While they aged mother and father, when they wanted to be were speaking, the damsel came, and the other taken care of by him; and that he would afford shepherds that came with her. Then they showed him all the assistance he wanted. Then Jacob her Jacob, and told her, that he was a stranger gave him an account of the whole occasion of his who came to inquire about her father's affairs. journey, and told him that Isaac had twin sons, But she, being pleased, after the custom of chil himself and Esau; and that his brother having dren, with Jacob's coming, asked him who he was? failed of his father's prayers, which by his mother's and whence he came ? and what it was he wanted, wisdom were put up for him, sought to kill him ; that he came thither ? She also wished it might as deprived of the kingdom* which was to be given be in their power to supply his wants.
him of God; and of the blessings for which their Jacob was quite overcome, not so much by father prayed; and that this was the occasion of their kindred, nor by that affection which might his coming hither, as his mother had commanded arise thence, as by his love to the damsel, and his him. “ For,” said he, “we are all brethren one surprise at her beauty, which was such as few of to another; but our mother esteems an alliance the women of that age could vie with. He then with your family more than she does one with the said, “ There is a relation between thee and me, families of the country; so I look upon yourself elder than either of our births, if thou be the and God to be the supporters of my travels, and daughter of Laban. For Abraham was the son think myself safe in my present circumstances." of Terah, as well as Haran and Nahor. Of the Laban now promised to treat him with great last of whom, Nahor, Bethuel thy grandfather was humanity, both on account of his ancestors, and the son: Isaac my father was the son of Abraham particularly for the sake of his mother; towards and of Sarah, who was the daughter of Haran. whom he said he would show his kindness, even But there is a nearer and later cement of mutual though she were absent, by taking care of him kindred which we bear to one another. For my For he assured him he would make him the head mother Rebeka was sister to Laban, thy father, shepherd of his flock, and gave him authority suffiboth by the same father and mother. I, therefore, cient for that purpose ; and when he should be inand thou, are cousin-germans, and I am now come clined to return to his parents, he would send him to salute thee, and to renew that affinity which is back with presents, and this in as honourable a proper between us.”. At the mention of Rebeka, manner as their consanguinity should require. the damsel wept, and that out of the kindness she Jacob heard these promises gladly; and said he had for her father, and embraced Jacob: she would willingly undergo any sort of pains while he having learned an account of Rebeka from her tarried with him; but desired as the reward of those father, and knew that her parents loved to hear pains that he might be permitted to marry Rachel, her named; and when she had saluted him, she who was not only on other accounts esteemed by said, that he brought the most desirable and him; but also because she was the means of his comgreatest pleasure to her father, with all their ing to him ; for he said he was forced by the love of family, who was always mentioning his mother, the damsel to make this proposal. Laban was and always thinking of her, and her alone; " and pleased with this agreement, and consented to this,” said she, “ will make thee equal in his eyes give the damsel to him, if he would stay with him to any advantageous circumstance whatsoever.” some time; for he was not willing to send his Then she bid him follow her, while she conducted daughter to be among the Canaanites; for he rehim to her father, not wishing to deprive Laban pented of the alliance he had made already by of such a pleasure, by staying any longer away marrying his sister there. And when Jacob had from him.
given his consent to this, he agreed to serve his When she had said thus, she brought him to father-in-law seven years, that by giving a speci
* By this deprivation of the kingdom that was to be given which was expected under the Messiah ; who, therefore, was to Esau of God, as the first-born;
it appears that Josephus thought be born of his posterity whom Isaac should so bless. Jacob, a kingdom to be derived of God was due to him whom Isaac | therefore, by obtaining this blessing of the first-born, became should bless as his first-born: which I take to be that kingdom | the genuine heir of that kingdom, in opposition to Esau.
men of his virtue, it might be better known what ples of mandrakes to his mother. When Rachel sort of a man he was. When the stated time was saw them, she desired that she would give her expired, Laban made the wedding feast, but when the apples, for she longed to eat them; but when it was night, without Jacob's perceiving it, he put she refused, and bid her be content that she had his other daughter into bed to him; who was both deprived her of the benevolence she ought to have elder than Rachel, and of no comely countenance. had from her husband, Rachel, in order to mitiJacob slept with her that night; but when it was gate her sister's anger, said she would yield her day he knew what had been done to him, and husband to her that evening. She accepted of the complained of this unfair proceeding: Laban ask- favour, and Jacob slept with Lea, who bare then ed pardon for that necessity which forced him to these sons; Issachar, denoting one born by hire; do what he did; for he said he did not give him and Zebulon, one born as a pledge of benevolence Lea out of any ill design, but as overcome by an- towards her; and a daughter, Dina. After some other greater necessity; that, notwithstanding time Rachel had a son, named Joseph, which this, nothing should hinder him from marrying signified there should be another added to him. Rachel; but that when he had served another Now Jacob fed the flocks of Laban all this time, seven years, he would give him her whom he loved. being twenty years,f after which he desired perJacob submitted to this condition ; for his love to mission to take his wives, and go home; but when the damsel did not permit him to do otherwise ; his father-in-law would not give him leave, he and when seven years more were expired, he took contrived to do it secretly. He made trial, thereRachel to wife.*
fore, of the disposition of his wives, what they Now each of these had handmaids, by their thought of this journey. When they appeared father's donation. Zilpha was handmaid to Lea, glad, and approved of it, Rachel took along with and Bilba to Rachel ; by no means slaves, but her the images of the gods, which, according to subject to their mistresses. Now Lea was sorely their laws, they used to worship in their own troubled at her husband's love to her sister; and country, and ran away, together with her sister. she expected she should be better esteemed if she Their children also, and their handmaids, and bare him children. She therefore entreated God what possessions they had, went along with them. perpetually, and when she had borne a son, and Jacob also drove away half the cattle, without her husband was on that account better recon- letting Laban known of it beforehand: but the ciled to her, she named her son Reubel, because reason why Rachel took the images of the gods, God had had mercy upon her in giving her a son, although Jacob had taught her to despise such for that is the signification of this name. After worship, was this, that in case they were pursued some time she bare three more sons; Simeon, and taken by her father, she might have recourse which name signifies that God had hearkened to to these images, in order to obtain his pardon. her prayer; Levi, the confirmer of their friend- Laban, after one day, being acquainted with ship, and Judah, which denotes thanksgiving. Jacob's and his daughters' departure, was much But Rachel, fearing lest the fruitfulness of her troubled, and pursued after them, leading a band sister should estrange Jacob's affection from her- of men with him ; and on the seventh day overself, gave him her handmaid Bilba, by whom took them, and found them resting on a certain Jacob had Dan: one may interpret that name hill; but he did not then meddle with them, for it into the Greek tongue, a divine judgment; and was eventide. God stood by him in a dream, the after him Nephthalim, as it were unconquerable same night, and warned him to receive his son-inin stratagems; since Rachel tried to conquer the law and his daughters in a peaceable manner, and fruitfulness of her sister by this stratagem. Ac- not to venture upon any thing rashly, or in wrath cordingly Lea took the same method, and used a to them, but to make a league with Jacob; ascounter-stratagem to that of her sister's; for she suring him that if he despised their small number, gave Jacob her own handmaid Zilpha, by whom and attacked them in a hostile manner, he would he had a son, whose name was Gad, which may himself assist them. be interpreted fortune; and after him Asher, which Laban having been thus forewarned by God, may be called a happy man, because he added called Jacob to him the next day, in order to treat glory to Lea.
with him, and showed him what dream he had; Now Reubel, the eldest son of Lea, brought ap- in dependence whereon he came confidently to him, and began to accuse him, alleging that he ters, hard as it was, I own to have been tolerable : had entertained him when he was poor, and in but as to those that were put upon me after those want, and had given him plenty of all things which marriages, they were worse, and such, indeed, as he had ; “ For," said he, “I have joined my daugh- any enemy would have avoided.” For certainly ters to thee in marriage, and supposed that thy Laban had used Jacob very ill; for when he saw kindness to me would be greater than before; but that God was assisting to Jacob in all that he dethou hast had no regard to either thy own mo- sired, he promised him, that of the young cattle ther's relation to me, nor to the affinity more re- which should be born, he should have sometimes cently contracted between us, nor to those wives what was of a white colour, and sometimes what whom thou hast married; nor to those children of should be of a black colour; but when those that whom I am the grandfather : thou hast treated me came to Jacob's share proved numerous, he did not as an enemy, by driving away my cattle, and by keep his faith with him, but said he would give them persuading my daughters to run away from their to him the next year, because of his envying him the father: and by carrying home those sacred pater- multitude of his possessions. He promised him as nal images which were worshipped by my fore- before, because he thought such an increase was not fathers, and which have been honoured with wor- to be expected; but when it appeared to be the fact, ship by myself. In short, thou hast done this he again deceived him. whilst thou wert my kinsman, and my sister's son, But with regard to the sacred images, Jacob bid and the husband of my daughters, and wast hos- them search for them; and when Laban accepted pitably treated by me, and didst eat at my table.” of the offer, Rachel being informed of it, put those
* Gen. xxix. 28.
sides, and dismiss again after the time contracted for is over, † Here we have the difference between slaves for life, and who are no slaves, but free men and free women. servants, such as we now hire for a time agreed upon on both # From about An. 1801 to 1714 B. C.
When Laban had said this, Jacob replied in images in that camel's saddle on which she rode, and his defence, that he was not the only person in sat upon it; and by a well-timed excuse* evaded the whom God had implanted the love of his native necessity of rising up; so Laban left off searching country, but that he had made it natural to all any farther, not supposing that his daughter would men; and, therefore, it was but reasonable that, conceal his images. He then made a league with after so long a time, he should go back to it. “ But Jacob, that he would not bear him any malice on as to the prey,” said he, “ of whose driving away account of what had happened; and Jacob made thou accusest me, if any other person were the the like league, and promised to love Laban's daugharbitrator, thou wouldst be found in the wrong, ters; and these leagues they confirmed with oaths for instead of those thanks I ought to have had upon certain mountains, whereon they erected a pilfrom thee, for both keeping thy cattle, and in- lar, in the form of an altar; whence that hill is called creasing them, how is it that thou art unjustly Gilead, and from thence they call that land the land angry because I have taken a small portion of of Gilead at this day. Now when they had feasted,t them; but then, as to thy daughters, it is not after making the league, Laban returned home.I through any evil practices of mine that they follow me in my return home, but from that just
CHAP. XX. affection which wives naturally have for their hus
OF JACOB'S INTERVIEW WITH HIS BROTHER ESAU. bands; they follow, therefore,
not so properly myself, as their own children.” Thus far his apology Now as Jacob was proceeding on his journey to was made in order to clear himself from the the land of Canaan, angels appeared to him, and charge of injustice; to which he added his own suggested to him good hope of his future condition ; complaint and accusation of Laban, saying, and that place he named the Camp of God; and “While I was thy sister's son, and thou hadst being desirous of knowing his brother's intentions, given me thy daughters in marriage, thou hast he sent messengers to give him an exact account of worn me out with thy harsh commands, and detain- every thing, being afraid, on account of the enmity ed me twenty years under them; that, indeed, which between them. He charged those that were sent, to was required in order to my marrying thy daugh- say to Esau, that “ Jacob had thought it wrong to * Gen. xxxi. 35.
+ Gen. xxxi. 55. side of the wall. Among them was the Nakit, (the general, or # This league appears to have been made with peculiar cir- rather, master of the horse) Cheir Allah, with whom I had some cumstances: especially with the singular rite of making a heap acquaintance before. He immediately resigned his place to me, of stones, and eating upon it, and setting up one stone for a pil and applied himself to draw together stones into a heap, to lar. Gen. xxxi. 45, 46. Niebuhr, relating his audience with the build himself a new seat." This management might be owing rinam of Yemen, says, “I had gone from my lodgings indis. to various causes. The extreme heat of the ground might renposed, and by standing so long found myself so faint, that I was der sitting there disagreeable. The same inconvenience might obliged to ask permission to quit the room. I found near the arise also from its wetness. It was certainly a very common door some of the principal officers of the court, who were sit practice; and, as it appears from the instance of Jacob, a very ting in a scattered manner, in the shade, upon stones, by the ancient one. Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. p. 215. B.