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they perceived the vision foretold that he should
OF JOSEPH'S CRUEL TREATMENT BY HIS BRETHREN, HIS SLAVERY,
AND SUBSEQUENT GREATNESS. IN EGYPT. pretation of it to Joseph; as if the dream were not understood by them. But they prayed that no part Now these brethren rejoiced as soon as they saw of what they suspected to be its meaning, might their brother coming to them; not, indeed, as at the come to pass : and their hatred against him was presence of a near relation, or even as one sent by augmented on that account.
their father ; but as at the presence of an enemy, But God, in opposition to their envy, sent a sec- and one that by divine providence was delivered into ond vision to Joseph, which was more wonderful their hands; and they already resolved to kill him, than the former; for it seemed to him that the sun and not let slip the opportunity that lay before them. took with him the moon, and the rest of the stars, But when Reubal, the eldest brother, saw them thus and came down to the earth, and bowed down to disposed, and that they had agreed together to exehim.* He told this vision to his father, and that, as cute their purpose, he tried to restrain them ;t showsuspecting nothing of ill-will from his brethren, when ing them the heinous enterprise they were going they were there also; and desired him to interpret about, and the horrid nature of it; that this action what it should signify. Now Jacob was pleased would appear wicked in the sight.of God, and impious with the dream ; for considering the prediction in his before men, even though they should kill one not mind, and shrewdly and wisely guessing at its mean- related to them; but more flagitious and detestable ing, he rejoiced at the great things thereby signified; to appear to have slain their own brother ; by which because it declared the future happiness of his son: act the father must be treated unjustly in the son's and that, by the blessing of God, the time should slaughter, and the motherf also be in perplexity while come when he should be honoured, and thought she laments that her son is taken away from her ; worthy of worship by his parents and brethren; as and this not in a natural way. He therefore entreatguessing that the moon and sun were like his mothered them to have a regard to their own consciences, and father—the former as she that gave increase and wisely to consider what mischief would befall and nourishment to all things; and the latter, he them upon the death of so good a child, and their that gave form and all other powers to them; and youngest brother; and they would also fear God, that the stars were like his brethren, since they were who was already both a spectator and a witness of eleven in number, as were the stars that receive their the designs they had against their brother; that he power from the sun and moon.
would love them if they abstained from this act, and And thus did Jacob make a shrewd judgment of yielded to repentance and amendment. But in case this vision; but these interpretations caused great they proceeded to do the fact, all sorts of punishgrief to Joseph's brethren ; and they were affected ments would overtake them from God; since they to him hereupon as if he were a stranger that was polluted his providence, which was everywhere presto have those good things which were signified by ent, and which did not overlook what was done either the dreams, and not as one that was a brother, with in deserts or in cities. For wherever a man is, there whom it was probable they should be joint partakers; ought he to suppose that God is also. He told them and as they had been partners in the same parent- farther, that their consciences would be their enemies age, so should they be of the same happiness. They if they attempted to go through so wicked an enteralso resolved to kill the lad: and having fully rati- prise; which they never can avoid, whether it be a fied that intention, as soon as their collection of the good conscience, or whether it be such a one as they fruits was over, they went to Shechem, which is a will have within them when once they have killed country good for feeding of cattle, and for pastur- their brother. He also added, that it was not a age; there they fed their flock, without acquainting righteous thing to kill a brother, though he had their father with their removal. Jacob, therefore, injured them; that it was a good thing to forget the had melancholy suspicions about them, as being actions of such near friends, even in things wherein ignorant of his sons condition; and receiving no they might seem to have offended; but that they messenger from the flocks that could inform him of were going to kill Joseph, who had been guilty of their true state, he sent Joseph to learn the circum- nothing that was ill towards them; in whose case stances his brethren were in, and to bring him word the infirmity of his tender years should rather prohow they did.
cure him mercy, and induce them to unite in the
* Gen. xxxvii. 9.
alive as well as his father, should come and bow down to him, I + Gen. xxxvii. 21.
Josephus represents her here as still alive, after she was dead, We may here observe, that in correspondence to Joseph's for the decorum of the dream that foretold it, as the interpreta second dream, which implied that his mother, who was then tion of that dream does also in all our copies, Gen. xxxvii.
care of his preservation. He likewise observed, || him to the merchants for twenty pounds.* He was that the cause of killing him made the act itself now seventeen years old. But Reuben coming in much worse, while they determined to take him off the night-time to the pit, resolved to save Joseph out of envy at his future prosperity, an equal share without the privity of his brethren; and when, upon of which they would naturally partake while he his calling to him, he made no answer, he was afraid enjoyed it; since they were to him not strangers, that they had destroyed him after he was gone; he but the nearest relations; for they might reckon accordingly complained to his brethren, but was upon what God bestowed upon Joseph as their own;
as their own; pacified when they had told him what they had done. and that it was fit for them to believe, that the anger When Joseph's brethren had done thus to him, of God would for this cause be more severe upon they considered how they should escape the susthem, if they slew him who was judged by God to picions of their father. Now they had taken be worthy of that prosperity which was to be hoped away from Joseph the coat which he had on for; and while, by murdering him, they made it im- when he came to them, at the time they let him possible for God to bestow it upon him.
down into the pit; so they thought proper to tear Reuben said these, and many other things, and that coat in pieces, and to dip it into goats' blood, likewise used entreaties to divert them from the mur- and then to carry it, and show it to their father, der of their brother: but when he saw that his dis- that he might believe he was destroyed by wild course had not mollified them at all, and that they beasts; and when they had so done, they came to prepared to do the fact, he advised them to alleviate the old man, but this not till what had happened the wickedness they were going about in a manner to his son had already come to his knowledge. of taking Joseph off; for, as he had exhorted them Then they said that they had not seen Joseph, first, when they were going to revenge themselves, nor knew what mishap had befallen him, but that to be dissuaded from doing it; so, since the sentence they had found his coat bloody, and torn to pieces, for killing their brother had prevailed, he said that whence they had a suspicion that he had fallen they would not be so grossly guilty, if they would among wild beasts, and so perished, if that were be persuaded to follow his present advice, which the coat he had on when he came from home. would include what they were so eager about, but Jacob had before some better hopes that his son was not so very bad, but, in the distress they were was only made a captive, but now he laid aside in, of a lighter nature. He begged of them, there that notion, and considered this coat as a suffifore, not to kill their brother with their own hands, cient proof of his death, for he well remembered but to cast him into the pit that was hard by, and that this was the coat he had on when he sent so to let him die, by which they would gain so much, him to his brethren. He therefore lamented the that they would not defile their own hands with his lad as now dead, and as if he had been the father blood. To this the young men readily agreed: so of no more than one, without taking any comfort Reuben took the lad, and tied him to a cord, and let in the rest ; and so he was also affected with his him down gently into the pit, for it had no water in misfortune before he met with Joseph's brethren, it; and when he had done this, he went his way to when he also conjectured that Joseph was deseek for such pasturage as was proper for feeding stroyed by wild beasts. He sat down also clothed their flocks.
in sackcloth,f and in heavy affliction, insomuch But Judas, being one of Jacob's sons also, seeing that he found no ease when his sons comforted some Arabians, of the posterity of Ishmael, carry- him, neither was his sorrow assuaged by length ing spices and Syrian wares out of the land of Gil- of time. ead to the Egyptians, after Reuben was gone, advised his brethren to draw Joseph out of the pit, and
CHAP. IV. sell him to the Arabians; for if he should die among strangers, a great way off, they should be freed from this barbarous action. This, therefore, was resolved Now Potiphar, an Egyptian, who was chief on; so they drew Joseph up out of the pit, and sold cook to king Pharoah, bought Joseph of the mer
OF JOSEPH'S SIGNAL CONTINENCY.
* The LXXII. have 20 pieces of gold; the testament of Gad, as Jacob we find does the like, we may well suppose that it was 30; the Heb. and Samar. 20 of silver; the vulgar Latin, 30. a usual manner of expressing all grief and uneasiness of mind What was the true number and true sum, cannot therefore now in those days; and, by putting on sackcloth, (which Jacob is be known.
here the first precedent of doing, but was afterwards commonly † Jacob is represented by Moses not only as being clothed in used upon all mournful occasions,) he seemed to signify, that sackcloth, but as rending his clothes on this occasion. Rend. since he had lost his beloved son, he looked upon himself as ing the clothes was an eastern way of expressing either grief reduced to the meanest and lowest condition of life. Biblio. for calamity, or horror for sin. Reuben was the first we read theca Bibl. and Howell's History. B. of, who, to denote his exceeding sorrow, rent his clothes; and I Gen. xxxvii. 35.
chants," he had him in the greatest honour, taught || advice, wipe off the imputation of his former folly ; him the learning that became a free man, and gave for whether it were that he expected the repetihim leave to make use of a diet better than was tion of her solicitations, she had now made it, allotted to slaves; he also intrusted the care of and that with greater earnestness than before, for his house to him. Joseph, however, did not for that she had pretended sickness on this very acget that virtue which he had before, upon such a count, and had preferred his conversation before change of his condition ; but he demonstrated that the festival and its solemnity: or whether he opwisdom was able to govern the uneasy passions posed her former discourses, as not believing she of life, in such as have it in reality, and do not could be in earnest : she now gave him sufficient only put it on for a show, under a present state security, by thus repeating her application, that of prosperity,
she meant not in the least by fraud to impose on His master's wife soon fell in love with him, him, and assured him, that if he complied with both on account of his beauty of body, and his her affections, he might expect the enjoyment of skilful management of affairs; and supposed that the advantages he already had: and if he were if she should make it known to him, she should submissive to her, he should have still greater adeasily persuade him to come to her bed : and that vantages: but that he must look for revenge and he would consider it as a piece of happy fortune hatred from her in case he rejected her desires, that his mistress should entreat him; as regarding and preferred the reputation of chastity before his that state of slavery he was in, and not his moral mistress; for that he would gain nothing by such character, which continued after his condition was procedure, as she would then become his accuser, changed. So she made known her illicit inclina- and would falsely pretend to her husband that he tions: however he rejected her entreaties, not attempted her chastity, and that Potiphar would thinking it agreeable to religion to yield so far hearken to her words rather than to his, let his to her, as to do what would tend to the injury of be ever so agreeable to the truth. one who had purchased him, and vouchsafed him But though the woman said thus, and even with so great honours. He therefore exhorted her to tears in her eyes, Joseph was not dissuaded from govern that passion, and laid before her the im- his chastity, nor induced by fear to a compliance possibility of obtaining her desires, which he with her: but he opposed alike her solicitations thought might be conquered, if she had no hope and her threatenings, and was afraid to do an ill
, of succeeding; and he said that, as to himself, he thing, choosing rather to undergo the sharpest would endure any thing whatever before he would punishment, than to enjoy his present advantages be persuaded to it: for although it was the duty by doing what his own conscience knew would of a slave, as he was, to do nothing contrary to justly deserve that he should die for it. He also his mistress, he might well be excused in a case reminded her that she was a married woman, and where the contradiction was to such sort of com- that she ought to cohabit with her husband only, mands: but this opposition of Joseph's, when she and desired her to suffer these considerations to did not expect it, made her still more violent in have more weight with her than the short pleaher love to him, and she resolved to accomplish sure of lustful dalliance, which would occasion her design by a second attempt.
trouble and repentance afterwards, and yet would When, therefore, there was a festival coming not amend what had been done amiss. He also on, in which it was the custom for women to come suggested the fear she would be in lest they should to the public solemnity, she pretended to her hus- be caught, and that the advantage of concealment band that she was sick, as contriving an oppor-was uncertain, and that only while the wickedness tunity for solitude and leisure, that she might en- was not known would there be any quiet for them. treat Joseph again. This opportunity being ob- But that she might have the enjoyment of her hustained, she used more kind words to him than be- band's company without any danger, and he told fore, and said that it had been good for him to her, that in the company of her husband she might have yielded to her first solicitation, and to have have great boldness, from a good conscience, both given her no repulse, both because of the rever- before God and before men; nay, that she would ence he ought to bear to her dignity, who solicit- act more consistently as his mistress, and make ed him, and because of the vehemency of her pas- use of her authority over him better, while she persion, by which she was forced, though she were sisted in her chastity, than when they were both his mistress, to condescend beneath her dignity. ashamed for what wickedness they had been guilty But that he might now, by taking more prudent of; and that it is much better to depend on a good
life known to have been so, than upon the hopes * Gen. xxxix. 1.
of the concealment of evil practices,
OF JOSEPH'S SITUATION IN PRISON, AND HIS SUBSEQUENT
Joseph, by saying this and more, tried to re- but condemning Joseph as a wicked man, he threw strain the violent passion of the woman, and to him into the malefactor's prison; and had a still reduce her affections within the rules of reason; higher opinion of his wife, and bare her witness but she grew more ungovernable, and earnest in that she was a woman of a becoming modesty and the matter: and since she despaired of persuading chastity. him, she laid her hands upon him, and had recourse to violence. But as soon as Joseph had
CHAP. V. got away from her anger, leaving his garment with her, and leaped out of her chamber, she was equally afraid lest he should discover her Now Joseph, commending all his affairs to God, lewdness to her husband, and incensed at the did not attempt to make any defence, nor to relate affront he had offered her: so she resolved to the exact circumstances of the fact, but silently be beforehand with him, and to accuse him underwent the bonds and the distress he was in, falsely to Potiphar, and by that means to revenge firmly believing that God, who knew the cause of herself for his pride and contempt; thinking it a his affliction, and the truth of the fact, would be wise thing in itself
, and also becoming a woman, more powerful than those that inflicted the punishthus to prevent his accusation. Accordingly she ment upon him. He accordingly soon received a sat sorrowfully, and in confusion, framing herself proof of God's providence on his behalf; for the so hypocritically and angrily, that the sorrow, keeper of the prison, taking notice of his care and which was really occasioned by her disappoint- fidelity in the affairs he had set him about, and the ment, might appear to be for an attempt upon her dignity of his countenance, relaxed his bonds, and chastity: so that when her husband came home thereby made his heavy calamity lighter, and more and inquired what was the cause of the disorder supportable to him ; he also permitted him to make she was in, she began to accuse Joseph.*
use of a diet better than that of the rest of the “O husband,” said she, “ mayest thou not live a prisoners. Now his fellow-prisoners, when their day longer if thou dost not punish the wicked slave hard labours were over, used to discourse with each who hast desired to defile thy bed; who has neither other, being equal sufferers, and to inquire one of recollected who he was, when he came to our house, another what were the occasions of their being conso as to behave himself with modesty, nor has been demned to a prison ? Among them Pharaoh's cupmindful of what favours he had received from thy bearer, and one that had been respected by him, bounty; though he must be an ungrateful man in- was put in bonds upon the king's anger at him. deed, in every respect, not to act agreeable to us. This man was under the same bonds with Joseph, This man I say, laid a private design to abuse thy and soon grew familiar with him; and upon his wife, and this at the time of a festival, observing observing that Joseph had a better understanding when thou wouldst be absent: so that it now is than the rest, he told him of a dream he had, and clear that his modesty, as it appeared to be formerly, desired he would interpret its meaning, complaining, was only because of the restraint he was in out of that besides the afflictions he underwent from the fear of thee, but that he was not really of a good king, God also added to him trouble from his disposition. This has been occasioned by his being dreams. advanced to honour beyond what he deserved, or He therefore said, that in his sleep he saw three hoped for; insomuch that he concluded that he who clusters of grapes hanging upon three branches was deemed fit to be trusted with thy estate, and a vine, large, and ripe for gathering, and that he the government of thy family, and was preferred squeezed them into a cup, which the king held in above thy eldest servants, might be allowed to touch his hands, and when he had strained the wine, he thy wife also.”. When she had spoken thus, she gave it to the king to drink, and that he received it produced Joseph's garment, as if he had left it with from him with a pleasant countenance. This, he her when he attempted to force her. Potiphar not said, was what he saw; and he desired Joseph, that being able to disbelieve what his wife said, and what if he had any portion of understanding in such he saw himself, and being seduced by his love, did matters, he would tell him what this vision foretold. not set himself about the examination of the truth, Joseph bid him be of good cheer, and expect to be
with wiltr guad Opes
* There is something not unlike the revengeful artifice in Potiphar's wife, in the representation which the poet makes of Phædra, when in an affair of the like nature she finds herself rejected by her son-in-law Hippolytus :
Regeramus ipse crimen, atque ultro impiam
Venerem arguamus, &c.
En præceps abiit
loosed from his bonds in three days' time, because | upon my head; two were full of loaves, and the the king desired his service, and was about to re-third full of sweet-meats, and other eatables, such store it to him again; for he let him know that God as are prepared for kings; but the fowls came flying, bestows the fruit of the vine upon men for good, and ate them all up, and had no regard to my atwhich wine is poured out to him, and is the pledge tempt to drive them away.” He then expected a of fidelity and mutual confidence among men, prediction like to that of the cup-bearer’s: but Joputting an end to their quarrels, removing passion seph, considering the dream, said to him that he and grief out of the minds of them that use it, and would willingly be an interpreter of good events to making them cheerful. “Thou didst squeeze this him, and not of such as his dream pronounced; but wine,” said he, “ from three clusters of grapes, with he told him that he had only three days to live, as thine hands, and the king received it. Know, there the three baskets signified; but that on the third fore, that this vision is for thy good, and foretells a day he should be crucified, and devoured by fowls, release from thy present distress within the same while he was not able to help himself. Now both number of days as the branches whence thou gath- these dreams had the same events that Joseph foreeredst thy grapes in thy sleep.* *However, remem- told they should have, and this to both parties : for ber what prosperity I have foretold thee, when thou on the third day, when the king solemnized his birthhast found it true; and when thou art in authority, day, he crucified the chief baker, but set the butler do not overlook us in this prison, wherein thou wilt free from his bonds, and restored him to his former leave us, when thou art gone to the place we have service. foretold: for we are not in prison for any crime, God freed Joseph from his confinement after he but for the sake of our virtue and sobriety are we had endured his bonds two years,f and had received condemned to suffer the penalty of malefactors, and no assistance from the cup-bearer, who did not rebecause we are not willing to injure him that has member what he had said to him formerly; and God thus distressed us, though it were for our own contrived this method of deliverance for him. Phapleasure.” The cup-bearer rejoiced to hear such an ragh, the king, had seen in his sleep the same eveninterpretation of his dream, and waited the comple- ing two visions, and after them had the interpretation of what had been thus showed him beforehand. tion of them both given him; he had forgotten the
Another servant of the king's, who had been chief latter, but retained that of the dreams themselves baker, and was now bound in prison with the cup- Being, therefore, troubled at what he had seen, for bearer, was in good hope upon Joseph's interpreta- it seemed to him to be all of a melancholy nature; tion of the other's vision, for he had dreamed also ; the next day he called together the wisest men so he desired that Joseph would tell him what the among the Egyptians, desiring to learn from them visions he had seen the night before might mean? the interpretation of his dreams; but when they “ I thought,” said he, “ that I carried three baskets hesitated about them, the king was so much the
# Gen. + the expression which Joseph makes use of concerning Gee Chaldeans of old were the most famous people in the
The the king's cup-bearer and baker, Pharaoh shall lift up thy head, world for divinations of all kinds; and therefore it is very probaseems somewhat too literally translated, since the words in the ble that the word Hhartaumim, which we render magicians, is original mean no more, than that Pharaoh would have them not of Hebrew, but Chaldee origin. The roots, however, from brought forth and examined. The ancients, we are to know, in whence it springs (if it be a compound word, as probably it is,) keeping their reckonings, or accounts, of time, or their list of are not so visible; and therefore commentators are perplexed domestie officers, or servants, made use of tables with holes to know by what method men of this profession proceeded in bored in them, in which they put a sort of pegs, or nails, with their inquiry into secret things; whether they pretended to exbroad heads, exhibiting the particulars, either number, or name, pound dreams, and descry future events, by natural observaor whatever it was. These nails, or pegs, the Jews call heads, tions, by the art of astrology, (which came much in request in and the sockets of the heads they call bases. The meaning future ages,) by such rules as are now found in the books of therefore of Pharaoh's lifting up his head, is, that Pharaoh Oneirocrites, or by certain characters, images, pictures, and would take out the peg, which had the cup-bearer's name on figures, which were engraved with magical rites and cerethe top of it, to read it; i. e. would sit in judgment, and make monies. It is not to be doubted, indeed, but that the magicians, examination into his accounts. For it seems very probable that whom Pharaoh consulted for the interpretations of his dreams, both he and the baker had been either suspected or accused of | made use of some, at least, if not all, these arts; and the Jewish having cheated the king; and that, when their accounts were doctors would make us believe, that after several attempts of examined and cast up, the one was acquitted, while the other divers kinds, they came at last to this exposition, that Pharaoh's was found guilty. And though Joseph uses the same expression daughters (for they suppose him to have seven) should die, and in both cases, yet we may observe, that speaking to the baker that he should have seven others born to him in their stead; he adds, that Pharaoh shall lift up thy head from off thee, i. e. but this being not at all satisfactory to their master, put the shall order thy name to be struck out of the list of his servants, cup-bearer in mind of Joseph's great abilities that way. Le by taking the peg out of the socket. Bibliotheca Bibl. in Clerc's and Patrick's Commentary. B. locum. B.