Page images

God to bring things to their present state. I afraid that the happiness there was in Egypt would have you also forget the same, since that might tempt his posterity to fall in love with it, imprudence of yours is come to such a happy con- and settle in it, and no more think of removing clusion, rather than to be uneasy and blush at into the land of Canaan, and possessing it as God those your offences. Do not, therefore, let your had promised them; also, being afraid, lest if this evil intentions, when you condemned me, and that descent into Egypt were made without the will of bitter remorse which might follow, be a grief to God, his family might be destroyed there, and out you now: because those intentions were frustrated. of fear lest he should depart this life before he Go your way, rejoicing in what has happened by came to the sight of Joseph, he fell asleep, rethe divine providence, and inform your father of volving these doubts in his mind. it, lest he should be spent with tears for you, and But God stood by him, and called to him twice deprive me of the most agreeable part of my by his name; and when he asked who he was? felicity; I mean lest he should die before he comes God said, “ Is it not just that thou Jacob shouldest into my sight, and enjoys the good things that we be acquainted with that God who has ever been a now have. Take, therefore, with you our father, protector and a helper to thy forefathers, and after and your wives and children, and all your kindred, them to thyself. For when thy father would have and remove your habitation hither; for it is not deprived thee of the dominion, I gave it thee; and proper that the persons dearest to me should live by my kindness it was that when thou wast sent remote from me, now my affairs are so prosper- into Mesopotamia alone, thou obtainedst good ous; especially when they must endure five more wives, and returnedst with many children, and years of famine.” When Joseph had said this, he much wealth. Thy whole family, also, has been embraced his brethren, who were in tears and preserved by my providence; and it was I who sorrow; but the generous kindness of their bro- conducted Joseph thy son, whom thou gavest up ther seemed to leave among them no room for for lost, to the enjoyment of great prosperity. I fear, lest they should be punished on account of also made him lord of Egypt, so that he differs what they had consulted and acted against him. but little from a king. Accordingly I come now And they were then feasting. Now the king, as as a guide to thee in this journey, and foretell to soon as he heard that Joseph's brethren were thee that thou shalt die in the arms of Joseph come to him, was exceeding glad of it, as if it had and that thy posterity shall be many ages in been part of his own good fortune; and gave authority and glory; and I will settle them in the them wagons full of corn, and gold, and silver, land which I have promised them.” to be conveyed to their father. Now when they Encouraged by this dream, Jacob went on more had received more of their brother; part to be cheerfully for Egypt, with his sons, and all becarried to their father, and part as free gifts to longing to them. Now they were in all seventy. every one of themselves, Benjamin having still I once indeed thought it best not to set down the more than the rest, they departed.

names of this family; especially because of their

difficult pronunciation by the Greeks. But upon CHAP. VII.

the whole, I think it necessary to mention those names; that I may confute such as believe that we came originally not out of Mesopotamia, but

are Egyptians. As soon as Jacob came to know by his sons' Now Jacob had twelve sons.

Of these Joseph returning home, in what state Joseph was; that was come thither before: we will therefore set he had not only escaped death, but that he lived down the names of Jacob's children and grandin splendour and happiness, and ruled over Egypt, children. Reuben had four sons; Anoch, Phallu, jointly with the king; and had intrusted to his Assaron, and Charmi. Simeon had six; Jamuel, care almost all his affairs, he did not think any Jamin, Avod, Jachin, Soar, and Saul. Levi had thing he was told to be incredible, considering the three sons; Gersom, Caath, and Merari. Judas greatness of the works of God, and his kindness had three sons; Sala, Pharez, and Zerab; and by to him : although that kindness had, for some Pharez, two grandchildren ; Esrom and Amur. time past, been intermitted. So he immediately Isachar had four sons; Thola, Phua, Jasub, and and zealously set out upon his journey to him. Samaron. Zabulon had with him three sons;

When he came to the well of the oath, Beer- Sarad, Helon, and Jalel. So far is the posterity sheba, he offered sacrifice to God,* and being of Leah, with whom went her daughter Dinah.

These are thirty-three. Rachel had two sons; * Gen. xlvii. 1.

one of whom, Joseph, had two sons also; Ma



nasseh and Ephraim. The other, Benjamin, had | mon to them with the Egyptians; for the Egypten sons; Bolau, Bacchar, Asabel, Geras, Naaman, tians are prohibitedt from feeding sheep. Jes, Ros, Momphis, Opphis, and Arad. These When Jacob was come to the king, and had fourteen added to the thirty-three before enume- saluted him, and wished all prosperity to his governrated, amount to forty-seven: and this was the ment, Pharaoh asked how old he was?


whose legitimate posterity of Jacob. He had beside by answer, that he was a hundred and thirty years old, Bilha, the handmaid of Rachel, Dan and Naphthali

, he admired Jacob on account of the length of his which last had four sons, that followed him ; Jesel, life. And when he had added, that still he had not Guni, Issari, and Sellim. Dan had an only be- lived so long as his forefathers, he gave him leave gotten son, Usi. If these be added to those above- to live with his children in Heliopolis; for in that mentioned, they complete the number fifty-four. city the king's shepherds had their pasturage. Gad and Aser were the sons of Zilpha, who was The famine now increased among the Egyptians, the handmaid of Leah. Gad had these seven and this heavy judgment grew more oppressive to sons; Saphoniah, Augis, Sunis, Azabon, Aerin, them, because neither did the river overflow the Ereod, and Ariel. Aser had a daughter, Sarah, ground, for it did not rise to its former height; nor and six male children, whose names were Jomne, did God send rainļ upon it. Nor did they, indeed, Isus, Isoui, Baris, Abar, and Melchiel. If we add make the least provisions for themselves, so ignorant these, which are sixteen, to the fifty-four, the were they what was to be done. But Joseph sold afore-mentioned number, seventy, is completed, them corn for their money ; and when their money · Jacob* himself not being included.

failed them, they bought corn with their cattle and When Joseph understood that his father was their slaves; and if any of them had a small piece coming, for Judas his brother arrived before him, I of land, they gave up that to purchase them food. and announced his approach, he went out to meet By which means the king became the owner of all him, and they met together at Heroopolis. But their substance; and they were removed, soine to Jacob almost fainted away at this great and un- one place, and some to another; that so the possesexpected joy; however, Joseph revived him, though sion of their country might be firmly assured to the unable himself to refrain being affected in the same king; excepting the lands of the priests; for their manner. Yet he was not wholly overcome with country continued still in their own possession. And his passion, as his father was. After this he de- indeed this sore famine made their minds as well as sired Jacob to travel on slowly, whilst he himself their bodies slaves; and at length compelled them took five of his brethren with him, and hastened to to procure a sufficiency of food by such dishonourthe king, to tell him that Jacob and his family were able means. But when this misery ceased, and the come. This was a joyful hearing to Pharaoh, who river overflowed the ground, and the earth brought bid Joseph tell him what sort of life his brethren forth its fruits plentifully, Joseph came to every city, loved to lead, that he might give them permission and gathered the people thereto belonging, together, to follow the same. He said, they were good shep- and gave them back entirely the land which, by their herds, and had been used to follow no other em- own consent, the king might have possessed alone, ployment: by which he provided for them, that and alone enjoyed the fruits of it. He also exhorted they should not be separated, but live in the same them to look on it as their own possession; to replace, and take care of their father; as also hereby sume their labours of husbandry with cheerfulness; he provided, that they might be acceptable to the and to pay as a tribute to the crown, the fifth part Egyptians, by doing nothing that would be com- of the fruits of the land which the king, when it was

* All the Greek copies of Josephus have the negative particle # Reland here puts the question, how Josephus could comhere, that Jacob himself was not reckoned one of the seventy plain of its not raining in Egypt during this famine, while the souls that came into Egypt. But the old Latin copies want it, ancients affirm that it never does naturally rain there? His and directly assure us he was one of them. It is, therefore, | answer is, that when the ancients deny that it rains in Egypt, hardly certain which of these was Josephus's true reading: they only mean the upper Egypt, above the Delta, which is since the number of seventy is made up without him, if we called Egypt in the strictest sense; but that in Delta, and conreckon Leah for one; but if she be not reckoned, Jacob him- sequently in the lower Egypt adjoining to it, it did not hold, and self must be one, to complete the number.

still does rain sometimes. See the note on III. 1. N. B. The LXXII. add Machir, and Gilead, and Satelaam, Josephus supposes that Joseph now restored the Egyptians and Taom, and Edem, who were born in Egypt, and so have in their lands again, upon the payment of a fifth part as tribute. all seventy-five souls: as Act, vii. 14.

It seems to me rather that the land was now considered as Pha. † Josephus thought that the Egyptians hated or despised the raoh's; and this fifth part as its rent, to be paid to him, as he employment of a shepherd in the days of Joseph. Whereas was their landlord, and they his tenants; and that the lands were Bishop Cumberland has shown, that they rather hated such not properly restored, and this fifth part reserved as a tribute Phænician or Canaanite shepherds as had long enslaved the only, till the days of Sesostris. Egyptians of old time. See his Sanchoniath, page 361, 362.


his own, restored to them. These men rejoiced upon || piety towards God; and having such a recompense their becoming unexpectedly owners of their land, for it, as it was fit those should have, who were so and diligently observed what was enjoined them. good as these were. Joseph, by the king's permisAnd by this means Joseph procured to himself a sion, carried his father's dead body to Hebron, and greater authority among the Egyptians, and a great- there buried it, at a great expense. But his brether love to the king from them. Now this law, that ren were at first unwilling to return back with him; they should pay the fifth part of their fruits as tribute, because they were afraid, lest now their father was continued until the time of their later kings. dead, he should punish them for their secret prac

tices against him; since he was now gone, for whose CHAP. VIII.

sake he had been so gracious to them. He persuaded them, however, to fear no harm, and to

entertain no suspicions of him: so he brought them WHEN Jacob had lived seventeen years in Egypt, | along with him, and gave them great possessions, he fell into a disease, and died in the presence of his and continually evinced the most particular concern sons; but not till he had made his prayers for their for them. prosperity; and had foretold prophetically how every Joseph also died when he had lived a hundred and one of them was to dwell in the land of Canaan. ten years ;|| having been a man of admirable virtue ; But this happened many years afterwards. He also who conducted all his aflairs by the rules of reason, enlarged* upon the praises of Joseph; how he had and used his authority with moderation ; which was not remembered the evil doings of his brethren to the cause of his great felicity among the Egyptians, their disadvantage: nay, on the contrary, was kind even when he came from another country, and that to them; bestowing upon them so many benefits, as in such ill circumstances as we have already deseldom are bestowed on men's own benefactors. He scribed. At length his brethren died, after they had then commanded his own sons that they should lived happily in Egypt. Now the posterity and sons admit Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, into of these men, after some time, carried their bodies their number; and divide the land of Canaan in and buried them at Hebron. But as to the bones common with them; concerning whom we shall of Joseph, they carried them into the land of Canaan treat hereafter. However, he made it his request, afterwards,** when the Hebrews went out of Egypt; that he might be buried at Hebron. So he died; for so had Joseph made them promise him upon when he had lived a hundred and forty-seven years;t oath. But what became of every one of these having not been inferior to any of his ancestors in men, and by what toils they got the possession of,

1 Geheni joseph died, he was not only embalmed, but put into

* As to this encomium upon Joseph, as preparatory to Jacob's || 53, the patriarch Jacob was one. Pool's Annotations, and Bib. adopting Ephraim and Manasseh into his own family, and to be liotheca Bibl. B. admitted into his two tribes, which Josephus here mentions; all § Gen. i. 21. our copies of Genesis omit it, c. xlviii. nor do we know whence he took it; or whether it be his own embellishment.

a coffin. This was an honour appropriated to persons of dis+ Gen. xlvii. 28.

tinction, coffins not being universally used in Egypt. Maillet, İ Though there be something of a natural desire in most men speaking of the Egyptian repositories of the dead, having given to be buried in the places where their ancestors lie; yet Jacob's an account of several niches that are found there, says, “it aversion to have his remains deposited in Egypt, seems to be must not be imagined, that the bodies deposited in these more earnest than ordinary, or otherwise he would never have gloomy apartments were all inclosed in chests, and placed in imposed an oath upon his sons, and charged them all, with his niches; the greatest part were simply embalmed and swathed dying breath, not to suffer it to be done. For he very well knew, after that manner that every one hath some notion of; after that had his body been buried in Egypt, his posterity, upon that which, they laid them one by the side of another without any very account, would have been too much wedded to the country, ceremony : some were even put into these tombs without any ever to attempt the acquisition of the promised land; and there- embalming at all, or such a slight one, that there remains nofore, to wean them from the thought of continuing in Egypt, thing of them in the linen in which they were wrapped, but the and to fix their minds and affections in Canaan, he ordered his bones, and those half rotten.” (Letter vii. p. 281.) Antique body to be carried thither beforehand, in testimony that he died coffins of stone, and sycamore wood, are still to be seen in in full persuasion of the truth of the promises which were given Egypt. It is said that some were formerly made of a kind of to him and his ancestors : nor was it inconvenient, that future pasteboard, formed by folding and gluing cloth together a great generations, after their return into Canaan, should have before number of times; these were curiously plastered and painted their eyes the sepulchre of their forefathers, for a record of their with hieroglyphics. Thevenot, part i. p. 137. B. virtues, and an incitement to the imitation of them. But the 1 of the burying-places of Joseph, and of the other patri. strongest motive of all for Jacob's desiring to be buried in Ca- archs, as they are here rightly stated, see Test. Simeon, 98, and naan, (supposing that he foreknew that our Saviour Christ was Test. Benjamin, $ 12, with the Note, in Authent. Rec. part 1, to live and die, and with some others, rise again in that country) | page 415, 416. was, that he might be one of that blessed number; as it was ** Exodus, xiii. 19. Acts vii. 16. indeed an ancient tradition in the church, that among those who tt There are several reasons which might induce Joseph not came out of their graves after our Lord's resurrection, Mat. xxvii. | to have his dead body immediately carried into Canaan, and buried as his father was. 1st, Because his brethren, after his wheat, because they suppose them to have been the granaries decease, might not have interest enough at court to provide of the ancient Egyptian kings. But a late writer, versed in the themselves with such things as were necessary to set off the Coptic tongue, has given us another etymology from that lanpomp and solemnity of a funeral befitting so great a personage. I guage, wherein Pouro signifies a king, and Misi, a race, or 2dly, Because he might foresee, that the Egyptians, in all prob- generation ; and the reason why the pyrannids bad this name ability, as long as their veneration for his memory was warm, given them, was, as he tells us, because they were erected to would hardly have suffered his remains to have been carried into li preserve the memory of the princes (who were their founders) another country. 3dly, Because the continuance of his remains and their families. Wilkins's Dissert. de ling. Copt. p. 108. among them might be a means to preserve the remembrance of 9 of this building of the pyramids of Egypt by the Israelites, the services he had done them, and thereby an inducement to see Perizonius Orig. Egyptiac. c. 21. It is not impossible they them to treat the relations he had left behind him with more might build one or more of the small ones, but the large ones kindness. 4thly, And chiefly, because the presence of his body seem much later. See my Chronological Table, and Authent. with the Israelites might be a pledge to assure them, and a Rec. Part II. page 885, 886, 887. Only if they be all built of means to strengthen and confirm their faith and hope in God's stone, this does not so well agree with the Israelites' labours, promises to their progenitors, that he would infallibly put their which are said to have been in brick, and not in stone, as Mr. posterity in possession of the land of Canaan: and accordingly, Sandys observes in his Travels, page 127, 128. when Moses delivered them out of Egypt, he carried Joseph's || Dr. Bernard informs us here, that instead of this single body along with him, (Exod. xiii. 19,) and committed it to the priest or prophet of the Egyptians, without a name in Josephus, care of the tribe of Ephraim, who buried it near Shechem, (Josh. the Targum of Jonathan names the two famous antagonists of xxiv. 32,) in the field which Jacob, a little before his death, Moses, Jannes and Jambres. Nor is it at all unlikely, that it gave to Joseph, as his peculiar property. Pereius, and Patrick's might be one of these who foreboded so much miscry to the Commentary; Pool's Annotations, and Calmet's Dictionary Egyptians, and so much happiness to the Israelites, from the under the word. B.

left Egypt.


the land of Canaan, shall be shown hereafter, when out, and forced them to learn all sorts of mechanical I have explained on what account it was that they arts, and to accustom themselves to hard labour :

and four hundred years did they spend under these

afflictions, for they strove one against another which CHAP. IX.

should get the mastery; the Egyptians desiring to OP THE AFFLICTIONS THAT BEFELL THE HEBREWS IN EGYPT, destroy the Israelites by these labours, and the

Israelites desiring to hold out to the end under Now it happened that the Egyptians grew delicate them. and indolent, and gave themselves up to pleasure, || While the affairs of the Hebrews were in this and in particular to the love of gain. They also condition, there was this occasion offered itself to became very ill affected towards the Hebrews, as the Egyptians, which made them more solicitous for touched with envy at their prosperity ; for when the extinction of our nation. One of these sacred they saw how the nation of the Israelites flourished, scribes,|| who are very sagacious in foretelling future and were become eminent already in plenty of events truly, told the king, that about this time a wealth, which they had acquired by their virtue and child would be born to the Israelites; who, if he natural love of labour, they thought their increase were reared, would bring the Egyptian dominion was to their own detriment; and having in length low, and would raise the Israelites ; that he would of time forgotten the benefits they had received excel all men in virtue, and obtain a glory that would from Joseph, particularly the crown being now come be remembered through all ages ; which thing was into another family,t they became very abusive to so feared by the king, that, according to this man's the Israelites, and contrived many ways of afflicting opinion, he commanded that every male child, which them, for they enjoined them to cut a great number was born to the Israelites, should be cast into the of channels for the river, and to build wallst for river, and destroyed ; that besides this, the Egyptheir cities and ramparts, that they might restrain tians midwives should watch the labours of the the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating, Hebrew women, and observe what was born ; for upon its running over its own banks; they set them those were the women who were enjoined to do the also to build pyramids, and by all this wore them office of midwives to them, and by reason of their relation to the king would not transgress his com- || the miseries they at that time endured, and to render mands.* He enjoined, also, that if any parents abortive their enemies' hope of the destruction of should disobey him, and venture to save their male their nation. Accordingly God had mercy on him, children alive, they and their families should be and was moved by his supplication ; he stood by destroyed. This was a severe affliction, indeed, to him in his sleep, and exhorted bim not to despair of those that suffered it, not only as they were deprived his future favours. He said farther, that he did not of their sons, and while they were the parents them- forget their piety towards him, and would always selves they were obliged to be subservient to the reward them for it; as he had formerly granted his destruction of their own children, but as it was to favour to their forefathers, and made them increase be supposed to tend to the extirpation of their from a few to so great a multitude. He reminded nation ; while upon the destruction of their children, him, that when Abraham was come alone out of and their own gradual dissolution, the calamity Mesopotamia into Canaan, he had been made happy, would become very hard and inconsolable. Such not only in other respects, but that when his wife was the ill state they were in ; but no one can over- was at first barren, she was afterward by him throw the purposes of God, though he contrive ten enabled to conceive seed, and bare him sons; that thousand subtle devices for that end; for this child, he left to Ishmael, and to his posterity, the country whom the sacred scribe foretold, was brought up, of Arabia: as also to his sons by Ketura, Throgloand concealed from the observers appointed by the dytis: and to Isaac, Canaan. “ By my assistance," king ; and he that foretold him did not mistake in said he,“ he did great exploits in war, which, unless the consequences of his preservation, which were you be yourselves impious, you must still remember. brought to pass under a singular manner:

rearing of Moses. * As to the affliction of Abraham's posterity for 400 years, 1 Josephus is clear that these midwives were Egyptians, and see I. 10; and as to what cities they built in Egypt under Pha- not Israelites, as in our other copies, which is very probable, it raoh Sesostris, and of Pharaoh Sesostris's drowning in the Red being not easily to be supposed that Pharaoh could trust the Sea, see Essay on the Old Test. Append. page 139--162. Israelite midwives to execute so barbarous a command against † Exodus, i. 8.

their own nation. Consult, therefore, and correct hence our İ It is a common opinion, that the word pyramid is derived ordinary copies, Exod. i. 15–22; and, indeed, Josephus seems from the Greek Pyr or Pur, Fire; and that these structures to have had much completer copies of the Pentateuch, or other were so called from their shape, which ascended from a broad authentic records now lost, about the birth and actions of Moses, basis, and ended in a point, like a flame of fire. Others, whose than either our Hebrew, Samaritan, or Greek Bibles afford us, opinion Vossius seems to approve, say that the name comes which enabled him to speak so largely and particularly about from the word Pyros, which, in the same language, signifies him.

As for Jacob, he became well known to strangers A man, whose name was Amram, one of the also, by the greatness of that prosperity in which nobler sort of the Hebrews, was afraid of his whole he lived and left to his sons, who came into Egypt nation lest it should fail, by the want of young men with no more than seventy souls, while you are to be brought up hereafter, and was very uneasy at now become six hundred thousand. Know, it, his wife being then with child, and he knew not therefore, that I shall provide for you all in common what to do; hereupon he betook himself to prayer what is for your good, and particularly for thyself to God, and entreated him to have compassion on what shall make thee famous; for that child, out of those men who had noways transgressed the laws dread of whose nativity the Egyptians have doomed of his worship, and to afford them deliverance from the Israelite children to destruction, shall be this


It is generally supposed that the midwives upon this oc- had charged the midwives to kill the male children that were casion told a lie; but there is no reason for such a supposition, || born of the Hebrew women; the midwives feared God, omitted though possibly they might conceal some part of the truth, to do what the king had commanded them, pretending in excuse which is not unlawful, but highly commendable, when it is to for their omission, that the Hebrew women were generally depreserve the innocent; for many of the Hebrew women might livered before they could get to them. Pharaoh hereupon be such as are here described, though not every one of them. resolving to prevent their increase, gave charge to his people to The answer of the midwives therefore is so far from being a have all the male children of the Hebrews thrown into the sneaking lie to save their lives, that it is a bold confession of river; but his command could not be strictly executed, whilst their faith and piety, to the hazard of them, viz. that they saw the Israelites lived up and down the fields in tents, which was so plain an evidence of the wonderful hand of God, in that their ancient and customary way of living ; for they would extraordinary rigour in the travail of the women, that do what shift here and there, and lodge the women in childbed out of Pharaoh would, they durst not, would not, strive against it, the way, to save their children. Pharaoh therefore built them because they would not stride against God. Lightfoot's Ser- houses, and obliged them to a more settled habitation, that the mons on 2 Sam. xix. 29. The making the midwives houses, is people whom he had set over them, might know where to find by most interpreters ascribed to God, and the thing is supposed every family, and to take an account of all the children that to have been done in a metaphorical sense, i. e. God gave them should be born. So that this was a very cunning contrivance of a numerous offspring or family, and a very lasting succession or Pharaoh, in order to have his charge more strictly and effectuposterity. For there are five things, say they, which go to com- ally executed than it could otherwise have been done ; and was plete the greatness or eminence of a family, as such ; its large- a particular too remarkable not to be inserted in Moses's account ness, its wealth, its honours, its power, and its duration. And of this affair. The only seeming difficulty is, to reconcile the therefore since the midwives hazarded their own lives to save words to the text in what has been here advanced; but this will those of the Hebrew children, and to preserve the Israelites a be none at all, if the words be rightly translated, and the verses numerous progeny and posterity, the God of Israel, in return, rightly distinguished in this manner. Exod. i. 20. An God not only made their own lives long and prosperous, but gave dwelt with the midwives, and the people multiplied, and waxed them very numerous families, and an enduring posterity, in very mighty, and this happened, (or was so, or came to pass,) whom they might be said to live after death, even from genera- because the midwives feared God, ver. 21, 22. And Pharaoh tion to generation. But all this is a very forced construction, built them (i. e. Israelites) houses, and charged all his people, and what the original words will by no means bear. We should saying, Every son that is born, ye shall cast into the rivers, and therefore rather think, these houses were built, not for the mid- every daughter ye shall save alive. Shuckford's Connection, wives, but for the Israelites, and that it was not God, but Pha- vol. ij. 1.7. B. raoh, who built them. The case seems to be this :-Pharaoh

« PreviousContinue »