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It was not till the days of Jacob that the promised seed attained to such maturity as to render a certain amount of intercourse with heathenism both desirable and useful.
The first stage in the covenant history was drawing to an end, and Israel was preparing to enter upon a second.
They left Canaan as a family, to return to it a people. As a family they had done their work and accomplished their end, viz., to exhibit the foundations on which national life is based. Henceforth their task would be to show how the basis of the world's history, in its widest form, is to be found within the nation. The two epochs, the growth of the family and that of the nation, stood in the same relation to each other as two concentric circles. The force of the common centre, from which the circumference of each is generated, gives to the two circles analogous forms. And this central creative power was the divine decree, on which Israel's history rested and by which it was sustained. At the conclusion of its entire history Israel was to enter into association with heathenism, in order that its all-embracing destiny might (to a certain extent) be fulfilled by its receiving from the latter the goods of this world, human wisdom and culture; and, on the other hand, by its imparting to the heathen the abundance of its spiritual possessions, the result of all the revelations and instructions which it had received from God. And thus also at the period under review, when the first stage of its history was drawing to a close, Israel joined with Egypt, the best representative of heathenism, bringing to Egypt deliverance from its troubles, through the wisdom of God with which it was endowed, and enriching itself with the wealth, the wisdom, and the culture of that land. Thus was it prepared to enter upon a new stage of its history, a stage of far wider extent and greater importance. Vid. $ 92, 7.
It was not merely a vague surmise in Jacob's mind, which led him to the conclusion that the time had arrived for yielding to the inclination to go to Egypt, and that this inclination was confirmed and sanctified by a call from God. All the previous leadings of God combined to make this clear and certain, even without any express permission or direction on His part now. The remarkable course of Joseph's history, no less than Joseph's dreams, which the issue had shown to be from God, and the pressure of the existing famine, prevented any other conclusion
than that the invitation of Joseph was a divine call. And this opinion was expressly confirmed by the previous revelation made to Abraham, that his seed would sojourn in a foreign land four hundred years. (Gen. xv. 13 sqq.)
Still the road which Jacob took was a painful path to him. He could not forsake the land, which had been the scene of all his wanderings, the object of all his hopes, and was still the land of promise, without hesitation and anxiety, especially as he could not shut his eyes to the fact that he should never tread it again. Once already he had been obliged to leave this promised land, and did so with a heavy heart ($ 75). But Jehovah had appeared to him at Bethel then, and consoled him with the assurance that he would bring him back with abundant blessings.
Nor was a similar consolation wanting here. Jehovah promised that he would go down with him into Egypt, and bring him (meaning, of course, his descendants) back again to the land of his fathers. And even in Egypt the twofold object of all His previous leadings, viz., the promised land and the promised seed, would not be forgotten. On the contrary, the final intention of the whole should be realised there; “ for," said the Lord, “ there will I make of thee a great nation.”
(2). The catalogue of the house of Israel, which came into Egypt, as given in Gen. xlvi. 8–27, presents several points of difficulty that we must not pass over. First, the direct descendants from Jacob who migrated to Egypt are said in ver. 27 to have numbered seventy souls. They are reckoned according to their mothers, thirty-three being assigned to Leah (ver. 15), sixteen to Zilpah (ver. 18), fourteen to Rachel (ver. 22), and seven to Bilhah (ver. 25). V. Lengerke (i. 347 sqq.) endeavours to prove that the number 70 is merely a round and approximate number, and throws the statements of the text into such strange confusion, that he succeeds in introducing several discrepancies into a list which is otherwise straightforward and plain. He first takes Leah's descendants in hand, and finds it impossible to arrive at the number 33. If Er and Onan, who died in Canaan (ver. 12), are included, there are 34 names; and if they are omitted, the catalogue contains only 32. But it is expressly stated in vers. 8 and 26 that Jacob, the head of the family, is reckoned as one of the 70 souls, and as he is placed in ver. 8 at the head of the catalogue of the children of Leah, it can be
nothing but a spirit of contradiction, that leads any one to insist upon so literal an interpretation of ver. 14 as to seek for the names of exactly 33 sons or descendants of Leah. If Jacob is to be reckoned as one of the 70, the only appropriate place in which his name could stand is at the head of the catalogue of the children of Leah, his proper and lawful wife. There is still greater confusion in v. Lengerke's further remark (p. 240) that "the numbers given in vers. 18, 22, and 25 are correct, but in ver. 26 the number 66 is a round and approximate number ; for 33 + 16 + 14 + 7 amount to exactly 70, and according to ver. 27 this number is only arrived at by the addition of Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh.” This is strange.
This is strange. In ver. 8 Jacob is reckoned as one of the 33, and in vers. 19, 20 Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh form part of the 14; so that, as a matter of course, if they are deducted from the whole number, as is the case in ver. 26, there will be only 66 remaining.
Again, the statement that the children of Israel " which came into Egypt” were numbered (vers. 8 and 26), appears to differ in several respects from the previous history. It would be easy to offer a complete defence of the general terms employed in ver. 8, where Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh, who were already in Egypt, are apparently reckoned among those who had just arrived there, even if they had not been so expressly excepted in vers. 20 and 26 as to prevent any possibility of mistake ; for the writer's point of view led him to regard the emigration of Joseph and his sons into Egypt as not actually completed until the whole house, of which they were members, had formally settled there. Previous to that settlement Egypt was merely a casual resting place, and Canaan their true and proper home. But we meet with real difficulties of another kind. Benjamin, who comes before us as a youth throughout the history of Joseph (see for example Gen. xliii. 29), and who was not more than twenty-four years old, according to the existing chronological data, had as many as ten sons (ver. 21). Reuben, who is spoken of as having only two sons when they went to Egypt the second time (chap. xlii. 37), had now four (ver. 9). Pharez, the son of Judah by Tamar, had two sons (ver. 11), a fact which seems absolutely irreconcileable with the results arrived at in vol. i. $ 86. And it is very improbable to say the least, that Jacob's two great-grandsons, the children of B'riah, the youngest son of Asher, were born
in Canaan (v. 17), since their grandfather Asher was only forty years old at the period of the emigration, and therefore his youngest son B'riah must have been a mere boy. With so many circumstances leading to the same conclusion, we need
not hesitate to adopt the explanation that the words of ver. 26, į "all the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt,” are used in so
general a sense as to embrace those grandsons and great-grandsons whose birth must have fallen in the period subsequent to the emigration.
Hengstenberg (Pentateuch vol. ü, 284 sqq. trans.) has entered thoroughly into an examination of the difficulty referred to, and solves it on the ground that the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob, though not yet born, were in their fathers, and therefore entered Egypt with them.Objections have been raised to this interpretation from various quarters, but we must still adhere to it. Lengerke talks about the “orthodox in lumbis," but will not affirm that the objection is sufficient to set it aside. The view referred to, which sees in the father the ensemble of his descendants, is common to the whole of the Old Testament. We find it repeatedly in the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, "I will give thee the land ;" “ in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed ;" " thou shalt be a blessing," &c.; and in the section before us there are unmistakeable examples of it: “I will bring thee up again,” ver. 4, (evidently not the individual person of Jacob, but his descendants, who were not yet in existence, and of whom Jacob was the one representative.) Why then should not the same writer, or even another, be able to say from the same point of view that the sons of Benjamin and Pharez went down in their fathers to Egypt? And, "just as Joseph's sons, though born in Egypt, are reckoned among the souls who came to Egypt, because in their father they had come thither, so also may these descendants of Jacob who came to Egypt in their fathers be regarded as having come with Jacob thither.”
The reasons already assigned serve to show that such an explanation is both admissible and necessary, and the following data heighten its probability. 1. In the list of the families of Israel, which was prepared in the last year of the journey through the desert (Num. xxvi.), there are no grandsons of Jacob mentioned besides those named in Gen. xlvi. “It is difficult to
explain this if the arrival in Egypt spoken of in Gen. xlvi. is to be taken precisely as a terminus ad quem.
Are we to suppose, then, that there were no children born to Jacob's sons in the land of Egypt ?" 2. In chap. xlvi. 5, where there is no question of genealogy, and the individuals emigrating are described from a historical point of view, we read, not of the grandchildren of Jacob's sons, but merely of their children, who are described as little ones. 3. In the case of Hezron and Hamuel (ver. 12) the author appears desirous of intimating that they were not born in Canaan, and that he regarded them as substitutes for Er and Onan, who had died there. Venema has expressed the same opinion. Thus he says (i. 121): “It is probable that the sons of Pharez who were born in Egypt are mentioned, because they were substituted for the two sons of Judah who died in Canaan. The historian clearly asserts as much, and when he adds that the latter died in the land of Canaan, he plainly implies that the sons of Pharez, who were put in their place, had not been born, there."
Baumgarten (i. 316, 334, 350 seq.) has taken a most decided stand in opposition to Hengstenberg. In his anxiety to establish the literal historical accuracy of the genealogy in chap. xlvi. he does violence in a most unscrupulous manner to the previous history and the chronological data afforded by it, and crowds together not merely improbabilities but impossibilities also. (See the remarks in § 86). He is of opinion that with Hengstenberg's explanation “the entire list loses its objective worth and its historical importance; and if such were regarded as sufficient reasons for inserting in the catalogue those who were not born till afterwards, there was no definite limit at all, and the contrast between 70 souls who entered Egypt and 600,000 who left it, on which such stress is laid in Deut. x. 22, loses all its force."
This argument proceeds upon a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the historiographical idea and design of the document. Baumgarten overlooks the fact that we have here not really a historical account, but a genealogical table; and that whilst any looseness of expression would be inadmissible in the former, it is not so in the latter. Besides, it is not correct that the insertion of a few of those who were born in Egypt was an arbitrary proceeding, and that there were no essential limits to determine the selection. Not only were there such limits, but