Page images
[graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

received him kindly, because Abraham had earlier friendship Abimelech had shewed to formerly lived with him, and had been his himself, and his father to alter his wrath friend; but when he saw that God was with against him, he returned home. † isaac, and took such great care with him, he Now when Esau, one of the sons of Isaac, became envious, and drove him away. Per whom the father principally loved was come ceiving this change in Abimelech's temper, to the age of forty years he married Adah, I Isaac retired to a place called the Valley, the daughter of Helon; and Aholibamah, the not far from Gerar: and as he was digging a daughter of Esebeon, which Helon and Esewell, the shepherds fell upon him, and began beon were great lords among the Canaanites; to fight, in order to hinder the work; and thereby taking upon himself the authority, because he did not desire to contend, the and pretending to have dominion over his shepherds seemed to get the better of him. own marriages, without so much as asking So he still retired, and dug another well: and the advice of his father. For had Isaac been when certain other shepherds, in the service the arbitrator, he would not have given him of Abimelech began to offer him violence, he leave to marry thus, for he was not pleased left that also, and still retired: thus pur with contracting any alliance with the people chasing security to himself by a rational and of that country; but not wishing to act harshly prudent conduct. At length the king gave by his son, in commanding him to put away him permission to dig a well, which he named these wives, he resolved to be silent. Rehoboth; denoting a large space. But of But when he was old, and could not see the former wells, one was called Escon, at all, he called Esau to him, and told him, which denotes strife; the other Sitenna, which that besides his blindness, and the disorder name signifies enmity.

in his eyes, his very old age hindered him Isaac's affairs were now in a flourishing from his worship of God, by sacrifice: he condition; and his power increased from his bade him, therefore, to go out a hunting, and great riches.

But Abimelech thinking Isaac when he had caught as much venison as he throve in opposition to him, while their living could, to prepare him a supper;|| that after together made them suspicious of each other: this he might make supplication to God to be and Isaac's retiring shewed a secret enmity to him a supporter, and an assister, during also, the king was afraid that his former the old time of his life: saying, that it was friendship would not secure him, if Isaac uncertain when he should die, and that he should endeavour to revenge the injuries he was desirous, by his prayers for him, to had formerly received: he therefore renewed procure, before-hand, God to be merciful to his friendship with him, in the presence of him. Philoc,* one of his generals; and when he Accordingly Esau went out a hunting. But had obtained every thing he desired, by rea Rebekaş thinking it proper to have the supson of Isaac's good nature, who preferred the plication made for obtaining the favour of

* While Josephus' copies, both Greek and Latin, men Jacob, and was afterwards made sensible of his mistake, tion this Philoc as one of Abimelech's generals, that ac he did not attempt to alter it; because he knew that this companied him when he renewed the old league with blessing came not from himself, but from God; and that Isaac, which had been made long before with Abraham, an alteration was out of his power. A second afilatus then our new edition calls him Phicol by the same name with came upon him, and enabled him to foretel Esau's future the general at the league made with Abraham, (which old behaviour and fortune also. league is not so distinctly mentioned by Josephus,) but $ Whether Jacob or his mother Rebeka were most this conjectural reading is too uncertain to be depended blameable in this imposition upon Isaac in his old

cannot determine. However, the blessings being de† Gen. xxvi. 31.

livered as a prediction of future events, by a divine imI An. 1817.

pulse, and according to what Rebeka knew to be the li This supper of Savory meat, as we call it, Gen. xxvii. purpose of God, when he answered her inquiry, before 4, to be caught by hunting, was evidently intended for a the children were born, Gen. xxv. 23, that one people festival on a sacrifice ; and upon the prayers that were should be stronger than the other; and that the elder, frequent at sacrifices Isaac expected, as was then usual in Esau, should serve the younger, Jacob. Whether Isaac such eminent cases, that a divine impulse would come knew, or remembered this oracle, delivered in our copies, upon him, in order to the solemn blessing of his son there only to Rebeka ; or whether if he knew or remembered present, and his foretelling his future behaviour and for it, he did not endeavour to alter the divine determination, tune. Whence it must be, that when Isaac had blessed out of his fondness for his elder son, Esau, to the damage VOL. I.-NO. 2.




« PreviousContinue »