« PreviousContinue »
acceptable to those that received them, on Esau, who had no evil design upon him, but account of their rarity. Those who were sent saluted him, and asked him about the proceeded at certain intervals of space asun company of the children, and of the women; der, that by following thick one after another, and desired, when he had understood all he they might appear to be the more numerous, wanted to know about them, that he would that Esau might remit of his anger on ac go along with him to their father; but Jacob count of these presents, if he were still unap- pretending that the cattle were weary, Esau peased. Instructions were also given to those returned to Seir, for there was his place of that were sent, to speak submissively to him. habitation, which he had named roughness,
When Jacob had made these appointments, from his own hairy roughness. and night came on, he began to move with his company: and as they were gone over a
CHAP. XXI. certain river, called Jabboc, Jacob was left behind; and meeting with an angel, he
OF THE VIOLATION OF DINA'S CHASTITY. wrestled with him, the angel beginning the struggle; but he prevailed over the angel, FTER this interview, Jacob came to the who used a voice, and spake to him in words, place, till this day called Succoth, or exhorting him to be pleased with what had Tents, whence he went to Shechem, a city happened to him, and not to suppose that his of the Canaanites. Now as the Shechemites victory was a trifling one, but that he had were keeping a festival, Dina, who was the overcome a divine angel, and to esteem the only daughter of Jacob, went into the city, to victory as a sign of great blessings that should see the women of that country; but when come to him, and that his offspring should Shechem, the son of Hamor the king, saw never fail, and that no man should be too hard her, he defiled her by violence; and being for his power. He also commanded him to greatly in love with her, he desired his father be called Israel,* which in the Hebrew to procure the damsel for him in marriage. tongue signifies one that struggled with the To this request Hamor acceded, and came divine angel. These promises were made at to Jacob, desiring permission that his son the prayer of Jacob; for when he perceived Shechem might according to law, marry him to be the angel of God, he desired he Dina; but Jacob, not knowing how to deny would signify to him what should befal him the desire of one of such great dignity, and hereafter, and when the angel had said what yet not thinking it lawful to marry his daughis before related, he disappeared. Jacob was ter to a stranger, intreated leave to have a pleased with these things, and named the previous consultation. So the king went place Phanuel, which signifies the face of God. away, in hopes that Jacob would approve of But when he felt pain by this struggling upon this marriage; but Jacob informed his sons of his broad sinews, he abstained from eating the defilement of their sister, and of the adthat sinew himself afterward, and for his sake dress of Hamor, and desired them to give him it is still not eaten by us.t
their advice, what they should do. Upon this When Jacob understood that his brother the greatest part said nothing, not knowing was approaching, he ordered his wives to go what advice to give; but Simeon and Levi, before, each by herself, with the handmaids, the brethren of the damsel, by the same that they might see the actions of the men as mother, agreed between themselves upon the they were fighting, if Esau were so disposed. action following: it being now the time of a He then went and bowed down to his brother festival, when the Shechemites were emso quick, by the great numbers which they have, that they the first century, in Egypt and elsewhere, interpreted are obliged to remove them too often, which is very de Is-ra-el, to be a man seeing God. structive to their flocks, on account of the young ones, † Gen. xxxii. 32. which have not strength enough to follow." This cir I When Jacob and Esau met they saluted each other. cumstance shews the energy of Jacob's apology to Esau for Esau ran to meet Jacob, embraced him, fell on his neck, and not attending him. Harmer's Observations, i. 126. B. kissed him, Gen. xxxiii. 4. Such persons as are intimately
* Perhaps this may be the proper meaning of the word acquainted, or of equal age and dignity, mutually kiss the Israel by the present and the old Jerusalem analogy of the hand, the head, or the shoulder of each other. Shari's Hebrew tongue. But it is certain that the Hellenists of Trav. p. 237. B.
ployed in ease and feasting, they fell upon the son that was born of her Benjamin,|| bethe watch when they were asleep, and en cause of the sorrow the mother had with him. tering into the city, * slew all the males, as These are all the children of Jacob, twelve also the king and his son with them, but males, and one female; of whoin eight were spared the women; and when they had done legitimate, viz. six of Leah, and two of Rathis, without their father's consent, they chel; and four were of the handmaids, two brought away their sister.
of each, all whose names have been set down Now, while Jacob was astonished at this | already. daring act, and was severely blaming his sons for it, God stood by him,t and bid him be of
CHAP. XXII. good courage, but to purify his tents, and to offer those sacrifices which he had vowed to
OF ISAAC'S DEATH AND INTERMENT AT HEBRON. offer when he went first into Mesopotamia, and saw his vision. As he was therefore TROM thence Jacob went to Hebron, a purifying his followers, he found the gods of city situate among the Canaanites, and Laban, (for he did not before know they were the residence of Isaac; and there they lived stolen by Rachel,) and he hid them in the together for a little while: for as to Rebeka, earth, under an oak, in Shechem; and de Jacob did not find her alive. Isaac also died parting thence, he offered sacrifice at Bethel, not long after the coming of his son, and was the place where he saw his vision when he buried, with his wife, in Hebron, where the went first into Mesopotamia.
family had a monument belonging to them When he was gone thence, and was come
from their forefathers. Now Isaac was a man over against Ephrata, he there buried Ra who was beloved of God, and was vouchsafed chel,f who died in childbed; she was the great instances of providence by God, after only one of Jacob's kindred that had not the Abraham his father, and lived to be exceedhonour of burial at Hebron; and when he ing old; for when he had lived virtuously one had mourned for her a great while, he called hundred and eighty-five years, he then died.
* Why Josephus has omitted the circumcision of these other copies, he wrote that Rachel called her son's name Shechemites, as the occasion of their death ; and of Jacob's Benoni, but his father called him Benjamin ; Gen. xxxv. great grief, as in the testament of Levi, I cannot tell. 18. As for Benjamin, as commonly explained, the son of † Gen. xxxv. 1.
the right-hand, it makes no sense at all, and seems to be a | Gen. xxxv. 19.
gross modern error only. The Samaritan always writes Since Benoni signifies the son of my sorrow, and this name truly, Benjamin, which probably is here of the Benjamin the son of days, or one born in the father's old same signification, only with the Chaldee termination in, age, Gen. xliv. 20, I suspect Josephus's present copies to instead of im, in the Hebrew. be here imperfect, and suppose that, in correspondence to
OF THE DIVISION OF HABITATION BY ESAU AND JACOB BY
WHICH THE FORMER POSSESSED IDUMEA, AND THE LATTER
OF HIS BRETHREN.
by Basemath: and these were the sons of
concubine, whose name was Thamna. These
names of its peculiar inhabitants.
The occasion was this: when Jacob had this
in prudence. This affection of his father ex to them; and that the stars were like his cited the envy and the hatred of his brethren, brethren, since they were eleven in number, as did also his dreams which he related to as were the stars that receive their power his father and to them; which foretold his from the sun and moon. future happiness; it being usual with man And thus did Jacob make a shrewd judgkind to envy their very nearest relation such ment of this vision; but these interpretations prosperity. Now the visions which Joseph caused great grief to Joseph's brethren; and saw in his sleep were these:
they were affected to him hereupon as if he When they were in the middle of harvest, were a stranger that was to have those good and Joseph was sent with his brethren to things which were signified by the dreams, gather the fruits of the earth, he saw a vision and not as one that was a brother, with whom in a dream, greatly exceeding the customary it was probable they should be joint parappearances that come when we are asleep; takers; and as they had been partners in the which when he got up he told his brethren, same parentage, so should they be of the that they might judge what it portended. He same happiness. They also resolved to kill said, he saw the last night, that his wheat the lad: and having fully ratified that insheaf stood still, in the place where he set it; tention, as soon as their collection of the but that their sheafs ran to bow down to it, fruits was over, they went to Shechem, which as servants bow down to their masters.* But is a country good for feeding of cattle, and as soon as they perceived the vision foretold for pasturage; there they fed their flock, that he should obtain power and great wealth;
; without acquainting their father with their and that his power should be in opposition to removal. Jacob, therefore, had melancholy them, they gave no interpretation of it to suspicions about them, as being ignorant of Joseph: as if the dream were not understood his sons' condition; and receiving no mesby them. But they prayed, that no part of senger from the flocks that could inform him what they suspected to be its meaning might of their true state, he sent Joseph to learn come to pass; and their hatred against him the circumstances his brethren were in, and was augmented on that account.
to bring him word how they did. But God in opposition to their envy sent a second vision to Joseph, which was more
CHAP. III. wonderful than the former; for it seemed to him that the sun took with him the moon, and OF JOSEPH's CRUEL TREATMENT BY HIS BRETHREN, His the rest of the stars, and came down to the earth, and bowed down to him.f He told TOW these brethren rejoiced as soon as this vision to his father, and that, as sus
they saw their brother coming to them; pecting nothing of ill will from his brethren, not, indeed, as at the presence of a near rewhen they were there also; and desired him lation, or even as one sent by their father; to interpret what it should signify. Now but as at the presence of an enemy, and one Jacob was pleased with the dream; for con that by divine providence was delivered into sidering the prediction in his mind, and their hands; and they already resolved to kill shrewdly and wisely guessing at its meaning, him, and not let slip the opportunity that lay he rejoiced at the great things thereby sig
before them. But when Reubal, the eldest nified; because it declared the future hap- | brother saw them thus disposed, and that piness of his son: and that by the blessing they had agreed together to execute their of God, the time should come when he should purpose, he tried to restrain them:f shewing be honoured, and thought worthy of worship
them the heinous enterprise ihey were going by his parents and brethren; as guessing that about, and the horrid nature of it; that this the moon and sun were like his mother and action would appear wicked in the sight of father—the former as she that gave increase God, and impious before men; even though and nourishment to all things; and the latter, they should kill one not related to them; but he that gave form and all other powers
more flagitious and detestable to appear to * Gen. xxxvii. 7.
[ Gen. xxxvii. 21.. ti Gen. xxxvi..9..
SLAVERY, AND SUBSEQUENT GREATNESS IN EGYPT.
have slain their own brother; by which act that the anger of God would for this cause the father must be treated unjustly in the be more severe upon them if they slew him son's slaughter, and the mother* also be in who was judged by God to be worthy of that perplexity while she laments that her son is prosperity which was to be hoped for; and taken away from her; and this not in a natural while by murdering him, they made it imposway. He, therefore, intreated them to have sible for God to bestow it upon him. a regard to their own consciences, and wisely Reuben said these, and many other things, to consider what mischief would befal them and likewise used intreaties to divert them upon the death of so good a child, and their from the murder of their brother, but when youngest brother; and they would also fear he saw that his discourse had not mollified God, who was already both a spectator, and them at all, and that they prepared to do the a witness of the designs they had against fact, he advised them to alleviate the wickedtheir brother; that he would love them if they ness they were going about in a manner of abstained from this act, and yielded to re taking Joseph off; for, as he had exhorted pentance and amendment. But in case they them first when they were going to revenge proceeded to do the fact, all sorts of punish themselves, to be dissuaded from doing it; so ments would overtake them from God; since since the sentence for killing their brother they polluted his providence, which was had prevailed, he said that they would not be every where present, and which did not over so grossly guilty, if they would be persuaded look what was done either in deserts or in to follow his present advice, which would incities. For wherever a man is, there ought clude what they were so eager about, but he to suppose that God is also. He told them
was not so very bad, but, in the distress they farther, that their consciences would be their were in, of a lighter nature. He begged of enemies if they attempted to go through so them, therefore, not to kill their brother with wicked an enterprise: which they never can their own hands, but to cast him into the pit avoid, whether it be a good conscience, or that was hard by, and so to let him die, by whether it be such a one as they will have which they would gain so much, that they within them when once they have killed their would not defile their own hands with his brother. He also added, that it was not a blood. To this the young men readily agreed; righteous thing to kill a brother, though he so Reuben took the lad, and tied him to a had injured them; that it was a good thing to cord, and let him down gently into the pit, forget the actions of such near friends, even for it had no water in it; and when he had in things wherein they might seem to have done this, he went his way to seek for such offended; but that they were going to kill pasturage as was proper for feeding their Joseph, who had been guilty of nothing that flocks. was ill towards them; in whose case the in- But Judas, being one of Jacob's sons also, firmity of his tender years should rather seeing some Arabians, of the posterity of procure him mercy, and induce them to unite Ishmael, carrying spices and Syrian wares in the care of his preservation. He likewise out of the land of Gilead to the Egyptians observed, that the cause of killing him made after Reuben was gone, advised his brethren the act itself much worse, while they deter to draw Joseph out of the pit, and sell him mined to take him off out of envy at his future to the Arabians, for if he should die among prosperity, an equal share of which they strangers, a great way off, they should be would naturally partake while he enjoyed it; freed from this barbarous action. This, theresince they were to him not strangers, but the fore, was resolved on; so they drew Joseph nearest relations; for they might reckon upon up out of the pit, and sold him to the merwhat God bestowed upon Joseph as their chants for twenty pounds.† He was now own; and that it was fit for them to believe, seventeen years old, but Reuben coming in
* We may here observe, that in correspondence to that foretold it, as the interpretation of that dream does Joseph's second dream, which implied that his mother, also in all our copies, Gen. xxxvii. who was then alive as well as his father, should come and † The LXXII, have 20 pieces of gold; the testament bow down to him, Josephus represents her here as still of God, 30; the Heb. and Samar. 20 of silver; the vulgar alive after she was dead, for the decorum of the dream Latin 30. What was the true number and true sum, can
not therefore now be known.