« PreviousContinue »
OF THE NATIVITY AND EDUCATION OF ESAU AND JACOB.
and is brought up as his only heir. He could | Hebron with his wife Sarah, by their sons
CHAP. XVII. regard to his own relations. I would not, therefore, have you despise his affection; for it was by the good pleasure of God that other accidents fell out in my journey, and that ISAAC's wife proved with child, | after the
death of Abraham ; and when she was far
your house ; for when I was come near to the city, 1 advanced in her pregnancy, Isaac was very saw a great many maidens coming to a well, || anxious, and inquired of God; who answerand I prayed that I might meet with this dam- || ed, that Rebekah should bear twins, and that sel, which has come to pass accordingly. Do two nations should take the names of those you therefore confirm that marriage, whose | sons: and that he who appeared the second espousals have been already made by a divine should excel the elder. Accordingly she, appearance, and shew the respect you have in a little time, as God foretold, gave birth to for Abraham, who has sent me with so much twins; the elder of whom, from his head to solicitude, in giving your consent to the mar- | his feet, was very rough and hairy; but the riage of this damsel,' Upon this they under- l younger took hold of his heel as they were in stood it to be the will of God, and greatly ap:\/ who was called Esau : a name agreeable to
the birth. Now the father loved the elder, proved of the offer, and sent their daughter, * as was desired. Accordingly Isaac married || bis roughness, for the Hebrews call such an her, the inheritance being now.come to him : hairy roughness Esau ** for Seir, but Jacob for the children of Keturah were gone to their the younger was best beloved by his mother.
When there was a famine in the land, Isaac own remote habitations.
resolved to go into Egypt, the land there
being good: but he went to Gerar, as God CHAP. XVII.
commanded him. Here Abimelech, the king, OF ABRAHAM'S DEATH AND BURIAL,
received him kindly, because Abraham had
formerly lived with him, and had been his A
LITTLE while after this Abraham friend; but when he saw that God was with
died; & he was a man of incomparable Isaac, and took such great care with him, he virtue, and honored by God in a manner || became envious, and drove him away. Peragreeable to his piety towards him. The ceiving this change in Abimelech's temper, whole time of his life was one hundred and Isaac retired to a place called the Valley, not seventy-five years, § and he was buried in || far from Gerar : and as he was digging a
vornicacaran * Gen. xxiv. 59.
vided there were new guests. The Grecian form of be. + When Rebekah was sent away, it appears that her nediction was, apudn tuxn. The Latin was, Quod faustum nurse accompanied her. Nurses were formerly held in | felixque sit. The Jews constantly made use of the same very high esteem, and considered as being entitled to | form, but the Greeks and Romans frequently varied theirs; constant and lasting regard. “ The nurse in an Eastern a benediction, however, in some forin, was always used. family is always an important personage. Modern travel- | See Selden de Jure, N.'e G. 1. 5. c. 19. B. lers inform us, that in Syria she is considered as a sort of An. 1862. second parent, whether she has been foster-mother, or
§ Gen. xxv.
.7. otherwise. She always accompanies the bride to ber i The birth of Jacob and Esau is here said to be after husband's house, and ever remains there an honored Abraham's death; it should have been after Sarah's character. Thus it was in ancient Greece." Siege of death. The chronology here certainly shews the other Acre, b. ii. p. 35. Note.
to be a mistake. The order of the narration in Genesis, Rebekah, upon leaving her family, received their bless- | not always exactly according to the order of time, seems ing. Nuptial benedictions were used both by the Jews, to have led Josephus into it, as Dr. Bernard observes Greeks, and Romans. That of the Jews was in this || bere. form : • Blessed be thou, O Lord, who hast created Gen. xxv. 23. man and woman, and ordained marriage,” &c. This ** For Seir, in Josephus, the coherence requires that was repeated every day during the wedding week, pro. we read Esau or Seir; which signifies the same thing. VOL. 1.-(3.)
well, the shepherds fell upon him, and began || whom the father principally loved, was come to fight, in order to hinder the work; and to the age of forty years, he married Adah, I because he did not desire to contend, the shep- the daughter of Helon; and Aholibamah, the herds seemed to get the better of him. So daughter of Esebeon, which Helon and Esehe still retired, and dug another well; and beon were great lords among the Canaanites: when certain other shepherds, in the service | thereby taking upon himself the authority, of Abimelech, began to offer him violence, he and pretending to have dominion over his left that also, and still retired : thus pur- | own marriages, without so much as asking chasing security to himself by a rational and the advice of his father. For had Isaac been prudent conduct. At length the king gave the arbitrator, he would not have given him him permission to dig a well, which he named | leave to marry thus, for he was not pleased Rehoboth; denoting a large space. But of || with contracting any alliance with the people the former wells, one was called Escon, which of that country; but not wishing to act harshly denotes strife; the other Sitenna, which name by his son, in commanding him to put away signifies enmity.
these wives, he resolved to be silent. Isaac's affairs were now in a flourishing But when he was old, and could not see condition; and his power increased from his at all, he called Esau to him, and told him, great riches. But Abimelech thinking Isaac | that besides bis blindness, and the disorder throve in opposition to him, while their living in bis eyes, his very old age hindered him together made them suspicious of each other : from his worship of God, by sacrifice : be and Isaac's retiring shewed a secret enmity | bade him, therefore, to go out a hunting, and also, the king was afraid that his former | when he had caught as much venison as he friendship would not secure him, if Isaaccould, to prepare him a supper; § that after should endeavor to revenge the injuries he || this he might make supplication to God to be had formerly received: be therefore renewed to him a supporter, and an assister, during his friendship with him, in the presence of the old time of his life: saying, that it was Philoc,* one of his generals ; and when he uncertain when he should die, and that he was had obtained every thing he desired, by rea- || desirous, by his prayers for him, to procure, son of Isaac's good nature, who preferred the || beforehand, God to be merciful to him. earlier friendship Abimelech had shewn to Accordingly Esau went out a hunting. But himself and his father to his later wrath Rebekah || thinking it proper to have the supagainst him, he returned home.t
plication made for obtaining the favor of God Now when Esau, one of the sons of Isaac, || to Jacob, and that without the consent of
* While Josephus's copies, both Greek and Latin, men came upon him, and enabled him to foretel Esau's future tion this Philoc, as one of Abimelech's generals that ac behaviour and fortune also. companied bim when he renewed the old league with !! Whether. Jacob or his mother. Rebekah were most Isaac, which had been made long before with Abraham, | blameable in this imposition upon Isaac in his old age, I our new edition calls him Phicol, by the same name which cannot determine. However, the blessing being dethe general at the league made with Abraham, (which || livered as a prediction of future events, by a divine im. old league is not so distinctly mentioned by Josephus,) || pulse, and foretelling things to befall to the posterity of but this conjectural reading is too uncertain to be de- Jacob and Esau in future ages, was for certain providential, pended on.
and according to what Rebekah knew to be the pur+ Gen. xxvi. 31.
* An. 1817.
pose of God, when he answered her inquiry, before the $ This supper of savory meat, as we call it, Gen. xxvii. I children were born, Gen. xxv. 23. that one people should 4. to be caught by hunting, was evidently intended for a be stronger than the other; and that the elder, Esau, festival on a sacrifice; and upon the prayers that were should serve the younger, Jacob. Whether Isaac knew or frequent at sacrifices Isaac expected, as was then usual in remembered this oracle, delivered in our copies only to such eminent cases, that a divine impulse would come Rebekah; or whether, if he knew and remembered it, be upon him, in order to the solemn blessing of his son there did not endeavor to alter the divine determination, ont present, and his foretelling his future behaviour and for- ||of his fondness for his elder son Esau, to the damage
Whence it must be, that when Isaac had blessed of his younger son Jacob; as Josephus supposes, II. 7. Jacob, and was afterwards made sensible of his mistake, I certainly cannot say. If so, this might tempt Rebekah he did not attempt to alter it; because he knew that this to contrive, and Jacob to practise, this imposition upon blessing came not from himself, but from God; and that him. However, Josephus says here, that it was Isaac, an alteration was out of his power. A second amatus then and not. Rebekah, who inquired of God at first, and re
Isaac, bade him kill kids of the goats, and || ceived his mistake, he, was silent. Esau prepare a supper. Jacob obeyed his mother, || earnestly requested that he might be made according to all her instructions; and when partaker of the blessing which his brother had the supper was ready, he took a goat's skin, received, but his father refused, because all and put it about his arm, that, by reason of his prayers had been spent upon Jacob. So its hairy roughness, his father might believe Esau lamented the mistake: however, his him to be Esau ; for they being twins, and father, being grieved at his weeping, said, in all things else alike, differed only in this that “ He should excel in hunting, in arms, thing. This was done out of his fear, tha: in strength of body; and should obtain glory before Isaac had made his supplications, he for ever on those accounts, he and his posshould be caught in his evil practice, and terity after him; but still should serve bis thereby provoke his father to curse him. So brother." he brought in the supper to his father. Isaac Now the mother delivered Jacob, when he perceiving, by the peculiarity of his voice, was afraid that his brother would inflict some who he was, called his son to him : who gave punishment upon him because of the mistake him his hand, which was covered with the about the prayers of Isaac: for she persuaded goat's skin. When Isaac felt that, he said, her husband to take a wife for Jacob out of
Thy voice is like the voice of Jacob; yet Mesopotamia,* of her own_kindred, Esau because of the thickness of thy hair, thou having already married Basemmatb, the seemest to be Esau." So suspecting no de- daughter of Ishmael, without his father's conceit, he ate the supper, and offered up his sent: for Isaac, not liking the Canaanites, prayers and intercessions to God, and said, disapproved of Esau's former marriages, which “ Ở Lord of all ages, and Creator of all sub- made him take Basemmath to wife, in order stance, it was thou that didst propose to my to please him; and, indeed he had a great affather great plenty of good things, and hastfection for her: vouchsafed to bestow on me what I have; and hast promised to my posterity to be their
CHAP. XIX. kind supporter, and to bestow on them still greater blessings. Do thou, therefore, confirm
OF JACOB'S FLIGHT INTO MESOPOTAMIA, these thy promises, and do not overlook me, because of my present weak condition, on
OW Jacob was sent by his mother into account of which I more earnestly pray, to Mesopotamia, in order to marry her thee. Be gracious to this my son, preserve brother Laban's daughter, (which marriage him, and keep him from every thing that is was permitted by Isaac, on account of his obevil. Give him a happy life, and the pos- | sequiousness to the desires of his wife,) and session of as many good things as thy power he accordingly journeyed through the land is able to bestow. Make him terrible to his of Canaan; aud because he hated the people enemies, and honorable and beloved among of that country, he would not lodge with any his friends."
of them, but took up his lodgings in the open Thus did Isaac pray to God, thinking his air, and laid his head on a heap of stones that prayers had been made for Esau. He had he had gathered together.f 'Having fallen but just finished them, however, when Esau asleep, he dreamed that he saw a ladder came in from hunting ; and when Isaac per- which reached from the earth unto heaven, ceived the forementioned oracle ; which, if it be the true good men in the Scripture, implied a justification of them. reading, rendens Isaac's procedure more inexcusable The Scripture affords us faithful accounts of the great Nor was it probable that any thing else so much encou men with whom it is concerned; and relates their vices raged Esau formerly to marry two Canaanitish wives, and follies as impartially as their good and wise actions ; without his parents' consent, as Isaac's unhappy fondness yet it does not always characterize those actions, but free for him.
quently leaves them to the reader's own judgment and N. B. Upon this occasion it may be necessary to cau censure; to their imitation of the good and avoidance of tion the reader against a common prejudice of the modernis; as if the bare relation of what we should esteem * Gen. xxvii. 46. the faults and blemishes of the patriarchs, and other very + Gen. xxviii. 11.
and persons descending down the ladder that characters; whose multitude shall be innuseemed more excellent than human; and at merable. And they shall leave what they last God himself stood above it, and calling have to a still more numerous posterity; to him by his name, said, “ O Jacob, it is not whom and to whose posterity I give the dofit for thee, who art the son of a good father, minion of all the land, and their posterity shall and grandson to one who had obtained a fill the earth, so far as the sun beholds them. great reputation for his eminent virtue, to be But do not thou fear any danger, nor be afraid dejected at thy present circumstances, but to of the many labors thou must undergo, for by hope for better times. For thou shalt have my providence I will direct thee what thou art great abundance of all good things, by my to do in the time present, and still more in the assistance. For I brought Abrahain hither, time to come.” out of Mesopotamia, when he was driven Such were the predictions which God made away by his kinsmen; and I made thy father to Jacob. Whereupon he became very joyful a happy man. Nor will I bestow an inferior at what he had seen and heard ; and he poured degree of happiness on thyself. Be of good oil upon the stones, * because on them the precourage, therefore; and under my conduct diction of such great benefits was made. He proceed on thy journey; for the marriage also vowed a vow that he would offer sacrifice thou goest so zealously about shall be consum- upon them, if he lived, and returned safe: mated. And thou shalt have children of good and if he came again in such a condition, he
* One of the idols in the Pagoda of Jaggernaut is de- this kind to such buildings only as are capable of conscribed by Captain Hamilton as a large black stone, of a | taining their worshippers within them. But this is not the pyramidal form; and the Sammona Codom of the Siamese is case in every part of the world, as we learn from Major of the same complexion. The Ayeen Akbery mentions an Symes's narrative of his Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava. octagonal pillar of black stone fifty cubits high. Tavernier | The temples of that people, vast as many of them are, observed an idol of black stone in the Pagoda of Benares, are built without cavity of any sort, and he only mentions and that the statue of Chreeshna, in his celebrated tem some of the most ancient of those at Pagahm as construct. ple of Mathura, is of black marble. It is very remarka- ed otherwise. The following extract will sufficiently ilble, that one of the principal ceremonies incumbent upon || lustrate this matter: the priests of these stone deities, according to Tavernier, " The object in Pegu that most attracts, and most is to anoint them daily with odoriferous oils; a circum- | merits notice, is the noble edifice of Shoemadoo, or the stance which immediately brings to our remembrance Golden Supreme. This is a pyramidal building, com. the similar practice of Jacob, who, after the famous vision posed of brick and mortar, without excavation or aper. of the celestial ladder, took the stone which he had put for ture of any sort: octagonal at the base, and spiral at the his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon top. Each side of the base measures one hundred and
that place Bethel; that is, the house of God. This passage
This passage the level of the country, is three hundred and sixty-one erinces of how great antiquity is the custom of consider-| feet, and above the interior terrace three hundred and ing stones in a sacred light, as well as the anointing thirty-one feet. Along the whole extent of the northern them with consecrated oil. From this conduct of Jacob, | face of the upper terrace there is a wooden shed for the and this Hebrew appellative, the learned Bochart, with convenience of devotees, who come from a distant part great ingenuity and reason, insists that the name and of the country. There are several low benches near the veneration of the sacred stones, called Baetyti, so cele-foot of the temple, on which the person, who comes to brated in all Pagan antiquity, were derived. These pray, places his offering, commonly consisting of boiled Baetyti were stones of a round form; they were supposed rice, a plate of sweetmeats, or cocoa-nuts fried in oil: to be animated, by means of magical incantations, with a when it is given, the devotee cares not what becomes of portion of the Deity: they were consulted on occasions it; the crows and wild dogs often devour it in the preof great and pressing emergency, as a kind of divine ora sence of the donor, who never attempts to disturb the cles, and were suspended, either round the neck, or some animals. I saw several plates of victuals disposed of in other
part of the body. Thus the setting up of a stone by this manner, and understood it was the case with all that this holy person, in grateful memory of the celestial vision, was brought. probably became the occasion of the idolatry in succeed “ The temple of Shoedagan, about two miles and a balf ing ages, to these shapeless masses of urihewn stone, of north of Rangoon, is a very grand building, although which so many astonishing remains are scattered up and not so high, by twenty-five or thirty feet, as that of down the Asiatic and the European world. Maurice's In-Shoemados, at Þegu. The terrace on which it stands is dian Antiquities, Vol. ii. p. 355.
raised on a rocky eminence, considerably higher than Jacob calls the pillar which he had set up God's the circuinjacent country, and is ascended by above a house. It appears strange to us to hear a stone pillar hundred stone steps. The name of this temple, which called God's house, being accustomed to give names of signifies Golden-Dagon, naturally recals to mind the
would give the tithe of what he had gotten to | of Sarah, who was the daughter of Haran. God. He also judged the place to be honor- But there is a nearer and later cement of able, and gave it the name of Bethel ; which, | mutual kindred which we bear to one anif explained in the Greek tongue, is the House other. For my mother Rebeka was sister to of God.
Laban, thy father, both by the same father He then proceeded on his journey to Mese- || and mother. I, therefore, and thou, are potamia, and at length came to Haran, and, cousin germans, and I am now come to salute meeting with shepherds in the suburbs, with thee, and to renew that affinity which is proboys grown up and maidens sitting round a per between us.” At the mention of Rebeka, certain well, he stayed with them, as wanting the damsel wept, and that out of the kindness water to drink; and beginning to discourse she had for her father, and embraced Jacob : with them, he asked them whether they knew she having learned an account of Rebeka such an one as Laban ? and whether he were from her father, and knew that her parents still alive? They all said they knew him, for loved to hear her named ; and when she had he was not so inconsiderable a person as to saluted him, she said, that he brought the be unknown to any of them; and that his most desirable and greatest pleasure to her fadaughter fed her father's Rock together with ther, with all their family, who was always them; and that, indeed, they wondered she mentioning his mother, and always thinking was not yet come, for hy her means, said of her, and her alone; and this,” said she, they, thou mightest learn more exactly what will make thee equal in his eyes to any ever thou desiredst to know about that fa- advantageous circumstance whatsoever.” Then mily. While they were speaking, the damsel she bid him follow her, while she conducted came, and the other shepherds that came him to her father, not wishing to deprive Lawith her. Then they shewed her Jacob, and | ban of such a pleasure, by staying any longer told her, that he was a stranger who came to away from him. inquire about her father's affairs.
But she, When she had said thus, she brought him being pleased, after the custom of children, to Laban; and being owned by his uncle, he with Jacob's coming, asked him who he was? secure himself, as being among his and whence he came ? and what it was he friends ; to whom
his unexpected arrival gave wanted, that he came thither? She also great pleasure. But a little while afterward, wished it might be in their power to supply his Laban told him that he could not express in wants.
words the joy he had at his coming ; but still Jacob was quite overcome, not so much by he inquired why he left bis aged mother and their kindred, nor by that affection which father, when they wanted to be taken care of might arise thence, as by his love to the dam- by him; and that he would afford him all the sel, and his surprise at her beauty, which was assistance he wanted. Then Jacob gave him such as few of the women of that age could an account of the whole occasion of his jourvie with. He then said, " There is a relationney, and told him that Isaac had twin sons, between thee and me, elder than either of our himself and Esau ; and that his brother hay. births, if thou be the daughter of Laban. Foring failed of his father's prayers, which by Abraham was the son of Terah, as well as his mother's wisdom were put up for him, Haran and Nahor. Of the last of whom, sought to kill him; as, deprived of the kingNahor, Bethuel thy grandfather was the son: |dom * which was to be given bim of God; Isaac my father was the son of Abrabam and and of the blessings for which their father
non sage in the Scriptures, where the house of Dagon is men given Esau of God, as the first-born; it appears that Josetionell, and the image of idolatry bows down before the phus thought a kingdom to be derived of God was due to Holy Ark."
him whom Isaac should bless as his first-born: which I Many of the most ancient temples at Pagahm are not take to be that kingdom which was expected under the solid at the bottom : a well-arched dome supports a pon- Messiah; wbo, therefore, was to be born of his posterity derous superstructure; and, within, an image of Gaudona whorn Isaac should so bless. Jacob, therefore, by obsits enshrined.” B,
taining this blessing of the first-born, became the genuine By this deprivation of the kingdom that was to be heir of that kingdon, in opposition to Esau. VOL. 1.-(4.)