Page images
PDF
EPUB

BOOK II.

Containing an Interval of 220 Years.

FROM THE DEATH OF ISAAC TO THE EXODUS OUT OF EGYPT.

OF THE DIVISION OF HABITATION BY ESAU AND JACOB BY
WHICH THE FORMER POSSESSED IDUMEA, AND THE LATTER
CANAAN.

OF HIS BRETHREN.

CHAP. I.

dwelt in that part of Idumea 'which was called Gebelatis, and that denominated from Amalek Amalekites'; for Idumea was a large country, and preserved the name of the

whole: while in its several parts it kept the ,

names of its peculiar inhabitants. vided their habitations respectively. Nor did they retain what they had before : but

CHAP. II. Esay departed from the city of Hebron, and left it to his brother, and dwelt in Sier, and

OF JOSEPH, THE YOUNGEST OF JACOB'S SONS, AND THE ENVY ruled over Idumea. He called that country by that name from himself ; for he was named IT happened that Jacob attained so great

as

other

person returned from the toil of hunting, very arrived at; he was richer than the rest of the hungry, when he was a child in age, and met inhabitants of that country, and was at once with his brother, when he was getting ready | envied and admired for such virtuous sons; lentile-pottage for his dinper; it was of a for they were deficient in nothing, but were very red colour, on which account he the of great strength both for labouring with their more earnestly longed for it, and desired some hands, and enduring of toil, and shrewd also of it to eat. But Jacob took advantage of in understanding. And God exercised such bis brother's hunger, and forced him to give a providence over him, and such a care of up his birth-right; and he being pinched with his happiness, as to bring him the greatest famine, resigned it up to him, under an oath." blessings, even out of what appeared to be Whence it came, that on account of the red- the most sorrowful condition : and to make ness of the pottage, he was, in way of jest by him the cause of our forefathers' departure his contemporaries called Adom; for the He- out of Egypt; him, I say, and his posterity. brews call what is red, Adom; and this was : The occasion was this: when Jacob had this the name given to this country. But the son Joseph born to him by Rachel, his father Greeks gave it a more agreeable pronuncia- loved him above the rest of his sons, both betion, and named it Idumea.

cause of the beauty of his body, and the virHe become the father of five sons of whom tues of the mind; for he excelled the rest in Jaus, Jolomus, and Coreus were by one wife prudence. This affection of his father excited whose name was Alibama; but of the rest Ali- the envy and the hatred of his brethren, as did phaz was born to him by Ada, and Raguel also his dreams which he related to his father by Basemath : and these were the sons of and to them ; which foretold his future bapEsau. Aliphas had five legitimate sons; piness; it being usual with mankind to envy Theman, Homer, Sappbus, Gotham, and Ka- iheir very nearest relation such prosperity. naz: for Amalek was not legitimate, but by a Now the visions which Joseph saw in his sleep concubine, whose name was Thampa. These

were these:

When

When they were in the middle of harvest, || caused great grief to Joseph's brethren ; and and Joseph was sent with his brethren to they were affected to him hereupon as if he gather the fruits of the earth, he saw a vision were a stranger that was to have those good in a dream, greatly exceeding the customary things which were signified by the dreams, appearances that come when we are asleep; || and not as one that was a brother, with whom which when he got up he told his brethren, it was probable they should be joint parthat they might judge what it portended. He takers ; and as they had been partners in the said, he saw the last night, that his wheat same parentage, so should they be of the sheaf stood still, in the place where he set it; same happiness. They also resolved to kill but that their sheafs ran to bow down to it, the lad: and having fully ratified that inas servants bow down to their masters. * But || tention, as soon as their collection of the as soon as they perceived the vision foretold fruits was over, they went to Shechem which that he should obtain power and great wealth ; || is a country good for feeding of cattle, and for and that bis power should be in opposition to pasturage; there they fed their flock, without them, that gave no interpretation of it to acquainting their father with their removal. Joseph: as if the dream were not understood || Jacob, therefore, had melancholy suspicions by them. But they prayed, that no part of about them, as being ignorant of his sons' conwhat they suspected to be its meaning might dition ; and receiving no messenger from the come to pass; and their hatred against him flocks that could inform him of their true state, was augmented on that account.

he sent Joseph to learn the circumstances his But God in opposition to their envy sent brethren were in, and to bring him word how a second vision to Joseph, which was more they did. wonderful than the former ; for it seemed to him tbat the sun took with him the moon, and

CHAP. III. the rest of the stars, and came down to the earth, and bowed down to him. t He told

OF JOSEPH'S CRUEL TREATMENT BY HIS BRETHREN, X this vision to bis father, and that, as sus

SLAVERY, AND SUBSEQUENT GRBATNESS IN EGYPT. pecting nothing of ill will from his brethren, when they were there also; and desired him OW these brethren rejoiced as soon--as to interpret what it should signify. Now they saw their brother coming to them; Jacob was pleased with the dream ; for con not, indeed, as at the presence of a near ré sidering the prediction in his mind, and lation, or even as one sent by their father; shrewdly aod wisely guessing at its meaning, but as at the presence of an enemy, and one he rejoiced at the great things thereby sig- || that by divine providence was delivered into nified; because it declared the future hap- | their hands; and they already resolved to kill piness of his son : and that by the blessing || him, and not let slip the opportunity that lay of God, the time should come when he should before them.

before them. But when Reuben, the eldest be honored, and thought worthy of worship | brother saw them thus disposed, and that they by his parents and brethren; as guessing that had agreed together to execute their purpose, the moon and sun were like his mother and he tried to restrain them : shewing them father—the former as she that gave increase the heinous enterprise they were going about, and nourishment to all things ; and the latter, and the horrid nature of it; that this action be that gave form and all other powers to would appear wicked in the sight of God, and

l

and that the stars were like his brethren | impious before men ; even though they should since they were eleven in number, as were the kill not one related to them ; but inore fagistars that receive their power from the sun and tious and detestable to appear to have saia moon.

their own brother; by which act the father And thus did Jacob make a shrewd judg- must be treated unjustly in the son's slanghter, ment of this vision ; but these interprètations and the mother § also be in perplexity. white * Gen. xxxvii. 7.

+ Gen. xxxvii. 9.

§ We may here observe, that in correspondence to Gen, xxvii.

Joseph's second dream, which implied that his mother,

NH

them;

[ocr errors]

ents that her son is taken away from they slew him who was judged by God to be ind this not in a natural way. He worthy of that prosperity which was to be sore, intreated them to have a regard to hoped for; and while by murdering him, they r own consciences, and wisely to consider made it impossible for God to bestow it upon jat mischief would befal them upon the him. . death of so good a child, and their

youngest Reuben said these, and many other things, brother; and they would also fear God, who and likewise used intreaties to divert them was already both a spectator, and a witness from the murder of their brother ; but when of the designs they had against their brother ; || he saw that his discourse had not mollified that he would love them if they abstained them at all, and that they prepared to do the from this act, and yielded to repentance and fact, he advised them to alleviate the wickedamendment. But in case they proceeded to ness they were going about in the manner of do the fact, all sorts of punishments would taking Joseph off, for, as he had exhorted overtake them from God; since they pol them first when they were going to revenge luted his providence, which was every where themselves, to be dissuaded from doing it; so present, and which did not overlook what was since the sentence for killing their brother done either in deserts or in cities. For where- had prevailed, he said that they would not be ever a man is, there ought he to suppose that so grossly guilty, if they would be persuaded God is also. He told them farther, that their to follow his present advice, which would inconsciences would be their enemies if they at clude what they were so eager about, but was tempted to go through so wicked an enter not so very bad, but, in the distress they were prize : which they never can avoid whether in, of a lighter nature: He begged of them, it be ä good conscience, or whether it be therefore, not to kill their brother with their such a one as they will have within them own hands, but to cast him into the pit that when once they have killed their brother. He

was hard by, and so to let him die, by which also added, that it was not a righteous thing they would gain so much, that they would to kill a brother, though he had injured them; not defile their own hands with his blood. that it was a good thing to forget the actions To this the young men readily agreed ; so of such near friends, even in things wherein Reuben took the lad, and tied him to a cord, they might seem to have offended; but that and let him down gently into the pit, for it they were going to kill Joseph, who had been had no water in it; and when he had done guilty of nothing that was ill towards them; this, he went his way to seek for such pasturage in whose case the infirmity of his tender years

as was proper for feeding their flocks. should rather procure him mercy, and induce But Judas, being one of Jacob's sons also, them to unite in the care of his preservation.seeing some Arabians, of the posterity of He likewise observed, that the cause of killing Ishmael carrying spices and Syrian wares out bin made the act itself much worse, while of the land of Gilead to the Egyptians after they determined to take him off out of envy at Reuben was gone, advised his brethren to his future prosperity, an equal share of which draw Joseph out of the pit, and sell him to they would naturally partake while he en the Arabians, for if he should die among joyed it ; since they were to him not strangers, strangers, a great way off

, they should be but the nearest relations; for they might freed from this barbarous action. This, therereckon upon

what God bestowed upon Jo- | fore, was resolved on; so they drew Joseph seph as their own; and that it was fit for

up out of the pit, and sold him to the merthein to believe, that the anger of God would chants for twenty pounds. * He was now for this cause be more severe upon them if seventeen years old; but Reuben coming in who was then aliye as well as his father, should come and * The LXXII. bave 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; tbe vulgar alive after she was dead, for the decorum of the dream Latin 30. What was the true number and true sum, canthat foretold it, as the interpretation of that dream does not therefore now be known. also in all our copies, Gen. xxxvii.. VOL. I. (4.)

the

N

the night-time to the pit, resolved to save Jo bim, † neither was his sorrow assuaged by seph without the privity of his brethren ; and length of time. when upon his calling to him, he made no answer, he was afraid that they had de

CHAP. IV. stroyed him after he was gone; he accordingly complained to his brethren, but was pa

OF Joseph's SIGNAL CONTINENCY. cified when they had told him what they had done.

NOW

W Potiphar, an Egyptian, who was When Joseph's brethren had done thus to chief cook to king Pharaoh, bought Johim, they considered how they should escape seph of the merchants. I He had him in the suspicions of their father. Now they had

the greatest honor, taught him the learning taken away from Joseph the coat which he

that became a free man, and gave him leave had on when he came to them, at the time

to make use of a diet better than was allotted they let him down into the pit; so they to slaves ; he also entrusted the care of his thought proper to tear that coat to pieces,

pat to pieces, house to him. Joseph, however, did not forget and 'to dip it into goat's blood, and then to that virtue which he had before, upon such a carry it, and shew it to their father, that he change of his condition ; but he demonstrated might believe he was destroyed by wild that wisdom was able to govern the uneasy beasts; and when they had so done, they passions of life, in such as have it in reality, came to the old man, but this not till what

and do not only put it on for a shew, under a had happened to his son had already come to

present state of prosperity. his knowledge. Then they said that they His master's wife soon fell in love with him had not seen Joseph, nor knew what mishap || both on account of his beauty of body, and had befallen him, but that they had found his his skilful management of afairs; and supcoat bloody, and torn to pieces, whence they posed that if she should make it known to had a suspicion that he had fallen among wild him, she should easily persuade him to come beasts, and so perished, if that were the coat to her bed : and that he would consider it as he had on when he came from home. Jacob

a piece of happy fortune that his mistress had before some better hopes that his son was should entreat him; as regarding that state only made a captive, but now he laid aside

of slavery he was in, and not his moral chathat notion, and considered this coat as racter, which continued after his condition sufficient proof of his death, for be well re

was changed. So she made known her illicit membered that this was the coat he had on

inclinations : however he rejected her intreawhen he sent biin to his brethren. He there

ties, not thinking it agreeable to religion to fore lamented the lad as now dead, and as if | yield so far to her, as to do what would tend he had been the father of no more than one, to the injury of one who had purchased him, without taking any comfort in the rest ; and and vouchsafed him so great honors. He so he was also affected with his misfortune therefore exhorted her to govern that passion, before he met with Joseph's brethren, when and laid before her the impossibility of obhe also conjectured that Joseph was destroyed taining her desires, which he thought might by wild beasts. He sat down also clothed in

be conquered, if she had no hope of succeedsackcloth, * and in heavy affliction, insomuching, and he said that, as to hiniself, he would that he found no ease when his sons comforted

endure any thing whatever before he would

a

* Jacob is represented by Moses not only as being clocked in sackcloch, but as rending his clothes on this occasion. Rending the clothes was an eastern way of expressing either grief for calamity, or horror for sin. Reuben was the first we read of, who, to denote his exceeding sorrow, rent his clothes; and as Jacob we find does the like, we may well suppose that it was an usual manner of expressing all grief and uneasiness of

mind in those days; and, by putting on sackcloth.
(which Jacob is here the first precedent of doing, but
was afterwards commonly used upon all mournful occa-
sions, (he seemed to signify, that since he had lost his be-
loved son, he looked upon himself as reduced to the mean-
est and lowest condition of life, Bibliotheca Bibl. and
Howell's History. B.
+ Gen xxxvii. 35.

Gen, xxxix, 1.

be

be persuaded to it: for although it was the But though the woman said thus, and even duty of a slave, as he was, to do nothing con with tears in her eyes, Joseph was not distrary to his mistress, he might well be ex suaded from his chastity, nor induced by fear cused in a case where the contradiction was to to a compliance with her : but he opposed such sort of commands: but this opposition of alike her solicitations and her threatenings, Joseph's, when she did not expect it, made her and was afraid to do an ill thing, choosing still more violent in her love to him, and she rather to undergo the sharpest punishment, resolved to accomplish her design by a second than to enjoy bis present advantages by doing attempt.

what his own conscience knew would justly When, therefore, there was a festival com deserve that he should die for it. He also reing on, in which it was the custom for wo minded her that she was a married woman, men to come to the public solemnity, she

pre and that she ought to cohabit with her hustended to her husband that she was sick, as band only, and desired her to suffer these contriving an opportunity for solitude and considerations to have more weight with her leisure, that she might entreat Joseph again. than the short pleasure of lustful dalliance -This opportunity being obtained, she used which would occasion trouble and repentance more kind words to him than before, and said afterwards, and yet would not amend what that it had been good for him to have yielded had been done amiss. He also suggested the to her first solicitation, and to have given her fear she would be in lest they should be no repulse, both because of the reverence he | caught, and that the advantage of concealought to bear to her dignity, who solicited ment was uncertain, and that only while the him, and because of the vehemency of her wickedness was not known would there be passion, by which she was forced, though she

any quiet for them.

But that she migbt have were his mistress, to condescend beneath her the enjoyment of her husband's company withdignity. But that he might now, by taking out any danger, and he told her, that in the more prudent advice, wipe off the imputation company of her husband she might have of his former folly; for whether it were that great boldness, from a good conscience, both he expected the repetition of her solicitations, before God and before men; nay, that she she had now made it, and that with greater would act more consistently as his mistress, earnestness than before, for that she had pre- and make use of her authority over him bettended sickness on this very account, and had ter while she persisted in her chastity, than preferred his conversation before the festival

when they were both ashamed for what wickand its solemnity: or whether he opposed her edness they had been guilty of ; and that it former discources, as not believing she could is much better to depend on a good life known be in earnest : she now gave him sufficient to have been so, than upon the hopes of the security, by thus repeating her application, concealment of evil practices. that she meant not in the least by fraud to Joseph, by 'saying this and more, tried to impose on him, and assured bim, that if he restrain the violent passion of the woman, and complied with her affections, he might expect

to reduce ber affections within the roles of the enjoyment of the advantages he already reason; but she grew more ungovernable, and had: and if he were submissive to her, he earnest in the matter : and since she despaired should have still greater advantages: but that of persuading him, she laid her hands upon he must look for revenge and hatred from him, and had recourse to violence. But as her in case he rejected her desires, and pre soon as Joseph had got away from her anger ferred the reputation of chastity, before his leaving his garment with her, and leaped out mistress ; for that he would gain nothing by of her chamber, she was equally afraid lest such procedure; as she would then become he should discover her lewdness to her hushis accuser, and would falsely pretend to her band, and incensed at the affront he had ofbusband that he attempted her chastity; and fered her, so she resolved to be before-hand that Potiphar would hearken to her words, ra with him, and to accuse him falsely to Potither than to his, let his be ever so agreeable to phar, and by that means to revenge herself the truth.

for his pride and contempt ;' thinking it a wise

« PreviousContinue »