« PreviousContinue »
traction and terror, and thought that very third day he brought them out, and said to great danger hung over them ; yet not at them, “ Since you constantly affirm that you all-reflecting upon their brother Joseph, and are not come to do any harm to the king's af. standingfirin under the accusations laid | fairs ; that you are brethren, and sons of the against them, they made their defence by Keu. || father whom yon named, you will satisfy me hel, the eldest of them, who now became their of the truth of what
of the truth of what you say, if you leave one spokesman. “ We come not hither,” said he, of your company with me, who shall suffer no • with an unjust design, nor in order to bring || injury here ; and if, when you have carried any harm to the king's affairs ; we only want corn to your father, you will come to me to be preserved, as supposing your humanity again, and bring your brother, whom you say might be a refuge for us from the misiries you left there, along.with you, this shall be which our country labors under ; we have esteemed an assurance of the truth of what heard that you proposed to sell corn, not only you have told me.' Hereupon they were in to your own countrymen, but to strangers greater grief than before; they wept, and peralso ; and that you determined to allow that petually deplored one among another the cacorn, in order to preserve all that want it. But | lamity of Joseph ; and said, they were fallen that we are brethren, and of the same com into this misery as a punishment inflicted by mon blood, the peculiar lineaments of our God for the evil contrivances they had against face, and those not much different from one him. And Reubel reproached them for their another, plainly shew. Our father's name is too late repentence, whence no profit arose Jacob, an Hebrew; who had twelve sons, by to Joseph ; and earnestly exhorted them to four wives, which twelve of us, while we were bear with patience whatever they suffered, all alive, were a happy family. But when since it was done by God in way of punishone of our brethren, whose name was Joseph, ment on his account.
. Thus they spake to died, our affairs changed for the worse ; for one another, not imagining that Joseph unour father could not forbear to make a long derstood their language. A general sadness lamentation for him; and we are in affliction also seized on them at Reubel's words, and both by calamity of the death of our brother a repentance for what they had done; and and the miserable state of our aged father. they condemned the wickedness they had perWe are now, therefore, come to buy corn, || petrated, for which they judged they were having entrusted the care of our father, and justly punished by God. Now when Joseph the provision for our family, to Benjamin, our saw that they were in this distress, he was so youngest brother; and if thou sendest to our affected that he burst into tears; but not house, thou mayest learn whether we are guilty || being willing that they should take notice of of the least falsehood in what we say.'
him, he retired, and after a while came to Thus did Reubel endeavour to persuade Jo- || them again; and taking Simeon,* in order seph to have a better opinion of them ; but to his being a pledge for his brethren's rewhen he had learned that Jacob was alive, turn; he bid them take the corn they had and that his brother was not destroyed by bought, and go
He also comthem, he, for the present, put them in prison ; | manded his steward privily to put the money as intending to examine more into the affairs which they had brought with them for the when he should be at leisure. But on the purchase of corn, into their sacks, t and to
nature. Nay, if they swear by the king's head, their oath one for the corn, the other for the baggage. They are is more authentic, and of greater credit, than if they no waggons almost through all Asia, as far as to the Inswore by all that is most sacred in heaven and upon dies: every thing is carried upon beasts of burthen, in earth.”
sacks of woo), covered in the middle with leather, the * The reason why Simeon might be selected out of the better to make resistance to water. Sacks of tbis sort aro rest for Joseph's prisoner, is plain in the Testament of called tambellit ; they inclose in them their things done Simeon, viz. that he was one of the bitterest of all Joseph's up in large parcels. It is of this kind of sack we are to brethren against him,
understand what is said here and all through this history, + There are two sorts of sacks taken notice of in the and not of their sacks in which they carry their corn. history of Joseph, which ought not to be confounded ; (Chardin). HARMER. V. i. p. 429. B. VOL.I.NO. 4,
dismiss them therewith, who did as he was Simeon should perish. He exhorted him to commanded.
trust God for him ; and said he would either When Jacob's sons was come into the bring his son back to bim safe, or, together land of Canaan, they told their father what with his, lose his own life. So that Jacob was had happened to them in Egypt ; and that at length persuaded, and delivered Benjamin they were taken to have come thither as spies to thein, with the price of the corn dọabled ; upon the king ; how - they said they were he also sent presents to Joseph, of the fruits brethren, and had left their eleventh brother of the land of Canaan; balsam, † and rosin, with their father, but were not believed ; and as also turpentine and honey. Now their fathat they had left Simeon with the governorther shed many tears at the departure of his until Benjamin should go thither, and be a sons, as well as themselves : his concern was testimonial of the truth of what they had said that he might receive them back again safe They then begged of their father to fear no after their journey ; and their concern was, thing; but to send the lad along with them : that they might find their father well, and ito but Jacob was not pleased with any thing his way afflicted with the grief for them. And sons had done, and being grieved at the de- || this lamentation lasted a whole day ; so that tention of Simeon, he thought it a foolish the old man was at last tired with grief, and thing to give up Benjamin also. Neither did stayed behind; but they went on their way for he yield to Reubel's persuasion, though he || Egypt, endeavouring to mitigate their grief said that the grandfather might, in way of for their present misfortunes, with the hopes requital, kill his own sons, in case any harm of better success hereafter, came to Benjamin in the journey. So they As soon as they came into Egypt they were were distrest, and knew not what to do. Nay, brought down to Joseph ; bui here no small there was another accident that still disturbed | fear disturbed them, lest they should be acthem more : the money that was found hid- || cused about the price of the corn, as if they den in their sacks of corn. Yet when the || had cheated Joseph. They therefore made a corn they had brought failed them, and when long apology to Joseph's steward, and told the famine still afflicted them, and necessity | him that when they came home they found forced them, Jacob did not still resolve to the money in their sacks ; and that they had send Benjamin with his brethren ; although now brought it along with them. He said there was no returning into Egypt unless they | he did not know what they meant. So they came with what they had promised. Now were delivered from that fear. And when he the misery growing every day worse, and his had loosed Simeon, and put him into a handsons begging it of him, he had no other course some habit, he suffered him to be with his to take in his present circumstances; and Ju brethren : at which time Joseph came from das, who was of a bold temper on other oc
his attendance on the king. So they offered casions, spake his mind very freely. He told him their presents, and upon bis putting the him, that it did not become him to be afraid question to them about their father, they anon account of his son, nor to suspect the worst, swered that they found him well. He also, as he did ; for nothing could be done to his upon his discovery that Benjamin was alive, son but by the appointinent of God; which asked, whether this was their youngest bromust also for certain come to pass though he ther? for they had not seen him. Wherewere at home with him; that he ought pot upon they said he was; he replied, that the to condemn them to such manifest destruction, || God over all was his protector. But when nor to deprive them of that plenty of food they this affection made him shed tears, he retired, might have from Pharaoh, by his unreasona- || desiring he might not be seen in that state by ble fear about his son Benjamin, but ought to his brethren. Then Joseph took them to take care of the preservation of Simeon ; lest supper ; and they were seated in the same orby attempting to hinder Benjamin's journey, | der as they used to sit at their father's table.
* Gen. xliii, 12.
+ Of the precious balsam of Judea, and the turpentine, see note on VIII. 6.
And although Joseph treated them all kindly, || ble and kind treatment which Joseph had yet did he send a mess to Benjamin, that was given them, and did not-scruple to be injurious double* to what the rest of the guests had for to him ; and to carry off that cup out of which their sharest
he had, in so friendly a manner, drank to Now when after supper they had composed them; regarding their friendship with Joseph themselves to sleep, Joseph commanded his no more than the danger they should be in steward - both to give them their measures of if they were taken, in comparison of the uncorn, and to hide its price again in their just gain. Hereopon be threatened that they
and withal they should put into Ben» should be punished, for though they had es. jamin's sack the golden cup out of which he caped the knowledge of him, who was but a himself used to drink. Which things he did servant, yet had they not escaped the knowin order to make trial of his brethren, whe- ledge of God, nor had gone off with what ther they would stand by Benjamin when he || they had stolen ; and, after all, asked why should be accused of having stolen the cup, they were pursued, as if they knew nothing and should appear to be in danger ; or whe- l of the matter; and he told them, that they ther they would leave him, and, depending on should inmediately know it by their punishtheir own innocency, go to their father with-ment. This, and more of the same nature, did out him.
When the servant had done as he | the servant say, in way of reproach ; but they was bidden, the sons of Jacob, knowing no- being wholly ignorant of any thing here that thing of this, went their way, and took Si-concerned them, laughed at what he said, and meon with them, and had a double cause of wondered at the abusive language which he joy ; both because they had received him gave them, when he was so hardy as to acagain, and because they took back Benjamin cuse those who did not before so much as reto their father, as they had promised. But tain the price of their corn, which was found in presently a troop of horsemen encompassed their sacks, but brought it again, though nothem, and brought with them Joseph's ser- | body else knew of any such thing ; so far vant, who had put the cup into Benjamin’s were they from offering any injury to Joseplı sack. Upon this unexpected attack they voluntarily. But still, supposing that a search were much disturbed, and asked the reason would be a more sure justification of themwhy they came thus upon men, who a little selves than their own denial of the fact, they before had been by their lord thought worthy | bid bim search them; and said, if any of them of an honourable and hospitable reception ? || had been guilty of theft, he might punish They replied, by calling them wicked them all ; for being no way concious of any wretches, who had forgot that very hospita- || crime, they spake with assurance ; and, as
* Five times as much. Heb. and Septuagint.
was cut with one of their knives. Patrick's and Le Clerc's + The reason which some assign for the Egyptians re Commentary. The manner of eating among the ancients fusing to eat with the Hebrews, was their sacrificing was not for all the company to eat out of one and the same some creatures which the Egyptians worshipped : but dish, but for every one to have one or more dishes to himthough, in after ages, they certainly did worship several self. The whole of these dishes were set before the mas. kinds of animals, yet there appears nothing from the ter of the feast, and he distributed to erery one his porstory that they did so in Joseph's days; for their worship tion. As Joseph, however, is here said to have had a lable of the famous ox, called Apis, was a much later invention, to himself, we may suppose that he had a great variety as many learned men have demonstrated. It is much of little dishes, or plates, set before him; and as it was a more likely, therefore, that this great abhorrence should
custom for great men to honour those who were in their be resolved into their different manner, both of dressing favour by sending such dishes to them as were first
. and eating their victuals. No people as Herodotus tells, served up to themselves. Joseph shewed that token of (even where he treats of their manner of feasting, Euterpe, | respect to his brethren: but, to express a particular value c. 28.) were more tenacious of their old customs tban ihe for Benjamin, he sent him five dishes to their one, which Egyptians. They would not use those of any other na disproportion could not but be marvellous and astonishtion whatever; and, therefore, the Hebrews were not the ing to them, if what Herodotus tells us be true, 1. 6. c. 27. only people they had an aversion to. For (as the same viz." That the distinction in this case, even to Egyptian historians informs us) an Egyptian man or woman would kings themselves, in all public feasts and banquets, was not kiss the mouth of a Greek, would not make use of a no more than a double mess.”': Patrick's Commentary, spit or a pot belonging to them ; nor cat any meat that and Bibliotheca Bibl. B.
they thought, without any danger to them- 11 the miseries of this life ; and if he were alive, selves. The servants desired there might be that he enjoyed the pleasure of seeing God's a search made ; but they said, the punish- vengeance upon then). They said farther, ment should extend to hiin alone who should that they were the plague of their father; be guilty of the theft. So they made the since they should now add to his former grief search ; and having searched all the rest, for Joseph this other affliction for Benjamin. they came at last to Benjamin, as knowing it Reubel also was very severe upon this ocwas Benjamin's sack in which they had bid casion. But Joseph dismissed them, for he den the cup ; they having searched the rest said they had been guilty of no offence, and only for a shew of accuracy; so the rest were that he would content himself with the lad's out of fear for themselves, and were now only l punishment; for he said it was not proper to concerned about Benjamin ; but still were let him go free for the sake of those who had well assured that he would be also found in not offended ; nor was it just to punish them nocent; and they reproached those that came together with him who had been guilty of after them for their hindering them, while | stealing. When he promised to give them they might have proceeded a good way on leave to go away in safety they were under their journey,
But as soon as the cup was great consternation, and were able to say nofound in Benjamin's sack, all was changed to thing on this sad occasion ; but Judas, who mourning and lamentation. They rent their had persuaded their father to send the lad from garments, and wept for the punishment which him, being otherwise also a very bold and actheir brother was to undergo for his theft; and tive man, determined to hazard himself for the for the delusion they had put on their father, preservation of his brother. when they promised they would return Benja- || “ It is true,” said he, “ O governor, that we min safe to him. What added to their misery | have been very wicked with regard to thee, was, that this melancholy accident came uu and on that account deserve punishment; even fortunately at a time when they thought they | all of us may justly be punished, although the had been gotten off clear. But they confessed theft was not committed by all, but only by that this misfortune of their brother, as well as one of us, and he the youngest also. the grief of their father for him, was owing to there remains some hope for us, who otherwise themselves ; since they had forced their father must be under despair on his account and to send him with them, when he was averse this from thy goodness, which promises us a from it.
deliverance out of our present danger. And The horsemen therefore took Benjamin and now I beg that thou wilt not look at us, or at brought him to Joseph, his brethren also fol- | that crime we have been guilty of, but at thy lowing him, who, when he saw him in cus own excellent nature; and take advice of tody, and them in the habit of mourning, || thine own virtue, intead of that wrath which said, “ * How came you, vile wretches as you those that otherwise are of a low character inare, to have such a strange notion of my kind- || dulge, as they do their strength : and that not ness to you, and of God's providence, as im- | only on great, but also on very trifling occa. pudently to do thus to your benefactor, who sions. Overcome, Sir, that passion; and be in such an hospitable manner had entertained not not subdued by it, nor suffer it to slay those you ?” Hereupon they gave up themselves || that do not otherwise presume upon their own to be punished, in order to save Benjamin ; | safety, but are desirous to accept of it from and called to mind what wicked enterprise | thee. For this is not the first time that thou they had been guilty of against Joseph. They wilt bestow it on us : but before, when we also pronounced him inore happy than them came to buy corn, thou affordest us great selves, if he were dead, in being freed from plenty of food, and gavest us leave to carry
* This oration seems too long, and too unusual a digression to have been composed by Joseph on this occasion,
It seems to me a speech, or declamation, composed formally, in the person of Judas, and in the way
of oratory, that lay by him; and which he thought fit to insert on this occasion, See two more such speeches or declamations, VI, 14.
home to our family, as much as he preserved || the enjoyment of life,) have regard to our fa-
o Consider things in this manner, although lamity, that it might appear thou canst forgive our wickedness does now provoke thee with the injuries that are done to thyself, and may-a just desire of punishing that wickedness; est be esteemed kind to others, besides those, and forgive it for our father's sake; and let who, on other accounts, stand in need of thy thy commiseration of him weigh more with assistance; since it is indeed a right thing to thee than our wickedness. Have regard to do well to those who are in distress for want the old age of our father, who, if we perish, of food; but still a more glorious thing to will be very lonely while he lives; and will save those who deserved to be punished, when soon die himself also. Grant this boon to the it is on account of heinous offences against naine of father, for thereby thou wilt honor thyself. For if it be a thing deserving com- bim that begat thee, and will grant it to thymendation to forgive such as have been guilty self also, who enjoyest already that denomiof small offences, that tend to a person's loss, nation; thou wilt then, by that denomination, and this be praiseworthy in him that over- be preserved of God, the Father of all; by looks such offences; to restrain a man's pas- shewing a pious regard to which in the case sion, as to the crimes which are capital to the of our father, thou wilt appear to honor him guilty, is to be like the most excellent nature who is styled by the same name. I mean if of God himself. And truly, as for myself, had thou wilt have this pity on our father, upon it not been that we had a father, who had dis- the consideration how miserable he will be if covered, on occasion of the death of Joseph, he be deprived of his sons.
It is thy part, how miserably he is always afflicted at the therefore, to bestow on us what God has given loss of his sons, I had not spoken on account us, when it is in thy power to take it away; of the saving our own lives : I mean any far- and so to resemble him entirely in charity. ther than as that would be an excellent cha- For it is good to use that power, which can racter for thyself, to preserve even those that either give or take away, on the merciful would have nobody to lament them when they side, and, when it is in thy power to destroy, were dead; but we would have yielded our- to forget that thou ever hadst that power, and selves up to suffer whatsoever thou pleasedst. to look on thyself as only allowed power for But now, (for we do not plead for mercy to preservation ; and that the more any one exourselves, though indeed, if we die, it will be tends this power, the greater reputation does while we are young, and before we have had he gain to himnself. Now by forgiving our VOL. 1.-(5.)