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that one partem they werefore considerated with the Esa, in point of sihis remarkarpetually at as their cremiery
tions elsewhere. They thought proper to cluse the former, in consequence of which they submittel them. selves to be circumcised, became proselytes to the Jewisli religion, and were ever after incorporated with th se very people whom they had before considered as their ciemies, and with whom they were perpetually at variancı.
In one part of this remarkable prophecy it is pedicted that, in point of situation, and other temporal advatages, Esau and Jacob should be much alike. It was said to Jacob, God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of he fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. And much the same was said to Esau, Behold, thy dwlling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. The spiritual blessing, or the promise of the blessed seed, could be given only to one; but tomporal good things might be given to both. Jacob's situa. tion was in a very fertile and pleasant country; nor was that of Esau's less so. Mount Seir and the adjacent country, was at first in the possession of the Edomites; after which they extended themselves farther into Arabia, as also into the southern parts of Judea. But in whatever part they were situated we find that the Edomites, in temporal advantages, were little inferior to the Israelites, having cattle, and beasts, and substance in abundance. At the time that the Israelites were on their return from Egyptian bondage, the country in which the Edomites then lived abounded with the most fruitful fields and vineyards, as evidently appears from the manner of the request then made by the Israelites for permission to pass through those territories: Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country; we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the · water of the wells.
It was predicted, in another part of the prophecy, that Esau should delight more in war and violence than his brother, but that he should be subdued by Jacob: And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother. Esau himself might be said to live much by the sword, for he was a cunning hunter, a man of the field. He and his posterity obtained possession of Mount Seir by force and violence, by destroying and expelling from thence the
It Whould delight hould be subthalt serve t
Horites, who were the former inhabitants. By what means they sread themselves farther into Arabia we are not informed but it appears that, upon a sedition among them, whichoccasioned a separation, the greater part seized upon he south-west parts of Judea during the Babylonish cptivity, and afterwards made that their fixed place of residnce.
Both befo and after this the Edomites were almost continually a war with the Jews, and upon every occasion were redy to join with their enemies. Even long after they wee subdued by the Jews, they still retained the same vioint spirit, as appears by the character thus given of ther by Josephus.“ They were (says he) a “ turbulent ad disorderly nation, always ready for com“ motions ad rejoicing in changes; at the least request “ of those wb besought them beginning war, and hasten“ing to battès as it were to a feast.” This character given them b Josephus appears very just, for, a little before the last siege of Jerusalem, they went, at the entreaty of the ealots, to assist them against the priests and people, and here, together with the zealots, committed the most unhard-of cruelties, and barbarously murdered Ananus the hgh-priest.
There was however, to be a time when the elder should have the dominion, and shake off the yoke of the younger. And it shall come to pass when thou shalt have dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. It is not here said or meant that the Edomites should have dominion over the seed of Jacob, but simply have dominion, as they had when they appointed a king of their own. The whole of this sentence is, in the Jerusalem Targum, thus paraphrased : 6 And it shall be when the “ sons of Jacob attend to the law, and observe the pre“cepts, they shall impose the yoke of servitude upon thy « neck; but when they shall turn away themselves from 6 studying the law, and neglect the precepts, behold then 6 thou shalt shake off the yoke of servitude from thy 66 neck.”
It was David who imposed the yoke on the Edomites (at which time the Jewish people strictly observed the aw) and it was very galling from the first. Towards the
sons which David
"S princes of Judaem; and in the
latter end of Solomon's reign, Hadad the Eomite, of the blood royal, who had been carried into Egypin his childhood, returned into his own country, and raed some disturbances, but was not able to recover hi throne, his subjects being over-awed by the garrisons vhich David had placed among them; and in the reigns othe succeeding princes of Judea, they were totally subued.
We come now to the last part of the prohecy, which predicts that in all spiritual gifts and grace the younger should be greatly superior to the elder, and e the happy instrument of conveying the blessing to alnations. In thee and in thy seed shall all the families othe earth be blessed: and hitherto are to be referred in tbir full force those expressions, Let people serve thee, anınations bow down unto thee; Cursed be every one that urseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee. The sme promise was made to Abraham in the name of God I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that arseth thee: Gen. xii. 3. and it is here repeated to Jacob, and thus paraphrased in the Jerusalem Targun “ He who
curseth thee shall be cursed, as Balaar the son of “ Beor; and he who blesseth thee shall be blessed, as “ Moses the prophet, the lawgiver of Israe"
It evidently appears that Jacob was a man of more religion, and believed the Divine promies more than Esau. The posterity of Jacob likewise preserved the true religion and the worship of one God, while the Edomites were sunk into idolatry. Of tle seed of Jacob was to be born the Saviour of the world. This was the peculiar privilege and advantage of Jacob, to be the happy instrument of conveying these spiritual blessings to all nations. This was his greatest superiority over Esau; and in this sense St. Paul understands and applies the prophecy, the elder shall serve the younger. Rom. ix. 12.
In tracing this prophecy, as we have done, from the beginning, the whole of it appears to have been most strictly fulfilled. We find that the nation of the Edomites were several times conquered by, and made tributary to the Jews, but never the nation of the Jews to the Edom ites; and the Jews have been the more considerabl
people, more known in the world, and more famous in history. We have, indeed, very little more of the history of the Edomites than what is connected with that of the Jews: and where is the name or the nation at this time? They were swallowed up and lost, partly among the Nabathæan Arabs, and partly among the Jews; and, about a century after the birth of Christ, the very name of them was abolished and disused.
Such was the fate of the Erlomites for insulting and oppressing their brethren the Israelites, and hereby were fullilled the prophecies of the other inspired men. See Jeremiah xlix. 7, &c. Ezekiel xxv. 12, &c. Joel iii. 19. Amos i. 11, &c. and lastly, the prophet Obadiah. At this very time we see the Jews subsisting as a distinct people, while the Edomites are no more; and thus is amply fulfilled the words of the latter prophet: For thy, violence against thy brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. And again, there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, for the Lord hath spoken it. See Obadiah, ver. 10 and 18.
of the Prophecies of Jacob concerning his posterity, but pac
ticularly his son Judah.
IN the blessing bestowed on Jacob, we have two promises, the one temporal, and the other spiritual. The first was the promise of the land of Canaan, and the second the promise of the seed in which all the nations of the earth should be blessed. These promises were first made to Abraham, then repeated to Isaac, and after. wards confirmed to Jacob, who, a short time before his death, bequeathed them to his children.
The temporal blessing or inheritance of the land of Canaan might be shared and divided among all his sons, but the blessed seed could descend only from one. Accord
ingly, Jacob assigned to each a portion of the promised • VOL. iii. Z
land, but limited the descent of the blessed seed to the tribe of Judah, and at the same time sketched out the characters and fortunes of the different tribes into which the people were to be divided.See p. 151, vol. i.
As Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, he adopted his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim for his own, but foretold that the younger should be the greater of the two. This prediction was fulfilled in a very ample manner, for the tribe of Ephraim grew to be so numerous and powerful, that it was sometimes put for all the ten tribes of Israel.
Of Reuben, the elder son of Jacob, it is said, Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel, Gen. xlix. 4. And what is recorded great or excellent of the tribe of Reuben? In number and power they were inferior to several other tribes.
Of Simeon and Levi it is said, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. And was not this eminently fulfilled in the tribe of Levi, who had no portion or inheritance of their own; but were dispersed among the other tribes? Neither had the tribe of Simeon any inheritance properly of their own, but only a portion in the midst of the tribes of Judah, from whence several of them afterwards went in search of new habitations, and were thereby divided from the rest of their brethren.
of Zebulun it is said, He shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and shall be for an haven of ships. And accordingly the tribe of Zebulun extended from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean, where they had commodious havens for shipping. And how could Jacob have foretold the situation of any tribe, which was determined two hundred years after by casting of lots, unless he had been directed by that Divine Spirit, who disposeth of all events?
Of Benjamin it is said, He shall raven as a wolf; and was not that a fierce and warlike tribe, as appears in sev. eral instances, and particularly in the case of the Levite's wife, when they alone waged war against all the other tribes, and oyercame them in two battles. See Judges xx.
In like manner Jacob characterises all the other tribes, and foretels their temporal condition, and that of Judah