Page images
PDF
EPUB

them;

strange notion of my kindness to you, and of home to our family, as much as has preserved God's providence, as impudently to do thus to them from perishing by famine. Nor is there any your benefactor, who in such an hospitable man- difference between not overlooking men that were ner had entertained you?”. Hereupon they gave perishing for want of necessaries, and not punishup themselves to be punished, in order to save ing those that seem to be offenders, and have been Benjamin; and called to mind what wicked en- so unfortunate as to lose the advantage of that terprise they had been guilty of against Joseph. glorious benefaction which they received from They also pronounced him more happy than them- thee. This will be an instance of equal favour, selves, if he were dead, in being freed from the though bestowed after a different manner. For miseries of this life; and if he were alive, that he thou wilt save those this way, whom thou didst enjoyed the pleasure of seeing God's vengeance feed the other: and thou wilt hereby preserve upon them. They said farther, that they were alive, by thy own bounty, those souls, which thou the plague of their father; since they should now didst not suffer to be distressed by famine. It beadd to his former grief for Joseph, this other ing indeed at once a wonderful and a great thing, affliction for Benjamin. Reubel also was very to sustain our lives by corn, and to bestow on us severe upon this occasion. But Joseph dismissed that pardon, whereby, now we are distressed, we

for he said, they had been guilty of no of may continue those lives. And I am ready to fence, and that he would content himself with the suppose that God is willing to afford thee this

oplad's punishment; for he said it was not proper to portunity of showing thy virtuous disposition, by let him go free, for the sake of those who had not bringing us into this calamity, that it might appear offended; nor was it just to punish them together thou canst forgive the injuries that are done to with him, who had been guilty of stealing. When thyself, and mayest be esteemed kind to others, he promised to give them leave to go away in besides those, who, on other accounts, stand in safety, they were under great consternation, and need of thy assistance; since it is indeed a right were able to say nothing on this sad occasion; thing to do well to those who are in distress for but Judas, who had persuaded their father to send want of food; but still a more glorious thing to the lad from him, being otherwise also a very bold save those who deserve to be punished, when it is and active man, determined to hazard himself for on account of heinous offences against thyself the preservation of his brother.

For if it be a thing deserving commendation to “ It is true,” said he, “O governor, that we have forgive such as have been guilty of small offences, been very wicked with regard to thee, and on that that tend to a person's loss, and this be praiseaccount deserve punishment; even all of us may worthy in him that overlooks such offences; to rejustly be punished, although the theft were not strain a man's passion, as to the crimes which are committed by all, but only by one of us, and he capital to the guilty, is to be like the most excelthe youngest also. But yet, there remains some lent nature of God himself. And truly, as for hope for us, who otherwise must be under despair myself, had it not been that we had a father, who on his account, and this from thy goodness, which had discovered, on occasion of the death of Jopromises us a deliverance out of our present dan- | seph, how miserably he is always afflicted at the ger. And now, I beg thou wilt not look at us, or loss of his sons, I had not spoken on account of at that crime we have been guilty of, but at thy the saving our own lives: I mean any farther own excellent nature; and take advice of thine than as that would be an excellent character for own virtue, instead of that wrath which those thyself, to preserve even those that would have that otherwise are of a low character indulge, as nobody to lament them when they were dead; they do their strength: and that not only on great but we would have yielded ourselves up to suffer but also on very trifling occasions. Overcome, whatsoever thou pleasedst. But now, (for we do sir, that passion; and be not subdued by it, nor not plead for mercy to ourselves, though indeed, suffer it to slay those that do not otherwise pre- if we die, it will be while we are young, and besume upon their own safety, but are desirous to fore we have had the enjoyment of life, have accept of it from thee. For this is not the first regard to our father, and take pity on his old age; time that thou wilt bestow it on us; but before on whose account it is that we make these supwhen we came to buy corn, thou affordedst us plications. We beg thou wilt give us those lives, great plenty of food, and gavest us leave to carry which this wickedness of ours has rendered ob

to have been composed by Joseph on this occasion. It seems he thought fit to insert on this occasion. See two more such to me a speech or declaration composed formerly, in the person speeches or declamations, VI. 14. of Judas, and in the way of oratory, that lay by him; and which

[ocr errors]

noxious to thy punishment; and this for his sake die rather as equally guilty with him of this crime. who is not himself wicked; nor does his being I will only leave with thee this one consideration, our father make us wicked. He is a good man, and then will say no more, viz. that our brother

, and not worthy to have such trials of his patience; committed his fault when he was young, and not now we are absent, he is afflicted with care for yet of confirmed wisdom in his conduct; and that us. But if he hear of our deaths, and what was men naturally forgive such young persons. And the cause of it, he will on that account die an im- I end here, without adding what more I have to mature death: and the reproachful manner of our say, that in case thou condemnest us, that omisruin will hasten his end, and will directly kill him; sion may be supposed to have hurt us, and pernay, will bring him to a miserable death, while he mitted thee to take the severer side. But in case will make haste to rid himself out of the world, thou settest us free, that this may be ascribed to and bring himself to a state of insensibility, before thy own goodness; of which thou art inwardly the sad story of our end come abroad into the conscious, that thou freest us from condemnation; rest of the world.

and that not by barely preserving us, but by “ Consider things in this manner, although our granting us such a favour as will make us appear wickedness does now provoke thee, with a just more righteous than we really are: and by repredesire of punishing that wickedness; and forgive senting to thyself more motives for our deliverit for our father's sake; and let thy commisera- ance than we are able to produce ourselves. If, tion of him weigh more with thee, than our wicked therefore, thou resolvest to slay him, I desire thou ness. Have regard to the old age of our father, wilt slay me in his stead, and send him back to who, if we perish, will be very lonely while he his father, or if thou pleasest to retain him with lives; and will soon die himself also. Grant this thee as a slave, I am fitter to labour for thy adboon to the name of father, for thereby thou wilt | vantage in that capacity, and, as thou seest, am honour him that begat thee, and wilt grant it to better prepared for either of those sufferings."* thyself also, who enjoyest already that denomina- So Judas being very willing to undergo any thing tion; thou wilt then, by that denomination, be for the deliverance of his brother, cast himself preserved of God, the father of all; by showing a down at Joseph's feet, and earnestly laboured to pious regard to which in the case of our father, assuage and pacify his anger. All his brethren thou wilt appear to honour him who is styled by also fell down before him, weeping and delivering the same name. I mean if thou wilt have this themselves up for destruction for the preservation pity on our father, upon the consideration how of the life of Benjamin. miserable he will be if he be deprived of his sons. Joseph being now overcome with his affection, It is thy part, therefore, to bestow on us what and no longer able to personate an angry man, God has given us, when it is in thy power to take commanded all that were present to depart, that it away; and so to resemble him entirely in he might make himself known to his brethren, charity. For it is good to use that power which when they were alone.t And when the rest were can neither give nor take away, on the merciful gone out, he discovered himself, and said, “ I comside, and when it is in thy power to destroy, to mend you for your virtue, and for your kindness

, forget that thou ever hadst that power, and to look to your brother ; I find you better men than I on thyself as only allowed power for preservation; could have expected from what you contrived and that the more any one extends this power, about me. Indeed I did all this to try your love the greater reputation does he gain to himself. to your brother. So I believe you were not Now by forgiving our brother what he has unhap- wicked by nature, in what you did in my case: pily committed, thou wilt preserve us all. For we but that all has happened according to God's will; cannot think of living if he be put to death ; since who has thereby procured our enjoyment of what we dare not show ourselves alive to our father good things we have; and if he continue in a fawithout our brother. But here must we partake vourable disposition, of what we hope for hereof one and the same catastrophe. And so far we after. Since, therefore, I know that our father is beg of thee, O governor, that if thou condemnest safe and well, beyond expectation; and I see you our brother to die, thou wilt punish us together so well disposed towards your brother, I will no with him, as partakers of his crime; for we shall longer remember what guilt you seem to have not think it reasonable to be reserved to kill our- had about me; but rather return you my thanks, selves for grief of our brother's death, but so to that you have concurred with the intentions of

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* In all this speech of Judas's we may observe, that Josephus in the days of Joseph ; though it never was so among the Jews, sapposed death to have been the punishment of theft in Egypt, by the law of Moses.

+ Gen. xlv. i.

such

[ocr errors]

God to bring things to their present state. I | afraid that the happiness there was in Egypt would have you also forget the same, since that might tempt his posterity to fall in love with it, imprudence of yours is come to such a happy con- and settle in it, and no more think of removing clusion, rather than to be uneasy and blush at into the land of Canaan, and possessing it as God those

your offences. Do not, therefore, let your had promised them; also, being afraid, lest if this evil intentions, when you condemned me, and that descent into Egypt were made without the will of bitter remorse which might follow, be a grief to God, his family might be destroyed there, and out you now: because those intentions were frustrated. of fear lest he should depart this life before he Go your way, rejoicing in what has happened by came to the sight of Joseph, he fell asleep, rethe divine providence, and inform your father of volving these doubts in his mind, it, lest he should be spent with tears for you, and But God stood by him, and called to him twice deprive me of the most agreeable part of my by his name; and when he asked who he was? felicity; I mean lest he should die before he comes God said, “ Is it not just that thou Jacob shouldest into my sight, and enjoys the good things that we be acquainted with that God who has ever been a now have. Take, therefore, with you our father, protector and a helper to thy forefathers, and after and your wives and children, and all your kindred, them to thyself. For when thy father would have and remove your habitation hither; for it is not deprived thee of the dominion, I gave it thee; and proper that the persons dearest to me should live by my kindness it was that when thou wast sent remote from me, now my affairs are so prosper- into Mesopotamia alone, thou obtainedst good ous; especially when they must endure five more wives, and returnedst with many children, and years of famine.” When Joseph had said this, he much wealth. Thy whole family, also, has been embraced his brethren, who were in tears and preserved by my providence; and it was I who sorrow; but the generous kindness of their bro- conducted Joseph thy son, whom thou gavest up ther seemed to leave among them no room for for lost, to the enjoyment of great prosperity. I fear, lest they should be punished on account of also made him lord of Egypt, so that he differs what they had consulted and acted against him. but little from a king. Accordingly I come now And they were then feasting. Now the king, as as a guide to thee in this journey, and foretell to soon as he heard that Joseph's brethren were thee that thou shalt die in the arms of Joseph come to him, was exceeding glad of it, as if it had and that thy posterity shall be many ages in been part of his own good fortune; and gave authority and glory; and I will settle them in the them wagons full of corn, and gold, and silver, land which I have promised them.” to be conveyed to their father. Now when they Encouraged by this dream, Jacob went on more had received more of their brother; part to be cheerfully for Egypt, with his sons, and all becarried to their father, and part as free gifts to longing to them. Now they were in all seventy. every one of themselves, Benjamin having still I once indeed thought it best not to set down the more than the rest, they departed.

names of this family; especially because of their

difficult pronunciation by the Greeks. But upon CHAP. VII.

the whole, I think it necessary to mention those names; that I may confute such as believe that we came originally not out of Mesopotamia, but

are Egyptians. As soon as Jacob came to know by his sons' Now Jacob had twelve sons. Of these Joseph returning home, in what state Joseph was; that was come thither before: we will therefore set he had not only escaped death, but that he lived down the names of Jacob's children and grandin splendour and happiness, and ruled over Egypt, children. Reuben had four sons; Anoch, Phallu, jointly with the king; and had intrusted to his Assaron, and Charmi. Simeon had six; Jamuel, care almost all his affairs, he did not think any Jamin, Ávod, Jachin, Soar, and Saul. Levi had thing he was told to be incredible, considering the three sons; Gersom, Caath, and Merari. Judas greatness of the works of God, and his kindness had three sons; Sala, Pharez, and Zerab; and by to him: although that kindness had, for some Pharez, two grandchildren ; Esrom and Amur. time past, been intermitted. So he immediately Isachar had four sons; Thola, Phua, Jasub, and and zealously set out upon his journey to him. Samaron. Zabulon had with him three sons;

When he came to the well of the oath, Beer- Sarad, Helon, and Jalel. So far is the posterity sheba, he offered sacrifice to God,* and being of Leah, with whom went her daughter Dinah.

These are thirty-three. Rachel had two sons; * Gen. xlvii. 1.

one of whom, Joseph, had two sons also; Ma

OF THE REMOVAL OF JACOB AND ALL HIS FAMILY INTO EGYPT, ON

ACCOUNT OF THE FAMINE.

nasseh and Ephraim. The other, Benjamin, had || mon to them with the Egyptians; for the Egypten sons; Bolau, Bacchar, Asabel, Geras, Naaman, tians are prohibited from feeding sheep. Jes, Ros, Momphis, Opphis, and Arad. These When Jacob was come to the king, and had fourteen added to the thirty-three before enume- saluted him, and wished all prosperity to his governrated, amount to forty-seven: and this was the ment, Pharaoh asked how old he was ? upon whose legitimate posterity of Jacob. He had beside by answer, that he was a hundred and thirty years old, Bilha, the handmaid of Rachel, Dan and Naphthali

, he admired Jacob on account of the length of his which last had four sons, that followed him; Jesel, life. And when he had added, that still he had not

, Guni, Issari, and Sellim. Dan had an only be- lived so long as his forefathers, he gave him leave gotten son, Usi. If these be added to those above to live with his children in Heliopolis; for in that mentioned, they complete the number fifty-four. city the king's shepherds had their pasturage. Gad and Aser were the sons of Zilpha, who was The famine now increased among the Egyptians, the handmaid of Leah. Gad had these seven and this heavy judgment grew more oppressive to sons; Saphoniah, Augis, Sunis, Azabon, Aerin, them, because neither did the river overflow the Ereod, and Ariel. Aser had a daughter, Sarah, ground, for it did not rise to its former height; nor and six male children, whose names were Jomne, did God send rainf upon it. Nor did they, indeed, Isus, Isoui, Baris, Abar, and Melchiel. If we add make the least provisions for themselves, so ignorant these, which are sixteen, to the fifty-four, the were they what was to be done. But Joseph sold afore-mentioned number, seventy, is completed, them corn for their money; and when their money Jacob* himself not being included.

failed them, they bought corn with their cattle and When Joseph understood that his father was their slaves; and if any of them had a small piece coming, for Judas his brother arrived before him, of land, they gave up that to purchase them food. and announced his approach, he went out to meet By which means the king became the owner of all him, and they met together at Heroopolis. But their substance; and they were removed, some to Jacob almost fainted away at this great and un- one place, and some to another ; that so the possesexpected joy; however, Joseph revived him, though sion of their country might be firmly assured to the unable himself to refrain being affected in the same king ; excepting the lands of the priests; for their manner. Yet he was not wholly overcome with country continued still in their own possession. And his passion, as his father was. After this he de- indeed this sore famine made their minds as well as sired Jacob to travel on slowly, whilst he himself their bodies slaves; and at length compelled them took five of his brethren with him, and hastened to to procure a sufficiency of food by such dishonourthe king, to tell him that Jacob and his family were able means. But when this misery ceased, and the come. This was a joyful hearing to Pharaoh, who river overflowed the ground, and the earth brought bid Joseph tell him what sort of life his brethren forth its fruits plentifully, Joseph came to every city, loved to lead, that he might give them permission and gathered the people thereto belonging, together, to follow the same. He said, they were good shep- and gave them back entirely the land which, by their herds, and had been used to follow no other em- own consent, the king might have possessed alone, ployment: by which he provided for them, that and alone enjoyed the fruits of it. He also exhorted they should not be separated, but live in the same them to look on it as their own possession; to replace, and take care of their father; as also hereby sume their labours of husbandry with cheerfulness; he provided, that they might be acceptable to the and to pay as a tribute to the crown, the fifth parts Egyptians, by doing nothing that would be com- of the fruits of the land which the king, when it was

• All the Greek copies of Josephus have the negative particle | Reland here puts the question, how Josephus could comhere, that Jacob himself was not reckoned one of the seventy plain of its not raining in Egypt during this famine, while the souls that came into Egypt. But the old Latin copies want it, ancients affirm that it never does naturally rain there? His and directly assure us he was one of them. It is, therefore, answer is, that when the ancients deny that it rains in Egypt, hardly certain which of these was Josephus's true reading: they only mean the upper Egypt, above the Delta, which is since the number of seventy is made up without him, if we called Egypt in the strictest sense ; but that in Delta, and conreckon Leah for one; but if she be not reckoned, Jacob him- sequently in the lower Egypt adjoining to it, it did not hold, and self must be one, to complete the number.

still does rain sometimes. See the note on III. 1. X. B. The LXXII. add Machir, and Gilead, and Satelaam, Josephus supposes that Joseph now restored the Egyptians and Taom, and Edem, who were born in Egypt, and so have in their lands again, upon the payment of a fifth part as tribute. all seventy-five souls: as Act, vii. 14.

It seems to me rather that the land was now considered as Pha† Josephus thought that the Egyptians hated or despised the raoh's; and this fifth part as its rent, to be paid to him, as he employment of a shepherd in the days of Joseph. Whereas was their landlord, and they his tenants; and that the lands were Bishop Cumberland has shown, that they rather hated such not properly restored, and this fifth part reserved as a tribute Phenician or Canaanite shepherds as had long enslaved the only, till the days of Sesostris. Egyptians of old time. See his Sanchoniath, page 361, 362.

[ocr errors]

He per

OF THE DEATH OF JACOB AND JOSEPH.

his own, restored to them. These men rejoiced upon piety towards God; and having such a recompense their becoming unexpectedly owners of their land, for it, as it was fit those should have, who were so and diligently observed what was enjoined them. good as these were. Joseph, by the king's permisAnd by this means Joseph procured to himself a sion, carried his father's dead body to Hebron, and greater authority among the Egyptians, and a great- there buried it, at a great expense.I But his brether love to the king from them. Now this law, that ren were at first unwilling to return back with him ; they should pay the fifth part of their fruits as tribute, because they were afraid, lest now their father was continued until the time of their later kings. dead, he should punish them for their secret prac

tices against him; since he was now gone, for whose CHAP. VIII.

sake he had been so gracious to them. He suaded them, however, to fear no harm, and to

entertain no suspicions of him: so he brought them When Jacob had lived seventeen years in Egypt, along with him, and gave them great possessions, he fell into a disease, and died in the presence of his and continually evinced the most particular concern sons; but not till he had made his prayers for their for them. prosperity; and had foretold prophetically how every Joseph also died when he had lived a hundred and one of them was to dwell in the land of Canaan. ten years ;|| having been a man of admirable virtue ; But this happened many years afterwards. He also who conducted all his affairs by the rules of reason, enlarged* upon the praises of Joseph; how he had and used his authority with moderation ; which was not remembered the evil doings of his brethren to the cause of his great felicity among the Egyptians, their disadvantage: nay, on the contrary, was kind even when he came from another country, and that to them; bestowing upon them so many benefits, as in such ill circumstances as we have already deseldom are bestowed on men's own benefactors. He scribed. At length his brethren died, after they had then commanded his own sons that they should lived happily in Egypt. Now the posterity and sons admit Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, into of these men, after some time, carried their bodies their number; and divide the land of Canaan in and buried them at Hebron. But as to the bones common with them; concerning whom we shall of Joseph, they carried them into the land of Canaan treat hereafter. However, he made it his request, afterwards,** when the Hebrews went out of Egypt ; that he might be buried at Hebron. So he died; for so had Joseph made them promise him upon when he had lived a hundred and forty-seven years;t oath. But what became of every one of these having not been inferior to any of his ancestors in men, and by what toils they got the possession of,

* As to this encomium upon Joseph, as preparatory to Jacob's || 53, the patriarch Jacob was one. Pool's Annotations, and Bib. adopting Ephraim and Manasseh into his own family, and to be liotheca Bibl. B. admitted into his two tribes, which Josephus here mentions; all Gen. i. 21. our copies of Genesis omit it, c. xlviii, nor do we know whence When Joseph died, he was not only embalmed, but put into he took it; or whether it be his own embellishment.

a coffin. This was an honour appropriated to persons of dis+ Gen. xlvii. 28.

tinction, coffins not being universally used in Egypt. Maillet, I Though there be something of a natural desire in most men speaking of the Egyptian repositories of the dead, having given to be buried in the places where their ancestors lie; yet Jacob's an account of several niches that are found there, says, “it aversion to have his remains deposited in Egypt, seems to be must not be imagined, that the bodies deposited in these more earnest than ordinary, or otherwise he would never have gloomy apartments were all inclosed in chests, and placed in imposed an oath upon his sons, and charged them all, with his niches; the greatest part were simply embalmed and swathed dying breath, not to suffer it to be done. For he very well knew, after that manner that every one hath some notion of; after that had his body been buried in Egypt, his posterity, upon that which, they laid them one by the side of another without any very account, would have been too much wedded to the country, ceremony: some were even put into these tombs without any ever to attempt the acquisition of the promised land; and there. | embalming at all, or such a slight one, that there remains nofore, to wean them from the thought of continuing in Egypt, thing of them in the linen in which they were wrapped, but the and to fix their minds and affections in Canaan, he ordered his bones, and those half rotten.” (Letter vii. p. 281.) Antique body to be carried thither beforehand, in testimony that he died coffins of stone, and sycamore wood, are still to be seen in in full persuasion of the truth of the promises which were given Egypt. It is said that some were formerly made of a kind of to him and his ancestors : nor was it inconvenient, that future pasteboard, formed by folding and gluing cloth together a great generations, after their return into Canaan, should have before number of times; these were curiously plastered and painted their eyes the sepulchre of their forefathers, for a record of their with hieroglyphics. Thevenot, part i. p. 137. B. virtues, and an incitement to the imitation of them. But the Of the burying-places of Joseph, and of the other patristrongest motive of all for Jacob's desiring to be buried in Ca- archs, as they are here rightly stated, see Test. Simeon, § 8, and naan, (supposing that he foreknew that our Saviour Christ was Test. Benjamin, § 12, with the Note, in Authent. Rec. part 1, to live and die, and with some others, rise again in that country) page 415, 416. was, that he might be one of that blessed number; as it was ** Exodus, xiii. 19. Acts vii. 16. indeed an ancient tradition in the church, that among those who tt There are several reasons which might induce Joseph not came out of their graves after our Lord's resurrection, Mat. xxvii. | to have his dead body immediately carried into Canaan, and

>

« PreviousContinue »