Page images
PDF
EPUB

Л And the messengers returned to Jacob, Saying, We came

to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh .to .meet thee, and

i Jour hundred men with him ; probably with an intention to

destroy thee, and poseéis thy substance. So Jacob thought, for

.7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that [was] with -him, and the flocks, and herds, 8 and the camels, into two -bands; And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it,'then the^other company which is left shall escape; thus making the beat preparation he could, and then betook himself to prayer.

•9 And Jacob said, О God of jny father Abraham, and God of ray father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy .coentry, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with

ДО thee-: I am not worthy of, or I am less than the least of all the mercies, and -of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant, in making and performing thy gracious promiees : for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, a poor exile, alone, on foot, and having nothing; and now I am become two

i 1 bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the ¿and of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the -children. Thus he expressed hie fear and his danger? and then plead» the divine

It promise.. And thou saidst, 1 will -surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the .sand-of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude •; and wilt thou not perform thy word?

13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand, which he had to give, a present for Esau his brother i as he prayed and trusted in God, so he use*

Î4 mean»; Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two

15 hundred ewes, and twenty тапи, Thirty milch camels with their colts, foity kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals ; a noble present, Jive hundred and eighty head of

16 cattle .' And he delivered [them] into the hand-of his servants, every drove by .themselves; and said unto his servants, Pase over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove> to mitigate his ¿¿»pleasure by degrees; every new drove, every new speech from the servant, would tend to soften his anger.

17 And he commanded <he foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose [art] thou? and whither goeet thou? and whose [are] these before

.10 thee? Then thou shalt say, [They be] thy servant Jacob's;

it [is] a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also J9 he [is] behind us. And so commanded he the second and

the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this 20 manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. And

say ye moreover, Behold, thy sen-ant Jacob [is] behind us.

Tor he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth

before me, and afterward I will see his face ; peradventure 21 he will accept of me. So went the present over before him s

22 and himself lodged that night in the company. And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and Dinah his daughter, and pass.

23 ed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.

24 And Jacob was left alone; he stayed behind the company in some retired place to pray, and ipend the night in devotion: and there wrestled a man with him, probably an angel of God,

25 until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him; the hip. bone sli/it out of its socket. This was designed to show how easily the divine messenger cvuld have

26 conquered him, though he suffered him to prevail. And he said, Let nie go, for the day breaketh; this }£e said to show the prevalency of Jacob's prayers with God, and also to quicken and encourage him to persist in his coiiflict: And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me with protection in

27 this time of danger. And he said unto him, What [is] thy

28 name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel, that is, a prince of God : for as a prince hast thou power with God, by thy earnest prayers, and with men, Esau and Laban, and hast prevailed, and shalt still prevail: of which this present conflict is an emblem, to en.

29 courage thy faith and hope in God, And Jacob, encouraged by all this goodness, asked [him,] and said, Tell [me,] I pray thee, thy name, that I may retain a grateful remembrance of thee, and make honourable mention of thy name to others: but the angel waved an answer to this, And he said, Wherefore [is] it [that] thou dost ask after my name? to know that will be of no .use to thee. And as he was departing, he blessed him there ; granted his request, and confirmed his former promists.

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, that is, the face of God: for I have seen God face to face; not his divine essence, but in a more manifest, familiar, and friendly manner than in common visions; and my life is preserved from Esau, who threatened it, by the divine promise and assurance of help.

31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and

32 he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel to perpetuate the memory of this honour done to Jacob, eat not [of] the sinew which shrank, which [is] upon the hollow of the thigh, and fixes the thigh bone in the socket, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

REFLECTIONS.

1. T E T us be thankful for the care of angels, who are God*» 1 J host. The angels of the Lord encamp about them that fear him. Though they are not seen visibly, yet good men see them by faith; and God gives his angels charge concerning them, to keep them in all their ways. No doubt we receive many kind 'offices from them, when .we know it not; and they often preserve us from danger, and bear us up, lest we dash our foot against a stone. We may cheerfully go out to the duties of life, while under their care; and should daily bless God who sends his angels as ministering spirits, to minister to the heirs of salvation.

2. Let us learn to make prayer our refuge in every time of difficulty. Call upon me in the day of trouble, saith God, and I will hear, and deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Jacob's experience confirms the truth and the advantage or this. J* any man afflicted? let him pray. Jacob sought the Lord, and he heard him, and saved him from that which he feared. This eases the mind, supports the spirit, and secures deliverance. For God hath never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain.

3. In prayer let us acknowledge our umvorthmess, and plead the divine favour toward us, v. 10. This temper is requisile in order to our being accepted. We are not worthy of the lriast blessing, much less of the great things we are seeking after. The best of us have need daily to make this acknowledgment; and this is the frame, above all others, that prepares us to receive divine mercy. For God resisteth theproud, andgiveth grace to tfie humble: With this man will he dwell, who is humble, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at his word. We should also recollect his past goodness; he hath begun already to show us great kindness. Let us bless the Lord, and not forget any of his benefits. Let us also plead his promises that he will still do us good; for faithful is he who hath promised, who also will do it. These are at once a direction and an encouragement to our prayers.

4. We learn holy importunity in prayer to God. The prophet alludes to this story, Has. xii. 4. Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept and made supplication unto him .* he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with vs. It is great condescension in God to represent things in this view. Let ui therefore learn to continue instant in prayer; to pray without ceasing; our Redeemer himself used strong cries and tears. Wi see that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much; aad this is an encouragement to come boldly to the throne of grace, to seek mercy and grace to help in every time of need.

, Let us then, as the prophet exhorts, stir up ourselves to take hold on God. The best way to be delivered from wicked and unreasonable men, is to be earnest with God in prayer ; keep not silence, give him no rest, till he come and bless u*.

5. Prudence and devotion should always go together. Prudent precaution should always be added to the prayers we offer in difficulties and emergencies; to ask success without dus, is 'mockery. We should contrive our affairs prudently ; be wise eerpenls, and harmless as doves. Learn especially in time of danger, to walk circumspectly ; remember, a. soft answer turneth flway wrath, and a present maketh room for him that offereth it. We must be willing to purchase peace at a dear rate, and be .sensible of its value, or we cannot expect God to give it. In all such cases wisdom is profitable to direct. God will help us in the way of prudence and diligence ; watchfulness and prayer should always be joined together. Thus we shall find, as the next chapter plainly proves, that when a man's laaye /¡¿case the Lord, he can make even Ais enemies to be at peace -with him.

CHAP. XXXIII.

Jacob woe пою returning aver the braoJc to his family andßock, »ее what God would do for bim in the affair of his brother Esau; end here vie have their friendly meeting, their brotherly converse^ and -their amicable parting.

ND Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, ami, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children onto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto

3 the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph ¿undermost, reserving the dearest to the saf

1 est place. And he passed over-before them, exposing himself to hazard Jor the safety of his fanaly; and bowed himself to the ground seven times, in token of his subjection, until he came near to his brother, trusting in God that he should be de

4 liveredfrom him. And Esau ran to meet Ыш, and, God having changed Ait heart, he embraced him, and with the most ten-» der affection fell on his neck and kissed him: and they wept; Jacob for joy, and Esau perhaps for shame to think of his ill de

5 sign, and how God had overruled it. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who [are] those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.* Thie was a serious and piou* reply; he owns God's hand in l/iem, esteems them a favour, and

•6 that il was a mercy to have so large a family. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed 7 themselves. .And Leah also with her children, came near,

-Xtniphm represents Cyras »s uying, when he wa« iying. Th! MldrM -ahicí It* t>ds hate ¿h-cn ли.

«nd bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves, all paid their respects to

8 Esau. And he said what [meanest] thou by all this drove which I met? the servants had told him before; but he ask* the question, that he might civilly refuse the prescnt. And he, Jacob, said, [These are] to find grace in the sight of my lord.

9 And Esau, unwilling to rob him, said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself; / neither need

JO nor desire them. And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, if thou art fully reconciled, them receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me; thy meeting me in this peaceable manner, i* .very comfortable and refreshing ; and an evident, token of God's

11 favour to me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; this gift, which, as I received it from God, so I hear* tily give it with my blessing, and pray that God would abundantly bless it to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough, and to spare. And he urged

12 him, and he took [it.] And he, Esau, said, Let us take our journey, and let us go to my habitation, where I may requitt

13 thy kindness, and I will go before thee. And he, Jacob, said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children [are] tender* and the Socks and herds with young [are] with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.

14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant : and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord, unto Seir. It is probable he and his family went there to pay his brother a visit, though it is not mentioned afterward.

*5 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that [are] with me, to be thy guard: And he said, What needeth it? / have train enough; God's host are with me, and will protect me: let me find grace in the sight of my lord*

16 let me have thy leave logo alone. So Esau returned that day

'on his way unto Seir.

W And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house* or tent, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth, that is, booths.

And Jacob came to Shalem a city of Shechem, which [is] in, the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram ; tliat is, he came safe and sound; (so the Hebrews understand Shalem) his halting was cured, and he was preserved from all evil in Ait journey from Padanaram to Shechem, or Sychem, in the land of Canaan; and he pitched his tent before the city, for the con

19 venience of his family and flocks. And because it was the land of promise, and the time of possession was not yet come, he bought a parcel of a field, a little parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of th» children or subjects of

« PreviousContinue »