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said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy 21 food : And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we

opened our sacks, and, behold, (every] man's money (was]

in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight : and we 22 have brought it again in our hand. And other money have

we brought down in our hands to buy food, we cannot tell who

put our money in our sacks. To this the steward made a wise 23 and religious answer ; And he said, Peace [be] to you, fear

not : your God and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks ; this shows that Joseph had instructed him in the knowledge of God : I had your money, and no harin shall come to you on that account. And as a further proof of his

kind design, he, by Joseph's order, brought Simeon out unto 24 them. And the man brought the men into Joseph's house,

and gave [them] water, and they washed their feet ; and he

gave their asses provender. 25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at 26 noon : for they heard that they should eat bread there. And

when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which I was] in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.

And he asked them of [their] welfare, and said, [IS] your father well, the old man of whom ye spake ? [Is] he yet 28 alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father [is] in

good health, he [is] yet alive. And they bowed down their

heads, and made obeisance. Thus Joseph's dream was repeated29 ly accomplished. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother • Benjamin, his mother's son, he observed him more narrowly

than at first, and said, (Is) this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee,

my son. A kind and tender appellation, by which an elder or su30 perior addressed a younger or inferior. And Joseph made

haste ; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother : and he sought (where] to weep; and he entered into [his] chamber,

and wept there. 31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained him32 self, and said, Set on bread. And they set on a table for him

by himself, as viceroy, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves : because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews ; for that [is] an abomination unto the Egyptians, because the

Hebreros did eat sheep and goats, which the Egyptians worship, 33 ned, (Exodus viii. 26.) And they sat before him, the first

born according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth : and the men marvelled one at another, that he, who had before used them 80 roughly, should now treat them 90 kindly, and place them according to their several ages. This was an extraordinary circumstance, and might well illustrate

what he afterward said to them about his divining, if that were 54 the sense of those words. And he took (and sent] messes

unto them from before him, dishes from his orun table ; but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs.* Joseph intended hereby to show Benjamin peculiar affection, and see whether his brethren would envy him on the occasion. And they drank, and were merry with him. So kind and generous a receptionmade them for a while forget their hardships and sorrows.

REFLECTIONS

1. TIE hence see the extreme force of necessity, and what

V reason we have to be thankful for the comfortable provisions of life. Jacob's was a rich and wealthy family, but sore famine made him travel far for provisions. The good man put off the evil day, and protracted the time of sending Benjamin as long as possible ; but the famine being heavy, he was forced at last to comply. Skin for skin, yea all that a man hath, will he give for his life. Let us bless God that this is not our case ; we are fed with the finest of the wheat; God sjireads our table, and fills our cup ; he giveth us all things richly to enjoy ; and has not broke our staff of bread. Let us then serve him cheerfully in the use of all the good things which he giveth us.

2. We see in the conduct of Jacob an example of the strictest honesty. He sends his sons with the money again, v. 12. he does not boast of the bargain ; is not glad of the mistake in his favour ; but willing to make restitution ; he would not take advantage of the hurry of seiling the corn, to escape without paying : a mistake is no payment. Let us learn from his example to restore what comes to us by the mistakes of our brethren, and in every instance deal, not only honestly, but honourably, for God sees it. To take advantage of the ignorance of our brethren, or to keep what does not by right belong to us, though we did not come by it fraudulently, are each contrary to strict honesty, and to the rule of doing to others as we would have them do to us.

3. We learn to depend on God for the success of the best concerted measures. Jacob says, Take double money, and a present, and your brother; and then adds, God Almighty give you mercy before the man. He knew that God has access to the hearts of men, and can easily turn them, as he did Esau's ; he therefore looked up to him, and followed his sons with many an earnest prayer. Prudence and piety should thus always go together ; in all thy ways acknowledge God, and he will direct thy naths. When we

• A favourite guest w 19 always listinguished by one of the largest and best. Thus Iser mentions setting a shine before a stranger, in token of respect.

VOL. I.

Want favour and mercy from men, let our eyes be up toward tho Lord, for he can influence them which way he pleaseth. ..

4. Let us resign ourselves and our dearest comforts to God's disposal. Israel's, in v, 14. was not the language of passion or despair, but of sober reason, and humble submission to God ; like Esther, If I perish, I perish; I must submit to the providence of God; not dispute his superior will, but compose myself under it. Thus, whatever afflictions come, let us be resigned to them, and bear them patiently. When God takes away our comforts, let our language be, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good in his sight,

5. See how suspicious guilt inakes men : no sooner were Joseph's brethren brought to his house, than they suspected some ill design, and that he was seeking an occasion of mischief against them, or to roll himself upon them, as the original is; to employ his power and authority to crush them. What an uneasy thing is it to have fear when no man pursyeth ! The wieked fear where no fear is ; every thing appears gloomy and dark ; but to the upright there ariseth light in darkness. The best preservative from groundless fear and unreasonable suspicion, is to keep a good conscience.

6. We see what a great advantage it is to serve in a religious family. Joseph's steward, by acquaintance with his master, was brought to an acquaintance with the true God, the God of the Hebrews. Masters should teach their servants the knowledge of God, and lead them to fear and reverence him. Servants should choose such families where they may have opportunities of know." ing God; and those who are favoured with such opportunities, should carefully improve them ; mention the name of God with the highest reverence ; and never be ashamed to own their acquaintance with him, and their obligations to him.

7. How necessary is it that the greatest of men should learn and practise the government of their passions, if they desire to appear either with honour or comfort. Joseph prudently withdrew when his affections began to warm, and refrained himself. The heart that is a slave to passion, and has never yet obtained the government of itself, is in a wretched condition. Let us learn to keep our hearts with all diligence, that we may be calm and se date, and not hurried away by torrents of passion ; for he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. Prov, xxv. 28. ,

CHAP. XLIV.

Joseph's brethren were merry with him, and litile expected to be in

those circumstances in which this chapter finds them ; but it was his solicy, in order to detain and try them.

AND he commanded the steward of his house, saying,

O Fill the men's sacks [with] food, as much as they can 2 carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. And

put my cup, the large, valuable cup which I drink out of, even the silver cup that is embossed, or wrou: ht, as the original signifes, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. Hereby Joseph meant to try his brethren's affec

tion to Benjamin, and to their father, and whether they would Ś assist him in his extremity. As soon as the morning was 4 light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. [And]

when they were gone out of the city, [and] not (yet] far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men ; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore

have ye rewarded evil for good.? He charges them with ingrat15 itude and then with theft : (Is) not this cup which ye have tak

en, [it] in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth ? or, as in the margin of our bibles, maketh trial ; he left this cup in your way to try your honesty ; ye have done evil in so doing ; it was wicked to steal it, and foolish to attempt it, because my master would soon miss it, and easily con

jecture where it was gone. 6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same 7 words. And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord

these words? God forbid that thy servants should do accord

ing to this thing : thus vindicating themselves with eagerness, 8 and then urging the former proof of their honesty ; Behold, the

money, which we found in our sacks mouths, we brought

again unto thee out of the land of Canaan : how then should 9 we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whom

soever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we

also will be my lord's bondmen. This was honestly, but not 10 prudently said. And he said, Now also [let] it (be) accord

ing unto your words : he with whom it is found shall be my

servant ; and ye shall be blameless, free from punishment, 11 and at liberty to return home unmolested. Then they speedily

took down every man his šack to the ground, and opened 12 every man his sack. And he searched [and] began at the

eldest, and left at the youngest : and the cup was found in 13 Benjamin's sack. Then they rent their clothes, and laded

every man his ass, and returned to the city ; thinking that oseph, being a man of generosity, and humanity, would fore

give Benjamin, when he saw another brother willing to become

his slave. 14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house ; for he

[was] yet there : and they fell before him on the ground. 15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed [is] this that ye

have done ? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly

divine, or, make trial ? that I, who foretold this famine, could 16 not easily find out such a cheat? And Judah, beginning aba

ruptly, said, What shall we say unto my lord ? what shall we speak ? or how shall we clear ourselves ? And, after a pause, added, God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants, of one of us, though the rest be free : behold, we [are) my lord's servants, both we, and (he) also with whom the cup is

found; we are all in thy hands, to do with us as seemeth good 17 in thy sight. And he said, God forbid that I should do so :

(but] the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant ; and as for you, get ye up in peace unto your father, without any prejudice to your persons or goods. He might say this, to try Benjamin's temper, and how he would bear such an affliction, as well as his brethren's affection to him and to his

father. 18 Then Judah, being particularly concerned because he had un

dertaken for Benjamin, came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant : for

thou (art] even as Pharaoh, in his rooin and stead, whose dis19 pleasure therefore is equally to be feared, My lord asked his 20 servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said

unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one, the youngest ; and his brother is dead, torn to pieces, and he alone is left of his mother Rachel, and his father loveth him. Joseph would perceive by this ac

count what a lie they had told their father concerning him, 21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me,

that I may set mine eyes upon him, or, show him favour. 22 And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father :

for [if] he should leave his father, [his father] would die. 23 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest

brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. 24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my 25 father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father 26 said, Go again, [and] buy us a little food. And we said,

We cannot go down : if our youngest brother be with us,

then will we go down : for we may not see the man's face, 27 except our youngest brother [be] with us. And thy servant

my father said unto us, Ye know that Rachel my wife bare 28 me two (sons.] And the one went out from me, and I said, 29 Surely he is torn in pieces ; and I saw him not since : And

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