Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 wee

23 and religious answer; And he said, Peace [be] to you, fear not: your God and the Clod 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 harm shall come to you on that account. And as a further proof of hit 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 [was] in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.

27 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 repeated

29 ly accomplished. And he lifted up his eyesv 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 su.

30 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.

SI And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained him'*

32 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 cat bread with the Hebrews; for that [is] an abomination unto the Egyptians, because the Hebrews did eat sheep and goals, which the Egyptians worship

33 pec/, (Exodus viii. 26.) And they sat before him, the firstborn according to. his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another, that het who had before used them so roughly, should now treat them so kindly, and place them according to their several ages. This was m extraordinary circumstance, and might well illustrate

[ocr errors]

what he afterward said to them about his divining, if that were S4 the sense of those words. And he took [and sent] messes unto them from before him, dishes from his oum table; but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs.* Joseph intended hereby to shorn 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 reception, made them for a while forget their hardship* and sorrows.

REFLECTIONS

\. "\X7'E hence see the extreme force of necessity, and what V 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 thatthis is not our case; we are fed with the fmest of the wlieat; God spreads our table, andfills our cup ; lie liveth us all things richly to enjoy; and has not broke our *taff 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 selling 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 docs not by right be long to us, though we did not come by it fraudulently, are each contrary to strict honesty, and to the rule of doing to other.t 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 paths. When we

* A favourite (niett wis always distinguished by one or the lnrgest and test. Thus lit. ver mentions settings chine before a stranger, in token of respect.

Vol. I. Z

*ant favour and mercy from men, let our eyes be up toward the Lord, for he can influence them which way he pleaseth,

4. Let us resign ourselves and our dearest comforts to God'sdisposai- Israel's, in i>. 14. was not the language of passion or despair, but of sober reason, and humble submission to God; like Esther, Jflflfrifh, I perish ¡ I must submit to the providence of God ; not dispute bis 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 ¿a the Lord, let him do what seemelhgoodin his sight.

5. See how suspicious guilt makes 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 Î8 it to have fear when no man pursijeth !• The wieked fear where no fear is ; every thing appears gloomy and dark ; but to the up-right there arisct'h 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 dhoose such families'M here they may have opportunities of know-ing God ; and those who ar'e 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 Uieir passions, if they desire to appear either with honour or copifort. 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 taith all diligence, that we may be calm and sedate, and not hurried away by torrents of yassion; for he that hath, no rule oner his own spirit is like a city that is broken duwn}.anf£

walls. Prov. xxv. 20.

CHAP. XLIV.

."Joseph's brethren were merry with him, and little expected to be in those circumstances in which this chapterfinds them; but it wat his policy, in order to detain and try them.

1 A NOhe commanded the steward of his house, saying,

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 w'hich I drink out of, even the silver cup that is embossed, or wrought, as the original signifies, in The sack's mouth ofthe youngest, and his corn moiv. • ey. And he did According "to the word that Joseph had Spoken. Hereby Joseph meant to try his brethren's affection to Benjamin, and to their father, and whether they toould.

5 assist him in his extreniity. As soon as 'the .morning was '* 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 ingrat. .5 itude and then with theft; [Is] .not this cup which ye have taken, [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 evH in so doing it was wicked to steal it, and foolish to attempt it, because my master would soon miss it, and easily conjecture where it was gone. "6 And he oVertook.them, and he spake unto them these flame T wards. And they said .onto him, Wherefore satth my lord these words ? 'God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: thus vindicating themselves with eagerness,

8 and then urging theformer proof of their honesty; Behold, the motley, 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 whomsoever 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] according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless, free from punishment,

4 1 and at liberty to return home unmolested. Then they speedily took down every man his sack .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

& 3 Benjamin's sack. Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city ; thinking that 'Joseph,' being a man of generosity t and humanity, would forr give Benjamin, when he вачо another brother willing to become hie stave.

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 certainlydivine, or. make trial? that I, who foretold this famine, could

16 not easily find out such a cheat? And Judah, beginning ab~ ruptly, said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? ¿Ind, after a pause, added, God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants, of one if 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 fay this, to try Benjamin's temper, and hoio he would tear such an affliction, as weil as his brethren's affection to him and to his father.

18 Then Judah, being particularly concerned because he had undertaken fir Benjamin, came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, 1 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 room and stead, ii'hose dis

19 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 Joveth him. Joseph mould perceive by this account v/hat a He they /tad told ¿heir 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 witli us, then will we go down : for we may not see the mail's face,

27 except our youngest brother [be] with us. And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that Kachel 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;

« PreviousContinue »