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Now struggling nature more plainly appeared in Joseph's eyes and voice; for observing the disorder of his brethren, in a compassionate accent he bids them come near him, and assures them he was their very brother Joseph, whom they sold; and though he had acted with the austerity of a viceroy, he still retained the tenderness of a brother; and to mitigate the remembrance of their cruelty towards him, he bids them no longer afflict themselves with the thoughts of it, for it was all God's doing, who permitted them so to dispose of him for their preservation: "God (saith he) sent me hither before you, "to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save "your lives by a great deliverance. Ye ought therefore "to be convinced that it was not you that sent me hither, "but God, who, by the various dispensations of his providence, hath brought me to this dignity and power, "that I may be an instrument of preserving the family of "the faithful. For this end hath God made me as a fathert "to Pharaoh and his people, that by my counsel and care "I might preserve them; therefore am I made lord of "the King's house, and chief ruler over all the land of Egypt." Then he proposes the fetching of his father, with the whole family of Israel, from Canaan to Egypt; bidding them deliver this message unto him: "God hath "made me lord of all Egypt, therefore defer not coming; "for I will provide Goshent for the place of thy habita
God's doing. Though God detests sin; yet he often renders the wickedness of man subservient to his glory: of which there are frequent instances in holy scripture besides this.
+ Father. Our versions render this absolutely; but the Latin and the Septugint more properly, as a father; that is, governor, counsellor, or moderator; for Joseph by his wisdom had all the kingdom of Egypt, and family of Pharaoh, committed to his care, and therefore might justly be called father of the kingdom under the king. Thus Haman is in Esth. xiii. 6. called a second father to Artaxerxes; which was reckoned the first title of honour and dignity in the courts of Tyre, Egypt, and Persia.
Gosben. This was the most fruitful part of all Egypt, especially for pastarage; and therefore the most commodious for them who were brought up
tion, and there will I nourish thee and thy family, lest they come to want." And that they might not doubt* that he was indeed their brother Joseph, he told them, "Your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, "(whom my father will especially regard,) that it is I "myself that speak to you. And to comfort my father, "tell him of my glory here, and all that you have seen; "and make haste to conduct him hither." Then taking Benjamin in his arms, they wept for joy; and as a seal of pardon for all offences, he tenderly embraced and kissed them severally, and wept over them. Joseph's kind carriage and reconciliation having dispelled their fears and apprehensions of the severe resentment they might justly have expected from him, they took courage and conversed familiarly with him.
The report of the arrival of Joseph's brethren, soon spread in Pharaoh's court, which, for the great respect all had to Joseph, was very agreeable to the king and all the court; Pharaoh immediately orders Joseph to send his brethren to conduct his father, and all that belonged to him, into Egypt, where he should partake of the best during the famine, of which there were five years yet to come. Joseph gladly obeys, and accordingly provides carriages and food for their journey. But for a present to his father, he sent ten asses laden with the choicest dainties that Egypt could afford; and ten she-asses laden with corn and provisions for him by the way. And the more to cheer his brethren, and confirm his love to them, he gave to each of them changes of raiment; but to distinguish Benjamin from the rest, he gave him three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes or suits of clothes: and knowing their quarrelsome disposition, and fearing they should
shepherds, and the shortest journey for him to make, as being nearest Ca
* Doubt. Joseph having before spoken to them by an interpreter, he bids them observe that now he spoke to them in the Hebrew tongue, that they might the better be assured that it was he their brother who had hitherto conversed with them.
enter into some debate who was most in fault for the injury done to him, he lays a strict charge upon them not to fall out by the way.
Joseph having dismissed his brethren, they make the best of their way to Canaan, where they were joyfully received by their good old father, especially upon the return of his two sons, Simeon and Benjamin, whom he scarce expected to see again. But when they acquainted him with Joseph's being alive, and the grandeur of his station, his former grief revived; and, distrusting the extravagant account they gave, "his heart fainted, for he be"lieved them not:" but when he saw the carriages, with the presents and provisions which Joseph had sent for him, his fainting spirits, like a lamp almost spent, but opportunely supplied with oil, again revived, and, in an ecstacy of joy he exclaimed, "This is beyond my expectation: Joseph my son is yet alive! I will go and see him before I die." Accordingly he took his journey with all that he had; and stopping at Beersheba,* he offered sacrifice to the God of his father Isaac. Here it was that God spake to Israel in the visions of the night, bidding him not fear to go down into Egypt,† for he would there make of him a great nation; that he would gó with him, and surely bring him thence again, and
* Beersheba. Here it was where the Lord appeared to his father Isaac, and blessed him, and where his father built an altar, and worshipped the Lord, Gen. xxvi. 23, 24, 25. But by Jacob's offering sacrifice here it may reasonably be supposed that so pious a man as he was not only gave God thanks for the preservation of his son Joseph, and the safe return of his other sons, but implored the divine protection and blessing upon him and his, in the journey he had undertaken.
Egypt. Though God had promised the land of Canaan to Israel's posterity, yet he persuades him to go into Egypt, (though a country where his ancestors had been ill treated,) for he would protect him.
Bring, &c. That is, not that he should live to come out of Egypt, but that his body should be carried from thence to be buried in the sepulchre of his ancestors, and that his posterity should possess the promised land, from which he was departed. For as to Israel's dying in Egypt, it is plain that God at the time of this vision told him he should die there, Gen. xlvi. for there Joseph is promised to close his eyes.
that his beloved Joseph should there close* his eyes. Jacob encouraged by this divine promise, left Beersheba, and cheerfully pursues his journey towards Egypt; his sons carrying with them their little ones, and their wives, in the waggons which Pharaoh had sent to convey them. They took also with them their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, his sons, and his sons' sons, his daughters,† and his sons' daughters; making in all seventy‡ persons.
Jacob being arrived on the borders of Egypt, dispatches his son Judah before him, to receive directions for going to Goshen; who soon returns to his father and conducts him thither; where, Joseph, with a train becoming his high station, meets him, and with infinite satisfaction congratulates his happy arrival in a place where he had power to make the rest of his life easy and comfortable. Here were the highest ecstacies of filial duty and parental affection expressed tears of joy flowed on both sides; and while Joseph was contemplating the divine goodness which had once more restored him to the arms of his aged father, the pious patriarch, thinking his joy on earth complete, desired to live no longer: "Now, (says he) let me die, since I have seen thy face!"
Close. From hence Jacob might justly infer that he should die a natural death, and that his son Joseph should be with him to the last moment of his life; which must have been a great comfort to the fond old patriarch.
+ Daughters. This will admit of a two-fold meaning; First, As it was a general way of speaking, such as Sarah used when she said, "Who should have said to Abraham that Sarah should have given suck to children?" Gen. xxi. 7. whereas she never gave suck but to one child, Isaac. Secondly, Though Jacob strictly had but one daughter, which was Dinah, yet here he may be understood to speak of his daughters-in-law.
The names of Jacob's family, which he brought into Egypt, are particularly expressed in Gen. xlvi. 8, to 25. And both here and in Deut. x. 22. are computed to be in the whole number three-score and ten persons. But because there is an apparent difference between the account here, and that which is given by St. Stephen, Acts vii. 14. the one reckoning seventy, the other making it seventy-five, it may not be unpleasant to reconcile these different accounts. "This difficulty will be small, if we say, that the places are not parallel: for Moses makes a catalogue, VOL. I. S
After these mutual endearments were somewhat over, Joseph proposes to his father and brethren, that he would go and acquaint the king with their arrival, which he was in gratitude obliged to do, since the king had sent for them; informing them at the same time, that he would acquaint him with their manner of life, which was in breeding and nourishing cattle, that if he should enquire of them what occupation they were bred to, they should answer accordingly; by which they would secure the land of Goshen for their use, where they might live and take care of their flocks and herds by themselves; for the Egyptians did so abominate shepherds, that they would never suffer them to live promiscuously amongst them.
Then Joseph, taking five of the most graceful persons of his brethren, went and acquainted Pharaoh that his father and family were arrived in Goshen; and presented the five he had brought with him to the king, who treated
in which, together with Jacob, his own offspring only, they that came of his loins, are comprehended, his son's wives being expressly excepted, v. 26. For which reason not only they who actually went into Egypt with him, but Joseph also, with his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, although they were in Egypt before, are included in the number seventy; because they having sprung from Jacob's loins, and taking their original from the land of Canaan, lived as strangers in the land of Egypt, and therefore were justly to be reckoned as if they had entered Egypt with Jacob. There is a substantial reason also, why Hezron and Hamul, the two grandsons of Judah by Pharez, are put into that number, though they were born afterwards in Egypt, that they might supply the place of Judah's two sons Er and Onan, who were dead before. But St. Stephen in his oration doth not set forth Jacob's genealogy; but declares who they were that Joseph called out of the land of Canaan into Egypt: for he called more than sprang from Jacob's loins. There, in the first place, are to be omitted Judah's two grandsons Hezron and Hamul, and in the next place, Joseph and his two sons: Judah's two grandsons he could not call, because they were not yet born: himself and his sons he could not call, because they were in Egypt already. Those five therefore, and then Jacob, whom St. Stephen mentions by himself, being set aside, there remain of Moses's number seventy, only sixty-four, viz. the eleven brethren, one sister, Dinah, and fifty-two children of the brethren; to which add the eleven wives of the eleven brethren, whom Joseph must needs call together with their husbands, and which belonged to the kindred, you have all his kindred in three-score and fifteen souls."