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the life of Simeon, but our return into Egypt with our brother Benjamin; and nothing can save our tender families at home, but speedy supplies from that country. Send him with me, my father; I will be surety for him, of my hand do ye require him. If you will send him, we will arise and go directly; but if not, we cannot go. We may as well stay at home and die by famine with our wives and little ones, as be put to the sword in a strange land. Determine, therefore, what we are to do, my father. For unless we had thus lingered, we might have been all safely returned the second time. And let Israel consider that certain death awaits us all, if Benjamin is not permitted to go with us, and there is but a bare peradventure of danger to him if he goes. Remember, my father, the God of Bethel, in whom thou hast trusted, he is in Egypt as well as in Canaan. He is able to protect thy Benjamin in what land soever."
He ended here, and the pensive patriarch replied. “ Well Judah, your reasoning is home and conclusive. We will call the boy and enquire at his own mouth: if he is willing, I shall not further oppose his going, but if he is not willing, I will, by no means constrain him. Are you willing, Benjamin, to accompany your brethren through the dangers of another journey to Egypt? They protest they will not go
without you, and I am very unwilling to expose your young and tender years to the hardships and dangers of such a journey. Be free, my son and and speak your mind." Said
Said Benjamin, " I should ill deserve to call Jacob my father, if I should so much as desire to shun any dangers to which my brethren are exposed. Far be it from me to delight in loitering at home, whilst they, by hardship and toil, are caring for me and my little ones. I am not only perfectly willing to go with them, my father, but even desirous of it; and would have proposed it ere now, had it not been for fear of adding to your burden, my father; I want to see this lord-governor of Egypt I know not how it is, but ever since my brother Reuben gave you an account of him, I have
mind unaccountable attached to him, And
fast night I dreamed that I stood in his presence along with my brethren, and I thought I saw something so unspeakably agreeable in him, that I could not but love him. But when he came to embrace me (for I thought he embraced me), I felt such a glow of friendship warm by bosom, that I never experienced the like in my life. For my part, I am of Reuben's mind, I fear no harm from the lord governor." “ Well, my son", said the hoary patriarch with a deep groan, “ I must submit.
God grant that ye be not mistaken in the man.
“But, my sons, take double money along with you, besides that which was returned in your sacks, and repay it; perhaps it might be done undesignedly by some of the overseers of the stores. And go not empty handed to the man, seeing a gift in the bosom pacifieth anger; but take with you an handsome
present of the best produce of our land; such as balm, honey, spices, myrrh, nuts and almonds. And O God Almighty, go thou with my sons, and give them favour in the sight of the governor.
The sons of Israel departed; the Lord appeared unto Jacob in a vison of the night, and said unto him, “ Jacob, what seest thou?" Jacob replied, “I see an almond tree, exceeding fair, smooth, and strong in the trunk, branched out into twelve capital boughs, each of which are sub-divided into innumerable branches, and all laden with fruit of the most luxuriant growth.” The vision answered, “ Thou hast well seen, Jacob. Thou art the beautiful almond tree, from thee twelve branches are sprung, which shall bring forth seed innumerable as the sand of the sea. Ask not how it can be done, seeing one branch is lopped off from the native stem. Be satisfied in this, that what infinite wisdom hath purposed, almighty power can accompish ; leave thy Benjamin to the care of his God, for thou shalt embrace him in safety." So spake the vision, and departing, left a glow of seraphic fervour in the patriarah's heart, something like that which he felt at Peniel, when like a prince, he prevailed with God.
The sons of Israel arrive at Memphis with Benjamin-Judak
apologizeth for the returned money-Offers the present Jacob had sent–They are invited to dine with the governor-Their jealousy of some design against them Sinieon's opinion is asked – Their meeting with JosephHis struggle with natural affection--They dine with him-His scheme to try their affection to BenjaminThey are pursued by the steward-Searched, and Ben jamin is convicted of stealing Joseph's cup-They all return to the palace-Judah confesseth their former guilt-Levi's lamentation for Benjamin-Judah's defence of Benjamin-Benjamin studieth to reconcile his brethren to his fate-Simeon and Levi resolve to rescue him or die with him-Joseph makes himself known to his bréthren-He comforts and encourages then-Invites them and all his father's house to come to live in Egypt-They regale themselves with Joseph and depart from Egypt.
BOOK THE SEVENTH.
ARRIVED in Egypt, they were conducted into the governor's presence, who inwardly rejoiced to see the sons of his father safely returned in company with Benjamin his brother. « Well," said he," you . have fulfilled the condition, on your part, it behoves me to be equally faithful on mine ; I shall give orders for your brother's immediate release from prison.” When he saw them all together, he ordered his steward to kill a yearling, and make plentiful provision; for said he, these men shall be my guests to-day. Having given necessary order for his household af. fairs, and having business to dispatch abroad, he left his brethren alone until noon. Now Judah approached the steward, and thus apologized for the money that was returned in their sacks. “O my lord, we are under great difficulties at present, and have need of your friendship, as your influence with my lord the chanceller is great. When we came down at first, notwithstanding your lord was jealous
of us, we had indeed no other business in Egypt but to buy food for our families. The corn we purchased, and as we thought paid for, but to our great surprize and grief, when we opened our sacks, every man found his money in full weight in the mouth of his sack, How it came there we cannot conceive. But willing to deal uprightly with all men, we have brought that money which was returned, again in our hand, besides the money which we would now lay out for fresh provision. Will it please my lord to accept the returned money, and pardon what oversight soever might occasion it? We have also brought a small present of the fruits of our land, for my lord the chancellor, which we beg you would present to to him in our name.”
“ Your present for my lord," said the steward, “I willingly accept for him ; but as for your money, I cannot receive it; as you paid the full value when
you received your corn. As to the money ye found in your sacks, make youreselves very easy about it. It is a gift of your God, from which no evil is likely to ensue. Set your hearts at rest, and compose yourselves, for I have orders from my lord to inform you, that he expects you all to dine with him at noon, in his palace," As they did not much relish this invitation, they would gladly have excused themselves from the honour designed, and with more peaceful thoughts have dined on an humble allowance in their inn; but as no excuse could be admitted, they were obliged to submit to the governor's pleasure.
The steward withdrawn, and they left alone, they began thus to reason one with another. One said “ Simeon's release looks well upon the governor's side, but I like not this invitation. There is oftentimes the most malignant design carried on under the mask of iriendship.” “ Now we have convin. ced him that we are no spies,” said another, " I fear he is about devising some other plausible pretence to detain us as slaves in the land.”. “I must confess,” said a third, “ that an invitation to such as we, to dine with the second person of the empire, looks
“ For my part," said young Benjaming “I'am under no apprehension of any such thing. I see something in my lord-chancellor, that convinceth me that it is impossible for him to allow himself in unrighteousness. What is your opinion, Simeon? You
have had more acquaintance with the Egyptian manners than we have had."
“ Really, my brother,” said Simeon, " I know not what to think of the present invitation, any more than the rest of you. To me it must seem somewhat mys. terious, to be brought from a prison, to dine in a palace. Yet I assure you, I have met with no ill usage here, further than my confinement. I was bound you saw in your presence, but as soon as you were departed, I was led away to an apartment agreeable in all respects, except that I was confined to it. I was daily supplied with plenty of excellent food, but from whence it came I was never informed. The governor himself did me the honour of frequent visits, and conversed familiarly with me concerning the Hebrew lineage, (for he appears to be no stranger to Abraham, notwithstanding he is an Egyptian) concerning our father and Benjamin ; and especially concerning the death of Joseph. And I have observed, that when we have been conversing about these things, sometimes the tears would steal involuntarily from his eyes. I cannot say that I have any apprehension of evil, now you have fulfilled your engagements.
As they were thus reasoning among themselves, Joseph came home and ordered them into the hall of his palace. The steward at their request, presented the balm, myrrh, &c. which he received with visi. ble satisfaction, to the great pleasure of his brethren, Then he ordered them all to sit down, and enquired after their welfare.
“ Have you been all well, my friends," said he. & since your departure hence? Did you find your good old father alive and well? Are your wives and children well ?”;
Judah replied, “We got well home, and found