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titude and variety of beautiful, striking, and sublime ideas. When Joseph is to be blessed, the prophet for him arrays nature in her gayest, richest attire: fot him he digs into the mine, and cleaves the finty rock, and pours jewels and gold at his feet. “For him the roses blow, for him distils the dew.” For him golden harvests wave in the fragrant air, and rivers of milk and oil flow down the mountains and through the vallies. For him the swelling clusters of the vine assume a purple hue, the meadows clothe themselves with verdure, and the cedars of God lift their proud heads to the skies; the sun and moon, and eleven stars, do obeisance to him. Nature is then animated, as it were, to do him honour, to give him protection, to extend his empire, to minister to his delight. The grove becomes vocal, the bullock treads stately through the plain, the unicorn pushes with the horn, nations of enemies melt before him, the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh, cultivate their fertile, peaceful fields, beautify their pleasant villages, fortify their magnificient cities.
With inexhausted strength, with resistless force, the prophet then hurries us out of the sphere of nature, bears us to the awful regions of religion, places our feet on holy ground. It is the blessing of Joseph, and we feel ourselves transported to the wilderness of Horeb, we behold the bush on fire, we hear the voice of God himself from the midst of the flame. But though it speaks from the midst of fire, to the house of Joseph it speaks nothing but love, it is a fire that con. sumes not, it breathes “good will.” Moses having thus as a poet touched every power of imagination, conducted us from one scene of delight to another, and made all Eden rise to view; having, as a prophet, unveiled the world of spirits to our astonished sight, and borne us as on eagles' wings-up to the throne of God, gently deviates into his character of orator and historian, and sweetly re-descends with us into the
field of Zoan, and calls forth a tender sigh from our bosom over the hapless youth who was torn from his father's embrace, and sold into slavery, “Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and
upon the top of the head of him that was separated from hiş brethren,” Deut. xxxiii. 16. But " who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Job xxxyiii. 2. Moses, my friends, seems reluetant to break off this subject, he is loth to bid Joseph farewell; as he goes he “ casts a longing lingering look behind,” and sighs out another blessing, after his tongue is silent. When Jacob speaks to Joseph, and Moses writes and speaks of him, neither of them knows how to leave off.
We soon find the prediction of Moses verified, and the parting benediction falling down, according to the letter of it, in copious showers upon the head of Joseph. For though half the tribe of Manasseh obtained an inheritance beyond Jordan, and a fair and spa. cious lot had fallen to the rest of the sons of Joseph in Canaan, they are soon under the necessity of applying to Joshua for an additional lot to enlarge their border. “ And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood-country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Beth-shean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the out-goings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong," Joshua xvii. 14-18.
The Jewish writers take delight in expatiating upon the beauty and fruitfulness of the providentially allotted portion of this tribe. They represent Canaan as a garden, in comparison to the rest of the world, and mount Ephraim with its adjacent plains as the garden of Canaan. But we must hasten from it, and attend our departing prophet, as he bids a shorter adieu to the remaining tribes.
As the lots of Zebulun and Issachar were to be contiguous in Canaan; as they were brothers german, being both sons of Leah, and thereby had a nearer interest and affection among themselves, and their tents were pitched contiguous to each other in the plains of Moab, Moses addresses them as forming one body of people. “ And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebusun, in thy going out; and Issachar, in thy tents," Deut. xxxiii. 18. This is, with little variation, a re. petition and confirmation of the blessing pronounced by dying Jacob. Zebulun the younger of the two brothers is in both referred; and in distributing the lots Zebu. lun has the third lot, Issachar only the fourth. The inheritance of Zebulun was to be of a peculiar quality, and they were to draw their subsistence and wealth from sources very different from those of the rest of Israel; they were to grow great by navigation and trade.
The sea, that unruly element, was to be made tributary to them, and through it, a passage opened to them to the vast, populous and wealthy shores of Africa on the south, and of Asia and Europe on the north. “ They shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. . They shall call the people unto the mountain, there they shall offer sacrifices of
righteousness,” Deut. xxxii. 19. The Chaldean applies these words peculiarly to Issachar, and translates them thus. “Rejoice Issachar, that is, be thou blessed in thy going to appoint the times of the solemn feasts of Israel," which has a reference to what we read of this tribe, 1 Chron. xii. 32. “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do: the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment." This is generally understood of the times and seasons of the year, of the new moons and other appearances of the heavenly bodies, by which the solemn festivals were regu. lated, and which they of Issachar, by their astronomi. cal observation and skill, calculated for the use of all Israel. Hence, they are represented in the blessing of Moses as calling the people “ unto mount Zion, where the temple was.” Thus, we see every tribe had some separate and distinct province, some peculiar be. nefit and privilege, that in the commonwealth of Israel, as in the natural body, there might be no schism, nor the hand be able to say to the eye or to the foot, “I have no need of thee."
Moses advances to the tents of Gad with these words upon his tongue. “Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provideth the first part for himself, because there in a portion of the law-giver was ḥe seated: and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel,” Deut. xxxiii. 20, 21. The en. largement of Gad may refer to his inheritance, which God hereby promised to extend, as he did that of Israel in general. : “ I will enlarge thy border;” or it may be understood of his person, and will then imply deliverance out of trouble, in which sense the word is used, Psalm iy. l. « Thou hast enlarged me when
I was in distress.” If so, the words of Moses refer to the troubles of Gad, prophesied of by his dying father, and the history of the deliverance and enlargement of that tribe, from the hands of their enemies, Jeptha the Gileadite. We read of Gadites in David's time, who were “ mighty men of valour," whose faces were like, the “ faces of lions" and were 66 as swift as the roes upon the mountains.” Hence he is said " to dwell as a lion, and to tear the arm with the crown of the head;" the emblems of sovereignty and strength, intimating that none should be so high or powerful, but the might of Gad should bring him down. The blessing in the 21st verse plainly refers to the provision already made for this tribe in conjunction with Rueben, and the half tribe of Manasseh, in the kingdoms of Og and Sihon. “And he provided the first part for himself, because there in a portion of the law-giver was he seated: and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel,” Deut. xxxiii. 21.
The younger children of a numerous family, are to a stranger so many uninteresting, insignificant names; they have a mere family likeness, they speedily become undistinguishable, we mistake the one for the other. It is not so with the parents; they have distinguishing marks for each, they have a particular affection for every one; they have something to say to, to say of, every one. Thus Dan and Naphtali and Asher are to us so many words without a meaning; but in the eyes of Moses all have a special importance, each particular blessing has a special meaning, and the last is not the least in his affection. But as strangers we pass by the rest, and distinct ideas of only two or three of Judah and Levi, and Benjamin and Joseph, cleave to our memory; these we would know among ten thousand, these we can never forget.
We must now suppose Moses to have finished his round, to have returned to his place; and closing the