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I he sons of Jacob arrive at Canaan-He enquires after all
thut befel then in their absence - Judah relates the governor's kindness-Jacob expresseth his thankfulness on their account--Excuseth his backwardness to sen! Benjamin with them Simeon confesseth their former treachery to Joseph- Judah informs the patriarch of his being alive-Benjamin confirms his report-Jacob faints, but is recovered by the sight of the waggons Jacob hesitates about accepting Joseph's invitation-He is encouraged by a vision-They set out for Egypt-He meets with Joseph at Heropolis—Their exceeding joy and endearing caresses---Joseph presents five of his brethren to the king—They are sent to Goshen--Jacob takes up his lodging in Joseph's palace for a time-Presented to the king-Relates dbraham's victory over the four kingsThe famine ended, Joseph restores the Egyptians to their estates-Sabrina on her death-bed requests a visit from Joseph, that she might implore his forgiveness---He meets unexpectedly with Alvah in distress, requites his former kindness to himself,
BOOK THE EIGHTH.
THE venerable patriarch, impatient for his son's return, and solicitous for Benjamin's welfare, stood upon an eminence near his rural dwelling, with his sanguine eye intently fixed upon the way of Egypt: when he beheld his sons afar off, and as fast as feeble age would admit, he hasted to embrace them. Have my sons, said he in his heart, found favour with the governor of Egypt, that they are safely and timely arrived. Blessed be the God of my fathers, who so graciously has returned you all, my sons, to my long; ing embrace.
And blessed be the man, the lord of the land, who dealt friendly with tender Benjamin. Thus the good old man vented the gratitude of his heart, whilst his sons drew near and unladed their cattle. Very prudently had they left the carriages behind at a distance, under proper conductors, that
their father's surprize might be the less, until they had gently insinuated the rapturous news into his aged ear. Every thing arrived, cattle, servants, and stores disposed of properly till a fit opportunity, the sons presented themselves before their venerable
parent, to join him in offering up an evening oblation to that God, who had led them forth in peace, and brought them home in safety; for in the days of yore, the pious race delighted to acknowledge God for every benefit. The solemn service devoutly attended to, whilst gratitude and humble adorations ascended with the smoke of the incense, the patriarch assembled all his family, sons, daughters, and grand-children, and with an excess of parental fondness, embraced them all again, and enquired after what had befallen them since their departure for Egypt. “Come Judah," said he,
” said he, “ you became surety for ther Benjamin; tell me, my son, by what means you . have been enabled to fulfil your engagement?”
My father:" replied Judah," it is with pleasure I can inform you, that we had a safe and pleasant journey down to Egypt, and as soon as we arrived there, we were conducted to the presence of the governor, whom we found to be a sensible and humane person, capable of feeling the distresses of his fellow. creatures. As soon as he had, by proper enquiry, found that we had fulfilled our agreement with him, he forthwith ordered our brother Simeon to be released and delivered unto us. He asked with a great deal of affection after our welfare in our absence; in particular for our aged father, our wives and tender offspring, in short, he seemed to interest himself in our concerns, as much as if he had been our brother. You cannot think, my father, with what delight he gazed upon, and with what affection he embraced our brother Benjamin. He not only returned our money for our corn, but has been pleased to bestow a sum and a suit of apparel upon each of us, and unto Benjamin he hath given three hundred pieces of silver, and five suits of rich apparel, besides a very rich and valuable present which he has sent for you, mý
father, and which shall be laid before you to-morrow morning.'
“ Blessed be the Lord God,” said Jacob," who gave you such favour in the sight of the man. And O may all his kindness to you, my sons, and to your father's house, be returned tenfold unto him, by the mighty God of Jacob. How causeless were my fears for you, my Benjamin! How did my heart tremble to think that peradventure evil might befal you! and I concluded, my son, that I could not survive the loss of you. But you know, my sons, that my loss of Joseph might reasonably make me more fearful, than otherwise I might have been. I loved him for his mother's sake, I saw abundance of excellencies in his opening genius, and I thought I could see a spirit of prophecy in the dreams he related to us. Yet after all these things, Joseph was torn to pieces.”
“No, my father,” replied Simeon,“ Joseph was not torn to pieces. It shall be my part now, to reveal a mystery of iniquity, which venerable Israel never could suspect his sons to have been guilty of. His dreams, my father, fired the hearts of his brethren with jealousy; and foreseeing that if he lived in Canaan, we should become subject to him, we conspired against him to slay him. This was indeed our first purpose, for I have now such a sense of the evil of our proceedings that I will not attempt to extenuate them. Reuben alone opposed the horrid deed, and therefore exposed himself to danger. Our purpose, however, was over-ruled, and instead of putting him to death, we sold him to some Midianitish merchants..., The coat dipt in blood was a contrivance of ours, to hide ourselves from a suspicion of guilt. Oh! Sir, accuse not your sons, for it has eost us dear. Our guilt has produced the keenest remorse, and we cannot bear the frowns of an injured father.”
“ But Joseph is not, Simeon,” said the patriarch, “ I am bereaved of my Joseph; and what restitution can you make? Though not torn in pieces as, I supposed, he may be enslaved in some foreign country, where I shall never embrace him."
"No, Sir,"replied Judah," heisnot enslaved; we have seen him, we have embraced him, and have conversed with him. He it is that is lord over all the Egyptian monarchy.”. “ Oh! what do ye tell me?" replied the patriarch, and sunk down in his chair. A little come to himself, said he,“ Does Joseph live? Can it be possible? If he lives, O that these withered arms could grasp him.” “Yes, my father," returned Benjamin," he lives. Joseph my brother, lives! I embraced him. He wept upon my neck, and I on his; and he sends you an invitation by me, to.come and sojourn with him in Egypt till the famine is gone; which he assures us, will be five times twelve months."
“O Benjamin, what do ye say? are you assured that you now speak the truth? I saw his manycoloured coat, torn in pieces and smeared with his blood. How then can he yet live?" “ Remember, my father,” said Benjamin, “ what Simeon has just now declared, that they killed a young goat and dipped the coat in the blood thereof, rent it, and delivered it to you, my father. So that Joseph lives, and is Jord-governor of all the kingdom of Egypt. He hath besides sent waggons and other light carriages, my father, to convey you and yours down into the land of Egypt; for he tells us, that there are yet five years more of the famine to come, in which there shall be neither earing nor reaping.
“ That he lives I am thankful for,” replied the patriarch; “ as to his grandeur it affects me not. But Joseph lives: that is enough. I will spend the small remains of life in taking a journey to embrace my son before I die. My Joseph, how have I wept over thy death, my son! But O my God! let me but embrace him, and I soon shall forget all the sorrow sustained
upon his account. Yes, Joseph, I come to see thee my son. Israel comes to bow himself down upon the neck of him who was separated from his brethren. Make ready, my sons, for our speedy departure. The lamp of nature is already, with me, reeling in the socket. What I do must be quickly done, least death prevent me.
But “ O, my sons ! for your sakes, and the sake of my grand-children, I dread to embrace my Joseph's invitation." “What objections, Sir, can you have to it?
There is plenty in all the land of Egypt. There is corn, wine, and oil, treasured up by Joseph's provident care ?” said Reuben. " It is that very plenty I dread, my son.
And that I fear may be as injurious to your morals, as the famine might have been to your families. What, if the abundance of corn and flesh reported to be there, should inclire my seed to settle in that strange land, and do what they can to frustrate the Lord's design of putting you and your children in the land of Canaan. I fear for you, my children. Ye are young, and can relish the pleasures of sense. Was I to go alone and visit my son, the danger might be less; as I am old, and the pleasure of enjoyment is departed from me. Jacob, however, could not resist the importunity of his sons, especially Benjamin, who pleaded hard that he might go and spend his days near his brother Joseph. * Well, my children, I go,” said he,“ but I adjure you by the greatest of names, that ye entertain no thoughts of settling in Egypt, nor of mixing yourselves with the children of Ham."
So early next morning he arose, he and his sons, and his son's wives and children, and departed from the neighbourhood of Shalem, having first offered a morning sacrifice upon the altar Elelohe-Israel, and that day reached the well of the oath, where he pitched his tent, and rested that night in the grove which Abraham planted, and where he was accustomed to offer up his devotions morning and evenings to the Lord his God. Here also the journeying patriarch, with his family, offered sacrifices unto and invoked the unutterable name of Jacob's God. And lo! in the second watch of the night, thetent of Israel was irradiate with celestial brightness, farsurpassing the sun in his strength, and a voice not foreign to Jacob's ear, was heard to cry aloud, “ Jacob, Jacob.” The raptured parent of the chosen race, replied, “Here am 1. Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth."