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"wall." And having thus set forth his future greatness in his posterity, he looks back and recollects his past troubles." The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot " at him and hated him : but his bow abode in strength, and "his hands and arms were made strong by the hands of "the mighty God of Jacob: from thence is the Shepherd,
the. Stonet of Israel: to which thou wert advanced by "the God of thy father, who shall help thee, and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with the blessings of "heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb." Then adding, "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above
Archers. Among these archers his brethren may undoubtedly claim the first place for they are expressly said to have hated him, Gen. xxxvii. 4. and to have increased their hatred to him, v. 5, 8. to have conspired his death, v. 18. and afterwards to have sold him, v. 28. Next to them his lewd mistress, and, by her means, his jealous master Potiphar, may be reckoned amongst those archers that sorely grieved him.
+ Stone. So the last English translation has it, making the Shepherd and Stone synonymous. That of 1610 reads it "Of whom was the Feeder appointed by the Stone of Israel;" taking the stone to be Christ, and the shepherd or feeder appointed by him to be Joseph. But Tremellius and Junius make Joseph to be both the Shepherd and the Stone, viz. of refuge to Israel. There is an ellipsis or defect in the sentence; which interpreters supply as they think best. However it be taken, undoubtedly Jacob had a regard to Joseph's constantly resisting the assaults of his mistress, and patiently bearing the severity of his master, and likewise to his taking care of and feeding both Israel and the Egyptians, and others, as a shepherd provides for his flock.
Whatever reference this may have to Joseph as the preserver of the whole family, it cannot be doubted that Jesus Christ is predicted; who is both the Shepherd of Israel, and the Stone of Israel. By the former name he is described both in the Old and New Testament. "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd." Is. xl.
I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." John x. 11. He is also the Stone of Israel. In him was fulfilled that illustrious prophecy of Isaiah, (chap. xxviii. 16.) “Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation-A STONE
a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation." Of Christ, in this character St. Paul speaks, 1 Cor. iii. 11. " Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
Blessings. These were terms comprehensive of all outward blessings.
"the blessings of thy progenitors, unto the utmost bounds "of the everlasting* hills:" and then to centre them all in him, he says, "They shall be on the head of Joseph, "and on the crown of the head of him that was separated "from his brethren."
Jacob concludes with Benjamin his youngest son, of whom he said, " Benjamin shall be ravenous as a wolf: in "the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he "shall divide the spoil." In which words he as aptly as briefly foretells the fierce and cruel nature of that tribe, exemplified, amongst other instances, in that of the Levite'st concubine.
The good old patriarch, having delivered himself thus to his sons, gives them his blessing, not according to his own natural affection or inclination, but according to the divine direction then given him; and putting them in mind of his death, says, "I am going to be gathered to my "people; I charge you bury me with my fathers in the
cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite," which that they might not mistake, he further describes thus; "In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is be"fore Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite; for a pos "session of a burying-place." And to engage them the more to perform his will in this instance, he adds, "There "Abraham and Sarah his wife were buried; there Isaac and "Rebeccat his wife were buried; and there I buried Leah." And to assure them of their right to that burying-place, he tells them further, That the field and the cave was purchased not only of Ephron but of the children of
Everlasting bills. Which is a term of duration commonly used in scripture: But Deut. xxxiii. 15. seems to explain this text more directly, where Moses repeating this very blessing of Jacob on Joseph, does not seem so much to regard the comparison of hills in respect of duration, as in point of blessing, which God more Pargely dispensed in hills and mountains.
Levite's, &c. See Judg. xix. 20, 21.
Rebecca. This is the first mention of Rebecca and Leah, with respect to their death and burial.
Heth. Having thus given his last charge concerning his funeral, he laid his feet on the bed and quietly expired.
The loss of a father so eminently, pious and good, must undoubtedly have been very afflicting to so numerous a family; yet we find none of Jacob's sons that discovered so much filial affection and duty as Joseph. He could not see his aged father's face, though dead, without kissing and bathing it with his tears. And having thus given vent to his grief, he commanded his servants the physicians to embalm† him, which accordingly they did. And when the usual time of mourning was over, Joseph intreated some of Pharaoh's courtiers (for as he was a mourner, it was not proper for him to appear in the royal presence) to acquaint the king, that his father just before his death had obliged him by an oath, to bury him in the sepulchre of their family in the land of Canaan; and therefore to beg permission for him to go and bury his father, upon promise to come again. The king readily consents, and Joseph proceeds, attended not only with his own and his father's family, but with the chief officers of the household, and nobility, who, to honour Joseph, and to grace the funeral, would bear him company, partaking in all the solemnity performed to the memory of his deceased father.
After some travel they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, where Joseph made a solemn mourning for his
• Laid. Whilst Jacob was prophesying and blessing his sons, he sat on the bed, his feet hanging down; but when he had done speaking to them and taken his leave of them, he gathered his feet into the bed and departed.
+ Embalm. This being the first mention we have in the Scriptures of embalnı ing the dead, may well countenance a supposition, that the Israelites here learning it of the Egyptians, and practising it afterwards on great and solemn occasions amongst themselves, as in 2 Chron. xvi. 14. and John xix. 40. it might from them come into use among Christians.
The manner of embalming dead bodies among the Egyptians was as follows.
A dissector, with a sharp Ethiopian stone, måde an incision on the left side of the body, and then immediately hurried away from the spot, because the rela
father, seven days together. The Canaanites who inhabited the land, seeing the Egyptians mix themselves in these obsequies, were amazed, and thinking they had the greatest concern in this funeral lamentation, could not forbear saying, "This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians" From whence the name of that place was called "Abel-Misraim;" that is "the mourning of the Egyp"tians." This solemnity being ended, they proceeded; and being come to the field of Machpelah, which Abraham had bought for a burying-place, they interred Jacob in the cave there and having thus performed the patriarch's will, they returned to Egypt.
During the life of their father, Joseph's brethren knew themselves secure; but now, their former guilt returned, and suggested to them the just revenge which Joseph might take of them for the miseries they had formerly. occasioned him. Wherefore they consulted together how to deprecate their offence; which they soon agreed upon,
tions of the deceased were supposed to be hurt by this action, and took up stones to stone him as a cruel wretch.
The embalmers then drew out the brains of the deceased through his nostrils with iron hooks, and supplied their place in the skull with powerful astringent drugs. They also drew out the bowels, except the heart and kidneys, through the aperture made in the side. The intestines were then washed with palm wine, and preserved with suitable drugs. After this the whole body was laid in a kind of pickle made of salt, &c. for forty days; after which it was washed, and anointed with oil of cedar, myrrh, cinnamon, &c. The body was then carefully wrapped up in many folds of fine linen, dipped in myrrh, and a gum which the Egyptians used instead of glue. Thus the whole body was preserved intire, without putrefaction or losing its hair. The coffins were proportioned to the rank of the deceased, and often embellished with his figure, or likeness, and other ornaments. The prices of the embalmers were various; some were as high as an Egyptian talent, supposed to be about 3007. of our money. The bodies thus preserved were sometimes kept in the houses of their descendants as their most valuable articles of furniture, or deposited in the famous subterraneous repositories which abound in Egypt. Many of these Mummies (as they are called) have lately been found there, in the utmost perfection; and some are preserved in England in the Museums, in an entire state, with the features and hair particularly perfect, though embalmed probably two or three thousand years ago.
making their deceased father, whose memory they knew was very dear to pious Joseph, their advocate; and framing a message in Jacob's name, they sent it to their brother in these words: "Thy father commanded us before he “died, saying, Thus shall ye say to Joseph: Forgive I pray "thee now the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; "for they did evil unto thee; but pardon them, not only
for my sake, but because they are the servants of the "God of thy father." This message was artfully expressed, for, fearing that the supposed request of their dying father might not be powerful enough now he was dead, they make God himself also their intercessor. But there was no need of arguments like these to move the compas sionate heart of Joseph; their present diffidence of his disposition towards them is now as afflicting as once their offence against him was. He wept at the delivery of the message; and sending for them, they failing down at his feet in the most abject manner, he tenderly dismisses their fears, and comforts them. Revenge, (says he) belongs "to God, and I forgive you. For though ye designed "ill against me, yet God turned it to good, making me, through your malice, an instrument under him, to save "much people alive, and you especially, as now is evi"dent. Therefore fear no hurt from me, for I will pro"tect and cherish you and your families." Thus the pious Joseph dismissed his brethren with the assurance that they should always find in him an affectionate brother and a constant friend.
Joseph lived fifty-four years after his father's decease, having the comfort of being the parent of a numerous offspring in his too sons Ephraim and Manasseh to the third generation. And now finding himself near his end, he sent for his brethren,* and said thus to them: "My "death is at hand, but though I leave you, yet God will
Brethren. By brethren, we are not to understand the other eleven sons of Jacob, who, except Benjamin, being all older than himself, might probably be all or most of them dead; but it must be meant of the heads of their families for in the scripture dialect all near kinsmen go under the general appellation of brethren, as Abraham called Lot, Gen. xiii. 8. and Ch. xxiv. 27.