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":'It has been related, that Rachel brought away h*r father's idols, which- she kept carefully concealed: it Is hot unlikely, but that Leah and her handmaids might hare secreted others; and it is very probable, that when Jacob's sons destroyed the city of Shechem, the captives they took carried with them some of theirs. Now at Jacob had promised, that the Lord should be his only God, if ever he returned to Bethel, it would have been a violation of his vow, had he suffered any thing to remain in his family that might have been held in any degree of competition with the Lord; he therefore desired them "to put away the strange gods that were among them." He also required them to wash their bodies, and change their garments: thus intimating, that an entire purification was necessary, in order to their becoming the peculiar people of God.
How happy must Jacob have been, when the Lord appeared to him at Bethel, and again pronounced him a Prince of God, giving him likewise the blessing of Abraham! It was an additional satisfaction to him, to know for a certainty, that the Lord was the At,
MJGHTY GOD. '?/v
It is impossible to obtain an exact idea of Jacob's pillar; some commentators suppose, that the covenant made between the Lord and Jacob was inscribed on it. It is most likely, that the ceremonies Jacob used were of Divine appointment.
,The conclusions suggested by this section are, that theLoKD is true to His promises, and omnipotent to perform them;—that His favour comprehends all the blessings of life, and if so, that it is our truest interest to seek it; and that when His blessings are showered down upon us, it is our duty to acknowledge, and be thanki goodness.
....... .'uwO •« • • v SECTION SECTION XLIII.
THE DEATHS OF RACHEL AND ISAAC.
From Genesis, Chap. xxxv.
And they journeyed from Bethel; and it came to pass that Rachel bare another son, and his father called him Benjamin; and Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: tkat is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.
And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah (which is Hebron) where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years: and Isaac gave up the ghost and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his hou^e, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country, from the face'of his brother Jacob.
For their riches were more than that they might dwell together: and the land wherein they were strangers, could not bear them, because of their cattle. Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.
And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan; and the sons of Jacob were twelve, Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin; and his daughter's name was Dinah.
K 5- ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. Rachel had, with uncommon solicitude, desired an increase of family: little did she think that the completion of her wishes would prove fatal to herself! Jacob felt the most poignant grief at the death of a wife so beloved, but this- misfortune served to exercise his patience.
it roust have been a great consolation to Jacob, once more to heboid his sged father; and, without doubt, the good old patriarch sincerely rejoiced at tfie return of his son; especially when he found, in the increase of Jacob's family and riches, an earnest of the accomplishment .of all the Divine promises.
Soon after Jacob's return, Isaac was released from ibis mortal life; and (as we conclude from the expression gathered to his fathers) his soul was received into the state of rest appointed for the departed spirits of good men.
It appears, that Esau, as the eldest son, had for his portjo* the greatest part, if not all, of his fathers riches in the land of Canaan, which he took sway with him so Seir; and that Jacob was left in Canaan to increase fcis substance, by the Providence of Go o. The Scripture informs us, that the descendants of Esau soon multiplied into a powerful nation called the Edomites, which had many kings, long before* there was any Jting in Israel.
The twelve sons of Jacob, mentioned in this section, were the heads of the twelve tribes-of Israel, as will be seen in the succeeding part of this history.
From the misfortune which befel Jacob, in the loss of his wife, so soon after he was reconciled to his brother, and had received a confirmation of the blessing of Abraham, we learn to reflect, that no hvunan felicity is
• Ota. ieiuni. 31.
permanent. The Aim<wx,,, ^l^.knows, '» nan, vouchsafes to encourage, Ijjfst ,$erfants;u to the ,peih formaoce of their duty, by Jejting .befow/riem j>r»mises of reward, and granting them many favours.; and when they are in danger of becoming too: confident of theis; own strength, or too much .maghii$ .to the Jthjngs of this world, lie calls them, back to .» sense of jheir mortal state by affliction , , (. .; ;
Isaac seems to have had a yery gopd heart i ?od in respect to his fait/i, he was .exeinfilary i especially 4f we suppose him to have been consenting to the sacrifice of himself in obedience tp Gw'^ command i but U .roust be acknowledged, that his character was not fierftct .p for some things are recorded of him which we cannot but condemn. It is no uncommon thing for scofleis to reject, nay even to deride, the example of the ptriarchs,. because they erred in some particular instances: should we not rather rejoice to find, that" they were men of like infirmities with ourselves, as this circumstance enr courages us to copy them in such parts of their , conduct aa,gained them the Divine favour?
JOSEPH SOLO BY HIS 5B.ETHRES. fiiom Genesis, Chaft. xXKvii. '•• Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding Ac flock with his brethren, and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his. father's -wives! and Joseph brought unto his father their evfl report'.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than aHhis children, because.he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. ";
And when his brethren saw that their father lovtd him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.' v•'
K 6 And
•'- And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which 1 have dreamed: for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and. also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
And his brethren said unto him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams and for his words.
And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon, and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
And he told it to his father and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee, unto the earth?
And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.
And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said unto him, Here am I.
And he said to him, Go, 1 pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. r .
And a certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?:
And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks?
V ^' • 4.