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permanent. The Almighty, who knowä what is in man, vouchsafes to encourage. His servants to the penformance of their duty, by setting before them promises of reward, and granting them, many favours; and when
they are in danger of becoming too confident. of their
own strength, or too much attached to the things of this world, he calls them back to a sense of their mortal state by afflictions. , , , ,
respect to his faith, he was exemsilary 3 aspecially if we
suppose him to have been consenting to the sacrifice of himselfin obedience to God's command; but it must be acknowledged, that his character was not fierfect; for some things are recorded of him which we cannot but condemn. It is no uncommon thing for scoffers to reject, nay even to deride, the example of the patriarchs, 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 ent courages us to copy them in such parts of their, conduct as gained them the Divine favour? .
from Genetir, Chaft. xxxvii. 4 o' .
Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren, and the had was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives :
and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours. t . ...', of And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. . . . * . . . . 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 I 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 2 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, I 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. 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 * ...
And the man said, They are departed hence: for I. heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. . . . . And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold this dreamer cometh. - Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him ; and we shall see what will become of his dreams. - - And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him : and Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit : and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread ; and they lift up their eyes and looked, and behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, and our flesh : and his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianitish merchantmen; and they drew and lift up Joseph out of the pit, and sold, Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver and they brought Joseph into Egypt. - -- And And Reuben returned unto the pit; and behold Joseph was not in the pit: and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood: and the coat of many colours they brought to their father; and said, This have we found : know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat ; an evil beast hath devoured him: Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sack-cloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him ; but he refused to be comforted ; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son, mourning ; thus his father wept for him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The sons of Jacob were not all the children of one mother; for according to the custom of the age he lived in, this patriarch had several wives, viz. Leah and her hand-maid Zilpah; Rachel and her hand-maid Bilhah. As there were jealousies and dissensions among the women, it is most likely that their children formed parties adverse to each other. Unfortunately for Joseph, he related some things to his father, of which his
brothers wished to keep him ignorant. We are told, that Jacob's partiality to Joseph was on. account of his being the son of his old age. This could not be the case; because there was an equal reason for his giving a preference to Zebulun ; and much more for his loving Benjamin better than either of them, as he was 15 years younger; but critics tell us, that this text: - * 13
is not translated according to the Hebrew idiom, and
that it should have been rendered, because he war a wire and frudentison*. A learned commentator also informs us, that Joseph's coat, which is in-our translation called a coat of many colours, might be denominated a long garment; and is supposed to have been made down to the heels or 'ancles, with a border at the bottom, and long sleeves down to the wrist, turned up with the same as the border; which was in ancient times accounted both a noble and honourable dress. - It is evident, that Jacob had a tender solicitude for the welfare of his other sons, or he would not have sent Joseph to inquire after them : and it is apparent, that Joseph himself had an affection for his brethren, by his being so ready to go, and so diligent in seeking them. Joseph’s dreams certainly were from God, and were presages of his future greatness. It was usual, in the early ages of the world, (before there were Serifttures especially) for the Lord to make known future events, by a kind of revelations, which are sometimes denominated visions of the night. These were very different from common dreams. Little did poor Joseph think, when the vanity of a youthful heart led him to relate his dreams to his brethren, that he was furnishing food for their envy If the sons of Jacob even supposed that Joseph invented the dreams, it was very unjust to think of punishing him with death ; and if they really thought that he was divinely inspired, it was impious to attempt to frustrate the purpose of the AlM4GHTY. Reuben, who was the son of Leah, and Jacob's firstborn, seems to have been of a more compassionate turn
* Stackhouse on the Bible; also Essay for a new Translation of the Bible. o of