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cattle, from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. A Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father, and my brethen, and their flocks, and their herds and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan ; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen. And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation ? and they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come ; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan : now therefore we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. *! And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father, and thy brethren, are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee : in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell; and if thou knowest any men of activity amongst them, then make them rulers over my cattle. And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh : and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, the days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years : few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and I have not attained unto the days of the years of the lives of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from be
fore Pharaoh. And
And Joseph placed his father'and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
And Joseph nourished his father and his brethren, and all his father's houshold, with bread, according to their families.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The immediate attention which Pharaoh, king of Egypt, paid to Joseph's brethren, shows the high esteem he had for him; and the ready concurrence of his officers proves, that Joseph had executed the trust reposed in him, so as to gain their good opinion. Pharaoh, on this occasion, displayed a truly royal munificence, and an earnest desire to do honour to a man, who deserved so well of his king and country. Not content with dispensing the gifts of Pharaoh, Joseph added others of his own, as testimonies of dutiful respect to his father, and of affection to all his bre-/ thren. There was a very good reason for, his distinguishing Benjamin above the rest, as has been already observed. - . The admonition which Joseph gave to his brethren, not to fall out by the way, was spoken, as it seems, in kindness, not by way of reproach. A quarrel would most likely have occasioned their separation, in which case, his benevolent designs, which included all, would have been frustrated. . How affecting it is to read the account which is here given of the return of Jacob's sons ! It is likely that the good old patriarch had promised himself the comfort of ending his days in the Land of Canaan; and at his time of life, a change of situation must have been very disagreeable to him; however, M 5 parental
parental affecticn overcame all his objections to a removal. - - Jacob does not seem to have had any particular pleasure in reflecting on Joseph's exaltation and riches; it was enough for this affectionate father, that his long lost son was yet alive. He had no wish so great as that of beholding him once more before he died. It was by the express command of God, that Jacob fixed his abode in Canaan ; and we may suppose that he was acquainted with the prediction spoken by the Lord to Abraham. Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land which is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years ”. So that when he was required to move with all his family into Egypt, it was natural for him to have dread and apprehensions. *The present situation of his affairs was critical ; and however indifferent it night be to him individually, in what part of the world he should reside, for the short remainder of his days, as Heir of the Promiser, it was of material consequence to obtain direction from God,: with this view we may suppose, as well as to testify his - gratitude, the patriarch offered sacrifices at Beer-sheba, which was in the way to Egypt, and on the utmost borders of Canaan to the south. . . It must have been a great consolation to Jacob to have had his fears quieted by a Divine Promise, before he took his last farewell of that country, in which he was born, and on which his hopes respecting the future prosperity of his family were fixed. With what beautiful simplicity has the sacred historian described the interview between Joseph and his father? It evidently appears, that neither grandeur nor riches had any charms for Jacob ; all the affections of his soul were at that instant collected together in the fulness of paternal love. He felt in that happy mo
* Gen., xv. 13. ment,
ment, consolation for years of sorrow, the height of human felicity ; and was contented to resign his life, since he had attained the summit of his desires. * * The land of Goshen was situated in the eastern parts of Egypt, between the Red Sea and the river Nile, upon the borders of Canaan. It was a fruitful spot, every way fit for pasturage. This country was separated from Egypt, and on this account particularly desirable to the Israelites, as they might keep themselves in a body without endangering their religion or manners, by mixing with the Egyptians, and without incurring the envy or odium of the nation, as they would have done had they lived among them, and shared any power or profit in the government. They were also very conveniently fixed for returning into Canaan,
whenever it should please GoD to command them to
leave Egypt. “The Egyptians held shepherds in general in ab. borrence, because they killed their gods, for the Egyptians worshipped sheep among a number of other idols; and their aversion to shepherds was probably increased by the great oppression and tyranny they had endured from the Phoenician shepherds, who had before penetrated into their country, made great devastations, and for a considerable time kept possession of it.” But, upon whatever account it was that shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians, we must consider it as a great instance of Joseph's modesty and love of truth that he was not ashamed of an employment so mean in itself, and so vile in their eyes. It is observable, that he did not boast of his descent from Abraham, a mighty prince, or stile his father Israel, a firince of GoD : his pleasure and ambition were to shew forth the wonderful goodness of God, in bringing him from so low a condition ia life to such power and grandeur. A.
* Stackhouse on the Bible, / - - M 6 & The
* The post to which Pharaoh appointed Joseph's brethren was an honourable one, in reference to the occupation which they had themselves made choice of.
In what terms Jacob pronounced a blessing on Pha raoh we are not told ; but we may conclude, that he expressed gratitude for the benefits conferred on himself and his family, and wished the king prosperity and happineSS. * If we reflect on the various calamities which had befallen Jacob, since he first left his father's house, we may easily conceive why he said his days had been evil ; and he had not yet attained to the age of his progenitors. It is remarkable, that in his answer to Pharaoh, Jacob called his life a pilgrimage; and we find from several texts of Scripture", that the patriarchs, and other good men, considered themselves as strangers and sojourners upon earth. This idea the Apostle to the Hebrews enlarges upon, and observest, that those who confessed themselves strangers and pilgrims, plainly declared, that they sought a country, which, he observes, could not be that from whence they came out, because, to that they might have returned ; but they sought a better, even an heavenly country. It may be inferred, that Jacob's hopes were actually fixed upon an heavenly state, since he was not at all elated with the prosperity that smiled upon him, neither did he lament his leaving Canaan.
Joseph's happiness must have been very great, in seeing his venerable parent, and all his relations, so happily settled around him.
From Joseph's advice to his brethren, see that ye fall not out by the way, a very instructive lesson may be learnt. How frequently does it happen, that children of the same family disagree concerning the gifts or legacies bestowed by relations, if one among them has a larger portion than
* Ps, xxxix, 12. ' + Heb. xi. 13, 14, &c. the