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own times. The murder of the innocent offspring by the hand of the mother, or of the mother by the hand of the seducer; or of the seducer by the hand of a brother, pr a supplanted rival-are events which too frequently fall under our notice. Nor is this all, even in the present world. Murder seldom escapes detection ; a public execution therefore may be expected to close the tragical process !
Ver. 30, 37. It is some relief to find the good old man expressing his disapprobation of these proceedings ; Ye have troubled me, says he to Simeon and Levi, to make me stink among the inhabitants of the land and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. Both Abraham and Isaac had carried it peaceably in all places where they pitched their tents, and by their good conduct had recommended true religion, and gained great respect among the heathen. It was Jacob's desire to have trod in their steps ; but his sons were children of Belial, who knew not the
: Lord; yet being so nearly akin to bim, his character is implicated by their conduct. Their answer is insolent in the extreme: Should he deal with our sister, say they, as with an harlot ? As if their father had no proper concern for the honour of his children, and cared not what treatment they met with, so that he might be at peace, and maintain his credit. But how is it that Jacob should dwell
consequences of the sin, and say nothing about the sin itself? Probably because he knew his sons to be so hardened in wickedness that nothing but consequences, and such as affected their own safety too, would make them feel. It is certain that he did abhor the deed, and that with all his soul. Of this he gave a most affecting proof upon bis dying bed, when, instead of blessing the two brethren with the rest of his children, he in a manner cursed them, or at least branded their conduct with perpetual infamy. Simeon and Levi, said he, are brethren ; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. Oh my soul, come not thou into their secret ; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Cursed
be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel ! *
We read no more of Dinah, except her bare name : probably she died single. Her example affords a loud warning to young people to beware of visiting in mixed companies, or indulging in amusements by which they put themselves in the way tation.
* Simeon and Levi are brethren,
But Venema would render the last distich in a good sense.
[Yet] I will grant them a portion in Jacob,
* Gen X. 18.
JACOB'S REMOVAL TO BETHEL-GOD'S RENEWAL OF COVENANT WITH
HIM—THE DEATH OF DEBORAH, RACHEL, AND ISAAC.-ESAU's
Gen. XXXV. Xxxvi.
THERE is a greater diversity in the life of this patriarch than in that of Abraham, and much greater than in that of Isaac. If he did not attain to the days of the years of the life of his fathers, the records of his pilgrimage are not less useful than either of them.
Ver. 1. It might have been expected that Jacob would leave Shechem, on account of what had taken place : yet he would not know whither to flee: but God said unto him, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God that appeared unto thee' when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. This admonition appears to resemble that which was addressed to Abram, Walk before me, and be thou perfect ; that is, it implies a reproof, and was intended to lead Jacob to reflect upon his conduct. There were two things in particular which required bis serious consideration. (1.) Whether he had not neglected to perform
He had solemnly declared in the presence of God, that if he would be with him, and keep him in the way he went, and give him bread to eat, and raiment to put on, then Jehovah should be his God: and that the stone which he then set up for a pillar should be God's house.* Now God had performed all these things op his
* Chap. xxviii. 20-_22.
part; but Jacob bad not been at Bethel, even though he had now resided in Canaan about seven years.
And what was worse, though Jehovah had been bis God, so far as respected himself; yet his house was not clear of idols! Rachel's stolen teraphim had proved a snare to the family. At the time Laban overtook him, Jacob knew nothing of them, but he appears to have discovered them afterwards ; and yet, till roused by this divine admonition, he never interposed his authority to have them put away. (2.) Whether the late lamentable evils in his family had not arisen from this cause. Had he gone sooner to Bethel, his house had been sooner purged of the strange gods that were in it, and his children had escaped the taint which they must of necessity impart. At first the gods of Laban were hid by Rachel, and none of the family except herself seemed to know of them : but now Jacob had to speak to his household, and to all that were with him, to cleanse themselves. Moreover, had he gone sooner to Bethel, his children might have been out of the way of temptation, and all the impure and bloody conduct in which they were concerned have been prevented. From the whole, we see the effects of spiritual negligence, and of trifling with temptation. Do not neglect God's house, nor delay to keep his commandments. He that puts them off to a more convenient season has commonly some idols about him, which it does not suit him just yet to put away.
Ver. 2, 3. No sooner is Jacob admonished to go to Bethel than he feels the necessity of a reformation, and gives command for it. This proves that he knew of the corrupt practices of his family, and had too long connived at them. We are glad, however, to find him resolved at last to put them away. A constant attendance on God's ordinances is dwelling as it were in Bethel ; and it is by - this that we detect ourselves of evils wbich we should otherwise retain without thought or concern.
It is coming to the light, which will manifest our deeds, whether they be wrought in God or not. Wicked men may reconcile the most sacred religious duties with the indulgence of secret sins ; but good men cannot do so. They