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archers, he is described under the same character, but as one only against many. Their arrows were those of hıtred; but his of love, overcoming evil with good. They strengthened one another in an evil cause ; but he was strengthened by the mighty God of Jacob. In these particulars, surely, he was a type of Christ; and still more in being, by the blessing of the God of Jacob, the shepherd and stone of Israel ; providing for their wants, and supporting their interests.
In blessing Joseph, Jacob feels his beart enlarged; pouring upon bim the blessings of almighty God, the God of his father ; blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb; intimating also that his power of blessing when terminating on him.ex. ceeded that of his fathers, extending not only to the land in general, but to the very mountains, on which his children should reside. And that which drew upon his head all these blessings was the painful, but endearing circunstance, of his having been separated from his brethren.
Joseph considered his separation as ordered of God for the good of others (Chap. xlv. 7, 8.); and he seems all along to have acted upon this principle: but a life so spent shall lose notbing by it in the end. God will take care of that man, and pour the richest blessings upon his head, whose great concern it is to glorify him, and do good in his generation. Jacob felt much for Josepb's separation. The spirit of bis benediction was, By how much he was afflicted for the sake of others, by so much let him be blessed and honoured, and that to the latest posterity! And such is the mind of God, and all his true friends, concerning a greater than Joseph. For the suffering of death, he is crowned with glory and honour.And I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders : and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; say. ing, WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing !-Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Ver. 27. The last blessing is that of Benjamin. Of him it is said, He shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. In this we see that it should be a warlike tribe ; and this it was, or it could not have resisted all the tribes of Israel in the manner it did, as recorded in the last chapters of Judges. But this is saying no more than might have been said of many of the heathen nations. If Jacob had been influenced by natural affection, there had doubtless been something tender in the blessing of Benjamin, as well as in that of Joseph : but he was guided by a spirit of prophecy, and therefore foretold the thing as it was.
Ver. 28. Such were the tribes of Israel, and such the blessings wherewith their father blessed them. But how blessed them ? It might be thought that the first three at least were cursed, rather than blessed. No, they were rebuked, but not cursed, nor cast off, like Esau : they still continued among the tribes of Israel. It must have been very affecting for these brethren thus to stand by, and hear, as from the mouth of God, what would be the consequences of their early conduct on their distant posterity : and as their minds were now tender, it may be supposed to have wrought in them renewed repentance, or gratitude, as the subject required.
Ver. 29–33. The patriarch now gives directions concerning his burial. He desires to be interred, not in Egypt, but in the burying-place at Mamre, where lay Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Leah. If he had been governed by natural affection, he might have chosen to lie by the side of his beloved Rachel : but he died in faith, and therefore requests to mingle dust with his fathers, who had been heirs with him of the same promise. Having said all he had to say, he cheerfully resigned his soul into the hands of him that gave it, and was numbered with his departed ancestors.
Thus died Jacob ; a man whose conduct on some occasions was censurable; whose life was filled up with numerous changes ; but whose end was such as his worst enemies might envy. Vol. V.
THE BURIAL OF JACOB-JOSEPH REMOVES THE FEARS OF HIS
BRETHREN-THE DEATH OF JOSEPH.
Ver. 1. We have seen the venerable patriarch yielding up the ghost ; and now we see the expressions of affection towards him by the survivors. Let the memory of the just be blessed. It was revealed to Jacob in his life-time, that Joseph should put his hand ироп his eyes ; and Joseph not only did this, but in the ful
; ness of his heart, fell upon his face after he was dead, and wept upon him, and kissed him. This is all that we can do towards the most beloved objects, when death has performed his office. The mind is gone ; the body only remains ; and of this we must take a long farewell. Faith, however, looks forward to a joyful resurrection, and teaches us not to sorrow as those that have no hope.
Ver. 2. Joseph next proceeds to have the dead body embalmed with sweet spices. This was an art carried to great perfection in Egypt: the effects of it are not totally extinct even to this day. It was suitably applied in the present instance, not only as an honour done to a great and good man, but as a means of preserving the body from putrefaction, during its removal to Canaan.
Ver. 3. Nor was this the only honour that was paid to him. The family no doubt mourned very sincerely for him; and to express their respect for Joseph, the Egyptians, probably the court and the gentry, went into mourning ; and not merely fortv days, which was customary it seems for every one who had the
honour of being embalmed, but in this instance, another month was added. The customs of polite nations, though often consisting of mere forms, yet serve in some instances to show what should be. They express, in this case, a respect for departed worth, and a sympathy with afflicted survivors, weeping with them that weep.
Ver. 4–6. The days of formal mourning being ended, Joseph next proceeds to the burial of his father. But for this he must first obtain leave of absence from the king ; and desirous of conducting the business with propriety, he applies to some of the royal household to make the request for him : not, as some have supposed, because it was improper for him to appear befere the king in mourning apparel ; for the days of his mourning were past ; but with a view of honouring the sovereign, and cultivating the esteem of those about him. A modest behaviour is said to be rarely found in royal favourites : but by the grace of God it was found in Joseph. The plea he urged was nothing less than his being under a solemn oath, imposed upon him by the dying request of his father : a plea to which Pharaoh could make no objection, especially as it was accompanied with the promise of a return.
Ver. 7-11. We now behold the funeral procession. The whole family (except their little ones, who with their cattle, were left behind) were, as we should say, the first followers ; but all the elders of respectability of the court and of the country, with both chariots and horsemen, were in the train. It was a very great company, not only in number, but in quality. For grandeur and magnificence it is said to be without a parallel in history. This great honour was not in consequence of any wish on the part of Jacob : all he desired was, to be carried by his sons, and buried in the land of promise. His desire was that of faith, not of ambition. But, as in the case of Solomon, seeing he asked for that which God approved, he should have his desire in that, and the other should be added to it. Thus God delights to honour those who honour him. And as it was principally for Joseph's sake that this great honour was conferred on his father, it shows in what high esteem he was held in Egypt, and serves to prove that, wbatever modern adversaries may say of his conduct, he was considered at the time as one of the greatest benefactors to the country.