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“ the sea ; and that he shall be an haven for ships, and “his border shall be unto Zidon."*
Coming next to Issachar, he compares him to a strong ass, couching. down between two burdens; seated in a pleasant and fertile country; but being naturally slothsul and pusillanimous, loved an inglorious ease, more than active liberty and bravery.
The good old patriarch having pronounced the future lot of Leah's offspring, proceeds to the children of the handmaidens, beginning with Dan, son of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid. "Dan" signifying “judging,” he said, “Dan “shall judget his people, as one of the tribes of Israel ;” that is, though it was smaller, yet it should enjoy as much authority as another. That it should be like a snakes on the way, or an adder in the path, which bites the horses' heels, and makes them throw their riders. Here Jacob exclaimed, “I have waited for thy salvation, O " Lord!”
• Zidon. Accordingly this lot came forth. Josh. xix. 11.
+ Fudge. This was fulfilled in Samson ; yet was no more than Issachar did by Tola, Judg. x. 1. But it is supposed the reason why this was said of Dan, was
shew that the sons of the handmaids (of which Dan was the first named) tbough as born of bond-women, they were in that respect inferior to the rest of their brethren, should notwithstanding obtain some share in the government.
Snake. This seems to intimate that the Danites should prevail more by policy and stratagem, than by open force : which Samson's dealing with the Phi. listines, Judg, xjv. and xv. ch. and the Danites taking Laish, ch. xviii. confirms.
& Lord. Modern interpreters are very fanciful in the application of this text. There being no context to make it out, some have conjectured it to be a recommendatory ejaculation on his death-bed. Others conceive that something more than ordinary impressed the patriarch's spirit at this time, and that he had some sense or foresight of the mischief the Danites afterwards brought upon them. selves, when, having rifled Micha's house, and robbed him of his gods, they fell into open idolatry. Judg. xviii. We would rather consider it as a pious ejaculation. Being spent with the exertion of speaking, and perhaps ready to faintwith those words he pours out his soul to God. The salvation he had long waited
When he spake of Gad, alluding also to his name, he said, “ A troop shall overcome him : but he shall over"come at last.” By which he is thought to have referred to what was afterwards performed by Jephthah, who was of this tribe. *
Of happy Asher he foretells, his bread shall be rich, and kings shall reckon it a dainty; which denoted the exuberant richness of the soil which his descendants should possess.
Naphtali (says he) shall be like a tree having grafts, shooting out pleasant branches in its generation.”t
And now he comes to his beloved Joseph, on whom he expatiates yery largely, thinking he cannot say enough of him. * Joseph (says he) is like a fruitful bough of a tree “ planted near a spring, whose branchest run over the
for was Christ, to whom the gathering of the people should be, and to whom his departing spirit was about to be gathered. It was the consolation of a dying saint, that he had longed and waited for the Messiah, who was “ all his salvation, and all his desire." Gen. xlix. 18.
Tribe. See Judg. xi.
+ Thus it is translated by the learned Bochart, agreeably to the Septuagint, the Chaldee Paraphrase, and the Arabic Version which he consulted in Sweden, withou following the pointing of the Masorets, by which the meaning of the text is. frequently corrupted. The ordinary version is thus, “ Naphtali is a hind let loose, he giveth goodly words.” But we have no proof that the tribe of Naphtali was eminent for eloquence, and the Galileans, whose country belonged to it, were remarkable for a vulgar accent. But Naphtali might well be compared to a fruitful tree, for though he had but four sons, yet at the Exodus his tribe made up 53,400 men able to bear arms. Gen. xlvi. 24. Numb. i. 42. Moses in blessing the same tribe says, Deut. xxxiii. 23. O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord, possess thou the west and the south,” (Vulgate" The sea and the south,") i. e. the sea of Genesaret, which was south of their inheritance. Josephus describes the country which belonged to this tribe as the richest of all Judca.
Brancbes. By this rhetorical amplification Jacob sets forth the strength of Joseph's family, and the large extent of his two-fold tribe, Ephraim and Manassch, which at the first numbering of the tribes, yielded of men fit to go forth to var 72,700, (Numb. i.) And at the second numbering, 85,200, (Numb. xxvi.) far exceeding any other tribe.
" wall.” And having thus set forth his future greatness in his posterity, he looks back and recollects his past troubles." The archers* have sorely grieved him, and shot " at him and hated him : but his bow abode in strength, and “ his hands and arms were made strong by the hands of " the mighty God of Jacob : from thence is the Shepherd, " the. Stonet of Israel: to which thou wert advanced by “ the God of thy father, who shall help thee, and by the
Almighty, who shall bless thee with the blessingst of “ heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, “ blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.” Then adding, “ The blessings of thy father have prevailed above
• Arcbers. Among these archers his brethren may undoubtedly claim the first place : for they are expressly said to have hated him, Gen. xxxvii. 4. and to have increased their hatred to him, v. 5, 8. to have conspired his death, v. 18. and afterwards to have sold him, v. 28. Next to them his lewd mistress, and, by her means, his jealous master Potiphar, may be reckoned amongst those archers that sorely grieved him.
† Stone. So the last English translation has it, making the Shepherd and Stone synonymous. That of 1610 reads it “Of whom was the Feeder appointed by the Stone of Israel;" taking the stone to be Christ, and the shepherd or feeder appointed by him to be Joseph. But Tremellius and Junius make Joseph to be both the Shepherd and the Stone, viz. of refuge to Israel. There is an ellipsis or defect in the sentence; which interpreters supply as they think best. However it be ta, ken, undoubtedly Jacob had a regard to Joseph's constantly resisting the assaults of his mistress, and patiently bearing the severity of his master, and likewise to his taking care of and feeding both Israel and the Egyptians, and others, as a shepe ? herd provides for his flock.
Whatever reference this may have to Joseph as the preserver of the whole family, it cannot be doubted that Jesus Christ is predicted; who is both the Shepherd of Israel, and the Stone of Israel. By the former name he is described both in the Old and New Testament. " He shall feed his flock like a shepherd." Is. xl. “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." John x. 11. He is also the Stone of Israel. In him was fulGlled that illustrious prophecy of Isaiah, (chap. xxviii. 16.) - Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation-A STONE -a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” Of Christ, in this character St. Paul speaks, 1 Cor. iii. 11. « Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
# Blessings. These were terms comprehensive of all outward blessings.
“ the blessings of thy progenitors, unto the utmost bounds “ of the everlasting* hills :” and then to centre them all in him, he says,
“They shall be on the head of Joseph, " and on the crown of the head of him that was separated “ from his brethren."
Jacob concludes with Benjamin his youngest son, of whom he said, Benjamin shall be ravenous as a wolf: in “ the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he “ shall divide the spoil." In which words he as aptly as briefly foretells the fierce and cruel nature of that tribe, exemplified, amongst other instances, in that of the Levite'st concubine.
The good old patriarch,'having delivered himself thus to his sons, gives them his blessing, not according to his own natural affection or inclination, but according to the divine direction then given him; and putting them in mind of his death, says, “ I am going to be gathered to my “ people ; I charge you bury me with my fathers in the
cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,” which that they might not mistake, he further describes thus; “ In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is be" fore Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham
bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite; for a pos“ session of a burying-place.” And to engage them the more to perform his will in this instance, he adds, “ There " Abraham and Sarah his wife were buried; there Isaac and - Rebeccas his wife were buried; and there I buried Leah." And to assure them of their right to that burying-place, he tells them further, That the field and the cave was purchased not only of Ephron but of the children of
* Everlasting bills. Which is a term of duration commonly used in scripture :: But Deut. xxxiii. 15. seems to explain this text more directly, where Moses repeating this very blessing of Jacob on Joseph, does not seem so much to regard the comparison of hills in respect of duration, as in point of blessing, which God more largely dispensed in hills and mountains.
+ Lepite's, &c. See Judg. xix. 20, 21.
Rebecca. This is the first mention of Rebecca and Leah, with respect to their death and burial.
Heth. Having thus given his last charge concerning his funeral, he laid* his feet on the bed and quietly expired.
The loss of a father so eminently pious and good, must undoubtedly have been very afflicting to so numerous a family ; yet we find none of Jacob's sons that discovered so much filial affection and duty as Joseph. He could not see his aged father's face, though dead, without kissing and bathing it with his tears. And having thus given vent to his grief, he commanded his servants the physicians to embalmt him, which accordingly they did. And when the usual time of mourning was over, Joseph intreated some of Pharaoh's courtiers (for as he was a mourner, it was not proper for him to appear in the royal presence) to acquaint the king, that his father just before his death had obliged him by an oath,.to bury him in the sepulchre of their family in the land of Canaan ; and therefore to beg permission for him to go and bury his father, upon promise to come again. The king readily consents, and Joseph proceeds, attended not only with his own and his father's family, but with the chief officers of the household, and nobility, who, to honour Joseph, and to grace the funeral, would bear him company, partaking in all the solemnity performed to the memory of his deceased father.
After some travel they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, where Joseph made a solemn mourning for his
Laid. Whilst Jacob was prophesying and blessing his sons, he sat on the bed, his feet hanging down; but when he had done speaking to them and taken his leave of them, he gathered his feet into the bed and departed.
+ Embalm. This being the first mention we have in the Scriptures of embalm. ing the dead, may well countenance a supposition, that the Israelites here learning it of the Egyptians, and practising it afterwards on great and solemn occasions amongst themselves, as in 2 Chron. xvi. 14. and John xix. 40. it might from them come into use among Christians.
The manner of embalming dead bodies among the Egyptians was as follows.
A dissector, with a sharp Ethiopian stone, måde an incision on the left side of the body, and then immediately hurried away from the spot, because the rela.