Page images
PDF
EPUB

25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which me die, since I have seen thy face, because Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she thou art yet alive. bare these untoJacob: all the souls were seven. 31 And Joseph said unto his brethren,

26 All the souls that came with Jacob and unto his father's house, I will go up, and into Egypt, which came out of his loins, shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brebesides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were thren, and my father's house, which were in threescore and six;

the land of Canaan, are come unto me; 27 And the sons of Joseph, which were 32 And the men are shepherds, for their born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have souls of the house of Jacob, which came into brought their flocks, and their herds, and all Egypt, were threescore and ten.

that they have. 28 | And he sent Judah before him unto 33 And it shall come to pass, when PhaJoseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and raoh shall call

raoh shall call you, and shall say, What is they came into the land of Goshen.

your occupation ? 29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, 34 That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade and went up to meet Israel his father, to hath been about cattle from our youth even Goshen, and presented himself unto him; until now, both we, and also our fathers: that and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for a good while.

every shepherd is an abomination unto the 30 And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let | Egyptians.

19 Heb. thigh. 13 Deut. 10. 22. 14 Heb. they are men of cattle. Verse 34. Every shepherd is an abomination into the Egyptians.—Various causes have been assigned to account for this aversion of the Egyptians towards shepherds. It has been sought for in the animal worship of that extraordinary people, which naturally rendered them averse to persons who fed on creatures which they considered sacred.

But this cause must have been- limited in its operation ; for the Egyptians as a people by no means concurred in the objects of veneration. Almost every nome or district had a different usage. Thus the inhabitants of Mendes worshipped goats and ate sheep, while those of Thebes, on the contrary, fed on sheep and rendered homage to goats. In Thebes also, and all around the Lake Mæris, crocodiles were venerated, whilst at Elephantine they were killed without mercy. In fact, the Egyptians were, as Goguet remarks, divided into a great number of societies distinguished from, and prejudiced against, one another, by their different objects and rites of worship. We believe that the influence of the animal worship of the Egyptians was much less considerable in its operation upon the rearing of cattle than is commonly imagined. Of the larger cattle, the cow alone was considered sacred ; we doubt if any strong objection on its account could have arisen against the nomade shepherds, as they never kill cows for food, and rarely even oxen; and it does not appear that they often offered cows in sacrifice, for in all the Old Testament previously to the exodus from Egypt, we read of only one heifer sacrificed (Gen. xv. 9). The Egyptians did not worship bulls or oxen ; the worship of the bull Apis being restricted to an individual animal: other bulls were used in sacrifices, and are so represented in sculptures. The priests themselves ate beef and veal without scruple. There was even a caste of herdsmen among the Egyptians, and herds of black cattle are represented in sculptures and paintings, some of which are preserved in the British Museum. The ox was used as food, and in agricultural labour, and in the same ancient remains is continually represented as drawing the plough. Even Pharavh himself was a proprietor of cattle (see ch. xlvii. 6), and wished to have men of ability to superintend them ; and he would scarcely have offered this employment to the brothers of his chief minister, if the employment of rearing cattle had in itself been considered degrading. We conclude, however, that so far as the hatred of the Egyptians to shepherds arose from their religious prejudices, it was connected almost entirely with the cow-the only pastured animal which they generally considered sacred. Any objection connected with sheep and goats could only have operated locally, since the Egyptians themselves sacrificed or ate them in different districts.

We are therefore inclined, following out a hint furnished by Heeren, to consider that the aversion of the Egyptians was not so exclusively to rearers of cattle as such, as to the class of pastors who associated the reåring of cattle with habits and pursuits which rendered them equally hated and feared by a settled and refined people like the Egyptians. We would therefore understand the text in the most intense sense, and say that " every nomale shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians;" for there is no evidence that this disgrace attached to those cultivators who, being proprietors of lands, made the rearing of cattle a principal part of their business. The nomade tribes, who pastured their focks on the borders or within the limits of Egypt, did not in general belong to the Egyptian nation, but were of Arabian or Libyan descent; whence the prejudice against them as nomades was superadded to that against foreigners in general. The turbulent and aggressive disposition which usually forms part of the character of nomades—and their entire independence, or at least the imperfect and uncertain control which it is possible to exercise over their tribesare circumstances so replete with annoyance and danger to a carefully organized society like that of the Egyptians, as sufficiently to account for the hatred and scorn which the ruling priestly caste strove to keep up against them; and it was probably in order to discourage all intercourse that the regulation precluding Egyptians from eating with them was first established.

In further illustration of this subject we must not however omit an historical statement, the chronology of which, as settled by Dr. Hales, and confirmed by Mr. Faber, brings it to bear with remarkable force upon the prejudices of the Egyptian mind at the period now under our notice.

In the reign of Timaus, or Thamuz, (about the year 2159 B. C., according to Dr. Hales, in his . New Analysis of Chronology) Egypt was invaded by a tribe of Cushite shepherds from Arabia (see note on chap. xxv. 16). The Egyptians submitted without trying the event of a battle, and were exposed, for a period of 260 years, to the most tyrannous and insulting conduct from their new masters; who made one of their own number king, and established their capital at Memphis; having in proper places strong garrisons, which kept both Upper and Lower Egypt under subjection and tribute. There were six kings of this dynasty, who were called Hycsos, or " king-shepherds ;” and they exercised a

degree of cruelty and oppression upon the natives which left an indelible sense of hatred upon the minds of the Egyptians, even in periods long subsequent. At last the national spirit was roused, and after a war of thirty years the princes of Upper Egypt succeeded in obliging them to withdraw from the country which had been so deeply injured by their invasion. They withdrew, as it seems to Palestine, where they became the Philistines. This event, according to Dr. Hales, was about twenty-seven years before the commencement of Joseph's administration ; and as the memory of the tyranny which they had suffered must still have been fresh in the minds of the Egyptians, this seems sufficiently to account for the fact that "every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians," without recurring to the supposed dislike of the Egyptians to pastoral people on account of their pursuits and mode of life. Their dislike must have been the more intense, too, against persons who, like the Hebrews, came from the country to which their expelled enemies had withdrawn. They might not unreasonably have suspected that their Hebrew visitors were a party of the same people; and the harsh reception they met with from Joseph, the strict examination which they underwent, and the charge of being spies come to see the nakedness of the land, is probably just what would have happened if they had been personally unknown to the governor of Egypt.

It remains to be observed, that the country which we have noticed as “the land of Goshen“ seems to have been the first which the Cushite shepherds occupied when they invaded Egypt, and the last from which they retired. The Egyptians were certainly not a pastoral people, and this being a district which had been employed for pasturage, it had probably not begun to te occupied by the Egyptians since the recent expulsion. If it had, it would not have been so readily assigned to the Hebrews; but now it was quite natural that they should be placed in Goshen, which a pastoral people had lately vacated. Thus Goshen occurs immediately to Joseph as a suitable domain for the family of his father: and that it remained unoccupied seems to be evinced by the readiness with which he promises his father, in his first message, that he should reside in the land of Goshen (chap. xlv. 9, 10); and the ground on which he made this promise seems to be explained in chap. xlvi. 3t, where we perceive his conviction that Pharaoh would at once assign that territory to them when he knew that they were shepherds. Dr. Hales very properly directs attention to the no less wise and liberal policy of the Egyptian court in making this assignment of Goshen to the Hebrews. This country “ formed the eastern barrier of Egypt towards Palestine and Arabia—the quarters from which they most dreaded invasion—whose "nakedness' was now covered, in a short time, by a numerous, a brave, and an industrious people; amply repaying, by the additional security and resources which they gave to Egypt, their hospitable reception and naturalization."

CHAPTER XLVII.

7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, 1 Joseph presenteth five of his brethren, 7 and his and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob father, before Pharaoh. 11 He giveth them habi- blessed Pharaoh. tation and maintenance. 13 He getteth all the 8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old Egyptians' money, 16 their cattle, 18 their lands to Pharaoh. 22 The Priests' land was not bought.

art thou ? 23 He letteth the land to them for a fifth part.

9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, *The days 28 Jacob's age. 29 He sweareth Joseph to bury of the years of my pilgrimage are an hunhim with his fathers.

dred and thirty years : few and evil have the Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and days of the years of my life been, and have said, My father and my brethren, and their not attained unto the days of the years of flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, the life of my fathers in the days of their are come out of the land of Canaan; and, be- pilgrimage. hold, they are in the land of Goshen.

10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went 2 And he took some of his brethren, even out from before Pharaoh. five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 11 | And Joseph placed his father and

3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, his brethren, and gave them a possession in What is your occupation? And they said the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had comboth we, and also our fathers.

manded. 4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For 12 And Joseph nourished his father, and to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy his brethren, and all his father's houshold, servants have no pasture for their flocks; for with bread, 'according to their families. the famine is sore in the land of Canaan : 13 | And there was no bread in all the now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants land; for the famine was very sore, so that dwell in the land of Goshen.

the land of Egypt and all the land of Ca5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, say- naan fainted by reason of the famine. ing, Thy father and thy brethren are come 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money unto thee:

that was found in the land of Egypt, and in 6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they the best of the land make thy father and bought : and Joseph brought the money brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let into Pharaoh's house. them dwell: and if thou knowest any men 15 And when money failed in the land of of activity among them, then make them Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all

the rulers over my cattle.

Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give 1 Heb. How many are the days of the years of thy life: Heb. 11. 9, 13. 8 Or, as a little child is nourished. Heb, according to the little ones.

us bread: for why should we die in thy pre- | Behold, I have bought you this day and sence? for the money faileth.

your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for 16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; you, and ye shall sow the land. and I will give you for your cattle, if money 24 And it shall come to pass in the infail.

crease, that ye shall give the fifth part unto 17 And they brought their cattle unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in for seed of the field, and for your food, and exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for them of your housholds, and for food for for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: your

little ones. and he 'fed them with bread for all their 25 And they said, Thou hast saved our cattle for that year.

lives : let us find grace in the sight of my 18 When that year was ended, they lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants. came unto him the second year, and said 26 And Joseph made it a law over the unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh how that our money is spent; my lord also should have the fifth part; except the land hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought of the 'priests only, which became not Phaleft in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, raoh's. and our lands:

27 And Israel dwelt in the land of 19 Wherefore shall we die before thine Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they eyes, both we and our land ? buy us and our had possessions therein, and grew, and mulland for bread, and we and our land will tiplied exceedingly. be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, 28 And Jacob lived in the land of that we may live, and not die, that the land Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age be not desolate.

of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven 20 And Joseph bought all the land of years. Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold 29 And the time drew nigh that Israel every man his field, because the famine pre- must die: and he called his son Joseph, and vailed over them: so the land became Pha- said unto him, If now I have found grace in raoh's.

thy sight, 'put, I pray thee, thy hand under 21 And as for the people, he removed my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with them to cities from one end of the borders of me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: Egypt even to the other end thereof.

30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou 22 Only the land of the 'priests bought he shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in not; for the priests had a portion assigned their buryingplace. And he said, I will do them of Pharaoh, and did cat their portion as thou hast said. which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they 31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sold not their lands.

sware unto him. And ''Israel bowed himself 23 Then Joseph said unto the people, upon the bed's head.

10 Heb. 11. 21. Verse 22. " Only the land of the priests bought he not.”—The various passages in which the priests are mentioned concur with the accounts which all history brings to show that the priesthood formed the highest and most privileged class in the Egyptian state. The Egyptian population, like that of India at present, was divided into distinctly marked castes: of which the priests, like the Brahmins, were the first; and the sailors, swineherds, and others, were, like the Pariahs, the lowest, and so degraded that the higher castes were polluted by communication with them. The military caste was next below that of the priests in rank and influence; then followed the others, as traders, artificers, and husbandmen ; concerning which it is only necessary to observe, that every man was obliged to follow the occupation of his father, whatever it might be; and no man could hope by any degree of talent to raise himself out of that state of life in which he was born. Thus also in the priesthood, not only must the son of a priest be a priest, but must be a priest of the same one out of the many deities to whom his father had ministered. These priests were dispersed, in parties, in the several districts, where they constituted the forming and governing body; but the large cities, which had at different times been the capitals of Egypt, and where the great temples were found, formed their principal seats. Every priest was attached to some temple or other, and every temple had its chief priest, whose office was hereditary; and in the principal cities, the high-priests were to a certain degree hereditary princes, who ranked next the kings, and enjoyed nearly equal advantages. Such a person was Joseph's father-in-law, the priest of On ;” and it is observable that the Hebrew word 1073 (cohen), rendered “ priest," signifies equally a "prince.” The organization of the inferior priesthood was, as Heeren reasonably concludes, probably different in different cities, according to the size and wants of the locality. “They did not,” says the same author, “ constitute the ruling race merely because from them were chosen the servants of the state, but much rather because they monopolized every branch of scientific knowledge, which was entirely formed by the locality, and had immediate reference to the wants of the people. Their sole, or even their most usual, employment was not the service of the gods: they were judges, physicians, soothsayers, architects-in short, every thing in which any species of scientific knowledge was concerned.” Attached to each temple and settlement of priests were extensive estates, which were farmed out at moderate rents,

6 Or, princes.
7 Or, princes. 8 Heb. the days of the years of his life.

Chap 94. 9.

5 Heb. led them.

D

and supplied a common fund, which gave the necessaries of life to the priests and their families, who lived at free tables, which were furnished every day with meats and wine. "Thus,” says Herodotus, " it was not necessary for them to contribute anything from their own private means towards their support.”. This expression confirms other facts, which enable us to discover that, besides their common lands, the priests might have, and had, private property and estates, as might be expected when we find them almost exclusively entrusted with the management of state affairs, and engrossing the most profitable branches of business. We the rather call attentioa to this point, as it affords a valuable incidental corroboration of the reason given in the text why the priesthood did not find it necessary to sell their estates for food.

CHAPTER XLVIII.

not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God 1 Joseph with his sons visiteth his sick father. 2

hath shewed me also thy seed. Jacob strengtheneth himself to bless them. 3 He 12 And Joseph brought them out from repeateth the promise. 5 He taketh Ephraim and

He taketh Ephraim and between his knees, and he bowed himself Manasseh as his own. 7 He telleth Joseph of his with his face to the earth. mother's grare. 9 He blesseth Ephraim und Manasseh. 17. He preferreth the younger before the his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and

13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in elder. 21 He prophesieth their return to Canaan.

Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's And it came to pass after these things, that right hand, and brought them near unto him. one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: 14 And Israel stretched out his right and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who and Ephraim.

was the younger, and his left hand upon 2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, Manasseh's head, guiding his hands witthy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel tingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. 15 | And 'he blessed Joseph, and said,

3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Almighty appeared unto me at 'Luz in the Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my land of Canaan, and blessed me,

life long unto this day, 4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make 16 The Angel which redeemed me from thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be make of thee a multitude of people; and will named on them, and the name of my fathers give this land to thy seed after thee for an Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into everlasting possession.

a multitude in the midst of the earth. 5 | And now thy 'two sons, Ephraim and 17 And when Joseph saw that his father Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the laid his right hand upon the head of Eph. land of Egypt before I came unto thee into raim, it displeased him: and he held up his Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's they shall be mine.

head unto Manasseh's head. 6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after 18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not them, shall be thine, and shall be called after so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put the name of their brethren in their inheritance. thy right hand upon his head.

7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, 19 And his father refused, and said, I *Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in know it, my son, I know it: he also shall the way,

when yet there was but a little way become a people, and he also shall be great: to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her but truly his younger brother shall be greater there in the way of Ephrath; the same is than he and his seed shall become a multiBeth-lehem.

tude of nations. 8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and 20 And he blessed them that day, saying, said, Who are these?

In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make 9 And Joseph said unto his father, They thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh : and he are my sons, whom God hath given me in set Ephraim before Manasseh. this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray 21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Bethee, unto me, and I will bless them.

hold, I die: but God shall be with you, and 10 Now the eyes of Israel were *dim for bring you again unto the land of your fathers. age, so that he could not see. And he 2:2 Moreover I have given to thee one brought them near unto him; and he kissed portion above thy brethren, which I took out them, and embraced them.

of the hand of the Amorite with my sword 11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had and with my bow.

*Chap. 28. 13, and 35. 6.

8 Chap. 41. 60. Josh, 13. 7.

6 Heb, 11, 21.

* Chap. 35. 19. 4 Heb, heaoy.

7 feb. fulness,

Heb. as fishes do inerease. 1 Heb. do not thou excel.

Verse 20. He set Ephraim before Manasseh."--Here we have two instances of a preference of the younger son over the elder; or rather, we have two instances combined: for not only does Jacob give to Joseph, his youngest son but one, the double portion of the elder son, through Ephraim and Manasseh, but also, of these two, prefers the younger to the elder. The fact seems to be, that although there was a general understanding as to the prior claims of the first-born, the father retained the absolute power of making whatever distribution of the inheritance seemed proper to himself. We have already remarked on the difference in the treatment of the sons of Abraham and Jacob by their respective concubines ; to which we have now to add this instance of preference; and, on turning to the book of Job, which is supposed to have been written in patriarchal times, we observe that the eminent person to whom it refers even gives to his daughters an equal share in the inheritance with their brothers (Job xlii. 15). This frequent preference which is exhibited for the younger son obviously leads to the remark, that such a preference became a principle of inheritance among some nations. We have some trace of this in the old Saxon tenure called “Borough English ;" which Sir William Blackstone conjectures may be traced to the Tartars, among whom the elder sons, as they grew up to manhood, migrated from their paternal tents with a certain allowance of cattle; while the younger son continued at home, and became heir to the remaining possessions of his father.

22. Which I took out of the hand of the Amorite.”—In several passages of Scripture we find, as here, incidental allusions to facts which are not included in the regular narrative. We have no previous notice of any land taken by Jacob from the Amorites. It is conjectured that, after the patriarch's removal to another part of the country, the Amorites appropriated the parcel of ground near Shechem, which he had bought of Hamor, and which he afterwards recovered by force of arms. This place was certainly in the inheritance of Joseph's sons (Josh. xvii. 1, and xx. 7); there also Joseph's bones were ultimately deposited (Josh. xxiv. 32); and in John iv. 5, this is expressly described as the parcel of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

your father.

of power :

CHAPTER XLIX.

10 The sceptre shall not depart from 1 Jacob calleth his sons to bless them. 3 Their Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet,

blessing in particular. 29 He chargeth them about until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the his burial. 33 He dieth.

gathering of the people be. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his Gather yourselves together, that I may tell ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed you that which shall befall you in the last his garments in wine, and his clothes in the days.

blood of grapes: 2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel his teeth white with milk.

13 | Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of 3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my the sea; and he shall be for an haven of might, and the beginning of my strength, ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. the excellency of dignity, and the excellency 14 Issachar is a strong ass couching

down between two burdens: 4 Unstable as water, 'thou shalt not excel; 15 And he saw that rest was good, and because thou 'wentest up to thy father's bed; the land that it was pleasant; and bowed then defiledst thou it: he went up to my his shoulder to bear, and became a servant couch.

unto tribute. 5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; 'in- 16 | Dan shall judge his people, as one struments of cruelty are in their habitations. of the tribes of Israel.

6 O my soul, come not thou into their 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an secret; unto their assembly, mine honour,adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, be not thou united: for in their anger they so that his rider shall fall backward. slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O down a wall.

LORD. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; 19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will di- but he shall overcome at the last. vide them in Jacob, and scatter them in 20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, Israel.

and he shall yield royal dainties. 8. Judah, thou art he whom thy bre- 21 | Naphtali is a hind let loose: he thren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the giveth goodly words. neck of thine enemies; thy father's children 22 | Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a shall bow down before thee.

fruitful bough by a well; whose branches 9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, run over the wall: my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, 23 The archers have sorely grieved him, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who and shot at him, and hated him: shall rouse him up?

24 But his bow abode in strength, and

? Chap. 33. 22. 1 Chron, 5. 1. 3 Or, my couch is gone. 4 Or, their swords are weapons of violence.

5 Or, houghed oxen, 6 Heb. an arrow-snake. 7. Heb, daughters.

« PreviousContinue »