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17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, Ran: the crown of the head of him that was separate adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, from his brethren. so that his rider shall fall backward.
27 | Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. the morning he shall devour the prey, and at
19 T Gad, a troop shall overcome him : night he shall divide the spoil. but he shall overcome at the last.
1 28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel : 20 | Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and this is it that their father spake unto and he shall yield royal dainties.
them, and blessed them; every one accord21 | Naphtali is a hind let loose : he givething to his blessing he blessed them. goodly words.
29 | And he charged them, and said unto 22°1 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a them, I am to be gathered unto my people : fruitful bough by a well; whose "branches run @bury me with my fathers in the cave that is over the wall:
in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and 30 In the cave that is in the field of Machshot at him, and hated him :
pelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of 24 But his bow abode in strength, and the Canaan, 'which Abraham bought with the field arms of his hands were made strong by the of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from buryingplace. thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel :) 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah
25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall his wife ; and there I buried Leah. bless thee with blessings of heaven above, 32 The purchase of the field and of the cave blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings that is therein was from the children of of the breasts, and of the womb :
Heth. 26 The blessings of thy father have pre | 33 And when Jacob had made an end of vailed above the blessings of thy progenitors commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills : | into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on was gathered unto his people.
6 Heb. an arroio-snake. 7 Heb. daughters. 8 Chap. 17. 30. Chap. 23. 16.
Verse 3. • Reuben.'— It is understood that Jacob here enumerates the rights of Reuben as a first-born, of which, in consequence of his crime, he was to be deprived; namely, the birthright or double portion of the inheritance, which was given to Joseph; the priesthood, which ultimately fell to Levi; and the sovereignty which became Judah’s. As here foretold, the tribe of Reuben never excelled or rose to eminence. It was also, with the other tribes beyond Jordan, the first that was carried into captivity.
5. Simeon and Levi'-The disapprobation with which
this remarkable prophecy, as is ably done in Hales's Ana.
lebia, rendered old lion,' is now generally considered to mean a lioness.' But as this reading is not unquestionable, we venture to prefer the rendering of our version, particularly as the text thus becomes the more intelligible, the progression from a lion's whelp' to an old lion' being, seemingly, the leading idea of the comparison. The meaning of it seems to be, that Judah should at first be warlike and enterprising ; but in the end, satisfied with its conquests, should settle in repose, and yet remain so formidable that none would venture to assault him.
13. • Zebulun.'-It is here foretold that Zebulun should become a maritime tribe, with a sea-coast bordering on the territories of the great commercial state of Zidon. This distinct and minute specification of locality, so long before the conquest and division of the Promised Land took place, is very remarkable.
14. Issachar is a strong ass,'-literally an ass of bone,' or 'bony ass.'--Judah having been compared to a lion, Issachar is here described as an ass, to denote the strength and patience of this tribe, and its assiduity in the labours of the field. That its allotment was pleasant and fertile, as here described, is evinced, among other circumstances, by what Josephus says of Lower Galilee, in which it lay:
- The soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of plantations of various trees; insomuch, that by its fruitfulness it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation. Accordingly it is all cultivated by its inhabitants.' The tribe of Issachar is scarcely mentioned in the wars and troubles of the Jews. It was not a warlike tribe; and as its name does not occur in the account of the wars in which the other nine and half tribes on the west of the Jordan were engaged with the natives, it seems that they made no attempt to drive out the old inhabitants, but dwelt among them, and submitted to their rule; fulfilling the prediction in v. 15. The text, and this inference from it, warrant the observation of Buffon, who remarks that, although Issachar was a strong ass, able to refuse a load as well to bear it; yet, like the passive drudge which symbolized him, he preferred inglorious ease to the resolute vindication of his liberty, a burden of tribute to the gains of a just and well-regulated freedom, and a yoke of bondage to the doubtful issue of war.'
16. 'Dan.'—Jacob, having first enumerated the children of Leah, now proceeds to those of Rachel's handmaid, Bilhah. It is observable, that the patriarch begins with intimating that his sons by the handmaids were to inherit equally with the other sons, as one of the tribes of Israel. The word Dan means judge;' and the prophecy here and elsewhere has allusion to the name. This was a very numerous and warlike tribe, not more noted, it would seem, for its boldness than for its stratagems and craft; verifying the comparison to a serpent in the next verse. All the exploits of the tribe illustrate this character, such as the doings of Samson, who was of this tribe; and its sending out spies to discover what part of the unconquered country was weakest, and then surprising the careless and secure inhabitants of Laish, afterwards Dan, near the sources of the Jordan-a place at a great distance from the proper territory of the tribe.
17. • Serpent'-'an adder.' wny nachash, seems to be a general designation for any individual of the serpent kind, as is the case with the Arabic word suban, by which it is rendered. The same animal is meant in both divisions of the verse, agreeable to the genius of Hebrew poesy, which is wont, in the first hemistich of the analogy, to mention a thing obscurely, or in general terms : Dan shall be a serpent in the way; and, in the second hemistitch, to be more precise and explicit, ' An adder in the path; or, as we would render it, .A cerastes, or horned viper, upon the path.'
The Hebrew Dav shephiphon, appears to denote the Coluber cerastes of Linnæus. It grows to the length of eighteen inches or two feet, and is distinguished by a small prominence or horn above each eye, whence its Greek vame kepdorns, from képas, a horn. Nicander cites the horned viper as remarkable for lurking among the sand and in
wheel-tracks; and from its retreat it bites the heels of the passing horses, whose hinder legs become almost immediately torpid from the activity of the poison. They are the more dangerous as their greyish colour renders it difficult to distinguish them from the sand in which they lurk. They are found in Arabia, Syria, and Egypt.
19, Gad: —This tribe is frequently mentioned as one of the most valiant in Israel. Commentators differ in the application of the prediction.
*20. · Asher.'-The lot of Asher corresponds with his name, which signifies blessedness. The territory of the tribe of Asher was very fertile in corn, wine, and oil. The word jpw shemen, rendered 'fat,' equally signifies oil;' and it is well observed by the authors of the Universal History, that 'the blessing spoken to Asher is capable of a double sense ; namely, either that his country should be the most fertile, and produce the noblest corn in the whole country of Palestine, which it actually did ; or else that it should abound with the finest and most delicious oil, which his portion was also remarkable for, insomuch that its oil was the most famed in all Canaan. In the parallel blessing of Moses (Deut. xxxiii. 24), it is said that • Asher shall dip his feet in oil.' In Judges xviii. 10, the Danite spies describe part of the land which formed Asher's lot as 'a place where there is no want of any thing that is on the earth.
21. *Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.' - There is high authority for thus reading this very difficult text. But the want of any connection between the clauses of the sentence, and the different senses of which the leading words, translated 'hind' ( ayalah) and
words' ('0x imre), are susceptible, has occasioned much perplexity. Bochart advocated the reading of the Septuagint, which regards ayalah as a tree, and imre as its branches. Modern commentators have generally concurred in Bochart's views; and since his time the text has commonly been rendered to the effect : Naphtali is like a goodly tree [oak or terebinth] that puts forth lovely branches. If, however, we receive this reudering, the ensuing blessing of Joseph seems too like a repetition of the figure employed in this; for which, and other reasons, we strongly incline to the reading of Gesenius, who trauslates : • Naphtali is a slender hind, that brings forth lovely young ones. The word immar in Chaldee means a lamb, and may without impropriety be extended to the young of the hind. (See Gesenius in 9x.) Understood as in our version, the first clause of the prophecy is apprehended by some to
apply to the victory of Barak, who was of this tribe, over | clearly pointed out, and were actually enjoyed. Besides Sisera (Judges iv.); and the second clause to the eloquent Joshua, five out of the twelve succeeding judges are ex. song in which that victory was commemorated. But both pressly said to have been of this tribe ; and it is probable the renderings which make Naphtali like a tree with that Deborah and Abdon also belonged to it: and when lovely branches, or like a hind producing lovely young, the ten tribes revolted against the house of David, Ephraim may be understood to apply to the fecundity of this tribe; led the revolt, and a man of this tribe, Jeroboam, became and we may venture to conjecture that it might not be the first king of Israel, in which separate kingdom Ephraim without an allusion to some superiority in the personal remained the leading tribe until the Assyrian captivity. appearance of its people. Finally, some good commentators - Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches are content, with the Chaldee, to understand the text to | run over the wall -We learn from sacred and profane express, which was really the case, that Naphtali should | history, that as it was a very general practice of the have a pleasant and fertile land. The territory of the ancients to represent and convey their ideas by means of tribe,' says Hales, bordered on Lebanon, so celebrated for symbols, taken from the store of nature, so there was no beauty and fertility; and when David was crowned king custom either more anciently or more generally established of all Israel at Hebron, this and the neighbouring tribes than to employ trees, plants, and their various parts, for supplied meat, meal, cakes of figs, bunches of raisins, this purpose. And for that custom some very natural wine, oil, oxen, and sheep for the entertainment. i Chron. reasons may be adduced, in addition to those which arise xii. 40.
from its peculiar convenience. In the infancy of the 22. • Joseph.'—Israel now comes to his favourite son, on | human race, trees, in the garden of Eden, were divinely whose past history and future blessings he expatiates with pointed out as emblematical of the most awful ideas,-life a force and beauty of language and expression which no and happiness, or death and misery. The abuse which translation can adequately render.
Adam committed of these consecrated symbols, and its The ineaning of the retrospective part of this passage is dreadful consequence to his early descendants, must have too obvious to require indication, but it may be well to ob- made a forcible impression upon their minds; and could serve how exactly the prophetic part was fulfilled in the lot not but suggest the hint of recourse to the use of trees, not of the tribes descended from Joseph's two sons, Ephraim only in the figurative descriptions of speech, but in the and Manasseh. The two tribes flourished greatly, occupy-| representation of things, and their- several relations, by ing a fertile and extensive country on both sides of the visible signs. And the same idea that would be impressed Jordan, and, unitedly, much exceeded in population any | upon such as were present, by the act of pointing at a tree, other tribe, so that they complained to Joshua, "Why hast might be conveyed with precision to a distance by a cha. thou given me but one lot, and one portion to inherit, seeing racteristical part of the same, or a similar tree. I am a great people, because the Lord hath blessed me Agreeably to this notion, the token of reconciliation which hitherto Josh. xviii. 14. Every variety of national and Noah received in the ark was an olive-leaf, and which the political blessing seems studiously accumulated upon the venerable patriarch seemed to have regarded as a symbol head of Joseph ; blessings of climate and temperature, with of sacred import, conveying an idea of more than simply fertilising dews and rains, are promised from the heaven the fact, that trees in general had begun to shoot afresh. above; an ample supply of water; abundance in the pro- | It might be expected that we should only discover slight ducts of the earth; wombs prolific of children and of cattle; vestiges of symbols like these in the history of the Israelites, and great distinction among the other tribes-seem to be as this people were in great measure withheld from the use
of such implements, in order to guard against their falling | not only carnivorous, but that his delight and constant into that idolatrous abuse of them which prevailed amongst exercise from morning till night, and from night till their neighbours ; yet there are several figurative ex morning, are to surprise the unprotected and to tear the pressions and plain allusions in the Old Testament, which weak in pieces. And this account of its habits coincides intimate their general acquaintance with something of this with the observation of travellers, who concur in repre. kind. Thus, in the text we have prefixed to this note, the senting the wolf as continually on the prowl with an idea of the patriarch would have been as clear had he unsated appetite, and seizing cvery opportunity of doing placed the bough in the situation he describes, or had re harm, where its fears are not strong enough to overcome presented these images in a picture, and said, “This is its thirst of blood. Most commentators agree in referring Joseph. And in his manner of expression plainly alludes the comparison of Benjamin to a wolf, to the fierce and to such a custom.
unjust contest in which this tribe engaged with the others, Further illustration will be found in subsequent notes ; and in which, after two victories, it was almost exterand the reader may be referred to Davis's Celtic Researches, minated (Judges xix. and xx.). After this, although the from which the above remarks are chiefly drawn.
tribe gave the first king to Israel, in the person of Saul, it 27. · Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf'— The ON! zeeb, never was of much consequence, and was ultimately (Canis Lupus of Linnæus), or wolf, has grown familiar to absorbed into the tribe of Judah, with which it retained our minds as a ravenous beast, and the enemy of the fold.
its allegiance to the house of David, when the other tribes The sacred text intimates that the habits of the wolf are | revolted.
riots and horsemen: and it was a very great
company. I The mourning for Jacob. 4 Joseph gelteth leave of
10 And they came to the threshing floor of Pharaoh to go to bury him. 7 The funeral. 15 Joseph comforteth his brethren, who craved his para
Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they don. 22 His age. 23 He seeth the third generation mourned with a great and very sore lamentaof his sons. 24 He prophesieth unto his brethren of tion: and he made a mourning for his father their return. 25 He taketh an oath of them for his
Mis seven days. bones. 26 He dieth, and is put into a coffin,
11 And when the inhabitants of the land, And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor wept upon him, and kissed him.
of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourn2 And Joseph commanded his servants the ing to the Egyptians : wherefore the name of physicians to embalm his father : and the it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond physicians embalmed Israel.
Jordan. 3 And forty days were fulfilled for him ; 1 12 And his sons did unto him according as for so are fulfilled the days of those which are he commanded them : embalmed : and the Egyptians 'mourned for | 13 For ‘his sons carried him into the land him threescore and ten days.
of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the 4 And when the days of his mourning were | field of Machpelah, which Abraham 'bought past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, with the field for a possession of a buryingplace saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, 14 | And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, saying,
and his brethren, and all that went up with 5 'My father made me swear, saying, Lo, him to bury his father, after he had buried I die: in my grave which I have digged for his father. me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou | 15 | And when Joseph's brethren saw that bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray their father was dead, they said, Joseph will thee, and bury my father, and I will come peradventure hate us, and will certainly reagain.
quite us all the evil which we did unto 6 And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy him. father, according as he made thee swear.
16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, 7 And Joseph went up to bury his father : saying, Thy father did command before he and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders | 17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, of the land of Egypt,
I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, 8 And all the house of Joseph, and his and their sin; for they did unto thee evil : and brethren, and his father's house : only their now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, | servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph they left in the land of Goshen.
wept when they spake unto him. . 9 And there went up with him both cha- 18 And his brethren also went and fell 1 Heb. sept. 2 Chap. 47. 29. 3 That is, the mourning of the Egyptians. Acts 7. 16. 5 Chap. 23. 16.
down before his face; and they said, Behold, the third generation : "the children also of we be thy servants.
Machir the son of Manasseh were brought 19 And Joseph said unto them, ?Fear not: | up upon Joseph's knees. for am I in the place of God ?
*24 1 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I
die: and "God will surely visit you, and bring me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to | you out of this land unto the land which he pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nou 25 And **Joseph took an oath of the chilrish you, and your little ones. And he com- dren of Israel, saying, God will surely visit forted them, and spake ®kindly unto them. you, and ye shall carry up my bones from 22 | And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and hence.
26 | So Joseph died, being an hundred and dred and ten years.
ten years old : and they embalmed him, and 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
10 Heb, borne. 11 Heb. 11.22. 12 Exod. 13. 19,
ria 21 Now this day, to santo good, to
7 Chap. 46. 5.
8 Heb, to their hearts,
9 Numbers 32. 39.
Verse 2. ·His servants the physicians.'—This must not from Egypt; and Darius always had Egyptian physicians be understood to mean that all the physicians of Joseph with him (Herodot. iii. 1, 139). took part in the operation. The command was rather
The physicians embalmed Israel?—The custom of obeyed by those among them to whom the business be embalming the dead has been conjectured, with great prolonged. That they are called “his servants' does not, we bability, to have originated in the very peculiar climate of apprehend, necessarily imply that they formed part of his Egypt. In that country, which three months in the year
mestic establishment, but were those whose services he is under water, and at the same time exposed to a burning required when necessary. That there were many is in sun, it is evidently of the utmost importance that all de remarkable conformity with what we know from other composition both of vegetable and animal substances should sources respecting the nature of medical practice among be prevented. Probably this was the leading physical the Egyptians, under which no family, much less so great motive of the Egyptians for embalming both men and an establishment as Joseph's, could possibly do without the animals, a custom which was universal among them. The services of many medical attendants. No doctor was plague, which now makes its appearance in Egypt comallowed to practise more than one branch of his profession. | monly on the subsidence of the Nile, and often commits Some were oculists, who exclusively studied the diseases of fearful ravages in that and the surrounding countries, was the eye; others attended only to complaints of the head; unknown in ancient times, and seems first to have been some again confined themselves to complaints of the intes heard of after the conversion of Egypt to Christianity, and tines; and others to secret and internal maladies. Under somewhere about the period when the zealous preaching this system the faculty must needs have been strong in of St. Anthony and others of the fathers of the desert had numbers; and Herodotus (ii. 84), to whom we owe this abolished the practice of embalming there, as an idolatrous information, assures us that every place swarmed with custom. There was, however, another and high motive them. The skill of the Egyptians seems to have been very | for embalment, which arose out of the doctrine of the 1 considerable ; and their reputation was great, even in foreign Egyptian religion, which taught that the continuance of countries. We are assured by Pliny (Hist. Nat. xxi. 5) the soul in the region of blessedness was contingent upon that they made post mortem examinations of bodies to ascer the preservation of the body. When that perished, the tain the cause of death ; and they were distinguished by banished soul had to begin anew its career in connection their knowledge of the medicinal properties of numerous with physical existence; and after migrating, dnring a drugs. Jeremiah alludes to this, ch. lxvii. 11 ; and Homer period of three thousand years, through various forms of describes Egypt as a country whose fertile soil produced being, ultimately became again associated with the human an infinity of drugs, some salutary and others pernicious, form, and when its life terminated, was to be again adand where every physician possessed knowledge above mitted to its precarious felicity-separated from, but conother men (Odyssey, iv. 299). It is likely that the physi nected with, the earthly tabernacle' which had been cians to whom King Asa sought were of Egypt (2 Chron. left in the world exposed to the injuries of men and xvi. 12); for we know that their services were much sought the accidents of time. It is obvious how this principle after in foreign lands. Cyrus had a physician sent him would operate in originating such elaborate and careful
A MUANY LYING IN ITS CASE.