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our daughter, and we will be gone. And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of their's be our's? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, and all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites and I being few in selves together against me, destroyed, I and my house. with our sister as with an harlot ?
and his people merited punishment 30 But though the sin of Shechem at the hand of God, nothing could justify the conduct of the sons of Jacob. Their father therefore was justly indignant.
number, they shall gather themand slay me; and I shall be And they said, Should he deal
No extremity of passion, no zeal for the honour of their family, could justify their deceit and violence. In the expressive and humiliating language of Jacob every parent can sympathise. The conduct of his children had been his shame. Let children be warned! Let them, for their parents' sake, flee from evil as they would flee from misery. The conduct of Jacob is an instance of true magnanimity. He himself had deceived his father Isaac; and he now, in retributive justice, is himself
deceived by his sons. Yet he defends not the wrong; but condemns it deeply-awfully! even though as he condemns others he condemns himself. So powerfully must the deceit of his sons have brought his own sin to his remembrance.
The third Sunday in Lent.
MORNING. GENESIS Xxxix.
AND Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of
his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house,
2 God is the source of all prosperity. If He blesseth your worldly course, to Him give the praise. From riches and honour to bare subsistence, all
is his gift. Our bread, day by day,
comes from Him.
the LORD made all that he did
4 Under the most comfortless state, we may trust to God, that He will find a way of escape from our misery. He will raise up to us unexpected friends, and open some unlooked-for prospect of relief, where we least look for it. Trust we then in Him. 5 Faithful servants, in studying their master's benefit, secure their own advantage.
and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 How firm a rejection of sin! how But he refused, and said high a sense of honour!
to his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this
9 But who can wonder at firm virtue and honourable principle, when their foundation is religion? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Joseph could not injure man, because he dare not "sin against God." He feared the Lord.
great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15 and it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled,
15 The devil is the father of lies! With what readiness, when he has once tempted a soul to sin, does he supply a lie to mask it * !
and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there. in the pri- 21 So is the Lord ever at hand to succour those who trust in Him +. mercy, and gave him favour in 22 Joseph, even in prison, was innocent, and honoured, and happy : had he yielded to sin, he had been wretched even in a palace ‡.
21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to
* But the lie betrayed itself. If she had cried aloud, how was it, that of all the numerous attendants in the house of Potiphar no one heard? + Suppose we are called to suffer in our innocence? Even then, in bonds and dungeons, God will be with us. The light of his countenance dispels every gloom.
A careful consideration of this chapter convinces us, that if we do but avoid sin, and flee from temptation, God's grace will be with us, and guide us into peace and safety; whilst his providence will so order our steps, if we commit our way unto Him, that all things, however painful and grievous in themselves, shall work together for our final good.
any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.
EVENING. GENESIS xlii.
6 Thus fulfilling, though unintentionally, Joseph's dream. all the people of the land and bowed down themselves before
7 As his brethren had long thought him dead, it is no wonder that they did not recognise the simple shepof Egypt. Time and circumstances herd youth in the lordly governor had made less change in them. By him, therefore, they were easily recognised *.
Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to Joseph's brethren came, and him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. knew his brethren, but they knew not him. remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. "We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, let him fetch your
11 A good argument. No man would send all or most of his sons on an expedition full of danger, were any fraud intended.
Joseph was about seventeen years old when his brethren sold him into Egypt. He was now forty years old.
21 Affliction is a bitter but salutary medicine, and in this case worked good. More than twenty years had passed, but sin lay at the door. Conscience may sleep, but it never dies*.
brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies. And he put them all together into ward three days. And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth. 28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack and their heart failed them, and they were afraid,
24 Simeon's imprisonment was a just retribution. Had he not been a consenting party to the cruelty exercised upon Joseph, his brethren would have spared Joseph his captivity, and themselves their sin. But Simeon now is imprisoned as Joseph was.
28 When is guilt free from fear? The guilty ever suffer from a faintness of heart; the sound of a shaking leaf shall chase them.
* So the Spirit of God abideth ever to execute its office of "convincing the world of sin." Thus, even after long years, the recollection of sorrows which our unkindness has brought upon others rises up, and arrays against us all the wretchedness we have caused. It is well if these scenes present themselves in life, when we may repent of the evil and recompense it; lest they sleep till our death hour, and then spring up, to add torment to our pangs.