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father, seven days together. The Canaanites who inhabited the land, seeing the Egyptians mix themselves in these obsequies, were amazed, and thinking they had the greatest concern in this funeral lamentation, could not forbear saying, “This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians :” From whence the name of that place was called “ Abel-Misraimı ;"that is “the mourning of the Egyp“ tians.” This solemnity being ended, they proceeded ; and being come to the field of Machpelah, which Abraham had bought for a burying-place, they interred Jacob in the cave there : and having thus performed the patriarch's will, they returned to Egypt.
During the life of their father, Joseph's brethren knew themselves secure; but now, their former guilt returned, and suggested to them the just revenge which Joseph might take of them for the iniseries they had formerly. occasioned him. Wherefore they consulted together how to deprecate their offence; which they soon agreed upon,
tions of the deceased were supposed to be hurt by this action, and took up stones to stone him as a cruel wretch.
The embalmers then drew out the brains of the deceased through his nostrils with iron hooks, and supplied their place in the skull with powerful astringent drugs. They also drew out the bowels, except the heart and kidneys, through the aperture made in the side. The intestines were then washed with palm wine, and preserved with suitable drugs. After this the whole body was laid in a kind of pickle made of salt, &c. for forty days; after which it was washed, and anointed with oil of cedar, myrrh, cinnamon, &c. The body was then carefully wrapped up in many folds of fine linen, dipped in myrrh, and a gum which the Egyptians used instead of glue. Thus the whole body was preserved intire, without putrefaction or losing its hair. The coffins were proportioned to the rank of the deceased, and often embellished with his figure, or likeness, and other ornaments. The prices of the embalmers were various ; some were as high as an Egyptian tatent, supposed to be about 3001. of our money. The bodies thus preserved were sometimes kept in the houses of their descendants as their most valuable articles of furniture, or deposited in the famous subterraneous repositories which abound in Egypt. Many of these Mummies (as they are called) have lately been found there, in the utmost perfection; and some are preserved in England in the Museums, in an entire state, with the features and hair particularly perfect, though embalmed probably two or three thousand years ago.
making their deceased father, whose meinury they knew Was very dear to pious Joseph, their advocate; and framing a message in Jacob's name, they sent it to their brother in these words : “ Thy father commanded us before he
died, saying, Thus shall ye say to Joseph: Forgive I pray “ thee now the trespass of thy breihren, and their sin; “ for they did evil unto thce; bui pardon thcm, not only “ for my sake, but because they are the servants of the “ God of thy father.” This message was artfuily expressa ed, for, fearing that the supposed request of their dying father might not be powerful enough now he was dead, they make God himself also their intercessor. But there was no need of arguments like these to move the compassionate heart of Joseph; their present diffidence of his dis. position towards them is now as afflicting as once their offence against him was. He wept at the delivery of the message; and sending for them, they falling down at his fcet in the most abject manner, he tenderly dismisses their fears, and comforts them. Revenge, (says he) belongs " to God, and I forgive you. For though ye designed "ill against me, yet God turned it to gocd, making me,
through your marice, an instrument under him, to save “ much people alive, and you especially, as now is evi“ dent. Therefore fear no hurt from me, for I will pro“tect and cherish you and your families.” Thus the pious Joseph dismissed his brethren with the assurance that they should always find in him an affectionate brother and a constant friend.
Joseph lived fifty-four years after his father's decease, having the comfort of being the parent of a numerous offspring in his too sons Ephraim and Manasseh to the third generation. And now finding himself near his end, he sent for his brehien,* and said thus to them: “My “death is at hand, but though I leave you, yet God will
• Brethren. By brethren, we are not to understand the other eleven sons of Jacob, who, except Benjamin, being all older than himself, might probably be all or most of them dead; but it must be meant of the heads of their families : for in the scripture dialect all near kinsmen go under the general appellation of brethren, as Abraham called Lot, Gen. xiii. 8. and Ch. xxiv. 27.
surely remember you, and bring you out of this land, “ into that which he sware he would give to the pos“ terity of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I charge you “therefore, when God shall thus visit you, and bring
you out of this land, that you carry up my bones with
you." This he obliged them to by an oath. And Jo. seph, being an hundred and ten years old, died; and in order to perform their oath, they embalmed his body, and kept it in a coffin till the time of their deliverance should arrive.
St. Paul, commenting on this event (Heb. xi. 22.) says By faith, Joseph, when he died, made mention of the
departing of the chiidren of Israel, and gave command. “ ment concerning his bones.” Thus, this excellent man, died, as well as lived, in faith. In firm dependence on the divine promises, he looked forward to the deliverance of the Church, not merely from Egypt, but from the bondage of Sin and Satan through the redemption of the Messiah. And it was in token of this expectation that he ordered his body to be preserved, and carried into the promised land. This his dying request was punctually observed, ste Exodus xiü. 19. " And Moses took the “ bones of Joseph with him.” The Jews say that the bodies of all the patriarchs were taken with them at the same time ; each tribe having preserved the body of its founder. From hence, probably, was derived the custom of men's carrying the ashes of their ancestors into their own country, as by Hercules among the Greeks; and long before, by the Egyptians and Chaldcans, whom the Ara. bians imitated in following ages.
HISTORY OF JOB.
MOSES, intending to carry on the history of Jacob and his family to the period of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, without interruption, lays aside the story of Job, which according to the series of time should come in during the Israelites' servitude, and before their deliverance : for which reason it is inserted here, instead of placing it so far out of its due course of time as is done by the compilers of the Bible.
Various have been the conjectures concerning Job. Some suppose him to be descended from Nahor, the son of Terah, and brother of Abraham: others conceive him to be descended from Esau, and to be Jobab his great. grand-son. But the most probable opinion is, that he was a descendant from Abraham by Keturah, his second wife. With this, several circumstances concur : for Job is said to be the greatest and most considerable man for wealth of all the inhabitants of the East, into which country Abraham sent his sons by Keturah.* And amongst the people of the East are reckoned the Midianites,t descended from Midian, one of Abraham's sons by Keturah.t
• Keturab. Gen. xxv. 6.
+ Midianites. Judg. vi. 3.
* Keturak. Gen. xxy. 2.
Taking it for granted that this story is real,* we shall proceed to consider the time wherein he lived. That Job lived before the law, may be gathered from his offer. ing burnt-offerings in the land where he resided, which God accepted and commanded ; which offerings were forbiddent by the law in any other place than that which the Lord should choose in one of the tribes of Israel. And that he lived after Jacob, may be inferred from the character given him by Gud, “ Thalf there was none like “ him in ihe earth, for uprightness and the fear of God :" Which high encomium could not be allowed to any while Jacob lived, who was God's peculiar servant, discended from the father of the fuithful, Abraham, in a direct line from Isaac : nor can it well be supposed that so great a commendation could be given, after the death of Jacob, to any while Joseph lived, who in various excellencies made as briglit a figure as any ia his time.
After these conjectures, though the precise time of Job's birth cannot with suficient ground be ascertained: yet there is a general concurrence in opinion, that he
• Real. From the uncertainty who Job was, some have taken the liberty to question, Whether he was at all? Whether in point of fact, it be strictly true, that there was such a man as Job, who underwent those trials and sufferings, which in this book are recorded of him? Or, whether it was only an instructive and parabolical poem, devised and composed by some of the devout ancients, on purpose to instil into the reader those excellent principles delivered in it. But besides other arguments that might be urged to prove the reality of the story, drawn from the names of persons, people, countries, and some particular passages there. in mentioned, the credit given to it hy God through his prophet Ezekiel, cb. xiv. 14. and his apostle St. James, ch. v. 11. in citing it, and referring to it, is enough to gain belief with all who have a due regard for those writings, that it is a real history.
Allowing, however, the facts, it may be safely admitted that it is a poem of the dramatic kind; including some allegory, amplification, and poetical or
ornament. The facts are clothed in a dramatic manner, and the speeches, probably, may have received some enlargement from the author, which is a usual licence in this kind of writing
+ Forbidden. Deut. xii. 13, 14.
That, &c. See Job i. 8. and ch. ii. $.