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“ jamin.” The person introduced by him, as making lamentations, is Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob, and the mother of that tribe. She had before born Joseph, at which time, by divine instinct, with allusion to the name just imposed, she said “ The LORD shall add to me another son." In childbirth, however, through the prevalence of her pains, she was induced to give up her former hopes of a second son for lost. Her attendant endeavoured to comfort her with her own prediction : “ Fear not, for thou shalt have this son also.” Yet, w when her soul was in departing (for she died !)"— never surely was there a more affecting parenthesis-" when her soul was in departing (for she died !) " she called his name Benoni,” that is, the son of my
" His father," seeking to avert the omen with speed, “ called him Benjamin,” or, the son of the right hand, that is, of power and glory.
Heu nunquam rana parentum auguriu-the observation of a heathen poet, is found more particularly verified in the history of the patriarchs, because among them there was often a foresight more than human, and the prospect into futurity was opened to them by a light from above. The different fates of the tribe of Benjamin seemed to have answered the different names imposed at the birth of its founder, by father and mother. No tribe more various than that; none more af. flicted with disasters and calamities. At one time slaughtered by its fellow tribe, almost to excision, a true Benoni to Rachel, who, had she been alive, must have“ wept for her children, with an ex
“ ceeding bitter weeping;” at another, restored to populousness and prosperity, placed, as it were, at the head of the rest, furnishing the first king, who ruled God's people Israel, and realizing the name and character of Benjamin, the son of the right hand.
Upon the revolt of the ten tribes, Benjamin adhered to Judah, then the royal tribe, the tribe that gave birth to David, the tribe from which, in the fulness of time, a greater than David was to descend. When Jeremiah uttered the words now under our consideration, Judah was closely besieged in Jerusalem by the Chaldean army, in whose way thither the land of Benjamin lay. It experienced, therefore, of course, all the horrors of invasion. It was miserably wasted, and its inhabitants were carried away into captivity. This is the reason why old Rachel still renews her former complaint, and will not be persuaded, but that Benjamin must still be Benoni. She and her daughters (for under the name of Rachel we must comprehend all the woful mothers of that tribe) fill the heavens with their outcries, whilst their children are forced from their embraces into miserable bondage in Babylon. And though mention be only made of Ramah, a city of Benjamin, yet must we imagine the wailings to have been as loud and bitter about Bethlehem, which, though in the tribe of Judah, was upon the borders of Benjamin, and near unto the place where Rachel died; as we read in Genesis : “ Rachel died, and " was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth“ lehem ; and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave, unto “ this daya.” Such was “the voice heard" in the days of Jeremiah, the “ lamentation, and the bitter “ weeping;" when “ Rachel," as the general mother, and representative of all the mothers in the tribe, “ weeping for her children, refused to be comforted, “because they were not.” As a people, they had no civil existence. They were in that sense lost; they were dead; they were gone into captivity.
It was under these circumstances, that the prophet addressed the disconsolate mother --considering him as a Benjamite, we may say, his disconsolate mother—" Thus saith the LORD, Refrain thy voice “ from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy “ work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they " shall come again from the land of the enemy; and " there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that
thy children shall come again to their own border." As if he had said, in other words--
Remember, O Rachel, my mother, the days that are past, and call to mind God's wonders of old time. Remember how thou sorrowedst, when thou broughtest forth my father Benjamin, as fearing lest he should have died with thee, or before thee. Yet after thy pains hadst thou this joy, that a man was born into the world. And though thou didst impose upon him a name betokening sorrow, yet his father wisely changed it into one predictive of better things. Remember, when Benjamin, for the good of his brethren, was called to go down into Egypt, how Jacob supposed himn lost, and complained that
a Gen, xxxv. 19.
he was bereaved of his children, But, notwithstanding these ill bodings, Benjamin, at length, returned in safety, with his brother Judah: the father was again blessed with the sight of his youngest and best beloved son, the light of his eyes, and the staff of his old age. Such, at this time, my mother, is thy fear and sorrow; but greater, hereafter, shall be thy comfort and thy joy. Benjamin is indeed led captive into Babylon; but Judah is once more gone with him, as his pledge : and if he bring him not back again, let the blame be his, yea mine, yea God's, for
“ For thus saith the LORD, If my covenant “ be not with day and night, and if I have not ap
pointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then " will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my “servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to « be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and “ Jacob—for I will cause their captivity to return, " and have mercy on them-yea I have sworn by
my holiness that I will not fail David.” Now, my mother, while this promise lasts, in general, to Israel, as Abraham's seed, Benjamin must have his portion in the blessing. And while it remains good in particular to the seed of David, Benjamin, for his faithful adherence to Judah, in prosperity and adversity, must participate with him in the prerogative. And when the kingdom shall be restored, as restored it will be, whoever shall sit on the left hand, faithful Benjamin must sit on the right hand of the throne of David
This, taking all circumstances into the account, seems to have been the import of Jeremiah's conso
latory address to Rachel, in the day of her calamity. And his words, or rather those of the Almighty, were in the fullest import made good to her. Within seventy years, it came to pass that the posterity of Benjamin returned, with Judah, into the land of promise, and inhabited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and other bordering cities, promiscuously with the royal tribe. « Her work was rewarded;" her patient expectation, in faith and hope of the promises made her, failed not of its fruit, in the appointed season : her “ children came again from the land “ of the enemy to their own border," as the LORD had foretold by his prophet; they “returned, and
came to Sion with songs; joy was upon their heads," and in their hearts; “and sorrow and sigh
ing flew away!"
We are now prepared to take a view, as was proposed in the
Second place, of those parallel circumstances which offer themselves, in the lamentation of the Bethlehem, itish mothers, and the cause thereof, with the consideration which was to administer comfort to them in the day of their great and most bitter affliction.
The death of the tribe of Benjamin, in conjunction with the tribe of Judah, in the time of Jeremiah, was a civil death, a departure into captivity. Their restoration from it was, consequently, a civil restoration, a restoration to their ancient city and polity in their own land. The death of the Bethlehemitish infants was a bodily death, by the sword of Herod; their restoration must therefore be a restoration to the bodily life, thus violently taken from them, that is, it must be a resurrection. Rachel's present la