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it down to the chosen individual amongst his numerous children.
On his death bed, therefore, he called them together, and whilst he blessed them severally, expatiating on the various fortunes that should in future days befall them; he distinguished Judah as "He whom his brethren should praise, to whom his father's children should bow down.' "He with whom the Sceptre of Israel should remain till Shiloh should come, and to whom the gathering of the people should be.”
FANNY. Do the subsequent scriptures show the accomplishment of these prophecies ?
MRS. M. Beyond all question, as several learned commentators have demonstrated. You will read some of their works, I hope, with great satisfaction. They are highly worthy your attention, because they evince the truth of sacred writ, by shewing how exactly the fortunes of Jacob's children corresponded with his predictions. This is the only view in which they are interesting to us, that pronounced on Judah, alone, excepted. That being the grand link in the chain of our story, demands a brief explanation.
The Hebrew word which is rendered sceptre in our text, has several other senses in that language. In the same chapter it is translated tribe, which interpretation would more exactly apply to the prophecy of Jacob. The sceptre of royalty did indeed proceed from Judah, and remained with him through a long period of the Israelitish history, The regal dignity in its fullest sense, was taken from them when Judea was subjected to the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and afterwards to the Romans. But the tribeship of Judah did actually remain, till Shiloh came,
although the other tribes of Israel had been broken and scattered, long before that event.
The word Shiloh is likewise variously interpreted, but however understood, it is agreed by almost all commentators, both ancient and modern, to mean the sent—or the Messiah "whom the father hath sent"-to whom the nations were gathered, and in whom all the spiritual promises to Israel will be accomplished.
From this formal division by Israel, the political government of tribes took its rise.-Ephraim and Manasseh, constituting two in the place of their father Joseph, according to the will of the patriarch. The dying Exile also, took an oath of his sons, especially of Joseph, as possessing chiefly the power to execute his will, to carry him into Canaan, and bury him with his fathers, in the sepulchre which had been purchased by his ancestor when he was a stranger in that land, for the burial place of Sarah; where Abraham and Isaac, and Rebekah and Leah, had also been laid. And accordingly, his remains were carried up with great pomp into Canaan, attended by all the males of his family, and a great retinue of noble Egyptians, and laid in the cave of Macpelah. (B. C. 1689.)
FANNY. Deprived now of their natural protector, and wholly in the power of Joseph, his brothers would begin to fear that they should be sacrificed to his just resentment, no longer restrained by reverence for their common parent.
MRS. M. But this illustrious man was always superior to circumstances. The fear of God was the governing principle of all his actions. His amiable nature was melted to tears, when they sent messengers to deprecate
his anger, and afterwards came and prostrating themselves, presented his departed father's request, that he would forgive them! "Am I," said he, " in the place of God? It is His to punish, and mine to obey His will. He sent me before you into Egypt, to save much people alive; now, therefore, fear not; for I will nourish you, and your
The useful life of Joseph was protracted to the length of a hundred and ten years; and under his affectionate care, his family grew and flourished. (B. C. 1635.) In his last hours, he reminded them that they were to return to their own country, and enjoined them to carry up his bones and deposit them with those of his ancestors. His unmerited kindness to them had secured their obedience, and they preserved his body for that purpose, by embalming it after the manner of the Egyptians. From the sacred records, we learn no more of this celebrated ruler, but profane writers have said, that the Egyptians continued long to venerate the name of that benefactor.
To the fascinating power of such an assemblage of endowments, without the alloy of a single vice, as much as to the affecting vicissitudes of his fortune, we may ascribe the pleasure with which we contemplate the beautiful story of Joseph. No human invention has hitherto exceeded in variety and interest the surprising scenes of his life. Nor has all the imagery of poetry ever touched the heart like the pathos of its simple unadorned style. The bursts of nature's own emotions on several occasions are altogether inimitable! and the speech of Judah to the unsuspected governor of Egypt, particularly, is a finished model of successful pleading. Severely tried in a variety of circumstances, Joseph was faithful in all. The lustre of his
piety augmented the splendour of a throne, and illumined the gloomy cells of a prison. Diligent and submissive in adversity-active and beneficent in prosperity-as a statesman-a son-and a brother-he was prudent, dutiful, and generous; diffusing blessings while he lived, and erecting for posterity, a monument of transcendent virtue.
MRS. M. Many of the facts recorded in the narrative of Moses, are corroborated by corresponding stories in the writings of prophane authors; but they shed no light on the train of events which brought the Israelites into the state of servitude and affliction in which we find them at the opening of the book of Exodus.
This name, like that of Genesis, indicates the subject of the book our young Grecian can give us a literal translation of the word.
CHARLES. Exodus is derived from the two Greek words, ex, from; and odus, way; and signifies the going out, or departure.
MRS. M. Yes; and therefore applied to this book; because it begins with an account of the Israelites going out of Egypt.
At the conclusion of Genesis and death of Joseph, more than half a century before the period on which we are now entering, we left them in great prosperity in the district of Goshen enjoying the protection of a benevolent monarch, and the recompense of those advantages he had derived from the wisdom of that statesman.
From that time to the present, there is a chasm, which we have no means of supplying; but must be content to