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LORD for her, who was pleased at length to hear his prayers, and send to him the long-desired blessing. They now began to think themselves truly happy ; but Rebecca's happiness was short-lived. The unnatural struggling of the twins in her womb gave her an extraordinary uneasiness, till, after having consulted God about it, she was answered, that two nations were friving in her, and that two sorts of people should be separated from her bowels, one of which should prove stronger than the other, and that the élder Jould serve the younger. Accordingly she was soon of Rome hath likewise ordered by discovering the power and an office for him, and they ad influence of the stars and hea. dress him in particular for those venly bodies, came at length to who are at the point of death. worihip them. As to what
It is reported, that the tomb Maimonides says, we fhall only of Abraham having been dif- answer with Meyer (140), that covered near Hebron, they found it is impossible to prove, that his body, and those of Ifaac the Zabeans were even as old and Jacob, whole and uncor- as Mofes ; much more that they rupted. There were likewise were older than Abraham ; for some gold and filver lamps though it be granted, that there hung up in the cave, which were some people called Za
visited by multitudes beans before Moses's time, and (136). The Moslams have such that their idolatry had been in à veneration for this place, vogue long before him ; yet that they make it one of their this will not prove, that the four pilgrimages, the three Zabeans we are speaking of, others being that of Mecca, were older than Abraham; and Medina, and Jerusalem; and Spencer himself owns (141), the Christians built a church that it is almost impollible to over the cave (137), which the discover their beginning, wbích Turks afterwards turned into has given rise to so many difa mosque, as has been already ferent opinions about it, and hinted (138).
perhaps not one of them right. Mol. Ben Maimon (139), However, it is not improbable, and after him the learned Spen• that Abraham, being born and cer, tellus,
that Abraham educated in an idolatrous counwas brought up in the religion try and family, might have of the Zabeans, who are sup: been addicted to that superstiposed to have been great afs- tion, till God called him away nomers, astrologers, &c. and, from the one and the other.
(136) Ben Sbolmab ap. Herbelot. (137) Serm. quadrag. elmid. i. ii. p.773
(138) Vol. ii. p. 477, (A), ad fin. (139) Mai. mon. tračtat. more nevoch. part. iii. c. 29 8.46. & in Avodab Zarab, s. 11, & 12. (140) Meyer de feft. dieb. Hebr. c. 12. (141) Spenc. de leg. Hebr. ritual. l. ii. c. 1,
after (142) Rab. Sal. Mercer, & al,
Year of after brought to bed of two sons, of whom the first, viz. E sau, the food was all over hairy, and the second came into the world bold
$10. ing him by the heel, and was therefore named Jacob (R). Bef. Chr. Efau became a great lover of hunting, and consequently the
1838. darling of Ifaac, who was very fond of his venison ; but My Jacob was the mother's favourite, who knew that he was Efau and to inherit the blessings, and could not, perhaps, forbear Jacob
intrusting him with the secret, though she seems all along borr.
to have concealed it from her husband. The two brothers Esau fells were not above twenty years old, when Jacob gave proof bis birth of his being acquainted with it, by making E sau, purright.
suant to his mother's directions, swear away his birth
right, as we have related elsewhere l. Year of A FAMINE, which happened some years after, obliging the food Isaac to seek for another habitation, he resolved to go
543 into Egypt; when God appeared to him, and diverted Bef. Chr. him from it, bidding him go to Abimelech king of Gerar, 1805. where Abraham had heretofore been so friendly entertained;
promising, that he would protect and bless him ; as he Ifaac goes did accordingly in a wonderful manner, as we have seen to Gerar. in a former volume, till their repeated troubles and vexa
tions he met with there obliged him to remove fartherm A cover
At length he was sued to by Abimelech in person",
either to revive the old covenant, or to make a new one. tween A. Isaac expoftulated with him, and those that attendbimelech ed him, upon the ill usage he had met with in their and Ifaac, land; but nevertheless prepared a fumptuous banquet
for them, and on the morrow entered into the cove-
* See vol. ii.
m See before, vol.ii. p. 228, & feq.
• Genef. xxvi. 32, & feqq.
(R) From the Hebrew word Efau came out all hairy, and, 2py, bekeb, which fignifies the as it were, perfect ; whereas -heel, is formed the verb apy, other children are born with to supplant; and by the addi. hair only on their heads. He tion of the 'jod, one of the is also supposed to have been formatives of nouns, Jaacob, a called Sheir or Sehir, from fupplanter; which name he now, shahar, which fignifies in time made good. As for hair ; and lastly, Edom, from the name Esau, the meaning is his selling his primogeniture somewhat obscure, unless we for a mess of red pottage ; as derive it with some (142), from we have seen elsewhere. i7wy, hallah, to make, because
upon which account he called the place Beersheba (S). Year of The tranquillity which this new alliance procured him, was the flood soon after disturbed by Esau marrying two wives, Judith 589. the daughter of Beeri, and Bashemath the daughter of Bef. Chr. Elon, both Hittites 1.
1759. However Ifaac, who beheld him ftill as heir, was soon reconciled to him ; and, if he knew any thing of his felling his birth-right, he only looked upon it as a youthful trick, and the effect of hunger and weariness. Finding himself, therefore, grow old and feeble, and his eyes quite dim with age, and apprehending his death to be nearer than it really was, he being then an hundred and thirty-seven years old, refolved to bless him before he died. He therefore called him to him one day, and bad him get some fresh venison, and dress it to his palate, and told him he designed to confer his blessing on him that day. Rebecca, who overheard their discourse, knowing the importance of the paternal blessing, laid hold on that favourable opportunity to procure it for her favourite son in the absence of Efau.
By what stratagem she accomplished it, notwithstand- Jacob gets ing Jacob's great reluctance, and fear of such a discovery his broas would have brought a curse instead of a blessing from ther's blefthe good old father, we have seen in a former volume rising from but, whilst the mother and son were congratulating him. each other, Efau came to his father with the venison he had prepared for him. He invited him in the same dutiful manner that his brother had done, and wondered to observe such tokens of surprize and concern in his father's face. Not to repeat what we have already expati.ted ons, Efau found he had been circumvented in his abfence ; and a mournful scene ensued between the father and the son ; which was closed up by Isaac's strenuously insisting, that his blessing should remain with Jacob. I
9 Gen. xxvi. p. tot. See also vol. ii, p. 163, & feqq.
See Gen. xxvii. pafl. See also vol. ii. p. 164, & feqq. Vid. sup. ibid. & feqq.
(S) This name is rather re- of the word yal', shabah, which vived than given to the place, signifies not only to swear, and since we have lately seen on seven, but likewise to satisfy what account Abraham called or satiate; whereby he might it so; though it is not impro- intimate, that he had wells bable but the discovery of this enough, and would rest facilnew well might lead Isaac into fied with them. an allusion to a third meaning
have blessed him, says he, yea, and he shall be blessed(T). Nevertheless, to afswageEjau's exceflive grief, he blessed him
in t Gen. xxvii. 33. (T) Whosoever narrowly rity than to himself; the other observes Jacob's life after he and more glorious one was, bad obtained his father's bless that of the Messiah's being fing, will own, that it confift- born of his race, and not of ed in nothing less than world- that of Efau. As to the straly felicity, of which he en- tagem by which this blefling joyed as little as any man was obtained, though it apwhatever. Forced from his pears somewhat harh and unhome into a far country, for juft at firft fight; yet if we fear of his brother; deceived consider, that these two broand oppressed by his own uncle, thers were designed by proviand forced to Ay from him, dence as types, viz. Ejau of after a servitude of twenty-one the Jews (who were afteryears; in imminent danger, wards to be rejected for preeither of being parsued and ferring a carnal and imaginary brought back by Laben, or kingdom and Messiah to a murdered by an enraged bro- spiritual one, which is, in fact, ther. These fears are no sooner preferring a mess of pottage over, but the basenefs of his to the noblest birth-righe), and eldest fon, in defiling his couch; Jacob of the Gentiles, who the treachery and cruelty of were to be admitted into that the two next to the Sichem- kingdom, which the former ites (145); and lastly, the had rejected; if we confider loss of his beloved wife, and further, that this alienation supposed untimely end of his from one brother to another son Joseph; all these over- had nothing to do with a fu. whelmed him with fresh fuc- ture ftate, as hath been forcessions of grief : and, to com- merly shewn; but was confined plete all, his being forced by wholly to the present (146); famine to descend into Egypt, if we consider these things, we and to die in a strange land; shall not want the subtilies of
these, and many more, are the schools, to justify an action • fufficient proofs, that his fa- which was determined and
ther's blessing was of a quite conducted by a divine hand, different nature, and confifted unless men will affirm, chat chiefly in these two particu- God could not in justice make lars, viz. the possession of the such an alienation ; an afferland of Canaan, in right of tion so bold and absurd, that primogeniture, which his bro- we don't think any man of ther had sold him, and which sense and common modesty rather belonged to his pofte. would venture to maintain it;
in these words, Thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, Efau is aland of the dew of heaven from above. By thy sword and so blesed. thy bow sealt thou live, and salt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass, that when thou shalt have the dominion, thou malt break his yoke from of thy neck. This blessing was inferior to Jacob's in the following particulars : 1. It omits plenty of corn and wine ; from which fome have inferred, that Efau's lot fhould not be so fertile as his brother's . 2. Here is no mention of God, as there is in the first, God give thee, &c. 3. There is a spiritual bleffing promised to Jacob, that they should be blessed that blessed him, &c. but no fuch thing is said to his brother. Jacob was for a while in danger of his brother's heaviest indignation ; which Rebecca dreading, the found out
a pretence for conveying him out of his reach as far as Padan-aram, where he might marry one of her kindred (U).
JACOB, in his way thither, was overtaken by the night near Luz, and forced to lie in the open fields with only a Jacob is ftone for his pillow. Here he saw in a dream a ladder sent to Pareaching from earth to heaven, and angels afcending and dan-Aram descending, whilft God, who stood on the top, was pleased to encourage him, by promising, that he would bless and multiply him beyond measure u. Jacob, awaking from his dream surprised and frighted, cried out, Surely God was in this place, and I knew it not ! Rising therefore from his hard bed, he took the stone which had served him for a bolster, and, pouring oil thereon, erected it into a pillar; and in memory of this vision called the place Bethel (the house of God); for it was called Luz before that time. Here he likewise made a vow unto God, that if he would
Ħ Gen. xxviii.
+ See before, vol. ii. p. 165, & note, 12, & feqq.
or would deserve an answer, if ụnless it were done to conceal
his flight. However that be,