Imatges de pÓgina

his bre



Hated by more was, that Jofeph, having obferved some vile actions in the fons of Bilhah and Zilpah, with whom his father had fent him to feed the fheep, in hopes that they would pay him a greater regard than his other brethren, came His two and acquainted him with it. But he himself helped to complete their envy, or rather to turn it into an irreconcileable hatred, by innocently telling them fome dreams he had, which feemed to forefhew, that he fhould one day get the power and authority over them. One of them was, that he faw in a wheat-field his own fheaf ftanding upright, and theirs falling down before it, and paying homage to it. Another was, that he faw the fun, moon, and eleven ftars, doing the like obeifance to him. This laft he likewife told his father, who, though he could not perhaps but think it fignificative of fome great fortune that would attend him; yet, obferving with what envy his brethren heard it, thought fit to rebuke him feverely before them, afking him, if he thought, that his father, mother, and brethren, were to bow themselves to the earth to him? But this rather helped to increase their hatred against him, and made them refolve on his death. It was not long before an opportunity offered of executthe flooding their defign. Jacob, being uneafy that he had not heard from them, fince they were gone to Shechem with their flocks, fent Jofeph to inquire after them; and these no fooner faw him, but they all agreed to rid themselves of the dreamer, as they called him, and make their father believe, that fome wild beast had devoured him. They had executed their bloody defign, without any regard either to his tears, his age, or to the grief which the news of his death would cause to their aged father, had not Reuben diffuaded them from imbruing their hands in his blood, and advised them to throw him alive into a pit, and let hunger and grief perform that cruel office. Whether the fear of the guilt of blood, or defire to make him die a

Year of

619. Bef. Chr. 1729.

dent fon; though even this
comes fhort of the energy of
the idiom, and might be more
properly tranflated, because he
had the wifdom or prudence of
a fenator (198).

Juftin in epitome of Trogus
makes mention of his being

(198) Vid. Le Scen. effay.

fold into Egypt by his brethren, who envied the excellency of his wit, and, having got him privately into their hands, fold him to fome merchants, who carried him down into that country (199).

(199) Juftin, I. xxxvi, 6. z.


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more lingering death, prevailed upon them to take the advice, they let him down into the pit. In the mean time a troop of Ishmaelites happening to pafs by, with fpices and balm from Gilead, and bound for Egypt, Judah perfuaded his brethren to fell him to them, fince his He is fold death would do them no more fervice than his being car- and carried down into Egypt. Accordingly Jofeph was fold to ried down the merchants, and carried off unknown to Reuben, whofe to Egypt. defign was to have got him out of the pit, and to have fent him back privately to his father. The furprize and concern he was in when he found him gone, forced fuch complaints from him, that they took the more care not to let him know what was become of him. Soon after, having dipped his party-coloured coat in fome kid's blood, they fent it home to their father; who no fooner saw it, than, thinking that his beloved child had been torn in pieces by fome wild beaft, he took his supposed lofs fo to heart, that he did not ceafe mourning for him, till he heard the furprifing news of his advancement in Egypts, where Jofeph happened to be fold to an officer of the Sold there king's guard, named Potiphar (M). Here Jofeph fhewed foPotiphar. fuch diligence and integrity, and proved fo fuccefsful in all he undertook, that his mafter foon committed the care of all his affairs wholly into his hands. He had been ten years in Potiphar's house, when his mistress, taken Is folicited with the extraordinary comeliness of his perfon, after to an afeveral other unfuccefsful attempts to make him comply mour by his with her wanton defires, accofted him one day when the mistress. whole family was abroad, in fo paffionate a manner, that Jofeph, not thinking it fafe to stay and expoftulate with her, as he had frequently done, abruptly withdrew, leaving his upper garment, which he had laid hold of, in her

s Gen. xxxviii. p. tot.

and near to the king's perfon.
He is alfo called 'na
far tabachim, which in its pri-
mitive meaning fignifies the
prince of the butchers, from ta-
bach, which fignifies flaughter.
For which reafon fome have
rendered it, the prince of the
cooks (201).

r Vid. fup. vol. ii. p. 153.


(M) It may not be improper to obferve here, that though the text calls Potiphar an eunuch, yet he was not a real one, as the LXX. render it, and the Jews fanfy; for though the Hebrew word DD faris doth properly import an eunuch, yet it is often ufed to fignify an officer belonging to the court,

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hands. Not able to brook this affront, fhe vowed the ruin of the innocent youth; and accordingly having His refu brought together with her outcries all who were within fal makes hearing, the charged Jofeph with her own crime, conber accufe firming the charge by the dumb witness fhe had torn from him. By the time her husband came home, fhe had dreft up her story fo well, that fhe was eafily believed. Had Potiphar loved Jofeph lefs than he did, it is probable he would have facrificed him that minute to his refentment ; He is fent but he contented himself for the prefent with fending him to prifon. into the king's prifon, where we fhall leave him for a while, to take a view of what paffed in his father's family.


Judah's Nor long after Jofeph had been fold into Egypt, Jumarriage dah married the daughter of a Canaanite, whofe name with a was Shuah, by whom he had three fons (N), Er, Onan, Canaan and Shelah. Er being cut off for his wickednefs, before he had any children by his wife Tamar, Judah bid his Er's death. fecond fon Onan take her, according to the custom of Onan's fin that country, and raife a pofterity to his brother. Onan and death, obeyed feemingly; but, not brooking the thoughts, that his children fhould be efteemed his brother's, took such a wicked and unnatural way to prevent Tamar's having any by him, that GOD was provoked to punish him with

• Gen. xxxix. p. tot.

(N) It is not eafy to guefs at what time Judah had these three fons by this Canaanitish woman; and, if we take the words in the original, at that time, in a strict fenfe, as if it happened about the time that Jofeph was fold, he must have been too young, being but twenty-two years of age; for Jofeph was feventeen years old, and he could not be above four or five years older, being the fourth fon of Leah, and he and Jofeph both born within the compass of seven years. So that the most that can be thought is, that he had married either a little before Jo

feph was fold, or about that
time, and that the latter part
of the ftory of his fon's mar-
riage and death, and the bufi-
nefs of Tamar, happened dur-
ing the twenty years that Ja-
feph continued in Egypt. And
therefore, though Mofes relates
all these events in the chapter
preceding that which gives an
account of his difgrace and
imprisonment, it is most pro-
bable, that he has done it to
prevent intermingling the story
of thofe two brothers too much,
and fo has made an end of
Judah's adventures, before he
went on with those of Jofeph,


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death alfo (O). Judah therefore bid her remain a widow in her father's houfe, till his third fon was grown old enough to fupply his brother's place; but the time being come, and Judah neglecting to fend for her, as indeed he never defigned it, left Shelah fhould meet with the fate of his two brothers, fhe refolved to put him in mind of his engagement by fome other way.

JUDAH, having buried his wife about this time, as foon Judah and as the ufual days of mourning were over, went to over- Tamar. look his fheep-fhearers at Timnath, attended only by his friend Adullam. Tamar had timely notice of his defign; and, thinking this a favourable opportunity to execute her own, the divefted herself of her widow's garments, covered her face with a veil, and in the attire of an harlot placed herself between the two ways that led to Timnath, Judah faw her, and, taking her to be what the appeared, made his addreffes to her, and prevailed. He won her confent, by promifing her a kid, and leaving with her, at her requeft, his fignet, his bracelets, and his ftaff, as so many pledges for the performance of his promife. The kid he immediately fent by his friend Adullam; but the pretended harlot had disappeared, and no tidings could be heard of her.

ed to be burnt,

SOME months after Judah was informed, that Tamar Tamar was certainly with child. At this news he was not dif- with child pleased, as her death would free him from his promife of marrying her to his fon Shelah. He pretended,. however, to be highly provoked at her incontinency, and condemned her accordingly to the flames (R); but, Condemn upon mily, had power of life and death over all that belonged to it; but it is hardly probable, that the Canaanites, in whofe country they dwelt, would give a stranger fuch a power. Tis more likely therefore, that he meant only, that the fhould be brought before a court of judicature, and fentenced according to the laws of the country. But, whether judge or profecutor, it was an


(204) Vid. Alix, in pentat.

U 4

(O) Though Onan's fin was in itself great enough, yet it is very probable, that it was aggravated with a worfe circumstance; viz. his having an eye to the fuppreffing of the MESSIAH'S Coming, fince he should not have the honour to be numbered among his anceftors (204), which might provoke God to cut him off.

(R) Some think that Judab, as head of his own fa

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But abfolved.

upon her producing the above-mentioned pledges, and
declaring that the owner of them was the father of the
child, fudah, in the greatest confufion and furprize, owned,
that he was the more innocent of the two, and that he
had wronged her in with-holding Shelah from her. He
afterwards conducted her home, but never touched her
from that time. When her full time came fhe brought
forth twins; but the manner of their birth was very fur-
prifing; for one of them putting forth his hand, the
midwife tied a fcarlet thread round it as a token of his
being the firft-born: but he withdrew his hand, and, his
brother fhewing him the way into the world, he was
called by his mother Phares, or breach, by reafon of the
breach he had made between his brother and him
other was called Zaraht.

; the

A ftrange birth

Jofeph. JOSEPH in the mean while was got into fuch favour Year of with the keeper of the prifon, that he intrufted him with flood the care of all the prifoners. To two of them, men of 632. fome diftinction, viz. Pharaoh's chief butler and baker, Bef. Chr. Jofeph not only interpreted the dreams they had had, but 1717. told them alfo the precife time when they should fee them fulfilled. Accordingly three days after the butler was reDreams of stored to his place, and the baker hanged (S). Jofeph two prifon

ers ex



t Gen. xxxviii. P. tot,

inhuman thing to put a woman
to death before the was deliver-
ed; and the Romans, bad as
they were with refpect to chil-
dren, whom they used to ex-
pofe when they thought fit,
had yet a law to prevent a
pregnant woman being put to
death before her delivery (209).
But it is probable, that his
eagerness to be rid of her,
made him fpeak more unad-
vifedly than he would have
done, had the been a more in-
different perfon. And it is
plain, that Jofephus looked up-
on all the tranfactions mention-
ed in this chapter to be fo
little for the credit of Judah,

and his fons, that he has fup-
preffed them all. This is one,
though far from the only in-
ftance of his fuppreffing any
thing that cafts a reflection on
his nation: the reft will occur
in the fequel.

(S) Our tranflation has rendered the expreflion which Jofeph uses to the butler and the baker, hall lift up thy bead, too literally, fince that would imply the fame fate to them both, contrary to the event. The words in the original mean, that in three days Pharaoh would have them brought to their trial, in which cafes the prifoner was fet up on high

(309) Ælian. & V.

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