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the men into Joseph's house. 18. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, On account of the money that was returned in our bags at the first time are we brought in; that he may throw himself upon us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. 19. And they approached the steward of Joseph's house, and they spoke with him at the door of the house, 20. And said, Pray sir, we came down the first time to buy corn for food: 21. And it happened, when we came to the halting-place, that we opened our bags, and, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his bag, our money in its full weight: and we have brought it back in our hand. 22. And other money have we brought down in our hand to buy corn for food: we do not know who put our money in our bags. 23. And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father hath given you the treasure in your bags: I have received your money. And he brought Simeon out to them. 24. And the inan brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave provender to their asses. 25. And they made ready the present before Joseph came at noon: for they
The stem is not thick; and attains a height of twelve to twenty, seldom thirty, feet. The branches are numerous and much divided. The blossoms, which are fully developed in April, are whitish, and stand together on the extreme boughs in grape-like clusters. The shell of the nut is odoriferous and of a flesh-colour. The kernel resembles that of the almond, is oily, and
with a red covering. The last fruit mentioned is almonds. It is scarcely necessary to describe the almond-tree (Amygdalis communis) with its profuse snow-white flowers, so beautifully compared with the hoary head of the aged man (Eccl. xii. 5). It grows in Syria and Palestine, spreads to Affghanistan, but does not seem to have been indigenous in Egypt.
The question, indeed, offers itself, how Jacob was ableto procure all these valuable
productions in a year of dearth and famine; and it has been asserted that their introduction renders the scarcity in Canaan historically questionable. But it may be observed, that almost all of them require for their growth heat rather than moisture, and that some develop themselves even to greatest advantage in dry years and in a dry soil. Besides, as they are all articles of luxury, stores might have been preserved from preceding years.
15—31. The brothers arrived in Egypt without an accident, and appeared before Joseph. They were conducted into his house, where his steward at once astonished and calmed them by mentioning “their God and the God of their father," and restored to them their brother Simeon. They familiarised themselves with the strange thought of being objects of hospitality under the inhospitable roof of an
heard that they should there eat a meal. 26. And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and prostrated themselves before him to the ground. 27. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive? 28. And they said, Thy servant our father is well, he is still alive. And they bowed and prostrated themselves. 29. And he lifted
up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your youngest brother, of whom
you spoke to me? And he said, God be gracious to thee, my son. 30. And Joseph hastened; for his love was warmed for his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. 31. And he washed his face, and went out, and restrained himself, and said, Set on the meal. 32. And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the
Egyptian dignitary; and soon the easy sacred to Isis, whereas the Greeks will kill affability with which they were addressed them; this was one of the reasons why all by the grand-vizier completely banished foreign shepherds were a horror to the their anxieties. But when Joseph saw Ben- Egyptians (xlvi. 34); and Moses adjamin, the sudden vehemence of his feel- vanced, as a pretext for his request, ings threatened at once to destroy the plans shall sacrifice before the Egyptians aniwhich he had prudently devised for the mals which it is in their eyes an abomicorrection of his brothers; and he hastened nable crime to kill; and they will stone into another apartment to seek relief by us.” But this was certainly not the tears,
motive for Joseph's separation from his 32–34. It is known that while many brothers. For the meal was prepared in eastern nations, like the later Greeks and his own house and by his own servants; the Romans, during their meals, reclined dishes were all placed upon his table, from on their couches (xviii. 4), the Egyptians which he sent portions to the brothers; it are generally represented as sitting (ver. is, therefore, impossible to suppose that 33), although they had couches of the animals held sacred in the district of Jo. most varied designs and the most elegant seph's residence had been killed for this shapes.—The antipathy harboured by the feast. Animal food formed, indeed, a part Egyptians against strangers was prover- of this entertainment (ver. 16); but it is bial; they would on no account consent an assertion which at present scarcely deto eat with them at the same table; and serves a refutation, that the Egyptians Herodotus remarks, in this respect, that no entirely abstained from the use of meat; Egyptian man or woman will use the knife, for though there was scarcely an animal spit, or caldron of a Greek, or taste of the which was not held sacred in some proflesh of a pure ox that has been divided vince, there was, perhaps with the only by a Grecian knife; because, as that exception of the cow, none which was not author observes, the Egyptians show the killed and eaten in other parts of the land greatest reverence to cows which are (see on Exod. p. 108). The reason of the Egyptians who were eating with him, by themselves : for the Egyptians cannot eat a meal with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his primogeniture, and the youngest according to his youth : and the men marvelled one at another. 34. And he sent portions to them from himself: but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of the portions of all the rest. And they drank, and were merry with him. separation lies in the spirit of exclusive- as possessed of extraordinary and almost ness reigning in the Egyptian castes. supernatural gifts, to their utmost astonishJoseph not only sat removed from his ment, placed them in the exact order of brothers, but even from the Egyptians their birth; but though by this circumwho formed his household. Though he stance he might for a moment have diswas in every regard an Egyptian, and his turbed their ease, he soon restored it by his suite probably included persons of high heart-winning cordiality. He sent to Benstation, they doubtless did not belong to jamin portions five times larger than those the caste of priests into which Joseph, by served to the rest, which distinction was too his marriage, seems to have been received. obvious to be mistaken or overlooked by the So there were three, and perhaps more, brothers; for larger shares at meals were different tables in the same apartment; among the Hebrews and other ancient naand the Hindoos, in this respect very
tions a usual mode of showing preference much resembling the Egyptians, are so and marked honour. Joseph wished, inanxiously careful in their separation, that deed, to keep his brothers in constant atthe members of one caste abhor to touch tention, and vividly to impress upon them the utensils out of which the individuals of that they were connected with him by a another caste have eaten.—Joseph, wish- tie at once powerful and enigmatical. ing to appear, in the eyes of the brothers,
1. And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's bags with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his bag's mouth. 2. And put my cup, the silver cup, into the mouth of the bag of the youngest, and the money of his purchase of
And he did in accordance with the word that
1-5. It seems almost an unnatural callousness on the part of Joseph that he did not make himself known to his brothers at the repast in his house. He evidently felt uncommon delight in the scene; he revelled in wonderful recollections and brilliant anticipations; his sagacious mind at once perceived the transparent tissue
which connected his dreams with their marvellous realisation; the wine had opened his lips; yet his heart remained closed and steeled; and he coldly dismissed his brothers as if they were total strangers. However, a scene of recognition at the festive board would have materially weakened the effect of his well-devised scheme, Joseph had spoken. 3. When morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. 4. When they had left the city, and had not yet gone far, Joseph said to his steward, Rise, pursue after the men; and when thou overtakest them, say to them, Wherefore have you returned evil for good ? 5. Is not this it of which my lord drinketh, and whereby he surely divineth ? You have done evil in what you did.-6. And he overtook them, and he spoke to them those words. 7. And they said to him, Wherefore doth my lord say these words ? God forbid that thy servants should do a thing like that: 8. Behold, the money which we found in the mouths of our bags, we returned to thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of the house of thy lord silver or gold? 9. With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be bondmen to thy lord. 10. And he said, Is it now indeed right according to your words ? he with whom it is found shall be ny servant; but you shall be blameless. 11. And they hastened and and it would have destroyed the cha- which, certain incantations were proracter of his mission, which made him the nounced, and the evil demon was invoked; medium of retribution for his brothers. the latter was then supposed to give the At the meal Joseph was in a certain respect, answer, either by intelligible words, or by not their superior but their equal, “ they pointing to some of the characters on the drank, and they were merry with him”; precious stones, or in some other more still more, they were his guests, and there- mysterious manner. Sometimes the goblet fore objects of sacred attention; he would, was filled with pure water, upon which under such circumstances, not have been the sun was allowed to play; and the able to act with rigid justice; the solemn figures which were thus formed, or which plan of correction, so grandly commenced, a lively imagination fancied it saw, were would have ended in a trifling compromise; interpreted as the desired omen: a method and from the sphere of Divine thought it of taking auguries still employed in Egypt would have sunk into the ordinary circle and Nubia. The goblets were usually of of human weakness. Therefore, Joseph a spherical form; and from this reason, gathered once more all his energy; adopted as well as because they were believed to measures by which the character of su- teach man all natural and many sapernapernatural interference would become tural things, they were called “ celestial most striking; and assumed more than globes.” Most celebrated was the magnifiever the appearance of a superhuman cent vase of turquoise of the wise Jemsage. The ancient Egyptians, and still sheed, the Solomon among the ancient more, the Persians, practised a mode of Persian kings, the founder of Persepolis; divination from goblets. Small pieces of and Alexander the Great, so eager to gold or silver, together with precious imitate eastern manners, is said to have stones, marked with strange figures and adopted the sacred goblets also. signs, were thrown into the vessel; after 6–12. But Joseph, though deprived of
took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. 12. And he searched, and began with the eldest, and finished with the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's bag.–13. And they rent their clothes, and loaded every man his ass, and returned to the city. 14. And Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house; and he was still there: and they fell before him on the ground. 15. And Joseph said to them, What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can certainly divine? 16. And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord ? what shall we speak? or how shall we justify ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he in whose hand the cup hath been found. 17. And he said, God forbid that I should do so: the man in whose hand the cup hath been found, he shall be my servant: but you go up in peace to your father.
18. Then Judah stepped near to him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my his cup, was yet able to divine, and to fix delay, returned to the royal city. As Judah upon the brothers as the offenders. The had become a surety for Benjamin, he this latter, not believing in superstitious au- time headed the caravan. Joseph, reguries, could value the goblet only in so ceiving his brothers with a speech of cruel far as it was of precious metal; without, and haughty irony, branded their desire therefore, adverting to the chief charge of of deceiving his divine infallibility, as a the steward, they simply protested, that work of folly and infatuation. Now the as they had honestly returned the money relation between Joseph and his brothers found in their sacks, it was most impro- had reached the highest point of preterbable that they should steal silver or gold; natural mystery; the one appeared to have and so certain were they of each other's discovered what lies absolutely beyond innocence, that they unanimously de- the reach of human knowledge and abiclared, that he who had committed the lity; and the others were overpowered by theft should suffer death, while all the rest feelings of humble submission. They atshould be slaves to the vice-roy. But the tempted no reply or excuse; Benjamin steward, with an affected air of equity, re- did not remonstrate against the disgraceproved their impetuosity and exaggera- ful imputation; and Judah, without detion, observing that, in common justice, nying his brother's guilt, simply referred the thief alone should be forced to serve the strange concatenation of events to the as slave, while the others would be re- inscrutable will and interference of God, garded as innocent: for his sole object was who had found out their iniquity. to separate Benjamin from his brothers. 18–34. But when Joseph firmly in
13–17. Their unspeakable grief when sisted upon detaining Benjamin alone, the cup was found assumed the violence while the others should at once return to of mourning; and far from agreeing to their father“ in peace," Judah, tormented the proposal of the steward, they, without as he was by the most bitter pangs and