Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

tormented as she often was, her most trying troubles arose from within herself. Thus said the true Jacob, speaking by the mouth of David, · for it was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it, but those mine acquaintance,' &c. Psalm lv. 13.

Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went out to see the daughters of the land, and was defiled by Schechem, a prince of the country. Her brethren, Simeon and Levi, in order to avenge her dishonour, came upon the city, and slew all the males, actuated by that anger and wrath which their father prophetically pronounced accursed. This subject affords fine matter for declamation, of which Dr Hunter gives a proper specimen in his Lectures upon it. Our province is to lead the reader's attention to its typical design. With Dinah, as with all the daughters of Jacob, her defilement arose from going out to see the daughters of the land. Communion with the nations ever has been the source of defilement. Ofteu have the princes of this world courted the church of Christ, enamoured of many things in her, which hold out prospect of advantage. • Shall not their cattle and their substance be ours? The defilement of Dinah is an exact counterpart to the defection of the tribe of Dan (the name is the same) in an after age. That tribe also went out to see the daughters of the land where they dwelt, and was defiled accordingly. Nor will the cruelty of Simeon and Levi want a parallel in the manner in which the idolatry of Dan was revenged by the other tribes. It is not foreign to mention here, that Dan, the defled tribe, which means judgment, appears bearing divine judgment ; when the other tribes are sealed, Rey. chap. vii. that tribe is not numbered among them.

CHAP. XXXV.-The subjects of this chapter are numerous, diversified and important. To examine each minutely would occupy a volume. Jacob had resided some time in Schechem, the country of foes and strangers. There not only had his daughter been defiled, but there is reason to fear that his household had too much connec. tion with strange gods. In this situation the commandment comes to him, • Arise ; go up to Bethel ; tabernacle there, and build an altar to the God that appeared to thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.' This may be considered as the call of the gospel, and its genuine language to all who believ. it. When guilty sinners are flying from the face of their greatest enemies, sin and Sa. tan, and the righteous judgment of God treading on their heels, the God that appeared to Jacob at Bethel is held up to their view on the cross, destroying death and him that had the power of it. All who have seen that great sight in Bethel, the ladder which opens heaven to guilty man, will hear the call, · Arise ; go up to Bethel ; dwell there beside God's altar.' They will be led to say, • How lovely are thy, tabernacles, O God of Hosts!'_ One day in thy courts is better than a thousand,' &c. We have a greater Bethel than that at Luz;—a more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands. We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle. Let us therefore go forth to him without the camp, taking up his cross and following Irim. In obedience to this call, Ja. cob purges his household : - Put away the strange gods that are te mong you ; be clean, and change your garments. No strange gods can be retained in Bethel : there is no god acknowledged in the Lord's house but that God who appeared to the guilty when ready to perish. There is no doctrine suffered there but the doctrine of atonement by the one offering of the Son of God. Neither Laban's teraphim, nor the gods of the Schechemites, can be admitted; for • what fellowship hath the temple of God with idols?' And as o ho. liness becometh thy house for ever,' the worshippers here must be clean, and change their garments.' In like manner now, every spirit which confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, every doctrine which has any other foundation than mercy through the am tonement, must be put away,' as a strange god. Not only so, but the disciple of Jesus Christ, who is at his commandment going up to Bethel, must put away all these, anger, wrath, malice,' &c. ; in a word, every kind of language which may be understood, by the apostolic expression, filthy communication out of your mouth,' must be hid under the oak. The washing and cleansing of garments under the Old Testament, though sanctifying only to the purifying of the flesh, was a striking figure of the Christian communion.

A guilty sinner is cleansed by the truth. Ye are clean,' said our Lord, • through the word that I have spoken to you.' Every church is clean, when they put away from among them wicked persons : when, walking in love, they look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;

lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble them, and so many be defiled. Thus, when through worldly connections, like that of Jacob's household at Schechem, defilement takes place, they call to mind that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and thus purge out the old leaven, that they may be a new lump, even as • Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.'

Jacob's household gave him their strange gods, and, it is added, their ear-rings, and Jacob hid them under the oak at Schechem. A question here naturally arises, What connection is there between strange gods and ear-rings? It is, beyond doubt, that what are here and in similar passages called ear-riags, were objects of idolatrous worship. When Aaron was leading the people in their idolatry, he said, • Break off the golden ear-rings, and bring them to me,' Exod. xxxii. 2. ; but instead of burying them, as Jacob did, he made a molten calf of them : these ear-rings were part of the spoil of the Egyptians. In like manner we find Gideon doing with the " rings

of the prey,' see Judges viii. 24-27. ; and there we are told that the Ishmaelites had ear-rings. When the church of God is described as turning aside to her idolatrous worship, it is said, and I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein ehe burnt incense to them, and she decked herself with her ear-rings, and forgat me, saith the Lord,' Hosea ii. 13. Now these strange gods were • hid under the oak at Schechem ;' we have elsewhere shewn that the oak was the place of worship ; and there alone are the strange gods of believers buried to this day.

ear.

In the 5th verse we are told, that they journeyed, and the terror of God was on the cities round about them, and they pursued not after them.' Never did the church of God keep steadily forward on their journey to Bethel, but she struck terror into her enemies; for with her face thitherward, she is clear as the sun, fair as the

moon, and terrible as an army with banners.' When Jacob's household appeared in Solomon's porch, of the rest durst no man join himself to them, but the people magnified the Lord.' A church of Jesus Christ makes just such an appearance to the surrounding world now, as Jacob's household did to the surrounding cities then ; hence, says an apostle, in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is an evident token to them of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.'

We next find Jacob safe at Bethel, and employed in that first and most important work, building his altar to the God that appeared to him in the day of his distress. What is Bethel without the altar? Or, what is a church of Christ without the memorial of his death? Here Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and was buried under the sacred oak of Bethel, on this account called Allon-bachuth, the oak of weeping. This Deborah seems entitled to the reader's attention, other. wise her burial would not be so particularly mentioned, nor would the oak have received a name worthy of being transmitted. Deborah means the word of Jehovah ; her office was to nurse Rebekah, and who is the nurse of the church of God to this day? Is it noc his word. But although the typical nurse died, her great antitype liveth and endureth for ever.' We find another

very

celebrated woman of this name afterwards arose in the church of Israel ; 'she was called a MOTHER there, and fulfilled her typical office as a mother, in a very remarkable manner, of which hereafter; but, does not the death of Deborah, the nurse, and Rachel, a mother in the household, lead us to think of this as a very remarkable period in Jacob's history? They journeyed but a little way from Bethel, where Deborah was buried, when they came to Ephrath, where Rachel died, and Benoni or Benjamin was born.

When the church of God came to Bethlehem-Ephratah, there the true Benjamin was born, and there the Old Testament word and ordinances, which had been the nurse of that church, died. The Old Testament church, Paul compares to a child under tutors and governors ; needing a nurse to feed them with her milk, the food suited for children, her worldly elements ; now Deborah performed the duties of her station, but when the ful. ness of the time was come, when there was but a little way to E. phrath, Deborah died. Yet even the death of the old nurse was a source of weeping to Jacob. When our Lord drew nigh to Jerusalem, he wept over the city. It was not to be wondered at, that the oak of Bethel, where all the nursing ordinances of the Old Testament were laid, should be called Allon-bachuth. Many of Jacob's sons dis. covered strong affection for the spiritual Deborah, many years after her death ; and it costs the apostles no little labour to wean their minds from Allon-bachuih. From the 9th to the 15th verse, we find God renewing his promise and covenant with Jacob; and here Ja. cob erected a pillar, and poured drink offerings on it. Under the articles Benjamin, Jacob, and Rachel, in Bibliotheca Sacra, the reader will find the death of Rachel and birth of Benjamin particularly examined: we would also particularly recommend Bishop Horne's sermon on Rachel to his notice. At Bethlehem-Ephratah she died, and there stands her monumental pillar. After this event, Jacob journeys, and spreads his tent beyond the tower of Edar, viz. the tower of the frock. The reader will find this tower mentioned, Micah iv. 8., and here stands Jerusalem. Edar was a tower on Mount Zion. After Benjamin's birth, that is, after the birth and resurrection of Christ, the tent of Jacob, that is, the church of God, was spread be. yond Edar, reaching forth to the Gentiles, who now were brought within the tent. In that land, Reuben defiled his father's bed. The spiritual defilement of Israel's bed in that land, needs no comment ; even by Reuben, his first born. We have dwelt longer on this chapter than our bounds will justify; but if we have thrown out any hints that may prove useful in directing to the spiritual design of the grand things here recorded, it will not be matter of regret.

CHAP. XXXVI.-records a distinct genealogical account of the family and posterity of Esau. Nor is this an useless subject : This genealogy, connected with the after history of his descendants, answers great purposes. It records the fulfilment of the divine pro. mises concerning them. When Rebekah .was pregnant with Jacob and Esau, the Lord informed her that two nations were in her womb, and that two manner of people should be separated from her bowels. In confirmation of this, the distinct race of Esau, for several generations, is recorded in this chapter; their decided hatred to the seed of Jacob is thereby more clearly to be traced, as it occurred in the af. ages

of the church. We have but one remark farther. To Ja.' cob and his seed were the promises made. Esau and his seed lost the blessing : according to worldly appearances, the very reverse was

Observe Jacob's posterity, and we shall find a race of shepherds, and men of little note, wandering without any fixed dwelling. Read this chapter, and we shall find a race of dukes and kings. Esau obtained one blessing, in answer to his request, • Bless me, even me also, O my father! Hast thou not one blessing left ?' He got it, and it was a worldly one. Jacob's was a better, and an enduring substance.

ter

the case.

Chap. XXXVII. -We now enter upon the interesting history of Joseph,--that history, that in childhood, manhood, or old age, equally interests and pleases. It differs from many others of those historical incidents which we have already noticed : they are of such a nature, that, without attending to the spiritual design of them, they are uninteresting, or unintelligible ; but in Joseph, we are impulsively drawn so closely to follow the plain and literal incidents of his life, that we are apt to forget, that a greater than Joseph is here !' But as his history is pretty fully examined in Bib. Sac. we shall content ourselves with a few brief remarks on the history, as the circumstan,

ces occur. It may be necessary, however, to premise, that our read. ers will only find us intelligible, by keeping in mind, that Joseph, in all his afflictions as well as grandeur, was an eminent type of the man of sorrows, to whom every knee shall bow, and tongue confess, that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In the preceding chapter, we were among the dukes of Edom: this brings us back to Jacob, a stranger in Canaan, and his sons wandering with their flocks a. round the country. Joseph, a strippling of seventeen, is occasionally with them, and appears thus early, like him who bore witness of the world, that the deeds thereof were evil. Human writers blame Jacob for his partiality to Joseph, but this love was divinely directed, to prefigure that love wherewith the true Joseph was beloved.

• This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Joseph's brethren hated him because of his father's love, as did the Jews, who took up stones to cast at Jesus for the same cause.

Dreams were one of the diverse manners in which Ged spake unto the fathers; and Joseph's dreams were not only prophetical of what literally befel him, but they were given to him as matter of divine re. velation. The purport of these dreams as understood by his brethren, and their envious remark, shalt thou indeed reign over us?” is plainly adopted by our Lord, Luke xix. 14. In the dream of the sun, moon and stars, verses 9. and 10. we have a just view and pattern of the figurative use of these heavenly bodies in other parts of scripture. Jacob by no means encouraged Joseph in his belief of this re. velation, so early was his faith tried; yet it is expressly said, that • his father observed the saying,' verse 10. ; in the same manner as it is said of Mary, the mother of our Lord, “ Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart,' Luke ii. 19. In verses 13. and 14. we have the gracious message on which Joseph was sent, to see if it fared well with his brethren and their flocks.' In like manner, the true Joseph, when he came to his brethren who crucified him, came on a message of infinite boundless mercy. Joseph leaves his father in the vale of Hebron, and goes after his brethren to Sche.chem, a distance of sixty miles ; still farther to Dothan, 2 Kings vi. 14. • And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.' It is impossible to read these words without remembering our Lord's allusion to them, Luke xx. 14. The reader

may also compare verse 20. with Psalm lxiv. 5. Reuben's language, verse 21. and 22. may be illustrated by Chapter xlii. 22. And the stripping him of his robe, verse 23. is expressed in the very language applied to Christ, Mat. xxvii. 28. We next find him cast into the pit, a circumstance to which we find frequent allusion in other places of scripture : the Psalmist speaking in the person of Christ, says, he brought me up also out of a horrible pit,' &c. Psalm. xl. 2. Again : • Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit,' Psalm. lxxxviii. 6. Jeremiah the prophet, who, like Joseph, was in many respects an eminent type of Christ, was also cast into a pit, plainly pointing to the depth of sufferings to which the Son of the Highest became obedient. Zechariah's words, Chap. ix. 11, and 12. seem to have a direct reference to Joseph'a pit,

G

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »