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4. See how secretly the providence of God works to bring about its own purposes, and in how mysterious a manner! This was the beginning of the whole scheme of the Jewish economy. Observe on how many circumstances it depended ; on Reuben's interposition ; on Judah's proposal ; on the merchants coming by at that time ; on his being sold into Egypt, to one of Pharaoh's officers ! In all this we see the finger of God. There are many devices in the heart of man, but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. This is a key to many circumstances in the course of our lives, which may seem trifling in themselves, but on which great and important events depend. . 5. Much of our sorrow for our departed friends arises from ig. Borance and mistakes. Jacob's sorrow is an emblem of ours ; he saw the garment torn, and concluded that Joseph was destroyed. We see the body, which is but the soul's clothing, torn and breathless, and we conclude the soul is lost, at least we too often act as if we thought so ; but the rent of the body only serves to let out the soul. Thus, like Jacob, we often perplex ourselves with supposing things to be much worse than they are. If we could but be undeceived, if we did but know things right, we should act quite otherwise. We mourn our departed friends, because their bodies are torn and left behind, when, like Joseph, they are gone to reign, and to be ten thousand times happier than they could be with us. To give way to immoderate sorrow for our departed friends, is dishonourable to God and religion, and shows our ignorance or forgetfulness. So Paul in 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14. I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Jacob's over affectionate love to Joseph, and his immoderate grief, when he supposed him dead, teach us, as the apostle advises, to rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and to weep as though we wept not, and to use all our comforts so as not to overvalue or abuse them, since they are continually passing away,

CHAP. XXXVIII..

In the middle of Joseph's story we find here related some particulars

of Judah's family : his murriage ; the death of his sons ; his incest with Tamar ; his confusion at its discovery ; and the birth

of twin sons, in whom his family was built up.* L A N D it came to pass at that time, that Judah went downý

A from his brethren, having quarrelled with them about selling Joseph, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose

name (was] Hirah ; a Canaanite, of little religion, but perhaps 2 as much as himself. And Judah saw there a daughter of a

certain Canaanite, whose name (was] Shuah ; and he took

her to wife, contrary to his father's consent, (ch. xxiv. 3.) and 3 went in unto her. And she conceived, and bare a son ; and 4 he called his name Er. And she conceived again, and bare 5 a son ; and she called his name Onan. And she yet again

conceived, and bare a son ; and called his name Shelah : and

he was at Chezib, when she bare him. 6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name

[was] Tamar ; a tall, beautiful person, like a palm tree, as the 7 word signifies. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in

the sight of the LORD : and the LORD slew him, in some ex. 8 traordinary and remarkable manner. And Judah said unto

Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, accord. ing to that levitical law, made afterward (Deut. xxv. 5.) and raise up seed to thy brother ; beget a child which may bear thy brother's name, and have his inheritance. In this case the

eldest child was looked upon as the brother's, all the rest would 9 be considered as his own. And Onan knew that the seed, the

firstborn (Deut. xxv. 6.) should not be his : and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled [it] on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. This was a wicked action, springing from an envious and

obstinate tempier ; and God was pleased severely 10 punish it. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD : wherefore

hę slew him also, struck him dead in an awful manner. Let

selfpolluting sinners hear and fear, and do no more wickedly. 11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a

widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown : for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren [did.) And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's bouse.

And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died ; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep

shearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father in law goeth

.. As this chapter interrupts the history of Joseph, the reading of it may be omitted in Punilica

14 up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow's

garments off from her, and covered her with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which [is] by the way to Timnath ; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. Her intention probably was

to catch Shelah, whom she expected Judah would bring with 15 him. When Judah saw her, he thought her [to be) an harlot ;

because she had covered her face. So harlots were used to do, 16 12ot having then learned to glory in their shame. And he turn

ed unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee ; (for he knew not that she (was] his

daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, 17 that thou mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send

[thee] a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give 18 [me] a pledge, till thou send [it ?] And he said, What

pledge shall I give thee ? And she said, Thy signet, and thy
bracelets, perhaps a cloak or a girdle of small value, and thy

staff that (is) in thine hand. And he gave [it] her, and came 19 in unto her, and she conceived by him. And she arose, and

went away, and laid by her veil from her, and put on the gar20 ments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid by the

hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive [his! pledge 21 from the woman's hand : but he found her not. Then he

asked the men of that place, saying, Where [is] the harlot

that (was] openly by the way side? And they said, There was 22 no harlot in this (place.] And he returned to Judah, and

said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, * 23 [that] there was no harlot in this [place.] And Judah said,

Let her take [it] to her, lest we be shamed : behold, I sent : 24 this kid, and thou hast not found her. And it came to pass

about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot ; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, that she may be tried, and if found guilty, when

she is delivered, let her be burned ; let her be put to death, 25 according to the law of God and of nations. When she was]

brought forth, to be tried for her adultery (for she was betrothed to Shelah and considered as his wife,) she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man whose these [are, am] I with child:

and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose [are) these, the 26 signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged

[them,) and said, She hath been more righteous than I; she
has more reason to accuse me, than I her ; since I have been
the cause of her sin ; because that I gave her not to Shelah .
my son. And he knew her again no more ; he was ashamed
of his sin, and did not repeat it ; and probably was not married
after this, as we do not read of any other children of his.
VOL. I.

W

27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold,

twins (were] in her womb ; and she had hard labour, as a pun. 28 ishment for her sin. And it came to pass, when she travailed

that (the one] put out (his] hand : and the midwife took and

bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out 29 first, and shall be considered as the firstborn. And it came to

pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out : and she said, How hast thou broken forth ? [this]

breach [be] upon thee : therefore his name was ealled Pha30 rez, that is, a breach. And afterward came out his brother,

that had the scarlet thread upon his hand : and his name was called Zarah, he ariseth or cometh forth again. Some commen.

tators have laboured to find an extraordinary mystery in the birth of these children, as relating to the Jews and Gentiles ; but I

think without any solid foundation.

REFLECTIONS.

1. M oD is highly displeased with the sins of young people.

U Neither Er nor Onan could be much above sixteen, yet they were severely punished. Youth has no licence to act at random. Some sins are called tricks of youth, and therefore are looked upon as small matters, but they are not so in God's esteem. When men are capable of discerning good and evil, God expects that they act wisely, and he will punish them here or hereafter if they do not. He sometimes takes them away in his , wrath, and thus makes them awful warnings to others. There*fore young men are exhorted to be sober minded, and to flee youthful lusts, which war against the estate and reputation, the body and soul.

2. How does lust besot the mind, and bring shame on those who indulge it! What scandalous stories are these ! Such as Josephus, the Jewish historian, was ashamed to mention, as bringing a disgrace on the father of his nation. Lust robs a man of his bracelet and staff, his ornament and defence, and leaves men in a weak, infamous state. What a wretched figure does this patriarch make, when going in, as he supposed, to an harlot ! It should make us all careful to mortify the deeds of the body, and keep ourselves pure.

3. How many dread shame more than sin ; the tongues of men more than the eyes of God! Lest we be shamed, has a greater influence with many, than lest we be damned ; so unaccountable is the folly of this world. But how unworthy is this of the character of one of God's people ! Seneca, an heathen, could say, “ Though all men should be ignorant of the evil I do, and I knew the gods would forgive me, yet for the filthiness there is in sin, I would not commit it. Fear of shame may preserve from some sins, but the fear of God is the only preservative from all sin.

4. How ready are we to censure our own faults when we ob. serve them in others ! Judah pronounced a very severe sentence on Tamar. Let us take heed that wherein we judge others, we do not at the same time condemn ourselves : our Lord's advice is, First take the beam out of thine own eye, then thou wilt see clear. ly to take the mote out of thy brother's eye.

CHAP. XXXIX.

We have before us a remarkable instance of Joseph's chastity and

integrity, and his overcoming one of the most formidable tempta. tions that ever youth was attacked with ; a deliverance, says one of the ancients, as astonishing and remarkable as that of the three children in the fiery furnace. We have in this chapter his ad. vancement, his glorious conquest of a strong temptation ; his false accusation and imprisonment ; and God's gracious appear. ance for him

AND Joseph was brought down to Egypt ; and Potiphar,

H an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard who attend. ed the king's person when he went abroad, and who had the charge of the state prison, an Egyptian, bought him of the

hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thith2 er : into his family Joseph was taken, and God blessed him. And

the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man ; · God was with him, blessing and prospering all he took in hand :

and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian, and applied himself patiently and faithfully to that low estate wherein 3 God's providence had placed him. And his master saw that

the LORD (was) with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand ; which probably was not the case before Joseph came irto his family, And Joseph found grace in his sight, was no longer treated by him as a slave, and he served him, attended his person ; and, after some time, he made him overseer over kis house, and all [that] he had he

put into his hand, he became steward of his houschold, and su. 5 perintended all his affairs. And it came to pass from the

time (that) he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake ; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field ; every thing succeeded the better for Joseph's having a hand in them. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand ; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat ; cvery thing was trusted to Joseph's management. Thus was the mus. ter happy in an excellent servant, and the servant happy in

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