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A. M. cir. 2225.

B. C. cir. 1779.

Jacob's vision of the ladder.

GENESIS.

God renews his promises. 11 And he lighted upon a whereon thou liest, to thee will A. M. cir. 2225. B. C. cir. 1779.

certain place, and tarried there I give it, and to thy seed; all night, because the sun was' set ; and he 14 And ? thy seed shall be as the dust of took of the stones of that place, and put them the earth, and thou shalt y spread abroad 2 to for his pillows, and lay down in that place the west, and to the east, and to the north, to sleep.

and to the south : and in thee and in thy 12 And he s dreamed, and behold a ladder seed shall all the families of the earth be set up on the earth, and the top of it reached blessed. to heaven: and behold the angels of God as- 15. And, behold, I am with thee, and will cending and descending on it.

keep - thee in all places whither thou goest, 13 u And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and will bring thee again into this land; for and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham I will not leave thee, until I have done that thy father, and the God of Isaac : w the land which I have spoken to thee of.

V

• Chapter xli. l; Job xxxiii. 15. -1 John i. 51; Heb: i. 14. a Chap. xii. 3 ; xviii. 18; xxii. 18; xxvi. 4. 6 See ver. 20, u Chap. xxxv. 1 ; xlviii. 3. Chap. xxvi. 24. -* Chap. xiii. 21 ; chap. xxvi. 24 ; xxxi. 3. -- Chap. xlviii. 16; Psa. oxxi. 15; xxxv. 12.

Chapter xm; 16. - Heb. 'break forth. 5, 7, 8.-_d Chap. xxxv. 6. Deut. xxxvi. 6; Josh. i. 5; 2 Chap. xiii. 14. Deut. xii. 20.

1 Kings viii. 57 ; Heb. xiii. 5.-Num, xxiii. 19.

e

mael must have been dead about fourleen years. · But meet all occurrences with the conviction that all was if we allow the ingenious reasoning of Mr. Skinner working together for his good. 2. It might be intended and Dr. Kennicott, that Jacob was at this time only also to point out the intercourse between heaven and fifty-seven years of age, and Isaac consequently only earth, and the connection of both worlds by the means one hundred and seventeen, it will appear that Ishmael of angelic ministry. That this is fact we learn from did not die till six years after this period; and hence many, histories in the Old Testament; and it is a docwith propriety it might be said, Esau went unto Ish- trive that is unequivocally taught in the New: Are mael, and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael to they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister be his wife. See the notes on chap. xxxi. 38, &c. for them who shall be heirs of salvation? 3. It was

Verse 11. A certain place, and tarried there] From probably a type of Christ, in whom both worlds meet, ver. 19 we find this certain place was Luz, or some and in whom the Divine and human nature are conpart of its vicinity. Jacob had probably intended to joined. The LADDER was set up on the Earth, and reach Luz ;- but the sun being set, and night-coming the top of it reached to HEAVEN; for GOD was manion, he either could not reach the city, or he might sus- fested in the FLESH, and in him dwelt all the fulness pect the inhabitants, and father prefer the open field, of the Godhead bodily. Nothing could be a more exas he must have heard of the ter and conduct pressive emblem of the incarnation and its effects; of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. Or the gates Jesus Christ is the grand connecting medium between might be shut by the time he reached it, which would heaven and earth, and between God and man. By prevent his admission ; for it frequently happens, to the him God comes down to man; through him man aspresent day, that travellers not reaching a city in the cends to God. It appears that our Lord applies the eastern countries previously to the shutting of the gates, vision in this way himself, Ist, In that remarkable are obliged to lodge under the walls all night, as when speech to Nathanael, Hereafter ye shall see the heaven once shut they refuse to open them till the next day. opened, and the angels of God ascending and descendThis was probably. Jacob's case.

ing on the Son of man, John i. 51. 2dly, In his speech He look of the stones) He took one of the stones to Thomas, John xiv. 6: I am the way, and the truth, that were in that place : from ver. 18 we find it was and the life.; no man cometh unto the Father but by me. one stone only which he had for his pillow. Luz was Verse 13. I am the Lord God of Abraham) Here about forty-eight miles distant from Beer-sheba; too God confirms to him the blessing of Abraham, for great a journey for one day, through what we may which Isaac had prayed, ver. 3, 4. conceive very unready roads.r.

Verse 14. Thy seed shall be as the dust] The people Verse 12. He dreamed, and behold a ladder). A that shall descend from thee shall be extremely numemultitude of fanciful things have been spoken of Ja- rous, and in thee and thy seed--the Lord Jesus decob's vision of the ladder, and its signification. It scending from thee, according to the flesh, shall all the might have several designs, as God chooses to accom- families of the earthnot only all of thy race, but plish the greatest number of ends by the fewest and all the other families or tribes of mankind which have simplest means possible. 1. It is very likely that its not proceeded from any branch of the Abrahamic family, primary design was to point ut the providence of God, be blessed; for Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted by which he watches over and regulates all terrestrial death FOR EVERY MAN, Heb. ii. 9. things; for nothing is left to merely natural causes; a Verse 15. And, behold, I am with thee] For I fill heavenly agency pervades,' actuates, and directs all

. the heavens and the earth. "My Word shall be thy In his present circumstances it was highly necessary help.”—Targum. And will keep thee in all places, ev in that Jacob should have a clear and distinct view of odą mtaon, in all this way.-Septuagint. I shall direct, this subject, that he might be the better prepared to help, and support thee in a peculiar manner, in thy

B. C. cir. 1779.

B. C. cir. 1779.

it not.

Jacob awakes from sleep,

CHAP. XXVIII.

and sets up a pillar. A. M. cir. 2225. 16 And Jacob awaked out | house of God, and this is the A. M. cir. 2225.

of his sleep, and he said, Surely gate of heaven. the LORD is in 5 this place; and I knew 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning,

and took the stone that he had put for his 17 And he was afraid, and said, How dread- pillows, and h set it up for a pillar, i and ful is this place! this is none other but the poured oil upon the top of it. & Exod. iii. 5; Josh. v. 15. — Chap. xxxi. 13; 45; xxxv. 14.

Lev. viii. 10, 11, 12; Num. vii. 1. présent journey, be with thee while thou sojournest from Spain to Ireland, from Ireland to Scotland, and with thy uncle, and will bring thee again into this land; on it the kings of Scotland sat to be crowned ; and so that in all thy concerns thou mayest consider thy- concerning which the following leonine verses were self under my especial providence, for I will not leave made :thee. Thy, descendants also shall be my peculiar peo- Ni fallat fatum, -Scoti quocunque localum ple, whom I shall continue to preserve as such until I Invenient lapidem-regnare lenentur ibidem. have done that-which I have spoken to thee of_until

Or fate is blind-or Scots shall find the Messiah shall be born of thy race, and all the fami

Where'er this stone--the royal throne. lies of the earththe Gentiles, be blessed through thee;

Camden's Perthshire. the Gospel being preached to them, and they, with the 'believing Jews, made one fold under one SHEPHERD, this stone, called Jacob's pillar, and Jacob's pillow, is

Edward I. had it brought to Westminster; and there and one Bishop or Overseer of souls. And this cir

now placed under the chair on which the king sits when cumstantial promise has been literally and punctually

crowned! It would be as ridiculous to attempt to disfulfilled.

Verse 16. The Lord is in this place; and I knew prove the truth of this tradition, as to prove that the it not.] That is, God has made this place his pecu- tical stone which served the patriarch for a bolster.

stone under the old chair in Westminster was the idenliar residence; it is a place in which he meets with and reveals himself to his followers. Jacob might and altars, dedicated to Divine worship, were always

And poured oil upon the top of it.] Stones, images, have supposed that this place had been consecrated to God. And it bas already been supposed that, his mind anointed with oil. This appears to have been conhaving been brought into a humble frame, he was pre- worship, and a means of inducing the god or goddess

sidered as a consecration of them to the object of the pared to hold communion with his Maker, Verse 17. How dreadful is this place!) The ap: tions of their votaries. Anointing stones, images, &c.,

to take up their residence there, and answer the petipearance of the ladder, the angels, and the Divine is used in idolatrous countries to the present day, and glory at the top of the ladder, must have left deep the whole idol is generally' smeared over with oil, solemn, and even awful impressions on the mind of Jacob; and hence the exclamation in the text, How Sometimes, besides the anointing, a crown or garland dreadful is this place!

was placed on the stone or altar to honour the divinity, This is none other but the house of God] The who was supposed, in consequence of the anointing,

to have set up his residence in that place. It appears Chaldee gives this place a curious turn : “This is not a common place, but a place in which God delights;

to have been on this ground that the seats of polished and opposite to this place is the gate of heaven.” On- stone, on which the kings sat in the front of their kelos seems to suppose that the gate of entrance into palaces to administer justice, were anointed, merely to heaven was actually above this spot, and that when the invite the deity to reside there, that true judgment angels of God descended to earth, they came through might be given, and a righteous sentence always be that opening into this place, and returned by the same

pronounced. Of this we have an instance in HOMER, way. And it really appears that Jacob himself had Odyss. lib. V.,, ver. 406-410 :a similar notion.

Εκ δ' ελθων, κατ' αρ' εζετ' επι ξεστοισι λιθοισιν, Verse 18. And Jacob_took the stone and set il up

Οι οι εσαν προπαροιθε θυραων υψηλαων, , for a pillar] He placed the stone in an erect posture, Λευκοι, αποστιλβέντες αλειφατος: οις επι μεν πρινthat it might stand as a monument of the extraordinary Νηλευς ίζεσκεν, θεοφιν μηστωρ αταλαντος. vision which he had in this place; and he poured oil The old man early rose, walk'd forth, and sate upon it, thereby consecrating it to God, so that it might

On polish'd stone before his palace gate ; be considered an altar on which libations might be

With unguent smooth the lucid marble shone, poured, and sacrifices offered untó God.

See chap

Where ancient Neleus sate, a rustic throne. Pope. xxxv. 14.

The Brahmins anoint their stone images with oil before bathing; and some anoint them - with

This gives a part of the sense of the passage ; but sweet-scented oil. This is a practice which arises

the last line, on which much stress should be laid, is more from the customs of the Hindoos than from their very inadequately rendered by the English poet. It

should be translated, idolatry. Anointing persons as an act of homage has been transferred to their idols.

Where Neleus sat, equal in counsel to the gods ; There is a foolish tradition that the stone set up by because inspired by their wisdom, and which inspiraJacob was afterwards brought to Jerusalem, from which, tion he and his successor took pains to secure by conafter a long lapse of time, it was brought to Spain, secrating with the anointing oil the seat of judgment

B. C. cir. 1779.

B. C. cir. 1779.

Jacob calls the name

GENESIS

of the place Beth-el A. M. cir. 2225. 19 And he called the name of * God will be with me, and will A. M. cir. 2225.

k that place Beth-el : but the keep me in this way that I go, name of that city was called Luz at the first. and will give me bread to eat, and raiment

20 m And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If to put on, k Judges i. 23, 26; Hosea iv. 15.- That is, the house m Chap. xxxi. ' 13; Judg. xi. 30; 2 Sam. xv. 8. — Ver. 15. of God.

o 1 Tim. vi. 8.

on which they were accustomed to sit. Some of the idolatrous purposes, and hence God strongly prohibits ancient commentators on Homer mistook the meaning them, Lev. xxvi. 1; and it is very likely that stones of this place by not understanding the nature of the. of this kind were the most ancient objects of idolacustom; and these Cowper unfortuņately follows, trans- trous worship: these were afterwards formed into beaulating “resplendent as with oil ;" which as destroys tiful human figures, male and female, when the art of the whole sense, and obliterates the allusion. This sculpture became tolerably perfected, and hence the sort of anointing was a common custom in all antiquity, origin of idolatry as far as it refers to the worshipping and was probably derived from this circumstance. Ar- of images, for these, being consecrated by anointing, nobius tells us that it was customary with himself while &c., were supposed immediately to become inslinct a heathen, "when he saw a smooth polished stone that with the power and energy of some divinity. Hence, had been smeared with oils, to kiss and adore it, as if then, the Baetylia or living stones of the ancient Phopossessing a Divine virtue.” Si quando conspexeram nicians, &c. As oil is an emblem of the gifts and lubricatum lapidem, et ex olivi unguine sordidatum graces of the Holy Spirit, so those who receive this (ordinatum ?) tanquam inesset vis .præsens, adulabar, anointing are considered as being alive unto God, and affabar. And Theodoret, in his eighty-fourth question are expressly called by St. Peter living stones, 1 Pet on Genesis, asserts that many pious women in his time ii. 4,5. May not the apostle have reference to those were accustomed to anoint the coffins of the martyrs, living stones or Baetyllia of antiquity, and thus,correct &c. And in Catholic countries when a church is con- the notion by showing that these rather represented the secrated they anoint the door-posts, pillars, altars, &c. true worshippers of God, who were consecrated to his So under the law, there was a holy anointing oil to service and made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and sanctify the tabernacle, laver, and all other things used that these alone could be properly called the living stones in God's service, Exod. xh.9, &c.

out of which the true spiritual temple is composed 3 Verse 19. He called 'the name of that place Beth-el] Verse 20. Vowed a vow] A vow is a solemn, holy That is, the house of God; før in consequence of his promise, by which a man bound himself to do certain having anointed the stone, and thus consecrated it to things in a particular way, time, &c., and for power God, he considered it as becoming henceforth his pe-| to accomplish which he depended on God; hence all culiar residence ; see on the preceding verse. This vows were made with prayer. word should be always pronounced as two distinct syl- If God will be with me, fc.) Jacob seems to make lables, each strongly accented, Beth-E!

this vow rather for his posterity than for himself, as Was called Luz at the first.]. The Hebrew has we may learn from ver. 13–15; for he particularly 115 Bhix Ulam Luz, which the Roman-edition of the refers to the promises which God had made to him, Septuagint' translates Ovaauhovç "Qulamlouz; the which concerned the multiplication of his offspring, Alexandrian M8.;' Ovajavs Qulammaus; the Al- and their establishment in that land. If, then, God dine, Ovhaujaous Oulammaous ; Symmachus, Aapl-shall fulfil these promises, he binds his posterity to pacus Lammaous ; and some others, Ovaan, Oulam. build God a house, and to devote for the maintenance The Hebrew his ulam is sometimes a particle sig- of his worship the tenth of all their earthly goods. nifying as, just as; hence it may signify that the place This mode of interpretation removes that appearance was called Beth-El, as it was formerly called Luz. of self-interest which almost any other view of the As Luz signifies an almond, almond or hazel tree, this subject presents. Jacob had certainly, long ere this, place probably had its name from a number of such taken Jehovah for his God; and so thoroughly had he trees growing in that region. Many of the ancients been instructed in the knowledge of Jehovah, thắt we confounded this city with Jerusalem, to which they at- may rest satisfied no reverses of fortune could hrave . tribute the eight following names, which are all ex-induced him to apostatize : but as his taking refuge pressed in this verse :

with Laban was probably typical of the sojourning of Solyma, Luza, Bethel, Hierosolyma, Jebus, Ælia, his descendants in Egypt, his persecution, so as to be Urbs sacra, Hierusalem dicitur atque Salem.

obliged to depart from Laban, the bad treatment of his Solyma, Luz, Beth-El, Hierosolyma, Jebus, Ælia, servation on his journey, re-establishment in his own

posterity by the Egyptians, his rescue from death, preThe holy city is call’d. as also Jerusalem and Salem.

country, &c., were all typical of the exodus of his deFrom Beth-El came the Baetylia, Bethyllia, Bal- scendants, their travels in the desert, and establishment Tuha, or animated slones, so celebrated in antiquity, in the promised land, where they built a house to God, and to which Divine honours were paid. The tradi- and where, for the support and maintenance of the pure tion of Jacob anointing this stone, and calling the place worship of God, they gave to the priests and Levites Beth-El, gave rise to all the superstitious accounts of the tenth of all their worldly produce. If all this be the Baetylia or consecrated stones, which we find in understood as referring to Jacob only; the Scripture Sanchoniathon and others. These became abused to gives us no information how he performed his vow.

Jacob promises to God

CHAP. XXVIII.

the tenth of all his goods. A. M. cir. 2225. 21 So that I come again to my a pillar, shall be God's house : A. M. cir. 2225. B. C. cir. 1779.

B. C. cir. 1779. father's house in peace; then and of all that thou shalt shall the LORD be

my
God :

give me I will surely give the tenth unto 22 And this stone, which I have set for thee. p Judg. xi. 31 ; 2 Samuel xix, 24, 30,- -9 Exodus xv. 2; Deut. - Ver. 17; chap. xiv. 20; Xxxv. 7, 14. Lev. xxvii. 30-33; xxvi. 17; 2 Sam. xv, 8 ; 2 Kings v. 17.

Deut. xiv. 22, 23. Verse 22. This stone shall be God's house] That paid by some other method, as this appears in the is, (as far as this matter refers to Jacob alone,) should present state of things to be very objectionable ; and I be preserved to return in safety, I shall worship the mode of levying them is vexatious in the extreme, God in this place. And this purpose he fulfilled, for and serves to sow dissensions between the clergyman there he built an altar, anointed it with oil, and poured and his parishioners, by which many are not only a drink-offering thereon.

alienated from the Church, but also from the power as For a practical use of Jacob's vision, see note on well as the form of godliness. But still the labourer verse 12.

is worthy of his hire; and the maintenance of the pub

lic ministry of the word of God should not be left to On the doctrine of tithes, or an adequate support the caprices of men. He who is only supported for his to for the ministers of the Gospel, I shall here register work, will be probably abandoned when he is no longer my opinion. Perhaps a word may be borne from one capable of public service. I have seen many aged and who never received any, and has none in prospect. worn-out ministers reduced to great necessity, and Tithes in their origin appear to have been a sort of almost literally obliged to beg their bread among those eucharistic offering made unto God, and probably were whose opulence and salvation were, under God, the something similar to the minchah, which we learn from fruits of their ministry! Such persons may think they Gen. iv. was in use almost from the foundation of the do God service by disputing against “tithes, as legal world. When God established a regular, and we may institutions long since abrogated," while they permit add an expensive worship, it was necessary that proper their worn-out ministers to starve :but how shall they provision should be made for the support of those who appear in that day. when Jesus shall say, I was hungry, were obliged to devote their whole time to it, and con- and ye gave me no meat ; thirsty, and ye gave me no sequently were deprived of the opportunity of providing drink; naked, and ye clothed me not ? It is true, that for themselves in any secular way. It was soon found where a provision is established on a certain order of that a tenth part of the produce of the whole land was priesthood by the law, it may be sometimes claimed necessary for this purpose, as a whole tribe, that of and consumed by the worthless and the profane ; but Levi, was devoted to the public service of God; and this is no necessary consequence of such establishwhen the land was divided, this tribe received no in- ment, as there are laws which, if put in action, have heritance among their brethren. Hence, for their sup- suficient energy to expel every wicked and slothful port, the law of tithes was enacted; and by these the servant from the vineyard of Christ. This however priests and Levites were not only supported as the is seldom done. At all events, this is no reason why ministers of God, but as the teachers and intercessors those who have served God and their generation should of the people, performing a great variety of religious not be comfortably supported during that service ; and duties for them which otherwise they themselves were when incapable of it, be furnished at least with the bound to perform. As this mode of supporting the necessaries of life. Though many ministers have ministers of God was instituted by himself, so we may reason to complain of this neglect, who have no claims rest assured it was rational and just. Nothing can be on a legal ecclesiastical establishment, yet none have more reasonable than to devote a portion of the earthly cause for louder complaint than the generality of those good which we receive from the free mercy of God, called curates, or unbeneficed ministers, in the Church lo his own service ; especially when by doing it we of England : their employers clothe themselves with are essentially serving ourselves. If the ministers of the wool, and feed themselves with the fat; they tend God give up their whole time, talents, and strength, not the flock, and their substitutes that perform the to watch over, labour for, and instruct the people in labour and do the drudgery of the office, are permitted spiritual things, justice requires that they shall receive at least to half starve on an inadequate remuneration. their support from the work. How worthless and Let a national worship be supported, but let the supwicked must that man be, who is continually receiving port be derived from a less objectionable source than good from the Lord's hands without restoring any part tithes ; for as the law now stands relative to them, no for the support of true religion, and for charitable pur- one purpose of moral instruction or piety can be proposes ! To such God says, Their table shall become moted by the system. On their present plan tithes a snare to them, and that he will curse their blessings. are oppressive and unjust ; the clergyman has a right God expects returns of gratitude in this way from by law to the tenth of the produce of the soil, and to every man; he that has much should give plenteously, the tenth of all that is supported by it. He claims he that has little should do his diligence to give of even the tenth egg, as well as the tenth apple ; the that little.

tenth of all grain, of all hay, and even of all the pro, It is not the business of these notes to dispute on duce of the kitchen garden; but he contributes nothing the article of tithes ; certainly it would be well could to the cultivation of the soil. A comparatively poor a proper substitute be found for them, and the clergy man rents a farm; it is entirely out of heart, for it VOL. I. ( 13 )

177

Jacob travels toward Haran,

GENESIS.

and comes to a well.

has been exhausted; it yields very little, and the tenth upon the soil pays tithes : his skill and industry also is not much ; at the expense of all he has, he dresses are lithed; or if he have been obliged to borrow cash, and manures this ungrateful soil ; to repay him and he not only has to pay tithes on the produce of this borkeep up the cultivation would require three years' pro- rowed money, but five per cent. interest for the money duce. It begins to yield we and the clergyman takes itself. All this is oppressive and cruelly unjust. I the tenth which is now in quantity and quality more in say again, let there be a national religion, and a navalue than a pound, where before it was not a shilling. tional clergy supported by the state ; but let them be But the whole crop would not repay the farmer's ex- supported by a tar, not by tithes, or rather let them be penses. In proportion to the farmer's improvement is paid out of the general taxation ; or, if the tithe systhe clergyman's tithe, who has never contributed one tem must be continued, let the poor-rates be abolished, shilling to aid in this extra produce! Here then not and the clergy, out of the tithes, support the poor in only the soil pays tithes, but the man's properly brought their respective parishes, as was the original custom.

CHAPTER XXIX.

Jacob proceeds on his journey, 1. Comes to a well where the flocks of his uncle Laban, as well as those of

several others, were usually watered, 2, 3. Inquires from the shepherds concerning Laban and his family, 4-6. While they are conversing about watering the sheep, 7, 8, Rachel arrives, 9. He assists her to water her flock, 10; makes himself known unto her, 11, 12. She hastens home and communicates the tidings of Jacob's arrival to her father, 12. Laban hastens to the well, embraces Jacob, and brings him home, 13. After a month's stay, Laban proposes to give Jacob wages, 14, 15. Leah and Rachel described, 16, 17. Jacob proposes to serve seven years for Rachel, 18. Laban consents, 19. When the seven years were fulfilled, Jacob demands his wife, 20, 21. Laban makes a marriage feast, 22 ; and in the evening substitutes Leah for Rachel, to whom he gives Zilpah for handmaid, 23, 24. Jacob discovers the fraud, and upbraids Laban, 25. He excuses himself, 26 ; and promises to give him Rachel for another seven years of service, 27. After abiding a week with Leah, he receives Rachel for wife, lo whom Laban gives Bilhah for handmaid, 28, 29. Jacob loves Rachel more than Leah, and serves seven years for her, 30. Leah being despised, the Lord makes her fruitful, while Rachel continues barren, 31. Leah bears Reuben,

32, and Simeon, 33, and Levi, 34, and Judah ; after which she leaves off bearing, 35. A. M. cir . 2225. THEN Jacob & went on his | 3 And thither were all the flocks A. M. cir

. 2225

B. C. cir. 1779. journey, and came into gathered : and they rolled the the land of the people of the east.

stone from the well's mouth, and watered the 2 And he looked, and behold a well in the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep mouth in his place. lying by it ; for out of that well they watered 4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, the flocks : and a great stone was upon the whence be ye? And they said, « Of Haran well's mouth.

are we.

-ha העררים Instead of

a Heb. lift up his feet.—- Chap. xxvii. 5-7; Num. xxiii. 7;

e Hebrews, children.- - Chapter xxvii. 43; Judg. vi. 3, 33, Hos. xii. 12.

xxviii. 10. NOTES ON CHAP. XXIX.

for Laban's flock was yet to come, under the care of Verse 1. Then Jacob went on his journey) The Rachel, ver. 6. original is very remarkable ; And Jacob lifted up his Verse 3. All the flocks] feet, and he travelled unto the land of the children of darim, flocks, the Samaritan reads by NT 9X haroim, the east. There is a certain cheerfulness marked in shepherds ; for which reading Houbigant strongly conthe original which comports well with the state of tends, as well in this verse as in verse 8. It certainly mind into which he had been brought by the vision of cannot be said that all the flocks rolled the stone from the ladder and the promises of God. He now saw the well's mouth, and watered the sheep: and yet so that having God for his protector he had nothing to it appears to read if we prefer the common Hebrew fear, and therefore he went on his way rejoicing. text to the Samaritan. It is probable that the same

People of the east.] The inhabitants of Mesopota- reading was originally that of the second verse also. mia and the whole country beyond the Euphrates are And put the stone again upon the well's mouth] It called DTP kedem, or easterns, in the sacred writings. is very likely that the stone was a large one, which

Verse 2. Three flocks of sheep]ytson, small was necessary to prevent ill-minded individuals from cattle, such as sheep, goats, &c.; see on chap. xü. 16. either disturbing the water, or filling up the well; hence a Sheep, in a healthy state, seldom drink in cold and great stone was provided, which required the joint exercomparatively cold countries : but it was probably dif- tions of several shepherds to remove it; and hence those ferent in hot climates. The three flocks, if flocks and who arrived first waited till all the others were come up, not shepherds be meant, which were lying now at the that they might water their respective flocks in concert. well, did not belong to Laban, but to three other chiefs; Verse 4. My brethren, whence be ye.?] The lan178

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