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Levi was not reckoned among them, as that tribe was appointed by God to be priests, and to do only sacred work.
Esan's final Removal from Canaan,
GENESIS XXXVI. 6, 7. You may, perhaps, wish to know what became of Esau after he had buried his father.
He took what property came to him, and left Canaan entirely to his brother Jacob. He had now become very rich, as his father, when he comforted him after he had lost his birthright, had foretold : “ Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above.” As it seldom rains in hot countries, the dews that wet the ground make its herbs and trees to bear fruit in abundance; and the words of his father clearly meant, that his lands should be well watered, and bring him much riches; and so it came to pass.
Joseph and his Brethren.
GENESIS XXXVII. Joseph was the eldest son of Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob : he was very dear to his father, because his mother was dead; and he was his comfort, being a dutiful and affectionate child. No wonder, therefore, that his father loved him ; but still he was wrong to make so marked a distinction between him and the rest of his brothers. He made him a coat of many colours, probably being cloths of different dyes sewn together in stripes, and this, no doubt, greatly tended to add to the envy of his brethren; besides which, they did bad things, and he told of them,—so that at last they hated him, and could not speak a kind word to him.
Joseph was now seventeen years of age ; and though he was his father's darling, he was not brought up in idleness. “Those that are trained up to do nothing, are likely to be good for nothing ;" Joseph was therefore a shepherd, and fed the flocks with his brethren.
"And Joseph dreamed a dream.” He thought he was binding sheaves in the field, and his brethren's sheaves all bowed to his sheaf. And he dreamt again that the sun, moon, and eleven stars, bowed to him.
These his brethren and father explained as meaning that they were to bow to him; and his brethren hated him the more on this account, while his
father blamed him for telling such dreams, but kept them in his memory, to see what would come to pass.
“And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem,” where, perhaps, Jacob was afraid they might be in danger of being attacked and killed, as they had attacked and killed the Shechemites. And Jacob sent Joseph to see if they were safe.
At length he “ found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him : and we shall see what will become of his dreams." In this way they proposed to commit murder ; and then, as one sin leads to another, to cover that murder with a lie.
Reuben and Judah did not, however, agree in this treatment of their brother; Reuben said, “Do not sin against the child,” for Joseph was a child to them. But “they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him ; and they took him, and cast him into a pit.” Poor Joseph had, in the anguish of his soul, besought them to have pity on him; but they would not hear. So he was left, after his journey, to perish in the pit with hunger and cold.
But not long after, some Ishmaelites and Midianites, who were merchants, happened to be travelling that way in company; and Judah proposed to sell Joseph to them, by which means they should easily get rid of him, and he would, probably, never be likely to become their master, for he would go into Egypt, and there be sold as a slave. So “they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver"—that is, about three pounds worth of our money—and “ they brought Joseph into Egypt."
Reuben was just then gone from his brethren ; and probably by a roundabout way he arrived at the pit, with a design to get his brother out and send him safe home. But to his surprise he was not there, and as a token of his grief he rent his clothes.
"And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and they dipped the coat in the blood.” This coat they sent to poor old Jacob, to ask if it did not belong to Joseph, and to make him suppose that a wild beast had torn his dear boy to pieces and devoured him. “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins,"—that is, a very coarse cloth, of which sacks were, and still are, made; which, besides the tearing of the
clothes, was a further sign of grief;—and he “mourned for his son many days."
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Joseph in Potiphar's House.
He was a good youth, and feared God; and God so blest him, that his master took a great liking to him, and made him head servant over all his house.
But Joseph's mistress was a wicked woman, and she planned his ruin, because he would not break his master's confidence, by constantly keeping company with her; which would have been very much out of order for the young man, and especially one in his situation.
And Joseph reasoned with her, and said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
At length Potiphar's wife one day caught hold of Joseph's outer garment, and as he fled from her, not wishing to be found in company with so wicked a woman, she held the garment fast till it fell from him, and then she kept it, and showed it to Potiphar when he came home, and said to him that Joseph had come to her to mock and insult her while he was out; that this