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Elohim ; in other words, Jehovah blesses especially with blessings of his omnipotence, his creative power.” p. 197. It is unnecessary to remark, that the representations of both these writers are far-fetched, in consequence of an unnecessary application of a correct theory.
The same remark applies in part to Hengstenberg's explanation of the usage in chap. xxvii. and xxviii. The dimsighted Isaac speaks of the perfumed clothes of the supposed Esau thus: “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed.” xxvii. 27. “Had the comparison been taken from an ordinary richly blooming field, Elohim would have been employed. The use of Jehovah shows that the reference is to a field such as those of Paradise, wherein the traces of the Deity clearly shine forth, -an ideal field, holding the same relation to ordinary ones, as Israel did to the heathen, a sort of magic garden," &c. Such a land of enchantment he discovers Canaan to have been in some degree, when it became the residence of the chosen people. The odoriferous vestments of Jacob are viewed by his father as the type of Jehovah's garden, to be verified for Israel, as is pointed out in the words, “God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth and plenty of corn and wine.” v. 28. p. 365, 366. The learned writer is carried away by his imagination. Doubtless the blessings referred to are, in a good degree, “theocratical,” as he says, “and appertain, not to the general, but especial providence of God;" and therefore the phraseology, “field which Jehovah hath blessed,” is entirely apposite. But that the blessings referred to in xxv. 11, where the language is, " and God blessed Isaac," do not comprehend the same sort of benefactions, is incapable of proof. It would seem plain, that the choice of either term was in both places a matter of indifference.
In xxviii. 16, also, when Jacob awakes from his vision and
says, “ surely Jehovah is in this place,” we are told, that “ Elohim could not have been employed,” because, in that case, it would have implied Jacob's ignorance of the doctrine of the divine omnipresence. p. 368.* But the correctness of this inference depends on Jacob's meaning. Undoubtedly he might say, “ God is in this place and I knew it not,” if he meant that the Deity was peculiarly present to bless him. Jehovah indeed would be altogether appropriate, but Elohim might well be used, and in either case the sense would be precisely the same. The right explication of the usage in both the chapters would seem to be in general simply this, that the Jehovah of xxvii. is identical with the Elohim of xxviii.—I have only to remark further, that Drechsler is undoubtedly right, when he represents the first four verses of chap. xxviii. as having a retrospective reference to chap. xvii. See p. 198. Compare especially the third verse of the former with the first of the latter.
xxix. 31-XXX. 24. In this section, the terms by which the Deity is designated are interchangeably used in connexion with the birth of Jacob's sons. The principles already laid down sufficiently explain the usage. And the frequent use of Elohim in chap. xxx. calls the reader's attention to the births in reference to which it occurs, as peculiar favours of
* According to Ewald, “ Jacob is reminded that his own family God is near him even in remote lands.” Of course, any other term than Jehovah would fail of the object. “That some deity ruled over the country, Jacob had no need to be informied; but that his powerful family God bore sway here also, he recognizes with the greatest joy." p. 59. According to this view, Jacob's knowledge of the true God was like that of Balak, who supposed that, although the divine influence might indeed prevent Balaam from cursing the Israelites from one spot, another might be selected in which it should not be exerted; or, of those Syrians who thought, that “the Lord might be God of the bills, but not of the valleys.” See Num. xxiii. 13, 27; 1 Kings, xx. 23, 28. How different this is from the real fact, it were idle to show to any believer in the inspiration of the Scriptures.
a beneficent Providence. It is unnecessary to search farther for any recondite motive for the choice of the term. But the writer to whom I am so much indebted, and from whose particular views I am compelled so often to dissent, is not satisfied with such a general solution. He finds a reason in what he supposes to be the internal condition of the two sisters at the various times of their becoming mothers. “ Leah had suffered unrighteous treatment, and been subjected to mortification ; Jacob's averseness to her was chiefly attributable to her hard-hearted and invidious sister, who made this averseness an occasion of ridicule and contempt. Under these circumstances Leah and the author both recognized, in her own fruitfulness and Rachel's barrenness, not merely the general operation of Providence, but the especial influence of the righteous, retributive God. At the birth of “ her maid’s” children, no reference to the Deity occurs. In that of the 5th and 6th sons, an influence of Elohim is recognized ; that particular significancy intended by the birth of the first four, here finds no place; the object designed had been effected, and things resume their ordinary course ; Leah's consciousness of the divine influence is less active ; her eye is principally directed to natural causes, and she acknowledges only an indefinite divine co-operation."*
“ The later feeling of Leah influenced Rachel from the beginning. She had no impulse raising her to Jehovah, whom she could not but regard in the light of a judge and avenger. She would the more hesitate to express his name at the birth of “ her maid's” sons, in proportion as she was conscious how much she had contributed to the event. After she has recognized the favour of God in the birth of
* He then refers to what he had before said on the birth of Abel. See above, p. 19, 20.
her own first son, does she become more confident. She ventures to apply to Jehovah for a second son, forgetting that he ought to be the object of her fear, inasmuch as she persists in unrighteous conduct towards her sister. The son she prays for from Jehovah is indeed given by Jehovah, but as the son of her sorrow.” p. 374, 375.
It is impossible to read this representation of the simple narrative without feeling, that, while it contains some truth, it is overstrained and unjust to Rachel. Her sentiments towards her less loved, but, as a mother, more favoured sister, are doubtless not to be vindicated; but this writer's exceedingly unfavourable exhibition of them is unwarranted, and the inferences he deduces altogether extravagant. Rachel's language on occasion of the birth of Dan, is a pious recognition of the divine protection, and on becoming herself the mother of Joseph, her piety and gratitude and faith are alike conspicuous. Undeviating adherence to a theory seems in this instance not only to have perverted Dr. Hengstenberg's judgment, but to have dimmed his perception of right. His mode of accounting for the use of Elohim on the birth of Leah’s fifth and sixth sons, when Jehovah had been employed by her before, is quite unnecessary, and assumes a change of views and feelings in the mother, wholly improbable.
In some other portions of Genesis, the author's assumptions appear to be equally arbitrary. Knowledge of Jehovah, and what the word implies in denoting God's relation to men, is attributed or denied, in accordance with the theory, when the outward circumstances and internal characteristics of the individuals, (so far as the brevity of the narrative allows us to form a judgment respecting them,) afford little or no ground for the very important conclusions deduced. I cannot but think that this observation applies not only to what has already been quoted concerning Leah
and Rachel, but also to some of his remarks in reference to the father of these women. It is especially applicable to his declaration respecting Esau, made in order to illustrate Jacob's use of Elohim in xxxiii. 11, while in xxxii. 9—12, he had appealed to Jehovah as the author of all his mercies. “ Jehovah lay without the circle of Esau's religious views, whose piety was superficial, and who had only an occasional hour of devotion.” p. 379. Admitting this delineation of Esau's religious character to be in general correct, it does not prove that the name Jehovah was not familiarly used by him, as it undoubtedly was in his father's family, much less that Jacob was led, by such a consideration, deliberately to choose the term Elohim in preference to the other.
Chaps. xxxix.-). In the former part of this section, the term Jehovah predominates, and is always used when the author is himself the speaker. In the other parts, Elohim maintains the supremacy, and is changed occasionally for God Almighty, which is of similar import. Indeed, the word Jehovah is only employed once in the last ten chapters of Genesis, namely, in Jacob's dying ejaculation, xlix. 18, while in the same portion Elohim occurs eighteen times. On the other hand, in chap. xxxix., the former term appears eight times, and the latter only once. The repeated use of Jehovah in this chapter might be expected, as Joseph's condition was subject to the influence of that special providence which superintended the chosen race, protected them in Egypt, and thus prepared them for their future destination. The use of Elohim in the ninth verse, may be accounted for as Hengstenberg (p. 384,) and Drechsler, (p. 204,) suggest, on the ground that Joseph is addressing a heathen, to whom this general designation would be more appropriate, if not more intelligible, than the other more particular name. In repelling the advances of Potiphar's wife, he