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JACOB AND HIS FAMILY JOURNEYING TO EGYPT.
bless them, and restore to him their other brother, Simeon, and Benjamin: he added, “ If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved,” Gen. xliii. 14.
In these expressions of deep emotion, the aged patriarch uttered no wish for the restoration of Joseph to his tents. was fondly cherished; but the stratagem of his undutiful sons had wrought in his mind so firm a conviction that he was numbered with the dead, that he entertained not the remotest idea of ever hearing his voice again. The ways of God, however, are not as the ways of short-sighted man. The sons of Jacob returned, and while his eyes were gladdened with the sight of Simeon and Benjamin, his ears were greeted with the joyful tidings that the governor of Egypt was his long-lost Joseph.
When Jacob first heard this intelligence, his feelings were overpowered, and he could give no credence to the news. Pharaoh had, however, commissioned Joseph to send wagons into Canaan, to carry him and his family down to Egypt; and when he saw these, his spirit revived, and he exclaimed, “ It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die," Gen. xlv. 28. Acting upon this resolve, therefore, Jacob collected all his wealth, and hastened into Egypt, to be re-united to his much-loved Joseph.
The accompanying illustration of this celebrated event in Scripture history has been designed from a painting in the tomb of Osirtasen, at Beni Hassan, and described by antiquaries as, An arrival of foreigners in Egypt. It has, indeed, been conjectured that these “foreigners” are Jacob and his family on their way to the court of Joseph. The grounds on which this supposition rests are, chiefly, that the king in whose tomb the picture was found is believed to be the Pharaoh who protected Joseph, and that the costume and physiognomy of the characters are decidedly Jewish, and accord with the nomadic habits of the sons of Jacob. This view of the engraving renders it doubly interesting as an illustration of the sacred narrative. It opposes the ideas of Le Brun, Gentileschi, Rembrandt, Raphael, and others, who in their pictures of scenes in the life of Joseph have blended Grecian architecture, Turkish costume, French furniture, Italian landscape, etc., as illustrations of the narrative. Indeed, the great error of painters in their pictures illustrative of Scripture history is, in general, the substitution of European ideas for oriental.
The meeting of good old Israel with his much-loved son Joseph
was most tender and affectionate. The sacred historian says that Joseph fell on his father's neck, “and wept on his neck a good while;” and that Israel said unto Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive,” Gen. xlvi. 29, 30. Although both Jacob and Joseph knew well that in the course of nature they must soon be separated, yet was their cup of joy full, as they beheld each other once more in the land of the living.
Oh, if the happiness of relatives and friends is so great at meeting on earth, after a long separation, how great must their joys be who, washed in the blood of the Lamb, are re-united in the courts of heaven, never again to be separated! The hope of such a meeting is a consolation under bereavement. It enables the mourner to look beyond the grave, and to realize in thought that happiness which his Redeemer has prepared for him. He may be tempted sometimes to exclaim, in the anguish of his soul,
'Tis a long lingering death we mortals die;
Daily our hopes, our friends, our pleasures fade,
Draw the last breath, and lifeless drop the head.
Yet he knows, that if those for whom we mourn have been followers of the Lamb, and we are treading in their steps, they will be given to us again for ever in glory. Christian reader,
Art thou a MOURNER ? Hast thou known
And tranquil nights?
OH LIVE !—and deeply cherish still
For peace at last.