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The Destruction of Sodom--Character of Lot--Lot's Wife--The Laughter of Abraham--The Sacrifice of Isaac and Its Repetition in the Twentieth Century-- Isaac's Mother--Courtship of Rebekah--Jacob's Treachery to Esau--The Vision in the Night--Joseph and His Brothers--Joseph in Egypt--The Great Recognition Scene




We learn that because of its wickedness, the population of the earth, with the exception of one family, was destroyed by cloud-bursts; the twin cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, were destroyed by a rain of fire and brimstone, and they seem to have deserved extinction. Lot, Abraham's nephew, is an interesting person; he was a man of business, shrewd and clear-headed, hospitable and fair-spoken, but not religious like his distinguished uncle; he was a man of the world. He prospered so abundantly that even in those broad lands the passion of earth-hunger, which has caused so many devastating wars, started a small fight between his herdsmen and those of Abraham. This might have led to serious consequences but for the wisdom and forbearance of the man of God. Abraham suggested that perhaps there was room enough in the world for both, and generously gave Lot the first choice of territory. Lot looked eastward, saw a charming, well-watered plain, and accordingly pitched his tent toward Sodom. Then came the


battle of the kings, four against five, and Lot was taken prisoner. Either there was something particularly lovable about Lot, which appealed to Abraham, or it was merely the impelling force of blood-relationship; Abraham fought with the captors, and rescued Lot, his family, and his possessions. After this battle we have that mysterious and inexplicable picture of Melchizedek, a picture that torments one's curiosity:

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God.
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

There is one reference to Melchizedek in the Psalms, and eight in the letter to the Hebrews, but I doubt if the writer of the letter knew anything about him. He was, however, obsessed by the mysterious man, saying of him in the seventh chapter of Hebrews, "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually."

The King of Sodom offered to let Abraham keep the captured goods provided he would hand over Lot and his family, which request was refused. Then Abraham's affection for Lot was still further shown when, after he had entertained three angels,


who gave him a strong hint as to the immediate future of the city of Sodom, he pleaded with the Lord to spare the city. There is something humorously Oriental about Abraham's bargaining with Jehovah. Just as accuracy in statement is a modern virtue, so a fixed price in selling is both recent and Occidental. No trader in the East expects his first price to be the final one, nor does the buyer expect his original offer to be accepted. They are never in a hurry under the sun; both seller and purchaser rejoice in the artistry of bargaining and stretch it out as long as possible. Each understands the other's simulated frankness. So when Abraham first begged Jehovah to spare the doomed town, if it contained fifty righteous persons, and finally beat the number down to ten--the bottom figure--he showed himself a man of his time.

Two angels visited Sodom at even, and were entertained by Lot. On that night, the last night in the history of the city, the inhabitants completely demonstrated their fitness for damnation.

After the evil dark came a terrible dawn. Lot lingered, for he had warned his sons-in-law of the imminent disaster, and although they had sneered at him he may have hoped that at the last moment they would start. But he could not wait. Just before sunrise the angels took Lot, his wife, and two daughters by the hand and told them to escape to the mountain. To the disordered mind of the fugitive the mountain seemed almost as bad as brim-


stone, and he prayed that he might enter a tiny town close at hand:

Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

This request was granted, and the city was thereafter called Zoar, which means "little." Lot entered this refuge just after sunrise:

The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
And the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven......
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

I have much sympathy for her. Lot lost some of his property, but she lost her home. A home means so much more to a woman than to a man that it is easy to understand why she looked back. Lot was thinking of his safety, but she was thinking of her house, and all the pretty things in it--all the furniture, all the ornaments, all the family china-- burning up. Although her feet were carrying her away from the sulphurous flames, she looked back to what she loved, even as Orpheus looked back to his most precious treasure, coming out of hell.

There are many interesting men and women in the book of Genesis, and four great personalities: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. Abraham is a magnificent ancestor. Unlike most Old Testament heroes, hardly anything evil can be charged against


him. He lied twice when the truth would have been practically as well as morally an improvement; but everything else he said and did is admirable. He came out of a pagan country, Ur of the Chaldees; his father Terah started with his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai, Abram's wife, his grandson Lot, from Ur to settle in Canaan; but on their way they stopped at Haran; and Terah died in Haran.

Abraham was a spiritually minded man; he seemed to be in communication with God. He was invariably obedient to the divine voice, no matter what inconvenience or suffering resulted; for he had an unfaltering trust, which was rewarded. To signify his success as an ancestor his name was changed from Abram to Abraham. Abram means father of height, but Abraham means father of a multitude. His wife's name was changed from Sarai, which means Jehovah is prince, to Sarah, which means princess.

Abraham and Sarah are two of the very few characters in the Bible of whom it is recorded that they burst out laughing. There is almost no laughter in the Bible, except the mocking laughter of destiny; yet laughter was regarded as good, and promised to those who lived righteously. Both husband and wife were amused by the same promise-- that they should have a son. Abraham was shaken by uncontrollable mirth, so that he rolled on the ground in merriment. Can't you see him holding his sides, and then unable to stand up?


Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Then as if to say, "Don't let's talk nonsense, let's keep to the facts," he cried to God, "O that Ishmael might live before thee!"

Evidently in a very few generations, longevity had come near to what we regard as normalcy; Abraham's ancestors apparently had children at what we should call a very advanced age.

The Associated Press reported that on 6 July, 1922, John Shell died in Kentucky at the age of 134, and that he left two sons, one ninety and the other seven years old!

Sarah was about ten years younger than her husband, and also laughed at the idea, but in a more contained manner, as became a lady; yet when her son was born, she said with fine spirit, "God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me." And the child was named Isaac, which means laughter.

The Arabs regard Ishmael as their ancestor; if is rather remarkable that Abraham's two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, should be respectively the fathers of the Hebrews and of the Mohammedans.

I do not share the common opinion that Abraham did wrong in offering up his son Isaac. On the contrary it is one of the most splendid of all his recorded deeds. The twenty-second chapter of Genesis gives this story with such brevity and simplicity


that the effect is startlingly dramatic. There are to-day many conscientious objectors; they say that Abraham's obedience to God is fine, but when he was asked to give the life of his own son, he would have shown more nobility and righteousness had he flatly refused. Indeed, there are Christian divines who have found it hard to swallow this story, and it is plain they wish it had never been written. Yet men in our day not only consider it right to give the lives of their sons for what they regard as a higher call, but are universally honoured for doing so. What would be the general opinion of a man who, during the years 1914-18, had said, "No; I love my son too much to sacrifice his life at his country's command; it cannot be right for a father to give up his own son." Millions of parents followed Abraham's example, and gave their sons in response to what they believed was the call of duty. Nor did they feel any shame; they felt exalted. "I have two sons at the front!" And those who carried gold stars were assigned the place of honour in public celebrations. Do you remember Lincoln's wonderful letter to the woman who had sacrificed five sons for her country?

The attacks on Abraham's character are based on a lack of faith in God. He really believed in God, just as nowadays every man believes in his own country. If it be not only right but glorious to give one's son for one's country, so it was right for Abraham to sacrifice his son when the divine voice


called. To-day, in public addresses and public documents, God receives a complimentary vote; but when it comes to making a real sacrifice for Him the lack of actual faith is often painfully apparent. Men and women are proud of having sons at the front in time of war; but if they really believe in God they ought to be just as proud of having them away as foreign missionaries, in time of peace. Are they? Indeed, the supreme example of divine sacrifice is in the words, "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son." We give our sons for our country; according to the Gospel, He gave His for the contemptible world. Some persons have said ironically that many men will die to save others, and that if they had the chance to save the world by dying, anybody would do it. They rather miss the point: the sacrifice mentioned in the Gospel is as if a man should give his life to save a hill of ants.

Let us not condemn Abraham till we have begun to understand human nature in the twentieth century; for Abraham did exactly what millions of fathers have done in our day.

As the mediæval Mystery Plays interjected slapstick farce when they represented the comedy, Noah's Flood, so they added an original and more poignant note in the tragedy of Abraham and Isaac. They knew well enough that the love of mother and son is universal and elemental. Now the Bible says nothing of Sarah's feelings at the proposed sacrifice, nor of Isaac's thought of her in the supreme moment.


Attention is wholly centred on the father and son, as it is in Barrie's tragedy, The New Word. But in one of the old Mysteries we have a scene that must have produced a powerful effect, for it is impossible even now to read it coldly. Isaac becomes uneasy at the nonappearance of the animal for sacrifice, and asks his father some embarrassing questions. At first Abraham puts him off, but finally is forced to blurt out the truth.

A. Ah! Isaac, Isaac! I must kill thee!
I. Kill me, father? Alas! what have I done?
If I have trespassed against you aught,
With a rod you may make me full mild.
And with your sharp sword kill me not,
For surely, father, I am but a child.
I am full sorry, son, thy blood for to spill,
But truly, my child, I may not choose.
I. Now I would to God my mother were here on this hill!
She would kneel for me on both her knees to save my life.
And since my mother is not here,
I pray you, father, change your cheer,
    And kill me not with your knife.

Then Abraham explains that it is God's will and Isaac, while he cannot understand why God wishes him slain, submits.

I. Therefore do our Lord's bidding,
And when I am dead, then pray for me:
But, good father, tell ye my mother nothing,
Say that I am in another country dwelling.

Jews and Egyptians, Mohammedans and Christians, have usually buried dead bodies with care and


ceremony; Hindoos burned them, and Parsees left them to be devoured. The first funeral mentioned in the Bible was that of Sarah, and for that purpose Abraham bought the first graveyard. Sarah died at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven, and after publicly mourning for her, Abraham bought of Ephron the cave of Machpelah, to be used as a family burying ground. The conversation between the two men has a modern flavour. Abraham offered to pay well for the place, and Ephron answered:

My lord, hearken unto me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.

Sarah was an interesting and charming woman and was mourned sincerely by both her husband and her son. When Isaac married Rebekah, we are told that "he was comforted after his mother's death."

Abraham lived to be one hundred and seventy-five, which was then regarded as old.

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

Abraham had many other children, but Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Sarah and Hagar, took charge of the funeral, and buried him by Sarah's


side in the family lot. To his sons by other women Abraham had made gifts and sent them away; to Isaac he left his entire estate.

The unquestioning obedience that Isaac displayed when prepared for sacrifice by his father was symptomatic of his character; as a man, he seems to have lacked force and initiative. (What would have happened if Adam had tried to sacrifice Cain?) Isaac was a dreamy, romantic person, who accepted the wife his father provided for him, and then went under her thumb. He became a pathetic, childish, spoiled old man, over-fond of food, like many old people; and was easily bamboozled by his scoundrelly son Jacob. He was always in love with his wife, as we know by an amusing passage in the twenty-sixth chapter of Genesis. He lied to Abimelech, like his father before him, and said that Rebekah was his sister. Some time after, the good Abimelech looked out of a window and saw Isaac kissing Rebekah in a manner unusual between brothers and sisters. So here again a lie nearly brought disaster, where the truth would have been safer.

The courtship of Rebekah by the envoy sent by Abraham--who seems to have been a first-rate diplomat--is a pretty story. Rebekah at the well, with her pitcher on her shoulder, is a picture not easily forgotten. The messenger placed a gold ring in her nose. She ran into the house to show the presents given her by the stranger; and when her


brother Laban saw those gifts he was impressed. We can see the greed in his eyes, for we know his later history. Perhaps Rebekah was glad to get away from him, for when asked if she would follow the ambassador home to marry a man she had never seen, she gave an unhesitating and unqualified affirmative:

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold, the camels were coming.
And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master; therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.

This first courtship is told with much interesting detail, and is a true pastoral, unequalled in idyllic beauty until we come to the story of Ruth.

The twin sons of Jacob and Rebekah were the rufous Esau and the smooth Jacob; the former his father's and the latter his mother's favourite. Esau grew up to be a hunter and Jacob a "plain man dwelling in tents." The thick-headed, downright, impetuous fellow was no match for his crafty brother, who had learned sharp dealing in business. Although Jacob was blessed by God and became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, it is impossible to admire him, or to forgive him for his treatment of his unsuspecting brother. When Jacob sod--


boiled--pottage, it is probable that he knew what he was about, for the distinguishing characteristic of this young man was foresight. Esau came in from hunting with a hunter's appetite; and the smell of the cooking was too much for him, as Jacob had expected. So when he asked for food he found he had to pay his birthright for it. This privilege seemed to him an empty honour in comparison with eating; and like many other men, he sacrificed the future for an immediate and material good. The author of the letter to the Hebrews condemned Esau for selling his birthright; but from our point of view Jacob is more to be condemned for buying it. He was the first and one of the most contemptible in the long list of food profiteers.

But when Rebekah and Jacob--two of a kind-- went into partnership to swindle both Isaac and Esau, the result was even more disastrous; the twenty-seventh chapter of Genesis, in its dramatic narration of this outrage, must be regarded, from the artistic point of view, as one of the finest short stories in literature. Nor is it the only instance where a mother and son have united to get something out of the father of the house.

It is interesting to observe that the authors of the books in the Bible seldom attempt to shield their heroes, or to palliate their offences. We shall see later, when we come to study the lives of the kings, that an extraordinary feature of the biographies is their lack of the nationalistic bias; and so, at the


very outset of the history of the Israelites, the duplicity and treachery and selfishness of the father of the twelve tribes are set down with amazing candour. Love of truth triumphed over partisan feeling; which is one reason why the stories in the Bible make such interesting reading. Human nature as it really is arouses the interest of persons in all ages and in all countries; whereas plaster saints are dull. They are dull, not because people dislike goodness, but because the average man never likes to see men and women represented as untrue to human nature. There is only one perfect character in the Bible, and He was divine.

The worst service that can possibly be performed for a historical figure is for his biographer to represent him as perfect; readers lose interest in him. This is well brought out by Lytton Strachey, in his Life of Queen Victoria, where he accounts for the lack of interest among English people in the Prince Consort, who was really a man of extraordinary power, by the fact that the official biographies made him a pattern of all the virtues instead of a human being. No such error is committed by Bible authors; which is one reason why the men and women in the Bible are so vivid. It is a continual Revelation of Man.

Jacob had a well-founded fear that Esau would kill him; he fled to the stock farm of his uncle Laban, and there married two of his first cousins. On the way thither he had a vivid dream:


And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it....
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
And he called the name of that place Bethel. (House of God.)

When Sarah Flower wrote her hymn, Nearer My God to Thee, which she and her sister sang as a duet in church, she was inspired by this particular incident in the life of Jacob.

Or, like the wanderer,
    The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me,
    My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I'd be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
    Nearer to thee!

There let the way appear
    Steps unto heaven;
All that thou sendest me
    In mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee,
    Nearer to thee!


Then with my waking thoughts,
Bright with thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs,
    Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
    Nearer to thee!

The best part of Jacob's nature and the best thing in his life was his love for Rachel. He was a lover, and fell in love at first sight:

And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them.
And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
Leah was tender-eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well-favoured.

I used to think that this passage meant that Leah, although inferior in beauty to her younger sister, had lovely expressive eyes. Not at all; it means that Leah was sore-eyed. Poor Leah!

And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. . . .
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

When Jacob offered to serve seven years for


Rachel, it was a high compliment to her worth. In Methuselah's time seven years were not very much, but later they were a goodly portion of a man's life.

Since the beginning of human history it has been sport to see the engineer hoist with his own petard; and it is not altogether with regret that we see the scoundrel Laban cheating his nephew, the scoundrel Jacob. They were an accomplished pair of robbers --diamond cut diamond, and Laban met his match. Jacob did not forget the trick Laban played on him. At the end of seven years rheumy-eyed Leah was worked off on him instead of Rachel; her father probably believing that this was the only way he could get his eldest daughter married, and at the same time he could keep Jacob another seven years. Jacob was a good workman, was plainly mad about Rachel, and would not go without her. So Jacob served another seven years for the woman he loved. Leah had more sons, but Rachel was the mother of Joseph, and subsequently died in child birth--the child was Benjamin. Sed duo leones.

Jacob swindled Laban neatly with the cattle, getting the strong ones for himself, and leaving the weaker ones for Laban; so he paid him back for the extra seven years. When Jacob, his two wives and children, decided to leave Laban, Rachel stole all the ikons out of her father's house; what was he doing with those household gods, anyhow? And what did Rachel mean to do with these graven images? She wanted them so badly that she lied


about them to her father when he came after them, completely deceiving him.

The situation is similar to the elopement of Jessica with Lorenzo, for we know that when Jessica left her father's house she took something away with her. In Merchant of Venice, Shylock tells the whole story of how Jacob cheated Laban out of the cattle, not knowing that he would shortly be in the position of Laban, minus his daughter and the gold.

One night Jacob wrestled with an angel until the break of day, refusing to let go until he had received a blessing. He had his name changed by the angel from Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (Striver with God), and limped away tired but satisfied. Jacob never let go of anything until he had secured some personal profit out of it.

Every change in government, every advance in human history, has to be accomplished through human agency, imperfect, ignorant, and selfish as the means may be. It is not altogether surprising, therefore, that Jacob, whose character was spotted as his cattle, should have been selected as the father of the twelve tribes; he had ability, extraordinary tenacity, and was physically and intellectually fitted to be the head of a great race. His love of bargaining was so consuming that he would bargain with God Himself.

Joseph is the best man in Genesis, and one of the best men in history. He combined the romantic, dreamy nature of his grandfather with the practical


ability of his father. He had none of Isaac's weakness, and none of his father's duplicity; or rather his father's selfish trickery changed into wholesome shrewdness in Joseph. He was not the last example of an upright son coming from a rascally father; there are many of them alive.

Jealousy in families began with the first; and as Cain hated Abel, Joseph's brothers hated him. He was only seventeen, his father's favourite, and he wore a conspicuously beautiful coat, that did not add to his popularity; when he told about his dream, where his brothers' sheaves made obeisance to his, they hated him yet the more. It is all natural enough, and given the same circumstances the same thing today would happen in Nebraska or Colorado.

Joseph went out to meet his brothers in the pasture; they saw him coming and their first plan was to kill him. But Reuben, the eldest, counselled that they put the boy in a pit, because he hoped to save him and bring him home to his father again; so they took off his coat and threw him in the pit. In Reuben's temporary absence the Ishmaelites came along with their camels, and Judah suggested that they sell Joseph to this caravan. We may discover here a kind of poetic justice, the son of Sarah sold to the son of Hagar, whom Sarah had treated with such fierce cruelty and jealous anger. The travellers carried Joseph off to Egypt. When Reuben returned, to his horror Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.


And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? (What will become of me?)

Jacob really never recovered from the blow when his sons returned with Joseph's bloody coat. He refused to be comforted. There must have been many times when his brothers wished the boy were home again.

Joseph was like the industrious apprentice, and rose rapidly in favour in the land of Egypt; he was handsome, had excellent manners, was intelligent and reliable--one in a thousand. Captain Potiphar made him his overseer, and Potiphar's wife naturally fell in love with the young man and tempted him. But Joseph was loyal to his employer, and the rebuffed woman's feelings turned (once more naturally) into rage; she told her husband that Joseph had made advances to her, and accordingly Joseph was put in prison.

Observe that not only was Joseph man enough not to betray his benefactor, but he was man enough not to betray the woman; he knew it would break up the home, ruin his master's happiness, and cause the death of Potiphar's wife; so he chose to go to prison, having with him the consciousness of innocence. His character shone bright in the darkness of the dungeon and he was made a Trusty.

He interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker. I have always been sorry for the poor baker, for there seems to have been no reason, except bad luck, why he should have had such a horrible fate,


while the butler was taken back into high favour. It was simply a trick of destiny. Human nature comes out clearly in the butler; Joseph, after doing him a kindness, asked him to remember when he was in power again. "Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him." Even so.

Two years later Pharaoh had a dream, which seems easy to interpret, though it baffled the magicians; his butler finally remembered the young Hebrew, and Joseph not only interpreted the dream, but became ruler of the land of Egypt under the monarch; he drove in a chariot, and people bowed the knee before him. He was thirty years old; it being thirteen years since he was sold by his brothers.

In the time of famine he had the position that was in recent years so successfully filled by Mr. Herbert Hoover; he controlled the food supply, displaying executive ability of the highest order.

The story of Joseph and his brethren is one of the greatest stories in the world; one of the most beautiful and most dramatic; as a revelation of the deep instincts of family affection, universally appealing. For every man, woman, and child in the world understands this emotion, however untrue they may be to its call or however often it may be silenced by the lust of money or the pride of life. Few things are more depressing than to see brothers fighting over their father's will.

Joseph talked with his ten brothers through an interpreter, and they naturally did not recognise in


the prime minister their kin, yet the dream then came true, for they bowed down and did obeisance before him. They were required to return home, and fetch Benjamin; on the way Reuben reminded the others of their cruelty to Joseph in the old days, and how he had told them it would lead to no good. This was the only pleasure Reuben had on the melancholy journey. What Jacob's feelings were when he saw them returning without Simeon, who had been kept as a hostage, we do not know; but they were nothing to his despair when informed that Benjamin was to accompany them on the second expedition.

The orator of the family was Judah; it was his pleading that finally persuaded the old man to part with Benjamin, and it was Judah's masterly speech before Joseph that annihilated the barriers between them. It would have softened the heart of a sterner listener than he. Joseph broke down and wept aloud. There is no recognition scene in Greek drama finer than this.

The story is complete as it stands; but how I wish little Benjamin had spoken! When Joseph first saw him--"Is this your younger brother? God be gracious unto thee, my son."

Now I would give much to know what Benjamin replied to this greeting. But Joseph could not wait to hear; looking on the face of his brother, whom he loved more than the whole world, he knew his


feelings would betray him. He hastily left the room, and wept in solitude.

When old Jacob was brought before Pharaoh, we cannot restrain a feeling of pity for the wretched old man, who all his life long had experienced prosperity without happiness. The Emperor asked him, "How old art thou?" and he replied:

The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.

After giving a separate blessing to each of his twelve sons--in which the supremacy of Judah is distinctly foretold--and to the two sons of Joseph, Jacob died, and at his own request was buried in the family lot, in the cave of Machpelah, where reposed Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah. But when Joseph died his embalmed body was placed in a coffin in Egypt, the home of his triumph, glory and final happiness. Later his bones were carried out of Egypt and buried in the Promised Land.

Next: III. Moses and the Ten Commandments