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Now Jacob was sent by his mother to Mesopotamia, in order to marry Laban her brother's daughter (which marriage was permitted by Isaac, on account of his obsequiousness to the desires of his wife); and he accordingly journeyed through the land of Canaan; and because he hated the people of that country, he would not lodge with any of them, but took up his lodging in the open air, and laid his head on a heap of stones that he had gathered together. At which time he saw in his sleep such a vision standing by him: - he seemed to see a ladder that reached from the earth unto heaven, and persons descending upon the ladder that seemed more excellent than human; and at last God himself stood above it, and was plainly visible to him, who, calling him by his name, spake to him in these words: — "O Jacob, it is not fit for thee, who art the son of a good father, and grandson of one who had obtained a great reputation for his eminent virtue, to be dejected at thy present circumstances, but to hope
NOW as Jacob was proceeding on his journey to the land of Canaan, angels appeared to him, and suggested to him good hope of his future condition; and that place he named the Camp of God. And being desirous of knowing what his brother's intentions were to him, he sent messengers, to give him an exact account of every thing, as being afraid, on account of the enmities between them. He charged those that were sent, to say to Esau, "Jacob had thought it wrong to live together with him while he was in anger against him, and so had gone out of the country; and that he now, thinking the length of time of his absence must have made up their differences, was returning; that he brought with him his wives, and his children, with what possessions he had gotten; and delivered himself, with what was most dear to him, into his hands; and should think it his greatest happiness to partake together with his brother of what God had bestowed upon him." So these messengers told him this message. Upon which
Now Jacob also, when he understood that foreigners might come, sent all his sons into Egypt to buy corn, for the land of Canaan was grievously afflicted with the famine; and this great misery touched the whole continent. He only retained Benjamin, who was born to him by Rachel, and was of the same mother with Joseph. These sons of Jacob then came into Egypt, and applied themselves to Joseph, wanting to buy corn; for nothing of this kind was done without his approbation, since even then only was the honor that was paid the king himself advantageous to the persons that paid it, when they took care to honor Joseph also. Now when he well knew his brethren, they thought nothing of him; for he was but a youth when he left them, and was now come to an age so much greater, that the lineaments of his face were changed, and he was not known by them: besides this, the greatness of the dignity wherein he appeared, suffered them not so much as to suspect it was he. He now made trial what sentiments
Now when Jacob's sons were come into the land of Canaan, they told their father what had happened to them in Egypt, and that they were taken to have come thither as spies upon the king; and how they said they were brethren, and had left their eleventh brother with their father, but were not believed; and how they had left Symeon with the governor, until Benjamin should go thither, and be a testimonial of the truth of what they had said: and they begged of their father to fear nothing, but to sen
her bring his son back to him safe,
or, together with his, lose his own life." So that Jacob was at length
persuaded, and delivered Benjamin to them, with the price of the corn doubled;
he also sent presents to Joseph of the fruits of the land of Canaan, balsam
and rosin, as also turpentine and honey. Of
the precious balsam of Judea, and the turpentine, see the note on Antiq.
B. VIII. ch. 6. sect. 6.
Now their father shed many tears at the departure of his sons, as well
as themselves. His concer
When he came to the Well of the Oath, (Beersheba,) he offered sacrifice to God; and being afraid that the happiness there was in Egypt might tempt his posterity to fall in love with it, and settle in it, and no more think of removing into the land of Canaan, and possessing it, as God had promised them; as also being afraid, lest, if this descent into Egypt were made without the will of God, his family might be destroyed there; out of fear, withal, lest he should depart this life before he came to the sight of Joseph; he fell asleep, revolving these doubts in his mind.
They left Egypt in the month Xanthicus, on the fifteenth day of the lunar month; four hundred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham came into Canaan, but two hundred and fifteen years only after Jacob removed into Egypt. Why our Masorete copy so groundlessly abridges this account in Exodus 12:40, as to ascribe 430 years to the sole peregrination of the Israelites in Egypt, when it is clear even by that Masorete chronology elsewhere, as well as from the express text itself, in the Samarithronology elsewhere, as well as from the express text itself, in the Samaritan, Septuagint, and Josephus, that they sojourned in Egypt but half that time,—and that by consequence, the other half of their peregrination was in the land of Canaan, before they came into Egypt,—is hard to say. See Essay on the Old Testament, p. 62, 63. It was the eightieth year of the age of Moses, and of that of Aaron three more. They also carried out the bones of Joesph with them, as he had charged his sons to