« AnteriorContinuar »
Spirit which is Divinity. His father, as a reward and testimony of his sincere love for one so good, so heavenly gifted a boy, made him a coat of many colours, much to the chagrin and annoyance of Joseph's elder brethren, who were in their dispositions the reverse of him.
This partiality on the part of Jacob, therefore, kindled in the bosoms of his other children envy and hatred towards Joseph; and such was their malicious design, that they only waited for and sought after an opportunity to put him to death, or other wise maltreat him.
But how strong that fortress in which the God of Israel fights, in which the Lord of hosts erects his standard, with whom none can contend ! Joseph was not only the favourite of his father on earth; he was also the chosen of his Father in heaven; and God, by a dream, revealed that he would come to some eminent situation in his own family and among men. He, not suspecting the diabolical designs of his brethren towards him, in an artless and candid manner, went into the midst of them to tell the dream, which he thus related : “ Hear, I pray you, this dream, which I have dreamed. Behold! we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo! my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and behold! your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.”
As the dream evidently indicated that Joseph was to be raised to some situation above them all, their hatred and jealousy, with a disposition to revenge, were greatly increased towards him; and in the heat of their anger they exclaimed, “ Shalt thou, indeed, reign over us! or shalt thou, indeed, have dominion over us !” accompanying their words with signs of irreconcilable hatred.
Joseph, however, being of a kind and gentle spirit, still cherished a fraternal affection for his brethren; for a heart which is unequivocally righteous, is void of a mean nature that is suspicious, freed from the nara row-mindedness which hastily imputes or unjustly condemns.-But to revert to our subject. On his returning to rest, he had a second dream : without seeming to suspect the effect which the relation of the first had upon them, in a most candid manner, “ I have dreamed another dream,” said Joseph, in his artless way:“ Behold, the sun and the moon, and the eleven stars, made obeisance to me.” It
may be easily imagined what effect this second relation had upon the minds of his brethren, who were previously disposed to envy and jealousy ; but without being apparently aware of any danger likely to ensue to him from his dreams, Joseph went to his father, and related the dream to him, who probably supposing it originated in ambitious designs working
in the young bosom of his son, inquired, by way of rebuke, “What is this dream thou hast dreamed ? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren, come indeed, and bow down ourselves to thee, to the earth?"
The time of man passes away so rapidly, that it is sometimes compared to a shadow, which appears for a moment, and then is gone. So passed the time away, till another circumstance occurred to put our dear Joseph in the way of giving offence to his brethren a third time.
It came to pass, when his brethren had been em ployed in their customary occupation of attending upon and feeding their flock, that they did not return at the accustomed period. The Patriarch and the whole family became alarmed. In this anxiety and sorrow, it was found that Joseph alone remained to be sent in search of them; and the Patriarch, having first inquired and ascertained that they had gone to Shechem to feed their flocks, said to the boy, “ Come, I will send thee unto them ; go I pray thee, see whether it will be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks, and bring me word again.”
The youth instantly obeyed the command of his venerable parent, and hastened to prepare for his departure. A distinguished poet has remarked, that “there is a tide in the affairs of man;" but he is un
der the necessity, very frequently, of pulling against the current; and there is no one born of woman, who must not realize that "man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward."
and innocent friend Joseph, entertaining no ill will towards the children of his father, hastened away, hoping to find his brethren well and in good circumstances. He soon reached the place called Shechem, and felt pretty confident that he should find them; but searching the fields in every direction, he was disappointed ; and when about giving up the search in despair, he met a man who inquired of him, “ What seekest thou ?" He replied, “I seek my brethren. Tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks."
The man answered, “They have departed hence; for I heard them say, “Let us go to Dothan." We might suppose that Joseph would have returned home af ter this fruitless search ; but he was too well aware of the number of hearts which were beating with anxiety and concern in the valley of Hebron for his brethren, and the bitter pangs he should occasion if he returned with the account that his inquiries had been in vain. Besides, the words of God were written on the tables of his heart : "I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths; when thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go, for she is thy life.” With such thoughts as these, Joseph hastened to Dothan. Here his hopes of finding his brethren were realized, and his heart exulted with delight as he hastened forward to embrace them.
It is a true scripture proverh, “ A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and their contentions are like the bars of a strong castle.” The feelings of Joseph's brethren, when they saw him who was the object of their hatred, were more like those of angry lions than of men. the first dark cloud of poor Joseph's sufferings was gathering over his head. « Behold !” said the tyrant brethren, “ Behold, the dreamer cometh !" “ Come," said one, “let us slay him, and cast him into the pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” But Reuben, one of the brethren, having a kinder disposition than the others, (yet to say the least of him, he was both cruel and revengeful,) said, “Do not let us shed blood, but we will cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him, so that we will both rid ourselves and our father of him."