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JACOB GOES TO EGYPT.
I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” And Joseph presented his father Jacob before Pharaoh. "How old art thou?" asked the king. And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, "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, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."
Seventeen years did the aged Jacob live in Egypt. When his end was near, Joseph came with his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to visit his dying father. And Israel said to Joseph, "I had not thought to see thy face; and, lo, God hath showed me also thy seed." And Joseph took his sons and placed them before his father, that he might lay his hands upon them and bless them. And Israel laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim the younger, and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh the firstborn, and blessed them, and said,
God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long, unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac." "c Thus he gave them equal rights with his own sons, so that Ephraim and Manasseh formed two of the tribes of the people of Israel; and he added, "Whoever in Israel shall bless any one, let him say, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh." Jacob then assembled his sons around his dying bed, and gave to every one a particular blessing. Looking forward into future times, he
b Gen. xlvii. 1-9.
Gen. xlviii. 5-16.
expressed his last will; then laid himself down again upon his bed, and departed.
After his death, Joseph and his brethren, accompanied by many of the chief men among the Egyptians, with a great multitude of chariots and horsemen, took the dead body of their father into the land of Canaan to the burying place of Abraham in the cave of Machpelah. When they came back to Egypt, Joseph's brethren were afraid that, now their father was dead, he would recompense to them the evil which they had done to him. But Joseph said unto them, "Fear not: for am I in the place of God? As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."d
You will now see why Joseph, with all his brotherly affection, tried his brethren so long and so severely before he made himself known to them. No thought of returning evil for evil was ever in his heart; but Joseph acted as he did in order to discover how his brethren were minded towards one another, and towards his father, and towards himself, without which it was impossible for him to provide for their real welfare. So Joseph lived happily with his brethren in Egypt, and saw his grandchildren and his great grandchildren.
I should be glad now, my dear young readers, having finished the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to tell you of another holy man, named Job, who is supposed to have lived about this time; but my little book must not be too long. You may hear this remarkable history from the lips of your
d Gen. 1. 15-21.
parents or of your teachers, or read it for your
selves in the book of Job.
We will proceed with
the history of the children of Israel.
THE descendants of the twelve brethren grew, and multiplied exceedingly; so that, in a few centuries afterwards, the Israelites formed a very numerous people, consisting of twelve tribes. But after Joseph's death it was not so well with them as before. When Israel went down to Egypt, God had given him this promise, "I will make of thee a great people;" and God did not let this fail. But when they were become numerous and powerful, the kings of Egypt began to be afraid of them. There arose a new king in Egypt who knew not Joseph, and he treated the Israelites as slaves, and compelled them to
engage in hard service in royal buildings, for which they had to make bricks. A subsequent king formed at last the horrible plan of killing all the male children who were born to the Hebrews, so that none but the daughters should be allowed to live. He commanded the Egyptians to take away from the Hebrew mothers all their male children as soon as they were born, and to cast them into the river.
About this time an Israelitish woman bore a beautiful little boy. She hid him for three months with great difficulty; and when she could hide him no longer, she made a basket of bulrushes, and put the child into it, and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river Nile. Not long afterwards, the daughter of Pharaoh came to bathe in the Nile; and seeing the little ark among the reeds, she sent one of her maids to fetch it. And when it was opened, behold, there lay in it a beautiful child, and it wept. "This is one of the Hebrews' children," said she, touched with compassion. Then came the sister of the little child, who was standing near, and said, "Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?" "Yes, go," replied the princess. The girl runs and brings her mother. So the little child's own mother became the nurse for the king's daughter. And the princess afterwards took the child into her palace, and had him instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. She gave him the name of Moses; that is, "drawn out of the water." a
In the mean time, the oppression of the Israelites still went on. Moses grew up to manhood, and did not pass for an Israelite, but for a son of
a Exod. ii. 5-10.
MOSES BEFORE PHARAOH.
Pharaoh's daughter. But he saw with grief the misery of his people, and their grievous oppression. One day he went out, and seeing an Egyptian smiting an Israelite, he went to the help of the injured party, and slew the Egyptian. He supposed that his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they understood not. When the king heard of this, Moses was obliged to flee, and went into the land of the Midianites, who were descendants of Abraham, dwelling in the wilderness by the Red Sea. At a well in this wilderness he defended seven daughters of Reuel, or Jethro, a priest of Midian, against the violence of some shepherds, who would not allow them to get water. By these means he became acquainted with Jethro, the father of the virgins, who was a prince among the Midianites, and a priest of God. He gave him one of his daughters, Zipporah, for his wife, and intrusted to him the care of his flocks. Thus the adopted son of a royal princess became a shepherd in a strange land, as his fathers had been. He kept the flocks of his father-in-law, and had no longing after the splendour of the Egyptian palace.
21. MOSES BEFORE PHARAOH.
MOSES was forty years of age when he fled out of Egypt; he lived forty years as a shepherd among the Midianites, and still the oppressions of the Israelites did not come to an end. One day, as he was keeping his flock in the wilderness by the mount of Horeb, he saw a bush burning with fire, and yet not consumed. When he turned aside to see it, a voice called to him out of the