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observe that of the three passages quoted in (195.vii) which refer to 'Shiloh 'as the place of rest’ for Israel, viz. xvii.1,xxi. 43,44, xxii.4, two-and, probably, all-appear, according to (7) in Chap. I, to belong to the older matter of the Pentateuch, i.e. to the Jehovistic writer of this very Chapter of Genesis, and not to the later Deuteronomistic insertions. It would seem, then, as we have said, that this · Blessing on Judah’must have been written at some time during the second decade of David's reign,—perhaps about the twelfth or fourteenth year, B.c.1042, when the opposition of the northern tribes was at an end, so that his father's scns had bowed' to him, and when he had already come to rest' after his first great victories, over the Jebusites and Philistines, 25.v.6–9,17–25, and still, as we are told, v.10,—
'went going and growing, and Jehovah of Hosts was with him.'
And it is noticeable that the very same expression is used to describe the state of Israel under David at this time, just after the Tabernacle had been set up on Mount Zion, 25.vi.17,—
'Jehovah had given-rest to him round-about,' 25.vii.1,as is used to describe the state of Israel under Joshua, just after the Tabernacle had been set up at Shiloh, Jo.xviii.1,
* And Jehovah had given-rest to thein round-about,' Jo.xxi.44.
JACOB'S BLESSING ON JOSEPA, REUBEN, ETC.
200. JACOB'S BLESSING ON JỌSEPH, v.22–26.
'A fruitful branch is Joseph,
* This line is pronounced by LAND, p.77, to be so corrupt, that it is quite unintelligible. He produces a number of attempts from ancient and modern translators to obtain a meaning from it, which are all equally unsatisfactory. The LXX has ekeider Ó KATLOXÚras ’lopana rapå JEOÛ TOÙ hatpós oov, Cod. Vat. ; èK. Ó KATLOX. de 'lakub Tapà Toll SEOÙ TOÙ 7. o. Cod. Alex. + The Sam. Text, Sam. Vers., and Syr. have this reading, you Spy for ngoj nx.
The reading my-970, 'mountains of eternity' instead of jy opin, ‘mountains, unto &c.,' is manifestly supported, not only by the parallel expression in the next clause, osiy niya, hills of everlasting, but by the fact that in D.xxxii. 15 we have 072-977, 'mountains of old,' corresponding to the very same parallel
201. Here again we shall find ourselves brought to the same conclusion as before. For this passage, with such warm lauditions of Joseph, could not have been written so late as the ti of Rehoboam, when the rupture took place between Judah ane Ephraim, nor even in the latter part of Solomon's reign, when dissatisfaction already existed between them. Like the Blessing on Judah these words suit best the second decade of Davidla reign, before his sin with Bathsheba,- perhaps, not long after the time when the great northern tribes had joined him, and by their redundant population had formed, no doubt, the main body of his forces,—Ephraim, the strength of his head, —and had helped him greatly in achieving his recent conquests. At such a time such glowing words might readily have been applied to them by the most faithful adherent of the House of Judah. And, indeed, it would be very natural that an effort should have been made to soothe in this way any feelings of mortified pride, which might and, as later events showed, did actually exist in the tribe of Ephraim, at the supremacy being made over in such plain words to Judah. But the tone of tenderness in this address seems almost to imply a special affection—a personal interest—for the tribe of Joseph, as if the writer was himself an Ephraimite. And this agrees, as we have seen (175), with some other indications.
202. The expressions here used are generally intelligible enough, when we take account of the circumstances of the tribe of Ephraim, which, no doubt, is chiefly here referred to under the name of ‘Joseph. Its power-its numbers—the fertility of its soil, with its special “portion,' xlviii.22, the vale of Shechem, • so exceedingly verdant and fruitful, and so strongly contrast-. ing with the 'grey hills' and the wild country, more than half a wilderness' (Dean STANLEY) of Judea, and its predominant influence among the northern tribes,-all are bere very plainly depicted, and, as we have said,—with eulogies which seem to betray the writer as a true son of Ephraim. But there is
evidently a reference also to some great disaster which Ephraim had suffered, and apparently not long ago :
"And they embittered him, and strove with him,
Yet his bow abode in permanence, &c.' 203. To what can this last be meant to refer? May it be to the terrible slaughter of the Ephraimites which occurred in Jephthah's time, fifty years before Samuel, in the memory of the fathers of the old men of the present generation, when the Gileadites massacred them in cold blood at the fords of Jordan, to the number, we are told, of 42,000, Ju.xii.6--a number which, no doubt, is greatly exaggerated. But yet the whole account clearly implies a very deadly animosity and bitter hatred against them, among the men of Gilead at that time. * The lords of arrows,' -i.e. metaphorically, their enemies —
embittered him, and strove with him and hated him'; they struck him severely, and broke, it may be, for a time his power and influence; but now he had recovered his strength, and his position as the pre-eminent of his brethren.
204. We may here complete what we have to say about the Blessings pronounced upon the other tribes, except that of Levi, which will require a special consideration. Jacob's BLESSING ON REUBEN, v.3,4.
“Reuben, thou art my first-born,
Then defiledst thou my couch ascending.' + REUBEN appears to have been the first Hebrew clan, that found its way from Egypt or elsewhere towards the land
* = 'do not take the first place among the tribes, as thy birthright would have otherwise entitled thee to do.'
toby, ascending,' instead of Sy, 'he ascended,' i.e. 'thou defiledst it in the very act of ascending,' LAND, p.44, who compares Hos.xiii.16.
of Canaan,—perhaps at a time previous to the great movement out of Egypt, which the traditions of the nation so well remembered. They settled, it would seem, on the East of Jordan, where they were subsequently joined by one or two other tribes, but were separated from the great body of kindred people by the Jordan and the Dead Sea. In this position, the tribe must have been exposed continually to the attacks of hostile hordes; and, instead of gaining any superiority over the rest, as might have been expected from its having been the first-comer (firstborn), though it had chosen good pasture-grounds, and had large flocks and herds, it was, probably, an uneasy, distracted tribe, in a state of chronic weakness and discomfort, having perpetual troubles of its own, asserting, consequently, no "rights of primogeniture,' claiming no leadership over the rest, nor stirring itself at any time, with vigorous, united action, to take part with the other tribes in their great national struggles, when their personal interests were not immediately concerned. Hence, Deborah, is made to complain,
'For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart," Ju.v.15,16.
205. History is silent on the point which gave rise to the legend recorded by this writer, xxxv.22, and here referred to, of Reuben's defiling his father's bed.' It may be, that living on the confines of Moab, the Reubenites had adopted many of their vicious practices, N.xxv.l; and in fact reference is made distinctly to the 'iniquity of Peor,' in the words which Joshua is said to have addressed to the Reubenites, when they had erected another altar “beside the altar of Jehovah their God,' Jo.xxii.17-19. It may be that, in the writer's time, the Reubenites were notoriously given to such idolatrous practices, with all their impure and licentious rites, such as all Israel, and Judab also, fell into in yet later days. And thus, in his view, they had disgraced their parentage, and committed an outrage on the name and honour of their father, Israel, and were degraded justly from the honours of the first-born.