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fulness thereof; and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush : let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns : with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the 'thousands of Manasseh, Deut. xxxiii. 13...17. Isaac had but two sons, and found himself exhausted when he had bestowed a blessing upon one of them; Jacob has twelve sons, and yet he has a several blessing for each son. Israel at the death of Moses was increased to an innumerable multitude, and yet there are blessings enoughi, and to spare, and yet there is room. And when God shall have brought back the captivity of Jacob, when God shall have brought his ancient people within the bond of the gospel covenant, together with the fulness of the Gentile nations, the tide of benediction shall rise, and rise, and swell to the number and necessity of all the partakers. Thus the sacred stream which Ezekiel saw in vision, issuing from the tbreshold of the house, was at first but a little bubbling fountain ; but after a progress of a thousand cubits, became “ a brook of water up to the ancles ;” after a thousand more, had risen to the height of the loins; and after a thousand more “the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.”
To go into a detail of the particulars contained in the blessing of Joseph, instead of occuping the place of an evening, might furnish employment for years. I feel myself perfectly at a loss how to represent it to your view ; in what light first to consider it, what particular part of it to bring forward....whether I should at all presume to attempt an illustration of it, or leave it altogether to your private meditation. Never, surely, in the same quantity of words were exhibited such a mul
titude and variety of beautiful, striking, and sublime ideas. When Joseph is to be blessed, the prophet for him arrays nature in her gayest, richest attire : for him he digs into the mine, and cleaves the flinty rock, and pours jewels and gold at his feet.
* For him the roses blow, for him distils the dew.” For him golden harvests wave in the fragrant air, and rivers of milk and oil flow down the mountains and through the vallies. For him the swelling clusters of the vine assume a purple hue, the meadows clothe themselves with verdure, and the cedars of God lift their proud heads to the skies; the sun and moon, and eleven stars, do obeisance to him. Nature is then animated, as it were, to do him honor, to give him protection, to extend his empire, to minister to his delight. The grove becomes vocal, the bullock treads stately through the plain, the unicorn pushes with the horn, nations of enemies melt before him, the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousauds of Manasseh, cultivate their fertile, peaceful fields, beautify their pleasant villages, fortify their magnificent cities.
With inexhausted strength, with resistless force, the prophet then hurries us out of the sphere of nature, bears us to the awsul regions of religion, places our feet on holy ground. It is the blessing of Joseph, and we feel ourselves transported to the wilderness of Horeb, we behold the bush on fire, we hear the voice of God himself from the midst of the flame. But though it speaks from the midst of fire, to the house of Joseph it speaks nothing but love, it is a fire that consumes not, it breathes “good will.” Moses having thus as a poet touched every power of imagination, conducted us from one scene of delight to another, and made all Eden rise to view; having, as a propbet, unveiled the world of spirits to our astonished sight, and borne us as on eagles' wings up to the throne of God, gently deviates into his character of orator and historian, and sweetly re-descends with us into the
field of Zoan, and calls forth a tender sigh from our bosom over the hapless youth who was torn from his father's embrace, and sold into slavery. “Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren,” Deut. xxxiii. 16. But “ who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge,' Job xxxiii. 2. Moses, my friends, seems reluctant to break off this subject, he is loth to bid Joseph farewell; as he goes be “casts a longing lingering look behind, and sighs out another blessing, after his tongue is silent. When Jacob speaks to Joseph, and Moses writes and speaks of him, neither of them knows how to leave off.
We soon find the prediction of Moses verified, and tbe parting benediction falling down, according to the letter of it, in copious showers upon the head of Joseph. For though half the tribe of Manasseh obtained an inheritance beyond Jordan, and a fair and spacious lot had fallen to the rest of the sons of Joseph in Canaan, they are soon under the necessity of applying to Joshua for an additional lot to enlarge their border. “ And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto ? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood-country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if Mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us : and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots uf iron, both they who are of Betb-shean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseb, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only. But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the out-goings of it shall. be thine : for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong," Joshua xvii. 14... 18.
The Jewish writers take delight in expatiating upon the beauty and fruitfulness of the providentially allotted portion of this tribe. They represent Canaan as a garden, in comparison to the rest of the world, and Monnt Ephraim with its adjacent plains as the garden of Canaan. But we must hasten from it, and attend our departing prophet, as he bids a shorter adieu to the remaining tribes.
As the lots of Zebulun and Issachar were to be contiguous in Canaan ; as they were brothers german, being both sons of Leah, and thereby had a nearer interest and affection among themselves, and their tents were pitched contiguous to each other in the plains of Moab, Moses addresses them as forming one body of people. “ And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, ZebuJun, in thy going out; and Issachar in thy tents," Deut. xxxiii. 18. This is, with little variation, a repetition and confirmation of the blessing pronounced by dying Jacob Zebulun the younger of the two brothers is in both preferred; and in distributing the lots Zebulun has the third lot, Issachar only the fourth. The inheritance of Zebulun was to be of a peculiar quality, and they were to draw their subsistence and wealth from sources very different from those of the rest of Israel ; they were to grow great by navigation and trade.
The sea, that unruly element, was to be made tributary to them, and through it, a passage opened to them to the vast, populous and wealthy shores of Africa on the south, and of Asia and Europe on the north.
They shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. They shall call the people unto the mountain, there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness," Deut. xxxiii. 19. The Chaldean applies these words peculiarly to Issachar, and translates them thus. Rejoice Issachar, that is, be thou blessed in thy going to appoint the times of the solemn feasts of Israel,” which has a reference to what we read of this tribe, I Chron. xii. 32. « And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do: the heads of them were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their commandment.” This is generally understood of the times and seasons of the year, of the new moons and other appearances of the heavenly bodies, by which the solemn festivals were regulated, and which they of Issachar, by their astronomical observation and skill, calculated for the use of all Israel. Hence, they are represented in the blessing of Moses as calling the people “ unto Mount Zion, where the temple was." Thus; we see every tribe had some separate and distinct province, some peculiar benefit and privilege, that in the commonwealth of Israel, as in the natural body, there might be no schism, nor the band be able to say to the eye or to the foot, “ I have no need of thee.
Moses advances to the tents of God with these words upon his tongue. “Blessed be he that enlargeth Gnd : he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And be provided the first part for bimself, because there in a portion of the law-giver was he seated : and he came with the heads of the
people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel,” 'Deut. xxxiij. 20, 21. The enlargement of Gad may refer to his inheritance, which God hereby promised to extend, as he did that of 16rael in general. “I will enlarge thy border;" or it may be understood of his person, and will then imply deliverance out of trouble, in which sense the word is used, Psalm iy. l. “ Thou hast enlarged me when