And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
While in relation to some things men doubt where they ought to trust, with other matters they will feel quite certain, though they have good cause for questioning. Consider the habit of taking certain notions "without doubt," as it is illustrated in the case of Jacob.
I. THE HABIT IS DEPENDENT ON PREDISPOSITION. The sanguine are "without doubt" of success, where the cautious are "without doubt" of disaster. The despondent regard the world through darkened spectacles. It is no wonder that their prospects seem gloomy.
II. THE HABIT IS ENCOURAGED BY APPEARANCES. To Jacob appearances were sadly significant. What more evidence could be wanted? We should remember that all appearances may be against the true facts.
III. THE HABIT LEADS TO GREVIOUS MISTAKES. Jacob's verdict was "without doubt." Nevertheless, it was a wrong verdict. We talk of the evil of doubt. There are evils of positiveness.
IV. THE HABIT IS POSITIVELY MISCHIEVOUS. It causes distress when we are needlessly positive of a painful surmise. It does more harm. It paralyses our efforts to better a gloomy state of affairs.
V. THE HABIT MAY BE A PUNISHMENT OF FORMER UNTRUTHFULNESS. In his youth Jacob deceived his father; in his old age Jacob was deceived by his sons. He was cunning and wily. Yet he was over-reached, and suffered from the trickery of others. Worldly acuteness is no security against deception in matters that lie nearest to our heart. The fox may be out witted, while the lamb is spared in its simplicity. Application: See how the coprinciples work in various directions.
1. Domestic anxiety. Parents are often inclined to dread the worst of absent children lost to sight, and perhaps unheard of for years. Yet they may be as safe and prosperous as Joseph became.
2. Prospects for life.
3. Our spiritual condition.
(W. F. Adeney, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.