And Jacob their father said to them, Me have you bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not…
So spoke the patriarch Jacob when Joseph had been made away with, Simeon was detained in Egypt, Benjamin threatened, and his remaining sons were suspected by him and distrusted; when at his door was a grievous famine, enemies or strangers round about, evil in prospect, and in the past a number of sad remembrances. Thus did Almighty God remind His people that the world was not their rest.
I. In Jacob is prefigured the Christian. What he said in dejection of mind, the Christian must say, not in dejection, not in complaint or impatience, but calmly, as if confessing a doctrine — "'All these things are against me,' but it is my portion; they are against me, that I may fight with and overcome them." If there were no enemy, there could be no conflict; were there no trouble, there could be no faith; were there no trial, there could be no love; were there no fear, there could be no hope.
II. To passages like these it is natural to object, that they do not belong to the present time, that so far from Christians being in trouble because they are Christians, it is those who are not Christians who are under persecution. The answer is that affliction, hardship and distress are the Christian's portion, both promised and bestowed, though at first sight they seem not to be. If Christians are in prosperity, not in adversity, it is because, by disobedience, they have forfeited the promise and privilege of affliction.
III. Take up thy portion then, Christian soul, and weigh it well, and learn to love it.
(J. H. Newman, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.