And Jacob their father said to them, Me have you bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not…
An old man, who does not know what he is talking about! What does the oldest and best man amongst us know about life? Jacob is writing a list of his grievances and misfortunes and distresses, and God's angels are looking down upon him and saying, That the whole statement, though one of what men call facts, is all a mistake from beginning to end. Think of man writing his life, and of God's writing the same life in a parallel column! Now old Israel is perfectly correct, so far as the story is known to himself. Jacob their father said, "Me have ye bereaved of my children." That is right. "Joseph is not." That is perfectly true, so far as Jacob is concerned, so far as his information extends. "And Simeon is not." That also is literally correct, so far as the absence of Simeon may be regarded. "And ye will take Benjamin away." Precisely so, that is the very thing they have in view. "All these things are against me." It is exactly the same with us to-day. Men don't know what they say when they use words. They don't know the full meaning of their own expressions. They will always snatch at first appearances and pronounce judgment upon incomplete processes. Every day I afflict myself with just the same rod. I know what a fool I am for doing so, and yet I shall do it again to-morrow. There comes into a man's heart a kind of grim comfort when he has scourged himself well; when he knows all the while that ten thousand errors are accusing him of a repetition of his folly. There are men who don't know their own family circumstances, yet they have undertaken to pronounce judgment upon the infinite! Some men are very familiar with the infinite, and have a wonderful notion of their power of managing God's concerns. We seem at home when we go from home. Here is an old man saying, "Joseph is not, Simeon is not, Benjamin is to be taken away. All these things are against me." Yet we who have been in a similar position, though the circumstances have been varied, have undertaken to pronounce judgment upon God's way in the world, God's government, God's purposes. Why don't we learn from our ignorance? Why don't we read the book of our own folly, and learn that we know nothing, being children of yesterday? We cannot rise to that great refinement of learning, it would appear. Every day we repeat our follies. It is but a man here and there who has a claim to a reputation for religious wisdom.
(J. Parker, 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.