And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold…
How true it is that we know not what a day may bring forth! Joseph goes out on his father's errand and never more returns to his father's house — does not see his father again, in fact, for twenty-two years. Of course the crime of his brothers was of the cause of this long separation between him and his venerable parent. But how often similar things occur even among ourselves! Some years ago a little boy was stolen from his home in Philadelphia, and though every means that affection could suggest or professional skill could devise have been used for his discovery, the mystery has never been cleared up, so that to this hour his parents are in most horrible suspense. In our own city, too, scarcely a week elapses without the announcement that some one has disappeared from home and business, and very frequently nothing more is heard of him. But, apart from such occurrences, which may be traced to the cunning and malignity of wicked men, and which are a disgrace to our much boasted civilization, how often it happens, in the simple providence of God, and without blame to any one, that those who part in the morning with the hope of meeting again in a very short while never see each other more on earth! The street accident causes death; or the sudden outbreak of fire in the building in which their office hours are spent cuts off all possibility of escape, and they are burned to ashes; or a panic in a crowded place of amusement which they visited has caused a great loss of life, and they are numbered among the victims; or a railroad collision has smashed the train in which they were passengers, and they are reported among the dead; or, without any such catastrophe, they have simply yielded to a sudden paroxysm of illness and passed within the veil. Who knows not how frequently such things are occurring in the midst of us, so that, as we have lately had occasion again and again to say, the proverb is verified that it is "the unexpected that happens." What then? Are we to have our hearts for ever darkened with the shadow of the possibility of such things coming to us? No; for that would be to make our lives continually miserable; but the lesson is that we should be ever ready to respond to the call of God, and should take short views of things by living, as nearly as possible, a day at a time. We need not borrow trouble on the strength of the uncertainty to which I have referred, for "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof"; but we ought to be taught by it to finish every day's work in its own day, since its lesson is, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
WEB: They sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.