Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up." For he thought, "He may die too, like his brothers." So Tamar went to live in her father's house.
I. GOD'S DISTINGUISHING GRACE TO JOSEPH, separating him from his brethren in character, in his father's affection, in the method of his life, in' the communications of the Spirit. Joseph is the type of the believer, faithful to the covenant, amongst both the Canaanitish heathen and the unfaithful children of the covenant, the patriarchs.
II. THE WORKING OF EVIL PASSIONS AND MORAL IMPURITY BROUGHT TO A CLIMAX THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF GOD'S GRACE IN THE INDIVIDUAL. Joseph brought the evil report to Jacob. Joseph dreamed. Joseph was evidently both in himself superior to his brethren and more favored by God. That is the old story - the Cain spirit developed by contact with the Abel spirit. A time of special grace is always a time of special wickedness and judgment. Witness the advent of the Lord, the Reformation period, the revival of religion in the last century, leading on to the outburst of both wickedness and judgment at the end.
III. THE DREAMS OF THE PIOUS LAD WERE THEMSELVES STEPS IN THE COURSE OF REVELATION. The dominion which was foreshadowed was that of the spiritual kingdom over the unspiritual.
IV. THE PROVIDENTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISE. Partly through the personal character of Joseph, partly through the evil passions of his brethren, partly through the apparently casual incidents of the neighborhood, partly through the Spirit of righteousness working in the heart of Reuben, partly through the weakness and fondness of Jacob. How strangely "all things work together" in God's hands 1 He weaves the web composed of many single threads into one united, orderly pattern as a whole in which we are able to trace his own thought and purpose.
V. Joseph in the pit while his brethren sit down to eat bread represents THE BELIEVER SUFFERING IN THE MIDST OF AN UNBELIEVING WORLD. A type of Jesus cast into the pit of his humiliation, while the Jewish people despised and rejected claims, his prophetic words, his evident favor with God, and by their transactions with Gentiles, the Romans, gave him up to what seemed to them ruin, but what was the crowning of his head with glory. We begin to see at this point that, as the Psalmist sang, "the word of the Lord tried him."
VI. THE DELIVERANCE Of Joseph and his transference to the sphere of his future triumph are EFFECTED THROUGH JUDAH IMMEDIATELY, THROUGH THE OTHER BRETHREN AND THE ISHMAELITES OR MIDIANITES SECONDARILY. These names of Judah, Ishmael, Midian remind us that the fleshly links which bind the descendants of Abraham together are not lost sight of by God, are called in to serve the purposes of grace, but not to take the place of the true spiritual work, which goes on in its own appointed channel. So in the history of the Church, while there are many secondary influences at work, still there is a remnant according to the election of grace in which there is the real continuity of Divine dealings.
VII. The genuine grief of Reuben, the barbarous inhumanity towards their father of the fallen sons, THE OVERWHELMING SORROW OF THE AGED, HEART-BROKEN JACOB, the rising up of all his sons and daughters to comfort him, are all beautiful and significant touches of nature in this history, which remind us that we are not "following cunningly-devised fables, and that God's gracious kingdom of truth and love does not annihilate the human in order to reveal the Divine, but puts its rainbow on the cloud.
VIII. THE INTRODUCTION OF EGYPT again into the history. Egypt is the type of the world, as built upon the foundation of fallen humanity alone, without the special grace of God, Into that bulk of the unrenewed race the leaven of the kingdom must be put. The connection between the covenant family and Egypt, which we trace in the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as afterwards in their descendants, represents at once
(1) the thoroughly human character of the kingdom that God would set up in the earth, for the people of God found much in Egypt which they carried away with them afterwards, and assimilated to their own specially-communicated faith;
(2) the breadth of the promises of God - the separation of the one people was for the sake of all the families of the earth. - R.
1. A lustful eye will quickly turn the foot out of the way to sin. Connection (ver" 15).
1. Injuries to daughters-in-law God may repay upon men's wives.
Tamar.1. Sinful hearts when they suffer from God's hand are apt to vent it upon creatures.
2. Carnal relations grow quickly weary of showing kindness when their aims are crossed by God.
3. Hard fathers-in-law, for their own ends, spare not to lay the hardest terms upon allies.
4. Such oppressors deal subtilly, though cruelly; they pretend fair at least.
5. Wicked hearts are apt to be jealous, and transfer faults and ill successes to others that are innocent.
6. Sinful fathers are willing to save children from death, but take bad ways to do it.
7. Widowhood is a solitary condition that binds souls to sit at home.
8. God overruling, natural hearts may be content to submit to hard injunctions from others when they cannot help it. So it was with Tamar when Judah layeth hard injunctions on her (ver. 11).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Days may seem many before God's visit, but visitation will come for sin.
3. God may make death to be a just recompense of men's hard dealings.
4. Vain and sinful hearts are soon comforted after the death of wives.
5. Comforts carnal hearts do seek by fleshly feasting and employments.
6. Bad companions and opportune places bad hearts delight in to enjoy their lusts (ver. 12).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Men of lustful hearts turn of their own accord to evil with others without invitation.
3. Digression from men's lawful way tends to transgression against God and man.
4. Lust is a hard solicitor for its unclean enjoyments.
5. Lust runs blindfold even to defile near relations, and enquireth not.
6. Sometimes lust is put to it to pay a price for its pleasure. The whorish custom (ver. 16).
7. Unclean persons stick not to lessen their flock for increase of lust, so of estates.
8. Adulterous spirits are not credible with their own paramours; a price or pledge must be given (ver. 17).
9. Wicked hearts stick not at pledge or price unto whorish women for enjoying lust.
10. Unclean creatures are subtle to have a great pledge for a small price.
11. Be it ever so great, lust will give it to the whorish woman for its pleasure.
12. Blind lust doth not only solicit but violate nearest relations when it can.
13. Providence denieth not conception sometimes to the most incestuous mixtures of men and women.
14. It is the order of providence that conception should be for Judah as well as by him (ver. 18).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Guile and deceit are usual adjuncts to lust of uncleanness.
3. Guileful harlots stay not long in common places, where they may be discovered.
4. Lust teacheth souls to put off, and to put on, any signals which might either discover or conceal them (ver. 19).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. Pawns may make naughty hearts careful to pay their debts for sin.
2. Wicked affairs are best trusted to hands of wicked friends.
3. Payment of debts by. sinners is accounted just to take up pawns.
4. It is no rare thing for partners in sin to deceive each other; to get out of the way when they should be found.
5. Under Providence the debt of lust is not always paid, nor the pawn of iniquity restored (ver. 20).
6. Sinners are diligent to inquire about their sinful affairs.
7. Sinners are impudent to ask openly after harlots in the high way; to bewray the worst matter.
8. Under wife providence, such inquisitors have an answer of frustration (ver. 21).
9. The trustiest messengers of sinners may return bootless to such as send them.
10. Objects of uncleanness maybe found to ensnare persons to sin, but not to satisfy demands.
11. God sometimes ordereth the frustration, of sinners with a witness (ver. 22).
12. By patience perforce, unclean sinners may be content to sit down with loss.
13. Fear of shame and reproach make sinners willing to be losers.
14. Uncleanness is a reproachful thing in the account of the worst adulterers.
15. A self-conceit of having done their duties make wicked ones sometimes content to sit down losers (ver. 23).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. There is a season of bearing ordered by Providence and to be observed by us (Ecclesiastes 3:2).
2. Providence may order abundant fruitfulness unto incestuous mixtures. Twins to incest (ver. 27).
3. God sometimes returneth unto unclean conceptions bitter travails.
4. Cross coming of children to birth is God's ordering to mind of sin sometimes.
5. Creatures may be deceived in marking that for first which cometh last (ver. 28).
6. It is God's prerogative to make first and last in births, and other conditions.
7. Even in the fruit of the womb God makes one child retreat that the other may come forth.
8. The breaking out of the fruit of the womb is sometimes wonderful to creatures.
9. The wonders of God are reasonably prepetuated in the very names of children (ver. 29).
10. The first in man's thoughts is many times last in God's.
11. Safe births are great mercies, whether first or last; all come forth under providence.
12. Such mercies should be made known in the very names and beings of creatures (ver. 30).
(G. Hughes, B. D.).
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