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stood upright, and all theirs stood round, and made obeisance : this he related to them : they understood it as intimating that he should have dominion over them, and they hated him yet more for this.
Again he dreamed, that the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to him, and this he also related to his father and his brethren. His father saw the import of the dream; and though he endeavoured to check any vanity and pride which Joseph might feel in consequence, yet he observed these circumstances, as foreboding something extraordinary, while the envy of his brethren increased the higher. Ere long an opportunity was afforded them for gratifying their hatred, and effectually preventing, as they thought, the accomplishment of his dreams. When they were at some distance from home feeding the flocks, Joseph was sent by his father to see if they were well, and to bring him word again. As soon as they saw him, even while he was yet at a distance, they conceived a horrible intention against him, “ Behold,” said they, “ this dreamer cometh ; come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams." Let us take some notice here of the wonderful working of God, who often effects his purposes and brings his counsels to pass by means of the attempts of wicked men to prevent them. The brothers of Joseph lay their measures to destroy any meaning which there might be in his dreams.
But they knew not with whom they had to do: they forgat that the counsel of the Lord will stand, and he will do all his pleasure: therefore unwittingly they adopt the plan which was to accomplish his purpose : the very means which they concert to overthrow any supposed exaltation of Joseph over them, are those which in process of time bring about that event.
in the case of our adorable Lord and master. Herod and Pontius Pilate, the High Priests and rulers, the Scribes and Pharisees, the great body of the Jews, all leagued together with Satan and his hosts to destroy the blessed Jesus, that they might prevent his reign, and root out his gospel from the earth. But when he was taken by their wicked hands and crucified and slain, they secured his exaltation; they set up the throne of his kingdom; they propagated his gospel; they ruined their own political existence ; they destroyed the works of the devil; and did that which the counsel of the Lord had determined before to be done. Let it not however be supposed that, in thus fulfilling the preordained and determinate purpose of God, there was any praise to be given, or even any extenuation of the sin of either Joseph's brethren, or the Jews in the days of Christ. They acted freely, purposed and did that which was in their own minds; and if consequences followed which they anticipated not, they meant it not so, but it was in their heart, as God said of Sennacherib, to kill and to destroy. The Apostle supposes (Rom. iii. 5) that some one may use this false method of reasoning, and strenuously confutes and condemns it. He supposes some one to insinuate that if his unrighteousness should commend the righteousness of God, God would be unjust if he should take vengeance on that unrighteousness. And again the same person is supposed similarly to argue that if the truth of God had more abounded through his lie unto God's glory, why should he be accounted as a sinner ? Why was it not rather right to do evil that good might come? This perverse mode of reasoning on such awful subjects, from premises which are true to conclusions which are false, is indignantly repelled by the Apostle, and closed in an instant by that inspired declaration, “ Whose damnation is just.”
I return to the history. The brethren of Joseph were dissuaded from their original purpose of killing him by Reuben, the eldest, who advised them to shed no blood, but to cast him into a pit; and this advice he
gave, intending afterwards to take him out, and send him back to his father. But in this he was disappointed; for after they had cast Joseph into the pit, there came past a company of Ishmaelites, going with their
merchandise into Egypt, and it occurred to them that they might even make some gain of this affair; so they sold Joseph to them as a slave for twenty pieces of silver, and by them he was carried down into Egypt. Reuben upon some account had been absent during this part of the transaction, and bitterly he grieved when he found how his intention was thus disappointed. “ He rent his clothes" and cried “the child is not, and I, whither shall I go?” There is much of the affection of an elder brother in this; and perhaps he had devised his plan because he knew that if he had withstood their purpose altogether, instead of endeavouring to divert it, he should not have been able to prevail.
And now they prepare to deceive their father. They killed a kid of the goats and dipped Joseph's coat of many colours in it, and took it to their father with this detestable falsehood, “This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.” There is an appearance of malice against their father in this. They seem as if they would revenge themselves upon him by the terms in which