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Lord slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did digpleased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house. And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up nuto his sheep-shearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And it was told Tamar, saying, behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. When Judah saw ber, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his danghter in law.) And she said, what wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? And he said, what pledge shall I give thee And she said, thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thinę hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the arguments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid by the band of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand : but he found her not. Then he asker the men of that place, saying, where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side ? And they said, there was ķo harlot in this place. And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place. And Judali said, let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judalı, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, slie sent to her father in law, saying, by the man, whose these are, am I with child; and, she said, discern, 1 pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than l; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand : and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, this came out first.
And it came to pass, as he drew back bis hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, how hast thou broken forth? this breach be unto thee; therefore his name was called Pharez. And afterward caine out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.”
I shall also give insertion to the thirty-ninth chapter, and then pass on to the forty-eighth, as the history of Joseph affords but little matter for my observations, and is a narrative, with the exception of the exposition of the dreams, that has fewer improbabilities in it, than any we have met with yet, in short, the tale is of that nature that it might be doubted and disbelieved but does not afford room for flat contradiction.
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, in Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him dow'n thither. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man ; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. Aud Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him : and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he hail, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in The house, and in the field. And he left all that be had in Joseph's liand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph ; and she said, lie with ine. But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he bathi committed all that he hath to my land; There is none greater in . this house than 1; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. Aud it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her band, and was fled forth, That she called unto the inen of her house, and spake unto them, saying, see, he hate brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in anto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: And it came to pass, when lie heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he leti his garment with me, and fled, and unt liiin vul. And she laid up liis
garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, the Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me : And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which slie spake unto him, saying, after this mauner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound : and he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed bim mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper."
The reader will have observed, that this chapter and the former contain a most improper subject to form a part of the education of youth of either sex. It is calculated to excite ideas that would not have otherwise entered into young minds, and no excuse nor apology whatever could be made for it, further, than it is found in a book that is called sacred. A book on whose sacred character and authority, a curse is pronounced on him that shall add to or take from it. If our commentators or translators were conscientious in their professions, how heavy would their responsibility be on this head! It is lamentable that virtue and morality should be thus sacrificed at the shrine of religion! The observations which I now introduce respecting Joseph and his mistress are borrowed from Dr. Adam Clarke's Commentary. The reader will perceive, that Joseph was considered amongst the Arabians, Persians, and Chaldeans, what Adonis was in Greece; a model of beauty and perfection, calculated to excite love.
“ The beauty of Joseph is celebrated over all the East; and “the Persian poets vie with each other in descriptions of his “comeliness. Mohammed spends the twelfth chapter of the “ Koran entirely on Joseph, and represents him as a perfect
beauty, and the most accomplished of mortals. From his " account the passion of Zuleekha (for so the Asiatics call “ Potiphar's wife) being known to the ladies of the court, they
cast the severest reflections upon her: in order to excuse “ herself, she invited forty of them to dine with her, put “knives in their hands, and gave them oranges to cut, and “ caused Joseph to attend : when they saw him they were
struck with admiration, and so confounded, that, instea:t of
cutting their oranges, they cut and hacked their own hands,
crying our, “O God! this is not a human being, this is none “ other than a glorious angel!”-Surat. 12 ver. 82.
“ Two of the finest poems in the Persian language 'were
written by the poets, Jamy and Nizamy, on the subject of “ Joseph and his mistress: they are both entitled Yusef we “ Zuleekha. These poems represent Joseph as the most “ beautiful and pious of men; and Zuleekha the most chaste, 16 virtuous, and excellent of women, previous to her having
seen Joseph: but they state, that when she saw him, she was so deeply affected by his beauty, that she lost all selfgovernment, and became a slave to her passion.'
6 The Persian poets, and eastern historians, however, constrive to carry on a sort of guiltless passion between them 6 till the death of Potiphar, when Zuleekha, grown old, is
restored to youth and beauty by the power of the God, and “ becomes the wife of Joseph. What traditions they had “ besides the Mosaic text for what they say on this subject,
are now unknown : but the whole story, with innumerable “ embellishments, is so generally current in the East, that I “ thought it not amiss to take this notice of it. The twelfth
chapter of the Koran, which celebrates the beauty, piety, “and acts of this patriarch, is allowed to be one of the finest
specimens of Arabic composition ever formed : and the history itself, as told by Moses, is one of the most simple,
natural, affecting, and well-told narralives, ever published. “ It is a master-piece of composition, and never fails of pro“ ducing its intended effect on the mind of a careful reader. " The Arab lawgiver saw and felt the beauties and excellen~ cies of his model, and he certainly put forth all the strength < of his own language, and all the energy of his mind, in 6 order to rival it."
I am not inclined to think with the Doctor, that Mahommed was indebted to Moses for the model of his story of Joseph, I rather think the compiler of Genesis found it in Chaldea.
I pass on to the forty-eighth chapter, after reminding the reader, that if he can believe in the appearance of God to the different persons mentioned in the book of Genesis, both openly and by vision, and the appearance of angels and hosts of angels, he will no doubt find sufficient credulity to believe that Joseph gave a true interpretation to the dreams of Pharaoh and his two servants. I consider the dreams and the interpretation to be both fabulous, and have no credulity for either. We have interpreters of dreams, fortune-tellers, and
astrologers in the present day, and they continue to produce much mischief among weak minds, particularly females: but fortunately our legislators and administrators of the law, have sufficient wisdom to discover, that it is an imposture, and to punish it as such. Instead of burning a witch, as Sir Matthew Hale did, Sir Charles Abbott would order a whipping. The fraud of religion is the last of those impositions that remain to be dissipated. The Essay on Dream, written by Paine, as a Preface to his Examination of the Prophecies of the Old Testament as applying to Jesus Christ, is a master-piece on the subject.
“And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Aud one told Jacob, and said, behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Josephi, God Almighty appeared uulo me at Luiz, in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give ibis land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Mauasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee in Egypt, are mine ; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be inine. Aud thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritancc. And ag for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a liitle way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath ; the same is Beth-lehem. And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, they are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place; and he said, bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see: and be brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. And Israel said unto Josephi, I had not thought 10 see thy face : and, lo! God hath shewed me also thy seed, And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and lie bowed himself with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand towards Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in bis left hand towards Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraims lead, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first born. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abrahanı and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day. The angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named ou them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow