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Verses of Genesis 42

36

Genesis 42:36 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 55
JACOB’S UNBELIEVING FEARS

Gen 42:36. All these things are against me!

THE best of men are weak when they come into temptation. The trials of Jacob were indeed heavy: and, if we suppose that he had any idea that his sons had been active agents in bereaving him of his beloved Joseph, his grief must have been poignant beyond all expression. Not having been able to bring home to them any proof of such a conspiracy, he seems never to have dropped any hint to them before respecting it; and possibly he did not even now mean to charge it home upon them, but only to say, that he had been bereaved in some measure through them: nevertheless his words seem to betray a lurking suspicion, that they had been accessory to Joseph’s death; “Me ye have bereaved; Joseph is not:” and this might well make him averse to trust Benjamin in their hands. But in the complaint he uttered respecting the ultimate end of his trials, he was manifestly wrong. We say not, that we should have shewn more constancy than he: it is more than probable that none of us in his circumstances would have acted better: but from his language on the occasion we may learn, how we do act in trying circumstances, and how we ought to act.

I.

How we do act—

“We are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward:” none therefore can hope to escape it; and least of all they, who, like Jacob, have large families. While our trials are light, we can bear them with composure; but if they become heavy and accumulated, we are then apt to indulge,

1.

Murmuring complaints—

[Whether Jacob meant to reflect on his sons or not, he certainly meant to complain of his afflictions; which was, in fact, to complain of God, who, in his all-wise providence, had appointed them. It was thus with his posterity during their sojourning in the wilderness: they always murmured against Moses, and against God, whenever they were involved in any difficulty or distress; and, when they were discouraged by the report of the spies respecting the land of Canaan and its inhabitants, they even proposed to make a Captain over them, and to return unto Egypt [Note: Num 14:4.]. And how many such “murmurers and complainers” are there amongst ourselves! Some will expressly declare, that they think God deals hardly with them: others content themselves with venting their spleen against the instruments of their calamities: but all, in one way or other, are apt to “charge God foolishly,” as if he were unmerciful, if not unrighteous also, in his dispensations towards them.]

2.

Desponding fears—

[So filled was Jacob with a sense of his present calamities, that he could not indulge a hope of a favourable issue from them: he thought of nothing but increasing troubles, which should “bring down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.” Thus also his descendants, whom we have before alluded to: they had seen bread given them from heaven, and water out of the stony rock; but they doubted whether God were able to provide flesh also for their sustenance: and when they were brought to the very borders of Canaan, they doubted whether it were possible for them ever to conquer the inhabitants, and take their fenced cities. And are not we also ready to say, on some occasions, “Our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts?” Are we not ready to ask with David, whether his “mercy be not come utterly to an end?” Yes; in temporal things we too often sink under our troubles as absolutely irremediable; and in spiritual matters, we doubt almost the ability, and at all events the willingness, of Christ to save us.]
While we condemn the unbelief of this afflicted patriarch, we acknowledge, in fact,

II.

How we ought to act—

However dark may be the dispensations of God towards us, we should,

1.

Wait his time—

[We are not to be impatient because relief does not come at the first moment that we ask for it. There must be a time for the dispensations of God to produce their proper effects upon our hearts. We do not expect that a medical prescription shall effect in one moment all for which it was administered; we expect its operation to be unpleasant; and we are contented to submit to pain for a season, that we may afterwards enjoy the blessings of health. Now we know that our heavenly Physician prescribes with unerring wisdom, and consults our greatest good: whatever time therefore the accomplishment of his designs may occupy, we should wait with patience, assured that the intended benefits shall ultimately be enjoyed. We should give him credit, if we may so speak, for his wisdom and love; and leave him to display them in his own way: “He that believeth, shall not make haste.”]

2.

Rest on his promises—

[The promises of God to his people, respecting the issue of their trials, are exceeding great and precious. He declares, that we shall have “no temptation without a way to escape;” that “all things shall work together for our good,” and “work out for us a more exceeding weight of glory.” Surely such promises as these should reconcile us to trials, however great. What can we wish for more? And how can we dare to say, “All these things are against me,” when God tells us positively that they are working for us? Did we ever know that one of God’s promises failed? Why then should we doubt the accomplishment of these, when they have already been fulfilled in so many thousand instances? Let it satisfy us, that God has promised; and that “what he has promised, he is able also to perform.”]

3.

Hope against hope—

[This was Abraham’s conduct under far heavier trials than we have ever experienced [Note: Rom 4:18 with Heb 11:17-19.]. What though we cannot see how God can effect our deliverance? Is he also at a loss? The darker our state, the more simple should be our affiance. We should say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” How was Jacob reproved at last, when he saw the issue of those things which in his haste he had so deplored! Let us remember that there is the same gracious, almighty God at this time; and that “they who trust in Him shall never be confounded.”]

We may further learn from this subject,
1.

What an excellent grace faith is—

[Faith beholds nothing but paternal love in the heaviest chastisements. Faith “brings meat out of the eater,” and tastes sweetness in the bitterest cup. Faith looks to the end of things, and sees them, in a measure, as God sees them. It is the great and sovereign antidote to troubles of every kind. If Jacob had exercised faith as Abraham did, the trials of which he complained would scarcely have been felt at all. But God is pleased to try us on purpose that we may learn to trust in him. In this world “we are to walk by faith, and not by sight.” Let us therefore cultivate continually this divine principle, which, while it honours God, tends exceedingly to the advancement of our own happiness.]

2.

How blessed a state heaven will be—

[Here God has wisely and graciously hid futurity from our view. But when we are arrived at the heavenly mansions, we shall see all the merciful designs of God developed, and the wisdom of his dispensations clearly displayed. We shall then see that the trials of which we once complained, were not only salutary, but absolutely necessary for us; and that, if they had been withheld from us, there would have been wanting a link in that chain, by which we were to be brought in safety to heaven. Who will there adopt the language of the text? Who will utter it in reference to any one trial of his life? Who will not rather say, “He hath done all things well?” Let us then look forward to that time, and not pass our judgment on present things, till we see and understand the design of God in them.]


Verses of Genesis 42

36

Consult other comments:

Genesis 42:36 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 42:36 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Genesis 42:36 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Genesis 42:36 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Genesis 42:36 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Genesis 42:36 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 42:36 - Geneva Bible Notes

Genesis 42:36 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Genesis 42:36 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 42:36 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Genesis 42:36 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Genesis 42:36 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Genesis 42:36 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Genesis 42:36 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 42:36 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Genesis 42:36 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)