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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

This they did, and surrendered their ear-rings with them, and Jacob buried gods and jewels under an oak near Shechem.

When he arrived at Bethel, he built the altar as God had told him.

And God said to him there, "I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply: a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins: and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy Seed after thee will I give the land".

In this renewal of the promise the additional idea was revealed to Jacob, that the nation constituted of his descendants, would contain a plurality of nations -- that is, be a national association of tribes.

He was to inherit the land with them, and with the Seed, or Christ; and as he knew they were to be oppressed by another nation till four hundred years, after which that nation would be judged, and his children would come out with great wealth, this blessing at Bethel reminded him that he would rise from the dead with Abraham, and inherit the land for ever with his Seed.

Having left Bethel, he journeyed towards Bethlehem, on the way to which Rachel died.

After her death he spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar, on Mount Zion.

From thence he came to Hebron, where his father Isaac dwelt.

Twenty-nine years having elapsed after this re-union from Jacob's departure from Laban, Isaac died, having attained the age of one hundred and eighty years; and his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.

THE PARABLE OF JOSEPH.

A parable is the setting forth of a certain thing as a representative of something else.

Hence, it is a comparison, or similitude.

It may be spoken, or acted.

In the former case, fiction is used to illustrate that which is real; while in the latter, real actions on a smaller scale are representative of remoter and grander events.

Whether spoken or acted, parables are dark and unintelligible to those who are not skilled in the things of the kingdom; but when once they come to comprehend these, the things they resemble immediately appear.

To allegorize is to represent truth by comparison.

For certain features of the kingdom of God to be illustrated parabolically is to speak, or act, allegorically; and is a mode of instruction more calculated to keep up the attention, and to impress the mind permanently, than a set discourse, or formal disquisition.

The scriptures are constructed after this ingenious plan, by which they are made so much more interesting, and capable of containing so much more matter, than any other book on the same subject, and of the same size.

They are a study of themselves; and no "rules of interpretation," or of "logic," are of any value to the understanding of the things which they reveal.

A parable was enacted by Abraham in offering up Isaac.

The things transacted were real, but they were also parabolic, or figurative, of something else, even of the sacrifice and resurrection of the Seed, or Christ.

After the death of Isaac, and when Jacob was waxing old, Joseph was selected from among his sons by the arrangements of God to be the typical representative of the future Seed, through whom the promises were to take effect.

Hence, the life of Joseph became a living parable by which was represented to Jacob and his sons, and to believers afterwards, what was to be transacted in the life of Christ.