on Genesis 46 :26
on Genesis 46 :26
All the souls that went with Jacob into Egypt, "that came out of his loins," were eleven sons, one daughter, fifty grandchildren, and four great-grandsons; in all, sixty-six. Jacob, Joseph and his two sons, are four; and thus, all the souls belonging to the family of Jacob which went into Egypt were seventy. This account, with its somewhat intricate details, is expressed with remarkable brevity and simplicity.
The Septuagint gives seventy-five as the sum-total, which is made out by inserting Makir the son, and Gilead the grandson of Menasseh, Shuthelah and Tahan, sons, and Edom or Eran, a grandson of Ephraim Numbers 26. This version has also the incorrect statement that the sons of Joseph born to him in Egypt were nine; whereas by its own showing they were seven, and Jacob and Joseph are to be added to make up the nine. Some suppose that Stephen's statement - ἀποστείλας δὲ Ιωσὴφ μετεκαλέσατο τὸν πατέρα αὑτοῦ Ιακὼβ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν συγγένειαν ἐν ψυχαῖς ἐβδομήκοντα πέντε aposteilas de Iōsēph ton patera autou Iakōb kai tēn sungeneian en psuchais hebdomēkonta pente - is founded on this version. If Stephen here quoted the Septuagint as a well-known version, he was accountable only for the correctness of his quotation, and not for the error which had crept into his authority. This was immaterial to his present purpose, and it was not the manner of the sacred speakers to turn aside from their grand task to the pedantry of criticism. But it is much more likely that the text of the Septuagint has here been conformed in a bungling way to the number given by Stephen. For it is to be observed that his number refers, according to the text, to Jacob and all his kindred, "exclusive of Joseph and his sons." They could not therefore, amount to seventy-five, but only to sixty-seven, if we count merely Jacob and his proper descendants. It is probable, therefore, that in the idea of Stephen the "kindred" of Jacob included the eight or nine surviving wives that accompanied the children of Israel. Judah's wife was dead, and it is probable that Reuben's was also deceased before he committed incest with Bilhah. If there were two or three more widowers the number of surviving wives would be eight or nine.
The number of the children of Israel is very particularly noted. But the Scripture lays no stress upon the number itself, and makes no particular application of it. It stands forth, therefore, on the record merely as a historical fact. It is remarkable that it is the product of seven, the number of holiness; and ten, the number of completeness. It is still more remarkable that it is the number of the names of those who are the heads of the primitive nations. This is in accordance with the fact that the church is the counterpart of the world, not only in diversity of character and destiny, but also in the adaptation of the former to work out the restitution of all things to God in the latter. The covenant with Abraham is a special means by which the seed may come, who is to give legal and vital effect to the old and general covenant with Noah the representative of the nations. The church of God in the world is to be the instrument by which the kingdom of the world is to become the kingdom of Christ. "When the Most High bestowed the inheritance on the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel" Deuteronomy 32:8. This curious sentence may have an immediate reference to the providential distribution of the human family over the habitable parts of the earth, according to the number of his church, and of his dispensation of grace; but at all events it conveys the great and obvious principle that all things whatsoever in the affairs of men are antecedently adapted with the most perfect exactitude to the benign reign of grace already realized in the children of God, and yet to be extended to all the sons and daughters of Adam.
on Genesis 46 :26