LXII. (177) But these men pray to be nourished by the word of God: but Jacob, raising his head above the word, says that he is nourished by God himself, and his words are as follows; “The God in whom my father Abraham and Isaac were well-pleased; the God who has nourished me from my youth upwards to this day; the angel who has delivered me from all my evils, bless these Children.”{86}{#ge 48:15.} This now being a symbol of a perfect disposition, thinks God himself his nourisher, and not the word: and he speaks of the angel, which is the word, as the physician of his evils, in this speaking most naturally. For the good things which he has previously mentioned are pleasing to him, inasmuch as the living and true God has given them to him face to face, but the secondary good things have been given to him by the angels and by the word of God. (178) On this account I think it is that God gives men pure good health, which is not preceded by any disease in the body, by himself alone, but that health which is an escape from disease he gives through the medium of skill and medical science, attributing it to science, and to him who can apply it skilfully, though in truth, it is God himself who heals both by these means, and without these means. And the same is the case with regard to the soul, the good things, namely food, he gives to men by his power alone; but those which contain in them a deliverance from evil, he gives by means of his angels and his word.

LXIII. (179) And he uttered this prayer, blaming Joseph the statesman and governor, because he had ventured to say, “I will feed them in that Land,”{87}{#ge 45:11.} for, “hasten ye,” said Joseph, “and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus says Joseph,” and so on, and presently he adds, “Come down unto me, and do not tarry, come with all thou hast, and I will feed thee in that land; for still the famine lasts for five years.” Jacob, therefore, speaks as he does reproving and at the same time instructing this imaginary wise man, and he says to him, “O my friend, know thou that the food of the soul is knowledge, which it is not the word which is intelligible by the external senses that can bestow, but God only who has nourished me from youth, and from my earliest age till the time of perfect manhood, he shall fill me with it. (180) Joseph therefore was treated in the same way with his mother Rachel, for she also thought that the creature had some power; on which account she used the expression, “Give me children,” but the supplanter, adhering to his proper character, says to her, “You have used a great error; for I am not in the peace of God, who alone is able to open the womb of the soul, {88}{#ge 30:1.} and to implant virtues in it, and to cause it to be pregnant, and to bring forth what is good. Consider also the history of thy sister Leah, and you will find that she did not receive seed or fertility from any creature–but from God himself.” “For the Lord, seeing that Leah was hated, opened her womb, but Rachel was Barren.”{89}{#ge 29:31.} (181) And consider, now, in this sentence, again, the subtlety of the writer spoken of. God opens the wombs, implanting good actions in them, and the womb, when it has received virtue from God, does not bring forth to God, for the living and true God is not in need of any thing, but she brings forth sons to me, Jacob, for it was for my sake, probably, that God sowed seen in virtue, and not for his own. Therefore, another husband of Leah is found to be passed over in silence, and another father of Leah’s children, for he is the husband who openeth the womb, and he is the father of the children to whom the mother is said to bear them.