Immagini della pagina

And the Lord

said unto Mofes, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me.

That there was any trick, or contrivance of Moses, in this case, is improbable on this account, that it was not himself, or his pofterity, but Aaron, and his family, that was, in consequence of it, honoured with the priesthood. The children and posterity of Moses ranked no higher than other Levites, without any mark of distinction, or any advantage whatever ; and he must have been a man different from all other men, if he had preferred the descendants even of his brother to his own. The fons of Moses are particularly mentioned, as well as those of Aaron; but we are informed of nothing concerning them, besides their names.

The remaining events in the life-time of Mofes I shall barely mention. During the forty years that the Israelites abode in the wilderness, it is too probable that they continued in the neighbourhood of the stream which first issued from the rock of Rephidim, so that they were sufficiently supplied with water. On their removing northwards to Kadesh, the southern border of the land of Canaan, the people were again distressed for want of water, when they were relieved a second time by a stream from a rock; and on this occasion it was that the improper conduct of Moses and Aaron was the cause of their not being permitted to go over the river Jordan.

The country of the Edomites lying in their way, they asked leave, but were réfused, to pass peaceably through it. They therefore made the whole circuit of their country, and came to the southern border of the Amorites, on the other side of Jordan. But before this, having been attacked by Arad, one of the princes of the southern parts of Canaan, they vowed the destruction of his cities; and this was afterwards accomplished by Joshua. After this Aaron died, and was buried in Mount Hor, and was succeeded in the office of high priest by his son Eleazar.

In this going round all the land of Edom, the people being much distressed, murmured once more, and they were punished H 2


for it by fiery serpents, but they were relieved, when, by the particular order of God, they only looked towards a brazen serpent, which had been erected on a pole for that purpose. Thus the hand of God was conspicuous in their relief from this calamity, as well as on every other occasion.

The Israelites being now come to the borders of the Amorites, to the east of the river Jordan, they alked leave to pass peaceably through it; but being refused, and opposed by force, they defeated them, and took possession of their country.

After this Og king of Bafhan coming in an hostile manner against them, they defeated him also, and taking possession of his country, they became masters of a very large and fertile tract on the other side of Jordan, bordering on the Moabites and Ammonites, the descendants of Lot.

Here Balak king of Moab, being jealous of the Israelites, but not choosing to meet them in battle, hired Balaam a prophet to pronounce a curse upon them, thinking that this would ensure their destruction.


[ocr errors]

But instead of this God was pleased to com-
pel him to pronounce a blessing,
In this transaction the Midianites joined

the Moabites; and the Israelites, conti-
nuing some time in their neighbourhood,
were tempted to join in one of their reli-
gious festivals, in which, as in various acts
of the heathen religion, the people in-
dulged themselves in the promiscuous com-
merce of the sexes. But by the zeal of
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, a stop was
put to this evil. For this insidious at-
tempt of the Midianites to draw the Il-
raelites into idolatry, war was ordered to
be made upon them; the consequence of
which was the total defeat of the Midi-
anites, and the plundering, but not the
taking possession, of their country. In this
battle Balaam the prophet also fell, and by
the judgment of God every person con-
cerned in any acts of idolatry along with
the Midianites, which was the worship of
Baal Peor, died before they came to the
land of Canaan. This Mofes particularly
observed to them. Deut. iv.

have seen what the Lord did because of Baal


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Your eyes

H 3

Peor. For all the men that followed Baal Peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you; but ye who did cleave to the Lord your God are alive, every one of you,

this day.

In the last years of the life of Moses he wrote the book of Deuteronomy, consisting of a recapitulation of the great events which have been recited, the most earnest exhortations 'to the people to continue firm in their allegiance to the true God, foretelling their prosperity in case of obedience, and the dreadful calamities that would overtake them (and they have all actually come to pass) in case of their disobedience; and lastly in encouraging Joshua, who succeeded him in the general conduct of the people. After this, not being permitted to pass the river Jordan, he was indulged with a fight of the promised land from Mount Pisgah; and there, though in full vigour, he died, or was thought so, to do. But to me it seems not improbable, that, as he appeared together with Elijah, who was translated into heaven without dying, on the mountain on which our Saviour was


« IndietroContinua »