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tribe of Reuben, and rebelled against Moses and Aaron. They accused them of ambition, and demanded for the whole congregation an equal participation in the government and in the priesthood. And Moses said, "Come to-morrow with your incense before the Lord, and the Lord will show whom he hath chosen."

And Korah assembled all the people before the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses said to the people, "Depart from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins." And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and all that belonged to them; and there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. The whole congregation, however, murmured against Moses and Aaron, and accused them of having caused the death of these men. Then there went out a plague from the Lord among the people, and there died at that time fourteen thousand seven hundred men.

a

In Kadesh the people had no water; and they contended with Moses. And the Lord said, " Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water." And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" Moses, however, did not speak to the rock, but lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice; and the

a Numb. xvi. 16-49.

BALAAM.

water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. But the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, "Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." b This water was called Meribah; that is, the water of strife.

In the fortieth year, when the people were journeying round the country of the Edomites, the people murmured again, and said, "There is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread," (manna.) Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and a great multitude of them died.

And they came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us." And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." And Moses made a serpent of brass; and it came to pass that if the serpent had bitten any one, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived.

29. BALAAM.

WHEN the forty years were nearly expired, the conquest of the land began. The Israelites slew

Numb. xxi. 4-9.

Numb. xx. 7-13.

с

Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan; and they encamped on the plains of Moab, on the banks of Jordan. But Balak, the king of the Moabites, sent messengers to a soothsayer in Mesopotamia, named Balaam, saying, "Come, and curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me." But God said to Balaam, "Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed." Balak, however, sent to Balaam again, and he sent more honourable princes than the first were. Balaam yielded to their persuasions, and went. And the angel of the Lord came to meet him in the way, and his ass saw the angel of the Lord standing with a drawn sword in his hand, and turned aside out of the way. Balaam did not see the angel, and he smote the ass. The ass fell down upon her knees, and Balaam smote her again. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she spake with the voice of a man, "What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me?" Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel. And the angel said to him, "Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak."a

And Balaam came to Balak, and offered sacrifices with him upon a high place; and then he took up his parable, and said, "How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it." And he blessed them three times. And Balak said to Balaam, "What

a Numb. xxii. 5-35.

THE DEATH OF MOSES.

hast thou done unto me? I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the Lord

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hath kept thee back from honour." b And Balaam returned again to his place; and the Moabites were overcome by the Israelites, and every male amongst them slain.

30. THE DEATH OF MOSES.

Of all the men whom Moses had led out of Egypt, Joshua and Caleb were the only two that were living when they came to the promised land. All the rest had died. At last the summons came to Moses: "Gird up thy loins," said the Lord to

b Numb. xxiii. 8, 20; xxiv. 10, 11.

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him, "and get thee up to Mount Nebo; there will I show thee the land of Canaan, which I have given to the children of Israel. With thine eyes, shalt thou see it, but thou shalt not go into it.” Then Moses took leave of his people. He reminded them of all God's benefits, repeated to them all his commandments, set before them the blessing and the curse, and gave them this promise: "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me; him shall ye hear." He then went up into the mountain, and died there; and the Lord buried him, and no man knew of his sepulchre. Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eyes were not dim, nor was his bodily strength decreased. a

31. JOSHUA.

As God had been with Moses, so was he afterwards with Joshua. As Moses had led the Israelites through the sea, so Joshua led them through the river Jordan. The waters divided, the upper portion ceased to flow, and stood like a wall until the people had passed over. But the Israelites had to conquer Jericho, which was a strong city. "See," said the Lord, "I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof." At the command of the Lord, the priests went round the city, bearing the ark of the covenant, and with trumpets and rams' horns in their hands, and the armed men went before and behind them. This they did for six days. On the seventh day, the

a Deut. xxxii. 49-52; xxxiv. 4-10.

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