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27. MIRIAM'S DEATH. THE FIERY SERPENTS.
Numbers xx. xxi. Then came the whole congregation of Israel to Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin ; here Miriam died and was buried. At this place there was no water for the congregation, and they gathered themselves together, against Moses and against Aaron. God commanded Moses to speak to the rock, and water should come forth. Moses smote the rock twice, saying unto the people, “Hear now, ye rebels, shall we fetch water out of the rock.” Moses thus 'displeased God; and God told him he should not take the Israelites into Canaan.
Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom, to ask him to allow the Israelites to pass through his land; saying, “We will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells; we will go by the king's highway, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.” And Edom said, “ Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.” The people then journeyed to Mount Hor. Here Aaron died, and his son, Eleazar, was appointed high priest. Aaron was not permitted to enter Canaan, because he and Moses had disobeyed God. Aaron's age was one-hundredand-twenty-two years.
The Israelites again rebelled against God and against Moses. God punished them by sending fiery serpents among them. The people acknowledged that they had 'sinned and asked Moses to pray unto the Lord to take the serpents away. And Moses prayed for the people. Moses was then directed to make a brazen serpent and to put it on a pole, that all those who had been bitten by the fiery serpents, when they looked up to the brazen serpent might be healed.
The Israelites sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, asking leave to pass through his land; but he and Og, the king of Bashan, came against Israel, with their armies. They were defeated, and themselves, with their armies, slain. The Israelites took 'possession of their countries, and cities, from the River Arnon to Mount Gilead, and all Bashan.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS. (1635-1451 B.C. displeased—God will have his com- , the gratification of seeing the first fruits mands strictly observed; Moses was of God's promise, which was
to put desired to speak to the rock, instead of Israel in possession of a part of their which he struck it twice in a presumptu- inheritance. ous spirit. God said, “ the water shall come forth;'' “Shall we fetch water," the reprehensible language of
GEOGRAPHICAL NOTES. Moses.
KADESH-not Kadesh-barnea, from should not, &c.—God is no respecter of which place the Israelites were compersons; the multitude who came out manded to turn back again into the of Egypt were denied entrance into wilderness; but Kadesh, near EzionCanaan for their rebellion ; and for geber, on the western border of the one act of disobedience the honor of territory of Edom. leading Israel into their long-promised possession was denied to Moses.
EDOM—the country to the south of
Canaan, called also Idumea; it extends then journeyed, fc.—they did not fear into Arabia Petrea and to the borders the threatened assault of the warlike of the Red Sea; it was peopled by the Edomites, but God had forbidden war descendants of 'Esau who are called fare with their brethren, the children of
Edomites. Esau, saying, “ meddle not with them, for I'will not give you of their land, no, Petrea on the borders of Edom, where
Mount HOR-a mountain of Arabia not so much as a foot-breadth; because Aaron died and was buried. It is said I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for to be the highest of the mountains of a possession.” Lesson 13.
Seir. fiery serpents—it is generally supposed that these serpents are called fiery on
AMORITES—the descendants of Emer, account of their burning bites; some they inhabited the mountainous tracts
or Amor, the fourth son of Canaan; commentators suppose they were
After the winged serpents; and we are informed to the east of the Dead Sea. by ancient writers that this wilderness kings of the Amorites were slain, their was formerly infested with serpents territory on the east of the Dead Sea having wings.
was occupied by the tribes of Reuben and Gad ; and on the west by the tribe
3 brazen—the brazen serpent became of Judah. The Gibeonites were Amorthe cause of idolatry in the time of ites. Hezekiah. Lesson 107. Christ refers to it as a type of his own death and of east of Jordan and the sea of Galilee ; it
BASHAN—a fertile district of Canaan, the efficacy of faith in him. John ii. 14.
was celebrated for its oaks, its pastures, looked—God appointed the simplest and its cattle. Its king was a means of cure that his gracious inter- gigantic stature, hence his name Og, ference might be acknowledged, and which means 'giant'. that all who chose might avail them
ARNON-a river which rises in the selves of it.
mountains of Gilead and falls into the healed-several ancient writers assert, Dead Sea; it divided the country of that the bite of the serpents, which the Amorites from that of the Moabites. abounded in this wilderness, was so venomous and deadly as to be beyond
Mount GILEAD— heap of testithe reach of art to cure it.
mony; the mountains of Gilead lie
east of the Jordan, and extend from possession—though Moses was not Anti-libanus southward into Arabia permitted to go over Jordan, he bad | Petrea.
BALAK SENDS FOR BALAAM.
GRACE AND SIN. "THEY PROVOKED HIS SPIRIT SO THAT HE SPAKE UNADVISEDLY WITH HIS LIPS,
Moses, the patriot fierce, became
The meekest man on earth,
Can give our souls new birth.
Lost Canaan by self-will,
How sin defiles us still.
Yet seest me frail at best,
Child's CHRISTIAN YEAR.
28. BALAK AND BALAAM. IDOLATRY IN MOAB.
Numbers xxii.-xxxi. When the people of Moab saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, they were sore afraid. •Balak, the king of Moab, sent for · Balaam to 'curse the Israelites. At first God would not permit Balaam to go. Balak sent again, and Balaam was 'permitted to go, but he was to speak only that which God told him. On his way to Moab, the angel of the Lord met him, and he was again told not to curse the Israelites. Balak, took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor ; there instead of cursing the Israelites, he was forced to bless them and to foretell their greatness. He desired to die the death of the righteous, which was a good prayer from a wicked man. Balak said to Balaam, “ What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and behold, thou hast blessed them altogether." And Balaam answered, “Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my •mouth ? God is not a man that he should lie ; neither the son of man that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it, or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? Behold I have received commandment to bless ; and he hath blessed ; and I cannot reverse it." When Balaam had further foretold the prosperity of Israel, Balak's anger was kindled, and he .smote his hands together, IDOLATRY IN MOAB. [1635-1451 B.C. and said, “ Flee thee to thy place ; I thought to promote thee to great honour, but the Lord hath kept thee back from honour.” Balaam replied to Balak, “ If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord.”
At Shittim, in Moab, the Israelites were ensnared into idolatry with the Midianites. This was done by the advice of the wicked prophet, Balaam. For this sin God sent a plague on them and 24,000 of the people died. During the plague, Zimri, an Israelite, sinned greatly in taking a Midianitish woman named Cozbi, into his tent. Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the high priest, slew them both. Then the plague stopped, and God promised great blessings to Phinehas.
The Israelites were numbered at Shittim. Many directions were given them about dividing the land, its inheritance, their offerings, feasts, &c. To punish the Midianites, God commanded Moses to take 12,000 men, and make war against them. The Israelites slew all the men of Midian, with their kings, but spared the women. Balaam was slain in this battle.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS. Balak—the same request that had Balak hoped that Balaam might, by been made to the king of Edom (Les.27) incantations and sacrifices to the God was made to Balak, but he would not of the Hebrews, cause the destruction consent; he and the neighbouring kings of the people whose approach he dreaded. were probably ignorant of the miracu
permitted the character of Balanm lous supply of food, daily provided for the Israelites, and imagined that a fam- he “loved the wages of unrighteous
was that of a covetous and greedy man ; ine would be the result of supplying ness," and therefore eagerly desired to food to so large a number; they might obtain them from Balak. "Lesson 11, also apprehend that admission into
obtained.' their territories being granted, the Israelites would then attempt to con- righteous—alluding to the Israelites, quer their countries.
whom he esteemed as a holy nation, or Balaam— devourer of the people ;' probably to the happy death of Israel it is not known whether he was only a
after whom this people were called—an pretender, or a divinely inspired pro
intimation which he might have obtainphet; it is however certain that he was
ed from God. deterred from cursing the Israelites, mouth-a plain declaration that the and compelled to pronounce over them message he had to pronounce was not the inspired language of blessing. in accordance with his own feelings. curse--according to the notion of
repent—not likely to reverse his deidolaters, that priests or diviners could cisions ; he would assuredly fulfil his influence the decision of their gods~ 'promise to Abraham by giving Canaan PERIOD III.] “ BALAK AND BALAAM." to his posterity.
In another sense GEOGRAPHICAL NOTES. repentance is sometimes ascribed to
MOAB_“father's progeny;' the part God. Lesson 23.
of Arabia Petrea on the east of the cannot-notwithstanding his fame as
Dead Sea; it was inhabited, after the a diviner, he confessed his utter in- gigantic race of the Emim were conability to influence the will of the Most quered, by the descendants of Moab,
one of the sons of Lot. The territory High.
of Sihon had belonged to the Moabites, smote—from a feeling of bitter dis- but they were dispossessed of it by that appointment and rage.
warrior chief, who in his turn was
subdued by the Israelites under Moses. the Lord–Balak was evidently ignorant of the true God, although he had
Mount PEOR—one of the heights of
the Abarim mountains. heard Balaam apply the name Jehovah to the God of the Hebrews. Balaam, SHITTIM—the place in the plains of it appears, understood that Jehovah Moab where the Israelites were enwas the God of gods—the Almighty.
snared into idolatry by the Midianites,
and the idolaters were slain. advice—he who did not dare to curse Israel, wickedly suggested, a plan the people of which were descendants
Midian—a country of Arabia Petrea, whereby they might be made to draw of Midian, the fourth son of Abraham down the displeasure of God upon them and Keturah. The Moabites & Midianselves.
ites were neighbours and appear to have great blessings—the promise of per- lived on terms of friendship. The petual priesthood to him and his seed. Midianites were an unsettled race, and
all—not the entire nation, but all that like the Ishmaelites lived a wandering horde which was concerned in the life ; sometimes living by plunder, seduction of Israel; other hordes or
sometimes following the avocation of tribes were at a distance from this merchants. Lesson 14. They joined scene of destruction. Lessons 36,37.
with the Moabites to obtain the services
of Balaam to curse Israel; and their slain—justice speedily overtook this looser morals, arising from their unwicked man, and that too among the settled habits, rendered them better people who had given themselves up to agents for ensnaring the Israelites into his teaching and authority.
idolatry and other sins.
BALAK AND BALAAM. “ HOW GOODLY ARE THY TENTS, O JACOB, AND THY TABERNACLES, O ISRAEL!"
Upon the hill the Prophet stood,
'Twas morn ;—'twas noon;—the sacrifice