Imagini ale paginilor

abundantly; and as their thirst is allayed, so their hunger is satisfied miraculously : "at even quails come up, and cover the camp" and in the morning manna lies upon the face of the wilderness. The latter of these, however, was not merely a temporary supply, but continued to be sent daily, with the early dew, for forty years, during the whole period of their wanderings; and only "ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land" of Canaan 1. It was moreover accompanied with a remarkable provision for the perfect sanctity of the Sabbath, since none ever appeared upon that day, but on the preceding day each person gathered double the usual quantity: thus establishing by a continual miracle a lasting memorial of the divine commandment.

Other trials now await them, and another extraordinary scene is opened to us by the following narrative. The people are attacked by the Amalekites in Rephi

1 Joshua v. 12.

dim; and Moses, at no time aspiring to the reputation of a general, commissions a young man, named Joshua, who afterwards acquired such enduring glory as his successor, to lead the forces of Israel against their enemies. The prophet himself engages in an employment more suited to his age and character. Attended by Aaron and Hur, and taking with him the rod of God-that rod which he had already found so powerful—he ascends the hill to view the combat and raise his hands toward heaven in prayer for success. It was the purpose of Jehovah, on all occasions, to magnify his servant in the sight of his people; and thus to give greater efficacy to his chosen instrument, and increase the sphere of his utility. Whilst, therefore, Moses held up his hands in supplication, Israel prevailed; but when bodily weakness compelled him to "let them down," Amalek prevailed. To ensure the victory, "Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the

going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword." Surely, no more striking lesson could be given to mankind of the utter helplessness of human nature, of the unbounded efficacy of prayer, of the all ruling power of Divine Providence, than this memorable transaction: when the aged prophet, supported by his two more aged companions', poured out his soul in prayer to Almighty God, imploring assistance and protection for his people.

The eighteenth chapter of the Book of Exodus contains an interesting account of the meeting between Moses and Jethro, his father-in-law. Jethro brought to him his wife and his two children, whom it thus appears, he had left behind when he returned into Egypt, to execute the

Hur was the grandfather of Bezaleel, who a few weeks after was appointed, by the express command of God, to make the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat.

2 We are informed (chap. iv. 20), that Moses, when he went down into Egypt, was accompanied by his

divine command. It is not, however, important to the present narrative, otherwise than as it shows the perfect simplicity and truth of the historian, and the entire absence of all pretence or assumption; for we have here one of the most useful political regulations-the appointment of the judges ascribed to the suggestion of Jethro; and also the acknowledgment by Moses of Zipporah his wife, though, as being an Ethiopian woman, she was held in contempt by the Israelites. From Rephidim they proceed to the wilderness of Sinai, and encamp in the neighbourhood of the Mount of God, exactly two months after their departure out of Egypt.

The delivery of the law from Mount

wife and his son Gershom (Eliezer being born afterwards); and some peculiar circumstances are related concerning his circumcision by the way. It is also stated (chap. xviii. 2.), that he sent them back; and we may suppose, that, at first, Moses resolved to take his family with him, but, meeting with Aaron, he was prevailed upon to alter his determination and send them back for protection to Jethro.

Sinai or Horeb is in itself an event of such vast magnitude and importance, and all the circumstances attending that delivery are so singular, so awful, so impressive, that it is necessary to trace their order more particularly. The Lord thus addresses the assembled multitude by the mouth of Moses; "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." Having thus recounted his past mercies, and heard his covenant formally accepted, he commands them to prepare, by the strictest purification, for the wondrous intercourse about to take place. The whole mount is carefully fenced and guarded, lest any

« ÎnapoiContinuă »