Page images

had before been pestered with flies and incommoded with vermin: and, through the pollution of their river and the murrain of their cattle, been put to great inconveniences. But they could dig for water, and in some degree shelter themselves from flies: but there was no resource from this evil, which was brought more home to them. It was a taint of the human frame; a grievous internal malady, under which the priests as well as the people smarted, to their astonishment and confusion. Hence it appears, that the prince of the country was deserted of his wise men as well as of his gods.--- And the magicians could not stand before Moses, because of the boil: for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians, Exod. ix. 11.

The Peculiarity observable in the scattering of

the Ashes.

It is said, that when this evil was to be brought upon the Egyptians, Aaron and Moses were ordered to take ashes of the furnace; and Moses was to scatter them up towards heaven, that they might be wafted over the face of the country, Exod. ix. 8. This mandate was

very determinate: and to the last degree significant. The ashes were to be taken from that fiery furnace; which in the scriptures was used as a type of the Israelites slavery, and of all the cruelty which they experienced in Egypt. The process has still a farther allusion to an idolatrous and cruel ritę, which was common among the Egyptians; and to which it is opposed as a contrast. They had several cities stiled Typhonian, such as Heliopolis, Idithyia, Abaris, and Busiris. In these at particular seasons they sacrificed men. The objects thus destined were persons of bright hair, and a particular complexion : such as was seldom to be found among the native Egyptians. Hence we may infer, that they were foreigners: and it is probable that, while the Israelites resided in Egypt, they were chosen from their body. They were burnt alive upon an high 'altar : and thus sacrificed for the good of the people. At the close of the sacrifice the priests gathered together the ashes of these victims, and scattered them upwards in the • air : I presume, with this view, that where any atom of this dust was wafted, a blessing might be entailed. The like was done by Moses with the ashes of the fiery furnace; but with a different intention. They were scattered abroad; that wherever

Abraham saw in vision the bondage of his posterity under the emblem of a smoking furnace and burning lamp. Genesis, ch. xv. v. 17.---The Lord hath taken you out of the furnace : i. e. out of Egyptian thraldom, Deut. ch. iv. v. 20. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah xlviii. v. 20.----For they be thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron. The words of Solomon. 1 Kings, c. viii. v. 51.

2 Και γαρ εν Ιδιθυιας πολει ζωντας ανθρωπος καταπιμπρασαν, ως Μανεβων ισoρηκς, Τυφωνιας καλεντες. και την τεφραν αυτων λικμωντες ηφανισον, και διεσπειρον. Αλλα τετο μεν εδρατο φανερως, και καθ' ένα xesgov EV TAIS Xuversy upsçais. Plut. Is. et Osir. v. 1. p. 380. D. De Arte Amand. 1. 1. v. 649. Diodorus says-των μεν Αιγυπτιων ολιγες τινας ευρισκεσθαι πυρρες των δε ξενων τους πλει8ς. 1. 1. p. 79.


the smallest portion alighted, it might prove a plague and a curse to this ungrateful, cruel, and infatuated people. Thus there was a designed contrast in these workings of Providence : an apparenț opposition to the superstition of the times. The powers


! It was probably stiled Tuph-On, somos Hair: and from hence both the cities, and the persons sacrificed, had the name of Typhonian. That they were foreigners seems to be farther intimated, by the tradition recorded by Ovid. Cum Thrasius Busirin adit, monstratque piari Hospitis effuso sanguine posse Jovem.

* Plutarch, above.

of darkness were foiled ; and the priests and magicians confounded : all which was salutary to the people of God. But the heart of Pharaoh was still hardened,




V. 14.

Exodus, Ch. ix. Ver, 13. And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people ; that thou mayest know, that there is none like me in all the earth.

V. 15. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I

may smite thee, and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.

V. 16. . And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

V, 17. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them

go. V. 18. Behold, to-morrow about this time, I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.

V. 19. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field: for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. V. 20.

He that feared the word of the Lord amongst the servants of Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses. V. 21.

And he that regarded not the word of the Lord, left his servants, and his cattle in the field.

V. 22, And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand towards heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout all the land of Egypt.

V. 23. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven : and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground : and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.

V. 24. So there was hail, and fire mingled

« PreviousContinue »