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Containing an interval of two Years.
FROM THE EXODUS OUT OF EGYPT, TO THE REJECTION OF THAT GENERATION.
OF THE VICISSITUDES EXPERIENCED BY THE HEBREWS IN THEIR
JOURNEY TO MOUNT SINAI.
When Moses saw how much the people were cast, CHAP. I.
down, and that the occasion of it could not be contradicted; for the people were not in the nature of
a complete army of men, who might oppose a manly WHEN the Hebrews had obtained such a wonderful fortitude to the necessity that distressed them; and deliverance, the country was a great trouble to the multitude of the children and of the women, them, for it was entirely a desert, and had not water being of too weak capacities to be persuaded by enough to suffice any of the cattle ; for it was reason, blunted the courage of the men themselves;
and had not moisture that might afford Moses was in great difficulties, and made every nutriment to the vegetables. So they were forced body's calamities to be his own; for they all ran to to travel over this country, as having no other route. him, and begged of him; the women begged for They had, indeed, carried water with them from the their infants, and the men for the women, that he land over which they had travelled before, as their would not overlook them, but procure some way or conductor had bidden them ; but when that was other for their deliverance. He therefore betook spent, they were obliged to draw water out of wells, himself to prayer to God, that he would change the with pain, by reason of the hardness of the soil. water, and make it fit for drinking. And when God The water thus obtained, also, was bitter, and unfit had granted him that favour, he took the top of a for drinking, and this in small quantities. And as stick that lay at his feet, and divided it in the middle, they thus travelled, they came late in the evening and made the section lengthways; he then let it to a place called Marah,* from the badness of its down into the well, and persuaded the Hebrews that waters: for Mar denotes bitterness. Thither they God had hearkened to his prayers, and had promised came afflicted, both by the tediousness of the to render the water such as they desired it to be, in journey, and by want of food; for it entirely failed case they would be subservient to him in what he them at that time. Now here was a well, which should enjoin them to do, and this not after a remiss induced them to stay in the place; for although it or negligent manner. And when they asked, what was not sufficient to satisfy so great an army, it they were to do in order to have the water changed afforded them some comfort in such a desert place; for the better; he bid the strongest men among for they heard from those who had been to search, them that stood there, to draw up water; and told that there was nothing to be found, if they travelled them that when the greatest part was drawn up, the farther. The water, however, was bitter, and not remainder would be potable. So they labored at it fit for men to drink; and not only so, but it was till the water was so agitated and purged as to be intolerable even to the cattle themselves.
fit to drink.
* Dr. Bernard takes notice here, that this place' Mar, where as Thevenot assures us; as there are also abundance of palm. the waters were bitter, is called by the Syrians and Arabians, trees. See his Travels, part I. chap. xxvi. page 166. Mariri ; and by the Syrians sometimes Marath, all derived from + Exod. xv. 23. the Hebrew Mar: as also he takes notice, that it is called the # The additions here to Moses's account of the sweetening bitter fountain, by Pliny himself. Which waters are bitter still, | the waters at Marah, seem derived from some ancient profano
Removing from thence, they came to Elim,* | merly been bestowed on them, to slip out of their which place looked well at a distance, for there memories; and he desired them by no means, on was a grove of palm-trees, but when they came account of their present uneasiness, to cast those nearer, it appeared to be a bad place, for the palm- great and wonderful favours and gifts, which they trees were no more than seventy, and they were had obtained of God, out of their minds: but to ill-grown, and creeping trees, by the want of water, expect deliverance out of their present troubles, for the country about was all parched, and no which they could not free themselves from; and moisture sufficient to water them, and make them this by the means of that divine providence which hopeful and useful, was derived to them from the watched over them: as it was probable that God fountains, which were twelve in number; they merely tried their virtue, and exercised their pawere rather a few moist places, than springs, tience, by these adversities, that it might appear which not breaking out of the ground, nor running what fortitude they had, and what memory they over, could not sufficiently water the trees. And retained of his former wonderful works in their when they dug into the sand, they met with no favour: and whether they would not think of water, and if they took a few drops of it into their them upon occasion of the miseries they now felt. hands, they found it to be useless on account of. He told them, it appeared they were not really its mud. The trees also were too weak to bear good men either in patience, or in remembering fruit, for want of being sufficiently cherished and what had been successfully done for them, someenlivened by the water. So they laid the blame times by contemning God, and his commands, on their conductor, and made heavy complaints when, by those commands, they left the land of against him; and said, that this their miserable Egypt; and sometimes by behaving themselves state, and the experience they had of adversity, ill towards him who was the servant of God, were owing to him: for that they had then jour- and this when he had never deceived them, either neyed thirty days, and had spent all the provi- in what he said, or had ordered them to do by God's sions they had brought with them, and meeting command. He also reminded them of all that with no relief, they were in a very desponding had passed : how the Egyptians were destroyed condition. Thus by fixing their attention upon when they attempted to detain them, contrary to nothing but their present misfortunes, they were the command of God; and after what manner the hindered from remembering what deliverances very same river was to the others bloody, and they had received from God, and those by the not fit for drinking, but was sweet and potable to virtue and wisdom of Moses also; so they were them; and how they went a new road through very angry at their conductor, and were zealous the sea, which led a long way from them: by to stone him, as the direct occasion of their pres- which means they were themselves preserved, ent miseries.
but saw their enemies destroyed; and that when But while the multitude were irritated and bit- they were in want of weapons, God gave them terly set against him, Moses cheerfully relied upon plenty of them. Thus he recounted all the parGod, and upon his consciousness of the care he ticular instances, when they were in appearance, had taken of his own people, and he came into just going to be destroyed, but God had saved the midst of them, even while they clamoured them in a surprising manner: that he had still the against him, and had stones in their hands, in same power, and that they ought not even now to order to dispatch him. Now he was of an agree- despair of his providence over them, and accordable presence, and very able to persuade the peo- ingly he exhorted them to continue quiet, and to ple by his speeches: accordingly he began to miti- consider that help would not come too late, though gate their anger, and exhorted them not to be perhaps not immediately, if it were present with over-mindful of their present adversities, lest they them before they suffered any great misfortune. should thereby suffer the benefits that had for “ You ought,” said he, “ to reason thus, that God
author, and he such an author, also, as looks less authentic than sephus never tells us when his own copy, taken out of the are usually followed by Josephus. Philo has not a syllable of temple, had such additions; or when any ancient notes supplied these additions ; nor any other ancient writer that we know of them; or indeed when they were derived from Jewish and Had Josephus written his Antiquities for the use of the Jews, when from Gentile antiquities, we can go no farther than bare he would hardly have given them these very improbable circum- conjecture in such cases. Only the notions of Jews were genestances; but writing to Gentiles, that they might not complain rally so different from those of Gentiles, that we may someof his omission of any accounts of such miracles derived from times make no improbable guesses to which sort such addiGentiles, he did not think proper to conceal what he had met tions belong. See also somewhat like these additions in Josewith there about this matter. Which procedure is perfectly phus's account of Elisha's making sweet the bitter and barren agreeable to the character and usage of Josephus upon many spring near Jericho. Of the War, IV. 8. occasions. This is, however, barely
conjectural ; and since Jo * Exod. xv. 27.
delays to assist you, not because he has no re- | Hereupon, Moses returned thanks to God for 1 gard to you, but because he will first try your affording them assistance so suddenly, and sooner fc fortitude, and the pleasure you take in your free- than he had promised. dom; that he may learn whether you have souls But soon after this first supply of food, they great enough to bear want of food, and scarcity received a second; for, as Moses was lifting up of water, on its account; or whether you really his hands in prayer, a dew fell down, and Moses, love to be slaves, as cattle are slaves to such as when he found it adhere to his hands, supposed own them, and feed them liberally, but only in this was also come for food from God; he tasted order to make them more useful in their service. it, and perceiving that the people knew not what As for myself, I shall not be so much concerned for it was, but thought it snowed, and that it was my own preservation, for if I die unjustly, I shall what usually fell at that time of the year, he innot reckon it any affliction ; but I am concerned formed them, that this dew did not fall from for you, lest by casting stones at me, you should heaven after the manner they imagined, but came be thought to condemn God himself.”
for their preservation and sustenance; so he gave By this means Moses pacified the people, and them some of it, that they might be satisfied about restrained them from stoning him, and brought what he had told them. They also imitated their them to repent of what they were going to do. conductor, and were pleased with the food, for it And because he thought the necessity they were was like honey in sweetness, and in substance under made their passion less unjustifiable, he like to bdellium, one of the sweet spices, but in thought it needful to apply to God by prayer and bigness equal to coriander seed. The people were supplication ; and going up to an eminence, he re- now very earnest in gathering it; but they were quested some succour for the people, and some enjoined to gather it equally,* the measure of a way of deliverance from the want they were in; homer for every one every day, because this food because in God, and in him alone, was their hope should not come in too small quantity, lest the of salvation. He also desired that he would for- weaker might not be able to get their share, by give what necessity had forced the people to do: reason of the overbearing of the strong in collectsince such was the nature of mankind, hard to ing it. However, these strong men, when they please, and very complaining under adversities. had gathered more than the measure appointed for Accordingly God promised he would take care of them, they had no more than others, but only tired them, and afford the succour they were desirous themselves more in gathering it; for they found of. Now when Moses had heard this, he came no more than a homer apiece, and the advantage down to the multitude; and as soon as they saw they got by what was superfluous was none at all
, him joyful at the promises he had received from as it corrupted, both by worms breeding in it, and God, they changed their sad countenances into by its bitterness. So divine and wonderful a food gladness. So he placed himself in the midst of was this ! It also supplied the want of other sorts them, and told them he came to bring them from of food to those that fed on it; and even now,t God a deliverance out of their present distress. in all that place, this manna comes down in rain, Accordingly a little time after came a vast num- according to what Moses then obtained of God, to ber of quails, (which birds are more plentiful in send it the people for their sustenance. Now the this Arabian Gulf than anywhere else,) flying over Hebrews call this food manna,f for the particle the sea, and hovered over them, till wearied with man in our language is the asking of a question, their laborious flight, and indeed, as usual, flying what is this? So the Hebrews were very joyful very near to the earth, they fell down among the at what was sent them from heaven, and they Hebrews, who caught them, and satisfied their made use of this food for forty years, or as long hunger with them, supposing this was the method as they remained in the wilderness. whereby God meant to supply them with food. As soon as they removed thence, they came to
* It seems to me, from what Moses, Exod. xvi. 18, St. Paul, it had not been seen previously. However, this food from 2 Cor. viii. 15, and Josephus here says, compared together, heaven is here described by the word vipeddal, that it fell like that the quantity of manna that fell daily, and did not putrefy, snow; and in Artapanus, a heathen writer, it is compared to was just so much as came to a homer apiece through the whole meal, like to oatmeal, in colour like to snow, rained down by host of Israel, and no more.
God. Essay on the Old Test. Appendix, page 239. But as to † This supposal that the sweet honey dew, or manna, so cele- the derivation of the word manna, whether from man, which Josebrated in ancient and modern authors, as falling usually in phus says then signified, what is it? or from manah, to divide, i.e. a Arabia, was of the very same sort with the manna sent to the dividend, or portion allotted to every one, it is uncertain. Iincline Israelites, savours more of Gentilism than of Judaism or Chris- to the latter derivation. This manna is called angels' food, Ps. tianity. It is not improbable that some ancient Gentile author, lxxviii. 25, and by our Saviour, John vi. 31, as well as by Josephus read by Josephus, thought so, nor would he here contradict him, here and elsewhere, said to be sent to the Jews from heavene though just before, and IV. 3, he seems directly to allow that * Exod. xvi. 15. § From An. 1532 to 1429, B. C
OF THE HOSTILITIES COMMITTED AGAINST THE HEBREWS BY THE
AMALEKITES, AND OF THEIR COMPLETE DEFEAT.
Rephidim,* distressed to the last degree by thirst : in the templeť informs us how God foretold to
to at be, as might well be expected where God was the others, but the former do not leave any room for donor. They were also in admiration how Moses their enemies to become troublesome to them. was honoured by God, and they made grateful re- After they had sent such embassages to the turns of sacrifices to God for his providence to- neighbouring nations, and among each other, they wards them. Now that scripture which is laid up resolved to attack the Hebrews in battle.
* Exod. xvii. 1.
cessive drought they laboured under, was an inhuman action, † This rock is here at this day, as modern travellers agree, and justly deserved the defeat which Joshua gave them. But and must be the same that was there in the days of Moses. then the reason why God thought fit to denounce a perpetual
† Note here, that the small book of the principal laws of war against them, is to be resolved into this :—That knowing Moses is ever said to be laid up in the holy house itself, but the Israelites were preordained by God to be put in possession the larger Pentateuch somewhere within the limits of the tem of the land of Canaan, they came against them with an armed ple and its courts only. See V. 1. VI. 4. X. 4.
force, in hopes of frustrating the designs of Providence concern$ The Amalekites were a people descended from Amalek, ing them. And this is the reason which Moses himself assigns the son of Eliphaz, the son of Esau, by a concubine, Gen. xxxvi. for this declaration of war; because his (i. e. Amalek’s) hand is 12. And the ground of their enmity against the Israelites is against the throne of God, (i. e. against God himself,) therefore generally supposed to have been an innate hatred, from the re the Lord will wage war against him from one generation to an. membrance of Jacob's depriving their progenitor, both of his other. Exod. xvii. 16. The injury done the Israelites was not birthright and blessing. Their falling upon them, however, and so much as the affront offered to the divine Majesty; and there. that without any provocation, when they saw them reduced to fore God threatens utterly to extirpate the designers of it. Uniso low a condition by the fatigue of their march, and the ex versal History, 1. 1. c. 7, and Patrick's Commentary. B.
These proceedings of the people of those coun- | their present resolution; so Moses classed all that tries occasioned perplexity and trouble to Moses, were fit for war into different troops, and set over who expected no such warlike preparations: and them Joshua, the son of Nun, of the tribe of when these nations were ready to fight, the multi- Ephraim; one that was of great courage, and tude of the Hebrews were obliged to try the for- patient to undergo labours; of great abilities to tune of war; they were in great disorder, and in understand, and to speak what was proper, and want of all necessaries, and yet were to make war very serious in the service of God, and indeed, with men who were well prepared for it. Then it made like another Moses, a teacher of piety towas, therefore, that Moses began to encourage wards God. He also appointed a small party of them, and to exhort them to have a good heart, the armed men to be near the water, and to take and rely on God's assistance by which they had care of the children and the women, and of the been advanced into a state of freedom, and to hope entire camp; so that whole night they prepared for victory over those who were ready to fight themselves for the battle: they took their weapons, with them in order to deprive them of that bless- if any of them had such as were well made, and ing. He said they were to suppose their own army attended to their commanders, as ready to rush to be numerous, wanting nothing, neither weapons, forth to the battle as soon as Moses should give nor money, nor provisions, nor such other conve- the word of command. Moses also kept awake, niences as when men are in possession of, they teaching Joshua after what manner he should fight undauntedly, and that they were to judge order his camp; but when the day began, Moses themselves to have all these advantages in the called Joshua again, and exhorted him to approve divine assistance. They were also to suppose the himself in deeds such a one as his reputation made enemies' army to be small, unarmed, and weak, men expect from him, and to gain glory by the and such as want those conveniences which they present expedition in the opinion of those under know must be wanted when it is God's will that him, for his exploits in this battle: he also gave they should be beaten. He reminded them that a particular exhortation to the principal men of they had experienced the value of God's assistance the Hebrews, and encouraged the whole army as in abundance of trials, and those such as were it stood before him ; and when he had thus animore terrible than war; for that is only against mated them, both by his words and works, and men, but these were against famine and thirst, prepared every thing, he retired to a mountain, things that were in their own nature insuperable ; and committed the army to God and to Joshua. as also against mountains, and that sea which The armies having joined battle, soon came to a afforded them no way for escaping; yet had all close fight hand to hand, both sides showing great these difficulties been conquered by God's gracious alacrity, and encouraging one another; and, indeed, kindness: so he exhorted them to be courageous while Moses stretched out his hands* towards heaat this time, and to consider their entire prosperity ven, the Hebrews were too hard for the Amalekites; to depend on the present conquest of their ene- but Moses not being able to sustain his hands thus mies.
stretched out, (for as often as he let down his hands, Moses having thus encouraged the multitude, so often were his own people worsted,) he bade his called together the princes of their tribes, and brother Aaron, and Hur, their sister Miriam's hustheir chief men, both separately and jointly. The band, to stand on each side of him, and take hold young men he charged to obey their elders, and of his hands, and not to permit his weariness to prethe elders to hearken to their leader; so the people vent it, but to assist him in the extension of his hands. were elevated in their minds, and ready to try When this was done, the Hebrews conquered the their fortune in battle, and hoped to be thereby at Amalekites by main force; and, indeed, they had all length delivered from all their miseries. Nay, they perished, unless the approach of night had obliged desired that Moses would immediately lead them the Hebrews to desist from killing any more. So our against their enemies, without the least delay, forefathers obtained a most signal and most seasonthat no backwardness might be an hindrance to able victory; for they not only overcame those that
* This eminent circumstance, that while Moses's hands were of learning their prayers by heart, read them out of a book, which held towards heaven, the Israelites prevailed ; and while they is in a great measure inconsistent with such an elevated posture, were let down towards the earth, the Amalekites prevailed; and which seems to me to have been only a later practice under seems the earliest intimation we have of the proper posture, the corrupt state of the church: though the constant use of used of old, in solemn prayer, which was the stretching out the divine forms of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, appears to have hands and eyes towards heaven, as other passages of the Old and been the practice of God's people, Patriarchs, Jews, and ChrisNew Testament inform us. Nay, by the way, this posture seems tians, in all the past ages. to have continued in the Christian Church till the clergy, instead