Page images

be a remembrancer of the destruction which was to be brought upon Amalek. The fight had doubtless not been a regular one as by soldiers in battle array, but conducted in the nomadic method by swift onsets and retreats and onsets again, in a scattering manner. It was, however, an eventful one to the Israelites, for it settled for the present the question of their superiority, and kept them from further assaults of this description. Among themselves also it strengthened Moses in his position as leader: here, as at the Red Sea, their deliverance had been through his signal act.

Not long afterward it was announced to him, one day, that a party of natives of another description were at the outskirts of his camp. These consisted of Jethro, his fatherin-law, accompanied by the wife and two sons of Moses, probably also by attendants from the tribe. In the suspicious state of feeling and the excitement in the vast encampment, it would have been dangerous to venture in, and they remained at a short distance without; and there, soon, a very joyful meeting took place. We can see the aged sheikh standing before the Israelite hosts in the dignity of the free Arab life; we see their great leader bowing in obeisance before him, and then, as they do now, kissing him on both cheeks with the half embrace; and then the salutations with the wife and sons. We remember that he had sent these latter back, when on his way to meet the dangers of delivering his people from Egypt: now they could be with him, and give him the cheering relief of their society again. Jethro, on being informed of what had occurred in Egypt, blessed God in words that show the devoutness of his heart; and having offered burnt-offerings and sacrifices to God, next made a feast for the elders of the Israelite camp.

But the leader of this immense host had little time allowed him for social enjoyments. The host was a great medley of all kinds of people and all kinds of conflicting interests; and the multitudes crowded to him to settle their difficulties. He had allowed them to come; for it gave

him opportunities of informing their minds, for as he said, “I do make them know the statutes of God and his laws." But Jethro saw that, however commendable was the motive of tenderness to them and of kindness in communicating knowledge, the labor was too much for one man, and that he was wearing his life out in the effort. The more prudent sheikh advised him to select proper persons, and put them as rulers over thousands, also inferior ones over hundreds, and then again others over tens : and the rule in such selection is one that should be written before all nations as their guide: they were to be “such as fear God, men of truth and hating covetousness.The highest and most difficult cases for adjudication were to be brought before Moses, who was to be “for the people,” said Jethro,“ to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God." The advice was followed, and not only was Moses relieved of a too heavy burden of duty, but also the vast multitudes were brought more into system ; and a degree of regularity began to establish itself. It was a good preparation for greater events now about to ensue.



ND they departed from Rephidim and pitched in the

wilderness of Sinai :" "and there Israel encamped before the mount.'

"Num. xxxiii. 15; Ex. xix. 2.

We are now coming to events the most stupendous in their physical aspects that the world has ever known ; and in order to prepare for them we will endeavor to have a clear and distinct idea of the region in which they transpired,-Mount Sinai, with the adjacent ground.

The reader is here presented with a carefully made copy of a photograph of that mountain, recently taken in the best style of the invaluable art of sun-painting; and this with the accompanying reliable map, will give him the means of comprehending the following descriptions. In addition to what has already been said respecting the want of adaptation in the grounds about Serbal to the requirements in Scripture history, it is as well to say that there is no other spot than this of Sinai known in the peninsula where the mountain and adjoining grounds do answer to such requirements. It appears therefore that adding to this fact the old traditions respecting the place, we need have no hesitation in speaking of the place before us as the scene of the wonderful event now to be noticed, -an event transcended in importance and moral grandeur by only one other on our globe, the Crucifixion at Calvary.

This mountain, which we shall therefore call Sinai,' is about three miles in length, and like the other mountains of the peninsula stands disjointed and single, though closely

1 The mountain is first mentioned only as Horeb in Ex. iii. 1; then also in Ex. xvii. 6; and the same is necessarily implied in Ex. iii. 12; iv. 28; xvii. 5. The name Sinai is first used Ex. xix. 1, 2, where the Israelites are said to have departed from Rephidim, and come to the “desert of Sinai.” From this time, with one exception (Ex. xxxiii. 6), during their whole sojourn in the vicinity, Sinai alone is spoken of: Ex. xix. 11, 18, 23; xxiv. 16; xxxi. 18; xxxiv. 29, 32; Lev. vii. 38; xxv. 1; xxvi. 46; xxvii. 34; Num. i. 1; iii. 1, 14. In Num. x. 12, they break up from Sinai ; and in the list of stations, Num. xxxiii. 15, Sinai also naturally appears. But, elsewhere, after their departure, and through the whole book of Deuteronomy (except in the song of Moses xxxiii. 2), Horeb alone is named ; and the same events are spoken of as occurring on Horeb which were before described as taking place on Sinai; Deut. i. 2, 6, 19; iv. 10, 15; v. 2; ix. 8; xxix. 1. Later sacred writers employ both names, until " in the New Testament, Sinai alone is read.” Some writers, apparently on

Map of Mount Sinai and its vicinity.

English Miles.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




A, The part of the mountain called by the Arabs Jebel Sooksafeh : B, The part called Jebel Mūsa : C, Position of the present convent: D, Wady Sheikh : Е, Plain of er-Rahah. From C, a slanting and not difficult road leads up to the central part of the summit. Jebel Sooksafeh is the front presented in the accompanying picture : its summit can be reached either by the slanting but circuitous road from C, or, with more difficulty, directly in front

justifiable grounds, consider the whole mountain as meant by the term Horeb, and the lofty bluff at its northern end, overlooking the plain, as Sinai.


MOUNT SINAI, viewed from the North and across the Plain er-Rahah,

(Copied carefully from a Photograph; the monastery being omitted.)

« PreviousContinue »