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peaks, of which that on the north is the highest. On ascending it, however, one of these peaks is found to be rounded off ; and between it and the adjoining peak is a small plain with a cypress tree, forming quite a contrast to the ruggedness and utter desolation immediately around. Bartlett describes even the rounded part as having a very narrow area, and says that, from it “ the eye plunges down along a range of ribs of the mountain into a fathomless defiles,” which wind about it and circle from the main range into the Wady Arabah. The view is very extensive, taking in this wady, part of the Dead Sea, and an immense extent of the desert on the west, and is dreary in the extreme.
On the summit of that mountain was to be the place of Aaron's death and burial. Overlooking as it does that vast, gloomy desert, the cemetery of the doomed portion of the hosts of Israel, it was a fitting spot for the grave of their first High Priest, also the last doomed. It yet remains in the same utter solitude, the striking graveyardmonument for them and for him.
Miriam, the sister, had died and been buried at Kadesh, at an age, it is supposed, of about one hundred and thirty years. That place, called by Moses Meribah,"Contention," was to him
bitter remembrances : and now, as with the multitudes he travelled southward from it, came a trial, the severest that, next to the loss of God's favor, could be inflicted on the aged man.
He knew that Aaron, as well as himself, was not to enter the Promised Land ; but he might have hoped to have the companionship of this brother to the last; to stand with him near the banks of the Jordan, and with him to gaze at the fair inheritance of their posterity. But was not to be. He was here to part with this brother. As we grow old we cling with greater and greater fondness to the friends of our early days. But they drop from us one by one, and we are at last left alone. So
many have gone that the graveyard is not solitary to us, but the world is.
Eighteen miles from Kadesh southwardly we come opposite to Mount Hor; from this, an ascent of eight miles over the rugged acclivities conducts to the summit of the mountain. When the Israelites came in front of it Moses had the admonition that he was now to lose his brother. “ Take Aaron"—thus was the divine communication—" and Eleazar his son, and bring them up into Mount Hor; and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there."
The two very aged men and the younger one climbed the mountain together. It has along its sides many steep acclivities, and they toiled up them slowly, for there was no need for haste:-why should they hasten, the two attached brothers, who were so soon to have the last parting that men have on earth ? As they went upward, and stopped often to rest, and to hold communion so precious to them now, their eyes wandered over a wide space,—the vast desert to the west extending till all was lost to their dimmed sight, the great sandy Arabah below them peopled over now with the multitudes of their countrymen, the mountain chains of Edom and the way leading to the Promised Land. Somewhere in all this wide scene was to be the course to Canaan, though where they could not tell; for the cloud by day was still to be the unquestioned leader and the fire by night. They did not stop to conjecture, for they knew that God would lead aright; but often, as they toiled up, or hand in hand they rested, their eyes sought each other's face and dwelt on the features which had, for so many years and through so many trials, beamed each on the other with deep affection. And truly noble faces they must have been, even in this extreme old age ; for that exterior had habitually shown the expression of great thoughts, vast and noble purposes, and loving affections. These two men had stood in the especial presence of God, feeling him to be there; and such a Presence produces expansion and grandeur of soul to the utmost limit of capacity in any earthly being.
But there must now be a parting. After they had arrived at the summit, Aaron was divested of the garments of his office of High Priest, Eleazar was clothed in them, and by this act became his successor by the divine appointment.
The congregation below, in whose sight they had gone up, saw, after a while, only Moses and Eleazar descend. Aaron had “died there in the top of the mount," and doubtless had been buried by the hands of the brother and son. He died; but how has his living soul spoken in that history through all subsequent time! What a great life is a life which can leave behind such a testimony as his !
The congregation mourned for him thirty days. The mourning doubtless was sincere as well as general; yet among the people were the alleviations from family affections and friendships and the communion in many pleasant associations : what was their mourning compared with that of the solitary, desolate, bereaved old man ! He turned and clung now even closer than before to God, and he had comfort.
Seventy miles south of Mount Hor is the head of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea ; and to this place the Israelites were now conducted along that hot valley of Arabah, the pillar of cloud still leading the way. They had begun to
The Mohammedan possessors of this country consider Hor a sacred mountain and make pilgrimages to it. On the rounded summit, as presented in this picture, is a small square building, such as they erect over the tombs of their saints. Beneath this is a subterranean chamber, whether artificial or a natural grotto it is not easy to say, as it is thickly coated with whitewash, and visitors to the spot are watched with a jealousy which will not admit of close inspection. Burckhardt was not allowed to reach the summit, and Robinson and his party were equally unsuccessful.
loathe the manna, though it was a healthy food and had at first been palatable. Its sameness, continued through so many years had become irksome, and the unceasing regularity with which it had been presented to them like that of the sunlight, had detracted from its miraculous character and made it seem as regular a part of the creation as the sun itself. To many of them, indeed, no other method of procuring bread had ever been known. Instead of gratitude to God for such a constant miracle in their favor, therefore was now supervened a feeling of dissatisfaction that there was not more variety, or that the supply was not of a different kind. The feeling had been aided by a sight of the tantalizing green spots among the mountains of Edom in front of which their journey from Kadesh had been, but which they had not been allowed to reach. The cloud leading them had kept persistently toward the south, along the arid valley, where water was with difficulty obtained. Among those wadys far up at their left there seemed to be abundance and variety. Their impatience at last broke out once more into open complaints, and these were raised against Moses in the old manner : Wherefore have ye brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.” Fed by God's constant bounty, they loathed the food because it was not accommodated to their fanciful taste.
The spot where they were at this time encamped is to this day remarkable for serpents; and Bartlett on his way from el-Ain to it, speaks of the sands in the wady he was following, as "curiously marked with numerous tracks of wild beasts and birds, and the sinuous trail of serpents:” Near the castle of Akabah is also a promontory known as Ras um Haye, “Mother of Serpents,” indicative of their abundance there. These were now multiplied so as to be a punishment. “Fiery serpents” they are called in Scripture,
perhaps on account of the heat and inflammation from their bite, though the Greek writers speak of a species of serpent with a “burning breath.” The Israelites were bitten and many of them were already dead, when the multitudes hastened with cries and entreaties to Moses : “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against thee: pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” In reply to his supplications to God, he was directed to make a brazen serpent in imitation of these living ones, and to elevate it among the people. He had one cast, and on its being raised in their midst, all who looked upon it were saved from death. Long afterward, the Saviour of the world spoke of this act of healing as emblematical of what was to be effected by himself, “ that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
TOWARD THE END.
gaber, there is a wady called Ithm,' which winding by Jebel Ithm the most southern point of the mountain-stretch of Edom, ascends to the high plateau of the eastern desert. We have already noticed the region of Edom as about twenty-four miles in width, and as consisting of a succession of hills and then mountains, rising up from the Wady Arabah, till they reach a height of about three thousand feet, when they change into the lofty, sandy plateau which stretches off about three hundred miles in width to the plains
" See Map on p. 316, No. 11.