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dan, near where the Israelites crossed, is said, by Maundrell, to be about 20 yards across, deeper than a man's height, and so rapid, as there is no swimming against it. It has, however, two banks; the first, or inner one, is that of the river in its natural state, and the second, or outer one, about a furlong distant, is that of its overflowings, which it does when the summer's sun has melted the snow on mount Lebanon and Hermon, in the months of March and April. And this was the time which God chose that the Israelites should pass over it; that a miraculous interposition might be necessary; and that, by the miracle, they might be convinced of his omnipotence. There are two obvious natural causes,' says Mr. King, (Morsels of Crit. vol. iii. p. 285.), by which the effect here described might be produced; though most certainly the bringing either one or both of them to act, on the precise occasion, and so very powerfully, could only be the immediate command of God, the great Creator of all those powers in nature. The one might be an earthquake. The other cause might be a strong south, or south-west wind, which might drive back, and retard the flowing of the waters above Jericho; whilst those below more easily found their way to the Dead Sea, and left a fordable passage at the appointed place. Either or both these causes might operate. We are by no means without experience, of instances of such natural causes sometimes producing similar effects, in what is called the natural course of things. We find on record, that in the year 1645, there arose, in the morning, so furious a wind at Geneva, that it laid dry the bed of the impetuous Rhone above the bridge; insomuch that many crossed quite over it dry, on foot; and the son of M. D'Aubigny even picked up some ancient medals therein; the passage continuing free during an hour's time.* This, and the other miraculous events attendant on the journey of the Israelites from Egypt, the Psalmist depicts in energetic and sublime language in Ps. 114; on which Mr. Addison properly observes, (Spect. 461.) that the author of this Psalm designedly works for effect, in pointing out the miraculous effects, without mentioning an agent; till, at last, when the sea is seen rapidly retiring from the shore, Jordan retreating to its source, and the mountains and hills running away like a flock of affrighted sheep, that the passage of the Israelites might be every way uninterrupted; then the Cause of all is suddenly introduced, and the presence of God in his grandeur solves every difficulty.*
(8.) The miraculous taking of Jericho, which strictly accorded with the prediction, Josh. vi. 3-5. "And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall
of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him." (Compare ver. 12-20.) The words on now. shopheroth hyyovelim, should rather be rendered jubilee trumpets, i. e. such as were used on the jubilee, which were probably made of horn or silver: for the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan was indeed a jubilee to them (See Lev. 25. 11, &c.:)—instead of the dreadful trumpet of war, they were ordered to sound the trumpet of joy, as already conquerors. The words ' 'ya nın bɔɔ, wenaphelah chomath hair tachteyha, are literally, and the wall of the city shall fall down under itself;' which appears simply to mean, that the wall shall fall down from its very foundation; which was probably the case in every part, though large breaches in different places might have been amply sufficient first to admit the armed men, after whom the host might enter to destroy the city. There is no ground for the supposition, that the walls sunk into the earth.*
(9.) The standing still of the sun and moon at the command of Joshua, Josh. x. 12. "Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." Joshua doubtless acted, on this occasion, by an immediate impulse upon his mind from the Spirit of God. It would have been improper either that he should speak, or that the miracle should be recorded, according to the terms of modern astronomy. The sun appeared to the Israelites over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Ajalon, which is supposed to have been situated in a different direction and there they appeared to be stayed in their course for a whole day;' either for the space of about twelve or fourteen hours, or for the time of one diurnal revolution. Many enquiries have been made concerning the way in which this miracle was wrought, and many difficulties and objections have been urged against understanding it literally. But the fact is authenticated by the divine testimony; and the manner in which it was accomplished, lies entirely out of our province, because beyond our comprehension.*
(10.) The appearance of Samuel to Saul, 1 Sam. xxviii. 11-20. There is considerable diversity of opinion, both among learned and pious men, relative to this appearance to Saul. Some say it was the devil who personated Samuel; and others maintain it was all an imposition of this cunning woman, and that there was no supernatural agency at all. But the most probable opinion seems to be, that Samuel himself did actually appear to Saul, not by the power of enchantment, but by the appointment and especial mercy of God, to warn this infatuated monarch of his approaching end, that he might make his peace with his Maker. There is not the smallest intimation of chicanery or Satanic influence given in the text; but on the contrary, from the plain and obvious meaning of the language employed, it is perfectly evident that it was Samuel himself,
*, Shemooel hoo, as it is expressed in ver. 14. Indeed the very soul of Samuel seems to breathe in his expressions of displeasure against the disobedience and wickedness of Saul; while the awful, prophetic denunciations, which accordingly came to pass, were such as neither human nor diabolical wisdom could foresee; and which could only be known to God himself, and to those to whom he chose to reveal them.* (11.) The death of the disobedient prophet. 1 Kings xiii. 28. "And
he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass." All here was supernatural. The lion, though he had killed the man, yet, contrary to his nature, did not devour him, nor tear the ass, nor meddle with the travellers that passed by; while the ass stood quietly by, not fearing the lion, nor betaking himself to flight; both stood as guardians of the fallen prophet, till this extraordinary intelligence was carried into the city, which rendered the miracle more illustrious, and plainly shewed that this event did not happen by chance. This concatenation of miracles marked the death of the man of God, as a Divine rebuke for his disobedience in eating bread at idolatrous Bethel; and here we see, as in various other cases, that often judgment begins at the house of God.' The true prophet, for suffering himself to be seduced by the old prophet, and for receiving that as a revelation from God which was opposed to the revelation which himself had received, and which was confirmed by so many miracles, is slain by a lion, and his body deprived of the burial of his fathers; while the wicked king and the fallen prophet are both permitted to live.*
(12.) The feeding of Elijah by ravens. 1 Kings xvii. 2—6. “And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook." Some have thought that the prophet Elijah, instead of being fed by ravens, was supplied by merchants, or Arabians, or the inhabitants of the city Arbo, But, 1. Day, orevim, in never used singly to denote merchants; nor would God have said, generally, that he had commanded the merchants, but have specified what merchants he had commanded. 2. The word is not read orevim but aravim when it signifies Arabs; nor is it likely that they should be found in that district. 3. The inhabitants of y, Arbo or Orbo, if any city of that name then existed, must have been called, according to the genius of the Hebrew language, any, arboyim, or “¬y, arbonim, not dry, orevim. 4. The solemn declaration of good Obadiah, that Ahab took an oath of every people, that he was not concealed among
them, shews that his situation required the utmost privacy, even to solitude, and that it was impossible for him to remain concealed among the inhabitants of the country. 5. When the brook was dried up, the prophet was obliged to quit his asylum, which he needed not to have done had a people been his suppliers, as they could have brought him water as well as food. 6. Hence we may justly conclude, that these orevim were true ravens, as it is rendered in nearly every version.*
(13.) The destruction of the children, or young men, who mocked Elisha, by bears, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. "And he went up from Bethel and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." The words y), nëárim ketannim, not only signify little children, but young men; for 107, katon, signifies not only little, but young, in opposition to old; and, naár, signifies not only a child, but a young man, grown to years of maturity thus Isaac is called "y, when twenty-eight years old, Joseph when thirty-nine, and Rehoboam when forty. These idolatrous young men, having heard of the ascension of Elijah, without believing it, blasphemously bade Elisha follow him. The venerable prophet, from a divine impulse, pronounced a curse in the name of the Lord;' which was immediately followed by the most terrible judgment; thus evincing the Source from which it flowed.*
(14.) The supply of water to the combined armies of Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom, according to the word of Elisha, 2 Kings iii. 16-20. "And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water." This supply was altogether miraculous ; for there was neither wind nor rain, nor any other natural means to furnish it.*
(15.) The feeding of a hundred men by Elisha on twenty barley loaves, 2 Kings iv. 42-44. "And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may
Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
eat for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord." Probably the full ears of corn in the husk' were parched corn, or corn to be parched ;-full ears, before they are ripe, parched on the fire; a very frequent food in the East. The loaves were probably extremely small, as their loaves of bread still are in eastern countries. But small as this may appear, it would be a considerable present in the time of famine; though very inadequate to the number of persons.
(16.) The causing of iron to swim by Elisha, 2 Kings vi. 5—7.
as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it." This simple means could have no natural tendency to raise the iron, and cause it to swim: it was only a sign, or ceremony, which the prophet chose to employ on the occasion. This was, then, a real miracle; for the gravity of the metal must otherwise still have kept it at the bottom of the river.*
(17.) The destruction of Sennacherib's army, 2 Kings xix. 35. it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." In conformity to the prediction of this astonishing event by the prophet Isaiah, ver. 7, "Behold, I will send a BLAST upon him," &c., it is probable this angel, or messenger, was the simoom, or hot pestilential wind, which is so frequent in eastern countries, and often destroys vast numbers in a moment. See Thevenot, Trav. P. i. b.ii. c. 20, P. ii. b. i. c. 20, b. ii. c. 16.* The destructive nature of the Sam, Simoom, Smoom, or Samiel, is mentioned by almost all travellers. When this pestilential wind advances, which it does with great rapidity, its approach is indicated by a redness in the air; and, when sufficiently near to admit of being observed, it appears like a haze, in colour resembling the purple part of the rainbow, but not so compressed or thick. The principal stream of the blast always moves in a line, about twenty yards in breadth, and twelve feet above the surface of the earth, but its parching influence pervades all places to a considerable distance. The only mean of preservation from its noxious influence, is to lie flat, with the face upon the ground, till the blast be over. Camels and other animals instinctively perceive its approach, and bury their mouths and nostrils in the ground. It rarely lasts more than seven or eight minutes, but so poisonous are its effects, that it instantly suffocates those who are unfortunate enough to inhale it. †
The circumstances connected with this event is the subject of the 29th and four following chapters of Isaiah, as Bishop Lowth observes, namely,