« הקודםהמשך »
be thou strong, and very courageous, that thou mayest observe and do according to all the law which Moses, my servant, commanded them; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou inayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but, thou shalt meditate on them day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein," &c. And therefore the Levites, whom Jehoshophat sent to teach the people their duty, did not do it in any other way than out of the book of the law. 2 Chron. xvii. 9. " And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them and went about, throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people."
And then it is further evident, that the book of the law which we have an account of Moses's committing to the Levites, to be laid up
in the side of the ark, Deut. xxxi., did not contain inerely what had then lately been delivered in some preceding chapters of Deuteronomy; because in this book of the law were contained the precepts concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices, and the office and business of the priesthood; which are not contained so much in Deuteronomy as in Leviticus and Numbers, as appears from 2 Chron. xxiii. 18. “ Also Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of the Lord, by the hands of the priests, the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord to offer the burnt-offering of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses.” 2 Chron. xxxv. 12. Neh. s. 34, 35, 36. Hag. ii. 11, &c. Josh. viii. 31. Ezra vi. 18, and Nehem. viii. 14, 15. 2 Chron. xxx, 5. and xxxi. 3. And in the book of the law were contained not merely the precepts which God delivered to Moses, but the sanctions and enforcements of those laws, the promises and threatenings ; as appears from Deut. xxix. 20, 21. “The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him; and the Lord shall blot out his name froin under heaven ; and the Lord shall separate him unto evil, out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant, that are written in this book of the law. See also verse 27, and Deut. xxviii. 61. “ Also every plague, and every sickness, which is not written in the book of this law, will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” See also 2 Kings xxii, 13. 16. 19, and parallel places in 2 Chron. xxxiv. Dan. ix. and Josh. viii. 34, 35. “And afterwards he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word, of all that Moses commanded, that Joshua read not.' See Ps. cv. 8, 9, 10. And not only the promises and threaten
ings were contained in the book of the law, but all the revelations which God gave, which tended to enforce it, or which in any way related to it, and even the prophecies that were there contained of what should afterwards happen to the people on their sin or on their repentance. This appears from Nehem. i. 8, 9. “ Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandest thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations. But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there."
And besides, we read of Moses being expressly commanded to write histories of the acts of the Lord towards his people, as well as of the revelations which he made to them. So he was commanded to write an account of the people's war with Amalek, with its attendant circumstances, that posterity might see the reason of this perpetual war which God had declared against Amalek. Exod. xvii. 14. " And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua ; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." Now a full account could not be given of this affair without relating much of the preceding history of Israel ; for an account must be given in the writing of the reason and occasion of the children of Israel's coming to the border of the Amalekites, and what was the cause of the discord and war which subsisted between them and Israel, which would take up no small part of the history of the book of Exodus.
Besides, we are expressly told that Moses wrote the journeys of the children of Israel by God's command. Num. xxxiii. 2. “ And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys, by the commandment of the Lord;" and is it reasonably to be supposed that he would write those for the use of the children of Israel in after generations, and not write the great and mighty acts of the Lord towards that people in Egypt and at the Red sea, at mount Sinai, and in the wilderness, which were a thousand times more worthy of a record, and of being delivered down to posterity, than a mere journal of the people's progress in the wilderness, without those mighty acts ? It is every way incredible that Moses, of whom we so often read expressly that he wrote God's commands, threatenings, promises, and revelations, and the early histories of mankind, that he should not write those great acts of the Lord, and leave a record of them with the congregation of Israel; especially when it is evident in fact that Moses was exceeding careful that they might not forget those great acts of the Lord in future generations. Deut. iv. 9, 10, 11. “
Deut. iv. 9, 10, 11. “Only take heed to
thysell, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life, but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons specially, the day when thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb,” &c. Here the very same orders are given for the keeping the acts of the Lord in the memory of posterity, as are given for the keeping up the memory of the precepts, chap. vi. 7, and xi. 18, 19. Job speaks of writing words in a book, as a proper mean to keep up the memory of them, and so does God to Isaiah. Isai. xxx. 8. “ Now go write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever.” Moses did not trust the precepts of God merely to oral tradition, he was sensible that that way only was not sufficient, though he gave such a charge to the people to teach their children; and the memory of the war with Amalek, when God saw it needful that it should be transmitted to posterity, was not trusted to oral tradition, but Moses was commanded to write it, that other generations might know it; and so the travels of the children of Israel, when they were thought of importance to be remembered, were not trusted to tradition, but a record was written to be transmitted. Very great care was taken that these acts should be remembered, in appointing monuments of them. Thus the passover was instituted as a perpetual monument or memorial of the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and the beginning of the year was appointed as a memorial of it, and the first born sons were consecrated to God in memory of God's slaying the first born of Egypt. Certain laws were appointed about strangers and the poor. Deut. xxiv. 17, 18. 22, and xvi. 11, 12, and xv. 15, xvi. 12. Levit. xxv. 42. 55, and about bondmen in remembrance of their peregrination and bondage in Egypt. To suppose that such care should be taken lest the laws themselves should be forgotten, which were appointed for the very end of keeping up the memory of the fact, and that those laws should be written down; and yet that no care should be taken that the facts themselves should be so far remembered as to write them down, when the memory of the fact is supposed to be of so great importance, that the very being and remembrance of those laws is by the supposition subordinate thereto, the memory of the fact being the end both of the existence and of the memory of the laws, is absurd. In Nehem. xiii. 1, 2, 3, a precept is cited, with a part of the history annexed as the reason of the law, and altogether is said to be read in the book of Moses. The manna was laid up as a monument of their manner of living in the wilderness, and God's miraculous sustaining of the people there. The feast of tabernacles was to keep in remembrance the manner of their sojourning in the wilderness; as in Levit. xxiii. 43. Aaron's
rod that budded, was laid up as a memorial of the great things done by that rod in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, and particularly of the contest with Korah and his company, and the censers of the rebels kept and turned into broad plates for the covering of the altar, as a memorial of what happened in the matter of Korah, and the fire from heaven, was kept without ever going out as a perpetual monument of its miraculous descent from heaven, and the occasion of it; and the brazen serpent was kept as a memorial of the plague of fiery serpents, and the miraculous bealing of those that were bitten. The tabernacle that was built in the wilderness, was a monument of the great manifestations which God made of himself there, and the many things that came to pass relating to the building of the tabernacle. The two tables of stone kept in the ark were a monument of those great things which happened when they were given. The rest of the Jewish Sabbath was appointed as a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel out of bondage. The laws concerning the Moabites and Ammonites were appointed as monuments; and the gold taken in the war with the Midianites was laid up for a monument of that war. Num. xxxi. 54. A great many places were named to keep in remembrance memorable facts in the wilderness; and who can think that all this care was taken to keep those things in memory, and yet no history be written to be annexed to these many monuments to explain them, by him by whose hand these monuments were appointed; and he, at the same time, so great a writer, and so careful to keep up the memory of events by writing, in those instances of the writing of which we have express mention ?
Another instance of Moses's great care that these great acts might not be forgotten, is his calling together the congregation to rehearse them over to them a little before his death, as we have an account in Deuteronomy. He also lest some precepts wherein the children of Israel were required themselves from time to time to rehearse over something of the general history of their ancestors the patriarchs, of whom we have an account in Genesis; and so the history of the people from that time, as in the law of him that offered the first fruit, Deut. xxvi.
And we find that great care was taken to erect monuments of the great acts of God towards the people after Moses's death, as of their passing through Jordan, though less memorable than some of those. And the fact that there were monuments expressly appointed to keep in memory so many of God's acts in Moses's time, and not of some others more memorable, is an argument that they had a history of them instead of monuments, as particularly of the children of Israel passing through the Red sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts there. No act of God
towards that people is more celebrated through the scriptures than this; and yet we have no account of any monuments of it, or any ordinance expressly said to be appointed in memory of it, though there was a monument of their passing through Jordan, an event much like it, but less remarkable, and far less celebrated in scripture. No account can be given of this, but that the bistory and song
that Moses wrote and left in the book of the law, were monuments of it. Such was the care that was taken, that some of the acts of God towards the people might be remembered, that in appointing the monuments for their remembrance, it is expressed that it was for that end, that they might have it perpetually in mind as a token on their hand, and as frontlets between their eyes, as particularly in appointing the law of consecrating the first born, to keep up the remembrance of God's slaying the first born of Egypt, Exod. xiii. 15, 16. One of the laws or precepts themselves of the book of the law was, that the people should take heed never by any means to forget the great acts of God, which they had seen, and that they should not be forgotten by future generations, Deut. iv. How unreasonable then, is it to suppose that no history was annexed to those laws, and that at the same time that such a strict injunction of great care to keep up the memory of those things in future generations was given, they should yet be left without the necessary means of it! Again another precept is, that they should not forget their own acts and behaviour from time to time, Deut. ix. 7, &c. See also chap. viii. 14, 15, 16, &c., and chap. v. 15. So they are strictly required to remember their bondage in the land of Egypt, Deut. xvi. 12, and chap. xxiv. 18. 22. And also to remember what God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt, all those great signs and wonders, and the manner of their deliverance out of Egypt, Deut. vii. 18, 19. So they are strictly enjoined to remember all their travel, the way that they went, and the circumstances and events of their journey, Deut. viii. 2-5, and 14 to the end. And they are charged to know God's great acts in Egypt, and from time to time in Deut. xi., at the beginning. They are commanded to remember what God did to Miriam, Deut. xxiv. 9. Writing of those works of God that are worthy to be remembered and celebrated by praises to God, is spoken of as a proper way of conveying the memory of them to posterity for that end, in Psalm cii. 18. “ This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord." The importance of remember. ing these works of God related in the Pentateuch, is mentioned not only in the Pentateuch itself, but also in other parts of scripture, as in Psalm cv. 5. “ Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” By the marvellous works which God has done, and his wonders, is