« הקודםהמשך »
throughout their hosts ; or the gathering of all the camps ; the weak and the unclean coming after them, bringing up the rear
under their care : and over his host (was] Ahiezer the son of 26 Ammishaddai.* And over the host of the tribe of the chile 27 dren of Asher (was) Pagiel the son of Ocran. And over the
host of the tribe of the children of Naphtali (was] Ahira the 28 son of Enan. Thus (were) the journeyings of the children of
Israel according to their armies, when they set forward. 29 And Moses said unto Hobab his brother in law, the son of
Raguel, or Jethro, the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you : come thou with us, and we will do thee good,
thou shall share with us an inheritance in the land of Canaan : 30 for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel. And he
said unto him, I will not go ; but I will depart to mine own 31 land, and to my kindred,t And he said, Leave us not, I pray
thee ; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in
the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes, thy 32 knowledge of this wilderness will be of great service to us. And
it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what good, ness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey : and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went be.
fore them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting 34 place for them. And the cloud of the LORD (was) upon them
by day, to shadow them from the heat of the sun, (Psalm cv, 39.) when they went out of the camp.
And it came to pass when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, for the help, comfort, and conduct of this
ficople, and let thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that 36 hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Re.
turn, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel, return in mercy ; keep us in safety and peace, from dangers and enemies ; all the thousands of Israel are nothing, unless thou wilt watch over them with thy ever wakeful eyes, and guard them with thy almighty hands,
This name, and many others in the bible, tre compounded of the name of God ; and, this being done in Egypt, was perhaps designed to express their trust and confidence in God, that he would at length deliver them out of it.
+ Probably he went into his own country at present ; but either himself or some of his posterity returned to them again, fudges i. i6. iv. ii. 1 Sam. xv. 6. . Though God directed them when and where to move, yet it might be useful to know where water might be found; what nations dwelt near them; with whom they might traffic ; and what were the temper, character, and productions of the neighbouring coug. tries : he therefore entreats Hobab to continue with therr
1.TTOW much were they honoured who blew the silver
IT trumpets ; who called the solemn assembly, and led on the armies of the Lord ! but still greater honour is done to christian ministers, than to the sons of Aaron. It is indeed an honourable office, to be employed as God's mouth to call mankind to duty. Let them magnify their office ; and those may esteem themselves blessed, who hear the joyful sound, who diligently attend to God's call, and obey his orders and summons ; that at the last great day they may, without terror and anguish, hear the great sound of the archangel's trumpet, which shall gather the general assembly of the whole world together, to hear their final, unalterable doom !
2. In the removal of Israel from one wilderness to another, we have a lively emblem of the state of man upon earth. The Is. raelites thought, that after three days they should have got to Canaan ; but lo! they are in the wilderness of Paran. Perhaps there might be some pleasing spots between the two, but they must not stay there. We please ourselves with the prospect of flowery scenes, that every thing will be agreeable ; yet scarce are we settled in comfortable habitations, but Providence removes us to another wilderness. Thus it will be, while we have such frail bodies, and such weak, unstable minds. Let us, therefore, not expect too much in this world, por look for durable happi. ness, till we get to the heavenly Canaan.
3. How desirous should we be of wise and pious friends, who may be to us instead of eyes in the wilderness ! Moses was probably older than Hobab, yet he did not slight his advice. He was acquainted in some measure with the wilderness, yet was willing to have further direction. Let us not be wise in our own conceit ; but encourage our friends to give us advice, and receive it thankfully. The scriptures give us general rules ; but Providence often directs in particulars, by the advice of friends ; they can see more and better than we can, and are not blinded, as we may be, by affection, or interest, or partiality to ourselves, Let'young persons especially be desirous of the advice and counsel of wise, experienced people ; to despise such, shows that they neither have wisdom, nor are likely to get it.
, 4. Let us be thankful that God hath spoken so graciously concerning Israel, and endeavour to impart to others the favours God hath bestowed upon us : Moses' offer to Hobab suggests this thought. We are marching through a wilderness, but, blessed be God! we have many comforts, and are in the way to Canaan.' God hath spoken graciously concerning his servants, and that for a great while yet to come. Oh ! how great is his goodne88 ! Let us encourage others to come and join us in the way to heaven, to take their lot among us. Let us encourage them to taste and ece that the Lord is gracious. Our treasure will not be lessened by their sharing it. Our happiness will be increased by theirs, especially if we are instruments in making them happy. May a more generous, public spirit possess our breasts, and engage us to persuade all, especially our near relations, (as Moses did Hobab, in the instance before us) to go with us into the land of ever. lasting rest.
5. It is the character of a true Israelite, to begin and end his journeys and motions with prayer ; and for the same reason, every matter of difficulty and importance. Moses prayed, and Israel joined in the request ; Rise up, Lord, &c. It is good to begin every thing with prayer to God ; his is the best blassing, the best security both to body and soul. The thousands of Israel were not secure without it ; with it, though an host should encamp against us, we need not fear. This should encourage us to have our eyes and hearts toward God : let that precept and promise dwell on our minds, and influence our conduct ; ac. knowledge him in all thy ways, and he will direct thy paths.
CHAP. XI. 123,
We have read much of God's wonderful appearances for Israel,
and left them proceeding on their journey to Canaan very agree. ably ; but in this chapter they have a melancholy interruption ; here, as the Psalmist expresses it, they sinned against God, provoking the most High in the desart, by loathing the manna, and murmuring for want of flesh. Let us view this mournful story with attention, as it was recorded for our instruction. 1 AND (when) the people complained,* it displeased the
T1 LORD : and the LORD heard [it ;) and his anger was kindled ; and the fire of the LORD, fire sent from him in an extraordinary manner, burnt among them, and consumed [them that were) in the uttermost parts of the camp ; prob.
ably the sin began among them that were weary and faint with 2 travelling, (Deut. xxv. 18.) And the people cried unto Mo
ses ; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was 3 quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah,
that is, a burning ; because the fire of the LORD burnt among
them, that their crime and punishment might be remembered. 4 And the mixed multitude that (was] among them, who had
followed them out of Egypt with carnal views, finding themselves disappointed, discovered their evil minds, and fell a lusting : and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? The complaint began among the rab, ble, and then spread to the children of Israel, and rose 80 high,
It is hard to say at what they complained, but probably because they were weary of following the ark three days without intermission.
that they went like perverse children, who cry because they can. not have their humour, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat ?
Thus, as the Psalmist says, Psalm lxxviii. 19. they spake against 5 God. And they said, We remember the fish, which we did
eat in Egypt freely ; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic ; they remembered their fish and onions, but not their brick kilns, their bitter bondage, and cruel task masters : But now our soul [is] dried away, we languish and pine away for want of the refreshment we had
by change of diet ; [there is] nothing at all, beside this man7 na, [before] our eyes.* And the manna (was) round as co.
riander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium, 8 a fine pearl colour. [And] the people went about, and gath
ered [it] with great ease, and ground [it] in mills, or beat [it] in a mortar, and baked [it] in pans, and made cakes of it, and thus dressed it various ways as suited their palate ; and the
taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil; 80 that there was no 9 reason to complain that they were dried away ; And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.
Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent, that is, openly, as desiring to prublish their discontent, thereby to stir up others to discontent also : and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly ;
Moses also was displeased at this mean and childish, u ngrale11 ful and rebellious conduct. And Moses said unto the LORD,
Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant ? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? This complaint of Moses was unreasonable, because he had so many helps ; the oracle to con
sult, and the promise of strength to support him ; but he goea 12 on, Have I conceived all this people ? have I begotten them,
that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom,
as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land 13 which thou swearest unto their fathers ? : Whence should I
have flesh to give unto all this people ? for they weep unto 14 me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able
to bear all this people alone, because [it is) too heavy for me ; he could not bear their complaints and mutinies, and forgot where
he might have strength ; at length, as passion is apt to increase 15 and grow more unreasonable, he adds, And if thou deal thus
with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness. This
was not like the usual conduct of Moscs. 16 And the LORD had compassion on the infirmities of his ser.
vant, and said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of
• To show their folly and ingratitude, the nature of the manna is described, v.7.
The dew fell first, as a covering to the ground; then the manna fell ; after shat another covering of dew ; and hence it is called, hidden manna, Res. ii, 17.
fif God bore with them, surely Mosa might.
· the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of
the people, and officers over them ; and bring them unto the
tabernacle of the congregation,* that they may stand there 17 with thee.t And I will come down and talk with thee there,
in some visible sign of my presence ; and I will take of the spirit which [is] upon thee, and will put [it] upon them, will confer upon them the gifts of the same spirit of government which
I have given thee, (as 2 Kings ii. 15.) and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear [it] not thyself
alone. Thus God answered the complaints of Moses. 18 He then adds, And say thou unto the people, Sanctify your
selves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh; prepare yourselves to receive, in a holy manner, the gift that you desired : for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, in an open, public manner, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat ? for (it was
well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, 19 and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor · five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; this was fair 20 warning to take care that they did not eat too much ; [But] even a • whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, by violent sick. • ness, &c. and it be loathsome unto you : because that ye have
despised the LORD, his manna, his deliverance, his covenant, and promise, which [is] among you, and who will observe all this, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth
out of Egypt? 21 And Moses said, The people among whom I (am are] six
hundred thousand footmen ; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Surfirised how
all this people, (near three millions, including women and chil22 dren) should be fed a whole month, he said, Shall the flocks and
the herds be slain for them, to suffice them ? or shall all the
fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them ?I 23 And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the Lord's hand waxed
short ? hast thou forgotten what I have done in Egypt, at the Red sea, at the rock, and in the wilderness ? Only believe, and thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
This was ordereil, tħat the people might know who were chosen, that it was a divine appointment, and that they received their authority from God.
t Once before, upon Jethro's advice, certain persons were chosen to be judges for Mo. ses' ease, (Exod. xviii. 25. 26 ) but they were only for smaller matters; these, with Moses and Aaron at their head, were to be judges in the greatest and most difficult cases, both of religious and civil affairs : and this probably was the original of their Sanhedrim, or great council, which continued during the whole Jewish state.
We hope this was not th: Ianguige of distrust, but surprise. There is something very soblim: and awful in God's answer.