תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

was at Shiloh. The people were so convinced of the omnipresence of God, that they considered themselves before the Lord in a spiritual sense in these assemblies, in the same manner as we ought to do when we go to church. Joshua might with the greatest propriety address himself to the people in the Lord's name, as he spake agreeably to the written word of God; besides, as he was a prophet, it is most likely he had received commandment and was inspired to declare the will of the Lord at this time.

Joshua, like his predecessor Moses, exhorted the people most fervently to make returns of gratitude for God's mercies, and never to forsake His holy worship.

The Israelites were at this time in a very desirable disposition of mind; they repeated their resolution of perseverance, willingly submitting themselves to the worship of God alone, and entered into a solemn covenant, which Joshua recorded, and set up as a memorial. It is not improbable that Shechem, on this solemn oc- : casion, was sanctified by some visible token of the Di. VINE PRESENCE, as it is called a sanctuary, though the ARK was at Shiloh.

By the other side of the flood, from which the forefa. thers of Israel are said to have been brought, is meant, the land of Mesopotamia, beyond the river Euphrates, in which place idolatry greatly prevailed; therefore God's mercy to Abraham and his posterity was very great, in bringing him out of it; for though this patriarch was well inclined, bad example had probably much corrupted his manners. This spot where Joseph's bones were interred, was that which Jacob gave to him as his own peculiar inheritance.

While the stone remained as an acknowledged monument of the COVENANT entered into by the Israelites, it

K 4

WAG

was as efficacious as a living witness, to remind the people of the solemn engagement they had at that time made.

Joshua having performed his duty, as governor and leader of the Israelites, to the utmost that God required, without doubt took an affectionate leave of the people, before he departed to a happier state. This excellent man was remarkable for his steadfast attach. ment to God. He remembered his CREATOR in the days of his Youth, and obtained the blessing of the LORD, which was shewn to him in a variety of instances; he was likewise happy in the people's love, and he had the satisfaction of beholding the efficacy of his good example in respect to religion.

Eleazar also led a pious life, and died an honourable death:

There are some parts of Joshua's exhortation, which claim our particular attention, as affording valuable instruction to Christians, as well as Israelites.

Fear the LORD (said hej, and serve him with SINCERITY and TRUTH. It certainly is an heinous affront to the Divine MAJESTY to act the part of a hypocrite towards Him. The praise of the lips, without the homage of the heart, is an abomination in His sight. Choose

ye this day whom ye will serve. Thanks to the goodness of the LORD, in establishing His holy religion amongst us, we have no temptation to serve heathen gots; but we may make to ourselves idols of the pomps and pleasures of the world: let us therefore consider the blessings which attend a life of piety; the dangers we incur by a life of folly and dissipation; and the temptations to which we expose our children and dependants, by the neglect of family devotion; and surely we shall be all ready to say with Joshua, As for me and my house we

will serve the LORD; and with the Israelites, The LORD our God will we serve, and His voice wiil we obey!

It is very satisfactory to read an account of the fulfilment of the promises respecting the Temporal Covenant, as it is an earnest of the performance of those relating to the Everlasting Covenant. We shall be put in possession of an inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven, as surely as the Israelites received theirs in Ca. naan, if we are not wanting to ourselves ; but let us not forget that we have vices to conquer and virtues to acquire-an arduous task! but such as the Lord will, through Divine grace, enable us to accomplish, if we are strong and courageous to perform what He requires on our part of the Christian covenant.

SECTION XLVI.

JERUSALEM AND OTHER CITIES TAKEN.

As the particular purpose for which Joshua was placed over the Israelites was accomplished by their obtaining rest in the land of Canaan, he did not, like Moses, name a successor; and the most probable opinion is, that the people had no leader, but that the tribes were governed by their respective heads, or elders; which form of government is supposed to have subsisted about thirty years. The Lord Himself was their king, and the high priest had the means of knowing God's holy will by Urim and THUMMIM. It has been already observed, that a great part of Canaan remained unconquered, and that the Canaanites did not dare to molesť the Lord's people; but it is likely that, after Joshua's death they took courage, and supposed that they should now be able to resist the Israelites : whether this, was the case, or not, is uncertain ; but we are told K.5

that

that the tribes of Israel enquired of the LORD who should begin the war against them, and this preference was given to the tribe of Judah, who, in confederacy with that of Simeon, attacked Adoribezek, king of Bezek, a cruel monarch, who had cut off the thumbs and great toes of 30 captive kings, and obliged them to gather up their meat like dogs under his table. He was justly condemned to suffer the same fate *.

After the conquest of Bezek, the united tribes in. vested Jerusalem, and having taken it, they put the inhabitants to the sword, and set the place on fire, Here Adonibezek died. It is not improbable that he perished in the flames.

Caleb seems to have commanded the armies at this time, who next attacked Hebron ; here they slew three giants, named Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai; having put Caleb in possession of Hebron, the armies proceed. ed against Debir, which was part of Caleb's lot.

The good old General had an only daughter, whose name was Achsah; he was desirous to see her married to a man of renown, and most likely. Caleb knew that she had a similar wish; he therefore made proclamation in the camp, that whoever would attack and conquer Debir should be his son-in-law. This enterprize was undertaken and accomplished by Othniel, Caleb's nephew, whose valour received the promised reward : and at Achsah's request, Caleb gave a valuble portion with his daughter, consisting of a large tract of fertile and well watered land.

It is said, that the Lord was with Judah ; and they drave out the inhabitants of the mountains, but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. We must not suppose, that the LORD's power was not sufficient to defeat the warriors

* Judges, Chap. i.

of

of the mountains ; but it is likely, that the men of Judah had not sufficient confidence in Him to attack. them, and declined the contest through fear and de- , spondency.

After the Simeonites had assisted the tribe of Judah, they were in turn assisted by them, in taking Gaza, Askelon, and Zephah.. Encouraged by these successes . the family of Joseph took Bethel.

The other tribes had equally good success in gaining the possession of the lands that were allotted to them, only the tribe of Dan was compelled to quit the plains for fear of the Amorites, and to retire into the mountainous parts of the country, where they were pent up for some time till the family of Joseph came to their assistance ; and having restrained the insolence of the enemy, reduced them to a narrower tract of a land than they had at first.

SECTION XLVII.

THE WICKEDNESS OF THE NEW GENERATION,

From Judges, Chap. ii.

And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up not of Egypt, , and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars : but ye have not obeyed my voice; why have ye done this?

Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out front before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. K 6

And

« הקודםהמשך »