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should not eat either the blood or fat. Of bread indeed they were destitute, for they were mere sojourners in the wilderness, and, having no fixed abode, they would have found it very inconvenient, if not impossible, to cultivate the earth, so as to supply themselves with corn and vegetables. Besides, sowing of grain would have been a sort of appropriation of that land, which was not given to them; and harvest work would have been extremely fatiguing in a barren wilderness ; so that manna, being sent for bread, was a very signal mercy, for which they ought to have been daily thankful; no wonder that such ungrateful behaviour should provoke Divine justice to send judgments upon them.
The mixt multitude consisted of a number of people who went with tria Israelites out of Egypt; who not being of the lineage of Jacob, were noi numbered with the others. It seems to have been, by their suggestion, that the Israelites repined at their condition the second time; but the people of God ought not to have been influenced by those who tempted them from their duty.
It appears strange that Moses should express any doubts of the Lord's ability to effect his
but we must consider, that he was not above the infirmities of human nature, and that he had a very severe trial of his mcekness and patience. There was great reason. ableness in his remonstrances; and God, who never exacts of his creatures what is inconsistent with the circumstances in which He is pleased to place them, suffered his arguments to prevail. God did not require Moses to bear the people alone, who were become too turbulent for his sole management; but endued others with a proportionable share of that Divine wisdom, which had hitherto directed the judgment of Moses in bis government, that they might be able to assist him in the arduous task.
The twomen who are said to have prophesied in the camp, are supposed to have declined the summons of Moses, through excessive modesty, and a sense of unworthiness ; but being approved of the LORD, they exercised the gifts of praying, preaching, and praising Gon, in some private tent, with evident marks of Di. vine inspiration. When the friends of Moses, through zeal for his honour, requested him to forbid them, he gave a striking instance of his zeal and public spirit. " Enviest thou for my sake (said he). Would to God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put His spirit upon them.”Every idea of personal honour, or distinction, vanished with Moses, when brought into competition with the good of his countrymen; and he could cheerfully see others distin. guished by the same powers with himself, if by this means the general interest might be promoted.
We may conclude that quails were very delicious food, by the LORD's sending them to gratify the people's desire of dainties, and by the avidity with which they gathered them up. The threatening which had been denounced, was enough, one would think, to caution them against eating to excess ; but they set no bounds to their appetites, and soon found the fatal effects of inordinate indulgence. From this portion of Scripture we learn, that it is a duty to be contented with such things as God bestows; and that it is very wicked to desire
any kind of enjoyment, which the state of life we are placed in by Providence will not admit of. And all Christians are admonished by it, not to desire to be under the bondage of sin for the sake of gratifying their sensual appetites, but rather to gather up with patience D4
that spiritaal food, which came from Heaven, even the instruction of our SAVIOUR ; though the depravity of human nature may xender it less pleasing to their taste; since the latter will nourish the soul unto everlasting life, while an abundance of the other will produce diseases, fatal in their effects, both to body and soul.
AARON AND MIRIAM MURMUR AGAINST MOSES
From Vumbers, Chap. xii.
AND Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses.
And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.
And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam ; and they both came forth.
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will. I speak mouth to mouth, even ap
parently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.
And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle, and behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow; and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.
And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.
And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O GOD, I beseech thee.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Let her be shut out froin the camp seven days, and after that let her be received again. “ And Miriam was shut out of the camp • seven days:" and the people journeyed not till Mi-, riam was brought in again.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Aaron and Miriam were guilty of great impiety and presumption towards Gon, as well as ingratitude to Moses, and acted from motives of envy and false pride, very displeasing to the LORD, or He would not have inficted such an exemplary punishment on Miriam. They now learnt from God, that they must not presume to stand in competition with Moses; for though they were occasionally endued with the gift of prophecy, still he was their superior, on account of his most honourable office of Mediator between God and the Israelites, in which he had acquitted himself with the utmost fidelity. Aaron seems to have had an immediate sense of his D 5
guilt, guilt, for he humbled himself, and acknowledged his fault; at the same time intreating Moses to pray for Miriam, which, agreeably to the usual meekness of his disposition, Moses instantly complied with.
By the anger of the LORD being kindled, perhaps is meant, that flashes of lightning darted from the cloudy pillar, expressive of God's displeasure; or the expression may signify, that their offence was such as the LORD, under that Dispensation, usually punished with sudden death.
The amiable behaviour of Moses affords an excellent lesson to those who have envious brothers or sisters; and Christians may learn from this lesson not only to honour the character of Moses, but to consider how much more highly they ought to esteem the Mediator of the Christian Covenant, who is infinitely superior to Moses.
Those who represent our Divine Redeemer as a mere man, a prophet only, are guilty of a similar offence to that of Aaron and Miriam, but in a much greater degree.
SPIES SENT TO SEARCH TIIE LAND OF CANAAN
THE TESTIMONY OF CALEB AND JOSHUA.
From Deut. Chap. i. Numb. xiii. xiv. AND when they departed from Horeb, they came through that great and terrible wilderness of Paran, as the LORD commanded them; and came to Kadesh Barnea; and Moses said unto them, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our God doth give unto us.
Behold the LORD your God hath set the land be. fore you ; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of