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A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763, A. C. 1618. EXOD. CH. xiii-xxxiv. 2. quite covered their camp; and on the next morning, as to be found; and therefore, on the sixth they were to soon as the dew was gone, there lay upon the ground a gather a double portion, which being laid up, according little white round thing, much in the shape of a coriander to God's direction, against the ensuing day, was never seed, which when the people saw, they were struck with once known to corrupt : and that, to perpetuate the admiration, and said one to another, a • What is this ?' memory of this e miraculous bread, wherewith God had And from whence they gave it the name of 'manna.' fed their forefathers in the wilderness so long, an homer
This was the bread which the Israelites were to eat of it should be put in a pot, and reposited in the ark of for the space of forty years; and therefore God was the covenant within the sanctuary. pleased to give these special directions concerning it,- From the desert of Sin, the Israelites had not advanced That it was to be gathered by measure, an homer for many days' journey towards Horeb, until coming to Reevery head, according to the number of each family; phidim, and finding no water there, they fell into their but this direction some persons slighting, and gathering old way of distrusting God's providence, and murmuring above the proportion that was allowed them, found against Moses; but on this occasion they seemed to be their quantity miraculously lessened, while the more more inutinous and desperate than ever. It was in vain moderate had theirs increased : that it was to be gathered for Moses to endeavour to persuade them to be patient fresh every morning, and all that was gathered consumed a little, and wait God's leisure. His words did but that day; which precept some persons likewise neglect- inflame and carry them to such a height of rage, that ing, and keeping a part of it until the next morning, they even threatened to stone him; so that he was forced found that it was putrefied and stunk: that on the to have recourse to God, who was spon pleased to disseventh day, which was the Sabbath, there was none sipate his fears, by promising to signalize that place by
a miraculous supply of water, as he had lately done sion of the Jews themselves, is of uncertain signification, and another by a miraculous supply of food. may denote a locust as well as a quail. But what should rather therefore, the elders of the people, who might bear tesincline us to the latter acceptation, is that passage of the Psalmist, (lxxviii. 27,) where he tells us, that God rained flesh timony to the fact, along with him, Moses, as he was upon them, as thick as dust, and feathered fowls, like as the sand commanded by God, went to a certain rock on the side of the sea, which cannot, with any tolerable propriety, be applied of Mount Horeb, which was distinguished from all the to insects. But here we must remember, that this was done in the middle of April
, when these birds are known to fly out of rest by the divine appearance resting upon it, and no Egypt cross the Red Sea in vast quantities; so that the sum of sooner had he smitten it with his rod, but water in this miracle will consist, not so much in the prodigious number abundance gushed out at several places, and joining of them that fell in the Israelites' camp, as in God's directing in one common stream,e ran down to the camp at them thither, and in that very evening too, according to his promise, and his servant Moses' prediction.--Universal History, their coming out of Egypt. The truth is, they were kept under b. 1. c. 7.
such severe servitude, and day and night so pressed by their a Our translation, and some others, make Moses fall into a taskmasters to hard labour without intermission, that all okserplain contradiction, in relating this story of the manna, which vation of the Sabbath was, very likely, laid aside; but when God they render thus: * And when the children of Israel saw it, they brought them out of slavery, he renewed his commandment for said one to another, it is manna, for they wist not what it was,' it, with this addition, in memory of the Egyptian bondage, thal (Ex. xvi. 15.) whereas the Septuagint, and several authors both they should rest from all manner of labour upon that day.ancient and modern, have translated the text according to the Patrick's Commentary. original, The Israelites seeing this, said one to another, what c Whether this manna had those extraordinary qualities in it is this? for they knew not what it was? For we must observe, or no, which some imagine, it must be allowed to be truly mirathat the word by which they asked, ' what is this?' was, in their culous upon the following accounts. 1. That it fell but six days language, man, which signifies likewise meat ready prepared; and in the week. 2. That it fell in such prodigious quantity as sustherefore it was always afterwards called man or manna. Various tained almost three millions of souls. 3. That there fell a double are the conceits which the Jewish writers have entertained con quantity every Friday, to serve them for the next day, which cerning the taste of this manna, and some of them not unlikely have was their Sabbath. 4. That what was gathered on the first five been borrowed from the author of the book of Wisdom, where he days stunk, and bred worms, if kept above one day; but that tells us of manna, " that it was able to content every man's which was gathered on Friday kept sweet for two days. And delight, agreeing to every taste, and attempering itself to every lastly, That it continued falling while the Israelites abode in the man's liking.” (Wisd. xvi. 20, 21.) Whereupon some have wilderness, but ceased as soon as they came out of it, and had affirmed, that it had the taste of any sort of fish or fowl, accord got corn to eat in the land of Canaan.- Universal History, 1, 1, ing to the wish of him that ate it; but these are idle fancies; c. 7. what we know of certainty is this,—That here, in Exodus, d Exod. xvii. 12. The elders of Israel.' Not only fathers, Moses tells us, that its taste was like wafers made with honey,' but old men, had great authority among the Israelites, and allo and in Numbers, he says, that the cakes made of it had the taste the people of antiquity. They everywhere, in the beginning, of fresh oil,' (c. xi. 8.) so that we may conjecture, that it had chose judges for private affairs, and counsellors for the public, a sweetness, when gathered, which evaporated in the grinding, out of the oldest men. Thence came the name of senate and and baking. It tasted like honey, when taken off the ground, fathers of Rome, and that great respect for old age which they but the cakes made of it were as cakes kneaded with oil.--Essay borrowed from the Lacedemonians. As soon as the Hebrews for a New Translation; and Shuckford's Connection, vol
. 3. b. 10. began to be formed into a people, they were governed by oid 6 This seems to be the first time that the rest on the seventh men.-ED. day' was solemnly appointed. God, indeed, from the very first e It was this same water which served the Israelites, not only intended to preserve the memory of the creation in six days, by in this encampment of Rephidim, and in that of Mount Sinai
, appointing the seventh day to be kept holy; but when, before the but in their other encampments likewise, perhaps as far as flood, men grow so wicked as to neglect the thoughts of God, Kadesh-Barnea. For the Jews have a tradition, that as thes: they very little regarded the distinction between this day and waters were granted for the sake of the merits of Miriam, others; and after the flood, the dispersion of mankind very much Moses' sister, so they happened to fail as soon as she died: and blotted it out of their minds, as it did many other good things. hence it is, that at the encampment of Kadesh-Barnes
, which In the family of Abraham, we may presume, the remembrance was soon after the death of Miriam, we find the people falling of it was preserved, though not with such a strict abstinence from into murmurings again for want of water. St Paul, speaking all labour as was 'afterwards enjoined ; and therefore we read this miraculous rock, which he makes the type of Jesus Christ
, nothing of their resting from their travels upon that day, before I tells u, that it followed them," (1 Cor. x. 4.) And from hence
A. M. 2513, A. C. 1491 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1643. EXOD. CH. xiii-xxxiv, 24. Rephidim. This station, however, because it was so indeed was so very remarkable, that to transmit it to infamous for the mutiny of the people, and their distrust posterity, Moses was ordered to record it in a book, for of God, Moses, as a caution and remembrance to them Joshua's future instructions, and to offer a sacrifice of for the future, thought proper to have called Massah thanksgiving : whereupon, he raised upon the spot an und Meribah, which signify temptation and contention.'altar, which he called Jehovah Nissi, the Lord is my
While the Israelites continued at Rephidim, they were banner, as never doubting but that God, who had comalarmed by the approach of an army of Amalekites, who manded him to denounce c incessant war against the were just upon their heels, and ready to fall upon them. Amalekites, would not fail to crown it with success. Hereupon Moses ordered Joshua, a valiant young man
The defeat of the Amalekites opened a way for the who was always about hin, to draw out a party of the Israelites to Mount Sinai, where God at first appeared choicest men in the camp, against next morning, and to to Moses in the burning bush, and not far from the place give the Amalekites battle. When the next morning where his father-in-law Jethro dwelt; d who having heard came, Moses, attended by Aaron and Hur, went to the what mighty things God had done for him and the peotop of an eminence, froin whence they might have a view ple he conducted, took his daughter, Zipporah, Moses' of the field of battle; and as the two armies were en-wife, and the two sons Gershons, and Eliezar, which he gaged, so it was, that while Moses held up his hands to had by her, and brought them to the Israelitish camp ; God in prayer, and in one of them his wonder-working where, after mutual salutations and embraces, Moses rod, the Israelites prevailed; but when, through weariness, his hands began to drop, the Amalekites had the
c The Amalekites were a people descended from Amalek, the
son of Eliphaz, the son of Esau, by a concubine, (Gen. xxxvi. better ; which Aaron and Hur perceiving, set him down 12.) And the ground of their enmity against the Israelites is upon a stone, and supported his hands upon each side, generally supposed to have been an innate hatred, from the until the going down of the sun, in which time the Ama- remembrance of Jacob's depriving their progenitor, both of his lekites were quite routed, and put to the sword.
birthright and blessing. Their falling upon them, however,
and that without any provocation, when they saw them reduced This good success, in their first martial enterprise, to so low a condition by the fatigue of their march, and the exgave the Israelites great encouragement; and the action cessive drought they laboured under, was an inhuman action,
and justly deserved the defeat which Joshua gave them; but
then the reason why God thought fit to denounce a perpetual some have inferred, either that the streams which gushed out of war against them is to be resolved into this,—That knowing the the rock formed themselves into a kind of river, which followed Israelites were pre-ordained by God to be put in possession of them through all their encampments, or that they carried the the land of Canaan, they came against them with an armed rock itself in a cart, like a great tun always full, and always open force, in hopes of frustrating the designs of Providence concernto those that had an inclination to drink. But these are idle ing them. And this is the reason which Moses himself assigns fictions, drawn from words that are not to be understood in a for this declaration of war, “because his, that is Amalek's,'hand literal sense ; what we may learn of certainty from modern tra- is against the throne of God,' that is, against God himself, vellers is,_That at the foot of the Mount Horeb, there is still therefore the Lord will wage war against him from one generato be seen a brook of water, but as for the rock itself, which is a tion to another,' (Exod. xvii. 16.) The injury done the Israelites vast large stone standing separate by itself, there is no water was not so much as the affront offered to the divine Majesty; that now runs from it, though there are, at present, to be seen and therefore God threatens utterly to extirpate the designers of twelve holes or mouths, as it were, from whence the water did it.—Universal History, b. 1. c. 7, and Patrick's Commentary. flow heretofore.—Calmet's Dictionary, under the word Rephidim, d When it was that Jethro came from Midian to visit his and Morizan's Voyages, b. 1. c. 1.
son-in-law Moses, whether immediately after the fight with the a Exod. xvii. 1. Rephidim.“ After we had descended, with Amalekites, as it is here set down, or some time after, when the no small difficulty, the western side of Mount Sinai, we came Israelites were better settled, is a matter much controverted into the other plain that is formed by it, which is Rephidim. amongst interpreters. The Jews are generally agreed, and to Here we still sce that extraordinary antiquity, the rock of Meri- them do some other great names, as well as the learned Usher bah, which hath continued down to this day, without the least and Selden, assent, that this visit happened after the promulinjury from time or accident. It is a block of granite marble, gation of the law, in the first year of their coming from Egypt, about six yards square, lying tottering, as it were, and loose in and in the month Tisri, say the Jews, above three months after the middle of the valley, and seems to have formerly belonged to God gave Moses the second tables; though others will have it Mount Sinai, which hangs in a variety of precipices all over this to have been in the second year. It seems reasonable to think, plain. The waters which gushed out, and the stream which however, that Jethro would take the first opportunity to visit flowed, have hollowed, across one corner of this rock, a channel Moses, and to bring him and so near relations together, when about two inches deep and twenty wide, appearing to be encrusted once he had heard the news of their departure from Egypt, and all over, like the inside of a tea-kettle that had been long in use. passing the Red Sea: which he, as a borderer upon the wilderness, Besides several mossy productions that are still preserved by the could not long be a stranger to. It is to be observed farther, that dew, we see all over this channel a great number of holes, some had the law been given before Jethro's arrival in the Israelitish of them four or five inches deep, and one or two in diameter, the camp, Moses could hardly have escaped saying something of the lively and demonstrative tokens of their having been formerly so most remarkable passage of all others, God's glorious appearance many fountains. It likewise may be further observed that art upon Mount Sinai, and the decalogue which he pronounced from or chance could by no means be concerned in the contrivance, thence: whereas all that he relates at this meeting is, what God for every circumstance points out to us a miracle; and in the had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians; in what manner he had same manner with the rent in the rock of Mount Calvary at delivered his people;' and what travail had come upon them by Jerusalem, never fails to produce a religious surprise in all who the way,' which comprehend their passage of the Red Sea, their see it."-Shaw's Travels, p. 352.-ED.
want of water and bread, their engagement with the Amalekites, 6 Exod. xvii. 6. • Thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall and, in short, whatever we read in the foregoing chapters. But come water out of it.' This remarkable interposition of God for of the most momentous thing of all, we find him making no the Israelites appears to have been imperfectly known in other mention, nor Jethro, in the congratulations which he gives him, countries; and the remembrance of it is still retained in some taking any manner of notice ; which we can hardly suppose of the heathen fables. There is a manifest allusion to it in Euri- would, on either side, have been omitted, had they been prior to pides, (Baccha, 703.) where he makes one smite the rock at this interview; nor can we conceive, for what reason Moses Citharon, and waters gush out. Smiting rocks, and producing should place the account of this interview in immediate succeswater, is recorded among the fabulous miracles of heathen mytho sion, had it not followed the fight with the Amalekites.- Pue logy.- Callimachus, Hymu 1. v. 31.-ED.
A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD, CH. -xiii. entertainod him with a particular account of every thing day, for that within three days, he would come down that had befallen him during his absence ; and in return, upon the mountain, and make a covenant with them, In Jethro, who was a devout man, offered up solemn praises the mean time he gave him strict charge to set boundato God, and joined with Moses, and the rest of the elders ries about the foot of the mountain, which none might of Israel, in sacrifices, and such holy rejoicings as were adventure to pass, under the severest penalties ; e and thought proper upon this occasion.
when he had thus done, and the people had prepared While Jethro staid in the camp, he could not but per- themselves according to the divine injunction, on the ceive the great weight of business, in hearing complaints, third day they saw early in the morning, the mountain and determining differences among so numerous a peo- surrounded with a thick cloud, out of which proceeded ple, which Moses must necessarily labour under; and such terrible thunder and lightnings as filled them with therefore he gave him advice, to substitute under him a horror and amazement. certain number of officers, men of parts and men of cou- The signal for the people to approach the mountain, rage, such as 'feared God, and hated covetousness,' to was upon the first sounding of the trumpet ; and therebe rulers, some over thousands, some over hundreds, fore as soon as it began, Moses brought them out of the some over fifties, and some over tens, with proper autho-camp, as near to the mountain as the barrier would perrity for them to hear, and determine a all such matters, mit, and there they observed the whole top of Sinai as they were able ; but where causes were too difficult covered with fire and smoke, while the foundations of for their decision, these to refer to him ; which in the it seemed to tremble and shake under them. - In the event, as he told him, would prove a great ease and ad
b It must be observed here, as also in other places of the like vantage both to himself and the people : and this advice nature, that the Scripture, sulting itself to man's common way of his, as soon as he saw put in execution, Jethro took of speaking and thinking, assigns such things to God, as are only leave of his son-in-law, and returned into his own proper to the effects. Thus it is said that God. descended on country.
the mountain,' because he made his presence more visible there
by sensible and surprising effects; and whereas it is said by the It was three months after their departure out of Egypt, protomartyr, St Stephen, (Acts vii. 53,) that the Jews receivwhen the Israelites came, and encamped in the wilder-ed the law by the disposition of angels:' and by St Paul to the ness of Sinai, before the mount of God: and they had Galatians, (iii. 19,) that the law was ordained by angels in the not been long there, before God called Moses to come hand of a mediator;' there is in these, and the like passages, no up to him on the mount, and there charged him to remind all this dispensation to God himself
. For though it was God
contradiction between the new and old testament, which assigns the Israelites of the many wonders be had wrought in who descended, in the sense we have explained it, upon the their favour ; and that, notwithstanding their frequent mount, yet the angels, these cowtiers of heaven, attended him, and murmurings and distrust of his providence, if, for the made up his train; and though he himself pronounced the law, future, they would become obedient to his laws, he would of a trumpet, which were preparatory to such pronunciation,
yet the thunder and lightnings, and noise resembling the sound still look upon them as his peculiar people, a favourite may not improperly be ascribed to the ministry of angels. The nation, and a royal priesthood.
intent, however, of these passages in the new testament, is ouly Upon his descent from the mount, Moses made a God gave the law, he was surrounded with an awful host of angels
the gospel to the law in this respect, namely, that when report to the elders, and they to the people, of the gra- but when our Lord delivered the gospel, he was clothed in our cious message which God had sent them ; which as soon flesh, and adapted himself to our weakness.--Howell's History of as the people heard, they promised in return all possible the Bible, and Millar's Church History. obedience to the divine commands. With this answer of
c Exod. xix. 13. “He shall surely be stoned.' To be stoned
to death was a most grievous punishment. When the offenthe people's Moses ascended the mountain again, and der came within four cubits of the place of execution, he was received a command from God, that all the people should stript naked, only having a covering before, and his hands being purify themselves, and be in readiness against the third bound, he was led up to the fatal place, which was an eminence
twice a man's height. The first executioners of the sentence
were the witnesses, who generally pulled off their clothes for the a The words of the text are, 'Every great matter they shall purpose: one of them threw him down with great violence upon bring to thee, but every small matter they shall judge,' (Exod. This loins: if he rolled upon his breast he was turned upon his xviji. 22.) And from hence some have imagined, that there were loins again, and if he died by the fall, there was an end; but if several sorts of causes, that might not at first be brought before not, the other witness took a great stone and dashed upon his inferior courts, and these they make to be four. 1. All sacred breast, as he lay upon his back; and then, if he was not desmatters, or things relating to God and religion. 2. All matters patched, all the people that stood by threw stones at him till he of equity, where the rigour of the law was to be mitigated. 3. died. — Lewis' origines Hebræa, vol. 1. p. 74.-ED. All capital cases, and, lastly, all such cases as the rulers of
d Of all the descriptions that I ever read, there is no one seems thousands referred to Moses. What the other rulers referred to to me so awful and tremendous, as this descent of God upon him was indeed properly under his cognizance, because it sup- Mount Horeb, and the amazing phenomena that attended it. posed an incapacity in them, either for the want of some law, or The pomp pretended to by pagan deities, even when set off with a non-agreement among themselves, to determine it; but
where the grandeur of poetry, and the magic of numbers, is uucouth, nothing of this happened, they had a full power to judge finally. ridiculous, and profane. The procession of Bacchus,
as it is deNeither was it the people
, when a cause was thought intricate, scribed by Ovid, (b. 3.) is neither more nor less, than a downright that were to bring it primarily before Moses, but when any such drunken riot, or the brutal pastime of a disorderly country wake. difficulty arose, as they were not able to surmount, the judges, The boisterous expedition of Neptune, even as it is painted by as Moses himself directs them, (Deut. i. 17.) were the persons the great master Homer, (Iliad, 13,) seems to represent nothing that were to order the appeal to him: Bring it to me,' says he, more august than the roaring of London bridge, or a rabble of sex 6 and I will hear it;' which shows that the cause had been before monsters frisking in a storm; nay, that very famous speech of the bar of inferior courts before, only they were not skilful enough Jupiter, (Iliad, i8,) where he maintains his supereminence, by to determine it. So that the words in the text do not intimate, shaking Olympus with his imperial nod, and menacing his per that there were some causes which the other
judges might not try, fractory offspring, in case they should rebel, though it certainly if they were able; but only where the causes were heavy, and be embellished with the utmost force of words and stretch of art, they incompetent' to decide them, these they were to refer to is at the best but a lame and imperfect copy, in the main strokes Moses.- Patrick's Commentary.
of it, from the native majesty of this unlaboured prose, in the
A. M. 3513. A. C. 1491 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xii-xxxt. 24. midst of this dreadful scene, the trumpet was heard to With this body of laws, which were all that God for sound louder and louder, claps of thunder and flashes of the present thought fit to enjoin, Moses returning from fire were more and more ingeminated, till all on a sud- the mount, erected an altar to God, and offered burntden every thing was hush and silent, and then God was sacrifices and peace-offerings upon it; and having heard from the midst of the fire and smoke (which caused the contents of this new covenant to be read to still continued) to pronounce the law of the decalogue, all the people, and exacted a solemn promise from them, or 4 ten commandments, which is indeed a complete that they would keep it faithfully, he confirmed this system of the moral part of the Jewish institutes, and in covenant, by sprinkling the altar, the book, and the few but significant words, comprehends their duty to people with the blood of the victims which were slain God, to their neighbour, and to themselves.
upon this occasion; and then ordered twelve pillars to In the mean time the people, astonished at what they be raised, according to the number of the twelve tribes, saw and heard, removed farther off'; and as soon as the as a standing monument of this alliance between God divine voice had ceased speaking, came to Moses, and and them. in the height of their fear and surprise, besought of him, As soon as Moses had made an end of this ceremony, that for the future, he would speak to them in God's he took Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of stead, and whatever he enjoined them they would obey, Israel, some part of the way towards the mountain, because they were conscious, that were they to hear his where, without incurring any hurt, they were vouchsafed dreadful voice again, they should certainly die with a prospect of the divine presence, and where, having borror and astonishment. This motion, as it bespake committed the care of the people to them, he took their reverence and respect, was not displeasing to Joshua along with him, and went up higher to the top Moses; and therefore he assured them, that all this of the mount, where he continued for the space of forty wonderful scene was not exhibited to them with a design days. to create in them any slavish fear, but a filial confidence, Here it was that God, calling him nearer to himself, and submission to such laws as the divine wisdom should and into the cloud where he then resided, instructed hereafter think fit to enjoin them; and with these words him in what manner the tent or tabernacle, wherein he went up to the mount again, where, in addition to the he intended to be worshipped, was to be made. He decalogue, he received from God several other laws, described to him the form of the sanctuary, the table for both ceremonial and political, which seem to have been the shew-bread, the altar of frankincense, the altar for calculated with a wise design to preserve the people in burnt-offerings, the court of the tabernacle, the basin to their obedience to God, to prevent their intermixture wash in, the ark, the candlestick, and all the other sacred with other nations, and to advance the welfare of their utensils. He gave him the form of the sacerdotal vestcommonwealth, by securing to all the members of it a ments, and taught him how the priests were to be consequiet enjoyment of their lives and properties.
crated ; what part of the oblation they were to take, and 19th chapter of Exodus. It must be owned, however, that our He named the two chief men, Bezaleel, of the tribe of
in what manner the perpetual sacrifice was to be offered. Eoglish poet Milton, has in several places described the usual display of the divine Majesty, in a very magnificent manner.
Judah, and Aholiah, of the tribe of Dan, who were to be Clouds began
the builders of the tabernacle ; and having recommended
a strict observation of the Sabbath, d he gave him the two
be dear to the gods, both living and dying. So Euripides. It That stood for heaven, in mighty quadrate joined
was also one of their promises, thou shalt live long, if thou Of union irresistible, moved on
nourish thy ancient parents.- Patrick in locum.-En. In silence their bright legions to the sound
c Exod. xx. 24. An altar of earth shalt thou make unto me.' of instrumental harmony.
This command certainly imports, that the altars of the Lord were Again,
to be as simple as possible. They were to be made either of sods He on his impious foes right onward drove,
and turfs of earth, which were easily prepared in most places, Gloomy as night : under his burning wheels
while they strayed in the wilderness, or of rough and unpolished The stedfast empyrean shook throughout, All but the throne of God.
stone, if they came into rocky places, where no sods were to be And again,
obtained; that there might be no occasion to grave any image
upon them. Such altars, Tertullian observes, (Apolog. c. 25.) He ended, and the sun gave signal high To the bright minister that watched: He blew
were among the ancient Romans in the days of Numa; when, as His trumpet, heard on Oreb since perhaps
they had no sumptuous temples, nor images, so they had only When God descended, and perhaps once more
altars hastily huddled up of earth, without any art.- Patrick in To sound the general doom.
Paradise Lost, b. 6. and 11. d Exod. xxiii, 12. On the seventh day thou shalt rest; that a These ten commandments, as contained in the 20th chapter thine ox and thine ass may rest.' We should here observe the of Exodus, are so very well known, that there is no occasion here great clemency of God, who by this law requires some goodness for the repetition of them: and in what manner they are to be and mercy to be exercised even to brute animals, that he might disposed of in the two tables, whether four are to be placed in remove men the farther from cruelty to each other. The slaughter the first, and six in the second table, which is the common dis- of a ploughing ox was prohibited by a law common to the Phrytribution, or an equal number is to be appropriated to each table, gians, Cyprians, and Romans, as we find recorded by Varro, 23 Philo and his followers among the Jewish rabbins contend, is Pliny, and others. The Athenians made a decree that a mulo not a question of moment enough to be discussed in this place. worn out by labour and age, and which used to accompany other
6 Exod. xx, 12. “That thy days may be long upon the land.' As mules drawing burdens, should be fed at the public expense. disobedience to parents is, by the law of Moses, threatened to be Exod. xxiii. 16. 'The feast of ingathering, which is in the end punished with death, so on the contrary long life is promised to of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the the obedient; and that in their own country, which God most field.' The same custom prevailed among the Gentiles, who at peculiarly enriched with abundance of blessings. Heathens also the end of the year, when they gathered in their fruits, offered gave the same encouragement, saying, that such children should | solemn sacrifices, with thanks to God for his blessings. Aristotle A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xii-xxxiv. 21. a tables of stone, wherein with his own hand, at least by camp, who by reason of his long absence began now to his own direction, were written the ten great command- give him over for lost, assembled themselves in a riotous ments, which were the sum and substance of the moral manner about Aaron's tent, and demanded of him to law.b
make them some gods to go before them. The demand While Moses was conversing with God on the mount, was astonishing, and such was his weakness, and want of and Joshua waiting for his return, the people in the courage, that instead of expostulating the matter with
them, he tamely submitted to their request ; nay, he con(Ethic. b. viii.) says, that the ancient sacrifices and assemblies tributed not a little to their idolatry, by ordering them were after the gathering in of the fruits, being designed for an to bring a sufficient quantity of their golden ornaments, oblation of the first-fruits unto God.-ED.
which when he received from them, he tied in a bag, and a Who was the first inventor of letters, and what nation had thereof made them a molten calf. Nor was this all, for the invention soonest among them, is variously disputed by the learned. The invention seems to be a little too exquisite to have seeing them so highly delighted with their new made proceeded from man; and therefore we have, not without reason, god, he set it upon a pedestal, in full sight of the camp, in a former page, derived its original from God himself, who might built an altar before it, and appointed the next day for a teach it Adam, and Adam his posterity. As to particular nations, solemn festival, which was begun with offering of sacrihowever, some say that the Phænicians, others the Ethiopians, and others again that the Assyrians, had the first invention offices to it, and concluded with feasting and dancing, and them; but upon better grounds, it is thought by Eusebius in his all d kinds of noisy mirth. Præpar. Evan, b. 18.) that Moses first taught the use of letters to God, in the mean time, who knew what had passed in the Jews, and that the Phænicians learned them from them, and the the camp, acquainted his servant Moses, that the people Grecians from the Phænicians. The matter whereon men wrote in whom he had brought out of Egypt had so soon forgot ruder times was different; some on the riods of trees, others on tiles, and others on tables, which last was chiefly in use among their promises and engagements, that at that very time the Jews; and probably from this example given them by God. they had made them a molten image, and were worshipThe instrument wherewith they wrote, was not a pen, but a kind ping a golden calf; a defection so provoking, that he of engraver made of iron or steel, called a stylus, which was sharp at one end, for the more convenient indenting, or carving threatened to extirpate the whole nation of them, but at the character, and broad at the other for the purpose of scraping it out. To perpetuate the memory of any thing, the custom of c The words in the text are these, . All the people brake off writing on stone or brick was certainly very ancient, and (as the golden ear-rings which were in their ears, and brought them Josephus, in the case of Seth's pillars, tells us, Antiquities, b. 11.) unto Aaron, and he received them at their hands, and fashioned older than the time of the flood. The words of the decalogue, it with a graving tool, after he had made it into a molten call,' spoken by God himself, were such as deserved to be had in ever- Exod. xxxii. 3, 4. But here seems to be a great mistake in lasting remembrance; and therefore God was willing to have most versions as well as our own, and what but few critics and them engraved upon durable matter; but then the question is, expositors have yet espied. For it may very well be asked, who whether it was God himself, with his own finger, as we say, or taught Aaron to engrave, or how could this idol be engraven so some other person from God's mouth, who wrote them. In soon, since it is said that Aaron presented it to the people on Exod. xxxiv. 27, 28, we are told, that the Lord said unto the morrow! If the custom of engraving molten work was then Moses, Write thou these words; for after the tenor of these words known, how comes it, that we hear nothing of it even in Solomon's have I made a covenant with thee and with Israel;' and that time, since it may be presumed, that the furniture of Solomon's accordingly. he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, temple was wrought with much more art than the figure of even the ten commandments. Now since it is a common form Aaron's calf? The whole foundation of this mistake seems to of speech, that what a superior commands to be done, that he does lie in the ambiguity of the Hebrew word Tsour, which sometimes himself; the meaning can be no more, than that the words of signifies to fashion, and sometimes to bind or tie, and of the word the decalogue were written by the hand of Moses, but by the Chereth, which signifies a graving tool, and sometimes a sack or direction and dictation of God.—Howell's and Universal History. bag, 2 Kings v. 23. And therefore the nature and circumstances
6 Exod. xxiv. 11. • And upon the nobles of the children of of the thing here spoken of might have directed the translators to Israel he laid not his hand. It is usually said that God laid not think of putting the great quantity of ear-rings, which were his hand' in a way of terror, or anger, on these nobles on account brought to Aaron, into a bag; which would have prevented the of their intrusion: but in the Monthly Magazine for January, incongruity that the Geneva version has incurred, of engraving 1804, is the following description of the appearance at court of the calf before it was molten; for so it runs, 'he fashioned the the Mogul's officers, who partake of his bounty or rewards. ear-rings with a graving tool, ard made a molten calf of them.' “ Those officers of the districts, whose time has expired, or who Essay for a New Translation. have been recalled from similar appointments, repair to the d The words in the text are, (Exod. xxxii. 6.) the people sat imperial presence, and receive the reward, good or evil, of their down to eat, and to drink, and rose up to play;' and from hence administration. When they are admitted into the presence, and some have supposed their sense to be, that after the Israelites retire from thence, if their rank and merit be eminent, they are had eaten of the sacrifices offered to this new idol, and drunk called near to his majesty's person, and allowed the honour of very plentifully, they committed fornication, after the manner of placing their heads below his sacred foot. The emperor lays his heathen worshippers, and as in after ages they were induced to hand on the back of a person, on whom he means to bestow an do in the case of Baal-peor, Numb. xxv. 1, 2. It cannot be extraordinary mark of favour. Others from a distance receive denied, indeed, but that those sacrificial feasts among the heathens token of kindness, by the motion of the imperial brow or eyes.' were usually attended with drumkenness and lasciviousness, which Now if the nobles of Israel were not admitted to the same near- generally go together; and that the word which we render play, ness of approach to the Deity as Moses and Aaron, perhaps this is the same which Potiphar's wife makes use of, when she tells phrase should be taken directly contrary to what it has been. her husband, that his Hebrew slave came in to mock her, that • He laid not his hand' in a way of special favour, nevertheless is, violate her chastity; but since there is no intimation of this they saw God, and did eat and drink in his presence. This sense in the story, but only of their singing and dancing, it is hardly of laying on the hand is supported by a passage in Bell's Travels presumable, that they could become so very profligate the very to Persia, p. 103. “ The minister received the credentials
, and first day of their setting up idol-worship. Much more reasonable laid them before the Shah, who touched them with his hand, as a' it is therefore to suppose, that all this merriment of theirs was mark of respect. This part of the ceremony had been very diffi- in imitation of the Egyptians, who, when they had found out cult to adjust; for the ambassador insisted on delivering his their god Apis, whereof this golden calf was designed as an letters into the Shah's own hands. The Persian ministers, on emblem, were used to bring him in solemn pomp to Memphis
, the other hand, affirmed that their king never received letters the royal city, with children going before in procession, and directly from the ambassadors of the greatest emperors on earth.” all the company singing a song of praise to the Deity.-P. - Theological Magazine, vol. iv, p. 140.-ED.