Page images

A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764, A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM. xviii. finger in it, and sprinkled it seven times towards the with those sacrifices which were offered, year by year veil of the sanctuary. The same paris of the victim continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. In were burnt on the altar in this as in the former sacrifice. order therefore to illustrate this point, namely, that the The rest, if the sacrifice was offered for the sin of the Jewish religion was, in a great measure, intended to high priest, or for the people, was carried without the typify and prefigure the more perfect dispensation of camp, and there burnt ; but if it was for a private person, the gospel, we shall instance in some of its particulars the victim was divided, as we said before, between the already enumerated. priest and the offerer. 4. The sacrifice of oblation was Thus the tabernacle itself was a type of the Redeemer either fine flour, or incense, cakes of fine flour, and oil dwelling in our nature ; for so St John tells us,

that baked, or the first-fruits of new corn. Oil, salt, wine," the Word was made flesh, and soxýywoer sy huis, dwelt and frankincense went always along with every thing among us,' as in a tabernacle. The altar of burntthat was offered. All the frankincense was cast into offerings in the court, pointed out the death and sacrifice the fire ; but of the other things the priest only burnt a® of our Lord, by the shedding of whose blood our sins part, and the rest he reserved to himself.

are pardoned, and we received into mercy and favour. Thus we have taken a cursory view of the Jewish The altar of incense within the holy place denoted our tabernacle, and its utensils ; of the Jewish priesthood, Lord's powerful intercession for us, in his exalted state and its offices ; and have nothing more to do, but to of glory; and the 'ark of the covenant in the holy of inquire a little for what a ends and uses God was pleased holies,' was an eminent emblem of him, from whose to institute these things. To this purpose St Paul in mouth we received a law, 'founded upon better forms us, that the Jewish law was an imperfect dispen-promises ;' by whose intercession we have access to the sation from the very first, and added only because of throne of grace with all boldness ;' and whose satisfactransgressions, until the seed should come, to whom the tion to the divine justice is our true propitiatory or promise was made :' that in great condescension, it was mercy-seat. adapted to the weakness of the Jewish people, whom he What a manifest type the Jewish high priest was of compares to an heir under a tutor or governor; for these our Lord and Saviour, the author to the Hebrews has are his words : 36 I say then, that an heir, as long as he declared in more instances than one. The Jewish high is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be priest was the only man who was permitted to enter into lord of all : Even so we, when we were children, were the holy of holies;' and " we have such an high priest,' in bondage, under the elements of the world;' so that says the apostle, who is set on the right hand of the 36 the law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ,' throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the and having only a shadow of good things to come, sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord and not the very image of the things, it could never, pitched, and not man.' The Jewish high priest offered

a solemn expiatory sacrifice once a year; our Lord

8. appeared once in the end of the world to put away sin " Gal. iii. 19. 2 Gal. iv. 1, &c. * Gal. iji. 24. by the sacrifice of himself.' After the expiatory sacri4 Heb, x. 1.

fice, the Jewish high priest went into the holy place, a Josephus, having treated of the tabernacle, and the several there to offer incense on the golden altar; our Lord, things appertaining to it, makes the use and design of them a little too mystical and allegorical . “Let but a man consider," hand of the Majesty on high,' there 10 6

when he had purged our sins, 'sat down on the right says he, “the structure of the tabernacle, the sacerdotal vestments, and the holy vessels that are dedicated to the service of presence of God,' and by the incense of his merits, to the altar, and he must of necessity be convinced, that our law. make continual intercession for us. giver was a pious man.-For what are all these but the image of the whole world ? The tabernacle consisting of thirty, cubits, lifications of the sacrifices under the law, or the several

In like manner, whether we consider the several quaand being divided into three parts, whereof two are for the priests in general, and of free access, resembles the earth and the sea; sorts of them, we shall find them to be types and prefiguwhile the third, where no mortal, except the high priest, is per- rations of Christ. The conditions of a Jewish sacrifice mitted to enter, is an emblem of heaven, reserved for God alone. were,—That it should be without blemish, publicly preThe twelve loaves of shewbread upon the table, signify the twelve sented before the congregation, substituted in the sinner's months in the year. The candlestick, which is made up of

him. seventy pieces, refers to the twelve signs of the zodiac, through room, and the iniquities of the sinner laid upon which the seven planets take their course; and the seven lamps, With relation to these properties, our Saviour is said to on the top of the seven branches, bear an analogy to the planets be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinthemselves. The curtains with the four colours that are wrought ners.' in them, represent the four elements.-. By the high priest's linen

That he might' sanctify his people,' he is said garment is designed the whole body of the earth; and by the

to have " suffered without the gate, bearing our reviolet colour, the heavens. The pomegranates answer to light- proach ;' and that "2" he, who knew no sin, became sin ning; and the noise of the bells to thunder. The four-coloured for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God ephod bears a resemblance to the very nature of the universe, in him.' and the interweaving it with threads of gold, to the rays of the sun, which give us light. The pectoral or rational, in the midde

And so, if we look to the several sorts of sacrifices of it, intimates the position of the earth in the centre of the appointed under the law, we shall soon perceive that world; the girdle about the priest's body, is the sea about the these equally lead us to Christ. For he was the trespassglobe of the earth; the two sardonyx stones, on the shoulders, offering, in that ‘he was made sin for us ;' the peacerepresent the sun and moon; and by the twelve other stones on the breast, may be understood either the twelve months, or the offering because 13. he made peace by the blood of his twelve signs of the zodiac.” But all this is too light and fanciful, one would think, for so grave an author as Josephus, had not

5 John i. 14. 6 Heb. xiii, 10. ? Heb, viii. 1, 2. this way of allegorizing things been the prevailing custom of the 8 Heb. ix, 26. 9 Heb. i. 3.

10 Heb. 9. 24. age.-Jewish Antiquities, b. 3. c. 7.

11 Heb. xiii. 12, 13. 12 2 Cor. v. 21.

13 Col. i. 20.

to appear in the


A. M. 2515. A. C. 1489 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3765. A. C. 1646. NUM. xviii, TO THE END OF DEUT, cross ;' the meat and drink offering, for 'bis flesh is that religion, which in its essence is always the same, meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed ;' the scape- may, with the good pleasure of God, be changed; even goat, for he hath carried away our sins,” never to be more as a careful nurse, to use a scripture comparison upon remembered against us; the paschal lamb, for 3 Christ, this occasion, adapts the diet to the strength and constiour passover, is sacrificed for us; the great sacrifice of tution of the person she attends : ‘For every one that atonement,' for *« Jesus Christ the righteous is both our useth milk,' as the elements of the Jewish dispensation advocate with the Father, and a propitiation for our sins :' were, “is unskilful in the word of righteousness, for he and in fine, 5' bis blood, who, through the eternal Spirit, is a babe ; but strong meat,' or a religion of a greater offered himself to God, without spot, is more effectual perfection, as the Christian is,' belongeth to them that than the blood of bulls and goats, to purge our con

are of full age ; even those, who, by reason of use, have sciences from dead works, to serve the living God.' their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.'

Thus it appears, that the chief end of the several institutions relating to the ceremonial part of the Jewish worship, was to prefigure the person and transactions of

SECT. III. our blessed Saviour, 6. when the fulness of time was come that God should send forth his Son, made of a CHAP. I.–From the Death of Korah, to the Israelwoman, made under the law, to redeem those that were

ites' Entrance into Canaan ; in all, 38 years. under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And therefore, since the ceremonies of the Jewish law could never be of any esteem in the sight of God, any otherwise than as they promoted this end, and AFTER the establishment of the high priest's office in prepared men's minds for the reception of a more per- Aaron, and his family, the Israelites moved about from fect institution of religion, it is manifest, that when this place to place, in the deserts of Arabia, but chiefly about more perfect institution was once settled, the former and the mountains of Idumæa, until God, a shortening the more imperfect was, of course, to cease ;

" there being period of human life, had taken away almost all that necessarily a disannulling of the commandment going generation, " of whom he had sworn in his wrath,' as the before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.' Psalmist expresses it, 'that they should not enter into

And from hence we may finally infer, that though the his rest.' And indeed, good reason had he to be angry essence of religion be eternally and immutably the same, with them, since during the remainder of their peregrinayet the form and institution of it may be, and often hastion they were guilty of many more murmurings and been, changed. The essence of all religion is obedi- idolatries than Moses has thought proper to record, which ence to that moral and eternal law, which obliges us to are nevertheless mentioned, with no small severity, imitate the life of God in justice, mercy, and holiness, by other inspired writers. that is, to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this As the time, however, for their entrance into the Holy present world.' This is the sum of all natural religion, Land now drew near, from Ezion-geber they advanced as appears from the discourses of those wiser heathens, towards Kadesh in the wilderness of Sin, designing very who were freest from prejudice and superstition. This probably to enter the country through those narrow paswas the sum of the Jewish religion, as appears from the sages, which, at that time were called, “the ways of the frequent and earnest protestations of God to that people spies ;' but " they were repulsed by the king of Arad, by his servants the prophets ; and this likewise is the who coining out against them with a strong force, slew a sum of the Christian religion, as the apostles every- considerable number, and took from them much booty. where inculcate. But though religion itself is thus im- In their second attempt, however, they succeeded better; mutably the same, yet the form and institution of it may for they defeated the king's army, sacked some of his be different.

towns, and vowing at another opportunity (which hapWhen natural religion, by reason of its obscurity, in pened in the time of 12 Joshua) the utter destruction of this corrupt estate of human nature, proved ineffectual to make men truly religious, God left them no longer to

9 Ps, xcv, 11. the guidance of their reason only, gave them first 10 See Amos v. 26; Ezek. and Ps. passim; Acts vii. 43.

" Num. xxi. 1, ll.

19 Josh, xxii. 14. the patriarchal, and afterwards the Mosaic dispensation; and when, through the incumbrance with so many ritual

a After the many judgments and calamities sent upon Israel, observances, this latter proved ineffectual to the same divine threatenings to be daily accomplished by the frequent

by reason of their rebellions against God, Moses perceiving the great end, God abolished this forun of religion likewise, deaths of those who came out of Egypt, and whose carcasses and instituted the Christian. In all which proceeding, were to fall in the wilderness, composed the ninetieth psalm, there is no reflection at all upon the immutable nature wherein he mentions, the reduction of human life to the term of of God. For as 'the divine nature is, in the truest and years wherein it has ever since stopped, and makes several

wholesome reflections thereupon : 'The days of our age are highest sense, unchangeable ; so religion itself, in its threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong, that they nature and essence, is likewise unchangeable. But as come to fourscore years, yet is their strength then but labour and the capacities, the prejudices, and the circumstances of sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone. O teach us men are different, so the institution and outward form of therefore to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto

wisdom.'-Ver. 10, 11.

6 The Jews have a tradition, founded on an express text in

Deuteronomy, (chap. xx. 10, &c.,) that the Israelites were obliged John vi, 55.

31 Cor. v. 7. to send an herald to offer peace in their name, to every city and * 1 John ii, 1, 2. * Heb. ix, 13, 14, 6 Gal. iv. 4, 5.

[ocr errors]


John i. 29.

people, before they attempted to conquer them by the sword; that Dr Samuel Clarke's Sermon, vl. x, in case they accepted it they only became tributaries to them;

* Heb. vii. Je.


A. M. 2515. A. C. 1489; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3765. A. C. 1646. NUM. xvii. TO THE END OF DEUT. the whole nation, they took their route for the present and twenty-three years old ; and when the people under. another way, and so arrived again at Kadesh.

stood that he was dead, they bewailed him thirty days. Here it was that Miriam, the sister of Moses and As soon as the days of mourning were over, they Aaron, (4 who was older than either of them,) in the removed, and encamped at Zalmanah, which took its hundred and thirty-third year of her age died, was buried name from the image of the serpent, which Moses caused with great pomp, and by the Israelites lamented for the to be set up there. For the Israelites, being tired with space of a whole month. Here it was that the people fell the length of their journey, the narrowness of their again into their old way of murmuring for want of water, passes, and the barrenness of the country, began to which God ordered Moses to supply, by speaking only to relapse into their old humour of murmuring and repining, a certain rock; but some way or other be deviating from which provoked God to send great d swarms of fiery his instructions, either through impatience or diffidence, offended God to such a degree, as to deserve a denunciation, that neither be, nor his brother Aaron, who seems told expressly that the Horims dwelt in Seir before-time; and acto have been equally in the offence, should be permitted cordingly we read (Gen. xiv. 6.) that Chedorlaomer

, king of Elam, to enter into Canaan. Hence likewise it was, that Moses Now it seems very probable, that as places at first were wont to

with his confederates, smote the Horites in their Mount Seir. sent an embassy to the king of Edom, desiring a free pas- take their names from their inhabitants, both this place, and the sage through his country, and promising to commit no people might derive their names from one Hor, whom they de. hostilities, nor give the least molestation to any of his scended from, and who in the early ages of the world, inhabited subjects. But the haughty Edomite was so far from Mount Seir came to be used to denote the same tract

, yet the old

this country; and that though, in process of time, the name of granting his request, that he came out with a strong army name of Mount Hor was preserved in that part of it, where stood to oppose him; which Moses, no doubt, would have the mountain here so called by Moses, and on which Aaron died. resented as the thing deserved, had not God, whom he There seems to be however no small difficulty in reconciling this consulted upon this occasion, ordered him, for the pre-onomy x. 6. That the children of Israel took their journey from

passage in Numbers xx. 23—28, with what we read in Deutersent, not to engage with the Edomites : so that decamp- Beeroth, of the children of Jankan, to Mosera: there Aaron died, ing from Kadesh, he came to Mount Hor, not far from and there he was buried.' So that Moses seems to have forgot the borders of Edom, where God gave Aaron notice of himself, when in one place he tells us, that his brother Aaron his approaching death, and not long after, commanded concile this, some have supposed that Mount Hor was so near to

was buried on Mount Hor, and in another in Mosera. To reMoses to take him and Eleazar his son, who was to suc- Mosera, where the Israelites had their encampment when Aaron ceed him in the office of the high priest, to the top of the died, that either place might, with propriety enough, be called mount, and there to strip Aaron of his sacerdotal robes, the place of his death and his interment. It seems, however, and put them upon his son : which wben Moses had done, hers xxxiii. very plain, that Mount Hor and Mosera were two

from the account which we have of their encampments, in Nun). Aaron died on the top of Mount Hor, being an hundred distinct places; and therefore others have maintained, that the

sixth and seventh verses in the tenth chapter of Deuteronomy,

in the common Hebrew text, have been extremely corrupted by put if they refused their offer, they were then to be vowed to the ignorance of some transcribers, because the Hebrew Samaridestruction. Maimonides has taken great pains to prove, that tan or old Hebrew text, makes the account in Deuteronomy 1, all those nations which were cut off by the Israelites, owed their 6, 7, exactly agree with the order of the encampments, mentioned destruction to their choosing to try the fortune of war, rather in Numbers xxxiii. 32, 38. and there it is said that Aaron died, than accept of peace upon such terms. There is one objection and was buried in Mount Hor.Wells' Geography of the Old however, which seems to stand a little in his way, and that is,– Testament, vol. ii. the stratagem which the Gibeonites made use of to obtain peace c The author of Ecclesiasticus, having given us a long comfrom Israel, which would have been needless, had the latter mendation of Aaron, and his vestments, comes at last to tell us, been obliged to offer it before they began any hostilities: but to that “God chose him out of all men living, to offer sacrifices this the learned Rabbi answers,That the reason of the Gibeon- to the Lord, incense, and a sweet savour, for a memorial, and ites' policy was, that they had in common with their neighbours, to make reconciliation for his people; that he gave unto him the refused the first offer of peace, and were consequently doomed to commandments and authority in the statutes of judgments, the same fate with them; and that, for the prevention of this, that he should teach Jacob the testimonies, and inform Israel their ambassadors feigned themselves to come from a country in the laws; that strangers conspired together against him, vastly distant from any of the other seven, and by that means and maligned him in the wilderness-this the Lord saw, and it obtained the desired peace.-Maimon, ap. Cunaum; et Basnag. displeased him, and in his wrathful indignation, they were collRep. Heb. vol. i, b. 2. c. 20.

sumed.—But he made Aaron more honourable, and gave him a Miriam was older than either Aaron or Moses. Moses was an heritage, and divided unto him the first-fruits of the increase ; the youngest: and when he was born she might probably be about so that he did eat the sacrifices of the Lord, which he gave unto twelve years of age, because when he was exposed upon the banks him

and to his seed,” &c. He died in the arms of Moses his of the river Nile, she, we find, had address enough to offer her brother, and Eleazer his son, and successor in the high priestservice to Pharaoh's daughter, to go and fetch her å nurse, which hood. They buried him in some cave belonging to Mount Hor, can hardly be supposed of one younger. Some of the ancient and kept the place of his interment from the knowledge of the fathers are of opinion that she died a virgin, and was the legisla- Israelites, perhaps from an apprehension that in after ages they trix or governess of the Jewish women, as Moses was of the men; might pay some superstitious worship to him; or rather, that the but the more probable opinion is, that she was married to Hur, Arabians, among whom they then dwelt, might not at

any a man of chief note in the tribe of Judah, and on several occa- take it in their heads to violate the sanctity of his grave. sions a person of great confidence with Moses: but it does not Ecclus, xlv. 13, &c. appear that she had any children by him. She was buried, as d Some authors are of opinjon, that these serpents were only Josephus tells us, with great solemnity, at the charge of the pub- little worms, which bred in the skin, and were of so venomous lic, and her sepulchre, as Eusebius reports, was extant in his time a nature, that they immediately

poisoned those who were infected at Kadesh, not far distant from the city Petra, the metropolis of by them. But it is very evident, that not only the original words, Arabia Petræa. - Universal History, b. 1. c. 7; and Calmet's necashim seraphim, signify a burning or winged serpent, but Dictionary.

that these creatures are very common both in Egypt and Arabia

, 6 The Mount Hor was on the coast of the land of Edom, to- insomuch, that there would be no living in those countries, if wards the east, in some part of that tract, which was afterwards these serpents had not by Providence been debarred from multidenoted by the Mount Seir. In Deuteronomy (ii. 12.) we are plying as other serpents do. For the Arabians tell us, that after


A. M. 2515. A. C. 1489; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3765. A. C. 1646. NUM. xviii. TO THE END OF DEUT.. serpents among them; but after the death of several, prince, not thinking it safe to receive so numerous a and upon the humiliation of the rest, he commanded people into the heart of his kingdom, not only denied Moses to cast a « brazen serpent, of the same size and them a passage, but, accounting it better policy to attack, figure with those that infested them, and to fix it upon a than to be attacked, gathered what forces he could pole, situate on some eminent ground, that as many as together, and marched out to give them battle. But not were bitten by the living serpents, might look up to the far from Jahaz, where the engagement was, the Israelites brazen one, and be healeda Which accordingly was overthrew him; and having made themselves masters of done, and had its intended miraculous effect.

his country, put all, both man, woman, and child to the Several were the marches and encampments which the sword : and not long after this, Og, d king of Bashan, Israelites, without committing the least hostilities, made e a man of a prodigious gigantic size, attempting to between the countries of Moab and Ammon, till they obstruct their passage, underwent the same fate. For came at length to the country of the Amorites. And they seized his country, and utterly destroyed the inhafrom hence Moses sent ambassadors to Şihon their bitants thereof, reserving only the cattle, and spoils of king, demanding a passage through his country, and the cities, as a prey to themselves, as they had done offering to pay for all manner of necessaries, without before in the case of Sihon. giving him the least disturbance. c But the Amorite Encouraged by these successes, the Israelites marched

to the plains of Moab, and encamped on the banks of that they had coupled together, the female never fails to kill the the river Jordan, opposite to Jericho. This put Balak, male, and that her young ones kill her, as soon as they are who was then king of Moab, into a terrible consternahatched. Herodotus, who had seen several of these serpents, tion; for supposing himself not able to engage the tells us, that they very much resemble those which the Greeks mighty force of Israel, he had not only made a strong and Latins call hydræ; and Bochart has quoted a great number alliance with the Midianites and Ammonites, his neighboth of ancient and modern authors to prove that they really are the hydræ. They are but short, are spotted with divers colours, bours, in order to stop their progress, but thought it and have wings like those of a bat.' The ibis is their mortal advisable likewise, before he began any hostilities enemy; and Herodotus tells us, that at Butos in Egypt, he had against them, to try how far the power of Balaam's enseen a vast quantity of their skeletons, whose flesh these birds chantments (a noted magician in Pethor, a city of Mesohad devoured. They love sweet smells, frequent such trees as bear spices, and the marshes where the aromatic reed, or cassia, potamia) might go, in turning the fortune of the war grows; and therefore, when the Arabians go to gather the cassia, towards his side. they clothe themselves with skins, and cover all their heads over, To this purpose he despatched a select number of his except their eyes, because their biting is very dangerous. nobles, with costly presents to Balaam, entreating him Bochart de Animal, Sacr. part 2. b. 3. c. 13.

a The brazen serpent continued among the Jews above 700 years, even to the time of Hezekiah, king of Judah; but when private man's ground without his leave; and every prince has it came to be made an object of idolatry, and the people for some the same dominion in all his territories that a private man has time had paid their incense and adoration to it, that pious prince in his land. As for the examples, therefore, of those who had caused it to be broken in pieces; and by way of contempt, called permitted armies to pass through their kingdoms, they are exit nehushtan, that is to say, a brazen bawble, or trife. At amples of fact rather than of right, and of such as were not in a Milan, however, in the church of St Ambrose, they pretend to condition to refuse what was demanded of them. For the thing show you a serpent made of brass, which they tell you is the is notorious, that several countries have suffered very grievously same with that of Moses. But every one may believe of this as by granting this liberty; and therefore no prince, who consults he pleases. —Calmet's Dictionary, under the word Serpent. his subjects' safety, is to be blamed for not granting it; nor was

b It may here be proposed as a difficulty, how Moses came to the war with the Amorites founded upon this reason, as we shall offer the Amorites terms of peace, considering that the Israelites see hereafter.—Patrick's Commentary. were commanded to destroy them, and to take possession of their d The land of Bashan was one of the most fertile cantons of country. But to this it has been answered by some learned Canaan, which reached on the east to the river Jordan, on the men, that notwithstanding God had expressly doomed this people west to the mountains of Gilead, on the south to the brook Jabto an extermination, yet Moses thought himself at liberty to in bock, and on the north to the land of Geshur. The whole kingdulge his usual meekness, and to begin with gentle and amicable dom took its name from the hill of Bashan, which is situate in measures, though he might at the same time be persuaded, that it, and has since been called Battanæa. It had no less than sixty they would avail nothing; and this probably at the suggestion of walled towns in it, besides villages. It afforded an excellent God himself, to cut off all occasions or pretence of complaint breed of cattle, and stately oaks, and was, in short, a plentiful from the Amorites, as if they had not been honourably and fairly and populous country.-Universal History, b. 1. c. 7. dealt with, and that the equity and righteousness of God's pro- e The description of this gigantic king, who was the last of ceeding with a prince of so savage and obstinate a temper, might the race of the Rephaims, or vast prodigious men, we have in appear in a stronger light, when the consequence of his refusing Deuteronomy iii. 11., and from the size of his bed, which was a free passage to the Israelites, and bringing his army into the preserved a long time in the city of Rabbath, the capital of the field against them, should happen to be his own defeat and Ammonites, we may guess at his stature. It was nine cubits destruction.-Bibliotheca Biblica on Num, xxi, 21.

long, and four cubits broad, that is, fifteen feet four inches and a « Grotius, in his second book on the Right of War and half long, and six feet ten inches broad. But the Jewish doctors, Peace, c. 2. sect. 13, is of opinion, that according to the law of not content with such pigmy wonders, have improved the story nations, the highways, seas, and rivers of every country, ought to their own liking. For they tell us, that this bed of nine cubits to be free to all passengers upon just occasions. He produces could be no more than his cradle, since himself was six score Several examples from heathen history of such permission being cubits high, when full grown; that he lived before the flood, and granted to armies, and thence he infers, that Sihon and Og, that the waters of it, when at the highest, reached only up to his denying the Israelites this privilege, gave a just ground of war; knees; that, however, he thought proper to get upon the top of hor does he think that the fear which these princes might con- the roof of the ark, where Noah supplied him with provision, ceive is any excuse at all for not granting the thing, because no not out of any compassion to him, but that the men who came man's fear can take away another man's right, especially when after the deluge, might see how great the power of God was, who Several ways might have been

found out to have made their passage had destroyed such monsters from the face of the earth. --Cabsafe on both sides. But when all is said, it seems not clear that met and Munster in Deut. c. 3. all men have such a right as this great man thinks they may f In 2 Peter ii. 15, Balaam is said to be the son of claim. No man, we know, can challenge a passage through a Busor, according to our version ; but as the words, the son,' are A. M. 2515. A. C. 1489; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 365. A. C. 1646. NUM. xviii. TO THE END OF DEUT. in the king's name to come, and curse him a people; That his journey was displeasing to God, he himself who were arrived upon the borders of his territories; but could not be ignorant, because, in his first address, God God for that time, would not permit him to go : where- had expressly interdicted his going. Being resolved, upon Balak, supposing either, that the number and qua- however, out of the man's wicked inclination, to raise lity of his messengers did not answer Balaam's ambi- some kind of advantage, and to make him, who was tion, or the value of the presents his covetousness, sent hired to curse, the instrument of pronouncing a blessing messengers of a more honourable rank, with larger pro- upon his people, God gave him now free leave to proposals, and promises of high promotion, if he would but ceed. When Balak understood that Balaam was on the gratify him in this one thing.

road, himself went to receive him upon the confines of Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness ;' and his dominions; and having, in a friendly manner, blamed therefore blinded with this passion, he addressed God him for not coming at his first sending, which Balaam for leave to go; which God in his anger granted, but excused upon account of the restraint which God hael under such restrictions, as would necessarily hinder all laid on him, he conducted him to his capital city, and his fascinations from doing the Israelites any harm. there entertained him publicly, with his princes and

With this permission he set forward with the princes of nobles that day; and the next morning carried him to Moab; but as he was on the road, an angel met him, whom, the high places consecrated to b Baal, that from thence though he perceived him not, his ass plainly saw, and he might take a view of the extremity of the Israelitish therefore turned aside into the field to avoid him. With camp. Whilst they were here, the prophet ordered much ado, Balaam beat his ass into the road again; but seven altars to be erected, d and seven oxen, and when the angel stood in a narrow passage between two seven rams to be got ready; and having e offered an walls, which enclosed a vineyard, the ass for fear ran against one of the walls, and crushed Balaam's leg, gods, both male and female, as Selden (De Diis Syris, c. 1.)

6 The word Baal signifies Lord, and was the name of several which provoked him so, that he beat her again. At shows. The god of the Moabites was Chemosh, but here very last, the angel removed, and stood in a place so very probably is called by the common name of Baal. And as all narrow, that there was no possibility of getting by him, nations worshipped their gods upon high places, so this god of whereupon the ass fell down under her rider, and would Balaam to them all, that from thence he might take the most

Moab, having more places of worship than one, Balak carried go no farther. This enraged the prophet still more; and advantageous prospect of the Israelites. These high places were as he was beating and belabouring the poor creature full of trees, and shady groves, which made them commodious most unmercifully, God was pleased to give the ass the both for the solemn thoughts and prayers of such as were devout, faculty of speech, wherein she expostulated the hard and for the filthy inclinations and abominable practices of such as

affected to be wicked.- Patrick's Commentary. usage she had met with ; and as Balaam was going to

c According to the account which both Festus and Servius give justify himself, he was likewise pleased to open the us of ancient times, the heathens sacrificed to the celestial gods prophet's eyes, and let him see the angel standing in the only upon altars: to the terrestrial, they sacrificed upon the way with a naked sword in his hand, which so terrified earth; and to the infernal, in holes digged in the earth. And him, that he fell down upon his face, asked pardon for Hebrews, even by God's own appointment, Lev. iv. 6, yet we

though the number seven was much observed among the his trespass, and offered to return home again, if so be do not read of more than one altar built by the patriarchs, his journey was displeasing to God. a

when they offered their sacrifices, nor were any more than one

allowed by Moses: and therefore, we may well suppose, that 1 2 Peter ij, 15.

there was something of heathen superstition in this erection of not found in the original, but were inserted by the transla- seven altars, and that the Moabites, in their worship of the sun, tors, to supply the sense, as they imagined, the word Bosor may sacrifice to the seven planets. This was originally a part of the

who is here drincipally meant by Baal, did at the same time denote a place as well as a person; and accordingly Grotius understands St Peter's words, not as if Bosor was the father, but Egyptian theology; for as they worshipped at this time the lights the city of Balaam; for what was anciently called Pethor, the of heaven, so they first imagined the seven days of the week to be Syrians in after ages called Bosor, by an easy change of two and his Egyptian priests, having obtained leave to

under the respective influence of these seven luminaries. Belus, letters, which is a thing not unusual.— Universal History, b. 1. Babylon, about half a century before this time, might teach the

a Num. xxii. 31. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, Chaldeans their astronomy, and so introduce this Egyptian notion and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way.' There of the influence of the seven ruling stars, which Balaam, being are several instances to be found, both in the scriptures and in no stranger to the learning of the age and country he lived in, profane authors, where the eyes have been opened by a divine might pretend to Balak to proceed upon in his divinations and power to perceive that which they could not see by mere natural auguries.—Le Clerc's Commentary in locum, and Shuckford's discernment. Thus the eyes of Hagar were opened, that she connection, vol. 3. b. 12. might see the fountain, Gen. xxi. 19. , Homer also presents us

d Num. xxiii. 1. • Build me here seven altars, and prepare with an example of this kind. Minerva says to Diomede,

me here seven oxen and seven rams.' The ancients were very Go, while the darkness from thy sight I turn,

superstitious about certain numbers, supposing that God delighted That thou alike both God and man discern.-Sotheby.

in odd numbers. And in Virgil, Venus performs the same office to Æneas, and

Around his waxen image first I wind shows him the gods who were engaged in the destruction of Troy.

Three woollen fillets, of three colours joined ;

Thrice bind about his thrice devoted hend,
Now cast your eyes around: while I dissolve

Which round the sacred altar thrice is led.
The mists and films that mortal eyes involve,

Unequal numbers please the gods.
Purge from your sight the dross, and make you see
The shape of each avenging deity.


e In the text it is said, that Balak and Balaam offered on Milton seems likewise to have imitated this, when he makes every altar a bullock and a ram,' Num. xxiii. 2. But though it Michael open Adam's eyes to see the future revolutions of the was customary, in those early days, for kings to officiate as priests

, world, and the fortunes of his posterity.

yet it is rather to be supposed, that Balak only presented the Then purged with euphrasy and rue

sacrifices, and that Balaam performed the office of sacrificing The visual nerve, for he had much to see,

them; but then it may be made a question, to whom the sacriAnd from the well of life three drops instillid.

fices were offered. And to this it may be answered, that they Paradise Lost, b. 11. 414.- ED. might both have a different intention; that Balak might suppli

c. 7.


« PreviousContinue »