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unto Ws people: for be shall not enter into the land which T have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled
25 against my word at the water of Meribah. Take Aaron and
26 Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor: And strip Aaron of his priestly garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered [unto his people,]
27 and shall die there. And Moses did as the Lord commanded: and they went up into mount Hor, in the sight of all the
28 congregation.* And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount, in an honourable and comfortable manner, in its one hundred and twenty third year :\ and Moses
29 and Eleazar came down from the mount. And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, [even] all the house of Israel^
1. r I "'H E conduct of the Israelites toward the Edomites, JL teaches us to guard against a love of contention and revenge. The Israelites' request was a reasonable one ; the Edomites' denial was stiff and unjustifiable: especially considering what God had done for the Israelites. But God directed them to turn another way. Our brethren may use us ill, deny our reasonable requests, and come out against us with a strong hand ; but it will be the wisest way not to oppose force to force, if it can be helped. Let us leave off contention, and turn away. The reason which God gives why they should not fall upon the Edomites or abhor them, was, that they were brethren. This argument will hold equally strong with us,. We are brethren, the descendants of Adam, sons of God, brethren in Christ, united in dearer, tenderer bonds, than any natural alliance or relation can form. Let us rather put ourselves to any inconvenience, as Israel did by going about, than lay a foundation for quarrelling, and going to law, and the like; rather put up with an injury or an insult, than study revenge. If any should think this a hard, impracticable lesson, let them remember, if they do not learn and practise it, they are not faithful disciples of Christ, and shall have, no share in the glory of his kingdom.
2. Let the saints of the Lord, like Aaron, be willing to die. There is something very awful in his dying on this side Canaan;
• They would, no doubt, be greatly affected at the loss of their high priest, seeing him Ani die by the appointment of God: but they were also witnesses to Eleazar's being ap-; pointed his successor; and it would bp some oomfort to Aaron, that his son succeeded to ■lis office, and that the entail of the priesthood was not cut offfrota his family.
+ In Dtiitcr6nm»y x. &i it is said, he was buried in Mosera; that was the -genera] naine of this station, and Hor the particular BKustajn.
but he had a better world in prospect, and therefore went up without reluctance, leaving his robes and honours to his son. Be our character ever so excellent, death will strip us of our garment. Naked we came into the world, and naked we must go out of it. Let us labour, like Aaron, to serve God with our spirit. Let us make sure of the heavenly Canaan, and then we may willingly resign our breath when God pleases. Let the thought of death prevent our being too fond of our ornaments and honours, even of those, which, like those of the priesthood, are most im* portant and desirable. Death will strip us of all but our virtues and graces; but it cannot strip us of, nor separate us from, the love of Christ, nor destroy the union which subsists between him and the true believer. Let us be willing to die when God pleases, and leave this world with satisfaction; especially when we see, as Aaron did, those coming in our room, who will serve God when we are gone.
S. Let us rejoice in the unchangeable priesthood of Jesus Christ. The priests under the law, says the apostle, were not suffered to continue by reason of death; but Christ, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. He is consecrated for evermore, Heb. vii. 23. Christian ministers also die; one gentration passeth away, and another cometh. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever; and this is a never failing comfort to the church. May we maintain a believing regard to this eternal high Priest, and rejoice in him as our sacrifice and advocate. And since, as the apostle observes, in consequence of « this unchangeable priesthood, he is able to save to the uttermost, let us cheerfully come to God by him, seeing that he ever lives to make intercession for us.
In this chapter the Israelites, proceeding on their march toward} Canaan, are stung by fiery serpents, and healed by the brazen serpent, which Moses, by God's direction, made. They conquer Sihon and Og.
1 AND [when] king Arad the Canaanite, or rather, the JLjL Canaanite, king of Arad, (whom Joshua afterward destrayed, see Joshua xii. 14. Judges i. 16.) which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies, that is, the way the spies came thirty eight ymrs before, and since then called by that name; then he fought against Israel,
2 and took [some] of them prisoners. And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.
destroy the people and beasts, and burn the cities; reserving nothing for our own use* but bringing the spoils to God's treas
3 ury. And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites, this army of Arad: and they utterly destroyed them and their cities, they now conquered this army and destroyed them; and cflerivard when they conquered their cities, destroyed them also: and he, Israel, called the name of the place Hormah, that is, denotement, or, utter destruction; by -which name they both set up a memorial of God's mercy, and their duty to keep, the vow which they had made.
4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom, because they were denied a passage through the land, (ch. xx. 18. 20.) and the soul of the people was much .discpuraged because of the length of the way, and the many wants and troubles they met with therein.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul loathed this light bread ; as if it had little substance or nourishment in it, in comparison of the more solid diet they had in Egypt : an old complaint, and a shameful
6 falsehood. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people ; and much people of Israel died.*
7 - Therefore the people came to Moses, and made an humble and particular acknowledgment of their guilt, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpent*
8 from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said'unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, like those whiek/ bite them, and set it upon a pole, like an ensign, that it may be seen through all the camp : and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon h, shall live,
9 though he be not able to go near if.f And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived.|
• Strabo and other geographers ten us, that this wilderness abounded with serpents of a bright shining colour, which gave an incurable wound. We read also of serpenrs in the We t Indies, as redas blood, which appear at night like burning coals. Such as these God made use of to chastise this murmuring people. ■
t Naturalists observe, that the sight of the braien serpent tended, of itself, rather tm increase the disease, and to fill them with greater anguish, by disturbing their imaginations If so, it was the more proper to convince the Israelites that their medicine came from God, who made that, whose aspect was hurtful, to be a means of their cure,
t The serpents were not taken away ; but were left to try their faith, and punish. their guilt. The Indians have an idol, like a serpent, placed ona large pole, which thaaV worship. Esculapius, the god of health, among the Greeks, and Salus, a great physician, among; the Romans, are both picturt.J. with serpents, M an emblem of titirkealing power, perhaps in reference to this story. .
10 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in
11 Oboth. And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched'at Ijeabarim, in the -wilderness which [is] before Moab, toward the
12 sun rising. From thence they removed, and pitched in the
13 valley of Zared. From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which [is] in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the
14 border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.* Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he
15 did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar,
16 and lieth upon the border of Moab. And from thence [they went] to Beer: that [is] the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them
17 water miraculously, without their asking for it. Then Israel sang this song, a song of praise for giving them this seasonable
. *. ' supply, and they said, Spring up, O well ; continue still to spring up, and supply us with water ; and then, calling to others, they said, Sing ye unto it, express your joy and thankfulness in a song which may never be forgotten. Such responses were
18 the usual way of singing praises among the Jeivs. The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by [the direction of] the lawgiver, with their staves; that is, the heads of the tribes struck the earth, or ran the ends of their sceptres into the ground, by the direction of Moses, and Che water sprang out. And from the wilderness [they went] to Mat
19 tanah: And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel
20 to Bamoth: And from Bamoth [in] the valley, that [is] in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah; or rather, the foot of Pisgah, or -valley where it began to rise, which looketh toward Jeshimon, or the wilderness. ,
S1 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amo
22 rites, saying, Let me pass through thy land : we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink [of Jthe waters of the well: [but] we will go along by the king's
23 [high] way, until we be past thy borders. And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon
. gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness; and he came to Jahaz, and fought against
24 Israel. And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was strong, well defended; therefore Sihon had not
25 encroached on their country, as he had upon the Moabites. And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.
* They were so n«ar to Moab as to he supplied with provisions from their country.
36 For Heshbon [was] the city of Sihon the king of the Araorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and
27 taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.* Wherefore they that speak in proverbs, in poems or histories, say, Come into Heshbon; though formerly you were afraid to dwelt in it, yet now ye may come safely, ivithout fear; let the city of
t% Sihon be built and prepared: For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon, the fury of war, it hath consumed Ar of Moab, or, those that dwell in a strong and fortified place, [and] the lords of the high places of Arnon; the princes, priests, and idols of the Moabites, are all
29 destroyed as far as Arnon. ■ Woe to thee, Moab I thou art undone, O people of Chemosh, the idol god of the Moabites; he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites; instead of protecting and defending them, as they expected, he has suffered them to
30 be led away captive. We have shot at them ; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which [reacheth] unto Medeba, first the Amo
31 rites, and then the Israelites.^ Thus Israel dwelt in the
32 land of the Amorites. And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, another city of the Moabites taken by the Amorites, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that [were] there.
33 And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, a rich and fruitful country, abounding with fine pastures and large cattle; and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he,
34 and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. And the Lord said unto Moses, Fear him not, though he be a giant, (Deut. iii. 11.) for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst
• unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.
r. T F we would expect particular favours from God, we J. should lay ourselves under solemn obligations to obey his will. And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver tliis people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. Israel resolved to obey his orders, and then
■ • Moses from hence to the end of v. 30, proves, that both Heshbon and the country adjoining to it. was the possession of Sihon, when the Israelites took it; Sihon having taken it from the former king of the Moabites. who was king before Balak. Jephthah pleads this afterward, in Judges xi. 12.
t Some suppose this verse to be a triumphant addition of the Israelites; IVe have that at them, or rather, Iot have e.erthrovin them with cur arr1rws, i> the strength ef Jehreah,