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ried an Ethiopian woman. This roused discontent in the minds of Aaron and Miriam. They began to think themselves at least equal to Moses, and exclaimed: "Has the Lord spoken only by Moses ? has He not also spoken by us ? When the Lord heard this presumptuous speech, He called Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to appear before Him at the Tabernacle. A pillar of cloud descended upon the Tabernacle, and the voice of the Lord said: · Hear My words: if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord make Myself known to him in a vision, and speak to him in a dream: My servant Moses is not so, to whom I have entrusted all My house; with him I speak mouth to mouth, and let him see, and not in dark images, and he beholds the similitude of the Lord: wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?' As the pillar of the cloud departed from their presence, Miriam was smitten with leprosy. And Aaron said to Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.' Then Moses prayed, and beseeched the Lord to heal her and to pardon her sin. God granted his prayer, but commanded Miriam to be kept in confinement without the camp for seven days, after which time she was to be purified and received again into the congregation.

53. SCOUTS SENT TO CANAAN.

[NUMB. XIII.] Then the Israelites left Hazeroth, and encamped at Kadesh, in a more northern part of the wilderness of Paran. There the Lord commanded Moses to send twelve men, one from each tribe, to search the land of Canaan, and to report all they saw and heard about “the people that dwell therein, whether they be

strong or weak, few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad ; and what the cities are that they dwell in, whether in tents or in strongholds; and what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not. They were also told to bring back samples of the fruit of the country. So the twelve men, Caleb and Joshua being among the number, set out northwards through the wilderness of Paran; then turning to the west, they proceeded into the southern part of Palestine, and came into the neighbourhood of Hebron, that ancient city where Abraham had sojourned in ages gone by, and where now dwelt the children of Anak, men of gigantic stature and terrible appearance. In the valley of Eshcol they found themselves amidst all the most exquisite fruits of the country --- pomegranates, figs, and vines. The grapes grew here to such an extraordinary size, that one bunch had to be carried on poles by two men. After an absence of forty days, the twelve scouts returned to the camp at Kadesh with magnificent specimens of Canaan's produce. We can imagine the excitement which the event caused among the whole congregation. How eagerly they must have questioned the men on the land they were to possess ! how great must have been their delight at the beautiful fruit ! how impatient their desire to enter and to enjoy so favoured a land ! But the account they heard was not altogether cheering. A beautiful country, truly, said the spies, and a land that flows with milk and honey, but a country with strong cities inhabited by formidable men, among whom was the fierce race of giants, the terrible sons of Anak. Not a province but what was occupied by warlike tribes, the Amalekites in the south, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites in the mountain passes, and the Canaanites in the plains and on the banks of the Jordan,

54. MURMURING OF THE PEOPLE AND THEIR

PUNISHMENT.

[NUMB. XIV.] The people's hearts sank within them; they felt unable to encounter such powerful foes; but Caleb, wishing to inspire them with hope and fortitude, exclaimed : • Let us go up and possess it at once, we are well able to overcome them. Alas! his cowardly companions would not hear of encouragement; they began to exaggerate the danger: “The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, who come of the giants : and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.' The Israelites, overpowered with anguish and dismay, wept and murmured bitterly, asking, wherefore they had left Egypt to die in the wilderness, or to be killed by the sword of invincible foes? They upbraided Moses and Aaron, and proposed in their blind folly to choose a captain who might lead them back into Egypt.

It was a severe trial for Moses, despite his meek and gentle spirit. Joshua and Caleb felt the urgency of the occasion. With all outward signs of mourning and grief, with their garments rent, they appeared before the people, and said firmly: The land which we searched is an exceedingly good land; if the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land ; for they are bread for us, their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us, fear them not: only do not rebel.'

The infuriated multitude rushed upon the men who, in the strength of their faith, had spoken so boldly, and prepared to stone them to death. At that dangerous

moment, the glory of the Lord appeared before the Israelites, and His voice declared to Moses, that as a punishment for their disbelief and revolt, the people should be smitten with pestilence and die, and from Moses alone should descend a great and mighty nation, bearing God's name and spreading His truth. But Moses entreated God to forgive them: “And now, I beseech Thee, let the power of my God be great, according as Thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children into the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said : I pardon according to thy word. But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men who have seen My glory, and My miracles which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice; surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it: but My servant Caleb, because he has another spirit within him, and has followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went, and his seed shall possess it.' During forty years the Hebrews were to lead a wandering life in the desert, one year for each day spent by the spies in their journey of exploration; to their children was reserved the conquest of the land which they themselves dreaded so much, and where should be the home of their prophets, the cradle of their warriors, the throne of their kings; of all their vast hosts, Joshua and Caleb alone, the brave-hearted and loyal followers of Moses, were to be permitted to enter the land of Promise.

The people repented of their sinful want of faith, and mourned in deep affliction; they were eager and almost impetuous in thcir desire to prove their valour, and demanded to be led on to the conquest of Canaan. But Moses said, Wherefore now do you transgress the commandment of the Lord ? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that you be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword.' But the people were unable to moderate their ardour. As they rushed madly forward, they were overpowered by the fierce and hostile tribes, scattered, and pursued southward to the old Canaanite town Hormah.

55. REBELLION OF KORAH AND HIS FOLLOWERS,

[NUMB. XVI.] Faith in God, and submission to His servant Moses, were lessons which the Israelites seemed unable to learn. This was again strikingly proved by the rebellion of Korah and his associates, which followed almost immediately after the events just narrated, and was attended with terrible punishments.

Korah was of the race of Levi; he was indeed also descended from Kohath, like Moses and Aaron, but not through Amram, but through his younger brother Izhar; and it was to the elder line of Amram-to Aaron and his descendants--that the right of priesthood had been exclusively assigned. Now Korah was an aspiring and ambitious man. He would not acknowledge the superior gifts of Moses and Aaron. Belonging to the tribe of Levi, he believed himself entitled to the highest sacerdotal privileges. He succeeded in gaining the co-operation of some other men, as Dathan and Abiram, who, being members of the eldest tribe, considered themselves wronged by their exclu

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