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the only way of overcoming the difficulty which these names occasion in this place, if we suppose them to be the same that have already been under our notice. 2. There are eleren days journey,” &c.-Boothroyd follows Dr. Wall
, in transposing this verse to between the 19th and 20th verses. It is clearly connected with what is there related, and seems quite out of its proper place as verse 2. We have already made an observation on its subject, in Numbers, in the note to chap. xxxiii. 1.
10.“ As the stars of heaven for multitude.”—This has been objected to, or at least ridiculed. At the most it would be but an Oriental hyperbole, similar to that comparing the number of the Hebrews to the sands of the sea-shore. But it is not even a hyperbole. In Gen. xv. 5, we read, “ He (the Lord) brought him (Abraham) forth abroad, and said, Look now towards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” From this it is clear that the visible stars are intended. Their number doubtless seemed both to Abraham and Moses, as to every one else, immensely greater than it really is: but it is now well known that the number of the stars visible to the naked eye, in both hemispheres, does not exceed three thousand. The original promise to Abraham, to which Moses here alludes, had therefore been far more than fulfilled—the number of the Israelites, counting only the adult males, having been more than 600,000 at the recent census.
41. " Chased you, as bees do."—Although the power of these courageous insects is too well known to render any persons willing to expose themselves to the effects of their resentment, strong demonstrations of that power are so rare in this country as to render this comparison apparently undignified. But it is not really so. The ancient writers always speak of the bee as a very formidable adversary. Aristotle and Pliny, in particular, dwell on its courageous character, and the great power of its sting, by which the largest animals, even horses, may be and have been destroyed. The latter writer mentions that, in some districts of Crete, they were so troublesome as to expel the inhabitants; and Ælian mentions, that some places in Sythia, beyond the Ister, were formerly inaccessible on account of the swarms of bees by which they were infested. Other ancient writers mention sieges, in which the assailants were repelled by the besiegers opposing their assaults with swarms of bees. The text, however, seems in a particular manner to allude to the fury of bees when disturbed in their hive. The Israelites went up into the hill of the Amorites, purposing to dispossess them ; but, like bees disturbed in their hive, the Amorites rushed upon them and chased them off, pursuing them afar. This will appear the more strongly if we adopt the addition which is found in the ancient Syriac version, in the Targum of Onkelos, and in some Arabic manuscripts, which read, “Chased you as bees that are smoked," or irritated by smoke-allusive to the very ancient, and still subsisting, process of applying smoke to expel bees from their hives, and when their rage is terrible to those who are exposed to its effects. We may cite one or two “ modem instances to illustrate these old statements. Loyer, the French superintendent of missions on the coast of Guinea, describes an attack made by the Dutch, with a squadron of four vessels, upon a fort which the French had erected on the Gold Coast. After some vigorous firing on both sides, the besieged were obliged to discontinue the use of their cannon, having but a little powder remaining, which they thought it prudent to reserve for their small arms. In this state of affairs, the fort being still vigorously plied with shot from the ships, an accident occurred, which threatened the ruin of the besieged, but which was instrumental in delivering them from the very alarming situation in which they were placed. There was in the fort a large hive of bees, which being suddenly upset by a cannon-shot from the ships, the enraged insects assailed the garrison with such fury that the soldiers fed in all'haste from the fort. The Dutch, supposing the defence abandoned, landed fifty men to take possession ; but these were so warmly received by the negro allies of the French, and by the French themselves, who had by this time recovered from their panic and reentered the fort in another place, that, out of the fifty, thirty-nine were killed, and the rest taken prisoners. This so discouraged the besiegers, that they immediately weighed anchor and abandoned the undertaking. (See . Histoire Générale des Voyages,' tome ii. p. 411.) Mungo Park also relates an incident of a similar description, which occurred at a place very appropriately called Bees' Creek, where his party one day halted. Some of the people went in search of wild honey, and unfortunately disturbed a large swarm near their resting-place. * The bees came out in immense numbers," continues Park, “ and attacked men and beasts at the same time. Luckily most of the asses were loose, and galloped up the valley; but the horses and people were very much stung, and obliged to scamper in all directions. The fire, which had been kindled for cooking, spread, and set fire to the bamboos ; and our luggage had like to have been burnt. In fact, for half an hour, the bees seemed to have completely put an end to our journey. In the evening, when the bees became less troublesome, and we could venture to collect our cattle, we found that many of them were very much stung and swelled about the head. Three asses were missing ; one died in the evening, and one the next morning, and we were forced to leave one at Sibikillin--in all, six; besides which, our guide lost his horse, and many of our people were much stung about the face and hands.” (* Travels,' ii. 37, 38.) That which the text affords is not the only instance in the Bible of comparisons drawn from the power and other qualities of insects. Such may also be found in the most famed ancient writers. Homer, in one instance, does not even think it undignified to compare the persevering energy which Pallas infused into Menelaus to that of the common fly:-.
“ His shoulders with new might, and limbs she filled,
And persevering boldness to his breast
Fiom flesh of man repuls’d, her purpose yet
To bite holds fast, resolv'd on human blood.”—Cowpen. “Destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.”—The Septuagint, the Syriac and Vulgate render it " from Seir," which the sense obviously requires ; for even as it stands, with " in Seir," it necessarily bears the sense of " from Seirathe distance between Seir and Hormah being that to which the destruction and pursuit extended. Now it is certain that Kadesh was near this mountain of the Amurites; and this mountain being near or perhaps connected with the range of Mount Seir, we are furnished with another incidental. corroboration of the position which, in a former note, we have assigned to Kadesh,
water of them for money, that ye may 1 The story is continued, that they were not to med
drink. dle with the Edomites, 9 nor with the Moabites, 7 For the Lord thy God hath blessed 17 nor with the Ammonites, 24 but Sihon the thee in all the works of thy hand: he Amorite was subdued by them.
knoweth thy walking through this great Then we turned, and took our journey into wilderness : 'these forty years the LORD thy the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked as the Lord spake unto me: and we com- nothing: passed mount Seir many days.
8 And when we passed by from our bre2 And the Lord spake unto me, saying, thren the children of Esau, which dwelt in
3 Ye have compassed this mountain long Seir, through the way of the plain from enough: turn you northward.
Elath, and from Ezion-gaber, we turned 4 And command thou the people, saying, and passed by the way of the wilderness of Ye are to pass through the coast of your Moab. brethren the children of Esau, which dwell 9 And the LORD said unto me, Distress in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: not the Moabites, neither contend with them take ye good heed unto yourselves there in battle: for I will not give thee of their fore:
land for a possession ; because I have given 5 Meddle not with them; for I will not Ar into the children of Lot for a possesgive you of their land, 'no, not so much as a sion. foot breadth; "because I have given mount 10 The Emims dwelt therein in times Seir unto Esau for a possession.
past, a people great, and many, and tall, as 6 Ye shall buy meat of them for money, the Anakims; that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy 11 Which also were accounted giants, as 1 Heb. even to the treading of the sole of the fool.
8 Or, Use no hostility against Boab.
2 Gen. 36. 8.
the Anakims; but the Moabites call them gin to possess it, and contend with him in Emims.
12 «The Horims also dwelt in Seir be- 25 This day will I begin to put the furetime; but the children of Esaussuc- dread of thee and the fear of thee upon ceeded them, when they had destroyed them the nations that are under the whole heafrom before them, and dwelt in their stead; ven, who shall hear report of thee, and as Israel did unto the land of his possession, shall tremble, and be in anguish because of which the Lord gave unto them.
thee. 13 Now rise up, said I, and get you over 26 | And I sent messengers out of the the brook Zered. And we went over the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of brook Zered.
Heshbon with words of peace, saying, 14 And the space in which we came from 27 "Let me pass through thy land : Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the I will go along by the high way, I will brook Zered, was thirty and eight years ; neither turn unto the right hand nor to the until all the generation of the men of war left. were wasted out from among the host, as
28 Thou shalt sell me meat for money, the LORD sware unto them.
that I may eat; and give me water for mo15 For indeed the hand of the LORD was ney, that I may drink: only I will pass against them, to destroy them from among through on my feet; the host, until they were consumed.
29 (As the children of Esau which dwell 16 | So it came to pass, when all the in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in men of war were consumed and dead from Ar, did unto me ;) until I shall
pass over among the people,
Jordan into the land which the LORD our 17 That the LORD spake unto me, God giveth us. saying,
30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would 18 Thou art to pass over through Ar, the not let us pass by him : for the LORD thy coast of Moab, this day :
God hardened his spirit, and made his heart 19 And when thou comest nigh over obstinate, that he might deliver him into against the children of Ammon, distress thy hand, as appeareth this day. them not, nor meddle with them: for I will 31 And the LORD said unto me, Behold, not give thee of the land of the children of I have begun to give Sihon and his land Ammon any possession ; because I have before thee: begin to possess, that thou given it unto the children of Lot for a pos- mayest inherit his land. session.
32 "Then Sihon came out against us, he 20 (That also was accounted a land of and all his people, to fight at Jahaz. giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; 33 And the LORD our God delivered him and the Ammonites call them Zamzum- before us; and we smote him, and his sons, mims;
and all his people. 21 A people great, and many, and tall, 34 And we took all his cities at that time, as the Anakims; but the Lord destroyed and utterly destroyed "the men, and the them before them; and they succeeded them, women, and the little ones, of every city, we and dwelt in their stead :
left none to remain : 22 As he did to the children of Esau, 35 Only the cattle we took for a prey which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities Horims from before them; and they suc- which we took. ceeded them, and dwelt in their stead even 36 From Aroer, which is by the brink of unto this day:
the river of Arnon, and from the city that is 23 And the Avims which dwelt in Haze by the river, even unto Gilead, there was rim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which not one city too strong for us : the LORD our came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, God delivered all unto us : and dwelt in their stead.)
37 Only unto the land of the children of 24 | Rise ye up, take your journey, and Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in given into thine hand Sihon the Amor- the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the ite, king of Heshbon, and his land : "be- | LORD our God forbad us.
10 Num. 21. 21, 22.
4 Gen. 36. 20. s Heb. inherited them.
6 Or, room.
9 Heb. begin, possess.
8 Or, valley.
Verse 8. “ Elath.”—This place is called by a great number of names, which are chiefly formed by alterations in the vowels, the essential consonants being generally retained. The most conspicuous of these names are Élath, Eloth, Ailah, Æla, Ælana, from which last name the denomination Ælanitic was conveyed to the whole gulf, at the northern extremity of which it was situated. Indeed, the modern town of Akaba, by which it has been succeeded, and which stands on or near the same site, has succeeded also to the distinction of giving a name to the eastern arm of the Red Sea, which is at present called the Gulf of Akaba. Elath seems to have been in its origin a port of the Edomites, on this gulf (see the note on Gen. xxxvi. 9); and as a port it long continued a place of considerable importance, being, as it were, the key to the commercial relations carried on through that arm of the Arabian Gulf. Yet, as Ezion-gaber is noticed here and elsewhere contemporaneously with Elath, and is still more decidedly mentioned as a seaport, we venture to think that Ezion-gaber did not, as some conceive, succeed Elath as the port ; but that it was the naval station, while Elath was the proper entrepôt and seat of commercial relations. We can think of no other hypothesis which so well reconciles all statements, and solves any little difficulties which may attend the question. Into this question, or indeed into the commercial character of Elath and Ezion-geber, we do not now intend to enter, as it will more properly come under our notice hereafter. We may here, however, mention the leading facts in its history. When David conquered Edom, he took possession of Elath, and he, as well as his son Solomon, availed themselves of this advantage to engage in maritime commerce. The Edomites, however, seem never to have lost sight of the importance of this station, and, after 150 years, they succeeded in regaining possession of it, in the reign of Joram (2 Kings viii. 20). It was, how. ever, retaken by Azariah (ch. xiv. 22); but under his grandson Ahaz, the Edomites captured it again (ch. xvi. 6), and it was not afterwards recovered by the Jews. It subsequently fell into the hands of the Ptolemies; and the change of the course of trade from Tyre to Alexandria seems to have greatly affected its commercial importance, as the trade conducted through the Arabian Gulf then naturally passed up its western arm. It then successively passed to the Romans, the Greek emperors, the Arabians, the sultans of Egypt, and the Turks, to whom (or rather to the Pasha of Egypt) it now belongs, under the name of Akaba. Burckhardt gives the following important passage from Makrizi, the Egyptian historian's chapter on Aila (Akaba). “In former times it was the frontier place of the Greeks ; at one mile from it is a triumphal arch of the Cæsars. In the time of the Islam it was a fine town, inhabited by the Beni-Omeya. Ibn Ahmed Ibn Toulaun (a sultan of Egypt) made the road over the Akaba, a steep mountain before Aila. There were many mosques at Aila, and many Jews lived there. It was taken by the Franks during the Crusades; but, in 566, Saladin transported ships upon camels from Cairo to this place, and recovered it from them. Near Aila was formerly situated a large handsome town called Aszyoun” (Ezion-gaber).
Here, at the head of the Gulf, the Wady-el-Araba, a broad sandy valley from the Dead Sea, otherwise the desert of Zin, issues into a plain, which is about nine or ten miles in length, from east to west, and is probably " the way of the plain" mentioned in the text. Its breadth northward is not much less than its length ; and it affords good pasturage, although strongly impregnated with salt, for an hour's journey from the sea ; and sands prevail from thence northward. The modern Akaba is less a town than a fortress, built in the sixteenth century by Sultan El Ghoury of Egypt. It stands a few hundred paces from the sea, and is surrounded with large groves of date-trees. It is a square building, with strong towers, and contains many Arab huts. A market is held there, which is frequented by Hedjaz and Syrian
Arabs. The fortress contains deep wells of tolerably good water: and its present use is as a place of deposit for provisions for the supply of the great pilgrim caravan on its march to and from Mecca. The Pasha of Egypt keeps a garrison of about thirty soldiers in the fortress. (See Burckhardt’s ‘Travels in Syria ;' and also Laborde’s • Voyage de l'Arabie Pétrée, from which our cut is taken.)
9. “ The Moabites.”—The Moabites, being descended from one of Lot's two sons, are here, in virtue of the relationship which they thus hore to the descendants of Abraham, allowed to enjoy their own actual territories in peace; but their unfriendly conduct, in refusing the Israelites a passage through their country, and afterwards in sending for Balaam to lay a curse upon them, as well as the part which they bore in seducing the Hebrews to sin in the matter of Baalpeor, was so far resented, that it was ordained that the Moabites should not, even to the tenth generation, be admitted to the congregation of the people (Deut. xxiii. 3). The territory which they cultivated lay on the eastern side of the Dead Sea, to the south, and partly to the north, of the river Arnon. This country they had acquired by conquering the ancient inhabitants, the Emim, mentioned in Gen. xiv. Their brethren, the Ammonites, had also a portion of the country north of the Arnon, that is, between that river and the Jabbok. But, at some time previous to the arrival of the Hebrews, both these people had been dispossessed of the country between these two rivers by the Amorites, and when the latter were, as mentioned in the sequel of this chapter, subdued by Moses, the Israelites occupied the district by right of conquest. It was in the end given to the tribes of Reuben and Gad ; that is, Reuben received nearly three-fourths of the whole, while a district south of the Jabbok was assigned to Gad, the bulk of whose territory lay on the north of that river. Dr. Wells thinks, with some probability, that, in this distribution, Moses had regard to the old division of the country between the Moabites and the Ammonites, so as to assign to the Reubenites what had formerly belonged to the Moabites, and to the Gadites what had belonged to the children of Ammon. But then, how are we to account for a similar case as to the half tribe of Manasseh, whose portion encroached south of the Jarnouk, which naturally would have formed the northern boundary of Gad, in the same way that Gad encroached south of the Jabbok, which would have formed the proper natural boundary to Reuben in the north? We venture to conjecture that this somewhat singular distribution was in order to give to each of the tribes an exclusive right to one of the three principal streams east of the Jordan, and thus prevent any disputes which might have arisen about water.
The Moabites remained in possession of the country south of the Arnon, of which the Israelites found them in possession; and we hear nothing further about them till after the death of Joshua, when, to punish the Hebrews for their iniquities, “the Lord strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel” (Judg, iii. 12); and he, with the assistance of the Ammonites and Amalekites, defeated them in battle and held them in subjection eighteen years, after which they were delivered by Ehud, as recorded in the sequel of that chapter. We afterwards find the Moabites joined with the Ammonites in the war occasioned by the insult offered by the latter to David's ambassadors. Both nations were totally defeated by David, and remained in subjection to the kings of Israel till the death of Ahab. Shortly after that event, we find the Moabites refusing to pay the tribute of a hundred thousand rams and as many lambs, which till then they had been accustomed to pay, either yearly, or at the commencement of a new reign--which of the two we cannot exactly learn from Scripture (2 Kings iii. 4, 5). Mesha, the king, is called a " sheepmaster” (TP) nokeed, a herdsman, a rearer or owner of cattle), which seems to show that the people were at this time given to pastoral pursuits, for which their country is well adapted. Jehoram, the son of Ahab, with his ally, Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and his tributary the king of Edom, undertook to reduce the Moabites to their former subjection. "The history of the expedition, which is given
at length in 2 Kings iii., is very interesting. In the end the Moabites were defeated with a terrible overthrow, and ruin to their country. This victory does not however appear to have brought them into subjection, as very shortly after, we find them, with the Ammonites and others, making a very alarming irruption into Judah, probably in revenge for the part which Jehoshaphat had taken in the late war; but in this instauce they were again completely defeated. At a considerably later period, in the reign of Joash, we also incidentally read of bands of Moabites invading the kingdom of Israel, but are not told for what purpose or with what result (2 Kings xiii. 20). From the manner in which the denunciations of the prophets against Moab are expressed, and which describe them as holding possession of towns north of the Arnon, it would seem probable that they availed themselves of the opportunity which was offered by the two and half tribes being carried away captive by Pul, king of Assyria (1 Chron. v. 26), to repossess themselves of the territory which had, in very remote times, been taken from them by the Amorites. From the prophecies it may also be concluded, that they did themselves suffer much from the invasions of the kings of Assyria, and were ultimately, like the Jews, carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar. It is probable that Cyrus gave them and the Ammonites permission to return to their own country; for we find them again in their own lands, exposed to those revolutions which included the people of Syria and Palestine, and subject successively to the Persians, the Syrian Greeks, the Egyptian Greeks, and the Romans, and are thought in the end to have been under the authority of the Asmonean kings, and afterwards of Herod the Great. There is no trace of them afterwards; and we may conclude that, like most of the other small nations mentioned in Seripture, which survived to so late a period, they were lost in the great Arabian nation to which they were allied. Indeed Josephus calls them “ Arabians” when writing of events which took place about a century before Christ. (Antiq. lib. xiii. 13.)
The land of Moab lay to the east and south-east of the Dead Sea. The surface is more diversified with hill and plain than that of the kindred nation of the Ammonites, farther east; but the hilly character is less conspicuous than in the districts north of the Arnon. Although the land now lies desolate, and the sand and salt of the desert and the Dead Sea now encroach upon its borders, there is not wanting abundant evidence of its ancient fertility and abundant population. The land thus desert is eminently fertile in its natural character, and continues to afford rich returns in the few spots which are under cultivation. The frequent ruins of towns, often in close vicinity to each other, testify that the ancient populousness of the region, which is only now traversed by wandering and hostile Arab tribes, was in full correspondence with the rich character of the soil, and, conversely, the extraordinary number of the ruined towns, which cover the plains and every eminence or spot convenient for their construction, manifests the extent of that cultivation which could subsist so large a population. The form of the ancient fields may still be traced; and there are remains of ancient highways, which in some places are completely paved, and on which there are milestones of the times of Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, and Severus, with the number of the miles still legible upon them. The latter facts seem to show that the land of Moab continued to be populous and cultivated down to times considerably subsequent to those in which the canon of Scripture was closed. (See Irby and Mangles' • Travels ;' Burckhardt's • Travels in Syria,' &c.)
" Ar.”—This was the capital of Moab, called also “ Ariel of Moab,” and Rabbah, or Rabbath-Moab, to distinguish it from the Ammonitish city of the same name. The Greeks call it Areopolis, but the ruins still retain the name of Rabba. It was situated about twenty-five miles south of the Arnon, near the stream called Beni-Hamed (see note to Num. xxi. 15.) The ruins are situated upon a low hill which commands the whole plain ; and those which now appear are comprehended within a circuit of little more than a mile. There are many remains of private buildings,