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and out of whose hills thou mayest dig there was no water; who brought thee forth brass. water out of the rock of flint;
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where
18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.
4 Chap. 6. 11, 12. 5 Num. 20. 11. 6 Exod. 16. 15.
Verse 4." Thy raiment waxed not old.”—See the note on ch. xxix. 5.
7. "A good land."-This it certainly was. The description here given would be considered even by an European as evidence of its claims to that distinction; while the circumstances enumerated are of such infinite importance in the East, that they would give to an Oriental the most vivid impression of fertility and excellence. We must consider how long the Israelites had wandered in the hot sandy wilderness, before we can enter into the feelings with which they must have heard this description of the land they were destined to inherit. Travellers are sometimes disposed to regard as somewhat overcharged the accounts which the sacred writers give of this country; but they do not sufficiently consider for how many ages this land has remained comparatively desolate and forsaken, or make allowance for the change which must thus have been produced in its appearance. In a country condemned to desolation we cannot fairly look for the characteristics of its prosperous state: yet even now enough remains to enable us to discover without difficulty that this fine country was not surpassed in beauty and exuberant production by any country of Western Asia, nor perhaps any where equalled, unless in some parts of Syria and Asia Minor.
"A land of brooks of water, &c."-This is placed first, as the most important circumstance in an Oriental country, in which the value of water is incalculable. This is a fact of which the Israelites in their desert wanderings must have been rendered deeply sensible: and only one who has travelled in the East, and knows practically the astonishing difference between a watered and unwatered country, can enter into the full force of this foremost characteristic of the Promised Land. The reader who looks at a general map will see at one glance that there is no country in Western Asia more liberally intersected with streams of water. The benefit of these streams is incalculable, although, as is the case in those regions with all streams of no considerable magnitude, they are rather winter torrents than rivers. Most of them are completely dried up in the summer, and the very few which then retain a thread of water present an appearance remarkably contrasted with that which their rapid and full stream bears when swollen by rains and melted snows. The principal streams and lakes of the country have been or will be separately noticed.
8. "A land of wheat, and barley.”—That this was the case there is ample evidence in Scripture. Densely populated as the country ultimately became, and various as were its productions, it not only furnished corn enough for its own inhabitants, but had a surplus which they disposed of to the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon, who themselves paid too much attention to commerce and the arts to take much interest in agriculture. It is to be regretted that we do not know whether the corn was supplied to them merely for their own use or for exportation also. The latter, which is very probable, would still more show the great productiveness of the country in grain (see Ezek. xxvii. 7; and Acts xii. 20). Even at present much corn is annually exported from Jaffa to Constantinople. The large surplus produce is indicated by many other circumstances, among which we may mention Solomon's contract with the king of Tyre for the building of the Temple, by which the Hebrew king was to pay the Phoenician annually 20,000 measures of wheat for food to his household (1 Kings v. 11), with the like quantity, besides an equal number of measures of barley, to the Tyrian hewers that cut wood in Lebanon. Returns of sixty and a hundred fold to the cultivator seem in the Scriptures to be mentioned as not unusual (see Gen, xxvi. 12; and Matt. xiii. 8); and even now wherever wheat is sown, if rain does not fail, it richly repays the cultivator, growing to the height of a man. But the thinness of the population, the disturbed state of the country, and the oppression to which the cultivator is exposed from the Turk on the one hand, and the Arab on the other, concur to prevent the remaining capabilities of this naturally rich soil from being fairly tested in this or any other branch of agriculture.
Vines."-Probably the vines of Palestine are so frequently mentioned to point out a favourable point of difference between that country and Egypt, where vines were few and confined to a limited district. This is probably true in other instances, in which the products in which Egypt was deficient are particularly dwelt upon. The intention to institute a comparison between the two countries is expressly avowed in ch. xi. We have already mentioned the vines
both of Egypt and Canaan, and particulars concerning the vineyards and wines of the latter country will hereafter come under our notice. It only now requires to be remarked, that at present vine-growing is even more neglected than the other branches of culture for which the country was anciently celebrated. The Mohammedans, from religious motives, do not encourage vineyards for any other purpose than supplying grapes for eating. These are peculiarly excellent; but the wines, as might be expected, do not now support their ancient fame. Those made in the southern parts of the country are particularly indifferent; but the wines of the north, and especially of Lebanon, where the manufacture is less discouraged, we should judge equal to almost any wine of the Levant which we ever tasted.
"Fig trees.”—These are still very common in Palestine and often grow to a very large size. Their fruit is of a very superior description. It is well known that the best figs consumed in this country come from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean; and those of Palestine are certainly not inferior to any produced on that line of coast. "The figs," says Joliffe, "are larger, and less insipid, than those of Europe:" and the same traveller confirms the testimony of others, in saying, "All the fruits are excellent in their kind; there is not, indeed, any great variety, but such as there are surpass in richness any that I have elsewhere met with." (Letters from Palestine,' vol. i. p. 181.)
"Pomegranates."-The pomegranate also remains very common in Palestine and Syria, and is now not less esteemed than it evidently was in these very early times. It formed one of the only three fruits which the spies brought as favourable specimens of the produce of the country. The abundant and agreeably acid juice which the fruit affords gives it every where a very high place in the estimation of the orientals. It is not only eaten with great zest in its natural state, but its inspissated juice forms a most agreeable and refreshing beverage in those countries where sherbets prepared with the juice of fruits form the most delicious of the drinks in which the people are allowed to indulge.
"Oil olive."-The Turks being fortunately quite sensible of the worth of olives and olive oil, the tree continues to be extensively cultivated, and Palestine may still be called a land of olives. The hardiness and longevity of the tree may also have contributed to its preservation. Besides the regularly cultivated olive grounds in Judæa and Galilee, clumps of several thousand trees occur frequently and are doubtless the remains of ancient plantations. The olives and olive oil of Palestine remain to this day equal to any in the Levant. We shall see in the sequel that there was an enormous consumption of olive oil in Palestine; but great as it was, the produce was so abundant as to leave a considerable surplus for exportation. Solomon gave 20,000 baths of oil yearly to the Tyrian hewers of timber in Lebanon (1 Chron. ii. 10), and, as it would appear, an equal quantity to the king of Tyre himself (1 Kings v. 11). It appears too that the Jews traded with their oil in the great mart of Tyre (Ezek. xxvii. 17), and even sent it to Egypt (Hos. xii. 1). From this as well as from the actual condition of the two countries, we should infer that olive oil is here and elsewhere mentioned, partly with the view of contrasting the products of Canaan with the deficiencies of Egypt, of which this was, to a considerable extent, one.
9. "A land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."-For "brass," read "copper," there being no such thing in nature as a brass mine. The statement undoubtedly refers to mines. There is no conclusive evidence in Scripture that the Hebrews ever worked mines of either iron or copper; but the existence of iron in the mountains of Lebanon has been satisfactorily ascertained, particularly in the part occupied by the Druses. Report says that there was anciently a copper mine near Aleppo (which is however not exactly in Palestine), which Volney thinks must long since have been abandoned. The same traveller was informed by the Druses that they had found a mine affording lead and silver; but that as such a discovery would have proved the ruin of the district, by attracting the attention of the Turks, they speedily obliterated every trace of its appearance.
Moses dissuadeth them from the opinion of their own righteousness, by rehearsing their several rebellions.
HEAR, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
2 A people great and tall, 'the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a 'consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said
4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess
1 Num. 13. 28.
this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6 Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.
2 Chap. 4. 24. Heb. 12. 29.
9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
10 And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
12 And the LORD said unto me, 'Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
13 Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
3 Exod. 24. 18, and 34. 28.
14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
15 So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you.
17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.
4 Exod. 31. 18. 5 Exod. 32. 7.
20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
21 And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the
22 And at Taberah, and at 'Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.
23 Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.
24 Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
25 Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the
6 Num. 11. 1, 3. 7 Exod. 17.7.
1 God's mercy in restoring the two tables, 6 in continuing the priesthood, 8 in separating the tribe of Levi, 10 in hearkening unto Moses his suit for the people. 12 An exhortation unto obedience. Ar that time the LORD said unto me, 'Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
26 I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:
28 Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, 'Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.
Verse 1. "Cities great and fenced up to heaven."-This is a strong but not unusual hyperbole, of which we have already had some instances, and shall have more. The fact however is interesting, that at this early time, as well as now, it was customary to surround towns with very high walls. Few towns of the least consequence in Western Asia are without walls, which, whatever be their character in other respects, are sure to be lofty. As the use of artillery is still but little known, when a town has a wall too high to be easily scaled, and too thick to be easily battered down, the inhabitants look upon the place as impregnable, and fear little except the having their gates forced or betrayed, or of being starved into surrender. So little indeed is the art of besieging known in the East, that we read of great Asiatic conquerors being obliged, after every effort, to give over the attempt to obtain possession of walled towns, at the fortifications of which a European engineer would laugh. It is therefore no wonder that the, at this time, unwarlike Hebrew shepherds regarded as insurmountable the obstacles which the walls of the Canaanitish cities seemed to offer. Indeed, of all classes of people, there are none in the world so unequal as the nomade dwellers in tents to overcome such an obstacle. However brave and victorious in the field, all their energy and power seem utterly to fail them before a walled town. The writer can speak with some degree of experience on this subject, having resided in an Asiatic town while besieged by a large body of (so called) disciplined Turks and undisciplined Arabs, and having only a very small body of vacillating and inefficient defenders. But although the assailants were assisted by some badly managed cannon and bombs, a high wall of sun-dried brick, by no means remarkable for its strength, offered such effectual resistance, that the besiegers would probably have been obliged to retreat in despair, had not the fear of starvation and the want of interest in defending the place against the lawful authority by which it was invested, induced the chief persons to capitulate on terms very advantageous to themselves. The walls of towns are generally built with large bricks dried in the sun, though sometimes of burnt bricks, and are rarely less than thirty feet high. They are seldom strong and thick in proportion to their height, but are sometimes strengthened with round towers or buttresses, placed at equal distances from each other.
2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the
1 Exod. 34. 1.
29 Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out
8 Num. 11. 34. 9 Num. 14. 16.
LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
11 And the LORD said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.
12¶ And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the
15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers, to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which 'regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
20 10Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou "cleave, and swear by his name.
21 He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.
6 Or, former days.
8 Psal. 24. 1.
3 Num. 33. 30. 4 Num. 20. 28. 5 Num. 18. 20. 7 Heb. go in journey. 92 Chron. 19. 7. Job 34. 19. Acts 10, 34. Rom. 2. 11. Gal. 2. 6. Eph. 6. 9. Col. 3, 25. 1 Pet. 1. 17. 10 Chap. 6. 13. Matth. 4. 10. Luke 4. 8. 11 Chap. 13. 4. 12 Gen. 46. 27. Exod. 1.5. 13 Gen. 15. 5.
Verse 6. "And the children of Israel took their journey, &c."-Most Biblical critics concur in the opinion that the four verses, from the end of the 5th verse to the beginning of the 10th, must have been introduced into the text through the mistake of some transcriber. The reasons for this opinion are, 1. that the passage has no connection whatever with the context, but quite interrupts the narrative, as any one may perceive, who passing over the intervening verses reads the 10th verse after the 5th; 2. that the list of stages is quite at variance with the part which refers to the same places in Num. xxxiii. 31-3; and 3. that it is not true that the separation of the Levites took place at Jotbathah, but at Sinai, before the Israelites began their journey northward. The discrepancy under the second head will appear from a comparison of the two passages, thus:Num. xxxiii. Moseroth
Here we see that, allowing the names in each list to denote the same places, the first makes the Israelites journey from Moseroth to Bene-jaakan, and the second from Bene-jaakan to Mosera. An equally serious difficulty is, that the present text places the death of Aaron at Mosera, two stages before Jotbathah, whereas the regular list in Numbers places the same event at Mount Hor, four stages after Jotbathah. We must confess that there seems to us insurmountable difficulties to the admission of this passage as part of the genuine text. We have not met with any explanation by which we could consider such difficulties obviated; nor have we succeeded in the attempt to frame a better for ourselves. The common explanation, with respect to the discrepancy in the stages, is, that the Israelites may have gone to and fro-that is, from Mosera to Bene-jaakan, and back again to Mosera, and that the present text mentions the journey from Mosera, without noticing the return thither. Every reader will perceive the violence of this conjecture; and as to the death of Aaron at Mosera, the explanation might be admitted that Mosera is another name for Mount Hor, particularly as the adjoining valley is at this day called Mousa; but how then are we to account for the fact that Mosera, which in both lists is next to Bene-jaakan, is placed in the first list at the distance of seven stages from Mount Hor? Even if the difficulties of the list were got over, others, already mentioned, would still remain; and it might, besides, well be asked, how it is that Moses, if he intended to speak of stages at all, while describing his intercourse with the Lord on Mount Sinai, should speak not of places to which the Israelites went from thence, but of others at which the host did not arrive till thirty-eight years after. Upon the whole, however reluctant to consider particular passages as interpolations, we fear that verses 6 and 7 must be given up; some also would relinquish verses 8 and 9; but we are desirous to retain them, as it is possible that "at that time," with which verse 8 begins, may refer not to Jotbath which immediately precedes, but to verse 5, that is, the time of Moses's intercourse with the Lord on the Mount. It may be observed that the Samaritan text has also the verses 6 and 7; but that they are there so read as to be quite in unison with the text of Numbers xxxiii. thus:-6. "The children of Israel journeying from Mosera, pitched their tents in Ben-jaakan. 7. From thence they journeyed, and pitched their tents in