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they might be by other birds; but all our real knowledge of the habits and character of the eagle coincides with the statement here made-namely, that, on the one hand, the mother frequently rears more than one eaglet; and, on the other, she is most kind to the young she rears. But, although attentive to them while helpless in the nest, she does not encourage them in indolence when they are able to provide for themselves. She rouses them early to exertion, and to the exercise of their energies; she watches and directs, with interest and care, the first efforts to fly; and, when finally assured that their powers are sufficiently matured, obliges them to leave the parent nest, and provide for themselves in future. From this care of them while helpless, and to this careful training to exertion, the text takes its fine comparison, to illustrate the Lord's kindness to the Hebrews, his care for them, and the measures he had taken to raise them from that condition of religious, moral, and intellectual infancy into which they had fallen. Thus, to paraphrase the text, the eagle "stirreth up her brood" ("nest") from their inactivity and sloth-"fluttereth over her young," to incite them to try their wings-and "spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings;" that is, assists by her wings their first faint and feeble efforts, until, stimulated by her example, and rendered confident by the success of their first attempts, they at last plunge boldly into the air, and, exulting in strength, return to the nest of infancy no more. We believe the expression, "beareth them on her wings," must thus be understood; for whilst the eagle. may doubtless assist her young in their first efforts, and even support them with her wings when weary or in danger of falling, there seems no sufficient evidence for the story which states that the mother eagle takes the young upon her back, and, soaring up, throws them off in the higher regions of the air; where, if she perceives that they are unable to sustain themselves, she, with surprising dexterity, flies under them, and receives them on her wings to prevent their fall. That she does this literally, we may doubt; but unquestionably she does, in their first exercises, support and assist the young birds so remarkably as to afford some ground to the exaggerations which we find in the works of the old naturalists and travellers. The eagle, as intimated by the prophet Jeremiah (ch. xlix. 16), usually "dwelleth in the cleft of the rock and holdeth the height of the hill;" constructing its nest on the summits of mountains and inaccessible precipices. The very simple form of the nest will be seen from our wood-cut, which also exemplifies the care of the mother bird in providing for the wants of her helpless brood.
13, 14. “Honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock........fat of kidneys of wheat.”—See the notes on Psalm lxxxi. 16.
15. "Jeshurun").-The word is found only here and in chap. xxxiii. 5, 26, and Isa. xliv. 2. It is undoubtedly a poetical name for Israel, but has been variously interpreted. Some look for its meaning in the Arabic, where it signifies one who prospers; others derive it from the Hebrew word (jashar), when it would mean the upright, the virtuous; but others regard it simply as the name of Israel (), with the termination, here used as a diminutive of endearment: such a reference to the name is probably intended in connection with whatever signifi- ^ cation we may assign to the word.
23. "I will spend mine arrows upon them."-The judgments of God are frequently represented as arrows discharged by him to smite and punish a sinful people. (See Job vi. 4; Ps. xxxviii. 2, and xci. 5.) The same striking figure occurs also in the heathen poets. Thus Homer represents the pestilence in the Grecian camp as caused by the arrows of Apollo :
Smote them. The frequent piles blaz'd night and day.
Nine days throughout the camp his arrows flew."-COWPER.
32. " Vine of Sodom."-This was doubtless one of the Cucurbitaceous family; from their climbing character called sometimes vines, The Momordica elaterium may have been the plant in question, which produces fruit that is intensely bitter, and violently purgative.
42. "I will make mine arrous drunk with blood."-Mr. Roberts says, "This figure of speech is often used in Hindoo books; and heroes are made to say of the foe, My sword shall soon be matham (i. e. drunk or mad) with his blood.'” ('Oriental Illustrations,' p. 130.)
49. "This mountain Abarim.”—See note to chap. xxxiv. 1.
1 The majesty of God. 6 The blessings of the twelve tribes. 26 The excellency of Israel.
AND this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came
with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went 'a fiery law for them.
3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
1 Heb, a fire of law.
25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
26 ¶ There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
3 Or, let them teach, &c. 4 Or, let them put incense.
6 Gen. 49. 25. 7 Heb. thrust forth. 12 Jer. 23. 6. 13 Or, shall be subdued.
Verse 6. "And let not his men be few."-The word "not" is not in the original; and it forms a gratuitous addition to the sacred text which ought to be rejected. The verse then reads, "Let Reuben live, and not die, but let his men be few." As no obvious connection appears between the clauses-as there seems something wanting in the verse as thus read—and as Simeon's name is the only one that does not occur in the chapter, as now read-Biblical scholars are generally disposed to suppose that the last clause applies to him, and that his name has, from some early accident
or carelessness of transcribers, been dropped from the text. This opinion is supported by the Alexandrian manuscript of the Septuagint, the most ancient and valuable extant; and by the Complutensian and Aldine editions; in all of which the name of Simeon occurs. Besides, Simeon comes next in order of birth to Reuben, and therefore should here look for a passage referring to him; and also the expression, "Let his men be few," applies more correctly to Simeon than to Reuben. By the census in Num. xxvi. (see the table there), the tribe of Reuben was more numerous than Simeon, Levi, Gad, or Ephraim; while the number in Simeon was, most remarkably, the lowest of all. With this understanding, the verse will read, "Let Reuben live, and not die; and let Simeon's men be few." Zebulun and Issachar are mentioned together, with equal brevity, in verse 18. This explanation spares the necessity of speculation on the reason for the supposed omission of Simeon; or for trying to find, under the expressed declaration, in what other tribe he must be understood to be included.
9. "Nor knew his own children."-All this verse most probably refers to the zeal with which the Levites punished, without respect of persons, those who had sinned in the matter of the golden calf.
12. "He shall dwell between his shoulders."-This is generally referred to the manifestation of the Divine presence in the temple of Jerusalem, which was within the lot of Benjamin. Dr. Boothroyd renders :
"The Most High shall ever protect him,
14. "For the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon."-The last word is plural, " moons" (D, jerachim), in the Hebrew. The reference is probably to annual and monthly products, or, less definitely, to the products of which there was but one crop in the year, and those of which there were several crops in the course of one year. Mr. Roberts, however, informs us (Orient. Illust.,' p. 131) that the Hindoos attribute to the moon a very strong influence on vegetation. They think that, from the time of the new moon to its becoming full all plants and all kinds of young grain gain more strength than at any other period.
17. "Unicorns."-See the note on Job xxxix. 9.
19. "They shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand."-Zebulun was to have a maritime situation, and this expresses the advantages of that situation. The "abundance of the seas," is understood by some to refer to commerce. It is however difficult to discover that this or any other tribe did actually engage in maritime commerce; but both Zebulun and Issachar were doubtless advantaged by their immediate vicinity to the commercial Phoenicians. "The abundance of the seas," thus understood, they might receive from them, and dispose of advantageously to the other tribes. Might not "the abundance of the seas" partly mean sea fish? The paraphrase of Jonathan is curious and interesting, "They shall dwell near the Great Sea, and feast on the tunny fish, and catch the chalson," (or murex; see the note to Exod. xxxv.) "with whose blood they will dye of a purple colour the threads of their cloths; and from the sand they will make looking-glasses and other utensils of glass." The latter part of this citation explains the "treasures hid in the sand:" and it is certainly a remarkable fact, in connection with this text and with the particular situation of the tribes, that the Phoenicians had, in after-times, famous manufactures of glass made from the sands of the rivers Belus and Kishon, which discharge themselves into the bay of Acre; and this fixes the seat of the manufacture on the immediate borders of Zebulun and Issachar. We are not to forget that these tribes, destined to have a maritime coast, did not expel, or only partially expelled, the ancient inhabitants, and therefore did not obtain all the advantages which their obedience to the Divine command would have ensured.
22. "He shall leap from Bashan."-Not Dan, but the lion to whom he is compared. The sense is, "Dan is like the lion's whelp that leaps from Bashan." The reference is probably to the fact recorded in Judg. xviii., where we find that the proper settlement of the Danites in the south of the country (Josh. xix. 47) being too small for them, they sent out an expedition which conquered a district at the northern extremity of the land, which formed a colony very distant from the proper territory of the tribe. This might well be compared to the leap of a lion.
25. "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass."-Some understand this to mean that there would be mines of iron and
copper in the lot of Asher, which extended northward to Lebanon, so that under the shoes, as the foot note reads, there would be iron and brass. But the original word, translated shoe, minal) may be equally rendered by bolt or bar, So the Arabic version understood it, and is followed by the more modern translators. It would then seem to mean, as most of the Jewish writers themselves understand it, that the land of Asher would be remarkable for the strength of its fortifications. "Thy bolts shall be iron and brass" does certainly seem the more probable meaning.
Chap. xxxiv. The w.itings of Moses close with the preceding chapter. That now before us must have been added by Joshua, Samuel, or some later prophet. The three last verses have the appearance of having been added considerably later than the death of Moses, and were possibly written by Ezra, after the captivity. It is possible that this chapter once formed the commencement of the book of Joshua, and was subsequently removed to its present place as forming a suitable conclusion to the books of Moses.
Verse 1. "Unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah.”—Compare this with xxxii, 49: “Into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo." From this it seems that Abarim is the general name of a range of mountains; and as Moses is said in one text to die in mount Nebo, and in the present, on the top of Pisgah, we must infer that Nebo was a mountain in the range of Abarim, and that Pisgah was the most elevated and commanding peak of that mountain. As to the mountain of Abarim, it is impossible to determine the precise limits to which the denomination extended: but it seems to have a more extensive application than any other name given to mountains extending southward from those of Gilead, perhaps to the Arnon, and possibly southward still to the mountains of Seir, it is probably a general name for the whole. Still more plainly-we have names in Scripture for all the mountains east of the Jordan, from Lebanon to the Red Sea, with the single exception that we want a denomination for those between the mountains of Gilead and those of Seir; and as we find the name " Abarim" given in some large sense to these very mountains, we may suppose it was a name for the whole; and if so, we obtain the unbroken series of names which we require. But still, as we do not precisely know how far northward the denomination of "Seir" extended, we are unable to say how far the denomination "Abarim" should, under this view, be prolonged southward till it met that of Seir.
Mount Nebo itself is usually identified with Mount Attarous, about ten miles north of the Arnon, and nearly the same distance east from the north-eastern extremity of the Dead Sea. It is a barren mountain which offers nothing remarkable. It is however the most elevated mountain in the neighbourhood, and its summit is distinguished by a large, wild pistachio tree, overshadowing a heap of stones.
6. "No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.”—The reason of this concealment most probably was, lest in future times the Israelites should hold it sacred, as they afterwards did the brazen serpent. Judging from the number of deified mortals which the systems of ancient paganism contained, there was certainly the greatest danger that the Hebrews would in time have come to pay divine honours to him. This, however, has led to the opinion entertained by some of the Jewish writers that Moses did not die, but was snatched away in a cloud, while conversing with Eleazar and Joshua. Josephus is one of those who gives this statement; but it is directly contradictory to the sacred text, which says that he died, and was buried in the valley. Some Jewish and Christian commentators understand that Moses was buried by angels, at the Lord's command; while others think that he was directed to enter a cave, where
he died, and which served him for a grave. But the text says, that although he died in the mountain, he was buried in the valley. In 1655, some Maronite shepherds found, near Mount Nebo, a tomb bearing the inscription, in Hebrew, of, "Moses, the servant of the Lord," and this was forthwith determined to be the long lost sepulchre of the Hebrew legislator. But a learned Jew, Rabbi Jakum, proved so convincingly that this must be the tomb of some other and much later Moses, that the report speedily died away. Some think that the whole story about the discovery of the tomb, and the refutation of Jakum, is a fabrication. But as we find that a supposed tomb of Moses is still shown in the neighbourhood, we suspect that the only fabricated part of the story is that which assigns so convincing a character to Rabbi Jakum's reply. It might have convinced the Jews themselves; and all instructed minds will of course concur in his conclusion. But the natives are not an instructed people; and the Rabbi's best arguments were likely to avail little, when they had once got into their heads the conceit that they had found the tomb of Moses.
9. "Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom.”—It will be well to understand the precise office which Joshua was appointed to fill. He was not the successor of Moses; for Moses had no successor: but he was commissioned as a military leader, divinely appointed to be the conqueror of the land of Canaan, and to portion it out among the victors. The position of Joshua was very different, not only from that of Moses, but from that of every ruler, general, or prophet who ever after appeared in Israel. His office, like that of Moses, was isolated, and suited to peculiar circumstances which could not again occur.