« PreviousContinue »
was directed to make choice of seventy of the elders of Israel, wise and faithful men, and to come with them before the tabernacle, 'And God said, he would meet them there, and take of the spirit that was upon Moses, and bestow it upon them ; so that they might share with him those burdens of which he now so much complained. He had, indeed, before this, been assisted by subordinate officers, in the administration of justice, and the affairs of civil government; but on him alone had devolved the peculiar daty, " to be for the people to Godward,”—the mediator, to render service at those times when a more immediate communication took place between God and the Israelites. The seventy elders would relieve him in the discharge of some of these duties; and, on the present and similar occasions, he could avail himself of their counsel and authority in allaying the murmurings, or resisting the violence of the people.
At the same time, Moses was commanded to direct the Israelites to sanctify themselves ; to perform those ceremonial ablutions which were the symbols of internal holiness of heart, and to separate themselves from worldly avocations, that they might, with humility for their sins, and resolutions of amendment, receive, on the morrow, a gracious should begin to regard it as loathsome ; because they had despised the Lord which was among them, and wept before him, saying, " Why came we forth out of Egypt?"
Moses ventured to express his surprise at the promise, and even his doubts how it could be carried into effect, so as to supply such a vast multitude. O thou of little faith! After having witnessed the succession of miracles which the power of the Almighty has wrought for thy deliverance and that of thy countrymen, and for their protection and support, how canst thou yet be unbelieving! Sad sinfulness of the human heart, and even in the best of men! It is left on record to show us what man is in his own weakness and faithlessness, and that we need always the Spirit of God to inspire us with a child-like confidence in him, and obedience to his will.
How astonishing was the divine condescension ; how mild the reproving reply! "Is the Lord's hand waxed short ? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not."
The elders were selected, and assembled at the tabernacle. And, the Lord descending in a cloud, spoke to Moses, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto them; and when it rest
of God, and gave them such instructions, exhortations, and admonitions as were needed, to lead them to understand and perform their duty.
There were two of the elders whose names had been enrolled with the rest, Eldad and Medad, but who, for some reason, doubtless a sufficient one, had not come to the tabernacle. The spirit rested upon them, and they also prophesied, while in the camp; and a young man ran, and told Moses of it. Joshua, one of the younger men who was employed by Moses in the discharge of some peculiar duties, and the same who was with him on the mount, being near, requested him to forbid them. He feared that they were acting not in accordance with the wishes of Moses, and that their conduct was irregular and might tend to weaken his authority. But Moses had no such apprehension, knowing under what influence they were speaking, and requested Joshua to dismiss his also. "Would God," said he, “ that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them.” After this Moses and the elders went into
A wind, sent by the Lord expressly for the purpose, soon began to blow from the sea, and to bring with it immense numbers of quails. They flew, in rapid succession, on each side of the camp a distance of ten or fifteen miles, and within three or four feet of the ground. All that day and night,
and the following day, the Israelites were busily employed in taking them, and in such quantities, that they procured a most abundant supply for a month to come. What they did not consume at the time, they spread round about the camp, to be dried for future use. And, thus, the promise of God was fully carried into effect.
But in the midst of this expression of the divine goodness, " and while," as it were, " the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed," they showed still such a spirit of ingratitude and discontent, (it may be complaining of the very food that was sent them,) that the wrath of the Lord was kindled, and he destroyed numbers" with a very great plague.” The place where these events took place, was called Kibroth-hattaavah, or the graves of lust, and it was three days' journey from mount Sinai.
Take no thought,” no undue or anxious thought, was the command of the Saviour, " saying, What shall we eat ? or what shall we drink ?" When we have only simple and plain food, but enough of it to satisfy all our bodily wants, (as the Israelites had in the daily supply of manna,) we should be thankful and contented. We should re. many accompanying evils which attend a dainty and luxurious mode of living.
Be temperate in all things, my young friend: Pray for grace, that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, you may do all for the glory of God.
Hazeroth. Aaron and Miriam sin against Mos's. Ka
desh-barnea. The spies sent to survey Canaal.
From Kibroth-hattaavah the Israelites, adı ancing on their way, came to Hazeroth, where i hey encamped.
Some circumstances occurred at this place, which brought on Moses a new and severe trial. His own brother and sister seem to have been deeply affected with the spirit of envy towards him. They probably thought that they did not have their full share of authority and influence; but that Moses was too exclusively the director of the affairs of the people. We may wonder, indeed, that such feel. ings should ever find their way into the breasts of Aaron and Miriam. But they had our common,