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transgress the divine commands, or do not honor God as they ought, as striking examples of divine justice.
"Because," said the Lord, addressing them, ' because ye believed me not, to sanctify me,” (to cause me to be honored and confided in,) in the
eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
In commemoration of these events, because the children of Israel strove there with the Lord, the place was afterwards called, also, Meribah-Kadesh, (Meribah signifying strife,) to distinguish it from the other Meribah.
Moses and Aaron bore their sentence, as good men ought to do. It did not excite in them any complaints of its too great severity. It did not rouse up a sullen reluctance to going forward in the discharge of duty. It did not sink them into a listless despondency. Humbled by it indeed they were ; but the penitence which it produced, was the penitence of u conscientious and ingenuous mind anxious to return to obedience, and to serve God with more willingness and cheerfulness than ever. Illustrious examples of the manner in which chastisements should be endured! May we have grace to imitate them!
Israelites, and was to conduct them on their way till God should remove him from the post of duty. Under the divine direction, he continued to aim at the accomplishment of the great object before them—the possession of the inheritance which had been promised to his countrymen.
He wished, if possible, in a friendly manner to procure a passage through the country of the Edomites, which comprised mount Seir, the range
of mountains which lies along the eastern side of the Ghor from the Dead Sea to Akaba, and now bears the names of Djebal, Shera, and Hesma. Several valleys traverse this range from west to east; of which there is one that affords the only passage free from great difficulties. It is of considerable width, at the extremity of the first chain of mountains extending south from the Dead Sea; and descends into the great valley, El Ghor. It is the ancient Gebal of the Hebrews, and the modern El Ghoeyr.
In pursuance of his design, Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, asking permission for the Israelites to pass through "the king's high way,” (probably the valley which has just been described,) and saying that they would brotherhood of their respective ancestors Jacob und Esau, (for the Edomites were the descendants of the latter,) and of the succession of trials through which the Israelites had passed; and informed him, that after dwelling in Egypt, a long time, in the most oppressive bondage, they had been delivered by the Almighty, and were now in Kadesh, a city in the remotest borders of Edom.
The return of the messengers was looked for with deep interest. All waited anxiously to know whether the reply would be a favorable one.
Let us, in the meanwhile, refer for a moment to the example of Moses in enduring the sentence which divine justice passed upon him. With ingenuous penitence he returned to obedience and duty, pressing onward in his course, although not himself, but his countrymen were to inherit the promised land. And is with the same spirit, my young friend, that you submit to the rebukes of God for
your sins? Have you not sometimes experienced them in the way of trials and sufferings, of disappointments and losses, so distinctly marked as the expressions of the divine displeasure against you, that conscience pointed with an unerring finHave they softened your feelings, and subdued your will, and led you back to obedience and duty ? Blessed result! Happy privilege! "My son,” saith God himself to you,
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.” (Moses did not faint. He was, if possible, more active and faithful in the service of God than ever.) "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
Route after leaving Kadesh. Mount Hor. Death of
The king of Edom refused utterly to grant the request of Moses; threatening that if a passage through his territories were attempted, he would resist it at the point of the sword. He even made
array of his forces on the borders of the country, to deter the Israelites from making any movement that way.
wards the Red Sea. This course brought the children of Israel to mount Hor, a part of mount Seir, on the confines of Edom, at the foot of which they encamped. One previous station is mentioned, that of Beroth Bene-Jaakan, the locality of which cannot be determined.
A scene of sorrow, deeply affecting to Moses and the whole body of the Israelites, was now approaching. Mount Hor was to be the tomb of Aaron, There the sentence of divine justice, that he should die before entering the promised land, was to be carried into execution. There he was to be seen, for the last time, by those whose joys and sufferings he had shared for forty years, and who were bound to him by a host of endearing recollections. The people for whom he had so long prayed and labored; his brother, (the name alone recalls associations of thought beyond the power of description ;) his family, including his only surviving sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, were now to take of him their final farewell!
Such was the summons communicated to Moses and Aaron by God himself. They heard the warning voice :
" Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against iny word at the water of Meribah."
Afflicted brothers! The scene through which ye are to pass, will be no less humiliating than sor