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western skirts of the great desert, and near the mountains of Edom.
On entering these plains, Moses received this divine direction, " Ye have compassed this mountain long enough : turn you northward. And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir, and they shall be afraid of you : take ye heed unto yourselves there. fore. Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no not so much as a foot-breadth; because I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession."
The Israelites were, also, directed to purchase provisions and water of this people ; the same who had successfully resisted their approach on the strong, western frontier of Edom, but were now peaceful in their movements, being alarmed at the sight of such an immense host, on the weaker and more accessible side of the country.
An injunction was, also, given not to attack, or distress, the Moabites, who were the posterity of Lot, and on whose account God had granted them their country for a possession.
While thus pursuing their course northward, four stations of the Israelites are mentioned, Zal
joining a brook of the same name, which rising in the mountains of Moab, and running from east to west, falls into the Dead Sea, south of the Arnon. Just thirty-eight years had now elapsed since they left Kadesh:barnea, and about forty from the time of their departure out of Egypt; and in the meanwhile, as the Lord sware unto them," all the men of war who had been numbered in the wilderness of Sinai, and were at that time twenty years old and upwards, had died. “For indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed."
At this time, another people whose borders they would soon approach, were secured against any attack of the Israelites by an express command of God. They were the Ammonites, who like the Moabites were the descendants of Lot. Their territory extended from the Arnon to the Jabbok, and from the Jordan a considerable distance into Arabia. They, as well as the Moabites, were dispossessed of a part of their country by the Amorites; which portions of territory, as we shall see, Moses retook, and divided between the tribes of Gad and Reuben.
Leaving the valley of Zered, the Israelites crossed the river Arnon, and encamped on the other side of it, in the wilderness which stretched northward into the territory of the Amorites. Thence they proceeded, after two other encampments, Beer, or the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water."
Mattanah was the next station; and then encamping at Nahaliel, and Bamoth, they arrived at the mountains of Abarim, of which Nebo and Pisgah were two conspicuous summits. These mountains were east of the Jordan, over against Jericho, and north of the Arnon. While in their neighborhood, in the wilderness of Kedemoth, Moses sent messengers unto Sihon, king of the Amorites, asking permission to pass through his territory; and engaging to go along by the highway, and to pay for the provisions and water with which they might be furnished. But Sihon utterly refused, and collecting his forces, advanced against the Israel. ites. A battle between them was fought near Jahaz, in which the king of the Amorites, being delivered up by God to his fate, was entirely defeated. Israel smote him and his army with the edge of the sword. They took possession of his country from the Arnon to the Jabbok, and of all the cities; destroying the inhabitants, (such was the divine command,) but reserving the cattle and the spoil. The Moabites and Ammonites, as had been ordered, were spared. These people, however, requited good with evil. They would not furnish the Israelites with any provisions or water,
and they endeavored, as we shall see, to hire Ralaam to curse them. For this conduct there was a divine ordinance afterwards enacted, that none of the Moabites, or Ammonites, should become members of the civil community of the Jews, even to the tenth generation.
After their victory over Sihon, and the conquest of his country, the Israelites proceeded on their march, by the way of Bashan. This lay east of the Jordan, and west of the mountains of Gilead. On its north was mount Hermon, and on its south the brook Jabbok. It was an exceedingly fruitful region, remarkable for its oaks, rich pastures, and fine cattle. Its king, whose name was Og, was among the last of the race of the giants,-a man of immense stature and bodily strength. His bedstead, made of iron, is described as being nine cubits, or thirteen feet and a half, in length; so that, whatever allowance is made for the difference between this and his height, he must have been a giant indeed.
Having collected all his forces, Og came out against the Israelites; and gave them battle at Edrei, a city north of the mountains of Gilead. Moses was told not to fear this powerful monarch, nor his great army. “For I will deliver him," said the Lord, "and all his people, and his land, into thy hand." And such was the issue of the contest. The Israelites, defeating them, took all their strongly fortified cities, sixty in number, besides a great many unwalled towns, and utterly destroyed the inhabitants; taking possession, however, for their own use, of the cattle and the spoil, and becoming masters of the whole land.
These wars of the Lord we must very carefully distinguish from those which have their origin in the proud and vindictive passions of man. Such wars can receive no justification from the example of the Israelites, in subduing and exterminating those nations on which they were directed thus to inflict the divine vengeance.
They were expressly commanded to do this, and at the same time to spare certain other nations. So that they acted from no impulse of their own, but followed always the orders of Moses, himself moving only in obedience to the injunctions of the Almighty.
When similar injunctions can be shown, at the present day; and armies advance, and their commanders give battle, in accordance with a voice from heaven, the destruction of man by his fellowman, while carrying on a bloody war to subserve the purposes of national glory, or the redress of national wrongs, may be considered as the path of duty.
Let every one examine this momentous subject with candor and serious deliberation; and pray that the spirit of peace, on the principles of the Gospel, may be rapidly and universally diffused.