Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

tribe; (for though the division was made by lot, yet the portions were so disposed, that a numerous tribe did not draw, where the lots assigned small inheritances ;) and to verify a very important prediction,

For among the persons thus reckoned, there were found none who were included in the enumeration made thirty years before, except Joshua and Valeb ; in exact conformity with the divine denunciation against the Israelites, when they murmured after the return of the spies, and God declared that none of them should live to enter the promised land but these two individuals.

The whole number amounted to six hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and thirty, being one thousand, eight hundred and twenty less than that of the former enumeration. Of all the people ihere was not one man aged sixty, except Moses, Caleb, Joshua, and some of the Levites. Some of the tribes had increased, while others had decreased ; and it is a very curious fact, well worthy of being the east, west, north, and south divisions of the whole body, as before

noticed, that the same proportion was

preserved in

was

cessions, as these were now soon to come in con. flict with the powerful nations who were in

posses. sion of the promised land. The land was to be divided by lot among

the several tribes, in proportion to the numbers found in each according to the late enumeration; and to be held, in each, by their descendants as an inheri. tance. But the Levites had no inheritance; and, as we have already seen, provision was made for them in another way. Their numbers, at this time, amounted to twenty-three thousand, of the males from a month old and upward; being an increase of one thousand since the former enumeration. A law was made, at this time, with regard to the inheritance of the five daughters of Zelophehad, who had died and left no sons, giving them what would have been allotted to him,—which was, also, to be a standing one in similar cases.

It was enacted, not long after, that in case any daughter should thus come into possession of an inheritance in any tribe, she was not to be permitted to marry out of that tribe ;-by which means the inheritance would be continued in it. Others were at liberty to marry into any of the tribes.

In taking possession of Canaan, the Israelites were once more strictly commanded to drive out the inhabitants of the land from before them, to destroy all their pictures and molten images, and to demolish the high places where their idols were worshipped. If they would not do this, those that remained should harass them greatly, and the Lord declared that he would do unto the Israelites as he had thought to do unto the heathen.

Moses had now almost reached the consumma. tion of the great enterprise, in the prosecution of which he had been praying, and toiling, and suffering for such a long period of time. It is not to be wondered at, that the sentence under which he lay, of not being permitted to cross the Jordan with his countrymen, and enter the promised land, filled him with bitter and heart-rending regret. In deep prostration of soul before Jehovah, he poured forth this importunate supplication.

"O Lord God, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand : for what god is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee let me go over and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.”

But it could not be. The divine displeasure against the unbelief of Moses and Aaron at Meribah-Kadesh must take effect. The example

1

the entreaty of his servant;-be satisfied with the privileges and blessings thou hast already receiv. ed;"speak no more unto me of this matter. Get thee

up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes; for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto tlıy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered."

It would seem, that this injunction was not intended to be immediately carried into effect. The intervening events will be noticed in their order.

We may not know with any degree of certainty, as Moses did, the near approach of death, while we are in possession of our usual health. Yet it may come, soon and unexpectedly. No voice from heaven gives us notice of this ; but we are continually warned of it by what is going on around us.

How many, my young friend, in the circle of your acquaintances and friends, have you been called to part with by their removal from this world ? Are some who were very near and dear to you among the number ? Have you stood by their dying bed, and watched in anguish the last convulsive struggle, that emancipates the soul from its earthly tabernacle, and introduces it into the eternal world ? Recall the affecting scene. Let its solemn images come up distinctly before your mind.

Dwell upon them, till the impressions which the reality once produced, are renewed.

Follow your departed friend into the world of spirits. Think of its endless retributions. There you must soon be. You know not how soon!

CHAPTER LX.

Joshua appointed to succeed Moses. Destruction of the

Midianites and of Balaam.

Who shall occupy his place, when Moses leaves the charge which he has so long sustained? Can he undertake to select a successor ? He dares not attempt it. He refers the whole matter to the divine disposal. " Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, which

, may go out before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in : that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd.” What a beautiful and touching pe

« PreviousContinue »