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i Numb. 20.
The majesty of God. 51 Because i ye trespassed against 2 And he said, The Lord came me among the children of Israel at from Sinai, and rose up from Seir
the waters of || Meribah-Kadesh, in unto them; he shined forth from 12, 13. & 27. the wilderness of Zin; because ye mount Paran, and he came with 1or, strife at sanctified me not in the midst of the ten thousands of saints: from his children of Israel.
right hand went ta fiery law for + Heb. a fire 52 Yet thou shalt see the land them. before thee; but thou shalt not go 3 Yea, he loved the people; all thither unto the land which I give his saints are in thy hand: and they the children of Israel,
sat down at thy feet; every one shall
receive of thy words.
4 Moses commanded us a law,
with Moses the man of God when the heads of the people and the
advantage to a wise heart. God forewarns one by sick- goodness, in their passage through the land of Edom : ness, another by age, another by his secret instincts, to He "shined forth” brightly, as at noonday, to them, prepare for their end: if our heart be not now in readi- when He blessed the elders of Israel with a large porness, we deserve to be surprised. Bp. Hall.
tion of his Spirit; and He guarded his people with 51. Because ye trespassed against me] Death, though “ ten thousands” of his powerful angels; in whose it were to Moses an entrance into glory, yet was also a presence He did, in fire, deliver his law majestically and chastisement of his infidelity. How many noble proofs terribly to Israel. Bp.
Hall. had he given of his courage and strength of faith! As if he had said, This is the favourite nation, to How many gracious services had he done to his Master! whom God was pleased with most dreadful solemnity, Yet for one act of distrust he must be gathered to his with the appearance of innumerable hosts of angels, fathers. All our acts of obedience cannot bear out one attending the symbols of his Divine presence, to deliver sin against God. How vainly shall we hope to make his laws; and take the people into special covenant amends to God for our former trespasses by our better with Himself at mount Sinai. Whom, by the same behaviour, when Moses hath this one sin laid to his cloud of glory, He safely and miraculously conducted charge, after so many and worthy testimonies of his through the Arabian desert, the wilderness of Paran, fidelity! When we have forgotten our sins, yet God re- and the borders of Idumea ; preserving them, as his members them; and although not in anger, yet He calls peculiar and holy people, and instructing them by his for payment. Alas, what shall become of them, with own word and precepts. Pyle. whom God hath ten thousand times greater quarrels ; - he came with ten thousands of saints :] Or, "of who, amongst many millions of sins, have scattered holy angels.” The law, which He gave, as men do some few acts of formal services ! If Moses must die when with their “right hands” they deliver their gifts, the first death for one fault, how shall they escape the is called “ a fiery law;" because God spake the words second for sinning always ? Bp. Hall.
thereof “out of the midst of the fire,” Deut. v. 22.
Bp. Kidder. Chap. XXXIII. ver. 1. And this is the blessing, &c.] 3. all his saints are in thy hand :] He hath a speAs Jacob blessed his children at his departure out of cial care of the Israelites, that "holy nation,” Exod. xix. the world, when God had begun to fulfil the promise to 6, who sat at his feet, and promised subjection and obeAbraham of giving him a numerous offspring : so Moses, dience to him. Bp. Kidder. The change of the person having seen them vastly increased, and ready to enter from his to thy is very frequent in the Hebrew language. upon the promised land, takes his farewell of them with See particularly Dan. ix. 4. Bp. Patrick. a blessing pronounced upon the people in general, and they sat down at thy feet;] Meaning, they reupon each tribe in particular. This blessing is in part ceived instruction from thee. To the same effect, St. prophetical, as that of Jacob was, and delivered in the Paul says, “I was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel," prophetick style; and consequently it is not without Acts xxii. 3. If the same mode of sitting prevailed ansome difficulty and obscurity. Bp. Patrick.
ciently in the East, as now prevails, in respect of master As Moses had before composed a song, to celebrate and scholars, the phrase is very descriptive and accurate. the miraculous passage of the Israelites through the For the master is seated on a carpet spread on the ground Red sea, so his view in this song seems to have been, to with his books before him; and around him, at a little commemorate God's gracious dealings with them since distance, beyond his books, sit his scholars in a circle, that time. A more proper subject could not have been attending to his instructions. Fragments to Calmet. thought of, in order to awaken their attention, and raise 4. Moses commanded us a law,] Josephus remarks, a due sense of gratitude in all Israel, before the several that the Greek legislators were modern in comparison tribes heard, from the mouth of their great Prophet now of Moses ; and that the ancient Greeks were unacspeaking for the last time, what Providence intended to quainted with the very term (Nomos) Law. It is not in do farther for each of them. Dr. Durell.
Homer, the most ancient Greek writer. Calmet. 2.- The Lord came from Sinai, &c.] God, like a 5. -- he was king in Jeshurun,] Many persons are glorious sun, imparted his beams unto Israel: begin- called kings in Scripture, whom we should rather denoning his course at their first entering into the wilder- minate chiefs or leaders. Such is the sense of the word ness, and still "rising up” to them by the proof of his in this passage. Moses was the chief, the leader, the
The blessings of
the twelve tribes.
strive at the waters of Meribah;
8 And of Levi he said, a Let thy 10 || They shall teach Jacob thy &c, Thummim and thy Urim be with thy judgments, and Israel thy law : || they put incense. holy one, whom thou didst prove at shall put incense + before thee, and Webs at
|| Or, Let them teach,
a Exod. 28. 30.
|| Or, let them
guide of his people, fulfilling the duties of a king :" by the Assyrians, the people of Judah by the Babylobut he was not king in the same sense as David, or So- nians; seeing that Judah should return weak, harassed, lomon, was afterwards. This remark reconciles Gen. and scarcely able to maintain himself in his own counxxxvi. 31, “These kings reigned in Edom, before there try, conceives for him this prophetic prayer, Hear, reigned any king over the children of Israel :” for Moses, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his though he was king in an inferior sense, yet did not people, &c.” Bp. Sherlock. reign, in the stronger sense, over the children of Israel, In these benedictions no notice is taken of Simeon. their constitution not being monarchical under him. This tribe was, by way of judgment upon Simeon's act Calmet's Dictionary. Moses was king ; that is, under of cruelty, mixed and scattered among the rest, having God the supreme ruler and governour of Israel. Bp. not so distinct and honourable a settlement, as each of Patrick, Dr. Wells. Moses was a prince or governour, them had, according to Jacob's prediction, Gen. xlix. 5. he gave laws and ruled the people. Bp. Kidder. Was 7. But as the greatest part of their inheritance was appointed by God the leader and governour of the Is- amongst the sons of Judah, Josh. xix. 1, it is probable raelites. Pyle, Bp. Hall.
that the tribe of Simeon is here included in that of 6. Let Reuben live, &c.] Though it was formerly Judah. Pyle. prophesied of this tribe, that, in punishment of the sin 8. - Let thy Thummim and thy Urim &c.] Continue of its founder, it should not be so honourable or so nu- in this tribe the high dignity of consulting with Thee, merous as several of the rest, yet shall it continue in and receiving directions from Thee, by the high priest, some measure to flourish. Pyle
. In the last clause of concerning the publick safety. Aaron is called “the this verse, the word not is wanting in the original. The saint of the Lord,” Ps. cvi. 16. Bp. Patrick. words may be thus translated exactly: “Let Reuben Be gracious to the tribe of Levi, and furnish Thou live and not die, though his men be few :" which seems thy high priest whom Thou hast chosen out of it with to be a confirmation of the prophecy of Jacob, Gen. those excellent graces, which Thou hast figured in his xlix. 4, “ that he should not excel," and yet should live breastplate, with perfection of knowledge, and sanctity. and not perish: that is, he should be in some measure Thus do Thou bless the son of that thy servant Aaron, a flourishing tribe, though not so numerous as some whom Thou provedst at Massah, &c. Bp. Hall
. others. Bp. Patrick.
with whom thou didst strive] Whom thou didst live, and not die ;] When a thing is intended to punish and chastise, as the Hebrew word signifies, but be described in a striking manner, it is usual in Hebrew didst not deprive of the dignity of the priesthood. Bp. to repeat the same terms, a little varied; or to express Kidder. the sentiment both affirmatively and negatively, as here 9. Who said unto his father &c.] We have in general and in other places : see Gen. xliii. 8; Ps. cxviii. 7; Isa. the most concern for those, of whom we have the most Xxxviii. 1. Dr. Durell.
knowledge. Hence, in the sacred books, knowing or own7. And this is the blessing of Judah:] He speaks of ing any person signifies having a regard for him : and Judah next, as that which was to be the royal tribe in denying or disowning any one, the contrary. Thus time, and the principal tribe in the wars all along after : wicked men are said to “ deny God, while they profess he therefore says,
* Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah,” to know him," Tit. i. 16, and our Saviour in return when he calls for thy help at going out to war before will deny them at the great day, saying, “I never knew his brethren ; "and bring him home unto his people” you, depart from me,” Matt. vii. 23; Luke xiii. 25. 27. again, safe and victorious. Dr. Wells.
Thus in the Old Testament, when the children of Levi This benediction cannot relate to the time when it had suppressed a rebellion of the people against God and was given; for then Judah’s “hands” were very “suffi- their lawful governours, by falling without distinccient for him," this being by far the greatest of the tion upon all whom they found engaged in it, Moses twelve tribes; see Numb. i. and xxvi : and there was describes the heroick behaviour of that tribe in these more reason to put up this petition for several other terms: “Who said unto his father and to his mother, I tribes than for Judah. It is to be referred therefore to have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethe prophecy of Jacob, and to the continuance of the thren, nor knew his own children: for he observed thy sceptre of Judah, after the destruction of the other word and kept thy covenant:" that is, they preferred tribes. Judah, in Moses's time, consisted of 74,600, their duty to Heaven and the publick, before the tenreckoning only those of twenty years old, and upwards, derest private regards. So also Job : “ Though I were Numb. ii
. 4. 'But on the return from Babylon, Judah, perfect,” which he had just been disclaiming, “yet with Benjamin, the Levites, and the remnant of Israel, would I not know my soul,” Job ix. 21. Were I freer made only 42,360, Ezra ii. 64; and they were in so weak from faults than I am, it should not tempt me to selfa state, that Sanballat in great scorn said, “What do partiality. Abp. Secker. these feeble Jews?” Neh. iv. 2. Now Moses, in the 10. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, &c.] The spirit of prophecy, seeing the desolation of all the tribes; Levites were not only commissioned to instruct the people seeing the tribes of the children of Israel carried away in the law of Moses, but were also appointed by that law
The blessings of
the twelve tribes. whole burnt sacrifice
thine 15 And for the chief things of
the ancient mountains, and for
12 4 And of Benjamin he said, The the bush : let the blessing come upon
the top safety by him; and the LORD shall of the head of him that was sepa- c Gen. 19. 26. cover him all the day long, and he rated from his brethren. shall dwell between his shoulders. 17 His glory is like the firstling of
13 | And of Joseph he said, his bullock, and his horns are like the
thousands of Ephraim, and they are
and, Issachar, in thy tents.
b Gen. 49. 25.
+ Heb. Thrust forth. # Heb. moons.
to be judges and interpreters of it in civil, as well as in ation in the land of Canaan, or to the eminent dignity religious cases, Lev. x. 11; Deut. xvii. 8, 9; xix. 17; by which his descendants were distinguished, he is here xxiv. 8. They actually enjoyed this power in its full in his proper rank. Moses in blessing him copies after extent for many centuries, 2 Chron. xxx. 22; xxxi. 2; Jacob, Gen. xlix. 22—26. Dr. Durell. xxxv. 3. And though they were abridged of it after
the deep that croucheth beneath,] Springs of wards in some respects, they still had a considerable water which burst out of the bowels of the earth. Bp. share of it about the time of the dissolution of their na- Patrick. tional polity; as appears by many instances in the New 14. -- fruits-by the sun,] Whose kindly heat brings Testament, John xviii. 31 ; Acts xxiii. 3. To "put in- them forth and makes them grow to maturity. Bp. cense before the Lord was another part of the priest's Patrick. office. Dr. Durell.
put forth by the moon,] And for those precious 12. And of Benjamin he said,] He mentions Ben fruits which are brought forth by the warmth of the jamin next to Levi, because the temple, in which the sunbeams, and by the kindly moisture of the night, priests officiated, was partly situated in his lot. Bp. under the influence of the moon. Bp. Hall. Or by this Patrick.
may be meant, what most of the ancient versions underThe beloved of the Lord shall dwell &c.] Ben- stand, what is produced every month, or several times jamin, favoured of God, shall have his inheritance in a in the year, as grass, and herbs; in opposition to what safe place; namely, about Jerusalem the holy city, and comes but once in the year, as corn, &c. implied in the the temple, or place of God's special residence among fruits of the sun. Dr. Durell. the Israelites. Compare Josh. xviii. 11. 28. Bp. Kid 16. – the earth and fulness thereof,] “Earth” being der.
here opposed to “hills” and “mountains," seems to he shall dwell between his shoulders.] That is, imply a champaign country; and “the fulness thereof” The Lord's temple shall be situated in his land. Bp. to signify a most plentiful champaign country. This Kidder. “Between his shoulders,” or, by his sides or sense will appear more probable from the event: for borders : so the word, translated " shoulders," is used in besides the great plain near Jordan, which Joseph had Numb. xxxiv. 11. And it is plain that the lot of Ben- in common with some other tribes, and the plain of jamin touched on that of Judah, at Jerusalem : the Sharon near the Mediterranean sea, there seems to have temple being included within the limits of Benjamin's been another great plain near Samaria, which Josephus tribe. Bp. Patrick, Pyle.
calls the great plain of Samaria ; and near mount EphIt is with reference to this circumstance, that what raim was the valley of fatness. Dr. Durell. Moses here predicts of Benjamin is to be understood : 17. — unicorns :] See note on Numb. xxiii. 22. The namely, that God's providence would remarkably con- Jerusalem Targum expounds this verse of the victories tinue over him until the dissolution of their state; and gained over the Canaanites by Joshua and Gideon, who that He would, for a season, vouchsafe to dwell by his were both of this family; to whom, for the same reason, visible representation in the inheritance of Benjamin. might have been added Jephthah, who distinguished Dr. Durell. See the note on Gen. xlix. 27; latter part himself signally in the war against the Ammonites. of the verse.
Dr. Durell. 13. And of Joseph he said, &c.] Joseph's tribe shall 18. — Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out ; &c.] Zebuhave a country fall to its share, most plentifully blest lun and Issachar are here joined together; they were with every thing that can render it fruitful and plea- brothers by the same mother; but the disposition of sant: with seasonable rains, dews, and convenient springs their respective posterities was to be very different: the of water : with a soil yielding the fattest crops, and fairest former, it is intimated, would delight in commerce, and fruits. Such will be the ancient and famous hills and the latter in agriculture. By trade and manufactures valleys of Ephraim, Samaria, and Bashan. Pyle. the descendants of Zebulun would enrich themselves, as
Whether we consider Joseph with respect to his situ- the others might by disposing of the produce of their
The blessings of
the twelve tribes.
20 [ And of Gad he said, Blessed and full with the blessing of the
24 And of Asher he said,
for himself, because there, in a por- dren; let him be acceptable to his + Heb. cieled. tion of a lawgiver, was he + seated; brethren, and let him dip his foot
and he came with the heads of the in oil.
thy shoes shall
farms; by which means they might be enabled to offer eminent for stratagems and strength in war; and may large burnt offerings at the solemn festivals, and hospi- be compared with the lions of Bashan, which was celetably receive the people, whom they invited to go up brated for its breed of very fierce ones, that leap upon with them to Jerusalem. Dr. Dureil.
their prey with great force and subtilty. This was 19. They shall call the people unto the mountain;] eminently verified in Samson, who was of the tribe of Here Moses predicts, that the house of God should be Dan. Pyle, Bp. Patrick. set upon a mountain; to which Zebulun should invite
23. — possess thou the west and the south.] The tribe the rest of the tribes, by their forwardness and zeal, to of Naphtali lay north and east : yet it was so situated, go up and worship God at the three great festivals. Bp. that by Zebulun, which lay next him, and upon the Patrick
coast of the Great sea, he could easily be possessed of they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, &c.] the commodities of the sea, which we here translate They shall grow rich by importing abundance of com “west:" and lying on the river Jordan, Josh. xix. 33, modities, particularly gold, silver, and precious stones, he had the advantage of enjoying those commodities, which are dug out of the earth. Dr. Wells, Bp. Patrick. which came by that river from the southern” parts of Or, the former clause in this passage may have a par- the land. Bp. Kidder, Pyle. ticular reference to the produce of the seas, especially 24. - Let Asher be blessed &c.] May the tribe of the shell-fish, called murex, the use of which is weil | Asher truly answer the meaning of its name, “ Happy," known in dying of a purple colour : and the latter clause by being blessed with a numerous posterity, and with may refer to the art of making glass from sand. Jona- a plenty of such products of the country where they than in his paraphrase thus explains it : “They shall live, that they may oblige the rest of the neighbouring dwell near the sea, and feast on the tunny fish, and tribes. God will plant them in a soil, where the choicest catch the chalson, (or murex ;) with the blood of which oil, and such like good things, shall be in the utmost they will die of a purple colour the threads of their fulness; and useful metals be dug from the bowels of cloths; and from the sand they will make looking-glasses their hills. Pyle. and utensils of glass.” It is certain from various au let him dip his foot in oil.] This figurative exthors, that purple was found on the coast of Tyre, ad- pression is allowed to denote such plenty, that oil would joining to Zebulun ; and that glass was made from the be very little regarded in this tribe ; as in Jacob's prosand of the river Belus, which ran by the border of phecy, where it is said of Judah," he washed his garthis tribe. Dr. Durell.
ments in wine,” it is understood to signify that wine 20.
Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad:] That is, should be as plentiful as water. With respect to this proBlessed be God, who hath allotted to him such a large in- mise it may be observed, not only that Asher's portion was heritance, which He afterwards further enlarged, 1 Chron. generally fertile in oil, as in corn, wine, &c.; but during v. 20. “He dwelleth as a lion;" lives secure and fear- a famine of three years and a half, when the Prophet less, though encompassed by enemies : “and teareth the Elijah wanted sustenance, he was directed by the Holy arm with the crown of the head;" kills the princes with Spirit to go to a poor widow at Sarepta, in whose house their kings: for by “ arms are meant men of strength he was supplied with bread and oil. Sarepta was a and power; and by the crown of the head” is properly town of this tribe. Dr. Durell. to be understood the chief commander, ruler, or king. 25. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass ;] This verse inBp. Patrick.
forms us that shoes clouted, as the old English expression 21. And he provided the first part for himself,] That is, were used as early as the days of Moses. We know is, he chose his inheritance with the first on this side that the Roman soldiers used brasen or copper soles to Jordan, Numb. xxxii. 1, "in a portion of the lawgiver;' their shoes; and clouted shoes, that is, shoes well coated that is, that part of the country, which Moses the law- with iron, were anciently part of a soldier's dress in this giver entered upon, and which he divided, Numb. xxxii. country, from which, shoes well filled with nails, &c. 33. “And he came, &c.” that is, after he had made for strength, are now called clouted. Script. illust. In provision for the safety of his family and cattle, he ac- the East at this day, all the people, both rich and poor, companied the leaders and captains of the people; and wear iron plates at the heels and toes of their shoes. assisted them in conquering the land, and destroying Calmet. the inhabitants, who were justly devoted by God to as thy days, so shall thy strength be.] Thy strength destruction, Josh. i. 14. Bp. Kidder.
shall bear proportion to thy days. That shall be great; 22. - Dan is a lion's whelp :] The Danites will be and these shall be many. Bp. Kidder. Vol. I.
2 Mac. 2. 4.
d Jer. 23. 6.
The blessings of the twelve tribes. DEUTERONOMY.
Moses vieweth the land. 26 | There is none like unto the Thirty days' mourning for him. 9 Joshua God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon
succeedeth him. 10 The praise of Moses. the heaven in they help, and in his AND Mofes ment up from the
27 The eternal God is thy refuge, tain of Nebo, to the top of || Pisgah, 1 Or, the hill. and underneath are the everlasting that is over against Jericho. And the aris : and he shall thrust out the LORD shewed him a all the land of a Chap. 3. 27. enemy from before thee; and shall Gilead, unto Dan, say, Destroy them.
2 And all Naphtali, and the land
29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who the valley of Jericho, the city of palm
who is the sword of thy excellency! This is the land which I sware unto Gen. 12. 7. 1 Or, shall be and thine enemies || shall be found Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, & 13. 15.
liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread saying, I will give it unto thy seed:
I have caused thee to see it with thine
but thou shalt not go over
thither. CHAP. XXXIV.
5 1 So Moses the servant of the 1 Moses from mount Nebo vieweth the land, 5 Lord died there in the land of Moab,
He dieth there. 6 His burial. 7 His age. 8 according to the word of the Lord.
26. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun,] Moses to the first, ver. 26: God is there said to have none having made an end of declaring to each tribe some of like Him: so is Israel here: He is superiour to all crethe particular circumstances, which would distinguish ated beings, because the whole creation obeys Him; them from the rest, and having prayed for their respec- the Israelites are superiour to every other nation, betive prosperity, now concludes the whole with a general cause He has saved them: in both places they are reprebenediction. Dr. Durell.
sented as being under his particular providence, assisted - who rideth upon the heaven in thy help.] Who by Him in conquering their enemies, and admitted by commandeth in the heavens, as well as in the earth; Him into their country. Dr. Durell. and sends help and succour to thee from thence by thunder, lightning, and hailstones. Thus had God done, Chap. XXXIV. ver. 1. - unto the mountain of Nebo, Exod. ix. 23, and thus did He do afterwards, Josh. x. to the top of Pisgah,] The mountains Nebo, Pisgah, 10, 11, Compare Ps. xviii. 9, 10; lxviii. 33, 34. Bps. and Abarim make but one chain of mountains, in the Patrick and Kidder. The Supreme Being is frequently country of Moab, near mount Peor, over against Jedescribed as “riding on the skies, and making the clouds richo. Calmet. his chariot,” in condescension to the gross conceptions
Dan,] It has been said, that some names, used of a carnal people, who were unable to consider the in the Pentateuch, were not applied to the places which attributes of the Lord Jehovah abstractedly. Dr. Durell. they describe till after the death of Moses. If the
27.- underneath are the everlasting arms :) To sup- truth of this remark could be proved, we might support all those with an unwearied power and care, who pose the modern names to have been substituted by commit themselves unto Him. Bp. Patrick.
Ezra, or by some Prophet, posterior to Moses, for the 28. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone :] The Is- information of later times. But the assertion often proraelites were separated from the rest of the world by ceeds from mistake, and from a want of distinction : for their peculiar institutions, religious and civil; and they instance, the Dan spoken of by Moses, might be difwere sufficiently secure under the theocracy without en- ferent from the place afterwards so named in Judg. tering into leagues, offensive or defensive, with any xviii. 29. Josephus conceives it to have been a river, power. This seems to be an allusion to Balaam's pro- one of the sources of the Jordan. Dr. Gray. phecy, Numb. xxiii. 9. Dr. Durell.
3. — the city of palm trees,] Several of the ancient the fountain of Jacob] That is, his posterity; writers describe Jericho and its neighbourhood as who were derived from him, as a river from a fountain, abounding with palm trees. Several of these trees still Isa. xlviii. 1 ; li. 1. Bp. Patrick. Or, “the fountain" is remain there; for there is the convenience they require taken literally, and opposed to “dew:” and the expres- of being often watered; the climate likewise is warm, sion implies, that the land of Jacob should be a land of and the soil sandy, and such as they delight to grow in. fountains, of corn, &c. according to the description of Dr. Shaw. it, chap. viii. 7, 8. Dr. Durell.
5. So Moses—died] The account of the death and 29. — thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee;] burial of Moses, and some other seemingly posthumous Shall be só afraid, that with feigned stories they shall particulars described in this chapter, have been procourt their friendship, as the Gibeonites did: or, more duced to prove, that it could not have been written by simply, shall submit to them, though not heartily, yet Moses : and in all probability these circumstances may out of fear, Ps. xviii. 44 ; lxvi. 3. Bp. Patrick. have been inserted by Joshua, to complete the history
The last verse of this concluding benediction answers of this illustrious Prophet; or were afterwards added