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We have had no mention of the Israelites from the Time of the Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, until they came into this Difficulty: There had passed six or seven and thirty Years in this Interval ; during which Time Mofes had led them up and down from Place to Place (e), as God had thought fit to direct their Journeyings by the Cloud that moved before them (f): And it is probable, that during all this space of time the People had been very obedient; for we hear of no Discontents or Oppositions amongst them: This was their first Emotion: Now they began to be refractory again ; but Mofes now could not so well bear it : He was here transported beyond his usual Temper: The Murmurings of the People provoked bis Spirit, so that be spake unadvisedly with his Lips (f): He and Aaron here committed a Fault, for which God pronounced against them, that they should not bring the People into the Land, which he had given them (8). The Commentators appear in some Doubt, what the Fault was which Mofes and Aaron were here guilty of; but I should think it a Point not hard to be determined: When Mofes undertook the Charge of the People after they were over the Red-Sea, it was strictly required of him, that he should be punctually obedient to all the Directions which God should give him (b): He was to be a Minister of the Power of God unto his People, and in all his Actions
(e) Numb. xxxiii. c) Exod. xl. 36; 37. svi. 33. (8) Numb. xx. 12. (b) Exod. xv. 46.
to be faithful to him that appointed him (hh), to promote his Glory ; to convince the People that the Lord was really their God, and that there was none else besides him, who could protect and assist them, or whom they ought to worship. And this Mofes had hitherto obferved in all his Conduct : But in the Instance before us, there is a Failure in his Behaviour: When the People were in Distress here by Want of Water, God vouchsafed to hear their Complaint, and directed Mofes and Aaron to give them a Demonstration, that his Power was ready at hand miraculously to relieve them : They had been once before in the same Strait : Then God thought fit to cause a Rock, upon Moses's striking it with his Rod, to pour forth Water (i): But here Mofes and Aaron were commanded to take the Rod; to go and stand before a Rock appointed them, having summoned the People to see how God would relieve them; then they were to speak only to the Rock, and the Rock was to give forch Water. Had the Ifraelites been here prone to entertain any superstitious Fancy of the Virtue of that Rod, which had been the Instrument of so many Miracles, what an Opportunity had Moses of convincing them of their Folly, and evidencing to them, that neither himself, nor Aaron, nor the Rod was of any Importance, but that God could have perfected the fame Wonders by a Word only, if he had thought fit to have done them in that manner?
(bb) Heb. iii, 2.
(i) Exod. xvii.
But instead of thus discharging himself, he took the Rod, and He and Aaron gathered the Congregation, and he said unto them: Hear now, ye Rebels, must we fetch you Water out of this Rock? And Mofes lift up his Hand, and smote the Rock twice : and the Water came out abundantly (k): In this he spoke and acted unadvisedly (1); for he did not speak nor act according to the Commission which God had given him ; but he spake and acted of himself, too great an Argument of an Affectation of raising his own Credit ; for He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own Glory (m): Mofes ex
d himself to have had this Sense of things upon another Occasion: When Nadab and Abibu offered ftrange Fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not : Mofes remonstrated their Crime to Aaron in the clearest Terms, and declared, that God would be fan&tified in them that come nigh him, and glorified before all the People (n): But here He and Aaron joined in a Part very different from these Sentiments : Their Duty was to have glorified God in the light of the Congregation, by punctually performing what he had directed : But instead of this, they did and said what he commanded them not, and thereby gave the Israelités an Opportunity to imagine the Supply might come from them; from their Power and Ability to procure it: And for this Reason, because they were not strictly careful to promote the
(k) Numb. xx. 10, 11. vii. 18. (m) Levit. x. 3.
(1) Pfalm. cvi. 32.
(mn) John Glory
Glory of God, instead of raising their own Credit (o) among the People, they were fentenced not to lead the Israelites into the Land of Canaan.
Kadesh, near which the Israelites were at this time encamped, was a City upon the Border of the Land of Edom (P), and from the Neighbourhood of this Place Moses sent Meffengers unto the King of Edom to ask leave to march thro' his Country (9): The Israelites had received a strict Charge not to (7) make any Attempt against this people, and Moses's Merlage was in Terms of the greatest Afsurance of Friendship to them: He acknowledged the Relation between them and Israel, and promifed in the most explicit manner, that he would only pass thro' their Country, without foraging any Part of it, or injuring any Person Inhabitant of it (rr): But the Edomites were not willing to run the venture : Hitherto they had been governed by Dukes (s); but about chis Time apprehending Danger, they made a King, thinking it neceffary to unite under one Head for their common Preservation: And this King of Edom refused to admit the Ifraelites into his Territories, and guarded his Frontiers with numerous Forces (t): Hereupon the Israelites were obliged to march another Way, and there
(c) The 12th Verfe of xxth of Numbers should be thus translated. Because, ye were not faithful to me, to [fanctify or] glorify me, in che Eyes of the Children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this Congregation into the Land which I have given them. (0) Numb. xx. 16. 6 Numb. xx. 14. (r) See Deut. ji 4, 5, 6. (rr) Numb. xx. 17-19. (s) See Vol. II. B. VII. (c) Numb. xx. 18, 20. R4
fore moved from Kades to mount Hor: Upon Mount Hor Aaron died, and Eleazar his Son was appointed High-Priest in his Place (u): Aaron was an hundred and twenty Years old, when he died in Mount Hor (w), and died there in the forciech Year after the Children of Israel were come out of the Land of Egypt (x), and so died, A. M. 2553.
The King of Arad, a City in the Southern Parts of Canaan, upon the Israelites coming near his Borders, attacked them, and took some of them Prisoners (y): The Israelites had offered no Violence to his Country, and were so provoked at this Attempt upon them, that they vowed a Vow unto the Lord, that if they should hereafter be able, they would utterly destroy this People (z); and they were enabled, and did perform this Vow in the Days of Fofhua (a), or in a little time after his Death (6): The 3d Verse of this xxist Chapter of Numbers seems to intimate, that the Israelites at this Time conquered these Canaanites, and utterly destroyed them and their Cities : But this was not Fact ; for the King of Arad is one of those who were conquered by Joshua(c), and the Vengeance here threatened was either executed upon this people by his Hand, or compleated by Judah and Simeon, when they flew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it (d). The Kingdom of Arad
(u) ver. 22—29. (w) Numb. xxxiii. 39. (x) Numb. xxxiii. 38. (y) xxi. 1. (z) ver. 2. (a) See Josh. xii. 1.4. (6) See Judges i. 17. (c) Josh. xii. 14. (d) Judges i. 17.