Page images
PDF
EPUB

of St. Catharine stands on the spot of the burning and afterward Moses's coming nigh to the camp, bush ; and the stone, said to be the smitten rock, is verse 19. which implies that he had walked some dison this side of the mountain; so that, on the whole, tance after his joining company with Joshua. there is no inducement to seek the place of the Isra- When Moses is called “ into the mountain, he is dielitish camp to the southward : and though we find rected to come up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and Dr. Shaw in his map has traced the passage of the seventy elders, to worship afar off," Exod. xxiv. 1. Israelites on the south of the mountain, or rather, but Moses only was to come nigh the Lord, and, over the mountain, yet that must be considered as an verse 15. he went up into the mount, i.e. to the highincorrectness in the Dr. who has marked his own pas- er parts, away from this company. Now if these eldsage in like manner; yet his account says, he entered ers were stationed half way up the mountain, say at from the northeast. He has also placed as many B. the station of Niebubr, when he took his second rocks and hills to the south, as elsewhere around view of Sinai, they might be said to have come up the mount Sinai, so that there is no supposable opening mountain, from the camp, yet to be afar off from the there, of greater extent, and fitter to contain a nu- summit, or peak of it, to which Moses went, when he merous host, than the parts north of the mountain. came nigh the Lord. Also, when it is said, verse It is to be observed, that one of the peaks into

11. that God "laid not his hand on the seventy eldwhich Sinai is divided, is called Sinai, that to the ers," it should seem to import their reverential disleft, in our Plate ; another is called Horeb, that adja- tance from bis immediate presence, and at such a cent to it, to the right, in our Plate; so that sometimes distance they might “eat and drink,” not merely withwhat is said to have been done at Sinai, is said to out danger, but without impropriety. Thus the two have been done at Horeb; at other times, a distinc- phrases whose use has embarrassed commentators are tion is observed, and one or other is specifically in- reconciled by the geography of the place: for, the tended. We have not thought the distinction im- elders did not break any prohibition by advancing portant; our Plate includes both; but may sometimes from the camp to this part of the mountain, therefore put each for either. We shall observe some particu- God laid not his hand of punishment on them: Morelar histories, in which this mountain has been singu- over, they did not fast, as Moses did, when admitted larly distinguished by Providence: and which be- to near communication with the Divine power, but come much more intelligible by a competent under- ate and drank as usual, without restriction : while at standing of its geography and appearance.

the same time they were so placed, as to see the sumThere seem to have been, in the instance of the mit of the mountain without impediment, and from giving of the law, three distinctions of place observ- this distance, I suppose, could discern the evident ed by Divine appointment: 1st, that occupied by the appearances of the God of Israel, yet were too far people at large, the furthest from the mountain : 2dly, off to gase, or to be intrusive ; in which sense

no that occupied by the seventy elders, and Joshua, man bath seen God, at any time.” probably that valley at the further end of which We see that peculiar veneration has been paid to a stands the convent of St. Catharine : 3dly, that more certain spot on mount Sinai, where has been a convent, elevated part of the mountain, where Moses only time out of mind ; for, it is well understood that the was admitied. If this be just, then we have here present convent is only a successor to one more anthe principles of the court of the people, the court of cient. I would ask, whether it be credible, that an the priests, and the Holy Place itself, in after ages; institution of a similar nature was here in the days of all preparatory to the Holy of Holies, the under. Elijah ? 1 Kings, xix. 8. if so, when that prophet instood residence of the Deity. [This seems to be tended to visit Horeb, the mount of God, he did not confirmed by the mode of expression, Exod. xix. 12. mean absolutely to withdraw to a mere solitary des* Take heed, 1st, go not up into the mount, 2dly, nor ert, but he proposed to take shelter in the remotest touch [approach) ihe border of it, lest ye die;" the establishment of the kind, and probably the meanest, exterior base of the mountain, that at the furthest which he knew of, where sons of the prophets were distance from the peak.]

associated ; as far removed from the power of JezeMoreover, it is certain, that the camp of Israel could bel as personal safety required ; and, it may be, benot have been stationed where now stands the con- yond the dominion of that idolatrous queen of Israel. rent of St. Catharine, not only from want of space As to his “ lodging there in a cave,” verse 9. as rento contain it, but from the circumstance, that Moses dered in our translation, this he might do constantly, being so near it on the mount must have seen all that notwithstanding better accommodations, or, he might passed in it: whereas, Moses is divinely informed, be- occasionally visit the summit of the mountain, and on ing ignorant himself

, of the errors of the people, one of these visits he might sleep on the rock, in some Exod. xxxii. 7. Yet Moses is described as coming station, not unlike the sleeping place of Baumgarten down to Joshua; and Joshua as not distinguishing, and his companions. hy reason of distance, I suppose, whether the noise But I incline to the strictest sense of the words, in the camp was that of war, or of festivity, verse 17. “And he went unto the [sacred] place, to the cave,'

or cavity, [with the o demonstrative] q. that where other side of the valley of Paran) He came [i.e. his Moses had been screened by Divine power ? Exod. rays) over Meribah Kadesh, the waters of strife, xxxiii. 22. “and passed a night in the [sacred) place." where he shewed his [rectitude] holiness, by supplyHere, as he hoped, and expected, the word of the ing the thirst of his people ; over the waters of AshLord came to him : and from hence he went forth to doth, or copious flowing spring, to us." This last verse stand on the mount before the Lord, verse 11. We seems to contrast with the torrent of Paran, in whose make no account of the idle tales of the Greek monks bed the camp of Israel stood, which had [and has) told on the spot; our remarks dismiss the whole of water in it only at certain times, being otherwise conthem, and indeed they are unworthy serious notice, stantly dry : whereas, these springs, says the poet, as is hinted by Dr. Shaw.

were copious and permanent. Thus understood every It is probable, that trees of some kinds, for in- word in the passage is correct ; every place is in the stance palms bearing dates, grew on this mountain, neighbourhood of Sinai, and the metaphor of the sun, &c. in the days of Elijah, as fruits do at present; but, progressively advancing from its dawn to its rise, whether any Jewish, religious, establishment might from its rise to its strength, is strictly supported. It have been supported by them, alone, we cannot say. is even possible, that the metaphor is drawn from acWe cannot help observing the very frugal fare of the tual observation of nature itself. Ist, In the morning present inhabitants of this convent, who yet are nu- the lofty peak of Sinai receives the earliest inflecmerous, 150; we know, too, that ancient fare was no tions of light; then the light spreads over the surless abstemious than modern, and such would coin- rounding mountains of Seir, of which Sinai is the highcide with the views of Elijah in his retirement, as it est : 2dly, at noon it diffuses itself over mount Paran; would with those of whoever made this spot their being south, it shines on the opposite hills, those beresidence. The prophet, who had been supported yond the valley of Paran : in the afternoon it illumiby the casual bounties of a rookery, might now be nates the waters of Meribah ; and lastly it visits the content with the wild fare of mount Horeb, whose permanent springs. [i.e. Ashdoth.] Compare the bushes yielded him fruit and whose springs yielded course of historical events with this course of the him water.

sun ; Sinai, Exod. xix. 20. Seir and Paran, the subThe following thoughts, on another subject, are sequent events in the station and camp: Meribah Kasubmitted with great deference.

desh, copious streams, Numb. xx. 2, 14. It is well known that neither critic, commentator, nor version, has been able correctly to explain the Plate 1. Is a view of mounts Sinai and Horeb, taken phraseology, Deut. xxxiii. 3. Whoever doubts this at a considerable distance up mount Sinai. It shews will be convinced on consulting the long note of Dr. the peaks of those mountains ; the convent of St. Geddes, in loc. As the subject is geographical, let Catharine over the place of the burning bush ; the us try the effect of geography on it. Comparing the garden of the monks, &c. Deity to the sun, the poet says, “Jehovah over Si- Plate 2. Is another view of mount Sinai, from a nai dawned ; Sinai is the mountain of that name: And further distance, shewing its appearance as seen from he rose like the sun over Seir, taken as the general the valley wherein the convent stands. name of the promontory, to us, (Sep. Onk. Syr. Vulg.] The upper figure is a map of Sinai, as actually He shone over mount Paran, taken for the mountains walked over by Niebuhr ; whose track is marked on at the extremity of the base of Sinai, where the camp it. A. the station from whence he delineated the first of Israel was in the valley of Paran (or, those on the view. B. the station of the second view.

EXPLANATION OF THE PLATE OF UNCLEAN ANIMALS. LEVITICUS XI. 4.

EVERY naturalist must arrange those animals which horse and the ass, are unclean: Fissipedes, or anihe professes to study according to the peculiarities mals of hoofs divided into two parts, are clean; but of their formation; and among the most conspicuous then this division must be entire not partial, effective of their members he will always reckon those which not apparent; and besides its external construction, are adapted to motion, the legs and feet. These ap- its internal, its anatomical construction, must also be pear to have been the medium of distinction adopted correctly correspondent to this formation. Moreover, no less by Moses of old than by Linnæus of late ; animals whose feet are divided into more than two for indeed the Mosaic line of permission and exclu. parts are unclean; so that the number of their toes, sion of animals for food, &c. is drawn by means of as three, four, or five, is an entire rejection of them, those divisions which nature has appointed to their whatever other quality they may possess. feet.

Such appears to me to be the principle of the LeSolipedes, or animals of one hoof, such as the vitical distinction of animals clean and unclean, so far

[graphic][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][subsumed][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »