Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAP. XV. 20, to the end.

Ifttving considered the song of Moses, we have here an account of the manner in which it was sung; and some circumstances that attended Iurael's march from the Red sea.

to A N" D Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, and X\. half sister of Moses, took a timbrel, or small drum, in her hand: and all the women went out after her with tim-> brels and with dances, tohich was the usual way of rejoicing in

31 those days. And Miriam answered them, that is, the men, saying, probably after every verse that they sung,* Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously ; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

32 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur, or F.tham, of which Shur might be a part; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. This was a great difficulty to them and

23 their cattle. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they [were] bitter : therefore the name of it was called Marah, that is, bitterness.

24 And the people, instead of looking up to God, ungratefully murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

25 And he cried unto the Lord'; and the Lord showed him a treer [which] when he had east into the waters, the waters" were made sweet: God could have done this with a word, but he chose to use means, to exercise the faith and submission of Moses and the Israelites: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance; he admonished them to take heed of murmuring, and to carry themselves more obediently for the Juture: end made this a statute, that if they would do so, he would be gracious to them i and there he proved them; tried their faith, by the want of water, and their obedience, by this

36 general command; And he said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the Lord that healeth thee; am able to heal and hel/i thee in body and soul, and to preserve thee from all evil., both present and future.^

27 And they came to Elim where [were] twelve wells of water, enough for themselves and their cattle, and threescore and ten palm trees, which were refreshing, both by thtir shade and their fruit; and they encamped there by the waters, which was one of the most pleasant spots in their journey. t

* This wa .i common method among the Israelites, and their temple worship was a good deal in tlils way.

r It was neces sary this precaution should he addrd: considering what God had done for them, they niig;ht expect he would bear with every thing, and not be displeaud with, nor punish their disobedience ; but here he declares Che contrary.

REFLECTIONS.

1. "\T7"^' 'carn nence' soon the most pleasing circumV V stances in life may be imbittered. The Israelites were very happy on the borders of the Red sea; wonderful miracles were wrought for them, and their enemies were quite destroyed: they entered into the wilderness, and there wanted water; but they could find none but bitter water. This is often the case of the Israel of God: when they have got rid of this or the other difficulty, or enemy, they think all is safe, and that there is no more danger: but the next stage of their journey tries their faith and their patience again. They see water, and expect comfort and refreshment in it, but meet with disappointment. Thus are we often pleased with expectations that only tantalize us. We should therefore not expect too much in this wilderness, should not be too fond of any creature enjoyment. If at any time we come to Elim, to wells of water, we should be thankful for it, but not take up our rest there; we should think of going forward. Let us keep Canaan in view, and the prospect of that will bear us through all the difficulties and hardships of the wilderness.

2. Let us take encouragement from God's promises to Israel, humbly to hope, that if we hearken to the voice of the Lord our God, and do that which is right in his sight, he will bring none of those diseases upon us, which he brought upon the Egyptians; that we shall find him ready to bless us, and to secure us from those evils, which he brings upon his enemies. God's commandments are life to them that find them, and health to all their bones. Let us hope that he will heal our diseases, and crown our lives with loving kindness. But if not, he will in a spiritual sense be our physician, the Lord that healeth us; he will rectify our disorders, make afflictions useful, and subservient to the health of our souls; and at length bring us to the heavenly Canaan.

CHAP. XVI.

77if la»t chapter concluded with an account of Israel beihg easy and happy at Elim, but here we find them in the wilderness, in difficulties and straits. They murmurfor want of meat; God promises to provide for them; he accomplishes the promise ; and gives directions about the management of their new provisions,

1 AND they took their journey from F.fim, and all the conJLJL gregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which [is] between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt,,/«sf a month from their coming out of Egypt; so long the provisions lasted which they brought with them.

2 And the whole congregation, that is, the greatest part of the v children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the J* wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord, by any of the plagues, in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, [and] when we did eat bread to the full ;* for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Ungrateful people ! thus to censure Moses and Aaron, who had been instruments of such deliverances, and whose hearts .were full of kindness to them.

4 Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain, not fire and brimstone, which they might justly have expected, but bread from heaven for you, that is, manna, "whereof they made themselves bread; it shall fall down from heaven, in the manner of rain ; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate, an omer, every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no, whether they will be drawn Jo obedience

5 hereby, or still continue obstinate and refractory. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day of the week, they shall prepare [that] which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt, and not we, as you say, to kill you

7 with hunger: And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord, the glorious appearance of God in the cloud, Cv. 10.) for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord : and what [are] we, that ye murmur againsf.us? We are but instruments that God makes use of in this great work ; he is the principal author; therefore your murmurings reflect more

t upon him than us. And Moses said, [This shall be,] when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what [are] we? your murmurings [are] not against us, but against the Lord.

9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near, in the place of public worship, before the Lord : for he hath heard your murmur

10 ings. And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud, with an extraordinary brightness.

11 12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye

• Probablv they had nor inch plentr in Egypt, nor did they think it, a (rood, wbjlc they were ilavra there i but their Impatience and fretfuli>«» m»d» lhsmi*y this.

Vol. I.. Mm

shall be filled with bread ; and ye shall know that I [am] tfilr

Lord your God, ye shall have fresh proofs'of my power and faithfulness.

13 . And it carhe to pass, that at even, the quails, featheredfowls, came up, and covered the camp : and in the morning the dewr 'under which the manna was hid, lay round about the host.

Xi And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness [there lay] a small round thing, [as]

15 small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw [it,] they said one to another, It [is] manna, or, What is this? for they wist not what it [was.] And Mo^es said unto them, This [is] the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat, the portion which God hath given you.

16 This [is] the thing which the Lcrd hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer, about five pints, for every man, [according to] the number of your persons; take ye every man for [them] which [are] in

17 his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered,

18 some mote, some less. And when they did mete [it] with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack they gathered every man according to his eating, every master of a family according to

19 the number of his family. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning; what they could not eat was to be made away with, to prevent their distrust in God's care and goodness

20 in giving them more. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them, was angry at this perverseness, this unbelief and disobe.

Sl dience. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating : and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. Hereby God taught them diligence in providing food while they had time and means, and to depend daily upon his providence.

22 And it came to pass, [that] on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man rf] and all the. rulers of the congregation came and told Moses, that they might receive directions from him how to order this their double portion.

23 And he said1 unto them, This [is that] which the Lord hath said to the patriarchs of old,' Tomorrow [is] the rest of the holy sabbath anto the Lord ; a plain intimation, that the sabbath was observed before the covenant at Sinai: bake [that] which ye will bake [today,] and seethe that ye will seethe, that ye may not have it to do on the sabbath; and that which re

• They put it into a common stoclt ; ami though some gathered more, and some less, yet, when measured out, it was just the quantity that was wanted. The apostle applies this to the contributions of christians, that they should impart to those who need, 1 Cor. ?iii. »4» ■ j.

t It does not appear that Moses had lold the people to do this; Mt. to their surtaSie* w.hea they had gathered the usual quantity, there was as much more left.

24 maineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did

2 5 not stink, neither was there any worm therein.* And Moses said, Eat that today, which ye gathered yesterday; for today [is] a sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find it in

26 the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on. the seventh

27 day, [which is] the sabbath, in it there shall be none. Arid it came to pass, [that] there went out [some] of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.

2.8 And the Lord was displeased with them, and said unto Moses, that he might say it to these people, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? eapecially the important law

29 of keeping the sabbath? See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days : abide ye every man in his place, in the camp, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day, to gatlier man.

30 na, or to do any servile work. (Lev, xxiii! 3.) So the people

31 rested on the seventh day from gathering manna. And the house of Israel, called the name thereof Manna ; which was taken from the question they asked, What is it? and it [was] like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it, before it was baked, [was] like wafers [made] with honey, but when dressed, it was like fresh oil, Numb. xi. 8.

22 And Moses said, This [is] the thing which the Lord com. mandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations j that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt; that they may see how good God is, and /tow unreasonable your

33 murmurings are. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot,t and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. Tins was another

34 miracle, that it kept so long without putrefaction. As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept J that is, in the ark, where the testimony or two tables wliich testified or declared God's will to the people, were to be put.\

35 And the children of Israel did eat manna near forty years, until they came to a land inhabited ; they did eat manna, un

36 til they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. Now an omer [is] the tenth [part] of an ephah.||

• This was another extraordinary providence, and showed the dine rence between doing 'a thing by God's command and blessing, and doing it contrary to these.

1" Paul tel Is us, it was a golden pot. Reb. ix. 4.

t Though this is related here to make a full end of the story of the manna, yet it was *ot done till after the giving of the law, Deut. x. 5.

J An rphah was about three pecks, or forty eight pints.

« PreviousContinue »