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The Introduction to the Blessing of the Twelve Tribes.
THE introduction to the blessing of the tribes by Moses before his death will next demand our attention. The passage, I admit, is involved in some obscurity; but we have the opinion of two great critics of modern times, that it relates not to the then condition of the twelve tribes, but to the general extension of the blessing over the whole race of mankind at a future era. I shall transcribe the translation of bishop Horsley, referring to his sermons and " Biblical Criticism" for its corroboration. 2. Jehovah came from Sinai; †
His uprising was from Seir:
He displayed his glory from Mount Paran,
And from the midst of the myriads came forth the Holy One,t On his right hand streams of fire.
3. O loving Father of the peoples! All the saints are in thy hand;
They are seated at thy feet,
And have received of thy doctrine;
4. To us he prescribed a law,
Jacob is the inheritance of the Preacher.
5. He shall be king in Jeshurun,
When the chiefs of the peoples shall gather themselves. together,
In union with the tribes of Israel.
at Sinai." There we saw the God of Israel.
"Jehovah came from Sinai❞—or "
came forth visibly
Houbigant and Bishop Horsley.
+ Deut. xxxiii. 2.
Or with Dr. Kennicott," And he came from Meribah-Kadesh."
also, and at "Mount Paran" "his glorious light shone forth before our eyes,"-" above the brightness of the And the Jehovah spoken of, the God of Israel, whom Moses and the elders saw, is described, as "the Holy One with his myriads." A fiery stream issues forth from before him, the usual denunciation of vengeance to the enemies of God! He is addressed, if we retain bishop Horsley's translation, as the loving father, not of one nation only, but of" the peoples." All the saints are in his hand, that is, all the sanctified or consecrated objects of redemption, which is equivalent to "the woman and her seed,”—“ Abraham and his seed," of former prophecies. These are all placed by God the Father in the hand of the Son: "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me." And he is their teacher; "they sit," as disciples, at his feet. That is, the elect of God in all nations, and in all ages of the world, are contemplated as gathered together in one under the great Redeemer, their head.
In subserviency to this great work he now comes forth from his invisible glory to prescribe a law to the church of Israel, which is to be a shadow of good things to come. This nation is henceforth to be his particular inheritance on earth; they are to be the depositaries of future revelations, and through their instrumentality he means to act upon the rest of mankind.-"The inheritance of the
"The subject of the poetical description, in this stanza, is the appearance of the Shechinah. Of this we have no particular description; and therefore we know only, in general, that it was light. But is it not probable that it was distinguished from other lights by many peculiarities in its appearance, besides its degree of brightness? Is it improbable, that what the first idolators substituted for it, the sun, actually bore some faint resemblance of it? That the Shechinah, therefore, was a mass of unparalleled splendour, shooting out long rays in all directions," &c.-BIB. CRITICISMS.
preacher :" Bishop Horsley has taken great pains to illustrate the propriety of translating the Hebrew term л, both in this place and in Gen. xxxv., 11, by the term preacher." Preacher is a term, perhaps, hardly sufficient to express the meaning of the word. It denotes a person who calls, or solemnly convokes together a multitude, in order to address or instruct them. As applied to the Saviour, it seems to designate him as effectually calling his people by his Spirit" in due season," and thus attracting them to him to receive his instructions. He is the great CALLER, and they are said in Scripture to be "called according to his purpose."-" Us," says the apostle, "whom he hath called not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles." So again, when he comes in the visions of the Revelation, they that are with him are said to be "called and chosen and faithful." "He shall send his angels, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds."
It is finally declared in the passage before us, that the Preacher, who then chose Israel for his peculiar possession, would be one day known in Israel, when that nation should be in a state of great prosperity, for this appears to be the meaning of Jeshurun, -would be known as their king, and that, too, at a time, when the chiefs of the peoples of the nations of the earth would be gathered in union with the tribes of Israel. And I conceive we shall not hesitate to conclude the time in the prophet's contemplation to be the same which the last oracle we consulted embraced, when it said: "Shout for joy, ye nations, with his people, when he shall have avenged the blood of his servants; when he shall have rendered vengeance to his adversaries; and shall have absolved his land and his people,"
In this connexion, the short blessing pronounced on Judah, among the rest of the tribes, will appear very significant.
And this was the blessing of Judah: For he said:
Hear, O Jehovah! the voice of Judah,
And bring HIM to his people.
HIS hand shall contend for them,
And shall be their help against their enemies! *
In the same connexion, too, we are probably to take the magnificent conclusion of this prophecy :
There is none like the God of Jeshurun!
He rideth on the heavens to thy aid,
And he will thrust out the enemy before thee,
And Israel shall dwell in security,
Alone shall be' the fountain of Jacob.
On a land of corn and wine,
Shall his heavens let fall the dew!
Happy art thou, O Israel!
What people is so saved as thou? +
In Jehovah is the shield of thy help,
• Bishop Horsley thus:
"And this for Judah. And he said,
Hear, O Jehovah, the voice of Judah.
.bring thou to him תביאנו And the mighty one of his people ואל עמו
Great for himself shall be his power,
And thou shalt be his help from his enemies."
Or, who is like thee, a people saved, or rendered victorious.
Thine enemies shall fail before thee,
This might be supposed to refer to the first possession of Canaan under Joshua; the prosperity and security of Israel, on that occasion, however, must be acknowledged to have little corresponded with this magnificent language: -The fountain of Jacob flowed not alone and uninterrupted. Being previously taught, therefore, that there is a future possession of the promised land foretold, we can hardly refuse to apply to that era the fulfilment of this glorious prophecy; and in this connexion, perhaps, subsequent predictions will enable us to discern in the 26th verse something more than a metaphorical description of the exertion of the invisible powers of Providence. "He rideth on the heavens to thy aid, and on the clouds in his glorious might."-What if he, who "came at Sinai"who "shone forth at Seir" and " displayed his glories at Mount Paran"-should be one day seen, so that every eye shall behold him "coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory!"
The Prophecies of Balaam.
I SHALL be excused, if I include among the oracles of the age of Moses the prophecies of Balaam. Their direct testimony to the second advent may not indeed, at first sight, be considered as very great; yet some light is certainly thrown upon the future destinies of that extraordinary people whom God was then separating from the