Page images

9 And Moses said untom Joshua, said to him, and fought with AmaChoose us out men, and go out, lek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur, fight with Amalek: to-morrow I went up to the top of the hill. will stand on the top of the hill 11 And it came to pass, when Mowith n the rod of God in my hand, ses o held up his hand, that Israel 10 So Joshua did as Moses had prevailed: and when he let down

his hand, Amalek prevailed.

m Called Jesus. Acts 7. 45. Hebr. 4. 8. nch. 4. 20.

o Jam. 5. 16.

Hebrews were now laden. But how. Inouvs, Jesus, by which name Joshua is ever this was, certain it is that we find twice called in the New Testament, viz. not the slightest hint of any provocation Acts, 7. 45. Heb. 4. 8. In Num. 13. 9, given by the Israelites for the attack he is called 'Oshea. The name of this now wantonly made upon them, which distinguished personage in the sacred it appears from Deut. 25. 18, was not story here occurs for the first time, but conducted in a style of open and manly his courage and discretion had before this warfare, but in a mean and cowardly become known to Moses, and he does manner, by falling upon their rear, and not hesitate, under divine suggestion, smiting the faint and feeble who could to confide to him the conduct of this neither make resistance or escà pe ; first military action. Whether Moses “Remember what Amalek did unto thee in this had an eye to his future station, by the way, when ye were come forth and designed to afford him an opporout of Egypt; how he met thee by the tunity for that preliminary training way,

and smote the hindmost of thee, which his destined services would reeven all that were feeble behind thee, quire, we know not; but we may safewhen thou wast faint and weary: and ly say that God had such an end in he feared not God.' The last clause is view, and accordingly now entered him emphatically added, because such an in- upon that course of action which should vasion of the chosen people under these best qualify him for the arduous duties circumstances was a virtual defiance to of his subsequent leadership of Israel. that power which had so lately destroy. He was now ordered to draw out a de. ed the Egyptians. This fact explains tachment of the choicest spirits from the deep resentment which God himself the many thousands of Israel, and with expresses on the occasion, and which, them to give battle on the morrow to by a positive statute, he transmits to the Amalekites.—1 And Moses, Aaron, Israel. “Therefore it shall be, when the and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Lord thy God hath given thee rest from of the Hur here mentioned we only know all thine enemies round about, in the from 1 Chron. 2. 18, that he was the son land which the Lord thy God giveth of Caleb, the son of Hezron, the son of thee for an inheritance to possess it, Pharez, the son of Judah. But whether that thou shalt blot out the remem. this Caleb was the same with the faith. brance of Amalek from under heaven; ful spy of that name, is more than can thou shalt not forget it.' The same of- be positively determined. These then fence is accounted more or less heinous went to the summit of the hill, but for in the eyes of heaven according to the a different purpose than merely that of greater or less degrees of light against being idle spectators of the coming conwhich it is committed.

test, as appears from the next verse. 9. And Moses said unto Joshua. 11. It came to pass, when Moses held Heb. 90777 Yehoshua, properly Savior, up his hand, &c. It is not here expressfrom the root yun yasha, to save. Gr. I ly affirmed that Moses held any thing

in his hand, but as it is clear from v. 9, sword in that of Joshua; the embattled that he took the rod of God with him, host in the valley below, and the praythere can be no doubt that this was to ing band on the mount above, all were be held up as a kind of banner or signal necessary in the divine economy to the to be seen by the warring host below, grand result. In vain had Moses prayed and to operate as a continual incentive if Joshua had not fought ; in vain had to their valor and prowess, while en- Joshua fought if Moses had not prayed. gaged in the contest. The sight of that The whole narrative, however, concluwonder-working wand, which had al- sively shows, that God designed to teach ready wrought such glorious things for Israel that the hand of Moses, with them, which had summoned the plagues whom they had just been chiding, conof Egypt, which had opened a path tributed more to their safety than their through the trackless waters, and which own hands; his rod more than their had so recently smitten the rock for weapons; and accordingly the success their refreshment, could not fail to nerve fluctuates as he lifts up or lets down his their arms with new vigor every time hands. What can more strikingly illustheir eye was turned towards it. Yet trate the principle, that the triumphs of a moment's reflection would convince the church depend upon the prayers

of them, as it will us, that there was no its friends? Accordingly as they are intrinsic virtue in the rod to produce more or less strong in faith and servent this effect; that it derived all its efficacy in supplication, the victory wavers to from the divine appointment, from its their side or that of their enemies. And being a visible symbol of that unseen the same holds true of the individual. succor and strength which God was the lesson here intended to be taught pleased to minister to his militant serv. is that men ought always to pray and ants fighting his own battle and main. not to faint;' it is, that men should taining his glory. But it was evident- pray every where, lifting up holy hands ly proper that, in order to secure the without wrath or doubting. The Chris. divine cooperation on such an occa- tian warfare will be attended with but sion, fervent prayer should be united little success, unless it be waged in the with external appliances; and accord. spirit and practice of unceasing, earnest ingly we have every reason to believe prayer. And in this struggle let us be that the uplifted rod was merely an cheered by the consideration that we accompaniment of the earnest interces- do not engage in this holy war unassistsions which breathed from the lips and ed and alone. The faithful servants of hearts of the venerable trio convened God, our brethren, have ascended the on the summit of the hill. Such also hill of spiritual prayer, and are imploris the view taken of the incident by ing blessings upon our efforts And the Chal. and Jerus. Targums; “When not only so; he who marshals the ranks Moses held up his hands in prayer, the of the sacramental host, who leads house of Israel prevailed; and when he them on to battle, and fights in their let down his hands from prayer, the behalf, sustains another office equally house of Amelek prevailed. We have important. He has gone up to the sumhere then grouped together that hal. | mit of the everlasting hills, and is there lowed combination of agencies which employed in prevalent intercessions for ought never to be separated, and in their success. A greater than Moses which safety and success are ever to be is mediating for them on the mount found ; viz. the acknowledgment of above, and his hands never grow heavy heaven and the use of appointed means. and weary, and faint. Of him it can The rod in the hand of Moses, and the l never be said, that though the spirit is

12 But Moses' hands were heavy ;| lek and his people with the edge and they took a stone, and put it of the sword. under him, and he sat thereon: 14 And the LORD said unto Moand Aaron and Hur stayed up his ses, p Write this for a memorial in hands, the one on the one side, and a book, and rehearse it in the ears the other on the other side; and of Joshua : for 9 I will utterly put his hands were steady until the

9 Numb, 24. 20. Deut. 25, 19, going down of the sun.

1 Sam. 15. 3, 7. & 30. 1, 17. 2 Sam. 8. 12. 13 And Joshua discomfited Ama- Ezra 9. 14.

Pch. 34. 27.

willing, the flesh is weak. “He ever verance may sometimes be brought. liveth to make intercession for us' - Of the occasions our consciences must liveth in the spiritual undecaying vital. judge, but there can be no doubt that ity of his love, and the vigor of his ad circumstances do sometimes occur in vocacy for his people.

Christian experience that call upon us 12. Moses' hands were heavy. That for services equally trying to the flesh; is, felt heavy to him, were wearied by occasions when we should be unfaithful being kept so long in the same uplifted to cur own souls did we not hold out in posture. The infirmity of nature pre- prayer and inward groanings far beyond vailed over the promptings of piety. the point where nature would plead for In this emergency recourse is had to respite and repose. artificial supports. A stone is put un 13. And Joshua discoinsited Amalek der him for a seat, and Aaron and Hur and his people. That is, the Amalekites become living stays for his arms. In and the people of other clans which had performing this office, however, we do confederated with them in this assault. not suppose that both his hands were Junius and Tremellius, however, make held up on either side at the saine time; the latter clause exegetical of the form. for in this case we cannot see but the er ; ' discomfited Amalek, even his

peo. arms of Aaron and Hur would eventually ple.? become as weary, and as much need 14. Write this for a memorial in a support as those of Moses. The main book, &c. The memorandum or memoobject of holding up his arms was that rial which Moses was commanded to the rod might be held up. This he no write, was undoubtedly the very words doubt shifted from time to time from contained in the final clause of the verse, one hand to the other, and Aaron and and therefore the Hebrew term trans. Hur each of them successively aided in lated for should be rendered 'that;' holding that hand which was next to 'Write and rehearse it in the ears of them, and thus relieved both him and Joshua that I will utterly put out,' &c. each other. In our native feebleness

-1 Rehearse it in the ears of Joshua. and proneness to languish under the This record was especially to be impressure of spiritual duties, recourse pressed, and, as it were, engraven, upon may be innocently had to adventitious the memory of Joshua, inasmuch as he aids in keeping alive the spirit of devo was the destined successor of Moses, tion. Were steady until the going as head of the chosen people, and it doun of the sun. Heb. 1727724 amu was all important for him to be in. na!, steadiness. Even though thus sup- formed what particular tribes or naported, yet so long a continuance in one tions they were with whom the Israel fixed posture must have been a severe ites were not to make any treaties, but trial to his patience, and it impressively rather to devote to utter extermination. shows us to what a test our pious perse. It would serve also as a very season

out the remembrance of Amalek 16 For he said, Because the LORD from under heaven.

hath sworn that the LORD will 15 And Moses built an altar, and have war with Amalek from genecalled the name of it JEHOVAH. ration to generation. nissi : able pledge and assurance that he should important item was the inscription, or be victorious in the career of his future rather, the appellation, by which it was wars against the enemies of God's peo- to be known. The original term da ple. I will utterly put out the re- | nës, signifying primarily lifting up, exmembrance, &c. Heb. Dina na ma- altation, is applied also to a banner or hoh emheh, wiping I will wipe out. ensign, such as were usually lifted up The denunciation is awfully emphatic. conspicuously in a field of battle as a It declares that in process of time Ama- rallying-point to the assembled hosts. lek should be totally ruined and rooted In bestowing the name “Jehovah-nissi’ out, that he should be remembered only upon the altar, there is no doubt an in history. This was but meting out to allusion to the lifting up of the rod them the measure of destruction which of God as a banner or standard in this they themselves had meditated against action. The victory was achieved, not Israel, Their language was that re- by their own prowess, but by the power ported by the Psalmist, Ps. 83. 4, “Come, of Jehovah accompanying this uplifted and let us cut them off from being a banner, and therefore in commemoratnation; that the name of Israel may be ing the result of the conflict it was no more in remembrance.' God there. proper that they should recognise the fore determines not only to disappoint agency of the Most High evinced in them in that, but to cut off their name. their behalf through his appointed symIt was to be known for the encourage. bol. It was, in fact, virtually adopting ment of Israel, whenever the Amalek. the language of Israel in the Psalms, ites should be an annoyance to them, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us; but that sentence had irrevocably gone forth unto thy name, give the glory.' "We against them; they were a doomed will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the people ; and the chosen race should not name our God will we set up our fail at last to triumph over them. This banners.? sentence was executed in part by Saul, 16. Because the Lord hath sworn, 1 Sam. 15, and completely by David, &c. Heb. Because the hand de 38 1 Sam. 30. 2 Sam. 1. 1.-8. 12, after 179 al kës Yah, upon the throne Yah. which we never read so much as the very considerable doubt hangs over the name of Amalek. Thus are the cunning true interpretation of this clause. It taken in their own craftiness, and thus may be referred by the construction are designs of violence and blood turned either to the hand of Amalek, or to the back upon the heads of their contrivers. hand of the Lord. In the former case,

15, Called the name of it Jehovah. the import is; “Because the hand of nissi. Heb. 103 7779 Yehovah nissi, Amalek is upon (or against) the throne the Lord my banner. This was a grate of heaven, therefore the Lord will have ful acknowledgment to him to whom war,' &c, In the latter, the Lord's the glory of the recent victory was due. hand being upon the throne is equiva. Instead of rearing a monument in honor lent to the taking an oath declarative of Joshua or his brave associates, an of a purpose of irrevocable hostility altar for sacrificial and thank-offerings toward Amalek in all generations. If is erected to God, of which the most we adopt the former as the true sense,

heard of all that b God had done

WHEN - Jethro the priest of for Moses, and for Israel his people,


, '
a ch. 2. 16. & 3. 1.

o Ps. 44. 1. & 77. 14, 15. & 78. 4. & 105. 5, 43. & 106. 2, 8.

the implication is, that the attack made them. As it is clear that the lifting up by the Amalekites upon the Israelites of the rod in the hand of Moses was while they were under the tutelary con- the prominent incident in the whole duct of the cloudy pillar, was a virtual transaction, it is certainly natural to assault upon that sacred symbol itself, look for some allusion to that in the which they were taught to regard as words of the present record. We would the seat, throne, or dwelling-place of suggest then, with deference, whether Jehovah. This is by no means an im- the hand of Moses is not the hand inprobable interpretation, although it is tended in the passage. Because his certain that the older versions incline hand was upon, or towards, as the orig. rather in favor of the other. Thus, Chal. inal 33 al will admit, the heavens, or "With an oath this is spoken from the perhaps the cloudy pillar, which may face of the terrible (one), whose majes- have been near, and was perseveringly ty is upon the throne of glory ; that it sustained in that direction, therefore the shall come to pass that war shall be Lord assumes this contest as his own, waged from the face of the Lord against and declares perpetual war against the the men of the house of Amalek ; that devoted race who have ventured to he may consume them from the genera. provoke his hostility. How far the protions of the world. Arab. "Now have posed construction goes to free the pasI cause to swear by the throne, that sage from obscurity must be left to the the Lord shall have war against the judgment of the reader. Amalekites, &c. Syr. 'Lo, the hand upon the throne, the war of the Lord

CHAPTER XVIII. with Amalek.' This idea is still more 1. When Jethro, the priest of Midian, explicitly enounced in the old rabbinical &c. Lightfoot, in accordance with Aben work, Pirke Eliezer, c. 44, 'When God Ezra and Jarchi, is of opinion that this would root out and destroy all Amalek's account of Jethro's visit to Moses is in. seed, he stretched forth his right hand, serted out of its chronological order, and took hold on the throne of his glory, which would require its collocation be. and sware to root out and destroy all tween the tenth and eleventh verses of Amalek's seed out of this world and out the tenth chapter of Numbers. That it of the world to come. The Greek renders does not properly pertain to this part as if the reading of their text was differ- of the narrative, he argues, (1.) From ent from what it is at present; 'And Mo. the fact mentioned verse 12, that “Jethro ses built an altar to the Lord, and called took burnt-offerings and sacrifices for the name of it, The Lord my refuge ; God,' whereas the law respecting these becausc with a hidden hand (secretly) offerings was not yet given. (2.) From the Lord will war against Amalek from that mentioned in v. 13. 16, that ‘Moses generation to generation.' Vulg. “Be. sat to judge the people, and made them cause the hand upon the throne of the know the statutes of God and his law,' Lord, and the war of the Lord, shall be whereas these statutes and laws not against Amalek.' It would seem, per having yet been promulgated, Moses haps, that some of these renderings himself could not know them. (3.) It must yield the true sense, and yet we appears from Deut. 1. 9-15, that the are uot entirely satisfied with any of judges and rulers here mentioned, were,

« PreviousContinue »