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disappointed ; 80 we may conclude, that they separated in anger and discontent, as is usually the case in all friendships, which are founded upon wickedness.
Balaam's prophecies shew that the people of Israel were really under the particular protection of Gov); and the completion of them, which happened in the course of time, proved the prescience of the ALMIGHTY. Though the Israelitish nation was separated from the rest of the nations as his peculiar people, and had the LORD God dwelling among them, He did not entirely hide Himself from the rest of the world ; it was their idolatrous practices that kept the other nations at a distance from Him., . The Lord was ever to be found by such as sought him with an humble and pious mind.
We e may easily suppose, that so covetous a man as Balaam could not lose the riches he went in pursuit of to Moab,; without feeling a great disappointment. He had not willingly frustrated the wishes of Balak, and as for the Israelites, he regarded them as enemies; to be revenged on them, and to reinstate himself in the fa. vour of the king of Moab, as we learn from another chapter, he formed a device, which it seems effected the reconciliation he sought for. It was this*; he advised the king of Moab to send some of the Midianitish women among the Israelites, with a view to draw them to their idolatrous worship, and by this means expose them to the displeasure of God. This artifice succeeded, for many of them suffered themselves to be deluded by these strange women, even so far as to assist at the sacrifices which they offered to Baal Peort ; and the anger, of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He commanded Moses to hang up the principal of. fenders. . The Lord also sent a plague among the oth Numb. xxxi. 16.
+ Numb. xxv. 3, 4. F3
people, people, which carried off about * 24,000 of those who had committed the great offence. At length Phineas, the son of Eleazar the priest, who was very zealous for the honour of God, slew a prince of the house of Si. meon, who was a principal transgressor ; for which God rewarded Phineas by stopping the plague, and giving him a promise, that as long as the priesthood dasted, it should continue in his family.
+ Shortly after the plague Moses by God's commánd, again numbered the Israelites; and there were of men fit to bear arms, 601,730; of the Levites 23,000 males ; the Lord then ordered Moses to fix the lot of each tribe, previous to their taking possession of the promised land: amongst theni was not one man of those that were numbered at mount Sinai, excepting Moses himself, Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the two faithful spies.
In a short time after Phineas had performed the action above mentioned, Moses was commanded by the LORD to make war against the Midianites with a small army; he accordingly selected 1000 men from each tribe, who, with Phineas at their head, made a great slaugh. ter. In this battle féll the proplet Balaam, who, it is supposed, had returned to Midian, for the purpose of giving his diabolical advice to Balak; his fate, in be. ing killed amongst the Midianites, was such as he justly deserved, and his associating with those on whom he had pronounced curses, shewed that he doubted the power of the LORD to execute, what his own mouth had been obliged to foretel.
Moses and Eleazar the priest went in procession to meet the victors, who brought the prey and the spoil unto them to be divided ; when Moses discovered, that contrary to the express commanded of God, they had * Numb. xxv. 9.
† Numb. xxvi.
saved all the women and children alive : for which Moses reprehended them, and caused all the captives to be slain immediately. This may at first sight appear an act of cruelty, but we must consider that the women were in this case the principal aggressors, and that they would certainly have introduced idolatry amongst the Israelites ; and had the children been permitted to live, it is likely they would have revolted from the Israelites, and caused great confusion when they were grown up : by dying innocent they were saved from the curse of God, and he doubtless had mercy on them.
Moses, by Divine appointment, ordered the prey to be divided into two parts ; one for the 12,000 who undertook the war, the other for the congregation, that is the people in general. This division extended only to such things as might be valuable in stocking the land they were going to possess ; for the plate, jewels, and other articles, which each man took, he was permitted to reserve for himself.
Moses divided to each tribe its share, and then left it' to the heads of the tribes to distribute amongst thema selves according to their families. God was to have a tribute out of it, as a part set aside for holy purposes in acknowledgement of his sovereignty. The soldiers, however, were particularly favoured in this distribution, for out of the people's share Gon required one in 50; out of the soldiers' share one in 500 only. The soldiers tribute was given to the priests, the people's portion to the Levites.
When the officers called the men by their names, there was not one missing ; the people therefore offered a willing offering of costly things, in token of gratitude for the protection of Divine Providence; these were brought to the tabernacle, to be kept as memorials, that on future occasions the people might be encouraged to trust in God's merciful protection.
The Israelites took from the Midianites 676,000 sheep, 72,000, beeves, 61,000 asses. The Israelites had now got possession of the country that lay on the Midiantish side of Jordan ; and the tribes of Reuben and Gad, together with the half tribe of Manasseh, observing that the land was fertile and abounding in good pascurage, desired Moses to permit them to settle there, as the place was particularly commodious for them, as they had large flocks of cattle; this Moses consented to, od their promising that they would go over, and assist their brethren in the conquest of the land of Canaan.
As the people were now in the neighbourhood of Canaan, and just ready to enter upon the possession of it, Moses took this opportunity to appoint the limits of what they pere to coóquer, and the distribution of it by way of lot, which was committed to the future ma-"; nagement of Joshua and Eleazar, at the head of the chiefs of each tribe, and it was settled in suchi a madner, that no jealousies or disputes ever happened after... wards among the people on this subject.
In the division of the country, Moses assigned fortyeight cities, together with their suburbs, for the Levites to dwell in'; and ordered, that six of these should be made cities of refuge, to which the innocent manslayer, who had killed his neighbour by chance, might flee and live ; but the wilful murderer was to be put to death; apd Moses made it a law, that in all capital cases, no person should be convicted without two witnesses.
SECTION XXIII. MOSES HÄS A VIEW OF THE PROMISED LAND, AND AP,
POINTS JOSHUA AS HIS SUCCESSOR.
From Deut. Chap. xxxii. Numb. xxvii. AND the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.
And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be ga. thered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.
For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desart of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes : that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin.
And Moses besought the LORD at that time, saying, O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand; for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I
pray thee let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
But the LORD would not hear him: and the Lord said unto him, Let it suffice thee, speak no more unto me of this matter.
Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thipe eyes : for thou shalt pot go over this Jordan.
And Moses said, Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may, bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD bé not as sheep which have no shepherd.
And the LORD said unto “Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of: Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him :
And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation : and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, F 5