Page images


Have they softened your feelings, and subdued your will, and led you back to obedience and duty? Blessed result! Happy privilege! "My son," saith God himself to you, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him." (Moses did not faint. He was, if possible, more active and faithful in the service of God than ever.) "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."


Route after leaving Kadesh. Mount Hor. Death of Aaron.

The king of Edom refused utterly to grant the request of Moses; threatening that if a passage through his territories were attempted, he would resist it at the point of the sword. He even made a powerful array of his forces on the borders of the country, to deter the Israelites from making any movement that way.

Moses took a different route, and leaving Kadesh, followed the great valley El Araba, southward, to

wards the Red Sea. This course brought the children of Israel to Mount Hor, a part of Mount Seir, on the confines of Edom, at the foot of which they encamped. This mountain is in plain sight from Kadesh. One previous station is mentioned, that of Beroth Bene-Jaakan, the locality of which cannot be determined.

A scene of sorrow, deeply affecting to Moses and the whole body of the Israelites, was now approaching. Mount Hor was to be the tomb of Aaron, There the sentence of divine justice, that he should die before entering the promised land, was to be There he was to be seen,

carried into execution. for the last time, by those whose joys and sufferings he had shared for forty years, and who were bound to him by a host of endearing recollections. The people for whom he had so long prayed and labored; his brother, (the name alone recalls associations of thought beyond the power of description ;) his family, including his only surviving sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, were now to take of him their final farewell!

Such was the summons communicated to Moses and Aaron by God himself. They heard the warning voice: Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.” Afflicted brothers! The scene through which ye

rowful! Its solemnities will recall most vividly to your recollection, and to that of all the people, your late offence; so aggravated in the sight of God as to provoke this most affecting expression of his displeasure!

Moses receives the divine directions how to conduct the funeral of his brother. Mysterious funeral! when he who is to be entombed, himself walks in the procession, and takes a part in his own obsequies. The people are assembled to witness the mournful event. Who can describe the scene, as the venerable man, one hundred and twenty-three years of age, stands before them. They see in him their longtried friend. They recollect how meekly and wisely, during a protracted course of severe trials, he has borne, in connection with Moses, the office of their leader and guide. The splendid garments with which he is clad, remind them of the affecting relation in which he has so long stood to them, as the high-priest of the nation. But he wears these garments for the last time. The Urim and Thummim will no more give the divine response through his lips. He is never again, on the great day of atonement, to make expiation for the sins of the people. Another high-priest must enter the holy of holies, and complete the august and significant rites. Aaron is to be their high-priest no longer.

Amid such reflections, it is no exaggeration to suppose, that deep grief vervaded the assembly ;


that frequent tears were shed; and that many a sigh was raised which, floating in the air, fell mournfully on the ear of Aaron.

And how did he who was to leave them, sustain the parting interview? Was it too much for his soul of tenderness to endure? Did he give a last embrace to his family; and clasp his sons to his bosom; and, bending over them, invoke for them the divine protection? Did he lift up his trembling hands, before the whole congregation, and pronounce once more,-never again to do it,—the official blessing? "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee the Lord make his face shine upon thee, his and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." One cannot help thinking that he did all this; melt ed, indeed, into a soul-subduing grief, yet selfpossessed and tranquil.

Moses, the meanwhile, was standing by his brother in silent anguish! Who but himself could describe the conflict of emotions which agitated his breast, and which the last sad offices that he had now to perform, led him to struggle to control. He did, (we must believe,) control them. His mighty mind, aided by divine strength, is equal to the emergency. He leads Aaron from the assembly, and Eleazar, having been so directed, follows. In the sight Every eye is fixed on their course. of all the congregation, they ascend the mountain.

They reach the destined spot on its summit. Moses disrobes Aaron of his sacred vestments, and puts them upon his son Eleazar, now to be the high-priest of the nation. The last official duty is performed. The divine injunctions have all been obeyed. The crisis is at hand.

But Nature has first her mournful privilege to claim. A father, a son, a brother are there. They take their last farewell. The parting words are uttered. The parting look is given. Aaron commends his spirit to the God of his fathers, and calmly waits the issue. The touch of the Almighty is upon him. He sleeps serenely in the arms of death. Ilis soul is with the Angel of the Covenant.

Where was his tomb prepared? Was it near the spot where he died? Did a brother and a son lay his remains quietly in its silent seclusion, there to repose till the morning of the resurrection?—It might gratify our curiosity to know; but the divine record is silent. It leaves these things in obscurity. It only tells us that Aaron died and was buried; that Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount; and that thirty days were passed by the Israelites, in mourning the death of their lamented and venerable high-priest.

But tradition, perhaps correctly, professes to point out the place where the body of Aaron was laid. At the distance of two long days' journey north-east from Akaba, is a rivulet and valley, on

« PreviousContinue »