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and they endeavored, as we shall see, to hire Balaam to curse them. For this conduct there was a divine ordinance afterwards enacted, that none of the Moabites, or Ammonites, should become members of the civil community of the Jews, even to the tenth generation.

After their victory over Sihon, and the conquest of his country, the Israelites proceeded on their march, by the way of Bashan. This lay east of the Jordan, and west of the mountains of Gilead. On its north was mount Hermon, and on its south the brook Jabbok. It was an exceedingly fruitful region, remarkable for its oaks, rich pastures, and -a man of fine cattle. Its king, whose name was among the last of the race of the giants,immense stature and bodily strength. His bedstead, made of iron, is described as being nine cubits, or thirteen feet and a half, in length; so that, whatever allowance is made for the differ ence between this and his height, he must have been a giant indeed.

Og, was

Having collected all his forces, Og came out against the Israelites; and gave them battle at Edrei, a city north of the mountains of Gilead. Moses was told not to fear this powerful monarch, For I will deliver him," said nor his great army.

the Lord, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand." And such was the issue of the contest. The Israelites, defeating them, took all their

strongly fortified cities, sixty in number, besides a great many unwalled towns, and utterly destroyed the inhabitants; taking possession, however, for their own use, of the cattle and the spoil, and becorning masters of the whole land.

These wars of the Lord we must very carefully distinguish from those which have their origin in the proud and vindictive passions of man. Such wars can receive no justification from the example of the Israelites, in subduing and exterminating those nations on which they were directed thus to inflict the divine vengeance.

They were expressly commanded to do this, and at the same time to spare certain other nations. So that they acted from no impulse of their own, but followed always the orders of Moses, himself moving only in obedience to the injunctions of the Almighty.

When similar injunctions can be shown, at the present day; and armies advance, and their commanders give battle, in accordance with a voice from heaven, the destruction of man by his fellowman, while carrying on a bloody war to subserve the purposes of national glory, or the redress of national wrongs, may be considered as the path of duty.

Let every one examine this momentous subject with candor and serious deliberation; and pray that the spirit of peace, on the principles of the Gospel, may be rapidly and universally diffused



Encampment on the plains of Moab. Balak and Balaam.

We next find the children of Israel encamped on the plains of Moab, east of the Jordan, and over against Jericho. Their late victories, with the entire conquest of two such extensive territories as those belonging to Sihon king of the Amorites, and to Og king of Bashan, were quickly noised abroad among the surrounding nations. Balak, the king of Moab, was well acquainted with the success of their arms, and trembled for the fate of his own dominions. It was true, indeed, that these powerful strangers had given, as yet, no indications of hostility against him or his people; having conducted towards them in the most peaceable and But he feared that this might friendly manner. only be the prelude to an attack the more overwhelming, because sudden and, at the moment, unexpected. It is not at all probable that he knew any thing of the divine command which had been given to the Israelites, not to molest his country ; and his fears had risen to such a height that he was quite overcome by them. He was sore afraid;-he was distressed because of the children of Israd; thus ffording a striking fulfillment of the prophetic

strains of the song which Moses and his country, men sang in triumph, after passing through the Red Sea.

"The nations hear thereof and tremble,
"Grief seizes on the dwellers in Philistia,
"The princes of Edom are amazed,
"The heroes of Moab are seized with dread,
"The dwellers in Canaan are melting away.
"Let fear and dread fall upon them,

"The terrors of death from thy mighty arm.
"Let them be motionless as a stone,
"Till thy people, O Lord, pass over,

"Till thy people pass, whom thou hast redeemed."

Balak sought to strengthen himself by an al liance with a neighboring nation, the Midianites. To bring this about he conferred with the chief men of that people; and set before them, in the strong language of his terror, the common danger to which they were all exposed. Now shall this company," said he,-this host of foreign invaders,"lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field."

The Midianites partook of the alarm; and yielded to his plan of procedure. This was, before commencing any hostile attack upon the Israelites, to bring in the power of sorcery to his aid. He supposed, and it was an opinion common among the heathen nations of antiquity, that the curse of some magician or enchanter, pronounced upon individu


als, or even upon a whole people, would frustrate their designs; weaken their power; fill them with dismay; and, in some cases, doom them to inevitable destruction.

He knew a person who had the reputation of possessing this mysterious influence; one who practised divination, and might, in this emergency, render him and his allies an essential service. It was Balaam, the son of Beor; whose fame, though he lived in the distant region of Mesopotamia on the banks of the Euphrates, had reached the ears of Balak. In connection with the Midianites, he despatched messengers to this distinguished individual, who were to present to him this urgent invitation. Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now, therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me peradventure I shall prevail that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed."


Some of the principal men of Moab, and of Midian, were selected to bear this message. Their rank would give it additional importance in the estimation of Balaam; and thus, as was hoped, together with the costly presents which they carried, propitiate his favor, and secure a compliance with the request. Having arrived at Pethor, the place

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