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gregation went forth, without the camp, to meet them. Their commanders received a severe reproof from Moses for not having made the work of extermination more effectual; and he gave out orders on the spot that all the male children, and the women, excepting those of the latter who had not been instrumental in leading the Israelites into sin, should be put to death. The fatal sentence was carried into execution; and while we recoil in imagination at the scene, we must not forget that He who is just and holy in all his ways, had peculiar reasons for directing the removal of these persons from life in this summary manner. He saw it necessary thus to secure his people against further and most ensnaring temptations. Many of the victims of the order had already forfeited their lives by their numerous and abominable transgressions; and with regard to others who were comparatively innocent, and the children, God would see that exact and impartial justice should be done them in the future world. He has a right to dispose of the lives of his creatures as he pleases; nor is it at all more difficult to be reconciled with his character that he should, as in this case, cause death by the sword which a human arm wields under his direction, than, at other times, by the lightning, the earthquake, or the volcano,-by disease or pestilence,-instrumentalities which his own hand more immediately puts in motion. We must recollect,

too, that while carrying the sentence of divine justice into effect, the Israelites had no right whatever to induge any malevolent or cruel feelings. They would have been most criminal in putting any of the captives to death, if they had not received from God an express injunction to that effect; and in doing it, we have every reason to believe, that no barbarity was manifested on their part, nor needless sufferings inflicted.

There was a ceremonial purification to be performed by all the soldiers who had killed any person, or touched any dead body; of themselves, their captives, and their raiment. Seven days were emnployed in it, and when completed they were permitted to come into the camp.


Moses then, in accordance with a divine command, assisted by Eleazar, and the chiefs of the people, made an estimate of one part of the booty which had been taken from the Midianites, and was still preserved. It amounted to 32,000 persons; 675,000 sheep; 72,000 beeves; and 61,000 In addition to this, there was a great quantity of rich goods and ornaments. The persons, sheep, and cattle he divided into two equal parts, one of which was given to the soldiers who had been on the expedition, and the other to the people who remained at home. Out of what the soldiers received, he ordered a five hundredth part to be given to Eleazar the high-priest, as an offering

to the Lord; and of what the people received, a fiftieth part to be given to the Levites. It was all intended for the Lord's service; the persons to be employed, under the direction of the priests and Levites, and the sheep and cattle to be offered up in sacrifice, or for the use of the Levites.

An enumeration was also made by the officers who conducted the expedition, of the number of men under their command who had returned in safety. Not one was missing. This wonderful preservation of life, considering the many battles which they must have fought, and the dangers to which they were exposed, was a most signal proof that God had afforded them his peculiar protection and blessing. They felt it to be so; and the different commanders, while making the statement to Moses, brought with them, in token of the general gratitude, an offering to the Lord. It was a portion of the spoils that all had taken, of various kinds of golden ornaments, amounting to 16,750 shekels, and was received by Moses and Eleazar, and deposited in the tabernacle.

Balaam, as we have seen, was slain among those whom he had instigated to seduce the Israelites into grievous sin and idolatry, and by the very people whom he hoped to ruin. "The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, be shall fall himself into his own pit."

Part 2.




The economy of divine Providence is wonderful. God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. When he chooses to overtake and punish the guilty, there is no way of escape. The very means employed to carry into effect the designs of the wicked, as it is thought sagaciously and safely, are often the ones which God causes to produce detection, and recoil upon their own heads.

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There is no safe course, but that of doing what is right. Every departure from this is dangerous There is no hope of success in contending against He taketh the wise in their own the Almighty. craftiness." Balaam's end teaches this most forcibly. Let the lesson, my young friend, not be lost upon you.


Reuben and Gad. Apportionment of Canaan. Cities of refuge.

The tribes of Reuben and Gad, at this time, made a request of Moses, which at first excited within him great apprehension. They kept large

flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and seeing that the land on the east of the Jordan, which had been conquered by the Israelites, was well adapted for pasturage, they were attracted by its advantages, and desired to have it as their inheritance. Moses expostulated with them on what he con ceived to be the sinfulness and folly of their request He told them it would be very wrong, while the other tribes were crossing the Jordan, and entering upon their career of conquest, and ready to expose themselves to all its toils and dangers, for them to remain in ease and security, and take no part in the common cause.

Such a course, he added, would discourage the rest, and lead them to abandon the enterprise altogether. He reminded them of the conduct of their fathers at Kadesh-barnea, when the spies attempted to dissuade the people from taking possession of Canaan, and how the anger of the Lord was kindled against them. "And behold," said he, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord toward Israel. For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people."

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But they stated in reply, that it was no part of their design to shrink at all from their full share of the common toils and dangers. While their families and possessions remained on this side of the

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