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the name of some famous king among the Moabites.”* Our Poole, who is a judicious and useful commentator, says that Sheth“ seems to be the name of some then eminent, though now unknown, place or prince in Moab, where there were many princes, as appears from Numb. xxiii. 6; Amos ii. 3: there being innumerable instances of such places or persons, sometimes famous, but now utterly lost as to all monuments and remembrances of them.” Vitringa, in his Commentary upon Isaiah, “conceives that the Idumeans were intended, the word Sheth signifying a foundation or fortified place, because they trusted greatly in their castles and fortifications.”+ But the Idumeans are mentioned afterwards: and it is probable, that as two hemistichs relate to them, two also relate to the Moabites; and the reason of the appellation assigned by Vitringa is as proper to the Moabites as to the Idumeans. It is common in the style of the Hebrews, and especially in the poetic parts of scripture, and we may observe it particularly in these prophecies of Balaam, that the same thing in effect is repeated in other words, and the latter member of each period is exegetical of the former, as in the passage before us: ‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh:' and then again, 'there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel :' and again afterwards, * And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies. There is great reason therefore to think, that the same manner of speaking was continued here, and consequently that Sheth must be the name of some eminent place or person among the Moabites ; ‘and shall smite the princes of Moab, and destroy all the sons of Sheth.'

* And Edom shall be a possession.'—This also was fulfilled by David ;- for he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David's servants,'-2 Sam. viii. 14. David himself, in two of his psalms, has mentioned toge

Nihil vero propius quam Seth nominatum fuisse regem aliquem eximium inter Moabitas.—Grot [Translated in the text.)

+ Non desisto ab hac sententia, vocem pop karkar in verbis Bileami certo significare destructionem, eversionem, vastationem ; etsi hæream in phrasi nw 'sa filiorum Seth, per quos secundum circumstantias loci intelligi puto Idumæos, voce nu appellative sumpta pro fundamento, sive loco munito, quod illi maxime arcibus uc munimentis suis fiderent.--Vitring. in Jesaiam, cap. 22, ver. 5, p. 641, vol. 1. [I have no doubt that the word "pop karkar, in the speech of Balaam, signifies, destruction, overthrow, do rastation, yet I hesitate as to the phrase, the children of Seth,' by whom, from the circumstances of the place, I conceive the Idumeans were intended; the word Sheth, being understood appellatively, as signifying, &c. as in the text.]

ther his conquest of Moab and Edom, as they are also joined together in this prophecy: 'Moab is my wash-pot, over Edom will i cast out my shoe,'—Psal. Ix. 8. cviii. 9. •Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies,' that is, for the Israelites. Seir is the name of the mountains of Edom, so that even their mountains and fastnesses could not defend the Idumeans from David and his captains. * And Israel shall do valiantly,' as they did particularly under the command of David, several of whose victories are recorded in this same 8th chapter of the second book of Samuel, together with his conquest of Moab and of Edom. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city;' not only defeat them in the field, but destroy them even in their strongest cities, or perhaps some particular city was intended, as we may infer from Psal. lx. 9. cviii. 10,-'Who will bring me into the strong city ? who will lead me into Edom ? And we read particularly, that Joab, David's general, ‘smote every male in Edom; for six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom,'-1 Kings, xi. 15, 16

We see how exactly this prophecy hath been fulfilled in the persons and actions of David: but most Jewish, as well as Christian writers, apply it, primarily perhaps to David, but ultimately to the Messiah, as the person chiefly intended, in whom it was to receive its full and entire completion. Onkelos, who is the most ancient and valuable of the Chaldee paraphrasts, interprets it of the Messiah. “When a prince,"* "says he, shall arise of the house of Jacob, and Christ shall be anointed of the house of Israel, he shall both slay the princes of Moab, and rule over all the sons of men :" and with him agree the other Targums or paraphrases. Maimonides, who is one of the most learned and famous of the Jewish doctors, understands it partly of David, and partly of the Messiah : and with him agree other rabbies, whom you may find cited by the critics and commentators to this purpose. It appears to have been generally understood by the Jews, as a prophecy of the Messiah, because the false Christ, who appeared in the reign of the Roman emperor Adrian,t assumed the title of Barchochebas, or the Son of the Star,' in allusion to this prophecy, and in order to have it believed that he was the star whom Balaam had seen afar off. The Christian fathers, I think, are unanimous in applying this propher.y to our Saviour, and to the star which appeared at his nativity. Origen* in particular saith, that in the law there are many typical and enigmatical references to the Messiah ; but he produces this as one of the plainest and clearest of prophecies : and both Origen and Eusebiust affirm, that it was in consequence of Balaam's prophocies, which were known and believed in the east, that the Magi, upon the appearance of a new star, care to Jerusalem to worship him who was born king of the Jews. The stream of modern divines and commentators runncth the same way, that is, they apply the prophecy principally to our Saviour, and, by Moab and Edom, understand the enemies and persecutors of the church. And it must be acknowledged in favour of this opinion, that many prophecies of scripture have a double meaning, literal and mystical, respect two events, and receive a twofold completion. David too was in several things a type and figure of the Messiah. If by 'destroying all the children of Sheth' be meant 'ruling over all mankind; this was never fulfilled in David. A star did really appear at our Saviour's nativity, and in Scripture he is styled the day-star,'-2 Pet. i. 19, 'the morning-star,'— Rev. ii. 28, “the bright and morning-star,'-xxii. 16, perhaps in allusion to this very prophecy Dr. Warburton, who improves every subject that he handles, assigns a farther reason. Speaking of the two sorts of metaphor in the ancient use of it, the popular and common, and the hidden and mysterious ;I he says, that “the prophetic writings are full of this kind of metaphor. To instance only in the famous prediction of Balaam, • There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel. This prophecy may possibly in some sense relate to David, but, without doubt, it belongs principally to Christ. Here the metaphor of a sceptre was common and popular to denote a ruler, like David ; but the star, though like the other it signified in the prophetic writings a temporal prince or

* Cum consurget rex de domo Jacob, et ungetur Christus de domo Israel; et occidet principes Moab, et dominabitur omnium fliorum hominum.-- Onk. [Translated in

the text]

| See Basnage’s Hist. of the Jews, book 6, chap. 9, sect. 12

* Τυπικως μεν ών και αινιγματωδως αναφερομενα εις τον χρισον των αναγεγραμμενων και τω νομω πλεισα όσα έσιν εύρειν' γυμνότερα δε και σαφες ερα εγω εχ ορω επι το σαρούλος άλλα TivX wupa taula. Quamobrem quam plurima invenire licet scripta in lege tum typice, tum obscure, quæ referantur ad Christum. Apertiora vero alia, et manifestiora præter bæc, ego in præsentia non video. Wherefore, although in the law there may be found many things which typically and enigmatically refer to Christ, yet, at present, I see none more plain and manifest than this.]

+ Orig. contr. Cels. lib. 1, sect. 60, p. 374, vol. I. In Numeros Hom. 13, sect. 7 p. 321, vol. II, edit. benedict. Eusebii Demonstrat. Evangel. lib. 9,.scct. 1, p. 417 Edit. Paris. 1628.

Sce the Divine Legation, &c. Book 4, sect. 4.

*

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ruler, yet had a secret and hidden meaning likewise. "A star, in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, denoted God.'* (And how much hieroglyphic writing influenced the eastern languages we shall see presently.) Thus God, in the prophet Amos, reproving the Israelites for their idolatry on their first coming out of Egypt, says, Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch, and Chiun your images, the star of your God which ye made to yourselves,'-Amos v. 25, 26. “The star of your God' is here a noble figurative expression to signify the image of your God :' for a star being employed in the hieroglyphics to signify Goù, it is used here, with great elegance, to signify the material image of a God; the words, ‘the star of your God, being only a repetition (so usual in the Hebrew tongue) of the preceding — Chiun your images ;' and not (as some critics suppose) the same with

'your God star,' sidus Deum vestrum. Hence we conclude, that - the metaphor here used by Balaam of a star, was of that abstruse

mysterious kind, and so to be understood; and consequently that it related only to Christ, the eternal son of God.” Thus far this excellent writer. But though for these reasons the Messiah might be remotely intended, yet we cannot allow that he was intended solely, because David might be called a star by Balaam, as well as other rulers or governors are by Daniel, viii. 10, and by St. John, Rev. i. 20 : and we must insist upon it, that the primary intention, the literal meaning of the prophecy, respects the person and actions of David ; and for this reason particularly, because Balaam is here advertising Balak, 'What this people should do to his people in their latter days,' that is, what the Israelites should do to the Moabites hereafter.

From the Moabites he turned his eyes more to the south and west, and looked on their neighbours, the Amalekites; and took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations, but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever,'-ver. 20. Amalek was the first of the nations,' the first and most powerful of the neighbouring nations, or the first that warred against Israel, as it is in the margin of our Bibles. The latter interpretation is proposed by Onkelos,t and other Jews, I suppose, because they would not allow the Amalekites to be a more ancient nation than themselves : but most good critics prefer the former interpretation, as more easy and natural ; and for a very good reason, because the Amalekites appear to have been a very ancient nation. They are reckoned among the most ancient nations thereabouts, 1 Sam. xxvii. 8,—the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites; for these nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.' They are mentioned as early as in the wars of Chedorlaomer, Gen. xiv. 7 : so that they must have been a nation before the times of Abraham and Lot, and consequently much older than the Moabites, or Edomites, or any of the nations descended from those patriarchs. And this is a demonstrative argument, that the Amalekites did not descend from Amalek, the son of Eliphaz, and grandson of Esau, as many have supposed only for the similitude of names, Gen. xxxvi. 12; but sprung from some other stock, and probably, as the Arabian writers affirm, from Amalek, or An..ak, the son of Ham, and grandson of Noah. Amlak et Amlik, fils de Cham, fils de Noe-C'est celuy que les Hebreux appellent Amalec pere des Amalecites : so saith Herbelot; but it is to be wished that this valuable and useful author had cited his authorities. According to the Arabian* historians too, they were a great and powerful nation, subdued Egypt, and held it in subjection several years. They must certainly have been more powerful, or at least more courageous, than the neighbouring nations, because they ventured to attack the Israelites, of whom the other nations were afraid. But though they were the first, the most ancient and powerful, of the neighbouring nations, yet their latter end shall be that they perish for ever. Here Balaam unwittingly confirms what God hath before denounced by Moses, Exod. xvii. 14,• And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Jɔshua, for I will (or rather that I will) utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.' Balaam had before declared, that the king of Israel should prevail over the king of Amalek; but here the menace is carried farther, and Amalek is consigned to utter destruction. This sentence was in great measure executed by Saul, who 'smote the Amalekites, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword,'-1 Sam. xv. 7, 8. When they had recovered a little, • David and his men went up and invaded them; and David smote

* Αγηρ σιρΛίγυπτιοις γραφομενος θεον σημαινει. [Translated in the text] Horapol. Hierog, lib. 2. cap. 1.

+ Principium bellorum Israel fuit Amalech. Amalek was the first that made war upon Israel.] Onk.

* See Univers. Hist. Book 1, Chap. 3, p. 281. Folio Edit. Vol. I.

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