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then better connect together, and the sense of the latter would be somewhat exegetical of the former : "and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber,'—shall afflict the Assyrians and other neighbouring nations bordering upon the river Euphrates. And this interpretation I would readily embrace, if I could see any instance of a parallel expression. •Beyond the river,' meaning Euphrates, is indeed a phrase that sometimes occurs in scripture, and the concordance will supply us with instances : but where doth beyond' alone ever bear that signification ? I know Gen. X. 21, is usually cited for this purpose ; but that text is as much controverted as this, and the question is the same there as here, whether Eber be the proper name of a man, or only a preposition signifying beyond, and beyond signifying the people beyond the river Euphrates : or in other words, whether the passage should be translated the father of all the children of Eber,' or the father of all the children of the people on the other side of the river Euphrates.' Isaiah's manner of speaking of the same people is, ' by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria,'-vii. 20 : and one would expect the like here— shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict them beyond the river.' But whichever of these interpretations we prefer, the prophecy was alike fulfilled. If we understand it of the people bordering upon the Euphrates, they, as well as the Assyrians were subdued both by the Grecians and Romans. If we understand it of the posterity of Eber, the Hebrews were afflicted, though not much by Alexander himself, yet by his successors the Seleucidæ, and particularly by Antiochus Epiphanes, who spoiled Jerusalem, defiled the temple, and slew all those who adhered to the law of Moses, 1 Maccab. i. They were worse afflicted by the Romans, who not or:ly subdued and oppressed them, and made their country a province of the empire, but at last took away their place and nation, and sold and dispersed them over the face of the earth.
* And he also shall perish for ever,' that is, Chittim, who is the main subject of this part of the prophecy, and whose ships were to afflict Asshur, and to afflict Eber: but this notwithstanding, he also shall be even to perdition, he also shall be destroyed as well as Amalek, for in the original the words are the same concerning both.
He, in the singular number, cannot well refer to both Asshur and Eber. He must naturally signify Chittim, the principal agent; and if by Chittim he meant the Grecians, the Grecian empire was entirely subverted by the Roman; if the Romans, the Roinan empire was in its turn broken into pieces by the incursion
of the northern nations. The name only of the Roman empire ana Cæsarean majesty is subsisting at this day, and is transferred to another country and another people.
In appears then, that Balaam was a prophet divinely inspired, or he could never have foretold so many distant events, some of which are fulfilling in the world at this time : and what a singular honour was it to the people of Israel, that a prophet called from another country, and at the same time a wicked man, should be obliged to bear testimony to their righteousness and holiness? The commendations of an enemy, among enemies, are commendations indeed. And Moses did justice to himself as well as to his nation in recording these transactions. They are not only a material part of his history, but are likewise a strong confirmation of the truth of his religion. Balaam's bearing witness to Moses is somewhat like Judas's attesting the innocence of Jesus.
MOSES'S PROPHECY OF A PROPHET LIKE UNTO HIMSELF.
MOSES is a valuable writer, as upon many accounts, so particularly upon this, that he hath not only preserved and transmitted to posterity several ancient prophecies, but hath likewise shown himself a prophet, and inserted several predictions of his own. Among these none is more memorable, than that of another prophet to be raised like unto himself. He was now about to leave his people, and comforts them with the promise of another prophet. • The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken,'Deut. xviii. 15. The same is repeated at ver. 18, in the name of God,—'I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." It is further added at ver. 19,— And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.' Plain as this prophecy is, it hath strangely been perverted and misapplied: but I conceive nothing will be wanting to the right understanding both of the prophecy and the
completion, if we can show first what prophet was here particularly intended, if we show secondly that this prophet resembled Moses in more respects than any other person ever did, and if we show thirdly that the people have been, and still are, severely punished for their infidelity and disobedience to this prophet.
1. We will endeavour to show what prophet was here particularly intended. Some have been of opinion, that Joshua was the person ;* because he is said in Ecclesiasticus, xlvi. 1, to have been ' successor of Moses in prophecies :' and as the people were commanded to hearken unto this prophet, ' unto him ye shall hearken ;' so they said unto Joshua, i. 17, ' According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee.' Some again have imagined, that Jeremiah was the person ;t because he frequently applies, say they, the words of Moses; and Abarbinel in the preface to his Commentary upon Jeremiah, rerkons up fourteen particulars wherein they resemble each other, and observes that Jeremiah prophesied forty years, as Moses also did. Others, and those many more in number, understand this neither of Joshua, nor of Jeremiah, nor of any single person, but of a succession of prophets to be raised up like unto Moses ;I because, say they, the people being here forbidden to follow after enchanters and diviners, as other nations did, nothing would have secured them effectually from following after them, but having true prophets of their own, whom they might consult upon occasion ; and the latter are opposed to the former. But still the propounders and favourers of these different opinions, I think, agree generally in this, that though Joshua or Jeremiah, or a succession of prophets was primarily intended, yet the main end and ultimate scope of the prophecy was the Messiah ; and indeed there appears some very good reasons for understanding it of him principally, if not of him solely, besides the preference of a literal to a typical interpretation.
There is a passage in the conclusion of this book of Deuteronomy, which plainly refers to this prophecy, and entirely refutes the notion of Joshua's being the prophet like unto Moses. “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom ; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew
* Sec Munster, Drusius, Fagius, Calmet, &c.
face to face : In all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do,' &c. We cannot be certain at what time, or by what hand, this addition was made to the sacred volume: but it must have been made after the death of Moses; and consequently Joshua was not a prophet like unto Moses, in the opinion of the Jewish church, both of those who made, and of those who received, this addition as canonical scripture. There arose not a prophet since in Israel :' the manner of expression plainly implies, that this addition must have been made at some considerable distance of time after the death of Moses; and consequently the Jewish church had no conception of a perpetual succession of prophets to be raised up like unto Moses: and if this addition was made, as it is commonly believed to have been made, by Ezra, after the Babylonish capvity, then it is evident, that neither Jeremiah, nor any of the ancient prophets, was esteemed like unto Moses. Consider what are the peculiar marks and characters, whereii it is said that none other prophet had ever resembled Moses : “There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do.' And which of the prophets ever conversed so frequently and familiarly with God, face to face ?' which of them ever wrought so many and so great miracles ? Nobody was ever equal or comparable to Moses in these respects, but Jesus the Messiah.
God's declaration too, upon occasion of Miriam's and Aaron's sedition, plainly evinces that there was to be no prophet in the Jewish church, and much less a succession of prophets like unto Moses. Miriam and Aaron grew jealous of Moses, and mutinied against him, saying, “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us ?'-Numb. xii. 2. The controversy was of such importance, that God himself interposed; and what was his determination in the case ? •If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches ; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold; wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses ?'--ver. 6, 7, 8. We see here that a great difference was made between Moses and other prophets, and also wherein that difference lay. God revealed himself unto other prophets in dreams and visions, but with Moses he conversed more openly, ‘mouth to mouth' or, as it is said elsewhere, 'face to face :' and Moses saw the similitude of the Lord. These were singular privileges and prerogatives, which eminently distinguished Moses from all the other prophets of the Jewish dispensation : and yet there was a prophet to be raised up like unto Moses: but who ever resembled Moses in these superior advantages, but Jesus the Messiah?
It is likewise no inconsiderable argument, that the letter of the text favours our interpretation. The word is in the singular numDer, • The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet;' and wny then should we understand it of a succession of prophets? why should we depart from the literal construction without any apparent necessity for it? Other nations hearkened unto enchanters and diviners, but the Lord would not suffer them so to do; he had given them a better guide already, and would raise up unto them another prophet superior to all the enchanters and diviners in the world : unto him they should hearken.
Moreover it is implied, that this prophet should be a lawgiver. • A prophet like unto thee;' not simply a prophet, but a prophet like unto Moses, that is, a second lawgiver, as Eusebius* explains it. The reason too that is assigned for sending this prophet, will evince that he was to be vested with this character. The people had requested, that the divine laws might not be delivered to them in so terrible and awful a manner as they had been in Horeb. God approved their request, and promised therefore, that he would raise up unto them a prophet like unto Moses, a lawgiver who should speak unto them his commands in a familiar and gentle way. This prophet therefore was to be a lawgiver : but none of the Jewish prophets were lawgivers, in all the intermediate time between Moses and Christ.
If we farther appeal unto fact, we shall find that there never was any prophet, and much less a 'succession of prophets, whom the Jews esteemed like unto Moses. The highest degree of inspiration they term the Mosaical,+ and enumerate several particulars,
* Eusebii Demons. Evangel. lib. 1, cap. 3, p. 6, lib. 9, cap. 11, p. 443. Edit. Paris, 1628.
+ See Smith's Discourse of Prophecy, chap. 2, & 11, wherein it is shown from Maimonides, that Moses's inspiration excelled all others in four particulars. 1. All other prophets prophesied in a dream or vision, but Moses waking and standing. 2. All other prophets prophesied by the help or ministry of an angel, but Moses prophesied without the ministry of an angel. 3. All other prophets were afraid, and troubled and fainted, but Moses was not so, for the Scripture saith, that “God spake to him even as a man speaketh to his friend' 4. None of the prophets did prophecy at what time they would, save Moses