Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Moses' Age.

DEUTERONOMY, XXXIV.

The Praise of Moses.

Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

(7) And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died : his eye 1 Heb., moisture. was not dim, nor his l natural force ? abated.

(8) And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days : so the days of weeping and 2 Heb. fed. mourning for Moses were ended.

(9) 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.

(10)And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, (11) in all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, (12) and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

sisted his resurrection. When the contest took place
we cannot say. But Moses, who died and was buried,
and Elijah, who was translated, “ appeared in glory.on
the holy mount, and the New Testament gives no hint
of difference between them. We do not know how
Moses could have appeared as a disembodied spirit so
as to be seen of men.
(8) The children of Israel wept for Moses

thirty days. :-As they did for Aaron, his brother (Num. xx. 29). It is remarkable that the burial and the tomb of Aaron are only alluded to in chap. x. 6. (See Note and Excursus on that passage.) Miriam was buried in Kadesh (Num. xx. 1).

(9) And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom.- Probably we should connect this with the preceding verse,“ The days of mourn. ing for Moses were ended," and ended more naturally because Joshua proved so well able to meet the wants of the people.

Moses had laid his hands upon him.-- See Num. xxvii. 18, 23. It is the first example of “ordi. nation” in Holy Scripture.

And did as the Lord commanded Moses. -Not "commanded Joshua.” Joshua would not separate himself from the law given by his Master. Is it not true that when the Israel of God hearken to the true Joshua, they must needs do as the Lord commanded Moses ?*

(10) And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.-Probably these words are later than the time of Joshua, when longer experience gave men the power to see how far inferior the prophets were to their great predecessor in this respect. The difference is most clearly set forth in Num. xii. 7, 8. (See Notes on that passage.)

[merged small][ocr errors]

EXCURSUS ON NOTES TO DEUTERONOMY.

EXCURSUS ON CHAPTER X. 6, 7. THESE verses have always seemed to me to present additional particulars given in Deuteronomy suggest a the greatest difficulty in the whole of Deuteronomy. reason why Israel should re-visit two of the four If it were not for their beautiful spiritual connection places; namely, because of the water which was to be with the context, I should not know how to account had from the wells of the children of Jaakan, and in for their presence in this place at all. And even so, Jotbath, the “ land of rivers of waters.the difference between this allusion to Aaron's death The return of Israel in the last period of the Exodus and the account given in Numbers, and the superficial to four places previously visited in no way remark. resemblance between the four stages of the journey able. We are told that they were compelled, about the of Israel here mentioned, and four stages which belong time of Aaron's death, to “journey from Mount Hor to a different period (in Num. xxxiii. 31–34)—to. to compass the land of Edom,” which the Edomites gether create a somewhat formidable perplexity. The would not permit them to cross (Num. xxi. 4, and Samaritan Pentateuch increases the confusion by in. xx. 21). The return to these former encampments may troducing here the stages mentioned in Num. xxxiii. have enhanced the weariness and annoyance of the 34—37-an obvious attempt to harmonise the accounts people, so that “ their soul was much discouraged beof two distinct things. The LXX. version of Deu- cause of the way,” and if they were travelling in a teronomy x. 6, 7 supports the Hebrew text. The fact different direction, they may well have revisited these that the burial of Aaron is alluded to in this place four places in a different order. They need not have only, shows that the verses in Deuteronomy cannot encamped at all of them the second time. The have been taken from those in Numbers. The following narrative in Deuteronomy merely says “they journeyed comparison will show the difference.

from,” not “they encamped in.'

There is no reason

why the district of Mount Hor may not have been IN THE FOURTH PERIOD IN THE FIFTH PERIOD called Mosera or Moseroth. And the name chastiseOF THE Exodus.

OF THE EXODUS. ment” may have been given to it by Moses, like many (Num. xxxiii. 30–33.)

(Deut. x. 6, 7.)

other significant names in the Exodus (Meribah,

Kibroth-hattaavah &c.), in consequence of what took “ The children of Israel “The children of Israel

place there. journeyed from Hash- journeyed from Beeroth.

Further there is some reason to believe that the monah to Moseroth ; from bene-jaakan to Mosera,

number of the “goings out” of Israel in the Exodus, Moseroth to Bene-jaukan; (where Aaron died and

given in Num. xxxiii. is made to be 42 for a special from Bene-jaakan to Hor. was buried), from Mosera

reason, like the forty-two generations of Matt. i., in hagidgad, from Hor- to Gudgodah ; from Gud

which there are at least three evidently intentional hagidgad to Jotbathah.godah to Jotbath, a land

omissions. And therefore we need not be surprised at Three other encampof rivers of waters."

the insertion of places elsewhere, which are not ments-at Ebronah, Ezion- Mosera is singular, included in that list. No place is mentioned twice in gaber, and Kadesh-inter- Moseroth plural in form. Num. xxxiji. Yet the children of Israel were certainly vened before their arrival Bene-jaakan means “the twice at Kadesh (for Numb. xiii. 26 and xx. 1, cannot at Mount Hor, where children of Jaakan”

refer to the same time), and probably twice at many Aaron died, in the fifth Beeroth-bene-jaakan the other places. period of the Exodus, on wells of the children of

The real difficulty is not in the facts related in Deut. the first day of the Jaakan. Hor-hagidgad

X. 6, 7, but in the question why they should be month. means the mount of Gid.

narrated there. Further, they are narrated in the third N.B.-The fourth period gad, which differs from

person, the children of Israel journeyed,” but all the of the Exodus has no Gudgod only in the vowel other portions of their journey are narrated in the dates mentioned.

pointing. Gudgodah may first person (Deut. i. 19, we went; and so ii. 1, 8, 13, The fifth period begins mean the neighbourhood ii. 1, 26). A reader of Deuteronomy who was not with the death of Miriam of Gudgod or Gidgad, already familiar with the earlier books, would naturally at Kadesh in the first and Jotbathah may mean suppose that at this period of the discourse the month of the fortieth simply to Jotbath.

children of Israel did journey, as the narrative says. year. Num. xx. 1.

Gadgad and Etebatha

It is only by close attention that the verses are seen to are found both in Numbers

refer to a time previous to the beginning of the book, and Deuteronomy in the but much later than the events recapitulated in Deut. LXX. The other names

x. 5, 8. given with

In form, these verses correspond to what may be variation.

called the historical or editorial, as distinct from the

hortatory portions of Deuteronomy; as the title, chap. i. The places are not mentioned in the same order in 1–5; the parenthetical notes, chap. ii. 10–12, and the two passages, and the difference in the form of 20—23 ; chaps. iii. 14, and iv. 41-43,44–49; with the the words shows that neither passage is copied from the historical portions of the last six chapters of the book. other. All four sites are at present unknown. The Upon the whole, I am disposed to think that the only

are

some

DEUTERONOMY.

reason for the insertion of these verses is the spiritual reason which I have given in the notes.

From the wells of the children of Jaakan, or perversity, the people of God removed to Mosera the place of chastisement, where their great High Priest*

* The following passage from the Talmudical treatise, Pirke Aboth of Rabbi Nathan (section 34), may serve to show that the comparison between Christ and Aaron is not peculiar to the New Testament :--" These are the two sons of fresh oil who stand by the Lord of the whole earth" (Zech. iv. 14). * These are Aaron and Messiah. And I cannot say which of them is the best beloved. But when he saith (Ps. cx. 4), Jehovah hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art priest for ever, then I know that the King Messiah is beloved above the Priest of Righteousness."

died and was buried; and another priest arose in his stead. From thence they journeyed unto the mount of the congregation (Gudgod or Gidgad ; compare Gad), and from thence to Jotbath (of which the root is good or goodness), a land of rivers of waters—the usual symbol in Scripture for the Holy Spirit given on Mount Zion, the "mount of the congregation of Jehovah. (See St. John vii. 37–39.)

The explanations given by the Jewish commentators are of a spiritual character, and in principle I am dis. posed to think them correct, though the details are far too fanciful for reproduction, or for our present acceptance.

ADDITIONAL NOTE ON CHAP. XXXIII. 2. “A FIERY LAW.” The original expression, eshdath or esh dath, some- dath, if it be a true Chaldæan word, may be an times written as one word, and sometimes as two, has example. But, obviously, these Chaldæan reminiscences created some difficulty. Esh is "fire," and dath, if would be fewer as the years rolled on. The three taken as a distinct word, is “ law.” But dath does not Targums all take dath to be « law” in this place. The appear elsewhere in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, LXX. has " angels” (&ryeloi), instead of the combina. until we meet it in the book of Esther, where it occurs tion eshdath. Possibly the word was taken as ashdoth frequently. It is also found in Ezra viii. 36. In the (plural of the Chaldee ashda), meaning “ rays " (of Chaldee of Daniel and Ezra it occurs six times. light?) and so "angels.” Comp., “He maketh His angels Modern authorities assert that it is properly a Persian spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire ;” they ran word. But since it is found in the Chaldee of Daniel, and returned as a flash of lightning” (Ps. civ. 4; Ezek. it was in use among the Chaldæans before the Persian i. 14). It is also possible that the LXX. read r instead of empire. The word has Semitic affinities. The Hebrew d in the word which they had before them, and that syllable theth would have nearly the same meaning. they arrived at the meaning "angels” through the A datum (or dictum) is the nearest equivalent that we Hebrew word shârath, “to minister.” The confusion have. There seems no reason to doubt that the word between r and d, which are extremely alike in Hebrew, dath had obtained a place both in Chaldee and in is very common. The parallels referred to in the notes Hebrew at the time of the Captivity. It is perfectly on the verse show that " fiery law” will yield a gooil possible that its existence in Chaldee dates very

The only question is whether dath, “ law."! earlier. We must remember that Chaldee was the can be reasonably supposed to have occurred in the language of the family of Abraham before they adopted Mosaic writings. If the word were at all generally Hebrew. “A Syrian ready to perish was my father,” known at that period, to whatever language it properly is the confession dictated by Moses in Deut. xxvi. 5. belonged, it would hardly have escaped such a man Syriac and Chaldee in the Old Testament are names of as Moses. I think it quite possible that the common the same language. In the Babylonish captivity the translation may be right. The Hebrew commenJews really returned to their ancestral language. It tators accept it. The only alternative I can suggest is therefore quite conceivable that Chaldæan words is that of the LXX., which cannot be verified with lingered among them until the Exodus; and this word certainty.

much

sense.

THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.

« AnteriorContinuar »