BY The Right Reverend Father in GOD, SYMON Lord Bishop of ELY.

LONDON: Printed for Ri. Chiswell at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard. MDCXCIX.





Chapter I THIS Book is called by the Name of NƲM­BERS in our Language; because it begins with an Account of the Numbering of the People in the beginning of the second Year after they came out of Egypt: though it contain a great many things besides that; particularly, another Numbering of them (Chapter XXVI.) towards the conclusion of their Travels in the Wilderness. For this Book comprehends an History of about thirty eight Years; though the most of the things related in it fell out in the first, and in the last of these Years: and it doth not appear when those [Page 2] things were done, which we read of about the middle of the Book, from the XVth to the XXth Chapter.

Verse 1 Verse 1. And the LORD spake unto Moses.] Who undertook nothing without order from God.

In the Wilderness of Sinai.] Where they had con­tinued near a full Year, (as appears by comparing XIX Exod. 1. with this place) and shortly after this removed from it, X. 11.

In the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] From whence the LORD delivered those Laws which we read in the foregoing Book, (See on I Lev. 1.) and now seems to have admitted him into the Taber­nacle; whereas before he only spake to him out of it.

On the first day of the second Month, in the second year after they were come out of the Land of Egypt.] All that is related in the foregoing Book, seems to have passed in the first Month of the second Year af­ter their coming out of Egypt. In the beginning of which the Tabernacle was set up, XL Exod. 2, 17. and in the middle of it the Passover was kept, as ap­pears by this Book, IX. 1, 2, &c.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Take ye the sum.] There had been a Mu­ster, as we may call it, of the People, before the Ta­bernacle was erected, XXX Exod. 12. and consequent­ly some Months before this: for it was in order to a Contribution, which every one was to make to­wards that holy work, XXXVIII Exod. 26. Where­as this was for the better disposing of their Camps about the Tabernacle now that it was set up: and for their more regular march when they removed from Mount Sinai; which they were to do shortly.

[Page 3] Of all the Congregation of the Children of Israel.] Who alone were numbred; all except the Levites: but none of the mixt Multitude, that came with them out of Egypt, XII Exod. 38.

After their Families.] It appears by VII Joshua 16, 17, &c. that the several Tribes of Israel were divided into Families; and those Families into Housholds; and those Housholds had every one of them an Head or Chief; who is called the Father of it. There were LXX. of these Families in all: but some Tribes had more, others fewer; according to the number of Souls (as they are called) that is, Persons who were in each when they went down into Egypt, XLVI Gen. 27.

By the House of their Fathers.] Every Family, as I said, being distributed into Houses, (which we now call Families) these Houses were denominated from their Chief, whom they called their Father: For no Houses were denominated from the Mother, as the Jews say.

With the number of their Names.] The Names of every Person in the several Houses, were set down and registred; that they might be the better known.

Every Male by their pole.] But no Women; for the reason which follows.

Ver. 3. From twenty years old and upward.] Which Verse 3 was ever after this, the Age when Men were thought fit for War.

All that are able to go forth to war in Israel.] One would think by this, they were not to number very aged and decrepit People: because they were no more able to go to war, than Women and Children, and those under twenty years old. And if we may believe Josephus (L. II. Antiq. cap. 9.) after fifty Years old, Men were not bound to pay the half Shekel [Page 4] which was due in such Musters: and therefore we may reasonably think were excused from going to war; unless they had a mind themselves.

Thou and Aaron.] Who had the highest Authority in the Nation.

Shall number them by their Armies.] This seems to import, that in taking the account of them, they di­stributed them into certain Troops or Companies; out of which were formed Regiments (as we now speak) and greater regular Bodies, which composed several Armies: We do not read this was required in the former numbering, (XXX Exod.) that being for another end, as I now observed; not for their more orderly march, in their remove from Mount Sinai. And here I cannot but take notice what a vast diffe­rence there was between this method, and that rude way which Cecrops the first King of Attica after the Ogygian Flood (which hapned about the time of Moses) took to know the number of his People: which the Greek Writers say, was by requiring every one of them to bring a Stone, [...], and throw it down before them; which he counting, found them Twenty thousand. So the Scholiast up­on Pindar. Od. IX. and others in Meursius de Regibus Atheniens. L. I. cap. 7.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And there shall be with you a Man of every Tribe.] Whom they were to take for their Assi­stants.

Every one Head of the House of his Fathers.] The LXX. and the Vulgar understand this to signifie the principal Persons in each Tribe; who were best ac­quainted with every Family and Houshold in that Tribe. And so it is expounded v. 6. And many think these were the First-born in their Tribe. But [Page 5] there is this Objection against it, That Nahshan, who is named for the Tribe of Judah, v. 7. was not de­scended from the First-born of that Tribe. For Pharez was not Judah's eldest Son; Selah being be­fore him: who had Children, as we find XXVI of this Book, v. 20. Besides, when the Princes of the Tribes rre reckoned again (XXXIV of this Book) in the last Year of their abode in the Wilderness; none of them are derived from these Men here mentioned, but from others. And therefore these were the most eminent Men in the several Tribes, upon a different account; either for Wisdom, or Valour, or some other excellent quality.

Ver. 5. And these are the Names of the Men that shall Verse 5 stand.] Be Assistants.

With you.] i. e. With Moses and Aaron.

Of the Tribe of Reuben, Elizur the Son of Shedeur.] There is little to be observed concerning these Tribes, but that they are here placed, not in the order of their Birth; but of their Mothers who bare them. First, the Children of Leah: who are all reckoned in the same order, wherein they were born of her, ver. 6, 7, 8, 9. Then the Children of Rachel, v. 10, 11. And after them the Children of the two Hand-maids, in the four following Verses. Where, v. 12. Dan is set first; he being the First-born of Bilhah; whom Rachel gave Jacob for his Wife, XXX Gen. 5. But then, the next that follow are not reckoned ac­cording to the order of their Birth: for Naphtali who was born next, is placed the last; and the youngest Son of Zilpah placed before the eldest. For which we cannot now discern the reason; though it is likely it was upon the account of some Pre-emi­nence or other which they had gained; as Ephraim [Page 6] the youngest Son of Joseph is mentioned before Ma­nasseh the eldest, (v. 10.) because Jacob had given him the precedence, when he blessed them before his Death, XLVIII. 19.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. Of Simeon, Shelumiel the Son of Zurishaddai.] There is less to be observed concerning the Names of these great Men of each Tribe; for whatsoever the import of them may be in the Hebrew Language, (which Chytraeus and others have endeavoured to make out) it signifies nothing to us: Only most of them show how much God was in the Thoughts of those, who imposed these Names on their Children: for Elizur signifies my God the Rock; and Shelumiel is as much, as God my Peace, or God my Rewarder: and Zurishaddai, my Rock Omnipotent, or All-suffici­ent, &c.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. The Son of Deuel.] So he is called also VII. 42. and yet in the second Chapter, v. 14. he is called the Son of Reuel. For these two Letters, Da­leth and Resch, are very often changed, the one for the other: As Ripath, X Gen. 3. is called Dipath, 1 Chron. I. 6. As on the other hand Dodanim, X Gen. 4. is called Rodanim, 1 Chron. I. 7. And it is to no purpose to heap up more Examples there are of this.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. These were the renowned of the Congrega­tion. The Hebrew word Keruim signifies properly Men called or named; that is, who had the Honour to be named by God to this Employment: which made them more noble than they were before. But, without this respect to their Nomination by God, this word signifies in general famous Men, as we tran­slate it, XVI. 2. XXVI. 9. or renowned, XXIII Ezek. 23. accordingly the vulgar translates it, most noble.

[Page 7] Princes of the Tribes of their Fathers.] As appears more plainly from the noble Offerings, which each of them made, for the Dedication of the Altar, Chap. VII.

Heads of thousands in Israel.] Men not only of great Authority; such as Jethro advised Moses to take to his Aid in governing the People, XVIII Exod. 21. but the highest of that Rank; being chief Commanders over all the Thousands, that were in their several Tribes; under whom no doubt were many inferiour Officers of great account. For so all People have found it necessary, to submit themselves to the Go­vernment of some Supreme Power; with several subordinate Rulers under it. In which Israel excel­led all other Nations, being under the Government of God himself; who appointed Moses immediate­ly under him, with several others, as we here find, to assist him. For it is truly observed by Xenophon, that [...]: Nothing is either so profitable for Men, or so be­coming, as good Order: And on the contrary, nothing so mischievous, or unseemly, as Confusion. Now Order is nothing else, but the apt Disposition of every thing, in its proper place; for certain Ends and Uses. Accordingly among Men, nothing is more necessary, than that every one should know and keep his place, in that Degree and Rank that belongs to him: As was here ordered by God for the Preserva­tion and good Government of his People.

Ver. 17. And Moses and Aaron took these Men.] To Verse 17 be their Associates in the numbering of the Peo­ple.

[Page 8] Which are expressed by their Names.] Whom God himself marked out by name, to be joined with them. For as People cannot be preserved without Order; so that cannot be preserved without Rulers and Governors: and they will signifie nothing if their Authority be not reverenced; and nothing can gain them such Reverence, as a particular Designation by God to their Office.

Verse 18 Ver. 18. And they assembled all the Congregation toge­ther on the first Day of the second Month.] They imme­diately executed their Commission, on the same day they received it, (v. 1.) summoning all the People to appear before them.

And they declared their Pedigrees.] The People instantly obeyed; and every one showed from whom he was descended; or it may refer to Moses and Aa­ron, and the rest who set down every Man's Original, in the publick Tables.

After their Families, by the house of their Fathers, &c.] First they showed of what Family they were; and then of what House in that Family; and then the Name of every Person in that House was given in. See v. 2. Such a kind of Distinction Cecrops made in Attica, when he numbered the People; whom he di­vided into four Tribes, (which in the days of Alc­maeon their last King, were increased into ten;) every one of which had several People in it, which were like the Families in Israel: there being no less than ten or eleven People in that Tribe which was called after his own Name, [...]. See Meursius, L. I. de Reg. Athen. cap. 7. & Lib. II. cap. X. And every one knows how Rome at the first had three Tribes instituted by Romulus, which were divided into ten Courts, (if I may so call them) and those into certain [Page 9] Families: which in after-times were increased into Five and thirty Tribes; according to the Regions of the City.

Ver. 19. As the LORD commanded Moses, so he Verse 19 numbered them.] With the assistance of the fore­named Persons.

In the Wilderness of Sinai.] Before they removed from Sinai: which being upon the Twentieth Day of this Month, (X. 11.) they finished this Work in so many Days, or less.

Ver. 20. And the Children of Reuben, Israels eldest Verse 20 Son, by their Generations, &c.] The word Generati­ons seems to be larger than Families; as that is than Houses: comprehending every Family in that Tribe; as Families comprehend every Houshold; and Hou­shold comprehends every Person therein. So the meaning is, all that were descended from Reuben, ac­cording to their several Families; and Houses in those Families; and Persons in those Houses.

Ver. 21. Those that were numbred of them, &c. were Verse 21 forty and six thousand, and five hundred.] Some have observed that this Tribe was one of those who had the smallest number of Men in it: in which they think was fulfilled the Prophecy of Jacob, who foretold that Reuben should not excel, XLIX Gen. 4. But I do not look upon this as solid; for there were seve­ral Tribes, who all this time had fewer Persons in it than this. Particularly the Children of Joseph, (whom Jacob compared to a fruitful Bough, XLIX Gen. 22.) were very much fewer. See below v. 33, 35. Gad also, Benjamin, and Asher, were fewer in number than Reuben: who, in this regard, excelled Five Tribes.

[Page 10]Ver. 23. Of the Tribe of Simeon were fifty and nine thousand, and three hundred.] He had six Children when they went down into Egypt; and Reuben but Verse 23 four: which is a plain reason of the greater increase of this Tribe than the former.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. Of the Children of Gad, &c.] It is pro­bable that this Tribe is therefore mentioned next, though descended from an Hand-maid, because they were to encamp and march together with Simeon un­der the Standard of Reuben: as is ordered in the next Chapter, v. 14.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. Of the Tribe of Gad were forty and five thousand, six hundred and fifty.] He had more Sons than Simeon, (XLVI Gen. 10, 16.) when they came out of Egypt: and yet fewer descended from him, by many Thousands, than there did from Simeon: of which the Reason doth not appear.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. Of the Tribe of Judah were threescore and fourteen thousand, and six hundred.] It may be just­ly thought, that Jacob's Prophecy concerning the power and strength of this Tribe, (XLIX Gen. 8, &c.) began already to be fulfilled: they being far more numerous than any other.

Verse 28 Ver. 28. Of the Tribe of Issachar, &c.] There is a plain account why this Tribe and Zebulun are mentioned next to Judah; because they two marched under his Standard, II. 4, 5, 7. It may be observed also, that these two Tribes were more numerous, than many other; who had more Children when they came out of Egypt.

Verse 32 Ver. 32. Of the Children of Ephraim.] He had the preheminence given him to Manasseh long ago, (XLVIII Gen. 19.) and therefore is here placed before him.

[Page 11]Ver. 33. Of the Tribe of Ephraim were forty thousand and five hundred.] Though they were hitherto but few in comparison with some other Tribes; yet in this the Prophecy of Jacob was fulfilled, (XLVIII Verse 33 Gen. 19, 20.) that they were more fruitful than Ma­nasseh: there being above Eight thousand Persons more in this Tribe, than in the other, v. 35.

Ver. 35. Of Manasseh were thirty and two thousand Verse 35 and two hundred.] This was now the smallest Tribe; but before they got to Canaan, they grew very nu­merous; being increased above Twenty thousand, XXVI. 34.

Ver. 37. Of the Tribe of Benjamin were thirty five Verse 37 thousand and four hundred.] Though Benjamin had more Children than any of the rest of his Brethren, when they went down into Egypt, (XLVI Gen. 21. where it appears he had ten Sons) yet his Tribe had the fewest Men in it of all other, except Manasseh.

Ver. 39. Of Dan were threescore and two thousand Verse 39 and seven hundred.] On the contrary Dan, who had but one Son, when they went down into Egypt, (XLVI Gen. 23.) grew to a greater Number than any other Tribe, except Judah. So variously did the Di­vine Providence work, in fulfilling the Promise to A­braham, of multiplying his Seed.

Ver. 41. Of Asher were forty and one thousand and Verse 41 five hundred. The growth of this Tribe was not pro­portionable to that of some other, considering how many Children Asher had, at their going down into Egypt. But they increased near Twelve thousand more, before they got out of the Wilderness, XXVI. 47.

[Page 12]Ver. 43. Of Naphtali were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.] The great increase of this Tribe is alledged by Bochartus, to justifie his Interpretation Verse 43 of XLIX Gen. 21. by altering the punctation of the words. But I have there observed, that Five other Tribes were more numerous than Naphtali, when this account was taken of them.

Verse 44 Ver. 44. These are those that were numbred.] This is the account that was taken of the Number of Men in each Tribe.

Which Moses and Aaron numbred, and the Princes of Israel being twelve Men.] V. 3, 4, &c.

Each one was for the House of his Fathers.] Who could the better judge to what Tribe every one be­longed.

Verse 45, 46. Ver. 45, 46. So were all those that were numbred, &c. Six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hun­dred and fifty.] By which it appears there was not one Man dead since their last Numeration, (Seven Months ago) when they were taxed for the Tabernacle. For they were at that time, just so many as are here men­tioned, XXXVIII Exod. 26. As for Nadab and A­bihu, they were of the Tribe of Levi; who are not here reckon'd: and the Man that was stoned for Blasphemy, (XXIV Lev.) was not of Israel, by the side of his Father.

Verse 47 Ver. 47. But the Levites, after the Tribe of their Fathers, were not numbred among them.] There was no account taken of them among the other Tribes: as it is likely they were not comprehended in the former Number, XXXVIII Exod. 26. being the Per­sons who took the account, v. 21. and had before this consecrated themselves to the LORD, XXXII. 29.

[Page 13] After the Tribe of their Fathers.] Is an Hebraism, for the Fathers of their Tribe: Expressing in short, what is at large said of all the rest, by their Genera­tions, after their Families, by the House of their Fathers, v. 20, 22, 24, &c.

Ver. 48. For the LORD had spoken unto Moses,Verse 48 saying.] He had received an Order from God, when he commanded him to number the People, not to number them. Which he sets down, that it might not be thought he favoured them, because he was of their Tribe; and therefore exempted them from the Wars, unto which all others were engaged.

Ver. 49. Only thou shalt not number the Tribe of Le­vi, Verse 49 &c.] Because they were intended for another Service; and therefore were to be numbred by them­selves. There were as stout and valiant Men in this Tribe as any other, (which appeared sufficiently when God's Honour was to be vindicated, XXXII Exod.) but God did not design them for the Wars of Ca­naan; they having imployment enough in carrying, and guarding the Tabernacle.

And from this Example, the Heathen learnt to ex­empt all those who ministred to their Gods, from all other Services; particularly from the War. Strabo notes (Lib. IX. Geograph.) this Custom to have been as old as Homer's time. For in all his Catalogue there is no mention of any Ship that went against Troy from Alalcomenon; because that City was Sacred to Minerva: who is thence called by Homer [...]. The same is observed by Caesar (Lib. VI.) of the ancient Druids, that they were freed from the Wars; and from Tribute also. Which Priviledge St. Basil challenges as belonging to the Clergy, [...], according to the ancient Law, Epist. [Page 14] CCLXIX. and S. Greg. Nazianzen doth the same in many places: particularly by his Letter to Julianus, Epist. CLXVI.

Verse 50 Ver. 50. But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the Tabernacle.] This was their work to attend continu­ally upon the House of God.

Of Testimony.] So it is called, because the Ark of the Testimony was there: for which it was principal­ly made. See XXXVIII Exod. 21. and what I have noted upon XXV Exod. 16. XL. 3.

And over all the Vessels thereof, and over all things that belong unto it.] Not to use them in any Sacred Mini­stry, (which belonged to the Priests alone) but to carry them, when they were to be removed; and to keep them in Safety at all times. See VIII. ult. Where it is expresly said, they shall do no Service there.

They shall bear the Tabernacle, and all the Vessels therefore.] As is particularly directed in the fourth Chapter.

And they shall minister unto it.] Which Ministry is at large described in the third Chapter.

And shall encamp round about the Tabernacle.] As a Guard unto it: They being like to the Legions about the Palace of a great King, to secure and defend it from Violence or Rudeness. Which was the reason that they did not march under any of the Standards of the other Tribes: because they were to make a Camp by themselves; the order of which is directed in the same third Chapter. And for the same reason they were not to go to the Wars; because their Camp was to attend upon the Tabernacle, the House of God.

[Page 15]Ver. 51. And when the Tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down; and when it is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up.] When the Israe­lites removed to a new station, the Tabernacle was Verse 51 taken in pieces, that it might be the more easily car­ried from place to place. In which the Levites were to be employed; and likewise in putting it together again, when it was to be set up, where they rested in their Journeys: as is more fully ordered in the fourth Chapter. Where the manner of taking it down, and setting it up again is directed; and every ones Office about it, whether Priests (for they had some hand in it) or Levites, exactly appointed.

And the Stranger.] Who is not of this Tribe; though an Israelite.

That comes nigh.] To perform any of the fore­named Offices.

Shall be put to death.] As a presumptuous Person, in medling with that which doth not belong unto him. The Author of Schebet Jehudah extends this to all Strangers, who worshipped strange Gods: and saith there was a Golden Sword hung up in the Gate of the Temple, with this Inscription, The Stranger that cometh nigh, shall be put to death.

Ver. 52. And the Children of Israel.] The rest of the Verse 52 Tribes before-mentioned.

Shall pitch their Tents every Man by his own Camp, &c.] In the order prescribed, in the next Chapter.

Ver. 53. But the Levites shall pitch round about the Verse 53 Tabernacle of Testimony.] As is directed Chap. III. where they are ordered to make a Camp nearer the Tabernacle; within the other Camp of the Is­raelites.

[Page 16] That there be no Wrath upon the Congregation of the Children of Israel.] To prevent the other Camp of the Israelites, from coming too nigh the Tabernacle; whereby they might have incurred God's Displea­sure.

And the Levites shall keep the Charge of the Taber­nacle of Testimony.] That is, therefore they were to be a constant guard about it; that no Man might approach nearer than God allowed; and so bring heavy Punishments upon himself, and upon the Congregation.

Verse 54 Ver. 54. And the Children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.] Consented to all that is here required, and did ac­cordingly.


Chapter II Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying.] The just number of Days that were spent, in taking the fore-named Ac­count of the People, is uncertain, (see I. 19.) but that being finished, now order is given for their Encamping under their several Standards. And it is directed to Aaron as well as Moses; though the Or­der for numbring them was directed to Moses only, (Chap. I. 1.) Aaron having by that first Order been joined with him, in taking the Account of them.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Every Man of the Children of Israel shall pitch by his own Standard.] By the Banner of that Tribe; to which he was joined by the following Or­der.

[Page 17] With the Ensign of their Fathers House.] Every Fa­mily and Houshold had their particular Ensigns, be­side that great Banner under which they encamped and marched: it being pitched and carried (as will appear) in the midst of them. How these Banners and Ensigns were distinguished one from another, we have no certain Knowledge. The later Jews say (particularly Aben Ezra upon this place) that Judah carried in his Standard the Figure of a Lion; and Reuben the Figure of a Man; Ephraim of an Ox; and Dan of an Eagle: for which I can see no ground. For though Judah be compared to a Lion; yet the Reasons he gives for the other are very absurd: with which I shall not trouble the Reader. But only ob­serve that there is not one word of any such thing in their ancient Writers; no not in the whole body of the Talmud; as the famous Bochartus assures us. And it is not likely that they who so lately smarted for making the Golden Calf, would adventure to make any other Images, and expose them to the Eyes of all the People. Nor is it impertinent to observe that when Vitellius in after-ages was to march against the Arabians through Judaea, the great Men of the Nati­on met him, and beseeched him to march another way: The Law of their Country not allowing Ima­ges (such as were in the Roman Ensigns) to be brought into it. So Josephus relates, L. XVIII. Antiq. cap. 7. for which one can see no reason, if their An­cestors in the Wilderness, had by the Command or Allowance of Moses carried an Eagle in any of their Standards. See Bochart in his Hieroz. P. I. L. III. C. V. It is more probable, if there be room for Conjecture in this matter, that the Name of Judah might be embroidered in great Letters, in his Stan­dard, [Page 18] and of Reuben in his; and so of the rest; or they were distinguished by their Colours only, as now our Regiments are.

Far off about the Tabernacle of the Congregation shall they pitch.] At such a distance as might show their Reverence to the Tabernacle; and that there might be another Camp of the Levites within them: who made a nearer Inclosure about it, in the same Form with the Camp of Israel, which was Quadrangular. This Distance of the Camp of Israel from the Taber­nacle, is reasonably judged (by III Josh. 4.) to have been Two thousand Cubits: That is, a Mile.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And on the East-side toward the rising of the Sun.] These are two Expressions (after the manner of the Hebrews) for the same thing. Or Kedma, which we here translate on the East, may be transla­ted on the fore part, viz. of the Tabernacle: Which was towards the Sun's Rising.

Shall they of the Standard of the Camp of Judah pitch.] These had the most honourable Post (as we now speak) of all others; pitching before the most holy Place; where Moses and Aaron had their Station in the Camp of the Levites, III. 38. And therefore the LXX translate the first Words of this Verse thus, [...], &c. they that en­camp first towards the East, shall be, &c.

Throughout their Armies.] They being, as we read before, (and as the next Verse tells us again) Three­score and fourteen thousand, and six hundred Men, were divided into several bodies (such as we now call Companies, and Regiments, and Brigades) under their several Officers: for which the Hebrews have no name but that of Army, or Host.

[Page 19] And Nahshon the Son of Amminadab. He who was imployed as the principal Person in that Tribe, to help to take the number of them, I. 7.

Shall be the Captain of the Children of Judah.] Their Commander in Chief; or General, as we now speak.

Ver. 4. And his Host, and those that were numbred of Verse 4 them were threescore and fourteen thousand, &c.] Hi­therto Moses had set down the Words that God spake to him: But these are his own Words, which he in­termixes all along with those of God's.

Ver. 5. And those that do pitch next unto him.] These Verse 5 now are the Words of God; ordering what Tribes should pitch under the Standard of Judah.

Shall be the Tribe of Issachar.] He and Zebulun were two of the Sons of Leah, as well as Judah: And therefore their Tribes are fitly placed under the Stan­dard of the Tribe of Judah; as likely to agree well together.

And Nethaneel the Son of Zur shall be Captain of the Children of Issachar.] It may be noted, once for all, that the Commanders in Chief of the several Tribes, were those very Persons who were chosen to take the number of them. Which shows they were Men of Eminence among them, as I observed, I. 4.

Ver. 6. And his Host, and those that were numbred Verse 6 thereof, were, &c.] These are the Words of Moses, which to the end of the Chapter (as I noted before) are interspersed with the Orders that God gave for the forming of their Camp.

Ver. 9. And all that were numbred in the Camp of Verse 9 Judah were an hundred thousand, &c.] This was the greatest Body of all other; which had the Honour to be placed just before the Oracle, as the strongest [Page 20] Guard to it: The Tribe of Judah lying in the midst, and the Tribes of Issachar and Zebulun on each side of his Standard; unto which all their Ensigns were in some sort of Subjection.

Throughout their Armies.] This great Body, was divided into several smaller Companies; for which they had no other name, (as I observed before) but that of Armies.

These shall first set forth.] When they removed from one Station to another, this Camp marched first. For they commonly went Eastward; in which Quarter this Camp was pitch'd, v. 3.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And on the South side shall be the Standard of the Camp of Reuben, according to their Armies, &c.] There is nothing to be observed concerning this Camp; but that the Tribe of Reuben had the honour to pitch in the midst of it; and the Tribes of Simeon and Gad lay on either side of him under his Standard or Ban­ner: just as Issachar and Zebulun did on either side of Judah. And there was an evident congruity in it, Simeon being his next Brother; and Gad the eldest Son of Zilpah, the Hand-maid of their Mother Leah, XXX Gen. 10, 11.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. Eliasaph the Son of Reuel. See Note upon I. 14.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. And they shall set forth in the second rank.] That is, when they removed, the Three Tribes that were pitch'd on the East marched first, under the Ban­ner of Judah, (as was said before, v. 9.) and then followed these Three that lay on the South, under the Banner of Reuben.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. Then the Tabernacle of the Congregation shall set forward with the Camp of the Levites.] After the fore-named Camps, the Tabernacle was to follow: [Page 21] between those two that went before; and the Camp of Ephraim, and the Camp of Dan that came after. So they did not march, as they lay pitch'd; for then there was a Camp on each side of the Tabernacle: Whereas when they marched there was none on the sides, but two Camps went before it, and two fol­lowed it.

In the midst of the Camp.] Not intirely in the midst: for it appears by the tenth Chapter of this Book, v. 17. that after the first Camp under the Stan­dard of Judah was gone forward, the Tabernacle was taken down and carried by the Sons of Gershom and Merari between the Camp of Judah and that of Reu­ben, which next followed. And then the Sanctuary set forward, born by the Kohathites, (v. 21.) who marched exactly in the midst, between the Standards of Judah and Reuben; and the Standards of Ephraim and Dan.

As they encamp so shall they set forward.] This may refer either to the Levites, the Sons of Kohath; that as they lay encamped on the same side of the Taber­nacle, that the Standard of Reuben did, so they should immediately march after them. Compare v. 10. of this Chapter with III. 29. Or to the two Camps fore­named; that they should march in the same order wherein they lay encamped: Judah, for instance, in the midst of Issachar and Zebulun; before and behind him; or on each side of him.

Every Man in his place by their Standards.] Every Man keeping his place which was assigned him, under the Standard to which he belong'd; that there might be no disorder among them.

[Page 22]Ver. 18. And on the West side shall be the Standard of the Camp of Ephraim, &c.] There is little to be no­ted here, but that Ephraim is plainly preferred before Verse 18 his Brother, as he was in Jacob's Blessing, (XLVIII Gen. 19, 20.) and that the two Tribes which encamp­ed under his Standard, viz. Manasseh, v. 20. and Ben­jamin, v. 22. are fitly joyned with him: they being all descended from Rachel.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. All that were numbred of the Camp of E­phraim were an hundred and eight thousand, &c.] This was the smallest Body of all the Four.

And they shall go forward in the third rank.] And therefore, though they lay on the West side, in their Encampment, yet when they marched, they did not go in the Rear of all; but immediately behind the Tabernacle.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. The Standard of the Camp of Dan shall be on the North side, &c.] This Tribe, we may reasonably think, was advanced to this Dignity, of bearing one of the four Standards, though they descended from an Hand-maid: because Dan was the eldest of Jacob's Sons of that sort, XXX Gen. 6. and this Tribe was the most numerous of all others, except Judah, as the fore-going Chapter shows, v. 39. With whom the Tribes of Asher and Naphtali are fitly joyned; being descended from Hand-maids also.

Verse 31 Ver. 31. All that were numbred in the Camp of Dan were an hundred and fifty seven thousand, &c.] This was the greatest Body of Men, except that under the Standard of Judah, who marched in the Front: and is the reason perhaps why these are ordered here, in the next words, to bring up the Rear.

They shall go hindmost with their Standards.] Here the Standard comprehends Ensigns: for there was but [Page 23] one Standard for this Camp, as there were no more for the other three. Therefore the meaning is, they shall march hindermost under their several Colours, as we now speak. Which was ordered for the great­er Security of the Sanctuary; by the two strongest Bodies marching before and behind: where there was the greatest danger.

Ver. 32. These are those which were numbred of the Verse 32 Children of Israel by the House of their Fathers, &c.] That is, Thus were all these Persons disposed under their several Standards; whose Number was taken by Moses and Aaron, with their Associates, I. 44, 45.

Ver. 33. But the Levites were not numbred among Verse 33 the Children of Israel, as the LORD commanded Mo­ses.] And consequently did not belong to any of these Standards; being to make another Camp by themselves, I. 47, &c.

Ver. 34. And the Children of Israel did according to Verse 34 all that the LORD commanded Moses.] As they gave in their Names when they were to be numbred, I. 54. so they now joyned together under such Stan­dards, as God appointed.

So they pitched by their Standards, and so they set forward, &c.] Each Tribe encamped under the Standard that was assigned to them; and they also marched, when they set forward, in such order as is here directed. Some order, no doubt, had been ob­served before, both when they rested, and when they marched, (See XIII Exod. 18.) but it was not so ex­act and regular as this form, into which they were now cast by God himself: nor can we think it was so strictly observed.

[Page 24]The Jews say that this Camp made a Square of Twelve Miles in compass about the Tabernacle; as Dr. Lightfoot hath observed in his Centur. Chorogr. CXLVIII. and J. Wagenseil more lately in his Anno­tations upon the Gemara of Sota, Cap. 1. Sect. 51. where several of them say, that the Camp was three Parasots in compass: and a Parasot was four Miles.


Chapter III Verse 1 Ver. 1. THese are the Generations of Aaron and Mo­ses.] Being now to give an account of the Levites, who had not been numbred with the rest of the Children of Israel, he sets down the descen­dants of the principal Persons among them, viz. Aa­ron (whom he puts in the first place, because he was the elder Brother, and his Posterity were advanced to the Dignity of Priests) and Moses; whose Poste­rity were only Ministers to the Priests, as all the common Levites were. It may seem indeed at first fight, as if he gave an account only of Aaron's Poste­rity, v. 2. But if we look further to v. 27, 28. we shall find the Posterity of both here numbred, in the Family of the Amramites; of which both Aaron and Moses were: Amram being their Father; from whom the Genealogy of the Children of Moses is derived, (1 Chron. XXIII. 13, 14, &c.) through their Genera­tions; as here those of Aaron.

Concerning the word Generations, See Dr. Ham­mond on the first of St. Matthew, Not. a.

[Page 25] In the day that the LORD spake unto Moses in Mount Sinai.] This Circumstance seems to be particularly specified, because at that time Nadab and Abihu (who are mentioned in the next Verse) were both alive, and very eminent Persons, (XXIV Exod. 1, 9, 10.) though they were now dead, at this num­bring of the Levites.

Ver. 2. These are the Names of the Sons of Aaron,Verse 2 Nadab the first-born, &c.] There seems no necessity of setting down the Names of Aaron's Sons; they not being here to be numbred. But it was of great Con­cernment to have the Distinction preserved between the Priests and the Levites; their Offices being very different: and therefore Moses here sets down who belonged to the one, and who to the other.

Ver. 3. These are the Names of the Sons of Aaron,Verse 3 the Priests which were anointed.] See VIII Levit. 30.

Which he consecrated.] In the Hebrew, whose Hand he filled. See XXVIII Exod. 41. XXIX. 9.

To minister in the Priests Office.] He would have it noted, that Aaron's Posterity were solemnly con­secrated to an higher Office than the rest of the Tribe of Levi; who were to be their Servants. The very name of Cohen carries Dignity in it; signifying some­time a Prince, as well as a Priest. Accordingly, the Priests had very little servile Work imposed upon them; but their chief business was to draw near to God, to present him with the Blood, and the Fat, and some part of the Sacrifices; which might be kil­led by other Persons. This shows that they were God's Familiars; insomuch that some Sacrifices were divided between him, and them: and it was the same thing, whether they were consumed on the Al­ter, or eaten by the Priests: And those things are [Page 26] said to be given to God, which were put into their hands; though they never came to the Altar. Which is an Evidence of the near relation they had to the Divine Majesty, which the Levites had not; for they could not come nigh to offer any thing to him, no more than the rest of the Israelites: but were employ­ed in inferior Services about the Tabernacle, that the Priests might wholly attend to the Service of God at the Altar.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, &c.] A little after their Consecration, X Lev. 1, &c.

And they had no Children.] Which is here record­ed, that all Posterity might know there were none to be admitted to the Office of Priesthood, but such as could derive their Genealogy from Eleazar or Itha­mar. If the other had left any Sons, they would have inherited their Father's Office, before Eleazar; as Maimonides observes out of Siphre. See Schickard his Jus Regium, Cap. VI. Theorem. XX.

And Eleazar and Ithamar ministred in the Priests Office, in the sight of their Father.] The LXX right­ly translate it, together with their Father: Who was the High Priest; and they Lower Priests under him. And so were all their Sons; which it is likely they had in good number: For they are appointed, v. 38. for the guard of the Tabernacle towards the East. And thus the Gemara Hieorosol. in the Title concern­ing Fasting saith, That Moses appointed VIII Classes of Priests; four of the Family of Eleazar, and as many of Ithamar: which continued till the time of Samuel the Prophet, and David, who admitted many more. See Selden de Success. in Pontif. Cap. I.

[Page 27]Ver. 5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Now he gives order about the rest of the Tribe of Levi; who had been omitted in the late Mu­ster.Verse 5

Ver. 6. Bring the Tribe of Levi near, and present Verse 6 them.] They had consecrated themselves to God, by a noble Act mentioned XXXII Exod. 29. Which procured them this Blessing to be presented to God, and consecrated to him in a solemn manner, for such Services as he should assign them. So this word bring near signifies, to offer them unto God: As they were VIII. 10, 11.

Before Aaron the Priest.] In his presence.

That they may minister unto him.] Unto Aaron and the rest of the Priests; who were the immediate Mi­nisters of God; and the Levites were given to mi­nister unto them. Which they did many ways; especially while they remain'd in the Wilderness; where they had a peculiar Charge, (which otherwise would have been incumbent on the Priests) not only to guard the Tabernacle, and keep a Watch night and day about it; but also to take it down, and to carry it, when they removed; and to set it up again when they rested: as we read in the following part of this Chapter, and in the next. When they came into the Land of Canaan, and were settled there, they had less to do of this kind: But as the Charge of the Tabernacle still lay upon them, as it had done be­fore; so did other Works in the Courts of the LORD'S House, and in the Chambers, where they waited on the Priests; which are particularly men­tioned in 1 Chron. XXIII. 28, 29, &c. And in Da­vid's time their Work was still more increased; for [Page 28] he appointed them to be Singers in the House of the LORD, and to play upon several sorts of Instru­ments, 1 Chron. XXV. which they did Morning and Evening, 1 Chron. XXIII. 30. Porters perhaps there were before, who stood at the several Gates of the Tabernacle, as afterward of the Temple; and are said therein to minister in the House of the LORD, 1 Chron. XXVI. 12. as also Guards of the Treasury of God's House, and of things dedicated to him, v. 20. But as he increased the number of them, so he settled them in their Courses; that there might be a con­stant Attendance with greater ease. As for those of them, that were made Judges and Officers, not only in Matters concerning the LORD, but in the Ser­vice of the King, (as we read there 1 Chron. XXVI. 29, 30.) it no more belongs to what is said of them here, than what follows there, v. 31. that there were found among them mighty Men of Valour. See upon v. 10.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. And they shall keep his Charge, and the charge of the whole Congregation.] It highly concerned Aa­ron in particular, and the whole Congregation in ge­neral; that the Tabernacle should be well guarded: And this was the Levites great business at present; who took this Charge from off their hands, by attend­ing that Service which all of them were bound to per­form.

Before the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] This exactly expresses in what their Ministry consisted: which was not performed in the Tabernacle, (where the Priests only officiated in the Holy Place, as the High Priest in the most Holy) but before it, in the External Part of it, where they assisted the Priests in their Service.

[Page 29] To do the Service of the Tabernacle.] Such Service as I have mentioned before, v. 6.

Ver. 8. And they shall keep.] By guarding them, and keeping a continual Watch about them.Verse 8

All the Instruments of the Tabernacle of the Congrega­tion.] Every thing belonging to it.

And the charge of the Children of Israel, to do the Service of the Tabernacle.] By which Service at the Tabernacle, they took upon them the Charge; which otherwise was incumbent on the whole Congregation: who were to take care that the holy Things were kept both safe and secure, and also separate to the Sacred Uses to which they were appointed.

These words, which are often repeated, [to do the Service of the Tabernacle,] are to be carefully no­ted: because the Levites did not serve in the Taber­nacle, (which belonged only to the Priests) but ser­ved the Tabernacle, by guarding it, and taking it down, and carrying it, &c. as was said before.

Ver. 9. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron Verse 9 and to his Sons.] They were first presented unto God, v. 6. and God bestowed them as a Gift upon the Priests. See VIII. 19.

They are wholly given unto him out of the Children of Israel.] To attend upon the Priests, and to obey their Orders; for which they paid them nothing, but they were to do it freely: being given to them to be their Servants, by God who paid them their Wages.

Ver. 10. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his Sons,Verse 10 and they shall wait on their Priests Office.] Or, thou shalt appoint them to wait on their Priesthood. Which he had shown before was very different from the Le­vitical Office; but to make them more mindful of [Page 30] their Dignity, he repeats it again: that Aaron and his Sons alone should officiate as Priests; viz. in offering Sacrifice; in setting the Bread upon the Holy Table; looking after the Lights; and burning Incense: Which they were to perform in their own Persons, and not appoint any others, as their Deputies, to do them; for none of these things could be performed by the Levites. Whose business it was to look after the fine Flour of which the Bread was made; to prepare it, and the Frankincense which was to be burnt, and a­bundance of such like things; which are particular­ly mentioned 1 Chron. IX. 27, 28, 29, 31, 32. But they could not make the Anointing Oyl, or the sweet Perfume mentioned XXX Exod. 23, 34. for they were most holy: and therefore the Priests only could com­pound them.

And the Stranger that cometh nigh.] By Stranger is meant any one (though a Levite) that was not of the Sons of Aaron: who alone had the priviledge, to approach unto God.

Shall be put to death.] God himself sent out a Fire to consume Korah and his Company, who presumed to offer Incense; being but bare Levites, and not Priests, Chap. XVI.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] To make the Matter more clear, he further tells Moses the reason why he took the Levites from among the the Children of Israel, to be his after a peculiar man­ner.

Verse 12 Ver. 12. And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the Children of Israel.] Take notice of the Reason why I have taken the Levites from among the rest of the Israelites, (v. 9.) for it is by my Order and Appointment.

[Page 31] Instead of all the First-born that openeth the Matrix, &c.] To make an exchange with them for all their First-born, which I have heretofore challenged as my own: and now take the Levites in their stead.

Therefore the Levites shall be mine.] As all the First-born were: which now shall be theirs, and the Levites be mine.

Ver. 13. Because all the First-born are mine.] By Verse 13 a special Right, which is mentioned in the next words.

For on the day that I smote all the First-born in the Land of Egypt.] The Title whereby he laid a Claim to all the First-born, was that great Miracle (as R. Levi of Barcelona calls it) which he wrought, when he destroyed all the First-born of their Neighbours in Egypt; and touched not one of theirs. By which sparing Mercy he acquired a just Right to them; and by that solemn Dedication which he then command­ed to be made of them, unto his uses, XIII Exod. 2, 12, 13.

I hallowed unto me all the First-born in Israel, &c.] He separated them unto himself, by sparing them, when he killed all other First-born, but only theirs.

Mine they shall be.] Both by that Act of his own, and by the Act of the Children of Israel, whom he commanded to Sanctifie them to him, (XIII Exod. 2. XXII. 29.) they became God's. By which it appears, that he had not a peculiar Right in the First-born, more than in any other of their Children, till their coming out of Egypt. And therefore the taking of the Levites to be his, instead of the First-born, is no Argument that the First-born had hitherto been the Priests who ministred unto God, till this Exchange of them for the Levites. So our learned Dr. Light­foot [Page 32] seems to infer, in his Notes upon this passage; The First-born, saith he, had been Priests till the Con­secration of the Levites, but now that Function must be confined to that Tribe. In which words (with due re­spect be it spoken to that excellent Man's Labours) there are several Mistakes. For, as the Priesthood was not now confined to this Tribe, but to one Fami­ly in this Tribe, (that of Aaron) so it was not con­fined to it, upon this occasion: but he and his Sons were Consecrated before this Exchange of the Levites for the First-born: Who were now given to minister unto them, but had nothing to do with the Priest­hood; no more than the First-born had, for whom they were exchanged: that peculiar Right which God had in the First-born, being since their coming out of Egypt. Upon all which Considerations we may look upon this Exchange, as an Argument rather that the First-born were not Priests in former times, than that they were: as the Jews fancy, and as many have sug­gested from this very taking of the Levites to be God's portion in their stead. For so Menochius himself, L. II. de Repub. Jud. cap. 1. asserts from this very place, Jus Sacerdotum in Levitas translatum, & eos loco primogenitorum acceptos, quibus hoc jus debebatur, that the Right of Priests was transferred to the Levites, and they were accepted in stead of the First-born, to whom that Right belonged. In which there is not a word of truth, but only that the Levites were accep­ted instead of the First-born: who had the same Right to the Priesthood, that the Levites had; that is, none at all.

I am the LORD.] Who may take whom I please to be imployed in my Service; and think it reasonable that those whom I spared, when I slew the Egyptian First-born, should be mine.

[Page 33]Ver. 14. And the LORD spake unto Moses.] There was some reason, no doubt, why Moses alone is commanded to take the number of the Levites upon this occasion, (as he alone did, v. 16.) when Aaron Verse 14 is joined with him in numbring the Israelites, I. 3. and in numbring the Levites themselves who were fit for service, IV. 2, 41, 45. (nay, the chief of the Israel­ites assisted therein, v. 46.) And it is most probable he alone was employed to take this account, because Aaron was a party in it; the Money that was to be paid for so many of the first-born, as exceeded the number of the Levites, being given to him, and to his Sons, v. 48.

In the Wilderness of Sinai.] This Command im­mediately followed the other, in the two preceding Chapters, before they departed from the Wilder­ness of Sinai; where they had been ever since God delivered the Law to them, from that Mountain.

Ver. 15. Number the Children of Levi after the House Verse 15 of their Fathers, by their Families.] Just as they had numbred the rest of the Children of Israel. See I. v. 2. Only those they numbred from Twenty years old and upward; but the Levites from a Month old and upward.

Every Male from a month old and upward, shalt thou number them.] The reason of this difference was, that this was the Age, at which they were to redeem their First-born, (XVIII. 16.) in whose stead the Le­vites were to be given unto God. See v. 40. of this Chapter.

Ver. 16. And Moses numbred them according to the Verse 16 word of the LORD, &c.] This Charge was com­mitted to him alone, v. 10. and he alone (as I there observed) performed it.

[Page 34]Ver. 17. And these were the Sons of Levi, by their names, Gershon. and Kohath, and Merari.] The same account we had before, XLVI Gen. 11. VI Exod. 16.

Verse 18 Ver. 18. And these are the Names of the Sons of Gershon, by their Families, Libni and Shimei.] The same is said VI Exod. 17.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And the Names of the Sons of Kohath, &c.] They are mentioned in the same order, in that VI Exod. 18, 19.

Verse 20 Ver. 20. These are the Families of the Levites, ac­cording to the House of their Fathers.] These were the principal Families in this Tribe; from whence the se­veral Housholds, and the Persons in them, were de­rived.

Verse 21, 22. Ver. 21, 22. Of Gershon was the Family, &c.] From his two Sons sprung two Families: who had in them Seven thousand and five hundred Male Children, from a Month old and upward.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. And the Families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the Tabernacle westward.] Where the most holy place was; and where they under the Standard of Ephraim lay, in the great Camp of Israel, (II. 18.) between whom and the Tabernacle, this part of the Camp of Levi pitched.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. And the Chief of the House of the Father of the Gershonites, &c.] The Commander in Chief, as we may stile him, or the principal Officer in this part of the Camp of the Levites; was Eliasaph the Son of Lael: but of what Family he was, whether of the Libnites, or Shimites, is not related.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. And the Charge of the Sons of Gershon.] That which was committed peculiarly to their care.

[Page 35] In the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] In the things belonging to the Tabernacle: for none went into it, but the Priests alone.

Shall be the Tabernacle.] Not the Boards and Pil­lars, and Bases of it, (for they belonged to the care of the Sons of Merari, v. 36.) but the Ten Curtains, which were the inward Hangings of it; and are cal­led the Mischcan or Tabernacle, XXVI Exod. 1. and see the next Chapter of this Book, v. 25.

And the Tent.] The outward Curtains of Goats Hair, which are called Ohel, the Tent, XXVI Exod. 7.12.

The Covering thereof.] The Michse, as the Hebrews call it, or the Covering of the Tent, were the Rams Skins, and Badgers Skins; which lay outmost of all, upon the Curtains of Goats Hair, XXVI Exod. 14.

And the hanging for the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] The outward Vail, mentioned XXVI Exod. 36. for the inward Vail, which hung before the most holy Place, was the Charge of the Kohathites.

Ver. 26. And the Hangings of the Court.] See Verse 26 XXVII Exod. 9.

And the Curtain for the Door of the Court, XXVI Ex­od. 16.

Which is by the Tabernacle, and by the Altar round about.] Or, as the Hebrew particle al may be trans­lated, is over, or upon the Tabernacle, &c. That is, this Curtain at the Door, and the Hangings of the Court, compassed the Tabernacle, and the Altar of Burnt-offerings (which stood at the Door of it, XL Exod. 19.) round about; so that they were not ex­posed to common fight: For these Gershonites had [Page 36] nothing to do with the Altar it self; which was the Charge of the Kohathites, v. 31.

And the Cords of it.] This seems to refer not mere­ly to the Curtain for the Door of the Court, but to all that went before, viz. the Cords whereby those Hangings were stretched out, and fastned by Pins to the Wood-work of the Tabernacle. For the Cords of that belonged to the Custody of the Sons of Me­rari, v. 37. and we find Pins and Cords as well for the Tabernacle, (that is, the Hangings) as for the Court, i. e. the Boards, &c. XXXV Exod. 18.

For all the Service thereof.] Of this part of the House of God, as appears from v. 31, and 36. where this is repeated with respect to the other parts of it.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. And of Kohath was the Family of the Am­ramites, &c.] He was the second Son of Levi; and had as many more Families sprung from him as from the Eldest: among which was the Family of the Am­ramites; of which were Moses and Aaron.

Verse 28 Ver. 28. In the number of all the Males, &c.] Though there were four Families of the Kohathites, and but two of the Gershonites; yet the latter were as nume­rous as they, within Eleven hundred.

Keeping the Charge of the Sanctuary.] Of what be­longed to the holy Place, which was committed to their Charge, as it follows afterward; and they were instructed in it betimes.

Verse 29 Ver. 29. The Families of the Sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the Tabernacle southward.] Between the Tabernacle, ond the Standard of Reuben, II. 10.

Verse 30 Ver. 30. And the Chief of the House of the Father of the Families of the Kohathites, shall be Elizaphan the Son of Ʋzziel.] There was a Commander in Chief [Page 37] appointed over this Body of the Levites: who was chosen out of the youngest Family of the Kohathites. But it is observable there were no Standards belong­ing to any of these Bodies; they being designed for other Service, and not for War.

Ver. 31. And their Charge shall be the Ark, and the Verse 31 Table, and the Candlestick.] The Sanctuary, as was said before, v. 28. being committed to their Custody; the Particulars are here mentioned: which were the most precious of all the holy Things. With which the Kohathites had the honour to be intrusted, though a younger Family than those descended from Ger­shon; because Moses and Aaron were of it, being of the Family of the Amramites. Which is the reason why the Kohathites are reckoned▪ first in the next Chapter, v. 2. and that of the XLVIII Cities given to the Levites by Joshua, almost half of them fell to their Families, XXI Josh. 4, 5.

The Altars.] Both the Altar of Burnt-offerings; and the Altar of Incense.

And the Vessels of the Sanctuary wherewith they (i. e. the Priests) minister. See XXV. Exod. 29. XXXVII. 16.

And the hanging.] That is, the Vail before the most Holy Place, (for all other Hangings were under the care of the Gershonites, v. 25, 26.) wherein the Ark was wrapt, when they carried it, IV. 5.

And all the Service thereof.] Whatsoever belonged to this part of God's House. See v. 26. and the Par­ticulars are mentioned in the next Chapter, v. 7, 9, 14.

Ver. 32. And Eleazar the Son of Aaron shall be chief Verse 32 over the Chief of the Levites.] There was one Officer in chief, set over each of these great Families of the [Page 38] Gershonites, v. 24. of the Kohathites, v. 30. and the Merarites, v. 35. And over all these Chiefs, there is now appointed a supreme Chief, (who was to go­vern them, as they governed those under them) and that was Eleazar, who was more than a Levite; being the eldest Son of Aaron the High Priest.

And have the over-sight of them that keep the charge of the Sanctuary.] But more particularly Eleazar was to super-vise those that had the Sanctuary under their care: That is, all the Rohathites and Elizaphan their chief, v. 20.

Verse 33, 34. Ver. 33, 34. Of Merari was the Family of the Mah­lites, and the Family of the Mushites, &c.] Nothing is observable of these, but that they were the fewest in number; being thirteen hundred less than the Chil­dren of Gershon, v. 22.

Verse 35 Ver. 35. These shall pitch on the side of the Tabernacle Northward.] Opposite to the Kohathites; between the Standard of Dan, and the Sanctuary, II. 25.

Verse 36 Ver. 36. And under the Custody and Charge of the Sons of Merari, shall be the Boards of the Taberna­cle, &c.] Concerning all the things mentioned in this, and in the next Verse. See XXVI. Exod. 15, 16, &c. XXVII. 10, 11, 12, &c. and the next Chap­ter of this Book, v. 31, 32.

Verse 37 Ver. 37. And their Cords.] These are different from those before mentioned, v. 27. as I noted there.

Verse 38 Ver. 38. But those that encamp before the Taber­nacle towards the East.] Where the Entrance into it was.

Even before the Tabernacle of the Congregation East­ward.] He would have this Station observed, as much excelling the rest.

[Page 39] Shall be Moses and Aaron, and his Sons.] There were but three Bodies of the Levites, descended from the three Sons of Levi, v. 1. and therefore none left to guard this side of the Tabernacle, but Moses and Aaron, and their Families: who lay between the Standard of Judah, and the Tabernacle, (see Chap. II. v. 3.) which was the most honourable Post, as I there noted: Where the Priests were with great reason placed, together with the chief Governor of all, Mo­ses; because they were to guard the Holy Place, that none might go into it, but themselves.

Keeping the charge of the Sanctuary.] Of the En­trance into it.

For the charge of the Children of Israel.] Which it concerned every one of the Children of Israel, should be kept sacred. See v. 7.

And the Stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to Death.] No Man that was not of the House of Aa­ron (though a Levite) was upon the peril of his life, to enter into the Sanctuary: Of which they had the charge. See v. 10.

Ver. 39. All that were numbred of the Levites, which Verse 39 Moses and Aaron numbred, at the Commandment of the LORD.] This looks like a Contradiction to the Observation, I made, v. 14.16. But Aaron's numbring here, in all Probability, is only his agreeing that this was a true Account which Moses took of the Tribe of Levi. For Moses still continues to be alone con­cerned, in numbring the First-born of the Chil­dren of Israel, for whom they were to be exchanged, v. 40.42.

Were twenty and two thousand.] If the particular Sums before-mentioned, (v. 22, 28, 34.) be put to­gether, they amount to three hundred more, than [Page 40] twenty two thousand. Therefore it is a reasonable Con­jecture that the three hundred are omitted in this ac­count, because they were the first-born of the Le­vites themselves: and upon that score belonging to God already, (by the Law in XIII. Exod. 2. XXXIV. 20.) could not be exchanged for the first-born of other Tribes, and substituted in their stead, as other Levites were. It is very observable here also, that the Levites were the fewest in number of any Tribe; being but Two and twenty thousand, three hundred, from a Month old and upward; when some Tribes were twice, nay thrice as many, (See I. 27.) not rec­koning Children, but only Men from twenty years old and upward. In which the Divine Providence was very conspicuous: Which so ordered it, that this whole Tribe might be dedicated to him. Whereas, if it had grown proportionably to the rest, there would have been more Levites by far than the first-born of all the Tribes.

Verse 40 Ver. 40. And the LORD said unto Moses.] To whom alone this Command is directed, as I observed above.

Number all the first-born of the Males of the Children of Israel from a month old and upward.] The first-born Males were to be a Month old, before their Parents were bound to redeem them: If they died before, they were not to pay any thing for them. Which de­pends upon another Law, XII Lev. 4.6. Where if a Woman brought forth a Male; besides the seven days of her Separation, she was to stay three and thirty days more before she went unto the Sanctuary. At which time the Child being to be presented to God, it appears that he acknowledged them for his when they were a Month old. Yet they distinguish between the time [Page 41] when the Redemption-Money was due, and when it was offered. This latter was deferred till the Mother was abroad again: but it was due, and the Father obli­ged to pay it, as soon as the Child was a Month old. So Const. L'Empereur observes out of Maimonides, upon Bava kama, cap. VII. Sect. 6.

And take the number of their Names.] That their number, and that of the Levites, might be compared one with the other; for the reason which here fol­lows.

Ver. 41. And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I Verse 41 am the LORD) instead of all the First-born among the Children of Israel.] God had taken them before, as we read, v. 12. by declaring his Will to Moses about it. And now he commands Moses to declare his Will to the People, and actually to make this exchange; after he had taken the Number, both of the First-born, and of the Levites. For he had Authority to take which he pleased, being their LORD.

And the Cattel of the Levites, instead of all the Firstlings among the Cattel of the Children of Israel.] Not that they should be sacrificed, or taken from the Levites; but that they should be accounted God's Cattel: they being the Cattel of the Levites; who were his entirely. And therefore were presented unto him, as the Levites were; but still continued in their possession by his Allowance, for their Encou­ragement in his Service. See v. 45.

Ver. 42. And Moses numbred, as the LORD com­manded Verse 42 him, all the First-born of the Children of Is­rael.] But we do not find that he numbred the Firstlings of their Cattel, or the Cattel of the Le­vites; because the exchange of them was not made in particular, by substituting one for one; but gene­rally, [Page 42] by substituting all the Cattel of the Levites, in­stead of all the Firstlings of the Israelites Cattel.

Ver. 43. And all the first-born Males, by the number Verse 43 of Names, &c. and were Twenty and two thousand two hundred, and threescore and thirteen.] It may appear something strange, that from above Six hundred thousand Men, (reckoning from twenty years old and upward, I. 46.) there should not be more than this number of first-born Sons; till it be considered that thus many were born since the Slaughter of the Egyptian First-born, (which was not much above a year ago) after which time all the First-born of Is­rael became God's; but not those that were born be­fore. For so the Law is, XIII Exod. 2. Whatsoever openeth the Womb, (i. e. hereafter) both of Man and Beast, shall be mine.

Verse 44 Ver. 44. And the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] Still he is the Person solely employed in this business.

Verse 45 Ver. 45. Take the Levites instead of all the First-born among the Children of Israel, and the Cattel of the Levites instead of their Cattel.] Having numbred both the Levites and the First-born; now he bids him take those Two and twenty thousand Levites instead of so many First-born. As for the Cattel, they were not numbred, as I observed before, but ex­changed in the lump, as we speak.

And the Levites shall be mine.] I think it is remarka­ble, that he doth not add, and their Cattel shall be mine also. For he did not take their Cattel from them, when they became his; but left them the use of them, who still enjoyed them in his Right.

[Page 43] I am the LORD.] This exchange is made by my Authority; who am the LORD both of them, and all they have.

Ver. 46. And for those that are to be redeemed of the Verse 46 two hundred and threescore and thirteen, &c.] There being Two hundred threescore and thirteen First-born, more than there were Levites, they are directed, in the next Verse, what to do about them. For there could be no exchange of Levites for them; because there was not a sufficient number to be taken in their stead.

Ver. 47. Thou shalt even take five Shekels apiece by Verse 47 the pole.] This was the Price of Redemption ever af­ter, as appears from XVIII. 16. For it had been lately constituted the value of a Man-child, from a Month to five years old, in XXVII Levit. 6.

After the Shekel of the Sanctuary, &c.] See XXX Exod. 13, &c. The only difficulty in this matter, was to determine which of the First-born should be redeemed, by paying this Money; and which should be exchanged for the Levites. For every one of the Israelites, no doubt, was desirous rather to have his First-born redeemed by a Levite, than by paying five Shekels; and yet some of them must be put to this expence, there not being Levites enough to answer for them all. The Jews think (particularly R. Solomon) that there was no way to satisfie this doubt like that, by drawing of lots. Which was done in this man­ner. Moses, saith the fore-named Doctor, took Two and twenty thousand Scrolls of Parchment, and wrote in them these words, a Son of Levi; and Two hundred and seventy and three more, wherein he wrote, five Shekels: and then putting them all together in an Urn, and shaking it to mingle them, he commanded [Page 44] every one of the First-born to come, and put in his Hand, and draw out a Schedule: And to him that drew out one of the former sort, he said, a Levite hath redeemed thee; but to him that drew out one of the latter, he said, pay thy Price. And thus they tell the Story also in the Gemara Babylon. Tit. Sanhedrin. Which is probable enough; unless we suppose the Congregation to have redeemed the Two hundred seventy three First-born; out of a common Stock; which was a shorter way, but not so Divine as the o­ther.

Verse 48 Ver. 48. And thou shalt give the Money wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron, and to his Sons.] Which was but reasonable; be­cause the Levites being given to them by God, v. 6, 7. the Money that was paid to make up what was want­ing in their proportion to the First-born, belonged to them likewise.

Verse 49 Ver. 49. And Moses took the Redemption-Money of them that were over and above.] To whom the Lot fell, having five Shekels written upon it.

Them that were redeemed by the Levites.] The First-born were redeemed by the Levites as far as their number would reach; the rest, who were more than the Levites, were redeemed by Money.

Verse 50 Ver. 50. Of the First-born of the Children of Israel took he the Money, a thousand three hundred, and three­score and five Shekels. Five times two hundred seven­ty and three make just this number.

Ver. 51. And Moses gave the Money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron, and to his Sons.] Which was a Rule observed in future Generations, XVIII 15, &c.

[Page 45] According to the Word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.] This is so oft repeated, to show how faithful a Servant Moses was: who did nothing but by the Divine order; and omitted nothing that was commanded him.


Chapter IV Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, and Verse 1 unto Aaron, saying.] They being both of them concerned to see this carefully executed, he speaks to both: and they took others to their Assi­stance, v. 34, 46.

Ver. 2. Take the sum of the Sons of Kohath, &c.]Verse 2 They are first mentioned, being employed in the most honourable Work; as I observed before, III. 31.

Ver. 3. From thirty years old and upward.] In this Verse 3 Work, to which they are appointed, they were not employed till they came to Thirty years of Age: But they were admitted to attend at the Tabernacle, and do other Service, at the Age of Five and twenty; as we read VIII. 25. Which place the Jews (in the Gemara Babylonica upon the Title Cholin) reconcile with this, after this manner. They were admitted to learn their Duty at Five and twenty, and to minister at Thirty. And so Aben Ezra upon VIII Numb. They were probationers, and might do some service at Five and twenty years old, but not do all. For they might wait upon the Tabernacle; but not bear the Ark. And that's the exact truth, they were admitted to mi­nister to the Priests at Five and twenty: but were not put upon this laborious work here mentioned, till they [Page 46] had sufficient strength for it; which was at Thir­ty years of Age; when they were able to carry Burdens: for by that word their work is descri­bed, v. 15, 19, 24, 31, 47. For though some things, which they were charged withal, might be put into Waggons: yet the Ark, and the most holy Things, were to be carried upon their Shoul­ders, though they march'd never so far, v. 15. and VII. 9. When the Ark indeed was settled in the Tem­ple, which was a fixed place, and therefore was no longer to be carried up and down, then (as D. Kim­chi observes upon 1 Chron. XXIII.) King David ap­pointed them to enter upon their Office, at Twenty years old: there being also other great Work to be performed in his time; for which they were fit at that Age. And so it continued even after their return from the Captivity of Babylon, III Ezra 8. See Sel­den. de Success. in Pontificat. L. II. cap. 4. and Light­foot in his Temple Service, Chap. VI. Sect. 1.

Even until fifty years old.] Beyond which Age they were not bound to do any Service: but only to mi­nister with their Brethren at the Tabernacle, VIII. 25, 26.

All that enter into the Host. Or, into the Warfare.] For their watching continually, as a Guard, about the Tabernacle, (III. 7, &c.) made them a sort of Mili­tia: who were encamped, as appears by the forego­ing Chapter, about the Tabernacle, for its Security. Besides which, there was other Work, which might make their Service as laborious, as a Soldier's Life is; and give it the name of entring into the Host: which manner of speaking St. Paul uses unto Timothy, I. 1, 18. where he exhorts him to war a good warfare.

[Page 47] To do the work of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] They did not perform any Work in it, but about it, (such as here follows) unless we understand by the Tabernacle, the outward Court: into which they went to minister unto the Priests.

Ver. 4. This shall be the Service of the Sons of Ko­hath,Verse 4 in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, about the most holy things.] The next Verses explain what this Service was. Or if the word about (in the latter end of the Verse) were quite left out, the sence would be more clear. This shall be the Service of the Sons of Ko­hath, &c. the most holy Things: that is, the Ark, as Aben Ezra expounds it. And his Interpretation may be justified from v. 19, and 20. in the latter of which it is called the holy, and in the former the holy of ho­lies, as it is here in the Hebrew. For it was the most holy of all other holy things in the Tabernacle; and gave the Name to the place where it stood, of holy of holies, or the most holy place. And this made the Service of the Kohathites the most honourable of all other: and is the reason they are mentioned first.

Ver. 5. When the Camp setteth forward.] Which it Verse 5 did not do, till the Cloud was taken up, and remo­ved from off the Tabernacle, XL Exod. 36, 37. X Numb. 11.

Aaron shall come, and his Sons.] While the Cloud rested upon the Tabernacle, and the Glory of the LORD filled the House, none but Aaron might come into the most Holy Place, where the Ark was; and that but on one day in the year; and then, after he had filled it with Incense, which made a Cloud before the Mercy Seat, (which was the Covering of the Ark) over which the SCHECHINAH was, But that being removed in the Cloud, when it was [Page 48] taken up from the Tabernacle; not only Aaron, but his Sons also might come into the most Holy Place, without any Irreverence; that which made it so holy (viz. the Glory of the LORD) being gone out of it, for the present; so that there was no danger in approaching to the Ark, where it was wont to rest.

And they shall take down the covering Vail.] Where­by the Holy Place was parted from the most Holy: which is always meant by the word Parocheth (as I showed upon Exod. XXVI. 31.) which is here used. And though the word Masach be added to it, which constantly signifies the outward Vail at the entrance of the Sanctuary; yet it is plain that the inward Vail, which was at the entrance of the most Holy Place, is here intended: for the other was committed to the care of the Gershonites, v. 25.

And cover the Ark of the Testimony with it.] By this it is evident they went into the Holy Place, unto the very Ark: over which they threw this Covering.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. And shall put thereon the covering of Badgers Skins.] Not any of those wherewith the Tabernacle was covered, (XXVI Exod. 14.) but a Covering made on purpose for this use: to defend the Ark from the injury of the Weather, when they carried it on their shoulders.

And shall spread over it a Cloath wholly of blue.] Or, of perfect blue. This was the third Covering of the Ark: which till it was laid upon it, the Levites might not approach it. And since the Tabernacle was the I­mage of Things in the Heavens, (as not only the Apo­stle but the Jews themselves say) the Ark in particular being a Figure of the Celestial Throne of God; it is not an unreasonable Conceit of R. Bechai, that this blue coloured Cloth was spread over it, as an Emblem [Page 49] of the Skies, which are spread like a Curtain between us and the Majesty on High.

And shall put in the Staves thereof.] It is not said they shall put them in the Rings: for they were never to be taken out of them, XXV Exod. 15. Nor do the Hebrew words signifie that they should put them in: but it should be translated, put the Staves thereof; that is, upon their shoulders. So Aben Ezra interprets it: which seems to me the most simple Exposition: Or, fit and dispose them, under the Covering, that they might be laid on their shoulders. Or, order them so in the Rings, (which is Chaskun's Explication) that they might fall into the two Notches; which were in the Staves, to keep the Ark from sliding up and down.

Ver. 7. And upon the Table of Shewbread, they shall Verse 7 spread a Cloth of blue.] It is not said, wholly of blue, as it is of the former: which shows it was of some­thing a different colour.

And put thereon the dishes.] Upon which the Bread was set.

And the spoons and bowls, &c.] See XXV Exod. 29.

And the continual bread.] i. e. The Bread which stood continually in the Presence of God.

Shall be thereon.] Even when the Table was car­ried from place to place. Which shows that they provided this Bread, (according to the order XXV Exod. 30.) all the time they were in the Wilderness. And it was not hard to procure so much Corn from their Neighbours bordering upon the Wilderness, as would be sufficient for this purpose; and for others, which I shall note in their proper places: particular­ly from the Land of Midian, where Moses his Father in Law lived; which was not far from Sinai, (as appears from III Exod. 1.) where they were at pre­sent.

[Page 50]Ver. 8. And they shall spread upon them a Cloth of Scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of Badgers skins.] These had a triple covering, as well as the Verse 8 Ark: being holy Things, and having a holy Thing, (that is, the Bread of the Presence, as it is called in the Hebrew, because it stood before God continually) in the Dishes upon the Table.

And shall put in the staves thereof.] That it might be ready to be carried, XXV Exod. 27, 28.

Verse 9 Ver. 9. And they shall take a Cloth of blue.] Like that which covered the Table, v. 7.

And cover the Candlestick of the Light.] See XXV Exod. 31. and XXXVII. 17, &c.

And his Lamps, and his Tongs, &c.] XXV Exod. 37, 38. XXXVII. 23.

And all the Oyl Vessels thereof.] For God com­manded them to bring pure Oyl to feed the Lamps continually, (XXVII Exod. 20.) which was put, no doubt, in Vessels to preserve it for daily use.

With which they minister unto you.] With which Oyl they keep the Lamps continually burning.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And they shall put it, and all the Vessels thereof within a covering of Badgers skins.] There were but two Coverings for the Candlestick and its Vessels; it being of lesser value than the Table of Shewbread, and what belonged to it.

And shall put it upon a bar.] Rather upon a bier: for the word we here translate bar, is different from that used before, v. 6, 8. which we translate staves: and signifies any Instrument, whereby things are re­moved from one place to another. We translate it indeed a Staff, XIII. 23. whereon two of them that went to spy out the Land, carried the Cluster of Grapes they had cut down. Which was laid, no [Page 51] doubt, upon something that was broad; as this Bar was whereon they carried the Candlestick. Which had no Rings belonging to it, and therefore, I take it, was carried upon some thing resembling a Bier, on which Corps are carried to their Grave in this Coun­try. See v. 12. and so the LXX. [...].

Ver. 11. And upon the golden Altar.] So called,Verse 11 because it was overlaid with pure Gold, XXX Exod. 3.

They shall spread a Cloth of blue, &c.] As they did upon the Candlestick, v. 9.

And shall put to the Staves thereof.] Into the Rings; which were made on purpose, that it might be carried upon the Staves, XXX Exod. 4, 5.

Ver. 12. And they shall take all the Instruments of Verse 12 the Ministry, wherewith they minister in the Sanctuary.] I do not see what can be meant by these, but the ho­ly Garments which Aaron and his Sons put on in the time of their Ministration. For all other Things have been already mentioned; and these are called the Clothes of Service, XXXI Exod. 10. where they are immediately mentioned after all the fore-named Furniture of the Tabernacle.

And shall put them in a Cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of Badgers skins.] As they did the Candlestick, and the Altar of Incense, v. 9, 11.

And put them on a bar.] By this it appears, that the Hebrew word Mot, which we translate a Bar, signifies a broad Instrument for Carriage; such as I have described, v. 10.

Ver. 13. And they shall take away the Ashes from the Verse 13 Altar.] Of Burnt-offering: which was often clean­sed from its Ashes, (VI Lev. 10, 11.) but then espe­cially when it was to be removed. What they did [Page 52] with the Fire, which was always to burn upon it, (VI Lev. 12, 13.) is not here related: but we may suppose that it was carried upon the Grate, which had Rings on purpose, that it might be carried separate from the Altar. See XXVII Exod. 4.

And spread a purple Cloth thereon.] As being an holy thing; though not of such Sanctity as those be­fore-named.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. And they shall put upon it all the Vessels thereof, &c.] That they might be carried with it.

The Censers, the Flesh-hooks, and the Shovels and the Basons.] Here the Censers are put first, which are mentioned last, in XXVII Exod. 3. where this word is translated, Fire-pans. Others understand by it, Tongs.

All the Vessels of the Altar.] Immediately after these words, we find there follows, in two places, the Laver and his foot, XXXV Exod. 16. XXXIX. 39. Where in the very same verse, the Laver is mention­ed with the Altar and its Vessels: and immediately follows them, in two other, XXXVIII Exod. 7, 8. XL. 30. The reason why it is not mentioned here, is perhaps, because he names only those things up­on which the Sons of Aaron were to put a Cover­ing; and this, it is likely, was carried without one.

And put to the staves of it.] XXVII Exod. 6, 7. XXXVIII. 6, 7.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. And when Aaron and his Sons have made an end of covering the Sanctuary and all the Vessels, &c.] This work was to be performed by them alone; and the Levites were not to meddle with any of these things, till they had done.

[Page 53] After that the Sons of Kohath shall come to bear it.] For all the fore-mentioned things, belonging to the Sanctuary, were to be carried by them; even the Ark it self: Which they carried so, that all the Peo­ple might see it went along with them. For the Rings being fastned to the bottom of the Ark, (see XXV Exod. 12.) when the Staves were on their Shoulders, it appeared on high: To represent, saith R. Bechai, him that is most highly exalted over all. The Priests indeed might carry the Ark, being more than Levites (XXXI Deut. 9.) and accordingly we find, that upon extraordinary Occasions they did; as when they went over Jordan, III Josh. 14. and when Jericho was besieged, VI. 6. Some think also, when David, as he fled from Absalom, sent the Ark back, 2 Sam. XV. 29. But it appears from ver. 24. that there is no certainty of that; especially since, when he brought it from the House of Obed-Edom, he not only employed the Levites in it, but declared none else ought to bear it, 1 Chron. XV. 2, 15, 27. He bid the Priests indeed, as well as the Levites, san­ctifie themselves for this Work: For ye (saith he to the Priests, v. 12.) are the chief of the Fathers of the Levites: but they seem to have been present, only to see the Levites perform their Charge; and to accom­pany the Ark, as David himself did.

But they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.] Some imagine they were not to touch these things, till they were covered by the Priests: But it is more likely that even then they were not to touch them, but only the Staves, or the Bar, wherein they were carried. Especially the Ark, which is here princi­pally meant by the holy thing, (the word any not be­ing in the Hebrew) whose Staves only they touched, [Page 54] and lifted it up by putting them upon their Shoul­ders.

These things are the burden of the Sons of Kohath, in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] When it was removed; for at other times, they had nothing to do with these things: Which are here called their Bur­den, as verse 4. they are called their Service; to show the nature of their Service, which required the Strength of grown Men, v. 3.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. And to the Office of Eleazar the Son of Aa­ron the Priest, pertaineth the Oyl for the Light, &c.] It is commonly thought that he is required to carry this, and the other things that follow in this Verse, himself: But if all things be considered, it will ap­pear more reasonable to think, that he who was the Chief of all the Chiefs over the Levites, III. 32. is pe­culiarly required to see the Kohathites did their Duty. For though they had a Chief over them, whose work it was to inspect them, III. 30. yet God thought good to appoint Eleazar, to supervise both him, and all under him, in these weighty Concerns. And so the Words may be interpreted out of the He­brew.

The over-sight of Eleazar the Son of Aaron the Priest, shall be the Oyl, &c. the over-sight of all the Tabernacle, and of all that is therein, &c.] And there is the grea­ter reason thus to understand it, because the Oyl-Ves­sels are before committed to the Kohathites, v. 9. and consequently the Oyl it self; which could not be car­ried, but in the Vessels.

The sweet Incense.] Mentioned XXX Exod. 34.

And the daily Meat-offering. See XXIX Exod. 40, 41.

[Page 55] And the anointing Oyl.] XXX Exod. 23, &c. These were not named before: but it is here laid upon Elea­zar, to see that they were as carefully carried by the Kohathites, as any other things belonging to the San­ctuary.

Ver. 17. And the LORD spake unto Moses, and Verse 17 unto Aaron, saying.] The things before-mentioned, especially the Ark, were so sacred, that he repeats the Admonition he had given, about the danger of Irre­verence to it: Which he here represents in a frightful manner.

Ver. 18. Cut ye not off.] Do not by your Negli­gence Verse 18 occasion the Destruction of a great many Per­sons.

The Tribe of the Family of the Kohathites, from a­mong the Levites.] A considerable part of the Tribe of Levi, viz. the Family of the Kohathites; who were near a third part of it.

Ver. 19. But do thus for them, that they may live and Verse 19 not die.] Proceed in this manner, to prevent so great a Mischief, as their Destruction.

When they approach unto the most holy things.] Come to take up the Ark: Which is meant by the Holy of Holies. See v. 4.

Aaron and his Sons shall go in.] And cover the Ark, and the rest of the things within the Sanctuary; as is before-directed.

And appoint them every one to his Service, and to his Burden.] And then allot to every one his share in this work: That is, to carry such particular things, as they think most proper for them.

Ver. 20. But they shall not go in to see.] They might Verse 20 go into the most Holy place, when not only the Glo­ry of the LORD was removed; but the Ark and [Page 56] Mercy-Seat upon its Removal, were covered by the Priests, (for then the Place where they lay covered, was no longer holy) but they might not come in to see the Priests cover them; which was to be done be­fore they approached.

When the holy things are covered.] In the Hebrew it is in the singular Number, when the holy, or holy thing is covered; i. e. the Ark: as the Jews gene­rally understand it. And that with great reason, as any one may be satisfied who will take the pains to compare the 1 Kings VIII. 8. with 2 Chron. V. 9. Where that which in the former place is called the Holy, in the latter is called the Ark.

Lest they die.] They might not, under pain of Death, either see it when it was covered, or touch it afterward, v. 15. but only carry it, in the manner there described.

Verse 21 Ver. 21. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] He was principally concerned in this, but Aaron was also joined with him, to see the Execution of what is here required, v. 1.19, 34.

Verse 22 Ver. 22. Take also the Sum of the Sons of Ger­shon, &c.] The eldest Son of Levi, III. 17. who though they were employed in lower Services; were to account it an Honour to serve about the Taberna­cle.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. All that enter in to perform the Service.] I do not understand why this should not be translated as v. 2. into the Host. For it is the very same Phrase in the Hebrew, both here and there; only here more emphatical by doubling the word for Host: And therefore may very properly be translated in this place, that enter in to war the Warfare. For the Service of the Gershonites was more burthensome than the [Page 57] former; though they were fewer in number, ver. 36, 40.

Ver. 24. This is the Service of the Families of the Ger­shonites.] Verse 24 Which were only two, III 18. 21.

To serve, and for Burdens.] To serve, when the Tabernacle rested; and to carry Burdens, when it re­moved. See v. 47.

Ver. 25. And they shall bear the Curtains of the Ta­bernacle.] Verse 25 The ten fine Curtains, which were the inward Hangings of the Tabernacle, XXVI Exod. 1, 2, &c. Which, I suppose, were taken down as well as carried by the Gershonites: because nothing is said here of Aaron, or his Sons being employed, to make them ready for carriage.

And the Tabernacle of the Congregation, his Cove­ring.] Not the Boards of the Tabernacle, which were the Charge of the Children of Merari, (v. 31.) but the eleven Curtains of Goats-hair, which covered the Boards, XXVI Exod. 7, 8, &c.

And the Covering of Badgers Skins, which is upon it.] The outward Covering of all, which was of Rams Skins dyed Red, and Badgers Skins, (as we translate it) XXVI Exod. 14.

And the Hanging for the Door of the Tabernacle.] Which is described, in the Conclusion of the same Chapter, XXVI Exod. 36.

Ver. 26. And the Hangings for the Court.] XXVII Exod. 9, &c.

And the Hanging for the Gate of the Door of the Court. See XXVII Exod. 16.

Which is by the Tabernacle, and the Altar round a­bout.] The Sense would have been more plain, if the Particle al, which we translate by, had been tran­slated [Page 58] upon, or over; for the Court encompassed both the Tabernacle, and the Altar, XL Exod. 6, 7, 8.

And their Cords.] Which were employed in fast­ning these Hangings.

And all the Instruments for their service.] The brazen Pins, I suppose, mentioned XXVII Exod. 19.

And all that is made for them.] And whatsoever else belonged to them. See III. 26.

So shall they serve.] Or, in that shall they serve.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. At the appointment of Aaron and his Sons, shall be all the Service of the Sons of the Gershonites, &c.] In the Hebrew it is, at the Mouth of Aaron, &c. i. e. ac­cording to their Order every one of the Gershonites were to apply themselves to such Services, as they di­rected. For God had given the Levites to them to be their Ministers, and keep their Charge, III. 6, 7.

And ye shall appoint unto them in charge, all their Burdens.] The word here for appoint seems to im­port, that the Priests gave them a Particular, as we speak, of what they were to do; that they might neither forget, nor mistake. For it is the same word that is used in the beginning of this Book (I. 3.) for numbring the People; and so it is used here, v. 34, 47, 48. Therefore the Vulgar translates these words, Et sciant singuli cui debeant operi mancipari; and every Man may know, what is his proper business: Which is the Sense of the LXX also. And affords an excel­lent Instruction to all Men, to follow diligently the business of their own Callings; not to meddle with other Mens, nor to think themselves fit to undertake every thing. [...], [Page 59] as Aristotle speaks in his Politicks, L. III. One work is best performed, by one Person.

Ver. 28. And their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the Son of Aaron the Priest.] That is, under Verse 28 the Direction and Conduct of Ithamar. For though the Gershonites had a Chief of their own, III. 24. yet Ithamar was to inspect both him and them; and see they did not neglect their Duty. Thus Eleazar was set over the Kohathites, v. 16.

Ver. 29. As for the Sons of Merari, thou shalt number Verse 29 them after their Families, &c.] Which were but two, (III. 33.) as those of Gershon were.

Ver. 30. Every one that entreth into the Service.] Verse 30 The words in the Hebrew are the very same with those, v. 3. which we translate enter into the Host. See there.

Ver. 31. This is the charge of their Burden, &c.]Verse 31 The most cumbersome things fell to their charge; which here follow.

The Boards of the Tabernacle.] See XXVI Exod. 15, &c.

And the Bars thereof.] See there v. 26, &c.

And the Pillars thereof.] See in the same place, v. 32. and XXXVI. 36.

And Sockets thereof.] These belonged both to the Boards of the Tabernacle, XXVI Exod. 19, 21, 25. and to the Pillars, XXVI Exod. 32. XXXVIII. 27.

Ver. 32. And the Pillars of the Court round about, Verse 32 XXVII Exod. 10, 11, 12.

And their Sockets.] See there.

And their Pins.] V. 19. and XXXVIII. 20.

And their Cords.] XXXV Exod. 18. XXXIX. 40.

[Page 60] By name ye shall reckon the Instruments of the charge of their Burden.] The Priests (particularly Ithamar) were to give them an Inventory of these things: Ex­pressing by name, every Pin, for instance, and to what use, and in what place it served. Because otherwise such small things might have been lost, if they had not taken a special care of them; and they might not have been able to set up the Tabernacle again, when they rested, for want of them.

Verse 33 Ver. 33. This is the Service of the Families of the Sons of Merari, according to all their Service in the Taber­nacle of the Congregation.] In taking down, and carry­ing the Tabernacle.

Ʋnder the hand of Ithamar, &c.] Who had the over-sight both of the Gershonites, and the Merarites: As Eleazar had of the Kohathites, v. 16, 28.

Verse 34 Ver. 34. And Moses and Aaron, and the Chief of the Congregation.] They took to their assistance the very same Men, I suppose, who were employed in the numbring all the Children of Israel, Chap. I. 4. 16, 17.

Numbred the Sons of the Kohathites, &c.] Having assigned to them their particular Charge, they now proceed to number them, as God commanded, v. 2, 3.

Verse 35 Ver. 35. Every one that entreth into the Service.] Or, as we translate it, v. 3. entreth into the Host.

Verse 36 Ver. 36. And those that were numbred of them by their Families, were Two thousand seven hundred and fifty.] Of the whole number of Males descended from Ko­hath, (compare this with III. 28.) there was a fourth part and better, that were fit for Service.

[Page 61]Ver. 37. These were they that were numbred of the Families of the Kohathites, all that might do Service in the Tabernacle.] Such Service as is particularly men­tioned from v. 4. to v. 16.Verse 37

Ver. 38. And these are they that were numbred of the Verse 38 Sons of Gershon, &c.] He proceeds in the same order to number them, which he observed in giving them their Charge: beginning with the Children of the se­cond Son of Levi, and then going back to the el­dest.

Ver. 39. From thirty years old and upward, &c.]Verse 39 This Verse is the very same with 35.

Ver. 40. Two thousand and six hundred and thirty.] Verse 40 A third part and little more of their Males, were fit for Service. Compare this with III. 22.

Ver. 41. These are they that were numbred of the Fa­milies Verse 41 of the Sons of Gershon, of all that might do Service in the Tabernacle, &c.] Such Service as is described from v. 24. to v. 29.

Ver. 42, 43. These two Verses are the same with Verse 42. 43. v. 38, 39.

Ver. 44. Even those that were numbred of them af­ter Verse 44 their Families, were three thousand and two hundred.] It is very remarkable the Descendants from the young­est Son of Levi, (III. 17.) which had the fewest Males in it of a Month old and upward, had the most robust Men fit for Service. For here are above half (compare this with III. 34.) of the whole num­ber of Males grown up to Thirty Years of Age. Which was a singular Providence, the heaviest Burden lying upon them, who were to carry the Boards, &c. of the Tabernacle. Not indeed upon their shoulders, but in Waggons; which they were to load, after they had taken them down, and unload, when they were [Page 62] to set them up again: and for that reason had more Waggons allowed them than their Brethren the Ger­shonites, VII. 7, 8.

Verse 45 Ver. 45. These are those, &c. whom Moses and Aaron numbred.] Who were principally employed in this business.

According to the Word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.] To whom the Command is expresly di­rected, v. 21.

Verse 46 Ver. 46. All those that were numbred of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the Chief of Israel numbred.] For they took in others to their assistance, v. 34. which is here repeated to show that there was no fraud in the business; there being Witnesses of eve­ry Tribe that they proceeded impartially, and did not favour the Levites, who were their Brethren.

Verse 47 Ver. 47. Every one that came to do the Service of the Ministry, and the Service of the Burden in the Taber­nacle, &c.] The first of these [the Service of the Mi­nistry] one would think related to their serving the Priest when the Tabernacle was standing; and the la­ter [the Service of the Burden] to their carrying the Tabernacle when it was taken down, and removed: and so I expounded those words, v. 24. But he mentioning here only those that were numbred from Thirty Years old, I think, upon further consideration, that there is no regard in these Expressions to the Ser­vice they did to the Priests in the Tabernacle; unto which they were admitted at Twenty five Years old, (See v. 3.) but only to the Service mentioned here in this Chapter, which relates altogether to the taking down and carrying the Tabernacle. And therefore these must be lookt upon as two Phrases, for the same thing: the former of which is not exactly translated; [Page 63] for there is nothing of Ministry in the Hebrew; but the words are, Every one that cometh to serve the Ser­vice of the Service, and the Service of the Burden, or Carriage. For it is the same word, which being joyn­ed with work, we translate servile, XXIII Lev. 7. and other places.

Ver. 48. Eight thousand and five hundred and four­score.] Verse 48 If the three Sums, mentioned v. 36, 40, 44. be put together, they amount exactly to this Sum in the whole.

Ver. 49. According to the Commandment of the Verse 49 LORD they were numbred, by the hand of Moses.] By the assistance of Aaron and others, v. I, 34, 46.

Every one according to his Service, and according to his Burden.] I observed before, v. 47. that Service and Burden are two Expressions of the same thing. For though the Sons of Kohath had the noblest part of the Work, yet their Employment is called both a Service and a Burden, v. 19. as that of the Gershonites is v. 24. For which Service all the Tithes of the Country of Canaan were given to them; and continued to be theirs when this kind of Service ceased, as it did when the Temple was built. For then there were no Bur­dens to be carried on their shoulders, (as Josiah speaks 2 Chron. XXXV. 3.) but their Duty was changed, e­ven by David before the Building of the Temple: who made them Singers, and Keepers of the Treasu­ry, as well as Porters at the Gates of God's House; and likewise Judges and other Officers in the Coun­try, as we read in 1 Chron. XXVI. But the altera­tion in their Service, made no alteration in the Wages allotted to them; for they still enjoyed all the Tithes.

[Page 64] Thus were they numbred of him, as the LORD com­manded Moses.] This is so often repeated, (v. 37, 41, 45.) that all Posterity might reverence these Or­dinances, as Divine Institutions, and not merely Hu­mane Appointments. And so we are to look upon all these Laws, as wise Orders made by the Soveraign of the World, for the better Government of that Peo­ple, whom he had taken for his own peculiar. And it argues a very profane Spirit in those (as Conr. Pel­licanus here observes) who can admire and praise O­vid de Fastis, and such like Books; and have no re­gard at all (if they do not ridicule them) to these Sacred Writings, which are of such venerable Anti­quity.


Chapter V Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] It is not said when this was spoken which here follows: but it's likely immediately after the foregoing Commandments, upon which it hath some dependance.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Command the Children of Israel, that they put out of the Camp every Leper, and every one that hath an Issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead.] There were three Camps (as Maimonides, and a great many other mentioned by Mr. Selden, observes, L. II. de Synedr. cap. I. n. 5.) the Camp of the SCHECHINAH, or of the LORD, viz. the Sanctuary, with its Courts: which are called the Tents of the LORD, 1 Chron. XXXI. 2. And next the Camp of the Levites, who with Aaron and his Sons, made a Camp about the [Page 65] Tabernacle, (Chapter III. of this Book) and then the Camp of Israel, Chapter II. which incompassed them all. Answerable to these, when the Temple was built, they reckoned the Temple it self from the East-Gate, to be the Camp of the LORD: and the Camp of the Le­vites, to be from the entrance of the Mount of the House of the LORD, to that East-Gate of the Temple. And the Camp of Israel they thought extended from the En­trance of Jerusalem, to the Mount of the House of the LORD. Now Lepers were so unclean, that they were not admitted into any of these three Camps, but shut out of them all. See XIII Lev. 46. But he that had an Issue (XV Lev. 2.) was only shut out of the two first Camps, the Camp of the LORD, and the Camp of the Levites; but he might be in the Camp of Israel. And he that was defiled by the dead, (XXI Lev. 1.) was only excluded from the first, the San­ctuary, but not from the other two. See Drusius al­so upon IV. 25.

Ver. 3. Both Male and Female shall ye put out.] For Verse 3 Women had Issues (for instance) as well as Men, XV Lev. 2, and 19, &c.

That they defile not their Camps.] The Camp of Is­rael consisted of four Camps, (and therefore he speaks in the Plural Number) that of Judah; that of Reu­ben; that of Ephraim; and that of Dan, II Numb. 3, 10, 18, 25. Which would have been so defiled, if they had suffered these unclean Persons to stay a­mong them; that none would have been fit to go to the Sanctuary.

In the midst of which I dwell.] By his special Pre­sence in the Sanctuary; which was incompassed by these Camps: out of reverence to which, such unclean Per­sons were to be kept at a greater distance than other Men and Women.

[Page 66]Ver. 4. And the Children of Israel did so, and put them without the Camp, &c.] There was an order for this before; particularly for putting out the Lepers, Verse 4(XIII Lev. 46.) which could not be put in Exe­cution, till the Camp was formed; as now it was.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] It is uncertain when this was spoken; but I see no reason why we should not think, it was at the same time with the other things here mentioned.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. When a Man or Woman shall commit any sin that Men commit.] In the Hebrew the words are plainly these, shall commit any sin of Man: that is, a­gainst his Neighbour. As in III Joel 19. Violence of the Children of Judah, is truly translated Violence a­gainst the Children of Judah. For it is apparent from the next Verses 7, 8. that Moses here speaks of Offen­ces against their Neighbours.

To do a Trespass against the LORD.] Such Of­fences against their Neighbours, as were also great Of­fences against God. For the Chaldee understands these words of Frauds and Cheats put upon Men, by a false Oath. And there is a good warrant for this Interpretation from VI Lev. 2, 3. where Moses gives the same command: which seems here to be repeated, only because he had something to add unto it, v. 8.

And that person be guilty.] Or rather, be sensible of his guilt. See VI Lev. 4.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. Then they shall confess the sin that they have done.] Or rather, If they shall confess, &c. For so the Particle Vau sometimes signifies: particularly XII. 14. where we (as well as the LXX.) translate it, If her Father had spit in her face. See what I have noted upon VI Lev. 4.

[Page 67] And he shall recompense, &c.] Rather, Then he shall recompense the Injury he did to his Neighbour, in the manner here directed: which hath been explained VI Lev. 5. See there.

Ver. 8. But if a Man have no Kinsman to recom­pense Verse 8 the Trespass unto.] By this it is apparent, that if a Man to whom an Injury had been done, was dead, he that committed it, was bound to make Sa­tisfaction to his Heir, whosoever he was, by resto­ring the Principal, and adding a fifth part to it. Now the Israelites never wanting some of their Kindred to succeed to their Inheritances, the Hebrew Doctors expound this of the Proselytes of Righteousness: who might possibly dye without any heir; because they had no Kindred but such as were born after their Regeneration. In which Case the Goods that had been illegally taken from such a Proselyte by a Jew, did not become his own, unless he paid the Price of them, with such an addition as is here required, &c. See Selden L. VI. de Jure Nat. & Gent. cap. 4. p. 684, 685. Edit. Lond.

Let the Trespass be recompensed unto the LORD.] By bringing to him the Principal, and the fifth part.

Even unto the Priest.] Whom God deputed to re­ceive it, as his Minister. And it was (as the Jews rightly expound it) equally distributed among all the Priests, who were then waiting in their Course. Which is a new addition to the Law in VI Lev. and the reason, it is likely, why that Law is here re­peated.

Besides the Ram of the Atonement, &c.] Mentioned VI Lev. 6, 7. where see what I have noted.

[Page 68]Ver. 9. And every offering of all the holy things of the Children of Israel.] Upon the occasion of the foregoing Laws concerning a Recompense to be made Verse 9 to the Priest, where a Man that had been wrong'd was dead, and no Heir to him could be found; he explains some other Laws wherein the Priests were concerned: who were to have all the Heave-offerings, as the word Trumoth (here used) signifies, XVIII. 8.

Which they bring unto the Priest.] To be offered unto God.

Shall be his.] Who offers it. For there being ma­ny Priests who waited in their Courses, at the Taber­nacle; all of which could not officiate at the same time, but some at one time, some at another; this Law determines that the particular Priest, who per­formed the Office of Sacrificing, should have to him­self, that part of the holy Things which fell to the Priests share; and it should not be divided among them all. Thus L'Empereur (upon Bava kama, c. 9. sect. 12.) expounds these words better than any I have met withal.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And every mans hallowed thing shall be his.] As the former Verse speaks of the holy Things of the Children of Israel in general, so this of what any particular Person offered: which still with greater reason was to belong to the Priest that offered it. For the Labourer is worthy of his hire: and therefore he that did the work of Sacrificing, had the Reward of it. R. Solomon applying this to Tithes, hath a gloss upon these words, which though not pertinent, is very remarkable: He that doth not duly pay his Tithe, in the end his Land shall yield him but a tithe of what it was wont to yield. And so R. Bechai upon XIV Deut. expounds these words, when a Man divideth not as [Page 69] he ought, he shall have nothing but the holy things; that is, the Tithe, of what he used to have, according to V Isa. 10.

Whatsoever any Man giveth the Priest, it shall be his.] These words are only a fuller Explication of this Law, (as the same L'Empereur observes) that the rest of the Priests might not take away those Holy things from him, that offered them, under pretence that they belonged to the whole Sacerdotal Order. For though they were delivered unto him, yet it was, they might say, that they should be divided among the whole Classes then in attendance. So some things were, v. 8. and therefore this Law is added to prevent their extending what was done in some Cases unto all.

Ver. 11. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Verse 11 There is so little Connection between this, and the foregoing Laws, that it is not easie to give a reason why it is here placed. All that I can say is, that Moses having spoken concerning Frauds, from the Suspicion of which Men were to purge themselves by an Oath, (v. 6.) he here takes occasion to men­tion the greatest Case that could happen of this na­ture: Which was, when a Woman was suspected of Adultery. Concerning which God gave him the fol­lowing Order.

Ver. 12. Speak unto the Children of Israel, and say Verse 12 unto them, if any Man's Wife go aside.] Being pri­vate, for some time, with another Man; whose Com­pany her Husband had charged her not to keep a­lone; and therefore is suspected by him to be an A­dulteress. For it is certain that by a Wife that goeth aside, (whom the Hebrews from hence call Sota) is not meant one that hath certainly committed Adul­tery; [Page 70] but is, with some reason, suspected of that Crime. And therefore it is a Rule among the Jews, the bitter Waters never are used, but in a dubious Case.

And commit a Trespass against him.] And thereby hath very much offended him.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. And a Man lie with her carnally.] As her Husband hath cause to suspect; he having (as I said before) admonished her not to be with such a Man in private: That is, to give him no cause of jealou­sie. So Abarbinel rightly expounds a Man's lying with her carnally, of her Husband's Opinion and Suspicion: And the next Verse justifies this Ex­position.

And if it be hid from the Eyes of her Husband.] There being no clear evidence, but only Conjectures, that she is actually defiled.

And be kept close.] The matter having been carried very secretly: Or, as it may be interpreted, but she was shut up close with him.

And she be defiled.] In her Husband's Opi­nion.

And there be no witness against her.] For if there had, she must have been put to Death, XX Le­vit. 10.

Neither she be taken with the manner.] She not being apprehended, in the very Act.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. And the Spirit of Jealousie come upon him.] He be possessed with a strong Conceit, of which he cannot rid himself, that she hath been unfaithful to him. For so a Spirit of slumber (and the like) is used in Scripture; for such a sluggish Temper, as a Man cannot shake off.

[Page 71] And he be jealous of his Wife, and she be defiled.] Whether it be really so.

And he be jealous, and she be not defiled.] Or whe­ther it be only his Suspicion.

Ver. 15. Then shall the Man bring his Wife unto the Verse 15 Priest.] To the Magistrates of the place where they lived (saith the Mischna, Cap. 1. Sect. 3. of Sota) together with his Witnesses both of the Praemonition he had given her, and of the Privacy she had had with another Man after his Praemonition, so long that there might be time enough for him to defile her: Otherwise this Action did not lie against her, as Mr. Selden observes, L. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. Cap. XIII. But having these Witnesses ready, he was to speak to the Priest when he brought his Wife before him, after this manner; Having a Jealousie of this my Wife, I admonished her not to keep company with such an one; with whom she afterward was in secret: and these are the Witnesses of it. She saith she is innocent, but I de­sire the Water may be given her, that the Truth may be tried. See Selden, in the place before-named, Cap. XV. and Wagenseil upon Sota, Cap. I. Sect. 3. Not. 2.

And he shall bring her Oblation for her.] That is, the Husband shall bring her Oblation, (not the Priest, as some understand the words of the Mischna about this matter:) Which Chaskuin fancies was of­fered, as his Oblation, not the Woman's; to ex­piate his Fault in not reproving her sufficiently, when he first observed her immodest Behaviour: For it could not be a Sacrifice for her Expiation, (saith he) because the Sacrifice of the Wicked is an Abomination. But this is against the very words of Moses in this place; which say, he shall bring her Oblation for [Page 72] her. And so Abarbinel expounds it, the Scripture in­timates that this Sacrifice was brought by the Husband for the sake of his Wife; for he had done nothing that needed a Sacrifice. Nor is Chaskuni his reason of any moment; for there is nothing said to make us look upon this, as an expiatory Sacrifice; but the true In­tention of it was (as Wagenseil well observes, Annot. in Mischna Sota, Cap. II. p. 349.) to supplicate the Divine Majesty, that he would be pleased to clear the Woman's Innocence if she were causelesly suspected; or otherwise discover, and punish her Guilt.

By this it appears, that if the Process was began in some Court below, (as the Jews affirm) the Cause was removed to Jerusalem, (where only they could sacrifice, when the Ark of God's Presence was setled there) and brought before the great Sanhedrin. Who putting her Husband out of the Court, (as they say in the next Section of the fore-named Mischna) and having the Woman alone by her self, endeavoured first by striking a Terror into her, and then by giv­ing her good words, to perswade her to tell the Truth: Saying, Dear Daughter, perhaps thou wast o­ver-taken by drinking too Much Wine, or wast in a fro­lick Humour, or carried away by the Heat of Youth, or by the Example of evil Neighbours: Come, confess the Truth, for the sake of his great Name, which is described in the most sacred Ceremony: and do not let it be blotted out, (v. 23.) with the bitter Water. If after this, she confessed the Fact, saying, I am defiled; then she was to tear the Instrument of her Dowry in pieces, and go whether she pleased. For such an Adulteress was not put to Death, but only lost her Dowry, without any other Punishment. If she said, I am pure; then she was brought to the Door of the Ta­bernacle; [Page 73] and they did as follows. So the Mischna, cap. 1. sect. 5. and see Wagenseil's Annotations on Sota. And now, that they have not this way of Trial among them, if a Man's Wife give him suspicion, by keep­ing a Man's Company in secret, which he forbad her; he may not use her any more as his Wife, and she lo­ses her Dowry, as Buxtorfius observes in his Book De Sponsal. & Divort. Pars I. Sect. 92.

The tenth part of an Ephah of Barly-meal.] The com­mon Offering of this sort, was of fine Wheat-flour: only this, and the Sheaf, or handful mentioned XXIII Lev. 10. were of Barly. But that was of fine Flour sifted from the Bran; this of course Flour, that had nothing taken out of it: as the Mischna saith in Sota, cap. 2. Where the reason given for this Barly-offering is, because she was supposed to have committed the Act of a Beast, (which is not confined to one) there­fore she was to Sacrifice the Food of a Beast: for so Barly was in Judaea. Many such pretty, rather than solid Reasons, are collected out of their Authors by Simeon de Muis in his Varia Sacra upon this place. The simplest Reason seems to be, that a viler sort of Sacrifice, was most sutable to her vile Condition: for which reason also there was no Oyl nor Frankin­cense permitted to be offered with it, as it here fol­lows.

He shall pour no Oyl upon it, nor put Frankincense thereon.] This Sacrifice was different from all other of this kind, (See Lev. 11.) For though that men­tioned V Lev. 11. was to have no Oyl nor Frankin­cense with it; yet it was of fine Flour, and not Barly. And though the Sheaf mentioned XXIII Lev. 10. was of Barly, yet it was sifted: and be­sides, Oyl and Frankincense were used with it; which [Page 74] are here forbidden. The reasons of which are given by the Jews, according to their various Fancies. And some of them are ingenious enough; as that a good Name being compared to Oyl, (VII Eccles. 1.) it is here omitted, because the Woman had lost her Re­putation. Maimonides is a little more judicious: for looking upon Oyl and Frankincense as added unto Sacrifices for the Honour and Dignity of them, he thinks God would have this Splendor (as his word is) to be wanting to such a Woman's Sacrifice; be­cause of the baseness of her behaviour, which was the occasion of it. As if she had been told (to stir her up to repentance) because of the filthiness of thy actions, thy Oblation is more imperfect than others, More Nevoch. P. III. cap. 46. But none, I think, hath given a better account of this, than St. Chrysostom, O­rat. V. ad v. Judaeos, because the Woman was loaded with Sorrow, and heavy Accusations, and evil Suspi­cions, [...], the form of the Sacrifice imitated the Domestick Calamity: for every one knows that Oyl and Fran­kincense, was signs of Joy and Gladness; and there­fore not used upon so sad an Occasion as this was.

For it is an Offering of Jealousie.] These, and the following words, give the reason why Oyl and Fran­kincense were to be omitted; because it was an Of­fering for one suspected of Adultery. And in such Cases, God had before ordained, there should be no Oyl nor Frankincense used, V Lev. 11. Delicacies being improper in Offerings for Sin.

An Offering of Memorial, bringing Iniquity to remem­brance.] For she appeared before God as a Sinner: and if she were not guilty, yet she was loaded with an Accusation, and a just Suspicion of Guilt; to [Page 75] which, if she had given any occasion, this Sacrifice reminded her of it, and awakened her Conscience to reflect upon it.

Ver. 16. And the Priest.] It is the Opinion of Verse 16 P. Cunaeus (Lib. I. de Rep. Hebr. cap. 12.) that the Priest here mentioned, was to be a Member of the Great Sanhedrin; to whom the Judgment of the matter belonged. But another very learned Person thinks with more reason, the Priest, whose Lot it was to attend at that time in his Course, is here meant. See Mischna cap. 1. Sotae, Sect. 5. Annot. 8. Wagenseil.

Shall bring her near.] Rather bring it (that is, her Offering) near to the Altar at the Door of the Taber­nacle.

And set her.] Rather set the Offering: for she is ordered to be set before the LORD afterwards, v. 18.

Before the LORD.] At the Altar, which was at the Door of the Tabernacle. See I Lev. 3. At the East-gate of the Temple, saith the Mischna, which was called the Gate of Nicanor: for there, Women also after Child-bed were purified; and the Lepers cleansed.

Ver. 17. And the Priest shall take holy Water.] From Verse 17 the Laver: For no Water was holy, but that which was made so by the Laver; as the Jews say in Jalkut. Therefore Onkelos instead of holy Water, hath Water from the Laver.

In an Earthen Vessel.] Which had never been em­ployed to any other use, (as the Mischna saith) and contained about a Pint of our Measure. This I take to have been appointed, as a further Expression of the Vileness of her Condition: for the reasons which the Jewish Doctors give of it are not to be regarded. The [Page 76] best that I have observed is, to declare that she should be broken in pieces, like that Earthen Vessel, if she was guilty of that which she denied.

And of the dust.] Another Token of her Vileness; this being the Serpent's Food.

That is in the Floor of the Tabernacle, &c.] To make her afraid of the Judgment of God. For if there were no dust in the Tabernacle, they were to fetch it from some other place, (as Maimonides relates their pra­ctice, Hilcoth Sota, cap. 4.) and lay it upon the Floor of the Tabernacle; and then take it and put it into the Water.

And put it into the Water.] Sprinkle a little of it upon the Water, (that it might be more easily drunk) but so much, that it might be plainly seen. For there were three things, the Jews say, of which a less quan­tity was not admitted, than might be seen, viz. this Dust; and the Ashes of the red Heifer, XIX. 17. and the Spittle in the Face of him that would not marry his Brother's Wife, XXV Deut. 9. But if the Priest put the Dust into the Vessel first, and then poured the Water upon it, he did not do amiss: as the Jews say in the ancient Book Siphri. See Wagenseil upon Misch­na Sotae, cap. 2. sect. 2. Annot. 11, 12.

It hath been observed by some, that such ways of Trial were in use among the Gentiles; which if they could be proved to have been as ancient as Moses his days; it would make it probable, that this was or­dered by God, to divert the Jews from following the Superstitions of other Nations to make this Disco­very, and bring them to appear before him at his Ta­bernacle, and there use such Rites as were of his ap­pointment: See our Learned Dr. Spencer, L. III. Dissert I. cap. 2. p. 539, &c.

[Page 77]Ver. 18. And the Priest shall set the Woman before the LORD.] At the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation: where a great many Women, who were called together on purpose, stood about her; that Verse 81 they might be taught not to do after her Leudness, (as the Prophet Ezekiel speaks, XXIII. 48.) As many o­thers also, as would, might be present; except only her Maids and Domestick Servants; who were put out, lest they should disturb her mind too much, as Mr. Selden interprets the words of the Mischna, about this matter, (Lib. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. cap. 15.) Which another very learned Man (J. Wagenseil) interprets the quite contrary way, lest her Mind should place any hope in them, cap. 1. sect. 6. Annot. 8. on Sota.

And uncover the Woman's head.] He was to strip her of all her Head-attire (as the manner was, if we may believe Philo, in all Judicial Proceedings) to loose her Hair, and tear her Garments down to her Breast: which he bound about her (as the Jews say) with an Egyptian Cord. And if she had any Gold or Jewels, or other Ornaments about her, they were all taken from her; and she was clothed with a black Garment. All which were plain Tokens of her la­mentable Condition.

And put the Offering of Memorial in her hands.] After he had put it into a Frying-pan, under which he held his own hand, (II Lev. 7.) and at the same time held in his other hand the bitter Water; which he shewed her.

Which is the Jealousie-offering.] Offered purely up­on the account of her Husbands Jealousie; as he told her.

[Page 78] And the Priest shall have in his hand the bitter Water.] So called, because they put Wormwood, or some such thing into it, to give it a bitter taste, as Maimonides and the ancient Rabbins fancy. But the later Doctors say, Nothing was mixt with this Water, but Dust; and yet it became bitter in the mouth. So Nachman and others. But the most probable account of all others is, that this Water was called bitter, from its direful Effects upon the Body of the Woman, if she was guilty. To which Exposition Jacob Abendana inclines: See Wagenseil upon the Mischna Sotae, cap. 3. sect. 5. Annot. 1.

Which causeth the Curse.] Or rather, Which was gi­ven her with Curses, and dreadful Imprecations: blot­ted out with the bitter Water, (v. 21, 23.) as R. Be­chai expounds it.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And the Priest shall charge her by an Oath.] Adjure her to tell Truth, in the manner following.

And say unto the Woman, if no Man hath lien with thee, &c.] If thou art Innocent of that whereof thou art suspected.

Be thou free from the bitter Water, &c.] It shall have no ill effect upon thee.

Verse 20 Ver. 20. But if thou hast gone aside, &c.] Art guil­ty of Adultery.

Verse 21 Ver. 21. Then the Priest shall charge the Woman with an Oath of Cursing.] This is no new Adjuration; but only another part of that which began v. 19. and is continued in this and the foregoing. So that these three Verses contain the intire form of Adjuration: which the Priest was to pronounce in a Language which the Woman understood, as the Jewish Doctors observe; otherwise, how could the Woman answer Amen, as R. Ismael saith in Siphre? exactly accord­ing [Page 79] to the Apostle's Doctrine, 1 Corinth. XIV. 16. And the Priest was to signifie to her, that this pro­ceeding was meerly to satisfie her Husband's Jealousie, by discovering the Truth. Thus this whole matter is related, by the Author of Ez Hechajim, (an incom­parable MS. as Wagenseil calls it, who hath it in his possession) The Priest pronounces this Curse in a Lan­guage which she understands; and signifies to her in the Vulgar Tongue, that these things are done purely because her Husband is jealous of her, she having been secretly with one whose Company he forbad her to keep: and then saith in a Tongue familiar to her, IF NO OTHER MAN HAVE LAYN WITH THEE BUT THY HUSBAND, &c. BE THOU FREE FROM THESE BITTER WATERS, &c. BUT IF THOU HAST BEEN FALSE TO HIM, &c. THE LORD MAKE THEE A CURSE, &c. Unto which the Woman was to answer, AMEN, AMEN. By which words she not only consented to what the Priest said, but made the same Imprecation upon her self.

The LORD make thee a Curse.] So that when Men would imprecate any evil to another, they should say, Let that befal thee which befel such a Woman: as Rasi ex­pounds it.

And an Oath among thy People.] A form of Execra­tion, as the aforesaid MS. expounds it: or, as Rasi will have it, when Men called God to Witness, they should say, If I swear falsly, let God punish me as he did such a Woman. These Execrations were ta­citly supposed in the Oaths among the Pagans, as our great Selden shews at large Lib. II. de Synedr. cap. 11. pag. 461, &c. where he observes out of Porphyry, that the ancient Indians had their [...], Lake of Probation, or Trial: And in his Marmora Arundeliana, [Page 80] p. 28. there is this form of Imprecation in the League be­tween the City of Smyrna and Magnesia, [...]. Let it be well with me, if I swear truly: but if falsly, let destruction be both to my self and to my Posterity. And at this day there is a Custom in the Kingdom of Si­am, to determine dubious Cases, by giving a Lump of Rice impregnated (as my Author speaks) with Curses, to a Man to eat. Which if he can swallow without vomiting he carries the Cause; and his Friends carry him home in great Triumph, &c. So Jodocus Schoutenius (who was Director of the East-India Com­pany there 1636.)

When the LORD doth make thy Thigh to rot, and thy Belly to swell.] When they see the dreadful effect of this Water, in the rotting of thy Thigh, after thy Belly is swelled. For the swelling of the Belly, it appears by the next Verse, preceded the rotting of the Thigh.

Such Imprecations were in use in Homer's time, it appears by Agamemnon's Prayer; wherein he calls Ju­piter, and all the rest of the Gods, to bear Witness of his Sincerity: wishing them to send a Multitude of Pains and Griefs upon him, if he forswore him­self: Iliad. XIX. v. 264, 265.


Verse 22 Ver. 22. And this Water that causeth the Curse.] Or, For this Water, &c.

Shall go into thy Bowels, &c.] If thou art guilty it shall produce the following Effects.

[Page 81] To make thy belly to swell.] By the Belly the Jews understand the Womb, and the Bowels, which swel­led till they burst.

And thy Thigh to rot.] By her Thigh is meant the Secret Parts of her Body, as Chaskuni observes on this place. And both Bochartus and Heinsius have given many Instances of the use of the word in this sense. The former in his Hierozoic. P. II. L. V. cap. 15. and the latter in his Aristarch. Sac. cap. 1. And thus we read in the Passion of SS. Perpetuana & Faelic. that when Perpetuana was thrown to the Beasts, and lay on the Ground, she drew back her Coat, which was torn from her side, ad velamentum femoris, to cover her Thigh from being seen, pudoris magis me­mor quam doloris, having a greater sense of Modesty than of Pain, pag. 32. Edit. Oxon.

The Mischna here observes, not impertinently, with what measure Men mete, it shall be measured to them again: for in the very part that offended, she suffer­ed for her Crime. I noted before v. 17. that there were such ways of Trial anciently among the Gen­tiles; but I am apt to think they were all later than the times of Moses; who did not ordain these Rites to keep the Jews from following their Customs; but they rather imitated what was practised among the Jews. Particularly Bochartus observes out of Philo­stratus, there were Waters in Cappadocia, sacred to Jupiter: which were very sweet and pleasant to those who were innocent and swore truly; but quite contrary to those who were perjured. Whose Eyes, Hands, and Feet were presently seiz'd, and infected with Blotches and filthy Ulcers, [...], which is the very Disease here mentioned, if we believe Josephus, who saith the Woman's Belly swelled by the Dropsie till [Page 82] at last it burst. And Philostratus adds, that the whole Body of such People grew Consumptive; nor could they stir from those Waters, but there they lay de­ploring their Misery. See Bochart. L. I. Canaan, cap. 28. p. 589, 590. Which agrees so perfectly with what the Jews say of this bitter Water, that it is most likely this Story of the Cappadocian Water, was deri­ved from thence. For they say, not only the Belly of the Woman swelled, and her Thigh rotted; but every Member of her Body felt the Effects of this deadly Poyson: which spread to the very Hairs of her Head; as they tell us in Ratboth, quoted by Wa­genseil upon the Mischna, which saith the same, cap. 1. Sotae, sect. 7. And therefore Huetius justly thinks the Fable of the Stygian Lake, and several other Rites of finding out the truth of secret Crimes, were invented by the Greeks from this Example, Demonst. Evang. Propos. IV. cap. 11. n. 2. Many Authors have col­lected several sorts of Trials of this kind: and late­ly Guil. Saldenus in his Otia Theologica, Exercit. V. n. 24, 25. But above all see Huetius his Quaestiones Al­netunae, L. II. cap. 12. n. 22. where he gives a large account how far this Rite, of trying Womens Cha­stity by drinking this Water, was spread among the most barbarous Nations.

And the Woman shall say, Amen, Amen.] The word Amen is doubled, to express her full consent, and her earnest desire, that God would deal with her according to her deserving. The Mischna will have the first Amen refer to those words, The LORD make thee a Curse; and the second to the next words, and an Oath among thy People: So that she prayed God, both might come upon her, if she were guilty. We may as well say, that one of these Amens, relates to the first part of the [Page 83] Adjuration, v. 19. and the other to the second part, v. 21. Or, as Abarbinel doth, that there being a double Curse, one that her Belly should swell, and another that her Thigh should rot; she said a dou­ble Amen: praying both might befal her, if she were guilty. And as the Talmudists understand it, they were an Imprecation upon her self. For so they say in Schevnot; Whosoever saith Amen to an Oath (or Curse) seems to pronounce the Oath or Curse, with his own Mouth. See Wagenseil upon Mischna Sotae, cap. 2. sect. 5. Annot. 3. Where he produces a great deal more out of the Scripture it self, in confutation of the Opinion of our Learned Fuller, who in his Miscellanies affirms, That Amen is only an Assevera­tion; but never a Form of Swearing.

Ver. 23. And the Priest shall write these Curses.] Verse 23 Several Opinions are related in the Mischna, concern­ing the words that were to be written. Which some would have to begin at v. 19. If no Man have lien with thee, &c. and to continue to this Verse. But others think they began at those words, v. 21. The LORD make thee a Curse and an Oath, &c. and that the last words were omitted, The Woman shall say Amen, A­men. Which of these Opinions is the true, neither the Gemara, nor Maimonides have determined.

In a Book.] Every Scroll of Parchment, wherein any thing was written, the Jews call Sepher, a Book. In which, it hath been commonly said, the Name of the Woman was written, together with the Curse: but there is nothing, either in the Scripture, or in An­tiquity, to countenance this.

And he shall blot them out with the bitter Water.] Or rather, Into the bitter Water: That is, he was to scrape out the words he had written into the Water; and so [Page 84] make the Woman drink it. Or, as the Jews explain it, wash the words he had written, with the bitter Water, till they were quite blotted out. See Wagen­seil in Mischna Sotae, cap. 3. sect. 3. Who observes a great many Curiosities which the Jews have about the Parchment and the Ink, upon and with which these Curses were written: and that they were not valid, if they were written by a Lay-man; or by a Priest that was not of Age; or if they were written be­fore she was adjured; or if he blotted out one word before the rest were written, &c. See there cap. 2. sect. 4. Hottinger forgot himself when he said, The Scroll it self was thrown into the Water, (Thesaur. Philolog. L. II. cap. 2.) for no such thing appears.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. And he shall cause the Woman to drink, &c.] viz. After he had offered the Jealousie-Offering upon the Altar, v. 26. And if she refused to drink the Water, into which the Curses were scraped, they for­ced her to it, with this preceding Admonition; My Daughter, if thou art confident of thine Innocence, do not fear to drink this Water; which will do thee no more hurt, than dry Poison laid upon the Flesh of a living Creature, &c. If hereupon she confessed that she had been poluted, the Water was straightway poured out, because there was no holiness in it, as Maimonides saith. For it is called holy, v. 17. not because it was sancti­fied to this use, but only because it was taken out of the Laver, which was an holy Vessel. See Selden L. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. cap. 15. who observes also, in the foregoing Chapter, that if after a Man had brought his Wife to this Trial, he chanced to die before this Adjuration; she was freed from taking the Potion, but lost her Dowry.

And the Water that causeth the Curse.] Or, that is [Page 85] loaded with Curses; which have been scraped into it.

Shall enter into her, and become bitter.] Produce those direful Effects before-mentioned; if she be guilty.

Ver. 25. Then the Priest shall take the Jealousie-Offer­ing Verse 25 out of the Woman's hand.] Into which he had put it, before he adjured her, v. 18.

And shall wave the Offering before the LORD.] How this Waving was performed, hath been shown before, upon Leviticus. Rasi here expresses it in four words, he moved the Oblation, to and fro, up and down. Something like to which Pythagoras seems to intimate in that Symbol of his, [...], Worship, turning round. Which Plutarch as­cribes to Numa; in whose Life, he says a great many observable things, concerning turning round in their Sacred Offices. Which was a Rite in use among the Gentiles; who when they saluted their Gods, stand­ing with their Heads uncovered, turned about their Bodies to the Right-hand. As Christoph. Arnoldus observes out of Suetonius and others, in his Appendix to Wagenseil's Annotations upon Sota, p. 1186.

And offer it upon the Altar.] At the South-Corner of it.

Ver. 26. And the Priest shall take an handful of the Verse 26 Offering, even the Memorial thereof.] See upon the se­cond Chapter of Leviticus, v. 2.

And burn it upon the Altar.] The rest of it the Priests were to eat; unless her Husband himself was a Priest: in which case, it was all thrown among the Ashes. See Selden in the place above-named. Where he also observes, that if she confessed the Fact, or her Husband would not have her drink, or either of them died before she drunk, or a Witness of the A­dultery appear'd, (which made the Waters useless) [Page 86] the whole Sacrifice was burnt, and not only a Me­morial thereof. All which is in the Mischna, Sect. III. and IV.

And afterward shall cause the Woman to drink of the Water.] The Sacrifice therefore was first offered; though the Mischna say, that if the Priest gave her the Water to drink first, and then presented the Offering, he did not do amiss.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. And when he hath made her to drink the Water.] By this it appears he might force her to drink; if she would not do it by perswasion.

Then it shall come to pass, that if she be defiled, and have done Trespass against her Husband, that the Water that causeth the Curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, &c.] These Effects here mentioned presently followed: For she grew pale, and her Eyes were ready to start out of her Head, &c. so that they cry­ed out, Carry her forth, carry her forth; lest she defile the Court of the Temple, by dying there; as the Misch­na saith, Cap. III. Sect. 4. The Adulterer also, if we may believe the Jews, died the same day, and hour: Nay his Belly swelled, as hers did, and his secret Parts rotted, as the Author of Ez. Hechajim saith in Wagenseil upon Sota, Cap. V. Sect. 1. Where he adds, that all this came to pass, in case her Husband had never offended in the same kind: For if he had at any time defiled the Marriage-bed, then this Water had not these Effects upon his Wife, though she had been faulty. Which the Gemara also affirms.

Verse 28 Ver. 28. And if the Woman be not defiled, but be clean, then she shall be free.] Receive no harm at all by drink­ing the Water.

[Page 87] And shall conceive Seed.] If she was barren before, she became fruitful after this trial; and also bare a Man-child, (if we may believe the Jews) and had easie labour. Her Beauty also increased; her Health was confirmed; and if she had any Disease it was cured. They observe also, that if after she was thus cleared, she kept company again with the same Man whom her Husband suspected, and by his renewed Admonition had required her not to be in private with him; this potion was not repeated; but she was dismissed from being his Wife, without any Dowry. But if she kept company with any other Person privately, after Admonition to the contrary; this potion might be repeated, as often as she offended with new Lovers. Thus that MS. Ez. Hechajim, so highly commended by Wagenseil. Who also adds, that in case her Husband put her away after her Ac­quittal, and she married another Man, who had the same ground of Jealousie that her former Husband had, because of her Familiarity with the same Person whom he had forbidden her to keep company with­al; her new Husband might bring her to a new trial by this Water. And so might as many Husbands as she should marry one after another; if she gave the like occasion of Jealousie.

Ver. 29. This is the Law of Jealousies.] Whereby Verse 29 God declared himself to be privy to the most secret Sins; and to be both the Preserver of Conjugal Faith and Chastity, and the Protector of Innocence: And provided that Man and Wife should live happily to­gether; by keeping Men from cruel and furious Pro­ceedings against their Wives, when they entertained a Jealousie of them (willing them to commend the Case to God) and by containing Wives in their Duty [Page 88] out of dread of this Punishment. Which was so terrible (as Maimonides well observes) even to inno­cent Women, that they would have given all they had to avoid it; nay wish'd rather to die than un­dergo such a publick Infamy, of having their Head uncovered, their Hair cut off, (as he represents it) their Garment torn to their Breasts; and so to stand in the Sanctuary, before a great multitude of Men and Women, and the whole Sanhedrin. More Nevochim, P. III. Cap. XLIX.

When a Wife goes aside.] If the Man went aside from her, she had not the same Action against him; because the Family was not so much injured by his go­ing aside, as by hers; which brought a spurious Brood to inherit his Estate.

To another instead of her Husband.] Hence the Tal­mudists conclude such an Action did not lie against a Woman who was only espoused; or that waited for her former Husband's Brother to take her to Wife; if they gave Suspicion of being defiled. So the Mischna, Cap. IV. Sect. I.

And is defiled.] By that other Man, with whom she went aside.

Verse 30 Ver. 30. Or when the Spirit of Jealousie cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his Wife.] It appears by the first words of this Law, v. 13, 14. that whether she was really defiled, or there was only a vehement Suspicion of it; which bred a Jealousie in him: the Husband had liberty to bring her to this trial, for his own Satisfaction. Which Law was ra­ther permissive, than preceptive.

And shall set the Woman before the LORD.] That he might show, whether there was cause for her Hus­band's Jealousie, or not. See v. 18.

[Page 89] And the Priest shall execute upon her all this Law.] Though the Man was not bound to bring her to this Trial, but rather the contrary; if he could otherwise get rid of his Jealousie: yet the Priest was bound to proceed against her, according to the foregoing Rules; when she was set before the LORD to be tried. And he might set her before him on any day, that was not a Festival, and in any hour of the day: but not in the night; nor might he give the Drink to two sus­pected Women at one and the same time.

Ver. 3. Then shall the Man be guiltless from iniquity,Verse 31 and the Woman shall bear her iniquity.] By Iniquity, here is to be understood the Punishment due to Ini­quity. For the Wife, or her Parents, if she ap­peared to be innocent, could have no action against the Husband, upon the Account of this Accusation: And if she was guilty, she was justly punished for her Crime; and her Husband had no reason to say, (as the Jews speak in Pesikta) Wo is me, that I have killed a Daughter of Israel, &c. for he is here pronoun­ced innocent in that matter, by the Eternal God. Who doth not exercise a Tyranny (as they there go on) over his Creatures, nor gives them Precepts, that he may make them weary of their Lives, or destroy them. No, his Precepts are right; the whole Law is Divine: and God doth not bring any Man into Judg­ment, but for the Violation of that which was ex­presly commanded, and which he might have been a­ble to fulfil.

But the Particle Vau in the beginning of this Verse, signifies sometimes as much as if, as I observed upon v. 7. And so the Jews here commonly understand it, If the Man be guiltless from iniquity. For thus the Rule is expressed in the Gemara upon the fifth Chap­ter [Page 90] of SOTA: When the Husband is free from Iniqui­ty, (i. e. from Adultery) then the Water tries his Wife: but if he be not free, (i. e. be himself also guilty of Adultery) then the Water hath no power to try her: that is, produces none of the Effects before-mentioned. And so the Author of Etz Hachajim in Wagenseil up­on Sota, p. 595. concludes from these very words, That the bitter Water then only had power, when the Man was free from the Sin of which he suspected his Wife. And gives this as the reason, why in the latter end of the Second Temple, this way of Trial ceased, and was quite taken away by the Sanhedrim: because the Number of Adulterers was then so great, that the Water had no effect; according to those words of the Prophet Hosea, IV. 14. I will not punish your Daughters when they commit Whoredom, nor your Spouses when they commit Adultery, &c. For that is a­nother Rule of theirs, When Adulterers were multiplied, the bitter Waters ceased; i. e. there was no Trial by them. See Selden, L. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. cap. 15. p. 408. Yet the Jews seem to have continued in after Ages, since their Temple was destroyed, some form of dreadful Imprecations, in their Synagogues; for the discovery of Truth in doubtful Cases. For St. Chry­sostom saith he himself saw a very modest, good Chri­stian Woman, brought by a sensless Fellow (who al­so had the Name of a Christian) into a Jewish As­sembly: whom he would have compelled to take their Oath, [...], con­cerning some things wherein he desired Satisfaction. From which the Woman being rescued, by St. Chry­sostom's Assistance, when he examined the Man about it; How he came to forsake the Church, and resort to their Sanhedrim; his Answer was, That he had [Page 91] been told by many, [...], that there were more horrible Adjurations among them, then among Christians, Homil. I. adv. Judaeos. Which, no doubt, arose from the direful Effects of this Adjuration here prescribed, if the Woman was guilty of what she was suspected.


Chapter VI Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Verse 1 This Law very properly follows the foregoing (about Women suspected of Adultery,) as a Remedy against all such Sins; by abstaining from Wine, and all other Incitements to Lust; and by de­voting themselves, for some time, in a peculiar way to the Service of God. And there seems to be a plain opposition between a Woman professing her self a Nazarite, and forbearing Wine, and the Care of her Hair; and a Woman that loved Company, and was intangled in the Love of other Men besides her Husband.

Ver. 2. Speak unto the Children of Israel.] Who Verse 2 were all concerned in this Law.

When either Man or Woman.] For Women as well as Men might make this Vow; if they were at their own disposal: and not under the power of their Parents, or Husbands, by whose Authority this Vow might be disanulled, XXX. 4, 5, &c.

Shall separate themselves.] The Hebrew word japhli signifies the doing something extraordinary, beyond the common rate of other Men. And therefore For­sterus [Page 92] hath well translated it, when a Man or Woman shall vow a singular vow.

To vow a vow of a Nazarite.] The Hebrew word Nazar, which signifies in general to separate, in the Conjugation Niphal (as they call it) signifies to se­parate from others, by a Profession of some special Acts of Religion. Whence Nazir signifies one that, beyond the common prescription of the Law, dedi­cates not his Goods, but himself to God in a peculi­ar kind of Sanctimony. So Philo, who calls this [...], the great Vow; because he that makes it, devotes not his Corn, or Beasts, &c. but his own Self unto God; [...], for every Man is to himself the greatest possession he hath.

To separate themselves unto the LORD.] To se­parate themselves for some time, to a higher Measure of Purity then other Men practised; that they might at­tend to the Service of God. From whence this Vow was called, Separation unto the LORD. For they who observed it were holy, saith Maimonides; yea, were placed, for the present, in the Dignity of the High Priest, as to Sanctity: being forbidden to pol­lute themselves, for their Father or Mother, as it fol­lows afterward, More Nevochim, P. III. cap. 48. The Jewish Doctors are wont to be so curious in mark­ing every word, and scrupulously adhering to it, that it is something strange they should allow a Father the liberty to separate his Child to be a Nazarite, without its consent: when the Text expresly speaks of those who separate themselves. But so the Mischna deter­mines, in Sota, cap. 3. sect. 8. and it allows this li­berty to the Father, though not to the Mother: though we find Hannah vowing Samuel to be a Nazarite be­fore [Page 93] he was born, 1 Sam. I. 10, 11. See Wagenseil on that place, Annot. 2, 3.

Ver. 3. He shall separate himself from Wine.] In this consisted one part of the special Sanctity of Na­zarites; Verse 3 that by abstinence from Wine, or any thing that was Intoxicating, they might the better attend to the study of the Law, or other Exercises of Reli­gion.

And strong Drink.] As Wine was made of Grapes, so Shecar was a Liquor made of other Fruit, as Dates, &c. See X. Lev. 9. To which add, that other Au­thors call the Juyce of Dates, as well as Grapes, by the name of Wine. Nay, Pliny saith that praecipua vina, the choisest Wines, were made of those Dates called Caryotae, which grew about Jericho: though they were iniqua Capiti, hurtful to the Head, from whence they had their Name, L. XIII. Nat. Histor. cap. 4. With great reason therefore such intoxica­ting Liquors were forbidden to those who set them­selves apart to attend upon God, during the time of their Separation. Which justifies, in part, what Maimonides saith, that Nazarites were advanced to the Dignity of Priests, who might not drink any Wine, or strong Drink, in the time of their Mini­stration to God in the Sanctuary.

And shall drink no Vinegar of Wine, &c.] For that had the same effect with Wine, and strong Drink, of which it was made.

Neither shall he drink any Liquor of Grapes.] i. e. Se­condary Wine; which was made by maceration of Grapes in Water, after the Juice had been pressed out to make Wine. Pliny speaks of various kinds of it, L. XIV. Nat. Hist. cap. 10.

[Page 94] Nor eat moist Grapes, or dried.] Which might have stirred up their Appetite after Wine, or heated their Blood; and indisposed them for the Service of God, to which they had devoted themselves.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. All the days of his Separation.] Or, Na­zariteship, as it is in the Margin. Which sort of Vow, either was for all their life, or only for a time. Samson and John Baptist were made perpetual Naza­rites, by the direction of God, from their Mothers Womb. But here Moses speaks of such as were made Nazarites by themselves, for a time only. Which the Jews say was at least for XXX days: But it ap­pears by St. Paul it might be for a Week only: Unto which he limited the time of his [...], as it is cal­led in XXII Acts 26, 27. For every one might vow, for what time he pleased.

Shall he eat nothing that is made of the Vine-tree.] No Paste, nor Sauce, that had any of the Juyce, or Infusi­on of the Grapes in it.

From the Kernel even to the Husk.] Which might give the smallest Tincture, to any thing into which they were put.

All this caution seems to be intended to instruct those, who give themselves wholly unto God's Ser­vice; to be very sober and abstemious in the use of Wine, and strong Drink; the excess of which is the bane of true Piety. For Amat Spiritus Sanctus sicca corda, as Grotius admirably observes upon I St. Luke 15. The Holy Ghost delights in dry Souls.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. There shall no Rasor come upon his Head.] Nor was his Hair to be cut with Scissers, or any other Instrument; but he was to let the Locks of his Hair grow, as it is in the Conclusion of this Verse. This made such Persons look Majestically and venerably; [Page 95] without any expence. For as Agesilaus speaks in Stobaens, [...] to let ones Hair grow long, is the cheapest Ornament. Be­sides, neglect of the Hair was proper to those, who renounced, for the present, all manner of Pleasure (as the Nazarites did) and betook themselves to a se­verer sort of life. Such Persons not only let their Beards, and their Hair grow, but wore an hairy Gar­ment, which the Hebrews called Addareth. Such an one John Baptist wore, as Elijah did before him; whose Mantle is called by this name, 1 Kings XIX. 19. and who is said himself to have been an hairy Man, 2 Kings I. 8. from whence Grotius concludes that either he was a Nazarite, or the Habit of a Pro­phet, and a Nazarite was the same. See him on III Matth. 4.

But Moses himself seems, in the next words, to give the plainest reason of this matter.

Ʋntil the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy.] It was a Token he had kept himself pure from all legal De­filements: For if he had not, he must have shaved his Head, v. 9. as they did who were cleansed from their Leprosie, XIV Levit. 8.9.

And shall let the Locks of the Hair of his Head grow.] This Law, in which consists the second part of their Nazariteship, some fancy to have been translated from the Egyptians, into the Religion of the Hebrews. Which was the Opinion of S. Cyril of Alexandria, Lib. XVI. de Adorat. Where he saith, that Moses knowing how hard it would be to bring the Israelites from the ill Customs they had learnt in Egypt, most wisely instituted the like Rites to those that were in use there; to the intent they might not perform such [Page 96] Worship any longer to Daemons, but to the LORD of all. Procopius Gazaeus, upon this place, hath the same Notion, Graecorum liberi, si in Nymphas vel montanas vel aquentiles incidissent, comas nutriebant. Lex itaque mala daemonum consuetudine dempta, ad Deum hoc ipsum transfert. The sense of which is, that the Greeks let their Hair grow, in honour of the Nymphs; and therefore the Law to abolish that wicked Custom, transferred that to God, which was done to Daemons. To which I should readily sub­scribe, if there were any proof that this Rite of con­secrating their Hair to Daemons, was so old among the Egyptians and Greeks, as the times of Moses. It is far more probable, that the Original of this Cu­stom among the Gentiles, was from this Law of the Nazarites. So Hen. Lindenbrogius very well observes upon those words of Censorinus, (de Die Natali, Cap. I.) Crinem Deo sacrum pascebant, that they let their Hair grow in honour of their Gods. Particu­larly of Apollo, who thence was called [...]; of Bacchus, Minerva, and others; yea, this Supersti­on grew so much, that they consecrated it to Rivers; in which they thought there was some Divinity. But hujus moris origo (saith that Learned Annotator up­on him) videtur fluxisse à Naziraeis Judaeorum. The Original of this Custom seems to have slowed Verse 6 from the Jewish Nazirites. See more upon v. 18.

Ver. 6. All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall come at no dead body.] This was a third part of this Religion, not to touch a dead body; nor be in the House where a dead body was; nor accompany it to the Grave, (see XIX. 11, 12, 13.) For such Defilements by the dead made Men unclean seven days; so that he might not approach to the [Page 97] House of God: And therefore that the Nazarites might always be fit to attend upon his Service, he would have them avoid this Defiement.

Ver. 7. He shall not make himself unclean for his Verse 7 Father, or for his Mother, &c.] In this he was supe­riour to the ordinary Priests, who might be defi­led for such near kindred, (XXI Levit. 2, &c.) and was equalled to the High-Priest, (as I observed be­fore, v. 2. out of Maimonides) who might not, XXI Levit. 11.

Because the Consecration of his God is upon his Head.] His Hair upon his Head, which was unshorn, show­ed him to be separated (as the word is in the Hebrew) unto God. Which Hair also was consecrated to him, when the days of his Separation were fulfilled. For in this unshorn Hair seems to have consisted the principal part of Nazariteship.

Ver. 8. All the days of his Separation, he is holy to the Verse 8 LORD.] By a peculiar Vow, and therefore was not to come near a dead Body.

Ver. 9. And if any Man die very suddenly by him.] Verse 9 Either by Violence, or an Apoplex, or any other way. And the case was the same, if he chanced to light up­on a dead Body unawares.

And he hath defiled the Head of his Consecration.] The Consecration of his Head; that is, his Hair. For though he could not help his being so suddenly surprized, yet he was defiled by being where a dead Body was: And consequently the Hair of his Head which had been consecrated to God, was defiled also; and therefore could not be offered to him, and burnt in his Honour.

[Page 98] Then he shall shave his Head in the day of his clean­sing.] His Nazariteship was interrupted by this De­filement, so that it could not proceed further; but, after the usual Purification, was to be begun anew; by shaving off this polluted Hair, and letting new Hair grow instead of it. By this it appears that Mo­ses here speaks only of such as made this Vow for a limited time: for perpetual Nazarites, who were consecrated to God for all their life, were never sha­ven whatsoever Defilement they contracted.

On the seventh day shall he shave it.] For so many days Uncleanness by the dead lasted, XIX. 11. and the seventh day was the day of Cleansing from that Uncleanness, v. 12. All other legal Uncleannesses polluted a Nazarite so, as to make him stand in need of such Purifications as other Men used in those ca­ses: but this alone polluted him, so as utterly to put him out of that state; which, as it here follows, was to be begun again.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And on the eighth day he shall bring two Turtles, or two young Pigeons to the Priest, &c.] The very same Sacrifice, which was offered for one that had been defiled by a running-Issue, XV Le­vit. 14.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. And the Priest shall offer the one, for a Sin-offering, and the other for a Burnt-offering.] As in the fore-named case, XV Levit. 15.

To make an Atonement for him.] Which was to be done, before the Burnt-offering would be ac­cepted.

For that he sinned by the dead.] He had not pro­perly sinned; but contracted a legal Uncleanness, by touching a dead Body, or being where it was. Which, though it was against his Will, yet was a Defilement [Page 99] in the account of the Law; and a kind of Sin be­cause it was a breach of a Ceremonial Law, and therefore thus to be purged. The reason of which, and such like Precepts, Abarbinel observes (in his Preface to the Book of Leviticus, Cap. IV.) was on­ly this; to make Men very cautious how they con­tracted any Defilement; as the Nazarite might do in the time of his Separation, and put himself to much trouble. Which is the foundation of a famous Say­ing among their wise Men: Diligence begets Caution; and Caution Purity; and Purity Holiness, and Sanctity.

And shall hallow his Head the same day.] Consecrate his Hair afresh to the LORD, after his Head hath been shaved.

Ver. 12. And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the Verse 12 days of his Separation.] This is a further Explication of what was said just before, in the end of the fore­going Verse: That from the eighth day he shall begin to compute the time of his Nazariteship; for so many days as he at first vowed unto the LORD.

And shall bring a Lamb of the first year, for a Tres­pass-offering.] Which was to be offered even for ignorant Offences, by the Law made before, V Le­vit. 15.

But the days that were before;] his Defilement by the dead.

Shall be lost.] Shall not be reckoned, as the LXX hath it, but go for nothing (as we speak) though they were so many that he had almost ful­filled his Vow. If, for instance; he had vowed to be a Nazarite, for a whole Year; and in the twelfth Month hapned upon a dead Carcass: all the fore­going eleven Months were lost; and he was to begin [Page 100] his Year's Vow again. And this as often as such an Accident hapned; if it were before the time that his Vow was compleated. Which may seem very hard, if we do not seriously consider the Intention of it: Which was to oblige them to the strictest care to pre­serve themselves holy and pure in all things; as they were plainly taught to be, by the watchful Dili­gence they were bound to use, to avoid this legal Defilement here mentioned. For none could ab­solve them from this Vow, till it was fulfilled in the Exactness that is here required. For as they tell the Story in the Talmud, Queen Hellen having taken a Vow upon her for seven Years, by coming into the Holy Land was engaged for seven Years more; and being defiled toward the later end of them, was obli­ged for another seven Years: which was Twenty and one Years in all. See Dr. Lightfoot of the Temple, Chap. XVIII.

Because his Separation was defiled.] His first Sepa­ration was defiled by a dead Body; which made it necessary he should begin a new one. It might hap­pen also that he might die, before he had fulfilled the time he vowed to be a Nazarite. In which case Maimonides saith any of his Sons might go on where he left, and at the end of the days which his Father had vowed, offer the Sacrifices here appointed, and be shaved in his stead. So the Mischna Sotae, Cap. III. Sect. VIII. But Maimonides acknowledges there is no foundation for this in Scripture; but it relyes wholly upon Tradition. See Wagenseil on that place, Annot. 4.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. And this is the Law of the Nazarite.] Of putting an end to his Nazariteship.

[Page 101] When the days of his Separation are fulfilled.] At the end of the time he vowed, to continue in this state.

He shall be brought.] By the Priest.

Ʋnto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] That the Sacrifices here prescribed might be offered for him.

Ver. 14. And he shall offer his Offering unto the Verse 14 LORD.] i. e. The Nazarite was to present these following Offerings unto the LORD: For the Priests offering them, is not mentioned till v. 16.

One He-lamb of the first Year without blemish for a Burnt-offering, and one Ewe-Lamb, &c.] Here are all sorts of Offerings; which he was obliged to make in the conclusion of his Nazariteship. A Burnt-offering, as an Acknowledgment of God's Sovereign Domini­on. A Sin-offering, imploring Pardon for any O­missions, of which he might have been guilty during this Vow: And a Peace-offering, in Thankfulness to God, who had given him Grace both to make, and to keep, and to fulfil this Vow.

Ver. 15. And a Basket of unleavened Bread, Cakes Verse 15 of fine Flour mingled with Oyl, and Wafers of unleavened Bread anointed with Oyl.] Besides the fore-mentioned Sacrifices here are three Oblations more prescribed, to compleate his Thankfulness. Of which see XXIX Exod. 2.

And their Meats-offering, and their Drink-offerings.] This seems to relate to the Burnt-offering, and Peace-offering, before-mentioned, (v. 14.) which were to have their proper Meat-offering and Drink-offering; besides the Basket of unleavened Bread, with the Cakes, and the Wafers. See VII Levit. 12. XV Numb. 2, 3, &c. Where these accessory Offerings [Page 102] are ordered to accompany the Burnt-offerings, and Peace-offerings; though Sin-offerings had none.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. And the Priest shall bring them before the LORD.] Unto the Altar of Burnt-Offerings; as the Nazarite had already brought them to the Door of the Tabernacle, v. 14.

And shall offer his Sin-offering, and his Burnt-offer­ing.] Though the Burnt-offering be first named, (v. 14.) as the principal Sacrifice of all other; yet the Sin-offering was first offered: by which his Peace be­ing made with God, the two other Offerings, which followed, were acceptable to him.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. And he shall offer the Ram for a Sacrifice of Peace-offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of un­leavened Bread.] And the Cakes and Wafers; which accompanied the Peace-offering, that nothing might be wanting to compleat the Feast which was to be made upon them.

The Priest shall offer also his Meat-offering, and his Drink-offering.] By this it appears, that these were distinct from the Basket of Unleavened Bread, &c. as I observed v. 15.

Verse 18 Ver. 18. And the Nazarite shall shave the Head of his Separation.] i. e. The Hair of his Head, which was consecrated to God, shall be shaved off; that it may be presented unto him. For having now fulfil­led his Vow, this Hair was holy: it not having been defiled as that Hair was, which he shaved off before, v. 9.

At the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] That it might be publickly known he had ended his Vow.

[Page 103] And shall take the Hair of the Head of his Separa­tion.] His Hair, which was consecrated to the LORD.

And put it in the fire.] Where it was burnt.

Which is under the Sacrifice of the Peace-offerings.] In the Court of the Women, (as they tell us in Mid­doth, cap. 2. sect. 5.) where there were four Rooms; and that in the North-east corner, was the Room of the Nazarites. In which they boiled their Peace-offerings; and having polled their Hair, put it under the Pot where the Sacrifice was boiling: which, as L'Empereur there observes out of Abarbinel, was offer­ed out of Joy, that their Vow was fulfilled: and therefore they put their Hair to be there burnt, as a Testimony that their Nazariteship was at an end; and that they had no further Obligation to let their Hair grow in observance of this Law. And according to this account, that Question is resolved which many have made; Whether the Nazarites Hair was to be burnt with holy Fire, (viz. that on the Altar) or with common. For it was burnt with that which was un­der the Pot, or Cauldron, in which the Peace-offer­ings were boiled: which was common Fire. And in­deed it had been unseemly to burn Hair upon the Al­tar; it being God's Table, where his Meat was set before him: for it would not have been grateful at one of our Feasts. Yet the Fire under the Peace-offerings may in some sort be called holy; as it was imployed to boil holy Meat: and in that regard more Sacred than other Vulgar Fire.

There are those who think no account can be gi­ven of such Ordinances as these, but only this; that it was so general a Custom, and so very ancient a­mong Mankind, to let their Hair grow on purpose, [Page 104] and to plait it in Locks, that they might at a certain time cut it off, and devote it to some of their Gods: that in all likelyhood the Israelites would have fol­lowed their Superstition, if God, to prevent it, had not instituted a way of doing what the rest of the World did, without their Idolatry. For the Directi­ons which God here gives about it, are manifestly opposite to the way of the Gentiles. For the Naza­rites are here directed to cut their Hair (when the time of their Separation was compleated) at the Door of the Tabernacle; where it was also to be burnt: whereas the Gentiles hung their Hair, when they had cut it, upon Trees; or Consecrated it to Rivers, (as I observed v. 5.) or laid it up in their Temples, there to be preserved. The Hebrew Nazarites also are re­quired to offer various sorts of Sacrifices, when they cut their Hair; of which we rarely read any thing among the Gentiles. And all the time of their Se­paration were to drink no Wine, nor eat Grapes, &c. which was not known among the Heathen. From whence it is, one may think, that they are so often put in mind of the LORD, in this Law of the Na­zarites. Who are said to be Separated unto the LORD, v. 1, 5, 6. and the Consecration of his God is said to be upon his Head, v. 7. and all the days of his Se­paration he was holy to the LORD, v. 8. unto whom he consecrated the days of his Separation, v. 12. To put them in mind, that though they used this Rite, which was common to other Nations, yet it was in honour of the LORD only; whom they ac­knowledged to be the Author of Health, and Strength, and Growth. For the Devil also had his Nazarites, as appears from IX Hosea 10. All this is said, and much more, with a specious show of Truth, by a [Page 105] most ingenious and learned Friend of mine, now with God, in his excellent Book de Legibus Hebraeo­rum Ritualibus, &c. Lib. III. Dissert. 1. cap. 6.

But there are two things wanting to make this O­pinion probable. First, None can tell how the World came by such a Custom of letting their Hair grow for Sacred uses; unless they had it from Moses. Who tells us whence he derived it, viz. from God: who appointed this Rite for such Reasons, as then were plain, but now, perhaps do not appear to us. Besides, Secondly, there is not the least Evidence that this Custom was so old as Moses his time: which to me seems not likely, but rather that it was derived, among the Gentiles, from an imperfect Knowledge of what is here ordained by Moses. For the chief part of this Nazariteship, consisting in letting their Hair grow, and consecrating it unto God, the Gentiles took it to be a piece of great Devotion, [...], &c. as Theodoret speaks, Quaest. XXVIII. in Levit. not to cut off their Chil­drens Hair, but let it grow, and after a certain time dedicate it to their Daemons. Many Authors have written much of this Custom; for which there was a certain day appointed at Athens, viz. the third day of the Feast called [...]. Which day was called [...], because then the Hair of their grown Chil­dren was shorn off, and sacrificed to Diana. See Petr. Castellanus in his Syntagma de Festis Graecorum. Where he quotes a passage out of Hesychius (p. 28.) who says, That before they cut off their Hair, they brought a Measure of Wine, which they offered to Hercules, and then all that were present drunk of it. Which is some imitation of the Drink-offering here mentioned by Moses, which was offered at the Com­pletion [Page 106] of their Nazariteship. And Grotius, and Huetius have made it so plain that the Attick Laws were derived from Moses; that I cannot doubt but this Custom also flowed from the same Fountain.

And if we must give an account of the reason of this Institution among the Hebrews, I think that of Maimonides is better then this against which I have excepted, viz. that this Law about their Hair was made in opposition to the opinion of the ancient Idolaters, called Zabij; who held all things which were separated from the Body to be impure; as the Hair, the Nails, and the Blood. From whence, all Barbers among them were accounted impure Persons, because they cut Men's Hair, and let Blood. And whosoever suffered a Rasor to pass upon his Flesh, was required to wash himself in pure Fountain-water; as he shows, More Nevochim, P. III. cap. 47.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And the Priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the Ram.] The left Shoulder, which he was to take out of the Pot, as it was boiling: for the right Shoulder, (which is called the Heave-shoulder in the next Verse) was the Priest's Portion, by a Law made before this, VII Lev. 32, 33.

And one unleavened Cake out of the Basket, and one unleavened Wafer.] The Basket of unleavened Bread was ordered to be offered before, v. 17. and now he orders one of the Cakes, and one of the Wafers (men­tioned with the Bread, v. 15.) to be put into the Hands of the Nazarite: the rest being burnt, I sup­pose, upon the Altar.

And shall put them into the hands of the Nazarite.] That he might give them to the Priest, in token of his Thankfulness to him for his pains.

[Page 107] After the Hair of his Separation is shaved.] And his Vow, in a manner, compleated: as it was imme­diately after these things were presented unto God.

Ver. 20. And the Priest shall wave them.] Both Verse 20 the sodden Shoulder, and the Cake and Wafer.

For a Wave-offering before the LORD.] See VII Lev. 30, 31.

This is holy for the Priest, with the Wave-Breast, and Heave-shoulder.] These two were the Priests Portion out of all Peace-offerings, as I observed be­fore from VII Lev. 34. but in this Peace-offering he had moreover, the other Soulder; as a special To­ken of the Nazarite's Gratitude for his Cleansing.

And after that the Nazarite may drink Wine.] He was restored to his former Freedom, to live as other Men did.

Ver. 21. This is the Law of the Nazarite, who hath Verse 21 vowed, and of his Offering to the LORD for his Se­paration.] All these things he was bound to per­form, betore he could be freed from his Vow; though he was never so poor.

Besides that that his hand shall get.] Besides which he might add if he pleased, according to his Abi­lity.

According to the Vow which he vowed, so must he do, after the Law of his Separation.] There was a neces­sity that he should perform what his Vow obliged him unto, according to the Law of Nazariteship: though he might voluntarily offer what he thought good, over and above his Oblation; now that he was executing his Vow. His Friends also might joyn with him, in the Expense he was at for so ma­ny Sacrifices as he was enjoyned to offer: or in pro­viding [Page 108] voluntary Offerings, beyond his Oblation. Thus we read in XXI Acts 23, 24. that St. Paul, by the advice of St. James, and the Elders Jerusalem, was at charges with certain Men that had this Vow upon them, and purified himself with them: Which was agreeable to the Custom among the Jews, as Pe­titus and others have observed out of Maimonides; who says others might help the Nazarites to fulfil their Vow, and partake with them in it, by ab­staining from Wine, &c. for some time, as they did.

Verse 22 Ver. 22. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] The Tabernacle having been lately erected, to which the People were all to resort; they are invited to it by the Directions here given, how they should be dismissed, when they came to Worship. Which was in such a manner, that they might not doubt (as R. Menachem glosses) but the Divine Benedicti­on would come down upon them from his Celestial Habitation; when they devoutly frequented his House here on Earth.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. Speak unto Aaron and unto his Sons, saying.] Whose proper Office it was to bless the People; as it was to offer their Sacrifices, and burn Incense, XXI Deut. 5.

On this wise he shall bless the Children of Israel, say­ing unto them.] Standing so that they might be seen; with their Hands lifted up and spread; speaking with a loud voice, with their Faces towards the People. See IX Lev. 22.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. The LORD bless thee, and keep thee.] Give thee all good things, and preserve thee from all evil.

[Page 109]Ver. 25. The LORD make his Face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.] Be favourable unto thee, and pardon all thy Sins

Ver. 26. The LORD lift up his Countanance upon Verse 25 thee, and give thee Peace.] Be always with thee to Verse 26 protect and defend thee, and give thee perfect Hap­piness.

When this Benediction was said in the Sanctuary, (if we may believe the Jews) it was but one, and pronounced without any Pause: The People keep­ing a profound Silence; but out of the Sanctuary (in their Synagogues) they made three of it, the Priest pausing at the end of every Verse, and the People saying Amen to each of them. In the Sanctu­ary also they pronounced the name JEHOVAH, which is here thrice repeated; but in their Syna­gogues they used some other name instead of it. So the Mischna Sotae, Cap. VII. Sect. 6.

The Repetition of this Name three times, in these three Verses, and that with a different Accent in each of them, (as R. Menachem observes) hath made the Jews themselves think there is some Mystery in it: Which we understand, though they do not. For it may well be lookt upon by us as having respect to the three Persons in the Blessed Trinity; who are one God: from whom all Blessings slow unto us, 2 Co­rinth. XIII. 14. This Mystery, as Luther wisely ex­presses it, (upon Psalm V.) is here occultè insinuatum, secretly insinuated, though not plainly revealed. And it is not hard to show, if this were a place for it, how properly God the Father may be said to bless and keep us; and God the Son, to be gracious unto us; and God the Holy Ghost to give us Peace.

[Page 110]Ver. 27. And they shall put my Name upon the Children of Israel.] To put God's Name upon them, was to commend them to his Almighty Goodness; or, to bless them by calling upon the LORD, and be­seeching him to bestow all that they desired upon them.

And I will bless them.] The Jews from hence ob­serve that God's Blessing, in some sort, depends up­on the Blessing of the Priest: Which they thought so necessary, that such Priests as were admitted to no other Service, might perform this; for fear the Peo­ple should at any time want it. So Chaskuin upon XXI Deut. 5. and Jalkut, (as Wagenseil observes up­on the Gemara Sotae, Cap. VII. Sect. 26.) whose words are these, The Blessing pronounced by a Priest, who hath some blemish in his Body, ought to be accounted le­gitimate.

Jonathan here paraphrases these words in this manner, I will bless them in my WORD, or by my WORD: Which is the Apostolical Doctrine, that God the Father hath blessed us with all Spiritual Bles­sings, in or by, Christ, 1 Ephes. 3. Who with the Holy Ghost, is most high in the Glory of God the Father. And it is observable, that the Jews think it utterly unlawful to add a fourth Benediction to these three; though they find one in the 1 Deut. II. The LORD God of your Fathers, make you a thousand times so many mo as you are; and bless you, as he hath promised you.


Chapter VII Ver. 1. AND it came to pass on the day that Moses Verse 1 had fully set up the Tabernacle.] Which he did upon the first Day of the first Month of the second Year, after they came out of Egypt, XL Exod. 17, 18.

And had anointed it, and sanctified it, &c.] See VIII Levit. 10, 11. where it is said he anointed also (as it here likewise follows) all belonging to it. Which being seven days in doing, as appears from v. 35. of that Chapter, it is evident that the word Day doth not here precisely denote the very Day on which the Tabernacle was erected: but more large­ly, at or about that time, (as it must necessarily signi­fie, v. 84. of this Chapter) after he had set up the Tabernacle; and not only sanctified and anointed it, but received Orders about Sacrifices, and anointed the Priests, (with the rest mentioned in the Book of Leviticus) and also had numbred the People; or­dered their Encampment, and the Encampment of the Levites; and given them their Charge about the Tabernacle. In short, when Moses had done all the things mentioned hitherto in this Book, then fol­lowed this Dedication of the Altar. And whosoever will compare this Chapter, with the second, may easi­ly be convinced, that this Offering of the Princes, was not made till the Camp was formed, and the Tribes ranged under their several Standards. For the Princes Offer held in the same Order and Method, that they are disposed there.

[Page 112]Ver. 2. That the Princes of Israel, heads of the House of their Fathers.] Mentioned Chap. I. 5, 16.

And were over them that were numbred.] This evi­dently Verse 2 shows that this Offering of the Princes, was af­ter the numbring of the People.

Offered.] In the Order that is set down in this Chapter.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And they brought their Offering.] The LXX translate the Hebrew word Korbanam, [...], their Gift, or their Present, which they made to God: Which consisted of several things, for di­vers uses.

Before the LORD.] i. e. At the Door of the Tabernacle; as it is explained in the end of the Verse.

Six covered Wagons, and twelve Oxen.] In the first place they made a Present, for the Service of the Tabernacle it self. That such parts of it as were most cumbersome might be more conveniently carried; and that they might be free from Dust, Rain, or Hail. The Wagons were covered; being not ordi­nary Carriages, but such as were used by great Per­sons. So the LXX understood it; who translate the Hebrew word Tzabbim, by [...] in the LXVI Isa. 20. and here [...]. Now as Pollux reckons [...] among the Wagons and Cha­riots then used: So Hesychius tells us (as Learned Men have observed) it signifies such Wagons as il­lustrious Men and Women used; and that they were covered above.

A Wagon for two of the Princes.] This shows plain­ly enough, that they were sumptuous, and had, per­haps, rich Coverings; in that two of the great Men joyned in the Present of one Wagon.

[Page 113] And for each one an Ox.] That there might be a Pair of Oxen to draw each Wagon. And it is pro­bable, those Oxen were yoked together, which were offered by those two Princes, who joined in offering one Wagon.

And they brought them before the Tabernacle.] Set them before the entrance of it.

Ver. 4. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Verse 4 It seems Moses did not accept these Presents, till he had Orders from the LORD, in the next words.

Ver. 5. Take it of them.] Receive their Present, as Verse 5 acceptable to me.

That they may be to do the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] He directs their use; which was to carry the Tabernacle, when they removed from one place to another.

And thou shalt give them to the Levites.] In or­der to which, he directs him to bestow them up­on the Levites; who had the charge of that Car­riage.

To every Man according to his Service.] In such Proportions, as the things they had to carry re­quired.

Ver. 6. And Moses took the Wagons and Oxen, and Verse 6 gave them to the Levites.] In such Proportions as fol­low in the next two Verses.

Ver. 7. Two Wagons and four Oxen to the Sons of Verse 7 Gershon, according to their Service.] As they were fewest in number that could do Service, so they had less burdensome things to carry than the Sons of Me­rari, IV. 25, 40. and therefore had fewer Carriages al­lowed them.

[Page 114]Ver. 8. And four Wagons and eight Oxen he gave unto the Sons of Merari, according to their Service.] They were the most numerous, but had the greatest Verse 8 burden; and therefore had allowance of more Car­riages and Oxen, IV. 31, 32, 48.

Ʋnder the hand of Ithamar the Son of Aaron the Priest.] Who had the Inspection and Care both of the Gershonites and Merarites, IV. 28, 33.

Verse 9 Ver. 9. But unto the Sons of Kohath he gave none.] For the reason that follows.

Because the Service of the Sanctuary belonging unto them, was that they should bear upon their Shoulders.] The LXX translate it more exactly, because they had the Service of the holy thing, ( [...], as the Ark is called, IV. 4.) they shall carry it on their Shoulders. Which was for the greater Honour and Dignity of the Ark, and of the Law contained in it, as Maimo­nides, R. Levi ben Gersem, and others observe. And that the Form and Structure of the Ark might not be discomposed, (as Maimonides adds, More Nevochim, P. III. Cap. XLV.) nor the Ephod, and the Breast­plate rufled, as they might have been, by the sha­king of a Wagon. Yet they all observe this was not so peculiar to the Sons of Kohath, but that the Priests the Sons of Aaron, upon some special occasion car­ried the Ark; particularly when they went over Jor­dan, III Josh. 3. and at the Siege of Jericho; at both which times a great Miracle was to be wrought. And when Zadok and Abiathar carried it back to Jerusa­lem, 2 Sam. XV. 29. (though that, I observed before, may be otherways interpreted, and there seems no reason why they should carry it back, when the Le­vites brought it, ver. 24.) and when Solomon's Tem­ple was built, 1 Kings VIII. 6. for the Levites might [Page 115] not go into the Holy Place, and therefore it was then carried by the Priests.

Ver. 10. And the Princes offered.] They brought the Offerings, which they desired might be presented Verse 10 unto God.

For the dedicating of the Altar.] The Hebrew word Chanac, which in one place of the Pentateuch signi­fies simply to begin, to use, or enjoy an House, XX Deut. 6. here, and several other places signifies the first Application and Addiction of any thing to Sacred Uses, or to the Divine Service; to which it had been designed and consecrated. And this was done with some certain solemn Words and Actions; as Mr. Sel­den observes, Lib. III. de Synedr. Cap. XIII. n. 1. and Cap. XV. n. 3. And so among the Latins the word inchoare, when applied to Sacred things, signifies, to perfect or consummate, as Servius observes upon the VI Aenead. And both Civil and Sacred Initiations, were accompanied with great Joy and Gladness. But this is not to be understood, as if the Dedication of the Altar was the setting of it apart, and sanctifying it for the Service of God, (which had been done be­fore, and VII days spent therein, XXIX Exod. 27. VIII Lev. 11.) but, as the word properly signifies, the beginning to use it, after it had been so sancti­fied.

In the day that it was anointed.] At the time that it was set apart; and all other things ordered for the Safe-guard of the Tabernacle. See v. 1.

Even the Princes offered their Offering.] Presented their Gifts, (as the LXX translate it) which they de­sired God would accept upon this great occasion.

[Page 116] Before the Altar.] At the Door of the Tabernacle, near unto which the Altar stood, XL Exod. 6. for he speaks of the Altar of Burnt-offerings.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. And the LORD said unto Moses, they shall offer their Offering.] Here again Rasi observes, that Moses would not receive their Offering, till he knew the Mind of God: Who directed in what manner and order their Gifts should be offered to him.

Each Prince on his day, for the dedication of the Al­tar.] This made the Dedication a very long Solem­nity, which continued twelve days. When these XII days began, it is not easie to determine; but it seems to me a very reasonable Computation, which Fortunatus Scacchus hath made of this whole busi­ness, Myrothec. Sacr. Elaeochrism. Lib. 2. Cap. LXXIV. Where he supposes that the Tabernacle being erected the first Day of the first Month of the second Year, after they came out of Egypt, seven days were spent in the Consecration of it, and of the Altar, &c. And on the eighth day Moses began to consecrate Aaron, and his Sons, which lasted VII days longer. Then the fifteenth day of that Month was the first day of Unleavened Bread: Which God commanded (as we read here Chap. IX.) to be observed in the first Month; and lasted till the Two and twentieth. The rest of the Month we may well suppose was spent in giving, re­ceiving, and delivering the Laws mentioned in the Book of Leviticus. After which on the first day of the second Month, he began to number the People, according to the Command in the beginning of this Book: Which may be supposed to have lasted three days. And then on the fourth the Levites were num­bred: On the next day we may suppose they were offered to God, and given unto the Priests; on the [Page 117] sixth Day they were expiated and consecrated (as we read in the next Chapter.) And on the seventh Day their several Charges were parted among them, (of which we read Chapter IV.) After which the Princes, he supposes, began to offer upon the eighth Day of the second Month, for the Dedication of the Altar: which lasted till the nineteenth Day inclusively: and on the twentieth Day of this Month they removed (as we read X. 11, 12.) from Sinai to the Wilderness of Paran.

Ver. 12. And he that offered his Offering the first Verse 12 day.] By God's order, no doubt.

Was Nahshon the Son of Amminadab, of the Tribe of Judah.] He held the principal place among the Is­raelites, being the NASI, the Prince or Captain (as we translate it, II Numb. 3.) of the Children of Ju­dah; who had the first Standard. And yet he alone of all the Twelve great Men here mentioned, is not called NASI, Prince of Judah, as all the rest are called Princes of their Tribe, v. 18, 24, 30, &c. but simply Nahshon of the Tribe of Judah. The Jews give several reasons of it: but perhaps it was, because he offered first; which was honour enough: and there needed no more to be said of him.

Ver. 13. And his Offering was one silver Charger,Verse 13 the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty Shekels, and one silver Bowl, &c.] It appears by the Metal that this Charger and Bowl were of, that they were for the use of the Altar of Burnt-offerings, in the out­ward Court: for all the Vessels of the Sanctuary were of Gold. And I take this Charger (or broad Dish, or Platter) to have been offered, for receiving the Flesh which was offered at the Altar, or the fine Flour for the Meat-offerings. And the Bowl received [Page 118] the Blood; or was used for pouring out Wine.

Both of them were full of fine Flour mingled with Oyl, for a Meat-offering.] Which was to attend upon the Burnt-offering and the Peace-offering mentioned v. 15, 17. See IV. 7. where I observed, it was not difficult to procure this fine Flour, in the Wilderness.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. One Spoon of ten Shekels of Gold, full of Incense.] Both the Metal of which it was made, and that which was in it, shows this Spoon was for the use of the Golden Altar, in the Sanctuary. Which may incline one to think, that both Altars were now dedicated: that is, first began to be used, for the Service of the whole Congregation. See v. 88.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. One young Bullock, one Ram, one Lamb of the first Year.] There are so many Sacrifices mentioned here, and in the two following Verses, (no less than XXI. in all) that, together with the silver and gold Plate, they look like too great a Present, to be made out of one Man's private estate. And therefore some have thought, that the rest of the great Men of the Tribe of Judah joyned with Nahshon in their Contributi­ons towards it: and that it was offered in his own, and their Names.

For a Burnt-offering.] This is first mentioned; as being the most ancient sort of Sacrifice; long before we read of any other: and being an Acknowledgment of God's Soveraign Dominion over all.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. One Kid of the Goats for a Sin-offering.] This in all likelyhood was first offered, though the other be first mentioned. For in the next Chapter we find the Burnt-offering enjoyned in the first place; but the Sin-offering offered before it, VIII. 8, 12. The like I observed before VI. 16. See there.

[Page 119]Ver. 17. And for a Sacrifice of Peace-offerings, two Oxen, five Rams, five He-goats, five Lambs of the first year.] These Sacrifices were more numerous, than the Burnt-offering or the Sin-offering; because the Verse 17 Priests, and the Princes, and as many of the People as they invited, had their share of them: and feast­ed before the LORD upon them, with great re­joycing. Which Custom, as Mr. Selden observes, flowed from hence to the Gentiles, who dedicated their Altars, and Temples, and Statues, &c. with much ceremony: and the ancient Greeks, [...], with more sumptuous Sacrifices. See L. III. de Synedriis, cap. 14. num. 111. Where he also shows how they were dedicated among the Romans with Plays, and Feasting, and Publick Largesses: and at last, their Feasts became Anniversary, as the Feast of Dedication among the Jews was, after the times of Antiochus, num. 6, 7. In which Feast there was [...], Illuminations, (as we now speak) by set­ting up of Candles or Lamps, in token of Joy, cap. 13. num. 9.

This was the Offering of Nahshon, the Son of Ammi­nadab.] And was the pattern, which all the rest fol­lowed.

Ver. 18. On the second Day.] Their Offerings Verse 18 were thus distributed, to be offered on several Days; that Confusion might be avoided; and that every Tribe might distinctly express their Devotion to God, and be graciously accepted by him: and the Solem­nity be made the more remarkable by continuing it so long as twelve Days. For which reason the Feast of Dedication, after Mattathias had purged the Tem­ple and the Altar, after the prophanation of them by Antiochus, was kept eight days, by the Jews, in fol­lowing [Page 120] times; And this Parascha (as they call it) of the Law from VI. 22. to VIII. 4. of this Book, was wont to be read at that Feast, as the same Mr. Selden observes, cap. 13. n. 7. As among the Romans he ob­serves (cap. 14. n. 7.) there was a Feast of like nature kept six Days.

Nathaniel the Son of Zuar, Prince of Issachar, did offer.] This Tribe, and Zebulun, being under the Standard of Judah, are the next that offer. And so they proceed in the same order, Reuben, and those under his Standard offer next; because they incamp­ed next to them, v. 30, 36, 42, &c.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. He offered for his Offering, one silver Char­ger, the weight whereof, was an hundred and thirty She­kels, &c.] It may be observed, once for all, that there is no difference in the Offerings of these Prin­ces: but all offered Plate of equal weight; and an equal number of Sacrifices, without the least variati­on. Either by common Agreement, or by the Di­vine Appointment: that the Vanity of vying one with another might be prevented; and none might brag of their out-doing their Brethren; and all might be confident, that they were equally in­terested in the Altar, and accepted by the Divine Majesty.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. On the third day Eliab the Son of Helon, &c.] Here it may be observed, that Moses thought fit to set down distinctly, and at length, the Offerings of the Princes of every Tribe, (as he doth here, and in the following part of this Chapter) though they were the very same, without any difference; that an honourable mention being made of every one apart, none might think themselves, in the least neglect­ed.

[Page 121]Ver. 30. On the fourth day Elizur, &c.] There is nothing new to be noted of him, or any of the rest; because the same thing is repeated, for the reason fore-mentioned.Verse 30

Ver. 48. On the seventh day Elishama, &c. offered.] Verse 48 This Solemnity was not interrupted by the Sabbath; but the Offerings continued then, as upon other days.

Ver. 84. This was the Dedication of the Altar.] By Verse 84 these Oblations and Sacrifices: which were simple and plain; though costly and magnificent. With which the Gentiles were not content, but used some­times barbarous Rites in their Dedications, as appears by their TAUROBOLIA and CRIOBOLIA in ho­nour of the Mother of the Gods, &c. See Selden in the fore-named Book, cap. 14. n. 8, 9.

In the day when it was anointed.] The Dedication lasting twelve Days, it is apparent the word day in this place, necessarily signifies the Time (were it more or less) wherein a Thing was done; as I observed v. 1. and see v. 88.

By the Princes of Israel.] From whose Examples Princes and great Men should learn (as Conradus Pelli­canus well applies all this) ‘to be devoutly Religi­ous; and to possess the Fear and Reverence of the LORD God in their Breasts: to be strong in Faith: far from Covetousness; unanimous in their indeavours to do Honour to God: to give a good Example of Faith and Good Works to others; to seek the Profit of their Subjects; assist the Servants of God; lend their helping Hand to the Proficien­cy of true Piety; provide the Ministers of the Church with all things necessary, that Religion be not neglected and contemned by their Poverty: for [Page 122] the sake of God whom they serve, to do them ho­nour by word and deed; and follow their godly Admonitions, &c. This is a profitable Allegory, saith he, of this History: and we need not seek for one more ingenious. As for those who highly va­lue the allegorical Sence of all these things, Habent alios qui gustui suo consulent & curiositati. They may find other Commentators to please their Taste, and satisfie their Curiosity.’

Twelve Chargers of Silver, twelve silver Bowls, &c.] In these, and the following words, the whole Sum of the Oblations and Sacrifices is set down by Moses; that every Reader, in all future Times, might see (without the trouble of casting up the account) how devout, and generous their Ancestors were.

Verse 87 Ver. 87. All the Oxen for the Burnt-offering were twelve Bullocks, &c.] Whether there were any Pray­ers made for a gracious acceptance of the Sacrifices, which should be hereafter made on this Altar, we are not told. But the Sacrifices themselves were in the nature of Supplications; and its likely they that offer­ed them, made their humble Petitions with them. And so the Gentiles always did at the Dedication of their Temples or Altars. An instance of which is observed out of Gruter by Fort. Scacchus and by Selden, in these words; HANC TIBI ARAM JUPPITER OPT. MAX. DICO DEDICOQUE UTI SIS VO­LENS PROPITIUS MIHI COLLEGISQUE ME­IS, &c. Which is a Dedication of an Altar to Jupiter, with a Prayer that he would be gracious to him that dedicated it, and to his Friends and Neighbours. The like Dedication there is of a Temple to PRIAPUS near Padua, with this Prayer that he would constant­ly guard their Fields, &c. Myroth. Sacr. Elaeochris. 2. c. 28. L. III. de Synedr. c. 14. p. 290, 309.

[Page 123] With their Meat-offering.] Which was brought in the twelve Chargers and Bowls, as a necessary Appen­dix to the Burnt-offerings and the Peace-offerings: as is fully explained XV. 8, 9.

Ver. 88. This was the Dedication of the Altar.] Which Verse 88 is repeated here again, to show why it was called the Dedication: because this was the first solemn Sacrifice which was offered for the Tribes, or particular Persons among them; and therefore was the more sumptuous.

After that it was anointed.] Here the word day is omitted, (which is used v. 1. and v. 84.) Moses intend­ing only to let Posterity know that this Dedication followed not long after the anointing of the Taber­nacle and the Altar; whereby it was sanctified to God's Service.

Ver. 89. And when Moses was gone into the Taberna­cle Verse 89 of the Congregation, to speak with him] That is, with God. This seems to be here mentioned, because he had lately had a special occasion to go and enquire particularly of God, about a matter of great Concern­ment, as will appear from IX. 8, 9. And it is likely he had gone in twice upon this occasion, to consult him about the Offering of the Princes, v. 4, 5, 10, 11. And now, it is possible, went in again to know if the LORD would give him any further Directions.

Then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the Mercy-seat, &c.] There God promised to meet him, and to commune with him, &c. XXV Exod. 22. Which supposes he would be always present there. And so he was; for the Cloud of Glory filled the House after it was set up, LX Exod. 33, 34. from whence God spake unto him, I Lev. 1. and told him he would appear (i. e. reside constantly) in the Cloud upon the Mercy-seat, XVI Lev. 2. Now here he relates, how [Page 124] God appeared and communed with him from thence, which was by a voice, that he heard of one speaking to him, as he stood in the outward part of the San­ctuary. So the Jews understand it; particularly R. Solomon, who thinks that Moses only entred into the Sanctuary, and standing, in the very entrance of it, heard the voice speaking to him from between the two Cherubims: which was very clear and strong; but went no farther than into the Sanctuary, where Moses alone at that time was. So they observe in Siphra, as Butxtorf notes in his Histor. Arca Foederis, cap. 15.

And he spake unto him.] With an audible voice; and so distinctly, that he perceived and understood e­very word. Which Abarbinel thinks God vouchsafed for this reason; That as he visibly represented to him in the Mount the pattern of the Tabernacle, and of e­very thing belonging to it, whereby the form and fi­gure of every particular was imprinted on his Mind, and he was the better able to give directions how to make them exactly: So he being to write in his Law all that God required them to do, he delivered every thing to him in an audible voice; that he might set down in these Books the very Words and Phrases which he heard with his Ears from the Mouth of God, as plainly as if he had described them from some an­cient Volume.

To which I cannot but add, That this audible ar­ticulate voice from God, which was perceived by Hu­mane Ears, represented God as if he was incorporate: and may well be lookt upon as an earnest of that great Mystery, God manifested in the flesh; who in the Fulness of Time became a Man, and spake to all the Jews familiarly in their own Language.


Chapter VIII Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Verse 1 When this was spoken is not certain. If Moses went into the Tabernacle immediately after the Princes had offered, (v. 89. of the foregoing Chap­ter) it may be thought he then spake these things to him. But both this, and what follows concerning the Levites, seem rather to have been delivered, after the order for giving them to the Priests, and setling their several Charges, (Chap. III. and IV.) But some other things intervening which depended upon what had been ordered concerning their Camp, and that of the Israelites, (see v. 4.) Moses omits this, till he had set down them, and some other matters, which he had received from God. See VII. 11.

Ver. 2. Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, when Verse 2 thou lightest the Lamps.] At the same time, the Pub­lick Service of God began at the Altar of Burnt-offer­ings, (of which he speaks in the foregoing Chapter) the setting on the Shew-bread, offering Incense, and lighting the Lamps, was begun in the Sanctuary. The last of these is only here mentioned; but it supposes the other.

The seven Lamps shall give light over against the Can­dlestick.] Unto the Table, which was over against the Candlestick; as the vulgar Latin very well ex­plains it: Which is rather a Paraphrase upon these words, than a Translation of them, in this manner. When thou lightest the seven Lamps, let the Candlestick be set up on the South-side, (for so it was ordered, XXVI [Page 126] Exod. 35. and so Moses set it, XL. 24.) and let the Lamps look towards the North, over against the Table of Shew-bread. See XXV Exod. 37. where there is the like obscure Expression, but to this Sense. And thus this Verse may be translated, exactly out of the Hebrew, When thou settest up the Lamps, the seven Lamps shall shine before the face of the Candlestick: i. e. enlighten all the room, that is opposite to it; for there were no Windows in the Sanctuary; and therefore these Lamps were lighted.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And Aaron did so, he lighted the Lamps there­of, &c.] For God's Table being placed over against the Lamps, where he was represented as Feasting with his People, (which no body doth in the dark) it was but sit, that there should be continual light in that Place. And this, as I take it, is the first time that the Lamps were lighted; when the Altar was dedi­cated, and the Publick Service of God began, which continued ever after.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And this work of the Candlestick was of beaten Gold, &c.] Upon this occasion he briefly repeats, what is more largely said concerning the Structure of this Candlestick, XXV Exod. 31, &c. and XXXVII. 17, &c.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] That which follows plainly belongs to what was said, Chap. III. 7.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. Take the Levites from among the Children of Israel.] In that place (III. 7.) he bad Moses give them to Aaron and his Sons, out of the Children of Israel; and now he executes it.

And cleanse them.] He had given them their Charge, (Chap. IV.) and now he prepares them for the perform­ance of it. For they could not be fit to attend in the [Page 127] Tabernacle till they were purified; and, in some sort, consecrated to that Service.

Ver. 7. And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them.] Here he directs how they were to be purified; Verse 7 and then, (v. 9, 10, &c.) how they were to be conse­crated or dedicated to God.

Sprinkle the Water of purifying upon them.] The manner of making this Water is not described, till XIX. 9. but in all likelihood had been ordered, and made before; because the Levites were sprinkled with it; as those also were who had been defiled by the dead, XIX. 13.

And let them shave all their Flesh.] The greatest Pu­rity was required in them; for they are here ordered to be cleansed, according to the cleansing of a Leper, XIV Levit. 8, 9. and of a Nazarite, when he was de­filed by the dead, VI Numb. 9. R. Levi ben Gersom thinks there was this moral Signification in this sha­ving; that they were hereby admonished, To cast away all worldly Cares, as much as might be, and wholly give themselves to their sacred Ministry.

And wash their Cloths.] That their Bodies be­ing cleansed, might not be defiled by foul Ap­parel.

Ver. 8. Then let them take a young Bullock.] For a Verse 8 Burnt-offering, as is manifest from, v. 12.

With his Meat-offering.] Which always attended upon Burnt-offerings, XV. 9.

And another young Bullock shalt thou take for a Sin-offering.] This being offered for the whole body of the Levites, is the same Sacrifice that is ordered when the whole Congregation of Israel sinned through Ig­norance, IV Levit. 13, 14.

[Page 128]Ver. 9. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] To the Door of it, where the Altar of Burnt-offerings stood, XL Verse 9 Exod. 6.

And thou shalt gather the whole Assembly of the Chil­dren of Israel together.] The Hebrew words COL A­DATH, which we translate the whole Assembly, fre­quently signifies all the Elders of Israel: As in XV. 4. XXV. 7. XXXV. 12. And it cannot well have any other sense in this place, as appears from the next Verse.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD.] Present them to him, at the Altar.

And the Children of Israel.] The Elders of the Peo­ple mentioned in the foregoing Verse. For all the Chil­dren of Israel could not possibly do what is here en­joyned; but some of them in the name of the rest; and none so proper, as their Rulers and Governors, who were their Representatives.

Shall put their hands upon the Levites.] As Men u­sed to do upon their Sacrifices. Which signified the devoting of that Beast to God, by him who laid his Hand on it at the Altar; for such Purposes as he brought it. And this was done by private Men in their Burnt-offerings, and Peace-offerings, as well as in their Sin-offerings, (see I Levit. 4. III. 2. VIII. 13.) but the Jews observe, that the whole Congregation laid their Hands only upon the Sin-offering that was offered for them, IV Lev. 15. Therefore the Le­vites are here to be considered under that notion; as is manifest from v. 19. where God is said to have given them to Aaron, &c. to make an Atonement for the Children of Israel. For the Levites being given to God instead of the First-born, by the Sanctification of [Page 129] which First-born to God, (as it is called, XIII Exod. 1.) the whole Family was sanctified, and their Sin after a sort expiated; the Offering of the Levites af­ter this manner to God, was to have the same effect, that the Offering of the First-born had, viz. the Sanctification, and Atonement of the Children of Is­rael.

Ver. 11. And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Verse 11 LORD, for an Offering of the Children of Israel.] The Hebrew words are more significant; Aaron shall wave the Levites before the LORD, for a Wave-offering, &c. I have often observed before, that this Waving, or Agitation too and fro before the Altar, (of which see XXIX Exod. 24.) was a solemn Con­secration of a thing to God, as a Sacrifice: And there­fore the Levites were presented unto him, under the same Consideration, as the First-born were. But it was impossible for Aaron to wave them, as he did some parts of a Sacrifice; and therefore it is probable that he lifting up his Hands, and turning about to all sides (as he did when he offered a Wave-offering) they, at his Command, imitated the same motion; and so were offered up to God, and became wholly his. See ver. 21.

That they may execute the Service of the LORD.] Or, as it is more significantly in the Margin, that they may be to execute, &c. Which expresses the In­tention of this waving them before the LORD; that being wholly given up to him, they might become meet to execute that Service, to which he appointed them at his House.

[Page 130]Ver. 12. And the Levites shall lay their Hands upon the Heads of the Bullocks.] It being evident from v. 19. that the Levites were considered, as an expiatory Sa­crifice; Verse 12 and yet not being to be devoted to Death, (no more than the First-born were) these two Sacri­fices, one for Sin, the other a Burnt-offering, were substituted in their stead. Upon which therefore they were to lay their Hands, that the Sin, which the Children of Israel laid upon them, (v. 10.) might be transferred to these Beasts; by laying their Hands upon them to be actually sacrificed unto God by shedding their Blood.

The one for a Sin-offering, and the other for a Burnt-offering unto the LORD.] The Burnt-offering was mentioned first, (v. 8.) being the most ancient of all Offerings, from the beginning of the World: But the Sin-offering is offered first to make the other ac­ceptable. And so it was when Aaron was conse­crated, VIII Levit. 14.18. and when he offered for himself, IX Levit. 8, 12. and for the People, v. 15, 16. and (to name no more) in the Cleansing of a Leper, XIV. 19.

To make an Atonement for the Levites.] The Sin-offering properly made the Atonement; and the Burnt-offering declared its acceptance.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and his Sons.] As they were brought before the LORD, because they were to be given unto him, v. 9. So now they were set before Aaron and his Sons, be­cause they were given by God to them, v. 19.

And offer them for an Offering unto the LORD.] Or, as it is in the Hebrew, and wave them for a Wave-offering unto the LORD. Some imagine, that as Aaron waved them before, v. 11. so now they were [Page 131] in like manner waved by Moses. But it seems to me more probable, that the meaning is; they being waved, &c. should be set before Aaron and his Sons, and presented to them as God's Gift, according to his order, III. 9. And so these words ought to be translated, after thou hast waved them, for a Wave-offering. That is, after Aaron by his Order had waved them. And thus, the like words must be understood, v. 15. See there.

Ver. 14. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from a­mong Verse 14 the Children of Israel.] By the fore-mentioned Purification, v. 7. and Oblation, v. 10, 11.

And the Levites shall be mine.] They became his, by this solemn Oblation of them to him, v. 11.

Ver. 15. And after that shall the Levites go in.] To Verse 15 the Court of the Tabernacle, where they were to at­tend upon the Priests, and assist them in their Mini­stry, and in taking down the Tabernacle when it was to remove.

To do the Service of the Tabernacle of the Congrega­tion.] In the Court of the Priests where the Altar of Burnt-offering stood. For into the Sanctuary it self none but the Priests entred; and there was no Ministry there, in which the Levites were to as­sist.

And thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an Of­fering.] Or rather, after thou hast cleansed them, and of­fered, &c. according as was directed, v. 7, 11.

Ver. 16. For they are wholly given unto me, &c.]Verse 16 God commanded them before to be taken from among the Children of Israel, III. 45. and now they are gi­ven to him. The word is repeated twice in the He­brew, given, given, (which we translate wholly gi­ven) because the Children of Israel had devoted [Page 132] them to him, by laying their Hands on them, v. 10. and Aaron had waved them as a Wave-offering to the LORD, v. 11.

Instead of such as open every Womb, &c.] See III. 12, 13.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. For all the First-born of the Children of Israel are mine, both Man and Beast, &c.] XIII Exod. 2.

Verse 18 Ver. 18. And I have taken the Levites for all the First-born of the Children of Israel.] By the exchange, mentioned III. 2, 13, 45.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And I have given the Levites as a Gift to Aaron, and to his Sons, &c.] In the Hebrew the words are more emphatical, I have given the Le­vites given, &c. That is, the Levites which are gi­ven unto me, v. 16. I have given unto Aaron, and his Sons, III. 9.

To do the Service of the Children of Israel.] See III. 7. The Vulgar Latin translates it, to serve me for the Children of Israel; i. e. to do them Ser­vice, by assisting the Priests in offering Sacrifice for the People.

In the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] See v. 15.

And to make an Atonement for the Children of Israel.] Not by offering Sacrifice, for that was the work of the Priests alone; but by being offered themselves, in the nature of an expiatory Sacrifice unto God, as I observed before, v. 10, and 12. For though they were not slain at the Altar, as Sacrifices were, yet they might expiate, as the Scape-Goat did: Which was sent away alive into the Wilderness, after it had been presented unto the LORD, as these Levites were, XVI Levit. 7, 10.

[Page 133] That there be no Plague among the Children of Is­rael.] As there would have been, if any Man had presumed to officiate in the House of God; but such as were, in this manner, taken by himself to minister there.

When the Children of Israel come nigh unto the San­ctuary.] To worship God; and to bring their Sa­crifices to be offered at his Altar.

Ver. 20. And Moses and all the Congregation of Is­rael.]Verse 20 i. e. The Elders of the People, v. 9, 10.

Did to the Levites according unto all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, &c.] Sepa­rated them to God from the rest of the Israelites, as he had directed, v. 14.

Ver. 21. And the Levites were purified, and they Verse 21 washed their Clothes.] According to the order given v. 7.

And Aaron offered them an Offering before the LORD.] Or rather, Waved them a Wave-offering, &c. As I ob­served v. 11. To which may be added, That it is likely some of the Levites were thus waved in the name of all the rest: for there being Two and twen­ty thousand of them, (III. 39.) one cannot well con­ceive how they should be every one thus offered.

And Aaron made an Atonement for them to cleanse them.] See v. 12.

Ver. 22. And after that the Levites went in to do Verse 22 their Service in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] According to the Directions given v. 15.

Before Aaron and before his Sons.] In their pre­sence, and by their direction.

Ver. 23. And the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] Verse 23 After the foregoing Commands, he gave him some further Instructions.

[Page 134]Ver. 24. This it is that belongeth unto the Levites.] Add this, to what hath been said about them.

From twenty and five years old and upward they shall Verse 24 go in.] Then they might begin to take the Custody of the Tabernacle upon them; and to be Door-keep­ers, to keep out Strangers, and such as were unclean: but not to load the Wagons, and do such like work of burden till they were thirty years of Age. See IV. 3.

To wait upon the Service of the Tabernacle, &c.] In the Hebrew the words are, To war the warfare of the Tabernacle. Which is a Phrase often used before, IV. 3, 23, &c. and there applied to those that carried the Tabernacle. Which they might not do till thirty years of Age: but might go in to learn at five and twenty, as some reconcile these two. But Abarbinel notes, That there is nothing said of their learning, but of their Service, or Ministry: and therefore at twenty five years old they began that part of the Ser­vice; which consisted in the Custody of the Taber­nacle.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. And from the Age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the Service thereof.] In the Hebrew, Shall return from the warfare of their Service: i. e. be discharged from their Function; and no longer bur­dened with any laborious work; as that of carrying the Tabernacle was.

And shall serve no more.] In such manner of work.

Verse 26 Ver. 26. But shall minister with their Brethren.] This Ministry is explained in the following words, To keep the charge: that is, to take care of the Tabernacle; unto which they were to be a Guard.

In the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] See IV. 3.

[Page 135] And shall do no Service.] In the Hebrew, Serve no Service: that is, do no laborious work, (as was said before) their Age beginning to require ease and rest: and therefore no Ministry was required of them, but what they might well perform without pains and labour.

Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.] Appoint them their Ministries, according to these Rules: which were observed after the Ark of God was settled, and there was no occasion to remove it any more. When David therefore, in­stead of carrying the Ark and the Tabernacle, (for which there was then no further occasion) appoint­ed them to be Singers in the Temple, and Porters, &c. For which they were fit at twenty years of Age: but continued their Employment no longer than till fifty, (as the Jews tell us) when their Voice began to decay. Whence that Observation of Abarbinel upon this very Chapter: Age makes Levites unfit for Service, not Blemishes in their Bodies: but Priests are unfit by Blemishes in their Bodies, not by Age. For Priests continued their Service as long as they lived: and though they did not begin it till twenty years of Age; yet no Law of God forbad them to begin sooner.


Chapter IX Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai.] Or, the LORD had spoken: for he relates now what was done a Month ago; but not recorded till now, for a spe­cial reason. Which was, that God having com­manded them in the Month before this, to keep the Passover, some Persons were unprepared for it: and thereupon a question arose, What Course they should take? for they were much troubled they could not do as their Brethren did. Which produced a new Com­mand from God, that they should keep the Passover in this second Month of the first Year after they came out of Egypt. This Moses being to give an account of, as a matter of great importance, he doth it in the proper place for it, when he was relating what things were done in this Month, (I. 1.) and defer­red the mention of keeping the Passover in the first Month; till he could speak of them both toge­ther.

In the first Month of the second year, after they were come out of the Land of Egypt.] In which Month they were commanded to keep the Passover, in me­mory of their wonderful Deliverance from the Land of Egypt.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Let the Children of Israel also keep the Pass­over at his appointed season.] Aaron having been late­ly consecrated, and having offered all sorts of Sacrifi­ces for himself and for the People; and God having declared his acceptance by Fire from Heaven (VIII & [Page 137] IX Lev.) God commanded the People should keep the Passover; which he had lately admonished them was one of the Feasts of the LORD, XXIII Lev. 5. But the first order for the observation of it, being that they should keep this Service, when they came to the pro­mised Land, XII Exod. 25. they might thence conclude, there lay no Obligation upon them, to keep it here in the Wilderness. And therefore by a Special Pre­cept they are required to keep it, (when the year was come about to the time of its first Observation) that the memory of so singular a Benefit, might not presently slip out of their mind. See XIII Exod. 5.

Ver. 3. In the fourteenth day of this Month at Even,Verse 3 ye shall keep it in his appointed Season.] So it was or­dained XII Exod. 6. XXIII Lev. 5.

According to all the Rites of it.] With unleavened Bread, and bitter Herbs, and the other Rites menti­oned XII Exod. 9, 10.

And according to all the Ceremonies thereof.] If there be any difference between Ceremonies and Rites, I should think this belongs to their Eating it in haste, with their Loyns girt, Shoes on their Feet, and Staves in their hands, XII Exod. 11. Unto which they were not bound, when they came into the Land of Ca­naan, when they were no longer Travellers; but, it is likely, were observed here in the Wilderness, when they were in an unsettled Condition.

Ver. 4. And Moses spake unto the Children of Israel,Verse 4 that they should keep the Passover.] According to all the Rites and Ceremonies belonging to it.

[Page 138]Ver. 5. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first Month at Even.] It was not hard to procure so much Flour, as would serve to make Verse 5 unleavened Bread for that Even, from some of their Neighbours, about the Wilderness. See IV. 7.

In the Wilderness of Sinai.] Where they rested almost a whole Year. But after they removed from thence, were so uncertain in their Motions from place to place, that they did not Circumcise their Children: who consequently could not eat of the Passover. And therefore we never read of its being kept after this, during their forty Years stay in the Wilderness: nor would they have been obliged, as I said, to keep it now, without this Special Com­mand. Yet their Doctors say, That this is written by Moses as a reproach to the Israelites, that they ob­served no Passover in the Wilderness, but this one alone. Yet there are Christian Writers, who deliver it as the Opinion of the Hebrews themselves, that they kept another Passover, a little before they ended their Wandrings in the Wilderness, viz. in the first Month of the Year wherein Miriam died. See Selden de Sy­nedr. Lib. II. cap. 2. n. 1.

According to all that the LORD commanded Mo­ses, so did the Children of Israel.] They kept the Passover on the fourteenth Day at Even: but perhaps did not keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for se­ven Days following. For here is no mention of that; and it had not been easie to provide so much Bread, the want of which was supplied by Manna.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. And there were certain Men who were defi­led by the dead Body of a Man.] And by a late Law, (for there is Nothing about this, in the Original [Page 139] Law of the Passover, XII Exod.) no Unclean Per­son might eat of Holy Things, VII Lev. 20.

That they could not keep the Passover on that day.] On the fourteenth Day of the first Month at Even; when the rest kept the Passover, who were not de­filed.

And they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day.] On the very Day that the Passover was kept.

Ver. 7. And these Men said unto him.] Though Verse 7 they came before them both, whom they found sit­ting together; yet they applied themselves to Moses only, as the Supreme Judge in such singular Cases. For the Judges which were constituted by the Ad­vice of Jethro, could not resolve this hard question: and therefore they resorted to Moses, unto whose Judgment all difficult Causes were reserved, XVIII Exod. 22, 26. See Selden, L. II. de Synedriis, cap. 1. n. 3.

We are defiled by the dead Body of a Man.] And therefore some may think should have been excluded out of the Camp, (according to what was ordain­ed V. 2.) and consequently kept from coming with such Questions, or about any other Business to Mo­ses. But it must be considered, that when this hap­ned, the Law now mentioned was not given: for this was in the first Month of the second Year; and that Law was not given till the second Month, when the Camps were formed.

Wherefore are we kept back.] It was against their will that they were defiled by the dead Body of a Man, (which perhaps they were bound to bury) and therefore they expostulate with Moses, about their being denied the Liberty which others had: [Page 140] pleading, in effect, it was not their Fault that they were defiled by the Dead, but rather their Unhap­piness; and therefore why might they not challenge a Right in this Sacrifice, as well as others, see­ing they had not forfeited it by any voluntary Guilt.

That we may not offer an Offering of the LORD.] The Passover is called the KORBAN of the LORD; because it was to be killed, and its Blood sprinkled, (which shows it to be properly a Sacri­fice) and then eaten by God's Commandment, in a grateful remembrance of an exceeding great Benefit: which shows it to be an Eucharistical Sacrifice. For though the first Sacrifice in Egypt was to procure De­liverance to them, and to avert the Evil which fell on the Egyptians by the destroying Angel: Yet e­ver after it was a Thanksgiving for Deliverance then wrought, by God's special favour to them. Of which there was a compendious Commemoration made, in their Paschal Rites, XII Exod. 25, 26, 27.

In his appointed season among the Children of Israel.] For if they did not perform this Service now, they knew it was not lawful to be done at any other time.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And Moses said unto them, stand still.] Or wait here a while. In which words Moses himself acknowledges the difficulty of the case; which he could not resolve, till he had first consulted the Di­vine Majesty about it. Which teach Judges not to be ashamed to confess their Ignorance, and take ad­vice in Matters dubious, as the Hierusalem Targum here observes. But I see no such good ground for the other part of his Observation on this Verse; that [Page 141] there being four difficult Causes brought before Mo­ses, in two of them he made haste to determine; but in the other two he was slow. Those of the first sort were this, and that of the Daughters of Zelophe­had, Chap. XX. these he judged presently, because they were pecuniary Matters; but the other two (viz. about him that blasphemed, XXIV Levit. and him that gathered Sticks on the Sabbath-day, XV Numb.) being capital Causes, he took longer time to judge, for he put them in Ward till the Mind of the LORD was known. To teach those that succeeded him in the Office of Judges, to make quick dispatch in Money Matters, but to proceed slowly in Capital Causes. But as this was no pecuniary Cause; so it doth not appear but he took as much time to understand the Mind of God in it, as in the other two about Blasphe­my, and Sabbath-breaking: For he went in to con­sult with him, as he did also in the case of Zelophe­had's Daughters, whose Cause he brought before the LORD, XXVII. 5.

I will hear what the LORD will command concern­ing you.] These words seem to signifie that Moses might go into the Holy Place when he pleased, to enquire of God; where God spake with him in an audible Voice, VII. 89. whensoever he desired Satis­faction about any Doubt. So Abarbinel, who in this forsakes the Talmudists: For they fancy, that because God called to Moses, and then spake to him out of the Tabernacle, (I Levit. 1.) he could never go in­to the Holy Place, but when he was called. Which was true only at that time when the Glory of the LORD had newly filled the Tabernacle; so that he durst not come into it, till he was invited: But was not a general Rule to be observed in all his Collo­quies [Page 142] with the Divine Majesty, (that he should wait till he had a singular Call to come to him) for it is plain by this place, that he went in to speak with him, when­soever he had occasion.

Verse 9 Ver. 9. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] He brought this Case before the LORD, as his man­ner was in such Doubts, and the LORD gave him the following Answer: Which was to be a Rule not only to these present Enquirers, but to all Poste­rity.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. If any Man of you, or of your Posterity, shall be unclean.] From hence the Jews observe, that this is a Law concerning particular Persons only; not con­cerning all the People, or the major part of them. For, as the Mischna saith in the Title Pesachim, Cap. 7. if all the People, or the greater part, or the Priests had contracted any Defilement, they ought notwith­standing to keep the Passover, even in that Defile­ment. But if the lesser part only were defiled, then they that were clean ought to keep it in the first Month, and they that were defiled in the second. This they ground upon the very first words of this Law, v. 6. There were certain Men; and upon these, if any Man of you, &c. From whence, saith Maimo­nides, this Doctrine follows, out of ancient Tradi­tion, that there were some private Persons, who were adjourned to the second Passover; but if the generality should be defiled by the dead, they were not to be so ad­journed, but to sacrifice in that Ʋncleanness. A great deal more to the same purpose may be seen in the fore-named Mr. Selden, Lib. 2. de Synedr. Cap. I. n. 3.

[Page 143] By reason of a dead body.] This Case is mentioned instead of all other, of like nature. For there was the same reason for those who were unclean by a Le­prosie; for Women in Child-bed, or that were menstruous, or those that had a Running-issue, or had touched a dead Carcass. And this some of them ground upon v. 13. Where speaking of those who should keep the Passoever, it is said in general, the Man that is clean, &c. therefore he that was any way unclean, might not keep it.

Or be in a Journey afar off.] Out of his own Coun­try, (for it could not be kept any where but in Judaea, XVI Deut. 2.) or at such a distance, that he could not reach the Tabernacle upon the Day appointed. In the Mischna indeed this dereck rechokah, as it is in the Hebrew, (a long way off) is defined to be fifteen Miles from Jerusalem, or the place where the Taber­nacle was. Whence Maimonides saith, If any Man on the fourteenth Day of the Month Nisan, at Sun ri­sing was fifteen Mile, or more from Jerusalem; this was a remote way: but if he was not so far from it, he was not comprehended in this remote way; for he might be at Jerusalem time enough in the Afternoon, to keep the Passover that Evening; though he went but a slow pace, and that on foot. But I do not take this to be a reasonable Explication. Philo hath de­termined the distance a great deal better, according to the Interpretation I mentioned at first, (L. III. de Vi­ta Mosis.) Where he saith, the second Passover was permitted, [...], &c. To such who were hindred by their Travels into Coun­tries a great way off, from sacrificing with the rest of their Nation. For it was not their fault that they were deprived of this honour; especially considering that so [Page 144] small a Country as Judaea could not contain such a popu­lous Nation, but sent out Colonies into many places. As for those who were only XV Mile from Jerusalem, they might easily have come to the Feast, if not on the Fourteenth day, yet the day before; and if this distance had been a good reason to excuse their ab­sence, most of the Nation might have staid away with­out any danger.

Yet he shall keep the Passover unto the LORD.] When that Uncleanness is gone; and he is returned to his own Country again.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. The fourteenth day of the second Month at Even, they shall keep it.] They had a whole Month's time given them, to dispose themselves and their Affairs so, that they might be able to keep it.

And eat it with unleavened Bread, and bitter Herbs.] Those Jews who are called Karaites, as Mr. Selden observes in the place before-named, n. 7. ex­presly say, that they were not bound in the second Month Passover, unto more than this; to eat the Lamb with unleavened Bread, and bitter Herbs: but they were not obliged to keep the Feast of Unlea­vened Bread seven days; because they might do that in the Passover of the first Month. For the Unclean are only prohibited to eat the Passover; but not to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

If the same Persons that could keep it in the first Month, hapned again to be unclean in the second, they could not keep it in the third, or the fourth Months: For this had been to confound one Feast with another; and there is no order for it.

[Page 145]Ver. 12. They shall leave none of it till the morning, nor break any bone of it.] This belongs to the eating of the Paschal Lamb, XII Exod. 10, 46.

According to all the Ordinances of the Passover, they Verse 12 shall keep it.] See v. 3. This is to be understood of all the Rites that were proper to the Offering, and to the eating of the Paschal Lamb: but not to the keep­ing of the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread.

Ver. 13. But the Man that is clean, and is not in a Verse 13 journey, and forbeareth to keep the Passover.] In the first Month, which was the time appointed for it.

Even the same shall be cut off from his People.] By the hand of the Judges; or of God.

Because he brought not the Offering of the LORD in his appointed season.] See v. 7.

That Man shall bear his sin.] The Punishment of it.

Ver. 14. And if a Stranger shall sojourn among you.] Verse 14 He speaks of a Proselyte, who had not intirely em­braced their Religion; but was no Idolater.

And will keep the Passover unto the LORD.] Hath a desire to joyn with you in this Solemnity.

According to the Ordinance of the Passover, and ac­cording to the manner thereof, so shall he do.] He was to be Circumcised, and his whole Family; or other­wise he could not be permitted to keep it. See XII Exod. 44. If he was made an intire Proselyte after the Passover in the first Month, and before that in the second; it was a question whether he might keep it then, or no.

Ye shall have one Ordinance both for the Stranger, and for him that was born in the Land. See XII Exod. 49.

[Page 146]Ver. 15. And on the day that the Tabernacle was reared up.] This is here mentioned again by Moses; because he is going to speak of their removal from Verse 15 Sinai: which was by the direction and guidance of this Cloud; which settled upon the Tabernacle when it was first erected, XL Exod. 34.

The Cloud covered the Tabernacle, namely the Tent of the Testimony.] The words may be exactly rendred out of the Hebrew, The Cloud covered the (Mischan, or) dwelling place of God, upon (or over) the Tent of the Testimony: that is, over that part of the Taber­nacle where the Ark was, the Cloud appeared visible to all, viz. over the most holy Place; where the LORD appeared in a glorious Cloud upon the Mer­cy Seat, XVI Lev. 2.

And at Even.] When it grew dark.

There was upon the Tabernacle.] Upon that part of it now mentioned.

As it were the appearance of fire.] The same Cloud which was outwardly dark, was bright within: and turned that light side towards them in the Night; when the cloudy part could not be seen, nor be use­ful to them.

Till the morning.] Till it was day, when the Cloud was more serviceable to them than the Light.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. So it was alway.] All the time of their continuance in the Wilderness. See XIII Exod. 21.

The Cloud covered it by day.] The word by day is not in the Original: it being the manner of the He­brew Language to omit a word sometime in one part of a Sentence; which the other part necessarily sup­plies: As in LXXXIV Psal. 11. One day in thy Courts is better than a thousand; i. e. in any other place. [Page 147] And XCI Psal. 7. A thousand shall fall at thy side, (i. e. on thy left hand) and ten thousand at thy right hand.

And the appearance of fire by night.] As the dark side of the Cloud appeared by Day over the holy Place, when they had need of no other Light but that of the Sun; so the bright part appeared every Night, and that like Fire; when the Cloud, by rea­son of darkness, could not be seen, nor be service­able to them for their direction. See XL Exod. 38.

Ver. 17. And when the Cloud was taken up.] Or Verse 17 went up from off the Tabernacle, which it before covered, and appeared higher in the Air. From hence, to the end of the Chapter, Moses gives an ac­count of their removal from Mount Sinai: and the reason of their staying a longer or shorter time in those places to which they removed, all the time of their Travels in the Wilderness.

Then after that the Children of Israel journeyed.] They took down the Tabernacle, when the Cloud was gone up from it, (as had been directed IV. 5, &c.] and followed the Cloud, which went before them, and led them to the place where they were to rest, XIII Exod. 21.

And in the place where the Cloud abode.] Where it stopt its motion, and stood still.

There the Children of Israel pitched their Tents.] Set up the Tabernacle; and encamped round about it.

Ver. 18. At the commandment of the LORD the Verse 18 Children of Israel journeyed.] The motion of the Cloud was an indication of the Divine Pleasure, that they should move also, and go towards another [Page 148] Station: which they did, and went on, as long as the Cloud moved.

And at the commandment of the LORD they pitched.] For when the Cloud stood still, that was a Divine Direction to them to stand still also, and there to six their station where the Cloud stood. Which, as soon as the Tabernacle was set up again, came down and settled upon it, in its wonted place, over the Tent of the Testimony, v. 15.

As long as the Cloud abode upon the Tabernacle, they rested in the Tents.] And as long as the Cloud rested immoveable, in that new place to which it had conducted them; they likewise rested in Tents round about it.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And when the Cloud tarried long upon the Tabernacle many days.] As it sometimes did: for Maimonides reckons that they staid eighteen years in one place.

Then the Children of Israel kept the Charge of the LORD.] This Phrase is used here something dif­ferently from the sense it hath III. 25, 28, &c. signi­fying their Obedience to God in fixing their abode there where the Cloud rested, till it moved again; though it rested never so long.

And journed not.] This is the Explication of the foregoing words, they kept the charge of the LORD: Not daring to stir without the Conduct of God, though sometimes they staid so long in a place, that, no doubt, it was very irksome to those, who were very desirous, if not impatient, to be in the Land of Promise. This is an Instance of some regard they had to the Divine Majesty; though they did not fear and reverence him so much as they ought to have done: Which appeared by their frequent Mutinies [Page 149] and Disobedience, mentioned in the following Sto­ry.

Ver. 20. And so it was, when the Cloud was a few days upon the Tabernacle, according to the command­ment, Verse 20 &c.] If they had a desire to rest a while lon­ger in some station, which was very convenient for them; yet, upon the motion of the Cloud, they took down their Tents and moved also.

Ver. 21. And so it was when the Cloud abode from Verse 21 Even unto the Morning, and the Cloud was taken up in the Morning, then they journed.] That is, if it did not stay a whole Day in a place, but settling in the Even upon the Tabernacle, it was taken up again the next Morning; yet they followed its motion. This is a great Instance of their Obedience in this Particu­lar: for having rested but one Night, they might be weary; and very unwilling to take down their Tents and the Tabernacle, and Travel again the next Morn­ing.

Whether it was by Day or by Night that the Cloud was taken up, they journeyed.] This is a further In­stance of their being perfectly guided by God in this Matter; that though they were at rest in their Beds, yet if notice was given of the motion of the Cloud, they rose up and went after it. For they were sensi­ble their safety depended upon the Protection and Guidance of this Cloud.

Ver. 22. Or whether it were two Days, or a Month,Verse 22 or a Year, that the Cloud tarried upon the Tabernacle, &c.] These words may seem superfluous (saith Mai­monides, P. III. More Nevochim, cap. 50.) unto those who do not consider the intention of Moses in this Relation: Which was to confute the conceit of pro­phane People, who imagined the reason of the Is­raelites [Page 150] staying so long in the Wilderness, was because they lost their way. For the Arabians, he saith, in his days, still called the Wilderness, in which they travelled, the wandring Desert; fancying the Israelites here bewildred, (as we speak) and could not find their way out; but wandred like Men in the dark, backward and forward; not knowing which way to turn themselves: Therefore the Scripture punctually shows, that all their Removals (which were irregular) and the Time they rested in any Place, (which was very unequal, being sometimes for eighteen Years, some only for one Day, or one Night) were all or­dered by a special direction of God. For which Cause all the Circumstances of their Motion are reci­ted so particularly by Moses. Which shows also that the way from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea (on the Bor­ders of the Land of Canaan, was a plain, known and beaten Road, of about eleven days Journey; which it was not easie for them to miss. And therefore the Cause of their going about, and of their staying for­ty years in the Wilderness, is that which Moses re­lates.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the Tents, &c.] This is the usual recapitu­lation of what goes before. See Chapt. II. 34. IV. 49. VI. 21. And here was the more necessary, because it gives an account of a most material thing, their long stay in the Desert, through which God thought fit to lead them, XIII Exod. 17, 18.

They kept the charge of the LORD.] Moved or rested according to the Direction which God gave them.

At the commandment of the LORD.] See v. 18.

[Page 151] By the hand of Moses.] By his Ministry, who told them they were to be guided in their Motions by the Cloud. And therefore they expected no other Com­mandment but that: the LORD being in that Cloud, and telling them by its Motion or Rest what they should do. And when it did move, no que­stion, it was so leisurely, as that they, their Children, and Cattel might follow it with ease, and be able to take their necessary Refreshment.

It is observable, that in all these verses, 18, 20, 23. where it is said they journeyed or rested al pi, (at the Mouth) which we well translate at the Commandment of the LORD. Onkelos renders it at the Mouth (or Commandment) of the WORD of the LORD: Which WORD he takes to have given to Moses all the Commandments he received: For so he translates those words XXV Exod. 22. And there will I meet thee, by these; and I will prepare, (or appoint) my WORD to thee there: to deliver, that is, the Divine Oracles and Answers to him.


Chapter X Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] Verse 1 This Commandment concerning the Trumpets, it is very likely was given before, but not mentioned till now, when there was an occasi­on for one principal use of them, viz. the removal of their Camp, v. 11.

Ver. 2. Make thee two Trumpets.] There were se­veral Verse 2 sorts of Trumpets, of different form among the Ancients, as Eustathius shows upon Homer's Iliad Ε [Page 152] p. 1138. where he mentions six. The second of which was [...], turned up round like a Ram's horn; which, he saith, the Egyptians used (it being found out by Osiris) when they called the People to their Sacrifices; [...]. It was called in their Language [...]. Now in this Moses opposed the Egyptians, (which they would do well to take notice of, who make their Customs to be of the greatest Anti­quity) for those which he here ordered to be made were long, such as we use at present. So Josephus tells us, in whom there is a large description of them, Lib. III. Antiq. cap. 11. where he saith they were a Cubit long, and narrow like a Pipe; but wider, as ours are, at the bottom.

Though only two be now ordered for present use, it did not hinder their making more hereafter; when both Priests, and People also were multiplied. See 2 Chron. V. 12. where in Solomon's time there were an hundred and twenty Priests sounding with Trum­pets. And Josephus mentions a vast number more, Lib. VIII. Antiq. cap. 2.

Of silver.] These being Sacred Trumpets, as Jo­sephus frequently calls them, it was fit they should be made of this pure Metal: which gave them also a shriller sound.

Of one whole piece shalt thou make them.] As he did the Candlestick, XXV Exod. 31. which made them the more firm; and apter to give a certain and di­stinct sound.

That thou mayest use them for the calling of the As­sembly, and for the journeying of the Camps.] These are the two great uses for which they were designed. Unto which some think a third is added, v. 9. See [Page] there. It is certain that in v. 10. another use of them is assigned.

Ver. 3. And when they.] i. e. The Priests, v. 8.

Shall blow.] With an equal and continued sound.Verse 3

With them.] With both the Trumpets; as appears from v. 4.

All the Assembly shall assemble themselves to thee.] By this kind of sound, with both the Trumpets, the People understood that the whole Congregation was called to meet together.

At the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] Which seems to have been the usual place where they assembled; and made their meeting the more solemn, because it was before the LORD.

Ver. 4. And if they blow but with one Trumpet, then Verse 4 the Princes which are Heads, &c.] If only one Trum­pet made the sound before-mentioned, it was in­tended to summon only the Princes of Israel to attend Moses.

Shall gather themselves to thee.] At the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, as was said be­fore.

Ver. 5. When ye blow an alarm.] When they did Verse 5 not simply blow, with a long, even and plain blast; but with an interrupted, and a broken or trembling sound: which had, as the Jews say, a plain Note before, and after that a quavering. We generally explain it by a Tara-tan-tara: but, that word, (as Dr. Lightfoot observes) signifies a blast, which put the quavering Sound before and after, and the plain Note in the midst; which is contrary to the Jewish de­scription of it. See Temple Service, chap. 7. sect. 2. Hottinger makes no other distinction between the foregoing Sound, v. 3. called Tekiah, and this called [Page 154] Teruah: but that the former was equal, and this was quick and concise, Analect. Dissert. III. p. 152.

Then the Camps that lye on the East parts shall go for­ward.] viz. If this Alarm was blown only once, (as appears from Verse 6.) then the Hosts that were under the Standard of Judah began to march. See Chapt. II. 3.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. When ye blow an Alarm the second time, &c.] Having ceased for a while, if the Alarm was blown again, then those Tribes which were under the Stan­dard of Reuben (Chapt. II. v. 10, 11, &c.) began to move, who lay on the South-side.

They shall blow an Alarm for their Journeys.] That is, they shall blow a third and fourth Alarm, for the moving of the other two Standards. So the LXX. rightly explain it, in so many words at length; Ye shall blow an Alarm the third time, and the Camps that lye towards the Sea (i. e. on the West-side) shall take their Journey; and ye shall blow the fourth Alarm, and they shall lye towards the North, &c. In what order the Camp of the Levites moved, is related after­wards, v. 17, 21.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. And when the Congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an A­larm.] Here is a manifest distinction between plain blowing and sounding an Alarm: which were for dif­ferent purposes; and accordingly to be used, v. 3, 5.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And the Sons of Aaron the Priests shall blow with the Trumpets.] None else was permitted to use them, either for calling the Assembly together; or for their March, or at their Feasts: because God would have the greater regard paid to the Sound which was made by his Ministers; as if he him­self [Page 155] called upon them to attend his Summons.

And they shall be to you for an Ordinance for ever throughout your Generations.] These Trumpets shall be used by you, not only while you stay in the Wil­derness; but in future Ages, as long as you are a Nation.

Ver. 9. And if you go to war in your Land, against Verse 9 the Enemy that oppresseth you, &c.] This is thought to be a third use of the Trumpets; when they were going to give Battel to their Enemies. Which may be confirmed from XXXI. 6. and from 2 Chron. XIII. 12. But this doth not exclude another meaning; which is, that they called the People together to Fast, and pray to God, before they went out to Battel. For it is certain that a Fast was proclaimed by blow­ing of the Trumpet, II Joel 15, &c. Which justifies what Maimonides saith in Taanioth, cap. 1. that they blow with the Trumpet, not only when they were in danger from their Enemies; but in all other Di­stresses, by Famine, or Pestilence, &c. For he makes this blowing with the Trumpets in this place, to be the same with that Precept, L Psal. 14. Call upon me in the day of Trouble, More Nevoch. P. III. cap. 36. The only Objection that I can find against this Exposition (which is very ancient) is, that Moses speaks here of blowing an Alarm with the Trumpets: which was not used (v. 7.) for calling the Assembly together; but for the motion of the Camps, v. 5. yet one cannot conceive how they should be gathered together to make an Army to sight with their Enemies, but by some sort of Sound with the Trumpet, (See III Judg. 27. VI. 34.) and being met, it is highly probable they called upon God by Prayer and Fasting for good Success; as the latter part of this Verse intimates. [Page 156] Besides, these silver Trumpets seem to have been used only at the Sanctuary; and other Trumpets were u­sed when they went to War. For at the Siege of Je­richo, the Priests blew with Horns, not with these silver Trumpets. Therefore they may well be thought here to have called them to the Sanctuary to pray to God, before they went to War; and that by blow­ing an Alarm; whereby they understood the mean­ing of the Summons. And if we may believe the Jews, they used, when the Temple was built, to blow an Alarm every Morning, at the opening of the Gates of it; particularly at the opening of the East Gate, called the Gate of Nicanor, (as Dr. Lightfoot observes in the place above-named) For which, though there was no express Command, yet it was grounded on this Reason, That the Levites, who were God's Host, (as they are often called in this Book, IV. 3, &c. VIII. 24.) might be awakened to come and attend their Service in the House of God.

And ye shall be remembred before the LORD your God.] He will be merciful to you, and grant your Request; as the next words explain it.

And ye shall be saved from your Enemies.] Which is to be understood with this Condition, That they turned to him with unfeigned Repentance; which was the proper intention of their Prayer and Fasting.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. Also in the days of your gladness.] Here is a fourth use of these Trumpets, which were blown when they rejoyced for the good Success, suppose, of their Arms, or any other great Deliverance; like that mentioned IX Esther 19. when they feasted upon the Peace-offerings, which were then offered. And thus it was when Solomon built the Temple, 2 Chron. V. 12. VII. 6. and at the laying the Foundation of the se­cond [Page 157] Temple after the Captivity, III Ezra 10. and at the Dedication of the Walls of Jerusalem, XII Ne­hem. 27, 35.

And in your solemn Days.] Mentioned in XXIII Levit. which were proclaimed by Sound of Trum­pet, (See there v. 2.) and there were great Feasts upon many of them, at which the Levites, the Poor, and the Widows were entertained, XVI Deut. 11. VIII Nehem. 10, 12. But they were not all Feasts which are there mentioned, for one of those Solemn Days was a Fast, viz. the great Day of Atonement. And therefore the Hebrew word MOED should ra­ther be translated Days of Assemblies, as our Mr. Thorn­dike observes; who (in his Book concerning the Ser­vice of God at Religious Assemblies) notes, that Moses here distinguishes three sorts of Solemnities. First, The Days of your Gladness, which signifie Solemnities to be celebrated with cheerfulness of heart, i. e. Feasts. Then, The Solemn Days of Assemblies, (as he translates it) containing besides those, Assemblies for Humilia­tion, as the Day of Atonement. And lastly, The be­ginnings of your Months, to which there was a pecu­liar Service appointed, XXVIII. 11.

And in the beginning of your Months.] On the New Moons, which the Jews observed, not like those other Festivities and Days of Assemblies, upon which they abstained from all Servile Work; but with spe­cial Sacrifices, which God appointed to be offered to him upon them, XXVIII Numb. 11, 14. and with the Solemnity of Blowing with Trumpets, LXXXI Psal. 3. And they were the more careful to observe the New Moons, because their great Festivals depend­ed upon it; though they are not reckoned among their Festivals or Solemn Assemblies, XXIII Levit. [Page 158] but only the first Day of the seventh Month, was a memorial of Blowing of Trumpets, v. 24. which gave occasion perhaps for observing all the New Moons in the Year. And there being no express Command for observing the first Day of the Month, but only for peculiar Sacrifices upon it, and Blow­ing of Trumpets, some argue from thence, that in the most ancient Times before the Law of Moses, New Moons were observed with Festival Joy, (it be­ing plain that they were so in the Days of Hesiod) of which, though we can have no certainty, yet it is very probable, that the Idolatry of worshipping the Sun, Moon and Stars, being then in the World, they were wont at the appearance of every Moon, to ex­press much Joy, and offer Sacrifices to it. From which God intended to preserve his People, by appointing special Sacrifices (with blowing of Trumpets) to be offered unto himself at that time. And it is manifest, the Jews were so observant of the New Moons, that they seem to have regarded them next to their Sab­bath, as Times of Religious Worship of the Divine Majesty, 2 Kings IV. 23. and LXVI Isai. 23. VIII Amos 5.

And thus I find that among the Athenians (whose Laws are observed by many to have been derived from Moses) the first day of the Month was [...], as Plutach speaks, a most holy day; and yet it was not a Festival: nor was it consecrated to any particular God, but unto all. And there was a Law, [...], that they offer Sacrifices upon the first Day of the Month; when they went up to the Acro­pohi (as Demisthenes tells us) to pray for the Publick Welfare of the City▪ and for their own Private Hap­piness. See Sam. Petit [...] in his Comment. in Leges At­ticas, Lib. I. Tit. 1. p. 85.

[Page 159] Over the Burnt-offerings.] Especially the Morn­ing Sacrifice; at the offering of which the Trumpets began to Sound, 2 Chron. XXIX. 27.

And over the Sacrifice of your Peace-offerings.] Which being Sacrifices of Thanksgiving, it was very proper to have them attended with the Sound of the Trum­pets.

That they may be to you for a memorial before your God.] i. e. That he may graciously accept your Offer­ings, and bless you, (as the Phrase signifies in the foregoing Verse) when he sees his Service to be your Delight and Joy.

I am the LORD your God.] By whose Sove­raign Authority these Commands were given; and in the observance of which they might be assured of his Blessing.

Ver. 11. And it came to pass on the twentieth Day of Verse 11 the second Month, in the second Year.] After their coming out of Egypt, as appears from Chapt. I. 1.

That the Cloud was taken up.] In token that they were to begin to move, as the Cloud did, IX. 17.

From off the Tabernacle of the Testimony.] i. e. The most holy Place, over which it resided, IX. 15.

Ver. 12. And the Children of Israel took their Jour­neys.] Verse 12 After the Cloud was taken up, it stood still for some time, till they had taken down the Taber­nacle, and packt up their own Tents and Houshold-stuff. Or else, while those under the first Standard moved, they took down the Tabernacle: But still the three Tribes which first moved, upon the going up of the Cloud, must have some time allowed to take up their own Tents, &c.

[Page 160] Out of the Wilderness of Sinai.] Where they had stayed near a Year.

And the Cloud rested.] After three Days motion, v. 33.

In the Wilderness of Paran.] Where they had seve­ral Stations, besides this; which was the Mid-way between the Red Sea and the Land of Canaan: and from the Graves of those that lusted, was called Ri­broth-hattaavah, XI. 33. XXXIII. 16. where they stayed a Month; and from thence went to Haze­roth: and were still in the Wilderness of Paran, XII. 16.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. And they first took their Journey.] In the Hebrew the words are, They journeyed at the first; i. e. at their first Removal; which was this.

According to the Commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.] Not whether they pleased them­selves, but according as God had before directed, when the Cloud was taken up; and in such order as he appointed. See IX. 18. And there seems to have been a special Direction, by an express Command, for this first Removal, I Deut. 6, 7.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. In the first place went the Standard of the Children of Judah, &c.] By this it appears that the foregoing words, concerning their Removal accord­ing to the Commandment of the LORD, relates to the or­der o their M [...]rch, as well as to the way they went. See concerning those that marcht under his Standard, and their Commanders (which are here mentioned, and in the wo next verses▪) Chapt. II. 1, 3, 5, 7.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. And the Tabernacle was taken down.] By the Levites (I. 51.) who went about this work, as [...] as the Cloud went up from the Tabernacle; while [...] three Tribes under the Standard of Judah were sitting themselves to move.

[Page 161] And the Sons of Gershon, and the Sons of Merari set forward.] They immediately followed the three Tribes, which encamped on the East of it, under the Standard of Judah.

Bearing the Tabernacle.] Such parts of it, as were committed to each of their Charge, IV. 24, &c. 31, &c.

Ver. 18. And the Standard of the Camp of Reu­ben Verse 18 set forward, according to their Armies, &c.] Of this, and the two following Verses, see II. 10, 12, 14.

Ver. 21. And the Kohathites set forward, bearing Verse 21 the Sanctuary.] That is, the Ark, the Holy Table, the Candlestick, &c. and other things belonging to the Sanctuary, (IV. 15, 16, &c.) which the Kohathites car­ried in the middle of the four Camps for their greater Security.

And the other.] i. e. The Gershonites and the Me­rarites before-mentioned, v. 17.

Did set up the Tabernacle against they came.] When the Cloud rested, the two fore-going Camps under the Standards of Judah and Reuben rested also; and settled themselves in their Tents. Which while they were doing, the Gershonites and Merarites, (who marched between them) set up the Tabernacle that it might be ready to receive the Ark, and the other Holy things, which followed immediately, under the care of the Kohathites. This shows the excellent Or­der wherein they always moved; not only without any tumult or confusion, but with such a Discipline, as signified they were under the Conduct of a most skil­ful Leader.

[Page 162]Ver. 22. And the Standard of the Children of E­phraim set forward, according to their Armies.] After the Kohathites followed three other Tribes, who were under this Standard. See Chap. II. 18, 20, 22, 24. Where Verse 22 all that was needful hath been said of the two follow­ing Verses.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. And the Standard of the Children of Dan set forward, &c.] See concerning him, and those mentioned in the two next Verses, Chap. II. v. 25, 27, 29.

Which was the rereward of all the Camps, throughout their Hosts.] The Hebrew word Measseph (which we translate was the rereward) comes from a word, which every where signifies to gather together, or col­lect. And therefore is here to be so understood; and the whole Sentence thus rendred: Then set forward the Standard of the Camp of Dan, gathering to it all the Camps, throughout their Hosts: Or, according to their Armies, as we here translate the last part of these words, v. 14, 18, 22. So Forsterus translates it; the meaning be­ing, that all the rest of the People, who were not a part of the four before-mentioned Camps, all under XX Years old, (who were not able to go forth to War) together with the mixt multitude that came with them out of Egypt, (XII Exod. 38.) and all the un­clean Persons, who were shut out of the Camp, (V. 2.) came after this hindermost Standard of the Chil­dren of Dan.

Verse 28 Ver. 28. Thus were the Journeyings of the Children of Israel, &c.] In this order they marched, when they removed from one station to another.

Verse 29 Ver. 29. And Moses said unto Hobab.] His Wives Brother, as Theodoret understands it.

[Page 163] The Son of Raguel the Midianite.] The Son of Je­thro Priest of Midian: For Raguel and he, are thought by many to be the same Person; (II Exod. 18. III. 1.) or one was the Father, and the other the Son; and then Hobab was the Grand-son of Raguel.

Moses his father-in-law.] These words may either refer to Raguel, who is supposed to be Jethro; and then it is rightly translated Father-in-law; or they may as well refer to Hobab, and be translated Bro­ther-in-law. For so the Hebrew word Choters some­times signifies, a very near Kinsman. It cannot with­out great staining, be otherwise expounded in the I Judg. 16. and IV. 11. After Jethro therefore was gone back to his own Country, XVIII Exod. 27. Hobab, his Son, stayed still with his Sister Zipporah; and accompanied Moses all the time he stayed near Sinai: Which was not far from Midian. Whether he thought to return, now the Isrelites were marching away from that Neighbourhood; but Moses was de­sirous to have his company further, even to the Land of Promise.

We are journeying unto the place, of which the LORD said, I will give it you.] i. e. To the Land of Canaan; for thither God intended to have brought them, short­ly after this removal; as appears from I Deut. 6, 7.

Come thou with us, and we will do thee good.] See verse 32.

For the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.] Promised to bestow a noble Country upon us, for our Inheritance.

Ver. 30. And he said, I will not go.] This was his Verse 30 present Resolution; till Moses had further perswad­ed him.

[Page 164] But I will depart to my own Land.] Which he was loth to leave; merely in hope of what the Israelites had not yet in possession.

And to my Kindred.] With whom all Men love to live and die.

Verse 31 Ver. 31. And he said.] i. e. Moses replied.

Leave us not, I pray thee.] Do not persist in that Resolution; but be perswaded to go along with us.

Forasmuch as thou knowest, how we are to encamp in the Wilderness.] He being a Borderer upon this Wil­derness, was well acquainted with every part of it; and the better able to advise them, how to secure their Camp, (for the Cloud only served to direct them, where it should be pitched) and defend them­selves from the People, on all sides, that might be in­jurious to them. Which made Moses so earnest with him to stay with them; while they had such need of his assistance.

And thou mayest be to us instead of Eyes.] To give them Advice and Counsel in any difficulty they might meet withal, in the places where they stayed; or to direct them how to provide themselves with such things, as they wanted. For he having lived long thereabouts, could not but understand the Neighbouring Countries. The LXX understand this Passage, as if he desired him to continue to be what he had been hitherto in the Wilderness, (viz. a good Adviser, like his Father Jethro) assuring him, they would look upon him as an Elder: That is, have him in great honour.

Verse 32 Ver. 32. And it shall be, if thou go with us.] Not only stay with us, while we are here in the Wilderness; but go along with us into Canaan.

[Page 165] Yea, it shall be.] Depend upon it.

That what Goodness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.] Give thee some part of the Possession which God shall bestow upon us. Accordingly it appears, that as Moses prevailed with him to accompany them, so he and his Posterity were settled among the Israelites, I Judg. 16. IV. 11. (where either he or his Father is called the Kenite) who lived in Tents, not in Houses, after the manner of their Fore-fathers in Midian.

Ver. 33. And they departed from the Mount of the Verse 33 LORD.] viz. Horeb in the Wilderness of Sinai, where they had stayed a long time, I Deut. 6.

Three days journey.] They travelled three Days before the Cloud settled again upon the Tabernacle: though it stood still some times (but did not descend) to give them time for necessary Refreshment, and for Sleep. See XI. 1.

And the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD went before them, in the three days journey.] It is said v. 21. that the Sanctuary was carried between the two first Standards, and the two last; i. e. in the midst of the Camp, as we expresly read II. 17. Which Abarbinel thinks is to be understood not of all their Journeys, but only this. That was the constant order of their March; first went the Standard of Judah; next that of Reuben: after this, the Tabernacle of the Congrega­tion; then followed the Standard of Ephraim; and last of all that of Dan. But now, in their first Re­moval, God did them the honour to appoint the Ark to go before them, in the front of all the Camps; as he did when they passed over Jordan, III Josh. 6. That is, in their first and last Journeys, this extraordinary Favour was shown them: but in all the rest the Ark [Page 166] went in the midst of them. And thus Aben Ezra upon this place; This first Removal was not like the rest of their Removals. But I see no good ground for this Exposition. The plain meaning seems to be, That the LORD, as their King and Governour, led them by the Cloud, which was always over the Ark: just as a General leads his Army; though he be not in the front of it, but in the midst, from whence he Issues out his Orders.

To search out a resting place for them.] There was no need of enquiry after a fitting Station for them: but he speaks after the manner of Generals, who send Officers before them, to take up the most convenient Quarters for their Army. See I Deut. 33.

Verse 34 Ver. 34. And the Cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the Camp.] It seems this Removal of their Camp from Sinai, was in the day time (as some times they removed in the night, IX. 21.) and the Cloud being taken up from off the Tabernacle, so moved over the Ark, as to overspread them all by day: As the Pillar of Fire was over them by night; to give them assurance of the Divine Pro­tection. See Note upon XIII Exod. 21. and CV Psal. 39.

Verse 35 Ver. 35. And when the Ark set forward.] There being the letter Nun turned the wrong way in the Hebrew word for set forward; as there is in the word for complained, in the first verse of the next Chapter: the Jewish Doctors fancy it denotes here God's gra­cious converting his Face towards them, at the Pray­er of Moses; and in this following Story, the Peo­ples aversion to God, and ungrateful turning away their hearts from him.

[Page 167] Moses said.] It was his Custom to pray in this manner upon such occasions; as R. Levi ben Gersom expounds it.

Rose up.] This is an expression (saith Abarbinel) like that in XXXIII Isa. 10. Now will I rise, saith the LORD, and will be exalted, &c.] Where his ta­king vengeance upon his Enemies, is called his rising. According to XXXI Job 14. What shall I do, when God riseth up, &c. The next words, Let thy Enemies be scattered, &c. justifie this sense.

LORD.] It seems very strange to me, that any should alledge this place, as a proof, that the Ark is called JEHOVAH: when the Prayer of Moses is so plainly directed to the LORD himself, (who was there in a glorious Symbol of his Presence) and not to the Ark. Considering also, that in other pla­ces where this very form of Speech is used, the LORD and the Ark are most manifestly distinguished, the one from the other. See 2 Chron. VI. 41. and CXXXII Psal. 8. And yet an Anonymus Anti-Trinitarian Wri­ter (confuted by Joseph de Voisin fifty Years ago) ob­serving that the Chaldee here instead of the LORD, hath the WORD of the LORD, is so absurd as to say, that the Ark is called the WORD, Because God, saith he (p. 234.) ante illam responsa vel oracu­la sua dabat, &c. before the Ark gave his Answers or Oracles, when the Priest in dubious Matters consul­ted the Mouth of the LORD. Which Exposition carries its own Confutation in it; for if the High-Priest consulted the Mouth of the LORD (as he speaks) then by the WORD which gave the An­swer, must be meant the LORD himself. To whom Moses here directs his Prayer, as the Hierusa­lem Targum excellently Paraphrases this verse; And it [Page 168] came to pass, when the Ark was taken up, that Moses lift­ed up his hands in prayer, and said, Rise now, O WORD of the LORD, in the strength of thy Power, and scatter the Enemies of thy People, &c.

And let thine Enemies be scattered.] This is a Pray­er, that God would put all those to flight (as he had done the Amalekites, Exod. XVII.) who opposed their passage to the promised Land. As after they came thither, they used this Prayer (LXVIII Psal. 1.) for his Aid against all those, who sought to disposess them of it.

And let them that hate thee, flee before thee.] This is a Repetition of the same Prayer, as is usual: For thy Enemies, and those that hate thee, signifie the very same, XXI Psal. 8. IV Daniel 19. I Luke 71.

Verse 36 Ver. 36. And when it rested.] As it did whereso­ever the Cloud staid, and moved no further.

He said.] He prayed again. So the Hierusalem Targum understands both this and the former verse, Moses lifted up his hand in Prayer, and said, &c. and Jonathan Ʋzielides, Moses stood in Prayer, and begged Mercy of God, saying, &c.

Return, O LORD, unto the many Thousands of Israel.] Which Onkelos thus Paraphrases, Come again, and dwell with thy Glory in the midst of us. And so he did; the Cloud, wherein the Divine Majesty resided, setling upon the Tabernacle, over the Ark of the Te­stimony, as soon as it was again pitched. Others translate it, Give rest, O LORD, (which the He­brew words will bear) secure us, that is, in Peace, a­gainst the Incursions of our Enemies, and all other Dangers. R. Levi ben Gersom expounds it, bring back the Israelites into the Land of Promise, where their Forefathers dwelt when they were few in number; [Page 169] whose Posterity was now increased to ten thousand thousands, as the last words are in the Hebrew. And there are those, who will have this to be a Prayer, for their Increase and Multiplication, into many more Thousands than they were already. And thus the Hierusalem Targum (who still by the LORD un­derstands his WORD) Return now, O WORD of the LORD, from the vehemence of thy Anger, and come back to us in thy merciful Goodness: bless the My­riads, and multiply the Thousands of Israelites.


Chapter XI Ver. 1. AND when the People complained.] Or, as Verse 1 it is translated in the Margin, were as it were Complainers, or Mutterers. Which words, D. Kimchi in his Michol, brings as an Instance to prove that the Particle Caph (which we translate as) doth sometimes serve only to signifie the truth of a thing, and to confirm it, and imports nothing of likeness. For the Discontent of the People did not rest in their Minds, but broke out into open Murmurings and un­dutiful Complaints. The like he observes XXV Gen. 31, 33. and V Hosea 10. The Princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound. Where we make it to signifie a Similitude, but should only have taken it as a strong Affirmation of the truth of the thing. See Theod. Hackspan Disput. IV. de Locutionibus Sacris, n. 4.

[Page 170] Complained.] Of their long March for three Days together, with their little Children, Cattel, and all their Baggage. So it is commonly thought; but I can see no good ground for it. For, no doubt, the Cloud stood still, (though it did not come down and settle, as I said, X. 33.) that they might make some conve­nient Rests in their Journey: else how should they gather the Manna that fell every Night about their Tents, and would keep but one Day, as we read XVI Exod. I conclude therefore that this Mutter­ing, was the beginning of those loud Complaints, which were made a little after, v. 4, 5, &c. because they were not brought by this Removal to a place, where they might have had other Food than Manna: of which they now grew weary, having lived upon it near a whole Year.

It displeased the LORD.] In the Hebrew, It was Evil in the Ears of the LORD: That is, though it was only a Muttering, which did not come to the Ears of Moses, (as this Complaint shortly after did) yet the LORD took notice of it, and was much offended at it; as it here follows.

And the LORD heard it, and his Anger was kin­dled.] Or, When the LORD heard it, he demon­strated he was highly offended, by sending a Fire among them.

And the Fire of the LORD burnt among them.] Some take this Phrase, Fire of the LORD, to sig­nifie a great Fire; as Mountains of the LORD, are high Mountains. Which came either from Heaven, like Lightning, (as in 2 Kings I. 12.) or from the Pillar of Cloud and Fire, over the Tabernacle; where the Glory of the LORD appeared some times like unto Fire.

[Page 171] And consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the Camps.] Where the mixt Multitude were (as I observed, X. 25.) who came out of Egypt; and may well be supposed to have stirred up the Israelites to complain of their tedious Journey, which had not yet brought them near to the Land of Cannan. And perhaps some of them lagged behind on purpose, that they might complain of Weariness, (as some take it) or rather of want of stronger Food. But Bochartus hath demonstrated that this word which we translate the uttermost parts, signifies in all, or throughout. Of which he gives many Instances out of Lud. de Dieu upon XXXIII Ezek. 1. See XIX Gen. 4. XLVII. 2, &c. Hierozoicon. P. I. L. II. cap. 34. And therefore so it should be here rendred, Consumed some in every part of the Camp; where they began to make Complaints one to another, of their being still in a Wilder­ness.

Ver. 2. And the People cried unto Moses.] Of whose Verse 2 power with God they had great Experience; but had reason to distrust their own Interest in him; be­cause of their murmuring Humour. For it is like they are the same People, that cried now to Moses, who before complained, v. 1.

And when Moses prayed unto the LORD.] As they begg'd he would.

The Fire was quenched.] Went out; and no signs of it appeared. So the Hebrew Phrase signifies, it sunk. What number of them was burnt, we are not told: it is likely nor many, because the terrour of it, in­stantly made them deprecate God's Displeasure, by Moses their Intercessor; which put a stop to it.

[Page 172]Ver. 3. And he called the name of the place Taberah.] Which, for another reason, was also called Kibroth­hattaavah, v. 34. They are mentioned indeed in IX Deut. 22. as if they were two distinct places: but Verse 3 it is plain by the story, that the things which occasi­oned both these Names, hapned in one and the same station. And therefore they were only different Names for the same Place: unless we suppose Kibroth­hattaavah to have been the name of that particular piece of Ground in that place, where the Lusters were buried.

Because the Fire of the LORD burnt am [...]ng them.] This is the reason of the Name of Taberah (which signifies a burning) which was imposed on this place, to preserve the Memory, both of God's Judgments, and of his Mercy.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And the mixt Multitude that was among them.] The Hebrew word hasaphsuph, is well tran­slated by Bochartus, Populi colluvies undecunque col [...] ­cta, the Dregs or Scum of the People gathered toge­ther from all parts. For the doubling of words in­creases their sense, in the Hebrew Language; and makes the same with the Superlative Degree in other Tongues. Of which he gives many Instances in his Hierozoicon, P. II. Lib. V. cap. 6. See XIII Lev. 19. where Adamdameth signifies exceeding red: as hasaph­suph here doth a very great collection of all sorts of People; both Egyptians and other Neighbouring Na­tions: who were invited by their wonderful Delive­rance out of Egypt, to joyn themselves to the Israe­lites, as Proselytes to their Religion. See XII Exod. 38. The Jews, in Tanchuma, say, there were Forty thousand of them; and Jannes and Jambres at the Head of them.

[Page 173] Fell a lusting.] He doth not say for what; and the Jews have taken the liberty to fancy what they please. Some of them say that they lusted after such Wo­men, as Moses had lately forbidden them to marry. So the Paraphrase of Vzielides, Moses heard the People weeping, because those that were near of kin to them were forbidden in Marriage. And he makes as if these Pro­selytes petitioned Moses to abrogate those Laws about Incest. Such Conceits others have indulged to themselves, (as Mr. Selden shows, Lib. II. de Synedr. Cap. IV. p. 202.) when the words (in the end of this Verse, and v. 13, 18.) plainly show they lusted for Flesh to eat.

And the Children of Israel also.] Though the mixt multitude were the first Fomentors of this Discontent, yet it run among the Children of Israel, throughout the whole Camp: And rose so high, that they fell in­to a great Passion.

Wept again.] They had shed some Tears, it seems, before, (when they complained, verse 1.) but now they wept aloud, out of Anger, Vexation, and Grief. Or else this weeping again, refers to their first Murmuring a Year ago, like unto this, XVI Exod. 3.

And said.] They could not refrain from bursting out into such discontented Language; as argued they were extreamly angry, or rather inraged.

Who shall give us flesh to eat?] It is an Expression of a vehement, impatient Desire (mixed with Despair) after flesh-Meat. Which they needed not to have wanted, if they would have killed their Cattel, which they brought with them out of Egypt in great abun­dance, (XII Exod. 38.) but they preserved them for breed, when they came to Canaan: and if they killed [Page 174] them daily, they would not have lasted long to suffice Six hundred thousand People, besides Wo­men and Children. (See v. 21, 22.) Besides this, while they continued in the Wilderness, they were not permitted to eat any Flesh but only their share of the Peace-offerings, that were offered at the Altar, XVII Levit. 3, 4, 5. Which lasted, the Jews think, till they came to the Land of Canaan, when this Re­straint was taken off, XII Deut. 15, 16. And indeed the Wilderness was so barren a place, that they could there have no great increase of Cattel; scarce suffici­ent for Sacrifice. They were angry therefore, that they were not yet brought to a Country where they might have had all sorts of Flesh, without killing their own Cattel; and have taken their fill of that and all other Food, (as appears by the next Verse) at as easie rates as they had done in Egypt. Whereas now, they despaired, as I said, of getting any such Food; for so such Questions as this signifie, CXIII Psal. 5. LIII Isa. 8. VIII Joh. 16.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. We remember the fish.] This shows that all kind of Food is comprehended under Flesh, for which they longed; particularly this, which is one sort of Flesh, 1 Corinth. XV. 39.

Which we did eat in Egypt freely.] Or, for nothing. For they could easily catch them in the River of Egypt, which abounded with them, (XIX Isa. 8.) and in the Sea also, which was not far from them; wherein was exceeding great plenty of excellent Fish.

The Cucumbers, and the Melons, &c.] None of which grew here in the Wilderness, but were there in such Plenty and Perfection, that they were the common Food of the Egyptians. Who were noted [Page 175] anciently for the Meanness of their Diet, as Casau­bon observes in Lib. IX. Athenaei Deipnos. Cap. XI. p. 674. Some fancy these things were the cheaper there, because the Egyptians durst not eat either Fish, or Leeks, or Onions; as is said by Juvenal, Sat. XV. Pliny, Lib. XIX. Cap. 6. and Herodotus, Lib. II. C. 37. where he saith it was not lawful for the Egyptians to taste of Fish. But, in my opinion, these words of the People, demonstrate rather, that they were not so superstitious in the days of Moses; for they were not the words merely of the Israelites, but of the mixt multitude; who were the Beginners of this Mutiny, and of this sort of undutiful Language. Which one would think they put into the Mouths of the Israelites; who could not otherwise have had the Impudence to magnifie their Condition in Egypt, where they groaned under the sorest Slavery.

It is a strange fancy of one of the Doctors in the Tulmud, (in the Title Jona) who by Fishes under­stands Harlots; whom these Crew of mixed People lusted after.

The Onions.] The Hebrew word Chatzir properly signifies Grass; Which being no part of Humane Food, the LXX here render the word Onions; as agreeable to the other words that accompany it. But the learned Ludolphus thinks they had no other reason for it; and therefore, out of the Arabian Language, rather interprets it Lettice or Sellets, in general, which were most excellent in Egypt. Dissert. de Locustis, P. II. Cap. 14.

Ver. 6. But now our Soul is dried away.] They speak Verse 6 as if they were starved; and, as we speak, had nei­ther Life nor Soul left in them. Such is the vile Na­ture of discontented Ingratitude; which makes Men [Page 176] that are advanced from a poor to a plentiful Conditi­on, contemn their present Enjoyments, and praise their former wretched state.

There is nothing at all, besides this Manna, before our Eyes.] They were angry that they were come to a place, where they found nothing but that of which they were now grown weary; and therefore speak of it with dis­dain.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. And the Manna.] Upon this occasion he describes more fully, what kind of thing it was which they despised: That it might appear how justly God was displeased with them, for their Ingrati­tude.

Was as Coriander-seed.] Not in Colour, (for that was like Bdellium, as it here follows) but in its Shape and Form; being round, XVI Exod. 14.

And the Colour of it as the Colour of Bdellium.] Of a pure White Colour, and bright like Pearl: So that it was very grateful to the Eye, as well as pleasant to the Taste. See XVI Exod. 31.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And the People went about.] Round their Camp. XVI Exod. 13.

And gathered it.] Fresh every Morning; which made it still more acceptable. XVI Exod. 18, 19.

And ground it in Mills.] Into Flour, with an Hand­mill.

Or beat it in a Mortar.] Bruised it with a Pestle in a wooden, or stone Mortar.

And baked it in Pans.] Or else boiled it (as R. Be­chai expounds it) in a Pot.

[Page 177] And made Cakes of it.] Or made Cakes of it in an Oven, or in a Pan. That is, saith the same R. Be­chai, it was of such an excellent Composition, that it might be dressed divers ways, or eaten as it fell. For, if they would they might use it, saith he, for Food immediately, as they gathered it; or they might grind it; or bruise it, and then either boil it, or bake it; and it was agreeable, in what way soe­ver it was prepared. Which Moses mentions to show how ungrateful they were to God; who by one thing entertained them with great variety.

And the taste of it was as the taste of fresh Oil.] When it was newly faln, it tasted like Honey; but when it was prepared by Boiling, or Baking, it tasted like fresh Oil: See XVI Exod. 31. Or to some it had the taste of Honey; to others of fresh Oil. The Jews indeed say it had all sorts of Tastes, according to every Man's desire. So the Author of the Book of Wisdom speaks, XVI. 20, 21. from the ancient Tra­dition of the Hebrews. Whereby I suppose they meant no more, but that it pleased every Man's Pa­late; and had in it all that could be desired in any Meat; being grateful to the taste of young and old; and refreshed the Spirits; and kept up the Flesh of their Bodies in good plight. For it is not unreasona­bly observed by the aforesaid R. Bechai; that it is compared by Moses to fresh Oil, which is fat as well as sweet; to show how unjust their Complaint was, that they had no Moisture left in them, but were dried a­way, v. 6.

Ver. 9. And when the dew fell upon the Camp in the Verse 9 Night.] There was a great Providence of God in this, saith the same Bechai, which sent it in the Night, while they slept quietly in their Beds; that [Page 178] when they rose in the Morning they might find their Food ready for them. And thus, saith he, it was when they came to Canaan; the Rains were wont to fall in the Night-season, and not in the Day-time: that they might not be hindred from their work in the Fields, and in their Plantations.

The Manna fell upon it.] That is, upon the Dew; for it did not fall upon the Camp, but round about it. See XVI Exod. 14. This is a further Aggravation of their Ingratitude, that they despised this rare Food; which came not out of the Earth, or the Waters, but from above out of the Air: And therefore was more pure and spiritous than Cucumbers and Leeks, &c. Which crude and gross sort of Food, their depraved Minds preferred before this Celestial Nourishment: Which by Falling on the Dew was kept clean and pure for their use.

Huetius observes that several Authors, both ancient and modern, mention Manna as a thing which some­times falls in those Countries (particularly in Arabia, and upon Libanus) which they call aerial Honey; or dewy Honey, and Syrian Dew: which was fit for Food. But it never fell in such quantity, nor so constantly; every day, for the space of XL years; and so delicious and hearty. All this was mi­raculous; as was also its melting when the Sun shone upon it; and that it putrified before the next day, except on the Sabbath; and yet kept in an Urn many years. See Alnetanae Quaest. L. II. Cap. XII. N. XVII.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And Moses heard the People weep, through­out their Families.] Or, for their Families: or, a­bout the State and Condition of their Families as some of the Jews understand it; though to a foolish [Page 179] sense. See Selden, L. II. de Synedr. Cap. IV. p. 203.) who they pretended could not live any longer up­on Manna.

Every Man in the door of his Tent.] It may be un­derstood of Moses his Tent; about which the heads of the several Families were gathered; as mutinous Souldiers are wont to be, about the Door of their Chief Commander.

And the Anger of the LORD was kindled greatly.] Which brake forth shortly after, in a great plague up­on them, v. 34.

And Moses also was displeased.] The same Phrase with that v. 1.

It was evil in the Eyes of Moses.] i. e. Grieved him so, that it made him wish himself rid of the burden of their Government.

Ver. 11. And Moses said unto the LORD.] I sup­pose Verse 11 he went into the Sanctuary to bewail himself, and pray God to relieve him. See v. 24.

Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy Servant?] By com­mitting this People to his charge.

And wherefore have I not sound favour in thy sight.] By granting the Prayer which he made, at his first Call to this Office, III Exod. 2. IV. 10.

That thou layest the burden of this People upon me?] i. e. The principal Care of such an untractable Multi­tude, upon one Man; to whom they resorted in all difficulties. XVIII Exod. 22, 26.

Ver. 12. Have I conceived all this People, have I be­gotten Verse 12 them?] Are they my Children; that I should make provision, for the Satisfaction of all their de­sires?

[Page 180] That thou hast said unto me, carry them in thy Bosom (as a nursing Father beareth the sucking Child) unto the Land, &c.] Take a tender Care of them, as a Parent doth of a little Infant; and conduct them into Ca­naan, &c. Nothing can more lively express the Af­fection that Princes ought to have for their People (if they have any regard to the Will of God) than this Divine Command to Moses.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. Whence should I have Flesh to give unto all this People?] It is impossible for me to do, what they desire.

For they weep unto me, saying, Give us Flesh that we may eat.] And yet they will not be satisfied without it. He seems to be affected with their weeping, as the most loving Parents are with the Tears of a sucking Child; when it cries for that, which they have not for it.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. I am not able to bear all this People alone; be­cause it is too heavy for me.] Let me have some joined to me, to take part of this trouble with me; and help to manage them in such Mutinies: For it is beyond my strength to undergo the toil of hearing all their Com­plaints; and appeasing their Tumults. Some may imagine there was no reason for this request; he ha­ving several Persons already appointed to assist him by the advice of Jethro, (XVIII Exod.) But Rasi thinks those Men were burnt in the late fire; because they did not suppress the beginning of this Mutiny, (v. 1.) but perhaps join in it: And so Bechai. But the true ac­count is rather this, that they were set only to hear and judge smaller Causes; all the weighty and difficult Causes being still brought before Moses; to whom al­so the last Appeal was made in every Cause. Which was so great a burden that he complained for want of help in those great things, which lay wholly upon him. See XVIII Exod. 22.

[Page 181]Ver. 15. And if thou deal thus with me.] If thou leavest me still alone in this Office.

Kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight.] I shall take it for the greatest Verse 15 kindness, to be taken immediately out of the World.

And let me not see my wretchedness.] Live to be a most miserable Creature For to see wretchedness, is to be wretched; as to see death is to dye, LXXXIX Psal. 48. And what could make such a tender Pa­rent as he was more miserable, than their perpetual untowardness: together with the intolerable trouble it would give him; to see heavy Punishments conti­nually befal them for their Wickedness, and the Ene­mies of God rejoyce in their Ruin.

Ver. 16. And the LORD said unto Moses.] Here Verse 16 is not the least sign of God's dislike of this Expostu­lation of Moses with God; which seems not very dutiful: because the Vexation this stubborn People gave him, was really so great, that he had reason to desire to be eased of it. Which, though he begged with much earnestness, yet, no doubt, with no less submission to God's holy Will and Pleasure.

Gather unto me.] These words are interpreted by the Talmudists, as if the meaning was, that they may be a Sanhedrim to my Land; i. e. a holy, perpetual, standing Council, to endure throughout all Genera­tions. For wheresoever we meet with this word li unto me, they think it signifies a thing to be esta­blished by God to all Generations. The Examples they alledge of it, are these; of Aaron and his Sons he saith, they shall Minister unto me in the Priests Office, XXVIII Exod. 41. and of the Levites, he saith, III Numb. 12. they shall be mine, or unto me; and of the Israelites, XXV Lev. 55. unto me the [Page 182] Children of Israel are Servants. The like is said of the First-born, III Numb. 13. of the Sanctuary, XXV Exod. 18. of the Altar, XX Exod. 24. of the holy Oyntment, XXX Exod. 31. of the Kingdom of Da­vid, 1 Sam. XVI. 1. and of the Sacrifices, XXVIII Numb. 2. See Mr. Selden, Lib. II. de Synedr. cap. 4. n. 2.

Seventy Men of the Elders of Israel.] This Number is generally thought, both by the Jewish and Chri­stian Writers, to be derived from the number of Persons, that came down into Egypt with Jacob, XLVI Gen. 27. Who, saith R. Bechai, were a kind of Pro­totype of this Number in future Ages. For hence they were governed by so many Elders when they were in Egypt, III Exod. 16. (where there is no men­tion indeed made of Seventy, but he gathers it from what followed) and those were the Seventy whom we find at the giving of the Law, a little after they came out of Egypt, XXIV Exod. 1, 9. who are cal­led Nobles, or Great Men, v. 11. So that this num­ber was not now first constituted; but rather conti­nued and confirmed.

Whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the People.] For there were many Elders, out of whom Seventy were chosen. See XXIV Exod. 1.

And Officers over them.] That is, saith R. Bechai, whom thou knowest to be of the number of those, who when they were Officers in Egypt over the Peo­ple, were beaten by Pharaoh's Task-masters, V Exod. 14. Which word Officers doth not signifie Men that had any Judicial Authority; but only such as had an inspection over others, to see they did their Work, and to give an account of them. But it is very likely, they were Persons of note, who had more than ordi­nary [Page 183] Understanding and Breeding, which advanced them to be Inspectors of others. And therefore the Talmudists rightly observe, that the Elders and Officers here mentioned, were, no doubt, Men of Wisdom and Judgment; who knew how to use the Authority that was committed to them. And it is not impro­bable (as some of them affirm) that they were chosen out of those lesser Courts, which were erected by the Advice of Jethro. See Selden in the same place, sect. 5. who at large confutes Baronius and others; who say that the number of the great Sanhedrim (which deri­ved its Original from hence) was Seventy two: and makes it appear they were only Seventy; and with Moses their Head Seventy one, sect. 8. And it is not unworthy our notice, that about the same time (as he observes sect. 12.) that this number of Seventy Judges was here constituted in the Wilderness; the great Judicature in Areopagus was constituted among the Greeks, viz. in the Reign of Cecrops, the first King of Athens, after the Ogygian Flood: when, according to Eusebius, the People of Israel were brought out of Egypt. The Marmora Arundeliana indeed say, this Court was erected in the time of Cranaus; but that makes no great difference, for he was the Successor of Cecrops. We do not find of what number it consist­ed, but it is certain it was the highest [...], of all the Courts among the Greeks. And it is no less observable, that as that Court began about the same time with the Constituti­on of this among the Hebrews; so they both ended in the Reign of the Emperor Vespasian, as the said Mr. Selden shows in that Book, cap. 16. sect. 10.

[Page 184] And bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congrega­tion.] That there they might be, as it were, conse­crated unto God: and that the People might know, they received their Authority from him.

That they may stand there with thee.] As those Men who were to be sharers with him in his Authority: and were like to him in Wisdom, Piety, and Descent. So Maimonides glosses upon these words in Hilk. Sanhedr. cap. 2. where he saith, none were made Members of the Sanhedrim, but Priests and Levites, and such of the Israelites, as were descended from the noblest Fa­milies: and quotes these words to prove it.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. And I will come down.] In a visible man­ner, verse 25.

And talk with thee there.] To declare (perhaps in their Audience) that he appointed them to the Of­fice of being the Assistants of Moses, in the Govern­ment.

And I will take of the Spirit, which is upon thee, and put it upon them.] He did not take away from Mo­ses any of the Gifts which he had bestowed upon him; nor did he diminish them: but conferred upon these Men some of the Gifts (which are here meant by Spirit) viz. of Wisdom, and Judgment, and Cou­rage; with all others that were needful in a Gover­nor. This R. Solomon Jarchi illustrates by the com­parison of a great Lamp set up in a room; at which many others are lighted, without the least diminuti­on of its Light. See further verse 25.

And they shall bear the burden of the People with thee.] By this it appears it was the Spirit of Government, which God intended to give them: that they might ease Moses by assisting him, with the same Authority that he had, to hinder, or to appease such Mutinies, as now the People were faln into.

[Page 185] That thou bear it not thy self alone.] That all the Murmurings of the People might not be only against him; but some of their Complaints might be diver­ted unto others. Who might also help him in the judging of such Causes, as had hitherto been reserved to him alone. For it is plain that these Seventy Per­sons made an higher Court, than any of those consti­tuted by the advice of Jethro.

Cornelius Bertram indeed fansies, that these Rulers of Thousands, Hundreds, Fifties, and Tens, not being sufficient for the business committed to them, (though he likewise conceives they had some of their several Families joyned with them) God appointed these Seventy for their assistance: to whom they were to bring all Causes which they could not determine, before they troubled Moses with them, Lib. de Repub. Jud. cap. 6. But our learned Mr. Thorndike in his Rights of the Church, chap. 2. hath well observed, that those Captains were to be in place, only during the Pilgrimage of the Wilderness: For when they came to the Land of Promise, the Law provided that Judges and Ministers should be ordained in every City, XVI Deut. 18. who, if there fell any difference a­bout the Law, were to repair to the place where God dwelt, to the Successors of Moses, and these Seventy, for Resolution in it, XVII Deut. 11, 12. For as he judiciously notes in his Review, p. 69. (sutable to what is here delivered) they were assumed to assist Moses in his great Office of judging the hardest Causes; and by that Law, XVII Deut. 8, &c. were afterwards made a standing Court, resident at the Place of the Taber­nacle; to judge the last Result of all Causes concern­ing the Law, and to determine all Matter of Right not determined by the Letter of the same.

[Page 186]Ver. 18. And say thou unto the People.] All that he said hitherto concerned Moses himself; in answer to his Request. Now he tells him what he should Verse 18 say to the People, in answer to their Complaint.

Sanctifie your selves.] Here the word Sanctifie seems to signifie no more, but to prepare and make them­selves ready to receive what they desired. So the Chal­dee expounds it: and so the word is translated by us, several times in the Book of Jeremiah, VI. 4. XII. 3. LI. 28.

Against to morrow.] He seems at the same time to gratifie Moses and satisfie them: for his setting the Se­venty Elders before the LORD, and their eating Flesh, succeed one another. Or else, he immediate­ly gathered the Elders; and the next day the Quails came for their Food.

And ye shall eat Flesh, for ye have wept in the Ears of the LORD, &c.] You shall have, what you long for with such vehemence; that it hath made you ut­ter Complaints against the LORD.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. Ye shall eat not one day.] As they did a­bout a Year ago, XVI Exod. 12, 13.

Nor two days, nor five days, &c.] Not for a short time only.

Verse 20 Ver. 20. But even a whole Month.] So long (the Hebrews gather from hence) they staid in this part of the Wilderness of Paran: Or rather, a little longer. For they came hither on the twenty third Day of the second Month, in the Even: on which, if we suppose the Fire to have burnt among them, v. 1. and that the next Morning (which is scarce credible) they lusted after Flesh; and in a tumultuous manner, de­manded it of Moses; who promised they should have it: we must allow a little time for the constituting [Page 187] of the Seventy Elders. And suppose it was done on the twenty fifth Day, and that the next Day the Quails came, (as we translate it) they were two Days in ga­thering them. From whence if we begin this Month, it will appear they stayed here longer than that space.

Ʋntil it come out at your Nostrils.] Till you be glutted with it; and vomit it up so violently, that it come not only out at your Mouth, but at your No­strils.

And it be loathsom to you.] Which was both the Cause and the Effect of Vomiting.

Because that ye have despised the LORD.] For­getting all that he had done for them, as if it had been nothing; and slighting his Servant Moses.

Which is among you.] By a visible Token of his glorious Presence in the Sanctuary: where he dwelt among them, XXV Exod. v. 8.

And have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt.] As if he had undone them, by their Deliverance from thence.

Both Onkelos and Jonathan translate this verse in such a manner, that one cannot but think they had a Notion in their Days of more Persons than one in the Godhead. For these are the words of the latter of them, Because you have despised (or rejected, as Onkelos) the WORD of the LORD, for glorious is his Majesty which dwelleth among us. For I cannot see how the word MEMRA can signifie any thing in this place (whatsoever it may do in some others) but a Person equal to JEHOVAH. And yet the A­nonymus Writer against the Trinity (confuted by de Voisin) hath the strange unaccountable boldness to pass it by with this silly gloss, Proprie de Lege accipi [Page 188] potest, &c. it may be properly understood of the Law, which may be contemned or transgressed: as if this could be called the glorious Majesty of the LORD, which dwelt among them. What will not Men say, or do, to serve a Cause?

Verse 21 Ver. 21. And Moses said, the People among whom I am.] Over whom I preside, as their Governor.

Are six hundred thousand Footmen.] Who were a­ble to carry Arms; besides Women, and Children, and Slaves, and the mixt Multitude; who in all may well be supposed to have made Thirty hundred thousand.

And thou hast said, I will give them Flesh, that they may eat an whole month.] i. e. How can this be? Which is a down-right distrust of God's Promise, if we regard merely the words; and do not consider that they were spoken hastily, and something incon­siderately, while his Mind was very much disturbed by the Tumult which the People made. For which reason, a severe notice is not taken of it; but he on­ly put in mind of God's Eternal Power, v. 23. Which may make it probable, that they were only words of Admiration, how such a Provision should be made for such a vast number; and those uttered on a sud­den.

Verse 22 Ver. 22. Shall the Flocks and the Herds be slain for them, to suffice them?] In the Hebrew the words are, If the Flocks and the Herds be slain for them, will they be sufficient for them? That is, there will not be e­nough for a whole Month. And so the next Passage is to be translated, If all the Fish of the Sea be gathered for them, will they be sufficient for them?

[Page 189]Ver. 23. And the LORD said unto Moses, is the LORD's Hand waxed short?] i. e. I need not tell thee, that my Power is as great as ever.

Thou shalt see now whether my Word shall come to pass Verse 23 unto thee, or not.] For thou shalt be convinced of it by the speedy performance of my Promise.

Ver. 24. And Moses went out.] I supposed, v. 11.Verse 24 that Moses went into the Sanctuary to make his Ad­dresses to God for relief; and if that be true, then that is the place from whence he now went out. But there is this Objection against it, That if he had gone to consult God in the Sanctuary, (as he did on some occasions, VII. 89.) it would not have been said that he went out; but that he came out. For that is the u­sual Expression in this matter. Therefore we may ra­ther think he now went out of his own Tent, where the People stood murmuring, v. 10.

And told the People the Words of the LORD.] Both concerning them, and concerning himself.

And gathered the seventy Men of the Elders of the People.] That is, sent out his Summons to them to at­tend him; though two of them, it appears afterwards, did not come, v. 26.

And set them round about the Tabernacle.] That is, required them to come thither, and there place them­selves; that the People might understand they re­ceived their Authority from God; and that from thence he might send his Holy Spirit upon them. For God alone, who was their King, could appoint, who should bear Rule among them. There also were the great Assemblies held. See XXVII. 2.

[Page 190]Ver. 25. And the LORD came down in a Cloud.] The SCHECHINAH, or Divine Majesty, appear­ed from Heaven in a Cloud; or, in the Pillar of the Verse 25 Cloud, as it is in XII. 5.

And spake unto him.] As he had promised, v. 17. declaring, it is likely, the Reason and Intention of his appearing, on this occasion.

And took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy Elders. See there v. 17.

And it came to pass that when the Spirit rested upon them.] i. e. As soon as they received it.

They prophesied.] Either, by setting forth the Pro­mises of God in such a strain, as none else could i­mitate; or giving such admirable Instructions to the People, as manifested they were raised above them­selves; or perhaps by declaring things to come (par­ticularly that they should have Quails (as we render the word) in great abundance very shortly, as some of the Jews take it) though that could not gain them just credit, as the other Gifts, till their Predictions were fulfilled. And these the Jews call the second degree of Prophecy: Concerning which Maimonides speaks in his Preface to his More Nevochim. but more fully in his second Part of it, Cap. XLV. Where he saith the first degree was, that which moved and ena­bled Men to some heroick Undertaking, with assu­rance they were put upon it from God; as to deli­ver Men from Tyranny and Oppression. Which was the Spirit of the LORD, that came upon GIDEON and SAMSON, and the rest of the Judges of Israel: who were carried by an extraordinary Power to per­form such things, as otherwise they thought not themselves fit to undertake. And the second degree was, when a Man found a Power upon him, exciting [Page 191] him to speak either Psalms, or Hymns; or wholesome Precepts of living; or about Political Affairs, and Civil Government, far beyond his Natural Capaci­ties; and all this waking, and in the full vigour of his Senses. This is also called the Holy Spirit; and in this number he places these LXX Elders. Who were endued with the Spirit of Moses, for the Government of the People with him; in such measure that they at­tained to be Prophets. Just as in the New Testament, the Prophets are placed next to the Apostles; so these Men were next to Moses.

And ceased not.] In which Translation we follow the Chaldee Paraphrasts, as several others do: But the LXX translate it, and they added no further, (which the Hebrew words will well bear) taking the mean­ing to be; that they prophesied that day, but not af­ter. And this is the sense of the Talmudists; parti­cularly of Jarchi. Who in his Gloss upon this place, saith: All these Elders prophesied only this first time, that the Spirit rested on them, as they stood about the Taber­nable; but they did not prophesie after that. The like say several others mentioned by Mr. Selden, L. II. de Synedr. Cap. IV. Sect. 2. And indeed the Spirit was not sent upon them, to make them Prophets; but to make them Governors and Judges. And therefore the Gift of Prophecy, which God gave them for the pre­sent, was only to procure them Reverence from the People; as an evident Sign that they were chosen by God to be Co-adjutors to Moses, in the exercise of his Supream Authority over them. And thus I find Theodoret understood it, (Quaest. XX. in Num.) The LXX did not prophesie beyond this day, [...], &c. because God promoted them, not to prophesie, but to govern: Which St. Paul also [Page 192] reckons among other Gifts bestowed upon Christians, 1 Corinth. XII. 26. Now that it might appear God had conferred this Divine Gift of Government upon them; they also prophesied, the first day that they re­ceived it. And I do not see, why our Translation [did not cease] may not be interpreted to this sense; that is, they did not cease all that day, while they stood a­bout the Tabernacle.

Verse 26 Ver 26. And there remained two of the Men.] Of the LXX Elders; whom Moses ordered to appear, and set themselves about the Tabernacle. So the Hie­rusalem Targum, these were of the number of the LXX wise Men, neither did the LXX wise Men go from the Tabernacle while Eldad and Medad prophesied in the Camp. And so R. Levi ben Gersom notes, It seems to be plain out of the Text, that these two were of the LXX Elders. Which our Translators thought necessary to express by adding those words of the: For in the He­brew there is no more said, but only there remained two Men.

In the Camp.] Among the rest of the People; from whom they would not come: Out of Modesty, saying, They were not equal to such a dignity; as the words are in the Gemara Babylonica. Tit. Sanhedrin. Or perhaps they loved a private life; and were afraid of being envied by the People: Whom they saw to be so unruly, that it made them decline the bur­den; as Saul did, when he hid himself among the stuff.

The name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad.] We do not find the names of any other of the LXX Elders, but only these two; who, Jonathan saith, were Moses his Brothers by the Mo­ther's side. And St. Hierom himself mentions such [Page 193] a Tradition, that they were his Brethren. But there is no certainty of this; nor of what others of the Jews say concerning them. See Selden, Lib. II. de Synedr. Cap. 4. Sect. 3.

It may be they are mentioned in honour of their vertuous Modesty; which made them think them­selves unworthy of so high a dignity.

And the Spirit rested upon them.] As it did upon those who were about the Tabernacle, v. 25. Where­by God marked them out to be in the number of those, whom he had chosen to be Assistants unto Mo­ses.

And they were of them that were written, &c.] Whose Names Moses put into the Summons, which he sent to those whom he judged fit to be advanced to this Authority. The Jews (particularly Solomon Jarchi) say they were chosen by the way of casting Lots; and according to their manner they tell the Story thus, in the place mentioned before in the Gemara. Moses, say they, was in doubt how he should exe­cute God's Command, v. 16. because if he did not chuse an equal number out of every Tribe, it might be ill taken. And if he chose Six out of each of the XII Tribes, they would exceed the number of LXX; if but five, they would fall short of it. He resolved therefore at last to chuse VI out of each Tribe, which in all were LXXII Persons: And in LXX Schedules he wrote the Name of Elder; but the other two were Blanks. Then mixing all these in an Urn, he bad them come and draw: And to every one who drew a Schedule, that had the Name of Elder in it, he said, God hath sanctified thee; but to him that drew a Blank, he said, God hath not chosen thee. And those two Blanks, some of the Jewish Doctors [Page 194] say, came into the hands of Eldad and Medad: who therefore were left behind in the Camp. And this Conceit our very learned Dr. Lightfoot himself en­tertained, saying (in his short account of this Chap­ter) That six of a Tribe, made up the number of the Sanhedrim, (which was chosen) and two over. And those two were Eldad and Medad; who were written for Elders, but the Lot cast them out; that there might be but LXX. Yet did the LORD honour them with the Spirit of Prophecy.

But as this whole Story, of the manner of Chu­sing the Elders, is very dubious; so other Jews of great Authority, say, that Eldad and Medad were of the number of the LXX that were chosen. Particu­larly Jonathan saith expresly, they were of the num­ber of those, whose Schedules came up, with the Name of Elder in them: But they did not go to the Tabernacle, because they had no mind to be Governours. Nay the Talmudical Gloss upon the fore-named place of the Gemara, saith, that when LXX of the LXXII had drawn, two of them had Blanks; whereby Eldad and Medad knew that the two remaining Schedules had the Name of Elder in them: and therefore would not draw them, because they were sure not to have Blanks. The very same Mr. Selden shows, is in other noted Books of theirs. So that it is generally received, they were in the number of those LXX which were chosen to be joined with Moses in the Government. See L. II. de Synedr. Cap. 4. Sect. 7.

And they prophesied in the Camp.] Which was a greater thing, than if they had prophesied at the Ta­bernacle: Denoting them to be Men so highly in the Favour of God, that he would distinguish them from [Page 195] other Men wheresoever they were, and not want their Service. The Hierusalem Targum relates what each of them foretold, (for to that he restrains their Prophe­sying) and what they both foretold; but it is not worth the mentioning.

Ver. 27. And there ran a young Man, and told Moses Verse 27 and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesie tn the Camp.] The Jews, who will seem ignorant of nothing, say it was Gershom the Son of Moses; who carried these Ty­dings to his Father.

Ver. 28. And Joshua the Son of Nun.] From Verse 28 whence some conclude that he was none of the LXX Elders; though a Man of a most excellent Spirit. And indeed this is likely enough, he being to succeed Moses, and so to become the Head of them.

The Servant of Moses.] Who ministred to him, as a constant Attendant on his Person, XXIV Exod. 13.

One of his young Men.] The word one is not in the Hebrew, which may be translated from among his young Men: i. e. The rest of those that waited on him.

My Lord Moses forbid them.] Perhaps he thought they could have no Authority; not being at the Ta­bernacle. Or rather, that their Prophesying too much lessened the Authority of Moses; by whose Consent, and in whose Presences the rest were joined to him; but these two without his Knowledge, and being absent from him, became his Consorts in Spi­ritual Gifts. This he thought tended to the Dimi­nution of his Master; for whom he expressed a great Honour. The two Targums say that they prophesied of the Death of Moses, and the Advancement of Jo­shua to be the Leader of God's People; which made [Page 196] Joshua the more concerned to have them suppressed. But this is like the rest of their Conceits; several of which are mentioned by Mr. Selden in the place before-named, Sect. 3.

Verse 29 Ver. 29. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake?] This shows that Joshua thought it a Di­sparagement unto Moses, that they should have the Gift of Prophecy bestowed on them; and be no way indebted to Moses for it. As the other were; who were brought by him to the Tabernacle, where he presented them to God, as Men fit to partake of it: But these two seemed to have no dependance on him, for what they received.

Would God that all the LORD's People were Pro­phets.] This shows also that the Gift of Prophecy, was a distinct thing from the Gift of Government: For he did not wish they might all be made Ru­lers; than which nothing could have been more ab­surd.

And that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them.] That they might all break forth, by his Inspiration, into his Praises. Which is an high Demonstration of that most excellent Spirit that dwelt in Moses; which had nothing of Envy, Pride, or Vain-glory in it: For he sought not himself in the least, but purely the Glory of God, and the Good of his Peo­ple. Which admirable Temper of Mind St. James from hence, commends to all Christians, when he saith, IV. 5. Do ye think, that the Scripture saith in vain, the Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to Envy? But he giveth more Grace. Where doth the Scripture (by which word the Apostles commonly mean the Old Testament) say any thing like this; unless it be in this place? the Sense of which is fully expressed [Page 197] by St. James, as Hermannus Witzius well explains his meaning, Doth that Spirit whereby we are regenerated and governed, move us to Envy, or any such like vici­ous Desire? No, far from that; it giveth greater Grace, and makes us rejoyce in the good of our Neighbours, &c. as Moses did, when he said, Dost thou envy for my sake? and thereby excitest me to the like Envy? Is that suitable to the Spirit that is in us? which I wish God would bestow upon all his People. This agrees with what St. James saith, But he giveth more Grace. Miscell. Sacr. L. I. cap. 18. n. 27.

Ver. 30. And Moses gat him into the Camp.] From Verse 30 the Tabernacle where the Elders had been presented unto God, and indued with his Spirit.

He and the Elders of Israel.] That they might ex­ercise their Authority joyntly with him. And there, I suppose, Eldad and Medad were assumed into the same Authority; for we do not read that they were brought to the Tabernacle; being sufficiently appro­ved by God in the Camp.

Ver. 31. And there went forth a Wind from the Verse 31 LORD.] At the Prayer (it is likely) of Moses and the Elders, who promised the People Flesh e­nough; a mighty Wind, of an extraordinary force, was raised beyond the common Course of Nature. The Psalmist informs us from what Quarter this Wind blew, when he saith LXXVIII Psal. 26. He caused the East-wind to blow in the Heaven, and by his power he brought in the South-wind. Which some understand as if sometimes an East-wind blew, and sometimes a South; that these Quails (as we call them) might be brought from several Coasts. But the Hebrews want­ing compound words, make use of these two words, to express that which we call a South-east Wind. Or, [Page 198] as Bochartus will have it, the Hebrew word Kadni, which properly signifies the East, doth sometimes signifie the South; and is by the LXX. often so transla­ted: of which he gives a great many Instances. And therefore the Psalmist (as the manner of the Hebrew Language is) repeats the same thing in other words. See Hierozoic. P. II. L. I. cap. 15. And so the fa­mous Ludolphus, both in his Commentary upon his Aethiopick History, and in his Dissertation de Locustis, saith they were brought in by a South-wind; blowing from all Points of that Quarter.

And brought Quails.] No Body, that I have met withal, hath laboured so much to give a clear Expli­cation of this whole following Discourse, as Job Lu­dolphus in his most learned Commentary upon his Aethiopick History, Lib. I. cap. 13. n. 96. Where he hath a long Discourse (to which I refer the Reader) to show that the Hebrews do not take the word Se­lau (here used) to signifie Quails: but we take that translation of it only from Josephus. See what I have noted on XVI Exod. 13. The no less learned Bo­chartus, indeed, hath said a great deal to justifie Jose­phus: and hath shown that Egypt, and the Neigh­bouring Regions abound still with Quails; from whence this Wind blew fair to bring them to the Hebrews. And every one knows, that there are cer­tain Winds called Ornithia's; from their bringing great Flights of Birds along with them. Quails also he observes are wont to fly from the Southern Coun­tries to the Northern, in the Spring time, (as it now was) and to fall sometimes in such vast quantities, as to sink a Ship. Notwithstanding all which, and a great deal more, which he alledges, with great learn­ing, there are several things said in the following [Page 199] Relation, which by no means can be brought to agree to Quails: and therefore Ludolphus rather takes Se­lau to signifie Locusts; by which it is easie to give a plain Explication of all that is said of them. It is certain, they were not only used for Food, in those Parts of the World: but that some of them were ve­ry delicious Meat in several Countries: for they that have eaten them, (See XI Lev. 22.) compare them to young Pigeons; or to a fresh Herring; or to a Crab, or Lobster, (like to which they are in Shape and Figure) and they are several ways prepared, and accounted very wholsome Food; when they have thrown away the Heads, and Wings and Leggs. Pliny saith, that some Parts of Ethiopia lived upon them; and that they were preserved, fumo & sale, by being dried in the Smoak and salted, for their nou­rishment, throughout the whole Year. Now all that is said in this, and in the following verses, will have a plain and easie meaning, (as I said) if we follow this Interpretation: but not, if we take them for Quails, or Pheasants, or Sea-fowl. As for example, what was said before, concerning God's sending a mighty Wind, is not hard to understand, if we sup­pose him to speak of Locusts; which all Authors say are brought with a Wind: But it was never heard to bring Quails, which cannot fly high, nor far; much less so far, as from the Sea to the middle of Arabia Petraea. Nor would the Locusts have come this way, had not this Wind brought them from their ordinary Course.

From the Sea.] Viz. From the Red-sea; yet not excluding the Persian Gulph. Which must not be understood, as if they came out of the Sea; but from the Sea-coast: And it is very probable out of Africa, [Page 200] where they abound. So the aforesaid Ludolphus ex­pounds it, in his late Dissertatio de Locustis, Pars II. cap. 39, &c.

And let them fall by the Camp.] Or poured them down upon the Camp; as Dust or Rain falls thick upon the Ground. For both these Comparisons the Psalmist uses in the place before-named, LXXVIII. 27. And this is expressed in Exodus XVI. 13. by co­vering their Camp.

As it were a days journey on this side, and as it were a days journey on the other side.] A days Journey, as Bochartus makes account, is at least Twenty Miles. See the place before-named, Hierozoic. P. II. Lib. I. cap. 15. p. 105. Or, as Ludolphus makes the Computation, Sixteen Miles, in his Dissertation de Locustis, P. II. cap. 44, &c. Take it either way, it shows there was a vast number of them: For he adds,

Round about the Camp.] So that which way soever they went for sixteen or twenty Miles together, there lay heaps of them upon the Ground: which, if we understand this of Quails, cannot be conceived with­out a heap of Miracles. And if we resort to that, what need was there of a Wind to bring them, when God must be supposed miraculously to have created them, as he did Manna. And yet such a quantity of Quails was not to be found any where, without a Mi­racle, as would cover the Heavens forty Miles (accord­ing to Bochartus) on all sides. But that which would have been, on many accounts miraculous, if we un­derstand it of Quails, will be found less wonderful, or rather natural, if it be understood of Locusts: who come in very great, and thick Clouds, which darken the Sky; as all Authors tell us. See Ludol­phus Comment. in Histor. Aethiop. p. 188.

[Page 201] And as it were two Cubits high, upon the face of the Earth.] This Interpreters look upon as impossible: for then the Quails would have been choaked and stifled; if they had been heaped so deep one upon another. And therefore they have devised the addi­tion of a new word; and refer this not to their fal­ling upon the Ground, but to their flying in the Air, two Cubits high above the Earth: that so they might the more easily be taken by their Hands. So the Jews, and so Val. Schindler in his Lexicon upon the word Selau. But, besides that, there is nothing of this in the Text; and is contrary to what the Psal­mist says, that they fell in the midst of their Camp, verse 28. and that they came down like Rain, which always falls upon the Ground: there are many other Difficulties in this Interpretation, (as he shows p. 189. and defends what he there asserts in his Dissertation de Locustis, P. II. cap. 49, 50.) And therefore it is better to expound it of Locusts; who though they fall one upon another, to a great depth, are not thereby suffocated: by reason of the length of their Feet, and the thinness of their Wings.

Ver. 32. And the People stood up, (or rather, rose Verse 32 up) all that day, and all that night, and all the next day.] They were intent upon the gathering of them for thirty six hours.

And they gathered the Quails.] By this it is evi­dent that they gathered something lying upon the Ground, and not flying in the Air: for we do not gather things there, but take or catch them.

He that gathered least.] Viz. The Master of every Family for himself, and for those belonging to him. For we are not to suppose, that every Man in Israel gathered so many as follows.

[Page 202] Gathered ten homers.] A vast quantity, if they were Quails; which would have served them, not for a Month, but for a Year or two: as Ludolphus ob­serves, p. 190. of his Commentary on his Aethiopic. Hist. Besides, we do not use to measure Fowl, but to number them. And therefore Bochart, being sensible of this impropriety, takes the word homer here to signifie an heap. Which is confuted by Ludolphus in his Dissertatio de Locustis, P. II. cap. 54, 55, &c.

And they spread them all abroad for themselves, round about the Camp.] This is another plain indica­tion that they were Locusts; which they spread to be dried in the Sun: but if they had been Quails would have been very preposterous; for it would have made them the sooner stink. Interpreters therefore com­monly pass by this, and give no account why they spread them abroad: and the Vulgar Latin omits this word spread. Whereas all Authors tell us, this is the principal way of preparing Locusts; and preser­ving them for a Month or more. Which they boil'd, or other ways made fit to eat, when they had occasi­on. See Ludolphus in his fore-mentioned Commenta­ry; and in his Defence of it lately, in his Disserta­tio de Locustis, P. II. cap. 97, 98, &c.

Verse 33 Ver. 33. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth.] While they were eating; and therefore were in good health, and had a good Stomach.

Ere it was chewed.] Before they had swallowed it.

The Wrath of the LORD was kindled against the People.] They felt unexpected effects of God's displea­sure; being taken perhaps with a sudden vomiting, of which they died, v. 20. This was in the Conclusion of the Month; for so long (he there saith) they should eat flesh.

[Page 203] And the LORD smote the People with a very great Plague.] He sent a Pestilence among them as Aben Ezra supposes. Or, as others think, they wasted a­way in a Consumption: the Vomiting perhaps con­tinuing so, that they could never retain any Meat, till they died. This they gather from CVI Psal. 15. where the Psalmist saith, He sent Leanness into their Soul. But Bochartus and Menochius think he burnt them up with a Fire from his Presence, as at the be­ginning of this Murmuring, verse 1. where it is said, as it is here, The Anger of the LORD was kindled. But Bochartus grounds this chiefly upon LXXVIII Psal. 21. where it is said, A Fire was kindled in Ja­cob; which he refers to this Story.

It may seem strange to some, that now they should be punished so heavily, when about a Year ago they murmured for Flesh, as they did now; and he gave it them in the Even, together with Manna in the Morning; without any Punishment at all. But it is to be considered, that as it was a greater Fault to fall into the same Sin again, after God had been so good to them; so they were not in such Necessity now, as they were then; when they were really pinched with hunger: whereas now they were fed with Bread from Heaven; and therefore cried for Meat, not out of need, but wan­tonness. And it may be added, That they were not then so well taught, as they had been since; by the giving of the Law to them at Mount Sinai, and many other Instructions from the House of God.

[Page 204]Ver. 34. And he called the name of that place Ki­broth-hattaavah.] That is, the Graves of Lust: be­cause their Wanton Appetites threw them into those Verse 34 Graves; for there, as it follows, they buried those that lusted.

For there they buried the People that lusted.] Not all that lusted, for then all the People, who were guilty of this Sin, would have been buri­ed: but all that died of the Plague, which was inflicted for this Sin. Who, perhaps, were those that began and headed this Mutiny; or were most violent in it.

Verse 35 Ver. 35. And the People journeyed.] When the Cloud was taken up again, IX. 17.

From Kibroth-hattaavah.] From whence they de­parted about the beginning of the fourth Month, called Tammuz.

Ʋnto Hazeroth.] Another place in the Wil­derness of Paran: but how far from the former Station, whether a days Journey, or more, we do not find.

And abode at Hazeroth.] There the Cloud rested, and accordingly there they incamped. But we do not read how long: only we are sure they stayed there at least a Week, XII. 15.


Chapter XII Ver. 1. AND Miriam and Aaron spake against Mo­ses.] Verse 1 I can see no good Reason that can be given, why Miriam is put here before Aaron; but because she, it is highly probable, was the Beginner of this Sedition, and drew her Brother Aaron into it.

Because of the Aethiopian Woman.] Or rather Arabian Woman. See X Gen. 6.

Whom he had married.] Whom most both of the Jewish and Christian Writers take to have been Zip­porah; though some few fancy, he speaks of ano­ther Woman, whom he had lately married; Zipporah being either dead, or divorced. The only difficul­ty is, why they should quarrel with him, about Zip­porah: Who, if she had been dead, or divorced, it is not likely he would have married a Cushite, but a Jewish Woman. The Hebrew Doctors have devised strange Stories about his forbearing her Company; which may be read in many Authors; particularly in Selden, L. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. cap. 26. where he recites many of their Opinions about this matter. The most common is, that they were angry at his Marriage with a Woman of another Nation; whom they would have had him put away, and taken another Wife. So they interpret the following words; for he had married an Aethiopian Woman: as if his mere Marriage with her, was the thing they spake against. Which is not at all probable, if this be meant of Zip­porah; for he had been married to her forty Years; [Page 206] which if they had disliked, one would think should have, long before now, been charged upon him as a Fault. I rather think that they were jealous, of his being ruled too much by her, and by her Relations. For it was by her Father's Advice, that he made the Judges, mentioned XVIII Exod. 21, 22. and per­haps they imagined she and Hobab had a hand in chusing the LXX Elders lately made, as we read in the foregoing Chapter. With which, this Story be­ing immediately connected; it makes me think it hath some relation to that. For those Elders were no­minated, it is evident, by Moses alone; without con­sulting Aaron, or Miriam: Who taking themselves to be neglected, in so great an Alteration made of the Government, without their Advice, were very angry. And not daring to charge Moses directly with this Neglect of them, they fall upon his Wife; whom in Scorn, they call a Cushite, or Arabian Wo­man: Which in after-times, were accounted a vile People, as appears from IX Amos 7. For that Coun­try was inhabited by divers Nations, mingled toge­ther, viz. Ishmaelites, Midianites, Amalekites, and such like. Who from thence, some think, were cal­led by the general name of Arabians; because of their mixture. For Ereb in Hebrew, signifies a Miscellane­ous Company, or mixture of many People. See XXV Jerem. 20, 24. where he calls these very People, by this name.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses?] Here it appears that it was really Moses, with whom they were offended; who alone had called what Men he thought good to be pre­sented unto God, to be constituted by him, his Assist­ants in the Government, XI. 24.

[Page 207] Hath he not also spoken by us?] Are not we also acquainted with God's Mind; being Prophets? For so Aaron was made, IV Exod. 14, 15. and Miriam so acknowledged, XV Exod. 20. And moreover the Prophet Micah, VI. 4. mentions them, as Conductors of the People, while they were in the Wilderness to­gether with Moses. Which might make them stomach it, that he took no notice of them, when he chose the LXX Elders, who were to be his Co-adjutors; but did it of himself.

And the LORD heard it.] Observed their Ill-behaviour towards him; though he himself took no notice of it.

Ver. 3. Now the Man Moses was very meek, above all Verse 3 the Men which were upon the face of the Earth.] This is added as the Reason, why he passed by the Affront they put upon him, and why God avenged it; be­cause he was so exceeding meek and patient, (or as others translate it, so humble and lowly) that he would have been exposed to further Affronts, if God had not chastised their Insolence. Moses also might think fit to set this down, as a Confutation of their Charge against him; being so far from that Pride which they imputed to him, that he did not resent (though he was so very much above them) their un­dutiful Behaviour towards him. Who had conversed immediately with God himself, and been with him in the Holy Mount many days together; who sent several Commands to Aaron, as well as to the Peo­ple by him alone: Which made such a Difference between him and all others, that as it was an unac­countable Arrogance in them to equal themselves un­to him; so he demonstrated how far he was from be­ing [Page 208] proud of his Superiority, by meekly bearing their haughty Behaviour towards him.

So little cause there is for their Cavils, who from hence argue, that Moses was not the Author of these Books; because he commends himself in them. For this is not so much a Commendation, as a necessary Account, of himself; to show how causless their Charge against him was. To such Vindications of themselves the humblest Souls may be constrained, by the Calumnies of wicked Men: As we see not only in St. Paul, but our blessed Saviour, who were put upon Glorying, and Magnifying themselves, by the Malignity of their Enemies. See X Joh. 36. 2 Corinth. XI. 10, 23, &c. And this is the more al­lowable; when Men know not only that they write the Truth, but that it is notorious to all that are ac­quainted with them, and cannot be contradicted. The holy Writers also are not to be confined to our Rules; being moved by the Holy Ghost to set down such things, which if they had been left to them­selves, they would not have mentioned. And Men who have a due Reverence to the Holy Scriptures, will look upon this rather as the Holy Ghost's Testi­mony concerning Moses, than Moses his Testimony concerning himself. But we have to do now with a Generation of Men, that write upon these Books, not as of a Divine Original, but as they do upon common Authors.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses.] The LORD thought fit immediately to stifle their Insurrection; which might have proved dangerous, if it had spread among the People. And perhaps the word suddenly may relate to the manner of his cal­ling [Page 209] to them; with a quick and hasty Speech, as one provoked and highly displeased.

And unto Aaron, and unto Miriam.] It is uncertain whether God spake to these two by himself, or by Moses. It is likely he spake to them all together, (while Aaron and Miriam were expostulating with Moses) with such a Voice, as he was wont to use when he communicated his Mind to the Prophets.

Come out ye three.] It is likely they were all in Mo­ses his Tent; whether his Brother and Sister were come to utter their Complaint.

Ʋnto the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] Which was God's Tent, wherein he dwelt among them; and from whence he declared his Will to them.

And they came out.] To attend the Pleasure of the Divine Majesty.

Ver. 5. And the LORD came down in the Pillar Verse 5 of the Cloud.] The Pillar of the Cloud, which was wont to be over the most Holy Place, where the LORD dwelt; came down from thence, and the SCHECHINAH in it; and stood, as it here fol­lows, at the Door of the Tabernacle.

And stood in the Door of the Tabernacle.] As if it would leave them; as it did, v. 9.

And called Aaron and Miriam.] Who were at some distance, I suppose; and are commanded to come nearer.

And they came forth.] From the place where they were, when he called them: Or, from Moses, with whom they came from his Tent; and now are requi­red to stand by themselves.

Ver. 6. And he said, hear now my Words.] Mark Verse 6 what I say to you.

[Page 210] If there be a Prophet among you.] This doth not make a doubt of it, but supposes that they, and o­thers among the People, were Prophets; as they al­ledged, v. 2. But God would have them to under­stand, that he did not communicate his Mind to all alike; nor, in the same way and manner; but so differently, as to make a remarkable Distinction be­tween Moses and others.

Whether there were, in those days, Men brought up and trained, to be made fit to receive this Gift bestow'd upon them; we do not know: But in af­ter-times, it is evident there were certain Colledges of Prophets, wherein Disciples of Prophets were bred. Such was that 1 Sam. X. 5. and XIX. 18, &c. Where the Sons of the Prophets, i. e. their Scholars or Disci­ples, (as Jonathan always translates that Phrase) were brought up. And for the most part, such only were endued with this Gift, who were so educated in those Schools, in the Study of the Law, and in Pie­ty. Though God did not tye himself to dispense it to such Persons alone; but bestowed it upon whom he pleased, though they had spent no time in those Schools of the Prophets. This is apparent from that Proverbial Speech, Is Saul also among the Prophets? 1 Sam. X. 11. XIX. 24. This had been no wonder (as this Saying imports) if it had been usual for Per­sons to be endowed with this Gift, on a sudden; who was never bred up in such a course, as led to it. But to show how this came to pass, one of that place answered and said, (as it there follows, v. 12.) but who is their Father? That is, this is no such wonder, if it be considered, who makes Men Prophets; viz. God, who is the Father of all the Children of the Prophets; and therefore may inspire whom he plea­ses. [Page 211] As he now might have imparted this Gift, to meaner Persons than the LXX Elders presented to him by Moses; and made them equal, if he had thought fit, with Aaron and Miriam. For this was the case of Amos, in after-ages; who was no Prophet, nor a Prophet's Son, (as he himself relates, VII. 14.) but an Herds-man; and yet the LORD took him, as he followed the Flock, and bad him go and prophesie, un­to his People Israel.

I the LORD.] Here is the Original of Prophecy; will make my self known unto him, communicate to him my Mind and Will.

In a Vision.] This was one way of discovering his Mind to the Prophets; by representing things to them, when they were awake, as if they had per­ceived them by their Senses; which at that time were lockt up, and all transacted by a Divine Operation upon their Mind and Imagination. See XV Gen. 1. and VIII Dan. 1, 15. Abarbinel mentions one, who observes that the word Marah (the Plural of which Maroth signifies Looking-Glasses, in XXXVIII Exod. 8.) is a different word from Mareh, which is com­monly used for Vision. And teaches us, that all the Representations made in this way to the Prophets, were only as the Images of things represented in a Glass; in which we behold the outward Shape, or Shadow, as we may call it; but not the thing it self. And so St. Paul seems to have understood this word (if he alludes to this place, as Grotius thinks he doth) when he saith, now we see, [...], through a Glass, darkly; 1 Corinth. XIII. 12.

[Page 212] And I will speak unto him in a Dream.] This was another way of God's revealing his Mind unto the Prophets, in their sleep; when they not only saw things represented them, but also heard a voice. And both these seem some times to have been mixed together, or to have followed one another; as in XVI Gen. 12. VII Dan. 1. VIII. 16, 17, 18. And it is a Maxim among the Jews, that there is no degree of Prophecy, but it is comprehended under one of these, Visions or Dreams. So Maimonides in his More Nevochim, P. II. cap. 32. and 41. and again cap. 43. where he saith, There is no third degree of Prophecy be­sides these two. For as for that Divine Spirit, which moved Men to speak of things appertaining to the Knowledge of God and his Praises, beyond their natural or acquired Abilities, without seeing any Fi­gures, asleep or awake, though with Assurance that it was from God, they will not have it called Pro­phecy: though they acknowledge those Parts of Scripture which they call Cetuvim, and the LXX. [...], i. e. written by the Holy Ghost, were indi­ted by that Divine Spirit; and therefore we cannot reasonably deny those that were inspired by it, the Name of Prophets.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. My Servant Moses is not so.] Doth not re­ceive my Mind, in either of those ways; and there­fore is more than a Prophet; having it communica­ted to him in a far more noble and clearer manner, which placed him in a higher rank than any other inspired Person.

Who is faithful in all my House.] Because he was in­trusted (so the word may be understood) with God's whole Family: that is, with all the Children of Is­rael: and faithfully discharged the Trust reposed in [Page 213] him, by acquainting them with all God's Will; and executing all his Commands; and doing nothing of himself (as now he was fasly accused) but only what God required. This is a high Testimony to him; and the Jews, when they are in the humour of exalt­ing Moses, say he was more faithful than the Angels of the Ministry: They are the words of R. Jose in Si­phri: and if he had said, As faithful as the Angels of the Ministry, it might have passed for a good Explication.

Ver. 8. With him will I speak, mouth to mouth.] Verse 8 In a most familiar manner; as one Friend discourses with another. So it is explained XXXIII Exod. 11. From whence Abarbinel, in his Rosch Amana, gathers, That Moses his Prophecy differed from others, in these four things: First, That God spake to others by a Mediator, (that is, as he explains it, by some Angel) but to him by himself; without the inter­vention of any other. Secondly, That they never prophesied, but their Senses were all bound up, either in Visions or in Dreams; whereas he was as perfect­ly awake, as we are when we discourse one with a­nother. Thirdly, That after the Vision was over, they were often left so weak and feeble, that they could scarce stand upon their feet; as appears from X Dan. 8, 11. but Moses spake with the Divine Ma­jesty without any consternation or alteration; his conversation with him being like that of one Friend with another. And lastly, No Prophet but he could understand the Mind of God when they pleased; for he communicated himself to them only when he thought good: whereas Moses might at any time re­sort to God, to enquire of him, and receive an answer. See IX. 8. To the same purpose also Maimonides writes in his Book de Fundamentis Legis, cap. 7.

[Page 214] Even apparently.] Plainly, clearly, and distinctly; so that there was no difficulty to apprehend his mean­ing; nor need of an Explication. Thus he proclaim­ed his Name to Moses, XXXIV Exod. 6, 7.

And not in dark Speeches.] Or, in Parables, and E­nigmatical Representations. Such as the Ladder, which Jacob saw in a Dream; the Boiling-pot which was shown to Jeremiah; the Wall, the Plumb-line, and the Basket of Summer-fruits, which Amos saw; the Beasts which were represented to Daniel; the Lamps, Moun­tain, Horses and Chariots, to Zachariah; the Roll of the Book which Ezekiel was to eat. By all which the Prophet (as Maimonides observes, whose Illustrations these are of these words) was given to understand some other thing, which was intended to be made known to him by these Figures. More Nevoch. P. II. c. 43. who in his Book, concerning the Foundations of the Law, further observes; that some of these Pro­phets had both the Parable, (as he calls it) and its In­terpretation represented to them; others the Parable only without any Exposition; and to some was only delivered the Explication.

And the Similitude of the LORD shall he behold.] I am apt to think the word not should be here again repeated (as it must be in some places to make out the Sense, as XXV Prov. 27.) which will make the meaning plainly this, he shall not behold the LORD in Simi­litudes and Resemblances, as other Prophets did. For the Hebrew word Temunah signifies the Shape of a thing represented either to the outward Senses, or to the Imagination, not the thing it self. Therefore it would be to equal Moses with the rest of the Pro­phets to say, he should see the Similitude of the LORD; for so did they. Amos, for instance, saith he, saw [Page 215] the LORD standing upon the Altar, IX. 1. that is, some Angelical Appearance in a glorious shape. And Eliphaz saith, That a Spirit passed before him, the form (or aspect) whereof he could not discern: only the Te­munah (we render it an Image) was before his Eyes, IV Job 15, 16. But God did not thus reveal himself to Moses by Images, and Similitudes of Things; but spake to him himself, as it goes before, mouth to mouth. Which led Maimonides into the opinion (which he often repeats) that when God is said to speak to any other Man, it was by an Angel; and that he never spake to any one himself, but only to Moses. Nor did any Man before him say, that God spake to him; or that he sent him on a Message unto others: but Moses was the first that had this honour; More Ne­voch. P. I. c. 63. and P. II. cap. 39.

But if we follow our Translation, which should run thus, But the Similitude of the LORD shall he behold, it relates to that wonderful Apparition of God to him in the Bush, III Exod. 6. as Maimonides thinks, More Nevochim, P. I. cap. 5. (where he saith, God poured upon him as much as he could contain) but especially to that Revelation which God made of himself to him, when he told him that he could not see his Face, but should behold his back Parts, XXXIII Exod. 20, 23. Which was a Priviledge granted to none but him. And thus the Similitude of the LORD, or his Likeness, signifies the LORD himself, XVII Psal. ult. When thy Likeness shall awake, (that is, thou thy self appear for me) I shall be satisfied.

Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my Servant Moses?] Who is my prime Minister; em­ployed by me in the highest Services.

[Page 216]Ver. 9. And the Anger of the LORD was kindled against them.] As appeared by what follows.

And he departed.] He withdrew his Presence from Verse 9 the Door of the Tabernacle, immediately before they could make any answer. Which was a token of ex­ceeding great Displeasure: as it is in us, when we will not so much as hear what Men say for them­selves, when they have highly and notoriously of­fended us, and we reprove them for it: but turn a­way from them.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And the Cloud departed from the Taberna­cle.] It was not merely taken up from it, (as it was wont to be, when they were to remove their Camp) but quite disappeared for a time; or stood at a great distance from them: till Miriam was removed from the Tabernacle, and carried out of the Camp. For that was one reason of its departure; the Divine Ma­jesty not designing to stay where so impure a Crea­ture was. And this was also a manifest token of God's high Displeasure against them; which moved him to forsake them.

And behold Miriam became leprous.] Or, was become leprous. A proper Punishment for pride, and evil speaking. Which was not inflicted upon Aaron, be­cause he was to judge of Leprosie; and was not the first in the Transgression. And besides, it is likely, God would not have one, that was but newly made his High-Priest, become vile and contemptible.

White as Snow.] Which was a mark of an incura­ble Leprosie; when all the Body was over-spread with it, IV Exod. 6. 2 Kings V. 27.

And Aaron looked upon Miriam.] As the Priest was bound to do; whose Office it was to inspect it, and judge whether it was a Leprosie or no, XIII Lev. 2, &c.

[Page 217] And behold, she was leprous.] He could not but judge her to have a Leprosie; and consequently pro­nounce her unclean.

Ver. 11. And Aaron said unto Moses.] He was Verse 11 made sensible that Moses had greater interest in God than himself; and therefore desires his intercession for them.

Alas my Lord! Have pity upon us, miserable Wretches.

I beseech thee, lay not the Sin upon us.] He suppli­cates him as his Superior, and humbly begs his par­don; and that he would obtain remission of the Pu­nishment which they had justly deserved by their Sin. For he was afraid he himself might suffer, as he saw she did.

Wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.] He prays him to look upon their Offence, as proceeding from Folly and Weakness; though in it self a great Sin.

Ver. 12. Let her not be as one dead, &c.] For so Verse 12 she was, not only legally, being to be separated from the Living; but naturally also: this being, as I said, the worst kind of Leprosie, which eat into the very Flesh, and made her look like an Abortive (as it here follows) or Still-born Child: which had lain long dead, and was half wasted away in its Mothers Womb.

Ver. 13. And Moses cried unto the LORD.] Most Verse 13 earnestly petitioned the LORD for her: such was his Meekness and Piety. And his crying, perhaps, supposes the Divine Majesty to be gone afar off, if not out of sight.

[Page 218] Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.] For it was beyond any other power but his, to recover her.

Ver. 14. And the LORD said unto Moses, if her Verse 14 Father had but spit in her face.] An expression of extream Anger, abhorrence and contempt, XXX Job 10. LII Isa. 6.

Should she not be ashamed seven days?] She could not have had the confidence to come presently into his Presence: but be ashamed, for a great while, to look him in the Face.

Let her be shut out of the Camp.] Much more is it fit, that Miriam should avoid my Presence, and not presume to come before me: who have set a greater Mark of my Indignation and Detestation upon her. For Spittle might soon be wiped off: but the Leprosie stuck to her, and made her unfit for all Conversati­on, with God or Man.

Seven days.] Which was the time for legal Clean­sing from such great Impurities, XIV Lev. 8. VI Numb. 9. XXXI. 19.

And after that let her be received in again.] I sup­pose she was presently freed from her Leprosie: but kept out from the Camp so long, to declare God's Displeasure against her; and to humble her, by ex­posing her to shame.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. And Miriam was shut out of the Camp se­ven days.] That her Offence might be known to all, by her open Punishment.

And the People journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.] For the Cloud was gone which should have directed them in their Motions. And besides, this respect perhaps was shown unto her, because she was a Prophetess: and hereby she had time given her to [Page 219] humble her self before God, and to beg his Pardon for her Sin.

Brought in again.] When one would have ex­pected that such Sacrifices should have been offered for her Cleansing, as are required in XIV Lev. But this was an extraordinary Case; she being on a sud­den miraculously struck, with the highest Degree of the Plague of Leprosie; and as suddenly cured by the same Hand that struck her.

Ver. 16. And afterward the People removed.] Which Verse 16 shows that the Cloud, which departed from the Ta­bernacle, v. 10. returned again to it, together with Miriam: that it might guide them in their removal to another Station. For till it was taken up from the Tabernacle, they stirred not from the place where they were, IX. 17, 18.

From Hazeroth.] After they had abode there seven days at the least.

And pitched in the Wilderness of Paran.] Where they were before, (See X. 12.) but now were brought into another part of it, called Rithmah, XXXIII. 18. which was call'd also by another name, Kadesh-barnea, XIII. 26 I Deut. 19. Or else we must suppose, these two Places, to have been so very near together, that they might be said to have pitched, either in the one or the other. This Station was at the foot of the Mountain on the South part of Canaan, I Deut. 20. so that their next removal was to have been into the Land promised to them, if they themselves had not hindred, by their renewed Rebellion. This removal was in the fourth Month of the second Year after they came out of the Land of Egypt. See XI. 20, 35.


Chapter XIII Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] They being now come to the Bor­ders of Canaan, the LORD ordered Moses to ex­hort them to go up, and take possession of it; and not to fear nor be discouraged; as we read in I Deut. 21. But the People (out of a distrust of God's Power, as Moses seems to intimate, IX Deut. 23.) desired they might first send some to search out the Land, before they attempted its Conquest, I Deut. 22. About which it is likely Moses consulted the Divine Majesty; who gave them leave so to do.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Send thou Men.] For their greater satisfa­ction, God ordered them to have their desire. For there seems to have been a general Fear upon them (every one of them coming to Moses with this request, I Deut. 22.) which could not be removed, but by send­ing some to bring them intelligence, what kind of Country it was, and what People they had to deal withal, v. 18, 19, 20.

That they may search the Land of Canaan.] To make a discovery, both of the Country, and of the Inhabitants; and the best way to invade it, I Deut. 22.

Which I give unto the Children of Israel.] To the pos­session of which God now intended to introduce them. For he had already brought them to the Confines of it, and bidden them go up and possess it, (I Deut. 20, 21.) but they would needs make this delay, for a discovery of the condition of the Country: which was their own contrivance at the first, and not a Divine Counsel.

[Page 221] Of every Tribe of their Fathers shall ye send a Man.] That there might be no suspicion of Partiality in their Report.

Every one a Ruler among them.] Men of Authority, and Prudence; who might be the more believed: Yet not of the highest Rank, (for such are called by the name of Princes, I. 16.) but Rulers perhaps of Thousands, who were very considerable in their Tribes. For they are called by the same name in the Hebrew; every one being said to be a NASI and a ROSCH, a Leader and a Head in their Tribes; which may incline one to think, that there were high­er and lower Persons of this sort, who had the same Title, in every Tribe.

Ver. 3. And Moses by the Commandment of the Verse 3 LORD.] Which was given him in the fifth Month (called Ab, as St. Hierom notes from the Jews) of the second Year after they came out of Egypt: It is not certain upon what day; but it is likely in the begin­ning of the Month, which answers to the nineteenth of our July, sent them from the Wilderness of Paran. From Radesh-Barnea. XXXII. 8. I Deut. 19, 20. IX. 23. XIV Josh. 7.

All those Men were heads of the Children of Israel.] So the Rulers of Thousands and Hundreds are cal­led, XVIII Exod. 25. as well as the Princes, I Numb. 16. But these were a lower sort of Heads, or great Men, in the several Tribes of Israel.

Ver. 4. And these are their Names: Of the Tribe of Verse 4 Reuben, Shammua the Son of Zaccur.] There is little to be observed concerning this Verse, and those that follow, to the XVIth. but that it is evident these were not the same Men, who in the first Chapter of this Book are called the Heads and Princes of the [Page 222] Tribes; being inferiour Persons, who ruled over some part, not over a whole Tribe. The three first Tribes also that are here mentioned, sprang from the three eldest Sons (for Levi did not make a Tribe in Israel) of Jacob: But in the Enumeration of the rest, there is not any Order observed, of which I can give an account. Perhaps they being to disperse them­selves, when they entred the Country they were to search, (see verse 22.) and thinking it not prudent to go above two (at the most) in company, cast Lots who should be associated: And the first Lot fell to those of the Tribe of Reuben and Simeon; the next to those of Judah and Issachar; and so to the rest.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. Of the Tribe of Joseph.] i. e. Of the other Branch of Joseph's Family, viz. of the Tribe of Manas­seh, as it here follows.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. These are the Names of the Men that Moses sent to spy out the Land.] He would have their Names remembred (which is the reason of this Remark) for the sake of those two worthy Men, Caleb and Joshua, whose Vertue was very illustrious, in the midst of a crooked and perverse Generation.

And Moses called Oshea the Son of Nun.] So he is called, v. 8. being named for the Tribe of E­phraim.

Jehoshua.] He was called by this name presently after they came out of Egypt, (XVII Exod. 9.) when he went to fight with Amalek. Whom he having o­vercome, Moses lookt upon it as a Token that he should save and deliver the People of Israel; and then called him by this Name. Which imports some thing more than Oshea; for that denotes only a Prayer for Salvation, (as Menochius observes) but this carries in [Page 223] it a Promise of it. And some think the addition of the first Letter in the name Jehoshua, was from the name of JEHOVAH: Implying that the LORD would imploy him, in leading and conducting his People into the Land of Promise. Wherein he was a Type of the Saviour of the World, the LORD JESUS, (whose Name is the same with this) who conducts those that believe on him, to an Heavenly Inheritance.

If I could find the like comfortable Signification in the rest of the Names of these Men, I should think there might be some ground for their Opinion, who fancy Moses chose Joshua because there was a good Omen in his very Name. For all Nations took great care that no Man should be imployed in Affairs of moment, whose Names carry any unlucky Significa­tion in them. So Cicero observes in his first Book of Divination, that the Generals of Armies, and the Censors, took care that none should so much as lead the Sacrifices to the Altar, but who were bonis Nomi­nibus, of Names that signified Good. Of which the Consuls also were very observant, ut primus miles fiat bono nomine, that the first Souldier whom they listed, should be of a good Name; such as Valerius, Salvius, Statorius, or the like. On the contrary, the Name of Naevius was deemed so bad, that in his Oration pro Quinct. Sext. he saith, having named the Man, methinks I have said enough.

Ver. 17. And Moses sent them to spy out the Land, and Verse 17 said unto them.] That is, when he sent them to spy out the Land, (as was said in the foregoing Verse) he gave them the following Directions.

[Page 224] Get ye up this way Southward.] This South-part of Canaan fell afterward to be part of the Lot of the Tribe of Judah, XV Josh. 1, 2, 3. and was very dry, and consequently barren, I Judg. 15. and therefore fittest for their entrance to spy out the Land unob­served; being less inhabited, than the better parts of the Country. Besides, it was nearest to the place where they now were encamped.

And go up into the Mountain.] Where the Amorites dwelt, I Deut. 19. together with some Amalekites, and other People, XIV. 43, 45. From whence they were to go down into the Valleys.

Verse 18 Ver. 18. And see the Land what it is, and the People that dwell therein.] These are the general Directions which he gave them, to inform themselves, both of the Country, and of its Inhabitants.

Whether they be strong or weak, few or many.] In par­ticular, with respect to the latter, he directs them to in­form themselves whether the Inhabitants were strong bodied, or feeble; and whether their number was great or small.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And what the Land is that they dwell in, whe­ther it be good or bad.] And with respect to the for­mer, he would have them bring an account first, what sort of Country it was, whether healthful and de­lightful, or unwholesome and unpleasant.

And what Cities there be, that they dwell in.] And then how large their Cities were, and of what strength.

Whether in Tents, or in strong Holds.] Whether they lived in Tents, as the Arabians did, (and the Israelites while they were in the Wilderness) or in Houses; and whether they were fortified. Or rather (as we would say in our Language) whether in open [Page 225] Villages, or in walled Cities: For so the word Maha­naim signifies, not Tents (as we here translate it) but Hosts or Camps, XXXII Gen. 1. and here Towns with­out Walls, as the LXX. interprets it: And the Vul­gar Verse 20 also, only inverting the order of the words, whe­ther in walled Towns, or without walls.

Ver. 20. And what the Land is, &c.] And last of all, what is the Soil of the Country; whether rich and fertile, or poor and barren: and also whether it be a woody Country, or otherwise?

And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the Land.] In which Discoveries, there being some hazard, he bids them be confident God would pre­serve them: so that they might venture to bring a­way with them, some of the Fruit which the Coun­try produced.

Now the time, was the time of the first ripe Grapes.] Towards the Vintage.

Ver. 21. So they went up, and searched the Land Verse 21 from the Wilderness of Zin.] Which was on the South of the Land of Canaan, XXXIV. 3. XV Josh. 1, 3. being different from the Wilderness of Sin; which lay near to Egypt, XVI Exod. 1.

Ʋnto Rehob, as Men come to Hamath.] The City of Rehob lay in the North of the Land of Canaan; and fell to the Lot of the Tribe of Asher, XIX Josh. 28. And it lay not far from Hamath (which, in after times, was called Ephiphania) a City which we very often read of afterwards, as the bounds of Ju­daea Northward; which Moses saith was unto the en­trance of Hamath, XXXIV. 8. So that they took a Survey of the whole Country, from one end of it to the other, South and North: and also, as they passed along, observed those Parts that lay East and West. [Page 226] For they gave an account of the Canaanites, as dwel­ling by the Sea, (which was Westward) and by the Coast of Jordan, which was on the East, v. 29. Or, if by the Sea we understand, not the Western Ocean, but the dead Sea, (as some do) yet it appears by these ve­ry words, that they bent their Course, as they passed from South to North, unto the Western and Eastern Parts also. For Rehob and Hamath both lay at the foot of Libanus: one to the North-west (towards Si­don) and the other to the North-east.

Verse 22 Ver. 22. And they ascended by the South.] In their return from searching the Country.

And came unto Hebron.] That is, Some of them. For the words in the Hebrew is not they came, (as it is they ascended) but he came. Which demonstrates that they did not go all of them together in a Company, (for that had been dangerous, and might have made them taken notice of) but dispersed themselves; some going to discover one place, some another. And it is a probable Conjecture of some of the He­brew Doctors, that Caleb was the Man that went to take a view of Hebron; and was so little affrighted at the sight of the Giants there, that he was the very Person that afterward drove them out; and had this place given him for his Portion: For it was in the South part of the Lot of the Tribe of Judah; being formerly called Kirjath-Arba, XIV Josh. 9, 12, 14.

Where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Children of Anak were.] These were the Grand-children of Arba (from whom Hebron had the name of Kirjath-Arba, i. e. the City of Arba) who was the Father of Anak. Whose Family was more eminent than any other in Canaan: these three Sons of his, being Men not only of great Bulk, but Prowess and Valour. [Page 227] Bochartus thinks (Lib. I. Canaan, cap. 1.) that Anak signifies as much as the Roman name Toropiatus; being like to that Gaul whom Manlius vanquished. And Ahiman signifies as much as, Who is my Brother? im­porting there was none to be compared with him. Sesai he takes to be as much as Sixtius, viz. Six Cubits high, as Goliath was. And Talmai he derives from Talam, a Furrow: as if he seemed in length to equal a Furrow in the Field. These were the People that made the Israelites tremble: for it is likely their whole Family were of a very large Stature, though not so big as these. And indeed, they were so very terri­ble to all their Neighbours, that it became a Prover­bial saying in those Countries, Who can stand before the Children of Anak? IX Deut. 2.

Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in E­gypt.] The Egyptians boasted of the great Antiquity of their Nation and Cities: But Moses shows that Hebron was built before the Capital City of their Country. For so Zoan was; and called in after A­ges Tanis: lying not far from that Mouth of the Ri­ver Nile, which from thence was called by Plutarch [...]. R. Solomon will have it, that Hebron was built by Cham, one of the three Sons of Noah, and the Father of Mizraim; from whom the Egypti­ans descended. But of this there is no certainty: and the Gemara upon Sota, cap. 7. saith, It is not likely that a Man would build a House for his younger Son, before he had built one for his elder; for Canaan was the youngest of all the Sons of Cham, X Gen. 6. Yet those Doctors are willing to suppose that Cham built both these Cities; and therefore interpret the word banah, which is rightly translated built, as if it signi­fied fruitful, (according to XVI Gen. 2.) and make [Page 228] the Sense to be, That Hebron was seven times more fruitful than Zoan. Which is very foolish; as upon other accounts, so on this, that Hebron was a strong place, and therefore not fertile.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. And they came unto the Brook Eshchol.] A place which lay in a Valley, at the foot of the Mountain, I Deut. 24.

And cut down from thence a Branch with one Cluster of Grapes.] This was done, no doubt, in some pri­vate place, upon the Southern Borders of Canaan; just as they were returning to the Camp of Israel a­gain. For it would have given the Country too great an Alarm, if they had marched in the High-way, with this Bunch upon their Shoulders.

And they bare it between two.] A great many Au­thors mention Vines and Grapes of an extraordinary bigness in those Eastern and Southern Countries. I need only refer to Strabo, who says the Vines in Mar­giana, and other places, were so big that two Men could scarce compass them with their Arms; and that they produced [...], a Bunch of Grapes of two Cubits, Lib. II. Geograph. p. 73. and Lib. XI. p. 516. Which is in part justified by Olearius in his late Travels into Persia, Book III. where he saith, not far from Astracan, he saw Vines, whose Trunks were so thick, that a Man could do no more than grasp them about with both his Arms. And Forsterus in his Dictionarium Hebraicum, p. 862. saith there was a Preacher at Norimberg, called Achacius, who lived as a Monk eight Years in the Holy Land, (as they call it) who told him upon his Sick-bed, That in his time there were Clusters of Grapes at Hebron, of such big­ness, that one single Kernel was sufficient to quench his Thirst a whole day; when he was sick there of a [Page 229] Tympany. J. Conradus Dieterius hath collected a great deal more to this purpose out of Leo Africanus and Nic. Radzivillius, and other Authors, in his An­tiq. Biblicae, p. 249. And since him the most learned Huetius in his Quaestiones Alnetanae, Lib. II. cap. 12. n. 24. where, among other things, he observes that Crete, Chios, and other Islands in the Archipelago, af­ford Bunches of Grapes of ten pound weight; some­times of thirty six, yea, of forty. And he mentions Grapes of a prodigious bigness in the Island of Ma­dera.

Ʋpon a Staff.] See IV. 10.

And they brought of the Pomegranates and Figs.] Which grew in the parts nearest to the place where the Israelites were encamped.

Ver. 24. The place was called the Brook Eshcol, be­cause Verse 24 of the Cluster of Grapes which the Children of Is­rael cut down from thence.] That is, when the Isra­elites got possession of the Land, they called this Brook (or Valley) by the name of Eshcol, in memory of this Bunch of Grapes: for so Eshcol signifies.

Ver. 25. And they returned from searching of the Verse 25 Land.] Came back to the Camp of Israel.

After forty days.] This shows that they did not take a cursory view of the Country; but took time enough to make their Observations. And the ripe Fruit which they brought with them, after they had been forty Days from the Camp, demonstrates that their return was in the latter end of the sixth Month, very near to the seventh; that is, in the end of the Year, according to the old Stile of that Nation. For on the fifteenth Day of the seventh Month God order­ed the Feast of Tabernacles to be celebrated: a lit­tle before which they gathered both their Harvest and [Page 230] their Vintage, XXIII Exod. 16. XXIII Lev. 39. XVI Deut. 13.

Verse 26 Ver. 26. And they went and came to Moses and to Aaron, &c.] They went up the Mountain from Esh­col; and came down on the other side of it, to Moses and Aaron, and all the Congregation, I Deut. 24, 25.

Ʋnto the Wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh.] Unto the place from whence they were sent; which was Kadesh-barnea, (See v. 3. & IX Deut. 23.) which is here in short called Kadesh; but is quite different from that Kadesh we read of afterward, XXI. 1. For that was in the Wilderness of Sin; and they did not come to it till the fortieth Year after they came out of Egypt, XXXIII. 37, 38. whereas they were at this Kadesh in the second Year; before they were doom­ed to wander forty Years in the Wilderness.

And brought back word unto them, and unto all the Congregation.] Gave a publick Account, before Moses and Aaron, of what they had discovered.

And shewed them the Fruit of the Land.] And at the same time presented to them the Cluster of Grapes, the Pomegranates and Figs which they had brought with them.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. And they told him, and said.] They ad­dress their Relation to Moses; because he sent them, v. 2.

We came unto the Land whether thou sentest us.] I suppose they chose some of their number, to speak in the name of the rest: and first they give an account of the Land, as he required, v. 19, 20.

And surely it floweth with Milk and Honey.] Their report of the Condition of the Land, was as ho­nest as could be desired: for they testifie it to be [Page 231] such as God promised to bestow upon them, XXXIII Exod. 3.

And this is the Fruit of it.] They prove what they say, by a Sample of the Product of it. Which was so large, that some of the Jews fancy there were eight Men imployed to carry this one Cluster, as they say in the Gemara Sotae, cap. 7. Of which the Spies made this wicked use, as from thence to tell their Bre­thren, You see this goodly Fruit, how vast it is: but be­lieve us, the Inhabitants of the Country exceed us, and all other Men in stature, as much as this Fruit exceeds all other of the same kind, throughout the World. So Wagenseil explains the sense of their Discourse in that place, Sect. 4.

Ver. 28. Nevertheless the People be strong that dwell Verse 28 in the Land; and the Cities are walled and very great.] This is an account of the other part of the Enquiry Moses commanded them to make, concerning the In­habitants, and their Cities, v. 18.

And moreover, we saw the Children of the Anakims there.] See v. 22. All this was true; but spoken in such a manner as to represent the Conquest of the Country exceeding difficult, if not impossible. So they explain their meaning in down-right words, v. 31. and so the People understood them, I Deut. 28. where these frightful People are called the Sons of the Anakims. For they saw not only those three men­tioned before, v. 22. but others also that were de­scended from them; who, as I there noted, were gi­gantick Persons. So the LXX. translate these words [...], and so the Chaldee; and so the Jews use the word Anakim to signifie Giants: particularly Benjamin Tud [...]lensis, p. 3. of his Itinerary. Where L'Empereur thinks it probable they were called Ana­kims, [Page 232] à torque quo colla superbe cingebant, from a Col­lar or Chain, which they proudly wore about their Necks: for the word Anak properly signifies collum torque cingere, (p. 136.) to wreath a Chain about the Neck. But it is evident they had their Name from their Progenitor, Anak the Son of Arba: whence he was so called, we do not know.

Verse 29 Ver. 29. The Amalekites dwell in the Land of the South.] They do not represent the Amalekites as In­habitants of the Land of Canaan; but they observe that they lay on the South border of it. Where, if they went about to enter, in all probability, that Na­tion (which were their early Enemies when they came out of Egypt) would help to oppose them in their Attempt, as much as the People of Canaan. For that's their intention, in the following report, to show what a stout People they must encounter, which way soever they endeavoured to enter into Canaan.

And the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amo­rites.] An account of all these, see XV Gen. 20, 21.

Dwell in the Mountains.] Which were in the en­trance of the Land of Canaan on the South-east part of it. Particularly the Amorites, it is evident, were plant­ed there, upon the Mountains of the Borders of Ca­naan, I Deut. 27.44. And many of them had made an expedition into the Country beyond Jordan, where they had possessed themselves of Bashan and Heshbon, and all the Land between the Rivers Jabbok and Ar­non. For they were a very warlike People, and of great stature, II Amos 9. which made these Searchers of their Land afraid of them; and bid their Bre­thren consider whether they thought they should be able to dispute their passage with them: which they plainly suggest, in their Opinion, they could not. [Page 233] For the Jebusites were another mighty People, whom after the Conquest of Canaan, they could not of a long time dispossess of Mount Sion. I need not say how terrible the Hittites were; for it is probable from thence came the word hittha, which signifies a Fright and sudden Consternation, as Bochartus hath obser­ved in his Phalag. Lib. IV. cap. 36.

And the Canaanites.] Those who were particu­larly called by this Name. See XV Gen. 21.

Dwelt by the Sea.] It is certain that the Canaanites dwelt by the Ocean, called the Midland-Sea; for they seem to have had their Names from Merchandizing; for which that situation was most proper; and for that reason others of them were seated near Jordan. This, I think, is plain from I Deut. 7. And besides, the word Sea alone, commonly signifies that great Ocean. But it being plain that they were also seated, as it here follows, upon the River Jordan, it is possible that by Sea, may be meant in this place, the dead Sea, or the Lake of Genesereth, or both of them; because they were near Jordan, which ran into them.

And by the Coast of Jordan.] Where the Canaanites were also seated, as is evident from XI Deut. 30. For there were both Western and Eastern Canaanites, as appears from XI Josh. 3. and they are frequently joyned with the Perizzites (particularly I Judg. 4.) who were a fierce sort of rough People, that dwelt in the woody part of the Mountains. So that the Intentions of the Men, who made this Report, was, to represent to the People, that whether they invaded the Land by the Southern Parts, or the Eastern, they would find both strongly guarded by a mighty People, much superiour to them in force. Which account, the following verse shows, put the People into a Tumult.

[Page 234]Ver. 30. And Caleb stilled the People.] It is plain by this, that the People understood by their way of speaking, Countenances and Gestures, that the mean­ing of these Men who made this Report (which was not false in it self) was, that though the Country indeed was very rich and desirable, yet it was impos­sible for them to drive the Inhabitants out of it. Which put them into a mutinous Disposition, as Ca­leb perceived by their Looks and their Muttering; and therefore stept forth, before it brake out, to quiet their Spirits with his Account of the Country and In­habitants, in which Joshua, no question, joyned with him. It is not indeed here mentioned, because Ca­leb perhaps stood next to those who began to make a Commotion, and therefore spake first: but he was seconded by Joshua, we may be sure; because we find him mentioned in the next Chapter, and in the first place, together with Caleb, as indeavouring to ap­pease the Tumult. And he is not only exempted from the Punishment inflicted upon the People for their Rebellion, XIV. 30, 38. but is expresly said to have followed the LORD fully, as well as Caleb, XXXII. 12.

Before Moses.] The Hebrew Phrase El Moscheh, may signifie that he stilled them, as they were coming to­wards Moses in a Seditious manner; or, quieted them so far, as to make them hearken to Moses; or, as we render it, in his Presence, when they were ready to fly in his Face. One of the Doctors in the Gemara before-mentioned, cap. 9. saith, That Joshua being a­bout to speak, they bitterly reproached him, and would not suffer him to proceed. And therefore Ca­leb thought good to give them a great many blandish­ing words, and to call Moses this Son of Amram, which [Page 235] lookt like Contempt of him; whereby he stilled them, and disposed them to listen to him. And then he said, Is not he the Person that brought us out of E­gypt, that divided the Red Sea, for us to pass through it; that gave us Manna from Heaven? What if he should bid us make Ladders and climb up into the Skies, should we not obey him?

And said, Let us go up at once?] Or, go up im­mediately, without a stop.

And possess it.] He speaks as if it were already their own, (as indeed it was, by God's gift) and they need only enter and take possession of it.

For we are able to overcome it.] There will be no such difficulty, as these Men represent, in the Con­quest of it.

Ver. 31. But the Men that went up with him.] The Verse 31 rest of the Company that went to search the Land; who if they had not persisted in their Unbelief, the People perhaps might have been perfectly appeased by Caleb and Joshua.

Said, We be not able.] Now they open their Minds more plainly, in their Reply to Caleb. Whom they oppose directly; and declare their Opinion down­right, that they were not an equal Match for their Enemies.

To go up against the People.] To beat them out of the Mountains, which they inhabited.

For they are stronger than we.] These Men had no confidence in the Promise and Power of God, on which Caleb and Joshua relyed; but measured all things by Human strength.

Ver. 32. And they brought up an evil report of the Verse 32 Land which they had searched, unto the Children of Israel.] In the heat of their Opposition, they now [Page 236] disparage the Country, which they had before prais­ed, v. 27. and also stretch their Report of the Inha­bitants beyond the Truth.

Saying, The Land through which we have gone to search, is a Land that eateth up the Inhabitants thereof.] Unless we suppose that there was a great Plague at this time in the Country, as the Hebrews do (who love to excuse their Fore-fathers sins) this was a gross lie. But take it as they suppose, yet this was a very malignant Report. For if they saw the People of the Country every where, as they passed along, carry­ing their Neighbours to their Graves, (as the Jews tell the Tale) this which they should have ascribed to the Providence of God, who sent this Mortality that they might have fewer Enemies to oppose them, and that these Spies might pass more freely, and less ob­served; they most wickedly ascribe to the badness of the Air: which being very unhealthful to the Na­tives, might well be thought would be much more so to Strangers. Thus bad Minds (as the aforesaid Gemara glosses well enough upon this Story) turn that which God intends for their Benefit, into their Hurt. And if we had any better Authority for this Story, the word achal (which we translate eat up) would well enough agree with it. For, as Maimonides ob­serves in the first part of his More Nevoch. cap. 30. it is used in the Holy Scriptures, concerning any kind of Consumption, Destruction, or Desolation: As here in this Book, XI. 1. XXVI Lev. 38. 2 Sam. II. 26, &c.

And all the People that we saw in it were Men of great Stature.] The Hebrew Phrase is, Men of Measures, [...], as the LXX. translate it, Men of larger size than the rest of Mankind. Which we have [Page 237] no reason to think was true: But having seen the Sons of Anak in one part of the Country, they ima­gined all the rest of the People to be near unto their Stature. For this is the Description of that Giant of Gath, mentioned 1 Chron. XX. 6. where he is called a Man of Measure; and 2 Sam. XXI. 20. where he is called in the Plural Number, (as they are here) a Man of Measures, [...], a Man above the common bigness. And thus very great Houses are cal­led Houses of Measure, XXII Jerem. 24.

Ver. 33. And there we saw the Giants.] Men of Verse 33 greater Bulk and Strength, than the biggest of those very great Men, (see VI Gen. 4.) which they spake of in the foregoing words.

The Sons of Anak.] They had mentioned this once before, v. 28. and now repeat it again; because they were struck with such a Terror at the sight of them, that they were always at their Tongues end. Just, as Homer mentions, [...], as Bochartus makes the Comparison, Lib. I. Canaan, cap. 1.

Which came of the Giants.] Who were descended from a Gigantick Race of Men; particularly from Arba, who was their Grand-father, as Joshua tells us, XIV. 15. XV. 13, 14, &c. Where he shows how Caleb drove these Anakims out of their Cities, and made them fly to the Philistims; where there were some Remainders of them, till the days of David. And others of them, perhaps, fled into Greece; for there was a Race of Men among the Greeks called [...]; who Vossius thinks it probable might descend from these Children of Anak. Lib. I. de Orig. & Pro­gressu Idolol. cap. XIII.

[Page 238] And we were in our own sight as Grashoppers.] Their Fear magnified them above measure; though no doubt they were Men of such an extraordinary heighth, Verse 26 that they might look upon themselves to be as small and contemptible, as Grashoppers are compared with us. And such very tall Men there are still in some parts of the World, as Job Ludolphus observes in his Commentary upon his Histor. Aethiopica, Lib. I. cap. 2. n. 22.

And so we were in their fight.] One of the Jewish Doctors makes bold to call these Men Liars: For though their Fear might make them seem in their own sight as Grashoppers, yet how could they tell, saith he, that they were so in the sight of the Children of Anak? Here the Gemarists (in the place I mentioned above, cap. 10.) endeavour to help them out, by con­tinuing the Tale of the great Mortality, which was then in those Countries. Where a Funeral-Feast (as the manner was) being one day made under certain Cedar-trees, which are very shady; the Spies got up to the top of them, to hide themselves among the thick Boughs. But the People below hapning to look up, the Spies heard them say, there are Men got up into the Trees, who look like Grashoppers. But there needs no such Inventions to defend them, when an Hyperbole will do it: Their plain meaning being this, that the Anakims looked down upon them with the utmost Contempt.

By all which it appears, that they had not only a sight of the Anakims, but the Anakims also saw them; and lookt upon them, it is likely, as they did upon other Travellers; who were wont to come thither, either for their Pleasure, or to traffick in their Coun­try; or in their way to other places. Whom it was [Page 239] not their Custom to examine strictly, whence they came, and what their business was; but let pass to and fro among them freely.


Chapter XVI Ver. 1. AND all the Congregation.] By all the Con­gregation Verse 1 may be here meant all the great Men, (for so the Phrase sometimes signifies) except Caleb and Joshua, and perhaps some few others.

Lift up their Voice and cried.] Shrieked, and made loud Lamentations.

And the People wept.] Which put all the People into Tears.

That night.] Which followed after the Report made by the Spies.

Ver. 2. And all the Children of Israel murmured a­gainst Verse 2 Moses, and against Aaron.] As they had fre­quently done before; but now in a more tumultuous manner.

And the whole Congregation said unto them.] The great Men spake in the name of the whole body of the People.

Would God that we had died in the Land of Egypt.] In a Fit of Fury and Despair, they quite forgot how miraculously God had brought them from thence; and consequently could as easily bring them into Ca­naan.

Or would God we had died in this Wilderness.] When several of their Brethren were burnt, and smote with a very great Plague; in this very Wilderness of Pa­ran, XI. 1, 33.

[Page 240]Ver. 3. Wherefore hath the LORD brought us into this Land?] Having vented their Passion against God's Ministers; they most undutifully accuse him, as if he Verse 3 had dealt deceitfully with them.

To fall by the Sword.] Of the Children of Anak, who they fancied were irresistible.

That our Wives and Children should be a prey?] To the People of Canaan, after all the Men of Israel were killed.

Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?] Their Rage deprived them of the use of their Rea­son.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And they said one to another, let us make a Captain, and let us return into Egypt.] They knew that Moses would not conduct them thither; and therefore they thought of chusing another Leader. But though they might in a Raging Fit speak of re­turning to Egypt, yet it is an amazing thing that they should continue in this Madness, and deliberate a­bout it; nay actually appoint them a Captain, as Ne­hemiah saith they did, IX. 17. For how could they get thither without Food? which they could not ex­pect God would send them from Heaven, when they had forsaken him. Or how could they hope to find their way, when his Cloud, which directed them, was withdrawn from them? Or hope to deal with those, that might oppose their Passage, if they hit upon the right way? And after all, if they came into Egypt, what Entertainment could they look for there, a­mong a People, whose King, and Princes, and First-born, had lately perished on their account? Nothing can be said in answer to these things; but that outra­gious Discontent will not suffer Men to consider any thing, but that which grieves them; and that foul In­gratitude [Page 241] and Forgetfulness of God's Benefits, and that throws them into such Discontents.

Ver. 5. And Moses and Aaron fell on their faces.] To deprecate God's Displeasure; which lately arose a­gainst Verse 5 them, upon a less occasion than this, XI. 33. and they might justly fear would now destroy them all, for their incurable Infidelity; as Josephus ex­plains it.

Before all the Assembly of the Congregation of the Chil­dren of Israel.] Some fancy that their falling down before them, was to beseech them to desist from their Murmuring; and to trust in God, who would go before them, and sight for them; as he saith he told them, I Deut. 29, 30. But falling on their Faces being the Posture of the most humble Supplicants to God, and not to Men, (as all understand it in other places, particularly XVI. 4. XX. 6.) their falling down before the Assembly signifies no more, but that in their presence Moses and Aaron humbled themselves deeply before the Divine Majesty; and prayed to him with the greatest Earnestness, to forgive them, and to bestow a better Mind upon them. Which they did in their presence, to awaken them to consider the danger they were in by their heinous Sin; that they themselves might cry to him for Mercy. For the u­sual Posture of Prayer in that Nation was standing; but in very great Distress, and Anxiety of Mind, when they were exceeding solicitous to obtain their Peti­tion, they kneeled down, and sometimes fell on their Faces; which was still a sign of greater Ardor, and Concernment, as appears from our Blessed Saviour, XXVI Matth. 39. XXII Luke 41.

[Page 242]Ver. 6. And Joshua the Son of Nun, and Caleb the Son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the Land, rent their Clothes.] As the manner was, on any Verse 6 sad and doleful occasion; especially when they heard any Man blaspheme the Divine Majesty; in Detestation of the Impiety, and to declare their Sor­row, and Indignation, and Dread of God's Judg­ments; as appears from XXXVI Jerem. 24. Where the Stupidity of Jehojakim, and his Servants, is repre­sented by this, that when they heard the words which the Prophet declared in God's Name against Judah, they were not afraid, nor rent their Garments.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. And they spake unto all the Company of the Children of Israel, saying.] This showed great Courage, that they durst declare their Opinion, contrary to the Sense of so great a multitude.

The Land which we passed thorough to search it, is an exceeding good Land.] This is opposed to what their Fellows had said, that it was a Land, which eat up its Inhabitants, XIII. 32. Quite contrary they as­sure them it was very, very good; as the words are in the Hebrew: And so expressed by the Chaldee, and the LXX, exceeding, exceeding good. That is, every way desirable; for thus the Hebrews express the Su­perlative Degree.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this Land, and give it us.] If we do not forfeit his Favour, he will make us so happy, as to drive out the Canaanites, and settle us in the Pos­session of this Land.

A Land which floweth with Milk and Honey.] As their Companions themselves had confessed, XIII. 27.

[Page 243]Ver. 9. Only rebel ye not against the LORD.] By slighting his Goodness, by Murmuring, and discon­tented Speeches, and talking of going back to Egypt, v. 2, 3, 4.Verse 9

Neither fear ye the People of the Land.] This is op­posed to what the rest of the Spies had said, concern­ing the mighty Power and Strength of the Inhabi­tants of Canaan, XIII. 28, 29, 31, &c.

For they are Bread for us.] We shall as easily vanquish them, as we eat our Meat.

Their Defence is departed from them.] In the Hebrew the words are, their Shadow; whereby Men being defended from Heat in those Countries, it signifies the Protection which God gives Men from those things that might hurt them. Which Divine Protection they tell the People, was now withdrawn from the Ca­naanites, who had filled up the measure of their Ini­quities, (XV Gen. 16.) and now were exposed as a Prey to the Israelites.

And the LORD is with us.] For on the contrary, they entreat the People to consider, that God who was departed from the Canaanites, was with them to aid and assist them in the Conquest of the Country. And for both these reasons, they needed not to fear them. So they conclude their Speech, like Men of an undaunted Spirit, in these words; fear them not.

Ver. 10. But all the Congregation.] The Hebrew Verse 10 words Col Ha Edah, as I observed, v. 1. signifies all the great Men; the Rulers of the rest.

Bad stone them with stones.] Ordered the People to stone them to Death; as they had done, it is likely, if they had not been deterred from the Attempt, by the Appearance of the Divine Majesty. For the Hebrew [Page 244] word amar (as Maimonides observes in his More Ne­vochim. P. I. cap. 65.) is used not only concerning that which is spoken or thought, but of what is de­creed and resolved. And he produces these words as an instance of it, together with II Exod. 14. 2 Sam. XXI. 16.

And the Glory of the LORD appeared.] The SCHECHINAH which resided within the Taber­nacle, upon the Mercy-Seat, now openly appeared, in a bright flaming Light, like Fire: And, in all probability, after such an amazing manner as terrified them from their Design. Thus it appeared on Mount Sinai, to fright them from approaching near unto it, XXIV Exod. 17. (from whence Moses saith the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, IV Deut. 24.) and thus it appeared afterward, XVI Numb. 19, 42.

In the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] Or rather up­on the Tabernacle, (for in the Tabernacle the Peo­ple could not have seen it, as now they did) over the most Holy place; which the Cloud constantly cove­red, over the Mercy-Seat, where the Divine Glory dwelt. See IX. 15.

Before all the Children of Israel.] Both to fright them, as I said, from their purpose of stoning Joshua and Caleb; and to show his Anger and Displeasure at their Rebellion, which it is likely, appeared by the Flashes that came from the glorious Flame.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. And the LORD said unto Moses.] In an­swer, I suppose, unto his Prayer, v. 5.

How long will this People provoke me?] Shall I always bear with their most undutiful Behaviour; which will provoke the greatest Patience unto Anger?

[Page 245] How long will it be ere they believe me.] Dost thou not see that their belief is incurable?

For all the Signs which I have shewed among them?] Since they continue in it, notwithstanding all the Wonders I have done, to convince them of my Power and Faithfulness.

Ver. 12. I will smite them with a Pestilence.] Send Verse 12 a Pestilential Disease among them, to sweep them a­way at once: as the fifteenth Verse interprets it. See XXXII Exod. 10.

And disinherit them.] And so deprive them and theirs of the Country which I promised to their Fa­thers for an Inheritance, XV Gen. 7. This was not an irrevocable Decree, but a Threatning: which God changed into another severe Punishment.

And will make of thee a greater Nation, and mightier than they.] Fulfil my Promise to Abraham, by ma­king thee the Father of a more numerous People, and more powerful, than they whom I reject.

Ver. 13. And Moses said unto the LORD, then Verse 13 the Egyptians will hear it, (for thou broughtest up this People by thy might from among them.)] It is an abrupt kind of Speech, proceeding from the great disturbance which this Threatning made in his Mind: being as much as if he had said, If thou thus destroy them, the Egyptians, when they hear of it will Triumph: and thou wilt lose all the Honour thou hast got, by the wonderful Deliverance thou didst work for thy People from their Bondage.

Ver. 14. And they will tell it to the Inhabitants of Verse 14 this Land.] Or rather, they will say to the Inhabitants of this Land, i. e. the Canaanites; with whom the E­gyptians had frequent Commerce.

[Page 246] For they have heard, &c.] The word for is not in the Hebrew: and the Sense will be more plain if we omit it, and translate the whole thus; They will say to the Inhabitants of this Land, they have heard that thou LORD art among this People. That is, that there was a glorious Token of thy Presence among us.

That thou LORD art seen face to face.] And spakest to us from Mount Sinai out of that glorious Cloud; which there appeared unto all the People, XIX Exod. 18. XX. 1. XXIV. 16, 17. IV Deut. 12.

And that thy Cloud standeth over them.] X Numb. 34.

And that thou goest before them, by day time in a Pillar of a Cloud, and in a Pillar of Fire by Night.] XIII Exod. 21.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. Now if thou shalt kill all this People.] Or rather, But thou hast killed all this People.

As one Man.] On a sudden, with one stroke: as if they had all but one Life.

Then the Nations which have heard the fame of thee, will speak, saying.] Of which the Nations that have heard the fore-named Report of thy Majesty, will make this Construction.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. Because the LORD was not able to bring this People into the Land.] Because he whom they called Omnipotent, was indeed defective in his Pow­er: which at last failed him, so that he could not compleat what he had undertaken.

Which he sware unto them.] XV Gen. 17, 18. XXIV. 7.

Therefore he hath slain them in the Wilderness.] Killed them all, before they came to the Land he had solemnly promised to them: for that was an easier work, than to make good his word.

[Page 247]The sum of this Argument is, That it would be a great disparagement to the Divine Majesty, if he now destroyed this Nation, because his Enemies would conclude, he had deluded them with false Promises, which he wanted Power to effect.

Ver. 17. And now, I beseech thee, let the Power of Verse 17 my LORD be great.] That is, let it appear to be unlimited, by bringing them into the Land which he sware to give them, (v. 16.) or by pardoning their Sin, which had provoked his high displeasure against them, v. 11. For by Power may be meant, either that which is properly called by that Name, viz. his Om­nipotence, which can conquer all Opposition: Or, his Mercy and Clemency, in overcoming his Anger, and bearing with an ungrateful People. Which a­grees very well with what follows: but both tend to the same meaning, that he would not destroy them; but bestow the Land of Canaan upon them, according to his Intentions.

According as thou hast spoken, saying.] Which will be suitable to thy blessed Nature; which thou didst proclaim to me, when thy Glory passed by me, XXXI Exod. 22. XXXIV. 5, 6.

Ver. 18. The LORD is long-suffering, and of great Verse 18 mercy, forgiving iniquity, &c.] In these very words (though something more largely) God proclaim'd his Name to Moses, when he showed him his Glory, XXXIV Exod. 6, 7. where they are explained.

And by no means clearing the guilty.] Even these words (according to the Interpretation I have there given of them) are a plain Argument to move the Divine Goodness to pardon their Sin. But the next words [visiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children, &c.] seem to be directly contrary to the in­tention [Page 248] of his Petition, till it be considered, that they had not now committed Idolatry, against which Sin, God, in these words, particularly declares his Severity; and that Moses did not now plead for an absolute Pardon, without any Punishment at all: but only that he would not destroy the whole Nation, as one Man, and utterly disinherit them; as he seem­ed resolved to do, v. 12, 15. This Threatning he hoped his gracious Nature would incline him to re­voke; notwithstanding which he might visit the Sin of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth Generation. That is, punish them and their Posterity a long time. And so this latter part of the verse is to be interpreted (according to what I obser­ved, XXXIV Exod. 7.) in making desolate he will not make quite desolate, though he visit the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children, &c.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. Pardon, I beseech thee, the Iniquity of this People.] So far as not to destroy them utterly.

According to the greatness of thy Mercy.] Which God himself had proclaimed, v. 18.

As thou hast forgiven this People, from Egypt, even until now.] This looks like an Argument against them: for they having provoked him so often, as they had done since they came out of Egypt in the space of one Year and a little more, (See v. 22.) and been as of­ten forgiven; it might seem more reasonable that he should now punish them, and not forgive them any more. But he appeals to that long-suffering Goodness which he mentions as the prime Character of the Di­vine Nature, v. 18. which though it had been exer­cised by them many ways, yet he hoped would still bear longer with them.

[Page 249]Ver. 20. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word.] Granted thy desire, not to destroy them utterly, and altogether, v. 12, 15.

Ver. 21. But as truly as I live, all the Earth shall be Verse 20 filled with the Glory of the LORD.] In the Hebrew Verse 21 the words run plainly thus, As true as I live, and that all the Earth shall be (or, hath been) filled with the Glory of the LORD. For so the Egyptians themselves confessed, (v. 14.) that the fame of it was come to them: and afterwards he did many more wonderful things, when he brought them into Canaan. Unto which (if these words be taken in the Future Tense) he hath respect, when he saith, As true as that he would in a most glorious manner subdue the Canaanites, not one of these murmuring Israelites should come into that good Land.

Ver. 22. Because all these Men, &c.] The sence Verse 22 would have been clear, if we had left out the word because, as we might have done, the Hebrew Particle ki being sometimes only an expletive: or if we had translated it that, as it signifies in XXII Gen. 17. and many other places. For the meaning plainly is, though the words be something intricate, That all the Men, of whom he is speaking, should perish; and not one of them come into Canaan.

Which have seen my Glory.] Which appeared to them in the Cloud upon Mount Sinai, and resided in the Ta­bernacle.

And my Miracles which I did in Egypt.] Mention­ed in the IV, VII, VIIIth, and following Chapters of the Book of Exodus.

And in the Wilderness.] Where he divided the Red Sea for them to pass through on dry Land; and gave them Manna constantly from Heaven; with [Page 250] Water out of a Rock, which followed them whither­soever they went, &c.

And have tempted me now these ten times.] That is, very oft, as this Phrase ten times signifies, XXXI Gen. 7, 41. IV Nehem. 12. XIX Job 3. But some of the Hebrews will not be satisfied with this Explicati­on; but indeavour to find out precisely just ten Pro­vocations of which they were guilty. Though to do this, they are forced to begin with one which fell out before they came to the Red Sea, (XIV Exod. 11, 12.) and all the other Nine they find in the Wilderness. See Pirke Avoth, cap. 5. and Paulus Fagius his Scholia upon it; with Genebrard upon the LXXVIII Psal. v. 46. Mr. Mede hath observed, that to tempt God in Scripture Language, is to provoke him by some pre­sumptuous Fact to anger; as it were, to try whether he will punish, or not: or in fewer words, to dare God. Book I. Discourse 26. p. 153. And the follow­ing words in the next verse, justifie this Notion in this place.

And have not hearkned to my Voice.] This seems particularly to refer to their Disobedience, when he bad them go up, and possess the Land of Canaan; not­withstanding, they would not go up, but rebelled against the Commandment of the LORD their God, I Deut. 21, 26, &c.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. Surely they shall not see the Land, &c.] The Hebrew Particle im, when it follows an Oath, is to be simply translated not. And so the words run clear­ly here, They shall not see the Land which I sware unto their Fathers.

Neither shall any of them that provoked me, see it.] This is but an Explication of the foregoing words, and might have been better translated, Even all that [Page 251] provoked me (by their Discontent and Murmuring, &c. v. 1, 2, 3.) they shall not see it. This heavy doom was passed upon them on the ninth Day of the Month Ab, (which answers to our July) as Moses Kotzensis reports the Opinion of their Doctors. On which day, they say, both the first and second Temple were le­velled with the Ground; and Pritter likewise, a great City, was taken on the same day, in which were ma­ny thousand Jews; who, with their King (as they called him) ben Cosiba, and his whole Army, were cut in pieces. And to make this Day still more dis­mal, Turnus Rufus, one of the Roman Captains, ploughed up the Ground on which the Temple and Buildings about it stood, upon this very Day. See Wagenseil upon Gemara Sotae, cap. 7. sect. 10. An­not. 8.

Ver. 24. But my Servant Caleb.] He alone is here Verse 24 particularly mentioned, because this is the first proof we read of his Sincerity and Resolution. But Joshua is as much concerned in this Character and Promise; whose Faith and Courage were tried, as soon as they came out of Egypt, by fighting with the Amalekites. And therefore there was no need to speak here of his Integrity: though afterward it is expresly remembred in the very same words used in this place concerning Caleb, XXXII. 12. And here below in this Chapter, v. 30. he is assured of coming into the Land of Pro­mise as well as Caleb: with whom he joyned in op­posing the mutinous Multitude, v. 6. where he is na­med first in that Heroick Action.

Because he had another Spirit with them.] Was o­therways affected (as we now speak) trusting in the Power and Promise of God: and not at all afraid of the Strength of their Enemies.

[Page 252] And hath followed me fully.] The Hebrew Phrase is, hath fulfilled after me; i. e. completed his Obe­dience to me; or fulfilled my will and commands in every thing: being not only full of Courage him­self, but indeavouring to put it into others, I Deut. 36.

Him will I bring into the Land, whereunto he went.] Into Canaan; particularly to Hebron and the Parts a­bout it: which were bestowed upon him by the order of Moses himself, XIV Josh. 9, 13, &c. See XIII. of this Book, v. 22.

And his Seed shall possess it.] Or, as some translate it, shall expel it; i. e. drive out the Inhabitants of that place, and the parts adjacent; as we read he and his Brother did, XV Josh. 13, 14, 15, &c.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the Valley.] These words being read with­out a Parenthesis, in conjunction with those that fol­low, are very plain, being thus translated; Both the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the Valley. That is, at present lye in wait for you, at the bottom of the other side of the Mountain. For they were not far from one another, XIII. 29. and the Hebrews use the word Jashab for any abode in any place; though it be not a Settlement, but for a short Time. See v. 43.

To morrow turn you.] Therefore do not go for­ward, as I formerly commanded you, least you fall into their Ambushes; but face about, and return from whence you came, &c. This he bid them do to mor­row, i. e. hereafter; at their next removal: for they did remain some days in Kadesh before they turned a­bout, (I Deut. ult.) And so the word to morrow is used in XIII Exod. 14. for the time to come.

[Page 253] And get ye into the Wilderness, by the way of the Red Sea.] Into that Wilderness which led to the Red Sea, and so to Egypt, whether they desired to return, v. 3, 4. This Command was so grievous to them, that it set them, as I take it, into a new fit of Mur­muring: which is the occasion of what follows in the next verses, 26, 27.

Ver. 26. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Verse 26 unto Aaron, saying.] He now speaks unto Aaron, what he only spake to Moses before, v. 11.

Ver. 27. How long shall I bear with this evil Con­gregation.] Verse 27 It is a short imperfect sort of Speech in the Hebrew, such as Men use when they are very an­gry; how long to this evil Congregation, i. e. shall I shew Mercy. Which is the same with bear with them, as we translate it, to supply the Sence.

Which murmur against me?] Whom nothing will please, unless they have their own will in every thing.

I have heard the murmurings of the Children of Israel, which they murmur against me.] This seems to signi­fie that there was a new Discontent; which, in all likelyhood, arose, because God would not conduct them forward to Canaan; but bad them go back from whence they came. Which order he tells them in the following words, he would never revoke.

Ver. 28. Say unto them, as truly as I live, saith the Verse 28 LORD.] This Oath made what he had resolved, unalterable.

As ye have spoken in mine Ears.] V. 2.

So will I do unto you.] Give you your own wishes, to die in the Wilderness: which was exactly fulfilled, XXVI. 65.

[Page 254]Ver. 29. Your Carcases shall fall in this Wilderness.] He repeats their own desire.

And all that were numbred of you.] Which number Verse 29 was taken about half a year ago; as we read in the first Chapter of this Book, v. 3, 18, &c.

According to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward.] Which amounted in all to Six hun­dred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty, v. 46. besides the Levites, who were not numbred at this time, as we read in the next verse, 47. And when they were numbred, their number was not taken from twenty years old; but from a month old and upward, III. 15. And therefore the Levites are not comprehended in the heavy Sentence here denounced, no more than the Children under twenty years old, or the Wives of the Men that murmured; but only the Men of War, who were above twenty Years old. And accordingly we find Eleazar, who is mentioned at the numbering of the Levites, III. 32. alive at the dividing of the Land of Canaan, XIV Josh. 1.

Verse 30 Ver. 30. Doubtless ye shall not come into the Land.] He would not have them retain the least hope of ha­ving this Sentence reversed; being established by God's Oath.

Concerning which I sware to make you dwell in.] Not to make these particular Men, but the Seed of Abra­ham inhabit it; as Grotius rightly observes, Lib. II. de Jure Belli & Pacis, cap. 13. sect. 3. The Land was promised by Oath, non personis, sed populo, nor to Persons, but to the People, viz. to the Posterity of those unto whom God sware to give it, v. 23. Now such a Promise, as he observes, may be performed at any time; because it is not tied to certain Persons.

[Page 255] Save Caleb the Son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the Son of Nun.] They are excepted, because they had di­stinguished themselves from the rest, by their emi­nent Faith and Courage, in the midst of a perverse Generation.

Ver. 31. But your little Ones.] All under twenty Verse 31 Years old.

Which ye said should be a prey.] He upbraids them with their discontented and distrustful Language, v. 3.

Them will I bring in, and they shall know the Land.] That is, enjoy it.

Which ye have despised.] XIII. 32.

Ver. 32. But as for you, your Carcases they shall fall Verse 32 in this Wilderness.] He repeats it again, to make them sensible of the certainty of it; and in their own words (v. 2.) to humble and put them to confusion.

Ver. 33. And your Children shall wander.] So the Verse 33 Chaldee interpret what in the Hebrew is shall feed, or graze, as Sheep do in the Desarts. Or rather, after the manner of the Arabian Shepherds, who could not stay long in one place, but were forced to remove their Tents to another, that they might find Pasture for their Flocks. So R. Solomon interprets it.

Forty Years.] Reckoning from their first coming out of Egypt; from whence they were brought into the Wilderness a Year and a half ago; and now are condemned to make up their time of wandering in it, full forty Years.

And bear your Whoredoms.] That is, the Punish­ment of their Whoredoms; as Idolatry is peculiarly called, XV. 39. XXXIV Exod. 15. III Jerem. 14. Of which they had been guilty presently after they came out of Egypt, when they made the golden Calf and [Page 256] worshipped it; and continued other Idolatrous Pra­ctices, XVII. Lev. 5, 7. Which God punishes now that he visits their present Rebellion. For it was not that alone to which he threatens this Punishment; but he reckons with them for all the rest of their Iniquities, (IX Deut. 18, 24.) especially for the great­est of them all; which he declared he would not forget to punish upon any new occasion, (See XXXII Exod. 34.) which they now gave him. It must be acknowledged also, that other heinous Sins are called by this Name of Whoredoms in Scripture, as well as Idolatry, LXXIII Psalm 26. See Mr. Selden, L. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. cap. 23. p. 489.

Ʋntil your Carcases be wasted in the Wilderness.] This is the third time he reflects upon their foolish wish, v. 29, 32.

Verse 34 Ver. 34. After the number of the days in which ye searched the Land, even forty days.] XIII. 25.

(Each day for a year) shall ye bear your Iniquities, e­ven forty years.] Reckoning the time past, since they came into the Wilderness, which was a Year and an half. So that the meaning is, they should wander forty Years in the Wilderness, before they got out of it. Which is not to be understood so precisely, as to want nothing at all of it: For they came out of Egypt on the fifteenth Day of the first Month, on the morrow after the Passover, XXXIII. 3. and they came into Canaan and pitched in Gilgal, upon the tenth Day of the first Month, of the one and fortieth Year after their departure from Egypt, IV Josh. 19. and consequently there wanted five Days of full forty Years.

[Page 257] And ye shall know my breach of Promise.] In the Hebrew the words are no more then these, Ye shall know my breach. Which the Ancients understand of Gods breaking in upon them, to take vengeance of them for their Sin. So the LXX. [...], Ye shall know the fury of my Anger: and the Vulgar translates it, ultionem meam, my Venge­ance. That is, you shall find that I am the Aven­ger of Iniquity. And it is the same, if we under­stand my breach to signifie, God's departure from them, who had so shamefully departed from him. Or, according to our Translation, it signifies, a Re­vocation of the Blessing promised to them. Which was so nullified, that they were left without any hope of having the like Promise of entring into Canaan, renewed to them.

Ver. 35. I the LORD have said.] Decreed and Verse 35 pronounced this Sentence.

I will surely do it to all this evil Congregation.] Break from them: or break in upon them; to consume them, and utterly disinherit this untoward Genera­tion.

That are gathered together against me.] Whom they accused, as well as Moses and Aaron, v. 2, 3.

In this Wilderness they shall be consumed, and there shall they die.] The repetition of this so frequently (v. 29, 32, 33.) was to convince them, the Decree was peremptory and irreversible.

Ver. 36. And the Men which Moses sent to search the Verse 36 Land.] That is, Ten of them.

Who returned.] XIII. 25, 26.

And made all the Congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the Land.] XIII. 31, 32. XIV. 2.

[Page 258]Ver. 37. Even those Men, &c. died by the Plague.] Either by the Pestilence, threatned v. 12. or by Lightning; or some other sudden Death. About Verse 37 which there is a dispute among the Hebrew Doctors, in the Gemara on Sota, cap. 7. sect. 11. where some of them say, they died of a Quinsey, which choak­ed them; or, as others, their Tongues swelled, and hung out of their Mouths down to their Navels, and were full of Worms, &c. So that their Punishment was suitable to their Sin, (as they conclude) with their Tongues they offended, and in their Tongues they suf­fered.

Before the LORD.] Whose Glory appeared up­on the Tabernacle, before them all, v. 10. unto which I take these words to relate: signifying that they died in his Presence (and perhaps by a flash of Fire from thence) on that very Day, upon which this Murmu­ring was raised by their false Report.

Verse 38 Ver. 38. But Joshua the Son of Nun, and Caleb the Son of Jephunneh, which were of the Men that went to search the Land.] Here Joshua is mentioned with Ca­leb; and placed first, (as in the 6th verse) as Caleb was in verse 30. Which shows there was no difference made between them.

Lived still.] This is set down, to show God's faithfulness, in his promise to them. Who, I sup­pose, were now in the Company of the rest of the Searchers of the Land, before the LORD, and had no hurt, when all the other Ten fell down dead on a sudden; which made their Preservation the more remarkable.

Verse 39 Ver. 39. And Moses told all these sayings unto all the Children of Israel.] Acquainted them with the Doom which God had passed upon them.

[Page 259] And the People mourned greatly.] Were extreamly afflicted at the news: but did not beseech him to pray for them, (as at other times, XI. 2.) because he had told them the Doom was irreversible.

Ver. 40. And they rose up early.] Or, But they rose Verse 40 up, &c.

In the Morning.] The next Morning after they were told, what God had decreed against them.

And gat them up into the top of the Mountain.] They resolved they would go up; or they prepared them­selves for it: for they did not yet actually go up; as appears by the following words.

Saying, Lo, we be here.] We are ready to do as Joshua and Caleb exhorted us, XIII. 30. XIV. 9. They seem now to be as forward, as before they were backward, to go to possess the Land: which their ri­sing early signified.

And we will go up to the place which the LORD hath promised.] They pretend now to depend upon his Promise, and to trust he will make it good.

For we have sinned.] Are sensible of our Sin, and repent of it. Or, though we have sinned, yet we hope he will make good his Promise.

Ver. 41. And Moses said, wherefore now do you Verse 41 transgress the Commandment of the LORD?] Why do you still continue in your Disobedience to God; who commands you to return, and not to go for­ward? v. 25.

But it shall not prosper.] You shall not succeed in your Enterprise: which these words show they stood ready to take in hand.

Ver. 42. Go not up.] Though they sought the Verse 42 renewal of God's Promise with Tears, (v. 39.) and now were ready to testifie their Repentance with the [Page 260] hazard of their Lives, he would not recal the Sen­tence passed upon them.

For the LORD is not among you.] The Cloud did not stir to conduct them; by which they might have understood, that their Attempt was presumptu­ous.

That ye be not smitten before your Enemies.] Who, without God's help, would be too strong for them.

Verse 43 Ver. 43. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you.] Either they were removed out of the Valley where they were before, v. 25. Or, their main Body being there below, they sent a strong Par­ty to possess themselves of the top of the Mountain, and to make good the Pass against the Israelites.

And ye shall fall by the Sword.] Lose your Lives in the Attempt.

Because ye are turned away from the LORD, there­fore the LORD will not be with you.] This was a powerful Reason to check their Motion, and to re­strain them from their Attempt: But, after the man­ner of obstinate Sinners, they go on still in their Un­belief; as the next words inform us.

Verse 44 Ver. 44. But they presumed to go up to the Hill top.] They audaciously endeavoured to ascend the Moun­tain, against the Divine Command: Which is a strange instance of hardned Infidelity.

Nevertheless the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, and Moses departed not out of the Camp.] The Cloud stood still over the Tabernacle; and therefore Moses and the Levites and the Ark (which went before them, when they first removed from Sinai, X. 33.) did not stir out of the place where they were encamped, to conduct them. But this seems to signifie that all the [Page 261] other Camps, except that of the Levites, i. e. the whole Body of armed Men, moved without the guidance of God; who would not favour them, because they mo­ved against his express Command.

Ver. 45. Then the Amalekites came down and the Verse 45 Canaanites.] With whom the Amorites also joyned, I Deut. 44.

Which dwelt in that Hill.] Who had posted them­selves there, and possessed themselves of the top of the Mountain, v. 43. and see v. 25.

And smote them.] Having a great advantage of them that were climbing up the Hill: from whence they came pouring down upon them.

And discomfited them.] It is not said how great a slaughter they made of them; but it is likely it was not small, because they chased them a good way. Thus began God's threatning to be immediately ful­filled (that their Carcases should fall in that Wilder­ness, v. 29.) by their own wilfulness.

Even unto Hormah.] A place in the Confines of Canaan near the dead Sea: So called from the destru­ction that was here made of the Israelites, and after­ward of the Canaanites, XXI. 3. I Judg. 17. And up­on the occasion of this Calamity which befel the Isra­elites, and the great Mortality which followed, while they stayed in the Wilderness, Moses is thought to have penned the XC Psalm. In which he signifies the Life of Man was now shortned, and reduced to Se­venty or Eighty Years: that is, made but half as long as the Lives of their Fore-fathers.


Chapter XV Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] We read in I Deut. ult. that they abode in Kadesh (where the foregoing murmuring was) many days. During which time (and in the latter part of this second Year after they came out of Egypt) it is very probable all that we read in this Chapter, and in the four following, was transact­ed.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Speak unto the Children of Israel, and say unto them.] These words were not directed to the whole Congregation, but to the younger sort; who had not forfeited the favour of God, as their Fathers had done. Several of which, it is likely, were al­ready dead, according to the Doom God had passed upon them; and the rest lookt upon themselves as disinherited, (XIV. 12.) and therefore these Precepts were not delivered to them.

When ye come into the Land of your Habitations, which I give unto you.] This shows he speaks to the Children of the Murmurers, whom he promised to bring into the Land of Canaan, XIV. 31. and would therefore have well instructed in the manner of Sacri­ficing: wherein God's Worship and Service very much consisted; which is the reason why he further ex­plains, what he had heretofore said about this matter. But hence it appears that they were not bound to ob­serve these Laws till they came to Canaan.

[Page 263]Ver. 3. And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD.] This comprehends all the Sacrifices, which were burnt upon the Altar: either in whole or in part.Verse 3

A Burnt-offering.] This was the principal, and most ancient Sacrifice of all other: which was whol­ly burnt upon the Altar, every Morning and every Evening, (XXIX Exod. 40.) of which he treats in the first of Leviticus.

Or a Sacrifice.] This undoubtedly signifies Peace-offerings, as appears from v. 8. and from the words here following: and likewise from the use of the word Sacrifice in other places, XVIII Exod. 12. XVII Levit. 5, 8. And from this consideration also, that Sin-offerings had no Meat-offerings attending on them; but only in the Case of a Leper, XIV Lev. 10.

In performing a Vow, or in a Free-will-offering.] These words explain what he means by a Sacrifice, viz. Peace-offerings: which were offered in performance of some Vow, or freely of their own accord, (VII Lev. 16. XXII. 21.) or by God's command upon their Solemn Feasts; as it here follows.

And in your solemn Feasts.] Mentioned XXIII Levit. See there v. 37. and XXIX Numb. 39.

To make a sweet savour unto the LORD.] I Le­vit. 9.

Of the Herd or of the Flock.] Under the word Flock is comprehended both Kids and Lambs. For the Hebrew words tson and seh signifie both; as many have observed; particularly Bochart in his Hierozoi­con, P. I. Lib. II. cap. 42.

Ver. 4. Then shall he that offereth his Offering unto Verse 4 the LORD.] Of any of the fore-named sorts.

[Page 264] Bring a Meat-offering.] As a necessary Appurte­nance to such Sacrifices.

Of a tenth deal of flour.] That is, the tenth part of an Ephah, (as is expresly declared, XXVIII. 5.) which was an Omer. See XVI Exod. 36.

Mingled with the fourth part of an hin of Oyl.] See XXIX Exod. 40. In this, such Meat-offerings as were Accessories to other Offerings, and a part of the Sacrifice which went before, differed from those Meat-offerings which were not dependant upon a fore­going Sacrifice; but offered alone by themselves. For in these latter the Oyl was only poured upon the Meat-offering, (II Lev. 1, &c.) and not mingled and macerated with the flour; as it is here ordered. And there was this further difference between them, that those Meat-offerings which were accessory to other Sa­crifices, were all burnt on the Altar, in honour of God, as Josephus observes, Lib. III. cap. 10. but when a Meat-offering was solitary, (as we may call it) as the principal Offering which a Man then made, a little part of it only was burnt upon the Altar, and the Priest had the rest; as appears from the second Chap­ter of Leviticus.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. And a fourth of a hin of Wine for a Drink-offering shalt thou prepare.] See XXIX Exod. 40.

With the Burnt-offering or Sacrifice.] Whether it were a whole Burnt-offering, or a Peace-offering, v. 3. This Wine was wholly poured upon the Altar; and the Priest had none of it.

For one Lamb.] It was the same for one Kid. If there were more than one, the Drink-offering, as well as the Meat-offering, was increased; particularly up­on the Sabbath, XXVIII. 9. And the true reason why Meat-offerings and Drink-offerings are required to [Page 265] attend upon the Burnt-offerings and Peace-offerings, was, because these Sacrifices were a Feast, and are called the Bread or Food of God, XXVIII. 2. And therefore as Bread and Wine, as well as Flesh, are our Refection, so God required them at his Table. And Salt, though not here named, was also added, (because it was to be omitted in no Sacrifice, II Lev. 13.) as also Frankincense; because it is said both v. 7. and v. 10. this Drink-offering was for a sweet savour unto the LORD: which seems to alude to the fra­grancy of Frankincense.

This was a thing so well known, that the Heathen imitated this practise, in all their Sacrifices, which were ever accompanied with a Meat-offering. Inso­much that Pliny saith, without this mola salsa, no Sacrifice was thought to be good: Nullum Sacrificium ratum fieri existimant, Lib. XXX. cap. 5. And long before him we meet with it in Homer, in those known words of his, ‘— [...].’ And as for Wine Brentius in his Preface to Leviticus, takes notice of that Phrase in him, no less obvious,


Which they not only poured upon the Sacrifice, as it stood at the Altar ready to be offered, but upon its Flesh when it was burning there: as we find in Vir­gil. Georg. IV. ‘Ter liquido ardentem perfudit Nectare flammam.’ [Page 266] and in many other places. See Dilherrus in his Dis­sert. Specialis de Cacozelia Gentilium, cap. 10.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. Or for a Ram, thou shalt prepare for a Meat-offering, two tenth deals, &c.] This being a nobler Sacrifice than a Lamb, a larger Meat-offering (and Drink-offering also, as appears by the next verse) is required to attend it.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. And for a Drink-offering thou shalt offer a third part of a hin of Wine, &c.] Whereas for a Lamb a fourth part was sufficient, v. 5.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And when thou preparest a Bullock.] This is a Sacrifice of the Herd, as the former of the Flock; mentioned v. 3.

For a Burnt-offering, or for a Sacrifice in performing a Vow, or Peace-offerings unto the LORD.] That is, Free-will-offerings: which were one sort of Peace-offerings; as those for performance of a Vow were the other. See v. 3. But Free-will-offerings are pe­culiarly called by the name of Peace-offerings, because they were the most acceptable of this sort: being of­fered purely out of Love and Affection to God; and not as a Payment which was due upon a Vow.

Verse 9 Ver. 9. Then he shall bring with the Bullock, a Meat-offering of three tenth deals of Flour, &c.] The Meat-offerings increased proportionably to the Sacrifices up­on which they attended: one tenth Deal, with a fourth part of a Hin of Oyl, being sufficient for a Lamb, v. 4. and two tenth Deals, with a third part of a Hin of Oyl, for a Ram, v. 6. but three tenth Deals of Flour, and half a Hin of Oyl, is here required to accompany the Sacrifice of a Bul­lock.

[Page 267]Ver. 10. And thou shalt bring for a Drink-offering half a hin of Wine, &c.] The same was to be ob­served in the Drink-offering; which is larger, in this Sacrifice, than in the two former, v. 5, 7.Verse 10

Ver. 11. Thus shall it be done for one Bullock, or for Verse 11 one Ram, or for a Lamb, or a Kid.] He repeats what he had said more distinctly, proceeding from the Sacrifice last mentioned, unto the first: which v. 5. is said to be one Lamb; but here explained to comprehend also a Kid. For so the last part of this verse runs in the Hebrew; for a young one (which he calls Seh) either of the Sheep, or of the Goats.

Ver. 12. According to the number that ye shall prepare,Verse 12 so shall ye do to every one, according to their number.] This I take to be a general Rule, by which these Of­ferings were to be governed; that proportionable to the number of Bullocks, Rams, Sheep, or Goats that were offered, should be the quantity of the Meat-offering and Drink-offering: for Bread and Wine must bear proportion to the Meat set on the Ta­ble.

Ver. 13. All that are born in the Country, shall do Verse 13 these things after this manner;] i. e. all Israelites.

In offering an Offering made by fire, &c.] When they offer any of the fore-named Sacrifices, v. 3.

Ver. 14. And if a Stranger sojourn with you.] There Verse 14 were two sorts of Strangers, it is vulgarly known, a­mong the Israelites. Some that intirely embraced and professed the Jewish Religion, into which they were admitted by Circumcision, &c. Others that were per­mitted to live among them, having renounced all I­dolatry, but did not submit to their whole Religion. The Talmudists expound this place of the former sort.

[Page 268] Or whosoever he be among you in your Generations.] One would think this should signifie the other sort of Strangers; but they make it only an Explication of the former: Whether he was a Proselyte that so­journed for a time, or were settled among them.

And will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet sa­vour unto the LORD.] Any of the fore-mentioned Offerings; which could be offered, as is here direct­ed, by none but one that was subject to their Law. For though another Proselyte, who worshipped the true God, but was not Circumcised, might bring a Burnt-offering, yet they say it was without a Meat-offering and Drink-offering; and no Peace-offerings were accepted from him.

As ye do, so he shall do.] Offer according to the Rules above given: which is farther explained in the following Verses.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. One Ordinance.] Viz. About Sacrifices.

Shall be both for you of the Congregation.] i. e. For you Israelites.

And also for the Stranger that sojourneth with you.] Here the LXX. translate it, [...], Proselytes that are added, or joyned to you; or are juris vestri participes, as Mr. Selden expounds it, L. II. de Jure Nat. & Gent. cap. 2. p. 147.

An Ordinance for ever, &c.] Never to be repealed as long as your Religion lasts.

As ye are, so shall the Stranger be before the LORD.] in Matters of Religion and Divine Worship; though not in all Civil Things. For no Proselyte, they think, could be chosen a Member of the Sanhedrim, or great Council at Jerusalem. The Jews extend these words to the way and manner of being made Proselytes, by Circumcision, Baptism, and Sprinkling of Blood: [Page 269] as the Jews were originally, they say, initiated into their Religion. Selden, Lib. I. de Synedriis, cap. 3. p. 34.

Ver. 16. One Law, and one manner shall be for you,Verse 16 and for the Stranger that sojourneth with you.] This general Rule was made, to invite and incourage Strangers to become Proselytes to the Jewish Religion; and to engage the Jews to be kind to them: they being admitted to an [...], as Philo calls it, an e­qual Priviledge with those who were born Jews. Yet this, the Jews say, is to be received with some distinctions. For the Laws of Moses, either con­cerning the Duties they owed to God, and one to another; or concerning Magistracy and Marriages, they say, those of the first sort belonged to Proselytes, as much as to original Jews; yet with some tempe­rament, (as Mr. Selden observes, Lib. II. de Jure Nat. & Gent. cap. 4.) But in those of the second sort, they had not an equal priviledge: for they were not to have any sort of Command, either Civil or Milita­ry; and though they might marry with the Jews, yet not with the Priests; and some Marriages were permitted to them, which were forbidden to the Is­raelites. See there p. 167.

Ver. 17. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Verse 17 These Commands were given, in all likelyhood, at the same time with the foregoing.

Ver. 18. Speak unto the Children of Israel, and say Verse 28 unto them.] See v. 2.

When ye come into the Land, whither I bring you.] See there also; only add this, That the Jews acknow­ledge, such kind of Offerings, as here follow, and First-fruits, were due by the Law, only from the Corn, &c. that grew in the Land of Canaan: but by [Page 270] the Decree of their wise Men, they were to bring them out of Syria, and out of the Land of Og, and Sihon; as Maimonides saith in his Treatise called Biccurim, cap. 2.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. When ye eat.] i. e. When it is ready to be eaten: for they offered it, before they ate of it.

Of the Bread of the Land.] So Corn is called, CIV Psalm 14. and the meaning seems to be, that when they made Bread of the new Corn of the Land, they should out of the Dough first make a Cake, and of­fer it to the LORD, before they baked Bread for their own use.

Ye shall offer up an Heave-offering unto the LORD.] This is explained in the next verse, of offering a Cake out of the first Dough; whether it were of Wheat, or Barley, or Rye, or Oats, or that which they call Cusemim, (which they describe to be a kind of Wheat, or Barley, different from that which is commonly known by those names) For of these five kinds of Grain, the Talmudists say, this Cake was to be offer­ed; and that out of the Gleanings, and the Sheaf left in the Field, and out of the Corners of the Field.

Verse 20 Ver. 20. Ye shall offer up a Cake of the first of your Dough, for an Heave-offering.] Not upon the Altar, but it was given to the Priests; on whom God be­stowed all their Heave-offerings, XVIII. 8. yet they are said to be offered unto the LORD, because they were heaved, or lifted up to him, as the Creator of Heaven and of Earth; and then given to his Mini­sters, who had it in his right.

As ye do the Heave-offering of the Threshing-floor, so shall ye heave it.] That is, as the First-fruits of the Harvest were given to the Priests, and not offered up­on [Page 271] the Altar, so should this be given them, XXIII Lev. 16, 17. And so was the First-fruits of their Oyl and their Wine, &c. XVIII Numb. 12, 13. All which the Jews call the great Terumah, or Heave-offering.

Ver. 21. Of the first of your Dough shall ye give unto Verse 21 the LORD an Heave-offering in your Generations.] This being a new Law, not given before, he repeats it, that they might be the more observant of it. As we may see they were by this; that it was one of the things which rendred a Woman infamous, (though not so, as to give her the bitter Water) if she did not separate this Cake from the first Dough of the new Corn, to be presented to God: but either made her Husband believe she had done it, when she had not; or ate it her self; as Mr. Selden observes, L. III. Ʋxor. Hebr. cap. 17. And therefore at this very day the Jews are so nice in this point, that they take e­nough to make a Cake, as soon as the Meal is mingled with Water. The proportion is not mentioned in the Law; but their wise Men say, it was to be the forty fourth part of the whole Dough. See Buxtorf. Syna­gog. Jud. cap. 34. The Cabbalists observing that this verse begins with the Letter Mem, and ends with Mem, conclude (after their way) that therefore they were to give the fortieth part; because Mem is the numeral Letter for forty.

Ver. 22. And if ye have erred, and not observed all Verse 22 these Commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses.] Which have been now given concern­ing Sacrifices: for to such Commandments these words seem to have respect. Maimonides in his Treatise of the Worship of the Planets, (and the Jews generally) saith this concerns Idolatry.

[Page 272]Ver. 23. Even all that the LORD hath command­ed you by the hand of Moses.] That is, all the Com­mandments in the Book of Leviticus, about such Mat­ters Verse 23 of God's Worship and Service.

From the day that the LORD commanded Moses.] The word Moses is not in the Hebrew, and the Sence is plainer without it; as the Vulgar hath translated these words, from the day he began to command.

And hence forward.] Or rather, thence forward, until now: or until he made an end of command­ing. So this Phrase is used in XXII Lev. 27. From the eighth day, and thence forth, Creatures were clean, to be offered. See XXXIX Ezek. 22.

Among your Generations.] In the Hebrew, to your Generations. And so LXX. [...], to be ob­served throughout all Generations.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. Then it shall be, that if ought be committed by ignorance, without the knowledge of the Congregation.] It is commonly said, that Moses here speaks concern­ing Sins of Omission, (as we call them) as in IV Lev. 13. he doth of Sins of Commission: or doing that which ought not to be done; as here not doing that which ought to be done: for which different sorts of Sacrifices are appointed. But others think that he speaks in both places of the same Errors: on­ly in that Law, IV Lev. 14. concerning those com­mitted by the whole Congregation; here of such as were committed by some lesser number of them, cal­led, the Congregation: suppose the LXX. Elders, or the Rulers of Thousands, and Hundreds, &c. who are some times called by this Name, XXV. 7. XXXII. 12. XXIV Josh. 4. But the Jews generally think Mo­ses here speaks of strange Worship, which was to be expiated by this Sacrifice of a Goat for a Sin-offer­ing. [Page 273] And therefore an excellent Person of our own, after long consideration of this matter, comes to this conclusion, That in Leviticus he requires a young Bullock to be slain for a Sin-offering, when the whole Congregation, though adhering to the true Worship of God in every thing, were led ignorantly to do something against some Negative Precept (as they call it) to practise, that is, what God had forbidden, (so those words seem to import, IV Lev. 13, 14.) but this Kid of the Goats here mentioned for a Sin-offering, together with a young Bullock for a Burnt-offering, was to be sacrificed, when all the People forgetting the holy Rites prescribed by Moses (which often hapned under bad Kings) fell by a common Error into Idolatrous Worship: which agrees very well with what is said in the two verses before-going: where he speaks, as I noted, of not obser­ving these holy Rites about Sacrifices. See Dr. Ow­tram, Lib. I. de Sacrificiis, cap. 14. sect. 2.

Then all the Congregation shall offer one young Bul­lock for a Burnt-offering.] Having neglected these Laws ordained by Moses, and worshipped God in a wrong manner, according to the Rites used in other Countries, (or at least mistaking the proper Sacrifices and Rites belonging to them, which they ought to have offered) this Burnt-offering, I suppose, is com­manded to be offered, when they saw their Error, in token that they returned to God's true Religion, and that way of Worship which he had prescribed.

With his Meat-offering, and his Drink-offering.] prescribed above, v. 8, 9, 10. Which perhaps they had neglected to offer formerly with the Burnt-offering.

It is well observed by Mr. Thorndike out of Maimo­nides, [Page 274] That all the Congregation (if we understand thereby the whole Body of the People) could not possibly offer these Sacrifices: but the great Consisto­ry offered them as often as they occasioned the Breach of the Law, by interpreting it erroniously; Rights of the Church in a Christian State, p. 159.

And one Kid of the Goats for a Sin-offering.] To expiate for what had been done after the manner of the Heathen, contrary to the Laws of God's Wor­ship here delivered by Moses; or otherwise then he directed. From whence it was (which adds much probability to this) that when Hezekiah restored the true Worship of God, after the Temple had been shut up, and the daily Sacrifice omitted, and many I­dolatrous Rites there used, by the Ignorance of the People, in the days of his Father, (2 Chron. XXVIII. 24. XXIX. 3.) he caused seven Bullocks to be offer­ed for a Burnt-offering; and as many Goats for a Sin-offering. And so Ezra did at the Restoration of the Divine Service after they came out of Babylon, VIII Ezra 35. And it makes no difference, that Mo­ses here requires only one of a sort to be offered, whereas Hezekiah offered seven, and Ezra twelve: for this only proves that one was absolutely necessa­ry; but more than one was acceptable: especially when exceeding great Errors had been committed in God's Worship.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. And the Priest shall make an atonement for all the Congregation.] Who had thus committed an Error, in the Worship of God, out of Ignorance: being misled by the great Interpreters of the Law; who therefore were to bring this Sacrifice in the name of them all. For it is apparent by this, as well as the former verse, that all the Congregation were concerned [Page 275] in this Sacrifice, as much as in that IV Lev. 13. And the same appears from the next verse, where he saith, All the People were in ignorance.

And it shall be forgiven them, for it is ignorance.] Proceeding from an erronious Interpretation of the Law, or some other mistake: not from contempt of God and of his Laws; for then they were to be ut­terly cut off, v. 30, 31.

And they shall bring their Offering, a Sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.] That is, a Burnt-offering: which is not prescribed in Leviticus, (as I observed before) and therefore was a different sort of Offering, for a different Offence.

And their Sin-offering before the LORD.] Pre­scribed in the fore-going verse.

For their ignorance.] Which made them capable of a Pardon; though not without these Sacri­fices.

Ver. 26. And it shall be forgiven all the Congregation Verse 26 of the Children of Israel.] He repeats it again, that they might not doubt of Reconciliation to him, when they repented as soon as they understood their Error, and acknowledg'd it, and beg'd his pardon by these Sacrifices.

And the Stranger that sojourneth among them.] Who were obliged to the same Laws with the Israelites, and had the same priviledges, v. 14, 15, 16.

Seeing all the People were in ignorance.] It was a common Error; and therefore no wonder Strangers were carried away with it.

Ver. 27. And if any Soul.] i. e. Any particular Per­son.Verse 27

Sin through ignorance.] Offend in Matters of Re­ligion; by not observing the Rites here prescribed, [Page 276] or by doing contrary to them, through mere igno­rance. To this, I think, these words are to be limi­ted: wherein they differ from that Law, IV Lev. 27. which speaks of all manner of Offences, through ig­norance.

Then he shall bring a She-goat of the first year, for a Sin-offering.] This Sin-offering differs from that in Leviticus (IV. 28.) which was only a Female Kid of the Goats.

Verse 28 Ver. 28. And the Priest shall make an Atonement for the Soul that sinneth ignorantly.] As he was to do for the whole Congregation, v. 25.

When he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD.] These words, before the LORD, seem to me to im­port, that he speaks of Sins committed about the Worship of God; and confirms what I have said upon v. 24. For in IV Levit. both v. 13. and v. 27. he speaks in general of Sins committed, either by the Congregation, or by particular Persons, against any of the Commandments of the LORD; not before the LORD, i. e. (as I understand it) in his Worship and Service.

To make an atonement for him, &c.] He repeats it again, to show them that he would no more have a particular Person suffer for his Error, than the whole Body of the People.

Verse 29 Ver. 29. You shall have one Law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is among the Chil­dren of Israel, and for the Stranger that sojourneth among them.] See v. 15. This must necessarily be meant of a Proselyte of Justice, as they called him, that was Circumcised, and undertook to keep the whole Law; for he speaks of such, whether Natives or others, as erred in not observing all his Commandments, v. 22, 23.

[Page 277]Ver. 30. But the Soul that doth ought presumptuously.] Not merely knowingly, but wilfully and audacious­ly; in contempt of the Divine Majesty and his Au­thority: For so the Hebrew Phrase, with an high hand, Verse 30 signifies; as Maimonides observes in his More Nevoch. P. III. cap. 41. where he saith, it imports a Sin, not only publickly and openly committed, but with Pride and Insolence: it proceeding not merely from an ill custom a Man hath got of doing amiss, but from an express intention to contradict the Law of God, and to set himself in defiance of it. Which is the reason of what follows, the same reproacheth the LORD.

Whether he be born in the Land, or a Stranger.] Here the word Stranger is simply used, without the additi­on of, that sojourneth among them, (as in the preceding verse) and therefore Mr. Selden well concludes, that even the Proselytes of the Gate were concerned in this Law, (as it related to Idolatry and Blasphemy) though not in the foregoing; and that they were lia­ble to be cut off by the Hand of Heaven; but whether to be punished by the Judges or no, it doth not appear, Lib. II. de Jure Nat. & Gent. cap. 11.

The same reproacheth the LORD.] ‘No Man sin­ned thus (saith Maimonides in the place fore-named) but he who had a settled Opinion in his Mind, con­trary to the Law of God; in which he dissented from it. And the common received Exposition of this place is, that it speaks of an Idolater; because he opposed the chief and principal Foundation of the Law. For no Man worshipped a Star, or a Planet, but he that believed its Eternity: which is the most repugnant of all other things to the Law of God; which in the very first words of it declares, that all the World had a beginning, and was made by him [Page 278] whom the Jews worshipped.’ Thus he. But doing any thing with an high hand, doth not signifie any one certain kind of Sin, as the Jews generally fancy (who think he speaks here only of an Idolater or Blasphe­mer; See Selden, Lib. I. de Synedr. cap. 6. p. 101.) but a certain manner of sinning; with despight to the Commands of God, and Contempt of his Authority, in any kind of Sin whatsoever. And this Maimoni­des himself afterward acknowledges, in the words fol­lowing. ‘There seems to me to be the same reason in all other Transgressions, which are committed con­temptuously against any Law of God, as if an Israe­lite seethed a Kid in its Mother's Milk; or wore heterogeneous Garments, or rounded the Corners of his Head, or his Beard, in contempt of the Law. For the consequence of this is, that he be­lieves this Law not to be true: which in my judg­ment, saith he, is the meaning of these words, He reproacheth the LORD.

And that Soul shall be cut off from among his People.] No Sacrifice could make an Atonement for such a Man; but he was to die, either by the Hand of Hea­ven, or of the Judges. Sometimes God, saith he, will cut off Idolaters, and such as consulted Familiar Spirits, XX Lev. 5, 6. Sometimes he only saith cer­tain Offenders shall be cut off; as here in this, and many other places. Of which Phrase I have given an account XVII Gen. 14. where the Reader may see the several Opinions that have been about it; and that its meaning must be determined by the matter in hand. Accordingly Maimonides hath judiciously re­solved, that in this place it signifies cutting off by the Hand of the Magistrates, as in the Case of Apostasy to Idolatry, XIII Deut. 13, &c. Not that all their [Page 279] Goods were to be destroyed, and nothing left to their Heirs, (as when they served other Gods) but, though a whole Tribe had, with an high hand, transgressed any Precept of the Law, that is, denied it to be God's Law, he thinks they were only to be all killed. Just as all the People thought in the Case of the Reube­nites, Gadites, and half Tribe of Manasseh, who on­ly building an Altar on the other side of Jordan, con­trary to God's Law, as was imagined, all the rest of the Tribes of Israel gathered together to go up to War against them, and cut them off, XXII Josh. 11, 12, &c. 22, 23. where they acknowledge they deserved to pe­rish, if they had built an Altar for Worship, as their Brethren thought they had done.

Ver. 31. Because he hath despised the Word of the Verse 31 LORD.] This shows the Nature of the offence; which was setting at nought God's Laws, and deny­ing them to be of Divine Authority.

And hath broken his Commandment.] Not only by doing contrary to it, but, in effect, disannulling it; by rejecting its Authority, and affirming he is not bound to observe that Precept.

That Soul shall be utterly cut off.] They shall have no Mercy upon him.

His Iniquity shall be upon him.] Not upon those who put him to death; but upon himself.

Ver. 32. And while the Children of Israel were in the Verse 32 Wilderness.] In this part of the Wilderness, at Kadesh-Barnea, it is very probable. See v. 1.

They found a Man.] The Jews, who would not be thought ignorant of any thing, say this Man was one of those that presumed to go up to the Moun­tain, when Moses forbad them, XIV. 44. And some of them say expresly, his name was Zelophehad; a­bout [Page 280] the dividing of whose Estate a question after­ward arose, XXVII. 1, &c. So the Chaldee Para­phrase ascribed to Jonathan and others. See Selden, Lib. II. de Synedr, cap. 1. n. 9.

That gathered sticks.] Or was binding up sticks, which he had gathered, and pluckt up by the Roots out of the Earth; as some of the Jews understand the Hebrew word, (Mr. Selden there observes) from V Exod. 7.

On the Sabbath-day.] This the Jewish Doctors would have to be the very next Sabbath after its first Institution in the Wilderness; which is to make this History misplaced, and the foregoing also, with­out any necessity.

Verse 33 Ver. 33. And they that found him gathering sticks.] Admonished him (as the Jews also say) of the un­lawfulness of it, and wisht him to desist. But he would not hearken to them; and therefore (as it here follows) they brought him unto Moses, &c. as one that contemptuously, and with an high hand, had offend­ed God. For they make this an instance, of such a presumptuous Sin, as is mentioned before v. 30, 31. which is not improbable. And it appears from hence, that they observed the Sabbath while they were in the Wilderness; and therefore did not bring him be­fore Moses on that day, but the next after; or at least he was not judged till the next day.

Brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the Congregation.] Who were now, they fancy, hearing a Sacred Lecture, when they brought the Man before Moses. For he was the chief Judge, who was to de­termine such Cases: though we may conceive the LXX. Elders (who were constituted before this hap­ned, XI. 24, &c.) to have been now sitting, and [Page 281] Moses at the Head of them. But he being not de­prived of any Authority by their Creation, who were added only to give him ease, it is more likely this Man was set before Moses, as the sole Judge of this Case. For God speaks to him alone, v. 35. when he directs what should be done with him. Yet Aaron, and the Elders, it appears by these words, were pre­sent (and called here all the Congregation) when this Offender was brought before him.

Ver. 34. And they put him in ward.] By the order Verse 34 of Moses (as they did the Man that blasphemed, XXIV Lev. 12.) to secure him, till the Mind of God was known, how he should be punished.

Because it was not declared what should be done to him.] They knew very well, that he was to dye; for it had been declared, XXXI Exod. 14. XXXV. 2. but they questioned what kind of death he should suffer, as the Jews interpret it. For they observe this difference between that Case, of the Blasphemer in Leviticus, and this here of the Sabbath-breaker, that there they doubted whether he should be punished by them, or by the Hand of Heaven: but here, what kind of Death they should inflict upon him. Though there are some (as Mr. Selden there observes, n. 8.) who imagine, the question here also was, Whether the sence of the Law was, that they should expect his Punishment from God, or he be put to Death by the Court of Judgment?

Ver. 35. And the LORD said unto Moses.] Who Verse 35 went, I suppose, into the Sanctuary to enquire what the Pleasure of God was in this Matter; as he did in another Difficulty, IX Numb. 8.

[Page 282] The Man be surely put to death.] By this Answer, it seems to me, the question was not at first, What Death he should dye? but whether he should be put to Death or no? That is, Whether the gathering and binding up Sticks into a Faggot, was such a work as is forbidden in the Law, (XX Exod.) unto which Death was afterwards threatned in the places before-mentioned. And the Resolution was, that he should be put to Death, as a Man that denied God, the Creator of the World; though not in words, yet in fact. For he who did any Work on the Sabbath, (as Aben-Ezra notes upon XX Exod.) denied the Work of Creation: though he did not in down-right terms deny God himself. For the Sabbath being a Sign (as God calls it) that they were the Worshippers of him, who made all things; the Contempt of that was a renouncing of their Religion, and therefore deserved to be punished with Death; the Belief of the Crea­tion of the World being the very Foundation of the Jewish Religion; as the belief of its Eternity was the Foundation of the Pagan. This made the breach of this Precept, of keeping the Sabbath strictly, (which is more frequently repeated than any other, for the reason fore-mentioned) so heinous a Crime, and so severely punished: for by this a true Wor­shipper of God was distinguished from a profane Person and an Idolater.

All the Congregation shall stone him with stones, with­out the Camp.] This was a Punishment inflicted for very enormous Crimes. See XX Lev. 2. XXIV. 12. And this Man was condemned to suffer it, because he was the first breaker of this Sacred Law. And he doing it presumptuously (as is supposed from the [Page 283] connection of this Story, with v. 30, 31.) in con­tempt of the Law; and not desisting from his Im­piety, when he was admonished to forbear, (as I said v. 33.) it highly aggravated his guilt; being no less than a reproaching of the LORD, and a despising of his Word. Whence the Vulgar saying of the Talmudists, He that denies the Sabbath, is like to him that denies the whole Law.

Ver. 36. And all the Congregation brought him with­out Verse 36 the Camp, and stoned him, &c.] Not on the Sab­bath-day, as I said before; for that was unlawful, (as Philo observes) but the next day after; or as soon as Moses had passed Sentence upon him.

Ver. 37. And the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] Verse 37 This was spoken, it is most likely, about the same time that the foregoing Passage hapned, and the Commands mentioned in the beginning of this Chap­ter, were delivered. For this that follows, is a dire­ction for the better observance of all the rest of God's Commandments.

Ver. 38. Speak unto the Children of Israel, and bid Verse 38 them that they make them Fringes.] This is the best word we have in our Language, to express the Hebrew word Tzitzith, which imports something of an Or­nament resembling a Flower, as the word tzitz signi­fies. Of how many threds they consist, and after what fashion they are made by the Jews at this day, see Buxtorf's Synagoga Judaica, cap. 9.

In the Borders of their Garments.] Or, (as it is in the Hebrew) in the Wings of their Garments: which had four Skirts, it appears by XXII Deut. 12. At the bottom of each of which, they were to have a Fringe. Which seem to have been only Threds left [Page 284] at the end of the Web unwoven; at the top where­of they put a Lace, as it here follows.

Throughout their Generations.] To be a perpetual Mark of their Religion, and put them in mind of their Duty.

And that they put upon the Fringe of the Borders a Riband.] Or a Lace: which both bound the Fringe fast at the top, and also made it more conspicuous and observable: which was the intention of it. For by this they were distinguished from all other People who were not Jews; as well as put in mind of the Precepts of God, as it follows in the next verse.

Of blue.] Or as some would have it translated, of Purple. But the Hebrew Writers say Theceleth signi­fies that colour which we now call Ʋltramarine; as Braunius hath observed, Lib. I. de Vestitu Sacerd. Hebr. cap. 13. and Bochart Hierozoic. P. II. Lib. V. cap. 10, 11.

There is another very learned Person also, who hath more lately shown, out of an excellent MS. in his possession, what the Jews deliver concerning the way and manner of dying this Colour. Which be­ing not easie to compass, the Jews at this day, instead of this Colour, are contented to use White. See J. Wagenseil upon the Gemara Sotae, cap. 2. Annot. 8.

Verse 39 Ver. 39: And it shall be to you for a Fringe.] Or rather, it (that is the Riband) shall be unto you upon the Fringe; or, to the Fringe: added to it, to make it the more noted; being of a distinct Colour from the Fringe, which was of the same Colour with the Garment. The Jews say, in the Selvedge of which these Fringes were, was their upper Garments called Talish, being a kind of Cloak.

[Page 285] That ye may look upon it, and remember all the Com­mandments of the LORD.] i. e. When they look­ed down, this Fringe and Lace which they saw there, might put them in mind of the Duty they owed to God; who commanded this, not for it self, but to remember them that they were a holy People, bound to God by peculiar Laws, which they should be as careful to observe, as to wear these Fringes. Hence it was that they, who pretended to greater Sanctity than others, enlarged these Fringes (as our Saviour observes, XXIII Matth. 5.) i. e. extended them to a greater length, so that they swept the Ground, which made them more observable, as Braunius notes out of the Gemara of Gittim, Lib. I. de Vest. Sacerd. Hebr. cap. 3. n. 16. Where he also observes, That their Superstition grew so much, as with great Subtilty to contrive, that these Fringes might be so wrought, as to denote the DCXIII. Precepts contained in the Law of Moses; and so they might be put in mind of ALL the Commandments of the LORD. See Buxtorf also in the place before-named; and Bishop Montagu in his Apparatus, cap. 7. n. 32.

And do them.] Which was the end of remem­bring them, as that was of their wearing them: though the Jews proved so foolish, as to pride them­selves in the bare use of these Ornaments; i. e. in their being a select People, which ought to have made them more careful to do the whole Will of God.

And that ye seek not after your own heart.] Follow not your own Thoughts and Imaginations, (as Mai­monides expounds it, More Nevoch. P. I. cap. 39.) or rather, your own desires. Or the word seek may im­port, inventing other ways of serving God, according to their own fansies.

[Page 286] And your own eyes.] Nor follow the Example of others; as they were prone to do, it appears by their making the Golden Calf; that they might have such a visible Representation of God, as other Nations were wont to have.

After which ye use to go a whoring.] It appears by this, that the foregoing words have a peculiar regard to the Worship of God, (which he speaks of in the beginning of this Chapter) from which, when they departed, they are said to go a whoring from God, un­to whom they were espoused.

Verse 40 Ver. 40. That ye may remember, and do all my Com­mandments.] He would not have them think there was any Sanctity to be placed merely in wearing these Fringes: but they were to be considered only as Instruments, to call their Duty to remembrance, and excite them to the performance of it. And so the Jews themselves sometimes call them, as Buxtorf ob­serves in the place before-named, Means and Instru­ments of observing the Precepts.

And be holy unto your God.] By observing all his Commandments: especially keeping themselves from Idols.

Verse 41 Ver. 41. I am the LORD your God.] Their So­vereign and Benefactor.

Which brought you out of the Land of Egypt.] He re­members them of the most peculiar Obligation they had upon them, to observe this Law, and all the rest of his Precepts.

To be your God.] They were Redeemed by him on purpose, when none else could deliver them, that they might acknowledge no other God, but only him, to whom they owed their Liberty, to serve him.

[Page 287] I am the LORD your God.] This seems to be repeated, to encourage them to hope that he would still continue good to them, notwithstanding the Re­bellion of their Fathers; for which he had condem­ned them to die in the Wilderness. Where he would preserve them, (their Children) and at last bring them into Canaan, if they would follow his Di­rections.


Chapter XVI WE have nothing here said to direct us to the Time and Place, when and where this new Rebellion hapned; but it is very probable (as I said XV. 1.) that it was in some part of the latter half of the second Year after they came out of Egypt, before they removed from Kadesh-Barnea.

Ver. 1. Now Korah the Son of Izhar, the Son of Verse 1 Kohath, the Son of Levi.] By this it is evident that Korah was Cosin German (as we speak) to Moses and Aaron; for Izhar (Korah's Father) was the se­cond Son of Kohath, as Amram (the Father of Moses and Aaron) was his eldest Son, VI Exod. 18. 1 Chron. VI. 2.

And Dathan and Abiram the Sons of Eliab.] This Eliab was the Son of Pallu, the second Son of Reu­ben, as appears from XXVI. 5, 8, 9.

And On the Son of Peleth.] He also was descended from Reuben, as well as Dathan and Abiram, (as the next words tell us, Sons of Reuben) but of what Fa­mily it doth not appear. Nor is this Man any where [Page 288] again mentioned, no not in the progress of this Con­spiracy: which inclines me to think, that though he entred into it, yet he afterward withdrew himself, or was so inconsiderable, that no notice was taken of him.

Took. Men.] The word Men is not in the Hebrew; but simply Korah took. Which word took being the first word in the Hebrew Text, the whole verse may be thus translated, Korah the Son of Izhar, &c. took both Dathan and Abiram the Sons of Eliab, and On the Son of Peleth, &c.] That is, he drew these into a Conspiracy with him. Or, he betook himself to a Party, as the Chaldee understands it, he divided him­self; with an intention, that is, to make a Sedition. But the Sence is the same, if we follow our Transla­tion, he took Men; that is, Complices or Associates with him, in his Rebellion. By which we may un­derstand the Two hundred and fifty, mentioned in the next verse.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. And they rose up.] Made an Insurrection: in which Korah seems to have been the Ring-leader; having drawn the rest into it. Which he might the more easily do, because the Kohathites and Reubenites lay encamped on the very same side of the Taberna­cle, (II Numb. 10. compared with III. 29.) by which means they had opportunity often to Conspire toge­ther. Whence R. Solomon makes this Reflection, Wo to the Wicked, and wo to his Neighbour. The cause of the Insurrection is generally thought, both by Jews and Christians, to have been, that Korah could not brook the Preferment of Aaron and his Family, so high above the rest of the Levites, who were made only their Ministers, III. 6, 9. VIII. 19. For he thought this was too great a difference between the [Page 289] Children of two Brothers, who were of equal Deserts. Nay, Aben-Ezra thinks, that he wholly disliked the late Exchange of the First-born for the Levites. And besides, it may be thought that he stomacht the late Preferment of Elizaphan the Son of Ʋzziel, who was the youngest Son of Kohath, to be chief of the Family of the Kohathites, (III. 30.) which he thought rather belonged to himself, who was the Son of the second Son of Kohath. And finding himself too weak to make an Insurrection alone, he perswaded Dathan and Abiram, (of the Tribe of Reuben) and those in whom they had an interest to joyn with him, upon another pretence; that they were de­scended from the eldest Son of Israel, to whom the chief Authority in the Nation belonged, which Mo­ses had taken upon himself; and likewise preferred the Tribe of Judah to the principal place in their en­campment, (II. 3.) and also the LXX. Elders to be his Assistants, without their Advice, and leaving them out of the number.

Such as these may be thought to be the grounds up­on which they proceeded: Korah seeking the Priest­hood, and the Sons of Reuben the Civil Dignity. But it seems to me that the ground of the Quarrel was wholly upon the account of the Priesthood, (as I shall show upon the next verse) and that they struck at Moses only as advancing his Brother, and his Fa­mily, by his own Authority, and not (as they pre­tended) by God's direction. For as Dathan and Abi­ram did not appear openly, when they had formed this Faction, (for we find them in their Tents, v. 12. and refusing to come to Moses when he sent for them) so in the next verse, they seem to speak of nothing but the Priesthood: And so Moses understood their meaning, v. 5, 10, 15.

[Page 290] Before Moses.] In an open defiance of his Autho­rity; who, they pretended had no power to make such Alterations as he had done.

With certain of the Children of Israel.] It is not said out of what Tribe; but it is likely out of seve­ral; if not some out of every Tribe, in whom they had any interest.

Two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly, &c.] The LXX. divide their Character into three parts. First, That they were Princes of the Assembly, [...], Rulers of Thousands, and Rulers of Hun­dreds, &c. And Secondly,

Famous in the Congregation.] Which they translate [...], who used to be called to Publick Consultations, when they were to deliberate about weighty Affairs. And so several, both ancient and modern Translations, as Mr. Selden hath shown, L. II. de Synedriis, cap. 4. n. 10. where he saith, they were called maxime puto, si non solum, deliberandi causa, chiefly, if not only, to have their Advice. And then lastly,

Men of renown.] Such who had got a great Name (that is, Fame and Credit) among the People, upon these, or other accounts. This made the Insurrection the more dangerous, that such great Persons were engaged and appeared in it.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And they gathered themselves together.] The fore-named Company came in a Body.

Against Moses.] As an arbitrary Disposer of all Preferment.

And against Aaron.] Who was promoted by Mo­ses to the Office of High-Priest; which he himself had discharged before Aaron's Consecration: which, perhaps, they made a ground of their Quarrel.

[Page 291] And said unto them, Ye take too much upon you.] In the Hebrew the words are Rab-lachem, it is sufficient for you. That is, you have domineered long e­nough; resign your Places to others: for all of us, nay, every Man in Israel, is as good as you.

Seeing all the Congregation are holy, every one of them.] Here seems to be the Root of the Quarrel. Before Moses's time every one might offer Sacrifice in his own Family, (as I have often observed) which Custom these Men would have had still continued: being an­gry that this high Office was confined to one Family alone, who were to enjoy all the Benefits of it; which were exceeding great. For the Priests had a large share in most Offerings; and some things wholly to themselves. This is the more probable, because it was so very hard to convince the People, that God had settled this Dignity, and all the Profits belong­ing to it, in Aaron's Family. For though God did a new thing never heard of before, to demonstrate these People that rose against Moses and Aaron, to be Seditious, yet it was necessary still to do more. For after the Earth had swallowed up Dathan and Abi­ram, and Fire consumed Korah and his Company, and a Plague destroyed many more of them; the LORD did another Miracle, XVII. 8. in making Aaron's Rod blossom, and bud, and bring forth Al­monds in one Nights time; when all the rest of the Rods remained dry Sticks. Which makes it probable, as I said before, there were some in all the Tribes, who were engaged in this Sedition; and were so deep­ly infected with the false Notions of Korah, that it was necessary to give them all this Satisfaction.

[Page 292] And the LORD is among them.] The People need no other Governour but him, who dwells among them in his Tabernacle; where they can present their Sacrifices to him themselves, without your Assi­stance.

Wherefore then lift you up your selves above the Con­gregation of the LORD.] Since God owns us all for his special and peculiar People, why do you take upon you such high Places and Dignity above us all? For Moses disposed and ordered all things: and Aa­ron, by his order, took upon him to be solely God's chief Minister in his Sanctuary.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.] With Aaron also, it is likely; as they did late­ly, XIV. 5. And for the same end, (See there) to deprecate God's displeasure, (which they might justly think would now rise higher than ever) and to beg his direction, what to do, in such a dangerous state of things.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. And he spake unto Korah, and unto all his Company.] This shows that Korah was the Head of this Faction, and Dathan and Abiram did not at the first (I guess from hence) appear with him.

Saying.] Being risen up from Prayer, he made this Answer to the Seditious People, by order from God; who, no doubt, directed him to this way of suppres­sing them.

Even to morrow the LORD will show, &c.] In the Hebrew the words are, To morrow (or, in the Morn­ing) and the LORD will show, &c. That is, stay but till to Morrow, and it shall appear, without any further delay, whether you or we be in the right. He would keep them in suspense no longer; and yet gave them so much time to consider better, and re­pent. [Page 293] Some observe that the Morning was the time of executing Justice, and therefore here appointed.

Will the LORD show.] By some visible Token.

Who are his.] Or, Who appertain to him: viz. As his Ministers.

And who is holy.] Separated and solemnly Conse­crated, by his appointment, to the Sacred Office of Priesthood.

And will cause him to come near unto him.] Make it appear that they are the Persons who ought to burn Incense, and to offer Sacrifice. For to come near, is to perform these Offices, as may be learnt from XIX Le­vit. 22. but especially from X Levit. 3. And the very word Cohen denotes it; for it signifies a Minister next to the King.

And him whom he hath chosen, will he cause to come near unto him.] They shall discharge the Office of Priesthood, whom God himself hath chosen to it; and no Body else.

Ver. 6. This do.] I put you to this Trial.Verse 6

Take your Censers.] Perform the Office of Priests, unto which you pretend a right.

Korah, and all his Company.] All the Two hun­dred and fifty Men, and whosoever else were in the Faction of Korah. Whom he orders, no doubt, by God's direction, to execute the Office to which they aspired.

Ver. 7. Put Fire therein, and put Incense in them.] Verse 7 As the Priests were wont to do.

Before the LORD to morrow.] At the Altar of Incense, as some conceive, before the most Holy Place. So Menochius. But this is contrary to v. 18. where we read, they stood in the door of the Tabernacle, with their Censers, Fire, and Incense. Nor would the [Page 294] Sanctuary contain such a Company: or, if it had been large enough, the People could not have seen, either their Offering, or their Punishment from the LORD for their Sin. Therefore these words before the LORD signifie, with their Faces towards the Sanctuary, at the Gate of which they stood: for what was done there, is said to be before the LORD, XXIX Exod. 42.

And it shall be, that the Man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy.] This comprehends both the Man and all his Family; so the meaning is, the LORD would declare whether Aaron and his Sons should execute the Priesthood alone; or Korah and his Com­pany be admitted to it.

Ye take too much upon you, ye Sons of Levi.] It is the same Phrase which we had before, v. 3. Rab­lachem; you are high enough already; let the stati­on wherein you are suffice you, and aspire not after greater Dignity. The following words justifie this Interpretation.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And Moses said unto Korah, hear I pray you, ye Sons of Levi.] By this, and by the foregoing verse, it appears, not only that there were some of the Le­vites in this Sedition, together with Korah, at the Head of them: but that they were the chief Incendi­aries, (though others, as I said before, were drawn in to joyn with them) because Moses addresses himself only to them.

Verse 9 Ver. 9. Seemeth it a small thing unto you.] Do you take it to be no honour to you.

That the God of Israel hath separated you from the Congregation of Israel.] Made choice of you above all other Israelites, to wait upon him in his Family, as his Domestick Servants, III Numb. 12. VIII. 6, 14.

[Page 295] To bring you near to himself.] Though not so near as the Priests; yet nearer than all other Men: being the sole Attendants upon the Priests, III. 6. VIII. 10, 11.

To do the Service of the Tabernacle of the LORD.] III. 7, 8. particularly the Kohathites were chosen to do the Service of the Tabernacle, about the most holy things, IV. 4, 19.

And to stand before the Congregation, to minister unto them, VIII. 11, 19.

Ver. 10. And he hath brought thee near to him, and Verse 10 all thy Brethren the Sons of Levi with thee.] Or, Though he hath brought thee (speaking unto Korah) thus near to him; and all the rest of the Levites thy Brethren. See VIII. 10, 11, 15, 19.

And seek ye the Priesthood also?] Will it not con­tent you, that you alone are chosen to minister un­to the Priests, III. 6. but you must be advanced to minister unto God in their Office?

Ver. 11. For which cause both thou, and all thy Com­pany,Verse 11 are gathered together against the LORD.] By whose order Aaron and his Sons were appointed to serve him in the Office of Priests; as was declared when the Levites were taken to minister unto them, III. 3. IV. 15, 19, 20. And therefore to rise up a­gainst them, was to rise up against the LORD, and oppose his Authority, who made them his Priests.

And what is Aaron.] Or, And Aaron, what hath he done? Wherein is he faulty?

That ye murmur against him?] For taking upon him the Office of Priesthood; into which he did not intrude himself, but was chosen and appointed by [Page 296] God to do him that Service: who would have been angry with him, if he had refused it.

Ver. 12. And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram Verse 12 the Sons of Eliah.] To Summon them to the place where Moses now was; which the Jews say was the Court of Judgment. This shows that either these Men (as I said v. 2.) did not openly appear with Ko­rah and his Company against Moses, v. 3. Or, if they did, they retired to their Tents, before he rose up from his Prayer, to give them an Answer.

What became of On, we are not informed: for he is neither mentioned here, nor in the following part of this Narrative, concerning their Sedition; nor any where else in the Holy Scripture.

Which said, We will not come up.] They bad the Messenger, who summoned them to appear before Moses, to tell him plainly that they denied his Au­thority. For that's the meaning of this Language, He hath no Authority to command us, who are none of his Subjects; and therefore will not obey him.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. Is it a small thing with thee, that thou hast brought us up out of a Land flowing with Milk, and Honey, to kill us in the Wilderness?] Though they would not come to him, yet they returned him this Message; Have we not suffered enough, by being brought out of a rich and plentiful Country, abound­ing with all good things, into a barren Wilderness, where we are ready to starve? Nothing could be more insolentand ungrateful, than to describe Egypt in the very same Language wherein God himself had often spoken of the Land of Promise: particularly when he sent Moses to tell them, he would bring them up out of the Affliction of Egypt, under which they groaned, III Exod. 16, 17.

[Page 297] Except thou make thy self altogether a Prince over us?] Unless we allow thee to make what Laws thou think­est good, and impose what thou pleasest upon us? A most rude and insolent Speech; signifying that they had not shaken off the Yoke of Bondage, but only exchanged it: and instead of the Rich and Wealthy Oppression of Pharaoh, were come under the Poor and Hungry Tyranny of Moses. For so the next verse imports.

Ver. 14. Moreover, thou hast not brought us into a Verse 14 Land that floweth with Milk and Honey, &c.] Or, Cer­tainly, this is not the good Land into which thou didst promise to conduct us. It seems to be a Sarca­stical Speech; Upbraiding him, as if he had put a Cheat upon them, and fed them only with good Words; to which they would no longer trust.

Or given us Inheritence of Fields and Vineyards.] But told us it shall be bestowed forty years hence, when we are all dead. This still shows they took him for a Deluder of them with deceitful Promises.

Wilt thou put out the Eyes of these Men?] Some of them spake this in the name of the rest, who were now with Dathan and Abiram: and the meaning is, Dost thou think to blind us so, that none of us shall discern this Imposture? Or, shall we suffer thee to lead us about like blind Men, whither thou pleasest; sometimes towards Canaan, and now back again to­wards the Red Sea, and Egypt?

We will not come up.] A peremptory Resolution, not to own his Authority; which they denied at the first, v. 12.

Ver. 15. And Moses was very wroth.] For such be­haviour Verse 15 and Language was so provoking, that it was no wonder it incensed the meekest Man upon Earth, [Page 298] XII. 3. Yet the LXX. translate the words, as if he only took it very heavily, [...], it made him exceeding sad.

And said unto the LORD, respect not their Offer­ing.] He calls the Incense, which they were about to offer by the Name of Mincha, which commonly signifies a Meat-offering; but sometimes any inanimate thing that was consumed in honour of God, as In­cense was; and must so signifie in this place, for they offered nothing else. And when Moses desires it may not be accepted, he means a great deal more; that God would give some Sign of his dislike to it. Hence it seems plain to me, That Dathan and Abiram, as well as Korah, quarrelled at the confining the Priestood unto Aaron's Family; for Moses calls this their Offering; by the Acceptance or Rejection of which, this Con­troversie was to be decided.

I have not taken one Ass from them.] This seems to be an Appeal to God, against their unjust Charge, that he acted Arbitrarily, and did with them what he list, v. 13. From which he was so far, that he de­clares before God he had not taken, i. e. received by way of Gift or Reward, (So the LXX. and the Vul­gar understand it) the smallest thing, (for such a single Ass was) much less extorted any thing from them.

Nor have I hurt any one of them.] None can say that I have done any kind of Evil to them; but con­trarily, all good Offices. For that he did not seek himself, appeared in this, That he had not advanced his own Family to the Priestood, but left them in the number of the other Levites, upon the same level with Korah and his Company.

[Page 299]Ver. 16. And Moses said unto Korah, be thou and all thy Company before the LORD, &c.] He repeats what he had said to him before, v. 6, 7. only adding, that he would have Aaron also there, together with Verse 16 them. So it follows, Thou and they, and Aaron to morrow.

Before the LORD.] i. e. In the Court of the Ta­bernacle, (See v. 7.) where, by an extraordinary Com­mission from the Divine Majesty, this Trial was to be made. And therefore Aaron himself did not now go into the Sanctuary to offer Incense (which was the proper and only place allowed by the Law) but stood with them without. As in another great necessity he offered Incense in the midst of the Congregation, v. 46, 47. Both which was done by a Dispensation from him that made the Law.

Ver. 17. Take every Man his Censer, and put Incense Verse 17 in them, and bring ye before the LORD every Man his Censer.] Let every Man of them stand before the LORD, at the Door of the Tabernacle, to do the Office of Priests; to which they pretended as good a right as Aaron and his Sons.

Two hundred and fifty Censers.] This shows that the Incense being offered by so great a number (as it appears it was, v. 35.) they did not offer it in the Sanctuary; which would not contain so many Per­sons.

Thou also and Aaron, each of you his Censer.] This seems to signifie, as if Korah was commanded to stand by Aaron, since he pretended to be his equal; which made the Hand of God the more remarkable upon him, when he was struck with Lightning, and no harm came to Aaron, who stood by him. But it may be doubted, what way Korah perished.

[Page 300]Ver. 18. And they took every Man his Censer.] That is, the Two hundred and fifty Men did as they were commanded: but Korah went first to muster up as Verse 18 many as he could get together against Moses, v. 19. and then seems to have gone to his Tent, v. 24. Herein these Men submitted to the way of decision which Moses propounded, though they had so bold­ly denied his Authority. For they could not but think, that God, whom they owned to be among them, v. 3. would approve of them, if they were in the right; and make good their Allegation, That all the Congregation were holy, by accepting their Incense, as much as Aaron's. To whom they did not deny an equality with themselves; but only a Superio­rity.

And put fire in them.] From the Altar of Burnt-offering, which stood in the Court, at the Door of which they were placed, (I Lev. 5.) for Aaron durst not take it from any other place: his Sons having lost their Lives for offering with strange Fire. The re­membrance of which, it is likely, deterred these Men from doing other wise; who did not as yet put in the Fire, but only took their Censers, and put In­cense in them, (which is all that is ordered in the preceding Verse) and put Fire in afterwards.

And stood in the door of the Tabernacle of the Congre­gation with Moses and Aaron.] As if they were nothing inferiour to them.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And Korah gathered all the Congregation against them.] The LXX. translates it, Korah ga­thered all his Congregation, i. e. all the Men of his Fa­ction. But the Hebrew words import that he gather­ed all the Congregation of Israel, at least all the great Men; who are sometimes called by the Name of all [Page 331] the Congregation, XIV. 1. whom he got together, that they might be Witnesses, at least, of the issue of this Trial: though their coming together with Korah and his Company, rather than with Moses and Aaron, is too plain an Indication that they were inclined, if not to throw off, yet to doubt of their Authority.

Ʋnto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] Where they themselves stood, v. 18. And so did Moses and Aaron: but the Israelites, that Korah had gathered together, stood on his side, as appears from the foregoing words, and from v. 24.

And the Glory of the LORD.] The SCHECHI­NAH, or Divine Majesty, came forth out of the most Holy Place, where it usually resided.

Appeared unto all the Congregation.] Openly shew­ed it self in the sight of all the People: and, it is likely, in such an amazing manner, as it had done before, XIV. 10. But where it appeared, we are not told: I suppose in the Cloud, which was just over the Ark of the Testimony, IX. 15. not in the Door of the Tabernacle, for there Korah and his Company stood. See XVI Exod. 10. And the end of the LORD's appearing was to to give Sentence in this case; and to declare, by a visible Token, whom he accepted as his Priests. Thus the Glory of the LORD appeared the first time that Aaron and his Sons offered Sacrifice, IX Lev. 6, 23.

Ver. 20. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Verse 20 Aaron, saying.] A little before they put Fire in their Censers.

Ver. 21. Separate your selves from this Congregation.]Verse 21 Viz. From Korah and his Company, and the People they brought along with them; who seemed to fa­vour them, v. 19.

[Page 302] That I may consume them in a moment.] As he did Korah and his Companions.

Ver. 22. And they fell on their faces.] To pray to Verse 22 God, as they had done before, v. 4.

O God.] The most mighty.

The God of the Spirits of all Flesh.] Who hast crea­ted the Souls of all Mankind, (so Flesh often signi­fies all Men, VI Gen. 13.) and therefore searchest in­to their most secret Thoughts and Inclinations. So these words signifie, XXVII. 16.

Shall one Man sin.] Korah, who was the chief In­cendiary and Contriver of this Sedition.

And wilt thou be wroth with all the Congregation?] Many of which he thought might, through weak­ness, be seduced into this Faction: having no Malice at all in their hearts. Which God knew perfectly; and therefore he begs of him that he would make a distinction, between such as these, and the Men that misled them.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. And the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] He bad him rise up, having granted his Peti­tion.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. Speak unto the Congregation.] Whom Korah had gathered together, and brought along with him to the Door of the Tabernacle, v. 19.

Get ye up from about the Tabernacle of Korah, Da­than, and Abiram.] Which, it seems, was not far off; or wheresoever it was, there a great number of People was gathered together, to see what would be the Conclusion of this Contest. The word Taberna­cle is in the Singular Number; but includes all the Tents belonging to these Men, as appears from v. 26. Or, perhaps, they had set up one great Tabernacle, (for the word here is Mischean, which may be thought [Page 033] to signifie more than Ohel, a Tent, v. 26.) unto which abundance of People resorted, as the place that Ko­rah and the rest had appointed for the general Ren­devouz (as we now speak) of all their Party. For here Dathan and Abiram, it is evident, (v. 27.) were with him: but there is no mention at all of On; which makes it probable he had forsaken them, as Mo­ses wisht all the People to do; on which Condition God promised to pardon them.

Ver. 25. And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Verse 25 Abiram.] To try, I suppose, if he could reduce them to their Obedience, and prevent their ruine. He seems to have had no hopes of Korah; but lookt upon him as incorrigible.

And the Elders of Israel followed him.] Either the LXX. Elders, who were lately chosen out of the rest, (XI. 16.) or the whole Body of those who were called by that Name, and were Men of Autho­rity, attended upon him, to make this Action more solemn; and to let Dathan and Abiram see how much Moses was reverenced by better Men than themselves, who refused to come to him, v. 12, 14.

Ver. 20. And spake unto the Congregation, saying.] Verse 26 It seems Dathan and Abiram refused to hear him, as they did to come to him: for here is no mention of any thing he spake to them; but only to the Congre­gation, who were gathered about their Tents.

Depart, I pray you, from the Tents of these wicked Men.] I suppose now they were gone to their own Tents, where their Families were; from which, he beseeches the People to remove with all speed. And he doth not mean merely that they should remove their Persons from them, but their Tents, and their Goods, and Cattle.

[Page 304] And touch nothing of theirs.] Because all belong­ing unto them was under an Anathema, which God had passed upon them. That is, was devoted to destru­ction, and therefore not to be touched, XIII Deut. 17.

Lest ye be consumed in all their sins.] Destroyed with them; who had sinned so grievously, as to fall under the Curse before-mentioned.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. So they gat up from the Tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.] Where the greatest number of People were gathered together, as I observed, v. 24. For here is the same word Mischean again, in the Sin­gular Number; denoting some spacious Habitation, where perhaps they held their Consultations; and unto which there was the greatest resort.

On every side.] From which we may conclude, that the People had come from all quarters of the Camp, to these Rebels; either to joyn with them, or out of Curiosity to see how things would go.

And Dathan and Abiram.] With Korah also, it may be thought, because he is mentioned in the be­ginning of the Verse. Yet this Conclusion cannot be drawn from thence, for it is not said he was now there; but that it was the Tabernacle of Korah, Da­than and Abiram; where they used, I suppose, to meet.

Came out.] From the Tabernacle before-mention­ed.

And stood in the door of their Tents.] Of their own Tents; where they commonly dwelt.

And their Wives, and their Sons, and their Children.] With their whole Families. This was the highest degree of audacious and hardned Infidelity; where­by they declared that they feared not what Moses [Page 305] (who had given the greatest proof he was a Man of God) could do unto them.

Ver. 28. And Moses said.] Unto all the People of Israel; or to the Elders, and as many as could Verse 28 hear him.

Hereby you shall know.] I will now give you an e­vident Demonstration.

That the LORD hath sent me to do all these works.] That I have been commissioned by God to do all the things with which those Men find fault: particularly to take upon me the Government of them; and to put Aaron and his Family into the Priesthood; and make the Levites only their Ministers, &c. See v. 2, 3, 13, 14.

For I have not done them of my own mind.] In the Hebrew the words are, And that not out of my heart. It was none of my own device or contrivance. I did it not out of an ambitious desire to be great myself, or out of private affection to my Brother.

Ver. 29. If these Men die the common death of all Verse 29 Men.] In the Hebrew it is, As die all Mankind: that is, a Natural Death, as we now speak.

Or they be visited after the visitation of all Men.] i. e. Such Judgments of God come upon them, as are usual and common in the World, viz. a Pestilence, the Sword, or Famine.

The LORD hath not sent me.] Then look upon me as an Impostor.

Ver. 30. But if the LORD make a new thing.] Verse 30 In the Hebrew the words are, If the LORD create a Creature; i. e. do something that was never seen, nor heard of in the World before. The Jews, in several of their Books, (particularly in Pirke Avoth) say, there are ten things which God created after the World [Page 306] was perfected: and they mention the mouth of the Earth for one of them; that is, the gaping of the Ground, to swallow up these wicked People. Which is said to be created, as Aben-Ezra well observes, because by this Miracle God altered the Course of Nature, and did a thing extraordinary.

And the Earth open her mouth, and swallow them up with all that appertain unto them.] i. e. On a sudden; when there is no Earthquake, but all is calm and still; and it swallow up none but them alone.

And they go down quick into the Pit.] Be buried a­live; when they are in perfect health. By this place it is apparent that the Hebrew word Sheol doth of­ten signifie the Grave: which Bellermine (and o­thers) most earnestly contend never signifies so, but Hell; which from hence he asserts to be in the Center of the Earth, Lib. IV. de Christo, cap. 10. not observing, that if it signifie Hell in this verse, and v. 33. then the Houses of these Men, and their Houshold-stuff, and all that appertained to them, went down thi­ther; which is very absurd. It is hard also to think that all their little Children went down into Hell for their Father's sin, though they did into the Grave.

Then ye shall understand that these Men have provoked the LORD.] You shall be sufficiently convinced, that they have unjustly accused me, and brought this destruction upon themselves.

Verse 31 Ver. 31. And it came to pass, that as he had made an end of speaking all the words, that the Ground clave asunder that was under them.] He had no sooner done speaking, but immediately what he said was verified; which made it the more remarkable.

[Page 307]Ver. 32. And the Earth opened her mouth, and swal­lowed them up.] Viz. Dathan and Abiram before-mentioned,Verse 32 (v. 27.) who stood in the Door of their Tents, outfacing Moses.

And their Houses.] i. e. All their Family; or, as Moses himself hath explained it, XI Deut. 6. Their Housholds, and their Tents, and all the Substance that was in their possession.

And all the Men that appertained unto Korah.] We are not told what became of Korah himself; for it is not said he was swallowed up; but all that apper­tained to him; i. e. all that were at that time in his Tent: His whole Family, except his Sons, who esca­ped, XXVI. 11. taking warning, I suppose, from what Moses said, v. 26. Which hath made some think that Korah was at the Head of his Two hundred and fifty Men, who were the great Abetters of his Facti­on: who, if he had forsaken them at this Trial that was made who were in the right, we may well think would have withdrawn themselves also, and not have stood to it without their Chieftain, as we find they did, v. 35. Yet he is not mentioned there, as perish­ing with them, by Fire from the LORD: and Mo­ses seems to say, XXVI. 10. that Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up together with Korah: who had as much reason, or more perhaps, to think it necessary to be with that other Company which he had gather­ed against Moses, (v. 19.) and to incourage them to persist in their Resolution, than to be with the Two hundred and fifty Men, who were Men of such Au­thority, (v. 2.) that they may be thought to have needed none to support them. It may be added also, that the word appertaineth is not here in the Hebrew, (which makes these words sound as if the meaning [Page 308] were only those that were of Korah's Family) but simply, all the Men that were to Korah, i. e. were ga­thered to him, and were at that time with him. Which seems to be an Indication that they and he were swallowed up together. How many there were that staid with him there, is not certain: but the ge­nerality left him, v. 27. where it is expresly said they gat up from the Tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, as Moses had commanded v. 24. Which may be taken for a further Indication, that he was swal­lowed up in the Tabernacle where he was; or in his own Tent after he came out of that Tabernacle. But those places, I observed before, may be otherwise un­derstood: that place also, which is the main founda­tion of this Opinion, XXVI. 10. may likewise re­ceive another Interpretation, as I shall show when I come thither. And they that are of the other Opi­nion, think his Tabernacle, and his Family, and all his Houshold-stuff might be swallowed up, though he himself was not with them; but was burnt by Fire, with the Two hundred and fifty Men that offered Incense; for Moses bad him take his Censer, as well as they, v. 17. Which since they did, and put Fire and Incense therein, why should it be thought he did not do the same? It seems to me highly probable that he did, otherwise he would have seemed to di­strust his Cause: but it must be confessed that it is obscure which way he perished; and therefore it is not fit to contend about it.

And all their Goods.] All their Houshold-stuff, and Cattle; and whatsoever was in, or about their Tents.

[Page 309]Ver. 33. They and all that appertained to them.] See XI Deut. 6.

Went down alive into the Pit.] As Moses had foretold, v. 30.Verse 33

And the Earth closed upon them.] This made it the more wonderful, that the Earth, having swallowed them all up, had no Cleft remaining in it; but clo­sed up again, and was as firm as before.

And they perished from among the Congregation.] Were never more seen.

Ver. 34. And all Israel that were round about them,Verse 34 fled at the cry of them.] Though they were at a di­stance from their Tents, (whence they had removed on all sides, v. 27.) yet they heard them shriek so loudly, as they sunk down into the Ground, that it put them into a great fright, and made them fly still further off.

For they said, lest the Earth swallow us up also.] Some of them were conscious to themselves, that they had favoured this wicked Faction; and all of them knew how highly they had lately offended God, by their unbelief and murmuring, (Chapt. XIV.) which might make them justly fear the same Fate with their Bre­thren.

Ver. 35. And there came out a Fire from the LORD.] Verse 35 From the Glory of the LORD, which appeared unto all the Congregation, (v. 19.) as ready to de­cide the Controversie: This fell out either at the same time the Earth swallowed up Dathan and Abiram, or immediately after it.

And consumed the two hundred and fifty Men that offered Incense.] Which was a plain declaration that they usurped the Office of Priests; and therefore were thus punished by God himself for their presumption. [Page 310] It is not certain whether they were devoured by the Fire, or only struck dead, as Men are sometimes on a sudden by Lightning, and perhaps scorched, as they likewise sometimes are. The latter seems most pro­bable from what follows, v. 37. and from the like punishment by Fire from the LORD, which is said to devour Nadab and Abihu, and yet their Bodies re­mained intire, X Lev. 2, 4. This was the more a­stonishing, because Moses and Aaron, who stood with them at the Door of the Tabernacle (v. 18. had no hurt.

Verse 36 Ver. 36. And the LORD spake unto Moses, say­ing.] Immediately after the Death of those Men.

Ver. 37. Speak unto Eleazar the Son of Aaron the Priest.] Who it is likely stood by them, as next Successor to Aaron, in the Office which was disputed: And therefore perhaps imployed in what follows ra­ther than Aaron, that his Succession might be confirm­ed. Though others will have it, that it was below the Dignity of Aaron to perform such a mean Office: and besides, he might have been in danger to be polluted by the dead Bodies of the Men that were burnt.

That he take the Censers out of the Burning.] Out of the place where the Men were burnt, as some un­derstand it. Or (which differs not much) from a­mong the dead Bodies, which were burnt; Burning being put for Bodies burnt; as Captivity, XXI. 1. for those that were carried Captive, or made Prisoners, as we there translate it. But there is no need of ei­ther of these Additions; burning signifying the Fire which burnt in them: which he orders Eleazar to throw out, that the Censers might be brought a­way.

[Page 311] And scatter thou the Fire yonder.] The Men were burnt as soon as ever they put fire to the Incense in their Censers, (v. 18.) which flaming at the Door of the Tabernacle where they stood, (near the Altar from whence they took the Fire) God commanded to be thrown away without the Camp: into that place, I suppose, where they were wont to throw the Ashes (VI Lev. 11.) or rather, into some unclean place, where they threw the Dust scraped from the Walls of Leprous Houses, XIV Lev. 41. For it was to show that God abhorred their Offering.

For they are hollowed.] Or had Fire from the Altar put into them; which some think sanctified them. But the plain reason is given in the next verse, because they offered them before the LORD; i. e. they had been employed to an holy use, and that by God's command, (v. 6, 17.) and therefore God would not have them hereafter serve for any other.

Ver. 39. The Censers of these Sinners against their Verse 39 own Souls.] Who have brought destruction upon themselves, by their Presumption.

Let them make of them.] Either Aaron, or Eleazar were to cause them to be beaten into such Plates as here follow.

Broad Plates for a covering of the Altar.] Of Burnt-offering; which was covered with Brass, (XXVII Ex­od. 12.) but these Plates were to be laid upon that Covering which it had already, for the end menti­oned in the Conclusion of this verse. And hereby also the proper Covering of the Altar lasted the lon­ger.

For they offered them before the LORD.] Presen­ted them before the LORD, when they offered In­cense in them, v. 35.

[Page 312] Therefore they are hallowed.] Or holy: That is, I will have them separated, for this reason, to my use a­lone, and no other. It is a thing worthy to be taken special notice of, that the Impiety of the Men that offered Incense, did not discharge their Censers of the discriminative Respect (as our famous Mr. Mede speaks) due unto things sacred. As these in some sort were, by being presented to the LORD, which made it unlawful to imploy them to common uses. For as the LORD himself is that singular, incom­municable, and absolutely Holy One, and his Service and Worship therefore incommunicable to any other; so should that also which is consecrated to his Ser­vice, be in some proportion incommunicably used; and not promiscuously and commonly, as other things are. See Book I. Discourse 2. p. 18.

And they shall be a Sign unto the Children of Israel.] That God accepts no Sacrifice, which is not presented by the Hands of the Sons of Aaron. This the Le­vites were to remember who attended upon the Priest, when they saw these Plates laid upon the Altar of Burnt-offering every day.

Verse 39 Ver. 39. And Eleazar the Priest took the brazen Censers, &c.] By this it appears these Censers were made of the same Metal (though it was not said be­fore) that Aaron's Censer was of, and wherewith the Altar was overlaid. He took them up out of the burning, no doubt, immediately upon the foregoing Commands: and as soon as the Mutiny was quite quelled, they were employed as Moses had directed.

Ver. 40. To be a Memorial unto the Children of Is­rael.] This explains what is meant by a Sign, v. 38. viz. to put them in mind; or rather, to keep in their memory.

[Page 313] That no Stranger.] Though he were an Israelite, nay a Levite, if he were not (as it here follows) of the Seed of Aaron, he was reputed a Stranger to this Office.

Come near to offer Incense before the LORD.] Presume to execute the Office of a Priest in the San­ctuary.

That he be not as Korah and his Company.] Destroy­ed in a dreadful manner. By this it appears that Ko­rah perished as well as the Two hundred and fifty Men; and it is likely, as they did, by Fire from the LORD.

As the LORD said unto him.] i. e. To Eleazar.

By the hand of Moses.] Ver. 36, 37.

Ver. 41. But on the morrow.] An astonishing In­stance Verse 41 of the incurable hardness and insensibility of some Mens hearts; which were not in the least alter­ed by God's terrible Judgments, and singular Mercies; but instantly forgat both.

All the Congregation of the Children of Israel.] Not merely the Rulers of the People, (as this Phrase some­times signifies) but all the People in general, (v. 47.) who were incited, it is probable, by that lewd Rout which Korah had gathered together against Moses and Aaron, v. 19. Some of which were swallowed up, but most of them remained still alive, to do more Mischief.

Murmured against Moses and against Aaron.] In such a mutinous and threatning manner, as demon­strated the contagious Nature of a Seditious Humour, beyond all example. For from a discontented Party, who grumbled that they were not preferred, suitably to the opinion they had of themselves, it spread it self into the whole Body of the People. And so in­fected [Page 314] them, as to kindle a new Flame, as soon as the former had been extinguished, by such a terrible Ven­geance, as one would have expected should not have left the smallest Spark of this mutinous Humour in them.

Saying, Ye have killed the People of the LORD.] So they impudently call those Men, whom God him­self had declared, by a visible Token, to be presump­tuous Sinners against their own Souls. Some imagine they quarrelled with Moses and Aaron, because they had not prevailed with God to pardon them; which they could as well have done, as procured this Judg­ment upon them. But the displeasure which God here expresses against this new Murmuring, shows this not to be a true Excuse for them.

Verse 42 Ver. 42. And it came to pass when the Congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron.] Their Murmuring presently proceeded to an Insurrection.

That they looked toward the Tabernacle of the Congre­gation.] i. e. Moses and Aaron implored help from God: which is implyed in their looking toward his Dwelling-place.

And behold, the Cloud covered it.] One would think by this, that it had, for some time, withdrawn it self from the Tabernacle, when the dead Bodies of Korah's Company lay dead at the Door of it.

And the Glory of the LORD appeared.] To com­fort them in this Distress; and to show he was ready to support and vindicate them.

Verse 43 Ver. 43. And Moses and Aaron came before the Ta­bernacle of the Congregation.] Perhaps for Safety and Security: or, to hear what Directions God would give them.

[Page 315]Ver. 44. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Out of the Tabernacle; before which he stood, wait­ing for the LORD's Orders.

Ver. 45. Get ye up from among this Congregation.] Verse 44 He speaks to Aaron and Eleazar, I suppose, as well as Verse 45 unto Moses.

That I may consume them as in a moment.] As he was inclined to do before, (v. 21.) and now had a greater reason.

And they fell on their faces.] To beseech God not to punish the People as they deserved, v. 22.

Ver. 46. And Moses said unto Aaron.] By God's Verse 46 Direction.

Take a Censer, and put Fire therein from off the Altar.] Near to which they now were, v. 43.

And put on Incense.] Upon the Fire; but not till he came into the midst of the Congregation, v. 47.

And go quickly unto the Congregation.] With the Incense; which regularly was to be offered only at the golden Altar, within the Sanctuary: but now in this extraordinary Case, by God's special Order, Aa­ron is sent with it into the Camp; that they might all be Witnesses of his Power with God, and that, by his Authority, he was settled in the Priest­hood.

And make an Atonement for them.] Which was u­sually performed by the Blood of a Sacrifice: but there was not time for that: and therefore now it was made by the Incense, wherewith their daily Sacrifices, Morn­ing and Evening, were concluded; and was accompa­nied by the Prayers of the People, while the Priest, as he offered it, made Intercession for them, CXLI Psalm 2. Thus as St. Hierom glosses, Currens ira Dei, Sacerdotij voce prohibebatur; the Divine Anger, coming [Page 316] with full speed upon them, was stopped by the Voice of the Priest. Which was a notable Type of the Power of our great High Priest and Intercessor with God, the LORD Jesus.

For there is Wrath gone out from the LORD.] Who would not wholly grant their Prayer for a Pardon, (v. 45.) but inflicted some Punishment up­on them.

The Plague is begun.] A Pestilence, in all proba­bility; of which several immediately died.

Verse 47 Ver. 47. And Aaron took as Moses commanded.] A Censer, and Fire from the Altar; with Incense rea­dy to be put upon it, v. 46.

And ran.] According to the Command of Moses, (v. 46.) who bad him go quickly.

Into the midst of the Congregation.] Perhaps into the midst of each of the four Camps, of Judah, Reu­ben, Ephraim, and Dan (mentioned in the second Chapter) being broke out every where.

And behold, the Plague was begun among the People.] He saw People die on all sides of him.

And he put on Incense.] Whereupon he put Incense upon the Fire, which he brought along with him from the Altar, v. 46.

And made an Atonement for the People.] Inter­ceded with God for them; and obtained what he de­sired.

Verse 48 Ver. 48. And he stood between the dead and the li­ving.] This seems to intimate that the Plague be­gan in the Skirts of their Camps, and was proceed­ing into the heart of them; where Aaron stood, as a Mediator for those who were not yet smitten.

[Page 317] And the Plague was stayed.] A stop was put to its progress. Which was a further Evidence of Aaron's right to the Priesthood, by God's appointment: who not only preserved him when he offered Incense to­gether with Korah's Company, (v. 17.) but now makes him an Instrument of preserving others from destrustion.

Ver. 49. Now they that died in the Plague were Four­teen Verse 49 thousand and seven hundred.] Who it is likely, were of the forwardest Men, to associate themselves with Korah, v. 19.

Besides them that died about the matter of Korah.] Whose just number is not known; for besides the Two hundred and fifty Men, mentioned v. 25. the whole Families of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up.

Ver. 50. And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the Verse 50 door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] To carry back his Censer.

And the Plague was stayed.] Or rather, For the Plague was stayed: and so, having done his business, he returned to the Tabernacle.


Chapter XVII Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] Verse 1 Not long after the Plague was stayed. For though there had been enough done to satisfie the People, that Aaron was advanced to the Priest­hood by God's appointment, and not by Moses his Affection to his Kindred; yet their Minds had been [Page 318] so poisoned by Korah and his Complices, with the contrary Opinion, that it was necessary to do still more to root it out. Which was the occasion of what follows.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. Speak unto the Children of Israel.] Order them to bring what I require thee to take of them.

And take of every one of them.] i. e. Of every Tribe.

A Rod.] Or a Staff, as the Hebrew word Matteh is often translated. Which some take for an ordinary Walking-staff; or for the Staff which was the Badge of their Authority, as Princes of the several Tribes; neither of which seems to me to be true. For what reason have we to think that every Man's Staff, which he commonly used, was made of the Wood of an Almond Tree? as these were, one may probably con­clude from the 8th verse. And therefore, I take it, they were all now cut off from some Tree of that kind, and it is likely from one and the same Tree, that none might fancy there was any difference be­tween them. For the Miracle was great enough (which here follows) without supposing, as some do, that these Rods were all of some other common Wood; and yet Aaron's Rod produced Almonds; which were not the proper Fruit of it: Though it must be confessed, that if they were not of the wood of an Almond Tree, the wonder was greater that his Rod should bring forth Almonds; and struck their Minds more strongly.

According to the House of their Fathers.] In the Hebrew it is Father, in the Singular Number; deno­ting the principal Person or Patriarch (as we call them) of whose House or Family he was to take one Rod.

[Page 319] Of all their Princes, according to the House of their Fathers.]. This explains the meaning more fully, that the Prince of every Tribe, who was the Head of the House of their Fathers, should bring these Rods. Their Names we have in the first Chapter of this Book, v. 5, 6. and VII. 2, 12, &c.

Twelve Rods.] Besides Aaron's: for so many Tribes there were besides that of Levi. And too great a number of every Tribe, in all likelyhood, had joyned with Korah in their discontended Murmu­rings, at the confinement of the Priesthood unto Aaron's Family alone; to which they all fansied they had as much right as he. Which is the reason of ta­king a Rod from every Tribe; that they might all be convinced, that none of them but he and his Fa­mily alone, were owned by God for his Priests. See XVI. 3.

Write thou every Man's name upon his Rod.] Either by an Incision into the very Wood; or with such Ink as they wrote withal in those days, V. 22. This he did in the Presence of the Princes; that they might not afterward suspect any Fraud, when they came to take their Rods again; but be satisfied they were the very same which they saw noted with their Names.

Ver. 3. And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the Verse 3 Rod of Levi.] Because God had made him the Prince of that Tribe, by giving him the High-Priesthood. And he would have them see, that as no other Per­son in any of the Twelve Tribes, so no other Levite ought to pretend unto that high Office, which he had invested him withal, and him alone.

[Page 320] For one Rod shall be for the Head of the House of their Fathers.] One Rod was sufficient, because the Head of the Tribe comprehended the whole Tribe. Who were all excluded from the Priesthood, by the Exclusion of him who represented them.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And thou shalt lay them up in the Taberna­cle.] In the most Holy Place.

Before the Testimony.] i. e. Before the Ark; called in many Places the Ark of the Testimony, XL Exod. 3. because therein Moses put the Testimony, (or, two Tables of Stone, and the Mercy Seat above it, v. 20, 21.) where the Divine Glory resided. Therefore to lay the Rods before the Testimony, was to lay them be­fore the Divine Majesty: who intended by them fi­nally to determine the present Controversie.

Where I will meet with you.] There he promised to meet with Moses, XXV Exod. 22. by whom he communicated his Mind unto the People. For he neither met with them, nor with Aaron there, any o­ther way, but by Moses. And therefore the Vulgar Latin here translates it, minding the sence rather than the words, Where I will speak to them. And so the LXX. By which I will be made known to thee there. And indeed meeting with them here, is nothing but declaring, or making known his Mind to them all, by what was done there upon Aaron's Rod. So it follows in the next verse. And for this reason the Tabernacle of the LORD is called OHEL MOED, the Tabernacle of Meeting: not of Mens meeting there (as is commonly supposed, by our translating it, The Tabernacle of the Congregation) but of God's meeting there with Men. For so the LORD himself gives the reason of the Name, both here and in XXIX Exod. 42. XXX. 36. where I have noted the same out of Mr. Mede.

[Page 321]Ver. 5. And it shall come to pass, that the Man's Rod whom I shall choose, shall blossom.] The Rods being laid before me, I will tell you whom I have chosen to minister to me in the Priesthood, by making the Verse 5 Rod upon which his Name is written, to blossom, when all the rest remain as they were before, without any Alteration. This was a kind of new choice (as the words import) whereby God confirmed the choice he had formerly made of Aaron to be High-Priest.

And I will make to cease from me the Murmurings of the Children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.] And hereby stop all their Mouths from murmuring any more about this matter: unless they will oppose me directly, who declare before-hand, how I intend to give Judgment in this Case, and put an end to this Dispute.

Ver. 6. And Moses spake unto the Children of Israel.] Verse 6 Told them what God had said, that they might be all consenting to this way of Decision.

And every one of their Princes gave him a Rod apiece.] For they could not refuse such a fair Proposal.

For each Prince one, according to their Fathers Hou­ses, even twelve Rods.] Observing herein the Com­mands of Moses; who wrote, no doubt, every Man's Name upon his Rod, as he was also commanded, v. 2.

And the Rod of Aaron was among their Rods.] Not one of the twelve, as the Jews fancy; but besides the twelve Rods for the twelve Tribes, (as was directed v. 2. and obeyed by them, as the foregoing words tell us) his Rod was put among them, with his Name upon it, as their Names were upon their Rods. And therefore the Vulgar translates it, having regard to the [Page 322] sence only, There were twelve Rods besides the Rod of Aaron. Which the LXX. intended in their Transla­tion, [...], and the Rod of Aaron in the midst of their Rods. And if it were cut from the very same Tree with theirs, the Miracle became the more remarkable.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. And Moses laid up the Rods before the LORD.] Who was by them to declare his choice, v. 5.

In the Tabernacle of Witness.] In that part of the Tabernacle where the Ark was, which had in it the Witness or Testimony which God gave Moses, (XXV Exod. 21.) who alone could go into that place.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And it came to pass that on the morrow.] It is likely God told him, he would [...]orthwith show whom he had chosen.

Moses went into the Tabernacle of Witness.] The most Holy Place, where the Rods were laid up by God's order.

And behold, the Rod of Aaron.] Which had his Name written on it.

For the House of Levi.] Or, To the House of Levi: i. e. whom God had made Head of the Levites.

Was budded, and brought forth Buds, and blossom­ed Blossoms, and yielded Almonds.] In some places of the Rod, I suppose, there was an appearance of Buds coming forth; in others the Buds were fully thrust out; and in others they were opened and shot forth into Blossoms; and those Blossoms in other parts, knotted and grown into Almonds. [...], &c. as Gregory Nyssen speaks in the Life of Moses, p. 185. The greatest Miracle, even in the judgment of Unbelievers; who now acknowledged, that which before they opposed, v. 12, 13. For that in one Night, a dry Stick (as some suppose them all [Page 323] to have been) should produce Buds, and Flowers, and Fruit, when all the rest, which perhaps were cut from the same Tree, were as dry as they were be­fore, could not but be very amazing: and, unless they would shut their eyes, make them see the distinction which the LORD made between Aaron whose Name that Rod bare, and all the rest of the Children of Israel, whom the other Rods represented.

The Heathen did not think such things incredible, as Huetius hath shown in his Quaestiones Alnetanae, L. I. cap. 12. n. 24.

Ver. 9. And Moses brought out all the Rods from be­fore Verse 9 the LORD unto all the Children of Israel.] Be­fore whom they were exposed to open view, that they might see the difference God had made.

And they looked and took every Man his Rod.] View­ed them, and taking them into their Hands, exa­mined them; and found they were the very same Rods, which they had delivered unto Moses with their Names on them, without any alteration.

Ver. 10. And the LORD said unto Moses, bring Verse 10 Aaron's Rod again.] Which either Moses held in his Hand, or delivered it to Aaron (as he did the rest to the several Princes of the Tribes) who showed it to the Children of Israel, with the Buds, Blossoms, and Almonds upon it. After which God commanded it to be returned unto him.

Before the Testimony.] To be laid up in the place, where it was before it was thus changed, v. 4, 7.

To be kept for a Token against the Rebels.] That it might be produced as a sufficient Conviction of their Impiety, if any presumed hereafter to rebel against Aaron's Authority. Or rather, that it might prevent all Insurrections against it for the future. For it re­mained, [Page 324] we find, in the most Holy Place for some time; as appears both from the Apostle, IX Hebr. 4. and from the reason of its being put here, that it might be preserved as a Sign or Proof of Aaron's Authori­ty, and Suppress all opposition to it. But how long it continued, we cannot tell, (for it is not mention­ed, when the Ark was brought into the Temple of Solomon, 1 Kings VIII. 9.) nor is it certain whether it continued in that verdure wherein it now appear­ed, with the Buds, Blossoms, and Fruit; though it is highly probable it did: because it was to be a Te­stimony that the Honour of the Priesthood should continue to Aaron's Family alone, through all Gene­rations.

There are those who take this Rod which blos­somed, and was laid up in the most Holy Place, to have been the Rod of Moses, wherewith he wrought so many Miracles in Egypt, and at the Red Sea. Con­cerning which the Jews tell very many incredible things: as that it came from a Branch of the Tree of Life, which an Angel gave to Seth, who planted it in the Wilderness, where Moses found it grown to a Tree, and cut this Rod from it. For when they came to Marah, and could not drink the Waters, because they were bitter, God showed them this Tree, that with it he might make them sweet. Upon which Tree he afterward placed the brazen Serpent, by looking on which the People were healed, &c. Thus the Cabbalists generally tell this Tale; but some of them much otherwise; who say it was given to Adam, and by him to Enoch, and so on till it came to Joseph, in whose House the Egyptians found it when he died, and brought it to Pharaoh; from whom Jethro stole it, &c. with a great deal of such like stuff: Which [Page 325] Abarbinel saith is to be understood mystically. But all the ground they have for this Fancy, of the Rod here laid up being Moses's Rod, is from XX. 8, 9. where it is said, That Moses took the Rod from before the LORD, wherewith he brought Water out of the Rock, and this Rod is said v. 11. to be Moses his Rod. Dr. Owen, upon the Epistle to the Hebrews, follows this Conceit, and endeavours to find many Mysteries in it. But it is evidently false: for as there is not the least intimation here that it was the Rod of Moses, but quite contrary, it is called the Rod of Aa­ron, v. 6. so it had not been a sufficient Argument to convince the Infidelity of the Israelites, if Aaron's Rod had not been of the same kind with all the rest. For they might have ascribed what came to pass to the singular quality or vertue of that Rod, especially if it were Moses his Rod, (wherewith Wonders used to be wrought) and not to a special Hand of God ap­pearing to establish the Authority of Aaron. And besides, a Rod full of Blossoms and Fruit, had been very unfit to be used to smite the Rock withal: for which purpose that Rod (which seems to have been his Pastoral Staff) wherewith he smote the Rock in Horeb was most proper, XVII Exod. 5, 6.

And thou shalt quite take away their Murmurings from me.] i. e. Silence all their Cavils against Aaron and his Family; which the LORD here declares he would no longer bear, if they continued in them af­ter this demonstration of his Will and Pleasure. For here were a great many miraculous things concurred together to convince them, that to oppose Aaron, was to oppose God himself. The Jews reckon up eight. First, That Aaron's Rod should bring forth Buds, Blossoms, and Fruit, all in one Night, when the other [Page 326] Rods, which were of the same nature, brought forth nothing. And then secondly, That the Buds brought forth Leaves; for so they interpret those words, v. 8. the Rod of Aaron was budded; i. e. brought forth Leaves; for the next words speaks of its budding, which followed after. And thirdly, That it thrust out Leaves before the Blossoms, which is contrary to the Nature of the Almond Tree. And next, that it put forth Blossoms all the Rod over; as they inter­pret those words, bloomed Blossoms. And then that a dry Stick (as they understand it) should produce Fruit, and this Fruit Almonds, which such Trees (they think) as that Rod was taken from, did not bear. And further, That it produced ripe Almonds, as the Hebrew word Schekedim imports. And lastly, That Moses showed the People all these at one view, the Leaves, Buds, Blossoms, and Fruit in perfection. By which multiplicity of Miracles the Dignity of Aa­ron was so demonstrated, that we do not find they at any time hereafter adventured to rise up against him. For besides all those Wonders now mention­ed, it may be, that it was not the Season of the Year for Almonds, nor so much as for the budding of that Tree: which made it the more astonishing. But the greatest thing of all was, the continuing of this Mi­racle to future Ages; which might well make them afraid to open their Mouths again in Murmurings a­gainst Aaron.

That they die not.] Be not consumed in a moment, as God had more than once formerly threatned (XVI. 21, 45.) and now declared, if they did not mend their Manners, and cease their Murmurings about this matter, he would instantly execute.

[Page 327]Ver. 11. And Moses did so: as the LORD com­manded so did he.] Both brought the Rod again to him, and laid it up before him; and told the Chil­dren of Israel the reason of it: which occasioned what Verse 11 follows.

Ver. 12. And the Children of Israel spake unto Moses,Verse 12 saying, Behold we die, we perish, &c.] Moses having told them that he laid up the Rod for this end, to be a Witness against them, that (if they murmured any more) they deserved to be all cut off, as they should certainly be; it moved them to make this doleful Complaint: Wherein they seem to be convinced of their Guilt, and to bewail their miserable state. For the sence of these two verses is, Some of us died before, and now lately more have perished, and we are all in the same danger: surely, we shall never have done dying, till we be all consumed.

Behold, we die.] This seems to relate to those Judgments which had passed upon them hereto­fore.

We perish.] And this to what had very lately hap­ned to Korah, Dathan and Abiram, with their Com­pany: and to those that murmured the next day af­ter, XVI. 49.

We all perish.] This will be the Fate of the whole Congregation.

Ver. 13. Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the Verse 13 Tabernacle of the LORD.] Who was not a Priest; and yet approached nearer than God allowed.

Shall die.] So Moses had threatned; and they now believed him. And were afraid withal, they should some time or other incur God's Displeasure by their Rashness.

[Page 328] Shall we be consumed with dying?] They seem to be afraid, lest for their late Murmurings and Insurre­ction, after such a heavy Punishment for that Sin (XVI. 41, 42.) God should further plague them, as by this new Sign he convinced them, they justly deserved. And therefore beg of Moses to intreat God to spare them, and not to go on utterly to destroy them.


Chapter XVIII Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD said unto Aaron.] By the hand of Moses, it is most likely; unto whom God was wont to Communicate all that he would have delivered, either to Aaron, or to the People, XVII. 4. And having done more Miracles than one, to establish Aaron in the Priesthood; he now lets him know that the Honour he had done him, was an Office of great Weight and Burden; wherein he was to behave himself, with great Care and Circumspection. And withal, he again declares what the Duty of the Levites was, together with the Priests; from v. 1. unto v. 8. And from thence he proceeds to tell them, what Maintenance he had set­led upon both; for their encouragement in doing their Duty: as I shall observe in the proper pla­ces.

Thou and thy Sons, and thy Father's House with thee.] You and the Levites, (whom he calls his Fa­ther's House) who had the Charge of the Sanctu­ary.

[Page 329] Shall bear the Iniquity of the Sanctuary.] If the Sanctuary were profaned, through the Negligence of the Levites, who were to keep Strangers, and Peo­ple in their Uncleanness, from entring into it; and if the Priests were remiss, and did not take care to see the Levites do their Duty; the Punishment of such Prophanation, he tells them, should fall upon them.

And thou and thy Sons with thee.] i. e. Aaron and the Priests alone.

Shall bear the Iniquity of the Priesthood.] Suffer the Punishment of it; if they permitted any Person, who was not of the Line of Aaron to offer Incense, or perform any part of the Priest's Office: or if they themselves should minister in their Uncleanness, or having any Blemish, or did any thing contrary to the Rules of their Office.

This was some comfort to the People, who were afraid they should die, for every Error committed in their Approaches to the Sanctuary, (XVII. 12, 13.) for which he assures them he would punish the Priests and the Levites, and not them. And it also served to remove the Peoples Envy to the Priest, whose Dig­nity they saw accompanined with such great Dan­ger.

Ver. 2. And thy Brethren also of the Tribe of Levi,Verse 2 the Tribe of thy Father.] This also was a Comfort to the Levites, and designed to make them more con­tented than they had been, in their Inferior Offices, that the Priests were to look upon them as their Bre­thren.

Bring thou with thee.] Into the Tabernacle.

That they may be joyned with thee.] As Assistants to thee there.

[Page 330] And minister unto thee.] In such things as I have mentioned; See upon III. 6.

But thou and thy Sons with thee shall minister before the Tabernacle of Witness.] The words, shall minister, not being in the Hebrew, some think he still speaks of the Levites, and translate the words thus, Both to thee and to thy Sons with thee (they shall minister, as was said before) before the Tabernacle of Witness. But they that are of this Opinion, do not consider what is meant by the Tabernacle of Witness, which signifies the most Holy Place, (See IX. 15. X. 11.) before which the Levites did not minister; but before the Taberna­cle of the Congregation, as Moses expresly speaks, III. 7. (See there) where they attended upon the Priests in the Court of the Sanctuary; in which the Priests on­ly could minister; as Aaron alone did, upon one certain day only, in the most Holy Place.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And they shall keep thy Charge, and the Charge of all the Tabernacle.] Of the outward part of it. See III. 7, 8. and carry the Vessels belonging to the in­ward part, viz. the Sanctuary, IV. 15.

Only they shall not come nigh the Vessels of the Sanctua­ry.] They were not to touch them when they carri­ed them, IV. 15. nor to see, when they were cover­ed by the Priests, IV. 19, 20.

And the Altar.] I take this to be meant, not only of the Altar of Incense, but also of the Burnt-offering: unto which they were not to approach, nor touch it, while they attended upon the Priests; who only could minister there. This is justified from XXIX Exod. 37. where this Altar is said to be most holy, and whosoever touched it, is required to be holy.

[Page 331] That neither they nor you also die.] They for pre­suming to go beyond the Bounds of their Office; and the Priest for permitting them.

Ver. 4. And they shall be joyned unto thee.] He would Verse 4 have the Priests look upon the Levites, as part of that sacred Body of Men, that waited upon God in the Tabernacle, though in an inferiour Office. And indeed, the very Name of Levi imported as much; and denoted them to be Adjuncts to some other Per­sons. Accordingly we find, in after times, that as the Levites were a guard on the outside of the Temple, so the Priests watched within it.

And keep the charge of the Tabernacle of the Congre­gation, for all the Service of the Tabernacle.] See III. 7, 8. The heaviest part of their Service, which is called their Burden, is mentioned particularly IV. 3, 4. and the rest of that Chapter.

A Stranger shall not come nigh unto you.] This seems to relate both to the Priests, and to the inferiour Mi­nisters; that none should presume to perform the Office of the former, but only the Family of Aaron; nor of the latter, who were not of the Tribe of Le­vi. But the Hebrew Doctors, particularly Maimoni­des by Zar (a Stranger) understand in this place, e­very one that was not of the Seed-male of Aaron. So that the Sons of his Daughters should not mini­ster. For the Sons of Aaron, saith he, (Riath Ham­mikdash, cap. 9.) are appointed, and none other, to lay things in order for Sacrifice, I Lev. 5. and to burn the Fat of the Peace-offerings upon the Altar, III Lev. 8. His Daughters were uncapable of it; and so were all those that descended from them. The same may be said of the Levites.

[Page 332]Ver. 5. And ye shall keep.] That is, the Priests were bound to do what follows.

The charge of the Sanctuary.] Whereas they alone Verse 5 were to minister; so they were to take care of all the holy Things therein contained, (the Shew-bread, Lamps, &c.) and to cover them when they were to be removed, IV. 5, 6, &c.

And the charge of the Altar.] Of Burnt-offering; where they only were to offer Sacrifice, and to take care of every thing belonging to it, IV. 3, 14.

That there be no wrath any more upon the Children of Israel.] That you may by your care and constant Admonitions, prevent the Children of Israel from running into such Prophanations, much more from such Intrusions into the Sacred Offices, as may bring God's most high Displeasure again upon them.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. And I, behold, I have taken your Brethren the Levites, from among the Children of Israel.] III. 12, 41, 45. VIII. 6, 16, 18. The Levites are again cal­led their Brethren, that the Priests might not despise them, because they served in a lower Condition; but treat them with Kindness and Brotherly Affe­ction.

To you are they given as a gift.] See III. 9. but espe­cially VIII. 19.

For the LORD.] To assist you in your mini­stry to the LORD.

To do the Service of the Tabernacle of the Congregati­on.] This hath been repeated very often, III. 7, 8. IV. 3, 4, 23, &c. VIII. 19, 22, 24. and here is men­tioned again, that the Levites might be possessed with this opinion, that they were but Ministers to the Priests; and therefore ought not to presume here­after, to aspire, as Korah did, to the Office of Priesthood.

[Page 333]Ver. 7. Therefore thou and thy Sons with thee shall keep your Priests Office.] Preserve it to your selves, and suffer no other Person to invade it.

For every thing of the Altar.] These words, and Verse 7 the following, briefly declare what is meant by the Priests Office. First, To offer Sacrifice at the Altar of Burnt-offering, and sprinkle the Blood, &c.

And within the Veil.] Next to perform all the Ser­vice of God within the Sanctuary. For in the He­brew the words are, and for within the Veil: which is a short form of Speech, importing both all that was to be done in the Sanctuary, by the Sons of Aaron, (as burning Incense, putting on the Shrew-bread, and lighting the Lamps) and likewise all that was to be done in the most Holy Place, by Aaron himself on the Day of Atonement. For the word Paroceth al­ways signifies the inner Veil before the most Holy Place; the outward Veil being constantly called Ma­sack. And therefore the exactest Translation of the Hebrew words lemibbeth laparoceth is this, for within the House (i. e. the Holy Place) for the Veil; i. e. with the Veil, in the most Holy Place.

And ye shall serve.] In these Places ye alone shall serve; and imploy no Body else.

I have given your Priests Office unto you, as a Service of gift.] He would have the Levites to know, that Aaron and his Sons had not arrogantly usurped this Office of ministring alone at both the Altars; but he had freely bestowed it upon them, and appropriated it unto them.

And the Stranger.] Though a Levite, if he be not of the Family of Aaron.

[Page 334] That cometh nigh.] Presumes to offer Sacrifices at the Altar of Burnt-offering; or Incense at the golden Altar.

Shall be put to death.] This is repeated by reason of the late Rebellion of Korah and his Complices; who, aspiring to the Priesthood, came to a fearful end. See III. 10.

Verse 8 Ver. 8. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying.] Having told him, in the foregoing part of the Chap­ter (particularly in the foregoing verse) what should be the Work of him and his Sons, he proceeds to tell him what recompence he should have for his Service at the Altar of Burnt-offerings, and in the Sanctuary. Of which he gives him a large account, (from this verse to the 20th) that he might want no incourage­ment to Care and Diligence in his Employment.

Behold, I also, I have given thee the charge.] He bids him observe the large Grant which he now makes him, as well as the Work he had laid upon him. For by giving him the charge of what follows, he means bestowing them upon him for his own use; with a Charge to let none have them but him­self.

Of my Heave-offerings, of all the hallowed things of the Children of Israel. See VII Lev. 34. and below v. 11. of this Chapter.

Ʋnto thee have I given them, by reason of the anoint­ing.] Because thou art Consecrated, by being anoint­ed with the Holy Oyl to the Office of a Priest, VIII Lev. 12.

And to thy Sons by an Ordinance for ever.] See VII Lev. 34.

[Page 335]Ver. 9. This shall be thine of the most holy things.] He begins with those things which might be eaten only by the Priests themselves.

Reserved from the fire.] From the Altar of Burnt-offering:Verse 9 for there were some things, called most holy, which were their Portion, that came not from thence, but out of the Sanctuary; viz. the twelve Cakes, which were taken off the Table, and given to Aaron and his Sons every Sabbath Day, XXIV Lev. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Every Oblation of theirs.] In the Hebrew, all their Korbans: which is a larger word than Sebach; com­prehending not only such Sacrifices as were killed at the Altar, (which are properly called Zebachim) but all the Mincha's or Meat-offerings (as we translate it) which were of things inanimate. And the Sacrifices of Birds also, whose Blood was never poured out at the Altar. And therefore Korban seems here to be a general word, comprehending all the Particulars which follow: especially if all be translated exactly as the words are in the Hebrew.

Every Meat-offering of theirs, &c.] In the Hebrew the words are, For all their Meat-offerings. Which makes the sence plainer, if the whole be thus tran­slated, All their Korbans (or Oblations) for all their Meat-offerings, and for all their Sin-offerings, and for all their Trespass-offerings: of all which the Priest had a part. Concerning the Meat-offerings, or rather the Bread-offerings, (for so Mincha may most fitly be translated, the Sacrifices being Flesh, which were not eaten without Bread and Drink, that were their Con­comitants) See II Lev. 3, 10. VI. 15, 16. Wh [...]e the Flesh of the Sin-offerings, except those [...] was brought into the most Holy Place, is [...] unto them, v. 26. And so are the Trespass [...] [Page 336] so, in the next Chapter, VII Lev. 6, 7. As for Burnt-offerings, they were wholly the LORD's; and Peace-offerings were not accounted things most holy; but reckoned among the less holy, as appears from v. 11. of this present Chapter.

Which they shall render unto me.] These words re­late only to the Trespass-offerings, immediately before­named: which were attended with a recompense of the Wrongs done, either unto the LORD, V Lev. 15, 16. or unto their Neighbours, VI Lev. 5. V Numb. 8, 9.

Shall be most holy for thee, and for thy Sons.] To be used by none else; as it follows in the next verse.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. In the most holy place shalt thou eat it.] i. e. In the place where they performed their Sacred Office, (in that part of the Tabernacle next the San­ctuary) which is called most holy, in comparison with the rest, which were further off: because none might enter into it but the Priests alone. See Note upon VI Lev. 16. where it is said expresly, It shall be eaten in the holy place; in the Court of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. And see v. 26. and X. 12, 13.

Every Male shall eat it.] And none else, as the pla­ces fore-mentioned expresly limit it, II Lev. 3, 10. VI. 18, 29. VII. 6.

It shall be holy unto thee.] Peculiarly separated from the use of all other Persons, but only Aaron and his Sons.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. And this is thine.] Now he mentions the less holy things, as before the most holy: which he bestowed upon him and his whole Family.

[Page 337] The Heave-offerings of their Gift, with all the Wave-offerings of the Children of Israel.] That is, the Breast of their Peace-offerings, (which are here called their Gift) which was waved before the LORD; and the right Shoulder heaved; and then given to the Priest for his Portion, VII Lev. 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. And so was the right Shoulder of the Ram, which was offered for the Nazarite, VI Numb. 19, 20.

I have given them unto thee, and unto thy Sons, and to thy Daughters with thee, &c.] These were not con­fined to the Males only, but might be eaten by their Daughters also, X Lev. 14.

Every one that is clean in thy House, shall eat of it.] Not only their Wives, and their Daughters that were not married, but those who were Divorced, or Wi­dows, and returned to their Fathers House, without Children; or had Children begotten by a Priest, (See XXII Lev. 13.) together with their Servants also, whe­ther bought with their Money, or born in their House; though not hired Servants, or mere Sojourners, XXII Lev. 10, 11. But these things were to be eaten in a clean place, (X Lev. 14.) somewhere within the Camp, as afterward in Jerusalem, (XII Deut. 6, 7, 17, 18.) And no unclean Person permitted to eat of them, VII Lev. 20, 21. XXII. 4. And besides, when any Israelite killed an Ox, a Sheep, or a Goat for his own use, he was bound to give the Priest the Shoulder, the two Cheeks, and the Maw; as the Jews under­stand, XVIII Deut. 3.

Ver. 12. All the best of the Oyl, and all the best of Verse 12 the Wine, &c.] The Greek translate the Hebrew word Cheleb (fat) by [...], marrow, XLV Gen. 18. but here [...], the First-fruits of the Oyl, &c. signi­fying these First-fruits were to be of the very best of [Page 338] all the things here mentioned; which were to be brought in the beginning of the Vintage, and of the Harvest. The precise quantity of which is no where determined; but, they say it was at least the sixtieth part of the whole, See XXII Exod. 29. XXIII. 19. XVIII Deut. 4. where he speaks of the First-fruits, which every private Man was to offer; beside which there was a First-fruits offered in the Name of the whole Congregation, XXIII Lev. 10, 17. All which belonged to the Priests as a Reward of their Ser­vice.

The First-fruits of them, which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.] Our Mr. Thorn­dike thus distinguishes the two sorts of First-fruits, mentioned here, and in other places. The one was to be taken by the Priests at the Barn and Wine-Press, as he thinks that here spoken of was. The other was to be brought to the Sanctuary, viz. those mentioned XXII and XXIII Exod. and XXVI Deut. 1, 2. The quantity of either of them being in the moderate ac­count, a fiftieth part, as S. Hierom determines upon XLV Ezek. which is agreeable to the Jewish Consti­tutions in Maimonides of First-fruits, cap. 2. and of Separations, cap. 3. But the Scripture, XLV Ezek. 13. requires only the sixtieth part. See Rights of the Church in a Christian State, p. 210.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. And whatsoever is first ripe in the Land which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine.] Some take this to signifie the First-fruits of all other things, besides Corn, Wine and Oyl mentioned in the foregoing Verse. But it being a different word from that which we translate First-fruits, (viz. Biccu­rim, not Reshith) it is most likely he here intends, either the things first ripe (as we translate it) before [Page 339] the rest of the Harvest and Vintage; or those volun­tary Offerings of this sort, which any one pleased to make: which seem to be intended in these words, which they shall bring unto the LORD; i. e. of their own good will; over and above the ordinary First-fruits.

The Jews generally understand by Biccurim such things as are ripe before the rest, either in the Field as elsewhere; whether they were Wheat, Barley, or any other sort of Grain; or Figs, Grapes, Pomegra­nets, Olives or Dates, which they bound about with a Rush, and said, Let this be for the First-fruits. Which every Man might bring in what measure he pleased, none being appointed by the Law.

Every one that is clean in thy House shall eat of it.] The whole Family of the Priests, if they were under no pollution. See v. 11.

Ver. 14. Every thing devoted in Israel, shall be thine.] Verse 14 Of those things which the Hebrews call Cherem (a thing devoted) Moses speaks in XXVII Lev. 21, 28. And they were either simply devoted, in such words as these, Let this thing be a Cherem: Or with an addi­tion (determining it to a certain use) Let this be a Cherem offered by me, for holy uses. The first sort were wholly the Priests: but the latter were employed a­bout the Temple, or the Vessels of it, or the Priests Garments. And these devoted things, which became the Priests Portion, differed in this from Free-will-offer­ings, that every thing which was offered as a Cherem, might be eaten only by the Priests in the Holy Place; but other Free-will-offerings by the whole Family, in any clean place.

Ver. 15. Every thing that openeth the Matrix in all Verse 15 Flesh which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of [Page 340] Men or Beasts, shall be thine.] That which first came out of the Womb of any Creature was to be the Priests, if it were a Male. If a Female were the First-born, and a Male followed next, that was not the Priests, because it did not open the Womb, as the Hebrews expound it. See XIII Exod. 2.

Nevertheless the First-born of Man shalt thou surely redeem, and the Firstling of unclean Beasts shalt thou re­deem.] See XIII Exod. 13. XXXIV. 20.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. And those that are to be redeemed.] Viz. Of the First-born of Men mentioned before, (not of unclean Creatures which were to be redeemed by a Lamb, XIII Exod. 13.) and that after they were eight Days old, XXII Exod. 30.

From a Month old shalt thou redeem.] Then the Mo­ney was due, but they commonly staid till the forti­eth Day, when the Woman was purified.

According to thy estimation.] Some think this re­lates not to what follows, that the Priest should set a value upon them, (for that was a set rate, five She­kels for every one) but to what goes before, that af­ter a Child was a Month old, the Priest should ap­point a day for the payment of the Redemption-mo­ney: either immediately after the Women had lain in a Month, or on the fortieth Day, that she might be Purified, and the Child redeemed, both together. But it rather refers to what follows; for though the price be determined, yet so it is in another case, XXVII Lev. 3, 4. and notwithstanding is said to be by the estimation of the Priest; because he was to take this Money, not according to the quality of the Person, but as much of a poor Man as of a rich, and not more of a rich Man than of a poor.

[Page 341] For the Money of five Shekels, &c.] Which was the price set upon the First-born, when they were ex­changed for the Levites, III. 46, 47. This Redemp­tion of every First-born, was a matter of great Im­portance, and therefore so often mentioned, as a very learned Friend of mine, Dr. Alix, observes in his Reflections on the four last Books of Moses, Chap. 3. For as the Separation of the Tribe of Levi to God's Service instead of the First-born, whom God spared and preserved in Egypt, (of which we read in the third Chapter of this Book) made every Levite be­come a living Memorial of that great Miracle wrought at the Israelites going out of Egypt; so this Law con­cerning the Redemption of the First-born, made a further impression upon their Minds, of that mighty Hand of God which compelled Pharaoh to let the Isaelites depart out of his Country.

Ver. 17. But the firstling of a Cow, or of a Sheep, or Verse 17 a Goat, thou shalt not redeem.] For they were clean Creatures: and only unclean Beasts were to be Re­deemed, v. 15.

They are holy.] Separated by my appointment for an holy use; viz. to be offered in Sacrifice; not re­deemed, or put to any other use.

Thou shalt sprinkle their Blood upon the Altar, and burn their fat, &c.] Just as they did with their Peace-offerings, VII Lev. 31, 33.

Ver. 18. And the flesh of them shall be thine.] The Verse 18 whole Body of the Beasts, (not merely some part of them) after the Fat was burnt, became the Priests in­tirely.

As the Wave-breast and the Heave-right-shoulder are thine.] As these parts of the Peace-offerings were the Priests, (See v. 11.) so that all their Family, who [Page 342] were clean, might eat of the Flesh of these First­lings, as they did of those parts of the Peace-offer­ings.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. All the Heave-offerings of the holy things, which the Children of Israel offer unto the LORD.] He repeats what he had said in the beginning of this Discourse, v. 8. that he had given him all the Heave-offerings; which comprehend those mentioned VI. 19, 20.

Have I given thee, and thy Sons and thy Daughters with thee, by a Statute for ever.] Settled upon the Priests and their whole Family for their Support, by an unalterable Law. See v. 11.

It is a Covenant of Salt for ever before the LORD, unto thee, &c.] i. e. An everlasting Covenant, never to be revoked. See upon II Lev. 13. And these things being to be eaten before the LORD, there was a place in the Court of the Women, where they feast­ed upon them, as L'Empereur observes upon Middoth, cap. 2. sect. 6.

Verse 20 Ver. 20. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, say­ing.] See v. 1.

Thou shalt have no Inheritance in their Land.] i. e. In the Land of the Children of Israel, whom he speaks of in the foregoing verse. Where having told him what reward he and his Family should have for his Service, he bids them be satisfied therewith, and not expect any more. And indeed it was so very liberal a Pro­vision, that their desires could not reasonably extend any further. For as they had two sorts of First-fruits (as I observed v. 12.) so after a Tythe of that which was given to the Levites, there was another Tythe of what remained to be spent in sacrificing at Jerusalem: that is, for the most part, upon the Priests and Le­vites, [Page 343] unto whom, and unto the Poor, it wholly be­longed every third Year, XIV Deut. 22, 28. XXIII Exod. 19. XXXIV. 20. Add hereunto the First-born, all the Sin-offerings, and their share in the Peace-offerings, and the Skins of the Sacrifices (which alone, as Philo observes, was a great Revenue) and it will appear, it could not be so little as a fifth part of the Fruit of the Country that came to the Priests for their Maintenance, as Mr. Thorndike observes in the Rights of the Church in a Christian State, p. 211.

Neither shalt thou have any part among them.] When the Land was divided, no fields, or Vine-yards, &c. were to be given to the Priests, or to any of the Tribe of Levi. And as the Jewish Doctors say, they were to have no part among their Brethren in the Spoil. So Jarchi upon this place, and Maimonides, and others, who indeavour to answer the Objection which may be raised against this from the XXXIst Chapter of this very Book, v. 28, 29. Where a Tri­bute was taken of the Prey they got from the Midia­nites, and given to Eleazar and the Levites. This Tribute, say they, was offered because the Spoil came by executing God's Vengeance upon a Land that was not theirs, XXV. 17. But of the Land of Sihon and Og, (which God bestowed upon them, as he did the Land of Canaan) nothing was given to the Priests and Levites; for they were admonished to the con­trary (as they understand them) by these words, Nei­ther shalt thou have any part among them; no not of the Spoil.

Certain it is, that of the Land of the Country they were to have no part, God having otherwise provi­ded for them; that they might attend wholly to his Service, and not spend their time in Tilling the [Page 344] Ground, or feeding Cattle: which would have ta­ken up their Thoughts very much from their Sacred Employment. Yet the Levites had certain Cities and their Suburbs assigned to them, XXXV. 2, &c. (which was executed by Joshua, as God commanded, XXI Josh. 2, 3.) whereby they were dispersed among the Tribes of Israel, that they might the better instruct the People in the Divine Law, XXXIII Deut. 10. 2. Chron. XXX. 22. II Malachi 4, 5, &c. By accident also the Priests came to have some Land. See XXVII Lev. 20, &c. and my Notes there.

I am thy part and thine inheritance among the Chil­dren of Israel.] For they were maintained in his House, and lived upon his Altar, and fed from his Table; as it is explained in XIII Josh. 14. The Sa­crifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire, are their inheritance, as he said unto them. Which is gi­ven as the reason why Joshua gave them no Inheri­tance. And see v. 33. of that Chapter, where the LORD God of Israel is said to be their Inheritance. Who, it appears by the foregoing part of this Chapter, and other places, made such an ample Provision for them, that if he had given them any part of the Land of Canaan together with it, there had been too great an inequality between them, and the rest of the Tribes of Israel. For without any share in the Land, their Portion was far richer than that of any other Persons whatsoever. I have said enough to prove this already, but it may not be amiss to set it before the Reader again, a little more distinstly. As they had yearly the First-fruits of the whole Country, which was at least the sixtieth part of the Fruits it produced; and the tenth part of the Tithe given to the Levites, (as it follows below v. 26.) and [Page 345] all Free-will-offerings; together with the Money which arose out of Persons and Things devoted unto God; and all the Firstlings, of Cows, Sheep and Goats; and the Redemption-Money for the First­lings of such Creatures as were unclean: So they had all the Meat-offerings, Offerings for Sin and Trespass-offerings; together with the Breast and Shoulder of all Peace-offerings, and the Skins of all Burnt-offer­ings; and the Loaves made of the first Dough, and the Shew-bread, and (as Josephus and others expound XVIII Deut. 3.) a considerable part of every beast that was killed for private use; besides the Cities and Land about them which were assigned to the Levites. Which if well weighed, there will appear a vast dif­ference between the Priests and the rest of the Peo­ple. For the First-fruits alone, if they were not less than the sixtieth part of the product of the Country might seem sufficient, especially if the Firstlings be ad­ded; the Priests not being the sixtieth part of the People; no, nor the hundred part, as learned Men have computed. See Bonfrerius.

Ver. 21. And behold.] Now he gives the Levites Verse 21 notice of the Recompence he would make them for their Service, as he had told the Priests what they should have for theirs. And Aaron hath the delivery of this Grant made to them from God, that they might see he did not mind himself, and the Interest of his own Family only.

I have given the Children of Levi all the tenth in Is­rael.] See XXVII Lev. 30. and 2 Chron. XXXI. 5, 6. where they are distinctly mentioned. Aben-Ezra thinks the tenth rather than any other part was assign­ed, because it was a perfect Number: Ten being in simple Numbers the highest to which we can arise, [Page 346] without repeating the Numbers under it. For it is (as he speaks) the beginning of the second Combina­tion, and the end of the first; whereupon all Num­bers do depend. Which our Mr. Mede hath expres­sed, in my judgment, far better; who looks upon it as God's favourable dealing with men, in requiring but the Tenth; which is in truth the least part of their Goods, according to the first Division. For when we proceed beyond Ten, we begin to make a new Di­vision, as Eleven is ten and one, &c. But we need not have recourse to such Niceties. See upon Genesis XXVIII. 22.

For an Inheritance.] Instead of a share in the Land of Canaan, which other Tribes had divided among them. And a larger Inheritance this was than any o­ther Tribe possessed: for this was the smallest Tribe of all, as appears by comparing the account which is given of them, in the beginning of this Book. For all the Males of this Tribe, from a Month old and upward, were but Two and twenty thousand, III. 29. Whereas in the Tribe of Judah alone there were a­bove Threescore and fourteen thousand Men of War, I. 26, 27. And yet the Levites had a tenth part of the product of the whole Country; and the twelve Tribes had only the other nine parts among them. Such a care had God of those who were peculiarly devoted to his Service.

For the Service which they serve, &c.] As a Reward of their Service; of which see Chapter IV.

Verse 22 Ver. 22. Neither must the Children of Israel hence­forth come nigh the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] Or rather, Therefore the Children of Israel must not come nigh, so as to perform any of the Offices belonging to the Priests and Levites; who were appointed to do [Page 347] every thing belonging to the Service of God there; and had their Reward for it also appointed.

Lest they bear sin, and die.] Be punished with Death: which is often threatned to such Presump­tion.

Ver. 23. But the Levites shall do the Service of the Verse 23 Tabernacle of the Congregation.] It was their work and no Bodies else: and therefore no other Persons were to meddle with it. That is, they alone guard­ed the Tabernacle, and afterwards the Temple; open­ed the Gates of it; kept out all Strangers, (i. e. all but Priests and Levites) carried the Tabernacle, and its Vessels when they were to be removed, &c.

And they shall bear their Iniquity.] They shall die for it; if they permit any one else to come there and do their work. See v. 1.

It shall be a Statute for ever throughout their Generati­ons, that among the Children of Israel they have no In­heritance.] As all other Persons were excluded from serving in the Tabernacle; so they who served there were shut out from having any Inheritance among their Brethren. This was made an unalterable Law, which provided another separate Maintenance for them, by the Tythes of all the Land; as here it a­gain follows.

Ver. 24. But the Tythes of the Children of Israel, which Verse 24 they offer as an Heave-offering unto the LORD.] That the People might not grudge to pay them the Tythes for their Service, he represents them as an Heave-offer­ing which they offered to God, in Gratitude to him, of whom, as the Supreme Landlord, they held that Land. Not that they were heaved up or waved be­fore the LORD; but they were of the same Na­ture with those things that were so offered to him, i. e. [Page 348] Holy Things, separate to his uses: all which are cal­led by this Name of Terumah, v. 8. And particu­larly all the Offerings which God required to be free­ly brought, for the building him a Sanctuary, are cal­led by this Name of Terumah, or Heave-offering, XXV Exod 2. See there.

I have given to the Levites to inherit.] The Israe­lites gave them to God; and he gave them to the Le­vites for their Inheritance; who had as much right to them, as the other Tribes had to their Land. Which was the reason he ordered they should have no Portion of the Land of Canaan with the other Tribes, as it here follows; therefore have I said unto them, among the Children of Israel shall they have no Inheri­tance: For he had given them the Tythes to inherit. But R. Solomon Jarchi observes also, that the Levites themselves had no right to them, till they had taken out the tenth part from their Tenth, and given it to the Priests; as is here immediately directed.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.] In all the foregoing part of the Chapter, (v. 1, 8, 20.) the LORD spake unto Aaron (though by Moses) but here his Order is particularly directed to Moses; because that which follows would better come from him, than from Aaron: Who was employed in ac­quainting the Levites with the Donation God had made of the Tythes to them, v. 21. but it would not have been so proper for him to tell them, what was to be given out of the Tythes to himself, and to the Priests.

Verse 26 Ver. 26. Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the Children of Israel the Tythes, which I have given you from them for your Inheritance.] In these words Moses confirms the report which [Page 349] Aaron had made to them, that the Tythes of the Land should be theirs, and their Brethren the Children of Israel have no right to them.

Then shall ye offer up an Heave-offering for the LORD.] As the Israelites made their grateful Ac­knowledgments to God by offering their Tythes to him, for the use of his Servants the Levites, (v. 24.) so it was but fit that the Levites should be so grateful as to offer to him the Tythe of their Tythes (as it here follows) for such uses as he should appoint.

Even a tenth part of the Tythe.] For the tenth part which God reserved to himself out of the Land which he gave the Children of Israel, was a kind of Rent paid to him their Supreme LORD: And he assign­ing this Rent over to the Levites for their Mainten­ance, thought good notwithstanding to reserve a Tythe of this tenth part to himself; that thereby he might, as it were, hold his Possession, and keep Sei­sin (as the Lawyers speak) of his own Inheri­tance.

Ver. 27. And this your Heave-offering shall be rec­koned Verse 27 unto you.] Be accepted by God, as the Of­ferings heaved up to him in the Sanctuary are, (v. 24.) though it be but the hundredth part of the whole Fruit of the Land.

As though it were the Corn of the Threshing-floor, and as the fulness of the Wine-press.] As if you paid such a Tythe, as the Israelites do to you, out of all their own Fields and Vineyards. That is, they were to believe their Offering of this small part to be as accep­table to God, as that of all the Tribes of Israel: and that they should have the same right to what remain­ed, when they had done this, as the People had to [Page 350] all the rest of the Fruits of the Earth, when they had paid the tenth part to the Levites.

Ver. 28. Thus you also shall offer an Heave-offering Verse 28 unto the LORD, of all your Tythes which ye re­ceive of the Children of Israel.] He would have them know that he ordered this, because he would not have the Levites alone offer nothing to him, from whom they received so much; but they also should make him a grateful Acknowledgment as well as others.

And ye shall give thereof the LORD's Heave-offering.] It is called so often the LORD's Heave-offering, that they might the more willingly pay it; out of a thankful sense of what they owed to him, the Donor of all.

To Aaron the Priest.] This Tythe is thought by some to have been designed for the High-Priest alone. Two great Men in their time were of this Opinion, viz. Nicolaus Lyra, and the famous Alphonsus Tostatus. And another very learned Person of our own (Bi­shop R. Montagu) thinks it not altogether improba­ble, that such a Provision as this, might be made for the High-Priest and his Family, State and Dignity; he being a Man of great Power and Might, only less than the Kings of Israel; and the inferiour Priests having a noble Maintenance, without this, from the First-fruits and Offerings of the People.

But there is nothing to support this, but the mere Letter of the Text; for Josephus expresly says the contrary, Lib. VI. Archaeolog. cap. 4.) and so do the generality of the Jewish Writers, and St. Hierom also: that all the Priests had their share in this Tenth paid by the Levites. Which till it was paid, the Levites might not spend, to their own use, any part of their [Page 351] Tythe. And to secure this, the Priest was to be with the Levites, when they took Tythes, (as we read X Ne­hem. 37, 38▪) to take care that they set out a tenth part of them for the Priests. Whereby the Priest the Son of Aaron, I cannot think is meant the High-Priest himself, (for that had been below his Dignity) but some Priest, I suppose, appointed by him, who took care of the Concerns of the whole Order of Priest­hood, and particularly of the High-Priest's interest; who, it is probable, had a principal share among the rest in this Revenue; perhaps a tenth part out of their Tenth. But for this I have no Authority: though I take it for certain, that when he saith this Tenth should be given to Aaron the Priest, the meaning is, that, as it was not for himself alone, but all his Sons had a share in it, so he himself was not excluded from an honourable portion of it.

It may seem strange perhaps that there is no parti­cular portion set out for the High-Priest by himself, if this be not it. But it is to be considered, that all the forenamed Provision (From v. 8. to v. 20.) was made for him, in the first place; and for the Priests together with him. For so the words runs, Ʋnto thee have I given them, and to thy Sons, v. 8, 9, &c. And he had this priviledge also, that he did not Mi­nister by Lot, as the other Priests did in their several Courses, but when he pleased; and might take to himself what Sacrifices he thought good to offer, (V. 9, 10.) as Maimonides tells us, in Cele Mikdasch, cap. 5. where he speaks concerning the High-Priest's Prerogatives.

Ver. 29. Out of all your Gifts.] Not only out of Verse 29 their Tythes, but out of all their other Possessions, which [Page 352] God gave them; their Fields, for instance, which were in the Suburbs of their Cities.

Ye shall offer.] Make a Present to the Priests.

Every Heave-offering.] Some portion of every thing God gives you to possess.

Of the LORD.] As a thankful acknowledgment of the Divine Bounty to you, upon whom he hath bestowed so many good things. See v. 28.

Of all the best thereof.] And that not of the refuse, but of the best of the Tythe, and other things that were gi­ven them. By which is not to be understood, that they were bound to pick out the very best, Wheat suppose, and separate it from the worse (which would have been to have given them more than a tenth part) but they were to give the Priests, as good as they left for them­selves. For that was the Rule, XXVII. Lev. 32, 33. And it was but reason the Priests should have this ho­nourable provision made for them above the Levites, their Vocations being more honourable, and their Service more noble, in the very Sanctuary it self. For which cause this tenth of the Tythe of the Land was assigned them; which, they being but few in com­parison with the Levites, made the allowance to eve­ry one of them, much greater than to any of the Le­vites. And yet, as an augmentation to it, they had the First-fruits, and their Fees, as I said before, out of the Sacrifices, and other things, wholly to their own use.

Even the hallowed part thereof, out of it.] The sa­cred part was the tenth part, which they might not use; it being taken by God for his part, XXVII Lev. 30. By which all the rest was sanctified to the use of the own­er, when this part was taken out of it; which may possibly be here also intended.

[Page 353]Ver. 30. Therefore thou shalt say unto them.] Tell them the reason why this tenth part must be separated from the rest.

When ye have heaved the best thereof from it.] Taken Verse 30 out the tenth part, as an Offering to the LORD.

Then it shall be counted to the Levites, as the increase of the Threshing-floor, and as the increase of the Wine-press.] Then the remainder may be as freely used by them, as the Corn or the Wine of any Man's Land in Israel, when he had paid his Tythe. But till then, it was unlawful for him to enjoy it, because God was first to be served. This is made more plain in the next verse.

Ver. 31. And ye shall eat it.] After the hallowed Verse 31 part was taken out (v. 29.) all the rest was theirs; to be enjoyed as Men do that which is their own.

In every place.] This seems to be said, to distin­guish these from the holy things given by God to the Priests. Which being offered at the Altar, were to be eaten only in the Holy Place; but the Tythes, though they were a kind of Offering to the LORD, yet not being presented at the Altar, might be eaten any where, after the tenth part was given to the Priests.

And your housholds.] All their Family, Servants as well as others, might eat of them; whether they were clean or no. And more than this, they might sell them to Strangers, to buy other Necessaries with the Money they yielded, or exchange them for other Commodities.

For it is your reward for your Service in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] See v. 21.

Ver. 32. And ye shall bear no sin.] Suffer no punish­ment.

[Page 354] By reason of it.] For eating it, with your Hou­sholds.

When ye have heaved from it the best of it.] When they had taken out the tenth part, as sacred to God's uses, (v. 28.) they might safely use the rest themselves, as they pleased: For God had given it to them for their support, and therefore would not punish them for eating it, as he did those that did eat holy Things which did not belong to them.

Neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the Children of Israel.] Nor would there be any danger of pol­luting the holy Things (which God had reserved to himself) by turning them to a common use; as there would have been if they had eaten the Tythes, or o­ther Gifts, before the tenth part, which was God's, was taken out of them.

Lest ye die.] In the Hebrew it is, Nor shall ye die; as those did, who meddled with the holy Things, which God reserved for his Ministers alone.


Chapter XIX Verse 1 Ver. 1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron, saying.] They were both concerned in what follows; Moses to deliver the Command, and Aaron to see it executed.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. This is the Ordinance.] Or, the Constitu­tion.

Of the Law which the LORD hath commanded.] Which is now passed into a Law by God's command; who had ordered this Water of Purification to be [Page 355] made some time before, as appears from VIII. 7. But now sets down a Rule for all Posterity to observe, in the making of it. It is the rather mentioned now after the foregoing History, to free the People from that great fear they were in of perishing in their Un­cleanness, (XVII. 12, 13.) by showing them a way, how to be purified from the greatest Pollution, before they approached to the Tabernacle.

Speak unto the Children of Israel that they bring thee.] At the common Charge of the People, because it was for their common benefit.

A red Heifer.] The Hebrew word Parah, which we translate Heifer, signifies a young Cow; as Par sign­ifies a young Bullock, not above two or three years old at most, as Kimchi and others observe,

Without spot.] This the Jews refer to the word red, which goes before, and take it to signifie perfectly red, without the mixture of any other colour: for as to any other Imperfections, they are provided against in the next words, without blemish. Insomuch that Maimonides, in his Treatise on this Subject, saith, That if this Cow had two Hairs black or white, it was unfit for this use. From whence other Nations, particularly the Egyptians, derived the custom of sacrificing red Oxen, as Plutarch tells us in his Book de Iside & Osiride, [...], &c. And he saith they searcht them so very narrowly, that if they found one hair black or white, they counted it [...], unfit to be sacrificed. See Bochartus P. I. Hierozoic. Lib. II. cap. 39. where he shows, this was the most common colour, among that sort of Creatures, in some Countries.

Wherein is no blemish.] See XXII Lev. 20, 21, 22.

[Page 356] And upon which never came yoke.] Had never been imployed in ploughing the Ground, or any other Work: for according to the common sense of all Mankind, those Creatures which had been made to serve other uses, became unfit to be offered to God. Whence Diomedes promises Pallas a Cow of a year old. ‘— [...].’ Which no Man hitherto had brought under the yoke. Ili­ad. K. And so doth Nestor Odyss. T. and the like Bochartus observes out of Virgil, Ovid, and others, in his Hierozoicon, P. I. Lib. II. cap. 33.

All this is very plain; but why a young Cow ra­ther then a Bullock, (which is commonly appointed in Sacrifices) and why one perfectly red, is not so easie to understand. If we had any reason to believe that those Superstitions were among the Egyptians in the days of Moses, which were when Plutarch or He­rodotus lived, we might very probably say, (as some Men of Learning have) that this Precept was given to preserve the Israelites from their Religion. For they abhorred to offer a Cow, whom they honoured, as sacred to Isis. So Herodotus; they sacrificed Males, both old and young, [...], but it is not lawful for them to offer Females, Lib. II. cap. 41. And therefore God, it might be thought, ordered a Cow to be burnt, rather than a Bullock. And for the same cause one perfectly red, because that was a Colour odious and abominable to the E­gyptians; who fancied Typhon (the Author of all Evil in their account) to be of that Colour; and therefore offered him red Oxen, as hateful to them, as red Men [Page 357] and Asses were. Thus Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus. In opposition to which, it may be thought that a Cow of this colour was acceptable to God, because hated and abhorred by those Idolaters. But I look upon what such late Writers say, as of no Authority in this matter. And as there is no proof of any such Customs among the Egyptians in Moses his time, so there is an high probability that the whole Fable of Typhon was framed out of the story of Moses; as Bo­chartus hath most ingeniously indeavoured to make out, by many Observations out of that Book of Plu­tarch and other Authors, Hierozoic. P. I. Lib. II. cap. 34. p. 340, 341, &c.

But supposing the Antiquity of those Superstitions among the Egyptians, to have been as great as some fancy them, I cannot think that if Moses had had any respect to them, he would have ordered such a great number of Sacrifices, as we read of in his Law, with­out the least consideration of the colour of any one of them, and only mention the colour of this Cow, which was no Sacrifice. I rather think this perfect red colour was chosen, because of its rarity; it being hard to find a Cow without any the least mixture of other hair. And though it were not a Sacrifice, yet being designed to the same end, there was a respect herein to that great Expiation which was made by the Sacrifice of Christ. With whose Blood, though the Apostle doth not compare the Blood of this Hei­fer (because it was not offered) yet he doth compare it with the Ashes of this burnt Heifer, put into the Water of Purification. See IX Hebr. 13. Where af­ter the Blood of Bulls and Goats, he mentions the Ashes of this Heifer sprinkling the unclean. For they were a more extraordinary sort of Purification than any [Page 358] under the Law; of which we no where read, but in this place; nor of any Command for the repeated burning of such an Heifer to Ashes, (as there is for the Anniversary Sacrifice on the Day of Atonement) but only of the use of the Water made of these Ashes, as oft as there was occasion. But of this it will be more to treat in the following part of the Chapter.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And ye shall give her.] They who brought her in the Name of the whole Congregation, were to bring her to Moses, as the foregoing verse directs: and he and Aaron were to deliver her to Eleazar.

Ʋnto Eleazar the Priest.] It is commonly thought that Aaron might not be employed in the following Work, because it would have defiled him, and made him unfit to minister before God for a season. Which he was bound to avoid, even when natural Affection seemed to require it, XXI Lev. 11, 12. yet a vulgar Priest was not intrusted with this Service, but it was committed unto the very next Person to Aaron, who was to be his Successor; because it was of very great weight and importance.

That he may bring her forth without the Camp.] As a thing exceeding unclean; more impure than any common offering for Sin. For the greater the Im­purity was, that was laid upon any Sacrifice, the fur­ther still off from the Sanctuary it was carried. The Bullock, for instance, which was offered for a Sin committed by the Priest, or the whole Congregation, was in part offered at the Altar; but the far greater part was to be burnt without the Camp, IV Lev. 12, 20. And so was the Bullock and Goat, offered for all the Sins of the People, on the great Day of Ex­piation, XVI Lev. 27. And the Scape-Goat, which [Page 359] was designed for the same purpose, was not so much as burnt, but banished into a Land not inhabited, no Body knows whether. All which more particu­larly represented Christ in his Sufferings, as the Apo­stle observes, XIII Hebr. 11, 12. and so did this in part; having something of the nature of a Sacrifice in it. For though it was not a Sacrifice brought to be slain at the Altar, yet it was intended to be used to the same purpose, for the cleansing of the People from the greatest Legal defilement.

And one shall slay her before his face.] Some Person appointed by Eleazar (for it was not necessary a Priest should do it) was to kill her without the Camp. Where it is plain from v. 5, 8, 9. there were more than one concerned in this Office. But it could not be slain unless Eleazar was there; and it was to be done in his presence, who was the chief of the Priests: to show that it was intended for God's Service, though not offered as Sacrifices were at the Taber­nacle, before the LORD. And this is the reason perhaps, why the care of this Heifer is committed to Eleazar, and not to Aaron; because he officiated on­ly at the Tabernacle.

Ver. 4. And Eleazar the Priest shall take of her Verse 4 Blood with his finger.] As they did in Expiatory Sa­crifices, IV Lev. 6.

And sprinkle of her Blood.] In the sprinkling of the Blood, as the Jews observe, consisted the very Essence of an Expiatory Sacrifice. Therefore though this was not a Sacrifice, yet it had something of that nature in it, and may be called a Piaculum, an Ex­piatory Thing: though nothing was called KOR­BAN, a Sacrifice, but what was offered at the Altar, as our Dr. Owtram hath most judiciously observed [Page 360] against Abarbinel, who calls this red Cow an Offering for Sin.

Directly before the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] This Rite of sprinkling the Blood was never used, but in Sacrifices slain at the Altar, in the presence of God; and in this red Cow, which was slain, in the pro­spect of the Sanctuary. Towards which the Priest was to look stedfastly while he sprinkled it: other­wise, the Jews say, it was in vain. Which shows that the validity of this Act, and of the Purification to be made by it, was to be expected from the San­ctuary. For the Blood of that Heifer, whose Head was cut off to cleanse a City, near to which a Man was found slain by an unknown Person, was not sprinkled; being slain, not in sight of the Sanctu­ary, but in a Valley, near the City, XXI Deut. 3, 4, &c. And in this the Jews were so curious, that after the Temple was built, this Blood being to be sprink­led directly before the Porch of it, they took care the Gate Shushan, which was before it, should have lower Battlements than any other Gate of the Tem­ple had, that the Priest might see the Face of the Porch of the House of God.

Seven times.] This signifies the perfection of the Expiation that was to be made by this red Cow; on whose Ashes the Jews thought so much depended, that they took care the Priest, who was to see her burnt, should be put apart in a Chamber of the Tem­ple (called the House of Stone) that they might be certain he was free from all pollution by a Grave, or a dead Corps. For the Ashes of this burnt Cow, be­ing the great and only cleanser for that Defilement, they took suitable care that he should not be defiled who went to burn her. See Dr. Lightfoot's Temple Ser­vice, [Page 361] chap. 17. sect. 2. where he describes out of Maimonides and others, how solemnly the Priest was attended, when he went about this work. And the Apostle had reason to mention the Ashes of this Hei­fer, wherewith the Water was made for sprinkling the Unclean, as the Principal Thing that sanctified to the purifying of the Flesh, i. e. taking away bodily Defilements. With which he compares the Blood of Christ as infinitely more powerful, for the purifying of the Conscience from dead works, IX Hebr. 13, 14. In which words, dead works, there is a respect (as our Dr. Jackson observes) to the main intention of these Ashes, which were for the Purification of those defiled by dead Bodies. And he seems to me also, not to be led by Fancy, but by a solid Judgment, when he considered these Ashes also as a notable Fi­gure of the everlasting Efficacy of Christ's Blood, of which the Apostle there discourses. For if the fre­quent occasion for the use of the Water of Purifica­tion, had not spent all the Ashes of this Heifer now slain and burnt by Eleazar, they might have been preserved for this purpose without any danger of Putrifaction, for a longer time than the Law of Ce­remonies lasted. For Ashes being well kept, never perish; and therefore are an Emblem of Immortality. But it must be considered that the frequent use of these Ashes might exhaust the whole stock of them made at this time, and make it necessary the Priests should burn another Heifer for the same end; as the Jews say they did, though so rarely (as I shall note below) that this burning of a red Heifer was not reiterated, if we may believe them, till the destru­ction of Solomon's Temple. Which makes them a more notable Figure, though not a perfect one (for [Page 362] no such can be found) of the Power of Christ's Blood to purifie us for ever, without the repetition of it continually; which was the imperfection of the Legal Sacrifices, that they must be often offered.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. And one shall burn the Heifer in his sight, her Skin, and her Flesh, and her Blood, with her Dung, shall he burn.] There was a great Pile of Wood (to which they set fire immediately after he had done Sprinkling) in which this Heifer was more intirely burnt than any publick Expiatory Sacrifice before­mentioned, v. 2. (for here the remainder of the Blood is ordered to be burnt) because this was of all other things the most unclean; and to be utterly con­sumed at a distance from the Sanctuary.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. And the Priest shall take Cedar-wood, and Hysop, and Scarlet.] These three things composed that Instrument which the Priest made use of for sprinkling of leprous Persons, or Houses, when they were to be cleansed, XIV Lev. 6, 7, 49, 50, &c. (where see what I have noted) And the Apostle mentions two of them, as used by Moses himself, when he sprinkled the Book of the Covenant, and all the People, with the Blood of the Sacrifice, IX Hebr. 19. Which though not mentioned in Exodus, yet the Apostle knew was the ancient way of Sprinkling. And therefore these things which were used of old as Cleansers, either of inward or outward Filth, are ordered here to be thrown into the fire, while the Heifer was burning in it, whose Ashes were to be the great Means of Mens Purification from the highest Pollutions.

And cast it.] He speaks as if these three things, being bound together, became one.

[Page 363] Into the midst of the burning of the Heifer.] To de­note the great vertue which the Water made of the Ashes of all these things should have, to cleanse those who were sprinkled with it: one of these things (viz. Hysop) being ordered to be dipt into the Water for that purpose, v. 18.

Ver. 7. The Priest shall wash his Clothes, and shall Verse 7 bathe his Flesh in Water, and afterward he shall come into the Camp.] Though we do not find that Eleazar was imployed, either in killing or in burning this Heifer; which were only to be done in his presence; yet having touched her Blood, he became unclean. And therefore was to use these Ceremonies for his Cleansing, before he returned to the Camp: as Aaron did when he had offered the great Sacrifice of Ex­piation, on the Day of General Atonement, XVI Lev. 24.

And shall be unclean until the Even.] So as not to come into the Camp, I suppose, much less to the Sanctuary until Sun-set: Which was but a short time, considering the greatness of this Heifers impurity; this being the common time of remaining Unclean, for the smallest Defilements, XI Lev. 24, 25, 27, &c.

Ver. 8. And he that burneth her shall wash his Clothes Verse 8 in Water, &c.] This was a general Maxim among the Jews, that the Bodies of those Beasts, whose Blood was carried into the Holy Place, polluted those that touched them. Which is justified by XVI Lev. 28 And therefore he that burnt this Heifer, whose Blood was sprinkled towards it, was to do the same, as he that carried the Scape-Goat into the Wilderness, was also bound to do, XVI Lev. 26.

[Page 364]Ver. 9. And a Man that is clean.] Free from any Legal Defilement.

Shall gather up the Ashes of the Heifer.] They were Verse 9 the principal Ashes, though the Ashes of the Cedar-wood, Hysop, and Scarlet-wooll, were also mingled with them; which being taken up, were pounded and sifted, as the Jews tell us.

And lay them up without the Camp in a clean place.] The Jews say that the Heifer, in after times, be­ing burnt on the pitch of Mount Olivet, which was over against the Temple, they laid up some part of the Ashes in a place near that Mount, for the Sprink­ling of the People; and another part was delivered to the XXIV. Courses, for the Sprinkling of the Priests; and another third part laid up for a Memo­rial in the Inclosure of the Court of the Temple. See Dr. Lightfoot in the place before-named. But there is no certainty of this, and it contradicts in part, what is here commanded, that they should be laid up, with­out the Camp. See v. 12.

And it shall be kept.] Laid up, [...], as the LXX. translate it, to be reserved and kept, for the use of those who had defiled themselves by the Dead; unto whom it was delivered when they had occasion for it. And this word reserved, or kept, imports, that these Ashes were not for the use of that Genera­tion only, but for all Posterity. And as Manna (which was commanded in the same form of Speech to be kept or reserved in the Ark) was a Type of Christ, as he was the Food of Life, or the Bread that came down from Heaven: So were these Ashes kept, as an Emblem of the everlasting Efficacy of his Sacrifice. For there is no bodily Substance under Heaven (as Dr. Jackson speaks, Book X. chap. 55.) which can be [Page 365] so true an Emblem or Model of Incorruption, as Ashes are: for being the remainder of Bodies perfectly dis­solved or corrupted, they are not capable of a second Corruption.

For the Congregation of the Children of Israel.] This one Heifer, being slain, and its Blood sprinkled, and Body burnt, afforded Ashes enough to season as ma­ny Vessels of Water, as the whole People of Israel should need. Wherein it was a notable Representa­tion of Christ's Blood, shed for the whole World, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yea, they were sufficient for all the People, for many Generations; though they had frequent occasion to use them for Legal Purification. Wherein still they more live­ly represented the Vertue of Christ's one Sacrifice; which continues for ever. For the Jews say, this red Heifer was killed but nine times, while their State lasted. First, By Eleazar here in the Wilderness; which was not repeated till after the Destruction of Solomon's Temple, i. e. not during the space of more than a Thousand Years. The second time it was burnt by Ezra, after their return from the Captivity of Babylon: and but seven times more, till the De­struction of the second Temple. Since which they have not adventured to make these Ashes, but expect it to be done the tenth time by the King Messias. Who indeed came to put an end to this, and all o­ther Legal Rites: not after the Legal manner, but by offering himself once for all, instead of all other Sacrifices or ways of Purification.

For a Water of Separation.] To be put into Spring-water, (which was always accounted more pure than other) by which those Persons were to be cleansed, who for their Pollutions were separated from the [Page 366] Congregation; and those things also which had been defiled, were restored to their common use. Ashes, all know, are of great use in scouring things pollu­ted: and the ancient Gentiles used them much in their Lustrations, as appears from Virgil, Ovid, and many other Authors. But the Water into which they put them was prepared with Magical Rites; and, for the most part, was drawn out of some pretended Sa­cred Fountain; and sometimes it had a burning Torch taken from the Altar, quenched in it; and in some places they put Sulphur, and Spittle, and other cleansing things into it. In which, I suppose, at first they imitated this Rite prescribed by Moses; but in process of time added many Superstitions of their own to it.

It is a purification for sin.] In the Hebrew the words are, It is sin: and we add a purification, to explain the sence. For it was not a proper Sacrifice for Sin, (as this Phrase for sin sometimes imports, IV Lev. 24.) but had something of that Nature in it, (as I observed before) and may be properly said to Puri­fie, or Cleanse Men from their Sin; i. e. from such Legal Defilements as are mentioned afterwards. And it may, in a less proper sence, have the Name of a Sin-offering, inasmuch as the Body of it was burnt without the Camp, (as the great Sin-offering was on the Day of Atonement) and its Blood sprinkled se­ven times towards the Sanctuary; though not shed at the Altar: Whereby it became a more compleat Re­presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ. Especially if we consider that this Purification here mentioned, doth not signifie only one, or a few Acts of Purifi­cation, but a continued Purification: the Ashes being to be laid up as a Treasure or Store-house (to use Dr. [Page 367] Jackson's words) for making as many Purifications, or Waters of Sprinkling, as the Israelites should have occasion to use. For therein consisted the Excellence of this Purification, that the Ashes were not to be made by burning a Heifer, every time the People had occasion for them; but the Ashes of this one Sacrifice (as we call it) was sufficient for the use of many Generations. Accordingly the Apostle saith our LORD Christ, [...], having made a purification of our sins, I Hebr. 3.) sat down at God's right hand. Which word purification in that place, doth not signifie one Act or Operation, but implies that by this one act of Sacrificing himself, he was consecrated to be a perpetual Fountain of Purifi­cation; being still the propitiation for our sins.

Ver. 10. And he that gathereth the Ashes of the Hei­fer,Verse 10 shall wash his Clothes, and be unclean until the E­ven.] This is one of the strange things, which the Jews say Solomon himself did not understand, (and Maimonides professes he could find no reason of, More Nevochim, P. III. cap. 47. and the Author of Sepher Cosri also ascribes purely to the Will and pleasure of God, of which he could give no account, P. III. sect. 53.) that the same thing should both cleanse and pol­lute; as these Ashes did, which polluted him that ga­thered them, and made those that used them clean from the highest Legal Pollutions. But this is not strange to those who consider, that all those great Sa­crifices which were offered for Sin, (which I menti­oned v. 7.) though they purified those for whom they were offered, were very impure themselves, be­cause the Sins of Men were laid upon them; as all our Sins were upon Christ; who therefore is said to be made sin for us (2 Corinth. V. 21.) that we might [Page 368] be made the Righteousness of God, i. e. freed from all Sin.

And it shall be unto the Children of Israel, and unto the Stranger, &c.] All Proselytes to their Religion were to have the benefit of this Purification, as well as the Jews, by an unalterable Law. By which was figured the Propitiation Christ made for the Sins of the whole World.

Verse 11 Ver. 11. He that toucheth the Body of any dead Man shall be unclean seven days.] This long Uncleanness by touching a dead Body, was the ground of those strict Injunctions to the Priest, about mourning for their dead Relations: which is forbidden, lest they should be hindred too long in their Ministration. See XXI Lev. He that touched the Carcase of any un­clean Creature, was defiled only till the Even, XI Lev. 24. nor was he longer who touched the Bed of him that had an Issue, or his Seat, &c. XV Lev. 5, 6, 7, 8, &c.

He shall purifie himself with it.] With the Water of Separation mentioned v. 9. Which seems here to be designed chiefly, if not only, for the purging of this great Impurity, by touching any Man's dead Bo­dy.

On the third day.] Then he was to begin his Pu­rification, by being sprinkled with it. Which makes it probable that these Ashes were kept in more places than the Jews mention without the Camp, (as after­wards near Jerusalem) and it is most likely, in all the Cities of the Country. For it had been too hard for all the People, nay impossible for those who were remote, to go to Jerusalem the third Day after they were defiled, to fetch these Ashes: which there­fore were kept in several clean places, where every [Page 369] Body might easily have them to put into Water, and be sprinkled with it. For as there was no Sacrifice, so no Priest required to make this Purification; but any clean Person might sprinkle the Water, v. 18, 19.

And on the seventh day he shall be clean.] Then his Purification was perfected; but not without a new sprinkling on this Day, v. 19.

But if he purifie not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.] If he did not begin his Purification on the third day, his sprinkling on the seventh would not make him clean. But it is ve­ry probable, that though he omitted it on the third day, yet if he purified himself on the fourth or fifth, or any day following, that being reckoned as if it had been the third; when he had made up the number seven, his cleansing might be compleated.

Ver. 13. Whosoever toucheth the dead Body of any Verse 13 Man that is dead, and purifieth not himself.] With the Water of Separation, in the manner before prescri­bed, v. 12.

Defileth the Tabernacle of the LORD.] If he ap­proach unto it, without this Purification.

And that Soul shall be cut off from Israel.] He was to die for it, if he did it presumptuously.

Because the Water of Separation was not sprinkled up­on him.] Because he neglected the Means of his Pu­rification.

He shall be unclean.] Remain in his Unclean­ness.

His uncleanness is yet upon him.] Not to be puri­fied now by this Water of Separation, but cut off from the Body of the People. This still concerns those that came to the Tabernacle presumptuously, [Page 370] being unpurified. If they did it ignorantly, a Sacri­fice was admitted for their Atonement, V Lev. 3, 6, 17, 18.

Verse 14 Ver. 14. This is the Law.] Concerning such De­filements as these, by the dead Bodies of Men.

When a Man dieth in a Tent.] Wherein they now lived during their stay in the Wilderness: and the same Law obliged them, when they came to dwell in Houses, in the Land of Canaan.

All that come into the Tent, and all that is in the Tent, shall be unclean seven days.] The meaning seems to be, that every Person who came into the Tent while the dead body lay there, (or before the Tent was purified) as well as they who were in it when the Person died, should be unclean. For all the Goods of the House were not made unclean; but on­ly all open Vessels.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. And every open Vessel which hath no cover­ing bound upon it, is unclean.] Because the Air in the House, which was supposed to be tainted by the dead Body, came as freely into such Vessels as it did to the dead Body. Tho. Aquinas fancies that this Law was made to prevent Idolatry; for the ancient Idolaters thought that if a Mouse or a Lizzard, or such like thing, which was dedicated unto their Idols, fell in­to a Vessel, or into Water, they became thereby ve­ry acceptable to their Gods. And he saith this Su­perstition continued till his days; in which some Women were wont to leave their Vessels uncovered on purpose, in observance of the Nocturnal Deities, whom they called Janas, See 1ma 2de Quaest. 102. Ar­tic. 5.) To abolish which Superstition God required, he thinks, all Vessels left uncovered, where the dead lay, should be polluted; i. e. not acceptable unto [Page 371] God, nor imployed to holy, no nor common uses. If such Customs had been in Moses his days, this might be better applyed to what we read in XI Lev. 32, 33.

Ver. 16. Whosoever toucheth one that is slain with the Verse 16 Sword in the open Fields.] Or killed any other way; it appears by the words following.

Or a dead Body.] Of a Man that falls down dead of a sudden, or is executed for his Crimes.

Or a Bone of a Man.] Taken out of a Grave, or the Grave it self where the dead Body lies; as the next words are.

Shall be unclean seven days.] As long as if he had touched the dead Body it self.

Ver. 17. And for an unclean person.] i. e. For the Verse 17 cleansing of one defiled any of these ways.

They shall take of the Ashes of the burnt Heifer of Pu­rification for Sin.] It is not said what quantity, there­fore I suppose, whether it were little or great, it would serve the turn. It is observable that the Ashes of the burnt Heifer are here called Chattah (Sin) which shows they had the Vertue of a Sin-offering in them. See v. 9.

And running Water shall be put thereto in a Vessel.] The Ashes being put into a Vessel, they were to put pure Spring, or at least River-water, upon them: which became the Water of Separation.

Ver. 18. And a clean person.] It is not said a Verse 18 Priest; and therefore I suppose any other Person, who was not unclean, might do this: as any such Person might slay the Heifer and burn her, v. 3, 5. But in this the Jews were so curious, that their Tra­dition made this extend, not only to a Person that was at present clean, but that never had been defiled [Page 372] by a dead Corps in all his Life. And therefore tell us, what devices they had to keep Persons thus clean, for this very end and purpose. See Dr. Lightfoot in his Temple Service, chap. 17. sect. 2.

Shall take Hysop.] When the Priest sprinkled the Lepers or their Houses, with the Blood of a Bird kil­led over running Water, he dipt Hysop, Cedar-wood, and Scarlet-wooll in them, XIV Lev. 4, 6, 7, 49, 50, &c. But here, the sprinkling being made by some Neighbour, Hysop alone sufficed: which every one knows was a cleansing Herb, and easily procured. In­stead of which the Gentiles, in their Superstition, u­sed Branches of Laurel, or of Olive; as we learn from Juvenal and Virgil.

And sprinkle it upon the Tent, and upon all the Vessels, and upon the persons that were there, &c.] For the pu­rifying of all the Things, and all the Persons above­mentioned, v. 14, 15, 16.

Verse 19 Ver. 19. And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean, on the third day, and on the seventh day.] Here he explains what was not so distinctly delivered, v. 12. And I suppose both Persons and Things were to be sprinkled on both days, because he saith in general, upon the unclean; which seems to relate to all that is mentioned in the foregoing verse.

And on the seventh day he shall purifie himself, &c.] This seems to be meant of the clean Person who sprinkled the unclean; and by coming near them, was in some sort defiled. But he was not to be puri­fied by the Water of Separation; but only by wash­ing his Clothes, and bathing himself in Water; and his uncleanness lasted but till the Even, as it here follows in the rest of this verse. See v. 21.

[Page 373]Ver. 20. But the Man that shall be unclean.] By a dead Body, a Bone, or a Grave, &c.

And shall not purifie himself.] By the Water of Se­paration, appointed for that purpose.Verse 20

That Soul shall be cut off from among the Congregation.] As a Contemner of this Law of God.

Because he hath defiled the Sanctuary of the LORD, &c.] This and the following words are only a Re­petition of what was said v. 13. for the greater con­firmation of it.

Ver. 21. And it shall be a perpetual Statute unto them,Verse 21 that he that sprinkleth the Water of Separation, shall wash his Clothes.] Be reputed unclean, until he hath wash­ed his Clothes; which I suppose comprehends his Body also, v. 19.

And he that toucheth the Water of Separation.] As a Man might chance to do, when he mingled the Wa­ter and Ashes together, v. 17.

Shall be unclean until Even.] And wash his Clothes, it must be supposed from the foregoing words. For mere staying till Even purified no Body, without some Rite of Cleansing. And there was more reason for him that touched the Water, immediately to wash his Clothes, than for him who only sprinkled with it.

Ver. 22. And whatsoever.] Or whomsoever. Verse 22

The unclean person toucheth, shall be unclean.] He doth not mean by the unclean Person, him who was made un­clean by touching the Water of Separation, (for his Uncleanness was so slight, that any one would think he should make no Body unclean by his touch) but the unclean Person spoken of all along in this Chapter; who was defiled by touching a dead Body. He whom [Page 374] such a Person touched was made unclean, and there­fore was to wash his Clothes, and not be thought clean until the Even.

And the Soul that toucheth it.] Or toucheth him.

Shall be unclean until Even.] Not only he whom the unclean Person touched, but he who touched the unclean Person, or any unclean thing, was to be un­clean till the Even, and wash his Clothes (as I said before) for his Cleansing. No other Cleansing was necessary for such kinds of Uncleanness as these. For Sacrifices were required only for the uncleanness of Lepers, and of a Childbed-woman; and of a Flux of Blood, or Seed: all others were purged without Sacrifice.

By this nice care, which is here taken, about the smallest bodily Defilements, God intended (I make no doubt) to make them sensible how necessary it was to preserve inward Purity; without which they could not be acceptable to God, though they ap­proached to his Sanctuary. For these Laws extend­ing to what was done at home, as well as abroad, were a plain Instruction, both that it was not suffici­ent to be pure in the Eyes of Men, and that nothing could be concealed from the Divine Majesty, who sees what passeth in secret.


Chapter XX Ver. 1. THEN came the Children of Israel, even Verse 1 the whole Congregation, into the Wilder­ness of Zin.] From Rithmah, or Kadesh-barnea, they came at last into this Wilderness, after many Remo­vals to other Stations, of which Moses gives an ac­count in the XXXIIId Chapter, from v. 19. to v. 36. For God led them, by the Cloud, quite back again to the Red Sea, (XIV. 25.) and from thence brought them into this Wilderness of Tzin. Which is quite different from that mentioned XVI Exod. call'd Sin: for this lay on the Confines of Idumaea, as appears from v. 14, 15.

In the first Month.] Of the fortieth Year after they came out of the Land of Egypt. For Moses gives an account of the Transactions only of the two first Years after they came from thence, and of the last: the rest he passeth over in silence, being spent in tire­some Journeys; whereby all above Twenty years old were consumed, by one Disease or other. In those Travels he shows how, at several Removals (menti­oned Chapter XXXIII.) they were led back from Ka­desh-barnea unto Ezion-Geber, (that is, from the North to the South of the Shore of the Red Sea) in which Journey they compassed the Land of Edom ma­ny Days, (II Deut. 1.) that is, many Years. For from the time they left Kadesh-barnea till they returned back again, was thirty eight Years, II Deut. 14.

[Page 376] And the People abode in Kadesh.] Not in Kadesh-barnea, which was their fifteenth Station, and in the Confines of the South part of Canaan, XXXIV. 4. XV Josh. 3. But another Kadesh on the Confines of the Land of Edom, towards the Red Sea, XXXIII. 36. II Deut. 3. XI Judges 17.

And Miriam died there.] Four Months before her Brother Aaron, (XXXIII. 38.) and eleven Months be­fore Moses; being elder than either of them. For she was near an Hundred and thirty Years old, as may be gathered from II Exod. 4, 7. where it appears she was not a Child, when Moses was born.

And was buried there.] In Kadesh, where she died. But we read of no mourning for her, as there was for Aaron a little after, v. 29.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. And there was no Water for the Congregation.] The Water that hitherto followed them, from the Rock in Horeb, now failed. Which hapning just at the Death of Miriam, the Jews have a foolish con­ceit, that as her Piety procured it for them, so she being dead, it was taken from them, and was re­stored again for the Piety of Moses and Aaron. It is more reasonable to think, that God suffered the Wa­ter to be discontinued for a time, that he might try the Faith of this new Generation, whether they were any better than their rebellious Fathers, and withal, to convince them that the Water out of the former Rock, was not contained in it, if he had not produ­ced it; who could bring forth Water out of any o­ther place, as well as that. Or, they being now go­ing towards Canaan, and near a Country where Wa­ter might be had for Money, (or they might have found it by digging for it) God thought fit to let the Miracle cease; that they might see he would [Page 377] shortly provide for them otherways. For it is very likely, that in their last Station, where they were be­fore this, at Ezion-Geber, (XXXIII. 36.) the Water that had followed them in all their Journeys thither, fell there into the Red Sea, and so was swallowed up: they being, as I said, to return towards Canaan, by places where Water might be procured without a Mi­racle. For being upon the edge of the Land of Edom, when Aaron died in their next Removal, (v. 28. XXXIII. 37.) we read expresly that they presently after came to a Land of Rivers of Water, X Deut. 7. And indeed not long after they removed from Mount Hor, where Aaron died, we find in the next Chapter to this, that they came to Oboth, XXI. 10. which signifying Bottles, it is no unreasonable Conjecture, that here they met with Water, with which they filled their empty Bottles. And next to that Station, they came to Jie-Abarim, v. 11. heaps of Fords; or, as the Chaldee expounds it, The Ford of those that pass over. And then to the Valley of Zared, v. 12. or to the Brook Zered, as it is in II Deut. 13, 14. And then to the River Arnon, v. 13. and thence to Beer, where they digged a famous Well, XXI. 16, 17, 18. which, perhaps, they might have done before in o­ther places, if they had made Experiment: for Ka­desh, where they now were, was in the Border of a Country inhabited.

And they gathered themselves together against Moses, and against Aaron.] Just as their Fathers had many times done; particularly upon such an occasion as this, XVII Exod. 2, 3.

Ver. 3. And the People chode with Moses.] Instead Verse 3 of condoling with him, and comforting him, for the Death of his Sister and their Prophetess, (as [Page 378] Abarbinel observes) they came in a rude manner to scold at him.

And spake, saying, Would God that we had died, when our Brethren died before the LORD.] By a sudden Death, rather than linger away by Thirst. They al­lude to the strokes of God upon their Brethren, XI. 1, 33. XIV. 37. XVI. 32, 35, 46. Which one would have thought should have affrighted them from utter­ing such very discontented Language, XIX. 2. But nothing will alter those, who will not lay to heart, and preserve in mind God's Mercies and Judgments.

Verse 4 Ver. 4. And why have ye brought the Congregation of the LORD into this Wildernoss, that we and our Cat­tle should die there?] The very words of their Fathers, presently after they came out of Egypt, XVII Ex­od. 3.

Verse 5 Ver. 5. And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt.] They speak as if it had not been their own desire; but that they were perswaded to it by Moses to leave Egypt; who was sent to tell them God heard their sighing, groans and crys, and would de­liver them, II Exod. 23, 24. III. 17. But in a dis­contented fit nothing of this was remembred.

To bring us unto this evil place?] They do not speak of returning to Egypt, as their Fathers did, XIV. 3, 4. but they repented that they were come out of it. So shamefully forgetful they were of all God's benefits, who had in a wonderful manner re­deemed them from the heaviest Slavery, and hither­to provided for them miraculously in the Wilder­ness, which was a better place than such an ungrate­ful People deserved.

It is no place of Seed.] i. e. of Corn.

[Page 379] Or of Figs, or of Vines, or Pomegranates, &c.] Now they complain for want of other things, as well as Water: wherein they still imitate their unbelieving Fathers, XVI. 14.

Ver. 6. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence Verse 6 of the Assembly, unto the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.] To pray to God to pardon their Sin, and to supply their Wants.

And they fell upon their Faces.] As they had often done before, on other such like occasions; particularly XIV. 5.

And the Glory of the LORD appeared unto them.] Unto all the People, it is likely: as it had done se­veral times to silence their Murmurings. See XIV. 10. XVI. 19, 42.

Ver. 7. And the LORD spake unto Moses.] From Verse 7 that Glory which appeared upon the Tabernacle.

Ver. 8. Take the Rod.] That famous Rod where­with Moses had wrought so many Miracles in Egypt, and at the Red Sea, &c.

And gather thou the Assembly together.] This word Edah signifying sometimes only the Assembly of the Elders, not of the whole People, it would be uncer­tain which of them he is bid to gather together, (for it is a different word from that which we translate Assembly, v. 6.) if the tenth verse had not determi­ned, that it was the Kahal, or Congregation of the People, as the word Edah also signifies just before, v. 8.

Thou and Aaron thy Brother.] For the People were gathered together against Aaron, in a mutinous man­ner, as well as against Moses, v. 2.

[Page 380] And speak ye unto the Rock before their eyes.] To the first Rock you meet withal, (saith Nachmanides) and, that is within their sight. For this is not the same Verse 9 Rock out of which the former Water flowed, as the Jews fancy; but quite different. Their very Names are different, that being called Tzur; this Selah. That was in Rephidim; this is Kadesh: two very distant places. Thus Chaskuni; some think this the same with that in Exodus; but it is not the same History. For the former was in Horeb, this in Kadesh: which is in the Extremity of the Land of Edom. But whether God pointed him to a Rock, which was then in their sight (as he did at Horeb, XVII Exod. 5, 6.) or left him to chuse any stony place, is not certain. But it is a mere fancy of some of the Jews, that because God here bad them speak to the Rock, Moses offended God in smiting it. For to what purpose should he take the Rod, if he was not to smite the Rock with it, as he had done formerly. Just such another conceit there is in Schalschelet Hakkabala, where R. Gedaliah saith, That he had given an account of this Sin in another Book, which he gathered out of various Writers, and found there were XXVIII. different Opinions about it. But he preferred this before any of them; that whereas God bad Moses gather the Edah together, that is, the Assembly of the People, v. 8. he gathered the Kahal, i. e. the Congregation of the Princes and El­ders (as he will have it) whose Faith needed no Con­firmation. See Hottinger in his Smegma Orientale, cap. 8. p. 451.

And it shall give forth his Water.] The Jews puzzle themselves about this Expression: which sounds, they think, as if the Water was contained in the Rock; and Moses only made a Gap for it to gush out. But [Page 381] it seems to be spoken in opposition to the Waters is­suing out of the former Rock, which had supplyed them hitherto, but now ceased to flow. It being as much as if he had said, This shall give forth Water, as that did before: now it shall be called the Water of this Rock; not that of Horeb.

And thou shalt bring forth to them Water out of the Rock.] Renew the former Miracle.

So thou shalt give the Congregation and their Beasts drink.] So that they and their Cattle (which they fear will perish, v. 4.) shall be as plentifully provi­ded for, as ever.

Ver. 9. And Moses took the Rod from before the Verse 9 LORD, as he commanded him.] From hence some conclude, that this was the Rod of Aaron which blos­somed; because he is said to take it from before the LORD; where Aaron's Rod was laid up, XVII. 10. But this Rod is so expresly called Moses his Rod, V. 11. which was the Instrument of bringing the former Water out of the Rock in Horeb, that I cannot but think this was the very same Rod. Which being there called the Rod of God, (XVII Exod. 9.) as it is at the first mention of it, IV Exod. 20. it is very probable, that by God's order it was laid up some­where before him in the Sanctuary; though not be­fore the Ark of the Testimony. For having been im­ployed in doing so many Wonders, it was not seem­ly it should lye in his own Tent, as a common Staff; but in the House of God, as a Sacred Wand. This indeed is no where mentioned, no more than many other things, which notwithstanding are plainly in­timated.

[Page 382]Ver. 10. And Moses and Aaron gathered the Congre­gation before the Rock.] As God had commanded, v. 8.

Verse 10 And he said unto them.] Moses, who was the chief Actor, said unto them.

Hear ye now, ye Rebels.] The Talmudists fancy that this is the great Sin for which Moses and Aaron were denied to go into Canaan, because he called God's People Rebels. From whence they have fra­med this Maxim, He that treats the Church contemptu­ously, which ought to be honoured, is as if he blasphemed the Name of God. But they subvert the Truth, who build it upon no better Foundations. For Moses the great Minister of God, only uses God's own Language to their Fathers, XVII. 10. where he bids him lay up Aaron's Rod, as a Token against the Rebels. And if this were a Sin, Moses committed it again, not long after this, and in an higher strain, (which no Body can think he would have done, if it had cost him so dear) when he saith, IX Deut. 24. Ye have been rebellious against the LORD ever since I knew you.

Must we fetch you Water out of this Rock?] In these words also some of the Jews (particularly Nachman) think they find the Sin of Moses and Aaron; who here (they fancy) ascribe to themselves that which they ought to have acknowledged the Work of God alone. But this is without any ground; for the plain meaning of the words is quite contrary; Is it in our power to bring Water out of a Rock? So the Vulgar La­tine translates it; it being a Speech of those that won­der, like that 1 Kings XXI. 19. Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? As if Moses had said, Strange! that you should think it possible for us to bring you Water out of a Rock, which is the work only of an Omnipotent Power.

[Page 383]Ver. 11. And Moses lift up his hand, and with his Rod he smote the Rock twice.] It seems the Water did not gush out at the first stroke; which made him re­peat it.Verse 11

And the Water came out abundantly, and the Congre­gation drank, and their Beasts also.] So that their pre­sent Necessity was supplyed; and they also filled their Vessels when they left this place, to serve them till they met with the convenience of Water, as they did I showed upon v. 2.

Ver. 12. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Verse 12 Aaron, because ye believed me not.] Here Interpreters have been much troubled to find what it was for which God was offended at Moses and Aaron: for though the Text tells us expresly it was for their Un­belief, (whereby they gave great Scandal, and did not sanctifie him as they did formerly, before the Is­raelites) yet it doth not clearly appear wherein this Unbelief declared it self. Abarbinel hath collected several Opinions of the Jewish Doctors about this matter, which are no less than ten; after which he delivers his own, which seems to me as unsatisfacto­ry as the rest were to him; for it is far fetcht, with too much nicety and subtilty, and relies also upon Uncer­tainties. The plainest account of it, I think, is this, which none of them take notice of; That the Water now ceasing at the same time that Miriam died, Moses was very sad both for her Death, and perhaps for the Ceasing of the Water: And being unexpectedly assaulted by the People, who ought to have had a greater Reverence for him, in a time of Mourning e­specially, it was the occasion of a greater Commotion of Anger and Indignation, than was usually in him. Which gave him such a Disturbance in his Mind, and [Page 384] so disordered his Thoughts, that when God bad him take his Rod, and go and speak to the Rock, he fell into some doubt, whether God would grant them the Favour he had done before; either, because they were so wretched a People, that it was not fit God should do any thing for them; or because he thought per­haps, Water might be otherways procured for them. And because of this doubting, I suppose, it might be that upon the first striking of the Rock, no Water came forth; (God also perhaps so ordering it, that he might try him) and hereupon his Diffidence in­creased into Unbelief, and a settled Perswasion they should have no Water. His Anger also at such a re­bellious Generation, it is likely, made him the more distrustful, that God would do nothing for them. For both these are mentioned by the Divine Writers that touch upon this History, that he did not believe; and that his Spirit was so provoked, that he spake un­advisedly with his lips, (CVI Psalm 32, 33.) which was when he spake those words v. 10. Must we fetch you Water out of this Rock? i. e. is that a likely matter? They being words of the same sort with those of Sa­rah, XVIII Gen. 13. Shall I of a surety have a Child, who am old? that is, I cannot believe it. And when he saw the Water did not come out at the first stroke, he might be so rash as to say, Now it is plain God will give you none, but let you perish: or words to that ef­fect.

I know nothing more probable than this; unless the Reader likes the Opinion of Joseph Albo better, which is the ninth Opinion mentioned by Abarbinel: That Moses and Aaron having had such long Experi­ence of God's goodness to this People, and of his readiness to help them, ought not to have gone and [Page 385] made their Complaints to God about the want of Wa­ter, (v. 6.) but immediately, of themselves, gone to the Rock, (being confident of God's Power and Mercy which had never failed them) and called for Water to come out of it. For now the Tabernacle was built, and they had God dwelling among them, (which they had not when he smote the Rock at first) which ought to have bred in them the highest Assurance that God would supply them. Dr. Light­foot hath another Conjecture, (which I shall propound that the Reader may judge which is most likely) That Moses and Aaron began to distrust God's Promise of entring into the promised Land, at the end of forty Years; imagining that if they brought Water again out of the Rock, it must follow them, as long as the other had done. For this he makes the sence of their words, What ye Rebels! must we bring Water out of a Rock, as we did at Horeb? Are all our Hopes and Ex­pectations of getting out of the Wilderness come to this? We never fetcht you Water out of a Rock but once; and that was because ye were to stay a long time in the Wilder­ness, &c. Now that is gone, must we fetch Water out of another Rock? O ye Rebels, have ye brought it to this pass by your Murmurings, that we must have a new stay in the Wilderness? Are we to begin our abode here again, when we thought we had been at the end of our Travels? At this rate we shall never get out. Where­upon he presently smote the Rock twice, in a fume; whereas God bad him only speak to it, v. 8.

To sanctifie me in the Eyes of the Children of Israel.] i. e. Openly to assert me to be the holy One of Israel; faith­ful to my Promises, (as well as infinite in Power) of which they had given the Israelites occasion to doubt, by declaring some distrust of what God said [Page 386] to them, v. 8. For these words plainly show that their Sin did not consist only in an inward Diffi­dence, but in such outward Expressions of it in their Anger and Impatience, as might be apt to breed Un­belief in the Israelites; who were already too prone thereunto. And it is no improbable Conjecture of a Jewish Doctor, (in his Book of the Death of Moses) that the Divine Glory not appearing now upon this Rock, as it did at Horeb, (XVII Exod. 6.) which perhaps they expected; it gave some occasion to their Unbelief. Which, he thinks, was not so great a Sin in it self, as to have deserved the following Punish­ment; had not God, in passing this Sentence, had a respect to the Excellency and Dignity of their Per­sons: in whom a Fault of this Nature, was far more grievous than in an ordinary Man.

Therefore ye shall not bring this Congregation into the Land which I have given them.] They brought them into the Land of Sihon, and of Og: but not into Ca­naan, which was properly the Land promised to them.

Verse 13 Ver. 13. This is the Water of Meribah.] Called Meribah-kadesh, XXXII Deut. 51. to distinguish it from that Meribah mentioned XVII Exod. 7. where the Israelites were guilty of the same Crime.

Because the Children of Israel strove with the LORD.] Expostulated with him most undutifully; and ac­cused him of unkindness to them, v. 3, 4.

And he was sanctified in them.] The Hebrew Do­ctors differ very much in their Opinions about this also, Whether he was sanctified in the Waters, or in the People of Israel, or in Moses and Aaron. Some fancy it is meant of the Waters, viz. that God did himself great honour in bringing Waters again out [Page 387] of a Rock; and therefore the Name of the place was called Kadesh, from his being sanctified there. Thus Chaskuni. But it seems to have been called so before this; being a place well known to the Edomites, v. 16. The common Opinion is that he speaks of Mo­ses and Aaron: for God's Name, saith R. Solomon, is much revered, when he doth not spare even his holy Ones, X Lev. 3. But Nachmanides expounds it of the Israelites, before whose face (as he expounds san­ctified in them) God's Power, and Faithfulness, and Goodness appeared: and who alone are mentioned in this verse; not Moses and Aaron. But all three O­pinions in the Issue concur in this one; that God made his Power, &c. appear in the Eyes of all the Israelites, by bringing Water out of a Rock: and at the same time demonstrated his Holiness and impar­tial Justice, in punishing his greatest Friends for their Unbelief.

Ver. 14. And Moses sent Messengers.] By God's Verse 14 order, as his words seem to import, in II Deut. 2, 3, 4.

From Kadesh.] On the Confines of the King of Edom's Country.

Ʋnto the King of Edom.] When the Israelites came out of Egypt, Moses speaks of Edom as governed by Dukes, XV Exod. 17. for the Sons of Esau at first had no higher Title, XXXVI Gen. 15, &c. Not long after, it seems, their Posterity became Kings: and now (Nine and thirty Years after the Israelites co­ming out of Egypt) they were still under Kingly Go­vernment. And this King, to whom Moses now sends Messengers, the great Primate of Ireland, takes to have been Hadar, the last of those that Moses mentions, XXXVI Gen. 39. who for his Inhumanity [Page 388] to the Children of Israel, was shortly after punished with Death; and the Kingdom turned again into the Government by Dukes. For Moses (as he thinks) writing the Book of Genesis in the latter end of his Life, (or then adding what was necessary to what he had written before) reckons, immediately after Hadar, several Dukes reigning all at one time, in several parts of the Country, which they had shared among them. See Ʋsser. Chronolog. Sacra, cap. 11.

Thus saith thy Brother Israel.] In the Language of those times, all that were near of Kin called one ano­ther Brethren: and these two Nations descended from two twin Brothers.

Thou knowest.] For they could not but have re­ceived Intelligence before this time of such publick things.

All the Travel that hath befaln us.] How we, and our Fathers before us, have travelled from place to place, without any certain Habitation. See CV Psalm 13.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. How our Fathers.] After several Remo­vals from one part of Canaan to another.

Went down into Egypt.] Which was so publick a thing (they being invited by Pharaoh, who sent Car­riages for them) that the Edomites could not be igno­rant of it.

And we have dwelt in Egypt a long time.] See XII Exod. 40, 41. and what I have observed there.

And the Egyptians vexed us and our Fathers.] See I Exod. 11, 12, 13, &c.

Verse 16 Ver. 16. And when we cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice.] II Exod. 23, 24, 25. III. 7, 8.

[Page 389] And sent an Angel.] See III Exod. 2, &c. Maimo­nides here by Angel understands Moses himself; for the Prophets are sometimes called Angels, i. e. Mes­sengers sent from God, II Judg. 1. This he asserts in the first part, and more than once in the second part of More Nevochim: but it is very unreasonable to think, that Moses would thus magnifie himself to the King of Edom, who understood not such Lan­guage; and could not but be more moved to hearken to his Embassy, if he believed the Israelites were un­der the Conduct of a heavenly Minister: who, as o­ther Jews think, was Michael the Prince of the hea­venly Host; whom they commonly understand by the Angel here mentioned. But many great Men, particularly Masius, think this is short of the Truth, unless we understand by Michael, the Eternal Son of God; who was, as he speaks, the perpetual Prince and Director of the People of God. For though he was then properly made the Messenger of the Father, when he took on him our Flesh, and dwelt here among us; yet from the beginning it was his constant care to reconcile Men to God, and preserve Religion among them. So that he might be called the Angel of God before he became a Man, because God the Father by him communicated with Men about all things neces­sary for their Good. And the Jews seem to have had some obscure Notion of this: For what else could Moses Gerundensis mean, when he saith the Angel whom Moses saw in the Bush, was the same whom Jacob calls the God of Bethel, and whom he calls the Angel Redeemer: of whom Moses, he saith, speaks in this place, and in VI Deut. 21. The LORD brought us out of Egypt. Certain it is, that thus the ancient Christians understood such places, taking the Angel [Page 390] here spoken of to be the Eternal LOGOS, or WORD, as St. John calls the Eternal Son of God. Whose sence no Man, I think, hath better explained than our Mr. Thorndike: who, though he confesses it to be plain by the Scriptures, that it was always an Angel that appeared under the Old Testament, who is sometimes called by the proper Name of God (JE­HOVAH) yet this is no prejudice to what the Fa­thers of the Church teach, concerning the Appearing of the Eternal WORD. Who was that LORD who then assumed some Angelical Nature, wherein he might appear to deal with Men for a short time: after which he dismissed it, when he had done that Busi­ness for which he assumed it.

And hath brought us forth out of Egypt.] XIII Exod. 22. XIV. 19.

And behold, we are in Kadesh.] Near to Kadesh; for it is not likely they were admitted into the City it self; which gave its Name to the adjacent Coun­try.

A City.] Or Town: for it doth not seem to have been a walled place.

In the uttermost of thy Borders.] In the Confines of the King of Edom's Country; and belonging, it is likely, to his Dominion.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy Coun­try.] In our way to the Land of Canaan; which God hath promised to give us.

We will not pass through the Fields, or through the Vineyards.] They engaged not to turn aside, as they went along, into any private Man's Grounds. See XXI. 22.

[Page 391] Neither will we drink of the Water of the Wells.] Which any private Person had digged for his own use: but only of the Rivers, which are common to all Creatures.

We will go by the King's High-way.] Keep in the common Rode, which is made for all Passengers, by the King's allowance.

We will not turn to the right hand, or to the left.] Out of the Rode; but go strait on.

Ʋntil we have passed thy Borders.] Got to the other side of the Country of Edom.

Ver. 18. And Edom said unto him.] This sounds Verse 18 as if the whole Country had joyned in the following Answer.

Thou shalt not pass by me.] Go through our Coun­try, v. 20.

Lest I come out against thee with the Sword.] The King bids them not attempt it; for he would op­pose their passage with all his Forces. He was afraid, no doubt, lest they should seize his Country, or spoil it; and therefore would not trust their Declarations which they made to the contrary.

Ver. 19. And the Children of Israel.] Who were Verse 19 sent upon this Message, v. 14. Or else some new Am­bassadors, whom Moses dispatched with new Intrea­ties, after he understood his Denial.

Said unto him.] Gave him new Assurances of their honest Intentions.

We will go by the High-way.] Believe us, we will not step out of the common Rode.

And if I and my Cattle drink of thy Water.] Out of the Wells before-mentioned, v. 17. which private Men had digged; and therefore had a Propriety in them.

[Page 392] Then I will pay for it.] For Water was commonly sold in those dry Countries; where it was very scarce.

I will only, without doing any thing else.] The He­brew words ein dahar (which we translate, without do­ing any thing else) literally signifies in our Language, it is no word, i. e. not mere fair Promises: but we will perform what we say.

Go through on my feet.] Go through, as fast as we can travel on foot.

Verse 20 Ver. 20. And he said, thou shalt not go through.] He persisted in his Resolution; and would not rely on their most solemn Asseverations. Yet he consented (as appears by II Deut. 28, 29.) to furnish them with necessary Provisions, both of Meat and Drink, for their Money.

And Edom came out against him with much People, and with a strong hand.] For fear they should press into his Country, he raised a great and powerful Army to oppose them; and showed himself ready to fight them if they moved that way.

Verse 21 Ver. 21. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his Border.] Which Grotius censures in his second Book de Jure Belli & Pacis, cap. 2. sect. 13. as contrary to the Law of Nations: by which the High-ways, as well as the Sea, and the Rivers of all Countries, ought to be free for all that have a mind to pass through them, upon just occasions. And he gives many Examples of such permission, out of Heathen Story: and therefore looks upon the denial of this, as a just ground of War with Sihon and Og, (mentioned in the next Chapter, where I shall con­sider it) as it might have been with Edom and Moab, had not God prohibited it. Nor doth the fear, he [Page 393] thinks, which the Edomites, it is likely, had of let­ting such a vast number of People pass through their Country, alter the case; for no Man's fear, is to take away another Man's right. And there might have been Means contrived to remove this fear, by letting them pass through in small Companies at a time, or un­armed. He had better have said, in my opinion, by giving Hostages on both sides, for the performance of Conditions: For it might have put the Israelites in as great fear, to have gone through in small Parties; or if they should have disarmed themselves. But when all is said, it seems not clear, that all Men have such a right, as that great Man thinks they may claim. For no Man can challenge a passage through a private Man's Ground, without his leave: and every Prince hath the same dominion in all his Territories, that a private Man hath in his Land. There are many Ex­amples also, as Gronovius hath observed, of Coun­tries which have suffered extreamly by granting this Liberty, (which show that Princes have reason to deny it, for their Peoples Security) and the Exam­ples of those who have granted it, are Examples of Fact, rather than of Right; and of such as were not in a Condition to refuse what was demanded. See Selden's Mare Clausum, Lib. I. cap. 20.

Wherefore Israel turned away from him.] By God's command: who ordered them also to buy what they wanted of the Edomites, II Deut. 5, 6. For they stayed some time in Kadesh, by their consent, before they removed; that they might furnish themselves, as they offered, with Necessaries, XI Judges 17.

Ver. 22. And the Children of Israel, even the whole Verse 22 Congregation.] For they might not divide into seve­ral Bodies, lying in several places; but all march to­gether, [Page 394] when the Cloud moved, in the order God appointed, X. 13, 14, &c.

Journeyed from Kadesh, and came to Mount Hor.] Another place upon the edge of the Edomites Coun­try, XXXIII. 37. where they pitched in a part of that Mountain which was called Mosera, X Deut. 6. Whether Mount Hor gave the Name of Hori to him, who was the Ancestor of Seir, and the first Planter of the Country, which was afterward conquered by Esau, (XXXVI Gen. 20, 30. II Deut. 12.) or had its name from him, cannot be determined. But Hori we are sure was the first Possessor (of whom there is any memory) of this Mountain Hor; which was af­terward called Seir (from one descended from him) and afterward Edom.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor.] At the foot of the Mount, as appears from v. 25.

By the Coast of the Land of Edom.] XXXIII. 37.

Verse 24 Ver. 24. Aaron shall be gathered unto his People.] Shall die, v. 26.

For he shall not enter into the Land which I have gi­ven unto the Children of Israel.] v. 12. A manifest To­ken that the earthly Canaan was not the utmost Feli­city at which God's Promises aimed; because the best Men among them were shut out of it.

Because ye rebelled against my Word, at the Water of Meribah.] By this word rebelled, it appears there was something of Obstinacy in their Unbelief, men­tioned v. 12.

Verse 25 Ver. 25. Take Aaron and Eleazar his Son.] Speak to them in my Name. For it is expresly said XXXIII. 38. that they went up at the Commandment of the LORD.

[Page 395] And bring them up unto Mount Hor.] This shows that they pitched their Tents at the bottom of it, in a place called Mosera. See X Deut. 6. where this seems also to have been the Name of the whole Hill, as well as Hor.

Ver. 26. And strip Aaron of his Garments.] i. e. Of Verse 26 his Priestly Robes, (as Josephus rightly expounds it, [...]) mentioned XXVIII Exod. 2, 3, &c. wherewith he was clothed when he was a­nointed to the Office of High-Priest, VIII Lev. 7, 8, 9. which he put on, I suppose, in the Camp, and went up in them to Mount Hor; that he might die gloriously; not in his Robes, but immediately after he put them off, to be put upon his Son. For this stripping him of his Robes was in effect, the divest­ing Aaron of his Office, that it might be conferred up­on his Son; which was done as follows.

And put them upon Eleazar his Son.] Which was the investing him with the Office of High-Priest, in­to which he now succeeded, in his Fathers stead; and was by this Ceremony admitted to it. The Tal­mudists say, the manner was, first to put on the Breeches, then the Coat; which being bound about with the Girdle, then the Robe, upon which was the Ephod, and then the Miter and golden Crown. See Selden de Succession. in Pontif. Lib. II. cap. 8.

And Aaron shall be gathered unto his People, and die there.] This was said before, in short, v. 24. but now the time of his Death is expresly declared, (imme­diately after he laid down his Office, and had the sa­tisfaction to see his Son inaugurated in his Room) and the place of it, upon Mount Hor. Of this Phrase, Gathered to his People, see XXV Gen. 8, 17.

[Page 396]Ver. 27. And Moses did as the LORD command­ed; and they went up into Mount Hor, in the sight of all the Congregation.] That they might all be Wit­nesses Verse 27 of the Succession of Eleazar to the Office of his Father.

Verse 28 Ver. 28. And Moses stripped Aaron of his Garments, and put them upon Eleazar his Son.] This Moses did as the Minister of God; who now translated the Priesthood to another.

And Aaron died there in the top of the Mount.] And was buried also there, X Deut. 6. For great and heroick Persons were in ancient days usually buried in high Places. So Joshua was, XXIV. 30, 33. and Eleazar, II Judges 9. and Cadmus and Harmonia; who lived near the time of Joshua, as Bochartus observes in his Canaan, Lib. I. cap 23.

And Moses and Eleazar came down from the Mount.] After they had seen him laid in his Grave, by those that attended them.

This fell out in the fortieth Year after they came out of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth Month; when Aaron was an Hundred and three and twenty Years old, as we read XXXIII. 38, 39. In the new Moon of the Month, which the Athenians called He­catombaeon, the Macedonians, I ous, and the Hebrews called Sabba, as Josephus glosses. But that last word should be Ab, not Sabba, as Jacobus Capellus observes (in his Histor. Sacra & Exotica ad An. 2542.) which answers, he thinks, to the nineteenth of our July. And so the Hebrews say in Seder Olam, Aaron died on the first day of the Month Ab: upon which there is a Fast, in their Rituals, in memory of it.

[Page 397]Ver. 29. And when all the Congregation saw that Aa­ron was dead.] i. e. Understood (as the word See is used XLII Gen. 1.) that God had taken him out of the World, as Moses and Eleazar told them; who Verse 29 also came down from the Mount with him.

They mourned for Aaron thirty days.] Till the end of the Month. For so long their Mourning seems, in those days, to have been continued for great Persons, (as it was for Moses, XXXIV Deut. 8.) though a Week sufficed for private Persons.

Even all the House of Israel.] Both Men and Wo­men.


Chapter XXI Ver. 1. AND when King Arad the Canaanite.] In Verse 1 the Hebrew the words are thus placed, When the Canaanite King Arad: And so they are in the LXX. and the Vulgar: And Arad may as well signifie a Place, as a Person: nay, there seems more reason to translate the words thus, The Canaanitish King of Arad: because there was such a City in Ca­naan, mentioned XII Josh. 14. and I Judges 16. One of the Sons of Canaan being called Arad, (as both the LXX. and the Vulgar translate the Hebrew word Ar­vad, X Gen. 18.) who it is likely gave his Name to this part of the Country; the chief City of which was also called after him.

Which dwelt in the South.] In the South part of the Land of Canaan, towards the Eastern Angle of it, near the Dead Sea. See XXXIII. 40.

[Page 398] Heard that Israel came by the way of the Spies.] Which were sent by the King Arad (as many suppose) to bring him Intelligence which way the Israelites mar­ched. For it being Eight and thirty Years since the Spies sent by Moses went that way; or rather, they going so secretly, that it was not known which way they went, it is thought, not probable that Moses speaks of them in this place. But there is no necessi­ty of taking the Hebrew word Atharim to signifie Spies; but it may as well be the Name of a Place, as the LXX. understood it, by whom it is translated [...]. And, if the situation would agree to it, one might probably conjecture, the place was so called from the Spies that went from thence by Moses his order to sur­vey the Country. For that was a thing so memora­ble, that as it could not well slip out of the Minds of the People of Canaan, so they found, I make no question, after they were gone, which way they came into their Country, (though for the present they passed unobserved) and everafter called it the way of the Spies.

Then he fought against Israel.] He marched out of his Country with an Army; and fell upon the Isra­elites as they passed that way.

And took some of them Prisoners.] He attacked, it's likely, at first only the Skirts of their Camp, where he surprised some of them, and carried them away captive, as the words are in the Hebrew.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD.] It was resolved, it seems, that they should engage them; but the Israelites being afraid of them, because they were unexperienced in War, implored the Di­vine Aid by this Solemn Vow.

[Page 399] If thou wilt indeed deliver this People into my hand.] Give us the Victory over them.

Then will I utterly destroy their Cities.] They vow to reserve none of the Spoil to their own use; but devote it all to destruction. For such was the Nature of this Vow, called Cherem. See XXVII Lev. 29.

Ver. 3. And the LORD hearkned to the voice of Verse 3 Israel.] He approved their Vow.

And delivered up the Canaanites.] The Israelites vanquished their Army.

And they utterly destroyed them and their Cities.] Ut­terly devoted them to destruction, according to their Vow. For they did not now actually destroy them, they remaining when Joshua came to Canaan, who exe­cuted this Cherem, or Curse upon them, XII. 14. Which, if it had been executed now, they must have entred into the Land of Canaan at this time; from whence we cannot imagine they would have returned, to march further about before they got into it; but have gone on to prosecute their Victory, by subduing the Country, as they had begun.

And he called the name of the place Hormah.] From the Cherem (or Herem as some write it) which was pronounced against it. Which when it was put in execution, this Name became more proper to it, I Judges 17.

Ver. 4. And they journeyed from Mount Hor.] Where Verse 4 their Camp was pitched, when the King of Arad as­saulted them; and whither they returned, after they had overthrown him.

By the way of the Red Sea.] Towards Ezion-Gaber, as we read II Deut. 8.

[Page 400] To compass the Land of Edom.] Which extended it self unto the Red Sea.

And the Soul of the People was much discouraged be­cause of the way.] The word we translate discouraged, signifies two things; to faint, and to breathe short, through the anguish and bitterness of ones Spirit, VI Exod. 9. And secondly, to be angry at, or at least impatient, by reason of some Trouble. And so it may be best taken in this place, (as Buxtorfius observes in Histor. Serp. Aenei, cap. 1.) not simply for their being tired, with a tedious, long, and troublesome March; but that accompanied with no small Indig­nation and Wrath. Which did not only burn with­in, but broke out into words of great Impatience, as appears by what follows. Whence the Hebrew words Ketzar-Ruach (short of Spirit) signifies Angry or Hasty, XIV Prov. 29. and in XXI Job 4. we translate it troubled, and in XI Zach. 8. loathed: where it had better been translated, I was angry with them. Now that which made the People thus fret, or faint, (if we will have it so interpreted) was the way wherein they were now led; which was about the Land of Edom. For when they were come towards Canaan, in the middle of the fortieth Year, (at the end of which they were promised to enter in and possess it) they are carried back again towards the Red Sea, whether God had sent their Fathers, after they had brought a false Report upon the Land, XIV. 25. This made them think, perhaps, that they should ne­ver come to Canaan; or, at least, it was tedious to march such a great way about, after they had been kept so long from their Inheritance, and were lately in such hopes of it, when Moses demanded a passage into it through the Country of Edom.

[Page 401]Ver. 5. And the People spake against God, and a­gainst Moses.] This shows they were in a very great rage; which made them so forgetful of their Duty, as to charge God himself with ill Conduct. Where­as Verse 5 their Fathers were wont only to murmur against Moses and Aaron.

Wherefore have ye brought us out of Egypt.] The Hebrew word heelithunu (made us to go up) is a strange word, (as Dr. Lightfoot calls it) in this Language: declaring the great fume they were in when they ut­tered it.

To die in the Wilderness?] As if they had said (so Abarbinel explains it) what can we expect or hope for but Death, from this long stay in the Wilder­ness?

For there is no Bread, neither is there any Water.] For we want the most necessary things for the sup­port of Life (as he also well explains it) which they spake in a rage: for they had both, by a miraculous Providence over them. They themselves immedi­ately confess they had Manna; and they had lately received Water out of a Rock. But nothing would satisfie, unless they were brought to a Country, where Bread and Water was to be had without a Miracle. For the meaning of their Complaint was, that God did not deal with them as he did with other People, who (to speak in our Phrase) do not live from hand to mouth: As the Israelites did, who had Bread gi­ven them only to suffice for one day, and no more; and that such Bread as they despised. It is likely also they began now to want Water again, which did not follow them, as formerly, out of the Rock: and what they had in their Vessels, perhaps was near spent.

[Page 402] And our Soul loatheth this light Bread.] As for the Bread God bestowed upon them, they were so far from being satisfied with it, that they loath it, and call it by the scornful Name of Light Bread. So we translate the Hebrew word Hakkilkel: which, being the doubling of a word which signifies light or vile in that Language, imports as much as very despica­ble, exceeding vile; or, as the LXX. translate it, ve­ry empty; having no Substance in it to fill their Sto­machs. So Abarbinel expounds this passage, We are tired with long Journeys, which require more solid Bread than this to support us.

Verse 6 Ver. 6. And the LORD sent fiery Serpents among the People.] So most of the Jews translates this place; taking Seraphim for an Adjective (as Grammarians speak) and consequently rightly translated fiery. But there are those who take it to signifie a peculiar sort of Serpents; being added to Nechashim (Serpents) by way of opposition (as they speak) and signifying such Serpents as the Greeks call [...] and [...], whom Pliny reckons among the Sceleratissimi Serpen­tes, most pernicious Serpents, Lib. XXIV. cap. 13. Or, as others will have it, those called [...], because they made great Inflamations in Mens Bodies, and an unquenchable thirst; being also of a flame colour. But the famous Bochartus hath alledged a great many Arguments to prove, that they were a sort of Serpents, called Hydrus, because in Winter they lived in Fens and Marshes; which being dried up in Summer, they were called Chersydrus, because then they lived in dry places, and in the hot Season had a most sharp, stinging Poison. Which, as Nicander saith, made such Inflamations, as brought upon him that was stung by them, [...], innumerable griefs. See Hiero­zoicon [Page 403] P. II. Lib. III. cap. 13. where he shows also they were flying Serpents, of which the Prophet Isai­ah speaks, XIX. 29. XXX. 6. and that now was a hot Season, wherein they were wont to be most venomous. For Aaron dying the first day of the fifth Month, (which answers to the nineteenth of our July) and they mourning for him thirty days; after which fol­lowed their encounter with the Canaanites, and then this murmuring, and this punishment; it must fall out in the latter end of August, when the Dog-days were going out. See Vossius de Orig. & Progressu Ido­lol. Lib. IV. cap. 56.

And they bit the People.] This Aben-Ezra, and o­thers, think was a Punishment suitable to their Sin; which was evil speaking against the LORD, by calum­niating his Providence. For Solomon compares a Ca­lumniator to a Serpent, which bites if it be not charm­ed, X Eccles. 11.

It is a strange fancy of Fortunatus Licetus, that Mo­ses here speaks of a Disease bred in the Body, which in Children is called Dracunculus; and not of the biting of Serpents from without, Lib. de Ortu Sponta­neo Viventium, cap. 51. For which there is no ground at all; and on the contrary, nothing more certain than that in Arabia, and Egypt, and other Countries of Africa, there are such Serpents as are here descri­bed. Yet Bartholinus seems to think that his Opini­on may be defended against Ezekiel de Castro who confuted it. See Epistol. Medic. Centur. I. Epist. 32.

And much People of Israel died.] The whole Wil­derness through which the Israelites marched so many years, was full of fiery Serpents and Scorpions, as Moses his words import, VIII Deut. 15. which makes it the more wonderful, that we never hear of their [Page 404] being bitten and killed by them, until now. But it is to be considered, that they were protected by the Cloud from this, and from all other dangers, (as the Hebrews well observe) which now withdrew its sha­dow from them, and let in the Serpents upon them. Or rather (as Moses here expresly saith) God who had hitherto kept them off, now sent them; and per­haps brought them from remote parts of the Wilder­ness, to infest the whole Congregation.

Verse 7 Ver. 7. Wherefore the People came to Moses, and said, we have sinned.] It doth not appear, whether they were immediately sensible of their Sin, and confessed it, upon the biting of the Serpents, and the direful effects of it; or staid till there [...] [...]reat Mor­tality among them. It is likely they [...] made their Addresses to him: but before a Remedy was found out, by erecting the brazen Serpent, many of them perished.

For we have sinned against the LORD, and against thee.] They make a particular Acknowledgment of their Guilt, as a Token of the Sincerity of their Re­pentance.

Pray unto the LORD, that he take away the Serpents from us.] In the Hebrew the words, take away the Ser­pent, in the singular Number, about which the Jews make a great many curious Observations, as if there was one evil Angel that governed them all. And if there be any truth in this Observation, we Christians cannot but think these words point to the old Ser­pent, the Devil, who lost Sting by the lifting up Christ on the Cross, as the brazen Serpent, it here fol­lows, was lifted up for the Cure of the biting of those Serpents. But the simple truth is, that in this Language the Singular Number is often used collective­ly [Page 405] for the Plural. As in VIII Exod. 6. The Frog came up and covered the Land, i. e. a vast multitude of Frogs. And so Moses speaks in the place just now named, VIII Deut. 15. where he calls this Wilderness where­in they travelled, a place of a fiery Serpent and Scorpion, i. e. saith Jonathan, full of such Creatures.

And Moses prayed for the People.] Here R. Becai and others observe the great Meekness and Charity of M ses; and thence draw this Instruction, That he of whom any one asks pardon for an Offence, ought not to be hard-hearted, but ready to forgive. Thus Abra­ham prayed for Abimelech, XX Gen. 17. Job for his Friends, XLII. 10. It would be a sin to do other­wise, 1 Sam. XII. 19, 20, 23.

Ver. 8. And the LORD said unto Moses.] In an­swer to his Prayer.

Make thee a fiery Serpent.] The Figure of one of those Serpents which bite the People. Abarbinel thinks that upon Moses his Prayer the Serpents were removed; but still there remained many among the People sorely afflicted by the venomous effects of their biting; for whose Cure God graciously gave this di­rection.

It is something strange that any learned Christian, should so much admire the Egyptian Learning, as not to forbear the mention of their incantations of Ser­pents, when they speak of this relation which Moses makes, concerning the brazen Serpent which God or­dered him to set up. Yet Sir John Marsham (in his Chronicon, sect. 9.) when he comes to treat of this Station of the Israelites at Tsalmona, hath a long dis­course to show how famous the Egyptians, and other Nations were in this sort of Magick: and thus con­cludes it, that Moses putting this brazen Serpent up­on [Page 406] a Perch, non tam Serpentes igneos incantabat ne nocerent, quàm eorum venenum extinguebant, did not so much charm these Serpents that they should not hurt, as extinguish their Venom. This seems to me a Scurvy intimation, that Moses had their Practises in his Mind; but went beyond them. He should have said Moses abominated their wicked Arts, (if they had any such in those days) and directed the Israelites to look up to God for healing. So the Jews themselves, particularly Aben-Ezra; who takes notice that some Superstitious People fancied that this Serpent was a Talisman, made to receive I know not what Influ­ence from the Stars. But God forbid, saith he, God forbid, we should have any such thought. This was made by the Divine order; the reason of which let us not scrupulously search. They thought, that is, there was something extraordinary in it, as Jonathan plain­ly declares in his Paraphrase of the last words of this verse; he shall be healed if he direct his heart to the Name of the WORD of the LORD. Where no Christian can forbear to think of our Blessed Saviour, the Eternal WORD, who was prefigured (as I shall show in the following verse) by the erecting of this Serpent here mentioned, upon a Pole, that all might look upon him, and live.

And set it upon a Pole.] So high, that every one in the Camp might see it. For the word signifies such a Pole as made their Ensign or Banner, to which all the Army was to resort. Concerning this word Nes, See Booetius, Lib. II. cap. 4.

And it shall come to pass that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it.] The Jews generally have so much understanding as to say, that the mere behold­ing of it did not cure them; but that they were to [Page 407] look up to God (as the Scripture speaks) when they beheld it, and expect a Cure from him. So the Au­thor of the Book of Wisdom, XVI. 7. He that turned himself toward it, was not healed by the thing which he saw, but by thee that art the Saviour of all. And there­fore he calls it, in the foregoing Verse, A Sign of Salvation, to put them in remembrance of the Command­ment of the Law.

Shall live.] Be cured, and restored to perfect health. Which the Jews think the greater Miracle, because naturally it would have made the Inflamati­on greater. So Nachmanides; this rather would have increased the Disease; for they who are bit by ve­nomous Beasts (according to the Prescriptions of Physicians) must not see the Image of the Beast by whom they are bitten: But this was commanded by God, that the Israelites might know, both their Disease and their Medicine came from God, who made that whose Aspect was hurtful, to be the Means of their Cure.

Ver. 9. And Moses made a Serpent.] Whence this Verse 9 place seems to have been called Zalmonah, XXXIII. 41. which imports an Image, Similitude, or Resem­blance of a Thing represented by it. And another place thereabouts, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, called Maaleh Akrabbim, seems to have had its name from the same thing, it signifying the going up of Scorpions, XV Josh. 3.

Of Brass.] Pollished; that it might resemble a Serpent of a flaming Colour; and being very glit­tering, might be the better seen far and near. So se­veral of the Hebrew Writers, particularly Nachmani­des and Abarbinel, who observe that God did not bid him make a Serpent of Brass, but only a Saraph, v. 8. [Page 408] i. e. a Resemblance of a Flaming Serpent: which could not be made so well of any other Metal as of Brass; those Saraphs (which we render fiery Ser­pents) being fiery Red, like Copper or Brass. Of which there was good store not far off from this place: for the next Station to Zalmonah, where they now were, was Punon, or Pinon, as Moses tells us, XXXIII. 42. a place belonging to the Edomites, (who had an ancient Duke of this Name, XXXVI Gen. 41. 1. Chron. I. 52.) famous for Mines of Brass, as Bo­chartus shows out of several of the Fathers; who speak of [...]. From whence Moses perhaps had this Brass, Hierozoicon, P. II. L. III. cap. 13.

And put it upon a Pole.] As he had been directed in the foregoing verse.

And it came to pass, that if a Serpent had bitten any Man.] Which was not present Death, but made an Inflamation, and such Ulcers (as some conceive) as were incurable.

When he beheld the Serpent of Brass, he lived.] Though Naturalists say the sight of Brass was hurt­ful to those who were bitten; yet hence they recei­ved their Cure: as the sight of Christ crucified na­turally filled his Crucifiers only with Anguish, when they beheld him whom they had pierced, and were convinced he was their Messiah; but by the Grace of God, became their only Salvation through Faith in him.

The Hebrews cannot but acknowledge a Mystery in this brazen Serpent, as Moses Gerundensis calls it: which our LORD Christ himself hath explained in his Discourse with Nicodemus, III John 14. As Moses lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness, even so [Page 409] must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever be­lieveth in him, should not perish, &c. Where he doth not compare himself to the Brazen Serpent, (for what likeness can there be found between the Serpent and the Seed of the Woman; or how should Light, before-shadowed by Darkness, as Dr. Jackson speaks) but he compares the lifting up of this Serpent on the Pole, with his Lifting up, or Crucifixion on the Cross. For so he himself expresses his Death, and the manner of it, XII John 32. And I, if I be lifted up from the Earth, will draw all Men unto me. And their looking on the Serpent in the Wilderness, as e­vidently represented Mens believing on Christ; and their Cure, the powerful Vertue of Christ's Death to preserve all those that believe on him from perishing, (as he speaks in the place named before) and procu­ring for them everlasting Life. For by his Death, our Saviour destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the Devil, (as the Apostle's words are, II Hebr. 14.) which was notably represented in this Brazen Serpent put upon a Pole: which was not a Figure of Christ, but of the old Serpent himself (the Devil) as wound­ed, bruised, and dead, by the Lifting up of Christ upon the Cross; where he intirely disarmed him of all his Power to hurt us.

I cannot tell whence Justin Martyr concluded, this Brazen Serpent to have been made in the form of a Cross, as he saith it was in his Second Apology; unless we conceive it to have been made with Wings at the bottom of its Neck, which might give it that Figure. But his observation in his Book against Trypho (p. 322, 338.) seems very considerable; that there must be some Mystery in it, that God, who forbad all man­ner of Images, should now command one to be made: [Page 410] of which, he saith, one of the Jews confessed he could never hear a Reason from their Doctors. Who cannot understand it, till they believe in Christ and him crucified; whose Victory over the Devil, by his Cross and Passion, was herein most lively represented. I shall only add, that this Lifting up the Brazen Ser­pent, was a thing so publick, and so well known to all Neighbouring Nations, that the fame of it, in all likelyhood, went into India. Where they still set up an Idol in form of a wreathed Serpent, upon a Perch six or seven Foot high, which they solemnly worship. And carrying it along with them in their Travels, set it up every Morning for the Company to pay their Adorations to it. So Taverneir relates in his Travels to that Country, p. 28. And see the present Lord Archbishop of Canterbury's excellent Treatise of Ido­latry, p. 351, &c. with Huetius his Demonstr. Evang. p. 96. and his Quaestiones Alnetanae, cap. 12. n. 25. where he shows the Talismans, in all likelyhood, were an imitation of this Serpent. Of which the Jews were so fond, that they burnt Incense to it in the days of Hezekiah, and had done so we know not how long, 2 Kings XVIII. 4. Which may make it the less won­der, that the poor Indians should worship a Serpent upon a Pole, when they that should have understood better, committed such a foul Idolatry, as to do Di­vine Honour to the Figure of the greatest Enemy of God and of Mankind.

Verse 10 Ver. 10. And the Children of Israel set forward.] After they had been at two other places; which Mo­ses now omits for brevitys sake, because he intended hereafter to give an exact account of all their Remo­vals, at one view: Which he doth in the XXXIIId Chapter of this Book. See v. 41, 42.

[Page 411] And pitched in Oboth.] Where, it is probable, they found Water; of the want of which they complain­ed. See XX. 2.

Ver. 11. And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched Verse 11 in Jie-Abarim.] Not that Mount Abarim where Mo­ses died, (XXVII. 12.) but another place in the Con­fines of Moab, as it here follows. See what I have observed XX. 2.

In the Wilderness which is before Moab.] Called the Wilderness of Moab, II Deut. 8.

Towards the Sun-rising.] On the East part of it, as Jephthah observes a great many Years after this, That they came by the East side of the Land of Moab, XI Judges 18.

Ver. 12. And from thence they removed.] As they Verse 12 were about to remove from this last place, they recei­ved a Command from God, not to meddle with the Country of Moab, II Deut. 9. Which is the reason (as Abarbinel observes) that Moses here sets down brief­ly, whence and whether they went, and where they pitched; that it might appear they did not transgress that Command.

And pitched in the Valley of Zared.] Or, as some translate it, in Nachal-Zared: which is called Dibon-Gad, XXXIII. 45. For this place had two Names, (as the same Author observes) and it was just eight and thirty Years since the Spies went up to Survey the Country, from Kadesh-barnea till their passing this Brook, as we translate it, II Deut. 14. But I take Dibon-Gad rather to have been a place which lay up­on the Brook Zered.

Ver. 13. And from thence they removed, and pitched Verse 13 on the other side of Arnon.] The Hebrew word mehe­ber, may be translated on this side, or on the other side. [Page 412] And some think they were now on this side of the Ri­ver, and not yet gone over it. Nor did they imme­diately come hither from their former Station; but first to Almon-Diblathaim, XXXIII. 46. which is al­so called Beth-Diblathaim in the Wilderness of Moab, XLVIII. Jerem. 22. and Diblah, VI Ezek. 13. And then, passing by Ar in the Confines of Moab, and approaching to the Country of the Children of Am­mon, God commanded them not to invade the Ammo­nites, being Descendants from Lot, as well as the Moabites, II Deut. 18, 19, 37. but to pass over the River Arnon, (II Deut. 24.) to that side of it which belonged to the Amorites. For this River, at that time, divided the Moabites from the Amorites, as it here follows.

Which is in the Wilderness, that cometh out of the Coasts of the Amorites.] Runs by the Wilderness of Kedemoth, unto which the Amorites extended their Dominion, II Deut. 26.

For Arnon is the Border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.] This River flowed from the Moun­tains of Arabia, where it had its rise, and fell into the Dead Sea, (as Josephus saith, Lib. IV. Antiq.) [...], bounding the Country of the Moabites, and of the Amorites; the Country of Moab lying on one side of it, and that of the Amorites on the other. For though the Moabites formerly possessed the Country on both sides of Ar­non, as far as Heshbon, yet the Amorites had driven them out of that part of it which lay next to them; and made the River the Boundary of their two King­doms, v. 26, 27. This Moses recites the more ex­actly, that it might appear the Israelites invaded none of the Moabites Possessions, but what was now pos­sessed [Page 413] by the Amorites. By which Jephthah defended the Right of the Children of Israel, in future times, against the Ammonites, who pretended this Country belonged to them, XI Judges 13, 14, 15, &c.

Ver. 14. Wherefore it is said in the Book of the Wars Verse 14 of the LORD.] A proof of this Moses thought good to alledge out of an Authentick Record in those Countries, containing the History of all the Wars that had been in those Parts: which are here called the Wars of the LORD, because he is the great Governour of the World, (as Abarbinel inter­prets it) from whom and by whom are all things, who putteth down one, and setteth up another (as the Psalmist speaks) at his good pleasure. This Book, he thinks, was written by some of the Wise men of those Na­ons, (and so thinks Nachmanides) who looking upon this Conquest made by Sihon, as a very memorable thing, put it down in their Annals; which, after the way of those Countries, were written, he thinks, in a Poetical manner. There are those who are of opi­nion, that this Book was written by Moses himself; who left in it directions to Joshua, how to proceed in the Wars of the LORD, when he conquered Ca­naan. So Dr. Lightfoot conjectures; and Bonfrerius doth not much differ from him. But I take the for­mer account to be the more probable, that Moses ju­stifies what he writes concerning this Conquest, out of their own Books; which he quotes, just as St. Paul in the New Testament, doth one of the Greek Poets.

What he did in the Red Sea.] These are the words of the Book, out of which he quotes a small Frag­ment. And the Marginal Translation of them is most proper, Vaheb in Supheh, only the word eth is [Page 414] omitted, which makes the Sence to be this, against Vaheb in Supheh. That is, he came (some such word must be understood) against Vaheb (a King of the Moabites) and overthrew him in Suphah, a place in the Frontiers of Moab. See I Deut. 1. Others un­derstand by Vaheb the place where Sihon gave the Mo­abites this blow; which he did by falling upon them on a sudden, with a terrible Fury. So Nachmanides understands these words besuphah; he stormed the Ci­ty, and made a furious Assault, when they thought not of it. For Suphah signifies a Whirlwind, or stor­my Tempest, V Isai. 28.

And in the Brooks of Arnon.] The same Nachma­nides takes the word veeth, which we translate and in, to signifie rather and with: and, these being still the words of the Book before-mentioned, the sence is this: In the same manner he smote the Brooks or Torrents of Arnon; upon which he fell like a Tem­pest, and carried all before him.

Verse 15 Ver. 15. And at the Streams of the Brook.] None, I think, hath given a better account of these words, than the same Nachman, who by Esched hannechalim, (which we translate the Streams of the Brooks) under­stands either a Cliff from whence the Torrents flowed, (as Aschdod and Happisgah, III Deut. 17. are the Hills from whence the Springs gushed) or the Valley through which the Torrents ran; where they made a great broad Water, which is here called an Effusion of Torrents, as R. Levi ben Gershom interprets the He­brew words, Esched hannechabim.

That goeth down to the dwelling of Ar.] Which ex­tends it self as far as Ar, a City of Moab, v. 28. R. Levi ben Gersom takes the word Schebet (which we translate dwelling) to signifie a Place as well as [Page 415] Ar; towards which these Torrents bent their Course.

And lyeth upon the Borders of Moab.] Which lean­eth or belongeth unto Moab, being in the Border of that Country.

Thus far are the words of the Book of the Wars of the Lord: And the meaning of them is, That the King of the Amorites took all these Places by a sud­den, furious Invasion: which Moses therefore pun­ctually recites, to show that the Country of the Mo­abites now reached no further than Arnon: All the Brooks, or Torrents, and all the Effusions of Water as far as Arnon, (i. e. all the Country about them) being taken from them by the Amorites, in whose pos­session it now was, and perhaps had been a long time. And therefore the Israelites took nothing from the Moabites when they conquered this Country, (as was said before) nor from the Ammonites neither; part of whose Country the Amorites also had got from them, (III Deut. 11.) and the Israelites took from the Amorites, when they conquered Sihon and Og; and it fell to the share of the Gadites, XIII Josh. 25.

Ver. 16. And from thence they went to Beer.] A Verse 16 Place which took its Name from the Pit or Well, which was here digged by God's order, as the next words tell us.

That is the Well whereof the LORD spake unto Mo­ses.] That is, saith Abarbinel, that Place was re­markable for the Well that God gave us, of his own accord, without our Petition; which he prevented by bidding Moses dig it for us.

Gather the People together, and I will give them Wa­ter.] Which they now again wanted, being removed from the River Arnon; but did not murmur about [Page 416] it, as they had done formerly: and therefore God most graciously, when he saw their Distress, provi­ded it for them.

Verse 17 Ver. 17. Then Israel sang this Song.] This extra­ordinary Kindness of God, which prevented their Prayers, and gave them Water out of his own good Pleasure alone, (as Abarbinel speaks) transported them with such Joy, that it made them express their Thank­fulness in this Song.

Spring up, O Well.] As soon as they saw Moses, and the Princes, thrust their Staves into the Earth, and the Water began to bubble up, they said with a loud voice, Come up, O Well; that is, let Waters flow a­bundantly to satisfie us all.

Sing ye unto it.] Or, as it is in the Margin, An­swer unto it. The manner of the Hebrews was anci­ently to sing their Songs of Praise alternately, as ap­pears from XV Exod. 20. And so one Company ha­ving said, Spring up, O Well, (which it's likely they repeated often) they called to the rest to answer to them; which they did, I suppose, in the follow­ing words.

Verse 18 Ver. 18. The Princes.] i. e. The LXX. Elders, and Heads of the Tribes.

Digged the Well.] Very easily, only turning up the Earth with their Staves.

The Nobles of the People digged it.] The other side of the Quire, perhaps, took up the Song again, re­peating the Sence of what the former Company had said.

By the direction of the Law-giver.] Or, Together with the Law-givers, who began the Work, and whose Example they followed.

[Page 417] With their Staves.] With no more labour but on­ly thrusting their Staves into the Ground, and turn­ing up the Earth. For, as R. Levi ben Gersom takes it, the Ground here being Sandy and very soft, was easily penetrated; though they were not likely to find Water in it. But they believing Moses, and fol­lowing his direction, God sent it copiously unto them; and with no more pains, than a Scribe takes when he writes with his Pen. For so he translates the Hebrew word Mechokek (which we render Law-giver) a Scribe, or Doctor of the Law.

And from the Wilderness.] Mentioned v. 13.

They went to Mattanah.] This, and the place fol­lowing, are otherwise named in the XXXIIIth Chapter, as the forenamed ben Gersom understands it. But o­thers think these were not Stations (which alone Moses gives an account of in the XXXIIIth Chapter) where the Israelites pitched their Tents, but Places through which they passed, till they came to the Station, from whence they sent to Sihon for leave to pass through his Country.

Ver. 19. And from Mattanah to Nahahel, &c.] This,Verse 19 as well as the place next mentioned in this verse, seems to have been on the Borders of Moab.

Ver. 20. And from Bamoth in the Valley.] Rather, From Bamoth (which signifies a very high place) to the Valley. Or, it may be translated from Bamoth a Valley (that is, there is a Valley) in the Field of Moab, &c. unto which they came next; for some such thing must be understood.

That is in the Country of Moab.] Or, near to it.

To the top of Pisgah.] Or, To the beginning (as the Hebrew word Rosch may be interpreted) of the high Mount Pisgah. That is, they pitched at the foot of [Page 418] it, where the Mountain began: which Mountain was a part of the Mountains of Abarim, as appears from XXXII Deut. 49. XXXIV. 1.

Which looks towards Jeshimon.] Or, Towards the Wilderness. For so R. Levi ben Gersom interprets it; to a Land that was shemumah, untilled and desolate, viz. to the Wilderness of Kedemoth: where they pitched and settled their Camp; and from thence sent Messengers to Sihon.

Verse 21 Ver. 21. And Israel sent Messengers to Sihon King of the Amorites.] These Messengers were sent from the Wilderness of Kedemoth, which was in the Skirts of his Country, (II Deut. 26.) or lay just upon it: For there was a City of this Name in that Country, which was given to Reuben, in the Division of the Land, XIII Josh. 18.

Verse 22 Ver. 22. Let me pass through thy Land.] They do not seem to desire a Passage through the midst of his Country, but only the extream Parts of it; which would have much shortned their Journey to the Fords of Jordan.

We will not turn into the Fields, or into the Vineyards, we will not drink of the Waters of the Well, &c.] This is the very same civil Message which they sent to E­dom, XX. 17. By whose Example they pressed Sihon to grant them, at least, as much as the Edomites and Moabites had done. See II Deut. 28, 29.

Verse 23 Ver. 23. And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his Border.] This shows that they askt only to pass through the Skirts of his Country. See II Deut. 30.

But Sihon gathered all his People together.] He not only refused to grant their Request; but came in an Hostile manner, with all the Forces he could [Page 419] raise, to oppose their passage over Arnon.

And went out against Israel into the Wilderness.] From whence they sent their friendly Message to him, v. 21. which Moses in II Deut. 26. calls, Words of Peace.

And he came to Jahaz.] A City, it is probable, be­longing to the Moabites; whether the Israelites, per­haps, retreated when Sihon denied them a Passage through his Country. For Isaiah plainly mentions Jahaz, as a place either in the Country of Moab, or near it, XV. 4. and Jeremiah also, calling it Jahazah, XLVIII. 21.

And fought against Israel.] Who had orders from God, not to decline the Battle (as they did with the Edomites and the Moabites) and assured them of Vi­ctory, II Deut. 31. For they were Amorites, whose Country God promised to Abraham, (XV Gen. 21.) being part of the Canaanites, whom they were com­manded to destroy; for they were descended from one of the Sons of Canaan, X Gen. 16. Which made this War with them to have a just ground; not be­cause they denied the Israelites a Passage through their Country, against the right of Nations, as Grotius thinks, (which was but the occasion, not the ground of the War) but because they were one of the Seven Nations condemned by God to destruction, (whose Land he bestowed upon the Israelites, III Josh. 10.) and because Sihon came out armed against them, be­yond the Bounds of his own Dominions; and fell upon them, when they had given him no provoca­tion.

Ver. 24. And Israel smote him with the edge of the Verse 24: Sword.] Utterly overthrew his Army; and, putting [Page 420] them all to the Sword, made themselves Masters of his Country.

And possessed his Land.] For they destroyed all the Inhabitants, Men, Women and Children, II Deut. 33, 34.

From Ammon unto Jabbok, even unto the Children of Ammon.] This is a brief Description of the Extent of Sihon's Country; which reached from the River Arnon, the bound of the Moabites Country on the South (XXII. 36.) unto Jabbok, which was the bound of the Ammonites Country on the North, III Deut. 16. XII Josh. 2. XIII. 10. But they meddled with no place that lay upon the River Jabbok, which belonged to the Ammonites; for that God had for­bidden, II Deut. 37. By which Jephthah (as I ob­served before) Two hundred and sixty Years after this, justified the Title of the Israelites to all the Country here mentioned; which they took not from the Ammonites, or Moabites, but from the Amorites, who were the Owners of it, when they conquer'd it, XI Judges 13, 15, 22, 23. For Sihon had got half of their Country, as well as part of the Country of Moab, as appears from III Deut. 11. and from XIII Josh. 25. Where it is plain, Joshua gave the Gadites half of the Country of the Children of Ammon, which was now taken from the Amorites, who had dispossessed them. Josephus describes it as lying be­tween three Rivers, like an Island; for the Banks of Arnon were the Bounds of this Region on the South side; and Jabbok on the North, which running in­to Jordan, lost its Name; and the Western Tract of it was washt by Jordan it self: and on the East part it was surrounded with the Mountains of Arabia.

[Page 421] For the Border of the Children of Ammon was strong.] This is not mentioned here as a Reason why the Is­raelites did not set upon their Country, (for they were expresly forbidden to do it, II Deut. 19.) but why Sihon conquered none of the Ammonites Country be­yond Jabbok, (as he did all from Arnon thither) be­cause their Frontiers on that side of their Country were very strong, by the Fortifications, which it is likely, they had made upon the River.

Ver. 25. And Israel took all these Cities.] All the Verse 25 Cities of that Country, which lay between Arnon and Jabbok: Some of which are named v. 30.

And Israel dwelt in all the Cities of the Amorites.] Having destroyed the former Inhabitants, as I noted before, II Deut. 34.

In Heshbon.] Even in their Royal City.

And in all the Villages thereof.] In Hebrew the Daughters; as Villages and Castles are called, which depend upon the Metropolis, as Daughters on their Mother.

Ver. 26. For Heshbon was the City of Sihon the King Verse 26 of the Amorites.] He had made this the Seat of his Kingdom, after his Conquest of this Country. Which Moses observes (together with what follows) that it might appear to Posterity, they Invaded no part of the Moabites Territories, or of the Ammonites, but what was in the quiet possession of the Amorites, who had taken this Country from them, and perhaps in a just War, and long enjoyed it.

Who had fought against the former King of Moab, &c.] It is not certain that this Sihon, whom the Israelites now vanquished, had dispossessed the Moabites of this Country; but more likely some of his Ancestors, who were all called by the Name of Sihon, (as the Kings [Page 422] of Palestine were all called Abimelech, XX Gen. 2. XXVI. 1. and the Kings of Egypt called Pharaoh) who had fought, not with the present King of Mo­ab, but with one of his Predecessors, and conquered him and his Country.

The former King of Moab.] These words are not to be understood, as if he fought with the King of Moab, who immediately reigned before Balak: but, as I said, with some of his Predecessors. So the LXX. [...], that heretofore was King of Moab: and in the Hebrew the words are literally, The King of Moab, the first: perhaps, of the present race.

Verse 27 Ver. 27. Wherefore they that speak in Proverbs.] In the Hebrew the words are, wherefore the Proverbialists: that is, the Poets, whose Composures, in those days, were very Sententious.

Say.] Have this Song in their Mouths: which seems to have been composed by some of the Amo­rites, upon the Victory which Sihon got over the Moabites; particularly upon the taking of Heshbon; which, I suppose, he besieged immediately upon the Routing of their Army. This Moses thought good to insert in his History, as an Evidence that this Coun­try belonged to the Amorites, when the Israelites subdued it. Thus he quotes a common Saying about Nimrod, to justifie what he writes of his Greatness. See X Gen. 9.

Come into Heshbon.] The words either of Sihon calling to his People; or of the Amorites exhorting one another, to go to Heshbon, and help to repair the Ruins that had been in it by the War, that it might become the Royal City of their Country. For that's the meaning of the following words.

[Page 423] Let the City of Sihon be built and prepared.] Let that Place which Sihon hath chose for his Seat, be built up again, and made fit for his Reception.

Ver. 28. For there is a Fire gone out of Heshbon.] Verse 28 Now the Poet rises into a Rapture, and Prophecies the Conquest of the whole Country, by the Army of Sihon marching out of Heshbon. For in the Prophe­tical Language, the Desolations made by War, are compared to the Fire, and to Flames, which con­sume all they come near, I Amos 7, 10, 12, 14. II. 2, 5.

A Flame from the City of Sihon.] This is but a Re­petition (as the manner is) of what was now said in other words; expressing the certainty of this Pre­sage.

It hath consumed Ar of Moab.] He speaks as if he already saw the thing done which he foretold: though it never came to pass. For they did not con­quer Ar, which remained in the possession of Moab in Moses his time, as appears from II Deut. 9, 18, 29. But in his Poetical heat, (or fury, as they speak) he in­sults as if they had actually taken the Capital City of Moab. For so Ar was; and afterwards called Rab­bath, and Rabbath-moba, i. e. the great City of Moab; to distinguish it from Rabbah-Ammon, i. e. the great City of the Ammonites. For so we find in Stephanus (de Ʋrbibus) [...] (it should be [...] as Bochartus hath truly corrected it, in his Pre­face to his Phaleg.) which he calls [...]. For Ar, as I said, was the old Name of it, II Deut. 29. XVI Isa. 1. from whence came the name of [...], which it retained in later Ages.

[Page 424] And the Lords of the High-places of Arnon.] The Masters, or Owners (as the word Baale may be tran­slated) of the High-places, &c. i. e. those that dwell in the strongest Forts of the Country. Or, as some fancy, the Priests of the Places are here meant; or, rather their Temple where Baal was worshipped. For we find a place in this Country called Bamoth-Baal, XIII Josh. 17. The High-places of Baal. And it is evident, this Poet triumphs in this [...] over their Gods and their Religion, as well as over them.

Verse 29 Ver. 29. Wo unto thee, Moab.] He goes on to fore­tell the Calamity of the whole Country.

Thou art undone, O People of Chemosh.] So he calls the Moabites, who served (as the Chaldee translates it) or, worshipped Chemosh as their God: For so we read he was, XLVIII Jerem. 7, 13. 1 Kings XI. 7. XI Judges 24. which St. Hierom thinks differs from Baal-Peor only in Name. See Vossius de Orig. & Progr. Idolol. Lib. II. cap. 8. Some take Chemosh to be Sa­turn; particularly Scharastanius: the manner of whose Worship see in Dr. Pocock's excellent Annotations in Specim. Hist. Arab. p. 316. I shall only add, That as the Moabites are called the People of Chemosh, because they worshipped him as their God, so the Israelites are called the People of the LORD, and the People of God, because they worshipped the LORD alone, V Judges 11. 2 Sam XIV. 13. For in the Days of Paganism, as Mr. Mede observes, every Country, nay every City, had their proper and peculiar Gods, which were deemed as their Guardians and Protectors: From whence the Nations themselves are expressed by the Name of their Gods. That is evident from this place; but it is not so plain, that when God threatens to de­liver [Page 425] up Israel to serve other Gods, he means giving them up into the Hands of the People of strange Countries; which he takes to be intended in IV Deut. 28. XXVIII. 64. XVI Jerem. 16, &c. See Book IV. p. 977. And so he thinks the words of David may be expounded, 1 Sam. XXVI. 19. They have driven me out this day from abiding in the Inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go serve other Gods; i. e. banished me into the Country of Idolaters. See Book III. p. 823. where this is more largely explained.

He hath given his Sons that escaped, and his Daugh­ters into Captivity, unto Sihon King of the Amorites.]

This is a manifest triumph over their god Chemosh, who was not able to save his Worshippers (whom he calls his Sons and his Daughters, i. e. his Children) who were under his Protection. No, he could not so much as preserve those that escaped the fury of the Sword, but they were afterward taken Captive; to make up part of the Triumph of Sihon King of the Amorites.

Ver. 30. We have shot at them, Heshbon is perished Verse 30 even unto Dibon.] The Hebrew words, vanniram a­bad Heshbon ath Dibon, may as well, if not better, be translated their Light is perished (or taken away) from Heshbon unto Dibon. So Forsterus in his Lexicon, and the Tigurin Version, and others. That is, their Glo­ry is gone, from one end of the Country to the other. For Heshbon and Dibon were two famous places in this Territory, XIII Josh. 17. And some think this is the place called Dibon-Gad, XXXIII. 45. Which was the more noted, because there Nebo, one of their Gods, was worshipped. For in XV Isai. 2. Dibon is mentioned as one of their High-places; and there Nebo is lamented, i. e. their God which was there [Page 426] worshipped. When Hesychius saith, [...] (which no doubt is this Dibon) [...], a Place where the Moabites had a Temple. See Selden de diis Syris, Syntagm. 2. cap. 12.

We have laid them waste even unto Nophah.] Ano­ther place in that Country, as appears by the words following.

Which reacheth unto Medeba.] That is, the Terri­tories of Nophah extended as far as Medeba, which was certainly a place in the Country of Moab, XV I­sai. 2. But the word reacheth is not in the Hebrew, and the words without it may be thus truly translated, and as far as Medeba. For so the Hebrew Particle as­cher is sometimes used to signifie simply and, as VI Eccles. 12. ascher mi, and who can tell, &c. So here ascher ad, and unto, &c.

And here I think fit to note, That it is likely these Verses were some part of the History of those Coun­tries: For a Poetical way of writing was in use be­fore Prose, as Strabo tells us, Lib. I. Geograph. p. 18. where he saith, [...], &c. All set or artificial Speech, (whether Historical or Rhetori­cal) was but an imitation of Poetical Compositions; the Ancients knowing no other: Cadmus, and Phere­cydes, and Hecataeus, being the first who brought in this form of writing now in use. See Salmasius in Solinum, p. 841. and Cuperus in his Apotheosis Homeri, p. 55. However, this is certain, that they who would instruct the People, put their Lessons into Verse, as Strabo there shows: where he says, p. 15. [...], &c. The Ancients call Poetry the first Philosophy, forming our Lives from tender years, teaching good manners, go­verning [Page 427] the passions and actions with pleasure. For which cause the Greeks instituted their Children in their Cities by Poety, [...], not merely for the sake of bare dele­ctation, but to form them to sobriety.

Ver. 31. Thus Israel dwelt in the Land of the Amo­rites.] Verse 31 This he mentions again, to make it the more observed, that this was the Country of the Amorites, into which the Children of Israel entred, not of the Moabites; who had been expelled out of it, as was notoriously known; there being a Song in every Bodies mouth, which continued the memory of it.

Ver. 32. And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer.] Ano­ther Verse 32 City formerly belonging to Moab, but now in the possession of the Amorites. Which the Israelites did not take at the first; but after they had conquer­ed all the Country before-mentioned, they sent some Men to bring them Intelligence, which way it was best to attack that City also, and the Country about it. It was not far from Mount Gilead, 2 Sam. XXIV. 5, 6. 1 Chron. XXVI. 31. and both of them were fa­mous for good Pasture, and therefore given to the Tribe of Reuben and Gad, who had much Cattle, XXXII of this Book, 1, 3, 4, 35, 36. After the ten Tribes were carried Captive from their own Land, it fell into the Hands of the Moabites again; as may be gathered from XLVIII Jerem. 32.

And they took the Villages thereof.] As well as the City it self.

And drove out the Amorites that dwelt there.] If it had not been possessed by them, they would not have meddled with it.

[Page 428]Ver. 33. And they turned.] Or, returned (as the LXX. have it) from Jaazer.

And went up by the way of Bashan.] A famous Verse 33 Mountain (LXVIII Psal. 15.) lying more Northerly than the Country of Sihon, and belonging also to the Amorites; where was very rich Pasture, and an excellent Breed of Cattle, XXXII Deut. 14. XXII Psal. 12. and stately Oaks, XXVII Ezek. 6.

And Og the King of Bashan.] The whole Coun­try of which he was King, had its Name from that Mountain, and was called the Kingdom of Og in Ba­shan, III Deut. 10. where he is said, as well as Si­hon, to be a King of the Amorites, v. 8. and v. 11. that he was of the Remnant of the Giants, or of the Rephaim; who were a mighty People in that Coun­try of Bashan, (See XIV Gen. 5.) which in after Ages was called Batanaea.

Went out against them.] To oppose their Pas­sage.

He, and all his People.] With all the Men of War in his Country.

To the Battle at Edrei.] A City near that Coun­try, afterward called Adara, as St. Hierom tells us in his Book de Locis Hebraicis. He offered the Israelites Battle; which, by God's order, they accepted.

Verse 34 Ver. 34. And the LORD said unto Moses.] That he might report it to the People.

Fear him not.] They had reason to be courageous, (and not affrighted, because he was a Giant) having lately overcome a mightier King than he; of which God puts them in mind in the end of this verse.

For I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his People, &c.] For their greater incouragement, he adds his Promise, on which he bids them rely, as if [Page 429] they saw it already done, that he would give them the Victory over Og, and all his Forces, and bestow upon them his Country. This History Moses reports more at large, III Deut. 1, 2, 3, &c.

Ver. 35. So they smote him, and his Sons, and all his Verse 35 People, until there was none left him alive.] After they had overthrown him and his Army, they pursued the Victory, till they had destroyed all the People of the Country. Some part of which held out longer than the rest, (as appears from XXXII. 39, &c.) but at length was wholly subdued by Jair the Son of Manasseh, who had all the Region of Argob given him for his pains, XXXII. 41. III Deut. 14.

And they possessed his Land.] Wherein were sixty walled Cities, besides a great many small Towns, III Deut. 4, 5. XIII. Josh. 30. All which was given to the half Tribe of Manasseh, III Deut. 13. XIII Josh. 29, 30. 1 Kings IV. 13.


Chapter XXII Ver. 1. AND the Children of Israel set forward.] Verse 1 In what Month of the fortieth Year this which follows fell out, we cannot tell, but it is like­ly in the seventh; when they removed from the Mountains of Abarim, XXI. 20. XXXIII. 48.

And pithed in the plains of Moab.] Which had for­merly belonged to the Moabites, from whom it took its name: but had been taken from them by the A­morites; and now was in the possession of the Israe­lites.

[Page 430] On this side Jordan.] Unto which River this Plain extended: and they pitched near to it, from Beth-Jesimoth unto Abel-Shittim, XXXIII. 49. where they stayed, till under the Conduct of Joshua they came to Jordan, and passed over it, III Josh. 1.

By Jericho.] Rather against Jericho, as the LXX. translate it: For Jericho was on the other side of Jor­dan, directly opposite to the place where they now pitched. And therefore the Vulgar Latin translates, or rather paraphrases it, Where Jericho is situated beyond Jordan: i. e. passing the Ford, they came directly to Jericho.

Verse 2 Ver. 2. And Balak the Son of Zippor.] Who was King of the Moabites at this time; and descended, it is likely, from the ancient Kings of that Country, XXI. 26.

Saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.] To Si­hon and Og, the two Kings of the Amorites, (as they are called III Deut. 8.) who were such near Neigh­bours to Balak, that he not only saw, but considered (as the word implies) what a speedy Conquest the Israelites had made of their Country.

Verse 3 Ver. 3. And Moab was sore afraid of the People.] Lest they should expel them out of their Country, as they had done the Amorites: for they knew no­thing of God's Command to the Israelites, not to di­sturb them in their Possessions. Some imagine, but I see no good ground for it, that they were afraid the Israelites should get possession of the Land of Canaan, unto which they thought themselves perhaps to have a better Title; being descended from the eldest Daugh­ter of Lot, who was the Son of Abraham's elder Bro­ther; for Abraham was the youngest Son of Terah. But no Body can see any Right that this Descent gave [Page 431] Lot or his Children; there being no Promise made of it by God to any Person, but Abraham and his Posterity.

Because they were many.] Too strong for the Mo­abites to deal withal; having conquered those who had been too hard for them, and taken a great Ter­ritory from them, XXI. 26.

And Moab was distressed because of the Children of Israel.] As Moses in his Song, after they had passed the Red Sea, foretold they would be, XV Exod. 15.

Ver. 4. And Moab said.] By Messengers, which Verse 4 were sent (it is most likely) by the King, and the Princes of the Country.

Ʋnto the Elders of Midian.] Who were their Neighbours and Confederates. The Title of Elders, it appears by this, was given in other Nations, as well as among the Israelites, to the greatest Persons in their Countries: or the Israelites, after their manner, so called Men every where, who were in high Autho­rity. For these Persons who are here called Elders, are called Kings, XXXI. 8. and Princes, XIII Josh. 21. In like manner they who in the seventh verse of this Chapter, are called the Elders of Moab, are in the next verse called the Princes of Moab. Which, it is evident, was the ancient Language among the Egyp­tians, L Gen. 7. (unless we suppose Moses, as I said, to have spoken in the Language of the Jews) and, it is very likely, was also the ancient Language of Phoe­nicia, and the Countries thereabouts; and perhaps in much remote parts. For it is a known Story, That when the Phoenicians fled before Joshua, and forsook the Land of Canaan, they fixed in Asrick; where they left this name of Elders among the Carthaginians. See [Page 432] Mr. Selden Lib. I. de Synedr. cap. 14. p. 587, &c.

Midian.] This is not the Country wherein Jethro was a Prince; for that was not far from Mount Si­nai, as appears from III Exod. 1. whereas this was remote from that place, adjoyning to the Moabites, and near to Palestine. Though it is very probable, the People of both these Countries were descended from Abraham, by one of the Sons he had by Ketu­rah, XXV Gen. 2.

Now shall this Company.] The Army of Israel en­camped in the Plains of Moab, v. 1.

Lick up all round about us.] i. e. Devour us, and all our Neighbours, (or, our whole Country) unless we joyn together to oppose them.

As the Ox licketh up the Grass of the Field.] They use this Metaphor, to signifie how easily the Israelites would conquer them, without a timely, resolute, and unanimous Opposition: and likewise, what an Uni­versal Desolation they would make. For the words are in the Hebrew, the green of the Field, i. e. not on­ly the Grass, but the Leaves of Trees, which Oxen eat, as Bochartus observes out of the Scripture, as well as other Authors, XXVII Isai. 20. And to lick up is not lightly to touch with the Tongue, but to eat and consume. See Hierozoicon, P. I. Lib. II. cap. 31.

And Balak the Son of Zippor was King of the Moa­bites at that time.] He was mentioned before, (v. 2.) but here recorded to have been King of the Country; who endeavoured to secure himself, by the assistance of his Neighbours and Allies. Unto whom he sent this Embassy, to advise with them what Course it was best for them to take for their common Safety.

[Page 433]Ver. 5. He sent Messengers therefore.] The Result of the Treaty with Midian was, That with joynt Consent they should send Ambassadors, of each Na­tion, and of the same Quality, on the following Mes­sage,Verse 5 v. 7. And this Counsel, it is likely, was given by the Midianites; for Balak saith nothing of it by his Messengers: but it was resolved on when they came there, as the most effectual Means for their Se­curity. This, I think, the word therefore imports.

Ʋnto Balaam.] A famous South-sayer, or Divi­ner, as he is called in XIII Josh. 22. That is, one who pretended to foretel Future Things, and discover Se­crets, &c. though not by good and allowable Arts, but such as were absolutely prohibited to God's Peo­ple, XVIII Deut. 10. He had been formerly a good Man, and a true Prophet, till loving the wages of Ʋnrighteousness, he apostatised from God, and be­came a Rosem, which we translate a Diviner. That is, saith Aben-Ezra, an Astrologer; who observing when Men were under a bad Aspect of the Stars, pro­nounced a Curse upon them; which sometimes co­ming to pass, gained him a great Reputation. But this is not the import of that word, as I shall show in its proper place. Let it suffice now to observe, that the Jews are so much of this Opinion that he had been a better Man than he was now, that they take him, as St. Hierom observes, to be the same Person, who in the Book of Job is called Elihu. But Origen, and some others, think he was no Prophet, but only one of the Devils Sorcerers, of whom he went to En­quire; but God was pleased to put the Devil by, and give what Answer he thought fit: which Balaam him­self plainly discerned, and therefore calls himself, He who heard the words of God, &c. On which side the [Page 434] Truth lies, we shall be able to judge, when we come to consider what passed between God and him, in the following History.

The Son of Beor.] Who was also called Bosor, as some gather from 2 Pet. II. 15. though that place may have another Interpretation.

To Pethor.] A City in Aram, or Mesopotamia, XXIII. 7. XXIII Deut. 4. This was the ancient Name of the place; which in after times the Syrians called Bosor, by an easie change of two Letters, which is very usual. So Grotius understands those words, 2 Pet. II. 15. [...], Balaam (not the Son, but) of the City of Bosor.

Which is by the River of the Land of the Children of his People.] i. e. Near to Euphrates; which is com­monly in these Books called by the Name of the Ri­ver, XV Gen. 18. and many other places. This de­termines Aram (which was the Name of several Coun­tries thereabouts) to signifie that which is called in Scripture Aram Naharaim; that is, the Aram which lay between the two famous Rivers of Euphrates and Tygris. The former of which was called, by way of Eminence, the River, (though the other also was e­minent) because it was nearest, and best known to the Israelites. And Ptolemy mentions a City called Pachoria in his time, upon this River, which some take to be Pethor. And it is very probable that Abra­ham, before he came into Canaan, lived here about, XXIV Gen. 4, 10. XXIV Josh. 2. And here Jacob al­so served for his Wife, and begat all the Patriarchs, except Benjamin, (whence the Israelites acknowledg­ed their Father to have been a poor Aramite, or Syrian, as we translate it, XXVI Deut. 5.) By which means some Relicks of true Religion still remained in this [Page 435] Country, though mixed with a great deal of Super­stition.

To call him.] To invite him to come to them.

Saying, There is a People come out of Egypt.] Which all the Power of Pharaoh could not hinder.

They cover the face of the Earth.] Are exceeding nu­merous.

And they abide over against me.] Lye incamped not far from me, and are ready to invade my Coun­try.

Ver. 6. Come now therefore, I pray thee.] They Verse 6 were to speak in the Name of the King of Moab, (whose words these are said to be, v. 7.) there be­ing no King, perhaps, at this time in Midian; but several little Princes, who are called Kings, XXXI. 8.

And Curse me this People.] It seems they had an Opinion in those days, which prevailed much in af­ter times, That some Men had a power, by the help of their Gods, to blast, not only particular Persons, but whole Armies; so that they should not be able to effect their Designs. This they are said to have done, sometimes only by bare words of Imprecation: of which there was a Set-form among some People, which Aeschines calls [...], the deter­minate Curse. Sometimes they also offered Sacrifices, and used certain Rites and Ceremonies, with Solemn Charms: a famous instance of which we find in the Life of Crassus. Where Plutarch tells us, That Attejus Tribune of the People, made a Fire at the Gate, out of which Crassus was to march unto the War against the Parthians; into which he threw certain Things to make a Fume, and offered Sacrifices to the most angry Gods, with horrid Imprecations upon him: [Page 436] which, he saith, according to ancient Tradition, had such a power, that no Man, who was loaded with them, could avoid being undone.

For they are too mighty for me.] I am not able to deal with them without thy help.

Peradventure.] But I hope, &c. For the Hebrew word [...] is not a Particle of Doubting, but of Ho­ping: Non est particula dubitantis, sed benè ominantis & sperantis, as Forsterus observes, XXXVII. Isai. 4. II Zephan. 3.

I shall prevail, that I may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the Land.] I hope, by the con­junction of thy Curses with my Sword, I may be a­ble to destroy them; or at least to drive them out of this Country.

For I wot that him whom thou blessest, is blessed; and he whom thou cursest, is cursed.] The ancient Pro­phets had such power with God to obtain great Bles­sings from him, for others; as appears by the story of Abraham and Abimelech, XX Gen. 10. and of Ja­cob, who blessed Pharaoh, XLVII Gen. 7. and after­ward all his own Sons. And no doubt their Impre­cations were as powerful, when there was a just cause for them; according to what we read 2 Kings II. 24. And it is likely, while Balaam (who was a Prophet, as appears by what follows, and is so called by St. Peter) continued a good Man, he blessed and cursed no other way, but by Prayer to God, and by Impre­cations in his Name. Which was imitated by other great Men; particularly by King Cambyses in his Speech to the Persians, recorded by Herodotus in Tha­lia, cap. 65. where he saith, If you do what I require, then let your Land bring forth plentifully; and your Wives and your Flocks be fruitful, and your selves enjoy your [Page 437] liberty; but if you do not, [...], I imprecate the quite contrary things to these, to fall upon you. But when Balaam degenerated into a false Prophet, and became a Diviner, then he used Spells and Inchantments (as is plain by this History) and such Rites and Ceremonies as were the Inventi­on of wicked Spirits; which Pharaoh's Magicians, the Jews fancy, made use of to stop the Israelites at the Red Sea. See XIV Exod. 2.

Ver. 7. And the Elders of Moab and the Elders of Verse 7 Midian.] I take these two Nations to have been an­cient Confederates; but the Jewish Tradition is, that they had been always at Enmity, and now reconci­led by a common Danger. Just as two Mastiffs (so they explain it) who are continually fighting, when they see the Wolf set upon one of them, joyn toge­ther for their Defence, because if he devour the one, the other will not long survive him.

Departed with the rewards of divination in their hand.] It was the Custom among God's People, when they came to consult with a Prophet, to bring him a Present; as appears from 1 Sam. IX. 7, 8. And indeed, from ancient time, Men were not wont to approach great Persons without one. See XLIII Gen. 11, 25, 26.

And they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.] Delivered their Message; having first, as the manner was, made him the Present.

Ver. 8. And he said unto them, Lodge with me this Verse 8 night.] That was the time, it seems, wherein he was wont to receive Answers to his Enquiries; either in a Dream, or by Apparitions, or some other way. There are those, who think he now began to betray the naughtiness of his heart, in taking time to advise [Page 438] about this Matter: which, if he had been a faithful Servant of God, he would instantly have rejected with Disdain. And it is likely enough, by what fol­lows, that he was as desirous of their Money, as they were of his Imprecations.

And I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me.] You shall have my Answer, ac­cording to the Directions which the LORD shall give me. By this I take it to be evident, that he was not a Stranger to the true God, with whose Name it is certain he was acquainted; and, it is probable, had received Revelations from him, till he became a co­vetous mercenary Prophet, and addicted himself to Superstitious Rites and Ceremonies. Making use of Teraphim perhaps, which had been of ancient pra­ctice in his Country, and worshipping God, perhaps, by other Images. See XXXI Gen. 19, 24, 30, 49. where, it is evident that Laban had still communica­tion with the LORD, though he used Teraphim, and calls them his Gods. Which perhaps put that idle conceit into the Head of some of the Jews, that it was one and the same Person, who is there called Laban, and here Balaam. Who falling, as I said, unto Idolatrous Practices, was forsaken by God, and delivered up to the impostures of Evil Spirits: though he still continued to enquire of the LORD. Who was pleased, at this time, to make his Mind known to him, for the Preservation of his People Israel.

And the Princes of Moab abode with Balaam.] As did those of Midian also; who are mentioned in the foregoing verse. Though some of the Jews have a fancy that the Elders of Midian went away (which they give as the reason that they are not here menti­oned) as soon as they heard Balaam say, he would [Page 439] address himself for Advice unto the LORD; who they knew would be favourable to Israel. And on the other side, some Christians have been of Opini­on, that he addressed himself to the LORD, only to try if he could draw him by his Charms, to take part with the Moabites: Just as the Romans, when they laid Siege to a City, endeavoured by all means they could invent, to perswade the Tutelar Gods of that place to forsake it, and come over to their side. Which Rite is described by Macrobius.

Ver. 9. And God came unto Balaam.] As he is said Verse 9 to have done unto Abimelech in a Dream, XX Gen. 3. Where I observed that Maimonides makes a distincti­on between God's coming to a Person, and his speak­ing to him. But that cannot be made use of here; for God did both come and speak to Balaam, as ap­pears from v. 32, 35. where we read, the Angel of the LORD spake to him. And here it will be fit to note, That all Nations, of whom we have any knowledge, have been possessed with this Opinion, that God was wont to appear frequently unto Men; especially, cum recentes à Deo essent, (as Seneca speaks in Epist. XC.) when they were newly come out of his hand: and that he also was pleased to reveal his Mind and Will unto them, by some means or other; particularly by his Angels, whom he sent on Messa­ges to them, as long as there was any Goodness left among them. This is most admirably expressed by Catullus,

Praesentes namque ante domos invisere castas
Saepius, & sese mortali ostendere caetu
Coelicolae, nondum spreta pietate, solebant.

[Page 440] See Huetius in his Quaestiones Alnetanae, Lib. II. cap. 12. n. 1, 2. And indeed no account can be given how it came into the Head of Homer, and other Poets, to bring in the Gods appearing so oft, as they do, upon every occasion, if God had not been wont, in an­cient time, to manifest himself, not only to the Israe­lites, but to other Nations also, especially before the distinction of this People from them. So he did to Abimelech, Laban, &c. as well as to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For, as Dr. Jackson hath well observed (in his first Book upon the Creed, chap. 11.) if they had never heard nor read of any such thing, all the Wits in the World, had they beat their Brains never so much, could not have thought of bringing the Gods in a visible shape upon the Stage; or interlacing their Poems with their frequent Apparitions. Nor can any other account be given, how this came to be the common Belief of the World, from one end of it to the other, that the Gods revealed their Mind to Men: the Philosophers, as well as ordinary People, in the East, West, North and South, making no doubt of it. For Abaris Hyperboreus, and Zamolxis Geta, were no less famous in the North, than the Egyptian Prophets were in the South.

But when Mankind degenerated, and corrupted themselves by all manner of Wickedness, then God forsook them, and permitted evil Angels to take the place of the good, and plunge Mankind further into all manner of Filthiness; especially into abominable Idolatries. So that Balaam, who, I question not, had at first familiarity with God, and his holy Angels, abusing this Honour God had done him, in making him a Prophet, by imploying it to serve his vile Cove­tousness, God gave him up to the Delusion of evil [Page 441] Spirits; of whom he learnt Inchantments. But at this time God was pleased again to appear to him himself, for the good of his People Israel, and to over-rule all his bad Inclinations: Insomuch that Moses says at last he did not go, as he had done, to seek Inchantments, (XXIV. 1.) but gave up himself wholly, for the pre­sent, to the Conduct of God's Spirit, as I shall there observe.

And said unto