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women, and their gratulatory offering of thanksgiving for so great a victory. The greatness of which may be gathered from the number of their prisoners and cattle; the virgin females were thirty-two thousand; all the rest of the people, men women and children were put to the sword. The spoil, in cattle and flocks, consisted of six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, seventy-two thousand oxen, and sixty-one thousand asses, beside rich goods and ornaments; and to render this victory the more brilliant and memorable, it was obtained without the loss of a single man on the part of Israel, as appears from the report of the officers on a muster* made after the battle.
The Israelites thus taking possession of the country on this side Jordan, the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, observing it to be a fertile soil, and good pasturage, requested leave of Moses to settle in that country, on condition that they should march with the other tribes to conquer the land in which they were to settle, that they would not return till the other tribes were in possession, and that they would claim no part of the lands that were beyond Jordan. Moses, at first, thought they intended to venture no further, but wished to sit down in a country already gained, and to forsake their brethren, the rest of the tribes: upon which he severely blamed them for attempting, by so base a proposal, to discourage the rest of the Israelites. But when he understood their real design, and upon condition that they should perform their promise, he granted their request.
After this, Moses gives a particular recital of the several stations and removals, which the children of Israel made from Rameses in Egypt, to the river Jordan in Canaan. Then he describes the bounds of the promised land, and gives the names of the persons appointed to divide it among the tribes of Israel. And afterwards
* Muster. See Numb. xxxi. 49.
+ After. The Matter of this paragraph is contained in Numb. ch. xxxIIS. xxxiv, xxxv.
order is given, that the children of Israel should assign to the Levites forty-eight cities, with suburbs annexed, in which they might live among the tribes, and of which number six were appointed to be cities of refuge to which the man-slayer might flee, who had happened to kill a man unintentionally. But provision was made, that he, who should be duly convicted of wilful murder, should be put to death: and in capital cases it was provided, that none should be convicted of such crimes by the evidence of one single witness. A law was also made, that every daughter, who should possess an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, should be married to one of the tribe of her father, that so the children of Israel might enjoy every one the inheritance of his father; and the inheritance not be transferred to another tribe. This was grounded upon a law before* made, which empowered daughters to inherit lands, where the heirs male should be deficient; and was the case of Zelophehad's daughters, who, upon obtaining this act, were required to marry within the family of their father's† tribe.
By this time, the forty years allotted for their journey were nearly expired. Moses therefore, considering that the present generation of the Israelites, now ready to pass over Jordan to take possession of the promised land, were either born since the law was given at Mount Sinai, or were, at that time too young to understand and remember it, thought proper to make a solemn and public repetition thereof.
A little before his death, therefore, he assembled the people of Israel, on the first day of the eleventh month, in the fortieth year from their departure out of Egypt, (the people being yet in the plains of Moab, by Jordan,
Before. See Numb. xxvii. 1, 2, &c.
+ Father's. Upon this they are said, Numb. xxxvi. 11. to be married to their father's brother's sons. That is, as it is explained in v. 12. They were married into the families, or to some that were of the families, of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. Which takes off the force of their argument, who from hence would infer the lawfulness of marriages between first cousins.
and near Jericho) he repeated to them briefly all* that had befallen their fathers since they left Egypt: The gracious dealings of God with them; their unruliness, disobedience, and rebellions, which had so often provoked the Lord to punish them, and brought not only upon them, but by their means upon himself also, that griev ous sentence, That they should not enter into the good land. Which account he often repeats, that these might take warning by the miscarriages of their forefathers. Then he repeated the Decalogue,† and divers other laws and precepts formerly given, though not without some variations, with the addition of some new laws on various subjects, and explanations of the old, exhorting them to a strict observation of them, promising they should soon enter the land of Canaan, and commanding them to destroy all the idols of the inhabitants of the country, and to extirpate the people. He encouraged them to be faithful to God, assuring them that if they kept his commandments they should have blessings heaped upon them; and threatening them with all manner of calamities, if they departed from them. He renewed the covenant with the people in the name of the Lord; commanded them with a loud voice to proclaim on the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, beyond Jordan, blessings to those who kept the Covenant, and curses to all those who broke it, and to erect an altar in the land of Canaan, on which they should write the terms and con-` ditions of their covenant with God. These things, with rehearsals sometimes of their fathers', and their own, prevarications, Moses not only delivered to the people by word of mouth, but wrote them in a book; which he committed to the custody and care of the Levites, with direction from the Lord, that they should put it into the side of the ark, to be kept there for a witness against Israel, if they should rebel. Besides this, Moses, by the
* All. See from Deut. i. to iv.
+ Decalogue. Ibid. ch. v.
+ Prevarications. Ibid. See from cb. iv. to cb. xxxi.
immediate direction of God, composed a song,* in which are at large described the many benefits and favours of God to his people, their ingratitude to, and forgetfulness of him; the punishments by which he corrected them, with threatenings of greater judgments if they persisted to provoke him by a repetition of their follies. This song Moses recited to the people, and gave order that they should learn it, and repeat it frequently; that when for their transgressing the Law, many calamities and troubles should befal them, this song might be a witness for God against them.
The time was just now approaching, and the people ready to pass over Jordan; but the Lord having before told Moses, that he should not conduct the people into the promised land, because of his error at the waters of Meribah, he bid him now get him up into the mountain Abarim unto the mount Nebo in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and take a view of the land of Canaan, and then die there on that Mount, as his brother Aaron had died on Mount Hor.
Moses had before endeavoured to deprecate one part of his sentence, his not being permitted to enter into the promised land, but in vain; he therefore now humbly submits to the pleasure of God, and takes a solemn farewell of the people in a prophetic blessing, which he pronounced upon each tribe, as Jacob had done just before his death. And having before, by God's command, appointel Joshua to be his successor, to conduct the people to the promised land, laying his hands upon him in such a solemn and public manner, as gave all the people to understand, that after his death Joshua was to be their leader, Moses went up to the top of Pisgah over against Jericho, from whence, as the Lord had promised, he could take a full view of the countries round about.
Though his end was just approaching, and he an hundred and twenty years old, yet he was in such good health and full strength, that neither was his eye dim, nor his
Song. Ibid. ch. xxxii.
natural force abated; therefore, while these lasted, he with pleasure surveys the beauteous prospect. He views the delightful town and plains of Jericho; sees Lebanon's fair cliffs and lofty cedars, and then resigns his soul into the hands of angels, who waited to convey him to a happier Canaan than what he had just before surveyed.
The Lord, who knew the wanton inclination of the Israelites to idolatry, lest they should pay any superstitious adoration to his remains after death, paid the funeral honours to this great prophet himself, and in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth- Peor, buried him so secretly, that no man ever knew where his sepulchre was. And though he had no public monument or tomb-stone erected, yet this stands as an honourable epitaph on him recorded in holy Scripture, Deut. xxxiv. 10, 11, 12.
What prophet by the sacred breath inspir'd,
On trembling Sinai's top received the Law:
From Egypt's fetters ransom'd Israel brought,
And in their sight great signs and mighty wonders wrought
Thus died that illustrious prophet Moses; whose death, when the children of Israel understood, they lamented with great solemnity, weeping and mourning for him in the plains of Moab thirty days.
THUS far the sacred history was of Moses' inditing, which contains the five first books of the Bible, and is thence called the Pentateuch. All antiquity, both sacred
▾ Abated. The extraordinary activity and zeal of Moses cannot be too much admired. Those lively and pious exhortations which abound in the book of Deu teronomy were delivered during the last month of his life. What a bright example does this afford, especially to the ministers of the Gospel, to be unweared in their exertions for the glory of God, even after they have received intimations that the time of their departure is at hand.