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And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came to this place.
Who went in the way before you to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb 'the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes.
And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us ; a land which floweth with milk and honey. · Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us : fear them not.
But all the congregation bade stone them with stones : and the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation, before all the children of Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It seems, that the people distrusted the Lord, and preferred the witness of men to the witness of God Himself ; in consequence of which, they formed a scheme to satisfy themselves whether the land of Canaan was really worth the pains of conquest or not. '.. Á
Though it is not expressly mentioned, it appears, that Moses consulted the will of the Lord, who permitted him to indulge the wishes of the people..
The crime of the spies was not falsehood, but disbe. lief of God's promises. It was very true, that the inhabitants of the country were such as they described ; but the Lord had promised to send His fear before his people *, to go up in the midst of them t, and assured them, that their enemies, however formidable, should fall before them; that five of them should be able to chase an hundred ; and an hundred of them put ten thousand to flight $ : they should therefore have reposed entire confidence in His Almighty aid, and not have compared themselves to grasshoppers ; for, supposing that their natural force was as unequal to that of the enemy they were to encounter, as the spies represented, they had seen that, under the conduct of their heavenly King, even an army of grasshoppers ♡ was irresistible by a powerful and warlike nation.
In what an amiable light do Moses and Aaron appear grieving for the wickedness of the Israelites, and endeavouring to awaken in their minds, those sentiments of gratitude so justly due to their Divine Con. ductor!
Caleb and Joshua gave an eminent example of faith.;: and we shall find, that it did not lose its reward of the people. The arguments they employed to still the tumult, were perfectly just and reasonable ; for what is. the most mighty nation, when their defence is departed from them ? And who can overcome those, whose God, is the LORD: and whom He hath chosen for his own inheritance ?
It was very wicked in the spies to distrust the power, of God, and disbelieve the divine promises themselves ; and they greatly increased their guilt by imparting their
* Exod. xxiii. 27. t Ibid. xxxiii. 14. Lev. xxvi. 8. Alluding to the plague of locusts in Egypt.
doubts and fears to others ; crimes of a similar nature are too often committed by Christians, nay even by those who profess to instruct others. They read the Scriptures with prejudiced minds, resolved beforehand to believe nothing but what they can fully understand by their own unassisted reason ; and for want of humility become blind to the truth, and conceive doubts, which they communicate to the world ; and lead many a one into a distrust of God's promises respecting the kingdom of Heaven ; but we should remember that it is our duty to believe all that is revealed, and promised in Scripture.
THE PUNISHMENT OF THE ISRAELITES, AND THE
DEATH OF THE spres.
From Numbers, Chap. xiv. AND the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? . I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit
them, and will make of thee a greater nation, and mightier than they · And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians
shalt hear it (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them).
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land; for they have heard that thou, Lord, art among this people, that thou, Lonn, art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day-time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
Now Now if thou shalt kill all this people, as one man ; then the nations which have heard the fame of thee, will speak, saying, Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land', which he gwared unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.
And now, I beseech thee; let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, . .
The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty : visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation.
Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt, even until now.
And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word : But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. · Because all those - men which have seen my glory, and my miracles which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware, unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me, see it ; But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath, followed me fully; him will I bring into the land whereinto he went ; and his seed shall possess it.
To-morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness, by the way of the Red sea... * And the LORD spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congrégation which murmur against me? I have heard the
murmurings of the children of Israel, which they mur. mur against me.' "
Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, . as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you : Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole 'number, from twenty years old and upwards, which have murmured against me. · Doubtless ye shall not come into the land concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save
Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of · Nun.
But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey,' them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised..
But as for you, your carcasses they shall fall in this wilderness.
And your children shall wander in the wildernes's forty years.
I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil. congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. .
. ] Int. ' And the men which Moses sent to search the land, died by the plague before the LORD, but Joshua and Caleb lived still.
And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. : : ;
And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
And Moses said, Wherefore now do you transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper.