An Interpretation of the English Bible

 

 

NUMBERS to RUTH

 

 

by B. H. CARROLL

 

Late President of Southwestern Baptist

Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

 

Edited by

J. B. Cranfill

 

BAKER BOOK HOUSE

Grand Rapids, Michigan

 

New and complete edition

 Copyright 1948, Broadman Press

Reprinted by Baker Book House

with permission of

 

First Printing, September 1973

 

PHOTOLITHOPRINTED BY GUSHING - MALLOY, INC.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

 

 

CONTENTS

 

(Return to Main Contents)

 

THE BOOK OF NUMBERS

 

I                  Chronological Analysis

II                 Introduction

III                From Setting Up of the Tabernacle to the First March

IV               From Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea

V                 Events at Kadesh-Barnea

VI               Aftermath of the Breach of the Covenant at Kadesh

VII              From Kadesh-Barnea to Moab

VIII             Balaam:  His  Important  Prophecies,  His Character, and His Bible History

IX               Israel's Sin and Phinehas' Act of Righteousness, and Other Things

 

THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY

 

X                 General Introduction

XI               The Analysis: Some Objections Answered

XII              First and Second Oration, Part I

XIII             Second Great Oration, Part II

XIV             Third, Forth and Fifth Orations

XV              The Song, Prayer and Benediction of Moses

XVI             The Character and Greatness of Moses

XVII           The Homiletic Value of Deuteronomy

 

THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

 

XVIII          Historical Introduction

XIX             Jehovah’s Charge to Joshua

XX              The Miraculous Passage of the Jordan and Events at Gilgal

XXI             The Fall of Jericho, Ai, Ebal, and Gerizirn

XXII           Conquest of the Northern Tribes; Allotment of Territory; Establishment of a Central Place of Worship

XXIII          Brief Review; Return of Warriors of the Two and a half Tribes

 

THE BOOK OF JUDGES

 

XXIV          Introduction

XXV           Introduction {Continued) and Outline

XXVI          Events Preceding the Judges and Some Special

                   Deliveries

XXVII         Deborah and Barak. Deborah's Song

XXVIII       Deborah's Song (Concluded) , Midian and Gideon

XXIX          The Story of Abimelech, the Usurper, and of Jepththah

XXX           Samson

XXXI          Micah and the Danites, Outrage of the Men of Gibeah, and the National War Against Benjamin

 

THE BOOK OF RUTH

 

XXXII         The Book of Ruth – A Catechism

 

       

 

THE BOOK OF NUMBERS

 

I

 

(Return to Contents)

 

CHRONOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

 


I. The itinerary from Egypt to Sinai, Numbers 33:1-15, connecting with Exodus 12:37 to 19:2.


II. All the events and legislation in chapters 7-9, connect in order of time with Exodus 40 as follows: second year, first month, first day, the book of Exodus closes with setting up the tabernacle which Moses could not enter until dedicated.


The Next Twelve Days.


1. The offerings of the princes, Numbers 7:1-86.


2. The dedication, Numbers 7:87-88.


3. Moses now enters and hears the voice, Numbers 7:89.


4. Purification of the tribe of Levi for service, Numbers 8:1-26.


Fourteenth Day.


1. Observance of the Second Passover, Numbers 9:1-5.


2. Occasion of the Provision for the Little Passover, Numbers 9:6-14.


III. The Legislation in Numbers 5-6 connects in order of time with Leviticus and these two chapters of Numbers with Leviticus cover all the rest of the first month – say


Sixteen Days.


1. Lepers put out of the camp, Numbers 5:1-4.


2. Restitution in case of trespass, Numbers 5:5-10.


3. The trial of Jealousy, Numbers 5:11-31.


4. The law of the Nazarite, Numbers 6:1-21.


5. Form of the high priest's benediction, Numbers 6:22-27.


IV. First Nineteen Days Second Month, devoted to preparation for first march to Promised Land, Numbers 1-4; 9: 15-23; 10:1-10,14-32.


1. Terminal dates of this section, Numbers 1:1, and 10:11.


2. Numbering the warriors of the twelve secular tribes, 603,550, Numbers 1:1-46.

3. Order of their encampment, Numbers 2.


4. The tribe of Levi exempted from secular and war service and tribal inheritance and appointed to a religious service because about to be exchanged for the firstborn of the secular tribes – the firstborn being Jehovah's, chapters 1:47-54, and 3:1-13.


5. Census of male Levites from one month old and upward as basis for proposed exchange, number 22,000, 3:14-16, 39.


6. Census of firstborn males of the twelve secular tribes as the other basis for proposed exchange – number 22,273, 3:40-43.


7. Redemption price of the secular excess, 273, 3:44-51.


8. Special charge of all Levites, by families, in marching and camping and their order of encampment, 3:17-38.


9. Second census of male Levites for the hard service of marching and camping – this time from thirty years to fifty – number 8,580 – and the distribution of duties by families, chapter 4.


10. Signals of marching and camping:


(1) The pillar of cloud, 9:15-23.


(2) The trumpets, 10:1-10.


(3) The ark, 10:33.


(4) The words of Moses, 10:35-36.


11. Regular order of marching and camping, 10:14-28.


12. The invitation to Hobab – his service and the promised blessing, 10:29-32. (Note the great pulpit theme, 10:29.)


V. Forty-eight Days. From Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 10:11-33, and chapters 11-12; 23:16-18.

 

1. Distance – 150 miles at least.


2. Time of starting – 10:11, Time in day marches (Deuteronomy l:2)=== eleven days. Time in resting at Kibroth (II: 20) = thirty days. Time in resting at Hazeroth (12:14-15) =seven days. Time total forty-eight days at least, probably more.


3. Character of the way, Deuteronomy 1:19; 8:15; 32:10.


4. The Itinerary, Numbers 33:16-18.


5. Events by the way: At Taberah, 11:1-3.


(1) This is a mere night encampment at close of first or second day's march.


(2) The sin of murmuring against God, its punishment by fire and the intercession of Moses. At Kibroth, 11:4-34.


(3) The place – in the edge of the wilderness of Paran – three days' journey from Sinai – about thirty miles from Sinai, 10:12,33.


(4) Time, thirty days 11:20.


(5) The sin of loathing God's provision and lusting for the food of bondage, 11:4-6.


(6) Description of the manna and how prepared for food, 11:7-9.


(7) Displeasure of Moses and his appeal to Jehovah, 11:10-15.


(8) Jehovah in reply to the appeal of Moses provides and qualifies seventy executive officers to assist Moses in administration, as he had previously appointed and qualfied seventy Judges to assist him in judicial matters, II: 16-17,24-25.


(9) The strange case of Eldad and Medad, and its lesson that neglect of some technical forms does not invalidate God's appointment nor restrain his Spirit, 11:26. Compare 2 Chronicles 33:18-20.


(10) Joshua's mistaken jealousy and the larger spirit of Moses, 11:27-29. Compare Mark 9:38-40, and Acts 11:17. (Note the great pulpit theme 11:29, but who is able to preach just right on 11:26-28; 2 Chronicles 33: 18-20; Mark 9:38-40; Acts 11:17?)


(11) Jehovah grants and punishes the wicked lusts of the people, 11:18-20,31-34.


(Note that their sin was rejection of Jehovah, 11:20.)


(Note the origin of the saying, "No man can eat a quail a day for thirty days consecutively.")


At Hazeroth, 11:35 to 12:15.


(12) No note in the text of how many days' march from Kibroth – perhaps four.


(13) The great sin of Miriam and Aaron against Moses and God and its punishment and healing on the intercession of Moses.


(14) Time at least seven days. (Note the author's explanation of Moses' Cushite wife.) The March from Hazeroth to Kadesh, 12:16. Time, perhaps four days. No event recorded.


VI. Events and Legislation at Kadesh-barnea, chapters 13-19. Time indefinite, Deuteronomy l:46= forty-two days specified.


The place - in northern edge of the Wilderness of Paran (12:16), called also Rithmah, Numbers 33:18, on the southern border of the Promised Land, 34:4, in the hill country of the Amorites, Deuteronomy 1:20, west of the Arabah. (See Kadesh-Barnea, by H. Clay Trumbull, for exact location and description.)


1. The case of. the spies.


(1) Who suggested sending the spies, Deuteronomy 1:22? It would have shown greater faith to obey God's command immediately and trust to him, Deuteronomy 1:21. Both God and Moses let them have their way, Numbers 13:1.


(2) The spies examine all the Promised Land and find it as Jehovah had reported it, but in their report ten of them speak evil of the land and magnify the power of the enemies holding it, and minimize the power of Israel and openly distrust God, 13:4-33. (Note the great pulpit theme of unbelief and cowardice in verse 33.)


2. The second great breach of the covenant, God's threat of destruction, the intercession of Moses, the mixed pardon and penalty, 14:1-35.


3. The fate of the ten cowards and the good destiny of the two faithful ones, 14:36-38.


4. The people's great sin of presumption and its result, 14: 39-45.


5. Prospective legislation which inspires hope of yet reaching the Promised Land, chapter 15.


6. The sin and punishment of Korah and his company and the memorial thereof, 16:1-40.


7. Continued rebellion of the people, its punishment and atonement by Aaron, 16:41-50.


8. The rod of Aaron and its preservation as a token, and the despair of the cast-off people, chapter 17.


9. Special charge of the Levites and provision for their support, chapter 18.


10. The red heifer, or the water of purification, chapter 19. (Compare this typical element of regeneration with Psalm 51:2; Ezekiel 36:25; Zechariah 13:1; John 3:5; Ephesians, 5:26; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:13, and note that regeneration always consists of two parts: First, cleansing by the Spirit's application of Christ's blood; and, second, renewing of the heart and mind. See author's sermon on the "Human Side of Regeneration" in his first volume of sermons.)


VII. The long silent period of the wanderings, about thirty-seven years.


1. The itinerary, Numbers 33:19-36.


2. The covenant being broken, circumcision, its token, not observed, Joshua 5:2-9.


3. That generation being outcasts, Jehovah commanded no sacrifices (Jeremiah 7:22) and they offered none but served idols (Amos 5:25, and Acts 7:42-43).


4. Yet for the sake of the coming generations, Jehovah cared for them, Deuteronomy 2:7; 29:5-6; Nehemiah 9:19-21.


VIII. Events at Kadesh-barnea once more. Several months, commencing with the first month in the fortieth year, 20:1; 33:38.


1. The reassembling at Kadesh, 20:1.


2. Death of Miriam in the place where she had sinned thirty-seven years before, 20:1.


3. A second rebellion at Kadesh, 20:2-6.


4. The sin of Moses and Aaron in smiting the rock and its chastisement announced, 20:7-13. (Compare this passage with 20:24; 27:14; Deuteronomy 1:37; 3:26-27; Psalm 106:32-33, and analyze the sin of Moses.)


5. The attack on Israel by the Canaanites and their subsequent doom, 21:1-3.


6. Passage through Edom refused, 20:14-21.


IX. Over thirty days from Kadesh to Mount Hor in the border of Edom. The death of Aaron and the appointment of Eleazar as high priest, 20:22-29; 23:37, 39.


X. Time five months exactly. (Compare 33:38; 20:29; Deuteronomy 1:3.) From Mount Hor, around Edom, to the banks of the Jordan opposite Jericho – the events by the way – the events and legislation there:


1. The itinerary, 33:41-49. (Compare Numbers 21:10-35; Deuteronomy 2:1-37.)


2. The Brazen Serpent 21:4-9.


3. Quotations from a lost book, 21:14.


4. The well and the song, 21:16-18.


5. The fall of Sihon and another song, 21:21-32.


6. The fall of Bashan, 21:33-35.


7. The case of Balaam and his prophecies, chapters 22-24. Compare Jude 2; 2 Peter 2:15; Revelation 2:14. (After reading sermons on Balaam by Bishop Butler, Dr. Arnold, Cardinal Newman, Spurgeon, and the author, noting the several lines of thought, make your own analysis showing the degree and sources of light, his spiritual state, his great sin and character – then state the messianic element in his prophecies.


8. (1) Balaam, failing to turn Jehovah against Israel by divination, turns Israel against Jehovah by a terrible sin, 25:1-3, 6-15.


(2) Hanging the chiefs does not atone, 25:4.


(3) Slaying the guilty does not atone, 25:5.


(4) The sin culminates in an awful act of presumption, 25:6.


(5) Atonement by Phinehas, 25:7-15. (Expound those most remarkable passages in the Old Testament, Numbers 25:11-13; Psalm 106:30-31, and particularly make clear this second case of "imputed righteousness" and develop the atonement idea in the zeal of Phinehas and find its antitype in Christ's atonement.)


9. The second census, chapter 26.


10. Provision of inheritance for daughters without father or brother, 21:1-11.


11. Joshua set apart as successor to Moses, 27:12-23.


12. The offerings day by day, sabbath by sabbath, moon by moon, year by year, feast by feast, chapters 28-29. (These chapters could be made into a calendar for the Jewish Holy Year.)


13. Exceptions to the law of Vows previously given, 33.


14. Holy War against Midian led by Phinehas, who had atoned for the sin of Israel, 31. (Particularly note the character of this war, as the execution of a divine sentence, led by a priest with only 12,000 men who suffer no loss, and the devoted character of the spoils.)


15. The plea of Reuben and Gad for inheritance east of the Jordan and the conditions under which it will be granted, 32.


16 The itinerary from Egypt to Jordan, whose several parts have already been noted, 33.


17 The borders of the land, 34:1-12. (Compare the borders here given with Genesis 15:18-21; Deuteronomy 1:7-8, and other passages.)


18 Half-tribe of Manasseh to receive inheritance with Reuben and Gad, and the appointment of twelve princes who, with Joshua and Eleazar, shall divide the land, 34:16-29.


19. Directions for forty-eight Levitical cities, six cities of refuge and laws defining privileges of refuge, 35.


20. Law for securing to the tribe inheritance already provided for daughters without father or brother.

 

 

II

 

(Return to Contents)

 

INTRODUCTION Numbers 1-4

 


We now commence the introduction to the book of Numbers. The first thing is the name. In the Hebrew there are two names. One takes the first word and the other takes the first most important word. In the Septuagint the name is Arithmoi; in the Vulgate, Numeri, both meaning the same as our word Numbers. These names are derived from the numbering recorded in chapter I and the second numbering thirty-eight years later in chapter 26; the first, prior to the first start on the great march, and the second, at the second start.


Next is the period of time covered by the book of Numbers. We will notice the following points: 1:1, "Second year, second month, first day." One year and one month after leaving Rameses in Egypt, they leave Sinai. You have another date, viz.: The death of Aaron, 20: 22; 33: 38. Aaron's death is in the fortieth year, and fifth month, the first day, from the time they left Egypt and thirty-ninth year from the time they left Sinai.


Next, Deuteronomy I, which commences the fortieth year and the eleventh month, making exactly six months after Aaron's death before Deuteronomy commences. If you add these periods together, they make thirty-eight years and nine months. It takes them a little over a year at Sinai and then nearly thirty-nine years to close up this book. Deuteronomy occupies not over a month, bringing us to the death of Moses forty years from the time they left Egypt. I will give you a brief outline and then a more extended outline of this book. The brief outline consists of only four points:


1. Preparation for the march, extending from 1:1, to 10:10. The preparation will include not only the census and some legislation which follows it, but also some other things necessary to the start.


2. The march from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, close to the border of the Holy Land 10:11 to 14 a brief period of time. They had only three stopping places of any length, recorded again in Numbers 33. That chapter gives the entire itinerary, or order of the march, from the day they left Rameses in Egypt to the time they reached the Jordan River.


3. Period of aimless wandering, chapters 15, 19, the longest part of the book of Moses as to time, including the wanderings and the legislation during that time. It covers more space than any other part.


4. From Kadesh-barnea to the camp opposite Jericho and the events on the plains of Moab chapters 20-36. In this book are some of the most interesting incidents in the history of the Jewish people, some of the most thrilling themes for the preacher, new laws of a particular kind, especially concerning those about the red heifer, which have a deep significance in the New Testament. In this book you have an account of the sins committed by the people that excluded every grown man from entering the Promised Land with the exception of two, including the special sin of Moses and Aaron.


Now follows the more elaborate analysis:


Sec. 1. Preparation for the great march (1-4). In these chapters we have the first census, the order in which the tribes shall camp and march, the special numbering of the firstborn and the exchange of the firstborn males of all the people for the tribe of Levi, the special duties that the Levites are to perform and their order of march.


Sec. II. Some legislation (5-6), divided into five parts:


(1) The exclusion of the unclean; (2) the law of recompense and of offerings; (3) the trial of jealousy, a strange and horrible thing (I imagine it would scare any woman to death to be put to that test) ; (4) the Nazarite vow; (5) the words that the priest shall use in his benediction, one of the most beautiful benedictions.


Sec. III. Further preparation for the march (7: I to 10:10), consisting of the following items: Offerings of the princes at the dedication, the voice in the sanctuary, the lamps lighted in the tabernacle, the consecration of the Levites, the second passover and the supplemental passover, the cloud on the tabernacle, and the silver trumpet for governing the march. So the preparation consists of two parts between which comes that special legislation, and so these three sections correspond to the first part of the short outline.


Sec. IV. (Which corresponds to the second in the short outline.) The march from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, with the following incidents (10:11 to 14:45): The start and the order of the march, the invitation to Hobab, the journey, sin and chastisement at Kibroth, the sedition of Miriam and Aaron and the sending of the spies and the rejection of the people. That ends that probation. They had violated the covenant. They have to make a new start. In answer to the prayer of Moses God gives them another probation, on the condition that every grown man that left Egypt shall perish and that they must wander until that generation has died. The period of that wandering is divided into the three following sections:


Sec. V. Chapter 15 only: Legislation on offerings, firstfruits, trespass offering, the presumptuous sin, with the incident of the sabbath breaker and the law of fringes.


Sec. VI. Chapters 16-17. An account of the rebellion of Korah and his confederates against the Aaronic priesthood, and the memorial that follows.


Sec. VII. Further legislation, charge and emoluments of priest, the law of the red heifer and the pollution of death 18-19). All of the other sections will come in the fourth item of the short outline.


Sec. VIII. This includes the water of Menbah, the brazen serpent, the last marches and the first victories.


Sec. IX. Chapters 22-24. The coming of Balaam and the prophecies of Balaam.


Sec. X. Gives an account of the events that took place on the plains of Moab on the banks of the Jordan (25-27). Those events were as follows. The second census of Israel, with a view to allotment of land, the petition of Zelophehad's daughters and finally the supersession of Moses by Joshua.


Sec. XI. Further legislation. The annual routine of sacrifices chapters 28-29. The thirtieth chapter tells us about vows like that last section of Leviticus giving us the exception of vows made by women.


Sec. XII. Further events in the plains of Moab, (31-32) extirpation of Midian and the settlement of the tribes east of the Jordan.


Sec. XIII. Chapter 33:1-49. The great itinerary, showing every stopping place of any length from the time they left Egypt to the river Jordan – a remarkable historical document.


Sec. XIV. Chapter 33:50, to the end of the book, Final instruction with a view to the conquest of Canaan, as follows: Clearance of the Holy Land, boundaries of the Holy Land, allotment of the Holy Land, reservation of cities for the Levites, cities of refuge and the law of homicides, law of the marriage of heiresses, which relates back to Zeiophehad's daughters.


Just here you need to read Trumbull's Kadesh-Barnea. The central place of the book of Numbers is Kadesh-bamea. This is the great camping place they reached after they left Sinai and just before they made their attempt to enter the Holy Land. There occurred the sin of the people, the rejection of the report of the spies, the condemnation to wander thirty eight years, revolving around Kadesh-barnea. Hence explorers have tried harder to locate Kadesh-barnea than any other one place except Sinai.


The census discussed in the first chapter is dated the second year, second month and first day, after they left Egypt. The second census was with reference to the allotment, for they expected in a few days to get to the Holy Land. Of course when they forfeited their right and all those men died of the first census, they had to take a new census, and that is why the name of the book is plural. The census applies to eleven of the tribes, Levi not included, and takes account of the males from twenty years upwards who are able to go to war. That census amounted to 603,550. They took the census of Levi separately and took it twice. First, every male in the tribe of Levi, from one month old up, amounted to 22,000, which was less than any other tribe had from twenty years old up, showing that the tribe of Levi was by all odds the smallest of the tribes. When they took the next census of Levi, they took it of the men from thirty to fifty, to get the men capable of service around the sanctuary. That census amounted to 8,580 males. It seems to me that if there were 8,580 from thirty to fifty, there ought to have been more than 22,000 from one month up.


The next item is the order of camp. The enclosure around the tabernacle faced the east. The whole tribe of Levi, including Moses and Aaron, would occupy the space around the tabernacle just outside of the enclosure. Then on the east of them were Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Judah carrying the banner and leading off. On the west, the tribes descended from Rachel: Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh, Ephraim carrying the banner. The other six tribes occupied the north and south sides. Whenever the pillar of cloud would stop, the Levites would advance and set up the tabernacle just beneath it. I got my first ideas of real organization from the book of Numbers. Moses was a great general, tactician, and strategist. He had commanded the armies of Egypt and knew that one could not move three millions of people without interminable confusion if there was not organization to the smallest detail. All of these details are set forth in the second chapter so far as the tribes are concerned.


The only other item apart from the numbering of the Levites, which I have already given you, is the special direction to number them so that an exchange could be made. All the males of the firstborn belonged to God. When they took the list of all the firstborn of the eleven tribes, they amounted to 22,273, whereas the males from one month old up in Levi, amounted to 22,000. To make the exchange complete, so as to take the tribe of Levi over instead of the firstborn of all the tribes, a compensation had to be paid for the surplus. Levi lacked 273 of coming up to the measure. That compensation was paid to the children of Levi, five shekels for each one of the 273. That covers the third and fourth chapters.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Give origin of the name "Numbers."

 

2. What period of time is covered by the book? (Work out answer from dates given in book.)

 

3. Give a brief outline of the book.

 

4. Give a more elaborate analysis of the book.

 

5. What is the central place of the book of Numbers, and why locate it.

 

6. Why is the name of the book plural?

 

7. Why more than one census?

 

8. Give result of the first census of the twelve secular tribes, comparing it with the second census many years later.

 

9. Why a separate census of Levi?

 

10. Why double census of Levi, first, from one month old upward, and second, from thirty years old to fifty?

 

11. How was the exchange of the firstborn males of Israel for the tribe of Levi made?

 

12. Describe the order of the entire encampment. (See your Atlas.)

 

13. What were the duties of the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites, respectively?

 


 
III

 

(Return to Contents)

 

FROM SETTING UP OF THE TABERNACLE TO THE FIRST MARCH


In chapter 2, I gave a historical introduction, cited a brief outline and then a very extensive one. I shall not observe either of these outlines because they lack chronological exactness, but I shall follow the chronological analysis given in chapter 1.


In studying the book of Numbers the first item of our outline which we shall notice is chapter 7 which gives the gifts of the princes of Israel. Those gifts are presented in twelve successive days) following right after the day in which the tabernacle was set up, as given in the fortieth chapter of Exodus; the first day of the first month of the second year. This chapter 7 of Numbers immediately follows the passage in Exodus 40:35. Exodus, in that connection, states that when Moses had completed the tabernacle and had set it up, the cloud came down and filled it so that he was not able to enter it. Chapter 7 tells us how Moses was able to enter and the twelve days follow right after. When we get through with this chapter, we are at the thirteenth day of the first month. Therefore, in my outline I say, the twelve days of the gifts of princes follow Exodus 40:35, where Moses could not enter the tabernacle, which date was the first day of the first month of the second year, and these offerings bring us to the thirteenth day set apart to make a gift, and among their gifts were certain offerings. At the end of this chapter we find that these offerings for sacrifices were made and closes entered the tabernacle and listened to the voice of God speaking to him.


The next item of the outline is 9:1-14. The theme is, "The Second Passover, and the provision for a little passover a little later." This is on the fourteenth day of the first month. For those who through absence or ceremonial uncleanness were not permitted to eat the first Passover, a law provided for their eating a month later.


From the fourteenth to the end of the first month took place all that occurred in the book of Leviticus plus these chapters in Numbers, the Levitical legislation, as set forth in chapters 5-6 and 8:1-4. If they were lunar months, we know how many days were covered – fourteen days; but if it was a month according to our calculation it would cover sixteen days. In order of time that should be inserted just after the close of Leviticus.


We come to the second month and first day where the census takes place. The census of the eleven tribes, 1:1-46, amounts to 603,550 males from twenty years old up. The next item is the order in which the tribes camped, second chapter. That order was expressed in the introduction. The next item is the first census of the Levites, from one month upward, and their order of camp 3:14-39, leaving the first part of the third chapter to be placed elsewhere, the census amounting to 22,000, elsewhere given as 22,300. And it is a difficult matter for commentators to explain that difference of 300. It may be done by supposing that 300 of the Levites were firstborn and, therefore, not included in the calculations afterwards made. I then showed how the Levites camped on the east.


The next item is the census of the firstborn of Israel, 3:4043, amounting to 22,273. The next item is the exchange of the 22,273 of the firstborn of the eleven tribes for the 22,000 Levites. A commutation price was paid for the extra 273 of the firstborn, 3:1-13, and also from 44-51.


The next item is the second census of the Levites from thirty to fifty, and the chapter tells us exactly how each one had to act before going to march. I shall bring that out directly.

 

The next item is the cleansing of the Levites, chapter 8.


The next item is the services to be performed by the pillar of cloud, 9:15-23.


The next item is the service of the trumpets, 10:1-10. That outline is absolutely accurate, chronologically and analytically, up to that point.


My next item of the outline is to give a digest of the order of the march. In order to understand this, we must conceive of Israel in camp, each tribe in its proper place, the tabernacle up and the cloud over the tabernacle, Moses, Aaron, and his sons, and the Levites in their places. Get that picture in your mind. Now the morning has come on which they are to march. It tells us which morning in chapter 10: "And it came to pass in the second year, second month, twentieth day." The first thing that morning was the morning sacrifices which were never neglected. As soon as that sacrifice was over, Aaron steps out and says (6:24-26): "Jehovah bless thee and keep thee; Jehovah make his face to shine upon thee, and give thee peace." In that way Aaron puts the name of Jehovah on the people. They don't know when they are going to start. Suddenly that cloud that hovered down low over the tabernacle ascends into the air, the divine signal to get ready to march. Then there was a human signal, the trumpets blow. When those trumpets blew, the first people that had anything to do were Aaron and his sons. Aaron goes into the holy of holies and in the prescribed way covers the Ark of the Covenant so that it will be hidden from sight and puts the staves through the rings on the sides so that four men can carry it with those staves resting on their shoulders. Then Aaron and his sons cover up, in a prescribed way, every one of the holy things.


Next the Gershonites, part of the tribe of Levi, come up and take charge of all curtains of every kind, always their business. They have wagons with two oxen each to help carry this vast amount of baggage. Then Eleazar and Ithamar take charge of the sacred oils and special things of that kind. Then the Merarites come and take down the heavy parts of the tent and carry them off on four wagons, each having two oxen. Then the Kohathites come and take every part that Aaron has covered except the ark. Four take charge of the ark and the rest take the other things.


Now comes another sight. That cloud that had gone up in the air and was standing there, just as soon as the Levites have taken down all those things and loaded them on the wagons, begins to move slowly in the direction they want to go. As soon as Moses sees that, the four men that have charge of the ark pick it up and keep right under that cloud. Read that in 10:33: "And they set forward from the mount of Jehovah three days' journey; and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them." So the front things at the head of the column are the cloud above and the ark below. As that ark moves, Moses says, "Rise up, 0 Jehovah, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee." One of the most thrilling psalms written upon that is the psalm that Cromwell adopted as his psalm, and every time he went into battle, he made his army kneel and pray, and when the marching order was given, they marched singing the psalm that paraphrased these words of Moses. Then Moses and Aaron follow the ark, and the trumpets blow an alarm, and Judah, the vanguard, set forth with that part encamped on the east, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun with an army of 186,400 men. As soon as that vast body was in motion, the Gershonites follow with the curtains of the tent and the Merarites with the heavy fixtures. Then the trumpets blow a second alarm and those encamped on the south side, Reuben, Simeon, and Gad, move forward with an army of 151,450 men. Right after them the Kohathites follow with the holy things, and Eleazar, lthamar, the sons of Aaron, led. Then follows the third trumpet alarm and the crowd on the west moves off, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin, with a total of 108,600 men. Now, isn't that organization? Did anybody ever see better organization?


Now I shall tell you how they stop. They never knew when or where they would stop. They moved as long as the ark moved. God is the captain of this expedition. Whenever that cloud stops, instantly those men carrying the ark put it down under the cloud) but the cloud is away up in the air and the ark is covered. Moses and Aaron stop. Then Judah takes his position to the east and the Gershonites and Meraritea come up with their curtains and heavy parts of the tent and immediately lay off the court, put up the poles and hang the curtains and veil and nobody has ever seen the sacred things. Then there marches up Reuben's corps and he camps on the south, and with him come the Kohathites and they walk up and put down the altar of burnt offerings, then the laver, and going into the holy place put down the altar of incense, the table of shewbread and the candlestick. Now everything is in its place. Aaron alone goes into the holy of holies to uncover the ark. Then Dan comes up and goes into camp on the north, and the tribes descended from Rachel come up and take their position on the west. Then the cloud comes down and as it settles Moses says these words: "Return, 0 Jehovah, come into the ten thousands of thousands of Israel." Now, what follows? The evening sacrifice. That order applies to every day's march. They are now going to set out on a three days' journey, stopping only at night. They are going north over a most terrible country, which Moses calls the great and horrible wilderness.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Where do you find the itinerary from Egypt to Sinai?

 

2. What are the date and event of the closing of the book of Exodus?

 

3. What are the events of the next twelve days?

 

4. What, then, on the fourteenth day?

 

5. What are the next sixteen days?

 

6. Give the law of restitution in the case of trespass.

 

7. In general terms describe the trial with jealousy.

 

8. Give the law of the Nazarite.

 

9. Give the high priest's benediction.

 

10. To what were the first nineteen days of the second month devoted?

 

11. What are the terminal dates of this section?

 

12. Give particulars and result of first numbering.

 

13. Give again the order of their encampment.

 

14. Why were the Levites exempted from secular and war service and tribal inheritance and appointed to religious service?

 

15. Explain the difference of 300 found in the census of Levi.

 

16. Explain fully the exchange of the male Levites for the firstborn of Israel.

 

17. What is the special charge of all Levites, by families in marching and camping and their order of encampment?

 

18. Why a second census of male Levites? Give particulars.

 

19. What were the signals for marching and camping? Describe each.

 

20. Give a digest of the order of marching,

 

21. What General adopted the psalm based upon Moses' words in Numbers 10:35, as his psalm and what is the psalm?

 

22. Give in detail how they stopped.

 

23. Hobab, who? His service? The promised blessing?

 

24. What great pulpit theme in this connection? Note.– Keep your chronological analysis before you and read all references.

 

 

IV

 

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FROM SINAI TO KADESH-BARNEA Number 11:1 to 12:16

 


In this chapter we cover only two chapters of Numbers (11-12) the section of the outline from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea. When they had finished their preparation, the objective point from Sinai was Kadesh, a distance of 150 or 200 miles, but for such a big crowd, eleven days' journey (Deut. 1:2). But that eleven days does not cover all the time, since they stopped a long time at two places at least. We take up, then, the question of time. After three days they reached Kibroth, where they stopped thirty days. After they left Kibroth, their next point was Hazeroth, where they stopped seven days. So you have forty days covered by this section. In order to get that time you have to compare a great many dates, which I have carefully done. This lesson tells about the first three marching days to Kibroth but does not give the time from Kibroth to Hazeroth, but Deuteronomy 1:2, gives us the eleven days, and so the time must have been eight days. I shall give you the great events that occurred in these forty-eight days. At the beginning of the next chapter, I shall give you some special explanations about Kadesh-barnea. In getting to Kadesh-barnea, three great sins were committed, culminating in a greater sin at Kadesh-barnea, and the one at Kadesh, which we shall not discuss in this chapter, was the second breach of the covenant.


The first sin occurs on that three days' march from Sinai through that great and terrible wilderness. The people murmured, speaking evil in the ears of Jehovah. It was a complaint against God himself on account of their suffering. A man by himself would suffer, but moving three millions of people with their cattle was much more difficult. So they murmured against God and the fire of Jehovah burned among them and devoured them in the uttermost part of the camp. Some have supposed that the fire was lightning. But they have very little lightning in that country. I think it was a fire that went out from the presence of the Lord. So there is the first sin and the first punishment. "And the people cried unto Moses and Moses prayed unto Jehovah and the fire abated." So this punishment was stayed at the intervention of Moses, their great mediator. What memorial was there of that sin and punishment? "And the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of Jehovah burned among them." That occurred on some one of these three days.


The second sin we find recorded in 11:3-34. It did not commence with the pure Israelites but with the mixed multitude that followed them from Egypt, not circumcised and not embodied in the covenant. The sin consisted of lusting exceedingly, that is, for a change of food. But that sin went over the Israelites and they wept and said, "Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish we had in Egypt," and thus they turned a long look back to the country from which they had come: "Our soul is dried away and there is nothing at all save this manna to look up." That was utter distaste for the food God provided and a rebellious longing for the food of their bondage. In other words, they would rather have fish out of the Nile and vegetables from its banks and remain in bondage than to live on manna and go to the Promised Land. They put their appetites above the relationship with God. You have here a description of manna which you can read. It looked like coriander seed; they gathered it and ground it in mills or beat it in mortars and it had the taste of fresh olive oil. Moses heard the people weeping, every man at the door of his tent, because of short rations in God's service.


I have been on forced marches with only meal made up with a little salt and burned at the top and bottom and raw inside and in the beat of the summer it would sour in two hours, and I have marched and lived on that for three days. What strange things there are in this world to cry about! Moses said to Jehovah, "Wherefore hast thou dealt ill with thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?" No doubt he was tired of his job. I have known little children to cry for something to eat. "I am not able to bear all this people alone. Kill me, I pray thee, and let me not see my wretchedness." Moses was a very meek and patient man but two or three times he felt like throwing up his job. The Lord loved Moses and gave a remedy for the trouble, viz: the distribution of labor.


We had a case like this before when Jethro came to Moses and Moses was acting as justice of the peace, county judge, district judge and judge of all the supreme court for all the people. At Jethro's advice there was a division of the judicial Work, but this is a different thing. This is said to be the foundation of the Sanhedrin. Seventy men were appointed for administrative work and notified when to come to be qualified and all of them came but two. When God sent the qualifying power of the Spirit on those that stayed in the camp, as well as on those that went up, that stirred up Joshua a little. He was very jealous for Moses and loved Moses very much. He says, "My lord Moses, here are these two men that did not come up and they are prophesying in the camp. They ought to be made to go back and go through the regular order." Moses replied that he had so many big things that troubled him that little things like that did not bother him a bit. He wished all God's people could prophesy, whether formally or informally.


That settled the matter from the standpoint of Moses, but it did not give the people what they wanted to eat. God tells them to sanctify themselves against the next day and they shall have flesh. Now comes a doubt in the mind of Moses – and this is a very important scripture (v. 21) : "And Moses said, The people among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month." Does that mean that flocks and herds shall be slain for them or that fish shall be gathered? But the Lord said, "Is Jehovah's hand waxed short?"


If you preach on that subject of trusting God, there are four or five other scriptures you should use in connection. These people said, "We take this long journey, what if our children get sick and our old people feeble?" God said, "There will not be a sick or feeble one. Shoes wear out, but these shoes will wear forty years and the clothes, and I will give you a brilliant illumination by night and a cloud to shelter you in the day time." The whole thing is a standing miracle. It was just as easy for God to feed those three million people as it was for Jesus to take five loaves and two fishes and feed five thousand. Another case in history is the case of Elisha, the prophet, who said that at a certain hour the best flour should be sold cheap in a city where the people were besieged and starving. Then Abraham staggered not in unbelief when he considered that the thing promised was physically impossible. I never shall forget bow the old moderator of the Waco association said to his wife when he was dying, "When I am gone you may have a hard time, but don't you be one of these complaining women." Many a time have I talked to Mrs. Riddle about that and each time she says she is trying to live as her husband told her, and she has not joined the whining column yet.


Now, God gave these people flesh in anger as a punishment for their lack of faith. He just covered them with quails and told them they should eat that food for thirty days. "While it is in your mouth, it will make you sick and the plague shall strike you." The punishment of the second sin was loathsome satiety and was visited with a plague. On this passage is built the statement that no man can eat quail a day for thirty days (v. 33). "While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the people, and Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague. And the name of the place was called Kibrothhattaavah, because there they buried the people that lusted." The third sin came in a higher quarter. The sinners were Miriam and Aaron, brother and sister of Moses. You should read Dr. Wilkinson's poem describing this rebellion as coming on for a long time through jealousy. The question in their minds was this: "Hath Jehovah indeed spoken only with Moses? Hath he not also spoken to us?" Miriam says, "I remember I watched over this fellow when he was in the ark of the bulrushes. The spirit of prophecy rests on me. Has not the Lord spoken to us?"


What was the occasion of this sin? The first verse says that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married. Was this Cushite woman Zipporah, his first wife, or did he here in the wilderness marry again? It had been a long time since he and Zipporah married. He was a little over forty years old and forty years more had passed before he had taken charge of this people. Many commentators suppose that, as Zipporah was a Midianite and a descendant of Abraham, she must in this time have died and Moses married a descendant of Ham. Gush in the Bible means Ethiopia. But Moses had never been to Ethiopia except when he waged a campaign there, and if he married there that would make her the first wife and Zipporah the second. But there was a part of Arabia called Cush and that land of the Cushites included a part of the territory occupied by the Midianites. So that the Cushite woman was undoubtedly his wife, Zipporah. There is not a scintilla of evidence that Moses ever married again. And so Aaron and Miriam had never been satisfied with his marriage with Zipporah.


Then the question comes up, Was it lawful for a Hebrew to marry a Midianite? It was, because the Midianites were descendants of Abraham, and Moses married among his own people, not in the chosen line, but four or five scriptures can be shown to prove that certain marriages were lawful and Moses was violating no law. This shows how long some people can carry a grudge before they blow things up about it. They had been carrying this grudge forty years. But the real grudge was the supremacy of Moses in the camp and they were trying to put it upon some pretext.


"And Jehovah heard it." What a text! "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth." God commanded all the parties to appear before him and he gave his decision squarely in the favor of Moses, and Miriam, who was the instigator, was punished with leprosy, and Aaron begged Moses to intervene, and he prayed to God and she was healed, but God demanded that she stay outside the camp for seven days and that is why they had to stop at that place seven days.


Those are the three sins and the three punishments.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. How far from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea?

 

2. How long were the children of Israel on the way? Give reason for your answer.

 

3. What was the character of the way?

 

4. How many stops on the way? Name them.

 

5. What three great sins were committed on the way, and where?

 

6. What was the first sin, its punishment, how stayed and its memorial?

 

7. The second sin – with whom commenced, consisted of what, and what was their real sin?

 

8. Give a description of the manna, and how prepared for food.

 

9. Describe the displeasure of Moses and his appeal to Jehovah.

 

10. What remedy or provision did Jehovah make for the relief of Moses?

 

11. Give the case of Eldad and Medad, and what was the lesson?

 

12. How did this affect Joshua, and Moses' reply?

 

13. What question did Moses raise concerning their supply of food, and God’s reply?

 

14 How did God punish this sin, and what is the origin of the saying, '"No man can eat a quail a day for thirty days consecutively “?

 

15. What was the memorial of this sin?

 

16 The third sin – who were the sinners, the cause, the occasion, who this Cushite woman, the real sin and how long developing?

 

17. Did Moses violate God's law of marriage in taking this Cushite woman? Give reason for your answer.

 

18. How was Moses vindicated and the sinners punished?

 

19.How long did they stay here, what was the next objective point in their journey and the time required to reach it? Note – Study your chronological analysis closely, looking up all references.

 

 

V

 

(Return to Contents)

 

EVENTS AT KADESH-BARNEA Numbers 13-15


Kadesh-barnea is the most noted place, except Sinai and in some respects not even excepting that, during the whole of the forty years from Egypt to the Holy Land. In Genesis 14 in the account of the march of Chedorlaorner, it is stated that he passed on the east side of the Jordan and came down nearly to Sinai and then turned north until he reached Enmishpat, that was Kadesh, and means the foundation of judgment. Moses, writing much later, gives it the name that it had acquired from the transactions of this passage. The real name of the place is Rithmah, as you will find in the enumeration given of the stopping places later in this book. Generally speaking, it was in the wilderness of Paran. Specially speaking, it was in the wilderness of Zin. You have the wilderness of Paran mentioned in this passage, a little later, Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran, and still later, Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. All these names refer to the same place. In the last chapter I told you how they got from Mount Sinai to the wilderness of Paran, or the wilderness of Zin. See the magnificent argument on the location of this place, as set forth in Trumbull's ''Kadesh-Barnea." The time of this chapter is the summer of the second year of the Exodus. The text states that it was the time of the first ripe grapes, about the first of July. The great transaction that took place here was the sending out of the spies to view the Promised Land.


The first point in connection with the sending out of these spies is found in Deuteronomy 1:22, which tells that the original suggestion to send out the spies came from the people. Numbers tells us that God commanded it to be done. But the original suggestion came from the people, who did not trust God, and did not want to move until they knew something about where they were going. So God permitted them to have their way, and he commands Moses to send out the spies. That delayed matters for forty days, the time while the spies were gone.


There were twelve spies, one from each tribe. They were prominent men, famous in the history of the people. They were to go through the south country where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived. They were to start right up the mountains surrounding Kadesh-barnea, which was in a valley, and were to make a straight march to the north to the old town of Hebron.


What commission was given to these twelve men? "See the land, what it is; and the people that dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds; and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes" (Num. 13:18-20). How much of the country were they to examine? (v. 21). They were to go to Hamath, which is the most northern part of the Holy Land. My son, Harvey, once visited that place and wrote me a very fine description of Hamath. They were to examine the highlands and the lowlands, and an expedition of that extent would take forty days. As they came back they stopped at Eshcol. By that time it was in August and the grapes were full ripe. They brought back one bunch so large that two men had to carry it on a pole between them. Brother Penn, in his preaching, tells us that the cluster of grapes from Eshcol brought back from the Promised Land before they had reached it, has a spiritual signification; that here on earth, before the Christian gets to the Promised Land, God gives him an earnest of the inheritance that he ia to receive. Sometimes in a mighty revival we get a taste of the grapes from Eshcol.


They have fully complied with their duty, and when they come to report, there is a majority and a minority report. The two reports do not differ on the first point. All agree that it is a glorious land, flowing with milk and honey, in every respect what God had promised them. "Howbeit the people that dwell therein are strong and the cities are fortified and very great." The people were very much agitated at that part of the report, and that there were great giants there. "And Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are able to overcome it." That is a great text. I heard a missionary take that for a text when I was a boy and it is a good mission text now. Now we come to the divergence. Ten of these men squarely dissented: (1) "We are not able to go up against them, for they are stronger than we are"; (2) An evil report of the land: "It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof"; (3) "The men are of great stature, the Nephilim. We were in our own sight and in their sight as grasshoppers." Now) whenever any man in the world conceives himself to be a grasshopper, he is whipped inside and out. If you want to take two great texts and put one against the other, take those divergent opinions about their ability to possess the land. Now we have come to what is called the second great breach of the covenant. The first breach was when they worshiped the golden calf. This is a great rebellion. The people lifted up their voice and wept that night. Think of two or three million people sitting up all night and crying! All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron: "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt, or would that we had died in this wilderness. Wherefore doth Jehovah bring us unto this land to fall by the sword?" There they murmur against God: "Our women and our little ones will be & prey." They put it off on the women and children. "We would be plucky enough if we were by ourselves." Many a time have I heard that expedient fall from men's lips. I once heard a man say that he did not want to see a show but that he went to take the women and children.


Now we come to the crowning act: "And they said one to another, Let us make a captain and return into Egypt." That meant to turn their backs upon the pillar of fire and the cloud and the tabernacle and all their glorious history and from the divinely appointed leaders, Moses and Aaron, to renounce the government of God, and go back into the bondage from which they had been delivered. When they said that, Moses and Aaron fell on their faces, for they knew that an awful sin had been committed. While Moses and Aaron are lying on their faces, see the heroic deed of Joshua and Caleb: "And Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, who were of them that spied out the land, rent their clothes; and they spake unto the children of Israel saying, The land which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land. If Jehovah delight in us, then he will bring us unto this land) and give it unto us, a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not against Jehovah, neither fear ye the people of the land." There are Moses and Aaron on their faces, and here are Joshua and Caleb with their clothes rent, in the presence of the blasphemers, making a final plea before the bolt of divine judgment falls on them. "But all the congregation bade stone them with stones." "Kill the men that tell us the truth." Now the cloud comes down. It was up in the air. The cloud descended upon the ark of the tabernacle as an indication that the Lord God Almighty was about to speak: "How long will this people despise me?" You remember the first oration of Cicero against Catiline: "How long, 0 Catiline, will you abuse our patience?" "How long will they not believe in me for all the signs which I have wrought among them? I will smite them with pestilence and disinherit them." That shows the breach of the covenant. "I will make of thee a nation greater and mightier than they. I am going to take a nation into the promised land, but I will blot the whole of them out."


Now comes grace. You will see what Moses says to God. He is the mediator and type of the Saviour: "And Moses said unto Jehovah, Then the Egyptians will 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. They have heard that thou, Jehovah, art in the midst of this people; for thou, Jehovah, art seen face to face, and thy cloud standeth over them, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, and thou goest before them. Now if thou shalt kill this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because Jehovah was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore hath he slain them in the wilderness. And now, I pray thee, let the power of the Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, Jehovah is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. Pardon, I pray thee, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of thy lovingkindness, and according as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now." I do know that he was a great man. God instantly answers that he will do just what Moses asks:


"Now, I will pardon, but I will pardon in accordance with my nature, which says, I will not acquit the guilty. This sin shall rest on them, but I won't blot the whole nation out." The women and the little children had nothing to do with it, but every grown man that participated in it is cut off from the Promised Land. A year for a day. As it took forty days to view the land, their pilgrimage from Egypt to Canaan shall be forty years. The whole of it could be made in a rapid journey of a few days. "Every one of them shall die and their carcasses shall fall in this wilderness and their bones shall whiten. But I will take care of the children and bring them into the Promised Land. As I live, saith Jehovah, Surely as you have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you." He is giving oath. Joshua and Caleb are the only ones allowed to live. Now the Lord expostulates directly with Moses and Aaron, telling them how they shall carry out this sentence. Moses announced the sentence, that God considered the covenant broken, and that they were disinherited, but that pardon was extended for all under twenty years, but that the rest of them should perish. They say, "But here we are now and we will go up." Moses says, "But the cloud won't lead and the ark won't go before you. If you go, you will go as an uncovenanted people and without God among you." But they did go and they got an awful drubbing from their enemies.


That is the great rebellion and it commands the careful study of every Bible student.


Now comes chapter 15 with some hopeful legislation: "When ye come into the land of your habitation." That precedes every act. "I have just announced that the men over twenty years old will die. Lest the awful sentence cause the hearts of the rest of you to despair, I will instantly give you some legislation that will cheer you and cause you to hope." There is something in this legislation that I want to call your attention to: "If a person sin unwittingly, the priest shall make atonement for that soul. But the soul that doeth aught with a high hand, whether he be home-born or a sojourner, the same blasphemeth Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of Jehovah, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." There is the unpardonable sin. Every man from twenty years old and upward with the exception of Caleb and Joshua had committed that sin. That is what is meant by sinning with a high hand.


A man was gathering sticks on the sabbath day. He violated one of the Ten Commandments and was stoned to death.


Finally they were commanded to make fringes on the border of their garments, so that when they looked at the blue fringe, they would remember their sin and God's penalty.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Kadesh-barnea – what back-reference, its meaning, how came it to be called Kadesh, real name, definite location and what work commended?

 

2. The date of this lesson?

 

3. The spies – Who suggested sending them, how a lack of faith, how long gone, how many, their commission, how much country to examine, what evidence did they bring as to the fruit of the land, and its spiritual signification?

 

4. Their report – How agreed, how disagreed, the majority report, the minority, a missionary text, fate of the ten cowards and the good destiny of the two faithful ones?

 

5. The second great breach of the covenant – What the first, this one how against God, how against the women and children, the crowning act and its meaning, action of Moses and Aaron, of Joshua and Caleb, of the congregation, of the cloud?

 

6. What Jehovah's communication to Moses and what does it show? Moses' reply and prayer?

 

7. What was Jehovah's oath and answer to Moses?

 

8. Upon the announcement of their fate by Moses what did the people do and the result?

 

9. What hope does Jehovah hold out to those now under twenty years of age?

 

10. Give the reference to the unpardonable sin here, and who had committed it?

 

11. What instance of the violation of one of the Ten Commandments in this connection?

 

12. What was the law of fringes?

 

 

VI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

AFTERMATH OF THE BREACH OF THE COVENANT AT KADESH-BARNEA Numbers 16-19

 


In the last chapter I discussed Kadesh-barnea and the great breach of the covenant that took place there. The section from chapters 16-19 inclusive gives us the aftermath of that breach, all taking place at Kadesh-barnea before they set out on their wilderness wanderings for more than thirty-eight years.


The first case that we have before us is the great revolt against God, Moses, and Aaron. The parties to this revolt are Korah and a number of Levites. The issue that they made was that they were entitled not only to the honor of being Levites but to the priesthood which God had said belonged to Aaron's family alone. They combined with three famous Reubenites whose camp was next to them. These Reubenites had an entirely different grievance, viz.: That Moses had taken them out of the land flowing with milk and honey and had not brought them into a promised land, and when Moses summoned them to appear, they refused positively to come. The third element of this great triple conspiracy consisted of 250 of the princes of Israel. These 250 claimed that they had as much right to the priestly functions as the tribe of Levi and proved themselves with brazen censers and demanded that they, as heads of tribes, should minister before God. Now these three elements united and said to Moses and Aaron, "You take too much to yourselves; all the Lord's people are holy." And Moses proposed a test that God should determine between them, and commanded the 250 princes who wanted to exercise the Levitical and priestly functions to fill their censers with incense and come before the Lord to see what the Lord would do. And he commanded the people on the next day to separate themselves from Korah, Dathan and Abiram. When the people had separated themselves from these leaders, he said, "The test is this: If these men die a natural death, God has not sent me, but if an earthquake opens its mouth and swallows them up alive in the sight of all the people, that is proof that God has sent me and not them." And instantly the earth yawned and in the sight of all the people, they went down. The test for the 250 princes of Israel was that a fire would go out from God and destroy them, which it did.


But this, instead of convincing the people, made the rebellion spread all over the camp. They did not like that thirty-eight years of wandering, and the entire congregation of Israel charged Moses with killing the people of the Lord. Immediately Moses commanded Aaron to light a censer and move among the people, because a plague from God was going out, and by the time Aaron could make intercession, moving among the stricken people with that censer, over 14,000 of them had died of the plague. Keep before your eyes the elements of this conspiracy and the three proofs from God.


The result of this was that perfect despair came to the people. It is expressed at the end of the seventeenth chapter: "And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Every one that cometh near, that cometh near unto the tabernacle of Jehovah, dieth; shall we perish, all of us?" Moses now determined, upon another sign, and another tie that would prevent the people from going to pieces in their despair. He commanded each tribe to bring a rod, and Aaron to bring a rod, and they put the thirteen rods before the Lord on the ark and let God show them by an unmistakable miracle who was to retain the leadership of the people as to the priestly function. The result was that Aaron's rod budded, blossomed and bore almonds in one night and the others remained as they were. God then commanded that the rod with those full-grown almonds should be put in the ark as a lasting memorial of his decision. We do not know how long that rod stayed there, but when the ark was opened in the days of Solomon, the rod was not there. It was probably taken out when the ark was captured by the Philistines.


Chapter 18 is devoted to a provision for the Levites. Every word of that chapter is based upon this idea: The Levites shall have no inheritance in the land. They belong to God. They shall not depend for their support upon secular work of any kind. Provision for their food is set forth in certain offerings here mentioned. Their permanent support was the tithe, one-tenth of all products being devoted to the Levites.


Chapter 19 closes this incident. Part of it is a new provision for cleansing away the defilement of sin. You see there is a guilt of sin, a bondage of sin and there is a defilement of sin. The guilt of sin is the condemnation that comes upon the sinner because he has sinned. The bondage of sin is the evil nature that constantly prompts him to sin. The defilement of sin is quite a different thing from either of the others. To show you the difference, let us suppose a man to be justified. That would take away the guilt of sin, but if salvation stops there, he would have in him an evil nature that would prompt him to sin and he would have the defilement that comes from sin. Suppose that you not only justify him, but that you also regenerate him. Give him an impulse that prompts to good and yet the defilement of sin will cling to him, and he would be in a pitiable condition, like the pure mind of a modest woman, compelled to live in constant touch with shameful things. It would be hell to her.


No author has more powerfully set forth that thought than Eugene Sue in his Mysteries of Paris. The daughter of a great prince of Germany had been stolen when she was a baby and had been reared in the slums of Paris and all her life had known only the vile defilement of crime. Her father found her, and not having been touched with the defilement of sin, she became one of the most beautiful princesses of Europe, but she died of a broken heart because she never could forget the scenes through which she had passed as a girl.


Now, chapter 19 is to make a great provision for cleansing from a defilement of sin. More than once have I told you that in regeneration there are two constituent elements, one a change of the carnal mind, the imparting of a new nature; and second, the cleansing of the defilement of sin. And it takes these two to make regeneration. Here you come to the original, typical provision for cleansing from defilement. Hence the importance of this chapter. The provision was that a red heifer should be taken. Not a white hair must be on her. And she should be taken outside the camp and put to death, and burned with red cedar wood, the red signifying blood, while this burning went on, threads of scarlet cloth should be thrown into the fire, scarlet signifying blood. When she was burned the ashes should be gathered up and put in a clean place so as to provide permanent cleansing. In order to liquefy these ashes and keep them they were to be mixed with rain water, making a liquid lye and this was to be kept on hand all the time. Then a bunch of hyssop, whose wood is red, was to be used for sprinkling this lye.


When we come to the prophecies, say 36, you have the combination of the cleansing with the water of purification, typifying blood, combined with a changing of the nature. There God says, "I will gather you from all countries where you have been scattered and I will sprinkle the water of purification upon you and you shall be clean." That typified the application of the blood of Christ. "Then I will take away your stony heart and give you a heart of flesh and I will put my spirit within you." That is the other part of regeneration. When you come to the symbolic interpretation of Hebrews 9, we have this language: "If the ashes of the heifer sanctified to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience from evil works to serve the living God?"


In a debate with a Methodist preacher upon that subject, I gave this challenge: "In the Bible from Genesis to Revelation no man can find where God ever commanded a prophet, priest, or preacher to sprinkle, or to pour, just water on man, beast or thing as a moral, ceremonial, or religious rite." I gave them a day to find a passage and they popped up all over the house and said they could find a lot of them. It brought about the greatest amazement that ever took place in their community. They went to their concordance for "sprinkle" and "pour." Next day a man came up and said, "I have found it in Ezekiel 36, 1 will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean.' " I replied, First, that sprinkling, whatever it is, God does it, and he does not command man to do it. Second, that was not just water, but that was the water of purification which was made out of the ashes of the red heifer which typified the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which is applied by the Holy Spirit when a man believes on Jesus Christ. A man is not only justified when he believes, but he is also cleansed. He is not only cleansed but he is regenerated." I then traced the thing all through the Bible. Another man arose and quoted what John has to say, "I indeed baptize you with water." I said in reply, "Baptize does not mean to sprinkle or pour." But he said, "It says 'with.' " And I replied, "But that is not the translation of the Greek word. The Greek word is en and that means 'in.' " It expresses nothing beyond the means or instrument when it is translated 'with.' Finally, Baptists baptize with water, not with oil, not with sand, and they use a great deal more of it than you do."


Now, don't forget the deep and solemn significance of Numbers 19, that it was a type of that part of regeneration which accomplished the cleansing away of the defilement of sin by the application of the blood of Christ to the believer. Nineteen preachers out of twenty, in discussing regeneration, confine themselves merely to the change of nature.


That closes up the case entirely at Kadesh-barnea, and the next division of the book of Numbers covers thirty-eight years, the great period of silence the scriptural references to which are few and far between: (1) In this book we have the itinerary only, (33:19-49); (2) They did not circumcise their children, (Josh. 5:5-6); (3) They did not offer sacrifices at the tent, (Jer. 7:22; Amos 5:25-26); (4) They worshiped idols, (Acts 7:43) ; (5.) All the generation from 20 years old up died in the wilderness, (I Cor. 10:5). That period is typical. When Jesus Christ established his church, there was the glorious missionary period of the apostolic days for more than two centuries and then the church went into the wilderness. That is what we are told in the book of Revelation, and no man has been able to put the surveyor's chain over that period of time in that wilderness.


It baffles all the students of church history. Some of them will tell you that there was no church during that time. But there was a church then, as there was a church in the antitype, and it did not perish. To illustrate: Imagine a long, zigzag river, running into a dark mountain where it is hidden from human sight. Suppose you drop a chip in the river on the upper side of the mountain, and after a while down yonder a hundred miles on the other side you see the same chip come out. You know then that the path of its motion has been continuous. In speaking about the succession of the church of Jesus Christ during the Dark Ages, that is my description of it. God in his mercy has hidden the steps of that period, just as he hides it here.


Chapter 20 is thirty-eight years from the time of chapter 19. They are back at Kadesh-barnea now, in the first month of the fortieth year. Heretofore all my discussions on the book of Numbers have been confined to the second year, commencing with the setting up of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. From chapter 20 to the end of Numbers is ten months' time, and Deuteronomy covers the other two months, necessary to complete the forty years to the time they step down into the water to cross the Jordan River.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Give an account of Korah's revolt against God, Moses, and Aaron, the parties, the issue, who combined with them, their grievance, Moses' challenge and result, the third element of the conspiracy, their issue, their demand, the charge of all the elements combined, Moses' proposed test, the result, and the memorial of this sin.

 

2. What effect upon the congregation of the Children of Israel, the punishment, and how stayed?

 

3. State clearly the three elements of this conspiracy and the three proofs from God.

 

4. Give the incidents of Aaron's rod, its purpose and history.

 

5. To what is the 18th chapter devoted, and upon what idea based?

 

6. What is the water of purification, and how prepared?

 

7. Distinguish between the guilt of sin, the bondage of sin. and the defilement of sin.

 

8. Regeneration consists of what, and what element of regeneration is typified by this water of purification? Give full explanation, using the following scriptures: Psalm 51:2; Ezekiel 36:25; Zechariah 13:1; John 3:5; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:13. 9. The long period of silent wandering is typical of what?

 

 

VII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

FROM KADESH-BARNEA TO MOAB Numbers 20-22, 33:37-49; Deuteronomy 2:1 to 3:11

 


Historically chapters 21-22 of this book will carry you to the end of the book, describing the journey from Kadesh to the Jordan. But it leaves out the great incident about Balaam which occupies several chapters. In connection with chapters 20-22 of Numbers, study the following scriptures: Numbers 33:37-49 the itinerary chapter commencing at v. 37 and going to v. 49, Deuteronomy 2:1 to 3:11. In many respects those two chapters give a more intelligent statement than this section in Numbers.


The great incidents of this section are the assembling at Kadesh in the fortieth year, the death of Miriam, the sin of Moses that excluded him from the Promised Land, the fight waged on them by Arad the Canaanite, the death of Aaron at Mount Hor, the sin of the people where they were punished by fiery serpents and saved by the brazen serpent, the digging of a well at another station by the princes of Israel using their sticks, and a most beautiful spring bubbling up, a song on that water as it bubbled up recorded in the old book of the Wars of Jehovah which is referred to, and the war with Sihon and Og.


It is the fortieth year and the first month of that year that they are reassembled by divine command at Kadesh-barnea. Before I proceed with this discussion, I want us to take a backward glance at that thirty-eight years of silence. I told you that in that thirty-eight years they did not keep up the ordinance of circumcision. In the book of Joshua, as soon as they passed the river Jordan, the covenant was renewed and Joshua circumcised all of those who had not been circumcised in the wilderness. From Amos 5 and Acts 7, we learn that all that thirty-eight years they had made no sacrifices. We learn that in that time they worshiped idols. They were under the curse of God, and he did not count the time; there was total suspension of the covenant. But during that time the Levites stayed around the ark of the covenant and kept up worship. The places mentioned in Numbers 33 constitute a record of the stopping places of the ark as they moved it.


The command goes out that since the penalty is nearly paid – and we will find Just where it stops – they must reassemble at the place where they broke the covenant. Miriam, who had lived through that period of thirty-eight years dies just when she gets back to the place where she had committed her sin. She is buried and that is the end of Miriam. Those people come back there sore, although it is a new generation, and the first thing they did was to commit another sin. The water at Kadesh-barnea was not sufficient for three millions of people, and striking it at a dry time, they began to make their old complaints. Moses takes the case to God and God commands him to gather them together in a great congregation, and in their sight, with staff in hand, the staff with which he had wrought all the miracles of the past years, to speak to the rock and the water would flow out and God would begin again to supply the people. Moses was very mad. He had been a meek and patient man. He had had charge of that people and had their burden on his shoulders for thirty-nine years. The description of the sin that he committed is expressed in the following scriptures: Num. 20:10-11; 27:14; Deut. 1:37; 3:26-27; Psalm 106:33.


One of the questions on Numbers will be for you to analyze the sin of Moses, and as I am not going to give you that analysis, it is very important that you remember those passages of Scripture. Now, God told Moses to speak to the rock, but, instead of speaking, Moses struck the rock. The other time God had commanded him to strike the rock, which refers, first, to the fact that Christ must be smitten to supply the needs of his people. But the next time he must not be smitten. You must speak, and by petition draw the supplies of a Christian. But Moses struck twice. He was very mad and seemed to attribute the power to himself. He did not sanctify God in this matter, but sanctified himself. The psalmist says that the sin of the people brought ill to Moses and caused him to speak unadvisedly with his lips. Just before his death, recorded in Deuteronomy, Moses says, "For your sake I was led into this sin which kept me from entering the Holy Land which you are to enter."


The next question in order of time is to turn to chapter 21 and read three verses which tell us about the Canaanite king, Arad. This king thought that they were going to repeat their old experiment of trying to enter the Promised Land on the south, and he came out and fought them at the very place where they had been defeated before, but this time he got an awful thrashing. He was outlawed and that ban of outlawry was fulfilled in the days of Joshua.


While at Kadesh, Moses sent messengers to two nations. He wanted to get around on the Jordan River side without having to make a long circuit. There were only two ways, one through the Amorite country and the other by going through the Edom country. Moses sent a very respectful communication to the king of Edom, calling him Brother Edom, or Esau, and saying, "Your brother Jacob desires to pass through your country to get to his own land, and we will promise you to stick to the highways and not scatter about, and we will take nothing without paying your own price for it." We learn from Deuteronomy that Moses sent a similar message to Moab, the descendants of Lot, as he would have to go through the Mount Seir country first and Moab next. And he said to the Moabites, "The descendants of Abraham would say to the descendants of Lot, Let your cousins pass through your country." But as far as Edom was concerned, they assembled an army to block the way.


What follows next? Kadesh-barnea is Just south of Hebron. The children of Israel are at Kadesh and they want to get around on the Jordan side through Edom and Moab, their kinsfolk. If Moab and Edom refuse, they have to make a long circuit around. Moab and Edom did refuse and God would not permit them to force their way through by war, because they are kinspeople. So they have to move south through the Arabah, that great valley through which the Jordan doubtless used to flow. When they stopped at Mount Hor in the edge of the country, Aaron dies. The account is very piteous. In the main, he has been a remarkably good man. He has committed some sins. He joined Moses in the sin which excluded him from the Promised Land. God commands Moses to take Aaron up on that bare mountain and to take his sons with him. They strip off the priestly robes and put them on Eleazar, who is to become high priest. And there Aaron dies. I have often thought about that lonely grave. There is a tradition about that mountain now. Almost any guide will volunteer to take you to Aaron's grave when you go there now.


Then they left Mount Hor and made a day's march or two to a place called Zaimona, going right down that dry Arabah. The people complained again, and God's punishment was to send fiery serpents among them. Once a little boy asked me to tell him a story about snakes. And I said, "Once upon a time there was a great camp of three million people in their tents in a dry valley, and they sinned against God, and in the night from every direction over the desert came snakes, great snakes with red splotches on them and much more deadly than rattlesnakes. And in the night whoever moved was bitten by the snakes. The children were crying out all night that they had been bitten by snakes, and the people died and kept dying, and the snakes kept biting, until finally God told the leader of that camp that if he would put brass into a furnace and mold a big snake and put it on a pole, that everybody who looked at it would be healed, and as the sun shone on that brazen serpent, it made it so very conspicuous that it could be seen all over that camp. A mother would hear about that brazen serpent and would say to her dying boy, all twisted with agony and pain, '0 son, I will turn you over so you can see. Now just look yonder at that brazen serpent,' and he would shut his eyes and say, ‘I will not look,' and then die. They would come to where a man was bitten, and find him cursing and swearing. They would all gather around him and his wife would say to him, '0 husband, here are your brothers and sisters and your friends and one of your children. They have all been bitten and they looked and lived. Will you not look and live too?' But he shuts his eyes and dies. 'But it came to pass whosoever looked was healed.' " And the little fellow was so well pleased with the story that he asked where I had read it and I told him in the Bible, the very last place he expected to find a good story.


Now, there was a converted Jew, Joseph Frey, who became a great expounder of the Old Testament types of Christ. He took this text in John, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life." Preachers should all get Joseph Frey's Old Testament Types. Fairbairn has a book on "Typology" but not so good a book as Frey's.


I am going to call your attention to a thought that you will find nowhere else in the world. You remember that scapegoat on the great day of atonement that was to be given to Azazel and to pass under the power of the evil spirit. So Jesus on the cross passed under the power of the evil spirit. Now, that type is here. This serpent represents Jesus lifted up on the cross and though the serpent bit him, he crushed the serpent's head.


When they get to Amah, 21:13, here you find the reference to that old book. "The Wars of Jehovah." "From thence they Journeyed to Beer." That is a very dry place. When God told Moses to supply the people with water, the princes digged in the ground with their staves and a fresh spring bubbled out. They come up now even with the mouth of the Jordan. Moses stands on the top of Mount Nebo and looks over the Promised Land.


Moses sent a messenger to the Amorites and they despised the messenger and prepared for war. But they are conquered and their country taken. Then they come to Bashan. Deuteronomy tells us how big Og, the king of the country, was. Counting a cubit as a foot and a half, his iron bedstead was thirteen and a half feet long, and I could easily lie down upon it full-length crosswise.


That finishes this section. What is left of the book is to pick up some incidents that occurred, particularly the incident of Balaam.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. The period of wandering – How long, their relation to the covenant, their worship, the Levites, God's mercies to them during this period and why?

 

2. When did they assemble back at Kadesh-barnea?

 

3. What noted person dies here?

 

4. What sin was committed here by the new generation and God's provision for their need?

 

5. Collate the scriptures on the sin of Moses and give the character of his sin.

 

6. Give account of the attack on Israel by the Canaanites; their doom

 

7. What effort did Moses make to go a direct route to the Jordan?

 

8. Trace their journey from Kadesh-barnea to Mount Hor. What noted person dies here, and who takes his place?

 

9. What is Israel's next sin? The punishment? What New Testament reference to the Brazen Serpent? In what particular is the Brazen Serpent a type of Christ?

 

10. What books commended on Old Testament types?

 

11. What lost book is here quoted from?

 

12. Recite the incident of the Well and the Song.

 

13. Give an account of the fall of Sihon and another song.

 

14. Give an account of the fall of Bashan.

 

 

VIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

BALAAM: HIS IMPORTANT PROPHECIES, HIS CHARACTER, AND HIS BIBLE HISTORY Numbers 32-24; SI.-8, 16; Deuteronomy 23:4-5; Joshua 13:22; 84:9-10; Micah 6:5; Nehemiah 13:2; Jude II; 2 Peter 2:15; Revelation 2:14

 


These scriptures give you a clue to both Balaam's history and character: Numbers 22-24; 31:8, and especially 31:16; Deuteronomy 23:4-5; Joshua 13:22; 24:9-10; Micah 6:5; Nehemiah 13:2; Jude II; 2 Peter 2:15; and, most important of all, Revelation 2:14. Anybody who attempts to discuss Balaam ought to be familiar with every one of these scriptures.


Who was Balaam? He was a descendant of Abraham, as much as the Israelites were. He was a Midianite and his home was near where the kinsmen of Abraham, Nahor and Laban, lived. They possessed from the days of Abraham a very considerable knowledge of the true God. He was not only a descendant of Abraham and possessed the knowledge of the true God through traditions handed down, as in the case of Job and Melchizedek, but he was a prophet of Jehovah. That is confirmed over and over again. Unfortunately he was also a soothsayer and a diviner, adding that himself to his prophetic office for the purpose of making money. People always approach soothsayers with fees.


His knowledge of the movements of the children of Israel could easily have been obtained and the book of Exodus expressly tells that that knowledge was diffused over the whole country. Such a poem as Jacob's dying blessing on his children would circulate all over the Semitic tribes, and such an administration as that of Joseph would become known over all the whole world, such displays of power as the miracles in Egypt, the deliverance at the Red Sea and the giving of the law right contiguous to the territory of Balaam's nation make it possible for him to learn all these mighty particulars. It is a great mistake to say that God held communication only with the descendants of Abraham. We see how he influenced people in Job's time and how he influenced Melchizedek, and there is one remarkable declaration made in one of the prophets that I have not time to discuss, though I expect to preach a sermon on it some day, in which God claims that he not only brought Israel out of Egypt but the Philistines out of Caphtor and all peoples from the places they occupied (Amos 9:7). We are apt to get a very narrow view of God's government of the human race when we attempt to confine it to the Jews only.


Next, we want to consider the sin of Balaam. First, it was from start to finish a sin against knowledge. He had great knowledge of Jehovah. It was a sin against revelation and a very vile sin in that it proceeded from his greed for money, loving the wages of unrighteousness. His sin reached its climax after he had failed to move Jehovah by divinations, and it was clear that Jehovah was determined to bless these people, when for a price paid in his hand. be vilely suggested a means by which the people could be turned from God and brought to punishment. That was about as iniquitous a thing as the purchase of the ballots in the late prohibition election in Waco, for the wages of unrighteousness. His counsel was (31:16) to seduce the people of Israel by bringing the Moabitish and Midianite evil women to tempt and get them through their lusts to attend idolatrous feasts.


In getting at the character of this man, we have fortunately some exceedingly valuable sermon literature. The greatest preachers of modern times have preached on Balaam, and in the cross lights of their sermons every young preacher ought to inform himself thoroughly on Balaam. The most famous one for quite a while was Bishop Butler's sermon. When I was a boy, everybody read that sermon, and, as I recall it, the object was to show the self-deception which persuaded Balaam in every case that the sin he committed could be brought within the rules of conscience and revelation, so that he could say something at every point to show that he stood right, while all the time he was going wrong.


Then the great sermon by Cardinal Newman: "The dark shadow cast over a noble course by standing always on the ladder of advancement and by the suspense of a worldly ambition never satisfied." He saw in Balaam one of the most remarkable men of the world, high up on the ladder and the way to the top perfectly open but shaded by the dark shadow of his sin. Then Dr. Arnold's sermon on Balaam, as I recall, the substance being the strange combination of the purest form of religious belief with action immeasurably below it. Next the great sermon by Spurgeon with seven texts. He takes the words in the Bible, "I have sinned," and Balaam is one of the seven men he discusses. Spurgeon preached Balaam as a double-minded man. He could see the right and yet his lower nature turned him constantly away from it, a struggle between the lower and higher nature. These four men were the greatest preachers in the world since Paul. I may modestly call attention to my own sermon on Balaam; that Balaam was not a double-minded man; that from the beginning this man had but one real mind, and that was greed and power, and he simply used the religious light as a stalking horse. No rebuff could stop him long. God might say, "You shall not go," and he would say, "Lord, hear me again and let me go." He might start and an angel would meet him and he might hear the rebuke of the dumb brute but he would still seek a way to bring about evil. I never saw a man with a mind more single than Balaam.


I want you to read about him in Keble's "Christian Year." Keble conceives of Balaam as standing on the top of a mountain that looked over all those countries he is going to prophesy about and used this language:


0 for a sculptor's hand,


That thou might'st take thy stand


Thy wild hair floating in the eastern breeze,


Thy tranc'd yet open gaze


Fix'd on the desert haze,


As one who deep in heaven some airy pageant aeea.


In outline dim and vast


Their fearful shadows cast


The giant forms of empires on their way


To ruin: one by one


They tower and they are gone,


Yet in the Prophet's soul the dreams of avarice stay.


That is a grand conception. If he just had the marble image of a man of that kind, before whose eyes, from his lofty mountain pedestal were sweeping the pageants of mighty empires and yet in whose eyes always stayed the dreams of avarice. The following has been sculptured on a rock:


No sun or star so bright


In all the world of light


That they should draw to Heaven his downward eye:


He hears th' Almighty's word,


He sees the Angel's sword,


Yet low upon the earth his heart and treasure lie.


That comes nearer giving a true picture of Balaam. That shows you a man so earth bound in his heart's desire, looking at low things and grovelling that no sun or star could lift his eye toward heaven. Not even God Almighty's word could make him look up, without coercion of the human will.


Now, you are to understand that the first two prophecies of Balaam came to him when he was trying to work divinations on God. In those two he obeys as mechanically as a hypnotized person obeys the will of the hypnotist. He simply speaks under the coercive power of God. In these first two prophecies God tells him what to say, as if a mightier hand than his had dipped the pen in ink and moved his hand to write those lines.


At the end of the second one when he saw no divination could possibly avail against those people, the other prophecies came from the fact that the Spirit of the Lord comes on him just like the Spirit came on Saul, the king of Israel, and he prophesied as a really inspired man. In the first prophecy he shows, first, a people that God has blessed and will not curse; second, he is made to say, "Let me die the death of the righteous and let my, last end – at death and judgment – be like his." That shows God's revelation to that people. The second prophecy shows why that is so: "God is not a man that he should repent." "It is not worth while to work any divination. He has marked out the future of this nation." Second, why is it that he will not regard iniquity in Jacob? For the purpose he has in view he will not impute their trespasses to them. The prophecy stops with this thought, that when you look at what this people have done and will do, you are not to say, "What Moses did, nor Joshua did, nor David," but you are to say, "What God hath wrought!"


The first time I ever heard Dr. Burleson address young preachers, and I was not even a Christian myself, he took that for his text. He commenced by saying, "That is a great theme for a preacher. Evidently these Jews had not accomplished all those things. They were continually rebelling and wanting to go back, and yet you see them come out of Egypt, cross the Sea, come to Sinai, organized, fed, clothed, the sun kept off by day and darkness by night, marvellous victories accomplished and you are to say, 'What God hath wrought!' "


When the spiritual power comes on him he begins to look beyond anything he has ever done yet, to messianic days. There are few prophecies in the Bible more far-reaching than this last prophecy of Balaam. When he says of the Messiah, "I shall see him but not now," it is a long way off. "My case is gone, but verily a star" – the symbol of the star and sceptre carried out the thought of the power of the Messiah. So much did that prophecy impress the world that those Wise Men who came right from Balaam's country when Jesus was born, remember this prophecy: "We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him."


He then looks all around and there are the nations before him from that mountain top, and he prophesies about Moab and Amalek and passes on beyond, approaching even to look to nations yet unborn. He looks to the Grecian Empire arising far away in the future, further than anybody but Daniel. He sees the ships of the Grecians coming and the destruction of Asshur and the destruction of Eber, his own people. Then we come to the antitypical references later.


If you want a comparison of this man, take Simon Magus who wanted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit so as to make money. That is even better than Judas, though Judas comes in. Judas had knowledge, was inspired, worked miracles, and yet Judas never saw the true kingdom of God in the spirit of holiness, and because he could not bring about the kingdom of which he would be treasurer for fifteen dollars he sold the Lord Jesus Christ. Those are the principal thoughts I wanted to add.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Who was Balaam?

 

2. How did he obtain his knowledge of God?

 

3. What was the sin of Balaam?

 

4. What was the climax of his sin?

 

5. What five sermons on Balaam are referred to? Give the line of thought in each.

 

6. Give Keble's conception of Balaam.

 

7. What was the testimony sculptured on a rock?

 

8. Now give your own estimate of the character of Balaam.

 

9. How do you account for the first two prophecies?

 

10. How do you account for the other two?

 

11. In the first prophecy what does he show, what is he made to say and what does that show?

 

12. Give a brief analysis of the second prophecy.

 

13. Of what does the third prophecy consist?

 

14. Give the items of the fourth prophecy.

 

15. How did his messianic prophecy impress the world?

 

16. When was this prophecy concerning Amalek fulfilled? Ana. In the days of Saul. (I Sam. 15).

 

17. Who was Asshur and what was his relation to the Kenites?

 

18. What reference here to the Grecians?

 

19. Who was Eber?

 

20. With what two New Testament characters may we compare?

 

 IX

 

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ISRAEL'S SIN AND PHINEHAS' ACT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND OTHER THINGS Numbers 25-36


The twenty-fifth chapter of Numbers on many accounts is one of the most remarkable chapters of the Old Testament. In its notable character it is equal to the chapters on Balaam. Here are the children of the Promised Land with their pilgrimage ended. They have reached the banks of the Jordan. They are encamped there just over against Jericho. Nothing to do but go over and possess the land when God tells them. Just at this time Balak, the king of Moab, brings Balaam to curse them by divinations. Having failed in that, he makes the horrible suggestion that the Moabitish and Midianitish women be used as instrumentalities to cause Israel to sin and go into idolatry. Among the women mentioned was a princess, daughter of one of the five kings of Midian. They did what they did under the prompting of their religious instruction and they succeeded.


Very many of the people were seduced from their allegiance to God and not only sinned in a bodily respect but sinned in idolatrous worship and the heads of the people did not interfere to stop it. A plague went out from God on account of it. Moses, discovering the fearful demoralization of the people, gives the commandment that all the heads of the tribes shall be hanged up, either for active participation in this matter or for not using their authority to repress this very great disloyalty to God. It is as when a regiment has rebelled through connivance of its officers. There is the responsibility of leadership in a case of this kind and in military matters any officer, no matter bow high his grade, who would stand idle and see his troops go into rebellion without an effort to stay it, would be shot by the most summary process of court martial.


So Moses commands the leaders to be killed and hung up in the sight of the people. Whoever was hanged on a tree was accursed. Having disposed of the chiefs, he ordered the judges, you remember when two sets of seventy were appointed to help Moses in administrative and judicial affairs, to put to death every man who had committed a sin in that way. But the plague did not stop, though the chiefs of the nation were hanging on a tree, all the judges punishing every man with death, all the people weeping before the tabernacle. "But drops of grief can ne'er repay the debt of love I owe."


Just at this time a son of one of the princes of the tribes comes openly into the camp with a princess of one of the five kings of Midian, in the sight of Moses and Eleazar; in sight of the weeping people; in full view of the dead hanging up and others dying, and brings his irreligious debauchery right into the very presence of God. Whereupon Phinehas, son of Eleazar, without command from anyone, without being especially appointed officer, in his holy wrath for God's sake and bearing in his heart that indignation against sin that God bears, and God says of him, "Having my zeal," takes a spear and goes into the tent and thrusts both of them through and kills them.


The most remarkable part of the transaction is in what God says. He uses language just like he uses when he said Abraham believed in Jehovah and it was counted to him for righteousness. As Abraham's faith was counted to him for righteousness, the zeal of Phinehas so perfectly expressed God's wrath against sin that it is reckoned unto him for eternal righteousness.


But that is not the strangest part of it, but that this display through Phinehas of the wrath of God against sin made an atonement for his sin. You strike a use of the word "atonement" there which stalls the commentators and theological seminary professors. Offhand I am going to give you my explanation of it. It is the most remarkable scripture in the Bible. Surely atonement for sin cannot be made which does not placate the wrath of God against sin.


A good many sentimentalist preachers tell you that the sole object of Christ's work was to reconcile men to God, that God was already reconciled and did not have to be placated. This scripture is unquestionably the strongest in the Bible to show that Christ's sacrifice was both toward God and toward men, toward God in that the sinner's bodily and spiritual death for sin took place and otherwise there could have been no atonement. Hence Phinehas, in a very high sense, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. The everlasting priesthood is promised to him. The covenant of peace is promised to him.


When we come to the study of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will see an expression in the casting out of the money-changers from the temple, where Jesus takes a scourge and scourges out of God's house those who are defiling that house, whereupon it is stated that the scripture was fulfilled, "The zeal for thy house shall eat me up." Such a shame against the sanctity of that house must be punished or it can never be forgiven. There must be a penal sanction to law. We see it repeated again when he comes to cleanse the temple the second time, and then when he comes to die that death of the cross, under the wrath of God, forsaken of the Father, unsaved from the sword of divine justice, unsaved from the lion, Satan, who goeth about to devour, unsaved from the bite of the serpent, that is, to placate by expiation the death penalty of sin. Now, Phinehas could in a typical way represent that.


What was the use for these people to come there and weep before the tabernacle with such an impious, presumptuous, daring sin committed right in the presence of God and nobody rebuking it? It wouldn't do simply to hang a few of the officers. It wouldn't do for the judges to put one or two, here and there, to death. There had to be some signal, sudden, utter display of divine wrath and that was furnished by Phinehas. If Phinehas had had a motive that was not exactly correspondent to God's idea of wrath against sin, he would have been a murderer.


The only trouble about it is that men began to imagine long afterwards that they stood in the place of Phinehas and could kill those whom they thought to be violators of the law, and with inferior motives and without an express sanction of God, they committed sin. The case of Phinehas in that respect stands alone. Samuel, when he hacked to pieces the king, David when he said that the seven sons of Saul must be hanged on a tree to make atonement, represent somewhat the idea But it is not said with reference to them that it was imputed to them for righteousness.


In the case of Jesus, instead of striking the sinner that committed the sin, Jesus let God strike him after the sinner's sins had been put on him. "Save me from the sword; save me from the lion. If it be possible let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, not my will but thine be done. My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" There never could have been any forgiveness of sin that was not based upon a penal sanction. The justice of God must be vindicated in some way. People will tell you that you are not punished because you have sinned but to keep other people from sinning. But sin is demerit and merits death. "The wages of sin is death." And that death must come to the sinner himself, or it must come to the one upon whom his transgressions have been laid. See Psalm 106:28-31.


We turn now to chapters 26-27 and include with them chapter 36. In this case you have the second numbering of the people. They are just ready to enter the Holy Land, and with the exception of the death of Moses, which came as a result of another principle, there is fulfilled the death threatened to all the grown men that came out of Egypt. This great sin committed on the banks of the Jordan was by the new generation and 24,000 of them perished in the plague. They did not number quite so many as in the first enumeration; then 603,550, now only 601,730. The only thing worthy of mention you can do for yourself. Take the numbers for each tribe as given in the two enumerations and put them down opposite each other. Some you will find have increased. The tribe of Simeon with others has fearfully decreased. You have the reason, viz.: this tribe suffered more than any other in this plague.


This enumeration is not merely for war, but the basis of the land allotment. The tribe which has the most men will get the most land. The daughters of a certain man who died want to know if their name is to perish in Israel and they are to be without inheritance. They are to have their father's inheritance, and in chapter 36 it shows how to safeguard the father's part of the inheritance to the tribe, by permitting them to marry only in their own tribe.


In this chapter is the announcement to Moses that on account of his sin he is to die. He asks that a successor be appointed and Joshua is appointed. We come to the chapters 28-29, which are upon one point unlike any other chapters. While they refer to a great many things in the previous books of Exodus and Leviticus, there is nothing like those two chapters anywhere else. They commence at the beginning of the year and show what offerings are to be made day by day, week by week, moon by moon, year by year, seventh year by seventh year, and Jubilee by Jubilee. These chapters constitute the basis of the poem of Keble, "The Christian Year," as it is called by the Episcopalians, derived from the Old Testament, a matter that Paul condemns thus in the letter to the Colossians: "Ye observe months, days, weeks, seasons; touch not, taste not, handle not." God nailed all that system to the cross of Christ.


The only thought in chapter 30 that needs to be dwelt on is the bringing up of the vow question again. If a daughter makes a vow before she has attained to full age, it cannot be exacted of her, if her father does not sanction it. A wife cannot make a vow without her husband's sanction. This chapter discusses the principle upon which the exceptions are made, and you can read it.


Chapter 31 is devoted to the war against Midian. God commanded Moses to make a holy war against Midian, who, acting on the suggestion of Balaam, had through their chief women brought about this great sin, when Israel had committed no provocation. This war is unlike other wars because of the number. Only 1,000 men from each tribe, or 12,000, are sent out to conduct the war. A priest, not a general, commands them. They suffer no loss. The destruction wrought is God's destruction. God has condemned Midian for their awful sin and they are smitten. The spoils of the war are devoted to God because it was God's war, not man's. Everybody that looks at it will say that it was God's war.


As they were encamped by the Jordan and ready to pass over, it was intensely important that they leave the rear safe. Midian is smitten clear to the Euphrates. Sihon and Og had been destroyed and Moab and Ammon and Edom are incapable of war. A vast portion of territory lying on the east of the Jordan is captured. That brings us to chapter 32. This captured land is the best pasturage in the whole country; two tribes and a half express the desire that they be allotted that eastern portion. Moses is very indignant because he understands that they mean this, that while the whole nation has captured this territory these tribes propose to stay over here and leave the other tribes to capture the remainder of the country. But they explain that they simply wanted to safeguard their women and children and villages and send their army on across the Jordan to fight with the others. So the allotment is made to Reuben, Gad, and one-half of the tribe of Manasseh.


In chapter 33 there is only one thing to which your attention needs to be called. That chapter is devoted to the whole itinerary from Egypt to the Jordan. God tells Moses to impress one fact upon the minds of the people: "No terms can be made with these inhabitants of the land, for the territory was originally yours when the division was made in the days of Peleg, after the flood. But they took possession of the country." God has not cast them out because their iniquity was not full. But their iniquity is full now and they are going to be cast out and "you are the executors of the divine will and if you leave corners around I give you warning that they will be thorns in your side forever. When you make war they will rise up in your rear. When you relax in watchfulness, they will lead you into sin."


I preached a sermon on that once, in which I took the matter spiritually thus: Take a Christian who is regenerated, but he stops trying to expel the old inhabitants. He says, "I am all right if I am a Christian. That is enough." He does not continue his war against the sinful nature. A large part of him he does not seek to bring under subjection through sanctification. Then he is going to have a thorn in the flesh. Say you take an occasional spree. Whenever you quit making a fight on the lower nature, you are going to be badly fooled. By careful analysis anyone can find out his weak point. Woe to the man who does not make war on that besetting sin. I do not say he will be lost in hell, but he will get some hard falls and be badly hurt.


Chapter 34 is devoted to a description of the border. You can take a map and trace it out. No particular skill is required.


Chapter 35 is devoted to two points well worthy of special study. It is a provision for the forty-eight Levite cities who were to have no part of the land for an inheritance, and also for the six cities of refuge; three east of the Jordan and three west. You ought carefully to note the purpose of these cities of refuge and how the roads are to be kept open.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Having failed to turn Jehovah against Israel by divination, how did Balaam turn Israel against Jehovah?

 

2. What penalty did Jehovah visit upon them and how many died?

 

3. What two efforts were made to stay the plague and the results?

 

4. What act of presumption was committed just at this time, the act of Phinehas and the result?

 

5. Expound the remarkable reference to Phinehas and particularly bring out the atonement idea in connection with his zeal.

 

6. Give result of second census. How many tribes had fewer than at first? Why the great difference in the tribe of Simeon?

 

7. What question came up respecting Zelophehad's daughters and how settled?

 

8. Give the law of inheritance in Israel.

 

9. What announcement here made to Moses and his request?

 

10. What specially qualified Joshua for this place?

 

11. Describe the ceremony of the appointment and what the signification of the laying on of hands?

 

12. Try your hand on forming the calendar for the Jewish Holy Year.

 

13. What exceptions here to the law of vows previously given?

 

14. The war against Midian – the character of it, why made, how unlike other wars and what was done with the spoils?

 

15. Give an account of the settlement of the territory east of the Jordan.

 

16. What terms were they to make with the inhabitants of the land?

 

17. What was the penalty for violating this command?

 

18. What right did the Israelites have thus to deal with the inhabitants?

 

19. Apply the case of these people in their new relation to the individual Christian.

 

20. Bound the Land of Canaan as promised to Israel. (See Atlas.)

 

21. What provision was made for the Levites in the land?

 

22. How many cities of refuge? Name and locate them. What was their purpose?

 

 

THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY

 X

 

(Return to Contents)

 

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 


In no other book in the Bible can you find such examples and such a model of religious oratory as in the book of Deuteronomy. The preacher whose heart cannot be fired by a study of the book of Deuteronomy has no heart to be fired. Our theme for this study is a general introduction to the book of Deuteronomy. In a primary sense Deuteronomy is the closing division of the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch must be considered as one continuous book, artificially divided into the parts that we now have. Each foregoing division demands all subsequent ones and each subsequent one presupposes all the foregoing ones. The unity of the Pentateuch is as marked as the unity of the human body.


In literary form Deuteronomy is distinguished sharply from all preceding divisions. Genesis is generally narrative; Exodus is narrative and legislation; Leviticus is legislation; Numbers is generally narrative, but Deuteronomy consists almost altogether of orations and poems, and is throughout expository and hortatory. In the other books of the Pentateuch we had the historians and legislators, but here we have the prophet, the orator and the poet, and this fact sufficiently accounts for the difference in style and method and largely governs the interpretation. It is further distinguished from Leviticus in that Leviticus is restricted to a single tribe and treats of religious service only in its priests, sacrifices, types, holy days and rituals, but Deuteronomy is addressed to the nation as a unit, touching civic righteousness and national life arising from the peculiar relations of the people of Jehovah.


In a good sense Leviticus with Exodus 25-40 may be called the priest's code, while Deuteronomy with Exodus 19-23 may be called the people's code. But we would be void of literary and spiritual sense in attempting to deduce from this fact different authors or widely separated dates of composition for the two codes. Deuteronomy as well as all subsequent history presupposes the antecedent Leviticus. Anybody may find it a profitable study to trace in Deuteronomy its historical dependence upon each one of the foregoing divisions of the Pentateuch. I certainly found that to be a profitable study. Look through the book of Deuteronomy to find how much of it is dependent upon the history contained in Genesis, how much of it is dependent upon the history contained in Exodus, how much of it is dependent upon the legislation contained in the book of Numbers. This is one of the best ways to prove the relation of this book to the other books. Any intelligent student who has a copy of my chronological analysis of Numbers, which furnishes indissoluble links binding Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy together, will have an advantage in this line of study.


Now we come to the title of this book. It has four Jewish titles. First, in the Hebrew canon, there is the name debarim. In my Jewish Bible this is at the head of the book of Deuteronomy. It simply means the words, or these be the words. The second Jewish name is the fifth of the fifths of the law, that is, the fifth part of the five divisions of the law. Its third Jewish name is the book of reproofs, because there are so many admonitions in it. The fourth Jewish name given by certain rabbis is the iteration of the law. These are the four Jewish names in the book of Deuteronomy.


The Greek – the Septuagint and other Greek versions – follow the fourth Jewish title, styling the book Deuteronomion, or the second giving of the Law.


The Latin – the Vulgate – merely Latinizes the Greek, so that we have Deuteronomium. The English versions merely Anglicize the Greek and Latin so that we have Deuteronomy. So the name of this book as we have it now came from the fourth Jewish name, iteration of the Law. And it is supposed that they got the name from the phrase, "A copy of this law" (17:18). If they got it there, they misinterpret the phrase, which simply means and refers to the whole Pentateuch. Thus from a misunderstanding of the phrase in 17:18, we derive our name of the book. This name "Deuteronomy" is, in some sense, misleading, because the book does not recapitulate all preceding law; it leaves out many important sections, and it enlarges the previous law by necessary supplementary statutes; hence to call it, a second giving of the Law, is a misnomer.


The orator, while recognizing all past law and history as a basis for his exhortations, simply recites so much of that law and history as meets his purpose and then enacts such additional legislation as was necessary to their becoming occupants of the Promised Land, all of this to be the basis of exhortation and prophecy. You will recall that when we were studying what is called "The Book of the Covenant" (Ex. 19-23), that is) the Covenant of Sinai) it was clearly explained that this covenant was divided into three distinct parts: first, the Decalogue, the ten words of the moral law; second, the civil and criminal statutes necessary for national life; and third, the altar, or the way of approach to God. All the subsequent part of the Pentateuch is but a development of that covenant; for instance, the book of Deuteronomy is simply a development of the first two sections, that is, the Decalogue and the civil and criminal statutes of national life. The original book of the covenant as set forth in Exodus 10-23 may be called the constitution and the rest derivative legislation from the-constitution. Deuteronomy looks back, I say, mainly to the first two sections, the Decalogue and the civil and criminal statutes, and it is a development from them. So much for the name.


Now we come to the scene where the discussion took place. I wonder if you could locate the scene of the book, with the book before you. Would you not be misled by the first two verses which are retrospective and give the scenes of Numbers? My answer to the question of the scene is simply this: the plains of Moab, east of the Jordan, opposite Jericho.


Next is the time covered by the book. What time does the book cover? Note these scriptures: Deuteronomy 1:3, which says, "And it came to pass in the fortieth year" (that is of the exodus), "in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel." Now, this is the beginning date. Turn to Joshua 4:19. That says they crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the new year, so that between the beginning of Deuteronomy and the crossing of the Jordan, there were two months plus ten days, or seventy days. You have now two distinct elements that will help you to fix the time. Your next scripture is Deuteronomy 34:8, which says that thirty days Israel mourned the death of Moses; thirty from seventy leaves forty. You have not the date yet. Now, by looking at Joshua 1:11, and 3:2, you will find that you must subtract three more days, so this leaves for the book of Deuteronomy just thirty-seven days. You are to understand that, with the exception of the last chapter, which was written by Joshua after Moses died, connecting it with the book of Joshua, the thirty-three chapters of Deuteronomy cover what occurred in the last month of the life of Moses. You may say that in that last month there were seven speeches to be made and a little history to be enacted.


We next come to the occasion of the book of Deuteronomy: The first element is, they had completed their wanderings and had arrived at the very place on the Jordan where they were to cross over into the Promised Land. You remember that thirty-eight years before this they had gotten to the edge of the Promised Land, at Kadesh-barnea, in the southern part of what is now Judea. Now they are back to the borders of the Promised Land, but at a different place. That is the first element of the occasion. They are now about to go over into the Promised Land, and whatever speeches are made and whatever poems are recited are bound to bear on the occasion. The second element of the occasion is that all territory of the Promised Land east of the Jordan River, what was later called Perea, had just been conquered from Sihon, the Amorite king, Og, king of Bashan, and the Midianites, and divided among two tribes and a half-tribe, so that part of the Promised Land, all east of the Jordan, is in possession.


The third element is that they are now to install a successor to Moses, their wonderful leader of the past forty years, who no doubt considered himself as their deliverer for the last eighty years. The marvelous hero of the past is to die and not to go with them over into the Promised Land. We are to consider, then, the speeches and poems of a man who knows that he is to live but one month. They are, therefore, the farewell words of a dying man.


The next element of the occasion is that before Moses died he wanted them to renew the covenant with God. You remember the covenant at Sinai had been broken when they worshiped the golden calf. You remember it had been broken at Kadesh-barnea and for thirty-eight years had been, in a measure, suspended. They did not worship God nor circumcise their children, but now as the children of men who perished in the wilderness, they are about to go into possession of the Promised Land, it is necessary for them to renew the covenant of the people, with exhortations based thereon. The last element of the occasion is that they must be made to understand the covenant. Hence the expository character of the book.


See if you can group in your mind the elements of the occasion of the book of Deuteronomy: first, travels completed; second, all east of the Jordan has been captured and occupied; third, a successor to their leader must be appointed and Moses must bid farewell; fourth, they are now to cross the last boundary that intervenes between them and the Promised Land; fifth, it is necessary to renew the covenant intelligently; sixth, it is necessary to understand it. So I think that constitutes the occasion of the book.


Now, the purpose of the book you can guess from the occasion. In general, the purpose is to magnify their relation to Jehovah and to commit the people to obedience. If ever a speaker on earth had a definite purpose in his mind, it was Moses in delivering these speeches which we call Deuteronomy.


Next, what is Deuteronomy? This is a great question. I have already shown you that it is not merely a recapitulation of laws. Rather it is an inspired and authoritative commentary on past law and history, with exhortations based upon that law and history. This is the first thing it is. The book of Deuteronomy is an inspired, authoritative commentary on, or an exposition of, the past laws and history of the people, with exhortations based thereon. Second, it consists of prophecies concerning the future, with exhortations thereon. Some of the most remarkable prophecies in the world are in the book of Deuteronomy. Third, it consists of rewards promised to obedience and punishments denounced upon disobedience. Now, that is what Deuteronomy is.


The historical elements of the book of Deuteronomy are merely connecting links to hold the addresses and poems together. There is very little forward history in the book, however much he recited past history. This history is to be found in 1:1-5; 4:44-49; most of chapter 31; 32:44-52; 34. These are the historical elements of the book.


The Prophetic Elements. – "Prophet" in the Old Testament means both teacher and foreteller, but when I say prophecies of this book, I do not refer to the teachings, but to the foretellings, where Moses has the veil which hides the future from view pulled away so that he could look almost to the end of time. There is one messianic prophecy of tremendous signification in chapter 18 where he says, "Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me . . . and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall not heed that prophet shall be cut off from his people." You recall the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration, where Peter said, "Let us make three tents, one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elias," with God's reply, "Hear ye him." Whosoever shall not hear that prophet shall be cut off from his people.


From chapter 28 to the end of the thirty-third, there are most wonderful prophecies concerning the future of the Jewish people. If he had been present and an eyewitness of the future destruction of Jerusalem, he could not have more vividly depicted the fact. Now, Josephus witnessed it and describes a part of it, but Moses describes it more faithfully than the eyewitness does. Then he tells of some things not yet fulfilled, viz.: the restoration of the Jews, and it certainly teaches the ingathering of the Gentiles. So you see what you have before you in this book.


Now we come to the next question – Who is the author of Deuteronomy? To put it plainly, nobody else but Moses, since Adam was created until now, could have been the author of the thirty-three chapters. Let the higher critics say what they please, that man is void of both literary and spiritual sense who makes any other man the author of this book. He may be a scholar, a bookscholar, but he is emphatically a fool as to literary and spiritual sense. Deuteronomy, as it is treated in the "Expositor's Bible" by one of the higher critics, is both a poison and a shame. The Bible Commentary on the introduction to Deuteronomy gives this fair sample of the value of radical criticism: "In truth no more convincing evidence could be afforded that the method of criticism in question is untrustworthy than the results of its application to Deuteronomy. The older scholars, Gesenius, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, etc., unhesitatingly-affirm that Deuteronomy was written long after the rest of the Pentateuch was extant in its present shape. The newer school sees no less certainty in Deuteronomy the primeval quarry out of which the writers concerned in the production of the preceding books draw their materials." Some of the higher critics say it is here, others it is there. Now that finishes my discussion on the introduction of the book of Deuteronomy.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. For what is the book of Deuteronomy especially valuable?

 

2. What it its relation to the other books of the Pentateuch?

 

3. Distinguish its literary form from that of the preceding books.

 

4. How do you account for the difference in style and method of Deuteronomy from the other books of the Pentateuch?

 

5. How is it further distinguished from Leviticus?

 

6. What constitutes the priest's code? The people's code?

 

7. Does this fact justify the claim for different authors and dates for these codes?

 

8. Trace in Deuteronomy the historical dependence of the book upon each of the preceding divisions of the Pentateuch.

 

9. What the Jewish titles and how derived?

 

10. What the Greek title and how derived?

 

11. What the Latin title and how derived?

 

12. What the English name and how derived?

 

13. How does the English name, Deuteronomy, fit the book and why?

 

14. Deuteronomy is a development of what part of the Sinaitic covenant?

 

15. What the scene of the book?

 

16. What the time covered by the book, and how obtained?

 

17. What the elements of the occasion of the book?

 

18. What its purpose?

 

19. What is Deuteronomy?

 

20. Locate its historic, prophetic and poetic parts.

 

21. What are some of its most remarkable prophecies?

 

22. Who the author, and why? 23. Give a fair sample of the value of radical criticism.

 

 

XI

 

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THE ANALYSIS: SOME OBJECTIONS ANSWERED Deuteronomy 1:1-5

ANALYSIS

 

 

I. Introduction, 1:1-5.

 

1. Retrospective connection with Numbers 1:1-2.


2. Time, place and circumstances of first address, 1:3-5.


3. Text fixing character of the book and meaning of the Law, 1:5.

 

II. Appointment of three cities of refuge in territory east of Jordan, 4:41-43.

 

III. First great oration, 1:6 to 4:40.


1. A review of national history from Sinai to Jordan, 1:6 to 3:29.


2. Exhortation thereon, 4:1-40.

 

IV. Second great oration, 4:44 to 24:19.


Part 1. Chapters 4:44 to 11:32.


(1) Introduction, 4:44-49.


(2) Rehearsal of the Decalogue, 5:1-21.


(3) Comment on the history, exposition and exhortation, 5:22 to 11:32.


Part 2. Chapters 12-26, various statutes and judgments with comment, exposition, and exhortation.

 

V. Third great oration, chapters 27-28.


Part 1. Chapter 27, provision for renewal of covenant after entering Canaan.


(1) Record of the law on monumental stones, 27:1-4


(2) Building of an altar after original model in Exodus 20 and ratification by burnt offerings, 27:5-6.


(3) Peace offerings and joyous communion festivals, 27:7.


(4) Provision for announcement of result at the covenant renewal, 27:9-10.


(5) Solemn and sublime arrangements for committing the whole people to both blessings and curses of the law, 27:11-26.


Part 2. Chapter 28, exhortations based upon the directions and prophecies of Part 1.


(1) Blessings of obedience. 28:1-14.


(2) Curses of disobedience. 28:15-68.

 

VI. Fourth great oration, chapters 29-30.


Part 1. Provision for present renewal of covenant oath, 29: 1-15.


(1) Introduction, historic recital. 29:1-9.


(2) Parties who take the oath. 29:10-15.


Part 2. Comment and exhortation, 29:16 to 30:20.

 

VII. Fifth great oration, 31:1-13.


1. His words to the people, 31:1-6.


2. His words to Joshua, 31:7-9.


3. Provision for instruction of the people at central place of worship when established, in all the written law, every seventh year, 31:9-13.

 

VIII. Moses and Joshua before the Lord, 31:14-29.


1. Moses presents his successor before Jehovah, 31:14-15.


2. Jehovah instructs Moses to write and sing a song, and why, 31:16-22.


3. Jehovah's charge to Joshua, 31:23.


4. The Pentateuch completed and filed for preservation and why, 31:24-29.

 

IX. The song, or Moses' sixth address, 32:1-47.


1. The invocation, 32:1.


2. Its character, 32:2.


3. Its theme, 32:3-6.


4. Its argument, 32:7-33.


5. Its prophecy, 32:34-43.


6. Its exhortation, 32:44-47.

 

X. Jehovah's final direction to Moses, 32:48-52.


1. View of the Promised Land, verses 48-49.


2. Prepare to die, verse 50.


3. Why not permitted to enter the Promised Land, verses 51-52.

 

XI. Prophetic blessings on the tribes, or seventh address of Moses, chapter 33.


1. Introduction, 33:1-5.


2. Each tribe separately, Simeon omitted, why, 33:6-25.


3. The people as a unit, 33:26-29.

 

XII. Deuteronomy linked to the book of Joshua, 34.


1. Unique death and burial of Moses, 34:1-7.


2. Israel mourning for her departed hero, 34:8.


3. His successor, 34:9.


4. His place in history, 34:10-12.


Open your Bible and follow me carefully in noting some things upon which the higher critics base some objections to the integrity of the book. They allege first that there is a contradiction between the first two verses of Deuteronomy and the next three verses as to the place, or scene. Now, let us read it: "These are the words which Moses spake unto all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab." Now these words refer to four or five different localities. The third commences: "And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, . . . " Now, they say that the first two verses locate the scene in a number of places reaching clear back to the Red Sea. That the following verses locate it opposite Jericho in the plains of Moab, and, therefore, there is a contradiction.


Now note my answer. The first two verses in the book of Deuteronomy are retrospective, merely establishing connection with the book of Numbers, just the closing of the book of Numbers restated and the true commencement of Deuteronomy is the third verse. So if you turn to Genesis, you will find that the last verses are about Jacob and all of his children going into the land of Egypt. Then, when you look at the beginning of Exodus, he commences by a restatement of the closing of Genesis. "Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, . . ." Now turn to 2 Chronicles 36:22: "Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia." Now turn to Ezra I, the book that follows it, and you will see it restates the closing of Chronicles. In other words, it is a habit where these books are related to each other to show that relation by restating in the beginning of the new book the ending of the preceding. Therefore there is no contradiction between the first two verses, which are merely retrospective and form a connecting link with Numbers. The statement in the three following verses that the scene of the book of Deuteronomy is the plains of Moab is the first point, and the man that has a studious mind ought to see that they ought not to make that a ground of invidious criticism of the Word of God.


The second objection is based on the phrase, "beyond Jordan." Deuteronomy says, "These are the words that Moses spake unto all Israel beyond Jordan." They say that expression, "beyond Jordan," means that a man wrote the book on the west side of the Jordan. Now, in the New Testament where it speaks of John baptizing beyond the Jordan, that means in Perea, therefore they say that some man besides Moses wrote this because Moses didn't get on that side of the Jordan. You see the point clearly.


The reply on this point is that this phrase was a geographical expression without any reference to position of the writer or speaker fixed before the time of Moses and describes a section of country like "The South Country." no matter where the speaker is with reference to the south country. And "the land toward the great sea" means west of the Jordan, no matter whether the speaker himself is west of the Jordan or east of it. It is a geographical expression, precisely so "Beyond Jordan" was a phrase fixed in history and in geography before Moses wrote. He meant that section of the country east of the Jordan River. Now, I hate to call your attention to the little things. I dislike to speak of little things but must if I speak of anything the higher critics claim.


The next is based on a number of parenthetical clauses in the King James Version (1:2; 2:10-12, 20-23; 3:9, II) which are claimed to be irrelevant to the matter in hand. Now you see these parenthetical clauses. On these parentheses they base an objection. They say they break the connection and therefore must have been interpolations by a later writer. This is their allegation.


Now, my reply is that every one of those parenthetical references is intensely relevant to the matter in hand, and that they very greatly accentuate the emphasis of the speaker. Suppose we take them up in order. It was only eleven days' march from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea. Now, the fact that it took them thirty-seven days for an eleven days' march shows that they committed some sin. He sharply rebuked that sin, which delayed them. The next time the delay was thirty-eight years on account of their sin. Now, it is very important for Moses in making a speech, and a speech which is to close with an exhortation, to call attention, parenthetically, to these facts, and in the second verse he states all the places that he wants to emphasize. "You stopped there so long, here, yonder." You see now if that parenthetical statement is not relevant to the matter he had in hand, there is no such thing as relevancy.


Now, let us look at the next parenthetical clause (2:10-12, 20-23). Let us see what that is. The parenthesis reads this way, "The Emim dwelt therein aforetime, . . ." "the Horites also dwelt in Seir aforetime, but the children of Esau succeeded them, . . ." Now, they say that this is evidently an interpolation by a later writer. I reply that the ethnic reference to those joint nations is of the utmost importance and bearing on the matter in hand. If those joint races had been expelled from their former holdings by the Edomites, Amorites, and Moabites, how little should Israel, led by the Almighty, fear such adversaries. Their history demands just exactly that reference. And let us notice the next parenthesis (2:9), which reads, '"which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion and the Amorites called it Senir." They say that these names are given to Mount Sinai at a much later date, therefore the man that wrote that must have lived at a much later date than Moses lived. Now, the names given Mount Hermon are all pertinent, and express historical facts well in the knowledge of Moses, and helped to identify the mount. Moses called it Mount Hermon) not Sinai. The Phoenicians gave it the name of Sirion. Other people called it a different name. All of these names were given before the time of Moses. They are just mistaken in the fact that these names were given it at a later period.


Now let us look at the next objection (3:11). It is the description of the bedstead of Og. This objection is but an expression of unbelief in the veracity of the historian and results from their own ignorance. Well, little fellows like higher critics would never need a big bed. You would have to stretch them and expand them to make them fit. But it is a historical fact that the bones of a person fitting that bed have been recently dug up near that place. I am regarded as a pretty tall man and when a friend of mine saw me get off the train with some giants, he commenced laughing and said, "B. H., I always thought you were a big man, but you are a dwarf; just look at those people." Now we know, in history, of people big enough to fill that bed. The pentateuchal references to giants are supported rather than discredited by modern discoveries on the scene of the story.


Now let us take up the other, (3:14). It says, "Even unto this day." Now, they say that whoever wrote that expression must have been a man very remote from that time, hundreds and hundreds of years must have passed away. When that writer says, "Even unto this day," therefore, some other man than Moses must have written the book. Their criticism .is the merest assumption. The phrase, "even unto this day," does not necessarily imply a long time, and we will find it used in the book of Joshua to mean a very short period of time. Moses could say, "Even unto this day," since his reason for using that expression is that he sometimes refers to a place that had changed names, he says that it used to be called a certain name; that it used to be called Rephaim a long time ago, or at such a time it was called a certain name. It is still that name "unto this day." The phrase simply means this, whether it be a long interval or a short interval of time.


I will give you one more (4:41-43) : "Then Moses set apart three cities on the side of Jordan toward the sunrising; that the man-slayer might flee thither." In other words, he there sets apart three cities of refuge before he crosses the Jordan. Now, the objection to this speech is that Moses breaks the connection. My reply is that it does not break the connection of the speech. His speech was ended, and a piece of history comes in before he makes another speech. Now, you will think these are very small matters, and yet men covered with medals from the universities of Europe gravely sit down and attack the Pentateuch on these things.


Every public speaker, whether preacher or politician, may profitably study Carlyle's "Essay on Stump Speaking," in which he submits substantially the following conditions of a great oration:


First, there must be a great occasion to call it forth. Now, you know the difference in getting up in a debating society with nothing involved and having a case to come up in real life. One is an occasion and the other a make-believe. There must be a great occasion.


Second, the speaker must be equal to the occasion.


Third, he must daringly seize the opportunity flying by swiftly. If he has not the capacity to seize that opportunity, he never can be an orator.


Fourth, he must have something to say. Neither froth, nor fancies, nor oratorical declamation fits a great occasion. There must be matter and body to his thought.


Fifth (and here is the point upon which I do all my studying on great occasions when I make speeches), he must so say things that they will stick, lodge, burn in the mind of the hearer. Now, those are the points by Carlyle on stump speaking; and I want to apply them to the book of Deuteronomy. In the first place it has been shown that Moses had a great occasion; second, it has been shown how he was the one man in all the world equal to the demands of that occasion; third, it has been shown how, in the last days of his life, he seized the flying opportunity to utilize the occasion. And now, from the addresses themselves and subsequent history, we have to determine whether he had something to say and so said it that it stuck.


Now fix your attention carefully on a phrase, the most important in the whole book, as determining the character of the book (1:5). Just six words, "began Moses to declare this law." You must not construe this to mean that Moses began to enact new laws. "To declare" here means to unfold, to expound, to dig under, to dig up past law. The book does not tell of the legislator making the laws, but of an orator expounding law, giving the sense of it and applying its meaning. This text is a matchless theme for a sermon when you desire to show how Moses began to take up this law, to expound, to declare this law, and what the significance. It means that the Bible is not so much a book for reading, but a book to be studied.


That you must open up its heart. Now, a student can do this. An idiot can read the Bible, but he cannot dig it out. Now an example: When our Lord met those two people going to Emmaus he said, "You fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have said concerning me," and then he dug up and expounded all the meanings of this scripture. "Now, you didn't believe these things; you simply read them; now I will expound them; I will dig them up and let you see the real meaning of them." Therefore I say that this gives us the character of the book. It is an exposition and not legislation. I repeat, this teaching is a matchless theme when you desire to show the necessity of Bible study; that the Scriptures are not so much to be read as to be studied.


Another point is that Moses uses the words, "the law," and he does not limit them to mere previous legislation, but includes all the historical setting. The whole of the first address which is called an expounding of the law is but an exposition of the connecting history. With the Jews later and with Christ and his Apostles, the Torah, the Law, means all the Pentateuch, both history and legislation. It has that meaning in the remarkable history found in 2 Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 34. The book found is the Pentateuch. The unity of the Pentateuch cannot ever be overemphasized. Moses in his address of exposition goes back to the Genesis record of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and even to the first creation of man. He goes back to Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers in both history and legislation. And as we shall see at the close of this book, he finishes the continuous record and deposits it as a witness forever in the ark in the custody of the priests. You should study Dr. Green of Princeton in Biblical Introduction on the unity of Genesis, the unity of the Pentateuch and the unity of the Old Testament.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Give an analysis of Deuteronomy.

 

2. What do the higher critics allege as to the first two verses and how do you answer it?

 

3. What the higher critics' second objection, and the answer?

 

4. What their third objection and what the answer?

 

5. Show the relevancy of each of these parenthetical clauses.

 

6. What their fourth objection and the reply thereto?

 

7. What the objection based on the phrase "unto this day," and your reply?

 

8. What the objection based on 4:41-43, and your reply thereto?

 

9. What essay on "Stump Speaking" is cited? What are the conditions of a great oration as submitted by this author?

 

10. Show how the first three of these conditions apply to Moses.

 

11. What is the meaning of 1:5 and what the bearing on the character of the book?

 

12. What line of thought suggested for a sermon on this text and its application?

 

 

XII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

FIRST AND SECOND ORATION, PART I Deuteronomy 1:6-11 :32

 

 

FIRST ORATION

 

The occasion is great and awe inspiring. Death is just ahead of the speaker, about one month off, and yet the old man stands before us in the vigor of youth. He does not die from decay of either mental or physical power but simply because God is going to take him. He has carried these people in his heart eighty years and has borne them in fact for forty marvelous years of eventful history; has suffered unspeakably in their behalf, and now is burdened with the spirit of prophecy which unfolds to his eagle eye their disastrous future for thousands of years, brightened for a time by the coming of the Prophet, like himself but infinitely greater, and the prospect of their final restoration. He starts out with a reference to Horeb where they entered into covenant relations with God, and where he himself sat, with the chiefs of the tribes, of thousands, of hundreds, of tens, to hear all minor causes, appealing to him only in great matters. The qualifications of these judges are set forth in Exodus 17:21, and "they were able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness," and here, as "wise men, well-known chiefs of the tribes, full of understanding." He rehearses his original charge to these judges: they must fairly hear all cases, must judge righteously, must be impartial, must fear no face of man, must remember that the judgment is Jehovah's. The object of the reference is to show that they left Sinai thoroughly organized and equipped; left there in numbers more than the stars shown to Abraham and with their leader praying, "The Lord of your fathers make you a thousand times as many more as ye are, and bless you as he hath promised you."


They left there at God's command to go at once to take possession of their long promised country. But alas, on account of their sins they lost thirty-seven days in getting to Kadesh-barnea and then with the imperative command ringing in their ears, the Lord said as before, "Come and take possession"; they again are delayed forty days in order to get a report from spies, and after that report and an awful breach of the covenant they lost thirty-eight years more of weary wandering, then when again assembled at Kadesh-barnea sinned again and caused Moses himself to sin, and so debarred him from the Promised Land. Then, through unbelief in God, through fear of man, through presumption toward God, through fleshly lusts, they had utterly failed to enter in.


Moreover, they had lied in attributing their attitude of rebellion to parental concern for their children, which God rebuked by showing that he could lead those helpless children into the Promised Land without the loss of one, while the bones of the parents whitened in the wilderness. And now, though at Kadesh-barnea again, when entrance was no more than stepping over a line drawn in the sand, they must turn down toward the Red Sea, and by a long, weary and circuitous march approach the country on the other side; a path must compass Mountain Seir, skirt Edom, Moab, and Ammon and bring them into deadly conflict with Sihon, king of the Amorites, Og, king of Bashan, and all the hosts of Midian. That circuitous march was marked by some great sins and made memorable by some great deliverances. Aaron died at Mountain Hor. Moses is about to die, without passing over into the Promised Land.


Now, this oration, having thus briefly reviewed the legislation, makes that survey the basis of his exhortation by way of application. Learn from this model, 0 preachers, how to revive the lost art of exhortation. That used to be the custom for men that were called to exhort who could not preach. They could not preach a sermon but they could sit down and listen to a preacher preach and then move people mightily by exhortation. I have heard men, ignorant as they were in books, give exhortations that would make the stars sparkle.


Dr. Burleson preached a sermon at Huntsville and at the close of the sermon J. W. D. Creath got up and commenced by slapping his thigh and you could have heard him a hundred yards. He said, "The spirit of God is here, and the devil is fighting hard." The people were converted by the hundreds and the biggest man was Sam Houston. A Negro boy on the outside was convicted of sin and came to the front, not understanding but feeling the power of God, he knelt at Sam Houston's feet saying, "Massa Houston, save me." Sam Houston said to the boy, "Ask the clergy, I am just a poor lost sinner myself." We bad Deacon Pruitt; he never preached but Judge Baylor never held a meeting but he got Brother Pruitt to help him. He always wanted him to exhort after he preached. Moses determined to exhort these people, and in order to exhort them, he takes up the survery. They keep forgetting the times of his exhortation. The points are stated thus:


(1) Hearken unto God's word and do it.


(2) Do not add to his law nor diminish it. "Heaven and earth," says our Lord, "must pass away, but my word shall not pass away."


(3) Be warned by your own history. History teaches lessons and imposes obligations. Preachers especially should be students of history in order to understand God's government over nations and the way of his providence.


(4) In view of its impression on other nations obedience will be your highest wisdom. They will thereby recognize your relations with Jehovah and marvel at your prosperity and fear your power.


(5) Do not forget. Teach this law diligently to your children.


(6) Remember that you yourselves and your nation alone heard God's own awful voice pronounce your Decalogue and that you have his autograph copy preserved as a witness.


(7) Remember that when you heard his voice you saw no likeness of him and beware that you make no graven image of anything that is in heaven above, nor earth below; do not fall down and worship it. We should all become iconoclasts, breakers of images. "Icon," the image; "Iconoclast," the breaker of images.


(8) Remember that Jehovah is a jealous God and will look upon sin with no degree of allowance, and be sure that he will find out your sins and be sure that he will punish your sins. Don't you become so sweetly sentimental that you will think it impolite to say the word "hell." Let us remember the awful words of our Lord, greater than Moses, who said, "Fear him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," who said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." So this is the first exhortation of Moses.

 

SECOND ORATION, PART I


The scripture of this part is chapter 4:44, to the end of the eleventh chapter. Like the first oration, the second has an introduction giving the time, place, and circumstances of delivery. The closing: paragraph of chapter 4 gives this introduction in verses 44-49. There is nothing in it calling for additional comment beyond the fact that it marks an interval of undetermined time between the two Orations.


This part of the oration consists of a rehearsal of the whole Decalogue, stated in an offhand, oratorical form, without attempting the exact verbal quotations, and of an exposition of the first table, that is, the four commandments embodying our relation to God) and then an earnest exhortation by way of application. Note the verbal differences between this offhand rehearsal of the Decalogue by Moses and the Exodus record of it as spoken in the very words of Jehovah himself, and written by him on tablets of stone. From Revised Version, read Exodus 20:2-17, and then read the corresponding Commandments in the same version from Deuteronomy 5:621. You must consider the Exodus form as the true original, and the Deuteronomy form as a substantial restatement by a public speaker, and note that Deuteronomy 5:15, is not an attempt to quote the Fourth Commandment as originally given, but merely a passing exhortation, assigning an additional motive for remembering the sabbath day. The reader will also note that Romanists combine the first and the second according to our division, to make their first, and then divide our tenth to make their ninth and tenth. This does not affect the matter, only the numbering of the parts.


I asked you to read the Decalogue in Exodus and Deuteronomy alternately because enemies of the Bible have made so much of the fact that there is not an exact verbal agreement, and hence they have denied the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. The reply to it is that the divine original in God's own handwriting is the Commandments as they were delivered; second, in this case there is an inspired substantial restatement of the original in oratorical form and this restatement is just as much inspired as the original. Remember the sabbath because God rested on that day and it is prophetic, in an indirect way, of the New Testament sabbath. As God rested from creation when he had finished the work and the day commemorated an historical fact, so Jesus, having accomplished the great redemption (so that the Jewish sabbath is nailed to the cross of Christ), rested from his work and there remaineth a sabbath-keeping to the people of God. Jesus entered into this rest, as God did his.


Here I pause to commend, first, the exposition of the Decalogue in the Catechism of the Presbyterian Confession of Faith. This catechetical exposition has been taught to more children than perhaps any other in the world. Let us always commend the Presbyterians for their fidelity in family instruction, and always confess and lament Baptist delinquency on this line until we repent and do better. Second, it now gratifies me to be able to commend a Baptist exposition of the Decalogue, which, in my judgment, is the best in all literature. Not very long ago, a venerable man, soon to pass away, was helped upon the platform and introduced at the Southern Baptist Convention, and he received the Chautauqua salute. It was George Dana Boardman of missionary fame. He is the author of University Lectures on the Ten Commandments. The lectures were delivered before the students of Pennsylvania University, and the book was issued by the American Baptist Publication Society. Study it carefully and assimilate it into your very life. On the Fourth Commandment, perhaps without immodesty, I may ask you to read the three sermons on the sabbath in my first published volume of sermons.


My reason for speaking of these books is that Moses himself is now to devote eight chapters to an exposition of the Decalogue in the oration under consideration. You will make special note that Moses emphasizes the fact that the Decalogue was the only part of the covenant actually voiced by Jehovah, and that this divine autograph was then filed away in the ark as an eternal witness. The fact is also emphasized that no other people had even heard God's voice or possessed his autograph. Thousands of the younger generation now addressed by Moses were present that awful day when Sinai smoked and trembled and was crested with fire, and the loud and ever louder trumpet smote their ears as no other trumpet will smite the ears of men until the great judgment day. They might well recall their terror when from the fires of Sinai this awful penetrating voice solemnly pronounced in thunder tones those Commandments one after another. They themselves could recall how they begged not to hear that voice any more and implored Moses to hear for them as mediator and to repeat to them in human voice any other words of God. I have already sought to impress you that Deuteronomy is an exposition of the law rather than a giving of the law. The orator and expositor not only shows that these Commandments of God are exceedingly broad, but he attempts to show their depths and reveal their heights, yea, to lay bare their very heart and spirit.


This heart and spirit he finds in the word "love." "Hear, 0 Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy soul, with all thy might." He compresses the first four Commandments into "Thou shalt love Jehovah," as later in this book he compresses the last six into "Love thy neighbour as thyself." When our Lord answers the question, "Which is the first commandment of the law?" He quotes Deuteronomy in his answer: "This is the first and great commandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy mind, and all thy strength, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."


And as the second is impossible without the first, a New Testament writer may well say, "All the law is fulfilled in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." And another says, "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Or as Paul to Timothy declares its widest scope, "Now the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, out of a good conscience, out of faith unfeigned." In one word then, that grandest thing in the world, LOVE, Moses expounds the Decalogue. On this matter he founds his exhortation thus:


(1) "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt write them on the posts of thine house, and on thy gates." What a course of family instruction! What a theme of family conversation! What a safeguard at home, at the gate, at the door, at the hearth, at the bed! As the Jew awoke in the morning, the Law greeted him; as he passed the door, it saluted him; as he passed through the gate, it hailed him; in all his walking beyond the gate it accompanied him. It governed the words of his tongue; it remained between his eyes to regulate sight; it dwelt in his heart to regulate emotion; and remained in his mind to prescribe and proscribe thought, purpose and scheme. Its hand of authority touched the scales and yardstick and restrained within its bounds all his business. His fruit, his grain, his flock, and all other treasures acknowledged its supremacy. It provoked the questions of children by its object lessons and supplied the answers to the questions.


(2) When prosperity comes with its fulness of blessings) do not forget God, (6:10-15).


(3) When adversity and trial overtake you do not tempt God as you tempted him at Massah, saying, "Is God among us?" (6:16). Just here the psalmist says, "My feet had well nigh slipped, for I was envious of the prosperity of the wicked and said, In vain have I washed my hands in innocency and compassed thine altars, 0 Lord of Hosts." How often have we been bitter in heart and counted God our adversary and ourselves the target of his arrows and lightning.


(4) "Remember that the destruction of the Canaanites is essential to your fidelity to this law. They will corrupt you if you spare them. You shall not pity them, for the measure of their iniquity is full." You are God's sheriff executing his will, not yours, mercilessly as a pestilence, a cyclone, an earthquake, or a flood, indiscriminatingly obey his will. Make no covenant with these doomed and incorrigible nations. Do not intermarry with them. Covet none of their possessions devoted to God's curse. Ah, if only Achan later had remembered this and had not brought defeat upon his people and ruin to himself and house!


(5) Remember the bearing of this law on Self:


(a) When walls crumble before you and the sun and moon stand still to complete your victory, beware lest you attribute your victories to your own strength.


(b) Or to your numbers.


(c) And especially beware of self-righteousness. All your history avouches you to be a stiff-necked and rebellious people. There was no good in your origin. "A Syrian ready to perish was your father." At the Red Sea, at the waters of Marah, when you thirsted, when you hungered, in all the wilderness, and at Kadesh-barnea, through the cunning of Balaam even until now you have sinned and kept sinning, and will continue to sin, existing as monuments of grace and mercy. Who are you, to be puffed up with conceit and pride of selfrighteousness?


(6) Consider how reasonable all of Jehovah's commandments are: "And now, Israel, what doth Jehovah thy God require of thee but to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all his ways and to love him, and to serve Jehovah thy God with all thy soul, with all thy heart, to keep the commandments of Jehovah and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" (10:12).


A later prophet shall re-echo the thought: "He hath showed thee, 0 man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee but to do justly and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God."


(7) Finally, blessings crown your obedience and curses follow your disobedience. The inexorable alternative is set forth before you. Obey and live; disobey and die. And ye yourselves, over yonder, shall stand on opposing mountains while this law is read in a valley between, and those on Gerizirn shall call out the blessings, and those on Ebal shall pronounce the curses. And you will in one loud Bounding voice say, "Amen, so let it be."

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What briefly the occasion of the first oration?

 

2. What the substance, appeal and application of the first oration?

 

3. What lost art here referred to, and what examples of this art cited?

 

4. What the several points of his exhortation?

 

5. Where do you find introduction to the second oration and what the time, place and circumstances of its delivery?

 

6. Of what does Part 2 of the second oration consist?

 

7. What are the verbal differences between the Exodus form and the Deuteronomy form of the Decalogue and how account for them?

 

8. Which is the true, original form?

 

9. What of Moses' statement here of the Fourth Commandment?

 

10. How do the Romanists number the commandments?

 

11. What charge is sometimes brought against the Bible because of these verbal differences and the reply thereto?

 

12. What books on the Ten Commandments commended?

 

13. What facts in connection with the giving of the Ten Commandments especially emphasized by Moses?

 

14. What was Moses' summary of the Ten Commandments and what Christ's use of it?

 

15. Kame the points of his exhortation.

 

16. How was the importance of teaching the law emphasized?

 

17. What exhortation relating to prosperity?

 

18. What one relating to adversity?

 

19. What charge concerning the Canaanites, and why?

 

20. What the bearing of this Law on self?

 

21. How does he show the reasonableness of God's law?

 

22. What alternative set before them, and what prophecy concerning blessings and curses here given by Moses?

 

 

XIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

SECOND GREAT ORATION, PART 2 Deuteronomy 12-26

 


This section is on the second part of the second great oration of Moses, as embodied in chapters 12-26 inclusive, of the book of Deuteronomy. If you have carefully read all this section, it will be easier for me to emphasize in the brief limits of this chapter the most salient points and easier for you to grasp and retain them. By the grouping of correlated matters under specific heads, the important distinction between many statutes and the constitutional principle from which they are logically derived will become manifest. A constitution is a relatively brief document of great principles, but legislative enactments developing and enlarging them become a library, which continually enlarges, as new conditions require new statement and application.


Yet again you must note that while one discussion arranges in order many statutes, it necessarily leaves out much of the homiletical value of each special statute. Each one of them may be made a text for a profitable sermon. Indeed these fifteen chapters constitute a gold mine of texts for the attentive preacher.


First of all, it should be noted that Moses is speaking here to the whole people as a national unit and concerning the future national life in the Promised Land which they are about to occupy. He carefully puts before them the national ideal of a people belonging to Jehovah separated from other nations and devoted to a special mission. Because addressing the whole people he recalls the history and law in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers much more particularly than the special legislation of Leviticus relating mainly to the official duties of a single tribe.


Secondly, when he touches the tribe of Levi in Deuteronomy, it is as a part of the nation rather than about their specific duties as priests and Levites. On this account Deuteronomy is called the people's code and Leviticus the priest's code. This fact will help us much to understand tithing in Deuteronomy when compared with tithing in the preceding books. Note carefully this point.


While it is difficult to classify satisfactorily such a multitude of topics and laws, we may profitably group the whole section under the following heads:

 

I. Unity in the Place of National Worship, 12:5


In their pilgrimage history the cloud and the ark, shifting from place to place according to the exigency of travel, designated day by day the central place of worship. But the people are here admonished that when they conquer the land and become a settled people, God himself will designate one fixed locality as the center of national unity and one permanent place of national worship. In Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and I Samuel, when we get to those books, we shall find only a temporary central place, and occasionally, more than one at the same time, the land not yet all conquered, the people not yet all settled, but in David's time everything prescribed about the central place of worship is fulfilled, Jerusalem is the place thenceforward throughout their history until Jesus, that prophet like unto Moses, comes and says to the woman of Samaria, "Believe me, the hour cometh when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father. Ye worship that which ye know not; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and Truth."


To this place, that is, the central place of worship, three times a year must the tribes come in national assembly to keep the great festivals of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, and as a nation they must observe the great day of atonement. In this connection observe particularly that the tithing in Deuteronomy, to which we have before referred, is not the first tithe of the other books, which was the Lord's inheritance and devoted to the general support of the great festivals, in which indeed the Levites share as a part of the people. Hence the Levites' share of this tithe does not correspond to their title to the whole of the first tithe, and hence the third year's provision in Deuteronomy for the poor is unlike any provision of the first tithe. If you have that point fixed in your minds, you are able to answer one of the gravest objections ever brought against Deuteronomy, that is, that it contradicts, on the question of tithes, what had been previously said in other books.


The marvelous effect of this one fixed place of national worship, and of these great festivals, on national unity, on the preservation of a pure worship, appears in all their subsequent history and becomes the theme of psalm, song, and elegy. When we get over into the Psalms and the Lamentations of Jeremiah, we will see backward references to this central place of worship. It is in the light of this law that we discover the sin in the later migration of the Danites and their setting up a new place of worship (Judg. 18, particularly verses 27-31); the sin of Jeroboam (I Kings 12:26-33); the sin of the Samaritans later, and the sin of a temple in Egypt. That is the first thought, the unity in national worship. For an account of the Samaritan Temple see Josephus, "Antiquities," Book XI, chapter 8, and for the Egyptian Temple see "Antiquities," Book XIII, chapter 3, misinterpreting Isaiah 21:19.

 

2. Unity in the Object of Worship


The second thought in this oration is unity in the object of worship, the exclusive worship of Jehovah. Under this head the section prescribes the death penalty on the following:


(1) The false prophet, who however attested by signs and wonders, shall seek to divert the people to the worship of some other god.


(2) Any member of a family, however near and dear the tie of kindred, who sought to induce the rest of the family to turn away from the worship of Jehovah to worship another god, that member of the family had to die.


(3) Any city that turned aside as a municipality to other worship, that city must be placed under the ban and blotted out. If you have been much of a student of classic literature, you must have noticed how each city stresses the worship of some particular patron divinity, as Minerva at Athens, Diana in the City of Ephesus and Venus at Corinth. Now, this law teaches that any city, in its municipal life, turning aside from the worship of Jehovah to worship a false god for local advantage shall be blotted off the face of the map. The underlying principle here is of immense importance in our times. Cities are tempted continually to sacrifice the paramount spiritual and moral interests of the community in order to promote material interests. So in their annual fairs which bring local advantage in commercial affairs, they lose sight of God and handicap what is commendable in these enterprises by overloading them with poisonous and corrupting attachments, and count any man an enemy to his home place, however much he may approve the good, if he protest against the bad. See the striking examples and illustrations in the cases at Philippi and Ephesus (Acts 16:19).


(4) To show more emphatically that Jehovah alone is God and must be worshiped, the death penalty was assessed on any necromancer, soothsayer or wizard who sought by illicit ways to understand and interpret the future. To Jehovah alone must the people come to know secret things. What he chose to reveal was for them and their children. What he withheld must remain hidden. All prurient curiosity into Jehovah's domain of revelation must be rebuked; all seeking unto the dead, all fortunetelling and divinations were mortal sins and punishable by death in every case.


(5) All persons guilty of crimes against nature; the nature of the subject forbids me to specify. They were such outrageous violations of the dignity of man made in God's image, and indicated such disregard for Jehovah that capital punishment alone would meet the requirements of the case.


(6) Every breaker of the covenant must be put to death. If any had knowledge that another had violated the covenant, it became his duty to investigate the case and bring the attention of the magistrates to it. There is a reference to that in the letter to the Hebrews, where it is said, "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God [offense against the Father], and hath counted the blood of the everlasting covenant an unholy thing [sin against the Son], and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace [sin against the Holy Spirit, and an unpardonable sin]?" (Heb. 10:28-29).


(7) To impress still more this thought of the exclusive worship of Jehovah: There must be no borrowing from other religions in bewailing the dead; Jehovah's law alone was the one exclusive standard. The custom of cutting themselves, and disfiguring themselves in the days of their mourning as practiced in other religions, finds here a positive prohibition. I stop to say, Oh, what a pity that so soon after apostolic times, in the great apostasy which Paul predicted and which took place in the Roman Catholic development, there was borrowing old robes of every religion in the world.

 

3. All Administrations of Law Subject to Jehovah


Whether ceremonial law, moral or civil and criminal law, all administration of law was subject to Jehovah. The government was a theocracy pure and simple, no matter whether it remained a republic or became a kingdom, as it did in the days of Saul, it was a theocracy, God was the only real King and governed all officers himself, whether executive, judicial, or religious.


(1) They were representatives of Jehovah and must first of all consider his honor, justice, and mercy. This fact determined the prescribed character and qualifications of every prince, ruler, elder, judge, sheriff and scribe. These officers must be God-fearing men, hating covetousness, impartial and fearing not the face of any man.


(2) They must in judging hear all evidence fairly.


(3) They must not convict except upon adequate testimony.


(4) It took two good witnesses to prove any point.


(5) They must justify the innocent and condemn the guilty without any regard for age, sex, social position, or financial position. Even and exact justice must be administered to all.


(6) Decision when given must be enforced speedily.


(7) If the case was too hard for them, they must appeal to Jehovah and no other for light. A provision was made by which Jehovah would give the right answer in every such case of appeal. What a pity we have not that kind of a supreme court!


(8) The conduct of all their wars must be under the laws prescribed by Jehovah. War must not be declared against any nation except upon his direction. Their later history furnishes many examples of referring the declaration of war to Jehovah, and it furnishes many examples of disaster befalling them when they went to war in their own wisdom and strength. The regulations touching war covered all material points, such as sanitary measures in camp, treatment of prisoners, conducting sieges, and sparing fruit trees when besieging a city. The boasted progress of modern civilization falls far short of the Mosaic code in ameliorating the sufferings and horrors of war. A great Federal general of the War Between the States well said, in view of his own practice in conducting it, "War is hell!"


(9) On account of this subordination to Jehovah, note the remarkable paragraph 21:1-9, touching civic responsibility in a case of murder where the offender is unknown. In my prohibition speech in the last prohibition contest in Waco, I used that paragraph as a principle upon which prohibition is based. If you will look at the passage in your Bible and mark it, you will notice that the case is this: A man is found murdered and it is not known who killed him; the nearest city thereto is determined by measurement and must purge itself of responsibility for the crime. The municipal officers in that city must come in the presence of that dead body, hold up their hands before God and swear that they are innocent of the blood.


In my speech I recalled the case of the County Attorney of Tarrant County who was shot down on the streets of Fort Worth, his murderer also being killed; nobody could be held directly responsible for the murder. I said, "Suppose the mayor, the city council, and all the other city officers had been required to place their hands on that dead body and swear that no negligence on their part was resposnible for that murder. They could not have taken the oath. Every one would have been convicted, because they were responsible for the conditions that not only made that particular murder possible, but made murder in some cases certain."


(10) The numerous statutes concerning charities, mercy, and humanity constrain the people to imitate Jehovah himself in dealing with the poor and with the unfortunate. Indeed some of the most beautiful and pathetic of these laws relating to treatment of the lower creatures embody principles capable of application in a wider range of higher things. They reprobate all cruelty and the infliction of all unnecessary suffering as hateful to Jehovah, for example: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn"; and "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk."


Once in Waco a young man whom I had known when he was a little fellow came to me bringing a letter purporting to be from his father, commending this young man to me and asking me to help him in any way I could. When he next came and asked me to endorse a paper for thirty dollars, I endorsed it. When it matured, I had to pay it. I wrote to the father about it and he replied that his son had forged that letter, and that is was only one case out of many. That son had broken him up. The boy was arrested on a similar case at Corsicana and sent to the penitentiary. When it was suggested that I testify against him, I would not, because of this scripture, "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk." The only way I could help to convict that boy would be to submit his father's testimony to prove that he was a forger.


(11) In like manner all laws regulating business, such as weights and measures. Once I called upon a man whose name I will not give, and asked him why, when he bought goods, he weighed on one scale and when he sold goods he sold by another. He said. "They are all right." I said, "No, sir, you have loaded the one you sell by and whoever buys from you does not get full weight." All laws touching business, such as weights and measures, the restraints on exacting pledges for debt, the withholding of wages for day laborers which they have fairly earned, the limitations on usury and the like are but expressions of divine mercy and justice and tended to build up an honest and righteous people, not forgetful of mercy.


(12) The social laws concerning marriage, slavery, parental power over children, while far from the highest expression of God's will, do yet in every particular prohibit many current evils freely practiced in other nations. Our Lord himself explains that on account of their hardness of heart and low order of development imperfect laws were suffered. "The people but recently were a nation of slaves, with much more of the slave spirit remaining. It cannot be denied that even the civil and criminal codes on these points were far superior to the codes of other nations. The sanctity of human life, the sanctity of the home, and the sanctity of the family are marvelously safeguarded in these laws. And wherever this code touched an evil custom, it never approved the evil but limited the power and scope of the evil, as far as the unprepared people were able to bear it.


(13) Restrictions on entering the covenant, 23:1-7, constitute a paragraph very few people understand. This applied to proselytes from other nations. The body politic must not be corrupted by alien additions that could not be easily assimilated. On that line our own nation is gravely troubled by loose naturalization laws that permit the scum and offscourings of other nations to be absorbed into our national life and so fearfully endanger the perpetuity of free institutions and make our great cities cesspools of iniquity. An orator once prayed, "0 that an ocean of fire rolled between us and Europe!" The Pacific Slope seems also praying ,"0 that an ocean of fire rolled between us and the Orient!"


(14) The governing Jehovah idea appears in an emphatic way in the paragraph 24:1-11, where by an offering of a basket of firstfruits the Israelite must confess Jehovah's absolute ownership over his products and his own unworthy derivation. The oration concludes with his general result: "Thou hast avouched Jehovah this day to be thy God, and that thou wouldest walk in his ways and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and hearken unto his voice: and Jehovah hath avouched thee this day to be a people for his own possession, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments, etc."

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What the importance of grouping correlated matters under specific needs and what is a constitution?

 

2. What the homiletic value of these fifteen chapters?

 

3. What two things especially noted concerning the second part of Oration Two?

 

4. Under what three heads does the author group all the material of these fifteen chapters?

 

5. Under the first head, when was the central place of worship to be established; when, where and by whom actually established; how long continued?

 

6. How often and at what festivals must the nation assemble at this central place of worship?

 

7. What bearing has this fact on the tithing question of Deuteronomy?

 

8. What the marvelous effects of this one fixed place of national worship?

 

9. Give examples of the violation of this law, and what their particular sin?

 

10. Under the second head, what cases of violation called for capital punishment?

 

11. What underlying principle governing the cities is of great importance in our times? Illustrate.

 

12. What reference to the covenant breaker in the New Testament, and what the threefold sin therein described?

 

13. Which of these prohibitions are Romanists most guilty of violating?

 

14. Under the third head (1) What must be the qualifications of all officers? (2) What their several duties? (3) If the case was too hard for them what were they to do? What the provision for Jehovah's answer? (4) What prescriptions concerning war? (5) How determine civic responsibility in the case of murder where the murderer was unknown? Present day application and illustrate. (6) What laws relating to the poor and to lower animals? (7) What laws regulating business? (8) What social laws? (9) What the restrictions on entering the covenant and the present day application? (10) How does the governing Jehovah idea appear emphatically

 

15. How does the oration conclude?

 

 XIV

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THIRD, FOURTH, AND FIFTH ORATIONS Deuteronomy 27:1 to 31:13

 


It is customary to classify the words of Moses in Deuteronomy into three orations, a song and a benediction, but this classification is not exact. His third address is contained in chapters 27-28. A fourth distinct address with its introduction is contained in chapters 29-30. A fifth address distinct in introduction and matter is to be found in chapter 31, covering only thirteen verses. So that there are at least five distinct addresses, besides the song and benediction, each with an appropriate historical introduction. We consider in this discussion the third, fourth, and fifth addresses.

 

THE THIRD ORATION


This oration first provided for a most elaborate and impressive renewal and ratification of the covenant when Israel shall have entered the Promised Land, and closes with a most earnest exhortation to obedience, including a notable and far reaching prophecy of the curses that will certainly follow disobedience. The parts of this third oration are very distinct:


(1) Associating with him the elders of Israel, he directs that on entrance into the Land of Promise, plastered monumental stones shall be erected on Mount Ebal and thereon plainly inscribed all the laws of the covenant, as a perpetual memorial and witness of their possession of the land by Jehovah's power and grace, conditioned upon their observance of the terms of the covenant. What a lasting library of stone! What a witness to the grounds of their tenure of the land!


(2) The erection of an altar after the model given in the original covenant at Sinai (Ex. 20:24-26) and the sacrifice thereon of burnt offerings as originally provided, thus renewing the ratification of the covenant.


(3) The sacrifice of peace offerings followed by a Joyful communion feast showing forth peace with Jehovah (arising from the blood of the covenant) and their enjoyment of him.


(4) Then associating himself with the priests and Levites, he provides for the solemn announcement that they are Jehovah's people and must obey him.


(5) He then charges the whole people that on this great day they must take their places in two great divisions, six tribes on Gerizirn and six on Ebal, prepared to repeat after the Levites the responsive blessings and curses of the law.


He directs that on this great day the Levites shall stand in the valley between the two mountains and solemnly pronounce alternatively twelve blessings and twelve curses, the first eleven of each special statutes as specimens of the whole, and the twelfth of each touching the whole law as a unit. That as each course on disobedience is pronounced by the Levites, the six tribes on Ebal shall repeat it, and as the alternate blessing on obedience is pronounced, the other six tribes on Gerizirn shall repeat it, and when the twelfth blessing and curse touching the whole covenant are repeated, then all the tribes on both mountains in one loud, blended chorus shall say, "Amen." We shall find in Joshua all these directions becoming history. The history of the world furnishes no parallel in solemnity and sublimity to this great transaction in conception here, and in fulfilment later.


Chapter 28 is devoted to exhortation based upon these directions and prophecies. It is difficult to summarize this awful exhortation, but we may profitably emphasize the following points of the exhortation:


(1) If you keep this covenant you shall be blessed in national position and with God. Jehovah shall be your God and ye shall be the head and not the tail; shall be above and not below. Jehovah shall smite all your enemies. Coming against you in one way, they shall flee in seven ways. All other nations shall see that you are called by Jehovah's name and shall be afraid. Jehovah will establish you as a holy people unto himself.


If ye keep this covenant ye shall be blessed in all places: in the city, in the field, in the home, in the barn, and in the kitchen.


Ye shall be cursed in all things: in children, in crops, in herds, in vineyards, in the seasons, and in business (lending to others but not borrowing), in health, in your outgoings and incomings, and especially in peace of mind and joy of heart.


(2) But if you disobey this covenant and break it, all these groups of blessings shall be reversed into their opposites: Ye shall lose your exalted position among the nations, and with God. Ye shall be outcasts from God; ye shall be the tail of all nations and not the head. Ye shall be beaten in wars; ye shall flee in all battles; ye shall be dispersed seven ways where you went out one. Now you see this curse is national, just like the corresponding blessing was national. Ye shall be cursed in all places: in the city, in the home, in the field, in the barn, in the kitchen, and in all lands of dispersion.


Ye shall be cursed in all things: in children, in crops, in herds, vineyards, wars, outgoings, incomings, and especially shall ye be cursed in your mind and heart. Ye shall have neither peace of mind nor joy of heart. Here is the curse of mind and heart; it is as awful a thing as I ever read in my life:


“And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot: but Jehovah will give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul; and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, Would it were even I And at even thou shalt say, Would it were morning! for the fear of thy heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see" (Deut. 28:65-67). Note particularly the awful picture of their disaster when besieged by enemies, as set forth in verses 49-57, so literally fulfilled when Jerusalem was taken by Titus in A.D. 70, and so fearfully depicted by Josephus. The prophecy closes with a reversal of their deliverance from Egypt since as captives they again shall be transported back in ships to become once more a nation of slaves in Egypt. This going into Egyptian bondage we shall find verified in the closing days of Jeremiah. His book of Lamentations furnishes the commentary on a part of this fearful prophecy. Poor man! he himself was carried there, and died there at the downfall of the Jewish monarchy.

 

FOURTH ORATION


The fourth address is contained in chapters 29-30, according to our chapter divisions. The occasion of this address as set forth in the introductory verse is a special present renewing of the Sinaitic covenant by oath, but it is not followed by ratification by sacrifices. The address recites again their miraculous deliverance from Egypt by Jehovah with signs and wonders, his merciful providence in miraculously supplying all their needs throughout their wanderings even though they had not eyes to see nor heart to appreciate. These blessings were light by night and shade by day, guidance in travel, water from the rock, bread from heaven, clothing and shoes that did not wax old or wear out, oracles for perplexities, forgiveness of sin through faith in the antitype of sacrifices, healing when poisoned, health so miraculous that there was not a feeble one in all the host, deliverance in battle. And now after reciting the Egyptian deliverance and the providential miracles while wandering, he tells them that they all stand before Jehovah to renew the oath of the covenant. Particularly note how comprehensive the statement of the human parties to the covenant:


"Ye stand this day all of you before Jehovah your God; your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and thy sojourner that is in the midst of thy camps, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water; that thou mayest enter into the covenant of Jehovah thy God, and into his oath, which Jehovah thy God maketh with thee this day; that he may establish thee this day unto himself for a people, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he spake unto thee, and as he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath, etc."


Elders, tribes, officers, men, women, children, sojourners, and slaves and their children to the latest posterity, and as a national unit, and all touching every individual are bound by this covenant. Now later after that statement of the case he commences his exhortation:


(1) He warns against the arising of any root or germ of bitterness (v. 18). How radical the law! It does not wait to condemn the stem, or branches, or flowers, or fruit, but strikes at the root hidden from sight. So our Saviour interprets the law condemning the heart fountain from which flow all the streams of blasphemy, murder, adultery, and other overt actions. And so the wise man: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." And so the letter to the Hebrews quotes this very passage (12:15) warning them "lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled."


(2) The second point in his exhortation is that he warns them against the vain confidence of security, even though the law be broken. He describes a man or a woman in confidence saying to the heart: "I am all right if I did break the law," that vain confidence of feeling secure with the law broken, and then he goes on to show that nothing under the heavens is so certain as that Jehovah saw that breach of the covenant and will punish it.


(3) He foretells that other nations in future days, seeing the awful desolation of their once beautiful land, shall count it a land accursed of God on account of the sins of Israel. That is just exactly what you would say if you were to go there and look at the country. You would be astonished that such a land was ever described as flowing with milk and honey; you would not be able to understand how such a land ever was so beautiful and fruitful as described. You would see it under a curse.


(4) He warns them that while some things are hidden, inscrutable, the property of God, the revealed things touching both blessing and curse belong to them and to their children. Whatever God reveals, that is worthy of study; whatever he hides, let it alone.


(5) Then he graciously unfolds this special mercy of God, that if when smitten and scattered and oppressed by all other nations they will in far-off lands of exile and dispersion repent and turn to God, he will forgive and restore them. It was this promise of restoration that prompted the notable paragraph in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple (I Kings 8:33-40), and encouraged the later prophets, like Zechariah, Ezekiel and Daniel in days of exile, and still later the Apostles, like Paul in his discussion, Romans II, concerning the restoration of the Jews.


(6) He then assures them that obedience to this law is neither too hard nor too far off, but very nigh to them. Alas, it was both too far off and too hard to be obeyed by unrenewed and unbelieving hearts without faith in Christ. It remained for Paul, a later Jew, and the only other man in all show how by faith alone this salvation was both nigh and easy. (See Rom. 10.)


He closes with a most touching invocation to both heaven and earth to bear witness that he that very day set before them these awful, inexorable alternatives: Life and good go together; death and evil are indissoluble.


FIFTH ORATION


This, the last and shortest address, is contained in 31:1-13. The first part, verses 1-8, touchingly refers to his age, "I am now one hundred and twenty years old," and to the vacation of his office. The great leader can no more go out and come in before them. But they need neither despair nor fear on that account. God's cause does not die with its great advocates. Moses indeed will be gone, but Jehovah himself will remain their guide and protector. And even a human successor, Joshua, has already been trained to be their captain.


The second part of this last oration directs that every seventh year, the year of release, the great Land Sabbath, a sabbath a year long, the whole people must be assembled, men, women and children, and that very year in which they have to do no work because the land lies idle, is to be devoted to studying and understanding the entire Pentateuch. I am sometimes blamed for devoting so much time to the Pentateuch. Here is my warrant. The year of the Land Sabbath was to be so devoted. It calls for a year. Happy the man who can master it in one year. What a Sunday school is here, men, women and children devoting a year to the study of the Law! Let us here find the original Sunday school idea; that it is not a school for only little children. The Sunday school idea is that men, women, and children shall come together and hear and be made to understand that Word of God. For example of fulfilment, see the remarkable history in Nehemiah 8:1-8. Illustrations may be given of the tremendous power of even a month's concentration of mind on one study, viz.: the case of a thirty days' school in geography, arithmetic, writing or mathematics. I would suggest the trial of one summer month devoted to the Pentateuch, the Gospels, Paul's Letters, Eschatology, the Prophets) the Poetical Books, or the Monarchy.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What chapters contain the third oration and of what does it consist?

 

2. Itemize the provisions for a renewal of the covenant after entrance into the Promised Land.

 

3. Of what does the twenty-eighth chapter consist?

 

4. Give a summary of the exhortation based on the required renewal of the covenant.

 

5. What the blessings promised for obedience?

 

6. What the curses threatened for disobedience?

 

7. What chapters contain the fourth oration?

 

8. What its occasion?

 

9. In what does it consist?

 

10. Wherein does this retaking of the oath of the covenant in Oration Four, before they cross the Jordan, differ from the full renewal of the covenant required after they cross the Jordan, aa set forth in Oration Three?

 

11. What blessings recited here?

 

12. Who were the human parties to the covenant?

 

13. Give a summary of the exhortation of the Fourth Oration.

 

14. How does he close this oration?

 

15. Where do we find the Fifth Oration?

 

16. In what does it consist?

 

17. Did they ever, apart from the one case cited in Nehemiah, attempt even to keep any part of this Land Sabbath, or its culmination, the Year of Jubilee?

 

18. What exact and awful judgment in their later history became the penalty for disregarding the seventh year, or Land Sabbath, and its accompanying year-study of the Law?

 

19. Cite the scriptures that prove the enforcement of the penalty for not keeping it.

 

 

XV

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE SONG, PRAYER, AND BENEDICTION OF MOSES Deuteronomy 31:14 to 33:29; Psalm 90

 


This section has its scope from chapter 31:14 to 33:29, and in connection with it we study the ninetieth Psalm. The theme of this section is the Song of Moses, Prayer of Moses, and Benediction of Moses.


The introduction gives the origin, reason and purpose of the song. The origin is God; God commanded it and God inspired it. The reason is that he foresaw the apostasy of Israel. The purpose was that the song should be a witness.


The poetic and prophetic form of this inspired piece of writing was well adapted to secure the object that God had in view. The songs of the people were memorized by the people. I suppose that every Israelite child learned that song by heart, so that from the lips of any child in the nation there could be a recitation that would witness against the people if they did apostasize from Jehovah.


It is not my purpose to discuss here the prayer of Moses, but merely tell you that Psalm 90, ascribed to Moses and rightly so, was composed about this time. It contrasts the eternity of Jehovah with the transitory life of man, and it accounts for the transitory life of man by his sin. Sin made his life short. The Psalm concludes with a prayer that God would so teach us the number of the few days here so as to apply our hearts unto wisdom, and that he would establish the work of our hands upon us. It is a masterly production. The benediction is also poetic and prophetic. It softens the hard parts of the song. It is more hopeful but does not reach 80 far into the future.


Before concluding these introductory remarks, it is necessary to compare the song, the ninetieth Psalm and the benediction with a previous song of Moses which you will find in the book of Exodus, and which we considered when we went over that book, and with the book of Job, which this author ascribes to Moses. The Exodus song Moses wrote to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from Pharaoh and Pharaoh's destruction in the Red Sea. In Revelation 15 we have this reference to this first song of Moses: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass, having harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, 0 Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages."


The sea of glass mingled with fire was the Red Sea in a type. The Red Sea divided, standing up in frozen walls, Israel passed through that grave like canyon, and the pillar of fire being the lid of it, the light of the pillar of fire shone on the icy walls and was reflected back and forth, so that it looked like a sea of glass mingled with fire. They were baptized in that sea and that cloud, and escaping in that way Moses writes the song of deliverance. Now, in the book of Revelation John uses that passage through those icy walls mingled with fire and the song that commemorated it to typify the deliverance of the saints in resisting the oppressions by an apostate church. So we have this clear assurance that Moses is the author of a song that will be sung in heaven. It is a great thing to be the author of the ballads of a nation here on earth; it is a greater thing to be the author of songs that we shall sing in the land of everlasting deliverance. Now, these matchless hymns all show clearly a common author; the Exodus song of deliverance, the song that we are now about to study, the ninetieth Psalm composed about the same time, and the benediction. These poetic and prophetic hymns of Moses are not to be surpassed in the poetry of the world. He was great in prose, he was great in history, he was as great as any man upon whom the afflatus rested as a writer of poetry.


The next thing in our introduction is that Moses is described as having finished the Pentateuch, including the song, and filing the book with the priests, and having it placed inside the ark of the covenant, so that throughout their future it should be a witness. When we come to study 2 Kings we learn that the finding of the lost Pentateuch in the days of Josiah and the reading of it brought about a great reformation among the people of Judah. After that monarchy fell, after Judah went into captivity, and on their return from captivity, through the decrees of the Persian king in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the same Pentateuch, a copy of which Ezra brought back with him, is read in the hearing of all the people, causing them to reestablish the commonwealth of Israel. A song is not so susceptible of analysis as a logical argument, hence all attempts at an analytical summary of this song fail to satisfy, but I am sure that we can agree on these things:


The song commences with invoking heaven and earth as auditors. All heaven might well listen, all earth might well listen, should listen to this song, so sweet that it might be compared to the falling rain in the time of a drought, or the distilling dew upon the parched ground. The theme of the song is evident: Jehovah's fidelity and Israel's infidelity. It not only commences with a statement of that fact, but it goes on to develop in the thought just what Jehovah did to prove that he was faithful and just what Israel did to prove that he was unfaithful.


There are two illustrations in that song that need to be studied by a public speaker. Nine times in the song Jehovah is compared to a rock, indicating stability, his being the place of refuge. Then the eagle upon the mountaintop, wishing to brain her young, will scatter the sticks of her nest and push the young birds over the precipice, and they shrieking seem about to fall to destruction, but she swoops down under them and carries them on her wings and soars away; then she gets far under them and lets them fall again. After a while they learn to fly and are very proud of themselves. This illustration is to show how Jehovah has borne this ever falling people on his wings. Both of these illustrations are very beautiful. This song sets forth the character of Jehovah in his sovereignty, in his holiness, in his justice, in his fidelity, and in his mercy. The song also sets forth the character of the people as foolish, perverse, ungrateful, wicked, and rebellious. The song then submits evidence to prove these affirmations of distinction between the character of Jehovah and the character of his people. It tells us what Jehovah did and what they did. Jehovah, when he divided the nations, away back yonder soon after the days of Noah, as we learned when we passed over Genesis, at the time when he divided the nations of the earth, he allotted Palestine, which we call the Holy Land, to his foreseen people. He intended at that time that they should have this territory. They were not yet in existence except in their ancestors, and their direct ancestor, Abraham, had not yet been born, but even then God, who owned all the land, selected that strategic, eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea connecting Mesopotamia and its great cities, Babylon and Nineveh, with Egypt. It was a passageway between nations north and south as well as of commerce and caravans east and west. It was the best place in the world to plant a people that should become the religious teacher of all nations.


The song tells how he found them, referring to their history in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; they were a desolate people in the howling wilderness, utterly helpless, and as an eagle bears up her young, he bore them up and brought them safely to the point where this song is now being sung. Then he made that nation his inheritance, Jacob being God's portion. He selected a particular line from Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve sons all the way down, and he said, "These people shall be my lot, my inheritance, and I will use them in carrying out my purposes for the salvation of the world." He regarded this nation as the very apple of his eye. He was just as sensitive with reference to them as the eye is sensitive to an unfriendly touch. Finally, this song, which is prophetic and regards the future as if it were present, states that he put them in possession of the land and blessed them beyond the power of words to express. Now, the song tells us what they did:


"When Jeshurun waxed fat he kicked." A very expressive proverb. You may see a poor, gaunt hack horse that you may safely approach and lead by the mane, without a bridle. But when you feed him and care for him, and curry him, and he becomes sleek, the first thing that you know he kicks. The bounding life within him abhors restraint. This illustration shows what the people did. Their prosperity under good treatment becomes the occasion of their revolt. They sacrificed to idols, things that were nothing, and they sacrificed to demons who were the authors of this idolatry. Now, having contrasted what he did with what they did, the song, still looking far ahead into the future, tells what he will do; inasmuch as they have provoked him to jealousy by selecting a people that have hitherto been no people. In other words, here is a plain intimation of the things fulfilled in the New Testament days, viz.: The kingdom of heaven is taken away from the Jews and given to a people that will bring forth fruits of righteousness.


The song tells us that he will make expiation for the land, foretelling the time when the Antitype of their sacrifices in the person of the true Lamb of God shall make the great expiation for sin. The song tells further that they, on account of their sin, referring, of course, to their sin against this expiation, will be dispersed among all nations and there have an awful time for an awful length of time.


Having thus shown what he would do, he now discloses through the song what his mercy will be in the last day; that there is coming a time when he will look with pity upon this poor downtrodden, oppressed people, and have compassion and pour out upon them the grace of supplication, and when in their penitence they look to him whom they have pierced, he will forgive them.


The last great thought of the song is similar to the thought of Paul in Romans II, viz.: that if the casting off of the children of Israel be life to the Gentile world, what shall their restoration be but life from the dead? If their downfall brought Joy to other nations, how much more shall their restoration bring joy to other nations? And so this song calls upon all people to rejoice when his people are forgiven and restored. Benediction, Deuteronomy 33. Here you must compare our text with Genesis 49 and also Revelation 7. In Genesis 49, Jacob, the old dying patriarch, summoned his children before him and pronounced a benediction upon each of them. And in Revelation 7 there is an account of the 144,000 redeemed by the power of the gospel out of the twelve tribes of Israel. Now, when we look at these lists as given in Genesis 49, Deuteronomy 33 and Revelation 7, we find that the order in which the names come is not the same in any two accounts. In Genesis, Jacob blesses them in this order: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. Moses blesses them in this order: Reuben, Judah, Levi, Benjamin, Joseph, Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naphtali and Asher. He leaves out Simeon. In Revelation the order is this: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph (which is Ephraim) and Benjamin, leaving out Dan.


Why does Moses leave out Simeon? You will remember that in submitting to the seductive counsels of Balaam, Zimri of the tribe of Simeon committed the presumptuous sin punished by Phinehas. It may be that all of the 24,000 people that perished in that plague were of the tribe of Simeon, which in turn may account for the fact that this tribe, according to the first census numbering 59,300, is found by the second census, immediately following, to be only 22,000. Now, I say that the sin of Zimri may have prompted Moses to leave out Simeon.


But I will give you a reason much more probable. In the allotment of the tribes Simeon got no special territory, and as Moses is thinking of the tribes as they occupy the land, we can see how he might leave out Simeon, since Simeon's territory is included in Judah's. When we come to Revelation, it is hard to tell why Dan is left out. It may be because that after going over to the Promised Land Dan left his territory by a migration which you will discover in Judges, went outside of the Promised Land and captured a home and there set up an alien worship. It may be that on this account he is left out. I do not dogmatize on that. Jewish Christians say that Dan was left out because of the character of the tribe as described by Jacob: "A serpent in the way, an adder in the path." When we were going over Genesis, I called your attention to that awful secret band among the Mormons called the "Danites," based upon the prophetic character of Dan in Genesis, and the song of Joaquin Miller, which utterly wiped them off the face of the earth.


The next thought arising from a comparison of these lists is that some who in Jacob's blessing had a dark prospect ahead of them found a brighter prospect in the case of their descendants in Moses' time. For instance, read what is said about Reuben in Genesis 49 and immediately following with what Moses predicts concerning him. Reuben's prospects brighten in the Mosaic account, and so with some other. Levi, in the prophecy of his father Jacob, in Genesis 49, has a dark prospect before him, but in the Mosaic blessing his prospects are intensely brightened. In this case the children are doing better than the fathers.


Without going over it all, it is my suggestion that the reader take Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33 and compare tribe by tribe, and see what. the variations are in this lapse of time. The lesson to be learned from this is that a family through its head may start out bad and give taint to all the descendants of that man, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations, but after a while some of the children will establish themselves in righteousness and bring honor to that name. And likewise a family may start out with a distinguished head and for quite a long time the descendants of this man will share in his fame and glory, but if they do nothing themselves to keep up his reputation, then they become more exposed in their worthlessness by the very fact that they had an illustrious sire.


I can illustrate: There was once a canvass going on in McLennan County for County Attorney, one of the candidates was accustomed in opening his speeches to refer to his progenitors; that as far back as records went they were illustrious people. The opposing candidate got up and said: "Fellow citizens, I know but little about my progenitors. If they were good men they ought to have held office in their time, but on account of their goodness I should not hold office now; so, replying to all that my very well-descended opponent has said in favor of his candidacy, I will just make this remark: I would rather be a horse without a pedigree than a pedigree without a horse." He was elected.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What the literary form of the sixth and seventh addresses of does the introduction to the sixth address contain?

 

2. What does the introduction to the sixth address contain?

 

3. What the origin, reason and purpose of this song?

 

4. Why was the poetic and prophetic form of this address well adapted to secure its object?

 

5. What the subject of Psalm 90, how does it account for the transitory life of man and whose exposition of it was commended?

 

6. What the form of the benediction, and how does it compare with certain parts of the song?

 

7. With what preceding song of Moses should the sixth address be compared?

 

8. What other book besides the Pentateuch does the author ascribe to Moses and what the similarity of the problem in this book with the problem of his own people when he wrote it?

 

9. Expound the allusion to this preceding song in Revelation 15:2-4.

 

10. What can you say of Moses as a poet?

 

11. How was the Pentateuch, when finished, preserved and when do we hear of it again?

 

12. Give an analysis of this song as follows: (1) The invocation. (2) The theme. (3) The illustrations. (4) The characters set forth. (5) The strategic position of God'8 people. (6) God's care for his people. (7) The prophecies.

 

13. With what other scripture must the benediction be compared? the prophecies concerning the names?

 

14. In comparing the tribe lists in these three scriptures, what variations do you find as to the order of names, omission of names and the prophecies concerning the names?

 

15. What lessons on heredity and individuality may be learned from the fact that in the Mosaic benediction when compared with the benediction of Jacob, the prospect brightens for some tribes and darkens for others? What illustration given by the author?

 

16. Why did Moses leave out Simeon, and Revelation omit Dan?

 

 

XVI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE CHARACTER AND GREATNESS OF MOSES Deuteronomy 34:1-12

 


Deuteronomy 34 consists of the following parts:


1. The vision of the Promised Land accorded to Moses from the summit of Pisgah; his eyes enabled him to see all the land that God originally promised to Abraham.


2. The unique death and burial of Moses. No other man in human history died this way or was buried this way. He was not sick, though one hundred and twenty years old, his eye not dim, his strength unabated. He died not from any natural causes. In Geikie's Hours with the Bible there are several very touching legends, mythical of course, concerning the death of Aaron and Moses, and the one concerning Moses is that after he was stretched out on the place where God told him to lie down, Jehovah called to the soul to come out of the body, but the soul would not come. He spake to the soul again, but the soul would not leave the body. Then God leaned over and kissed him and the soul went up to heaven on the wings of that kiss. It was God who buried him, and no man was ever able to find the place, the reason of which is obvious, viz.: the Israelites would have deified the sepulchre of Moses; would have made pilgrimages to it and made it a shrine of worship. The New Testament gives us an additional particular concerning the body of Moses, that you do not find anywhere in the Old Testament, concerning a contest over that body between the Devil and Michael. The interpretation of that remarkable New Testament passage we must reserve until we come to study the book in which it is given.

 

The next thing set forth in this chapter is the mourning for thirty days, then after a reference to Joshua comes this encomium which is our text: "There hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom Jehovah knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders, which Jehovah sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel." That places Moses in a unique position. Special stress is laid upon his miracle-working power. In fact, in teaching the Bible I do not so much discuss miracles when I come to them in the life of Christ as I discuss them in the life of Moses. The miracles by Moses constitute the first great group and are surpassed in wonder by no miracles ever wrought on the face of the earth by anybody, Christ and the apostles not excepted. In studying the Bible this is the place to study miracles as they are set forth in the life of Moses.


Now from the text, "There hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses," I want to discuss his character and his greatness. In our studies in Exodus we considered the materials for the life of Moses; biblical, Jewish, Mohammedan, heathen, modern, archaeological, and legendary.


We found the biblical material gathered mainly from the Pentateuch, but somewhat from the other Old Testament books, and somewhat from the New Testament references, to be really the only reliable historical material, except that the results of modern archaeological research, fairly interpreted, confirm the Mosaic history. This is one of the most important contributions of archaeology. For quite a while it was claimed that the Mosaic period was a period of ignorance, that the people could neither read nor write, but what a revelation archaeology has flashed upon that false contention, showing that it was an intensely literary period, and demonstrating that Moses made no such mistakes as the higher critics a long time ago were accustomed to attribute to him. So that with this amount of material it is not difficult to construct a connected history of this, the greatest man from Adam to the New Testament time. No other man in all that vast period of time has left such an impress on the human race. The most illustrious heroes of antiquity in profane stories are, when compared to Moses, as the stars in the solar system to the sun.


He was the youngest child of Arnram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi. His sister Miriam and his brother Aaron became illustrious through association with him. He was born during the period of Egyptian bondage during the oppression of the Israelites under the dynasty that "knew not Joseph." We find a gracious providence protecting his infancy, and your attention in studying Exodus was called to the following elements of preparation, which account for his greatness. I have been compelled on suitable occasions to remark that only prepared men ever accomplished great things. The elements of his preparation were as follows:


1. The faith of his parents trained his early years so effectually that he never in the marvellous vicissitudes of after life forgot that he was a child of Abraham and bore on his body the mark of the covenant which isolated him from all other nations.


2. His training in the Egyptian court. This is a very great element of his preparation for his life work, for according to Stephen he became learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds. So far, therefore, as this court training and opportunity could afford, he was an expert in literature, war, agriculture, legislation, jurisprudence, medicine, organization, and comparative religions.


3. The third element of his preparation consisted of the crisis that came in his life when forty years old, through a revelation that was made to him by Jehovah that he was destined to deliver his people from bondage. The fact of such a revelation is evident form Stephen's speech in Acts 7:23-25. The entrance into his heart of a desire to visit his brethren and to defend them from oppression, and the supposition on his part that they would know that God by his hand was giving deliverance to Israel, all abundantly show that God had appeared unto him and commissioned him. It was this revelation that necessitated the great life decision recorded in Hebrews 11:24-26: "By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked unto the recompense of reward." But as faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, there must have been a revelation to him which, coupled with his training in the promises and prophecies vouchsafed to his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, impelled him to the decisive step which he took. Revelation touching both time and eternity is the basis of his faith. He made no mistake in his call to be a deliverer, nor in the choice following the call. But he did make a mistake in not leaving it to God to determine the time of the deliverance and its method for accomplishment. When he was forty years old, he presumptuously and rashly "butted in," as one might say, Pharaoh not ready, not sufficiently prepared, his people not ready and Canaan not ready to be occupied. In rashness and presumption he struck too soon. So we find the next element of his preparation:


4. Forty years of retirement and meditation in Midian. Forty years more of preparation were needed all around. The meekness and patience of subsequent years could not fruit from his prosperity in Egypt. "Tribulation worketh patience, patience experience, and experience hope." There must be in preparation for great things a time for meditation and reflection, when the mind turns over and assimilates the knowledge acquired. Christ was retired until thirty, John the Baptist until thirty and Paul for three years in Arabia. We are so busy in modern times and want to rush out so speedily into life that we are not willing to take time to reflect or meditate. Moses needed a greater knowledge of that Sinaitic peninsula to be the scene of another forty years of activity. In the quiet pastoral life in Midian it is very probable that Moses wrote first the book of Job. When we come to that book, I think I can give you an unanswerable argument in proof that Moses was its author and that it was the first book of the Bible written, and that it was suggested by the undeserved affliction of his people over in Egypt. Job's case was another burning bush case. And it is almost certain, indeed it is morally certain, that he wrote the book of Genesis in that period of retirement, because when we commence to read Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, there is always a presupposition that the people are familiar with the facts of Genesis.


5. The last element of his preparation comes with the miracle of the burning bush and all the attendant history.


Now, as we have just finished our study of the Pentateuch written by Moses, let us fix our minds upon the forces from which character resulted and the elements of his greatness. Character is not an accident. Character cannot be improvised. Character is a result, a crystallization of preceding causes. We find that the great character of Moses is the result,


1. Of faithful family training. Oliver Wendell Holmes, as I have told you before, when asked when you should commence the education of a child, said, "Commence with its grandmother," and in another instance says that "man is an omnibus in which all of his ancestors ride." The reason why so many men of genius are never great is the lack of family training.


2. It was the result of personal faith in God and a sense of personal responsibility to God. "What a man thinks, that he is." There can be no greater mistake than the hasty, ill-considered statement, "It makes no difference what a man believes." His character was the result of his faith.


3. It was the result of his conviction concerning the future life. It is a slander upon the Old Testament to say that it discovers nothing of future life. To Moses' mind the world to come was as clear as it is to your mind, and he had "respect unto the recompense of reward." No man could deliberately turn from earthly power, position, honor, riches, pleasures, and take the position which he took of reproach and toil and poverty unless prompted by a thought of the life to come.


4. His character was the result of marvelous secular education. Our Lord has not made great learning a condition of the ministerial office, but it is a fact that the wider your range of general information, the more you are acquainted with affairs, the more your mind is disciplined in the study of the things taught in colleges and universities, certainly the greater your power will be as a preacher. Moses had a secular education ahead of any other man of his time.


5. It was the result of great personal trials and long continued discipline. Character comes out of a furnace and no man can lay any very loud claims to character who has not been tried. He does not know what he will be when he passes through the fire.


6. It was the result of long continued service and labor. Moses was a worker, and the man who works develops character. How can an idle person have character? 7. It was the result of profound meditation and reflection. We may know a lot, just keep on knowing, knowing and knowing, but if we do not assimilate that knowledge, the mind becomes an old garret full of odds and ends and scraps, none available when needed. It is not the quantity you eat but what you digest that builds up your body, and you cannot assimilate mind food without meditation. The Duchess DeBerri once said, "If associating with the twelve apostles kept me from solitary meditative thoughts of God, and prayer, I would give up the company of the twelve apostles."


8. His character was the result of great opportunities and high positions carefully utilized.


Now, looking at the result of such forces, what do we discover in Moses?


1. He was a man of piety. Nothing on earth can make up for the lack of personal piety. Gifts cannot do it.


2. A man of wisdom. Somebody – and a schoolteacher – recently asked me to give a synopsis of a lecture delivered before his school on the distinction between wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. "Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers."


3. He was a man of decision, as is evident by the choice he made. Many a poor fellow spends his life astraddle of the fence, like Mr. Lincoln's ox that jumped half-way over the fence and then could not butt the dogs that were baying him in front nor kick the dogs that were biting him behind.


4. He was a man of great organizing capacity, or great administrative ability.


5. A faithful man in all offices of trust. That is one of the tributes borne to him in the letter to the Hebrews.


6. He was a man of surpassing meekness and patience. He did fly off the handle one time, but some of us stay off the handle.


7. He was a man of sublime courage. And what a high quality of courage!


8. He was an intensely patriotic man: "If thou wilt not forgive their sin; blot my name out of thy book."


9. He was an intensely unselfish man. I remember once when I was a boy being much impressed with this: A newly elected representative of Drew County, Arkansas, was approached to know if he was going to obey what his constituents would tell him to do. He said, "First, I am God's man. I will do nothing that violates my idea of personal responsibility to God. Second, I am my nation's man. I will do nothing that will tend to disrupt the whole country. Third,. I am my State's man. I will do nothing for this particular county that is prejudicial to the interests of the whole State. Fourth, I am my own man. I will do nothing that will destroy my own individuality. And now, if a man who is God's man, his Nation's man, his State's man, and his own man, is allowed to represent your people, I will represent you." It made a very great impression on my mind.


Now, having such a character, in what phases did his greatness display itself?


First of all, as a historian. Common custom calls Herodotus the father of history) but what is Herodotus compared to Moses? Moses gives us the only history of a third part of the time so far allotted to this world.


He was a great legislator. All civilization to-day is bottomed on the Mosaic legislation. He was a great jurist; the principles of law and equity are better set forth by Moses than in all the publications of the chancellors of England and the Supreme Court of the United States.


He was a great poet, as we have found in considering the song of the Red Sea, the song just before he passed away, Psalm 90, written in his old age, the benediction which he pronounced upon his people, and his high thought in the book of Job, illustrative of the great problem, the undeserved afflictions of his people.


He was a great orator. Whoever can read and study Deuteronomy intelligently and then deny that Moses was a master orator) is not intelligent, if you will permit such a statement. He was a great prophet. Take the prophecies of his Levitical legislation, the types. Who can understand Christ who has not understood the paschal Lamb, the two goats on the day of atonement, the red heifer, the brazen serpent, and multitudinous others? Then the prophecy concerning Christ and his great prophecies in Deuteronomy concerning his people that have been fulfilling ever since his time, and some yet to be fulfilled. In every land on the earth today there stand living monuments to attest the accuracy of the forecasts of his prophetic mind.


He was a great mediator between God and man. God selected him to mediate, and the people selected him to mediate. In a sense, with one hand he touched divinity and with the other he touched humanity.


He was a type of Christ. He represents the people before God and represents God before the people, and in a most remarkable way. His mediation appears in his powerful intercession when the people sin; he would come to God, state the sin, then plead for its pardon.


Now let us look at his faults. Ingersoll was accustomed to speak of the mistakes of Moses. The first one that we are able to discover comes after God said to him, "You shall deliver Israel." He rushed at it, not leaving to God to determine when and how, and started a plan of his own by killing that Egyptian, and that fault, as is usually the case, became the father of the next fault. You know when a man "butts in" prematurely and gets "sawed off," his pride is so wounded that the next time he will "sulk in his tent."


When God came to him at the burning bush, he was still so sore that God almost had to drag him by the hair of his head to make him try again. That was his second fault.


The third fault was neglecting to circumcise his children, and he came within an inch of losing his life by it. His wife was the cause of this, but a man must not let his wife keep him from obeying God.


The fourth sin that he committed was when he spoke ill-advisedly with his lips at Kadesh, and forgetting that the rock must be smitten but once, and forgetting that the waters flowed afterwards by petition and not by smiting, he violated God's word and struck the rock. For 120 years he had carried this burden, like Atlas holding the world on his shoulders; he had been nagged, he had been misunderstood, slandered and misrepresented, and just then his superb patience gave away. When I look at it, I feel that I want to lift my hat to the man whose patience gave way just one time.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Who probably wrote Deuteronomy 34?

 

2. State the items of its contents.

 

3. What constitutes the death of Moses the most unique death of history?

 

4. Give a legend concerning his death.

 

5. What additional particular concerning Moses' body found in the New Testament?

 

6. What his encomium in this chapter?

 

7. Upon what is special stress laid in the life of Moses, and why?

 

8. What the materials for a life of Moses?

 

9. What his impress on the ages, and how does he compare with the men of profane history?

 

10. What the circumstances of his birth and childhood, his parentage and the other members of his family?

 

11. What the elements of preparation for his life work?

 

12. What three great periods of his life?

 

13. What did the faith of his parents do for him?

 

14. Of what did his learning at the Egyptian court consist?

 

15. What the great crisis of his life, and what mistake did he make relative to it?

 

16. Why the forty years in Midian and what other Bible examples?

 

17. What the last element of his preparation?

 

18. What the forces which contributed to the formation of his character?

 

19. What does Oliver Wendell Holmes say of family training?

 

20. What the relation of his faith to his character?

 

21. Did Moses know of the future life? What the evidence?

 

22. What the importance of secular education?

 

23. What the importance of trials in relation to character?

 

24. What the relation of labor to character?

 

25. What the importance of meditation and reflection in relation to character?

 

26. What the importance of utilizing opportunities in relation to character?

 

27. What the resultant character?

 

28. In what phases did his greatness display itself?

 

29. What his antitype?

 

30. What his faults?

 

 

XVII

 

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THE HOMILETIC VALUE OF DEUTERONOMY

 


The book of Deuteronomy, like the letters to the Romans and to the Hebrews, is expository, abounding in both single texts and topics. It is a mine from which a preacher or platform speaker digs the richest themes. So our Saviour and his apostles found it and used it more than they did, perhaps, any other book in the Old Testament. You have followed these discussions and have done what studying you have done to very little purpose if you have not filled your quiver with feathered, sharp, and polished arrows.


On account of the homiletical value of the book arising from its expository nature, I have thought it well to devote this last section to calling your attention to some of the many great pulpit themes in the book.


When I was a young preacher, I studied this book a solid month and then carefully wrote out a list of 250 special sermon outlines from texts selected from the book. Of course I am not going to inflict any 250 on you in this discussion. The first time I ever read Deuteronomy, I felt as if I had gotten into a rich mine from which a good miner could dig tons and tons of preaching material.

 

TEXTS FOR SERMONS


1. 1:5: "Moses began to declare [expound] this law." I take that first because it marks the character of the book; to declare, to dig up, to get under, to expound, not to enact or proclaim.


2. 1:9-18) a topical theme: Israel's Judicial System. In discussing that I have four divisions: (1) Its graded courts or a division of labor, judges over tens, fifties, hundreds, thousands and so on up, its appellate court being the oracle of God. This judicial system brings before our minds the first system of graded courts. (2) The character and qualifications of the judges. (3) The methods of trial and hearing evidence. (4) Verdict and penalty. These are the four divisions of the theme, Israel's Judicial System.


3. 1:2: "It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea." On account of sin they lost thirty-seven days in getting there the first time, and thirty-eight years in getting there the second time, so that the theme for that text is, "Sin makes a short way very long."


4. 1:39: "The excuse about children." Men never quit making it. How many times do parents justify wrongdoing by attributing it to their concern for the little folks?


5. 1:41-45, theme: "They who will not war with Jehovah as leader better not war without him." They would not go with him as leader and afterwards presumptuously went and he would not go with them.


6. Based upon the parenthetical statements in the second and third chapters. This refers to the giants, Emims, Rephims, Zamzummins, etc. Theme: "Giants are not invincible." Moses brings in the history of these giants to show that if giants could be overcome by the Edomites, by a people who were not Jehovah's people, why on earth should his people tremble because there were giants in the way? Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress tells how a whole host of Christian people being come together at the house of Gaius and one said that it was not right for that many of God's people to be together and do nothing for the cause, saying, "Let's go out and kill a giant," which they proceeded to do. I oftentimes quote that at Associations and Conventions where the brethren come together to resolve, resolve, and adjourn. God's people should kill giants when they assemble.


7. 4:15: "Ye saw no manner of form," no similitude or like-ness of God.


8. 4:32: "The days that are past" or Memory's use of history.


9. 6:4: "Love the fulfilling of the law."


10. 6:7: "Family instruction."


11. 7:2-3: "Beware of entangling alliances." I am quoting the theme from Washington's farewell address, "Beware of entangling alliances with other nations."


12. "Man doth not live by bread alone." This was used by our Saviour and with it he turned the devil down in the temptation. In the early days of my pastorate, I was walking down the street one day and saw a man who, just as soon as he saw me, tried to hide his face. I went into his house and saw that he was one of my members who had not been to church for a good while. He was running a little retail dram shop. I never said a word, just looked at him. "A man must make a living somehow," he said; "a man must make a living somehow," repeating just that over and over. "Not necessarily," I said: "you are not bound to live. It certainly is necessary for you to obey God and you are not doing it." "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah."


13. The greater part of chapter 9 is on "Beware of selfrighteousness." This is one of the finest chapters in the Bible. Do not attribute your spiritual prosperity to your own righteousness.


14. 9:25, presents to us the intercession of Moses, that mighty man of prayer.


15. 10:12, gives us the summary of duty, showing that God's commandments are reasonable commandments.


16. 10:16, gives us the spiritual meaning of circumcision, showing what is its true antitype, not baptism, but circumcision of the heart; in other words, regeneration is the antitype of circumcision.


17. A topical subject without specifying a particular place. The Deuteronomy tithe as compared with the Levitical tithe. In other words, the second tithe of the Law and what it is for.


18. 13:1-3: "No sign can attest a false prophet or false doctrine."


19. 18:15-19, the greatest text in the book: That prophet like unto Moses.


20. Now we come to another topical theme, national instruction as based on chapter 16, giving an account of the feasts, and in a later chapter which tells how the whole nation, men, women and children, shall come together and be instructed for a whole year in the Law. National instruction.


21. 17:14-20: The king and the book.


22. 19:1-11: Purpose of the cities of refuge.


23. Chapter 20: Laws of war.


24. 21:1-9: Civic responsibility for crime.


25. 21:22: Cursed is every man that hangeth upon a tree. You can carry that over into the New Testament.


26. 24:16: Personal responsibility.


27. 26:1-11: Acknowledgment of Jehovah's ownership.


28. 29:5: Jehovah's providence.


29. 30:1: Jehovah's mercy for the penitent.


30. 30:11: Now I come to one that I put next to the greatest one. I called the one in 18:18, the greatest. The Law not hard nor far off, the one that Paul explains in Romans 10, and to which Christ refers when he says, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."


31. 30:19: Indissoluble pairs; life and good, death and evil.


32. 31:2-3: The cause does not die with its advocates. Moses dies, Jehovah remains, and Joshua succeeds.


33. 31:8: Comfort and power of Jehovah's guidance.


34. I leave you to find the expression, but the next theme is "God is a consuming fire." It is just as essential to preach God as a consuming fire as "God is love." For instance, some of you are married and have children. Now that love is not merely manifested in feeding them, clothing them, and petting them. What if you saw a rattlesnake just about to strike your child? What if you saw a wolf come into your tent and just about to grab one of your children? What would love do? What if you saw that child about to be ruined by. association with incorrigible, awful children, would you separate them? Now you can see how love digs hell.


35. Here is a text that I used to preach from a great deal, "Write it plain."


36. 29:18: "A root of bitterness." That is a fine text for showing how the Law goes to the bottom and does not wait until it comes out into overt acts.


37. 28:56: "The delicate lady." When you get over in the New Testament, if you look at the Greek of a certain expression of Paul, it means "little women," not small in stature or youthful in age as Miss Alcott's Little Women, but little in a moral sense.


38. Now, another one of the very greatest texts in the book. If you ever want to be transcendently eloquent and impressive in a revival sermon, and your heart is in it, take this theme: 28:65-67, "The mental torture of the lost," "A scorpion circled with fire," as one writer calls it. One of the most remarkable illustrations on account of sin is found in Tiberius, the great Roman Emperor. He had become such a tyrant; he had sinned so much that all power of discrimination between right and wrong had been lost. The assembled Senate was waiting to receive his message to guide deliberation on important matters. This was his message: "What to write you, Conscript Fathers, or how to write or what not to write, may all the gods and goddesses destroy me more than I feel they are daily destroying me, if I know." Shakespeare more than any other author portrays this despair in Richard III, Macbeth, and other dramas.


39. 27:26: "Amen." Now, how would you discuss it? The word means let it be so. God, by putting half the people on Ebal and half on Gerizirn, committed them to the repetition of every curse and every blessing, and when they got through with all the curses and blessings he made every one say, "Amen," "Let it be just that way." The greatest triumph of our Lord is set forth in one of Paul's letters where he says, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess." That when he comes to judge the world and brings the lost from hell, and the saved from heaven, not one of whom has fully understood all of the reasons why he is saved or lost, so clearly will everything be brought out that even the lost when they turn away to enter hell forever will say, "Amen." They will have to testify that what has been done has been done well.


40. 29:29: "Hidden and revealed things." Hidden things belong to God, but revealed things we are to teach to our children. The purpose and limits of revelation.


41. Here is a great topical theme: "God's provision for the record, preservation, and publication of his Law." The first central part of the Law God spoke to Moses, and then wrote an autograph copy and filed it as a witness. Every seventh year had to be devoted to going over the entire Law and the exposition of it. You can carry the idea out into the whole of the Old Testament written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek, then into Latin, then into English, and a thousand other languages.


42. 32:31: "Their rock is not our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." A fine theme.


43. 33:32: "For their vine is of the vine of Sodom."


44. The last one that I have: "There hath not arisen a prophet like unto Moses." These are some of the greatest preaching themes in the book. I could give you a thousand just as well as the forty-odd that I have given you. It is the richest mine for a preacher, it seems to me, in the whole Bible.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What the nature of the book of Deuteronomy?

 

2. Mark each text pointed out and be able to give the line of thought and application suggested.

 

3. The Sinaitic covenant is a development of what preceding covenant?

 

4. What chapters in Exodus contain the Sinaitic covenant in germ, or its constitution, and what its three elements?

 

5. Of which of these three elements is Leviticus a development, and of which are Numbers and Deuteronomy a development?

 

6. In chapter 31:24-26, does "this book of the Law" which Moses finished writing mean Deuteronomy only, or does it include the whole Pentateuch? Answer the same question concerning the "Book of the Law" found in Josiah's time, (2 Kings 22) and the "Book of the Law" from which Ezra read, (Neh. 8:1).

 

7. Were the social laws touching marriage, divorce, slavery, parental power over children, perfect like the moral law, and if not, why not, and did they regulate these things in a way to improve them as practised by the heathen nations?

 

8. What is the best book on Old Testament ethics?

 

9. What five New Testament uses of the words of Moses most emphasize the value of his books?

 

10. What New Testament appearance and consociation of persons best illustrates his position in Revelation?

 

11. What one word best accounts for Moses?

 

 

THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

 

XVIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION

 


1. What is the relation of this book to the Old Testament?


Ans. – (1) On the face of it, it is a sequel to the Pentateuch, whose history it continues without a break, 1:2.


(2) It is the first book of the series called "The Earlier Prophets," which comprises Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, the whole series being the first part of the grand division called "The Prophets."


(3) Its history underlies all subsequent history of the Jewish people and its most marvelous events are cited as history in the Psalms, Psalm 44:23; 78:55; Isaiah 28:21; Habakkuk 3:11.


2. What is the testimony of the New Testament to its events as history?


Ans. – Stephen in Acts 7:45; James in 2:25; Paul in Hebrews 4:8; 11:30-31, all cite its most miraculous events as plain history.


3. What, therefore, is its right to a place in the canon of the Old Testament?


Ans. – It has never been disputed by Jew or Gentile.


4. In his very able work on The Bible; Its Structure and Purpose, what remarkable fact is cited by John Urquhart as bearing upon the grouping of the historical books of the Old Testament?


Ans. – That very many of these books of the Old Testament commence with the conjunction "and," the rendering of a small Hebrew letter, which enables us to divide all the historical books into four groups, indicating the most intelligent purpose as to structure.


5. State these four groups and show how the conjunction "and" plays its part in the groupings.


Ans. – (1) Israel outside the Land. Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers all commence with "and" continuing the story of the leading book, Genesis.


(2) Israel in the Land. Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings. Deuteronomy, being prospective or introductory to entering the land, is the leading book with all the others in order, commencing with the conjunction "and" and so continuing the story of the leading book.


(3) Israel returning to the Land after the Babylonian Captivity. 1 and 2 Chronicles and Ezra. Here 1 Chronicles is the leading book, making an entirely new start in history, commencing with Adam, and the other two books commencing with the conjunction "and" carry on the story of the leading book.


(4) Israel that never returned, or the Dispersion. Nehemiah himself, while twice visiting Jerusalem, lived and died a Babylonian Jew at the Persian Court.


Therefore we find that Joshua commences with "and" and that it carries on the story started by Deuteronomy, and "and" will go on until we get to the second book of Kings. This "and," just a stroke, next to the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, determines the structural form of all the historical books of the Old Testament.


6. Who is the author of the book of Joshua?


Ans. – The only direct testimony is in 24:26, where the writing of the farewell addresses, at least, is expressly ascribed to Joshua. In the making of a final record for a witness, he but follows the example of Moses. No other was so well qualified to describe events in which he, by divine appointment, acted a leading part. Hence, except the account of his own death, as in a similar case of Moses, the Jews and the early Christian fathers ascribed the book to Joshua, from whom in any event the material of the history must have been obtained. The style indicates an eyewitness as the author, and a participant. But what is mainly to the purpose is the fact that not even a historical book could get into the Hebrew canon that was not written by an inspired prophet. And it is recognized by the Prophets and recognized, in that respect, by our Lord as inspired.


7. What objections are urged against Joshua's authorship?


Ans. – (1) The book tells in chapter 15 of the capture of Hebron by Caleb, and the capture of Debir by Othniel, Joshua 15:13-20, which it is alleged occurred in the period of Judges, Judges 1:10-15.


(2) The remark that the "Jebusites dwelt with the children of Judah at Jerusalem," Joshua 15:63, when the capture of Jerusalem also occurred in the period of the Judges, Judges 1:8.


(3) The capture of Laish by the warriors of Dan, Joshua 19:47, which event also belongs to the period of the Judges, Judges 28:7.


8. What is the reply to these objections?


Ans. – There is nothing in any of these three events to prove clearly that they occurred after Joshua's death. Long before his death he had retired from the position of active leadership to his own estate. He had executed all his commissions and only just before his death reappeared to deliver his farewell address. What is briefly referred to in the book of Joshua is restated and elaborated in the book of Judges, i.e., so far as these three events are concerned. We know that in Joshua's lifetime he threw upon the tribes the responsibility of completing the conquest of the territory assigned to them, as appears from his reply to the complaints of the sons of Joseph, 17:14-18.


9. What the period of time covered by the book of Joshua?


Ans. – We are told that Joshua was 110 years old when he died, and that he was a young man, perhaps forty years old, at the exodus from Egypt, and as the pilgrimage lasted forty years, there remains a period of about thirty years for the book of Joshua.


10. What the purpose of the book?


Ans. – (1) To show how faithfully Jehovah fulfilled all his promises in putting them in possession of the Promised Land, and in giving victory over all their enemies.


(2) To show Jehovah's government of the nations, bringing about judgment upon the nations that forget God and become incorrigible in their wickedness.


11. What the great moral problem in this book and how do you solve it?


Ans. – Now I will tell you the problem, the destruction of the Canaanites root and branch, men, women and children, everything that breathes. On that account in every age of the world people, some good people, and some "goody" people have questioned the morals of the book and of the Old Testament, i.e., on account of the cruelty, the awful cruelty of such indiscriminate wholesale slaughter of thirty-odd nations. Now, how do you solve it? I will give some general remarks on the solution. Wm. Paley answers that question. (You may find his book among some of the old-time books presented to the Library.) W. A. Jarrell, in his book on Old Testament Ethics Vindicated, gives his solution of that problem. In the third place, Oehier, the noted German theologian, discusses it; quite a number of the Baptist authorities and the commentaries all discuss it. What is the best explanation of this indiscriminate destruction of many nations, none of them, not even the children left alive, men, women and children? That is a fact. Now the question is about the morality of the fact. Josephus also gives an account of it and he gives his philosophy of it.

 

The substance of all this is that Israel, God's chosen people, had a religious mission to fill. They were to bring the Messiah to the world and they had to be a separate people in order to do that. They could not amalgamate with other peoples and keep a pure Jewish blood which was necessary to accomplish the result. Besides this, the cup of their iniquity was full and the day of their execution was at hand. As to the infants, they were a thousand times better off to die in infancy. So it was really an act of mercy to them.


12. Give an account of the life and character of Joshua up to the time that book commences.


Ans. – He appears first in battle with Amalek (Ex. 17); then at Mount Sinai with Moses on the Mount, (Ex. 24) ; next, coming down from the mountain, (Ex. 32) ; next he appears in the story of Eldad and Medad, (Num. II); then we find him sent out by Moses as a spy, (Num. 13) ; his ordination (Num. 27) ; in Deuteronomy 31 we have the record of his charge from Jehovah; in the same chapter we find him called Hoshea and he heard Moses' song; then in Deuteronomy 34 we have him succeeding Moses. He was of the tribe of Ephraim, held the office of General and was Minister to Moses.


13. Of whom was Joshua a type?


Ans. – Christ. See page 169 for fuller answer.


14. Finally comes the analysis of the book.


Ans. – Now, it is very seldom that I am willing to accept any analysis of a book other than my own, but I have accepted the "Cambridge Bible" analysis. It is fine, only I would like to suggest some improvements. Indeed the whole of the commentary on Joshua is good. When I was a young man, I heard William Carey Crane, President of Baylor University at Independence, preach a funeral oration on the death of Sam Houston. He took an expression in the book of Joshua as his text and his sermon was the comparison of Joshua, the great soldier and statesman, with Sam Houston, the great soldier and statesman, and strange to say that very thing was done when Lord Wellington died and his funeral was preached. The comparison was not only between Wellington and Joshua, but the great English poem is quoted as bearing upon the deep signification of this book.


I will say this much about the character of the man. He had the highest qualifications of a soldier, viz.: to obey orders implicitly. He never turned to the right hand nor to the left hand; what God gave him to do, he never questioned, he just did it. Just exactly what God said do. He, as a general, exacted that kind of obedience from all the soldiers that fought under him. Now, it is remarkable that this man so great in war, when the war was over and he had never lost a battle, when he had conquered thirty-two kingdoms, took nothing for himself and when the land was divided asked only a little, modest place, that the people granted to him, where he might have a little estate with his tribe. That shows that he was without covetousness. His farewell address is always to be studied in connection with the farewell address of Moses, the farewell address of Samuel, the farewell address of Paul to the Elders at Miletus and Washington's farewell address. What a pity that more of us, when we come to die, cannot look back over the entire life, a well-regulated life, a well-regulated life with no stain on it, no lie spoken, no fraud practiced; uprightness, absolute integrity of conduct.


I asked you a question a while ago which I now answer in part. Joshua was pre-eminently a type of Jesus. The names Jesus and Joshua are the same originally. His name was Hoshea but by putting the Jehovah prefix it means the God of Salvation. He was a type of Jesus. He was commissioned to conquer the Promised Land and to give the people rest in that Promised Land, and so the Captain of our salvation, greater than Joshua, was to conquer a promised land (the whole world) and give rest to the people of God.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

 

PART I. THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN, 1-12

 

Section 1. – The Preparation.


1. The Summons of the War.


(1) The command of God to Joshua, 1:1-9.


(2) The command of Joshua to the people, 1:10-18.


2. The Mission of the Spies to Jericho.


(1) The sending of the spies, 2:1-7.


(2) Their reception by Rahab, 2:8-21.


(3) Their return to Joshua, 2:22-24.

 

Section II. – The Passage of the Jordan.


1. The Divine Guidance.


(1) The preparation of Joshua, 3:1-13.


(2) Jordan turned backward, 3:14-17.


(3) Completion of the passage, 4:1-18.


(4) The memorial at Gilgal, 4:19-24.


2. The Consecration of the Holy War.


(1) Renewal of the rite of circumcision, 5:1-9.


(2) Celebration of the Passover, 5:10-12.


(3) Appearance of the Prince of Jehovah's Host, 5:13-15.


(4) Instruction as to the capture of Jericho, 6:1-5.

 

Section III. – The Conquest of Central and Southern Canaan.


1. The Capture of Jericho.


(1) The preparations, 6:6-14.


(2) The capture and destruction of the city, 6:15-27.


2. First Advance Against Ai.


(1) The sin of Achan, 7:1.


(2) The repulse from Ai, 7:2-5.


(3) Joshua's prayer, 7:6-15.


(4) Detection and punishment of Achan, 7:16-26.


3. Second Advance Against Ai.


(1) Stratagem of Joshua, 8:1-13.


(2) Capture and destruction of the city, 8:14-29.


(3) Renewal of the covenant at Ebal, 8:30-35.


4. The Battle of Beth-horon.


(1) League of the Canaanite kings against Israel, 9:1-2.


(2) The fraud of the Gibeonites, 9:3-15.


(3) The league with Gibeon, 9:16-27.


(4) Investment of Gibeon by the Five Kings, 10:1-15.


(5) Flight and destruction of the Five Kings, 10:16-43.

 

Section IV. – The Conquest of Northern Canaan.


1. The Northern League.


(1) The gathering of the kings, 11:1-5.


(2) The battle of the waters of Merom, 11:6-9.


(3) The defeat of Jabin, 11:10.


(4) Subjugation of the north, 11:11-23.


2. Review of the Conquest. Catalogue of the Conquered Kings.


(1) Of eastern Palestine, 12:1-6.

 

PART 2. THE DIVISION OF CANAAN, 13-21

 

Section 1. – The Partition of Eastern Canaan.


1. The Mosaic Settlement.


(1) The divine command to divide the land, 13:1-7.


(2) Provision for the tribe of Levi, 13:8-14.


(3) Possessions of the tribe of Reuben, 13:15-23.


(4) Possessions of the tribe of Gad, 13:24-28.


(5) Possessions of the half-tribe of Manasseh, 13:29-33.


2. Commencement of the distribution, 14:1-5.


3. The possessions of Caleb, 14:6-15.

 

Section II. – Division of Western Palestine.


1. Territory of the Tribe of Judah.


(1) Its boundaries, 15:1-12.


(2) Petition of Achsah, 15:13-20.


(3) Cities in the south, 15:21-32.


(4) Cities in the lowlands, 15:33-47.


(5) Cities in the mountains, 15:48-60.


(6) Cities in the wilderness, 15:61-63.


2. Territory of the Tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.


(1) Boundaries of the territory, 16:1-4.


(2) Territory of the tribe of Ephraim, 16:5-10.


(3) Territory of the tribe of Manasseh, 17:1-13.


(4) Complaint of the sons of Joseph, 17:14-16.


(5) Reply of Joshua, 17:17-19.


3. Territory of the Seven Remaining Tribes.


(1) The tabernacle set up at Shiloh, 18:1-10.


(2) Territory of Benjamin, 18:11-28.


(3) Territory of Simeon, 10:1-9.


(4) Territory of the tribe of Zebulun, 19:10-16.


(5) Territory of the tribe of Issachar, 19:17-23.


(6) Territory of the tribe of Asher, 19:24-31.


(7) Territory of the tribe of Naphtali, 19:32-39.


(8) Territory of the tribe of Dan, 19:40-48.


(9) Joshua's possession, 19:49-51.

 

Section III. – Appointment of the Cities of Refuge.


1. The Divine Command, 20:1-3.


(1) Choice of the cities, 30:4-6.


(2) Three east of the Jordan, 20:7.


(3) Three west of the Jordan, 20:8-9.

 

Section IV. – Appointment of the Priestly and Levitical Cities.


1. The Demand of the Levites, 21:1-3.


(1) The Compliance, 21:4-8.


(2) Cities of the Kohathites.


(a) The sons of Aaron, 21:9-19.


(b) The Other Kohathites, 21:20-26.


(3) Cities of the Gershonites, 21:27-33.


(4) Cities of Merarites, 21:34-42.


(5) Conclusion, 21:43-45.

 

PART 3. JOSHUA'S FAREWELL, 22-24

 

Section 1. – Release of the Two Tribes and a Half.


1. The Departure.


(1) The exhortation of Joshua, 22:1-8.


(2) Return of the tribes, 22:9.


2. The disagreement.


(1) Erection of the altar, 22:10.


(2) Embassy of Israel, 22:11-20.


(3) The explanation, 22:21-31.


(4) Return of the embassy, 22:32-34.

 

Section II. – The Parting of Joshua.


1. The First Address.


(1) Exhortations to fidelity, 23:1-11.


(2) Warnings against apostasy, 23:12-16.


2. The Second Address.


(1) The last counsels, 24:1-15.


(2) Renewal of the Covenant, 24:16-28.


(3) Death of Joshua, 24:29-31.


(4) Burial of the bones of Joseph, 24:32.


(5) Death of Eleazar, 24:33.

 

 

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JEHOVAH'S CHARGE TO JOSHUA Joshua 1:1-9

 


Our discussion commences in Joshua I, and I shall present it in the form of questions and answers.


1. Where was Israel at this time?


Ans. – Israel was camped in what is called the "Meadow of the Acacias," near the upper part of the Dead Sea and opposite the river Jordan.


2. What time?


Ans. – It is forty years after leaving Egypt in the spring of the year, in the month of Abib. Later that month is called Nisan, and it comes nearer to answering to our April than any other time. The Jews had lunar months and we have calendar months; hence every one of our months covers a part of two of their months.


3. What incidental evidences from the text of the time of the year?


Ans. – One is that the harlot Rahab had on the top of her house spread out the stalks of flax. That was an April harvest. Flax stalks are dried out and the fibrous covering of the stalk is used to make thread and other things. Another circumstance is that it is stated that after they got over into the Promised Land they ate the new corn. Our text says old corn, but it doesn't mean old corn. It means the produce of the fields, which was barley. The barley harvest and the flax came in the spring of the year, in April.


4. What are the circumstances of the people of Israel at this time?


Ans. – Moses, Aaron, and Miriam are all dead. The entire generation of grown men that set out from Egypt except two are dead. It is a new generation. But while Moses is gone, God is still present, and under a new leader they are to proceed with their history, and they have already conquered all the territory east of the Jordan River, Moab and Gilead, and have settled there two tribes and a half, Reuben is the land of Moab, Gad in the land of Ammon, and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead further up. Their organization is compact, they have just sworn to renew the covenant. These arc the circumstances.


5. The book commences in English with the word "now," it really means "and," and it is a connective. The question is, What is the force of the connective?


Ans. – That has been explained several times before. It shows that it succeeds regularly the preceding book. Genesis, the first of the first group, is followed by Exodus, Leviticus, and then Numbers; then Deuteronomy, the first of the second group, is followed by Joshua, which commences with "and," and so on until we get through 2 Kings. I have explained before about the force of that connective.


6. What thoughts on succession suggested by the first verse, "After the death of Moses Jehovah spake unto Joshua"?


Ans. – The thoughts are these: Human leaders die, God lives. As one human leader drops out, God has prepared another to take his place. If Elijah's time has expired, Elisha is ready to take his place; and so it is with reference to the church. There has been a succession of the churches from the day that Christ said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it," and a succession of preachers. Paul dies, but before he dies he appoints faithful men to come after him to take up the work and carry it on.


7. Cite passages showing how Joshua has been prepared, appointed, qualified, and charged for this work.
Ans. – Now, here are the passages: Numbers 27:15-23, Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 14-15; Deuteronomy 34:9. These passages show that a provision was made while Moses was yet well and the leader, to designate a successor, to appoint that successor, qualify that successor, to deliver solemn charges from both God and Moses to that successor. Read very carefully every one of these passages.


8. Moses is called the "servant of the Lord" and Joshua is called "the minister of Moses": "Jehovah after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, spoke unto Joshua, Moses' minister." My question is, Distinguish between the meaning of "servant" and "minister," and show which one is the higher term, and show when the higher term became Joshua's.


Ans. – To call one "the servant of Jehovah" is the highest title you can confer on him. "Minister" means attendant. It is a different word in the Hebrew. It means Moses' attendant. In other words, just as the apostles were attendants of Christ (they were about with him while he prepared them to take his place after he is gone), so Joshua was Moses' attendant or minister. "Servant" was applied to Joshua in Joshua 24:29.


9. Analyze Jehovah's command to Joshua, its imperative conditions, its promises, its exhortations, and the meaning of "this book of the law."


Ans. – The analysis is: It is very imperative, very peremptory: "Go over this river and take this land that I promised to Israel." And the exhortation is "be strong; don't be a weakling; be courageous; don't get rattled and scared." And the promises are (1) "I will be to you as I was to Moses." (2) "I will never forsake you," and (3) "I will put high honour on you." Those are the promises. Those promises are to you and to any Christian preacher. Now, the conditions were, "You take this book of the Law." That shows that the Pentateuch had been written, that everything was recorded at that time, that the Pentateuch was the constitution of Israel and its statute book as well. "You take this book of the Law and meditate on it night and day and observe to do exactly as it says. Don't you go to the right hand or to the left hand; plumb the track; keep in the middle of the road." These are the conditions. "Now, if you will rigidly obey orders I will never leave you nor forsake you; never under any circumstances shall enemies be able to stand up before you."


It is said that preachers are the most disobedient of all Christians; that they understand less than any other class of Christians the principles of rigid obedience. One man asked Wellington concerning a certain mission, "What are we to do about it in view of that difficulty?" Wellington said, "What are your marching orders?" And they turned to the commission and read it and he said, "There is nothing to ask questions about. Do what you are told to do. Don't stop to consider the difficulties." I have just been reading of the education of Frederick the Great, and there isn't a preacher in Texas that could have stood it three days; what he had to go through with from the time he was five years old until he became a grown man. Now I will give you one of the rules, and his whole life had to be according to rule. At six o'clock he had to be waked up, and if it was a week day, had just fifteen minutes in which to say his prayers, bathe, and dress and eat his breakfast, while the servant dressed his hair – just fifteen minutes) not a second over; as soon as the servant touched him to wake him up, he must bounce out of bed and say prayers and bathe, dress, and eat his breakfast while they were dressing his hair. Then for every half-hour there was a duty: "You take up grammar there, mathematics here, etc." After a while in the day would come a rest spell, but there was no vacation, year in and year out.


Now, Joshua was a soldier like Wellington. When God gave him this command, "Go across the Jordan; keep this book in your hand; meditate on it day and night, just obey! obey! obey!" from the day that he was commended until he died he never swerved. This is one of the most remarkable cases of implicit obedience of which we have any record. The meaning of "this book of the Law" is the Pentateuch.


10. What three famous rivers are mentioned in God's command to Joshua?


Ans. – The Nile, the Jordan, and the Euphrates.


11. What is the meaning of "Jordan"?


Ans. – It means the Descender. And that is what it strictly is. It is a sharp inclined plane from its spring in Lebanon to its entrance into the Dead Sea. It certainly does descend more than any other river in the world. There is no other river on the map of the world of such a length that descends as much in that distance; therefore, of course, it is not navigable.


12. What is the peculiarity of the usage of this name "Jordan"?


Ans. – The Cambridge Bible says on that, "It is never called 'The River Jordan' or 'Brook Jordan.' It is always 'Jordan.'" The Cambridge Bible is mistaken. The word "Jordan" is used 189 times in the Bible; fifty times by Moses, sixty-two times in Joshua, fifty-seven times in the other Old Testament books and a number of times in the New Testament; 189 times in all, but one time it is called "the river Jordan," and that is in Mark's Gospel, 1:5: "They were baptized of him in the river Jordan." But that is a remarkable peculiarity. You apply the word "river" to the Nile, the Euphrates and every other river in the world, but when you come to the Jordan, you don't say "river." I got so interested in that that I finally got down my facsimile of the old manuscripts to see if this was in them and it is in all of them, i.e., this one mistake in the Cambridge Bible. That is the peculiarity of the usage of the name.


13. Describe it.


Ans. – Now, we are going to have so much to do with the Jordan in Bible history that you ought to be able to describe this river. Take it as it winds (and it winds very much), it is 240 miles long from its springs to the Dead Sea into which it flows or empties. A straight line from the Dead Sea to its springs would be one hundred and twenty miles. So it goes twice the distance going that way. Its general course is straight; it does not go off; it goes in a straight line, like the firing of a rifle ball from a gun. It has two heads, one of them in near Caesarea at Philippi, and those big springs come down and form a lake, called Lake Merom, and it looks like those springs are going to be swallowed up, but they come out of that lake into another lake, the Sea of Galilee; then it comes out of that lake about 70 feet wide and over a great many descents it goes deeper, down and down until it gets to the Dead Sea. Even the Sea of Galilee is five hundred feet lower than the sea level and the Dead Sea is over 1,200 feet lower than the sea level. So you see that river starts and runs into the earth and goes away down. It would be impossible for the Dead Sea to have an outlet; it would have to flow uphill to get out of the hole it is in.


Now, this is a very famous river. Once I preached a sermon, making the river Jordan a string and on it I strung the beads of history, and there was a cluster of beads at the Sea of Galilee and on down, down, down to the Dead Sea, taking the striking events of its history. Then I preached another sermon using the Dead Sea for an illustration of a man who receives and never gives out. The historic Jordan flows into it. Christ's miracles, walking on the water, Christ's passage and Joshua's passage, and yet the Dead Sea swallows all that water up and never gives out anything. Its water is so salty that a fish cannot live in it, and even the apples on trees along the banks) when you touch them, crumble and go up into dust. Now, that is the man that continually takes in from every side and never dispenses anything. You ought always to have in your mind a picture of that Descender, that river Jordan.


14. The command says to go over and take possession of the land which "I have given the children of Israel, which I promised to their fathers, which I repromised to Moses, and now concerning the allotment of that particular piece of land, to the children of Israel." On this I give a number of subquestions :


(1) What is the principle of this giving?


Ans. – Turn to Acts 17:26: "I made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons," that is, when a nation shall arise, when it shall fall, "and the bounds of their habitation that they shall seek God." That shows that the location of nations is of divine direction, and that the boundaries of nations are of divine direction, as a general principle.


(2) When was the division of the earth made among the several nations?


Ans. – You will find the answer to that question in Genesis 10:25. Concerning Peleg, the son of Shem, it is said, "In his day the earth was divided," allotted among the nations. That is what Peleg means, and not at the Tower of Babel after the tongues were confused. The order was for each nation to go where it had been allotted.


(3) What was the reason of that division which allots the Holy Land to Israel?


Ans. – Turn to Deuteronomy 32:8. Now, God does not always tell us his reasons; he had a reason, and when he allotted that particular section of the country to the people that were to be his chosen people, with a view to their influence over other people, he gave them a strategical position with reference to the countries of the world. He located them in the right place, showing how far-reaching is God's plan; that he had picked out that section and allotted that section. This has a good deal of bearing on the question of the disposition of the Canaanites.


(4) The descendants of what son of Noah ignored the allotment?


Ans. – Children of Ham. When they went from Babel, they took possession of the country that was to be Shem's. So these Hamites took possession of that country.


(5) Our lesson says that God is giving them this land he promised their fathers. Now, prove that he had made that promise to the fathers.


Ans. – Read Genesis 15:18-21: "In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite." That is the first promise to the fathers, which was four hundred years before this crowd of people stood on the bank of the river Jordan.


Our section says, "as I spake unto Moses." Now, I want to see where he said it to Moses. Turn to Deuteronomy 11:24, and Numbers 34:1. Now, what was promised to Abram was restated to Moses: "And I will set thy border from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines) and from the wilderness unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee," (Ex. 23:31). "And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, etc.," (Num. 34:1-12). "Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the hinder sea shall be your border" (Deut. 11:24).


15. What the boundaries of the land?


Ans. – Numbers 34:3: "Your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the side of Edom, and your south border shall be from the end of the Salt Sea eastward; and your border shall turn about southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass along to Zin; and the goings out thereof shall be southward of Kadesh-barnea; . . . unto the brook of Egypt [that is a bad translation; it is river, i.e., "river of Egypt"] and the goings out thereof shall be at the Sea." Notice that these translators are not willing that the Nile shall be one of the boundaries. They changed the word "river" to brook of Egypt, which is as dry as a powder house. So instead of brook, I shall read river. "Now for the western border, ye shall have the great sea [Mediterranean] and the border thereof; this shall be your west border. And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall mark out for you Mount Hor; from Mount Hor ye shall mark out unto the entrance of Hamath;... and the border shall go forth to Ziphron; . . .this shall be the north border. And ye shall mark out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham; . . . and the border shall go down to the Jordan, and the goings out thereof shall be at the Salt Sea. [That is the Dead Sea.] This shall be your land according to the borders thereof round about." Now, I have been thus particular in giving you the Genesis account of the boundaries of the countries and the Mosaic accounts and that leads to the next question.


16. Can you take a map and show the boundaries?


Ans. – 1 never saw anyone yet that could do it. I have tried it, I suppose, on 100 Doctors of Divinity. Now, here are some sub-questions:


(1) What the difficulty in determining the boundaries?


Ans. – What is meant by the river of Egypt? The translators translate it "brook," being unwilling to think that it touched the Nile, which is called the river of Egypt.


(2) What bearing has the name, Shihor, in determining what is the river of Egypt?


Ans. – Here are the scriptures: Joshua 13:3; I Chronicles 13:5; Isaiah 23:3; Jeremiah 2:18. These passages show that the "river of Egypt" means the Nile. That is where Shihor comes in in all those passages and is what is called the east fork of the Nile, the Pelusium fork. You see when the Nile gets low down it divides itself into a great many channels forming a delta, all of which run into the Mediterranean Sea. The most eastern is called the Pelusium. Now, this is where the Promised Land commenced. It was to be that Nile and follow the fork of the Nile down until it struck the Mediterranean Sea.


(3) What is the southwest starting point in getting this boundary?


Ans. – On the Mediterranean where the eastern branch of the Nile comes into the Mediterranean Sea. There you get your start.


(4) Now give the western line.


Ans. – You follow the Mediterranean Sea up until you get to what is called the entering in of Hamath.


(5) Northern line?


Ans. – I had my son to explore that line for me. He was then studying for his Ph.D. degree in Berlin and he and two other boys explored the boundaries of the Promised Land. And his letter was particularly interesting in which he told of the entering of Hamath. It went above Damascus and beyond Damascus until it struck the Euphrates River. So from the entering in of Hamath is the northern line.


(6) Eastern line?


Ans. – Now when it left the Euphrates to get the eastern line it came down the wilderness of Arabia, leaving Gilead, Moab, and the Jordan River, and strikes the lower side of the Dead Sea.


Now, the hardest of all borders is the southern. Moses tells exactly the line to follow in that Numbers passage. You start at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea and go to Kadesh-barnea, going just south of it, and go across to that eastern branch of the Nile. It is an oblique line, Just like the northern line is an oblique one.


(7) What things must determine the southern line?


Ans. – The following things must determine: First, it must commence at the southern part of the Dead Sea; second, it must not take in any of Edom: that is Esau's country; they are expressly forbidden to enter that. Therefore it must not go west from there but it must go northwest, leaving Kadesh-barnea to the left, and go across the desert until it strikes the Pelusium, that eastern branch of the Nile


(8) When were these boundaries realized?


Ans. – Certainly not in Joshua's time, but they were in David and Solomon's time. All the countries described in the Genesis 15, Numbers 34, and Deuteronomy 11, that entire country, embraced the kingdom of David and Solomon.


17. (1) Who the people in the land, and how located?


Ans. – These people, as I told you, were the descendants of Ham, who had usurped the country that was never allotted to them. The list of the nations, the great division of the nations, is given three times. I shall give one of them. This list includes seven, though there were many subdivisions: First, the Canaanites. Were these descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham? Some of them were the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. But the word "Canaanites" simply means lowlanders. The Canaanites dwelt in the low places. Second, the Amorites, that means highlanders. They lived in the mountains. Third, the Hittites. Hittites means descendants of Heth. You remember that Abraham bought Machpelah from the children of Heth. The fourth, the Jebusites, and these people occupied the whole country which included Jerusalem. From Jebus came the name Jerusalem. Now, there were subdivisions until they made thirty-two in all. Joshua tells us that he conquered thirty-two kings in taking possession of this land. (For the location of all these and also the Hivites, the Perizzites and the Girgashites see Bible Atlas.)


(2) What three nations besides these seven are very famous?


Ans. – First, the Philistines. They were on the Mediterranean coast. Second, the Amalekites. The Amalekites dwelt in the wilderness of Arabia south of the Holy Land. Third, the Phoenicians. The chief cities of the Phoenicians are Tyre and Sidon.


18. Describe their character.


Ans. – Some of them were very learned, but their habits were very bestial. Their religion in its worship was the worst form of prostitution. In other words, the Bible describes their sin as so low down and beastly that the land was ready to spew them out of its mouth.

 

 

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THE MIRACULOUS PASSAGE OF THE JORDAN AND EVENTS AT GILGAL Joshua 1:10 to 5:15

 


This section commences at Joshua 1:10 and extends to chapter 5. We will make more rapid progress in the book, having gotten through with the preliminaries. The theme is, miraculous passage of the Jordan and the marvelous events that occurred at Gilgal after they passed the Jordan.


1. Analyze Joshua's commandment to the people.


Ana. – (1) He commanded them to get ready to cross the Jordan in three days.


(2) He commanded that the armed men of the two tribes located east of the Jordan, the Reubenites, Gadites and the rest of the tribes help to conquer the lands on the east side.


2. What word is repeatedly stressed by Joshua in this command to the two and a half tribes? What use previously made of this word by Moses and will be made of it by the writers of both Old and New Testaments?


Ans. – The word "rest." We find that Moses uses that word in Deuteronomy 25:19, 19th verse where he says, "When you have been established in Canaan and God has given you rest." We find the same word employed in Psalm 95, where there is a reference to those who did not enter into the rest because of their disobedience. They died by the wayside. And in Hebrews 3:7, and 4:13, there is a continuous discussion of that "rest" as applied to Joshua the type of Jesus Christ. It will be very interesting for you to study that in Hebrews particularly, because in it lies the cream of the discussion of the New Testament sabbath.


3. What condition was prescribed by Moses in allotting territory east of the Jordan to the two and a half tribes, and what solemn promises had they made?


Ans. – If you will turn to Numbers 32:20-24, you will find that Moses, when these people asked to have the east part as their part, told them that the only condition upon which it would be granted was that when the Jordan was crossed they should send these tribes and help to conquer the other land, and they made a solemn promise to Moses that when the time came they would do that very thing


4. How did they respond to that promise, and what the later evidence of a fair fulfilment of it?


Ans. – You learn from your lesson 1:16-18, that they readily recalled what they had promised to Moses and promptly announced their Willingness to do what they said they would do. If you turn to Joshua 22:1-8, you will find that at the end of the conquest Joshua gives them a receipt in full of having kept their promise to the letter.


 5. How long were they thus away from their own homes, wives and children and property, that is, the men of the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and what comment do you make on this fidelity?


Ans. – Generally, I will say that they were away from their wives and children and property seven years. And the comment is that there is no parallel to this in the history of the world. All the able-bodied men leaving their homes, wives and children and property and going away armed to engage in a terrible war that was to be prosecuted west of the river, fulfilling their engagement to the letter before they ever go back and enjoy their rest as the other tribes were now prepared to do.


6. What event preceded the passage of the Jordan, and what the salient points of the story?
Ans. – This event was the sending out of the two spies by Joshua to find out the condition of the country and report back to Joshua. The salient points of the story are: (1) When these two men went into Jericho they were received at this lodging-house of a harlot. Why? Probably if they had gone to one of the regular inns or caravansaries they would have been apprehended by the officers of the king. But the true reason was that this woman, because she believed in Jehovah, invited them to come to her house. (2) What the evidences of her faith? These evidences are as follows:


(a) What she did. She received, lodged, sheltered, and protected the messengers of God's people because they were God's people. That was her motive, illustrating the words of our Lord in his address to his apostles, "When I send you into the city, you go to a house, and if there be a son of peace in that house, let your peace rest on that house" (Matt. 10). And where he further says, "Whosoever receiveth you receiveth me, and whosoever receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward." Now, this woman did so receive these people.


(b) What she said. Read exactly what she said, chapter 2:8-11: "And before they were laid down she came up unto them upon the roof; and she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things our hearts did melt because of you; 'for the Lord your God he is in heaven above and in earth beneath." Now, that is what she said. Then notice further (c) what she did as an evidence of her faith.


She asked that as she had sheltered them as messengers of God's people, when they came to take possession of Jericho, they would exempt her and her family from the doom that would fall upon the city. And they gave her a duty to perform as a token. First, that she would bring her kindred into her house and stay there. The walls of Jericho would fall in the other parts of the city but not in that part. Second, that she was to hang a scarlet cord out of the window through which she had let down the spies to enable them to escape over the wall. The binding of the scarlet thread in the window was the token.


(d) The fourth evidence is found in Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25. Another salient point in connection with the story of the spies is that this woman married an Israelite and became an ancestress of Boaz, David, and our Lord. We read about that when we come to Ruth and when we read the genealogy in the New Testament. The next incident is the great sermon preached by Spurgeon on the text, "And she bound the scarlet thread in the window." He puts a good deal of stress on the "scarlet" as referring to the blood of salvation. The last point is, the spies returned and reported to Joshua that their enemies were panic stricken.


7. What the arrangement or program of crossing the Jordan?


Ans. – (1) They must sanctify themselves. That means that they were to perform the ablutions that are required in that kind of setting apart to the service of God, and offer the sacrifice


(2) That the ark must precede the marching by a sabbath day's journey, 2,000 cubits.


(3) That God himself would that day magnify Joshua in the eyes of the people as he had magnified Moses at the passage of the Red Sea.


(4) That God's presence would be manifested in marvelous power.


(5) The cutting off of the waters of the Jordan, not dividing them as the Red Sea was divided, but cutting them off.


(6) That Israel should pass over safely.


(7) That a memorial should be erected of that passage.


8. Describe the execution of this program and the effect on their enemies, Joshua 5:1.


Ans. – It is of thrilling interest that just as at the passage of the Red Sea they were to stand still and see the power of the Lord, so here. That was something which God would do, not they themselves. Just as soon as the priests, carrying the ark (a sabbath day's journey), touched the edge of the swollen waters of the Jordan, that very moment, as if a knife had been let down from heaven, the Jordan was cut in two, and all the waters below flowed on to the Dead Sea and all the waters coming down from above, that mighty rush of the "Descender," were stayed there and massed up and the backwater extended for over thirty miles. By the breath of the Almighty, that turbulent tide in the day of its flood, flowing over that down grade, stopped right there, damned up, not by a wall, but by the Word of God, and there stood the priests in silence, carrying the ark of God. As soon as the way was open, the priests standing still, the whole of that mighty host of 3,000,000 people with all of their animals and goods passed over that empty bed of the river.


Joshua commanded one representative of each tribe to take a rock out of the bed of the river and right where the priests had been standing in the bed of the river, each one of the men should take a rock on his shoulder, and they should carry those stones, and they did just that way. Here came twelve representatives and took up twelve huge rocks and carried them ahead of the column and never put them down until they got to the place where they were going to lodge, and there those stones were placed together as an everlasting memorial of that deliverance. The effect upon the enemy was that it intensified their panic. God said that those Canaanite inhabitants should know that he was God and the story of that divine presence and the display of his power is circled around the world through all the succeeding ages.


9. How do you reconcile Joshua 4:9, with Joshua 4:20?


Ans. – Joshua 4:9, says that Joshua took stones and set up a column right where the priests had stood in the bed of the river, and 4:20, says that they took the stones across the river and a memorial was erected at the place where they stopped. There are only two ways of reconciling those two statements. One is that the pillar that was erected by Joshua where the priests stood was done not by the command of God, but appropriately done to mark the spot where the priests stood. It is not said that they used the twelve memorial stones carried by the representatives of the tribes, to build that structure. A good many commentaries say there were two monuments erected, one in the bed of the river and another in the camp where they remained a long while, even years. Now, that is one explanation and the more probable one. Another explanation is, that in reading Joshua 4:9, you read it this way, "and Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the midst of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had stood who bare the Ark of the Covenant." That is a simple statement of what is going to be more elaborately stated in verse 20 and provides for only one monument The first is a brief statement and the second a more elaborate statement. I will leave you to wrestle with the apparent contradiction.


10. What evidences in the later prophets that Israel misused this memorial of Gilgal by making it a place of idolatry? Give a similar case.


Ans. – (1) You will find in Hosea 4:15; 9:15, and Amos 4:4-5.


(2) The similar case was the case of the brazen serpent. The brazen serpent that had been lifted up in the wilderness was kept as a memorial, but in Hezekiah's time the people began to burn incense to it and Hezekiah broke it to pieces, saying, "Nehushtan," it is only a piece of brass.


11. What the educational uses of this memorial and what similar use of a preceding memorial?


Ans. – This section tells us in 4:21-24, that when the children asked, "Why do you bring these rocks from the river? Why do you set them up here?" they should diligently teach their children that it commemorated the great power of God in cutting off the waters of the Jordan, that his people might pass over in safety. What similar use of a preceding memorial? You will find it in Exodus 12:26-27. They were to eat the first Passover standing with their loins girt about them. Now, after that in their later history the first thing little children will say, "This is a strange dinner, being bitter herbs, roasted lambs, and eating it standing." Then you may say to your children, "This is the Lord's Passover." I think these two incidents about the educational use of the memorials contains a very fine lesson showing the duty of parents whenever a child asks, "Why these monuments?" The first time I ever noticed the Fourth of July, I asked, "Why, what does this mean?" A child naturally asks "why" about Christmas. And a stranger looking at Bunker Hill Monument will ask, "Why this monument?" In Austin, near the Capitol, there is a monument that commemorates the Alamo. On the battlefield of San Jacinto is one, and on my pocketbook is inscribed what is written on the sides of that monument.


12. What the name of the place where the memorial was erected, its location, and how long did that place remain headquarters of the nation?


Ans. – The place derived its name from an event that took place there, viz.: circumcision. Gilgal was in the upper part of Judea and not a great way, only a few miles, from Jericho, and for years the Ark rested there, and it was the place of assembly for the nation. It remained until we come to Joshua 18; there, after the conquest, Shiloh is selected as the headquarters until the ark was captured by the Philistines. Later that ark was brought to Jerusalem, as their headquarters throughout the rest of their history.


13. What great events happened in that first camp?


Ans. – (1) The males of the younger generation were circumcised. They had not circumcised any children during the thirty-eight years of wanderings. The old generation had passed away and everybody born in the thirty-eight years, of course, was uncircumcised. Now at that place they were circumcised.


(2) The second great event that took place was that their manna ceased. For forty years that manna had been coming down from heaven) but now they were eating of the new harvest of the Promised Land, and the temporary provision for their food ceased when it was no longer necessary; the cessation of the manna which was a standing miracle for forty years.


(3) The third great event was that there they kept the Passover. No Passover had been kept since they left Mount Sinai.


(4) The most important event that happened there was the appearance to Joshua of a pre-manifestation of Christ, a man with a drawn sword, the captain of the hosts of the Lord. In other words, Joshua, the type, meets face to face, in pre-manifestation, Christ, the antitype.


14. In the meantime what the state of Jericho, and why was the enemy idle while Joshua was remaining so long at Gilgal?


Ans. – See Joshua 5:11; 6:1. We learn from these passages of scripture, why. The first says the people of Jericho were under an awful fear of the people whose God could open that river, and the second reason is that they had shut their gates; that Jericho was sealed up because the Israelites were lying so near.


15. Describe and explain the meeting of Joshua, the type, with the pre-manifestation of Christ, the antitype.


Ans. – Now, that explanation is given in 5:13-15. Joshua going his rounds meets a man standing with a drawn sword, who approached him and said, "Are you for us or against us?" The man said, "I am the captain of the host of Jehovah." Later it says the Lord spoke to Joshua, but it means Jehovah. The object of the meeting of the captain on earth with the captain in heaven was to arrange the program for the capture of Jericho. As for the things that would follow that in overcoming the enemy, the people were to do nothing active. Jericho was to be taken by the Almighty and everything in it was devoted, put under ban, consecrated to Jehovah; the inhabitants to die, the property to go to the service of the sanctuary. This is he who later becomes captain of our salvation, who is known in the New Testament as the rider of the white horse, going forth, having written on his thigh, "King of kings and Lord of lords." This pre-manifestation of Christ outlines Joshua's campaign, establishes them, God opening the way.


16. Now here is a question. It says, 5:9, "This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you." Now, what was this rolling away of the reproach of Egypt?


Ans. – "The reproach of Egypt" was the charge they made that Jehovah Was not able to deliver Israel into the Promised Land. Now, since he has delivered them, he has "rolled away the reproach of Egypt" from off them. (Ex. 32:12; Num. 14:13-16; Deut. 9:28).

 

 XXI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE FALL OF JERICHO, AI, EBAL, AND GERIZIM Joshua 6:1 to 10:43

 


This section commences with Josh. 6:1 and the first item of the discussion is the capture of Jericho. The method of the capture of Jericho was intensely spectacular. The dramatic feature of it was cumulative; it got more intense every day. We have only to read two or three verses to see just what was done, and such a thing as was never done before or since, but done in the taking of the city. No sword was unsheathed, no man struck a blow in the capture of that place. The priests with the jubilee trumpets, not the ordinary trumpets, led the procession, seven priests, seven trumpets, seven days round that city. They would blow and the people were silent, not a word in the ranks. Once a day for six days they marched all around the high walls of Jericho and on the seventh day they went round it seven times, and at the close of the seventh time the trumpets sounded and the people shouted and the walls of Jericho fell, and each one in his position in their circuit, marched over the fallen walls and captured the city. It was God's work throughout. You will notice that this capture was discriminative; that place in the wall where the house of Rahab stood did not fall; every other place fell.


The next thought in the capture of this city is that it was devoted. Learn the meaning of that word "devoted." That means, when it applies to man, that death occurs; when it applies to materials as spoils, that it belongs to Jehovah. The Israelites had nothing to do with the capture of the city. It was entirely God's. And the strongest prohibition was issued, that no man must rob God by appropriating to himself any part of the spoils which had been set apart for Jehovah's own use.


Now, we come to another feature of the capture, and that is a curse was pronounced on any man that ever attempted to rebuild the walls of Jericho, not Jericho the city, for that still existed, but the fortified part of the city, where the arms were kept. It must never be rebuilt. Turn to I Kings 16:34, and read that verse: "In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho; he laid the foundation thereof with the loss of Abiram, his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of Jehovah which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun." That is many hundred years after Joshua spoke that word, and there you come to a great text and a very appropriate one, if you are going to make a prohibition address. One of the great arguments for the continuance of the sale of ardent spirits in a city is that it promotes the interests of the city; that the grass would grow in the streets of a city if you did not allow it. The statement is erroneous, but if it were true, men ought not to lay the foundation of the city in the souls of men.


You will notice that the next says that Joshua, whom they had supported as leader in this, acquired great fame by the fall of Jericho throughout all the Promised Land; among the enemies the fame and dread of Joshua spread.


It is in connection with the capture of this city that we come across the sin of Achan, and that is the second thought for us to discuss. The text says, "Israel's sin," and the context shows that on Israel fell the punishment The real sinner was one person, Achan. Now, the question comes up, With what propriety can the action of a man with which the others had nothing to do, be called the sin of Israel and the Israelites be punished for the sin? You recall a passage in Corinthians, recently studied, where Paul accuses the church of sin in that it had retained one man and covered up the sin of that man that took his father's wife, and he went on to say that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. So when you look at the solidarity of the people, their unity, or the solidarity of the church, a sin committed by one member that passes unrebuked will become the sin of the entire organization, and the whole body must suffer the penalty for what one does, because they being many constitute one body.


That is why this is called Israel's sin.


I ask you to notice again the cause of this sin; it was covetousness. He knew about the prohibition; that he didn't capture Jericho but God captured it, and that its spoils were devoted by the word of God, but he saw some gold and a goodly Babylonish garment and he took them and hid them in his tent. The people knew nothing about this sin. So far as they were concerned, it was a covered sin, and it doesn't keep a ship from sinking when a leak is there, be it unknown to the captain of the crew. So that a covered sin is even more dangerous than a sin that is in the open. A fire that is merely smouldering, sending forth no blaze and no smoke, is more dangerous than a fire that advertises itself with its illumination and its roar, because in that case you can hedge against its spreading, but if it is unseen it spreads beyond control.


We now come to the nature of his offence. It was not ordinary stealing. It was not ordinary dishonesty. It was that blasphemy which robs God. You will recall in the New Testament that when the church had just started on its progress and donations were being given, people would sell their land and come and say, "It is all the price