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attacked by king Arad, the Canaanite, who succeeded in taking some of them prisoners. They seem, on this occasion, to have earnestly implored the divine assistance. They vowed, that if God would interpose in their behalf, they would utterly destroy that people. He heard their supplications. They repelled their enemies; and in the time of Joshua, some years afterwards, the Lord delivered up these Canaanites, and in obedience to his directions, the fearful vow was carried into execution.
We must never forget that in this and other similar instances of the extermination of the heathen by the Israelites, they acted in conformity with the express commands of God, as the executioners of his justice, and not that they might, in doing it, indulge any feelings of personal vengeance. These nations, by their long course of abominable wickedness, deserved the punishment which the Almighty, in his holy indignation, inflicted upon them. He might have cut them off by famine or pestilence, or overwhelmed them in sudden destruction by earthquakes. But, for wise reasons which we may not be able to discern, he saw fit to employ human agents as the instruments of his justice. If those who were less guilty than others, and the children and infants, were involved in the general ruin, this was only what happens in many cases where a equally terrible and universal destruction. In whatever shape the punishment comes, we may be assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right. While a whole population may suffer death, even in its most awful forms, (and all must die in some way or other,) in the retributions of eternity every thing will be adjusted, and the final account of each individual settled in conformity with the most exact justice.
But to return to the narrative. The Israelites now left mount Hor, and directing their course towards the Red Sea, rested again at several sta. tions which they had visited in their former wanderings. Having arrived on the borders of the sea, and passing by Elath and Ezion-gaber, they turned to the left and crossed the ridge of mountains to the eastward of the latter place. On this part of their route, they became greatly discouraged by the difficulties which they had to encounter, and the length of the circuitous way that they were taking to reach the promised land.
They broke out again into sinful murmurings both against God, and against Moses." Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness ? for there is no bread, neither is there any water, and our soul loatheth this light bread”-the manna with which we have so long been suppliec as our daily food.
A new chastisement awaited their discontent and want of confidence in God. He sent fiery serpents among them; so called, either on account of their bright, flaming color, or from the burning heat and pain occasioned by their bite. They appeared in great numbers in all parts of the camp ; and many died in consequence of being bitten by them, so fatal was the venom, and sudden in its effects. Every one was exposed to the danger, which was continually increasing. There was no way of escape, for in fleeing from one serpent. 1 ay had to meet the appalling attack of another. le panic became universal. The shrieks of fear m mingled with the groans of the dying, and ali ber gan to regard their doom, though protracted a little, as inevitable.
In the extremity of their sufferings, they led to Moses, that he might once more become their mediator, and intercede for them with their offended Sovereign. "We have sinned," they exclaimed, "for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee: pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.”
Moses prayed; and his intercessions prevailed, so far as to have a way of deliverance provided for such as would show their confidence in God by resorting to it. In conformity with the divine direcin a conspicuous place. He then assured the people, on the promise of God himself, that whoever after being bitten would look on this brazen serpent, should not die. A mere look,—a single expression of faith in this appointed means of deliverance, and of implicit dependance on the mercy of God to afford it, would be sufficient,—and the bite of the venomous reptile should prove harmless. And so it was; he who looked was resc
scued, while the scoffing, the unbelieving, the doubting, and even the hesitating, who would not turn the eye of the mind, (of which the outward eye is only the organ,) to the symbol of safety, perished. God chose his own way of affording relief; and a most striking one it was, to teach that obstinate and selfwilled people, that nothing short of a voluntary and prompt compliance with his requirements, could save them from the punishment due to their sins.
By the cross of Christ, he would teach us the same truth, and open for us a way of escape from the wrath to come. It may appear to us a strange and mysterious way. We may bewilder ourselves with attempting to find out the reasons of it,-all the reasons, or enough of them fully to satisfy us and not find them. What then? So might the Israelites have done, and probably many of them did, with regard to the brazen serpent, maintain. ing that they could see no possible connection between the means used, and the end to be attained.
But God will carry into effect his purposes, and manifest his sovereign power, as he chooses, to accomplish the ends of his holy, just, and benevolent government. Our place is that of submission and confidence, of dependance and obedience. Then we are safe. Let us ponder well the lesson of the brazen serpent,
and the memorable words of our Saviour in connection with it. " 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.”
Valley of Zered. Destruction of the Amorites, and
of Og and his army.
Ezion-gaber was at the northern extremity of the Elanitic gulf, near Akaba. After crossing the ridge of mountains to the eastward of this place, as we have seen, the Israelites continued their course through the extensive and elevated plains, which are still traversed by the Syrian pilgrims in their way to Mecca. The route lay along the