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A. They sung a triumphal hymn, in which Miriam, the sister of Moses, and all the women joined with timbrels and dances.
Q. Whither went the Israelites after leaving the Red Sea ?
A. Into the wilderness of Shur,* where they travelled three days without water. This, when found, was so bitter, that they could not drink it; therefore they murmured against Moses.
Q. What remedy was found for the waters ?
A. Moses cried unto the LORD; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which being cast into the waters, healed them. Q. Whither did they next travel?
A. To Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees.†
Q. How many journeys did they make during their sojourn in the wilderness?
A. Two and forty.‡
* See Appendix I.
+ Dr. Shaw, who visited this spot, found only nine of the wells, but the palm trees had increased to two thousand.
Perhaps no tree is so generally useful as the palm or date tree. Many of the orientals subsist almost entirely upon its fruit; with the stones they feed their camels; of the leaves id they make baskets, bags, mats, and brashes; of the branchescages and fences; of the fibres of the leaves, and covering of the fruit-thread, ropes, and rigging; and the trunk they use for building. See MILNE'S Botan. Dict. The height, beauty, fertility, and perennial verdure of this tree, afford a fine em. blem of a soul devoted to God. Psalm xcii. 12.
+ Numbers xxxiii.
Q. What happened at their seventh station,-the wilderness* of Sin?
A. The congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
Q. To what is their frequent murmuring attributable? A. To unbelief: "They believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation."
Q. Did the Lord punish them for this?
A. No: he sent them food from heaven, and quails in abundance," to prove them, whether they would walk in his law or no."
Q. What was the bread thus sent from heaven?
A. Moses describes it as a small round thing like coriander seed, of a white colour, and sweet like honey, but when baked tasting like fresh oil. David calls it corn of heaven," and "angels' food;" but the Israelites called it manna.†
Q. How often was the manna furnished?
A. Every day in the week, the sabbath‡ excepted, on
A wilderness, or desert, sometimes means nothing more than an uncultivated spot of ground.
+ Exod. xvi. 15. "They said one to another [man hua] what is this? for they knew not what it was." Hence it was called manna. Comp. v. 15 with v. 31.
+ Exod. xvi. 22-30. This is the first notice of the sabbath in sacred history, subsequent to its institution. It was or
which account a double portion was sent on the sixth day. This miraculous supply was continued during forty years, until they arrived on the borders of Canaan. To remind future generations of this signal providence, some of it, preserved in a golden pot, was laid up before the Testimony.
Q. What were the Israelites to learn from this dispensation?
A. "That man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."*
Q. Of whom was the manna typical ?
A. Of Jesus, the bread of life, "which came down from heaven."†
Q. What occurred at Rephidim, the tenth station? A. The congregation lacking water, tempted the Lord, and murmured against Moses.
Q. How was this want supplied?
A. Moses, by God's command, smote the rock in Horeb with his rod, and forthwith water gushed out. But to record the sin of the people, he called the place Massah and Meribah.‡
dained to the Israelites before the giving of the law; and the frequent declarations concerning its sanctity, show the care taken to prevent its infringement. In Isa. Ivi. 1—7.—lviii. 13, 14. special promises are made to those who faithfully observe it: and in Jer. xvii. 19-27. severe judgments are denounced against those who dare to violate it.
*Deut. viii. 3. Matt. iv. 4.
+ John vi. 41, 48-51.
Temptation and Contention.
Q. Did any other memorable circumstance occur in Rephidim ?
A. Yes: the Amalekites* came against Israel, but were defeated by Joshua. On this occasion Moses went to the top of a hill with the rod of God in his hand: "and when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed." Therefore Moses sat down, and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands until the going down of the sun; and Joshua discomfited Amalek with the edge of the sword.
Q. To what was Amalek doomed for this offence?
A. To utter extermination: and Moses, to commemorate it, erected an altar, and called it Jehovah-nissi, "The Lord my banner."†
Q. By whom was Moses visited about this time?
A. By Jethro, who brought him his wife and his two And Moses told his father-in-law what the Lord had done to the Egyptians, "and Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel."
Q. What respect did the elders of Israel show to Jethro? A. They and Aaron assisted at his sacrifices, and ate bread with him before God.‡
Q. What counsel did Jethro give to Moses?
A. Seeing him much fatigued with judging so great a multitude, he advised him, if agreeable to the will of God, to select out of all the people "able men, such as feared God, men of truth, hating covetousness;" and to
Descendants of Amalek, grandson of Esau. Gen. xxxvi. 12. See the crime and doom of Amalek, Exod. xvii. 8-16. Deut. xxv. 17-19. and the execution of the curse, 1 Sam. xv. 2-33. See Note p. 50.
make them rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens; and to confide to them the administration of justice in all petty matters. Perceiving the excellency of this method, Moses immediately adopted it. Q. Whither did the Israelites journey from Rephidim? A. To the wilderness of Sinai, where the Lord delivered his law to Israel by his servant Moses.
Q. What preparations were made for this solemn event? A. The Israelites, reminded of past mercies, were assured that if they would keep the covenant of the Lord, they should be to him a peculiar treasure, “a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." They were commanded to sanctify themselves two days; and on the third day, at the sounding of the trumpet, to approach the border of the mountain, but not to touch it on pain of death. Q. What took place on the third day?
A. Sinai, shaking as by an earthquake, "burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness," from whence issued a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning. Meanwhile the trumpet of God sounded, waxing louder and louder, and JEHOVAH, attended by thousands of saints and angels,* descended in flaming fire on the top of the mount.†
Psalm 1xviii. 17. Acts vii. 53. Gal. iii. 19. Heb. ii. 2. It is evident that the ministry of angels was employed on this occasion, although Dr. Kennicott gives a very different, yet "Jehovah probably correct translation of Deut. xxxiii. 2. came from Sinai, and he arose upon them from Seir: he shone forth from mount Paran, and he came from Meribab-Kadesh; from his right hand a fire shone forth upon them." Heb. xii. 18.
↑ Exod. xix. 18, 20. Deut. iv. 11.