Imatges de pÓgina

should be publicly read every seventh year. By the command of God he appointed Joshua his successor, and wrote the inimitably beautiful hymn which was to “ be taught to all Israel, to be a witness against the children of Israel when the evils and troubles befel them, because they had broken the covenant of their God," and which contains a recapitulation of mercies, and a train of prophecies, some of which yet remain to be fulfilled. " And Moses spake the words of this song in the ears of all the congregation of Israel;" and according to the patriarchal custom already mentioned,,“ Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death.”. This solemn prophetic blessing of the tribes of Israel distinctly describes the character and fate of each, and concludes with an exulting assurance of the unfailing protection of their God, and the final salvation of all Israel. Moses was then permitted by God to take a view of the land of Canaan from the top of Mount Pisgah, and soon after died there, at the age of 120 years, when “his eye was not 1451. dim, nor his natural force abated (o).”

After the death of Moses, Joshua received a promise of support from God, and entered upon his important office; and when the necessary

preparations (0). Deut. c. 34, 1.7.

preparations were made, he led the army of the Israelites to the banks of the river Jordan. The priests, by the express command of God, preceded with the ark of the covenant, and as soon as their feet touched the water, the current was stopped, the river became dry ground, and all the people passed through in safety, and entered the promised land opposite to the city of Jericho.

The time which elapsed from the Israelites coming out of Egypt to their passage into Canaan was within five days of forty years (p). During this whole time the rite of circumcision had been omitted ; and therefore all the children, who had been born in the wilderness, were now circumcised at Gilgal.

Four days after the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan, the Passover was kept, and the following day the manna ceased, and from that time they lived upon the produce of the country.

The first attempt of Joshua was against Jericho, which, after a short siege, was taken in a miraculous manner : “ The wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city (9).


() Josh. C. 4. V. 19.
(9) Josh. c. 6. v. 20.

This manifest interposition of God encouraged Joshua to persevere in the great work in which he was engaged, established him in the confidence of the people of Israel, and excited terror in the nations, who having filled up the measure of their iniquities, were now to be destroyed by the mighty hand of God. Joshua then proceeded to make other conquests, and in seven years he subdued thirty-one kings belonging to the nations of the Canaanites, Hivites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. It is to be observed, that these kings were only petty princes, or lords of cities, which had a few villages de pendent upon them. In the course of this war, it pleased God to display his sovereign power over the universe in a most remarkable manner: " The sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day (r).” This signal miracle seems to have been particularly directed against the prevailing worship of “the host of heaven;" and nothing surely could be more strikingly calculated to correct this idolatry, than to behold “the sun and the moon stand still at the command” of the general of the armies of “ the God of Israel,” $the Lord of heaven and earth.'

After (r) Josh. c. 10. V. 13. VOL, I.


After these conquests there still remained a cousiderable part of the country unsubdued ; but when the tabernacle was set up in Shiloh, a city assigned to the tribe of Ephraim, to which

Joshua belonged, as a sign of rest unto the peo1445. ple, Joshua was commanded to divide the whole

land among the Israelites by lot, botli that part which was, and that which was not subdued,

according as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses.” Seven of the tribes had not then received their inheritance. Joshua therefore "sent three men from each tribe to go through the land, and describe it into seven parts;" and ordered them “ to bring the description(s) to him, to cast lots for the tribes before the Lord.” No allotment, except forty-eight cities to dwell in, was made to the tribe of Levi, because they were appropriated to the services of religion, and the tithes of the whole country were given them for a maintenance; and the priests had also a part of the sacrifices : but the whole country was divided into twelve parts, as the descendants of Joseph were separated into two tribes, which from his two sons were called the tribe of Ephraim, and the tribe of Manasseh.


(s) If this description were a chart or map, this people must have been farther advanced in knowledge, than they are usually supposed to have been.- Josh. c. 18.

The kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and of Og, king of Bashan, and the land of Gilead, all on the eastern side of Jordan, which had been given by Moses to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, upon conditions which they exactly fulfilled, were confirmed to them by Joshua. He divided the land on the western side of the river between the other nine tribes and a half; and Jerusalem, a city of the Jebusites, fell to the lot of the children of Judah(t). The twelve tribes went to take possession of their several allotments; and the death of Joshua happened about eighteen 1426. years after this distribution of the land. No

person was at first appointed to succeed Joshua in the general command and government of the Israelites; but acting in separate tribes, each having a head or governor, called in Scripture " the princes of the people,” they proceeded in the conquest of the remaining part of the country, and were for a few years faithful in the service of God; they then, in opposition to the divine commands delivered by Moses and Joshua, suffered the antient inhabitants of Canaan to remain tributary among them, and were seduced to join them in the idolatrous worship


(t) Josh, c, 15. v. 63. Judg. c. 1. v. 8. 21,

« AnteriorContinua »