Imatges de pàgina

were full forty years before they set their foot upon the

borders of the promised land. The first

WHILST they continued at Succoth, which was their born of first encampment, Mofes was commanded by God to Ifrael con-confecrate the first-born of men and beasts to him ; the secrated. first born of men were to be redeemed at the price of

five shekels, that is, of the fanctuary, which was worth double the common one, that is, about two shillings and fix-pence ; so that the whole fum amounted to about twelve shillings and fix-pence ; which money was afterwards to be given to the priests. This redemption was founded not only upon the right which God has over all his creatures, but more particularly upon the account of his having fpared the first-born of the Israelites, when he smote those of the Egyptians, which was, as it were, the seal and finishing stroke of his wonderful judgments on that proud and cruel nation (N.)

Moses had still another care, which was to settle the order of their march in so regular a method, that there

(N) This law, concerning tell us, they placed them in a the first-born of men, did not new sumptuous cart, or open at all regard the women'; for herse, which they made to if the first-fruits of a marriage march under the guard, and proved a female, no redemption conduct of the tribes of Ewas to be paid for her. Se- phraim and Manaffeb his two condly, as to that of beasts, it children (5). They likewise extended only to the clean; the affirm, that unclean ones were to be either brought the bones of the heads redeemed by a clean one, as of their family with them: but an afs by a lamb, or to be kill- though they are not always to ed, and Aung away. They were be credited in matters of this ordered to teach the reason of nature, and Josephus doth not this law of redemption to their seem to have dreamed of such children and grandchildren, an act of filial piety, or else that their pofterity might never he would in all probability be at a loss to account for it, have recorded it ; yet St. Sti. nor the wonders which were phen seems to allude to some wrought in favour of them be such tradition among them; forgot. Among all the cares when he said, that Jacob and which Moses and Aaron had, the fathers went down into they did not forget to bring Egypt, and were carried over Foleph's Coffin and bones with into Sichem, and laid in the them, pursuant to the oath sepulcre which Abraham bought "which that patriarch had ex- of the sons of Emmor (6). acted from them. The Jews

(5) Vid. Elle Shemoth Rebbab. Sect. 73727-08 Grabbin, mult. (6) Acts vii. 15, 16.

every tribe

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in might be no confusion or quarrel among that vast and

mixed' multitude, and that they might be ready to face
about and stand in their own defence, in case of a pur-
fuit, or of their mecting with any difficulty or obstruction
from the nations through whose territories they were to
pass. However, to prevent these, or any other accidents
which might make the people think of returning to
Egypt, God was pleased to forbid Mofes to take the
nearest way to the land of Canaan, that is, through that
of the Philistines, and ordered him to wheel about along
the coasts of the Red Sea towards Arabia Petræa. He
likewise made them march, not like runaways in confufion Order of
and disorder, but like a regular army in battle-array ; in their
which order they went from Succoth to Etham, towards march.
Arabia Deserta, which is therefore called in the original Second en-
the wilderness, near the borders of which Etham was campmenta
fituate, where they arrived on the second day after their
departure out of Egypt. This route Mofes made them
take, designing probably to get to mount Sinai by the
point of the Red Sea '; but God made him take another
on the next day, and to turn towards Pi-hahiroth, which
lies between the Red Sea, and Migdol and Baal-zephon (O).

+ Exod. xiii. p. tot.
(O) We know but little of tion made of two, and them
the geography of all these differently pointed in the He-
places. As for the Succoth here brew, yet if they differ, it is
mentioned, we must not con- only that the one was a pro-
found it with that which Jacob vince, and the other the chief
called by that name when he town of it (50). Etham is
came out of Mesopotamia (47), supposed to be Buthee of He-
though the former may have rodotus ; and Pi-hahiroth, the
been so called in imitation of city of Heroum on the extreme
the latter, upon account of the part of the Arabic gulph, or
booths or tents which the if- the Phagroriopolis placed by
raelites set up there. Jose- Strabo (51) near the same
phus calls it Letopolis, where he place. All that we known of
says Babylon was afterwards Migdol is only that it fignifies
built, when Cambyses invaded tower. Baalzephon seems
Egypt (48): it is thought by wholly unknown to the an-
many to be that region which tient geographers. The Jewish
was called Troglodytis, by the rabbies, and after them Grotius,
Red Sea (49). As for Rameses, believe it to have been an idol
though there seems to be men- set up to guard the confines of

(47) Gen. xxxiii. 17. (48) Ant. l. ii. c. 15. (49) Vid. Simler,
(50) Id. ibid.

(51) Lib. xiv. op. Calix. difert,
in loc. & Willet in loc.

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Herein God was pleased to fhew his care for them in another miraculous manner : for though he might have notified to them when and whither to march, or where to halt and encamp, as he did his other commands, by the mouth of Moses and Aaron ; yet, considering the untractableness of their temper, and how apt they would be to murmur against them at every supposed wrong step, he

condescended to conduct them by a more visible way, The miraculous pil.

namely, by a pillar of light in the night-season, and by lar of fire

a column of smoke in the day-time. These columns of

fire and smoke never forlook them during their forty and smoke.

years wandering in the wilderness ; but were their constant They are guide throughout their forty-two encampinents, and diled by the rected them when and whither to march, according as miraculous they saw it before them, and when to halt when they pillar. perceived it to stop. But, whether it was given to them

at their firft, fecond, or third march, at Succoth, or Etham, is not easy to guess at by the text u.

In the mean time God, who knew what was transacting at Pharaoh's court, and what measures that monarch, and his no less infatuated subjects, were taking

to pursue them, commanded Mofes to wheel about, and God to march from Etham towards Pi-huhiroth ; which is makesthem between the sea and Migdol, over-against Baal-zephon; wheel a- and to encamp before it. For by this time the Egyptians

began to repent of their parting with the Israelites, and award's

losing the benefit of their servitude ; and, thinking that Pi-hahi

they might easily catch them intangled between the mounroth.

tains, and fatigued with their march, had prepared a considerable army, together with fix hundred of the choicest chariots, belides all the chariots of war that could be

found in Egypt, and a vast multitude of officers and folPharaoh

diers, who were all in full march after them. Mofes has pursues not given us any further particulars concerning that army;

but Jofephus, who seldom fails to improve the text, whenever it serves for the honour of his nation, makes it

u Exod. xiii. ver, ult, Egypt. Eufebius takes it not of the Red Sea, where the an. for a statue, but a town ; and tients, especially the Jews, places it (52) near Clyfma, think the Israelites passed it, though St. Jerom has omitted and where stands to this day a it in his translation. It stands Christian monastery (53). upon the most northern point

bout to


(52) Loc. Hebr.

(53) Vid. Calm, bift. V. T. comm. in Exed. Kiv, a differt, on ibo padlage of ibe Red Sea,

amount amount to fix hundred chariots, fifty thousand horse, and two hundred thousand foot *; and Ezechiel, the poet quoted by Eusebius, hath increased it to a million of men. But whatever the army was, Pharaoh put himself at the head of it, and led it with such speed, that he overtook them at Pi-hahiroth, and encamped there in full fight of and overthe Israelites; but, whether it were, that his army was takes them. too much fatigued with their march, or that he thought himself fure of them, there being no visible way for them to escape him, unless they Aung themselves into the sea; or laftly, that Providence prevented his immediate falling upon them ; nothing hostile was undertaken against them that night (O).

On the other hand, the pufillanimous Ifraelites, inured to bondage, could not behold the Egyptian army, encamped so near, without the utmost confternation and dread ; and, instead of having recourse to that mighty arm, that had so visibly stretched itself out in their favour, ran in a tumultuous manner to Moses's tent, complaining that he had brought them to be butchered in the wilderness; and that they had now nothing to expect, but the most cruel death in that dismal place. This ungrateful language, to which Mofes had already been used, though nothing so much as he was afterwards, rather moved his pity than his anger ; but he, looking upon it as the effect of their extreme danger, and cowardly temper, instead of upbraiding them with it, comforted them with the assurance, Moses that this would be last time of their seeing the Egyptiansu. comforts

He had no sooner dismissed them, than he went and the demade his application to God; who was immediately Spairing pleased to order the people to begin their march towards Ifraelites. the sea, directing him at the same time to stretch out his rod over it, and assuring him, that the waters of it would forthwith divide themselves, and make way for them to

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• Exod. xiv, 10, & feqq.

* Ant. 1. ii. c. 15.

(O) It is, indeed, most likely, to force them to yield themthat, seeing them hemmed in, as felves prisoners by famine, it were, by

the sea,on one hand, than to cut them in pieces, as by impassable mountains, and he might eafily have done ; his own army,on the other, and since by the one he reduced for want of arms, as well as them to their former slavery, courage, as incapable of fight- but by the other he ran the ing, as they were of flying, he risque of losing a considerable might think it more adviseable part

of them.

go through it as on dry land ; whilft Pharaoh, and his whole army, venturing to purfue them, should be finally

overwhelmed by its waves. Mofes obeyed, and, whilft a The Red

Itrong east wind was dividing that arm of the fea, to open Sea is divided.

a paliage to them, and the Israelites were beginning their march towards it, the angel of the LORD, who conducted them in the pillar of fire, removed from the front to the rear of the army, and stood between them and that of the Egyptians; so that the column of fire produced a double effect, giving light to the Israelites in their march, and casting a darkness over Pharaoh's camp, to prevent his perceiving what was doing in that of the Hebrews. Whilst these were pafling through the sea, the sacred historian tells us, that the waves arose in heaps, and stood as a wall on each side of them (P). By this


(P) Though it would be prian priefts; that is, the forendless to trouble our readers mer by those of Heliopolis, and with an inquiry into all the par- the latter by those of Memticulars with which the gene- phis. The last of these has been rality of commentators have also followed by many eminent amused themselves, with re- men, both Jews and Christians fpect to this wonderful paffage, (55), who, without denying it will not be amiss, we hope, the main part of this tranle to make a short inquiry into action to be miraculous, have the main and most material fallen into the notion of the point, namely, whether it was Iraelites only coasting it along, really miraculous, or not ; and making, as it were, a femithat is, whether the sea was circle round the fea-shore at really divided by a supernatural low-ebb; or crossing it only at power, or whether Moses and one narrow point, whilft the his host did only coast some sea was gone off. Where we part of it, or, at most, cross beg leave to observe, that such over a small nook at low- an opinion cannot be mainwater, and timed it so well, tained, without a manifest dethat Pharaoh, endeavouring to viation, I, from the express do the like, perished in the at- words of Mofes, and several tempt. This is so far from other places of holy writ, being a new question, that Ar- where this tranfaction is menraphanes, an antient writer (54), tioned : 2. from reafon and affures us, that both these opi- experience, founded on the nions were held by the Egy- knowlege we have of the ebb

(54) Ap. Euseb. l. iv. c. 27. (55) Abenez. E al, rabbin, ap. Fagium. Gregor. Turon. bift. l.i. c. 10. T. Aquin. in 1 Cor. i. Totat. qu. in Exod. xiv. 19. Lud. Burgenf. in loc. Genebr. in chronic. ad ann. 2239, Grat. in ver. 19. Exod. xiv. Vatabl. in loc. Le Clerc disert. de traject. Mar. Idum, & al. mult,

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