Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies. And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;

9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant."

k Ex. 32. 25-28. Mal. 2. 5-7.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

V.8-11. Moses is large in blessing the tribe of Levi, not so much because it was his own tribe, (for he takes no notice of his relation to it,) as because it was God's tribe. The blessing of Levi has reference,

I. To the high priest, here called God's holy one, v. 8, because his office was holy, in token of which, Holiness to the Lord was written upon his forehead. 1. He seems to acknowledge, that God might justly have displaced Aaron and his seed, for his sin at Meribah, Num. 20. 12. So many understand it. It is rather probable to me, that, on the contrary, he pleads with God the zeal and faithfulness of Aaron, and his boldness in stemming the tide of the people's murmurings at the other Meribah, Ex. 17. 7, which might be very remarkable, and which God might have an eye to in conferring the priesthood upon him, though no mention is made of it there. All the Chaldee paraphrasts agree, that it was a trial in which he was found perfect and faithful, and stood in the trial; therefore not that, Num. 20. 12. 2. He prays that the office of the high priest might ever remain, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with him. It was given him for some eminent piece of service, as appears, Mal. 2. 5. "Lord, let it never be taken from him." Notwithstanding this blessing, the Urim and Thummim were lost in the captivity, and never restored under the second temple: but it has its full accomplishment in Jesus Christ, God's Holy One, and our great High Priest, of whom Aaron was a type: with him who had lain in the Father's bosom from eternity, the Urim and Thummim shall remain; for he is the wonderful and everlasting Counsellor. Some translate the Thummim and Urim appellatively; the rather because the usual order is here inverted, and here only. Thummim signifies integrity, and Urim, illumination; Let these be with thy holy one, that is, "Lord, let the high priest ever be both an upright man and an understanding man." A good prayer to be put up for the ministers of the Gospel, that they may have clear heads and honest hearts; light and sincerity make a complete minister.

II. To the inferior priests and Levites, v. 9-11.

1. He commends the zeal of this tribe for God, when they sided with Moses (and so with God) against the worshippers of the golden calf, Ex. 32. 26, &c. and being employed in cutting off the ringleaders in that wickedness, they did it impartially: the best friends they had in the world, though as dear to them as their next relations, they did not spare, if they were idolaters. Note, Our regard to God and to his glory, ought always to prevail above our regard to any creature whatsoever. And those who not only keep themselves pure from the common iniquities of the times and places in which they live, but, as they are capable, utter testimony against them, and stand up for God against the evil-doers, shall have special marks of honour put upon them. Perhaps Moses may have an eye to the sons of Korah, who refused to join with their father in his gainsaying, Num. 26. 11. Also to Phinehas, who executed judgment, and VOL. I.-62

B. C. 1451.

Israel thy law: "they shall put "incense before thee,
and "whole burnt-sacrifice upon thine altar.
10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and

work of his hands: smite through the loins of them
that rise against him, and of them that hate him,
11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the
that they rise not again.

LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell 12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the between his shoulders.

13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD

[graphic]

V. 12-17. Here is,

Levi, because the temple, where the priests' work lay, was just
upon the edge of the lot of this tribe; and it is put before Joseph,
I. The blessing of Benjamin, v. 12. Benjamin is put next to
because of the dignity of Jerusalem (part of which was in this
tribe) above Samaria, which was in the tribe of Ephraim, and
because Benjamin adhered to the house of David, and to the
temple of the Lord, when the rest of the tribes deserted both
with Jeroboam. 1. Benjamin is here called the beloved of the
Lord, as the father of this tribe was Jacob's beloved son, the
son of his right hand. Note, Those are blessed indeed that are
beloved of the Lord. Saul the first king, and Paul the great
apostle, were both of this tribe. 2. He is here assured of the
divine protection; he shall dwell safely. Note, Those are safe
whom God loves, Ps. 91. 1. 3. It is here intimated, that the
temple in which God would dwell should be built in the bor-
( 489 )

be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for | head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, him that was separated from his brethren. 14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things *put forth by the moon,

17 His rglory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the none of unicorns: with them he shall push 'the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh, 18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. 19 They "shall call the people unto the mountain;

s Ps. 92. 10. a unicorn. t Ps. 44. 5. uls. 2. 3.

15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, 16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing come upon the p Gen. 27. 28. or, thrust. moons. q Ex. 3. 2, 4. r 1 Chr. 5. 1. ders of this tribe. Jerusalem, the holy city, was in the lot of this tribe, Josh. 18. 28, and though Zion, the city of David, is supposed to belong to Judah, yet mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, was in Benjamin's lot. God is therefore said to dwell between his shoulders, because the temple stood on that mount as the head of a man upon his shoulders. And by this means Benjamin was covered all his day long under the protection of the sanctuary, (Ps. 125. 2,) which is often spoken of as a place of refuge, Ps. 27. 4, 5. Neh. 6. 10. Benjamin dwelling by the temple of God dwelt in safety by him. Note, It is a happy thing to be in the neighbourhood of the temple. This situation of Benjamin, it is likely, was the only thing that kept that tribe close with Judah to the divine institutions, when the other ten tribes apostatized. Those have corrupt and wicked hearts indeed, who, the nearer they are to the church are so much the further from God.

II. The blessing of Joseph, including both Manasseh and Ephraim. In Jacob's blessing, Gen. 49. that of Joseph is the largest, and so it is here; and from thence Moses here borrows the title he gives to Joseph, v. 16, that he was separated from his brethren, or, as it might be read, a Nazarite among them, both in regard of his piety, wherein it appears, by many instances, he excelled them all; and of his dignity in Egypt, where he was both their ruler and benefactor; his brethren separated him from them by making him a slave, but God distinguished him from them by making him a prince.

Now the blessings here prayed for, and prophesied of, for this tribe, are, great plenty, and great power.

1. Great plenty, v. 13-16. In general, Blessed of the Lord be his land. They were very fruitful countries that fell into the lot of Ephraim and Manasseh, yet Moses prays they might be watered with the blessing of God, which makes rich, and on which all fruitfulness depends.

[ocr errors]

desires to improve for the good of this tribe. Many a time God
had appeared to Moses, but now that he is just dying, he seems
to have the most pleasing remembrance of that, which was that
time, when his acquaintance with the visions of the Almighty
first began, and his correspondence with heaven was first set-
tled; that was a time of love never to be forgotten. It was at
the bush that God declared himself the God of Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob, and so confirmed the promise made to the fathers,
that promise which reached as far as the resurrection of the
body and eternal life, as appears by our Saviour's argument
from it, Luke 20. 37. So that when he prays for the good will
of him that dwelt in the bush, he has an eye to the covenant
then and there renewed, on which all our hopes of God's favour
must be bottomed. Now he concludes this large blessing with
a prayer for the favour and good will of God. [1.] Because
that is the fountain and spring-head of all these blessings; they
are the gifts of God's good will; they are so to his own people,
whatever they are to others. Indeed when Ephraim (a de-
scendant from Joseph) slid back from God, as a backsliding
heifer, those fruits of his country were so far from being the
gifts of God's good will, that they were intended but to fatten
him for the slaughter, as a lamb in a large place, Hos. 4. 16, 17.
[2.] Because that is the comfort and sweetness of all these
blessings; then we have joy of them, when we taste God's good
will in them. [3.] Because that is better than all these, infi-
nitely better; for if we have but the favour and good will of
God, we are happy, and may be easy in the want of all these
things; and may rejoice in the God of our salvation, though
the fig-tree do not blossom, and there be no fruit in the vine, Hab.
3. 17, 18.

2. Great power Joseph is here blessed with, v. 17. Here are three instances of this power foretold. (1.) His authority among his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, Now, (1.) He enumerates many particulars which he prays or a young bull, which is a stately creature, and therefore formay contribute to the wealth and abundance of those two tribes, merly used as an emblem of royal majesty. Joshua, who was looking up to the Creator for the benefit and serviceableness of to succeed Moses, was of the tribe of Ephraim the son of Joseph, all the inferior creatures, for they are all that to us, which he and his glory was indeed illustrious, and he was an honour to makes them to be. He prays, [1.] For seasonable rains, and his tribe. In Ephraim was the royal city of the ten tribes afterdews, the precious things of heaven; and so precious they are, ward. And of Manasseh were Gideon, Jephthah, and Jair, though but pure water, that without them the fruits of the earth who were all ornaments and blessings to their country. Some would all fail and be cut off. [2.] For plentiful springs, which think he is compared to the firstling of the bullock, because the help to make the earth fruitful, called here the deep that coucheth birthright which Reuben lost, devolved upon Joseph, 1 Chr. 5. beneath; both are the rivers of God, Ps. 65. 9, for he is the 1, 2, and to the firstling of his bullock, because Bashan, which Father of the rain, Job 38. 28, and he made particularly the was in the lot of Manasseh, was famous for bulls and cows, fountains of water, Rev. 14. 7. [3.] For the benign influences Ps. 22. 12. Am. 4. 1. (2.) His force against his enemies and of the heavenly bodies; v. 14, for the precious fruits, (the word victory over them; his horns are like the horn of a unicorn, signifies that which is most excellent, and the best in its kind,) that is, "The forces he shall bring into the field shall be very put forth by the quickening heat of the sun, and the cooling strong and formidable, and with them he shall push the people," moisture of the moon. "Let them have the yearly fruits in that is, "He shall overcome all that stand in his way." It their several months, according to the course of nature, in one appears from the Ephraimites' contests both with Gideon, Judg. month olives, in another dates," &c. So some understand it. 8. 1, and with Jephthah, Judg. 12. 1, that they were a warlike [4.] For the fruitfulness even of their hills and mountains, which tribe and fierce. Yet we find the children of Ephraim, when in other countries used to be barren, v. 15, let them have the they had forsaken the covenant of God, though they were armed, chief things of the ancient mountains; and if the mountains be turning back in the day of battle, Ps. 78. 9, 10; for, though here fruitful, the fruits on them will be first and best ripened. They pronounced strong and bold as unicorns, when God was deare called ancient mountains, not because prior in time to other parted from them, they became as weak as other men. (3.) mountains, but because, like the first-born, they were superior The numbers of his people, in which Ephraim, though the in worth and excellency; and lasting hills, not only because as younger house, exceeded, Jacob having, in the foresight of the other mountains they were unmoveable, Hab. 3. 6, but because same thing, crossed hands, Gen. 48. 19, They are the ten thouthe fruitfulness of them should continue. [5.] For the pro- sands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh. Jonathan's ductions of the lower grounds, v. 16, For the precious things Targum applies it to the ten thousands of Canaanites conquered of the earth. Though the earth itself seems a useless, worth- by Joshua, who was of the tribe of Ephraim, and the thouless lump of matter, yet there are precious things produced out sands of Midianites conquered by Gideon, who was of the tribe of it for the support and comfort of human life, Job 28. 5, Out of Manasseh. And the gloss of the Jerusalem Targum upon of it cometh bread, because out of it came our bodies, and to it the former part of this verse is observable; that "as the firstthey must return. But what are the precious things of the earthlings of the bullock were never to be worked, nor could the unito a soul that came from God, and must return to him? Or, corn ever be tamed, so Joseph should ever continue free; they what is its fulness to the fulness that is in Christ, whence we would have continued free, if they had not by sin sold themreceive grace for grace? Some make these precious things selves." here prayed for to be figures of spiritual blessings in heavenly things by Christ, the gifts, graces, and comforts of the Spirit.

V. 18-21. Here we have,

(2.) He crowns all with the good will, or favourable acceptance of him that dwelt in the bush, v. 16; that is, of God, that God who appeared to Moses in the bush that burned and was not consumed, (Ex. 3. 2,) to give him his commission for the bringing of Israel out of Egypt. Though God's glory appeared there but for a while, yet it is said to dwell there, because it continued as long as there was occasion for it: The good will of the Shechinah in the bush; so it might be read, for Shechinah signifies that which dwelleth: and though it was but a little while a dweller in the bush, yet it continued to dwell with the people of Israel. My dweller in the bush; so it should be rendered: that was an appearance of the Divine Majesty to Moses only, in token of the particular interest he had in God, which he

I. The blessings of Zebulun and Issachar put together, for they were both the sons of Jacob by Leah, and by their lot in Canaan they were neighbours; it is foretold,

1. That they should both have a comfortable settlement and employment, v. 18. Zebulun must rejoice, for he shall have cause to rejoice; and Moses prays that he may have cause in his going out, either to war, for Zebulun jeoparded their lives in the high places of the field, Judg. 5. 18, or rather to sea, for Zebulun was a haven of ships, Gen. 49. 13. And Issachar must rejoice in his tents, that is, in his business at home, his husbandry, to which the men of that tribe generally confined themselves, because they saw that rest was good, and when the sea was rough, the land was pleasant, Gen. 49, 14, 15. Observe here, (1.) That the providence of God, as it variously appoints

CHAPTER XXXIII.

B. C. 1451.

there they shall offer "sacrifices of righteousness; | because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he
for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, seated; and he came with the heads of the people,
and of treasures hid in the sand.
ments with Israel.
he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judg

20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that en-
largeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth
the arm with the crown of the head.

22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp; he shall leap from Bashan.

21 And he provided the first part for himself,

23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied"

[graphic]

Ps. 4. 5. to Is. 60. 5, 16. 1 Chr. 12. 8. y Num. 32. 1, &c. ceiled. the bounds of men's habitations, some in the city, and some in the country, some in the seaports, and some in the inland towns, so it wisely disposes men's inclinations to different employments for the good of the public, as each member of the body is situated and qualified for the service of the whole. The genius of some men leads them to a book, of others, to the sea, of others, to the sword; some are inclined to rural affairs, others to trade, and some have a turn for mechanics; and it is well it is so; If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? 1 Cor. 12. 17. It was for the common good of Israel, that the men of Zebulun were merchants, and that the men of Issachar were husbandmen. (2.) That whatever our place and business are, it is our wisdom and duty to accommodate ourselves to it, and it is a great happiness to be well pleased with it. Let Zebulun rejoice in his going out; let him thank God for the gains, and make the best of the losses and inconveniences of his merchandise, and not despise the meanness, or envy the quietness of Issachar's tents: let Issachar rejoice in his tents, let him be well pleased with the retirements, and content with the small profits, of his country seats, and not grudge that he has not Zebulun's pleasure of travelling, and profit of trading. Every business has both its conveniences and its inconveniences, and therefore whatever Providence has made our business, we ought to bring our minds to it; and it is really a great happiness, whatever our lot is, to be easy with it. This is the gift of God, Ec. 5. 19.

2. That they should both be serviceable in their places to the honour of God, and the interests of religion in the nation, v. 19, They shall call the people to the mountain, that is, to the temple which Moses foresaw should be built upon a mountain. I see not why this should be confined (as it is by most inter-sacrifices of righteousness proportionable. preters) to Zebulun; if both Zebulun and Issachar receive the comforts of their respective employments, why may we not suppose that they both took care to give God the glory of them? Two things they shall do for God.

(1.) They shall invite others to his service; call the people to the mountain. [1.] Zebulun shall improve his acquaintance and commerce with the neighbouring nations, to whom he goes out, for this noble purpose, to propagate religion among them, and to invite them into the service of the God of Israel. Note, Men of great business, or large conversation, should wisely and zealously endeavour to recommend the practice of serious godliness to those with whom they converse, and among whom their business lies. Such are blessed, for they are blessings. It were well if the enlargement of trade with foreign countries might be made to contribute to the spreading of the Gospel. This prophecy concerning Zebulun perhaps looks as far as the preaching of Christ and his apostles, which began in the land of Zebulun, Matt. 4. 14, 15, and they called the people to the mountain, that is, to the kingdom of the Messiah, which is called the mountain of the Lord's house, Is. 2. 2. [2.] Issachar, that tarries at home and dwells in tents, shall call upon his neighbour to go up to the sanctuary, at the times appointed for their solemn feasts; either, because they should be more zealous and forward than their neighbours, (and it has been often observed, that though they that with Zebulun dwell in the haven of ships, which are places of concourse, have commonly more of the light of religion, they that with Issachar dwell in tents in the country, have more of the life and heat of it,) and may therefore with their zeal provoke those to a holy emulation that have more knowledge, (Ps. 122. 1,) or, because they were more observant of the times appointed for their feasts than others were. One of the Chaldee paraphrasts reads the foregoing verse, Rejoice, Issachar, in the tents of thy schools, supposing they would many of them be scholars, and would use their learning for that purpose, according to the revolutions of the year, to give notice of the times of the feasts; for almanacs were not then so common as they are now. And Onkelos more particularly, Rejoice, Issachar, when thou goest to compute the times of the solemnities at Jerusalem; for then the tribes of Israel shall be gathered to the mountain of the house of the sanctuary. So he reads the beginning of this verse; and many think this the meaning of that character of the men of Issachar in David's time, That they had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do, 1 Chr. 12. 32. And the character which follows, (v. 33,) of the men of Zebulun, that they were such as went forth to battle, expert in war, perhaps may explain the blessing of that tribe here. Note, Those that have not opportunity as Zebulun had of bringing into the church those that are without, may yet be very serviceable to its interest, by helping to quicken, encourage, and build up those that are within. And it is good work to call people to God's ordinances, to put those in remembrance that are forgetful, and to stir up those that are slothful, who will follow, but care not to lead.

(2.) They shall not only invite others to the service of God, but they shall abound in it themselves; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness. They shall not send others to the

temple, and stay at home themselves, under pretence that they z Josh. 4. 12, 13. a Josh. 19. 47. Ps. 36. 8. 90. 14. Jer. 31. 14. cannot leave their business; but when they stir up others to go speedily to pray before the Lord, they shall say, We will go also, as it is Zech. 8. 21. Note, The good we exhort others to, we should ourselves be examples of. And when they come to the temple, they shall not appear before the Lord empty, but shall bring for the honour and service of God according as he has prospered them, 1 Cor. 16. 2. [1.] It is here foretold that both these tribes should grow rich, Zebulun that goes abroad, shall suck of the abundance of the seas, which are full breasts to the merchants, while Issachar that tarries at home, shall enrich himself with treasures hid in the sand; either the fruits of the earth, or the underground treasures of metals and minerals, or, (because the word for sand here signifies properly the sand of the sea,) the rich things thrown up by the sea, for the lot of Issachar reached to the seaside. Perhaps their success in calling the people to the mount, is intimated by their sucking of the abundance of the seas, for we have a like phrase used for the bringing in of the nations to the church, (Is. 60. 5,) The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, and (v. 16,) Thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles. It is foretold, [2.] That these tribes, being thus enriched, should consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth, Mic. 4. 13. That the merchandise of Zebulun, and the hire of Issachar should be holiness to the Lord, Is. 23. 18, for fices according to the law. Note, We must serve and honour God with what we have; and where he sows plentifully, he they shall out of it offer sacrifices of righteousness, that is, sacriexpects to reap accordingly. Those that suck of the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures hid in the sand, ought to offer

with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.

24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.

25 Thy "shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

c Josh. 19. 32, &c. d Job 29. 6. or, under thy,

compared him to a serpent for subtlety; Moses compares him to a lion for courage and resolution: and what could stand before those that had the head of a serpent and the heart of a lion? He is compared to the lions that leaped from Bashan, a mountain noted for fierce lions, from whence they came down to leap upon their prey in the plains. This may refer either, 1. To the particular victories obtained by Samson (who was of this tribe) over the Philistines; the Spirit of the Lord began to move him in the camp of Dan, when he was very young, as a lion's whelp, so that in his attacks upon the Philistines he surprised them and overpowered them by main strength, as a lion does his prey; and one of his first exploits was the rending of a lion. Or, 2. To a more general achievement of that tribe, when a party of them, upon information brought them of the security of Laish, which lay in the furthest part of the land of Canaan from them, surprised it, and soon made themselves masters of it. See Judg. 18. 27. And the mountains of Bashan lying not far from that city, probably from thence they made their descent upon it; and therefore are here said to leap from Bashan.

[blocks in formation]

els. 41. 10. 1 Cor. 10. 13. f Jer. 10. 6. g Ps. 68. 4, 33. A Pe. 90. 1. 1s. 25. 4.

it thus, "The strength of thine old age shall be like that of thy youth; thou shalt not feel a decay, nor be the worse for the wearing, but shalt renew thy youth; as if not thy shoes only, but thy bones, were iron and brass." The day is often in scripture put for the events of the day; and taking it so here, it is a promise that God would graciously support them under their trials and troubles, whatever they were. And so it is a promise sure to all the spiritual seed of Abraham, that God will wisely proportion their graces and comforts to the services and sufferings he calls them out to. Have they work appointed them? They shall have strength to do it. Have they burdens appointed them? They shall have strength to bear them; and never be tempted above that they are able. Faithful is he that has thus promised, and hath caused us to hope in this promise. V. 26-29. These are the last words of all that ever Moses, that great writer, that great dictator, either wrote himself, or were written from him, and they are therefore very remarkable; and no doubt we shall find them very improving. Moses, the man of God, (who had as much reason as ever any mere man had to know both,) with his last breath magnifies both the God of Israel, and the Israel of God. They are both incomparable in his eye; and we are sure that in this his judgment of both, his eye did not wax dim.

. It

I. No god like the God of Israel. None of the gods of the nations were capable of doing that for their worshippers which Jehovah did for his, (v. 26,) There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun. Note, When we are expecting that God should bless us in doing well for us, we must bless him by speaking well of him; and one of the most solemn ways of praising God, is, by acknowledging that there is none like him. Now, 1. This was the honour of Israel; every nation boasted of its god, but none had such a God to boast of as Israel had. was their happiness, that they were taken into covenant with such a God. Two things he takes notice of as proofs of the incontestable pre-eminence of the God of Jeshurun above all other gods. (1.) His sovereign power and authority; he rides upon the heavens, and with the greatest state and magnificence on the skies. Riding on the heavens denotes his greatness and glory, in which he manifests himself to the upper world, and the use he makes of the influences of heaven, and the productions of the clouds, in bringing to pass his own counsels in this lower world: he manages and directs them as a man does the horse he rides on. When he has any thing to do for his people, he rides upon the heavens to do it: for he does it swiftly and strongly, no enemy can either anticipate or obstruct the progress of him that rides on the heavens. (2.) His boundless eternity; he is the eternal God, and his arms are everlasting, v. 27. The gods of the heathen were but lately invented, and would shortly perish; but the God of Jeshurun is eternal, he was before all worlds, and will be when time and days shall be no more. See Hab. 1. 12.

II. The blessing of Naphtali, v. 23. He looks upon this tribe with wonder, and applauds it. "O Naphtali, thou art happy, thou shalt be so, mayest thou be ever so!" Three things make up the happiness of this tribe. 1. Be thou satisfied with favour. Some understand it of the favour of men, their good will and good word; Jacob had described this tribe to be, generally, courteous obliging people, giving goodly words, as the loving hind, Gen. 49. 21. Now what should they get by being so? Moses here tells them they should have an interest in the affections of their neighbours, and be satisfied with favour. They that are loving, shall be beloved. But others understand it of the favour of God; and with good reason for that only is the favour that is satisfying to the soul, and puts true gladness into the heart. Those are happy indeed, that have the favour of God; and those shall have it, that place their satisfaction in it, and reckon that, in having that, they have enough and desire no more. 2. Be thou full with the blessing of the Lord, that is, not only with those good things that are the fruits of the blessing, corn and wine and oil, but with the blessing itself; that is, the grace of God, according to his promise and covenant. Those who have that blessing, may well reckon themselves full, they need nothing else to make them happy. "The portion of the tribe of Naphtali," (the Jews say,) was so fruitful, and the productions so forward, though it lay north, that they of that tribe were generally the first that brought their first-fruits to the temple; and so they had first the blessing from the priest, which was the blessing of the Lord." Capernaum, in which Christ chiefly resided, lay in this tribe. 3. Be thou in possession of the sea and the south; so it may be read, that is, of that sea which shall lie south of thy lot, that was the sea of Galilee; which we so often read of in the Gospels, directly north of which the lot of this tribe lay; and which was of great advantage to this tribe, witness the wealth of Capernaum and Bethsaida, which lay within this tribe, and upon the shore of that sea. See how Moses was guided by a spirit of prophecy in these blessings; for before the lot was cast into the lap, he foresaw and foretold how the disposal of it would be.

66

II. No people like the Israel of God. Having pronounced each tribe happy, in the close he pronounces all together very happy; so happy in all respects, that there was no nation under the sun comparable to them, v. 29, Happy art thou, O Israel, a people whose God is the Lord; on that account truly happy, and none like unto thee. If Israel honour God as a nonesuch God, he will favour them, so as to make them a nonsuch people, III. The blessing of Asher, v. 24, 25. Four things he prays the envy of all their neighbours, and the joy of all their wellfor and prophesies concerning this tribe, which carries blessed-wishers. Who is like unto thee, O people? Behold thou art ness in its name; for Leah called the father of it Asher, saying, fair, my love! says Christ of his spouse. To which she Happy am I, Gen. 30. 13. 1. The increase of their numbers. presently returns, Behold, thou art fair, my beloved. What one They are now a numerous tribe, Num. 26. 47. Let it be more nation (no not all the nations together) is like thy people Isso; Let Asher be blessed with children. Note, Children, espe- rael? 2 Sam. 7. 23. What is here said of the church of Israel, cially children of the covenant, are blessings, not burdens. and the honours and privileges of it, is certainly to be applied 2. Their interest in their neighbours; Let him be acceptable to to the church of the first-born, that are written in heaven. The his brethren. Note, It is a very desirable thing to have the Christian church is the Israel of God, as the apostle calls it, love and good will of those we live among: it is what we should Gal. 5. 16, on which there shall be peace, and which is dignipray to God for, who has all hearts in his hand; and what we fied above all societies in the world, as Israel was. should endeavour to gain by meekness and humility, and a readiness as we have ability and opportunity, to do good to all men. 3. The richness of their land. (1.) Above ground; Let him dip his foot in oil, that is, "Let him have such plenty of it in his lot, that he may not only anoint his head with it, but, if he pleases, wash his feet in it," which was not commonly done; yet we find our blessed Saviour so acceptable to his brethren, that his feet were anointed with the most precious ointmen Luke 7. 46. (2.) Under ground; Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, that is, "Thou shalt have great plenty of these metals, (mes of them) in thine own ground, which by an uncommon bissing shall have both its surface and its bowels rich" or, if they had them not as the productions of their own country, they should have them imported from abroad; for the lot of this tribe lay on the seacoast. The Chaldee paraphrasts understand it figuratily; "Thou shalt be strong and bright, as iron and brass." The continuance of their strength and For; As thy days so she thy strength be. Many paraphrase

1. Never was people so well seated and sheltered, v. 27, The eternal God is thy refuge! Or, as the word signifies, "thy habitation or mansion house, in whom thou art safe and easy, and at rest, as a man in his own house." Every Israelite indeed is at home in God; the soul returns to him, and reposes in him as its resting place, (Ps. 116. 7,) its hiding place, Ps. 32.7. And they that make him their habitation, shall have all the comforts and benefits of a habitation in him, Ps. 91. 1. Moses had an eye to God as the habitation of Israel, when they were wandering in the wilderness, (Ps. 90. 1,) Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. And now that they were going to settle in Canaan, they must not change their habitation; still they will need, and still they shall have, the eternal God for their dwelling-place; without him Canaan itself would be a wilderness, and a land of darkness.

2. Never was people so well supported and borne up ; underneath are the everlasting arms; that is, the almighty power of God is engaged for the protection and consolation of all that

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

records of Joshua, and his successors the Judges. We have had an account of his dying words, here we have an account of his dying work, and that is work we must all do shortly, and it had need be well done. Here is, I. The view Moses had of the land of Canaan just before he died, v. 1-4. II. His death and burial, v. 5, 6. III. His age, v. 1. IV. Israel's mourning for him, v. 8. V. His successor, v. 9. VI. His character, v. 10-12.

AND Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of *Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,

2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,

3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar.

n Rev. 1. 16. or, subdued. or, the hill.

12.9.

6. Never was people so well helped; if they were in. strait, God himself rode upon the heavens for their help, re And they were a people saved by the Lord, v. 29. If the an in danger of any harm, or in want of any good, theyhing eternal God to go to, an almighty power to trust toe that could hurt those whom God helped, nor was it po They that people should perish which was saved by the Le saved, that are added to the Gospel Israel, are such as sh Acts 2. 47. Af was the 7. Never was people so well armed; God hnsively, and shield of their help, by whom they were armed, he was the sufficiently guarded against all assailants ed offensively, Sword of their excellency, by whom they wereir wars. God and made both formidable and successful inse, in fighting for is called the Sword of their excellency, bror, because in all them, he made them to excel other peojetuary among them, he did for them, he had an eye to his's. 47. 4. Ez. 28. 21. which is called the excellency of Jache excellency of holiAm. 6. 8. Those in whose heartsand sword, are defended ness, have God himself for their shid is their sword, and faith by the whole armour of God; his in it is their shield, Eph. 6. 16, 17sured of victory over their 8. Never was people so wel unto thee; that is, "shall be enemies; They shall be found ainst their will, so that it will forced to submit to thee sor; yet the point shall be gained, be but a counterfeit submis necks," (so the LXX,) which we for thou shalt tread upon thou shalt tread down their strong find done, Josh. 10. 24. gh; and trample upon their palaces holds, be they never somed ever so sacred. If thine enemies and temples, though so some read it,) "thou shalt tread upon be found liars to theeey will not be held by the bonds of leagues their high places; all be broken by the force of war." Thus and treaties, the peace tread Satan under the feet of all beshall the Godd do it shortly, Rom. 16. 20. lievers, and, this together, and then you will say, Happy art Now layael! Who is like unto thee, O people? Thrice thou, people whose God is the Lord. happy

NOTES TO CHAPTER XXXIV. .1-4. Here is,

3. Never was people so well commanded and led on to battle; "He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee by his almighty power which will make room for thee, and by a commission which will bear thee out, he shall say, Destroy them." They were now entering upon a land that was in the full possession of a strong and formidable people, and who being its first planters, looked upon themselves as its rightful owners; how shall Israel justify, and how shall they accomplish the expulsion of them? (1.) God will give them a commission to destroy the Canaanites, and that will justify them, and bear them out in it, against all the world. He that is sovereign Lord of all lives and all lands, not only allowed and permitted, but expressly commanded and appointed, the children of Israel both to take possession of the land of Canaan, and to put to the sword the people of Canaan, which, being thus authorized, they might not only lawfully but honourably do, without incurring the least stain or imputation of theft by the one, or murder by the other. (2.) God will give them power and ability to destroy them; nay, he will in effect do it to their hands: he will thrust out the enemy from before them; for the very fear of Israel shall put them to flight. God drove out the heathen to plant his people, Ps. 44. 2. Thus believers are more than conquerors over their spiritual enemies, through Christ that loved them. The Captain of our salvation thrust out the enemy from before 1. Moses climbing upward toward heaven, as high as the us, when he overcame the world, and spoiled principalities lop of Pisgah, there to die; for that was the place appointed, and powers on the cross: and the word of command to us isy ch. 32. 49, 50. Israel lay encamped upon the flat grounds in "Destroy them; pursue the victory, and you shall divide the plains of Moab, and from thence he went up, according to spoil." 48, order, to the mountain of Nebo; to the highest point or ridge 4. Never was people so well secured and protected.in of that mountain, which was called Pisgah, v. 1. Pisgah is an Israel shall then dwell in safety alone. Those that fety; appellative name for all such eminences. It should seem, God, and make his name their strong tower, dwell . 33. 16. Moses went up alone to the top of Pisgah, alone without help the place of their defence is the munitions of rocke; though a sign that his natural force was not abated, when on the last They shall dwell in safety alone. (1.) Though hor have any day of his life he could walk up to the top of a high hill without they contract no alliances with their neighbourhem, yet they such supporters as once he had when his hands were heavy reason to expect help or succour from any fe, and they shall (Ex. 17. 12,) alone without company; when he had made an end shall they shall really think themselves so. (2.) Because alup; they shall dwell in of blessing Israel, we may suppose he solemnly took leave of safety, as long as they continue pure, nunmixed with the hea- Joshua and Eleazar and the rest of his friends, who, probably, then, a singular and peculiar peor Their distinction from brought him to the foot of the hill, but then he gave them such a charge as Abraham gave to his servants, at the foot of another other nations, though it made the like a speckled bird, (Jer. 12. 9,) and exposed them to the ill-ll of those about them, yet it was hill; Tarry ye here while I go yonder and die: they must not really their preservation com the mischief their neighbours see him die, because they must not know of his sepulchre. wished them, as it kept nem under the divine protection. All But, whether this were so or not, he went up to the top of that keep close to Gd shall be kept safe by him. It is promised, Pisgah, 1. To show that he was willing to die: when he knew that, in the kingden of Christ, Israel shall dwell safely, Jer. 23. 6. the place of his death, he was so far from avoiding it, that he 5. Never was people so well provided for; the fountain of cheerfully mounted a steep hill to come at it. Note, Those Jacob, that is, the present generation of that people, which is that through grace are well acquainted with another world, and as the fountain to all the streams that shall hereafter descend have been much conversant with it, need not be afraid to leave and be derived from it, shall now presently be fixed upon a good this. 2. To show that he looked upon death as his ascension. land. The eye of Jacob (so it might be read, for the same word The soul of a man, of a good man, when it leaves the body, signifies a fountain and an eye) is upon the land of corn and goes upward, Ec. 3. 21, in conformity to which motion of the wine; that is, where they now lay encamped, they had Canaan soul, the body of Moses shall go along with it as far upward as in their eye, it was just before their faces, on the other side the its earth will carry it. When God's servants are sent for out river, and they would have it in their hands, and under their of the world, the summons runs thus, Go up and die. feet quickly. This land which they had their eye upon, was blessed both with the fatness of the earth, and the dew of heaven; it was a land of corn and wine, substantial and useful productions: also his heavens (as if the heavens were particularly designed to be blessings to that land) shall drop down dew, without which, though the soil were ever so good, the corn and wine would soon fail. Every Israelite indeed has his eye, the eye of faith, upon the better country, the heavenly Canaan, which is richly replenished with better things than corn and wine.

II. Moses looking downward again toward this earth, to see the earthly Canaan into which he must never enter, but therein by faith looking forward to the heavenly Canaan into which he should now immediately enter. God had threatened that he should not come into the possession of Canaan, and the threatening is fulfilled. But he had also promised that he should have a prospect of it, and the promise is here performed; The Lord showed him all that good land, v. 1.

1. If he went up alone to the top of Pisgah, yet he was not alone, for the Father was with him, John 16. 32. If a man has

« ElőzőTovább »