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Q. When did the spies return, and what report did they make
A. They returned after forty days, and brought with them pomegranates and figs, and a branch with one cluster of grapes, which two of them carried upon a staff. They spoke highly of the beauty and fertility of the country ; but ten of them drew so formidable a picture of its gigantic inhabitants, and the strength of its fortifications, that the people mutinied, and appointed a captain to lead them back to Egypt.*
Q, How were they punished for this conduct ?
A. Unless Moses had interceded for them, the whole race had been exterminated: nevertheless the ten spies “ died by the plague before the Lord;" and the people concerned in this rebellion, 'were, doomed to wander forty years in the wilderness, t-a year for a day, according to the time occupied in searching the land, until all the rebellious had died from the congregation.
Q. Who were the excepted spies?
A. Caleb and Joshua, who encouraged the people to go up and possess the land.
Q. How were they rewarded for their fidelity?
A. Joshua was afterwards appointed to conduct Israel into Canaan ; and on the conquest of that country, the Israelites gave Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim to him, and the city of Hebron to Caleb.;
* Numb. xiv. 1-4. Nehem. ix. 17.
+ Numb, xiv. 34, 35. Psalm lxxviii. 32—42.--xcv. 7--11, Jude 5.
Q. What effect did the Divine displeasure produce
A. The Israelites bewailed their folly, and resolved to attack the Canaanites forthwith, but Moses forbade them; nevertheless they persisted, and were defeated.
Q. How was the breach of the sabbath punished, while Israel wandered in the wilderness?
A. With death: a man was stoned for gathering sticks on that holy day.
Q. Were the ceremonial laws, relative to sacrifices, fully acted upon in the wilderness?
A. No: some relaxation was allowed, until the Israelites should come to the rest and inheritance given them by the LORD their God.*
Q. What circumstance gave rise to a formidable rébellion against Moses and Aaron ?
A. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with two hundred and fifty of the princes of the congregation, claimed a participation in the government.
Q. How did Moses act upon this emergency?
A. He referred the decision of their claim to God : and Korah, and the rebellious princes, and Aaron, having assembled on the morrow before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation. Wroth on account of their continned unbelief, the Lord resolved to consume them in a moment, had not. Moses earnestly intereeded for them. The congregation, therefore, being warned to flee from the tents of Dathan and Abiram, Moses said, " If
* Deut. xii. 8, 9.
these men die the common death of all men, then the LORD hath not sent mé.
But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord."
Q. What followed this declaration ?
A. The ground clave beneath the feet of the rebels, and they, and all that pertained to them,* sunk down, and the earth closed upon them; and a fire came out from the LORD and consumed two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
Q. Did not this produce a powerful impression on the congregation ?
A. No: for though they witnessed God's awful justice in this dreadful catastrophe, they assembled on the following day, and charged Moses and Aaron with slaying the people of the Lord. Wherefore the Lord smote them with a plague, which cut off, in a short time, fourteen thousand seven hundred persons.
Q. What method was devised to assure the people of Aaron's Divine appointment to the priesthood ?
A. Each of the princes of the tribes, and Aaron among them, delivered to Moses a rod, marked with his own
* Korah was the only one of his own family that suffered in this visitation. Compare Numbers xvi. 25, 27-xxvi. 10, 11. By all the men appertaining to Korah, xvi. 32, must be understood his party, consisting of Dathan and Abiram; whose wives and sons, and little children, xvi. 27, are expressly stated to have been swallowed up, v. 31—33, for “the children of Korah died not.” xxvi. 11. .
These were laid up before the Lord; and the next day, Aaron's rod was found budding, putting forth blossoms, and yielding almonds. This being the sign proposed, the princes were satisfied; and Aaron's rod was deposited in the ark for a testimony against the rebels.
Q. What circumstances occurred at Kadesh,* in the desert of Zin, their thirty-second station ?
A. “Miriamt died, and was buried there. And there was no water for the congregation. And the people chode with Moses, saying, Would God thats we had died when our brethren died before the LORD.” Therefore the place was called Meribah, or Striving.
Q. How were they relieved ?
A. Moses, by God's appointment, smote a rock, and water gushed forth in abundance.
Q. Of whom was the rock a type ?
A. Of Christ the Rock of ages, the Fountain of living water. I
Q. Of what sin were Moses and Aaron guilty in this matter?
• By Kadesh, a name freqnently occurring, must be understood a holy place,
+ Miriam seems, from Micah vi, 4. to have had some share in the goverument of Israel.-See Nunb. xx. 2–13. Pslam cvi, 32, 33.
In Numbers xx. 3. and in other parts of scripture, the people are made to say, “Would to God,” &c. but the expression mi.yithain, simply signifies, O that, What shall be given that, as it is justly rendered in Deut. v. 29. The Hebrews had too great a reverence for God's holy name, to use it in common speech.
$ Psalm cxiv. 8. (1 Cor. x. 4. John iv, 10.-vii, 37-39.
A. Of unbelief: on which account the Lord declared that they should not conduct Israel into the promised land.
Q. How did Moses endeavour to obtain a reversal of this decree ?
A. By prayer : he said, “O LORD God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand : for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.”
Q. What answer did he receive ?
A. The LORD said unto him, “Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward,, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes, for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.”
Q. Were the Israelites permitted to pass through Edom?
A. No: the king denied them a passage ; and God forbade them to use force against the children of Esau.
Q. What happened in mount Hor?
A. Moses, by God's command, took Aaron and Eleazar his son to the top of the mount, “in the sight of all the congregation. And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son ; and Aaron died there on the top of the mount.”
Q. By whom were the Israelites attacked about this time?