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for which Mofes appointed them, but rather that they varied both their Number, and their Office, as the Circumstances of the State required, or the Persons who had the appointing these Officers, thought fit to employ them. Here therefore is the Failure of our noble Author's Reflection: He designed to prove some Part of the Jewish Polity to be a Contrivance of Jethro's, and consequently a mere human
Institution; but his Instance is a Point, which i was indeed an human Institution, but not an
effential and established Part of the Jewish Polity. There are indeed some learned Writers, who have thought these Officers of divine. Appointment (P); but whoever will carefully examine, will find no good Foundation for their Opinion, and may thereby effectually silence a Cavil, which our modern Deifts, from the Hint I have considered, think to raise against the Jewish Polity. Jethro made but a short Stay with Mofes ; for before they departed from Rephidim He went his way into his own Land (9).
The Ifraelites, on the fifteenth Day of the third Month after their leaving Egypt, marched from Rephidim into the Wilderness of Sinai, and pitched their Camp at the Foot of Mount Sinai (r): They stay'd almost a
(p) Vid. Sigon. de Rep. Heb. 1. 7. c. 7. (9) Exod. xviii. 27. (r) xix. 1, 2. The Words of Moses seem to me to intimate, that the Ifraelites came to Sinai on the 15th Day of this Month. They came hither, Moses says, in the third Month of their Exit from Egypt [177,1 D1]] bejom hazzeh, on the very Day, i. e. of their Läis, or on the 15th; for on that Day of the firf Month they came out of Egypt. The most learned Archbishop Usher
Year in this place (s). In the first three Days was transacted what is recorded in the xix. xx. xxi. xxii. xxiii. Chapters of Exodus (t). And Mofes probably spent some Days in writing down the Laws and the Judgments which God had given them (u), after which he built an Altar, offered Sacrifices, and read what he had written in the Book (w), and the People entered into the most folemn Engagement to perform what was written in it (ww). After this, Mofes and Aaron, Nadab and Abibu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel went up some Part of the Mountain (w), and they sawe the God of Israel (y) and worshipped him (2):
indeed took the Words otherwise. He supposes bejom hazzeh to referi to the Month, and to intimate that the Israelites came to Sinai on the Day of the Month the same in Number with the Month, or on the 3d Day of the 3d Month, See bis Annals. Other Writers imagine the Words bejom hazzeh to signify no more, than that they came to Sinai, on the very Day they left Rephidim, and that the Intimation bere intended is, that from Rephidim to Sinai was the Journey of but one Day. Vid. Pool's Synop. in loc. There are some, who would render the Verse to this purpose, On the third New-Moon after the Exit, on the very Day, i. e. of the Moon, &c. so as to fix the coming to Sinai to be on the firA Day of this third Month. But to this it is obvious to answer : The Word Wint must be here translated Month, and not new Moon ; for 1. The Israelites coming out of Egypt in the Middle of the firt Month, the first Day of the third Month could be only the second, and not the third new Moon after their Exit. 2. The facred Writers never use such an Expresion, as is here before us; for on the first Day of a Month, beachad lachdeslo is on the first Day of the Month. See Gen. viii. 5. 13. Exodus xl. 2. Levit. xxiii. 24. Numbers i. 1. xxix. 1. xxxiii. 38. Deut. i. 3. Ezra iii. 6. Nehem. viii. 2. Ezek. xxvi. 1. xxxi. 1. xlv. 18, &c. and thus Moses would most probably have bere written, if the first Day of the Month had been here intended by bim. (s) They came to Sinai on the 15th of the third Month, in the first Year of the Exit, and they left Sinai on the 20th Day of the Second Month of the second Year; so that they stayed here 1 1 Months and 5 Days. (t) Exod. xix. 11. (u) xxiv. 4. (w) ver. 7. (ww) ver. 7, 8. (x) ver. 9. (y) ver. 10. (z) Exod. xxiv. 11.
And Moses upon God's commanding it, having given Aaron and Hur the Charge of the People, went with Joshua up to the Top of the Mount, and was on the Mount forty Days and forty Nights (a); during which Time he received the Directions, and Commands contained in Exodus xxv, and in the following Chapters to the End of the xxxi. · It may be here asked, How and in what Sense, did Mofes, Aaron, Nadab and Abibu, and the Elders see the God of Israel ? No Man batb feen God at any Time (b). It seems hard to imagine, how the infinite God can be cloathed in Shape, and bounded within the Limits of a Form or Figure; so as to become the Object of Sight to a mortal Eye: The wise Heathens apprehended insuperable Difficulties in any such Supposition (c); and it must be confessed, that some of the Versions of the Bible do not render the Passage li- ší terally. The LXX translate it, They saw the # Place, where there ftood the God of Israel (d); and Onkelos, They saw the Glory of the God of Israel (c): And the Commentators, from what Mojes in another Place remarks to the Ifraelites, that they had seen no manner of Similitude, do generally conclude, that he did not intend here to intimate, that he or the Nobles of Israel did really and visibly see God. But
egovind x 7ŐTO TE level. Plut. in Numâ, p. 62, (d) idor Tiv TÓTOV > Gisńket érő ó Osås Tð Isegna. MS. A. (e) Tarfum Onkelos.
I would beg leave to offer to the Reader fome Thoughts that occur to me, whenever I read this Passage. .
1. I cannot but observe, that Mofes does not say, that he and the Nobles of Israel saw the invisible God; the Expression is, that they saw the God of Israel (f): No Man indeed bath ever seen the invifble God (g), nor can see him (b); but the God of Israel, the divine Person, who is many Times stiled in the Old Testament the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (i) frequently appeared to them, and was in After-ages made Flesh (k), and for about three and thirty Years dwelt on Earth amongst Men. 2. That this Person appeared to the Patriarchs of old in a real Body, was evident to them by the same infallible Proofs as those, by which he fewed himself alive to his Disciples after his Passion ). After he was risen from the Dead, he was seen of the Disciples, speaking to them (m): And so he was in divers Places, and at lundry Times to Abrabam (n), to Ifaac (). and to Jacob (p). The Disciples not only beheld him, but they felt him, and handled him, and were as sure that he was really with them, as they were that a Spirit hath not Flesh and Bones, as they saw him have (9). In like,
U) Exod. xxiv. 10. (8) Coloff. i. 15. 16) 1 Tim. vi. 16. (i) Gen. xxvi. 24. xxviii. 13. Exod. iii. 6. See Vol. II. B. IX. See Acts vii. 2. and Gen. xvii. 1. (k) See Vol. I. B. V. . John i. 14. (1) Acts i. 3. (m) Adts' i. 3. (n) Gen. xii. 7. xvii. 1. xviii. 1. (0) xxvi. 24. xxxii, 30. XXXV. 9. (9) Luke xxiv. 39.
manner Jacob experienced as sensible a Pre-
(r) Gen. xxxii. (s) Luke xxiv. 41, 42, 43. (t) Gen. xviii. 1. (u) ver, 8. (f) Exod. xxiv. 10. (a) Matt. xyii. Mark ix,