Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

sage, xv. 1, · Horse and rider hath he thrown into the sea,' | into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground : and the waters is clear from v. 4 of the same chapter, where only the were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their overwhelming of the chariots and chariot warriors is | left.'—We have quoted this text at length, in order to mark spoken of.

the distinctness with which every circumstance is enumeThe number of the chosen chariots' is limited in the rated to demonstrate the miraculous character of this event, present text to six hundred. If we compare this with and to preclude any attempt to account for it on natural other declarations of the strength of the Egyptian hosts, grounds. The terms seem purposely intended to guard we shall be better prepared to appreciate this moderate against any possible natural hypothesis, which might be statement, so inappropriate to a legendary or mythic nar or has been adduced. The natural operation of any wind rative, Josephus adds, from his own resources, to these could only have driven back the water from the extremity 600 chariots which Pharaoh brought into the field, 50,000 of the guif, and even this could not be effected by an east horsemen and 200,000 footmen, and Diodorus gives to wind, which, however, was the best calculated, under the Sesostris 600,000 footmen, 24,000 horsemen, and 27,000 Divine direction, to strike a passage through the gulf; but chariots of war. It is indeed true that the 600 are|| no wind, not even an east wind, could do this in the terms not the whole force with which Pharaoh pursued the described, without an extraordinary exhibition of the Israelites. Besides the 600 chosen chariots there were Divine power. And that the waters were not simply also the chariots of Egypt; but the number of the latter driven back from the head of the gulf, either by a wind, must needs be fixed according to the analogy of the former. or by an extraordinary fall of the tide, is shown by thisThe chosen chariots evidently composed the guard of the that the waters could not then be divided, but only driven king. The existence of such a guard is stated by Hero back, nor could then the waters have been a wall to them dotus, and is proved by the monuments.

on the right hand and on the left, but only on the right. 10. They were sore afraid.'-It may perhaps appear And that they did not pass merely at a ford—that is, on a remarkable that the Israelites, notwithstanding their great shallow place, or ledge of rocks--as some conjecture, is numbers, at the appearance of the seemingly not very | evinced as well by the express statement that they passed numerous Egyptian hosts of war, considered themselves | on dry land,' as from the difficulty of supposing that, enas absolutely lost, and that the thought of withstanding cumbered as they were with children, flocks, and herds, them did not even occur to them. A remark in Wilkin with a hostile army on their rear, they could have got son (Anct. Egyptians, i. 347) assists in explaining this fact. through even a small depth of water. We have examined • The civilized state of Egyptian society required the ab | the whole subject with great attention, and our decided sence of all arms, except when they were on service. If conviction is, that there is no possibility of accounting the Israelites were entirely unarmed when they departed, for the circumstance on any natural cause which is comthey could not think of making resistance.

monly assigned, without either explaining away the force 21. · The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east and obvious meaning of this and the other passages of wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the Scripture which refer to the same event, or else rejecting waters were divided. 22. And the children of Israel went the testimony of Scripture altogether. There really does VOL. I.

209

o

not appear any other alternative. It seems to us that there considerations stated in the note to ch. xiv. 2, for it shews is no Old Testament miracle more independent of natural

that at the time of the transit no such wind could have causes than this. It is true that the natural agency of an blown as that by the aid of which neological writers and east wind was employed; but it is obvious that the natural sceptical travellers try to save God the trouble of working operation alone of any wind could not have produced this a miracle for his people. If a man credits the Scriptura) result; and if it could, the miracle remains—the wind account to be true, he must also believe that it was a great being made to come at the moment, and to blow as long and signal miracle: if he does not believe this, it is better to as it was wanted, and to cease at the critical time when say so outright, than to undermine the credit of the sacred its cessation involved, the Egyptian host in destruction, writer by plausible explanations, the effect of which is to And with reference to this wind, about which so much shew that no miracle was really needed, although they has been said, let it be observed that but for the interpo sometimes condescend to cover the nakedness of the imsition of an Almighty power, the wind which divided the plication with the rag of a miracle, unworthy of the occawaters must have continued to blow in order to keep them sion, and unequal to the effect intended to be produced. divided; but how could the Israelites make way through Even sopposing that the Israelites, in the warmth of their the opened passage in the face of a wind strong enough to feelings, saw all the transaction through a magnifying meproduce such effect? And then as to the effect which a dium, this could not be the case with the neighbouring tribes wind might produce near Suez in concurrence with the and nations, as the manner in which they were affected by tide, the only wind which could produce such effect is a it shews. That the event altogether had no resemblance north wind. Now that wind does not begin to blow at to any phenomenon which the Red Sea exhibited at other Suez till a long while after the time of the passage of the times, is evinced by the incidental but unequivocal acIsraelites. During the months of May, June, and July knowledgment of the neighbouring nations (see the texts there blows always a high wind from the north (Turner, referred to in the note to chap. xii. 20), and by the astoii. 412). The effect of this wind is not to drive back nishment and alarm which it inspired. Its effect upon the waters,' etc.-in fact, no travellers who have been the Hebrews themselves equally proves the miraculous there during its prevalence mention it as in any way character of the transaction. When they saw the great affecting the flux or reflux of the tide—but to bring down work which the Lord had done to seal their redemntion clouds of sand from the desert. If any winds blow with from Egypt, they believed in him;' and in after times its violence in the spring months—March and April—when stupendous and undoubted character, occasioned their sucthe Israelites passed, they are the kamsins, which are by cessive historians, prophets, poets, and didactic writers, no means regular in their direction, but blow sometimes more frequently to refer to this miracle than to any other from the east, sometimes from the south, and sometimes of the extraordinary manifestations of Divine power which from the west ; but never from the north or north-east. | the Old Testament records. This fact is of great importance in connection with the

CHAPTER XV.

8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the

waters were gathered together, the floods stood 1 Moses' song. 22 The people want water. 23 The

upright as an heap, and the depths were conwaters at Marah are bitter. 25 A tree sweeteneth them. 27 At Elim are twelve wells, and seventy

gealed in the heart of the sea.

9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will palm trees.

overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall Then sang 'Moses and the children of Israel | be satisfied upon them ; I will draw my sword, this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I my hand shall 'destroy them. will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he covered them : they sank as lead in the mighty thrown into the sea.

waters. 2 The LORD is my strength and song, and 11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among he is become my salvation : he is my God, the gods? who is like thee, glorious in hoand I will prepare him an habitation; my | liness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ? father's God, and I will exalt him.

12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, 3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the 4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast cast into the sea : his chosen captains also are guided them in thy strength unto thy holy drowned in the Red sea.

habitation. 5 The depths have covered them : they 14 "The people shall hear, and be afraid : sank into the bottom as a stone.

sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become Palestina. glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency shall take hold upon them; all the inhabithou hast overthrown them that rose up against tants of Canaan shall melt away. thee : thou sentest forth thy wrath, which 16 'Fear and dread shall fall upon them; consumed them as stubble.

| by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as I Wisd. 10. 20. Or, repossess. 3 Or, mighty ores. Deut. 2. 25. Josh. 2. 9. 5 Deut. 2. 25. Josh. 2, 3.

still as a stone; till thy people pass over, Shur ; and they went three days in the wilO LORD, till the people pass over, which thouderness, and found no water. hast purchased.

23 | And when they came to Marah, they 17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant could not drink of the waters of Marah, for them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in they were bitter : therefore the name of it was the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for called “Marah. thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, 24 And the people murmured against which thy hands have established.

Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the

19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with | LORD shewed him a 'tree, which when he had his chariots and with his horsemen into the cast into the waters, the waters were made sea, and the LORD brought again the waters sweet: there he made for them a statute and of the sea upon them ; but the children of an ordinance, and there he proved them, Israel went on dry land in the midst of the | 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken sea.

to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt 20 | And Miriam the prophetess, the sister | do that which is right in his sight, and wilt of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and | give ear to his commandments, and keep all all the women went out after her with timbrels his statutes, I will put none of these diseases and with dances.

upon thee, which I have brought upon the 21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to Egyptians : for I am the LORD that healeth the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; thee. the horse and his rider hath he thrown into | 27 | And they came to Elim, where were the sea.

twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten 22 [ So Moses brought Israel from the Red palm trees : and they encamped there by the sea, and they went out into the wilderness of waters. 6 That is, bitterness.

7 Ecclus. 38. 5.

8 Num. 33. 9.

Verse 10. • Lead.'-The specific gravity of lead being | twenty times in Scripture, in half of which it is rendered somewhat more than 11, that is, eleven times heavier than timbrel,' and in the other half tabret,' a variety of renwater, its rapid descent when thrown into that fluid is dering not unusual in the authorized version, but which pointed at in this sublime poem as representing the un tends to breed unnecessary confusion. We have noticed checked impetus with which the host of Pharaoh sank at this instrument under Gen. xxxi. 27; and have here to the return of the waters. It is probable that a piece of lead call attention to it chiefly in its Egyptian connections. was fastened to the end of the sounding-line in the time of There is much room to think that a people freshly come Moses, as it is at this day, whence the comparison becomes from Egypt, employed the instruments of this kind which more striking and natural.

were used in that country, especially as, from the different 19. · For the horse of Pharaoh,' etc.—The sublime poem shapes which the tabrets of that country bear in the anof Moses appears to end with the rapturous burst of exul cient paintings, it is evident that the Egyptians had paid tation in the preceding verse. But if the present verse is

much attention to its construction, and could offer it under to be taken as a part of the song, it must be regarded as varieties of form and corresponding modifications of sound containing what the Greeks call the epiphonema, which to a people abiding among them, who had been probably includes the whole subject of the piece, like the first chorus. acquainted before with but one form of the instrument. But we have no doubt that the triumphal hymn really ter The Egyptian forms of the tambourine are shown in the minates with the eighteenth verse ; and that this is to be

cut which we introduce from a mural painting at Thebes. joined to the two following verses as a brief recapitulation, | They are of three shapes; one was circular, another square in simple prosaic narrative, of the great event which gave or oblong, and the other consisted of two squares separated occasion to the song.

by a bar. They were all beaten by the hand, and often 20. Miriam the Prophetess.'— The Hebrew on Mi

used as an accompaniment to the harp and other musical riam, the Greek Mipiau, the Latin Maria, and the English instruments. The tambourine was usually played by feMary, are all different forms of the same name. It does | males, who are represented as dancing to its sound without not at first sight appear in what sense Miriam is called 'a the accompaniment of any other instruments. The improphetess,' but it is probable from the fact that she in perfect manner of the representation does not allow us to common with Moses and Aaron, and like Deborab, Hul discover whether these Egyptian instruments had such dah, and Anna, was made in some degree the organ of moveable pieces of metal let into the frame as we find in divine communications. See Num. xii. 1; Micah vi. 4. the Eastern and European tambourines of the present day; Bat some, who feel unwilling to assign this degree to but from the manner in which the tambourine is held up Miriam, remind us that the word 'prophesy' in Scripture, after being struck, their presence may be inferred; and we often means no more than the act of playing upon musical know that the ancient Greek instruments, which were coninstruments, and urge that 'prophetess' can here signify no fessedly derived from the East, had balls of metal attached more than a woman eminently skilled in music. And this by short thongs to the circular rim; and there are even interpretation derives some sanction from the fact that examples in the paintings at Herculaneum of tambourines Miriam is so designated only upon this particular occasion, in which, as in our own, circular pieces of moveable metal when leading the responsive choir of female musicians. are let into the frame itself; and this is not now unusual

- All the women went out after her with timbrels and in the east. with danccs.'— The Hebrew word om toph occurs about 1 Among the Hebrews, it was particularly the instrument

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

of the women ; was often accompanied by dancing, was ) at or not far below Ayun Musa, the Fountains of Moses, used in religious and civil festivals, and was silent in wars where the host probably obtained water. So large a and desolations (comp. Gen. xxxi. 27; 2 Sam, vi. 5; body, passing in a time comparatively short, must have Ps. lxviii, 25; Isa. xxiv. 8); all which particulars are passed in considerable breadth — probably of a mile or entirely conformable to those which the Egyptian paintings two-and as the fountain is more to the north than the and sculpture exemplify; and are indeed similar to the valley of Bedea upon the opposite side, it may be quite existing practices of the East.

sufficient to suppose that the upper side of the opening, and 22. They went out into the wilderness of Shur.'—This consequently the upper, or left flank of the emerging host, is called the desert of Etham in Num. xxxiii. 8. We touched upon, or was not far below, Ayan Musa. Å number have shewn in the note on Gen. xvi. 17, that the name of of green shrubs, springing from numerous hillocks, mark the Desert of Shur was applied to the whole of the desert the landward approach to this place. Here are also a between and bordering on Palestine and Egypt. We should number of neglected palm-trees grown thick and bushy for probably not be far wrong in fixing the point of egress want of pruning. The springs which here rise out of the ground in various places, and give name to the spot, are plaints of the bitterness of the water by the children of soon lost in the sands. The water is of a brackish quality, Israel, who had been accustomed to the sweet water of the in consequence, probably, of the springs being so near the Nile, are such as may be daily heard from the Egyptian sea; but it is, nevertheless, cool and refreshing, and in peasants and servants who travel in Arabia. Accustomed these waterless deserts affords a desirable resting-place. from their youth to the excellent water of the Nile, there The view from this place, looking westward, is very beau is nothing they so much regret in countries distant from tiful, and most interesting from its association with the Egypt; nor is there any eastern people who feel so keenly wonderful events which it has been our duty to relate. the want of good water as the present natives of Egypt.' The mountain chains of Attaka, each running into a long 25. The LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had promontory, stretch along the shore of Africa; and nearly cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.'— The use opposite our station we view the opening—the Pi-ha-hiroth of certain plants and vegetable juices in correcting the bad - the mouth of the pass,' formed by the valley in the qualities of water, admits of ample illustration. It is unmouth of which the Hebrews were encamped before they derstood that the original inducement of the Chinese to the crossed the sea. On the side where we stand, the access to | use of tea was for the purpose of correcting the bad qualithe shore from the bed of the gulf would have been easy. ties of their water; and our early colonists in America And it deserves to be mentioned, that not only do the infused in the water, for the same purpose, the branches of springs bear the name of Moses, but the projecting head sassafras. (Burder's Oriental Literature, vol. i. p. 146.) land below them, towards the sea, bears the name of Ras Niebuhr also, speaking of the Nile, observes, • The water Musa. Thus do the Cape of Moses and the Cape of De is always somewhat muddy; but by rubbing with bitter liverance look towards each other from the opposite shores almonds, prepared in a particular manner, the earthen jars of the Arabian Gulf, and unite their abiding and unshaken in which it is kept, this water is rendered clear, light, and testimony to the judgments and wonders of that day in salutary. Mr. Roberts, in his Oriental Illustrations, has which the right hand of Jehovah was so abundantly .glo some interesting observations concerning the practices of rified in might.

[graphic][merged small]

the Hindoos with reference to this subject. He informs us 23. Marah.'The Hebrews probably made some stay that the brackish water in the neighbourhood of the salt at or near Ayun Musa before they proceeded on their jour pans or of the sea, is often corrected by the natives throwing ney. They then travelled for three days without finding into it the wood called Perru-Nelli (Phylanthus emblica); any water, and then came to Marah, where the water they and should the water be very bad, the well is lined with did find was too bitter for use. During the first portion of planks cut out of this tree. He adds: • In swampy grounds, this journey the Hebrews travelled over a wild uneven or where there has not been rain for a long time, the water region, having on their left hand the deep blue waters of is often muddy and very unwholesome. But Providence the Red Sea, and away to the right, at the distance of ten has again been bountiful by giving to the people the Teatta or twelve miles from the shore, their view was bounded by Maram (Strychnos potatorum). All who live in the neighthe mountain range called Jebel er-Raha. At about nine bourhood of such water, or who have to travel where it is, miles below Ayun Musa they passed a low range of hills, always carry a supply of the nuts of this tree. They grind which brought them into another plain of great extent, one or two of them on the side of an earthen vessel : the called El Ahta, less uneven than the former, and still water is then poured in and the impurities soon subside.' bounded on the east by the mountains, and on the west by With particular reference to Marah, Burckhardt remarks the sea. This plain takes the name of Waradan, after the that he had frequently inquired among the Bedouins in wady of that name has been passed. For several miles it different parts of Arabia, whether they possessed any means is composed chiefly of sand, with an intermixture of peb of effecting such a change by throwing wood into it, or by bles and loose stones, and then the route leads over a range any other process : but he could never learn that such an of low hills into another plain less extensive and more un art was known. This is important, because such a tree dulating, whose surface is composed for the most part of and process of rectification being locally unknown, the neloose rock. The western mountains here approach nearer cessity for the divine indication of such a tree, and, possibly, to the sea, in very broken, irregular masses. The plain is of giving to it curative qualities for the occasion, becomes gradually lost in a succession of low, bare sandhills, among , apparent. It shews that such trees do not exist as a comwhich occasionally appear some ledges of rock, of no great mon or obvious resource, or else surely their useful properextent. The narrow vallies between them are refulgent ties would be known to the Arabs, to whom they would be with crystallised sulphate of lime, which covers the sand of incalculable value. These considerations neutralize the in layers half an inch thick. At length they came to subsequent observations of Burckhardt, who, when he Marah, a reminiscence of which name exists in the present comes a few miles further down to the Wady Gharendel, Wady Amarah, a mile beyond which is the Ain Hawarah, observes that it (the Wady) contains among other trees which is generally, and with sufficient reason, regarded as and shrubs the thorny shrub Gharkad, the Peganum retuthe well around which the Israelites encamped. The dis sum of Forskal, which is extremely common in this penintance from Ayun Musa to this is thirty-six miles, which sula, and is also met with in the sands of the Delta, on the is a full three days' journey for a host so encumbered as coasts of the Mediterranean. Its small red berry, of the that of the Israelites. The fountain of Hawarah is situated size of the grain of the pomegranate, is very juicy and in a rocky valley, two or three miles in diameter. It is refreshing, much resembling a ripe gooseberry in taste, but near the centre of this valley, and springs out of the top of not so sweet. The Arabs are very fond of it, and I was a mound which has the form of a flattened hemisphere, and told that when the shrub produces large crops they make a an elevation of perhaps thirty or forty feet above the gene conserve of the berries. The gharkad delights in a sandy ral level of the valley. The water rises into a basin, which soil, and reaches its maturity in the height of summer when is formed by the deposit of a hard shiny substance, and the ground is parched up, exciting an agreeable surprise may be from eight to ten feet long, by a breadth somewhat in the traveller, at finding so juicy a berry produced in the less. In depth it is about five or six feet, and contains driest soil and season. In a note to this, he asks, 'Might three feet of water. The taste of the water answers to that not the berries of this shrub have been used to sweeten the of the Marah of the present text. It is extremely un waters of Marah?' After quoting the authorized version pleasant, and is the only water near the Red Sea which the of the text, he proceeds :- The Arabic translation of this Arabs refuse to drink, except in cases of extreme necessity; passage gives a different, and perhaps more correct reading : and even camels, unless very thirsty, abstain from it. * And the Lord guided him to a tree, of which he threw Dr. Olin says, that it reminded him of a weak solution of something into the water, which then became sweet." I do Epsom salts. (Travels, i. 359.) Lord Lindsay states that | not remember to have seen any gharkad in the neighbour. when first taken into the mouth it is insipid rather than hood of Hawarah, but Wady Gharendel is full of this shrub. bitter; but wben held in the mouth a few seconds, it be- | As these conjectures did not occur to me when I was on comes extremely nauseous (Letters, ii. 263). See also the spot, I did not inquire of the Bedouins whether they Borrer's Journey, p. 303; Burckhardt remarks: “The com- ever sweetened water with the juice of the berries, which

« PoprzedniaDalej »