The Character And Prophecies Of Balaam. Numbers XXII—XXIV. -- By: R. D. C. Robbins

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 003:10 (May 1846)
Article: The Character And Prophecies Of Balaam. Numbers XXII—XXIV.
Author: R. D. C. Robbins

The Character And Prophecies Of Balaam.
Numbers XXII—XXIV.

R. D. C. Robbins

Librarian, Theol. Sem. Andover.

The condition of the Israelites at the time of Balaam’s Prophecies.

The Israelites arrived at Kadesh, near the foot of the mountain range which forms the southern boundary of Palestine, in the second year after their departure from Egypt. When the spies had brought back their report, the people there murmured against God, and received the sentence of exclusion from the promised land. Nearly thirty-eight years after, on the first month (April) of the fortieth year from the escape out of bondage, they again came to Kadesh. They now hoped that their dreary sojournings were at an end, and that they should receive a speedy admittance to their desired abode. But the last of those who were “twenty years old and upward” when they commenced their wanderings, had not yet been consigned to their long home in the desert-sands. The decree of Jehovah must be literally fulfilled. The new generation was to be still longer tried, and the contaminations of Egypt must be further purged, by new conflicts and by renewed precepts for future guidance, before they could be meet partakers of the promised inheritance.

The direct route north, up the steep mountain sides, or through narrow defiles, surrounded by hostile tribes, was not thought expedient, encumbered as the Israelites were by their household goods, and accompanied by their women and children. Moses therefore, sent messengers to the king of Edom, informing him that his “brother Israel,” after much suffering in Egypt and by the way, was on the borders of his land, and desired a passage through it, by the “king’s highway,” without turning to the right or to the left. To this reasonable request, couched in the most respectful language, the reply was returned: “Thou shall not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.” As the Israelites were not permitted to make war upon Edom, their “brother,” they turned southward and “journeyed from Kadesh

and came unto Mount Hor.” Here, according to the command of God, the priestly garments were transferred from Aaron to Eleazer, and Aaron “died in the top of the mount” and was gathered to his people, and all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.1 “From mount Hor they journeyed by the way of the Red Sea2 to compass the land of “Edom.” During the passage around the southern extremity of Mt. Seir, the people were discouraged by the length of the way; and were punished for their discontent by the “fiery serpents.”

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