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But although constrained to reject the view, that “the ancient sacrifices were originally designed as symbols, emblems, and representations of the great work, for the effecting of which the Messiah was promised to fallen man,”! we believe that the feelings of the human mind which prompted them at first belonged to the high region of consciousness which is akin to the divine, the image of God being in it. That region of the mind has unconscious, as well as conscious, aspirations. It gropes after unseen
. and future realities. In this case, as in others, it felt after the great fact that purity of conscience is needed in man to bring him up to his true position. Such purity could not be attained by himself as he is. It could only be realised in loving communion of spirit with God. The power of Jehovah appearing in humanity could alone effect it fully. Hence the manifestation of Christ in his life and death was its ultimate accomplishment. The life and death of the Son of God in our own nature, becoming a motive power to raise men to be heirs of God, realised all the anticipations that lay beneath men's superstitious notions of sacrifice, cleansing the worshipper's conscience from dead works and creating him a new man, with the life of God active within him. The manifestation of Messiah to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, was the very thing in which the undefined longings of the human heart, wandering and wayward, could repose with entire satisfaction. Their perfect consummation lay in that great fact.
į Pye Smith on the Sacrifice and Priesthood of Christ, p. 19, second edition.
THE BOOK OF NUMBERS.
I. CONTENTS.—The book of Numbers may be divided into the following sections :
1. The numbering of the people by Moses, with Levitical regulations inserted, chapters i.-x. 10.
2. Description of their march from Sinai to Kadesh, with the occurrences at Kadesh and mount Hor, chapters x. 11-xxi. 3.
3. Breaking up of the encampment at Hor, with the march to Zared, and the conquest of Sihon or the country east of Jordan ; journey to Bashan, and Balaam's utterances, chapters xxi. 4-xxiv.
4. Their settlement in the east-Jordan country, and second numbering of the people, with the law of inheritance, chapters XXV.-xxvii.
5. An additional section relating to offerings and vows, chapters xxviii.-xxx.
6. This division consists of various appendixes relating to the spoiling of the Midianites, the division of the prey, a list of the Israelite encampments, boundaries of the promised land, free cities, and a law about the inheritance of daughters, chapters xxxi.-xxxvi.
God commands Moses to take a census of the people. After mentioning
the princes of the tribes, the number of every tribe is given. The census was made on the first day of the second month of the year; and included all the males from twenty years old and upward who were fit for war, except those of the tribe of Levi. The whole number was found to be 603,550, i.e., Reuben, 46,500; Simeon, 59,300; Gad, 45,650 ; Judah, 74,600; Issachar, 54,400 ; Zebulun, 57,400; Ephraim, 40,500 ; Manasseh, 32,200 ; Benjamin, 35,400; Dan, 62,700; Asher, 41,500 ; Naphtali, 53,400. The tribe of Judah was the most powerful and numerous; that of Manasseh the least so. The reason why the Levites were exempted was, because they had to attend to the service of the Lord. After this, the position of each tribe in the camp is determined.
On every one of the four sides of the
tabernacle three tribes were to pitch their tents, each tribe under its own general, and each division composed of the three tribes with one exception commanded by the general of the most numerous of the three. The camp of Judah, in the east or front of the tabernacle, embraced the tribe of Judah with those of Issachar and Zebulun. The western camp, i.e., the camp of Ephraim, embraced the three tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin. The camp of Reuben on the south embraced the three tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. The fourth camp on the north, that of Dan, embraced that of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. The Levites are now numbered; that tribe having been set apart to the service of the Lord in place of the first-born of all the tribes. It now consisted of three families descended from Levi's three sons Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The entire number of them, including all the males above a month old, was 22,300, according to verses 22, 28, 34; but 22,000 according to the thirty-ninth verse, which latter is followed in the context; as we see from the forty-third and forty-sixth Verses. Various hypotheses have been resorted to for the purpose of removing the contradiction. Thus Kennicott conjectures that instead of 7 in the twenty-second verse, equivalent to 200, a copyist wrote by mistake s final, i.e., 500, which reconciles the numbers. But it is not likely that the final letters were so ancient. Houbigant and Michaelis account for the discrepancy
. by supposing the accidental omission of the letter 5 in robes (verse 28), whence the word became vw six. It is more usual to regard 300 as the number of the first-born, which is deducted from the gross amount of the Levitical family. But this solution, as Kurtz remarks, is untenable, because if the first-born are not numbered among the Levites, the point must have been regarded in the partial sums as well as the sum total. Besides, the small number of the first-bom, 300, is ill-proportioned to that of the whole people, being in relation to 22,300 only one to seventy-four. Here, however, it has been said without authority, that when the first child was a female, no first-born was reckoned in a family; and that first-born sons who were themselves heads of families did not come into the census, Equally unauthorised is Palfrey's assertion that two, three, and four generations composed one family, and that in each domestic establishment there was reckoned only one first-born, who was the head of the family after the common ancestor.
Each of the three Levitical families under the direction of its own chief had a peculiar charge, to be executed by its males of
1 Geschichte des alten Bundes, vol. ii. p. 336. · Academical Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures, etc., vol. i. p. 317, note
an age from thirty to fifty years old. The number of the firstborn males belonging to all the tribes being ascertained as 273 more than that of the males of the Levitical family for whom they had been exchanged, each one of the 273 was allowed to be redeemed at the price of five shekels; and was thus exempted from the priestly service.
The fourth chapter contains a particular account of what the Levitical families had to do respectively; with the entire number of each. The Kohathites, 2750 in number, were to have charge of the furniture of the sanctuary when on the march ; removing and replacing it when the camp was broken up and formed. The Gershonites, 2630 in number, were to take care of the curtains, coverings, and hangings of the tabernacle. The Merarites, 3200 in number, had charge of the boards, bars, pillars, sockets, pins, cords, etc., of the sacred edifice; all the solid parts. The last two parties were under the direction of Ithamar, Aaron's son; and all three under Eleazar. In the camp, the Kohathites were to pitch on the south side of the tabernacle, the Gershonites on the west side, and the Merarites on the north side; whereas the tents of Moses and the priests were to be on the east, before the tabernacle.
The direction respecting the exclusion from the camp of lepers and others affected with ceremonial uncleanness, was already given in the book of Leviticus (compare Lev. xiii. 46, xi. 39, 40, xv. 1-13). Why it is repeated here cannot be easily seen. Nothing is ordained respecting the leper in this place that had not been said before. It has been thought by Palfrey, that the law respecting lepers is repeated in order to be extended to the other cases of uncleanness, which, though before treated, had been subject to a less rigid regulation. Not very different is the opinion of Ranke, who, in endeavouring to shew the propriety of the position occupied by the verses v. 1-4, supposes that there is a farther development of the rule in Leviticus, to which reference is had, and which is shewn to be seriously meant as well as more rigorously enforced. But where is the evidence that the regulation here given is later than the corresponding one in Leviticus? The truth seems to be, that the two betray different writers originally, though they are now in the Elohist. This is followed by a law respecting restitution in the case of trespasses. In Lev. vi. 6, 7, it had been enacted, that the guilty person, besides the trespass-offering, should make restitution to the aggrieved party by giving a fifth part of the price at which the injury done was rated. To this it is here annexed, that should the injured party
| Academical Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures, etc., vol. i. pp. 323, 324. * Untersuchungen ueber den Pentateuch, ii. p. 140.
have died and left no legal representative, the faulty person should still pay to the priest the due amount of restitution. A more appropriate place for this additional point, would have been Lev. v. 19, etc., to which it is an appendix. Ranke' fails to justify its present place. It is added that it should be at the option of the offerer to give the oblation to whatever priest he pleased ; to whom it should afterward belong. The rest of the chapter is occupied with the law of jealousies—an ordeal by which the innocence or guilt of a suspected wife might be established beyond question. We agree with those who think that the custom was more ancient than Moses, and that it is not now enjoined for the first time by divine authority, as if it were a new process, but is merely divested of its atrocities and placed under the supervision of the priests. An old test is retained in deference to the popular superstitions which it would not have been wise to resist altogether. Doubtless the ordeal prescribed would tend to prevent the crime of adultery, operating as a salutary check. The jealousy of the Orientals has led most of them to resort to similar expedients, of which we find numerous traces.
The sixth chapter contains the law of the Nazarites, i.e., persons who voluntarily took upon them vows of peculiar sanctity. It is enacted that they should abstain from the use of wine and strong drink, from every natural or manufactured product of the vine, allow their hair to grow long, refrain from mourning for nearest relatives, and not approach any dead body. Should they happen to be polluted by the sight of a dead body, they were to be purified seven days in the usual way prescribed. On the eighth day they were to begin again the series of consecrated days; and when the term specified in the vow had expired, they were appointed to come to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and offer sacrifices of all the different kinds. It is probable that this was an Egyptian custom, not a new institution.
The Egyptians and other ancient nations were accustomed to allow their hair to grow in honour of particular deities. The Hebrew legislator, however, exercising a prudence suited to the circumstances, did not suddenly abrogate the custom, though he manifestly disapproved of it; but merely regulated it, prescribing such accompaniments as would make it inconvenient, costly, troublesome, and infrequent. In this manner it would gradually fall into disuse. When practised it was performed with reference to the true God, and not in honour of idols. The manner in which the Nazarite vow is introduced favours the view of its having been an existing usage: “When
· Untersuchungen ueber den Pentateuch, ii. p. 1 13 et seqq.