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33. Stages in Israel's Journey

These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out. 3And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them: upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments. 5And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth. 6And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. 7And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol. 8And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah. 9And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there. 10And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea. 11And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin. 12And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah. 13And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush. 14And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where was no water for the people to drink. 15And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai. 16And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at Kibrothhattaavah. 17And they departed from Kibrothhattaavah, and encamped at Hazeroth. 18And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah. 19And they departed from Rithmah, and pitched at Rimmonparez. 20And they departed from Rimmonparez, and pitched in Libnah. 21And they removed from Libnah, and pitched at Rissah. 22And they journeyed from Rissah, and pitched in Kehelathah. 23And they went from Kehelathah, and pitched in mount Shapher. 24And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in Haradah. 25And they removed from Haradah, and pitched in Makheloth. 26And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath. 27And they departed from Tahath, and pitched at Tarah. 28And they removed from Tarah, and pitched in Mithcah. 29And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah. 30And they departed from Hashmonah, and encamped at Moseroth. 31And they departed from Moseroth, and pitched in Benejaakan. 32And they removed from Benejaakan, and encamped at Horhagidgad. 33And they went from Horhagidgad, and pitched in Jotbathah. 34And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Ebronah. 35And they departed from Ebronah, and encamped at Eziongaber. 36And they removed from Eziongaber, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom. 38And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month. 39And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor. 40And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. 41And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah. 42And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon. 43And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth. 44And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ijeabarim, in the border of Moab. 45And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibongad. 46And they removed from Dibongad, and encamped in Almondiblathaim. 47And they removed from Almondiblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho. 49And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.

50And the Lord spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 51Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; 52Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: 53And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. 54And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. 55But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. 56Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

54 And ye shall divide the land by lot. The mode of division is also stated, that each should possess what fell to him by lot; and this was the best plan, for the several tribes would never have allowed themselves to be sent here or there at the option of men: and even if the arrangement had been left to the voices of the judges, they would rather have quarreled with each other than determined what was right. But we must here take into consideration something deeper; viz., that by this method God gave certain proof that the children of Israel were the inheritors and masters of that land by His liberality and special blessing. And, in the first place, we must remember that, although men consider nothing more fortuitous than casting lots, still they are governed by God, as Solomon says. (Proverbs 16:33.) God, therefore, commanded the people to cast lots, reserving to Himself the judgment as to those to whom they should fall. For how came it to pass that Zebulun obtained his portion on the sea-shore, except because it had been thus predicted by the Patriarch Jacob? Why did a district productive of the best corn fall to the tribe of Asher, unless because it had been pronounced by the same lips, that

“Out of Asher his bread should be fat;
and he should yield royal dainties”? (Genesis 49:20.)

By the same prophecy the tribe of Judah obtained an inheritance rich in vines, and abounding in the best of pastures. Thus the division of the land, by lot, clearly showed that God had not formerly promised that land to Abraham in vain; because the proclamation of the gift by the mouth of Jacob was actually confirmed. The pious old man had been expelled from hence by famine; he was but a sojourner in Egypt, and twice an exile, and yet he assigns their portions to his descendants in the most authoritative manner, just as the father of a family might divide his few acres of land among his heirs. Yet God finally sealed what then might have seemed ridiculous. Hence it appears that things which, in the feebleness of our senses, we imagine to move at the blind impulse of chance, are directed by God’s secret providence; and that His counsel always proceeds in such a regular course, that the end corresponds with the beginning. Again he recommends to them the law of proportion, so that, according to their numbers, a greater or a less allotment should be given to the several tribes. The allegory which some conceive to be indicated here, viz., that we obtain our heavenly inheritance by God’s gratuitous good pleasure, as if by lot, although at first sight plausible, is easily refuted. Hebron was a part of the inheritance, but Caleb obtained it without casting lots: and a still more decided exception appears in the case of the tribe of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh, who, by the consent of the rest, and not by lot, acquired by privilege, as it were, all the territory that had been won on the other side of Jordan. Let my readers, therefore, learn to abstain from such conceits, lest they should often be obliged to confess with shame, that they have caught at an empty shadow.


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