Page images
PDF
EPUB

,קהלת trate the propriety of translating the Hebrew term

preacher :” Bishop Horsley has taken great pains to illus

, both in this place and in Gen. xxxv., 11, by the term

preacher.” Preacher is a term, perhaps, hardly sufficient to express the meaning of the word. It denotes a person who calls, or solemnly convokes together a multitude, in order to address or instruct them. · As applied to the Saviour, it seems to designate him as effectually calling his people by his Spirit“ in due season," and thus attracting them to him to receive his instructions. He is the great CALLER, and they are said in Scripture to be “ called according to his purpose.”—“ Us,”

Us,” says the apostle, “whom he hath called not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.” So again, when he comes in the visions of the Revelation, they that are with him are said to be “ called and chosen and faithful.” “ He shall send his angels, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds."

It is finally declared in the passage before us, that the Preacher, who then chose Israel for his peculiar possession, would be one day known in Israel, when that nation should be in a state of great prosperity, for this appears to be the meaning of Jeshurun, - would be known as their king, and that, too, at a time, when the chiefs of the peoples of the nations of the earth would be gathered in union with the tribes of Israel. And I conceive we shall not hesitate to conclude the time in the prophet's contemplation to be the same which the last oracle we consulted embraced, when it said: “ Shout for joy, ye nations, with his people, when he shall have avenged the blood of his servants; when he shall have rendered vengeance to his adversaries; and shall have absolved his land and his people,”

In this connexion, the short blessing pronounced on Judah, among the rest of the tribes, will appear very significant.

And this was the blessing of Judah: For he said:
Hear, O Jehovah ! the voice of Judah,
And bring HIM to his people.
HIS hand shall contend for them,

And shall be their help against their enemies! In the same connexion, too, we are probably to take the magnificent conclusion of this prophecy:

There is none like the God of Jeshurun!
He rideth on the heavens to thy aid,
And on the clouds in his glorious might:
The eternal Elohim answereth to thy call,
And beneath are the everlasting arms.
And he will thrust out the enemy before thee,
And he will give command to destroy;
And Israel shall dwell in security,
Alone shall be the fountain of Jacob.
On a land of corn and wine,
Shall his heavens let fall the dew!
Happy art thou, O Israel !
What people is so saved as thou? +
In Jehovah is the shield of thy help,
And his sword is thy glorious might.

,bring thou to him תביאנו And the mighty one of his people ,ואל עמו

. Bishop Horsley thus : -
“ And this for Judah, And he said,
Hear, O Jehovah, the voice of Judah.

), . Great for himself shall be his power, And thou shalt be his belp from his enemies." + Or, who is like thee, a people saved, or rendered victorious.

Thine enemies shall fail before thee,
And thou shalt tread on their high places.

This might be supposed to refer to the first possession of Canaan under Joshua; the prosperity and security of Israel, on that occasion, however, must be acknowledged to have little corresponded with this magnificent language:

- The fountain of Jacob flowed not alone and uninterrupted. Being previously taught, therefore, that there is a future possession of the promised land foretold, we can hardly refuse to apply to that era the fulfilment of this glorious prophecy; and in this connexion, perhaps, subsequent predictions will enable us to discern in the 26th verse something more than a metaphorical description of the exertion of the invisible powers of Providence. “ He rideth on the heavens to thy aid, and on the clouds in his glorious might."-What if he, who “came at Sinai”who "shone forth at Seir”- and " displayed his glories at Mount Paran”- should be one day seen, so that every eye shall behold him “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory!”

SECTION IV.

The Prophecies of Balaam.

I shall be excused, if I include among the oracles of the age of Moses the prophecies of Balaam. Their direct testimony to the second advent may not indeed, at first sight, be considered as very great; yet some light is certainly thrown upon the future destinies of that extraordinary people whom God was then separating from the

nations to be the keepers of his holy oracles, and to be the
chief instruments of their fulfilment in every subsequent
age. I need not rehearse Balaam's well-known story.
The following is the first “word” “put into his mouth” as
he looks, from the top of the hills, on Israel encamped in
the valley below.
7. Balak hath brought me from Aram",

The king of Moab, from the mountains of the East.
Come, pronounce imprecations for me on Jacob,
And come, execrate Israel!

8. How can I curse? God hath not cursed !

How can I execrate? Jehovah hath not execrated!

9. Surely, from the top of the rocks I see him,

And from the hills I behold him!

Lo! a nation that shall dwell alone,
And shall not count itself among the nations.

10. Who shall count the dust of Jacob?

Or number the mass of Israel?

May I die the death of the righteous,
And be my last end like unto his!

This prediction evidently points out the peculiar character of this people; the immense and countless multitudes it must one day produce according to the promise made to Abraham. In the last verse, the wicked prophet is made to see the happiness of the righteous persons (for the word is plural) who die in Israel; that is, who, walking in the footsteps of Abraham's faith, are justified as he was, and, though they “ die, not having received the promise,” yet die in faith, and shall, with all the spiritual seed of Israel, be heirs of the world, at some future season. This makes the unfaithful prophet exclaim, “ May my last end be like his!” That is, not, my death like Israel's death: that would have scarcely any meaning in this connexion : but, in the last day, when the Redeemer shall stand upon the earth, when all that believe, the whole Israel of God, shall be blessed with faithful Abraham, to whom - to his seed the promise is given, that he should be the heir of the world-O then might but my last end be like Israel's!

* Numbers, xxiii.

Again the unwilling prophet, while he seeks the wages of unrighteousness, is made to deliver to his employers the unwelcome truth:

18. Arise, Balak, and hear,

Hearken unto me, son of Zippor:

19. No mortal is God that he should lie,

Nor child of man that he should change his mind :

Doth he say, and not do?

Or speak, and not perform? 20. Lo! I received a blessing,

And I have blessed, and I cannot reverse it. 21. No vanity can I see' in Jacob,

No fruitless toil can I behold in Israel.

Such I believe to be the true meaning of these lines; the prophet is compelled to own that the religious hope which now actuates Israel is no vain superstition. The undertaking in which they are now embarked is no mad scheme of human ambition, nor contrivance of human policy, so

I The Samaritan and Syriac, as also Onkelos and the Tar

gums, read the verb in the first person.

« PreviousContinue »