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Noah was 600 years old at the time of the flood, and he died at the age of 950 years.
The earth was repeopled by his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The descendants of Japheth spread themselves over Asia Minor, the neighbouring shores of Europe, and the “ isles of the Gentiles.” The sons of Ham occupied Arabia, Miz'raim or Egypt, and the eastern coast of the Mediterranean or Great Sea; Ca'naan, the son of Ham, was the father of the Ca'naanitish nations; Nimrod, grandson of Ham, founded Babel in the land of Shi'nar, which afterwards became the mighty Babylon; and Asshur, another of his descendants, was the founder of Nin'eveh, also renowned in after times as the seat of a great empire. The children of Shem spread themselves from Mount Ararat, where the ark rested, over Armenia, Pa'dan-a'ram or Mesopotamia, A'ram or Syria, and Eslam or Persia. Among the descendants of Shem, whose names have been perpetuated by local designations in these regions, we find Elam, Aram, Uz, Eber, Sheba, Ophir, and Hav'ilah. · Eber, the fourth in lineal descent from Shem, appears to have been the progenitor of the Hebrew nation; and Abram, the sixth in a direct line from Eber, and the tenth from Shem, is well known as the father of the Jewish people. Terah, the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran, dwelt in Ur of the Chal'dees, supposed to be the modern Orfa, one of the finest cities in Asiatic Turkey. From the flood to the call of Abram was a period of 427 years, according to Calmet, but according to Hales, 1062. B.C. 1917. When Abram, in obedience to the command of God, left his native city to go to Ca'naan, he took with him his nephew Lot, whose two sons, Moab and Ammon, were the fathers of the Moabites and Ammonites, so often mentioned in Scripture: they dwelt to the east of the Dead Sea. Ishmael, Abraham's son by Hagar, an Egyptian woman, was the father of the Ish'maelites, who dwelt in the wilderness to the south of Palestine. Isaac, born to Abraham in his old age, of his wife Sa'rah, was his favourite son, to whom he bequeathed the principal part of his property. Of Abraham's children by his other wife, Ketu'rali, Midian became the father of the Mid'ianites, who dwelt on the S. E. of the Dead Sea. Abraham died at Kirjatharba or Hebron, in the 175th year of his age, and was
buried by his sons Isaac and Ishmael, in the cave of Machpe'lah, where he had deposited the remains of his beloved Sa'rah.
Isaac, by his wife Rebecca, had twin sons, E'sau and Jacob. The latter having craftily taken advantage of his brother's necessity and his father's infirmity to obtain the blessing of primogeniture, was compelled, in order to avoid his brother's wrath, to flee to his uncle La'ban, whose two daughters, Le'ah and Rach'el, he married, and by them and their two hand-maids he had twelve sons, who became the heads of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The descendants of Esau or E'dom, called E'domites, and latterly Idumae'ans, occupied the country to the south of Palestine and on the borders of the Red Sea, whence the waters of the gulf derived their name (Edom signifying Red). The Idumaeans becoming in latter ages mingled with the Ishmaelites, were called by the conmon name of Nabathe'ans, from Nabath, a son of Ishmael. Jacob, when 130 years old, passed with his whole family into Egypt, where they were honourably received, and comfortably settled, through the influence of Joseph, who then held the highest office in the state under the king. B.C. 1712. Seventeen years after his arrival in Egypt, Jacob died, and was carried by Joseph and his other sons, accompanied by the principal men of Egypt, to his burying-place near Hebron. Jacob's family, including Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, amounted to seventy persons; but they soon increased to a very great multitude, and little more than a century had elapsed when they fell under the jealousy of the Egyptian rulers, who subjected them to a very grievous and harassing bondage. « The sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was 430 years." This period, however, includes the whole time of their sojourning, from the call of Abram to the Exodus; their actual residence in Egypt being little more than 200 years. Jõb, a man renowned for his wisdom, virtue, and patience, is supposed to have lived about this time in the land of Uz or East Edom.
Il.-Wanderings of the Children of Israel in the
Wilderness.. 40 Years.
“ Know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge, and afterward shall they come out with great substance." Gen. xv. 13. Thus had the Lord spoken to Abram 400 years before the event. And after they had groaned in captivity and bondage the appointed time, God at length heard their cry,
" and remembered his covenant with Abraham." Pharaoh having refused to let the people go, Egypt was visited with ten plagues, the last and most terrible of which was the death in one night of the first-born in every family. Thus smitten by an invisible hand, the Egyptian king was constrained to permit the departure of God's people. Moses, son of Amram and Joch'ebed, of the tribe of Le'vi, had received a divine commission to be their deliverer. The people having assembled from all parts of Egypt to the general rendezvous at Succoth, a few miles east of Cairo, and now called Birket el Hadgi or Pilgrim's Pool, where the caravan for Mecca still assembles, the whole body moved easterly towards the wilderness. Having reached the Red Sea at Ba'al-ze'phon (Suez), the Egyptian hosts were descried in pursuit while the waters of the gulf were rolling in their front, so that certain destruction appeared inevitable; but the Lord divided the waters of the Red Sea, so that the people passed over on dry land, while the Egyptians, who pursued, were swallowed up by the returning waters. “ Then sang Moses and the children of Israel,” « The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea—the depths have covered them.”
After the passage of the Red Sea, the Is'raclites found
themselves in the wilderness of Shur or Eltham, but instead of proceeding in a north-easterly direction to Ca'naan, Moses led them southwards to Ma'rah, where the bitter waters were healed (these waters are brackish at the present day); thence still southward to Elim “where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palmtrees” (the wells are now diminished to nine, the others having been filled up by the drifting of the sand, but the palm-trees are increased to more than 2000); proceeding still southward through the desert of Sin, they reached Reph'idim, where the people murmured for want of water, and Moses, by the command of God, smote the rock of Hoʻreb, and water gushed forth. At Reph'idim, the Am'alekites attacked Israel, and Moses sent Joshua against them. During the battle, “Moses, Aaron, and Hur, went
to the top of the hill. And it came to pass when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Am'alek prevailed;” but “ Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands,” « and Joshua discomfited Am'alek with the edge of the sword.” Mount Hoʻreb and Mount Si'nai lie a little distance to the north of Reph'idim. Ex. xv.-xvii.
The Israelites had now arrived at that district where Moses had dwelt during his temporary flight from Egypt, and he was now accordingly joined by his father-in-law, Je'thro, who brought him his wife Zippo'rah, and his two sons Gershom and Elie'zer. Having arrived at the foot of Mount Si'nai, fifty days after their departure from Egypt, they continued in their encampment there for one year-perhaps the most important year in the Jewish history; for there the divine law was given to Moses, the covenant made with the people of Israel, the tabernacle erected, and Aaron and his sons consecrated. Coming down from the mountain, Moses declared the laws he had received, and the articles of the covenant to be made; and the people answering that they would obey them, an altar was erected, and sacrifices having been offered, Moses read the book of ordinances, and sprinkled all the people with the blood of the victims; and thus was concluded the solemn covenant between the Lord and the children of Israel.
The miraculous column which guided them from Egypt, had, on their arrival at Sinai, removed to the summit of the mountain; and Moses, with his servant Joshua, again entered the cloud, where they remained forty days. Descending from the Mount, Joshua heard the shouts of the people as if engaged with an enemy; but Moses observed that it was not the sound of war, but the cries of joy. When he saw the golden calf that had been made, and the people singing and dancing around it, he threw down the two tables of stone and broke them, and taking the calf he reduced it to powder, and made the children of Israel drink of it. For this idolatry about three thousand of the people were slain. Moses was again forty days and forty nights in the Mount, during which the two tables of stone were renewed, and Moses then erected the tabernacle at an expense of about L.180,000, raised partly by free-will offerings, partly by contribution from the people, each Israelite paying half a shekel (about 13 d. of our money.) For regulating this contribution, Moses took an account of the people, whose numbers were 603,550, from twenty years old and upwards. Na'dab and Abi'hu, the two elder of the sons of Aaron, having offered incense with strange fire, that is, common or unhallowed fire, instead of taking it from the altar of burnt-offerings, were consumed by fire from the Lord.
From Sinaithe Israelites proceeded northward through the desert of Pa'ran, and in little more than two nionths reached Ka'desh-bar'nea on the southern frontier of Ca'naan, about a year and a half after their departure from Egypt. The unfavourable report of the spies, and the general distrust of the people, brought upon them a severe punishment. They were condemned to wander forty years in the wilderness, and none of those who had been numbered were to be permitted to enter the promised land except Caleb and Joshua, who had not joined in the evil report of the spies. The ten spies who had dealt falsely “died by the plague before the Lord.” The people were attacked by the Am'alekites and the Ca'naanites, who “ discomfited them even unto Hormah.” Korah, Dathan, and Abi'ram, having rebelled against Moses, “ the earth dave asunder that was under them; and the earth opened