William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

On holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands online

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We must read about something that happened in Mount
Hor, and something else that happened as they were jour-
neying around the land of Edom.




Ed-Deir, the Monastery, probably a temple,
Petra.



And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus
saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us :
how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long



DEATH OF AARON.



119



time ; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers : and when we cried
unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us




Mb,

- ■ .;>&&*?*,.



Mount Hor and mountains of Edom.

forth out of Egypt : and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the utter-
most of thy border. Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country : we will
not pass through the fields, or
through the vineyards, neither
will we drink of the water of
the wells : we will go by the
king's high way, we will not
turn to the right hand nor to
the left, until we have passed
thy borders. And Edom said
unto him, Thou shalt not pass
by me, lest I come out against
thee with the sword. And the
children of Israel said unto
him, "We will go by the high
way: and if I and my cattle
drink of thy water, then I will
pay for it : I will only, with-
out doing any thing else, go
through on my feet. And
he said, Thou shalt not go
through. And Edom came
out against him with much In the § or S e > Petra "

people, and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage
through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.




120



ON HOLY GROUND.



And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed
from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor. And the Lord spake unto Moses
and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying, Aaron
shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land
which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against
my word at the water of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and
bring them up unto mount Hor : and strip Aaron of his garments, and put
them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people,
and shall die there. And Moses did as the Lord commanded: and they

went up into mount Hor in the
sight of all the congregation. And
Moses stripped Aaron of his gar-
ments, and put them upon Eleazar
his son; and Aaron died there in
the top of the mount : and Moses
and Eleazar came down from the
mount. And when all the congre-
gation saw that Aaron was dead,
they mourned for Aaron thirty
days, even all the house of
Israel. . . .

And they journeyed from
mount Hor by the way of the
Red sea, to compass the land of
Edom: and the soul of the people
was much discouraged because of
the way. And the people spake
against God, and against Moses,
Wherefore have ye brought us
up out of Egypt to die in the
wilderness? for there is no bread,
neither is there any water; and
our soul loatheth this light bread.
And the Lord sent fiery serpents
among the peo]5le, and they bit
the people; and much people of
Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned,
for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee ; pray unto the Lord,
that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a
pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he
looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put
it upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man,
when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. — Numbers XX. 14~29;
XXI. 4-9.




(Published by C. H. Graves, Phila. )
The Kazneh, seen through the gorge,
Petra.



BALAAM'S BLESSING. 121



BALAAM'S BLESSING.

The children of Israel were journeying down towards
the head of the Red Sea to compass the land of Edom
when they were bitten by the fiery serpents. Their jour-
ney is described in Numbers xxi. and Deuteronomy ii. and
iii. They made a circuit around Edom and turned north-
ward through the pasture country east of the Dead Sea.
They passed by the Moabites and the Ammonites, who,
like the Edomites, were related to them, being descend-
ants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. But they con-
quered two kingdoms of the Amorites in this eastern coun-
try: the land of king Sihon, south of the brook Jabbok,
and Bashan, north of the Jabbok, which was ruled by the
giant king Og. The Jabbok is a brook which runs into the
Jordan about half-way between the Dead Sea and the Sea
of Galilee.




(Photograph by Putnam Cady.)

The brook Jabbok.

Then the people encamped in the plains of Jordan among
the acacia trees, not far from the Dead Sea. The bluffs of
the upland pastures rose above them, and from some high
points people could look down upon their camp in the plain
below.

Now we hear of Balaam. He was a prophet. Pethor,
his home, seems to have been a town on the Euphrates
Kiver. Here in the far East there still remained some wise
men who had knowledge of the Lord and of heavenly things,
handed down from the ancient time. Long years after this



122



ON HOLY GROUND.




(Copyright, 1904, by Putnam Cady.)

Mouth of the river Arnon.



there were wise men in the East who knew something of the
Lord. Messengers came from Balak, king of Moab, to
Balaam's home with a present, asking him to come and curse

the children of Israel.
Balaam would gladly
have done what they
asked, but the Lord
forbade him and he
dared not go.

Balak sent again
more and more hon-
o r a b 1 e messengers
than at first. Balaam
wished in his heart to
go with them, and this
time the Lord let him
go, but he must speak
only the Lord's words.
Balaam's real wish
was to do Israel
harm ; for, although
he spoke the blessing from the Lord, he made Balak lead
the people into idolatry and wickedness. (Rev. ii. 14.)

As Balaam was on his journey, the Lord sent His angel
to meet him in the way, to warn him to speak only what He
should give him to speak. The Lord caused it to seem to
Balaam that words came from the mouth of his ass. It was
a sign of the Lord's power, which made him more willing
to obey.

When Balaam came to Balak, although the king offered
great rewards, he dared not speak but as the Lord told
him.

We see the king of Moab taking Balaam to a mountain-
top from which they could see part of the camp of Israel
lying in the plain of Jordan below. Many mountain-tops in
that country still show the remains of altars and other signs
of idolatry. This mountain was one used for the worship
of Baal the sun god. They built seven altars and offered
sacrifices, but the Lord gave only words of blessing for Israel.
The king took Balaam to another top where they could see
a part of the camp. Again they built seven altars and made



BALAAM'S BLESSING.



123



sacrifice, but again the Lord gave only blessing. Once more
the king took Balaam to a third mountain, this time where
he could see all Israel "abiding in his tents according to
their tribes," and here again he blessed them from the Lord.
Let us read the story, and see how different the words of
Balaam's prophecy are from common words. They were not
Balaam's words, but the Lord's. You will see in them a
promise of the Lord's coming.



And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of
Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.

And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the
Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were
many : and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And
Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all
that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And
Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent
messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by
the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying,
Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt : behold, they cover the
face of the earth, and they abide over against me : come now therefore,
I pray thee, curse me this
people; for they are too
mighty for me : peradvent-
ure I shall prevail, that we
may smite them, and that I
may drive them out of the
land: for I wot that he
whom thou blesscst is
blessed, and he whom thou
cursest is cursed. And the
elders of Moab and the
elders of Midian departed
with the rewards of divi-
nation in their hand; and
they came unto Balaam,
and spake unto him the
words of Balak. And he
said unto them, Lodge here
this night, and I will bring
you word again, as the Lord
shall speak unto me : and
the princes of Moab abode

willi Balaam. And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these
with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of
Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of
Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse mo them:




(Photograph by Putnam C'ady.)

Callirrhoe Kivev entering the Dead Sea.



124



ON HOLY GROUND.



perad venture I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out. And
God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse
the people : for they are blessed. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and
said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land : for the Lord
refuseth to give me leave to go with you. And the princes of Moab rose
up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us.
And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.
And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of
Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: for
I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou
sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. And
Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give
me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the
Lord my God, to do less or more. Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also
here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.

And God came unto Balaam at
night, and said unto him, If the
men come to call thee, rise up,
and go with them ; but yet the
word which I shall say unto
thee, that shalt thou do. And
Balaam rose up in the morning,
and saddled his ass, and went
with the princes of Moab. And
God's anger was kindled be-
cause he went : and the angel
of the Lord stood in the way
for an adversary against him.
Now he was riding upon his
ass, and his two servants were
with him. And the ass saw the
angel of the Lord standing in
the way, and his sword drawn
in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the
field : and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the
angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this
side, and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the
Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against
the wall: and he smote her again. And the angel of the Lord went
further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either
to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of
the Lord, she fell down under Balaam : and Balaam's anger was kindled,
and he smote the ass with a staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the
ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast
smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because
thou hast mocked me : I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now
would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon
which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever
wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the Lord opened the




(Photograph by Putnam Cady. )

Carved wall of palace at Mashita, Moab



BALAAM'S BLESSING. 125

eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way,
and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell
flat on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast
thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand
thee, because thy way is perverse before me : and the ass saw me, and
turned from me these three times : unless she had turned from me, surely
now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. And Balaam said unto the
angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the
way against me : now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back
again. And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, Go with the men :
but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So
Balaam went with the princes of Balak. And when Balak heard that
Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is
in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. And Balak said unto
Balaam, Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore earnest
thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour? And
Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee : have I now any power
at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall
I speak. And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjath-huzoth.




(By permission of Palestine Exploration Fund.)

The citadel, Kabbath Amnion.

And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes
that were with him. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took
Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he
might see the utmost part of the people. And Balaam said unto Balak,
Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven
rams. And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam
offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. And Balaam said unto Balak,
Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go : peradventure the Lord will
come to meet me; and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he
went to an high place. And God met Balaam : and he said unto him, I have
prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and
a ram. And the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto
Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. And he returned unto him, and, lo, he



126 ON HOLY GROUND.

stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. And he took
up his parable, and said,

Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the

mountains of the east,
Saying, Come, curse me Jacob,
And come, defy Israel.

How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
Or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied ?
For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him :
Lo, the people shall dwell alone,
And shall not be reckoned among the nations.
Who can count the dust of Jacob,
And the number of the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let my last end be like his !

And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee
to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether.
And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the
Lord hath put in my mouth? And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray
thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them : thou
shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all : and
curse me them from thence. And he brought him into the field of Zophim,
to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a
ram on every altar. And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt
offering, while I meet the Lord yonder. And the Lord met Balaam, and
put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. And
when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes
of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the Lord spoken?
And he took up his parable, and said,

Rise up, Balak, and hear;

Hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor :

God is not a man, that he should lie;

Neither the son of man, that he should repent :

Hath he said, and shall he not do it?

Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Behold, I have received commandment to bless :

And he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,

Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel :

The Lord his God is with him,

And the shout of a king is among them.

God brought them out of Egypt;

He hath as it were the strength of a unicorn.*

Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,



* A wild ox of great size and strength.



BALAAM'S BLESSING.



127



Neither is there any divination against Israel :

According to this time it shall be said of Jacob' and of Israel,

What hath God wrought!

Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion,

And lift up himself as a young lion :

He shall not lie down until he eat of the prey,

And drink the blood of the slain.

And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at
all. But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying,
All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do? And Balak said unto Balaam,
Come, I pray thee, I will
bring thee unto another
place; peradventure it will
please God that thou may-
est curse me them from
thence. And Balak brought
Balaam unto the top of
Peor, that looketh toward
Jeshimon. And Balaam
said unto Balak, Build me
here seven altars, and pre-
pare me here seven bullocks
and seven rams. And Ba-
lak did as Balaam had said,
and offered a bullock and
a ram on every altar. And
when Balaam saw that it
pleased the Lord to bless
Israel, he went not, as at
other times, to seek for en-
chantments, but he set his
face toward the wilderness.




(Published by C. H. Graves, Phila. )

An old high place of Baal, Petra.



And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents
according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. And he
took up his parable, and said,

Balaam the son of Beor hath said,

And the man whose eyes are open hath said :

He hath said, which heard the words of God,

Which saw the vision of the Almighty,

Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open :

How goodly are thy tents, Jacob,

And thy tabernacles, Israel!

As the valleys are they spread forth,

As gardens by the river's side,

As the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted,

And as cedar trees beside the waters.

He shall pour the water out of his buckets,

And his seed shall be in many waters,



128 ON HOLY GROUND.

And his king shall be higher than Agag,

And his kingdom shall be exalted.

God brought him forth out of Egypt;

He hath as it were the strength of a unicorn :

He shall eat up the nations his enemies,

And shall break their bones,

And pierce them through with his arrows.

He couched, he lay down as a lion,

And as a great lion: who shall stir him up?

Blessed is he that blesseth thee,

And cursed is he that eurseth thee.

And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands
together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies,
and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. Therefore
now flee thou to thy place : I thought to promote thee unto great honour ;
but, lo, the Lord hath kept thee back from honour. And Balaam said unto
Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me,
saying, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot
go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine
own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak? And now, behold,
I go unto my people : come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this
people shall do to thy people in the latter days. And he took up his
parable, and said,

Balaam the son of Beor hath said,

And the man whose eyes are open hath said:

He hath said, which heard the words of God,

And knew the knowledge of the Most High,

Which saw the vision of the Almighty,

Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open :

I shall see him, but not now:

I shall behold him, but not nigh:

There shall come a Star out of Jacob,

And a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel,

And shall smite the corners of Moab,

And destroy all the children of Sheth.*

And Edom shall be a possession,

Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies ;

And Israel shall do valiantly.

Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion,

And shall destroy him that remaineth in the city. . . .

And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak
also went his way.— Numbers XXII., XXIII., XXIV. 1-19, 25.



* Or " the sons of tumult." (Revised Version, margin.)



LAST WORDS OF MOSES.



129



LAST WORDS OF MOSES.

The children of Israel were in the plains of Jordan on
the east side of the river, where Balaam saw them l ' abiding
according to their tribes." It was the, eleventh month of
the fortieth year since the people came out of Egypt. In a
few weeks they would cross the Jordan and keep the Pass-
over in the promised land. But before that, Moses would
die. He spoke these last earnest words to the people, repeat-
ing again the law which the Lord had given them at Sinai,




In the promised land: the spring at Csesarea Philippi, one of the main sources of

the Jordan.

entreating them to keep it faithfully in the land which was
about to be their home. See the old man, now a hundred and
twenty years old, talking as with his little children.

These are some of the words that the Lord gave him to
say to the people.

Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments,
which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them
in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightest fear the Lord
thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command
thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that

9



130 ON HOLY GROUND.

thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, Israel, and observe to do it;
that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord
God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk
and honey.

Hear, Israel : The Lord our God is one Lord : and thou shalt love
the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in
thine heart : and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and
shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest
by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou
shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets
between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy
house, and on thy gates.*

And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into
the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to
Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and
houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged,
which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst
not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget




(Photograph by Putnam Cadj'.)
Plain of Shittim, east of Jordan : camel carrying a boat.

the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the
house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and
shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of
the people which are round about you; (for the Lord thy God is a jealous
God among you;) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against
thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Ye shall not ternpt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.t



* Some of the Jews wrote parts of the law on little strips of parch-
ment and folded them up in little boxes called phylacteries, which they tied
upon their foreheads and on their arms. They also put words from the
law into little boxes and nailed them to the door-posts. Was this what the
Lord meant that they should do, and what He wants us to do?

f The first time that the Lord gave the people water from the rock.
They tempted Him by doubting His good care, and demanding that He
should do what they asked. " Massah" means " proving" or " tempting."



LAST WORDS OF MOSES. 131

Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his
testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou



Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 11 of 42)