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too, that while carrying the sentence of divine justice into effect, the Israelites had no right whatever to induge any malevolent or cruel feelings. They would have been most criminal in putting any of the captives to death, if they had not received from God an express injunction to that effect; and in doing it, we have every reason to believe, that no barbarity was manifested on their part, nor needless sufferings inflicted.
There was a ceremonial purification to be performed by all the soldiers who had killed any person, or touched any dead body; of themselves, their captives, and their raiment. Seven days were employed in it, and when completed they were per mitted to come into the camp.
Moses then, in accordance with a divine command, assisted by Eleazar, and the chiefs of the people, made an estimate of one part of the booty which had been taken from the Midianites, and was still preserved. It amounted to 32,000 persons; 675,000 sheep; 72,000 beeves; and 61,000
In addition to this, there was a great quan. tity of rich goods and ornaments. The persons, sheep, and cattle he divided into two equal parts, one of which was given to the soldiers who had been on the expedition, and the other to the people who remained at home. Out of what the soldiers received, he ordered a five hundredth part to be given to Eleazar the high-priest, as an offering
to the Lord; and of what the people received, a fiftieth part to be given to the Levites. It was all intended for the Lord's service; the persons to be employed, under the direction of the priests and Levites, and the sheep and cattle to be offered up in sacrifice, or for the use of the Levites.
An enumeration was also made by the officers who conducted the expedition, of the number of men under their command who had returned in safety. Not one was missing. This wonderful preservation of life, considering the many battles which they must have fought, and the dangers to which they were exposed, was à most signal proof that God had afforded them his peculiar protection and blessing. They felt it to be so; and the different commanders, while making the statement to Moses, brought with them, in token of the general gratitude, an offering to the Lord. It was a portion of the spoils that all had taken, of various kinds of golden ornaments, amounting to 16,750 shekels, and was received by Moses and Eleazar, and deposited in the tabernacle.
Balaam, as we have seen, was slain among those whom he had instigated to seduce the Israelites into grievous sin and idolatry, and by the very people whom he hoped to ruin. "The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." " Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit.”
The economy of divine Providence is wonderful. God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. When he chooses to overtake and punish the guilty, there is no way of escape. The very means employed to carry into effect the designs of the wicked, as it is thought sagaciously and safely, are often the ones which God causes to produce detection, and recoil upon their own heads.
There is no safe course, but that of doing what is right. Every departure from this is dangerous There is no hope of success in contending against the Almighty.
" He taketh the wise in their own eraftiness." Balaam's end teaches this most forci. bly. Let the lesson, niy young friend, not be lost upon you.
Reuben and Gad. Apportionment of Canaan. Cities
The tribes of Reuben and Gad, at this time, made a request of Moses, which at first excited within him great apprehension. They kept large
flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and seeing that the land on the east of the Jordan, which had been conquered by the Israelites, was well adapted for pasturage, they were attracted by its advantages, and desired to have it as their inheritance. Moses expostulated with them on what he con ceived to be the sinfulness and folly of their request He told them it would be very wrong, while the other tribes were crossing the Jordan, and entering upon their career of conquest, and ready to expose themselves to all its toils and dangers, for them to remain in ease and security, and take no part
in the common cause. Such a course, he added, would discourage the rest, and lead them to abandon the enterprise altogether. He reminded them of the conduct of their fathers at Kadesh-barnea, when the spies attempted to dissuade the people from taking possession of Canaan, and how the anger of the Lord was kindled against them." And behold,” said he, ye
fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce
of the Lord toward Israel. For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilder. ness; and ye shall destroy all this people.”
But they stated in reply, that it was no part of their design to shrink at all from their full share of the common toils and dangers. While their families and possessions remained on this side of the
Jordan, they would furnish their proportion of armed men to pass over it, and co-operate with their brethren in taking possession of the promised land. And they added, that they would continue in the service, until all the other tribes were entirely established in their respective inheritances.
This removed the principal, if not the only objection in the mind of Moses; and he yielded to their request, on condition that what they promised to do, should be most faithfully performed. In doing it, as they afterwards did, it is worthy of notice, that ample provision was made for the protection of their families and flocks. In the last enumeration, we find the tribe of Reuben consisted of 43,730 men, and that of Gad of 40,500. To these add one half of the men of the tribe of Manasseh, 26,350, and there is an aggregate of 110,580. This part of Manasseh is added, because half of that tribe, also, had their inheritance assigned them, with the tribes of Reuben and Gad, on the east side of the Jordan, a few of their principal men, with their soldiers, being the persons who conquered some of the most fertile parts of the territory, and desired to retain them as their portion.
Out of these 110,580 men which the two and a half tribes could furnish, it appears from the subsequent narrative in Joshua, only 40,000 passed over Jordan to assist in the conquest of Canaan; so that 70,580 remained behind, a number abundantly