Joshua

F. W. Grant.

Division 2. (Joshua 13 — 24.)

Division of the Land.

The second division gives the division of the land among the tribes, with a supplementary part, which is a twofold witness and warning as to that which is to come. It involves, of course, a more or less detailed account of the land itself, which, if it be what perhaps all Christian hearts have believed, a type of our own heavenly portion, ought to be of amazing interest to every child of God. If we ask, then, what has been done in this field in all the centuries that they have had it in possession, it has to be answered, almost absolutely nothing! The commentators in general give plenty of verbal criticism, geography, and archaeology, but practically declare it, as Fay in Lange does openly, as for the most part, "not suited for texts of sermons." He remarks, therefore, "here, once for all, that on this description of passages in our book, the homiletical and practical comments will be omitted." Yet the American editor complains of certain expositions as "too much inclined to make gospel where the revealing Spirit has only seen fit to put something else, perhaps equally good, in its place"! Such remarks, from either side of the ocean, have a sorrowful congruity, and explain each other. No wonder that those should find such parts of Scripture as that which now lies before us barren of practical edification, who decide, by instinct, as it would seem, that the inheritance of Israel's tribes of old can have no gospel in it! Who would commit himself to a search for it, if convinced that this is true? Yet the apostle assures us that things that happened unto Israel "happened unto them for types," and elsewhere that, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." How can we decide a priori, then, that there are no types here? or believe that a map to illustrate an ancient history is all that is in the mind of the Spirit in this place? Is it not really presumption to decide so?

We believe it is and that it is just such unbelieving dogmatism that is helping, Philistine-like, to stop the wells which God would have dug for the refreshment of pilgrims. In this wonderful field of Scripture, whenever we do not find water on the surface, we may be sure it is, at any rate, underneath the surface, and that "every one that" in a right spirit "seeketh findeth." The rule here, if any where, applies, "If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, — if thou seekest for her as for silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God."

Subdivision 1. (Joshua 13 – 21.)

The Allotment of Inheritance.

The first subdivision gives the inheritance of the tribes according to lot the casting of the lot being characteristic of the apportionment on the west side of Jordan, that on the east side, as elsewhere remarked, being without it. By the lot, it is evident, was expressed, in a way more distinct than otherwise, the mind of God: "the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord," says the voice of inspiration itself. (Prov. 16:33.) But the lot seems to have only determined the position, and not the extent of these possessions, room being left for the revision of boundary-lines according as individual tribes might, as the result of their faithfulness or unfaithfulness, increase or diminish. Had they been as a whole faithful, the enlargement of their territories would have necessarily led to such revision.

1. Meanwhile, Joshua being old, God commands him to distribute the land, although there remained very much land to be possessed, even of that which was but the first installment, as it were, of what had been originally promised. For what is now spoken of reaches neither to the Red Sea nor the Euphrates. (Ex. 23:31.)

What remains is now carefully put before them, that they may be stimulated to the attainment of it. Attain to it they never did, though over much of it David ruled at an after time: but they never possessed it. It is theirs still, however, in the promise of God, with much else, to be fulfilled in a day now very near at hand. Our main interest in it today is as a shadow of spiritual things, a meaning which has shaped and gives the most exceeding value to what else might seem but a barren list of names and peoples passed away. Spiritually read, they become once more living and present realities, and the fact that they do so is the fullest justification for so reading them.

The lands enumerated have two principal divisions, in the south and in the north of that already subjugated. In the south there are those of the Philistines, with whom are named the Geshurites and the Avvites. Neither Philistines nor Geshurites were Canaanites, though their land is "counted to the Canaanites," and was no doubt originally theirs. The Avvites, from the relation in which we find them in Deuteronomy (Deut. 2) seem to have belonged to those monstrous races which were as gigantic in evil as in stature, and which were marked out specially for judgment. There is a certain association of these three together, and this we shall remember as every fact of Scripture has significance. Here, as in nature, moreover, a full induction is necessary to a right deduction.

The Philistines have already come before us in the book of Genesis, and we have seen what they represent but we can add something to what has been there said. They are descendants of Ham, the sun-burned one, the one darkened by the light and next of Mitzraim, "double straitness," who seems rather to have received his name from than to have given it to the land of Egypt, for which in Scripture Mitzraim stands. Thus they are natural men, and as such under the control of nature, a thing for which they are, however, righteously held responsible by Him who is ever ready with His help to lift above it.

Between the Egyptian and the Philistine there is another and important link, the Casluhim, who are named next before the Caphtorim as springing from Mitzraim: Both of these are, though not equally, connected with the Philistines, who are said to have come out of Caphtor, and to be the remnant of that island, or coast. (Jer. 47:4 Amos 9:7.) According to their name, these are, in the Ethiopic, "emigrants," but in the Hebrew, "wanderers," the "way of the Philistines" being marked in Exodus as the "near" way out of Egypt to the land. It was as easy as it was near: no Red Sea to cross nor Jordan, the Sihor named here being a mere nominal boundary-line, but not a barrier. Thus the Philistines are natural men come into spiritual things, not by the power of God, but in a natural way. In Abraham's history and Isaac's, we find them in Gerar under their king Abimelech, "my father [was] king," the picture of that successional authority which obtains in what claims most loudly to be the church today; Phicol, the voice of all," the captain of his host, as Rome rules according; what is claimed as universal tradition, the voice of the Church. Achish of Gath, in David's time, is in Ps. 34. "Abimelech," his name vaunting him "a man indeed."

Thus the Philistines represent plainly the church of tradition and assumed catholicism, and we are prepared for the important place they have with regard to Israel in the generations that follow that of Joshua. But what connection have they, then, with the Casluhim and Caphtorim, and what do these names mean? Casluhim seems to present special difficulty to the lexicographers, who seldom venture an interpretation; but this can only be because of the strangeness of the meaning, and its apparent unsuitability to be the name of a nation.* Yet there is no doubt that "as those forgiven" is the unforced meaning of the word, as there can be none that what characterizes largely the ecclesiastical systems of which Rome is head is a quasi forgiveness, instead of an actual one. The first thing necessary for peace and for conscious relationship to God, that is, that there may be a church at all, is forgiveness of sins; and Rome recognizes this. Upon nothing does she insist more than upon the forgiveness of sins; but it is ecclesiastical forgiveness, sacramental and priestly absolution, constantly repeated, and in that proportion valueless. "For," says the apostle, "the worshipers once purged would have had no more conscience of sins." (Heb. 10:2.) And from the inability of the Jewish sacrifices to purge once for all he urges their inability to put away sins at all. On the contrary he maintains that Christ hath "by one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Heb. 10:14.) Here at the very beginning, then, Rome's system fails: her forgiveness is but a quasi-forgiveness; and, with the highest claim for herself, she preaches continual doubt to her vassals; she is Philistine, and descended from the Casluhim.

{*And this kind of reasoning evidently influences them so largely as to make the meaning of proper names as given by them very unreliable. Their derivations of them are often the most arbitrary, and are the more approved the more they favor the most commonplace rendering. Its being literal is of very slight account.}

But she is also a "remnant of Caphtor," which we may read in the same way as "quasi interpreters." Two streams alike polluted mingle to produce both the ancient and the modern Philistine. As Rome builds upon her priestly absolution, so does she claim for herself to be the infallible teacher. Yet teacher she is not, for she shuts up the Word of God, and is afraid to give any free access to it, lest the fraud should be exposed. This double test shows that she is sham all through.

Has this to do with the unusual word for the Philistine districts, geliloth, "circles" or "circuits"? Sinuosities like the windings of a serpent, and sometimes the perfect circle, mark the ground that Rome covers, and the lines within which she is entrenched. She will build the authority of the church upon the Bible, and then the authority of the Bible on the church. Or, with better skill, skill not her own, will run her lines in tortuous labyrinths of argument from which her perplexed victims have no escape. Her moral lines are no straighter, and the Spirit of Jesus has for her no better expression than in the blasphemous sophistries of Jesuitism.

The five cities of the Philistines give us in growing intensity their menace to Israel. Gaza, the "strong," to this day a greater city than Jerusalem. It is power that above all Rome seeks, — earthly power by whatever means acquired, and her spiritual power she uses for temporal aggrandizement. "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow," is her language; and to secure this she is content to be a harlot with the kings of the earth. (Rev. 17.)

Ashdod, the "spoiler," shows us how she sustains and increases her strength. Hers is the parasite growth that saps the vigor of that which supports it. She may well be reckoned as a Canaanite who puts a tariff on sin itself, and shamefully sells every gift of God for money. The countries most Roman Catholic are those most spoiled, and that not of money only but of all that is really precious.

Ashkelon, the "fire of infamy," shows us next the lightest of her weapons against those that resist her sway. Curses, reproach of heresy, railings of all kinds, she has ever dealt in, blasting the good name of all she dare attack in this way. It is a necessity laid upon her to destroy the character of those whom she dooms to more serious penalties. And —

Gath, "the wine-press," goes on to this. It is used in Scripture for the infliction of wrath, even divine wrath (Rev. 14:19, 20; 19:15); and this is what Rome feigns her own to be. Finally —

Ekron, "rooting out," carries this on to complete extirpation of all that differ from her.

These, then, are the Philistine cities. With them the Geshurites are associated. "Geshur," we are told, means "bridge;" but there is no mention of such a thing, and therefore no word for it, in Scripture. It may be a compound word, the first syllable much abbreviated, and mean "haughty observer," which, however, though suitable enough for associates of the Philistines, we cannot with any certainty apply.

The Avvites are said in Deut. 2 to have been living in villages as far as Gaza, and to have been destroyed by the Caphtorim out of Caphtor, who dwelt in their stead. Here the Philistines themselves, or those who by union with the Casluhim became afterward the Philistines, seem to be intended. The "Avvites," or "Avvim," mean "perverters" or "overturners;" and while God used the Caphtorim for the destruction of a people more evil than themselves, yet they seem not to have been fully destroyed, but mingled with their conquerors, who may have learned their ways. It is certain that a Christianity already corrupted has thus prevailed over forms of heathenism, to which it became itself assimilated; so that that which in one sense had been destroyed, in another, survived. And this seems to be the lesson here.

These are the southern foes, afterward to prove such thorns in Israel's sides. In the north were genuine Canaanites, especially the Sidonians. They were pre-eminently the merchant-race, the first-born of Canaan (Gen. 10), and had their characteristics. With them are joined the Giblites ("borderers"?) on the northern slopes of Lebanon, which belonged, all of it to Israel, though never possessed by them. Of all this we can say little to purpose here.

But how large a portion had Israel, thus, which they never claimed in faith, and never got, although the grace of God preserves it for them yet, with much more. And how little have Christians of the land that is their own, and of how much do modern Philistines and Canaanites dispossess them! We have of necessity not the material for working out such a problem. By and by wd shall know, and judge ourselves for all our folly and unbelief. Happy are they who even now apprehend what they can of the glorious inheritance!

2. We now pass on to look at the inheritance of the two tribes and a half beyond Jordan, an inheritance here confirmed to them as having fulfilled the conditions stipulated by Moses. (Num. 32:29, 30.) The peculiar way in which this section commences cannot but be noticed, almost obscuring as it does the new beginning; but that there is this here is nevertheless plain enough upon even a slight consideration, and the reason for the peculiarity may be better considered when we come to look at the portion of Manasseh.

(1) But first we are to view the whole inheritance, essentially as we know the two Amorite kingdoms of Sihon and Og. Along with these we have now the territory of the Geshurites and Maachathites, which were mentioned in Deuteronomy as bounding Argob in Bashan, but not explicitly as coming within the limits of the two tribes and a half. Geshurites we have just met with in the south-west, probably the same people, though divided into two portions; and if "Geshur" signifies "haughty observer," "Maachah" means "oppression." They are little noticed afterward, and we can say little or nothing about them. The Israelites did not dispossess them, and we find kings of both places in David's time; so that they must have soon drifted into independence.

(2) (a) It is in what was Sihon's kingdom that Reuben finds his portion, in the southern half of it, in close proximity to Moab. Indeed it had, as we know, belonged to Moab, and been lost by them to Sihon. All this has to do with the meaning of what is before us, little as we may be able to render the meaning.

Reuben ("see a son") we have seen to represent man as the offspring of God by creation, gifted with that intelligent will in which lies the natural image of God; but which as fallen has broken out in self-will and corruption. Humbled and restored by grace it becomes the will of dependent cleaving to God, of that faith by which alone we are truly sons, as we have seen in Reuben in the wilderness. It is in this aspect we must consider him here, forgetting even, as we may believe, the failure which has shown itself in choosing for himself his inheritance where now we find him. God is over it all, and has for us in it other lessons than that of failure: and this will be easily apparent as we proceed.

For in the first place, if Reuben in this way speaks now of faith, how significant is it that his portion is found in Sihon's kingdom, and that it is he that builds up again Sihon's capital, Heshbon, which falls to him. (Num. 32:37.) "Heshbon" means "the reason, cause, or ground of a thing as an object of thought or study." (Wilson.) It is rendered in the common version "device," "reason;" "In Heshbon they have devised evil against her," says the prophet, playing upon the name. (Jer. 48:2.) Heshbon cannot be maintained by Sihon against Reuben, although the Moabite may have had to give it up to him; and so "reason" is not alien to faith, which only destroys it in its alien form, to build it up anew more securely. Its after-history we must consider later. Dibon also ("sufficiency of knowledge"?) falls to Reuben, whose boundary southward is Amon, ("the perpetual stream,") the limit of "living water;" on the bank of which Aroer is the same word as that for the "heath" (or "savin") in the desert, which furnishes to the prophet the picture of the curse upon "the man that trusteth in man, and whose heart departeth from Jehovah." (Jer. 17:5, 6.) Then the "table-land by Medeba" ("quiet waters") characterizes in general Reuben's inheritance: a green upland pasture — "green pastures" and "quiet waters"! He too has the "slopes of Pisgah," and the "splendor of the dawn" (Zereth-shahar), and the places devoted to Baal he purifies and renames. If we cannot go further than this, is it not enough to show the excellency and suitability of Reuben's portion?

Nevertheless somewhat more may be attempted. It is divided evidently into four parts, the numerical character of which is easily recognized. The first section reminds us of the independence of faith; the second, of its dependence; the third contains twelve names, which ought thus to show how faith manifests itself in the establishment of the divine government everywhere, being itself, of course, everywhere subject; while the fourth is but a boundary-line.

The first begins also with a boundary-line, which is that of Moab; where Aroer, (literally, "laid bare") significantly shows the acceptance of the divine estimate of any merely human trust. This is, on the one side, clearly the secret of the independence of faith. Then we have a nameless "city by the brook," which in such connection may speak of busy activity content to be unknown to man; while the upland by Medeba ("quiet waters"), with the waters connected with both the previous places, shows how by the power and sustenance of the Spirit alone is all individuality maintained. Good and necessary lessons are these today! Never more needed.

The second section has but one name, though with many implied relationships; and while it shows the dependence of faith, stamps this as Heshbon, "reason." This indeed it is, and not credulity, — not blindness, though at times and in a certain sense, as with Abraham, it may not know whither it is going. But unbelief never really knows, — knows least where it sees plainest; while faith sees even in the dark — sees God at least, and rests: walks in no vain show, but in the truth.

The third section has twelve names, as already said, a number speaking easily and beautifully, though some of the details may be obscure. 12 is 3 x 4, as we well know; and the four parts may indicate, (1) that the kingdom is above all; (2) yet now in conflict; (3) the fruit resultant; (4) its universality. To which, as a fifth part — though only an appendix to the rest — there is added a deuteronomic recital of how this land had become theirs by the overthrow of Sihon and of Midian, and of Balaam also.

(1) Dibon, "sufficiency of knowledge," or "discernment," shows first that the kingdom of God in the soul is by the truth. This is, indeed, its complete and moral supremacy. All error disappears. Bamoth-Baal, the "heights" whereon men adore their idols, fall thus into the hands of faith; as does Beth-baal-meon, the "house of the Baal of the dwelling," the abode of idolatry in the house and heart.

(2) But the kingdom is yet only recognized by faith, and is thus in conflict in the world. Jahzah, "treading down," Israel's battle-field with Sihon, implies other fields trodden by the feet of combatants; while Kedemoth speaks of "confronting" hosts. Mephaath, "shining" may intimate what in the Lord's eyes is the lustre of this "good fight of faith."

(3) There is fruit also: Kirjathaim, "double city," may imply the concentration of energy, and unification of diverse capacities, — that fitting together in one which comes naturally from the drill and discipline of war. Sibmah, if with some we render it "fragrance," may speak of that diffusion of sweetness, the unconscious ministry to others of that which is the fruit of personal character. And Zereth-shahar, the "brightness of dawn," as seen from the "mount within the valley," gives the anticipation from the high place to which the low may bring you, of that sure coming day which gilds for us already, thank God, the clouds of night.

(4) Beth-peor is, as to its import, doubtful. Pisgah must speak of faith's "survey" of the future inheritance; Beth-jeshimoth, the "house of the wastes," of provision for the wilderness. These together imply God's sovereignty over the future and the present. Does Beth-peor complete this by showing Him sovereign over that which led us captive in the past? This we must leave as but a question; certainly, however, —

(5) The recital of the victories by which they had gained possession of the land is quite in keeping with such a thought.

Finally, the Jordan is plainly, in one sense, the limit of faith. In the joy beyond, we shall be "face to face."

(b) Gad lies next to Reuben: Gad, the type of spiritual increase, and of a militant condition too. Both things are contained in Leah's exclamation, "A troop cometh."* Spiritual increase can hardly be without conflict in a world like this; and the men of Gad we find in David's time eminent as warriors. (1 Chron. 12:8-14.)

{*Which thus again vindicates this reading of the passage. (Gen. 30:11.)}

Gad shares with Reuben the land of Sihon; and their possessions seem at first sight strangely intermingled. Gad builds Dibon, though it falls to Reuben; and though Reuben builds and is allotted Heshbon, yet we find it afterward given to the Levites as a city of Gad (Joshua 21:39). It was on the boundary-line, and might easily belong to either; but in this interweaving of Reuben and Gad, do we not find how inseparable "increase" is from faith; and how, if faith build up reason, it will take growth and militant energy to hold it? And so Gad also builds for Reuben Dibon ("sufficiency of knowledge"), for so Peter gives the connection — "Add to your faith virtue (valor), and to virtue knowledge."

Suitable also it is that "all the cities of Gilead" (the "heap of witness")* should belong to Gad; and half of Ammon (see Deut. 2 notes), in the face of which they build another Aroer. Also that they should have Mahanaim with its memorial from Jacob's history. Would one could say more as to Gad! but as to what should be possessed, how much remains!

{*Elsewhere (Num. 26:29, n.), I have accepted, with most, Gesenius' suggestion of "hard, rocky;" but Fay, even while not altogether refusing it, urges a number of texts against this (Num. 32:1; Jer. 8:22; Jer. 46:11; Jer. 50:19; Cant. 4:1; Cant. 6:4). Jacob's history governs so much in the scenes of his eventful life, that the connection of Galeed with Gilead strongly commends itself.

"All the cities of Gilead" here are all that belonged to the kingdom of Sihon.}

(c) We may pass, then, to Manasseh: and here how exquisitely suited is it that Manasseh, the one "forgetful" of things behind, and of Manasseh just the children of Machir, "he who recollects" (of course, that to which he is pressing on), should have the kingdom of Og in Bashan put into their hands! For the things of the world can only be rightly used by him who is pressing on to another; and this is the only one of the tribes found on the east side of Jordan that in fact inherits on both sides of the river. Is it not this that we are reminded of in that strange beginning of the second section, so connected with the first: "With him the Reubenite and the Gadite received their inheritance," where "with him" is with Manasseh, to whom with the other nine tribes Joshua has just been commanded to distribute the land west of Jordan? Reuben and Gad are on the east side, yet with Manasseh, who is both east and west. The oneness of the tribe is "thus emphasized, spite of this: and thus indeed Manasseh approaches nearer the final division in the yet coming day, when each tribe receives its inheritance on both sides, the boundary lines running east and west across the river. Whatever, then, Manasseh's personal failure in all this, it seems clear that we are not to regard it here, but to see in him the competence to use the world as having the heart in heaven.

Among Machir's sons we find Jair active in the conquest of the land. He is, according to his name, the "enlightener," and the introduction of light is the way to conquer Satan's kingdom of darkness. Life comes into the soul with light, if it be true light: so the cities Jair conquers he calls the "lives (havvoth) of Jair." Men call Og's luxury and self-pleasing "life," but Jair shows us what is really life.

Machir shares Gilead with Gad; and this needs no further interpreting. The lesson of Manasseh here is as simple to read as it is good to learn and practice. Only in practice can it be really learnt. The reminder as to Levi's portion closes fittingly this section. Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, Levi, — all belong to us.

Notice how the spiritual meaning in these three tribes connects together; how naturally the one develops out of the other; how really we are on the earth side of things all through. The more it is searched into, the more it will appear how consistent and harmonious is the whole of this.

3. We now cross the river, and come to the inheritance of Judah, as it would seem, the first possession on the west side, and by far the largest possession. The Spirit of God evidently marks it out for us with peculiar care, and when we consider the prominence of Judah in the after-history, and the spiritual significance (two things more closely connected than is usually imagined), we are at no loss to understand this. The spirit of praise must have precedence of all else in the land of the inheritance of the people of God, and will put us in possession, most of all, of our inheritance there.

(1) The first few verses here emphasize the fact that the inheritance was all given by lot at the hands of Eleazar and Joshua, and the heads of the people; and that in the distribution Joseph's two tribes compensated for the lack of territory for the tribe of Levi. We have then a most important lesson which Caleb, the whole-hearted, is brought forward to give us. The man of eighty-five appears with the children of Judah before Joshua at Gilgal, to claim the inheritance promised to him forty-five years before. Save Joshua, all his generation has passed away, but he remains, and with all the strength of that former time. The Anakim whom he saw at Hebron remained there yet; and they must be subdued by him, if he is to receive the promise; but he desires no less difficult task; and his faith is as strong as his body. No need of many words to enforce the lesson in this case. We see at once how spiritual strength is perpetuated; and have it pressed upon us how our promised portion must be laid hold of and enjoyed.

Caleb is here, as once before, the Kenezite, and there is a Kenaz elsewhere said to be his brother. We shall not discuss in this place the difficulties of his genealogy; but what does the name mean? At least as good as any thing given, and completely in the line of thought of Caleb's history, would be "receptacle of strength;" and in this way Othniel, of whom we hear in the next chapter and in Judges, would be the fitting son of Kenaz.

(2) The boundaries of the tribe of Judith are next marked out. It lies southern-most of all the tribes, bounded on the south by the land of Edom and the wilderness of Zin; on the east, by the salt, or dead sea; on the west, by the great sea, or Mediterranean; and only on the north by Israelitish territory. Thus Judah, lifted up upon her hills, has a most varied outlook. Within also she is divided into the south land, where a large number of her cities lay, the lowland, or shephelah, (which included the Philistine plain,) the hill-country, and the wilderness. How good is it thus to realize that one can face outside the world of the natural man, the wilderness condition, the awful lake of judgment, the sea of instability and distress, no less than the blessed portion of the people of God, and give praise in view of all! While also the most varied conditions affecting ourselves may give occasion not merely to contentment, but to adoration! And it is only in a spirit of praise that we can rightly view all this. Judah speaks of that kind of praise which is termed "confession." It is the confession of God, of course, that is intended by it; and when as redeemed we know Him, then, as knowing that all things are in His hands, even where we know nothing more, and cannot penetrate the mystery of His dispensations, we have the fullest assurance that can be given us that all is well. Egypt, the Red Sea deliverance, the wilderness, with its miracles of care and its holy lessons, all lie southward from Judah: Judah fronts them all, and how can one look in, this direction, from the land flowing with milk and honey to which we have been brought, without adoring confession?

No wonder, then, if Judah take the lead and be the "lawgiver." (Ps. 108:8.) In the hearts of His worshiping people God will be supreme; the spirit of praise governs the heart and rules the life for God. Here is the citadel, which if surrendered, all is given up: when Judah goes into captivity, the national life is gone.

(a) The southern boundary comes naturally first. It should have meaning for us: can we attempt to explain it spiritually? Critics of a certain kind will laugh their loudest very likely, but we have come hopelessly under their condemnation long ago, and the desire to show that every part of the Word of God is profitable for edification is more attractive than their condemnation is alarming. If we should make some mistakes, let those who have made none cast their stones.

Over the boundary lie Edom, the wilderness of wandering, and, at a greater distance, Egypt. Edom and Egypt are allied as types of the natural world, — in the one, wilder; in the other, cultured; but both alike in independence of God. The wilderness shows the unbelief of the people of God bringing them back to the same condition of independence in departing from the living God. Israel's boundary line may well show us, therefore, how God would separate His people from this sin.

In fact, we shall find lessons of this kind here, and in a certain connection with one another and progress of thought, such as a line traced in this way might suggest. The first three places here seem to give us the sin of independency as looked at in itself; the next two, the divine help against it; the three following, help of more internal sort; the fourth, and last, the witness of nature; and this division would be a true numerical one. The border throughout is nothing but an air-line, which requires, therefore, intelligence to discern, and obedience to maintain.

Of the first three, the first is the salt sea; and measurably we already know what this means. It is the awful similitude of the pit of woe, into which the river of death pours unceasingly without overflow or escape again. It fertilizes nothing, but abides under the curse of barrenness., which is but the perpetuation of what is in the nature of sin. Its first law, which we may most naturally see in this glimpse of one end of it (for we do not see it all), is just this utter barrenness which its waters, wherever they are, produce. This is only a first thought, and a negative one indeed; and yet in God's creation, which all was once made good, and for good, barrenness is of itself a terrible reproach and stain.

But we have a further development at Maaleh-Akrabbim, the "ascent of the scorpions." The sting of the scorpion is in its tail, and this is the way of sin, which May have its "pleasures for a season," but, like the enchanted wine-cup, "at last it biteth as a serpent, and stingeth as an adder." (Prov. 23:32.) Sin — independence of God, — is not only barren: it has poison in its bowels, and death as its end.

Thirdly, we have Zin a "thorn;" and a thorn is the natural curse: "thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." The blight of divine judgment abides thus upon the sinner; and in this threefold picture this is the last feature: sin is in its nature what calls for and abides under divine wrath. This is no arbitrary thing, but must be, unless there is redemption; and this the cry of the twenty-second psalm declares.

God's people are redeemed; but He must still show His holiness in His dealings with them; and of this, Kadesh-barnea, the "sanctuary of the wanderer," may now well remind us. God had His place of refuge for His people in the wilderness, but it was a "sanctuary," a holy refuge, and they for their sins were "wanderers." In making it a city of Israel He bade them take home both the grace and the holiness of this to their hearts.

Hetzron, "enclosure," may exhibit another kind of care, the hedge around His people which nothing but that which shall work blessing for them may come through. God guards them thus from what would from their feebleness be too much for them. This is a constant mercy, of which we need to be reminded, because we are necessarily so little conscious of it. "He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond that we are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that we may be able to bear it."

We come now to what speaks of deeper and more internal work. First, Addar, which means "glory," "honor," or else "a goodly robe;" such as are the white "garments" which those in Sardis had not defiled. (Rev. 3:4.) These, of course speak, of practical righteousness: our righteousness in Christ is wholly beyond even the thought of defilement. The suggestion of such a robe is fully in the line of thought in this place, and may well be accepted as what is here. A robe to keep unspotted is a good argument against the seduction of sin.

We have next Karkaah, which is a word used for "pavement," but compounded of two words which together imply "extension of what is joined together." We need not think, then, of a pavement: the lesson may be of that mutual help rendered by those each severally feeble, which is indeed God's way of making His people realize their need of each other, and training them in , lowliness: a barrier against independence surely.

And thus, last of the cities here is Azmon, "strong;" for God has strength for His people, to be found in the sanctuary, but in the way of lowliness and dependence, so that we reach it by the way of Karkaah, as we have said. Truth is here in most fitting order, and to take it thus gives it power and beauty.

Finally, the stream of Egypt becomes the boundary to the sea, as to which we have no great interest in this connection in deciding whether it is the Wady el Arish that is meant, as commonly believed, or rather, as Poole contends, the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. That in the promise to Abraham Israel's border is the Nile there is no right question; but there the Euphrates is the boundary at the other end. In the division here there is as yet no possession of so wide a region, and the limit seems to fall short every way. But enough has been already said with regard to this.

In any case, the "stream of Egypt" would suggest to us still the thought of that ministry of natural blessings, which, while to natural men they seem so much a matter of course, have in them, to any one whom faith has restored to proper reason, abundant witness of the hand from which they come, and thus against independence. This too would make a fourth division of this boundary line, strictly according to numeric symbolism. Thus it is completed.

(b) The eastern border was the salt sea in its whole length to the mouth of the Jordan. The east has its two aspects spiritually, let us remember, as there are two words which express it in Hebrew. It was the place of sunrise, in this way of hope, though it might be far off. In the second sense, it was what immediately confronted one, and commonly evil. The sea of salt, or dead sea, suggests naturally the latter of these thoughts. From it Judah's possession rose rapidly and in sublimity until Jerusalem towered thirty-five hundred feet above its surface; how different from the long slope of the land toward the western sea, ending in the broad wheat-plains of Philistia!

The salt sea, too, however evil in suggestion, is but a "lake." You can look over it to the hills beyond: it is not interminable. And so also at the end we read of a "lake" of fire and brimstone; not a sea, with its shore out of sight, but defined and limitable, thank God! and even narrow in its limits, though in itself terrible, as it is meant to be.

Here there is no fire, not even a volcano-mouth; but stifling heat there is, and the smell of sulphur, which abounds in it. All living things that the Jordan brings into it die; but there is no breath of disease from its deep blue waters! Such is this type of sin's awful judgment, between which and Israel's blessed portion there is no middle ground at all. The shores of the land of Judah lie all along it, and the homes of "praise" rise in full view of the lake of judgment. There will be, and, thank God, there need be, no forgetfulness in heaven: our praise here, too, is founded upon knowledge, and the full light of eternity will but perfect it.

Thus the salt sea bounds indeed Judah's possessions; but guards, and not invades them; as from the cross, from One forsaken of God, there was the witnessing voice, "But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." And how should not they praise who as the fruit of that work are saved and brought nigh to God? How can the view of the judgment of sin do aught but deepen in the soul the apprehension of salvation: "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood!"

The border on the second side is one of strict separation — of salvation: not an air-line now.

(c) Judah's border on the north is Israelite, the only part of it that is. From what, then, must it be looked at as really separating? or what is the meaning of the boundary-line here? As the third border, we may characterize it, I think, as one of manifestation, bringing out more distinctly what belongs to worship itself, its place and power in connection with what the other tribes stand for spiritually.

Of these other tribes only Ephraim and Manasseh get their portion at this time. Judah's boundary never touches Ephraim's; but as yet there is nothing between them but unappropriated land. Hence it would seem that this boundary of Judah has respect as yet to Ephraim, and this will be confirmed by further examination.

Joseph's two tribes we have already seen to be connected together in their spiritual meaning, as might have been anticipated. "Ephraim" speaks of "fruitfulness;" "Manasseh," of the energy that presses forward to the goal, "forgetting" what is behind; a spirit not ascetic, though it might seem so, but acquisitive, and which is the spirit that makes fruitful. Thus the two tribes are one.

Judah and Joseph take possession of their lots in distinct priority of all others on the west of Jordan, and thus are in some sense to be looked at as dividing the land between them. They afterward did, as it were, divide the land (alas! in opposition to each other) as heads of the respective kingdoms of Judah and Israel, the latter of which is often spoken of as "Ephraim." In reference to each other they do, in fact, represent typically two spheres of the spiritual life, absolutely necessary to each other and to the maintenance of this, and which yet have strange tendencies to divorce themselves from one another. These are, of course, the objective and subjective spheres, of faith and of practice, of piety Godward and manward; though none of these terms fully distinguish what God would never have separated, and which never can be, without the destruction of both; as Israel's divided kingdom was her ruin.

Judah and Ephraim alike reach across the whole breadth of territory, from the Jordan to the sea; but at no point do they touch one another. Between them are afterward placed two tribes, who, on opposite sides — toward Jordan and toward the sea — fill up the gap, and join the separated lands together. As we look at them we shall find how truly they are intended to be holdfasts on either; side, and how beautifully in their spiritual meaning they fill up the interval.

Benjamin comes first of these, and fills up the Jordan side. The root-meaning here we have in the first notice in the book of Genesis (Gen. 35, see vol. i. p. 99, n.). "Benjamin" is "Christ in us," the "I, yet not I," of the apostle (Gal. 2:20), the real power for a walk on earth. "Not I, but Christ liveth in me;" which, let us note, is not the same as, "Christ is my life;" nor is it either, "To me to live is Christ;" though nearer akin to the latter than the former. But the one is aim, while the other is that realization of faith upon which it is dependent. "Christ has been crucified for me," he says; "it was my death, though He bore it: I, then, am crucified with Christ; yet I live, really live now: death is behind me, not before me; I live beyond my death." Then he shows the practical effect of this: "I live because Christ live; I live before God in Him; God sees me no more but in identification with the Son of His love, who appears in His presence for me. I also look where God looks; I see what God sees: it is no more myself I see; I have lost myself in my wondrous Representative, and even as I live down here, it is Christ that lives in me: I have exchanged myself for Him."

Now, if this is what Benjamin means, he certainly in an admirable way fills the gap between Judah and Ephraim. This is, as it were, the objective in the subjective: it is what is before the eyes wrought into practical life. It is the worshiping heart pulsating through the body of the worshiper.

But Benjamin nevertheless does not fill all the space here. Westward, toward the great sea, another tribe is found, very different in the significance attaching to it from that of Benjamin. It is Dan, the last of all to find his place, and the most unsatisfactory of all perhaps in his after-history. But the failure has nothing to do with what he represents; and Benjamin's history is also a sad one. Oftentimes the most blessed truths seem to be those that have the least influence over us. Dan in the wilderness is leader of one of the four camps there, and, as we have seen, though the son of a handmaid, represents "rule;" which is in fact service, where it is according to God.

But rule, to be exercised aright, must also be rule over one's self first, — self-judgment; and Dan's name, we know, means "judge." Judgment, which implies discernment, is the ruler's part. Self-judgment begins for the Christian with the apprehension of the cross, which is God's estimate of man, the most solemn, because not that of an enemy, but of One who so loved us as to bear for us in Christ the judgment He had pronounced.

We have come thus far, then, toward Benjamin, with whose territory Dan's joins toward the middle of the land. But Dan gives only the negative side of Benjamin, not the positive side. It is the judgment of self he emphasizes, which joins on, on the one side, to the "worship" of Judah, — every mind the least taught of God knows how, — and on the other, links with Ephraim's "fruitfulness" as intelligibly.

The gap, then, is filled up in the most perfect way; and this should help us much in the study of the boundary-lines, which we find in the case of Judah's first part plainly having Ephraim rather in view than Benjamin, as already said. What shows this is the way in which places in Benjamin itself are used to mark the line, as Beth-hoglah, and Beth-arabah, and Jebusi, or Jerusalem. On the west end of the boundary-line there are named similarly places that afterward belonged to Dan.

The description divides the boundary into two parts, the first of which, rising from the mouth of the Jordan, ends at Enrogel, just outside Jerusalem. The second part passes from Enrogel to the sea. The first part, in accordance with its being such, shows the priority of Judah to Ephraim, — no fruitfulness being possible till God takes his right place with the soul, — till it worships.

In this first part there are again five divisions, indicated by the repetition of "the border," as if it started afresh. It will be seen too that the second of these contains Beth-hoglah and Beth-Arabah, while the fifth speaks of Enshemesh and Enrogel.

(1)* We are first of all directed to the point of commencement of the boundary: "And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the end of Jordan." "From judgment into which death brings" is clearly the typical meaning. Worship begins with the recognition of our natural lost condition, without which we might have an angel's praise, but not a saint's. That which begins here is the song of grace, of one who is a "brand plucked from the burning," as it were the fire already kindled, judgment already beginning to take effect: a "bay of the sea" being, one may suppose, like the antechamber of hell. Almighty power and sovereign grace alone could work here, and thus with these the song begins.

{*These divisions are too minute for any corresponding notice in the text; but they are numbered to direct attention to their numerical structure.}

(2) Next, we have the way of salvation: "And the border went up to Beth-hoglah, and passed along from the north to Beth-arabah." The places are both in Benjamin, as was before said. Beth-hoglah is interpreted by Simonis, from the Syriac and Arabic, as "house of the partridge;" for which last Young gives "magpie." Neither meaning connects with Scripture or yields any intelligible meaning that one can see. As Hebrew, taking Hoglah as two words, the first letter of the second being dropped because identical with the last letter of the first, it might mean "the revealed sacrifice," hag being either a feast or the sacrifice of the feast. The "house of the revealed sacrifice" would be specially fitting in reference to the passover.

The other name here, Beth-arabah, is undoubtedly "the house of the wilderness;" and passover and wilderness would in this connection remind us of that love and care which had delivered Israel from judgment in Egypt, and sheltered them on their journey to the land. For us the types speak easily and need no expounding. A salvation to the uttermost, or redemption and preservation through the Lamb of sacrifice, suit well the numerical place.

(3) Consecration follows: as we have had chapters from Exodus in the last section, so now, equally in order, we have one from Leviticus: "And the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben." Bohan means "thumb;" and we have no trace any where else of the thing or of the man referred to here. What profit are we to find unless we are at liberty to interpret the name?

When we have the name, how are we to apply it? The way to learn this, one might suppose, would be to see what we can find in Scripture in connection with the thumb." The search need not be long. With the exception of the story of Adonibezek in the next book, the only Scripture references to the thumb are found in connection with the consecration of the priests and of the cleansing of the leper in Lev. 8 and 14.* Have we not here, then, a plain intimation of what this would remind us? The thumbs of the priests or of the leper touched with the blood of sacrifice, and then with oil upon the blood, were tokens of consecration, in this double way, to the service of God. (Notes, vol. i, pp. 310, 330.)

{*Prescribed indeed in Ex. 29:20, as to the priests, but only carried out in Lev. 8.}

The stone of Bohan was naturally a memorial pillar such as that of Jacob at Bethel, and, as with him, a witness to some divine, not human, work: up to this time, we have no account of any man or human work so memorialized. Such a witness to God would suit well a consecrated hand, and that of a Reubenite, who speaks of the will that cleaves to Him. A stone would be meant to abide; and thus the stone of Bohan would be very plainly the memorial of consecration to God.

Every child of God is at the same time a "saint" — sanctified by the work of Christ and by the Spirit which dwells in him. He needs but to carry this in remembrance. We are set apart to God, not by any voluntary engagement of our own, but by Another's devotedness to death for us. We are bought with a price, and belong to Him who has paid the ransom.

(4) We have now what is more difficult: "And the border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and turned northward toward Gilgal, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south side of the water-course." Here are two things, though connected: first, the ascent to Debir from the valley of Achor. Both words we are familiar with, though Debir is not the city of that name that we have before had; it has, however, the same significance, (either "speaker" or "oracle,") while Achor is the valley named "troubling," from the punishment of Achan. This part, therefore, seems simple, that while here in the world we have to meet the trouble which is the fruit of sin, yet there is a way of access (which is thus also an ascent out of it) to that oracular voice which (as in Action's case) gives the meaning of it all. The number of this section governing it, shows where the emphasis is to be laid, and that the "oracle" has reference to the "troubling;" which the history too confirms.

The second part now completes the lesson: the border turns toward Gilgal, not reaching it indeed, for the words seem to indicate that Gilgal is on the north side of the water-course, opposite the way of ascent by which the border goes, which is on the south side. And this the modern investigations tend to establish.

Gilgal is the "rolling away" of the reproach of Egypt, — that is, of the bondage there — bondage to sin, and toward this the way of Debir turns. The oracle which enlightens as to the cause of the trouble points us to the deliverance from it already achieved, and which we have not again to reach but only to be reminded of; while our road lies on the south — the sunny? — side of the water-course (the stream of living water) up the ascent of Adummim (the "quieted ones"), — up, ever up, refreshed and rested, toward the end at hand.

(5) For now we reach the first halting place, and we may be certain that refreshment is abundant there. So it is: we end now with two springs, in the beautiful language of Scripture, "eyes," in the purity and abundance of which God's eye, as it were, looks out at you, and you are reminded, as was Hagar at Beer-lahai-roi, of the "Living One who seeth." Two springs: the one Enshemesh, the fountain of the sun, because the sun is ever shining on it; the second, Enrogel, the fuller's fountain, where our garments are made white.

We have finished our journey now as pilgrims: we are on the top of the ascent, and the city of the great King, Jerusalem, is right before us. "Our feet stand within thy gates, Jerusalem." All this road speaks, then, of what we have as the material of worship. Can even "fruitful" Ephraim show such a road? Is not the pre-eminence of Judah demonstrated by it? Does it not all through speak of God, God, God? Here we have indeed our "songs of degrees" or "ascents:" every step is a song!

But here the second part of the border commences, and we have to follow it by a longer descent to the western sea.

It is after the first three stages an almost continuous descent, the interruptions being notable as such. It represents the continuous self-humbling so naturally suggested by the connection with Dan, which the apprehension of God induces in the soul, and which unites itself with and manifests the spirit of worship. Here too the difference is plain between Judah and Ephraim. The practical truth which Ephraim presents to us, necessary as it surely is, needs carefully to be guarded lest a spirit of self-complacency be nurtured by it. Ephraim must be kept in connection with Judah, and in dependence also, or he will slip into idolatry of the creature; and so the after-history testifies in the calf-worship at Bethel and Dan.

As before, the language employed marks out for us certain divisions, — here, eight in number; but we must go on to find the significance of this.

(1) "And the border went up to the valley of the son of Hinnom, to the shoulder south of the Jebusite, that is Jerusalem." Is it not strange, that as it began with the salt sea below, so it now begins again, though at the summit of the ascent, with the picture of hell? for this without question the Gei-ben-Hinnom — Gehenna — is.

Here as the "valley" speaks of the place, the "son of Hinnom" must speak of the people destined to it; and here solemn it is to find that "Hinnom" means "gratuitous, causeless." "Son of Hinnom" in Hebrew, would mean a person characterized as that. He is gratuitously what he is: there is no cause for it outside himself. And so Scripture puts it as to the penalty of the lost: God willeth not the death of a sinner. As the Lord says, weeping over Jerusalem, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

But there is a connection with the Jebusite, the "treader down," — that is, with the city then possessed by them, afterward, as we are at once informed, Jerusalem, the "foundation of peace," which is righteousness. So that Gehenna is not the mere expression of power, as if Jebusite, but the execution of justice necessary for the establishment of peace (Isa. 32:17.) And here we may easily see that, though still going on with Benjamin, we are approaching Dan's border. This second part of the boundary-line leads us down the slope of humiliation, the needful humbling of man's pride; and this begins here with the recognition of divine righteousness in judgment, — yea, of the congruity with it of all divine attributes. The first part of the border beginning with the salt sea, with judgment also and man's lost condition, yet presented another truth in connection with it, the almightiness of the Deliverer. Thus they are distinct.

(2) "And the border went up to the top of the mount which is in the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim northward." The mountain is not named: we do not therefore need to know its name; but it divides between the judgment of the self-ruined (Hinnom) and the valley of Rephaim, "those who dissolve" people with terror. These giant races, the enemies of God's people, overthrow one, as it were, with the mere sight of them: they are types of the enemy's power, monsters, and, so to speak, superhuman. Are we not taught then by this mount of separation, (unnamed, because we are simply to think of it as this) to distinguish the judgment of sin from the mere effect of the enemy's power? As connected with the judgment of sin it is necessary to remember that no mere lack of strength, to resist a foe however strong, or circumstances, (may we not say?) however pressing, must be confounded with that which is the cause of divine judgment. Hinnom here is emphasized from another side of it therefore: human responsibility is fully enforced.

(3) "And the border was drawn from the top of the mount to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of Mount Ephron." Nephtoah means "opening," and reminds us of the rock opened in the wilderness, and of God's words by Isaiah, "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys" (41:18.) If the riven rock be alluded to, we need not wonder at the abundance that is indicated, "the spring of the waters of Neph-toah," the symbol, as always, of that fullness of the Spirit which is ours as the result of Christ's death for us. And how important is this as the third step in the self-judgment of a Christian, that the fullness of the Spirit is really his? For then there can be manifestly no lack of power at any time, except what is due to lack of integrity or to lack of Nth. A spring will fill a vessel and overflow it, except the vessel be filled with something else. And here the necessity and blessedness of self-judgment are pressed upon us. "Be filled with the Spirit," says the apostle: it is an exhortation, — a duty which belongs to us; not something which God would withhold, or has withheld, but which, if not ours, we are not sincere, or else not simple, in making it our own.

"And it went out to the cities of Mount Ephron," which may as a compound word in Hebrew mean "a thrill" — or "quiver" — "of joy." Ecstasy is what the apostle associates with the fullness of the Spirit, as we see by his antithesis: "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit." When they were all filled after this manner on the day of Pentecost, the people said, "These men are drunk with new wine." In some respects to be compared, yet how different! "If we be beside ourselves," says Paul again, "it is to God." And here the mount of rapture, of thrilling joy, in what significant company is it with the "spring of waters of Nephtoah!" But this is not something known merely in seclusion; there is a busy hum of life about it: cities — and the word used means places of busy concourse — cluster upon Mount Ephron; the activities of divine life go with the joy of the Spirit.

(4) "And the border was drawn to Baalah, that is, Kirjath-Jearim." The number 4 is that which, from its being the first capable of true division, expresses weakness, and thus speaks of the creature, necessarily weak as such, and liable to failure. It is also the number of testing, which brings out failure, and of the practical walk in which it is displayed. These lines run into one another, and under this number we find in general these thoughts together, as we have seen in Moses' fourth book at large. From the third to the fourth of any series of this kind we expect generally a descent in character therefore, and are rarely mistaken. This makes it at first sight strange that at the fourth point of the border here we find nothing but the name of a city which seems to suggest other thoughts. Baalah means "mistress, possessor," the other name of which is Kirjath-Jearim, the "city of the woods." It is mainly noted in Israel's history as the place where the ark, after its return from the Philistines lay unhoused — of its proper house — and well nigh hidden, all the days of Saul. "At Ephratah we heard of it;" says David: we found it in the fields of the wood." And from thence he brought it to Zion.

Baalah, though certainly meaning "mistress" in Hebrew, has been thought to mean "belonging to Baal;" and this seems supported by the fact that in the list of the cities of Judah (v. 60) it is given as Kirjath-Baal. — the "city of Baal." This seems as if it might set aside dispute; but one who has thought much on Scripture is slow to believe that there is in it any change without a meaning. That full inspiration, which, we shall not here question, which we must leave the risk of questioning to those who dare to take it, surely requires us to believe as much as this; and we shall gain much by acting as if we believed it.

If Baalah be "mistress," it is at the same time a word little used in Scripture, and twice out of three times in ill connections, though Baal the masculine form is freely enough used for "owner, master, husband." The "lady-" city is no strange conjunction of terms; and its import is easy enough; as that of queen-city, even in our own days.

Kirjath-Jearim "city of the woods," does not seem readily to lend itself to interpretation in the way we seek. Jaar, "wood" primarily means "redundance, overflowing," and so a "thicket of trees," from the exuberance and luxuriance of vegetable life. But this in contrast with a fruitful field is used in Scripture as implying a useless prodigality (Isa. 32:15) — and a city of woods or thickets would convey more strongly this thought of waste land not really barren but devoted to what was of little profit.

As connected with this it is used also as the symbol of pride doomed to destruction, to ax or fire, and thus it comes round to the thought contained in Baalah, a city of woods, and not of fruitful fields, barren of self-support, while it remains in haughty idleness, drawing from others what it does not repay,

So many of the lessons of Scripture have to do with pride, the great evil of man's fallen nature, by which in various ways and in very humble degrees of it, man would still be "as God;" can it be wondered that the number of failure and of creature-weakness is attached to it here? For weakness with us is strength, and strength is weakness: he that exalteth himself must be abased, while he that humbleth himself is exalted. And this is indeed one inveterate evil and cause of all failure, which, in this line we are upon, (drawing close now to Dan,) could not be omitted from the materials of self-judgment which are being furnished to us here. Ah, what spendthrift prodigality of human strength is there at the bidding of this Pharaoh, and how we toil to build pyramids, which when built are but sepulchres at last!

And after all Baalah and Baal-worship are but too closely united, so that Kirjath-Baal, as a synonym for Baalah can easily be understood. Baal is "lord," in that sense in which God disowns it for Himself. He will not be Baali, but Ishi, the title, not of mere authority, but of endeared relationship. (Hosea 2:16.) Baal is force, power, and this is the god of pride, in the service of which it toils. How different the yoke of Him who, when He offers it to us, bids us "learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, that ye may find rest unto your souls"! (Matt. 11:29.)

And now we reach the border of Dan —

(5) "And the border turned from Baalah seaward toward Mount Seir, and passed to the shoulder of Mount Jearim northward, that is Chesalon; and went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed by Timnah."

Now for the first time, as we come to Dan, it is noticed that the border turns seaward. It is the regular word for "west," and of course the general direction has been west all through, but now it is directly so, and we are called to observe it. Of the two tribes that lie side by side with Judah to the north, Benjamin lies toward the Jordan, Dan toward the sea, and these are their respective limits. The sea is also Judah's western border, the fourth in order on this account. It is the picture of man fallen, in his restlessness and barrenness, and chafing against all restraint. Yet it is that out of which the influence of heaven can draw up the fertilizing rain, as God's mercy draws from man's misery its opportunity to display itself. The very picture of trial is found in "those who go down to the sea in ships, who have their business in the great waters;" but "these men see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep." (Ps. 107.) Trial is needed because of what we are, is adapted to our condition, and in it God's governmental ways are often most clearly seen.

The line passes then seaward from Baalah to Mount Seir. Evidently the repetition of the last named, Baalah, is meant to show how it governs the next part of the road: pride must be abased, yet the road does not at once descend; on the contrary we find a "mount;" but we are going seaward, (the way of trial) and the mount is "Seir," the "rugged." The name certainly has no pleasant suggestion for an Israelite, though of course not Esau's mount, but only like it. It suggests hostility as well as roughness; and though God "gave Mount Seir to Esau," it was as a gift suited to the man, — a rough abode for a rough person. After all, an Edomite might flourish where an Israelite would starve.

A mount was not necessarily of evil significance, as we know. Mount Zion is to be the joy of the whole earth. Israel's portion was largely mountain. Yet to humble the pride indicated by Baalah, a "rough mount" would be more suited than a valley. if we seek high things God may give them to make us realize that adversity may easily come in this shape. Thus Mount Seir is "seaward" from Baalah.

God's guidance is for blessing in all this; and thus now we find the line passing to the shoulder of another mount, not rugged but leafy, the "mount of woods;" which cannot but recall the "city of woods," which was the other name for Baalah itself. But there is no city here; it is as if passed away; and only the woods remain, a mountain of woods, not perhaps as rough as Seir, but hardly pleasantly suggestive yet. The city is gone, the hum of busy intercourse is exchanged for the loneliness in which we come so often to a better mind; and there before us are only the "woods" — the profitless prodigality of pride, emphasized as this last by being a mountain forest.

We are traveling northward, facing mysteries which we have to learn; and the token that they are being learnt is naturally in the interpretation here — "that is Chesalon:" only a slightly changed form of the last word in the sentence of the Psalmist upon those whose "inward thought is that their houses shall continue forever and their dwelling places, unto all generations, and" who "call the lands after their own names. This their way" he says "is their folly." The word means "confidence" as well as folly, folly of a false confidence. But here we are surely not to take it as the sentence passed by another, but by a soul upon itself. The "city" that should have remained is passed; its houses have not continued: there is not Kirjath-Jearim, but only Jearim. It is repentance wrought by God in the soul; in evidence of which the line now runs downward; there is self-humbling; and the next place that is reached is how different! It is Beth-shemesh, "the abode of the sun."

For the sun dwells in the valleys; though the spiritual truth goes beyond the natural type. But in the valleys its influence is most felt, even naturally. Of the spiritual truth, "thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a humble and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isa. 57:15.) Thus Beth-shemesh could not be reached but on the descent: how beautifully every turn of the line develops the meaning! how plainly the spiritual meaning governs all! Is there not in all this verbal inspiration? Surely no one who reverently examines it can longer question! But to proceed: —

"And it went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed Timnah." Timnah means "apportionment," "what is measured out." A beautiful sign of true humbling and of one with whom the high and lofty One dwells, that he takes his portion now as measured out by Him and craves no more.

(6) "And the border went out to the shoulder of Ekron northward." Ekron seems to mean "rooting out;" and we have before met with it as a Philistine city. While the meaning of the word must of course be the same, its application, when Ekron became Israelite, would be naturally different. Ekron falls within Judah's boundary-line, and is named afterward as a city of Judah; yet it is given to Dan. If we are spiritually to apply it as the eradication of sin, it will indeed naturally fall to the latter as a necessary part of self-judgment; yet if Judah's "praise" be the "confession of Christ's name," His having suffered for sins is part of the confession, which Peter links for us with "ceasing from" them (1 Peter 3:18; 4:1.) We must preserve this link with Judah, while we give Dan the city.

But what is meant by the eradication of sin? Not certainly the rooting out of the old nature, as some dream. The flesh lusts against the Spirit even in one who has the Spirit; and the remedy prescribed by the apostle is not, Root out the flesh, nor yet, Ask God to root it out, but "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil its lusts." (Gal. 5:16, 17.) It has been suggested by some, that the lusting of the flesh is only in such unspiritual men as the Galatians; but the apostle certainly had not a lower standard for such than for others. What kind of "eradication" then can one speak of? Well, the keeping one's garden clean of weeds, although one cannot destroy their germs out of the soil. We are not to be letting one kind alone, or even cultivating it while we root out others. And one may be so little skilled as not to know weeds from flowers. ,There the apostle's word comes in: "I exercise myself that I may have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men." (Acts 24:16.) This earnest and absolute unsparing dealing with all sin is what seems to be meant by Ekron here.

(7) Under the number seven we expect to hear of the completion of this line of thought; and so we do: "The border was drawn to Shicron," "satiation with drink," not necessarily in a bad sense. "Drink abundantly, O beloved" (in Cant. 5:1), is the same word. "And passed Mount Baalah, and went out to Jabneel." Baalah we have had before, and the repetition cannot be without meaning. Kirjath-jearim, its other name, is similarly repeated as to the last part of it, becoming also Mount Jearim, as here we have Mount Baalah. We are surely intended to draw these comparisons. Baalah is here not a city of man's making, but something of God's making. It does not exalt itself; as before: it is exalted. Then notice the last name, Jabneel; it means, "God is the builder" — not man. How plain, if we put all this together, the lesson seems to be, that the exaltation which man misses, when seeking it for himself; God has for him in His own way, and satiates thus man's thirst to the full! "I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness." (Ps. 17:15.)

(8) Here the border ends at the sea, — somewhat disappointingly at first sight. And why the number 8, which would be suited enough to remind us of eternity, but what is its object here?

(d) The sea is the west border of Judah throughout, — the fourth border, — most suitably stamped thus with what speaks of trial. But those whom the sea tries, brought to their wits' end by it, and crying to Him in their trouble, find the wonderful works of God. The shore which is Judah's limit is that also which He has given the sea, and it cannot pass it, nor turn again to cover the earth. Every way trial ends in the demonstration of the power of God, and that He is for His people. At the sea, Jabneel, "God is the builder," proves itself in this barrier of sand, so slight as it appears, in fact so mighty. In this lesson these two lines unite. The sea is not to exist forever: in the new world there will be none; but it will abide in the voice from it which will eternally proclaim the glory of God in His mastery of all circumstances, whereby all things work together for good, whatever their character. All conflict and trial past we shall praise God for the sea, and it will abide for us, as apostles and prophets abide, in the work that they have accomplished for us. May not this be the meaning of the number 8, with which the last section closes?

(3) And now we return once more to Caleb, whose history is so interwoven with this delineation of Judah's possession as to show plainly its great importance for us in connection with the general lesson. Yet it has been supposed,from facts which will have to be considered in another place, that he was not himself by right of birth a member of the tribe. And this seems confirmed by what is said here, that he was given a portion among the children of Judah according to the word of the Lord, although this last may relate to what follows rather than to what precedes. Caleb seems to have been of Edomite stock, one of those believers from among the Gentiles, of whom we find many prominent examples in the history of God's people, and of whom our Lord might have uttered the words concerning the Roman centurion, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Alas, the faith found among those brought up in a certain familiarity with divine things that have only availed to deaden the wonder of them, is so apt to be dulled to the average as it were between faith and unfaith; lacking the individuality that appears in those of whom we think as having lesser advantage.

Of Caleb's conquest we have no details. To those with whom God is, what is all the banded strength of the sons of Anak? Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai are dispossessed, and Hebron is his own. The names of the three children of Anak are not easy to interpret, and one can only venture to suggest their significance. As Anakim, ("the long-necked") of whom it was said, "who can stand before the children of Anak?" they may well represent the different forms of the pride of heart from which God is far off, and which is therefore the most terrible hindrance to the believer's possession of Hebron, that is "communion." Sheshai, which means most probably "white," may in this way speak of self-righteousness, the pride of personal character; Ahiman, if we may take it with Fausset to mean, "who is my brother?" of the pride of station, birth, or worldly condition; Talmai, "my furrows," of the pride of work accomplished, of one's doings. This certainly might well represent the whole family of Anak. They all fall before whole-hearted Caleb; and they as surely will before every one like him.

Hebron is his own, but that is not his only possession. We hear at this point of another city which has already come before us, and of the meaning of which there is no question. Debir, we find, has had, like Hebron, its Canaanite name: it was Kirjath-sepher, the "city of the book;" and how striking it is that in Caleb's hands the city of the book becomes the place of a divine oracle! a written word merely is exchanged for a living Voice, the voice of Him who when the heart is right with Him, delights to draw near and speak to the heart of the worshiper. Is not Debir in fitting company with Hebron? is it not its rightful complement? For the Christian of course, the "oracle" is not divorced from the "book:" it neither displaces nor overrides it. Nay, the "living oracles" is the title of Scripture itself, which faith owns and finds true. God never sets aside His Word; but the Spirit of God works with it and energizes it that it may be this to us, giving us the full reality of the divine Presence. Alas! how few yet know this in the measure it should be known!

It is not however Caleb himself who takes Debir, but Othniel, either his nephew, or a much younger brother, who gets, according to promise, Achsah Caleb's daughter for his wife. Achsah would seem to mean "anklet," as Othniel is said to be "lion of God." What follows, however, is full of significance. Achsah on coming to him had* urged him to ask of her father a field, and she had got it, but in a south land — dry and needy: she boldly therefore goes further, and begs her father to give her springs of water. He gives her abundantly: upper springs and lower springs.

{*So I think it should be read, otherwise the connection is very difficult.}

But who cannot see that, if these be "living oracles," there must be something deeper here? If only history, it would not seem very remarkable or worthy of preservation: and yet it is actually singled out from the midst of things apparently much more important, for repetition in the book of Judges. What is there so noteworthy in a young woman asking of her father a field and water? Yet we are warned carefully against looking for "gospel" in it! No wonder, if this be the temper of even orthodox commentators, that the "higher critics" should be encouraged, and God's people should be starved.

If we will only remember that "all these things happened to them for types," and that we have thus in type our own portion before us, how fruitful indeed, and well worth of double emphasis, Achsah's story becomes. Would only that we had her eagerness after a good portion, with every requisite for its enjoyment! would that we might be bold also to add prayer to prayer, making one gift the argument for another, until we had blessing indeed! Here we may be permitted to lose sight even of the large-hearted Caleb, and to think of One who surely gives with His "whole heart." Suppose Achsah had argued, "My father has given me already what he wished to give. I must not desire too much, nor reproach him as if his gift were not good enough," — what would she have done with her south land, and no water? And just so God often gives what He knows necessitates more, and delights in the faith that says, not "It is enough," but "It is not enough." Of course, we are speaking of spiritual gifts, although the principle is of wider application, if we are only near enough to God to apply it rightly. But our land — our portion with Him — is a "south land." It faces the sun, and we need the Sun: we never can have too much of it; precious things are put forth by the Sun: all we need is water, springs of water, living water; and Caleb's liberality in this respect is but the faint image of God's.

Our portion is workable land: it calls for diligence, for labor upon it; and it will repay labor richly too. Would that the people of God would realize this more! Ah, how it needs to be insisted upon, to be repeated, not once only, but continually. And thus the precious Word of God, by which alone our portion is made our own, how we should search it, dig into it, not be content to leave it so much to a special class to assert patent rights as its interpreters, while thankful for every right thought that any can contribute to us. But we must seek and use the water above all; for the south land is one of all lands most dependent; and we know how to ask believingly from Him who giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not.

Then there are "upper springs and lower springs," — those that spring out of valleys as well as out of hills, — wonderful high levels with large outlook, and low places, as in the valley of humiliation, where the streams linger, and fruits corresponding to each plane. There are glorious heights where, far above all storms, we gaze into clear, transparent, measureless infinity. And there are sweet recesses where we are shut in and see little, but where still there is the same Presence and the same Voice: "breadth and length and depth and height" are with all their variety still filled with one uniting, unifying blessedness, "the love of Christ that passeth knowledge."

(4) We have now a detailed list of the cities of Judah, in which we are evidently not to think (or but secondarily,) of the people that filled them. They stand rather for localities, varied circumstances, conditions, experiences, in and through which God is known, and the worship of His people ascends to Him. It is thus, as I believe, they fill the fourth place here.

It is but a list of names, which seem indeed to have little for us, except as we find it in the meanings Of the names themselves. The best of commentators find here nothing but topography, and can give nothing but criticisms upon the language and historical references. There is surely room, therefore, for another treatment of them, which, if it can in any tolerable way give them consistent spiritual meaning, will demonstrate itself as true interpretation. If it speak to us in coherent language, — if it bring us lessons of holy wisdom, — why should we doubt that there is mind behind it? and then whose mind can it be but that of Him whom all His works confess?

We dread imagination; yet God has given us imagination, and appeals to it. We may abuse it — truly: not a good gift but may be abused. Have we not as much cause to dread the unbelief that carries with it its badge of weary dullness and inanity, which, because it is unbelief, can never "see the glory of God"? Scripture is fuller of this than even our imagination can easily suggest; and indeed it is imagination (for unbelief has its own,) that we have to oppose here with Scripture, — Scripture which asserts for itself that it is all "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," so that we must suppose even a list of Israel's cities should be that. Let us see if, by God's goodness, we may discover this: let us seek, that we may find. And Christians should be able to discern the difference between the day-dreams of the visionary and the clear sight of faith. "I speak as to wise men," says the apostle; "judge ye what I say."

One may freely confess that the subject is a peculiarly difficult one. The names are often hard to interpret, and the vocabularies give a bewildering variety of meanings. They are often capable of very different ones, and the difficulty is increased by conjectural vagaries of critics, who are as much troubled with imagination as any poor allegorical interpreter needs to be.

But there are difficulties with the text also, and some mistakes seem undoubtedly to have crept into the copies. These we shall have occasion to notice as we come to them. Here, if any where in Scripture, they would naturally be found. The numerical symbolism should be of the greatest help here, as it is all through, a check upon mere fancy instead of a loose rein to it, which brings in, indeed, something of the certainty of mathematical science into interpretation. If any one imagines otherwise, let him try any list of names in an uninspired book, and see how he will succeed, with the help of the liveliest fancy, in finding in it the faintest resemblance to what we trust to show to be here.

(a) The cities are gathered in larger and smaller groups, and sometimes numbered. Here again is a help to true interpretation, a guard against a false one. We have separately the cities in the south, (the Negeb;) in the Shephelah, or lowland; in the hill-country; and in the wilderness. The south (or Negeb, not the usual term for the south quarter,) we have seen already to speak of a dry land, yet productive, if its one necessity be met — that of water. As facing Edom, and the more distant Egypt, it is a land peculiarly dependent upon the rain of heaven. It was full of cities once, now shut up in desolation. As a needy land, it was well fitted to remind the dwellers in it of the divine Hand upon which they were dependent. It will be no wonder, then, if its cities preach specially to us of the power and work of God, as in fact they do; lying also more or less near to the southern border, the line of which we have followed throughout.

(*) The smaller divisions may be traced by the want of the usual conjunction, the first group in this way consisting of nine cities, which would again, according to the usual division of nine, fall into three threes. Thus already the structure is marked out for us before we have looked at a name, and we have a strict curb upon imagination. These are the numbers attached to the names and their divisions; if the symbolism of numbers is preserved here, then they will be justified by the significance throughout:
1.  1. Kedesh, 2. Hazor, 3. Ithnan.
2.  1. Kabzeel, 2. Eder, 3. Jagur;
3.  1. Kinah, 2. Dimonah, 3. Adadah;

We must take them up separately first, before we can see the meaning of this classification.

"Kabzeel" means "God gathers;" and the name of God (El) is that which speaks of power. A good thing for Israel to be reminded of and a real foundation for a nation's praise. It affirms their unity as from God, the practical accomplishment of it as from His mighty hand. As a first thought, it is also a simple one, and numerically clear.

"Eder" is "flock," from a verb which according to Parkhurst means "to separate, sever, distribute:" "a flock of sheep or herd of kine, which are separated or disposed at the will of the herdsman." Such a flock too is Israel, to be distributed and disposed at the will of their Great Shepherd; and this is the natural sequence and supplement to the thought in "Kabzeel," in some sense antithetical also, as their numbers are.

"Jagur" means "he sojourns," the word used by the Psalmist for "abiding" in God's tabernacle. (Ps. 15:1; Ps. 61:4.) The land of Israel was God's, and they were His guests — "strangers and sojourners with Me," He says. (Lev. 25:23.)

God's sovereignty shines in these three names, and is the thread that unites them together. He gathers them by His power, arranges and disposes of them in His wisdom, entertains them in sovereign goodness; and these are surely all materials for praise. These cities lie also near the border of Edom, and in a marked way characterize Israel as in opposition to the independence and profanity of Esau.

But if God is owned their Sovereign in the first three, He is seen no less as their Saviour in the second three; and this comes in natural as well as numerical order here. For "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Thus we have now —

Kinah, which, from kanah, may mean "purchase."

Dimonah, "sufficient numbering," the terms of the purchase: "He was numbered with the transgressors:" the full price paid.

Lastly, Adadah, which may most literally mean, "the prey has departed." For "therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong: because He hath poured out His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

The third series suitably begins, as a Leviticus one, with Kedesh, the "sanctuary." It is Kadesh-barnea that is meant, and which we know was on the southern boundary; but "barnea," "the wanderer," is rejected, as unsuitable to what is here, and only the first part retained.

Hazor also, "an enclosure," is, with Kadesh, on the boundary; but —

Ithnan is a place which is only mentioned here, and means, apparently, "he shall spread himself abroad." Thus we have again easily connected thoughts: a sanctuary — a safe retreat; an enclosure — a hedge around; and yet that only keeps out evil, does not prevent extension and multiplication. These thoughts all connect with sanctification, but speak, as all do here, rather of work done for one that this may be, than of the internal work, except in some measure the last, which gives the result, and which, as the third name in a third series, naturally emphasizes more what is internal. Here, then, the first group of cities is completed: in it divine power manifests itself throughout.

(**) The second series has but five names, and is a simple one. Young gives the first, Ziph, as "place of refining," and this seems to agree well with the general thought of the series, and to characterize it. Humiliation and its results seem to be here spoken of, and this is a deeper necessity for us, and a matter for more abundant praise, than it is easy to believe. Yet if pride was that by which an angel became a devil, the sin which alone seems possible to one in all the created perfection which Ezekiel ascribes to him (Ezek. 28:15, 17), one may not wonder if even as saints we have to be guarded in every possible way against it.

Telem, "oppression," — a strange word amid the rest — seems thus, however, intelligible; and from God's hand it may come sweetened, though an enemy for enmity alone be the oppressor.

Bealoth, "on the ascent," comes suitably in the third place; for with God there is always a way out; and a way out is always a way up. Then comes, under the number of weakness, —

Hazor-hadattah, a "new enclosure," a fencing about still for safety, while relieved from the past distress; and then —

Kerioth-hetzron, "cities of enclosure," which is, after all, old Hazor with a new meaning. When the fencing round is found to be the folding about of the everlasting arms, and that is consciously fulfilled to the soul, "Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance" (Ps. 32:7), then begins the stir of busy, fruitful life of which the "cities" speak.

All this is Judah's portion; and we have only looked at a little corner yet.

(***) With the third group, another nine, we come to what is strictly internal work — divine work in the soul;* a theme for praise indeed, as that which alone makes competent for praise. These nine divide once more (as nine seems always to do) into three threes: —
1.  1. Amam, 2. Shema, 3. Moladah;
2.  1. Hazar-gadda, 2. Heshmon, 3. Beth-pelet;
3.  1. Hazar-shual, 2. Beersheba, 3. Biziothiah.

{*For full detail as to the nine names here, see my tract, "From Amam to Biziothiah."}

The first three begin with that with which all here must begin, — with new birth.

"Amam:" I take it to mean "their mother," and to refer to the common mother of us all. Eve fallen has involved in her fall all the children descended naturally from her: "Behold, I was shapers in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Ps. 51:5.) With this truth, sad and humbling as it is, we must begin, or we cannot understand the necessity for new birth. Two words, which we must connect together in order to apprehend their force, give us now this very simply.

"Shema," "report," and —

"Moladah," "birth," thus easily convey to us the truth which Peter emphasizes, — "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." (1 Peter 1:23.) "Faith cometh by a report, and the report by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17, Gk.) Here the first triad ends; the first stage of the journey is reached.

"Hazar-gaddah," an "enclosure of conflict" begins the next three. This is now the internal strife which is found after new birth, — "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." (Rom. 7:23.) "Hazar," "enclosure," speaks, on the other hand, of the law of God, which while we are under it in conscience, holds us in for conflict. "The strength of sin is the law," though it condemns and urges us against it. This is the lesson of Pharaoh, Migdol, and the Sea, and which is acted out for us in that grand type. A new deliverance is needed, of which we have the method revealed in —

"Heshmon," "quiet reckoning." We do not conquer by fighting, but by faith: "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 7:25.) It is by learning our place before God in Christ, in full simplicity, and that God does not identify us with the evil in us, but with Him who by His cross has put it away, that we reach —

"Beth-pelet," "the house of escape," the sanctuary into which He has entered, and where He abides for us. How safe and complete a shelter! But it is in the third series that we find the full result. As in all three, the first of the triad is the most mysterious: it is —

"Hazar-shual," "the enclosure of the jackal" — "the jackal-pen." "Shual" is the word translated "foxes" in the common version, but for which, in general "jackal" is allowed to be better. Both are "burrowers," as the word means; but the jackal only is a carrion-feeder, as Ps. 63:10, and gregarious, as Samson's exploit would imply. (Judges 15:4.) The two former habits, and the whole connection in which we find the word here, induce the belief that it is the symbol of the evil nature, the flesh, with its earthliness and its greed for corruption. This jackal-nature cannot be slain, moreover. It can be "penned," and thus practically "annulled," the real word in Rom. 6:6, the fruit of faith in what the cross has done for us: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be annulled, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Faith indeed must keep the pen, even when deliverance is fully known; and so it is further written, "Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus;" and "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." (vv. 11, 12.) The knowledge of deliverance, however, by a soul practically in the faith of it, pens the jackal-nature.

So we come to "Beersheba," "the well of the oath," or "of the seven," the number of lambs by which the well that he had dug was secured to Abraham. So to the delivered believer the well of water is secured by divine promise, founded on the perfection of what Christ is for God. All the fullness of the Spirit belongs to him, and yet not without the need of diligence on his part, as the well implies: not a free-flowing spring, though this is the suited symbol at other times, but the need recognized of maintaining access to these living waters. The numerical place dwells upon the office of the Spirit as a witness to Christ.

Lastly, we have "Biziothiah," which Young gives as "the house of Jah's olives." It may be, more simply, "among Jah's olives;" but either yields a good sense. Not only is the believer granted access to the living water, he is himself a vessel of the Spirit, of which the oil of the olive is an undoubted symbol. The oil resides in the olive; and so the Psalmist: "But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever." (Ps. 52:8.)

How beautifully do these names tell out, from first to last, the internal work in the soul of the saint! The exact numerical significance may be traced just as fully, Hazar-gaddah, as the first of the second series, speaking of the reign of law; and the series itself, of deliverance from the law; Hazar-shual, the first of the third series, of the dominion of the Spirit; and the series itself, of realized sanctification. What could be more entirely appropriate and more beautiful? The other numbers are easy.

(****) We come now to the fourth group of these cities of the south, and which ends the catalogue. Here we have in our Bibles thirteen names, a number of which as yet we have no knowledge. The two final names, indeed, "Ain and Rimmon," says Keil, "are given as Simeonite towns, and, being written without the copula, are treated as one name in Joshua 19:7 and 1 Chron. 4:32, although they are reckoned as two separate towns in chap. 19:7. But as they were also called "En-Rimmon" after the captivity, and are given as one single place in Neh. 11:29, they were probably so close together that in the course of time they grew into one." Some would reckon them, therefore, as one here; and if that could be done, the number would be 12, which, according to what seems as yet the constant law, would be divided as four threes. Trying to divide them thus, however, there seems not a ray of light as to their meaning.

The whole number of these cities of the Negeb is given in ver. 32 as twenty-nine — "twenty-nine cities and their villages." But there are, in fact, thirty-six names, and not twenty-nine; and commentators have in general, with Keil, taken this as a textual error, the Syriac version reading thirty-six, which would be right. However, the correction would be very easy to be made, and quite likely to be a critical emendation only, as Fay allows.

But another alternative has been adopted by other commentators; and Hollenbeck suggests that the additional names have been interpolated from Neh. 11. This is unlikely enough, for the books are too far apart in time. A more likely interpolation, if we must (as seems plain,) suppose error somewhere, would be from Simeon's cities, as given in chap. 19. The cities of Simeon, who was to be "scattered in Israel," were all given him in Judah's territory; and some of them have been actually thus already mentioned, as Moladah, Hazar-shual, and Beersheba, — names which assuredly we could not afford to lose out of the places which they occupy. Moreover, if we would blot out all Simeonite cities out of the list, there would be now a deficiency as before an excess. Blot them out, however, out of this fourth part only,* the number becomes exactly right — twenty-nine cities.

{*They are bracketed in the text above.}

Moreover, looking at the list so altered, light begins at once to dawn on us. There are thus but six cities left, if we retain Baalah, which may indeed very probably be the Balah of Simeon, filling the right place in the list in the nineteenth chapter; but which, if so, is essentially altered in meaning as well as in spelling, so that we cannot reckon it as the same really. 6 is a more likely number than 12 in such a record as the present, approaching, and indeed going beyond, 4 in its significance of evil, and yet, as we know, speaking of it always as under the curb of divine power, and of final victory over it. While 12, though related to 4 — as 4 x 3 — contains the 4 as the earth-number, being manifest divine government over the earth. 4, in the present case, speaks rather of the weakness and failure of the creature, which, taken in connection with the 6 of victory, a distinct meaning emerges at once for the whole series.

And here, first, "Baalah," "mistress," whose lesson we have already in another Baalah upon the northern boundary. Its clear right to its numerical place, and its indication of that pride that goeth before a fall are equally plain.

Then "Iim," the plural of "Ai," "heaps of ruins," gives the fall itself; not, I think, that outward fall which is often but the judgment upon the sin, leading, as in Peter's case, to self-judgment and recovery from it, but rather a simply spiritual collapse, which may be startling often in its rapidity.

Thirdly — the number of manifestation, — "Chesil," when applied to man, is invariably, in our Bible, translated "fool." It is a word we have met before in but a slightly altered form, (in connection too with Baalah,) as Chesalon, on the northern boundary; and there, as significant of folly in a special form, "the folly of a false confidence." This is what ever, indeed, deceives man to his fall, a false faith being as potent for evil as the true for good, and this faith being constantly self-confidence in some form. "Having no confidence in the flesh" means, for the Christian, power in the Spirit; and in this sense, "happy is the man that feareth always, but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief." (Prov. 28:14.) Here is the divine interpretation of failure.

Fourthly, "Madmannah" gives the open downfall which brings man into his native weakness, and so to himself. Most give it, indeed, as "dung-hill;" but in Jer. 48:2 there is a play upon the name, though of another place: "Thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen;" perhaps, "Thou shalt be leveled, O leveler;" where the R.V., "Thou shalt be put to silence," seems to miss the connection. The Septuagint and Vulgate agree in rendering the word as "cart" of a threshing-floor (Isa. 25:10); and such a figure would be quite appropriate here. God has to humble and bring down when we have stiffened ourselves against Him, though the wheat is only helped by the threshing, and even Satan's sieve He uses to accomplish this.

"Sansannah," "palm-cluster," then speaks of peaceable fruits of righteousness found by exercise under God's chastening hand. And —

"Shilhim," "armed" men, in the sixth place, which speaks of victory, may remind us of how experience of the past prepares for the future, and the weapons of the enemy taken from his hand may be used against him.

Thus, in view of failure also, we can praise our unfailing God. The furnace of trial is secured by covenant for us, and, if we endure chastening, God dealeth with us as with sons. Here the enumeration of the cities of the Negeb ends, and the numerical structure, in the consistent exposition which it gives of the last portion, seems to prove the number 29 of the closing verse to be the true one, and therefore the interpolation of names from the Simeonite list, the order being also exactly similar in the two places.

(b) We come now to the cities of the lowland, a term which, though objected to by some, is only the simple rendering of "Shephelah." As a district, however, it includes both the Philistine plains and the low hills, and does not extend north of Carmel. In its designation it is already physically in agreement with the number attached to it. Whatever may be the connection, it seems to me, however, that relationship is what is pictured in the cities now before us; and here in the first place the need of new relations, because of the rupture of the old by sin. And these new relations, which are in and through Christ, meant for Him that wondrous humiliation which "shephelah" from shaphel," to humble, would point out.

(*) The cities here are arranged in three larger groups first, of which connection, fourteen names, "Gederah" and "Gederothaim" being only the singular and dual forms of the same word, and given as alternative names for the same place, and the connective "ye" being used for "or" as well as "and." Otherwise there would be fifteen cities, and the number given would be in disagreement with the facts, as some believe they are. But we are not at liberty to suppose changes in the text, when there is no absolute need of them, and there seems none here.

The arrangement of the names, as indicated by the presence or absence of the conjunction, is 5, 2, 2, 5, or thus: —
Eshtaol and Zoreah and Ashnah and Zanoah and Engannim
Tappuah and Enam;
Jarmuth and Adullam;
Socoh and Azekah and Shaaraim and Adithaim and Gederah, or Gederothaim.
And, first, "Eshtaol," a word, like many others, capable of diverse significations, means, if we may judge by the connection, "strong woman;" and this seems to lead us back, as in a previous group, to the beginning. "Strong woman" looks, indeed, like pure satire upon Eve, who fell at the first breath of temptation; yet, in fact she ventured upon her strength when the sense of weakness and insufficiency would have preserved her. Adam was not deceived, but she waited not for counsel from him to whom God had joined her. She acted in independence, and then proved her strength only to pull down her husband with her in her fall. Here, alas, she was strong enough, and how often since has this story repeated itself! Thus —

"Zoreah," "hornet," which derives its name from its virulent "stroke," — a word closely related to that for leprosy, the well-known type of sin in its inward malignancy, — stands in ominous conjunction with this woman's strength. And this is what strength in man naturally connects itself with ever since, and the secret of overcoming still is, "When I am weak, then am I strong."

"Ashnah," next, may mean "returning," closely related to "shanah," "year," which is a revolution of the seasons, a circle returning into itself. And thus man's life has become but a brief cycle of development and decay, and the voice that called man from the dust, says, "Return, ye children of men." (Ps. 90:3.) This is the seal divinely put upon man's condition, to manifest it to himself. His link with God is gone. The old relation is ended, and though man exists beyond death, it is naturally only in, a state to which judgment has brought him.

But if man but accepts this judgment, there is mercy with God, and thus in the next place, under the number which speaks of weakness and of failure, "Zanoah" announces a "provision of rest." Not in the grave, thank God, but in restoration to Him. Then Paradise returns, and this the fifth name declares —

"En-gannim," a "fountain of gardens," — Eden, as it were, multiplied, and watered by living water, with the vision of which the revelation of God closes; the next thing is perfection — "face to face."

Is it but the old relationship restored? No, blessed be God again, it is not. This the next two names, held fast to each other, tell us: —

"Tappuah and Enam," as the lexicons say, "an apple" and a "double spring."

Common thought is that the "apple" was the instrument of man's fall. Here, at least, an apple may disclose the mystery of man's recovery. The simplest things in nature are full of divine secrets. We miss them because we so little care to find them. The world has abundant treasures to pour out at the feet of him who is not of the world, and it will be good if we find in this place a lesson of this kind.

"Tappuah," — whether "apple," "citron," "apricot," or whatever the learned may decide it to be, — is named in Hebrew from its fragrance: it means "breather," its emitted fragrance being called its "breath." But what then has this for us? Let us meditate upon it and see. "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly unto them, that thy profiting may appear unto all."

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul."

This is figurative language also. All the deepest things are expressed to us in figures. God's inbreathing into man, never said to have been with the beasts, is that which implies the new and peculiar relationship between Him and this new creature of His making. Man is the offspring of God, and thus in his image. His spirit is from the "Father of spirits;" and the word which answers to this in Hebrew, as in our own language, is in fact identical with the word "breath." But God's breath, what is it? Common air? And man's spirit, what is it? That which is in constant influx and reflux, — never at a stay? This rubbish of materialism the devil must laugh over, when he sees the flimsy structures men can build with it. No, this breath of God is man's true, personal, and eternal essence, — spirit from the Spirit, and "what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?" It is the permanent difference which exists between himself and every other being that exists upon the earth.

But the relationship which is here with God can only abide aright as man abides in moral likeness also. This the Lord affirms to the Jews, who claimed God for their Father. (John 8:42.) The competency for the place is lost by moral insolvency, and God must again come in by salvation and quickening from the dead, that men may be restored. Thus, again, having recourse to the figures by which God is pleased to communicate so often His deep things to us, the Lord, in the midst of His disciples, on the day of His resurrection from the dead, "breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." (John 20:22.) As "last Adam" now, in contrast with the first, who as breathed upon, became a living soul, He is a "quickening Spirit." (1 Cor. 15:45.) A new life from God in Christ brings His people into new and better relationship, and Christ is the Inspirer, — "Breather," "Tappuah," of whom the spouse may indeed say, "His mouth is most sweet." (Cant. 5:16.) Here, indeed, is fragrance from God and for God Himself.

And then we have "Enam," "a double spring," — living waters. "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Here is surely the spring, — yea, the "double spring," — for such was the pentecostal gift. It was not merely what all saints had enjoyed from the beginning, but a double portion and more, transcending that: but I cannot dwell upon it now. Thus does the new life attain its fullness for us.

From resurrection to ascension is the natural progress of thought, and we must remember that we do not lose Him from the place of representative which he took for us upon the cross, when we follow Him back to his eternal home in glory. He is gone "to appear in the presence of God for us." (Heb. 9:24.) Thus the two names bound together next can present no difficulty. We have, first —

"Jarmuth," "elevation," "exaltation," a name with which we are already familiar, if not in this application; and then —

"Adullam," the most literal rendering of which word would seem undoubtedly to be "in very deed a witness." How simply applicable to Him who has gone in for men as Man, the testimony to the value of His completed work and of the acceptance therefore of His people! Our relation to God is characterized for us on the one side by the new life we have in Him, and on the other by the heavens opened and furnished by His presence there.

The fourth group of five names is less plain as to the detail, though its general significance is surely warning, — so far as we have gone yet, the one exception of this kind we have found among the themes with which Judah's cities engage us. We have here —

First, "Socoh:" either "his hedge," or, as in Lam. 2:6, "his tabernacle," and then —

"Azekah," "fencing round," or, as more generally taken, "breach," two nearly opposite thoughts. But "his hedge" with "fencing round," would seem mere tautology, and his tabernacle," if it be applied to God, would seem to make the idea of being broken through less probable. Would not the thought be that God having thus, as all that goes before has shown, drawn near to men, He must "fence round" this grace from rash intrusion? To treat grace as grace is none. This glorifies God, and is His way of blessing for us. All may come freely who will come through Christ; but how many would draw near Cain-like without the shelter of the blood? Thus He Himself reminds us of the "strait gate "and the "wide," the "narrow way" and the "broad," and of these the next two names surely strikingly bear testimony: —

"Shaaraim," "two gates," and —

"Adithaim," "two ways!"

The fifth name, "Gederah," with its apparent variation merely, "Gederothaim," is again more difficult. The word means a wall or enclosure, generally, at least, of stone, such as was used often at night for the protection of sheep," a sheep-fold," or "two sheep-folds." The numerical place seems to speak of the end of the way and the dual form of the final word to carry the previous alternatives to their conclusion. The word is not always an enclosure for sheep, and there may be intentional ambiguity, significant as that. This seems not difficult to understand. But why the first "Gederah?" May it be that divine love would have but one enclosure — one happy fold at last, but that man's way necessitates two, how different? This is only a suggestion; but it is at least a sweet while solemn thought with which to end the series. God is calling men, whose old relationship to Him sin has broken, to new relationship with Him in a higher way. Man's will is, alas, a terrible factor in the final result; and, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life," are words that apply yet even to multitudes that are professedly Christ's own people.

(**) The second series of the cities of the Shephelah, sixteen in number, seems to represent the service implied in relationship, as the first series has shown us the ground of it. All relationship, of necessity, supposes duty as flowing from it, and that on both sides, and as various as are the aspects of the relationship itself. It is only as we come to look at the names that we shall be able to see just what the Lord has chosen to bring before us here.

There are three groups, of six, seven, and three names respectively: —
Zenan, Hadasha, Migdal-gad, Dilean, Mizpeh, Joktheel;
Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, Cabbon, Lahmam, Kithlish, Gederoth;
Beth-dagon, Naamah, Makkedah.

The place of each number in this is again definitely determined for us, and we have no choice at all about it. For this we may be very thankful, for even the significance of the names is at times quite difficult to make out, and then they are in their nature symbolical — true hieroglyphs, and we need all the help that can be obtained to read them.

"Zenan," the first of the first group, signifies "sheep," or "a place of sheep." We are in a part of the land, and among names which remind us of these, as "Gederah" and "Gederothaim" in the first series, and another "Gederoth" further on in the present one. Standing where it does — at the head of the series, it would naturally suggest to us a relation of His people to their Lord, which He Himself emphasized strongly. As the "good Shepherd," He laid down His life for the sheep: as the "great Shepherd" "brought again from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant," He guides them now. On their part the terms suppose docility and obedience, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." We have next —

"Hadashah," "new," where the only difficulty can be as to what it refers to. "Other sheep I have," says the Lord again, "which are not of this" Jewish "fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock," — not "fold," — "one Shepherd." One flock of Jews and Gentiles together, outside the legal fold, kept together by the one authoritative voice they know and follow. To this the word may well apply.

"Migdal-gad," "tower of the troop," may also have reference to a flock. Such towers were built for its safety; for better watching against beasts or men; and with Micah the "tower of the flock" is "the stronghold of the daughter of Zion." (Micah 4:8.) The exalted Lord, with all power His in heaven and in earth, thus cares for His people, and none can pluck them out of His hand.

Thus they are provided for. But the fourth name suggests quite different thoughts, and yet in complete accordance with the number. "Dilean" signifies, as I believe, weak with humbling," and brings back to our thoughts once more the condition in itself so healthful for us, yet to which we have often to be brought by such painful discipline. The sheep is naturally weak and defenseless enough, and no further image should be needed to convey such a thought to us; but we know well that we have to be reminded of and made to realize this condition, that we may be content to remain in the place of dependence, and follow without straying from the Great Shepherd.

Of this, I think, the next word, "Mizpeh," the "watch-tower," is intended to remind us. It comes in the fifth place, under the number of responsibility, and is surely not meant to repeat the thought of Migdal. The words of the Psalmist rather give the meaning, "In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will watch." (Ps. 5:3; ) or, those of the Prophet, "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved." (Hab. 2:1.)

This watching is indeed the product of "Migdal" and "Dilean" together, as we may say, — of the apprehension of our weakness and of His wise and holy guardianship and guidance: "Behold, as the eyes of a servant look unto the hand of his master, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God." And how, indeed, apart from this attitude, can we be guided by His eye?

But it is to this we must be brought, and then will "Joktheel," "subdued by God," celebrate His love-triumph over us. Note that this is the sixth place we have reached, the number of victory, but the victory is His if the fruit is ours. Moulded to His will, brought into the attitude of habitual dependence upon Himself, what more can be wanting to us? And He, too, sees in us the fruit of the travail of His soul and is satisfied.

Thus, what we have in this first group is the Shepherd's service to the sheep; it is the fruit of this relationship in which He is to us. The second group has seven names, and begins on our side with —

"Lachish," which we have already twice over looked at, as signifying, "Walk as men;" not here of course in the carnal sense in which the apostle reproves it in the Corinthians, but as we have seen to be the meaning when the city becomes Israelite, "Walk as the man;" or, "Walk in Christ." The Second Man alone is man after God's own thought, and we are to "walk as He walked," — a heavenly man in the world. This alone is Christian obedience, too sadly forgotten, but of which the numerical place bears witness. The next name gives the character of this walk, as —

"Bozkath," "in being poured out." "Yea," says the apostle, "and if I be poured out upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." (Phil. 2:17, marg.) "Poured out" is the word, — as a drink-offering; and the drink-offering meant joy; but it was, of course, as all offerings, an offering to God, not man. And this was the principle of Christ's life, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame." (Heb. 12:2.)

The "Eglon" which we have before met comes in beautifully here. It is the wheel of man's destiny, but, as the third place shows, in the chariot of Deity; and as such it has nothing but good for the man of God. It is ordained for the abasement of man's pride, and writes vanity upon the world; but only as unbelief and pride refuse the judgment upon man as fallen, and shut themselves out from the revelation of the grace beyond. Faith, humbling itself before God, accepts the lesson, and finds God in it. The law of sacrifice consents to the losing life in this world as the way of keeping it to life eternal. And he to whom Christ's footsteps mark the road of his choice, realizes the very darkness and difficulty and need of the way as being like the wilderness, for Israel only the occasion for divine glory to manifest itself, and where faith too, as precious to God, is trained and exercised. The wheel of God's providence moves forward to the accomplishment of holy purposes, breaking up the stubble and sifting the wheat from the chaff: where all seems most confusion, God's granary garners most the precious grain.

And this may be the connection with the following word, "Cabbon," which seems to be "as one that understands," — that, Christ's spirit received into the the life, and the enigma of the world solved, the discipline of its government accepted, men become really those that understand. Faith is not credulity, though to the "fool" it may appear so: it is the opening of all secrets, and the fitting practically for every position and function of life. And thus "wisdom" in Scripture has always a distinct and inseparable relation to godliness; there is not even the beginning of it without "the fear of the Lord."

Moreover, as it owns God, so it regards man: fellowship with Him who is Love must be love too: it is "in" godliness that is developed brotherly love, and "in" brotherly love, a love still wider. So Peter's words (2 Peter 1:7.) really intimate. If Christ has found the door of the heart, He keeps it open, as His own is. And thus we find in the two names succeeding the fruit of a life devoted to God for others —

"Lahmam," "their bread;" the ministry, we may conclude, to the inward need of man, bread being the type of all other subsistence; while —

"Chithlish," "the beating down of the lion," speaks of other need, in deliverance from him who as a roaring lion goeth about, seeking whom he may devour; —

"Gederoth," again, closing the record here with a vision of securely folded sheep, preserved and rescued.

Thus the service of relationship is illustrated from the merely human side. Three names now seal the blessedness of all this

"Beth-dagon," "house of the fish," the last in Hebrew named from its fecundity. This in the fish is marvelous: and who shall tell the fruitfulness of a life given to God in accordance with His will? The numerical place would emphasize it, I think, as obedience, — no supererogatory work; nor left for the Christian either to carry out or not as he pleases. God has various places for us to fill indeed, and many members in the one body of Christ; but He has no different grades of that one life of which Christ is the measure always. What is short of this is only sin.

As the name recalls, Dagon was the Canaanite and Philistine fish-god; and to this day such as these represent worship fish, that is, a fruitful life: but Beth-dagon in Israelite hands was, of course, no more idolatrous. The light must "shine before men:" Christ must be testified to, that is, as the One who is the only true light; and thus, says the Lord, "they shall see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven." (Matt. 5:16.)

"Naamah," the second name, tells that this life is "pleasant." Such it is, as has been often testified even by those that have persecuted to the death those that lived it. Stephen's face, to all that looked upon it, shone like that of an angel. Yet they battered the glory out with stones.

Lastly, "Makkedah," "bowing the head," speaks of that subjection to God which glorifies Him, as making Him God indeed, and testifying how our hearts have been recalled to Him. This completes the blessedness.

(***) The third series of the Shephelah, emphasizes its number in the nine cities it contains, which are, according to what has proved hitherto the constant rule, a three by three. We should not be surprised to find, what is the fact, that they lead us into the sanctuary, and give us in one aspect of it, our relation to the Lord there. The first three speak plainly of His work as typified in what the apostle calls "the first tabernacle," the outer holy place; the second three of His entrance into the second, the inner one; the third, of our own realization of blessing in it. The lesson is from Hebrews throughout.
1. — 1. Libnah, 2. Ether, 3. Ashan;
2. — 1. Jiphtah, 2. Ashnah, 3. Nezib
3. — 1. Keilah, 2. Achzib, 3. Mareshah.

The place and number of every name are thus rigorously determined for us as before.

Libnah we are again familiar with: it means "white," and represents "purity." Moreover, in our former glance at it, we considered it to represent especially separation from evil. We shall now see how perfectly all this unites in the present application.

The high priest in Israel went into the sanctuary, not in the garments of glory and beauty, in which he appeared before the people, but in simple white linen garments only. All depends, as to him who draws near to God, upon the absolute purity of what we have seen the garments to represent, the personal ways — the habits. The unblemished victim spoke in another way of the same truth. Christ on the cross when heard by "Him who was able to save Him" — not "from," but — "out of death, was heard for His piety" (Heb. 5:7. margin.) He was "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," (Rom. 6:4,) God not suffering "His Holy One" — or rather "His Pious One," and thus in strict unity with Hebrews — "to see corruption." (Acts 2:27.) The plain white garments of the high priest taught the same obvious but solemn truth.

But Libnah gives us an additional thought, which Hebrews exactly interprets: "For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." (Heb. 7:26.) As the high priest's intercession in Israel was upon the ground of sacrifice, and for a (typically) redeemed people, so the Lord in heaven is for those of whom it is said, "By one offering, He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Heb. 10:14.) Of these He is now the Intercessor on high: "I pray for them," He says Himself; "I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou halt given Me; for they are thine" (John 17:9.) While the atonement is for all, in this sense, that all men are welcome, and besought to avail themselves of its full provision for them, His intercession in heaven is for His own, and Libnah presents the precise truth as to the High-priest in the Sanctuary. How absolutely perfect is the Word of God!

Ether follows Libnah, and is generally interpreted as "riches, abundance." There is a form in Scripture athereth, which means this: it occurs but once, while Athar in the simple form, occurs once as "thick" (Ezek. 8:11) "a thick cloud of incense went up." The R.V., with the Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac, translates here "the odour of the cloud." Hengstenberg objects to this however, as "a meaning that rests on no ground whatever." He translates, "And the prayer of the cloud of incense went up," and adds, "The cloud of incense is called 'prayer,' because it was an embodied prayer." The same word is translated suppliant" in Zeph. 3:10; and the verbal root (Athar) is commonly used for "intreat, pray." Wilson defines athar, "to pray as a suppliant, to supplicate God, powerfully, abundantly, or successfully; being generally used in Niphal of intreaty that prevails with God." Surely this is what the word means in this connection, found as such in exactly the right place, and being exactly the right word to express the prevailing intercession of the Lord.

Ashan, "smoke," reminds us of the "incense" which we find in Revelation added to the prayers of the saints, and which typifies the fragrance of Christ's own acceptability with which He makes them a sweet savor to God.

Thus all here speaks of the sanctuary; and the incense-altar stood in the outer sanctuary, or what the apostle calls the first tabernacle. (Heb. 9:2, 6, 8.) This remained through the whole legal dispensation separated by the vail from the holiest of all, in which was the mercy-seat and where the glory of God appeared. Only once a year, covered with the cloud of incense and to put the blood of propitiation before God, the high priest went in for a moment within the vail. The law which could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper could not therefore bring near to God: and this the intervening vail declared.

In Christianity the true blood of atonement does perfect the conscience and brings nigh the worshiper; the first tabernacle, as distinct from the second, is done away: and that is what we go on to in the second three names; the first of which is —

Jiphtah, "he openeth!" The veil is rent by that which provides the precious blood for the mercy-seat. Atonement is accomplished, the work which He undertook is done; the Son of God is gone up where He was before: which the single word —

Ashnah, which we met among the cities of the Negeb, not the same city, but the same name with the same meaning, "return," declares as His own proper home. Therefore, in contrast with the high priest's merely momentary entrance —

Nezib, "station," comes to assure us that He has taken His place there, and abides where He has entered — the numerical place affirming that now we have the realization of what the Jewish ceremonial only shadowed.

Here the second three end with the Lord's place taken in the heavens; the third three now coming to give us the realization of what has been done for us: —

First, "Keilah," which from the Arabic is said to mean "castle" or "refuge." Thank God, this place in the innermost sanctuary is both for us. We are urged, as "having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the vail, and having an high-priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:19-22.) Here, with such a welcome, we may well abide. What shaft of the enemy can reach us here?

We have also a witness of this place into which He is gone, and gone to appear in the presence of God for us: —

Achzib, is indeed generally considered to be the same as Chezib, and to mean "that which fails or deceives," as a winter torrent dried up by the heat of summer. And Micah (1:14) is quoted for this, that "the houses of Achzib shall be (achzab) a lie unto the Kings of Israel." Yet the true meaning, and in perfect harmony with the prophet also, is almost the exact opposite of this. Taken as two words joined together, ach zib would be "a flowing indeed," such as the Holy Ghost as living water is, such as the "houses of Achzib," a mockery of their name, were not. It comes also in the second place, not the third, with perfect propriety, because the Spirit of God is looked at, as already said, as a witness of Christ's ascension and glory: "Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth that which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:33.)

Thus a third word now closes the whole with the full conviction of what is implied for us as to the sanctuary into which Christ has entered —

Mareshah, "possession." Let it remain for us a living word, no theory, no dream: here let us abide, in the consciousness of what grace has made our own.

(****) From this to the Philistine cities of the plain! But the number gives us to know that we are descending here. Moreover the practical reality of sanctuary life has to be testified in the world; and we may not shrink from it. Of course, the Philistine cities as Judah's possession are no longer Philistine. Nor are they dwelt upon in much detail now. Indeed some commentators reputed orthodox believe in some omissions here, or else, that these verses are but a fragmentary addition by a later hand. I think, however, arguing from what is the fact, that every detail falls into its place, and the whole seems to be really complete in spiritual significance, that we have no reason for any such supposition. It gives the practical result of what precedes it.

There are five divisions here: —
1. Ekron and her dependencies and her villages.
2. From Ekron and toward the sea, all that are beside Ashdod and their villages.
3. Ashdod and her dependencies and her villages.
4. Gaza and her dependencies and her villages, unto the brook of Egypt.
5. The great sea and its coast.

All the names have already received their interpretation and the numerical place of each division is clear; so that we have narrow limits, as narrow as may well be, for the imagination. In fact, all this narrowing only simplifies our work, while it proportionately more confirms the result arrived at: a manifest mark of divine truth in it.

1. Ekron then means "eradication." We looked at the truth conveyed when we were surveying the border of Judah, and need not at length repeat it here. The numerical place is simple: it may well show us what is implied in "integrity" with God, the uncompromising judgment of evil: not turning the blind eye to things that we would spare, but judging with God, by His Word, not our own opinions, all that He judges. This is indeed a first principle for a true life, and the order here may well be considered a divine one.

3. To make out the second division, it is clear we must first of all look at the third. Ashdod, we have interpreted to be "the spoiler;" and again it is not hard to see that the heavenly things revealed, if received in heart, rob the earthly of their glory. We cannot enter into the heavenly except as we leave behind the things of earth: "if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth: for ye are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3.)

Thus Ashdod, as an Israelite city, clearly has its place under the resurrection number.

2. The second section is not so easy to interpret. It is simply characterized as places reaching from Ekron and the sea, alongside Ashdod. We may interpret it then as somewhat which takes its measurement from the "eradication" of evil and the paling of the world in the light of higher glory: and this, if we look at it in connection with the guidance of its numerical place, may well give us the thought of its being "growth" that is thus marked. Perhaps this is why we find no one city named also, because it is a thing so various in its manifestations, and so relative to other things — growth in this respect or in that. But it is of such great importance that we need not wonder to find a place reserved for it in such a catalogue as this. Growth characterizes life: even to meet daily wear and tear, there must be fresh production and renewal. And the life which is eternal, never reaching here its mature development, must surely grow. If any fresh knowledge be acquired, and it is by the truth that we are sanctified, must not this of itself necessitate it? Thus there seems full ground for believing that this is what is insisted on in this place, that a living soul must grow. While, if the lack of integrity and the sufferance of evil, with heart-occupation with the world, hinder this, then Ekron and the sea and Ashdod are of simple, easily read significance in connection with this.

(4) In the fourth place — not first, as in the former list of Philistine cities, and for many reasons, — under the number which speaks to us of "weakness" also, it is no more strange, but most appropriate, to find Gaza, "strength." The connection and order are (as always) most important to observe. Such things can be little dwelt upon here, but those who study Scripture with practical intent cannot afford to pass over what is indicated in them.

(5) Lastly, the sea and the sea-board, with their well-known meaning, and under the number that speaks of "exercise," fall also into Judah's portion. "Those that go down to the sea in ships," and learn there the wonders of the Lord, must not be lacking among Judah's worshipers.

Here the list of the Shephelah cities closes; and we go on to the cities of the mountain region. Shall we find the truth mount also, as we proceed?

(c) The cities of the mountain we may well suppose, from their position alone, to lift us up nearer to heaven and to God. The third place in which they come would confirm this, and suggest that they speak of the manifestation and glory of God Himself, although not as if apart from the blessing of His people: the names engraven upon the high-priest's breast-plate would be alone enough to assure us that this could not be. "In the ages to come, He," will "show forth the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." And this verse from Ephesians, the New Testament Joshua, we might expect to characterize in an especial way the section of the book which we have reached now.

There are five series of these cities according to our common Bibles, to which Keil would add from the Septuagint a sixth. This question we must consider in its place. The first series here consists of eleven cities. No groups are marked for us in this eleven; nor do we know as yet of any recognized Scripture way of dividing this, though no number so large as this would seem to be without it. We are left therefore to what the names in connection with the numbers themselves may indicate; and in this way there seems to be two groups of six and five respectively. The first seems to speak of God as manifested in the counsels of His grace, the second of the response of man to this manifestation.

The first group then consists of —
"Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh, and Dannah, and Kirjath-sannah, which is Debir, and Anab."

Shamir is a word which, in the book of Isaiah, is translated "briar;" elsewhere, in three places "adamant" or "diamond." In either case the derivation is from shamar, to "preserve," and in the latter case, if not the former, implies "hardness" and thus "durability." In this sense, and especially as standing for a durable precious stone, it fills undeniably its place in this series. It would speak thus of the unchangeability of God's attributes, which His counsels proclaim to us, the first necessity for the conception of God at all. Without caprice or uncertainty in His own nature, so also nothing from without can thwart His will or introduce confusion into his perfect ways. He is the "Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning;" and as such the first of these mountain cities represents Him.

Jattir is an intensive form of the verb jathar, to "exceed, go beyond, excel." We must translate it, "He far excels;" and this would suit exactly the numerical place in which we find it. God goes beyond all knowledge and all thought. "He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." And this also is necessary to our conception of God. He would not be that if we could compass Him in our thoughts. But that inscrutability which of necessity belongs to Him, while it affords room for faith, is not and cannot be aught but His perfection. We do not say even any more that He dwells in darkness: He dwelleth in the light inaccessible, One whom no man has seen or can see; not because there is obstruction to the sight, but because there is infinity before it. Hence alone come our difficulties; and therefore the humbler we are the less we have. The Cross presents and removes them; we see what darkness is, and it passes from us; we are "in the light, as God is in the light."

The third name we are familiar with, and that it is in its place cannot be questioned; it is Socoh, "His tabernacle." The word implies that He has come forth out of His eternity into man's time, and become with him a traveler. It is literally "His booth," a light temporary structure, put up for the care of a garden or vineyard, suggesting thus the object of this amazing condescension, those "delights with the sons of men," of which Christ is at the same time the expression and the justification. Hence in the fourth place here we have —

Dannah, a word not elsewhere found in Hebrew, but from the Arabic would mean, "pressed down," a meaning perfectly suited to its numerical place, but strange at first sight in connection with the display of God. Yet our hearts understand well the mystery of love which could constrain a divine being to take the creature place which this Dannah, found under this number four, the number of the creature, indicates.

Then we have in the fifth place, Kirjath-sannah, which we are told is Debir, evidently, from its position, the same Debir that we have already more than once met, and which was also called Kirjath-sepher. Kirjath-sannah, means "the city of instruction," and is thus allied in its significance to the former name; while Debir, the "oracle," and in this fifth place in which God and man meet together, repeats for us the assurance that it is God Himself who has become our teacher. "God has spoken to us in [the] Son," says the apostle (Heb. 1:2:) "the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He, hath told Him out." (John 1:18, Greek.)

Thus Socoh, Dannah, Debir, agree in their testimony, proclaiming the fullness of the grace that has visited us; and now in connection with these, and in the sixth place, a number that speaks of victory over sin, we have Anab, "He has bound together." This ought not to be difficult: it signifies the Mediator's work complete, the triumph of divine love achieved. This closes the series on the Godward side.

The human response we find now in five cities more, —
"And Eshtemoh, and Anim, and Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh."

First, for there is absolutely no result as yet, where the spirit of it is not found, Eshtemoh, "obedience."

Secondly, Anim, which interpreters take as a contracted form of Enim, "springs;" but this suits neither the numerical place nor the connection. A better rendering, and one which agrees with both of these, is that of "responsive songs," the joy of man's heart echoing the joy of God's.

Thirdly, we have Goshen, "drawing near."

Fourthly, Holon, which is by some rendered "sandy," from hol, "sand." But the latter part of the word may well be a separate one, and the whole a compound, hol-lon, with the middle letters become one. The meaning then would be "lodging for the night upon the sand," and this in beautiful appropriateness to the wilderness-number, and to the connection, which the —

Fifth word, Giloh, "removing," strikingly confirms. Drawn near to God, the heart becomes that of a stranger here, of one who tarries but the night in the wilderness, and for whom there is to be "removal" in the morning; the number is that in which man is seen with God, and the desire in departure is fulfilled! How the numbers certify and fill up the meaning at every point!

Thus the first series of the cities of the mountains ends. The second has nine names which are once more a three by three. They lead us evidently beyond the present world and uncover the secrets of the state of the dead, who "sleep in Jesus." It is a wonderful picture of what was little known indeed in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament is clearly revealed. Yet not even the New Testament itself would seem to go further than what we find here in the heart of the Old! The names are —
1. — 1. Arab, 2. Dumah, 3. Eshean;
2. — 1. Janum, 2. Beth-tappuah, 3. Aphekah;
3. — 1. Humtah. 2. Kirjath-arba or Hebron, 3. Zior.

Of these three groups, the first connects man with the body, though giving Christian hope as to the body itself; the second unveils hades, and shows us where the unclothed spirit is found; the third reveals in connection with this its internal condition.

The first word, Arab, means "a place of lying in wait." Generally used for the ambush of an enemy, the character of hostility is not necessarily in it. It is a place of hiding in expectancy; and such is the grave for the redeemed of the Lord.

The second word, Dumah, "silence," adds another character obvious enough. It, too, often implies expectancy, as where it is said, "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord" (Lam. 3:26, ) this word is used for "quiet expectancy."

The third word, Eshean, means "bed" or "couch;" and here the sleep is plainly temporary. Put these three words together, and there can be no doubt of what is referred to.

The second group carries us further: here the first name —

Janum, "he slumbereth," assures us that the sleep is only partial. It is the exact force of the word, though when applied to what is here before us, we must remember that this partial sleep is to be divided in this way, that as it is complete for the body, so it does not exist at all for the spirit or soul. Scripture never applies the term to these. Certainly for him who but dozes life still exists, and this may be the significance of the numerical place, especially when we connect it with the next word —

Beth-tappuah, the meaning of which has been already dwelt upon; it is the "house of the Breather," the term which we have seen to designate Christ as the last Adam, the communicator of life, and that a higher than natural. Thus the departed saint not merely exists: he lives the life which is eternal, and where Christ is, in His own dwelling place. And this is his —

Aphekah, "fortress" or "strong place:" how safe from all possibility of harm, with Christ, where He is: "absent from the body, present with the Lord."

We go on now more deeply into the internal state,beginning with —

Humtah, the only word akin to which in the Bible seems to be hornet, a word once used (Lev. 11:30) to indicate a "lizard," in the common version "a snail." The verb from which it is derived exists in the Chaldee, with the meaning, "to bow down, prostrate," and this therefore we seem to be compelled to take as the significance here — "prostrate."

For the man departed, even to be with Christ, death, as that which deprives him of the companionship of the body, would seem to argue the end in the meanwhile of such activity as the body enables for. The separate state, as such, is necessarily an imperfect one. Resurrection alone can give the full powers of manhood, of course for the first time in their absolute perfection. The word here seems as if it meant to admit the prostration of strength in this respect, while in full view of it, rendered only more emphatic by the acknowledgment, there is the maintenance of the condition as being one of communion, as in the next name, so familiar to us as it is, —

Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron. And may not the introduction of the first name here, the Anakite name, be meant to remind us that, if death be the humbling of all human pride, that which is of God shall be more helped than hindered by it?

To be with Christ means nothing short of perfected communion, death smiting down for the Christian all foes that would keep us out of it. Yet, just because it is perfected, and because Christ Himself waits for His full joy yet, so the condition of the soul is still that which the last word here implies —

Zior, again a compound word, and which literally means "the ship of the watcher," the saint waiting still for the signal to be given to go forth, by Him upon whom his eyes are, and whose presence he will not leave when he goes forth in the beauty of resurrection to enjoy the inheritance of the co-heirs with Christ.

The third group contains ten cities in four smaller divisions: —
"Maon.
"Carmel, and Ziph, and Jutah, and Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah.
"Cain.
"Gibeah and Timnah."

What now does this third group bring before us? We most naturally expect perhaps that after this view of death and the separate state we should go On to resurrection and the heavenly condition. It would be strange indeed if these were omitted, and their omission would seem to cast a shade of uncertainty over the rest. While that is true, and we shall assuredly find them in their place, yet that place is not here, as we shall soon see. The numbers themselves seem to be against it: ten cities, four divisions, and the arrangement, 1. 6. 1. 2. Still this would not be decisive: the numbers, like notes in music, can play many tunes. But when we come to the meanings of the names, we have what is plainer. Such names as Ziph, "place of refining," Jezreel, "God sows," even Carmel, "God's vineyard," carry our minds away from heaven, and forbid the thought of a condition suited to it. Carmel suggests at once Israel as being referred to; for Israel was of old God's vine, and though He has for the present given it up, a day comes in which He will "sing unto her, a vineyard of red wine: I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day" (Isa. 27:2, 3.) When seen as a picture of Israel as restored to God, risen as a nation from the dead according to the common figure in prophecy, all becomes easy, and the difficulties make not a discord but a harmony.

The first name stands here by itself, and indicates the character of what is before us. It is Maon, "dwelling-place," which in this first place and with this emphasis, naturally speaks of God dwelling in the midst of His people, which when it shall be again a reality for Israel, will be the seal of their perpetual blessing. Then will be fulfilled the prophetic word, that "the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: this is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it" (Ps. 132:13, 14.) No wonder if this stand by itself as Israel's special portion. It is the fore-taste of that which, in a wider and fuller meaning, is said of the new earth at last, "The tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God." (Rev. 21:3.)

The next section shows in its six names, His triumph in their salvation. First, Carmel, from a word which means to "prune," implies what is ever the need of a vineyard, if it is to bear proper fruit. God's long labor of centuries cannot be at last in vain. Israel will yet answer to His work upon it, and "the excellency of Carmel" shall once more be spoken of and with a fuller emphasis. But for this there is to be yet severer trial than they have known, and of which —

Ziph, "place of refining," is the assurance to us. Out of this they come with —

Jutah, "enlargement," their borders stretched out, and with corresponding spiritual increase. Thus blessed, the fruit of their previous scattering will be seen in them, as —

Jezreel, "God will sow," affirms. "I will sow her to Me in the earth," He says in Hosea 2:23 "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the earth with fruit" (Isa. 27:6.) Then we have their worship as they realize what God has wrought, in —

Jokdeam, "the people are made to bow the head," and thus reach — Zanoah, "a provision of rest." Thus ends the second section.

The third is again a single name —

Kain, "acquisition." There is an article with it which makes it more emphatic: "the acquisition" so long delayed; the fulfilment at last of so many centuries of deferred hope. No wonder if God mark it as something of special importance. How much for His glory and man's blessing are summed up in it! "For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?" God shall bless us," said one of old, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him."

The fourth section has but two names: —

Gibeah, "hill, height," and

Timnah, "apportionment;" for God's will is to put this light for Him, the testimony at once of His grace and holiness, upon a candlestick, and to exalt Israel, as the number indicates, upon the earth. God indeed has a special" hill" of which He has written, that "it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it" (Isa. 2:2.)

Naturally, every way, we go on now from Israel's blessing to that of the nations, a fourth group of six cities —

"Halhul, and Beth-zur, and Gedor, and Maarath, and Beth-anoth, and Eltekon," —

Another triumph of divine grace. We must perforce go over it rapidly, but would not be thought to make little of what sounds the note of God's evangel as to the world in the near future: —

Halhul, "travail-pain," necessarily preceding it, as the ordinance has been since the fall. No child is born without a pang; no spiritual birth takes place without a deeper pang; how great then when it is the world's labor-pain, as here: what a convulsion when those judgments of God are on the earth, in which the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9.) Man's day will end in terror and dismay; the day of the Lord will be upon all the pride of his heart and the work of his hands, to bring him into the dust out of which His grace shall new-create him. In the time when the earth trembles to its foundations —

Beth-zur, "the house of the rock," will be revealed to him, the firm shelter for faith which will not give way. Christ is of course this, and being found, Christ's arms are put about him, and we find in —

Gedor again the stone "enclosure" for a flock to keep them from wild beasts; and next —

Maarath, "meadow" for pasture. Thus the symbols of a shepherd's care come naturally up where Christ is in connection with men. But this is not enough: He must have hearts that answer to His heart, and thus now we find —

Beth-anoth, the "house of responsive songs." This is the fifth name; the sixth is a genuine note of triumph —

El-tekon "God makes straight" "I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." (Isa. 42:16.)

Thus righteousness reigns, and the course of the world is no longer under the power of him "who worketh in the children of disobedience." Christ reigns, and the whole earth rejoices.

According to our common Bibles, the cities of the mountains end here, with the exception of two names only which stand together in a fifth division. These certainly do not furnish us with the heavenly things of which we are in search; and yet, if not the third, the fifth should, one would suppose, speak of them. Or, after all, can it be that we have not even a hint of these?

Now it is just in this place that the Septuagint introduces another group of eleven cities to which there has been found nothing corresponding in the Hebrew copies. Certain critics, and some of these, as Keil, quite orthodox, contend for the genuineness of this insertion; others refuse it. Is it possible that here may be that of which we are in search?

Those who refuse the testimony of the Septuagint, allege the many additions as well as omissions and arbitrary changes made by the Greek translators in this part: a thing which cannot be denied. Bunsen also objects that "The forms of many of these names are decidedly not Hebrew; besides, except Tekoa and Bethlehem, not one of the cities is elsewhere mentioned in the Old Testament." To which Fay replies that "the first reason is an assertion without proof; and the second has no weight, because very many of the cities mentioned in this chapter are named nowhere else in the Old Testament." Our own ability to use them depends upon the practicability of finding them in Hebrew, while other names than those given by Bunsen have at least their possible representatives elsewhere.

Keil says: "This group lay to the north of the fourth, and reached as far as Jerusalem. It comprised a district in which even now there are at least fifteen places and ruins, so that we have not an arbitrary interpolation made by the LXX., as Jerome assumed, but rather a gap in the Hebrew text." A number of the names can be identified with those of places found in this part of Judea at the present time.

Interpretation for us however furnishes the only conclusive test; and this decisively confirms the addition. Spite of whatever difficulty there may be in transliterating the Greek names back to the Hebrew, we are easily able to show that there is a gap filled by it, which would be felt indeed in the spiritual much more than the literal application. Coming under that fifth number in which we find "man with God" as the fundamental thought, we find just what we looked for vainly in the third place; while the section which in the Hebrew stands fifth, and out of place as that, fills thus, as we hope to show, with perfect accuracy, the sixth and final place. We proceed therefore with assurance to the interpretation.

The eleven names seem to divide into two smaller groups of seven and four, and not as before into six and five. These giving essentially the Godward and manward sides of the eternal life with Him, ending with one sweet word which is the seal of it all, — that we "enter into His rest." Could anything be more perfect as a conclusion than just what is here expressed? But all in God's book is perfect: only our astonishing dullness, the fruit of indifference and indolence, and these springing out of unbelief, hinder our perception of it. When shall we awake?

With what does the series begin? With Tekoa, "the sound of the trumpet," — that which summons the dead in Christ from their graves, and the living to go forth to meet Him! as suitable a beginning as the ending. Divine power accomplishes the call, and the next word we have is —

Ephrata "fertility," the wilderness exchanged for ever for the place of abundance, "which is Bethlehem," "the house of bread," the "Father's house," of which even far-off prodigals bear witness that there is "bread enough and to spare." Little need should there be to apply "the sound of a trumpet" and "the house of bread," as thus connected together! Next we have —

Phagor, (still found as Faghur between Hebron and Bethlehem, "the cessation of sojourning." Then —

Aitam (the Ethan of 2 Chron. 11:6,) "the ravenous beast consumed." And then —

Kulon, "the end of the night-lodging." These three, just in the style of Rev. 21, picture for us in joyful negations the bliss that is begun. Then —

Tatami, "underneath them Jah:" the everlasting arms still needed by, and ever supporting, creature weakness. While —

Soresh, "the turning aside of fire," would indicate that the holiness of God, which must needs burn against the evil in us — and so it is written, "Our God is a consuming fire" — has done its work in this respect, and exists for us no more after this manner. This is the seven complete; and perfection and rest will then manifestly have come. The other numbers can be traced all through by one who desires to do so.

Now comes the manward side. First, —

Karem, "meetings:" the joy of mutual recognition not forgotten, the attachments begun on earth provided for, by Him who has already united us together for eternity, and who said of old to the sorrowing Martha, "Thy brother shall rise again."

Then Galem (Gallim?) reminding us of Gilgal, where the reproach of God's people of old was "rolled away." Now this shall be done completely; while —

Baither, or Bether, reminds us no less of those "mountains of Bether," ("separation, seclusion?") here amid the joy of heaven to let us know of that inner sanctuary of the heart which shall be kept ever sacred to the joy of One Voice that speaks there, — no more any babble of other sounds to keep it out.

Then comes the final word, Manocho, perhaps the Manahath of Chronicles (1 Chron. 8:6), but yet with a termination which gives it all its distinctive beauty in this connection, "the place of His rest." Words would but take away from the fullness of meaning here.

Who will deny that the insertion of the Septuagint justifies itself, if spiritual significance is to count for anything? But a witness to it yet remains, that of the last two of the cities of the mountain, which, as already said, become now a sixth, instead of, as in the Hebrew, a fifth division. Six speaks of the full development of evil, yet as under the hand of Him who has power over it. And the names here are

Kirjath-Baal, which is Kirjath-jearim, and Rabbah.

One form of evil remains, as it would seem, for distinct notice now, and Kirjath-Baal, the city of Baal, brings it before us in the most vivid way. Idolatry, and where in the idol also the true God is not even pictured, is indeed the triumph of Satan over man, his deluded captive. But Satan is cast down; Kirjath-Baal becomes in Israel's hands Kirjath-jearim, the "city of woods." We have met this when tracing Judah's northern boundary to the sea, and we have seen that it there conveys no good suggestion. It is the abode of pride and prodigality, that on the one hand which betrays us into Satan's hand, and that in which as prodigals in a far country we bring ourselves into a want, out of which no power but one can ever rescue us. The change of Kirjath-Baal into Kirjath-jearim implies the judgment of it before God, its name declared with that which leads to it, and to which it leads. And this is God's sweetest triumph over it, when Satan's captives are thus set free by self-judgment, and judgment of what has ensnared them. Here we are, in fact, on the border of Dan. For the rest —

Rabbah, "great," sufficiently explains it. The power of God must needs prevail; the hand of God will cast down the enemy. This is not even formally said, nor needs to be. It is enough to know that God is God. What shall the wildest effort of men or devils accomplish against Him?

(d) Thus fittingly the cities of the mountain end. We have still six cities left, the cities of the wilderness, the number assuring us of another triumph on God's part; which would not be complete, unless the wilderness could furnish, with all else, its material of praise. After having seen, therefore, the end of all, we return now to see that not in vain were the steps that led to it. The sorrow and trial have been temporal, but the lessons are eternal. As we look back from the end we shall see how well suited all God's ways have been, and how completely He was master when we could discern little but man's wild will.

Beth-arabah, the "house of the wilderness," begins the list. It speaks plainly of a Father's sufficiency and care, which the wilderness is the very place to learn. Cut off from all natural resources, the heavenly bread, the water from the rock, the daily guidance, were a constant testimony of this to the people of old; and to educate them in it was a perfect argument for the path by which He led them. And these things are our types: the antitypes transcend them; only faith is needed to behold that which is spiritual; but the clear light of eternity will reveal it all.

We have next Middin, "measurement," the apprehension of things in relation to a standard, the discernment of difference. Here, again, the world, as sin has made it, is where such knowledge is to be attained. Here is the great field of conflict between good and evil. Here sin is seen in its growth and in its effects. Here in the child of God it is brought face to face with that which is of God, and there is learnt the secret of power over it. Here Christ, the Light of the world, has brought very darkness into light. Hence "measurement" of every kind is possible, and  "by reason of use" the senses become "exercised to discern both good and evil."

Secacah leads us further. It means "overshadowing," and, under the number which speaks of divine manifestation, naturally leads us to think of the cloud that overshadowed Israel in the wilderness, and was the token of the divine presence in their midst. Their need and His love had brought Him there to minister among them, which for us has been done in a transcendently blessed way. Only in one world has God become incarnate; and over it the heavens opened and poured out their multitudes when Christ was born in flesh. To be in the wilderness of this world is to be where the Son of God has walked and suffered and died; and to have consciousness of the need which He has met, and that He has met it for us, will give us songs the angels know not. Surely God has made the wilderness in this way to blossom for us, and made it good for us to have known its sorrows.

These become intensified in Nibshan, if it mean, as Young says, "furnace," which may refer to the glow of the khamsin, the desert wind. Such seasons, with all their trial now, have their commission from God, and so their blessing, consuming, as with the three of old, only the bonds that have bound us, while the Son of God is with us in the fire. It is not adversity we have to fear, though we do fear it, and court what we have rather cause to fear.

Fruit is again found in Ir-hammelach, "the city of salt," that diffusive power of holiness, the true aggressive spirit of Christianity, without which even gracious words fail to minister grace to the hearers." (Eph. 4:29.) Is it not that the world's furnace prepares this "salt" for use, or puts it into activity at least? And that he who realizes most the one will be most apt to manifest the other?

The last word here is Engedi, "the spring of the young goat," where Saul afterwards "went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats." (1 Sam. 24:2.) The word in the last case means "climbers;" gedi is the young of the same race; and en the fountain which sustains them. "The high hills," says the Psalmist, "are a refuge for the wild goats" (Ps. 104:18); and there the spring is found. The mountains nourish a hardy race, given to surmount difficulties, and the wilderness has water for them. Difficulties call for faith, and increase the faith they call for; while God has special cheer for special need. The number here is again the number of victory.

(e) Here the tale of Judah's cities is at last completed; save one, which, on account of Judah's failure, is not added to the rest. Jerusalem, the chief city of all, is yet in Jebusite hands; and there Judah and the Jebusite dwell in strange fellowship together. It is the first indication of that which in the book of Judges soon becomes the token of universal decline. The "could not" here speaks of divine government, as the numerical division does; and we shall have it dwelt upon when we come to Judges. The seed of the future was here at the beginning.

4. We now come to the inheritance of the double-tribe of Joseph, which we have already seen represents the practical spirit which springs from faith, and with this the numerical division is in precise accordance. It is divided again into four subsections, which can be only properly characterized after examination in detail.

(1) The southern boundary is first given us as that of the whole tribe. As this it may well represent to us practice from the divine side, or as obedience to the call of God. This the examination of it will, we think, confirm. The language suggests a further division into five parts, giving so many aspects of the practical life, in orderly relation to one another, as we may be sure. There is nothing haphazard in the Word of God.

(a) The first stage is from Jordan to the mount of Bethel. The line starts on the east from Jordan, for all true Christian , that is heavenly life for us begins where the waters of death have yielded to the ark of Jehovah's strength, and given us access to the land which is our possession. Then it begins from Jericho also, where the world has received its judgment for faith, and from the "waters of Jericho:" for the streams of divine blessing which are taken (as we have seen in Egypt) to nourish the spirit of independence in men away from God, are ours to use freely and without asceticism, yet as from Him and to His praise. Nevertheless, the way is then a "wilderness, which leads up from Jericho to the mount of Bethel," the house of God. The first stage even of our journey is sadly incomplete if it does not bring us there. With the lesson of this house we ought to be, from Jacob's history, already familiar.

(b) The second stage is scarcely one at all, and yet of vast importance. It is "from Bethel to Luz" only; and Luz is the old name of the city of Bethel itself. But Jacob's pillar was outside the city at the first, and only after a while, probably by natural outgrowth, they seem to become identified. From the Israelite point of view it was Bethel that absorbed Luz; and at the time of the apportionment the city and the place of the vision were still, it would seem, different.

At any rate, for our purpose it is enough that Luz follows Bethel here. Luz means "separation;" and however much it may exist apart from Bethel (and then it will have only heathen significance), when it is connected with and follows it, then it has its right and necessary place. To be with God as sons and daughters in His house, He has told us, we must not "touch the unclean thing." (2 Cor. 6:17, 18.) And defilement must be estimated, not by natural conscience or our own conception, but by His word. It is here, in the very face of His word, that Christians can go so far astray.

(c) The third stage is that the boundary "passed over to the border of the Archite, to Ataroth?" Archite is from arach, "to advance, make progress," and the Archite is therefore a man of progress. What is before him is very clearly told in the point where the line touches his border, Ataroth, which means "crowns;" and so the apostle says: "Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." (1 Cor. 9:25.) The lucidity of the text here makes it need little the interpreter.

(d) In the fourth stage the line descends, and under the number which tells, if any, of contact with the world, we reach the border of the Japhletite, "one who causes to escape," and "as far as the border of the lower Bethhoron" ("the house of wrath") and "as far as Gezer," "isolation:" words that, for those who are sent into the world with the Gospel of the Master, do not seem as if they should need much more interpretation than the former ones.

(e) Hence the border runs to the sea: for in this practical life there are exercises also, and the experiences of storm-tossed mariners, which make the haven more desired to which surely at last Jehovah bringeth them. The line ends here at the haven of the sea.

(2) This is the southern boundary of Joseph. We are now called to look at Ephraim separately in the second sub-section, which should apparently in its numerical significance have to do with the name. Ephraim means literally "doubly fruitful," and may refer to his being the second son, through whom indeed Joseph attains the double portion of the birthright. Thus Ephraim in his name expresses the value of both Joseph's sons, and the double fruit would seem to be not only in what we commonly call that, but also in the Manasseh energy of character acquired which turns its back upon all that is "behind," in its racer-like eagerness for goal and prize.

(a) In the fifth verse we have the southern boundary of Ephraim given again, but in a fragmentary way, which has induced many criticisms and attempts at emendation. But we could hardly expect a mere repetition of what has just been given; and in the light of the spiritual meaning all is explained easily, distinctive beauty being found in the very points which before were most in question. Thus we have "addar" appended to Ataroth of the former account, and Beth-horon the upper given in place of the lower: a thing which to one commentator seems of small account, because the two were so near together! But this is to lose the perfection of the Word of God. The last change is of the most absolute importance for the spiritual significance which it ought not to need to be insisted on governs all. Geography may not need so much precision; but here assuredly is more than that, or I know not why we still take interest in it as Christians.

In fact in these two places on Ephraim's border we have two governing principles of practical life. Ataroth-addar means "crowns of honor;" and note that it is stated to be — not "eastward" merely, geographically, but — "toward the sunrise," spiritually. Beth-horon the upper is west from it, as we already know, — seaward, — and suggests rightly the exercises and experiences connected with the sea. Beth-horon is the "house of wrath;" but notice the importance, then, of distinguishing between the lower and the upper. Wrath below is the misery of hell, utter and irremediable; wrath above, speaks indeed of sin as the evil thing which God hates, and must hate, because He is holy: but which is not wrath against the person, but may be, as chastening, the most tender and paternal love toward him.

Hence Ataroth-addar and Beth-horon the upper are opposite thoughts, yet governing as a double star the course of the saint, — divine approbation or divine displeasure, — though divine love is for the redeemed in both. Beth-horon the nether, the threat of hell, would be for these quite unsuitable, and rob the salvation of Christ of its character as eternal, and our souls of all the peace which it now assures to them.

(b) We come now to Ephraim's northern border, which divides into two parts, in which it is traced in opposite directions, — two views in some sense opposite, therefore, though not in contradiction. The one gives, it would seem, individual items of the practical life, looked at from its human side from conversion, facing sunrise, that is, in view of accountability at the coming of the Lord. The other, brief indeed, and the more striking for its brevity, gives us, as exercised by these things (looking toward the sea) the helping principle which carries securely through.

In the first case the line begins facing westward — merely the sea; in trouble and exercise of heart, we find ourselves at Michmethah, the "corruption of the dead;" then, as the line turns sharply round toward sunrise, we have the striking image of conversion; and in Taanath-Shiloh reached "access to Him who gives peace" to the soul. Thence we come to Janohah, "rest," still turning more toward the coming day.

And now the road descends: the path in which power and fruitfulness are to be shown is one that leads downward, as our Lord's did. But this is a fourth step, warning us by the number that trial will be found upon it: remembering which we may rightly interpret the Ataroth, — very different from the former one, to which we now come, — "crowns," before the end is reached, and which can be nothing but temptation to be put away from us; and then we find Naarah, "tossing"; we must needs "touch" Jericho, the world, and have to do in some way with Jordan also, death; and here the list closes on this side.

In the opposite direction we take it up again, to find first a name that has twice truly fulfilled itself to us where we have found it — Tappuah, the "Breather." Here is, indeed, a precious and inspiriting thought. Christ, the last Adam, has breathed into us the breath of a new, eternal life. We belong to a new creation: "old things are passed away." And we who thus live are no more to live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us and rose again."

This is, in fact, the brook Kanah. Kanah means "He has purchased" and is the thought needed to supplement even Tappuah. Yes, He has purchased us! Let us make it strictly individual, and say, He has purchased me; and may it be to us the inspiration that it was to the apostle: "the life which I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."

But Kanah is a "brook"! Yes, for if this be in my heart, the Spirit of God delighting to glorify Christ, becomes a full flow of living water in my soul, which allows no want. The rest of the line is now nothing but the watercourse itself, until the end is reached. Blessed be God! How sweetly and powerfully, even though they rebuke us, do these "mere names" speak to a Christian soul!

(c) It is noted further that besides the cities enclosed within these boundary lines, there were certain others out of Manasseh's territory that were granted to Ephraim. This will come before us where shortly the names are given.

(d) But Ephraim does not escape the common failure; and Gezer is noted as a place where the Canaanites were suffered to remain, though becoming servants. Sins are but too often spared as serviceable; and among Ephraimites as much as any. And because a gracious God still blesses, we think He cares but little. Yet a day of reckoning comes at last.

(3) We have now Manasseh's portion in the land: that across Jordan has been already given. He is here in some sense realizing that for which he "forgets" elsewhere. The number of the section may intimate this.

(a) The heirs are numbered first, and this is the case with no other of the tribes. Is it that the personal state is more before us, — the man himself as distinguished from his inheritance? The family of Machir have their inheritance already the other side of Jordan: six other, all spring originally from Machir, but are reckoned as Gileadites instead of Machirites. (See Num. 26.) Thus in different ways Machir and Gilead cover the whole territory of Manasseh. It is Machir the family that seems to be the "first-born of Manasseh," as the individual Machir is the father of the whole; and Keil takes "father of Gilead" here as equivalent to ruler of the land of Gilead. This interlacing of names must have its reason, and should help us to see that names count for something throughout the history. Even the women of Manasseh show the courage of faith, and gain an inheritance with their brethren. Their story is repeated here, to their praise. We do well to covet the portion God has given us. There is abundance for all, and to enjoy it to the full will only enrich and not impoverish others. Manasseh gains thus ten portions: for the single portion of Zelophehad swells into five through the inheritance of his daughters. "Covet earnestly the best gifts."

(b) We have now Manasseh's borders, only on one side really defined, and that the south, where Ephraim's line has already been traced. Yet this is repeated with variations from the former account, not surely a mere supplement on account of imperfection in the first, but something very different from this, and proving how little geography is in question. On the north there is no line given at all, simply the statement that it touched Asher on the north, and Issachar on the east, and that Manasseh had cities in both, which looks as if the undetermined line were left for progress, — of which Manasseh is surely the expression. On the south he too yields to Ephraim, expansion being the rule for the people of God. Had they been only faithful, their borders on all sides would have been similarly pushed out. God desired for them growth: they chose, alas, contraction.

The southern border is traced from east to west, not the whole of it, and with some addition in the part given. The starting-point is from Asher, — not the tribe, of course, but a place supposed to be still known, with the same meaning, "happy," man's original condition. Thence it passes to Michmethah, "the corruption of the dead," which is now marked as opposite to Shechem, "shoulder," already familiar to us as the type of obedience, the bearing of the yoke. So man, not ignorantly, but in full view of duty, turns away from God.

But there is a change: the border passes south, literally "to the right hand," the place of exaltation and honor, but in dependence, and so comes to the inhabitants of En-tappuah, a word we well know as significant of the Breather of new life, a new creation, and with a prefix "En," which means "spring," the living water that waters the new creation-life. Here we are stopped to have it explained that the land only belonged to Manasseh; Tappuah, itself upon the boundary-line, belonged to Ephraim: and so Paul, in New Testament style, tells us that we are "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before prepared, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10.)

Next we have again the brook Kanah to the sea, south of which the cities are Ephraim's, and north of it Manasseh's, although the boundary-line would have given it all to Manasseh. I do not know the meaning of this.

The boundary-line north, as already said, is not traced, except that it touched Asher on the north, and Issachar toward the sunrise, and that Manasseh possessed cities in both tribes. Yet the extension seems to go beyond their strength, an evil which too often accompanies energy; and the Canaanites retain these cities still, though they become tributaries. The lesson further will be considered in the book of Judges.

(4) The expostulation of the brother tribes with Joshua is a pleading of weakness such as can go with high pretensions, and that is but shame. Certainly they have no slight opinion of themselves; yet when it comes to meeting the enemy they are willing to take shelter under the most humiliating confession. It is "when I am weak, then am I strong," so that the true sense of weakness would have only given them encouragement by casting them upon God. Let us be well assured, the plea of weakness will never be used in this way by those who know rightly what their weakness is. They should have said, We are unbelieving, we dare not trust God: we are slothful, and do not want the trouble of clearing the mountain; but then they could not have faced Jehovah with this! How good a thing it would be to look honestly at all our excuses after this fashion; although the effect would surely be that we should find that we had not an excuse that would stand the test! Can we have an excuse for not taking possession of what God has made our own? Not unless God fails: if He be for us, who can be against us? Joshua, therefore, cannot admit the excuse. True it is, there is plenty of land for all, and their boundaries, as we have often seen, are quite open for enlargement where there is real need; but this cannot be until they are able to fill what has been already apportioned to them, and the enemies of God are dispossessed from their inheritance. The answer from their Captain is an exhortation with an encouragement. True, if we measure ourselves with difficulties, there is no hope at all: measure them in faith with God, and where have they disappeared?

But all this from the tribe of Joseph is mournful enough. Alas, when has there been a time in the history of God's people in which the seeds of departure were not manifest on every side? And how could there be confidence at any time about them, except in the way the apostle found it, "I have confidence in you through the Lord"?

5. We go on now to consider the portions of the remaining tribes, which are allotted them at one time in Shiloh, the tabernacle having been set up there. This surely is something not irrelevant, but in true relation to the apportionment itself, in which are illustrated God's governmental ways with a people in relation to Himself. And this, of course, implies that the tribes now receiving their apportionment illustrate also responsibility in a way in which previous ones do not. This is very evident as to Judah; while as to Joseph no less is it apparent, I think, that it is not responsibility that is emphasized in what is given as to them. On the other hand, in that which follows it is, Benjamin first of all here giving the abiding in Christ (and therefore He in us), which enables us for it. It is therefore the first and most important duty so to abide. This is the responsibility to which Christ in us answers as the necessary result. And while every true Christian must in the first sense of this abide, yet there are degrees of practical realization none the less.

(1) The tent of meeting is established at Shiloh, "the place of rest" or "peace," — peace having been actually accomplished, and the land subdued before Israel. The tabernacle stood here from Joshua's to Samuel's days, when it was forsaken, the ark going into captivity into the Philistines' land, and never returning to its first abode. Jerusalem, afterwards the throne of the Lord, and now in its turn given up, is yet only abandoned for a time, and has the promise of being God's rest forever, but this very promise to the one assures us that the other is finally abandoned.

The things that happened unto Israel happened unto them for types, and so surely in this case. Like the choice of Saul before David the true king, the choice of Shiloh had no doubt a probationary purpose, as all the history connected with it indicates. The situation of Jerusalem between Benjamin and Judah will be realized by one who considers what we have seen to be expressed by these tribes respectively to be the ideal seat of the lawgiver; Jerusalem itself also being the "foundation of peace," that is "righteousness" which is the foundation of God's throne no less. Shiloh, on the contrary, was in Ephraim the fruitful, to which men naturally accord the sovereignty. When the kingdom was divided Ephraim became, as we know, the seat of government, ten tribes uniting to give this place to her — the ominous number of responsibility. Shiloh in Ephraim seems evidently, therefore, much as Saul before David, or the law before grace, a needed concession to man's natural thoughts, ordained for the trial of them.

However, this scarcely appears as yet, save that the beginnings of failure are in fact seen all round, as we know, and at Shiloh itself the first word is of expostulation: "How long will ye be slack to go and possess the land?" Nor have we any outbreaking of song as when David afterwards brings the ark to Zion. These things speak to the attentive ear discouragingly: God for Himself "chose not the tribe of Ephraim" as the place of His throne.

Yet there in the mean time the tent of meeting is, and thither the assembly of Israel gathers.

(2) Seven tribes have yet to find their portions, and for this Jehovah bids

them appoint three men of each of these tribes to survey the land and divide it into seven parts, the lot being that which is to determine the portion of each according to these divisions.

(3) The lots come forth in an order which must, of course, have numerical significance: —

(a) First, Benjamin, who receives, as we have already noticed, his inheritance between. Judah and Ephraim on the east side, filling up exactly the interval, and uniting these to one another.

Small as the tribe is, we see yet its importance in the care with which its boundaries are traced and its cities enumerated. Though its borders are necessarily those of Ephraim on the one hand and of Judah on the other, and have thus already been given, yet they are repeated now, with certain variations in the description, which are, of course, significant. Its cities, too, are given with care, and numbered like those of Judah, while those of Ephraim and Manasseh both are almost wholly passed over. These things do not merely happen to be, but are guided by the hand of God with careful consideration. We should only lose the edification designed for us, if we did not note all this carefully, so as to linger over that on which the Spirit of God lingers, emphasizing in due place, and giving all parts their balance and proportion.

If Benjamin speak of Christ in us, the power for a fruitful life in the world, it is easy to see why this should receive more attention and emphasis than the details of the fruitful life itself (Ephraim); and thus it is that Benjamin fills the gap between Judah and Joseph, and comes at the head of the seven tribes here finding their place. "Little Benjamin" is, in this sense, "the ruler" (Ps. 68:27), having in it, in fact, Jerusalem, the city of the King, though Judah might supply the King himself. "Christ in us" is, as has been already said, the objective in the subjective, the personal Christ in His image in the soul; we must expect, therefore, that Benjamin will receive the greater consideration, and should expect ourselves to find the deepest instruction and edification in the details so carefully given here.

We have first the boundaries, then the cities. The boundaries tell us in detail what Benjamin is; for to limit and to define are the same things. They are given consecutively, the line being run completely from the northeastern extremity at the Jordan, west to the south of Bethlehem, giving the north side; south to Kirjath-Jearim, — the west side; east from thence back to Jordan, — the south side; Jordan itself being the east side.

The northern is, of course, at the same time the boundary of Joseph; it is given us also in the same way, froth east to west, and thus presents itself for comparison throughout. For there is no mere repetition of what has been already given: the whole is restated, even although the parts may be the same. We have Benjamin now in view, not Ephraim; while, as already said, comparison is necessarily suggested all the way through.

The starting-point is Jordan, and this is given separately, to be considered by itself: "And their border on the north side was from Jordan." Ephraim, too, starts from the river of death, but does not linger there. The difference all through seems to be that in Benjamin we have identification with Christ, in Ephraim development of a life which is individual and distinct, although none the less springing from the life of Christ in us. Benjamin's border begins at Jordan, that is in identification with Him in death; but it is as having life in Him that we are thus identified. Benjamin and Ephraim thus begin together, but on different sides of the same line: if we say "life in Christ," Ephraim emphasizes the life, Benjamin that it is in Christ. These things are never to be separated, but they are easily distinguished.

But thus Ephraim does not, so to speak, tarry at Jordan; Benjamin does. For power upon earth it is of the most essential consequence to realize that we begin with identification with Christ in death, which is thus my death, the end of me for faith, that Christ may live in me. If this first identification be not well realized, the dead self, after all, survives; separate interests become necessarily distraction; the eye not single blurs the image of Christ; and instead of day there is but, at best, a twilight in the soul, which does not develop like the flush of the early morn, "from glory to glory:" for this you need, and only need, thank God, the Sun!

But now we go up: "And the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north" — the shadowed side, notice, of the world, but a world which thus (and only thus) becomes ours, Jericho coming, as we see, into the possession of Benjamin by this fact. But still we go up: there is no tarrying here — "and went up through the hill-country westward," nearer heaven and facing the sea, "and ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven" — "house of vanity." Not a cheerful road, one might think, for the feet of a Benjamite; but the cheer is elsewhere: identification with Christ is not that which makes the world bright or the path smooth. It makes the way a pilgrimage.

But that is only one stage of the road. "And the border passed from thence to Luz, to the side of Luz (the same is Bethel) southward." Luz, as has been already said, means "separation"; but Luz is here identified with Bethel, as in Joseph's border it is distinguished from it. It is the Luz aspect that is emphasized in connection with Benjamin, and no wonder: realized identification with Christ cannot fail in maintenance of true separateness, which in the Lord was fuller than the Baptist's, great as was he. But Luz is Bethel, as the apostle fully explains to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 6:16-18). It is true Benjamite "separation" which makes us realize the blessedness of that home relationship with the Lord Almighty which is indeed what Bethel (the house of God) implies. And how much is implied in this! Let the Benjamite who is reviewing his border not pass hastily on from Bethel, not make it merely, in fact, a station by the way. Nay, with him who knows it, it will be no transient thing, as in the Lord's blessed assurance: "If any man love Me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him; and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23).

The fourth portion of the line brings us to the end of the north border: "and the border went down to Ataroth-addar, at the hill which is on the south of the lower Beth-horon." Both these names we know, but the utter and solemn contrast is at first sight surprising. That the line goes down to "crowns of honor" need not surprise us: with the Lord it did, and thus the identification with Him is maintained. He "humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above every name." "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."

So much is simple: but what is "the mount which is on the south of the lower Beth-horon"? The mount unnamed must be simple elevation, and on the south side excludes Beth-horon from the portion of Benjamin. Does not the whole point simply and impressively to the day of the Lord in which the crown of glory and the judgment upon evil will be recompensed to saint and sinner?

Here the northern boundary ends, and we turn south along the western one. This is very short, and has but one portion of the line within it: "And the border was drawn so that it turned on the west side southward, from the mount that is before Beth-boron on the south, and it ended at Kirjath-baal (this is Kirjath-jearim), a city of the children of Judah." This is on the border of Dan, and it speaks correspondingly of judgment from its start to its termination. We have already seen in Kirjath-jearim the exposure of Satan and his overthrow. In what perfect connection do we find it here both with the border of Dan and the city of wrath! And we see in Benjamin's "mount" how identification with Christ and exaltation upon earth come at last into visible display together; and this is shown us just where Ephraim's border gives place to Dan! Who is the author of all these harmonies? Is any imagination equal to the feat of creating them? Every name here is a standing proof of verbal inspiration.

We are now come to the southern boundary, which is at the same time Judah's, and trace it back to Jordan. It is as if looking back from the end, (to which in the previous part we have arrived,) we retraced, as we shall retrace, the way by which we have come thither; and in this Benjamin and Judah ("praise") will surely come together. Passing back over the way we have already traced, the landmarks will be the same substantially — almost exactly — all the way through, and the principal difference will be in the direction and in the stages of the journey, which will be numerically different, as indeed they are differently divided also.

The line is broken into five divisions, in the first of which we are bidden simply to consider the point from which we start: "And the south side was from the end of Kirjath-jearim." The number speaks of the righteousness and omnipotence of God, which are clearly shown in the detection, baffling, and overthrow of Satan, not one dupe duped any longer by him, and God supreme in all His excellency as God, every cloud removed. How wondrous will be the time! well may we be called to pause and consider it before we pass on — the time when the barrenness and misery of evil will be manifest to all, and the victory seen to be essentially one of goodness, not merely of power: thus only worthy of Him. This opens the meaning of the second portion: —

"And the border went out westward, and went out to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah." This second portion, under the number which speaks of Christ and of salvation, takes us to the Cross, Nephtoah, "the opening" of the Rock, whence flow the living waters. The connection with Kirjath-jearim is evident. In the Cross power was absent from the side of good, was present with the evil only, yet the victory was complete, as shown in the streams flowing forth, and which have ever since flowed forth. At the first, though on the southern border, and to go east, we find, in fact, the border going west! we are facing the sea of trial, in which, also, the works of the Lord and His wonders appear: thus the character of what is here should be manifest. The bruised foot it is that, as such, bruises the serpent's head. In the day of triumph, it is the Lamb who appears.

The third division of the border is a much longer one, though with a number of smaller breaks. It is, in fact, that part of it in which is found the retracing, step by step, of the road traveled; the two former introducing us to it in the light by which it must all be read. Thus we begin again now with judgment: —

"And the border went down to the end of the mountain that is before the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is in the valley of Rephaim on the north." —

Here we have already seen that hell is carefully distinguished from the enemy's power, which the valley of the giants represents. It is the power of God, and for the repression of evil. Satan does not triumph in a single soul cast into hell. If he could do so, heaven would be darkened forever, and the songs of the righteous turned into a wail. This first portion of the third division speaks in its number attached (as I think) of the barrenness of rebellion accomplishing nothing but its own shame, while obedience is the incorruptible seed which really produces, and whose fruit abides.

"And it went down the valley of Hinnom at the side of the Jebusite on the south." The Jebusite stands here, as we know, for Jerusalem; but this is not named as it was when tracing Judah's boundary. The valley of Hinnom, distinguished from any mere effect of the enemy's power, speaks still of the doom of the sinner as not the will of God; as "causeless," save by the sinner himself. Thus it is at the south side of the "treader down," not in the shadow of the oppressor.

From thence the line "went down to Enrogel," the "fuller's fountain;" at the third step we find the place of cleansing of garments, going down to find it. Not the toil of climbing is needed to find the renewing of the Spirit for one's personal life; not labor nor the uplifting of self, but self-abnegation only. How guilty, then, is he who refuses to take the place in which the grace of God can minister to him!

"And it was drawn on the north, and went forth to Enshemesh," the "fountain of the sun" — a beautiful picture of the Spirit of Christ reflecting Christ; and this comes under the number which speaks of practical walk: what a testimony of the ease and simplicity of a true Christian walk, the power of which is from above, and which without effort reflects the beams that are poured around it! Man is still made nothing of, but in his weakness ministered to, as freely as the sun shines for all that will have it: and that is what the apostle really gives as the witness of Christ: "That was the true light which, coming into the world, shines for every man" (John 1:9).

But why this specification, "drawn on the north," just here? Is it because, with all its simplicity, there seems so deep a mystery in it for most? This is at least true, that legality and little faith, and want of devotedness, both cloud the sun and diminish the flow of waters, and Enshemesh often does not answer to the beauty of its name. "This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation."

"And it went out toward Geliloth, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim." Geliloth here replaces Gilgal in the boundary of Judah: it is a plural, but otherwise very similar, meaning circuits or revolutions. Yet there must be a difference in meaning, answering to the difference of form, for no change can be without a purpose in the word of God. God Himself interprets Gilgal, applying it to the rolling away from Israel of the reproach of Egypt. Geliloth, as a plural, can hardly be so definite in application. With the number five attaching to it, the number which speaks of God's governmental ways, one would think naturally of the revolution of those wheels of Divine Providence of which we were reminded in the kindred Eglon, and which are full of intelligence and blessing for the man in Christ, while his place as this no revolutions can affect. Thus Geliloth is simply "opposite" the ascent of Adummim, the homeward path of the "quieted ones."

"And it went down to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben." This is the sixth point, a number which, as we know it is that of the overcomer, Bohan, the man of the consecrated hand, may show us the way of overcoming. Only the hands tipped with blood and oil can be expected to leave the Ebenezer stones upon the way; and these will do it.

And now we are nearly back to the beginning of the journey, and the next step brings us face to face with the desert: "and it passed over to the side in front of the Arabah northward." A singular seventh point, as it must seem; and the desert itself is the eighth: "and it went down to the Arabah." But, looking back as we are doing here, why should not the contemplation of the desert be in rest, and the desert itself become a prophecy of new creation? God does not patch, and will not have the wilderness forever: must He not, then, have "all things new"?

This after all may not be the interpretation: let it stand then only till a better is suggested. It is evident that this completes the journey, and that in the next division we have got to what in Egypt stood at the beginning of it for Israel, and without which not a step of the journey could have been taken: "And the border passed over to the side of Bethhoglah northward." Bethhoglah, if we have rightly interpreted it, means "the house of revealed sacrifice," and that the word means strictly "festal sacrifice" makes the reference to the passover only more complete. The new beginning, "and the border," occurs for the fourth time in this southern boundary, and so should signify that we have here a fourth division. This may be another surprise; but it must be remembered, that looking backwards, as we are doing now, things are seen naturally in new aspects. In this case the number of experience seems a beautiful assurance of how the shelter, the joy, the power of the sacrifice under which first we learned the blessing of redemption, have abode with us all the way. Redemption has been itself testified by the full strain of all the way on to the land before us, and it has more than borne the strain. Its song has not died out, and never will. Well may we bless our God, and joyful indeed may be our hearts, that the strain of the wilderness does really fall upon the redemption provided! The question, will the saint certainly come through, means really, is the salvation of Christ a complete salvation? is Christ our Lord a sufficient Saviour?

We are now back to the sea: "And the border ended at the north bay of the salt sea, at the south end of Jordan." The meaning can only be what we have before seen when looking at Judah's boundary, death bringing to judgment, and the number given here affirms it as God's government. That it is not the death of the sinner He desires, that we have seen most solemnly affirmed also. Judgment, we have been assured at the valley of Hinnom, is His "strange work;" here, we are equally assured, it is what nevertheless, when forced to it, He will execute.

The fourth boundary of Benjamin — the eastern one — is Jordan, where we began. Death as the penalty on men connects necessarily with death as the penalty borne for us by Christ, and our identification with Him in it. And Jordan as the fourth boundary is death as stamped upon the fallen creature, — the base line, so to speak, of Benjamin's portion, leaving all that he has to glory in to be Christ alone!

This is the inheritance, then, of Benjamin as defined by its borders. We have yet to look at its cities, which fill here a second place, not, as in Judah, a fourth. Is it because they do not speak of experiences, but of attributes, namely, of that divine government which "Christ liveth in me" implies? This would seem to be confirmed by the grouping of the cities also. There are two groups of these (an eastern and a western, although not noticed as such in Scripture), and the first consists of just twelve names, the number of manifest divine government. The second, indeed, has fourteen, and yet by division stands as twelve and two, so that the same number is shown in it also, though more obscurely.

The names themselves are, some of them, quite difficult, and do not recur. The words for "hill" are proportionately frequent, as Geba, Gibeath, Ramah, and agree with the character of the land of Benjamin, physically and spiritually: for God hath made the physical the pattern of the spiritual. Would that we knew only how to discern it better?

The twelves in Scripture seem, for the most part, if not always, to divide into four threes, and thus every city here will find its number. The first group of twelve seems to emphasize the power of the rule of Christ where the truth of identification with Him is known and recognized by faith. The first necessity for rule is power, and this in its various characters the cities here seem to express. They are thus arranged: —
1. —  1. Jericho, 2. Beth-hoglah, 3. Emek-keziz;
2. —  1. Beth-arabah, 2. Zemaraim, 3. Bethel;
3. —  1. Avim, 2. Parah, 3. Ophrah;
4. —  1. Chephar-ha-Ammonai, 2. Ophni, 3. Geba.

Two of the first three are familiar to us. The third, Emek-keziz, the "valley of cutting off," has been suggested by Grove, with great probability, to refer to the circumcision of the people after they had crossed Jordan, which certainly took place in this neighborhood. Together, and especially if Emek-keziz may mean "deep cutting," they may show us the sufficiency of Christ to meet the condition of the soul and govern it for God.

Jericho, the well-known type of the world, passes, as we have already seen, into the possession of Benjamin — a world which belongs to the Christian only as he belongs to Christ, and as it, too, is kept by him under the shadow of the cross. Joseph, Manasseh, Machir, have borne in various ways testimony to this truth before; and Scripture is not weary of putting us in remembrance. Thus, if Jericho be the shadow of Egypt here —

Beth-hoglah carries us back to the passover, to the judgment of Egypt on its first-born, to the day of deliverance and departure from it; while —

Emek-keziz gives us the circumcision of heart which is the "putting of the body of the flesh" (Col. 2), and thus strikes at the root of all the power of the world. "We are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Phil. 3.) This is sufficient power.

The next three would naturally speak of it as saving power, but in the sense in which the apostle uses the term in Philippians, not in Romans. Salvation may have various applications; and that which the apostle speaks of in. Philippians is not a salvation from wrath and condemnation merely. It is one agreeing with "my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that in everything, as always, so now also, Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by life or death." Here we have, first of all —

Beth-arabah, the "house of the wilderness," the world become that, a barren place, in which Christ is the need and home of the soul. This carries on clearly the truth of the first section, while it expresses in the most vivid way the reality of the world's power being broken. The next word —

Zemaraim, is one of the difficult ones. It has been supposed to refer to one of the families of the Canaanites, the Zemarites, tenth in the genealogical list in Genesis; but this gives no help of the kind we seek. It has been referred to an Arabic root meaning "to be weak, to languish," and to a Chaldee one signifying "to be hot." Yet there is a Hebrew word akin to it, Zemer, which means "wool," and was the chief clothing material in Israel. As a dual form, may it not speak of double garments, of protection from the cold which can be often keenly felt in Palestine? and this would not appear unsuitable to the line of truth beginning with Beth-arabah. We are bidden to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," and the open testimony to Him implied in this is indeed an effectual safeguard from the chill of the world's night air. Lastly —

Bethel, the house of God, which, as we see in Jacob's history, infers also the discipline of the house, is a third security for the preservation of holiness in the soul, and of the soul in holiness.

The third three seem to speak of fruitfulness. Here we have, first —

Avvim, which was the name, we may remember, of a nation destroyed by the Caphtorim, and who seem characterized by their name as "perverters, overturners." It is not of necessity that they recognized this name themselves, or the character implied in it: such, alas, are the most quiet and respectable of those that are away from God. Their attitude is rebellion. They are not merely negatively fruitless, but positively corrupters and destroyers of what is good and godly. But what is the meaning of the insertion of this name among those of Benjamite cities? Is it, as with Israel's first name, to magnify the grace of Him who out of such material can make a vessel for His praise? So I think we must take it, the confession of what once the people of God were in contrast with —

Parah, in which the effect of grace is seen:

He hath become fruitful" is only rightly appraised when it is seen whom this "he" stands for. While in the third name,

Ophrah, "the female fawn," while still the central idea is fruitfulness, there seem added the thoughts of beauty, gentleness, even fear, which, when it is of God and not of man, can clothe a Benjamite warrior with the most attractive grace.

These three sections seem to yield consistent meaning, on the whole, not doubtful. When we come to the fourth, there is more room to doubt, especially as to the second word, which is in general taken to refer to one of those petty nations with which of old, as in Christian times, the land of Israel was overrun. But this, for one who seeks spiritual meaning, leaves the difficulty as great as ever. Confessing it where we find it, there is still room to suggest what seems to be in harmony with the rest, and not devoid of practical instruction.

The number speaks of testing, and the first name here is —

Chephar-ha-Ammonai, "the village," perhaps  "covert," "of the Ammonites." If we have rightly characterized the Ammonite (vol. i., p. 531, n), he is just the especial enemy and snare of the Benjamite. Leave him but Christ, and he is safe. Filch Christ away from him, and he will be but a shorn Samson, weak as other men, and much more pitiable in his weakness. Now the Ammonite is, as we have conceived him, the heretic in doctrine, not openly but subtly ready to steal Christ away. And we need not wonder, so little are we competent to keep our choicest blessings, to find an Ammonite covert upon Israelite territory. Nay, it would seem they have associates, for such foes seldom work alone: —

Ophni is named from Ophnite, another stranger possibly, although also possibly not; for it is no new thing, alas, for one's foes to be they of one's own household. Ophni is variously interpreted, but the meaning which seems most to be in keeping with its position here is that which makes the derivation to be from a word which in Arabic and Syriac signifies "to become mouldy." Certain it is that it is where decay has come in, we find a soul ready to take part with the Ammonite. Decay shows already that the freshness of first love is gone. Christ is not what He was to it; and here is the enemy's opportunity to tamper with His image, and bring in something which seems, perhaps, at first, to be only a new point of knowledge. But it is leaven in the meal, and it works as leaven: by degrees the whole is leavened; there is another Christ, and not the old one.

What is the remedy? That surely must be in the third name, which has the number. of revival, of restoration, and the third name is

Geba, "hill." Benjamin, as has been said, is full of hills. As places of comparative security, cities were largely built on them, and the hill of Geba might well suggest a refuge from an Ammonite "covert." A hill lifts one up above the common level, and gives largeness of view also. Spiritually, the resort to a hill is a confession of feebleness, of need to be raised above oneself, of consciousness that we are in an enemy's country; and, simple as all this is, it is really our effectual safeguard, and the only one. Pride and self-sufficiency are at the bottom of all going astray. They prevent our recourse to Christ: "the wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek." What snare could prevail against us, if we walked in self-distrust and humility with God? if, instead of from the common level of the world, we looked at things from the height to which He would lift us!

Thus the last three cities show us the simple condition which secures us against failure and defeat: it is but the abiding in the weakness of which the number of weakness, the number of the creature, reminds us. How, then, it might be thought, could we ever be defeated? Certainly from lack of power we never can.

The rest of the cities of Benjamin form a group, fourteen in number, in which we have presented to us, as it would appear, the ministry of Christ, as entered into by the one in whom Christ lives and rules. The spirit of Christ must surely be eminently a spirit of service. "I am among you as one that serveth" were His own words: "the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." This was His glory, that He had come down into the world to meet, as He only could, the need of the world. This characterized His whole life in its human aspect; and while atonement was His work alone, and it is made, yet he in whom Christ lives will be of necessity one in whom He will be carrying on the work for which He came, in the spirit of the wondrous sacrifice which was, in its full reality, His alone. Hence it is most interesting to see how in Benjamin now we have this thought dwelt upon; and in this respect also we see how he unites Judah with Ephraim, while filling his own individual place. Ephraim is fruitfulness, and here surely is fruitfulness; yet, on the other hand, in it the Judah character of "confession" is as clearly found — the fruit is evangelical; not in personal life, which is Ephraim, but in testimony; while yet having to do in the closest way with personal life, and inseparable from power for it. Thus Benjamin's cities are 14, or 2 x 7, the number of testimony united with that which speaks of a perfect and divine work; while, when divided, as it is divided for us here, it exhibits the numbers 12 + 2, again the number of testimony, with that which speaks of divine rule, as in the last series.*

{*There is, however, lack of an "and" before "Eleph," which should be pointed out and would suggest, as in other cases, a division here. The 14 would then stand as 10.2.2. I can only mention this and leave it, as the meaning seems to make it 12.2, as shown directly. The letter v may have dropped out, but I know of no evidence from MSS.}

Let us now look at this larger section, which as 12 we should find again to be a 4 x 3, and to begin with the work which stamps its character upon the whole of it, the work of the cross. The cities are thus arranged: —

1. — 1. Gibeon, 2. Ramah, 3. Beeroth;

2. — 1. Mizpeh, 2. Chephirah, 3. Mozah;

3. — 1. Rekem, 2. Irpeel, 3. Taralah;

4. — 1. Zelah, 2. Eleph, 3. Jebusi (Jerusalem).

What does Gibeon mean? The almost unanimous assurance of lexicographers and commentators is that it is connected with Gibeah, a common word for "hill," the termination giving it a possessive form — "of a hill," a hill city. I confess I can make nothing of it if this be the interpretation: others may, no doubt, succeed better.

But there is an alternative. It may be a compound word, and so mean "pit of iniquity"; or the last part of the word may stand, as sometimes, for "suffering for iniquity." The latter meaning I believe to be the true one, and it connects then clearly with the history. The Gibeonites did suffer for the deceit they practiced upon Joshua and Israel, being reduced to bondmen for the imposition.*

{*A question naturally will be raised here which would equally apply to the interpretation assigned to many of these names, and for that reason deserves a special answer. It may be asked, Could one suppose the Gibeonites to have designated their city by such a name, a name which would have been a prophetic judgment upon their own condition? To this, however, there may be given more than one sufficient answer.

1. The name may not be exactly the original one, but somewhat altered by the Israelites, as we know to have been the case in other instances (as, e.g., Deut. 2:11, 20: comp. Gen. 14:5), as a comment upon the history.

2. With other names, it may be really ambiguous, and capable of a deeper meaning, which the Spirit of God develops for us.

3. It must not be overlooked that the hand of God has been manifestly over the history, and that numerous names are distinctly prophetic. All those of typical persons are of necessity so, and evidently without any thought of prophesying on the part of those who bestowed them. He without whom not a sparrow falls overrules men in their ignorance continually, leading them undesignedly and in spite of themselves to fulfill His will. These three considerations cover as I believe, every case such as that before us; and not merely answer the questions, but give us deeper views of divine government than are commonly entertained among Christians today.}

But while there is thus a plain link with the history, the spiritual significance is a much deeper one; and here the Cross is surely the true Gibeon, the "pit of suffering for iniquity" indeed. In a series of names developing the significance which we should easily find in them, how divinely suitable is it that that which was the Lord's supremest act of ministry, in its full character quite inimitable, should lead the way!

Then the second name, Ramah, an "elevated place," under the number of salvation, points clearly to the acceptance of that wondrous work, the answer of God to the humiliation and suffering of His Son; and then the answer of the Holy Ghost follows in —

Beeroth, the "wells" of salvation, out of which, for the need of men, with joy we may draw abundant water.

Here, then, is the fountain-head as well as sublimest pattern of ministry, and that which constitutes our sufficiency for it. The next three contemplate the enemy of this work, whose opposition we have to meet, and from the beginning.

Mizpeh, the "watch-tower," bids us cultivate the spirit that this implies, and be upon our guard against an observant, powerful, and unchanging foe. This is an imperative need for one who would follow in any measure the footsteps of the Saviour of men. We cannot afford for a moment to ignore this foe; only at our peril can we be "ignorant of his devices." Thus the second name here is —

Chephirah, a word which is from caphar, to "cover," and is but the feminine form of chephir, a "young lion," so called from his habit of constantly lurking in the coverts: "covert-lion" would be a just rendering, and combines the idea of treachery and craft with power and destructiveness. Here is the enemy, and in —

Mozah we have the mode of attack. Mozah means simply "going forth," and must refer to the attack simply, the lion leaving his covert. But this by itself would be almost insignificant: it is a matter of course that the lion will attack. Combine this thought with another, and you have a real warning. Mozah, as going forth, is by interpreters given as a "fount or spring-head"; and it is well known how the lion will look around such places to prey upon the thirst-driven herds that resort to the waters. Here, indeed, is the place, also, of Satan's special attack. Where the Spirit of God is working and souls are being ministered to, there he delights with his roar and the agonized cry of some victim to scatter those of whom God says, "Gather my people together, and I will give them water."

And what remedy? Faith in the great Shepherd whose watchful care is over His own. Vigilance and alertness on the part of His people. The knowledge of Satan's method of itself arms us against him.

We have now another three, which, as a third, should show us the Holy Spirit's work; and so it does. The first word is peculiar and touching: it is —

Rekem, "embroidery," a word that might be thought to have only a very fanciful connection with any spiritual work. Nor is it employed exactly in this way; but the verb is used in a striking passage in that wonderful psalm, the 139th, in which God's thought and care of man is traced from his beginnings in the womb: — "My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought" — "embroidered" — "in the lowest parts of the earth." And, indeed, the curious interweaving of nerves, veins, arteries, together can be compared to nothing more justly than to a marvellous embroidery. This, of course, in all men: and can God be wanting in consideration and tenderness for a being upon whom He has bestowed such wonderful care?

This is but the body; but the Psalmist rises up to the a fortiori argument — how much more, then, must He care for the soul!

But the body falls a victim to disease none the less, and in death all this elaborate workmanship becomes a prey to corruption. Yes; for the spirit, which is the crown and unifier of the body, has fallen away from God its life, and thus the unity which depends upon it tends ever to break up, too! None can restore the body but He who can restore and set right the spirit. Here the marvellous work of Christ alone can suffice to assure us that man is still unchangeably the object of divine regard. The ministry of Christ addresses itself to every one of these creatures that He has made, and the next word is —

Irpeel, "God healeth": that is the glorious news. It is the precious fact, which every true worker for God realizes in his own experience. The breach in man is healed, because the breach with God is healed, and thus there is

Taralah, "the turning away of curse." Simple all this is; how good to know that such blessedness as this today is simple. Yet, simple as it is, how great — as great as ever — the need of the proclamation of it still!

We have now come to the fourth three, the number of practical life, the number, also, as we are continually reminded, of creature weakness. Here we have, first —

Zelah, "rib," that which the Lord God at the beginning took from Adam, and built up into a woman, and ordained her to be the help-meet of man. Here the weakness of the creature was recognized and provided for. "It is not good that the man should be alone," God says; and yet he was then as he had been made exactly. The woman, weaker still than he, is ordained his helper. Was she not in some way that by her very weakness? Cast upon him in his strength, a being formed for affection, as an object for the heart to develop the heart in him, deliver him from self-occupation, and, by the help she needed, help her helper? Here is natural ministry, ordained at creation, by which we are linked together by the need we have of one another, and in giving receive, and receive more than we give. Thus, indeed, is ministry as mercy "twice-blessed": and this reflex influence of it Zelah seems to stand for and suggest.

Eleph, "ox," from alaph, "to learn" implies training, education, while it is the well-known type of the patient laborer. The number, which is that of addition, progress, emphasizes the former meaning. He who would teach must himself be taught; and he who would teach with God must have learnt with God. God's school is one how different from man's! and in it we must never disjoin "Master and Lord."

Thirdly, Jebusi, the "treader down," when synonymous with Jerusalem, "the foundation of peace," that is, with righteousness, leads us to think still of the laborer, and, indeed, of the threshing of wheat, which was done after this manner. After David had taken the city, so that it had really become Jerusalem, we find the Jebusite Araunah at this work. Threshing is distinguishing work: the wheat is separated from the chaff; and this not as mere classification, but because the wheat is wanted, and wanted free from chaff. "If thou take forth the precious from the vile," says God to Jeremiah, "thou shalt be as My mouth." And this is the sanctification of labor, when it is used to separate that which is of God for God; when the heart is on that which is precious, deals with evil only that God may have His place and glory — what is His. And thus the picture is complete.

But there are still two cities more, exceedingly simple in their names; simple, also, in their significance —

Gibeath, which is "hill," and

Kirjath, which is "city" — "walled city," really. What can be implied by this, except to show us what is the help of labor, what it looks toward and intends. Gibeath the hill is the foundation of the city: "His foundation is in the holy mountains" is said of Zion. (Ps. 87:1.) There is but one foundation for the laborer with God, and that is Christ: "other foundation can no man lay;" let us maintain it in these darkening days.

Upon this foundation God is building a city; and, blessed be His name, we are permitted to be helpers therein. It is a city "compacted together," a place where, at last, the links begun on earth shall find their appropriate sphere and sweet acknowledgment. It will be seen, then, that God never intended man to be alone, and that the city, though not in His paradise of old, was His first thought. There, too, shall His delight in man of old find its expression. God shall dwell among them; His glory shall be over them forever, and the Lamb the lamp thereof.

(b) The second lot comes forth to Simeon, in perfect accordance with the character of the tribe, whose weakness we have seen to be in its readily formed associations, and for whom God has now, it appears, associations after His own mind, while thus is fulfilled Jacob's prophecy as to them, "I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel." These two seemingly so opposite things are accomplished by their receiving their inheritance in the shape of cities scattered, more or less, within the territory already given to Judah — cities that they are unable to occupy by reason of their portion being too large for them. Alas, how little are we able to enjoy all the blessing God has made our own! But thus He makes the need of Simeon supply the need of Judah, and exhibits to us the dependence of communion (which Simeon stands for) upon worship — the dependence, too, (though with a characteristic difference,) of worship upon communion. Very much as the Levites were in Leviticus given to the priests, so here, we may say, is Simeon given to Judah.

Simeon has thus not a territory, properly, at all; and so no boundary-lines are drawn or spoken of. Communion has in fact, so to speak, no territory of its own — no boundary-lines. The cities speak, not of the things which it has for its own peculiar enjoyment, but of what God has provided for it that it may be maintained. Thus, for instance, Hazar-shual, the restraint upon the flesh, is necessary for the existence of communion, but ideally it belongs as much to Judah, as we have already seen; nor can that be a matter of communion which is not one of worship also.

There are questions about these Simeonite cities, even as to the number of them, the first series being given as thirteen, while there are in the Hebrew text fourteen. The names themselves, according to the commentators, are often represented differently in the Judean list, with sometimes a third difference in 1 Chronicles. For the most part, we may pass over all this, except as the spiritual meaning may be in question, and therefore shall address ourselves to this at once, believing assuredly that "all these things happened unto them for types, and" in this way "were written for our admonition." There are abundant commentaries upon the letter, so that it scarcely needs to add much to the mass that has been accumulated with regard to this.

The first and much the largest series of names, whether they are thirteen or fourteen in number, seems to divide again into four parts, the first three of these being again series of threes. They present to us that which is necessary for the existence of communion, the first three carrying us back to new birth itself. We have had the names before: they are —

First, Beersheba, the "well of the oath." This speaks to us clearly of the Spirit of God, ours as secured and justified by the value of Christ in His perfection as the sacrificial Victim — the seven lambs.

The second, in the common text, Sheba, seems to be an error of transcription for what the Septuagint substitutes for it, Shema ("report"), which in the list of cities of the south stands in the same way before —

Moladah, "birth," and with the same meaning. We are born of the Spirit, born of the Word; and this is the first qualification for communion, a nature capable of apprehending and enjoying the things of God.

The second three speak of the sin yet within, from the power of which there must be deliverance; and first therefore here —

Hazar-shual, "the jackal-pen," the restraint upon the flesh, which has been elsewhere more fully pictured to us. We have, then —

Balah, "withered, old," which, under the number which speaks both of the cross and of salvation, reminds us that "our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed (annulled), that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Rom. 6:6.) And thus —

Under the number of the Spirit and of resurrection from the dead we have Azem, "strength" — ability to enter unhindered into the portion God has made our own, to enjoy it with God.

The third three now speak of realized consecration: first —

Eltolad, "God is begetter," which gives the divine claim over us as His children — no more absolute or endearing claim than this; and God is here El, "the Mighty," able, spite of all hindrances, to make good His claim. Hence, on the one side we have

Bethul, "separated to God," or, on the other —

Hormah, "ban," separated to destruction, if against Him. Here is absolute devotedness, that knows no indifference, no neutrality. He, and that, that is not for God is against Him; he that gathereth not with Him scattereth abroad.

The fourth section is more difficult, though not as to the meanings, except with regard to the first word, which is —

Ziklag. If the last syllable be, as some believe, inverted for the sake of euphony, then it may mean most fittingly "the pressure of the wave"; and this would suit well the number of the section at the head of which it stands. It would thus plainly indicate an hour of trial such as is permitted to test everything that purports to be of God. The next two words —

Beth-marcaboth, the "house of chariots," and —

Hazar-susah, the "horse-enclosure," remind one perforce, in such a connection, of the psalmist's words "Some trust in horses, and some in chariots." (Ps. 20:7.) The multiplication of either was forbidden to the Israelites on this very account. Both were used mainly for purposes of war; but Israel's reliance was to be the Lord their God.

Beth-lebaoth, the "house of lionesses," follows in the fourth place, in the Hebrew text. There does not seem the usual clearness, and there must be somewhere some mistake; for while Sharuhen, the "dwelling of grace," according to the dictionaries, would come not unsuitably in the fifth place, the number must then be fourteen instead of thirteen, as in the Hebrew text. The differences in the Septuagint and in 1 Chronicles do not lessen the perplexity, which we must leave, however regretfully, just where it is.

The next group is only of four cities. Two of them, Ether and Ashan, we have had already, plainly referring to our Lord's sanctuary work. Rimmon, the "pomegranate," was on the border of the high-priest's garment. Ain, the first, means "eye" as well as "spring"; and the eye of the priest was constantly in requisition. What we have here, then, is that priestly work of Christ for us, which is needed for the maintenance of communion, as of worship.

Ain comes in the first place, the "eye" which searches out perfectly the truth, in order that intercession may be according to the need, and so the grace ministered. This eye may well be courted, rather than feared: it is the eye of the physician and the friend, not of the judge or accuser; and for the maintenance of communion, what is more necessary than the cry, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me" (Ps. 139:23, 24)? The Psalmist knew not, as we know, the blessedness of One standing as the Mediator-priest, where Christ stands now; and that "throne of grace" to which we are bidden to "come boldly, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need," was not to him fair and full in view, and sprinkled with the blood of Christ, as today we know it. We can "draw near" as he could not; and what hinders in us the drawing near, except the fear that the light of the throne and the eye of omniscience may lay bare in its reality something we would not have exposed — that we do not wish to see just as it is?

Can there yet be in us such treachery toward Him whom yet we know we cannot deceive? or can there be in Christian hearts such power for self-deception? Let us face the question for ourselves — not in the abstract merely: "Lord, is there possibly such ingratitude, as well as self-deceit, in me?"

Ain has thus very special importance in the list of Simeon's cities.

There follows it Remmon, or Rimmon, the "pomegranate," beautiful in flower and rich in fruit, and packed with its many seeds; on the high-priest's garment it speaks of the gospel and its results, and here apparently of the same precious Word, which is indeed nothing else but gospel, and by means of which alone communion is maintained. In the pomegranate, though not of great height (which would make its treasures difficult of access), the leaf is evergreen, the flower and fruit are alike beautiful, the seeds of future fruit are found everywhere in the fruit: a precious picture of the word of divine testimony. And that which goes for communion, yet is not dependent on and maintained by that which is the communication of the grace of God, His mind for men, — is not communion. So important is this second city of Simeon, in this place.

The third is Ether, which has been before shown to speak of "prayer," and that the "effectual, prevailing prayer" of the truly "Righteous" One — "Jesus Christ the righteous." This the number marks as special sanctuary work: and hidden from us as it is, what we owe to it we shall only rightly know above.

The fourth city — reminding us once more of our weakness is Ashan, "smoke," and which also we have seen to refer to the sanctuary incense. We are thus brought now to consider the need we have of prayer ourselves, and the virtue which Christ's perfection gives to it. With which this series seems to be every way, indeed, complete.

To these, as an appendix, are added many unnamed villages round about these cities to Baalath-beer, the Ramath of the south, names beautifully and simply expressive. The "mistress of the well" must of necessity be "the exalted one" of the dry "south," but which only needs the water to develop into magnificent fruitfulness. Blessed be God that for us there is this constant need of water from beneath and from above. Egypt, with its river of which they cannot see the source, is not our portion; we have need of the Spirit, and thus His gracious, patient, abundant ministry, as witnessed to us in the first of Simeon's cities, secured to us by oath. "He who can swear by no greater has sworn by Himself, saying, Surely, blessing, I will bless thee!" Be it so, amen, Lord; and may faith in Thy people grasp the blessing!

(c) And now we go on to Zebulon, whose significance is simple from his name and the way in which Leah uses it. She called him Zebulon (dwelling), saying, "This time will my husband dwell with me." The spiritual thought connected with Zebulon is dwelling in the relation which God has given us to Himself, which is the only true thought of consecration. And with this the number under which we find Zebulon here plainly agrees.

Zebulon's border is given in three divisions, not completely: why should it be assumed that it ever was, or was intended to be, complete? We touch everywhere here upon things that are beyond us; and they cannot always, perhaps, have — sometimes need not have — complete definition. The spiritual sense — spiritual profit — governs everything here as much as in any other part of the word of God; and this destroys entirely the value of much acute criticism: we must get the divine, not the mere human, point of view. Certainly it can hardly be supposed that all the deficiencies that are to be found in this respect in the enumeration of cities here or the tracing of the boundary-lines are mere gaps in the manuscripts! If so, they are more imperfect than we have had any idea of. On the other hand, that there is design in the omissions is evident to one who will reverently consider them in the light only of such imperfect study as we are pursuing now; and the deeper the study, if a believing one, the more will this be apparent.

Judging simply from the language used, the description of the border falls into three parts, the first of which goes no further than to name the starting-point. This must, then, be of intense importance. From it the boundary is traced both west and east: —

"And the border of their inheritance was as far as Sarid."

Sarid means "remnant" — "what is left"; and this, under the number which may imply singularity or solitariness, should be, indeed, sufficiently impressive. "Antipas," whom the Lord calls "my faithful martyr," according to the significance of a name evidently meant to be significant, had "every one against" him: and if we are to be truly consecrated men, we must, before all things, dare to be singular. God must control us, as if there were not another. I do not mean, of course, that He will desire to have us, even for a moment, indifferent to others. Yet, says the Lord, "If any man come after Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26.) This is simply uncompromising obedience, which to anything but a perfect will would be insanity, but which to God is the highest reason that can be. And this is insisted on, by the mere description of this boundary of Zebulon, in the most absolute way. "You must start," it says, "if you are going to define for yourself what consecration to God is, by yourself alone — a remnant of one, if need be"! How important is it to get the right starting-point!

The consequences are not hidden: "And the border went up westward, even to Maralah ('shaking'), and touched Dabbesheth (the murmuring of reproach ), and touched the brook which is before Jokneam ('the possession of the people'). Before, in front of, not in the possession of, the people: there is the refreshment God has provided for you; and alas, you will find, if you are on this track, that the mass do not share it with you! It is beyond them, not because God will have it so, but they will have it.

In this part of the line we have been going westward — facing the sea. But there is another way. However, we must return to Sarid first: —

"And it turned from Sarid eastward, toward the rising of the sun" — the double view of the east, meeting, like Judah in the wilderness, the breath of the desert with the song of the dawn — "to the border of Chisloth-Tabor" (the "loins," that is, the strength of purpose").

Here there is a well-provided road: "And it went forth to Daberath ('pasture'), and went up to Japhia," "shining." The splendor of the dawn already greets one on this higher land.

"And thence it passed eastward, toward the rising of the sun, to Gath-hepher ('the winepress-digging'), to Ethkazin (the occasion for a captain'); and it went out to Rimmon," the "pomegranate," which we have seen but awhile since to symbolize the precious word of God — "which reacheth unto Neah" (the "wanderer") — thank God, it does! All this speaks easily of the activity and energy which characterize the Zebulonite who dwells with God. Notice that the word of God in its fullness, which the pomegranate so strikingly represents, furnishes and gives direction to these activities; and that the "captain" is, literally, "the outermost man," the one who stands out from the rest, which is really the thought with which we started here.

We have now come to the third and last part of the border, which seems as if it should speak of inward realization of the Zebulon portion. "And the border turned about it (Rimmon) northward to Hannathon, and ended in the valley of Jephtah-el." Hannathon means "obtained by grace," and the border clings to Rimmon in reaching it. Nothing, indeed, to the soul that walks with God, can be a deeper experience than that all is of grace; there is none with which the Word more unites itself than this. But why does the border turn northward here? Is it because this abundant grace is at the same time a great mystery? It ends at Jephtah-el, "God openeth," the word for God being El, the Mighty. But openeth what? Is it the way of access to Himself? Is it the deep things which His Spirit searcheth? Is it the way before us as we travel it? It may well be all these, as nothing here would seem to limit it. But with the man who dwells with God, the grace and power of God, with the fullness that is in His bounteous hand, seem to be spoken of as the sweet and certified realities. Correspondingly, the line ends in a valley": weakness and nothingness are realized, not in dismay or discouragement, but the very opposite. Still they are realized: for "the High and Holy One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy," saith: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isa. 57:15.)

The list of the cities of Zebulon comes in the fourth place, not separated from the boundary, but apparently including those that have been mentioned in it: for they are said to be twelve in number, while only five are given apart from these. Keil owns that "after deducting Chisloth-Tabor and Dabrath, which belonged to Issachar, the names Sarid, Maralah, Dabbasheth, Japhia, Gath-hepher, Eth-Kazin, and Channathon, give just seven towns. Nevertheless," he adds, "there is very little probability in this conjecture." The only alternative being to imagine a gap to this extent in the text, impossible to fill up, or that five should replace twelve, as the number of cities, involving a merely conjectural alteration of it, let us see how interpretation may help us to decide the matter.

Now the number five, as that of man with God, is one that we might expect to find in relation to Zebulon. The twelve of the text, however, does not displace it as the number of cities in this fourth section, while it adds to it the thought of manifest divine control which suits Zebulon certainly, no less than Benjamin. But this is not enough to decide so doubtful a matter. Our only sufficient argument will be found in examining, in the light of the numerals, the names actually found here, and see how they will read on either supposition.

There is a difficulty as to the meaning of one, if not two, of the names also, which is disappointing, especially where a question of this kind is to be decided. Critics are, however, I believe, agreed that in Isa. 7:19, the word which stands second here means, not "bushes," as our common version reads, but "pastures." The fourth word, Idalah, is much more uncertain. Simonis gives "God exalteth," but the etymology is not as clear as one would desire. Dr. Young gives "memorial of God," but of course says nothing of etymology, and is in general but little reliable on account of his common preference of an inferential for a literal rendering. The other names are clear, and the list will stand thus: —
1. Kattath, "little."
2. Nahalal, "pasture."
3. Shimron, "watch," or "watchful care."
4. Idalah, "God exalteth," "memorial of God."
5. Bethlehem, "house of bread."

If these, as Keil suggests, are part of a series of twelve, the numbers will be quite different. Twelve is always in Scripture, as far as I am aware, a series of three (4 x 3); but then we do not know the places of the five here in the twelve. You may interpolate names ad libitum, and give existing ones any imaginable place. If they are the closing fragment, the numbers would be 2. 3. 1. 2. 3, and would belong to the third and fourth sections of the whole. I think that they will be found to yield in this way no consistent interpretation.

Now let us read them as they stand. First, as a fourth division of the account of Zebulon, they give us things which test the truth of such consecration as we have seen that he represents. This thought of "tests" is the only one the number stands for, which links together these five names in one consistent meaning.

The first name is Kattath, "little," the number being that which speaks of integrity, wholeheartedness. Now it is just that which is little which tests us in this respect. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." (Luke 16:10.) The great things many motives may conspire to induce us to regard. Things that are in themselves moral or immoral command any ordinary conscience; but to that of which no account can be given but that it is the Lord's will, how many excuses can be found for disobedience! Thus, how many respect James's admonition as to rich and poor in the assembly (James 2:1-4)? and there are things in abundance, that can be found by any one who will seek for them, that are much keener tests than this.

The second name is Nahalal, "pasture"; and while, at first sight, there does not seem much in this to connect with the line of thought before us, it is a fact that there is scarcely anything, perhaps, that is a greater test of the soul's condition than that of where it seeks its food. The Israelite's restrictions as to food have here plain and serious application. (See Lev. 11.) He who finds his recreation in the novel or the newspaper, how can he seek or find it in the things of God? On the other hand, can there be a soul that is with God, to whom His word is not a constant necessity, and an unfailing source of interest and delight? Such questions have but one answer; and they completely justify the place of Nahalal among the Zebulon names: while the numerical place puts to us the apostle's admonition itself, so emphasizing the necessity we have just appealed to, "As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2.) How MUCH does a new-born babe need milk?

The third name is Shimron, "watchful care." And the habitual realization of the Lord's presence will surely be marked by habitual watchfulness over ourselves. Not that it will induce or promote legal self-occupation. Legality makes much of self; which is the centre of its hopes and fears. The presence of the Lord, where realized in the sense of His grace, occupies us with Him, but thus makes evil much more hateful and horrible, and throws over one the shield which repels it. The holiness of God's presence therefore furnishes the third test.

The fourth name is Idalah: and here Simonis gives, at least, the meaning which seems to furnish one of the most searching tests of all. When "God exalteth," how readily may we forget that native weakness of which the number reminds us! Even the apostle Paul needed in such a case a "thorn in the flesh" — Satan's buffeting to balance the tendency to self-exaltation. Here is the snare of one who may stand forth at the moment of need for a "captain"; and how great is the need of such leaders being remembered at the throne of grace!

The fifth and final name is Bethlehem, the "house of bread." We have before recognized it as the sweet and fitting title of the Father's house. There there will be no testing; but for the Zebulonite who dwells with God even here, where He is pleased to have a tabernacle in the wilderness, it will not surely be the less, but the more, a longing to dwell with Him where His own house is. The coming of the Lord is thus left as the final appeal to the heart in Scripture: "Behold, I come quickly." May our hearts answer, as did his to whom the announcement was made! The number here is five, that of God with man, and of the recompensing end! Could there be greater harmony?

I think that the demonstration is complete that the names of the cities are not a fragment, but a perfect whole. Yet the number twelve seems to me right also in the way that others have suggested, viz., by counting in the border cities. In this way the text of our Bibles is right in both respects.

(d) The fourth lot is that of Issachar. And while we have had little to show us the spiritual significance of the tribe, there is but one which can be attached to it in the place which it here occupies. Issachar must speak of the walk upon earth, of course to be distinguished from Ephraim, which is fruit developed in character. The character being manifested in the walk, and the deeds done in the body that of which account is to be given, and for which reward is received, very clearly explains the name Issachar, "there is reward." We see, too, why there is no real attempt to draw the boundary-line: little definition can be in this case needed.

There are three parts to the description, the first of which contains thirteen out of the sixteen cities. This first part considers the walk in itself, and is subdivided again into four parts, three of three, and the fourth of four names. It is the usual division of twelve with one name additional added to the last part.

Looking at the names, it is evident that they are very different in character from most of the former ones. They seem to be full of warnings, the first section to be little else; and .the walk itself pictured as in a scene of danger and of sorrow, although there is, blessed be God, another side. The first section stands thus:
1. — 1. Jezreel, 2. Chesulloth, 3. Shunem;
2. — 1. Hapharaim, 2. Shion, 3. Anaharath;
3. — 1. Rabbith, 2. Kishion, 3. Abez;
4. — 1. Remeth, 2. En-gannim, 3. En-haddah, 4. Beth-pazzez.

The first three give us what we may call the harmony of the walk. The first, —

Jezreel, "seed of God," reminds us again of the new birth without which there can be no right walk at all, and which is of the incorruptible seed of the word of God. (1 Peter 1:23.) This "seed," when truly received in the power of the Holy Ghost, carries the life in it, according to the natural type. God's work comes thus necessarily at the beginning of all else, and we have as the result developed in it —

Chesulloth, literally "loins," which are so called from their stiffness and strength, and stand spiritually for the confidence which gives strength, enabling the back to carry its burden and the whole man for his work. The stiffness here implied is an important feature, imaging an unyielding faith which is needed for the world we pass through; while —

Shunem, "conformity," literally "their being leveled" or "made like," speaks of the life being shaped by the word received. These three things are clearly at the basis of all right walk.

The next three warn us at once of the opposition to be met and of the possible result of much toil and eager expectation: —

Hapharaim, "double confusion," a word which "applies," says Wilson, "to being frustrated and disappointed of one's plans and expectations." Here it is in the dual number, and may perhaps imply disappointment both of present success and future reward. For even with the Christian, alas, not everything that seemeth right in his own eyes is really found to be so: how much is not conformed to the one only standard of the word of God, but, at the best, to what we may think reasonable! But reason cannot rise up to that "wisdom which is from above," and which, with "every good and perfect gift, cometh down from the Father of lights." (James 3:17; James 1:17.) Here is what avails for every position in which one can be found; but alas, our own wills come in to obscure to us His perfect will; and may not this be what the numerical place indicates, the thing in which our danger lies so constantly — an independent will?

Shion, though generally given as "destruction," may mean, rather, "he who puts at ease," the link between the two meanings being that of "security;" in the sense of that false ease which often exposes to destruction. Here it would seem that we should have the better sense. Having given us already the "confusion" which may be ours from taking our own way, what should the names show us now under the number of salvation but the One Person who alone can give us rest and security, "quiet from the fear of evil"? Christ is unfailingly our safeguard in all doubtful matters, the Shepherd who "leads in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." (Ps. 23:3.) And suitedly there would follow, under the number that speaks of holiness —

Anaharath, for which Dr. Young gives the meaning of the "narrow way." This seems to verify itself by its perfect appropriateness to all the connection. Truth is one, and the right way for us at any time is only one, for God has only one thing in His will for us at any one time. The Spirit of God says to us, "This is the way," and not "any one of these is the way." Thus it is narrow; but who that knows it would wish it to be broader? Who would desire to have a choice of his own, who could have instead God's choice for him?

The third three are more difficult. The numerical place may speak of realization or of manifestation, possibly both: at least the realization of many a hope makes manifest what it is, and the true nature of our desire after it. This seems to connect the three following names together in an intelligible manner, and to be the only thing which does so. The first name here, alas, gives the nature often of such hopes —

Rabbith, a "great place." Emulation is that which the training in all our schools today deliberately fosters, as the spirit of success in life; and it has how many religious forms! It was the spirit which the desire to sit on Christ's right and left hand in His kingdom showed in the sons of Zebedee, as well as in the other disciples by their murmuring at it. The Lord rebukes it by appeal to His own chosen place among them, "come, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." How little like the kingdoms of the Gentiles would be the kingdom of such a King!

And what must be the consequence of being permitted to realize these hopes of greatness? This seems to be answered in the two names that follow: first —

Kishion, "hardness," or perhaps preferably "hardening." For if self be in the desire, the "seeking our own things," which the apostle characterized as the condition general among the Christians at Rome when he wrote to the Philippians, what will the attainment of the desire naturally do but give opportunity for the indulgence of self which this implies, and in result harden the heart by shutting it up in self-gratification?

This is but the law of progress, and the stamp upon which the Spirit of God puts in the next name —

Abez, which seems akin to bizzah, "mire," and to be illustrated in Habakkuk's "Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!" A terrible weight upon himself may be thus accumulated by one who is yet Christ's, but who in the government of God must meet the consequences, though as a father's chastening, and for final blessing!

These three sections, while contemplating the earthly walk, keep the eye, however, fixed upon oneself; the fourth contemplates more the world through which the walk is, and this in perfect conformity with the number attached. Here we have, first —

Remeth, "height," the possession given us in God's grace being above the world. It is as taken out of the world we are sent into it, and the first necessity is to maintain the possession.

To be above the world is to be master over it; and the Lord has given us all this place, not of it, as He is not of it. We only need to fill that place — by faith to be living in it, and this will be "the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." "If any man be in Christ, it is new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17.) This is the vantage-point for us.

En-gannim, a "fountain of gardens," speaks of the Spirit's work in the world. A garden is a special enclosure, and implies the need of separation, protection, and a nurturing hand. The Spirit's work is thus to separate and nourish the people of God, as exotics in a strange country. The world around remains a wilderness. "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed; . . . a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." (Cant. 4:12, 15.)

Thus we are above the world, but in it, and yet separated from it: —

En-haddah, the "fountain of exhilaration," makes us contemplate the Spirit as filling the soul with its proper joy. "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess" says the apostle, "but be filled with the Spirit" — wherein is no excess. (Eph. 5:18.) How important is it to ask ourselves, what is it that I look to for recreation? what is it that bubbles out of me when I am glad? To pray when we are afflicted, that is well; but if we are merry, do we sing psalms? (James 5:13.) Is Christ our Deliverer from sin and wrath, and should He not be the the joy and brightness of our lives also — our very life? Certainly En-haddah is a most needed memorial to us, coming in the place it does; and we do well to give the most attentive heed to it.

Lastly, Beth-pazzez, the "house of disruption," reveals the world as the place of contradiction and of opposition, of the need of separation, and of the difficulty of the accomplishment of this; of a scene where the precious needs to be taken from the vile; and where we ourselves have to experience the ruin which has come in, and opposition to Christ in our own homes and hearts.

We have now evidently a new division of Issachar's cities, and though a very small, yet a most interesting one. The language shows the new beginning: —

"And the border reached unto Tabor and Shahazum and Beth-shemesh."

"Crucified to the world" is, after all, the salvation-side of the practical walk; and that is what this second division emphasizes for us. The number is that of the cross, as we know. The names show us this as a practical reality wrought into the life. First —

Tabor, "purpose," for, while we can promise nothing to God, "purpose of heart," such as Barnabas exhorted the saints to (Acts 11:23), is most needful. Next —

Shahazum, not a plural form, as most take it, and meaning "heights," but, as in Kethib, the written text of our Bibles, rather a compound word, and meaning "humbled with fasting." This is the practical carrying out of purpose, not so much in literal abstinence as in spiritual holding off from what incites the flesh. For the flesh is the world's advocate, and here the victory is to be really got.

The third name, Beth-shemesh, the "house of the sun," shows how little dark need be a life of this sort. Nay, we are children of the light and of the day, not of the night, nor of darkness: of a day, too, in which the sun never sets, and where the sky never need be clouded. A good name, this, with which to end the list of Issachar's cities. We have only, besides, that —

"Their border ended at the Jordan": where, of course, the earth-walk must end; but this is a third division, because for death there is a resurrection; nay, there is a resurrection-life now, to which the end of earth is but the entrance into heaven.

(e) The fifth lot falls to Asher, "the happy," — if the thought answer to the name, — a singular idea, it might seem, to have distinct representation thus among the tribes of Israel. So far, we have had no indication of any other; and a deeper consideration will make it apparent that it is of immense importance that the people of God should be known as a "happy" people. If "the joy of the Lord is your strength," then happiness must have for the soul a large spiritual value. As a testimony to God it must be of no less. One of the characteristics of the true "circumcision," as given by the apostle, is that they "rejoice in Christ Jesus": and his exhortation to the same people is, "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice." (Phil. 3:3; Phil. 4:4.) Such joy is one of the best signs that the knowledge of the gospel has reached the heart, and that the life will be governed by it. It is quite true that feelings may easily be put in a wrong place, as in the first quest of peace they are almost sure to be. There is plenty of need for insisting on the truth that we are not justified by feeling but by faith. Nay, it is certain that the reception of the gospel with immediate joy is made by the Lord Himself a sign rather of stony-ground hearing than of a fruitful reception of the Word. (Matt. 13:20.) Plowing up must be before the seed can spring up aright; repentance before God will accompany "faith in our Lord Jesus Christ," where the latter is real and effective. This is all true; yet, on the other hand, it is no less true that the effect of the gospel — the "glad tidings" — is to produce gladness, and that the apostle prays for believers that "the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing." (Rom. 15:13). The third character of the "kingdom of God" he gives, after "righteousness and peace," is "joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17). "The fruit of the Spirit is" said to be "love, joy, peace" (Gal. 5:22.) "And not only so, but we joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation." (Rom. 5:11.)

These passages, of course define the happiness which they speak of, so that it is impossible to confound it with the mere play of animal spirits, or even the happiness derivable from the hope of salvation. One might have this last, and and yet in fact be unsaved. "Joy in God through Christ" is something perfectly distinct, and infinitely higher. As manifested in Asher, we shall find it carefully distinguished from everything that could be confounded with it, as well as in relation to other features of the divine life which find expression in these living pictures. Noticeable it is that Asher occupies the fifth place in this series, as in the wilderness he does in connection with Dan (Vol. 1., pp. 384, 393, n). There the meaning cannot be mistaken that exercise of heart and conscience have essentially to do with the maintenance of a happiness worthy to be called that. Here we may well suppose the numerical place to repeat and emphasize the same thought. Asher's territory runs up to the extreme north, between Naphtali and the sea, connecting on the south with Zebulon and Manasseh. All its relations speak thus of trial, exercise, and practical life. If Judah keeps guard at one end of the land, Asher does at the other. The territory assigned it by God is a proportionately large one, but it fails, alas, to fill its limits.

The boundary is described in three divisions of very unequal size. The first begins in the middle of its sea-board line, descends to below Carmel, and then turns eastward, and soon northeast and north, until it reaches its northernmost point at Zidon. The second division is along the sea, southward again, only as far as Tyre; and the third runs down to where it began, somewhere in the neighborhood of Accho or Acre, although the names are little to be traced as yet, and Asher,s cities are almost altogether irrecoverable. The history of Asher corresponds with this but too well: Asher has no great names to memorialize what was once a large and important tribe.

The first division of the boundary defines happiness in the various elements which make it up, or which it implies; and the first part of this, which has seven names, more strictly still defines it in itself, as we shall see better when we examine them in detail.

Helkath, "portion, share," is the first of these. Halak, from which it is derived, means, according to Wilson, "to divide into parts, each receiving his portion; to part, distribute, especially by lot." It implies, therefore, that God has, in respect of happiness, given all His people their portion, each his own. He has shut none out. He has not made it difficult of attainment, the prize of great ability or great effort, either. Faith to receive, giving God credit for what He has done, for what He has said, for what He is, is all that is on our part needed.

But though with Christ the secret of happiness is ours, and we have it freely, it has been wrought out for us with infinite pains and cost; and this is what —

Hali assures us of. It means "an ornament curiously wrought with great labor and pains" (Parkhurst), the verb from which it is derived meaning "to faint with labor, to labor even to faintness." He who wears such an ornament is seldom the one who fashioned it; and so with the jewel of which we speak, Christ has made it, at what personal cost and sacrifice, and made it ours forever: of this how natural and needful to be reminded here. So in the "wine that cheereth God and man," we find at His table the memorial of His precious blood. Next —

Beten, "belly," speaks of the inward realization. The craving of our souls has been met, — so met, that, out of that which by its imperious demands becomes the "god" of other men (Phil. 3:19), the refreshing streams pour out for the need of others. (John 7:38.) Here we are reminded that happiness is within, in the inmost parts, — no outside circumstances can produce it; and Christ must be for this received into the heart: we have but to drink, for the living water to flow out. It is not effort, but we must first ourselves be filled, that there may be a genuine overflow. Christ received into the heart, what can be wanting for abundant happiness? The lack of it is surely proof that there is not heart for Him, or else not faith to entertain Him.

Achshaph is a stranger name in this connection. We have had it before, at the beginning of the eleventh chapter, where the king of Achshaph is one of Jabin's confederates. There we understand it to mean "sorcery," the use of natural things endued by magical formulae or prayers with supernatural powers, to enchant and captivate. In Israel's hands these cities lost their significance for evil; of which we have had many an example. Thus we may apply the Achshaph here without real difficulty to the subject before us. Faith in the soul will indeed exert a transforming power upon the things around. When all that comes is seen in the light of Christ glorified and upon the Father's throne, it is of necessity transformed. "All these things are against me," said Jacob of old; but faith says "He maketh all things work together for good to them that love Him." That which may have been done by an enemy's hand becomes thus the fruit of unmistaking love. "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" was the Lord's own and unanswerable question with regard to what was the worst of all iniquity and the most mysterious of afflictions. The cross has lifted the veil of all other mysteries, and shown us everywhere One well-known Face. This is, according to the number here, our happiness as to the world through which we pass: it is in this way transformed by it.

The last three of these seven names give us now in a clear and pronounced way the secret of this happiness: — first,

Alammelech: "God is King." This is the Old Testament version of the apostle's "Rejoice in the Lord," where, of course, Christ is the Lord. But this is only a more pregnant and intelligible way of saying, "God is King." Not only is Christ God, and upon the throne of God, but also Christ it is who has manifested God to us, and given Him in our hearts the glorious throne which now He has. He who knows Christ, with him is the "shout of a king" (Num. 23:21); and to know who fills the throne is happiness indeed. This brings with it also the spirit of obedience; and such joy has in it stability and safety. God and man are at one indeed.

Amad confirms this from the other side: it means "an eternal people." Brought to God, we are His forever: sin and all its effects are triumphed over, and Christ a man is the eternal link with men, a pledge never to be taken back, a bond never to be broken or unclasped. This is the necessary complement of Alammelech; and yet there is for present happiness one thing more; and this we find in —

Misheal, "feeling after God," which gives us the energy of soul in one before whom God is, and whose heart is won by Him, who on this account, and realizing his little knowledge, seeks for more; yea, presses on after that being with Him "face to face" which. is the unimaginable joy before us all. The Psalms are full of this longing after God, which in the epistle to the Philippians takes for the apostle the shape of seeking to "win Christ and be found in Him," that Christ whom he had seen in glory, and the vision of whom had stamped itself upon his soul, and henceforth led him, "doing one thing." This is the Manasseh spirit, and Asher touches Manasseh very near to Misheal, — how near, no one can yet say. But who doubts the happiness of so great an attraction in an object not uncertain of attainment, but most certain to be attained? It is the happiness which is the power.

The second portion of the main division gives us but three names, which all mark connection with Manasseh, whose border must be in contact with Asher near this point, although we cannot trace it with any exactness. But the spiritual meaning is in evident accordance with the trend of the boundary. Manasseh is, of all the tribes, that which speaks most of progress, and the three names here all imply this.

"And it reached Carmel westward, and Shihor-libnath, and turned toward the sunrise to Beth-dagon."

Carmel, "vineyard of God," suggests the thought of concentration, the very spirit of Manasseh, read in the light of the epistle to the Philippians. For a vineyard is, above all, that which exemplifies the need of pruning, and it is from a word of this meaning that that for vineyard here is derived. To have fruit such as is sought, a vine needs the knife to be applied unsparingly: "every branch in me that beareth not fruit" the husbandman "taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he pruneth it, that it may bring forth more fruit:" the lesson of which is the need of concentration — of turning all our energies into that which has profit in it; spending none upon what is merely of no harm. Nor is this legalism or asceticism: it is, as we may learn from the connection here, what makes for happiness, as well as fruitfulness." What can be more productive of joy than the continual pursuit of that in which Christ finds His own, and and in which we find fellowship with Him?

Shihor-libnath means "diligent search after purity," — a thing not needless for those to be reminded of who are most diligently seeking fruit. Alas, there will not rarely be the danger of "doing evil," in some modified way, "that good may come"; and the over-anxiety about results may make one misjudge seriously what is the mind of God. God's seed may be a long time buried before it springs up, and the shallower sowing springs up all the quicker. Results will indeed speak truly at the end; but then there must be faith to leave things to the end: and for that the word of God must test all ways and methods, and guide us as to our course in the meantime. Here it is indeed true that "he that believeth shall not make haste." (Isa. 28:16.) What life, with all the glory of it, must seem so vain as Christ's life? The corn of wheat, according to His own saying, had to fall into the ground and die, that it might not abide alone. "Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain": — this would decide for many the failure of it; — "but surely," He adds, "my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. (Isa. 49:4.)

And is not this the meaning of the third thing here, that the border from this point "turns toward the sunrise, to Beth-dagon"? The sunrise is emphasized by the full expression for it being given, as is not generally the case; and Bethdagon, as we have already seen, speaks of abundant fruitfulness. But to realize this the day of account must be kept in view, that is, the sunrise, the day of Christ's appearing. And in this way the three names here are very complete in meaning.

We now reach the boundary of Zebulon, and should be prepared to find that in this third stretch of the border of Asher the names speak of the "dwelling" with God and its results: —

"And it reached Zebulon, and the valley of Jiphtah-el, northward at Bethemek and Neiel."

The theme of Zebulon we have become already acquainted with: it is plain that Asher must be closely connected with it. In God's presence is "fullness of joy." (Ps. 16:11.) To know it in whatever measure here must be the bright side of our life; and Asher would be terribly incomplete without the names that follow. The valley of Jiphtah-el we have also had in connection with Zebulon; and the breadth of its significance — "God openeth" — may well be taken in all its fullness. In God's presence His word is opened, and our understandings also, to understand the Word (Luke 24:45); and who that is Chest's does not know the joy attendant upon this? The words following are remarkable and blessed in this connection: the boundary strikes the valley of Jiphtah-el at — Beth-emek, "the house of the depth"; and "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him, God hath revealed unto us," says the apostle, "by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:9, 10.) What happiness to be made at home by the Spirit of God in the deep things of God! But we come also to infinities where man as man cannot go further. He cannot be God, or "as God." He must be limited by his finite nature, and thus —

Neiel, "the shutting of God," in contrast with Jiphtah-el, His "opening," comes as a wholesome warning, to heed which is not without its importance to our happiness. Important it is also to get the right spiritual location of this Neiel, if its location on the map cannot be given. To know where we are free to inquire reverently, and where to recognize the limit which must belong to us, is a point of great and needed wisdom. But the whole range of what is revealed is ours: "Secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but things which are revealed belong unto us." (Deut. 29:29.) To remain in uncertainty where God has really spoken is a shame and dishonor to the grace that has met us; and the plea that we cannot know is but too often the vain plea of indifference and spiritual sloth. Neiel is on the boundary of Asher; but we need to take the pains to locate it right.

The fourth and concluding section of the main boundary carries us along the border of Naphtali, northward, as far as Zidon. Naphtali is not, however, mentioned, and has not, spiritually, the nearness to Asher that Zebulon has. This is quite evident; and yet the presence of Naphtali on the northeast border has its significance. There are six names

"And it went out to Cabul on the left hand, and Ebron [Abdon?] and Re-hob, and Hammon, and Kanah, as far as great Zidon."

The border runs now to the left hand, that is, in a general northerly direction. The first place on the line is —

Cabul, which, taken in connection with the gift of it to Hiram at a later day, is said to mean "given as a pledge [of friendship]," or, better, "in discharge of debt." We have not yet to consider the history, and Cabul itself means simply "bound." It is a significant word at the beginning of the fourth section, which naturally speaks of the walk through the world, and the frank acceptance of it is of great moment in connection with the spiritual happiness which we have seen Asher to represent for us. The constraint of love and gratitude is a sweet yoke to bear; and a life so inspired is of necessity a happy life. Christ died for us, "that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them, and rose again." (2 Cor. 5:15.) Thus is the misery of self-bondage broken, and the moral life set right. We are freest when the moral obligation is most felt; and the constraint of love is motive which ensures happiness. And thus the proposed reading of —

Abdon for Ebron would seem to find strong support. Ebron, akin to Eber of the genealogy of Shem (Gen. 12) and not to Hebron in Judah, means "passing over." Abdon means "bond-service." Twenty MSS. support the latter, which occurs also in Joshua 21:30, and in 1 Chron. 6:74, as one of the Levitical cities of Asher, Ebron occurring nowhere else. The difference between them is only that which our Lord calls a "tittle" (Matt. 5:18), a slight projection or shoulder which distinguishes the "d" in Hebrew from "r." The numerical place speaks strongly for Abdon, as is evident, as does the connection, so that we may provisionally at least accept it. Cabul is thus the recognition of the "bond"; Abdon, the taking up of the "service" it implies; while —

Rehob, "breadth" or "broad way," shows how the soul of the enfranchised saint finds not straitness but largeness in the path with God: these three words fit well, therefore, together.

Hammon, "sunny," comes next, under the number of experience, in a similarly beautiful manner; for, whatever the circumstances of the way, the sky ought always to be clear; the heavens cannot fail us.

Kanah, "He has purchased," is the explanation of the whole series here; and it comes under the number which speaks of responsibility, or of God with man; —

Zidon, the end of this part of the line, adding to this the thought of "taking the prey," which is here, as its number indicates, victory over the power of evil. Thus the first division of the border ends.

The second division must not be judged of as to its importance by its length. It has but two names; but it is that which puts Christ before us in direct relation to our happiness: —

"And the border turned to Ramah, and to the fortified city Tyre."

Ramah we have had already, though another city, and in Benjamin; but we have only to transfer the meaning there to find how perfectly it suits in this case also. The meaning is "an elevated place," and points to the acceptance of Christ's work, and the exaltation of Him who had been in the place of humiliation for us. The only difference is that instead of being as there the second city of a second group, it is the first city, but still of a second group. This first place speaks of supremacy (as I think), which is His there; and thus indeed the happiness of one who realizes this is secured. It is exactly what the apostle exhorts to, "Rejoice in the Lord." (Phil. 4:1.) If He is supreme, surely our blessing is secure. Yet even this is expanded for us in the next name —

Tyre, which means "rock," and to which is added that it is a "fortified city." This, under the number of salvation, reminds us of how Scripture connects these thoughts together. A risen Christ is indeed the "Rock of our salvation," fortified against any possibility of successful attack. How important are these two names among the cities of Asher, and how sufficient as thus joined together!

The third division, as naturally now, speaks of the Spirit and of the work in the soul:

"And the border turned to Hosah; and it ended at the sea by the region of Achzib, and Ummah, and Aphek, and Rehob."

Hosah means "trust," or "taking refuge," clearly corresponding to what was just now said of Christ as the rock of salvation. And we need to be reminded that while "He abideth faithful," faith, too, on our part must abide. We must avail ourselves of our privileges; we must make that our own which is our own. How marvelous a thing thus is faith! and what an enriching for the soul of the poor and empty one!

The border now ends at the sea, in the region of Achzib, three names being added here, which are generally taken as from different points, and not belonging to the boundary at all. Aphek, we are told, is the modern Afka a good way to the north. On the other hand, Ummah is supposed to be the modern Alma, not very far from Achzib, and the names recur so frequently as to make their identification often doubtful. It would be quite possible that, as with Zebulon, these three names should be added to the rest, to complete the number of Asher's cities, though there is against this that, after all, this list does not apparently complete them, as Accho (now Acre) properly belonged to Asher, as is plain from Judges 1:31, although, as with Zidon, Tyre, and other places allotted to them, they failed to get possession. After all, it seems that our appeal must be to the spiritual meaning, which certainly governs all, and that we are left free to accept what explanation of the facts may be thus afforded us.

If the three cities are to be detached from what precedes them, they do not form part of the boundary at all, but must come in, like those of Zebulon, as a distinct fourth section. If they form part of the boundary, then they will belong to the third; and their meaning will accord with this: they will speak of the work of the Spirit in some way.

Now Achzib we have already seen to do this. Among the cities of the low country of Judah we found one of this name; and read it as "a flow indeed," referring it to the Spirit of God, as the witness — coming in the second place — of Christ's ascension and glory. It comes exactly in the same place here, and must in consistency receive the same interpretation.

Ummah means "union"; and "he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." (1 Cor. 6:17.)

Then Aphek, which is Aphik in Judges 1:31, though given as "strength" or "fortress," — there is a monotonous rendering of various names in this way — may rather mean "channel": it is the bed of a stream, whether full or empty.

Rehob, again, we are acquainted with in Asher itself as "breadth," or "broad way."

Now these names put together yield a very consistent sense: for thus it is, as united to Christ by the Spirit, we become channels for what the Lord Himself calls "rivers of living water." (John 7:38.) Surely this yields so simple and good a meaning that it will hardly be worth while to go further to find another. These names seem to justify their place very fully as part of the third division of the boundary, — all four facing the sea, where it comes to an end. Have we not here full ability to face the sea of trial with the abundant happiness of which Asher speaks? We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit which He hath given us." Asher only goes beyond this to the outflow which the passage in Romans explains but does not openly point out. He fulfills, then, his name all through: let us remember that it is ours also, and challenge ourselves that we fulfill it; for if we will, such is God's grace toward us, we surely may.

The number of the cities, twenty-two, seems here to be too small. There seem twenty-three. Keil suggests, as the only possible explanation, that Neiel in the border may be the same as Neah in Zebulon, and belong to the latter. But may it not be possible that the two Rehobs are in fact the same? The territory of these cities seems to have been sometimes considerable, and the breadth of Asher's portion at this point quite contracted; while the four cities named together may not have been all exactly on the border, which was simply "by" that district. If this suggestion be true, the number twenty-two is exactly right.

(f) Naphtali follows Asher in the sixth place: "with divine wrestlings" wrestlings nerved by God? — says Rachel at his birth, "have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed." Hence his name, Naphtali, "my wrestling," which, in the sixth place here, speaks clearly of the overcomer. Thus overcoming is the subject presented to us now.

In the case of Naphtali, the boundary is distinguished from the cities of his possession. In the boundary we have, first, what overcoming is; for to define is to bound, to limit. In the second division (the cities), we have presented the helps and hindrances to overcoming.

The boundary is itself divided into two parts, which both end at Jordan. They divide the subject into two parts, the first reminding us of the steadfastness which belongs to overcoming; the second, of the progress which is implied in it. "Steady progress," in a world like this, means "overcoming."

"And their border was from Heleph, from Allon-zaanannim and Adami-nekeb, and Jabniel, to Lakkum; and ended at the Jordan." This is the first half.

Heleph means "renewal," and this is the first element of steadfastness. In the strife from which Naphtali warns us we never can escape, the wear and tear incident to it makes it impossible to hold our own, except the constant waste is as constantly repaired. "The inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16), says the apostle. This drawing from divine strength is necessarily the first thing.

From Allon-zaanannim," the "oak of ladings," the place where loads are put upon the beasts: hence it means, also, "removals"; but the primary thought seems to be all that is needed here. We have a double picture: the oak, which is a type of strength, a strength sustained by just such a process of renewal as we have had already before us; the loading of the beasts of burden, which day by day repeat their tasks and offer themselves to what is laid upon them. Just such daily loads, limited to our strength, and with intervals of relief, have we; and to take up this daily duty, — drudgery as it may seem, and as the figure suggests, — is indeed an essential part of overcoming. In Christian life there are no drones, but all are workers, — no sinecures, but plenty everywhere to do. Earnest, serious application to duty is that which (in the apprehension of God's precious grace) already puts within our grasp the strength alone sufficing. No triflers can be overcomers, and daily duty is a daily discipline and training needed for the conflict that is the lot of us all. Here where the adjusted burden is taken up, the oaks of God are grown indeed.

Adami-nekeb, "the stigma of man," is an accompaniment we shall not miss, if duty have for us the right Christian character. They were the "marks of the Lord Jesus" that Paul bore in his body (Gal. 6:17) from a world which had rejected Christ. Will any overcomer be without them? Is it not part of the overcoming, in faith to accept our place and portion with Him here, who has given us these with Him in a place where His name has its rightful honor? Without Adami-nekeb there could surely be no prevailing Naphtali at all.

Jabniel, "edification of God," then shows us the other side: in weakness we find how God can build up the soul; for Jabniel comes under the number of weakness. God can surely not fail more than the world in showing His thoughts as to His beloved Son: while beyond the present trial and weakness faith sees the things that are invisible, and looks on —

Lakkum, "to resurrection." "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." (2 Cor. 4:13, 14.) The briefest reference to the place of this quotation will show how perfectly the names before us keep in the track of the apostle there. The spirit of the overcomer is very clearly, if briefly, expressed. The fifth number here is that which speaks of recompense, while under the sixth the border ends at Jordan, death being the limit of the struggle Naphtali pictures, and already triumphed over by divine grace.

We have now the second and concluding portion: —

"And the border turned westward unto Aznoth-tabor, and went out from thence unto Hukkok; and reached unto Zebulon on the south, and reached Asher on the west, and Judah of Jordan toward the sunrising."

Aznoth-tabor means "ears of purpose," — hearing that has purpose in it: if Job could speak of "making covenant with his eyes" (Job 31:1), a covenant with the ears is no less to be desired. "Take heed what ye hear," and "take heed how ye hear," are both exhortations from the Lord Himself. (Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18.) We are not to be open to all influences, but to be like sensitive plants, recoiling from the contact with evil. An unwalled town is easy of occupation, and a continued exposure to pestilence saps the power of resistance. The company we choose assimilates us to itself, and we are in a world where the "prince of the power of the air" is he who "worketh in the children of disobedience." (Eph. 2:2). How necessary, then, to be at all times, and in all points, controlled by purpose! And this surely leads to —

Hukkok, a "well defined" path, clear cut and straight, to the point it aims at. "I have set the Lord always before me," is that which secures it from deviation and inconsistency. This path connects with Zebulon, "consecration," leads to Asher, "happiness," and finds Judah, "praise," at Jordan, — traveling with the dawn in view, "toward the sunrise." The uncertainty as to this Judah, which perplexes commentators, is, for our purpose, quite unnecessary to be removed, and has no practical existence as a difficulty: the moral lesson is the same. Good progress is there all along this boundary, and triumph all the way.

We now come to the cities, nineteen as they are numbered, sixteen in fact, except some of those upon the boundary are to be reckoned in. The sharp division between the two is against this, as the opposite of this, in the case of Zebulon, tells the other way for it. I know no way to settle this difficulty, the manuscripts and versions being in agreement here. The names seem to speak with less than their usual decisiveness, and it would be easy to imagine the addition of others in certain places without disordering the arrangement of those that we find. Yet it is hard to believe in an absolute loss of this kind, and more reasonable to suppose that the number should be changed.

The cities speak, as already said, of the helps and hindrances to overcoming; yet it is a happy thing to know that hindrances of an external kind may become even helps where there is decision of soul in meeting them. Every difficulty overcome gives fresh assurance for the future, and the wisdom and strength that grow out of experience. The hardiness of the mountaineer has its spiritual counterpart.

The absence of the conjunction, as in other cases, suggests four smaller divisions, one of which again, by its number (ten), would imply another. The meaning of ten undoubtedly implies its factors to be five and two; but that it does not follow that it must be so divided is evident by the division of the ten commandments into 4 and 6. We take it here, however, as 5 + 5; and the names will stand, therefore, thus: —

1. Ziddim.

2. Zer and Hammath.

3a. — 1. Rakkath, 2. Chinnereth, 3. Adamah, 4. Ramah, 5. Hazor;

3b. — 1. Kedesh, 2. Edrei, 3. En-hazor, 4. Iron, 5. Migdal-el.

4. Horem, and Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh.

Ziddim stands by itself at the head of the list, and means "lying in wait." It might well be the fourth in a series, and allow the three names which may be missing to come before it. As a first, it is indeed hard to characterize it, though, as "the wiles of the devil" are what the apostle bids us "stand against" (Eph. 6), and for which he would have us "put on the whole armor of God," we might say that "lying in wait" is the governing thought in that which follows here. It would naturally be a prominent one, inasmuch as Satan is the great adversary, and he always prefers to fight under cover. Deceit and sudden surprises are his tactics: and by these he gains but too frequent advantage.

Zer and Hammath come together in the next place, and are in some respects contrasts. Zer means "strait," "adversity"; Hammath, "heat of the sun," prosperity: both seem, as we can easily understand, adverse really; and the latter often more so than the former: the sun may smite.

The third section is one more difficult to read: it is divided into two parts, and speaks, as it seems to me, of realization. Conflict is that by which many truths, perhaps hard for us to learn in the same degree apart from it, are impressed upon us. The two parts here give us, first, realizations as to ourselves with reference to God as Creator; second, with reference to God as Saviour. These are plainly the two great spheres of relationship. Both series are stamped with the number five, which is that of relationship between God and man.

First of the first five, Rakkath, "emptiness," "vanity." It is the fundamental lesson of all as to man.

Next, Chinnereth, which means "harp," suggests the music of which he may be the instrument, under the divine hand. The harp was used in Israel as the expression of joy and praise, not of lamentation; and this it is for which God made man. Among the Greeks, however, the same word essentially seems to have been used for "lamentation"; and man, yielding himself to other hands than the divine, has fulfilled abundantly this character. The number here may emphasize this contrast, simple to us indeed, and yet transcendently important. Feeble as man is, He who chooseth the weak things of the world to glorify Himself with, will be at no loss to know how to make him a witness to Himself.

In the third place, Adamah, "ground," carries on the thought. Man is Adam, from adamah, "dust from the ground;" and in it every element of all flesh (as that) is found. God has to add to it a higher principle to make it such, and lift it thereby into a higher sphere. Instead of mere chemistry, it is now permeated by vitality, and displays powers wholly foreign to it before. Thus, as in man God has taken up the dust of the earth to raise it above itself and lift it into another sphere, so with man himself; what he is in the old creation is but the shadow of what he shall be in the new creation. The dust of the ground is, as exalted in man, a type and prophecy of man himself.

Ramah, an "elevated place," under the number of "weakness," which governs it (as the numbers govern throughout what they are connected with), gives us, as we might suppose, a very different line of thought. Here the elevation of what still retains the frailty of its origin, sufficiently points the lesson. "Man being in honor, abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish," says the psalmist. (Ps. 49.) God uses this exaltation to point the lesson, uses it to abase pride; not for destruction, but that the creature may learn what is so needful for him. Let him accept it only, and he shall find strength: "to them that have no might He increaseth strength."

Thus Hazor, a familiar word to us, "enclosure," comes in the fifth place, where we find man with God once more. The arms of God are about this feeble creature. There is providential care, the "hedge" about Job, of which Satan so complains, — of which Eden itself was the type at first, and of which the memory survives as a witness to us, a witness for One who abides the same, however much His creature may have wandered from Him. Hazor is indeed not Eden, and yet God is none the less near; and here the first pentad ends, the second coming to re-inforce the teaching of creation with the teaching of redemption, that God may be fully known.

First of the second five, we have Kedesh, "sanctuary." At the southern border of Israel we had Kadesh-barnea, the "sanctuary of the wanderer"; here we have Kedesh-naphtali, the "sanctuary of the struggler." It is akin, evidently, to Hazor, which we have just had, and in this redemption series implies the rest with which here we begin. Here are enfolding arms that wrap us round, dearer than all providences, however wonderful; and which are a "sanctuary," — holy, and constraining to holiness.

Where our refuge is, there is also, as we know so well, entertainment: Edrei, "plenty of pasture," follows Kedesh, and we are at once reminded of a Shepherd's care. Then we have —

En-hazor, the "spring of enclosure," which in the third place we can have no difficulty in recognizing. Our pastures know no drought; our enclosure has, beyond Eden, its plenteous streams.

In the fourth place, Iron, "fearing," speaks of that which grace, beyond nature or the terrors Of law, awakens in the creature brought thus nigh to God. How can it be otherwise? But this does not put at a distance, or make us desire distance: it is simply the creature conscious of creaturehood, as where else should it be so conscious? and which is its safeguard. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom": for God is kept in His place, and man in his; and this is the simple key to true understanding.

In the fifth place, then, we have Migdal-el, "a tower of strength," where El, "strength," is also "God": for, indeed, is there any strength apart from Him? Thus the second series, and the third division of Naphtali's cities, end.

The fourth division has but three names, and these speak, as commonly with the number, of practical walk. Here, first, as implying wholeheartedness, Horem, akin to Hormah, means "devoting to God," and that in general of what could only glorify Him in its destruction. The idols of the land were thus to be unsparingly destroyed by Israel; and there are idols of the heart as evil in God's sight which a true-hearted following of Him will doom no less. The names that follow are read without difficulty, as divine approval of this fidelity to Him: —

Beth-anath, the "house of response," and —

Beth-shemesh, the "house of the sun": neither of them needing interpretation, surely. Here Naphtali's cities end.

(g) Now, seventh and last of these tribes (for Levi comes apart, and is not numbered with them), Dan comes, in his own history almost entirely in contrast with what he stands for here. He stands for the spirit of rule, — of judgment in this sense, — which must necessarily begin with self-rule, self-judgment. His history, even as he appears in Samson in the next book, is but the expression of the utter want of it. But it is not the history with which we have now to do. We have now God's ideal; the departure from it will be told out in its own place.

Dan's original portion is in the south part of the land, upon the sea-coast, between Ephraim and Judah, some of whose cities come into his possession, and with both of whom he is spiritually connected, as we have already seen. On the east his border is on Benjamin; and the meaning underlies and interprets, as elsewhere, the physical fact. All this has been already briefly shown, and there is nothing that invites repetition in this place. The boundary is not given again, but only the cities: not, therefore, the definition of what he represents, but the contents, the range of the "judgment" of which he speaks; and this is broken into two parts, entirely separate, and unequal. For Dan, incompetent to take possession of much of his original allotment, lays hold of Leshem, or Laish, in the north, and to it the name of the tribe (or of the father of the tribe) is given. Leshem becomes Dan, and the whole tribe seems identified with this its northern seat, and to put on the northern character. (See Vol. 1., pp. 384, 392, n.) But this again is history; though here also we find Dan coming after the other northern tribes, as Asher and Naphtali.

Dan comes in the seventh place, as implying spiritual perfection. For the service of rule there must be self-government, and of him who offends not in word James says, "the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." (James 3:2.) Self-government implies the application of truth to the whole man; and thus we see why Dan follows Naphtali. No wonder, too, that the history should so little rise to the ideal, and that even comparatively the failure here should be so great. Not that there is any excuse to be found in this: for the power that man has not is to be found with God.

The cities of Dan's original allotment illustrate "self-government." They are not divided for us by any indication in the text, but are eighteen in number, which would easily divide as three equal series of six each, the number of "mastery" being thus upon the whole: and this is in perfect keeping with the spiritual meaning. For self-government, self-knowledge is a first necessity, knowledge of ourselves being also the knowledge of man everywhere, of the world to which naturally we belong. Thus the first section gives the moral identification of the world in the light of God, the truth convicting and giving power over it. Here, first, we find the names of two of Judah's cities already known to us, although in reverse order to that in which they appear there; in both places, of course, exactly right.

First, Zoreah (which in the common version is given also as Zorah and Zareah), the Hebrew word for "hornet," named from its virulent "stroke," and almost identical with that for leprosy, speaks with sufficient plainness of where all self-knowledge must begin, that plague which is "deeper than the skin," more inveterate and wide-reaching than poison in the blood — the sin that is inbred within us, as leprosy often is.

The second, Eshtaol, "strong woman," comes as the reminder of this. The number is that of succession and dependence (vol. 1., p. 321, n), and Eve, in her assertion of strength for independence, shows herself, clearly enough, the mother of us all. The Nazarite character in which the man is taught to assume the long hair of woman, is the spiritual judgment of this sin; and Samson, the Danite judge of Israel, is a Nazarite.

But the world goes on merrily enough, heedless as it is helpless really: Ir-shemesh, "the city of the sun," shows it to us in its own way of recovery from the fall. Ir gets its name, according to Parkhurst, from the stir and bustle of the city, which the sun produces, and which dies, too, with the sun. So the world maintains itself with natural things, the goods of the Father's house, not caring that it is far from Him, or indeed glad to be that, and seeking to banish the thought of the night that must be. Poor "city of the sun"! how well the term characterizes it, in its brightness and its brevity, its ephemeral glitter, ignorant and careless of another brighter and eternal glory! One of the phrases of Ecclesiastes, the world's photograph, is a key to the language here — "under the sun"!

Shaalabbin, or Shaalbim, — "the MSS.," says Groves, "preponderate in favor of Shaalbim, in which form it is found in two other passages" (Judges 1:35; 1 Kings 4:9), — gives us, under the number of testimony, the truth about it — "hollow-hearted." How willingly men are hypocrites in this respect, while they deceive no one, and least of all themselves!

Ajalon, in the fifth place, speaks of relationship to God, responsibility and recompense; and here the "hart" can only be the figure of timidity and apprehensiveness. That it is used in a good application elsewhere does not in the least prohibit, in a series like the present, one of a different character. This opposite use of the same figure is common enough in Scripture.

Jethlah, "he hangs," concludes as with a cry of pain this first series. It is the spiritual conclusion, for faith characterizing the world, and sealing man's condemnation. "He that hangeth upon a tree is accursed of God"; and the cross of Christ, while faith sees in it the curse taken and removed, shows fully what man is under, what he who believeth not the Son abideth under. Yet it is faith's victory over the world, and may well occupy therefore the place it does: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Gal. 6:14.)

Thus the first series ends, the second coming now in contrast with it, a contrast to which the last name naturally leads the way. But the last name on this series is also characteristic, as it is that to which the preceding ones work on. Here Baalath, "mistress," is near indeed to "mastery." It is the competency given by redemption for self-government that is the subject of this series. The first name here, —

Elon, a name of the oak, or one of the oaks, of Palestine, signifies the "strong." The oak is everywhere a familiar type of strength. It is so near, also, to one of the names of God (El), as to suggest clearly where alone strength is found, as the number under which it appears also is that of supremacy, and which speaks in an eminent way of Him. To Him all power belongs, and the secret of having it is simply in the faith that lays hold of Him for it; and finds from Him —

Timnathah, "her measured portion." This does not imply, of course, any scant measure, but the reverse. He measures who knows absolutely our need, and who has full resources as well as love wherewith to meet it. This, then, is complete assurance that there shall be no lack. For our appointed path there can be none; and faith finds its portion along with all needful discipline, and not without difficulties which cast us continually on Himself; and make Him ever more known, ever dearer. How different from the independence of the world!

As to sin in us, the power of it is only thus met, and —

Ekron "eradication," in the sense in which we have considered it before (page 92), becomes a possibility. Sin is judged, not allowed, does not overpower us. This is self-judgment, self-government, in practical attainment, and the name is central among Dan's cities: it is the heart of what they speak of. Its number in the smaller series is that of "realization."

Eltekeh, "God the object of fear," in the fourth place, that of the creature, shows the proper attitude of such toward the Creator, which the knowledge of grace confirms, not sets aside. "There is forgiveness with Thee," says the psalmist, "that thou mayest be feared." (Ps. 130:4.) Such fear is the invariable accompaniment of nearness to God: he that knows it not has not been near Him.

Gibbethon, "height," stands in the fifth place, where relation to God is expressed. The place that He has given us in Christ makes no interpretation needed. Lastly —

Baalath, "mistress," ends the series in perfect harmony with its character, and the sixth place, in which we find it.

The third series shows us the fruit which is the outcome of this; and here now the first word is —

Jehud, "praise." There is no possibility of power without this, as we have abundantly seen from Jacob's prophecy as to his fourth son onwards. And it is well to remember that in this word "confession" is the form it takes. Confession of what He is is His sufficient praise. With praise in the heart comes activity, of which —

Bene-berak, "sons of lightning," naturally speaks: no half-hearted or hesitating service, surely; but prompt, energetic, decisive. No dull moderation of speech is sufficient to express the enthusiastic devotedness which becomes the servants of the Most High God, and the followers of Him who was the perfect Servant. Men may think such speech as this extravagant; but it is not so: "a son of lightning" means, in the language of a Hebrew, one taught of this to do the will of God as the elements of Nature do it, which curb and humble the pride of man with the assurance of what is high above it: "who hath resisted His will?"

In the third place we have —

Gath-rimmon, "the wine-press of the pomegranate," a figure not difficult to understand. If the pomegranate speak of the gospel of God, the wine of the pomegranate is the reviving power of the Word, its sweet, refreshing, stimulating influence, in which, however, there is no excess. The soul of the believer, is it not just that which by meditation and communion with God becomes the wine-press of His Word? And Dan in his "rule," whether of himself or others, needs ever this Word to be in him in its strength. Without it there can be no ability to serve aright, with promptitude and decision such as the last word expressed.

Hence now, too, and in this way only, can we reach —

Mejarkon, or Mei-hajarkon, "waters of greenness, verdure," not waters themselves green, as the commentators mostly suppose, but which sustain greenness. Thus the connection with what has gone before is plain, while the figure of necessity changes. The connection is much as between the Lord's words to the woman of Sychar, and those to the people at the feast of tabernacles. To the one he speaks of "living water springing up" within the believer; to the others of "rivers of living water" flowing forth out of the belly the inward parts. (John 4:14; John 7:38.) The last is blessing for others, which naturally follows blessing for one's self. Here, too, Dan's service of rule is in as manifest relationship as the waters at Beer with the "ruler's staff" with which they were digged. (Num. 21:18.)

What follows is more difficult. The next word, "Rakkon," or, more exactly, Ha-Rakkon, has been supposed by Grove (in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible) to be a mere error, inexactly repeating the previous Ha-jarkon. The Septuagint omits it, but is itself so inexact in all this part as to be of no real authority if taken alone. Then the change of language "with the border opposite Japho": does this stand in a sixth, or as part of the fifth division? Does it mean that Dan's border ends opposite Japho (Joppa), or does "border" stand as sometimes for "region" or territory"?

The last question seems as if it must be answered affirmatively, since there is no mention of a border elsewhere in Dan, and the end of a border has through all this part one form of expression, literally the "going out"; the spiritual interpretation also confirms the meaning of territory," or "region."

Next Japho means, as I take it, "what is fair (beautiful) to Him," and would naturally come into a fifth place, not a fourth or sixth; while the clause in which it is found is surely a dependent, not an independent, one. Thus Rakkon would be required before it, and the omission in the Septuagint be an error, not an emendation. Thus, although there are still six names in this third section of Dan's cities, there are but five divisions.

Putting these names together, now; we shall find in them a contrast which is in perfect harmony. Rakkon means "leanness," and the sentence would read as "leanness, along with that which is before (or has respect to) what is fair to Him." That is, the soul, while conscious of its nothingness, seeks that which is pleasing in the sight of God.

These are the cities of Dan's original portion. Beyond these, however, they had another territory, which, in fact, their own inability to lay hold of what God had given them, compelled them to seek. The failure is, however, not related here, but in the book of Judges. Here we have only the fact of the conquest of Leshem (in Judges called Laish) in the north of the land. They call it Dan, as if in it, in some way more than elsewhere, the character of the tribe was expressed; and from its possession here, we find it, in fact, put along with the northern tribes in this enumeration.

But of what does this solitary city in the north speak? There is but one name, in fact, to add anything to what we have had before, and that name is one which is displaced and passes away before the later one with which we are familiar. Dan, as the name of true rule, is "judgment"; and this is but "discernment," the realizing of the nature of things and pronouncing accordingly. What, then, is the Canaanite city which passes away before it? It is Leshem, "glitter," the vain show of ambitious authority with which self-seeking man is charmed, the tinsel of greatness, which the glory of Christ has shamed forever for him who knows it. "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors; but ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth." (Luke 22:25-27.)

True rule is ever service, putting things in their place and giving them their proper meaning: the rod is the shepherd's rod, guided by love and beneficent; for which there must be reality — things taken for what they are. But this rule cannot be under the Zidonians, the takers of prey; the true Dan, the Judge of men, must come, and the world fall under Him, up to the last careless and secure as with the Canaanites in this case. "The day of the Lord shall come as a thief in the night." "As in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:38, 39.) Judgment thus must clear the scene, that true rule may be established: in Christ alone will it be seen in its perfection.

(h.) The assignment of an inheritance to Joshua closes the history of these apportionments. The word of Jehovah assigns to him the city that he asks, namely, Timnath-serah, in the hill-country of Ephraim. Timnath-serah means simply "an abundant portion." Who can say what Christ's portion is now — for of this the division at this time speaks, — as "anointed with the oil of gladness above" his "fellows?" That of Joshua is spoken of as but a barren inheritance; but how could anything be added to Him to whom already all things belong? It is satisfaction given to His heart that alone could recompense Him; and this He has, though as yet but the earnest of that which will be.

Yet the victory on His part is gained once for all; and He has entered into heaven itself, our Representative and Forerunner. This is the beginning of that which abides eternally; and this the number of the section marks.

(6) The ordinance of the cities of refuge, and the assignment of the Levitical cities evidently belong to one section. The cities of refuge formed a part of those given to the Levites, and were connected, as much in spiritual meaning as they were in fact, with Levite ministry. In both we find a provision for the control of sin: the Levitical cities thus scattered through the land being like a garrison of the Lord to maintain the people in the knowledge and fear of Him.

(a) There are, however, thus two quite distinct parts: the ordinance of the cities of refuge, and how it was carried out, being the first part; the assignment of the Levitical cities coming in the second. The order here is not hard to read, the cities of refuge being indeed the expression of the grace of God to Israel themselves, as we have seen, while applying to us also; the Levitical cities being for the maintenance of ministry, which would have been their salvation as a nation, had they hearkened to it, and had not the ministry itself betrayed its trust.

The law of Numbers 35 is with more brevity repeated here. We must refer to the notes upon the previous passage for the spiritual application. We have then the cities appointed in Canaan, with the enumeration of those beyond Jordan also, which have been already before us (see the notes on Deut. 4:41-43). Comparing them together, we shall find, in the first series, the divine side of salvation, the display of God in it; in the second series, the human side, the salvation itself. Of the three Canaan cities we have —

First, "Kedesh in Galilee, in the hill-country of Naphtali." Galilee means circle," or "circuit," — reminding us of Eglon, and of Gilgal, to both of which it is near akin. The wheel of God's government, as we have seen in the case of Eglon (page 62), is for the abasement of man, writing vanity upon him, but for his ultimate blessing when he accepts what is the stamp upon and judgment of his sin. Thus Galilee speaks of God's ways with man to bring him to repentance; and Kedesh-Naphtali, the "sanctuary of the struggler," as found in Galilee, shows how God has met the restlessness of heart which He Himself has awakened, with a refuge and rest in which man is still and forever abased, and He is glorified. The prodigal's return to his Father is the fruit of a coming to himself, which the exhaustion of his own resources, the famine in the far-off land, the misery of hunger sought to be satisfied with swine's food, have all combined to bring about. But in these things also the Shepherd has been already seeking the sheep, and the Father devising means whereby His banished may be restored to Him. Man is blessed, but blessed in being humbled; and God's righteousness is owned in man's confession of unrighteousness.

The second city is "Shechem, in the hill-country of Ephraim." Here the names are simple enough, and have been again and again before us. Shechem is "shoulder," that which bears the burden, and is the easily read type of "service." On each side of it stood mounts Ebal and Gerizim, whence the curses and blessings of the law were published after Israel entered into the land. Here, therefore, the city of refuge speaks of Christ as the servant of God and doing His will, hearkening to the voice of the law, and even (though Himself perfect) to the curses for the breach of it: magnifying and making it honorable by His submission to a penalty which others had incurred. Thus again God was glorified in the cross, and the divine side of His work appears.

Thirdly, "Kirjath-arba, that is, Hebron in the hill-country of Judah," presents "communion" to us in a new and striking form. It is in this aspect, and in the third place among these cities, Christ, as the One in whom "all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily," and in whom thus
"All the mind in heaven is one,"
as we see it in the three parables of the fifteenth of Luke. That Kirjath-arba, the Anakite name of the city before Israel had it, and named from their great man Arba, should be still mentioned here, may be intended to point the contrast with this other Man, whose flesh was the tabernacle of Deity.

The second series of refuge-cities on the other side of Jordan plainly insist, as has been already said, upon the salvation side of the same story. The meanings will be found elsewhere. (Vol. 1., p. 540-541, n.)

(b) The Levitical cities are next assigned by lot, as the Lord had commanded. We have first, separately, the mention of the respective tribes, out of which the different families of Levi received their portions, and then the enumeration of the cities in full. The priestly family receives thirteen cities out of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin; and this is easy to understand, except as to the number. For the priests look Godward, as ministry, typified in the order of Levites, does manward; and these tribes (though with a certain difference as to Benjamin, which we shall find recognized in its place) do the same. The other Kohathites, typifying objective ministry, receive ten cities out of Ephraim, Dan, and half Manasseh, the reason for which as to the first and the last is evident; while Dan, too, subjective as the two others, requires the Kohathite ministry to maintain ability for self-judgment. Gershon, the subjective ministry, has thirteen cities in Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and half Manasseh: for practical walk, happiness, overcoming, need the lesson of strangership that he can teach them, while he has only to confirm in it the other and eastern half of Manasseh. Merari, finally, has his twelve cities out of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulon, to check the excess of individuality in all of them, and lead them into the apprehension of those relationships in which this finds its proper sphere and complement.

The cities are now enumerated according to these four divisions of the Levites, which are strictly three: the priestly, and the simple Kohathite, the Gershonite, and the Merarite.

First, the children of Aaron; and here the cities out of Judah and Simeon are distinguished from those out of Benjamin, for a reason which is easily to be discovered. Judah, as exemplifying worship, leads Simeon, that is, communion; and the two must not be separated. Benjamin, though holding fast to Judah also, yet extends toward Ephraim. Thus while the two former tribes furnish nine cities to the priests (the usual 3 x 3, the divine number emphasized), the number of Benjamin's cities is four, that of the creature. We shall see more as to this directly.

The cities of Judah and Simeon stand, then, as follows: —

1. — 1. Hebron, 2. Libnah, 3. Jattir;

2. — 1. Eshtemoa, 2. Holon, 3. Debir;

3. — 1. Ain (or Ashan), 2. Juttah, 3. Beth-shemesh.

The whole series is headed by a city of refuge, specially emphasized, as it would seem, by the repetition, first, as the city of Arba, the father of Anak, and then as the refuge for the manslayer. In the latter character we have just seen its meaning, where also it is called Kirjath-arba. A divine Man has taken the place of him who exemplifies the pride and independence of man's heart as fallen; and in Him the whole counsel of God is found. Hebron, as expressing thus the communion of the whole Godhead, naturally fills the first place in the series. How blessed and wonderful a portion for the priests of God!

The second name, Libnah, "whiteness," we have had like Hebron several times already. Where it first comes before us as a city taken by Joshua, it represents, as we have seen, separation from evil (page 66). Where we find it again, among Judah's cities in the lowland, it still retains this meaning, but applies to Christ entering into the sanctuary, clad in the white linen garment of the priest (page 106). Here it speaks similarly of the absolute purity of the Mediator, the Man, Christ Jesus."

But there is in Him what no one can utter, the glory of Him who "dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see"; and this we have found to be the thought in —

Jattir, "he far excels," a town in the hill-country, notice, as Libnah is in the lowland. Had we not this name here, something would still be wanting to the expression of the glory of Christ: thus revealed as, in His own Person, the blessed portion of the priests of God.

The second three cities seem still to speak of Christ, but in His service among men. Here we have —

First, Eshtemoa, "obedience," the Father's will the motive and governing principle of His life.

Then, the number of humiliation brings us to Holon, "night-lodging on the sand."

Thirdly, Debir, "oracle," a familiar word, gives us what He was in the world, the one perfect divine voice in it. We must not separate what are united here, the absolute obedience to the will of God, with the personal knowledge of human circumstances and sorrows, which, so far as they are found in those who follow Him, will enable them also, in their measure, to "speak as oracles of God." So He declares of Himself, by the prophet: "The Lord God has given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I should know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught." (Isa. 50:4, R.V.) How blessed and comforting for us this language of One who, God over all, blessed forever, is yet not ashamed to call us brethren! The three names here have a real inward connection.

The third three, on the other hand, in accordance with their numerical significance, go on to resurrection and the heavenly place. The first name here in Joshua is Ain, but 1 Chr. 6:59 reads Ashan. Both are among Simeon's cities, but one would seem to be a mistake. Commentators generally prefer the latter, and the context inclines us to it. Ain, as we have there interpreted it (p. 100), does not seem appropriate; but Ashan, "smoke," referring, as it seems (see p. 107), to the smoke of incense, is perfectly so. He whom we have seen below in His ministry among men, is now above, still engaged for them; the number showing how that "obedience" of His below becomes a sweet savor in behalf of His own above.

Then Juttah, "enlargement," may speak of the coming in of the Gentiles, with the new hopes of a heavenly people, united with Christ above; while —

Beth-shemesh, "the house of the sun," may well represent divine glory in the face of Jesus, as we now behold it, by faith, in heaven. Thus the third series is complete.

We now come to the Benjamite cities, which are four in number, the number of the creature: for Benjamin, "Christ in us," unites, as we have seen, the subjective with the objective. Benjamin, even dispensationally, is thus Christ in power on the earth; and the truth individually applied is hardly different: the effect of Christ known in glory is seen in power for a walk on earth. Correspondingly, these four names divide as 2 x 2, — the first portion speaking of Christ Himself, the latter of the effect in us. Here —

First of the first two, Gibeon, "the pit of suffering for iniquity," represents, as before (p. 133), the cross. The second, Geba, "hill," we have also seen as the "hill that is higher than I," the recourse of the saint in trial, and which is, of course, Christ exalted. These two things are characteristic of the Benjamite condition. Christ crucified crucifies us to the world; Christ glorified lifts us above it. This is power for the walk on earth.

The next two are Anathoth and Almon, and they correspond respectively to the two former. Anathoth, "afflictions," answers naturally to Gibeon, the cross. We have to take up our cross, — how different to His, however, — and to follow Him. Almon, "concealment," answering to Geba, speaks of a "life hid with Christ in God," the effect of a heart occupied with a hidden Saviour. The world that knows Him not cannot know the life inspired by Him, though they may be quite conscious of a power they know not.

These are the priests' cities; those of the simple Kohathite-Levites follow next. Here, first, they have out of Ephraim four cities, a number which we have had in connection with Benjamin, and which now prevails with only one exception, that of Naphtali, which has three. Manasseh furnishes two to Kohath and two to Gershon.

The Kohathite cities give us the character of an objective ministry, such as we have before seen this family to represent. (Vol. 1., pp. 397, 400, 401.) Those out of Ephraim declare it to us as a ministry of power; the Danite ones as a ministry of confirmation; the Manassite as one of revival. These characters unite easily together, and show objective ministry as what is typical ministry, ministry of the highest kind; and no one that has experience of it but knows it to be that; Gershon and Merari have their needful place, but with Kohath are the ark and mercy-seat, the altars, the table of show-bread, the lamp of the sanctuary, and even the veil, things of which we know in measure the meaning and value. They speak of Christ Himself in person and work, and upon this all else must depend.

The first name among the Ephraimite portion is again that of a city of refuge, Shechem, "shoulder," that which bears the burden, and which represents. as this, Christ as the Servant of God's will, for us the Burden-bearer, or indeed bearing us, as the Shepherd the lost sheep, according to His own parable. Here indeed is power, a power outside ourselves equal to all emergencies — to every possible demand upon it. Thus "the government is upon His shoulder," as fully competent.

Next we have Gezer, "cutting off, isolation," a word which directly reminds us of the "land cut off" to which the scape-goat bears the sins of Israel on the day of atonement. This goes beyond the city of refuge, a place of shelter, but no more. Here the sins themselves are gone, never to be found again. Justification is full and entire. Peace is made, never more to be broken. Hence a way is made for God to display the love that is in His heart, and to gather His people; and —

Kibzaim shows us a "double gathering," as also the day of atonement does. "He died for that nation (Israel), and not for that nation only, but also that He might gather together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad." (John 11:51, 52.) The Church it is that comes now at the present time upon the ground of sins put away. And here power is realized by us; for the knowledge of grace is the attainment of power.

Yet sin is dealt with also, in the saint as well as in the sinner; and this Beth-horon, "the house of wrath," comes fittingly to assure us of. Beth-horon is double — there is an upper and a lower city; and we have had to distinguish these already (page 118.) The nether Beth-horon is judgment as it falls upon the impenitent and unbeliever. The upper is judgment (and thus wrath) against sin, though assuming for the believer the form of chastening mercy. "For if we would judge ourselves we should not be judged; but when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Cor. 11:31, 32.)

This double city has thus the full character of witness-warning against the abuse of grace, while it limits not in the least the grace itself. The names thus closed show us in this way the real elements of a ministry of power, and are all objective, and suit Kohath well. They are guard and guide to fruitful Ephraim no less, as is easy to be seen.

But we come now to Dan, and shall find, according to what is expressed in him, the subjective side of an objective ministry. Dan is intensely subjective, and something of this must be found in all that is really ministry at all. We shall see how it is, in fact, that which comes in to confirm, not displace or modify, the former; and thus to confirm, also, the soul itself.

Here, first, Eltekeh, "God the object of fear," gives us the constant, only right, attitude of the soul in His presence. Whatever weakens this condemns itself. Does grace weaken this? Nay, it only gives it its proper character as filial, not servile, fear: "There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayst be feared." God is not less on the throne, but more; for the rebellion of the will is vanquished, and the heart bows with the head. This character of grace needs to be well understood, and with many is not, simple as it really is. The main cavil against grace it is that is here overthrown indeed, and the gospel buttresses itself against all attack. Worthy is Eltekeh of a first place.

Next, Gibbethon, "height," which we have already found applying to our relation to God in Christ, comes in as a second bulwark against the moralist's objection. Our place in Christ gives us at once the basis of our walk, and power for it. To walk in Him is to walk as He walked, but it is to walk also as dependent upon and drawing from Him. It is that abiding of the branch in the vine that makes it fruitful. Occupation with Himself is deliverance from the power of the world and sin.

In the third place, Ajalon, "the place of harts," suggests the agile, yet firm, tread of this animal, with reference to which it is said, "He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places." (Ps. 18:33.) The "high places" belong to the weakest believer; but we need to be made competent to occupy them, — the firm, sure tread of the hart upon the mountains. It is but the realizing power of faith that is needed for this; of which the number herd may remind us. It is but to take God at His word; and if the blessed place be ours, to fill the place.

Then Gath-rimmon, the "winepress of the pomegranate," speaks to us once more of the animating power of the word of God, which can only, when the soul is thus established, do its proper work, and enrich and exalt all its faculties. The fourth place in which we find this name affirms these results as facts of experience. They are truly the experience of every one who lives and walks in communion with God. This closes the list of Dan's cities.

In Manasseh's possessions on the west of Jordan, Kohath has only two cities, Taanach and another Gath-rimmon. For the last, Chronicles substitutes Bileam, a transposition of Ibleam, as generally supposed: one of the towns that Manasseh receives from Asher or from Issachar, but fails to take out of the hands of the Canaanites. The Septuagint has a different name here from both, however, and criticism seems able to determine nothing: for Gath-rimmon may be another name for Bileam, the recurrence of names and the duplication of them being alike common, and we must not too readily suppose that a copyist's error which has in its favor all the Hebrew copies. Altogether, we are free to ask what the spiritual interpretation may have to say in the matter, and have no decisive reason for refusing to submit ourselves entirely to its guidance.

With the meaning of Manasseh we are well acquainted. Its "forgetting" is in order to pressing on, and is closely linked with Ephraim's "fruitfulness." Some connection with this should appear in these two cities, which, in becoming Levitical do not cease to be Manassite.

Again, as two is the number of contrast, a dual division like this will often be found to show this. Taanach and Gath-rimmon may thus give contrasted thoughts, as indeed "sandy soil" and the pomegranate naturally suggest. It does not need that Taanach should be a desert to suggest the thought of it; and besides, the sand of the desert is spiritually fruitful, and intended so to be. God meant the wilderness to teach Israel the grand lesson of faith; and for us He means the world as that to wean us from other dependencies than Himself, and make us look on to our rest. Thus Taanach's sandy soil may be really fruitful, and not the less typical on that account, while Gath-rimmon may show us where faith finds refreshment and stimulus for the way that leads to God.

The numbers are in accordance with such an interpretation: for one is the number of solitariness, and thus barrenness; while two is that of the Word and of ministry. Interpretation would thus, I judge, decide for Gath-rimmon as the true reading. Bileam and Ibleam have substantially the same meaning, and that the same as that of the unfaithful prophet. Bileam is only Balaam; and if this is substituted for Gath-rimmon I see no proper sense. Taanach and Gathrimmon harmonize, also, perfectly with the lesson of Manasseh, as is manifest; and this cumulative witness may well be decisive of the question of criticism.

The Gershonite cities are thirteen in number, and they belong to four tribes — Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali. Manasseh comes first, — the half-tribe east of Jordan, — and again with two cities, Golan and Be-eshterah.

As with Kohath, so with Gershon, a city of refuge heads the list. Golan is "exultation" the fullness of joy in Christ Jesus that marks the true circumcision. (Phil. 3:3.) Gershon, the "exile," is near akin in spirit, evidently, to Manasseh, "forgetter," and for each joy is a needful element of strength; the joy in One who is absent: as Peter expresses it, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8.) For a Levite, also, how necessary a possession such as this! A joy in Christ that is "full of glory," is in itself a ministry of Christ to men; and we are admonished to be "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God." (Col. 3:16.)

Be-eshterah is given in Chronicles as Ashtaroth, and the mass of commentators follow Gesenius in considering the prefix "be" as an abbreviation of "beth," understanding the compound word to mean "the house of Ashterah," or "Ashtoreth." There was, as we know, an Ashtaroth in Manasseh, the old city of Og; and, according to the testimony of Eusebius and Jerome, more than one, so that the one before us need not have been the heathen capital. Is it the "house of Ashterah"? The abbreviation of "beth" into "be" is more than doubtful; no certain example can be given of such a change; and it is not likely that Israel, when they changed similar names because of their connection with idolatry (Num. 32:38) would allow one like this to stand. It might be, indeed, here mentioned by its old heathen name after it had acquired another; but in such cases the new name would naturally, at least, be given with it, as with "Kirjath-baal, which is Kirjath-jearim" (Joshua 15:60).

But if it be not the heathen name, what is it? "Ashteroth" is, indeed, found four times in Deuteronomy (Deut. 7:13; Deut. 28:4, 18, 51), translated in the common version "flocks," and in the revised version "young"; by others, again (much better), "ewes"; while Young gives "multiplications." Perhaps all consider it as a mere adaptation of the heathen word; which seems, however, strange enough as that. The greater probability would surely be that the heathen goddess took her name from, rather than gave it to, the ewes of the flock.

If this be admitted, the be may be what grammarians call the beth essentiae, a simple emphasizing of the word which follows it; and which, in its idea, Dr. Young's translation gives as "multiplication." This agrees with the number of "increase," under which it stands, and yields a simple sense in connection with Golan: for the joy in Christ, which is full of glory," is, indeed, nothing else than the sunshine of His face, while "from glory to glory" expresses the necessity of progress in the soul to whom Christ is thus unveiled. This is obviously, also, a thought quite in accordance with what is represented by Manasseh, and seems thus additionally worthy of acceptance as the thought here.

These two express, therefore, for Gershon, the "exile," that which separates his strangership from mere asceticism, and shows the spring of power which is in it. And now Issachar, who speaks of the earth-walk, furnishes to him in its four cities the means of preservation of this power amid the adverse influences of the world. These cities are —

First, Kishion, "hardening," which, as a Levitical and Gershonite city, naturally changes its significance, and shows us what the very opposition of the world may do for us, as begetting in us force of character and independent individuality, which dares to stand alone, in single obedience to the will of God. All difficulties are but a discipline to the soul in earnest. The habit of overcoming can be acquired, like other habits; and thus adverse circumstances may be none the less helpful, — God making, as He has promised, all things work together for good to them that love Him. Thus Kishion is, after all, not so strange a word to find beside —

Daberath, "pasture"; for there are "pastures of the wilderness," and the world being what it is only makes the refreshment He has provided for it .sweeter and more satisfying. There is grace always equal to the need also, where the heart turns with its need to Him. Then we have —

Jarmuth, "height," which we have seen once to speak of Christ exalted, and once of our own exaltation in Him, — things that naturally go together. From this height, one may say, is fed —

Engannim, the precious "spring of" God's "gardens," where His plants are nurtured. With all these thoughts we are familiar; and their study in these new connections must be left very much to be worked out by those who care for it. Where there is not such care, volumes might be written in vain.

Asher follows Issachar; and here again all the names have been before us. We need not wonder that the first Gershonite town should be —

Misheal, "feeling after God"; nor the second —

Abdon, "bond-service"; the third is —

Helkath, "equal division"; and the fourth —

Rehob, "room." These four, where God is known and relation to Him established, are all blessedness, and worthy, therefore, of Asher. They show us the portion of the true Levite, which is in God Himself, and the heart of ministry such as the Levite speaks of.

Lastly, out of Naphtali Gershon has three cities. Naphtali, the triumphant struggler, and in the fourth place here, speaks clearly of experience, a thing quite necessary to the ministering Levite, and with which he, too, is called to minister. Here —

Kedesh in Galilee, a city of refuge, the soul's sanctuary-rest in self-humiliation before God, is the first sweet lesson of experience, — a lesson how blessed for the soul that has learned it, — how blessed, therefore, to enrich others with! Then —

Hammoth-dor, "heat of the dwelling," — sun-heat. It may be the Hammath which we have had as one of the cities of Naphtali already (page 154), although here a plural, which intensifies the thought, and with Dor attached. The spiritual meaning is self-evident.

Kartan, in the third place, is considered to be a contraction of Kirjathaim, "two cities," or the double city, and would seem to speak of fellowship in activity; and this would not be unsuited, perhaps, as a name for any Levite city, but yet especially appropriate in this place. Here the Gershonite cities end.

The Merarite cities are twelve in number, and furnished by three tribes, — Zebulon, Reuben, and Gad. We have already (vol. i., p. 397, sq.) seen that Merari's ministry speaks of that which has to do with the maintenance of the Church itself; and this is why, perhaps, its cities are twelve, the number of manifest divine government. Alas, we have lost much this manifestation in the multiplicity of human rules and machinery that have been introduced, and the self-will that breaks all bounds continually. Few Merarites, in truth, seem to remain to the Church, but here in Joshua we have the divine thought, not the human failure; and the twelve cities are in accordance with this.

The first tribe that furnishes cities to the Merarite is Zebulon: for dwelling with God, which implies practical consecration to Him, is here first of all important for the upholding of His claim upon men. The cities are, first, —

Jokneam, "possession of the people," — for the first need on the part of His people is to be put in possession of what is theirs from God. We have next —

Kartah, "city," which implies fellowship, living activity, and yet boundary-lines preserved, care being taken that these in the church of God are of divine establishment, marked out by the word of God alone. We have next —

Dimnah, "dung," for which, in 1 Chr. 6:62, there seems to be substituted Rimmon (or Rimmono), a word with which we are familiar, and of much pleasanter suggestion than the word before us. The change in the Hebrew is such as might come through slight corruption of the text, but Keil rightly reminds us that in Chronicles we have but two cities here instead of four; and the other, Tabor, is not found here either. Remmon, or Rimmon, is found, however, in Zebulon, while Dimnah occurs nowhere else than in this passage: thus on both sides there are things to be considered.

Rimmon, standing for the "word of God," as the pomegranate typifies it, would imply the holy fruitfulness which it produces. Dimnah could only, as it would seem, point out the need of apprehension of that which defiles, as part of true Levite ministry in the church of God, most necessary for the Merarite. This would suit well, also, the numerical place which speaks of sanctification. On the whole, Dimnah seems to give the clearer spiritual thought; and which, being in the text also, we must prefer. The last word here, —

Nahalal, a "place whither they lead" cattle to pasture, suggests very different thoughts. Nahal means "to lead with gentleness and care" (Wilson); and such a tender helpfulness must, indeed, characterize the Merarite ministry. True love must govern all, acting oftentimes in ways that may seem even opposed to one another, but are not: it is the "bond of perfectness."

Reuben next furnishes her quota: the subject will of faith is, indeed, necessary to him who would stand for the rule of God over the people of God. But here —

Bezer at once shows how ample is the "store" of him who makes Christ his resource and treasure-house. Dependence on the living Lord, habitual reference to Him in all things, is the indispensable requisite for standing in the prophet's place before men: and this is what, in his measure, every Merarite does. Then —

Jahazah, the same as Jahaz, where Israel met and defeated Sihon, with its meaning, "a place trodden down," reminds us of the resolute tread of the soldier of Christ, and of the well-contested fields in which he is to be found, as does —

Kedemoth, of "things that confront" him. But these are among his possessions, none the less, as things whereby faith is exercised and matured, which are "for" him, as to him that loves God all things are, — working together for good. Finally, here —

Mephaath, "shining forth," naturally speaks of the end which faith has before it, "the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ," which is also connected with the appraisement of the responsibility of disciples, and the rewards of grace. These four cities are a fit contribution, then, from Reuben to Merari.

One tribe alone remains now to be considered, and that is Gad, whose four cities are already familiar to us, save the last: Ramoth in Gilead, a city of refuge for the manslayer; Mahanaim, where of old Jacob met the host of God; Heshbon, Sihon's capital; and Jazer, "He shall help."

Gad, as we have seen, speaks of spiritual increase, as well as of activity, not apart from conflict either. Ramoth in Gilead shows the place of acceptance in the Beloved, of power as raised up with Him, in whom alone all increase finds its secure starting-point, and all activity its safeguard as well as power. Taken out of the world, we are sanctified and sent into it again by the Lord our Head, as He was sent into it by the Father. How necessary the knowledge of this for the Merarite who has to do with the Church on earth! Then —

Mahanaim, "two hosts," which speaks certainly, from its history, of heavenly succor, with an implication of warfare, for which the battle-cry is that "the Lord of hosts is with us!" Thus we are not only sent forth, but accompanied and sustained.

Heshbon, then, reminds us how, as restored by faith (for the children of Reuben rebuilt the city, Num. 32:37), "reason" has its place and use for spiritual increase (Gad), and for Merarite ministry. While —

Jazer — which may be a contraction for Jah-ezer, "Jah is help," — closes, then, the whole series with the tender reminder of our weakness, and of the divine strength to which it appeals, — which the frank recognition of it ever brings in for us.

Thus the enumeration of Israel's cities ends; and of what a wealth of blessing may they not put us in possession, if in faith and patience we seek to possess ourselves of it. This account of them, pitifully brief and incomplete as it is, is yet a witness of how much God has stored up here for the earnest-hearted. There has been shown, at least, the gleam of gold abundantly throughout; and little labor is required to make one possessor of it. Meditation and study are always needed, however, and here will be abundantly repaid. "The diligent soul shall be made fat."

Subdivision 2. (Joshua 22 – 24.)

Appended Warnings.

Section 1. (Joshua 22.)

We have in the last subdivision of the book what is plainly supplementary. We have no longer the history of the work of divine power by which the inheritance of the people of God is secured to them, nor the account of the land itself, of which they take possession. Out of this we pass into what is manifestly of another and lower order of testimony, — not to the power of God or His grace and gift, but to the people themselves and to their little competency even to hold the gift which has been made their own.

In fact, we have already had, even in the history of their first establishment in their land, the record of failure. One of the things most strongly insisted on in the charge entrusted to them was that they should dispossess the Canaanites; and herein they fail conspicuously; not merely for lack of strength, but when they have strength. But even the; of strength meant only lack of faith and of heart. Nor is this merely a negative, a defect: it means always the cherishing of what is contrary to God, and thus a positive seed of evil which springs up and spreads, as we shall find it spreading in the Book of Judges. Thus Israel are no sooner planted in the land than they fail in it; and such failure has been found in the history of all dispensations, and equally from the first. In the Christian Church, above all, as its privilege and blessing have been most remarkable, so have been the failure and evil in it: carefully foretold, moreover, as in Moses' song that of Israel. God is not disappointed — has not deceived Himself; nor, if we will listen to Him, will He allow us to be deceived. Corruptio optimi, pessima corruptio has been long said: "the corruption of what is best is the worst corruption." And let anything be entrusted to man, it will be corrupted. Thus, with the completion of revelation has gone on the growth of evil, Jezebel and Babylon of old being only types of worse abominations in Christian times, iniquity developing to the day of harvest, when,fully manifested for what it is, it shall be reaped for the fire that shall consume it.

The last three chapters of Joshua are not, however, a formal prophecy of impending evil, such as, for instance, Moses' song. And the twenty-second chapter is not even a direct warning as to this, as Joshua's address is afterward. It is but the story of a well-meant attempt to provide against a possible breach, at an after-time, of Israel's unity. The two and a half tribes, sent back to their inheritance on the east side of Jordan, set up near the river "a great altar to see to," as a witness that they are of one faith with those upon the other side, and that their children of after generations might not be deprived of a place with them in the worship of their common Lord. It is all well, and their brethren (even Phinehas with his unflinching zeal for God) are satisfied with their explanations. Yet it is plain an uneasy sense of insecurity is already haunting them. The danger may never practically present itself from the quarter they anticipate: we do not read that it ever did; yet the sense of danger may be a true presentiment none the less; and while the door is barred in one direction, it may be wide open in another.

They are right in realizing that their one Lord is the bond of unity. They do not anticipate that their danger, in fact, is not from their brethren, but in themselves. Their own slipping away from Jehovah is that which leads to their dispersion and captivity in other lands, after allowing city after city to fall into the hands of Moab. The enemy that they are facing in the west comes up, thus, really from another quarter, and where there is no bulwark erected to keep him out. For us the lesson is all-important. It is not by ability to keep in view the whole horizon of circumstance that we shall be effectually guarded from the approach of evil: it is by that spirit which is manifested in those who are the true circumcision — "no confidence in the flesh." (Phil. 3:3.) This makes God a practical, continual necessity, and His all-sufficiency our complete safeguard and rest. This is the lesson with which the great altar of Ed impresses us, and a most useful one it surely is.

Section 2. (Joshua 23, 24.)

The closing chapters are so plain that they require, in general, but little interpretation. Joshua's appeal, the renewal of the covenant, the limiting statement as to Israel's obedience in the (lays of Joshua and of those contemporary with him, all show the decline that is imminent, and which faces us at once in the following book. Joshua's words, "Ye cannot serve Jehovah," show that, with all his heroism of individual obedience, he is not deceived as to the issue under that covenant which so often needs renewing on the people's side. How could he be, with Moses' song ringing in his ears? Only those willing to be deceived could be. And so with ourselves exactly: predictions of the Church's course have so little ambiguity that it is marvelous that the smooth preaching of peace, and the comforting assurance of progressive blessing, could ever gain credence with those who boast in an "open Bible." But the Bible can be but little "open," as long as man's pride and self-seeking hang their imaginative veil before it; and the Church, believing herself heir to Israel's promises, has largely refused to accept the lessons of Israel's career, which she has so closely followed. Thank God, we are near the end of the strange history of near two millennia and for us the end is the coming of the Lord.

(1) These charges are a double warning, at the pathetic moment when Joshua, their leader in victory so often, is passing away. Old, and stricken with the weight of the years he carries, he stands before assembled Israel, to remind them of the Lord's fulfillment to them of His promises, and to assure them that His threatenings would be no less perfectly fulfilled. The word given to himself at the beginning of the conquest of the land, he now exhorts them with in turn: "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left." In truth it needs courage to stand for God and for His word in the face of all that this involves! Yet how strange to speak of any call for this as if it could be lacking! Courage, in standing for God! But such is man, even the best of men, that he needs to be urged to this, though only faith is lacking in this cause for one man to chase a thousand, yea, for two to put ten thousand to flight.

(2) Joshua's second address is at Shechem, a place memorable in so many ways from Abraham's time and there the covenant with Jehovah is renewed. Joshua reminds them again of the mercies of God towards them, beginning with the call of Abraham himself, of whom we are now for the first told that he had been involved in the common idolatry of the times, along with his father Terah and his brother Nahor. With grace thus the tale begins, a grace their need of which their own history had so clearly testified. Divine power had been shown in the gift of Isaac, given when nature was dead in Abraham. Even Jacob and Esau were the seed of a barren woman. To Esau God had given Seir, while Israel endured the needed discipline in Egypt. Then came the marvel of their deliverance, the days of sojourn in the wilderness, the dispossession of the Amorite kings, and the spiritual conflict when Balaam, after all the history of failure, sought how to curse and ended but in blessing them finally, the possession of the land they now enjoyed. After all this, Joshua bids them, if there could be doubt, to make up their minds whom they would serve, the idols their fathers had served beyond the river, the gods of the Canaanites in whose land they dwelt, or else Jehovah: his own choice for himself and his house was already made.

In result the people renew the covenant, and a great stone is set up under an oak in memorial of it. It is still the legal covenant, and all is suspended upon an obedience at the best how fitful! The stone in its lifelessness would abide, more certainly far than the living tree under which it was set up, Israel's picture at that moment. For the present it is well, and they depart, every one in peace to his inheritance.

Joshua dies, his influence lasting till the end of his generation — a significant limitation. Joseph his father's bones are buried at Shechem. Lastly, Eleazar dies: and these three graves are a sign that the Great Deliverer has not yet come. The types are but the shadow, not the substance: which yet for faith they point on towards. Thank God, for us the Deliverer is come, although not even yet the full deliverance.

Appendix.

The Typical Interpretation, Especially of the Cities, Boundaries, and Tribes of Israel.

For those who have carefully examined what has been before us, it can hardly be needful to insist further on the truth and necessity of the typical interpretation. To some extent, indeed, all who accept Scripture as inspired of God must, of course, accept this. The "holy places made with hands" are thus expressly declared to be the figures of the true" (Heb. 9:24); certain events in. Israel's history are declared to have "happened to them for types" (1 Cor. 10:11, marg.); the law in general is said to have a "shadow of good things to come" (Heb. 10:1); and, in a similar way speak many well-known scriptures. Moreover, of some things plainly declared to be types, we have no inspired interpretation, as in the case of the passage of the sea, just as some of the New Testament parables are left for spiritual wisdom to interpret by the help of the context, and of truth found elsewhere.

In the application of Melchizedek's history (Heb. 7) we find how minutely significant these histories may be. Names are translated, the very order of their occurrence insisted on, meaning is given to the omissions as well as the positive statements, in complete accordance with the idea of verbal inspiration, and the prophetic significance running through the whole. And on this verisimilitude between the Old Testament history and a pervasive typical meaning to be recognized in it, the apostle grounds his appeal even to foolish Galatians, who, if they desired to be under the law, should hear the law speaking to them in this way (Gal. 4:21, seq.) The historical books, from Joshua to Kings at least, were thus by the Jews entitled "the former prophets."

The sketch of the Pentateuch already given is an absolute demonstration that the types contained in these books are not scattered at random through them, but arranged in an orderly manner, the books at large, and every section of them, illustrating this. They are the pictures of spiritual realities, needing and finding their explanation elsewhere; in general, in the New Testament: as pictures, speaking for themselves to the spiritual mind, — of course when the light is thrown upon them. They then become illuminated with a strange glory, are lifted from simple history into prophecy, while they confirm, in this way, the history itself, as written with the pen of divine inspiration. The Old Testament witnesses thus to the New; and the New also to the Old: what otherwise might seem trivial becomes invested with a new dignity; the past reveals the future, and admonishes and encourages the present.

To all this, moreover, the numerical structure adds its confirmation in every part, testing it by the imposition of conditions to which nothing but the truth could submit itself with success. And in Joshua, at least, we have found these symbolic numbers governing even catalogues of names and sections of a boundary line. The wonder of all which will be no doubt against it in the minds of many, producing a vague suspicion, at least, on the part of those even who are prepared, perhaps, to admit a certain truth in such spiritual mathematics within what they would deem safe bounds. Let us see, then, if the limits are safe: it is quite possible to test the matter in so rigid a way as to satisfy the most skeptical — where skepticism is not of the heart: for which no proof of this kind can be expected to avail.

I have elsewhere* brought forward nine names from among Judah's cities as an argument in this way. For simplicity, both in the names and numbers, I can find no better now; but we can test them more exhaustively: let us do this.

{*"From Amam to Biziothiah: A Record of the Soul's Progress, and a Witness to the Word."}

The names are found, Joshua 15:26-28; as cities of Judah, they should give material for "praise" on the part of the people of God. They are among the cities of the South which speak of the power of God in behalf of His own: as a third group of these, they give us the work of the Spirit in them. The names are nine in number; and nine seems always to be a 3 x 3: we have three stages, then, of this work, and three names on each stage. The first stage of the Spirit's work in us is undoubtedly that of new birth: the first three names are —

1. Amam, "mother," or "their mother," — referring to our origin from Eve: "how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" Here is the need of new birth.

2. Shema, "report" for "faith cometh by a report, and the report by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17, Gk.). And thus —

3. Moladah, "birth." For "we are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

Here the truth is simple, and the numerals exact. One is the number of primacy, so of paternity, beginning, origin; two is the number of testimony; three, of resurrection and of the Spirit. As to the meanings of the words, only the first can be for a moment questioned; "mother" is, however, strictly legitimate from the Hebrew, and, indeed, the only rendering that it would seem to countenance, and is mostly accepted.

The second stage is that of which the seventh of Romans speaks, — "from the law." And here we have —

1. Hazar-gadda, "enclosure of conflict," the dominion of law in the conscience shutting us up to this; next, the way of deliverance —

2. Heshmon, "quiet reckoning," — faith, not effort, not fighting; and thus we find —

3. Beth-pelet, the "house of escape."

The doctrine it is not here the place to dwell on. The numbers emphasize, 1, the dominion of law; 2, deliverance; 3, the dwelling-place, the heart's home, which is in Christ, where Christ is, — in each case what is of main importance. As to the names, only Heshmon could there be any doubt of. I take it as a compound word from hashah, to be still, and manah, to "measure," or "reckon," in its participial form.

The third stage is that of "realized sanctification," or of being "in the Spirit," where we have —

1. As implied in the dominion of the Spirit, Hazar-shual, the "jackal-pen," the fettering of the flesh, though still in us; as it is said, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."

2. Beersheba, the "well of the oath," naturally speaks of assurance as connected with the living water, the Spirit of God as "witness" for Christ in the soul; while —

3. Biziothiah, "among Jah's olives," reminds us of the indwelling of the Spirit in the Christian; for the olive is that in which the oil resides. Here the names of this section end. There can be no question as to the meaning, and that of the numerals is simple and clear.

Now let any one try but to put these words in a different order, what would be the result? Confusion at once, and in every way; nor could any power of imagination avail to rescue from this. Leave out but one of them, you will find there is a manifest gap in the meaning. Nay, I will go further, and say that, of all the many names upon these lists, I doubt whether there could be any substituted for any here, that would convey the meaning that these do: so little is there of chance or of guesswork about it. Every number has its place necessarily in connection with the name attached. Every name must fill its place in its section; every section must similarly fill its place in connection with the series as a whole; this, again, finds its place as a third group among the cities of the South; these cities of the South have their meaning as the first division of the cities of Judah: and so we might go on. If this be chance, I confess I do not see why letters thrown out at random should not form themselves into words and intelligible sentences. If it be imagination, I cannot understand why it should be able to move so readily in certain ways, and not at all in others. Why should the imagination be so easily able to make "Amam, Shema, Moladah," speak intelligibly, but not Moladah, Amara, Shema; nor yet Shema, Amam, Moladah; nor Moladah, Shema, Amam; nor Shema, Moladah, Amain; nor Amain, Moladah, Shema? Of the nine names together there are 362,880 possible combinations, and just so many chances to one against their being found in this precise order.

And how is it that, burdened with so many conditions as we have found, imagination should be able to marshal hundreds of names in constant obedience to its desires, and transform a barren catalogue into images of exquisite beauty, bathed in heaven's own sunlight, and musical with anthems of devout worshipers?

But this is allegory; and it is decided by many, even in the face of Scripture itself, that allegorizing is but fancy, pure and simple, — specious and alluring, but dangerous, and to be shunned! It is certain that Paul says of parts of Abraham's history, "which things are an allegory." It is certain that one book of Scripture is either "allegory" or a love-song. On the other hand, it is most certain that there has been a profanation of allegory on the part of many, from Origen to the present time, which has roused many against all allegorical interpretation. They "concluded," says Calvin, "that the literal sense was too mean and poor, and that under the outward bark of the letter there lurked deeper mysteries, which cannot be extracted but by beating out allegories. God visited this profanation by a just judgment, when He suffered the pure meaning of Scripture to be buried under false interpretations. I acknowledge that Scripture is a most rich and inexhaustible fountain of all wisdom; but I deny that its, fertility consists in the various meanings which any man at his pleasure may assign. Let us know, then, that the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning; and let us embrace and abide by it resolutely."

To which Schaff adds: "This style of interpretation is not exposition, but imposition: the meaning is not read out, but read in. History, the grammar, and the dictionary, are the proper aids in Bible study; not the subjective imagination."*

{* Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia: s.v. "Allegorical Interpretation of the Bible."}

Yet he has to admit that "the apostle Paul himself gives instances of the sacred allegory, although his use of it is so exceptional and so restrained that it does not countenance it as a method!"

Is this true, that it is so exceptional and restrained? — or that any fair examination of Scripture will show that it does not countenance the method? If by that is meant, indeed, the setting aside of the literal sense, "the natural and obvious meaning," then, of course, it does not countenance this; but Paul's allegorizing did not either. If there is meant by it simply that there are often deeper meanings than the natural and obvious one, every type in the Old Testament stands really as proof. And going back of the legal system to the book of Genesis, we shall find, from the beginning, God both in speech and act choosing to convey truth to us after this manner. What else does the ordinance of the Sabbath show in the light of the "sabbatism that remains for the people of God"? (Heb. 4:9.) What, the first paradise, in view of the "tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God"? (Rev. 2:7.) Adam is thus, as head of his race, a type of Christ the last Adam (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:45); and the consequences, on either side, are compared by the apostle. So his relation to Eve represents, we are told, that of Christ to the Church (Eph. 5:32). In the history of the fall, the serpent and his doom are not to be taken in the simple letter; nor is the bruised heel of the woman's seed; Abel's sacrifice, in being typical, is simply allegorical. Going on to the flood, the salvation of Noah and his house are declared by Peter to be typical (1 Peter 3:21); the rainbow is an allegorical "sign" of the covenant with the new earth. Abraham's history has connected with it the elaborate and minute allegory of Melchizedek; the covenant as to his seed is sealed by an allegorical vision (Gen. 15); Sarah and Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac, are all allegorical; circumcision is a sign; Isaac, after his offering is received back "in a figure" from the dead (Heb. 11:19). Bethel speaks allegorically, by its ladder, to Jacob; as does the wrestling with the angel upon his return to Canaan. The names of Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan and Gad, are all allegorized in their father's prophecy. The dreams of the butler and baker, and of Pharaoh afterwards, are all pure allegory.

Yet allegorizing not countenanced as a method! On the other hand, we may surely assert to those who go so far it will not be possible to stop at this point. The limits are evidently not marked off: a Joseph separated from his brethren, exalted among the Gentiles, afterward receiving in the time of their necessity his brethren again, — a Benjamin, son of his mother's sorrow, but of his father's right hand, — compel us to go further; while the further we go the wider the field becomes. It is not those who have trodden this path who will be led to believe that it is not a practicable or a safe one.

The extension of the method is, at the same time, its safeguard. Partial views have been the hindrance, or a main one, to consistency; and the knowledge of the distinctive features of the book, with their divisions and numerical structure gives a unity of apprehension most favorable to clear vision. Every specific type finds its place in relation to the whole; and there are checks and counter-checks of all sorts to mere unbridled fancy. We have seen, as to the names of Israel's cities, how well they guard their meaning, and how impossible it seems to read what thoughts we please into them. They speak very definitely, in general; even as to the meanings of the words leaving very little margin for difference of understanding. The most part are beyond controversy, and every name ascertained preserves the same meaning in any after-recurrence, which in these lists is not at all infrequent. The cities given to Levi, at the close of all this part, are a rearrangement, almost entirely, of what is already familiar to us; and where, therefore, there is absolutely no room for any change of meaning anywhere: a most rigid and perfect test of accuracy, which they most perfectly endure.

It is earnestly hoped that the interpretation of all this part will receive the patient study which it demands, and which it will again so well repay. Only in this way can it be expected that any well-grounded conviction of its truth will be attained; which, when realized, will not only yield abundant instruction to him who seeks it, but also will confirm and deepen in him the apprehension of the perfect — minute — inspiration of Scripture, and make him better able to draw from the divine fullness which it everywhere contains. It had been intended, in further proof, to append here a brief review of the truths which the cities and boundaries of the tribes of Israel present to us, and the relation in which they are found to one another; but to do this aright would occupy almost as much space as has been already given to them. This must be left, therefore, to the student of the Word to follow out for himself, with the clue afforded, — a task which will be found one of peculiar interest: for it is in this connection and relation of divine truths to each other that these types find so much the power for instruction and blessing for the soul. May we have the diligent heart only that shall be made rich!