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1. CHAT an awful and majestic Being is the blessed God!
who bath all our comforts in his hand. All creatures are at his disposal ; he has the command of all diseases ; they are his servants. All nature, heaven, earth, air, rain, and beasts, and the hearts of men, are under his control. He can stir up enemies when he will. Men are his sword ; their spirits are under his influence ; who would not therefore fear him !
2. How great is the wisdom of those who practise religion, which makes this God our friend. He will have respect to those that keep his statutes and commandments ; he wiñs favour and bless them ; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come.
3. We learn from hence, that good men, those who endeavour to promote religion in their country by their prayers, admonitions, and examples, are the best friends to it. We are not under an equal providence now, as the Jews were : there is therefore no arguing in our favour from their circumstances. But stil the Lord loveth righteousness ; and righteousness exalteth a nation. We have reason to expect peculiar blessings from heaven, especially when we observe his sabbaths, and reverence his sanctuary.
4. We are here taught the great value of spiritual blessings above all others, and how happy those are who possess them : God will be their God, and they shall be his people. His soul will not abhor them. Let us ever desire God's word and ordinances ; remembering that his blessing is bestowed on a regular, orderly attendance on them. Let us esteem them more than all the blessings of the corn floor and the wine press, and be thankful that we have them in such abundance. God hath not dealt 80 with many other nations. Praise ye the Lord.
5. Let us be thankful that our nation is free from those deso. lating judgments which are here threatened. Ours is a fruitful land, wherein we dwell safely ; here are no wild beasts to break in and destroy. Yet God could soon break our staff of bread, turn our fertile soil into barrenness, and cause despised enemies to go through the land. But through divine goodness and patience our blessings are continued, though we are unwor. thy of them. Let us then adore his goodness, that our land yields its increase, that he strengthens the bars of our gates, feeds us with the forest of the wheat, and suffers none to make us afraid. He giveth us all things richly to enjoy. Let us therefore love and serve God, who dealeth so bountifully with us.
6. We learn, that in our private conduct we must not walk contrary to God. All sinners walk contrary to his nature, will, and law; especially those who sin presumptuously, or, after manifest rebukes of Providence. If, when visited with affliction, we despise God's chastisements, and are not awakened and reformed, but trespass yet more and more, he will punish us yet seven times more. God grant that all who have been, or still are, under his rod, may consider this, lest his strokes the next time should be heavier ; lest he send greater judgments, for he both can and will do it.
7. Letụs pray that Israel may be taught, by the fulfilment of these threatenings, the evil of sin, which brought all their calamities upon them ; and that they may be brought to true repentance and conversion. Their sins were many and great; but it was their crucifying Christ which filled up the measure of their iniquities : in consequence of which, they have remained longer in their pres, ent dispersed state than any former captivity ; yea, than all the time they continued in their own land. But when their uncir. cumcised hearts shall be humbled to confess their iniquity, their own obstinacy and unbelief, as well as the iniquity of their fathers, / then, and not till then, can they reasonably expect the full aca complishment of the promises of their restoration, with which the chapter closes. May God hasten it in his own time! And let our constant prayer for Israel be, that they may be saved.
This chapter relates to vows, and to devoted things which were not
to be redeemed.
1 ND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto,
the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, that is, an extraordinary vow that he would devote himself to the service of God's sanctuary, the persons (shall be] for the LORD, set apart for his service, or else redeemed, by thy estimation, according to that value
which the priest, by the direction here given, shall set upon them, 3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years
old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty
shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, or about 4 five pounds fourteen shillings of our money. And if [it be] a
female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels, about three pounds eight shillings : it was less than for a man, because the
labour and service of a man is usually worth more than of a 5 woman. And if [it be] from five years old even unto twenty
years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty.
shekels, or about iwo pounds five shillings, and for the female 6 ten shekels, about twenty two shillings. And if [it be] from
a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation VOL. I.
shall be of the male five shekels of silver, or twelve shillings and sixpence, and for the female thy estimation (shall be] three shekels of silver, or seven shillings and sirpence. And if (it be) from sixty years old and above ; if (it be] a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, or one pound four
teen shillings, and for the female ten shekels, or one pound froe 8 shillings. But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he
shall present himself before the priest, and the priest shall value him : according to his ability that vowed shall the priest value him.*
And if [it be] a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that [any man) giveth of such unto the LORD
shall be holy, consecrated to God, either to be sacrificed, or give 10 en to the priest. He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good
for a bad, or a bad for a good : and if he shall at all change
beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be 11 holy. And if (it be) any unclean beast, of which they do
not offer a sacrifice unto the LORD, then he shall present the 12 beast before the priest : And the priest shall value it, whether
it be good or bad : as thou valuest it, (who art] the priest, so 13 shall it be.t But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth (part) thereof unto thy estimation.
And when a man shall sanctify his house [to be] holy unto the LORD, shall anpropriate the income of that house to the sera vice of the sanctuary, then the priest shall estimate it, wheth
er it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it 1$ stand. And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house,
then he shall add the fifth (part) of the money of thy estimaa tion unto it, and it shall be his.
And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD (some part] of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof, according to the quantity
of seed it will take to sow it : an homer of barley seed 17 [shall be valued) at fifty shekels of silver. If he sanctify
his field from the year of jubilee, according to thy esti18 mation it shall stand. But if he sanctify his field after the
jubilee, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money
according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the 19 jubilee, and it shall be abated from thy estimation. And if
he that sanctified the field, will in any wise redeem it, then
he shall add the fifth [part) of the money of thy estimation 20 unto it, and it shall be assured to him. And if he will not
• These persons were probably the same as the Netlinins afterward; the young men were hewers of wood and carriers of water : the old men were employed in sweep, ing the Acor, and carrying out ashes : the wonen in making the priests' garments and repairing the covering of the tabernacle : but lest too many should oder for this work, the price of their redemption was fixed, that no mors might be retained than were necessary,
+ That is, he was to leave it with the priest, or pay the value according to the priest's estimation.
If he did this, it is plain that he thought it worth more than the priest put upon it a and therefore a fifth part more might be thought to be the real value.
redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, 21 it shall not be redeemed any more. But the field, when it
goeth out in the jubilee, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a
field devoted ; the possession thereof shall be the priest's. 22 And if [a man) sanctify unto the LORD a field which he
hath bought, which (is) not of the fields of his possession, but 23 farmed by him till the jubilee ; Then the priest shall reckon
unto him the worth of thy estimation, (even) unto the year of
the jubilee : and he shall give thine estimation in that day, 24 [as] a holy thing unto the Lord. In the year of the jubilee
the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, (even]
to bim to whom the possession of the land [did belong] by 25 original right.* And all thy estimations shall be according to
the shekel of the sanctuary : twenty gerahs shall be the shekel. 26 Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the
LORD's firstling, no man shall sanctify it ; whether (it be]
ox, or sheep : it [is] the LORD's before, and therefore would 27 be trifling with him. And if [it be] of an unclean beast, not fit
for sacrifice, then he shall redeem [it] according to thine esti. mation, and shall add a fifth [part) of it thereto : or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy esti
mation. 28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote
unto the LORD of all that he hath, [both] of man and beast,
and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed : 29 every devoted thing (is) most holy unto the LORD.P None
devoted, which shall be devoted of men, by the particular di. rection of God, or agreeable to his law, shall be redeemed ;
[but) shall surely be put to death. 30 And all the tithe of the land, (whether) of the seed of the
land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is] the Lord's : [it is]
holy unto the LORD, consecrated to the service of God's sanc31 tuary and the maintenance of the priests. And if a man willi,
at all redeem (aught) of his tithes, he shall add thereto the 32 fifth [part), thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd,
or of the flock (even) of whatsoever passeth under the rod :
• There is a considerable difficulty in this passage : it seems to me that if a man devoted a field, and did not redeem it at the year of jubilee, he was at liberty to redeem it afterward; but if this was a field that was mortgaged, it went to the original pro. prietor ; the former possessor, who gave it, being only a tenant till the year of jubilee: i apprehend the priest could not have any other lands but what were settled by the law of God, but they might keep a devoted field, after the year of jubilec, till the price of re. demption was paid
+ Every thing thus solemnly given to God, shall be perpetually employed in the ser. vice to which they are devoted. if land was thus devoted, it was absolutely given to the service of the sanctuary ; if a man, or slave, he was to be perpetually employed in the service of the sanctuary : such were the Nethinims; if a beast, it was to be sacrificed or put to death.
This does not relate to what was devoted to a sacred ase, but to persons devoted to destruction by a solemn cherum or curse, as the Canaanites by God's appointment ; Jericho, and the idolatrous Israelites, Exodus xxii. 20. also the idolatrous cities, Dent. xiii. 15. those shall not be redeemed : no ransom shall be accepted; they shall surely be put to death, not on the altar, as a sacrifice, but by the sword, or the magistrate.
As the beasts of their own accord went out of the fold or cot, the tithing man, standing at the door, marked every tenth lamb or kid with a rod coloured with ochre.
33 the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search
whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it : and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall
be holy ; it shall not be redeemed. 34 These [are] the commandments, which the LORD com
manded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.*
we are not to trifle with God. Vows are solemn engagements to be the Lord's, or to do something for his cause. This chapter teaches us to be cautious not to make them rashly, lest we should repent. After vows are made, let us inquire, Have we been constant in keeping them, though sometimes to our hurt in temporal things ? Let us renew our resolutions for stricter fidelity to God; be ready to do all the good we can, for his house and the offices thereof. It is proper to lay ourselves under solemn engagements to do so. This should often be done ;' and having sworn, let us perform it. If we have hitherto neglected it, let us renew our resolutions with greater seriousness and care.
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it : for he hath no pleasure in fools : pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldst not vow, than that thou shouldst vow and not pay. Eccles, v. 4, 5.
2. We are taught from this chapter, and the whole book, to be thankful that we are not under the law, but under grace ; that we are not come to mount Sinai, but are under an easier, milder, and more spiritual dispensation ; that the yoke of ceremonies is removed, which neither we nor our fathers could bear. We may now, and we ought, to consecrate ourselves, our families, our fields, and all we have, to God. Ourselves, by presenting body and soul; a living sacrifice to God. Our families, by a solemn dedication of our children, and engaging our house to serve the Lord. Our fields and possessions, by honouring the Lord with our substance, cheerfully contributing to the support of his house, his ministers, and members. Every man should give as God hath prospered him. To do good and to communicate, let us not forget, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
• This seems to refer to the whole bonk: many of the precepts are very importarit in their own nature, and necessary to be understood in order to explain several particus lars in the gospel.
THE END OF THE FIRST VOLLN1E.