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tiny of this peculiar people, did not yet intimidate the natives of Canaan.
Other confederacies were formed and successively subdued. Six or seven years were spent in continual warfare, until one and thirty kingdoms were taken, when far advanced in years, and having yet to make arrangements for the future government of Israel, Joshua “rested from war."
The first work of this interval of peace, was to provide a place for public worship. Shiloh, in the portion of Ephraim, was chosen, and there the Tabernacle was established in the presence of the whole nation, and from this epoch the Israelites began to reckon their year of Jubilee.
Although much of the territory remained yet to be conquered, the venerable chief of Israel, persuaded of the faithfulness of the Lord of hosts, considered the whole as already in their possession, and proceeded to the division of Canaan, agreeably to the directions left by Moses. The coast of the Great Sea or Mediterranean, was still inhabited by idolaters---from Philistia, on the South, to Phænicia on the North, but commissioners were nevertheless sent to examine and describe, in writing, the whole land. When they returned, the whole was divided, and solemnly distributed by lot before the Tabernacle at Shiloh.
Cities of refuge, at the same time were appointed, and provision made for the Levites, who, you will recollect, were not to have a common inheritance in lands like the other tribes.
The immediate superintendence of the Deity over this remarkable people, is in no respect more evident than in this ; that after the lapse of ages, and under circumstances
the least favourable to the preservation of records, and all the observances requisite to that end--they should now be able to trace their genealogies throughout the twelve tribes, and distribute the component families so exactly, that Joshua could arrange them in the order commanded by Moses, separating the tribes distinctly, and providing equally for all.
CATHERINE. I have heard you question the lawfulness of dividing by lot; and yet in this instance it is sanctioned by the highest authority.
Mrs. M. If we could, in any case, obtain such a sanction, and cast lots with the same solemnity that was observed in this, and other instances, mentioned in scripture, that is, by a direct appeal to Heaven for the result, the aetion would not be unlawful. But we think of no such reference; our appeal is to something called Chance; a perfect nonentity ; an act of great levity at least, if not sacrilegious. Because no event can possibly take place without the permission of a Sovereign whose government is as immediate as it is universal.
The result of all our operations in the common affairs of life, we know, remains with Him; but while we employ our physical strength, or natural ability, we use the talents he has given. In casting a lot, we are endeavouring to obtain a benefit without using the appointed means.
Although I have told you that we are not immediately concerned with the blessings or predictions which Jacob pronounced on his sons at the time of his death, and have therefore left you to read the full accomplishment at your leisure, yet I will not deny your curiosity the gratification of remarking in this place, and hereafter, as it may inci
dentally occur, the striking coincidences between the foresight of the patriarch and the allotment of Joshua, now more than two hundred
afterwards. “ Simeon and Levi,” he said, should be “ divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel." In the distribution of the lands, Simeon had a lot within that portion afterwards called by the single title of Judah; which being insufficient for their support,* a detachment of that tribe emigrated southward, in quest of more ample habitations, until they discovered a fine tract of pasture ground, of which they took peaceable possession : whilst another party, proceeding still farther south, towards Mount Seir, made war upon the Amalekites, and obtained their lands. Thus was Simeon “scattered in Israel." But of Levi, the prediction was literally fulfilled. Being devoted to the ministry, the Levites were not to cultivate the land, but had dwellings assigned to them throughout all Israel-that they might conveniently instruct, whilst they were maintained by the nation. Of Asher, it was said " His bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties ;" language which imports wealth and abundance. Accordingly we find the tribe of Asher in a rich district, bordering on the great city of Tyre, whose inhabitants, no doubt, were often supplied from his fields, and the table of their luxurious kings furnished with 66 royal dainties.” Of Zebulon,--" he shall dwell at the haven of the sea-and shall be a haven for ships :" and the lot of Zebulon stretched from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean, where they had commodious sea-ports.
* 1 Chron. 4. 39-43.
Fanny. You have not mentioned the death of Caleb who was permitted to enter into the promised land. Was he yet alive at the period of your story?
MRS. M. He was: and now presented himself before Joshua and the elders, reminding them of the engagement of Moses to give him the mountain of Kirjath-Arba-the land of the Giants, because he had traversed it without fear, when he was sent with the ten traitorous spies. now eighty-five years of age, yet (he said he was strong, and able to drive out the natives. To him, therefore, Kirjath-Arba, including the city of Hebron, the venerated spot where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned, was allotted. The eminent services of Joshua, too, were rewarded by the special gift of a favourite place in mount Ephraim:
The forty thousand warriors from the tribes on the eastern side of Jordan, who had served all this time in the war, were now disinissed to their families, with great commendation for their fidelity to their brethren. The riches they had acquired from the spoils of their enemies they were commanded to divide with those who had remained at home and protected their wives and children in their absence—“But take diligent heed” (said the venerable chief, when he gave them his parting blessing) “ to do the commandments and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all
soul." But when, on their return, they had passed the river, they began to feel that they were separated from their brethren! While the present generation lived, their services would be
remembered, and their-right to worship at Shiloh would be acknowledged; but the posterity of those who possessed the Ark of the Covenant, the pledge of a peculiar relationship to the God of Israel, and in whose territories other national monuments were found, might possibly deny to the tribes on the other side of Jordan the privileges of a son of Israel. To avert this catastrophe, which they considered the greatest of evils, they set up as Altar of great dimensions on the eastern border, exactly resembling that which stood at Shiloh, and called it "an Altar of witness.” This
" action, so pious and so patriotic, was mistaken by their brethren. They considered it a breach of the law, and obnoxious to exemplary punishment. The whole army was therefore immediately collected to make war upon Reuben and Gad. Compassion, however, succeeded to the first impulse of indignation, and they resolved to enquire into the matter before they shed the blood of their brother. Phinehas, the son of Eleazer, the high Priest, and other chiefs of the congregation, were sent on this reasonable errand.
“ We are come (said they to the two tribes and half tribe) to enquire why ye have committed so great a trespass. Have we not already suffered for the sins of those who'rebelled against Jehovah ? Will ye again involve us in distress, by offering sacrifices in the land of Gilead, in opposition to the law of Moses? If ye think your land is polluted by the sins of your predecessors, and ye are become dissatisfied with the place of your own choice, come over to the land where the Tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us : but rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.”