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shows, that there subsisted a connection and relation between them and him; and an influence in consequence of it. Nothing can prove more satistactorily, than that Pethor was in Midian, and than Balaam was of the country. P. 84.
But, as the whole of this reasoning is founded on the passage from Josephus, it must inevitably fall to the ground, when we add that Mr. Bryant has here mistaken the land of the Amoriles for that of the Moabites; for the words of Moab,' in his translation, have no existence in Josephus, and are utterly incompatible with the context. Now, as Arnon was, according to this passage of Josephus, the southern boundary of the Amorites, and the northeru of Moab, when Balak went to meet Balaam, on his way from the Luphrates 'unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of drnon, which is in the utmost coast ;? (Numbers, xxii, 36) instead of going southward, he proceeded towards the north. It therefore follows, that Pethor, whence Balaam came, might have been in Mesopotamia, but, upon Mr. Bry2nt's own ground of argument, could not have been in Moab, Edom, or Midian; for, as these all lay southward of the Arnon, 'nobody goes north to meet a person coming from the south.'
Mr. Bryant, however, has a 'further proof' behind. This is deduced from the place called Aram Naharaim: Deuter. xxiii, 5.
This was thus denominated, to distinguish it from Aram Zobak, and several other regions of the same name, and to denote that particular part, where there were two rivers ; for that is the purport of Na. baraim. The one was the Aborras, upon which wtood Haram, where Terah, Nahor, and Laban dwelt; and from which Abraham dcparted, when he came to Canaan. The other river was the Euphrates, into which the former ran. But Balaam came from a land of one ritcr. Numbers, chap. xxii. ver. 5, the land of the river of his people. This would never have been thus particularized, and limited, if he had come from a region of more than one.' P. 85.
That Aram of the two rivers—for such is the import of the terms ---was, in Hebrew, the country between the Euphrates and Tigris (that is, Mesopotamia), we believe has never hitherto been disputed. Indeed, Mr. Bryant, from all that has gone before, admits it, though he now offers a different explanation. The only difference, however, which it makes, is, that, while one of these two rivers is confessed to be the Euphrates, the other, instead of being the Tigris, is by his position the Aborras. Be it so: still this Aram, the region between these rivers, was, in Mr. Bryant's own words, the country where Terah, Nahor, and Laban, dwelt, and from which Abraham departed when he came to Canaan,' and, according to St. Stephen, no other than Mesopotumid. (See Acts vii, 2.) But Balaam, ar
he Clyde Balaam is part of
gues Mr. Bryant, could not have been of this country; for “he came from a land of one miter. Numbers xxii, 5, ihe land of the river of his people. This,' he adds, 'would never have been thus particularised, and limited, if he had come from a region of niore than one river. But this inference is not conclusive. When it is said of a person from the south of Scotland, and in the vicinity of the Tweed, that he comes from that river, does it thence follow that there is no such river in his country as the Clyde? - The reason of mentioning one river only in the country of Balaam is obvious. It was by far the most considerable known to all that part of Asia
the river which divided Chalda from Syria, and that upon which Pethor, or the Oracle, existed. Hence, the Euphrates, upon whose opposite side-in reference to both Balak and the historian--Balaam dwelt, was properly particularised as the rit'er of the land of his people.
Mr. Bryant has offered other considerations in support of his hypothesis, which it will be proper also to consider. The first of these arises from his view of the great desúrt of the north, 'the narrowest part of which could not be passed but with camels and by caravans. This is inferred, from the circumstance
that the armies under the direction of Crassus, Antonius, Trajan, Julian, and Gordian, never attempted to pass this way towards Babylon and the east, but went about by Syria north, and crossed the Euphrates at Zeugma, or Cercusium, the place, at this day, that probably is called Bi', which seems to be a contraction of 721, ubir, or abor, locus iransitus. All the armies of the Assyrians came this indirect way, and returned by the same route.'
In reply to these observations, many things might be alleged. We are left much in the dark as to the motives which directed the marches of those armies, concerning which, and their leaders, we know so little. Nor is it by any means clear that Mr. Bryant has fixed the point of transition ; for Bir, in the sense of locis transitiis, or a place of passage, could never have come from 728, which signifies to be strong; whence li pright siguify a fortress ; but is here confounded with 23, trasire', to pass over. Yet, in whatever direction armies were accustomed to pass, it is certain that Nebuchadnezzar, after his conquests in Judea, Phoenicia, and Egypt, on hearing of his father's death, immediately crossed the desert with a few attendants, and left the army, with its prisoners and booty, to follow. Indeed, Mr. Bryant himself admits that it was often passed, and cites the iristance of Abraham's servant, and of Jacob. But, though the former had ten camels to subserve his wants, the circumstances of the history show the latter to have gone quite unattended; whilst Balaam was accompanied, not only by his two servants, but by the princes of Balak, who appear to hav: boen of the highest rank (Numbers xxii, 15), and consequently were furnished with every appendage of their condition that could contribute to the convenience of the journey.
Mr.Bryant's next difficulty arises from the place, whence he is supposed to set out, not at all corresponding witli the country through which he passed, according to the account given by the sacred writer. Now, to prove this, the evidence adduced by no means distinctly applies. Mr. Bryant denies the existence of Phathura, or Petor, on the Euphrates; and the sacred writer makes Balaam himself say that he had been brought from the mountains of the east. If so, it is certain, from what Mr. Bryant himself allows, namely, that the part of Mesopotamia, which lay towards Armenia, had vines, and was not unfruitful,' would have here admitted of Balaani's riding in a path of vineyards, though Cyrus, with the Euphrates on his right, found nothing in his march, from Thapsacus to the camp of wormwood, but that weed and barrenness; and at Babylon, Herodotus met with no vines.
However, the history itself, upon other evidence, will remove the objection. In Numbers xxii, 21, we read that BaLuam rose up in the morning, and sudilled his ass, and WENT WITH THE PRINCES OF MOAB. The appearance of the angel did not take place, till he had arrived at the very region of VINES, which Mr. Bryant points out, and was proceeding, with his two servants, towards the abode assigned him, till the messingers, who had left him to apprise Balak of his coming, should return to introduce him. Thus was it, in the interval of their absence, that the angel appeared; for at that time he had only his two servants with him. Compare verses 21, 29. 34, 35, 36.
What we have above remarked, is, we think, sufficient to show that THE RIVER, which, in Scripture, always signifies the Euphrates, is not at all affected by Mr. Bryant's objection, from the qualification of its being called the river of the land of the children of his people, the Euphrates being, as in the case of Abraham, the boundary between the country of his kindred which he leít, where he passed over into Canaan; and therefore that the position of Le Clerc remains untouched. The like observation may be applied to dr. Bryani's proposed alteration of the sacred text, from 7 to DTH, to serve the pure pose of his hypothesis, thus substituting Edom for lesopotumia, or drum Nuharaim; as well as to his interpretation of 075, Kiddim, in reference to the mountains of the East; as likewise his conversion, for the same purpose, of proa, Beni Omi, into hay ", Bedi Omar, or jy 'ya, beni Oman; that is, instead of the sons of his people, reading the sons of Omar, or of Omun; which he asserts is sometimes transcribed Aman, whence he reads the sans of amon and Hamon; and so makes them Ammonites, and Balaam one of that nation, who, how. ever, according to other positions, is made by him also a Nsoas, bite, an Edomite, and a Midianite. Tous it appears, that, if such liberties be allowed, the Scriptures may be brought to prove whatever any one pleases. It is not from disrespect to Mr. Bryant that we here enter our protest against this mode of procedure; but, on the contrary, to his abilities, from the wide influence which the authority of his name carries with it; for the more veneration there is paid to his authority, the more necessity is there publicly to examine the arguments, and try the foundations, upon which his assertions are built.
Should this discussion meet the eye of Mr. Bryant, we trust, therefore, it will be received by him with his well-known candour, presuming that, if our explanations and remarks be just, the will be better pleased to see the integrity and consistency of the Sacred Writings evinced, than any hypothesis of his own em- . braced at their expense. His sentiments on questions of this kind are always entitled to respect; and it is from respect to their weight that we thus venture to discuss them. Though we are persuaded, from the reasons above assigned, that Mr. Bryant's opinion concerning the Pethor of Balaam is erroneous, and that it was not the Petra he supposes, yet the error in its self is of no moment; for, whether this Pethor were in Mesopotamia, or Midian, the miracle and prophecy are the same :To these, then, let us return.
Our author, taking Petra for Pethor, rightly explains it, as an oracle, of which Balaam was the minister. The Samaritan expresses it, 77109; and Jonathan, habitatio ejus erat in Faila tlan, quæ dictu est litoru, ob nomen Bileami nan yong interpres somniorum. Michaëlis adds, “Equidem malim ORACULUM vertere (misit ad oraculum Dei) ita tamen, ut loco, ubi Bileamus oracula edebat, hoc nomen tum hæserit : sic erit nomen quodammodo geographicum, in localis et præfixi, quiisuscum componi videmus cap ix. (See Num. xxiii, 7. Deut. xxiii, 5. Supplement. ad Lexica, p. 2057. . The point then being established, that Pethor was properly an oracle (which, perhaps, like Delphi in Greece, from its celebrity, and the frequency of resort, at length attracted a city round it), Mr. Bryant proceeds to an inquiry concerning Onolatria, or the worship of the ass, an animal reputed to possess an oracular nature, from being endued with the faculty of discovering water-springs in the desert, and so of the highest utility to those who lived near, or had to cross, these parched wilds. Analogous with t'us, many ingenious conjectures are applied to the circum. stances of the people and country whither Balaam is brought; and che aspersion on the Jews, particularly in Tacitus, for worshipping the ass, is thus accounted for. To connect these observations with the history, Mr. Bryant proceeds:-- ...
LRIT. Rev. Vol. 38. July, 1805.
• If then we look back upon the history of Balaam, we find that he was a prophet of Pethora; probably archimagus, or high-priest of the college. His word of prophecy was esteemed among the neighbouring nations of such prevalence, and certainty, that he was hired by the king of Moab to curse the children of Israel, It was a rule with the God of Jacob to display his suprentácy to his people, by making all other deities and their agents subservient to his will. On this account he often forced their representatives, and their prophets, to be ministers of his commands ș and to bear witness of tris supetiour pow. er. This is no where more manifest than in the instance before us. The soothsayer of Pethora was by high rewards invited to blast the tuture happiness of the Israelites. And though the curse could not in reality have had any effect, especially against those whom God had blessed; nor could it have deserved to be recorded: yet, in order to manifest his supremacy, it pleased the Deity to interfere, and to make use of this infernal agent to disclose his purposes to his people. Bý these means they were tairglit to despise the oracles, as well as the idolatries of Midian and Edom, to which they had been too much in. clined. And they were further taught, that the powers of hell could not prevail against them. Surely there is no inchantytent against Jacob: neither is there any divination avrainst Israel. God had given his blessing; and the person who most hated them was obliged to confirm it. In short, no oracles could be better ascertained, no assurances better founded, than those which were extorted from an ene. my; from one who had every inducement to speak evil of Israel; and whóm nothing could have bribed to have spoken well. But the hand of Heaven bowed him to its will by a superiour influence; and he was accordingly reproved by his own oracle ; and by an angel terrified into Obedience. By these means the supremacy of the Deity was manifest. ed to all ; and the future glory and happiness of his people ascertained. The whole was accompanied with many prophetic indications, of the highest consequence to those in whose favour they were disclosed, and in which the world in general was concerned. They must have had great weight at all times, as their evidence could never be controverted; for they contained blessings promised to the Israelites, recorded and authenticated by their worsi enemies, who could have no interest nor inclination to deceive. And they related to great events in the womb of time, which were many ages afterwards compleated. Of this completion we are witnesses. • " In this manner the false prophet was foiled at his own weapons; and the oracle in which he trusted was niade to declare against him. The instrument, however, by which he was rebuked, is in our times held in so contemptible a light, that to many it seems inconceivable, that Providence to effect its purpose should have condescended to such vile means. But this objection arises from an idle prejudice, and a misconception of the article employed. All the works of creation are founded in wisdom ; and it pleases God oftentimes to make use of the most conimon and vile instruments towards the manifestatiou of his will. It signifies little, when Moses divided the sea, whether he grasped a staff of hazel or of gold; or whether the rod of Aaron were of almond, or of elm. We admit of false impressions, and suffer ourselves to be misled by popular opinions, which have no foundation in truth. Hence we are induced to think, that what is proverbially