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the Ekronites, also the Avites. From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah, that is beside the Sidonians, unto Aphek, (in the north, Josh. xii. 18. Judges i. 31.) to the border of the Amorites: And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon toward the sun-rising, from Baal-gad, under mount Hermon, unto the entering in of Hamath. All the inhabitauts of the hillcountry, from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, [Joshua xi. 8.] and all the Sidonians ; them will I drive out from before the children of Israel; only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have com. manded thee.” Josh. xiii. 2–6. And all of this territory, from the Sihor* or Nile on the south, to the entering in of Hamath on the north, was to be, not merely held in dominion, but actually " to be possessed.” ver. 1. But sure as it was made by the pledge of Jehovah's oath, the whole land was not to become at once the possession of Israel. The Lord said, concerning the nations to be ejected and destroyed, " I will not drive them out from before thee in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the beasts of the field multiply against thee. By little and little, I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased AND INHERIT the land. Ex. xxiii. 29, 30. And although, from the smallness of their num. bers, Israel long continued unable to occupy so large a territory, it was still considered as theirs by promise and by covenant. On this they founded a claim which they regarded as unceasing, and with this idea evidently in view, we read that David “ went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.” 2 Sam. viii. 3. His border at the Euphrates! His it never yet had been, except by the grant of God to Abraham and his seed; and that divine grant alone could have warranted his invasion for this " recovery of his border” there. But recognizing the promise of God to their fathers, he was now securing their “inheritance," which should be “possessed" when their future increase rendered it necessary to occupy the whole, which was not yet the
* With the mistaken view of adapting the boundaries of the Promised Land to the extent of territory, formerly in actual possession by the children of Israel, it has become usual for our Sacred Geographers, to affix to the small river Bezor, which flows into the Mediterranean, in lat. 30 deg. north, the names “Sihor” and “ River of Exypt,” which evidently belong to the Nile. But this is not the most difficult part of the work to be accomplished before the desired end is obtained. It matters them little how far northward they transfer the 6 River of Egypt,” unless they can at the same time remove “the Red Sea” (another of the boundary marks), from the south to the north of Idumea. And even this transposition would not suffice : for unless they could change the situation of Damascus, and bring “ the Great River, the river Euphrates,” 200 miles westward, or toward the Mediterranean, there would still remain the discrepancy, which it is their object to remove. It would even be still farther necessary to bring down the towns, etc. which mark the northern boundary, to make their situations coincide with the outgoings of the ancient Palestine in that direction The task is a Herculean one; but unless the whole can be performed, the attempts made with “ the River of Egypt” only display ignorance and inconsistency, without in the least obviating what they feel to be a difficulty. Ere long we trust a better explanation of God's promise will be afforded, in its accomplishment, to all i is extent, in behalf of Abraham's seed.
It was the same divine grant which authorized Solomon afterwards to “ levy a tribute of bond-service" upon the descendants of all those nations “ whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy." 1 Kings ix. 20, 21. And as his father, David, secured the conquest of the whole Promised Land, so Solomon afterwards reigned over it. 2 Sam. viii. 1 Kings iv. 21. The former occupants were to be driven out by little and little," for of the inhabitants of the whole land, from the Red Sea, even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the Desert unto the river," the Lord declared, “] will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and thou shalt [not merely receive tribute of them, but * thou shalt] drive them out before thee;" (Ex. xxxiii. 31. Deut. xi. 23, 24.) and it was God's specific promise, concerning all the different nations within Israel's bounds, " from the Red Sea even unto the Sea of the Philistines, and from the Desert unto the River” Euphrates, that “they shall not DWELL in thy land.” Ex. xxiii. 20—33. These are predictions which have never yet been fulfilled. It was Israel's sin, that when they were able, they “ did not utterly drive them out" from much of the promised land, as they had been commanded. For this sin they were severely rebuked and chastised. (Judges i. 21–36. ii. 1-3.) But although that generation criminally deprived themselves of the full en
joyment of the promised blessing, their guilt could neither alienate nor annul the covenant which God sware unto their fathers. The promise shall ultimately be performed, though by the sins of successive generations it has been long delayed. Their faith in the fulfilment of this covenant was long tried before it pleased God at all to bring them thither; their accession of it was made by degrees and at different times; and, as regards possession of the land in all its extent, it has never yet been more than matter of promise. No time was specified for the accomplishment of God's purpose of goodness towards them. From the first, they were told they should not receive the whole at once; and, at the very time when by the oath of Jehovah it was secured in covenant, Abraham was informed his seed should not enter into immediate possession of any part of it. In extirpating the nations for their wickedness, God would vindicate his righteousess even in the eyes of sinful men; and the iniquity of the Amorites “was not yet full.” Gen. xv. 16. [the first of the nations given into their hand. Deut. ii. 32–36.] The seed of Abraham were meanwhile to be oppressed, strangers in a land not theirs, for four hundred years, whence they were to come in the fourth generation. Gen. xv. 13, 16. This promise was fulfilled in the exodus from Egypt, when the Lord led them out with a high hand, and brought them to the Land of Promise. Their disobedience and manifold provocations were, however, punished by God's withholding from them much of what He sware to give. But when they return to the Lord with all their hearts, He yet will perform that good thing in their behalf.
A literal restoration of the outcast and scattered Israel must therefore be obtained, that they may occupy the land promised to their fathers, and that the faithfulness of God be not found to fail. This is accordingly promised for future times, and the recovery of it is distinctly foretold. “ They shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west ; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them.” 1s. xi. 14. This is part of a prediction which clearly re
fers to their future Restoration, (as shown in the preceding Section) when the Lord “shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy of Ephraim also shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off ;" and then upon Mount Zion, “there shall be holiness." It therefore refers to a future time, when the united kingdoms of Israel and Judah, claiming the promised land,“ shall spoil them OF THE EAST together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them." Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness : and the house of Jacob shall
possessions ; and the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, (the Edomites, or Idumeans,] for the Lord hath spoken it. And Saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau.”* Obad. 17–21. In order that the house of Jacob may “possess their possessions," including “the Mount of Esau," and the captivity of the Canaanites, “ even unto Zarephath;" they shall destroy until “there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau :" nor can the fulfilment of this distinct but remarkable prediction be referred back to the time of David or of Solomon, not having been given till hundreds of years after. The destruction it foretells is, besides, very different from receiving “tribute” from the Edomites. Its application to the future Restoration of Israel, is also obvious from its being immediately followed by the Millennium : “ And the kingdom shall be the Lord's. ver. 21.
This forcible possession of the promised land was predicted by Moses in the blessing he pronounced on Israel before his death : “ There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He shall thrust out the enemy before thee, and shall say, Destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone : The fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine, also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places." Deut. xxxiii. 26–29. It is also the very threat which the wicked Balaam prophetically declared to Balak concerning Israel ard his people“ in the latter days.” Numb. xxiv. 14–24.
*“ They are,” says the Rev. Mr. Mason of Wishawtown, “ to conquer and possess the Philistines, Edom, Moab, and the children of Ammon.... As Israel, when they came up out of Egypt, did subdue and possess the land of Canaan; so the remnant of this people who are left among the Gentiles when they shall be assembled together, shall conquer and inhabit the land of Promise.”—(Gentiles' Fulness, p. 125.)
The enjoyment of their land, to the extent of the original promise, is accordingly one of the blessings announced to be received by Israel for the Millennial period; and its boundaries are fully marked out in that remarkable prophecy with which the book of Ezekiel concludes : “ Thus saith the Lord God, This shall be the border whereby ye shall inherit the land, according to the twelve trihes of Israel ; Joseph shall have two portions. And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another ; concerning the which I lifted up mine hand, to give it unto your fathers; and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance. And this shall be the border of the land toward the North side ; from the great sea, [the_Mediterranean,] the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad; Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, (which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath.) Hazarhatticon, (which is by the coast of Hauran;] and the border from the sea shall be Hazar-enan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath; and this is the north side. And the East side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan from the border unto the East Sea, the Salt or Dead Sea, which having then been “ healed” (Ezek. xlviii. 19.) and having lost its present characteristics,