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Life And Writings Of Sulpitius Severus by Sulpitius Severus

Chapter XXI. There followed the revolt of those, who, with Dathan and Abiron as leadersà

There followed the revolt of those, who, with Dathan and Abiron as leaders, endeavored to set themselves up against Moses and Aaron; but the earth, opening, swallowed them alive. And not long after, a revolt of the whole people arose against Moses and Aaron, so that they rushed into the tabernacle, which it was not lawful for any but the priests to enter. Then truly death mowed them down in heaps; and all would have perished in a moment, had not the Lord, appeased by the prayers of Moses, turned aside the disaster. Nevertheless, the number of those slain amounted to seven hundred and fourteen thousand. And not long after, as had already often happened, a revolt of the people arose on account of the want of water. Then Moses, instructed by God to strike the rock with his rod, with a kind of trial new familiar to him, since he had already done that before, struck the rock once and again, and thus water flowed out of it. In regard, however, to this point, Moses is said to have been reproved by God, that, through want of faith, he did not bring out the water except by repeated blows; in fact, on account of this transgression, he did not enter the land promised to him, as I shall show farther on. Moses, then, moving away from that place, as he was preparing to lead his company along by the borders of Edom, sent ambassadors to the king to beg liberty to pass by; for he thought it right to abstain from war on account of the connection by blood; for that nation was descended from Esau. But the king despised the suppliants, and refused them liberty to pass by, being ready to contend in arms. Then Moses directed his march towards the mountain, Or, keeping clear of the forbidden road, that he might not furnish any cause of war between those related by blood, and on that route he destroyed the king of the nation of the Canaanites. He smote also Seon the king of the Amorites, and possessed himself of all their towns: he conquered, too, Basan and Balac. He pitched his camp beyond Jordan, not far from Jericho. Then a battle took place against the Midianites, and they were conquered and subdued. Moses died, after he had ruled the people forty years in the wilderness. But the Hebrews are said to have remained in the wilderness for so long a time, with this view, until all those who had not believed the words of God perished. For, except Joshua and Caleb, not one of those who were more than twenty years old on leaving Egypt passed over Jordan. That Moses himself only saw the promised land, and did not reach it, is ascribed to his sin, because, at that time when he was ordered to strike the rock, and bring forth water, he doubted, even after so many proofs of his miraculous power. He died in the one hundred and twentieth year of his age. Nothing is known concerning the place of his burial.
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