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"I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow."-Josh. xxiv. 12.

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt."-Isa. vii. 18.

THE singular and interesting insect spoken of by name in the first of these passages, and apparently referred to in the second, appears to be a very different insect from that known to our youthful readers as the hornet of England. Until the discoveries of the Abyssinian traveller, Bruce, the common wasp, or hornet, of this country was generally supposed by commentators to be the insect spoken of; and as it is known that a large swarm of these insects might easily sting a thousand men to madness, and BIBLE CLASS MAGAZINE.] [SEPTEMBER, 1849.


put to flight a well-disciplined army, there appeared nothing improbable in the statement that the multiplication of them in sufficient numbers to meet the case, drove out the Canaanitish kings and their people before the chosen nation. Now, however, a much more terrible insect is generally supposed to be referred to, and which we have figured at the head of this paper, magnified, for the sake of distinctness, to about twice its natural size. This insect is called in Abyssinia and by the Arabs, Zimb; and is described by Bruce in the following way :—

"It is in size very little larger than a bee, but of a thicker proportion, and has wings which are broader than a bee, placed separate like those of a fly; they are of pure gauze, without colour or spot upon them. The head is large; the upper jaw or lip is sharp, and has at the end of it a strong pointed hair, of about a quarter of an inch long: the lower jaw has two of these pointed hairs; and this pencil of hairs, when joined together, makes a resistance to the finger nearly equal to that of a hog's bristle. Its legs are serrated in the inside, and the whole covered with brown hair or down. . . . He has no sting, though he seems to me to be rather of the bee kind; but his motion is more sudden and rapid than that of the bee, and resembles that of the gad-fly in England. There is something peculiar in the sound or buzzing that he makes. It is a jarring noise, together with a humming, which induces me to believe that it proceeds, at least in part, from a vibration made with the three hairs at its snout."

In speaking of the terror the people and cattle exhibit when they see or hear it approaching in its swarms, which it does at certain seasons, he says,

"As soon as this plague appears, and their buzzing is heard, the cattle forsake their food, and run wildly about the plain till they die, worn out with fatigue, fright, and hunger. No remedy remains but to leave the black earth where they breed, and hasten down to the sands of Atbara, and there remain while the rains last; this cruel enemy never daring to pursue them further.... Even the camel is not able to sustain the violent punctures the fly makes with his pointed proboscis. He must lose no time in removing to the sands of Atbara, for when once attacked by this fly, his body, head, and legs break out into large bosses, which swell, break, and putrefy, to the certain destruction of the creature. Even the elephant and the rhinoceros, who, by

reason of their enormous bulk, and the vast quantity of food and water which they daily need, cannot shift to desert and dry places as the season may require, are obliged to roll themselves in mud and mire, which, when dry, coats them over like armour, and enables them to stand their ground against their winged assassin yet I have observed some of these tubercles upon almost every elephant and rhinoceros I have seen, and attribute them to this cause. All the inhabitants of the sea coast of Melinda, down to Cape Gardefau, to Saba, and the south coast of the Red Sea, are obliged to put themselves in motion, and remove to the next sand, in the beginning of the rainy season, to prevent all their stock of cattle from being destroyed. This is not a partial emigration; the inhabitants of all the countries, from the mountains of Abyssinia to the confluence of the Nile and Astaboras northward, are once a year obliged to change their abode, and seek protection in the sands of Beja: nor is there any alternative or means of avoiding this, though a hostile band were in the way capable of spoiling them of half their substance, as was actually the case while we were at Sennaar."

"When one of the cattle is attacked by this fly," says Mr. Clarke, "it is easily known by the extreme terror and agitation of the whole herd. The unfortunate object of the attack runs bellowing from among them to some distant part of the heath, or to the nearest water; while the tail, from the severity of the pain, is held with a tremulous motion, straight from the body, in the direction of the spine, and the head and neck are also stretched out to the utmost. The rest, from fear, generally follow to the water, or disperse to different parts of the field. And such is the dread and apprehension in the cattle of this fly, that I have seen one of them meet the herd when almost driven home, and turn them back, regardless of the stones, sticks, and noise of their drivers; nor could they be stopped till they had reached their accustomed retreat in the water."

This description of the insect seems to tally well with all the Scripture accounts of and references to the hornet. If our readers will turn to the only three passages in which it is spoken of in the history of God's ancient people, viz., Exod. xxiii. 28; Deut. vii. 20; and Josh. xxiv. 12, they will find they all refer to the expulsion of the Canaanites by their terrible agency, and seem to indicate much of the terror and alarm that Bruce and Clarke describe as accompanying the visits of the zimb to any district.

We can well imagine the terror large swarms of this insect would spread amongst both man and beast in Canaan, especially as they were ignorant of the best way to avoid its attacks, and with what haste they would desert their land if possible to escape.

In the passage we have quoted from Isaiah the same insect which we have been describing seems most probably referred to. It is there described as dwelling beyond "the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt," which would agree with its abode in Abyssinia and thereabouts; while the terribleness of the judgment would derive force from the known habits of the zimb.

We see from all this how easily God could employ all nature as his scourge to discomfit his enemies or to punish his people. Let us adore that mercy which keeps such terrible elements within their proper limits, so as not to suffer them to do us harm; and let us fear to provoke that vengeance which could so easily destroy our joys.



Query.-Can Numbers xxii. 12 be reconciled with Numbers xxii. 20?

"And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed."-Numb. xxii. 12.

"And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do."-Numb. xxii. 20.

THE enquirer wishes to know if these passages can harmonize with the received doctrine of the unchangeableness of God; and, at the same time, intimates an impression that they appear to impeach that attribute of the divine nature.

A comprehensive view of the whole narrative, with attention to the details, will most effectually lead to the harmony of the apparently discrepant passages, and place the unchangeableness of God beyond the shadow of impeachment.

In the 12th verse God had solemnly and distinctly prohibited Balaam from going to Balak and his company. Balaam, tampering with his own conscience, and doing dalliance with the princes of Balak, cherished the groundless hope that the Lord would revoke his decisive prohibition, or so modify it that he might find a pretext to go, as he said, "that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more," ver. 19. The result of this delay was remotely opposed to the vain hope which Balaam had cherished; for it is said, in the 20th verse, "And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee,

rise up and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do." God, who made the condition of his going, "If the men come to call thee," had the minds of these men, as of all others, under his control; and, therefore, when Balaam went, it was in direct opposition to the absolute command in the 12th verse, and in violation of the condition of the 20th verse, while the fixed purpose of God, that Balaam should bless and not curse Israel, appears in all its unalterable grandeur in the sentence," Yet the word that I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do."

He is precipitant to rise in the morning and go with "the princes of Moab." His passion for wealth and honour moved him to rebel against God and to attempt to curse Israel. Though there be many devices in the heart of man, the counsel of the Lord must stand. God allows Balaam to proceed in the rashness of his infatuation, and then frustrates his design by causing him to bless the people whom he went forth to curse, chap. xxiii. 8-11.

The immutable purpose of the divine mind is accomplished, the schemes of malice and avarice are subverted, and the unchangeableness of the divine character is celebrated and recorded by the man who strove to impeach it: for when Balaam had blessed Israel, whom his covetousness prompted him to curse, he said, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"

This is a striking illustration of absolute inspiration, in which the Spirit of God exerts an influence on the mind of Balaam, conducting to an issue against his own will, violently strove, and inducing him to own the power by which he was vanquished.

This subject shows the folly as well as the wickedness of striving against God. An infant's hand may stay a comet in its course as soon as a human mind can thwart the purpose of the divine mind. And when the will of God is plainly stated in his word, it is sinful and perilous in the extreme to yield to the influence of any policy to feel or act in opposition to that will.

Moral safety amidst temptation will be found in a holy vigilance, combined with devotional communion with God; praying, in the language of the psalmist, "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on thee."



THERE are few things more en- have overcome them. We feel couraging in trials and difficulties than the remembrance that others

ashamed to draw back where they have advanced, and derive confidence

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