Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb,
&c.] Or "upon that rock" F11, a particular rock which was pointed unto, where the Lord in the pillar of cloud would stand; not as a mere spectator of this affair, but as a director of Moses where to smite the rock; and to exert his power in producing water from it, and by his presence to encourage Moses to do it, and to expect and believe the issue of it:
and thou shalt smite the rock:
or "on the rock", or "in it" F12; which made Jarchi fancy that the rod of Moses was something very hard, that it was a sapphire by which the rock was cleft:
and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink,
they, their children, and their cattle, ready to die for thirst. Thus God showed himself gracious and merciful to a murmuring and ungrateful people:
and Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel;
he smote the rock with his rod, and the waters gushed out in great abundance, like streams and rivers, for the refreshment of the people, and their flocks, ( Psalms 78:20 ) ( 105:41 ) . The Heathens have preserved some footsteps of this miracle in their writings, though disguised. Pausanias F13 speaks of a fountain of cold water springing out of a rock, and reports how Atalantes, coming from hunting thirsty, smote a rock with his spear, and water flowed out. This rock at Rephidim, and the apertures through which the waters flowed, are to be seen to this day, as travellers of veracity relate. Monsieur Thevenot F14 says the rock at Rephidim is only a stone of a prodigious height and thickness, rising out of the ground: on the two sides of that stone we saw several holes, by which the water hath run, as may be easily known by the prints of the water, which hath much hollowed it, but at present no water issues out of them. A later traveller F15 gives us a more distinct account of it: after we had descended the western side of this Mount (Sinai), says he, we came into the plain or wilderness of Rephidim, where we saw that extraordinary antiquity, the rock of Meribah, which was continued to this day, without the least injury from time or accidents. This is rightly called, from its hardness, ( Deuteronomy 8:15 ) , (vymlxh rwu) , "a rock of flint", though, from the purple or reddish colour of it, it may be rather rendered the rock of (Mlx) or (hmlxa) , amethyst, or the amethystine, or granite rock. It is about six yards square, lying tottering as it were, and loose, near the middle of the valley, and seems to have been formerly a cliff of Mount Sinai, which hangs in a variety of precipices all over this plain; the water which gushed out, and the stream which flowed withal, ( Psalms 78:20 ) have hollowed across one corner of this rock, a channel about two inches deep, and twenty wide, all over incrusted like the inside of a tea kettle that has been long used. Besides several mossy productions that are still preserved by the dew, we see all over this channel a great number of holes, some of them four or five inches deep, and one or two in diameter, the lively and demonstrative tokens of their having been formerly so many fountains. Neither could art nor chance be concerned in the contrivance, inasmuch as every circumstance points out to us a miracle; and, in the same manner with the rent in the rock of Mount Calvary at Jerusalem, never fails to produce the greatest seriousness and devotion in all who see it. The Arabs, who were our guards, were ready to stone me in attempting to break off a corner of it: and another late traveller F16 informs us, that the stone called the stone of the fountains, or the solitary rock, is about twelve feet high, and about eight or ten feet broad, though it is not all of one equal breadth. It is a granite marble, of a kind of brick colour, composed of red and white spots, which are both dusky in their kind; and it stands by itself in the fore mentioned valley (the valley of Rephidim) as if it had grown out of the earth, on the right hand of the road toward the northeast: there remains on it to this day the lively impression of the miracle then wrought; for there are still to be seen the places where the water gushed out, six openings towards the southwest, and six towards the northeast; and in those places where the water flowed the clefts are still to be seen in the rock, as it were with lips. The account Dr. Pocock F17 gives of it is this,
``it is on the foot of Mount Seriah, and is a red granite stone, fifteen feet long, ten wide, and about twelve high: on both sides of it toward the south end, and at the top of it for about the breadth of eight inches, it is discoloured as by the running of water; and all down this part, and both sides, and at top, are a sort of openings and mouths, some of which resemble the lion's mouth that is sometimes cut in stone spouts, but appear not to be the work of a tool. There are about twelve on each side, and within everyone is an horizontal crack, and in some also a crack down perpendicularly. There is also a crack from one of the mouths next to the hill, that extends two or three feet to the north, and all round to the south. The Arabs call this the stone of Moses; and other late travellers F18 say, that about a mile and a half, in the vale of Rephidim, is this rock; this, say they, is a vast stone, of a very compact and hard granite, and as it were projecting out of the ground; on both sides are twelve fissures, which the monk our guide applied to the twelve apostles, and possibly not amiss, had he joined the twelve tribes of Israel with them: as we were observing these fissures, out of which the water gushed, one would be tempted to think, added he, it is no longer ago than yesterday the water flowed out; and indeed there is such an appearance, that at a distance one would think it to be a small waterfall lately dried up: and one F19 that travelled hither in the beginning of the sixteenth century says, that to this day out of one of the marks or holes there sweats a sort of moisture, which we saw and licked.''We are taught by the Apostle Paul the mystical and spiritual meaning of this rock, which he says was Christ, that is, a type of him, ( 1 Corinthians 10:4 ) as it was for his external unpromising appearance among men at his birth, in his life and death; for his height, being higher than the kings of the earth, than the angels of heaven, and than the heavens themselves, and for strength, firmness, and solidity. The water that flowed from this rock was typical of the grace of Christ, and the blessings of it, which flow from him in great abundance to the refreshment and comfort of his people, and to be had freely; and of the blood of Christ, which flowed from him when stricken and smitten. And the rock being smitten with the rod of Moses, typified Christ being smitten by the rod of the law in the hand of justice, for the transgressions of his people; and how that through his having being made sin, and a curse for them, whereby the law and justice of God are satisfied, the blessings of grace flow freely to them, and follow them all the days of their lives, as the waters of the rock followed the Israelites through the wilderness.
F11 (rwuh le) "super illam petram", Junius & Tremellius; "super illa petra", Piscator.
F12 (rwub) "in petram", Pagninus, Montanus, "in petra seu rupe"; so Jarchi, and the Targums.
F13 Laconic sive, l. 3. p. 209.
F14 Travels into the Levant, par. 1. B. 2. ch. 26. p. 167.
F15 Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 317. Ed. 2.
F16 Journal from Cairo to Mount Sinai, A. D. 1722, 35, 36, 37. Ed. 2.
F17 Travels, p. 148.
F18 Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 174, 175.
F19 Baumgarten. Peregrinatio, l. 1. c. 24. p. 62.