The Berean Expositor
Volume 39 - Page 231 of 234
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This insistence by the Prophets on the "one by one" gathering, the passing under the
rod, the telling of the names, is all against a mass movement crashing into Palestine at the
impulse of fear, or for the satisfaction of political purposes. When Israel enter their land,
the tares will be discriminated from the wheat. The names Cain, Lot, Ammon, Moab and
Ishmael come to the mind at once. When Israel left Egypt on the night of the first
Passover, we read "a mixed multitude went up also with them" (Exod. 12: 38), and
Nehemiah uses the same word and refers to this same event in Neh. 13: 3, where he
also recorded his indignation and sorrow at a similar "mixture" which threatened to undo
all that he had been led to do for the returned captives.
"In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of
Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the
Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with
them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made
them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take
their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by
these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of
his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish
women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress
against our God in marrying strange wives? And one of the sons of Joida, the son of
Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him
from me" (Neh. 13: 23-28).
We read that Esau married two women who were Hittites (Gen. 26: 34). Seeing that
these wives pleased not Isaac and Rebekah and that Jacob was charged not to take a wife
of the daughter of Canaan, he married a daughter of Ishmael, thus adding still further to
the mixture of his descendants. One may interpose here, and say, even so, but as Esau
was not in the line either of the Covenant nor of the Messiah it does not matter so much.
But here we are mistaken, for in the days of David, Edom became a subject people
(II Sam. 8: 14), and in I Kings 11: 1 we read that Solomon loved many strange women
. . . . . of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians and Hittites. During the time of
Elisha, Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves
(II Kings 8: 20). But later, under the Maccabees "the children of Esau finally lost their
independent existence, and became substantially merged in the house of Israel" (Imperial
Bible Dictionary).
Josephus informs us that about B.C.125 Edom was finally subdued by John Hyrcanus,
who compelled them to submit to circumcision and other Jewish rites "that they were
hereafter NO OTHER THAN JEWS" (Jos. Ant. 13: 9. 1).
Here then is a "mixture". Those called "Jews" even by so aristocratic a Pharisee as
Josephus could include Edomites, whose mothers were Hittites and Ishmaelites! We do
not know that at the time of the end there will be those who "say they are Jews, and are
not" (Rev. 3: 9), and it is certain that when the Jews were dispersed during and at the
close of the Acts, they were "a mixed multitude", tares mingled with wheat, not to be
segregated until the harvest. Israel is to be sifted among the nations as corn is sifted in a
sieve (Amos 9: 9). The word translated sieve is the Hebrew kebarah, a network, but the
word "sift" is not the verbal form of this word, but the Hebrew nua a word meaning "to