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2 And thou shalt remember all the way [kol haderech] which Yahweh thy Elohim led thee these forty years [arba'im shanah] in the wilderness [midbar], to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart [lev], whether thou wouldest keep [be shomer] his commandments [over His mitzvot], or no.
3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers [Avoteicha] know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread [lechem] only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Yahweh doth man live.
A spiritual result was aimed at in this ascetic rigour. Israel was made to know experimentally that men have not been brought into existence merely to indulge their appetites; that these appetites are but means; that they are only in their place when they are ministrant to the ultimate end of being: that this ultimate end is to serve the Lord with gladness in the worship of His greatness, and in the exercise of mercy and truth to fellow-man.
In this employment of created life, God, the Creator, receives pleasure, and man, benefit. The taste for such an employment of life is liable to be blunted, and finally destroyed, in the possession of abundance. Israel, luxuriating in plenty, would never have learnt the lesson which prepared their second generation for entering the land of promise as an accepted worshipping nation.
In poor, but sufficient living, they came to perceive that not bread alone, but the words and worshipping of Yahweh were a staple in truly civilised life.
The Visible Hand of God Ch 15.
15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness [midbar], wherein were fiery serpents [nachash], and scorpions [akrav], and drought [parched earth], where there was no water; who brought thee forth water [ mayim] out of the rock of flint;
The Wilderness of SinaiThis, then, I believe is the place or country to which the personal Son of Man, "the Man Christ Jesus," will come first at his approaching advent. The region is admirably adapted for the manifestation of omnipotence, in the judicial manifestation of the mystical Son of Man, or Rainbowed Angel.
The Peninsula of Sinai is the southern region which is reserved in solitude for a future display of great signs and wonders far transcending anything witnessed by Israel in the olden time. This peninsula is formed by two arms running into the land from the north end of the Red Sea, and is bounded by the one styled "the tongue of the Egyptian sea" (Isa. xi. 15) on the southwest, at the end of which is Suez; and by the other, or Elanitic Gulf, called also the Gulf of Akaba, on the east. These waters form two divergent sides of a triangle, within the area of which are mounts Sinai and Paran, and a "waste howling wilderness," containing nothing to be desired.
Moses styles it, "a great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water" (Deut. viii. 15). It is a dry, hot, sandy, mountainous region, that no government seeks to annex, and which no emigrants undertake to people. The few that are found within it are the descendants of Hagar -- wild men, whose hand is against every man, and every man's hand against them (Gen. xvi. 11).
From Suez to Akaba, at the northern extremity of the Gulf of Akaba, a road was constructed by the Romans, measuring 125 miles in a straight line. The peninsula included within these limits is filled up with mountains, and narrow valleys, and desolate plains. Of these mountains, the chain or elevated circle of Sinai is the chief.
To the northward of the central region of Sinai, and divided from it by a broad valley, called El Sheikh, is a mountain range extending eastward, called Zebeir. North of this are sandy plains and valleys, the most barren and destitute of water of the whole country. This section borders still further north on another mountain chain, termed El Tyh, which stretches nearly across the peninsula from gulf to gulf. Still north of this range is the desert of El Tyh, through which ran the old Roman road, and, at present, the great pilgrim road from Egypt, by Suez to Akaba, on the way to Mecca.
North and northwest, and, indeed, inclusive of the desert El Tyh, is the wilderness of Paran, a tract so called after mount Paran, a chain of mountains bordering the desert of Paran on the east. The wilderness lies between the southern border of Palestine and the Mediterranean on the north; Egypt on the west; Idumea, or Edom on the east; and the El Tyh range of the peninsula on the south. "The Holy One," says Habakkuk, writing in Jerusalem, "will come in from mount Paran."