And the children of Israel departed there at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family…
I. MEN FIND THEIR MOST HAPPY CONDITION IN THE PURSUIT OF PEACEFUL OCCUPATIONS AND THE ENJOYMENT OF HOME LIFE. It is pleasing to see this concourse of war break up, and the Israelites return home to their farms and their families. War is unnatural, and should be treated as a monstrous evil. The nation which regards military exploits as the chief occupation for its energies is forsaking solid happiness for empty glory.
1. Politically a nation is prosperous when industry flourishes, trade is unchecked, literature finds patrons, science and art are pursued, and general education, morality, and religion are sedulously promoted by the leading men of the age.
2. Religiously a people is prosperous when angry controversy gives place to the peaceful cultivation of holiness, and practical efforts to conquer the sin of the world and spread the blessings of Christianity.
3. Personally men are prosperous when they are at liberty to work in peace and enjoy the fruits of their labours without molestation. In proportion as war, controversy, jealousy, and competition give place to quiet home life and simple endeavours to do our daily duties will happiness be enjoyed as a solid, lasting human treasure.
II. IT IS SOMETIMES NOT POSSIBLE TO ENJOY SOLID PEACE TILL AFTER THE FAITHFUL PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES OF WARFARE. The peace which the Israelites now enjoyed was the reward which followed the faithful performance of painful acts of justice. The cry of "peace at any price" may be the ignominious utterance of blindness, indolence, cowardice, or selfishness. We can have no worthy peace while the wrongs of any who have claims upon us call for our active interference.
1. National peace must follow the establishment of order and justice. Better all the horrors of civil war than unchecked tyranny, unpunished violence, or outraged innocence.
2. Religious peace must follow the righteous maintenance of truth and right. We must not let false religions go unchallenged, or unholy conduct unrebuked, for the sake of preserving peace. Christ came to send a sword (Matthew 10:34), and his peace comes after the valiant overthrow of the lies and sins which oppose his rule.
3. Personal peace must follow the battle of the soul with its sins and doubts. That is a hollow peace which comes from stifling doubt. We must fight it down. No true peace is possible while sinful habits are unopposed; these must be "resisted unto blood." True peace follows victory over evil.
III. A PEACEFUL LIFE IS SECURED AND MAINTAINED THROUGH THE EFFORT OF EACH MAN TO TAKE HIS OWN PLACE AND DO HIS OWN WORK. Trouble too often arises from our forsaking our post and interfering with other people.
1. Industry is favourable to peaceful prosperity. The children of Israel went home immediately after settling affairs in the disturbed district. They went straight from war to work, and wasted no time in idle self-indulgence as a reward for victory.
2. Orderly arrangements promote peace. Every man went to his tribe. Let each of us find his own place in the world, and seek quietly to occupy that, and nothing else.
3. Domestic life inclines to peace. Every man went to his family. The home is the foundation of the most solid blessings of the State. If we desire happiness and peaceful prosperity, let us cherish the sanctities of the hearth.
4. Property favours peace. The men went to their several inheritances. When a man has possessions he is reluctant to create a social disturbance. Therefore lovers of peace should promote thrift and efforts to facilitate the acquisition of property by the people generally - of course as the fruits of honest industry.
5. Religous convictions form the most solid foundations for peaceful prosperity. The Israelites accepted their inheritances quietly in obedience to a Divine distribution. We shall enjoy a peaceful life best if we believe that God chooses our inheritance, and accept our lot in contentment and trustfulness from him, endeavouring to use it as his stewards, and hoping for the perfect inheritance of the everlasting home which he will give to his faithful people. - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.