And they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
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When the people of God went out from Egypt, their sixth resting place, in which “there were twelve fountains of water and seventy palm trees,” was called Elim (that is, “of rams”), so that both by its name and by its appearance it might contain the figure of the apostles and the apostolic men.
Elim, to the north-west of Sinai. Shaw says there are now only nine fountains. (Haydock)
Strabo mentions a place of this description, five days' journey from Jericho, which was consecrated to the gods. (B. xvi. p. 511.) (Calmet)
We might here, (at the conclusion of the third age, according to those who call the deluge the first, and Abraham's call, the second,) pause, with Dr. Worthington, to take a view of the progress of the Church, and of the true doctrine, which has at all times been believed. But the attentive reader of the sacred text, and of these notes, will find this done to his hand almost in every page. Meditate upon these things. Take heed to thyself and to doctrine, be earnest in them, 1 Timothy iv. 15. The holy Job probably lived about this time, so that his book may serve to corroborate those truths, which were the objects of faith to some good men living among the Gentiles, as well as to the more favoured nation of the Jews. (Haydock)
They arrived at a place called Elim, where there were twelve very pure springs of water and a multitude of seventy flourishing palm trees. See the mystery of God—how, after the bitterness of the law, the richness of gospel piety abounds. There the one spring is harsh to drink, but here the many are all sweet to imbibe. Once there was no refreshment after weariness, but now there is refreshment after labor. For springs are at the disposal of the thirsty, and palms are offered to victors. Palms are offered to victors, I say, because after the hardness of the law it is a victory to have arrived at the grace of the gospel. For part of the victor’s reward is to moisten his mouth from a flowing spring and to take the triumphal palm in his hand. With the spring the confessor’s tongue is purified, and with the palm the martyr’s hand is honored—the former because it has praised the glory of Christ, the latter because it has refused the altar of sacrilege.