Monthly Archives: March 2013

Genesis 18:16-33 Notice Abraham’s concern for other people. . .

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16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

 

16. the men rose … Abraham went with them—It is customary for a host to escort his guests a little way.

17. the Lord said, Shall I hide—The chief stranger, no other than the Lord, disclosed to Abraham the awful doom about to be inflicted on Sodom and the cities of the plain for their enormous wickedness.

21. I will go down … and see—language used after the manner of men. These cities were to be made examples to all future ages of God’s severity; and therefore ample proof given that the judgment was neither rash nor excessive (Ez 18:23; Je 18:7).

Ge 18:23–33. Abraham’s Intercession.

23. Abraham drew near, and said, &c.—The scene described is full of interest and instruction—showing in an unmistakable manner the efficacy of prayer and intercession. (See also Pr 18:15:8; Jam 5:16). Abraham reasoned justly as to the rectitude of the divine procedure (Ro 3:5, 6), and many guilty cities and nations have been spared on account of God’s people (Mt 5:13; 24:22).

33. the Lord … left communing … and Abraham returned unto his place—Why did Abraham cease to carry his intercessions farther? Either because he fondly thought that he was now sure of the cities being preserved (Lu 13:9), or because the Lord restrained his mind from further intercession (Je 7:16; 11:14). But there were not ten “righteous persons.” There was only one, and he might without injustice have perished in the general overthrow (Ec 9:2). But a difference is sometimes made, and on this occasion the grace of God was manifested in a signal manner for the sake of Abraham. What a blessing to be connected with a saint of God

 

 

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Genesis 18:1-15 Three men visit Abraham. . .

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1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

 

1. the Lord appeared—another manifestation of the divine presence, more familiar than any yet narrated; and more like that in the fulness of time, when the Word was made flesh.

plains of Mamre—rather, terebinth or oak of Mamre; a tall-spreading tree or grove of trees.

sat in the tent door—The tent itself being too close and sultry at noon, the shaded open front is usually resorted to for the air that may be stirring.

2. lift up his eyes … and, lo, three men—Travellers in that quarter start at sunrise and continue till midday when they look out for some resting-place.

he ran to meet them—When the visitor is an ordinary person, the host merely rises; but if of superior rank, the custom is to advance a little towards the stranger, and after a very low bow, turn and lead him to the tent, putting an arm round his waist, or tapping him on the shoulder as they go, to assure him of welcome.

3. My Lord, if now I have found favor—The hospitalities offered are just of the kind that are necessary and most grateful, the refreshment of water, for feet exposed to dust and heat by the sandals, being still the first observed among the pastoral people of Hebron.

5. for therefore are ye come—No questions were asked. But Abraham knew their object by the course they took—approaching directly in front of the chief sheik’s tent, which is always distinguishable from the rest and thus showing their wish to be his guests.

6. Abraham hastened … unto Sarah … make cakes upon the hearth—Bread is baked daily, no more than is required for family use, and always by the women, commonly the wife. It is a short process. Flour mixed with water is made into dough, and being rolled out into cakes, it is placed on the earthen floor, previously heated by a fire. The fire being removed, the cakes are laid on the ground, and being covered over with hot embers, are soon baked, and eaten the moment they are taken off.

7. Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf—Animal food is never provided, except for visitors of a superior rank when a kid or lamb is killed. A calf is still a higher stretch of hospitality, and it would probably be cooked as is usually done when haste is required—either by roasting it whole or by cutting it up into small pieces and broiling them on skewers over the fire. It is always eaten along with boiled corn swimming in butter or melted fat, into which every morsel of meat, laid upon a piece of bread, is dipped, before being conveyed by the fingers to the mouth.

8. milk—A bowl of camel’s milk ends the repast.

he stood by them under the tree—The host himself, even though he has a number of servants, deems it a necessary act of politeness to stand while his guests are at their food, and Abraham evidently did this before he was aware of the real character of his visitors.

Ge 18:9–15. Reproof of Sarah.An inquiry about his wife, so surprising in strangers, the subject of conversation, and the fulfilment of the fondly cherished promise within a specified time, showed Abraham that he had been entertaining more than ordinary travellers (Heb 13:2).

10. Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him—The women’s apartment is in the back of the tent, divided by a thin partition from the men’s.

12. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself—Long delay seems to have weakened faith. Sarah treated the announcement as incredible, and when taxed with the silent sneer, she added falsehood to distrust. It was an aggravated offense (Ac 5:4), and nothing but grace saved her (Ro 9:18).

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Genesis 17:1-27 The Circumcision of Abraham. . .

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Read Genesis 17:1-27 The Circumcision of Abraham

 

1. Abram … ninety years old and nine—thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael [Ge 16:16]. During that interval he had enjoyed the comforts of communion with God but had been favored with no special revelation as formerly, probably on account of his hasty and blameable marriage with Hagar.

the Lord appeared—some visible manifestation of the divine presence, probably the Shekinah or radiant glory of overpowering effulgence.

I am the Almighty God—the name by which He made Himself known to the patriarchs (Ex 6:3), designed to convey the sense of “all-sufficient” (Ps 16:5, 6; 73:25).

walk … and … perfect—upright, or sincere (Ps 51:6) in heart, speech, and behavior.

3. Abram fell on his face—the attitude of profoundest reverence assumed by Eastern people. It consists in the prostrate body resting on the hands and knees, with the face bent till the forehead touches the ground. It is an expression of conscious humility and profound reverence.

4. my covenant is with thee—Renewed mention is made of it as the foundation of the communication that follows. It is the covenant of grace made with all who believe in the Saviour.

5. but thy name shall be Abraham—In Eastern countries a change of name is an advertisement of some new circumstance in the history, rank, or religion of the individual who bears it. The change is made variously, by the old name being entirely dropped for the new, or by conjoining the new with the old; or sometimes only a few letters are inserted, so that the altered form may express the difference in the owner’s state or prospects. It is surprising how soon a new name is known and its import spread through the country. In dealing with Abraham and Sarai, God was pleased to adapt His procedure to the ideas and customs of the country and age. Instead of Abram, “a high father,” he was to be called Abraham, “father of a multitude of nations” (see Rev 2:17).

8. I will give unto thee … the land—It had been previously promised to Abraham and his posterity (Ge 15:18). Here it is promised as an “everlasting possession,” and was, therefore, a type of heaven, “the better country” (Heb 11:16).

10. Every man child among you shall be circumcised—This was the sign in the Old Testament Church as baptism is in the New, and hence the covenant is called “covenant of circumcision” (Ac 7:8; Ro 4:11). The terms of the covenant were these: on the one hand Abraham and his seed were to observe the right of circumcision; and on the other, God promised, in the event of such observance, to give them Canaan for a perpetual possession, to be a God to him and his posterity, and that in him and his seed all nations should be blessed.

15, 16. As for Sarai … I will … give thee a son also of her—God’s purposes are gradually made known. A son had been long ago promised to Abraham. Now, at length, for the first time he is informed that it was to be a child of Sarai.

17. Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed—It was not the sneer of unbelief, but a smile of delight at the improbability of the event (Ro 4:20).

18. O that Ishmael might live before thee—natural solicitude of a parent. But God’s thoughts are not as man’s thoughts [Is 55:8].

19, 20. The blessings of the covenant are reserved for Isaac, but common blessings were abundantly promised to Ishmael; and though the visible Church did not descend from his family, yet personally he might, and it is to be hoped did, enjoy its benefits.

 


 

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Genesis 16:1-16 The Birth of Ishmael. . .

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1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. 

7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. 13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? 14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. 16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

 

1. Now, Sarai … had a handmaid—a female slave—one of those obtained in Egypt.

3. Sarai … gave her to … Abram to be his wife—“Wife” is here used to describe an inferior, though not degrading, relation, in countries where polygamy prevails. In the case of these female slaves, who are the personal property of his lady, being purchased before her marriage or given as a special present to her, no one can become the husband’s secondary wife without her mistress consent or permission. This usage seems to have prevailed in patriarchal times; and Hagar, Sarai’s slave, of whom she had the entire right of disposing, was given by her mistress’ spontaneous offer, to be the secondary wife of Abram, in the hope of obtaining the long-looked-for heir. It was a wrong step—indicating a want of simple reliance on God—and Sarai was the first to reap the bitter fruits of her device.

5. And Sarai said … My wrong be upon thee—Bursts of temper, or blows, as the original may bear, took place till at length Hagar, perceiving the hopelessness of maintaining the unequal strife, resolved to escape from what had become to her in reality, as well as in name, a house of bondage.

7. And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain—This well, pointed out by tradition, lay on the side of the caravan road, in the midst of Shur, a sandy desert on the west of Arabia-Petraea, to the extent of a hundred fifty miles, between Palestine and Egypt. By taking that direction, she seems to have intended to return to her relatives in that country. Nothing but pride, passion, and sullen obstinacy, could have driven any solitary person to brave the dangers of such an inhospitable wild; and she would have died, had not the timely appearance and words of the angel recalled her to reflection and duty.

11. Ishmael—Like other Hebrew names, this had a signification, and it is made up of two words—“God hears.” The reason is explained.

12. he will be a wild man—literally, “a wild ass man,” expressing how the wildness of Ishmael and his descendants resembles that of the wild ass.

his hand will be against every man—descriptive of the rude, turbulent, and plundering character of the Arabs.

dwell in the presence of all his brethren—dwell, that is, pitch tents; and the meaning is that they maintain their independence in spite of all attempts to extirpate or subdue them.

13. called the name—common in ancient times to name places from circumstances; and the name given to this well was a grateful recognition of God’s gracious appearance in the hour of Hagar’s distress.

 

 

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Geenesis 15:1-21 The Covenant with Abraham

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Read Genesis Chapter 15 The Covenant with Abraham

 

15:1–3. Before God made the covenant, He set aside Abram’s fear and doubt by a word of assurance: Do not be afraid. I am your Shield. When the Lord promised Abram that his reward would be great, the patriarch immediately asked what he would receive since he was childless. This shows his faith. His vision was not blinded by Bera’s offer (14:22–24); Abram still had only one hope, the original promise God had given (12:2–3). His concern was expressed by a marvelous word play on his household servant’s origin: this Eliezer of Damascus (Dammeśeq) is the possessor-heir (ḇen mešeq, lit., “son of possession”) of my estate (15:2). It is as if Abram was stressing to God that “the omen is in the nomen”—a mere servant would become his heir.

15:4–6. But the Lord strongly answered, This man (not even using Eliezer’s name) will not be your heir. Instead a son coming from Abram’s own body would be his heir. God then showed Abram the stars, pointing out that Abram’s offspring would be just as innumerable (cf. 22:17; 26:4). The word by which God created the stars would also guarantee Abram’s seed.

Abram believed (lit., “believed in”) the Lord and He credited … to him … righteousness. This foundational truth is repeated three times in the New Testament (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23) to show that righteousness is reckoned in return for faith.

Genesis 15:6 provides an important note, but it does not pinpoint Abram’s conversion. That occurred years earlier when he left Ur. (The form of the Heb. word for “believed” shows that his faith did not begin after the events recorded in vv. 1–5.) Abram’s faith is recorded here because it is foundational for making the covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant did not give Abram redemption; it was a covenant made with Abram who had already believed and to whom righteousness had already been imputed. The Bible clearly teaches that in all ages imputed righteousness (i.e., salvation) comes by faith.

15:7–10. In the solemn ceremony in which the Lord made a binding covenant with Abram, God assured him of the ultimate fulfillment of His promises (vv. 7, 18–21). God also declared that there would be a long 400-year period of enslavement for Abram’s descendants (vv. 13–16).

Obeying God’s instructions, Abram severed in half (v. 10) three animals—a heifer, a goat, and a ram (v. 9)—and also brought a dove and a young pigeon.

15:11–16. Just then sudden horror must have come on Abram, for unclean birds of prey swooped down on the offering animals—obviously an evil omen. God’s announcement of Israel’s enslavement (vv. 13–14) clarified the meaning of the attacking birds. The word mistreated (‘ānâh, v. 13; cf. 16:6) is the same word used in Exodus 1:11–12 to describe Egypt’s oppression of Israel. Egypt, like birds of prey, opposed the covenant, but ultimately the covenant will be fulfilled. Later, in Moses’ day when the Israelites were in Egypt, they could count the years and see that 400 years had elapsed (from the time of Jacob’s entry into Egypt in 1876 b.c.; cf. the chart “Chronology of the Patriarchs,” near Gen. 47:28–31) and their time of deliverance from slavery was at hand (they will come out). Exodus 12:40 and Galatians 3:17 state that the Egyptian bondage was 430 years (from 1876 to 1446). Apparently, then, Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6, with their references to 400 years, are using rounded figures (see comments on Acts 7:6 and Gal. 3:17).

God is just, and wished to permit the sin of the Amorites to be full before He would judge them (Gen. 15:16). (See comments on the Amorites at 14:13–16.) God would tolerate their sins until Israel under Joshua conquered Palestine. Thus the fulfillment of the promises to Abram involves a retributive judgment on the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. Abram’s seed would get the land—but not one hour before absolute justice required it. God had much to do before fulfilling His promise—including disciplining His nation to make it fit for receiving the promise. Abram’s seeing this in advance was horrible—like watching birds of prey.

15:17–21. Then after sunset God revealed Himself in connection with the image of an oven (smoking fire pot) and a torch, two elements that were connected with sacrificial ritual in the ancient world. These images are part of the “burning” motif that describes God’s zeal and judgment in the world. Fire represents the consuming, cleansing zeal of Yahweh as well as His unapproachable holiness, which are interrelated (cf. Isa. 6:3–7). In the darkness (Gen. 15:17) Abram saw nothing else in the vision except these fiery elements that passed between the pieces of the slaughtered animals. Thus the holy God was zealous to judge the nations and to fulfill His covenantal promises to Israel. He came down and made (lit, “cut”) a formal treaty (a covenant) with Abram (the Abrahamic Covenant). Since God could “swear” (confirm the covenant) by none greater, “He swore by Himself” (Heb. 6:13). In other words this was a unilateral covenant. So its promises are absolutely sure.

God even specified the geographical boundaries of Israel’s land—from the river of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish, not the Nile River) to the great river, the Euphrates. Israel has never possessed this land in its entirety, but she will when Christ returns to reign as Messiah. The Canaanite tribes listed (Gen. 15:19–21) were dispossessed later in the Conquest.

For Abram God’s message was clear: in spite of the prospects of death and suffering (enslavement in bondage), his descendants would receive the promises, for God assured it. So Israel could be encouraged by this at the Exodus as well as in subsequent times of distress, even during the Babylonian Captivity. God’s solemn covenant assures the Chosen People of the ultimate fulfillment of His promises in spite of their times of death and suffering.

Israel would also notice the parallel touch at the beginning of this narrative. (Cf. “I am the Lord [Yahweh] who brought you out of Ur,” v. 7, with Ex. 20:2: “I am the Lord [Yahweh] your God who brought you out of Egypt.”) This assured Israel that in spite of opposition and bondage God would judge their enslavers and fulfill His promises.

This passage encourages New Testament believers as well. God affirms solemnly that He will fulfill His promises concerning salvation and all the blessings that pertain to that life (cf. 2 Peter 1:3–4); despite opposition, suffering, and even death, He keeps His promises.

 

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Genesis 14:1-24 Abraham gets Lot out of captivity. . .

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The war of four confederate kings against the five kings of Canaan, 1-3. The confederate kings overrun and pillage the whole country, 4-7. Battle between them and the kings of Canaan, 5,9. The latter are defeated, and the principal part of the armies of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah slain, 10; on which these two cities are plundered, 11. Lot, his goods, and his family, are also taken and carried away, 12. Abram, being informed of the disaster of his nephew, 13, arms three hundred and eighteen of his servants, and pursuesthem, 14; overtakes and routs them, and recovers Lot and his familyand their goods, 15,16; is met on his return by the king of Sodom, and by Melchizedek, king of Salem, with refreshments for himself and men, 17,18. Melchizedek blesses Abram, and receives from him, as priest of the most high God, the tenth of all the spoils, 19,20. The king of Sodom offers to Abram all the goods he has taken from the enemy, 21; which Abram positively refuses, having vowed to God to receive no recompense for a victory of which he knew God to be the sole author, 22,23; but desires that a proportion of the spoils be given to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre, who had accompanied him on this expedition, 24.

Notes on Chapter 14

Verse 1In the days of Amraphel
Who this king was is not known; and yet, from the manner in which he is spoken of in the text, it would seem that he was a person well known, even when Moses wrote this account. But the Vulgate gives a different turn to the place, by rendering the passage thus: Factum est in illo tempore, ut Amraphel, Amraphel, of Babylon, others make him king of Assyria; some make him the same as Nimrod, and others, one of his descendants.

Arioch king of Ellasar
Some think Syria is meant; but conjecture is endless where facts cannot be ascertained.

Chedorlaomer king of Elam
Dr. Shuckford thinks that this was the same as Ninyas, the son of Ninus andSemiramis; and some think him to be the same with Keeumras, son of Doolaved, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah; and that Elam means Persia; seeGenesis 10:22. The Persian historians unanimously allow that Keeumras, whose name bears some affinity to Chedorlaomer, was the first king of the Peeshdadiandynasty.

Tidal king of nations
goyim, different peoples or clans. Probably some adventurous person, whose subjects were composed of refugees from different countries.

Verse 2These made war with Bera, 
It appears, from Genesis 14:4, that these five Canaanitish kings had been subdued by Chedorlaomer, and were obliged to pay him tribute; and that, having been enslaved by him twelve years, wishing to recover their liberty, they revolted in the thirteenth; in consequence of which Chedorlaomer, the following year, summoned to his assistance three of his vassals, invaded Canaan, fought with and discomfited the kings of the Pentapolis or five cities-Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboiim, Zoar, and Admab, which were situated in the fruitful plain of Siddim, having previously overrun the whole land.

Verse 5Rephaims
A people of Canaan: Genesis 15:20.

Ashteroth
A city of Basan, where Og afterwards reigned; Joshua 13:31.

Zuzims
Nowhere else spoken of, unless they were the same with the Zamzummims,Deuteronomy 2:20, as some imagine.

Emims
A people great and many in the days of Moses, and tall as the Anakim. They dwelt among the Moabites, by whom they were reputed giantsDeuteronomy 2:10,11.

Shaveh Kiriathaim
Rather, as the margin, the plain of Kiriathaim, which was a city afterwards belonging to Sihon king of Heshbon; Joshua 13:19.

Verse 6The Horites
A people that dwelt in Mount Seir, till Esau and his sons drove them thence;Deuteronomy 2:22.

El-paran
The plain or oak of Paran, which was a city in the wilderness of Paran; Genesis 21:21.

Verse 7En-mishpat
The well of judgment; probably so called from the judgment pronounced by God on Moses and Aaron for their rebellion at that place; Numbers 20:1-10.

Amalekites
So called afterwards, from Amalek, son of Esau; Genesis 36:12.

Hazezon-tamar.
Called, in the Chaldee, Engaddi; a city in the land of Canaan, which fell to the lot of Judah; Joshua 15:62. See also 2 Chronicles 20:2. It appears, from Canticles ;Song of Solomon 1:14, to have been a very fruitful place.

Verse 8Bela, the same is Zoar
That is, it was called Zoar after the destruction of Sodom, Genesis 19:24,25.

Verse 10Slime-pits
Places where asphaltus or bitumen sprang out of the ground; this substance abounded in that country.

Fell there
It either signifies they were defeated on this spot, and many of them slain, or that multitudes of them had perished in the bitumen-pits which abounded there; that the place was full of pits we learn from the Hebrew, which reads herebeeroth beeroth, pits, pits, i.e., multitudes of pits. A bad place to maintain a fight on, or to be obliged to run through in order to escape.

Verse 11They took all the goods, 
This was a predatory war, such as the Arabs carry on to the present day; they pillage a city, town, or caravan; and then escape with the booty to the wilderness, where it would ever be unsafe, and often impossible, to pursue them.

Verse 12They took Lot, 
The people, being exceedingly wicked, had provoked God to afflict them by means of those marauding kings; and Lot also suffered, being found in company with the workers of iniquity. Every child remembers the fable of the Geese and Cranes; the former, being found feeding where the latter were destroying the grain, were all taken in the same net. Let him that readeth understand.

Verse 13Abram the Hebrew
See Clarke on Genesis 10:21. It is very likely that Abram had this appellation from his coming from beyond the river Euphrates to enter Canaan; for haibri, which we render the Hebrew, comes from abar, to pass over, or come from beyond. It is supposed by many that he got this name from Eber or Heber, son of Salah; see Genesis 11:15. But why he should get a name from Heber, rather than from his own father, or some other of his progenitors, no person has yet been able to discover. We may, therefore, safely conclude that he bears the appellation of Hebrew or Ibrite from the above circumstance, and not from one of his progenitors, of whom we know nothing but the name, and who preceded Abram not less than six generations; and during the whole of that time till the time marked here, none of his descendants were ever called Hebrews; this is a demonstration that Abram was not called the Hebrew from Heber; see Genesis 11:15-27.

These were confederate with Abram.
It seems that a kind of convention was made between Abram and the three brothers, Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner, who were probably all chieftains in the vicinity of Abram’s dwelling: all petty princes, similar to the nine kings before mentioned.

Verse 14He armed his trained servants
These amounted to three hundred and eighteen in number: and how many were in the divisions of Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner, we know not; but they and their men certainly accompanied him in this expedition. See Genesis 14:24.

Verse 15And he divided himself against them
It required both considerable courage and address in Abram to lead him to attack the victorious armies of these four kings with so small a number of troops, and on this occasion both his skill and his courage are exercised. His affection for Lot appears to have been his chief motive; he cheerfully risks his life for that nephew who had lately chosen the best part of the land, and left his uncle to live as he might, on what he did not think worthy his own acceptance. But it is the property of a great and generous mind, not only to forgive, but to forget offences; and at all times to repay evil with good.

Verse 16And he brought back-the women also
This is brought in by the sacred historian with peculiar interest and tenderness. All who read the account must be in pain for the fate of wives and daughtersfallen into the hands of a ferocious, licentious, and victorious soldiery. Other spoils the routed confederates might have left behind; and yet on their swift asses, camels, and dromedaries, have carried off the female captives. However, Abram had disposed his attack so judiciously, and so promptly executed his measures, that not only all the baggage, but all the females also, were recovered.

Verse 17The king of Sodom went out to meet him
This could not have been Bera, mentioned Genesis 14:2, for it seems pretty evident, from Genesis 14:10, that both he and Birsha, king of Gomorrah, were slain at the bitumen-pits in the vale of Siddim; but another person in the meantime might have succeeded to the government.

Verse 18And Melchizedek, king of Salem
A thousand idle stories have been told about this man, and a thousand idle conjectures spent on the subject of his short history given here and in Heb. vii. At present it is only necessary to state that he appears to have been as real a personage as Bera, Birsha, or Shinab, though we have no more of his genealogy than we have of theirs.

Brought forth bread and wine
Certainly to refresh Abram and his men, exhausted with the late battle and fatigues of the journey; not in the way of sacrifice, this is an idle conjecture.

He was the priest of the most high God.
He had preserved in his family and among his subjects the worship of the true God, and the primitive patriarchal institutions; by these the father of every family was both king and priest, so Melchizedek, being a worshipper of the true God, was priest among the people, as well as king over them.

Melchizedek is called here king of Salem, and the most judicious interpreters allow that by Salem, Jerusalem is meant. That it bore this name anciently is evident from Psalms 76:1,2: “In Judah is God known; his name is great in Israel. In SALEM also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.” From the use made of this part of the sacred history by David, Psalms 110:4, and by St. Paul,Hebrews 7:1-10, we learn that there was something very mysterious, and at the same time typical, in the personname, office, residence, and government of this Cannanitish prince. 1. In his person he was a representative and type of Christ; see the scriptures above referred to. 2. His name, malki tsedek, signifies my righteous king, or king of righteousness. This name he probably had from the pure and righteous administration of his government; and this is one of the characters of our blessed Lord, a character which can be applied to him only, as he alone is essentially righteous, and the only Potentate; but a holy man, such as Melchizedek, might bear this name as his type or representative. 3. Office; he was a priest of the most high God. The word cohen, which signifies both princeand priest, because the patriarchs sustained this double office, has both its root and proper signification in the Arabic; [Arabic] kahana signifies to approach, draw near, have intimate access to; and from hence to officiate as priest before God, and thus have intimate access to the Divine presence: and by means of the sacrifices which he offered he received counsel and information relative to what was yet to take place, and hence another acceptation of the word, to foretell, predict future events, unfold hidden things or mysteries; so the lips of the priests preserved knowledge, and they were often the interpreters of the will of God to the people. Thus we find that Melchizedek, being a priest of the most high God, represented Christ in his sacerdotal character, the word priest being understood as before explained. 4. His residence; he was king of Salemshalam signifies tomake whole, complete, or perfect; and hence it means peace, which implies themaking whole the breaches made in the political and domestic union of kingdoms, states, families, making an end of discord, and establishing friendship. Christ is called the Prince of peace, because, by his incarnation, sacrifice, and mediation, he procures and establishes peace between God and man; heals the breaches and dissensions between heaven and earth, reconciling both; and produces glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will among men. His residenceis peace and quietness and assurance for ever, in every believing upright heart. He governs as the Prince and Priest of the most high God, ruling in righteousness, mighty to save; and he ever lives to make intercession for, and save to the uttermost all who come unto the Father by him. See Clarke on Hebrews 7:25.

Verse 19And he blessed him
This was a part of the priest’s office, to bless in the name of the Lord, for ever. See the form of this blessing, Numbers 6:23-26; and for the meaning of the wordto bless, see Genesis 2:3.

Verse 20And he gave him tithes
A tenth part of all the spoils he had taken from the confederate kings. These Abram gave as a tribute to the most high God, who, being the possessor ofheaven and earth, dispenses all spiritual and temporal favours, and demands the gratitude, and submissive, loving obedience, of all his subjects. Almost all nations of the earth have agreed in giving a tenth part of their property to be employed in religious uses. The tithes were afterwards granted to the Levites for the use of the sanctuary, and the maintenance of themselves and their families, as they had no other inheritance in Israel.

Verse 22I have lift up mine hand
The primitive mode of appealing to God, and calling him to witness a particular transaction; this no doubt generally obtained among the faithful till circumcision, the sign of the covenant, was established. After this, in swearing, the hand was often placed on the circumcised part; see Genesis 24:2,9.

Verse 23From a thread even to a shoelatchet
This was certainly a proverbial mode of expression, the full meaning of which is perhaps not known. Among the rabbinical writers chut, or chuti, signifies a fillet worn by young women to tie up their hair; taken in this sense it will give a good meaning here. As Abram had rescued both the men and women carried off by the confederate kings, and the king of Sodom had offered him all the goods, claiming only the persons, he answers by protesting against the accepting any of their property: “I have vowed unto the Lord, the proprietor of heaven and earth, that I will not receive the smallest portion of the property either of the women or men, from a girl’s fillet to a man’s shoe-tie.”

Verse 24Save only that which the young men have eaten
His own servants had partaken of the victuals which the confederate kings had carried away; see Genesis 14:11. This was unavoidable, and this is all he claims; but as he had no right to prescribe the same liberal conduct to his assistants, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, he left them to claim the share that by right of conquest belonged to them of the recaptured booty. Whether they were as generous as Abram we are not told.

THE great variety of striking incidents in this chapter the attentive reader has already carefully noted. To read and not understand is the property of the foolishand the inconsiderate. 1. We have already seen the danger to which Lot exposed himself in preferring a fertile region, though peopled with the workers of iniquity. His sorrows commence in the captivity of himself and family, and the loss of all his property, though by the good providence of God he and they were rescued. 2. Long observation has proved that the company a man keeps is not an indifferent thing; it will either be the means of his salvation or destruction. 3. A generous man cannot be contented with mere personal safety while others are in danger, nor with his own prosperity while others are in distress. Abram, hearing of the captivity of his nephew, determines to attempt his rescue; he puts himself at the head of his own servants, three hundred and eighteen in number, and the few assistants with which his neighbours, Mamre, Aner, and Eshcol, could furnish him; and, trusting in God and the goodness of his cause, marches off to attack four confederate kings! 4. Though it is not very likely that the armies of those petty kings could have amounted to many thousands, yet they were numerous enough to subdue almost the whole land of Canaan; and consequently, humanly speaking, Abram must know that by numbers he could not prevail, and that in this case particularly the battle was the Lord’s. 5. While depending on the Divine blessing and succour he knew he must use the means he had in his power; he therefore divided his troops skilfully that he might attack the enemy at different points at the same time, and he chooses the night season to commence his attack, that the smallness of his force might not be discovered. God requires a man to use all the faculties he has given him in every lawful enterprise, and only in the conscientious use of them can he expect the Divine blessing; when this is done the event may be safely trusted in the hands of God. 6. Here is a war undertaken by Abram on motives the most honourable and conscientious; it was to repel aggression, and to rescue the innocent from the heaviest of sufferings and the worst of slavery, not for the purpose of plunder nor the extension of his territories; therefore he takes no spoils, and returns peaceably to his own possessions. How happy would the world be were every sovereign actuated by the same spirit! 7. We have already noticed the appearance, person, office,Melchizedek; and, without indulging in the wild theories of either ancient or modern visionaries, have considered him as the Scriptures do, a type of Christ. All that has been already spoken on this head may be recapitulated in a few words. 1. The Redeemer of the world is the King of righteousness; he creates it, maintains it, and rules by it. 2. His empire is the empire of peace; this he proclaims to them who are afar off, and to them that are nigh; to the Jew and to the Gentile. 3. He is Priest of the most high God, and has laid down his life for the sin of the world; and through this sacrifice the blessing of God is derived on them that believe. Reader, take him for thy King as well as thy Priest; he saves those only who submit to his authority. and take his Spirit for the regulator of their heart, and his word for the director of their conduct. How many do we find, among those who would be sorry to be rated so low as to rank only with nominalChristians, talking of Christ as their Prophet, Priest, and King, who are not taught by his word and Spirit, who apply not for redemption in his blood, and whosubmit not to his authority! Reader, learn this deep and important truth: “Where I am there also shall my servant be; and he that serveth me, him shall my Father honour.”

 

 

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Genesis 13:1-18 Abraham and Lot separate. . .

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Abram and his family return out of Egypt to Canaan, 1,2. He revisits Beth-el, and there invokes the Lord, 3,4. In consequence of the great increase in the flocks of Abram and Lot, their herdmen disagree; which obliges the patriarch and his nephew to separate, 5-9.Lot being permitted to make his choice of the land, chooses the plains of Jordan, 10,11, and pitches his tent near to Sodom, while Abram abides in Canaan, 12. Bad character of the people of Sodom, 13. The Lord renews his promise to Abram, 14-17. Abram removes to the plains of Mamre, near Hebron, and builds an altar to the Lord, 18.

Notes on Chapter 13

Verse 1Abram went up out of Egypt-into the south.
Probably the south of Canaan, as In leaving Egypt he is said to come from the southGenesis 13:3, for the southern part of the promised land lay north-east of Egypt.

Verse 2Abram was very rich
The property of these patriarchal times did not consist in flocks only, but also insilver and gold; and in all these respects Abram was cabed meod, exceeding rich. Josephus says that a part of this property was acquired by teaching the Egyptians arts and sciences. Thus did God fulfil his promises to him, by protecting and giving him a great profusion of temporal blessings, which were to him signs and pledges of spiritual things.

Verse 3Beth-el
See chap. 8.

Verse 6Their substance was great
As their families increased, it was necessary their flocks should increase also, as from those flocks they derived their clothing, food, and drink. Many also were offered in sacrifice to God.

They could not dwell together
1. Because their flocks were great. 2. Because the Canaanites and the Perizzites had already occupied a considerable part of the land. 3. Because there appears to have been envy between the herdmen of Abram and Lot. To prevent disputes among them, that might have ultimately disturbed the peace of the two families, it was necessary that a separation should take place.

Verse 7The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
That is, they were there at the time Abram and Lot came to fix their tents in the land. See Clarke on Genesis 12:6.

Verse 8For we be brethren.
We are of the same family, worship the same God in the same way, have the same promises, and look for the same end. Why then should there be strife? If it appear to be unavoidable from our present situation, let that situation be instantly changed, for no secular advantages can counterbalance the loss of peace.

Verse 9. Is not the whole land before thee.
As the patriarch or head of the family, Abram, by prescriptive right, might havechosen his own portion first, and appointed Lot his; but intent upon peace, and feeling pure and parental affection for his nephew, he permitted him to make his choice first.

Verse 10Like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
There is an obscurity in this verse which Houbigant has removed by the following translation: Ea autem, priusquam Sodomam Gornorrhamque Do minus delerit, erat, qua itur Segor, tota irrigua, quasi hortus Domini, et quasi terra AEgypti. “But before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was, as thou goest to Zoar, well watered, like the garden of the Lord, and like the land of Egypt.” As paradise was watered by the four neighbouring streams, and as Egypt was watered by the annual overflowing of the Nile; so were the plains of the Jordan, and all the land on the way to Zoar, well watered and fertilized by the overflowing of the Jordan.

Verse 11Then Lot chose him all the plain
A little civility or good breeding is of great importance in the concerns of life. Lot either had none, or did not profit by it. He certainly should have left the choice to the patriarch, and should have been guided by his counsel; but he took his ownway, trusting to his own judgment, and guided only by the sight of his eyes: he beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered, so he chose the land, without considering the character of the inhabitants, or what advantages or disadvantages it might afford him in spiritual things. This choice, as we shall see in the sequel, had nearly proved the ruin of his body, soul, and family.

Verse 13The men of Sodom were wicked
raim, from , ra, to break in pieces, destroy, and afflict; meaning persons who broke the established order of things, destroyed and confounded the distinctions between right and wrong, and who afflicted and tormented both themselves and others. And sinnerschattaim, from chata, to miss the mark, to step wrong, tomiscarry; the same as Î±Î¼Î±ÏÏ„ανω in Greek, from a, negative, and μαρπτω to hit a mark; so a sinner is one who is ever aiming at happiness and constantly missing his mark; because, being wicked-radically evil within, every affection and passion depraved and out of order, he seeks for happiness where it never can be found, in worldly honours and possessions, and in sensual gratifications, the end of which is disappointment, affliction, vexation, and ruin. Such were the companions Lot must have in the fruitful land he had chosen. This, however, amounts to no more than the common character of sinful man; but the people of Sodom were exceedingly sinful and wicked before, or against, the Lord-they were sinners of no common character; they excelled in unrighteousness, and soon filled up the measure of their iniquities. See chap. xix.

Verse 14The Lord said unto Abram
It is very likely that the angel of the covenant appeared to Abram in open day, when he could take a distinct view of the length and the breadth of this good land. The revelation made Genesis 15:5, was evidently made in the night; for then he was called to number the stars, which could not be seen but in the night season: here he is called on to number the dust of the earthGenesis 13:16, which could not be seen but in the day-light.

Verse 15To thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
This land was given to Abram, that it might lineally and legally descend to his posterity; and though Abram himself cannot be said to have possessed it, Acts 7:5, yet it was the gift of God to him in behalf of his seed; and this was always the design of God, not that Abram himself should possess it, but that his posterity should, till the manifestation of Christ in the flesh. And this is chiefly what is to be understood by the words for everad olam, to the end of the present dispensation, and the commencement of the new. olam means either ETERNITY, which implies the termination of all time or duration, such as is measured by the celestial luminaries: or a hidden, unknown period, such as includes a completionor final termination of a particular era, dispensation, therefore the first is itsproper meaning, the latter its accommodated meaning. See Clarke on Genesis 17:7. See Clarke on Genesis 21:33.

Verse 18Abram removed his tent
Continued to travel and pitch in different places, till at last he fixed his tent in theplain, or by the oak, of Mamre, see Genesis 12:6which is in Hebron; i.e., the district in which Mamre was situated was called Hebron. Mamre was an Amorite then living, with whom Abram made a league, Genesis 14:13; and the oak probably went by his name, because he was the possessor of the ground. Hebronis called Kirjath-arbaGenesis 23:2; but it is very likely that Hebron was its primitive name, and that it had the above appellation from being the residence offour gigantic or powerful Anakim, for Kirjath-arba literally signifies the city of the four; See Clarke on Genesis 23:2.

Built there an altar unto the Lord.
On which he offered sacrifice, as the word mizbach, from zabach, to slay,imports.

THE increase of riches in the family of Abram must, in the opinion of many, be a source of felicity to them. If earthly possessions could produce happiness, it must be granted that they had now a considerable share of it in their power. Buthappiness must have its seat in the mind, and, like that, be of a spiritual nature; consequently earthly goods cannot give it; so far are they from either producing or procuring it, that they always engender care and anxiety, and often strifes and contentions. The peace of this amiable family had nearly been destroyed by the largeness of their possessions. To prevent the most serious misunderstandings, Abram and his nephew were obliged to separate. He who has much in general wishes to have more, for the eye is not satisfied with seeing. Lot, for the better accommodation of his flocks and family, chooses the most fertile district in that country, and even sacrifices reverence and filial affection at the shrine of worldly advantage; but the issue proved that a pleasant worldly prospect may not be the most advantageous, even to our secular affairs. Abram prospered greatly in the comparatively barren part of the land, while Lot lost all his possessions, and nearly the lives of himself and family, in that land which appeared to him like the garden of the Lord, like a second paradise. Rich and fertile countries have generally luxurious, effeminate, and profligate inhabitants; so it was in this case. The inhabitants of Sodom were sinners, and exceedingly wicked, and their profligacy was of that kind which luxury produces; they fed themselves without fear, and they acted without shame. Lot however was, through the mercy of God, preserved from this contagion: he retained his religion; and this supported his soul and saved his life, when his goods and his wife perished. Let us learn from this to be jealous over our own wills and wishes; to distrust flattering prospects, and seek and secure a heavenly inheritance. “Man wants but little; nor that littlelong.” A man’s life-the comfort and happiness of it-does not consist in the multitude of the things he possesses. “One house, one day’s food, and one suit of raiment,” says the Arabic proverb, “are sufficient for thee; and if thou die before noon, thou hast one half too much.” The example of Abram, in constantly erecting an altar wherever he settled, is worthy of serious regard; he knew the path of duty was the way of safety, and that, if he acknowledged God in all his ways, he might expect him to direct all his steps: he felt his dependence on God, he invoked him through a Mediator, and offered sacrifices in faith of the coming Saviour; he found blessedness in this work-it was not an empty service; he rejoiced to see the day of Christ-he saw it and was glad. See Clarke on Genesis 12:8. Reader, has God an altar in thy house? Dost thou sacrifice to him? Dost thou offer up daily by faith, in behalf of thy soul and the souls of thy family, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world? No man cometh unto the Father but by me, said Christ: this was true, not only from the incarnation, but from the foundation of the world. And to this another truth, not less comfortable, may be added: Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no-wise cast out.

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