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CHAP. IX,

Verse 3. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you;] Here the first grant made to mankind concerning food is enlarged. At first they were allowed the use of fruits; but now they are permitted to eat of all living creatures as freely, as formerly of all the fruits of the garden.

4. But flesh with the life thereof,] Probably the principal reason of this restraint was that mentioned for the continuing of the same restraint under the law, Levit, xvii. 11. namely, that blood was reserved by God to Himself for the expiation of sin. Another plain reason is immediately added, that they might be the more fearful of shedding the blood of one another, when it was not lawful so much as to taste the blood of a beast,

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always, but at certain times: often enough to remind men of the promise, and stir up their belief of it.

13. I do set my bow in the cloud,] It was now that the rainbow was appointed by God to be a memorial both of His justice upon the old world, and of His mercy to the new. Let us, when we look upon it, bless God for being mindful of His covenant, and securing to us the blessing of His promised seed. It is not at all necessary to inquire whether there was, or was not, any rainbow before the flood. Upon either supposition the Divine Wisdom is apparent, in appointing the rainbow for a token of His covenant, and a memorial of His promise: that as often as men should see it, they might remember that God had given them such a promise, and that His infallible word should be their sufficient sécurity.

14.-the bow shall be seen in the cloud;] Not

18.-Ham is the father of Canaan.] From whom came that wicked race, whose country God gave to the Israelites.

21. And he drank of the wine, and was drunken;] Perhaps from being unacquainted with the strength of the liquor; or, being old, and unable to bear its strength. The example of Noah, who had escaped the pollutions of the old world, and was pow overcome in a time of security and peace, calls upon "him that thinketh he standeth, to take heed lest he fall."

25.-Cursed be Canaan;] The ancient prophecies must be understood, not of single persons, but of whole nations. The curse of servitude pronounced upon Canaan, and the promise of blessing and enlargement made to Shem and Japheth, extended to their whole race. The curse therefore upon Canaan was properly a curse upon the Canaanites. God foreseeing the wick. edness of this people, which began in their father Ham, and greatly increased in this branch of his family, commissioned Noah to pronounce a curse upon them, and to devote them to the servitude and misery, which their more common vices and iniquities would deserve. And this account was plainly written by Moses for the encouragement of the Israelites in their expedition against a people, who by their sins had forfeited the Divine Protection. This curse did not affect individuals nor even nations, so long as they continued righteous. In Abraham's days, before the iniquity of the Canaanites came to be full, Melchizedek, whose name was expressive of his character, king of righteousness," was a worthy " priest of the Most High God;" and Abimelech, whose name denotes, "parental king," pleaded the integrity of his heart, and the righteousness of his nation before God, and his plea was admitted. Yet they appear both to have been Canaanites. Chap. xiv. 1820. Chap. xv. 16. Chap. xx. 4-9.

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-a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.] The descendants of Canaan were to be subject to the descendants of both Shem and Japheth. And the natural consequence of vice in communities, as well as in single persons, is slavery. Several centuries after the delivery of this prophecy, the Israelites, who were descendants of Shem, under the command of Joshua, invaded the Canaanites, smote their kings, took possession of their land, and made many of them servants and tributaries, The Greeks and Romans too, who were descendants of Japheth, not only subdued Syria and Palestine, but conquered such of the Canaanites as were any where remaining; as, for instance the Tyriaus aud Carthaginians, the

former of whom were ruined by Alexander and the Grecians, and the latter by Scipio and the Romans.

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20 Blessed be the Lord God of Shem ;] The Patriarch doth not say, "Blessed be Shem," as he said, "Cursed be Canaan:" for men's evil springeth of themselves, but their good from God: and therefore he breaks forth into thanksgiving to God, as the Author of all good to Shem.

27. God shall enlarge Japheth,] Both in territory and in children. As to territory, his posterity possessed, besides all Europe, the lesser Asia, Media, part of Armenia, Iberia, Albania, and those vast regions to the north, which anciently the Scythians inhabited, and now the Tartars. As to children, it appears from the next chapter, that Japheth had seven sons, whereas Ham had only four, and Shem only five.

he shall dwell in the tents of Shem;] By this may be meant either that God or that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. In either case it has been fulfilled. In the former sense literally, when the Divine Presence dwelt in the tabernacle and temple of the Jews; and when "the Word, who was God, dwelt among us." In the latter sense it was fulfilled, first, when the Greeks and Romans, who sprung from Japheth, subdued and possessed Judea and other countries of Asia, belonging to Shem; and again spiritually, when they were converted to the true Religion; and they who were not Israelites by birth, became Israelites by faith, and lived, as we and niany others of Japheth's posterity live at this day, within the pale of the Church of Christ.

CHAP. X.

Verse 5. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided] The Hebrews use the word isles to signify all those countries divided from them by the sea. Isaiah xi. 11. Jer. ii. 10. or the word may be used generally for a region or country. Job. xxii. 30. Isaiah. xx. 6. And the word here rendered Gentiles" may signify a multitude of people, or "nations." The phrase then may be thus interpreted. By these, or among these, were divided the regions of the people, or nations (descended from Japheth) in their lands; in the several countries which they possessed.

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divided] This distribution was by the inme- " diate appointment of God. We have full evidence of this in that sublime hymn of Moses, where he addresses himself to the people of Israel; Deut. xxxii. 7. 8. 9. St. Paul also speaks of it expressly as a divine ordinance; Acts xvii. 26.

8-he began to be a mighty one in the earth.] He was the first great warrior and conqueror.

9-a mighty hunter] Or rather mighty in hunt

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4.—whose top may reach unto heaven;] Or, to the clouds. An exceeding high tower. The same is said of the walls of the cities of Canaan. Deut. i. 28. ix. 1.

let us make us a name,] The work was intended to frustrate the good design of regularly peopling the earth; out of an ambitious aim of raising themselves into a powerful state, and getting the honour of being the founders of the first great city in the world. God has a special indignation at pride, above all sins; and often crosses our endeavours, not because they are evil (for what harm was there in building a tower?) but because they are proudly undertaken.

lest we be scattered abroad] What they dreaded, they brought upon themselves by their own vain attempt to avoid it: and now there is no memory preserved of the names of those who conspired in this attempt.

5. the Lord came down to see &c.] This is an accommodation to our conceptions. It means, that by the effects He made it appear, that He observed their motions and knew their intentions. children of men] Children of men, in Scripture, are opposed to Children of God; as bad men and infidels are to good and faithful. So that the people engaged in this work were not Noah, Shem, and other good, men: but some of the worse sort, who had degenerated from the piety of their ancestors.

6.-nothing will be restrained from them,] They

will give further instances of their rebellion and disobedience, if they be not defeated.

7.-confound their language,] Partly by making them speak new languages, and partly by making them speak the original language after such different dialects or manners, that they could not understand each other. It is probable that the same way of speaking was given to those families whom God intended to form one colony.

8.-scattered them] This was the natural effect of their language being confounded and divided into many kinds.

9.-Babel;] That is, Confusion.

28.-Ur of the Chaldees.] That part of Mesopotamia, which was next to Assyria, is called "the land of the Chaldees."

31.-came unto Haran,] Or Charran, as it is called, Acts vii. 4. a place in Mesopotamia.

32.-The days of Terah were two hundred and five years:] By this time a great change had taken place in the duration of human life. Adam lived 930 years. His posterity before the flood, appear to have lived, on an average, nearly as long, and some individuals a longer time, upon earth. Noah lived to the age of 950 years. His son Shem fell far short of the age of man before the flood: and in the days of Peleg, man appears to have attained not to one half of the original measure of his existence. In succeeding generations a rapid diminution continued to take place; till at length, by the time when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, the life of man on earth was reduced nearly within its present span. The cause of this change is known to God, but immaterial to us. Our concern is to draw from the fact this useful lesson, that our lives are in the hand of God, and depend for their continuance, moment after moment, solely on His will.

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the greatest part of the world fallen into idolatry; when God, to preserve all the well-disposed from being infected, appeared to Abram, and by him kept up and preserved the knowledge of the true God in his family and posterity. From this time a particular providence attended the people of Israel, correcting, trying, punishing, redeeming them out of the hands of their enemies, until the promised seed came.

The terrible judgment of God upon the wicked world by the flood was now almost forgotten, and

4. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken] This is an example of ready obedience to God's commands, which Christians ought ever to bear in mind and to follow.

Here begin the 430 years, mentioned Exod. xii. 40, 41. Gal. iii. 17.

5.-the land of Lanaan ;] It is bounded to the east by the mountains of Arabia; to the south by the wilderness of Paran, Idmæa, and Egypt; to the west by the Mediterranean sea, called in Hebrew the Great Sea; and to the north by the mountains of Libanus. Its length from the city of Dan, since called Cæsarea Philippi, which stands at the foot of these mountains, to Beer-sheba, is about 210 miles; and its breadth from the Mediterranean sea to the eastern border, in some places 90 miles. This country, though small, was chosen by God wherein to work the redemption of mankind. It was first called the land of Canaan from Canaan, the son of Ham, whose posterity possessed it: afterwards Palestine, from the people, whom the Hebrews called Philistines, and the Greeks and Romans Palestines; the Land of Promise, from God's promise to Abram of giving it to him: the Land of Israel, from the Israelites, who afterwards possessed it: the Land of Judah, or Judea, from the tribe of Judah, the most considerable of the twelve tribes, and the only one that remained after " the captivity and lastly, the Holy Land, from being the scene of the birth, miracles, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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19. Why saidst thou, She is my sister?] Notwith standing the piety and worth of Abram, it must be acknowledged, that in this instance of denying his wife Sarai, he was guilty of a manifest dissimulation. In excuse for his fault it may be said, that it proceeded from a weakness of faith, and a prevalency of fear, which are incident to the best of

men.

He considered himself as a stranger, among a licentious people, and exposed to the power of an arbitrary government; and from a principle of worldly caution, both to preserve his own life and his wife's virtue, he thought that this would be the best expedient: but much more wisely had he done, had he committed the whole matter to God's management, in reliance on His promises and protection. The most celebrated Saints are not secure from sinning: and their faults, though recorded in Scripture, are not authorised and approved. God sets the example before us, not for a pattern, but for a warning.

CHAP. XIII.

Verse 1.- into the south.]

Not southward;

for Canaan was north of Egypt; but into the Southern part of Canaan. This part of the land is called the south, Josh. x. 40. and the south country, Josh. xi. 16.

4.-place of the altar, which he had made &c.] See Chap. xii. 7.

6.—the land was not able to bear them,] There was not sufficient pasturage for them both in that part of the Country.

8.--we be brethren.]. Near kinsmen, whom the Hebrews call brethren. Abram was uncle to Lot. He was also Lot's brother, having married Sarai, sister to Lot.

10.-as thou comest unto Zoar.] These words are not to be referred to "the land of Egypt," immediately foregoing, from which Zoar was at a great distance; but to those words in the beginning, a plain well watered every where;" even to the utmost parts of it, which was Zoar.

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13.-the men of Sodom were wicked] We may hear take notice of what is but too common in the world; the folly and danger of consulting our senses and temporal interests only in the choice of a way of life. Lot made choice of the fruitful plain of Jordan; not considering the danger of being in the neighbourhood of a most wicked people. The consequence of this unadvised choice was, be lost all he had; he lost his wife: and he bad like to have lost his life, had not Abraham prevailed with God for his deliverance.

15.-for ever.] This promise was made on coudition of their obedience. See Deut. iv. 25, 26. Judg. ii. 20, 21,

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salem.

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Salem] The most ancient quarter of Jeru

-priest of the most high God.] This Canaanitish prince was early considered as a type of Christ in the Jewish Church; "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek:" Ps, cx. 4. who resembled Christ in the following particulars. 1. In his name, which signifies," king of righteousness." 2. In his city, Salem, " peace." 3. In his offices of king and priest of the most high God. And 4. In the omission of the names of his parents and genealogy, the time of his birth, and length of life; exhibiting an indefinite reign and priesthood, according to the Apostle's exposition, Heb. vii. 3.

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20.-blessed be the most high God,] That is, praised be &c. When God blesseth man, He bestows benefits upon him. Man blesseth God, when he praiseth Him for His benefits. him tithes of all.] It was a very And he gave ancient custom to offer to God, whose priest Melchizedek was, the tenth part of what they took in war. The custom prevailed also among other nations; and was in use long before the law of tithes was given to the Israelites. Jacob vowed tithes to God; not only of the spoils of war, but of his flocks, corn, &c, Chap. xxviii. 22.

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22. I have lift up mine hand] That is, sworn. 23.-I will not take from a thread &c.] That , the meanest thing. Abram had learned be content with his own," and was so far from a base desire of enriching himself, that he utterly refused the goods, which he might lawfully have taken.

CHAP. XV.,

Verse 1.-the Word of the Lord came unto

Abram God revealed Himself to him more clearly. For this is the first time we read of the Word of the Lord coming to him, and of his having a vision, that is, being made a Prophet; God revealing His mind to him not in a dream, but in a vision; when he was awake, but having his senses bound up from their ordinary functions, while the heavenly influence came upon his mind.

2.—Lord God, what wilt thou give me,] What good will all the riches in the world do me, if I have not a child to inherit my estate? We com monly set so high a value on the things which we desire, and have not, that we are apt to undervalue what we have in possession.

3.-one born in my house is mine heir.] That is, Eliezer, who is not my son, but born in my house, of a woman of Damascus. He is the steward of my house, and takes care of my goods. Him I design to be my beir, if I die, childless.

Modern travellers tell us, that the rich people of Barbary, if they have no children, purchase young slaves, educate them in their own faith, and sometimes adopt them for their own children.

6. he believed in the Lord;] He trusted in God, believing that He would make His promises good, how unlikely soever they seemed. "He against hope believed in God."

he counted it to him for righteousness.] God esteemed it a most noble act and high expression of a pious confidence in Him; and thereon graciously owned him for a "righteous" person, though he was not free from all sin. This is that faith of Abraham, which is so highly celebrated in the New Testament, Rom, iv. 3. Gal. iii. 6. Jam. ii, 23. and which consisted in a firm belief or persuasion, that the Divine promises would be fulfilled in their season; and in a conduct suitable to that persuasion.

10. divided them in the midst,] See Jer. xxxiv. 18, 19. This was a very ancient way of making covenants. The rite was as much as to say, "Thus let me be cut in pieces, if I violate the oath which I have now made in the presence of God."

11. when the fowls came down] The birds of prey.

12.- an horror of great darkness] An horrible darkness and dread of spirits. That horror and dread of spirits, frequently seized on those who saw visions, is evident from Daniel. x. 3. Job. iv. 13. &c.

13. And he said unto Abram, &c.] Three things were to befall Abram's seed: 1st. That they "should be a stranger in a land not theirs;" and they sojourned partly in Canaan, partly in Egypt: 2ndly. that they should "serve"; and they did serve the Egyptians. 3rdly. that they should be " afflicted;" and so the Israelites were

in a great degree, a long time before they came out of Egypt. The time from the birth of Isaac to the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt was 400 years,

15.-thou shalt go to thy fathers] Die, and depart to the other world.

16.-in the fourth generation]

The fourth from the descent into Egypt. Thus Caleb, one of those who came into the promised land, was the fourth from Judah.

the iniquity of the Amorites] By " Amorites" is bere to be understood all the other nations of Canaan. The time of their punishment was not yet come. "There is a certain measure of wickedness, beyond which God will not spare a sinful land. And although the seasons of punishing uations with a general ruin be known to God only, yet when a land adds to its' sins, it both hastens and assures to itself destruction. Compare Jer. li, 13. Matt. xxiii. 32. 1 Thess. ii. 16. with Ezek. xiv. 14. When neither the mercies nor the judgments of God will bring us to repentance, we are then fit for destruction.

17. a smoking furnace,] To notify God's presence, this symbolical representation of Him "passed between the pieces" of the beasts that were divided, (ver. 10.) in token that He entered into covenant with Abram,

CHAP, XVI,

Verse 4, And he went in &c.] As an excuse, in some measure, for Abram, it may be pleaded, that he did not, in all probability, act from a criminal motive; but that having now no longer any hope of issue by Sarai, he took Hagar to his bed, supposing that by this means God's promise of his having children might be accomplished. Polygamy, or the taking of more wives than one, though declared criminal by our Saviour, who has restored matrimony to its original institution, might have been at that time, if not allowed, yet tolerated by God, for the hardness of men's hearts, The instances of polygamy which Scripture records, by no means afford inducements to the. practice. Family quarrels and domestic misery are commonly the result; witness Sarai and Hagar, Leah and Rachel.

―her mistress was despised in her eyes.] Fruitfulness was accounted a great, blessing and honour in those days.

5. My wrong be upon thee:] Thou art the cause of the affronts I suffer from Hagar,

7.-in the way to Shur.] She was fleeing into Egypt, her own country, on which the wilderness of Shur bordered.

11.-Ishmael; because the Lord &c.] "Ishmael" signifies God has heard thee.

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