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begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.—22. And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: 23. And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. -24. And Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and begat Terah: 25. And Nahor lived after he begat Terah a hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. -26. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
27. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. 28. And Haran died before his father Terah, in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29. And Abram and Nahor took wives to themselves: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. 30. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went with each other from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran, and dwelt there. 32. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
quoted as an extinct town. At present it lies mostly in ruins, though some towers are left, and is still visited by pious pilgrims, as a spot hallowed by its connection with the patriarch Abraham. From the situation of Haran above described, the general position of Ur of the Chaldees cannot be doubtful.
It appears that Ur is rather the name of a province than a town; and that Haran also belonged to it. For when Abraham was living in this town, God said to him: “Go out of thy country and the place of thy birth .... to the land which I shall show thee” (xii, 1).The reason why Terah resolved to leave his home, is not stated; we may, however, suppose that the increasing population, and, perhaps, the growing numbers of his flocks and herds, induced him to seek richer pasturage and a less occupied soil; he began his journey in the direction towards Canaan, but found already in the important town of Haran the object of his migration realised; here he settled, and stayed for a considerable time; for here his family acquired wealth and numerous servants (xii. 5). The distance from the original dwelling-place of Terah to Haran might, therefore, not have been very great; and this determines sufficiently the position of the district of Ur.
Terah the idolator intended, of his own accord, to leave Mesopotamia, and to settle in Canaan. His son, Abraham, received
from God only the same command; and yet his obedience was regarded as the first great proof of his faith (Hebr. xi. 8). But the great difference is this, that whilst Terah's emigration was only the consequence of an external necessity or desire, that of Abraham had a spiritual or religious motive; so far from suffering want in Haran, Abraham had there risen to a state of fourishing prosperity; that country had, therefore, become to him endeared by all human ties; and God Himself seems with emphasis to have pointed to this happy abode, in addressing him:
go from thy country, and from the place of thy birth, and from thy father's house"; - but Abraham brought the sacrifice without murmuring or reluctance; he felt that the formation of a pure religious centre required the perfect separation from the pagan country, where the bonds of relationship or of patriotism might retard or check the progress ofthe new doctrines; and he, therefore, disregarded his worldly advantages, and conquered his prepossessions to secure the higher privileges of religion. Terah's wish for emigration was a matter of expediency, and he changed his plans at the first place which promised him the desired benefits; he stayed and died at Haran; but the unaltered end of Abraham's journey was Canaan (xii. 5); and he proceeded thither even during his father's life-time.
Although the usual period of man's life
had, by God, been fixed not to exceed the matrimonial alliances were, therefore, 120 years (vi. 3), the ages in the genera- formed within the same family; a circumtions between Shem and Terah are still stance which will later recur with increased considerably higher; but they show a de- emphasis. Nahor had eight sons by cided tendency towards that limit, and in- Milcah, and four by a second wife Redicate that the mighty strength originally umah (xxii. 20—24); but Sarai had no granted to the human frame, was rapidly children; this fact, which will form so prodecreasing (see p. 108).
minent a part in the succeeding portions, Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor, is here significantly anticipated (ver. 30). and Haran; the third son, Haran, died The present part of our chapter is, thereearly in Ur before his father; but he left fore, throughout a systematic introduction one son, Lot, and two daughters, Milcah to the subsequent narrative; it guarantees and Iscah; Abram married Sarai, his half- consistency and unity of design; and sister (xx. 12); and Nahor took for his fragmentary notices can nowhere be suswife Milcah, his brother Haran's daughter: pected.
II. THE HISTORY OF THE HEBREW PATRIARCHS.
CHAPTERS XII. TO L.
1.- THE HISTORY OF ABRAHAM AND LOT.
CHAPTERS XII. 1 to XXV.11.
CHAPTER XII. SUMMABY.- On the command of God, and encouraged by the promise of a blessed
future, Abraham emigrated, in the seventy-fifth year of his life, from Mesopotamia into Canaan; stayed near Shechem, at the celebrated oak of Moreh; and after having received the Divine assurance that his descendants should possess the land, he built an altar, journeyed to the neighbourhood of Beth-el, where he likewise erected an altar, and then proceeded southward.—A famine compelled him to journey to Egypt; and fearing the licentiousness of the inhabitants, he represented his wife, Sarui, to be his sister. But when the king took her into his house, he was visited with severe plagues, which made him conscious of his guilt. Abraham, re-united with his wife, left Egypt, enriched by the many and valuable presents.
1. And the Lord said to Abram, Go out of thy country, and from the place of thy birth, and from thy father's
The historian has reached the end of the root and the stem must be strengththe first chief portion of his narrative; ened beyond the power of the tempests. he has completed the introductory section The law of Moses shows the self-instrucof his grand composition; he has shown ting tendency of Israel; whilst the prophets the origin of the world through the omnipo- begin the work of universal education, to tence of God, and the descent of the nations be continued till all unite in the knowof the earth from one common ancestor ; ledge of God, and to be completed in “the he has, by a universal pedigree, disclosed latter days” (comp. Gal. iii. 8; Acts iii. 25; the beautiful hope that, however dispersed Rom. iv, 13, 16). and inimical to each other the nations may Up to this point our narrative has shown be, they will, in a happier future, be re- very numerous similarities with the introunited in brotherhood; — but before the ductory history of most of the ancient nahuman family reaches this aim, it has to tions, though the resemblance of the form is pass through a long and wearisome career: almost everywhere accompanied by a funduring unnumbered ages the various damental difference in the spirit; we have tribes will continue in hostility and war- hitherto trod on universal ground, though fare; for unmeasured periods the omni- the peculiar impress of the Hebrew writer potent Creator will be forgotten, and can nowhere be mistaken; every trace of darkness will shrond the earth. In one heathen elements is effaced: though altribe alone the spark of truth will be most all nations possess traditions conpreserved, and through that tribe “all
cerning the Creation, a Paradise, and the the families of the earth will be blessed" origin of sin; concerning a deluge, a (xii. 3). In Abraham's race lives the dispersion, and confusion of languages; hope of the world. This is the Hebrew the Hebrews alone purified and ennobled writer's avowed principle; and hence- them; they used them as appropriate vehiforth he devotes his narrative exclusively cles for important truths and lessons. But to the destinies of that race. Abraham's here their national history begins; every descendants begin to form the centre from material resemblance, even in the form, which the history of all nations is viewed; ceases, and the Abrahamites pursue their they are the heart from which life issues own path; we shall but seldom be in every direction, and to which life and
able to point out parallels with other strength stream back; they are the only nations, from which they are henceforth cultivated spot in the vast dreariness of separated; but we shall the more highly mankind; their love is indeed ready admire their own special development; in to pour forth the waters of life, which faithfully following the progress of our convert the wilderness into a garden; narrative, we shall find that it nowhere they cast the seeds, and teach, and advise; deviates from the aim which it proposed but they remain long alone and solitary, to itself, and to which we have alluded; despised and misunderstood, and but too and we shall be led to acknowledge the often in a desperate warfare against their same comprehensiveness and skill in the own levity and inconstancy. They have history of a family growing into a nation, to educate themselves before they are ca- as were displayed in delineating the adpable and worthy of commencing their vance from the birth of one couple to the great mission; if the branches shall flourish, population of the earth.
house, into the land that I shall show thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
type of the
1-9. For Abraham is Israelites as a nation. In his character and his destinies, their future history is faithfully mirrored. Abraham descended from an idolatrous family, and was born in a land of heathens; and Israel grew into a nation, in a country abounding in all the abominations of superstition. Abrabam left a domicile which yielded hiin every material prosperity, and was dear to him by many social ties; and the Israelites, laden with treasures, quitted a land in which they had long found a hospitable reception, where their external necessities were so well provided for that they frequently remembered it with longing, and where they had formed the most intimate social connections. Abraham followed, by faith, the guidance of God into an unknown land which He would show him; and Israel went, with reliance and devotion, “after God into a desert which is not sown,” into a wilderness of sterility and horror. A covenant was concluded with Abraham as with Israel, and both covenants were ratified by a sign; both had the power of blessing or curse over others; their friends should prosper, their enemies perish; both received the promise of a numerous progeny, through which the nations of the earth should be blessed, but both saw all earthly probability of a fulfilment disappear; for Abraham was denied a son from his lawful wife, and the Israelites were not only in Egypt diminished by the cruelty of her rulers, but in the desert by famine, war, and pestilence: but at this point the character of Abraham diverges from that of Israel; henceforth the former shines as the model which the latter were unable to imitate; and the history of Abraham becomes the instructor of Israel. For whilst the former exhibited an unshaken courage and faith through all the severest trials, the latter wavered in temptations, and despaired in difficulties; the former believed in a dis
tant promise, the latter did not believe the visible messenger of God, sent to effect their immediate rescue, and even that messenger himself succumbed in moments of despondency: the former entered Canaan, where he could not claim one foot of land, for it was in the hands of hostile tribes, whose valour he saw, and whose cities he visited; but he placed his trust in the love and omnipotence of God, and built an altar at the place where the promise was made to him; the latter trembled at the mere report of the power of Canaan's tribes, gave up all hope of possession, and pusillanimously lamented the credulity which had induced them to rely on extravagant assurances. When famine compelled Abraham to seek shelter in foreign countries, he emigrated with a heart full of confidence, certain that God would lead him back, in due season, for the realization of His promises; whereas a trifling defeat or national misfortune was sufficient to cause Israel meanly to apprehend, that God had abandoned and forgotten them. The life of Abraham was one of piety and religious contemplation; this was the model after which the Israelites had to strive, and which is delineated in their laws, and in their prophecies; Abraham, the peaceful, benevolent, ever-contented emir, is the direct contrast to the conquering, ambitious, and warlike Nimrod. So was the people of Israel intended to distinguish itself from the other nations by its purer life, and its nobler aims. But, as Abraham could exchange the nomad's staff for the hero's sword where right and justice demanded, so should Israel be ready to fight the battles of God, trusting in His invisible aid against the chariots and the horsemen of the oppressing heathens. OBEDIENCE was the innermost centre of Abraham's character; it culminated in his readiness to sacrifice that son through whom alone the future glories could be fulfilled; thus should Israel,
3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.—4. So Abram departed, as the Lord
with an unlimited submission, rely on cannot annihilate, He preserved one fathe Divine promises, even if kings and mily for the renewal of mankind; and as nations appeared to scheme their in- the Framer of man cannot change his evitable destruction. We shall not here nature, He altered the character of His pursue the parallel further; but it is a own government. Since man is apt to sin general historical truth, that the character from his youth, God concluded with him, and pursuits of the nations are reflected for all eternity, the covenant of mercy, and in those of their patriarchs and heroes; sealed it with a heavenly sign; thencefrom this principle, the history of Abra- forth, no more the austere measure of ham gains a wider scope and a higher justice, but the indulgence of grace should interest; and we are justified in interpret- preside over human actions. However, few ing it from that enlarged point of view. generations only passed before it became We shall see, in the prophet Abraham, evident, that the obstinacy of the human the germ of the future nation of priests; mind despises even that gentle guidance in the constructor of altars, the builders of God; that it boastingly exults in its of the Tabernacle and the Temple; in the own strength, and believes it to be selfworshipper of the Creator of heaven and sufficient for its existence and glory: it earth, the future preachers of the univer- was, therefore, necessary to leave the resal God of all nations. The struggle of fractory spirits to their own heedless forIsrael for reaching their ideal, was intense getfulness; they were not rejected or deand protracted; it was often necessary to stroyed --because the mercy of God had remind them of the “rock from which they promised to be eternal,- but they were were hewn," and to elevate them by the severed from the alliance which united example of their “father Abraham, who them with the Father, no more acknowwas once called out to be blessed and in- ledged by them. But twenty generations creased"; but the goal was fixed; leaders could not have lived in vain; nor could were not wanting to guide their wander- the designs which God had formed with ing steps; and the happiness proposed as regard to the creatures of His own image, their reward, encouraged and stimulated. be annulled. He selected, therefore, one fa
With the emigration of Abraham from mily on which He lavished all His love,and Haran begins also, in the system of the with which He entered into a connection, Old Testament, a new epoch in the rela- stronger and closer even than that which tion between God and mankind. By the had bound him to the first human pair; for sin in Paradise, man forfeited God's im- the alliance between Abraham's family mediate and paternal intercourse; and and God was a reciprocal covenant, based God, retiring to immeasurable distance on self-conscious duties; it was an alliance above the human perversities, dictated, as a not concluded with beings of slumbering severe judge, the awful curse deemed an intellects, but of awakened minds, matured equivalent punishment for the enormous by the vicissitudes of life, and the reflectransgression. Ten generations lived and tions enforced by varied experience. toiled under the influence of that fatal While the curse against Adam and the judgment; but human nature proved too promise of Noah were pronounced to the weak for such rigid standard; sin and whole human race; from the time of crime multiplied on the earth; seduction Abraham, promises and communications increased the natural wickedness; and the were addressed and restricted to one fajustice of God required a total destruction mily or one people:- but, as God could of the human race. But, as the Creator not cease to love all His children, He in