« ElőzőTovább »
will worship, and return to you.
6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and the knife; and they went both of them together. 7. And Isaac said to Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Behold, here I am, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? 8. And Abraham said, My son, God will look out for Himself a lamb for a burnt-offering: and they went both of them together. 9. And they came to the place which God had told him; and Abraham built there an altar, and arranged end in great reward, they imply the pos- the valley of Tyropæon, and connected sibility of still greater sin; and, therefore, by a bridge. In the north-west of Moman justly prays “not to be led into riah is another hill, called Acra, which temptation.” We must understand the contained the lower city, and from great trial of Abraham from the same which it was divided by a broad walk, point of view; he had, from fear of his
filled up by the Asmopeans with earth, own life, twice risked the honour of his in order to join the temple with the city. wife; and ho might naturally have felt The greater height of Zion gave, no doubt, for his son an excessive love. By the rise to the almost constant usage of desigtriumph which he gained in this trial he nating the mountain of the temple also was purified from his weakness, and he by that name, which was even employatoned for it. Hence, also, the enor- ed to describe the whole town; “danghmity of the crime is obvious if man tries ter of Zion” is an ordinary poetical name God, as the Israelites did more than for Jerusalem; Zion is frequently alluded once, when they desired to know “whe- to as the abode of God; and it may thus ther God was among them or not” (Exod. be accounted for that Zion also is called xvii. 7), a sin always counted among the "the holy mountain,” especially if we most heinous forms of blashphemy. consider that it was the residence of the
Isaac, designedly described with all the kings, the anointed of the Lord. The terms of endearment by which Abraham place of the future temple, where it was could feel the vastness of the sacrifice, promised the glory of God should dwell, was to be offered openly on a mountain; and whence atonement and peace were to but not in the country of the Philistines, bless the hearts of the worshippers, was where he then sojourned, but in the “land hallowed by the most brilliant act of piety; of Moriah," nearly a three days' journey and the deed of the ancestor was thus from his home. The choice of the place more prominently presented to the imitais, therefore, evidently significant for the tion of the descendants. future history of Israel; it can scarcely The affecting simplicity of the succeedbe doubted that the land of Moriah de. ing narrative will never fail to move and scribes the locality of and around Jeru- to elevate; its charm and truth are equally salem. Moriah was the hill where later irresistible; it breathes innocence and puthe temple of Solomon was erected; and rity; and is pervaded by a hidden pathos, where David had before built an altar at flowing entirely from nobleness of sentithe command of God; it is lower than ment and action. The greatest feat of Mount Zion, which lies south-west of heroism seems to be performed without an it, and which contained the citadel and effort. Nor is the patriarch's calmness the upper city; both were separated by disturbed even when the harmless but
the wood, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10. And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.—11. And the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12. And He said, Lay not thy hand upon the youth, nor do to him anything: for now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not withheld thy son, thy only one, from Me. 13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked; and, behold, in the back-ground a ram was entangled in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and soul-stirring question of the son reminds subdue; the end of the trial was obtained; him of the approaching moment of horror it would have been cruelty and undue seand agony (vers.7,8). He had conquered verity to require more. Abraham had all selfishness and self-will; the strife be. conquered his weakness; and the action tween duty and passion was in him com- was considered as having been performed. pletely reconciled; he had attained that 11–19. Isaac showed himself worthy state which is the end of religion. By of his father's virtue and mission. He actually sacrificing his son, he could scarce- appears not only as a model of filial obely have displayed a higher degree of obe- dience, of gentleness and meekness, but as dience than his determined and unwaver- capable of submitting to the inscrutable ing intention manifested; and the text is decrees of God. He was no more a child; careful, and even circumstantial, in show- for a long time had elapsed since the feast ing that firmness of purpose. He made of his weaning (xxi. 34); he had, therehimself all the preparations for the journey fore, a consciousness of the impending (ver.3); he travelled more than two days, death; but he yet patiently allowed himfull of torment and anguish, before he self to be bound on the altar. God interreached the place of his trial (ver. 4); he fered, and revoked the former command; concealed from his servants the true end of and as a substitute for Isaac, a ram aphis journey, since they would have been pearing in the background was burnt as a unable to understand it (ver. 5); he made holocaust. Several Greek myths have the last part of the way alone with bis son, been compared with this narrative; but who carried the wood, while he himself the similarity exists but remotely in some took the knife and the fire (ver. 6); in this external circumstances. Iphigenia, Aga. terrible loneliness,with the region of Moriah memnon's daughter, was to be sacrificed visible at a distance, the youth in his sim- to Diana, and the priest Calchas was on plicity put that question which might well the point of performing the fearful ceremake a father's heart shudder (ver. 8); but mony, when the virgin was carried away Abraham remained unshaken; they ar- by the goddess in a cloud, and an animal rived at Moriah ---"and Abraham built offering was presented in her stead. But there an altar, and arranged the wood, and the motive for the intended sacrifice was bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the perverse and barbarous; Agamemnon had altar upon the wood. And Abraham killed a stag sacred to Diana; and the instretched out his hand, and took the knife censed goddess would only be reconciled to kill his son." What more was neces- if the king's eldest and dearest daughter sary to prove the patriarch's faith and were offered to her. The future fate of devotion? A thousand times had he felt Iphigenia was enveloped in mystery; it the pangs which he was commanded to was only many years later, that her abode
offered him up for a burnt-offering instead of his son. 14. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh (the Lord will look out]: as it is said this day, In the mount of the Lord one shall be seen. 15. And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time. 16. And said, By Myself I swear, is the announcement of the Lord; indeed, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thy only one: 17. Indeed, I shall bless thee abundantly, and shall multiply thy seed exceedingly, as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate was accidentally discovered by her wan- his only son tied upon the altar, to expire dering brother Orestes: thus, the cruel com- under his own hand, was to himself and mand, devoid of purpose or moral end, his descendants naturally a place of sacred was the result of divine wrath and caprice. awe; and it was to be distinguished as But the trial of Abraham was as important such by the meaning attributed to its name; as regards the doctrine which it involved, it was henceforth to signify, “the Lord as it was pure in the motive from which it sees, or selects," and to recall His unrearoze. For- this is a point of the greatest stricted sovereignty over all creatures, moment, the interference of God in this of whom He might choose for Himself act teaches, that not even the most enthusi- those He thinks proper (ver. 8); but it astic and the most devoted piety requires or was also to express and perpetuate justifies human sacrifices; that God, in- the consoling truth, that He in reality deed, demands, that man should be pre- does not desire or select human beings pared to renounce for duty and virtue for offerings. On the other hand, the what is dearest and most precious to him; piety of Abraham was to serve as an exbut that He is satisfied with unhesitating ample to later generations; the name of readiness and obedience; that sacrifices of the place suggested, therefore, the ready children are an abomination if designed and cheerful worship there to be carried to win God, or to appease Him; though on in future times; it became a proverbial occasions may occur when they are neces- adage: “on the mount of the Lord, His sary to glorify His name; thus, the heroic people shall be seen or appear"; the desmother, in the time of the Maccabees, cendants were incited to bring their offergave an example later followed by Jews ings with greater cheerfulness if they reand Christians, who threw their children membered the torments which the patriarch into the burning pile to save their souls, had here to conquer in fulfilling the same and to give honour to God. But He never duty; three times in the year, every Israelcommanded, nor approved of, the horrid ite was to attend before God in the place rites of Moloch, to whom the first-born which He selected; the pious “go from sons were mercilessly burnt (2 Ki. xxiii.10). strength to strength, till they appear before According to the Mosaic system, the first- God on Zion"(Ps.lxxxiv.8); and the worborn belonged indeed to God; but to be ship on the holy mountain manifested the His priests, and to spread His Law. The truc theocratic citizen. Thus, the name of trial of Abraham implies, therefore, no Moriah had the double import of assuring sanction, but the most emphatic and the the Hebrews of God's mercy, and of enmost unconditional prohibition of human couraging them to pay to Him their tribute sacrifices.
of devotion and gratitude. — And now, The spot where the patriarch had seen when Isaac was, as it were, a second time
of their enemies; 18. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; since thou hast obeyed My voice.19. And Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose, and went together to Beer-sheba : and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.
20. And it was after these things, that Abraham was told, Behold, Milcah, she also hath born children to thy
born to Abraham, and almost “revived remarkable resemblance to that of the from the dead," when he was acquired by children of Jacob. Like the latter, Nahor faith and merit, and had become Abra- has twelve sons; and in both cases eight ham's spiritual son as well as the descenil. are born by the lawful, and four by subant of his flesh: it was natural, that God ordinate wives; and Ishmael also had should repeat all the blessings which were the same number of sons. Now, among through him to be accomplished; and this the twelve names are some which have is done in terms undoubtedly emphatic, previously been introduced in a perif not enthusiastic; God swears by His fectly different genealogical connection; own majesty to fulfil the glorious promises; and which seem, therefore, to imply He predicts a numerous progeny, and another ethnographic tradition, provided complete conquest over the enemies; but we start from the principle, no doubt, on the happiness of the Hebrews should be the whole, justifiable, that the names of crowned by the bliss which they would genealogical lists represent tribes or naspread among all the nations, and, in a tions. Thus Uz, who is here stated to great measure, would be the reward of the have been the eldest son of Nahor, is, in patriarch's boundless obedience. - Beati. x. 23, mentioned as the son of Aram; fied by those bright prospects, he returned Aram himself, who occurs here as the southward-without exultation, and with- son of Kemuel, Nahor's third son, and out pride.
living, therefore, in the eleventh genera20–24. The patriarch's career had tion after Shem, is there recorded to be reached its culminating point, beyond the immediate offspring of Shem; and if which it could not rise; the text hastens, Chesed stands, as is probable, in connectherefore, to bring the narrative regarding tion with the Chaldees from whose country his later years to a conclusion, and it Abraham was asserted to have long since immediately prepares the transition to the emigrated (xi. 28), an additional difficulty history of his son Isaac. It betrays an anx- would arise. We have endeavoured to exiety to show the uninterrupted connection plain these perplexing circumstances in the of Abraham's house with his family in Me- larger edition of this work. — The book sopotamia, from where Isaac was to take of Genesis introduces, then, two distinct his wife, Rebekah; and hence it inserts branches of the great family of Arphaxad; the genealogy of Nahor, Abraham's the one represented by Abraham and his brother, who was married to Milcah, the descendants, and including the Ishmaeldaughter of Haran, and sister of Lot ites, Edomites, and Hebrews, together (xi. 27, 29). But though this genealogy with the Ammonites and Moabites, and is in strict harmony with preceding no- occupying the western districts of Canaan tices of a similar kind(xi. 26—29), it is not and the neighbouring tracts; and the without peculiar difficulties, if compared other represented by Nahor and his dewith the great catalogue of nations con- scendants, and spread over many parts tained in the tenth chapter. That it is of the land between the Euphrates and composed with circumspect attention is Tigris, and beyond the former river. certain from the fact that it bears a The Chaldeans led long a roaming and
brother Nahor; 21. Uz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22. And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she also bore Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.
predatory life in the parts of Arabia De. Chaldean empire under Nabopolassar serta, bordering on the southern course of (B.C. 625); from which time the Babythe Euphrates almost down to the Persian lonians are constantly called Chaldacans, Gulf; and though distinct both from the and Babylon “the land of the Chaldees”. Babylonians and the people of Shinar, they Classical accounts record their diffusion generally occupied a part of the territory to still more northern provinces, to the of the former. But as Terah, on his way mountains of Armenia and the land of from “Ur of the Chaldees"to Canaan, came the Carduchi, and even near the Black Sea. to Carrhae, in the north-western part of Me- Their nomadic habits may, indeed, even in sopotamia, it is obvious that the Chaldeans the Biblical times, have brought them to occupied, at a very early time, districts in those distant regions; but it is equally the north-east of the Euphrates; and it is probable, that some of the tribes, preserving probable that, at a later period, emigrating their hereditary love of liberty and their from the north and joining their kinsmen valour, after the conquest of Babylon by in the southern parts of the Euphrates, the Persians, sought refuge in the mounthey caused those stirring commotions tainous tracts of the north, where they which resulted in the overthrow of the found sufficient opportunities for indulging Assyrians, and the foundation of the in their warlike tastes.
SUMMARY.-Sarah died at Hebron, in the 127th year of her life; and Abraham bought
from Ephron, the son of Zohar, as a burial-place for her, and as an hereditary possession for his family, the cave of Machpelah, together with the field on which it was situated. After the purchase was concluded and duly ratified in the presence of the people of the Hittites, Abraham buried his wife in the cave.
1. And Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2. And Sarah died in Kirjath-Arba, that is Hebron, in the land
1, 2. During the succeeding period of rah is the only woman whose age is mentranquil enjoyment, Abraham migrated tioned in the Scriptures, is at all significant, from Beer-sheba, the southern extremity it proves that with her a new epoch in the of the country, northward, and settled progress of the human race is supposed to again in Hebron. Here he was af- commence (compare 1 Peter iii. 6). The flicted by the death of his wife, who chronology of her life, like that of Abrahad faithfully shared his pilgrimages. ham, is stated in all its more prominent "He went to mourn for Sarah and to phases.-Sarah died in the land of Caweep for her.” She had seen Isaac grow naan; thus two facts, full of interest, are into manhood, for she survived his birth recalled to the reader's mind: she deby thirty-seven years. If the fact that Sa- parted this life, not in the territory of the